Indonesia: Of Rice & Rats

During Ramadan, the Moslem month of fasting, no believer is supposed to take food or drink from sunrise to sunset. But as Ramadan ended, the religious fasting in large parts of Indonesia had become full-scale famine. Parched by drought, the rice crop in Java had failed; in Bali, last year's eruption of the Gunung Agung volcano had buried two of the island's largest rice areas under volcanic ash. In central Java, an invasion of rats, many 18 inches long from head to tail, had decimated rice stores and created a serious threat of...

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