North Korea, US announce nuclear suspension and aid

North Korea announced Wednesday that it would freeze nuclear tests, long-range missile launches and uranium enrichment at its Yongbyon plant, even as the US promised food aid to the country. The North Koreans also agreed to the return of nuclear inspectors, who were kicked out of the country in 2009, though they are limited to the Yongbyon site. At the same time, the US has offered 240,000 metric tonnes of nutritional assistance, a great part of it in the form of biscuits, as part of the ‘Leap-day deal’. While the North portrayed it as a deal, the US said it didn’t link humanitarian help with...

ICC seeks arrest of Sudan minister

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for the Defence Minister of Sudan for crimes alleged to have been committed in Darfur. The Defence Minister, Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, is alleged to be responsible for 20 counts of war crimes and 21 counts of crimes against humanity. At the time, Mr Hussein was Interior Minister and the Sudanese government’s representative in Darfur. The ICC said in a statement that Mr Hussein should be prosecuted for war crimes such as persecution and torture and war crimes including murder and rape. "The plan of the counter-insurgency campaign...

ICRC evacuation of Homs begins, as Syria conference condemns impunity

The International Committee of the Red Cross has begun moving civilians including the wounded and children out of the Syrian city of Homs. The announcement came as delegates from over seventy countries had gathered at the 'Friends of Syria' conference in Tunisia, aiming to increase pressure on the Assad regime. The conference ended with delegates adopting a declaration calling on the regime to end violence immediately and allow humanitarian aid. The declaration read: "Participants committed to take steps to apply and enforce restrictions and sanctions on the regime and its supporters as a...

UN humanitarian official to visit Syria

The UN's under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, Valeria Amos, will be visiting Syria in order to negotiate access for aid workers to areas most affected by the conflict, announced the spokesperson to the UN Secretargy General Ban Ki Moon. The spokesperson, Del Buey, said that Amos, a former member of the House of Lords, would be sent to "to assess the humanitarian situation and renew the call for humanitarian access". Adding that a "comprehensive" approach was required, Ban Ki Moon said, " I n addition to humanitarian (issues), one needs to discuss all political issues. But the...

UN accuses Syria of crimes against humanity

The UN has accused Syria of committing ‘crimes against humanity’ against its people, in a report released today after an inquiry by a UN panel. The panel was refused entry into Syria and had to gather information from outside sources including regime defectors and human rights activists. The report alleges that "army snipers and Shabbiha gunmen [from pro-Assad militias] posted at strategic points terrorised the population, targeting and killing small children, women and other unarmed civilians. Fragmentation mortar bombs were also fired into densely populated neighbourhoods." "Security...

Veteran war journalist Marie Colvin killed in Syria

Accomplished war correspondent Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times has been killed in the Syrian city of Homs. It was reported that the house she was staying in was shelled, killing her alongside French photographer Remi Ochlik. Two other journalists were also wounded in the rocket attack. Paul Conroy, a freelance photographer with the Sunday Times, and Edith Bouvier of the French newspaper Le Figaro were named as the journalists injured in the attack which killed 24 others, apart from Colvin and Ochlik. The acclaimed journalist was the last journalist to talk to the LTTE’s Political Head B...

US republican proposed bill to recognise Baluchistan's right to self-determination

Republican, Dana Rohrabacher, introduced a bill recognising Baluchi nation's right to self-determination last week. The bill stated that the Baluchi nation “ have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country; and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status .” Rohrabacher said, “ The Baluchi, like other nations of people, have an innate right to self-determination ,” “ The political and ethnic discrimination they suffer is tragic and made more so because America is financing and selling arms to their oppressors in Islamabad .” There have been...

Sexual violence as a weapon of war destroys 'fabric of society'

Writing in the Huffington Post, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallstrom, condemned sexual violence as a weapon of war and pledged to "push for an end to impunity and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice". See here for article in full. Extracts reproduced below: "Of particular concern is the fact that many of the reported cases of sexual violence seem to have been perpetrated by national security forces -- the very same people who have a mandate to protect their own citizens . Whereas the uniform should symbolize...

18-year-old Tibetan monk dies after self immolation

The London-based International Campaign for Tibet has stated that a monk has died after setting himself alight in protest, at a monastery in South West China. The monk, 18-year-old Nangdrol, has raised the number of Tibetans who have self immolated to at least 21 in the past year alone, as protests against the Chinese government’s control over the Tibetan regions continue to grow. Chinese armed forces have cut off access to the Tibetan areas making independent reports almost impossible to verify, but it is known that security forces maintain a high presence in the area and monks are being...

War crimes complaint filed against British Government

A complaint against the British Government has been filed by legal charity Reprieve in regards to the failure of the government to secure the release of a Pakistani man, held in Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. Yunus Rahmatullah was captured by British forces in 20054 and was then handed to the US military who have held him without charges ever since. Last December three judges ruled that Rahmatullah should be freed but on Monday appeal judges cancelled the release order after being told that American authorities were not going to "play ball" and British ministers had "reached the end of the...

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