In a damning decision for Poland, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Wednesday that the country broke the European Convention on Human Rights by allowing the CIA to detain and torture two terror suspects on its territory. The two men -- Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri of Saudi Arabia and Abu Zubaydah, a Palestinian -- were reportedly held at a CIA black site at a Polish military base at different times in 2002 and 2003. The European convention prohibits the use of torture.
Since the Islamic State captured Mosul last month, it has burned shops selling alcohol, ordered veils placed over the faces of mannequins in store windows, and implemented discriminatory policies that forced the majority of the city's Christians to flee. You'd think that was dramatic enough -- but a number of apparently false stories about the jihadist group's behavior in Iraq's second-largest city are spreading like wildfire through the Western media.
With Gaza in turmoil, ongoing violence in Syria, and Iraq battling an Islamist insurgency, news of Lebanon's political gridlock understandably has fallen off the front page. But on Wednesday, Lebanese lawmakers failed to select a president for the eighth time. As part of Lebanon's complicated balancing act among its many sectarian groups, the president must be a Maronite Christian -- a requirement that isn't so uncommon.
Lost amid the chaos of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was a little-noticed development in the Western press about the Russian defense industry. Last week, the Russian cabinet signed off on a measure that would increase Russian defense spending to 21 percent of the country's overall budget by 2017, from 17.5 percent today. The spending hike still needs to be stamped by the Duma, the Russian legislature, but is virtually certain to be approved.
It's been described as a routine security precaution, but the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's decision to bar American carriers from flying to Israel after a Hamas rocket landed near the Tel Aviv airport has become the latest point of tension between Israel and the United States. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the United States to lift the ban, and now former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg is getting in on the act. He's currently on an El Al flight to Tel Aviv and would like to reassure the American public that there is no danger in flying to Israel.