Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Water Wars: Coming to a Country Near You (Or Maybe Your Country)

China: As water demands grow sharply, supply is shrinking

China has 20 percent of the world's population, and 7 percent of its fresh water. As pressure mounts, officials are pushing conservation reforms such as reforestation and water taxes – and diverting water from the south to the north.

Christian Science Monitor

A 15-foot band of eroded red clay that surrounds Miyun Reservoir, one of Beijing’s largest sources of fresh water, serves as a stark reminder of the region’s severe water shortage.
Built 100 miles northeast of the capital in the 1960s, the reservoir has operated at less than a third of its capacity for years. A massive project now under way to divert water to Beijing from southern China will help alleviate demand, but protecting the reservoir from pollution remains a separate challenge.
China has 20 percent of the world’s population but only 7 percent of its fresh water – and it is quickly running out of the vital fluid.

Efforts to boost supply have provided temporary relief for major cities, but the central government is scrambling to preserve what water is left. Expanded conservation work, higher water prices, and new industrial regulations are on the table.
“The demand is growing but the supply is shrinking,” says Zhang Yan, program coordinator of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global environmental organization in Beijing. “There is just less and less water.”
Environmentalists and local authorities have promoted forest restoration as a key tool for conserving water. Trees and shrubs now cover upward of 70 percent of the Miyun watershed, a dramatic uptick from a half century ago, when forests covered less than 10 percent of the region. The plants help stave off erosion and improve the reservoir’s water quality by filtering out pesticides, fertilizers, and other toxic chemicals.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Human Sacrifice Alive and Well in - Nepal

Holy Hathor!

Nepal arrests 11 in suspected case of human sacrifice


Police have arrested 11 villagers on charges of murdering a 10-year-old boy in southwestern Nepal, an official said Sunday, in what villagers described as a case of human sacrifice.
Local media reports said the father of a sick teenager had last Tuesday lured away the 10-year-old, Jeevan Kohar, with a packet of biscuits and the promise of 50 rupees (50 cents).
The suspect then reportedly slit the child's throat on the advice of a shaman (traditional spiritual healer), who said his own son's health would improve if he committed the crime.
"We have arrested 11 people, including four women, for murdering a ten-year-old boy," said Nal Prasad Upadhyaya, police superintendent of Nawalparasi district where the incident took place.
"All the villagers say the boy was killed in a case of human sacrifice, because the suspects were superstitious and believed in witchcraft," Upadhyaya told AFP.
"But we cannot confirm anything until our investigations are completed," he said.
According to a report in The Himalayan Times, one of the suspects, who confessed to the crime, believed that his sick child was under the "spell of a ghost" who could only be "pacified with human flesh".
Shaman healers and mystics are a common presence in the Himalayan nation, especially in remote villages with poor access to
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