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Nine U.N. Security Council Members Ask To Discuss Myanmar Inquiry

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Nine U.N. Security Council Members Ask To Discuss Myanmar Inquiry

The chair of a United Nations inquiry that accused Myanmar’s military of genocide is likely to brief the Security Council this month after Britain, France, the United States and six other members requested the meeting, diplomats said on Tuesday.

The move comes as global pressure mounts on Myanmar to act on accountability after a Myanmar military crackdown in the western state of Rakhine last year drove some 700,000 of the largely stateless minority over the border into Bangladesh.

The crackdown followed attacks by Rohingya militants on security posts. Myanmar has denied committing atrocities against the Rohingya, saying its military carried out justifiable actions against militants.

The U.N. inquiry’s report, released in August, called for the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar, impose targeted sanctions and set up an ad hoc tribunal to try suspects or refer them to the International Criminal Court.

Diplomats say council veto powers China and Russia are likely to protect Myanmar from any push for such measures.

However, they cannot block the briefing on the U.N. report because a minimum nine of the 15 council members support the move, which cannot be vetoed. Diplomats say China and Russia believe the report should first be addressed by the U.N. General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with human rights.

The letter requesting the briefing was signed by Britain, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Peru, Kuwait, Ivory Coast and the United States.

Myanmar’s U.N. Ambassador Hau Do Suan wrote to the Security Council on Tuesday to object to the chair of the inquiry being invited to brief the body, warning that it “will only exacerbate mistrust and polarization among different communities in Rakhine” state, where the military crackdown occurred.

“Putting accountability above all else without regard to other positive developments is a dangerous attempt that will face utter failure,” he wrote.

The U.N. inquiry, established by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, said the military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya with “genocidal intent.” Myanmar rejected the findings as “one-sided” and said it was a legitimate counterinsurgency operation.

The European Union is considering trade sanctions on Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis, potentially stripping the country of tariff-free access to the world’s largest trading bloc, three EU officials said earlier this month. The EU has already imposed travel bans and asset freezes on several military members.

The United States imposed sanctions on four military and police commanders and two army units in August. New sanctions are under consideration for half a dozen other individuals and at least two military-run businesses, U.S. officials have said.

“Unilateral coercive measures without regard to the situation in Myanmar and imposition of politically motivated external pressure will be detrimental to the existing good will and cooperation of the Myanmar Government with the international community,” Myanmar’s U.N. envoy wrote to the Security Council.

Separately, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has begun examining allegations of forced deportation of Rohingya to Bangladesh. Myanmar has said it wants to repatriate Rohingya who fled.

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Time Magazine Names Jamal Khashoggi, Other Journalists As “Person Of The Year”

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Time Magazine Names Jamal Khashoggi, Other Journalists As "Person Of The Year"

This year’s time magazine “Person Of The Year” has been bestowed on a group of journalists that includes murdered Saudi writer, Jamal Khashoggi and two Reuters reporters imprisoned by Myanmar’s government.  The magazine says it named the group of journalists as “person of the year” because the idea of truth as critical to democracy is under assault.

Also honored is the founder of a Philippines news website that has been vocal in criticizing that country’s authoritarian government. A Maryland, USA, newspaper is also among the honored.

This is the first time in its ninety-five year history that time magazine has honored people in its own profession.

The annual distinction is intended to recognize the person, group or idea that had the greatest influence on world events that year. It has been given to a wide range of influencers, from u.s. Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. And Queen Elizabeth to Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, who was honored before the start of world war two.

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Syrian Government Using Anti-terrorism Law To Seize Properties From Dissidents

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Syrian Government Using Anti-terrorism Law To Seize Properties From Dissidents

Rights groups and some of the affected Syrian people say the government has been using a little-known anti-terrorism law to seize property from dissidents and their families as it takes back control of areas that were held by rebel groups.

Now that Syria’s conflict has stabilized, and president Bashar al-Assad again controls the biggest cities, it is left to be seen how he will handle the areas where the 2011 uprising against him flared.

International attention has focused on policies, such as legislation known as law 10, that could eventually enable the government to dispossess people in the opposition strongholds worst damaged in the war.

But human rights groups say, while law 10 has not yet been put into effect, the separate anti-terrorism law has already been used to seize property, including from people who had no hand in violence.

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Theresa May Faces Confidence Vote

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Theresa May Faces Confidence Vote

British prime minister, Theresa May faces a confidence vote in her leadership by MPs in her own conservative party, after chaos began to roil her European union exit deal.

So much now plagues the deal that has opened up the prospect of a messy no-deal Brexit or a referendum that could reverse Brexit.  Britain is due to exit on March the twenty-ninth next year.

Graham Brady, the chairman of the party’s so-called 1922 committee, said the threshold of 15 percent of the parliamentary conservative party seeking a confidence vote had been reached.  A vote will be taken at the house of Commons later this evening.

May could lose her position as prime minister if a hundred fifty-eight of her three hundred fifteen MPs vote against her, but a mutiny could also help sustain her through the crisis.

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