World Bulletin/News Desk
The U.N. Security Council on Friday approved for another year the world body's peacekeeping force in Haiti, but it will be cut in size by about 15 percent as it hands over security responsibility to the Haitian national police.
The 15-nation council unanimously approved a reduction of authorized troops and police by 1,710 to 8,871, as recommended by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. There are now about 10,000 U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti, and Ban recommended a gradual drawdown to be completed by June 2013.
Haiti is still struggling to recover from a strong January 2010 earthquake that killed about 300,000 people and left more than 1.5 million homeless.
The U.N. force, known as the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH, was established in 2004 to help Haiti's short-staffed and ill-equipped police maintain security, especially during elections plagued by fraud and unrest. The force's size was increased after the earthquake.
Dozens of countries contribute troops and police to the force.
The U.N. force became highly unpopular in Haiti after peacekeepers were blamed by locals for a cholera outbreak two years ago this month that has sickened almost 600,000 people and killed more than 7,400 in the Caribbean nation, the poorest in the western hemisphere.
An independent panel appointed by Ban to study the epidemic issued a report in May 2011 that the United Nations said did not determine conclusively how cholera was introduced into Haiti.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June 2011 found that evidence strongly suggested U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal were the source.
In March, two U.N. peacekeepers from Pakistan were sentenced to a year in prison for raping a 14-year-old Haitian boy after being convicted in a Pakistani military trial in Haiti.
That rape case triggered renewed protests and demands from Haitian senators that U.N. peacekeepers be stripped of immunity and be tried in a Haitian court.
A political row over revelations that French investigators had tapped the phone of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy took a new turn after Francois Hollande's government acknowledged it knew of the surveillance.
Ashton, talking to political leaders and activists, said the EU would help Bosnian leaders address protesters' demands to curb corruption and boost the economy, without going into detail
UN Special Representative Nick Kay said the push started this month when Ethiopian troops took control of towns in southern Somalia, including Bakool regional capital Hudur
Moscow, which denies its troops have a role in the takeover of Crimea, says people there - a small majority of whom are ethnic Russians - should have the right to secede
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to London to meet with his Russian, as Putin and French President Francois Hollande discussed "possibilities for stepping up international support" for a solution
"Syria is now the biggest humanitarian and peace and security crisis facing the world, with violence reaching unthinkable levels," Ban's press office said
In an interview with the France 24 news channel, Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki accused Saudi and Qatar of sponsoring terrorism in his country.
The building is reported to have had gas smells emanating from it for weeks.
His address to the Knesset was staunchly pro-Israeli, and he delighted his hosts by claiming Jewish ancestral roots and talking tough on Iran
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has said Russia is to build two new nuclear power plants in the country.
The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels have been involved in nearly two decades of conflict that spilled into eastern Congo
Egyptian authorities have tightened their control over the border with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip since last July's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian army.
Edward Dolinsky, head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, made a lobbying trip to Jerusalem but not received by officials from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
"Jordan did not bow to these demands because the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) itself has not adopted a unified position on the need to isolate Qatar over its foreign policies," the lawmaker said on condition of anonymity.
Jemilev said he told Putin Crimean secession would violate a 1994 pact committed to assuring Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in return for its pledge to give up its ex-Soviet nuclear arsenal.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said "With Chancellor Merkel we both believe that signing of the association agreement with Ukraine as soon as possible would be beneficial"