October 18, 2011   100 notes

U.N. rights office against proposed Saleh immunity


The U.N. Security Council is expected to make a decision this week on a resolution to “strongly condemn” the government’s human rights violations. The draft resolution, obtained by Reuters in New York, urges Saleh to “immediately sign and implement” the plan by the six-nation GCC.”We’ve not seen the details of the initiative put forth by the GCC so we can’t comment on the specifics of that proposed deal. However, international law is pretty clear on this issue. It prohibits the use of amnesties that prevent the prosecution of individuals for war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity or gross violations of human rights,” U.N. rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing in Geneva.”So that’s the general position on amnesties which would apply in this situation, as in any other,” he added, speaking in response to a reporter’s question.The office of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemns the killing of largely peaceful protesters in the cities of Sanaa and Taiz by Yemeni security forces wielding indiscriminate force, Colville said.At least 34 people have been killed in the last four days, including six on Tuesday, in the intensifying crackdown.”In addition to those killed, hundreds of people have been reportedly injured by the disproportionate use of force against unarmed protesters,” Colville said.An international, independent investigation was required to hold perpetrators accountable and render justice to victims.”We are extremely concerned that security forces continue to use excessive force in a climate of impunity for crimes that are resulting in heavy loss of life and injury, despite repeated pledges by the government to the contrary,” he added.Amnesty International has said that Saleh should not be immune from prosecution and those responsible for extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances should be brought to justice as part of any transition agreement.Saleh, who says he is ready to step down but wants to ensure that control of the country is put in “safe hands,” has rejected the GCC plan three times.Saleh, who has ruled the impoverished country for 33 years, has stayed in office despite 10 months of mass protests against his rule inspired by pro-democracy unrest across the Arab world.Opposition to him has turned increasingly violent and organized, threatening to pitch Yemen into all-out civil war.The U.N. rights office also called on armed opponents of Saleh’s government to remove weapons from public spaces being used by peaceful protesters and to “stop launching armed attacks from densely-populated areas.”

October 12, 2011   22 notes

Saudi’s NCB posts 87 percent rise in Q3 net profit


JEDDAH, Saudi arabia Oct 12 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank (NCB), the country’s biggest bank by assets, posted a 87 percent rise in its third-quarter net profit, the lender said on Wednesday.State-owned NCB made a net profit of 1.5 billion riyals ($412 million) in the three months to end September, compared with 828 million riyals in the same period a year earlier.The unlisted lender’s assets grew by 13 percent to 307 billion riyals from 271 billion riyals at the end of the same period last year, it said.Its loans and advances portfolio increased by 6 percent to 130 billion riyals, from 123 billion a year earlier while customer deposits grew by 13 percent to 243 billion compared with 215 billion a year earlier.NCB’s Chief Executive, Abdul-Kareem Abu Al-Nasr, said earlier this year that he expected Saudi banks to see higher profits this year as they take less provisions and start to lend more.Abu Al-Nasr said he expects NCB’s profits this year to be higher than 2010 wher the bank posted 4.7 billion riyals.

October 12, 2011   36 notes

PRESS DIGEST - CANADA - Oct 12


THE GLOBE AND MAIL:- Voters in Newfoundland and Labrador have trimmed the Progressive Conservative majority and given the New Democrats their long-awaited breakthrough.- A Canadian icebreaker that was helping to establish Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic is limping back to Halifax after divers were unable to push a dislodged propeller back into its proper position.Report on Business Section:- Richard Baker has put plans to take Hudson’s Bay Co. public on hold, putting pressure on the retailer’s blueprint to refurbish its faded department-store chain.- Bank of Nova Scotia could be poised to expand its Colombian holdings, just over a year after making its first foray into the Latin American country.NATIONAL POST:- Montreal Quebec’s Health Minister has opened the door to supervised-injection sites in the wake of September’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the right of provinces to run such drug-treatment facilities.- The City of Toronto is expecting a C$139 million surplus this year, but the budget chief is loath to use it to plug the municipality’s yawning budget gap.FINANCIAL POST:- Canadian seniors aged 65 or more are growing their debt-loads at faster pace than the young, says a TD Economics Report released on Tuesday.- Bombardier Inc is “against a wall” on its timetable for the new CSeries narrow-body jet to enter service in 2013, the president of the company’s aerospace unit said.