Media Roundup

Latin America

Colombia's Buenaventura on Alert After 'Rebel' Attack

BBC

Authorities in the Colombian city of Buenaventura, on the Pacific coast, have temporarily banned the sale of alcohol and the carrying of arms. The measure comes after an electricity tower was blown up on Monday, leaving 450,000 residents without power.

Argentina Hours Away From Bond Default

By Katy Watson | BBC

Argentina's economy minister is expected to return to the negotiating table on Wednesday in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the country defaulting on its bonds.

Asia-Pacific

South Korea Says North Korea Fires 4 Projectiles

By Youkyung Lee | The Associated Press

North Korea fired four short-range projectiles toward the ocean off its east coast on Wednesday in its latest in a series of missile and artillery tests, officials said.

Overseas Groups Claim China Attack Wasn't 'Terror'

By Josh Chin | The Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

Overseas groups advocating on behalf of China's mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority cast doubt on the government's assertion that a recent outburst of deadly violence in Xinjiang was the result of a terrorist attack.

Africa

Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror

By Rukmini Callimachi | The New York Times

While some countries, including the United States, refuse to pay ransoms, European ones do -- inadvertently helping to bankroll Al Qaeda’s global operations.

Europe

Clashes Again Force Investigators to Abort Visit to Malaysia Airlines Crash Site

By Carol Morello and Michael Birnbaum | The Washington Post

Pitched battles in the vicinity of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on Tuesday forced investigators for the third straight day to abandon a visit to the debris field, as Ukrainian officials signaled they may be on the verge of wresting control of the crash site from rebels.

Snowden Should Cut Deal and Return to U.S., German Minister Says

By Carol J. Williams | Los Angeles Times

NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden is too young to spend his life dodging extradition in remote foreign locales, Germany's justice minister said Tuesday in advising the fugitive to return to the United States and face the charges against him.

Putin Battles to Keep Factions on Side

By Neil Buckley | Financial Times

First came a court order for Russia to pay $50bn in damages to majority shareholders of the defunct Yukos oil company. Next came EU sanctions over Ukraine that for the first time could do real damage to whole sectors of the Russian economy.

U.S., EU Turn Up Heat to Punish Russia Over Ukraine

By Marcus Walker, Matthew Dalton and Carol E. Lee | The Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

The U.S. and the European Union adopted sweeping economic sanctions against Russia to punish Moscow's unbending stance in the Ukraine conflict.

Middle East

Libyan Militants Seize Benghazi Special Forces Base

By Amro Hassan | Los Angeles Times

Islamist militants took control of the biggest special forces base in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday after a battle that killed 30 people. Soldiers abandoned their base after heavy shelling, according to Saiqa Special Forces officer Fadel Al-Hassi.

Syrians Flee Broken Aleppo as Army Closes in

By Raja Abdulrahim | Los Angeles Times

Minutes after the barrel bomb eviscerated the crowded market, those still alive had to contend with matters of survival -- and collecting what little remained of the dead.

Gaza: at Least 19 Killed and 90 Injured as Another UN School Hit

By Harriet Sherwood | The Guardian

At least 19 Palestinians were killed and about 90 injured early on Wednesday when a UN school sheltering people was hit by shells during a second night of relentless bombardment that followed an Israeli warning of a protracted military campaign.

United States

Overblown Fears of Foreign Fighters

By Chams Eddine Zaougui and Pieter Van Ostaeyen | The New York Times

Contrary to what many counterterrorism experts believe, ISIS has so far shown no interest in Western targets.

Latin America

Brazil's Unaffordable Homes

By Vanessa Barbara | The New York Times

It's no wonder we're the country of favelas, and houses of cardboard and tin.

Asia-Pacific

Breaking Through China’s Great Firewall

By Kevin Holden | The Diplomat

Breaking Through China’s Great Firewall Can the US and EU use the WTO to halt Beijing’s blocks on Google, the New York Times and other sites?

Parsing the East Asian Powder Keg

By Conn Hallinan | Foreign Policy in Focus

The simmering tensions in East Asia are echoes of Washington's Cold War intrigues—and the Pentagon's not-so-secret plans for battle with China.

Africa

Rwanda’s Unfinished Miracle

By Murithi Mutiga | The New York Times

President Paul Kagame must set the country on a path that leads to a democratic transition.

Europe

The Ugly Tide Washing Across Europe

By Bernard-Henri Lévy | The Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

The 'Gaza generation' seems worried about Arab deaths only when Jews are involved.

With Ukraine, Putin Is Courting the Home Crowd

By Leon Aron | Los Angeles Times

The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 has finally spurred the United States and Europe to agree on imposing additional sanctions on Russia. But Vladimir Putin's tactics in Ukraine are likely to be far more influenced by his domestic political calculus than by international pressure.

Mouthpieces for the Kremlin’s Propaganda Channel Aren’t Brave

By Masha Gessen | The Washington Post

When a journalist admits that he has been lying to the public for years, this usually results in a flurry of media coverage castigating the guilty party, along with a dose of self-flagellation by his employer for having failed to notice the lies sooner.

Putin's Losing Streak

By Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev | Foreign Affairs

Russia's annexation of Crimea came with few consequences for Russia, while an accidental attack on a civilian airliner by semi-anarchical rebel forces, only loosely controlled by Moscow, may redefine the country's place in the world order. Here's why.

Europe Prepares to Act

By Robert Kahn | Council on Foreign Relations

The European Union's package of extended sanctions against Russia are broad enough to pose substantial, long-term costs to its economy.

Spying on Russia Is in Everyone's Interests

By Mark Galeotti | The Moscow Times

If the West invested more resources in spying on Russia, it might be able to even the playing field and even forestall Kremlin adventurism.

Colonial Folly, European Suicide

By Adam Hochschild | The New York Times

The battlefield illusions of the great powers emerged in part from the lopsided, faraway wars in Africa and Asia.

Middle East

End the Gaza Blockade to Achieve Peace

By Keith Ellison | The Washington Post

It seems as though each day brings new horrors and heartbreaks in the Holy Land. More than 1,000 dead. Gazan children blown up on the beach. A U.N. shelter hit. Two-thirds of Israelis living in fear from indiscriminate rocket fire launched by Hamas.

The End of the Arab State

By Christopher R. Hill | Project Syndicate

In a region where crises seem to be the norm, the Middle East’s latest cycle of violence suggests something bigger: the beginning of the dissolution of the Arab nation-state, reflected in the fragmentation of Sunni Arabia. And, as state authority weakens, tribal and sectarian allegiances strengthen.

A Carousel of Crises

By Ali Ibrahim | Asharq Al-Awsat

Crises in the region have been proliferating and competing with one another since 2011, so much so that global media attention is changing on a weekly basis. While one crisis jumps to the forefront of the news, another retreats a little -- though this does not necessarily mean that things in that spot of the world have calmed down or become stable.

Ticking Diplomatic Clock a Cover for Israeli Assaults on Gaza

By Thalif Deen | Inter Press Service

As the death toll in Gaza keeps climbing -- and charges of alleged war crimes against Israel keep mounting -- the most powerful political body at the United Nations remains ineffective, impotent and in a state of near paralysis.

United States

U.S. Judge Says Unable to Seize Kurdish Oil

Al Jazeera

A high-stakes dispute over a tanker carrying $100 milion in Iraqi Kurdish crude oil took a surprising turn when a U.S. judge said she lacked jurisdiction given the ship's distance from the shore and urged that the case be settled in Iraq.

Obama Administration Kicks Off Bid to Renew Africa Trade Program

By Elvina Nawaguna | Reuters

The Obama administration Tuesday pushed for Congress to renew a 14-year-old trade program giving African countries duty-free access to U.S. markets, warning that allowing the program to expire would disrupt trade flows between the two regions.

Latin America

Chile's Bachelet Cancels Venezuela Trip, Holds Crunch Talks With Key Ministers

By Angus McNeice | The Santiago Times

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet opened the door to speculation over the state of diplomatic and internal affairs by cancelling her attendance at a summit in Caracas at the eleventh hour Monday, before arriving in Vina del Mar by helicopter Tuesday to meet with her core cabinet team.

Colombia, Japan Agree to Accelerate FTA Process

By Tim Hinchliffe | Colombia Reports

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to expedite the process of a free trade agreement between the two countries.

Universities From Argentina, Brazil, Mexico Sign Cooperation Agreement

MercoPress

The presidents of the University of Buenos Aires, the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the University of Sao Paulo on Tuesday signed a cooperation agreement governing the recognition of titles, student exchanges and cooperation in finding financing sources.

Asia-Pacific

Myanmar Health and Information Ministers Step Down

By Aung Hla Tun | Reuters

Myanmar's ministers of information and health have resigned, state media reported Wednesday, the latest changes in a cabinet that has been grappling with a host of problems as the country presses on with reforms after decades of military rule.

Uzbek FM to Attend SCO Meeting

By Demir Azizov | Trend.az

An Uzbek delegation headed by Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov arrived in Dushanbe to attend a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member-states, a representative of the Uzbek foreign ministry told Trend.

Internal Squabbling Could Splinter Malaysian Opposition

Asia Sentinel

Malaysia’s unwieldy Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition, born in 2008 and led by Anwar Ibrahim, looks to be in the biggest crisis of its existence and could come apart, costing it the leadership of Selangor, the country’s richest state, and potentially costing Malaysia its only alternative to the scandal-ridden Barisan Nasional.

Africa

Europe

Russian Jets Hold Exercises in Arctic

RIA Novosti

Crews of MiG-31 “Foxhound” supersonic interceptor aircraft held drills accompanying Tu-95 “Bear” strategic bombers in the Arctic, the press service of Russia's Eastern Military District reported Wednesday.