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Jan 25, 2015

WHO, under fire, to develop “surge capacity” in post-Ebola crises

GENEVA, Jan 25 (Reuters) – The World Health Organisation
(WHO) drew sharp criticism on Sunday over its response to the
Ebola epidemic, with donors and agencies urging the creation of
a contingency fund and an emergency workforce to respond quickly
to future crises.

Director-general Dr. Margaret Chan acknowledged that the
outbreak showed the need to strengthen WHO’s crisis management
and to streamline procedures for recruiting frontline workers.

Jan 25, 2015

Ebola waning, but WHO must respond better next time, Chan says

GENEVA (Reuters) – Ebola is declining but there is no room for complacency and the World Health Organization (WHO) must respond faster to future emergencies, its director-general told member states held talks on Sunday on the WHO’s delay in facing the deadly epidemic.

The special session in Geneva was called by member states seeking reforms amid strong criticism of the United Nations agency’s response to the outbreak that began a year ago in West Africa.

Jan 23, 2015

WHO says cash crunch, rains could thwart Ebola efforts

GENEVA (Reuters) – Halting the spread of Ebola in West Africa will depend on mobilising funds and aid workers before the rainy season hits in April-May, otherwise it could up to take a year, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday.

But the WHO is set to run out of cash in mid-February, a key period as it tries to halt the deadly disease, a senior WHO official said.

Jan 22, 2015

North Korea seeks U.N. probe of “CIA torture crimes”

GENEVA, Jan 22 (Reuters) – North Korea called on Thursday
for the top United Nations human rights body to investigate
allegations of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) torture in the
George W. Bush era, that were contained in a recent Senate
report.

The move, announced by So Se Pyong, ambassador of the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the U.N. in Geneva,
puts more strain on ties with Washington, following U.S.
accusations that Pyongyang was behind a cyber attack on Sony
Pictures. North Korea denies those accusations.

Jan 22, 2015

Ebola ebbing in West Africa but vigilance needed: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) – The Ebola epidemic in West Africa appears to be ebbing, with fewer than 150 cases reported in the past week, but efforts must be pursued to stamp out the deadly disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

Sierra Leone remains hardest-hit, accounting for 117 of the 145 new confirmed cases, against 184 there the previous week and 248 the week before that, the WHO said in its latest update.

Jan 19, 2015

Iran, powers make “limited” progress at nuclear talks, to meet in Feb

GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran and major powers will meet again next month to try to narrow differences over Tehran’s nuclear programme after making limited progress on Sunday, as Washington lobbied to stave off fresh sanctions, diplomats said.

All sides agreed to step up efforts to reach a political understanding by the end of March with a view to clinching a full-blown deal by their self-imposed deadline of June 30.

Jan 18, 2015

Iran, world powers make “limited” progress at nuclear talks – diplomat

GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran and major powers made “limited” progress on Sunday in narrowing differences over its nuclear programme, but agreed to step up efforts as the Obama administration lobbied to stave off fresh sanctions against the Islamic Republic, diplomats said.

The Geneva negotiations, held at the level of political directors, are the culmination of five days of diplomacy in the Swiss city and Paris, including lengthy meetings between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Jan 16, 2015

Health crisis worsens in eastern Ukraine, WHO warns

GENEVA (Reuters) – Health care is collapsing after nine months of conflict in eastern Ukraine, where a lack of medicines and vaccines puts people at growing risk from diseases such as polio, measles and tuberculosis, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

Conditions are especially dire in the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk where people are trapped with little food. The fighting makes it hard to get to hospitals, which are often cut off from water and electricity.

Jan 15, 2015

North Korea calls U.S.-South Korea exercises “open challenge”

GENEVA, Jan 15 (Reuters) – Joint military exercises by South
Korea and the United States this week are “an open challenge” to
North Korea’s demand to ease tension on the divided peninsula, a
Pyongyang envoy said on Thursday.

So Se Pyong, ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic
of Korea (DPRK) to the United Nations in Geneva, also warned
that a continued stand-off with the United States and South
Korea could lead to confrontation, a “second Korean war”.

Jan 14, 2015

Kerry and Zarif unexpectedly resume nuclear talks in Geneva

GENEVA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif held intensive talks on Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme on Wednesday, returning for an evening session, officials said.

Iran and six world powers have renewed their quest for an elusive nuclear deal — seen as crucial to reducing the risk of a wider Middle East war — after negotiators failed for the second time in November to meet a self-imposed deadline.