Special | Archive
Russia: West spreading lies about causes of world’s food crisis
Russia on Wednesday said the West was spreading lies about the causes of the global food crisis which Moscow said was being stoked by the sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and European Union due to the invasion of Ukraine.
Besides the death and devastation, the war and the West’s attempt to cripple Russia’s economy as punishment have sent the price of grain, cooking oil, fertiliser and energy soaring, hurting global growth, according to Reuters.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters in Moscow she was dismayed by repeated Western statements that Russia was to blame for the global food crisis.
“It is a lie – such accusations are complete lies,” Zakharova said. “So the West can supply all these arms to Ukraine but for some reason nothing can be taken out of Ukraine?”
The United States and European Union members, which are supplying arms to Ukraine, have accused Russia of stoking a food crisis by preventing grain exports from Ukraine – which accounts for about one tenth of global wheat exports.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned on June 9 that millions of people could starve because of a Russian blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports which he said had left the world “on the brink of a terrible food crisis”.
Russia and Ukraine are two of the most important producers of agricultural commodities in the world. Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter after the European Union while Ukraine is the world’s top sunflower seed exporter.
Both play a big role on the barley, maize and rapeseed markets while Russia is one of the world’s top fertiliser exporters.
Western sanctions, Zakharova said, had tipped agricultural markets towards the edge of the abyss by disrupting payment systems, shipping, insurance which had prevented many Russian exports of food and fertiliser.
“It is illogical – on the one hand the European Union... says a threat to global food security is being created but at the same time they block the delivery routes of goods to themselves on their own continent,” Zakharova said.
Xi warns about ‘expanding military alliances’ at BRICS summit
Chinese President Xi Jinping warned against “expanding” expanding military alliances in the world on Wednesday in a speech ahead of a virtual summit with top leaders from Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa.
Beijing is hosting the meeting of the influential club of BRICS emerging economies, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world’s gross domestic product, according to AFP.
Xi told the BRICS business forum that the “Ukraine crisis is... a wake-up call” and warned against “expanding military alliances and seeking one’s own security at the expense of other countries’ security”.
China and India have strong military links with Russia and buy large amounts of its oil and gas.
In a call last week, Xi assured his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that China would support Moscow’s core interests in “sovereignty and security” – leading the United States to warn Beijing that it risked ending up “on the wrong side of history”.
Xi also took a swipe at the US and European Union sanctions on Russia in the speech on Wednesday, saying, “sanctions are a boomerang and a double-edged sword”.
The BRICS summit takes place as Russian troops continue to advance in eastern Ukraine amid its military operation inside Ukraine.
China and India have both ramped up crude oil imports from Russia, helping Moscow to offset losses from Western nations scaling back energy purchases from the country.
Khashoggi’s fiancée: Saudi crown prince’s visits do not absolve him
The fiancée of journalist Jamal Khashoggi said on Wednesday that the political legitimacy Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives during visits to other countries does not change the fact that he is a “murderer”.
A U.S. intelligence report released last year said Prince Mohammed had approved the operation to kill or capture Khashoggi in October 2018. The Saudi government has denied any involvement by the crown prince and rejected the report’s findings, Reuters reported.
The prince began his regional tour on Tuesday by visiting Egypt and arrived in Turkey on Wednesday to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.
It is Prince Mohammed’s first tour outside the Persian Gulf since the 2018 murder of Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist, at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancée, said on Twitter: “His visit to our country doesn’t change the fact that he is responsible for a murder. The political legitimacy he earns through the visits he makes to a different country every day doesn’t change the fact that he is a murderer.”
She added: “Jamal is not my story anymore, this struggle for justice is not only my struggle. It is the struggle of every free and thinking person. No diplomatic relation can legitimise this unfairness and injustice.”
Ties between Ankara and Riyadh took a turn for the worse after a Saudi hit squad killed and dismembered Khashoggi in Istanbul. Erdogan at the time blamed it on the “highest levels” of the Saudi government.
But a Turkish court ruled to transfer the Turkish case over the killing to Saudi Arabia. Turkey denied the transfer was political.
Weeks after the case was transferred, Erdogan held one-on-one talks with the prince in Saudi Arabia in April after a months-long drive to mend relations.
In 2020, Saudi Arabia jailed eight people for between seven and 20 years for Khashoggi’s murder. None of those convicted were named.
Bangladesh, India race to help millions stranded in deadly flooding
Authorities in Bangladesh intensified efforts on Wednesday to deliver food and drinking water to millions of people struggling after heavy rain unleashed catastrophic flooding across a quarter of the country.
Bangladesh is considered one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries, with a 2015 analysis by the World Bank Institute estimating about 3.5 million Bangladeshis are at risk of river flooding every year, Reuters reported.
On Wednesday, at least 17 of the country’s 64 districts, mostly in the north and north eastern Sylhet region, were reeling from the natural disaster.
Authorities said at least 36 people had been killed and about 4.5 million people stranded so far. The floods are also threatening to disrupt agriculture, infrastructure, and clean water supply.
Mohammad Mosharraf Hossain, Sylhet division’s chief administrator, said 365 medical teams were trying to reach flood-affected areas to provide tablets to purify water for drinking.
Sylhet region is among the worst affected, with several areas also without electricity.
The crisis in Bangladesh has been worsened by rain water cascading down from the surrounding hills of India’s Meghalaya state, including some of world’s wettest areas like Mawsynram and Cherrapunji, which each received more than 970mm (38 inches) of rain on Sunday, according to government data.
In India’s Assam state, at least seven people were killed in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 44 during the current wave of flooding that began about a fortnight ago, officials said.
India’s National Disaster Management Force said in a statement that 14 teams with more than 70 boats and over 400 men were pressed into action in the heavily flooded districts of Assam.
The team had brought about 14,200 people trapped in the floods to safe places.
About 5.5 million people have been displaced, of which about 3.7 million are staying in government-run makeshift shelters on raised embankments or other higher ground.
|search newspaper :|
|search by date :|
Front PageNationalInternationalIranica SportsPerspective Perspective EconomyEconomySocialPhotojournalism
Art & Culture