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Climate impact on health: India’s heat-related deaths went up by 55% – The Lancet data

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Growing reliance on fossil fuels have increased heat deaths, hunger, heat-related illnesses and infectious diseases, according to a new study.Some 98 million more people, across the world, reported moderate to severe food insecurity, in 2020, than the average in 1981-2010, noted the study published by The Lancet, a journal, on October 25, 2022. Extreme weather events were devastating for countries across the world.

The Lancet came out with its global annual countdown on the health impacts of climate change, less than a fortnight ahead of the 27th Conference of Parties (CoP 27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The findings of the report are grim.Vulnerable populations were exposed to 3.7 billion more heatwave days, in 2021 than annually in 1986–2005, the report noted. Heat-related deaths increased by 68 percent between 2000–2004 and 2017–2021.

The number of months, suitable for malaria transmission, increased by 31.3 percent, and and 13·8 percent in the highland areas of the Americas, and the highland areas of Africa from 1951–60 to 2012–21 respectively. The likelihood of dengue transmission rose by 12 percent, between 1951–60 and 2012–21.An India-specific factsheet, derived from data in The Lancet report but not a part of the document itself, has significant findings.

It found that heat-related deaths increased by 55 percent between 2000-2004 and 2017-2021.Some 167.2 billion potential labour hours were lost due to heat exposure. It amounts to an equivalent economic loss of 5.4 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. The number of months, suitable for dengue transmission by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, rose to 5.6 months each year — 1.69 percent increase, between 1951-1960 and 2012-2021.Infants went through 0.9 more heatwave days per year, while adults, over 65, experienced 3.7 more days per person compared to 1986, the factsheet noted.

“Countries and companies continue to make choices that threaten the health and survival of people in every part of the world,” the report noted in its call to action.



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President Ranil Wickremasinghe calls upon chief prelates of Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters

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(pic courtsey Divaina)

President Ranil Wickremasinghe called upon the chief prelates of the Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters on Thursday (02) morning to seek their blessings ahead of the 75th Independence day celebrations.

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US secures deal on bases to complete arc around China

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US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (R) was in the Philippines to finalise the deal (picture BBC)

BBC reported that the United States has secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines – a key bit of real estate which would offer a front seat to monitor the Chinese in the South China Sea and around Taiwan.

With this deal, Washington has stitched the gap in the arc of US alliances stretching from South Korea and Japan in the north to Australia in the south.

The missing link had been the Philippines, which borders two of the biggest potential flashpoints, Taiwan and the South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea as Manila insists on calling it.

The US already had limited access to five sites under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) – the new additions and expanded access, according to a statement from Washington, will “allow more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters in the Philippines, and respond to other shared challenges”, likely a veiled reference to countering China in the region.

The statement came after Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin met Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in Manila on Thursday.

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Nuland accuses China of failing to help SL with ‘credible and specific assurances’ acceptable to IMF

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Nuland addressing the media in Colombo (pic by Thushara Atapattu)

US hopes LG polls will be held in March

By Saman Indrajith

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, yesterday said China had not provided credible and specific assurances to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Sri Lanka to overcome the current economic crisis.

Addressing the media in Colombo, Nuland said: “What China has offered so far is not enough. We need to see credible and specific assurances that they will meet the IMF standard of debt relief. We, the United States, are prepared to do our part. Our Paris Club partners are prepared to do their part. India has made strong commitments that it will provide the credible assurances the IMF is looking for.”

Nuland said that India and the Paris Club had given strong assurances to the IMF to help Sri Lanka to obtain a $2.9 billion bailout.

“We want to see an IMF program as quickly as possible. That is what Sri Lanka deserves; that is what Sri Lanka needs,” Nuland said.

Nuland said the US would give Sri Lanka an additional USD 30 million to provide 96,000 schoolchildren with food.

She said Sri Lankans had taken to the streets, last year, demanding cleaner, accountable and inclusive governance, with transparency, and the government was expected to hold the elections to enable people to enjoy their democratic rights.

Nuland said that the US was glad to see that consultation between the government and other parties towards reconciliation had commenced. She said that she had met with members of the Tamil political parties, earlier yesterday. “We hope that the dialogue will continue to achieve real results such as return of the lands to their rightful owners.”

Nuland said that the US hoped that local elections would be held in March, the dialogue commenced for reconciliation would continue, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act would be reformed to meet international standards.

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