Fault Lines reports from a Taliban stronghold just an hour outside Kabul, where armed fighters openly patrol streets.
A Taliban stronghold in the Charkh District, just an hour outside Kabul, has become a microcosm of Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Though only an hour from Kabul, armed Taliban patrol the streets openly and have built a parallel administration in Charkh, including Islamic law courts and girls schools.
Waves of up to 2.1m (6ft) have hit some areas in Chile, and there have been power cuts, fires and landslides. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated in affected areas, where a state of emergency has been declared. Chilean TV broadcast pictures of traffic jams as people tried to leave. Officials said the dead included people who were crushed by collapsing walls or died of heart attacks. Iquique Governor Gonzalo Prieto told local media that in addition to those killed, several people had been seriously injured. While the government said it had no reports of significant damage to coastal areas, a number of adobe homes were reported destroyed in Arica.
Seth Dixon's insight:
See some of footage of the when the quake actually hit here.
If Crimea ‘historically’ belongs to Russia, these other regions ‘historically’ don’t.
The rise and fall of empires, two World Wars and the collapse of the Soviet Union mean the map of Europe has been redrawn more times than Russian President Vladimir Putin has posed shirtless. And anyone who claims they owned anywhere first would, if they were being entirely honest, probably have to admit that someone else got there before them.
That was Putin’s logic for the Russian annexation of Crimea. It used to be ours. Therefore it always was, therefore it still is.
Well, by the same token, several other countries could take bites out of Russia. The world’s largest country didn’t start off that way. Just like every other empire, it invaded, conquered, negotiated and seized the lands it now calls its own.
Some of those lands are fiercely disputed to this day, some are the subjects of uneasy settlements, and some have long ago been relinquished to Russia’s unchallenged control. But here’s a list of the most important Russian territories that other countries could, if they chose, try to claim back.
Russians are celebrating Crimea's return. The West is bent on punishing Moscow. And Ukrainians are feeling more besieged than ever.
The past week has once again dramatized just how differently Russia, Ukraine, and the West perceive the crisis in Crimea. While Washington and Brussels are sternly defending Ukraine and weighing punishments for Russia's annexation of Crimea, Russians are rallying around their national flag, celebrating the "historical fairness" of Crimea's return to their country, and smirking sarcastically at the West's every move. Ukraine, meanwhile, remains caught up in the endless cycle of drama and crisis that the supporters of the recent popular uprising in Kiev call the "Revolution of Dignity."
Ukraine’s breakaway region of Crimea will ask Tatars to vacate part of the land where they now live in exchange for new territory elsewhere in the region, a top Crimean government official said Tuesday.
Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev said in an interview with RIA Novosti on Tuesday the new government in Crimea, where residents voted Sunday to become part of Russia, wants to regularize the land unofficially taken over by Crimean Tatar squatters following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“We have asked the Crimean Tatars to vacate part of their land, which is required for social needs,” Temirgaliyev said. “But we are ready to allocate and legalize many other plots of land to ensure a normal life for the Crimean Tatars,” he said.
Washington tells the Syrian government to immediately suspend its diplomatic and consular missions in the United States.
Rubenstein said the order responds to a decision by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad to suspend its own consular services. However, Rubenstein said the US wants to continue diplomatic relations with Syria and maintain a relationship if Assad steps down from power.
Venezuela's President, Nicolas Maduro, has broken diplomatic relations and frozen economic ties with Panama. The decision comes after the Central American nation requested a meeting at the Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss Venezuela's crisis.
Portobello Road in west London is home to one of the most famous antiques markets in the world. Every Friday and Saturday 100,000 visitors stroll past a mile-long strip of multicoloured Victorian terraces, attracted by the bohemian atmosphere and the shops and street stalls selling not just antiques, but fruit and vegetables, jewellery, bric-a-brac, vintage clothes and fabrics.
Yet, despite the fame and the footfall, many believe the market is under threat. Rising rents and falling takings have forced some local stalls and boutiques to close and make way for flagship stores from international brands such as Kurt Geiger and American Apparel, or tourist shops peddlling “I heart London” souvenirs.
Seth Dixon's insight:
Global and regional economic forces can have profound impact on local communities and restructure the cultural feel that has been around for generations.
Belarus signed up early to join the Eurasian Union, but has started hedging its bets since Russia's annexation of Crimea -- and understandably so. According to Putin’s reasoning for seizing Crimea, Belarus could be the next target.
There is a bitter irony at the heart of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea. Putin’s short-term victory is already coming at the expense of his most cherished long-term strategy -- the creation of a Eurasian Union, a trade union linking Russia and its closest neighbors. In other words, as the invasion expands Russian territory, it will diminish Russian influence in the very places he’d like to increase it. One need only look to Belarus, which is already beginning to hedge against its alliance with Moscow, to see why.
"With Russia seizing the last remaining Ukrainian military base in Crimea and massing troops along Ukraine's eastern border, a top Ukrainian official warned that the chances of war with Russia were growing higher."
The comments come amid growing concern that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin may try to follow his conquest and annexation of Crimea with a move into eastern Ukraine as well. The United States and its allies have warned Putin not to proceed into the region, but similar language -- and sanctions against members of the Russian president's inner circle -- failed to prevent him from absorbing Crimea. Moscow finished its takeover of the peninsula this weekend when it seized the final Ukrainian military base and evicted the last remaining troops.
"On March 7, Saudi Arabia took the extraordinary step of declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, on par with Hezbollah and al Qaeda. The move came just two days after the kingdom, together with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, withdrew its ambassador from Qatar because of Qatar’s alleged support of Brotherhood interference in internal politics. Although Saudi Arabia’s dislike of Brotherhood political activities abroad is well known, for decades the kingdom has tolerated (and sometimes even worked with) the local Saudi branch of the Brotherhood. Its sudden reversal is an expression of solidarity with its politically vulnerable allies in the region and a warning to Sunni Islamists within its borders to tread carefully."
President Obama takes a big risk and scores a win for democracy -- and no one gives a damn.
President Obama pulled off a master stroke this week. He deployed U.S. military force in support of an infant democracy that desperately needs our help. The result was a resounding success, a vivid illustration of how the United States can put its unchallenged power to positive ends.
He did it, once again, by sending in the SEALs, the U.S. Navy's famous special forces. But this time they weren't double-tapping a terrorist. Instead they seized a mysterious tanker that had skipped out of Libya with a shipment of oil that one of the country's rogue militias was trying to sell on the open market. By doing it the SEALs foiled a potentially game-changing challenge to the authority of Libya's hard-pressed government -- one of the very few in the Arab world to have actually been elected by its own country's people.
The collective disinterest is appalling when you consider that the country we just helped is Libya. You remember, right -- the place where our ambassador was killed by terrorists two years ago?
Control of resources and dependence on other countries is a central theme connecting the longstanding tension between Russia and Ukraine and potential actions taken by the rest of the world as the crisis escalates.
The oil-rich emirate once was heralded as the Arab world's rising power. Now, its neighbors are pressuring it to take a back seat role.
Qatar's perceived support of the Muslim Brotherhood has also not gone over well with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which view the organization as a subversive threat that could seek to overthrow the Gulf's ruling monarchies. The Gulf states' diplomatic maneuver also tops a spectacular fall from grace for Qatar, which not long ago was hailed as an unlikely leading power in the Middle East. Over the last year, Qatar's allies have steadily lost ground: Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi was ousted from power and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, who could frequently be spotted in Doha's hotel lobbies sipping tea and meeting diplomats, were jailed. In the summer of 2013, Saudi Arabia also took a leadership role in the Syrian uprising, usurping Qatar's role as the primary financer and political backer of the opposition.
"Qatar took a step back with the Syrian opposition," says one Doha-based opposition member. "Politically, it is in the back seat -- or maybe not even in the car."
In The Wall Street Journal, Garry Kasparov writes that the U.S. should target their assets abroad, their mansions and IPOs in London, their yachts. Use banks, not tanks.
For the second time in six years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian troops across an internationally recognized border to occupy territory. This fact must be stated plainly before any discussion of motives or consequences. Russian troops have taken Crimea and they are not leaving, despite the Ukrainian government's protests. Five hundred kilometers southeast across the Black Sea, Russian soldiers still occupy parts of Georgia—South Ossetia and Abkhazia—where they have been since Mr. Putin's 2008 invasion and de facto annexation.
It’s time for some levelheaded talk about that ostensibly endless stretch of flatness some denigrate as “flyover country” and others respectfully call 'Kansas.' The alleged monotony of the Sunflower State’s terrain is referenced about as often as “The Wizard of Oz” when Kansas pops up into conversation. “It’s truly engrained,” said Jerry Dobson, professor of geography at the University of Kansas. “Every Kansan hears again and again, when new visitors arrive, ‘I’m surprised. This place is not as flat as I expected.’
By any measure, Florida takes the prize for the flattest state in the nation becuase the highest point in the state is only 345 feet above sea level. Then Illinois, North Dakota, Louisiana, Minnesota and Delaware follow. Kansas merely ranks seventh in flatness.