Tom's Feed
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 23, 2015

U.N. expert says secret trade deals threaten human rights

GENEVA, April 23 (Reuters) – Secret negotiations on
international trade deals threaten human rights, an independent
United Nations expert said on Thursday in comments that appeared
aimed at agreements the United States is seeking with the
European Union and Pacific nations.

In a statement, Cuban-born U.S. lawyer Alfred de Zayas
voiced particular concern about provisions that allow companies
to sue states.

Apr 20, 2015

U.N. rights chief says EU migrant policy is callous, xenophobic

GENEVA (Reuters) – The European Union should take a “more sophisticated, more courageous and less callous approach” to migrants who often die trying to reach the EU in boats that are not seaworthy, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on Monday.

“Europe is turning its back on some of the most vulnerable migrants in the world and risks turning the Mediterranean into a vast cemetery,” he said in a statement, a day after as many as 900 were feared killed in a shipwreck off Libya.

Apr 19, 2015

WHO leadership admits failings over Ebola, promises reform

GENEVA, April 19 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization
has admitted serious failings in its handling of the Ebola
crisis and pledged reforms to enable it to do better next time,
its leadership said in a statement seen by Reuters on Sunday.

“We have learned lessons of humility. We have seen that old
diseases in new contexts consistently spring new surprises,”
said the statement, attributed to the WHO Director-General
Margaret Chan and the deputy director-general and regional
directors.

Apr 17, 2015

Physicists try to make sense of a dark matter puzzle from space

GENEVA (Reuters) – A minibus-sized box of sensors whizzing round the earth every 91 minutes has sent back data that is tantalising theorists who want to know why their existing model of the universe no longer adds up.

Clamped to the International Space Station, the 7.5-tonne Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) intercepts particles from outer space, looking for evidence of “dark matter”, which has never been seen but is thought to be five times as abundant in the universe as visible matter.

Apr 16, 2015

Russia hopes U.N. Syria talks will lead to united fight with IS

GENEVA (Reuters) – Latest U.N. efforts to resolve the Syria crisis could succeed this time and lead to a united front against Islamic State followed by a political transition, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva said.

Earlier this week, the United Nations said its Syria envoy would launch fresh consultations with Syrian factions and interested countries on a new round of peace talks, a year after the last such initiative collapsed.

Apr 14, 2015

WTO cuts world trade growth forecasts for 2015 and 2016

GENEVA (Reuters) – Global goods trade will grow by 3.3 percent this year and by 4.0 percent in 2016, less than previously forecast, mainly due to sluggish economic growth, the World Trade Organization said on Tuesday.

“We expect trade to continue its slow recovery but with economic growth still fragile and continued geopolitical tensions, this trend could easily be undermined,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said.

Apr 13, 2015

U.N. Syria envoy to consult on new political talks: diplomats

BEIRUT/GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations’ Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, is proposing to hold consultations in Geneva on new political talks, diplomatic sources said on Monday, more than a year after U.N.-led peace talks collapsed.

Nobody from De Mistura’s office was available to comment on the initiative, which follows a request by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the relaunch of a political process.

Mar 26, 2015

U.S. questions China at WTO on banking technology restrictions

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States is concerned about China’s restrictions on the use of foreign information technology equipment by the banking sector, according to a filing published by the World Trade Organization on Thursday.

U.S. business groups have already complained about the new rules, which China announced in December, and senior officials including Secretary of State John Kerry have written to their Chinese counterparts about them.

Mar 25, 2015

U.N. tells backers of Libya’s rival sides to pressure them for peace

GENEVA (Reuters) – International backers of Libya’s rival factions must pressure the warring groups to work out a political deal and help to choke off the supply of guns to the country, a U.N. official said on Wednesday.

The United Nations has been sponsoring talks to encourage the rival factions to form a unity government as a way to stop the conflict in the oil-producing country.