United Nations

U.S. To Attack Syria After U.N. Inspectors Depart?

If U.S. President Barack Obama decides to dust off the old Bill Clinton foreign policy playbook and lob cruise missiles at Syria, I suspect an attack would take place soon after United Nations’ chemical weapons inspectors depart the country.

Meaning sometime later tomorrow or soon thereafter.

Patrick J. McDonnell reported on the Los Angeles Times website within the last hour:

The United Nations chemical weapons inspection team in Syria was reported to have wrapped up its field work Friday and was preparing to leave the war-torn country on Saturday.

And seeing that it’s Labor Day weekend in the United States and the poll watchers at the White House know not all Americans are on board with an attack, I suspect it has a good chance of taking place before many people return to work on Tuesday.

Something to note here. Just like those several weeks that Al-Qaeda and the Taliban had to prepare and squirrel away assets between 9/11 and the start of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, I’m guessing the Syrian government and military have been doing the same.

High-value targets (HVTs) in downtown Damascus are being/have been transformed into daycare centers and prayer halls, I’m guessing.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

McDonnell, Patrick J. “U.N. chemical weapons inspection team wraps up work in Syria.” Los Angeles Times. 30 Aug. 2013. (http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-un-inspection-team-wraps-up-work-in-syria-20130830,0,1139009.story). 30 Aug. 2013.

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Should American Gun Owners Fear The U.N.-Approved Arms Trade Treaty?

Here’s some irony for you. I learned the U.N. General Assembly approved the Arms Trade Treaty yesterday while watching TV in Oak Park, Illinois- an infamous gun “control” jurisdiction just like my hometown of Chicago.

Judging by the condition of their roads these days, it looks to me they could really use those Village funds lost in their recent legal battle against gun rights.

Anyway, from Louis Charbonneau on the Reuters website last night:

The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the first treaty on the global arms trade, which seeks to regulate the $70 billion business in conventional arms and keep weapons out of the hands of human rights abusers.

The United States voted in favor of the treaty. And supporters of the new regulations, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, keep insisting law-abiding gun owners in America have nothing to fear. From the Reuters piece:

“Nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment,” he added, referring to the U.S. constitutional amendment that guarantees the right to bear arms.

“Nothing in this treaty could ever infringe on the rights of American citizens under our domestic law or the Constitution, including the Second Amendment”

That’s not what the National Rifle Association is saying.

From the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action website Tuesday:

With a passing yet non-binding acknowledgement of individual rights in the preamble, the treaty itself threatens civilian firearm ownership. The NRA has always maintained that any Arms Trade Treaty must respect the Second Amendment right of individual self-defense. This can only be accomplished by expressly excluding civilian firearms ownership from its scope, which this treaty fails to do.

Notably, the ATT includes “small arms and light weapons” among its terms, which cover firearms owned by law-abiding citizens. Further, the treaty’s text urges recordkeeping of end users, directing importing countries to provide information to an exporting country regarding arms transfers, including “end use or end user documentation” for a “minimum of ten years.” Each state is to “take measures, pursuant to its national laws, to regulate brokering taking place under its jurisdiction for conventional arms.” Data kept on the end users of imported firearms would result in a registry of law-abiding firearms owners in this country, which based on the language of this treaty, could be available to foreign governments.

President Obama’s administration has supported the adoption of this treaty, and the administration is expecting to sign it…

Somehow, I’m not surprised to hear that last part.

You can read the NRA-ILA material in its entirety here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Charbonneau, Louis. “U.N. overwhelmingly approves global arms trade treaty.” Reuters. 2 Apr. 2013. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/02/us-arms-treaty-un-idUSBRE9310MN20130402). 2 Apr. 2013.

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Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Self-Defense 2 Comments

North Korea Capable Of Crippling U.S. With Super-EMP Weapon?

“A furious North Korea threatened Thursday to attack America with nuclear weapons as punishment for perceived Western aggression – saber-rattling that came as the United Nations readied more sanctions against the Kim Jung-un’s rogue regime.

An unnamed spokesman in Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry office said North Korea will launch “a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors,” The Associated Press reports.

The spokesman referred to Washington as being the aggressor in a nuclear attack on North Korea, AP states.”

-The Washington Times, March 7, 2013

The last time I blogged about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear warfare capabilities was on January 27. From that post:

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been doing a lot of saber-rattling since I last blogged about the Communist state last month. At that time, I asked:

So what kind of timeframe are we talking about here before North Korea has an ICBM capable of reaching and hitting the continental U.S.?

Based on expert opinion, it could just be 4 short years.

And how does America know North Korea’s intentions are to target it with nuclear weapons? Ju-min Park and Choonsik Yoo reported on the Reuters’ website last Thursday:

North Korea said on Thursday it would carry out further rocket launches and a nuclear test that would target the United States, dramatically stepping up its threats against a country it called its “sworn enemy”…

“We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets that we will fire and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are targeted at the United States,” North Korea’s National Defence Commission said, according to state news agency KCNA.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Park and Yoo added:

North Korea is not believed to have the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting the continental United States, although its December launch showed it had the capacity to deliver a rocket that could travel 10,000 km (6,200 miles), potentially putting San Francisco in range, according to an intelligence assessment by South Korea.

Now, the above discussion focused on a nuclear attack against the United States with intercontinental ballistic missiles as they’re traditionally-intended to be used.

However, earlier this week I stumbled upon material which suggests North Korea may already have the capability to cripple America via unconventional nuclear warfare.

Enter Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and Director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, both congressional advisory boards. Dr. Pry, a former intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, wrote on the Family Security Matters website on February 26:

The West consistently and unwittingly cooperates with North Korea and Iran by underestimating the advancement, sophistication, and strategic implications of their nuclear weapon and missile programs.

Despite North Korea’s successful long-range missile test in December 2012, and now its third successful nuclear test on February 12, 2013, the Obama administration and the press keep reassuring the American people that North Korea is not yet a fully fledged nuclear weapons state – that a North Korean nuclear missile threat to the United States is still years in the future.

The facts do not support this judgment. North Korea is already a major nuclear threat to the United States–an existential threat.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Dr. Pry went on to say:

North Korea now appears to be armed with a FOBS capability to make a surprise nuclear attack against the United States–or against any and all nations on Earth–with Super-EMP.

FOBS? Super-EMP? The author of Apocalypse Unknown: The Struggle To Protect America From An Electromagnetic Pulse Catastrophe explained:

A Super-EMP warhead is a nuclear weapon specially designed to produce an enormous burst of gamma rays that generates an extraordinarily powerful electromagnetic pulse, capable of destroying even the best protected electronics, thereby paralyzing military forces and blacking out power grids and collapsing critical infrastructures everywhere–across an entire nation the size of the United States…

During the Cold War, the USSR experimented with a secret weapon, the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS), that used an ICBM like a Space Launch Vehicle to put a nuclear warhead into orbit, like a satellite. Instead of using the ICBM to lob the warhead on a more accurate arcing ballistic trajectory, flying along the shortest range to target, like an artillery shell, the FOBS lofted the warhead into a “fractional” or partial orbit, sacrificing accuracy for limitless range.

FOBS could reach any nation or threaten any target anywhere on Earth.

A Super-EMP warhead does not weigh much, and could probably be delivered by North Korea’s Fractional Orbital Bombardment System, successfully tested in December 2012, against any nation on Earth. Thus, North Korea already possesses an ICBM and poses a mortal nuclear threat to the United States, and to all nations on Earth–right now.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Real disturbing stuff. Even more so now that the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Thursday for tougher sanctions against North Korea.

You can read Dr. Pry’s warning about the North Korean Super-EMP threat in its entirety on the Family Security Matters website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Merry Christmas

Just wanted to wish those who observe it a very Merry Christmas.

New material will be published on the blog tomorrow.

By the way, late Monday the United Nations, with the Obama administration’s support, voted overwhelmingly to restart discussions on the proposed Arms Trade Treaty. A conference is planned for March.

Christmas Eve. When many Americans were busy preparing for or engaged in celebrations. Coincidence?

Thanks,

Christopher E. Hill
Editor


Can you forgive the pig-headed old fool, for having no eyes to see with,
no ears to hear with, all these years?
“A Christmas Carol — Barbara Allen”
YouTube Video

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Australia To Push For Adoption Of Arms Trade Treaty With U.N. Security Council Seat

In “The Land Down Under,” international gun “control” could soon be one of their more high-profile exports. Sid Maher wrote on The Australian website this morning:

AUSTRALIA will push harder for a tough new international gun control regime if it wins a seat at the UN Security Council, in a move to crack down on civil unrest, gang violence and criminal activity.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr told The Weekend Australian that under a draft treaty being pushed by Australia, all states would be held responsible for what happened to their weapons after they left their shores.

The Arms Trade Treaty failed to win the necessary backing last month amid opposition from the US and Russia. But Australia will use a UN Security Council seat to press for the adoption of the treaty, which remains on the UN negotiating table in draft form.

The treaty will also seek to limit the international movement of ammunition, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and Kalashnikovs.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“To crack down on civil unrest.” Interesting.

In 1996, the Australian government implemented a gun “buy back” program and placed severe restrictions on the public ownership of firearms.

I know what some readers are probably thinking right now.

Less “control,” more Foster’s please.

Source:

Maher, Sid. “UN council bid aimed at gun control.” The Australian. 29 Sep. 2012. (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/un-council-bid-aimed-at-gun-control/story-fn59niix-1226483780192). 29 Sep. 2012.

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Nuclear-Armed Iranian Navy Off U.S. Coasts Soon?

Who out there believes that Iran is looking to weaponize their nuclear program?

Okay, who out there believes a nuclear-armed Iran would like to be in-range of detonating a newly-acquired weapon or two high in the atmosphere over North America and send the “Great Satan” back to the Stone Age?

If you answered “I do” to both of these questions, then the following two articles may be of some concern. From the Associated Press on the CBS News website yesterday:

Diplomats say the U.N. atomic agency has new intelligence that Iran has advanced its work on calculating the destructive power of a nuclear warhead, a step toward building such a weapon.

The diplomats say the information — from the U.S., Israel and at least one other country — alleges the research was done within the past three years.

Iran denies that it has worked on nuclear arms and says allegations to the contrary are based on fabricated intelligence.

But the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) gives credence to the suspicions and says it cannot disprove them unless Iran starts cooperating with its probe of the allegations.

The information comes from six diplomats who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss intelligence.

Then there’s this excerpt from a September 4 article on the FOX News website that talks about the aspirations of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN), also known as the Iranian Navy. From the Associated Press:

The head of Iran’s navy says the country aims to put its warships in international waters off the U.S. coast “in the next few years.”

The comments Tuesday from Admiral Habibollah Sayyari on state TV are part of Iran’s response to Washington’s beefed up naval presence in the Persian Gulf…

Iran has made similar claims in the past that its ships could soon sail into international waters off the U.S. coast.

In the last two years, Iran has sent naval units to the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Sources:

“AP: IAEA has new intelligence showing Iran carried out nuclear warhead research.” Associated Press. 11 Sep. 2012. (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57510180/ap-iaea-has-new-intelligence-showing-iran-carried-out-nuclear-warhead-research/). 12 Sep. 2012.

“Iran’s navy aims to sail off US shores soon.” Associated Press. 4 Sep. 2012. (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/09/04/iran-navy-aims-to-sail-off-us-shores-soon/). 12 Sep. 2012.

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Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 Middle East, Military No Comments

Texas Judge: Obama To Try And Hand Over U.S. Sovereignty To U.N.

One area of literature that seems to be gaining in popularity these days is survival fiction. And what Lubbock County, Texas, Judge Tom Head recently said about President Obama handing over U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations sounds like something out of those novels. From the FOX 34 News (Lubbock) website on August 21:

Judge Head said he and the county must be prepared for many contingencies, one that he particularly fears, is if President Obama is reelected.

He’s going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the UN, and what is going to happen when that happens?,” Head asked.

“I’m thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.

“Now what’s going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want ‘em in Lubbock County. OK. So I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say ‘you’re not coming in here’.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

The U.N.’s response to Judge Head? Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols wrote on the Reuters website on August 24:

The United Nations scoffed on Friday at claims by a judge in Lubbock County, Texas, that U.N. troops could invade the southern U.S. state to settle a possible civil war, which the judge warned could be sparked if Obama is re-elected in November.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, when asked if the United Nations had any plans to invade Texas.

He later added: “No one, not even the United Nations, would ever mess with Texas.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Texans must be loving that answer.

But, Judge Head’s assertion may not be as “ridiculous” as it sounds. A number of elected leaders, including U.S. Senators James Inhofe (OK) and Jim DeMint (SC), claim that efforts to sell out U.S. sovereignty to international authority not only exist, but more are on the way. Inhofe and DeMint wrote in a joint op-ed piece on the Washington Times website on July 25:

The American people’s God-given and constitutionally protected right to self-government must be protected. The fact that our people remain skeptical toward the schemes of international diplomats is a sign of their enduring wisdom.

LOST is dead, for now. But new efforts to hand over American sovereignty to international authority already are under way. Only with the ongoing help and vigilance of the American people can we hope to defeat the next generation of unnecessary, unrepublican and undemocratic treaties.

Sources:

“Lubbock Co. Judge warns of potential danger if Obama is re-elected.” MyFOX 34 News. 21 Aug. 2012. (http://www.myfoxlubbock.com/news/local/story/Lubbock-tom-head-tax-rates-president-obama/PeO4Q8GeGEiy_FpxheUnmA.cspx). 4 Sep. 2012.

Charbonneau, Louis, and Nichols, Michelle. “U.N. to invade Texas? “Ridiculous,” says world body.” Reuters. 24 Aug. 2012. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/24/us-un-texas-duel-idUSBRE87N14A20120824). 4 Sep. 2012.

DeMint, Jim and Inhofe, James M. “INHOFE AND DEMINT: U.N. treaties mean LOST U.S. sovereignty.” Washington Times. 25 July 2012. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jul/25/un-treaties-would-separate-americans-from-the-cons/?page=all). 4 Sep. 2012.

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Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 Civil Strife, Foreign Policy, Government, Revolution, War No Comments

U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Alive And Well, Draft Could Be Voted On As Early As October

Whether or not you believe the proposed United Nations-brokered Arms Trade Treaty would have infringed upon Americans’ right to bear arms, it should be pointed out that last week’s failure by delegates to reach an agreement doesn’t mean the treaty is dead.

In fact, it’s alive and well.

And some observers suggest a draft treaty could be voted on before the end of the year. Michelle Nichols wrote on the Reuters website last Friday:

More than 170 countries have spent the past month in New York negotiating a treaty, which needed to be adopted by consensus, so any one country effectively could have vetoed a deal. Instead, no decision was taken on a draft treaty.

But this leaves the door open for further talks and a draft arms-trade treaty could be brought to the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly and adopted with a two-thirds majority vote. Diplomats said there could be a vote by the end of the year.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Note the consensus would now be replaced by a two-thirds majority vote in this scenario.

In fact, it’s possible a vote on a draft Arms Trade Treaty could come as early as October, according to the August 4 edition of The Economist. From their website:

Yet all is by no means lost. More than 90 countries, including big arms suppliers such as Britain, France and Germany, issued a joint statement at the end of the conference reiterating their commitment to getting a treaty in place as soon as possible. There is a good chance that the draft treaty will be brought before the UN General Assembly in October. It could then be put to a vote of all 193 member countries, requiring only a two-thirds majority for it to pass. The treaty would then come into legal effect once it had been ratified by 65 countries.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

It appears the Obama administration prefers to put the treaty on the backburner until next year. From the Associated Press on July 30:

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement Friday evening that the U.S. supports a second round of negotiations next year.

“While we sought to conclude the month’s negotiations with a treaty, more time is a reasonable request for such a complex and critical issue,” the statement said.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

The desire to delay additional work on the treaty until 2013 was echoed at a U.S. State Department briefing with Ms. Nuland this past Monday. From a transcript of the event:

QUESTION: At 10:14 p.m. on Friday, the Department put out a note about the inability to reach consensus on the arms control – on the Arms Trade Treaty, excuse me. And you said in the note that you supported the outcome, which, of course, was a failure to reach consensus. What did you not get – did the United States not get out of this negotiation that it wanted?

MS. NULAND: Well, again, apologies for making you work at 10:14 on a Friday night. As you may know, the negotiations on this treaty went relatively late in New York, so we wanted to make sure that we spoke to them when the negotiations concluded.

What we supported was a decision to give this more time to get it right. As you know, this is a treaty that needs to be adopted by consensus. There was not consensus in New York. There were a number of countries who thought that more work needed to be done. That said, we did make considerable progress, and there was a commitment that the nations will come back early in the New Year and try to conclude this treaty. What we want is further review, further refinement in order to meet the high standards of a treaty that we could sign and that we were confident could receive the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate, that deals with the illegal use of small arms while allowing states and nations participating to implement their own national laws and to protect the rights of their citizens enshrined in their own national documents, including in our case the right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution.

So more work needs to be done, but we very much support the goals. And we think that rather than trying to jam a weak treaty, it’s better to give it some more time and have consensus when we come back in January.

QUESTION: You said that there’s a commitment to come back early in the New Year. Was there a commitment by all 178 nations to do that?

MS. NULAND: Our understanding is that the second session of these negotiations will start early in the New Year and that that was the trend in the room there and what we expect

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty is down, but certainly not out.

Sources:

Nichols, Michelle. “United Nations fails to agree landmark arms-trade treaty.” Reuters. 27 July 2012. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/27/us-arms-treaty-idUSBRE86Q1MW20120727). 2 Aug. 2012.

“One more heave.” The Economist. 4 Aug. 2012. (http://www.economist.com/node/21559900). 2 Aug. 2012.

“Arms treaty must wait after UN agreement fails.” Associated Press. 30 July 2012. (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501363_162-57482624/arms-treaty-must-wait-after-un-agreement-fails/). 2 Aug. 2012.

“State Department Briefing by Victoria Nuland, July 30, 2012.” eNews Park Forest. 30 July 2012. (http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/latest-national/35182-state-department-briefing-by-victoria-nuland-july-30-2012.html). 2 Aug. 2012.

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Thursday, August 2nd, 2012 Ammunition, Firearms, Gun Rights No Comments

Record Economic Losses From 2011 Natural Disasters

2011 was a record-breaking year for worldwide natural disasters. From the UN News Centre webpage yesterday:

Ms. Wahlström [Margareta Wahlström, the head of the secretariat of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)] told a news conference at UN Headquarters that economic losses caused by natural disasters last year amounted to an estimated minimum of $380 billion, two thirds higher than the previous record in 2005. She attributed the heavy losses to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the New Zealand quake, and severe floods in Asia and others parts of the world.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

There was actually some good news tucked away in Wahlström’s report. From the piece:

“The main message is that this is a very rapidly increasing trend with increasing economic losses. Globally, disaster mortality is in fact proportionally decreasing, but the economics of disasters is becoming a major threat to a number of countries,” she added, pointing out that 50 per cent of the world’s population is exposed to disaster risk.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

According to the Associated Press’ Edith Lederer, preparedness had something to do with increased survival rates. From the Yahoo! News website this morning:

Despite the rising costs, she [Margareta Wahlström] said, deaths from disasters are proportionally declining because countries are getting much better at instituting early warning systems and preparedness measures.

That’s fantastic. However, something else the UN official said puts the kibosh on any celebrating. Lederer added:

Wahlstrom said the risk of disasters is increasing globally because of climate change, the depletion of natural resources, poor land use, and worsening environmental problems.

For example, she said, by 2050 the world will need 50 percent more food, 45 percent more energy and 30 percent more water for a growing population — and these resources are already under threat and are triggers of disaster.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

As painful as it can be sometimes, it’s good to be able to see the big picture- especially concerning resource availability down the road.

Sources:

“UN kicks off talks on new blueprint for disaster risk reduction.” UN News Centre. 5 Mar. 2012. (http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=41459&Cr=disaster+risk&Cr1=). 6 Mar. 2012.

Lederer, Edith M. “UN says 2011 disasters were costliest ever.” Yahoo! News. 6 Mar. 2012. (http://news.yahoo.com/un-says-2011-disasters-were-costliest-ever-181836152.html). 6 Mar. 2012.

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UN Agency Reports Food Prices Rose In June

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is reporting that an index of 55 food commodities increased slightly last month. From their website earlier today:

FAO’s Food Price Index rose one percent to 234 points in June 2011 – 39 percent higher than in June 2010 but four percent below its all-time high of 238 points in February of this year.

A strong rise in international sugar prices was behind much of the increase.

The FAO Cereal Price index averaged 259 points in June, down one percent from May but 71 percent higher than in June 2010. Improved weather conditions in Europe and the announced lifting of the Russian Federation’s export ban contributed to the price drop.

However the maize market remained tight because of low 2010 supplies and continued wet conditions in the United States. Prices of rice were mostly up in June, reflecting strong import demand and uncertainty over export prices in Thailand, the world’s largest rice exporter.

Maize is more commonly known as corn in the United States.

Source:

“FAO Food Price Index up slightly in June.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 7 July 2011. (http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/81577/icode/). 7 July 2011.

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Thursday, July 7th, 2011 Commodities, Food No Comments

UN Agency Reports Food Prices Rose Slightly In April

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is reporting that an index of 55 food commodities increased slightly last month. From their website this morning:

Food prices remained virtually steady in April after falling in March following eight months of successive increases, FAO announced today.

However, while the FAO Food Price Index averaged 232 points in April, little changed from March, it was still 36 percent above April 2010 and only two percent below its peak in February 2011.

A fall in sugar prices and a decline in rice helped stabilize the index, but international prices of nearly all other food commodities remained firm.

“A sliding dollar and increased oil prices are contributing to high food commodity prices, particularly grains,” said David Hallam Director of FAO’s Trade and Market Division. “With demand continuing strong, prospects for a return to more normal prices hinge largely on how much production will increase in 2011 and how much grain reserves are replenished in the new season.”

The FAO Food Price Index was 231 points in March. It reached an all-time high in February, when the index hit 237.2 points.

Bloomberg’s Rudy Ruitenberg broke down the UN agency’s latest report this morning and noted:

Corn has almost doubled in the past 12 months on speculation that more planting in the U.S., the world’s largest grower, won’t be sufficient to rebuild global stocks. Wheat surged 57 percent over the same period and soybeans gained 39 percent as flooding ruined crops in Canada and Australia and drought reduced harvests in Russia and Europe.

Of the grains, corn “is the most worrisome,” [FAO senior economist Abdolreza] Abbassian said in a statement. “We would need above-average, if not record, yields in the U.S.,” however, “plantings so far have been delayed considerably due to cool and wet conditions on the ground,” he said.

The FAO’s gauge of grain prices, which account for 27 percent of the overall index, jumped to its highest level since June 2008, advancing to 265.1 points in April from 251.2 the previous month.

According to the agency, much more food will be required down the road to feed the world’s growing population. Ruitenberg added:

Food output will have to climb by 70 percent from 2010 to 2050 as the world population swells to 9 billion and rising incomes boost meat and dairy consumption, the FAO forecasts.

Here’s hoping for some bumper crops this year- and in the foreseeable future.

Sources:

“Global food prices hold steady.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 5 May 2011. (http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/73931/icode/). 5 May 2011.

Ruitenberg, Rudy. “World Food Prices Rise to Near-Record High as Inflation Speeds Up, UN Says.” Bloomberg. 5 May 2011. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-05/food-prices-approach-record-high-as-grain-prices-fuel-inflation-worldwide.html). 5 May 2011.

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Thursday, May 5th, 2011 Agriculture, Commodities, Food, Population No Comments


Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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