A free-trade zone between Ukraine and the European Union takes another step toward reality today, as the nation that's under pressure from pro-Russian separatists signs an economic agreement with the EU. The deal also includes two other former Soviet states, Moldova and Georgia.
The trade pact comes as a tense cease-fire is set to expire Friday in Ukraine, where government forces and militants have been locked in a confrontation for weeks. It also promises to push Ukraine firmly toward Europe, and away from Russia's influence.
Iraq is in chaos, but the country's ethnic Kurds might come out ahead.
They rule a semi-autonomous area in the north that is fairly prosperous and safe, and as the Iraqi army crumbled before militants this month, Kurdish forces moved in to take long-sought areas that had been under the central government in Baghdad.
The Kurds are now talking about their generations-old dream of independence, but they still face many dangers.
The shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was fired a hundred years ago this weekend.
The assassination in Sarajevo, on June 28, 1914, triggered World War I and changed the course of the 20th century. The consequences of that act were devastating. But the beginning of the story sounds almost like a farce — complete with bad aim, botched poisoning and a wrong turn on the road.