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Number of hungry people declines, U.N. says

UNITED NATIONS

Number of hungry people declines

The number of hungry people in the world decreased this year for the first time in 15 years, but the level remains higher than before the 2008 food crisis, and the volatile state of prices gives cause for unease, U.N. officials said Tuesday.

The number fell to 925 million from the record high of 1.02 billion in 2009, with much of the improvement tied to income growth in the Asia-Pacific region and to a 40 percent drop in food prices from their 2008 peak.

The numbers were released before a meeting next week of more than 100 world leaders, who will consider the fate of eight development goals set in 2000 for 2015, with many of them well short of the targets.

Pakistan

U.S. steps up strikes on Afghan militants

Drone aircraft unleashed two missile attacks in a lawless tribal region on the Afghan border, making September the most intense period of U.S. strikes in Pakistan since they began in 2004, intelligence officials said.

The missiles have killed more than 50 people in 12 strikes since Sept. 2 in the Pakistani region of North Waziristan, according to an Associated Press tally.

Elsewhere

LOS ANGELES: Ali Ahmad Asseri, a gay Saudi Arabian diplomat who requested asylum in late August, said Tuesday that he had received death threats since making it public Saturday that he had asked to be allowed to stay in the United States.

WASHINGTON: The Iowa egg farm at the center of a massive salmonella outbreak, Wright County Egg, received hundreds of positive results for salmonella in the two years before its eggs sickened more than 1,500 people, congressional investigators said Tuesday.

CHICAGO: Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Monday asked a judge to nullify the lone conviction in his mostly deadlocked corruption trial, saying it was underpinned by trial errors and misconduct by prosecutors. He was convicted of lying to the FBI. He faces a retrial on the deadlocked charges.

HARTFORD, Conn.: A judge on Tuesday sentenced former Mayor Eddie Perez to three years in prison for taking a bribe and attempted extortion, saying he must be held accountable despite other good deeds.

LOVELAND, Colo.: Firefighters were trying to gain ground on a wildfire in the northern Colorado foothills Tuesday ahead of strong winds. Another wildfire near Boulder last week destroyed at least 166 homes.

JAPAN: Prime Minister Naoto Kan won a hard-fought vote within his governing party Tuesday to keep his job.

SEATTLE: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Tuesday received the highest award that the Boy Scouts of America bestows on adults for distinguished service to youth, the Silver Buffalo.

Times wires

Number of hungry people declines, U.N. says 09/14/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 11:51pm]

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