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Yogita has to fetch water up to six times a day – sometimes going out in the middle of the night – from a hand pump about half a kilometer from her house in India’s Madhya Pradesh state, leaving her baby son with a neighbor.
In the summer, her husband cycles three kilometers to get the family’s water, and shouts at the 25-year-old if she cannot prepare meals at the right time because she is out getting water.
“I haven’t eaten anything all day as fetching water was the most important task at hand,” she said in a report from international charity WaterAid showing the impact of global consumption on water-short communities worldwide.
Exports of crops – like coffee, rice, avocados and cotton – are important sources of income for many countries.
But large amounts of water are used to produce them, even as poor communities struggle to get enough for their basic needs, a situation made worse by climate change, WaterAid said in the report published on Tuesday.
The world must ensure “the push for economic development through exports of food and clothing does not imperil current and future generations’ access to water”, said WaterAid UK Chief Executive Tim Wainwright ahead of World Water Day on March 22.
India, for example, is the world’s third largest exporter of groundwater, accounting for 12 percent of the global total.
Meanwhile, the rate of depletion of its groundwater jumped by 23 percent between 2000 and 2010, and as many as 1 billion of its people live in water-scarce areas, WaterAid said.
Under global development goals agreed in 2015, governments pledged to provide access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030.
But three in 10 people, or just over 2 billion, still do not have a “safely managed” service, meaning a water source on the premises – such as a piped supply or a well – free from fecal and chemical contamination.
In India, the government has done “reasonably well” in providing clean water close to people’s homes, WaterAid India Chief Executive VK Madhavan told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Yet three-quarters of households still do not have water on tap, and there is a major problem with contamination by arsenic, nitrates, fluoride and salt, he added.
Priorities for the Indian government are to improve water quality and expand a pilot project to provide piped water in villages from 115 districts to the whole country, he said.
Poor pay more
The 2019 U.N. World Water Development Report, also launched on Tuesday, said that while safe, clean drinking water and sanitation are human rights, the world is not on track to provide those things to everyone by 2030.
People who are poor or marginalized due to gender, age, ethnicity or religious identity are also more likely to have limited access to proper water and sanitation, the report noted.
It explores how to help three groups in that category: families living in urban slums, smallholder farmers in rural areas, and people uprooted by conflicts and disasters.
Editor-in-chief Rick Connor of UNESCO said that in cities, rich homes with piped water tended to pay far less per liter, while the poor in slums often had to buy water from trucks, kiosks and other vendors, shelling out 10 to 20 times more.
“The misperception is that they don’t have water because they can’t afford it – and that is completely wrong,” with some spending up to 30 percent of their salaries on water, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Policies to ease that financial pressure include putting in stand-pipes shared by several households, and designing tariffs and giving rebates to make water more affordable.
In rural areas, one key solution is rainwater harvesting and storage systems to tide communities over in a drought and provide water to irrigate crops, such as a U.N.-backed program called “1 million cisterns for the Sahel” in West Africa.
For refugees, meanwhile, aid agencies are increasingly trying to provide water supplies and sanitation in ways that also benefit local people and avoid tensions, Connor said.
In northern Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp, for example, the government and agencies rehabilitated wells, and fixed up water and wastewater systems for Syrian refugees and communities nearby, easing pressure on limited resources, the report said. (VOA)
Indian origin girls -- New Jersey-based Natasha Peri (11) and Dubai-based Priyamvada Deshmukh (12) -- have been named in the worlds "brightest" students list based on results of above-grade-level testing of 19,000 students across 84 countries, according to Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY), a part of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
"Peri, a student at Thelma L. Sandmeier Elementary School, was honored for exceptional performance on the SAT, ACT, or similar assessment is taken as part of the CTY Talent Search," said a statement from the CTY.
Deshmukh, a student of GEMS Modern Academy, Dubai, has been honored for her exceptional performance on the SCAT assessment taken as part of the CTY Talent Search, a university statement said.
She was one of nearly 19,000 students from 84 countries who joined CTY in the 2019-21 Talent Search years. CTY uses above-grade-level testing to identify advanced students from around the world and provide a clear picture of their true academic abilities.
Peri took the Johns Hopkins Talent Search test in Spring 2021 when she was in Grade 5. Her results in the verbal and quantitative sections leveled with the 90th percentile of advanced Grade 8 performance.
"This motivates me to do more," she said, adding that doodling and reading J.R.R Tolkien's novels may have worked for her.
Deshmukh took the Johns Hopkins Talent Search test in Spring 2020 when she was still in Grade 6. Her results in the verbal sections leveled with the advanced Grade 10 performance. She made the cut for Johns Hopkins CTY 'High Honors Awards'.
Due to the Covid19, induced delay in Global logistics support, she finally received her much-awaited "High Honors" pin this week, which she lovingly kept in front of her Grandparents photograph as a tribute to her roots.
The delay in officially getting the certificates did not stop her from attending the summer program at John Hopkins University's CTY in English literature where she studied the confluence of Art and Science in literary writing and completed the course scoring 'A' Grade.
She followed up with top-scoring the second level of Asset Talent Examination which also qualified her for the summer program at Northwestern University this year, where she is learning about world-building in fiction writing this year.
Her elder brother was among the first UAE students to have cleared the Duke University TIP (Talent Identification Programme) when he was in Class 8.
Her parents joke that it's nothing but routine sibling rivalry that she wanted to achieve the same, just a year ahead of her brother. Even though she loves Physics and Computer Science as subjects, unlike her elder brother (who is Chancellor's Scholarship holder student of Astro Physics at the University of Massachusetts), Deshmukh wants to pursue humanities and literature when she goes to college five years down the lane.
As part of Johns Hopkins policy, granular information is not broken down by age or race.
Likewise, it is left to the guardian to disclose the prodigy's name. Within the US, awardees come from all 50 US states.
"We are thrilled to celebrate these students," said Virginia Roach, CTY's executive director.
"In a year that was anything but ordinary, their love of learning shined through, and we are excited to help cultivate their growth as scholars and citizens throughout high school, college, and beyond," Roach added.
The quantitative section of the Johns Hopkins CTY test measures the ability to see relationships between quantities expressed in mathematical terms, the verbal section measures understanding of the meaning of words and the relationships between them.
Basil scientifically called Ocimum basilicum, and also known as great basil, is a culinary herb from the Lamiaceae (mints) family. A common aromatic herb, it is usually used to add flavor to a variety of recipes, but what may astonish one is that there are various health benefits of basil that make it well-known for its immunity-enhancing properties.
Basil seeds or basil essential oil are proven to help prevent a wide range of health conditions, which makes it one of the most essential medical herbs known today. Basil has vitamin A, C, E, K, and Omega 3 components including cooling components too. It also contains minerals like Copper, Calcium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Potassium. An ancient Ayurvedic herb, basil has various proven benefits including being anti-inflammatory, ant-oxidant, immune-booster, pain-reducer, and blood vessel-protector.
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This herb also contains cooling components thus making it really helpful for summers. It detoxifies the body and maintains one's body temperature pace. Adding to the benefits Basil contains antioxidant-rich volatile essential oils, which are considered hydrophobic, meaning they don't dissolve in water and are light and small enough to travel through the air and the pores within our skin. Basil's volatile essential oil is something that gives the herb its distinct smell and taste, but basil contains some great healing properties.
In the long history of Ayurveda, basil seeds were also called tukmaria seeds. These seeds may support one's gut health, may complete one's fiber quota, reduce blood sugar, help in weight loss, and also reduce cholesterol.
The herb has rounded leaves.Pixabay
There are more than 60 varieties of basil, with sweet basil being one of the most widely used. The herb has rounded leaves that are often pointed. It is a bright green plant, although some varieties have hints of purple or red in their leaves, basil makes a colorful and flavorful addition to many different dishes.
It has been observed that many of the cooks use basil to thicken their dessert instead of using any artificial/ unhealthy powder to do so. Sometimes people are not able to differentiate between Chia seeds and basil seeds, to make it clear basil seeds are different in nature they are larger and a bit duller in their color. These herbs are used in various recipes as a cooling component in desserts, drinks, and fruit juices for refreshment, also beating the summer heat.
For better digestion, weight loss, and immune system, I suggest this simple recipe which can be easily made at home:
*Take 2 tsp of Basil seeds (sabja) + Add in 1/2 liter of water +10 mint leaves crushed
*1/2 tsp cinnamon powder + A little bit of sendha salt (pink Himalayan salt)
*Or to make a sweeter version one can add organic honey.
*Mix it well and drink it.
This recipe will help to flush out toxins from our body making it feel light and healthy. (IANS/SP)
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)