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Nov 25, 2013

Syria peace talks set for January 22 in Geneva: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) – An international peace conference aimed at ending Syria’s civil war will be held on January 22, the first face-to-face talks between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels seeking to overthrow him, the United Nations said on Monday.

The United Nations is hoping for a peaceful transition in Syria, building on an agreement between world powers reached in June last year. The deal calls for the warring sides to agree to set up a transitional governing body with full executive powers, including over military and security entities.

Nov 25, 2013

Syria peace talks set for Jan. 22 in Geneva – UN

GENEVA, Nov 25 (Reuters) – An international peace conference
aimed at ending Syria’s civil war will be held on Jan. 22, the
first face-to-face talks between the government of President
Bashar al-Assad and rebels seeking to overthrow him, the United
Nations said on Monday.

The United Nations is hoping for a peaceful transition in
Syria, building on an agreement between world powers reached in
June last year. The deal calls for the warring sides to agree to
set up a transitional governing body with full executive powers,
including over military and security entities.

Nov 22, 2013

Child soldiers swell fighters’ ranks in Central African Republic: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) – The number of child soldiers in Central African Republic has more than doubled to as many as 6,000 in recent months as self-defense militia have sprung up to counter waves of attacks by former rebels, the United Nations said on Friday.

World powers, led by France, are scrambling to contain a crisis that Paris and U.N. officials have warned could lead to genocide in Central African Republic, which slipped into chaos after rebels ousted the president in March.

Nov 22, 2013

Torture rife in Uzbekistan, U.N. watchdog says

GENEVA (Reuters) – Torture is rife in prisons and police stations in Uzbekistan, where activists are rounded up and routinely mistreated, the U.N. torture watchdog said on Friday.

It cited “numerous, ongoing and consistent allegations” that detainees in the ex-Soviet state were tortured, including by rape and sexual violence, in order to extract confessions. Some alleged abuses had resulted in deaths in custody.

Nov 20, 2013

Children at risk of AIDS should be tested at birth – UN

GENEVA (Reuters) – More than a quarter of a million children each year are born infected with the virus that causes AIDS, but too few are being tested early to receive treatment and prolong their lives, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

Michele Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, called for diagnostic kits to be improved for detection in babies of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, and for their “still high” current price of $25-50 to be brought down.

Nov 15, 2013

Spain must probe civil war disappearances, U.N. watchdog says

GENEVA (Reuters) – A U.N. human rights watchdog urged Spain on Friday to investigate the disappearances of civilians during and after the 1936-1939 civil war, despite Madrid’s objection to re-examining past crimes.

A former Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon, estimates at least 152,000 civilians disappeared, presumably killed, behind the lines of General Francisco Franco’s Nationalist forces during the civil war and then in the first 12 years of his dictatorship, up to 1951.

Nov 14, 2013

‘Pink Star’ diamond sells for world record $83 million in Geneva

GENEVA (Reuters) – The “Pink Star”, a flawless pink diamond the size of a plum, sold for 76.3 million Swiss francs ($83.02 million) in Geneva on Wednesday, a world record price for a gemstone at auction, Sotheby’s said.

“The diamond was bought by Isaac Wolf and the diamond has been renamed The Pink Dream,” said Matthew Weigman, Sotheby’s worldwide director of sales communications.

Nov 13, 2013

“Pink Star” diamond sells for world record $83 million – Sotheby’s

GENEVA (Reuters) – The “Pink Star”, a huge flawless pink diamond, sold for 76.3 million Swiss francs ($83.02 million) including commission fees in Geneva on Wednesday, a world record price for a gemstone at auction, Sotheby’s said.

The oval-shaped diamond, mounted on a ring, weighed in at 59.60 carats. It was bought by a man bidding in the room, who told reporters that he was buying it on behalf of an anonymous person whom he represented, and would not give his own name.

Nov 11, 2013

Polio virus strain in Syria confirmed as being from Pakistan – WHO

GENEVA, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Polio that has crippled at least
13 children in Syria has been confirmed as being caused by a
strain of the virus that originated in Pakistan and is spreading
across the Middle East, the World Health Organisation said.

Genetic sequencing shows the strain found in Syrian children
in Deir al-Zor, where an outbreak was detected last month, is
linked to the strain of Pakistani origin found in sewage in
Egypt, Israel and Palestinian territories in the past year.

Nov 11, 2013

U.S. lawmakers seek tighter Iran sanctions before any deal

WASHINGTON/GENEVA (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers said on Sunday they aimed to tighten sanctions on Iran to prevent Washington giving away too much in a deal on Tehran’s nuclear program that diplomats said was still possible despite the failure of high-level weekend talks.

Their comments reflected widespread Congressional skepticism about a rapprochement between Iran and world powers and coincided with renewed lobbying from Israel against a proposal it sees as leaving open a danger Iran could build a nuclear bomb. Tehran denies harboring any such ambition.