- The discovery of the gene behind a rare form of inherited iron deficiency may provide clues for new treatments of poor iron absorption in the general population, according to a study released Sunday. Lack of iron is the most common of all nutritional deficiencies and the leading cause of anemia, which affects nearly a third of the world's population, according the World Health Organisation. In the developing world, every second pregnant woman and about 40 percent of preschool children are estimated to be anaemic, a condition that contributes to 20 percent of all maternal deaths.

A doubling of food prices over the past three years could push 100 million people in poorer developing countries further into poverty and governments must step in to tackle the issue, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said on Sunday. "Based on a rough analysis, we estimate that a doubling of food prices over the last three years could potentially push 100 million people in low-incomecountries deeper into poverty," Zoellick said in a statement at the end of the World Bank spring meeting here.

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will meet the top US health official on Monday to discuss the bird flu crisis that has killed 107 people here, his spokesman said. US Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt is in Indonesia on a one-day visit, the president's spokesman said. "He will meet the president this afternoon to discuss cooperation in health, with the bird flu issue high on the agenda," said spokesman Dino Patti Djalal. Indonesia is the country worst hit by bird flu, with 107 people known to have died from the disease, 13 of them this year.

Rising food prices could have terrible consequences for the world, including the risk of war, the IMF said Saturday, calling for action to keep inflation in check. "Food prices, if they go on like they are doing today ... the consequences will be terrible," International Monetary Fund managing director Dominque Strauss-Kahn said. "Hundreds of thousands of people will be starving ... (leading) to disruption of the economic environment," Strauss-Kahn told a news conference at the close of the IMF spring meeting here.

The State Electric Company (STELCO) will change their electricity generators to hybrid systems and provide power to some of the islands using the new systems before the end of this year, the Company said on Wednesday. Director Ahmed Niyaz said that preliminary surveys on establishing a hybrid system (an engine that can convert diesel as well as renewable energy such as wind and solar power to electricity) had already been conducted in some islands.

Male President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom telephoned the UN Acting Resident Coordinator in the Maldives, Moez Doraid, and thanked him for his efforts in attracting media attention towards the urgent need

The Cabinet decided on a long-term framework for the National Disaster Management Centre. During a meeting, members spoke on the importance of continuing the work of the National Disaster Management

Fresh water may become a scarce resource, unless a sustainable approach is taken for domestic and agricultural use. Exploited by the growing population, the ground water in some islands has been

The Government has planned to remove the import duty on diesel, medical supplies and some essential food items from next year onwards, President Mohamed Nasheed has said.

The price of petrol, diesel and kerosene was reduced by Rf2.40, Rf2.00 and Rf2.80 respectively on Monday. The changes brought to the fuel prices mean that the price of petrol litre has now been reduced to Rf8.50, diesel to Rf8.75 and kerosene to Rf8.90.

This is the ninth time since 12 August that the State Trading Organization (STO) has reduced fuel prices.