U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held hastily scheduled talks Thursday afternoon to resolve several last-minute disputes on the text. The Security Council has long been paralyzed in dealing with the 2 1/2-year Syrian conflict, which has killed more than 100,000 people and spilled over the country’s borders, because of differences between Russia and China, who back President Bashar Assad’s government, and the U.S., Britain and France, who support the opposition. Russia and China have vetoed three Western-backed resolutions aimed at pressuring Assad to end the violence. The recent flurry of diplomatic activity followed the Aug. 21 poison gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians in a Damascus suburb, and by President Barack Obama’s threat of U.S. strikes in retaliation. After Kerry said Assad could avert U.S. military action by turning over “every single bit of his chemical weapons” to international control within a week, Russia quickly agreed. Kerry and Lavrov signed an agreement in Geneva on Sept. 13 to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control for later destruction, and Assad’s government accepted. Tough negotiations, primarily between Russia and the United States, followed on how Syria’s stockpile would be destroyed. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power tweeted Thursday evening that the draft resolution establishes that Syria’s chemical weapons “is threat to international peace & security & creates a new norm against the use of CW.” While the Security Council considers the draft resolution, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Hague-based body that will be in charge of securing and destroying the stockpile, was working on its own document to set out its exact duties.
UK’s Osborne asks Bank of England to keep closer eye on housing scheme
Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville LONDON | Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:31am IST LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Finance Minister George Osborne has asked the Bank of England to play a bigger role in ensuring that his controversial “Help to Buy” housing program does not cause a new property boom. The BoE’s Financial Policy Committee will make annual assessments of the plan, starting next September, the Treasury and the central bank said on Thursday. The committee had been due to advise on the suitability of extending Help to Buy only after its first three years of operation. The FPC will also advise whether a price cap for properties covered by the program and fees charged to lenders are appropriate. Help to Buy was originally launched to help buyers of new properties and a second, potentially much bigger phase is due to begin in January. It will assist buyers who might otherwise be unable to afford a down payment on a home. Up to 12 billion pounds ($19.20 billion) of government guarantees could spur as much as 130 billion pounds of new mortgages. Since the second stage of the plan was announced in March, Britain’s housing market has shown signs of recovery, especially in London, where prices have jumped by about 10 percent from 12 months ago. Critics of the scheme have said it risks fuelling an unsustainable rise in house prices. Britain’s Business Minister Vince Cable has expressed his concerns about the program. Properties worth up to 600,000 pounds would be eligible for the Help to Buy as announced in March. Some critics have said that lowering the ceiling would help lessen the program’s impact on properties in London where prices are highest. Earlier this week, the FPC said it would be vigilant about risks from coming from the housing sector but said it saw no danger signs for the time being. ($1 = 0.6249 British pounds) (Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Stacey Joyce and Cynthia Osterman) Tweet this
UK changes documents legalisation process for British nationals in UAE
He shared his experiences of delivering the London 2012 Olympics, and discussed his current responsibilities for delivering the UKs National Infrastructure Plan. Lord Deighton took up the post of the minister in January 2013 after successfully completing his role as Chief Executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), which was responsible for preparing and staging the London 2012 Games. The UAE is already a strong investor in the UK. Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company Masdar has funded the worlds largest offshore wind farm- The London Array-in the UK. DPWorld is investing 1.5 billion in the London Gateway project. Mubadala has a strong relationship with Manchester through the ownership of Manchester City football club a relationship that fosters trade and investment in a two way flow, a British embassy statement said yesterday. The UAE also is a welcome investor in some of the UKs most fundamental infrastructure assets such as Thames Water. It is a clear demonstration of a vote of confidence in the UK economy, the embassy said. The minister said there is also great opportunity for UAE investment into the UK, across a broad spectrum of energy, infrastructure, healthcare and innovation. Asked whether the minister got any more commitment from the UAE on new investments in the UK, the spokesperson said: No, but we are in a strong dialogue with the UAE Government on investment into priority areas for the UK. Lord Deighton also came with the aim to explore ways in which British business can help deliver Abu Dhabis 2030 Plan. He visited Saadiyat Island and the Tourism Development and Investment Company. He was struck by the beauty and innovativeness of the designs for the cultural district, in particular the Shaikh Zayed museum, the spokesperson said.
UK minister applauds Abu Dhabi’s vision and speedy development
Instead, they have to send those documents to the UK legalisation Office in Milton Keynes and to the UAE embassy in London by courier or through specialised companies providing this service, an official spokesperson of the British embassy in Dubai told Gulf News on Thursday. British citizens used to get a UK public document legalised at the British embassies in the UAE. This means a signature, seal or stamp made by a UK public official on the document is confirmed as genuine by the UK government. We are introducing important changes to how we deliver notarial and documentary services. These changes will result in a more streamlined service of the legalisation process which will allow staff to spend more time helping the most vulnerable people and the most serious cases, a statement issued on Thursday by the British embassy in Dubai said. It said the changes are part of the new Consular Strategy 2013-2016 of UK FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth office), which aims to achieving consular excellence. The strategy says: By 2016 our processes will be more efficient and staff will spend more time helping the most vulnerable people and the most serious cases. Our services will always be of high quality, but we may vary the level of service across the network according to local circumstances. Customers will have more choice in how they access our services. We will be able to respond to changing needs and to react to crisis situations effectively. Unlike most consular services, the British embassies and consulates in 146 countries are not responsible for visas, which are the responsibility of the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Our office is now contacting every legalisation customer on our records and within our reach to explain the legalisation process and we will also advertise this on our website, Facebook, and Twitter, the embassy statement said. For customers who have any questions, they can contact the embassy on +971 43094444 or email us at email@example.com. For more information, visit the web page https://www.gov.uk/notarial-and-documentary-services-guide-for-the-united-arab-emirates. Fact Box