Media Roundup

United States

Before Suicide Bombing, a Last Trip Home

By Michael S. Schmidt and Mark Mazzetti | The New York Times

Moner Mohammad Abusalha, a Florida man who died in a suicide attack in Syria in May, traveled to the U.S. for several months after training with a group allied with Al Qaeda.

World Bank Board Declines to Revise Controversial Draft Policies

By Jim Lobe | Inter Press Service

A key committee of the World Bank’s governing board Wednesday spurned appeals to revise a draft policy statement that, according to nearly 100 civil-society groups, risks rolling back several decades of reforms designed to protect indigenous populations, the poor and sensitive ecosystems.

Latin America

Argentina Defaults for Second Time

BBC

Argentina has defaulted on its debt - for the second time in 13 years - after last-minute talks in New York with a group of bond-holders ended in failure. So-called "vulture fund" investors were demanding a full pay-out of $1.3bn (£766m) on bonds they hold.

Debate Rages Over Mexico's Plan to Open Energy Markets

By Tracy Wilkinson | Los Angeles Times

Politicians stand on the podium in the lower house of Congress, waving signs and shouting, “Viva Mexico, THIEVES!” Outside, crowds demonstrate. The sessions drag on into the wee hours until an earthquake forces everyone to evacuate.

Asia-Pacific

Pakistan Offensive Disrupting Militant Attacks, U.S. Says

By Aoun Sahi and Shashank Bengali | Los Angeles Times

A six-week Pakistani army offensive has succeeded in disrupting the militant groups that have long enjoyed free rein in the rugged North Waziristan tribal region along the border with Afghanistan, Obama administration officials say.

Africa

Sierra Leone Declares State of Emergency Over Ebola

By Umaru Fofana and Kwasi Kpodo | Reuters

Sierra Leone declared a state of emergency and called in troops to quarantine epicentres of Ebola on Thursday, joining Liberia in imposing tough controls to curb the worst ever outbreak of the virus amid fears it could spread beyond West Africa.

Facebook Expands Africa Push

BBC

It's the new frontier for the internet -- connecting billions of people in Africa and Asia who have yet to sample the delights of the digital world. Through an organisation called Internet.org, Facebook has put itself at the forefront of this mission.

Europe

West's Sanctions Playbook a Challenge in Russia

By Jay Solomon in Washington and Marcus Walker | The Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

Recent history of U.S. and EU sanctions—including against Iran, North Korea and Syria -- suggests that significantly stronger penalties could be needed to change the Kremlin's calculations on Ukraine.

Middle East

Netanyahu Vows to Complete Gaza Tunnels Destruction

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller | Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing international alarm over a rising civilian death toll in Gaza, said on Thursday he would not accept any ceasefire that stopped Israel completing the destruction of militants' infiltration tunnels.

Israel Moves to Replenish Gaza Forces

By Joshua Mitnick | The Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

Israel's military said it was calling up 16,000 reserves for its campaign against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, a day after some of the deadliest fighting of the 23-day conflict.

Israel and Gaza: U.S Leverage Is Limited

By Lesley Clark | McClatchy Newspapers

President Barack Obama’s call for a ceasefire to Israel’s assault in Gaza got him nowhere. Secretary of State John Kerry returned to the U.S. empty-handed after a try at a truce, amid a volley of ridicule from the Israelis.

United States

Is Global Chaos the New Normal?

By Doyle McManus | Los Angeles Times

The Middle East is in flames, not only Gaza but Syria, Iraq and Libya as well. Russia is massing troops on the border of Ukraine. Central Africa is a mess, as are Afghanistan and Pakistan. Parts of Mexico and Central America are ruled by criminal gangs and drug cartels. And those are merely the crises big enough to command front-page attention.

America Needs a Conservative Internationalist as President

By George F. Will | The Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

With metronomic regularity, there is a choreographed minuet of carnage. Israel is attacked. Israel defends itself. Perfunctory affirmations of Israel’s right of self-defense are quickly followed by accusations that Israel’s military measures are disproportionate.

Is Obama Really Adrift in the World?

By John Feffer | Foreign Policy in Focus

Four myths American exceptionalists peddle about the U.S. president and America's role in the world.

Asia-Pacific

Indonesia Gets a Sprout With a New President

By Tom Plate | The Japan Times

Indonesia gets a sprout with a new president Having conducted an election that produced a successor president without excessive tumult or corruption, Indonesia may well be on its way to emerging as a major global player.

How Beijing Keeps Local Leaders in Line

By Deborah M. Lehr and Leigh Wedell | Foreign Affairs

In early June, Chinese president Xi Jinping deployed eight SWAT-like inspection teams across China to ensure that local officials were meeting his new environmental targets.

The Haqqani Threat to the U.S.-Pakistan Détente

By Michael Kugelman | The Diplomat

The Haqqani Threat to the US-Pakistan Détente America and Pakistan have seen relations improve in recent months. Unfortunately, the Haqqani network could derail this.

Africa

Boko Haram Aside, Nigeria Is Becoming a Major Global Economy

By Acha Leke and Paul Collier | The Daily Star

With roughly 170 million inhabitants, Nigeria has Africa’s largest population. But it has only recently been acknowledged as having the continent’s largest economy -- 26th in the world -- following the release of “rebased” data putting GDP at $510 billion last year.

Africa Needs Science, Not Aid

By Nkem Khumbah and Melvin P. Foote | The New York Times

Education -- and science and technology in particular -- must be at the forefront of the debate about African development.

Europe

Lessons From Poland’s Past

By Slawomir Sierakowski | The New York Times

It has fallen to a legend of Solidarity to stand up to the political class and track the issue of secret C.I.A. prisons.

Behind the Fraying U.S.-Germany Bonds

By Sohrab Ahmari | The Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

Outrage over NSA snooping and Berlin's reluctance to confront Putin have added friction to the alliance.

Putin Edges Toward a Personal Waterloo

By Ehsan M Ahrari | Asia Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin's chief weapons are his revanchist ideology and his hope to earn billions of dollars from selling gas to China and Europe.

Middle East

Moving Targets in Israel

By Diana Bletter | The Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

Are sirens and bomb drills the new normal?

In Gaza, International Law Is Up in Flames

By Phyllis Bennis | Foreign Policy in Focus

In a flagrant violation of international law, Israel's assault on Gaza has killed hundreds of civilians and devastated civilian infrastructure.

Islamic Self-Delusion

By Yousef Al-Dayni | Asharq Al-Awsat

While the well-known preacher agreed with me about ISIS and its false brand of Sunni Islamism, he said this does not eliminate the dream of the return of the caliphate.

Latin America

Bolivia to Require Visas for Israeli Travelers

Associated Press

Bolivia's leftist president has declared Israel a "terrorist state" because of its offensive in the Gaza Strip, and his government will now require Israeli citizens to obtain a visa to visit the Andean nation.

California Governor Signs Deals in Mexico

By Olga R. Rodriguez/AP | The News

California Gov. Jerry Brown turned his focus to education and energy Tuesday on the second day of a trip to Mexico, but talk about immigration reform remained high on his agenda. Brown signed an agreement to further the exchange of students and researchers and also met with Mexico’s energy secretary.

Asia-Pacific

Filipino Hostages' Release Sparks Hope for Talks

By Jim Gomez | The China Post

The release of four police officers abducted by Filipino communist guerrillas has sparked hopes that stalled peace talks will resume, a government official said Wednesday, although major obstacles remain.

India Under Pressure to Agree on Trade Deal

By TNN | The Times of India

Ahead of Thursday's deadline, India came under increased pressure from WTO members, led by the U.S., to whittle down its opposition to the trade facilitation agreement.

Africa

Liberian President Not to Attend U.S.-Africa Summit Due to Ebola Outbreak

Sahara Reporters

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has closed down all the schools in the country in an attempt to address the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. She also suspended her participation at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. next week, and will send Vice President Joseph Boakai to attend the summit on her behalf.

Cameroon Fires Two Army Officers After Boko Haram Raids

By Reuters | defenceWeb

President Paul Biya on Tuesday dismissed two senior army officers in Cameroon's far north following Boko Haram attacks in which at least seven people were killed and the wife of a senior official was kidnapped.

Uganda Sets Up Authority to Track Money Laundering

By Anthony Wesaka | Daily Monitor

Uganda has set up a new institution to fight suspicious money transactions that could be fueling terrorism. The Financial Intelligence Authority, to be supervised by the finance ministry, comes after the enactment of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2013.

Europe

Russia to Hold Arctic "Oil Spill Response Exercise" in Early August

RIA Novosti

Russia plans to hold the Arctic-2014 exercise, which involves Northern Fleet rescuers, emergency teams and border guards, in early August to test oil spill response in the Pechora Sea in the Arctic, Northern Fleet spokesman and Captain 1st Rank Vadim Serga said Thursday.

Middle East