Weekly News Wrap: Monday, March 16, 2015
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- The conviction of ex-president Laurent Gbagbo’s allies for their role in the violence that followed the 2011 election in Ivory Coast has deepened a rift in his party that risks radicalizing hardliners ahead of polls this year in the world’s top cocoa grower, analysts say.
- Somali Islamist militants killed at least one man and wounded three others in the northern Kenyan town of Mandera on Sunday, the second deadly attack in the area in three days, an official and the Islamist group said.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- Iraqi Kurdish authorities said on Saturday they had evidence that Islamic State had used chlorine gas as a chemical weapon against their peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq in January.
- Any terms that world powers grant Iran under a nuclear deal will be sought by Saudi Arabia and other countries, risking wider proliferation of atomic technology, a senior Saudi prince warned on Monday in a BBC interview.
- Militants loyal to Islamic State claimed a bomb attack on a police checkpoint in the Libyan capital on Sunday, the latest in a series of attacks in Tripoli.
- Tony Blair is relinquishing his post as the envoy for the Middle East Quartet to take a different role in the peace negotiations, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing people it said were familiar with the matter.
- Japan’s ‘comfort women’ battle has spilled over into the United States.
- Myanmar expressed “deep sorrow” on Monday for the deaths of five people across the border in China’s Yunnan province that it has been blamed for, and said it was jointly investigating the incident with Beijing.
- China’s relations with Japan face a “test” this year linked to whether Japan can properly atone for its wartime past, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday.
- About $1 million provided by the CIA to a secret Afghan government fund ended up in the hands of al Qaeda in 2010 when it was used to pay a ransom for an Afghan diplomat, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
- In a few months, Sweden’s minority government has managed to antagonize both Israel and the Arab world, while also angering business leaders at home as Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom steadfastly pursues human rights and feminism.
- European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini wants the EU to consider sending soldiers to Libya to back up a potential national unity government but the plan has met with skepticism from EU governments worried about the risks.
- Moscow was ready to put its nuclear forces on alert to ensure Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last year, President Vladimir Putin has said in a pre-recorded documentary.
- Nearly 100,000 members of the Venezuelan armed forces have begun conducting exercises across the Latin American country amid worsening relations with the US.
- The United States and coalition partners carried out seven air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq and four in Syria since Saturday, the U.S. military said.
- The United States will have to negotiate with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a political transition in Syria and explore ways to pressure him into agreeing to talks, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said.
- The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, is to visit Cuba this month in the latest sign of warming relations between the Communist-ruled island and the West.
- Al-Jazeera offers an inside look into: “Australia: The making of a foreign fighter” as per capita Australia remains one of the biggest contributors of foreign troops to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
- The United Nations has postponed until next week a new round of talks with Libyan politicians to try to end a crisis that has left the country with two rival governments and armed factions battling for power and oil wealth.
- One of the Pacific Ocean’s most powerful ever storms devastated the island nation of Vanuatu on Saturday, tearing off roofs, uprooting trees and killing at least eight people with the toll set to rise, aid officials said and the United Nations was preparing a major relief operation and Australia said it was ready to offer its neighbor whatever help it could.