UN chief Ban Ki-moon visits Central African Republic amid upsurge in violence
BANGUI, Central African Republic — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon vowed Saturday that the world would not forget Central African Republic, as he visited the country wracked by sectarian violence that has left thousands dead and forced most of the nation’s Muslims to flee.
Ban’s visit — his first since the bloodshed erupted in December — came just before he goes on to Rwanda to mark the 20th anniversary of the genocide there. The U.N. chief has been among the most vocal of world leaders in calling on countries to prevent a similar tragedy in Central African Republic.
“The international community failed the people of Rwanda 20 years ago. And we are at risk of not doing enough for the people of the CAR today,” Ban told members of a transitional council tasked with preparing the country for elections by February 2015.
“Atrocity crimes are being committed in this country,” he said. “Ethno-religious cleansing is a reality. Most members of the Muslim minority have fled.”
International aid groups have criticized the U.N. response to the crisis, though Ban himself has spoken forcefully about the need to protect civilians in Central African Republic, where at one point earlier this year Muslims were being killed by Christian mobs in the streets on a near-daily basis.
As world eyes Russia’s action in Ukraine, Hagel assures Japan US will protect its security
YOKOTA AIR FORCE BASE, Japan — Against the backdrop of Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean region, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Saturday he will convey to Japanese leaders that the U.S. is strongly committed to protecting their country’s security.
Hagel said it is understandable that countries are concerned by the unfolding events in Ukraine, where Russian troops remain massed along the border. The issue reverberates in Asia where China, Japan and others are in bitter territorial disputes, including over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
“It’s a pretty predictable, I think, reaction, not just of nations of this area and this region but all over the world,” Hagel told reporters traveling with him to Tokyo.
“I think anytime you have a nation — Russia in this case — try to impose its will to refine and define international boundaries and violate the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a nation by force, all of the world takes note of that.”
Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Russel also said this past week that Russia’s annexation of Crimea heightened concern, particularly among some Southeast Asian nations, about the possibility of China “threatening force or other forms of coercion to advance their territorial interests.”
Armed with seminal high court ruling, NRA involved in ‘hundreds’ of legal cases across country
The San Diego County sheriff denied Edward Peruta a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Christopher Haga’s gun collection was seized, and he was charged with crimes after he was mistakenly linked to a theft of assault weapons from a Fresno-area military base.
The National Rifle Association then lent legal assistance to both men as part of its aggressive legal and political campaign to blunt gun controls across the nation.
Emboldened by a seminal U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2008 that upstanding Americans have the fundamental right to keep guns in their homes, the NRA has involved itself in hundreds of legal cases, many in California.
That case “unleashed a torrent of litigation,” said University of California, Los Angeles Law School professor Adam Winkler, a Second Amendment expert.
Much of it is either started by the NRA or supported by the organization, which offers financial assistance and legal help to people embroiled in lawsuits and legal trouble because they own guns.
By local and wire sources