Friday March 22, 2019

Pakistani author to release book over Skype

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Dhanachuli (Uttarakhand): Pakistani author Kanza Javed, denied a visa to take part in the Kumaon literary festival, will release her book here over a Skype session on Sunday.

The author’s debut book is Ashes, Wine and Dust. Javed was denied an Indian visa she sought to take part in the five-day festival that was inaugurated on Friday.

Talking to IANS, festival director Sumant Batra said the book will be released through Skype.

“It’s not about scoring a point. From the festival point of view, we cannot deprive an author of taking part in the book’s release,” said Batra, adding that he did his best to secure the visa for the author.

“However, it’s the discretion of the government and the Indian high commission to grant the visa,” he said.

However, the author’s father and brother were given visas.

The 24-year-old Javed’s book is already shortlisted for prestigious Tabor Jones South Asian prize.

Aanchal Malhotra of Tara, publisher of the book, said the Kumaon festival would have been the perfect platform to launch the young author’s book which questions the norms of society.

“It’s sad that she couldn’t come for the launch. The book is all about how to grow up as a young woman in Pakistan. The book is dedicated to free thinking women in Pakistan,” said Malhotra.

Meanwhile, other participants from Pakistan — journalist Asif Noorani and Ameena Zaidi, founder of Karachi and Islamabad literary festivals — got visas.

Terming visa denial to Javed unfortunate, Noorani said he had never faced any hurdles in his 24 visits to India.

“I was always welcomed with great warmth in India. It’s the fringe elements who create trouble,” he said.

Noorani said artists in Pakistan were upset over the cancellation of ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s concerts in Mumbai and Pune and the attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni ahead of a book release function of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.

(Preetha Nair, IANS)

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Report Claims, As Many As 1 Billion Indians Live in Areas of Water Scarcity

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater -- 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater -- 12 per cent of the global total.

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Global groundwater depletion - where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally - increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period. Pixabay

As many as one billion people in India live in areas of physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress, according to a new report.

Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid.

This number is expected to go up to five billion by 2050, said the report titled “Beneath the Surface: The State of the World’s Water 2019”, released to mark World Water Day on March 22.

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Pure water droplet. Pixabay

Physical water scarcity is getting worse, exacerbated by growing demand on water resources and and by climate and population changes.

By 2040 it is predicted that 33 countries are likely to face extremely high water stress – including 15 in the Middle East, most of Northern Africa, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and Spain. Many – including India, China, Southern Africa, USA and Australia – will face high water stress.

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Globally, close to four billion people live in water-scarce areas, where, for at least part of the year, demand exceeds supply, said the report by non-profit organisation WaterAid. Pixabay

Global groundwater depletion – where the amount of water taken from aquifers exceeds the amount that is restored naturally – increased by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2010, said the report, adding that India’s rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent during the same period.

Also Read: Beware! Sipping Hot Tea Raises Risk of Esophageal Cancer

The report also highlighted that India uses the largest amount of groundwater — 24 per cent of the global total and the country is the third largest exporter of groundwater — 12 per cent of the global total.

The WaterAid report warned that food and clothing imported by wealthy Western countries are making it harder for many poor and marginalised communities to get a daily clean water supply as high-income countries buy products with considerable “water footprints” – the amount of water used in production — from water-scarce countries. (IANS)