A pearl in the Thames?

A Chinese sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corporation, bought a 8.68pc stake in the UK's Thames Water, owned by Kemble Water. The deal, believed to be worth around £500 million, was agreed, shortly after the British chancellor, George Osborne, paid a visit to China last week and urged the government to invest China's extensive foreign exchange reserves, estimated to be over $3.18 trillion, into UK investment projects. Welcoming the news, Osborne said, "It is a vote of confidence in Britain as a place to invest and do business. This investment is good news for both the British and...

Australia poised to recognise Aborigines as first people of the continent

Australia is on the verge of making a historic constitutional reform, which would recognise the Aboriginal people as the original inhabitants of the country and remove racist clauses from the country’s constitution. The proposals were presented, which called for a referendum to decide on the issue before the next general election in 2013, after a panel of 19 experts unanimously supported them. The proposed referendum has also got the backing of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who said , "It is the right time to say yes to an understanding of our past, to say yes to constitutional change, and to...

Burmese military intensify fighting in Kachin region

Fighting between the government and the Kachin rebels, in northern Myanmar, intensified, despite the widely proclaimed reforms. Over the past month, Burma's military his reported to have launched mortar rounds targeting the mountainous region in northern Myanmar, near its border with China. Over the past few months, international human rights groups have expressed growing concern at the Burmese army's atrocities against the Kachin people, citing the looting and burning of homes, as well as the rape, torture and execution of Kachin civilians. As a result, over a thousand villagers have sought refuge in China, whilst tens of thousands more are believed to be at risk of displacement if the Burmese army's actions continue. The increased conflict has taken place despite Myanmar's President Thein Sein, calling on the military to cease the fighting. On the border with China, the Kachin region is partly controlled by the Kachin Independence Army.

Armenian genocide bill faces Senate stumbling block

A proposed French law that would make denial of the killings of over 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 by Turkey as genocide a crime has been rejected by a French Senate panel as unconstitutional earlier Wednesday. The Senate’s Commission of Laws decided that the bill would be unconstitutional marking the first legislative setback faced. However, the panel’s recommendations are not binding and the bill will now be put to a broader vote in the French senate next week, where it is still expected to be passed through. The bill was passed by the French National Assembly and has angered Turkey, who...

UK will support 'Falkland Islanders' right to self-determination' against 'colonialism'

Despite renewed tensions with Argentina, UK foreign secretary, William Hague, reiterated Britain's commitment to the Falkland islanders' right to self-determination. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Hague said, "We believe in the self-determination of the people of the Falkland Islands... That will continue." His comments came shortly after UK prime minister, David Cameron, had accused Bueonos Aires of "colonialism". Cameron said, "The key point is we support the Falkland Islanders' right to self-determination, and what the Argentinians have been saying recently, I would argue is...

First genocide case sent to Rwanda by the UN

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for Rwanda has decided to hand over a suspect to face trial in Rwanda, the first time genocide suspects will have their cases heard in the country. The decision, by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, is seen as a victory for the Rwandan legal system. The Rwandan government has praised the decision commenting that it “shows the world how far we have come”, adding , “Rwanda had made material changes in its laws and had indicated its capacity and willingness to prosecute cases referred by the ICTR adhering to internationally recognized fair...

British aid official expelled from Chad

A senior British aid official and former United Nations Chief in Sudan has been expelled from Chad, after attempting to visit refugees from Darfur who had been displaced to the county. The expulsion of the official, Mukesh Kapila, was thought to have been personally ordered by Chad's Interior Minister Abderaman Moussa, and left Kapila feeling “frustrated, deeply saddened, and then very angry”. Speaking to the BBC, Kapila said , "The fact that the Chadian authorities blocked me from seeing the Darfuri refugees, for which I had come to Chad, means that what I had said - warning the world of the...

US urges South Korea to reduce Iranian oil imports

A senior US diplomat, Robert J. Einhorn, urged South Korea to work with the US and increase pressure on Iran, during a visit to Seoul. Einhorn, the US State Department's special advisor for non-proliferation and arms control, met South Korea's deputy foreign minister, Kim Jae-shin on Tuesday. Einhorn said, “We are urging all of our partners to help us, to work with us in putting more pressure on the government of Iran to get them to negotiate seriously ,” “In particular, we are urging them to reduce their purchases of crude oil from Iran, and we are urging them to unwind their financial...

Ban Ki-Moon: ‘Assad… Stop killing your people’

The United Nations Secretary-General has strongly criticised Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at a conference in Beirut, and called on him to stop killing his own people. Delivering a keynote address at the UN Arab democracy conference, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said , "From the very beginning of the year's, last year's revolutions, from Tunisia through Egypt and beyond, I called on leaders to listen to their people, listen to the genuine aspirations of their people, what they need, and what are their voices. Some did and benefited; some didn't, and today they are reaping the whirlwind...

Iran warns Arab nations not to comply with sanctions

Iran has warned its Arab neighbours not to aid potential European Union sanctions by increasing their own oil production to replace that of Iranian crude oil. Pressure has been increasing on Iran, after the European Union looked to be moving towards passing sanctions on iran’s oil industry, as European ministers set to meet on the 23rd of January. Iran's Opec governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi said told reporters, "Our Arab neighbours should not cooperate with these adventurers … these measures will not be perceived as friendly." His statement comes as China's premier was in Saudi Arabia on Sunday...

Pages