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WEST AFRICA: Tiny fonio cereal may hold big answers in food crisis
17 October 2008 (IRIN ), Despite growing for centuries in some of the driest, toughest agricultural zones of West Africa, the fonio cereal has been neglected by most agricultural development programmes, according to the World Bank. But skyrocketing rice price increases that have slammed rice-dependent West Africa and declining profits in other cash crops like cotton have some local producers turning back to the ancient cereal.
WEST AFRICA: Cross-border FGM/C on the rise
17 October 2008 (IRIN ), Cross-border female genital mutilation / cutting (FGM/C) is on the rise in West Africa according to the UN, spurring the need to impose a region-wide law banning the practice, say experts.
GLOBAL: Donor response to food crisis inadequate, agencies say
16 October 2008 (IRIN ), Food security experts say international donors’ response to the world’s food crisis has been inadequate when compared to interventions to contain the global financial meltdown.
WEST AFRICA: Region among the world’s hungriest
14 October 2008 (IRIN ), The 2008 Global Hunger Index (GHI) says sub-Saharan African countries have the highest level of hunger in the world, with Niger, Sierra Leone and Liberia experiencing “extremely alarming levels of hunger,” however, this is still an improvement over 1990 levels.
WEST AFRICA: Voices from exile
13 October 2008 (IRIN ), The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has appealed to international donors not to cut back on aid to humanitarian programmes amid a global financial crisis that has shuttered financial institutions in rich countries. At the conclusion of UNHCR’s annual meeting in Geneva from 6-10 October, Guterres said refugees remain the most vulnerable victims of the global economic fallout.
AFRICA: ‘Sexually-transmitted grades’ kill quality education
10 October 2008 (IRIN ), Sexual exploitation in African schools has become so widespread that children have come up with their own terms to refer to sexual relations with their teachers. From ‘Sexually Transmitted Grades’ to ‘BF’, or bordel fatigue, which refers to exhaustion from multiple sexual activities with teachers, this slang hints at the prevalence of exploitation in Africa’s learning environments.
GLOBAL: "Hot topic" - special journal issue on climate and migration reviewed
29 September 2008 (IRIN ), The October issue of the Forced Migration Review (FMR), a journal published three times a year by Oxford University's Refugee Studies Centre, is a 38-article buffet on climate change and displacement, a “hot topic” according to Jean-Francois Durieux, a lecturer at the centre.
AFRICA: Call to ban cluster bombs
29 September 2008 (IRIN ), Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu called cluster munitions "an abomination whose manufacture and use should not be tolerated by any government", amid calls for African countries to do more to ensure the weapons are banned.
GLOBAL: Charity coffers face credit crunch
26 September 2008 (IRIN ), With the US going through the most significant financial restructuring since the great depression, international aid agencies and NGOs have reason to be wary, observers said.
GLOBAL: Leadership determines AIDS performance
25 September 2008 (IRIN ), As South Africa prepared to swear in a new president on 25 September after the dramatic ousting of Thabo Mbeki four days before, attempts by commentators to summarise the former president's mixed legacy have not failed to mention his controversial stance on AIDS.

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