World

Opponents protest Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s appointments

The decision by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to name 17 new provincial governors, including several who belong to his former party, triggered another round of violence here and the reported resignation of a top minister. The events stoked fears that Egypt’s first democratically elected leader was increasing Islamists’ control over the nation. | 06/19/13 16:07:01 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Kerry calls Karzai after Afghans bow out of talks with Taliban, U.S.

Less than a day after the Taliban opened a new political office in Qatar, the prospects for peace talks that it represented for war-weary Afghanistan faltered. | 06/19/13 17:45:30 By - By Jay Price and Rezwan Natiq

Afghan peace process in disarray as U.S. prepares to meet with Taliban

U.S. officials will meet with the Taliban on Thursday in a major breakthrough aimed at opening peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan, as the U.S. prepares for the end of its combat involvement. | 06/18/13 19:38:16 By - By Lesley Clark

Sunni-Shiite violence hits Lebanese city of Sidon

The Lebanese city of Sidon exploded into widespread street violence Tuesday afternoon as supporters and opponents of the militant group Hezbollah traded artillery and small arms fire in response to an attack on a prominent Sunni Muslim opponent of the Shiite Muslim group, according to senior security officials and witnesses. At least one person was killed and nearly a dozen wounded, according to Lebanese security officials. | 06/18/13 16:49:55 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Afghan forces take over, doubts loom

Afghan security forces are now officially in charge of protecting their country from the insurgents whom the U.S.-led coalition of foreign troops has been fighting here for more than 11 years, President Hamid Karzai announced during a ceremony Tuesday, even as news broke that the Taliban were opening a long-discussed political office in Qatar, clearing a potential path to peace talks. | 06/18/13 15:52:54 By - By Jay Price

In Libya, chaos is taking a toll on freedom of press, speech

Shortly after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was toppled in 2011, a 31-year-old activist had a tattoo put on his arm with the date marking the start of the uprising and rebranded himself a journalist. | 06/18/13 16:14:11 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Groundwork for arming Syrian rebels began before Obama’s announcement

The U.S. military began laying the groundwork to arm and support Syrian rebels more than a week ago, using a military exercise currently being held in Jordan as a cover for bringing in personnel and equipment. | 06/17/13 17:34:50 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Inspired by prayer, Virginia politician starts errant bedsheet drive for troops in Afghanistan

This spring, a local political candidate in Roanoke, Va., started an appeal for bedsheets to help U.S. MASH units in Afghanistan, which had run short and been forced to put wounded troops on ripped, bloodstained linen, she said. | 06/17/13 16:20:38 By - By Jay Price

Transparency laws give citizens tool against Mexican corruption

One day this year, citizen activist Jose Manuel Arias Rodriguez was told by the state of Tabasco that his request under the state’s sunshine-in-government law had been granted. | 06/17/13 15:22:56 By - By Tim Johnson

Erdogan defends crackdown as his ‘duty’ as clashes with protesters spread

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan staged a massive political rally Sunday to demonstrate that his popular strength will succeed Turkey’s political crisis, even as clashes spread to new parts of Istanbul between police firing teargas and water cannon and youthful protesters throwing stones and erecting barricades. | 06/16/13 20:10:54 By - By Roy Gutman

Gunmen attack Libyan posts in Benghazi

Gunman attacked the city’s Special Forces headquarters and other security buildings in this increasingly restive city Saturday in what some residents suspected was a retaliatory response to an assault a week ago that killed 32 and shut down the nation’s largest militia. | 06/15/13 16:48:34 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Iran elects centrist to replace contentious Ahmadinejad

Centrist Hasan Rowhani won an absolute majority in Iran’s presidential elections, a surprise outcome that could help raise spirits in a population fed up by the economic distress and international isolation that marked the era of outgoing leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. | 06/15/13 17:57:18 By - By Roy Gutman

Reformist Hasan Rowhani said to win Iranian presidency in surprisingly heavy voting

Hasan Rowhani, the candidate favored by Iranian reformists, won the Iranian presidential elections in a landslide, a source with close connections to the Iranian government said Saturday. | 06/15/13 02:04:16 By - By Roy Gutman

Chemical weapons experts still skeptical about U.S. claim that Syria used sarin

Chemical weapons experts voiced skepticism Friday about U.S. claims that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad had used the nerve agent sarin against rebels on at least four occasions this spring, saying that while the use of such a weapon is always possible, they’ve yet to see the telltale signs of a sarin gas attack, despite months of scrutiny. | 06/14/13 20:00:45 By - By Matthew Schofield

Analysts: Obama is gambling on uncertain allies in new Syria push

After concluding that President Bashar Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons against rebel forces, the White House pledged Friday to send more military and financial aid to Syrian opposition groups to make them “as strong as possible.” But whether they’ll ever be strong enough to topple Assad or assert themselves to govern a post-Assad Syria are unanswered questions. | 06/14/13 18:06:23 By - By Hannah Allam

State Department foresees few refugees from Syria this year

Despite the rising violence in Syria, the United States does not expect an influx of refugees from that country, State Department officials said Thursday. | 06/13/13 19:44:45 By - By Ali Watkins

Big question as Iran picks a president: Will reformists turn out to vote?

Iranians vote Friday for a new president to succeed the controversial Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but many voters question the value of their ballot, convinced that no elected government can solve Iran’s economic woes and end its diplomatic isolation. | 06/13/13 18:39:21 By - By Roy Gutman

Without support, UN reports civilians hit hardest in Syrian rebellion

The United Nations on Thursday reported that at least 92,901 people have been killed in Syria’s civil war, according to a new study of casualty reports compiled by eight Syrian organizations. | 06/13/13 17:02:00 By - By Mark Seibel

An election rally, Iran style

An Iranian election rally for a popular candidate is not for the faint-of-heart, or those in a hurry. | 06/12/13 18:11:05 By - Roy Gutman

Diplomats predict Assad will soon launch campaign to retake Aleppo

Diplomatic observers in Jordan say they believe Syria is preparing to launch a military offensive to recapture the city of Aleppo, perhaps by as soon as this weekend. | 06/12/13 17:58:38 By - By Sheera Frenkel

No money in Pakistan budget for Iranian gas pipeline U.S. opposed

Pakistan’s newly elected government Wednesday unveiled its first budget, which gave the go-ahead for buying two new nuclear power plants from China but made no allocation for a long-proposed natural gas pipeline from Iran that had sparked complaints from the United States. | 06/12/13 17:08:37 By - By Tom Hussain

Holt's 'The Abomination' leaves you hungry for more

Don’t be deceived by the title, “The Abomination.” There’s nothing unreal about Jonathan Holt’s excellent first mystery. The “Abomination” is the washed-up body of a woman dressed in the robes of a Catholic priest — something that is viewed as desecration by the church. Don’t get distracted by this murder; there’s much more to come. | 06/12/13 13:30:36 By - Tish Wells

Israel hasn’t given up on persuading Russia not to send air defense system to Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to warn that should Russia deliver the S-300 missile system to Syria, it “is likely to draw us into a response, and could send the region deteriorating into war.” But Israeli officials also say they haven’t given up hope that a diplomatic solution will persuade Russia not to go forward with a contract to provide the missiles. | 06/12/13 15:30:56 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Some in Congress question aid to Egypt over NGO prison sentences

An Egyptian court’s decision to convict 43 democracy proponents – along with a proposed Egyptian law that would restrict how nongovernmental organizations here operate – has spurred a chorus of concern from European leaders, members of the U.S. Congress and even the United Nations that Egypt’s first democratically elected government is attacking basic human rights. | 06/11/13 18:43:05 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Pakistani army makes key gains against Taliban militants

Pakistan’s military operations against Taliban insurgents in the country’s northwest tribal areas have reached a turning point with the imminent retaking of a militant stronghold near the legendary Khyber Pass. | 06/11/13 15:38:00 By - By Tom Hussain

2nd Taliban attack in Kabul in 2 days kills 17 outside Afghanistan Supreme Court

A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed car outside a gate at the Afghan Supreme Court during the afternoon rush hour Tuesday, killing 17 people and wounding 38, all of them civilians, Afghan officials said. | 06/11/13 16:53:14 By - By Jay Price and Rezwan Natiq

1 reformist bows out of Iran presidential race in hopes of helping another

The most outspoken reformist in the Iranian presidential race withdrew Tuesday in a move intended to boost the prospects of another reformist, Hasan Rowhani, an experienced government hand who once managed Iran’s nuclear negotiations and is the sole cleric in Friday’s voting. | 06/11/13 14:33:23 By - By Roy Gutman

Mexico opens telecom market to foreigners in move to break up monopolies

Mexico’s president signed into law a monopoly-busting telecommunications law Monday that’s expected to drive down telephone prices for consumers and cost the country’s richest man billions of dollars. | 06/10/13 18:16:38 By - By Tim Johnson

Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif declares end to secret approval of U.S. drone strikes

In office for less than a week, Pakistan’s new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, vented his anger Monday at two recent U.S. drone strikes, all but accusing his country’s overbearing military of lying to Pakistanis about its cooperation with the CIA to eliminate terrorism suspects in northwest tribal regions bordering Afghanistan. | 06/10/13 16:25:08 By - By Tom Hussain

In quiet Kabul neighborhood, Taliban attack began with mugging at mosque

A suicide attack that paralyzed a key NATO headquarters at Kabul’s international airport early Monday began, as it turns out, with a mugging outside a mosque. | 06/10/13 15:26:09 By - By Jay Price and Rezwan Natiq

Taliban lay siege to NATO air base in Kabul in early morning assault

Taliban fighters firing from atop an unfinished mansion attacked the military side of Kabul’s international airport early Monday, triggering a gun battle with Afghan security forces that lasted more than four hours before the attackers were killed. | 06/10/13 00:19:15 By - By Jay Price and Rezwan Natiq

Turkish PM changes park plans, Istanbul protests likely to continue

Turkey’s combative prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Friday abandoned his plan to build a new shopping mall on one of the few green patches in central Istanbul, but he insisted on razing the park nevertheless, a mixed signal that could prolong week-long protests here and in other cities. | 06/07/13 19:58:03 By - By Roy Gutman

Analysts: Foreign militant Islamists streaming into Syria to face Hezbollah

Foreign Islamist extremists are streaming into Syria, apparently in response to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah’s more visible backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a development that analysts say is likely to lead to a major power struggle between foreign jihadists and Syrian rebels should the Assad regime collapse. | 06/07/13 19:37:58 By - By Hannah Allam

Pentagon: Israel approved document that revealed details of missile base

U.S. officials deny that they inadvertently revealed secret details about a proposed Israeli missile base when they put the $25 million project up for bid. | 06/06/13 18:39:47 By - By Matthew Schofield and Sheera Frenkel

After Assad victory over rebels in Qusayr, what’s next for Hezbollah?

The Syrian government claimed control of the strategic city of Qusayr in central Syria on Wednesday after a nearly three-week-long fight with rebels who’d held the city for a year, a victory for President Bashar Assad that raised questions about what’s next for the Hezbollah fighters considered key to the outcome. | 06/05/13 18:21:39 By - By David Enders

Pakistan’s new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, has no shortage of problems

Nawaz Sharif was named Pakistan’s prime minister for a record third time Wednesday, and he immediately got down to the nitty-gritty of what arguably is the most daunting job in the democratic world. | 06/05/13 17:50:31 By - By Tom Hussain

China’s Xi splashes cash, deals on leisurely trip to woo Mexico

China’s leader is a guest who brings lots of gifts and lingers. President Xi Jinping, on the second day of an unhurried three-day visit to Mexico, spoke to the nation’s Senate Wednesday afternoon, then left for City Hall and prepared to visit the nation’s most renowned Mayan pyramid before heading on to California later in the week. | 06/05/13 17:01:36 By - By Tim Johnson

Syria, like Iraq and Lebanon, is on path toward sectarian split

The men from the last Alawite family in the northern Syrian town of Darkush have been kidnapped twice. The Saleh men were fortunate both times: They were released by rebels who’d suspected them of being agents for the government of President Bashar Assad. | 06/05/13 15:41:03 By - By David Enders

Pro-Assad forces retake strategic city of Qusayr in major setback for rebels

Syrian government forces took control of the city of Qusayr early Wednesday in a major setback for rebels trying to topple President Bashar Assad. | 06/05/13 07:22:44 By - By David Enders

With Recep Tayyip Erdogan away, Turkey’s acting prime minister apologizes

With the country’s combative prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, out of the country, Turkey’s acting prime minister apologized to the country Tuesday for what he cited as a heavy-handed use of force against youthful protesters in Istanbul, which led to four days of clashes across the country. | 06/04/13 18:55:49 By - By Roy Gutman

U.N.: Nusra Front in Syria gains recruits after announcing tie to al Qaida

The rebel Nusra Front in Syria appears to have gained recruits and equipment since pledging allegiance to al Qaida, according to a U.N. report released Tuesday that depicts a widening and increasingly sectarian conflict. | 06/04/13 18:10:03 By - By Hannah Allam

Syrian rebels still battling to hold on to Qusayr; Red Crescent denied entry

The Syrian government has told the Syrian Arab Red Crescent that it cannot yet enter the city of Qusayr, a sign that the 3-week-old government offensive to retake the city from rebels has yet to achieve its objectives. | 06/04/13 16:57:35 By - By David Enders

In Golan Heights, Druze villagers are preparing for war

For the last month, shopkeeper Salah Abu Saleh has found himself having the same conversation again and again: When the war between Israel and Syria begins, what single foodstuff would he not tire of eating? | 06/04/13 15:37:51 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Egypt court sentences NGO workers; U.S. denounces verdict

An Egyptian court on Tuesday sentenced 43 democracy promotion workers, including 16 Americans and a German, to as many as five years in prison for working for unlicensed civil-society organizations in an internationally watched case that renewed fears of a growing crackdown on democracy-promotion efforts here. | 06/04/13 15:15:39 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

In Afghanistan, women denied their inheritance now have a champion

A modest campaign sponsored by the U.S. government has begun tackling one of the most basic problems on the long list that women face here: being robbed of property that they have rightfully inherited. | 06/04/13 15:58:13 By - By Jay Price

Nationwide strike call in Turkey likely to inflame anti-Erdogan protests

Police clashed with anti-government protesters in major cities around Turkey for a fourth day Monday as one of the country’s biggest public service unions threatened a nationwide strike Tuesday to show its discontent with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. | 06/03/13 19:13:08 By - By Roy Gutman

U.S. publishes details of missile base Israel wanted kept secret

Israel’s military fumed Monday over the discovery that the U.S. government had revealed details of a top-secret Israeli military installation in published bid requests. | 06/03/13 18:05:30 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Assad backers reportedly make up 43 percent of dead in Syria

A new count of the dead in Syria by the group that’s considered the most authoritative tracker of violence there has concluded that more than 40 percent were government soldiers and pro-government militia members. | 06/03/13 16:08:57 By - By David Enders

In Mohammed Morsi’s Egypt, insulting president still leads to charges

Amir Salem is all too familiar with Egypt’s long-standing laws against insulting the government, blasphemy and plotting to overthrow the government. A lawyer with four decades of political activism behind him, he faced those charges under the presidencies of Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. But now, as he contemplates new charges under Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, it feels more personal, he said. | 06/03/13 15:30:45 By -

Blight sweeping Central American coffee plantations puts thousands out of work

Across Central America, even as rains arrive, many coffee plantations contain only spindly, nearly defoliated bushes, the result of a blight known as coffee leaf rust whose devastation, so far, has yet to affect the prices of premium highland coffee that baristas serve around the developed word. | 06/03/13 00:00:00 By - By Tim Johnson

Turkey protests over plan to build on Istanbul park reveal deep anger at Erdogan

Tens of thousands of protesters called for the resignation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and fought police firing tear gas in central Istanbul for the second day Saturday. A defiant Erdogan declared he would not back down from a controversial construction project that set off the protests, but then called off the police. | 06/01/13 17:23:05 By - By Roy Gutman

U.S. withholds millions pledged to help Syrian opposition

The United States is withholding $63 million that it had pledged to the main Syrian opposition organization because the Obama administration is frustrated with the group’s disarray and is searching for more credible partners to support in the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar Assad, knowledgeable officials said Friday. | 05/31/13 19:32:38 By - By Hannah Allam and Roy Gutman

Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye blames Obama for his continued imprisonment

From the moment Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye was sentenced to five years in prison in 2011 for allegedly supporting al Qaida’s Yemen-based affiliate, his punishment has been controversial – and not just because it represented the jailing of a respected writer and the trial was widely condemned as a sham by groups such as Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists. What irks many Yemenis, and free press advocates around the world, is that they believe Shaye remains in jail solely because of pressure from the administration of President Barack Obama. | 05/31/13 18:42:28 By - By Adam Baron

Iraqis, Lebanese blame unrest on internal issues, not Syria’s war

Despite the presence of thousands of non-Syrians fighting on both sides of that country’s civil war – and increasing rhetoric about a regional conflagration – the now contiguous conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon each arise from specific local grievances. | 05/31/13 15:09:21 By - By David Enders

Rights advocates urge caution on lifting sanctions after violence in Myanmar

Human rights groups are growing increasingly concerned over escalating violence in Myanmar after Buddhist mobs, including monks, took to the streets this week, burning mosques and schools and killing a Muslim man before finally being disbanded by authorities. | 05/30/13 19:05:53 By - By Ali Watkins

China’s moves in Western Hemisphere have U.S. stepping up its game

China’s courting of Latin America and the Caribbean – signaled anew this week by a visit by its president – is prodding the United States to step up its outreach to the rapidly emerging economies, which are showing greater global clout. | 05/30/13 18:49:05 By - By Lesley Clark

Syria’s Assad pledges to attend proposed peace talks, says his side is winning war

Syrian President Bashar Assad claimed in an interview broadcast Thursday that his government is winning the country’s civil war and pledged that he would personally attend proposed peace talks in Geneva tentatively set for later this summer. | 05/30/13 18:37:45 By - By David Enders

Pakistani Taliban says it’ll seek revenge for CIA drone killing of their No. 2

The Pakistani Taliban confirmed Thursday that its deputy chief had been killed by a drone strike and vowed revenge against the government for allegedly providing the terrorist chief’s coordinates to the CIA. | 05/30/13 17:17:56 By - By Tom Hussain

America’s Syria policy appears to have hit a dead end

With Russia pledging missiles to Syrian President Bashar Assad, the civilian opposition unable to agree on much of anything, and regime loyalists pushing rebels out of strategic areas, the United States finds itself with no clear policy path to its oft-stated goal of Assad’s ouster. | 05/29/13 19:04:56 By - By Hannah Allam

Drone strike kills Pakistani linked to ’09 blast at CIA Afghan base

Missiles from a CIA drone killed a Pakistani Taliban leader Wednesday who was carrying a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head, Pakistani security officials said, an indication that the Obama administration and the Pakistani military still are cooperating on the top-secret U.S. targeted killing program. | 05/29/13 18:50:56 By - By Tom Hussain and Jonathan S. Landay

Hezbollah said to control most of Qusayr in major setback for Syria rebels

Hezbollah and Syrian government forces have seized most of the strategically important town of Qusayr near the Lebanese border, fighters on both sides of the conflict said Wednesday, in what would be a huge setback for the rebels fighting to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. | 05/29/13 17:53:42 By - By David Enders

New subpoena issued for State Department documents in House probe of Benghazi attacks

The Republican lawmaker leading a congressional probe into the 2012 terrorist attacks on U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya, on Tuesday subpoenaed documents from 10 current and former State Department officials related to the preparation of discredited talking points on the genesis of the assault. | 05/28/13 19:23:56 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Russia pledges missiles to Assad as Britain, France threaten to send arms to Syria rebels

Russia on Tuesday confirmed that it would ship advanced anti-aircraft missiles to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, provoking Israel to threaten military action if the new weapons are delivered and drawing condemnation from the United States. | 05/28/13 19:36:43 By - By Roy Gutman and Sheera Frenkel

Proposed Egyptian law on nonprofits seen as echo of Mubarak era

A draft Egyptian law regulating so-called nongovernmental organizations would limit the private, nonprofit groups in many of the same ways that the government of President Hosni Mubarak sought to control their operations – a sign, analysts here say, that President Mohammed Morsi fears that the groups could be used to oppose his government in the same way Mubarak supporters felt they’d helped topple his. | 05/28/13 17:07:30 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Europe sets stage for possible arming of anti-Assad fighters as McCain visits Syrian rebel leader

After a contentious debate over policy towards Syria, the European Union agreed Monday to let its embargo on arms shipments to Syrian rebels – and the Syrian government – expire at the end of the month, possibly the best news that the beleaguered forces battling to topple President Bashar Assad have had since their uprising began 26 months ago.. | 05/27/13 19:48:43 By - By Roy Gutman

Syria says it will attend peace talks as anti-Assad opposition debates next steps

For a fourth day, Syria’s fractured opposition spent Sunday haggling over how to expand their coalition, even as Syrian President Bashar Assad unveiled two new initiatives – accepting an invitation to send representatives to a peace conference to end the 26-month uprising and announcing that Syria would open its borders to “tourists” from Iraq, a move analysts said was intended to allow Shiite Muslim fighters to join Assad’s military defense. | 05/26/13 19:14:54 By - By Roy Gutman

Reversal of Rios Montt verdict in Guatemala sparks criticism of genocide charge

The overturning this week of former military dictator Gen. Efrain Rios Montt’s conviction on charges stemming from Guatemala’s brutal civil war has created a surprising consensus among critics on both the left and the right: Prosecutors badly overreached when they tried to pin accusations of genocide on the 86-year-old former president. | 05/24/13 18:17:15 By - By Tim Johnson

Israel, in reassessment, thinks Syria’s Bashar Assad will last awhile

Israel has reversed its assessment about the staying power of Syrian President Bashar Assad and now thinks he’ll remain in control of at least part of his country for some time to come – a conclusion that makes it likely, a growing number of officials think, that an escalation of violence between the two countries may be inevitable. | 05/24/13 14:23:05 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Despite word of split over al Qaida, Nusra Front still key in Syria fighting

Jabhat al Nusra, the al Qaida-allied Syrian rebel group that’s also known as the Nusra Front, remains integral to efforts to topple the government of President Bashar Assad despite reported rifts within the group over its terrorist ties and claims by other rebels that Nusra’s assassinated rebel leaders in eastern Syria to consolidate its hold on oil fields and other strategic infrastructure there. | 05/24/13 14:03:25 By - By David Enders

Syria’s exile opposition opens conference in Turkey amid anger, confusion

Syria’s political opposition met Thursday in Istanbul to elect new leadership, choose a government-in-exile and deliberate on a negotiating stance for peace talks, but it hit a controversy when the immediate past president of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, a Muslim cleric who no longer holds any post in the group, presided over the opening session and released a surprise peace initiative without consulting the group. | 05/23/13 18:49:05 By - By Roy Gutman

Asif Ali Zardari likely will lose Pakistan’s presidency – and immunity from prosecution

Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, will certainly lose his job in September – and like his predecessor, retired Gen. Pervez Musharraf, he’s likely to face criminal charges under the government of newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. | 05/23/13 16:19:59 By - By Tom Hussain

Syrian refugee exodus to Jordan has slowed to trickle, U.N. says

The flow of refugees crossing from Syria into Jordan has all but stopped in the last six days amid heavy fighting in the area and claims by Syrians that Jordanian border guards are preventing them from entering. | 05/23/13 14:33:44 By - By David Enders

At last, we get Tolkien’s take on King Arthur

Unpublished until now, the poem “The Fall of Arthur” was Tolkien’s take on the legendary leader and aftermath of the fall of Camelot. | 05/23/13 09:41:43 By - Tish Wells

U.S. for first time acknowledges role in deaths of Americans in drone strikes

The Obama administration confirmed for the first time on Wednesday that four Americans have died in U.S. drone strikes since 2009, but it sought to justify the killing of only one – a senior leader of al Qaida’s Yemen-based affiliate – and said nothing about the other three except to acknowledge indirectly that they’d been killed by accident. | 05/22/13 22:26:00 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Egyptian soldiers kidnapped in Sinai released after talks

Seven soldiers kidnapped last week by suspected Islamist militants in the restive Sinai were freed after a six-hour negotiation between local tribesmen and the kidnappers, the Egyptian government announcement Wednesday. | 05/22/13 17:41:00 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Pickering agrees to be questioned over State Department’s Benghazi probe

The retired U.S. diplomat who co-chaired an internal State Department review of the 2012 terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on Wednesday ended his refusal to submit to a closed-door interview with a Republican-led House committee that is investigating the assault. | 05/22/13 17:10:43 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

U.S., U.N. urge Gulf states to donate more for Syrian refugees

With its neat rows of carpeted cabins, security monitors and on-site hospital and school, the Mrigb al Fuhud camp in Jordan is opulent compared with the squalid tent cities that house other Syrian refugees. | 05/22/13 17:10:49 By - By Hannah Allam

Delay in mine project shadows hopes for Afghan economy

The giant copper mine that the Afghan government has made the centerpiece of its plans for building an economy nearly from scratch is at least five years behind schedule and the state-owned Chinese company that won the bidding has missed key deadlines in its still-secret contract with the Afghan government and is trying to renegotiate the deal, according to several officials and observers inside and outside the Mining Ministry. | 05/21/13 22:44:01 By - By Jay Price

Egyptians don’t like Morsi’s presidency, but opposition flounders anyway

As Egypt’s first democratically elected president nears the completion of his first year in office, there is growing resentment among Egyptians about his tenure. The dismal economy has grown worse, sectarian tensions are greater, and government services have declined – something many people thought would have been impossible. | 05/20/13 16:28:06 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Egypt’s Morsi dispatches army to Sinai after suspected Islamists snatch soldiers

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi ordered army reinforcements to the restive Sinai on Monday amid rising tensions there over the kidnapping of seven soldiers by suspected Islamist militants. | 05/20/13 15:35:10 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Issa subpoenas Pickering over Benghazi probe, demands closed-door testimony

The congressman leading the Republican investigation into last year’s terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on Friday ordered retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering to submit to questioning behind closed doors next week over an internal State Department review Pickering helped lead into the attacks. | 05/17/13 19:29:20 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Syrian opposition considers sacking its U.S.-backed interim leader

The fractured Syrian opposition movement is considering ditching its prime minister at a meeting next week, action that would complicate the State Department’s push for peace talks and once again leave the international community without a clear idea of who would take charge should Bashar Assad fall. | 05/17/13 18:55:21 By - By Hannah Allam

Mexico’s Pena Nieto, seeking wide reforms, wants to limit power of governors

Barely a quarter-century ago, Mexico’s all-powerful presidents could run any of the nation’s 31 governors out of office at will. Then the pendulum began to swing. In the last decade, the power of governors grew to such levels that they became known by the moniker “little viceroys.” | 05/17/13 17:20:55 By - By Tim Johnson

VIDEO: In Mexico, journalists operate in danger

In Mexico, where 53 journalists have been slain in six years, some outlying regions have become “zones of silence,” where news of beheadings and other atrocities barely filter out. Fear has grown so pervasive that gangsters can mute the news media in some states without killing a single journalist, and a handful of newspapers have openly surrendered, telling readers they no longer will cover crime. | 05/16/13 18:08:00 By -

Pickering, Mullen reject request to testify on Benghazi in private

The two retired senior U.S. officials who oversaw an internal State Department review of last year’s attacks on U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on Thursday rejected as “an inappropriate precondition” a Republican request that they submit to a closed-door interview before testifying in public. | 05/16/13 17:52:34 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Refugees fleeing besieged Qusayr say Syrian rebels dug in, preparing for government onslaught

The Syrian city of Qusayr lies just 10 miles over the border from Aarsal in northern Lebanon. But the Syrians now crowding into Aarsal said the trip to get here from Qusayr required walking for days. | 05/16/13 16:13:32 By - By David Enders

U.S. commander offers security assurances after Kabul suicide bombing

Two U.S. soldiers and four American civilian security contractors died Thursday when a suicide bomber in a Toyota Corolla rammed into a military convoy in Afghanistan’s capital, security officials said. | 05/16/13 15:53:42 By - By Rezwan Natiq

Few convictions for Mexico’s special prosecutor for crimes against journalists

Complacent. Ineffective. Bungling. Inept. | 05/16/13 14:59:08 By - By Tim Johnson

Murder of Mexican reporter in Veracruz spotlights official hostility toward press

The story of Regina Martinez’s murder opens a window on a different facet of the violence afflicting journalists in Mexico, one in which gangsters play a lesser role than government officials, who routinely bully journalists and foster an environment in which impunity is nearly assured when journalists are the victims. Even when they are murdered. | 05/16/13 13:29:25 By - By Tim Johnson

On the crime beat in Mexico, danger lies in knowing too much

It is a sultry morning in this crime-ridden resort, and little movement occurs at the main police headquarters. Francisco Robles, a freelance news photographer, glances down at an incoming text message on his phone. | 05/16/13 13:28:26 By - By Tim Johnson

In Mexico, fears for democracy as threatened journalists curtail coverage

Quitze Fernandez, a columnist for the El Guardian newspaper in this capital of Coahuila state abutting Texas, picked up the phone in his newsroom one day. | 05/16/13 13:26:45 By - By Tim Johnson

Ambassador Stevens twice said no to military offers of more security, U.S. officials say

In the month before attackers stormed U.S. facilities in Benghazi and killed four Americans, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens twice turned down offers of security assistance made by the senior U.S. military official in the region in response to concerns that Stevens had raised in a still secret memorandum, two government officials told McClatchy. | 05/14/13 19:38:33 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

In Cairo, desperate Egyptian men search in vain for Syrian brides

On the outskirts of the vast Egyptian capital, Egypt ends and the latest Syria enclave begins. Women tie their headscarves in a distinctly Syrian way. They buy Syrian spices and trinkets from vendors whose shops are now tables lined along the streets. There is a constant murmur of stories about the desperate circumstances that forced the residents to flee places such as Homs and Damascus in the past year. | 05/14/13 14:53:50 By - By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail

Obama lashes out over Benghazi ‘sideshow,’ GOP uncowed

President Barack Obama lashed out Monday at the Republican investigation of last year’s terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, denouncing questions about administration talking points as a “sideshow” and accusing Republicans of using the “political circus” to raise cash. | 05/13/13 21:12:15 By - By Jonathan S. Landay and Lesley Clark

In talking points controversy, an unanswered question: Why did CIA say a protest preceded Benghazi attack?

Lost in the controversy over who requested revisions of CIA-written talking points on September’s attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans is one key fact: In every iteration of the document, the CIA asserted that a video protest preceded the assaults, and no official reviewing the talking points suggested that that was in error. | 05/13/13 21:01:12 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Weapons, ammunition shipments slowing to Syria’s moderate rebel factions

Disagreements among the countries backing the rebels in Syria have led to a drop in weapons shipments, leaving rebels vulnerable to a government military offensive. | 05/13/13 18:40:44 By - By David Enders

Turkey’s journalists say press freedom has declined under Erdogan’s rule

Veteran journalist Hasan Cemalwas forced out of his job in March for defending his newspaper’s decision to publish secret protocols that embarrassed Turkey’s ruling party. | 05/13/13 16:04:48 By - By Roy Gutman

Nawaz Sharif’s victory in Pakistan elections likely to change nature of U.S. relationship

The victory of Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan’s parliamentary elections will usher in a new period in Pakistan’s relationship with the United States, with Secretary of State John Kerry likely to assume the lead role in relations long dominated by the Pentagon. | 05/13/13 14:29:14 By - By Tom Hussain

Bombs in Turkish border town kill dozens, intensify Turkish-Syrian tensions

A pair of car bombs killed at least 40 people and raised tensions between Turks and Syrians in this city on the Syrian-Turkish border that is a hub for refugees fleeing the fighting and rebels who use the area to resupply fighters inside Syria. | 05/11/13 14:40:56 By - By David Enders

Guatemala court gives 80-year term to ex-dictator Rios Montt

A three-judge panel Friday convicted former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt of genocide, saying his military regime used “extreme terror” in an effort to wipe out a Mayan minority ethnic group in the early 1980s. | 05/10/13 20:33:13 By - By Tim Johnson

In Mexico, ‘juniors’ and ‘ladies’ find scorn in social networks

Those who resent the powerful ruling class of this country have coined colorful slang phrases for the rich and entitled. The sons of the elite are called “juniors,” or worse “papaloys,” a Spanish language contraction of the words “papa” and “lords.” | 05/10/13 16:44:01 By - By Tim Johnson

Answers to key questions about Guantanamo detention center

Candidate Barack Obama pledged that he’d close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Easier said than done. As president, Obama has failed to shut down the facility he calls “expensive,” and “inefficient” and a “recruitment tool for terrorists.” | 05/09/13 18:05:01 By - By Michael Doyle and Carol Rosenberg

Yemeni minister, expecting high-level Guantanamo talks, leaves Washington in a huff

Yemen’s human rights minister breezed into Washington this week expecting the opportunity to lobby U.S. officials for the release from Guantanamo of Yemeni detainees, who make up more than half the population at the controversial U.S.-run prison that President Barack Obama has pledged to close. | 05/09/13 17:50:48 By - By Hannah Allam

Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s likely next prime minister, pledges to curb attacks on India

With Pakistanis heading to the polls Saturday, the man who’s expected to be the country’s next prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, has signaled his determination to seize control of policy toward longtime foe India from Pakistan’s overbearing military and prevent militants from staging attacks on India from Pakistani soil. | 05/09/13 15:18:31 By - By Tom Hussain

Son of ex-Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani kidnapped in bid to disrupt elections

Suspected militant extremists kidnapped the youngest son of Pakistan’s former prime minister Thursday in the central city of Multan, the latest in a series of attacks aimed at disrupting the campaign for the country’s general election Saturday. | 05/09/13 13:52:10 By - By Tom Hussain

Mexico, to attract U.S. retirees, may ease limits on landownership

Mexican legislators may soon lift a major impediment for foreigners who want to own a piece of Mexico’s Pacific or Caribbean coasts. For the first time in nearly a century, lawmakers are moving to allow non-Mexicans to buy coastal real estate and hold the deeds to it, without having to set up bank trusts or find silent Mexican partners. | 05/09/13 13:06:02 By - By Tim Johnson

Reputation remake: Tilt-rotor Osprey wins fans in Afghanistan

Almost four years after the MV-22 Osprey arrived in Afghanistan, trailing a reputation as dangerous and hard to maintain, the U.S. Marines Corps finally has had an opportunity to test the controversial hybrid aircraft in real war conditions. The reviews are startlingly positive. | 05/09/13 12:19:26 By - By Jay Price

In hearing on Benghazi attack, new facts are few but politics plentiful

A much anticipated congressional hearing Wednesday on the September 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic compounds in Benghazi, Libya, produced no major revelations but plenty of partisan fireworks as Republicans renewed charges that the Obama administration had covered up details of what took place while Democrats retorted that politics is driving the GOP-run investigation. | 05/08/13 19:49:29 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

An encounter shows Kurdish guerrillas in no hurry to abandon Turkey’s mountains

On the first day of what was supposed to be the pullout of Kurdish guerrilla forces from Turkey, there was no sign Wednesday that any units had crossed the international border, and insurgents told McClatchy it could take up to three months for them to withdraw to northern Iraq. | 05/08/13 18:58:29 By - By Roy Gutman

Russians, U.S. agree to Syria talks, but anti-Assad opposition may refuse to participate

The United States and Russia agreed Tuesday to try to convene an international conference on ending Syria’s brutal civil war – possibly by the end of May – but the effort appeared to run into trouble within hours of its announcement with the key U.S.-backed opposition group reiterating that it won’t attend talks involving top Assad regime officials. | 05/07/13 20:20:57 By - By Jonathan S. Landay and Hannah Allam

Mohammed Morsi reshuffles Egypt’s Cabinet; 3 posts go to Muslim Brotherhood

President Mohammed Morsi named nine new ministers to his government Tuesday, including three members of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a move that his prime minister, Hesham Kandil, said was intended to re-energize efforts to reverse Egypt’s prolonged economic spiral. | 05/07/13 19:44:17 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Syrian rebel leader Salim Idriss admits difficulty of unifying fighters

The defected Syrian general whom the United States has tapped as its conduit for aid to the rebels has acknowledged in an interview with McClatchy that his movement is badly fragmented and lacks the military skill needed to topple the government of President Bashar Assad. | 05/07/13 17:16:55 By - By David Enders

Pakistan election campaign reflects new faith in democratic process

Pakistanis head to the polls Saturday to elect a new Parliament after five years of bitter disputes with the United States over bases for the Afghan Taliban, U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas and the covert operation that killed Osama bin Laden. But those topics have been largely ignored in the election campaign. | 05/06/13 15:48:21 By - By Tom Hussain

Drone cargo helicopters prove worth in Afghanistan, leading way to civilian uses

In the fast-growing world of unmanned aircraft, the K-MAX’s success is a significant step toward what’s expected to be a host of new military and civilian roles for cargo drones. Over the past 16 months, two drone helicopters that were sent to Afghanistan as an experiment have delivered 3.2 millions of pounds of cargo across Helmand and flown more than 1,000 missions. | 05/06/13 00:00:00 By -

Debate over Easter greetings roil Egypt’s sensitive religious tension

As Egypt prepares to celebrate Orthodox Easter this weekend, controversial comments by a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood have sparked debate over whether supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who rose to prominence through the group, can wish their Christian countrymen “Happy Easter” without being considered un-Islamic. | 05/03/13 16:33:54 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

Rate of killings in Syria peaks in April amid government counteroffensive

The pace of killing in Syria’s civil war reached a new high in April, with one human rights group counting an average of 196 deaths daily for the month. | 05/03/13 16:22:50 By - By David Enders

Pakistani prosecutor who charged Musharraf in Benazir Bhutto slaying is gunned down

A Pakistani state prosecutor leading a federal investigation into the December 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was gunned down by suspected terrorists Friday as he drove away from his residence in the heart of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. | 05/03/13 15:21:24 By - By Tom Hussain

Obama might accept immigration bill without help for same-sex couples

President Barack Obama said Friday he might accept a rewrite of the nation’s immigration laws even if it did not allow tens of thousands of same-sex couples to apply for legal status for their foreign-born partners. | 05/03/13 21:31:16 By - By Anita Kumar and Tim Johnson

Audit casts doubt on number of Afghan troops U.S. has trained

Since the United States first sent troops to Afghanistan in 2001, a signature goal of the war has been to increase Afghan national security forces and give their members the skills to vanquish domestic terrorist groups and other security threats on their own. | 05/03/13 00:00:00 By - By Richard H.P. Sia

Yemen human rights minister in Washington to talk about Guantanamo detainees

With a weeks-long hunger strike focusing new attention on conditions at the United States’ controversial detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the minister of human rights for Yemen is due in Washington on Friday for talks she hopes will lead to the repatriation of at least some of the scores of Yemenis held at the island prison. | 05/02/13 19:46:17 By - By Adam Baron

Afghan spy chief Asadullah Khalid back in U.S. for medical care

Khalid’s absence – and the scramble to succeed him, should he not be able to return – is likely to hamstring progress on a wide range of issues in which the Afghan intelligence agency and its chief play huge roles, from conflict with Pakistan over border security and Taliban havens in that country to the nascent peace process with the Taliban, which is considered crucial to U.S. plans to withdraw. | 05/02/13 17:09:17 By - By Jay Price and Jonathan S. Landay

Obama, Mexico’s leader link trade to immigration

President Barack Obama won the strong support of Mexico’s new president Thursday to control the flow of migrants and strengthen border security, measures that may give momentum to a pending overhaul of U.S. immigration laws before Congress. | 05/02/13 20:44:22 By - By Tim Johnson

Afghan spy chief quietly returns to US for medical treatment

Afghan spy chief quietly returns to US for treatment of wounds from assassination attempt amid rising tensions with Pakistan. | 05/02/13 11:16:27 By - Jonathan S. Landay and Jay Price

Helmand has become almost dull for Marines, with Afghans now leading combat

For years, U.S. Marines have fought and died in Helmand, a hot, dusty province in Afghanistan’s south that’s earned a bloody place in corps lore, right beside the likes of Anbar province in Iraq. It’s been by far the deadliest province for the U.S-led coalition. But the days of heavy combat and casualties in Helmand are over, at least for conventional American troops. And soon that might be true across Afghanistan. | 05/01/13 16:19:20 By - By Jay Price

Mexico seizes father-in-law of Sinaloa drug cartel chief on eve of Obama visit

Authorities on Tuesday captured the father-in-law of the powerful chief of the Sinaloa Cartel, chalking up a victory against crime in a week in which President Barack Obama is to travel to Mexico. | 04/30/13 22:09:01 By - By Tim Johnson

New accusation on chemical weapons in Syria underscores Obama’s line that we don’t know much

Even as President Barack Obama insisted Tuesday that the United States knows very little about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, dueling reports surfaced of a new chemical attack in a town near the Turkish border, demonstrating how complex the issue can be. | 04/30/13 19:23:23 By - By Matthew Schofield, Paul Raymond and Roy Gutman

Already unable to cope with refugees, Syria’s neighbors brace for more

Aarsal’s city hall now stays open seven days a week to accommodate the refugees camped in the building’s courtyard, waiting to be told where they might find shelter. | 04/30/13 17:59:25 By - By David Enders and Nabih Bulos

In Saudi Arabia, advocating peaceful change leads to lengthy prison terms for two dissidents

Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court, created five years ago to handle terrorism suspects, would seem a strange venue to try two of the country’s foremost human rights champions. The case against them reads not like a terror plot but a mission statement for a civil liberties group. | 04/30/13 17:45:31 By - By Roy Gutman

As combat role eases, aircraft crashes are biggest killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan

U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan remain at the lowest levels in recent years. The number so far this year, 33, is the lowest at this point since 2008. After air accidents, the next biggest cause of death was improvised bombs, which claimed at least eight service members. | 04/30/13 16:58:29 By - By Jay Price

Chinese phoenixes soar at D.C.’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

There’s nothing wimpy about Xu Bing’s phoenixes. Even the two fragile, broken clay models on display at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery here show the power of the mythical birds. | 04/30/13 13:07:38 By - Tish Wells

Syrian troops recapture villages near strategic city of Qusayr

A Syrian government offensive near the Lebanese border is being described as the fiercest fighting in months by villagers fleeing the violence, with troops loyal to President Bashar Assad seizing control of villages that had been rebel strongholds. | 04/29/13 18:30:41 By - By David Enders

Karachi is part of Pakistani Taliban plan to bring war to urban centers

A spate of Pakistani Taliban bomb attacks on candidates campaigning for Pakistan’s May 11 general election in the coastal city of Karachi has signaled what people close to al Qaida say is a strategic shift by the country’s militant insurgency from areas bordering Afghanistan to major urban centers. | 04/29/13 17:03:29 By - By Tom Hussain

As reports of chemical weapons abound, Obama urges caution on Syria

With lawmakers of both parties clamoring for some kind of larger U.S. role in Syria’s civil war, President Barack Obama sought Friday to slow a rush to judgment that regime forces have loosed chemical weapons on civilians, cautioning that “confirmation and strong evidence” of “this potential use” are still needed. | 04/26/13 19:29:29 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

GOP report: Emails show White House tried to shield State Department from Benghazi criticism

The State Department requested that key information be deleted from controversial talking points about the deadly Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. outposts in eastern Libya, not because of concern about revealing intelligence secrets but because the information revealed that the State Department had not responded properly to a growing extremist threat, Republican lawmakers charge in a report released Tuesday. | 04/23/13 19:37:21 By - By Hannah Allam

U.S., Israel spar over whether Syrian government has used chemical weapons

Israel’s top military intelligence analyst said Tuesday that the Syrian regime used lethal chemical weapons last month against opposition forces and criticized the international community for failing to act on evidence that “red lines” had been crossed in Syria. | 04/23/13 18:42:57 By - By Sheera Frenkel, David Enders and Hannah Allam

Senate hearing blasts Obama’s refusal to share details of drone program

Democratic and Republican senators joined a former deputy chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday in urging the Obama administration to make public more information about its top-secret targeted killing program amid questions about the legality and effectiveness of hundreds of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere. | 04/23/13 19:18:38 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Crisis in political alliance imperils reform drive in Mexico

A vaunted three-party alliance that sustains President Enrique Pena Nieto’s drive to enact major changes in Mexico is severely fraying, casting a shadow over pending overhauls in tax collection, finance and energy production. | 04/23/13 16:58:03 By - By Tim Johnson

Assad forces retake towns near Damascus; Syria opposition group unveils new leader

Troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad have overrun towns southwest of Damascus that had been dominated by anti-Assad forces for most of the past year, leaving at least 100 people dead. | 04/22/13 19:12:02 By - By David Enders and Roy Gutman

Florida Opa-locka field was once the site of secret CIA base

All that remains of the secret CIA base is a grassy field on the northeastern corner of Opa-locka Airport. But 60 years ago on that very spot was Building 67, a two-story barracks, that in 1953 and 1954 served as CIA field headquarters for the covert operation that overthrew leftist Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz. | 04/22/13 13:13:43 By - Alfonso Chardy

U.S., allies agree on rules for sending military aid to Syrian rebels

In a move intended to trim support to Islamist extremists who now play a leading role in the Syrian uprising, the United States, Turkey and key Gulf allies this weekend agreed to funnel future military aid only through the internationally recognized Syrian rebel coalition. | 04/21/13 18:56:55 By - By Roy Gutman

In test of Pakistani democracy, Pervez Musharraf appears in court

Pervez Musharraf, the 69-year-old former president of Pakistan, surrendered to authorities Friday and was arraigned before a local magistrate on a range of charges that could send him to prison for years. He was the first of the country’s four former military dictators to appear before a civilian court. | 04/19/13 15:35:26 By - By Tom Hussain

Syrian opposition leader Moaz al Khatib calls on Nusra to renounce al Qaida

The leader of the primary U.S.-backed Syrian opposition group, who criticized the United States last year for designating the rebel Nusra Front a terrorist organization linked to al Qaida, now is urging Nusra’s fighters to break ties with al Qaida. | 04/18/13 18:23:29 By - By David Enders McClatchy Newspapers

Audit criticizes USAID on power project in Afghanistan

The U.S. goal of building a self-sufficient power network in Afghanistan is threatened by an expiring subsidy and poor project management by the U.S. Agency for International Development, according to a new federal audit. | 04/18/13 18:22:48 By - By Lindsay Wise

Poland’s new Jewish museum to celebrate life, not revisit the Holocaust

Poland’s newest museum stands in the heart of the former Warsaw ghetto, where 70 years ago Jews rebelled against their German oppressors. | 04/18/13 16:53:00 By - By Roy Gutman

Once Pakistan’s strongman, Pervez Musharraf holed up at farm in test of country’s democracy

From October 1999 to February 2008, Pervez Musharraf held unequaled power in Pakistan as the country’s dictatorial president and a key ally in the United States’ war on terror. President George W. Bush was considered a close personal friend. | 04/18/13 15:01:57 By - By Tom Hussain

‘Grandmother of Afghanistan’ Nancy Hatch Dupree says it may be time to move on

Dupree came to Afghanistan in 1962 with her first husband, a U.S. diplomat. She’ll leave, if she can finally make herself do it, as a revered figure. During her decades here, she’s been ejected by the Russians, turned down a request for help from Osama bin Laden, guided countless relief efforts, aided refugees, advised journalists, politicians and the United Nations, and written five travel guides and hundreds of articles on topics including Afghan history, archaeology, women issues and libraries. | 04/18/13 14:55:30 By - By Jay Price

Environmentalists want feds to halt imports of Russian timber that endanger rare tigers

U.S. consumers who purchase hardwood floors and furniture products made with illegally cut Russian timber unwittingly may be damaging the last remaining habitat of the endangered and noble Amur tiger. | 04/16/13 19:34:03 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Kerry meets with parents of slain press officer Anne Smedinghoff on return from 10-day trip

Secretary of State John Kerry met Monday with the family of a 25-year-old Foreign Service officer who’d died in a suicide bombing in southern Afghanistan nine days earlier. | 04/15/13 19:41:06 By - By Hannah Allam and Mark Seibel

Salam Fayyad’s resignation as Palestinian premier seen as blow to peace plan

The resignation of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad over the weekend has raised doubts about the stability of the Palestinian government and cast a shadow over the new U.S.-led diplomatic push to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. | 04/15/13 16:51:55 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Kerry: U.S. will talk directly to North Korea if it ends nuclear arms program

Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that he was “not going to close the door” on the possibility of direct talks with North Korea, a move that would fit into his stated mission to find new approaches to long-festering foreign policy problems. | 04/14/13 16:44:07 By - By Hannah Allam

Kerry leaves China with no evident breakthrough on North Korea

Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday wrapped up a whirlwind visit to China with pledges of a deeper partnership on energy, economic and environmental projects, but no real breakthrough on his top agenda item: North Korea. | 04/13/13 17:45:17 By - By Hannah Allam

In South Korea, John Kerry tries to cool tension over North Korea threats

The fever pitch surrounding North Korea’s threats of hostile action began to ease Friday, as Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in South Korea to push a diplomatic track that would include China to defuse the tension. | 04/12/13 17:08:49 By - By Hannah Allam and Tom Lasseter

North Korean saber rattling dominates Kerry’s visit to Asia

Secretary of State John Kerry arrives Friday in a tense Asia, where he’ll urge China to deliver a “tough message” to North Korea and reassure allies that the Obama administration stands behind them as anxiety rises over Pyongyang’s saber rattling. | 04/11/13 19:49:15 By - By Hannah Allam

On North Korea, Obama says US 'will take all neccessary steps to protect its people'

Obama's remarks came as he met in the Oval Office with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. | 04/11/13 16:48:10 By - Lesley Clark

Yemenis hopeful about impact of new military decrees

The slew of decrees that Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi issued Wednesday evening were the most significant steps he’s taken toward reshaping the country’s military since he took office last year, and many here cast them as a historic move. | 04/11/13 14:08:47 By - By Adam Baron

Syrian rebel group swears allegiance to al Qaida, complicating Western military aid

The jihadist group at the forefront of Syrian rebel gains on Wednesday pledged allegiance to al Qaida leader Ayman al Zawahiri, underscoring the bind U.S. and Western European governments are in even as they move toward broader military support for moderate elements of the Syrian opposition. | 04/10/13 17:49:28 By - By Hannah Allam

Witness: Anne Smedinghoff, other Americans killed in Afghan bombing were on foot, lost

A promising young U.S. Foreign Service officer, three American soldiers and a civilian government contractor who were killed Saturday in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan probably wouldn’t have been close to the blast if they hadn’t gotten lost while walking to the school where they were to participate in a book-donation ceremony, according to an Afghan television reporter who was with them and was wounded in the attack. | 04/10/13 16:51:53 By - By Jay Price and Rezwan Natiq

Nusra Front members in Syria have never masked al Qaida ties

I was recently abducted by a group of rebels in northern Syria. I was strip-searched and held, handcuffed and blindfolded, for six hours along with three Syrian men before we were let go. Our captors suspected me – an American journalist – of being a spy. | 04/10/13 15:23:16 By - By David Enders

John Kerry: Israel, Palestinians to push West Bank economy as step to peace

Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that Israeli and Palestinian officials had agreed on a plan to boost the dismal economy of the West Bank, the first concrete measure to emerge from an ambitious new U.S.-led push to restart peace talks after a four-year deadlock. | 04/09/13 18:58:32 By - By Hannah Allam and Sheera Frenkel

Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng calls on U.S. to act against human rights abuses

Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese dissident who escaped from house arrest in April 2012, testified in person before Congress for the first time Thursday about China’s human rights violations. | 04/09/13 19:00:52 By - By Emma Kantrowitz

U.S. secret: CIA collaborated with Pakistan spy agency in drone war

Even as its civilian leaders publicly decried U.S. drone attacks as breaches of sovereignty and international law, Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency secretly worked for years with the CIA on strikes that killed Pakistani insurgent leaders and scores of suspected lower-level fighters, according to classified U.S. intelligence reports. | 04/09/13 16:13:52 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Obama’s drone war kills ‘others,’ not just al Qaida leaders

Contrary to assurances it has deployed U.S. drones only against known senior leaders of al Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified “other” militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan’s rugged tribal area, classified U.S. intelligence reports show. | 04/09/13 23:18:54 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Margaret Thatcher’s sharp tongue behind her ‘Iron Lady’ reputation

She had a clear vision and a blunt way of expressing it, and for 11 years as British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher wasn’t afraid to dispense tart advice to successive U.S. presidents. | 04/09/13 18:55:56 By - By Roy Gutman

State Department’s Anne Smedinghoff had left Kabul for book donation event

The young U.S. State Department official who was killed Saturday in a suicide truck bombing in southern Afghanistan had been escorting Afghan journalists from Kabul who were planning to cover American officials donating books to a school, colleagues said in interviews Monday. | 04/08/13 17:50:54 By - By Jay Price

Despite U.S. concerns, little prevents Islamists from joining Syria fight

For all the Obama administration’s vocal concern about Islamist extremists fighting in Syria, neither U.S. officials nor regional allies have taken significant action to stem the flow of jihadists to rebel ranks. | 04/08/13 16:52:36 By - By Hannah Allam and David Enders

Kerry confirms start of ‘quiet strategy’ to revive Mideast peace talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the “festering absence of peace” between Israelis and Palestinians only fuels extremism and that the time is right for renewed efforts toward resolving the decades-old conflict. | 04/08/13 16:44:09 By - By Hannah Allam and Sheera Frenkel

Kerry pushes for Turkish role in peace talks, but Israelis, Palestinians say ‘no’

Amid fears that a U.S.-backed reconciliation between Israel and Turkey might unravel, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Turkish leaders Sunday that it was vital for peace in the region that the two close U.S. allies get their relations “back on track in its full measure.” | 04/07/13 18:11:35 By - By Roy Gutman and Hannah Allam

5 Americans killed in Taliban suicide blast; separate attack killed 6th, NATO says

Five Americans were killed when a bomb targeted a convoy in southern Afghanistan on Saturday in the deadliest single combat incident for U.S. citizens this year. | 04/06/13 17:17:54 By - By Jay Price and Rezwan Natiq

Obama, Kerry dust off old Arab peace proposal in push to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The Obama administration is exploring whether a long-abandoned initiative proposed by Saudi Arabia 11 years ago could become the basis for a regional peace agreement between Israel and its neighbors, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials. | 04/06/13 10:45:35 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Yemen begins push to get citizens out of Guantanamo detention

Abdulrahman al Shabati, his parents say, never had any connection to al Qaida. Instead, they insist, his decade-long detention at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is little more than a case of terrible luck. | 04/05/13 19:16:37 By - By Adam Baron

Beyoncé and Jay-Z stroll in Havana, Cuba

Dozens of Cubans crowded around R&B diva Beyoncé and husband-rapper Jay-Z as they toured Old Havana on Thursday after celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary with island staples like daiquiris, and rice and black beans. | 04/05/13 13:40:30 By - Juan O. Tamayo

Can Cyprus’ economic crisis end long division between Turkish north and Greek south?

When Cyprus’ banking system imploded last month, dooming the country to economic contraction and years of depression, Turkish Cypriots who dominate the northern part of the island had a distinctly more upbeat reaction than the Greek Cypriots who dominate the south. | 04/04/13 17:26:32 By - By Roy Gutman

For China’s pig farmers, carcasses in river a sign of government’s dysfunction

The pig farmer was not in a good mood. Standing in front of barns that hold more than 500 pigs, the man with muck-splattered boots said he’s been losing money as the price of pork falls and the cost of feed and other supplies climb. | 04/04/13 15:24:24 By - By Tom Lasseter

Do North Korea’s threats mask power struggle behind the scenes?

The North Korean army warned the United States on Wednesday it has been cleared to wage nuclear war using “smaller, lighter and diversified weapons.” | 04/03/13 19:21:58 By - By Matthew Schofield and Tom Lasseter

U.S. Embassy in Cairo deletes Twitter post that angered Morsi supporters in Egypt

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo shut down its provocative Twitter account for more than two hours Wednesday, one day after posting a clip from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” in which host Jon Stewart bashed the government of Mohammed Morsi for arresting a popular Egyptian satirist who’s often compared to Stewart. | 04/03/13 20:54:00 By - By Nancy A. Youssef

In deadliest attack this year, Taliban storm Afghan courthouse, kill at least 44

Taliban fighters wearing Afghan army uniforms stormed a provincial courthouse in western Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 44 people and wounding more than 90 in a complex attack that began with the explosion of a truck bomb followed by an assault in which the attackers took hostages and kicked off a gun battle with Afghan security forces that lasted until late afternoon. | 04/03/13 17:24:54 By - By Jay Price and Rezwan Natiq

In rebel-held Syria, some schools try to carry on

It’s unlikely the students and teachers at Taha Hussein High School will soon forget last year’s summer break. | 04/03/13 16:03:15 By - By David Enders

Chinese court sentences man to 3 years, 6 months for murder during Cultural Revolution

An 80-year-old man accused of killing a local doctor during China’s Cultural Revolution 45 years ago has been sentenced to three years and six months, a punishment the court said was appropriately light in part because the crime took place during “a special historical period.” | 04/02/13 13:30:29 By - By Tom Lasseter

March was deadliest month of Syrian war, as rebel deaths surged

March was the deadliest month so far in Syria’s two-year-old civil war, as rebels pressed their offensive throughout the country, seizing a provincial capital for the first time and launching attacks on other fronts. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 5,896 civilians and combatants died last month, surpassing the 5,400 deaths the observatory recorded in August, the previous high-water mark. The observatory recorded 3,893 deaths in February. | 04/01/13 16:29:59 By - By David Enders

As Syria’s war rages, villagers who’d fled to cities for better lives return

Until a few months ago, the village of Dweetchia was all but empty, one of hundreds of once-populated specks in northern and eastern Syria that had been abandoned over the last decade because of drought, environmental mismanagement and poverty, a modern exodus that led perhaps as many as a million Syrians to search for better lives elsewhere. The conditions that drove people from the villages haven’t changed, but Dweetchia is once again full of people. Many of its former residents have returned, joined by refugees seeking safety from the fighting that’s ravaged much of the country. | 04/01/13 00:00:00 By - By David Enders

Cyprus’ banks reopen, but ‘Russians’ might lose big

Banks reopened Thursday in crisis-stricken Cyprus after a 12-day closure, but not everyone joined the queues, as small enterprises all over the island appeared to be on the verge of going under and unable to meet payrolls. | 03/28/13 19:03:21 By - By Roy Gutman

Gulf Cartel’s power struggle holds Mexican city of Reynosa hostage

The sinister-looking men seem to be everywhere. They stand idly, walkie-talkies in hand, at key intersections or at the entrances to gated communities where their unseen masters live. They are the front line of the dark power struggle that’s roiling Reynosa, a Mexican border city just a short drive from the tranquillity of Texas. | 03/28/13 15:31:01 By - By Tim Johnson

As Egypt’s foreign currency reserves fall, black market in dollars thrives

In today’s moribund Egyptian economy, a man who calls himself Youssef has become a crucial component to keeping the wheels of commerce turning. He’s a black-market money dealer, selling dollars for Egyptian pounds at a markup. With the Egyptian government desperate to keep dollars in the country, banks are limited in how many they may let their clients have. People who need dollars are willing to pay Youssef more to get them. He’s become one of the few sources of unlimited capital in Egypt. | 03/28/13 14:05:11 By - By Amina Ismail

Iraqi oil: Once seen as U.S. boon, now it’s mostly China’s

Ten years after the United States invaded and occupied Iraq, the country’s oil industry is poised to boom and make the troubled nation the No.2 oil exporter in the world. But the nation that’s moving to take advantage of Iraq’s riches isn’t the United States. It’s China. | 03/27/13 15:31:53 By - By Sean Cockerham

Debunking the myth of King Arthur

The myth of King Arthur, his queen, Guinevere, and the knights of the Round Table is too ingrained in our collective psyche to be overthrown by mere facts questioning his very existence. But British academic Professor Guy Halsall tries anyway | 03/27/13 11:25:03 By - Tish Wells

In Cyprus financial crisis, even Orthodox Church likely to lose millions

Cyprus, a palm-fringed island in the Mediterranean Sea, has long held three distinctions. Now it has another: It’s the only place in the continuing euro currency crisis in which the government has agreed to force bank account holders to help pay for the rescue of debt-ridden banks. The cost for many savers and businesses would be staggering. | 03/26/13 18:25:18 By - By Roy Gutman

Islamists, secular rebels battle in Syria over Nusra Front’s call for Islamic state

Two Syrian rebel groups – one seeking an elected civil government, the other favoring the establishment of a religious state – are battling each other in the city of Tal Abyad, on the border with Turkey, in a sign of the tensions that are likely to rule this country if the government of President Bashar Assad falls. | 03/26/13 15:32:24 By - By David Enders

Brazil is in the market for immigrants — millions of them

While the United States wrangles over immigration policy, Brazil has already made up its mind about immigrants. It wants more — as many as 6 million more. | 03/26/13 15:15:26 By - Mimi Whitehead

As U.S. tightens rules on lead emissions, battery recycling has moved to Mexico

Mexico’s standard for lead emissions standards are 10 times less stringent than the United States’. Since 2004, that’s meant a fivefold increase in the number of spent car batteries being shipped to Mexico from the United States and a dwindling in U.S.-based smelting operations to just 14. | 03/26/13 16:49:36 By - By Tim Johnson

Obama’s Syria policy in shambles as Assad opposition squabbles

The Obama administration’s Syria policy was unraveling Monday after weekend developments left the Syrian Opposition Coalition and its military command in turmoil, with the status of its leader uncertain and its newly selected prime minister rejected by the group’s military wing. State Department officials said they still planned to work with the coalition, to which the United States has pledged $60 million, but analysts said the developments were one more sign that the Obama administration and its European allies had no workable Syria policy. | 03/25/13 19:26:26 By - By Hannah Allam

Ben Zygier, Israel’s Prisoner X, reportedly revealed IDs of 2 Mossad informants

Why Mossad agent Ben Zygier, who was known until earlier this year only as Prisoner X, was jailed had been a lingering mystery of the case. Zygier spent nearly a year in solitary confinement so intense that not even his jailers knew his real name before he died, allegedly a suicide. Israeli officials added to the mystery by banning journalists from reporting on the case after Zygier was found dead in his cell in December 2010. | 03/25/13 15:19:01 By - By Sheera Frenkel

In Raqqa, largest city held by Syrian rebels, Islamists provide electricity, bread, and order

The sounds of battle can still be heard nearby and residents remain fearful that the government will attack with airstrikes and missiles. But Abdul Hakim Mohamed, the vice president of the local civil council in the largest Syrian city so far to fall to rebel control is optimistic about the future, though what that future will be is uncertain. | 03/24/13 13:06:59 By - By David Enders

Turkey sees accords with Israel, Kurds as first step to greater regional role

After two major breakthroughs in less than a week – an accord to end a three-year squabble with Israel and a landmark step by a jailed Kurdish leader to settle a 30-year insurgency – Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s star appears to be rising – and with it, Turkey’s role as a major regional power. | 03/23/13 18:37:27 By - By Roy Gutman

Obama plays tourist at end of Mideast trip

Content that he laid the groundwork for possible improvements in the Middle East, President Barack Obama played tourist Saturday, gazing at the wonder of the ancient city of Petra on his last stop of a four-day trip to the Mideast. | 03/23/13 16:20:32 By - By Lesley Clark

Obama vows to help Jordan take care of Syrian refugees

President Barack Obama on Friday pledged $200 million in new aid to Jordan to help it handle a flood of refugees seeking shelter from the raging civil war in neighboring Syria. | 03/22/13 18:41:43 By - By Lesley Clark

‘Sorry’ says Israel’s Netanyahu, opening way for diplomatic relations with Turkey

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized Friday to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ending a nearly three-year-long feud in a phone call brokered by President Barack Obama. | 03/22/13 18:22:45 By - By Sheera Frenkel, Hannah Allam and Roy Gutman

Turkish Kurds take big step toward ending insurgency

The scene could not have been imagined just two years ago. Before a million Turkish Kurds, many waving their own tricolor flag, and with millions more Turks following it live on national television, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdish PKK insurgency called via written letter for an end to his 30-year insurgency. | 03/22/13 17:34:35 By - By Roy Gutman

Obama charms Israel but chills Palestinians

Across Israel Friday, news stations aired a special live broadcast of President Barack Obama’s last day in the Jewish state with a headline summarizing his visit: “US President wins our hearts and minds.” | 03/22/13 19:16:07 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Remarks of President Barack Obama To the People of Israel

Shalom. It is an honor to be here with you in Jerusalem, and I am so grateful for the welcome that I have received from the people of Israel. I bring with me the support of the American people, and the friendship that binds us together. | 03/21/13 18:47:59 By -

Israel says chemical weapons used in Syrian conflict

Israeli officials said there was "compelling evidence" that chemical agents were used in an attack against civilians in northern Syria earlier this week, citing satellite imagery and reports from the ground. | 03/21/13 18:25:23 By - By Sheera Frenkel

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Mexico Unmasked

Written by Tim Johnson, McClatchy's bureau chief in Mexico City.

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Inside South America

Written by Jim Wyss, McClatchy's bureau chief in Bogota.

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China Rises

Written by Tom Lasseter, McClatchy's Beijing bureau chief.

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