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U.N. agencies in N. Korea could run out of cash in weeks: official

Facing a serious cash shortfall, U.N. agencies operating in North Korea are concerned their humanitarian work will be adversely impacted as soon as next month, North Korea's resident coordinator said Thursday. "For some (U.N agencies) they are in desperate need (of cash), perhaps it could probably last a couple of weeks, for others maybe a couple of months, for others maybe three to four months," Ghulam Isaczai, the U.N. resident coordinator in North Korea, told Kyodo News in an interview while in New York.

Football: Troubled Hearts hit with transfer ban

Troubled Scottish Premier League club Hearts have been hit with an extended transfer embargo as punishment for their spell in administration. A Scottish Football Association judicial panel imposed the ban on Thursday, leaving Hearts unable to sign new players aged 21 and over until February 1 next year. The Edinburgh outfit were already banned from signing players following their entry into administration on June 19.

US slaps sanctions on North Korea bank

The United States on Thursday slapped sanctions on a North Korean bank, a related company and an official for financing North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The US Treasury named Daedong Credit Bank, "its front company" DCB Finance Limited and its China-based representative Kim Chol Sam for sanctions that freeze the assets of those designated "proliferators of mass destruction" and their supporters. It also set sanctions on Son Mun San, the external affairs bureau chief of North Korea's General Bureau of Atomic Energy, who has directed nuclear-research efforts.

France wants 'decisive sanctions' against Iran

The United States and European nations should take "decisive sanctions" against Iran over its controversial nuclear program, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday. "Given the inflexibility of Iran's position, this dual, sanctions-dialogue approach should allow us to increase pressure on Iran in the coming months as the Iranian uranium enrichment program continues to expand in quantity and quality," Le Drian said.

Venezuela threatens oil, trade measures in vote row with US

Venezuela threatened Monday to take measures affecting energy and trade if the United States resorts to sanctions in a row over disputed presidential elections in Caracas earlier this month. "If the United States takes recourse to economic sanctions, or sanctions of any other kind, we will take measures of a commercial, energy, economic and political order that we consider necessary," Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said in a television interview. jm/sst

EU foreign ministers end Myanmar sanctions, keep arms embargo

EU foreign ministers agreed Monday to lift the last of the bloc's trade, economic and individual sanctions against Myanmar, hailing "a new chapter" with the once pariah state. "In response to the changes that have taken place and in the expectation that they will continue, the Council (of ministers) has decided to lift all sanctions with the exception of the embargo on arms," said a statement approved without a vote. bur/bmm/lc

EU set to lift sanctions against Myanmar, except arms embargo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is expected to lift all sanctions on Myanmar next week, except for an arms embargo, in recognition of the "remarkable process of reform" in the country, a document obtained by Reuters showed on Wednesday. The EU agreed a year ago to suspend most of its sanctions against Myanmar for a year, but ministers are expected to go further on Monday by agreeing "to lift all sanctions with the exception of the embargo on arms which will remain in place," according to the document.

Fearing US wrath, Swiss ZKB bank halts Cuba transfers

The Swiss bank Zuercher Kantonalbank said Tuesday that it would halt all transfers to Cuba starting next month to avoid the activities being deemed in violation of a US embargo on the communist-ruled island. "Starting on May 1, the Zuercher Kantonalbank will cut all business relations with Cuba," the bank said in an email sent to AFP, confirming Swiss news reports. "The bank is part of an international network and must respect international economic embargoes and restriction lists," it explained.

Japan, Australia to sanction North Korean bank as part of U.S.-led crackdown

By Antoni Slodkowski and Warren Strobel TOKYO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Japan and Australia plan to sanction North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank as part of U.S.-led efforts targeting Pyongyang's main foreign exchange bank for the role Washington says it has in funding the country's nuclear programme. A Japanese government source said Tokyo could act within the next two to three weeks. Australian Foreign Ministry sources said Canberra might also unveil sanctions soon.

US officials say China 'cooperative' on N Korea sanctions

US officials involved in enforcing international sanctions against North Korea expressed optimism Friday that China was willing to cooperate to disrupt financing for Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes. "China is part of the solution and is working with us in a cooperative spirit," Dan Fried, the State Department's sanctions coordinator, told reporters. The latest effort to punish North Korea, UN Security Council Resolution 2094, came in response to its nuclear test last month and a rocket launch in December.
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