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Obama calls for trans-Atlantic unity to isolate Russia

BRUSSELS — US President Barack Obama made a rallying call Wednesday for countries around the world to defend the international order, which he says has been profoundly challenged by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and ongoing threat to the rest of Ukraine.

North Korean students are now advised to get the exact same haircut as Kim Jong Un

This is incredible. Unless you're a North Korean man. With a weird shaped head. As of two weeks ago, men in North Korea are required to get the "Dear Leader Kim Jong Un" haircut.

Go home Secret Service agents, you're drunk

The US sent three Secret Service agents tasked with protecting President Obama home after their booze-fest in Amsterdam.

8 reasons why India’s elections really matter to the world

NEW DELHI — With 48 countries going to the polls this year, it would be easy to dismiss India’s April general election as just more democracy in action. But India is different, and not only because it is the world’s largest democracy.

Putin hasn't changed. It's time the West did.

BOSTON — Before George W. Bush got a sense of Vladimir Putin’s soul by looking into eyes, there was Tony Blair.

New sanctions are driving Russians to drink

The new sanctions certainly increase the tension between Moscow and Washington; it’s not yet clear whether they will do anything to move Russia out of Crimea or curb the Kremlin’s expansionist ambitions. But the market is already reacting: Standard & Poor’s and Fitch credit rating agencies promptly downgraded the outlook for Russian sovereign debt from stable to negative, and Russian stock indexes plummeted in early trading on Friday.

Turkish president says on Twitter that social media bans are unacceptable

Courts blocked access to Twitter after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's defiant vow, on the campaign trail on Thursday.

Putin's playing a losing game

Far from rising, Russia is heading toward crisis in many ways. Economic growth is slowing. Energy prices are increasingly volatile. Poverty, alcoholism and disease are helping kill off more Russians as corruption chokes off entrepreneurship and international isolation will worsen Moscow’s situation. Seen against such dismal realities, Putin’s foreign adventures smack of desperation.

Uruguay agrees to receive five Guantanamo detainees

Uruguay said Thursday it had agreed to receive five prisoners of as yet undisclosed nationalities from the US war on terror prison camp in Guantanamo Bay. US President Barack Obama is struggling to fulfill his five-year-old promise to close the controversial jail, and countries have been slow to come forward and agree to accept transferred inmates. Confirming a report first published in the weekly Busqueda newspaper, a high-level government source told AFP that Uruguay will host the former inmates for at least two years.

This time, it’s serious: Thailand’s upcountry is preparing for civil war

CHIANG MAI — For months, Thailand has grown frighteningly chaotic. The nation has lacked a parliament since December. Protesters have sabotaged elections needed to pick a new one — all while invading ministries, blockading parts of the capital and vowing to abduct the premier. In Thailand, such mayhem historically triggers a coup. But this time is different. The army is standing back. The nation is so divided that a government takeover could spark civil war. Most Thais dread the specter of army intervention. But not Mahawon Kawang. “I want it to happen as soon as possible,” says the influential Red Shirt member.
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