Hundreds of Egyptian police have rallied to demand higher wages in a rare act of defiance of a new protest law which they themselves have been enforcing to calm unrest on the streets, reports Reuters. Around 200 officers were granted permission to stage a demonstration at a Police Club in Cairo. They urged officials to come and discuss their pay demands, but when no response followed, police marched to the Interior Ministry violating the new law. According to security sources, the protesters shoved barricades at fellow members of the security forces outside the club, before the demonstrators were allowed to march. Ironically, this comes after arrests of activists for breaching the controversial law passed in November which requires Interior Ministry’s approval for any public gathering of more than 10 people.
The Yemeni government said Sunday that there has been an assassination attempt on the advisor to the country’s president, Yessin Said Noman. A sniper fired shots using a silencer at Noman’s armor plated car as he was driving through the capital Sanaa, the official Saba news agency reported. As well as advising President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, Noman is also vice president of Yemen’s National Dialogue and Secretary General of the Socialist Party.
Russian diplomats, who were evacuated from Libya after an attack on the embassy in early October, have returned to the capital Tripoli, reports Itar-Tass. Nine employees of the diplomatic mission will initially stay in a local hotel. Earlier this week, in an interview with the Voice of Russia, Libya's Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz said his country was “completely prepared for the return of the Russian embassy” and expressed hope the October incident would not affect Tripoli’s relations with Moscow. Up until today, some Russian diplomats were staying in the neighboring Tunisia to maintain working contacts with Libyan counterparts.
One person has been killed and five injured in Libya’s second largest city of Benghazi as a car bomb went off during the funeral of an assassinated army officer, Reuters reports. Colonel Kamal Bazaza was fatally wounded when a device planted under his car exploded as he was driving across the center of the city on Saturday. He died in hospital on Sunday morning. Later in the day, when his friends and relatives gathered for his funeral ceremony, a car bomb exploded in the crowd, according to security and medical sources.
German President Joachim Gauck has become the first major political figure to announce he is boycotting the Sochi Winter Olympics in February 2014. Gauck informed the Kremlin of his decision last week, according to German weekly Der Spiegel. Since coming to office almost two years ago, Gauck has declined any official visits to Russia, citing alleged “rights violations.”
A rocket Proton-M with the British telecommunications satellite Inmarsat-5F1 was successfully launched from Russia’s Baikonur in Kazakhstan on Sunday, Khrunichev State Space Research-and-Production Center announced. Inmarsat-5F1 is expected to settle into its orbit Monday after detaching from the Briz-M upper booster at 3:43 GMT.
Israeli President Shimon Peres has declared that he is ready to meet his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani. Peres was asked about the possibility at an economic forum and replied that he “didn’t have enemies,” and added that “it's not a question of personalities but of policies.” The aim, Peres said, was to “transform enemies into friends.” The Israeli leader, however, indicated that it’s important to focus “efforts on making sure Iran does not become a nuclear danger for the rest of the world.”
Almost 400 people have been killed in fighting in the Central African Republic (CAR) capital, Bangui, according to French officials and the Red Cross, AFP reports. France is deploying 1,600 soldiers to the troubled African nation alongside a larger African Union force of 2,500 troops. Since the CAR president, Francois Bozize, was overthrown by rebel groups in March, violence among different ethnic factions has begun to take on a sectarian tone with Muslims and Christians pitted against each other. The French government has said its mission is aimed at creating stability to enable humanitarian aid to be brought in. Ten percent of CAR’s 4.6 million people have already fled their homes and more than 1 million need food aid, according to the UN.
Unidentified attackers have shot dead two senior Yemeni officers in separate ambushes on their cars Sunday, according to security sources, Reuters reports. The head of security at the presidential palace, Brigadier General Saddam Hussein al-Dhahri, was shot by attackers in a car as he left work in the southern Yemeni city of Taiz. In a separate incident, Police Colonel Abdullah Gaithallah was shot dead by gunmen who ambushed his car in the southern province of al-Baida. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Yemeni officials have blamed a string of similar killings on Islamist militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda. An Al-Qaeda linked group claimed responsibility for an attack on the Yemeni Defense Ministry Thursday, which killed 56 people and wounded at least 200, in the country’s worst military assault for 18 months.
UN inspectors began a visit to a heavy-water production plant as part of an agreement to grant the international community greater access to Tehran’s nuclear program. It is the first time in two years that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been granted access to Iran’s Arak nuclear power plant. Last month Tehran agreed to more transparency for its nuclear program in a bid to allay fears it is developing nuclear weapons.
Afghanistan is failing to use the rule of law to protect women from domestic violence, the UN has said. The UN’s human rights office in Afghanistan reported that violence against women had risen by 28 percent over the last year, while prosecutions had only increased by 2 percent. The organization also raised fears that violence could increase after the US forces’ scheduled pullout at the end of next year.
Several bomb blasts in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad have killed at least 28 people and injured dozens, Iraqi police said. The deadliest of the explosions targeted the Shiite district of Bayaa killing 14. Witnesses told Reuters the bomb was detonated in a parked vehicle near a workshop.
US oil giant Chevron is continuing shale gas exploration of a site in eastern Romania after mass protests against fracking suspended activities. On Saturday 300 riot police were deployed in Pungesti after protesters broke into Chevron’s site and damaged equipment. Over the last few months, thousands of people across Romania have voiced their opposition to the exploitation of shale gas reserves, claiming it will have disastrous consequences for the environment.
President Obama will fly to South Africa to attend the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, the White House announced Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, will join the Obama family. Former President Bill Clinton will also attend the service along with his wife and children.
The Greek parliament has passed the government’s budget for 2014, which for the first time in six years forecasts GDP growth of 0.6 percent. The document includes further spending cuts of 3.1 billion euros over the next year. The coalition government which controls a majority in the parliament has pushed the budget forward without waiting for approval from the troika group, although the document is consistent with international creditors’ demands. The opposition has sharply criticized the budget, calling it a “new act of the tragedy of the Greek people” and that the debts will be paid by the future generations until at least 2057.