Chatter: Edward Snowden 'was never in Russia'




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Just call Putin 'Pontius Pilate.' The Russian government says to consider its hands washed of Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower last seen heading to Moscow to evade capture by US authorities, since he "never entered Russia."

Well, technically, no: if, as Russia's foreign minister suggests, Snowden never left Moscow airport, he would have remained in an international no-man's land that isn't — strictly speaking — Russian territory. Whether Washington will appreciate the subtleties of the Kremlin's argument, however, is doubtful. US officials have been laying on the pressure to get Snowden back; faced with defiance from China, Ecuador and now Russia, they might decide an even heavier hand is needed.

Afghan breach. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for an attack on Kabul's "green zone," the highly guarded section of the capital that's supposed to be one of the most secure places in Afghanistan.

Gunmen targeted a hotel that serves as CIA base, as well as the nearby presidential palace. Security forces eventually halted the attack, but four insurgents and three guards were killed. And of course, dead men can't talk.    


Whose hack is it anyway? Anonymous finds itself blamed for two cyberattacks today — one on South Korea, and one on the North.

The anarchic hactivist group is no stranger to North Korean servers, having targeted state propaganda sites before as part of its "OpNorthKorea." But today, pro-Pyongyang graffiti appeared alongside Anonymous slogans on official South Korean websites right up to that of President Park Guen Hye herself; soon afterward, North Korean sites were also attacked by people claiming to be Anons. Whoever Anonymous's newest members are, they aren't in it for the lolz.

Like father, like son. The emir of Qatar has transferred power to his son, after 18 years as ruler.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani formally handed over the reins to his heir apparent, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in an address to the nation this morning. The emir that was put the unusual decision to abdicate down to the need for a "new generation" — albeit one that looks very much like himself. The sheikh is retired; long live the sheikh.


Everyone: breathe. The nightmare is over — Rusty the red panda is safe.

We know you were worried. We were, too. Those were a tense few hours there, between Rusty escaped from his enclosure at Washington's National Zoo and when he was recovered yesterday evening, about a mile away. (We're not sure what he got up to during his jaunt, but we'd guess it involved ambling, napping, a little sniffing, more napping.) Don't you ever do that to us again, Rusty.