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Pakistan is prepping a major oil pipeline to run through Iran while its neighbor and rival, India, begins talks with Tehran on a shipping port. (Associated Press)

U.S. allies not waiting for Iran’s sanctions to come down

- The Washington Times

Italian oil executives visit Tehran, scouting out deals. French farmers and fisheries discuss technological exchanges with their Iranian counterparts. Pakistan prepares to lay down a major oil pipeline through Iran, while rival India opens talks with Iranian officials about developing a major port in the Gulf of Oman to ship Indian goods to Afghanistan.

A Russia-backed rebel take aim on the outskirts of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. The situation in eastern Ukraine has remained tense and skirmishes between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists have continued. Vice President Joseph R. Biden said that ending the Russia-Ukraine conflict is a key test of U.S. and European leadership. (Associated Press photographs)

Biden: Ending Ukraine war a key test for U.S., Europe

- The Washington Times

Joseph R. Biden said Wednesday that ending the Russia-Ukraine conflict is a key test of U.S. and European leadership for this generation — but specialists say the vice president laid out no new American strategy for countering Russian aggression, and the Obama administration seems content on staying the course with economic sanctions and continued diplomatic outreach to Moscow.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter Wednesday challenged Chinese pressure for U.S. warships and surveillance aircraft to halt all operations near disputed islands in the strategic waters that China is claiming as its sovereign maritime domain. (Associated Press)

Carter: Stop China island build-up

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Wednesday forcefully called on China to halt all island construction in the South China Sea and said U.S. forces will not be pressured into halting military operations there.

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