Weekly News Wrap: Monday, April 20, 2015
- Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir will travel to Indonesia on Monday for a summit, Sudan’s foreign ministry said, in his first trip outside of Africa or the Middle East in nearly four years. **UPDATE** Al-Bashir cancelled his trip to Indonesia, sources say, based on not receiving permission from several states to fly over their airspace en route to Jakarta.
- Two Kenyans and seven Somali guards were killed in a bomb attack on a vehicle carrying workers to the United Nations compound in Garowe in the Somali region of Puntland on Monday, police said.
- International mediators in the conflict in northern Mali increased pressure on Tuareg-led separatists on Sunday to sign up to a U.N.-brokered peace deal by announcing a signing ceremony for May 15.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- International aid agency Oxfam has condemned a Saudi Arabian air strike in Yemen that it said hit one of its stores containing humanitarian supplies in the Houthi militia’s northern stronghold of Saada.
- A new video from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) purportedly shows the group killing captured Ethiopian Christians in Libya.
- A former intelligence officer for the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was the mastermind behind Islamic State’s takeover of northern Syria, according to a report by Der Spiegel that is based on documents uncovered by the German magazine.
- The UN envoy for Libya has announced that rival factions in the strife-torn North African country have reached a draft accord which is “very close to a final agreement”.
- Villagers struggle to cope as world’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Baikal, drops to its lowest level in 60 years.
- Russian security services have killed five suspected Islamist militants in a raid in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan, the national Anti-Terrorist Committee (NAK) said on Monday.
- Philippine and U.S. soldiers began their biggest combined military exercise in 15 years on Monday, in a demonstration of Washington’s commitment to its long-time ally as it rebalances to Asia in the face of China’s expansion in the South China Sea.
- Thousands of people marched in Berlin, Munich and other German cities on Saturday in protest against a planned free trade deal (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)) between Europe and the United States that they fear will erode food, labor and environmental standards.
- European Union foreign ministers gathered in Luxembourg on Monday under pressure to produce more than words as bodies were brought ashore in Malta among hundreds feared drowned in the latest Mediterranean migrant tragedy.
- Euro zone deputy finance ministers will meet midweek ahead of a Eurogroup finance ministers’ gathering two days later, a Greek government official told Reuters, as Athens and its creditors continue to seek a deal on reforms to unlock aid.
- Poland has summoned the United States’ ambassador in Warsaw over an article written by a top U.S. intelligence official on Poland’s alleged responsibility for the Holocaust during World War Two, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday.
- After months of positive progress, the two and a half-year-old peace process in Colombia between the government and rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is in crisis once again.
- Australia and Iran have agreed to share intelligence to track foreign fighters associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.
- Hundreds of Australian police on Saturday arrested five teens planning an Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack next week at an event to mark the centenary of the landings at Gallipoli during World War One, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.
- Almost 800,000 children have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the conflict in northeast Nigeria between Boko Haram, military forces and civilian self-defence groups, according to a new report from UNICEF.
- U.N. peacekeepers have liberated some 21 nomadic Muslim herders, most of them women and children, enslaved by militia groups in the west of Central African Republic, though up to 100 more remain in captivity, a U.N. official said on Sunday.