This Week in Review

NATO Chief: Crimea a “Wake Up Call”

NATO Secretary General Rasmussen said NATO is concerned by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and wary Russia might also invade eastern Ukraine. Rasmussen described Russia as increasingly aggressive and land-hungry, and said two NATO surveillance planes have begun flying over Poland and Romania to help the two countries better monitor their airspace and borders.

Push for Reform in War Reparation Law

Alain Monteagle and his family have launched an “unprecedented” effort to amend Swiss law and compel the restitution of a John Constable painting taken from their home in Nice, France during World War II. It hangs in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, where museum administrators acknowledge the painting was looted. The Monteagle family has already recovered eight other looted paintings from a private owner and museums, including the Louvre and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.

African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to Hear Freedom of Expression Trial

Starting March 20, the case Lohé Issa Konaté v. Burkina Faso will take up the alleged violation of Mr Konaté’s rights under Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Courts in Burkina Faso convicted Mr Konaté, Chief Editor of the weekly newspaper L’Ouragan, for defamation, public insult, and insulting a magistrate due to two articles he published in his paper in August 2012.

Jamaican Aid for Crime Reduction

The World Bank announced a new, $42 million initiative to improve services and crime prevention in Jamaican urban centers. The effort is part of a collaboration with the Kenyan government to counter rising homicide and youth unemployment rates. In Kingston, poverty doubled from seven percent in 2008 to more than fourteen percent in 2010.

Japan Trade Deficit Greater than Expected

The news comes just before the start of a scheduled April sales-tax increase that likely will affect domestic demand. The $7.9 million trade deficit reflects an increase in imports by nine percent, while exports rose approximately ten percent.