Oxygen Express with 70 tonnes of oxygen reaches Delhi

This oxygen will now be disbursed by the Delhi government to various hospitals, officials said

New Delhi: The first Oxygen Express train for Delhi carrying around 70 tonnes of the life-saving gas reached the national capital early Tuesday morning, officials said.

This oxygen will now be disbursed by the Delhi government to various hospitals, they said.


“#OxygenExpress has reached Delhi from Raigarh, Chhattisgarh with Oxygen for patients in the capital. Indian Railways is leaving no stone unturned in our collective fight against COVID-19, & ensuring sufficient availability of life-saving resources across the country,” tweeted Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

Earlier, the railways had said that it has chalked out plans to transport medical oxygen from Angul, Kalingnagar, Rourkela and Raigarh to Delhi and NCR region, however, there is no information on the second train to the capital city.

Delhi recorded the highest single-day rise in its COVID-19 death toll with 380 more people succumbing to the infection on Monday, while the positivity rate stood at over 35 per cent, according to the bulletin issued by the city health department.



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Karnataka asks Centre for 1,500 tonnes of oxygen, one lakh vials of Remdesivir

Bengaluru: Karnataka has asked the Centre to supply 1,500 metric tonnes of oxygen and one lakh vials of Remdesivir in view of the growing COVID cases in the state.

“We have estimated that in the next one month, we may require 1,500 metric tonnes of oxygen. In this regard, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has written to Union Minister for Railways, Commerce and Industries Piyush Goyal,” state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar told reporters here on Thursday.


He said he too has written to the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan for supply of oxygen.

Sudhakar said the state government had a meeting with the major oxygen generators in the state.

Of them JSW Steel is the largest one.

“We had a meeting with Sajjan Jindal and he has assured us to supply as much oxygen required in the state,” Sudhakar said.

The Minister said after the meeting JSW steel supplied 40 metric tonnes in the last two days required for Bengaluru.

Besides this, the State has demanded additional supply of Remdesivir injections, which is crucial for COVID treatment.


According to him, the state has ordered 70,000 vials of Remdesivir injection, of which 20,000 had arrived while the remaining would be supplied in the coming days.

“We have already ordered 70,000 vials of Remdesivir. This besides we have put forth the demand for one lakh Remdesivir vials for which we have written to the Centre,” he added.

To a question as to why the state did not stock enough oxygen beforehand, the Minister said when the cases had reduced, there was no such demand and hence there was no point in storing it.

Now that the cases have gone up the meetings took place to meet the requirement.


The minister’s statement came as the demand for oxygen and Remdesivir injection grew in view of the alarming rise of COVID cases, leading to their blackmarketing as well.

The government cracked the whip and arrested a few who were black marketing Remdesivir injection.

However, the shortage persisted.

There, however, is no crackdown on the blackmarketing of oxygen cylinders in the state.

The grim situation could be assessed from the fact that on Wednesday alone, the state reported 23,558 fresh COVID cases and 116 deaths while the active cases in the state has gone up to 1.76 lakh.


The active cases comprised 904 patients in the ICU.

Bengaluru Urban district alone contributed more than 70 per cent of the cases and fatalities, prompting Sudhakar to call Bengaluru the epicentre of COVID in Karnataka.

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Spanish police seize home-made submarine able to carry two tonnes of drugs

Madrid: Spanish police say they have seized a home-made narco-submarine able to carry up to two metric tonnes of cargo.

Police came across the nine-metre-long craft last month while it was being built in Málaga, on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, during a broader international drug operation involving five other countries and the European Union crime agency Europol.

The home-made submarine sits outside a warehouse in Malaga, Spain.Credit:Police Nacional via AP

The three-metre-wide semi-submersible craft is made of fibreglass and plywood panels attached to a structural frame, has three portholes on one side and is painted light blue. It has two 200-horsepower engines operated from the inside.

Rafael Perez, head of the Spanish police, said on Friday that the vessel had never sailed.

“We think it was going to go into the high seas to meet a mother ship (to) take on board the drugs,” probably cocaine, before returning to Spain, Perez said.

“It is like an iceberg,” he said of the vessel’s structure. “In practice, nearly all of it goes under water apart from the top, which is the only part of it that would be seen from another ship or a helicopter.”


Similar drug-smuggling vessels have in the past been discovered in the Atlantic Ocean, especially off Central and South America. They sit low in the water to escape detection and rarely are able to fully submerge.

The wider police operation against the alleged international smuggling ring netted hundreds of kilograms of cocaine, hashish and marijuana in various places in Spain, with 52 people arrested.

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Estimated 931 mn tonnes of food wasted globally in 2019; India’s share 68 mn: UN report

An estimated 931 million tonnes of food were wasted globally in 2019, enough to circle the Earth seven times, according to a UN report which said that household food waste in India is about 68.7 million tonnes a year.

The Food Waste Index Report 2021, from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partner organisation WRAP, said that around 931 million tonnes of food waste was generated in 2019, sixty-one per cent of which came from households, 26 per cent from food service and 13 per cent from retail.

“This suggests that 17 per cent of total global food production may be wasted,” it said.

“The weight roughly equals that of 23 million fully loaded 40-tonne trucks — bumper-to-bumper, enough to circle the Earth seven times,” the UN agency said.

In India, the household food waste estimate is 50 kg per capita per year, or 68,760,163 tonnes a year.

The household food waste estimate in the US is 59 kg per capita per year, or 19,359,951 tonnes a year, while for China these estimates are 64 kg per capita per year or 91,646,213 tonnes a year.

The report looks at food waste that occurs in retail outlets, restaurants and homes – counting both food and inedible parts like bones and shells and presents the most comprehensive food waste data collection, analysis and modelling to date.

It finds that in nearly every country that has measured food waste, it was substantial, regardless of income level.

It shows that most of this waste comes from households, which discard 11 per cent of the total food available at the consumption stage of the supply chain.

Food services and retail outlets waste 5 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.

On a global per capita-level, 121 kgs of consumer level food is wasted each year, with 74 kgs of this happening in households, the UNEP said in a statement.

“If we want to get serious about tackling climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste, businesses, governments and citizens around the world have to do their part to reduce food waste,” Executive Director of the UNEP Inger Andersen said.

The report said that food waste has substantial environmental, social and economic impacts. At a time when climate action is still lagging, 8-10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food that is not consumed, when losses before consumer level are taken into account.

“Reducing food waste would cut greenhouse gas emissions, slow the destruction of nature through land conversion and pollution, enhance the availability of food and thus reduce hunger and save money at a time of global recession,” Andersen said.

The report noted that with 690 million people affected by hunger in 2019, an estimate that is expected to rise sharply due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and three billion people unable to afford a healthy diet, consumers need help to reduce food waste at home.

It said countries can raise climate ambition by including food waste in Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement, while strengthening food security and cutting costs to households.

This makes food waste prevention also a primary area for inclusion in COVID-19 recovery strategies.

“For a long time, it was assumed that food waste in the home was a significant problem only in developed countries,” said Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP.

“With the publication of the Food Waste Index report, we see that things are not so clear cut. With only nine years to go, we will not achieve SDG 12 Target 3 if we do not significantly increase investment in tackling food waste in the home globally. This must be a priority for governments, international organisations, businesses and philanthropic foundations,” Gover said.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3 aims at halving per-capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains. One of the two indicators for the target is the Food Waste Index.

Andersen said that there is growing evidence of success in reducing food waste – though not at the scale needed to achieve the target.

“Much more can be done. We need, for example, to address the role of consumer behaviour, in all cultural contexts, in achieving the target. Let us all shop carefully, cook creatively and make wasting food anywhere socially unacceptable while we strive to provide healthy, sustainable diets to all,” Andersen added.

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Hungary wheat harvest reaches 5 million tonnes | The Budapest Business Journal on the web

 MTI – Econews

 Monday, November 30, 2020, 15:05

Hungaryʼs wheat harvest has reached 5 million tonnes, with an average yield of 5.37 tonnes per hectare, state secretary Zsolt Feldman said after a meeting of the Harvest Coordination Committee, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Photo by Korobka Dmytro / Shutterstock.com

Feldman noted that the yield was close to the standing record.

Some 2 million tonnes of that wheat could be exported.

Feldman said 96% of the maize crop has been harvested. The maize yield has broken all records, averaging 8.66 tonnes per hectare, he added.

The maize harvest is expected to reach 8.3 million tonnes.

Hungarian farmers harvested 1.32 million tonnes of barley. Yield averaged 5.65 tonnes per hectare.

The sunflower seed harvest reached 1.74 million tonnes. The average yield was 2.84 tonnes per hectare.

The rapeseed harvest reached 785,000 tonnes. The average yield was 2.52 tonnes per hectare.

The soybean harvest is nearly finished and should come to 161,000 tonnes, with an average yield of 2.72 tonnes per hectare.



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India pushes tonnes of supplies to disputed China border ahead of winter

LEH, India: From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, India’s military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China.

In recent months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said.

The move was triggered by a border stand-off with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand combat. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed while China suffered an undisclosed number of casualties.

Both countries are negotiating to resolve the confrontation, but neither side has backed down. The Indian military is now set to keep troops deployed along the treacherous, high-altitude border through the winter.

Eastern Ladakh, where the flare-up occurred, is typically manned by 20,000-30,000 soldiers. But the deployment has more than doubled with the tensions, a military official said, declining to provide exact numbers.

“We have mirrored the increase in Chinese troops,” the official said, adding the Indian military was well-prepared but did not want further escalation or a prolonged conflict.

Temperatures in Ladakh can fall well below freezing, and troops are often deployed at altitudes of over 15,000 feet, where oxygen is scarce, officials said.

Indian soldiers disembark from a military transport plane at a forward airbase in Leh, in the Ladakh region, Sep 15, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui)

Since snow blocks mountain passes into Ladakh at least four months every winter, Indian military planners have already moved more than 150,000 tonnes of materials into the region.

“All the supplies that we need have already been pushed to wherever they are required,” said Major General Arvind Kapoor, chief of staff of the Indian army’s 14 Corps.


On Tuesday morning, a succession of the Indian air force’s large transport aircraft landed at a forward base in Ladakh, carrying men and materials, as fighter jets roared overhead.

Soldiers with backpacks streamed out and were checked for COVID-19 symptoms at a transit facility, where they awaited further transport.

The materials are stored across a network of logistics hubs.

At a fuel, oil and lubricant depot near Leh, Ladakh’s main city, a hillside was covered with clusters of green drums.

At storage facilities at a nearby supply depot, boxes and sacks of ration – including pistachios, instant noodles and Indian curries – stood in tall piles. At another base near Leh, tents, heaters, winter clothing and high-altitude equipment lay stacked.

From these depots, the materials are pushed to logistics nodes by trucks, helicopters and, in some particularly difficult parts, mules, officials said.

“In a place like Ladakh, operations logistics is of huge importance,” said Kapoor. “In the last 20 years, we have mastered it.”

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UK imports tonnes of Dutch sewage sludge ‘for agricultural benefit’ sparking toxicity concerns

The UK is importing 27,500 tonnes of sewage sludge containing human waste from the Netherlands for agricultural purposes, despite concerns over its toxicity for human health and the environment.

A permit for 15 shipments was issued in February by the UK”s Environment Agency, according to documents obtained by Greenpeace’s Unearthed investigative unit and seen by Euronews.

The notification provides for the expedition until November 2020 of “dewatered municipal sewage sludge” as part of the “recycling/reclamation of organic substances that are not used as solvents” and for “agricultural benefit” — i.e. fertilisers to use on farmlands.

Unearthed‘s investigation found out that investigators commissioned by the UK’s Environment Agency uncovered that sewage waste was contaminated with “persistent organic pollutants” or microplastics and still tested positive for salmonella or “high concentrations of e-coli”.

In their report, they had warned UK authorities that the routine spread of sludge as fertiliser may ultimately leave soil “unsuitable for agriculture” and pose a serious risk to human health.

The Netherlands has banned the spreading of sludge on farmland since 1995 but has been looking for new disposal destinations after a crisis at an Amsterdam waste incineration company.

“The sludge that is spread onto our farms and fields has become such a toxic cocktail of plastics, chemicals and bacteria. Add waste from the Netherlands into the mix and the risk of further contamination is only going to skyrocket,” Greenpeace UK’s executive director, John Sauven, said.

While the UK legislation sets potentially toxic element (PTE) concentration limits when spread on the surface of grassland (1200mg/kg dry solids of lead for instance), there are no set PTE concentrations in the sludge that you can use on arable soils.

The Environment Agency launched its “strategy for safe and sustainable sludge use” in July which aims at reviewing “the current regulatory regime for sludge treatment, storage and use” by 2023.

“The Environment Agency really needs to get its own house in order before we allow the UK to become a dumping ground for other countries polluted sewage,” Sauven argued.

“Spreading sewage sludge is higher up the waste hierarchy than many alternatives, such as incineration and landfill. Sewage sludge can be spread to land as fertiliser or soil improver and can be a valuable source of nutrients,” an Environment Agency spokesperson said.

“While spreading waste can have beneficial impacts on the land when used as a substitute for manufactured fertilisers, we are clear this practice must not harm the environment. We will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who fail to manage any risks appropriately – including prosecution in the most severe cases,” they promised.

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