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Thick haze engulfs Delhi, air quality remains ‘severe’

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New Delhi : Delhi’s pollution level remained ‘severe’ for the second day as a thick haze engulfed the national capital, even as the authorities said there was significant improvement in the air quality as compared.

The overall air quality index was recorded at 426 which falls in the ‘severe’ category, according to data by the Central Pollution Control Board.

The Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research or SAFAR said the city’s air quality has “improved significantly” since , but the recovery was slow due to low surface wind speed.

 

“At present, it continued to be in ‘severe’ but likely to improve further and will become ‘very poor’ by afternoon and will improve further by Saturday. The contribution of PM2.5 in PM10 which was 75 per cent on Thursday (against normal 55 per cent) has been reducing,” the SAFAR said.

It also said the contribution to the PM2.5 pollution due to stubble emission was marginal.

Twenty eight areas in Delhi recorded ‘severe’ air quality, while four areas recorded ‘very poor’ air quality, according to the data of the CPCB.

The PM2.5 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) level was recorded at 272 µgm-3.

The PM10 (particles in the air with a diameter of less than 10 micrometres) level was recorded six times the permissable limit at 422 µgm-3, according to SAFAR.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”.

AQI above 500 falls in the “severe-plus emergency” category.

Delhi’s air quality on Thursday went off the charts to ‘severe plus’ emergency category as smog caused due to smoke from firecrackers engulfed the national capital.

The overall AQI Thursday was recorded in the “severe plus emergency” category at 642, according to the data by SAFAR.

The sharp spike in pollution on Thursday was caused by rampant burning of firecrackers that had led to the formation of a smoky layer across the national capital and drastically reduced visibility, authorities said.


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‘Indians obese but hunger a concern,’ says UN report

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New Delhi: More Indians are becoming obese while the number of undernourished people in country has declined, according to a report by the UN that said that globally over 820 million people are suffering from hunger.

The report titled “State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019” was issued by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The report said that an estimated 820 million people across the world did not have enough to eat in 2018, up from 811 million in the previous year, which is the third year of increase in a row, underscoring the immense challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger by 2030.

 

In India, the number of undernourished people declined from 253.9 million in 2004-06 to 194.4 million in 2016-18. However, the number of adults (18 years and older) who are obese grew from 24.1 million in 2012 to 32.8 million in 2016. The number of children (under 5 years of age) who are overweight stood at 2.9 million in 2018.

In percentage terms, prevalence of undernourishment in the total population in India was 22.2 per cent in 2004-06 and 14.5 per cent in 2016-18. Prevalence of wasting in children (under 5 years of age) was 20.8 per cent in 2018, while the prevalence of obesity in the adult population was 3 per cent in 2012, increasing to 3.8 per cent in 2016.

The report said that globally, hunger is increasing in many countries where economic growth is lagging, particularly in middle-income countries and those that rely heavily on international primary commodity trade.

The annual UN report also found that income inequality is rising in many of the countries where hunger is on the rise, making it even more difficult for the poor, vulnerable or marginalised to cope with economic slowdowns and downturns. “We must foster pro-poor and inclusive structural transformation focusing on people and placing communities at the centre to reduce economic vulnerabilities and set ourselves on track to ending hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition,” the UN report said.

It noted that poverty rates have declined between 3 per cent and 6 per cent per year in El Salvador, Ghana, India, Tunisia and Uganda.

The report said that the impacts of economic slowdowns on food security and nutrition are demonstrated in Haiti, Nepal and the Niger. Amid a global financial crisis coupled with high food prices, households’ food security, as measured by dietary diversity, reduced by 5 per cent in Nepal, 8 per cent in the Niger, and 23 per cent in Haiti due to increased food prices.

In the Indian Himalayas, economic slowdown coupled with natural resource depletion and climate change negatively impacted on food production and employment opportunities. This resulted in increased threats to food security due to lower purchasing power, it added. The report also took note of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). “Unlike the previous cases, the MGNREGS was not designed to address employment problems arising from an economic downturn,” it said.

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Yeddyurappa plays cricket with legislators in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru: As the focus shifted to the Supreme Court, which is hearing the pleas of 15 Karnataka MLAs against alleged delay by the Speaker in accepting their resignations, the state BJP President BS Yeddyurappa was seen in a relaxed mood playing cricket with party legislators who are camped at a resort on the outskirts of the city.

Yeddyurappa, who had been busy in hectic meetings with senior party colleagues and legislators strategising as the wobbly coalition government headed by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is on the brink of collapse, Tuesday spent most part of the day at a resort near Yelahanka.

Later in the day, BJPs state unit media cell released a photo of Yeddyurappa playing cricket with party MLAs Renukacharya and SR Vishwanath, among others.

 

He was seen batting.

After over a week long heightened political activity in the city, it was relatively a calm on Tuesday with the focus shifting to the Supreme Court.

The top court will pronounce its order Wednesday morning on the pleas of 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs seeking direction for Speaker Ramesh Kumar to accept their resignations from the Assembly.

The order from the top court will come a day before the Congress-JD(S) government faces the floor test in the assembly, which would end suspense over the numbers game triggered by a raft of resignations by the ruling coalition lawmakers.

As many as 16 MLAs — 13 from the Congress and three from JD(S) — have resigned while two independent MLAs S Shankar and H Nagesh have withdrawn their support to the coalition government, keeping it on the edge.

In a bid to keep their flock together ahead of the floor test, the Congress, BJP and JD(S) have shifted their MLAs to resorts.

The Congress shifted its MLAs from a hotel in the city to a resort on the outskirts, amid fears that some more legislators may resign.

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Buzz in Congress that Priyanka should take over as party presidentship

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New Delhi: The Congress Working Committee which has been unable to arrive at a consensus on Rahul Gandhi’s replacement is unlikely to meet this week to appoint their new chief. However, AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s name is being murmured for the post of party president.

Priyanka’s name has not been pushed openly because Rahul Gandhi had said that the party should find someone other than a member of the Gandhi family for the post.

He made the statement on May 25 during the CWC meet while conveying his decision to step down from the post.

 

Former Union minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told Indian Express: “But many people are saying now. I, too, believe Priyankaji should become the Congress president. She belongs to the Gandhi family. She is a leader and has the quality to lead the party. She is dynamic.”

Jaiswal said that Priyanka would be a good option and her name has not been said openly as people are hesitant because of Rahul’s statement of finding a non-Gandhi for the post.

Adding support to nominate Priyanka Gandhi’s name, three-time former Lok Sabha MP Bhakta Charan Das said that “leaders will demand Priyanka ji in the absence of Rahul Gandhi.” He said that if Rahul does not take back his resignation, Priyanka should take the post of party president and party should propose her name.

“Enough delay has happened. We should find a leader who is acceptable to everyone. And the leader should have a positive imprint in the minds of every worker and voter. Age should also be a factor. Age and popularity both. The next Congress president should not be very old. And that person should be hardworking just like Rahul Gandhi was,” Das added.

According to sources, the CWC may consider accepting Rahul Gandhi’s resignation and opt for internal elections to pick a replacement. They also added that it may empower the party’s general secretaries and state-in-charges to take decision during the interim period.

This push for Priyanka, however, comes at a time when senior leaders fear that she may not have the kind of acceptability in the party that her brother still has.

Sources said many leaders did not like her remarks at the CWC meeting in May. During the meeting, Priyanka said that those who “murdered” the party were sitting in the room.

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