UNITED NATIONS: Iraq strife linked to Syria
Iraq's escalating violence can no longer be separated from the civil war in Syria because "the battlefields are merging," the UN envoy to Iraq warned Tuesday. Martin Kobler told the Security Council that Iraqi armed groups have an increasingly active presence in Syria. As a result, he said, the Syrian conflict is no longer just spilling over into Iraq, but Iraqis are reportedly taking arms against each other inside Syria, he said. "Iraq is the fault line between the Shia and the Sunni world and everything which happens in Syria, of course, has repercussions on the political landscape in Iraq," Kobler said. In Iraq, meanwhile, suicide attacks and car bombings have killed at least 169 Iraqis just seven days into Ramadan.
ISRAEL: Netanyahu bristles at EU
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu harshly criticized a European Union decision to ban funding for Israeli institutions that operate in the Palestinian territories. The new guidelines will block EU cooperation grants for Israeli entities that operate in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and claimed by the Palestinians for their future state. Netanyahu, after meeting with senior cabinet ministers Tuesday, said: "We will not accept any external edicts about our borders."
FRANCE: Row over a postage stamp
The new face of France, or at least the official postage stamp for the President François Hollande era, is modeled after a Ukrainian woman who takes her top off to defend feminist causes. Not everyone thinks that's appropriate, and some are calling for a boycott. Hollande on Sunday unveiled the new stamp, meant to represent Marianne, a symbol of France since the revolution and French youth. Artist Olivier Ciappa said the image was modeled largely after Inna Shevchenko, an activist with the group Femen who received political asylum in France. An official in Hollande's presidential palace said the image was chosen by a panel of young people from a selection of sketches.