For Israel and Egypt, Trouble in the Sinai
1 | EGYPT
On Aug. 5, militants attacked an Egyptian security post on the Sinai Peninsula near Israel and the Gaza Strip, killing 16 soldiers, stealing two armored vehicles and breaking across the border. An Israeli air strike eventually stopped both vehicles but not before the events sent Israel and Egypt into finger pointing as well as hesitant collaboration. Although local reports suggested the militants included both Palestinian fighters and Sinai-based Bedouin rebels--the latter have long troubled Cairo with threats to secede--the Israeli and Egyptian governments quickly condemned the action as the work of Palestinian terrorists, suggesting a coordinated response. In Cairo, however, others blamed the Palestinian Islamists of Hamas for the attack, further testing Egypt's new Islamist President Mohamed Morsy. By Aug. 7, Egyptian officials had reported that attack helicopters had killed up to 20 people in missile strikes, with operations in the region expected to continue. A long-term solution remains largely out of reach: Israel wants more security on the border but without a buildup of Egyptian troops.
A Witch Hunt In Moscow
2 | RUSSIA
In February, three members of the punk band Pussy Riot staged a protest against then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at Moscow's most prominent cathedral. Their agitprop went viral on YouTube but landed them in the middle of a battle over Russia's political future. Here are three things to know about their trial:
1 It's emblematic of Putin's new tyranny.
In most other countries, Pussy Riot's antics would have earned little more than a slap on the wrist. But Moscow's reaction points to a deep authoritarian streak on the part of Putin, who is now in his second stint as President
2 It's based on unfair charges.
Three members of the band are charged with "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred," a felony in Russia that carries a minimum two-year prison sentence. The group says its action was purely political
3 It's making lots of people angry.
The farcical trial has attracted legions of critics in Russia and abroad, including American pop stars Madonna, Patti Smith and the Red Hot Chili Peppers
'We also appeal to the person who has the skull in their possession to return it.'
ELLEN HOLLOW, great-grandniece of Australian legendary gunslinging outlaw NED KELLY, after her family finally received his remains 132 years after he was hanged by British colonial authorities. Kelly's skull was stolen in 1978 and remains missing
An Unraveling Regime
3 | SYRIA
The battle over Aleppo, Syria's largest city, intensified, with reports of thousands fleeing and hundreds being killed or injured--including this 15-year-old boy, whose home was pulverized by a government air strike. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Riad Hijab became the latest in a series of high-ranking officials--41 and counting--to defect from President Bashar Assad's regime to the rebels.
All the President's defectors
SENIOR MILITARY AND SECURITY
MANAF TLASS (GENERAL)