West considers reprieve for Sudan leader over genocide charges

Sudan’s president could enjoy a year’s reprieve from war crimes charges as Western governments seek to encourage his regime to consolidate peace after the people of South Sudan voted last month for independence. Senior western and African officials said France and the US had agreed at an African Union summit to consider backing a deferral of the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Omar al-Bashir on war crimes and genocide charges. See the Financial Times’ report here . See earlier posts on South Sudan's referendum here .

Bush not at risk of arrest in Europe - experts

European law enforcement officials and other experts say the chances of George W. Bush being arrested on war crimes charges in Switzerland--or any place else on the continent--are almost nil. " From a legal point of view, I believe it could be possible. But I'm convinced that the political reality is that there are no chances for such a step." - Dick Marty, a Swiss prosecutor who led Council of Europe’s investigation into CIA secret prisons. See the Washington Post’s report here See also reports on President Bush cancelling his visit last week to Switzerland here and here .

To punish dictators, protect their informers

“[Cindor Reeves] risked his life to help international prosecutors build a war crimes case against Mr. Taylor, the former president of Liberia. … [He] should not be deported to Liberia. He played a key role in bringing charges against a reviled figure, and deserves a safe haven. ” - Globe and Mail editorial, Feb 7, 2011 See the full text here .

China: no fear for global grain supplies

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao sought Thursday to calm global concerns about the impact of severe droughts on China's grain output and inflation, the Wall Street Journal reported. The country's supply of grain is basically in balance with demand and reiterating the government's confidence that it can keep prices under control, he said, adding: "We are confident that we have the ability to promote the stable development of agricultural products, to ensure the effective supply of agricultural products, especially grain, and to maintain the overall basic stability of goods prices" See the Wall...

The mantra of repression …

The tidal wave of public anger against the Egyptian regime that engulfed the country in recent days has transfixed governments and people the world over. Egypt’s staunchest ally, the United States, has called on President Mubarak to go, and to go ‘now’ (see AFP's report ). But amid the sustained mass protests by Egypt’s people and their defiance of its terror tactics, what seems to bother the regime most is international criticism. Unsurprisingly, its logic is … ‘internal affairs’. This is what Vice President Omar Suleiman had to say Thursday: "There are some abnormal ways by which foreign...

US urges India-China ties

The United States says it is willing to help India and China improve their relations and welcomes a greater involvement by New Delhi in East Asia, AFP reports . "We support an improvement in dialogue between India and China, and we would seek to take steps to facilitate that as we move forward," Kurt Campbell, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asia said. "Ultimately, we think that India's role in the Asian-Pacific region stands to be one of the most important new developments over the course of the next decade." The Obama administration focused attention from the start of its term...

Political dignity and self-determination

“What young people want is political dignity. Democracy may enhance that. But political dignity also encompasses ethnic or national self-determination, religious self-definition, and human and social rights. All of this now takes place in a wired world where the youth are acutely aware of economic, racial, and social inequities.” - Zbigniew Brzezinski, US national security advisor in President Jimmy Carter’s administration. See Newsweek's interview here about the ongoing crisis in Egypt.

The ‘nation’ today

“ Nationhood is not an abstract phenomenon . It is a work continuously in the making; a work that requires effort and dedication, vision and leadership; most importantly, it requires the collective free will of the people . “Today’ world is different from the 19th century … where force could be used, at will, to unify a vast land or impose a cultural or linguistic identity upon a diverse group of peoples.” “ To forge a free nation today you need the assent of all. No identity can be unduly imposed anymore . - Mohamed El Mokhtar Sidi Haiba, Palestinian political analyst. See his article on the...

Why is China helping Europe with its crisis?

Underlining the interconnectedness of the world’s economy, China is actively moving to support European efforts to contain a sovereign debt crisis and accelerate a recovery there. In the past several weeks China has pledged to buy billions of bonds from (i.e. lend to) troubled economies like Spain and Greece. Billions more in trade deals are in the offing. Why? China is heavily dependent on buoyant European and US markets for its own future economic success. Today bilateral trade between China and Europe has surged to $100m a day - up from $100 a year less than a decade ago, the New York Times reports . In short, ‘ In embracing Europe, China helps itself ’, as analyst Liz Alderman explains. As Ken Wattret, chief euro-zone economist at BNP Paribas puts it, “If you’re an export-driven economy like China, and the EU and the euro zone are your key export markets, it’s in your interest to stabilise the financial and economic situation [there].” There are also immediate reasons for China’s actions.

South Sudan: near total support for independence

Preliminary official results from South Sudan’s independence referendum show that more than 99 percent of voters in the plebiscite want secession. The Economist reports that, despite reports of discrepancies between voting numbers and registration lists in 60 counties (over half of the states in the South), the vote has been praised by observers: “ there is little doubt that the process is indeed representative of the will of the Southern Sudanese people .” Minor hiccups aside, the nearly four million people who voted in the referendum will now almost certainly see their wishes realized, the...

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