Although the Battle of Seattle was successful in preventing a new comprehensive round of global trade talks from going ahead, this did not mean there would not be trade negotiations at the WTO. On the contrary, a whole new set of WTO talks on global trade in 'services' began in February, 2000, with formal negotiations due to begin this spring after a crucial stocktaking session is completed at the end of March. These so called GATS negotiations [General Agreement on Trade in Services] could h...read more

The Swiss National Council, the first Chamber of the Federal Assembly to debate the ratification of the Rome Statute, passed the ratification bill yesterday, 13 March 2001, with 135 against 26 votes. (NB: Some of the members of parliament who voted "no" may have done so to indicate that they wanted an obligatory instead of a facultative referendum on the question of ratification, that is, that the Swiss people automatically vote on the issue, and not only when 50'000 citizens so require.)

Eight million threatened by meningitis epidemic in Ethiopia 8 March 2001 With some 8.4 million people threatened with a deadly epidemic of meningococcal meningitis - the Ethiopian Red Cross has mobilized thousands of volunteers to begin a major social mobilization campaign on the disease, and to make sure those at risk are vaccinated. "There is serious cause for alarm about the spread of this epidemic. While to date there have been 1,700 cases reported and 140 deaths confirmed, this is probab...read more

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