New Islamic State video appears to show beheading of Japanese journalist

January 31, 2015

TOKYO — The Islamic State released a video Saturday purportedly showing the beheading of Kenji Goto, a Japanese journalist being held hostage by the extremist group, after negotiations for a prisoner exchange stalled.Read full article >>



India’s Rajasthan state eases labor laws to spur investment in manufacturing

January 31, 2015

JAIPUR, India — Two years ago, disgruntled workers at a leather-boot factory here went on strike, demanding a 300 percent pay raise.As workers gathered at the gate waving red flags and shouting slogans, factory owner Rajendra Kumar Poddar found himself caught between the employees’ demands and the reality of running a business under India’s restrictive labor laws. He couldn’t afford to pay the inflated wages, but he couldn’t fire the employees, either, because of a maze of regulations requiring companies to seek government permission before firing 100 or more employees.Read full article >>



Kids in Liberia go back to school — in a building where dozens died of Ebola

January 31, 2015

MONROVIA, Liberia — The bodies had been removed from the classrooms. The blood and vomit of Ebola patients had been wiped away.Now, Tete Johnson needed to decide whether she was ready to send her fourth-grade son to a school that had only recently been used as an Ebola isolation center.Read full article >>



Details about Hezbollah leader’s assassination could intensify shadow war with militant Lebanese group

January 31, 2015

BEIRUT — The revelation that the CIA cooperated with Israel’s Mossad spy agency in the assassination of a top Hezbollah military commander in 2008 is poised to intensify a shadow war with the militant Lebanese group that could involve retaliation against U.S. interests around the world, analysts said.Read full article >>



Afghan police clash with protesters at rally against Charlie Hebdo

January 31, 2015

KABUL — Police clashed with protesters at a demonstration here Saturday against the French satirical newsweekly Charlie Hebdo, injuring at least two dozen people, said Afghan police officials and witnesses.Read full article >>



WorldViews: Croatia just canceled the debts of its poorest citizens

January 31, 2015

Starting Monday, thousands of Croatia’s poorest citizens will benefit from an unusual gift: They will have their debts wiped out. Named “fresh start,” the government scheme aims to help some of the 317,000 Croatians whose bank accounts have been blocked due to their debts.Read full article >>



For alleged Russian hacker, a visit to Amsterdam is a costly trip

January 31, 2015

At noon on June 28, 2012, Vladimir Drinkman, targeted as one of America’s most wanted cybercriminals, and his wife hustled into a cab pulling away from their Amsterdam hotel. They had just been tipped off that the police were on to them, but an unmarked police car blocked their getaway. The Russian was handcuffed and arrested on charges of helping to mastermind what has been called the largest criminal hacking scheme ever prosecuted in the United States.Read full article >>



WorldViews: Who was Imad Mughniyah, a senior Hezbollah figure killed in joint CIA-Mossad operation?

January 31, 2015

In 2008, Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah’s international operations chief, was killed when a bomb planted in an SUV in Damascus was detonated as he walked by. Although Israel’s intelligence organization was believed to be behind the attack, The Washington Post has revealed that the bombing, which killed Mughniyah instantly, was a joint CIA-Mossad operation.Read full article >>



CIA and Mossad killed senior Hezbollah figure in car bombing

January 31, 2015

On Feb. 12, 2008, Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah’s international operations chief, walked on a quiet nighttime street in Damascus after dinner at a nearby restaurant. Not far away, a team of CIA spotters in the Syrian capital was tracking his movements. Read full article >>

Leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah warns group is ready for war with Israel

January 30, 2015

BEIRUT — The leader of Hezbollah warned Israel on Friday that the Shiite movement was unafraid of war, just days after intense clashes in the border zone raised fears that a major conflict could erupt.Read full article >>



Wonkblog: Greece really might leave the euro

January 30, 2015

The world’s worst portmanteau is back: Grexit.That’s short for “Greek exit,” as in Greece leaving the euro. And it’s once again a possibility now that the left-wing, anti-austerity party Syriza has won power in the latest elections. The risk, as I’ve said before, is that the rest of Europe is in good enough shape that Germany finally thinks it can let Greece leave, and Greece’s budget is in good enough shape that it finally thinks it can leave too. Neither of them wants that, but neither of them doesn’t want it so much that they’d do anything to avoid it—so both might call each other’s,…

WorldViews: Germany is housing refugees within Holocaust-era concentration camps

January 30, 2015

On Tuesday, the world remembered the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi death camp Auschwitz. The same day, the German city of Augsburg decided to turn a branch of the former concentration camp at Dachau into a refugee center. The asylum seekers were slated to live in a building where thousands of slave laborers suffered and died under the Nazi regime.Read full article >>



‘The Great British Baking Show’ on PBS: Food Network, take note.

January 30, 2015

Dear Food Network,Loving the new baking show — on PBS. Even those of us who would rather pluck a bucketful of fresh thyme leaves than watch competitive cooking on television are, in a word, enchanted. We are eating up every episode of “The Great British Baking Show,” nee “The Great British Bake Off,” whose last-season finale drew more than 13 million U.K. viewers, a 50 percent audience share.Read full article >>

WorldViews: U.K. marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s funeral — and what a funeral it was

January 30, 2015

LONDON — Britain paid tribute to Winston Churchill on Friday with a series of events to commemorate the funeral of the man many here say was one of the greatest prime ministers the country has ever known.Read full article >>



WorldViews: Venezuela uses photo of journalist it detained to promote how well it treats foreigners

January 30, 2015

If countries can be considered brands, then Venezuela made quite the Twitter fail this week.In an effort to promote tourism, Venezuela’s state-funded television station has been tweeting bright and sunny images with reasons why “we love Venezuela” under the hashtag #AmamosAVenezuela. One of those promos features a smiling Miami Herald reporter Jim Wyss, and a television ad proclaims, “We love Venezuela for receiving foreigners like one of our own.”Read full article >>



WorldViews: Iran’s most expensive film is about the prophet Muhammad, but he won’t get screen time

January 30, 2015

This weekend, the most expensive film in Iran’s history will debut at a prominent film festival in Tehran. It’s about the prophet Muhammad. And no, you will not be able to see his face.The film’s director, internationally-acclaimed Iranian auteur Majid Majidi, has spent five years on the project, which is part of a planned trilogy on Muhammad’s life. The first installment tells the story of Muhammad from birth to age 12, when he visits Sham, or what’s now Syria. The total cost of the film is estimated at about $30 million, a record sum for an Iranian production. It was produced in relative secrecy, with…

How militias doomed an Iraqi’s attempt to replicate Paris’s ‘love locks’ bridge

January 30, 2015

BASRA, Iraq — When Ayman Karim fell in love last summer, he wanted others to experience his joy. Iraq was reeling from an escalating war with Islamist extremists, and men from his home city of Basra were dying by the dozens. Read full article >>



WorldViews: Turkey’s Erdogan says history will be the judge of the ‘Armenian genocide.’ Really?

January 30, 2015

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkey was ready to “pay the price” for mass killings of Armenians that began in 1915 — if, and only if, an “impartial board of historians” agree the dying Ottoman Empire was truly guilty of the crime.Read full article >>

Taliban claims responsibility for attack on Americans at Kabul airport base

January 30, 2015

KABUL — The Taliban claimed responsibility Friday for a shooting incident at a military base attached to Kabul’s international airport Thursday that killed three American civilian contractors and wounded a fourth, saying the attacker had infiltrated the ranks of the security forces. Read full article >>



In Havana, a renovation in marble — and maybe in spirit, too

January 30, 2015

HAVANA — Like any revolution, the one that upended this island 56 years ago tried to break with the past by burying symbols of the old political order. None stood larger than the resplendent Cuban capitol building, “El Capitolio,” that towers over the heart of Old Havana and was inspired by the U.S. Capitol in Washington. To Fidel Castro and his rebel followers, the Capitolio’s opulence and grandeur reeked of waste and wannabe Americanism.Read full article >>



WorldViews: Why some Indians want to build a statue of Mahatma Gandhi’s killer

January 30, 2015

NEW DELHI — For several weeks now, a small Hindu fringe group in India has been attracting attention around the world because of its plans to erect a bust in honor of Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi in 1948.Read full article >>



WorldViews: Netanyahu’s Congress speech stirs growing backlash in Israel and the U.S.

January 30, 2015

House Speaker John A. Boehner’s decision last week to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress in March, just ahead of an election in Israel, appears to be backfiring.Netanyahu is expected to speak his mind about the threat posed by Iran, a move aimed both at giving momentum to congressional efforts to expand sanctions on the regime in Tehran as well as burnishing the Israeli premier’s “Churchillian” chops back home ahead of elections he risks losing.Read full article >>



Greece’s leftist government sparks fears of a Russian beachhead in Europe

January 29, 2015

LONDON — Just days after shaking European economic policy to its core with a sweeping win in Greek elections, the radical leftist party Syriza is challenging a fundamental tenet of the continent’s foreign policy by seeking a softer stance on Russia.Read full article >>



3 Americans killed in shooting at Kabul military hub

January 29, 2015

KABUL — Three American civilian contractors and an Afghan national were killed Thursday in a shooting incident at a military base attached to Kabul’s international airport, according to U.S. officials. A fourth American contractor was wounded in the attack.Read full article >>



Anger attends wake and funeral for Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman

January 29, 2015

BUENOS AIRES — There were candles, roses and black banners that read “We are all Nisman,” but the crowd that assembled for the prosecutor’s wake, on the night before he was to be buried, was too angry to be solemn.Read full article >>



WorldViews: Crossword: What in the world, this week

January 29, 2015

Are you into eating exotic animals? Well, the Chinese city of Shenzen has suspended 14 police officers and put a police chief under investigation after reports that they were feasting on a giant endangered creature.Read full article >>



Here’s what a Hamas training camp for teens looks like

January 29, 2015

GAZA CITY — Judging by the orderly rows of hundreds of young wanna­bes lined up in crisp military fashion at their graduation ceremony here Thursday, the armed wing of the Islamist movement Hamas will have plenty of eager recruits this year.Read full article >>



WorldViews: Chart: Are you a jihadist? The French government made this checklist

January 29, 2015

On Wednesday, the most sensational story to emerge from France was that of police questioning an 8-year-old boy in the southern city of Nice for allegedly making statements sympathetic to extremist militancy. The child is said to have declared, “I am with the terrorists” at school after not taking a part in a moment of silence to mark the Jan. 7 terror attack on the Paris offices of satirical news magazine Charlie Hebdo. He reportedly told police when questioned that he didn’t know what terrorism was.Read full article >>



Jordan demands proof captured pilot is alive as Islamic State deadline passes

January 29, 2015

AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan demanded proof Thursday from the Islamic State that a captured Jordanian pilot is still alive, as a deadline reportedly set by the militant group for the kingdom to release a convicted terrorist passed without word on the fate of either prisoner.Read full article >>



WorldViews: Watch: What’s missing from India’s glitzy video of Obama’s visit

January 29, 2015

On Wednesday, India’s Ministry of External Affairs released a video showing President Barack Obama’s official visit to the country. The glitzy, eight-minute long video showcased a lot of the political achievements as well as the personal ones (Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made Obama tea and the U.S. president joked about how little sleep they got).Read full article >>



Afghans want U.S. to play greater role in their country than planned, poll shows

January 29, 2015

KABUL — Many Afghans would like to see a greater American role after this year than is planned, while a majority believe that last year’s runoff election that led to a U.S.-brokered power-sharing government was “mostly fraudulent,” according to a national poll released Thursday.Read full article >>



Lebanon-Israel border area quiet after concerns of another war breaking out

January 29, 2015

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and Israel appeared Thursday to be seeking calm a day after clashes between the two raised concerns about another war erupting in the Middle East.The volatile border zone was quiet, but both sides were on high alert after the fighting Wednesday that claimed the lives of two Israeli soldiers and a U.N. peacekeeper from Spain.Clashes in 2006 in the area led to a brief war that killed more than 1,000 people in Lebanon and 165 in Israel.Read full article >>



Is this North Korea? Chinese netizens squirm as party tightens grip on Internet.

January 29, 2015

BEIJING — Google has been steadily strangled, and Gmail finally blocked more effectively than ever. Instagram and Flickr recently went black, while Microsoft Outlook was hacked. In the past few days, virtual private network (VPN) services, the tools that many people use here to evade online censorship, came under renewed attack. Read full article >>



Deadly border clashes stoke fears of war in Israel, Lebanon

January 29, 2015

JERUSALEM — Residents of Israel and Lebanon feared Wednesday that their countries were edging toward war after Israeli troops and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia exchanged deadly barrages across a fractious border earlier in the day.Read full article >>



WorldViews: Hundreds of civilians died the last time Israel and Hezbollah fought a war

January 29, 2015

The latest clashes between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia mark the worst flare-up in tensions since a month-long war fought in 2006, as my colleagues report. On Wednesday, anti-tank missiles fired from Hezbollah positions struck a convoy of Israeli military vehicles patrolling the Israel-Lebanon frontier. Two soldiers were reported killed, while seven were injured.Read full article >>



Jordan prepared to swap terrorist convict for pilot captured by Islamic State

January 29, 2015

AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan said Wednesday that it was prepared to swap a prisoner sentenced to death for her role in a string of 2005 Amman hotel bombings for a Jordanian pilot who was captured by Islamic State fighters.Read full article >>



French prisons, long hotbeds of radical Islam, get new scrutiny after Paris attacks

January 28, 2015

FLEURY-MEROGIS, France — The man was sent to France’s largest prison for armed robbery. He emerged a toughened radical who would go on to take part in the bloodiest terrorist attacks on French soil in decades.Read full article >>



WorldViews: Russia’s bizarre proposal to condemn West Germany’s 1989 ‘annexation’ of East Germany

January 28, 2015

Russian lawmakers will consider a new statement that would condemn an event that happened 25 years ago — the reunification of Germany.According to Russian news agency Tass, State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin has asked the Duma’s Committee on Foreign Affairs to look into condemning the “annexation” of East Germany by West Germany in 1989.Read full article >>



Report: Post reporter held in Iran to face trial ‘soon,’ but charges are still unknown

January 28, 2015

A Washington Post journalist detained in Iran for more than six months will stand trial “soon,” Iran’s official news agency reported Wednesday, but the charges against him remain unknown.The report by the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency gave no additional information about Iran’s allegations against Jason Rezaian, The Post’s bureau chief in Tehran.Read full article >>



Arrest in Lebanon lifts veil on life of Islamic State leader’s ex-wife, Saja al-Dulaimi

January 28, 2015

BEIRUT — For months, the ex-wife of perhaps the most wanted man in the world used Lebanon as a base to secretly transfer cash to Islamist militants, according to Lebanese military officials. She concealed her identity with fake documents, which listed her as a Syrian citizen named Mallak Abdullah, the officials said. Eventually, they said, they discovered that she was Saja al-Dulaimi, an Iraqi who had been briefly married six years ago to the man who now heads the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In November, the army detained Dulaimi with a girl who is Baghdadi’s biological daughter, the officials said.Read full article >>



As Obama visits India, Pakistan looks to Russia for military, economic assistance

January 28, 2015

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — As the United States forges closer ties to India, neighboring Pakistan is looking for some new friends. Officials hope they have found one in Russia — a budding partnership that could eventually shift historic alliances in South Asia. Read full article >>



WorldViews: Michelle Obama isn’t the only high-profile guest to not wear a headscarf in Saudi Arabia

January 28, 2015

Michelle Obama’s decision not to wear a headscarf during an official visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday prompted some social media backlash in the country, as well as debate in the United States about whether the first lady was standing up for woman’s rights or disrespecting a local culture on an important day.Read full article >>



WorldViews: France turns to YouTube to stop would-be jihadists joining the Islamic State

January 28, 2015

The French government released a video through its official social media channels, warning would-be jihadists against joining the Islamic State fighting in Iraq and Syria. The video, titled “Ils te disent …” (or “They tell you …”) presents the supposed myths peddled online by Islamic State recruiters, and juxtaposes them with what French authorities deem the grim truth.Read full article >>



WorldViews: Germany’s right-wing protesters accidentally march against right-wing extremism

January 28, 2015

When about 500 German “anti-Islamization” protesters in the German city of Schwerin were given free banners and stickers that read mvgida.de, many gratefully accepted the apparent gift. Mvgida is the name of their xenophobic, anti-Islam organization, recently founded in support of the larger Pegida-movement — and hence, mvgida.de had to be the name of their Web site, they assumed.Read full article >>



WorldViews: In one day of diplomacy, Obama showcased an American double standard

January 28, 2015

It’s a tale of two time zones. On Tuesday, the last day of his visit to India, President Obama addressed a packed hall of students in the country’s capital. He spoke passionately about the United States’ and India’s shared values of democracy and pluralism.Read full article >>



In Argentina, distrust over president’s move to abolish intelligence agency

January 28, 2015

BUENOS AIRES — They use fake names, drive cars with false documents, carry unregistered guns.They work for an agency with a broad mandate, like a mix of the FBI and the CIA, with a secret budget and vague objectives that allow them to investigate almost anything. Decades after the most notorious abuses during Argentina’s dirty war, the spy service here has yet to shed its bad reputation.Read full article >>



American among victims of attack on hotel in Libyan capital

January 27, 2015

Gunmen stormed a hotel popular with foreigners in Libya’s capital Tuesday and killed at least 10 people, including an American security contractor, before a standoff ended when two assailants set off a grenade that left them both dead, news agencies reported.Read full article >>



Obama pays condolences to family of late King Abdullah

January 27, 2015

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — President Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to lead a high-profile delegation to offer condolences to the family of the late King Abdullah and meet with his successor.Obama cut short his visit to India, scrapping plans to visit the Taj Mahal on Tuesday, to pay his respects to the late Saudi monarch, underscoring the importance of Washington’s ties with Saudi Arabia.Read full article >>



WorldViews: Michelle Obama forgoes a headscarf and sparks a backlash in Saudi Arabia

January 27, 2015

Barack Obama was in Riyadh on Tuesday to pay his respects to the late Saudi King Abdullah. His visit, for which he cut short a much-hyped trip to India, underscores how important the U.S.-Saudi relationship remains to the American leadership. On social media, however, much of the attention has focused on something else: His wife’s attire.Read full article >>



WorldViews: Jewish leaders in Argentina boycott Holocaust ceremony

January 27, 2015

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina has the largest Jewish population in Latin America, at roughly a quarter-million people. But when the Foreign Ministry holds its annual Holocaust commemoration ceremony Tuesday evening, the country’s most important Jewish organization will not be in attendance.Read full article >>



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