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No respite from heat wave, toll crosses 2,200 In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

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Hyderabad: There was no respite from intense heat wave in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on Sunday as 45 more deaths were reported from the two Telugu states, taking the toll to over 2,200.

While 25 people died in Andhra Pradesh, 20 succumbed to sunstroke in Telangana.

The officials till Saturday night had confirmed 2,177 deaths in the two states. While Andhra Pradesh accounted for 1,636 deaths, 541 died in Telangana during last two weeks.

Hyderabad Meteorological Centre has warned that the heat may continue for two to three days in both the states.

The Met officials attributed the continuing high temperatures to the delay in arrival of monsoon.

The monsoon was expected to arrive in Kerala on May 30 but the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has now said that there could be delay of four to five days.

All 10 districts of Telangana and four districts of south coastal Andhra Pradesh are recording high temperatures.

Hanamkonda in Telangana was the hottest place on Sunday with maximum temperature of 47 degrees Celsius. It was 45 degrees in Nalgonda, Ramagundam and Khammam while Hyderabad recorded 41 degrees.

Isolated rains over last two days have not brought down the temperatures, which remained above 40 degrees across Telangana.

Jangamaheshwarapuram in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh sizzled at 47 degrees Celsius. Other places in south coastal Andhra recorded maximum temperature between 41 and 44 degrees. (IANS)

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Telangana To Declare 2020 as The Year of Artificial Intelligence: Report

This was announced by Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao during a meeting with NASSCOM President Debjani Ghosh

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The IT minister said the state government was happy to collaborate with NASSCOM in bridging the skill gap in the emerging tech sectors to bring Artificial Intellegence. Pixabay

The Telangana government will declare 2020 as the year of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to promote its use in various sectors such as agriculture, urban transportation and healthcare.

This was announced by Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao during a meeting with NASSCOM President Debjani Ghosh here on Friday.

The minister announced that the government would organise a series of events throughout the year centred around the AI theme.

KTR, as the minister is popularly known, highlighted the various initiatives taken by the state government in the areas of emerging technologies.

“Telangana government is continuing to attract investors from marquee companies which are setting up their R&D and technology development centres in emerging technologies such as IoT, AI, machine learning, cyber security and blockchain,” KTR said.

The IT minister said the state government was happy to collaborate with NASSCOM in bridging the skill gap in the emerging tech sectors.

Artificial Intellegence
The Telangana government will declare 2020 as the year of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to promote its use in various sectors such as agriculture, urban transportation and healthcare. Pixabay

Ghosh said that NASSCOM would be delighted to collaborate with government of Telangana in launching AI applications in various sectors and also creating an ecosystem for startups to implement these AI applications.

Ghosh informed that NASSCOM is proactively preparing a list of new job roles getting created in the emerging technology space. She said that NASSCOM would also be interested in partnering with the Telangana government on the open data initiative and also in skilling youngsters in data sciences.

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Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan, Director, Emerging Technologies, Rama Devi, and Director, Digital Media, Dileep Konatham were also present in the meeting. (IANS)

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Villagers in Andhra Pradesh To Take Governance to People’s Doorstep

Villagers to take governance to people's doorstep

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Villagers who become the volunteers will act as a bridge between the government and the people. IANS

On the occasion of Independence Day, the Andhra Pradesh government launched a village volunteers initiative for taking governance to the doorsteps of people by involving over 2.8 lakh village volunteers.

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday announced the launch of the flagship programme at the main official function here to mark Independence Day.

Reddy, who later addressed the village volunteers at another event, said the programme was launched as the villages are backward even after 73 years of achieving independence.

Addressing the gathering after unfurling the national flag, he said the initiative was aimed at ensuring that the fruits of development reach those living in villages.

Under the initiative, the volunteers will act as a bridge between the government and the people. Another 2.66 lakh jobs will be provided by appointing permanent employees in village secretariats to be launched from October 2.

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CM said that the initiative was aimed at ensuring that the fruits of development reach those living in villages. Instagram

Village secretariats would be set up in each village to deliver governance to people in 72 hours. The scheme involves provision of one volunteer to cover 50 families in each village. Identity cards would be given to the volunteers and they would be paid an honorarium of Rs 5,000 per month.

The volunteers would first identify the beneficiaries, get to know their problems and, thereafter, delineate the appropriate schemes being provided for them by the government.

The Chief Minister said that the schemes would be able to reach the poorest of the poor and make all the villages self-sufficient.

Reddy also said the volunteers would turn out to be leaders once they complete their term. A toll-free telephone number 1902 would be set up at a call centre in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) to receive the grievances of the people.

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Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday announced the launch of the flagship programme. Pexel

He said that his government has taken many path-breaking decisions and will resolutely stick to its stand, brushing aside the insipid criticism of detractors.

He defended the legislations that were recently enacted to provide reservation for jobs to locals and reverse tendering.

In his hour-long address, he listed out the path-breaking welfare schemes and legislations that his government has undertaken during last two-and-a-half months.

The Chief Minister said the ‘Navaratnas’ delineated by him in the party manifesto were prepared after he understood the problems of the people during his 3,648 km ‘padayatra’ (march) throughout the state.

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Besides, the YSR Rythu Bharosa scheme would be started from October 15 under which electricity would be provided to farmers free of cost and each farmer would get Rs 12,500 per year for the next four years, he added.

Speaking about the Amma Vodi scheme, which would be launched on January 26 next year, the Chief Minister said all mothers would be given Rs 15,000 per year so that they can educate their children without any hassles. (IANS)

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Heat Wave over Greenland Accelerating Melting of Island’s Ice Sheet

The area of the Greenland ice sheet that is showing indications of melt has been growing daily, and hit a record 56.5%

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FILE - Melt water lakes are seen on the edge of an ice cap in Nunatarssuk, Greenland, in this aerial view taken on June 22, 2019. VOA

The heat wave that smashed high temperature records in five European countries a week ago is now over Greenland, accelerating the melting of the island’s ice sheet and causing massive ice loss in the Arctic.

Greenland, the world’s largest island, is a semi-autonomous Danish territory between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans that has 82% of its surface covered in ice.

The area of the Greenland ice sheet that is showing indications of melt has been growing daily, and hit a record 56.5% for this year on Wednesday, said Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist with the Danish Meteorological Institute. She says that’s expected to expand and peak on Thursday before cooler temperatures slow the pace of the melt.

More than 10 billion tons (11 billion U.S. tons) of ice was lost to the oceans by surface melt on Wednesday alone, creating a net mass ice loss of some 197 billion tons (217 billion U.S. tons) from Greenland in July, she said.

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The heat wave that smashed high temperature records in five European countries a week ago is now over Greenland, accelerating the melting of the island’s ice sheet. Pixabay

”It looks like the peak will be today. But the long-term forecast is for continuing warm and sunny weather in Greenland, so that means the amount of the ice loss will continue,” she said Thursday in a telephone interview from Copenhagen.

The scope of Wednesday’s ice melt is a number difficult to grasp. To understand just how much ice is being lost, a mere 1 billion tons — or 1 gigaton — of ice loss is equivalent to about 400,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, the Danish Meteorological Institute said.  And 100 billion tons (110 billion U.S. tons) corresponds to a 0.28 mm (0.01 inch) rise in global sea levels.

Mottram said since June 1 — roughly the start of the ice-loss season — the Greenland ice sheet has lost 240 gigatons (240 billion metric tons) this year. That compares with 290 gigatons lost overall in the 2012 melt season, which usually goes through the end of August.

A June 2019 study by scientists in the U.S. and Denmark said melting ice in Greenland alone will add between 5 and 33 centimeters (2 to 13 inches) to rising global sea levels by the year 2100. If all the ice in Greenland melted — which would take centuries — the world’s oceans would rise by 7.2 meters (23 feet, 7 inches), the study found.

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The current melting has been brought on by the arrival of the same warm air from North Africa and Spain that melted European cities and towns last week, setting national temperature records in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Britain.

In Russia, meanwhile, forest fires caused by hot, dry weather and spread by high winds are raging over nearly 30,000 square kilometers (11,580 sq. miles) of territory in Siberia and the Russian Far East, an area the size of Belgium. The smoke from these fires, some of them in Arctic territory, is so heavy it can easily be seen in satellite photos and is causing air quality problems in Russia’s third-largest city, Novosibirsk. Protesters in Moscow on Thursday were demanding that the government do more to fight the blazes.

Greenland has also been battling a slew of Arctic wildfires, something that Mottram said was uncommon in the past.

In Greenland, the melt area this year is the second-biggest in terms of ice area affected, behind more than 90% in 2012, said Mark Serreze, director of the Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, which monitors ice sheets globally. Records go back to 1981.

Heat Wave, Greenland, Island
Greenland, the world’s largest island, is a semi-autonomous Danish territory between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans that has 82% of its surface covered in ice. Pixabay

A lot of what melts can later refreeze onto the ice sheet, but because of the conditions ahead of this summer’s heat wave, the amount of ice lost for good this year might be the same as in 2012 or more, according to scientists.  They noted a long build up to this summer’s ice melt — including higher overall temperatures for months — and a very dry winter with little snow in many places, which would normally offer some protection to glacier ice.

”This is certainly a weather event superimposed on this overall trend of warmer conditions” that have increasingly melted Greenland ice over the long term, Serreze said.

Compounding the melt, the Greenland ice sheet started out behind this year because of the low ice and snow accumulation, said Snow and Ice Data Center scientist Twila Moon.

With man-made climate change, “there’s a potential for these kind of rates to become more common 50 years from now,” Moon said.

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Heat waves have always occurred, but Mike Sparrow, a spokesman for the U.N. World Meteorological Organization, noted that as global temperatures have risen, extreme heat waves are now occurring at least 10 times more frequently than a century ago. This year, the world saw its hottest month of June ever.

”These kind of heat waves are weather events and can occur naturally but studies have shown that both the frequency and intensity of these heat waves have increased due to global warming,” Sparrow said in a telephone interview from Geneva.

He noted that sea ice spread in the Arctic and Antarctic are both currently at record lows.

”When people talk about the average global temperature increasing by a little more than 1 degree [Celsius], that’s not a huge amount to notice if you’re sitting in Hamburg or London, but that’s a global average and it’s much greater in the polar regions,” he said.

Even though temperatures will be going down in Greenland by the end of this week, the ice melt is not likely to stop anytime soon, Mottram said.

”Over the last couple of days, you could see the warm wave passing over Greenland,” she said. “That peak of warm air has passed over the summit of the ice sheet, but the clear skies are almost as important, or maybe even more important, for the total melt of the ice sheet.”

She added that clear skies are likely to continue in Greenland “so we can still get a lot of ice melt even if the temperature is not spectacularly high.” (VOA)