Weekly News Wrap: Monday, August 25, 2014
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- Families hiding infected loved ones and the existence of “shadow zones” where medics cannot go mean the West African Ebola epidemic is even bigger than thought, the World Health Organisation has said.
- Mozambique’s former rebel group Renamo and the Frelimo-led government have signed a ceasefire deal, ending two years of armed conflict, ahead of a presidential election scheduled for October 15.
- Chinese authorities have blocked an annual independent film festival from opening, seizing documents and films from organisers and hauling away two event officials in a sign that Beijing is stepping up its already tight ideological controls.
- Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine have paraded dozens of captured Ukrainian soldiers before a jeering crowd, in mockery of Independence Day celebrations in the capital.
- Britain is close to identifying a suspected British national shown beheading American journalist James Foley in a video released by Islamic State militants last week, the British ambassador to the United States said on Sunday.
- Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has been spying on Turkey for nearly four decades, Focus magazine said on Saturday in a report which could raise tensions further between the NATO allies.
- Italy’s maritime search and rescue service saved 3,500 migrants and found 19 corpses in the Mediterranean since Friday as thousands attempted to cross to Europe by boat over the weekend, the Italian navy said.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- Fighters from the Islamic State group have taken over an airbase in northeast Syria, capturing it from government forces after fighting that cost more than 500 lives, a monitoring group and state media have said. Additionally, the group has launched a renewed push to seize Iraq’s main oil refinery north of Baghdad, battling security forces backed by air support.
- Al Qaeda-linked militants in Syria on Sunday freed an American writer missing since 2012 following what officials said were efforts by the Gulf Arab state of Qatar to win his release.
- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinian civilians on Sunday to leave immediately any site where militants are operating, one day after Israel flattened a 13-story apartment block in Gaza.
- Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard says it has brought down an Israeli stealth drone above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the centre of the country.
- Hamas militants killed seven Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel in a public execution in a central Gaza square on Friday, witnesses and a Hamas website said.
- The sophistication, wealth and military might of the Islamic State group represents a major threat to the United States that may surpass that once posed by al-Qaeda, US military leaders have said.
- Colombian military officers and leftist guerrillas met face-to-face on Friday for the first time in their 50-year war, starting talks on a ceasefire that would take hold should the government and the rebels reach a comprehensive peace agreement.
- The Costa Rican government will investigate undercover US programs operated from the Central American country and using its citizens in a ploy to destabilise the government in Cuba, Costa Rica’s director of intelligence and security has said.
- The United States charged on Friday that a Chinese fighter pilot conducted a “dangerous intercept” of a Navy patrol plane in international air space this week, flying a few yards (meters) from the U.S. jet and performing acrobatic maneuvers around it.
- Australia’s immigration minister defended his country’s tough policies on asylum seekers on Friday, saying measures including the detention of children and denial of permanent visas were needed to stop dangerous people-smuggling ventures.
- Iran will not give IAEA nuclear inspectors access to a military base that they have been seeking to visit since 2005, Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehgan has said.
- More than 191,000 people have died in Syria, United Nation human rights chief Navi Pillay has said, lashing out at “international paralysis” on the nearly three-and-a-half year conflict. In her last address to the Security Council, the UN human rights chief sharply criticised the body for its ineffectiveness on Syria and other intractable conflicts, saying its members have often put national interests ahead of stopping mass atrocities.