Published: Thursday 31 August 2006

China plans to invest US $175 billion (more than 1.5 per cent of its national GDP) towards protecting the environment during its 11 th five-year plan. The money will be spent on water pollution control, improving air quality in cities, disposing of solid waste, harnessing soil erosion and improving rural environment. Sewage treatment facilities will also be built in 10 river valleys.

The government of Afghanistan and the UN have appealed for US $76 million to help feed 2.5 million drought-hit Afghans. The country, which suffered harsh droughts between 1998 and 2001, is facing a food crisis due to inadequate rainfall in April and May and an unexpected shortfall in wheat harvest this year. More than 4,000 families have been displaced during the past two months from provinces of Helmand, Uruzgan, Zabul, Baghran, Washer, and Nowzad and 6.5 million Afghans are facing hunger in the country, says the government.

On July 30, the Democratic Republic of Congo held its first democratic general election in the past 45 years. The Supreme Court will announce the result on August 31. The country is now preparing for a second round of voting, which is scheduled for October 29. Election officials say that the second round will be held only if no candidate secures outright victory in the first round. The international community has donated US $422 million to assist the historic election.

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