Hundreds of thousands of people living in Sri Lanka are suffering from chronic kidney disease, a painful and debilitating condition that causes the organs to stop functioning over time. The illness is primarily concentrated in the country’s rice basket, affecting up to 400,000 people.
Various factors have been singled out by researchers as the cause of the disease, including home-brewed alcohol, agrochemicals and high arsenic levels in the drinking water, according to CBS News.
– Sri Lanka’s New President Puts Immediate Ban on Glyphosate Herbicides (Sustainable Pulse, May 25, 2015):
Sri Lanka’s newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena announced Friday that the import of the World’s most used herbicide glyphosate will be banned with immediate effect. The release of already imported stocks has also been stopped.
Sirisena, a farmer and ex Health Minister, stated that glyphosate is responsible for the increasing number of chronic kidney disease (CKDu) patients in Sri Lanka and added that the move would protect the Sri Lankan farming community.
In Sri Lanka alone CKDu now afflicts 15% of people of working age in the Northern part of the country; a total of 400,000 patients with an estimated death toll of around 20,000.
Stormy weather forced President Mahinda Rajapaksa to cut short his tour of flood-affected areas on Wednesday as torrential rain continued to play havoc in parts of Sri Lanka, killed 18 people and affecting at least 960,000 more.
The Disaster management Centre said that 180,151 people were living in 453 centres for the displaced set up in affected districts. The government has appealed to the public to donate essentials including dry rations, mattresses, bed sheets and drinking water.
R.M.S. Bandara of the National Building Research Organisation told reporters that landslide warnings were issued in 10 districts including Matale, Badulla and Kandy.
What is worse is that the livelihood of the victims is likely to be affected with more than one third of the country’s paddy productions coming from the flooded districts. About 40,000 acres of paddy cultivation has already been damaged.
Because of incessant rain drinking water ponds have also been contaminated. In Colombo, prices vegetables have shot up because of supply shortage.
Amnesty International has accused the EU being “weak” and failing to protect human rights, citing the bloc’s tolerance of the CIA’s rendition flights and secret detention programme.
The group said several European countries had repeatedly violated rulings by the European Court of Human Rights against the return of terror suspects to countries where they are at risk of torture.
The human rights group’s annual global report, released on Thursday, also noted “clear accountability gaps” in the EU’s foreign policy.
It cited the bloc’s “weak and incoherent” response to a UN report which found that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza in 2009, and to similar allegations against government forces in Sri Lanka.
Amnesty also criticised the UN for its failure to intervene during the fighting in Sri Lanka. Thousands were killed during the war, and the UN at the time described the conflict as a “bloodbath”.
Amnesty also accused the EU and the US of using their influence with the UN Security Council to “shield” Israel from accountability in Gaza.
– Gold Hits Fresh Record High Above $1,194 (Reuters):
Gold hit a record high above $1,194 on Thursday as the dollar index fell to its lowest in 15 months, raising hopes that central banks would jump in to buy more bullion in their effort to hedge against a falling currency.
The rise took gold price gains to around 15 percent since the beginning of November, with demand fuelled by expectations of further reserve diversification and fears about inflation in 2010.
“Everybody is bullish on gold, and everybody is looking at the signal central banks are sending,” said Dick Poon, manager of precious metals at Heraeus in Hong Kong.
“It’s not just India or China, but most of the central banks, as well as funds, have changed their portfolios to include gold. So, everybody is looking at how much money they will invest in gold,” he said.
WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday it had sold 10 tonnes of gold to Sri Lanka’s central bank for 375 million dollars, as part of a restructuring of IMF financial resources.
It was the third IMF sale of gold in a month as the Washington-based institution seeks to reduce its dependence on lending revenue and bolster its finances amid the global economic crisis.
“The sale was conducted on the basis of market prices prevailing on” Monday, the IMF said in a statement.
Gold prices had hit a record high that day, topping 1,170 dollars an ounce. Since then, the price of the precious metal has soared higher to new all-time peaks as investors seek a safe haven amid economic uncertainty.
Syria has complained to the United Nations about a series of alleged Israeli wrongdoings in the Golan Heights, including burying nuclear waste and discriminating against the region’s Druze residents.
The complaint was made in a report Syria handed to a UN fact-finding committee comprised of Senegal, Sri Lanka and Malaysia’s ambassadors.
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)