October 18, 2007 in Nation/World

World in brief: Britons warned of rising obesity

The Spokesman-Review

Most Britons could be obese by 2050, a new government report warns, and the nation’s health secretary called Wednesday for a fundamental shift in the way the nation tackles obesity.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson didn’t blame British eating habits, calling obesity “a consequence of abundance, convenience and underlying biology.”

The obesity analysis by the Foresight program, run by the Office for Science, concludes that excess weight has become the norm and described Britain as an “obesogenic” society.

The number of overweight and obese people has tripled in the last 25 years. One in four adults is now obese, according to the most recent Health Study for England. By comparison, about one-third of adults in the United States are obese.


Government forces steal U.N. food aid

Dozens of heavily armed government security forces stormed a United Nations compound Wednesday and spirited away the official overseeing emergency food aid for Somalia’s war-ruined capital, prompting the agency to suspend distributions.

The World Food Program called for the immediate release of Idris Osman, a Somali in charge of the agency’s efforts to help feed tens of thousands of people in Mogadishu. The city is in shambles after more than a decade and a half of chaos.

Program officials said between 50 and 60 Somali government security forces, some in uniform, entered the compound and seized Osman without firing any shots. Osman was being held in a cell near the presidential palace, the agency said.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates some 1.5 million Somalis are now in need of food aid and protection – or 50 percent more that at the start of the year.


Greenpeace standoff ends

Eight Greenpeace members prevented from leaving an Amazon town for more than 24 hours by loggers and residents were escorted away peacefully Wednesday by police.

The activists, however, were unable to depart with the scorched tree trunk they wanted to take with them for an exhibit on global warming in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, said Greenpeace campaigner Andre Muggiati.

The standoff began Tuesday when loggers and residents used trucks to prevent the Greenpeace activists from leaving the area with the fallen tree trunk, Muggiati said. They were reportedly angry the activists were removing the trunk without the community’s permission.

The Greenpeace members spent a day and a night holed up under police protection in the makeshift headquarters of the federal environmental agency in the town of Castelo dos Sonhos.

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