Syrian crisis reaching stage of civil war UN human rights chief says

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told journalists in Geneva that 4,000 was a conservative estimate, with “the reliable information coming to us… that it’s much more than that.”Ms. Pillay will address a special session tomorrow of the UN Human Rights Council, which is meeting in Geneva to discuss this week’s release of an independent international commission of inquiry into the crackdown.That three-member commission, established by the Council, found evidence that Syria’s military and security forces have committed crimes against humanity since March, when a public uprising began across Syria, in line with similar movements across North Africa and the Middle East.The commission’s report is based on interviews with more than 200 victims and witnesses of human rights violations, including civilians and defectors from the military and security forces.Aside from its findings, the commission called on the Syrian Government to immediately end the ongoing rights violations, to initiate investigations of these incidents and to bring the perpetrators to justice.Speaking today, Ms. Pillay warned that as more defectors threatened to take up arms, there is an increasing threat of “a civil war and at the moment that is how I am characterizing this.” 1 December 2011The deteriorating situation in Syria is now close to a civil war and the death toll from the nine-month crackdown by the country’s security forces against protesters has passed at least 4,000, the United Nations human rights chief said today. read more

US current account deficit narrows to 948 billion in third quarter smallest

US current account deficit narrows to $94.8 billion in third quarter, smallest in 4 years by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted Dec 17, 2013 6:35 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – The U.S. current account deficit narrowed in the July-September quarter to the lowest level in four years as a rise in Americans’ foreign investment earnings helped offset a bigger deficit in goods.The Commerce Department says the deficit in the current account declined to $94.8 billion in the third quarter, the smallest imbalance since the third quarter of 2009 when the country was climbing out of a deep recession. The deficit was 1.8 per cent lower than a revised $96.6 billion deficit in the April-June quarter.The current account is the country’s broadest trade measure covering not only goods and services but also investment flows.For the third quarter, the deficit in goods increased by 1.7 per cent but this was offset by a 7.1 per cent rise in investment earnings. read more