UN backs first ‘offensive’ peacekeeping force for Democratic Republic of Congo

Updated 30 March 2013
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UN backs first ‘offensive’ peacekeeping force for Democratic Republic of Congo

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council has unanimously approved the first-ever “offensive” UN peacekeeping brigade to battle rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which yesterday hailed the move as a turning point for its restive east.
A council resolution gave the 3,000-strong force orders to “neutralize” and “disarm” rebel groups in the resource-rich east of the country, which has been gripped by conflict for more than two decades. DR Congo Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponya hailed the move as “the beginning of the end of armed groups and sends a very clear signal to those supporting them.”
“The DRC welcomes this vote, which marks a decisive turning point for re-establishing peace and security in the Kivu” regions in the east, he said in a statement.
The first troops in the intervention brigade will come from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi, UN peacekeeping force chief Herve Ladsous said Thursday.
The force and surveillance drones to monitor DR Congo’s borders with neighbors accused of backing the rebels will be operating by July.
The force will launch UN peacekeeping operations into a new era, said diplomats. “It’s an innovation,” said France’s UN Ambassador Gerard Araud, whose country wrote the resolution which has worried some contributing nations to UN mission.
The resolution’s mandate to conduct “targeted offensive operations” has never been given to a peacekeeping mission before.
It will act “in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner and in strict compliance with international law” to “prevent the expansion of all armed groups, neutralize these groups, and to disarm them,” the resolution said.


Prosecutors seek Air France trial over fatal 2009 Rio-to-Paris crash -source

Updated 55 min 28 sec ago
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Prosecutors seek Air France trial over fatal 2009 Rio-to-Paris crash -source

  • The doomed Airbus A330 jet crashed into the sea on June 1, 2009, after entering an aerodynamic stall
  • French investigators found the crew of AF447 mishandled the loss of speed readings

PARIS: French prosecutors want Air France to face trial over a fatal crash in 2009 involving flight AF447 between Rio de Janeiro and Paris which killed all 228 people on board, a judicial source said on Wednesday.
The doomed Airbus A330 jet crashed into the sea on June 1, 2009, after entering an aerodynamic stall. The judicial source added that prosecutors would not be seeking a trial of Airbus over the affair.
French investigators found the crew of AF447 mishandled the loss of speed readings from sensors blocked with ice from the storm, and pushed it into a stall by holding the nose too high.