TOP NEWS: Nat’l Security / Foreign Affairs: June 8, 2012
- New Syria Fighting Reported as U.N. Monitors Blocked
- Euro-Zone Officials Explore Ways to Help Spain
- Red, Red Lines
- Obama Seeking European Ally Finds Merkel Tough Sell
- Egypt parties end deadlock over constitutional panel
More news and excerpts below
NEIL MacFARQUHAR, RICK GLADSTONE and ALAN COWELL, NY Times — United Nations monitors in Syria who had been thwarted by troops and pro-government supporters from investigating a farm hamlet massacre succeeded in reaching the site of the reported atrocity on Friday, as fresh fighting was reported elsewhere in areas under rebel control.
GABRIELE STEINHAUSER, WSJ - Euro-zone governments were running through their crisis toolbox Friday to find the best way to support Spain and its ailing banking sector, as investors continued dumping the country’s bonds.
Senior finance-ministry officials from the euro zone and other EU countries were set to discuss several options for financial aid for Madrid in a telephone conference Saturday morning, an official from a euro-zone country said Friday.
COLIN H. KAHL, MATTHEW IRVINE, AND MELISSA G. DALTON, Foreign Policy – As Iran’s nuclear progress continues, the risk of an Israeli preventive strike grows. Given ongoing talks between Iran and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany (the so-called P5+1), an Israeli attack may not be imminent. But after inconclusive negotiations in Istanbul in April and Baghdad in May, we can expect the drums of war to beat even louder in Jerusalem if the third round of talks, scheduled to begin in Moscow on June 18, fails to produce results.
TONY CZUCZKA, MARGARET TALEV, Bloomberg - President Barack Obama has spent much of his term trying to get Chancellor Angela Merkel in his corner, only to find the German leader won’t easily bend to U.S. will.
BBC - Political parties in Egypt have agreed on how to select the 100-member panel that will write the country’s new constitution, ending weeks of deadlock.
VIKAS BAJAJ, NY Times - Spurred by agricultural innovation and generous farm subsidies, India now grows so much food that it has a bigger grain stockpile than any country except China, and it exports some of it to countries like Saudi Arabia and Australia. Yet one-fifth of its people are malnourished — double the rate of other developing countries like Vietnam and China — because of pervasive corruption, mismanagement and waste in the programs that are supposed to distribute food to the poor.
GABRIELE STEINHAUSER, WSJ - European interior ministers moved to give states that are part of their passport-free travel zone more leeway to reinstate border controls, including an emergency mechanism that could allow identity checks for up to two years.
ALAN COWELL, NY Times - Senior inspectors from the United Nations nuclear watchdog renewed talks with Iran on Friday aimed at securing access to restricted sites where the agency believes scientists may have tested explosives that could be used as triggers for nuclear warheads, officials at the agency said.
ANGELIQUE CHRISAFIS, Guardian - Cabinet ministers were canvassing for support on Friday before the first round of a crucial parliamentary election which will decide whether François Hollande can depend on an absolute Socialist majority and a free hand for his solutions to the economic crisis, or whether he must rely on Green allies, or a trickier accommodation with hardline leftists.
Al Jazeera - Sudan and South Sudan have broken off security talks after failing to agree on a demilitarised zone along their disputed border. After 10 days of talks, the two sides were unable to agree on Friday where to draw a demilitarised buffer zone along the 1,800km-long border.
MAZAR-E-SHARIF, Reuters - At least 20 prisoners, most of them Taliban, escaped from a jail in northern Afghanistan after the insurgents destroyed a part of the building with an improvised explosive device, the provincial governor said on Friday.
BBC - The commander of international forces in Afghanistan Gen John Allen has apologised for civilian deaths in an air strike on Wednesday.
Al Jazeera – Small crowds have begun to gather in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest against Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s final prime minister and one of the two candidates in a presidential runoff election later this month.
AARON SHELDRICK, Reuters – The former president of Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co denied on Friday that he had ever considered pulling out all of the plant’s workers as they battled the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.
DECLAN WALSH, NY Times - An explosion ripped through a police bus on the edge of Peshawar on Friday, killing at least 19 people and wounding dozens in the deadliest attack in months in the northwestern city.