Britain's business with Gaddafi

“ We don’t decide between countries we trade with on the basis of whether they are nice or not. There are lots of regimes around the world. If we didn’t trade with them we would be shooting ourselves in the foot. ” - Libyan British Business Council director-general Robin Lamb, Feb 22. See the Daily Mail’s report here . UK trade with Libya is worth an estimated £1.5billion a year, with British exports soaring more than 50% between 2008 and 2009. And Libya’s newly well-off have attracted other firms, including British high street chains Next, Monsoon, Accessorize and Marks & Spencer. On...

‘US, EU, and UN have a responsibility to protect’

“We, the undersigned non-governmental, human rights, and humanitarian organizations, urge you to mobilize the United Nations and the international community and take immediate action to halt the mass atrocities now being perpetrated by the Libyan government against its own people. The inexcusable silence cannot continue. … There is no question here about intent. The government media has published open threats [against demonstrators]. … You have a clear and unambiguous responsibility to protect the people of Libya.” - letter by 70 NGOs. Feb 21, 2011. See the full text, and list of signatories...

Whither ‘string of pearls’?

James Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara, associate professors of strategy at the US Naval War College, write on the much-quoted ‘string of pearls’ theory: “A subset of the larger debate over Chinese sea power is Beijing’s supposed quest for a ‘string of pearls’, or network of Indian Ocean naval bases. The term originated in a classified Booz Allen study and was popularized by the Washington Times in 2005. “ Few Indian Ocean specialists still view the string of pearls as a nascent base network … They are more apt to scoff at the term. So fierce was the backlash that Booz Allen undertook a new study...

France and India

“[India’s] economic and strategic relationship with France is expanding. France is also emerging as an important supplier of our defence equipment and platform. … France is a strategic partner.” - India’s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. See PTI’s story here . France is the ninth largest foreign investor in India. Between April 2000 and November 2010, France has invested about $2 billion in India.

44 million extremely poor suffer as food prices soar

Amid soaring global food prices, World Bank chief Robert Zoellick is calling on the Group of 20 leading and emerging economies to put food first on its agenda. "Even before these latest price hikes, there were already more than 900 million people going hungry each day. Now, with an estimated 44 million more people living in extreme poverty, it shows this year is shaping up to be a very tough year for the chronically malnourished ." "If this trend continues, if we don't get a relief on the weather side, then I foresee conditions getting worse . And, mistaken policy actions such as export bans...

China and the Armenian genocide

Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi paid tribute to the memory of the Armenian Genocide victims during his visit to Armenia, the Public Radio of Armenia reported. Mr. Jiechi visited Tsitsernakaberd Memorial to lay a wreath, and toured the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, accompanied by its Director, Hayk Demoyan. He also met with the head of Armenia's national church, Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, and discussed the recognition of Armenian Genocide, News-Am reported. This is the first high-level Chinese visit since Armenia's independence in 1991, the Armenian Foreign Ministry...

Future ‘bloodlands’

The 1947 legal definition by the UN incorporates several aspects of targeted oppression, such as "Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group" and "Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." The popular definition is simpler: The wholesale killing of a people because of religion, race or ethnicity ." See Richard Handler’s discussion of Yale historian Timothy Synder’s book here .

East Timorese renew call over Indonesia’s crimes against humanity

“ We are still not yet free of the shadow of serious crimes committed during the 24 years of Indonesian occupation. We have suffered a lot during that period; physically and psychologically, because of torture from various types of violations, including sexual violence against women, and the loss of 180,000 human lives because of the brutal, illegal Indonesian military occupation.” - Timor-Leste National Alliance for an International Tribunal (ANTI). A coalition of groups in East Timor has urged the United Nations Security Council to take “concrete, effective actions to end impunity for those...

West considers reprieve for Sudan leader over genocide charges

Sudan’s president could enjoy a year’s reprieve from war crimes charges as Western governments seek to encourage his regime to consolidate peace after the people of South Sudan voted last month for independence. Senior western and African officials said France and the US had agreed at an African Union summit to consider backing a deferral of the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Omar al-Bashir on war crimes and genocide charges. See the Financial Times’ report here . See earlier posts on South Sudan's referendum here .

Bush not at risk of arrest in Europe - experts

European law enforcement officials and other experts say the chances of George W. Bush being arrested on war crimes charges in Switzerland--or any place else on the continent--are almost nil. " From a legal point of view, I believe it could be possible. But I'm convinced that the political reality is that there are no chances for such a step." - Dick Marty, a Swiss prosecutor who led Council of Europe’s investigation into CIA secret prisons. See the Washington Post’s report here See also reports on President Bush cancelling his visit last week to Switzerland here and here .