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A Nematode Pest from Pinewood threatens Japanese Heritage Island of Yakushima

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Colorized electron micrograph of soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera sp.) and egg, Wikimedia
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Tokyo, Jan 6, 2017:  A nematode pest from pinewood is threatening to infest a forest on the Japanese island of Yakushima, a world heritage site and home to an endangered pine species.

The pest has affected an area four times larger than normal, said local authorities who will have to take measures to protect the affected site included in the Unesco list since 1993, reported the Japanese daily Asahi.

The plant pest began spreading in summer and is visible in a wooded area bordering Mount Mocchomudake, a habitat of intense greenery, which is now acquiring a shade of dead trees, the authorities said on Friday.

Nematodes, microscopic worms, are transported by wood-eating beetles, through which the pests can spread like an infectious disease, said the Yakushima government.

It feared that the parasite will damage 1,000 specimens of the Pinus amamiana, Efe news reported.

Pinus amamiana, similar to the Chinese Armand pine species, grows wild only in the islands of Yakushima and Tanegashima.

Island authorities plan to destroy some 200 cubic metres of dead pine wood to eradicate the pest and fell down trees in forests near the western area of the island where the forest is located. (IANS)

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)