International briefs: 5 things that happened on the international scene this week


Tomiwo Akinyemi brings to you five stories that made international headlines this week. 

Russia warns of ‘dangerous’ escalation over Syria

Russia has sounded a note of warning to the US that launching air strikes in response to a suspected chemical attack in Syria could spark a war between the two countries.

Moscow’s UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia said on Thursday that the immediate priority is to avert the danger of war.

He went further to accuse Washington of putting international peace at risk and said the situation was “very dangerous”.

The UN ambassador has also called for the UN Security Council to meet again on Friday to discuss the possibility of western military action.

According to reports, western powers are thought to be preparing for strikes but Russia, a Syrian ally, opposes such action.

Senior Russian figures, which includes the head of the military have warned that US missiles will be shot down and will face the danger of their launch sites targeted if Russian personnel come under threat.

The White House has said in a statement that it is continuing to assess intelligence and talk to its allies on how to respond.

Meanwhile, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says experts are travelling to Syria and will start investigations on Saturday.

Deadly bomb attack targets Somalia soccer crowd

The latest in the never ending war between Al- Shabab and the Somalian government has seen at least five people confirmed killed and 10 others injured after a bomb was detonated during a soccer game in Somalia’s port city of Barawe, a local official said.

Hundreds of fans were watching the match when Thursday’s blast occurred according to District Commissioner, Hersi Barre.

Al-Shabaab, Al Qaeda-linked terror group later claimed responsibility for the bombing and said it had targeted district and regional officials who were watching the match.

Barawe, a former Al-Shabaab stronghold, lies in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region, about 220 kilometers (137 miles) south of the capital, Mogadishu.

Al-Shabaab has been waging a war of terrorism against the Somali government for more than 10 years, prompting the African Union to send in peacekeeping troops.

The terror group has set base mainly in rural areas in the south of the country, having lost control of Mogadishu in 2011.

Al-Shabaab has carried out a number of car bombings in the capital in recent months. The biggest, last October, led to the loss of more than 500 lives.

Hotel auditions should be banned, acting union says

The leading US actors’ union Sag-Aftra, which organises the Screen Actors Guild Awards, has called for an end to acting auditions taking place in hotel rooms or homes as a move geared to help protect members from potential harassment.

According to Sag- Aftra President, Gabrielle Carteris , such auditions have “allowed predators to exploit performers behind closed doors”.

The announcement comes in the wake of a slew of sexual harassment allegations against high-profile Hollywood figures one of which has seen disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein accused of harassing and abusing dozens of young actresses, models and employees.

Many of the alleged incidents are said to have taken place in hotel rooms.

2,285 On death row in Nigeria – Amnesty International


In a shocking discovery, Amnesty International says a total of 2,285 people are currently on death row and at least 600 people put to death between 2015 and 2016 in Nigeria.

The international rights group on Thursday revealed this in its 2017 global review of the death penalty.

Amnesty international decried the massive spike of death sentences over the past two years, with 171 and 527 death sentences recorded in 2015 and 2016 respectively in the sub- Saharan region.

It, however, commended other countries in the region who made “great strides” in the global fight to abolish the death penalty, with a significant decrease in death sentences being imposed.

Barcelona crashes out of the Champions League in dramatic fashion, as Arsenal survives Moscow scare to reach Europa League semis

Kostas Manolas sent Roma fans into a frenzy as his 81st minute header secured a dramatic comeback which sealed Roma’s qualifications to its first ever Champions League semi-finals after an incredible 3-0 victory over Barcelona at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday saw them overhaul a 4-1 first leg deficit.

The impressive Edin Dzeko set them on the way of what seemed like an unlikely comeback in the sixth minute, and after Daniele De Rossi converted a penalty after the break, the home fans believe got stronger that it could be their night and Manolas made sure of that when he glanced home a brilliant header with eight minutes left to send the Roma supporters into raptures and leave Barca wondering what had hit them.

Arsenal survived a scare that would have been similar to Barcelona heartache as they progressed to the last four of the Europa League on Thursday to keep Arsene Wenger’s dreams of winning a first ever European competition alive after coming back from 2-0 to draw 2-2 with CSKA Moscow in Russia.

Fedor Chalov and Kirill Nababkin scored for CSKA in both halves to put Arsenal’s heart in mouth in the Russian capital, as the hosts looked set to overturn a 4-1 deficit from the first leg.

But Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey came to the team’s rescue with two late goals which secured the English side a 6-3 aggregate victory and earning them a semi-finals date with Spanish giants Atletico Madrid.

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