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    @World News 22 hour(s) ago

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    UK climate activists hold ,funeral procession, for the planet

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    UK climate activists hold ,funeral procession, for the planet:: Carrying flowers, coffins and papier-mache skeletons, thousands of protesters have staged a symbolic funeral procession in the British capital demanding immediate action on the global climate crisis. Saturday,s protest, organised by the environmental group Extinction Rebellion, drew at least 20,000 people, including representatives from women,s movements, student groups and trade unions. Crimson-robed silent protesters known as the Red Brigade led the march down Oxford Street in London,s busy shopping district, followed by a jazz band playing solemn tunes. "We,re connecting with our grief for the huge amount of species that have already been lost, for those people who have already been impacted by climate change, for our brothers and sisters across the globe," said activist Clarissa Carlyon. Many demonstrators had travelled to London from across the United Kingdom to take part in the protest and show their support for Extinction Rebellion activists who are taking part in a two-week lockdown of the city centre. Since the civil disobedience campaign began on Monday, hundreds of people have been camped out in central London and hundreds more have glued themselves to floors and doors in disruptive actions targeting institutions and companies they say play a role in the climate crisis. In recent days, activists have blocked roads around government departments to call on politicians to act as well as the entrance to the BBC headquarters in a bid to draw attention to what they see as the public broadcaster,s "silence" on the climate emergency. They also disrupted flights at London City Airport, where Paralympian James Brown climbed on top of an aircraft on Thursday. "There,s been a groundswell of support, of people waking up to what,s happening," Carlyon said. Many actors, musicians and politicians have taken part in the civil disobedience campaign. Kevin Treweeks, grand secretary of Plymouth in Unison, a trade union in the south-west of England, called on more workers, groups to join the movement. "If we,re going to do something about climate change we have to change our economy. And we can,t just throw people out of work. We need a plan. We need to move jobs into the places where they,re really needed, take them away from fossil fuels," he said. @Worldnews

    UK climate activists hold ,funeral procession, for the planet:: Carrying flowers, coffins and papier-mache skeletons, thousands of protesters have staged a symbolic funeral procession in the British capital demanding immediate action on the global climate crisis. Saturday,s protest, organised by the environmental group Extinction Rebellion, drew at least 20,000 people, including representatives from women,s movements, student groups and trade unions. Crimson-robed silent protesters known as the Red Brigade led the march down Oxford Street in London,s busy shopping district, followed by a jazz band playing solemn tunes. "We,re connecting with our grief for the huge amount of species that have already been lost, for those people who have already been impacted by climate change, for our brothers and sisters across the globe," said activist Clarissa Carlyon. Many demonstrators had travelled to London from across the United Kingdom to take part in the protest and show their support for Extinction Rebellion activists who are taking part in a two-week lockdown of the city centre. Since the civil disobedience campaign began on Monday, hundreds of people have been camped out in central London and hundreds more have glued themselves to floors and doors in disruptive actions targeting institutions and companies they say play a role in the climate crisis. In recent days, activists have blocked roads around government departments to call on politicians to act as well as the entrance to the BBC headquarters in a bid to draw attention to what they see as the public broadcaster,s "silence" on the climate emergency. They also disrupted flights at London City Airport, where Paralympian James Brown climbed on top of an aircraft on Thursday. "There,s been a groundswell of support, of people waking up to what,s happening," Carlyon said. Many actors, musicians and politicians have taken part in the civil disobedience campaign. Kevin Treweeks, grand secretary of Plymouth in Unison, a trade union in the south-west of England, called on more workers, groups to join the movement. "If we,re going to do something about climate change we have to change our economy. And we can,t just throw people out of work. We need a plan. We need to move jobs into the places where they,re really needed, take them away from fossil fuels," he said. @Worldnews

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    comment Anonymous

    @World News 28 day(s) ago

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    Why is France,s finance minister at war with Facebook,s cryptocurrency?

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    Why is France,s finance minister at war with Facebook,s cryptocurrency?:: French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire only has harsh words for Libra, Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency. He wants to block its development in Europe in the name of the "monetary sovereignty" of nations. Bruno Le Maire has found a punching bag: Libra, Facebook,s blockchain currency project. On Thursday September 13, the French Finance Minister expressed his opposition to the development of the digital currency in Europe, asserting that: "Our monetary sovereignty is at stake." "It,s a bit like Bruno Le Maire versus Libra Act II or Act III," Loïc Sauce, an economist and cryptocurrency expert at the Institute of Higher Education in Marketing and Commerce (ISTEC), told FRANCE 24. Le Maire has been wary of the project since Facebook announced in June its plan to enable its nearly two billion users to pay and send money with its new currency, Libra. @Worldnews

    Why is France,s finance minister at war with Facebook,s cryptocurrency?:: French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire only has harsh words for Libra, Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency. He wants to block its development in Europe in the name of the "monetary sovereignty" of nations. Bruno Le Maire has found a punching bag: Libra, Facebook,s blockchain currency project. On Thursday September 13, the French Finance Minister expressed his opposition to the development of the digital currency in Europe, asserting that: "Our monetary sovereignty is at stake." "It,s a bit like Bruno Le Maire versus Libra Act II or Act III," Loïc Sauce, an economist and cryptocurrency expert at the Institute of Higher Education in Marketing and Commerce (ISTEC), told FRANCE 24. Le Maire has been wary of the project since Facebook announced in June its plan to enable its nearly two billion users to pay and send money with its new currency, Libra. @Worldnews

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    comment Anonymous

    @World News 28 day(s) ago

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    West African leaders pledge $1 billion to tackle terrorism

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    West African leaders pledge $1 billion to tackle terrorism:: West African leaders on Saturday announced a billion-dollar plan to fight the rising problem of jihadist violence in the region, at a summit in Burkina Faso The plan, to be funded from 2020 to 2024, was announced at end of the Economic Community Summit of West African States in Ouagadougou, where the ECOWAS nations were joined by Mauritania and Chad. ECOWAS had decided to mobilise "the financial resources of up to a billion dollars for the fight against terrorism", said Niger,s President Mahamadou Issoufou. The money, paid into a common fund, would help reinforce the military operations of the nations involved -- and those of the joint military operations in the region. Full details of the plan would be presented to the next ECOWAS summit in December. The fight against the rising tide of jihadist violence in the region has so far been hampered by a lack of funds. The G5 Sahel, a joint taskforce, was created in 2014 to try to tackle the problem, backed by former colonial power France. From July 2017, it pooled troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger in a bid to drive back the jihadist groups. But a lack of finance, training and equipment, limited their effectiveness and their numbers. For the moment, the force numbers 4,000 troops, when 5,000 were originally planned. Niger,s Issoufou dismissed suggestions that the G5 Sahel taskforce was ineffective. "The G5 is far from dead. The (summit,s) final communique shows the support for it within ECOWAS," he said. ECOWAS -- the Economic Community of West African States -- brings together 15 countries whose economies range from regional heavyweights Nigeria and Ivory Coast to the impoverished Liberia and Sierra Leone. Landlocked Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are non-coastal states. Humanitarian crisis At the start of the summit, the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, pointed to the mounting human, economic and political toll of the jihadist attacks. "2,200 attacks in the last four years, 11,500 dead, thousands wounded... millions of displaced and economic activity has been greatly affected," he said. Burkino Faso,s president Roch Marc Christian Kabore argued that "threats transcend borders. No country is safe" and that "the escalation of violence has led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis" in the Sahel. On Thursday, two soldiers were killed in two simultaneous attacks in Burkina Faso,s north, security sources told AFP, the latest in a series of deadly attacks on security forces in the landlocked West African nation. Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara said "MINUSMA (the UN mission in Mali) and the G5 Sahel are not enough. We have to find wider and more effective means of coordination." Niger,s Issoufou also insisted that "the international community cannot turn a blind eye and must assume its responsibilities". ECOWAS would also ask the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to consider security spending as an "investment" and drum up support from Western and Arab donors in the fight against jihadism, he said. Last week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres similarly offered a grim view of the situation. "I totally believe we are not winning the war against terrorism in the Sahel and that the operation should be strengthened," he said. The scale of the challenge facing the G5 Sahel force is huge. According to the US think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the number of radical Islamist-linked attacks in the Sahel has doubled each year since 2016. @Worldnews

    West African leaders pledge $1 billion to tackle terrorism:: West African leaders on Saturday announced a billion-dollar plan to fight the rising problem of jihadist violence in the region, at a summit in Burkina Faso The plan, to be funded from 2020 to 2024, was announced at end of the Economic Community Summit of West African States in Ouagadougou, where the ECOWAS nations were joined by Mauritania and Chad. ECOWAS had decided to mobilise "the financial resources of up to a billion dollars for the fight against terrorism", said Niger,s President Mahamadou Issoufou. The money, paid into a common fund, would help reinforce the military operations of the nations involved -- and those of the joint military operations in the region. Full details of the plan would be presented to the next ECOWAS summit in December. The fight against the rising tide of jihadist violence in the region has so far been hampered by a lack of funds. The G5 Sahel, a joint taskforce, was created in 2014 to try to tackle the problem, backed by former colonial power France. From July 2017, it pooled troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger in a bid to drive back the jihadist groups. But a lack of finance, training and equipment, limited their effectiveness and their numbers. For the moment, the force numbers 4,000 troops, when 5,000 were originally planned. Niger,s Issoufou dismissed suggestions that the G5 Sahel taskforce was ineffective. "The G5 is far from dead. The (summit,s) final communique shows the support for it within ECOWAS," he said. ECOWAS -- the Economic Community of West African States -- brings together 15 countries whose economies range from regional heavyweights Nigeria and Ivory Coast to the impoverished Liberia and Sierra Leone. Landlocked Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are non-coastal states. Humanitarian crisis At the start of the summit, the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, pointed to the mounting human, economic and political toll of the jihadist attacks. "2,200 attacks in the last four years, 11,500 dead, thousands wounded... millions of displaced and economic activity has been greatly affected," he said. Burkino Faso,s president Roch Marc Christian Kabore argued that "threats transcend borders. No country is safe" and that "the escalation of violence has led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis" in the Sahel. On Thursday, two soldiers were killed in two simultaneous attacks in Burkina Faso,s north, security sources told AFP, the latest in a series of deadly attacks on security forces in the landlocked West African nation. Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara said "MINUSMA (the UN mission in Mali) and the G5 Sahel are not enough. We have to find wider and more effective means of coordination." Niger,s Issoufou also insisted that "the international community cannot turn a blind eye and must assume its responsibilities". ECOWAS would also ask the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to consider security spending as an "investment" and drum up support from Western and Arab donors in the fight against jihadism, he said. Last week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres similarly offered a grim view of the situation. "I totally believe we are not winning the war against terrorism in the Sahel and that the operation should be strengthened," he said. The scale of the challenge facing the G5 Sahel force is huge. According to the US think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the number of radical Islamist-linked attacks in the Sahel has doubled each year since 2016. @Worldnews

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    comment Anonymous

    @World News 28 day(s) ago


    Fighting for a cure, even if only for others

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    Fighting for a cure, even if only for others:: Less research funding goes to metastatic cancer than earlier stages of the disease; patients are working to change that. Amanda Rohaly (right) was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer at the age of 34, and now that she is 42 and the disease has progressed to stage four, she is advocating for more funding and research into metastatic cancers News AJ Impact Documentaries Shows Opinion More Live AJ Impact / Environment ,Our land is no use any more,: India,s struggle to save its farms Land degradation and climate change are posing major threats to India,s economy and farmers. by Rohit Inani 12 Sept 2019 Rapid economic growth, intensive farming and construction are adding to the effects of climate change to degrade large parts of India,s farmland, which are prone to periodic droughts like the one in 2000 in Rajasthan [File: Lynsey Addario/Bloomberg] Rapid economic growth, intensive farming and construction are adding to the effects of climate change to degrade large parts of India,s farmland, which are prone to periodic droughts like the one in 2000 in Rajasthan [File: Lynsey Addario/Bloomberg] more on Climate Change Funding climate adaptation could produce trillions in benefits 4 days ago Electrify this: Climate advocates target gas stoves 5 days ago ,Running out of time,: Experts warn against rising sea levels last week Profits or Paris: Are oil giants betting against climate goals? last week Gurugram, India - A highway leading from Gurugram - a technology and business hub south of the Indian capital New Delhi - cuts through swaths of empty plots, land that once contained fertile green fields, but which is now mostly barren and dotted with cranes towering over unfinished buildings. A real estate boom fuelled by India,s rapid economic growth in recent years has transformed thousands of hectares of arable land in the region into plots for glass-and-steel high-rises. Scientists describe such land as being degraded. The United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines land degradation as "the temporary or permanent lowering of the productive capacity of land". In other words, it becomes increasingly difficult to grow crops on such land. And if it is not stopped, the process can lead to desertification. The UN estimates that more than 3.2 billion people around the world are at risk from the effects of land degradation, many of whom live in the world,s poorest regions. And, according to an Indian government-backed study, land degradation led to a roughly 2.5 percent loss of the country,s economic output between 2014 and 2015. This is a problem India can ill afford. Its economy is slowing, unemployment is near record highs and more than 40 percent of its workforce is engaged in agriculture. The government has promised to tackle land degradation, but critics say its proposed solutions do not go far enough. Land degradation is a phenomenon that Pappu, a labourer who brings his cattle to graze on what vegetation remains on the outskirts of Gurugram, knows all too well. He first came here several years ago from the neighbouring state of Rajasthan, forced to move when yields on his farm fell because of the rising salinity of the water supply. "Everything was fine and our yields were enough to sustain the family until this happened," Pappu, who is 50 and goes by one name, said. He said most of the farmers in his village in Rajasthan gave up agriculture and migrated to Gurugram where they took up jobs as security guards, construction workers and day labourers. India land degradation Rohit Inani 2 Pappu abandoned farming after his land began degrading in his village. He migrated to Gurugram, a tech and business hub near New Delhi, to work as a labourer "Our land [in Rajasthan] is of no use any more. We could never have sustained our families if we didn,t come to the city," Pappu said. But the prognosis for the health of the land around Gurugram doesn,t appear to be too rosy either. According to government data, nearly 30 percent of the land in India, or about 97 million hectares, is degraded. That is an area about the size of northern Europe. Causes and effects A major cause of land degradation is human activity. The World Health Organization (WHO) cites "increasing and combined pressures of agricultural and livestock production (over-cultivation, overgrazing, forest conversion), urbanization [and] deforestation" as leading causes. Construction activity and the overuse of pesticides and chemical fertilisers for farming are also seen as contributors. Following famines in the late 1940s, fertilisers and pesticides helped India transform its agriculture sector by the early 1960s, a development that has come to be known as the Green Revolution. Ironically, the same chemicals have also had damaging effects on the soil. "We have reached a state where fertilisers have been used so much that it has led to a degradation of land quality," Saudamini Das, an economist at the Institute of Economic Growth in New Delhi, told WD. But the WHO says "extreme weather events such as droughts and coastal surges which salinate land" also contribute to the loss of land productivity. This year, India witnessed the second-driest pre-monsoon season in more than 60 years, leading to droughts in its northwestern and southern states. This is where causes and effects start to drive one another, making land degradation an intractable problem the world over. "The socioeconomic effects of climate change ... exacerbate land degradation," Ibrahim Thiaw, executive secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which is holding its 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) in New Delhi, told WD. The loss of land productivity can, in turn, contribute to climate change as the loss of plants makes it harder to draw excess carbon dioxide from the air. "Land degradation is a driver of climate change through emission of greenhouse gases and reduced rates of carbon uptake," the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a report published last month. India land degradation Rohit Inani 1 Rapid economic growth has transformed thousands of hectares of arable land into real estate in India,s national capital territory Sunita Narain, director of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in New Delhi, said: "Land degradation and desertification in an age of climate change is a different animal, unlike in earlier times." "In India, [this trend] is a cause of land and water mismanagement, and it is now exacerbated by climate change events," Narain told WD. Land degradation can also have more direct effects on people,s lives. The UN FAO says land degradation can lead to a drop in people,s incomes, result in dwindling food supplies, meaning more effort, time, and money are needed to achieve a sustainable level of crop yields. Low farm output, owing to low productivity, can drive food prices higher, squeezing the livelihoods of people already on the margins. Ultimately, many people in rural areas, like Pappu, are forced to leave their homes in search of jobs in cities, adding to the pressure on stretched urban resources. In other cases, some farmers decide the only way out is to take their own lives. In the two decades leading up to 2015, more than 321,000 farmers committed suicide, according to national crime records, though debts and falling crop prices are likely to have added to the psychological stress of low farm yields. The effects of land degradation on entire economies can also be significant. India,s economy is growing at a six-year low of about 5 percent, and experts are warning of a gathering rural slowdown with falling wage growth and record-high unemployment rates. The fact that close to half of India,s workforce is engaged in agriculture makes the country,s economy particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and land degradation. "Whenever you create stress on land, the shockwave affects millions of people. And here you see a very clear correlation. [For instance], years of drought lead to years of economic downturn. And this downturn is sudden," the UNCCD,s Thiaw said. "India,s growing middle class would need increasing resources going forward and [this] would make more demand on land to deliver energy, water and fibre. India should start restoring its land or else it would affect its economy in the long run," he added. Action against degradation So what can governments and individuals do to restore their lands to health? Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government would commit to restoring 5 million hectares of degraded land by 2030, in addition to a previous commitment of 21 million hectares. But the UN says that would not be enough. It says India needs to restore at least 30 million hectares in the next 10 years to reverse land degradation by 2030. At the COP14 summit in New Delhi, the UN pointed out that the funds made available by governments to restore land globally are insufficient and called for more investments from the private sector. India land degradation Rohit Inani 3 Land degradation in India is caused by chemically assisted farming, construction and water scarcity; the UN says this is accelerating climate change in the country A much bigger challenge is likely to be getting governments to agree to joint action. US President Donald Trump,s decision in 2017 to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement has helped divide opinion about climate change and its effects, analysts say. "There are powerful voices shaking multilateralism but [I,d say] that there is no alternative to it. The planet is burning, our food supplies are being jeopardised. You ask yourself that, where are we going? We cannot continue to exploit our planet for the rest of any president,s term or political party," said Thiaw. The Centre for Science and Environment,s Narain said that instead of asking for more private investments to restore lands, the global community should work towards giving greater land rights to the tribal communities who own these lands, and called upon the UN to work on a broader climate agenda by including them, who she says have suffered immensely from climate change. "As far as money and finances are concerned, I think the world is extremely selfish," Narain said. "If the world cannot accept [and identify] with the victims of climate change today, then I think we are dealing with a global leadership that is defunct." But the choices we all make every day as consumers could also have a major impact on those suffering from degraded lands. The IPCC in its report last month, titled Climate Change and Land, said better land management and the consumption of healthier diets can help address climate change and its effects. "We need to look at how we can reduce emissions from land and how we can use it to cause carbon removal, The report stresses the importance of reducing food waste, eating less meat and more grains, vegetables and nuts. "Underlying this report is the fact that a relatively small number of giant meat, agribusiness and biofuel companies are responsible for the bulk of deforestation and other climate pollution in the agriculture sector," said Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of global campaign group Mighty Earth. @Worldnews

    Fighting for a cure, even if only for others:: Less research funding goes to metastatic cancer than earlier stages of the disease; patients are working to change that. Amanda Rohaly (right) was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer at the age of 34, and now that she is 42 and the disease has progressed to stage four, she is advocating for more funding and research into metastatic cancers News AJ Impact Documentaries Shows Opinion More Live AJ Impact / Environment ,Our land is no use any more,: India,s struggle to save its farms Land degradation and climate change are posing major threats to India,s economy and farmers. by Rohit Inani 12 Sept 2019 Rapid economic growth, intensive farming and construction are adding to the effects of climate change to degrade large parts of India,s farmland, which are prone to periodic droughts like the one in 2000 in Rajasthan [File: Lynsey Addario/Bloomberg] Rapid economic growth, intensive farming and construction are adding to the effects of climate change to degrade large parts of India,s farmland, which are prone to periodic droughts like the one in 2000 in Rajasthan [File: Lynsey Addario/Bloomberg] more on Climate Change Funding climate adaptation could produce trillions in benefits 4 days ago Electrify this: Climate advocates target gas stoves 5 days ago ,Running out of time,: Experts warn against rising sea levels last week Profits or Paris: Are oil giants betting against climate goals? last week Gurugram, India - A highway leading from Gurugram - a technology and business hub south of the Indian capital New Delhi - cuts through swaths of empty plots, land that once contained fertile green fields, but which is now mostly barren and dotted with cranes towering over unfinished buildings. A real estate boom fuelled by India,s rapid economic growth in recent years has transformed thousands of hectares of arable land in the region into plots for glass-and-steel high-rises. Scientists describe such land as being degraded. The United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines land degradation as "the temporary or permanent lowering of the productive capacity of land". In other words, it becomes increasingly difficult to grow crops on such land. And if it is not stopped, the process can lead to desertification. The UN estimates that more than 3.2 billion people around the world are at risk from the effects of land degradation, many of whom live in the world,s poorest regions. And, according to an Indian government-backed study, land degradation led to a roughly 2.5 percent loss of the country,s economic output between 2014 and 2015. This is a problem India can ill afford. Its economy is slowing, unemployment is near record highs and more than 40 percent of its workforce is engaged in agriculture. The government has promised to tackle land degradation, but critics say its proposed solutions do not go far enough. Land degradation is a phenomenon that Pappu, a labourer who brings his cattle to graze on what vegetation remains on the outskirts of Gurugram, knows all too well. He first came here several years ago from the neighbouring state of Rajasthan, forced to move when yields on his farm fell because of the rising salinity of the water supply. "Everything was fine and our yields were enough to sustain the family until this happened," Pappu, who is 50 and goes by one name, said. He said most of the farmers in his village in Rajasthan gave up agriculture and migrated to Gurugram where they took up jobs as security guards, construction workers and day labourers. India land degradation Rohit Inani 2 Pappu abandoned farming after his land began degrading in his village. He migrated to Gurugram, a tech and business hub near New Delhi, to work as a labourer "Our land [in Rajasthan] is of no use any more. We could never have sustained our families if we didn,t come to the city," Pappu said. But the prognosis for the health of the land around Gurugram doesn,t appear to be too rosy either. According to government data, nearly 30 percent of the land in India, or about 97 million hectares, is degraded. That is an area about the size of northern Europe. Causes and effects A major cause of land degradation is human activity. The World Health Organization (WHO) cites "increasing and combined pressures of agricultural and livestock production (over-cultivation, overgrazing, forest conversion), urbanization [and] deforestation" as leading causes. Construction activity and the overuse of pesticides and chemical fertilisers for farming are also seen as contributors. Following famines in the late 1940s, fertilisers and pesticides helped India transform its agriculture sector by the early 1960s, a development that has come to be known as the Green Revolution. Ironically, the same chemicals have also had damaging effects on the soil. "We have reached a state where fertilisers have been used so much that it has led to a degradation of land quality," Saudamini Das, an economist at the Institute of Economic Growth in New Delhi, told WD. But the WHO says "extreme weather events such as droughts and coastal surges which salinate land" also contribute to the loss of land productivity. This year, India witnessed the second-driest pre-monsoon season in more than 60 years, leading to droughts in its northwestern and southern states. This is where causes and effects start to drive one another, making land degradation an intractable problem the world over. "The socioeconomic effects of climate change ... exacerbate land degradation," Ibrahim Thiaw, executive secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which is holding its 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) in New Delhi, told WD. The loss of land productivity can, in turn, contribute to climate change as the loss of plants makes it harder to draw excess carbon dioxide from the air. "Land degradation is a driver of climate change through emission of greenhouse gases and reduced rates of carbon uptake," the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a report published last month. India land degradation Rohit Inani 1 Rapid economic growth has transformed thousands of hectares of arable land into real estate in India,s national capital territory Sunita Narain, director of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in New Delhi, said: "Land degradation and desertification in an age of climate change is a different animal, unlike in earlier times." "In India, [this trend] is a cause of land and water mismanagement, and it is now exacerbated by climate change events," Narain told WD. Land degradation can also have more direct effects on people,s lives. The UN FAO says land degradation can lead to a drop in people,s incomes, result in dwindling food supplies, meaning more effort, time, and money are needed to achieve a sustainable level of crop yields. Low farm output, owing to low productivity, can drive food prices higher, squeezing the livelihoods of people already on the margins. Ultimately, many people in rural areas, like Pappu, are forced to leave their homes in search of jobs in cities, adding to the pressure on stretched urban resources. In other cases, some farmers decide the only way out is to take their own lives. In the two decades leading up to 2015, more than 321,000 farmers committed suicide, according to national crime records, though debts and falling crop prices are likely to have added to the psychological stress of low farm yields. The effects of land degradation on entire economies can also be significant. India,s economy is growing at a six-year low of about 5 percent, and experts are warning of a gathering rural slowdown with falling wage growth and record-high unemployment rates. The fact that close to half of India,s workforce is engaged in agriculture makes the country,s economy particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and land degradation. "Whenever you create stress on land, the shockwave affects millions of people. And here you see a very clear correlation. [For instance], years of drought lead to years of economic downturn. And this downturn is sudden," the UNCCD,s Thiaw said. "India,s growing middle class would need increasing resources going forward and [this] would make more demand on land to deliver energy, water and fibre. India should start restoring its land or else it would affect its economy in the long run," he added. Action against degradation So what can governments and individuals do to restore their lands to health? Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government would commit to restoring 5 million hectares of degraded land by 2030, in addition to a previous commitment of 21 million hectares. But the UN says that would not be enough. It says India needs to restore at least 30 million hectares in the next 10 years to reverse land degradation by 2030. At the COP14 summit in New Delhi, the UN pointed out that the funds made available by governments to restore land globally are insufficient and called for more investments from the private sector. India land degradation Rohit Inani 3 Land degradation in India is caused by chemically assisted farming, construction and water scarcity; the UN says this is accelerating climate change in the country A much bigger challenge is likely to be getting governments to agree to joint action. US President Donald Trump,s decision in 2017 to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement has helped divide opinion about climate change and its effects, analysts say. "There are powerful voices shaking multilateralism but [I,d say] that there is no alternative to it. The planet is burning, our food supplies are being jeopardised. You ask yourself that, where are we going? We cannot continue to exploit our planet for the rest of any president,s term or political party," said Thiaw. The Centre for Science and Environment,s Narain said that instead of asking for more private investments to restore lands, the global community should work towards giving greater land rights to the tribal communities who own these lands, and called upon the UN to work on a broader climate agenda by including them, who she says have suffered immensely from climate change. "As far as money and finances are concerned, I think the world is extremely selfish," Narain said. "If the world cannot accept [and identify] with the victims of climate change today, then I think we are dealing with a global leadership that is defunct." But the choices we all make every day as consumers could also have a major impact on those suffering from degraded lands. The IPCC in its report last month, titled Climate Change and Land, said better land management and the consumption of healthier diets can help address climate change and its effects. "We need to look at how we can reduce emissions from land and how we can use it to cause carbon removal, The report stresses the importance of reducing food waste, eating less meat and more grains, vegetables and nuts. "Underlying this report is the fact that a relatively small number of giant meat, agribusiness and biofuel companies are responsible for the bulk of deforestation and other climate pollution in the agriculture sector," said Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of global campaign group Mighty Earth. @Worldnews

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    comment Anonymous

    @World News 28 day(s) ago

    General post

    ,Our land is no use any more,: India,s struggle to save its farms

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    ,Our land is no use any more,: India,s struggle to save its farms:: and degradation and climate change are posing major threats to India,s economy and farmers. A highway leading from Gurugram - a technology and business hub south of the Indian capital New Delhi - cuts through swaths of empty plots, land that once contained fertile green fields, but which is now mostly barren and dotted with cranes towering over unfinished buildings. A real estate boom fuelled by India,s rapid economic growth in recent years has transformed thousands of hectares of arable land in the region into plots for glass-and-steel high-rises. Scientists describe such land as being degraded. The United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines land degradation as "the temporary or permanent lowering of the productive capacity of land". In other words, it becomes increasingly difficult to grow crops on such land. And if it is not stopped, the process can lead to desertification. The UN estimates that more than 3.2 billion people around the world are at risk from the effects of land degradation, many of whom live in the world,s poorest regions. And, according to an Indian government-backed study, land degradation led to a roughly 2.5 percent loss of the country,s economic output between 2014 and 2015. This is a problem India can ill afford. Its economy is slowing, unemployment is near record highs and more than 40 percent of its workforce is engaged in agriculture. The government has promised to tackle land degradation, but critics say its proposed solutions do not go far enough. Land degradation is a phenomenon that Pappu, a labourer who brings his cattle to graze on what vegetation remains on the outskirts of Gurugram, knows all too well. He first came here several years ago from the neighbouring state of Rajasthan, forced to move when yields on his farm fell because of the rising salinity of the water supply. "Everything was fine and our yields were enough to sustain the family until this happened," Pappu, who is 50 and goes by one name, said. He said most of the farmers in his village in Rajasthan gave up agriculture and migrated to Gurugram where they took up jobs as security guards, construction workers and day labourers. A major cause of land degradation is human activity. The World Health Organization (WHO) cites "increasing and combined pressures of agricultural and livestock production (over-cultivation, overgrazing, forest conversion), urbanization [and] deforestation" as leading causes. Construction activity and the overuse of pesticides and chemical fertilisers for farming are also seen as contributors. Following famines in the late 1940s, fertilisers and pesticides helped India transform its agriculture sector by the early 1960s, a development that has come to be known as the Green Revolution. Ironically, the same chemicals have also had damaging effects on the soil. "We have reached a state where fertilisers have been used so much that it has led to a degradation of land quality," Saudamini Das, an economist at the Institute of Economic Growth in New Delhi, said. But the WHO says "extreme weather events such as droughts and coastal surges which salinate land" also contribute to the loss of land productivity. This year, India witnessed the second-driest pre-monsoon season in more than 60 years, leading to droughts in its northwestern and southern states. This is where causes and effects start to drive one another, making land degradation an intractable problem the world over. "The socioeconomic effects of climate change ... exacerbate land degradation," Ibrahim Thiaw, executive secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which is holding its 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) in New Delhi, said. The loss of land productivity can, in turn, contribute to climate change as the loss of plants makes it harder to draw excess carbon dioxide from the air. "Land degradation is a driver of climate change through emission of greenhouse gases and reduced rates of carbon uptake," the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a report published last month. A much bigger challenge is likely to be getting governments to agree to joint action. US President Donald Trump,s decision in 2017 to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement has helped divide opinion about climate change and its effects, analysts say. "There are powerful voices shaking multilateralism but [I,d say] that there is no alternative to it. The planet is burning, our food supplies are being jeopardised. You ask yourself that, where are we going? We cannot continue to exploit our planet for the rest of any president,s term or political party," said Thiaw. The Centre for Science and Environment,s Narain said that instead of asking for more private investments to restore lands, the global community should work towards giving greater land rights to the tribal communities who own these lands, and called upon the UN to work on a broader climate agenda by including them, who she says have suffered immensely from climate change. "As far as money and finances are concerned, I think the world is extremely selfish," Narain said. "If the world cannot accept [and identify] with the victims of climate change today, then I think we are dealing with a global leadership that is defunct." But the choices we all make every day as consumers could also have a major impact on those suffering from degraded lands. The IPCC in its report last month, titled Climate Change and Land, said better land management and the consumption of healthier diets can help address climate change and its effects. The report stresses the importance of reducing food waste, eating less meat and more grains, vegetables and nuts. "Underlying this report is the fact that a relatively small number of giant meat, agribusiness and biofuel companies are responsible for the bulk of deforestation and other climate pollution in the agriculture sector," said Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of global campaign group Mighty Earth. @Worldnews

    ,Our land is no use any more,: India,s struggle to save its farms:: and degradation and climate change are posing major threats to India,s economy and farmers. A highway leading from Gurugram - a technology and business hub south of the Indian capital New Delhi - cuts through swaths of empty plots, land that once contained fertile green fields, but which is now mostly barren and dotted with cranes towering over unfinished buildings. A real estate boom fuelled by India,s rapid economic growth in recent years has transformed thousands of hectares of arable land in the region into plots for glass-and-steel high-rises. Scientists describe such land as being degraded. The United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines land degradation as "the temporary or permanent lowering of the productive capacity of land". In other words, it becomes increasingly difficult to grow crops on such land. And if it is not stopped, the process can lead to desertification. The UN estimates that more than 3.2 billion people around the world are at risk from the effects of land degradation, many of whom live in the world,s poorest regions. And, according to an Indian government-backed study, land degradation led to a roughly 2.5 percent loss of the country,s economic output between 2014 and 2015. This is a problem India can ill afford. Its economy is slowing, unemployment is near record highs and more than 40 percent of its workforce is engaged in agriculture. The government has promised to tackle land degradation, but critics say its proposed solutions do not go far enough. Land degradation is a phenomenon that Pappu, a labourer who brings his cattle to graze on what vegetation remains on the outskirts of Gurugram, knows all too well. He first came here several years ago from the neighbouring state of Rajasthan, forced to move when yields on his farm fell because of the rising salinity of the water supply. "Everything was fine and our yields were enough to sustain the family until this happened," Pappu, who is 50 and goes by one name, said. He said most of the farmers in his village in Rajasthan gave up agriculture and migrated to Gurugram where they took up jobs as security guards, construction workers and day labourers. A major cause of land degradation is human activity. The World Health Organization (WHO) cites "increasing and combined pressures of agricultural and livestock production (over-cultivation, overgrazing, forest conversion), urbanization [and] deforestation" as leading causes. Construction activity and the overuse of pesticides and chemical fertilisers for farming are also seen as contributors. Following famines in the late 1940s, fertilisers and pesticides helped India transform its agriculture sector by the early 1960s, a development that has come to be known as the Green Revolution. Ironically, the same chemicals have also had damaging effects on the soil. "We have reached a state where fertilisers have been used so much that it has led to a degradation of land quality," Saudamini Das, an economist at the Institute of Economic Growth in New Delhi, said. But the WHO says "extreme weather events such as droughts and coastal surges which salinate land" also contribute to the loss of land productivity. This year, India witnessed the second-driest pre-monsoon season in more than 60 years, leading to droughts in its northwestern and southern states. This is where causes and effects start to drive one another, making land degradation an intractable problem the world over. "The socioeconomic effects of climate change ... exacerbate land degradation," Ibrahim Thiaw, executive secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which is holding its 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) in New Delhi, said. The loss of land productivity can, in turn, contribute to climate change as the loss of plants makes it harder to draw excess carbon dioxide from the air. "Land degradation is a driver of climate change through emission of greenhouse gases and reduced rates of carbon uptake," the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a report published last month. A much bigger challenge is likely to be getting governments to agree to joint action. US President Donald Trump,s decision in 2017 to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement has helped divide opinion about climate change and its effects, analysts say. "There are powerful voices shaking multilateralism but [I,d say] that there is no alternative to it. The planet is burning, our food supplies are being jeopardised. You ask yourself that, where are we going? We cannot continue to exploit our planet for the rest of any president,s term or political party," said Thiaw. The Centre for Science and Environment,s Narain said that instead of asking for more private investments to restore lands, the global community should work towards giving greater land rights to the tribal communities who own these lands, and called upon the UN to work on a broader climate agenda by including them, who she says have suffered immensely from climate change. "As far as money and finances are concerned, I think the world is extremely selfish," Narain said. "If the world cannot accept [and identify] with the victims of climate change today, then I think we are dealing with a global leadership that is defunct." But the choices we all make every day as consumers could also have a major impact on those suffering from degraded lands. The IPCC in its report last month, titled Climate Change and Land, said better land management and the consumption of healthier diets can help address climate change and its effects. The report stresses the importance of reducing food waste, eating less meat and more grains, vegetables and nuts. "Underlying this report is the fact that a relatively small number of giant meat, agribusiness and biofuel companies are responsible for the bulk of deforestation and other climate pollution in the agriculture sector," said Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of global campaign group Mighty Earth. @Worldnews

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    comment Anonymous

    @World News 28 day(s) ago


    Scientists create embryos in bid to save northern white rhinos

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    Scientists create embryos in bid to save northern white rhinos:: Scientific breakthrough could be the last chance to bring the huge creatures back from the brink of extinction. Conservationists have successfully created two northern white rhino embryos in a key step towards pulling the species back from the brink of extinction, scientists in Italy said on Wednesday. Only two survivors are left in the world and both are female and unable to carry calves. The last male, named Sudan, died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya last year, making scientists the majestic animals, last chance. Using eggs harvested from the females and frozen sperm from deceased males, a team in Cremona, Italy was able to create two viable embryos, according to the BioRescue international consortium of scientists. Najin, 30, and daughter Fatu, 19, are the last of the subspecies of white rhino, and live under 24-hour armed guard. Fatu has degenerative lesions in her uterus and Najin has weak hind legs that could cause complications if she became pregnant. In August, they underwent a highly risky procedure carried out by a team of international vets, which saw them anaesthetised for almost two hours, and their eggs extracted using techniques that have taken years of research and development. Kenyan scientists harvest eggs to save northern white rhinos (2:03) At the Italian biotech laboratory Avantea, those eggs were then fertilised with sperm from males Suni and Saut - though only two of Fatu,s eggs developed into viable embryos. They have now been stored in liquid nitrogen to be transferred into a surrogate mother in the near future. Conservationists have successfully created two northern white rhino embryos in a key step towards pulling the species back from the brink of extinction, scientists in Italy said on Wednesday. Only two survivors are left in the world and both are female and unable to carry calves. The last male, named Sudan, died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya last year, making scientists the majestic animals, last chance. Using eggs harvested from the females and frozen sperm from deceased males, a team in Cremona, Italy was able to create two viable embryos, according to the BioRescue international consortium of scientists. Najin, 30, and daughter Fatu, 19, are the last of the subspecies of white rhino, and live under 24-hour armed guard. Fatu has degenerative lesions in her uterus and Najin has weak hind legs that could cause complications if she became pregnant. In August, they underwent a highly risky procedure carried out by a team of international vets, which saw them anaesthetised for almost two hours, and their eggs extracted using techniques that have taken years of research and development. Kenyan scientists harvest eggs to save northern white rhinos At the Italian biotech laboratory Avantea, those eggs were then fertilised with sperm from males Suni and Saut - though only two of Fatu,s eggs developed into viable embryos. They have now been stored in liquid nitrogen to be transferred into a surrogate mother in the near future. "Five years ago, it seemed like the production of a northern white rhino embryo was an almost unachievable goal - and today we have them," said Jan Stejskal, communications director at the Dvur Kralove Zoo, where Najin and Fatu were born. The coming months will be dedicated to optimising a technique to transfer the embryos into a surrogate rhino, he said. Richard Vigne, managing director of Ol Pejeta, hailed the "major step forward" but warned that "we have a very long way to go". "Global human behaviour still needs to radically change if the lessons of the northern white rhinos are to be learned," he said. White rhino faces extinction threat after last male dies There are five rhino species remaining on the Earth, of which black and white rhinos are found in Africa. The northern white rhino is generally considered a subspecies of white rhino, although some scientists believe it to be a sixth species. Rhinos have few predators in the wild because of their size but have been devastated by poaching for their horns - used in traditional Chinese medicine. Modern rhinos have plodded the Earth for 26 million years. As recently as the mid-19th century, there were more than one million in Africa. The western black rhino was declared extinct in 2011. The northern white rhino once roamed Uganda, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Chad. It is hoped a revived population - which could take up to 70 years - could eventually be reintroduced into secure habitats in these areas. @Worldnews

    Scientists create embryos in bid to save northern white rhinos:: Scientific breakthrough could be the last chance to bring the huge creatures back from the brink of extinction. Conservationists have successfully created two northern white rhino embryos in a key step towards pulling the species back from the brink of extinction, scientists in Italy said on Wednesday. Only two survivors are left in the world and both are female and unable to carry calves. The last male, named Sudan, died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya last year, making scientists the majestic animals, last chance. Using eggs harvested from the females and frozen sperm from deceased males, a team in Cremona, Italy was able to create two viable embryos, according to the BioRescue international consortium of scientists. Najin, 30, and daughter Fatu, 19, are the last of the subspecies of white rhino, and live under 24-hour armed guard. Fatu has degenerative lesions in her uterus and Najin has weak hind legs that could cause complications if she became pregnant. In August, they underwent a highly risky procedure carried out by a team of international vets, which saw them anaesthetised for almost two hours, and their eggs extracted using techniques that have taken years of research and development. Kenyan scientists harvest eggs to save northern white rhinos (2:03) At the Italian biotech laboratory Avantea, those eggs were then fertilised with sperm from males Suni and Saut - though only two of Fatu,s eggs developed into viable embryos. They have now been stored in liquid nitrogen to be transferred into a surrogate mother in the near future. Conservationists have successfully created two northern white rhino embryos in a key step towards pulling the species back from the brink of extinction, scientists in Italy said on Wednesday. Only two survivors are left in the world and both are female and unable to carry calves. The last male, named Sudan, died at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya last year, making scientists the majestic animals, last chance. Using eggs harvested from the females and frozen sperm from deceased males, a team in Cremona, Italy was able to create two viable embryos, according to the BioRescue international consortium of scientists. Najin, 30, and daughter Fatu, 19, are the last of the subspecies of white rhino, and live under 24-hour armed guard. Fatu has degenerative lesions in her uterus and Najin has weak hind legs that could cause complications if she became pregnant. In August, they underwent a highly risky procedure carried out by a team of international vets, which saw them anaesthetised for almost two hours, and their eggs extracted using techniques that have taken years of research and development. Kenyan scientists harvest eggs to save northern white rhinos At the Italian biotech laboratory Avantea, those eggs were then fertilised with sperm from males Suni and Saut - though only two of Fatu,s eggs developed into viable embryos. They have now been stored in liquid nitrogen to be transferred into a surrogate mother in the near future. "Five years ago, it seemed like the production of a northern white rhino embryo was an almost unachievable goal - and today we have them," said Jan Stejskal, communications director at the Dvur Kralove Zoo, where Najin and Fatu were born. The coming months will be dedicated to optimising a technique to transfer the embryos into a surrogate rhino, he said. Richard Vigne, managing director of Ol Pejeta, hailed the "major step forward" but warned that "we have a very long way to go". "Global human behaviour still needs to radically change if the lessons of the northern white rhinos are to be learned," he said. White rhino faces extinction threat after last male dies There are five rhino species remaining on the Earth, of which black and white rhinos are found in Africa. The northern white rhino is generally considered a subspecies of white rhino, although some scientists believe it to be a sixth species. Rhinos have few predators in the wild because of their size but have been devastated by poaching for their horns - used in traditional Chinese medicine. Modern rhinos have plodded the Earth for 26 million years. As recently as the mid-19th century, there were more than one million in Africa. The western black rhino was declared extinct in 2011. The northern white rhino once roamed Uganda, the Central African Republic, Sudan, and Chad. It is hoped a revived population - which could take up to 70 years - could eventually be reintroduced into secure habitats in these areas. @Worldnews

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    comment Anonymous

    @World News 28 day(s) ago

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    Frankfurt motor show: Companies go big on electric

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    Frankfurt motor show: Companies go big on electric:: When motor exports are threatened, so, too, is the country,s economic growth. Over the next 10 days, hundreds of thousands of people will be heading to the Frankfurt motor show in Germany and this year,s theme - like most car shows these days - is electric vehicles. But it is not the only green technology on show. @Worldnews

    Frankfurt motor show: Companies go big on electric:: When motor exports are threatened, so, too, is the country,s economic growth. Over the next 10 days, hundreds of thousands of people will be heading to the Frankfurt motor show in Germany and this year,s theme - like most car shows these days - is electric vehicles. But it is not the only green technology on show. @Worldnews

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    comment Anonymous

    @World News 29 day(s) ago

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    Who are the main candidates in Tunisia,s presidential election?

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    Who are the main candidates in Tunisia,s presidential election?:: Some of Tunisia,s most prominent politicians are taking part in Sunday,s hotly-contested election. Tunisia,s presidential race features 24 candidates, including two women, vying to replace the country,s late leader Beji Caid Essebsi who died in July. The crowded field of 26 names was reduced slightly by the last minute withdrawals of two candidates. Tunisia,s president controls foreign and defence policy and can also block legislation passed by parliament. Candidates must secure 50 percent of the vote to win on Sunday, but if no single candidate obtains a majority, the two candidates with the most votes will advance to a second, decisive round. @Worldnews

    Who are the main candidates in Tunisia,s presidential election?:: Some of Tunisia,s most prominent politicians are taking part in Sunday,s hotly-contested election. Tunisia,s presidential race features 24 candidates, including two women, vying to replace the country,s late leader Beji Caid Essebsi who died in July. The crowded field of 26 names was reduced slightly by the last minute withdrawals of two candidates. Tunisia,s president controls foreign and defence policy and can also block legislation passed by parliament. Candidates must secure 50 percent of the vote to win on Sunday, but if no single candidate obtains a majority, the two candidates with the most votes will advance to a second, decisive round. @Worldnews

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    comment Anonymous

    @World News 29 day(s) ago

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    Houthi drone attacks on 2 Saudi Aramco oil facilities spark fires

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    Houthi drone attacks on 2 Saudi Aramco oil facilities spark fires:: Yemen,s Houthi rebels claim attacks on facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, vow to widen range of targets in Saudi Arabia. Drone attacks claimed by Yemen,s Houthi rebels have caused fires at two major facilities run by Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia,s state-owned oil giant, disrupting output and exports. Citing an interior ministry spokesperson, the official Saudi Press Agency said on Saturday the blazes at the facilities in Abqaiq - home to the company,s largest oil processing plant - and Khurais were under control. @Worldnews

    Houthi drone attacks on 2 Saudi Aramco oil facilities spark fires:: Yemen,s Houthi rebels claim attacks on facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, vow to widen range of targets in Saudi Arabia. Drone attacks claimed by Yemen,s Houthi rebels have caused fires at two major facilities run by Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia,s state-owned oil giant, disrupting output and exports. Citing an interior ministry spokesperson, the official Saudi Press Agency said on Saturday the blazes at the facilities in Abqaiq - home to the company,s largest oil processing plant - and Khurais were under control. @Worldnews

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    comment Anonymous

    @World News 1 month(s) ago

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    US-Mexico border: Number of migrant arrests in United States down

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    US-Mexico border: Number of migrant arrests in United States down:: The number is down from 140,000 in May to 51,000 in August, according to US Customs and Border Protection preliminary figures The numbers of asylum seekers apprehended at the United States border with Mexico has dropped in recent months after Mexico agreed to halt the migrant flow in June - or face US economic sanctions. Trump says the deployment of thousands of Mexican soldiers to the border has helped bring down the numbers. But critics say the policy is not a long-term solution. @Worldnews

    US-Mexico border: Number of migrant arrests in United States down:: The number is down from 140,000 in May to 51,000 in August, according to US Customs and Border Protection preliminary figures The numbers of asylum seekers apprehended at the United States border with Mexico has dropped in recent months after Mexico agreed to halt the migrant flow in June - or face US economic sanctions. Trump says the deployment of thousands of Mexican soldiers to the border has helped bring down the numbers. But critics say the policy is not a long-term solution. @Worldnews

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    3 year(s)
    countrybond .

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