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c.2014 New York Times News Service

Ukraine Crisis Pushing Putin Toward China

President Vladimir Putin said Monday that he was withdrawing Russian troops from the border with Ukraine, the second time he has said that in less than two weeks. He also praised the government in Kiev, which he had previously called an illegal, fascist junta, for its willingness to negotiate structural changes. But the intended audience for these conciliatory remarks may not have been the United States and Europe, who would distrust them in any event. No, Putin’s gaze was more likely fixed on China, where he arrives Tuesday by all accounts determined to show that he, too, wants to pivot to Asia.

General Declares Martial Law Across Thailand Amid Paralyzing Protests

The head of Thailand’s army declared what he described as nationwide martial law early Tuesday and urged protesters who have paralyzed the government and blocked elections to “stop their movement.” The order also appeared to apply to pro-government demonstrators who are leading a separate protest. In a country where the army has staged more than a dozen coups in recent decades it was not immediately clear what degree of control the military planned to take. The presence of soldiers on the streets of Bangkok was relatively sparse early Tuesday and life in the city continued normally, including morning traffic jams and puffy television talk shows.

Singer Cheats Death, and Rumor Mill, in North Korea

Hyon Song Wol is not quite North Korea’s version of Beyoncé. But as a popular singer and leader of the nation’s best-known girl band, she attracts plenty of attention. Last Friday, millions watched on national television as she saluted the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, for promoting the arts. Yet to many across the border in South Korea, Hyon’s performance was most surprising because she appeared at all. News reports throughout much of the world asserted months ago that she had been machine-gunned to death on orders of the North Korean leader. Her appearance was a reminder of the near impossibility of saying with certainty what is happening in North Korea.

Parliamentary Wins May Seal Third Term for Iraqi Premier

Beating expectations, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki secured the largest number of seats in last month’s parliamentary elections, the first since the withdrawal of U.S. forces at the end of 2011, putting him in a strong position to secure a third term as Iraq’s leader as negotiations begin to form a new government. The elections were held April 30, during a time of heightened violence around the country, but initial results — still subject to challenges from various political parties — were not released until Monday. The margin of victory for al-Maliki and his Shiite Islamist political coalition was greater than most analysts and politicians forecast.

After Mine Disaster in Turkey, a Painful Awareness of What Has Been Lost

The framed photograph showed the smiling faces of 22 men, most of them coal miners, and Ali Toprak pointed first to the unlucky and then the lucky. “That’s Niyazi, he had two children,” he said. “He was strong and tall, a senior miner. Very nice man.” And on Toprak went, reciting the names of the dead, until he turned to the living, pointing them out too. “He survived. It was his day off.” “He was on vacation.” The village of Koseler, Turkey, with a population of 430, lost 14 men in last week’s coal mining disaster in the nearby town of Soma, killing 301 people.

Flood Danger Persists in Serbia, Threatening Power Plant

The rain has stopped, at last, but the danger persists in flood-ravaged Serbia, where a lake of water is pushing its way down the Sava River, toward the Danube, threatening the capital, Belgrade, and the power plant southwest of the city that provides half of the nation’s electricity. Workers already had been struggling around the clock to build a barricade of sandbags to save the coal-fired Nikola Tesla power plant in the hard-hit town of Obrenovac, along the Sava. Serbia’s police chief, Nebojsa Stefanovic, ordered Obrenovac evacuated on Monday, along with 11 other towns and villages.

U.S. Initiative on Hunger Aids Millions, Report Finds

An Obama administration program set up to reduce chronic hunger and poverty has contributed to rising incomes for farmers around the world and has helped save millions of people from starvation, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Agency for International Development. The program, Feed the Future, was started by the agency four years ago after a rapid rise in global food prices. It has helped more than seven million small farmers increase crop production and has provided nutritious foods to 12.5 million children in countries hit hard by drought, war or poor development, the report said.

United States - North America - East Asia - Asia - Middle East - Eastern Europe - Europe - Thailand - Southeast Asia - Western Europe - Serbia - Kim Jong-un - Kim Jong-il - North Korea - Ukraine - Vladimir Putin - Nouri al-Maliki - Turkey

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