News in Brief 03 December 2015 (PM)

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A Serbian maize farmer wraps up his 2015 harvest. Photo: FAO/Oliver Bunic

Food commodity prices fall, food insecurity increases

Major food commodity prices fell in November, reversing about half their rise in the previous month.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says the cost of internationally-traded staples such as meat and grain fell across the board last month. The cost of sugar was the only exception.

Food insecurity around the world, however, has continued to worsen. Some 33 countries, including 26 in Africa, are in need of external assistance for food due to droughts and flooding.

Food insecurity has also worsened due to conflict in several countries, notably in Syria and Yemen.

Rising tension and violence along Greek border

Increased tension and violence at the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is cause for concern, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The agency is calling on authorities of both countries to better manage the flow of people across the border, consistent with human rights and refugee-protection principles.

UNHCR says movement restrictions and temporary border closures have exacerbated the situation and that security must be restored as a matter of priority.

Human rights experts urge Saudi Arabia to halt execution

United Nations human rights experts are urging the Government of Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of an artist and poet condemned to death .

Ashraf Fayadh is reportedly due to be executed in mid-December.

He was sentenced to death for apostasy, or renouncing Islam. The sentence was based on a collection of poems published in 2008 and the testimony of a single witness, who claims he had heard the poet make offensive religious comments at a café.

The UN human rights experts have expressed concern that Mr. Fayadh may not have had legal counsel during his trial, in violation of international law.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’58″

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