The UN Security Council has placed sanctions on two rebel groups, Democratic Republic of the Congo’s M23 and Rwanda’s FDLR, for alleged war crimes in the DRC’s eastern region.
- North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, in a rare speech, has called for an end to the confrontation between his country and South Korea.
- Syria’s PM has reportedly said that President Assad is willing to respond to any initiative to begin peace negotiations. In the meantime, the Syrian military is reportedly mounting an attack on a Damascus suburb that is a traditional stronghold of the rebels.
- One of the top Afghan negotiators is optimistic about the chances of reaching a peace deal that would include the Taliban.
- In Iraq, 2012 ended with a string of violent attacks that killed at least three dozen civilians.
- Gabriela Knaul, the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, has expressed concern about threats to the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka, culminating in the impeachment procedure started against the Chief Justice.
- Ukraine is reportedly allowing foreign nations to kidnap their nationals who have sought refugee status in Ukraine.
- A proposal has emerged to restructure EU membership into tiers, with the UK becoming an “associate member” only.
- Two more nominations for the job of WTO Director-General were made before yesterday’s deadline with Brazil nominating Mr Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo and the Republic of Korea nominating Taeho Bark. A decision is due by the end of May.