World News Brief, Thursday July 31

Russia's central bank promises to help financial institutions affected by sanctions; Chinese Communist Party cracks down on corruption; Uighur people dispute official account of clashes in Xinjiang; airline suspends flights to help stop spread of ebola; and more 

Top of the Agenda

Russia Reacts to New U.S., EU Sanctions

Russia's central bank on Wednesday (WaPo) promised to help financial institutions targeted by the West, a day after the European Union and United States ratcheted sanctions on Russia's defense, finance, and energy industries. The coordinated measures exacerbate tensions that Russian president Vladimir Putin is balancing between business tycoons and nationalists (FT). Meanwhile, Belarus said it will host talks (Reuters) between Ukraine and Russia, while Dutch-led investigators once again failed to reach the Malaysia Airlines crash site (Bloomberg) even as the Ukrainian army continued to make advances against rebels in the country's east.


"There would appear to be inexorable momentum for further sanctions: (1) Europe now is less of a constraint on further U.S. action; (2) Ukraine is achieving success on the battlefield, and without intensified Russian involvement would likely see further gains. If recent evidence of Russian shelling across the border is any indication, Russia has intensified its support in response to developments on the ground, which is justification for further sanctions; and (3) sanctions are likely to be extended over time in response to evasion," writes CFR's Robert Kahn.

"This change of view makes all the more troubling France's continued determination to deliver at least one of the two Mistral-class warships it is building for Russia for 1.2 billion euros, or about $1.6 billion. The Mistral is not heavily armed, but it is a serious military asset," writes the New York Times' board in an editorial.

"An improvement in the international climate is nevertheless unlikely without political change in Russia. For what makes Mr Putin so confrontational on the world stage is, at bottom, an awareness that Russia's post-communist attempt at building a modern state and society is running into the sands," writes the Financial Times in an editorial.



Explore CFR’s Interactive on the Sunni-Shia Divide

Sectarian conflict is becoming entrenched in a growing number of Muslim countries. Tensions between Sunnis and Shias could reshape the future Middle East. Click on the Sunni-Shia Divide to learn more.



China Corruption Inquiry Breaks With Past Practice

The graft investigation of former security chief Zhou Yongkang appears to violate a long-standing taboo (SCMP) against prosecuting the Chinese Communist Party's highest-ranking members, but President Xi Jinping's two most recent predecessors approved the deal, sources told Reuters.

This Backgrounder explains the threat China's Communist Party perceives from endemic corruption.

CHINA: Uighur exile groups disputed Chinese state media's accounts of clashes in the western province of Xinjiang (NYT).


UN school in Gaza struck

Airline suspends flights to stop spread of ebola

This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on