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On the morning of January 11, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a 32-year-old chemist from Sharif University in Tehran, was riding in a Peugeot 405 along Shahid Golnabi Street in eastern Tehran. As his car inched through the morning rush-hour traffic, two men on motorcycles approached Roshan’s vehicle, attached a magnetic bomb to the side of the car, and raced off just before the Peugeot and its prominent passenger were blown to bits. Roshan — who was also deputy director for commercial affairs at Iran’s Natanz nuclear reactor — had just become the latest victim of an apparent covert campaign of assassination targeting high-profile Iranian scientists allegedly involved in the Islamic republic’s controversial nuclear program.

The governments of China and Russia blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad to hand over power, sparking outrage among Western and Arab leaders supposedly concerned about a bloody conflict that has already claimed thousands of lives. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded to the UN vetoes by vowing to redouble the Obama administration’s efforts to take down the regime.

Textbooks provided by the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA) to Palestinian schools have been found to contain strongly anti-Israeli and anti-American sentiments. Experts testified on the content of the textbooks last Wednesday on Capitol Hill, prompting some to once again call into question the United States’ financial support of the UN.

In response to rising citizen demand for government transparency and efficiency, this year China plans to defog the secretive workings of the government and ruling Communist Party, a senior official said Wednesday. "In this new year, we will adopt an even more open attitude and even more forceful policies," asserted Wang Chen, a Chinese propaganda official.

IsraelAn explosive report published late last week by the magazine Foreign Policy, citing half-a-dozen current and former U.S. intelligence officers, claimed that spies with Israel’s Mossad agency were posing as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents to recruit terrorists for a covert war against Iran. An Israeli official, however, dismissed the allegations as “nonsense.”

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