Pro-independence party wins Scottish majority, vows referendum

A party advocating Scotland’s independence from Britain has won a surprising majority in the Scottish Parliament in last Thursday’s elections. It is the first time the Scottish National Party (SNP) has taken a majority in the devolved national assembly which was established in 1999. The head of the SNP, Alex Salmond, who will serve another term as Scotland's first minister, pledged to introduce a plebiscite on Scottish independence within the next five years. "The SNP can finally claim that we have lived up to that accolade as the national party of Scotland," he said. "That is why, in this...

Obama: US forces kill Osama Bin Laden

The front page of the New York Times the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

UN rights probe team to Libya

A UN team is due to arrive in Tripoli to investigate allegations of human rights violations in Libya since the start of the conflict in February, the BBC reported Wednesday. The team was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council following the Libyan government's crackdown on protesters. The government has said it will co-operate with the inquiry. The three investigators say they will look at all alleged abuses, including those the government says have been committed by rebels or Nato forces. Separately, the UN Security Council has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Libya on...

Fatah and Hamas sign reconciliation deal

Fatah, the Palestinian political organisation, has reached a comprehensive agreement with its rival Hamas on forming an interim government and fixing a date for a general election. The deal was announced by Egyptian intelligence in a statement, Al-Jazeera reports. "The consultations resulted in full understandings over all points of discussions, including setting up an interim agreement with specific tasks and to set a date for election," Egyptian intelligence said in a statement on Wednesday. The deal, which took many officials by surprise, was thrashed out in Egypt and followed a series of...

Sathya Sai Baba passes away

Sathya Sai Baba , one of India’s most famous spiritual gurus passed away on Sunday, triggering a global outpouring of grief and tributes from devotees across all walks of life, including politics, sport and entertainment. He was 85 and finally succumbed to multiple organ failure after being in a critical condition for more than three weeks, AFP quoted his doctors as saying. “Sai Baba is no more with us physically. He breathed his last at 7:40 am and died due to cardio-respiratory failure," a statement from the hospital in Puttaparthi, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, said. Indian...

On Croatia’s war crimes …

“I was, and am, today firmly convinced that we need The Hague tribunal . “ Why? Well, because in Croatia there was no political will to process war crimes that doubtlessly happened on our side.” - Stejpan Mesic , former president of Croatia (2000-2010) See DPA’s report here . See also: ‘ Stiff war crimes sentences for Croatian generals’

The truth about Canada’s new immigration policies

In an unusual move, a group of Canadian lawyers and legal academics are urging voters not to support the Conservative Party in the May 2 election, the Toronto Star reports . “The Conservative Party has been telling visible minority immigrant communities, which it calls the ‘ethnic vote,’ that it is improving the immigration system,” said the group in a statement released Wednesday. “ A review of their record shows the contrary .” The group’s statement sets out several startling differences between the Conservative government’s rhetoric on immigration issues, and its practice. For example, •...

India puts three satellites into orbit

India successfully launched a rocket carrying three satellites and deployed them Wednesday. The rocket was fired from Sriharikota, India's main space station, which is located in Tamil Nadu. Space scientists gathered at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre applauded every stage of the rocket's progress and - at exactly 18 minutes after lift-off - its placing of the satellites into orbit at an altitude of 822 kms . The three are Resourcesat-2, a remote sensing satellite that will study and help manage natural resources, the joint Indo-Russian YouthSat, and Singapore's first satellite, X-Sat. Data...

Stiff war crimes sentences for Croatian generals

Croatians - and their government - have reacted with shock and outrage over the sentencing in the Hague last week of two former generals for crimes against humanity committed over fifteen years ago by troops they commanded. Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were sentenced last week to 24 and 18 years respectively, after being found guilty of orchestrating a campaign of murder and looting that led to the expulsion of some 200,000 Serbs from the Krajina region of Croatia in August 1995. Operation Storm, conducted by Croatian troops, was heavily supported by the United States. It lasted just four...

Kosovo’s new President

Kosovo’s newly sworn in President, 36 year-old Atifete Jahjaga, has vowed to pursue wider recognition of her country’s independence and its entry to the United Nations, as well as stronger relations with the United states. "We will prove to ourselves and to the world that all conditions exist for every country to recognise independent Kosovo as an irreversible reality, as a factor of peace and stability," she said in her first speech to the parliament. "The ideal of all Kosovo is membership in the EU and a permanent friendship with the United States. I believe and I am convinced our dreams...

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