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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
April 8, 2014

Top of the Agenda

Ukraine Moves to Regain Eastern Control

Troops from Ukraine's Interior Ministry expelled pro-Russian separatists from a regional administration building in the eastern city of Kharkiv on Tuesday (NYT), arresting roughly seventy people after protestors seized government buildings in the three cities on Monday. The White House had warned (Reuters) Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday against moving "overtly or covertly" into eastern Ukraine, saying evidence suggested that pro-Russian demonstrators in the region were being paid. A brawl erupted in Ukraine's parliament (Guardian) after the leader of the Communist Party accused nationalists of playing into Russian hands by adopting extreme tactics early in the Ukrainian crisis.


"If Crimea in coming weeks remains cordoned off, it will then require a concerted effort to force Russia to pull back troops, an effort that could divide the United States from European allies who may be more willing to live with the new status quo," writes Peter Baker for the New York Times.

"Considering the shabby state of Russian democracy, and the country's continued move away from Western ideas and ideals, one might argue that the chances of seeing neo-Eurasianism conquer new ground are increasing," write By Anton Barbashin and Hannah Thoburn for Foreign Affairs.

"Should this Byzantine state and its head-on collision with Russian president Vladimir Putin's expanding Russkiy mir (Russian world) be of concern to investors, or are they right to treat it as a colourful sideshow?" writes Yuri Bender for the Financial Times.


Pacific Rim

Hagel Warns China

U.S. secretary of defense Chuck Hagel warned China (Time) against making unilateral moves that could escalate tension in the Asia Pacific, citing Beijing's decision to create an air defense zone last year that worsened the dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. Hagel is in Beijing after touring China's first aircraft carrier.

This CFR Infoguide explains China's various maritime disputes in the East and South China Sea.

AUSTRALIA: After signing a major trade deal with Japan, Australia signed a pact (Yonhap) to free up trade with South Korea on Tuesday. The two countries also agreed to bolster defense cooperation.


South and Central Asia

Afghanistan Counts Votes

Rough tallies of Afghanistan's weekend presidential elections suggest the process will see a second-round run-off between two former ministers (Guardian). Eight men are competing to replace President Hamid Karzai, who has been in office for twelve years and is barred by the constitution from seeking a third term.

INDIA: Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal was slapped by a man (Times of India) during a roadshow in northwest Delhi on Tuesday in the second such attack in four days. India began its high-profile general election on Monday.

CFR's Alyssa Ayres discusses what the BJP Party has to say about foreign policy in this new blog post.


Middle East

New Round of Iran Talks Begin

A new round of six-party talks over Iran's nuclear program began in Vienna on Tuesday, aiming to settle (al-Arabiya) the decade-old dispute by late July. Substantial differences remain, however, as Iran argues it needs large enrichment capacities to make low-enriched reactor fuel.

EGYPT: Media organizations renewed a call for the release of three al-Jazeera journalists who have been held for one hundred days since being arrested in Egypt (al-Jazeera).



French Ambassador Banned From Rwanda Ceremony

The French ambassador to Rwanda was barred (The Star) from attending events marking the twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide amid a diplomatic row surrounding France's role in the 1994 events. Rwandan president Paul Kagame accused France of aiding the murder of Tutsis.

Paul Stares and Anna Feuer delve into atrocity prevention since the Rwandan genocide in this CFR Expert Brief.

SOMALIA: The UN refugee agency expressed concern over the mass arrest (BBC) of Somalis in Kenya as part of a security force operation to end attacks by the militant al-Shabab group.



EU Overturns Data Retention Directive

The European Court of Justice overturned a controversial directive (Deutsche Welle) aimed at assisting prosecutors that allowed telephone and email providers to store private citizen data. The directive had been passed in 2006 after terrorist attacks in London and Madrid.



USAID Chief to Face Questions on ‘Cuban Twitter’

The administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development will face lawmakers (AP) on Tuesday, responding to questions about his agency's secret social media network built to provoke unrest in the country.

VENEZUELA: A coalition of Venezuelan opposition parties said it was willing to enter talks (El Universal) with the government, so long as certain conditions are met. President Nicolas Maduro agreed to participate.



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