India likely to experience above-normal cumulative monsoon rains in 2024

News Network
April 15, 2024

New Delhi: India is likely to experience above-normal cumulative rainfall in the 2024 monsoon season with La Nina conditions likely to set in by August-September, the IMD has said on Monday.

However, normal cumulative rainfall does not guarantee uniform temporal and spatial distribution of rain across the country, with climate change further increasing the variability of the rain-bearing system.

Climate scientists say the number of rainy days is declining while heavy rain events (more rain over a short period) are increasing, leading to frequent droughts and floods.

Based on data between 1951-2023, India experienced above-normal rainfall in the monsoon season on nine occasions when La Nina followed an El Nino event, India Meteorological Department chief Mrutyunjay Mohapatra told a press conference here.

Positive Indian Ocean Dipole conditions are predicted during the monsoon season. Also, the snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is low. These conditions are favourable for the Indian southwest monsoon, he said.

Moderate El Nino conditions are prevailing at present. It is predicted to turn neutral by the time monsoon season commences. Thereafter, models suggest, La Lina conditions may set in by August-September, Mohapatra said.

India received "below-average" cumulative rainfall -- 820 mm compared to the long-period average of 868.6 mm -- in 2023, an El Nino year. Before 2023, India recorded "normal" and "above-normal" rainfall in the monsoon season for four years in a row.

El Nino conditions -- periodic warming of surface waters in the central Pacific Ocean -- are associated with weaker monsoon winds and drier conditions in India.

Three large-scale climatic phenomena are considered for forecasting monsoon season rainfall.

The first is El Nino, the second is the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which occurs due to differential warming of the western and eastern sides of the equatorial Indian Ocean, and the third is the snow cover over the northern Himalayas and the Eurasian landmass, which also has an impact on the Indian monsoon through the differential heating of the landmass.

The southwest monsoon delivers about 70 percent of India's annual rainfall, which is critical for the agriculture sector. Agriculture accounts for about 14 percent of the country's GDP.

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News Network
May 19,2024

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suffered a “hard landing” on May 19, Iranian state media reported, without immediately elaborating.

Mr. Raisi was traveling in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. State TV said the incident happened near Jolfa, a city on the border with the nation of Azerbaijan, some 600 kilometers (375 miles) northwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Traveling with Raisi were Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province and other officials, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. One local government official used the word “crash” to describe the incident, but he acknowledged to an Iranian newspaper that he had yet to reach the site himself.

Neither IRNA nor state TV offered any information on Mr. Raisi’s condition.

Rescuers were attempting to reach the site, state TV said, but had been hampered by poor weather conditions. There had been heavy rain and fog reported with some wind. IRNA called the area a “forest.”

Mr. Raisi had been in Azerbaijan early Sunday to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. The dam is the third one that the two nations built on the Aras River. The visit came despite chilly relations between the two nations, including over a gun attack on Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Tehran in 2023, and Azerbaijan’s diplomatic relations with Israel, which Iran’s Shiite theocracy views as its main enemy in the region.

Iran flies a variety of helicopters in the country, but international sanctions make it difficult to obtain parts for them. Its military air fleet also largely dates back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Mr. Raisi, 63, is a revolutionary who formerly led the country’s judiciary. He is viewed as a protégé of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and some analysts have suggested he could replace the 85-year-old leader after his death or resignation from the role.

Mr. Raisi won Iran’s 2021 presidential election, a vote that saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history. Raisi is sanctioned by the U.S. in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 at the end of the bloody Iran-Iraq war.

Under Mr. Raisi, Iran now enriches uranium at nearly weapons-grade levels and hampers international inspections. Iran has armed Russia in its war on Ukraine, as well as launched a massive drone-and-missile attack on Israel amid its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It also has continued arming proxy groups in the Mideast, like Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

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News Network
May 14,2024

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Comedian Shyam Rangeela on Tuesday that he was barred from filing his nomination papers for the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections. He intended to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Varanasi seat by contesting as an Independent candidate.

Despite attempts to file his papers since May 10, Rangeela alleged he was denied entry to the district magistrate's office on the day Prime Minister Modi filed his nomination. He also said that he is not taking any team from Sriganganagar to contest the Lok Sabha elections in Varanasi. 

Shyam Rangeela further claimed that he has received several phone calls from Varanasi and people are willing to join him. "Winning or losing is a different matter, but I will contest the elections against the Prime Minister at any cost. I am not contesting elections to become famous, I am already very famous among the public."

The Congress party also waded into the controversy. Congress leader Surendra Rajput told news agency PTI that everyone is free to file a nomination including Prime Minister Modi. Rajput claimed that Rangeela was not getting nomination papers from the administration. 

"Everyone is free to file a nomination including PM Modi. However, other people are not allowed to file their nominations from the constituency. A YouTuber named (Shyam) Rangeela, who wished to file a nomination from Varanasi, isn’t getting nomination papers from the administration. Why PM Modi is afraid of people? Let them contest against you," he said. 

PM Modi, contesting for a third term, previously won the Varanasi seat by 4.8 lakh votes in 2019 and by 3.72 lakh votes in 2014. So far, 14 individuals, including mainstream political party candidates and independents, have filed their nominations for the Varanasi constituency.

Congress candidate Ajai Rai and Bahujan Samajwadi Party's Athar Ali Lari are among them. Rangeela, a YouTuber and mimic from Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh, rose to fame in 2017 with his act impersonating PM Modi. He has been critical of the Prime Minister and his policies, as evident in his videos.
 

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News Network
May 18,2024

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Bengaluru, May 18: JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda, who turned 92 on Saturday, broke his silence on the sexual abuse charges leveled against his grandson and MP Prajwal Revanna. He stated that he has no objection to the action taken against him if found guilty. However, he mentioned that the cases against his son, JD(S) MLA HD Revanna, who is facing charges of sexual harassment and kidnapping of a woman, were 'created'. He refrained from further commenting as the matter is sub judice.

Recently, Gowda announced his decision not to celebrate his birthday and requested well-wishers and party workers to wish him from wherever they are.

"... I don't want to comment on things that are going on in the court regarding Revanna. Prajwal Revanna has gone abroad. Regarding that, Kumaraswamy (Gowda's other son and state JD(S) chief) has, on behalf of our family, said it is the duty of the government to take action in accordance with the law of the land," Gowda said.

Addressing reporters, the former PM said, "There are several people connected to these sexual abuse cases. I don't want to mention anyone's names. Kumaraswamy has stated that those involved in this matter should face action, and the affected women should get justice and compensation."

"There is no objection from us to taking action against Prajwal. But people have come to know the facts about the allegations made against Revanna, how the case has been created. In one case, he has been granted bail, and in another case, the judgment is expected day after tomorrow... I don't want to comment on it," he said, concurring with Kumaraswamy's statement that if found guilty, no one should be spared.

Prajwal (33) is facing charges of multiple instances of sexually abusing women. The scandal has sparked a political storm with the ruling Congress and BJP-JD(S) engaged in a slugfest.

Prajwal reportedly left for Germany on April 27 and is still at large. An Interpol Blue Corner Notice has been issued against him in an effort to bring him back.

He was the BJP-JD(S) alliance's joint candidate from the Hassan Lok Sabha segment, which went to polls on April 26.

Meanwhile, Gowda's 66-year-old son, Revanna, a former Minister, has been granted interim anticipatory bail from a court here in a sexual harassment case in which his son Prajwal is also an accused.

Asked whether there was a conspiracy to defame and politically scuttle his family, Gowda said, "It is true... considering all that has happened, several people are involved. I won't mention names. Kumaraswamy will address what action needs to be taken."

Responding to a query on BJP leader and advocate G Devaraje Gowda's allegations that Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar is behind the circulation of a pen drive containing explicit videos involving Prajwal Revanna, Gowda said Kumaraswamy will respond to all of this.

"We have seen in the media what Devaraje Gowda has said. Kumaraswamy, as the party's state President, has been actively responding to all this. He will speak. I won't at this point. I had campaigned for the Lok Sabha polls. On June 4, after the Lok Sabha poll results are announced, I will meet with you (media)," he added.

Gowda also appealed to media persons campaigning near his house to end it. "I also appeal to your owners."

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