17th April, 2015

  • The UN has called for the exhumation of a mass grave in the Congo. Authorities insist the bodies are of the homeless and stillborn babies, but rights groups think that some may be anti-government protesters.
  • Kaj Larsen of VICE News embedded with Nigerian army as it battled Boko Haram, filming a documentary.
  • At least 2000 women and girls have been abducted by Boko Haram since 2014.
  • Two former presidents of the Central African Republicsigned a peace agreement in Nairobi, although critics are calling the accord “meaningless.”
  • Evidence shows that the Sudanese army dropped cluster bombs on civilian populations in South Kordofan.
  • Polls have closed in the Sudanese elections, with President Bashir expected to continue his now 25 years in power.
  • Human Rights Watch has found evidence that the Syrian regime used toxic chemicals in two March barrel bomb attacks in Idlib.
  • NBC’s Richard Engel re-reported the story of his 2012 kidnapping in Syria – concluding that he was not captured by the shabiha, but by a Sunni group of flexible allegiance and that his escape was somehow coordinated for propaganda purposes.
  • Lebanese journalist Karma al-Khayat went on trial in The Hague for obstruction of justice and contempt of court for publishing confidential information from the investigation into the assassination of Rafik Hariri.
  • Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, the top cleric for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has reportedly been killed in a drone strike. There was some ensuing debate about the lawfulness of targeting him.
  • AQAP has seized an airport in southern Yemen, in the major port city of Mukalla.
  • The UN imposed an arms embargo on Houthi rebels.
  • A study of American drone strikes says the administration is setting a dangerous precedent in the use of UAVs by not sticking to its own rules about limiting civilian casualties.
  • The Islamic State and Iraqi security forces are clashing at the Beiji oil refinery.
  • The Islamic State pushed toward the provincial capital of Ramadi this week, taking three nearby villages.
  • Reuters has withdrawn its Baghdad bureau chief, Ned Parker, after he was threatened for his reporting.
  • Fighting season is beginning in Afghanistan.
  • Five Afghans who worked for the aid group Save the Children abducted last month were found dead.
  • Will Pakistan join the war in Yemen?
  • The Islamic State might be getting all the press these days, but Al Qaeda – it’s chief competitor – is far from out of the picture. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Bridget Moreng
  • Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, imprisoned in Tehran since last summer, has been charged with espionage and been allowed only one brief meeting with his lawyer.
  • The next round of nuclear talks with Iran will begin next week.
  • Oleg Kalashnikov, an ally of ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, was found shot in his apartment Wednesday.
  • A well-known Ukrainian journalist with pro-Russian views, Oles Buzina, was killed in Kiev by masked gunmen Thursday.
  • In writing off Ukrainian debt, the West would beabsolving the corrupt Ukrainian elite of their crimes, argue Alexander Lebedev and Vladislav Inozemtsev.
  • The Kremlin is saying that the arrival of American paratroopers to train Kiev’s National Guard “could destabilize the situation.”
  • Putin answered call-in questions for four hours in an annual television phone-in marathon.
  • Putin approved the sale of a Russian air defense missile system to Iran.
  • A two-week Russian bike rally through Europe to celebrate the USSR’s victory over Nazi Germany has been called a provocation by the Polish prime minister. The rally will include the Night Wolves, a pro-Putin biker gang.
  • Conservatism and ultranationalism make gains in Russia.
  • April 24th will mark 100 years since the Armenian genocide. Turkey remains unrelenting in its refusal to acknowledge as a genocide the killing of 1.5 million Armenians.
  • Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismailova, currently jailed on a variety of charges like embezzlement and tax evasion, has won PEN American’s Freedom to Write award.
  • Leaked wiretaps show the Macedonian government’sabuse of power and control over judges, journalists and others.
  • Chinese journalist Gao Yu was found guilty of leaking state secrets and sentenced to seven years in prison.
  • Cuba will be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.
  • One former Blackwater guard received a life sentence and three others 30 year sentences for their roles in the 2007 Nisour Square shootings.
  • Emails show that FBI agents leading the investigation into the Blackwater shooting believed the Justice Department was intentionally undermining the case.
  • New redress procedures will allow passengers prevented from boarding planes to know whether or not they are on the no-fly list.

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