July 29, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine gambit suffered major setbacks this week by a successful Ukrainian army offensive against pro-Russian separatists and significant new sanctions by the European Union and the United States.

Invasion Threat Looms as Putin’s Ukraine Strategy Crumbles
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at a meeting at his residence at Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow, on July 29, 2014. (Mihkail Klimentyev/AFP/Getty Images)
Deadly Ebola Risk Compounded by US Lab Mishaps
July 22, 2014
Ebola, a nightmarish pathogen with a potential mortality rate of up to 90 percent, has regained a footing in West Africa, forcing public health officials to scramble to contain its spread. Should a strain of Ebola become airborne the future death toll may be incalculable, a risk compounded by recent news of handling mishaps at a U.S. lab that caused workers to be exposed to anthrax.
‘Chocolate King’ Guides Ukraine in Greatest Test Since Cold War
July 22, 2014
Elected Ukraine’s fifth president in late May, Petro Poroshenko arrived in office amid a crisis that could destroy his country. Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimea has triggered a separatist movement, aided by Russia, that could permanently divide Ukraine. The crisis is far from resolved, and Russia could attempt to take other parts of the country by force.
London Sidesteps EU Bid to Police Currency Markets
July 22, 2014
In a further sign of London distancing itself from Brussels, the UK will not join an EU-wide effort to police currency market manipulation, such as led to the recent scandals over the Libor interest rate and global exchange rates, each affecting trillions in securities. Citing the size and importance of London’s financial markets, Britain instead will set up its own regulatory program.
Hamas Leverages War for World Support, Political Survival
July 21, 2014

As the death toll from the fighting in the Gaza Strip shoots higher, neither Israel nor Hamas is showing any sign of softening. Israel remains determined to eradicate Hamas weapons stockpiles and destroy its smuggling tunnels, while Hamas continues to reject any talk of a truce that fails to grant it concessions.
Stalemate Over Iranian Nuclear Talks a Win for Tehran
July 21, 2014
A decision to push off the deadline in the already glacially slow and complex Iranian nuclear talks, an outcome predicted by LIGNET, represents a tactical advantage for Tehran. As long as the West prefers talk over confrontation, Iran is likely to stay on course toward full nuclear status, a national priority that dates back decades.
More Than Bad Weather to Blame for Plunge in GDP
July 21, 2014
Special Economic Analysis
by Peter Warburton, PhD

The resurgence of the U.S. economy this year was thrown into doubt by an unexpected plunge in national output in the first quarter. Arguably, this was the worst performance on an annualized basis outside of an outright recession since World War II. While the extraordinary weather that pervaded January through March must take a large part of the blame, it turns out that several other factors played a part. While the White House has been at pains to brush off the dismal figures as a weather-related freak occurence, the second-quarter rebound has a lot to prove.
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