News in Brief

World trade expected to rebound this year, according to WTO forecast

World trade is expected to rebound and grow during this year and next, but only if the global economy recovers as expected.

That's the latest forecast from the World Trade Organization (WTO), which said on Wednesday that 2016's "tepid performance" in the volume of world merchandise should be reversed, with growth of 2.4 per cent during 2017.

WTO economists said that due to "deep uncertainty" about policy developments and relationships between leading economies, they were forecasting a growth range of between 2.1 and 4 per cent.

"The unpredictable direction of the global economy in the near term and the lack of clarity" about government action, said WTO, "raises the risk that trade activity will be stifled."

WTO warned that growth could easily be curtailed due to higher interest rates, tariffs, and tighter fiscal policies in the coming months.

New UNHCR camp opens to house Iraqis displaced from western Mosul

A new camp has been opened by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to help house thousands of newly-displaced Iraqis fleeing intensifying fighting in western Mosul.

Government forces are battling ISIL militants for full control of the city, having driven them out of Mosul's eastern districts at the end of January.

The first 500 families arrived at what will be known as the Hammam-al-Alil 2 camp on Wednesday.

Around 2,500 tents are ready, enough to shelter more than 15,000, and a second phase of the camp is nearing completion which will have capacity for up to 30,000 people.

The original Hammam-al-Alil camp, 25 kilometres south of Mosul, is the transit site where thousands are sent for final security clearance, and the new site next door will ensure that the displaced can remain close to home.

Around 282,000 have been forced to flee western Mosul since mid-February.

"Unwarranted" blockade of war-torn Yemen "must be lifted": UN expert

The "unwarranted restrictions" on the flow of humanitarian and commercial goods into war-torn Yemen must end, a UN rights expert said on Wednesday.

Idriss Jazairy is the Special Rapporteur on human rights and international sanctions.

He said that the aerial and naval blockade imposed on Yemen by coalition forces in support of the government, were contributing to conditions that have placed the country on the brink of famine.

Mr Jazairy said the blockade placed "a variety of regulatory - mostly arbitrary - restrictions" on national ports, leading to delays and denial of entry to vessels carrying vital supplies and goods.

Yemen is 80 to 90 per cent dependent on imported food, medicine and fuel for its survival he said.

UN figures suggest that 21 million are in need of humanitarian assistance, with seven million facing the prospect of famine.

The expert said that the blockade involved "grave breaches of the most basic norms of human rights law, as well of the law of armed conflict, which cannot be left unanswered."

Source: United Nations Radio