Weekly News Wrap: December 9, 2013
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- The UN General Assembly has elected Jordan to the Security Council to replace Saudi Arabia, which had rejected the seat in an unprecedented act to protest the council’s failure to end the Syrian and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.
- Syria’s Bashar al-Assad will remain president and lead any transition agreed upon in Geneva peace talks planned for next month, a government minister has insisted.
- Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s local branch in Syria, has sent Al Jazeera exclusive footage of what it said was a drone it shot down while it was flying over Aleppo, saying it was the first operation of its kind for the group.
- Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have killed seven children during fighting for the town of Nabek, north of the capital Damascus, activists said.
- UN inspectors visited an Iranian plant linked to a planned heavy-water reactor that could yield nuclear bomb fuel, taking up an initial offer by Tehran to open its disputed nuclear program to greater scrutiny.
- The World Trade Organization reached its first ever trade reform deal to the roar of approval from nearly 160 ministers who had gathered in Bali to decide on the make-or-break agreement that could add $1 trillion to the global economy.
- US Vice President said that North Korea would never achieve prosperity as long as it continued to pursue nuclear arms, but added Washington remained open to dialogue if Pyongyang can show its willingness to honor its commitments.
- The UN and US called for investigations into the findings of a Reuters report that Thai immigration officials moved Myanmar refugees into human trafficking rings.
- Chuck Hagel, the US defense secretary, has held talks in Rawalpindi with Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister, as part of an effort to defuse tensions over controversial US drone strikes and Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan.
- South Africa expects overwhelming crowds and a host of world leaders to attend services honoring late President Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon who led the country’s transition from white-minority rule to multi-racial democracy.
- UN forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have launched unmanned aircraft to monitor the volatile border with Rwanda and Uganda, the first time UN peacekeepers have deployed surveillance drones.
- France said it will start disarming fighters in the Central African Republic by force if necessary, as relative calm returned to the capital Bangui following three days of heavy fighting between Christians and Muslims.
- The Vatican refused to provide the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child with information on the Church’s internal investigations into the sexual abuse of children by clergy, saying that its policy was to keep such cases confidential.
- Sweden has been a key partner for the United States in spying on Russia, Swedish television reported on Thursday, citing leaked documents from the U.S. National Security Agency provided by Glenn Greenwald.
- Authorities in Moscow are investigating whether Russian children adopted by American families were illegally trafficked in the United States.
- Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy urged more unity for Europe and said a banking union for the region should be finalized this month.
- A Pakistani immigrant in the US who says he was held for more than 10 months in solitary confinement after being falsely arrested on terrorism charges has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Miami, saying he was a victim of “overzealousness” in the U.S. war on terrorism.
- Colombia’s main leftist guerrilla group, the FARC, said it would implement a 30-day ceasefire from December 15 while the government said it would keep pursuing the rebels after they attacked a police station a day earlier, killing eight.