Weekly News Wrap: Monday, January 26, 2015
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- Top Ugandan rebel commander Dominic Ongwen is due to make his first appearance at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague today to face war crimes charges.
- United Nations experts warned that Sudan’s remote western territories could become a breeding ground for radical Islamists as violence in the country’s conflict-torn Darfur region rages at an alarming level.
- Boko Haram has launched a major offensive in Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri and the town of Monguno, engaging in fierce battles with the military.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- At least 16 people have been killed in clashes in Cairo between police and protesters on the fourth anniversary of the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. Additionally, a BBC reporter in Cairo has accused police forces of threatening to kill her while covering protests by Muslim Brotherhood supporters commemorating the 2011 uprising.
- At least seven people have been killed in rocket attacks in Damascus, with at least 53 rockets fired on several neighborhoods in the heaviest attack the Syrian capital has witnessed in recent years.
- The United States and its coalition partners have launched another round of air strikes against Islamic State, conducting 25 strikes, 13 in Iraq, since early Thursday.
- Moroccan authorities said on Sunday they arrested a suspected Algerian member of the militant group responsible for kidnapping and beheading French tourist Herve Gourdel east of Algiers in September.
- Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has been summoned before parliament to explain his recent public stroll with US Secretary of State John Kerry during nuclear negotiations, according to a report by the country’s official IRNA news agency.
- The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has reportedly demanded the release of an Iraqi woman detained in Jordan in exchange for a Japanese national they are holding captive, following the group’s apparent killing of another Japanese citizen, which the Japanese have harshly condemned.
- North Korea called on Thursday for the top United Nations human rights body to investigate allegations of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) torture in the George W. Bush era, that were contained in a recent Senate report.
- A group calling itself “Official Cyber Caliphate” said it hacked the official website of national carrier Malaysia Airlines, but the airline said its data servers remained intact and passenger bookings were not affected.
- North Korea on Friday demanded the lifting of sanctions, imposed by South Korea after a 2010 attack on one of its naval vessels, as a condition for resuming dialogue.
- Spain will start talks with the United States about further increasing the number of U.S. troops at an air base in the south of the country, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said on Friday.
- France’s top court ruled on Friday it was possible to strip the nationality of a Franco-Moroccan man naturalized as French who was convicted on terrorism charges, paving the way for more dual nationality jihadists to lose their passports.
- Pro-Moscow rebels, backed by what NATO says is the open participation of Russian troops, pressed on with their offensive on Sunday after restarting the war in eastern Ukraine with the first all-out assault since a truce five months ago.
- Senior figures in the European Union brandished a threat of new sanctions against Russia over the weekend violence in eastern Ukraine, with one blasting what he called “appeasement” of Moscow.
- The European Union on Friday suspended some budget assistance to Guyana on the grounds that President Donald Ramotar’s 2014 suspension of parliament has left the nation without adequate supervision of state spending.
- US Secretary of State John Kerry says the US is prepared to do more to help Nigeria fight Boko Haram.
- President Barack Obama on Sunday defended his administration’s drone-based counter-terrorism strategy against al Qaeda militants in Yemen, saying the alternative would be to deploy U.S. troops, which was not sustainable: “It is not neat and it is not simple, but it is the best option that we have,” Obama told reporters at a news conference in New Delhi.
- A senior U.S. diplomat in Cuba for negotiations on restoring long-frozen diplomatic relations met a group of dissidents on Friday, seeking to underline Washington’s concern over human rights but irritating the island’s communist government.
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper denied on Thursday that Canadian military advisers in Iraq would be dragged into combat against Islamic State militants despite a recent clash but said Canada’s forces would kill anyone who attacked them.
- Conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott has awarded Australia’s highest honor to Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, sparking a barrage of criticism across the country on its national day of celebration. The award grated with republicans who want to sever ties with Britain and appoint an Australian president.
- Australia called on Indonesia on Friday to reconsider its decision to execute two Australians convicted of drug offences, a move that is likely to strain already fragile ties between the two neighbors.
- The United States has agreed that Australian David Hicks, jailed on terrorism charges for five years at Guantanamo, is innocent, his lawyer said on Friday.
- A new round of U.N. talks between rival Libyan factions will take place in Geneva on Monday, the United Nations said, even as gunmen kidnapped the deputy foreign minister of the recognised government.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) has admitted that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa revealed “inadequacies and shortcomings” in how it responds to crises.