Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Communications / The Rundown

The Rundown -- April 28

RFE/RL Video Roundup - April 27i
April 27, 2015
A severe storm claims lives in Pakistan, Russian and Kyrgyz soldiers prepare for a Victory Day parade, and Moldovan children learn to play basketball with American help, plus stories from Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Tatarstan.
RFE/RL Video Roundup - April 27
RFE/RL in the Media
BBC runs amazing RFE/RL Ukrainian Service video of fox making a sandwich (1.2 million on Facebook)
Guardian runs photos by Giorgi Gogua of Georgia's muddy, bloody game of Lelo
# In obituary, Washington Post mentions Wladyslaw Bartoszewski's writing for RFE/RL
Russia Behind the Headlines on RFE/RL digital media project 
# Polish border guards refuse entry for Russian bikers; Russia demands explanation
# Maus book about Holocaust is removed from Russian stores because it displays a Swastika
# Russian embassy in UK tweets "Ukraine is dead" column
# Putin's "Balkan offensive"
Shelling in residential areas near Mariupol
# EU likely to leave Ukraine empty-handed at summit
# "What Klitschko’s Title Means to Ukrainians" - Polly Mosendz, Newsweek
# Head of Iran's Guard lashes out over Saudi "treachery"
# Iran bans magazine after "white marriage" issue
# "Broaden the Talks With Iran" - Mohammad Ali Shabani, New York Times
Middle East
# New policy will allow families of U.S. hostages to pay ransom
# Republicans propose directly funding Iraqi militias
# "Where the Islamic State Gets Its Weapons" - CJ Chivers, New York Times 
# Kabul activists reenact Farkhunda's death
# Obama gave "secret waver" for drone strikes in Pakistan
# "Explaining Pakistan’s Self-Defeating Afghanistan Policy" - Khalid Homayun Nadiri, Lawfare
# Filling the "educational void around Sufism" in Pakistan
# "Europe's Map Is Redrawn As Azerbaijan Goes East" - Till Bruckner, Huffington Post
# The prime minister of Malta keeps going to Azerbaijan

The Rundown -- April 27

The Kyrgyz Of Jerge-Tal (Part 3)i
April 25, 2015
In another from Janyl Jusupjan's series of short films about the lives of ethnic Kyrgyz in the town of Jerge-Tal in northern Tajikistan, we meet Latofat, the only female singer in her village, whose mother was Kyrgyz and father was Tajik.
The Kyrgyz Of Jerge-Tal (Part 3)
# Putin says U.S. helped North Caucasus separatists against Russia in the early 2000s
# More twerking drama: Russians jailed for twerking in front of World War II memorial
# The science behind Lenin's embalming 
# More servicemen die over weekend as pressure on "ceasefire" continues
# Ukrainian oligarchs face Kyiv government backlash after miner strikes allegedly pushed by Akhmetov 
# "De-Communization Won't Help Ukraine" - Mathew Kupfer, Moscow Times
Middle East
# Iraq will export new crude grade in May
# IS releases first video from Yemen
Australian doctor films IS promo video from Syria
# Khamenei criticizes rich kids after deadly car crashes
# Israel, fearing increased arms transfers, shifts focus to Hizballah 
# "The Iran Deal That Never Was" - Gideon Rachman, Financial Times
# Taliban kill second police chief from same Afghan province
# Forty days after Farkhunda's death, a "turning point" for Afghanistan? 
# Gunmen in Pakistan kill prominent female activist
# Pakistan's military accused of orchestrating "creeping coup"
# Biggest Serb party threatens secession in 2018
Central Asia
# Nazarbayev said to win 97 percent of vote in Kazakhstan election
# Breitbart timeline: Clinton trip to Kazakhstan followed by "windfall" for Clinton Foundation
# Berdymukhamedov first to be awarded "People's Horse Breeder of Turkmenistan"
# Hollande says he raised rights issues in talks with Aliyev
# "How the Armenians came to live among Arabs" - Lana Asfour, Al Jazeera

The Rundown -- April 24

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Apr. 23i
April 23, 2015
Construction workers protest red tape in Kosovo, Pakistan's tribal regions launch a school enrollment drive, and an Afghan NGO urges the government to break a deadlock, plus more stories from Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan.
RFE/RL Video Roundup - April 23


# Kadyrov gives his security services permission to fire on Russian special forces if they come uninvited
# Pro-Putin activists launch Russian answer to Charlie Hebdo 
# Russian defense ministry claims U.S. troops are in eastern Ukraine
# NGOs warn of increasing domestic violence in Ukraine
# Internal refugees struggle to get by in Ukraine
# Video: The Texan fighting alongside east Ukraine separatists
Eastern Europe
# Moldovan soldiers battle bride in military stunt
Middle East
# Iraqi woman most wanted by IS gives tearful account of extremist group’s atrocities
# With death of Adam Gadahn, "Al-Qaeda's American dream ends"
# Peshmerga: Pros and cons
# U.S. official says Iranian cargo ships have turned away from Yemen; reportedly consists of warships
# U.S. and Italian hostages accidentally killed in U.S. drone strikes
# Pakistani politicians decry "unfair" China corridor route
# Pakistan plans 12,000-strong security force to safeguard Chinese workers 
# Holbrooke's diary reveals divide with Obama over Afghanistan policy 
# Britain sidesteps saying genocide on mass killings of Armenians
# Turkey says Austria's recognition of genocide will have "permanent negative effects"
# Profile: Two generations after his grandfather fled mass slaughter, California-born Raffi Hovannisian returned to Armenia—and ran for president
# Turkey allegedly stopped Bosnian Serb leader from flying to Armenia; Turkey denies
Central Asia
# Devout Muslims claim crackdown in Tajikistan amid Syria fears
Of Interest

The Rundown -- April 23

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Apr. 22i
April 22, 2015
Public hospitals paralyzed by strike action in Peshawar, a legendary film studio sold off in Serbia, plus stories from Moldova and Kyrgyzstan. (RFE/RL)
RFE/RL Video Roundup - Apr. 22
RFE/RL in the Media
Atlantic cites Martins Zvaners on restrictions to RFE/RL in Russia 
# U.S. says Russia building up forces by Ukraine border
# Gazprom says Kyiv owes it $174 million for gas supplies to eastern Ukraine
# Mounting frustration in Kyiv-controlled eastern Ukraine, particularly Kharkiv
# Ukraine's large Greek community not happy with Tsipras reaching out to Moscow 
# European regulators charge Gazprom with abusing its dominance in natural gas markets
# Space station workers start hunger strike after Putin doesn't come through on promise 
# Lavrov says IS is greatest threat to Russia
# The Russian mom taking on the country's gay "propaganda" law
Dog killing video sparks protests in Iran 
# India wants oil field back from Iran
# "A Nuke Deal Too Big to Fail" - Aaron David Miller, Foreign Policy 
Middle East
# Ramadi residents who have fled face harrowing choice: return now or wait with nowhere to go
# A profile on the physics teacher who may now be running IS
# Captured IS leader explains how the group amasses its fortune
# Taliban announce spring offensive in Afghanistan
# Afghanistan tries to strike balance in escalating Iran-Saudi rivalry
# Sharif to visit Saudi Arabia today
# "China Loves Pakistan … but Most Chinese Don’t" - Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Foreign Policy 
# Human rights lawyer Aliyev sentenced to 7.5 years in prison In Azerbaijan
# Erdogan says Armenia will "insult" Turkey in commemoration ceremony
Wire-tap scandal threatens stability, democracy in Macedonia

The Rundown -- April 22

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Apr. 21i
April 21, 2015
A fatal explosion in Kandahar as police attempt to defuse explosives in Afghanistan, floods and preparations for elections in Kazakhstan, plus an American artist painting ''peace murals'' marking 20 years since the end of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. (RFE/RL)
RFE/RL Video Roundup - Apr. 21
RFE/RL in the Media
BBC cites RFE/RL Tajik Service on law to force parents to give children Tajik names 
# Bond rally at hint of optimism about debt restructuring
# Stephen Sestanovich says on Ukraine Putin is now "more bored than bellicose
# Russian website allows businesses, including Burger King, to advertise on women's breasts
# Gallup poll shows Russia receives lowest approval in the world, U.S. highest
# "How Putin Is Disrupting the Atlantic Alliance" - Ivan Krastev and Mark Leonard, Foreign Affairs
Eastern Europe
# Lukashenka's "soft Belarusization"
# Moldova trying to build up its army 
Middle East
# Saudis end air campaign in Yemen
# Guardian reports IS leader al-Baghdadi "seriously wounded in air strike"; Pentagon skeptical
# Is IS propaganda all it's cracked up to be?
# The secret replica of Iran's nuclear facilities, in the forests of Tennessee 
# Obama administration knew "for years" about Iran's short nuclear breakout time
# Iran wants OPEC prepared for it
New doubt to claims of IS attack in Afghanistan
# Afghanistan and Iran getting cozier
# Transparency law opening up Pakistan
# "Pakistan, the Saudis’ Indispensable Nuclear Partner" - Pervez Hoodbhoy, New York Times
# Turkey sends condolences on mass killing anniversary, but rejects genocide term
# "The Word Obama Can’t Bring Himself to Say" - Adam Lerner, Politico 
# Macedonia says Kosovo gunmen took police hostage and called for an Albanian state
# U.S. official says Kosovo should try it's own rebels to avoid Serbia or Russia
Of Interest
# Facebook tweaking algorithm to make users less likely to see posts from publishers
# Autoplay video now "a staple of the web"

The Rundown -- April 21

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Apr. 20i
April 20, 2015
A warm welcome for Chinese President Xi Jinping in Pakistan, the funeral of a journalist killed last week in Ukraine, plus stories from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. (RFE/RL)
RFE/RL Video Roundup - April 20
# U.S. paratroopers begin training Ukraine national guard units
# Armed with new law, Ukraine targets its shadowy banks
# What it means to use Ukrainian or Russian on Ukraine's front lines 
# Russian security services say they have killed the head of a North Caucasus Islamist insurgency
# LGBT activist publicly shames Russians who send her threats
# Russia sets sights on Middle East
Middle East
# Air strike on Scud missile base rocks Sanaa 
# "Why the World Missed Yemen’s Downward Spiral" - Laura Kasinoff, Foreign Policy 
# At least 90,000 have been displaced near Baghdad in the last several days
# "Getting ISIS out of Iraq" - Robert Pape, New York Times
# Washington Post reporter charged with spying
# U.S. warship sent to block Iran weapons off of Yemen
# "A Message From Iran" - Mohammad Javad Zarif, New York Times
Kidnappings rattle Afghanistan Hazara community
# Heroine from Afghanistan flooding into India
# U.S. and Saudis plan sanctions on Pakistani charity
# "Why Are We Sending This Attack Helicopter to Pakistan?" - Husain Haqqani, Wall Street Journal
# Germany to use call Turkish mass killings of Armenians genocide 
# System of a Down "on facing history" and playing in Armenia
# HRW to Azerbaijan: Release activists and journalists behind bars
# Belgrade says it will arrest Thaci if he comes to Serbia 

The Rundown -- April 20

Lenin Statue Toppled In Kramatorski
April 17, 2015
(NATURAL SOUND) A huge tribute to Russian communist revolutionary V.I. Lenin was toppled on April 17 in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, which has served as a provisional capital of the region since pro-Russian rebels overtook the city of Donetsk. (Video by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service)
Lenin Statue Toppled In Kramatorsk
# Putin calls potential Israeli sale of weapons to Ukraine "counterproductive
# A look inside Russia's Ukraine war exhibition  in Moscow 
# "There is Another Russia Beyond Putin" - Timothy Garton Ash, Guardian
# "Why Putin's Next War Will Be at Home" - Leonid Ragozin, Bloomberg 
# OSCE monitors try to broker truce in Shyrokyne 
Middle East
# As many as 700 may have died when ship capsized off of Libyan coast
# More British Muslims have joined IS than joined the military
# IS may be regaining momentum in Iraq
# An art renaissance in Iraq
# Senior Revolutionary Guard leader says allowing inspectors onto military sites is out of the question
# "Russia-Iran Relationship is a Marriage of Opportunity" - Karoun Demirjian, Washington Post
# Fear as IS claims first suicide bombing in Afghanistan
# Xi heads to Pakistan with billions in infrastructure aid
# Pakistan arrests 47 Indian fisherman accused of violating its territorial waters
# 2016 Grand Prix in Azerbaijan going ahead
# Thousands protest in Kosovo
# "Macedonia Steps Backward" - Nikola Dimitrov, New York Times
Of Interest
# Telegram may be a good way to share files

The Rundown -- April 16

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Apr. 15i
April 15, 2015
Serbian pensioners protest against austerity measures, Kyrgyzstan finds dangerous chemicals in Chinese toys, and a blind photographer exhibits her work in Belarus, plus stories from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
RFE/RL Video Roundup - April 15
Note: There will be no Rundown tomorrow 
RFE/RL in the Media
# Khadija Ismayilova wins prestigious PEN press freedom award (New York Times breaks the news) 
Washington Post editorial criticizing European Olympic Committees mentions Ismayilova's plight 
New York Times piece on VOA says RFE/RL duplicates "much of the agency's programming"
Mark Zuckerberg tells RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service's Turxan Qarishga that Facebook money transfer is expanding soon 
# Russia blocks Hollywood blockbuster Child 44 "because it makes Stalin look bad"
# Economist on Russia's financial rally
# "Shadow" over Russian V-day celebrations as Western leaders snub
# "In Exile, but Ready to Save Russia" - Ilya Ponomarev, New York Times
# Another Yanukovych ally found shot dead in Kyiv 
# "In Rebel Territory of Ukraine, Older Residents Fight to Live" - Andrew Roth, New York Times
# "Ukraine: Inside the Deadlock" - Ben Judah, New York Review of Books 
# Putin says weapons to Iran "purely defensive"
# How the Senate's Iran deal was done
# "Saudis Should Welcome the Iran Deal" - Vali Nasr, New York Times
Middle East
# IS gains ground in Anbar
# Trucks struggle to navigate Iraq's IS-controlled roads
# Video of Kurdish girl allegedly shooting at IS fighters goes viral
# "How the Bush Wars Opened the Door for ISIS" - Michael Kinsley, Vanity Fair
# "Afghanistan's Female Sons" - Nadia Hashimi, Foreign Affairs
# Meet the cartoon kid superheroes of Pakistan
# "Loosening a Party’s Grip on Karachi, a Pakistani City Known for Violence" - Declan Walsh and Zia ur-Rehman, New York Times
# "India and Pakistan's Proxy War in Afghanistan" - Catherine Putz, Diplomat 
Central Asia
# Tajikistan's $100 million theatre
# Amnesty: West turning blind eye to torture in Uzbekistan
# The worsening crisis in Macedonia
# HWR says police in Serbia abusing migrants, asylum seekers
# Erdogan condemns Pope for "genocide" comments


The Rundown -- April 15

RFE/RL Video Roundup - April 14i
April 14, 2015
Hundreds of balloons released for kidnapped Hazaras in Afghanistan, an exhibition marks the day Georgians defended their language from Soviet efforts to strip it of official status in Tbilisi, plus stories from Tajikistan and Pakistan. (RFE/RL)
RFE/RL Video Roundup - April 14
RFE/RL in the Media
# Russian media, including Sputnik in English, on RFE/RL's expanding efforts in Russian (Izvestia in Russian)
# Czech president says he will apologize if he can't prove that former RFE/RL journalist admired Hitler (Prague Post)
# Fighting intensifies in eastern Ukraine
# Canada sending 200 trainers for Ukraine military
# "Decentralize or Perish" - Yuliya Bila, Foreign Policy 
# "Ukraine Is Attempting to Wipe Away Its Past" - Georgy Bovt, Moscow Times 
# Twerking is very controversial in Russia too
# Iran oversight legislation passes committee unanimously; Obama says he will not veto
# "Two Presidents and the Ayatollah" - Ellie Geranmayeh, Lobeblog
Video: Thomas Erdbrink speaks to man who leads "Death to America" chants in Tehran
Middle East
# IS escapees describe systematic rape  of Yazidi girls in new HRW report
# IS likely to increase kidnappings as oil money dries up
# Iraq has retaken "a quarter" of IS territory since August, says Pentagon
# Al-Qaida's Yemen branch says its top cleric, wanted by the US, has been killed
# Afghan warlord warns of IS rise
# Taliban fighters kill 18, behead eight
# How long can Pakistan stay out of Yemen fight?
Central Asia
# Scientists alarmed at pollution in Central Asia's longest river
Of Interest
# Mobile video is having a moment

The Rundown -- April 14

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Apr. 13i
April 13, 2015
U.S. rapper Kanye West takes the plunge at an impromptu concert in Armenia, Christians celebrate Orthodox Easter in the war-torn city of Homs in Syria, ethnic Baloch accuse security forces of extra-judicial killings in Pakistan, plus stories from Afghanistan and Bosnia-Herzegovina. (RFE/RL)
RFE/RL Video Roundup - Apr. 13
RFE/RL in the Media
CNN and Washington Post use RFE/RL Armenian Service video of Kanye West giving an impromptu concert and jumping into a lake 
HuffPost Live interviews RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service's Arzu Geybullayeva on Internet censorship in Turkey
# Putin lifts ban on S-300 surface-to-air missile sales to Iran
# Snowden "acting very strange" in Russia says Soldatov 
# Hillary Clinton's campaign commercial would have been illegal in Russia
# At talks, sides agree to further weapons withdrawals amid escalating violence 
# "The West is Wrong to Write Off Ukraine's Debts" - Alexander Lebedev and Vladislav Inozemtsev, Guardian
Middle East
# Islamic State militants breach Iraq refinery perimeter, repelled
Nightmare scene in Yarmouk, as residents caught between IS and Assad regime forces 
# Wall Street Journal on collaboration between Sunnis and Shi'ite militias in fight against IS
# U.S. Senator Cotton says Iran deal could lead to nuclear war
# Saudi Arabia rebuffs Iran call to pull out of Yemen
# Iran suspends off-season pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia amid tensions
# Rezian reportedly to face espionage charges
# Civilian casualties are up ahead of Afghan "fighting season"
# New documentary series, "The fighting Season"
# U.S. commander recounts experience dealing with recently assassinated Afghan warlord
# "Terrorism Case Renews Debate Over Drone Hits" - Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmidt, New York Times 
# Azerbaijan declares Slovak politician wanted
Central Asia
# Russia and Kazakhstan in "trade war"
Of Interest

The Rundown -- April 13

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Apr. 10i
April 10, 2015
Russia honors the Polish officials killed in a 2010 plane crash, Afghans plead for the safe return of kidnapped relatives, and Georgia buries a police officer killed in a high-profile shooting.
RFE/RL Video Roundup - April 10
RFE/RL in the Media
Yahoo uses RFE/RL video of Poland marking fifth anniversary of plane crash that killed president
Yahoo uses RFE/RL video of aftermath of suicide bombing in Kabul
# Russia (sort of) bans memes
# Russia says it has uncovered a group of spy satellites 
# Long Read: "What Russians Really Think" - Katherin Hille, Financial Times
# Group responsible for bombing campaign in Ukraine speaks to Simon Shuster
# The dying ex-officials and their ties to oligarchs
# Chechen commander in Ukraine drawn into Russia intrigue
# "Red tape" causing refugees to suffer
Middle East
# Reuters journalist leaves Iraq after threats from Shi'ite militias
# IS video shows destruction of ancient Assyrian city
Bombings kill 12 in Baghdad
# U.S. steps up air campaign as controversial Shi'ite militias withdraw
# U.S. Navy boarded freighter they suspected of delivering weapons to Huthis in Yemen 
# Hundreds of Iranians protest outside Saudi Embassy after claims of abuse in Jeddah airport
# Obama denounces efforts to "derail" nuclear deal
# "Iran's Supreme Leader Gets to No" - Eli Lake, Bloomberg
# Some states will keep sanctions on Iran with or without deal
# Five abducted aid workers killed in Afghanistan
# "Why is Pakistan not supporting its old friend?" - Ayesha Almazroui, National
# UAE ministers warn of "heavy price" for Turkey and Pakistan for "ambiguous stand"
# Pope calls mass deaths of Armenians "genocide"
Kardashian mania in Armenia
# How Skopje became Europe’s new capital of kitsch

The Rundown -- April 3

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Apr. 2i
April 02, 2015
Victims of the 1999 Kosovo war are returned to their families, Iraqis displaced by Islamic State violence start going home, and Serbs protest the planned Belgrade Waterfront, plus stories from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
RFE/RL Video Roundup - Apr. 2
RFE/RL in the Media
New Yorker writes in detail about Kolomoyskiy's rant against RFE/RL Ukrainian Service journalist 
Telegraph cites Carl Schreck's report about deportations of academics in Russia 
Guardian quotes RFE/RL Ukrainian Service interview with Yuriy Stets on "information army"
Yahoo uses RFE/RL Iraqi Service video of Kirkuk residents returning home 
# Iran framework deal reached with more details than expected
# Vox breaks down the deal "in plain English"; a skeptic's guide
Middle East
# Saudis warming up to Muslim Brotherhood as lesser of two evils compared to Iran
# Military officials say Tikrit was used to drive a wedge between Iran and Iraq 
# The "warrior Imams" fighting with militias in Iraq
# Ukraine agrees to cheaper short-term gas deal with Russia
Three arrested in Ukraine over bombing campaign 
# Ukraine is banning films and TV shows that glorify Russia's military
# Ceasefire a "dark joke" to many in east Ukraine
# The Russian Orthodox Church has become the most prominent of Russian censors 
# One flaw may be that it relies on goodwill of Putin 
# "Russian Artists Face a Choice: Censor Themselves, or Else" - Rachel Donadio, New York Times 
Eastern Europe
# U.S. military unable to account for $45 billion spent in Afghanistan
# Suicide bombing kills 17, including parliamentarian, in eastern Afghanistan 
# Afghanistan's "separate but equal" education
# Pakistan deports Al-Qaeda suspect to the U.S. 
#Pakistan's "last Jew" writes about how he'll be spending passover
Central Asia
# Karimov said to be hiring hit-men abroad
Of Interest
# How governments around the world manipulate the Internet

The Rundown -- April 2

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Apr. 1i
April 01, 2015
Nationalists protest against a play by Oscar Wilde in Russia, Pakistanis rally in support of Saudi airstrikes on Yemen, Iraqi Christians celebrate New Year, plus stories from Afghanistan and Tajikistan. (RFE/RL)
RFE/RL Video Roundup - April 1
RFE/RL in the Media
# Brian Whitmore on Monocle to discuss Russia's role in the Middle East
Washington Post cites report by Ganjinai Ganj and Farangis Najibullah on sex workers wearing hijabs in Tajikistan 
Moscow Times reprints Carl Schreck's piece on Western scholars being deported 
# East Ukraine separatists pay pensions in Russian rubles
# Simon Ostrovsky goes to Ukraine "border" with separatists, where he reports Ukrainian authorities don't allow essential goods through
# New Russian spring offensive "likely
# Ukraine refuses to extradite Saakashvili 
# Russian trawler sinks, leaving at least 54 dead 
# World Bank says Russian recession will be longer than expected
Forty-five percent of Russians polled think Stalin's repressions "justified" 
# Greece turning to Russia and China as EU negotiations sour 
# In the 11th hour, Obama ordered negotiators to ignore deadline 
# Is the nuclear deal "too big to fail?
# "Deal or No, Iran Will Remain a Nuclear Threat" - Dennis Ross, Politico 
Middle East
# Does IS "want a truce?
# A snapshot of IS militants' Libyan stronghold 
# NYT reviews books on IS 
# The "prison-like conditions" for displaced Afghan women 
# Pakistan militant groups pledge support to Saudi campaign in Yemen
# "The Dangerous, Delicate Saudi-Pakistan Alliance" - Arif Rafiq, Foreign Policy 
# "Why Pakistan Will Fight Saudi's Wars but Not Its Own" - Farheen Rizvi, Huffington Post
Central Asia
# "Karimov's Crumbling Kleptocracy" - Alisher Ilkhamov and Jeff Goldstein, Foreign Affairs 

The Rundown -- April 1

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Mar. 31i
March 31, 2015
A burning effigy of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Kyrgyzstan, progress on a Central and South Asian energy deal in Afghanistan, and a festival for a Sufi poet in Pakistan.
RFE/RL Video Roundup - March 31
RFE/RL in the Media
New York Times mentions raid of RFE/RL Baku offices in December 
# Russia says "key aspects" agreed in Iran nuclear talks, others less optimistic 
# Poll: Clear majority supports nuclear deal with Iran
# "Obama's Real Failure on Iran" - James Poulos, The Week 
Middle East
# Iraq says it has taken Tikrit, but the claim is disputed
# Former PM al-Maliki still looms large in Iraq
# Prosecutor, taken hostage by militant leftist group, dies as Turkish special forces storm building
# "Tired of War, Yemeni Bloggers Say, ‘Enough’" - Robert Mackey, New York Times 
# "Children of War" - Christopher Miller, Mashable 
# MH17 investigators say Buk rocket strike is primary theory in downing
# Russian special forces soldier describes active role of Russia in conflict
# Kudrin to Putin: Save Russia from five years of stagnation
# Greek pm calls sanctions a "road to nowhere"
Eastern Europe
# The food in Belarus is better than in Rome
# Lukashenka says U.S. should be more involved in Ukraine peace process 
# Company formerly known as Blackwater has earned over half a billion dollars in poppy war
# ProPublica crowd-sourcing investigation on rebuilding in Afghanistan
# Pakistan leaders in Saudi Arabia to discuss Yemen cooperation
# Azerbaijan expels visiting Human Rights Watch representative
Of Interest
# Twitter unveils Curator tool
# NYT introduces one sentence stories for Apple watch

The Rundown -- March 31

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Mar. 30i
March 30, 2015
A warm welcome for a U.S. military convoy in the Czech Republic, tearful reunions as Pakistanis evacuated from Yemen return home, plus stories from Moldova and Georgia. (RFE/RL)
RFE/RL Video Roundup - March 30
RFE/RL in the Media
# Joanna Paraszczuk quoted in Bloomberg on threat to Russia of returning fighters 
# Fears that Khamenei hasn't empowered negotiators to make necessary concessions
# Bloomberg: Talks should continue if deal isn't reached today
# The "weirder" negotiations going on in Lausanne
# Could U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Yemen have made Americans less averse to strikes in Iran?
# Saudi Arabia lashing out against Iran
# Iran Says U.S. Drone Kills 2 Advisers in Iraq
Middle East
Smokers rebel against IS cigarette ban
# Air strike hits Yemen refugee camp 
# Saleh still pulling strings in Yemen
# "The Huthi Enigma" - Robert Worth, New York Review of Books 
# Soros offers $1 billion in investments in Ukraine if West helps with private investment
# Ukraine protestants complain of intolerance in the east
# "30-Somethings Remake Ukraine" - Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg
# Assad says Russia has signed arms deals with Russia since 2011, contradicting Moscow's claims
# The mysterious Moscow "hit list" shadowing Russian politics
# Some investors bullish on Russia
# "Greece Looks to Russia as Deal With Europe Stumbles" - Liz Alderman, New York Times
# Mark Galeotti on how Putin could start to crumble in 2016
# Clashes with Taliban halt supply of power in south Afghanistan
# Ghani "walks tightrope" over U.S., Pakistan ties
# Pakistan to join Saudi coalition against Yemen rebels says official; others deny
Central Asia
# Karimov "wins" more than 90 percent of vote
Of Interest
# BBC updates social media guidance
# Instapaper adds speed-reading option

The Rundown -- March 30

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov during a new round of Iran nuclear talks, in Lausanne, March 28, 2015.

RFE/RL in the Media
# Dmitry Volchek and Daisy Sindelar's expose on a Russian troll factory covered by Daily MailNewsweekIndependentEndgadgetNew York Post and Express; gets the attention ofSputnik too 
Breitbart cites Golnaz Esfandiari's interview with an Iranian journalist who fled Iran during nuclear talks
# As deadline nears, Iran backs away from key detail, refusing to ship enriched uranium abroad
# Two other issues remain 
# Netanyahu says deal "worse" than feared
# "A Calculated Risk" - Steve Coll, New Yorker 
Middle East
# Saudi air strikes cripple Yemen air force
# Arab leaders agree to form joint military force
# "Operation Charlie Foxtrot" - David Rothkopf, Foreign Policy
# Russian official says 1,500 from North Caucasus fighting in Iraq and Syria
# Crimean Tatar TV station likely to be shut down
# "Peaceful colonization" is not a strategy for eastern Ukraine
# "What Will the Kremlin Do Next In Ukraine?" - Vladimir Frolov, Moscow Times
# Putin honors two paratrooper brigades with "massive heroism" but says it has nothing to do with Ukraine
# Russia and NASA discuss building a new space station
# "Putin's Economic Team Plays Houdini" - Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg 
# AP journalist's killer sentenced to 20 years
# "What a Mob Says About the State of Islam in Afghanistan" - Nushin Arbabzadah, Foreign Policy
# "Afghanistan’s Next Chapter" - New York Times editorial 
# Two Czech tourists, held captive since 2013, freed
# How will Pakistan respond to the crisis in Yemen?
Central Asia
# Uzbekistan "votes" with 91 percent turnout 
# Russian soldier's murder trial to be conducted in Armenia
# "At Home in Armenia" - Juliet Pennington, Boston Globe
Of Interest
# How the Lincoln Memorial might have looked

The Rundown -- March 27

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Mar. 26i
March 26, 2015
Humvees in Ukraine, a $200,000 Mercedes in Serbia, plus antiterrorism in Kyrgyzstan and a scout camp in Iraq. (RFE/RL)
RFE/RL Video Roundup - Mar. 26
RFE/RL in the media
RT and Reuters on upcoming study about U.S. "information war"
Toronto Star quotes Rob Coalson's piece about Ukraine oligarchs
# Putin says Western spy agencies plotting for 2018 election
# Russian army TV channel invites Jeremy Clarkson to present motoring show
# "The Central Banker Who Saved the Russian Economy From the Abyss" - Evgenia Pismennaya and Ilya Arkhipov, Bloomberg 
# West holds off on Ukraine aid pledges, seeking reforms
# Wizzair Ukraine to close
# Journalists rate Ukraine's best friends in Brussels 
# "Help Ukraine to Arm Itself" - Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg 
Middle East
# Some Shi'ite militias boycotting Tikrit fighting because of U.S. bombing 
# Egypt says it may send troops to Yemen fight; Iran condemns intervention
# Al-Qaeda may be main beneficiary of power vacuum in Yemen
# U.S. drops gory propaganda leaflets over Syria
# US considers allowing Iran to still run centrifuges at fortified site
# Rohani writes to Obama and speaks to Cameroon as deal deadline approaches
# "To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran" - John Bolton, New York Times 
# Soldier indicted for producing child porn in Afghanistan
# Pakistan considering Saudi request to take part in Yemen operation
# Pakistan's newest "political odd couple
Central Asia
# Mysterious sleeping ailment continues in Kazakhstan
Of Interest

The Rundown -- March 26

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Mar. 25i
March 25, 2015
A suicide bombing hits Kabul, vandals disfigure a shrine to assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow, and an experiment in alternative energy in Pakistan, plus stories from Bosnia and Armenia. (RFE/RL)
RFE/RL Video Roundup - March 25
RFE/RL in the Media
# Report by Enders Wimbush and Elizabeth Portale says U.S. and BBG losing "information war
YahooNews uses RFE/RL video of aftermath of Kabul car bomb
Washington Post cites RFE/RL Uzbek service on name change for Victory Day in Uzbekistan 
# Foreign carmakers leaving Russia
# Russia unveils plans for high speed railway and superhighway connecting Europe and America
# Obama reportedly snubs NATO chief in Washington
# Nicaragua may get Russian fighter jets 
# Ukraine arrests two top officials on live TV
# Ukraine receives humvees from U.S. 
# "The Political Perils of a Ukraine Default" - Marc Champion, Bloomberg 
Eastern Europe
# Revolution "impossible" in Belarus 
Middle East
# Hadi flees Yemen and Saudi Arabia begins air strikes, as anti-Huthi Gulf coalition forms 
# Former president Saleh believed to be helping Huthis
# U.S. conducting airstrikes over Tikrit; perhaps closest cooperation with Iran yet 
# In nuclear talks, Iran seeks to avoid specifics
# U.S. officials fear Iran attacking U.S. troops in Iraq
 Soleimani in Iraq for Tikrit offensive 
# The Afghanistan translator who became a 9/11 millionaire
# Bowe Berghdal charged with misbehavior before the enemy and desertion 
# "President Obama Must Stand With Afghanistan" - Tom Cotton, Politico 
Central Asia
# "Kyrgyzstan Reaches out to Europe – While Inching Closer to Russia" - Hugh Williamson, Guardian 
# Troops from Uzbekistan and Russia reportedly deployed to Turkmen-Afghan border
# Harvey Nichols opens department store in Azerbaijan
Of Interest
# The most important thing on the Internet is the screenshot
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The Rundown -- March 25

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Mar. 24i
March 24, 2015
Thousands of Afghans demand justice in the wake of a mob killing, Kyrgyzstan marks the 10th anniversary of its Tulip Revolution, and Armenian workers accuse their employer of siphoning off their salaries.
RFE/RL Video Roundup - March 24
RFE/RL in the Media
Global Voices interviews Golnaz Esfandiari, "English-Language journalism's ‘bridge’ to Iran"
New York Times mentions RFE/RL as model for BBG plan to create entity for Spanish-language broadcasting 
# Amid "ugly" fight with Poroshenko powerful Ukrainian oligarch Kolymoysky resigns
# Oligarch battle "the most serious internal crisis" since new Ukrainian government came to power
# "Ukraine: Divided and Bitter" - Tim Judah, New York Review of Books
# "To See Ukraine’s Future, Recall Crimea" - Andrew Foxall, New York Times
# Russian bid to stop UN benefit for gay couples fails badly 
# Jordan signs $10 billion nuclear power plant deal with Russia
# "Is Russian Literature Dead?" - Owen Matthews, Foreign Policy
# White House accuses Israel of spying on nuclear negotiations and using details to lobby Congress; different than normal spying?
# Iran hard-liners "show restraint" on nuclear talks
# Video profile: NYT's "Man in Tehran"
Middle East
# IS militants skimming from salaries paid to state employees
# HRW says Iraqi security forces burned Sunni villages to the ground after liberating them from IS
# U.S. joins Iraqi offensive in Tikrit
# Tunisian Star Wars town now a way-station for IS militants 
# Obama announces decision to maintain troop levels through 2015
# Ghani on U.S. reliance
# U.S. drone strike kills nine Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan
# Pakistan official says country needs short-range "tactical" nuclear weapons 
# "Letter from Macedonia" - Rupert Wolfe-Murray, Huffington Post
# Armenian anti-NGO law "inspired by Moscow"
Of Interest
# Facebook wants to replace websites for news
# If you drilled a hole through earth, it would take 38 minutes for an object to drop to the other side
# U.S. ambassador to Libya quits Twitter

The Rundown -- March 24

RFE/RL Video Roundup - Mar. 23i
March 23, 2015
Afghans demand justice in the wake of a mob killing, Moldova's semi-autonomous Gagauzia region elects a new governor, and Tajikistan celebrates Norouz, plus videos from Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Ukraine.
RFE/RL Video Roundup - March 23

RFE/RL in the Media

Newsweek cites Brian Whitmore and his "influential" Power Vertical blog on Nemtsov killing 
Vox uses RFE/RL Ukrainian Service video of Kolomoysky outburst against RFE/RL journalist 
# Opposition lawmaker: RT should be registered as lobby group instead of media
# How Russia tries to "recruit" bloggers
# "Could Kadyrov Replace Putin?" - Mark Galeotti, Moscow Times
# Ukraine pledges to stop buying Russian gas starting in April
# Ukraine's ruling party hit by spate of apparent suicides 
# Bloomberg video: Chart shows "dismantling of Ukraine economy
Eastern Europe
# Gagauzia elects pro-Russian leader
# Israel looking to France to oppose Iran deal
# Iran working "unconstrained" to tighten grip on Arab states 
# "Obama's Empty Message to Iran" - Eli Lake, Bloomberg 
# "Iran’s Coming Leadership Crisis" - Sohrab Ahmari, Wall Street Journal
Middle East
# Erdogan in rift with government 
# Obama to host Iraqi PM on April 14
# Battle for Tikrit "key" to Iraq's future
# Group of 11 medical students go to IS-controlled territory
# Gunmen kill 13 bus passengers in Afghanistan
# Video of alleged IS member recruiting Afghans
# "Afghanistan and Pakistan: The False Promise of Rapprochement" - Mohammed Umer Daudzai, New York Times 
# Pakistan displays locally made armed drone
Central Asia
# OCCRP's investigation into Gulnara Karimova's (former) empire
# China and Russia tussle for influence in Kazakhstan
Of Interest
# How Vox grew its audience on Facebook

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