RUSSIA: In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, nuclear arsenal and vast territories notwithstanding, the distinguishing feature of the country today is its striking economic underdevelopment and weakness. (Hint: Life expectancy in 2012 for a 15-year-old male was three years lower in Russia than in Haiti.)
ITALY: Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi even manages to come out of community service (for tax dodging) smelling like a rose.
MIDDLE EAST: Religious leaders and organizations on Wednesday announced a pledge of solidarity and call to action for persecuted communities in Egypt, Iraq, and Syria. The signers represent a noteworthy cross-section of churches in America, including Middle Eastern churches that are now in every case larger than their progenitors in the Middle East. (I was asked and also signed the document.)
LIBYA: Rules for the new House select committee looking into Benghazi will be important.
I'M READING: A Wind in the House of Islam by David Garrison.