International News

Israel calls up 16,000 more reservists

Jerusalem—Israel said Thursday it has called up another 16,000 reservists, allowing it to potentially widen its Gaza offensive against the territory’s Hamas rulers in a three-week-old war that has killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and more than 50 Israelis. The new call-up follows another day of intensive fighting, in which tank shells struck a U.N. school where Palestinians were sheltering and an airstrike tore through a crowded Gaza shopping area. At least 116 Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers were killed Wednesday alone.

Russia warns sanctions will backfire on West

Moscow—A defiant Russia has said that Western sanctions over Ukraine would backfire on the United States and lead to energy price hikes in Europe after Brussels and Washington unveiled the toughest punitive measures against Moscow since the Cold War. Russia’s response came as the Ukrainian military pushed on with its offensive against pro-Russian rebels in the east, retaking the town of Avdiyivka, only a dozen kilometres (eight miles) from the main rebel city of Donetsk. The Russian foreign ministry warned the United States it was shooting itself in the foot and said it was punishing the Kremlin for “independent policies that Washington finds inconvenient.”

Female bomber kills 6 in Nigeria

Kano (Nigeria)—A female suicide bomber killed six people at a college campus in Nigeria’s Kano city on Wednesday, the fourth time Boko Haram Islamists were suspected of using a female attacker in as many days. The latest violence came as the government announced the arrest of a 10-year-old girl with explosives strapped to her chest in a neighbouring area.

Japan’s North Korean outreach ires US

Wang Xiaonan

There is an increasing possibility that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit North Korea. US Secretary of State John Kerry warned against Japan’s overtures during a telephone conversation with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida earlier this month. The Japanese government announced to ease sanctions on North Korea in exchange for the latter’s launch of a new organization to reinvestigate the abductions of Japanese citizens. And Tokyo has been considering a visit by Abe himself, not only to help resolve the issue but also to mitigate North Korea’s isolated status.

US and Russia still have some common ground

Steven Pifer

In nominating John Tefft to be his ambassador to the Russian Federation, U.S. President Barack Obama chose a gifted and experienced diplomat. Assuming the Senate confirms him — and there is no reason to think it will not — he will have to draw heavily on that skill and expertise to manage a U.S.-Russian relationship that has hit its lowest point since the end of the Cold War. One key challenge will be confronting Moscow on difficult issues, such as Ukraine, while maintaining cooperation on other questions where U.S. and Russian interests converge, such as Iran. Striking that balance will not prove easy.

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