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World View: Putin's Approval Ratings Soar in Russia over Crimea Annexation

World View: Putin's Approval Ratings Soar in Russia over Crimea Annexation

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Putin’s approval ratings soar in Russia over Crimea annexation
  • Riots among Palestinians over successor to Abbas
  • Hundreds of dead pig carcasses found in China’s Gan River

Putin’s approval ratings soar in Russia over Crimea annexation

The approval rating of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has soared 15points since January 1 to 75.7% of Russians supporting him. Putin’spolitical opposition was already pretty dispirited, but the Crimeanannexation has permitted Putin to crush the opposition in polling.

In fact, the Crimea annexation has split the opposition itself.Liberal anti-war groups are calling for the withdrawal of Russiantroops from Ukraine, while leftist movements like the Left Front arejoining nationalist forces to demand that Crimea be returned toRussia. This split has allowed Putin to claim that an “absolutemajority of Russians” supported the annexation of Crimean, while thosewho opposed it were “national traitors” acting on behalf of Westerncountries. Moscow Times

Riots among Palestinians over successor to Abbas

With Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at age 79, many officialsin the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) are considering the questionof who will be his successor. Abbas is part of the old generationof survivors of the genocidal war between Jews and Arabs that followedthe 1947 partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the stateof Israel. When Yasser Arafat died in 2004, Abbas was a naturalchoice to succeed him, because they were both war survivors andshared a common world view. But now the time is approachingfor a successor and for a generational change.

The major aspirant is 52 year old Mohammed Dahlan. Dahlan grew uppoor in a Gaza refugee camp, but as a top aide to Arafat became Gaza’sstrongman in the 1990s, jailing leaders of rival Hamas which wastrying to derail Arafat’s negotiation with Israel through bombing andshooting attacks. Abbas and Dahlan uses to be allies, but the 2008war between Fatah and Hamas, that made Hamas the governing power inGaza caused tension between them, until 2011 when Abbas expelledDahlan completely from Fatah. The bitterness between the two has beengrowing, and in the last few weeks they’ve even started calling eachother traitors in the resistance to Israel. Abbas has accused Dahlanof involvement in six murders, hinting that he might also be behindthe death of former leader and Palestinian icon Yasser Arafat. Dahlanhas called Abbas a “catastrophe” for the Palestinian people.

The vitriolic personal fight is spilling over into the streets. InGaza City on Tuesday, dozens of Abbas supporters clashed with Dahlansupporters using stones and sticks. The police were called in toseparate the two parties.

In Lebanon, tensions are growing in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee campbetween supporters of the two sides. With the war in Syria spillingover into Lebanon anyway, most Palestinians have followed the lead ofHamas in standing against Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, who isexterminating Sunni women and children. But there is a pro-Assadfaction in Ain al-Hilweh who is siding with Abbas. With tensionsgrowing almost daily, there are fears that all out violence couldbreak out any day. AP and Middle East Monitor and Daily Star (Beirut)

Hundreds of dead pig carcasses found in China’s Gan River

Chinese officials have pulled hundreds of dead pig carcasses out ofthe Gan River, in central Jiangxi province. The Gan serves as themain drinking water supply for several large cities, but Chineseofficials say they’ve tested the water and it’s still safe forconsumption. It’s not known where the pig carcasses came from,or why they were disposed of this way.

This year’s situation seems less severe compared to what happened lastyear, when there were 16,000 pig carcasses. It was later determinedthat the pigs were from an upstream farm, which was hit by a commonpig virus, porcine circovirus, infecting thousands of livestock. Thevirus, which is not harmful to humans, was responsible for quicklytaking out a huge portion of the farm’s pig population, and thefarmers dumped them into the river to dispose of them. International Business Times and Radio Free Asia

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