BIDEN VISITS KIEV IN SHOW OF SUPPORT
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with Ukrainian leaders Tuesday in a show of support for the new government. Speaking in the capital’s Parliament building, Biden said the U.S. stood with Ukraine in the face of “humiliating threats,” the BBC reports. Earlier, a phone conversation between Biden and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, resulted in both sides blaming each other over the conflict, according to Russia’s RTnetwork.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government and the U.S. State Department have released photographs of soldiers in eastern Ukraine they claim are Russian special forces fighters. One photo allegedly shows a bearded Russian soldier in Georgia in 2008 and again in the Ukrainian cities of Kramatorsk and in Sloviansk in 2014. Read more from The New York Times.
Pro-Russian militants are still holding official buildings in at least nine towns around Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine. While the interim government in Kiev said it promised to meet some of the pro-Russian demands — decentralization of power and guarantees for the status of the Russian language — Le Monde reports that separatists are accelerating the organization of a referendum in eastern cities such as Luhansk.
SOUTH KOREA FERRY DEATH TOLL TOPS 100
As 21 additional bodies were retrieved Tuesday morning from the ferry that sank last Wednesday off the coast of South Korea, the death toll has risen to 108, the Korean news agency Yonhap reports. As search operations entered their seventh day, finally in more favorable weather conditions, the focus is now on decks of the ship, where most of the 190 missing passengers are believed to have been trapped. Out of the 476 people on board, only 174, including the ship captain and most of the crew, have been rescued. Families of the missing have pleaded with the rescue operation teams to wrap up the search before Thursday, before tidal waters and weather are expected to become fierce again, according to The Chosun Ilbo.
SAD REALITY ON EARTH DAY
As the world celebrates Earth Day today, this picture reminds us, if need be, that the protection of the planet's environment and its people are intertwined.
OBAMA BEGINS ASIA VISIT
U.S. President Barack Obama leaves for Japan Tuesday as part of a four-nation, eight-day trip in Asia. USA Today reports that he will “dine with the Japanese emperor, return some ancient seals to South Korea, tour a giant mosque in Malaysia and speak to American troops in the Philippines.” The visit comes amidst tensions in the region over both historical and territorial issues. Japan has angered both regional power China and fellow U.S. ally South Korea, which both accuse Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of wanting to whitewash Japanese war crimes of the past. Meanwhile, territorial disputes in the South China Sea remain unresolved.
Le Monde’s Tokyo correspondent Philippe Pons looks at the largely overlooked return by Japan to the global weapons trade. “Japan can now sell military gear — described in official documents as "defense supplies," another notable euphemism — to certain countries if it wishes, provided that they do not represent a threat to global peace and security and that the weapons are not resold to a third country. Japan, which produces ammunition, assault rifles, tanks, ships and the US-2 amphibious aircraft, is thus considering selling its gear to the Philippines and Vietnam, two countries that also have territorial disputes with China."
Read the full article: Japan's Quiet Return To Global Weapons Market.
DAMASCUS ACCUSED OF NEW CHEMICAL ATTACK
The U.S. claims to have indications that a new chemical attack, probably with chlorine, was carried out in Kfar Zeita, a village in Hama province located some 125 miles north of Damascus, according to Reuters. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said they were examining whether the Syrian government was responsible.
While Pope Francis lives in a modest apartment, former Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is about to move into a massive penthouse next door. Check our "By The Numbers" feature here.
UN EVACUATES BANGUI MUSLIMS
The United Nations has evacuated 93 Muslims from the Central African Republic capital Bangui to Bambarito “save their lives”, the AFP reports. A UN official said the evacuated Muslims had been “constantly attacked” in Bangui.
BOSTON MARATHON, AN AMERICAN VICTORY
One year after terrorists struck the Boston Marathon, the 2014 running of the iconic race was completed without incident, though not without surprise: Meb Keflezighi, 38, crossed the finish line ahead of the pack, the first American man to win since 1983. Here is The Boston Globe’s photo collection from Monday’s race.