04 Aug Weekly News Wrap: Monday, August 4, 2014
04.08.14 | 0 Comments
- The United States will announce nearly $1bn in business deals, increase funding for peacekeeping and commit billions of dollars to expanding food and power programs in Africa during a summit this week, officials said.
- Little action has been taken to clean up pollution caused by oil production in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, either by the government or Shell Oil, Amnesty International and other groups have said.
- Health workers turned up in Monrovia’s Clara Town district on Sunday to remove two bodies of possible victims of the Ebola virus, four days after they dropped dead there when nobody would take them to hospital.
- West African leaders agreed on Friday to take stronger measures to try to bring the worst outbreak of Ebola under control and prevent it spreading outside the region, including steps to isolate rural communities ravaged by the disease.
- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a visit to Nepal on Sunday to help speed up negotiations on a power trade pact that is at the center of a new effort to improve ties with a neighbor that serves as a buffer with China.
- China’s Defence Ministry allowed foreign media for the first time on Thursday to attend its monthly news conference in another step towards increasing transparency, though the briefing yielded little concrete news.
- Pro-Russian separatists battled on Sunday to keep advancing Ukrainian government forces at bay in heavy fighting on the outskirts of Donetsk, the rebels’ main stronghold in eastern Ukraine.
- French police on Friday arrested a Franco-Moroccan man they described as an Islamist militant at Roissy international airport on suspicion that he was part of a conspiracy to carry out attacks in France.
- Russia has banned soy imports from Ukraine and may impose restrictions on Greek fruits and U.S. poultry next week, Russian news agencies reported on Thursday, in what could be responses to new Western sanctions.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- Israel said it would unilaterally hold fire in most of the Gaza Strip on Monday to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid and allow some of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced by an almost four-week-old war to go back to home.
- Islamic State fighters seized control of Iraq’s biggest dam, an oilfield and three more towns on Sunday after inflicting their first major defeat on Kurdish forces since sweeping across much of northern Iraq in June. Iraqis fear a food crisis.
- German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that Israel and at least one other intelligence agency were listening in on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s unsecured phone calls last year when he was holding nearly daily negotiations for peace with various leaders in the Middle East. Der Spiegel coverage here.
- Lebanese soldiers traded fire with Islamist gunmen and shelled areas around the border town of Arsal on Sunday aiming to roll back the biggest incursion by militants into Lebanon since Syria’s civil war began.
- Some 200 people have been granted passage into Tunisia through the Ras Jedir border crossing, before Tunisian officials again closed the border after just a few hours, as heavy fighting rages in neighboring Libya.
- A U.S. reconnaissance plane crossed into Swedish airspace last month as it sought to avoid being intercepted by Russian fighters, the New York Times reported on Sunday, citing U.S. military officials.
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday that his country needs to look more towards Latin America to take better advantage of increasing trade flows.
- Venezuela and Colombia have agreed to create a special exchange rate to boost plummeting bilateral trade between the two Andean countries, their presidents said.
- The U.N. refugee conventions have become a tool to facilitate people-smuggling “death voyages”, Australia’s immigration minister said amid mounting criticism of the country’s hardline asylum seeker policies.
- Australia has secretly flown 157 asylum-seekers to a detention camp on the Pacific island of Nauru.
- A former healthcare worker at Australia’s immigration detention centers said on Thursday the government asked him to cover up evidence that children held in the camps were suffering from widespread mental illness caused by their confinement.
- Sri Lanka must stop deporting Pakistani asylum seekers, a practice banned under international law, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Saturday.
- A U.N. expert expressed worry on Thursday over “serious violations” of religious freedom in Vietnam following a fact-finding mission he said was interrupted by surveillance, harassment and intimidation.