Weekly News Wrap: Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- Medecins Sans Frontieres has suspended all but emergency care in the Central African Republic to show its “dismay” at the government’s failure to condemn the killing of 16 people at one of its clinics.
- The violence is spreading in the Central African Republic as at least 28 people have been killed during several days of fighting between Muslim and Christian militias in a town in the center of the war-torn country.
- A military court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has sentenced two soldiers (out of the 39 on trial) to life in prison over a notorious incident of mass rape in 2012. At least 97 women and 33 girls, some as young as six, were reported to have been raped in the eastern town of Minova over two days as thousands of civilians fled fighting between Congo’s ill-disciplined army and the M23 rebel group. Al Jazeera has Inside Story coverage here.
- The Nigerian armed group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the abduction of 276 schoolgirls during a raid in the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria last month, the AFP news agency reported, citing a video it had obtained and has plans to “sell them in the marketplace.” The US fears that some of the girls have been smuggled into neighboring countries already, complicating the search for them.
- China has asked the WTO’s highest court to review a series of substantive findings in a dispute panel ruling that found Beijing’s restrictions on rare earths exports to be in violation of international trade rules.
- Thousands of Philippine and US soldiers began annual war games, the first under a new security pact with the US, focusing on maritime security in the face of China’s growing naval presence in the disputed South China Sea.
- Pakistan’s Hindus and other minorities are facing a surge of violence in predominantly Muslim Pakistan.
- At least 22 migrants including four children have drowned in the Aegean Sea after a yacht and a dinghy carrying them from Turkey towards Greek shores capsized, coastguard officials said.
- Pro-Russian rebels shot down a Ukrainian helicopter in fierce fighting near the eastern town of Slaviansk, and Kiev drafted police special forces to the southwestern port city of Odessa to halt a feared westward spread of rebellion.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- The US said it would recognize the main opposition Syrian National Coalition offices as a diplomatic foreign mission and announced plans for a $27 million increase in non-lethal assistance to rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
- About 30 Syrian government fighters were killed when rebels set off a bomb in a tunnel beneath a checkpoint in a northwestern province.
- Yemeni prison and interior ministry authorities had information as early as two months beforehand that al Qaeda militants were planning a prison break in the capital’s main prison.
- The US has secured a ten-year lease for a key military base in Djibouti that it relies on to launch “counter-terrorism” missions, including drone strikes, in Yemen and the Horn of Africa.
- Human Rights Watch has said that Venezuela has violated the rights of opposition protesters through beatings, illegal detentions and failure to follow due process. HRW’s report here.
- Amid warnings that ethnic violence in South Sudan risks spiraling into genocide, the US expects to impose sanctions on individuals on both sides of the conflict in the coming days.
- A UN body has sharpened its list of possible sustainable development goals ahead of the meeting taking place this week. See the agenda here.
- A UN committee on torture grilled the Vatican on the Catholic Church’s child sexual abuse crisis, urging a permanent investigation system to end a “climate of impunity” prevailing for decades.