TOP NEWS: Nat’l Security / Foreign Affairs: July 23, 2012
- Iraq Insurgents Kill Nearly 100
- Syria: Chem Arms Reserved for Int’l Attack
- China Sends Troops to Disputed Islands
- Sicily’s Fiscal Problems Threaten Italy
- Israel’s Embattled Democracy
Excerpts and more top stories
Yasir Ghazi and Rod Nordland, NY Times – In a coordinated display intended to show they remain a viable force, Iraqi insurgents launched at least 37 separate attacks on Monday morning, setting off car bombs, storming a military base and ambushing checkpoints, Iraqi authorities said.
Neil MacFarquhar, NY Times - The Syrian government appeared to confirm on Monday that it had stockpiles of chemical weapons, in a statement that said the weapons would never be used in its domestic conflict against Syrian civilians, but could be deployed “in the case of exterior aggression.”
SYRIA/ EU: European Union Tightens Sanctions on Syria
Stephen Castle, NY Times – The European Union strengthened its arms embargo against Syria on Monday and toughened sanctions against supporters of the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, in response to worsening violence there.
Paul Roderick Gregory, Forbes – Bashar al-Assad, like his father before him, symbolizes unconstrained dictators prepared to do anything, no matter how odious, to stay in power.
Eli Lake, Daily Beast – Two Syrian rebel commanders interviewed by The Daily Beast say they need advanced weapons to take out President Bashar al-Assad’s regime within the month and transition to a stable government.
SYRIA: Life During Wartime
Janine Di Giovanni, NY Times – What does it feel like when a war begins? When does life as you know it implode? How do you know when it is time to pack up your home and your family and leave your country? Or if you decide not to, why?
Jane Perlez, NY Times – The Central Military Commission, China’s most powerful military body, has approved the deployment of a garrison of soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army to guard islands claimed by China in the South China Sea, the state-run Xinhua news agency said Sunday.
Andrew Jacobs, NY Times – The heaviest rainfall in six decades caused widespread havoc in China’s capital over the weekend, forcing the evacuation of 50,000 people.
EUROZONE/ ITALY: Sicily’s Fiscal Problems Threaten to Swamp Italy
Rachel Donadio, NY Times – A flare-up over the risk caused by one region’s debt reflects the challenges Prime Minister Mario Monti faces in using outside pressure to get Italy’s political class to cut costs.
EUROZONE/ BANKING: Bank Watchdog Will Test Euro-Zone Nations’ Flexibility
Brian Blackstone, WSJ – The proposed creation of a single euro-zone bank supervisor is shaping up to be a test of the willingness of countries to give up national powers for the sake of the euro. Though still in its infancy, the effort—which envisions a key role for the European Central Bank in supervising the bloc’s largest and most internationally active banks—faces hurdles as officials try to streamline a patchwork of regulators and supervisors numbering in the dozens.
EUROZONE/ SPAIN: Fears Over Spain Sink Global Stocks
Christine Hauser, NY Times – Global stocks were steeply lower on Monday and the euro fell to its lowest level in two years as concerns about Spain’s financing problems plagued markets anew.
EUROZONE/ EURO EXIT: Using Game Theory to Predict the Euro’s Future
Paul Taylor, NY Times – To understand the possible effect of a Greek exit from the euro zone, imagine an operating theater inside a betting shop.
ISRAEL: Israel’s Embattled Democracy
Editorial, NY Times – Six decades after Israel’s founding, its citizens remain deeply at odds over the future of their democracy. The latest illustration is the disintegration of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new governing coalition after only 10 weeks.
IRAN/ OIL: Oil-Price Surge Is All About Iran
John M. Biers, WSJ – U.S. oil futures have rocketed up 18% over the past three weeks, sparked by escalating concerns about Iran. The surge has outstripped advances for most other assets. Stocks and copper—which, like oil, are strongly tied to economic growth expectations—have seen much smaller gains. The Standard & Poor’s-500 Index has increased 2.5% over that span, while Comex copper futures have climbed 3%.
LIBOR: A Week in the Life of Libor
Opinion, NY Times – The Justice Department is now expected to file criminal charges this year against at least one big bank in connection with the rate-rigging scandal, while building cases against other banks and their employees. This is welcome news: prosecuting financial crimes is essential to restoring public trust in the banking system and in the willingness of the authorities to police it.
AFGHANISTAN: Top Afghans Tied to ’90s Carnage, Researchers Say
Rod Nordland, NY Times – The atrocities of the Afghan civil war in the 1990s are still recounted in whispers here — tales of horror born out of a scorched-earth ethnic and factional conflict in which civilians and captured combatants were frequently slaughtered en masse. Stark evidence of such killings are held in the mass graves that still litter the Afghan countryside.
AFGHANISTAN/ PAKISTAN: A day after Kabul’s warning to Pakistan, more cross-border shelling reported
Sayed Saluhuddin, Washington Post – Scores of fresh artillery rounds fired from Pakistan hit parts of eastern Afghanistan on Sunday night and Monday, a local official said, a day after Kabul warned Islamabad that any further cross-border shelling could significantly damage ties between the two historically uneasy neighbors.
Ravi Somaiya, NY Times – The phone hacking investigation of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid newspapers in Britain has broadened to include allegations that information was obtained from stolen cellphones, significant payoffs were made to public officials, and “medical, banking and other personal records” were illegally accessed, the senior police officer in charge of the operations told a judicial inquiry Monday.
John F. Burns and Ravi Somaiya, NY Times – After more than a year of scandal in his British newspaper empire, Rupert Murdoch has resigned his directorships in a string of companies that control titles that include The Sun tabloid, The Times and The Sunday Times, raising fresh speculation that he may be planning for an eventual sale of the newspapers that were a major steppingstone during the decades in which he built his global media empire.
Jim Yardley, NY Times – Pranab Mukherjee became the 13th elected president of India on Sunday, capping a four-decade career as a central figure in Indian politics. Mr. Mukherjee easily won a race for the prestigious but largely ceremonial office, chosen by a nationwide electoral college for a five-year term.
LATIN AMERICA: Latin America’s new authoritarians
Juan Forero, NY Times – More than two decades after Latin America’s last right-wing dictatorships dissolved, a new kind of authoritarian leader is rising in several countries: democratically elected presidents who are ruling in increasingly undemocratic ways.
NORWAY: Norway remembers 77 victims on anniversary of bomb and shooting attacks
AP via Washington Post – Norway on Sunday paused to commemorate the 77 victims of a bomb and gun massacre that shocked the peaceful nation one year ago, a tragedy that the prime minister said had brought Norwegians together in defense of democracy and tolerance.
Olga Khazan, Washington Post – The last time the International AIDS conference was held in the United States — in San Francisco in 1990 — it was the dawn of what soon became a global pandemic. The number of people living with HIV rose from around 8 million that year to 34 million by the end of 2010.
Kenneth R. Weiss, Los Angeles Times – According to United Nations projections, the number will rise to 9.3 billion by 2050 — the equivalent of adding another India and China to the world. That’s an optimistic scenario, one that assumes the worldwide average birthrate, now 2.5 children per woman, will decline to 2.1. If birthrates stay where they are, the population is expected to reach 11 billion by midcentury — akin to adding three Chinas.
OLYMPIC STADIUM: A House Designed to Be Brought Down
Bruce Orwall, WSJ - Sports architects are often asked to create athletic temples that will last for decades. The new Olympic Stadium that will be on display in London over the next three weeks was designed with a different future in mind: disassembly.
THAILAND/ DRUG WAR: Leaf for Drug Cocktail Adds to Thailand’s Woes
Thomas Fuller, NY Times – As the violence-plagued provinces of southern Thailand continue to struggle with a shadowy insurgency, the restive region is battling a new enemy: a drug cocktail made from a local leaf that is seducing the young.
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