News In Brief

Columbia

The Constitutional Court of Colombia made a ruling prohibiting mining operations and petroleum projects from the country’s paramos regions. Paramos are moorland ecosystems typically found between elevations of 3,000 and 5,000 meters (9,843 to 16,404 feet). For many citizens, these paramos are a vital source of drinking water. The ruling may be especially relevant as strong weather patterns have caused the largest drought recorded in Colombian history. In all, the ruling voided over 300 mining permits across the nation’s paramos regions.

Algeria

In 2009, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika became the first candidate to win a third term in office. Following recent legislative reforms, he will likely be the last as well. In an overwhelming 499-2 vote, the Algerian Parliament has restored term limits to the presidency. “The reforms also foresee the creation of an independent electoral commission and recognition of the roles of women and youth,” according to Nigerian news site Today. “Freedoms of assembly and the press will be explicitly guaranteed.” Bouteflika, now in his fourth term as president, is 78 years old.

Syria

All eyes are on Aleppo as a multitude of forces converge on the city. Backed by Russian airstrikes and Hezbollah fighters, the Syrian Army looks to surround the city and blockade opposing forces within the area. In response to the offensive, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have considered sending in troops to support the rebels. Over 300,000 people in opposition-controlled areas of Aleppo face being cut off from food. Thousands of residents are fleeing north to neighboring Turkey, where 2.5 million Syrian refugees have been accepted since 2011.

Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that his country’s military forces would cease bombing the Islamic State group by Feb. 22. In a change of strategy, six fighter jets will be withdrawn from the Middle East. However, two surveillance aircrafts will remain, as well as refueling planes. In addition, more Canadian soldiers will be sent to the region to facilitate training Iraqi security forces. Following the attacks in Paris last November, the U.S. requested that countries such as Canada help beef up the military effort against Isis.

United States

In Texas, the prosecutor that helped wrongfully put Anthony Graves on death row for the murder of six people in 1992 lost his appeal to be disbarred. The Board of Disciplinary Appeals found that former Prosecutor Charles Sebesta’s “conduct in the underlying prosecution was egregious.” Graves spent 18 years in prison before he became the 138th death row inmate to be exonerated nationwide. During the case, Sebesta concealed evidence and used false testimony to secure a conviction. No physical evidence ever tied Graves to the murders.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email