Media Roundup

United States

Identifying James Foley's Executioner Seen as Possible, if Difficult

By Christopher Werth | Los Angeles Times

The black-hooded executioner who beheaded American journalist James Foley may have left more clues to his identity than he intended, experts said Thursday, beginning with his distinctly British voice, a sonic fingerprint that gives investigators a fighting chance of determining his identity.

Latin America

Asia-Pacific

Persistent Pakistan Protests Raise Fears of Military Intervention

By Farhan Bokhari | Financial Times (registration required)

Thousands of anti-government protesters were camped across the road from Pakistan’s parliament on Friday, prolonging a deadlock between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and opposition politicians. The week-long protests have raised the prospect of an eventual military intervention in the nuclear-armed south Asian country.

Beijing Faces Pressure to Spur China's Economic Growth

By Mark Magnier | The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

China's economy faces an uphill battle for the rest of 2014, adding pressure on Beijing to step up government spending or free up money to spur growth.

Africa

Europe

Rebels Falter, But Russian Border Buzzes With Activity

By Andrew Roth | The New York Times

The activity and overt presence of separatists in Russian border towns, which are closely watched by the Russian border guard service, are evidence that the rebels' activities are at the very least tolerated.

Russia Ramps Up Information War in Europe

By Anton Troianovski | The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Its image battered by conflict in Ukraine, Russia is pushing to rebuild and expand Soviet-Era foreign state media.

A Fast-Food Symbol of America Falls in Moscow

By David M. Herszenhorn | The New York Times

The Russian government ordered four McDonald's in Moscow closed on Wednesday. The official reason given by the country's consumer protection agency was "numerous violations of the sanitary code," but the move appeared to be political.

Middle East

Death Toll in Syria War at Least 191,369 Through April 2014: UN

By Stephanie Nebehay | Reuters

At least 191,369 people have been killed in Syria's conflict through April, more than double the figure documented a year ago and probably still an under-estimate, the United Nations human rights office said on Friday.

Iran Denies Report Linking Iraq Cooperation to Nuclear Talks

Reuters

On Thursday a story from the official Iranian News Agency (IRNA) cited by several news organizations reported Foreign Minister Javad Zarif as saying that if Iran agreed to “do something in Iraq, the other side in the negotiations will need to do something in return".

United States

No Time to Lead from Behind

By Michael Gerson | The Washington Post

Obama remains a rhetorical spectator to events in Iraq and Syria that he does not want to own and that he believes the United States has a limited ability to influence.

The New Battle Against Evil

By David Ignatius | The Washington Post

Obama’s voice could have been clearer and more emphatic, early on, but the basic course of his policy has been correct. He has moved strategically, step by step, gathering the tools that will be needed to confront this malignancy.

Will Sanctions Sideline the U.S. Dollar?

By Conn Hallinan | Foreign Policy in Focus

The recent round of sanctions aimed at Moscow could backfire on Washington by accelerating a move away from the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

Asia-Pacific

China's Fire Next Time

By Yu Yongding | Project Syndicate

Unless Chinese officials stem the rise in corporate leverage, economic crisis will ensue.

Africa

How to Prevent Total Disaster in South Sudan

By Rajiv Shah, Valerie Amos, et al. | Foreign Policy

After half a year of fighting, the world's newest country is barreling toward calamity. But its leaders can pull it back from the brink -- if they choose to do so.

Africa's City On a Hill

By Seth Kaplan | Foreign Affairs

Life in Lagos is improving, and so the city offers a potential lesson for struggling states looking to stage a turnaround. 

Europe

NATO Needs Strong Policy Against Cyber Threats

By James G. Stavridis and Dave Weinstein | The Boston Globe

NATO needs to get serious about the potential for cyber conflict. That means formulating a clearly defined policy and deciding upon an appropriate response.

NATO's Second-Class Members

By Slawomir Sierakowski | The New York Times

There is no need to pretend: Those members who have no NATO bases are simply a gray area of second-class membership.

Italy's Downward Spiral

By Hans-Werner Sinn | Project Syndicate

Italy is now in a triple-dip recession. But it didn’t get there by itself. Yes, the economy’s long slide reflects Italian leaders’ failure to confront the country’s loss of competitiveness; but it is a failure that is widely shared in Europe.

Middle East

No Middle Road

By Tarek Osman | Foreign Affairs

The violence gripping the Middle East has distracted the world from the seismic changes transforming almost all large Arab societies. These changes will confront the Arab middle classes with difficult choices and shape the future of the region.

Turkey's Failed Foreign Policy

By Aaron Stein | The New York Times

After initially receiving accolades, Mr. Davutoglu's decision-making has become a source of controversy in the West. And in the Middle East, Turkey's embrace of religiously conservative political movements has run afoul of several Persian Gulf States, and now Egypt, contributing to its political isolation.

Latin America

Colombia Drafting Bill to Impose Presidential Term Limit

By Christoffer Frendesen | Colombia Reports

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ so-called “balance of power” bill seeks to increase the length of the presidential term from four years to five or six years and eliminate reelections.

Peru Plans Infrastructure Projects Worth $11 Billion

Andina

A stronger investment commitment totaling $11 billion for large-scale infrastructure projects in Peru will further promote social inclusion, employment creation and the enhancement of citizens’ well being, Peruvian Prime Minister Ana Jara has said.

Mexican High Court Must Decide on Energy Overhaul Referendum Bid

Latin American Herald Tribune

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto denied being concerned about a possible referendum on Mexico’s energy overhaul, saying the Supreme Court must decide whether to allow opponents to put the constitutional changes to a popular vote.

Asia-Pacific

Japan Mulls Building its own Fighter Jets

By AFP | The China Post

Japan is considering building its own fighter jets after years of playing second fiddle in a U.S. construction partnership, a report said Thursday, in a move likely to stoke fears of its military resurgence among Asian neighbors.

South Korean Families Reject Terms for New Sewol Deal

By Kang Jin-kyu | Korea JoongAng Daily

In a vote Wednesday night, the relatives of the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster refused to endorse an agreement on a special Sewol law reached by the ruling and opposition parties, dealing a severe blow to the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD).

Africa

China Presses South Sudan Over Renewed Violence

By Soe Than Win | The East African

China's foreign minister pressed his South Sudan counterpart over renewed violence in the oil-rich state, demanding an immediate ceasefire and political dialogue in the country which is heavily reliant on Chinese investment.

Mauritanian President Names New PM

By Reuters | News24

Mauritania's newly re-elected President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has named Yahya Ould Hademine, a former senior official with the West African nation's state-owned mining and construction companies, as prime minister, according to a presidential decree.

Egypt to Dispatch Military Forces to CAR

Egypt Independent

The Egyptian Defense Ministry plans to dispatch Egyptian troops to the Central African Republic as part of the U.N.'s new mission there and to boost Egyptian contributions to the United Nations peacekeeping missions, especially in Africa.

Europe

Middle East

Turkey FM Davutoglu Named Prime Minister

By Serkan Demirtas | Hurriyet Daily News

Turkey’s ruling party has formally designated Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to be the successor of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as both prime minister and chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), marking the start of a new era in Turkish political life.