In Short

>> The World Food Programme is working with the Ethiopian government to extend drought insurance. The US $230 million insurance will cover about 6.7 million people, which will be disbursed in case of a severe drought comparable to 2002-2003.

>> The Democratic Republic of Congo closed its lake and land border with Uganda, and shut down two markets as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the ebola virus. Several traders in Congo's North Kivu province who visited Uganda recently, have been placed under quarantine.

>> Iran, which received its first shipment of nuclear fuel from Russia in the second week of December, has reiterated that it will continue with its uranium enrichment programme. Russia has been urging Iran to shut it down, after it started supplying nuclear fuel to the country.

>> Japan has signed its first agreement with Hungary to buy the European country's surplus allowances for greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.

>> The Tax Board of Israel has said that cars that pollute less will enjoy purchase tax and licence fee benefits, while less environmentally friendly cars will be taxed more heavily.

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