Last 24 Hours: Crimea ultimatum passes quietly

No fighting was reported in Ukraine’s Crimea region after a reported ultimatum – one that Moscow denied – threatened a Russia attack. This comes after Putin ended military exercises in western Russia, close to the Ukraine border, and had those troops sent back to their bases. This statement, however, does not comment on the Russian troops in Crimea and Ukraine itself. In a Tuesday speech, Putin said Russia has the right to use force in Ukraine.

On the ground, Syria forces are now pushing forward into their assault on Yabroud near the Lebanon border. Elsewhere, Syria has relinquished close to a third of its chemical weapons stockpile in its handover to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Jailed public leader Leopoldo Lopez in Venezuela continues to call for more demonstrations against President Maduro. Monday brought thousands out into Caracas streets despite it being a national holiday.

Thailand may extend state of emergency in Bangkok despite scaled back anti-government protests. A few days of calm have reached the nation’s capital after some deadly violence spurred from the protests. Protesters are also looking to the courts.

“I cannot turn my back when majority wants me to run for president,” says Egypt’s army chief El-Sisi.

China’s military is boosting their defense spending, says their military will respond to all kinds of provocations and threats.

Should know

Bahrain; Three policemen dead after bomb goes off by Manama protest — Nigeria; Gunmen kill three policemen, militants kill more than 31 — Yemen; Drone strikes, ambushes kill ten — Gaza; Israeli air strike kills militant– Mexico; Six bodies found at another clandestine grave — Pakistan; 11 killed in attack on court

Xinjiang; China detains four suspects after deadly attack — Iraq; Gunmen storm government complex in Sumarra — Turkey; State scrambles fighter jets after Russian plane flies near its Black Sea coast — Congo; Rebels ambush United Nations vehicle

Africa; East Africa nations mull stabilization force for South Sudan — Vietnam; Ex-journalist jailed for anti-government blog — Egypt; Court bans activities of Hamas group in nation — Estonia; Prime minister sends in resignation — Somalia; Ugandan troops to form UN guard force in Mogadishu

To watch

United States; ‘Tough’ choices nearing in Israel-Palestinian talks — al-Qaeda; Osama bin-Laden’s son-in-law on trial in New York City — Afghanistan; India and Pakistan ramp up aid as they jostle for influence in Kabul — Scotland; Scottish leader to take independence fight to London — Central African Republic; United Nations proposes peacekeeping force — Romania; Government at odds over forming new government

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