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Nov 9, 2015

Australian asylum policies under fire at UN rights review

GENEVA, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Australia came under fire on
Monday at the United Nations for its offshore processing of
asylum claims, facing allegations that it sent back some
refugees in defiance of international law and detention of child

Sterilisations of disabled and discrimination against
indigenous people were other concerns raised during the U.N.
Human Rights Council examination of Australia’s record, part of
a regular review of each U.N. member state held every four

Nov 6, 2015

West urges Myanmar to hold fair election and push reforms

GENEVA (Reuters) – Western powers on Friday urged Myanmar to hold a fair and transparent election on Sunday and pave the way for greater democracy, including citizenship for minority Rohingya Muslims.

A senior Myanmar official defended the country’s record during an examination by the U.N. Human Rights Council, held every four years and just two days before the historic vote.

Nov 5, 2015

U.N. expects daily refugee flow of 5,000 to Europe this winter

GENEVA (Reuters) – Refugees and migrants are likely to continue to arrive in Europe at a rate of up to 5,000 per day via Turkey this winter, the United Nations said on Thursday, appealing for more funds to avert tragedy in Greece and the Balkans in coming months.

More than 760,000 people have already crossed the Mediterranean so far this year, mainly to Greece and Italy, after fleeing wars in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as conflicts in Eritrea and other parts of Africa.

Nov 4, 2015

“Once in a blue moon diamond” could fetch up to $55 million -Sotheby’s

GENEVA, Nov 4 (Reuters) – A large blue diamond, one of the
world’s rarest, could fetch $35-55 million at auction next
week, Sotheby’s said on Wednesday, as an industry group
reported strong prices for colour diamonds ahead of the holiday

The Nov. 11 sale also features a Cartier pearl and diamond
tiara – estimated at up to $450,000 – that survived the sinking
of the Lusitania cruise liner 100 years ago, and a 15.20 carat
fancy orange-pink diamond pendant owned by former James Bond
actor Sir Sean Connery, estimated at $1.2-$2.4 million.

Nov 4, 2015

Rough seas force new refugee routes, more children on move: UNICEF

GENEVA (Reuters) – More children are joining the ranks of refugees streaming into Europe, with some families taking a new route from Turkey to Bulgaria to avoid crossing rough seas to Greece as winter sets in, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

At least 190,000 children have sought asylum in Europe so far this year, or 700 a day, out of 760,000 people who have crossed the Mediterranean, according to the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Oct 20, 2015

Over 500,000 migrants reach Greece this year, arrival rate rising: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) – Over half a million refugees and migrants have arrived by sea in Greece this year and the rate of arrivals is rising with over 8,000 coming on Monday alone, in a rush to beat the onset of freezing winter, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said 27,500 people remained in transit on Greek islands near Turkey, many voicing fears that borders ahead of them in northern Europe will close again, although migrants were passing from Croatia into Slovenia after Hungary sealed its frontier with Croatia.

Oct 19, 2015

Traffic deaths preventable, WHO says in call for road safety

GENEVA, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Countries must introduce tougher
laws to prevent drivers from speeding or drinking and help
reduce the toll of 1.25 million people killed each year in
traffic accidents, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

The United States, Indonesia and Nigeria are among countries
failing to apply best practices, the WHO’s Global Status Report
on Road Safety 2015.

Oct 16, 2015

Half a million Yemen children face severe malnutrition: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) – More than half a million children in Yemen face life-threatening malnutrition as a risk of famine grows, a senior official of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday.

The figure, a three-fold jump since fighting erupted in March, reflects depleted food stocks compounded by a failing health system unable to care for hungry children or vaccinate them against disease, said Afshan Khan, director of UNICEF emergency programs worldwide.

Oct 16, 2015

U.N. urges EU to speed registration, relocation of refugees

GENEVA (Reuters) – The European Union must quickly establish adequate centers to receive and register asylum seekers in Greece and Italy and then distribute them across the bloc before winter sets in, the United Nations said on Friday.

More than 591,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean by sea this year, including 450,000 to Greece, and this week 85 boats have been arriving daily on the island of Lesbos, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said.

Oct 15, 2015

U.N. sees chance for local ceasefires in Syria, political talks

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations is pushing for local ceasefires in three or four areas in Syria and thinks an escalation in the overall fighting could actually create a chance for political talks, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said on Thursday.

Syrian troops and their allies, backed by Russian jets that only joined the fight this month, began an offensive on rebel positions north of the city of Homs on Thursday, expanding a week-long campaign of ground attacks.