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Iran nuclear talks: A landmark achievement, yet a long road ahead

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The International Crisis Group applauds the 2 April agreement on a framework for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action reached between Iran and the P5+1/ EU3+3 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany). This achievement is a triumph of multilateral diplomacy and a testament to the seriousness of purpose, patience and persistence of the negotiators involved in this process.

Features | Crisis Group | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 35

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Indonesia’s reformist new President

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With a population of 260 million and a per capita GDP of $3,870 Indonesia is South East Asia’s largest country consisting of 13,000 islands of which only half are inhabited. GDP growth was 6.3 per cent in 2010, 5.8 per cent in 2012 and 5.2 per cent in 2014. The country has the distinction of being the world’s third democracy and the most populous Muslim majority nation. Its national motto is Unity in Diversity. The country has a long period to go before it will be able to provide a better life for all its citizens.

Features | Guy Arnold | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 36

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Ukraine crisis: risks of renewed military conflict after Minsk II

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A second agreement in Minsk on 12 February produced a ceasefire that for now is mostly holding and measures to de-escalate the conflict. Many officials locally and in Kyiv, Moscow and the West, nevertheless, believe war could resume in Ukraine’s east within weeks. If it does, much will depend on the quality of top commanders on both sides. Ukraine’s army is enmeshed in a command crisis the country’s leaders seem unwilling to admit or address. For the separatist rebels, the command and control Moscow provides could give them the advantage in any new fighting.

Features | Crisis Group | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 29

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Libya on the brink of a compromise

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The head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNS MIL) Bernardino León has strongly condemned the renewed outbreak of violence in the Libyan capital of Tripoli amid ongoing political dialogue aimed at resolving the crisis in the country. The outburst of violence in the Tripoli neighbourhood of Fashloum has already caused “many casualties and endangered the lives of civilians” with initial reports suggesting that three civilians were killed, including a young girl, since the resumption of hostilities. There have also been reports of abductions of civilians and burning of houses in the context of the fightingnot to mention the attacks on the Moroccanand South Korean embassies which resulted in at least two deaths.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 34

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Women, violence and conflict in Pakistan

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Eight years into its democratic transition, violence against women is still endemic in Pakistan, amid a climate of impunity and state inaction. Discriminatory legislation and a dysfunctional criminal justice system have put women at grave risk. Targeted by violent extremists with an overt agenda of gender repression, women’s security is especially threatened in the conflict zones in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Features | Crisis Group | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 37

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Brazil World Cup political problems

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The fifth largest country in the world, with a population just touching 200 million and a GDP of $1.7 trillion, Brazil is one of the four BRICs countries, is a member of the Group of 20, and is the most influential country in Latin America. A popular saying, half good-humoured and half bitter, describes Brazil as the country of the future. It is always going to achieve breakthroughs but they never quite come off.

Features | Guy Arnold | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 34

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Colombia: A dangerous setback

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Colombia’s attempt to end five decades of bloodshed could be at risk, after local Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) units appeared to have breached a four-month-old unilateral ceasefire by ambushing a military patrol 14 April, reportedly killing eleven soldiers and wounding another twenty. The deadliest guerrilla action since the peace negotiations began two and a half years ago is not likely to lead to a collapse of the talks, but the parties and the international community must now move quickly to prevent them from unravelling.

Features | Crisis Group | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 35

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South Africa’s new wave of xenophobia

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Images of a street vendor from Mozambique beamed round the world begging for his life as four men beat and stabbed him in South Africa reveal a disturbing new wave of persistent demonization and denigration of poor migrants in that country, Franklin Adesegha writes Emmanuel Sithole, lay pleading for his life in a gutter, last month, as he was beaten and stabbed in the heart with a long knife. He later died in hospital. Thousands of fearful foreigners, many from Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, have sought refuge in makeshift camps. Others have returned home.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 32

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Elections in Burundi: Moment of truth

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The elections scheduled to take place between the end of May and August 2015 will be decisive for Burundi. The future of the present rulers (President Pierre Nkurunziza considers running for a third term) and, more importantly, the upholding of the 2000 Arusha agreement as the foundation for peace, are at stake. Popular protests and the precedent set by the fall of Burkina Faso’s president suggest street confrontations will take place if President Nkurunziza decides to impose his candidacy.

Features | Crisis Group | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 34

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China’s new ‘World Bank’ triggers diplomatic battle

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China’s foray into global finance through the establishment of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is causing jitters among officials in the United States who see the bank as an alternative the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), writes Franklin Adesegha On 24 October last year, representatives from 21 Asian nations (pictured ) signed an agreement to establish the AIIB, which, as its name suggests, will lend money to build roads, mobile phone towers and other forms of infrastructure in poorer parts of Asia. China spearheaded the bank and hopes to formally launch it by the end of this year. Behind the scenes, though, the Chinese initiative has set off a heated diplomatic battle. America has lobbied allies not to join the AIIB, while Jin Liqun, the Chinese official who will head the bank, has shuttled between countries to persuade them to sign up.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 31

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The Chaos in Darfur

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Violence in the Darfur region of Sudan’s far west continues unabated. Some 450,000 persons were displaced in 2014 and another 100,000 in January 2015 alone, adding to some two million long-term internally displaced persons (IDPs) since fighting erupted in 2003. The government remains wedded to a military approach and reluctant to pursue a negotiated national solution that would address all Sudan’s conflicts at once and put the country on the path of a democratic transition. Khartoum’s reliance on a militia-centred counter-insurgency strategy is increasingly counterproductive – not least because it stokes and spreads communal violence.

Features | Crisis Group | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 32

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Saudis end air raids on Yemen but peace still elusive

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Saudi Arabia announced that Operation Decisive Storm is over and the airstrikes have stopped without a cease-fire being negotiated with the Houthis who overran in February the capital Sanaa and part of the second largest city Aden. The air campaign leaves the Houthis in control of most of northern Yemen and may not be winners yet but they are not losers either. The Saudi Defence Ministry said the objectives in its bombing of Yemen’s presumed Iran-backed Houthi rebels, which threatened to ignite a broader regional conflict, had been achieved.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 32

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Special meeting of European Council 23 April statement

1. The situation in the Mediterranean is a tragedy. The European Union will mobilise all efforts at its disposal to prevent further loss of life at sea and to tackle the root causes of the human emergency that we face, in cooperation with the countries of origin and transit. Our immediate priority is to prevent more people from dying at sea. 2. We have therefore decided to strengthen our presence at sea, to fight the traffickers, to prevent illegal migration flows and to reinforce internal solidarity and responsibility. Given that instability in Libya creates an ideal environment for the criminal activities of traffickers, we will actively support all UN -led efforts towards re-establishing government authority in Libya. We will also step up efforts to address conflict and instability as key push factors of migration, including in Syria. 3. We today commit to: Strengthening our presence at sea a) rapidly reinforce EU Operations

Cover Stories | NorthSouth | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 36

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Armed conflicts stoke further growth in forced displacement

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The UN refugee agency reported that war in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere had uprooted an estimated 5.5 million people during the first six months of 2014, signalling a further rise in the number of people forcibly displaced. UNH CR’s new “Mid-Year Trends 2014” report shows that of the 5.5 million who were newly displaced, 1.4 million fled across international borders becoming refugees, while the rest were displaced within their own countries. Taking into account existing displaced populations, data revisions, voluntary returns and resettlement, the number of people being helped by UNH CR stood at 46.3 million as of mid-2014 – some 3.4 million more than at the end of 2013 and a record high.

Cover Stories | Alan Brown | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 34

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EU migrants dilemma

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Migration is a live and abrasive political issue in Europe, Asia and North America and though the contribution made by migrants to their host countries greatly exceeds any negative impact they may have, this is often not apparent when popular prejudices are taken into account. The primary reason for migration is, and always has been, economic and huge differentials in pay for work between sending and receiving countries – differences in living standards – reinforce the economic story.

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 33

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Migration: A world problem

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Migration is a live and abrasive political issue in Europe, Asia and North America and though the contribution made by migrants to their host countries greatly exceeds any negative impact they may have, this is often not apparent when popular prejudices are taken into account. The primary reason for migration is, and always has been, economic and huge differentials in pay for work between sending and receiving countries – differences in living standards – reinforce the economic story. Further, falling costs of transportation and increased ease of communications have changed the character of migration since a move is no longer seen as permanent. More and more countries are becoming classified as major recipients of migrants while an equal increase has taken place in the countries seen as sources of both skilled and unskilled labour.

Cover Stories | Guy Arnold | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 33

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Death in the Mediterranean

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For several years, European Union (EU) leaders have done little more than deplore the rising death toll as migrants, fleeing poverty and conflict, drown in the Mediterranean, writes Franklin Adesegha The woeful response of European Union (EU) countries has contributed to the spiraling death toll – with more than 2,500 people, many of them children, drowning or missing in the Mediterranean in 2014 alone. But the real number will never be known, as many bodies are lost at sea. On 19 April, the world witnessed what was probably the biggest tragedy in the history of the Mediterranean migrations, after 900 people, mainly from Sub-Saharan Africa, lost their lives when their boat sank in the strait of Sicily.

Cover Stories | Franklin Adesegha | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 38

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Immigration and the EU

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A leading issue touching all the competing parties in the British general election is the question: what attitude to take in relation to the issue of immigration. Two principles are at stake: how to keep unwanted migrants out of Europe; and how to rescue those who face disaster while crossing the Mediterranean. The stands taken by the British government – its refusal to provide legal means to allow refugees to reach safety – encourage intransigence on this issue elsewhere Over in Europe.

Cover Stories | Guy Arnold | 2 May 2015 | Hits: 39

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