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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.

Nov 26, 2014

Number of Ebola cases nears 16,000 as Sierra Leone loses ground: 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.

Nov 19, 2014

Ebola spreading intensely in Sierra Leone as toll rises – WHO

GENEVA, Nov 19 (Reuters) – The toll in the Ebola epidemic
has risen to 5,420 deaths out of 15,145 cases in eight
countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on
Wednesday, with transmission of the deadly virus still “intense
and widespread” in Sierra Leone.

The figures, through Nov. 16, represent a jump of 243 deaths
and 732 cases since those issued last Friday, and cases continue
to be under-reported, the WHO said in its latest update.

Nov 14, 2014

Islamic State commanders liable for mass war crimes: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) – Islamic State commanders are liable for war crimes on a “massive scale” in northeast Syria where they spread terror by beheading, stoning and shooting civilians and captured fighters, U.N. investigators said on Friday.

The experts told world powers to make sure the commanders guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity were held accountable by the International Criminal Court.

Nov 13, 2014

Jeweller Graff buys back ruby for record $8.6 million: Sotheby’s

GENEVA (Reuters) – London luxury jeweler Laurence Graff has paid a record 8.2 million Swiss francs ($8.6 million) for a Burmese ruby, the top lot at a Geneva auction marked by strong prices for fine diamonds and rare colored stones, Sotheby’s said on Thursday.

Graff, known as the “King of Diamonds”, was buying the ruby of 8.62 carats for the second time, having acquired it first at an auction eight years ago. He had named the ‘pigeon-blood’, or pure red with a hint of blue, gemstone the “Graff Ruby” at the time.