Obama announced his selection of Julian Castro, San Antonio mayor, as the new secretary for the HUD Friday. Current HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan will move on to take over the Office of Management and Budget. Donovan’s future position will allow him to advance the progressive shift of Obama’s administration after Obama’s term ends in 2017.
Two days after taking the key northern town of Kidal from government forces, Malian Taureg rebel forces have announced a ceasefire. In 2012 a Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali triggered a military coup in the capital, Bamako and an Islamist takeover of the north. Civilian rule was re-established in 2013, but Islamist and separatist forces remain active in some areas.
Boko Haram has raided three villages in Nigeria, killing more than 30 people. The Islamic fundamentalist group has been ravaging the nation for more than 7 years now, receiving worldwide attention over the kidnapping of 260 schoolgirls 5 weeks ago. They have recently begun targeting members suspected of being part of vigilante groups formed after the government forces have shown futile in controlling the violence. Boko Haram was listed as a terrorist organization under al-Qaeda sanctions by the UN yesterday.
The EU has banned the import of poultry from Israeli settlements, announcing to the Israeli government that the veterinary practice of the nation would only be recognized within the pre-1967 recognized boundaries and therefore did not meet public health standards. “The settlements are illegal under international law and their continued expansion in the face of EU and US criticism was a prime factor in the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.”
The Washington Post and Intercept have revealed that America has been recording all the domestic and some international calls of two nations, but one of the countries has been censored by request of the US government, which set off Wikileaks to release a statement today and revealed the victim country to be Afghanistan. The Bahamas are in a similar predicament with the NSA and still have not received a concrete response from the NSA.
Opposition activists have posted a video of what they say is chlorine gas floating through the streets of a Syrian village and they accuse President Bashar al-Assad of mounting a chemical weapons campaign. The government blames the rebels for the chemical attacks even though they were indicted internationally for their confirmed use of the Geneva conference banned Sarin gas.
Though President Rafael Correa had initially refused to allow drilling in the reserves, Ecuador’s government has passed through the bill allowing for oil exploration. “Correa abandoned that effort last year due to insufficient interest and has spurned pleas by environmentalists to spare the Yasuni reserve.”
The bank ruled out Abbot Point, Australia, as the location for one of the world’s largest coal terminals in response to international environmental concern over the proximity to the vital and extremely bio-diverse Great Barrier Reef.
The measures have been taken by the Indian government to protect domestic solar panel production from the influx of Chinese and American solar panels. The duties have been set between 11 and 81 cents USD per watt.
Though Mugabe claimed the February floods that displaced 3000 families a national disaster, a Human Rights investigation may provide evidence that the flood was caused by Mugabe’s administration in an effort to receive international aid and commandeer the displaced families as cheap labour for Mugabe’s energy interests in ethanol production.