context before clarity

Jul 14 2014

In South Korea, Ex-spy Remains Stuck in the Cold

Once their espionage cases are resolved, some former North Korean spies find that life in the South can be pretty good. A year after finishing a five-year espionage sentence for using sex to obtain military secrets and plotting to assassinate intelligence officers, Won is a 40-year-old single mother eking out a living on an $800 monthly government subsidy.

Jul 14 2014

Ukraine President to Be at World Cup Final in Rio

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will attend the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro — along with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazilian authorities said Saturday. An official in Brazil’s government with direct knowledge of the trip and a press officer for Brazil’s Foreign Ministry both confirmed that Poroshenko would be at the match. The World Cup final pits Argentina against Germany — and it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel who persuaded Poroshenko to attend the game, the government official said.

Jul 13 2014

California High Court Softens 'three Strikes' Law

By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) - California’s highest court has softened implementation of the state’s “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” criminal sentencing law, marking the second time the rules for identifying and imprisoning career criminals have been loosened in recent years. “The voting public would reasonably have understood the ‘Three Strikes’ baseball metaphor to mean that a person would have three chances - three swings of the bat if you will - before the harshest penalty could be imposed,” Associate Justice Kathryn Werdegar wrote in the court’s opinion, released late on Thursday.

Jul 13 2014

Japan Able to Aid US Ships Under Attack, Says Minister

Japan’s new policy on military action would allow its forces to come to the aid of a US naval ship under attack, Tokyo’s defense minister said Friday. In a visit to Washington, Itsunori Onodera cited the hypothetical scenario as he sought to explain the Japanese government’s controversial decision to ease decades-long restrictions on the country’s military. If US warships were sent to defend Japan, and those ships were attacked, the Japanese “constitution was interpreted to say we could not help that ship,” Onodera told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

Jul 12 2014

Britain Bars Russian Delegation From Farnborough Air Show

Britain said Saturday it had barred a Russian delegation from attending the Farnborough air show because of the Ukraine crisis, sparking an angry reaction from Russia. The Russian embassy in London expressed “regret” that Britain had not issued visas to a large part of its delegation and demanded an urgent explanation. The Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) is a key event in the aviation sector calendar, with Russia usually sending a sizeable contingent as it seeks foreign sales.

Jul 12 2014

EU Names Rebel Leaders in Ukraine Hit With Sanctions

By Robin Emmott BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union targeted Ukrainian separatist leader Aleksandr Borodai and 10 other rebels with travel bans and asset freezes on Saturday, avoiding fresh sanctions on Russian business to avoid antagonizing its main energy supplier. EU governments widened their blacklist to try to end the violence that has rocked Ukraine since late last year, when a decision by the then president to reject an EU trade deal sparked fatal protests and forced him to flee the country. The European Union said Borodai was “responsible for the separatist ‘governmental’ activities of the so-called ‘government of the Donetsk People’s Republic’,” referring to the city where the military is fighting pro-Russian separatists.

Jul 12 2014

Donetsk: a Ghost Town Waiting for Ukraine's Final Battle

Donetsk, one of the last bastions of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, has become a ghost town as residents clog the roads and railway stations in a desperate scramble to escape advancing government troops. The self-proclaimed prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Oleksandr Borodai, claims more than 70,000 of the city’s 900,000 inhabitants have already fled as Kiev’s forces move within 20 kilometres (12 miles) of the city. Watching over a pile of bags, a man in his fifties prepared to join his parents in Russia with his daughters and grandchildren.

Jul 12 2014

EU Names Rebel Leaders in Ukraine Hit With Sanctions

By Robin Emmott BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union targeted Ukrainian separatist leader Aleksandr Borodai and 10 other rebels with travel bans and asset freezes on Saturday, avoiding fresh sanctions on Russian business to avoid antagonizing its main energy supplier. EU governments widened their blacklist to try to end the violence that has rocked Ukraine since late last year, when a decision by the then president to reject an EU trade deal sparked fatal protests and forced him to flee the country. The European Union said Borodai was “responsible for the separatist ‘governmental’ activities of the so-called ‘government of the Donetsk People’s Republic’,” referring to the city where the military is fighting pro-Russian separatists.