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Nov 10, 2013

Iran nuclear talks end without breakthrough: France

GENEVA (Reuters) – French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Sunday that nuclear talks between Iran and global powers had finished without an agreement but that they would continue at a later date.

“From the start, France wanted an agreement to the important question of Iran’s nuclear program. The Geneva meeting allowed us to advance, but we were not able to conclude because there are still some questions to be addressed,” Fabius told reporters early on the fourth day of ministerial talks in the Swiss city.

Nov 8, 2013

Syria, neighbors to vaccinate 20 million children against polio

GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) – More than 20 million children are to be vaccinated in Syria and neighboring countries against polio to try to stop the spread of the crippling infectious disease following its re-emergence there after 14 years, United Nations agencies said on Friday.

The mass vaccination against polio, which can spread rapidly among children, is already under way in the Middle East a week after the region declared a polio emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN children fund UNICEF said.

Nov 7, 2013

Evidence supports Arafat poisoning theory, wider probe needed: experts

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – The remains of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat showed test results consistent with polonium poisoning and should lead to a judicial investigation even if they were not absolute proof that he died that way, Swiss experts said on Thursday.

The two forensic experts were part of an international team that opened Arafat’s grave in the West Bank city of Ramallah last November and took samples from his body to see if there was evidence he was poisoned with the radioactive element. Their report was released on Wednesday.

Nov 7, 2013

Evidence supports, not proves, Arafat poisoning theory: experts

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – The remains of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat showed test results consistent with polonium poisoning, but were not proof that he died that way, two Swiss experts said on Thursday.

The two forensic experts were part of an international team that opened Arafat’s grave in the West Bank city of Ramallah last November and took samples from his body to see if there was evidence he was poisoned with the radioactive element. Their report was released on Wednesday.

Nov 5, 2013

U.S., Russia fail to agree Syria peace talks date

GENEVA, Nov 5 (Reuters) – The United States and Russia
failed on Tuesday to agree a date for a Syrian peace conference,
remaining divided over what role Iran might play in talks to end
the civil war and over who would represent Syria’s opposition.

“We were hoping that we would be in a position to announce a
date today; unfortunately we are not,” said U.N.-Arab League
envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who chaired the meeting at the United
Nations in Geneva. “But we are still striving to see if we can
have the conference before the end of the year.”

Nov 5, 2013

Syria talks under way, Damascus insists Assad will stay

GENEVA, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met U.S. and
Russian officials on Tuesday to discuss convening long-delayed
Syrian peace talks this year despite disputes over President
Bashar al-Assad’s future and whether his ally Iran can attend.

Hours earlier, Damascus reiterated that Assad will stay in
power come what may, casting doubt on the political transition
that is the main focus of the proposed “Geneva 2″ conference.

Nov 1, 2013

UN feeds record 3.3 million Syrians but malnutrition rising

GENEVA, Nov 1 (Reuters) – The United Nations delivered food
to a record 3.3 million people in Syria in October, up from 2.7
million the previous month, but said on Friday civilians were
going hungry in besieged areas that remain inaccessible.

Embattled parts of Damascus and its rural areas, where
fighting has intensified, have not been reached for many months
and the nutritional state of those trapped is believed to have
deteriorated significantly, the World Food Programme (WFP) said.

Oct 29, 2013

Polio outbreak in Syria threatens whole region, WHO says

GENEVA (Reuters) – Polio has broken out among young children in northeast Syria after probably originating in Pakistan and poses a threat to millions of children across the Middle East, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday.

The crippling disease, which is caused by a virus transmitted via contaminated food and water, could spread especially fast in Syria, where civil war has led to falling vaccination rates.

Oct 29, 2013

Defiant Israel returns to U.N. rights forum

GENEVA (Reuters) – Israel appeared before the main United Nations human rights body on Tuesday, ending a 20-month boycott of the Geneva forum which it accuses of bias against the Jewish state.

Eviatar Manor, Israel’s ambassador in Geneva, led its delegation to the session, held as part of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s examination of U.N. member states every four years.

Oct 29, 2013

Polio outbreak in northeast Syria risks spreading, WHO says

GENEVA (Reuters) – A polio outbreak has been confirmed among young children in northeast Syria and risks spreading in the region, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Twenty-two children in Deir al-Zor province became paralyzed this month with acute flaccid paralysis, symptoms that can be caused by other diseases, and WHO’s laboratory in Tunis has now isolated the wild polio virus in samples taken from 10 victims.