It is not enough to be the poorest country in the world and to be in the sphere of corruption from the Clinton Foundation after suffering a devastating earthquake in 2010, now the UN has admitted that its peacekeeping troops literally imported cholera bacteria in its efforts to help the nation.
The only problem is those efforts have now cost the country thousands of deaths throughout the last six years.
– UN ‘leaders’ as corrupt as US/UK/Israel: We the People must demand arrests or suffer endless war (Washington’s Blog, Aug 24, 2014):
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s official statements about Israel’s most recent armed attack upon Gaza are Orwellian lies of omission because they fail to uphold the one and only legal authority of the UN: to stop Wars of Aggression.
Allowing “developed nations” to have unlawful wars is consistent with UN history. A recent example is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s silence for 18 months in official statements over the US/UK’s armed attacks and invasion of Iraq, to finally admit in 2004 when directly asked if that war is illegal:
Aug 9, 2014
The following open letter signed by 129 organizations and distinguished individuals was sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 5 August:
For humanity and the little remaining credibility of international law:
How about an urgent request to Ben Bernanke to stop the printing press?
– Urgent Request to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (By Green Action Japan):
To: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
An Urgent Request on UN Intervention to Stabilize the Fukushima Unit 4 Spent Nuclear Fuel
Recently, former diplomats and experts both in Japan and abroad stressed the extremely risky condition of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent nuclear fuel pool and this is being widely reported by world media. Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), who is one of the best-known experts on spent nuclear fuel, stated that in Unit 4 there is spent nuclear fuel which contains Cesium-137 (Cs-137) that is equivalent to 10 times the amount that was released at the time of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Thus, if an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain, this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident.
Nearly all of the 10,893 spent fuel assemblies at the Fukushima Daiichi plant sit in pools vulnerable to future earthquakes, with roughly 85 times more long-lived radioactivity than released at Chernobyl.
What is in the reactor 4 SPF is equal to nuclear WW III. And that is also not an exaggeration.
We are talking about 460 tons of highly enriched nuclear fuel here.
I repeat: The nuclear fallout worldwide would be equal to WW III.
– Dr. Helen Caldicott (Co-Founder Of Physicians For Social Responsibility): What We Learned From Fukushima (Video – April 2, 2012):
Dr. Helen Caldicott: If Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 collapses I am evacuating my family from Boston.
Few people know that the Pacific Northwest got whacked hard by fallout from the Fukushima disaster with radiation rates hundreds of thousands of times higher than normal background radiation.
The damage from this is not something that the corporate media or the government is talking about. It mysteriously disappeared from the radar almost immediately.
– Former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland: “Fate of Japan and the whole world depends on NO.4 reactor” (EX-SKF, April 8, 2012):
I don’t know what to think of this but it may be one of the reasons why the meme of “Fukushima Reactor 4 is leaning (or listing, or collapsing, or falling apart)” and “Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool is in danger” has started to circulate widely again since March this year.
Mr. Mitsuhei Murata is a former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland and Senegal and the current Executive Director of the Japan Society for Global System and Ethics (according to his website) who seems to have been very active in anti-nuclear movements. There are tweets and blogs citing his website as the source of his comments which appeared on the English site by a Japanese diplomat (I think) Akio Matsumura.
Assuming that it is indeed Mr. Murata’s website, here’s the letter that Mr. Murata sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on March 25, 2012, as it appears on his site:
The Honorable Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary–General of the United Nations Organization
New York City, NY.
Tokyo, March 25, 2012
Honorable Ban Ki-moon,
I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude for your considerate letter dated 2 March, 2012. Your moral support for a United Nations Ethics Summit will remain a constant source of encouragement for my activities.
Please allow me to pay a tribute to your great contribution to strengthen nuclear safety and security. The current Nuclear Summit in Seoul is no doubt greatly benefiting from the high-level meeting you convened last September.
I was asked to make a statement at the public hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 23. I raised the crucial problem. of N0.4 reactor of Fukushima containing1535 fuel rods. It could be fatally damaged by continuing aftershocks. Moreover, 50 meters away from it exists a common cooling pool for 6 reactors containing 6375 fuel rods !
It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on NO.4 reactor. This is confirmed by most reliable experts like Dr.Arnie Gundersen or Dr. Fumiaki Koide.
Abidjan, Apr 4 (AP) A United Nations helicopter fired at President Laurent Gbagbo”s forces today as France authorised its military forces to take out his heavy weapons, an unprecedented escalation in the international community”s efforts at forcing the strongman from office.The office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had requested France”s military participation.
– French choppers blast Gbagbo strongholds (ABC Online)
French and UN helicopters have attacked forces loyal to Ivory Coast’s incumbent leader, Laurent Gbagbo.
Mr Gbagbo’s presidential palace and residence were hit, along with military camps used by pro-Gbagbo forces, in what UN chief Ban Ki-moon said was a mission of self-defence.
– France and UN Join Fight Against Ivory Coast Incumbent President (Voice of America):
French troops and United Nations peacekeepers are joining the fight against Ivory Coast’s incumbent president as forces backing the country’s internationally-recognized leader launch another attack against his positions in the commercial capital, Abidjan.
– U.N. Helicopters Fire on Laurent Gbagbo’s Forces in Ivory Coast (New York Magazine):
Witnesses in Ivory Coast are reporting that U.N. helicopters have fired four missiles at a military base in Abidjan, the country’s former capital. The U.N. is trying to stop President Laurent Gbagbo’s forces from using weapons to hit civilians. The missiles were fired on a pro-Gbagbo military camp housing three battalions of the Ivorian army. The international body has no air force, leaving a full-blown offensive like the one in Libya out of the question. However, it does have a Ukrainian aviation unit with three Mi-24 attack helicopters that have been deployed in Ivory Coast. The U.N.’s focus is on heavy weapons, including BM-21 rocket systems, which Gbagbo loyalists are using on civilians. Ivory Coast’s brewing conflict is between its two presidents, Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized election winner. Nonetheless, Gbagbo’s forces are targeting U.N. officers and residents of Abidjan.
Israel has rejected calls for an international probe, saying it would be biased against the Jewish state.
This crime happened in international waters and therefor there should be an international probe.
An international probe would be biased against the Jewish state?
Sounds like we are all getting the anti-semite label now.
Just who do those Israeli fascists think they are?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks during a Likud faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem, Monday, June 7, 2010. Netanyahu has rejected a proposal by U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon for an international commission to investigate Israel’s killing of nine activists during a raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying humanitarian supplies and hundreds of activists protesting the closure of the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory, but officials said Netanyahu was open to a probe that would look into the actions of the activists as well. (AP)
JERUSALEM – Israel’s military has appointed an internal team of experts to examine last week’s deadly commando raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.
The military said on Tuesday the team will review various internal investigations already going on. It says results are expected by July 4.
The military probe is in addition to a planned government review of the political decision-making ahead of the raid, which killed nine pro-Palestinian activists on the flotilla and triggered a storm of international criticism of Israel.
Israel has rejected calls for an international probe, saying it would be biased against the Jewish state.
Activists claimed Israeli commandos needlessly opened fire. Israel says its soldiers began shooting only after a mob of activists attacked them.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — After three years of cooperating in the Israeli blockade of Gaza, Egypt said Monday that it will leave its border with the Palestinian territory open indefinitely for humanitarian aid and restricted travel.
With international pressure building to ease the blockade, an Egyptian security official said sealing off Hamas-ruled Gaza has only bred more militancy.
The decision to ease the restrictions erected by Israel to isolate and punish Hamas comes a week after a deadly Israeli raid on a flotilla of activists trying to break the blockade.
The move restores a link to the outside world for at least some of Gaza’s 1.5 million Palestinians. It also appeared calculated to defuse anger in the Arab and Muslim world over Egypt’s role in maintaining the blockade and to show that Egypt, too, is now pressing Israel to open at least its land crossings with Gaza.
“Egypt is the one that broke the blockade,” Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said. “We are not going to let the occupying power escape from its responsibilities.”
– Haiti: Gangs Armed With Machetes Loot Port-Au-Prince (CBS NEWS)
– Haiti Earthquake: Law And Order Breaks Down; Who’s Running Haiti? No One, Say The People (Telegraph/Reuters)
– 4000 prisoners loose as Haiti earthquake quake topples jail (The Australian)
Makeshift camps are sprouting up in Port-au-Prince
Up to 10,000 US troops will be on the ground or off the coast of Haiti by Monday to help deal with the earthquake aid effort, US defence officials say.
Aid distribution has begun but logistics continue to be extremely difficult, UN officials say.
Tuesday’s earthquake has left as many as 45,000-50,000 people dead.
Correspondents say survivors seem increasingly desperate and angry as bottlenecks and infrastructure damage delay relief efforts.
|AT THE SCENE
Matt Frei, Port-au-Prince
No-one is in charge. The president is sleeping at the airport with quite a few journalists and aid workers.
Earlier this morning, I stood on top of the rubble of the Supreme Court, the Foreign Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Senate – where a few senators had been killed when the quake hit. Their bodies have been dragged out and put in body bags. The representatives of state are literally lying on the pavement slowly rotting away.
This is a citizenry left to its own extremely meagre resources. You’ve got ordinary people trying to administer IV drips to their family members who are slowly dying, but not a single doctor or nurse at the general hospital.
Many are spending another day without food and shelter in the ruined capital.
UN humanitarian chief John Holmes told reporters that 30% of buildings throughout Port-au-Prince had been damaged, with the figure at 50% in some areas.
The US has already sent an aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, to Haiti and the USS Bataan, carrying a marine expeditionary unit, is on its way.
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm Mike Mullen, said a hospital ship and more helicopters would be sent in the coming days, carrying more troops and marines.
He said the total number of US troops would rise to between 9,000 and 10,000.
“Right now, I mean, literally as we speak, the Vinson (aircraft carrier) and the company from the 82nd Airborne who got there last night are focusing on delivering water from the helicopters offshore to the people of Haiti.”
| They want us to provide them with help, which is, of course, what we want to do
US defence secretary Robert Gates said the relief effort was the “highest priority for US military assets in this hemisphere”, and all necessary resources would be made available.
He described infrastructure problems which have led to delays in aid distribution as “facts of life”.
“I don’t know how … [the US] government could have responded faster or more comprehensively than it has,” he said.
The announcements came after US President Barack Obama pledged full American support in a phone call to his Haitian counterpart Rene Preval.
The UN said a total of about $310m (£190m) in international aid had been pledged so far for the relief effort.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: “Food and water are in critically short supply”
• Tens of thousands lose homes in 7.0 magnitude quake
• UN headquarters, schools and hospitals collapse
Footage of the earthquake’s aftermath. Contains disturbing images Link to this video
René Préval, the president of Haiti, has described the devastation after last night’s earthquake as “unimaginable” as governments and aid agencies around the world rushed into action.
Préval described how he had been forced to step over dead bodies and heard the cries of those trapped under the rubble of the national parliament. “Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed,” he told the Miami Herald. “There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them.” Préval said he thought thousands of people had died in the quake.
A 7.0 magnitude quake – the biggest recorded in this part of the Caribbean and the largest to hit Haiti in more than 200 years – rocked Port-au-Prince, destroying a hospital and sending houses tumbling into ravines.
AMNESTY International has said that Israel’s use during the Gaza offensive of white phosphorus – banned under international law for use near civilians – was “clear and undeniable”.
Tension eased in Gaza early yesterday as a fragile ceasefire entered its third day. There were no reports of shooting or rockets for the first time since Israel launched its massive assault on the besieged territory on December 27.
“Amnesty International delegates visiting the Gaza Strip found indisputable evidence of widespread use of white phosphorus in densely-populated residential areas in Gaza City and in the north,” the rights group said.
“We saw streets and alleyways littered with evidence of the use of white phosphorus, including still burning wedges and the remnants of the shells and canisters fired by the Israeli army,” said Christopher Cobb-Smith, a weapons expert touring Gaza as part of a four-person fact-finding team. Human rights groups and medics in Gaza reported treating dozens of people suffering burns caused by white phosphorus during Israel’s 22-day offensive in Gaza that killed more than 1300 people.
– Arabs: Israel ammo in Gaza had depleted uranium (AP)
– Gaza doctors struggle to treat deadly burns consistent with white phosphorus (Guardian)
– UN Says More than 50000 Left Homeless in Gaza Following Israeli Attacks (TransWorldNews)
– Israel: Report of Gaza mortar fire incorrect (AP)
– Robert Fisk: So, I asked the UN secretary general, isn’t it time for a war crimes tribunal? (Independent)
– Gaza ‘looks like earthquake zone’ (BBC News)
– Ban ‘appalled’ by Gaza’s damage (BBC News)
– Amid dust and death, a family’s story speaks for the terror of war (Guardian):
48 members of the Samouni family were killed in one day when Israel’s battle with Hamas suddenly centred on their homes
– Israel destroys, Saudi rebuilds (Middle East Online):
Saudi King donates one billion dollars to rebuild Gaza, calls for putting end to Arab rifts.
– Israel to keep tight grip on Gaza reconstruction (Reuters)
– Israel accused of war crimes over 12-hour assault on Gaza village (The Observer)
Under international law, white phosphorus is banned for use near civilians, but is permitted for creating a smokescreen.
Israel has insisted that all weapons used in its Gaza war were within the bounds of international law.
Donatella Rovera, Amnesty’s researcher on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, said the use of white phosphorus could amount to a war crime.
ISRAELI shells set ablaze a food warehouse at UN headquarters in Gaza yesterday, destroying tons of emergency rations intended for needy Gaza civilians, a senior UN official said. A pall of black smoke rose from the UN compound, visible across Gaza City. Flour spilled on the ground and mixed with soot as Palestinian firefighters tried to douse the flames.
“The main warehouse was badly damaged by what appeared to be white phosphorus shells,” UN humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes said at a news briefing in New York.
“Those on the ground don’t have any doubt that’s what they were. If you were looking for confirmation, that looks like it to me.” The compound belongs to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (Unwra).
The rights group Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of using white phosphorus, which can create smoke screens or mark targets but also makes a devastating incendiary weapon.
Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said the military fired artillery shells at the UN compound after Hamas militants opened fire from the location, a version of events John Ging, director of Unwra in Gaza, rejected as “nonsense”
Mr Ging said Israeli shells first hit a courtyard filled with refugees, then struck garages and the UN’s main warehouse, sending thousands of tons of food aid up in flames. Later, fuel supplies ignited, sending a thick plume of smoke into the air.
“It’s a total disaster for us,” said Mr Ging, adding that the UN had warned the Israeli its shelling put the compound in danger.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, who is in the region to encourage a ceasefire, demanded a “full explanation” and said the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, had told him there had been a “grave mistake”.
GAZA – Amid reports that a United Nations building had been hit, Israeli forces shelled areas deep inside Gaza City and edged forward toward the city center Thursday, sending thousands of panicked residents fleeing from their homes, witnesses said.
Among the buildings hit in the center of Gaza City, the witnesses said, was one housing the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency that assists Palestinian refugees and another occupied by several media organizations.
The Israeli military would not give precise details of its ground operations, but a spokesman said that “fierce fighting” was under way “relatively deep inside Gaza.”
– Fighting in Gaza Intensifies as UN Chief Holds Talks in Israel (VOA News):
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has strongly condemned the Israeli shelling of the U.N. headquarters in Gaza City.
– Gaza: Israeli troops reveal ruthless tactics against Hamas (Times)
– Israel accused of Gaza ‘genocide’ (Al Jazeera):
The president of the UN General Assembly has condemned Israel’s killings of Palestinians in its Gaza offensive as “genocide”.
– Israeli soldiers say they have OK to use tough tactics in Gaza (McClatchy)
– Iran warns Israel over aid ship interception (Press TV):
A senior Iranian commander says if Israel continues intercepting humanitarian aid for Gazans, Iran will adopt an alternative approach.
– EU parliament urges halting relations with Israel (Middle East Online)
– Venezuela cuts ties with Israel over Gaza attacks (Reuters)
The military push may be aimed at stepping up pressure on Hamas as cease-fire talks in Egypt entered a pivotal stage.
Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) — The Israeli government will weigh the future of its military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, as mounting casualties among Palestinian civilians increased pressure for a truce.
At least 40 Palestinians were killed when Israeli forces struck a school run by the United Nations in Gaza, a UN official said. Israel, which struck at least 40 more Hamas targets overnight, said it responded after its soldiers were fired at from the building.
– Optimism over Gaza ceasefire plan (BBC)
– UN rights body calls special session on Gaza (Reuters)
– Homeless and terrified, 15,000 seek refuge in UN schools (Guardian)
– Shell-shocked children who are drawn into the cult of the martyr (Guardian)
– Obama fiddles while Gaza burns (Guardian)
– Gaza killing sparks attacks on Jews across Europe (Telegraph)
The school deaths yesterday added urgency to diplomatic efforts aimed at reaching a cease-fire as the conflict entered its 12th day. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak proposed a new initiative last night and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been lobbying throughout the region for a truce, said the casualties at the school demonstrate the urgent need to stop the fighting. “Time works against us,” he said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice backed the proposal and Mubarak’s call for peace talks in Cairo, which may begin as early as today.
IN AN extraordinary outburst, the president of the United Nations General Assembly has branded Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza a “monstrosity” and a marked failure for the UN.
Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, of Nicaragua, blasted the Israeli action on Saturday as the UN Security Council convened its third Gaza emergency session.
“I think it’s a monstrosity; there’s no other way to name it,” Mr Brockmann said. “Once again, the world is watching in dismay the dysfunctionality of the Security Council.”
– Australian Jews protest against Israel’s action (The Sydney Morning Herald)
– Israeli forces kill five Palestinian children in Gaza (The Guardian)
– Fear, shortages for civilians caught in Gaza fight (AP)
– Gaza ghetto is destroyed and the world stays silent (Sunday Herald)
– Do Israel pilots feel happy killing innocent women and children? (The Guardian)
His remarks were seen as putting a slight upon the United States, which again prevented the council from issuing an agreed statement on the crisis.
A column of Israeli armored vehicles is deployed in a farmer’s field Tuesday near the Gaza border.
GAZA CITY (CNN) — Israel’s fourth day of attacks in Gaza sent the Palestinian death toll to more than 375 as the Jewish state’s prime minister warned Tuesday that the air offensive marked only the beginning, according to officials.
“We are currently at the first stage of the operation,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told President Shimon Peres during a morning briefing, officials said.
Related article: World rallies around Palestinians amid Gaza offensive
Olmert’s summation came a day after Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel’s parliament that the campaign launched Saturday marked an “all-out war” against Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza.
British journalist and peace activist Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of Palestinian development envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair visits a family in the Rafah refugee camp, south Gaza on Sep. 14. Booth arrived in Gaza on a boat carrying human rights activists protesting against an Israeli blockade. (UPI)
GAZA CITY, Gaza — Half of Gaza’s bakeries have closed down and the other half have resorted to animal feed to produce bread as Israel’s complete blockade of the coastal territory enters its 19th day.
Following the continued closure, the secretary-general reiterated his appeal on Friday but to no avail.
Karen AbuZayd, commissioner-general for the U.N.’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports Palestinian refugees, warned that a humanitarian “catastrophe” loomed if Israel continued to prevent aid from reaching Gaza.
“It’s been closed for so much longer than ever before. We have nothing in our warehouses. It will be a catastrophe if this persists; a disaster,” said AbuZayd.
AbuZayd added that the human toll of this month’s closure of the territories was “the gravest since the early days of the second intifada or Palestinian uprising.
WASHINGTON, June 7 (Reuters) – Iran demanded action from the U.N. Security Council about an Israeli threat to attack its nuclear sites if it continues uranium enrichment, according to a letter released on Saturday by Iranian U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee.
Israeli Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz was quoted on Friday in an Israeli newspaper saying that an attack on Iran looks “unavoidable” given the apparent failure of sanctions to deny Tehran technology with bomb-making potential.
“Such a dangerous threat against a sovereign state and a member of the United Nations constitutes a manifest violation of international law and contravenes the most fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and, thus, requires a resolute and clear response on the part of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council,” Khazaee’s letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, dated June 6, said.
Iran has defied Western pressure to abandon its uranium enrichment projects, which it says are for peaceful electricity generation.
Tehran has also threatened to retaliate against Israel, believed to have the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal, and U.S. targets in the Gulf, if there is any attack on Iran.
Mofaz’s threat against Iran was the most explicit from a member of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government, which has preferred to hint at a possible use of force.
Pledges of almost three billion dollars of emergency aid were made at a food price crisis summit on Wednesday but UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned up to 20 billion dollars a year would be needed to avoid disaster.
“We simply cannot afford to fail,” the UN secretary general said at the food security summit. “Hundreds of millions of people expect no less.”
The extra resources that might be as required will cost between 15 billion and 20 billion dollars (10-13 billion euros) a year, Ban told a news conference.
New funding totalling some 2.7 billion dollars was announced on the second day of the summit in Rome, where Ban has already demanded a 50 percent increase in food production by 2030.
The UN World Food Programme announced 1.2 billion dollars in new food aid to help “the tens of millions of people … hardest hit by the crisis.”
“An estimated 100,000 people have already died in the badly hit Irrawaddy Delta region.
“Oxfam has warned the final figure could be as high as 1.5 million unless aid is given free access to the worst hit areas.”
Aid should be dropped into Burma from the skies if access to Burma does not improve dramatically within the next day, Tory leader David Cameron urged today.
Amid increasing concern at the limited supplies getting through to those in need, he said: “The sands of time are running out.”
International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said nothing was being ruled out, although access had improved recently.
Devastation: Cyclone Nargis tore through Burma leaving destruction in its path.
Their comments came as charities warned Burma was on the cusp of a second wave of disaster due to the inadequate relief being allowed into the country.
Mr Cameron said he hoped direct drops would not be necessary but if Burma did not allow aid in that would constitute a “crime against humanity”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One: “What we need to do is say if the situation hasn’t radically improved by Tuesday then we need to consider the further steps of direct aid being dropped to help people in Burma.
The global free market for food and energy is facing its biggest threat in decades as a host of countries push through draconian measures to hold down prices, raising fears of a new “resource nationalism” that could endanger world food security.
Somali’s demonstrate against high food prices in the capital Mogadishu. At least two people were killed in clashes
India shocked the markets yesterday by suspending trading in futures contracts for a range of farm products in a bid to clamp down on alleged speculators and curb inflation, now running at 7.6pc.
The country’s Forward Markets Commission said contracts for soybean oil, chana (chickpeas), potatoes, and rubber had been banned for four months, even though a report by the Indian parliament last month concluded that soaring food costs had almost nothing to do with the futures contracts. Traders in Mumbai slammed the ban as an act of brazen political populism.
The move has been seen as a concession to India’s Communist MPs – key allies of premier Manmohan Singh – who want a full-fledged ban on futures trading in sugar, cooking oil, and grains.
As food and fuel riots spread across the world, a string of governments have resorted to steps that menace the free flow of food and key commodities. Argentina has banned beef exports, while Egypt and India have stopped shipments of rice.
Kazakhstan has prohibited wheat exports. Russia has slapped a 40pc export duty on shipments, and Pakistan a 35pc duty.
China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philipines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam have all imposed export controls or forms of rationing to ease the crisis.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that this lurch towards national controls is becoming a threat to the open global system we all take for granted. “If not handled properly, this crisis could result in a cascade of others and affect political security around the world,” he said.
A new report by UBS says the scramble for scarce raw materials is turning ever more political, with ominous implications for ill-endowed societies that rely on imports.
“The bottom line is that countries with resources, particularly in food and energy are becoming more protective of these resources,” it said.
(I know I am repeating myself and I know that many are already well prepared. This is for the ones that are not:
Store food and water “NOW”. Do this in a relaxed manner because your brain shuts down when you are under stress and in survival mode. – The Infinite Unknown)
Officials say corpses are floating in the water as Myanmar disaster grows
Hungry crowds stormed the few shops that opened in the country’s stricken Irrawaddy delta, sparking fist fights, according to Paul Risley, a spokesman for the U.N. World Food Program in neighboring Thailand.
Shari Villarosa, who heads the U.S. Embassy in Myanmar, said food and water are running short in the delta area and called the situation there “increasingly horrendous.”
“There is a very real risk of disease outbreaks as long as this continues,” Villarosa told reporters. Some 1 million people were homeless in the Southeast Asian country, the U.N. said.
VIENNA, Austria – A sharp rise in food prices has developed into a global crisis, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday.
Ban said the U.N and all members of the international community were very concerned and immediate action was needed.
He spoke to reporters at U.N. offices in Austria, where he was meeting with the nation’s top leaders for talks on how the United Nations and European Union can forge closer ties.
“This steeply rising price of food — it has developed into a real global crisis,” Ban said, adding that the World Food Program has made an urgent appeal for additional $755 million.
“The United Nations is very much concerned, as (are) all other members of the international community,” Ban said. “We must take immediate action in a concerted way.”
Ban urged leaders of the international community to sit down together on an “urgent basis” to discuss how to improve economic distribution systems and promote the production of agricultural products.
An estimated 40 percent increase in food prices since last year has sparked violent protests in the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia.
On Thursday, U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization chief Jacques Diouf said immediate efforts should focus on helping farmers in developing countries grow more crops.
Josette Sheeran, the World Food Program’s executive director, has likened the price increases to a “silent tsunami,” and said requests for food aid are coming in from countries unable to cope with the rising prices.
She noted that the price of rice has more than doubled since March. The World Bank estimates that food prices have increased by 83 percent in three years.
By VERONIKA OLEKSYN, Associated Press WriterFri Apr 25, 12:44 PM ET
Pope Benedict XVI spoke to the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, warning nations against undermining the authority of the United Nations by acting unilaterally. The Pope also found time to bless the U.N. flag.
“Countries that act unilaterally on the world stage undermine the authority of the United Nations and weaken the broad consensus needed to confront global problems, Pope Benedict said on Friday.
The international community must be “capable of responding to the demands of the human family through binding international rules,” said the 81-year-old pope, who spoke after meeting privately with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
He said the notion of multilateral consensus was “in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few, whereas the world’s problems call for interventions in the form of collective action by the international community.”
The Pope’s comments are of little surprise, given the fact that he has previously called for a “new world order” to combat terrorism, environmental problems, as well as economic imbalances during his Christmas 2005 speech. Pope John Paul II also called for a new world order in a 2004 new years speech.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A desperate appeal from the president Wednesday failed to restore order to Haiti’s shattered capital, and bands of looters sacked stores, warehouses and government offices.
Gunfire rang out from the wealthy suburbs in the hills to the starving slums below as 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers were unable to halt a frenzy of looting and violence that has grown out of protests over rising food prices.
Police officers disperse demonstrators in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, April 09, 2008.
(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
Many of the protesters are demanding the resignation of the U.S.-backed president, Rene Preval, and on Tuesday U.N. peacekeepers had to fire rubber bullets and tear gas to drive away a mob that tried to storm his palace.
He delivered his first public comments Wednesday, nearly a week into the protests. With his job on the line, Preval urged Congress to cut taxes on imported food and appealed to the rioters to go home.
“The solution is not to go around destroying stores,” he said. “I’m giving you orders to stop.”
But gunfire rang out around the palace after the speech, as peacekeepers tried to drive away people looting surrounding stores.
The streets remained in the control of bands of young men carrying sticks and rocks, who set up roadblocks of burning tires and stopped passing cars. Businesses were closed and most people locked themselves indoors, as mobs looted stores, warehouses and government offices.