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Mozambique seizes China bound illegal timber logs worth $800,000

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Mozambican authorities have confiscated the country’s largest haul of illegal timber in the northern port of Nacala as it was getting ready to be illegally exported.

The consignment comprised 1,300 containers of logs estimated at $800,000. Their eventual destination was believed to be China.

China is the main importer of wood from Mozambique – and there have been incidents of Chinese nationals participating in logging without licences in the country.

Chinese traders according to the environmental research organization, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) accounted for over 90% of Mozambican timber exports.

Olivia Amosse, director of the national agency for environmental quality control, as confirming that this was the largest single seizure of illegal timber in the southern African country’s history.

Those caught would have to pay more than the value of the seized logs, that is over $900,000 in fines and would also be charged. Ms Amosse also confirmed that the logs would be sold at a public auction.

As part of efforts to protect the country’s hardwood forests, the Mozambican parliament last week unanimously passed the second and final reading of a bill that will ban the export of unprocessed timber logs.

Under the new law, which will come into effect on 1 January 2017, semi-processed timber (such as beams, planks and parquet) may be exported, but will be subject to an export tax. There is no tax on the export of finished wooden goods, such as furniture.

The law is expected to halt the devastation of the southern African country’s forests which is experiencing depletion. The issue of illegal logging in the country has also been identified as a key source of revenue loss to the government.

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Nissan to recall over 40,000 cars due to malfunction of brake fluid leak

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Japanese automaker gaint Nissan says,  it’s recalling nearly 400,000 vehicles in the U.S. because of a braking system defect that could cause them to catch fire.

Users and Owners are advised to park affected vehicles outside and away from structures if the anti-lock brake system warning light comes on for more than 10 seconds.

The Japanese automaker says a pump seal may become worn down and cause brake fluid to leak. “If the warning is ignored … the brake fluid leak may potentially create an electrical short in the actuator circuit, which in rare instances, may lead to a fire,” the company says in documents sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The recall affects four different models in the U.S.: the Nissan Murano SUV, model years 2015 to 2018; Maxima sedans, model years 2016 to 2018; and the Infiniti QX60 and Nissan Pathfinder SUVs, model years 2017 to 2019.

Nissan says in a statement emailed to NPR that it is working on a fix and that owners of affected vehicles will be notified beginning in early December 2019. “Once the remedy is available, owners will receive a final notification letter asking them to bring their vehicle to an authorized Nissan dealer or INFINITI retailer to have the remedy work completed at no cost for parts or labor,” the company says.

This isn’t the first time Nissan has had problems with brake fluid leaks. Last year, for example, Nissan recalled more than 215,000 vehicles. The automaker says vehicles in the 2018 recall that haven’t been repaired are included in the current recall.

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World food prices hike for first time in five months: U.N. FAO

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World food prices rose for the first time in five months in October, boosted by jumps in quotations for sugar and cereals, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 172.7 points in October, up 1.7% on the previous month and 6.0% year-on-year.

FAO also predicted that cereal production would be 2.704 billion tonnes in 2019, slightly lower than its last forecast.

The FAO sugar price index jumped 5.8% from September levels, largely because of expectations of lower supplies in the year ahead following forecasts of large reductions in sugar output in India and Thailand.

The cereal price index rose 4.2%, with wheat and maize export prices climbing on the back of reduced crop prospects in several major producing countries and “robust trade activity”. By contrast, rice prices fell, hit by subdued demand and expectations of an abundant basmati harvest.

The vegetable oil price index increased 0.5% to reach its highest level in more than a year, while the meat price index rose 0.9%, driven by higher import demand especially from China.

By contrast, the dairy price index dropped 0.7% in October, as lower quotations for cheese offset increases in those for skimmed and whole milk powders, FAO said.

FAO lowered its forecast for global cereal production in 2019 by some 2 million tonnes, pegging world cereal output at 2.704 billion tonnes, but still up 1.8% from 2018 levels.

The U.N. agency said worldwide coarse grain production in 2019 was seen at 1.425 billion tonnes, down 1.3 million on the previous forecast.

Wheat output was seen at 765 million tonnes, down nearly 1 million tonnes on the last outlook, but still on course to set a new record and up 4.5% on 2018 levels.

The forecast for global rice production was put at 513.4 million tonnes, little changed on the previous forecast and slightly below 2018 levels.

Source: Reuters

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