April 22, 2014
As Western nations struggle to appease environmentalists, Russia is moving fast to tap huge oil and gas deposits in the Arctic Circle, making its first oil shipment from an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic Ocean on April 18. Moscow is likely now to attempt to fortify its dominant position in the icy region in a bid to protect its interests.
Russia Taps Arctic Oil, Leaving Rivals in Its Wake
The Prirazlomnaya drilling platform, owned by Gazprom, is towed to its home in the Pechora Sea. The Arctic region is estimated to hold 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,669 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the US Geological Survey. (Gazprom)
Obama to Face Policy Challenges at Every Stop on Asian Tour
April 22, 2014
President Barack Obama’s weeklong trip to Asia comes at a critical time for U.S. foreign policy as all eyes are focused on Russian aggression in Ukraine while Asian politics are in turmoil. The trip was intended to demonstrate the president’s commitment to his 2011 “Asia pivot” policy initiative, but events in Europe as well as declining defense budgets, underscore what many critics depict as another hollow element in a growing list of policy stumbles.
Justice Delayed: IRA Bombing Trial Typifies Terror Cases
April 22, 2014
The prime suspect in the single worst atrocity in the 30-year-bombing campaign of the Provisional Irish Republican Army finally faced justice April 9 after a decade and a half. Irishman Seamus Daly,43, was charged with 29 murders in Omagh, Northern Ireland, on Aug. 15, 1998.
Yemen: Al-Qaeda’s Rise Threatens Already Weak Regime
April 21, 2014
As Yemen moves toward a new constitution, the local al-Qaeda branch seeks to destabilize the country while a weak central government faces the unsettling menace of additional armed groups all over the map. The result is a climate of insecurity that threatens to undermine the progress of the past two years and leave the Middle East’s poorest country exposed to further deadly unrest.
US Treasury Debt About to Become a Tougher Sell
April 21, 2014
Special Economic Analysis
by Peter Warburton, PhD


Despite the improvement in the U.S federal budget that followed last year’s tax increases and government spending cuts, the underlying deficit is still running at about $900 billion per year, representing more than 5 percent of national income. Most of this shortfall is routinely financed by the additional issuance of U.S. Treasury bills, notes and bonds.
TV Show Call-in Script Casts Snowden as Putin’s Puppet
April 21, 2014
NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s participation last week in a call-in television show with Russian President Vladimir Putin may be the clearest indication to date that he is far from the conscientious whistleblower he pretends to be. It also may confirm suspicions among experts that Snowden worked for Russian intelligence when he stole millions of secret U.S. documents, most of them unrelated to National Security Agency work.
Surprise Ukraine-Russia Deal Will Please the Kremlin
April 18, 2014
SITUATION REPORT

Thursday’s deal to defuse the increasingly tense situation in eastern Ukraine came after surprisingly quick talks in Geneva. It remains to be seen if the agreement will be fully implemented by Russia and its Ukrainian supporters, but it could be that Russian President Vladimir Putin no longer sees the conflict as serving the Kremlin’s long-term interests.
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