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Jun 17, 2014

U.N. investigators warn of wider sectarian war across Iraq, Syria

GENEVA (Reuters) – The Middle East appears on the brink of wider sectarian war engulfing Iraq and Syria with radical Islamist insurgents wantonly kidnapping, torturing and killing civilians, U.N. human rights investigators said in a report on Tuesday.

Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)group have routed Baghdad’s army and seized the north of Iraq in the past week, linking it with a major swathe of territory previously taken in eastern Syria during the civil war there.

Jun 16, 2014

Schumacher out of coma, shifted to Swiss hospital

PARIS/LAUSANNE Switzerland (Reuters) – Seven times Formula One racing champion Michael Schumacher, who suffered severe head injuries in a ski accident last year, has come out of a coma and was transferred to a Swiss medical center on Monday, officials said, but gave no details of his condition.

Schumacher, the most successful Formula One racer of all time, has had several brain operations since his accident in the French Alps in late December. He was moved for further treatment early on Monday to Lausanne’s CHUV hospital, a sprawling modern glass-fronted complex above Lake Geneva.

Jun 16, 2014

Motor racing-Schumacher out of coma, shifted to Swiss hospital

GENEVA/LAUSANNE, Switzerland, June 16 (Reuters) – Seven times Formula One racing champion Michael Schumacher, who suffered severe head injuries in a ski accident last year, has come out of a coma and was transferred to a Swiss medical centre on Monday, officials said, but gave no details of his condition.

Schumacher, the most successful Formula One racer of all time, has had several brain operations since his accident in the French Alps in late December. He was moved for further treatment early on Monday to Lausanne’s CHUV hospital, a sprawling modern glass-fronted complex above Lake Geneva.

Jun 13, 2014

African elephants at risk, record ivory seizures -CITES

GENEVA (Reuters) – More than 20,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory in 2013, driven by demand in China and Thailand, and some local populations face an immediate threat of extinction, a U.N.-linked wildlife conservation agency said on Friday.

Criminal gangs and rebel militias hunt dwindling herds for tusks that fetch many thousands of dollars per kilo, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species said.

Jun 12, 2014

Fourth year of drought hits Djibouti: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) – Djibouti is suffering from a fourth straight year of drought, which has driven a huge exodus of people from rural areas to the capital and caused a surge in disease and malnutrition, the top U.N. official there said on Thursday.

Robert Watkins, U.N. resident coordinator in Djibouti, was meeting officials from donor countries to seek funds for a U.N. appeal of $74 million for Djibouti this year, launched in May. The United Nations has received $9.5 million from donors so far.

Jun 11, 2014

Pact to halt forced labor snubbed by Thailand, Gulf: ILO

GENEVA (Reuters) – Perpetrators of forced labor, which affects 21 million people globally, will be punished in most countries under a U.N. treaty clinched on Wednesday, despite being snubbed by Thailand and nearly all Gulf countries.

More than half of the estimated 21 million caught up in forced or compulsory labor are women and girls and the practice reaps an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits across agriculture, fishing, mining, construction, domestic services and the sex industry, among others, the International Labour Organisation, a United Nations agency, said.

Jun 10, 2014

Assad tops list of Syria war crimes suspects handed to ICC: former prosecutor

GENEVA (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tops a list of 20 sample war crimes indictments of government officials and rebels drafted by experts for prosecution someday, a former international war crimes prosecutor said on Tuesday.

The list has been handed to the International Criminal Court (ICC), citing for each incident a specific violation of the Rome statute under which a suspect could be charged, according to David Crane, an ex-chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and now head of the Syria Accountability Project.

Jun 10, 2014

Iran questions nuclear deal deadline as talks “hit wall”

GENEVA/PARIS, June 10 (Reuters) – Iran questioned whether a
July deadline for a nuclear deal with world powers will be met,
fuelling doubts on the outcome as France spoke out to say talks
on curbing Tehran’s uranium enrichment had “hit a wall”.

Iran’s talks with six major powers on curbing its nuclear
programme in exchange for an end to Western sanctions could be
extended for six months if no deal is reached by a July 20
deadline agreed by all parties, a senior Iranian official said.

Jun 10, 2014

France says Iran talks ‘hitting a wall’; July deadline in doubt

GENEVA/PARIS (Reuters) – France told Iran it must cut back a key part of its nuclear program and Tehran cast doubt on the chances of meeting a July deadline for a deal with world powers, highlighting the major hurdles negotiators still face.

Iran’s talks with six major powers on curbing its nuclear program in exchange for an end to sanctions could be extended for another six months if no deal is reached by a July 20 deadline, a senior Iranian official said.

Jun 10, 2014

Iran says six-month extension of nuclear talks may be needed

GENEVA/DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s talks with world powers on curbing its nuclear programme in exchange for an end to sanctions could be extended for another six months if no deal is reached by a July 20 deadline, a senior Iranian official said.

U.S. and Iranian officials held talks in Geneva on Monday to tackle ways of breaking a deadlock which has raised the likelihood that the deadline will lapse without a deal meant to head off the risk of a Middle East war over the nuclear issue.