- - Thursday, January 12, 2012

MYANMAR

Myanmar signs cease-fire with Karen rebels

PA-AN | Myanmar's government signed a cease-fire agreement Thursday with ethnic Karen rebels in a major step toward ending one of the world’s longest-running insurgencies and meeting a key condition for better ties with the West.

The talks between officials and Karen National Union leaders were part of efforts by Myanmar’s new, nominally civilian government to seek international legitimacy through democratic reforms after years of military repression.

The Karen group has been fighting for greater autonomy for more than 60 years in a guerrilla campaign in eastern jungles that precedes Myanmar’s independence from Britain.

It had been the only one of Myanmar’s major ethnic groups never to have reached a peace agreement with the government.

Bringing a lasting halt to all of the country’s long-running ethnic conflicts has been a crucial demand of Western governments as well as the Myanmar’s pro-democracy icon and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

UNITED KINGDOM

British spies will face inquiry over Libya

LONDON | Britain’s spy agencies will face a criminal investigation into claims that intelligence shared with Moammar Gadhafi’s regime led to the torture or rendition of two Libyan men and their families, authorities announced Thursday.

A criminal inquiry was launched in 2008 when a former Guantanamo Bay detainee alleged intelligence agencies were complicit in his torture.

The inquiry later expanded to include claims by two Libyans who accused intelligence agents of sharing sensitive information with Gadhafi’s regime.

Tripoli’s military council commander Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, a former fighter in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group that had opposed Gadhafi and had asylum in the U.K., claims both British and U.S. intelligence may have played a role in his 2004 detention in Thailand’s capital Bangkok and transfer to Tripoli.

NIGERIA

Union threatens oil production in strikes

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