News in the Humanosphere: Reducing global food waste could save $300 billion a year

Credit: woodleywonderworks/flickr

A new study shows that reducing consumer food waste could save the global economy up to $300 billion annually by 2030.  “Globally, the food wasted by consumers is worth $400 billion a year, and this could jump to $600 billion in the next decade, as the profligate middle class expands in developing countries, the group said. Cutting the amount of food consumers discard by between 20 percent and 50 percent could save between $120 billion and $300 billion yearly by 2030, said the report for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, an international group chaired by former Mexican President Felipe Calderon.”  (TRF http://yhoo.it/17BwGaW)

ISIS Gets Worse
“In their latest onslaught, Islamic State militants have carried out a relentless campaign in Iraq and Syria this week against what have historically been religiously and ethnically diverse areas with traces of civilizations dating to ancient Mesopotamia.  The latest to face the militants’ onslaught are the Assyrians of northeastern Syria, one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, some of whom speak a modern version of Aramaic, the language of Jesus.” (Dallas Morning News http://bit.ly/1ETPkpx)

Africa

Eighteen people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded bus station in northeast Nigeria on Thursday, while a second bomber was shot dead before he could detonate his explosives, witnesses told AFP. http://yhoo.it/1BBNXhR

Fearful villagers have been fleeing their homes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as the army pursues Rwandan Hutu rebels in a new offensive, a resident said on Thursday  (AFP http://yhoo.it/1FyWQpN)

Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday promised decisive action to fix the country’s worsening electricity crisis, which has wreaked havoc in the once burgeoning economy. (AFP http://yhoo.it/17BwGI1)

The head of the Nigerian Army has visited soldiers in the northeastern town of Baga, telling troops that the conflict against Boko Haram will soon be over. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1LKKrRI)

The World Bank is working with other development finance institutions to raise some $500 million to modernize weather and flood forecasting services in Africa. (TRF http://yhoo.it/1BBN217)

Rwandan President Paul Kagame arrives in Paris Friday, his spokeswoman said, but for a U.N. meeting and is not expected to meet French officials while in the country, which he accuses of complicity in the 1994 genocide. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1LKKtt5)

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor traveled to Uganda on Thursday following the arrest of a top commander of the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army rebels. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1BBNSe3)

Any further delays to Nigeria’s election would be unacceptable and the opposition will take the government to court if the election commission chief is forced out, presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FyX0gS)

MENA

The Obama administration’s commitment to take in potentially thousands of Syrian refugees is raising national security concerns among law enforcement officials and some congressional Republicans who fear clandestine radicals could slip into the country among the displaced. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BBLFzx)

How much is a vote worth? In Egypt’s Sadat City – a sprawling, industrial center filled with the young and unemployed – it costs the same as it did under Hosni Mubarak: blankets, sacks of fertilizer and affordable health care. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1LKJ2uy)

The number of Christians abducted by the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria has risen to 220 in the past three days, as militants round up more hostages from a chain of villages along a strategic river, activists said Thursday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1LKKoFG)

Yemen’s Shiite rebel leader lashed out at Saudi Arabia on Thursday, accusing it of seeking to split the country following his group’s power grab, as a U.N. envoy met the embattled Yemeni president who has fled the capital, Sanaa. (AP http://yhoo.it/17BvMeC)

The head of UNESCO says she is “deeply shocked” at footage showing Islamic State group militants using sledgehammers to destroy Iraqi artifacts, and she has asked the U.N. Security Council president for an emergency meeting on the protection of Iraq’s cultural heritage. (AP http://yhoo.it/17BwIPW)

Asia

Thailand’s parliament voted overwhelmingly on Thursday in favor of a bill that restricts political demonstrations, something critics fear will be used to smother dissent after martial law is lifted. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1BBLELK)

North Korea has told rival South Korea that it plans to unilaterally raise the minimum wage for North Koreans employed by southern companies at a jointly run industrial park starting in March, officials said Thursday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BBLN1Y)

Almost every Pakistani citizen has a cellphone, but from now on, Big Brother is checking to make sure their name, number and fingerprints are on record. The measures are meant to tighten control of cellphones and avert their use for militant attacks after the Taliban massacre two months ago at a school in Peshawar. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BBLIv3)

The Americas

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan arrives in Cuba on Thursday to help prod negotiators from the Colombian government and leftist guerrillas to clinch a peace agreement. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1AwUtUH)

Chinese state-owned banks loaned $22.1 billion to Latin American countries last year, helping to keep afloat struggling economies that have been hit hard by a fall in prices for oil, minerals and other commodities that they export, according to new numbers released Thursday by the U.S. think tank the Inter-American Dialogue. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BBN7Sv)

About 10,000 people marched in Haiti’s capital Wednesday to protest what they say is chronic mistreatment of their countrymen in the neighboring Dominican Republic, where many Haitians have long lived in the shadows. (AP http://yhoo.it/1LKIK73)

Just two days ahead of a second round of talks on restoring diplomatic ties frozen for five decades, Cuba and the United States staked out competing demands to ensure progress. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1BBLy6Z)

The jubilation that greeted the announcement of U.S.-Cuban detente two months ago has faded to resignation for many Cubans who are realizing they’re at the start of a long process unlikely to ease their daily struggles anytime soon. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BBLAMf)

The full-page ad in Mexico’s national newspapers was unusual, if not unprecedented: 20 powerful business groups and think tanks publicly scolding the government for not doing its job. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BBLC6O)

Spain says it plans to deport 34 top members of violent Latin American street gangs operating in the Spanish capital. (AP http://yhoo.it/1BBMW9M)

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is backing efforts by South American nations to relaunch a dialogue between Venezuela’s government and opposition following new reports of violence. (AP http://yhoo.it/17BwGrt)

Argentina

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed allegations that Argentine President Cristina Fernandez tried to cover-up the involvement of Iranian officials in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center, easing a crisis for her government fed by the death of the prosecutor who brought the case. (AP http://yhoo.it/1FyWY8G)

Argentina’s congress passed a law Thursday creating a new intelligence service after the mysterious death of a prosecutor who had accused the president of a cover-up in his probe of a 1994 bombing targeting Jews. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1LKKCfX)

Argentina named the president’s chief of staff, Anibal Fernandez, as the new Cabinet chief on Thursday in a reshuffle that comes as the government faces a political crisis. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1FyWUpv)

...and the rest
Despite stern talk and solemn pledges from NATO, a British-based think tank says some alliance member nations are cutting their spending on defense. (AP http://yhoo.it/1LKKygk)
Opinion/Blogs

Global Dispatches Podcast: What we know about what we don’t know about development (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/17BCvFf)

The complex story of India’s job-producing and environment-destroying coal mines (Humanosphere http://bit.ly/1DvnWye)

Five myths about governance and development (World Bank http://bit.ly/1LNx7OD)

Roundup of recent writing on the humanitarian fallout from Boko Haram (Sahel Blog http://bit.ly/1BCbrUe)

Vulnerable families bear the brunt of Norway’s crackdown on asylum seekers (Guardian http://bit.ly/1BCbRKl)

My friend died last week – tax could have saved his life (From Poverty to Powerhttp://bit.ly/1LNxMPP)

The poverty alert (Economist http://econ.st/1DvnLmM)

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About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.