AP and the New York Times reported on July 15 that on the previous day the Afghan government approved a U.S.-backed plan to establish local defense forces that will enable villagers in remote areas of the country to defend themselves against attacks by Taliban insurgents.

The recent easy escape and disappearance of Russian spy "Christopher R. Metsos" may draw more attention to Russia's beefed up presence of intelligence operatives throughout the Mediterranean. Metsos, the 11th person in the high-profile arrests of Russians in late June, is frequently referred to as the "paymaster" of the network of Russian agents.

Long-time freedom advocate and former Venezuelan presidential candidate Alejandro Pena Esclusa was arrested on July 12 by the Chavez regime on trumped-up explosives charges, according to various Latin American sources. His arrest adds to the growing list of political prisoners being held in Venezuela including journalists, opposition politicians, and judges who don’t bow down to the regime.

The Duma (the lower house of Russia’s legislature) on July 9 passed a bill that will allow the Federal Security Service (FSB) to issue warnings to people "whose acts create the conditions for the committing of a crime," the Moscow News reported three days later.

Somali Islamic militants from al-Shabab have claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks at two sites in Uganda’s capital of Kampala, killing at least 74 and leaving dozens wounded.

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