Heavy rain, flooding paralyse India’s financial hub

Widespread floods have killed more than 800 people and displaced over a million in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, with aid workers warning of severe food shortages and water-borne diseases as rains continue to lash the affected areas. Seasonal monsoon rains, a lifeline for farmers across South Asia, typically cause loss of life and property every year between July and September, but officials say this year's flooding is the worst in several years. At least 115 people have died and more than 5.7 million are affected in Bangladesh as floods submerged more than a third of the low-lying and densely populated country. "The water level has gradually dropped. The flood situation will improve if it does not rain upstream any further," Sazzad Hossain, executive engineer of Bangladesh's Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre, told Reuters. Reaz Ahmed, the director general of Bangladesh's Disaster Management Department, said there are rising concerns about food shortages and the spread of disease. "With the flood waters receding, there is a possibility of an epidemic. We fear the outbreak of water-borne diseases if clean water is not ensured soon," Ahmed told Reuters. People transport sacks of rice through a boat at a flooded village in Morigaon district in the northeastern state of Assam, India August 20, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Anuwar Hazarika With some rivers running above danger levels, 225 bridges have been damaged in Bangladesh, disrupting food and medicine supplies to people displaced from their homes, said aid workers. In the Indian state of Assam bordering…... [read more]

Viet Nam News Kiều Vân HÀ NỘI - Vietnamese nutrition experts have warned of a serious vitamin E deficiencyamong children resulting from parents' and child-care workers' poor knowledge of healthy nutrition. Nguyễn Mai Hà, a mother of two, said she didn't know that children need plenty of vitamin E for proper growth, and was only advised to give them supplements of essential nutrients vitamin A and D. At a periodic medical examination by HCM City Society of Clinical Nutrition ( SCN), Hà, a 30-year-old banking official, said she had been feeding her two children according to the advice of her mother and elderly friends. Doctor Lưu Ngân Tâm, SCN chairwoman, explains that vitamin E plays a role in gene expression and helps children convert the foods they eat into energy. "The nutrient also acts an antioxidant to protect a child's cells from damage that can increase lifetime risk of heart disease and cancer," she says. The Hà Nội-based National Institute of Nutrition surveys have revealed more than 50 per cent of Vietnamese children fail to get enough vitamins, including vitamin E or iron in their daily meals. Institute surveys have shown the rate of Vietnamese children lacking different kinds of vitamins, namely A, B1, C and D, was higher than that of the other three countries in the region, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. A recent study of the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research showed vitamin E content of Vietnamese people was at the lowest level in the Asia-Pacific…... [read more]

Nguyen Mai Ha, a mother of two, said she didn’t know that children need plenty of vitamin E for proper growth, and was only advised to give them supplements of essential nutrients vitamin A and D. At a periodic medical examination by HCM City Society of Clinical Nutrition (SCN), Ha, a 30-year-old banking official, said she had been feeding her two children according to the advice of her mother and elderly friends. Doctor Luu Ngan Tam, SCN chairwoman, explains that vitamin E plays a role in gene expression and helps children convert the foods they eat into energy. “The nutrient also acts an antioxidant to protect a child’s cells from damage that can increase lifetime risk of heart disease and cancer,” she says. The Hanoi-based National Institute of Nutrition surveys have revealed more than 50 percent of Vietnamese children fail to get enough vitamins, including vitamin E or iron in their daily meals. Institute surveys have shown the rate of Vietnamese children lacking different kinds of vitamins, namely A, B1, C and D, was higher than that of the other three countries in the region, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. A recent study of the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research showed vitamin E content of Vietnamese people was at the lowest level in the Asia-Pacific region and in the world. Vietnamese children under 12 have an average blood level of vitamin E under 12umol/l, compared to a standard vitamin E level of 30umol/l. Doctor Tam says Vietnamese people eat…... [read more]

Rescuers were searching Wednesday for 20 people missing and feared dead after two buses plunged into a fast-flowing river in western India when a bridge collapsed in torrential monsoon rain, officials said. Emergency workers pulled two bodies from the rain-swollen river but were still searching for the others feared swept downstream following the accident south of Mumbai overnight on Tuesday. Television footage showed large chunks of the British-colonial era bridge had fallen into the Savitri river, but there was no sign of the vehicles in the water. The bridge is about 170 kilometres (105 miles) from Mumbai along a major highway connecting India's financial capital with the tourism state of Goa. "Two bodies have been recovered by rescue agencies. We are trying to ascertain their identities and the (rescue) operations are on," Sanjay Patil, police superintendent of Raigad district where the accident occurred, told AFP. More than 100 rescuers armed with diving and other specialist equipment were scouring the river, but their efforts were hampered by the fast current and incessant rain. "The flow of currents is very strong, making it difficult to launch a full-scale search operation. We are looking for vehicles and bodies over a stretch of eight kilometres," disaster management chief O.P Singh told AFP. "Our team is equipped with deep divers and life-saving equipment," he said. The air force, navy and coastguard have deployed helicopters to survey the river, while television footage showed rescuers in inflatable dinghies trying to manoeuvre on the fast-flowing water. Home Minister…... [read more]

Fruits ripened by chemicals are rampantly displayed at markets in Vietnam, even though it is common knowledge that such chemicals are harmful to the health of consumers. Farmers and sellers apply chemicals to keep fruits in a batch evenly ripe and attractive for better sales and profits. Most consumers are unable to distinguish fruits ripened on trees and fruits ripened by chemicals, except some experienced ones. Eating such chemical fruits can negatively impact the liver, gall bladder, heart and other internal organs in the long term. Other consequences include unconsciousness and eyesight problems. Consumer worries Ms. Tan Thanh, from Binh Thanh District in Ho Chi Minh City, said her solution to avoid chemical fruits and other products is to buy them from the same sellers to gain mutual confidence. Sellers are more experienced than most consumers and they are worth trusting, she said. Thanh said one day she went to buy jackfruit and her fruit seller told her she should not buy the fruit that day. "Tomorrow I will sell jackfruit ripened on a tree for you," she recalled her seller telling her. Fruits ripened by chemicals don’t taste or smell as good as naturally ripened fruit, but the latter don’t look as good as the former, she said. A Tuoi Tre journalist visited a pesticide shop in Krong Pak District of the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak to ask for chemicals to ripen fruits. He was offered a 0.5 liter bottle with a label that read "senior leaf…... [read more]

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 27 - India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that he wants to hold bilateral talks with neighboring Pakistan "without a shadow of terrorism," a day after Pakistan's prime minister expressed frustration over stalled talks over Kashmir. Last month, India announced it was withdrawing from the planned peace talks about the disputed Himalayan region between the two nuclear-armed neighbors because of plans by Pakistan to consult Kashmiri separatists ahead of the meeting. "I want to hold bilateral talks to improve friendship and cooperation in all seriousness and in an atmosphere of peace, without a shadow of terrorism," Modi, speaking in Hindi, told the United Nations General Assembly in his first address to the world body. "But this is also the duty of Pakistan to come forward and create an appropriate atmosphere and with all seriousness come forward for a bilateral dialogue," he said. India says Pakistan supports separatist militants that cross the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan-controlled regions, from the Pakistan side to attack Indian forces. Modi appeared to chastise Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had used his own General Assembly address on Friday to blame India for the collapse of the latest talks over Kashmir. "By raising this issue in this forum," Modi said, "I don't know how serious our efforts will be, and some people are doubtful about it." Modi is due to have private meetings with the prime ministers of Nepal and Bangladesh and the president of…... [read more]

Nearly half of girls in South Asia marry before their 18th birthday as children in the region continue paying the price of persistent inequality, according to a UNICEF report released Thursday. The UNICEF report said that child marriage is pervasive in South Asia even though most countries in the region have a legal marrying minimum age of 18. Before the age of 18, 46 percent of South Asian girls are married, while 18 percent are married before age 15. The highest rate of child marriage was in Bangladesh, where two-thirds of girls are married before age 18, followed by India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The problem is rooted in poverty and social norms, with parents marrying their daughters early "because they see it as the 'done thing' and because they fear the social sanctions and moral judgments they would face if they refused to follow this practice," the report said. UNICEF said it is paramount to enhance education access for girls and to provide economic support to counteract the financial motives for child marriage. It also called for establishing support networks for girls, pointing to a remote mountain district in Nepal where clubs for women and children have raised awareness of child marriage and even intervened directly with parents who planned to marry their girls off. UNICEF also called for increasing child birth registration, saying proof of age can help protect against child marriage, along with child labor and under-age military recruitment. While child birth registration has increased in the region,…... [read more]

Vietnam is among the top 10 countries with the worst air pollution, according to a study released during this year's World Economic Forum in Davos. India has the world's worst air pollution, beating out China, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, according to the study. Vietnam's water supply (Effects on Human Health) was ranked 80th of the 132 surveyed. In terms of overall environment, Vietnam, the study ranked Vietnam 79th. The Environmental Performance Index is conducted by the environmental research centers of Yale and Columbia universities with assistance from dozens of independent scientists. The study uses satellite data to measure the concentration levels of air pollution. The EPI ranks countries according to 22 performance indicators spanning ten policy categories designed to reflect facets of both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. The categories are environmental burden of disease, water (effects on human health), air pollution (effects on human health and ecosystems), water resources (ecosystem effects), biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture and climate change. According to the 2012 EPI, Switzerland leads the world in terms of addressing issues of pollution and the challenge of managing natural resources. Meanwhile, Malaysia was ranked the best performer among Southeast Asian nations, at 25th. In 2010, Malaysia was ranked 54th among 261 countries, whereas Singapore was 28th; however, the city-state dropped to 52nd on the latest index.... [read more]

India, the world’s second-biggest producer of rice, may scrap a ban on exports after a record harvest increased stockpiles, a government official said. The government would assess reserves, purchases from farmers and supplies in the country before ending the curbs next month, said the official, who did not want to be identified because the information is not public. Global rice prices have slumped by half from a record in 2008 as supplies rose and the global recession punctured the commodities boom. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government, returned to power in elections that ended May 16, imposed the ban after political parties protested against rising food costs. “It’s the right time to allow exports as we have a surplus, otherwise food will become feed if it stays in warehouses,” said Vijay Setia, former president of the All India Rice Exporters’ Association. Prices climbed to a record US$25.07 per 100 pounds in April 2008 after growers including Vietnam and Egypt halted shipments to secure supplies. July-delivery futures were little changed at $11.945 on the Chicago Board of Trade in after-hours trading. Food Corp. of India, the biggest buyer of grain, has bought a record 28.6 million tons of rice from farmers this marketing season after the government raised the floor price and opened 28,000 centers to collect food grain, said the official. The state-owned agency purchased 28.49 million tons last year. Exports of non-basmati rice were banned to rein in prices after demand from government welfare programs doubled in five years. The…... [read more]

India, the world's second-biggest rice producer, should scrap a ban on most overseas shipments of the grain to allow sales of at least three million tons this year after a record crop boosted stockpiles, exporters said.... [read more]




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