Syria warns against recognition of opposition

Syria has threatened countries who recognise the recently formed opposition council with ‘tough measures’. Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem did not elaborate what those measures may constitute, but speaking at a press conference in Damascus, he warned that foreign embassies in Syria may be targeted. Criticising recent attacks on Syrian embassies in Europe by Syrian demonstrators , he called for more security around embassy premises. "Frankly, if they didn't commit themselves to the items of this convention, we will take retaliatory measures," he said. "We don't interfere in their internal...

South Sudan chooses English as its official language

Photo AFP After decades of Arabisation and Islamisation by the Khartoum government, newly independent South Sudan, predominantly Christian and African, has opted for English as its official language. See the BBC’s report here . " English will make us different and modern. From now on all our laws, textbooks and official documents have to be written in that language. Schools, the police, retail and the media must all operate in English ." - Edward Mokole , Ministry of Higher Education " With English, we can become one nation. We can iron out our tribal differences and communicate with the rest...

Sudan & South Sudan leaders commit to end disputes

Leaders from Sudan and the newly formed South Sudan have set deadlines to resolve outstanding issues of tensions between the two and have committed to resolving their problems peacefully. On his first official visit to Sudan, South Sudan President Salva Kiir met with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, to discuss problems between the two nations, including the future of the disputed oil-rich region of Abyei and how to share the much needed oil revenue between the two nations. Kiir told reporters in a joint news conference that, "My government is ready to discuss solutions for all pending...

US apologises for rape by soldier in South Korea

The US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell, publicly apologised for the rape of a South Korean woman by a US soldier. The soldier was handed over to South Korean authorities by the US Second Infantry Divsion, deployed by the border with North Korea. The US military have introduced a curfew on all its soldiers deployed in the country for one month in response to the incident. In a statement Campbell said, " I'd like to personally and on behalf of the United States government take this opportunity to apologise to the Korean people for the tragic and...

HRW accuses Ouattara of war crimes

Human Rights Watch have accused both parties to Ivory Coast’s unrest after elections of war crimes. Military leaders, including those under the command of President Alassane Ouattara, are said to have executed civilians and raped women during the violence. The government’s failure to charge those loyal to Ouattara over the crimes set the stage for ‘victor’s justice’, said HRW. The four military leaders loyal to Ouattara are still in active service and one has been promoted by the President as second-in-command for presidential security. "What looks to be right now one-sided or victor's...

Britain blocks war crimes arrest attempt on Israeli leader

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has blocked an attempt made to arrest Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Lvini for war crimes, after the Foreign Office declared that she had special temporary immunity. An unidentified private individual had applied to the DPP for an arrest warrant for allaged war crimes committed by Lvini during Israel’s offensive on Gaza in 2008, when she served as Israeli Foreign Minister. The move was however blocked by the DPP Keir Starmer QC, after newly changed legislation requires his consent to approve any arrest warrant applications. It was revealed that this...

France warns Turkey over Armenian Genocide

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called on Turkey to recognise the killings of over 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 by Ottoman Turks as Genocide. Speaking during his visit to the Armenian capital Yerevan, President Sarkozy threatened Turkey that continued refusal to accept the killings as Genocide, may force France to outlaw such denials.

Russia tells Assad “reform or go”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has told his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad that he must implement reforms or leave his office, the first time that the Russians have publicly criticised their long standing ally. Medvedev told reporters in a televised address, "Russia wants as much as the other countries for Syria to end the bloodshed and demands that the Syrian leadership conduct the necessary reforms. If the Syrian leadership is unable to undertake these reforms, it will have to go. ” See report from the Guardian here . He went on to stress that this was a decision that should be made...

Sikh groups urge Belgium to arrest Indian minister on arrival

Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) have written to the Belgium Prime Minister, Yves Leterme, urging Belgium to stop the Urban Development Minister, Kamal Nath, from entering the country and be arrest for his alleged role as leader of a mob that massacred a large number of Sikhs during the November 1984 Sikh riots. In the letter, SFJ writes, "It is a matter of official record as per Justice Nanavati Commission Report-2005 that Kamal Nath was in control of the mob that attacked Gurdwara Rakab Ganj in Delhi on November 1, 1984, and many Sikhs were burnt alive . Kamal Nath admits being present at Gurdwara...

Palestinians win initial vote on joining UNESCO, US baffled.

The 58-nation executive board of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) voted in favour of full Palestinian membership to the organisation, by 40 to 4. The US, Germany, Latvia and Romania opposed the move, whilst fourteen members, including Belgium, France, Italy and Spain abstained. It is believed that the UNESCO membership would facilitate the Palestinians seeking greater protection of their historical and cultural sites - no doubt a source of contention with Israel, particularly with regards to sites in East Jerusalem. "[UNESCO] is one place where we can...

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