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May 12, 2015

Ruby sets record, pink diamond and pearls shine at Sotheby’s sale

GENEVA, May 12 (Reuters) – A Burmese ruby weighing 25.59
carats sold for a world record 28.25 million Swiss francs
($30.42 million) at Tuesday’s auction that saw strong demand for
coloured stones and exceptional natural pearls, Sotheby’s said.

“The Sunrise Ruby”, the star lot that had the rare grading
of ‘pigeon’s blood’ colour, was hotly disputed by two telephone
bidders. From a private collection of Cartier jewels, it had
been estimated at 11.7 million to 17.5 million Swiss francs.

May 12, 2015

As Ebola disappears, no useful data seen from vaccine trials: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) – With Ebola nearly stamped out in West Africa, vaccine trials will probably fail to provide enough useful data on how well they protect people against the deadly virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Liberia was declared free from Ebola by the government and the WHO on Saturday after 42 days without a new case of the virus, which killed more than 4,700 people there during a year-long epidemic.

Apr 28, 2015

Red Cross ‘lost moral compass’ in war but says drew lessons

GENEVA (Reuters) – The Red Cross “lost its moral compass” during World War Two, turning a blind eye to atrocities committed by the Nazis, but is speaking out more now about conflicts including Syria, its president said on Tuesday.

Peter Maurer said the International Committee of the Red Cross had not recognized Nazi Germany for what it was and failed to protect civilians and especially Jews from persecution and murder.

Apr 24, 2015

U.N. invites Syrian parties to peace talks in Geneva in May

GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has invited Syria’s government and opposition groups for separate talks in Geneva next month in the latest bid to end the four-year-old civil war, a U.N. spokesman said on Friday.

De Mistura, who is due to brief the U.N. Security Council later on Friday, plans for “low-key” talks with each of the main stakeholders over four to six weeks in the Swiss city, Ahmad Fawzi told a news briefing.

Apr 24, 2015

U.N. welcomes EU migrant plan, says test is whether lives saved

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations on Friday welcomed the European Union’s plan to triple the size of its naval search mission in the Mediterranean, but said the key test was whether lives were saved and those fleeing war had a chance of gaining asylum.

The EU’s assurances meant the operation would have capacity, resources and scope comparable to Italy’s Mare Nostrum, which was ended six months ago, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said.

Apr 22, 2015

ICRC says Yemen situation is disastrous, seeks better access and funding

GENEVA (Reuters) – The humanitarian situation in Yemen is “catastrophic”, with deep divisions fuelling the conflict there despite a declared halt to Saudi-led air strikes, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia’s announcement on Tuesday that it was stopping its month-long bombing campaign offered a “glimmer of hope”, but had yet to be confirmed, said Robert Mardini, ICRC regional director for North Africa and the Middle East.

Apr 21, 2015

U.N. urges Europe to put asylum at centre of migrant debate

GENEVA (Reuters) – The U.N. refugee agency on Tuesday urged European leaders to put the protection of migrants at the centre of debate over the crisis in the Mediterranean and to do more to help Greece and Italy cope.

After as many as 900 people drowned in a ship off the coast of Libya this weekend, EU ministers on Monday called an extraordinary summit for Thursday and made an action plan.

Apr 21, 2015

U.N. urges Europe to put asylum at center of Mediterranean debate

GENEVA (Reuters) – The U.N. refugee agency on Tuesday urged European leaders to do more to help Greece and Italy cope with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean and to put protection of people at the center of debate.

After up to 900 died in the worst known shipwreck yet, European Union ministers on Monday set out a 10-point action plan and called an extraordinary summit of EU leaders for Thursday.

Apr 16, 2015

Italy’s migrant crisis intensifies with murder arrests, drownings

GENEVA/PALERMO, Italy (Reuters) – Italian police arrested 15 African men suspected of throwing about a dozen Christians from a migrant boat in the Mediterranean on Thursday, as the crisis off southern Italy intensified.

Forty-one more deaths were reported in a separate incident.

Police in the Sicilian capital Palermo said they had arrested the men, from Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal, after survivors reported they had thrown 12 people from Nigeria and Ghana to their deaths and threatened other Christians.

Apr 16, 2015

Lady Gaga, Sam Smith booked at Montreux jazz festival

LAUSANNE (Reuters) – Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett headline the 2015 Montreux Jazz Festival and Brazilian legends Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil will appear in a rare double billing.

The line-up for the July 3-18 event also includes veterans Santana, Herbie Hancock, Lionel Richie and Lenny Kravitz as well as Grammy-winning newcomer Sam Smith, the organizers said.