Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Jane Chong
Friday, February 28, 2014, 12:52 PM

In his first public appearance since his ouster last Saturday, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych announced at a news conference in Russia that he intends to "keep fighting for the future of Ukraine." He has resurfaced the same day that armed men have seized two airports in the Crimea region. Here's the Reuters story. Ukraine's new interior minister Arsen Avakov has stated that the soldiers are Russian, according to the Washington Post; the New York Times reports subsequent concerns about a possible Russian military intervention in the region.

Speaking of Russians outside of Russia, the Guardian reports that a Russian spy ship, Viktor Leonov SSV-175, has "slipped into Havana[, Cuba] for an unannounced visit, a day after the country's defence minister announced plans to expand Russia's worldwide military presence."
And speaking of spies and Cuba, the U.S. has just released a second member of the "Cuban Five" spy ring from a prison in Arizona; he will be deported to Cuba immediately, says USA Today.
Israel issued a statement today urging the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to go public with its information on Iran's alleged atomic-bomb research, Reuters UK reports.
Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt have a piece in the Times on the debate sparked by the U.S.'s ongoing decision about whether to to use a drone strike to take out an American citizen known as Abdullah al-Shami.  The latter "appears to have risen to become one of Al Qaeda’s top planners for operations outside Pakistan, including plots against American troops in Afghanistan."
Dozens are dead and more injured in the wake of bombings around Baghdad. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Sadr City, where the bombings occurred, is a predominantly Shia Muslim district. Here is the BBC.
Al Qaeda-linked fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have pulled out of parts of the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, in advance of a Saturday deadline issued by another rebel group. Here's the Associated Press by way of ABC.
On Thursday outgoing U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke urged Beijing to improve human rights and voiced concern about the country's deteriorating relations with Japan. Here's the Washington Post story. China was among the countries cited in the U.S. State Department's annual report on human rights abuses, issued yesterday, notes the LA Times; in response, China has issued a 154-point report accusing the United States of human rights abuses ranging from cyber-surveillance to drone strikes on civilians to child labor, writes Reuters.
Meanwhile the Chinese government is moving to tighten its control over online activity with a new Internet-security committee, writes the Wall Street Journal.
Documents leaked by Edward Snowden show that Britain's intelligence agency collected millions of video webcam images from millions of Yahoo users, regardless of any suspicion that users were involved in illegal activity. Here's the New York Times coverage.
Yesterday in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Keith Alexander suggested a shift toward limiting the NSA's domestic phone data collection to data related to terrorist communications. The Guardian has details.
The embattled Tokyo-based Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange filed for bankruptcy protection today.  850,000 bitcoins have gone missing on the foundation's watch. See the Washington Post for more.
The U.S. Navy has its hands on a five-pound guided missile called Spike, which incorporates commercial-off-the-shelf components like cellphone camera technology, reports Wired's "Danger Room."
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