Spanish jobless rate nears 26 per cent

Written by admin on 30/07/2019 Categories: 佛山桑拿网

Spain’s unemployment rate has climbed to nearly 26 per cent in the first quarter of 2014 as millions searched in vain for a job in a sluggish recovery from recession.

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Despite emerging gingerly from a two-year downturn in mid-2013, official figures on Tuesday showed Spain still failing to significantly dent one of the highest jobless rates in the industrialised world.

The unemployment rate climbed to 25.93 per cent in the first three months of 2014, up from 25.73 per cent in the previous quarter, the National Statistics Institute said.

Many people apparently despaired at the lack of jobs fled the country or stopped looking for work, slashing the workforce by 187,000 people.

In the face of that exodus, the unemployment queue shrank fractionally, by 2,300 people, to 5.93 million.

“The number of unemployed people is coming down, not because they have found a job but because they have stopped looking,” said Sara de la Rica, economics researcher at the Foundation for Applied Economics Studies, FEDEA.

Unemployment remains a daunting challenge for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government, which has made job creation a priority.

The implosion of a decade-long property bubble in 2008 flooded the country in debt, tipped the economy into a double-dip recession and wiped out millions of jobs.

By the first quarter of 2013, the unemployment rate had soared to an unprecedented 26.94 per cent, according to latest official figures.

Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro said the latest jobs report was encouraging.

“We must not tire of saying that, yes, we are coming out of the crisis,” he said, hailing the fall in jobless numbers.

Despite signs of a gathering economic recovery, no one is predicting a return anytime soon to the pre-crisis days in 2007 when Spain enjoyed a jobless rate of less than eight per cent.

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Sheeran plays secret Sydney gig

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Ed Sheeran is the modern version of a one-man band.

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Gone is the fellow with a drum attached to his back and in his place stepped Sheeran, with guitar and a loop pedal, onto a Sydney stage on Tuesday night.

Standing alone on the stage, he created his own rhythmic guitar riffs, backing vocals and percussion with the use of the loop pedal.

“It’s new,” he told the crowd.

At times, this gadget created a chorus of Sheerans who sang out from the stage with his soulful timbre.

The red-headed Yorkshireman was in town to perform a series of secret gigs for iHeartRadio at Paddington Town Hall.

The audience of 700 won their tickets through KIIS 1065 radio station and were only told the location of the venue hours before the gig.

The crowd, made up mostly of adolescent girls, were more than happy to sing (and scream) along as Sheeran sang hits such as You Need Me, I Don’t Need You and I See Fire.

Showcasing some songs from his upcoming album, x (pronounced “multiply”) Sheeran was in particularly jubilant form as he explained this was the last night of a “very long three days” of performing, including his appearance at the Logies on Sunday night.

One of the tracks off the new album, Don’t, has already landed Sheeran some publicity for its subject matter, which alludes to a woman who cheated on him.

He has denied it’s about his friend, singer Taylor Swift, but has yet to deny a rumour it may be about British singer Ellie Goulding.

Rumours aside, Sheeran relished belting it out to the packed crowd.

But it was during an unplugged moment, which took the singer away from the distracting loop pedal, that his incredible vocal range had time to shine.

The crowd went silent for him as he stepped in front of the microphones and played two songs, unplugged: Kiss Me and an autobiographical rap which drew some laughter from the otherwise hushed crowd.

“This is the third gig of the day,” Sheeran told his fans.

“I’ll be back in the country very soon I hope. This is my favourite country to tour in,” he said.

Sheeran closed the show with his new single, Sing, telling the audience “I want you to wake up tomorrow singing this song and pissing your parents off”.

And as he left the stage, he at least managed to keep them singing it as the lights went up.

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Pakistan Cricket Board to review Saleem Malik’s life ban

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“Malik has approached us and told us he has been cleared by a court.

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He has sent some documents to us and we are studying them,” Sethi told PTV Sports. “I have told him to come and meet me in the next few days as we are ready to review his case.”

Malik was one of three international captains, along with South Africa’s Hansie Cronje and India’s Mohammad Azharuddin, to be given life bans from all forms of cricket after Delhi police discovered evidence in 2000 that Cronje had accepted money from a bookmaker to throw matches.

During a subsequent enquiry into the scandal, Cronje, who died in a plane crash in 2002, named Malik, , as one of the players involved in a deal with a bookmaker.

Malik, who has always denied any wrongdoing, filed an appeal in the Lahore High Court in 2001 which rejected his case. He than approached the Supreme Court which ordered a lower court to decide on his case.

“After a seven-year struggle in 2008, on the orders of the Supreme Court, the sessions court declared my ban illegal,” the 51-year-old Malik, who played 103 tests and 283 one-day internationals, told Reuters.

However, he claimed that despite the court decision, previous board chairmen had not been briefed properly by PCB officials about his case and it had theefore not been reviewed.

“I have just asked the board to give me a fair hearing and then decide whether the ban should be removed,” he said on Tuesday.

“I am happy I am finally getting a chance to state my case because for the last few years no one on the board has tried to hear me out despite several reminders,” Malik added.

Sethi said the PCB had also sought advice from the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Malik’s case.

“If like he says he has got a decision from the court then we can look at his case as presently our legal team is studying his case and documents,” he added.

As a result of the ban, Malik was rejected for the post of batting coach when he applied in 2012.

He was also recently refused permission by the PCB to hold a benefit match for former test bowler Ehteshamuddin.

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ken Ferris)

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Wimbledon first round losers set to be financial winners

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Outlining how the grasscourt grand slam’s increased 25 million pounds prize pot will be distributed, the All England Club announced a 14.

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9 percent raise for first-round losers in the main draw of the men’s and women’s singles.

At the top end this year’s singles champions will bank 1.76 million pounds, a 10 percent increase on the 1.6 million pounds Andy Murray and Marion Bartoli earned last year.

That compares favourably with the 1.65 million euros (1.37 million pounds) for the singles champions at next month’s French Open while Stanislas Wawrinka and Li Na earned $2.65 million (1.57 million pounds) for their wins at the Australian Open in January.

All England Club chief executive Richard Lewis justified the increased level of prize money for early-round losers on Tuesday at the annual news conference ahead of the Championships.

“I slightly take issue with that,” Lewis told reporters when questioned whether the prize money on offer for first-round losers was appropriate.

“They have worked hard to get here for 12 months either through their world ranking or through qualifying. By being in a main draw of a grand slam means they are world class players.

“The costs and expenses involved in being a top-100 player are huge and while they are not pleading poverty they are not making huge sums of money either for world class athletes.”

Since 2011 Wimbledon’s annual prize money increases have been heavily weighted towards the losers in the earlier rounds – a move designed to placate lower-ranked players who struggle to balance the books compared to those in the top 10.

This year’s increase means first-round prize money has risen by a massive 135 percent in three years, compared to a 60 percent increase for the champions.

“We’ve placed emphasis on the large group of players who need our help the most, those players who lose in qualifying and in the early rounds of the championships,” Wimbledon chairman Philip Brook said.

“We also had an eye to being competitive internationally, and we do keep our watch on what is going on in other tennis events and in particular the other grand slams.”

FRENCH OPEN

First-round losers at the U.S. Open last year earned $32,000, at this year’s Australian Open 30,000 Australian dollars (16,506 pounds), while at the French Open in 2013 they got 21,000 euros (17,279 pounds).

Apart from the prize money increases, progress on redevelopment work around the leafy south west London site was also outlined, including the planned roof over Court No.1.

Design work is still being done on a retractable roof for the second showcourt with the structure, which will use the same material as that on the translucent Centre Court roof. It is expected to be in place for the start of the 2019 tournament, pending planning consent.

Work would include installing an extra 900 seats for the court, taking the capacity to 12,400.

This year’s tournament will take place on only 17 courts, down from 19, as work on new underground facilities, including a 24-hour media restaurant and enhanced facilities for ball kids working at the tournament, continues.

The tournament will be held from June 23 to July 6.

(Editing by Josh Reich)

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Russian gas giant’s profits slips again

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Russia’s natural gas giant Gazprom has posted a second successive drop in annual profits, and warns that the escalating crisis in Ukraine could disrupt its crucial supplies to Europe.

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The world’s biggest gas producer admitted that the threat of US sanctions on the Russian energy sector could impact its operations and damage the wider Russian economy, which is heavily dependent on resource exports and already in danger of tilting into recession this year.

“The emergence of new or escalated tensions between Russia and other countries, including any escalation of the crisis in Ukraine, or the imposition of international sanctions in response to these tensions, could negatively affect economies in the region, including the Russian economy,” Gazprom said in an annual management report on Tuesay.

The state-run firm said its 2013 net profit slipped by seven per cent to 1.139 trillion rubles ($A34.65 billion).

It also reported a 20-per cent decline in sales to ex-Soviet states such as Ukraine.

But its fourth-quarter revenues improved by five per cent in annual terms and beat analyst forecasts.

Economists said the figures had few implications for the stock price of Russia’s largest company, which would be determined by events in Ukraine and the possibility of Gazprom next month striking a mega-deal with China that has been under discussion for nearly a decade.

“As of now, the Ukraine issue is crucial for Gazprom’s shares,” Moscow’s VTB Capital investment bank said in a research note.

Gazprom shares traded flat on the Moscow Exchange despite a one-per cent rise in Russia’s ruble-denominated MICEX index.

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What’s behind the mass death sentences in Egypt?

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(Transcript from World News Radio)

 

An Egyptian court has sentenced 683 people to death, in the latest mass trial over last year’s deadly riots.

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The alleged Islamists include the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie.

 

The same court has overturned all but 37 of the 529 death sentences it handed down last month – commuting most to life in prison.

 

The rulings have sparked heightened international scrutiny of Egypt’s fledgling democracy in the lead up to next month’s Presidential elections.

 

Brianna Roberts reports.

 

It reportedly took less than eight minutes for the judge to hand-down the verdict condemning more than 680 people to death.

 

Prosecutors say the defendants are members of the Muslim Brotherhood group accused killing two police officers during violence last August, following the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi.

 

But many of the defendants say they were not present during the attacks, not supporters of the Brotherhood, and in some cases not even in the Minya province, at the time the attack took place.

 

Michael Hayworth from Amnesty International says carrying out the death sentences would be tantamount to mass murder.

 

“This is mass state-sanctioned killing. It shouldn’t be acceptable. It can’t be acceptable to the international community. It can’t be acceptable to Egypt’s partners in trade and aid, and it can’t be acceptable to everyday people like you and me.”

 

The death sentences will now be referred to Egypt’s Grand Mufti, a senior Muslim cleric, for his opinion.

 

The Mufti’s opinion is not legally-binding and can be ignored by the court.

 

But there are serious doubts over whether an execution of this scale would actually be carried out.

 

President of the Islamic Egyptian Society of NSW Hossam Ibrahim believes the ruling is politically-motivated.

 

“This is just a political decision.. They made it up to give the people still protesting on the streets more warning, and just to tell them we don’t have any limits, so everyone is under the impression that if you go to any opposition against what’s going on in Egypt.. you will be.. you might have that kind of crazy decision as well.”

 

On the same day, the court handed down the death sentences for hundreds of people labelled pro-Morsi, it also banned a group which rejected the Brotherhood and rallied against Mr Morsi.

 

Mr Ibrahim believes outlawing of the April 6 Islamic group shows the court is trying to silence all dissent in the lead up to next month’s elections.

 

He says Egyptians on both sides of the political spectrum are concerned about any move to restrict freedom.

 

“I’ve got many many many friends they would agree with what’s happening in July, but now the picture is more clear that this is what we didn’t fight for, and that things are going backwards. This is not what we dreamed for.”

 

However, ANU Professor and Former Australian ambassador to Egypt, Dr Bob Bowker says he’s wary about reading political motivations into the decision.

 

“Well there’s a great deal of speculation about what role this individual judge is playing, as distinct from the judicial system as a whole, and it could be that we are seeing a carriage of justice in the minds of that particular judicial official, rather than it being a reflection of any wider government policy or political approach. We just don’t know.”

 

Human rights groups like Amnesty say what is clear is that any decision to follow through with an exection of this scale would be unprecedented and spark widespread international outcry..

 

Michael Hayworth says Australia has a role to play in urging the Egyptian government to ensure people in Egypt are given a fair hearing.

 

“Before Egypt takes 683 men to the gallows. The time is now. We need the people in the international community to be saying to Egypt that this isnt acceptable. Because the one thing people who are under these sorts of conditions, the one thing that people who get sentenced to death always say say all the time is ‘please don’t forget us.. please don’t let them sweep us under the carpet so we become just another statistic in a report. Please help us fight for our lives”

 

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The Double’s Ayoade a reluctant star

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Richard Ayoade might just be the most self-deprecating man in the movie business.

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The IT Crowd funnyman-turned-director says there would “have to be an outbreak of influenza” for him to cast himself in one of his own projects. As for the fact he was once labelled the ‘coolest man in London’ by NME magazine, that just makes him wince.

“I think that was a typo – it was the coldest man in London, the most emotionally distant man,” says the softly-spoken 36-year-old, looking not unlike his IT Crowd alter ego Moss, in a brown suit, patterned shirt, dark tie and thick-rimmed glasses he’s constantly pushing upwards.

He might be modest but Ayoade, whose film-making debut Submarine earned him a Bafta nomination and a British Independent Film Award for best screenplay, is clearly discerning about the work he takes on.

The producers of his latest project, The Double, had to stalk him to get him interested in working with them.

“I didn’t think it would be possible to direct films at all. I hoped to write and I guess that’s still the thing I do mainly. This [directing] feels very unexpected,” says Ayoade.

He is the son of a Nigerian father and Norwegian mother, who studied law at Cambridge, despite knowing the degree wasn’t for him.

“I’m an idiot and a coward. The two things – idiocy and cowardice – have accompanied me since preschool. And fecklessness,” explains Ayoade, as to why he stuck with the course.

However, he did get to flex his creative muscles and was president of the university’s famous Footlights society before winning a Perrier Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2001.

He went on to land roles in TV comedies The Mighty Boosh and The IT Crowd and made music videos for the Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend before releasing Submarine in 2010.

The Double, his second directorial feature film, is based on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s 1846 book of the same name. It stars The Social Network’s Jesse Eisenberg as Simon, a timid man whose dreary world is turned upside down by the arrival of a confident, charismatic colleague, who happens to be his physical double.

“What I liked about it was that it was very funny and sad. The central idea felt very unusual, this idea of a lonely person who just becomes so invisible that a double appears and no one notices, and they’re subsumed into that person,” he says.

As the film progresses, Simon’s co-worker ends up taking credit for all his work and, worse still, romances the woman he’s infatuated with, Hannah (played by Australian actress Mia Wasikowska).

The love story wasn’t in Dostoevsky’s original novella, but Ayoade – who also co-wrote the script for the film – believed it was an important addition.

“While I completely emotionally relate to Simon as a character, and his disintegration, what causes it doesn’t quite feel like the same cosmology that we occupy, where you could unravel that much through status at work.

“I don’t know that anyone feels that way about work,” he adds.

“I could be wrong, because I don’t have a proper job but it doesn’t feel as important. Not being recognised by someone who you love seems far more dangerous.”

The film’s cast are full of praise for their director, with Eisenberg noting his “unique sensibility” and Wasikowska impressed by his “really sensitive way of dealing with actors and getting the best out of us”.

Did Ayoade’s own experiences as an actor help him when he came to direct?

“What these actors do is a completely different thing to what I do. I’m more or less waiting for someone to finish what I’m saying and then I say something, whereas they’re really doing something that’s very complex,” says Ayode, ever self-effacing.

“But I’m aware of how difficult it is to act, through not being able to do it. So you want to create a sympathetic environment, not have people talk during their scenes and not overtly shake your head after they’ve finished something – things that you really do see directors do.”

Making a film where the two male leads are played by the same actor proved tricky logistically and shooting most scenes at night was tiring. But Ayoade isn’t one to complain.

“It was physically hard but it’s just dressing up,” he says, shrugging.

* The Double opens in Australian cinemas on May 8

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Pro-Russian rebels storm key administrative buildings

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Fresh violence has erupted in eastern Ukraine as thousands of pro-Russian protesters stormed key buildings, escalating the crisis after Moscow hit back at “Iron Curtain”-style Western sanctions.

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A mob spearheaded by around 30 men carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles and grenade-launchers attacked the regional police headquarters in Lugansk on Tuesday, raising the heat in the worst East-West confrontation since the Cold War.

They had earlier seized the regional prosecutors’ office, tearing down the Ukrainian flag and replacing it with that of Russia, which the West blames for stoking the violence in the ex-Soviet Republic.

More than a dozen towns and cities in the east have now fallen to pro-Russian rebels, who see the Western-backed leaders in Kiev as illegitimate “fascists” and want either independence or outright accession to Russia.

“It’s good what the young people are doing. We don’t want this Nazi junta that has seized power in Kiev. We don’t recognise them. I want my children and grand-children to grow up in Russia,” one retired engineer said as he surveyed the violence in Lugansk.

As police failed to quell the violence and in some cases stood by, interim president Oleksandr Turchynov lashed out at what he called “inaction” and in some case “treachery” by law enforcement bodies on the ground.

He urged “Ukrainian patriots” in the region to sign up for police duty to counter the pro-Moscow insurgency that threatens to tear his country apart.

The latest unrest in Lugansk followed Monday’s terrifying scenes in nearby Donetsk, where pro-Russian thugs armed with baseball bats, knives and fireworks attacked a pro-Ukrainian demonstration, wounding several in what Washington’s ambassador to Ukraine called “terrorism, pure and simple”.

As the situation on the ground descended further into chaos, the war of words between Moscow and the West continued, with Russia saying the US was resorting to “Iron Curtain” policies with its new sanctions unveiled on Monday.

“Sanctions are always a boomerang which come back and painfully hit those who launch them,” said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, according to the Interfax news agency on a visit to Crimea, which Russia annexed in March.

On a visit to Russia’s Cold War ally Cuba, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sanctions lacked “all common sense”.

US moves to restrict high-tech exports to Russia appeared to cause particular fury, with Rogozin warning Washington was “exposing their astronauts on the ISS”.

The International Space Station is operated jointly by Russia, the US, Europe, Japan and Canada.

Astronauts and cosmonauts depend on Russian Soyuz rockets to ferry them between it and Earth, ever since NASA scrapped its space shuttles in 2011.

Moscow also lashed out at the European Union for “doing Washington’s bidding” as the bloc included General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces and the country’s deputy defence minister, on a list of 15 Russians and Ukrainians targeted by an asset freeze and travel ban.

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Merck 1Q profit up 7 per cent

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Major cost cuts has enabled drugmaker Merck & Co to offset lower first-quarter sales as generic competition continues to hurt sales of former blockbuster medicines.

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Merck’s profit rose seven per cent, trouncing Wall Street expectations.

Merck on Tuesday said it plans to rely on its pipeline of experimental drugs for future sales. That would make it an exception to the trend among many other drugmakers, which are pursuing big acquisitions to keep sales growing.

The maker of the diabetes pill Januvia said net income was $US1.71 billion ($A1.85 billion), or 57 US cents per share, up from $US1.59 billion, or 52 US cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding $US896 million in restructuring and acquisition charges, net income was $US2.6 billion, or 88 US cents per share – nine US cents better than analysts expected.

Revenue totalled $US10.26 billion, down four per cent and just below the $US10.44 billion analysts expected.

Pharmaceutical sales dropped five per cent, to $US8.45 billion, as cheaper generic copycat pills hammered several off-patent drugs that once brought in billions each year: asthma and allergy pill Singulair, allergy spray Nasonex and blood pressure drugs Cozaar and Hyzaar.

Merck’s top sellers, Type 2 diabetes pills Januvia and Janumet, brought in a combined $US1.33 billion, up three per cent. Sales jumped 10 per cent to $US604 million for immune disorder drug Remicade, and also rose for HIV drug Isentress and several other products.

Lower sales of nonprescription Claritin allergy pills dragged down consumer health sales four per cent to $US454 million. Sales of veterinary medicines declined three per cent to $US813 million.

Analysts were surprised by the level of cost cuts: eight per cent for administration and marketing expenses and 17 per cent for research spending as new research head Roger Perlmutter continues to cut Merck’s least-promising programs. Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, reduced its global workforce by 2,000 in the quarter, to 74,000.

“It is a necessary but not sufficient part of their execution strategy,” Edward Jones analyst Judson Clark said of the cuts. He said Merck can’t keep cutting that much without risk of hurting future growth, and must get key drugs in its pipeline approved to do well.

CEO Kenneth Frazier told analysts during a conference call that Merck had promising experimental drugs in testing for hepatitis C, HIV and various cancers.

“We’re excited by our pipeline and what’s to come,” he said.

Meanwhile, Merck’s two tablets for gradually reducing seasonal allergies to grass and ragweed were recently approved. Because patients must start the daily immunotherapy tablets a few months before allergy season begins, Merck said it’s now promoting Ragwitek to doctors but it’s too late to promote Grasstek this year.

With the recent spurt of proposed acquisitions and asset swaps in the pharmaceutical industry, analysts asked if Merck would do such a deal. Frazier said small deals might be possible, but he’s focused on growth through new drugs for unmet medical needs.

“Our preferred (growth) route is through innovation rather than consolidation,” he said.

Merck re-affirmed its 2014 forecast for profit of $US2.15 to $US2.47 per share, prompting analysts to ask why it didn’t raise its forecast. Merck said that’s because Venezuela may devalue its currency, which would decrease the value of sales there.

“Anytime you see a nine-cent beat, you’d like to see guidance walk up,” so Merck may expect a slightly softer second quarter, Clark said.

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Watchdog to probe use of chlorine in Syria

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The world’s chemical watchdog says it is sending a fact-finding mission to probe the recent alleged use of chlorine gas in the Syrian conflict.

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The head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ahmet Uzumcu, announced “the creation of an OPCW mission to establish facts surrounding allegations of use of chlorine in Syria”, a statement said.

He told a meeting of the body’s executive council at headquarters in The Hague that the mission would leave soon.

“The Syrian government, which has agreed to accept this mission, has undertaken to provide security in areas under its control,” the statement said.

“The mission will carry out its work in the most challenging circumstances.”

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed support for the mission and the UN will provide security logistics.

The OPCW and the UN are already in the process of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons as part of a disarmament deal agreed last August in the wake of deadly sarin nerve agent attacks outside Damascus.

The new probe comes after France and the United States alleged that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces may have unleashed industrial chemicals on a rebel-held village in central Hama province this month.

France made the first claim last week with President Francois Hollande saying his country had “information” – no proof – that Assad’s regime was still using chemical weapons despite the August deal.

The United States has said it is investigating the allegations.

“We have indications of the use of a toxic industrial chemical, probably chlorine, in Syria this month, in the opposition-dominated village of Kafr Zita,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said on April 21.

There have been conflicting accounts of the alleged chlorine attack on Kafr Zita, with the government and the opposition trading blame.

Activists have also reported other chlorine gas attacks, most recently in Idlib province, in the northwest, last week.

Syria has handed over or destroyed all but around eight per cent of its chemical material under the terms of the US and Russian-brokered deal, which averted the threat of US military action last year.

It was supposed to have handed over all of its stockpile by Sunday. But the remainder is still being held at one site in the war-torn nation.

Syria was not required to declare its stockpile of chlorine – a toxic but weak agent – as part of the disarmament deal, as it is widely used for commercial and domestic purposes.

Under the US-Russian deal negotiated last year, Syria signed up to the Chemical Weapons Convention and agreed to the destruction of its entire chemical weapons arsenal by June 30 of this year.

The agreement was reached after deadly chemical attacks outside Damascus last August that reportedly killed hundreds of people. The West blamed Assad’s regime but the government said rebels were behind it.

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