‘Nasa warning’ of super flood a super hoax, says weather office chief

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June 02, 2017 01:00


Source : nationmultimedia.com

Abhisit downplays Democrat divisions following return of ex-PDRC members

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DEMOCRAT PARTY leader Abhisit Vejjajiva

June 02, 2017 01:00


Source : nationmultimedia.com

Four civilians killed and injured in two blasts in Anbar’s Hit

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Anbar (IraqiNews.com) Four civilians were killed and injured in two separate IED blasts in Hit city, in Anbar province, Sputnik quoted Iraqi news source as saying.

According to the source, two civilians were killed, while two others were seriously wounded in two IED blasts in al-Suwaib village in Hit, western Anbar. One of the injured lost his leg in one of the blasts.

Iraqi troops liberated Hit from Islamic State militants in mid-April 2016.

Violence in the country has surged further with the emergence of Islamic State Sunni extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

According to a monthly count released on Thursday by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, violence and armed conflicts left 824 Iraqis dead and wounded during the month of May.

Nineveh came on top of the most affected governorates with 354 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 470 injured. Baghdad came in second place with 86 victims and 22 injured. Anbar came third with a total of 136 casualties (47 killed and 89 injured)

The total number of victims marked a rise from 317 Iraqis in April. In March, the victims reached 1115, according to UNAMI.

Islamic State is believed to have begun escalating attacks outside the city of Mosul, where the group has been losing ground and personnel since October.


Source : Iraqi News

Airstrike destroys IS oil warehouse and 12 tanks in Hawija

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Airstrike destroys IS oil warehouse and 12 tanks in Hawija

Hawija (IraqiNews.com) A security source in Kirkuk Province revealed, on Thursday, that coalition air strike destroyed an oil warehouse and 12 tanks belonging to the Islamic State group in Hawija Province, west of the province, Alsumaria News reported.

The source said that the international coalition aircraft bombarded, today, the Islamic State’s crude oil market area, in al-Shameet area in Hawija District.

The air strike destroyed 12 oil tanks and one of the group’s largest crude oil warehouses, the source added on condition of anonymity.

Noteworthy, Hawija District and the areas of al-Zab, al-Rashad, al-Riyad and al-Abbasi, southwest of Kirkuk, are still controlled by the Islamic State group, since 10 June 2014.


Source : Iraqi News

Dubai has grand plan for cleaner air

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Dubai Municipality will develop advanced monitoring systems, as well as ‘Smart Air Quality Stations’

Dubai residents concerned about the future can soon breathe can soon breathe a sign of ‘clean’ relief – the Emirate’s ambitious Dh500 million plan to improve air quality will, in the long run, lead to better health for us all.

Air Quality Strategy 2017 is designed to turn Dubai into a city with world-class standards for air purity, according to Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, the Director General of Dubai Municipality, who unveiled the plan last week.

As part of the project, Dubai Municipality will develop advanced monitoring systems, as well as ‘Smart Air Quality Stations’ which should help raise public awareness of the importance of clean air.

Eng. Alia Al Harmoudi, the Director of the Municipality’s Environment department, explained that the preliminary stages of the project included analysing data from the last several years to create over 300 digital maps pinpointing the locations in which pollution levels increase, their sources, and how they spread, taking into account various climactic factors such as variations in temperature and humidity and the speed and direction of winds.

The monitoring systems “will provide visitors with the opportunity to experience the most important air quality issues in a unique and modern manner that leaves the greatest impact on the visitor’s imagination and enhances their environmental awareness,” Harmoudi said.

Officials noted that local air quality has conformed to international standards even before the launch of Air Strategy 2017.

In September 2016, for example, Dubai Municipality statistics gathered from 13 smart stations across the Emirate revealed that Dubai’s air quality had improved 88 per cent by the end of 2015, higher than the target level of 85 per cent.

The health risks of contaminated air

In an interview, Dr. Trilok Chand, one of the UAE’s top experts on the harmful effects of air pollution, noted that it is a global problem that must be curbed by government policies such as those now being taken in the emirate.

Dr. Chand, a specialist in respiratory medicine at Abu Dhabi’s Burjeel Hospital, said “the quality of air depends on many things, such as particles and (the presence of) chemicals such as carbon monoxide. These particles and chemicals increase health risks.”

Contaminated air, he explained, can harm both people who already suffer from pre-existing respiratory conditions and those who don’t. “If they (people with pre-existing respiratory problems) stay in a city with bad air quality, they can be affected …for example, if they already have asthma, problems can increase.”

“The problem is that diseases can be caused by carbon monoxide and other materials in the air. People can face bronchitis, or even pneumonia.”

Children, older people, and unborn babies are at particular risk, he added. “If we improve air quality, the number of respiratory problems (will) come down.”

Poor quality air: a global scourge

Around the globe, millions of people continue to suffer the negative health effects of poor quality air.

A study released by UNICEF in October 2016 found that an estimated 300 million children – most of them in South Asia, Africa and the East Asia-Pacific region, live with outdoor air so polluted it can cause serious physical damage, including harm to their young brains.

Across the globe, air pollution was found to be a significant contributing factor in the deaths of 600,000 children every five years.

Another report, released by the World Health Organization (WHO) in September 2016, found that an alarming 92 per cent of the world’s population live in regions that exceed the WHO’s recommended limits, with an estimated three million deaths a year – most of them in lower and middle income countries – linked to the effects of air pollution.

Of the deaths stemming from air pollution, 94 per cent are due to non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer.

“Air pollution continues to take a toll on the health of the most vulnerable populations – women, children, and older adults,” said Dr Flavia Bustreo, the WHO’s Assistant Director General. “For people to be healthy, they must breathe clean air from their first breath to their last.” – bernd@khaleejtimes.com

What the plan entails

– Dubai Municipality will soon receive a mobile station for air quality monitoring.

– The station, a first-of-its-kind in the region, includes 20 devices to monitor about 100 components and composites that pollute the air

– Dubai Municipality already has 13 smart air stations in different locations across the Emirate

– Data from 300 digital maps showing polluted areas and other factors

– Deadly gases and particles

– Nitrogen Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Ozone – These gases irritate the airways of the lungs, increasing the symptoms of those suffering from lung diseases

– Particles – Fine particles can be carried deep into the lungs where they can cause inflammation and a worsening of heart and lung diseases

– Carbon Monoxide – This gas prevents the uptake of oxygen by the blood. This can lead to a significant reduction in the supply of oxygen to the heart, particularly in people suffering from heart disease .


Source : Khaleej Times

Residents react to Abu Dhabi taxi fare hike

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Taxi fares in Abu Dhabi have gone up from Thursday, with the minimum charge set at Dh12. The new flag-fall rate is Dh5 from Dh3.5 for day trips and Dh5.5 for night trips.

The waiting fee is 50 fils for both day and night trips. The taxi booking rate is now Dh4 for day trips and Dh5 for night trips. With this Abu Dhabi’s minimum charge is similar to Dubai.

The new rates were announced on May 1 and took effect a month after publication in the Official Gazette.

Taxi drivers, largely, welcomed this move.

“The new rates have started today. I can’t say this is good or bad for us but surely my company will be happy by the end of this month,” Farhad Hussain, a taxi driver, said.

Hussain isn’t sure if there will be new targets given to him now.

However, some cars had software update of new billing not in place by evening.

“By Friday, all taxis will have the same fare. It’s not just my taxi but others too will get updated soon. the process started from Thursday 12 am,” Krishna Prasad, a taxi driver, said.

Drivers are optimistic that despite the hike passengers will continue to use taxis.

Teg Bahadur said most of the passengers are Filipinos and he has full faith they will continue to pay then walk in blazing summer.

“Indians will be doubtful but I can count on Filipinos,” he said.

However, Reyes Michelle, a Filipino, working at a shop on Muroor Road said she had to pay Dh5.5 or Dh6 and now the fare got doubled.

“I have to seriously rethink about using public transport,” Reyes said.

Another Filipino said such a move was best implemented after the summer season.

Sajeev Sahadevan, a regular taxi user, said the fare hike is an issue for those who take short distance trips.
“Now we may see more cycles on road. Most Indians walk small distance or use public buses. I was under the impression this was a proposal but shocked by such a huge hike. This means you travel a distance of Dh5 and yet pay Dh12.”

Announcing the new fares last month, Abu Dhabi Integrated Transport Center had said the revision was part of efforts to enhance the quality of service provided to taxi riders.


Source : Khaleej Times

Pilbara man charged with sexual assault after victim offered him a lift

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WA Police have charged a Pegs Creek man after he was offered a lift from a 44-year-old woman before he allegedly proceeded to sexually assault her inside a West Pilbara home.

Police claim the woman attended a petrol station on Nickol Road on Wednesday evening where she met with two men, and gave the pair a lift to a house in Millars Well.

The group then had a drink together.

“During this time the victim was struck in the face, before being sexually assaulted by one of the men,” police spokesman Adam Brouwer said.

The woman then fled the house and attended Nickol Bay Hospital for further treatment. It is believed the men were not known to the woman.

Police also believe the same men were involved in a store robbery on Tambrey Drive in Nickol on Tuesday evening. It is alleged the pair entered the store, took two items from the fridge section and left without paying.

A 23-year-old man has been charged with aggravated sexual penetration without consent, assault occasioning bodily harm and robbery. A second man is now assisting police with their enquiries.

He is set to appear in Karratha Magistrates Court on Friday.


Source : WA Today

‘Massive, catastrophic’ Murray fish kill sparks big questions

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JUNE 2 2017 – 6:50AM

Emma Young

A respected University of Western Australia expert has urged the public and the government to “ask harder questions” in the wake of a “catastrophic” fish kill that left 30,000 fish floating on the Murray.

The dead fish include bream, whiting, flounder, crabs and mulloway around the South Yunderup area, and downstream of Forrest Highway towards the river mouth. An investigation into the “event” was launched with fish and water samples collected for testing.

Dead bream and mulloway on the banks of the Murray River on North Yunderup on Sunday.

Dead bream and mulloway on the banks of the Murray River on North Yunderup on Sunday.  Photo: Narelle Davies

Recfishwest said it was likely the number would continue to grow and called for ‘open, honest and timely’ information from relevant government departments.

Department of Water staff said it was most likely caused by low dissolved oxygen levels – that recent rains had washed organic matter into the river and disturbed sediment that contained very little oxygen, two factors resulting in dissolved oxygen falling below levels fish could tolerate.

It would continue observations, and conduct fortnightly water quality sampling.

Aquatic ecology expert Anas Ghadouani said while this explanation was “quite plausible” it could also apply to anything.

“It’s a bit like saying what’s the cause of death? Well, their heart stopped,” he said.

“Different species of fish don’t all hang out in the same place. They are not sensitive to the same level of oxygen. So I don’t buy the one explanation. It is simplistic.

“And why are these systems at this level that a rain could wash things into the river and cause this much damage? This is serious damage and a serious incident; multiple species, large numbers.

“Thirty thousand fish dying is not an ‘incident’. It is not business as usual. It is a reminder that the system is fragile.”

Professor Ghadouani, executive director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities, said he was not criticising the government, but gave the analogy of the need to go to a specialist when a blood test at the GP showed a major abnormality.

“The official line is we are monitoring, we are measuring,” he said.

“Monitoring doesn’t cut it. A better understanding of the systems is needed. They are doing it by the book but we need more than a textbook reaction. We need serious attention.”

He said not enough was known about the riverine system to know how many fish were supposed to be in it and how quickly they reproduced, but one could assume so many fish were the product of tens of years and the right developmental conditions.

When 30,000 fish died overnight, it begged many questions: What was left, whether the system could recover, and how long would it take? This many fish could potentially represent a ‘system collapse’.

It should also be remembered that fish were an easy death to spot because they were so big that they floated.

But there was plenty more beneath the surface that was invisible, including the invertebrates the fish had fed on and it was a mystery what was happening to those.

“So how are we to recover? What is a river without fish or crabs or mussels?” Professor Ghadouani said.

“Environmental systems don’t need more generalised testing. They need deeper investigation, not just collecting the fish and identifying bacteria.

“It is obvious [it’s pollution].

“The rain just mobilises toxic stuff. Why is the toxic stuff there in the first place? How can a rainfall cause this much damage?

“What is the health of the system and how can you prevent massive, catastrophic events like this?

“We cannot have an answer to these questions. Instead of addressing the cause we address the symptoms.

“We must challenge, have a good conversation, and ask a much harder question than we normally would.”

People are warned not to eat or handle any fish caught in the catchment while water and fish samples are collected and tested.

Report further dead fish sightings to FISHWATCH on 1800 815 507.


Source : WA Today

Ramadan witnesses more visitors to religious, tourist sites in Madinah

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MADINAH: Ramadan is the time of year when religious and historical venues linked to the Prophet, peace be upon him, after his Hijra to Madinah are of particular interest to Madinah visitors.
These places are popular destinations for visitors before they meet for iftar in public squares, enjoying the wide-ranging services the government offers visitors to the Two Holy Mosques throughout the year.
During the holy month of Ramadan, visits are made to the far-off historic sites, even though summer temperatures reach as high as 50 degrees during daytime.
Tourists also head to Quba, Qiblatayn, Al-Khandaq, Al-Ghamama and Al-Ijaba Mosques, as well as the Uhud martyrs square and the King Fahd Complex for Printing the Holy Qur’an.
These famous sites are connected to glorious times dating back 14 centuries.
The journeys are well worth taking, considering that the mosques and the historical sites have been well taken care of by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. This ensures that visitors enjoy modern amenities, such as air conditioning, water, lighting systems in and outside the mosques, particularly during Ramadan and Haj seasons that usually witness a large number of pilgrims and visitors.
The Madinah mayoralty also makes sure that gardens are well tended and that street vendors selling food meet the required hygienic standards, while the security personnel take all measures to ensure safe travel for visitors to these religious and historical sites.
The Quba mosque is the second most popular attraction for pilgrims after the Prophet’s Mosque, being the first mosque built by the Prophet, who used to visit it and pray in it on his first day of Hijra to Madinah. It was rebuilt several times.
Buses and other vehicles converge on the Uhud martyrs square, which becomes every year a large Islamic forum for people of all nationalities.
The Sayyed Al-Shuhada Mosque, considered Madinah’s largest mosque as it can accommodate 15,000 worshippers, was built in this same square.
It is also the place where the tomb of an Uhud martyr from among the companions of the Prophet can be found.
During Ramadan, some people prefer to dedicate themselves to spiritual rituals, while others prefer marketplaces and commercial centers where they shop and buy gifts for families.
Others opt for the tranquility of the Hijaz railway station, 2 km away from the Prophet’s Mosque, where they enjoy the family-friendly setting.


Source : Arab News