US threatens extradition and prosecution after sanctioning Iranians for cyber hacking

The United States on Friday threatened extradition and prosecutions after sanctioning nine Iranians and an Iranian company for attempting to hack into hundreds of universities worldwide, firms and parts of US governments, reports Reuters. In a statement released Friday, the US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said, the nine Iranians were considered fugitives and may face extradition in more than 100 countries if they travel outside Iran. Mr Rosenstein added that authorities “will aggressively investigate and prosecute hostile actors who attempt to profit from America’s ideas by infiltrating...

Xi warns Taiwan of 'punishment of history' if secession is pursued

The Chinese premier Xi Jinping on Tuesday warned Taiwan of receiving the "punishment of history" if the government attempted to push for secession. Speaking at China's annual session of parliament, Xi said, "it is a shared aspiration of all Chinese people and in their basic interests to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and realise China’s complete reunification." "Any actions and tricks to split China are doomed to failure and will meet with the people’s condemnation and the punishment of history." "The Chinese people share a common belief that it is never allowed and...

Putin wins 4th term as president

Vladimir Putin won his fourth term as president in Russia's election this weekend, securing over 76% of the vote. The victory paves the way for a six year term as Russia's president. Opposition activists have however alleged vote rigging and statistical anomalies in election results at a number of polling stations. Turn out on Sunday was over 67% according the state's election commission. The victory comes at a time of tense relations between the Kremlim and Westminster after the attempted assassination of a former Russian agent in Salisbury, UK earlier this month.

UN expresses concern at Kurdish forces using civilians as 'human shields'

The United Nations said this week that it was concerned at Kurdish forces using civilians in North-West Syria as 'human shields'. The UN spoksperson, Ravina Shamdasani described reports of civilian deaths from air strikes and ground strikes as "deeply alarming". In a statement on Friday, she said the UN had received reports that civilians are being prevented from leaving the area by Kurdish fighters. There are "reports that civilians are being prevented from leaving Afrin city by Kurdish forces [and] are being held to be used as human shields," Ms Shamdasani added.

US threatens airstrikes in response to Syria's ongoing bombardment of Ghouta

The United States threatened to conduct unilateral attacks on Syria if President Assad continued to bombard the rebel area of eastern Ghouta. Syrian government allied forces have received heavy condemnation from the international community for the ongoing assault on Ghouta. Speaking to at the UN in New York, US Ambassador reminded the UN Security Council that last year the US responded to Syria’s use of chemical weapons with airstrikes. “The security council failed to act. The Unite States struck the airbase from which Assad had launched the chemical attack. We repeat this warning. We also...

Myanmar violence bears hallmarks of genocide - UN Special Rapporteur

The UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar called for accountability for anti-Rohingya violence in the country, telling the Human Rights Council that she was increasingly of the opinion that the violence amounted to genocide. The Special Rapporteur, Yanghee Lee, has been denied access to Myanmar itself and expressed serious concern that “the repressive practices of previous military governments were returning as the norm once more” in Myanmar, describing the situation faced by civil society across the country as “increasingly perilous”. Read more from OHCHR here.

Tens of thousands rally to demand delivery of Catalan independence referendum result

Tens of thousands of protesters marched through Barcelona on Sunday demanding Catalan parties to finalise a new government and declare a Catalan Republic. Photograph: Duetsche Welle Speaking to journalists the rally organiser, Agusti Alcoberro, said, “What we are doing today is taking to the streets as citizens to demand that the republic we voted for in October continues forward.” Catalonia’s former President Carles Puigdemont remains in self-exile in Brussels fearing imprisonment for sedition charges should he return. His chosen successor, and separatist leader, Jordi Sanchez is in prison...

Myanmar militarises Rakhine state after ethnic cleansing of Rohingya - Amnesty International

Myanmar’s Rakhine State is being militarised at an alarming pace, as authorities are building security force bases and bulldozing land where Rohingya villages were burned to the ground just months ago, Amnesty International said on Monday. After internationally condemned ethnic cleansing of the Rakhine state, Myanmar’s military is building bases where some of the Rohingya community homes and mosques once stood, said Amnesty International Citing evidence from satellite imagery, the rights organisation “Remaking Rakhine State” report published Monday, used eyewitness testimony and expert...

UN investigators identify South Sudanese officials accused of war crimes

Over 40 South Sudanese military officers have been identified by the United Nations as alleged perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity, highlighting a clear pattern of "ethnic persecution". In a report, released on Friday, investigators with the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, outlined allegations that military officials including generals and state governors had raped and murdered a number of civilians. The officials were not named in the report, which makes the case for "individual command responsibility for widespread or systematic attacks on civilians."

Cyril Ramaphosa appointed president of South Africa

Cyril Ramaphosa was elected president of South Africa by the country’s parliament on Thursday, after Jacob Zuma stepped down following weeks of intense pressure. Mr Ramaphosa said he would "continue to improve the lives of our people," and “work very hard to try to not disappoint the people of South Africa", as he accepted the position yesterday evening. He is set to deliver his first state of the nation address tonight. “There is widespread hope that Mr Ramaphosa will turn things around,” said the Guardian editorial . “Corruption has become deeply embedded both within the party and within...