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May 27, 2015

Yemen faces catastrophe without vital supplies: Red Cross

GENEVA (Reuters) – Yemen faces a humanitarian catastrophe unless the Saudi-led coalition allows it to import and distribute vital food, fuel and medicines, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Wednesday.

“Humanitarian agencies can do things, but it will be the tip of the iceberg,” said Cedric Schweizer, outgoing head of the ICRC’s delegation in Yemen.

May 26, 2015

Ebola set to persist in 2015, but funds for aid are lacking -WHO

GENEVA, May 26 (Reuters) – The Ebola outbreak in Guinea and
Sierra Leone is expected to take all of 2015 to stamp out and
may persist even longer because of dwindling financing, the
World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday.

Guinea and Sierra Leone reported a total of 12 cases in the
week to Sunday May 24th, down from 36 the previous week. They
included new infections and deaths that occurred outside of
treatment centres as communities hide their sick, it said.

May 22, 2015

Cholera hits 3,000 Burundi refugees in Tanzania: U.N.

GENEVA/BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – About 3,000 refugees fleeing political turmoil in Burundi have been infected in a cholera epidemic in neighboring Tanzania, the United Nations said on Friday, stoking fears of a growing humanitarian crisis in Africa’s Great Lakes.

Up to 400 new cases of the deadly disease were emerging every day, the U.N.’s refugee agency UNHCR said, mainly in Tanzania’s Kagunga peninsula where tens of thousands of Burundians have taken refuge, often in squalid conditions.

May 21, 2015

West Africa’s health systems need rebuilding post-Ebola: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) – Health care systems in West Africa that collapsed during the Ebola epidemic must be rebuilt urgently to provide basic services and confront other killer diseases, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

Recovery plans in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will cost $2.3 billion, only half of which has been pledged, and donors will need confidence in good governance to provide more funds, a senior WHO official said.

May 19, 2015

New Ebola cases in Guinea, Sierra Leone show huge effort still needed – WHO

GENEVA, May 19 (Reuters) – Guinea and Sierra Leone reported
35 new Ebola cases in the past week, four times as many as the
week before, in a reminder that the virus “will not go quietly”,
a top World Health Organization official said on Tuesday.

“It will take an extraordinary effort to finish the job,”
the WHO’s special representative for Ebola, Bruce Aylward, told
a briefing attended by health ministers.

May 18, 2015

WHO sets up $100 mln fund to avoid being “overwhelmed” again

GENEVA, May 18 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization is
setting up a $100 million contingency fund to ensure that the
U.N. agency will not be “overwhelmed” by a major crisis again as
it was with Ebola.

The WHO and director-general Margaret Chan have come under
fire for their slow response to West Africa’s Ebola epidemic,
which began in Guinea in December 2013 but was not declared an
international public health emergency until August 2014.

May 18, 2015

Merkel urges tighter WHO management after ‘Ebola catastrophe’

GENEVA (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday the World Health Organization must streamline its management to respond quickly to crises like West Africa’s “Ebola catastrophe” that has killed more than 11,000 people.

The WHO and its director-general Margaret Chan have come under heavy fire for their slow response to the Ebola epidemic, which began in Guinea in December 2013 but was not declared an international public health emergency until August 2014.

May 15, 2015

UN seeks speedier inspections on Yemen-bound goods

GENEVA, May 15 (Reuters) – The United Nations humanitarian
coordinator for Yemen urged a Saudi-led coalition to ease its
inspections of Yemen-bound cargo to speed up imports of vital
goods which are still being held up despite a humanitarian

As electricity is lacking across Yemen, fuel is critical to
run generators in hospitals, pumps for the water and sanitation
system, and the communications grid, Johannes van der Klaauw
told a U.N. briefing in Geneva via audio link from Sanaa.

May 13, 2015

Sapphire sets record at Christie’s, Spanish royal brooch stranded

GENEVA, May 13 (Reuters) – Rare coloured gems led by a
record-setting sapphire found new owners at Christie’s on
Wednesday, but a heavily publicised brooch from Spain’s royal
family was left on the block.

“The inexorable rise in demand for coloured gemstones and
pearls continued this evening,” Rahul Kadakia, international
head of Christie’s jewelry department who conducted the Geneva
auction, said in a statement.

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.