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World Food Programme wins Nobel Peace Prize

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(Last Updated On: October 9, 2020)

The UN World Food Programme (WFP), which provides lifesaving food assistance to millions across the world has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

The announcement was made by Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chairman of the Nobel Committee Friday in Oslo, the capital of Norway.

Berit stated that the WFP was awarded the prize “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.”

“We are deeply humbled to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This is an incredible recognition of the dedication of the WFP family, working to end hunger every day in 80+ countries,” the WFP’s executive director, David Beasley, wrote on Twitter following the announcement.

“It’s because of the WFP family…They’re out there in the most difficult, complex places in the world. Whether it’s war, conflict, climate extremes — it doesn’t matter. They’re out there, and they deserve this award,” Beasley said in a video to the organization and its staff.

“Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I can’t believe it!” Beasley added.

WFP is the largest humanitarian organization in the world. The UN stated that last year, the organization has assisted 97 million people in 88 countries. 

The UN said Friday the WFP’s efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid, and special operations. Two-thirds of the work is in conflict-affected countries where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries without conflict.  

Meanwhile, the WFP said in a statement on Friday that the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the World Food Programme (WFP) is a humbling, moving recognition of the work of WFP staff who lay their lives on the line every day to bring food and assistance for close to 100 million hungry children, women and men across the world. People whose lives are often brutally torn apart by instability, insecurity, and conflict.

“The Nobel Peace Prize is not WFP’s alone. We work closely with government, organizations, and private sector partners whose passion for helping the hungry and vulnerable equals ours,” the statement read.

The Nobel Prize is awarded to ‘those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind’.

Prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace have been awarded since 1901 – and economic sciences since 1968.

The 2020 Nobel Prize winners are:

  1. The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded jointly to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice “for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus.”
  2. The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded with one half to Roger Penrose and the other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez. The Nobel Committee said, “Roger Penrose has been awarded the #NobelPrize in Physics “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity.” “Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez have been awarded the #NobelPrize in Physics “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy,” the committee noted.
  3. The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna “for the development of a method for genome editing.”
  4. The 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to the American poet Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
  5. The 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded to the American poet Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
  6. The WFP has been awarded the 2020 #NobelPeacePrize for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

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US commits $150 million in aid for Afghans

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(Last Updated On: August 13, 2022)

The United States announced Friday $150 million in new aid for Afghanistan to improve food security and support women and girls in the country.

The US Agency for International Development said an $80 million commitment to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will improve food security and nutrition for Afghans experiencing severe food insecurity, including women, women-headed households, and smallholder farmers and herders.

With this assistance, USAID will help Afghan farmers increase the production of nutritious food using environmentally-sustainable practices, and increase the availability of quality seeds and other agricultural inputs.

This funding will also improve smallholder farmers’ resilience to climate and economic shocks through crop diversification and promoting agricultural best practices, including through support to small-scale food producers, women, family farmers, pastoralists, and fishers.

USAID and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) signed a $40 million agreement to increase international support for Afghan children, particularly adolescent girls, to realize their right to education.

This is USAID’s newest contribution to Afghanistan’s education sectors and comes after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) March announcement blocking girls above grade six from school. 

With the funding provided by USAID through this agreement, UNICEF will have the resources to provide hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Afghans with desperately needed cash assistance to keep their children in school.

USAID also announced a $30 million commitment to support gender equality and women’s empowerment in Afghanistan.

This funding will be programmed through the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

The “Enabling Essential Services for Afghan Women and Girls” activity will increase Afghan women and girls’ access to social protection services; provide resources and support for women-led civil society organizations working to advance women’s rights in Afghanistan; and increase women’s economic empowerment through skills and business development training and entrepreneurship support, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said in a statement.

The funding will provide direct support for Afghan women’s civil society organizations.

“As women and girls face rising rates of gender-based violence in Afghanistan, this funding for UN Women will also provide women and girl survivors of violence with access to free and safe accommodation, legal aid and healthcare, psycho-social support, counseling, and vocational training,” USAID statement said.

The funding will also help UN Women respond to the urgent and immediate livelihoods needs of Afghan women, and help them build income security through private sector partnerships that will create job opportunities and help Afghan women launch or rebuild their micro, small or medium businesses.

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Mysterious fires destroy dozens of homes in Jowzjan

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(Last Updated On: August 12, 2022)

More than 50 homes have been destroyed by mysterious fires in a village in Afghanistan’s northern Jowzjan province, officials said this week.

The fires have happened in Bala Mardian village of Faizabad district.

Sirajuddin Ahmadi, police chief of Jowzjan, said that the fires are increasing day by day.

“Yesterday 12 homes caught fire. Today people held Khatm Qur’an ceremony (reading Qur’an) and prayed. Within an hour today, three or four homes caught fire. I hope officials and leaders of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) will pay special attention to the victims,” Ahmadi said.

There are no reports of deaths caused by the fires.

Noorullah Musafir, the provincial director of labor and social affairs, however, said that some people including women and children were hospitalized.

Meanwhile, local residents said that mysterious creatures could be seen during the fires.

“People are suffering from the problem. They initially thought that it was human, but later it was found that only children and women can see it. A creature is seen in the home, but when we enter the home, no one is there,” a Jowzjan resident said.

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DAB says technical agreements in place to print new bank notes

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(Last Updated On: August 12, 2022)

The country’s central bank – Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) said Thursday they have reached agreements with a number of foreign countries and money printing facilities to print new bank notes for the country.

“We have collected and burned the old money, we have reached an agreement with the money printing offices and countries and we expect to proceed according to the plan and present you with the results, we are proceeding based on national interests; discussions have been held with countries and banks and they will help Afghanistan,” said Lutful Haq Noor Pasarlay, DAB’s policy deputy head.

Abdulqahar known as Haji Muhammad Edris, the acting head of De Afghanistan Bank, also spoke at the event and mapped out achievements made by the central bank in the past 12 months.

“Maintaining the stability of the value of the Afghani currency, maintaining the sustainability of commercial banks, providing banking services, facilitating cross-border transfers and developing new systems were some of the issues in the attention of Da Afghanistan Bank during the last year,” said Abdulqahar.

According to officials, in order to improve the banking sector and prevent criminal activities, the law to prevent terrorism financing, the regulation of preventive measures against money laundering, the management plan for the liquidity problem of the banking sector, the plan to revive the financial and banking sector, and the crisis management policy, have been drawn up and will soon be adopted.

The officials also said that in order to release Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves, several internal and external meetings have been organized with the relevant parties and discussions have been held on technical matters.

The last meeting of technical representatives of Afghanistan and the United States, for releasing Afghanistan’s frozen assets, was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

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