Weekly News Wrap: Monday, December 23, 2013
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- British and U.S. spies targeted a senior EU official, German government buildings, and the office of an Israeli prime minister, according to the latest leaked documents from Edward Snowden published on Friday. Israeli officials said they were not surprised by allegations of spying and played down the importance of any information its allies may have gleaned.
- In a rare public apology, the military leader of al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen has said that one of his fighters disobeyed orders and attacked a hospital attached to the defense ministry during a December assault that killed 52 people.
- Israeli police have blamed terrorists for a bomb that exploded on a bus in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam only moments after passengers left the vehicle.
- China has agreed to make a revised offer to join a global agreement aimed at creating a level playing field for foreign companies competing for government contracts.
- China’s Defense Ministry called Japan’s plans to raise its military spending for the first time in 10 years deeply worrying for Asia and the world, saying also that it strongly opposes its neighbor’s policy.
- Residents of Pakistan’s North Waziristan region have accused government troops of killing dozens of civilians during a military operation against Taliban fighters and the Taliban has threatened a full counter-offensive.
- Two UN peacekeepers from India have been killed and one wounded in an attack on a UN base in South Sudan. South Sudan’s government reported rebels had seized the capital of a key oil-producing region and fears grew of all-out ethnic civil war.
- A Nigerian court sentenced a member of Islamist group Boko Haram to life imprisonment for his involvement in bombings including a 2011 Christmas Day attack on a Catholic church near the capital that killed 37 people. Fearing more attacks over Christmas this year, Nigerian police have ordered extra patrols, surveillance and covert operations to better secure potential targets during the festive period.
- Uganda’s parliament has passed an anti-gay law that punishes “aggravated homosexuality” with life imprisonment.
- Tension between rebels in the Central African Republic and the French is growing.
- EU leaders agreed to work more closely on defense and make falling military budgets stretch further, but British Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK would resist any attempt to form a European army.
- Serbia’s launch of membership talks with the European Union will not spell the end of EU-mediated talks with its former province Kosovo on mending their relations.
- France expanded the government’s powers to monitor phone and Internet connection data without judicial review as a last-minute opposition attempt to block the move failed to gather support.
- Fears that Eastern European workers will flood the EU labour market are unfounded, experts say, as nine European countries are set to lift all remaining curbs on migrants from Bulgaria and Romania on January 1.
- According to the Washington Post, the United States’ CIA was involved in assisting the Colombian government in killing FARC rebel leaders.
- The United States, Britain and Libya have pledged their full support for efforts by their investigators to bring those behind the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing to justice.
- The US and allies will have ways to reimpose sanctions on Iran if it is caught making bombs after striking a deal to freeze its nuclear program.