Media Roundup

United States

Confidential U.S. Assessments Show Afghanistan Not Ready to Govern on Own

By Guy Taylor | The Washington Times

Confidential U.S. assessments, which the State Department tried to hide from the public, show nearly all Afghan Cabinet ministries are woefully ill-prepared to govern after the U.S. withdraws its troops, often describing the gaps in knowledge, capability and safeguards as “critical” and describing an infrastructure in danger of collapsing if left to its own accord.

U.N. Visa Denials Appendage of U.S. Foreign Policy

By Thalif Deen | Inter Press Service

The United States has rarely, if ever, denied a visa to a head of state seeking to visit the United Nations to address the 193-member General Assembly, the highest policy making body in the organisation.

Inside the CIA Chief's Mission to Kiev

By Eli Lake and Josh Rogin | The Daily Beast

The head of the CIA just made a secretive journey to Ukraine -- to do what, he won’t say. But the answer could change the power equation in the hottest of geopolitical hotspots.

Latin America

Venezuela Rejects Protest Amnesty

BBC

The Venezuelan government says it will not grant jailed opposition leaders an amnesty at talks aimed at ending anti-government protests.

Asia-Pacific

Afghanistan Official Shot, Another Kidnapped in Kabul

By Hashmat Baktash and Shashank Bengali | Los Angeles Times

Two security incidents within 24 hours involving Afghan government officials have taken some of the glimmer off of this month’s generally successful presidential election and renewed concerns about safety in Kabul.

Africa

Remittance Fees 'Hurt Africans'

BBC

Communities in sub-Saharan Africa are being "hurt" by high fees charged by money transfer operators, charity Comic Relief says.

Europe

France Targets Welfare for Big Spending Cuts

The Associated Press

France's prime minister has announced plans to cut 21 billion euros ($29 billion) from pensions, social care and health care as a part of a 50-billion-euro effort to rein in the country's debt and deficit.

Combat Vehicles in East Ukraine Raise Russian Flag

By James Marson | The Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

A soldier said the unit was part of the 25th brigade of Ukraine's airborne forces and that they have switched to the side of the pro-Russian forces, but that couldn't be confirmed.

Ukrainian Defections Raise Tensions

By Anthony Faiola | The Washington Post

Ukrainian troops meant to be restoring order in the country’s restive east have apparently defected to the side of separatists.

Middle East

Unsettling Video Shows Large al Qaeda Meeting in Yemen

By Barbara Starr | CNN

A new video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years. And the CIA and the Pentagon either didn't know about it or couldn't get a drone there in time to strike.

United States

Game of Drones

By Maureen Dowd | The New York Times

It just might be the right time for a “Top Gun” sequel, considering we’re already on the highway to the danger zone.

Slogging Forward on Climate-Change

By Scot Lehigh | The Boston Globe

To forestall the worst effects of global warming, nations need to take aggressive action in the next 15 years.

Asia-Pacific

Africa

AFRICOM Goes to War on the Sly

By Nick Turse | Foreign Policy in Focus

An AFRICOM official says the U.S. has been "at war" in Africa for over two years.

Europe

Ukraine's Legal Problems

By Maria Popova | Foreign Affairs

Given Ukraine's rule-of-law problems, it is not surprising that one of the Euromaidan protesters’ top demands was for legal reform. Nor is it surprising that the new government in Kiev has focused on clearing out the judiciary and emancipating it from its political subservience.

The Cost of Adventurism

By David Ignatius | The Washington Post

It’s time for Putin to de-escalate this crisis.

Dismantling Ukraine

By David Marples | The Moscow Times

Although many in eastern Ukraine opposed the Maidan protests, they do not have separatist sentiments.

Why Putin May Stand Down

By Fred Kaplan | Council on Foreign Relations

Russia would likely not invade eastern Ukraine if Kiev grants greater autonomy to the country’s regional districts, writes CFR's Fred Kaplan.

Breaking Bad in Southern NATOstan

By Pepe Escobar | Asia Times

To quote Lenin, what is to be done? Back to Brussels and Berlin? A close encounter with dreary Northern NATOstan, consumed by its paranoid anti-Russia obsession and enslaved by the infinitely expandable Pentagon euro-scam? Perhaps a jaunt to Syria war junkie Erdogastan?

The Irrelevant German Consumer

By Michael Heise | Project Syndicate

With global rebalancing set to be high on the agenda at the next G-7 and G-20 meetings, Germany, with its persistent export surplus, will again come under pressure to boost household demand. But the German consumer is a sideshow, while the main acts are investment demand and monetary policy.

Middle East

Northern Exodus

By Kemal Kirisci and Raj Salooja | Foreign Affairs

Turkey has maintained a generous open-door policy for Syrian refugees. As Syrian refugees continue to pour into the country, Turkey must address their long-term status within its borders.

Israel: Not the Same Old, Same Old

By Thomas L. Friedman | The New York Times

We’re not dealing anymore with your grandfather’s Israel, and they’re not dealing anymore with your grandmother’s America either.

Assassinating the Future

By Ali Ibrahim | Asharq Al-Awsat

Regardless of how we characterize the armed conflict that has been taking place in Syria for more than three years between the opposition and the regime, its symptoms are not too dissimilar to the nature of any civil war.

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