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‘Sixth extinction’ of wildlife faster than feared

'Sixth extinction' of wildlife faster than feared

‘Sixth extinction’ of wildlife faster than feared

The sixth mass extinction of life on Earth is developing faster than previously feared, scientists warned.

Over 30% of animals with a backbone – fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals – are declining in both the range and population, according to the first comprehensive analysis of these trends.

“This is the case of a biological annihilation occurring globally,” said Stanford professor Rodolfo Dirzo, a co-author of a study published Monday in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

About a decade ago, experts feared a new planetary extinction of species would be in sight.

Today, most agree that it is under way, but the new study suggests that death is already increasing.

It provides much needed data on the threat to wildlife, mapping the decline in ranges and populations of 27,600 species. For 177 mammals, the researchers collected data covering the period 1900-2015.

The mammal species that were monitored have lost at least a third of their original habitat, the researchers found.

Forty percent of them – including rhinoceros, orangutans, gorillas and many large cats – survive on 20% or less of the land they once wandered.

Biodiversity loss has accelerated recently.

“Several species of mammals that were relatively safe one or two decades ago are now in danger,” including cheetahs, lions and giraffes, the study showed.

Around the world, mass death, considered the sixth in the last 500 million years, is the worst since three-quarters of life on Earth, including non-avian dinosaurs, was annihilated 66 million years ago By a giant Impact of meteors.

On average, two species of vertebrates disappear each year.

Tropical regions have recorded the highest number of declining species. In South and Southeast Asia, large-bodied mammal species have lost more than four-fifths of their historical ranks.

Loss of habitat

While fewer species are disappearing in temperate zones, the percentage is as high or higher.

Up to half the number of animals that once shared our planet are no longer here, a loss that the authors described as “a massive erosion of the greatest biological diversity in Earth’s history.”

There is no mystery as to why: our own constantly expanding species – which has more than doubled in number since 1960 to 7.4 million – is eating, crowding and polluting its planetary peers of existence.

By comparison, only 20,000 lions remain, less than 7,000 cheetahs, 500-1,000 giant pandas and about 250 rhinos in Sumatra.

The main causes of declining wildlife are loss of habitat, over consumption, pollution, invasive species, disease, and poaching in the case of tigers, elephants, rhinos and other large animals appreciated for their body parts.

Climate change is poised to become a major threat in the coming decades, with some animals – the most famous polar bears – already declining due to rising temperatures and changing weather patterns.

“The massive loss of populations and species reflects our lack of empathy with all the wild species that have been our partners since our origins,” said lead author Gerardo Ceballos of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

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Can we get best beauty parlour services at home in Mumbai?

Can we get best beauty parlour services at home in Mumbai?

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It’s a mad, mad, mad world…



Right from the start of the Baillon Col­lection auction, the values were going berserk: the very first car on sale, for instance, a most ordinary and rather tired Singer Roadster, estimated at between €200 and €800 (?56,000) went for €10,790 (?7.6 lakh). The prices went spiralling, clearly there was a frenzy of buying that was not making any sense at all. Caught up in that frenzy was an Indian collector, Madan Mohan from Delhi, a transporter and a restaurant owner in Gur- gaon – who is new to the world of classic cars – went ahead and bought nine of the 59 cars, at €343,296, a price that is almost ridiculously high, especially for cars that need a huge amount of work to be restored, and are not all that special either.

As many as 59 ancient cars were sold for €25.15 million (?l 77.4 crore) at the recent­ly-concluded Retromobile classic car show in Paris! And the 2015 edition of Retromo­bile will be remembered through the sale of the Baillon Collection by Artcurial, despite
the fact that the 40th edition of a show had many other absolutely wondrous and rare automobiles on either special display or on sale. Of course, the Baillon sale was signifi­cantly boosted by the price that the Ferrari 250 GT California, a car that used to belong to the famous French actor Alain Delon, sold for a record €16.3 million (?115 crore).

Two other cars crossed the million euro mark: a Maserati A6G, which went for €2.01 million (?14.2 crore) and a Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport (€1.7 million or ?12 crore). The prices for the rarer and fancier machines were not all that surpris­ing, but a rather battered Delahaye Type 43, went for €65,600 instead of a sensi­ble estimate of €6,-8,000 – with most cars selling for five to 10 times their estimate.

Several of the cars came apart when they were transported from the Baillon barn to Paris – how many of those nine will make it to India in a complete state remains to be seen.

♦ GAUTAM SEN gauta m. se [email protected] ia. ir

Catching up

At Paradip, the company had also plannee a coal terminal (capacity: 18 mtpa). As a parIn December 2012, Essar Ports had com­missioned a 16 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) capacity unit to handle iron ore and pellets at Paradip, which was to be con­nected to the stockyard by a 9 km long cov­ered conveyor system. The company had a
10-year licence agreement with the Paradip Port Trust, for export of iron ore and pellets Today, the Hazira terminal (dry bulk anc break bulk cargo) has a capacity of 30 mtpa while Vadinar (liquid terminal) has a capac ity of 58 mtpa. Add to this the Paradip capac ity of 16 mtpa, the total comes to 104 mtpa.

  • of an agreement with the Paradip Port Trust, the company was given the right to build and operate for 30 years. The project got delayed because many petitions were filed by port users occupying the land, which were all dis­missed by the Supreme Court subsequently. Paradip Port Trust has now started clearing the land to be handed over to the company. Essar Ports will commence construction once the land is handed over.Essar Ports had planned a terminal with 20 mtpa capacity at Salaya, west of Jamnagar, to handle dry bulk cargo. The project was held up because it had not received approval from the ministry of environment. In its third quarter results, the company said it has obtained the ‘final forest clearance’ and that the ‘bund’ construction is now in full swing. The company expects the project to go on stream by October this year.The Hazira expansion, which was also held up for want of clearance from the envi­ronment ministry, has received clearance too. The company intends to add another 20 mtpa taking it to 50 mtpa.In 2013, Essar Ports had won the bid for the development of three iron ore berths at Visakhapatnam Port for 30 years. These three berths are expected to have a combined capacity of 23 mtpa. Labour unions filed petition against the ministry for shipping and Visakhapatnam Port Trust and, the Andhra Pradesh High Court, while allowing the tendering process to continue, said the process will depend on further orders by the court.

    Later, it dismissed the court cases by labour unions against the two-phase modernisa­tion and construction of iron ore berths in Visakhapatnam by Essar Ports. Subsequently, Essar Ports signed a ‘concession agreement’ with Visakhapatnam Port Trust in Decem­ber 2013. As per the third quarter results, Essar Ports had reached financial closure on this project. In the fourth quarter of 2014-15, the company will take it over as an operating berth. Essar Ports intends to take its present capacity to 194 mtpa over the next few years.

    In October 2014, Essar Ports decided to de- list. By October, the company set the de-listing price at T90.50 and got the shareholders’ nod for de-listing through postal ballot.                       ♦

    [email protected]


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Let’s be fair and patient


Modi has to be given time, as there are enough evidences to suggest that his government is moving in the right direction

Deepak Parekh’s recent comments*to PTI that ‘Modi was lucky during the first nine months of his rule due to the fall in prices of international commodi­ties’ has become an area of debate among the elite class. Parekh had also added that ‘there was no change on the ground level otherwise; and that some impatience was creeping in among the businessmen’. The reactions have fallen into two categories: one, which backs Parekh’s assessment and, the other, which believes that Parekh has been a little impa­tient in judging Modi and his government. Even social media went abuzz, with some peo­ple describing Parekh as the famous villain in the Bollywood movie ‘Teja’ aka Ajit.

Those who believe that Parekh was a lit­tle impatient suggest that he has not been appointed in any of the government commit­tees and, hence, he is a little disgruntled with the government. They also claim Parekh is pro-Congress and that one should not read much into his allegations.

Those who back Parekh argue that he has been matter-of-fact in his comments. Though sentiment has improved, nothing much has changed in terms of economic activities. On the contrary, this government has invited more controversies than accolades. What is worse is that, instead of fixing the economic woes, the government is remaining a silent spectator, when a few people are vitiating the political and social atmosphere with hateful comments. Attacks on churches and the ghar vapasi programme are not something India should be in the news for. They also feel this government has not been able to bring about any radical reforms that can truly inspire the business communities.

Also, the fact that the NPAs of the banks are on the rise even after more than six months of the new government clearly sug­gests that the economic scenario is far from improving. The pro-Parekhs point out that Parekh was the first businessman who crit­icised the UPA too – for its ‘policy paralysis’ and, hence, terming him pro-Congress was unfair, to say the least.

Without going into the merits of either side’s arguments, it has to be said that reforms take time to roll out and, once out, they still
take time to reflect on the economy, due to the lag effect. Secondly, India is a democratic country, where reforms function on consen­sus, rather than dictatorial whims. These con­sensuses have to be worked out not only with the Opposition, but even within the BJP, as also with its allies. The Land Acquisition Bill is an instance in point, where the Modi gov­ernment is facing flak from its own allies like Shiv Sena, SAD and others. There are enough empirical evidences across the world that sug­gest that transition to a new model of growth is never smooth. We have been witnessing such events recently in countries like Japan, Mexico and China, just to name a few.

When the UPA government left, the econ­omy was not in good shape. Also, the deci­sion-making machinery had broken down completely. With global volatility at its unprecedented high, it’s obvious that any new government would take time to correct things. Modi himself had gone on record that it would take the first two years to repair the economy and the next three years to induce aggressive growth in the economy.

What is evident is that sentiments have become more positive on the ground level. People are more optimistic with the Modi government than with the Manmohan Singh government. There is hope that this govern­ment would push reforms. Stock market is at an all-time high and Fils are more bullish on India than ever before. Inflation, which was stubbornly high during UPA II, has started moving south, with WPI for January in the negative zone. So, things are moving in the right direction, albeit not at the same pace one would have expected.

To some extent, Modi himself needs to be blamed for high expectations as, during elec­tion time, he had given a ‘feel’ that things would fall in place in quick time. Maybe he is paying the price for raising such expectations. It would be unfair to blame Modi so soon, when there are enough evidences to suggest that his government is moving in the right direction. He needs more time, considering the state of the economy he inherited. We need be to fair and patient with Modi. His intentions are right; only time will tell whether he will be able to make Ek Bharat shrestha Bharat.   ♦