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wars and rumours of wars… for all these things must come to pass. Nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom… famines and pestilences and earthquakes in unusual placesMatt. 24:6-7

INSIDE THIS WEEK’S EDITION: Conflicts, drought drive up world hunger; Careless disposal of antibiotics could create superbugs; Artifacts prove Jerusalem is Jewish; In the dead of winter?  Saturday or Sunday? What does the Bible say?

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Week of December 17 – December 24,  2017

Conflicts, drought drive hunger despite strong global food supply

Despite strong global food supply, localized drought, flooding and protracted conflicts have intensified and perpetuated food insecurity, the United Nations agriculture agency reported Thursday.

The new edition of the UN Food and Agriculture Agency’s (FAOCrop Prospects and Food Situation report revealed that some 37 countries – 29 of which are in Africa – require external food assistance.

“Ongoing conflicts continue to be a key driver of severe food insecurity, having triggered near-famine conditions in northern Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen, as well as widespread hunger in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo – and Syria,” FAO stated.

The report also said that conflict impedes productive activities, hinders access to food and significantly intensifies the numbers of internally displaced people.

In Africa, the report details that urgently in need food of assistance are about 1.1 million people in the Central Africa Republic; some 7.7 million in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which hosts more than 200,000 refugees and four million internally displaced persons; over three million in northern Nigeria; some 4.8 million in South Sudan; and 3.1 million in Somalia – a number that has tripled over the past year.

Loading farm carts in Bangladesh. Photo: FAO/Mohammad Rakibul Hasan
Loading farm carts in Bangladesh. Photo: FAO/Mohammad Rakibul Hasan

Elsewhere, it points out that chronic hunger or food insecurity is confronted by 7.6 million in Afghanistan; 3.2 million in Iraq; and 6.5 million in Syria.

Moreover, in Yemen 17 million, or 60 per cent of the population, are believed to require urgent humanitarian assistance. The report notes that should November’s maritime port closures be repeated the country would risk famine.

Some 8.5 million people are estimated to be food insecure in Ethiopia, especially in the Somali region. Consecutive unfavourable rainy seasons have curtailed crop and livestock production in Kenya, leaving about 2.6 million people severely food insecure.

The report also flags concerns in Bangladesh, where three episodes of flash floods this year caused substantial damage to the rice crop.

A severe summer drought has also cut Mongolia’s wheat harvest by almost half.

Despite local negative trends, the report points out that, overall, global food production is booming. In addition, production gains are being recorded in many low-income food-deficit countries, where the aggregate cereal output is forecast to grow by two per cent this year.

Careless disposal of antibiotics could produce ‘ferocious superbugs,’

Growing antimicrobial resistance linked to the discharge of drugs and some chemicals into the environment is one of the most worrying health threats today, according to new research from the United Nations that highlights emerging challenges and solutions in environment.

“The warning here is truly frightening: we could be spurring the development of ferocious superbugs through ignorance and carelessness,” said Erik Solheim, chief of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), on Tuesday.

Birds scavenging for food amidst the debris at the landfill in Danbury, Connecticut in the United States. UN Photo/Evan Schneider (file photo)
Birds scavenging for food amidst the debris at the landfill in Danbury, Connecticut in the United States. UN Photo/Evan Schneider (file photo)

He added that studies have already linked the misuse of antibiotics in humans and agriculture over the last several decades to increasing resistance, but the role of the environment and pollution has received little attention.

As such, the Frontiers Report, launched on the second day of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), which is running through 6 December at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, looks at the environmental dimension of antimicrobial resistance in nanomaterials; marine protected areas; sand and dust storms; off-grid solar solutions; and environmental displacement – finding the role of the environment in the emergence and spread of resistance to antimicrobials particularly concerning.

“This needs priority action right now, or else we run the risk of allowing resistance to occur through the back door, with potentially terrifying consequences,” stressed Mr. Solheim.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when a microorganism evolves to resist the effects of an antimicrobial agent. Globally about 700,000 people die of resistant infections every year because available antimicrobial drugs have become less effective at killing the resistant pathogens.

Clear evidence shows that antimicrobial compounds from households, hospitals, pharmaceutical facilities and agricultural run-off released into the environment, combined with direct contact between natural bacterial communities and discharged resistant bacteria, is driving bacterial evolution and the emergence of more resistant strains.

Once consumed, most antibiotic drugs are excreted un-metabolized along with resistant bacteria – up to 80 per cent of consumed antibiotics, according to the report. This is a growing problem, as human antibiotic use this century has increased 36 per cent and livestock antibiotic use predicted to increase 67 per cent by 2030.

Evidence shows that multi-drug resistant bacteria are prevalent in marine waters and sediments close to aquaculture, industrial and municipal discharges.

Solving the problem will mean tackling the use and disposal of antibiotic pharmaceuticals as well as the release of antimicrobial drugs, relevant contaminants and resistant bacteria into the environment, the report says.

Archaeologists Discover Muslim Artifacts Proving Jerusalem’s Jewish Identity

By Breaking Israel News

Israeli archaeologists announced to the press a discovery of 1,300-year-old coins from the Islamic Umayyad Dynasty imprinted with an image of the menorah from the Jewish Temple. This new discovery joins a trove of artifacts that show Muslim acknowledgment of Jerusalem’s Jewish identity.

Assaf Avraham of Bar-Ilan University, and Peretz Reuven of the Hebrew University made their announcement on Wednesday.

“The Jewish symbol which the Muslims were using was the menorah [the gold seven-branch candelabra from the Temple], which appeared on several coins and other early Islamic artifacts,” said Avraham to the Jerusalem Post.

A menorah replica overlooks the eastern wall surrounding the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives. (Photo: Joshua Wander)
A menorah replica overlooks the eastern wall surrounding the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives. (Photo: Joshua Wander)

“The menorah coins bear the Shahada Arabic inscription on one side: ‘There is no god but Allah,’ while the menorah appears in the center of the coin. The other side bears the inscription: ‘Muhammad [is the] messenger of God.’”

This is consistent with a find the two archaeologists made last year of pottery shards bearing the inscription the labeled the Nuba Inscription. The inscription found in a mosque near Hebron is believed to have been made in the tenth century and refers to the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim structure built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as “Bayt al-Maqdis”, literally, “The Holy Temple”. The rest of the inscription implies that the Muslim perceived the structure to be an Islamic version of the Jewish Temple.
Read more at https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/99050/archaeologists-discover-muslim-artifacts-proving-jerusalems-jewish-identity/#VLJOLJEigrdLbh1c.99

 

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