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...

Karzai agrees strategic alliance with India

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a visit to New Delhi. Karzai’s visit comes as ties with Pakistan have deteriorated rapidly over the last few weeks, after the assassination of peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani. Afghan officials have accused Pakistan of aiding the perpetrators of the attack, who they say was a Pakistani citizen. The agreement is said to include military and police training along with support for Afghan "capacity building" in the areas of education and development. India is already one of...

Tutu slams ANC after Dalai Lama trip cancelled

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has accused the African National Congress of being “worse than apartheid” after the Dalai Lama was forced to pull out of a trip for Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations as he was not yet granted a visa by South African authorities. "When we (anti-apartheid activists) used to apply for passports from the apartheid government, we never knew until the last moment what the decision was," Tutu said . "Our government is worse than the apartheid government, because at least you were expecting it with the apartheid government." Tutu was outraged at the ANC at the decision not to...

China, Russia veto Syria resolution as Turkey threatens unilateral sanctions

A UN Security Council resolution threatening sanctions against Syria has been vetoed by Russia and China. The resolution, proposed by Britain, Portugal, Germany, France and the US, had been watered down three times before its proposal, to address concerns by Russia and China that, if passed, it might pave the way for another military intervention. Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa have argued that the resolution passed on Libya was used as a pretext to aid the removal of Gaddafi, although the resolution only authorised the use of force for the protection of civilians.

Retrial for Bahraini doctors as they speak out against torture

A Bahraini court has ordered for the retrial of 20 doctors and nurses who were sentenced to long prison terms by a military court after treating injured protestors in anti-government demonstrations earlier this year. The case, which aroused an international outrage, saw the health care workers receive sentences ranging from 5 to 15 years for charges including "inciting hatred to the regime and insulting it”. A statement on Wednesday appears to have overturned the earlier ruling and said that the accused would be retried in a civilian court. Dr Fatima Haji, who was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment said that she was tortured while being interrogated. Speaking to Al Jazeera she said, "I was a human being. I was a doctor. I was doing my duty as a professional. What we did is our duty as doctors, human beings, mothers. If I knew this would sentence me to life... I would still do it, again and again and again."

Iraq to end legal immunity for US troops

Iraq's political leaders announced on Tuesday that American troops may remain in Iraq next year, however, any remaining troops would no longer be granted immunity from Iraqi law. The move is expected to be welcomed by the Iraqi public, who have long protested against perceived impunity granted to US troops particularly after the Abu Ghraib affair. US officials have previously said such a decision by the Iraqis would end American support for the training of Iraqi troops. An official for the United States Embassy in Iraq said the Americans were reviewing the statement and “appreciate the...

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