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Madagascar Faces ‘Catastrophic’ Hunger After 3 Cyclones

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MANANJARY, Madagascar – Southeast Madagascar has been hit by three powerful storms in a year, resulting in “catastrophic” famine in remote, inaccessible places that have received little international attention, according to humanitarian organizations.

Cyclone Batsirai struck in February 2022, followed by Cyclone Emnati two weeks later. Then, in February of this year, Cyclone Freddy landed on the Indian Ocean island. According to a report by UNICEF and Madagascar’s National Office for Nutrition, the combined impact affected 60%-90% of farming regions in the southeast and largely destroyed food crops.

People like Iavosoa, a distraught young mother whose 10-month-old daughter, Soaravo, was at risk of dying before her first birthday due to acute malnutrition, feel the pain. Iavosoa, who only supplied her first name to protect her privacy, also has a 3-year-old son who is malnourished.

Last month, a team from the humanitarian organization Doctors of the World brought her children and two other severely malnourished children, both under the age of two, to a hospital in the city of Mananjary on Madagascar’s east coast after a group of parents and their children were discovered walking through the bush to reach the nearest health center.

Soaravo groaned softly at the hospital as her mother rocked the infant to soothe her. The child weighed only 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) and resembled a preterm infant, with eyes nearly too wide for her tiny skull. Doctors say she should weigh four to six times her age.

madagascar

Southeast Madagascar has been hit by three powerful storms in a year, resulting in “catastrophic” famine.

“If my daughter is in this state, it’s because we don’t have enough food where we live,” said Iavosoa. “I was sick with dysentery for two months.” I was almost out of milk. I was completely exhausted. My hamlet is three hour walk from the first basic health center. I couldn’t pamper myself because I couldn’t travel such a long distance.”

“And then she (Soaravo) became ill as well.” Then came Cyclone Freddy. “It destroyed our house and ravaged our village,” she claimed.

Iavosoa wore a tattered T-shirt and a piece of fabric wrapped around her waist, saying she wasn’t sure of her age but assumed she was between 21 and 24. She needed footwear. Everything she owned was wrapped in a cotton bundle on the hospital floor. She is a single parent.

Iavosoa looked at her daughter, a dismayed expression on her face. “She’s just turned 10 months old,” she explained.

The families spotted walking roughly 30 kilometers from the hospital were discovered by chance when a Doctors of the World team went to assess the quality of health facilities in places beyond Mananjary, according to Joaquin Noterdaeme, a coordinator with the organization known in French as Médecins du Monde.

Soaravo was treated for an illness and diarrhea, and malnutrition was addressed with a special milk formula. Doctors predicted that she would be hospitalized for at least a month. Her mother and brother moved in with her because they had nowhere else to go.

According to a Feb. 28 report by UNICEF and the National Office for Nutrition, more than a quarter of the population in Madagascar’s southeastern area, or around 870,000 people, do not have enough food and are at risk of hunger.

madagascar

According to humanitarian organizations, Soaravo and the other hospitalized youngsters are a drop in the bucket.

“This is a nutrition emergency,” said Jean-Francois Basse, UNICEF’s representative in Madagascar, describing the situation in rural regions as “catastrophic.”

The cyclones left scars on the hospital as doctors worked to save Soaravo’s life. Some of its structures are nothing more than shells. The walls were barely standing, but parts of the roof had collapsed. Some patients were treated outside in a tent.

Few trees stand upright in and around Mananjary, which bore the brunt of the cyclones racing in from the Indian Ocean and where Freddy made landfall. They were ripped out or left lurching at 45-degree angles by the cyclones, demonstrating the intensity of the wind brought by the storms.

Homes were demolished, rebuilt, then demolished again.

According to Brian Willett, head of mission in Madagascar for Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières, people living in remote districts like coastal Nosy-Varika and the mountainous region of Ikongo were extremely vulnerable to hunger before the cyclones and children across southeast Madagascar experienced chronic malnutrition.

“But, with the repeated climate shocks of the past year, their resilience has been exceeded,” he said. “Today, one in every four children is acutely malnourished.” These children face death if they do not receive medical attention.”

Willett suggested that mothers who couldn’t feed their children would participate in “acts of desperation,” referring to stories that some were selling their children to save them from famine.

madagascar

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Tesla wants shareholders to reinstate $56 billion pay package for Musk rejected by Delaware judge

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Tesla wants shareholders to reinstate $56 billion pay package for Musk rejected by Delaware judge
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AUSTIN, Texas – Tesla will ask shareholders to approve the reinstatement of a $56 billion compensation package for CEO Elon Musk, which a Delaware judge rejected earlier this year, and move the electric car manufacturer’s headquarters from Delaware to Texas.

In a statement with federal regulators early Wednesday, the business stated that shareholders will vote on both measures at its annual meeting on June 13.

Tesla wants shareholders to reinstate $56 billion pay package for Musk rejected by Delaware judge

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Tesla wants shareholders to reinstate $56 billion pay package for Musk rejected by Delaware judge

The Tesla board of directors offered Musk an unprecedented compensation plan that could be worth $55.8 billion over ten years starting in 2018, but Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick ruled in January that Musk is not eligible for it.

Five years ago, a Tesla shareholder lawsuit argued that the pay package should be void because Musk dictated it and forged agreements with directors who weren’t impartial to him.

Musk announced a month after the judge’s decision that he would try to relocate Tesla’s corporate listing to Texas, where he has already relocated the company’s headquarters.

Almost immediately after the judge’s order, Musk moved Neuralink, his privately held brain implant company, from Delaware to Nevada.

Tesla met all of the operational and stock value benchmarks outlined in a 2018 CEO pay package, according to Chairperson Robyn Denholm in a letter to shareholders this week. She also stated that Musk has met the automaker’s growth expectations.

“Because the Delaware Court second-guessed your decision, Elon has not been paid for any of his work for Tesla for the past six years, which has helped to generate significant growth and stockholder value,” Denholm said. “That strikes us — and the many stockholders from whom we already have heard — as fundamentally unfair, and inconsistent with the will of the stockholders who voted for it.”

According to a regulatory filing, Tesla delivered 1.8 million electric vehicles worldwide in 2023. However, the value of its shares has dropped sharply this year as sales of electric vehicles fall.

Tesla wants shareholders to reinstate $56 billion pay package for Musk rejected by Delaware judge

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Tesla wants shareholders to reinstate $56 billion pay package for Musk rejected by Delaware judge

Future growth is still being determined, and it may be difficult to persuade shareholders to support a large pay package in a market where competition has increased globally, and demand for electric vehicle sales is declining. Shareholders will also be asked to submit a nonbinding advisory vote on future CEO pay.

Tesla’s stock has lost over one-third of its worth this year as dramatic price cuts have yet to attract new purchasers. The business said it shipped 386,810 automobiles from January to March, about 9% fewer than last year.

Musk’s package was valued at more than $55.8 billion at the time of the Delaware court verdict, but the court may have cost the erratic CEO more than $10 billion due to the company’s stock decline this year. According to the report, Musk’s 2018 remuneration totaled $44.9 billion at the close of trading on April 12.

Since last year, Tesla has reduced prices by up to $20,000 on some models. The price decreases caused the prices of used electric vehicles to fall, reducing Tesla’s profit margins.

Tesla announced this week that it would lay off nearly 10% of its workforce, or approximately 14,000 individuals.

Following receipt of a report from a special committee under the direction of one board member, Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, Tesla’s board stated in the filing that it sought shareholder approval of Musk’s 2018 compensation package.

Tesla wants shareholders to reinstate $56 billion pay package for Musk rejected by Delaware judge

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Tesla wants shareholders to reinstate $56 billion pay package for Musk rejected by Delaware judge

The board stated that if a significant vote is cast against future executive pay packages, “we will consider our stockholders’ concerns, and the compensation committee will evaluate whether any actions are necessary to address those concerns.”

Tesla Inc. shares, which fell another 8% this week, were marginally down in trade shortly after Wednesday’s opening bell.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Why Gold Prices Are At Record Highs

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From central banks to Costco shoppers, everyone is purchasing gold these days. Spot gold touched $2,364 per ounce on Tuesday, following seven consecutive sessions of record highs and trading at $2,336 per ounce on Monday. Year on year, gold is up 16.5%.

Investors who expect the Federal Reserve to lower its benchmark interest rate are the primary drivers of price increases, but other factors, such as central banks buying gold, headed by China, to reduce reliance on US currency, are also contributing.

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Why Gold Prices Are At Record Highs

Central banks view gold as a long-term store of value and a haven during periods of economic and international crisis.

Gold is regarded as a reliable investment. When interest rates fall, gold prices often climb, as bullion becomes more tempting than income-paying assets such as bonds. Investors also view gold as a hedge against inflation, anticipating that it would preserve its value as prices rise.

According to Reuters, the People’s Bank of China purchased gold for the 17th consecutive month in March, adding 160,000 ounces to its stockpile of 72.74 million troy ounces.

According to a UBS research note dated April 9, central banks may wish to “diversify away” from the US currency and acquire it in the face of geopolitical instability. Demand drives up prices as China expands its reserves, which traditional investors have already increased.

According to a Capital Economics research report published on April 9, Chinese investors are looking to gold as an alternative asset due to recent downturns in property valuations and equity prices.

Other central banks, including India and Turkey, are expanding their reserves. According to UBS, India’s GDP growth is fueling these acquisitions.

gold

A sign of the times?

According to Ulf Lindahl, CEO of Currency Research Associates, central banks’ appetite for gold indicates a declining reliance on the dollar.

Lindahl said in an email that dollars are becoming increasingly undesirable to central banks seeking to reduce their economic dependency on the United States.

According to a March JP Morgan research note, nations not allies of the United States may accumulate gold to “mix away from dollars” and lessen vulnerability to sanctions.

According to the note, central bank purchases have fuelled the rise in gold prices since 2022. According to JP Morgan, gold may be entering a strong era, as central bank purchases of gold in 2022 were more than double the average annual buy over the previous decade.

The price increase coincides with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s visit to China to address financial stability in US-China relations and what Yellen refers to as Chinese electric vehicle overproduction.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s, believes that rising oil costs threaten the US economy.

According to the UBS research report, higher oil costs are anticipated to raise inflationary fears, causing gold prices to rise.

The typical view of gold
The spike in gold prices indicates that investors expect the Fed to drop interest rates later this year, but they may be concerned about the prospects of containing inflation without causing the US economy to enter a recession, sometimes known as a soft landing.

According to an April 9 research note from UBS, the prospect of Fed rate cuts remains the primary driver of optimistic sentiment toward gold.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in remarks on April 3 that inflation remains on a “sometimes bumpy path” toward the Fed’s 2% target and that rate cuts to rebalance the economy are expected to begin later this year.

According to CME Group data, 51% of investors currently predict a quarter-point decrease in June. However, employment growth in March exceeded projections, casting doubt on the need for numerous rate reductions in an economy that remains strong.

The Personal Consumption Expenditures price index, the Fed’s favored inflation gauge, increased 2.5% in the year ended in February. According to Department of Commerce figures issued this month, this represents a little uptick from the 2.4% increase in January.

The core PCE price index, which excludes the more volatile food and energy sectors, increased 0.3% monthly. Fed officials consider the index a key indicator of underlying inflation, and it fell from 0.4% in January when it increased at the strongest rate in a year.

gold

So, why is gold soaring right now?

Some investors are buying into the frenzy around gold bullion as prices increase, pushing them further. On Reddit, proud buyers frequently create threads touting their collections.

Costco started selling bars online in August and silver coins in January. Wells Fargo estimates that the corporation currently sells up to $200 million in gold and silver per month. Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti told analysts in December that the company had sold over $100 million in gold bars in the previous quarter.

The investment note, released on April 9, stated, “The accelerating frequency of Reddit posts, quick online sell-outs of product, and [the company’s] robust monthly eComm sales suggests a sharp uptick in momentum since the launch.”

Lindahl stated that “trend followers” and others capitalize on price increases as the long-term trend indicates much higher costs.

It’s also worth mentioning that gold has historically been a haven during political turmoil. Voters in almost 60 countries, including the US presidential election, will go to the polls this year. The increase in geopolitical and economic volatility highlights the value of precious metals.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Toby Keith, Country Singer-Songwriter, Dies At 62 After Stomach Cancer Diagnosis

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Toby Keith, a popular country singer known for his pro-American anthems who enraged detractors while also winning over millions of admirers, has died. He was 62.

According to a statement on his website, the singer-songwriter of “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” who had stomach cancer, passed away peacefully on Monday with his family by his side. “He fought his fight with grace and courage,” the statement read. He disclosed his cancer diagnosis in 2022.

The 6-foot-4 vocalist rose to prominence during the country boom of the 1990s, producing songs that listeners enjoyed hearing. Throughout his career, he publicly clashed with other celebrities and journalists and frequently fought against record executives who sought to tame his rough edges.

He was recognized for his overt patriotism in post-9/11 songs like “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue,” as well as loud barroom songs like “I Love This Bar” and “Red Solo Cup.” He possessed a big, booming voice, a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour, and a range that could carry love and drinking songs.

Toby Keith health: What's happening with his stomach cancer battle

Toby Keith, Country Singer-Songwriter, Dies At 62 After Stomach Cancer Diagnosis

His 20 No. 1 Billboard successes included “How Do You Like Me Now?!,” “As Good As I Once Was,” “My List,” and “Beer for My Horses,” a duet with Willie Nelson. His influences included fellow working-class songwriters such as Merle Haggard, and he had more than 60 singles on the Hot Country chart over his career.

Keith continues to perform despite his cancer treatments, most recently in Las Vegas in December. In 2023, he also performed at the People’s Choice Country Awards with his song “Don’t Let the Old Man In.”

“Cancer is a roller coaster,” he told KWTV in an interview broadcast last month. “You simply sit here and wait for it to go away. “It may never go away.”

Keith worked as a roughneck in Oklahoma’s oil fields as a young man, then played semi-pro football before beginning his singing career.

keith

Toby Keith, Country Singer-Songwriter, Dies At 62 After Stomach Cancer Diagnosis

“I write and sing about life, and I don’t overanalyze things,” Keith told The Associated Press in 2001, following the popularity of his song “I’m Just Talking About Tonight.”

Keith received valuable lessons in the growing oil fields, which toughened him up and taught him the importance of money.

“The money to be made was unbelievable,” Keith told the Associated Press in 1996. “I graduated from high school in 1980, and they hired me in December 1979 for $50,000 a year. “I was 18 years old.

However, the domestic oilfield business crumbled, and Keith was not saved. “It almost broke us,” he admitted. “So, I just learned. I took care of my money this time.”

He played a few seasons as a defensive end for the Oklahoma City Drillers, a farm team for the now-defunct United States Football League. But he made consistent money playing music with his band on Oklahoma and Texas’s red dirt roadhouse circuit.

“All through this whole thing, the only constant thing we had was music,” he said. “But it’s difficult to sit back and say, ‘I’m going to make a fortune singing or writing music.’ I had no contacts.

His path eventually led him to Nashville, where he piqued the eye of Mercury Records’ head, Harold Shedd, best known for producing the success group Alabama. Shedd signed him to Mercury, where he launched his platinum debut album, “Toby Keith,” in 1993.

Country singer Toby Keith dies at 62 after battling stomach cancer |  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Toby Keith, Country Singer-Songwriter, Dies At 62 After Stomach Cancer Diagnosis

His breakout hit, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” was played 3 million times on radio stations, making it the most popular country song of the 1990s.

However, the label’s focus on worldwide superstar Shania Twain eclipsed the rest of the group, and Keith believed that the executives were attempting to steer him in a pop path.

“They were trying to get me to compromise, and I was living a miserable existence,” Keith was quoted as saying by the AP. “Everybody was trying to mould me into something I was not.”

Keith signed with DreamWorks Records in 1999, following a string of albums that included singles including “Who’s That Man” and a cover of Sting’s “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying.”

That’s when his multiweek hit “How Do You Like Me Now?!” went viral and became his first Top 40 smash. In 2001, he won male vocalist and album of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards, screaming on stage, “I’ve waited a long time for this. “Nine years!”

Keith frequently wore his politics on his sleeve, particularly following the terrorist attacks on American soil in 2001, and he initially identified as a conservative Democrat before later claiming to be independent. He performed in events for Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, who awarded him the National Medal of the Arts in 2021. His music and forthright opinions occasionally sparked controversy, which he appeared to relish.

His 2002 song “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” carried a threat — “We’ll put a boot in your ass — It’s the American way” — to anyone who attempted to interfere with America.

That song was removed from a patriotic ABC Fourth of July special because producers felt it was too furious for the broadcast. Singer-songwriter Steve Earle described Keith’s song as “pandering to people’s worst instincts at a time when they are hurt and scared.”

keith

Toby Keith, Country Singer-Songwriter, Dies At 62 After Stomach Cancer Diagnosis

Then there was the conflict between Keith and The Chicks (previously known as the Dixie Chicks), who became Keith’s target after singer Natalie Maines informed a crowd that they were embarrassed by then-President George W. Bush. Maines had previously described Keith’s song as “ignorant.”

Keith, who had previously stated that he backed any artist’s right to express their political views, juxtaposed a doctored photo of Maines with an image of Saddam Hussein at his shows, inciting even more outrage among fans.

Maines retaliated by wearing a blouse with the letters “FUTK” onstage at the 2003 ACM Awards, which many people saw as a rude message to Keith.

Keith, who has admitted to holding grudges, stormed out of the ACM Awards early in 2003 after being spurned in earlier categories, missing out when he was named entertainer of the year. Vincent Gill accepted on his behalf. He returned the following year and won the top prize for the second year in a row, as well as best male vocalist and album of the year for “Shock ‘n Y’all.”

His pro-military stance was more than just material for songs. He embarked on 11 USO trips to visit and perform for overseas troops. Throughout his career, he has helped raise millions of dollars for charity, including constructing a home in Oklahoma City for children with cancer and their families.

Keith restarted his career after Universal Music Group acquired DreamWorks, launching his record label, Show Dog, in 2005 alongside record executive Scott Borchetta, who founded his label, Big Machine.

“Probably 75% of the people in this town think I’ll fail, and the other 25% hope I fail,” he said.

Keith, Trace Adkins, Joe Nichols, Josh Thompson, Clay Walker, and Phil Vassar were among the artists signed to the label, which later became Show Dog-Universal Music.

His following singles were “Love Me If You Can,” “She Never Cried in Front of Me,” and “Red Solo Cup.” He was elected into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015.

He received the BMI Icon award in November 2022, a few months after announcing his stomach cancer diagnosis.

“I always believed that songwriting was the most important aspect of this entire industry,” Keith told the audience of fellow singers and writers.

SOURCE – (AP)

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