Security Council decries lack of progress in resolving conflict in Abkhazia Georgia

In a statement read out by Council President Jeremy Greenstock of the United Kingdom, the Council underlined the importance of early negotiations on the core political questions relating to the conflict.In that context, it strongly supported the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the region, Dieter Boden, to promote the achievement of a comprehensive political settlement based on Council decisions, which must include a resolution of the political status of Abkhazia.The Council also welcomed Mr. Boden’s intention to submit a draft paper containing specific proposals on the distribution of constitutional competencies between Tbilisi and Sukhumi as a starting point for negotiations. Prior to adopting its statement, the Council was briefed in private by Mr. Boden. The Minister for Special Affairs of Georgia, Malkhaz Kakabadze, also participated in the Council’s private meeting. The conflict in Abkhazia, strategically located on the Black Sea in the north-western region of the Republic of Georgia, began with social unrest and attempts by the local authorities to separate from the Republic. It escalated into a series of armed confrontations in the summer of 1992 when the Government of Georgia deployed 2,000 Georgian troops in Abkhazia. A ceasefire agreement was reached on 3 September 1992 in Moscow by the Republic of Georgia, the leadership of Abkhazia and the Russian Federation. In 1993, the United Nations established the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) to help monitor compliance with the ceasefire. read more

Average US 30year mortgage falls to 354 per cent

by The Associated Press Posted Jun 16, 2016 8:31 am MDT Last Updated Jun 16, 2016 at 12:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Average US 30-year mortgage falls to 3.54 per cent WASHINGTON – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week for a second straight week amid continued global economic concerns. The average rates touched their lowest points in 52 weeks.Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipped to 3.54 per cent from 3.60 per cent last week. That is well below its level a year ago of 4.00 per cent.The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages declined to 2.81 per cent from 2.87 per cent.Deepening doubt about the strength of the U.S. economy and concern that Britons could vote to leave the European Union in a referendum next week are stoking the malaise.Worries over a possible British exit from the 28-nation bloc helped depress the U.S. stock market for five straight days. Proponents of Britain remaining in the EU say a vote to leave could bring economic calamity to the country. It likely would roil global markets.Bond prices have remained high, keeping yields low. Bond investors say the uncertainty about the expected close British vote has forced European investors to buy up U.S. government bonds in a search for security, pushing bond yields to their lowest levels in years.Mortgage rates often move in sync with long-term bond yields. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dropped to 1.57 per cent Wednesday from 1.70 per cent a week earlier. It fell further to 1.52 per cent Thursday morning.As expected, the Federal Reserve’s policymakers decided at their meeting this week to keep interest rates unchanged at 0.25 per cent to 0.50 per cent. In their announcement Wednesday, the Fed officials said that while U.S. economic activity continues to strengthen, “the pace of improvement in the labour market has slowed,” a reference to employment reports for April and May that were weaker than expected.To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 per cent of the loan amount.The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was unchanged from last week at 0.5 point. The fee for a 15-year loan also was steady at 0.5 point.Rates on adjustable five-year mortgages averaged 2.74 per cent this week, down from 2.82 per cent last week. The fee remained at 0.5 per cent. read more