PHILIPPINES (ALJAZEERA) The number of undernourished Filipinos has skyrocketed in recent years, even as the number of undernourished peoples have dropped in very other south-east Asian country. The number of hungry people in the Philippines has grown by two million in the past two years, bringing the total number to 16 million. Even though the economy has been steadily growing, there are now more underfed Filipinos today than there were 20 years ago. ”The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012,” a global assessment of nutrition levels released on Tuesday, revealed that undernourishment has plummeted in countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia. In an editorial piece on Tuesday, the Malay Business Insight said, ”These hunger statistics and the high joblessness numbers [2.8 million unemployed and 8.5 million underemployed] give a gloomier picture than the upbeat first semester GDP growth of 6.1 per cent. At the very least, they support the view that the first half economic growth was shallow and hollow.” After grain prices shot to record highs this summer, fueled by droughts in the US, Russia and other major providers, a meeting was held on Tuesday that was set up by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and included More than 30 ministers and deputy-ministers in Rome. The aid group Oxfam urged governments to reverse biofuel mandates, boost food reserves and commit to agricultural investments. UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food Olivier de Schutter said ”Far too little has been said about the question of power in the food system, and the need to empower small farmers and hold governments accountable. Hunger is not a technical issue, it is deeply political and we need to face that reality.”
AFGHANISTAN (BBC) A roadside bomb killed 18 people on their way to a wedding in northern Afghanistan and wounded 15 others. The victims included mostly women and children and they were on a minibus, heading to the wedding in the Dawlatabad district of Balkh province. No one has claimed responsibility for planting the bomb and it unclear if the wedding guests were the intended target. The bride and groom were reportedly not on the bus that did kill six children and seven women. Though some of those injured only had superficial wounds, according to Dawood Rustaie, a surgeon treating the wounded at a hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh, other were very severe and the victims would need weeks to recover. Northern Afghanistan has widely been considered the safest part of the country in recent years, though there has been an increase in activity by the Taliban, which NATO forces have been unable to quell. A UN report in August said civilian casualties had actually fallen for the first time in five years in Afghanistan – suggesting both sides in the war are becoming increasingly sensitive to the impact of civilian deaths. There are no exact figures for the number of civilians killed since the war began in 2001, but most estimates calculate a minimum of 20,000 civilian deaths.
HONG KONG (BBC) Customs officials in Hong Kong seized four tons of smuggled ivory, their largest seizure ever from endangered species. The haul is said to be worth an estimated $3.4 million and originated in Kenya and Tanzania. A tip-off from mainland China lead to the seizure and seven people have reportedly been arrested. Ivory tusks are used in traditional medicines in Asia and also used to make ornaments. The containers, discovered on Tuesday and Wednesday, were originally marked as plastic scrap. Under Hong Kong law, those found guilty of trading in products derived from endangered species can face up to two years in jail and a hefty fine. Many conservationists are worried that China’s growing interest in Africa has led to an increase in poaching elephant tusks. The international trade in ivory has been banned since 1989, to protect Africa’s dwindling elephant population.
CNN has a cute editorial about the battle between Apple and Samsung over patent issues.
The nephew of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, gave a rare interview from Bosnia and spoke of his dreams of reunification of the two Koreas.
Finally, Al Jazeera has a story about Indonesia allowing local HIV drug production.