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India's Siddhesh Sakore named Land Hero by UN agency

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Bonn/New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Siddhesh Sakore, a farmer and the founder of AGRO RANGERS, from Maharashtra, has been named Land Hero by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

On the occasion of World Desertification and Drought Day, the UNCCD announced the names of 10 Land Heroes in a programme in Bonn, Germany, on Sunday.

Apart from Sakore, other Land Heroes are from Brazil, Costa Rica, Germany, Mali, Moldova, Morocco, the Philippines, the US, and Zimbabwe.

Belonging to a farmer family, Sakore has a graduation degree in mechanical engineering.

“I am passionate about natural farming and have technical expertise in waste management. In Vigyan Ashram, I developed several cost-effective mechanical devices to convert organic waste into compost. I have innovated several social innovations about solving real-life problems of society by using eco-friendly and cost-effective technology,” his website at WordPress reads.

“He is passionate about solving the problems of soil degradation on agricultural land. He is committed to empowering small and marginal farmers from his community through innovative agroforestry models,” UNCCD said in its citation.

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“Growing up in the farmer’s community, I witnessed the misery and poverty which seemed to be the inevitable fate of a farmer in Maharashtra,” Sakore said, adding that the combination of economic crisis and the use of toxic chemicals that lead to unsustainable farming methods, as well as the effects of climate change, form a heavy burden on farmers.

Addressing the programme, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said: “As the focus of this year’s World Day reminds us, we must be “United for Land”. Governments, businesses, academics, communities, and more must come together, and act. We know what we need to do: it’s set out clearly in the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. As we mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention, the world must dramatically pick up the pace of implementation; Build momentum towards UNCCD COP16 in Riyadh; And ensure young people are heard in the negotiations. Together, let’s sow the seeds for a thriving future — for nature and humanity.”

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Land degradation affects up to 40 per cent of the world’s land and nearly half the world’s population, UNCCD said, with the highest costs borne by those who can least afford it: indigenous communities, rural households, smallholder farmers, and especially youth and women. More than a billion young people who live in developing countries depend on land and natural resources.

Engaging youth in land restoration can create the estimated 600 million jobs needed in the next 15 years, contributing to both economic growth and environmental sustainability, it added.

President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said: “There is nothing more important, more basic, than good soil, safe food, and clean water. So let’s work together! And let’s bring in young people to make sure that our decisions today ensure their good future tomorrow.”

“The future of our land is the future of our planet. By 2050, 10 billion people will depend on this vital resource. Yet we are losing the equivalent of four football fields to land degradation every second,” said Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UNCCD.

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–IANS

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International

Afghanistan's central bank puts on auction $15 million

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Kabul, July 14 (IANS) Afghanistan’s central bank put on auction $15 million on Sunday in a bid to maintain the stability of the national currency afghani.

“The bidders including moneychangers and private banks should deposit the necessary money in cash in the form of afghani in the central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank,” a statement by the bank said on Saturday, reported Xinhua news agency.

According to the statement, the bank has requested all eligible banks and foreign exchange and monetary service providers to participate in the auction.

The bank auctioned $15 million last week.

Since assuming power in August 2021, the Afghan caretaker government has taken a series of measures to maintain the stability of afghani against foreign currencies.

–IANS

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Man found dead alongside his vessel in Australia

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Sydney, July 14 (IANS) A man was found dead alongside his vessel on a lake in Queensland state on Sunday, the second fatal boating incident in Australia.

The boat was reported missing in the morning. A search and rescue operation then kicked off at Lake Somerset, about 70 km northwest of Queensland state’s capital Brisbane, involving joint efforts by water police, specialist officers, aerial assets, and multiple other agencies, reported Xinhua news agency.

At 4.00 p.m. local time, police located the vessel in the water and the body of the 45-year-old man. Investigations into the circumstances of the incident are ongoing by Queensland Police.

The Somerset Lake incident occurred only a day after one man died and another survived while crossing the Tweed River bar in New South Wales’ far north.

At around 6.00 a.m. on Saturday, police attended the scene at the north wall of the Tweed River, where two people were seen clinging to the upturned hull of a 6.5-meter half-cabin runabout boat.

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One of them was taken to a nearby hospital for a precautionary examination, while the other could not be revived and was declared dead at Duranbah Beach.

–IANS

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One dead, two missing in floods in Philippines

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Manila, July 14 (IANS) At least one person died and two others were missing after floods hit parts of the southern Philippines over the weekend, a government agency monitoring disasters said on Sunday.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said that the lone fatality was due to drowning, reported in Davao Occidental province on Friday.

The two missing people were reportedly swept away by a strong current while crossing a river in Bukidnon province, reported Xinhua news agency.

The agency said the flooding affected nearly 39,000 people in four regions. Around 10,000 displaced villagers of the affected population have stayed in evacuation centres while waiting for the flood to subside.

The agency recorded at least eight landslides triggered by incessant rains in the Davao region and Zamboanga Peninsula.

The floods have damaged at least 47 houses in two regions, 40 roads, and two bridges in four regions of the Southeast Asian country.

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–IANS

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Trump's shooter identified as Thomas Matthew Crooks

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Thomas Matthew Crooks (20) has been identified as the person suspected of shooting former US President Donald Trump in an attempted assassination, the FBI said in a statement.

“The suspected shooter was Thomas Matthew Crooks (20) of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, as the subject involved in the assassination attempt of former President Donald Trump on July 13, in Butler, Pennsylvania,” said the FBI.

Crooks was killed on the spot by the security officials after he fired shots at the former US President, piercing through his ear, during a campaign rally in western Pennsylvania.

The FBI had earlier said that the shooting was being investigated as “an assassination attempt” on Trump.

The motive behind the assassination attempt, however, is yet to be revealed.

Trump, who is due to be anointed the Republican Party’s Presidential candidate, had a narrow escape on Saturday when shots aimed at him at a campaign rally grazed his right ear and killed two people at the event.

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–IANS

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Maldives pledges $1.3 million in aid for Palestinians

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Colombo, July 14 (IANS) The Maldives has pledged to donate over $1.29 million in humanitarian aid for Palestine, Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations Ali Naseer Mohamed said.

The aid was announced during the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Pledging Conference held Friday at the UN headquarters, Xinhua news agency reported.

Naseer also said that the Maldivian government has increased its annual donation of $5,000 to Palestine by 10-fold, to $50,000 this year.

The representative also urged the international community to increase their financial assistance and fulfill political obligations to progress UNRWA initiatives.

–IANS

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