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You'd want to be just about anywhere but the Indian capital of New Delhi today. Smog choked the city and triggered warnings that even healthy people were at risk of respiratory problems. Air pollution typically peaks in Delhi at this time of the year, driven in part by firecrackers burned to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, which fell on Sunday this year.


But it's not just India that has an air pollution problem. A report published today by the United Nations Children's Fund found that 300 million children in the world breathe highly toxic air, many of them based in South Asia. That's almost one in seven children inhaling air that has pollution levels six or more times higher than what international guidelines consider safe. UNICEF's report comes a week before the UN's COP 22 climate conference in Morocco, where the agency is calling for world leaders to cut air pollution in their countries.


"Air pollution is a major contributing factor in the deaths of around 600,000 children under five every year — and it threatens the lives and futures of millions more every day," UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake noted in a preview of the report.

A looming US election that keeps getting dirtier, the nuclear potential of North Korea, wars in the Middle East and Ukraine are no doubt worthy of the loud headlines you'll read today. But we should read and reread these two UN statistics: 300 million kids poisoned by the air they breathe, 600,000 facing death. Pollution is an insidious killer that too long has gone by unnoticed.

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Economy

Food Shortages Around The World, Product By Product

The war in Ukraine and the climate crisis have been devastating for food production. Here's a look at some of the traditional foods from around the world that might be hard to find on supermarket shelves.

A customer walking along the aisle of empty shelves in a supermarket

Lila Paulou and McKenna Johnson

The consequences of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia have been far-reaching. A Russian blockade of the Black Sea has meant Ukraine, known as “Europe’s breadbasket,” has been unable to export much of its huge harvests of wheat, barley and sunflower oil.

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So even those thousands of miles from the battlefields have been hit by the soaring prices of basic necessities.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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