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Aug 28, 2015

New Asian ‘boat people’ crisis feared when rains end – UNHCR

GENEVA, Aug 28 (Reuters) – A fresh surge of refugees and
migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh is expected to set out in
smugglers’ rickety boats for southeast Asia when the monsoon
season ends in about a month, the United Nations said on Friday.

Boatloads of minority Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution
in Myanmar and Bangladeshis escaping poverty at home were turned
away or towed further from the shores of Thailand, Indonesia and
Malaysia earlier this year, triggering a humanitarian crisis.

Aug 27, 2015

U.S. asks Swiss to extradite Nicaraguan in FIFA case

GENEVA (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice has asked Switzerland to give priority to a U.S. request to extradite former FIFA official Julio Rocha in preference to a later request from his native Nicaragua, the Swiss Justice Ministry said.

Six of seven soccer officials detained in Zurich in late May remain in Swiss custody pending extradition requests from the United States to face charges in a corruption scandal that has rocked world’s soccer governing body.

Aug 25, 2015

Swiss expect to decide on FIFA extraditions in September

BERNE, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Swiss authorities expect to decide in September whether to extradite six soccer officials to face corruption charges in the United States, a Justice Ministry spokesman said.

The accused men, who are in custody and whose lawyers are opposing their extradition to New York, would have 30 days to appeal decisions to the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona – a process that could take several months.

Aug 25, 2015

Up to 3,000 refugees, migrants expected a day in Macedonia: UNHCR

GENEVA (Reuters) – Up to 3,000 migrants are expected to cross into Macedonia every day in the coming months, most of them refugees fleeing war, particularly from Syria, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Member states of the European Union must share the burden by establishing “equitable re-distribution” of desperate families seeking asylum in the bloc, the U.N. refugee agency said.

Aug 24, 2015

Swiss law aims to return foreign funds stashed by erstwhile leaders

BERNE, Aug 24 (Reuters) – Switzerland expects to adopt a new
law by the end of the year that will speed restitution of
illicit funds stashed in the Alpine country, where thousands of
‘politically exposed persons’ are believed to hold bank
accounts, a top Swiss official said on Monday.

Swiss authorities are cooperating with a number of countries
- among them Haiti, Egypt, Tunisia and Ukraine – to return
stolen assets that have been frozen following changes in power,
said Valentin Zellweger, head of the foreign ministry’s federal
department of international law.

Aug 21, 2015

U.N. calls for end to impunity for crimes in Darfur, Sudan

GENEVA (Reuters) – Sudanese police and security forces have shot, killed and abducted civilians in Darfur with near-total impunity, the United Nations said on Friday in a report also documenting crimes committed by rebels last year in the remote western region.

The military conducted aerial bombing and ground attacks on civilians and burned villages in its campaign to end the insurgency in North and South Darfur in 2014, the U.N. human rights office said, citing serious violations of international law.

Aug 18, 2015

U.N. urges Greece to take charge of refugee crisis

GENEVA (Reuters) – Greece must show “much more leadership” to tackle an escalating crisis in which 160,000 refugees and migrants have reached its shores so far this year, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Clashes erupted last week on the overwhelmed Greek island of Kos between desperate people, mainly fleeing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, who come on small boats from nearby Turkey only to find dire conditions.

Aug 17, 2015

Pakistan, Afghanistan must step up fight against polio – WHO

GENEVA, Aug 17 (Reuters) – Pakistan and Afghanistan must
intensify efforts to halt spread of the crippling poliovirus,
including better screening of travellers heading abroad, the
World Health Organization said on Monday.

The WHO emergency committee of experts warned in a statement
that vaccinations of international air travellers in Afghanistan
are not being tracked “and no exit screening and restriction of
unvaccinated travellers has been implemented at international
airports”.

Aug 14, 2015

U.N. urges Iraq to close secret detention centers

GENEVA (Reuters) – A U.N. human rights watchdog called on Iraq on Friday to close what it described as secret detention centers where militant suspects, including minors, are “severely tortured”.

The panel of 18 independent experts, who reviewed Iraq’s record in preventing torture and ill-treatment last month, had challenged Iraqi officials to name a single person the country had jailed for torture in a justice system that had “gone astray”.

Aug 13, 2015

North Korea will pursue ‘defensive’ nuclear program: envoy

GENEVA (Reuters) – North Korea will pursue its “defensive” nuclear program as long as it feels threatened by the United States, its U.N. disarmament envoy in Geneva told Reuters on Thursday.

In a rare interview, Ambassador So Se Pyong also denounced the latest joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, due to start next week, saying they fanned tensions on the divided peninsula as it marks the 70th anniversary of liberation from Japanese occupation at the end of World War Two.