India readies for Security Council presidency in August

India will assume the presidency of the Security Council for August and use the opportunity to demonstrate it has the “not only has the credentials but the political maturity” to be a permanent member, Delhi’s UN envoy Hardeep Singh Puri says. See report by IANS and UNI here. “[India intends] to conduct our presidency in a manner which provides a clear message to all that India is a country which not only has the credentials but the political maturity to supervise the work of the Council and which in turn re-establishes the message that we have the credentials to be a permanent member ," he...

Ford puts new plants in Gujarat, expands in Tamil Nadu

US car-maker Ford, which has a major vehicle plant in Tamil Nadu, has announced it will invest $1 billion in Gujarat to build two new plants. However, the decision does not seem to have upset or surprised the Tamil Nadu government which had courted the company to set up the new plants there, IANS reports. "We have been told that the company would save sizeably on freight costs if it has a plant in Gujarat as it can cater to the northern markets," a state government official said. Ford is also to invest $72 million to expand its engine plant located near Chennai to take the annual production...

Britain recognises Libyan rebels as ‘sole governmental authority’

Britain has recognised the Libyan rebel council as that country’s " sole governmental authority " and has expelled the Gaddafi-regime’s diplomats, the BBC reports. Instead the UK will ask the rebel National Transitional Council to appoint a new diplomatic envoy. The British move follows those of the US and France. The UK had previously said it recognised "countries not governments", but Foreign Secretary William Hague said this was a "unique situation." Mr Hague said: "I'm making this announcement today to reflect the facts on the ground and to increase support for those fighting and working...

Ivory Coast sets up 'war crimes' inquiry

Ivory Coast is to set up a commission of inquiry into crimes committed during the country's post-election violence, a council of ministers said last week. See Al-Jazeera’s report here The commission would " help understand how and why people were able to conceive, plan and execute such grave violations of human rights, " t he ministers said . " As a duty to memory, Ivory Coast intends to provide the means to establish the truth of the facts in order, if necessary, to take legal action against the perpetrators ," their statement said. Alassane Ouattara, the president, signed the decree...

87 killed in Norway gun massacre and blast, worst violence since WW2

At least eighty people were killed on a Norwegian island Friday by a lone gunman dressed in police uniform who attacked a summer camp of the ruling Labour party’s youth wing, shortly after a bomb ripped through the political district of the capital, Oslo. See reports by AFP , NPR , Reuters , and CTV . Hundreds of youth, mainly teenagers, were attending the summer camp on Utoeya island, a few kilometres from Oslo. The gunman, described as a tall, blond ethnic Norwegian , and later named as Anders Behring Breivik, entered the camp and opened fire indiscriminately, reports said. An initial death...

Serbia arrests last war crimes fugitive, clearing way to EU candidacy

Serbian authorities have arrested Goran Hadzic, the last remaining fugitive war crimes suspect sought by the UN tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the BBC reports . He faces 14 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity , including persecution , extermination , and torture , and is expected to be transferred to The Hague in the coming days. Hadzic was a central figure in the self-proclaimed Serb republic of Krajina in 1992-1993, leading the campaign to block Croatia's independence from Yugoslavia. He is held responsible for the massacre of almost 300 men in Vukovar in 1991 by Croatian...

Rethinking China – if you can!

Think you’re open-minded? That you revise your opinions on the receipt of new facts? And think you know what’s wrong with China’s government? Then see what happens after you read this article in the International Herald Tribune by Eric X. Li, a venture capitalist in Shanghai and a doctoral candidate at Fudan University’s School of International Relations and Public Affairs.

Satellite evidence of Sudan’s mass killings

The anti-genocide group, Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), has published visual evidence of mass graves in South Kordofan. “This evidence demonstrates the urgent need for a full-scale international investigation into the violence in South Kordofan, and underlines the imperative to protect civilian populations from their own government in Khartoum. “ With all the killing that has occurred in Darfur, Abyei and the Nuba Mountains, we surely can't say we didn't know this could happen . “ Diplomacy as usual backed by no tangible international pressures is a recipe for ongoing death and destruction...

Libyan rebels win broad international recognition

Libyan rebels fighting to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi have won recognition as the country's " legitimate authority " from the entire international contact group co-ordinating policy on the crisis. The United States joined more than thirty other states and state-blocs in recognizing rebel leadership in Libya, the Transitional National Council, as the country’s legitimate government. At an international meeting in Turkey, representatives of international organizations, including the Arab League , the European Union and the African Union , reiterated their support for the TNC, which is based in...

Former Guatemala army chief charged with genocide

Former Guatemalan army chief Gen. Héctor Mario López Fuentes was charged this week with genocide for his command role in the killings of over 300 Mayan people in 1982 and 1983. A UN-backed commission found that during Guatemala’s 36-year armed conflict some 200,000 people were killed or disappeared and security forces committed 440 massacres in indigenous communities. The commission specifically found that the military’s counter-insurgency operations in the Ixil Triangle amounted to acts of genocide , with 32 separate massacres targeting the indigenous Maya-Ixil population. Gen. Fuentes is accused of being the “ intellectual author ” of 12 massacres from 1982-1983. At the time, he was Guatemala’s military Chief of Staff, the third-highest-ranking official in the country. See Louisa Reynolds’s article for LaPress.org , and Amnesty International’s statement . During the short-lived 1982-83 dictatorship of Efraín Ríos Montt, the army launched a brutal campaign targeting indigenous communities that it accused of supporting left-wing guerillas. The strategy was known as “draining the water that the fish swim in.” Any villages where signs of guerrilla activity were found — hidden weapons or propaganda — were deemed to be “subversive”, and the villagers were systematically killed. Any villages found abandoned when terrified residents fled to the mountains were also razed to the ground, a policy known as “scorched earth.” As a result of the regime’s genocidal policies, over 10,000 Mayans were murdered and 9,000 were displaced from their land. Other former Guatemalan military and police officials have been arrested in recent months for their role in human rights abuses during the armed conflict. These include Colonel Héctor Bol de la Cruz and Jorge Humberto Gómez López, both former heads of the national police force. An army officer and a soldier who participated in a December 1982 massacre in Dos Erres village were arrested earlier this year. Guatemalan security forces tortured and killed 250 men, women and children in Dos Erres before razing the village.

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