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Dec 5, 2013

Swiss expert contests French finding that Arafat not poisoned

GENEVA (Reuters) – A Swiss scientist who examined samples from the body of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said French experts had made weak arguments in concluding that he could not have died of poisoning in 2004.

French forensic examiners commissioned by magistrates investigating Arafat’s death in a Paris hospital assessed on Tuesday that he had not been killed with radioactive polonium found in abnormally high levels in his body and clothing.

Dec 5, 2013

Syria top priority for Red Cross in 2014 despite limited access

GENEVA (Reuters) – Desperate civilians in a swathe of Syria from Aleppo in the north to the southern border are largely out of reach of aid workers, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday.

Throughout the country, the wounded are often denied medical treatment by either government officials or rebels, while hospitals and ambulances remain targets of unlawful attacks, ICRC President Peter Maurer said.

Dec 3, 2013

U.N. falls short of feeding Syria’s hungry as winter bites

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations said on Tuesday it had delivered food to 3.4 million people in Syria in November, falling short again of its monthly target of 4 million as heavy fighting kept it from reaching hungry people in contested areas.

As winter bites, the number of children in Syria deemed vulnerable and in need of assistance has nearly quadrupled from a year ago to 4.3 million, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said.

Nov 26, 2013

Exclusive: U.N. says Syria combatants stymie aid effort

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations says its aid convoys cannot reach around 250,000 people in areas besieged by Syrian government forces or rebels, despite “growing needs and intensifying conflict”.

The detailed assessment was included in a confidential paper that Valerie Amos, U.N. emergency relief coordinator, presented to a private, unannounced U.N. meeting in Geneva on Tuesday.

Nov 26, 2013

U.N. says Syria combatants stymie aid effort

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations says its aid convoys cannot reach around 250,000 people in areas besieged by Syrian government forces or rebels, despite “growing needs and intensifying conflict”.

The detailed assessment was included in a confidential paper that Valerie Amos, U.N. emergency relief coordinator, presented to a private, unannounced U.N. meeting in Geneva on Tuesday.

Nov 26, 2013

Syria peace talks set for January 22 in Geneva

GENEVA (Reuters) – An international peace conference for Syria will begin on January 22, the first direct talks between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and rebels seeking to overthrow him, the United Nations said on Monday.

Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary-general, said the goal was to agree on a mutually acceptable transitional administration as well as the other elements of an outline peace plan drafted by the Western powers and Russia at Geneva in June last year.

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.