Rising temperatures could drive up farmer suicides in India without govt help — study

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FILE- In this March 7, 2017 file photo, Indian women farmers work in their farm on the eve of International Women's Day on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. Researchers report a link between crop-damaging temperatures and suicide rates in India, where more than 130,000 farmers end their lives every year. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)
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An Indian farmer from Tamil Nadu state arranges human skulls, said to belong to farmers who had committed suicide, during a protest in New Delhi on August 1, 2017. Farmers from Tamil Nadu are protesting in New Delhi with the bones of farmers who have committed suicide in the wake of a prolonged drought and rising amounts of debt, seeking action from the government including the write-off of bank loans and relief packages for drought affected areas. / AFP / SAJJAD HUSSAIN
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FILE- In this Feb. 1, 2017 file photo, an Indian farmer works in his paddy field in Roja Mayong village, east of Gauhati, India. Researchers report a link between crop-damaging temperatures and suicide rates in India, where more than 130,000 farmers end their lives every year. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath, File)
Updated 01 August 2017
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Rising temperatures could drive up farmer suicides in India without govt help — study

MUMBAI: Climate change has led to more than 59,000 farmer suicides in India over the last three decades and rising temperatures could drive the suicide rate up further without government help for farmers, according to a US university study.
University of California Berkeley researcher Tamma Carleton said suicide rates in India have nearly doubled since 1980 and claim more than 130,000 lives every year, with about 7 percent of these attributable to warming linked to human activity.
“It was both shocking and heartbreaking to see that thousands of people face such bleak conditions that they are driven to harm themselves,” Carleton said in a statement.
“Without interventions that help families adapt to a warmer climate, it’s likely we will see a rising number of lives lost to suicide as climate change worsens in India,” she added.
The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found every 1 degree Celsius increase above 20°C (68°F) during the growing season led to about 65 suicides across India.
A 5°C increase had five times that effect, showed the study which focused on the summer monsoon period June-September.
More than half India’s population depends on the land for a livelihood.
Tens of thousands of farmers have killed themselves over the last couple of decades in India — by drinking pesticide or hanging themselves — as unseasonal rains and drought led to crop failures, leaving farmers struggling with debt.
More than 12,600 farmers and agricultural workers committed suicide in 2015 alone, accounting for about 10 percent of all suicides in India, according to official data.
Almost 60 percent of suicides were caused by bankruptcy and indebtedness, the data showed.
The government has announced loan write-offs, introduced crop insurance schemes and subsidised inputs such as fertilizers.
But farmers’ unions say implementation of these measures has been slow. They have taken to the streets to demand bigger loan waivers and better output prices in protests that have sometimes turned deadly.
With temperatures in India forecast to rise by 3°C by 2050, policies to protect farmers with crop insurance and improvements in rural credit markets may help check suicides, said Carleton.
“Learning that the desperation is economic means that we can do something about this. The right policies could save thousands,” she said.
“The tragedy is unfolding today ... This is our problem, right now.”


North Korean missile test violated UN resolution, says Bolton

Updated 8 min 53 sec ago
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North Korean missile test violated UN resolution, says Bolton

  • Trump has left “door open” for North Korea’s Kim
  • Washington has “deep and serious” intelligence on Iran threat

TOKYO: US National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Saturday North Korea’s recent missile launches violated a UN Security Council resolution and urged leader Kim Jong Un to return to denuclearization talks.
It was the first time a senior US official has described the tests as a violation of UN resolutions aimed at halting North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and came ahead of a four-day visit to Japan by US President Donald Trump who arrives later in the day.
“The UN resolution prohibits the launch of any ballistic missiles,” Bolton said at a press roundtable. North Korea’s test firings included short range ballistic missiles and so there was “no doubt” it was a violation, he added.
Earlier this month, Kim Jong Un oversaw the first flight of a previously untested weapon — a relatively small, fast missile experts believe will be easier to hide, launch and maneuver in flight.
Bolton said that the United States was still open to talks with Kim’s regime but that it had not changed its position from the one outlined at the last summit between the United States and North Korea in Hanoi.
“Trump has held the door open for Kim, the next step is for Kim to walk through it,” he said.
Bolton also urged Kim to agree to a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which he said could help restart dialogue on North Korea’s weapons programs.
An Abe Kim summit “could be substantive assistance to that,” he said.
Trump, who will play golf with Abe on Sunday before watching Sumo wrestling, is expected to discuss topics ranging from North Korea to China and two-way trade when they sit down for a summit on Monday.
The two leaders will also discuss rising tensions with Iran, Bolton said. Abe is considering a visit to Iran as early as mid-June, public broadcaster NHK said on Friday, the first such trip in four decades.
Washington has said it will stop waivers for countries buying Iranian oil and has designated Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.
The United State is also deploying a carrier strike group and bombers to the Middle East in response to what the Trump administration described as troubling “indications and warnings” from Iran.
Bolton, who has spearheaded an increasingly hawkish US policy on Iran, described recent attacks on tankers off the United Arab Emirates and a pipeline pumping station in Saudi Arabia, as well as a rocket attack in Baghdad’s Green Zone in Iraq, as “manifestations of concern.”
The United States has “deep and serious” intelligence on the threat posed by Iran, said Bolton, who declined to provide details.