World News Brief, Tuesday March 30

Moscow suicide bombs point to comeback of Chechnyan insurgency; Suu Kyi's party to boycott Burmese election; Obama in Afghanistan: praises troops, not Karzai; US Congress goes after Chinese exchange rate; and more

Top of the Agenda: Suicide Blasts Rattle Moscow Subways

Female suicide bombers set off explosions in two subway stations in central Moscow, killing at least thirty-seven people (NYT) and raising fears that southern Russia's Muslim insurgency is making a comeback. The first attack occurred near the FSB's headquarters, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB Officials said the attack was intended to send a message to the security service, which has cracked down on Islamic extremism in Chechnya and elsewhere in southern Russia. No one claimed immediate responsibility for the attacks. The subway system was attacked several times in the early 2000s, in attacks related to the separatist war in Chechnya. The attacks mark an increase in terrorist activity on the transportation system over the past year.

Russian security services killed several leading terrorists (WSJ) in the North Caucasus in recent weeks. Vladimir Vasiliev, head of the security committee in Russia's lower house of Parliament, blamed the bombings on North Caucasus militants targeted in those operations.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the organizers of the blasts will be punished (RiaNovosti). "I am sure that police will do their best to find and punish the criminals. The terrorists will be destroyed."


The Economist says corruption and brutality among Russia's security and military services have been some of the main factors contributing to the growth of extremism in the Northern Caucasus. It would be unfortunate if the Kremlin used the attacks to justify tightening its grip on power and curbing the opposition, the publication says.


PACIFIC RIM: US Faces Decision on China Currency

The US Congress is considering how it can influence (FT) China's fixed exchange rate against the US dollar.

Burma: Burma's opposition party led by Aung San Suu Kyi, the detained Nobel laureate, said it will boycott the country's first elections in twenty years (AP), partly because of a new law that would have barred Suu Kyi from the party.



Obama Urges More Afghan Cooperation
European Leaders: Renew Transatlantic Ties


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