Vietnam hit by worst drought in 90 years

Updated 01 March 2016
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Vietnam hit by worst drought in 90 years

HANOI: Vietnam is suffering its worst drought in nearly a century with salinization hitting farmers especially hard in the crucial southern Mekong delta, experts said Monday.
“The water level of the Mekong River has gone down to its lowest level since 1926, leading to the worst drought and salinization there,” Nguyen Van Tinh, deputy head of the hydraulics department under the Ministry of Agriculture, told AFP.
The low-lying and heavily cultivated Mekong region is home to more than 20 million people and is the country’s rice basket.
Intensive cultivation and rising sea levels already make it one of the world’s most ecologically sensitive regions.
Scientists blame the ongoing 2015-2016 El Nino weather phenomenon, one of the most powerful on record, for the current drought.
Water shortages have also hampered agriculture in nearby Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.
Le Anh Tuan, a professor of climate change at the University of Can Tho in the heart of the Mekong region, said as much as 40-50 percent of the 2.2 million hectares (5.4 million acres) of arable land in the delta had been hit by salinization.
“We do not have any specific measures to mitigate the situation,” Tuan told AFP, adding that residents had been urged to save water for domestic rather than agricultural use.


Sri Lanka prosecutor orders probe of nine officers over Easter bombing lapses

Updated 8 sec ago
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Sri Lanka prosecutor orders probe of nine officers over Easter bombing lapses

  • More than 250 people including 42 foreigners were killed in the attacks, for which Daesh has claimed responsibility
  • Despite three advance intelligence reports from India on pending attacks, Sri Lanka's top defence officials failed to act before the Easter day suicide bombings by militants

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's main prosecutor directed the acting police chief to carry out an investigation into nine officers who are suspected of failing to help prevent the Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 250 people, a document showed.
More than 250 people including 42 foreigners were killed in the attacks, for which Daesh has claimed responsibility. The attacks sent shockwaves through the Indian Ocean island state, which had enjoyed relative peace since a civil war ended a decade ago.
"You are hereby directed to initiate criminal investigations with regard to the lapses of the above officers to prevent/minimize the above attacks," the Attorney General wrote in a letter to the acting police chief seen by Reuters. The letter named the nine senior police officers.
Despite three advance intelligence reports from India on pending attacks, Sri Lanka's top defence officials failed to act before the Easter day suicide bombings by militants that targeted three churches and three luxury hotels.
Authorities said the attacks were carried out by two little-known domestic groups: the National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim.
Authorities say the threat of more attacks has been contained and the security services have dismantled most of the network linked to the bombings.