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Our selection of useful news items from around the world

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Global Geneva

Trade restrictions by WTO members at historically high levels

"An increase of 27% compared to the figure recorded in the previous annual overview".


EU to give themselves new powers after WTO deadlock

DW / news agencies (LINK)

WTO chief: 'Months' needed to fix disputes body

See earlier articles. BBC. (LINK)

U.S.-China trade deal hopes boost US stocks in early trading

USA Today (LINK)

Boris Johnson, the UK's prime minister, explained in under 650 words


Refinitiv deployed filter to block Reuters reports as Hong Kong protests raged

"Under pressure from the Chinese government, the financial information provider that distributes Reuters news to investors has blocked over 200 stories on the mainland that could paint Beijing in a negative light. The censorship began earlier this year after Refinitiv feared its China operation would be suspended. Refinitiv [...] until last year was owned by Reuters' parent company, Thomson Reuters Corp."

"The London Stock Exchange has agreed to buy Refinitiv for $27 billion in a deal that's expected to close in the second half of next year. It declined to comment.

"The system included the creation of a new code to attach to some China stories, called 'Restricted News'. As a result, Refinitiv's customers in China have been denied access to coverage of one of the biggest news events of the year, including two Reuters reports on downgrades of Hong Kong by credit-rating agencies.

"The censorship has angered the top news and business executives of Reuters and the directors of the Thomson Reuters Founders Share Co Ltd, an independent body tasked with preserving the news agency's independence. Refinitiv chief executive David Craig and Thomson Reuters CEO Jim Smith have held multiple talks, as recently as this week, in an effort to resolve the issue.

"Refinitiv was formed last year when a consortium led by private equity giant Blackstone purchased a 55% stake in Thomson Reuters' Financial & Risk business, which included the Eikon terminal business, for about $20 billion and rebranded it.

"Prior to the Blackstone deal, when Thomson Reuters controlled the Eikon business, Reuters stories were not blocked in China on Eikon. The Chinese government itself has been blocking access in China to the Reuters website for general readers,, for years, as well as the sites of many other foreign news organizations.

"Refinitiv and Thomson Reuters remain close: Reuters sells news to Eikon, and Thomson Reuters retains a 45% stake in Refinitiv. Refinitiv is by far Reuters' largest client, providing nearly half its revenue. As part of the spin-off deal, Refinitiv agreed to make inflation-adjusted annual payments of $325 million to Reuters over 30 years for news – a reliable income stream that is rare in the media business." 

Reuters (LINK)

At Least 250 Journalists Have Been Imprisoned in 2019 and China Is the Top Jailer

Time (LINK)

Afghanistan's aid workers become a target as instability grows


The Afghanistan Papers: A secret history of the war

"Senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable."

Washington Post: Most read (LINK: freemium)

U.S. Senate passes resolution to formally 'commemorate the Armenian Genocide'

CNN Politics (LINK)

New ECB head Christine Lagarde sees euro zone slowdown bottoming out


GESDA foundation matches CHF 3 million public funding with private donor

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA) and former Nestlé CEO, says the new foundation will help "create a competitive advantage for Geneva."

CNN Money Switzerland (LINK)

Donald Trump Jr. Denounced for Killing Rare Sheep in Mongolia

Days after killing the endangered animal, Trump Jr. was given retroactive permission for slaughtering the sheep.

Common Dreams (LINK)

Feminists deface Geneva Old Town café haunt of the far-right

20 Minutes (LINK in French)

How randomised trials became big in development economics

This year's Nobel Economics Prize: "There is strong opposition to the approach. This argues that experiments are not as reliable or useful as they are made out to be. Some even say that many such experiments fail to satisfy ethical principles and may actually harm development efforts." See below.

The Conversation (LINK)

The poverty of poor economics

"The winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics experiment on the poor, but their research doesn't solve poverty."

Africa is a country (LINK)

Understanding and misunderstanding randomized controlled trials (RCT)

"RCT results can serve science but are weak ground for inferring 'what works'."

Social science & Medicine (LINK)

'Alternative Nobel Prize' Laureates presented award in Stockholm

Joint Inspection Unit elects its chair and vice-chair for 2020

It is the first time in the JIU's history that both the Chair and Vice-Chair functions are occupied by women inspectors.


Rights groups launch Myanmar boycott ahead of Hague genocide hearings

Human rights campaigners supporting Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority on Monday called for a global boycott of the country, a day before genocide hearings begin at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Myanmar leader and Nobel Peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who arrived in the Netherlands on Sunday, will defend her country's record during three days of hearings initiated after a lawsuit was filed by Gambia in November.

Reuters (LINK)

Fighting corruption: who does best

"Barbados shines within Latin America and the Caribbean with the highest values in [a major] Rule of Law Index (2018 data), not far from Canada, the Americas' top seed for decades, close to Germany, the USA, Costa Rica and Chile.

"Barbados also enjoys the highest perception of control of corruption among all continental and Caribbean countries (WDI data 2000-2017) with a hefty 89.4 per cent, ahead of Uruguay and above the G7 average of 87.6 per cent. Data from Transparency International place Barbados in the first place of the Caribbean and fourth of the Americas – with The Bahamas, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, and Saint Lucia, in the leading 50 nations in the world where corruption is perceived as less present, Grenada being 53rd."


Seven Jobs That AI Could Replace by 2030

From telemarketers to radiologists.

Medium / Towards Data Science (LINK)

Germany just got a universal basic income, and nobody noticed

Supreme court caps job center penalties, effectively removing the legal requirement to seek employment.

Medium (LINK)

Lausanne ranked world's best small city

Le News (LINK)

Oxfam: Every two seconds climate change forces a person from their home

Anti-Nuclear Movement Urges Trump to Accept Putin Offer to Renew 2010 START Treaty

The international anti-nuclear weapons group Global Zero is urging President Donald Trump to accept with open arms an offer by Russian President Vladimir Putin to "extend the New START treaty immediately, before the year's end, and without any preconditions".

Common Dreams (LINK)

Malta's prime minister to resign amid investigation of a journalist's killing

Harvey Weinstein reaches tentative $25 million settlement

Weinstein wouldn't have to admit wrongdoing, and his studio's insurance companies would pick up the tab. Some of his accusers already say they object.


The Elon Musk 'pedo guy' verdict shows Twitter and the courts don't prioritize the truth

"There's one kind of justice for wealthy people, which is swift and reasonably fair; there is another for poor people, which is neither."

NBC Opinion (LINK)

Saudi quietly scraps requirement for gender segregation in restaurants

AP / scmp (LINK)

More Than 500 Legal Scholars Say Trump Committed Impeachable Acts

HuffPost (LINK)

AP Fact Check: Trump's Ukraine defense at odds with facts


Nearly half a million children bear brunt of eastern Ukraine conflict: UNICEF

Xinhua (LINK)

Nestlé cannot claim bottled water is 'essential public service', court rules

Michigan's second-highest court rules in favor of township in case that could damage company's effort to privatize water.

The Guardian, U.K. (LINK)

UNECE launches Knowledge Hub on Statistics for SDGs to support evidence-driven policies


Aimed at producers of national official statistics and other statistical experts, the Knowledge Hub offers a suite of guidelines and tools produced by the UNECE Steering Group on Statistics for SDGs and its task teams, including a practical guide to developing national reporting platforms; generic presentation tools; and tools for countries to conduct self-assessments of their data and indicator availability.

The Hub contains summaries of progress in producing and presenting SDG indicators across UNECE countries; allows countries to share technical materials such as code and shapefiles for combining geospatial and statistical data; and guides users to information about national, regional and global initiatives and events. Explore the Knowledge Hub at


Bougainville referendum: region votes overwhelmingly for independence from Papua New Guinea

bougainville map
Largest of the Solomon Islands

Jubilation at result but region faces long process ahead before it can become world's newest nation. Almost 98% of people (176,928 people) voted for independence and less than 2% (3,043 people) voted to remain as part of Papua New Guinea but with "greater autonomy". There were 1,096 informal ballots.

The Guardian, U.K. (LINK)

November 2019 articles

13 – 30 November

Human rights nominees all women for first time

Al Gore tells millennials: climate change investment biggest opportunity in history

Plans to save species from extinction are ignoring climate change

Officials to meet on Mekong crisis

What to do to save Venice?

By 2020 the manufacture, import and export of mercury-added products will no longer be allowed

Several countries target environmental activists with counterterrorism measures

IOM: 270 million people are migrants, who send home a staggering $689 billion

Roundup: 20 years after landmark treaty, many countries far from mine-free

Innovative WHO HIV testing recommendations aim to expand treatment coverage

WHO Scales Back Ebola Response Following Deadliest Attacks Ever On DRC Health Workers

New UNAids chief vows to stamp out sexual misconduct and abuse of power

Why does so little aid money go to preventing violence against women and girls?

Gordon Sondland: US ambassador to EU accused of sexual misconduct

UK police explain decision on Prince Andrew case

Sudan approves law to 'dismantle' former regime, repeal Bashir-era limits on women's rights

Fiona Hill and Mr. Putin: the book

Singapore tells Facebook to correct user's post in test of 'fake news' laws

International Humanitarian Law and Cyber Operations during Armed Conflicts

Politicians drop below ad execs in veracity index

Antibiotic resistant superbugs kill 32 plane-loads of people a week

Business and human rights: a long way to go

Greece completes early repayment of expensive IMF loan

Sphere releases info sheet on protecting environment in humanitarian projects

A Green New Deal For Email? U.K. Study Shows "Environmental Harm"

Tim Berners-Lee unveils global plan to save the web

A Swiss take on Facebook's Libra

Expanded UN geographical trademarks to take effect

ILO: the positive impact of labour standards on peoples' lives

Hong Kong's shock election result shows how Beijing falls victim to its own propaganda

DR Congo crowd vents anger at UN troops for failing to stop deadly attack

Geneva citizens vote to control nuisances from airport development

Geneva recognizes Swiss historian of Nazism

Hitler's top hat donated to Israeli foundation

Bougainville votes on independence from Papua New Guinea

U.S. takes aim at judges pay in new attack on WTO system

WTO the next casualty of Trump's tariff war?

Does China Comply with its WTO obligations?

Trump can no longer impose auto tariffs after missing deadline - experts

The WTO Could Help End the Overfishing Crisis. But Will It?

Christine Lagarde's first speech as ECB chief

U.K. ignores deadline for Chagos return

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange 'could die' in British jail: 60 doctors

Uber Loses Operating License in London over Unsafe and Fraudulent Trips, Uber Stock Is Down

Sacha Baron Cohen gave the greatest speech on why social networks need to be kept in check

Anti-doping committee puts Russia's Olympic future in peril

New 2020 Olympic boxing 'clarity, transparency and integrity' regulations

Most adolescents do not exercise enough to stay healthy, WHO study finds

Improvised mines trend and high civilian casualties raising alarm

The Small Arms Survey welcomes New Director Daniel de Torres

Attempt to 'Criminalize Basic Human Kindness' Fails as Activist Scott Warren Found Not Guilty on All Charges

Michael Møller receives honorary Geneva citizenship

More than 40% of the world's internally displaced are children

United Nations Office at Geneva signs contract for the renovation of the historic Palais des Nations

Things the UN does (that you might not know about)

Swiss EPFL spinoff leads space debris clear-up project

Economic development: even minor changes in institutions can lead to major unexpected results