Archive for the ‘starvation’ Category

Somali Pirates: Living The High Life While Neighbors Suffer Extreme Poverty, Government Collapses

December 29, 2008

Despite piracy, seacoasts of Somalia are mired in poverty.  The money paid to pirates in ransom benefits only a few….Any thought you had of “Robin Hood” style pirates helping their fellow countrymen is not supported by the facts….Meanwhile, President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed of Somalia has resigned….

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From the Maritime Global Net

A Voice of America journalist has filed reports from Hobyo in the Galmudug region of central Somalia which indicate that ransom money [paid to pirates] is not being diverted directly to Islamic terrorist or rebel groups, despite some media reports to that effect and that the main Islamic militia, Shabab, is clamping down on pirates. Hobyo, which has been a pirate stronghold is now under Shabab’s control. Also, contrary to some reports, Alisha Ryu found that local people did not support the pirates at Hobyo and that virtually none of the ransom money was being used to their improve living conditions or benefit the local community. The growing strength of Islamic groups in the coastal area may, she says, be tied to local anger over piracy and deepening poverty.

Pirates shoot on the deck of the Chinese ship "Zhenhua ... 
Pirates shoot on the deck of the Chinese ship “Zhenhua 4” in the Gulf of Aden December 17, 2008 in this photo released by China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

Ms Ryu also reports that the Shabab Islamic militia which is doing much of the fighting against the central government and is is control of large areas of southern and central Somalia is strongly opposed to piracy. It fought a pitched battle with the pirates who have been operating out of Hobyo on 22 December and took control of the town.

The VOA reporter quotes a pirate as saying that all pirates in central Somalia are under severe pressure from Islamists to disband. He says that, in recent months, pirates trying to go ashore in any area controlled by the Islamists have been threatened and chased away. She says that Somali sources tell VOA that the Islamists’ tough stance against piracy has prompted many poor people in coastal communities to quietly begin supporting the return of Islamist rule.

Ms Ryu notes in one of her reports: “While the loss of Hobyo to the Shabab has dealt a clear blow to piracy, it raises another troubling question, especially for the United States and its western allies. They must now decide which, pirates or militant Islamists, pose a greater threat to global security and economy.”

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Somalia’s transitional president has resigned amid a power struggle with the African nation’s prime minister and parliament, sources told CNN on Monday.

From CNN

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed tried to fire his PM this month but later lost a confidence vote.

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed tried to fire his PM this month but later lost a confidence vote.

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed announced his resignation Monday before parliament in Baidoa.

Ahmed’s resignation is the latest turn in the political crisis in Somalia, which is already struggling with an Islamist revolt, a refugee crisis and rampant lawlessness that has fueled a wave of piracy off the Horn of Africa.

Somalia has been without an effective central government since 1991. The U.N.-backed transitional government has the support of Ethiopian troops that ousted an Islamist government at the end of 2006, but it controls little of the country outside the southwestern city of Baidoa.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa
/12/29/somalia.president.resigns/index.html

Food Security, Supply Needs Totally New Thinking

December 28, 2008

A sustainable global food system in the 21st Century needs to be built on a series of “new fundamentals”, according to a leading food expert.

Tim Lang warned that the current system, designed in the 1940s, was showing “structural failures”, such as “astronomic” environmental costs.

The new approach needed to address key fundamentals like biodiversity, energy, water and urbanisation, he added.

Professor Lang is a member of the UK government’s newly formed Food Council.

BBC

Vegetables (Getty Images)

Food crops, agriculture and biodiversity cannot be separated from one another

“Essentially, what we are dealing with at the moment is a food system that was laid down in the 1940s,” he told BBC News.

“It followed on from the dust bowl in the US, the collapse of food production in Europe and starvation in Asia.

“At the time, there was clear evidence showing that there was a mismatch between producers and the need of consumers.”

Professor Lang, from City University, London, added that during the post-war period, food scientists and policymakers also thought increasing production would reduce the cost of food, while improving people’s diets and public health.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7795652.stm

World Hunger Rising; Food Prices, Security at Issue

December 10, 2008

A U.N. report says hunger is on the rise globally and blames higher food prices.

CNN
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Populations within conflict zones such as the Democratic Republic of Congo are particularly vulnerable.

Populations within conflict zones such as the Democratic Republic of Congo are particularly vulnerable.

The Food and Agriculture Organization has issued preliminary estimates classifying 963 million people as undernourished — an increase of 40 million people over the past year.

“One out of seven people — about 15 percent — suffer chronically of not having enough to eat,” said Mark Smulders, an FAO economist.

The hunger report — titled “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2008” — said the world’s financial and economic problems could throw more people into poverty.

The number of hungry had been increasing over the years before the rise in food prices, with warfare and political instability continuing to be among the factors causing poverty.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe
/12/09/starvation.united.nations/index.ht
ml?section=cnn_latest

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The goal of halving the number of hungry people in the world by 2015 is becoming ever more elusive, with 40 million more people plunged into chronic hunger this year, the UN food agency’s chief said on Tuesday.

AFP

“For many countries, the world goal of reducing hunger by half is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve,” Food and Agriculture Organisation Director-General Jacques Diouf told a news conference, referring to one of the Millennium Development Goals set in 2000.

“This sad reality should not be acceptable at the dawn of the 21st century,” the FAO chief said, adding: “Even the objective of cutting by half the number of hungry by 2015 is morally unacceptable.”

The global food crisis has added 40 million more people to the ranks of the hungry this year, taking the estimated number to 963 million, he said, unveiling the Rome-based agency’s annual report on world food insecurity.

The crisis affects mainly the poorest, the landless and female-headed households, says the report, “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2008.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081209/hl_afp/unfoo
dhunger_081209172513

North Korea to ‘Urgently’ Need Food for 40% of People, UN Says

December 8, 2008

North Korea, plagued by years of famine, will “urgently” need food aid for 40 percent of its population, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme said in a report yesterday.

The country is facing a shortfall of more than 800,000 tons of grain for the year through October 2009, in what is likely to be a third straight year of dropping food production, the report said.
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By Heejin Koo
Bloomberg

About 8.7 million of the country’s 23 million people will “urgently need food assistance,” because “the country’s agricultural production will not meet basic food needs,” according to a FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission report. The agencies visited North Korea from Oct. 9-24.

“The findings of the mission confirm WFP’s fears that millions of DPRK households will suffer through yet another year of food shortages,” WFP country Representative Torben Due said in a statement from Pyongyang, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“Accessing enough food and a balanced diet will be almost impossible, particularly for families living in urban areas or in the remote food-deficit provinces in the Northeast,” Due said. “This could have grave consequences for the health of the most vulnerable groups.”

Floods, drought and economic mismanagement have led to persistent food shortages. The South Korean government said in August it is considering a UN request to help raise $60 million to buy food and other essential supplies for its neighbor.

North Korea and South Korea remain technically at war since their 1950-53 conflict ended without a peace agreement. North Korea has about 1.2 million soldiers and South Korea about 500,000 on the border. There are 28,500 U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea.