Anti-poverty candles lit in 121 Swiss cities

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Saturday night saw 121 Swiss towns and cities lighting candles in recognition of poverty that must be eradicated. It was the 10th year for the event, organized by Caritas, which collected funds to help Switzerland’s 260,000 children who live in poverty. The “million stars” project also had some 6,000 people who had […]

Time-honoured sea practice in danger

A mother and her young child, saved at sea after their boat sank in the Mediterranean (photo ©22011 UNHCR/ F Noy)

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND  – Five UN agencies are calling for concerted action to ensure that the time-honoured practice of saving lives at sea continue, as the situation worsens in a number of parts of the world. “We are deeply concerned about the loss of life, injury, trauma and serious human rights violations affecting migrants, asylum-seekers and […]

Gov’ts agree to take in 100,000 Syrian refugees

3 / Hundreds of Syrian refugees stream across the border into Jordan at a remote border point in the east. Many people crossing the desert into eastern Jordan are forced to pay smugglers hefty sums to take them to safety. Once refugees only paid smugglers to take them from the Middle East into Europe, now they must pay just to find their way out of Syria. / UNHCR / J. Kohler

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Governments meeting in Geneva today agree to increase the number of Syrian refugees they will take in, mainly through resettlement programmes, to 100,000, up from the 62,000 places currently available. Five countries, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, today host more than 3.2 million Syrian refugees, according to the UNHCR, the UN […]

Ebola update from Geneva

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – While Ebola continues to rage in Africa, three bits of related news came out of Geneva this week:. Vaccine, well tolerated The Canadian experimental vaccine against Ebola has been well accepted by a group of volunteers testing it at the HUG (university hospitals in Geneva), the hospital said Tuesday 2 December. “Since […]

Refugee group warns of Syrian food crisis

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The World Food Programme is suspending food supplies due to a shortfall in funding, and the UN refugee agency in Geneva, the UNHCR, is making an urgent appeal on behalf of its fellow agency. If new funding arrives, WFP will be able to start providing food again immediately, thanks to an electronic […]

WTO does a trade deal! Customs, borders

Roberto Azevedo,  WTO director general (photo, 2013, WTO)

“Can’t wait 17-18 years for next agreement” says WTO head GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – It took 19 years, but the World Trade Organization finally has a done deal: member states in Bali agreed to streamline customs and borders procedures as part of the Trade Facilitation Agreement. Thursday it was finally adopted after several snags and a […]

Cern launches Open Data Portal


2 new particles discovered, Cern says in busy week GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Cern on Thursday 20 November launched its Open Data Portal, making data from real collision events, produced by the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) experiments, openly available for the first time. “It is expected that these data will be of high value for the […]

Human Rights Watch raises record amount

The crowd raising a toast with flowers to Chinese artist and dissident An Wei Wei, in Geneva (photo, Paula Dupraz-Dobias, at HRW)

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Human Rights Watch in Geneva Tuesday night raised CHF2.4 million, a record for fundraisers for the organization, worldwide, so far this year. Last year Geneva raised CHF1.4 million, putting it in third place behind London and San Francisco-Silicon Valley. An Ai Wei Wei (Chinese artist and dissident) plate sold for CHF145000 (estimated […]

Geneva inches way to world internet home

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Geneva’s dream of becoming the home to internet governance, is inching closer to reality at a three-day conference that opened Monday. CEO of Icann (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) Fadi Chehadé, suggested in his opening speech at the Geneva Internet Conference that the city could play a key role as […]

Cern names new head

Time magazine cover Gianotti

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Italian physicist Fabiola Gianotti will be the next director general of Cern, the organization’s governing council announced Tuesday 4 November. Her five-year appointment will begin 1 January 2016 once the council formally approves her in December. Gianotti was leader of the Atlas experiment collaboration from March 2009 to February 2013, Cern notes […]