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15 Indians stranded near Everest seek Sushma’s help

Bad weather has led many trekkers around that region to be stranded and due to rush, helicopter companies are overcharging the people.

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Sushma Swaraj

Kathmandu, May 26 (IANS) A total of 15 Indian nationals, stranded in Everest region for two days, Saturday sought intervention of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to evacuate them and she has asked Indian Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri to look into the matter.

“Currently stranded in Lukla since two days, Nepal, with copter company looters refusing to evacuate us to Kathmandu unless we pay 600 dollars per head,” surgeon Amit Thadhani said a tweet marked to Sushma Swaraj and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, noting they paid $200per head fare from Kathmandu to Lukla.

“Can you can you please help? We are about 15 Indians stranded in Lukla, Nepal waiting for evacuation. Local embassy contacted but no resolution yet,” said Thadhani.

Bad weather has led many trekkers around that region to be stranded and due to rush, helicopter companies are overcharging the people.

Another stranded Indian national Sourav Ghosh tweeted: “Please help us to get out of here as we have been stranded for two days in Lukla Airport and helicopter operators are demanding insane amount of money for taking people out. Thanks a lot once again.”

Situated at 2,860 metres, Lukla is known as “Gateway to Mt Everest” and has a small airport that is called one of the most dangerous in the world.

It is a is popular destination for trekkers in the summer season as weather is cool but not that chilly.

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Sad state of Yamuna pains green warriors – World Rivers Day

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Yamuna World Rivers Day

River lovers and green activists in Agra on Sunday celebrated the World Rivers Day, at the Etmauddaula view-point park, by cleaning up a stretch of Yamuna bank and taking out a rally to demand a comprehensive National Rivers policy along with constitution of a Central Rivers Authority to manage major rivers of India.

Eminent environmentalist and member of the River Connect Campaign, Devashish Bhattacharya said “the world rivers day commemorates the many values of rivers and encourages river stewardship and conservational efforts around the world. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic public participation in the annual event was restricted, but small groups joined river front activities and through web-seminars highlighted the pathetic plight of most rivers in India”.

In fact the pandemic had underlined the important contribution of healthy rivers to our well-being, he added.

“Most rivers are facing increasing pressures associated with climate change, industrial pollution, fallouts of haphazard urbanization and population explosion. Even after seven decades of Independence India does not have a clear road map or a national rivers policy, resulting in protracted wrangling among states over water-sharing and maintenance of waterways,” Pramod Gautam, chairman of the Vedic Sutram, after the Yamuna March, told IANS.

This year’s theme is “waterways in our communities” to stress on the need for protecting and conserving urban waterways.

“The importance of clean fresh water is essential to the fight against Covid-19 so World Rivers Day is a timely opportunity for literally millions of people around the world to come together to commemorate the importance of healthy vibrant waterways,” said Mark Angelo, the founder and Chair of World Rivers Day, in his message to the river activists.

“Rivers are integral to all life,” said Angelo, who has paddled more than 1,000 rivers in over 100 countries, perhaps more than any other. Angelo’s life-long commitment to river conservation, including the founding of World Rivers Day, is also the subject of the upcoming feature length film, “Last Paddle: 1,000 Rivers, One Life”.

In the Braj Mandal, the River Connect Campaign has been actively involved in conservational efforts to save Yamuna river from further degradation.

“Though the river Yamuna is considered sacred, being the beloved consort of Sri Krishna, the Brijbasis are pained to see the river choking to death due to pollution by industries and civic bodies that seem to have no control over sewage discharge,” said Jagan Nath Poddar, convener of Friends of Vrindavan.

Rivers are our life-lines and our future is intricately linked to the health of our holy rivers, added Vrindavan green activist Madhu Mangal.

Pandit Jugal Kishor Shrotriya, Mahant of daily Yamuna Arti in Agra, reminded Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkiri of his oft-repeated promise to start ferry service in Yamuna between Delhi and Agra.

The Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society vice president Shravan Kumar Singh said there was an urgent need to construct a barrage on Yamuna downstream of the Taj Mahal, so that these magnificent Mughal monuments are not harmed by air and water pollution.

The Yogi Adityanath government should have focused more on saving rivers in Uttar Pradesh through dredging and desilting than prioritizing the Film City project in Greater Noida, added Surendra Sharma, founder president of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association.

Sharma pointed out that the local administration had failed to activate the River Police squad, shift dhobis and ban cattle grazing in the Yamuna.

“Though the district administration had declared Agra ODF (open defecation free) people were still going to the river bed to answer nature’s calls, a sight that is a real putoff early in the morning,” activist Rahul Raj said.

“The upstream cities and barrages have to ensure a minimum flow in the river round the year to save a dying river and protect aqua life,” River Connect Campaign activist Padmini Iyer said.

“Haryana is drawing all the water of the Yamuna river, what little is left is consumed by Delhi. Uttar Pradesh does not get its share of water as was promised in the 1994 river water sharing agreement among UP, Haryana, Rajasthan, signed by then Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.

By: Brij Khandelwal

(can be contacted at [email protected])

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NASA Shared Gorgeous New Images of Jupiter & Europa From the Hubble Telescope

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NASA Jupiter Picture

It might not sport the photogenic rings of Saturn, but the striped clouds of Jupiter are gorgeous. NASA and ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured a beautiful new image of the solar system’s biggest planet.

The image was taken on August 25 and just shared, but it’s already giving researchers a fresh look at the weather on the planet. That includes the larger-the-Earth storm that is the Great Red Spot. You can also see a new storm that NASA calls “a cousin” to the Great Red Spot.

Additionally, in the upper left of the image, you can spot the moon Europa, the smallest of Jupiter’s four Galilean moons. Recent research has upped the estimate of total moons for Jupiter, putting the number at as many as 600. Europa is high on the list of places that might have some form of life inside our solar system. (Last week, Venus also climbed into that conversation.)

The announcement calls the new storm “unique and exciting.” It “appears at mid-northern latitudes as a bright, white, stretched-out storm” moving at more than 340 miles per hour. Storms in this region aren’t atypical, according to NASA, but this one “appears to have more structure.” The researchers say that this could be the start of a long-duration storm in the planet’s northern hemisphere, “perhaps to rival the legendary Great Red Spot that dominates the southern hemisphere.”

The image also provides a good look at the Oval BA, which has been nicknamed Red Spot Jr. It’s the storm sitting just below the Great Red Spot.

The second image comes in surprising colors because Hubble snapped the multiwavelength image in ultraviolet/visible/near-infrared light. The image, according to NASA, ” offers insights into the altitude and distribution of the planet’s haze and particles.”

It’s a gorgeous image. But, as always, there’s a more than beauty to the images Hubble is sending back for us to admire.

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Farm bills govt’s conspiracy to defeat Green Revolution: Congress

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agriculture reforms bill

New Delhi, Sep 18 : Even as the Lok Sabha passed two of the contentious agriculture reforms bill, the Congress on Thursday upped its ante against the Narendra Modi government over the issue, terming it a conspiracy to defeat the Green Revolution.

Slamming the government, Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said: “This government has been eyeing, how they can take the farmers’ land to benefit their capitalist friends, whether is the Land Acquisition Act, whether in the industrial system through weakening the labour courts and now this three-pronged attack on the Indian agricultural system through the two bills on farming – one related to APMC, the other one is related to contract farming and the third bill which is on essential commodities… a three-pronged attack on the Indian farmers.”

Noting the government says that this is a boon for farmers, he said: “Are farmers of India foolish that they don’t understand the bill. If this bill was in the benefit of Indian farmers, why are the farmers are out on the streets? Why are the farmers in Haryana being beaten by the police?”

Targeting the government, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Modi government is akin to Covid-19 pandemic as it is attacking lives and livelihoods of farmers.

“It is attacking farmers and farm labourers and was bartering agriculture at the doorsteps of crony capitalists,” he said.

“The draconian laws on agriculture will be a death knell for the future of farming in India,” he said, alleging that the BJP-led government is hell-bent upon destroying the farmer and was bartering the agriculture at the altar of a handful of crony capitalists.

Surjewala also claimed that 62 crore farmers and farm labourers have been agitating across India and over 250 farmers organisations are sitting on protest, on hunger strikes and are demonstrating across the length and breadth of India.

He accused the government of dictatorially subverting the “voice of farmers” representatives inside the Parliament and has unleashed a draconian “lathi-danda regime” on protesting farming community.

“The farmers and labourers will never forget the conspiracy of the Modi government to convert the disaster confronting the farmers into an opportunity for the capitalists under the garb of pandemic. The next generations of BJP will have to face the consequences of these anti-farmer misdeeds of the government,” Surjewala said.

Meanwhile, Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the interest of farmers and farm labourers cannot be subjugated and be subservient to the “draconian majority” of the BJP in Parliament.

“The Congress shall continue to take on the dark design of a draconian, dictatorial and anti-farmer Modi government, both inside and outside the Parliament… We shall continue to voice the pain and suffering of teeming millions,” he said.

The Congress, along with many other opposition parties as well as NDA constituent Akali Dal, had been opposing the three farm Bills which were earlier brought in as Ordinances. All three – the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 – have been passed by the Lok Sabha.

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