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NEWS UPDATE #157

The number of hungry people in the world has increased for the first time since the turn of the century, a new UN report has revealed. The increase is due largely to the proliferation of violence and climate-related shocks, according to the report, which also identifies India as home to 23.4% of the world’s hungry.

NEWS UPDATE #156

Business Standard reports: India will begin work in around a month on an $87 billion scheme to connect some of the country’s biggest rivers. The mammoth plan entails linking nearly 60 rivers, including the mighty Ganges, which the government hopes will cut farmers’ dependence on fickle monsoon rains by bringing millions of hectares under irrigation.

NEWS UPDATE #155

Pavitra Mohan reports on IndiaSpend.com: In rural India, where 833 million Indians (70%) live, people are consuming fewer nutrients than before, despite higher economic growth. On average, compared to 1975-’79, a rural Indian now consumes 550 fewer calories and 13 gm protein, 5 mg iron, 250 mg calcium and about 500 mg less vitamin A.

NEWS UPDATE #154

Noor Mohammed writes in The Wire on how over the past seven years, politically-connected sectors have tanked at stock market. While firms in the FMCG and auto sectors have done well, certain power, steel and telecom companies –where access to natural resources and political connections are crucial to success–including Adani and Reliance, have performed horribly.

NEWS UPDATE #153

More than 70 children have died at BRD Hospital in Gorakhpur, apparently due to a shortage of oxygen in the hospital. If more children die in August in Gorakhpur and floods occur every year during monsoon, then why are we not prepared? Down to Earth magazine’s detailed coverage of India’s worst manmade tragedy this year.

NEWS UPDATE #152

The Indian Express reports: Despite a series of steps to contain non-performing assets, public sector banks wrote off a record Rs 81,683 crore worth of bad loans in the financial-year ended March 2017, a jump of more than 41 per cent over the previous year’s write-off amount of Rs 57,586 crore, finance ministry data shows.

NEWS UPDATE #151

Climate change may have contributed to the suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers and farm workers over the past three decades, according to new research from the University of California-Berkeley on the impact of rising temperatures on vulnerable societies. Meanwhile, a new report from Asian Development Bank indicates climate change is pushing Asia towards doom.

NEWS UPDATE #150

Scroll.in reports: India diverts Rs 56,700 crore from the National Clean Energy and Environment Fund, allocated for the fight against climate change, to the Goods and Service Tax regime to compensate state governments. A CSE report shows crop insurers have only settled 32.45% of claims, made Rs 10,000 crore profit amid the ongoing agrarian crisis.

NEWS UPDATE #149

From IndiaSpend: A new report has analysed the impact of environmental hazards on global health across 194 countries. These deaths –avoidable if governments and citizens adopted sustainable environmental practices– accounted for 30% of all deaths in India that year. In comparison, 25% and 23% deaths, in Pakistan and Bangladesh, respectively, were attributable to the environment.

NEWS UPDATE #148

Enviro News reports: Seaborne cesium 134, the so-called “fingerprint of Fukushima,” has been detected on US shores for the first time, researchers from the WHOI, a crowd-funded science seawater sampling project. It has been monitoring the radioactive plume making its way across the Pacific from the demolished Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in eastern Japan.

NEWS UPDATE #147

From The Times of India: Industrial fishing fleets dump nearly 10 million tonnes of good fish back into the ocean every year – a new research study has found. Researchers found that almost 10 per cent of the world’s total catch in the last decade was discarded due to poor fishing practices and inadequate management.

NEWS UPDATE #146

From Yes! Magazine: By August 2, the world’s 7.5 billion people will have used as much of Earth’s biological resources —or biocapacity— as the planet can regenerate in a year. During the remaining five months of 2017, humans will be drawing down Earth’s reserves of these natural resources and depleting its ability to regenerate them.

NEWS UPDATE #145

From Carbon Brief: The world added a record amount of energy from renewable sources in 2016 and global coal use fell again, according to the 2017 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, released this week. This helped to keep global CO2 emissions flat for the third year in a row, even as energy demand rose.

NEWS UPDATE #144

Live Mint reports: Five farmers were killed and others were injured in firing during a protest in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, on Tuesday. The government has ordered an investigation into the incident. The farmers in the state have been protesting since last week. They want fair prices for their produce and loan-waiver from the BJP government.

NEWS UPDATE #143

The Independent reports: India has cancelled plans to build nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations with the price for solar electricity “free falling” to levels once considered impossible. According to analyst Tim Buckley, 13.7GW of planned coal power projects have been cancelled so far this month–in a stark indication of the pace of change.

NEWS UPDATE #142

The Guardian reports: It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside a Norwegian island the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter.

NEWS UPDATE #141

From The Times of India: India’s central biotech regulator, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee on Thursday cleared the genetically modified (GM) Mustard for commercial cultivation and recommended its approval to the environment ministry. The GM mustard, developed by a Delhi University institution, is only the second food crop which got its clearance from the central regulator.

NEWS UPDATE #140

The Independent (UK) reports – Every car sold in India will be powered by electricity by the year 2030, according to plans unveiled by the country’s energy minister. The move is intended to lower the cost of importing fuel and lower costs for running vehicles, coal and mines minister Piyush Goyal said in New Delhi.

NEWS UPDATE #139

Deccan Herald reports: India lost more than 57,000 sq km of jungles – an area larger than Himachal Pradesh- in forest fire in 2014, says India’s first scientific estimation of forest fire losses. The total burnt area under vegetation cover was 57,127.75 sq km, which in 2014 accounts for almost 7% of India’s forest cover.

NEWS UPDATE #138

The Washington Post reports: Scientists have documented what they’re describing as the first case of large-scale river reorganization as a result of human-caused climate change. They found that the retreat of a very large glacier in Canada’s Yukon territory led to the rerouting of its vast stream of meltwater from one river system to another.

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