UN rights probe team to Libya

A UN team is due to arrive in Tripoli to investigate allegations of human rights violations in Libya since the start of the conflict in February, the BBC reported Wednesday. The team was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council following the Libyan government's crackdown on protesters. The government has said it will co-operate with the inquiry. The three investigators say they will look at all alleged abuses, including those the government says have been committed by rebels or Nato forces. Separately, the UN Security Council has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Libya on...

Fatah and Hamas sign reconciliation deal

Fatah, the Palestinian political organisation, has reached a comprehensive agreement with its rival Hamas on forming an interim government and fixing a date for a general election. The deal was announced by Egyptian intelligence in a statement, Al-Jazeera reports. "The consultations resulted in full understandings over all points of discussions, including setting up an interim agreement with specific tasks and to set a date for election," Egyptian intelligence said in a statement on Wednesday. The deal, which took many officials by surprise, was thrashed out in Egypt and followed a series of...

Sathya Sai Baba passes away

Sathya Sai Baba , one of India’s most famous spiritual gurus passed away on Sunday, triggering a global outpouring of grief and tributes from devotees across all walks of life, including politics, sport and entertainment. He was 85 and finally succumbed to multiple organ failure after being in a critical condition for more than three weeks, AFP quoted his doctors as saying. “Sai Baba is no more with us physically. He breathed his last at 7:40 am and died due to cardio-respiratory failure," a statement from the hospital in Puttaparthi, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, said. Indian...

On Croatia’s war crimes …

“I was, and am, today firmly convinced that we need The Hague tribunal . “ Why? Well, because in Croatia there was no political will to process war crimes that doubtlessly happened on our side.” - Stejpan Mesic , former president of Croatia (2000-2010) See DPA’s report here . See also: ‘ Stiff war crimes sentences for Croatian generals’

The truth about Canada’s new immigration policies

In an unusual move, a group of Canadian lawyers and legal academics are urging voters not to support the Conservative Party in the May 2 election, the Toronto Star reports . “The Conservative Party has been telling visible minority immigrant communities, which it calls the ‘ethnic vote,’ that it is improving the immigration system,” said the group in a statement released Wednesday. “ A review of their record shows the contrary .” The group’s statement sets out several startling differences between the Conservative government’s rhetoric on immigration issues, and its practice. For example, •...

India puts three satellites into orbit

India successfully launched a rocket carrying three satellites and deployed them Wednesday. The rocket was fired from Sriharikota, India's main space station, which is located in Tamil Nadu. Space scientists gathered at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre applauded every stage of the rocket's progress and - at exactly 18 minutes after lift-off - its placing of the satellites into orbit at an altitude of 822 kms . The three are Resourcesat-2, a remote sensing satellite that will study and help manage natural resources, the joint Indo-Russian YouthSat, and Singapore's first satellite, X-Sat. Data...

Stiff war crimes sentences for Croatian generals

Croatians - and their government - have reacted with shock and outrage over the sentencing in the Hague last week of two former generals for crimes against humanity committed over fifteen years ago by troops they commanded. Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were sentenced last week to 24 and 18 years respectively, after being found guilty of orchestrating a campaign of murder and looting that led to the expulsion of some 200,000 Serbs from the Krajina region of Croatia in August 1995. Operation Storm, conducted by Croatian troops, was heavily supported by the United States. It lasted just four...

Kosovo’s new President

Kosovo’s newly sworn in President, 36 year-old Atifete Jahjaga, has vowed to pursue wider recognition of her country’s independence and its entry to the United Nations, as well as stronger relations with the United states. "We will prove to ourselves and to the world that all conditions exist for every country to recognise independent Kosovo as an irreversible reality, as a factor of peace and stability," she said in her first speech to the parliament. "The ideal of all Kosovo is membership in the EU and a permanent friendship with the United States. I believe and I am convinced our dreams...

Ivory Coast: the problem is not elections, but xenophobia

“It is convenient for the world to think that the ongoing Ivory Coast civil war and genocide is about election and election results, and removing recalcitrant Gbagbo from an office which he lost in the polls. “In reality, this is hypocrisy. The UN and the stakeholder-countries involved in Ivory Coast [know] that the problem is not Gbagbo and Ouattara, or elections. The primary issue in Ivory Coast is that of “North vs. South” which is now translating into perhaps Muslim North vs. Christian South. “ The result of sweeping this fact under the rug and pretending that it is not there is what we...

EU migration chief urges members to accept Libya refugees

European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has urged member states to resettle Eritrean, Somali, Ethiopian and other refugees fleeing Libya. See reports by Reuters here and the Jesuit Refugee Services here " We need to show an element of solidarity. There are ... people who have nowhere to go and with this we will have to help, to resettle them ," she said. "Most of them would like to stay in Libya if the conflict ended tomorrow. That's where they had jobs and families. But if the situation escalates, we will have asylum seekers. If they come to Europe, we will have to offer them...

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