After nearly a year of internal turmoil and several months of bloody conflict, Ukraine might be headed for more peaceful times, if President Petro Poroshenko's hopeful prognosis bears out.
Fighting between Israelis and Palestinians in the ongoing Gaza conflict, now into its second month, continued into Sunday night but halted at midnight, as both sides observed the first hours of another three-day cease-fire.
At 8:00 a.m. Friday (local time), a three-day cease-fire was scheduled to begin in Gaza. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement about the temporary truce Thursday. Shortly after the truce began Friday, however, Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces accused each other of violating the agreement.
Following a three-hour pause in its aerial bombardment to allow those in the Gaza Strip to "get medical attention, get supplies whatever they need," Israel has resumed its attack, although it promised additional halts amid reports that Hamas and Israel are working out details of a cease-fire Overall, 660 Palestinians have been reported killed, including more than 200 children .
After five days of almost constant aerial attacks and the deaths of nearly 400 Palestinians, the Israeli government has refused a 48-hour cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, arguing that it needs to "keep up the pressure on Hamas" -- a startling euphemism for its lethal assaults -- as the Israeli military ramps up for a likely ground invasion.
On Saturday, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev signed the French-brokered peace treaty already inked by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. However, this is clearly an uneasy and tentative truce: Russian officials say their troops will stay in Georgia for an indefinite time.
"Unfortunately, today we are looking evil directly in the eye," an emotional Mikheil Saakashvili said Friday after he signed a cease-fire agreement to end his country's eight-day showdown with Russia. The Georgian president declared that other European nations ignored clear signs of impending conflict last spring and he hinted that trouble could also be in store for other countries.
After spending several hours in a diplomatic huddle behind closed doors with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Friday signed a cease-fire agreement brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Saakashvili, however, made it clear during a follow-up news conference that "this is not a done deal yet."
Despite the tenuous cease-fire, Israel has launched an attack some 60 miles north of its border in Lebanon. Israeli officials said they were trying to halt a weapons transfer to Hezbollah, and will continue to engage targets until a peacekeeping force can take its place to prevent Hezbollah's rearming.