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from The Human Impact:

“Urinating in dams” to solve India’s drought? Minister faces backlash

As India's western state of Maharashtra reels from the worst drought in over four decades and millions of people face the risk of hunger, a top official has sparked outrage with a crass, insensitive joke that he should urinate in the region's empty dams to solve water shortages.

Ajit Pawar, deputy chief minister of Maharashtra and former irrigation minister, referred in a speech last weekend to a poor drought-hit farmer who had been on hunger strike for almost two months to demand more water.

"He has been fasting for the last 55 days. If there is no water in the dam, how can we release it? Should we urinate into it? If there is no water to drink, even urination is not possible," Pawar told the gathering, who responded with much laughter.

Dubbed as "Urine-Gate" by some sections of the media, Pawar's controversial comments have been played and replayed on India's national news channels over the past week, sparking a barrage of criticism from civil society groups and opposition politicians who are demanding he resign over the remarks.

from The Human Impact:

IF campaign to end hunger seems a bit iffy

By Maria Caspani

Techno music and revolving images of hungry babies were among the most disheartening, not to say disturbing aspects of the event that kicked off the 'Enough Food for Everyone IF' campaign at London's Somerset House this week.

The catchphrase – ‘There is enough food in the world to feed everyone, yet 2 million children die from malnutrition every year' – was repeated so many times during the hour-long event on Wednesday evening that, by the end of it, I felt like the words had lost their meaning.

from The Human Impact:

Conway book urges united global action plan to end hunger

Global food security can be achieved for almost 1 billion chronically undernourished people by promoting strong political leadership, technological innovation, investment in smallholder farmers and efficient markets, according to a new book.

In “One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?”, author Gordon Conway, a professor of international development and director of advocacy group Agriculture for Impact at Imperial College London, emphasises the importance of reducing hunger and poverty by increasing food production within an environmentally sustainable framework, which  recognises climate change as a serious hindrance to future food security.

from The Human Impact:

Solutions for a hungry world

By 2050, experts say, the planet will need at least 70 percent more food than it does today as its population soars, cities sprawl and climate change takes its toll. Will it be possible?

That’s a question AlertNet put to hunger fighters worldwide for a special multimedia report out today probing the future of food. Their answer: The planet can feed itself – but only if two “revolutions” happen, and happen soon.

from Photographers' Blog:

Going hungry

By Bobby Ranoco

When I saw a headline in a local paper that the number of Filipino families experiencing hunger had risen from 4.3 million to 4.5 million, I called my sources in the slum district of Baseco community in Tondo, Manila.

I was told there would be a feeding program for children sponsored by South Korean missionaries later in the afternoon. When I arrived, I was surprised to see hundreds of children gathered outside the missionary house waiting for a free meal.

from Full Focus:

Hungry in North Korea

North Korea's dysfunctional food-distribution system, rising global commodities prices and sanctions imposed over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs had contributed to what appears to be a hunger crisis in the North, even before devastating summer floods and typhoons compounded the emergency. The regime's appeals for massive food aid have gone mostly unanswered by a skeptical international community. Only 30 percent of a United Nations food aid target for North Korea has been met so far. Photographer Damir Sagolj went to bear witness.

from MuniLand:

It’s hot down in Alabama

It's hot down in Alabama

It sounds like we have a deal in Jefferson County, Alabama. This has been a long festering problem where the county is unable to afford the debt payments on $3 billion of bonds for a sewer system built several years ago. Excellent local reporting by KDAF-TV and Birmingham News. It sounds as if Jefferson County wants creditors to reduce the debt owed by $1.3 billion.

Meanwhile the SEC has announced a July 29 field hearing in Alabama on the "State of the Municipal Securities Market". Reuters reports here.

from The Great Debate UK:

Join the quiet revolution – Kristin Davis

ANGOLA/

Kristin Davis, star of the show and movie Sex and the City, is an Oxfam Global Ambassador. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host an International Women’s Day follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011.

International Women's Day is special. In China, women get the day off work. In Bosnia and Italy, women receive gifts of flowers. In Cameroon, women dance in the streets. What will you do to make March 8, a special day?

from Tales from the Trail:

The Lunchbox Index

GERMANYThe Dow, the FTSE, the Hang Seng -- all these are economic indices of a sort. But in Washington, there's another index that might offer a more intimate picture of people under economic pressure, and it's as near as the office fridge. Let's call it the Lunchbox Index.

Decades ago, lunching out used to be an integral part of the Washington working day, with expense account palaces like the long-gone Sans Souci filled to capacity with the great, the good, the powerful and, yes, journalists pumping their sources.

from Shop Talk:

Panera’s pick-what-you-pay cafe holds its own

panera2Panera Bread's hometown experiment in altruism appears to be working.

About eight weeks after opening Panera Cares -- a nonprofit restaurant that invites customers to take what they need and pay what they can -- executives say it appears to be on-track to covering its costs and becoming self-sufficient.

"It's a fascinating test of humanity," Panera Executive Chairman Ron Shaich told Reuters.

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