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Cashew the most consumed nut in the Indian subcontinent

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image source: parade.com

Bengaluru: Once touted as a privilege of only the rich, and used in a variety of food products.

“India is not only the world’s largest producer, processor and exporter of cashews but also its largest consumer, especially the broken nuts, used in making sweets, biscuits, cakes, chocolates and snacks throughout the year,” Karnataka Cashew Manufacturers Association secretary M. Tukaram Prabhu told agencies .

Excluding groundnuts, a common man’s delight, the cashew nut is more affordable than other nuts like walnuts among dry fruits and a key ingredient in a range of dishes, including upma, curries and even curd rice to tickle the palate.

Though grown mainly in the south and western states of Karnataka, Kerala, Goa and Maharashtra since the Portuguese brought a few cashew saplings in ships and sowed them along the west coast over 400 years ago, farmers in eastern coastal states like Andhra Pradesh, Odisha Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have also begun growing them.

“Cashew came to India in the 16th century and took roots in the coastal region, as its saplings found the local soil more congenial than in southern Europe where it originated. Through a three-month crop in a year and harvested in summer, farmers in eastern states have also joined us in growing its trees,” Prabhu said.

According to the Kochi-based state-run Cashew Export Promotion Council, the crop is grown across 700,000 hectares, producing around 400,000 tonnes of raw nuts in shells annually though the yield per hectare is less than in Africa, Brazil, Indonesia and Vietnam for various reasons, including mechanization.

“As a short, stocky and ever-green tropical tree, the cashew tree flowers once a year between November and January and its fruit ripens in two months (February-March) for harvesting by summer,” Prabhu said.

In raw form, while cashew kernel is soft, white and meaty, its colour and taste changes when roasted, turning into a golden hue from creamy white and its mellow pulp becomes crisp. When salted, it turns into a most delicious nut.

“India was the first country to enter the world market with cashew kernels and pioneered its processing as an industry, with 4,000 units, employing about 400,000 people, 90 percent of them being women,” Prabhu added.(IANS)

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Strong Monsoons reversing India’s 50-year Dry Spell: Study

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Low lying areas, patches of roads, paddy fields and several houses have been inundated by the rain water in Tripura. VOA

BOSTON, July 25, 2017: Indian summer monsoons have strengthened over the past 15 years, reversing a 50-year dry period during which northern and central India received relatively little rainfall, an MIT study has found.

Indian summer monsoons bring rainfall to the country each year between June and September.

Researchers found that since 2002 a drying trend has given way to a much wetter pattern, with stronger monsoons supplying much-needed rain, along with powerful, damaging floods, to the populous north central region of India.

A shift in India’s land and sea temperatures may partially explain this increase in monsoon rainfall, according to the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Researchers note that starting in 2002, nearly the entire Indian subcontinent has experienced very strong warming, reaching between 0.1 and 1 degree Celsius per year. Meanwhile, a rise in temperatures over the Indian Ocean has slowed significantly.

According to Chien Wang, a senior research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, this sharp gradient in temperatures – high over land, and low over surrounding waters – is a perfect recipe for whipping up stronger monsoons.

“Climatologically, India went through a sudden, drastic warming, while the Indian Ocean, which used to be warm, all of a sudden slowed its warming,” Wang said.

“This may have been from a combination of natural variability and anthropogenic influences, and we are still trying to get to the bottom of the physical processes that caused this reversal,” he said.

The Indian monsoon phenomenon is the longest recorded monsoon system in meteorology, researchers said.

From yearly measurements, scientists had observed that, since the 1950s, the monsoons were bringing less rain to north central India – a drying period that did not seem to let up, compared to a similar monsoon system over Africa and East Asia, which appeared to reverse its drying trend in the 1980s.

However, researchers found that India has already begun to reverse its dry spell.

The team tracked India’s average daily monsoon rainfall from 1950 to the present day, using six global precipitation datasets, each of which aggregate measurements from the thousands of rain gauges in India, as well as measurements of rainfall and temperature from satellites monitoring land and sea surfaces.

Between 1950 and 2002, they found that north central India experienced a decrease in daily rainfall average, of 0.18 millimetres per decade, during the monsoon season.

To their surprise, they discovered that since 2002, precipitation in the region has revived, increasing daily rainfall average by 1.34 millimetres per decade.

“The Indian monsoon is considered a textbook, clearly defined phenomenon, and we think we know a lot about it, but we do not,” Wang said. (IANS)

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Bangladesh Saw ‘Significant’ Rise in Terrorism Last Year: US State Department

The increasing terrorism in Bangladesh because of groups like IS and Al-Qaida is matter of International concern

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Bangladeshi police escort a convicted militant after a court in Rangpur sentenced him to death for the murder of a Japanese citizen
Bangladeshi police escort a convicted militant after a court in Rangpur sentenced him to death for the murder of a Japanese citizen, Feb. 28. 2017. Benar News
  • Both IS and Al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) claimed responsibility for “a significant number” of terrorist attacks in Bangladesh
  • Among 18 incidents claimed by IS in Bangladesh, the most lethal attack carried out last year was the July 1-2 siege of the Holey Artisan Bakery
  • The extent of IS’s presence in Bangladesh could affect the country’s garment industry

Washington, July 22, 2017: Terrorism increased significantly in Bangladesh in 2016, with the extremist group Islamic State (IS) claiming as many as 18 attacks in the South Asian nation, the U.S. State Department said in a report published Wednesday.

Both IS and al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) claimed responsibility for “a significant number” of terrorist attacks in Bangladesh – a nation of more than 163 million people, about 87 percent of whom are Muslim – the State Department said in its 445-page “Country Reports on Terrorism 2016.”

“Bangladesh experienced a significant increase in terrorist activity in 2016,” according to the report. “The Government of Bangladesh has articulated a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism, made numerous arrests of terrorist suspects, and continued its counterterrorism cooperation with the international community.”

Among 18 incidents claimed by IS in Bangladesh, the most lethal attack carried out last year was the July 1-2 siege of the Holey Artisan Bakery, the report said. The attack left 29 people dead, including 20 hostages, two police officers and the five militants who had stormed the café in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter, the report said.

The country launched an aggressive counter-terrorism crackdown following the café siege. At least 70 people have been killed since then in police raids on suspected militant hideouts.

Authorities continued to insist that Islamic State has no presence in the country despite its claim of responsibility for the cafe attack and photos it released of the perpetrators.

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“All of them are the people of Bangladesh. They brand themselves in different names at different times,” Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said of the attackers, in an interview with BenarNews ahead of the first year anniversary of the attack.

“The forces that opposed Bangladesh’s independence through a freedom struggle have been committing these sorts of incidents one after another in a bid to get stronger,” he said, referring to faith-based opposition party Jamaat-e-Islam.

In 2016, the report went on to say, Bangladesh suffered several other small-scale attacks for which there were no public claims of responsibility, including a bomb blast at an Eid-gathering in Sholakia, north of Dhaka, that killed four people – including two police officers – and injured seven.

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The extent of IS’s presence in Bangladesh could affect the country’s garment industry, which employs millions of people and earns more than $20 billion a year in exports, political observers said, explaining that any sign of a major militant influence in the nation could force Western brands to look elsewhere for cheaper labor.

The report said Bangladesh took steps to further strengthen control of its borders and ports of entry by cooperating with the United States and sharing law-enforcement information with Interpol, although the country does not have a dedicated list of suspected terrorists.

“Despite lacking laws specific to foreign terrorist fighters, Bangladesh has arrested suspected foreign terrorist fighters or facilitators of such fighters on other charges under existing law,” the report said.

[bctt tweet=”IS remains No. 1 terrorist threat worldwide” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

The yearly report from the State Department documents terrorist activity in countries around the globe and national responses to the threat.

“In 2016, terrorist groups continued to exploit ungoverned territory and ongoing conflict to expand their reach. ISIS remained the top terrorist threat in 2016, directing and inspiring terrorist cells, networks, and individuals around the world,” the report said, using another acronym for IS.

Of the terrorist attacks that took place in 104 countries in 2016, about 55 percent of them occurred in five countries – Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and the Philippines.

In the Philippines, “the emergence of ISIS affiliated extremist groups, persistent kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), attacks on government forces, and bombings, all indicated that domestic and international terrorism remained a serious problem,” the report said.

It listed the southern Philippines in its section on terrorist safe havens, defined as “ungoverned, under-governed, or ill-governed physical areas where terrorists are able to organize, plan, raise funds, communicate, recruit, train, transit and operate in relative security because of inadequate governance capacity, political will, or both.”

In Southeast Asia, the coastlines of the Sulawesi and Sulu seas are also terrorist safe havens, according to the report, which noted that the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia had increased efforts to police these waters that lie between their three countries.

The number of islands and maritime traffic in this region make it hard to secure, the report said.

“Traditional smuggling and piracy groups supported terrorist networks, including the movement of personnel, equipment, and funds. Kidnapping-for-ransom remained an ongoing threat and a source of funding for terrorist networks in the region,” it said. (Benar News)