U.S. officials confirm influx of Russian troops into Crimea

February 28, 2014

U.S. officials said Friday that Russian troops had entered Crimea, as President Obama warned that there “will be costs for any military intervention” and vowed to stand by the Ukrainian people.

Obama said he was “deeply concerned by reports of military movements,” that “would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people” and would constitute a “clear violation” of international law.

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Ousted Ukraine president says he’s surprised by Putin’s silence

February 28, 2014

KIEV, Ukraine — Toward the end of a self-justifying news conference Friday, Viktor Yanukovych said he was surprised that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “kept silent” about the crisis in Ukraine.

In his first public appearance since he fled Kiev a week ago, Yanukovych maintained that he is still president of his country and that the parliament that ousted him is illegitimate. He said Russia, where he is currently staying, is morally obligated to set things right but bluntly rejected the possibility of Russian military interference.

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WorldViews: Mansion was only a fixer-upper, Yanukovych says

February 28, 2014

The house! You know the mansion that Victor Yanukovych, overthrown president of Ukraine, lived in until a week ago? The one with gold-footed toilets, crystal-laden chandeliers, 6,700 square feet of space, on a modest 17 acres of lovely countryside?

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WorldViews: Both Ukrainian and Venezuelan protesters have been called fascists. Why?

February 28, 2014

In a news conference Friday, Viktor Yanukovych, now holed up in the Russian port of Rostov-on-Don, wasted no time in describing the protesters who had ousted him from the Ukrainian presidency in now-familiar terms. Euromaidan was just a bunch of “nationalist fascist youngsters,” he explained, in what was his first appearance since fleeing Kiev.

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WorldViews: Syrian extremists amputated a man’s hand and live-tweeted it

February 28, 2014

The extremist Syrian group deemed too radical even for al-Qaeda performed what may have been a Twitter first Friday: live-tweeting the amputation of a hand.

The amputation took place in the remote rural town of Maskanah in the northern province of Aleppo, according to a series of tweets posted by the account of a supporter of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

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The latest from Ukraine: Feb. 28 edition

February 28, 2014

Ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych gave a press conference in Russia today, and men in green camouflage took over parts of the civilian airport in Simferopol in Crimea; here’s the latest from William Booth in Simferopol, Will Englund in Kiev and Kathy Lally in Moscow.

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Yanukovych says he will not ask Russia to intervene militarily in Ukraine

February 28, 2014

MOSCOW — Ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych said Friday he had no intention of asking for Russian military intervention in Ukraine, blamed the chaos there on Western manipulation and said he would not return to his country until his security could be guaranteed.

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Court silences Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny for 2 months

February 28, 2014

MOSCOW — Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was put under house arrest for two months Friday and was prohibited from using the Internet, texting or speaking with anyone but his family.

A Moscow court imposed the two months of silence on Navalny, who has used his blog and Twitter account to document and publicize his investigations into official corruption, after investigators accused him of violating an order to stay within the Moscow city limits.

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Pro-Russia separatists flex muscles in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula

February 28, 2014

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Several hundred armed men in green camouflage, without insignia and carrying military-style automatic rifles, entered and secured areas of the civilian airport in Crimea’s regional capital of Simferopol early Friday.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping takes charge of new cybersecurity group

February 28, 2014

BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping personally took charge of a new government body overseeing China’s cybersecurity and vowed Thursday to turn China into a
“cyber power,” according to state-run media.

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U.S. human rights report focuses more on LGBT discrimination in global community

February 27, 2014

Gay and transgender people are singled out for state-sanctioned discrimination or mistreatment in about 80 countries, the United States charged Thursday in the broadest statement yet that Washington considers the treatment of gays a key measure of human rights around the world.

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In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s biggest pro-Russian city, a question of who is in charge

February 27, 2014

KHARKIV, Ukraine —More than four days have gone by since a crowd of protesters occupied the regional government office here in Kharkiv, bringing the Maidan revolution to the biggest city in pro-Russian eastern Ukraine.

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Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych remains defiant; tensions rise in Crimea

February 27, 2014

KIEV, Ukraine — As Moscow lashed out Thursday at Ukraine’s new leaders and the Western nations it believes to be backing them, ousted president Viktor Yanukovych resurfaced in Russia and claimed he is still Ukraine’s legitimate head of sate.

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British spy agency kept images of Yahoo webcam chats

February 27, 2014

The British spy agency GCHQ, aided by systems provided by the National Security Agency, collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to its databases, regardless of whether the users were intelligence targets, according to a report in the Guardian on Thursday.

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Huber Matos Benitez, Cuban opponent of Castro, dies at 95

February 27, 2014

Huber Matos Benitez, who helped lead the Cuban Revolution as one of Fidel Castro’s key lieutenants before his efforts to resign from the burgeoning communist government landed him in prison for 20 years, died Feb. 27 at a hospital in the Miami area. He was 95.

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WorldViews: To understand Crimea, take a look back at its complicated history

February 27, 2014

When President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev this week, it was tempting to assume that Ukraine’s crisis was over: Euromaidan had won, and the forces of Western-style democracy had prevailed over Yanukovych’s Kremlin-led repression.

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NATO agrees to prepare for complete pullout from Afghanistan by end of year

February 27, 2014

BRUSSELS — NATO defense ministers agreed here Thursday to begin preparing for a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan at the end of this year, as a senior U.S. military official warned that “the progress we’ve made is not sustainable” by Afghan forces without an ongoing U.S. and international troop presence.

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Pakistan party drops its blockade of NATO supply routes

February 27, 2014

A major Pakistani political party announced Thursday that it was ending its blockade of NATO supply routes through the northern part of the country, capping a three-month protest over U.S. drone strikes on Pakistani soil.

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Where things stand in Ukraine

February 27, 2014

Will Englund and William Booth are in Ukraine, reporting on the latest developments. Here’s a quick look at where things stand this morning:

Yanukovych gets a security guarantee

Ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych will be safe in Russia, a government spokesman told Russian wire services. Yanukovych said that the new government in Kiev is illegitimate and that he is still the rightful president of Ukraine.

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WorldViews: How a sensible economic policy might have sparked Venezuela’s protests

February 27, 2014

While much of the world was focused on the dramatic scenes in Ukraine over the past few weeks, a situation much closer to home (geographically at least) exploded: Weeks of anti-government protests in Venezuela that have left at least 14 dead.

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In parting remarks, U.S. ambassador urges China to improve human rights record

February 27, 2014

BEIJING — Outgoing U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke broached some of China’s most sensitive topics in his last public appearance here, urging Chinese authorities Thursday to improve human rights conditions, repair rapidly deteriorating relations with Japan and address growing distrust of the party among China’s wealthy.

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Gunmen’s seizure of parliament building stokes tensions in Ukraine’s Crimea

February 27, 2014

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine — With unrest growing in the Crimea over Ukraine’s political transformation, a group of armed men seized the local parliament and the regional government headquarters in Simferopol early Thursday morning, barricaded themselves inside both buildings and raised Russian flags, news services reported.

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Alice Herz-Sommer, concert pianist and Holocaust survivor, dies at 110

February 27, 2014

Alice Herz-Sommer, a concert pianist who was widely believed to be the oldest survivor of the Holocaust and who became known around the world for her belief in the redemptive power of music, died Feb. 23 at a hospital in London. She was 110.

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WorldViews: This map helps put Russia’s military moves near Ukraine in perspective

February 26, 2014

The surprise announcement that the Russian military would begin large-scale drills so soon after Ukraine ousted Kremlin-ally Viktor Yanukovych may well seem ominous. In the recent past, Russia has shown itself willing to intervene in situations along its borders: It was less than six years ago that Russia and Georgia went to war over the fate of the separatist region of South Ossetia, for example.

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McFaul leaves Moscow — and two dramatic years in relations between U.S. and Russia

February 26, 2014

MOSCOW — U.S. Ambassador ­Michael McFaul left Russia on Wednesday, a departure that attracted far more than the usual headlines for a change in diplomats and illuminated a tumultuous period in relations between the two countries.

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Careful: Is that Yanukovych, in Moscow?

February 26, 2014

MOSCOW — The rich were out on the streets of Moscow on Wednesday night, gliding along Kutuzovsky Prospekt in their black Cadillac Escalades and Mercedeses, chase cars full of armed guards at the ready. It did not strain the imagination to think of fugitive Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych hidden behind the darkened glass.

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Syrian troops ambush, kill at least 150 rebels

February 26, 2014

BEIRUT — Syrian troops ambushed and killed at least 150 rebels east of Damascus on Wednesday in one of the deadliest single attacks against opposition fighters, according to state media, opposition groups and human rights activists.

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India’s Common Man Party faces doubts as it tries to go national

February 26, 2014

GANGAICHA, India — In this dusty northern village, a dozen volunteers from India’s new anti-corruption party wound through narrow dirt lanes one recent day, hoping to win over voters in the world’s most populous democracy.

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Carnaval could sap Venezuela protests

February 26, 2014

CARACAS, Venezuela — It is Carnaval time in Venezuela, when revelers typically fill the streets in rum-powered dance parties leading up to Tuesday’s Mardi Gras blowout.

And after two weeks of deadly street demonstrations against his government, embattled President Nicolás Maduro would like nothing more than for the country to go numb on booze and rumba. A social media campaign pushed
by his supporters, #ConMaduro­CarnavalSeguro (“a safe Carnaval with Maduro”), is promoting the government as the official guarantor of the good times.

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Hezbollah vows retaliation against Israel for airstrike against site in Lebanon

February 26, 2014

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement threatened Wednesday to retaliate against Israel for carrying out an airstrike against one of the group’s positions in Lebanon for the first time in eight years, raising the stakes in Syria’s steadily expanding war.

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WorldViews: This photo from Syria is horrifying, but does seeing it change anything?

February 26, 2014

The above picture was released Monday by the United Nations Relief And Works Agency (UNRWA). It shows the Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk Camp in Damascus, southern Syria, which has been under siege since July 2013. The crowd in the image, which was taken on January 31, stretches back as far as the eye can see. They are all waiting to receive food supplies.

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Defense ministers say NATO is prepared to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan

February 26, 2014

BRUSSELS — NATO defense ministers convened a two-day meeting here Wednesday with a renewed warning that they are prepared to withdraw all of their troops from Afghanistan without a signed security agreement.

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WorldViews: The colorful history of this Soviet monument in Bulgaria, and why it angers Russia

February 26, 2014

The continuing destruction of Soviet-era monuments in Ukraine has caused a stir in Russia, where such monuments are often linked to a historical pride for the sacrifices made during World War II. This week the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that the country was “outraged” by the “barbaric anti-Russia action” taking place in Ukraine.

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‘El Chapo’ by the numbers

February 26, 2014

The capture of drug lord Joaquin Guzman isn’t likely to derail his Sinaloa cartel’s booming business anytime soon. The man known as “El Chapo” leaves behind a global empire.

PostTV’s Davin Coburn ran the numbers on the size of the cartel and the damage wrought during his reign.

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WorldViews: Why do people choose to live in the ‘worst city in the world?’

February 26, 2014

Human resources consulting firm Mercer recently crunched the numbers on dozens of factors about life for an expatriate. The aim? To calculate exactly how much extra international firms should be willing to pay their employees when asking them to move to undesirable locations.(While Mercer wouldn’t release the precise data, Ed Hannibal, a global mobility leader at the company, said that factors involved included such concerns as security, infrastructure and the availability of international goods).

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Iraqi army struggles in battle against Islamist fighters in Anbar province

February 26, 2014

DIWANIYAH, Iraq — The United States is shipping arms to Iraq to help its army fight a Sunni Islamist insurgency in Anbar province. But some Iraqi soldiers argue that basic planning and supplies are just as sorely needed.

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World Digest: Feb. 25, 2014

February 26, 2014

NIGERIA

Militants set fire to dormitory, kill 58

Islamist militants set fire to a locked dormitory at a school in northern Nigeria, then shot and slit the throats of students who tried to escape through windows during a pre-dawn attack Tuesday. At least 58 students were killed.

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In Ukraine, objections from Maidan slow naming of new cabinet

February 26, 2014

KIEV, Ukraine — The interim leaders of Ukraine stepped on the brakes Tuesday as they faced resistance from street protesters and some members of parliament who objected that they were moving too fast in forming a new cabinet just three days after the old regime collapsed.

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Obama orders Pentagon to prepare for complete withdrawal from Afghanistan

February 26, 2014

President Obama has ordered the Pentagon to begin formally preparing for a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday, signaling that the Obama administration increasingly sees that as a possible outcome.

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U.S. quietly whittles down foreign detainee population at facility in Afghanistan

February 26, 2014

The United States has quietly begun to whittle down the population of detainees it holds at a military prison in Afghanistan, but it is struggling over what to do with less than a dozen of these non-Afghan nationals who are regarded as particularly dangerous, U.S. officials said.

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Former world champion boxer found fatally shot in native Venezuela

February 26, 2014

CARACAS, Venezuela —Former world champion boxer Antonio Cerme ño was kidnapped and killed in his native Venezuela, police said Tuesday.

Cermeño, a WBA super bantam­weight and featherweight champion in the 1990s, was found fatally shot Tuesday on a road in the central state of Miranda, the local police chief, Eliseo Guzmán, said.

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Former Guantanamo detainee arrested in Britain

February 25, 2014

LONDON —Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg was among four people arrested in Britain on Tuesday on suspicion of terrorism offenses related to the war in Syria, British police said.

Begg, 45, was arrested at his home in south Birmingham on suspicion of “attending a terrorist training camp and facilitating terrorism overseas,” the West Midlands Police said in a statement.

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WorldViews: How did Venezuela’s protests get so big? These two charts offer a clue

February 25, 2014

After weeks of protests against Nicholas Maduro’s United Socialist Party government, some 13 people are thought to have died in Venezuela. The protests appear to be the largest since the death of Maduro’s mentor, the mercurial Hugo Chavez, almost one year ago.

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Egypt appoints prime minister with ties to Hosni Mubarak regime

February 25, 2014

CAIRO — Egypt has appointed a man with close ties to longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak to become the country’s new prime minister.

Egypt’s interim president, who was appointed after the military ousted the country’s elected president last summer, named Housing Minister Ibrahim Mahlab to head a new cabinet Tuesday.

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WorldViews: The important thing missing in this video of Xi Jinping walking Chinese streets

February 25, 2014

The cellphone footage above shows something you don’t see often: A Chinese president taking a stroll in a Beijing alleyway.

Xi Jinping was walking in the trendy traditional neighborhood of Nanluoguxiang on Tuesday, stopping to chat with local youths and visiting the home of a nearby resident, the Associated Press reports. It appeared to be yet another carefully planned, nominally impromptu event designed to show that China’s president is more in touch with the people he leads than his predecessors (in another recent move, he ate buns at a humble Beijing restaurant).

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Pakistan plans military operation in North Waziristan, targeting extremist groups

February 25, 2014

The Pakistani government is on the verge of launching a major military offensive in the North Waziristan tribal region after brutal Taliban attacks in recent weeks and the apparent failure of peace talks with the militants, according to a senior Pakistani official.

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WorldViews: The most surprising thing at Yanukovych’s estate? He has relatively good taste.

February 25, 2014

Over the years, my press pass has afforded me the opportunity to join, as a kind of participant/observer, in the sacking of various interior ministries, newly liberated prisons and the odd presidential palace.

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WorldViews: Ukrainians keep pulling down Soviet statues. Now Russia is getting angry.

February 25, 2014

Looking back, the moment when Euromaidan protesters toppled Kiev’s most prominent statue of Lenin on Dec. 8 now seems like a key point in Ukraine’s political crisis. It was when the world began to realize that this wasn’t just about domestic politics and a potential European Union membership: The Euromaidan protests fit into a broader Ukraine narrative of Russian influence and post-Soviet history.

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Changing course, Japan now sees future for nuclear power

February 25, 2014

SEOUL — The Japanese government unveiled the draft of a contentious new national energy plan Tuesday that calls for the long-term reliance on nuclear power and all but voids the phaseout pledge of an earlier administration.

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Retired Pope Benedict watches his successor soar

February 25, 2014

VATICAN CITY — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is not “jealous” of his successor’s worldwide celebrity, holds him in “high esteem” and is developing an ever closer relationship with Pope Francis through “regular” communications, according to the former pontiff’s private secretary and prefect of the papal household, Archbishop Georg Gänswein.

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