An Assassination or an Accident?
1 | IRAN
A series of mysterious bomb blasts at an Iranian missile base on the outskirts of Tehran killed at least 17 people, including Major General Hassan Moqqadam, a prominent figure in the notorious Revolutionary Guards who was also a key architect of the country's long-range-missile program. Iranian officials claim the incident was an accident, but a Western intelligence source tells TIME it was carried out by the Israeli spy agency Mossad. Iran's nuclear program has been the subject of global attention since the release of a report by the IAEA, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, claiming the Islamic Republic intends to produce nuclear weapons. Israel, which cannot countenance the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, is likely to have been behind a number of attacks on Iran's nuclear program in recent years, including explosions at some facilities, the murders of Iranian nuclear scientists and cyberattacks on state computer systems. The Iranian leadership's refusal to point the finger at Israel this time could be a symptom of Tehran's discomfort at being unable to defend its own sites. But it also could be that Iran doesn't want to escalate the situation--meaning Israel can still covertly chip away at Iranian nuclear ambitions.
A History Of Violence
2 | GERMANY
A clandestine cell of neo-Nazis, unnoticed by German intelligence, was discovered to have murdered at least 10 people over the past decade. At least nine victims were immigrants, mostly Muslim Turks. The murders were unearthed after the apparent suicides of two of the neo-Nazis, prompting national hand-wringing over the prevalence of such hateful, far-right elements.
Send in the Technocrats
3 | ITALY
After a torrid week of political wrangling, the man tapped to replace outgoing Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi took charge of the nation at the center of the euro-zone storm. New Prime Minister Mario Monti, a former E.U. commissioner, brought in a Cabinet full of career technocrats rather than politicians. Monti's team of ex-bankers and ex-CEOs will have to steady the country's debt woes and most likely will institute austerity measures that may prove as unpopular as those implemented in Greece. Monti also has to deal with the shadow of Berlusconi, who still wields great influence.
CHINA $2 million
Estimated value of an illegal consignment, seized in Hong Kong, of rhino horns and items crafted from the endangered animal's tusk
City of Dog
4 | BRAZIL
A boy in the Rocinha slum of Rio de Janeiro watches a police officer on patrol pass by. Thousands of Brazilian troops and police raided the favela--home to some 100,000 people--in a crackdown on criminal drug gangs that flourish there. Authorities deemed Rocinha "pacified" and will maintain a permanent police presence in the shantytown ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the Olympics, which Rio will host two years later.
Uncle Sam Down Under
5 | AUSTRALIA