JAPAN: Cherry blossom season is at its peak, and for some amazing photos the world over, check out #sakura on Twitter or Instagram. The Japanese have an elaborate system of mapping bloom peaks and live web cams for watching them (but you have to take into account the 13-hour time difference between Washington and Tokyo).
Washington’s iconic Tidal Basin cherry blossoms have a complex—and not surprisingly political—heritage.
UKRAINE: The CIA may share more real-time intelligence with Kiev in its battle to hold onto the Russian-dominated eastern provinces. Pro-Russian militants seized Ukrainian armored military vehicles and were shown today parading them with a Russian flag through the streets of one eastern city.
SYRIA: Rebels and the Syrian government are trading blame for the assassination of 75-year-old Francis Van Der Lugt in Homs last week, with state media blaming “terrorists” while Syria’s main opposition bloc called the killing a “criminal act” by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. His death brought the number of Christians in Homs’ old city to less than 30 from 60,000 Christians who lived there before the war.
ITALY: Rome may be even older than we thought.
ENGLAND: Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant is used to packing stadiums, but instead filled an Anglican church in Gloucestershire that normally seats 250.
NIGERIA: No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of at least 100 school girls from a secondary school in Nigeria’s Borno state, but suspicions point to Boko Haram, the militant anti-Christian group headquartered nearby.
LIBYA: Jordan’s ambassador to Libya was kidnapped yesterday, highlighting the ongoing insecurity in Libya following NATO’s “successful” operation to oust Muammar Qaddafi three years ago. “Nothing can change for the better until the weapons are gone,” 19-year-old Anwar Elsaye said, “but there is no one who has the power to make that happen.”