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Cyclone ”Nisarga”: Storm activity intensifies in Arabian Sea

Low pressure, depression and deep depression are the first three levels used by the IMD to classify cyclones based on their intensity.

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Cyclone Storm Nisarga

New Delhi, June 2 : A week after a raging cyclone wreaked havoc in West Bengal, the country is now bracing to face another cyclone which is headed towards the coastline of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

“Nisarga” currently lies as a depression 490 km from Mumbai, 280 km from Goa”s capital city and 710 km from Surat district in Gujarat.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that the depression intensifed into a deep depression at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

It is now slated to further turn into a cyclonic storm in 12 hours and then into a severe cyclonic storm in subsequent 12 hours.

Low pressure, depression and deep depression are the first three levels used by the IMD to classify cyclones based on their intensity.

It is likely to cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts between Harihareshwar town in Raigad district and Daman as a severe cyclonic storm on Wednesday.

IMD”s Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra has said that the severe cyclonic storm will have a wind speed of 90-105 kmph when it crosses the coast on June 3.

According to Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, it will be the first-ever cyclone in recorded history to hit the Maharashtra coast in June.

Whereas, as per another researcher at the same institute, ”Nisarga” will be only the second cyclone in recorded history that will be hitting the Maharashtra coast in the pre-monsoon season i.e. April-June.

“The one and only cyclone in the past that hit Maharashtra coast in the pre-monsoon season was May 1961 cyclone,” Vineet Kumar said.

The IMD Director General also said that the cyclonic storm will affect the coastal districts of Maharashtra, including Mumbai, more than Gujarat and neighbouring states.

“As per our predictions, Maharashtra coastal districts like Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Thane, Raigad, Mumbai and Palgarh will be more affected by it.”

The Central Water Commission has sounded flood alert for Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Thane, Mumbai, Palgarh and Nasik districts of Maharashtra, Daman district of union territory of Daman and Dui, Silvassa district of Dadar and Nagar Haveli and Valsad district of Gujarat.

There could be inundation in low lying areas, townships, and city areas. Wind speed could also cause damage to trees, telephone, and electric poles, Mohapatra warned.

Due to its influence, the east central Arabian Sea and south east Arabian Sea is currently rough. Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea till Thursday near Kerala, Lakshadweep, coastal Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.

–IANS

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Earthquake tremors felt in Delhi-NCR

The earthquake struck at 7:00:48 PM IST at a depth of 5 km from the surface.

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Earthquake Strong

New Delhi: An earthquake of magnitude 4.5 was reported near Delhi on Friday evening, according to India’s National Center for Seismology.

The epicentre of the earthquake was 63 km southwest (SW) of Gurgaon in Haryana, India, the agency said.

The earthquake struck at 7:00:48 PM IST at a depth of 5 km from the surface.

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Fauci slams lack of unified US response; remains hopeful for vaccine

Asked about how he navigates White House politics, Fauci said his method hasn”t changed since he first stepped into the White House back in the 80s.

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Anthony Fauci

New York, July 3 : America’s top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci tore into the lack of a unified, national response to the coronavirus and warned that a “devil may care” interpretation in wide swathes of America to the re-opening effort is working to the country’s “detriment”.

Speaking at an online Harvard Business Review event Thursday afternoon, Fauci repeated his hope today for a “safe and effective” vaccine by the end of 2020 or by the first quarter of next year. That timeframe, Fauci said, “would be a success”.

Early preliminary data on “several” vaccine candidates are pointing to predictable immune response, Fauci said. “They can induce the kind of response we can predict to be protective”

Explaining his view of “success”, Fauci said America would “gladly accept” a vaccine where the person who gets the shot gets exposed, maybe infected but doesn”t get sick enough to need medical attention.

Responding to questions on a second wave, a visibly concerned Fauci said America is still in its first wave of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are still in the first wave. Take a look at the curve. It went up, flattened out and now going right back up.”

Infections per day in the US have soared to an all-time high of 50,700, more than doubling over the past month, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Fauci has warned in the past week that 100,000 cases per day won”t be a surprise if things continue in the current trajectory. Much of the sunbelt is now rolling back reopening plans in response to the latest surge in caseload, the highest the US has seen since the domestic outbreak began in January.

Fauci”s comments come 24 hours after US president Donald Trump shifted his stance on masks, saying he likes them because it makes him look like the Lone Ranger and would wear one if he were in a “tight situation”.

Trump has long resisted being photographed in a mask although recommendations to mask up came in early April, via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Trump”s U-turn comes after the virus has roared into Republican strongholds with 75 per cent of new infections coming from states Trump won in 2016.

Asked about how he navigates White House politics, Fauci said his method hasn”t changed since he first stepped into the White House back in the 80s.

“I”m going to tell the truth and a lot of times, that”s going to be something that person doesn”t want to hear. So you”ve got to be aware of the fact that that person might not ask you back. And what happens if you do that, what happens is that people know that you”re not being partisan one way or the other, you just tell the truth. People respect you and they do ask you back.”

The US leads the world”s coronavirus caseload, with more than 2.7 million people sick and more than 128,000 dead since the first virus-linked fatality in early February this year.

Public health experts continue wringing their hands at the lack of national guidance on preventive measures as zig zag messaging and wild summer parties have sparked an alarming resurgence of COVID-19 in nearly half of the 50 states.

(Nikhila Natarajan is on Twitter @byniknat)

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162 killed in Myanmar jade mine landslide

Deadly landslides are frequent in Kachin state, known as land of jade, especially in Hpakant mining region.

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Myanmar jade mine landslide

Yangon, July 3 : At least 162 bodies have been found after a landslide at a jade mining site in northern Myanmar, officials said.

Rescue work has continued all day for people still missing at the site in the Hpakant area of Kachin state, the BBC reported.

A wave of mud and rock triggered by heavy rain engulfed those collecting stones, the fire service said.

Myanmar is the world’s biggest source of jade but its mines have seen numerous accidents, many involving people who scavenge for stones.

The country’s fire service department said in a Facebook post (in Burmese): “The jade miners were smothered by a wave of mud, which hit after heavy rainfall.”

It said that by 19.15 local time (12.45 GMT) “162 bodies were found and 54 injured people were taken [to hospital]”. No figure was given for the number of people still missing.

Kachin state’s minister of social affairs, Dashi La Seng, told BBC Burmese: “All of a sudden… huge amounts of mud together with rainwater ran into the pit. It was like a tsunami.”

Heavy rain continued all day during the rescue work.

Police said some people had defied a warning issued on Wednesday not to work in the area after the rainfall, although the advice may also have saved many lives.

Video of the incident shows a massive landslide pouring into a large flooded pit or lake.

Maung Khaing, a 38-year-old miner, told Reuters he saw a towering pile of waste close to collapse and people were shouting “run, run”.

He said: “Within a minute, all the people at the bottom [of the hill] just disappeared. I feel empty in my heart… There were people stuck in the mud shouting for help but no-one could help them.”

Hundreds of people gather at mines to sift through rubble discarded from lorries, hoping to find jade stones.

The rubble creates large slopes that can be dangerous in an area denuded of trees and resembling a moonscape.

More than 100 people died last year alone at mining sites.

Myanmar’s jade trade is reported to be worth more than $30bn (?24bn) a year. Hpakant is the site of the world’s biggest jade mine.

“Searching for precious stones is traditionally the only job for the people in this area. They have no other choice of livelihood,” local resident Shwe Thein told the BBC.

“They will mine by any means whether they have an official permit or not. Although the mudslides keep happening, many organisations, including armed groups, involved in jade mining are saying the situation here is good. So it’s difficult for the outside world to know the real situation here.”

The BBC’s Jonathan Head in Bangkok says a new gemstone mining law was passed last year, but critics say the government has too few inspectors with only limited authority to stop illegal practices.

He says campaigners have accused the military, drug dealers, insurgent groups and Chinese business interests of controlling the jade trade and preventing a safer and more sustainable exploitation of the valuable gemstone.

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