c.2013 New York Times News Service
FOR OBAMA’S GLOBAL VISION, DAUNTING PROBLEMS
President Barack Obama, in one of the most significant speeches of his presidency on Thursday, did not simply declare an end to the post-9/11 era. He also offered a vision of America’s role in the world that he hopes could be one of his lasting legacies. It is an ambitious vision — one that eschews a muscle-bound foreign policy, dominated by the military and intelligence services, in favor of energetic diplomacy, foreign aid and a more measured response to terrorism. But it is fraught with risks, and hostage to forces that are often out of the president’s control.
CHINA BLUNTLY TELLS NORTH KOREA TO ENTER NUCLEAR TALKS
The Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, bluntly told a North Korean envoy in Beijing on Friday that his country should return to diplomatic talks intended to rid it of its nuclear weapons, according to a state-run Chinese news agency. “The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and lasting peace on the peninsula is what the people want and also the trend of the times,” Xi said in a meeting with Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae, a personal envoy of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, the China News Service reported. Xi’s warning made clear that he was insisting on international talks.
TALIBAN ATTACK U.N. AFFILIATE’S COMPOUND IN KABUL, TESTING AFGHAN SECURITY FORCES
In what appeared to be a concerted effort to test the capabilities of Afghan security forces, Taliban insurgents sought to penetrate the fortified heart of Kabul, blasting their way into a residential compound of the International Organization for Migration, a United Nations-affiliated agency. The Afghan forces managed to hold the attackers at bay, and hundreds of agency employees in nearby compounds escaped harm. But at least two people were killed, and it took more than six hours for hundreds of Afghan police officers to subdue no more than six attackers with suicide vests, guns and grenade launchers.
RAPES IN BRAZIL LEAD TO DEBATE ON CLASS AND GENDER DIVIDE
A recent wave of rapes in Rio de Janeiro — some captured on video cameras — have cast a spotlight on the unresolved contradictions of Brazil, a nation that is coming of age as a world power. Brazil has a woman as president, a woman as a powerful police commander and a woman as the head of its national oil company — and yet it was not until an American was raped that the authorities got fully involved and arrested suspects in the case.
MILITANT SAYS HE IS BEHIND FATAL NIGER ATTACK
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the mastermind of the January seizure of an Algerian gas plant that left dozens of foreign hostages dead, has claimed responsibility for another terrorist attack — the suicide bombings on Thursday in Niger that killed about 30 people, including 24 soldiers and at least six jihadists. If true, Belmokhtar’s claim would put one of the Sahel’s most hardened militants, whom Chad’s military said in March it had killed in battle, back at the center of the region’s fight against Islamist jihad. Experts saw no reason to doubt Belmokhtar’s claim.
5 CLIMBERS FEARED DEAD ON HIMALAYAN PEAK
Five climbers, including a noted Hungarian mountaineer, are missing and feared dead after apparently trying to descend from the world’s third-highest mountain, Nepalese officials said Friday. The climbers — two Hungarians, a South Korean and two Nepalese Sherpas — may have fallen while at an altitude of 25,900 feet on Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas. One of the climbers, Zsolt Eross, 45, was the first Hungarian to ascend Mount Everest. After a serious climbing accident in 2010, his right leg was amputated below the knee; a year later, he climbed Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest peak, using a prosthetic.
ENDING MIDEAST VISIT, KERRY CALLS FOR LEADERSHIP
Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to “demonstrate leadership” in the coming days in order to find a way back to direct peace negotiations. “We are reaching a time when leaders need to make hard decisions,” he said at a news conference in Tel Aviv after wrapping up a day and a half of meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Mahmoud Abbas and other officials. But after eight weeks of intense effort to revitalize the peace process, and four trips to the region, it was clear there was still no breakthrough.
AFTER DEATH OF SOLDIER, SCRUTINY ON BRITISH SECURITY AGENCY
Pressure mounted on Friday for MI5, Britain’s domestic security agency, to explain how two men with years of involvement with extremist Islamic groups were left free to kill an off-duty soldier this week, striking him with their car in a London suburb and then hacking him repeatedly with butchers’ cleavers. For its sheer brutality, and the fact that the episode was recorded in detail by witnesses, the attack outside the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich on Wednesday came as a shock to many in Britain after years of success by MI5 and other security agencies in pre-empting terrorist plots.