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Ukraine: Ban deplores planned November ‘elections’ by rebel groups

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The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deplored the planned holding by armed rebel groups in eastern Ukraine of their own “elections” on 2 November, calling the potential polls a “breach of the constitution and national law.” “These ‘elections’ will seriously undermine the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, which need to be urgently implemented in full,” Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 18

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Obama’s broken promises

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As president of the United States and the unofficial leader of the free world, Barrack Obama has made a few significant promises on global issues but seems to have a lot of trouble standing by them, writes Franklin Adesegha. Before he became president, Obama repeatedly promised to close down Guantanamo Bay if elected. Six years later, Guantanamo is still open and may remain open for the rest of his presidency and beyond. At the time of its establishment in January 2002, Secretary of Defence Donald H. Rumsfeld said the prison camp was

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 23

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Myanmar: The Politics of Rakhine State

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The situation in Rakhine State contains a toxic mixture of historical centre-periphery tensions, serious intercommunal and inter-religious conflict with minority Muslim communities, and extreme poverty and under-development. This led to major violence in 2012 and further sporadic outbreaks since then. The political temperature is high, and likely to increase as Myanmar moves closer to national elections at the end of 2015. It represents a significant threat to the overall success of the transition, and has severely damaged the reputation of the government when it most needs international support and investment.

Features | Crisis Group | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 16

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Britain in the Middle East

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Why is Britain extending itself in the Middle East: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now back to Iraq and the Kurds. Each of these interventions represents left-over problems of Empire and most of them are the legacies of the Anglo-French carve up of the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire at Versailles in 1920. In theory the mandate system extended Britain’s imperial reach; in practice the mandates brought it nothing but trouble. The difficulty for Britain is that it cannot rid itself of its imperial mind-set. A majority of the British people see no reason for Britain to extend its dwindling armed forces in the Middle East and many believe that the Arabs of the region should be left to work out their differences

Features | Guy Arnold | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 23

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Toward a lasting ceasefire in Gaza

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More than seven weeks after the most devastating war yet waged in Gaza, its underlying causes remain unresolved. Hamas did not achieve an end to Gaza’s closure; Israel did not attain the demilitarisation of the Strip or Hamas. The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) remains unrepresentative and its credibility continues to fade. Fatah’s popularity has sunk while Hamas’s has increased to levels unseen since its 2006 electoral victory. Small steps toward reconciliation between Hamas and the PLO have been taken, but they are very distant from the end goal of a unified, representative Palestinian leadership. But in reconciliation lies the only hope of achieving a sustainable ceasefire and, more broadly, of bringing Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank under one authority.

Features | Crisis Group | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 23

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Europe’s death sentence for migrants at sea

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With effect from 1 November, Operation Triton, involving more than 20 European countries, will begin to focus on border control and not search and rescue as migrants try to cross into Europe by sea, Franklin Adesegha writes Year in, year out, record numbers of migrants die trying to cross into Europe. This year alone, many, more than ever before, have died attempting to sail across the Mediterranean to Europe, according to Amnesty International. In the first nine months of 2014, over 2,500 people died, a new record, says Amnesty.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 22

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Ukraine crisis risks recession for Europe - El-Erian

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Mohamed El-Erian, the chief economic adviser at Allianz SE, warned that global markets do not fully appreciate the risk posed by the Ukrainian crisis, a conflict which could push Europe into recession. He saw few options to de-escalate tensions between Ukraine, its Western supporters and Russia, which has been accused of backing an insurgency led by ethnic Russian separatists. In an interview at Reuters’ New York headquarters on Monday, in which he also spoke about his controversial departure from Pimco earlier this year, El-Erian said just “one or at most two” more rounds of sanctions and counter sanctions between Russia and the West would likely push Europe into recession.

Features | Reuters | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 21

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Tunisia heading towards full-fledged democracy

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As the birthplace of the Arab Spring (Arab uprisings), Tunisia held its historic legislative elections on 26 October to move from the “transition stage” to a fullfledged democracy. With the world watching and amidt heavy security and the arrest of six men in Nabeul for plotting to attack a polling centre during the elections, Tunisians went to the polls to cast their ballots in historic parliamentary elections. The head of Nidaa Tounes, Mr Beji Caid Essebsi, ruled out governing alone as exit polls showed it emerging as largest party in the 217-seat parliament. He said that his party would form a government “with those closest” to it as no single

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 18

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The Kurds

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The chaos in the Middle East and the battles to halt ISIS are as much about independence for the Kurds as about the creation of a Caliphate. Turkey’s policy in the present circumstances is to encourage the break-up of Kurdish solidarity. From 1984 to 2000 the Kurdish insurrection in Turkey cost some 30,000 lives while the Turkish Kurd population embraces 20 per cent of the whole. Officially, Turkey argues that the Kurds are revolutionary terrorists.

Features | Guy Arnold | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 21

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Egypt to clear residents from Gaza border

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Egyptian authorities have ordered residents living along the country’s eastern border with the Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes prior to their demolishion because the army plans to set up a buffer zone. The measure came four days after armed men attacked an army post, killing at least 31 soldiers and wounding over 25 in the al-Kharouba area northwest of al-Arish, near the border with the Gaza Strip in the northeastern corner of the Sinai Peninsula. No one claimed responsibility for the attack. After the attack, Egypt declared a state of emergency and a dawn-todusk curfew there. Authorities also

Features | Alan Brown | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 18

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Resetting Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan

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Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan have been largely characterised by mutual mistrust and devised through a narrow security prism. While it will require considerable effort to end deepseated animosity, both countries share close ethnic, linguistic, religious and economic ties. Longstanding Afghan migration to the territories that now compose Pakistan makes them an integral part of Pakistani society. Yet, military-devised interventionist policies, based on perceived national security interests, including support for Afghan, mainly Pashtun, proxies, have marred the relationship.

Features | Crisis Group | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 15

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Global efforts to fast-track Ebola vaccine

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The race for a vaccine to contain Ebola has gathered momentum but are we close to developing one? Franklin Adesegha examines the global efforts by the World Health Organisation (WHO ) and drug companies to fight the deadly virus. At a recent meeting of drug industry executives and health experts in Geneva, WHO assistant directory Marie-Paule Kieny said by the end of the first half of 2015, there could be a few hundred doses of vaccine to fight the disease.

Cover Stories | Franklin Adesegha | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 15

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Over 5000 deaths and more than 10,000 infected

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The number of cases in the Ebola outbreak has exceeded 10,000, with 4,922 deaths, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest report. Only 27 of the cases have occurred outside the three worst-hit countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Those three countries account for all but 10 of the fatalities. Mali became the latest nation to record a death, a two-year-old girl. More than 40 people known to have come into contact with her have been quarantined. The latest WHO situation report says that Liberia remains the worst affected country, with 2,705 deaths.

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 21

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Draconian’ US Ebola quarantines called into question

Tough quarantine rules imposed by US states for those returning from Ebola-hit West Africa were criticised by one of the country’s top health officials Sunday, who warned they could deter aid workers from going there to help fight the epidemic. Florida followed New York, New Jersey and Illinois to become the fourth US state Sunday to declare a 21-day mandatory quarantine for anyone arriving with a risk of having contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea – the three West African countries worst hit by the disease. But the director of the US’ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, warned that such measures could prove counterproductive, while describing them as “a little bit draconian”.

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 21

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The speedy spread of Ebola took everyone by surprise

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Since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was officially declared on 22 March in Guinea, it has claimed over 5,000 lives and its spread took everyone by surprise including the World Health Organisation (WHO). The outbreak is the largest ever, and is currently affecting three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Two people in the United States of America (USA) and one person in Spain are currently being treated for Ebola. One person in the USA has died.

Cover Stories | Alan Brown | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 18

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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen donating $100 million to fight Ebola

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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen will contribute “at least” $100 million to fight the spread of Ebola, he announced Thursday. In a tweet, Allen revealed the new donation amount and urged others to make their own contributions big or small. A portion of Allen’s sizable donation will go to the University of Massachusetts Medical School, according to the Times, which has been underwriting “training, medical workers and lab equipment in Liberia.”

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 20

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The Ebola panic

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Predictions about the course of the plague and conflicting reports of numbers affected, dead or in danger of becoming victims often confuse more than they clarify. The latest figure for deaths at the end of October given by the World Health Organisation was 4,877. Tens of thousands of people in Liberia will have died by December. Other calculations provide different figures.

Cover Stories | Guy Arnold | 2 November 2014 | Hits: 21

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