World News Today: July 17, 2012

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Today’s world news round-up. An independent breakdown of notable global developments in a news update.

Foreign Policy – The 2012 Failed States Index

Interactive map and rankings of the world’s most and least stable countries.

IRIN – Africa: Hitching Social Media to Humanitarian Assistance

“If everybody can’t access a computer, a majority of people can access a mobile phone. Innovative ideas like transferring messages from platforms like Twitter into people’s phones as SMS text messages and in a language they understand can help in times of disaster,” he said. “During the [2010] Pakistani floods for instance, we were able to track real-time the distribution of food. In humanitarian situations, we are able to ask people what they need in a language they understand and get that information to aid organizations or to the world.”

All Africa – HIV Prevention Drug Truvada Offers New Hope

A round up of news coverage from Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe and more, on the heels of the announcement of the FDA’s approval of new HIV drug, Truvada. Also see IVN’s coverage: FDA Approves New Drug To Prevent HIV

BBC News – Syrian crisis: Assessing defector Nawaf Fares’ claims

“He accuses his former masters of colluding with al-Qaeda to carry out mass-casualty bombings on its own citizens to discredit the opposition. The Assads, he says, will never give up power through “political interventions”, only if they are forced out. He says the regime, if cornered further, “will not hesitate to use chemical weapons”, and that they may have been “used partially in Homs”.”

Associated Press – Clashes spread to new areas in Syrian capital

“Syrian government forces attacked rebels with helicopter gunships in the heart of Damascus on Tuesday, escalating a campaign to crush their opponents as clashes spread to new areas, illustrating the rebels’ growing reach.”

Christian Science Monitor – Russia and the West lock horns over Syria

“From the very start, from the first steps, we supported and continue to support your efforts aimed at restoring civil peace,” Putin told Mr. Annan, according to Russian news agencies. “We will do everything that depends on us to support your efforts,” he added.”

Wall Street Journal’s Market Pulse – U.S. Regulators, Taken to Task on Libor, Vow Vigilance

“Top U.S. regulators raised questions Tuesday about the accuracy and even the future of the key global interest rate known as Libor, while facing lawmakers’ questions about why they didn’t move sooner to halt alleged bank manipulation of the rate.”

Global Post – London unhappy with Olympic-sized security measures

“Are the rooftop missiles really necessary?”

In Sight – The Top 3 Most Controversial Points of Venezuela’s Judicial Reforms

“Despite the intentions for expedited, efficient proceedings, the reforms have been lambasted by many members of Venezuela’s opposition — criticism the government declared to be politically motivated — and drawn plenty of scorn from Venezuelan legal scholars.”

State Department – Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran (Secretary Clinton press avail)

“Iran’s leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision. The choice is ultimately Iran’s. Our own choice is clear: We will use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”