A summary of what you need to know today, compiled by The Globe's news desk on March 20, 2013.
South Korea fears North's involvement in cyber attacks
Fearing the involvement of North Korea, the South Korean army raised its alert level today after three broadcasters and two major banks in South Korea were the victim of cyber attacks, Reuters reports. North Korea has previously hacked newspapers, banks and government institutions in South Korea.
Obama begins visit to Israel, Palestinian territories
U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Israel today in an attempt to restart long-stalled Israel-Palestinian peace efforts. He assured Israel of America's commitment to its security, noting that the region's "winds of change bring both promise and peril," according to The Associated Press. The four-day trip is the first Mr. Obama has made to Israel since becoming President. He will also visit the Palestinian territories.
For more background on Mr. Obama's trip, read this piece by The Globe's Patrick Martin.
Cyprus seeks Russian aid in bailout crisis
Cyprus's finance minister asked Russia for help today to avert a financial meltdown after the island's parliament rejected the terms of a European bailout, Reuters reports. Talks between the two countries are continuing as the Cypriot government tries to stave off bankruptcy. "We had a very honest discussion, we've underscored how difficult the situation is," Finance Minister Michael Sarris told reporters. "We'll now continue our discussion to find the solution by which we hope we will be getting some support." For more on the situation in Cyprus, read this piece by The Globe's Eric Reguly.
U.S. Federal Reserve to issue policy announcement
Market watchers will monitor closely today's policy announcement by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to offer supportive words on markets and the need to keep borrowing costs at record lows, The Globe's Darcy Keith reports.
Pakistan announces May elections
Pakistan will hold elections on May 11, an official announced today, after the government completed its first full term in the country's troubled history, Reuters reports. Former military leader General Pervez Musharraf, who is in self-exile in Dubai, is expected to return and take part in the election.