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April, 30, 2016

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Commentary > AP
Syrian government troops who have besieged dozens of rebel-held communities are moving toward their biggest target yet -- the opposition-controlled neighborhoods of the city of Aleppo, where some 300,000 people risk being trapped.
 
The decision by the Pentagon to allow women to serve in all combat jobs has put new focus on an often-forgotten U.S. institution: the Selective Service.
 
NATO warships are steaming toward the Aegean Sea in an escalated bid to impose order on the chaotic arrival of more than 1 million migrants, which has not abated despite the wintry weather in southern Europe.
 
North Korea reacted quickly and sternly Thursday to South Korea's announcement it will suspend operations at a jointly run factory complex just north of the Demilitarized Zone that is the last major cooperative project between the two countries. It's always difficult to gauge the true intentions of Pyongyang's secretive ruling regime, but here's a look at what it might mean.
 
It was hardly unexpected that the Syrian peace talks in Geneva would break off in recrimination.
 
The timing couldn't have appeared worse. North Korea announces it will launch a long-range rocket smack in the middle of a top Chinese envoy's visit to Pyongyang. In diplomatic terms, it was yet another sign of disrespect for North Korea's chief ally.
 
The Taliban suicide bombing against a bus carrying employees of Afghanistan's biggest media company last month has shocked local journalists, who fear they are now in the cross hairs of an increasingly lethal insurgency.
 
The Israeli government's decision to allow non-Orthodox Jewish prayer at Jerusalem's Western Wall is a major breakthrough for the country's long-marginalized liberal streams and their powerful supporters in the United States.
 
Germany is mulling taking away benefits from asylum seekers if they refuse to try to learn the language and integrate; Denmark has just approved a measure to let police seize valuables from migrants to help cover their housing and food costs; and an Austrian province this week is expected to more than halve payments to many refugees.
 
"The Cowshed: Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution" (New York Review Books), by Ji Xianlin.
 
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