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African Tragedy

Stop the Slaughter in South Sudan!

Emre Rende/Reuters

Hate radio; butchered men, women and children; ethnic revenge—the tragedy of South Sudan’s civil war grows worse by the day. More international action is needed to bring it to an end.

On the dusty roads of Bentiu, the capital of South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity state, piles of dead bodies pulled from a local hospital, church and mosque lay baking in the hot sun. Last week, opposition forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar recaptured the strategic town. His undisciplined force—made up of defected ethnic Nuer soldiers and Nuer tribal militias, often referred to as White Army—quickly sought revenge for previous ethnically motivated attacks against Nuer by government forces.

Not a Vacay

Caroline Kennedy Is Big in Japan

Pool photo by Koji Sasahara

President Obama has arrived in Tokyo amid the biggest Asian crisis since Vietnam. Caroline Kennedy has discovered that being ambassador to Japan is no longer an easy life.

Less than a year after Senate confirmation of Caroline Kennedy, rising tensions between Japan and China have made her job one of the most important on the planet.Last November, the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy rode in an ornate, horse-drawn carriage through the heart of Tokyo to Japan’s Imperial Palace. The new United States Ambassador to Japan, as dictated by tradition, presented her credentials to Emperor Akihito, Japan’s reigning monarch.

Crisis in Ukraine

Pro-Putin Thugs Seize U.S. Journalist

Vice News

Vice reporter Simon Ostrovsky has been detained by a pro-Russian faction as part of a campaign to intimidate journalists.

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine—Russian-backed insurgents in this eastern Ukraine town, a flashpoint in the tug of war between Moscow and Kiev, seized American journalist Simon Ostrovsky on Tuesday, claiming that under the “laws of war” they had the right.“He was not reporting in a correct way,” said Stella Khoraeva, a former journalist and spokeswoman for the separatist leader Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, the pro-Russian militant leader in Slovyansk, a rust belt industrial town on a tributary of the Donets River an hour’s drive from the Russian border.

Crisis in Ukraine

‘New Russia’ Rises in Odessa

Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty

Pro-Putin demonstrators in Ukraine’s biggest port are gaining ground, and, they say, have the backing of local police.

Russian President Vladimir Putin talked about “New Russia”  last week during a long question-and-answer session on national television. He was giving a little history lesson about the 18th century and making an observation, a promise—or a threat—for the future.“I would like to remind you that what was called Novorossiya [New Russia] back in the tsarist days—Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson, Nikolayev and Odessa—were not part of Ukraine back then,” he said.

Dismal Legacy

The Tragedy of Manchester United

Alex Livesey/Getty

The club that won the Premier League last season has slid into into seventh place—and its legendary manager’s hand-picked successor is no more. How Ferguson’s hubris doomed David Moyes.

At the end of his long reign, King Lear was ultimately seduced by vanity. As he wrestled over the identity of his successor, one of Shakespeare’s most tragic characters allowed flattery to cloud his judgment.Sir Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager in Manchester United history, made the same mistake when he retired last May after 26 record-breaking years. One of the world’s richest sports teams could have had its pick of the finest coaches anywhere on the planet, but Ferguson wasn’t interested in the leading candidates’ trophy hauls or win-ratios.

Take Off

The Long Flight to Afghanistan

Vladimir Pirogov/Reuters

On his way to Afghanistan, an officer is surprised by a strange sight at a layover in the middle of the night.

Editor’s Note: Nick Willard is the pen name of a service member serving in Afghanistan during the closing days of America’s longest war. He will write what he sees in an ongoing feature for The Daily Beast. Biographical details have been changed to protect his identity. I told my kids goodbye as they went to bed the night before I left. I sat with each one for a few minutes, told them to be good for their mom, that I’d call or Skype as often as I could, and I’d be home before they knew it.

Turnabout

Jihadists Now Run Secret U.S. Base

Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

A camp on the Libyan coastline meant to train terror-hunters has instead become a haven for terrorists and al Qaeda.

A key jihadist leader and longtime member of al Qaeda has taken control of a secretive training facility set up by U.S. special operations forces on the Libyan coastline to help hunt down Islamic militants, according to local media reports, Jihadist web forums, and U.S. officials.In the summer of 2012, American Green Berets began refurbishing a Libyan military base 27 kilometers west of Tripoli in order to hone the skills of Libya’s first Western-trained special operations counter-terrorism fighters.

Air Stupid

The Global Black Box Scandal

Getty

The airline industry installs Wi-Fi to make money from passengers but complains it’s too expensive to put satellite uplinks inside the same planes.

The Australians have predicted that the search for Flight MH370 will cost $234 million.  Given the likely duration and current lack of results, that’s probably a low-ball number. But I have a suggestion for where to send the bill:The International Civil Aviation Organization 999 University Street, Montreal, Quebec H3C 5H7 CanadaThe ICAO is a United Nations agency. It is supposed to represent the interests of the world’s airlines—and the interests of everyone who flies on those airlines.

Unfriendly

Moscow’s War on Social Media

The CEO of Europe’s second-largest social network was sacked this week as the Putin regime’s campaign to silence its internal critics went into overdrive.

As the Russian military has pushed outward into Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin has stepped up its fight on a second front: against its internal opponents and the media they use to organize and spread information. The few voices of Russia’s independent press have fallen one by one in recent months: imprisoned, fired, or intimidated into self-censorship. On Monday, the founder of Russia’s largest social media company, Pavel Durov, announced that he had been fired and replaced by Putin loyalists.

Past As Prologue

Passover Hell Week

Julie Denesha/Getty

The events in Ukraine and Kansas City that occurred around Passover week offer tragic reminders of the heritage of Jewish oppression.

Even during the best of years, Passover, with all that Seder plate symbolism and forbidden grains, is usually a tough holiday for Jews. But this year was different from other years, where a subplot marred the happy ending of the Exodus story and where the bread of affliction (matzo to most people) was not the most distasteful reminder of Jewish suffering. For Jews living in the United States and Ukraine, this year’s Passover painfully recalled the terror and relief of having the angel of death pass over them, yet again.

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Crisis in Ukraine

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