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UK report: World needs global food system overhaul

LONDON — The world needs fundamental changes to the global food system to feed the expanding population, according to a British government report out Monday on how to feed the planet until 2050. Governments must take action to change dietary habits, cut waste, reduce subsidies and embrace genetically modified food,…

200,000 displaced in Australia floods

by Torsten Blackwood BUNDABERG, Australia (AFP) – Australia started forced evacuations of a major town on Friday as floods that have already affected 200,000 people swamped more communities in the stricken northeast. As Prime Minister Julia Gillard consoled evacuees, police moved the elderly and those in low-lying areas from Rockhampton,…

Forced evacuations as Australians flee floods

Australia started forced evacuations of a major town on Friday as floods that have already affected 200,000 people swamped more communities in the stricken northeast. As Prime Minister Julia Gillard consoled evacuees, police moved the elderly and those in low-lying areas from Rockhampton, where 4,000 homes are at risk from…

New botanic database holds a million plant names

Capping the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity, botanists in Britain and the United States on Wednesday unveiled a library of plant names aimed at helping conservationists, drug designers and agriculture researchers. The database, accessible at www.theplantlist.org, identifies 1.25 million names for plants, ranging from essential food crops such as wheat,…

US missile attack kills at least 15 in Pakistan

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan — US missiles killed at least 15 militants in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt where the United Nations said Monday it was suspending food handouts in one district after a suicide attack. The missiles destroyed a vehicle and compound in North Waziristan, reputedly the country’s most impregnable Taliban and…

US downplays trade loophole with Iran, other blacklist countries

WASHINGTON – The United States on Friday downplayed a newspaper report about US firms being allowed to do business with Iran and other blacklisted countries, insisting its sanctions were squeezing Tehran. The New York Times reported that some 10,000 deals had been allowed under a humanitarian aid loophole approved in…

China vows to $30B investment in water saving projects

BEIJING – China plans to invest 30 billion dollars on water conservation projects in 2011 to reduce the impact of natural disasters on grain production, state media said Saturday. The report comes after severe flooding and droughts across the country this year destroyed crops and drove up food prices, pushing…

McDonald’s, Pepsi, Kellogg’s to help write Britain’s health policy: report

Will Britain’s ‘behavioral insight unit’ nudge people into making healthy choices … or eating junk food? Britain’s new Conservative government is effectively handing over control of the country’s health policies to multinational food and drink manufacturers and fast-food retailers, says a report in the British press. According to the Guardian,…

NY Rep wants 50% discount for fresh produce bought with food stamps

Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) has an interesting idea: instead of paying the poor to buy cheap, processed foods that make them sick, offer a discount — and thereby more food — if they purchase fresh produce. It’s an innovation to welfare that does much more than maintain the status quo.…

UN official: Farming methods drive global hunger

The United Nations top official on the right to food has called for wholesale changes in farming methods to safeguard the environment and ensure everyone has enough to eat. Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, said in a statement to mark World Food Day…

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