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Showing posts from March 15, 2017

Industry lobbyists deny GHG emission from meat production, blame small herder (downtoearth,)

The biggest drivers of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission on the planet are industrial meats and dairy rather than transportation, says a new report. However, the rich countries, where these industries are mostly located, have been sidestepping these findings. Moreover, the meat industry lobbyists accuse poor and developing countries for it.

The new report published by Spain-based international non-profit GRAIN in January this year claims that industrial meat production generates more GHGs than the world’s entire transportation sector. Due to the pressure from meat industry lobbyists, no meaningful action has been worked out to cut emission.

The GHG emission has been causing rise in global temperature, which is perpetuating climate change. The target of reducing greenhouse gas emission to limit global warming to 2°C by 2050 can be achieved by cutting down industrial meat and dairy consumption.

North America, EU largest consumers of meat

There is huge difference in consumption pattern of i…

Sliding towards extinction: scientists find 60 per cent of mammals are imperiled (downtoearth,

A public declaration made last year by a group of 43 renowned international scientists called for a global plan to prevent the world’s large mammals from slipping into oblivion. This led to debates among scientists on whether a focus on megafauna conservation would ignore other forms of biodiversity. Allaying such fears, the same scientists have published an article that makes a strong case for how megafauna conservation does not come at the cost of all else, but rather complements biodiversity conservation.

Dr. William Ripple and his colleagues highlight how terrestrial megafauna––large-bodied carnivores and herbivores such as tigers, leopards, wolves, bears, elephants and gaur––remain the strongest candidates to serve as ‘umbrellas’ for many species and ecosystems. “Conserving megafauna requires us to safeguard large tracts of forests, grasslands and various other ecosystems that meet the vast habitat requirements of such species”, said WCS India scientist, Dr. Varun R. Goswami, a …

This year too, El Nino may lead to deficit monsoon, drier conditions in India (downtoearth, )

The survey of international weather models made by the Bureau of Meteorology under the Government of Australia shows steady warming of the central tropical Pacific Ocean is expected over the next six months. Moreover, at least six models suggest that El Nino thresholds will be reached by July 2017. If an El Nino develops by July, as forecasters worldwide predict, India might once again see deficit rainfall during the southwest monsoon season.

In February, we had reported that though El Nino may make a comeback in 2017, it will not affect southwest monsoon in India.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which had already predicted above normal summer in 2017, weak La Nina condition prevails over the Pacific Ocean since July 2016 and it is weakening further. A weak La Nina increases chances of El Nino and hence, a weak monsoon.

The previous El Nino event had affected rice production across Southeast Asia, damaged cocoa crops in Ghana and sugarcane in Thailand. The cen…

Nagaland bans junk food in schools, calls for sensitising children (downtoearth,)

The Nagaland Board of School Education (NBSE) has asked schools affiliated to it to ban junk food in and around schools. The circular issued by the NBSE on March 14 mentions the report of the working group constituted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2015. Stating that the report of the working group has direct bearing on schools, the circular advised all schools to implement the recommendations made in the report.

The NBSE in Nagaland is an autonomous body under the Department of School Education in Nagaland and regulates higher school education between Classes 9 to 12. The Chairman of the Board, Asano Sekhose, says “We received a circular from the Department of School Education, which mentioned the report of the working group of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.” She adds, “The NBSE is the leading educational board in Nagaland. We decided to issue a circular on healthy eating habits to more than 700 schools affiliated to the NBSE.”

Besides banning the sa…

‘Early visit of PM Modi to the U.S. would have a positive impact’ (Hindu.)

The former Foreign Secretary says he remains optimistic about India-U.S. ties and that India should reject China’s territorial claims

Several recent developments indicate the need for India to strategise long term: China’s ambitious connectivity infrastructure in South Asia, the arrival of a new U.S. president, and New Delhi’s increasing political distance from Russia, a traditional ally. Former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran has been speaking about careful strategising of India’s policies since the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014. In this interview, Mr. Saran, who was also a a key negotiator with the U.S. for the nuclear deal, assesses India’s key foreign policy choices. Excerpts:

In the context of recent developments in the U.S., what do you suggest are the best possible options before India to strategise priorities for its global aims?

India will have to deal with the reality of the likely persistence of a Trump administration grappling with domestic political turmoi…

Prejudice makes no distinction (Hindu.)

It’s time Indian-Americans in the U.S. involved themselves deeply in civic issues

Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Kansas, Harnish Patel in South Carolina, and Deep Rai in Washington, all well settled Indians in America, were shot at in a span of three weeks resulting in two deaths. The words repeatedly used by their assailants were, “go back where you came from.” While these are the most visible cases of attacks against Indian-Americans, the harassment of the community is far more pervasive since Donald Trump took office as U.S President.

In my own family, spread throughout the U.S., we are hearing stories of insults and innuendoes. A niece in Maryland being told by a co-worker that she will have to go back where she came from, if she was not a citizen (she is); a friend in the DC suburb detained by the local police for ‘suspicious appearance’ and for not carrying an identification (she was simply taking a walk in her neighbourhood as she has done for years). In our family WhatsApp group, we…

Not so accessible after all '(Hindu.)

The government’s own documents are not accessible to persons with disabilities

Irony: a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result.

Now that we have the definition of irony established, let me explain how that connects with the disability rights movement.

But first, a little context. A landmark year for the movement was 2015-16. A fight that was decades in the making went from a murmur to a resounding roar that echoed through the chambers of Parliament. And that roar led to the passing of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016. From only seven recognised disabilities in the previous archaic Act of 1995 to 21 disabilities now, the new law is a true game changer that provides provisions that will benefit many. This isn’t just a piece of legislation that is the politically correct thing to say. It is the real deal which takes into account real issues like accessibility to infrastructure, technology…

On the rocks (Hindu.)

A second referendum on independence may not be in Scotland’s best interest

The timing of the announcement by Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, to seek a second referendum on independence for Scotland may be no more than strategic. Her call on Monday coincided with the U.K. Parliament’s adoption of a landmark legislation to begin talks to exit the European Union. But Ms. Sturgeon’s move should remind Westminster that the thought of separation from the British union has never fully been excised from the popular imagination in Scotland, despite the resounding 2014 vote to stay. Recent developments seem to have hardened public sentiment against continuing in the United Kingdom among the Scots, who had voted overwhelmingly in June 2016 to remain in the EU. The popular mood in favour of independence did surge briefly, as reflected in opinion polls soon after the Brexit vote. But the support receded in subsequent months. The prospects for a separate Scotland once again revived aft…