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Hezbollah Restraint, MH370 Declared "Accident," Saudi Misogyny

HEZBOLLAH SENDS MESSAGE OF RESTRAINT
While many feared that yesterday’s deadly clashes between Hezbollah and the Israeli Defense Forces on the Lebanon border might ignite a new war, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel had received a message from Hezbollah in which the Lebanese group said it was retreating from further violence, Haaretz reports. According to the newspaper, the Israel-Lebanon frontier was apparently quiet this morning.

VERBATIM
“I no longer even trust the guards,” Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman reportedly said before he was found dead in mysterious circumstances. He made the comment to Diego Lagomarsino, a computer specialist and longtime acquaintance who, at the prosecutor’s request, loaned Nisman an old gun just one day before Nisman’s death. It’s the same weapon that eventually killed him. Read more from AFP.

ISIS EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR PRISONER SWAP
ISIS has reportedly extended a deadline for Jordan to release a would-be female suicide bomber to save the life of a Jordanian air force pilot and to secure the release of a Japanese hostage. In an audio message posted online and purportedly read by the the Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, the terrorist group says Jordan has until sunset to present their prisoner at the Turkish border, The Japan Times reports.

ON THIS DAY
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On this day in 1962, Yves Saint Laurent presented his first collection. Time for your 57-second shot of history.

MH370 OFFICIALLY AN “ACCIDENT”
Malaysia has officially declared the March disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident, paving the way for the company to proceed with the compensation process, Reuters reports. The 239 passengers and crew are presumed dead.

15 MILLION
As part of its partnership with the NSA, Canada’s electronic spy agency is monitoring between 10 and 15 million downloads every day from websites such as Mega and Rapidshare in a bid to identify people uploading or downloading potential terrorist content, documents leaked by Edward Snowden and published by The Intercept and CBC reveal. “Every single thing that you do — in this case uploading/downloading files to these sites — that act is being archived, collected and analyzed,” said the director of Internet security think tank Citizen Lab.

GREECE ALLIES WITH RUSSIA ON SANCTIONS
EU foreign ministers are expected to meet in Brussels where they will discuss imposing new sanctions on Russia after the latest escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Kiev government forces. According to Reuters, further restrictions on capital markets and on access to advanced technology for Russia’s gas and oil industries are in the cards. But as the Financial Times reports, the new Greek government has added to the EU’s headaches, with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and leaders in his Syriza party appearing to side with Moscow and vocally opposing new sanctions.

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD


GREECE ANTAGONIZES CHINA
Greece’s new leftist government in hindering an unhappy China, after newly elected Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced he was halting the privatization of the port of Piraeus, for which a Chinese group had been short-listed.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
As Paul Swieboda writes for Gazeta Wyborcza, empathy for Paris following the terror attacks earlier this month has been in short supply in Poland. “The truth is, we don't really feel affected by what happened,” he writes. “The clash of cultures — secular versus radical Islamist — behind the event is an exotic, foreign issue to us. Meanwhile, some in Poland try to justify the lack of concern by pointing to other, much bloodier tragedies that never gained as much of attention as what happened in Paris: the 2,000 victims of Boko Haram in Nigeria, 145 children dead in the terrorist attack on the Peshawar school a month ago.”
Read the full article, Why Poland Is Not Charlie.

EBOLA FIGHTS ENTERS FINAL PHASE
With just 99 new Ebola cases reported last week, the World Health Organization says the response is entering a new phase focused on ending the epidemic. But scientists at the French Institut Pasteur have been studying whether the virus could have mutated, warning that it could have become less deadly but more contagious, the BBC reports.

SAUDI MISOGYNY
It’s not enough that Saudi leaders wouldn’t shake First Lady Michelle Obama’s hand. Now they want to host a male-only Olympics.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The Dead And Disappeared: A Village Emerges From 72 Days Of Russian Occupation

Russian forces have been pushed out of the area around Kharkiv. Villages that were occupied for two months are free once more — but utterly destroyed. And thousands of people have disappeared without a trace.

Kharkiv and the surrounding villages faced weeks of constant Russian shelling.

Alfred Hackensberger

TSYKRUNY — Andriy Kluchikov uses a walking stick, but is otherwise fairly sprightly for a 94-year-old. Under his black wool hat, Kluchikov seems fearless as he surveys his hometown in northeastern Ukraine. “The missiles don't scare me,” he says with a smile. “I have slept in my own bed every night and never went down into the basement.”

As for the two-meter-wide bomb crater that has appeared in his garden, between the vegetable patch and the greenhouse with its shattered plastic roof, Kluchikov almost seems proud. “No one can intimidate me,” he says. “Not even the Russians.”

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In the early days of the war, in February, Russian artillery almost completely destroyed this village of Tsyrkuny, near Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city. Only a few houses, including his own, were left undamaged. Shortly afterwards, Russian troops marched into the village and occupied it for 72 days. It was not until early this week that the Ukrainian army was able to liberate Tsyrkuny and many other areas to the north of the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.

It is the Ukrainians’ most successful counter-offensive so far. They are thought to have pushed the invading troops back almost to the Russian border. “The offensive is gaining momentum,” according to the independent American thinktank Institute for the Study of War. “It has forced Russian troops on the defensive and has successfully alleviated artillery pressure on Kharkiv City.”

In the modern city of Kharkiv, home to around 1.5 million residents, the relief has been palpable over the last few days. Restaurants and cafes have reopened. People are walking and riding bikes in the parks, and couples are strolling hand in hand, enjoying the warm spring sunshine. You can still hear the artillery, but it is now many miles away.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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