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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.

Nov 13, 2014

Ebola death toll tops 5,000; Mali quarantines 90

BAMAKO/GENEVA (Reuters) – The death of a nurse in Mali from Ebola promoted on Wednesday the quarantine of more than 90 people in the West African country’s capital, as the World Health Organization said the disease had now claimed at least 5,160 lives.

The worst outbreak of the virus on record has ravaged the impoverished West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and led to a global watch for cases outside the region.

Nov 12, 2014

Ebola death toll tops 5,000; steep rise in Sierra Leone cases: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) – The death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa’s three hardest-hit countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, has risen to 5,147 out of 14,068 cases at the end of Nov. 9, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

A further 13 deaths and 30 cases have been recorded in five other countries – Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, Spain and the United States, the U.N. agency said.

Nov 12, 2014

Auction sets world record for jewelry, sapphire nets nearly $18 million

GENEVA (Reuters) – A Swiss auction has set a new world record for jewelry sales, Christie’s said on Wednesday, led by a Ceylon sapphire known as the “Blue Belle of Asia” which alone sold for an unprecedented 16.96 million Swiss francs ($17.6 million).

Christie’s said that 346 items had found new owners on Tuesday evening for a total sum of 147.2 million Swiss francs, exceeding the late actress Elizabeth Taylor’s collection which netted $116 million three years ago.

Nov 11, 2014

Swiss pocket watch nets world record $24 million – Sotheby’s

GENEVA, Nov 11 (Reuters) – A gold pocket watch made by Patek
Philippe for a New York banker in the 1930s fetched 23.2 million
Swiss francs ($24 million) at auction on Tuesday, smashing the
record for a timepiece it previously set 15 years ago, Sotheby’s

Henry Graves commissioned the famed Swiss watchmaker to
produce the world’s most complicated watch and surpass one made
for James Packard, the American automobile manufacturer.

Nov 7, 2014

U.N. women’s rights panel accuses China of harassing activists

GENEVA (Reuters) – A United Nations women’s rights watchdog has accused China of trying to silence activists and said some who had come to Geneva to testify about the country’s record “fear reprisals” upon return.

At least one female activist was prevented from going to the Swiss city under “travel restrictions” imposed by China, and others alleged their reports had been censored by “state agents”, the panel said, calling for a halt to such practices.

Oct 31, 2014

Iran hits back after West condemns its human rights record

GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran defended its human rights record on Friday, after a wave of Western criticism of its execution of a woman for murdering a man she said had tried to rape her.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary general of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, was speaking at a more than three hour-long debate in the U.N. Human Rights Council to review Tehran’s record.

Oct 30, 2014

U.N. watchdog urges Israel to probe possible Gaza war crimes

GENEVA (Reuters) – Israel should investigate all alleged violations committed by its forces during three recent wars in Gaza and ensure military commanders are brought to justice for any crimes, a U.N. human rights watchdog said on Thursday.

A panel of independent experts urged Israel to halt construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, stop confiscating land for their expansion, prevent violence against Palestinians and take measures to withdraw all settlers.

Oct 29, 2014

Ebola appears to be slowing in Liberia: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) – Liberia may be seeing a decline in the spread of Ebola, with falls in the number of burials and new admissions as well as a plateau in laboratory-confirmed cases, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

“Do we feel confident that the response is now getting an upper hand on the virus? Yes, we are seeing slowing rate of new cases, very definitely,” WHO Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward told a news conference.