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Is Russia to blame for downed Malaysian flight MH17?

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As international horror deepens over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has laid out what he called overwhelming evidence of Russian complicity in the incident, Franklin Adesegha writes Kerry has demanded that Moscow take responsibility for actions of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine whom Washington suspects of downing the jet with a missile, and expressed disgust at their “grotesque” mishandling of the bodies of the victims.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 36

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Old Scores and New Grudges: Evolving Sino-Japanese Tensions

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Enmity between China and Japan is hardening into a confrontation that appears increasingly difficult to untangle by diplomacy. Positions on the dispute over the Diaoyu/ Senkaku island group are wide apart, and politically viable options to bridge the gap remain elusive. New frictions have arisen. China’s announcement in November 2013 of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), overlapping that of Japan’s and covering the disputed islands, deepened Tokyo’s anxiety that

Features | International Crisis Group | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 35

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US and EU widen sanctions against Russia

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People in the United States will be banned from banking with three Russian banks under new US and European Union (EU) economic sanctions aimed at pressuring Moscow to end its support for Ukraine rebels, writes Franklin Adesegha The US Treasury said the banks being targeting in this round of sanctions were VTB, the Bank of Moscow, and the Russian Agriculture Bank, Rosselkhozbank. EU sanctions include targeting Russian oil sector, defence equipment and sensitive technologies.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 39

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New York Times backs legalisation of marijuana in the US

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{jcomments on} US newspaper the New York Times has backed the legalisation of Marijuana in an opinion piece published on 27 July 2014 and further articles on the issue due to be published over the following week in a series its calling “High Time.” The newspaper’s editorial board likened the ban on marijuana, which has been illegal in the country for 40 years, to the era of alcohol prohibition in the 1920s and 30s, saying it had come to the decision to back legalisation following a growing movement to reform marijuana laws in the country.

Features | NorthSouth | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 31

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Nigeria’s missing girls: Malala takes centre stage

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Nigerians are outraged that their President, Goodluck Jonathan, met the parents of the 219 abducted Chibok girls only after being advised by Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year old Pakistani girl-child education campaigner, Franklin Adesegha writes The girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram on 14 April as they slept in their school dormitories in Chibok, a remote area, 130 kms from Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s north-eastern state of Borno.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 30

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The BRICS

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The BRICs summit this July set about establishing its own equivalent of the World Bank and IMF, as much a challenge to western financial dominance as a banking requirement. There is to be a rival World Bank with headquarters in Shanghai and an initial capital of$50bn and a currency reserve facility of $100 billion that its members can draw upon if they face balance of payments crises. The reactions of the western institutions are likely to be dismissive since the World Bank and the IMF will carry on as they have done now for 70 years. The BRICS move is political rather than financial and South Africa has been admitted to its ranks as a junior

Features | NorthSouth | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 31

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Conflict alert: Halting South Sudan’s spreading civil war

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The war between the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/ Army (SPLM/SPLA) government and the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) that began in Juba in December and spread to the three Greater Upper Nile states (Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity) is in danger of escalation, including more atrocities and famine. As Crisis Group warned in April, conflict has broken out in Greater Bahr el Ghazal, and rising tensions threaten to drag in the relatively peaceful Equatorian states. The Security Council, in emergency session, should instruct the UN mission (UN MISS ) to use its good offices to prevent further cessation of hostilities violations and violence against civilians; establish an international contact group and arms embargo;

Features | International Crisis Group | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 32

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Libya on the brink of civil war

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With the collapse of the government and law and order, Libya is facing widespread lawlessness, with its leaders struggling to control some of the militias that overthrew the former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Prime Minister, Abdullah al Thinni, was refused permission to board his own plane and leave Tripoli for the east, by the militia that controls Mitiga, Tripoli’s second airport. The capital’s International Airport has been a battlefield since fighters attacked it with heavy guns to wrest control from a rival militia, while months of protests at oil fields and ports caused government revenues to collapse last year.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 32

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The ups and downs of migration: Britain and the USA

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A major government report claims that migrants to Britain have not lowered wages nor harmed public services. Given the emotional arguments about the impact upon Britain of migrants, it is refreshing to read such a balanced appraisal of what has actually happened. Migration over the last 20 years, it says, has not harmed British workers chances of finding a job and has only had a minimal impact upon wage levels. Moreover, it argues, immigration has made little difference to crime, hospitals, housing, schools or welfare payments. These findings should lower the temperature in the run-up to the elections of May 2015.

Features | Guy Arnold | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 34

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Was Algerian flight AH5017 hit by missile?

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At the time of writing (30 July), investigators were on the site of the Air Algerie plane disaster in northern Mali to try to determine the cause of the crash and why the jetliner came down with such force that it completely disintegrated. The wreckage of flight AH5017 was spotted late on 24 July in Mali by a French military drone. France has dispatched 20 police forces as well as experts from its Bureau of Investigations and Analyses which probes air accidents, tasked both with trying to identify

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 32

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‘It is not a crime to carry a camera,’ Egypt is warned by the UN

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The United Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed deep concern over a string of recent court decisions in Egypt, including the verdicts and heavy jail sentences handed down to three Al Jazeera journalists, as well as 11 other defendants who were tried in absentia. “The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by recent court decisions in Egypt, particularly the confirmation of death sentences for 183 people and the sentencing of journalists, including from Al Jazeera today, to lengthy jail

Features | Alan Brown | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 33

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Widodo becomes President but faces daunting challenges ahead

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Indonesia’s main opposition PDI-P party’s presidential candidate, Joko Widodo, who captured the hearts of millions of Indonesians with his common man image, has been declared the winner of the country’s presidential election with 53 per cent of the vote. Dressed in a traditional Indonesian patterned shirt, Batik, Widodo had a large grin on his face when the election commission, known as KPU, announced last month that he had

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 32

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Bosnia’s Future

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Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH, or Bosnia) poses little risk of deadly conflict, but after billions of dollars in foreign aid and intrusive international administration and despite a supportive European neighbourhood, it is slowly spiralling toward disintegration. Its three communities’ conflicting goals and interests are a permanent source of crisis, exacerbated by a constitution that meets no group’s needs. The political elite enjoys mastery over all government levels and much of the economy, with no practical way for voters to dislodge it. The European Union (EU) imposes tasks BiH cannot fulfil. A countrywide popular uprising torched government buildings and demanded urgent reforms in

Features | International Crisis Group | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 38

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Iran nuclear talks to resume in September

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Iran nuclear talks with six world powers would resume in early September, according to state television, after both sides agreed to continue talking for four more months in an attempt to reach a final agreement on Tehran’s nuclear programme. The preliminary accord had been due to expire last month but was extended with some adjustments, after the two sides failed during negotiations in Vienna, Austria, to meet a self-imposed July 20 deadline for a long-term deal to end the decadeold nuclear standoff.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 3 August 2014 | Hits: 28

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Chronology of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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December 1917: Under the Balfour Declaration, Britain sets up a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine while protecting the rights of the area’s non-Jewish inhabitants. May 14 1948: The British mandate over Palestine expires and Israel is founded. 1949: After more than a year of fighting there is an armistice. Israel controls the Negev and coastal plain while Jordan rules the West Bank and Egypt controls the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem is divided between Israel and Jordan.

Cover Stories | NorthSouth | 1 August 2014 | Hits: 82

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Who is Hamas?

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As the extent of infrastructure damage and human suffering in Gaza comes into sharper focus following the death of over 1,100 Palestinians including 240 children, Israeli leaders rebuffed attempts from world Jewish leaders, global non-governmental organisations, European foreign ministers and a UN Security Council Resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Cover Stories | Alan Brown | 1 August 2014 | Hits: 42

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Jews march in New York rally against Israel war in Gaza

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‘We Won’t Stand Idly By’ as Palestinians Die Holding signs emblazoned with slogans like “Boycott Israeli Apartheid” and “New York Jews Say: Not in Our Name,” hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan on Thursday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in Gaza. The event was one of many held in the U.S. and around the world as part of a “national day of action” against Israel’s Gaza campaign.

Cover Stories | NorthSouth | 1 August 2014 | Hits: 30

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50 Israeli reservists refuse to serve in Gaza war

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More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the nation’s reserve force, citing regret over their part in a military they said plays a central role in oppressing Palestinians, according to the Washington Post. “We found that troops who operate in the occupied territories aren’t the only ones enforcing the mechanisms of control over Palestinian lives. In truth, the entire military is implicated.

Cover Stories | NorthSouth | 1 August 2014 | Hits: 38

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In search of lasting truce in Gaza

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The inability of the U.S. and others to achieve a tangible ceasefire in the Gaza conflict after days of diplomatic efforts has exposed the sweeping changes taking place in the Middle East, writes Franklin Adesegha It has also portrayed the divisions that have developed between the U.S. and its allies, including Israel, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and many leading Arab states. In a sign of growing U.S. exasperation, President Barack Obama phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for “an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire” to halt the hostilities while negotiators work on details of a long-term deal.

Cover Stories | Franklin Adesegha | 1 August 2014 | Hits: 35

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Destroy Hamas? Something worse would follow, US intelligence chief

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A top Pentagon intelligence official warned last month that the destruction of Hamas would only lead to something more dangerous taking its place, as he offered a grim portrait of a period of enduring regional conflict. The remarks by Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the outgoing head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, came as Israeli ministers signaled that a comprehensive deal to end the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip appeared remote. At least 1,150 Gazans - mostly civilians and 228 children - have been killed, and 43 Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel have died. Flynn disparaged Hamas for exhausting finite resources and

Cover Stories | NorthSouth | 1 August 2014 | Hits: 35

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