Haiti UN increases food distributions following protests over high prices

17 April 2008The United Nations is taking further action to confront food insecurity in Haiti with plans to distribute 8,000 more tons in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where rising prices have led to widespread protests, some of them violent. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) will hand out the food in the coming days in the north, west and central regions, focusing on children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will double its child feeding programme to combat malnutrition and spend some $1.6 million on water and sanitation in the northwest and the Artibonite regions.Meanwhile, the Brazilian contingent of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is distributing 14 tons of food to more than 3,000 families in the poorest quarters of Port-au-Prince, the capital.MINUSTAH and WFP also continue to support various projects aimed at creating jobs that, with a combined $2.3 million budget, already employ some 2,500 Haitians.Set up in 2004 to help re-establish peace after an insurgency forced then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide to go into exile, the Mission also focuses on a host of humanitarian issues. read more

Markets update at midmorning

On the markets at midmorning (ET):The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 15.53 points to 14,967.41, after 90 minutes of trading.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 131.34 points to 21,835.09. The S&P 500 index up 16.25 points to 2,444.62 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 63.10 points to 6,276.23.The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.73 cents US, up from Monday’s average price of 79.52 cents US.The October crude contract was up 42 cents to US$47.95 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was down two cents to US$2.94 per mmBTU.The December gold contract was down $5.50 to US$1,291.20 an ounce and the September copper contract was unchanged at US$2.98 a pound. read more