Obama invites Singapore PM to nuclear summit

Last Updated: Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 17:10

Singapore: US President Barack Obama on Sunday
invited Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to a nuclear
summit next year in recognition of the city-state`s key
security role, US officials said.

"Singapore serves as a critical trading hub in the
region, and we commend Singapore`s commitment to
counter-proliferation efforts," National Security Council
spokesman Michael Hammer said after talks between the two
leaders.

Singapore was one of the first countries to sign on to
the US Proliferation Security Initiative, aimed at halting the
spread of weapons of mass destruction by closely monitoring
international cargo passing through its ports.

The initiative was launched in 2003 and now has the
support of more than 90 countries, the US State Department
says. A US-Singapore free trade agreement was also signed by
the two close allies in 2003.

Singapore has one of the world`s busiest sea ports and
provides non-combat and reconstruction support to US-led
military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as access for
US forces including aircraft carriers.

"As the first country in the region to sign on to the
Proliferation Security Initiative, Singapore is working to
expand the reach and membership of this important tool to
prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction," Hammer
said.

Bureau Report

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Ban Ki-moon goes on a hunger strike against hunger

United Nations: UN Chief Ban Ki-moon
observed a 24 hour fast in solidarity with a billion hungry
people worldwide, his spokesperson Marie Okabe has said.

Ban, who observed the fast this weekend, days ahead of
World Food Summit in Rome will deliver a speech at the opening
of the three-day summit on Monday in which he is expected to
say that "it is unacceptable that more than one billion go
hungry when the world has more than enough food", Okabe told
reporters here.

"He will also highlight the human cost of the recent food,
energy and economic crises and say that these crises are a
wake-up call for tomorrow," she added. "In particular, he will
emphasise the link between food security and climate change."

FAO has launched an online campaign calling on the
general public to sign a call for eradicating hunger and had
asked the people to go on a "hunger strike against hunger." It
notes that the participants may fast as long as they deem
appropriate.

Jacques Diouf, Director-General of FAO, who ended his
24-hour fast yesterday said, "The silent hunger crisis
affecting one sixth of all of humanity poses a serious risk
for world peace and security. We urgently need to forge a
broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger
in the world.”

FAO finds that directly or indirectly, agriculture
provides the livelihood for 70 percent of the world`s poor.
The current crises stems from 20 years of under-investment in
agriculture and neglect of the sector.

The Summit has been convened to build political momentum
to increase investment in agriculture and urge the
international community to battle hunger.

Around 60 heads of State and Government are expected to
attend the Summit where Pope Benedict XVI will deliver a
keynote speech on Monday.

Bureau Report

The initiative was launched in 2003 and now has the
support of more than 90 countries, the US State Department
says. A US-Singapore free trade agreement was also signed by
the two close allies in 2003.

Singapore has one of the world`s busiest sea ports and
provides non-combat and reconstruction support to US-led
military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as access for
US forces including aircraft carriers.

"As the first country in the region to sign on to the
Proliferation Security Initiative, Singapore is working to
expand the reach and membership of this important tool to
prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction," Hammer
said.

Bureau Report



First Published: Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 17:10

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