China’s restrained protest at US arms sale to Taiwan

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sept. 26, 2011. (Xinhua) China has protested renewed arms sales by the US to Taiwan, but the threats of retaliatory action have been described as ‘restrained’ by commentators. Taiwan requested the sale of F-16 fighter jets but the US decided to ‘only’ upgrade Taiwan’s existing fleet in a deal worth $5.85 billion.

Extremists from France take up arms in West Bank

Two weeks ago, an announcement appeared on a French website, calling for "militants with military experience" to participate in a trip to Israel between September 19 and 25. 55 French citizens responded and travelled to the West Bank. No, it’s not what you think. See Al-Jazeera’s report here .

China's capitalist communist

The Central Committee of China’s ruling Communist party may next year have a new member – the country's richest tycoon. See the BBC’s report here .

Gaddafi's prison massacre unearthed 15 years on

National Transitional Council authorities discovered the remains of over 1270 Libyans killed by the Gaddafi regime more than fifteen years ago. The victims were all prisoners at the Abu Salim prison, massacred during a protest against conditions on 26th June 1996. It is understood that international assistance will be sought to identify the remains. The overthrow of Gaddafi's regime has led to numerous unsettling discoveries, including a stockpile of mustard gas in the Southern desert.

Turkey seizes Syrian arms as EU sanctions tighten

A Syrian ship with weapons heading to Damascus has been seized said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as pressure continues to grow on Syrian President Assad’s regime. Speaking from New York at the UN general Assembly, Erdogan confirmed that a ship was stopped and said that all future arms shipments to Syria would also be seized. Being interviewed by CNN, Erdogan also commented that, "If you're going to act against the fundamental rights, liberties and the law, you will lose your position in my heart as my brother and my friend. I was very patient. Patience, patience, patience. And then I cracked. " The move by Syria’s former key regional ally comes as the EU, joined by Switzerland, passed a seventh round of sanctions on Syria, including a blockade of banknotes to the Central bank of Syria and a ban on investment in the oil sector . The EU provides 95 percent of Syrian oil exports, which provide a third of the regime’s hard currency earnings. The intensified sanctions were welcomed by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who commented , "International pressure will increase until the regime heeds the calls for an immediate end to violence, the release of political prisoners and genuine change. Assad is isolated internationally and things will never return to the way they were. He should step aside now. " "Countries across the region have called for Assad to end the violence immediately. This week in New York, I made clear to Security Council members that they too must increase the pressure on Syria. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, has also made this clear." The Syrian regime has already started to feel the effect of growing sanctions, as they announced a ban on a wide range of imports in an attempt to preserve foreign currency reserves.

Third US soldier sentenced for war crimes

A US soldier has been found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in killing Afghan civilians. 21-year old Pvt 1st Class Andrew Holmes reached a plea deal with prosecutors pleaded guilty to the unpremeditated murder of a 15-year old villager in Afghanistan last year. He also pleaded guilty to charges relating to possession of a severed finger and smoking hashish. See report by AFP here . The prosecution alleges that soldiers threw grenades and fired guns at villagers, before planting weapons on them to make it seem as if the victims had fired first. They are also accused...

Palestinians submit historic UN membership bid

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formally asked the UN to recognise the state of Palestine on Friday, despite sustained US-Israeli efforts to stall the move. In a speech that was welcomed with a standing ovation and applause, Abbas stated, " I do not believe that anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for a full membership of the United Nations and our admission as a full member state ," "At a time when the Arab people affirm their quest for democracy – the Arab spring – the time is now for the Palestinian spring, the time for independence. "It is a moment of truth...

Senior Kosovo politician detained on suspicion of war crimes

A senior Kosovo politician and former rebel leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) has been placed under house arrest by an EU judge. Fatmir Limaj has been accused of committing war crimes in the Kosovo War between the KLA and the former Yugoslavia. He is thought to have ordered the killings of Serb police men in 1999, in his capacity as a commander of the KLA. Limaj is the former Transport Minister and a close confidante of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci. All three parties to the conflict, Yugoslavia, the KLA and NATO, have been accused of committing war crimes. Several Serb politicians...

Bloody Sunday Victims’ families reject compensation, demand prosecution

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced compensation will be paid to those killed or injured on Bloody Sunday. "We acknowledge the pain felt by these families for nearly 40 years, and that members of the armed forces acted wrongly. For that, the government is deeply sorry," said a MoD spokesman on Thursday. "We are in contact with the families' solicitors and where there is a legal liability to pay compensation we will do so." However, some families of victims are reported to have rejected any compensation until there is at least one successful prosecution of a soldier.

UK's Cameron calls for UN action against persecution worldwide

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday, British Prime Minister David Cameron urged the UN to founding principles and responsibility " to stand up against regimes that persecute their people ." “You can sign every human rights declaration in the world. But if you stand by and watch people being slaughtered in their own country, when you could act, then what are those signatures really worth?” "The UN has to show that we can be, not just united in condemnation, but united in action, acting in a way that lives up to the UN's founding principles and meets the...