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The Worst Place to Lose a Plane

Pool photo by Rob Griffith

Hope to find MH 370 was virtually destroyed by a month of bungled searching. The only saving grace was one lonely satellite company’s brilliance.

It’s now a month since Malaysian Flight MH370 became modern aviation’s greatest mystery. Certain things are clear and many of them are disturbing.First, the oversight of commercial air space in this part of Asia is chaotic.  Jealously preserved divisions of power within each state made it impossible to achieve the kind of open, rapid and efficient exchange of information between the states themselves that is essential in an emergency.  As s result, too much time has been spent chasing false leads, some of them dubiously motivated, and assessing data that turned out to be badly flawed.

Shady

The Taliban’s Shadow Invasion

Ishtiaq Mahsud/AP

On March 1, the Islamabad government cut a deal with the Taliban. And since then, all hell has been breaking loose in neighboring Afghanistan.

In the last month, the Taliban has killed dozens of people in a string of attacks timed to destabilize Afghanistan ahead of the presidential elections on Saturday.Most recently, a suicide bomber breached the heavy security at the Interior Ministry building and blew himself up, killing six police officers. And that may be just a preview, if local Taliban commanders are to be believed.“We told Afghans not to vote,” said Haji Shakor, a Taliban commander in central Afghanistan.

KIA

Remembering My Sisters in Danger

AP

Two AP journalists, victims of a violent attack on Friday, took risks in Afghanistan that almost no one else covering the war was willing to take.

When I heard Friday that my friends and colleagues Anja Niedringhaus and Kathy Gannon were attacked in Afghanistan, I froze.Not Anja, I thought. An irrepressible, chain-smoking Associated Press photographer with a thick German accent, a raucous laugh, and a deft touch in the kitchen, she is the pro you want to have around when the story gets tough, or horrible. Anja always comes through, and she makes the awful somehow bearable.My second thought: “Oh, hell.

Crisis in Ukraine

Inside the Head of Vladimir Putin

Sasha Mordovets/Getty

Russia’s president is gambling the future of his country to consolidate his grip on power. But his economy is in peril and the people who support him today may well revile him tomorrow.

In a series of autobiographical interviews that were released as a book in 2000, the first year of his presidency, Vladimir Putin portrayed himself as “a pure and utterly successful product of Soviet patriotic education.” Ever since, he has read from that same script, describing everything he does as motivated by his patriotism—now for Russia, since the Soviet Union is no more.There is only one problem with his version of what motivates him: it is patently false.

The Decision

Election Day in Afghanistan

Ahmad Masood/Reuters

Taliban attacks have rocked the country, but on Saturday Afghans will pick their first new president since Hamid Karzai took office in 2001. A look at the final days before the vote.

Crisis in Ukraine

Russian Spies Behind Kiev Killers

The Daily Beast

Following on a Daily Beast report, Ukrainian authorities say that Russian advisers and ex-President Yanukovych played a direct role in the slaughter of protesters on February 20.

Ukraine’s new authorities have arrested a dozen members of the country’s disbanded “Berkut” riot police. The men are suspected of participation in the February slayings of dozens of protesters in Kiev, gunned down while agitating for the ouster of then-President Viktor Yanukovych. The authorities say more arrests are to follow and they are turning their attention to other security units, including a crack Ukrainian anti-terrorist team first identified by the Daily Beast last weekend.

IED SCARE

Iraq’s Biggest Killer Hits Cairo

Al Youm Al Saabi Newspaper/Reuters

Three explosions rocked Egypt’s capital city on Wednesday raising the terrifying prospect that deadly IEDs will destroy the country’s fledgling democratic process.

Improvised Explosive Devices, the infamous IEDs that proved so deadly in Iraq and Afghanistan, have made a devastating appearance in the heart of Cairo. They had already been used in the embattled Sinai peninsula, raising fears about the influence of international terror tactics, but these most recent blasts have taken place in and around the capital where the presidential election campaign is getting underway.Three coordinated IED were detonated outside the Cairo University campus yesterday, killing a senior security force commander injuring five other police officers.

DMZ 2.0

Korean Conflict’s Weird Wartech

Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

The six decade long standoff on the Korean peninsula has spawned an offbeat arsenal on both sides of the DMZ.

This week’s faux artillery duel between North and South Korea, in which both bombarded empty patches of water, highlighted the at times oddball confrontation between North and South Korea.The North, after warning the U.S. and South Korea to cancel their planned amphibious exercises, registered displeasure by bombarding an empty patch of ocean, just south of the border. The South responded in kind by bombarding an equally lonely patch of ocean, just north of the border.

Redemptive Love

When Your Son Is a Suicide Bomber

Priscilla Coleman/Rex

Andrew Ibrahim was arrested as a suspected suicide bomber. His mother’s love helped bring him back from the brink.

At the trial, Andrew Ibrahim’s attorney recounted what the 19-year-old exclaimed when he was arrested for possession of homemade explosives and a half completed suicide vest.“My mom is going to kill me!”Mom is Vicki Ibrahim. She was sitting in the spectator’s section in Winchester Crown Court in Hampshire, England on this day in 2009 with her husband, who is a pathologist, and her older son, who is an Oxford graduate. She was herself an administrator at a medical school.

Crisis in the Ukraine

Putin’s Crazy Empire Builder

Andrey Smirnov/AFP/Getty

Whether or not Putin really believes the semi-mystical philosophy of “Eurasian” supremacy, he’s using it to justify Russia’s designs on Crimea, Ukraine and beyond.

Oleg Bahtiyarov was arrested while sitting on a park bench in the center of Kiev on March 31. Ukraine’s state security service says that, working in the guise of a civil society activist, he had trained a group of about 200 people to seize parliament and another government building.  According to Ukraine state security, Bahtiyarov is part of a large wave of Russian spies and operatives who have been flooding into the country before crucial presidential elections on May 25.

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Crisis in Ukraine

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U.S. NEWS

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