April 15, 2014
Three months of nuclear negotiations with Iran have yielded no breakthroughs, and considerable work remains if there is to be a permanent agreement that goes beyond the scope of last November’s interim accord. The final treaty is to be drafted beginning next month, with each side jockeying for advantage over the future course of Iran’s nuclear program.
Pressure Builds as Iran Nuclear Talks Enter Critical Stage
Protesters wave posters with anti-American slogans and portraits of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a rally in Tehran’s Azadi Square to mark the 35th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on Feb. 11, 2014. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)
Canada Moves to Take North American Energy Crown
March 31, 2014
Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper’s decision to appoint Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver — a leading proponent of TransCanada Corp.’s (NYSE: TRP) $5.4 billion Keystone XL pipeline — to head the finance ministry is likely to recommit the Conservative government to development of the country’s vast oil deposits and economic growth. As the administration attempts to project a sense of continuity, Oliver will likely ensure Canada remains on track to inherit a $5.8 billion budget surplus in 2015.
Environmental Concerns Imperil Syrian CW Destruction Effort
March 31, 2014
Backers of the deal to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons have long wondered if Damascus would fully comply and meet the ambitious June 30 deadline. Experts overseeing the process now report that more than half of the stockpile has been removed from Syria, yet a new obstacle has emerged: mass protests in Greece, Malta and Italy over the process by which chemicals are released into Mediterranean waters that meet their tourist-filled beaches.
Obama’s Personal Diplomacy Fails to Sway Key Allies
March 31, 2014
Against the backdrop of the Russian annexation of Crimea and mass troop movements by Moscow, President Barack Obama’s recent, lengthy trip to Europe and the Middle East was billed as an opportunity to shore up fragile relations with key allies. Instead, Obama broke no new ground and there was little indication the president’s overall mission was successful.
China’s Pollution Solution May Be Worse than the Problem
March 31, 2014
Chinese government plans to forestall an impending environmental disaster call into question whether the solutions coming from Beijing aren’t worse than the problems they seek to resolve. Washing coal to limit air pollution dirties China’s water, yet the proposed answer — converting coal to synthetic natural gas — would massively increase the amount of greenhouse gases China emits.
Onboard Laser Protects Israeli Passenger Jets From Missiles
March 28, 2014
Israel now has an anti-missile defense system ready to attach to its jetliners, a decade after one of its passenger planes in Africa was nearly destroyed by shoulder-launched missiles. A belly-fired laser that can deflect an incoming missile is ready after successful tests. If the system proves its mettle, the laser maker is eyeing sales to other airlines that fly over dangerous territory.
No Way Out? ‘Off-Ramp’ Would Offer Putin an Exit Strategy
March 28, 2014
Conventional wisdom holds that Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is the most destabilizing event in Europe since the Soviet era and an indication that Vladimir Putin will use military force against eastern Ukraine and other former Soviet republics. Another possibility, however, is that Crimea is a one-time event and that Putin now seeks what U.S. President Barack Obama has called an “off-ramp” to end tensions.
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