Weekly News Wrap: Monday, March 2, 2015
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- The Malian government has signed a peace agreement with some northern rebel groups but the main Tuareg armed coalition asked for more time to consult its grassroots.
- Sierra Leone’s Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana has placed himself in quarantine following the death of one of his bodyguards from Ebola, a government spokesman said as the country reintroduced travel restrictions to combat the spread of the virus.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- A drone attack killed two suspected al Qaeda militants in the southern Yemeni province of Shabwa on Monday, local residents told Reuters, the latest in a series of strikes in the country gripped by political turmoil.
- A Saudi Arabian diplomat returned to Riyadh on Monday after being released by kidnappers in Yemen where he spent three years as a hostage, the kingdom’s Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by state media.
- Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group have released 21 Assyrian Christians they abducted during an offensive against Kurdish fighters in the northeastern Hasakah governate.
- Government forces backed by allied Shia and Sunni fighters have begun a large-scale military operation to recapture Saddam Hussein’s hometown from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
- One of the main western-backed rebel groups announced on Sunday that it had dissolved itself and joined a larger Islamist alliance, weeks into a battle which saw it lose ground and men to more powerful al Qaeda insurgents.
- North Korea has test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and warned of “merciless strikes” against its enemies in response to annual military exercises between South Korea and the United States.
- Hong Kong police arrested 38 people after a group of about 400 demonstrators clashed with police, in the latest sign of tension caused by China’s influence in the city.
- Islamist militant Mohammed Emwazi, identified as ‘Jihadi John,’ was a member of a network in contact with one of the men convicted of trying to bomb the British capital’s underground railway in 2005, according to the government.
- US Secretary of State John Kerry has begun talks in Geneva with his Russian counterpart to end fighting in Ukraine, where the UN said the death toll has soared past 6,000 people in less than a year.
- Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president, plans to limit the US diplomatic presence in Venezuela and require American tourists to obtain visas, amid growing tensions between the two countries.
- The United States’ army chief of staff said he was very concerned about the impact of cuts to British defense spending that he said had forced a review of how Britain’s troops could be deployed alongside U.S. forces in future conflicts.
- The recently appointed U.S. special envoy to Colombian peace talks met with government and rebel negotiators for the first time on Sunday, holding separate sessions with each side, a Colombian government official said.
- Australia on Monday barred its citizens from traveling to Mosul in northern Iraq, in a push to combat what the government calls growing radicalization among young Australian Muslims, some of whom have fought overseas with militant groups.
- Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia are launching a trial to allow air traffic controllers to more closely track aircraft traversing remote oceans such as the one believed to be the final resting place of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
- The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, said on Monday Iran had still not handed over key information to his staff, and his body’s investigation into Tehran’s atomic program could not continue indefinitely.
- The UN mission to Iraq says violence in the country claimed the lives of at least 1,100 Iraqis in February, including more than 600 civilians.
- UN envoy Staffan de Mistura has held talks in the Syrian capital to try to finalise a deal to freeze fighting in the war-ravaged northern city of Aleppo.
- The head of the UNESCO agency mandated to protect heritage sites has reiterated her dismay at the “destructive fury” exhibited by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in their recent assault on the Mosul Museum.