The warning from FAO follows a three day meeting in Harare. “Zimbabwe is likely to be the country hardest hit by an outbreak of armyworms that is destroying crops and threatening food security in southern Africa, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that up to 130,000 hectares of maize and corn crops could be affected in Zimbabwe, compared to a reported 90,000 hectares in Zambia and 50,000 hectares in Namibia. The invasive Central American fall armyworm is harder to detect and eradicate than its African counterpart and has a preference for maize, the staple crop in the region. The armyworm outbreak follows a devastating El Nino-induced drought that scorched much of the region last year, reducing crop output and leaving millions in need of food aid.” (Reuters https://yhoo.it/2kNQNdk)

Sectarian Attack in Pakistan… “A suicide bomber turned a spiritual dance celebration at a revered religious shrine into a slaughterhouse on Thursday, killing at least 70 people and wounding more than 250 in the worst act of terrorism to hit Pakistan in months. At least 50 of the wounded were critically hurt in the explosion at the Sufi shrine in a remote part of southern Pakistan, officials said. Many of the victims were women. The Islamic State, the extreme Sunni militant organization based in Syria and Iraq, claimed responsibility for the attack, The Associated Press reported. The Islamic State, which regards members of other Muslim groups as nonbelievers deserving death, also claimed responsibility for an attack on a Sufi shrine in southwestern Pakistan in November. Sufism, popular in Pakistan, is regarded as a relatively tolerant branch of Islam.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/2kDwCxH)

And Iraq…A powerful car bomb ripped through a used car market in the south of Iraq’s capital Thursday, killing more than 50 people in the deadliest such attack this year, officials said. The Amaq propaganda agency linked to the Islamic State jihadist group (IS), which has claimed nearly all such attacks recently, reported the blast and described it as targeting “a gathering of Shiites”. The worst car bomb attack to hit Baghdad in more than six months drew condemnation from the United States and the United Nations, while Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called an urgent meeting of his security chiefs. (AFP https://yhoo.it/2kDG843)

State Department Insider Sheba Crocker explains how Donald Trump is upending Foggy Bottom. (Global Dispatches Podcast http://bit.ly/2kDlVLQ)

Photo By ChriKoOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

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