World
Killing the Colorado: Holy and Thirstiest Cotton Crop
The scarcity of water in California, Arizona and other Western states is as much a man-made crisis as a natural one, the result of decades of missteps and misapprehensions by governments and businesses as they have faced surging demand driven by a booming population
 
State Route 87, the thin band of pavement that approaches the mostly shuttered town of Coolidge, Ariz., cuts through some of the least hospitable land in the country. The valley of red and brown sand is interrupted occasionally by rock and saguaro cactus. It’s not unusual for summer temperatures to top 116 degrees. And there is almost no water; this part of Arizona receives less than nine inches of rainfall each year. 
 
Then Route 87 tacks left and the dead landscape springs to life. Barren roadside is replaced by thousands of acres of cotton fields, their bright, leafy green stalks and white, puffy bolls in neat rows that unravel for miles. It’s a vision of bounty where it would be least expected. Step into the hip-high cotton shrubs, with the soft, water-soaked dirt giving way beneath your boot soles, the bees buzzing in your ears, the pungent odor of the plants in your nostrils, and you might as well be in Georgia.
 
Getting plants to grow in the Sonoran Desert is made possible by importing billions of gallons of water each year. Cotton is one of the thirstiest crops in existence, and each acre cultivated here demands six times as much water as lettuce, 60 percent more than wheat. That precious liquid is pulled from a nearby federal reservoir, siphoned from beleaguered underground aquifers and pumped in from the Colorado River hundreds of miles away. Greg Wuertz has been farming cotton on these fields since 1981, and before him, his father and grandfather did the same. His family is part of Arizona’s agricultural royalty. His father was a board member of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District for nearly two decades. Wuertz has served as president of several of the most important cotton organizations in the state.
 
But what was once a breathtaking accomplishment — raising cotton in a desert — has become something that Wuertz pursues with a twinge of doubt chipping at his conscience. Demand and prices for cotton have plummeted, and he knows no one really needs what he supplies. More importantly, he understands that cotton comes at enormous environmental expense, a price the American West may no longer be able to afford. 
 
Wuertz could plant any number of crops that use far less water than cotton and fill grocery store shelves from Maine to Minnesota. But along with hundreds of farmers across Arizona, he has kept planting his fields with cotton instead. He says he has done it out of habit, pride, practicality, and even a self-deprecating sense that he wouldn’t be good at anything else. But in truth, one reason outweighs all the others: The federal government has long offered him so many financial incentives to do it that he can’t afford not to. 
 
“Some years all of what you made came from the government,” Wuertz said. “Your bank would finance your farming operation … because they knew the support was guaranteed. They wouldn’t finance wheat, or alfalfa. Cotton was always dependable, it would always work.”
 
 
 
Courtesy: ProPublica.org
 

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Maggi samples found unsafe: Delhi government
Samples of Maggi noodles tested in the national capital were found unsafe, the Delhi government announced on Tuesday and said it may take action against the company manufacturing the popular snack.
 
Health Minister Satyendra Jain said 10 in 13 samples of Maggi noodles sent for testing were found to have excess amount of lead.
 
"Out of 13 samples taken last week, 10 have been found to be containing lead more than the permissible limit. Eighty percent of the samples failed. The officials (of Nestle India which manufactures Maggi noodles) will be called tomorrow (Wednesday) and further action will be taken," Jain said.
 
Jain added that there was "incorrect information" provided on five of the 13 samples.
 
Earlier, Delhi government spokesperson Nagendra Sharma said the samples had been sent to lab for testing and found unsafe.
 
"Lab testing reports show Maggi samples found unsafe in national capital: Delhi govt," Sharma said in a tweet.

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COMMENTS

Fairy gada

2 years ago

I am stricly banned to have Maggie noodles, by my parents, since a couple of years. I used to feel dizzyness and my blood pressure felt after having it. But never bothered to find out the actual reason behing it.
I still had it sometimes and felt weakness.

I am never ever in my life having Maggie or any other packed food again.

Web portal to trace missing children launched
The government on Tuesday launched an exclusive web portal dedicated to tracking down missing children.
 
The website called "Khoya-Paya" aims to help trace missing children by allowing citizens to post information about a child who is not to be found.
 
Simultaneously, anybody who has seen a child alone or with suspicious people can post information or photographs of the child on the portal.
 
Information about missing and sighted children can be uploaded at khoyapaya.gov.in.
 
The portal is also available as a mobile application.
 
"This website would be different from the website called 'track child' which is at present being maintained by the home ministry," Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said at the launch of the web portal here.
 
"The plan originated from the prime minister," she said.
 
Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the portal was a step towards the government's vision of bridging the digital divide.
 
"This website is likely to benefit the poor and under-privileged sections more," he said.
 
Gandhi said the website was an enabling platform, where citizens can report missing children, as well as sightings of their whereabouts without wasting much time.
 
Found children can also be reported on the portal.
 
Citizens can also provide information about abandoned, lost children and those sighted with suspicious people. Through this portal, they are also advised to inform the nearest police station.
 
Officials of the women and child development ministry, however, clarified that putting up information on the portal was not a replacement for filing an FIR with police.
 
As per information provided by the National Crime Records Bureau, the number of children who go missing every year is about 70,000.

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