World Bulletin / News Desk
The number of people needing food aid in Zimbabwe will rise by 60 percent this year to 1.6 million, the World Food Programme said on Friday, citing an annual assessment carried out by the United Nations and the Zimbabwean government.
A poor farming season this year is blamed on erratic rainfall and limited access to seeds and fertilisers, which prompted Finance Minister Tendai Biti to cut the 2012 growth forecast to 5.6 percent from 9.4 percent.
Zimbabwe harvested 1.077 million tonnes of cereals in the 2011/12 season, down by one-third from the previous season and the lowest since 2009 when a unity government formed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai helped revive a sinking economy.
Nearly one in five rural people in the southern African state will need food aid during the peak of next year's "hunger season", which runs from January to March when new crops are not ready for harvest, the WFP said in a statement.
"Our field staff are already reporting signs of distress in rural areas, including empty granaries and farmers selling off their livestock to make ends meet," said Felix Bamezon, the WFP country director.
In December the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 1.45 million would needfood aid.
Biti said last week that agriculture production for the 2011/2012 season had fallen 5.8 percent, leaving a grain deficit of 445,000 tonnes, which would be partly met through imports by the private sector.
The WFP said it would import cereals from neighbouring countries to distribute in rural Zimbabwe but would also hand out cash in some areas to allow people to buy their own cereals.
Sanogo charged to a more serious charge of conspiracy to murder which carries the death penalty in the West African nation
Preliminary results based on 82.6 percent of the vote from the 34 provinces showed Abdullah in the lead with 43.8 percent, followed by Ghani with 32.9 percent
The violence in the central African state, the size of France, has mainly pitted Kiir's Dinka people against Machar's Nuer. Thousands have been killed and more than one million people uprooted from their homes.
It was not the first time a tourist with such a tattoo has run into trouble in Sri Lanka. In 2013, authorities denied entry to a British man for his tattoo of Buddha.
Several of Washington's key European allies support an investigation into the latest claims of chlorine gas use
Egypt's military said the army had destroyed more than 1,500 tunnels that ran under the frontier between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, which borders North Sinai, in an attempt to stop the illegal flow of arms
"Rising violent extremism is an enormous challenge first for Libya but also for Libya's international partners," Burns told a news conference after talks in the capital Tripoli.
The former Mejlis head-turned-Ukrainian MP Mustafa Jemilev has been outspoken against the Russian annexation of Crimea following a referendum on March 16, in which the mainly ethnic Russia people of Crimea voted to split from Ukraine and join Moscow.
The mountaineering season lasts until the end of May, when cloud from the rainy season pushes up from the south making climbing the world's highest mountain virtually impossible
While the United States said it was disappointed by the deal, which it said could make peace efforts difficult, China said it regarded the move positively
Gruevski has run the small, landlocked former Yugoslav republic of two million people since 2006, in coalition with the DUI party of former ethnic Albanian fighters
The radar station on Yonaguni Island marks Japan's first military expansion at the western end of its island chain in more than 40 years
Lavrov said the United States should use its influence to persuade Kiev to implement its commitments under an international accord on Ukraine that was signed last week.
Ukrainian forces appear to be closing in around Slaviansk, a city of 130,000 which has become a military stronghold for the pro-Russian movement and is entirely controlled by separatist fighters.
The stoppage follows an armed attacked on one of the country's most respected TV anchors.
The crossing remains closed, however, to commercial and industrial goods.