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Land battles inflame Kenya

nairobi / reuters / A government minister has pleaded innocent to charges of inciting violence in which over 100 people have been shot, hacked and burnt to death in strife over land and water in Kenya’s coastal region.

The scale and sudden intensity of the unrest over the past month has led many Kenyans to believe the bloodshed was instigated for political reasons and raised fears of serious tribal unrest ahead of elections next March.

Assistant Livestock Minister Dhadho Godana pleaded not guilty to incitement. His constituency is located in the Tana Delta that was engulfed in the violence. In one village, hundreds of assailants killed at least 38 inhabitants and torched houses.

China to slash corn imports

beijing / shenzhen / reuters / China’s corn imports may plunge more than 80 per cent next year, a government think-tank is warning.

Soaring corn prices and increased domestic production could prompt the world’s second-largest corn consumer to slash its buying, says the China National Grain and Oils Information Center.

The agency predicts corn imports will fall to one million tonnes in 2013, down from an estimated 5.5 million tonnes for this year. China is on track to produce a record crop of around 197 million to 200 million tonnes of corn this year. The USDA is also expecting a steep fall, although it estimates China will buy two millions tonnes next year.

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