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BANGLADESH: Indigenous farmers face seed crisis | IRIN Asia

Farmers in parts of Bangladesh’s southeastern Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) face a seed crisis that is undermining the food security of thousands, the World Food Programme (WFP) says. “The challenge that the villagers are now facing is the lack of available seeds due to non-cultivation for two years,” Christa Rader, country director of WFP in Bangladesh, told IRIN from Dhaka. ...

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In Brief: Bangladeshi monks call for demilitarization of CHT | IRIN Asia

The Bangladesh Jumma Buddhist Forum has called for the demilitarization of Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in a statement addressed to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Bangkok. “We are asking for the withdrawal of the 365 military camps, as promised in the 1997 Peace Accord, to end the human rights violations against the indigenous people,” Dipayan Chakma, president of ...

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Syria: EU considers sanctions as regime’s violent crackdown continues | The Guardian

Opposition activists report attacks in Deraa and mass arrests in Douma as Sarkozy and Berlusconi call for end to the violence EU countries are discussing imposing sanctions on Syria if the regime continues its violent suppression of pro-democracy protests. The foreign secretary, William Hague, said Damascus faced “a fork in the road” as opposition activists reported continuing government attacks in ...

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Patrick Cockburn: Credibility and Intervention | CounterPunch

The Syrian army is moving to crush in blood the protesters calling for democracy and the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad and his regime. Unburied bodies lie in the streets of Deraa, the city in the south which has been at the centre of the popular revolt. Will the government succeed? The chances for the moment look evenly balanced, with ...

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Sri Lanka unlikely to face war crimes investigation | The Guardian

The Sri Lankan government appears unlikely to face a full international inquiry into alleged war crimes during the final stages of its civil war in 2009, despite a UN report that claims tens of thousands of civilians were killed, most of them in shelling by government forces. Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said on Tuesday he would only launch ...

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PAKISTAN: Unsafe water kills 250,000 children a year | IRIN Asia

After several weeks of severe sickness, with unrelenting diarrhoea and high fever, Shamshad Ali, aged five, from a village near the town of Sheikhupura in Punjab Province, finally feels strong enough to venture out of his house again. “For a few days, when he was really sick and weak and could not even keep liquids down, we thought we might ...

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Indian state election expected to end Kolkata’s 34-year communist rule | guardian.co.uk

Voters are streaming into polling stations in India’s West Bengal state in a local election that could see a populist maverick unseat the world’s longest-serving democratically-elected communist government. After 34 years of communist rule, the federal railway minister, Mamata Banerjee, a firebrand orator known as Didi or elder sister, looks set to overthrow the party blamed for leaving West Bengal ...

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Death toll rises amid fresh Syrian protests | Amnesty International

At least 171 people are believed to have been killed during three weeks of unrest in Syria, Amnesty International said today after at least eight more fatalities during protests. “The alarming reports coming from Syria today show that the authorities have not altered their violent methods for dealing with dissent,” said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of the Middle East and ...

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Azarbaijan: ‘More than 70’ arrested demonstrating to save lake Urmia (video) | Iranian.com

During the demonstrations of Iranian Azerbaijanis to save Lake Urmia in the Azerbaijani cities of Tabriz and Urmia on April 2, 2011, dozens of protesters were arrested. According to reliable sources, the peaceful protest in Tebriz been turned into battle field by police and plain clothed armed forces. Read more here: Azarbaijan: ‘More than 70’ arrested | Iranian.com.

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China’s national defense tasked to guard sovereignty, peace: white paper | Xinhua

China said Thursday that its goals and tasks for national defense include safeguarding national sovereignty, maintaining social harmony and stability, promoting the modernization of national defense and keeping world peace. China’s national defense is tasked to guard against and resist aggression, defend the security of China’s lands, inland waters, territorial waters and airspace, safeguard its maritime rights and interests, and ...

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