TOP NEWS: Nat’l Security / Foreign Affairs: July 31, 2012
- Syria’s top UK diplomat quits
- Rural Syria slips from Assad’s grip
- Eurozone unemployment hits record high
- Courts Rebuke Iran’s President With Sentences and Firing
- Militant Group Poses Threat to US- Pakistan Relations
Excerpts and more top stories
SYRIA: Syria’s top UK diplomat quits
Khaled al-Ayoubi is ‘no longer willing to represent a regime that has committed such violent and oppressive acts’, the UK Foreign Office says.
Liz Sly, Washington Post – As the regime has poured resources into sustaining its hold on major population centers, it has been losing control of the countryside in a series of seesawing battles.
Erika Solomon, Reuters – Syrian helicopter gunships and artillery pounded two key areas of Aleppo on Tuesday, extending the army’s campaign to control the country’s biggest city, but rebel fighters said troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad had been forced to retreat.
SYRIA/TURKEY: Turkey Strengthens Forces on Syrian Border
Sebnem Arsu & Jeffrey Gettleman, NYTimes – The Turkish military sent troops, armored personnel carriers and missile batteries to the Syrian border on Monday, shoring up defenses against a country that has plunged into turmoil with some serious potential repercussions for Turkey.
EUROZONE: Eurozone unemployment hits record high
James Fontanella Khan, Financial Times – Eurozone unemployment hit a euro-era record high in June adding pressure on the European Central Bank to act promptly on Thursday at its meeting to contain the sovereign debt crisis and stimulate economic growth.
Rainer Buergin, Bloomberg – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition rejected granting the permanent euro rescue fund access to European Central Bank liquidity via a banking license, as the Finance Ministry said it saw no need for any such move.
EUROZONE: Greek leaders seek to defer austerity cuts
Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis agree that postponing cuts in wages, pensions and allowances until 2015 will ease social pain
EUROZONE: U.S. and Germany Seek Renewed Effort
Ian Talley & Sarah Portlock, WSJ – U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Monday that they have confidence in efforts to fight the euro-zone debt crisis, but urged continued implementation of reform policies.
Rick Gladstone & Christine Hauser, NYTimes – An embezzlement case’s result and a confidant’s dismissal are seen as a rebuke to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his final year in office.
IRAN: Iran sentences bank fraudsters to death
Monovar Khalaj, Financial Times – In a blow to president Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, judges rule that four people convicted of a $2.8bn fraud will be executed
Elisabeth Bumiller, NYTimes – Speaking in Tunisia, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said sanctions were increasingly successful and that they should be given more time before any Israeli military strike.
Declan Walsh & Eric Schmitt, NYTimes – Even as the US begins a large-scale troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Camp Salerno attack, and others like it have cemented the Haqqani network’s standing as the most ominous threat to the fragile American-Pakistani relationship, officials from both countries say.
ROMANIA: Romanian Leader Survives Ouster Bid
Gordon Fairclough, WSJ – Romania’s president narrowly survived a referendum to remove him from office because voter turnout failed to reach the legal threshold.
Neil Buckley, Financial Times – It is a crisis that has convulsed Romania and sparked concerns from Berlin to Washington over whether the EU’s second-poorest member has come off the democratic rails.
ITALY: ‘New model’ rocks Italian politics
Giulia Segreti, FT – Maverick comedian Beppe Grillo’s grassroots and anti-establishment Five Star Movement has tapped a rich vein of discontent with politics
Andrew E. Kramer, NYTimes – Some members of an armed group in the town of Khorog, which is on the border with Afghanistan, have surrendered their weapons in exchange for amnesty, officials said.
Adam Nossiter, NYTimes – A local official said that they were executed in an insurgent-held town on accusations of having children outside of marriage.
Heather Timmons & Sruthi Gottipati, NY Times – About 600 million people lost power in India on Tuesday when the country’s northern and eastern electricity grids failed, crippling the country for a second consecutive day.
EUROPE: Fake explosive device causes bomb scare at US Embassy in Norway
AP via Washington Post – The U.S. Embassy and an area of central Oslo were evacuated on Tuesday when a fake explosive device was mistakenly left beneath a vehicle trying to enter the compound, police said.
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