Wednesday, March 31, 2010

FP morning post 3/31

Week of violence continues in Russia with Dagestan bombing

Top news: A double suicide bombing targeting police in Russia's southern province of Dagestan killed at least 12 people, just two days after suicide bombings killed 39 in the Moscow Metro.

The first bomb exploded in an SUV that had been pulled over by police in the town of Kizlyar. Half an hour later, a second bomber dressed in a police uniform approached the crime scene where emergency workers had gathered and blew himself up. Seven of those killed were police officers including the district police chief. The first vehicle's intended target is unknown but the explosion took place not far from Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service buildings.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said it is possible that the latest attacks are linked to the Moscow bombing. "I don't rule out that the same terrorists were involved," he said. "It does not matter for us in what part of the country these crimes have been committed, or who -- people of what ethnicity or religion -- have fallen victims to these crimes. We see this as a crime against Russia."

More than 500 terrorist acts were carried out in the North Caucasus in 2009 according to the Russian prosecutor general's office. The latest attacks come at a moment when President Dmitry Medvedev appeared to be shifting toward a focus on poverty and unemployment as root causes of the violence in the region. Medvedev took the unusual step of discussing these matters in the wake of this week's subway bombings, saying, “people want a normal and decent life, no matter where they live,” but this week's deadly violence may herald a return to the harder-edged military tactics favored by Putin.

Environment: The Obama administration is proposing opening large expanses of the Atlantic coastline, Gulf of Mexico, and North Coast of Alaska, to oil drilling.

Middle East
  • A vetting panel says that six of the winning candidates in Iraq's parliamentary elections should be disqualified because of ties to the Baath party.
  • Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appears intent on remaining in power after coming in second to former Prime Minsiter Ayad Allawi's bloc in the elections.
  • New sanctions targeted at Iran's nuclear program were discussed at a meeting of G8 foreign ministers in Canda.
  • The U.S. embassy in Nigeria has raised its security alert status.
  • Kenya's government has denounced a U.N. reports saying that many of its citizens are linked to Somalia's al Shabaab rebels.
  • Ugandan police say a man has confessed to setting fire to royal tombs in Kampala earlier this month.
  • A British investigation into the "climategate" e-mails largely cleared the scientists involved on any wrongdoing.
  • Serbia's government approved a measure apologizing for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
  • A Belgian parliamentary committee has voted to ban the waring of the Burqa in public.
  • A Colombian soldier held hostage by the FARC was finally released after 12 years.
  • Former U.S. President Bill Clinton will co-chair a committee overseeing billions in aid to Haiti.
  • An Ecuadorean journalist facing a three-year sentence for defamation has accused Rafael Correa's government of persecuting journalists.
-By Joshua Keating


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