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New Paradigm

Old Cold War Blocs Won’t Work

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The U.S. has convinced its Western allies to Boot Russia out of the G8, but it needs the cooperation of emerging nations to avoid a new cold-war stalemate.

The shadow of history hung heavily yesterday as the geopolitical ramifications of the Ukraine crisis widened.War between the great powers was the dominant fear of the Cold War, but that fear recessed with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of bloc versus bloc rivalry. But did The Hague just witness the emergence of a new bloc to bloc rivalry, triggered by events in the Ukraine?Taking center stage in The Hague was the recreation of the G7 as a unified western bloc.

Chefs

The Queen of the French Kitchen

Rizzoli USA

Before Ducasse, before Bocuse, there was La Mère Brazier, whose cooking was the ultimate in rich hedonism.

Deep in the volcanic gullet of France, on the swollen banks of two rivers fat with fish and krill, in a land sweetened by sod and loamy truffle clods, Lyon squats with its bouchons and charcuteries, a gastronome's glutted mirage. This is not Paris, elite capital of elegant cafés, ville of dainty macarons and delicate glaciers—this a town belonging to the butchers and the traders, to the silk workers’ guild and the workaday Quai Saint-Antoine, where fishmongers and oyster stalls rowdily hawk their rough wares.

Polls Vobiscum

Obama Needs the Pope’s Halo Effect

Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

The long line of famous names looking for a papal photo op over the last few months has included Putin, Netanyahu and Russell Crowe.

Does being around the most popular person on the planet make you popular, too? Apparently that’s the hope. Judging by the way the world’s elite are flocking to Vatican City, you might think Pope Francis is sprinkling magic pixie dust, not holy water. On Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama will take his turn visiting the popular pontiff.  Obama and an entourage of around 700 staffers, security folks and the White House traveling press corps, will descend on Rome for what may not be much more than a high-level photo op.

Nyet

The Ukrainian Sex Strike

Thomas Peter/Reuters

Call me when you’ve left Crimea, Ivan. The ‘Don’t Give It to a Russian’ campaign enlists Ukraine’s women in the boycott of Russian-made goods.

On the heels of of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, while the U.S. and EU threaten sanctions against the Kremlin, Ukrainian women have adopted their own extreme measure to pique Putin’s interest: swearing off sex with Russian men.The women behind the sex-strike campaign, called Don’t Give It to a Russian, are doing their part to contribute to a larger boycott of Russian-made goods, urging other Ukrainian ladies via their Facebook page to “fight the enemy by whatever means”—to keep their legs crossed at all costs, in this case.

Listening In

Putin's Latest Dirty Trick

AFP/Getty

The same government that gives asylum to NSA outlaw Edward Snowden is intercepting and leaking the private phone calls of its adversaries.

In the last seven weeks, intercepted phone conversations between Western and Ukrainian officials have mysteriously surfaced on the Internet. U.S. intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast these phone recordings are part of a deliberate Russian strategy to collect and publicize the private conversations of their adversaries. It started in the first week of February. As Ukraine’s political elites were scrambling to form a new government, a recording of a cellphone call emerged between Victoria Nuland, the U.

Over

Syrian Peace Talks Are Dead

Ammar Abdullah/Reuters

The top negotiator for the Syrian Opposition Coalition tells The Daily Beast there will be no more peace talks in Geneva unless the regime drastically changes its tune.

With peace talks all but pronounced dead and the Free Syrian Army on its heels, there can be no more illusions about reaching a negotiated political solution with Bashar al-Assad’s regime under the current conditions, according to the chief negotiator for the Syrian Opposition Coalition.Hadi Al Bahra represented the SOC, which the United States has deemed “the legitimate representative of the Syrian people,” at two rounds of confrontational meetings between civilian opposition leaders and regime representatives in Geneva, organized by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Insurance

MH370: Putting a Price on Life

Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters

With the flight now declared lost, an even more mysterious undertaking begins—in the world of insurance. Who gets paid now?

On Monday, when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 “ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” it wasn’t simply a concession to the reality of the situation. It was a signal to the carrier’s insurance companies, and to lawyers around the world.The official conclusion that a plane isn’t likely to be located, retrieved, or salvaged triggers a “hull loss,” which meant insurers would begin making payments to compensate Malaysian Airlines for the loss of the plane.

MAD Men

The Strangelove Summit

John Thys/Reuters

More than 50 world leaders assembled in The Hague on Monday and Tuesday to address the problem of nuclear security—and grapple with the new threats posed by nuclear Russia.

Dr. Strangelove would have felt at home at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on Monday and Tuesday. For starters, the chamber where 53 countries came together around a great circular table bore an uncanny resemblance to the War Room in Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1964 satire about atomic Armageddon. And, like the characters in Dr. Strangelove, many of the world leaders in the Dutch capital seemed reluctant to believe the disaster playing out in front of their eyes.

Crisis

Watching Syria Burn

Ammar Abdullah / Reuters

As Syria enters the fourth year of its bloody conflict, with almost 150,000 killed and 9 million refugees, the feeling of being forgotten by the international community is increasing.

“All is empty words. We have heard a lot of words and promises but after three years of meetings and talks nothing has happened and nothing has changed,” said Aum Ahmad, 27, a Syrian and mother of two children. She dashed out the room sobbing, leaving me with my notebook sitting on a light mattress on the floor. An empty wood stove stood in the middle of the confined room; Syrian refugees cannot afford to pay for the cost of heating in Turkey.

U.S. Keeps Saudi’s Worst Secret

The Daily Beast

The most comprehensive study of Saudi textbooks ever commissioned by the U.S. government was completed at the end of 2012, but to this date the State Department has kept it from the public.

As President Obama prepares for his first visit of his second term to Saudi Arabia, pressure is mounting on the State Department to publish the most comprehensive U.S. government study of the Kingdom’s textbooks.While the study has been finished since the end of 2012, it has nonetheless been kept from the public, according to a new report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a center-right think tank in Washington.  The report, shared with The Daily Beast ahead of publication Tuesday, says, “The State Department is in possession of a uniquely exhaustive set of recent findings about incitement in Saudi Arabia's education system, findings that it has declined to release for public consumption.

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Crisis in Ukraine

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