Weekly News Wrap: Monday, February 9, 2015
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- Boko Haram fighters waged twin attacks Sunday in Niger, their latest front in a widening regional insurgency, with a market bomb blast sowing panic.
- At least two people were killed when Somali militants al Shabaab attacked the house of a senior police official in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, police said on Sunday.
- Demanding an immediate end to all hostilities in Mali, the United Nations Security Council urged Malian parties to “engage with sustained political will and a spirit of compromise” and make the necessary concessions to engage in talks towards a comprehensive, inclusive peace deal that addresses the root causes of the years-long crisis in the country.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- Kurdish sources have told Al Jazeera that Syrian Kurdish forces backed by moderate Syrian rebels have recaptured more than 120 villages around the long-contested town of Kobane from the armed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has appeared to rule out any new extension to negotiations with world powers over his country’s nuclear programme after meeting US Secretary of State John Kerry for new talks.
- The “Quartet” of Middle East peace mediators urged a prompt resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinians after a meeting in Munich on Sunday and voiced concern about the slow pace of reconstruction in Gaza, damaged in last year’s war.
- An Egyptian court on Saturday set February 24 as the date that it will consider a lawsuit that claims Turkey is a “state that supports terrorism” and must be designated as such.
- Among the political, economic and cultural impacts of decades of war and violence in Afghanistan, there’s an artistic transformation: the history of violence is reflected in the country’s ancient art of rug making.
- North Korea has test-fired five short-range missiles into the sea off its east coast, raising cross-border tensions ahead of Seoul’s planned joint army drills with the US, according to South Korea.
- The police force in Afghanistan is being studied for ties to the Taliban.
- UK laws which let two embassies use diplomatic immunity to block employment rights cases breached European law, the UK Court of Appeal ruled.
- Germany’s Angela Merkel said on Saturday that sending arms to help Ukraine fight pro-Russian separatists would not solve the crisis there, drawing sharp rebukes from U.S. politicians who accused Berlin of turning its back on an ally in distress.
- Europe is set to launch an experimental “space plane”, a car-sized, wingless vessel whose 100-minute unmanned mission will inform the design of reusable spacecraft of the future.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Egypt as Moscow looks to expand its reach in the Arab world’s most populous country at a time when Cairo-Washington ties remain frayed.
- At least 1,000 British Muslims protested in central London on Sunday against what they called “insulting depictions” of the Prophet Mohammad by French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
- Britain’s Prince Charles will intervene in the case of a jailed Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and urge Saudi Arabia’s new king to halt the punishment, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported.
- As Belgium braces for a verdict in Europe’s biggest trial of those accused of fostering Islamist violence in Syria, much attention is on poor Muslim immigrant communities’ struggle in a region blighted by youth unemployment.
- CACI International, a US defence contractor which supplied interrogators accused of involvement in the abuse and torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, has sought to have a lawsuit against it dismissed, stating its employees were working under military control during a time of war.
- Somalia’s prime minister on Sunday appealed to the US government and US banks to resume allowing money transfers to Somalia, a crucial service for many in the war-torn country.
- Human Rights Watch says Australia’s failure to respect international standards for asylum seekers and refugees is undermining its ability to call for stronger human rights protections abroad.
- The International Court of Justice rejected claims made by Croatia and Serbia accusing each other of committing genocide during the Balkan wars of the 1990s (judgment).
- On Friday, the members of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) elected Judge Ronny Abraham of France President of the Court and Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia Vice President.
- Negotiations aimed at resolving the crisis in Yemen are set to resume on Monday and will be brokered by the U.N. envoy to the country, Jamal Benomar, the United Nations said.