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International brief - Somalian parliament approves key cabinet choices

[JURIST] In Thursday's international brief, Somalia's parliament has approved the proposed cabinet of Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi [BBC profile] Thursday in a crucial step towards establishing a truly functioning government for the trouble-ridden country. The proposed list was the second offering from Ghedi; his first selections were rejected by parliament, which claimed that Ghedi had not followed the clan proportion requirements spelled out by the country's constitution. The newly appointed government viewed this as a crucial step on the way towards moving the seat of government from Nairobi, Kenya, where it has functioned in exile since last year to avoid faction violence, back to the nation's capital of Mogadishu, a move which is tentatively scheduled for late January. The African Union [official website] has already agreed to supply troops to the new Somali government upon its return to Mogadishu, should they be requested. AllAfrica.com has local coverage.

In other international legal news...

  • International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA official website] officials visited the site of an alleged secret nuclear program in Iran, which the US claims is conducting experiments into producing illegal supplies to be used in creating a nuclear weapon. Iranian Ministry of Science, Research, and Technology [official website in Arabic] officials said that they granted IAEA inspectors access to the Parchin site to take environmental samples, located southeast of Tehran, in order to disprove US allegations that the site is being used to research the illegal creation of nuclear weapons. Environmental samples consist of testing the soil of the surrounding area for any radiation that would occur from nuclear testing. The IAEA's visit is a 'transperancy visit', so called because the IAEA's mandate under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons [PDF text] does not authorize such inspections and the IAEA requires permission to enter from the country under investigation. Iran Mania News has local coverage.

  • The US will announce shortly that it has created a new post of security attache to the European Union [official website] under the US Department of Homeland Security [official website]. The post will be based out of the US Mission to the EU [official website] in Brussels, and will strive to coordinate responses and information sharing between the EU and the US. The move comes after a series of bilateral agreements were signed between the US and EU countries to strengthen ties in fighting international terrorism. One of the first items on the agenda with the new attache will be visa-free entry to the US for EU citizens. The US has notified EU countries that their citizens will no longer receive visa-free entry to the US beginning next year, unless their national passports begin to include biometric data, such as fingerprints and retinal scans. The European Parliament has voiced strong disapproval of the plan, raising concerns over the privacy interests of European citizens. Read exiting Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge's announcement of the post in Thursday's Financial Times. ISN News has more.

  • The trial of 23 men that attempted to gain asylum in the Mexican Embassy in Cuba began Wednesday. The men stole a local transport bus and used it to crash through the gates of the Mexican Embassy in Havana in an attempt to gain asylum and exit visas from Cuba in February of 2002. The incident was sparked by rumors that the Mexican government was issuing exit visas to Cuban nationals. Prosecutors have charged the men, 16 of whom have been held in prison since their arrest, with a combination of offenses, including theft of the bus, violating a diplomatic mission and damage to property. Prosecutors announced that they will seek sentencing from 5 to 12 years. The New York Times has more.

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