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South Africa has detected its first outbreak of Tomato Leaf Miner, a pest originally from South America which can ruin tomato and potato crops, the department of agriculture said on Friday. The highly destructive insect feeds on leaves, stems and fruits of plants and can cause widespread crop infection. "This pest is disastrous particularly for tomato production and food security in general," the agriculture department said in a statement.
By Brian Ellsworth and Anggy Polanco CARACAS/SAN CRISTOBAL (Reuters) - Venezuela's streets were quieter than usual on Friday, but a strike called by the opposition drew patchy participation after the socialist government threatened to seize businesses that closed. "The strike is a good pressure tactic ... but if I don't work, I don't eat," said insurance agent Adolfo Diaz, 38, trying to reach work despite fewer buses in the western city of San Cristobal where sentiment is strong against President Nicolas Maduro. Venezuela's opposition Democratic Unity coalition called for a 12-hour shutdown as part of escalating protests after authorities scuttled its push for a referendum to recall the OPEC nation's unpopular socialist leader.
QAYARA AIR BASE, Iraq (AP) — The Islamic State group appears to be using tens of thousands of people as "human shields" in and around Mosul, where Iraqi forces are waging a large-scale offensive aimed at retaking the country's second largest city, the U.N. human rights office said Friday.