Crimea river – is Secretary of State John Kerry’s message to the Ukrainian-owned, Russia-loving region.
After a tense meeting with Russia’s foreign minister, the U.S. has declared that it will not recognize the results of Sunday’s “illegitimate” referendum in Crimea on joining Russia. Meanwhile, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia has “no plans for military intrusion in Eastern Ukraine,” despite the fact that Putin has lined up tens of thousands of Russian troops along the border. As for the “illegitimate” referendum, Lavrov said Moscow is “committed to respect the will of the people of Crimea.” While Lavrov said his six-hour meeting with Kerry was “constructive”, I think what he really meant is they disagreed on everything and left it at that. BBC News
While the U.S is slowly legalizing gay marriage state by state, Iraq has gone one step further (or very far backwards?) by considering legalizing child-marriage. The draft measure, which was first introduced by Iraq’s Justice Ministry at the end of 2013, would open the door to girls as young as nine getting married and would allow a husband to have sex with his wife regardless of consent. The measure, based on a school of religious law found by the Shiite imam Jaafar al-Sadiq, would only apply to Iraq’s majority Shiite population. While the measure still has to be ratified by parliament before it becomes law, rights activists are doing everything they can to make sure that doesn’t happen. “That law represents a crime against humanity and childhood,” prominent Iraqi human rights activist Hana Adwar said. “Married underage girls are subjected to physical and psychological suffering.” I guess America’s plan to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq didn’t exactly go as planned… Huffington Post
House Speaker and apparent Catholic John Boehner has extended a formal and open invitation to the Pope to pay a visit Congress and share his message of “protection of the most vulnerable among us-the ailing, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the impoverished, [and] the unborn.” There’s at least one Republican congressman (Paul Ryan…) who could use a lecture on helping the poor – or inner city men as he calls them. No pope or religious leader that serves as a head of state has ever addressed Congress before, so if Pope Francis accepts, it would be a big pope-ing deal. The Pope is reportedly considering a trip to the U.S. next year so I’m sure he’s thrilled to already have something on his itinerary. USA Today
Are we sure we want to pull out of Afghanistan and leave everything in the capable hands of their security forces…? The Taliban was up to their old tricks again when they tricked prison officials in Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar into releasing 12 Taliban fighters. How did this trickery occur? The Taliban sent a fake letter to the prison requesting the release of 30 prisoners. Eighteen inmates on the list were supposed to be freed anyways, but the other 12 were not. The prison didn’t realize their mistake until the prisoners had already been released. Oops. Two have since been recaptured but the search for the others continues. BBC News
Is China short on guns? Another stabbing rampage broke out in China on Friday morning when a dispute between food stall owners turned ugly. The fight between the two peddlers ended when one decided to hack the other to death and “in the process of fleeing,” fatally stabbed four pedestrians before police arrived on the scene to shoot him. The knifing comes just weeks after another stabbing incident left 29 people dead and 130 injured. Police are attributing that attack to separatist forces/terrorists from the predominantly Muslim Uighur region, who I hope had a better reason than a food stall dispute. The Guardian