Nepal floods: Death toll reaches 1322

News Network
July 24, 2020

Kathmandu, Jul 24: At least 132 people lost their lives as a result of heavy rains triggering landslides, and flash floods in Nepal.

"132 people dead, 128 injured, 53 missing and 998 families affected due to rainfall, landslides and floods in the country as of 23rd July," Nepal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority Within the last two weeks, the Myagdi district of western Nepal was the worst affected with 27 reported deaths.

Search and rescue operations are being conducted continuously with officials and police personnel who are looking through the debris to find missing people.

Monsoon-induced disasters are common in Nepal owing to the country's mountainous topography. Hundreds have been displaced as landslides have swept away their homes. They ended up taking refuge in local schools and community centers.

Nepal's Meteorological Forecasting Division earlier last week had predicted heavy downpour across the country. The Division had warned of monsoon winds being near the low-pressure line in the Terai belt, which would consequently cause more rainfall.

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News Network
September 24,2020

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A bottled-water and vaccine tycoon has become China's wealthiest person in a day also marked by massive losses among the world's tech elite.

Zhong Shanshan's net worth reached $58.7 billion on Wednesday, $2 billion more than Jack Ma's, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Zhong is now Asia's second-richest person, behind India's Mukesh Ambani, and is the 17th wealthiest in the world, ahead of Charles Koch and Phil Knight.

Nicknamed “Lone Wolf” for his eschewing of politics and clubby business groups, Zhong's fortune has jumped $51.9 billion in 2020, more than anyone else in the world except Amazon.com Inc.'s Jeff Bezos and Tesla Inc.'s Elon Musk. Both suffered heavy declines on Wednesday as tech stocks stumbled and Tesla plunged after its “Battery Day” event fell short of expectations. Musk's fortune dropped by almost $10 billion.

The initial public offering of bottled-water company Nongfu Spring Co. -- which turned out to be Hong Kong's most popular among retail investors -- propelled Zhong to China's top three richest earlier this month. That came after the April listing of vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise Co. pushed his net worth to $20 billion by early August.

Zhong now leads a wealth ranking in China that is typically dominated by people who made their fortunes from tech companies.

While Zhong has surpassed Ma as China's wealthiest, the tech tycoon might soon regain the top spot, which he's held for most of the past six years after Alibaba went public in the U.S. Ant Group's IPO next month is poised to boost his fortune, with his stake estimated at $28 billion if the company achieves the $250 billion valuation people familiar with the matter have said it's targeting.

Wednesday was brutal for U.S. tech stocks, which tumbled the most since earlier this month. The plunge in Musk's wealth was the biggest among the people on the Bloomberg ranking of the world's 500 richest, followed by Bezos, whose net worth dropped by $7.1 billion. Musk is now worth $93.2 billion and Bezos $178 billion. Zhong added almost $4 billion Wednesday, more than anyone else in the index.

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News Network
September 17,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 17: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 70th birthday and said that India is successfully moving along the path of socio-economic, scientific and technical development under his leadership.

In a message posted by the Russian Embassy on its Facebook page, Putin said he looks forward to continuing constructive dialogue with PM Modi and work closely together on topical issues of the bilateral and international agenda.

Besides Putin, Chairman of the Russian Government, Mikhail Mishustin, and Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev extended their wishes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he turned 70.

"Kindly accept my heartfelt congratulations on your 70th birth anniversary. Under your leadership, India is successfully moving along the path of socio-economic, scientific and technical development. It is hard to overestimate your personal contribution to the strengthening of the special and privileged strategic partnership between our countries," Putin said in the message.

"I value the kind, friendly relations that have developed between us. I look forward to continuing constructive dialogue with you and work closely together on topical issues of the bilateral and international agenda. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you good health, happiness, well-being and every success," he added.

Meanwhile, Mishustin greeted the Indian leader and lauded Prime Minister Modi's considerable personal contribution to the enhancement of the Russia-Indian relations based on the principles of the friendship of mutual trust and strategic partnership.

"On behalf of the Government of the Russian Federation and personally I would like to congratulate you on your 70th birth anniversary. Under your leadership, the Government of India is implementing large-scale programmes aimed at developing the national economy and strengthening international cooperation," he said in a message.

"I would especially emphasize your considerable personal contribution towards the enhancement of the Russian-Indian relations based on the principles of friendship, mutual trust and strategic partnership. Our cooperation in the spheres of trade and economy, investments, science and technology, culture and humanitarian issues is consistently expanding, promising bilateral projects are successfully coming into life," he added

Wishes poured in for Prime Minister Narendra Modi from all corners of the world on his birthday. The leaders across parties greeted him. President Ram Nath Kovind was among the first one to wish the Prime Minister.

Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin are among the foreign leaders who have extended their greetings to the Indian Prime Minister.

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News Network
September 16,2020

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Paris, Sept 16: The world has lost nearly 100 million hectares of forests in two decades, marking a steady decline though at a slower pace than before, a UN agency reported Tuesday.

The proportion of forest to total land area fell from 31.9 per cent in 2000 to 31.2 per cent in 2020, now some 4.1 billion hectares, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

It marks "a net loss of almost 100 million hectares of the world's forests," the FAO said.

Deforestation has hit particularly hard sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, where it has accelerated in the last decade, but also Latin and Central America, where it has nonetheless slowed down.

Forests are being cut down mainly to make way for crops or farm animals, especially in less developed countries.

In southeast Asia, the forest now covers 47.8 per cent of the land compared to 49 per cent in 2015. In sub-Saharan Africa, it covers 27.8 per cent compared to 28.7 per cent five years ago.

In Indonesia, it is 50.9 per cent, down from 52.5 per cent. In Malaysia, it is 58.2 per cent, down from 59.2 per cent five years ago.

A country strongly focused on agriculture like the Ivory Coast has seen forests reduced to 8.9 per cent of the total land area from 10.7 per cent in 2015. Kenya, Mali and Rwanda have largely held firm against forest loss.

In Latin and Central America, forest covers only 46.7 per cent of the total land, compared to 47.4 per cent five years ago.

In Brazil, forests declined to 59.4 per cent of the country's territory in 2020 from 60.3 per cent in 2015. In Haiti, deforestation has continued apace -- falling to 12.6 per cent of the total land area from 13.2 per cent in 2015.

In contrast, in many parts of Asia, Europe and North America forest area has increased or stayed the same in the last five years with policies to restore woodland and allow forests to expand naturally.

In China, forests make up 23.3 per cent, up from 22.3 per cent in 2015. In Japan, they account for 68.4 per cent, the same as it was five years ago.

In France, forests cover 31.5 per cent of the land in 2020, up from 30.7 per cent in 2015. In Italy, they make up 32.5 per cent of the national territory, up from 31.6 five years ago.

In Britain, they make up 13.2 per cent, up from 13 per cent five years ago.

In Canada, it is unchanged at 38.2 per cent, and in the United States, unchanged at 33.9 per cent.

In Australia, the figure rose from 17.3 to 17.4 per cent and in New Zealand from 37.4 per cent to 37.6 per cent over the five years.

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