News Updates, 1/29/14

Sudan

1/23

South Sudan Factions Sign Ceasefire

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- Factions in South Sudan sign ceasefire
- Detainees are still held on both sides

South Sudan Rebels Keen to Fight On

- But there are still lots of unresolved tensions
- People are unhappy with Kiir’s government
- Some rebels want to keep fighting
- One local governor interviewed by the BBC thinks the rebels should try to take Juba
*There’s a good infographic with maps that we should look at from this article*

1/24

South Sudan Looters Steal Food to Feed 220,000 for a Month: U.N.

- The rebels accuse Kiir’s army of attacks after the ceasefire.
- WFP warehouse is raided and A TON of food is taken.

- Actually 3700 tons, enough to feed 220,000 people for a month

1/27

Sudan Paper Suspended Over Corruption Report

- Khartoum Newspaper reporting on shortages of good in Sudan is shut down
- The paper alleges that it is because they reported on corruption

South Sudan Enters 1st Major Soccer Tournament

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- South Sudan enters first major soccer tournament since it became a country.
- The team will compete in the African Cup in Morocco.

Burma

Refugees protested this week at a camp on the Thai-Burma border, upset that UNHCR uses unfair biases to select who is eligible for third-party resettlement, and who must stay in the camp.  Nu Poe camp was founded in 1996 and has a population of roughly 12,600.

Burmese government spokesman claimed that the UN’s statement that 48 Rohingya Muslims were killed in the past month is “unacceptable.”  He claimed the reports were false, and meant to hurt the Burmese government’s reputation.

China’s state-owned Chinese Power Investment (CPI) has offered to discuss issues “face to face” with the Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) after the NGO slammed the Chinese firm’s recent Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report related to the suspended seven-dam project on the Irrawaddy River.

- World Bank to give $2 billion to Burma

- In Burma’s census, you can refer to yourself by any ethnicity

Syria

1/22:

  • International peace talks open in Swiss resort of Montreux
  • Russia says Iran should be part of international dialogue on Syria, internal opposition should also participate
  • Syria foreign minister Walid Muallem:
    • “Syria will do what it takes to defend itself in ways that it deems appropriate”
    • Accuses opposition of being traitors, Israeli agents
    • (to John Kerry): “No one outside Syria has the right to remove president”
  • Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba:
    • “Any talk of Assad staying power will derail peace talks”
    • Calls for independent international inquiry into report of alleged torture of detainees by government forces
  • Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi: “President Bashar al-Assad will not step down”
  • France blames Syrian government for rise of terrorism in Syria, calls for immediate ceasefires and humanitarian corridors
  • John Kerry:
    • Assad will not be part of Syrian transitional government
    • No one has done more to make Syria ‘a magnet for terrorists’ than President Assad
    • Iran can still make a difference in resolving Syrian crisis; there are plenty of ways that a door can be opened in the next weeks, months
  • White House: Photos of Syrian prisoners tortured and killed by government forces “cannot be ignored or dismissed”

1/24

  • UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi talks with Syrian delegation for less than 1 hour
  • After the discussion he says that Syria says if no “serious” talks are held by Saturday, they will leave Geneva

1/25

  • 1st session between Syrian government and opposition lasted 30 minutes; Brahimi spoke for 30 minutes and none of the delegates said anything

1/26

  • UN says that Syrian government has asked opposition to provide lists of detainees held by various armed groups, opposition delegation has agreed
  • Brahimi says Syrian government and opposition expected to make a general statement on progress of talks in Geneva on Monday

1/27

  • Syrian parties still discussing how women, children can leave Homs; no decision on allowing access for aid convoy

1/29

  • UN aid convoy awaiting green light to deliver a month of rations to Homs once all sides agree
  • Syrian delegations at talks in Geneva agree on basis for peace talks, in an apparent step forward
  • Brahimi says he does not expect to achieve anything substantive when 1st round of peace talks ends Friday
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