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Archive for April 2016

UN Security Council extends its Western Sahara mission by one year

April 30, 2016 - WESTERN SAHARA

The United Nations extended its 25-year-old Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to the April date, stating that negotiations to end the dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front over the territory are at the “intensive and substantive” phase. The UN statement suggests a late stage in the talks, but a dispute between Rabat and the UN in March and the leak of a sensitive document in Jun 2015 have introduced major setbacks.

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Australian shooting rampage 20 years ago offers lesson for cutting gun deaths

April 28, 2016 - AUSTRALIA

A gunman, killed 35 people and wounded 23 more in Port Arthur, Tasmania, 20 years ago, and the worst mass murder in Australia’s history spurred bipartisan gun control measures that survive. The anniversary invites self-applause in Australia that the measures worked. It also invites debate about why the United States, where mass shooting deaths have become so common that one makes headlines only until the next one, doesn’t follow suit.

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Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded 30 years ago

April 26, 2016 - UKRAINE

The massive arched roof to make Chernobyl safe for a century should have been ready before events marking the 30th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, but a funding shortfall means no ribbon-cutting until the following year.

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Serbian early vote set as means of hastening EU-required reforms

April 24, 2016 - SERBIA

Belgrade wants early European Union accession and has dissolved parliament two years early to increase the country’s chances. Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic argues that the new term for his government will put Serbia in a better position to enact the fundamental reforms required for accession.

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Haiti makes third runoff attempt to decide presidency

April 24, 2016 - HAITI

For a third time the Caribbean country attempts to hold a run-off presidential and partial legislative election. Contested results and turmoil forced the cancellation of voting on Dec 27 and Jan 24. Opposition protests and a boycott by Jude Celestin, who had been set to square off against Jovenel Moise, then president Michel Martelly’s handpicked successor, doomed both polls.

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Ruling coalition plans to press forward with controversial legislative election

April 24, 2016 - MACEDONIA

The ruling VMRO DPMNE coalition set the election for the 123-seat unicameral Assembly for Apr 24, then postponed it to Jun 5 after an outcry. The opposition had threatened to boycott an April vote, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and European Union had warned that it was too early for vital reforms to be enacted.

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UN hosts ceremony for first signatures on new climate accord

April 22, 2016 - UNITED NATIONS

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosts the High-Level Signing Ceremony for the Paris Agreement on International Mother Earth Day at UN headquarters in New York. The ceremony is the first step towards implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

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Obama to Middle East and Europe on diplomacy and trade mission


Barack Obama visits Saudi Arabia for a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council. He also travels to London to meet the Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister David Cameron, before going on to Germany and meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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