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NASA map shows how Earth changed in 20 years

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NASA Earth

Washington, Nov 19: A new NASA map resulting from 20 years of observing “life” on our home planet has discovered long-term changes across continents and ocean basins.

The space-based view of life allows scientists to monitor crop, forest and fisheries health around the globe, NASA said.

Satellites measured land and ocean life from space as early as the 1970s. But it was not until the launch of the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) in 1997 that the space agency began what is now a continuous, global view of both land and ocean life.

The data visualisation, released this week, captures how Earth was changing with the seasons.

“These are incredibly evocative visualisations of our living planet,” said Gene Carl Feldman, an oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland.

“That’s the Earth, that is it breathing every single day, changing with the seasons, responding to the Sun, to the changing winds, ocean currents and temperatures.”

As NASA begins its third decade of global ocean and land measurements, these discoveries point to important questions about how ecosystems will respond to a changing climate and broad-scale changes in human interaction with the land.

“Satellites have measured the Arctic getting greener, as shrubs expand their range and thrive in warmer temperatures.

“As ocean waters warm, satellites have detected a shift in phytoplankton populations across the planet’s five great ocean basins, the expansion of ‘biological deserts’ where little life thrives,” NASA said.

And as concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continue to rise and warm the climate, NASA’s observations could also play a critical role in monitoring carbon as it moves through the Earth system.

IANS

Middle East

Saudi Arabia warns possible floods in Mecca

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Mecca

Riyadh, Aug 20 (IANS) Saudi Meteorology Authority announced on Sunday of the possibility of floods in Mecca because of medium to heavy thundery rain, the Al Akhbariya reported.

The authority forecasted that the unstable weather that covers Mecca, Minna and Arafat would continue this night. The rain occurs while around two million pilgrims are residing in Minna in tents to mark the Day of Tarwiyah ritual.

No warning was issued concerning the safety of pilgrims who will leave for Arafat area by the dawn of Monday.

Al Arabiya’s images and videos on social media showed the Kaaba’s Kiswa, an embroidered cloth that wraps around Islam’s most sacred site, being moved out of place due to the high winds in Mecca on Sunday evening.

Hajj season is being managed in Saudi with tight security and high safety standards to ensure the wellbeing of pilgrims.

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America

Trump once again compares Russia probe to McCarthyism

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Donald Trump

Washington, Aug 20 (IANS) President Donald Trump on Sunday once again, as he has regularly done, compared the Russia probe investigation to McCarthyism, the anti-communist campaign pursued by Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.

“Study the late Joseph McCarthy, because we are now in period with Mueller and his gang that make Joseph McCarthy look like a baby! Rigged Witch Hunt!” said Trump on Twitter.

This kind of comparison has become a staple of Trump’s tweets, in which he regularly refers to the probe headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as McCarthyism and a “witch hunt,” Efe reported.

Since May 2017, Mueller has been tasked with heading an independent investigation of possible links between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Kremlin.

US media reported Saturday that Mueller’s team of prosecutors have proposed up to six months in prison for George Papadopoulos, a former adviser to Trump, for having lied to the FBI during questioning of him for the Russia probe.

Papadopoulos is expected to be sentenced on Sept. 7.

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Imran Khan announces 21-member Cabinet; Qureshi gets foreign ministry, Umer finance

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Pakistan PM Imran Khan
Pakistan PM Imran Khan (Pic : File)

Islamabad, Aug 19 : Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has unveiled his 21-member Cabinet, most of whom previously held key posts in the regime of former dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

Out of the 21 names announced, 16 will be ministers while five others will advisers to Khan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said yesterday, hours after the cricketer-turned-politician was sworn-in as the country’s 22nd Prime Minister.

According to the list shared by Chaudhry on his Twitter account, veteran politician Shah Mahmood Qureshi will be the foreign minister.

Qureshi, the vice president of the party, was the foreign minister from 2008 to 2011 under the Pakistan Peoples Party government when the 2008 Mumbai terror attack took place.

He was in New Delhi when 10 Pakistan-based LeT terrorists attacked India’s financial capital.

Pervaiz Khattak has been appointed the defence minister while Asad Umer will be the finance minister. Khattak served as the chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province from 2013-18.

Asad Umer is the son of former Lt Gen Mohammad Umer who was part of the Pakistan Army during 1971 war with India.

The newly-announced Cabinet is expected to take oath tomorrow at the President’s House.

At least 12 members of Khan’s Cabinet served under General (retd) Musharraf, The News reported.

The new Cabinet includes a former spokesperson of Musharraf, his attorney and several members of his cabinet and core team, the paper said.

The Cabinet members who served under Musharraf in various capacities include Farogh Naseem, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Zubaida Jalal, Fawad Chauhdry, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Shafqat Mehmood, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Abdul Razak Dawood, Dr Ishrat Hussain and Amin Aslam, the paper said.

Five of the new Cabinet members, including Khattak and Qureshi, had served as ministers in past Pakistan Peoples Party governments, it added.

Sheikh Rashid from Rawalpindi has been appointed as the railway minister. He previously held the same portfolio under the Musharraf regime.

Three women including Shireen Mazari, Zubaida Jalal and Fehmida Mriza are also part of Khan’s Cabinet.

The five advisors who have status of ministers include known faces like former banker Ishrat Hussain, businessman Abdul Razzak Dawood and Babar Awan.

According to the Pakistan’s Constitution, the size of the federal cabinet should be not more than 11 per cent of the total strength of the National Assembly and Senate.

Khan, the chairman of PTI, was administered the oath of office by President Mamnoon Hussain at a simple ceremony held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (the President House) in Islamabad yesterday.

His government is the third consecutive democratic government in Pakistan since 2008 when Gen Musharraf announced elections after serving as president from 2001 to 2008 following a bloodless coup in 1999.

The PPP formed the government in 2008, followed by the PML-N led by jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 2013.

Pakistan’s powerful military has ruled the country through various coups for nearly half of the country’s history since independence in 1947.

With Input PTI

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