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PM’s Win: Still a Loss in Turkey

© Umit Bektas / Reuters

Despite possible corruption activity, the Prime Minister’s victory in Sunday’s elections proves his party is still stronger than the opposition.

After trouncing the opposition in municipal elections seen as an unofficial referendum on his government on Sunday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan more or less declared war on his opponents and signaled that he was no longer interested in the West’s opinion about him.In an uncompromising victory speech at the AKP headquarters in Ankara, the 60-year-old Erdogan did not mention his country’s long-standing bid to join the European Union by raising democratic standards, declaring instead that Turkey had “the democracy that the West is yearning for.

TASTES GRRRREAT?

China’s Secret Tiger Meat Trade

© Beawiharta Beawiharta / Reuters

A forbidden practice becomes popular among China’s ruling class: watching the animals die before eating them.

China’s wealthy “dragons” like to dine on tigers. In fact, they’ll even watch them die first and then boast about it on social media. Unfortunately, police don’t consider this behavior worth “liking” and so it became the center of a scandal last week when authorities busted an illegal tiger-eating dinner club in Guangdong province.According to a March 26 report in the state-run regional newspaper the Nanfang Daily, police crashed the party of wealthy businessmen and government officials in the city of Leizhou just as they prepared to nibble on a freshly slaughtered cat.

Why Africa’s Turning Anti-Gay

Stephen Wandera

Western activism is causing more harm than good to a continent making LGBT people into scapegoats for colonialism.

As an LGBT activist, I was always happy to see my picture in the paper. It showed that I was doing my job, getting attention for the cause I believed in—and, of course, getting some attention myself. But after a story about George Freeman, director of the Sierra Leone LGBT organization Pride Equality, was published in a local newspaper last year—with photos accompanying it—he was dragged from his car and beaten by two men on motorcycles.Freeman never consented to the story; the newspaper culled its content from an MTV interview.

Crisis in Ukraine

American Muscle for Ukraine

MANDEL NGAN/Getty

To deter Putin and other aggressors, diplomatic and economic slaps are not enough; the U.S. needs a military dimension.

Don’t pop the champagne corks just yet because Vladimir Putin phoned Barack Obama to pursue diplomacy on Ukraine and environs. It may be just a ploy, like Moscow’s proposal to denude Syria of chemical weapons to head off a potent U.S. air strike against President Assad’s forces. It may just be a gambit to tamp down the West’s drive toward greater sanctions against Russia. And all sinister explanations of the call gain weight by the fact that some 25,000 Russian troops still threaten Ukraine’s borders.

Exclusive

Kiev's Russian-Trained Assassins

The Daily Beast

The slaughter of 53 protesters in the Maidan on February 20 changed history. Now, exclusive photographs show what really happened.

KIEV, Ukraine—The first crack of a sniper’s round in Kiev’s Independence Square came shortly after nine o’clock on the morning of February 20 and the last about seven hours later at around four o’clock in the afternoon drawing to a close the bloodiest day in what had been a months-long struggle to oust Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych.Many of the 53 people slain died from clean shots to the head or neck—telltale wounds inflicted by expert marksmen; while others were gunned down at closer quarters by less expert assassins armed with AK-47 assault rifles.

New Era

The U.K.’s First Gay Marriage

Matt Dunham/AP

At midnight Saturday, England and Wales welcomed the first gay marriages in British history. And the very first one involved an American.

A whirlwind romance that began in Los Angeles sealed a place in the British history books this weekend as Sinclair Treadway and Sean Adl-Tabatabai became one of the country’s first gay couples to be legally wed.They exchanged a pair of simple gold bands in a ceremony that began at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, the first day same-sex marriages were allowed in Britain. Treadway’s parents, who flew in from the U.S. for the celebration, were among 100 guests crowded into Camden town hall in North London.

Toil & Trouble

Saudi’s Real-Life Witch Hunt

The Daily Beast

Indonesian guest workers are on trial in Saudi Arabia for “witchcraft.” But the charges are cover for cultural misunderstandings, sexual assaults, and withheld wages.

Barack Obama is spending part of this weekend in Saudi Arabia, the final stop in a five-country tour. Obama started his springtime trip in the Netherlands, where he visited The Hague, seat of the International Court of Justice. Working his way south, Obama spent Wednesday in Belgium and passed Thursday morning in the Vatican before heading down to Riyadh, presumably to talk about security (meaning Iran) and the historic ties between our two countries (meaning oil).

Cairo Crackdown

Egypt Journo Goes On Hunger Strike

Amr Dalsh/Reuters

Jailed Al Jazeera reporter Abdullah El-Shamy, who has been detained for eight months after reporting on the government’s massacre at Raba’a, is now on his eighth week of a hunger strike to protest his internment.

Abdullah El-Shamy, an Al Jazeera Arabic broadcast reporter, was arrested while covering the Egyptian military’s bloody crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protesters on Aug. 13, 2013 in Cairo. El-Shamy’s family spoke to The Daily Beast about their memories of El-Shamy’s arrest and internment.Through the smudged windows of a Cairo cab, Mohammed ElShamy, 19, and Mosa’ab ElShamy, 24, looked out into the twilight falling on the patchy greens and sandy dunes on either side of the highway, which lead to their home in October 6th City, a suburb west of Cairo.

Dutch Treats

The Secret Service Hangover

Vladan Milisavljevic/Getty

The White House is trying to play down the incident, but when an Obama bodyguard passes out drunk in the hallway of a hotel, the Dutch have some theories about why.

In the week since a United States Secret Service Agent was found sprawled in the hall of a five-star beach hotel and spa in The Netherlands so zonked he had to be carried back to his room, the Dutch have turned a wry eye on the incident.They know only too well how quickly visitors succumb to the temptations abundantly available in their country. Prostitution is legal, with both men and women sex workers on display in Amsterdam’s red light district.

The Syria War

France's Gruesome Jihadists

BFMTV

Gruesome videos show the so-called “French Brigade” that fights as part of a breakaway Al-Qaeda faction opposed to Assad

A cable news station in Paris has aired shocking video of French-speaking jihadists at work in Syria. The footage broadcast Thursday night on BFMTV played like a macabre postcard home, only the latest reminder that hundreds of French and thousands of European jihadists are waging war against Bashar al-Assad. The news channel has called it evidence that France’s own are “direct actors in the atrocities committed in Syria.”The video excerpts are said to have been filmed over several days in February by French-speaking members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, a radical group of al-Qaeda dissidents.

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Crisis in Ukraine

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