UKRAINE LAUNCHES MILITARY OPERATION
Acting Ukraine President Olexandr Turchynov announced the launch of a military “anti-terrorist” operation in the northern region of Donetsk, The Kyiv Post reports. Speaking to the country’s parliament, Turchynov said that the operation “will be conducted step by step, responsibly, deliberately. The goal of these actions, I want to underline, is to defend the citizens of Ukraine.”
This comes after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised Ukrainian PM Arseny Yatsenyuk’s attempt to communicate with southeastern regions as “a step in the right direction, albeit a very belated one.”
In a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Barack Obama urged his counterpart to use his influence to convince pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine cities to “to depart the buildings they have seized.” Obama also warned Putin of further sanctions and costs if Moscow doesn’t change course of action, Reuters reports.
According to RT, members of the ultranationalist group Right Sector stormed the headquarters of Ukraine’s Communist Party in the northeast city of Sumy and in Rovno, in the west, while the standoff outside government buildings in Gorlovka continues. In Kiev, pro-Russian presidential candidate Oleh Tsarev was beaten up by a angry mob as he was preparing to attend a debate on television.
AFGHAN DEPUTY MINISTER ABDUCTED
Afghanistan’s deputy minister of public works was abducted by a group of gunmen in the capital of Kabul as he was driving to work this morning, AP quotes officials as saying. It is unclear who is behind the kidnapping, and a ministry spokesman said there had been no ransom demand yet. Meanwhile in Libya, the Jordanian ambassador to Tripoli was also abducted in a similar operation, just two days after the Libyan Prime Minister resigned after he and his family were attacked. Read more from AFP.
BOSTON COMMEMORATES BOMBING ANNIVERSARY
Today the city of Boston is commemorating the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, in which three people were killed and more than 200 injured. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to attend a tribute with local leaders and families of the victims. “Boston has learned much about itself,” The Boston Globe writes in an editorial today. “Like an individual confronting the death of a loved one or some other calamity, the city was set forth on an uncharted landscape of grief and renewal.”
The moon turned coppery red during a total eclipse Tuesday. According to NASA, the so-called “blood moon” is one of four total lunar eclipses to be seen over North America during the next 18 months.
WRITER GARCIA MARQUEZ IN “VERY FRAGILE” CONDITION
Colombian writer and Nobel Prize Winner Gabriel García Marquez is in “very fragile” condition, according to a statement from his family published by Spanish-language news agency EFE.
BERLUSCONI SENTENCED TO COMMUNITY SERVICE
Silvio Berlusconi must perform one year of community service following his conviction for tax fraud, a Milan court ruled this morning, ANSA reports. “There have been reports that he could be asked to work one half day a week at a facility for the elderly or the disabled,” the news agency reports. The 77-year-old will also have to respect a curfew and will be limited in his movements.
As Le Monde’s Pierre Barthélémy reports, the Norwegian child prodigy Magnus Carlsen is all grown up now, and became the world chess champion last year after defeating an Indian player old enough to be his father. “At only 23, Magnus Carlsen is already a dread-inspiring legend,” the journalist writes. “So much so that American Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura nicknamed him Sauron, the evil character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of the Rings, represented in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation by a great lidless eye in the sky that sees everything.”
Read the full article: Magnus Carlsen, A Chess Child Prodigy Grows Up.
HEARTBLEED FIX TO DISRUPT INTERNET
Users should expect major disruptions to the Internet over the next few weeks as companies affected by the Heartbleed bug will attempt to fix their encryption systems, The Washington Post warns.
“Today’s decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government,” former NSA employee Edward Snowden said after The Guardian and The Washington Post were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their reporting on NSA surveillance. “We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation.”
SEITA, the country’s largest tobacco company in France, announced Monday that it was closing its Carquefou cigarette factory in western France to move production to Poland. The factory, France’s biggest, employs 327 people and produced 12.2 billion cigarettes last year — including Gauloises and Gitanes for the whole of Europe.
Burglars raided an Australian museum, stealing priceless artifacts that belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte, including a lock of his hair, ABC reports. The robbers’ method for gaining entry to the museum is yet another blow to the French Emperor’s legacy: They entered through a window in the (water)loo.