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file: Villagers collect their monthly food aid provided by United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Bhayu, Zimbabwe.

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe needs to import 800,000 tonnes of maize following a drought that reduced the harvest by more than half, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday, adding that no one in the country would go hungry.

A United Nations agency has said up to 5 million Zimbabweans, a third of the population, would need food aid this year following the El Nino-induced drought.

“Overall, we need to import around 800,000 tonnes because our principle is that no one should die of hunger,” Mnangagwa was quoted as saying by state-owned The Herald newspaper.

Grain imports will put pressure on the country’s meagre dollar reserves, which have seen the country grapple with shortages of fuel, medicines, bread and electricity.

Last week, the government banned farmers from selling maize to anyone other than the state Grain Market Board as the government moves to keep prices of the crop down after a severe drought cut output.

Tanzania has already promised to sell up to 700,000 tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe, a move that the country’s president hoped would stimulate trade between the two nations. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; editing by Jason Neely)

Trump Fourth of July

President Donald Trump played host in Washington Thursday evening for what he calls "The Show of a Lifetime" to celebrate U.S. Independence Day.

While U.S. presidents have traditionally sat back to watch Americans celebrate independence in their own way, Trump himself directly took charge of the celebration. He introduced military jet flyovers, patriotic band music, a display of tanks, and a made a long speech at the Lincoln Memorial highlighting 243 years of American history, despite steamy weather and the threat of storms.

He called the history of the United States "the epic tale of a great nation of people who have risked everything for what they know is right and what they know is true."

There were fears Trump would turn the nation's birthday party into a political event by talking about what he feels are his accomplishments as president.

But he made no mention of politics, next year's election or the two dozen Democratic candidates looking to stop him from a second term. Instead, Trump avoided talking about what divides Americans and spoke of what unifies them.

"As we gather this evening in the joy of freedom, we remember that we all share a truly extraordinary heritage. Together, we are one of the greatest stories ever told," the president said. "Americans love our freedom and no one will ever take it away from us...our nation is stronger today than it ever was before."

Trump paid special tribute to each branch of the U.S. military and appealed to young Americans to consider making the military a career.

But many who live in Washington were angry that the Pentagon and security officials commandeered areas of the National Mall where the public usually gathers for celebrations.

Others were upset the White House has handed out tickets for seats to Trump's speech only to Republicans loyal to the president.

Anti-Trump protesters were highly visible along the mall all day, including the now familiar blimp depicting Trump as an angry baby in a diaper. Vendors sold mini-Trump baby balloons on wooden sticks for demonstrators to wave.

Protesters included military veterans who say they resent someone who never served in the military exploiting their service for his own satisfaction. Trump supporters in red "Make America Great Again" hats confronted some of the protesters, but their debates were civil and free of insults and name-calling.

The cost of Thursday's celebration, including all the preparation, could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

But Trump tweeted the cost "will be very little compared to what it is worth. "

The Fourth of July festivities commemorate America's declaration of independence from Britain in 1776.

Those not in Washington Thursday celebrated Independence Day around the county with parades, picnics and fireworks.

Trump Lauds America's Military Might, Unity of Purpose, at 243rd Independence Anniversary
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