UN official decries disarmament forum for lack of progress

Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament and Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, where the Conference is meeting, told members today that they were supposed to have made progress on a proposed international ban on weapon-grade nuclear material over the past four weeks.Instead, he said, that progress was “not even zero – it was minus,” with members unable to even agree on a programme of work.That was “not only intolerable in the Conference, but it was also becoming intolerable in international relations – with the most important United Nations body dealing with disarmament not able to do anything but even regressing,” Mr. Ordzhonikidze said. Mr. Ban had addressed the Conference at its start in January, saying 2010 could be an historic year for progress on disarmament and non-proliferation goals.The Conference is next scheduled to meet on Tuesday. 11 February 2010The Conference on Disarmament, the world’s sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, faces becoming irrelevant to international relations given its recent lack of progress, a senior United Nations official warned today. read more

Financial market highlights on Tuesday SPTSX 1581690 up 1420 points

Highlights at the close Tuesday at world financial market trading.Stocks:S&P/TSX Composite Index — 15,816.90, up 14.20 pointsDow — 22,997.44, up 40.48 points (record high)S&P 500– 2,559.36, up 1.72 points (record high)Nasdaq — 6,623.66, down 0.35 of a pointCurrencies:Cdn — 79.69 cents US, down 0.12 of a centPound — C$1.6538, down 0.89 of a centEuro — C$1.4752, down 0.36 of a centEuro — US$1.1756, down 0.47 of a centOil futures:US$52.11, down three cents(December contract)Gold futures:US$1,286.20 per oz., down $16.80(December contract)Canadian Fine Silver Handy and Harman:$22.195 oz., down 53.9 cents$713.57 kg., down $17.33 read more