Top stories from the Development and Aid World News Service — DAWNS Digest, a mobile app and news clips service for the global set.

Bahrain Court Upholds Harsh Sentences for Protesters

13 people will remain in prison, including 8 people for life after a high court upheld ‘terrorism’ sentences. “Charges against the dissidents included creating an illegal group that aimed to overthrow the political system ‘using force and terrorist means,’ as well as “calling for the change of the political system by force, insulting the army openly” and other offenses, according to state media. Among the detainees is activist Abdulhadi Khawaja, who undertook a months-long hunger strike last year in protest. Their sentences, already upheld in September by an appeals court, range from five years to life in prison. Several others convicted on similar charges fled the country and were sentenced in absentia.” (LAT http://lat.ms/VLua5X)

Security Council Calls for Cessation of Central African Republic Rebellion

The council issued a collective “press statement” calling for the rebels to halt their advance and join negotiations. “The members of the Security Council expressed their concern regarding the ‘Seleka’ coalition’s advance towards Bangui since the last Security Council press statement of 27 December, reiterated their urgent call for an end to “Seleka’s” military offensive, and stressed that the current situation in the Central African Republic cannot be resolved militarily. They called again on all parties to seek a peaceful solution by engaging constructively, without preconditions, and in good faith in the negotiations to be held in Libreville beginning 8 January under the auspices of the Economic Community of the Central African States (ECCAS)” (UNSC http://bit.ly/WpsEFF)