Links to Start Your Week 8/12/13

After Russia granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum for one year, President Obama canceled a planned one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Venezuela is getting in on the Latin American trend of using the military to perform police functions. New president Nicolas Maduro is under intense pressure to follow through on campaign promises to reduce crime rates, which have skyrocketed in recent years.

The second series of protests in Egypt has led to debates in DC about our aid, military and otherwise, to the country. This article breaks down some of the basic information about U.S. aid to Egypt. Some points that I found particularly interesting: military aid has held steady for the past several decades, while economic aid has declined by close to two-thirds. Military aid is not contingent upon any major human rights requirements.

Many U.S. embassies across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have reopened, although they remain on high alert. Meanwhile, despite the White House’s defense of its drone strikes in Yemen as critical to anti-terrorism efforts, officials have stated that they do not know if they have actually killed high-level operatives there or “disrupted anything.” So that seems good.

Ever wanted a breakdown of what Candidate Obama said about NSA surveillance programs versus what President Obama has done about it? Look no further.

Finally, we must all face a sad truth. Shark week has ended. But The Guardian has provided us with some sweet shark videos. Hopefully they will ease your pain.

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