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25 Nov 2009 description

Washington_(dpa) _ The United States confirmed Wednesday its policy on an international treaty banning landmines was under review and, for the time being, there were no plans to join the pact.

US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the review would "take some time" because it is the first look at the policy since 2003, when the Bush administration declared Washington would not sign the ban.

Advocates for banning the devices had hoped Obama would adopt a new position and were disappointed when Kelly said Tuesday that the policy would remained unchanged after a review …

14 Nov 2009 description

Cairo_(dpa) _ People at risk of coming down with severe illness due to H1N1 influenza should postpone their participation in the annual Muslim pilgrimage, or hajj, to Mecca, according to a study released Saturday.

The findings and recommendations of the study led by Ziad Memish of the Saudi Arabian health ministry were in the British medical journal The Lancet.

"Mass gatherings of people challenge public health vigilance and knowledge because they increase the epidemiological potential for the spread of disease to a maximum," according to the study.

Official figures show …

30 Sep 2009 description

Geneva_(dpa) _ Washington's contributions to international humanitarian aid reached a "record level" this year, US officials said Wednesday, topping 3.2 billion dollars in assistance.

Eric Schwartz, the US assistant secretary of state for migration, said the lion's share of the money for fiscal year 2009 went to food aid and assistance for refugees.

The World Food Programme received 1.7 billion dollars from the US, while the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), were granted over a billion dollars together.

11 Jun 2009 description

Taipei_(dpa) _ Taiwan and US researchers have found that typhoons can trigger small earthquakes that help to release seismic energy and prevent major quakes, a Taiwan researcher said Thursday.

The research, led by Liu Chi-ching at Taipei's Academia Sinica, was published in the current issue of the British weekly science journal Nature.

"For a long time, no one thought there was any link between typhoons and earthquakes, but we found that there is a link," Liu told reporters.

Liu and his team studied the typhoons and earthquakes in Taiwan as the island is prone to …

02 Dec 2008 description

Kuala Lumpur_(dpa) _ Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said Tuesday that disaster prevention efforts were insufficient in most Asian nations, and warned that countries ill-equipped to handle disasters would face increasingly high economic losses.

"It is acknowledged that not all disasters can be prevented, but their impact and all the underlying risks can be reduced," Najib, who is also Malaysia's finance minister, said at an Asian conference on disaster-risk reduction.

"Neverthless, such efforts have never been sufficient," he was quoted as saying …

21 Nov 2008 description

Geneva_(dpa) _ Myanmar was the only country that used landmines in the past year, an international coalition reported Friday, adding that Turkey, Greece and Belarus failed to meet their deadlines to destroy stockpiles of the weapon.

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines also said Russia was still considered a violator as it had not reported stopping usage.

18 Jul 2008 description

New York_(dpa) _ The Marshall Islands said Friday electrical power in the small Pacific nation may be switched off in September when its fuel supplies are expected to run out, as high food and energy prices have begun to hit hard some developing countries, particularly small islands isolated from the rest of the world.

'Unless urgent international action is taken, the Marshall Islands will exhaust its present fuel supplies this September,' said Rina Targo, a representative of the islands at the United Nations.

15 Jul 2008 description

Bangkok_(dpa) _ When world rice prices hit 1,000 dollars per ton in May, more than doubling over five months, Asian governments were forced to do something they haven't done for decades: take a serious look at their neglected agriculture sectors.

Before the Asian economic miracle of the 1980s and '90s, there was the green revolution of the 1960s.

Asia's green revolution combined the introduction of high-yield seeds for staple crops such as maize, wheat and rice with massive public expenditures on rural infrastructure.

08 Jul 2008 description

Toyako, Japan_(dpa) _ The leaders of the world's eight most industrialized countries (G8) warned Tuesday that spiralling food prices and low supplies risked pushing millions more people back into poverty.

"We are deeply concerned that the steep rise in global food prices, coupled with availability problems in a number of developing countries, is threatening global food security," they said in a joint statement issued at a summit in Toyako, Japan.

"The negative impacts of this recent trend could push millions more back into poverty, rolling back progress made …

11 Jun 2008 description

Geneva_(dpa) _ The head of the International Labour Organization (ILO) called Wednesday for job creation and investment in rural areas to combat the impact of the global food crisis.

"Poor workers in urban and rural areas are hardest hit by the food crisis.

05 Jun 2008 description

Rome_(dpa) _ Delegates representing some 181 nations at a food summit in Rome on Thursday issued a declaration on fighting world hunger, which has been exacerbated by the highest food prices in 30 years, but failed to agree on a set of concrete proposals.

The declaration reaffirmed a 1996 pledge by world leaders to halve the number of hungry people by 2015.

05 Jun 2008 description

Rome_(dpa) _ Delegates from some 50 nations attending a food summit in Rome were trying Thursday to hammer out a common agreement on how to fight world hunger, which has been exacerbated by the highest food prices in 30 years.

The three-day High-Level Conference on World Food Security was scheduled to end Thursday with an afternoon news conference by Jacques Diouf, director general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which hosted the summit.

Dozens of heads of state and government, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund's top officials, major …

03 Jun 2008 description

Rome_(dpa) _ Due to drastically rising food prices, 862 million people around the world are suffering from starvation or malnutrition.

A list comprised by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in Rome shows 37 countries which are in urgent need of foreign food assistance.

07 May 2008 description

Managua_(dpa) _ A call for regional unity in the face of a growing food scarcity and soaring food prices was made Wednesday by 15 Latin American countries who are urging an increase in food production through improvements in agricultural technology.

Six presidents and one prime minister were attending the summit on food sovereignty and security at a Managua conference centre, where delegates approved a declaration drafted last month by 13 agriculture ministers in the region.

The document proposes to increase food production by devoting more financial and technical means to the …

25 Apr 2008 description

Vienna_(dpa) _ The international community had to take immediate measures to battle rising food prices, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday in Vienna.

"This steeply rising food prices have developed into a real global crisis...the UN is very much concerned," Ban told journalists on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of a new UN conference building.

"We must take immediate action in a concerted way," he said.

There was however no single factor for the current food crisis, but several issues like high prices for petroleum or changing consumption …

18 Apr 2008 description

Geneva_(dpa) _ The UN World Food Programme (WFP) issued another appeal for urgent funding Friday, the second in just under two months, due to escalating global food prices.

The skyrocketing prices of basic foods such as wheat and rice meant WFP needed an extra 756 million dollars in addition to the 2.9 billion approved in October to provide assistance for 73 million people in 80 countries.

The organization had already asked for an extra 500 million in February to fill the funding shortfall but the continuing rise in prices meant this was no longer sufficient and the funding gap was …

19 Dec 2007 description

Berlin_(dpa) _ Rising food prices, a shortfall of stocks and the effects of climate change pose a serious threat to the world's poor, the head of the UN World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran, said Wednesday.

She said her agency's procurement price for food had gone up 50 per cent in the past five years and had accelerated by 20 per cent in the first eight months of 2007.

"I am very worried that we may be in a situation where the world's most vulnerable are a facing a perfect storm," she said in an interview in Berlin.

Sheeran said there was "a …

20 Jun 2007 description

Nairobi_(dpa) _ Countries must find a balance between securing their borders to keep out unwanted people like terrorists, while also guaranteeing protection for refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Wednesday.

Ending a three-day visit to South Sudan and Kenya to mark World Refugee Day, Antonio Guterres said the international community was not doing enough to ensure refugees were given the protection they deserve.

"Refugees are not terrorists.

17 Nov 2004 description

Mexico City (dpa) - French humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to focus on "forgotten diseases" - those ignored by the large pharmaceutical firms because there is no immediate financial motive to seek remedies - press reports said Wednesday.

14 Jun 2004 description

New York (dpa) - Devastating floods will affect about 2 billion people by 2050 because of climate change, deforestation, rising sea levels and population growth in flood-prone lands, the United Nations University said in a study released Sunday.

The U.N. University, a think tank for the world organization based in Tokyo, says in the study that already 1 billion people, or one- sixth of total world population, live in lands known for recurring floods.