Knox Retrial – The Italian authorities’ continued determination to prosecute Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in the Italian town of Perugia in 2007 implies “incompetence and misogyny,” according to a Guardian columnist. Joan Smith writes that along with Knox — whose 2011 acquittal, together with that of Sollecito, has been overturned by an Italian court — the Italian justice system must now come under scrutiny. She writes that the pursuit of Knox for the killing, for which a third man, Rudy Guede, has already been convicted, is a “mysoginist fantasy,” rooted in Italy’s conservative values towards female sexuality.
Qatari Palestinian Fund — Qatar has proposed a $1 billion fund to aid Palestinians in East Jerusalem and has offered to contribute $250 million to the fund, reports the BBC. At an Arab League summit in Doha, the ruling emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Al Thani, said member states should be serious about defending Jerusalem’s “Arab character” but did not provide details on how the fund would operate. Roughly 280,000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967.
Immigration to Brazil — Brazil, a nation made by immigrants, is trying to open its door to new immigrants to fuel its development, reports the Miami Herald. Brazil’s foreign-born population currently stands at 0.3% compared to 7.3% a century ago when it welcomed mass immigration from Italy, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Poland and Russia, among others. The Brazilian government now hopes to boost immigration to raise the country’s declining fertility rates and address the shortage of engineers in the mining, oil, and gas industries. But Brasilia has been criticized for the amount of red tape required for foreign citizens to secure work and migrant visas.
Environmental Emergency — The Peruvian government has declared an environmental state of emergency in its northern Amazon rainforest. High levels of soil contaminants have been located in areas where the Argentine company Pluspetrol runs one of Peru’s largest oil fields, notes the Guardian. Even though the Achuar and Kichwa indigenous people, living in the Pastaza river basin, have complained about the pollution for decades, the government failed to address the problem. On Monday, however, Lima set environmental quality standards and gave Pluspetrol 90 days to clean up the affected areas and decrease the risk of contamination to local residents, writes the paper.
Saudi Skype Ban – Officials in Saudi Arabia have warned that messaging systems like Skype may be banned unless the companies that own them allow conversations to be monitored by the government, reports the BBC. The kingdom has given service providers one week to give the government a means of monitoring the applications Skype, Viber and WhatsApp, or they will be shut down. It comes amid an explosion in social media use in the country, which has one of the most conservative governments in the world, notes the BBC.
Falklands Oil Wealth – The first commercial oil discovery in the Falkland Islands will bring the British territory of 2,563 people $10.5 billion in tax revenue over 25 years, reports Bloomberg. The islands’ new-found wealth, which is expected to transform an economy hitherto reliant on tourism and fishing, may heighten tensions with Argentina, which claims sovereignty over the islands and their mineral wealth. Argentina last year threatened to sue any company involved in Falklands drilling, notes Bloomberg.
Abu Qatada Deportation Appeal — British judges have ruled that an Islamic preacher wanted on terrorism charges in Jordan will not be deported, reports the BBC. Abu Qatada has fought more than seven years of legal battles with British authorities who are seeking to return him to Jordan where, in April 1999, he was convicted in his absence on terror charges and sentenced to life imprisonment. He currently faces a retrial on those charges. Home Secretary Theresa May had appealed against a ruling last November by Britain’s Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) that evidence obtained by torture could be used against him at the retrial, meaning that he wouldn’t get a fair hearing.