A Bomb Plot Brought Down
1 | YEMEN
An al-Qaeda plan to dispatch an underwear bomber from the war-torn nation to destroy a U.S.-bound plane was foiled by Saudi intelligence and the CIA, reportedly because the designated bomber was actually a double agent providing information to the U.S. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula--the Yemen-based wing of the terrorist outfit--was behind a similar attempt in 2009, when a terrorist trained on Yemeni soil almost set off a device smuggled in his underwear aboard a Northwest flight to Detroit. In recent months, the U.S. has stepped up its campaign of missile strikes on suspected al-Qaeda targets in Yemen. On the basis of intelligence that may have been provided by the double agent, a U.S. drone on May 6 took out Fahd al-Quso, a top-ranking al-Qaeda operative in Yemen who was implicated in the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. But al-Quso's death did not go unavenged: a day later, al-Qaeda militants in the country's lawless south stormed a government base, killing more than 20 soldiers. The February exit of authoritarian President Ali Abdullah Saleh has done little to calm a host of insurgencies roiling this fractious country.
Taking Center Stage
2 | ISRAEL
In a surprise move, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forged a new governing coalition with the centrist Kadima party, startling the political opposition, which expected early elections in September. Announced at 2 a.m. local time on May 8, this deal will allow him and his Likud party greater room to maneuver in the Knesset. His coalition now accounts for 94 of 120 seats. The deal with the more moderate Kadima brings Netanyahu's Likud back into the political mainstream and gives him a better opportunity to push through his domestic agenda. But it has angered some of Likud's most right-wing supporters, including many Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Absent in any of the politicking: talk of reviving the long moribund peace process with the Palestinians.
3 | INDIA
Before heading to the broad boulevards of New Delhi, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in the teeming, congested eastern Indian megacity of Kolkata. The capital of the state of West Bengal, Kolkata is the power base of Mamata Banerjee, a high-profile populist (and member of the 2012 Time 100) who has stalled government efforts to open up India's economy--the retail sector in particular--to direct foreign investment. In a town-hall meeting, Clinton said U.S. expertise could revamp the country's vast, inefficient farming industry. Separately, she pushed New Delhi to curb oil imports from Iran.
'It was impressed upon me that the sense of loss, alienation and indignity is pervasive throughout Indian Country.'
JAMES ANAYA, U.N. special rapporteur on indigenous rights, recommending that the U.S. return land rights for the Black Hills of South Dakota, where Mount Rushmore sits, to Native American tribes
A Losing Battle
4 | RUSSIA