Iran’s central bank claims billions from German stock exchange

The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, on January 10, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 January 2018
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Iran’s central bank claims billions from German stock exchange

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: German stock market operator Deutsche Boerse said Thursday that Iran’s central bank had levelled claims for billions of dollars against its Luxembourg subsidiary Clearstream, which blocked the funds after the US accused Tehran of funding terrorism.
The central bank (Bank Markazi) demands some $4.9 billion (4.0 billion euros) of assets it says are held in Clearstream accounts belonging to it and to Italian bank UBAE, plus interest, Deutsche Boerse said in a statement.
If the assets themselves cannot be recovered, the Iranian institution wants damages in the same amount.
The long-running, complex case involves some $2.0 billion frozen in Clearstream accounts while court cases against Iran are heard in the US and Luxembourg, as well as some $1.9 billion Clearstream has already transferred to the US based on a 2013 court ruling.
That judgment saw Iran ordered to compensate around 1,000 American plaintiffs, including families of some 214 soldiers killed in a double suicide bombing in Lebanese capital Beirut in 1983 that claimed 299 lives.
Victims of a 1996 attack in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans were also compensated.
“Clearstream believes that the claims against it are unfounded,” Deutsche Boerse said in its statement.


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.