World View: Austria Quits U.N. Peacekeeping Force on Syria-Israel Border

This morning's key headlines from

  • Russia's president Vladimir Putin is getting a divorce
  • Austria quits U.N. peacekeeping force on Syria-Israel border
  • North Korea goes on a charm offensive

Russia's president Vladimir Putin is getting a divorce

Alina Kabaeva relaxes after a tough day at rhythmical gymnastics in this 2008 photo (
Alina Kabaeva relaxes after a tough day at rhythmical gymnastics in this 2008 photo (

In 2008, I wrote "Putin angrily denies divorce rumors and shuts down newspaper reporting them", and described how Russia's president Vladimir Putin terrorized a female reporter at a joint press conference with Silvio Berlusconi when she asked a question about a rumored affair with Alina Kabaeva, while Berlusconi helped out by gesturing with his had pretending to shoot the reporter. At the 2008 press conference, Putin derided the "snotty noses and erotic fantasies" of the journalists reporting the rumors, which he denied, saying:

"There is not a word of truth in this story. Politicians live in glass houses, everyone wants to know how they live, but there are limits and there is a private life and these limits should be respected. ... Other publications of a similar nature have in the past mentioned similar stories about me and women entertainers and attractive young girls and it will come as no surprise to you that I don't like them."

That's not the only thing that Putin was lying about in 2008. He was also lying by denying that he had an arrangement with Dmitry Medvedev to become President again in 2012.

So now it turns out that Putin, 60, is president again, and he's divorcing his wife, and the continuing affair with rhythmical gymnast Alina Kabaeva, 30, may well be the reason. If you have a few minutes, watch this hot 2004 video of Kabaeva's award-winning performance. You'll never look at a ball the same way again.

Putin was married to Lyudmila Putina for 30 years, and they have two daughters, 27 and 28. Kabaeva is also rumored to have two children by Putin, though she denies it. Telegraph

Austria quits U.N. peacekeeping force on Syria-Israel border

The entire United Nations peacekeeping effort in the Golan Heights on the border between Syria and Israel is in jeopardy after Austria's announcement that it's withdrawing its 380 troops from 1,000 member force, because the peacekeepers' lives are in danger. The announcement came after fighting broke out on the border on Thursday between Syria's army troops and opposition rebel fighters, wounding a peacekeeper from the Philippines. The peacekeeping force has been in place since 1974, and the border has been peaceful until now. The U.N. is searching for a country that will replace Austria, and Israel is moving additional troops into the border area, preventing some Israeli farmers from reaching their farms. Reuters and VOA

North Korea goes on a charm offensive

The North Koreans made a surprise proposal on Thursday to hold talks on reopening the Kaesong Industrial Complex. North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un shut down the complex two months ago when he threw his temper tantrum, threatening to shoot missiles at Japan, South Korea, and America. On Thursday, the North Korean Central News Agency announced:

"We propose holding talks between authorities of the north and south for the normalization of operations at Kaesong and the resumption of tours to Mt. Kumkang on the occasion of the anniversary of the June 15 joint declaration."

Kaesong was a major source of hard currency for the North Koreans, so the child dictator's temper tantrum has cost North Korea a great deal of money. The motivation for the new charm offensive is to stop the bleeding. Yonhap (Seoul)

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