International Round-Up

Europe: Clashes in eastern Ukraine left an army officer dead as the government of acting President Oleksandr Turchynov began an anti-terror operation in the region. Ukrainian police and military units will combat pro-Russian forces, which have recently seized multiple government buildings. President Vladimir Putin has promised to intervene, should he feel that Russian speakers’ safety is at risk. Greece began selling bonds again after being excluded from capital markets for four years. Greece initially received an enthusiastic welcome from return-seeking investors, which quickly cooled as the realization of the long road to normalcy set in.

Contact Jonah Robinson at [email protected].

The Americas: Kathleen Sebelius, President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, resigned following the disastrous introduction of the Affordable Care Act. The act, known as Obamacare, is Obama’s signature legislation, and was a cornerstone of his election platform. The United States refused to issue a visa for Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran’s United Nations ambassador selection who is accused of taking part in the December 1979 seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran.

Contact Jonah Robinson at [email protected].

Middle East: Iran and the five-nation negotiating group (P5+1) insisted on the need for “a lot of intensive work” as they concluded a round of nuclear talks on Wednesday. Peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians have proven a struggle as well, with both sides blaming the other for violating agreements. Syrian government forces and rebels have traded accusations as to who is responsible for a poison gas attack on Friday that hurt dozens of people in Kfar Zeita, a village located in the central province of Hama. The civil war has contributed to increasing instability in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, where car bombs killed at least 24 people on Wednesday, ahead of the April 30 parliamentary elections, the first since the 2011 U.S. troop withdrawal.

Contact Sara Sirota at [email protected].

Asia: On Friday, April 11, U.S. and Philippine officials reached an agreement on a new security deal which allows the American military to consolidate its presence on local bases. Chinese Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao released a statement disagreeing with the International Monetary Fund’s assessment of poor asset quality in China. South Korea discovered several crashed, unmanned aerial vehicles on its territory, which South Korea suspects are drones deployed by North Korea. Senior South Korean and Japanese officials are meeting in Seoul this week to hold talks regarding Japan’s sexual enslavement of Korean women during World War II.

Contact Ameetori Basu at [email protected].

Africa: On April 10, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to send 12,000 peacekeepers to the Central African Republic where sectarian conflict between Christian and Muslim groups has plunged the country into a continuous cycle of violence. Two Kenyan aid workers kidnapped by Islamists in 2011 were rescued in Somalia. Guinea-Bissau began counting votes after a record turnout for the legislative and presidential elections. No major incidents were reported at the polls, and results are expected by April 18. A leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement, Minni Minnawi, has accused international bodies of ignoring renewed ethnic cleansing conducted by government-backed Arab militias in Darfur. “UMID is covering up the crimes of the Sudanese government and legalizing genocide,” he said.

Contact Elizabeth Kilbride at [email protected] and

The International Relations Council at [email protected].