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Sex Sells

The Enduring Myth of ‘Sex Jihad’

© Amit Dave / Reuters

Despite facts to the contrary, the salacious stories of Saudi women trading sex for extremist expansion continues to taunt.

It had all the elements of a sensational news story: Sex! War! Romance! Extremism! Hypocrisy! Jihad! It was almost too sensational. And too good to check.It started last March, when Tunisia’s Minister of Religious Affairs Nourredine al-Khademi claimed well-known Saudi cleric Muhammed al-Arifi (who urges his followers to “shed blood, smash skulls, and sever limbs for the sake of Allah”) had issued a fatwa legitimizing “sex jihad.” It was perfect click-bait: Muslim women travel to Syria to satiate the sexual desires of jihadists fighting Bashar Assad’s regime and—fingers crossed!—come home pregnant.

Don’t Give In

The Archbishop’s Gay Rights Fail

Ben Curtis/AP

Justin Welby said the Church of England can’t rush on gay marriage because it could could become a rationale for violence against Christians in Africa. But that lets the murderers win.

I admire Justin Welby. The committee to nominate the next Archbishop of Canterbury was obviously thinking outside the box when they went beyond the usual deep-thinking, theological wizards and academicians to nominate this thoroughly 21st-century Christian to lead the Church of England. Welby spent most of his adult life in the business world, getting ordained as a middle-aged man, and serving as the Bishop of Durham for just over a year before becoming Archbishop.

Crisis in Ukraine

How Putin Will Take Ukraine

Alexey Druzhinin/AFP/Getty

Andrei Illarionov, a Putin advisor turned critic, has been predicting the twists of the Ukraine crisis. Now he says Putin will be able to achieve his goals without firing a shot.

A former top advisor to Vladimir Putin says the Russian president probably thinks at this point he can whip Ukraine back into line without having to resort to a full-blown invasion. Although it appears no Western power is willing to take military action to defend Kiev, overt Russian military action would risk deeper and more disruptive Western economic sanctions. So Putin’s willingness to play a longer-term game rests on his “cynical recognition” that he has three years to accomplish his objective before there is a change of leadership in the White House and the possibility of a more resolute American response.

Poster Child

Is Malala A Puppet of the West?

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Humaira Awais Shadid, a leading campaigner for women’s rights in Pakistan, argues that Malala Yousafzai is being used by the West to criticize Islam.

One of Pakistan’s leading women’s rights campaigners says Malala Yousafzai is a victim of the West.Humaira Awais Shahid, a former politician, Harvard fellow, and newspaper editor, said the schoolgirl has been badly damaged by Britain and America, who are taking advantage of her survival story. Malala is now a hate-figure in certain quarters in Pakistan while some secular Westerners have used her traumatic experience in the Swat Valley as an avenue to criticize Islam.

Lens

The Week in Photos

Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

Fort Hood mourns, India votes, and Washington’s cherry blossoms bloom. A look at the most striking images from the past seven days.

Anchors Aweigh!

The Ship That Saved MH370 Search

Landov

In 24 hours, the search area went from 18,000 square miles to 36 square miles all thanks to one piece of Aussie equipment.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott surprised a lot of people Friday when he said, “We are confident that we know the position of the black box flight recorder to within some kilometers.” The man leading the search for the remains of Malaysian Flight MH370, air marshal Angus Houston, had not been anywhere near as specific as this. Had the prime minister, talking to a Chinese audience, got out ahead of the professionals in an excess of enthusiasm?Only 24 hours earlier, air marshal Houston had put the size of the search area at 18,000 square miles.

Day 21

Pistorius Battered on the Stand

Landov

He broke down sobbing again—but that didn’t save the Paralympian from being called a liar in a brutal session with the state prosecutor on Day 21 of his murder trial Friday.

Friday’s early adjournment couldn’t come soon enough for Oscar Pistorius, who endured yet another session of psychological bruising by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, this time over whether he was “ready to shoot” as he approached his bathroom door.On the murder trial’s 21st day, the six-time Paralympic gold medalist denied Nel’s allegation, although he admitted he had taken off the safety on his 9 mm pistol to be ready if attacked. According to Pistorius, who shot and killed his girlfriend of four months in his bathroom in the early hours of February 14, 2013, there is a “massive difference” between that sort of preparation and actively intending to kill someone.

Pope’s Plea

Francis Asks for Forgiveness

Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty

Pope Francis asked forgiveness Friday for the sins of priests who abused children. But victims’ groups say it is too soon for apologies—because the abuse and cover-ups haven’t stopped.

VATICAN CITY—The Easter season that begins on Palm Sunday this weekend is traditionally a “good news” moment for the Catholic Church. So it makes perfect sense that Pope Francis would kick off the festivities with criticism-busting headlines in the one area where he has been criticized the most—his seeming reluctance to apologize for the actions of predator priests.On Friday, at an audience with members of the International Catholic Child Bureau, a Catholic NGO based in France known as the BICE, Francis asked forgiveness for the sins of the church’s worst sinners.

The Wall Cracks

Obama, NATO Chief Split On Ukraine

Hazir Reka/Reuters

The commander of NATO is insisting that the West do more to protect Ukraine from a possible Russian invasion. But the Obama administration has other plans.

Late last month, as the world was still reeling from Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO was warning Congress that Moscow was preparing to make another move.During classified briefings on March 26 and March 27, Gen. Philip Breedlove painted for members of the House Armed Services Committee a bleak picture of Russia’s actions—and warned that the United States was not taking steps it could to help Ukraine better defend itself.

Bunny Boiler

The Murderess in a Gold Hummer

Radovan Stoklasa/Reuters

Slovakian police have arrested the jealous 24-year-old model accused of killing her former 48-year-old lover. He had dumped her for a Russian woman who was 20.

Let this be a warning for rich men who have a penchant for younger women—they can be quite jealous. When Andrew Bush, a 48-year-old multi-millionaire gold trader from Bristol in the United Kingdom, arrived at his love nest on the Spanish Costa del Sol on April 5 with his new 20-year-old Russian girlfriend, he had a surprise visitor waiting for him: his 24-year-old ex with a shotgun.Bush had taken his new lover to the lavish villa for a romantic weekend when his former girlfriend Mayka Marica Kukucuva, a 24-year-old Slovakian model who often graces the swimsuit ads for the H&M retail chain, allegedly blasted him twice in the head.

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Crisis in Ukraine

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