U.S. officials say Syria is using remaining chemical weapons stockpile as leverage

April 30, 2014

The months-long effort to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons program has ground to a halt because Syria is holding on to 27 tons of sarin precursor chemicals as leverage in a dispute with the international community over the future of facilities used to store the deadly agents, according to U.S. officials.

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WorldViews: Chinese toddler pees in Hong Kong street, stirs online firestorm

April 30, 2014

Most Americans may not know what it means to “take the piss,” a British phrase for saying or doing something mocking or contemptuous that’s aimed at aggravating somebody else. But in another former British colony the idiom may be rapidly acquiring a whole new level of aggression.

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For Obama, trip shows his comfort and personal connections to Asia region

April 30, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — During a working lunch here with top Malaysian officials last weekend, President Obama delved into the details of trade issues, nonproliferation efforts and the nuances of nasi goreng recipes in different Southeast Asian countries.

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WorldViews: ‘Please find our daughters,’ say Nigerian women in protest

April 30, 2014

It’s been 16 days since scores of girls and young women were kidnapped from the Chibok Girls Secondary School in Nigeria. About 220 remain missing, the AP says the school’s principal estimates.

On Wednesday, hundreds of their mothers and countrywomen marched to the National Assembly in the capital, Abuja, to protest a lack of action, the Associated Press reports. A similar march was held in Kano, in the country’s north.

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Aleppo schoolchildren killed in airstrike

April 30, 2014

BEIRUT — Syrian warplanes bombed a school in the northern city of Aleppo on Wednesday just as students were staging an art show, killing at least 19 people and injuring many more.

The missile that struck the Ain Jalout elementary school in the rebel-held east of Aleppo was among at least half a dozen bombs dropped as part of the latest battle between government and opposition forces for control of the city, making it unclear whether the school was deliberately targeted.

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In rundown Horlivka, pro-Russian separatists’ gains come as no surprise to many

April 30, 2014

HORLIVKA, Ukraine — When a few dozen masked men were taking over the city council building in Horlivka on Wednesday morning, Pavel Kravchenko was busy with routine work at his fashion atelier. He took measurements of two customers, fit an elegant suit on a lifelong client and discussed politics with his pretty, dark-haired wife, Yaroslava.

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WorldViews: The BBC’s meanest journalist is stepping down. Here’s his most notorious interview.

April 30, 2014

Jeremy Paxman, a British journalist who became a household name for his abrasive style of interviewing guests, on Wednesday announced he will quit the show that made him famous, BBC’s “Newsnight.”

The news, which comes via the Guardian, might not mean a lot to American readers. But Paxman is seen by many of his fans as the quintessential British journalist, displaying a mixture of dry wit and clear distaste for his guests that made him equally loved and loathed across the British isle.

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WorldViews: 4 horrible forms of capital punishment more humane than Oklahoma’s botched execution

April 30, 2014

Tuesday’s botched execution in Oklahoma — where an inmate, Clayton Lockett, writhed on a gurney, staying alive for 43 minutes after receiving an untested cocktail of drugs until he succumbed to a heart attack — has reignited the debate in the United States over capital punishment and the supposedly humane methods by which it is administered. Lockett’s physical reaction to the failed lethal injection was so sickening that prison officials closed the blinds so those in a viewing chamber would no longer bear witness to the grim scene.

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WorldViews: In surprise U-turn, the White House may display rug woven by orphans of 1915 Armenian killings

April 30, 2014

On Friday, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) announced that the White House would soon display the “Armenian Orphan Rug,” bringing a historically important artwork out of storage for the first time since 1995.

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WorldViews: What Narendra Modi’s selfie says about India’s elections

April 30, 2014

Narendra Modi, the man who may very well be the next prime minister of India, voted Wednesday, and gave the world photographic proof — with a selfie displaying his inked finger.

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Ukrainian president says security forces ‘helpless’ to stop separatists’ spread

April 30, 2014

HORLIVKA, Ukraine — Pro-
Russian gunmen extended their control over eastern Ukraine on Wednesday without encountering resistance, as the country’s acting president admitted that police and security forces were either “helpless” to prevent the unrest or were actively colluding with separatist rebels.

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WorldViews: Russia’s Deputy PM tells U.S. astronauts to go to space on a trampoline; the joke may be on him

April 30, 2014

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has become one of the most vocal critics of the United States in the past few months, often using his English-language Twitter account to fire off insults against the economic policies which he himself is personally targeted by.

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Sen. Leahy blocks U.S. aid to Egypt to protest nation’s ‘appalling abuse of justice system’

April 30, 2014

The Obama administration’s plan to keep military aid flowing to Egypt ran into significant opposition Tuesday as a key senator blocked the next batch of shipments and other lawmakers criticized the White House for not responding more forcefully to the military-led government’s crackdown on opposition groups.

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Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine were ‘nobodies’ — until now

April 30, 2014

DONETSK, Ukraine — Before he became leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic — a renegade regime that has spread chaos and fear across eastern Ukraine — Denis Pushilin sold shares in a Russian pyramid scheme.

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Meet Hamdeen Sabbahi, Egypt’s underdog presidential candidate

April 30, 2014

CAIRO — In a country where opposition figures have been jailed by the thousands and a military man who spearheaded a coup is a likely shoo-in for the presidency, the odds are not looking good for Hamdeen Sabbahi.

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WorldViews: What a South African activist sees as ‘the greatest threat since apartheid’

April 30, 2014

Desmond D’Sa’s journey to environmental activist began when he was a teenager in South Africa. The apartheid system of racial segregation was firmly in place, and his family was forced to move to an area where “there were no clean running rivers, no vegetable gardens and only red soil.”

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Kerry’s nine-month quest for Middle East peace ends in failure

April 30, 2014

JERUSALEM — Nine months after it began, the Obama administration’s marquee diplomatic effort to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians ended Tuesday with neither a whimper nor much of a bang.

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Despite trying to present a united front, U.S. and Europe still diverge on Russia policies

April 30, 2014

As the Obama administration and its European allies were toughening their sanctions against Russia this week, a somewhat different tone was being set in St. Petersburg, where Russian President Vladi­mir Putin was seen wrapping former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder in a bearhug.

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Obama cites legacy of U.S.-Philippine cooperation as he concludes Asia trip

April 29, 2014

MANILA — President Obama paid tribute to a shared history of sacrifice Tuesday, as he reflected on how the Philippines had surmounted the challenges of a war and a natural disaster with the aid of its American ally.

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Afghan officials accuse U.S., British military of maintaining secret prisons on their bases

April 29, 2014

KABUL — President Hamid Karzai’s government is accusing the U.S. and British military of operating secret detention facilities in Afghanistan, a development that could further strain relations between Afghanistan’s leader and the West.

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U.S., E.U. sanctions on Russians amid Ukraine crisis have little impact on the ground

April 29, 2014

MOSCOW — The sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle were supposed to roll back the chaos besetting eastern Ukraine. But here in Russia’s blossoming capital, such a retreat is nowhere to be seen.

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WorldViews: Inside the sleepy Egyptian district where 682 residents were sentenced to death

April 29, 2014

AL-EDWA — Far from Egypt’s centers of power, al-Edwa district is a remote cluster of rural hamlets in the southern province of Minya — an otherwise sleepy agricultural patch accessed only by winding, gravel roads through a maze of villages and a vast expanse of desert.

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Iran’s president seeks to quiet critics

April 29, 2014

TEHRAN — Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, took to the airwaves twice Tuesday in attempts to quiet critics on all sides of the political spectrum who say he is not fulfilling his campaign promises nearly a year after his unexpected election.

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WorldViews: China: Where ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is too hot to watch, but ‘Game of Thrones’ is just fine

April 29, 2014

You’ve probably heard of the “The Big Bang Theory.” It’s a prime-time CBS sitcom about four dorky guys who befriend an attractive waitress. The show is usually quite family-friendly and is very popular — according to one report from earlier this year, it might be the most popular show in the world.

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Claims of Syrian chemical attacks to be investigated by international watchdog

April 29, 2014

BEIRUT — The international chemical weapons watchdog said Tuesday that it plans to send a fact-finding mission to Syria to investigate allegations that the government used chlorine gas in attacks against civilians in recent weeks.

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WorldViews: Saudi Arabia and Russia blast Norway’s human rights record. Wait. What?

April 29, 2014

At a session of the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review — where a selection of member states have their performance on human rights assessed — Norway’s record came under the microscope. The conspicuous critics at this Geneva meeting? Russia and Saudi Arabia, members of the United Nations’ 47-nation Human Rights Council and well-known paragons of global norms and freedoms, of course.

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WorldViews: Scorpions drummer gets a month in Dubai jail

April 29, 2014

The drummer for the Scorpions has reportedly been convicted of offensive behavior and sentenced to one month in jail in Dubai.

The report comes from the government-owned National newspaper, which says James Kottak was drunk and presented his middle finger and mooned people in a transit hall. He told police he took a wrong turn in the Dubai airport when he was on his way to perform in Bahrain.

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Disarray in eastern Ukraine as protest is attacked, mayor is shot

April 29, 2014

DONETSK, Ukraine — With Ukrainian flags flying high and garlands of flowers in their hair, protesters marched through the heart of this city at sundown Monday.

“East and West together,” they chanted.

But in Ukraine, even such anodyne appeals to unity can be a magnet for trouble. The protesters, including old men and grade-school-age children, were walking into a trap.

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WorldViews: The thrill of the chase: Rally racing in the heart of Africa

April 29, 2014

There is just one sport in which you can find yourself barrel-rolled into a craggy ditch or stuck behind a truck of villagers: rally racing. Drivers speed through timed stages of unforgiving terrain on days-long courses. The sport is highly popular in Uganda, where photographer Will Boase has been based since 2010.

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World Digest: April 28, 2014

April 29, 2014

AFGHANISTAN

2 NATO troops killed in attack in east

The international military coalition in Afghanistan says two of its service members died Monday in an attack in the east.

NATO gave no other details. The deaths, which occurred two days after five British service members died in a helicopter crash in the southern province of Kandahar, bring to nine the number of international troops killed in Afghanistan this month and 25 this year.

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U.S. imposes new sanctions on Russia

April 29, 2014

The Obama administration on Monday ratcheted up its punishment of Russia for what it called continuing provocations in Ukraine, even as it acknowledged that a new round of economic sanctions is unlikely to bring an immediate change in Russian behavior.

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Mystery surrounds move of Afghan ‘torturer in chief’ to U.S. amid allegations of spy agency abuse

April 28, 2014

In Afghanistan, his presence was enough to cause prisoners to tremble. Hundreds in his organization’s custody were beaten, shocked with electrical currents or subjected to other abuses documented in human rights reports. Some allegedly disappeared.

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WorldViews: U.S.-Philippines security deal shows that America still has its fans

April 28, 2014

On Monday, thousands of protesters greeted President Obama as he held talks with his counterpart Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III at the presidential palace in Manila. The demonstrators even burned an effigy of the American commander-in-chief. But that did nothing to thwart the inking of a landmark security deal between the two countries.

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Obama lays out his foreign policy doctrine: Singles, doubles and the occasional home run

April 28, 2014

MANILA — At a news conference in the Philippines on Monday afternoon, President Obama initially scoffed when a reporter asked him to explain the “Obama doctrine” in light of his handling of recent world events.

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Disarray in eastern Ukraine as protest is attacked, mayor is shot

April 28, 2014

DONETSK, UKRAINE — With Ukrainian flags flying high and garlands of flowers in their hair, protesters marched through the heart of this city at sundown Monday.

“East and West together,” they chanted.

But in Ukraine, even such anodyne appeals to unity can be a magnet for trouble. The protesters, including old men and grade-school-age children, were walking into a trap.

Read full article >>



WorldViews: Erykah Badu may regret singing for Swaziland’s king and his many wives

April 28, 2014

Erykah Badu is a critically acclaimed hip-hop and soul artist from Texas. She set up her own charity in 2003 and has been involved in a number of other philanthropic ventures. The biography on her Facebook page describes her as a “community activist” and a “conscious spirit.”

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Egypt sentences 683 to death in latest mass trial of dissidents

April 28, 2014

MINYA, Egypt — An Egyptian court in the southern city of Minya sentenced 683 people to death Monday in the most recent of a series of mass trials that have alarmed the international community.

The ruling came one month after 529 people were sentenced to death in a similar mass trial in the same courtroom, and it coincided with a visit to Washington by Egypt’s foreign minister in an effort to smooth relations between the United States and one of its most significant allies in the Middle East.

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WorldViews: Kharkiv’s mayor has a colorful social media presence

April 28, 2014

Gennady Kernes, the mayor of Kharkiv, was shot in the back Monday and is reportedly “fighting for his life.”

Kernes has a colorful presence on social media. On Twitter, he follows only two accounts, ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s official account and Mikhail Dobkin, the former governor of the region who is running for president. He recently aligned himself with the new Ukrainian government, turning away from Yanukovych.

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WorldViews: 13 times that economic sanctions really worked

April 28, 2014

Given that the concept has been around since at least the Greek ages*, it’s a little worrying that there is still so much debate about whether economic sanctions actually work or not.

Right now, that problem appears especially acute: Sanctions seem to be the main, if not only, Western weapon for dealing with Russian aggression in Ukraine. Just Monday, the United States announced sanctions on those individuals close to President Vladimir Putin, part of a broader campaign of targeted visa bans and asset freezes on the Russian elite over Russia’s actions in Ukraine. However, the success of the sanctions already in place is proving …

As Iraqi police and army vote, violence kills about 50 nationwide

April 28, 2014

BAGHDAD — The day started with an air of festivity.

Army trucks ferried soldiers to polling stations so that they could vote, and police officers showed off their inked fingers. But, as is often the case in Iraq, bloodshed cast a pall.

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WorldViews: Violence breaks out at pro-Ukraine rally in Donetsk

April 28, 2014

A peaceful pro-Ukraine rally in the eastern city of Donetsk turned violent today. Details are still emerging, but The Post’s Griff Witte and William Booth were there. Here’s what they, and other journalists on the ground, were seeing and tweeting:

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WorldViews: Nine questions for the Syrian rebel commander entrusted with the first U.S. missiles of the war

April 28, 2014

Earlier this month, videos broadcast on YouTube showed Syrian rebels using U.S.-made TOW missiles for the first time. The Washington Post’s Beirut Bureau Chief Liz Sly went to Syria to meet with Harakat Hazm, a newly formed group that has the weapons. Here are some translated excerpts from her interview with the group’s commander, Abdullah Awda.

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WorldViews: The most offensive owner in world sports is (sadly) not Donald Sterling

April 28, 2014

The comments allegedly made by Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, has generated an understandable furor in the United States, with many incensed by the vulgar racism aired in a leaked recording of a supposed conversation between him and a girlfriend. Even President Obama, thousands of miles away on a tour of Asia, was compelled to weigh in on the controversy.

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WorldViews: Why everyone in Britain is tweeting ‘Ed Balls’ today

April 28, 2014

On April 28, 2011, Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor of the exchequer for the British Labor Party, logged in to Twitter. Apparently lost for words, Balls tweeted two words that would go down in history.

“Ed Balls.”

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WorldViews: U.S. announces new sanctions on Russians: Who’s on the list

April 28, 2014

The Obama administration imposed new sanctions on seven Russian officials, as well as 17 companies linked to President Vladimir Putin’s “inner circle.” Here’s who’s on the list, from the Treasury Department:

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U.S., Philippines sign 10-year defense agreement amid rising tensions

April 28, 2014

MANILA — The United States and the Philippines signed a 10-year defense agreement Monday, one of the clearest signs yet of renewed American engagement in the region at a time when tensions between China and its neighbors have been rising.

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Iraq gears up for bitter, bloody election battle

April 28, 2014

BAGHDAD — His campaign poster, jostling among the thousands that line the streets of the capital, has a message of unity: “Together we build Iraq.”

But as the country prepares for its first elections since the withdrawal of U.S. troops, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s political rivals accuse him of the opposite: stoking sectarian divisions and dismantling its hard-won democracy.

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Underwater zone expands in daunting new phase of search for missing Malaysian plane

April 28, 2014

TOKYO — The sputtering search for a missing Malaysian airliner will be expanded to include a much larger swath of the Indian Ocean floor, Australia’s prime minister said Monday, signaling a daunting new phase in the bid to find the aircraft’s wreckage.

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After ferry disaster, a Katrina-like reckoning in South Korea

April 28, 2014

SEOUL —South Korea has a history of disasters, from building collapses to airplane crashes. But the slow sinking of a passenger ferry this month has become its Katrina moment, a failed test of capability in a country obsessed with progress and success.

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