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GONE TOO SOON

Peaches Geldof Dies at 25

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Police found the daughter of rock star Bob Geldof at her home in Kent, England Monday afternoon, but the cause of her sudden death is still unknown.

Peaches Geldof, journalist, TV personality and one-time model, who had two young children, has been found dead at her home at the age of 25. Police officers said they were treating her passing as “sudden” and “unexplained” almost 15 years after the abrupt and public death of her own mother.The rock star scion became one of the loudest voices of her generation; prolific on social media and in the British press. The final message she posted on Twitter and Instagram was a photograph with her mother, who died suddenly when she was just 11, alongside the message: “Me and my mum.

Pros & Cons

Old Bosses Sabotaging New Ukraine

Mikhail Maslovsky/Reuters

The presence of the ousted leader’s top aides in the east has sparked pro-Russian protests, adding unrest in the ongoing struggle to manipulate borders.

This weekend’s pro-Russian protests, which saw hundreds of agitators occupying government buildings in three eastern Ukraine cities, comes after a flurry of recent clandestine visits by former top aides of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych to several Ukrainian towns near the border with Russia, say former business associates of the onetime government advisers.They say the aides from Yanukovych’s inner circle, most notable among the toppled leader’s former chief of staff, Andrei Klyuyev, who also served as secretary of the country’s national security council, held discussions with leaders of local ethnic Russian groups and offered laid-off factory workers money, if they joined pro-Russian protests and manned checkpoints set up to hinder Ukrainian military movements and preparation for any Russian military incursions.

Crisis in Ukraine

Putin’s New Ploy

Mikhail Maslovsky/Reuters

Moscow's latest gambit ratchets up tensions as his army remains poised to cross Ukraine’s border.

MOSCOW — Thousands of pro-Russian activists put Russian flags on top of seized administrative buildings in three major cities of Eastern Ukraine: Kharkiv, Donetsk and Lugansk on Sunday. And now the protestors have declared independence from what they call the “junta rulers” in Kiev, the capital.As the demonstrators broke through rows of policemen, they chanted: “No to elections! Yes to a referendum!” calling for a Crimea-style vote that could lead to annexation by Russia.

Afghan Triumph

Would You Risk Your Life to Vote?

Rahmat Gul/AP

In November 2012, U.S. voter turnout was 58 percent. And on Saturday, Afghan turnout was about the same—in the face of dire threats and violence. What does that say about our democracy?

What would you be willing to risk in order to vote? Would you cast a ballot if it meant your finger might be cut off? Would you head to the polls if there were a credible threat that terrorists were going to blow up your polling station? Would you even leave your house on Election Day if terrorists threatened to kill people who voted?I doubt I would risk that much. But those were the dangers the people of Afghanistan faced as they went to the polls Saturday to determine who would succeed President Hamid Karzai.

Crisis in Ukraine

Russia’s Imperial Hipsters

Thomas Peter/Reuters

Even before the crisis in Crimea, Moscow’s creative class was in trouble. Now the Russians who call themselves hipsters feel like strangers in their own homeland.

Every morning last week, public relations specialist Roman Fedoseyev dreaded going online, fearful he would find news that the Russian army had crossed the Ukrainian border. The crisis called Crimea haunts the dreams of Fedoseyev and his friends in Moscow’s creative class, or “hipsters” as they call themselves, using a word borrowed and made their own. But when they wake, they keep hoping life can go on as usual.  The sad thing is, it won’t.The authorities already have closed media outlets, attacked pro-Western theaters and cinemas and adopted laws aimed against any alternative opinions.

Ukraine

My Walk Through Maidan Square

Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters

At the center of Ukraine's capital, the birthplace of the recent unrest, everyone waits for what happens next.

KIEV, Ukraine—The lingering smells of the aftermath of revolution tinge the air: burning trash, the exhaust of diesel generators, the cabbage soup of communal kitchens. The smells waft through the shantytown of tents and tires known as the Maidan, the main square in Kiev.The first things I saw were a large trade union building which was completely scorched and missing window panes, a McDonald’s restaurant, and a sea of people protected by tires joining in the weekly Sunday ceremony of remembrance for the 100-plus killed in the Ukrainian revolution that drove President Victor Yanukovych from office.

Faith

Chinese Christians Defend Church

Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters

Christians have flocked to defend a church in eastern China after Communist Party officials claimed it was an "illegal construction" and announced plans to demolish it.

By Tom PhillipsWENZHOU, China—Thousands of Chinese Christians have mounted an extraordinary, round-the-clock defence of a church in a city known as the 'Jerusalem of the East' after Communist Party officials threatened to bulldoze their place of worship.In an episode that underlines the fierce and long-standing friction between China's officially atheist Communist Party and its rapidly growing Christian congregation, Bible-carrying believers this week flocked to the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou hoping to protect it from the bulldozers.

Overheard

The Russians Want Miami

The Daily Beast

A pair of Russian ambassadors allegedly joked about Moscow’s coming conquests. The Kremlin says the recording is phony. But there’s more than a grain of truth.

Which territory should Russia annex next? A couple of Moscow’s ambassadors in Africa allegedly joked about that on the phone, according to a leak that sounds like the latest skirmish in the battle of intercepts. Forget “all these limitrophes,” one said, referring to territories on the Russian border; they’re “shit.” And maybe the European Union would like to give back Romania and Bulgaria. No. Better for Russia to annex Venice, Catalonia or Alaska (all of which have well-publicized if improbable secessionist movements).

Lost Bling

Spain’s Bullsh*t ‘Holy Grail’

CESAR MANSO/The Daily Beast

Two historians claim they’ve identified the legendary cup—a relic made of gold and precious stones. But where’d a poor carpenter get that kind of money?

This week news emerged that two Spanish historians have identified the Holy Grail, the cup from which Jesus drank the night before he died. And wouldn’t you know it, they found the darned thing right before Easter, too! This is more than just your average Christian relic. According to some later legends, it was also used to catch the blood that flowed from his side at the crucifixion and bestows immortality on those who drank from it. The cup was “discovered” at a museum—on display—at the San Isidro Basilica León in northwestern Spain by Margarita Torres and José Manuel Ortega del Rio, who published the results of their study in the recently released book Kings of the Grail.

Death Watch

I Predicted My Own Death

Joseph Okanga/Reuters

The United States supports Nairobi’s fight against terrorists, but it’s getting very ugly.

MOMBASA, Kenya—“The state wants to kill me,” the 53-year-old jihadist Abubakar Shariff Ahmed, better known as “Makaburi,” told me in late February. He said he was sure that one day he’d be gunned down by “unknown assailants” on a street in Mombasa. That’s how so many controversial Islamic leaders have died in Kenya in recent months, he said. And then, earlier this week, the prophecy came true.On Tuesday, “unknown assailants” gunned down Makaburi as he was leaving a courthouse outside Mombasa.

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Crisis in Ukraine

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U.S. NEWS

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WHAT NEXT?

An Edward Hopper Novel?