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Jun 3, 2013

Red Cross pushing for access to Syria’s besieged Qusair

GENEVA (Reuters) – The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Monday it was still seeking a formal Syrian response to its request for urgent access to the besieged town of Qusair after a minister said aid efforts should wait until the fighting was over.

Humanitarian groups say as many as 1,500 wounded people may be trapped in Qusair by fighting between rebels and President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, who are backed by fighters from Lebanon’s militant Shi’ite group Hezbollah.

Jun 3, 2013

Red Cross still pushing for access to besieged Qusair in Syria

GENEVA (Reuters) – The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Monday it was still seeking a formal Syrian response to its request for urgent access to the besieged town of Qusair after a minister said aid efforts should wait until the fighting was over.

Humanitarian groups say as many as 1,500 wounded people may be trapped in Qusair by fighting between rebels and President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, who are backed by fighters from Lebanon’s militant Shi’ite group Hezbollah.

May 31, 2013

Britain must investigate torture in Iraq, Afghanistan: U.N

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations torture watchdog called on Britain on Friday to widen and speed up investigations into allegations that British forces tortured detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan and prosecute those responsible.

British inquiries into alleged abuses by its forces in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 have been slow and there have been no prosecutions for torture or complicity in abuse, although there have been courts martial, the U.N. body said.

May 29, 2013

U.N. rights chief urges halt to flow of arms, fighters to Syria

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations’ human rights chief urged countries on Wednesday not to supply Syria with weapons and to press both sides to find a political end to the war, to prevent more massacres and the threat to regional stability.

“If the current situation persists, or deteriorates further, increased inter-communal massacres are a certainty, rather than a risk,” Navi Pillay told the U.N. Human Rights Council.

May 24, 2013

WHO to help Saudi Arabia investigate coronavirus before haj

GENEVA, May 24 (Reuters) – The World Health Organisation
(WHO) said on Friday that it would help Saudi Arabia dig deeper
into deadly outbreaks of a new SARS-like virus to draw up advice
ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage, which attracts millions of
Muslims.

The U.N. agency, which is not currently recommending any
restrictions on travel to the kingdom or screening of passengers
at airports or entry points, will sent a second team of experts
in the coming weeks, WHO director-general Margaret Chan said.

May 23, 2013

WHO warns countries not to hoard secrets of coronavirus

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) warned countries with possible cases of the SARS-like novel coronavirus on Thursday that they must share information and not allow commercial labs to profit from the virus, which has killed 22 people worldwide.

Saudi Arabia, where the first case occurred, has said the development of diagnostic tests for the disease has been delayed by a foreign laboratory’s patent rights on the SARS-like virus.

May 23, 2013

U.N. investigator seeks world moratorium on ‘killer robots’

GENEVA (Reuters) – A United Nations human rights investigator called on Thursday for all states to declare a moratorium to prevent so-called “killer robots” being deployed on the battlefield.

Christof Heyns, U.N. special rapporteur on executions, said that unmanned robotic weapons systems with varying degrees of autonomy and deadliness were being tested or used by the United States, Britain and Israel without debate on moraI and legal issues.

May 21, 2013

China’s bird flu outbreak cost $6.5 billion

GENEVA (Reuters) – The H7N9 virus appears to have been brought under control in China largely due to restrictions at bird markets, but caused some $6.5 billion in losses to the economy, U.N. experts said on Tuesday.

Health authorities worldwide must be on the lookout to detect the virus, the experts said, which could still develop the ability to spread easily among humans and cause a deadly influenza pandemic.

May 8, 2013

WHO experts to visit Saudi hospital where coronavirus spread

GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) – World Health Organization (WHO) experts and local officials will visit a Saudi hospital where the SARS-like coronavirus has spread, killing seven people, the U.N. agency said on Wednesday.

France reported its first case on Wednesday in a 65-year-old Frenchman who had recently returned from Dubai with the virus that has emerged from the Gulf and has also spread to Britain and Germany as well as Jordan, Qatar and United Arab Emirates.

May 7, 2013

(OFFICIAL)-Aid convoys roll slowly in Syria despite urgent need – U.N.

GENEVA, May 7 (Reuters) – Bureaucratic hurdles still hamper
delivery of aid in Syria where nearly one in three people need
help, half of them children, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Aid requirements have risen dramatically in the past year as
the civil war has escalated, with some 6.8 million deemed in
need now compared with 1 million in March 2012, the U.N. Office
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.