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Oct 17, 2014

U.N. Ebola trust fund gets $100,000, almost $1 billion needed

UNITED NATIONS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A United Nations trust fund seeking nearly $1 billion for rapid, flexible funding of the most urgent needs to fight Ebola in West Africa has received a deposit of just $100,000 nearly a month after it was set up.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Sept. 16 that $988 million is needed to tackle the deadly hemorrhagic fever over the next six months. Since then $365 million has been committed to stop Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, which have been hit hardest by the epidemic.

Oct 16, 2014

U.S. holds direct talks with embattled Syrian Kurds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. State Department official held direct talks for the first time last weekend with a Syrian Kurdish group involved in the fight against Islamic State in Syria, including the besieged town of Kobani, the State Department said on Thursday.

Following the talks, the last three days saw an upsurge in U.S. air strikes on Islamic State forces besieging the town, and Kurdish spokesmen said their forces were giving coordinates of the militants’ positions to the United States.

Oct 16, 2014

U.N.’s $1 billion Ebola fund gets just $100,000 so far

UNITED NATIONS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A United Nations trust fund, seeking $1 billion to fight Ebola in West Africa, has received a deposit of just $100,000 nearly a month after it was set up to allow for rapid, flexible funding of the most urgent needs on the ground.

As of Thursday, just $100,000 was paid into the fund by Colombia, although $365 million had been committed. Much of the pledged amount was donated directly to U.N. agencies and nonprofits working on the ground in the three worst affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to U.N. records.

Oct 13, 2014

Ebola may change how aid is spent on healthcare in Africa

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has exposed major gaps in development aid, prompting a rethink of the balance between building health systems and tackling specific diseases like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

For more than a decade richly-endowed global campaigns funded by governments, philanthropists and celebrities have poured billions of dollars into preventing and treating individual diseases that long plagued Africa.

Oct 11, 2014

Ebola funds should not be repackaged aid, Africa bank chief says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the African Development Bank expressed concern on Saturday that some donors responding to the Ebola crisis were repackaging aid money, funneling it away from other areas in need in the three countries at the center for the epidemic.

In an interview, Donald Kaberuka said moving funds from already allocated development projects in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone was unhelpful in the long term and make their rebuilding harder.

Oct 9, 2014

African leaders call for urgent action from donors on Ebola

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – African leaders chided the international community on Thursday for its slow response to the Ebola crisis and appealed to the world to turn promises of aid into action on the ground.

In emotional appeals to a high-level meeting of major donors gathered at the World Bank, the leaders of the worst affected countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, said they needed everything from treatment centers to healthcare workers, equipment and funding.

Oct 4, 2014

Global officials to issue communique warming of economic risk

WASHINGTON, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Finance and development
ministers from around the world next week will warn of
considerable downside risks to the global economy, and call for
an effort to protect the world’s poor, according to the draft of
a communique they plan to issue after a meeting on Saturday.

With Europe flirting with deflation, Japan not far from
recession and a slowing economy in China, the world’s No. 2
economy, there are worries the recovery from the deep 2007-2009
crisis is losing traction.

Oct 2, 2014

U.S. eases arms embargo against Vietnam for maritime security

WASHINGTON, Oct 2 (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday
partially lifted a long-time ban on lethal weapon sales to
Vietnam to help the country improve its maritime security, a
historic move that comes nearly 40 years after the end of the
Vietnam War.

“The State Department has taken steps to allow for the
future transfer of maritime security-related defense articles to
Vietnam,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a
briefing.

Oct 1, 2014

China tells foreign countries not to meddle in Hong Kong

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded on Wednesday to comments by the United States and others on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, saying foreign countries should not meddle in China’s domestic affairs.

Wang, the most senior Chinese official to speak publicly about the protests, said Beijing had “very formally and clearly stated its position: Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs. All countries should respect China’s sovereignty.”

Sep 30, 2014

China facing growing U.S. pressure over Hong Kong protests

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China is facing growing U.S. pressure to show restraint during mass pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, with the issue to be raised in high-level bilateral talks, and a prominent U.S. lawmaker has expressed “grave concerns” over the troubles.

A day after the United States backed calls by thousands of protesters for greater autonomy in selecting candidates for Hong Kong’s chief executive, U.S. officials said Secretary of State John Kerry would discuss the issue with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi when the two meet in Washington on Wednesday.