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Jan 29, 2015

Weekly Ebola cases below 100, WHO says endgame begins

GENEVA, Jan 29 (Reuters) – The number of new confirmed Ebola
cases totalled 99 in the week to Jan. 25, the lowest tally since
June 2014, the World Health Organization said on Thursday,
signalling the tide might have turned against the epidemic.

“The response to the EVD (Ebola virus disease) epidemic has
now moved to a second phase, as the focus shifts from slowing
transmission to ending the epidemic,” the WHO said.

Jan 28, 2015

EU investment plan could create 2.1 mln jobs if done right -ILO

GENEVA, Jan 28 (Reuters) – The European Commission’s 315
billion euro investment plan to spur growth could create more
than 2.1 million net new jobs, lowering the bloc’s jobless rate
by 1 percent by 2018, the International Labour Organization
(ILO) said on Wednesday.

But if the three-year plan, announced by Commission chief
Jean-Claude Juncker in November, fails to attract and leverage
private investment, it would create just 400,000 new jobs,
barely making a dent in the EU’s 23 million unemployed, it said.

Jan 27, 2015

After Ebola, WHO to set up contingency fund, develop ‘surge capacity’

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday it will create a contingency fund and an emergency workforce to respond quickly to crises after strong criticism of the agency’s delay in confronting the Ebola epidemic.

Director-general Dr. Margaret Chan said at an emergency meeting called to discuss the agency’s Ebola response that the outbreak showed the need to strengthen WHO’s crisis management and to streamline procedures for recruiting frontline workers.

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.