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Aug 1, 2014

Disappointment, uncertainty after India blocks WTO trade deal

SYDNEY/GENEVA (Reuters) – Several member states of the World Trade Organisation voiced frustration after India’s demands for concessions on agricultural stockpiling led to the collapse of the first major global trade reform pact in two decades.

WTO ministers had already agreed the global reform of customs procedures known as “trade facilitation” in Bali, Indonesia, last December, but were unable to overcome last minute Indian objections and get it into the WTO rule book by the July 31 deadline.

Jul 31, 2014

India’s demands block $1 trln WTO deal on customs rules

NEW DELHI/GENEVA, July 31 (Reuters) – The World Trade
Organization failed on Thursday to reach a deal to standardise
customs rules, which would have been the first global trade
reform in two decades but was blocked by India’s demands for
concessions on agricultural stockpiling.

“We have not been able to find a solution that would allow
us to bridge that gap,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo
told trade diplomats in Geneva just two hours before the final
deadline for a deal.

Jul 31, 2014

US says hopeful of WTO deal with India only hours before deadline

NEW DELHI/GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States said on Thursday it was hopeful that differences between India and much of the rest of the world over a major trade agreement could be resolved in time, with only hours remaining before the deal has to be signed.

New Delhi has insisted that, in exchange for signing the trade facilitation agreement, it must see more progress on a parallel pact giving it more freedom to subsidize and stockpile food grains than is allowed by World Trade Organization rules.

Jul 25, 2014

Nigeria confirms Ebola case in megacity of Lagos

ABUJA/GENEVA, July 25 (Reuters) – A Liberian man who died in
Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos on Friday tested positive for
the deadly Ebola virus, Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said.

Patrick Sawyer, a consultant for the Liberian finance
ministry in his 40s, collapsed on Sunday after flying into
Lagos, a city of 21 million people, and was taken from the
airport and put in isolation in a local hospital. Nigeria
confirmed earlier on Friday that he had died in quarantine.

Jul 25, 2014

India threatens to derail WTO deal, prompts angry U.S. rebuke

NEW DELHI/GENEVA (Reuters) – India threatened on Friday to block a worldwide reform of custom rules, which some estimates say could add $1 trillion to the global economy and create 21 million jobs, prompting a U.S. warning that its demands could kill global trade reform efforts.

Diplomats from the 160 World Trade Organisation member countries meeting in Geneva had been meant to rubber stamp a deal on “trade facilitation” that was agreed at talks in Bali last December in the WTO’s first ever global trade agreement.

Jul 24, 2014

India blocks WTO deal on customs rules as deadline nears

GENEVA (Reuters) – India blocked an agreement on new global customs rules on Thursday, angering fellow members of the World Trade Organization who say Delhi’s veto could be costly, economically and politically.

At a meeting in Geneva, diplomats from the 160 WTO member countries were supposed to rubber stamp a deal on “trade facilitation” that was agreed at talks in Bali last December. Some estimates say it could add $1 trillion to the world economy and create 21 million jobs.

Jul 24, 2014

Russia says U.S. sanctions break WTO rules, could cause trade dispute

GENEVA (Reuters) – The latest U.S. sanctions against Russia violate World Trade Organization rules and may force Moscow into a destabilizing trade dispute, Russia’s ambassador told the Geneva-based trade body on Thursday.

“It looks like we are being forced to seek the protection of our legitimate rights and interests through the WTO mechanisms,” Ambassador Gennady Ovechko said, adding that Russia was also concerned by sanctions taken by other WTO members.

Jul 24, 2014

Mediterranean boat people numbers soar to near 100,000 this year

GENEVA (Reuters) – Almost 100,000 boat people have made the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe this year, a roughly 60 percent increase on the whole of last year, and about 800 have died in the attempt, the U.N. refugee agency said on Thursday.

The exodus has surged this year, as far more migrants put their lives in the hands of smugglers or unseaworthy vessels in a desperate attempt to reach Europe.

Jul 23, 2014

U.N. launches probe into alleged Israeli crimes in Gaza

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations on Wednesday launched an international inquiry into human rights violations and crimes that may have been committed by Israel during its military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

The U.N. Human Rights Council condemned the Israeli assault which it said had involved “disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks”, including aerial bombing of civilian areas, collective punishment, and the killing of more than 650 Palestinians.At the end of an emergency session, the 47-member forum adopted a resolution presented by Palestinians by a vote of 29 states in favor, 1 against (the United States) with 17 abstentions (including all nine European Union members).

Jul 22, 2014

Ukraine war crimes trials a step closer after Red Cross assessment

GENEVA (Reuters) – The Red Cross has made a confidential legal assessment that Ukraine is officially in a war, Western diplomats and officials say, opening the door to possible war crimes prosecutions, including over the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH-17.

“Clearly it’s an international conflict and therefore this is most probably a war crime,” one Western diplomat in Geneva told Reuters.