UN chief visits Israel, Palestinian territories

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres on Sunday embarked on a three visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories to discuss possibilities of restarting the peace process. Mr Guterres is to meet Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu as well as the Palestinian leaders, visiting both Ramallah in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza strip. His visit comes amid Israeli accusations of international bias. Israel's deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely said on Sunday the country would "no longer tolerate anti-Israel bias". “We are seeking a dramatic change in the way the UN treats...

Farc begin transition to political party

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on Sunday began its transition to a political party with plans to stand at the general elections next year. The disarmed group held a founding congress on Sunday to choose on its political representatives, which is to include members New Colombia and Alternative Revolutionary Force of Colombia. “At this event we are transforming the FARC into a new, exclusively political organization,” FARC commander Rodrigo Londono, known as Timochenko said, adding that FARC would strive for “a democratic political regime that guarantees peace and social...

Sweden arrests Syrian soldier accused of posing with dead bodies

A court in Sweden has ordered the detention of a man accused of committing war crimes in Syria. Mohammad Abdullah, a 33 year old seeking asylum in the country, stands accused of committing war crimes whilst being a soldier attached to Syrian government forces and fighting against the Islamic State. He reportedly posed for photographs in front of dead or wounded fighters. Prosecutor Henrik Attorp told Swedish radio that the accused had violated the victims' "personal dignity" under international law. Mr Abdullah claimed he was following orders. See more from AP here .

Myanmar troops fire on thousands of fleeing civilians

Myanmese troops have reportedly fires on civilians who are fleeing in their thousands as violence between Rohinya fighters and government soldiers escalated in Rakhine state. Clashes between the two sides have killed almost 100, and left thousands of refugees trapped at the border with Bangladesh. Over 4000 non-Muslim civilians were evacuated by the government. On Friday, the armed Rohingya Muslim groups, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) launched a coordinated attacks against police posts in Myanmar's Rakhine state, and attempted to break into an army base. The ARSA, which was previously...

US orders sanctions on Venezuela, calls for release of political prisoners

The United States imposed new sanctions on Venezuela in an executive order signed by President Trump on Friday. A statement released by the White House called on Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro to release political prisoners and hold free and fair elections, "The United States reiterates our call that Venezuela restore democracy, hold free and fair elections, release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and end the repression of the Venezuelan people. We continue to stand with the people of Venezuela during these trying times. These measures are carefully calibrated...

Rohingya fighters launch coordinated attack on police posts in Myanmar

Fighters from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) launched coordinated attacks against police posts in Myanmar's Rakhine state, and attempted to break into an army base. Over 150 fighters were involved in the attack, which took place in the Maungdaw township at 1am on Friday. Twelve members of the security forces were killed in the attacks, along side 77 Rohingya Muslims, who the government alleges were all fighters. The ARSA, which was previously called Harakah al-Yaqin launched its first attack in October, warning that more attacks would take place. Rohingya Muslims have faced...

US court clears way for Salvadorean war crimes suspect extradition

A federal court in the United States has ruled that a former vice minister who headed El Salvador’s National Police can be extradited to Spain over the murder of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador in 1989. Col Inocente Orlando Montano, who served as the country’s National Police as Vice Minister for Public Security, had appealed against a lower court ruling and attempted to block the move. He is accused of plotting the murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her 16-year-old daughter at the Central American University in November 1989. They were shot dead, allegedly by an elite unit...

UN aid chief warns again of genocide in CAR

The head of the United Nations’ humanitarian operations warned the Security Council that there are early signs of genocide in the Central African Republic this week, in his second such warning this month. Stephen O’Brien, who serves as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, told diplomats that violent clashes in the country had pushed it into crisis. Speaking to AP after the closed-door meeting with the Security Council, Mr O’Brien said "the escalation is very real". "We're looking at things which we haven't heard about for a long...

US to deny aid to Egypt due to lack of progress on human rights and democracy

The United States will deny Egypt over US $250 million of military and economic aid due to its failure to make progress on respecting human rights and democratic norms, reports Reuters. US officials were particularly disappointed with a law passed by the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sis that restricted the work of Non Governmental Organisations, sources told Reuters. Initially Egyptian officials had assured US officials that the law, which introduces jail terms of up to five years for non-compliant NGO workers would not be allowed to go through parliament. Under US law, 15% of the $1.3...

Saudi led air strike kills dozens in Yemen

A Saudi-led air strike on a Yemeni hotel near the capital Sanaa on Wednesday has killed at least 40 people. The dead includes dozens of Shia Houthi fighters as well as civilians, AP reported. Saudi Arabia has faced criticism for its air strikes and the number of civilian casualities. See here , here and here .

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