Top news: Russia expelled a low-level U.S. diplomat accused of sprying and trying to recruit a Russian security official as a U.S. agent, but the bizarre circumstances of the arrest have raised questions over the authenticity of the Russian allegations.
The alleged spy, a third secretary named Ryan Fogle who works in the political section at the U.S. embassy in Moscow, was arrested allegedly carrying two wigs -- one blonde, one brunette, and was wearing the blonde one -- maps, a strangely written recruitment letter, and an old-fashioned cell-phone. The FSB released images and video of Fogle's arrest, including a photo of Fogle face down on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back -- with the blonde wig askew under a baseball cap.
The CIA declined to comment on the arrest, and Jen Psaki, the State Department's spokesperson, would only say that an embassy staffer was “briefly detained and was released.”
Fogle was allegedly trying to recruit a Russian counterterror agent with expertise in the Caucasus, a region of extreme interest to U.S. officials in recent weeks after it emerged that the suspects alleged to have carried out the Boston Marathon bombings hailed from the region.
Eurozone: The recession in the eurozone extended into its sixth quarter and is now longer than the contraction that hit the countries that use the common currency in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. According to eurostat, France is now also in recession, and in total nine of the 17 countries that use the euro are in recession.
- Hamas and Fatah agreed to form a unity government within three months.
- Thousands of Palestinians are taking to the streets of Gaza and the West Bank today to protest their displacement in 1948 during the war that marked Israel's founding.
- Kurdish fighters affiliated with the PKK began crossing into Iraq from Turkey as part of a peace deal between the group and the Turkish government.
- Wal-Mart announced that it will not join a European plan to help improve safety conditions at garment factories in Bangladesh.
- Taiwan recalled its representative from Manila amid a deepening row over the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine coast guard.
- Distrustful of the government, many of members of the Rohingya ethnic group in Burma are refusing to evacuate low-lying camps ahead of an approaching cyclone.
- British Prime Minister David Cameron, facing a rebellion within his party, was forced to bring forward a bill enforcing a referendum on continued U.K. membership in the European Union.
- The French legislature passed a modest package of pro-business labor law reforms.
- The European Union will pledge 520 million euros directed at helping to rebuild Mali.
- Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in his fight against Islamist militants, who, he now says, control some villages and towns in the country's northeast.
- The Congolese government will name a new city in honor of the country's first prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, who was assassinated in 1961.
- Activists released three dozen piglets and spilled animal blood at the entrance to the Kenyan parliament in a protest over salaries for legislators.
- The council overseeing the Brazilian judiciary effectively legalized same-sex marriages in the country.
- The Venezuelan opposition TV channel Globovision, one of the few vehement critics of the Chávez government inside Venezuela, has been sold, and it is expected it will move its editorial direction "toward the center."
- Because of delays in completing the city's new stadium, Sao Paulo may lose the right to host soccer matches during the 2014 World Cup.