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UN Calls for Large-Scale Emergency Action to Combat Food Crisis

The United Nations food agency says soaring global food prices are threatening to plunge more than 100 million people worldwide into hunger.

U.N. World Food Program chief Josette Sheeran Tuesday called for major, emergency and long-term action on the same scale of global relief efforts that followed the 2004 Asian tsunami.  She called the growing crisis, which has sparked protests and violence across much of the developing world, the worst in the agency's 45-year history.  

Sheeran's warning today in London came ahead of a high-level meeting of policy-makers and food experts hosted by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Mr. Brown earlier this year ordered a review of the environmental and economic effects of biofuels production.  In a statement today, he said he will push for reduced European biofuel targets, if the British study shows a need for policy revisions.

Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a development conference in Ghana that the soaring food prices threaten to reverse recent gains against global hunger and malnutrition. 

In Washington, World Bank President Robert Zoellick repeated a call for donations to the World Food Program.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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