South Asia

Thursday 31 July 2008

Afghan Leopards Threatened: After surviving decades of warfare, snow leopards in Afghanistan now face a new threat: foreigners involved in rebuilding the country. Military bases and tourist bazaars present a new market for pelts to be sold as souvenirs. Foreigners are willing to pay prices high enough to encourage impoverished Afghans to break the 2002 hunting ban protecting the leopards. The US embassy and conservationists are now using educational programs and raids to crack down on the buyers.

$1.3 Billion Pledged: Praful Patel, the World Bank's regional vice-president for South Asia, announced that the bank would give Bangladesh US $1.3 billion over the next three years to help sustain economic growth while combating climate change. The agency made the decision after seeing the devastation in Bangladesh from natural disasters caused by climate change. Rising fuel, food and fertilizer prices also led to the budget assistance.

Fertilizer Rules Relaxed: Bangladesh's Advisory Committee on Economic Affairs relaxed purchasing rules to allow quick import of non-urea fertilizers by the Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC), the country's official agro-input-distribution outlet. The committee also allowed BADC to import fertilizer directly through state-level deals. In the context of a global food crisis, the committee prioritized the agricultural sector, viewing relaxation of the rules as a way to ensure a smooth supply throughout the next season.

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