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Ozone layer still depleting: Study

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London, Feb 6: Contrary to expectations, the ozone layer which protects life on Earth from high-energy radiation is actually thinning out in the lower stratosphere, new research has found.

In the 20th century, when excessive quantities of ozone-depleting chlorinated and brominated hydrocarbons were released into the atmosphere, the ozone layer in the stratosphere — at altitudes of 15 to 50 km – thinned out globally.

The Montreal Protocol introduced a ban on these long-lasting substances in 1989.

At the turn of the millennium, the loss of stratospheric ozone seemed to have stopped. Until now, experts have expected that the global ozone layer would completely recover by the middle of the century.

But the new study, published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, showed that despite the ban on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the concentration of ozone in the lower part of the stratosphere (15 to 24 km) – where the ozone layer is at its densest – has continued to decline.

The scientists were able to demonstrate this using satellite measurements spanning the last three decades together with advanced statistical methods.

“Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, ozone in the upper stratosphere – i.e. above 30 km – has increased significantly since 1998, and the stratosphere is also recovering above the polar regions,” said William Ball, an atmospheric researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) in Switzerland and the first author of the study.

Yet despite these increases, measurements showed that the total ozone column in the atmosphere has remained constant, which experts took as a sign that ozone levels in the lower stratosphere must have declined.

The reasons for the continuing decline are still unclear. However, the authors have two possible explanations.

On the one hand, climate change is modifying the pattern of atmospheric circulation, moving air from the tropics faster and further in the polar direction, so that less ozone is formed.

On the other hand, very short-lived substances containing chlorine and bromine are on the rise, and could increasingly enter the lower stratosphere, for example as a result of more intense thunderstorms.

Although these substances are less ozone-depleting than CFCs, they are not neutral either.
This curbed their progress and left them vulnerable to future changes in the environment, such as those caused by the asteroid strike, the study said.

IANS

India

India asks Saudi Arabia to take corrective steps on bank note

The world map on the new 20 Riyal banknote, released to mark Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the G20 grouping, does not feature Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as part of India.

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Anurag Srivastava

New Delhi, Oct 30: India has asked Saudi Arabia to take corrective steps on the misrepresentation of its territorial boundaries on a new bank note.

The world map on the new 20 Riyal banknote, released to mark Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the G20 grouping, does not feature Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as part of India.

MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said India has asked Saudi Arabia to take “urgent corrective steps” in the matter, and emphasized that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are integral parts of the country.

“We have seen the banknote referred by you which gives an incorrect depiction of India’s external territorial boundaries. The note was issued by Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority on October 24 to mark the occasion of Saudi presidency of the G20,” the MEA spokesperson said.

“We have conveyed our serious concern to Saudi Arabia, both through their Ambassador in New Delhi as well as in Riyadh, for this gross misrepresentation of India’s external territorial boundaries on an official and legal banknote of Saudi Arabia and asked Saudi Arabia to take urgent corrective steps in this regard,” Srivastava said.

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Croatia announces new measures amid rise in Covid cases

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Zagreb, Oct 28 Amid surge in Covid-19 cases, Croatia’s National Civil Protection Headquarters has announced new measures.

The measures include mandatory physical distancing, a ban on all public events with more than 50 people, the new limit of the number of people attending weddings and funerals and the provision that public events and gatherings can last up to 10 p.m. while weddings until midnight, Xinhua news agency reported.

Sports competitions can be held without spectators, according to the measures, which banned the sales of alcoholic beverages from midnight to 6 a.m.

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Tech

Rawalpindi cops banned from posting on TikTok

Police officers in Rawalpindi have been banned from posting on the short video-making app, TikTok, after a video went viral, the media reported on Tuesday

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Police officers in Rawalpindi have been banned from posting on the short video-making app, TikTok, after a video went viral, the media reported on Tuesday.

The police department of the Pakistan twin city has warned that if a video of any officer goes viral on social media, irrespective of whether it is TikTok, Facebook or YouTube, strict departmental action will be taken, The Express Tribune reported.

The new rules were communicated on Monday in a letter issued by Rawalpindi CPO Ahsan Younas to divisional SPs, circle officers and station house officers.

The letter stated that posting videos on social media and going viral presents a negative image of the department.

After the video went viral, at least one officer has been suspended.

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