Weekly News Wrap: November 11, 2013
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- The UN said it had halted work on all but one of its 20 Gaza building projects as a result of an Israeli ban on importing building materials into the Palestinian enclave.
- The UN estimates that about 9.3 million people in Syria, or about 40 percent of the population, need humanitarian assistance owing to the country’s ongoing civil conflict.
- The Nobel Peace Prize-winning OPCW, the international body tasked with ensuring Syria’s chemical weapons are eliminated, has enough money to fund its mission only until the end of this month, and needs more funds soon for the destruction of poison gas stocks next year.
- The Syrian political opposition has agreed to participate in international peace talks in Geneva, but only if certain preconditions are met, the Syrian National Coalition has said in a statement.
- Israeli negotiators have told their Palestinian counterparts that the Separation Wall that cuts through the occupied West Bank will serve as the border of a future Palestinian state.
- A trial in Bangladesh, which brought death sentences for 152 border guards accused of murder and arson in a mutiny in 2009, failed to meet international law standards, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said.
- Saudi Arabia, having largely abandoned hope that the United States will spearhead international efforts to topple the Assad regime, is embarking on a major new effort to train Syrian rebel forces and they’ve reportedly enlisted the help of Pakistan to do it.
- South Korea’s air force has asked for enhanced stealth capability for fighter jets set to be purchased, a government source briefed on the matter said on Monday, further bolstering the chances of Lockheed Martin winning the tender with its F-35s.
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo and defeated M23 rebels are to sign a peace deal to end a 20-month revolt in the east of the vast African nation, where other militias still roam and millions are destitute despite great mineral wealth.
- After the success of the Congolese army and UN peacekeepers in defeating M23 rebels, the UN Security Council agreed that attention should now turn to tackling other armed groups in eastern DRC.
- Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan asked the national assembly to extend by six months a state of emergency in three northeastern states where the military is fighting a drawn out battle with Islamist militants.
- The Mauritanian news website Sahara Medias said it had received a claim of responsibility from al Qaeda’s regional wing for the killing of two French journalists in northern Mali.
- The Netherlands has asked an international court to order Russia to release 30 people detained during a Greenpeace protest against oil drilling in the Arctic.
- Also in The Netherlands, an alliance of privacy advocates, lawyers and journalists is taking the Dutch government to court over its links to overseas intelligence agencies.
- NATO is staging its biggest military exercise in seven years in the Baltic countries and Poland but its insistence that the drills are not aimed at sharpening defenses against a resurgent Russia have not convinced Moscow.
- Medical staff tasked with monitoring the health of prisoners held by the United States in Guantanamo Bay, secret CIA prisons and in Afghanistan were complicit in abuses against them, according to an independent report.
- Colombia’s government and Marxist FARC rebels reached a “fundamental agreement” on the guerrillas’ future in politics, one of the thorniest issues addressed in peace talks in Cuba, according to a joint statement.
- Colombia is preparing a letter of protest to Russia after two Russian bomber planes twice entered Colombian airspace without authorization when flying between Venezuela and Nicaragua.
- In May, the White House leaked word that it would start shifting drone operations from the shadows of the CIA to the relative sunlight of the Defense Department in an effort to be more transparent about the controversial targeted killing program. But six months later, the so-called migration of those operations has stalled, and it is now unlikely to happen anytime soon.
- US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that world powers had moved closer towards a deal with Iran over its nuclear program, but said that the US continued to be sceptical of the country willingness to act.