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The International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday that even if the October rains materialize, the next harvest season typically accounts for only about 30 percent of Somalia’s yearly food production - not enough to meet the immense need.

SOUTH SUDAN

U.N. asks South Sudan to return diverted funds

JUBA — The U.N. representative to South Sudan has asked the country to repatriate diverted funds.

Hilde F. Johnson told a news conference on Wednesday that hundreds of millions of dollars meant for South Sudan’s government have been wired to private bank accounts abroad. She called such acts unacceptable.

Ms. Johnson lauded South Sudan President Salva Kiir for announcing at U.N. headquarters that steps were being taken to end impunity for perpetrators.

South Sudan broke away from Sudan in July to become the world’s newest nation.

Violence in the new country this year already has killed 3,000 people. More than 300,000 others have been displaced by fighting.

SOUTH AFRICA

Rhino poaching takes center stage at meeting

JOHANNESBURG — More needs to be done to dispel the myth among the Vietnamese that rhinoceros horn can cure cancer, Vietnamese officials said Wednesday after meeting with their South African counterparts about curbing rhino poaching.

Already this year, 309 rhinoceroses have been poached in South Africa, compared to the 2010 record of 333, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs. The 2010 figure was nearly triple the deaths in 2009.

Demand for rhino horn among a growing Vietnamese middle class is believed to be driving the poaching spike in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa; Vietnam’s own rhinos are nearly extinct.

David Newton of TRAFFIC, the wildlife-trade-monitoring network of the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, said demand in China and Thailand also is a concern but that recently, the “vast majority” of rhino-horn smuggling prosecutions involved Vietnamese citizens.

Tuan Cong Ha, a Vietnamese environmental affairs official who headed his country’s delegation in South Africa, called on medical researchers in his country to study what he called the cancer-cure “rumor” and make their findings public.

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