U.N. picks former U.S. state governor to run World Food Programme

UNITED NATIONS, March 28 (Reuters) - United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has appointed former South Carolina Governor David Beasley to run the Rome-based World Food Programme (WFP), at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump has proposed slashing funding for the world body and its agencies.

Beasley will replace another American, Etharin Cousin, who has been the WFP executive director since 2012. Washington was the top contributor to WFP in 2016 with $2 billion, a third of the agency's budget.

UPDATE 2-Trump signs order sweeping away Obama-era climate policies

(Recasts with Trump signing the order, adds quote, details)

By Valerie Volcovici and Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON, March 28 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to undo a slew of Obama-era climate change regulations that his administration says is hobbling oil drillers and coal miners, a move environmental groups have vowed to take to court.

Argentine agriculture area limited by high transport costs

By Maximilian Heath

BUENOS AIRES, March 28 (Reuters) - The lack of a rail system for hauling grains from Argentina's next farm frontier in the far north is costing the country millions of tonnes of soy, corn and wheat production every year, prodding the government to jump-start infrastructure projects.

Trump signs order to dismantle Obama-era climate policies

WASHINGTON, March 28 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to scrap Obama-era climate change regulations that his administration says are hindering oil drillers and coal miners.

"My administration is putting an end to the war on coal," Trump said before signing the decree. "With today's executive action I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion and to cancel job-killing regulations." (Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Washington Newsroom; Editing by Eric Walsh)

UPDATE 2-Hong Kong lifts ban on Brazil meat imports, EU urges action

(Adds EU commissioner for health and food safety comments, paragraphs 2-5)

By Stephen Eisenhammer

BRASÍLIA, March 28 (Reuters) - Hong Kong said on Tuesday it has lifted a ban on the import of Brazilian meat, removing one of the last blanket bans by a major importer, but strong words from an EU commissioner visiting Brazil suggests the scandal over health standards is not over yet.

GRAINS-Wheat rebounds after two-month lows, but rains cap rally

* Showers expected in Plains should bolster wheat prospects * Rains seen slowing early corn planting in southern areas * Trade awaits USDA plantings and stocks reports due Friday * CBOT May soybeans choppy after Monday's five-month low (New throughout; updates prices, adds comments, changes dateline from previous HAMBURG) By Julie Ingwersen CHICAGO, March 28 (Reuters) - U.S. wheat prices climbed on Tuesday in a light rebound from multi-month lows set on Monday, although forecasts for much-needed rains in the Plains wheat belt kept a lid on gains, analysts said.

Monsanto loses legal battle with Indian seed producer

NEW DELHI, March 28 (Reuters) - Monsanto lost a legal battle with one of India's biggest seed producers over a contract dispute on Tuesday, and was ordered to restore a licensing agreement and cut royalty charges.

The U.S. company's joint venture Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMB) took Hyderabad-based Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd to court in 2015, claiming patent infringements and accusing the Indian company of continuing to use Monsanto's technology after MMB had cancelled its licensing contract.

Glencore says agriculture M&A not easy, U.S. deal not a priority

LAUSANNE, March 28 (Reuters) - Glencore does not see further consolidation in agricultural commodities as straightforward and views a U.S. acquisition as less crucial than in the past, the group's agriculture chief said on Tuesday.

The diversified trading and mining group had pointed to the possibility of making bolt-on acquisitions after posting improved results for 2016 and there has been regular speculation that it was looking at the U.S. grain sector because of its limited presence there.

UPDATE 1-Hong Kong lifts ban on Brazilian meat imports

(Adds Hong Kong statement, details throughout)

By Stephen Eisenhammer

BRASÍLIA, March 28 (Reuters) - Hong Kong said on Tuesday it has lifted a ban on the import of Brazilian meat, removing one of the last blanket bans by a major importer less than two weeks into a scandal over health standards in the sector.

Following the announcement on March 17 of a federal police investigation into alleged bribery of health inspectors in the meat processing industry, Brazil's government moved to block exports from the 21 plants targeted in the probe.

In drought-stricken Somaliland, families try to survive on black tea

By George Obulutsa and Abdirahman Hussein

BURAO, Somalia, March 28 (Reuters) - In a makeshift camp beside a disused airfield in the breakaway Somali region of Somaliland, 32-year old Nima Mohamed sits next to an open wood fire, boiling a kettle of black tea.

Unless aid groups bring them food and water, the tea is the only meal of the day for her three sons and three daughters who lie nearby in a home made of old bed sheets.

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