Published: Sunday 30 June 1996

It has come off. Finally, the much awaited and much debated food-for-oil deal was agreed upon between Iraq and the UN recently. While the accord will take some burden off the Iraqi people, it will also help the UK and the US to agree to total lifting of sanctions, which were imposed after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

A recent report by the US-based Centre for Economic and Social Rights says that the number of Iraqi people living in poverty has risen from five per cent in 1988 to 20 per cent in 1993. Thousands of Iraqis have died due to lack of drugs and medical aid. The latest accord could provide a "great relief", but it will not solve these problems.

Come June 30, 1999, and the remaining traces of the smallpox virus will be wiped out from the world forever. The World Health Organization (WHO) has finally decided to destroy the last stocks of the smallpox virus, which had killed of humans over the ages.The demillions cision was taken by 190 countries at the end of the in New York.annual meeting of the WHO held recently.

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