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Dec 18, 2014

Iraq wins one-year reprieve on Gulf War reparations due to crisis

GENEVA (Reuters) – A United Nations body agreed on Thursday to let Iraq postpone its final payment of reparations to Kuwait for the 1990-91 Gulf War, in an effort to help ease Baghdad’s cash-strapped budget.

The consensus decision, reached by major powers at the U.N. Compensation Commission (UNCC), means Iraq will have until Jan. 2016 to begin paying its oil-rich neighbour $4.6 billion (2.93 billion pounds) for oil fields destroyed during its invasion and seven-month occupation.

Dec 18, 2014

U.N. defers Iraq’s $4.6 billion Gulf War reparations to Kuwait

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations Gulf War compensation fund agreed on Thursday to defer Iraq’s requirement to deposit five percent of its oil revenues for a year due to its budgetary difficulties, a senior U.N. official said.

Major powers on the fund’s ruling body took the decision by consensus as Iraq’s economy is being battered by both low oil prices and war with Islamic State militants.

Dec 17, 2014

Iraq seeks one-year deferral on Gulf War reparations

GENEVA, Dec 17 (Reuters) – Iraq has requested a one-year
deferral of a $4.6 billion reparations payment for destroying
Kuwait’s oil facilities during its 1990-91 occupation, a U.N.
official said on Wednesday.

The request comes as Iraq’s economy is being battered by
both low oil prices and war with Islamic State militants.

Dec 11, 2014

Ebola vaccine trial halted temporarily after joint pains -Geneva hospital

GENEVA, Dec 11 (Reuters) – A clinical trial of an Ebola
vaccine developed by Merck and NewLink has been
halted temporarily as a precautionary measure after four
patients complained of joint pains, the University of Geneva
Hospital said on Thursday.

“They are all fine and being monitored regularly by the
medical team leading the study,” it said in a statement.

Dec 11, 2014

$300 million pledged to buy Ebola vaccines as NewLink shot hits snag

LONDON/GENEVA (Reuters) – GAVI, the global vaccines alliance, said on Thursday it was committing up to $300 million to buy Ebola vaccines, as one experimental shot hit a snag in a Swiss clinical trial after some subjects reported joint pains.

Scientists are racing to develop Ebola vaccines in record time but many questions remain unanswered, as evidenced by a decision to pause Swiss tests of the experimental vaccine from NewLink and Merck.

Dec 9, 2014

U.N. investigator calls for prosecuting Bush-era torture crimes

GENEVA (Reuters) – A U.N. human rights expert said a report that the U.S. Senate released on Tuesday revealed a “clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration” and called for prosecution of U.S. officials who ordered crimes, including torture, against detainees.

Ben Emmerson, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said senior Bush administration officials who planned and authorized crimes must be prosecuted, along with as CIA and other U.S. government officials who committed torture such as waterboarding.

Dec 9, 2014

Ebola still spreading in western Sierra Leone, Guinea’s forest: U.N

GENEVA (Reuters) – Ebola is still spreading quickly in western Sierra Leone and deep in the forested interior of Guinea and more foreign health workers are needed to help tackle the epidemic, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday.

The death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 6,331 in the three worst hit countries, with Sierra Leone overtaking Liberia as the country with the highest number of cases, World Health Organization figures showed on Monday.

Dec 5, 2014

U.N. rights experts seek review of U.S. police practices

GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations human rights experts on Friday called for a halt to racial profiling by U.S. law enforcement officers and a review of laws allowing police to use lethal force.

The independent experts regretted that grand juries in the United States had failed to indict police officers for killing two unarmed black men in separate incidents that have led to mass protests.

Nov 28, 2014

U.N. torture watchdog urges U.S. to crack down on police brutality

GENEVA (Reuters) – The U.N. Committee against Torture urged the United States on Friday to fully investigate and prosecute police brutality and shootings of unarmed black youth and ensure that taser weapons are used only in life-threatening situations.

The panel’s first review of the U.S. record on preventing torture since 2006 came in the wake of racially-tinged unrest in cities across the United States this week sparked by a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury’s decision not to charge a white police officer for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Nov 27, 2014

Ebola cases near 16,000, Sierra Leone to overtake Liberia soon with most cases: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) – The death toll in the world’s worst Ebola epidemic has risen to 5,689 out of 15,935 cases reported in eight countries by Nov. 23, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

Almost all cases and all but 15 deaths have been in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – the three hardest-hit countries, which reported 600 new cases in the past week, the WHO said in its latest update.