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Sep 3, 2015

Iran parliament debate on nuclear deal will be heated: speaker

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The speaker of Iran’s parliament on Thursday predicted that the debate among Iranian lawmakers on the nuclear agreement between Tehran and major powers will likely be more dramatic than in the U.S. Congress, where Republicans have sought to kill the deal.

Earlier on Thursday Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he favored a parliamentary vote on the nuclear deal while calling for sanctions against Tehran to be lifted completely rather than suspended.

Sep 2, 2015

Palestinians urge U.N. members to support flag-flying initiative

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The Palestinian observer mission to the United Nations on Wednesday appealed to the world body’s 193 member states to support its call to be allowed to fly its flag at U.N. headquarters as a “non-member observer state.”

The statement from the Palestinians also responded to allegations by Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor, who on Tuesday called the Palestinian push to fly their flag alongside full member states’ “another cynical misuse of the U.N. by the Palestinian Authority.”

Sep 2, 2015

Sudanese poachers kill elephants amid Central Africa chaos: UN experts

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Sudanese poachers have been taking advantage of the chaos in conflict-torn Central African Republic and are killing elephants for their ivory and other wild animals, an expert panel that monitors U.N. sanctions said in a confidential report seen by Reuters.

Central African Republic (CAR) descended into chaos in March 2013 when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, triggering reprisals by “anti-balaka” Christian militias who drove tens of thousands of Muslims from the south in a de facto partition of the landlocked country.

Sep 1, 2015

Cameroon involved in Central Africa ‘blood diamond’ trade: U.N. experts

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Illicit trafficking of diamonds from Central African Republic into neighboring Cameroon is helping finance the continuation of a nearly three-year conflict, an expert panel that monitors U.N. sanctions said in a confidential report.

Central African Republic (CAR) descended into chaos in March 2013 when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, triggering reprisals by “anti-balaka” Christian militias who drove tens of thousands of Muslims from the south in a de facto partition of the landlocked country.

Sep 1, 2015

Israel slams Palestinians’ push to fly their flag at U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Israel on Tuesday complained to the United Nations about a Palestinian initiative to fly their flag alongside full member states’ at the world body’s headquarters, calling it “another cynical misuse of the U.N. by the Palestinian Authority.”

Currently, only member states’ flags fly at U.N. headquarters. While the 193-nation assembly overwhelmingly approved the de facto recognition of the sovereign state of Palestine in 2012, a Palestinian attempt to secure full U.N. membership failed. Palestine is considered a non-member state.

Aug 31, 2015

Fukushima-related child cancers unlikely to rise: IAEA

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – An increase in thyroid cancer among children is unlikely after the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant four years ago, but it remains unclear exactly how much radiation children in the vicinity of the plant were exposed to, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said in a report released on Monday.

Increased thyroid cancer is generally the leading health concern after exposure to nuclear radiation, but that may not be the case after the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said.

Aug 28, 2015

U.N. urges political dialogue in Guinea Bissau to end crisis

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations on Friday urged political groups in Guinea Bissau to resume dialogue in the interest of ending an escalating power struggle that threatens to further undermine stability in the impoverished West African country.

Guinea Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz last week named Baciro Dja as the new prime minister in a bid to end a power vacuum after he dismissed the government of previous premier Domingos Simoes Pereira, according to a decree read on state radio.

Aug 27, 2015

U.N. chief sets out framework for Syria poison gas investigation

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Success of a new international inquiry aimed at assigning blame for chemical weapons attacks during Syria’s four-year-old civil war will require full cooperation of all warring parties, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday.

The remarks were included in a letter to the U.N. Security Council outlining his plans for an investigation into alleged gas attacks, to be conducted by the United Nations and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Aug 27, 2015

Rejecting Iran deal would isolate Washington: U.S. envoy to U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Rejecting the Iran nuclear deal would lead to diplomatic isolation for the United States and significantly undermine Washington’s ability to achieve other foreign policy goals, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Thursday.

In an article published on the Politico website, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said diplomats from the 193 member states of the United Nations are tracking the heated U.S. congressional debate over the deal “like they tracked the World Cup soccer pairings last year.”

Aug 26, 2015

Vatican says won’t co-sponsor Palestinian flag initiative at U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The Vatican on Tuesday asked the Palestinian U.N. mission to remove all references to it from a draft resolution the Palestinians have prepared for the General Assembly calling for the flags of Palestine and the Holy See to fly at the U.N.

The Palestinian draft resolution, which was seen by Reuters, says that the flags of non-member observer states “shall be raised at the United Nations Headquarters and Offices following the flags of the member states of the United Nations.”

    • About Louis

      "I am Reuters' United Nations bureau chief based in New York. My previous postings were in Berlin, Vienna, Hong Kong and Prague. I have reported from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the United States."
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