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Farm production ‘needs to rise 60 percent by 2050′: UN

World farm production must rise 60 percent by 2050 to meet the needs of a growing population but this has to happen in “a more sustainable way,” the UN food agency FAO and the OECD said on Wednesday. “It’s mostly going to be about productivity,” Angel Gurria, head of the…

Funding crisis at world’s largest refugee camp

Aid agencies warned Thursday that a critical shortage of funds is threatening lives in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp complex, the world’s largest, risking worsening an already volatile security situation. “Tens of thousands of lives (are) at risk with money for vital services set to run out in two to three…

The brief life of a Zeta foot-soldier

VERACRUZ, Mexico — Francisco had gone from one dead-end job to another, desperate for cash to buy medicine for his ailing mother. Finally he caved in and accepted an offer to join the Zetas, Mexico’s vicious paramilitary drug gang. The pay: $1,800 a month, a fortune in the eastern Mexican…

Clinton to walk tightrope with China amid regional tensions

PHNOM PENH — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet her Chinese counterpart in Cambodia on Thursday, keen to avoid souring ties amid a fraught background of rows between Beijing and its neighbours. The US has made a military and economic “pivot” towards Asia in a strategic bid to…

Libya’s liberals call for civil state, reject political Islam

TRIPOLI — A top member of Libya’s liberal coalition, which claims to have swept 70 percent of seats reserved for parties in the next congress, on Wednesday rejected political Islam and called for a civil state. “The National Forces Alliance is against the injection of religion into political battles,” Faisal…

Iraqi mullah faces new charges in Norway

OSLO, Norway — The Iraqi founder of an Iraqi Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam is being prosecuted in Norway for inciting terrorist acts, the public prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday. Mullah Krekar, 56, whose real name is Najmeddine Faraj Ahmad, was sentenced to five years in jail in March for…

Russia passes website blacklisting bill said to stifle political dissent

The Russian parliament on Wednesday voted to approve a contentious bill that activists fear will introduce Internet censorship by blacklisting sites deemed as undesirable. In a further controversial move, deputies also passed in first reading a bill that makes libel and slander criminal offences with punishment of up to five…

Belfast euthanizes ‘illegal’ pit-bull Lennox despite international campaign

A celebrity dog in Northern Ireland has been put down because he was a danger to the public, Belfast City Council said Wednesday, despite a massive international campaign on the Internet to save him. Some 200,000 people signed a petition to save Lennox, whose owner waged a two-year legal battle…

Chinese woman given $11,000 to compensate for forced abortion

Chinese authorities have paid $11,000 to a woman forced to abort seven months into her pregnancy, her lawyer said Wednesday, adding that the money would never compensate for her endless pain. The case caused global outrage after photos of the mother with the bloody fetus circulated online last month, though…

Widespread sexual abuse uncovered at Indian orphanages

A series of sex abuse scandals at orphanages and shelters in India has sounded alarms over the management of children’s homes, many of which operate with little or no public oversight. Criminal charges against staff at a number of homes have highlighted what activists say is a pervasive culture of…

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