ISRAEL

U.S.-Israeli relations examined

A flap over an American official’s reported use of a barnyard epithet to describe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu illustrates a more serious debate over whether the country’s ties with the United States have been damaged by unusually public confrontations. Jeffrey Goldberg, an influential writer on Middle Eastern affairs, posited a “momentous shift” in the Obama administration’s view of Netanyahu. The article included an attention-getting characterization from an anonymous administration official who referred to the prime minister with a pungent term that incorporates the word “chicken.” The article, which appeared in the Atlantic, was headlined: “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here.”

MEXICO

Missing U.S. citizens shot dead

Three U.S. citizens missing for more than two weeks have been found shot to death in Mexico near the border city of Matamoros, and authorities are questioning a local police unit about possible involvement, the attorney general in northern Tamaulipas state said. The father identified his children from photographs of the bodies showing tattoos. Clothing found with the bodies also matched that of those who had been missing. Each was shot in the head.

ARGENTINA

Friendly shale policy passed

Argentina’s Congress has passed an energy law aimed at luring foreign investment into its promising shale oil and gas. The measure approved by the lower house cuts the minimum investment needed for energy companies to be exempt from import controls. It also sets new terms for concessions to 25 years for conventional energy and 35 years for shale. Argentina has one of the world’s largest deposits of shale oil and gas, but only a few companies have made commitments to develop the fields because many fear the government’s interventionist energy policies. Current concessions will not be affected. They include a deal by state-controlled YPF energy company with oil giant Chevron.

CHINA

SAT cheating allegations made

The announcement by administrators of the SAT college entrance test that scores are being withheld for students from China and South Korea has infuriated many and raised anxiety about a high-stakes college application process. The Educational Testing Service, the company that administers the test worldwide, said it was withholding the scores of those who took the test on Oct. 11, at least temporarily, because of suspicions of cheating “based on specific, reliable information.”

Compiled from wire reports