UN expresses concern over forced displacement of Kurds from Kirkuk

The United Nations on Thursday expressed concern about reports of the forced displacement of Kurds from Kirkuk, which was recently taken over by Iraqi forces following a Kurdish indepedence referundum. “The United Nations urges the Government of Iraq to take every action to halt any violations and ensure that all civilians are protected and that the perpetrators of acts of violence, intimidation and forced displacement of civilians be brought to justice,” the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said in a statement. Kurdish officials report over 100,000 Kurds have been forced to flee the region for...

Spain moves to suspend autonomy as Catalan leader remains defiant

Spain moved on Thursday to suspend Catalan's autonomy after the Catalan leader refused to meet the deadline Madrid imposed on the to abandon independence. Madrid said in a statement on Thursday that it would invoke article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which would begin stripping the region of its autonomy. “At an emergency meeting on Saturday, the cabinet will approve measures to be put before the senate to protect the general interest of Spaniards, including the citizens of Catalonia, and to restore constitutional order in the autonomous community,” the statement said, criticising the...

Spain warns Catalonia of direct rule if secession plans continue

Spain reiterated its intention to implement direct rule over Catalonia if Catalan president Carles Puigdemont failed to abandon secession plans by 8:00 GMT on Thursday, reports the BBC. Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said, “All I ask of Mr Puigdemont is that he acts sensibly to put the interest of all citizens first.” Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria added if the deadline was not met Spain “will provoke the application of Article 155,” which lays out the path for direct rule from Madrid. On Tuesday thousands of Catalonians...

China warns it is ready 'to defeat' Taiwan separatism

The Chinese president Xi Jinping on Wednesday warned that his country was ready to defeat Taiwan separatism. China has "the resolve, the confidence, and the ability to defeat separatist attempts for Taiwan independence in any form", he told a gathering of the Communist Party in Beijing. "We will never allow anyone, any organisation, or any political party, at any time or in any form, to separate any part of Chinese territory from China," he was added. See here and her e.

Iraq claims to have taken control of Kirkuk

Iraq’s army says it has taken full control of Kirkuk following a major advance, reports Al Jazeera. The federal government in Baghdad told AL Jazeera that Iraqi forces had captured the governing building in the centre of Kirkuk and moved in to take control of of oil fields, a refinery and military base from Kurdish control. Iraq’s military offensive was met with no opposition from Kurdish Peshmerga fighters who co-ordinated a withdrawal from their positions with Iraqi forces. Summarising its movements in Kirkuk on Monday, Iraq’s army said it had seized the city’s airport, an oil field, a...

Death toll from Mogadishu truck bomb attacks rises to over 300

Over 300 people are now believed to have been killed by two truck bomb attacks in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu on Saturday. "We have confirmed 300 people died in the blast. The death toll will still be higher because some people are still missing," Abdikadir Abdirahman, the director of the city's ambulance service, was quoted by Reuters as saying. On Saturday a truck bomb exploded near government offices, just outside the Safari Hotel at the K5 intersection. A second bomb exploded at Medina district two hours later. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack to date. On Monday the...

Mistake to boycott Hamas after Palestine election victory says former UK Prime Minister

Britain’s former prime minister Tony Blaire said that he and other world leaders were wrong to yield to Israeli pressure to impose an immediate boycott of Hamas after the militant group won Palestinian elections in 2006, reports the Guardian. Interviewed for a new book ‘Gaza: Preparing for Dawn’, Mr Blair said, “In retrospect I think we should have, right at the very beginning tried to pull Hamas into dialogue and shifter their positions. But obviously it was very difficult, the Israelis were every opposed to it. But you know we could have probably worked out a way whereby we did – which in...

Baghdad accuses Kurdistan of making "declaration of war"

Baghdad accused Kurdistan of making a “declaration of war” by moving extra Peshmerga troops to the disputed regions of Kirkuk. Iraq’s National Security Council, on Sunday, said it viewed the movements as a “dangerous escalation” and “declaration of war” adding that “ the central government and regular forces will carry out their duty of defending the Iraqi people in all its components including the Kurds, and defending Iraq’s sovereignty and unity” reports the Telegraph. Kurdistan moved Peshmerga forces to the Kirkuk last week in response to reports that Iraqi Security Forces were building up...

Kurdistan sends Peshmerga to defend Kirkuk 'at any cost'

The Kurdistan Regional Government said it has placed thousands of troops in Kirkuk following a build-up of Iraqi forces to the south of the disputed city, reports the Financial Times. A top aide to the KRG President Masoud Benzani said, “Thousand’s of heavily armed Peshmerga units are now completely in their positons around Kirkuk. Their order is to defend at any cost.” Kurdish authorities accused the Iraqi government of placing forces south of Kirkuk in readiness for an offensive to seize Kurdish oil fields around Kirkuk. Sources in Kirkuk told Al Jazeera that Iraqi forces were building up...

Bosnian Muslim commander acquitted of war crimes

A Bosnian Muslim commander who defended Srebrenica during the 1992-95 war was acquitted of war crimes on Monday over charges of war crimes. Naser Oric, who is a considered a hero by Bosnian Muslims for defending them against Bosnian Serbs was found to be not guilty in the case of the killing of three Serb prisoners of war. "The accused Naser Oric and Sabahudin Muhic have been acquitted of charges of violating provisions of the Geneva Conventions," the judge, Saban Maksumic, told court. Sabahudin Muhic was a fellow soldier along side Mr Oric. See here and here .

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