July 28, 2014
SITUATION REPORT

Despite a request yesterday by President Obama to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire and a Security Council demand late last night for a cease-fire, Israeli officials refuse to pause hostilities and reportedly plan to expand their offensive in Gaza.
Strained US Ties Seen as Israel Rejects Cease-fire Pleas
An Israeli army Merkava tank rolls along the border between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on July 28, 2014. (David Buimovitch/AFP/Getty Images)
Gaza Braces for More Violence as Hamas Rejects Truce
July 15, 2014
SITUATION REPORT
Updated: July 15, 2014, 0700


Hamas rejected a cease-fire proposal presented by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry Monday night, further escalating violence in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s Security Cabinet accepted the plan, but Hamas militants said the proposal “wasn’t worth the ink it was written with” while another arm of the terrorist group called it “an initiative of kneeling and submission.” Israel warned it will “intensify” its military campaign as a result of the Hamas rejection, and Hamas countered that “our battle with the enemy continues, and will increase in ferocity and intensity.”


US-German Tensions Highlight Merkel’s Rising Global Profile
July 15, 2014
Spy scandals and Obama administration miscues have dragged U.S.-German relations to their lowest point in decades, tensions that are exacerbated by Germany’s growing importance in trade, diplomacy, and even sport following a dominating World Cup performance this month. Small misunderstandings between Berlin and the White House, left untended, have grown to affect specific security issues, undermining the interests of both nations.
Latin America’s Leftist Flagships Listing Dangerously
July 15, 2014
The stridently radical bloc of Latin American nations known for vocal anti-Americanism and hard-left populism — led by flagships Argentina and Venezuela — is in rough economic seas and taking on water. Calling itself as “Bolivarian” after 19th century independence figure Simon Bolivar, the political and trade bloc lately has been characterized by the kind of domestic discord and economic disruption that has led to government collapse in the past.
Can Japan’s Economy Survive Another Massive Tax Increase?
July 15, 2014
Special Economic Analysis
By Peter Warburton, PhD

The last time Japan raised its consumption tax, back in 1997, its economic recovery was aborted and it took years to undo the damage. Understandably, many feared that the national sales tax increase from 5 percent to 8 percent that took effect April 1 would have similarly dire consequences. However, three months later, retail and auto sales are rebounding sharply from the inevitable shock. It looks as though the original policy error has not been repeated.

Kurds Primed for Independence but Hesitate to Take It
July 14, 2014
The Kurdish people, who for the first time in their 1,000-year history have a real chance to rule a country of their own, seem disinclined to chart their own course on a fractious, confusing and unsettled map of the Middle East and North Africa.
Cartel Turf Wars Threaten Mexico’s Energy Renaissance
July 14, 2014
As Mexico forges ahead with plans to pave the way for an energy boom, growing bloodshed in some oil-rich states may derail the nation’s grand ambitions. With brutal drug cartels fighting to fill power vacuums in important regions, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s historic energy reforms will be thrown into doubt if international energy companies think twice about investing in the country’s oil and shale gas reserves.
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