Lunar show. Early risers this morning had front row seats for a “blood moon,” the result of a lunar eclipse that passed directly over the United States. The moon took on an orange-red hue as it passed through the Earth’s shadow between 2 and 4 a.m. EDT. Last night’s blood moon was the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses, known as a “tetrad,” expected in six-month intervals between now and the fall of 2015.
Stalemate. Speaking for the first time in more than two weeks, President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin showed little sign of agreement after a Monday phone call. The White House said Russia initiated the call, which came as pro-Russian forces deepened their insurgency in Ukraine’s east, seizing more than a dozen government buildings. The Kremlin said in a statement following Monday’s conversation that the Russian leader rejected the claims of Russian agents’ involvement in protests as “speculations based on unreliable information.” Putin urged Obama to discourage the Ukrainian government from using force against protesters in the country’s east.
Journalism honors. The Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday, and The Boston Globe and The Washington Post won top awards for their coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and Edward Snowden’s leaks of National Security Agency secrets, respectively. Globe staffers awaited the award announcement in a somber, closed newsroom Monday. “There’s nobody in this room who wanted to cover this story,” Globe editor Brian McGrory told the newsroom. “Each and every one of us hopes that nothing like it ever happens again on our watch.” The Washington Post shared its prize with The Guardian of London for revealing the U.S. government’s sweeping surveillance programs in a blockbuster series of articles based on Snowden. The full list of Pulitzer Prize winners is available here.
Payback put-off. People with old Social Security debts are getting a reprieve from a federal program that seized overpayments from people’s tax refunds. On Monday, acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said she was suspending the program while the agency conducts a review. Social Security recipients and members of Congress complained that people were being forced to repay overpayments that were sometimes paid to their parents or guardians when they were children. The Social Security Administration says it has identified about 400,000 people with old debts. They owe a total of $714 million. So far, the agency says it has collected $55 million, mainly by having the Treasury Department seize tax refunds.