The United Nations urged a summit on the global food crisis on Tuesday to help stop the spread of starvation threatening nearly one billion people by lowering trade barriers and removing export bans. ''Nothing is more degrading than hunger, especially when man-made,'' UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told world leaders.
The rise of biofuels is not only adding to the global food price crisis but also poses a risk for peasants, pushed off their land to make way for energy crops, a report prepared for this week's food summit said. The use of food such as maize, palm oil and sugar to produce fuel has been blamed in part for record high commodity prices.
It has been described as a global crisis pushing 100-million people into hunger, threatening to stoke social and political turmoil and set the fight against world poverty back by seven years. Now, the food price crisis will be tackled by world leaders, who meet in Rome next week to seek ways of reducing the suffering for the world's poorest people.
Silvio Berlusconi has won his third Italian election with a bigger-than-expected swing to the centre right, but the media magnate said it would not be easy to solve deep economic problems. Votes were still being counted on Tuesday, but with Berlusconi's victory clear on Monday evening, centre-left leader Walter Veltroni called to concede defeat.