Weekday News Wrap: Monday, May 21, 2012
- Sudan has freed four captured foreign workers, initially held for “spying” for South Sudan.
- AFP reports on gun battles between pro- and anti-Syrian groups in Beirut, triggering fears of spillovers of the Syrian conflict into Lebanon.
- A Voice of America blog post reports that the NATO’s missile defense shield for Europe has entered “interim capability”.
- The Associated Press has received footage from Israeli human rights organization B’tselem allegedly showing a lack of intervention by Israeli soldiers as settlers fired at Palestinian protestors during clashes on Saturday.
- Reuters reports that NATO leaders will today approve a plan to withdraw from Afghanistan by the middle of 2013 for combat troops and by the end of 2014 for all foreign troops.
- The head of the IAEA was in Tehran over the weekend to discuss a potential inspection deal, about which he felt positive, and has meetings today to continue the talks, two days ahead of a Baghdad summit with leaders from the UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany.
- Russia’s deputy foreign minister has claimed that several countries in the West are still considering military options against Iran.
- Louise Arbour has a piece in Foreign Policy opining about why NATO’s expanding use of drone technology is a disturbing trend.
- The International Trade Commission has found that a number of Motorola phones infringe upon several Microsoft patents.
- In LGBT news, the Israeli parliament has rejected a bill to allow for civil marriages which would have opened marriage to relationships not recognized by Jewish law. The president of Malawi has promised to decriminalize homosexuality, the French prime minister has vowed to implement equality rights into marriage and adoption, the NAACP in the United States also made a statement of endorsement of same-sex marriage and the city of Buenos Aires has opened the option of same-sex marriage for foreign couples while the state of Maryland opened the option of same-sex divorce for those legally married elsewhere (currently, same-sex marriage is not allowed in Maryland).
- Pakistan has lifted a Twitter “blasphemy” ban; it had blocked the microblogging site for a few hours until material potentially considered offensive to Islam would be taken down.
- North Korea has released the Chinese fisherman it had captured two weeks ago; it is not clear whether the North Koreans received the money they had demanded.
- Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir has stated he wants peace with South Sudan but security must come first.
- Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng has arrived safely in New York City and is preparing to begin his law program at NYU. The BBC has some reactions of Chinese netizens to Chen’s New York arrival.
- The full 2,499-page decision in the Charles Taylor case is now available.