Crop pests and diseases sweeping through southern Africa pose a threat to food security in a region where production has yet to recover from drought, a senior U.N. food agency official said on Tuesday, calling for a swift and coordinated response. At the start of an emergency conference called by the Food and Agriculture Organization to map out regional action, FAO southern Africa coordinator David Phiri said an outbreak of the fall armyworm, devouring maize crops in some key producer countries, had blighted the season's prospects. "This could contribute to reductions in maize production among the most severely affected farming households and thereby presents a huge threat to food security," he said.
Three years into a civil war and with inflation above 800 percent, South Sudan's government is struggling to pay its troops. When delayed wages finally arrive, the cash is so devalued it barely buys food for a week. Army wives have joined the lines of gaunt women queuing for food aid or cradling emaciated toddlers at hospitals in Juba, the capital, as soldiers prey on civilians or aid agencies. The government is losing its ability to rein them in.
From nausea and headaches to food cravings, could the baby's sex play a role in how women's bodies react to pregnancy? Pregnant women carrying girls have a greater chance of experiencing nausea and fatigue, according to the results of a study from the USA's Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
By Christian Shepherd and Ben Blanchard BEIJING (Reuters) - Fearing pollution, hundreds of residents in a northeastern Chinese city on Tuesday protested the building of an aluminum processing plant, ignoring warnings from authorities against disturbing social order. Urban Chinese residents, angry about environmental degradation and hazardous smog, have become increasingly concerned about living near polluting factories, occasionally protesting against new projects. Tens of thousands of "mass incidents" - the usual euphemism for protests - take place each year in China, triggered by corruption, pollution, illegal land grabs and other grievances.
By Kieran Guilbert MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Every time she needs to go to the toilet, Shadima Irima recalls the moment Boko Haram militants stormed her home in northeast Nigeria and killed her cousin before her eyes. "I am scared of snakes, bad men and Boko Haram," Irima told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, explaining how looking after her children, fetching water and cooking meals means she cannot afford to wait for hours to use the few toilets in the camp. The jihadists' insurgency has displaced some 1.8 million people and destroyed three-quarters of water points and toilets in the region - piling pressure on the limited facilities in camps and communities, and sparking fears of disease outbreaks.