1) A leaked UN report revealed that France is investigating peacekeeping soldiers it sent to the Central African Republic (CAR) who were accused of raping children. The French government learned of the allegations in July of 2014. The report states at least ten victims as young as eight were sexually abused in exchange for food and money at a center for displaced people. The humanitarian crisis in CAR has been on-going since 2012 due to a clash between armed groups and related violence.
1) France authorities announced they thwarted a planned terrorist attack that would have taken place in Paris this past Sunday and focused French churches. They have arrested a 24-year-old man who had weapons, ammunition and clears plans to carry out an attack. Few details about the man in custody have been released so far, but France has been on a high terror alert since January.
1) Yesterday, gunmen attacked a satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, in France. 12 were killed. One of three suspects has turned himself in to the police. Two men are still being hunted in Paris. The attack appears to be motivated by Muslim extremism. Support for freedom of the press has poured out across the world plus massive rallies in France.
1) After a string of (terrorism related) attacks in France in that three days, the government is deploying troops to reinforce security personnel across the country.
2) Princess Cristina of Spain has been indicted on tax fraud charges. The royalty of Spain has been dealing with multiple financial scandals.
1) Sweden has called a snap election after its left-leaning government was unable to pass a budget due to opposition from the far right Swedish Democrat party. The current government has only held power since September.
1) Breaking news this morning on Iraq. The U.S. is now providing weapons to the Kurds who managed to force ISIS into retreat yesterday after American airstrikes. Also, Prime Minister Maliki has sent troops into Baghdad as a show of force while Iraq’s highest court ruled that Maliki would stay PM as his party has the largest bloc in the new parliament.
1) Despite a 16 hour ceasefire this past weekend, negotiations between Israel and Palestine have not resulted in any peace agreement. The UN has demanded a ceasefire for the past 2 days but there have been no sustainable arrangements. At least 60 airstrikes by Israel hit targets last night with a dozen dead. and 5 Israelis were killed during clashes in the Hamas tunnels. More than 1000 have died since the conflict began. Additionally, there is discussion that the US-Israel relationship is becoming frayed over the issue.
Tragic downing of Flight MH17 – Dutch have been angry about it – the bodies, the time it has taken. An investigation is on-going. The current facts are disputed by Moscow and the West, much blame from Americans. In the Ukraine conflict there continues to be planes shot down and a move towards Donetsk. Pressures have shown up in the Ukraine parliament with a fist fight breaking out today.