Brazil: Minister of Agriculture admits that Brazil may lose exports by releasing pesticides

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Minister of Agriculture admits that Brazil may lose exports by releasing pesticides

“We are bothered by the fact that the issue is being turned into political warfare and commercial warfare outside,” she said during a breakfast with a journalist.

(Photo: Antonio Cruz / Brazil Agency)

Sputnik – The minister of Agriculture , Livestock and Supply, Tereza Cristina said on Tuesday (6), which fears that the authorizations granted by the government for the registration of pesticides in the country from turning into a “trade war” in the international arena.

“We are bothered that the subject is being turned into political warfare and commercial warfare out there,” she said during a breakfast with journalists.

“I am concerned that we will pass images that will result in questioning abroad. If there are doubts inside, why shouldn’t there be?”

Tereza Cristina said that the authorizations granted for the use of new pesticides is a “calculated risk” similar to what happens in other countries.

“No one is putting poison on the plate of the Brazilian consumer,” said the minister.

The Ministry of Agriculture approved the registration of 262 pesticides from the beginning of the year. The release rate of new pesticides is the highest ever seen for the period.

China stops buying US farm products

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

China stops buying US farm products

Shine

China’s Commerce Ministry said on Tuesday that Chinese companies have stopped buying US agricultural products, and that China will not rule out imposing import tariffs on US farm products that were bought after August 3.

“Related Chinese companies have suspended purchases of US agricultural products,” the ministry said in an online statement posted shortly after midnight in Beijing on Tuesday.

The statement said China hoped the United States would keep its promises and create the “necessary conditions” for bilateral cooperation.

US President Donald Trump said last Thursday that China had not fulfilled a promise to buy large volumes of US farm products and vowed to impose new tariffs on around US$300 billion of Chinese goods, abruptly ending the China-US trade truce.

In response to the US accusations, an official with the China’s top economic planning agency said “such accusations are groundless.”

Cong Liang, secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, said from the conclusion of the Osaka meeting to the end of July, a total of 2.27 million tons of US soybeans were newly shipped to China, and another 2 million tons of soybeans are expected to be loaded in August.

Since July 19, Chinese companies have made inquiries about purchasing US soybeans, sorghum, wheat, corn, cotton, dairy products, hay, ethyl alcohol, soybean oil, wine, beer, fresh and processed fruits and other agricultural products.

By the evening of August 2, a number of deals had been concluded, including 130,000 tons of soybeans, 120,000 tons of sorghum, 60,000 tons of wheat and 40,000 tons of pork and pork products, Cong said.

“China and the United States are highly complementary in the agricultural sector and the trade of agricultural products is in line with the mutual interests of both sides,” said Cong.

Cong said the reason that some US products, including ethyl alcohol and corn, failed to clinch a deal in the Chinese market is because their prices are less competitive.

“We hope the United States will do more to clear obstacles and create conditions for China’s purchase of US agricultural products,” said Cong.

The history of state fairs in America

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

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The history of state fairs in America

In some circles, a state fair is the highly anticipated culmination of the subtleties, quirks and characteristics that define that particular state’s people and places. It’s a time to celebrate statehood in a way that’s uniquely tailored to the state’s attractions and excitements.

Daytime excitements often include arts and crafts, livestock judging and food vendors galore, while nighttime attractions swing toward bright neon lights, spinning carnival rides, and spotlight arenas hosting demolition derbies, tractor pulls and rodeos.

State fairs are meant to entertain and bring people together, and the biggest state fairs in the nation see millions of people in attendance year after year. Let’s take a quick dive into how state fairs began and the history that followed.

State fairs began as unofficial sheep shearing demonstrations

Credit: ClarkandCompany / iStock

One man and his sheep are often given credit for lighting the first spark to what would later become the state fair tradition. Elkanah Watson began raising Merino sheep on a farm in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in the early 1800s. Watson, proud of his sheep, brought two prized specimens to Park Square for all to see in 1807, drawing a sizable crowd.

Watson’s sheep parades (he was known to take his sheep to the square on more than one occasion) began the gears turning on what would become the first agricultural fair in the United States that year. It would consist of Watson’s sheep and shearing.

demonstrations only.

By 1811, Watson had helped organize the Berkshire Agricultural Society, a group of friends and farmers, and local agricultural fairs evolved to include cattle shows and livestock showcases. The notion soon caught on, and communities outside of Massachusetts began hosting their own agricultural fairs.

These types of events eventually grew in size and scope to become state fairs.

The very first state fair was held in New York

Credit: Dave Bunger / iStock

State fairs as they exist today — a cornucopia of carnival rides, neon-lighted games and inexpensive novelty prizes — didn’t take root until the 21st Century. The one-and-only original state fair was officially held in 1841 in Syracuse, New York as a recreational gathering and agricultural competition.

This inaugural state fair began as a natural extension of the New York State Agricultural Society and was first organized in an attempt to promote agricultural improvement. Approximately 15,000 people gathered in Syracuse in late September 1841 to enjoy a plowing contest, sample manufactured goods, and view animal exhibits.

The first state fair was appropriately called the New York State Fair, but it would see a number of distinctive titles throughout the years. These included the New York State Agricultural and Industrial Exposition (1938) and the New York State Exposition (1961). Today, given its history and long-standing tradition, the annual event still held in Syracuse is called The Great New York State Fair, and more than one million people attend every year.

The rest is state fair history

Credit: aceshot / iStock

States began to catch the fair bug after the success of the New York State Fair in 1841. Livestock shows and the likes grew in size and popularity, but nothing compared to New York’s state fair until Michigan joined the party in 1849. The Michigan State Fair, held in Detroit, was one of the first statewide fairs in the United States.

States like TexasMaineSouth CarolinaIowa, and more would jump on the state fair bandwagon over the next half-decade, hosting their own statewide events and increasing annual attendance as popularity spread.

Livestock shows and sheep shearing were still part of the appeal, but as state fairs grew so too did their entertainment offerings. Soon, state fairs included things like x-ray machine demonstrations, vehicle showcases, and telephone/television/photography exhibitions.

State fairs, world fairs, and technology expos abound today

Credit: JoeChristensen / iStock

State fairs paved the way in America for larger, more elaborate, often-specialized events held in the country, and people continue to create new and exciting events for the public to enjoy.

The first World’s Fair event hosted in the United States took place in New York City in 1853 and was called the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations (AKA the New York Crystal Palace Exhibition). More than a dozen similar World’s Fairs have been hosted in the United States since that time.

Today, annually, hundreds of different events and expositions are held all around the country, ranging from individual state fairs to pop culture exhibitions and consumer electronics shows.

India in for drier, hotter summer

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

India in for drier, hotter summer

According to figures released by the Central Water Commission on Friday, 91 of the major reservoirs across the country are holding an average of 25% of their capacity.

INDIA Updated: May 11, 2019 07:36 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
summer,summers in India,Pre-monsoon rainfall
Many parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are facing a drought-like situation despite the 2018 south-west monsoon bringing ample rainfall, experts said. (Diwakar Prasad/ HT Photo)

Pre-monsoon rainfall has been 21% below the long-period average (LPA) of 82.5mm between March 1 and May 8, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). North-west India, with a rain deficit of 37%, and peninsular India, with a shortfall of 39%, bore the brunt.

Rainfall triggered by cyclone Fani earlier this month managed to bridge the deficit in central, east and north-east India, which have now recorded normal pre-monsoon rains, according to data put out by IMD in its weather status report released on Friday. Central India has experienced 15% surplus rain over the LPA, mainly due to showers in the past one week.

Even so, extreme heat waves in most parts of India would mean large swathes of the country will remain dry before sowing begins in June for the Kharif crop with the onset of the south-west monsoon, which is critical in India, where nearly half the population is dependent on farming and 60% of the net-sown area does not have any form of irrigation.

Millions of farmers wait for the rains to begin summer sowing of major crops, such as rice, sugar, cotton, coarse cereals and oilseeds. Half of India’s farm output comes from summer crops dependent on these rains.

Many parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are facing a drought-like situation despite the 2018 south-west monsoon bringing ample rainfall, experts said.

Also read: Dust storm, light rain may lower temperature over the weekend

“The water level in big dams this year is 10-15% less than previous years despite many of the regions receiving good rainfall last year,” said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People.

According to figures released by the Central Water Commission on Friday, 91 of the major reservoirs across the country are holding an average of 25% of their capacity.

Concerns of a weak monsoon this year have been fanned by a lingering El Niño, a weather phenomenon characterised by warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that is associated with poor rainfall and more episodes of heat waves in the subcontinent.

An update by private weather forecaster Skymet Weather said on Thursday that after tapering down slightly during April, El Niño indices have risen again in the last two weeks although the increase has been marginal.

“During the beginning of monsoon, there is a 60% chance of El Niño conditions remaining steady. This is why we are expecting monsoon rain to be below normal in June and then gradually becoming normal in the latter part of July and August,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice president (meteorology and climate change), Skymet Weather. Deficient pre-monsoon rains and a weak beginning to the monsoon could have an impact on summer crop sowing, which may be compounded by deficient rainfall.

For a bountiful crop, the rains also need to be evenly distributed across regions. Robust summer rains, which account for 70% of India’s total annual rainfall, spur rural spending on most items and increases demand in other sectors of the economy. Rural sales, for instance, account for about 48% of all motorcycles and 44% of television sets sold annually if the monsoon is normal.

Also read: Heat wave conditions prevail in North India

Officials at IMD, however, said concerns about El Niño are premature. “El Niño conditions have definitely not gone up. June onwards, it will move towards neutral El Niño conditions. We don’t expect El Niño to amplify. At the most, there will be a sluggish start to the monsoon but it will not be detrimental in any way,” said KG Ramesh, IMD’s director general.

Last month was marked by heat waves in many parts of the country, including eastern Uttar Pradesh, western Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Vidarbha, and Telangana. Some northern parts of the country also recorded extremely high temperatures.

For example, Una in Himachal Pradesh recorded 41.7 degrees C on Friday; Sundernagar, also in Himachal Pradesh recorded 37.6 degrees C, Dehradun in Uttarakhand was at 38.7 degree C. The highest maximum temperature this summer recorded till now has been at Brahmagiri in Vidarbha on May 2 at 46.4 degrees C.

“Heat wave in central India, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh is expected in May which is the peak summer season… We have noticed that the temperature in the foothills of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are also 3 to 4 degrees above normal. Temperatures also increase before a western disturbance approaches,” said Charan Singh, senior scientist at IMD. Due to an approaching western disturbance (WD) and moisture incursion from Arabian Sea, scattered rainfall and thunderstorms are expected in north-west India and north India, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, on Sunday.

“The heat wave will abate. There will be scattered rainfall in northwest India till May 17. But it is unlikely to compensate for the deficient pre-monsoon showers over the country,” added Palawat.

First Published: May 11, 2019 07:32 IST

India: Thousands Of Farmers March On Parliament Today Demanding Fair Prices

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

With photos, skulls and placards, thousands of farmers march to Parliament today

Thousands of farmers at Ramlila Ground walked to Sansad Marg in the morning. Farmers want demands to be discussed in the Winter session of the Parliament.

DELHI Updated: Nov 30, 2018 13:52 IST

Gulam Jeelani and Dhamini Ratnam
Gulam Jeelani and Dhamini Ratnam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Farmers march in Delhi,Farmers march today,Delhi news
The demands of the farmers is passing of two bills seeking ‘freedom from indebtedness’ and the ‘right to guaranteed remunerative minimum support price (MSP)’, which were introduced in the Lok Sabha in August this year.(HT Photo/ Sanchit Khanna)

Ashwini’s father, D Ramesh, a cotton farmer, had committed suicide in 2003. Twelve years later, P Chandrayi, Ramiah’s father — also a cotton farmer —killed himself in 2015. Both the farmers died for the same reason—their inability to pay debts.

With many things in common among them, the two girls from Warangal district of Telangana held the photo frames of their late fathers in their hands as they marched inside Ramlila Maidan with a group of farmers on Thursday to take part in the ‘Kisan Mukti March’ — a two-day farmers’ protest to demand a three-week special session of the Parliament to discuss the agrarian crisis.

“We had taken a few acres of land on lease and we grew cotton on it. There was no profit and my father couldn’t pay back the landlord. He couldn’t bear the burden and killed self,” said Ashwini, who works as a labourer, in broken mix of Hindi and English.

Thousands of farmers, like Ashwini and Ramiah, both 20, from across the country are marching towards Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan to participate in a peaceful, yet emphatic, protest march on Thursday, a week after their counterparts staged a similar march in Maharashtra’s Mumbai.

Read live updates here

Many farmer leaders will address the gathering at the street next to iconic Jantar Mantar, once the site for dissent in central Delhi. Representatives from political parties will also give speeches in support of the two-day “Kisan Mukti March” demanding a 21-day special session of Parliament to discuss agrarian crisis.

Among leaders expected to attend include Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, Loktantrik Janata Dal’s Sharad Yadav, to name a few.

Read: Joint House session, loan waiver and MSP on protesters’ wish list

The farmers, in groups representing different organisations, started walking from five different locations entering the National Capital to be part of the march to press for their demands. Enroute, the marching farmers were provided with food and water by volunteers of different farmer organisations.

Ramabai, 45, who left home in Kolhapur, Maharashtra on Monday, reached Delhi on Thursday morning. She donned a red T-shirt of All India Kisan Sabha before joining the march at Shri Bala Sahib Gurudwara.

“There are 10 people in my house and the prices of rice, wheat and dal have shot up. It’s difficult to sustain the household,” said Ramabai, who works in the field of her landowner.

Organised under the banner of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), an umbrella body of about 200 farmer organisations from across the country, the march moved towards Parliament for a rally on Friday morning after halting for the night at Ramlila Ground.

Among the groups, a farmers’ delegation from southwest Delhi’s Bijwasan on Thursday was led by Yogendra Yadav, the president of Swaraj India and one of the working group members of AIKSCC. Yadav termed the protest as ‘one of the biggest marches’ of farmers in recent times. The biggest congregation, however, was of over a thousand farmers who walked from Sarai Kale Khan under AIKSCC’s banner reaching the ground at around 3.30pm.

A group of farmers from Tamil Nadu also arrived carrying skulls and bones to symbolise the suicides of their colleagues. The group threatened to go naked if they are not allowed to march to the Parliament on Friday.

“We are expecting a gathering of 35,000-40,000 people to march towards Parliament Street on Friday morning,” said Vijoo Krishnan, member of one of the many AIKSCC-affiliated bodies. In the night, food was served to the farmers at Ramlila Ground, where a cultural programme was also organised. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is expected to reach the venue on Friday.

Kiran Jangaiah, a 38-year-old farmer from Ranga Reddy district in Telangana, said, “I wanted to represent people like me in court so that our voices don’t get drowned.” The lake that used to sustain his farm, he added, has gone dry. To make ends meet, his mother Poshamma, works as a farm hand in other farms. Nearly 95 per cent of his district lies in the drought-hit Krishna river basin, which has been experiencing a severe drought.

The demands of the farmers is passing of two bills seeking ‘freedom from indebtedness’ and the ‘right to guaranteed remunerative minimum support price (MSP)’, which were introduced in the Lok Sabha in August this year. In 2004, the National Commission for Farmers headed by MS Swaminathan submitted five reports, which contain a draft of recommendations that safeguarded the interest of farmers. The formation of national and state disaster relief commissions that can declare a region or a crop as distress-affected, and provide necessary relief, is also a demand.

“The politicians are only interested in mandir and masjids. Our mandirs are our livestock and our crops,” said Rakesh Chaudhary, a farmer leader from Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor district. “The new season of sugarcane farming has started and we are yet to get prices of previous crop,” he added.

First Published: Nov 30, 2018 07:16 IST

9,000-year-old mask from Hebron Hills sheds light on the dawn of agriculture

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

9,000-year-old mask from Hebron Hills sheds light on the dawn of agriculture

Archaeologists say rare stone artifact uncovered in southern West Bank was used in ancestor worship during a pivotal period in Neolithic culture

  • A 9,000-year-old stone mask discovered in the southern Hebron Hills area of the West Bank in early 2018. (Antiquities Theft Prevention Unit, Israel Antiquities Authority)
    A 9,000-year-old stone mask discovered in the southern Hebron Hills area of the West Bank in early 2018. (Antiquities Theft Prevention Unit, Israel Antiquities Authority)
  • A 9,000-year-old stone mask discovered in the southern Hebron Hills area of the West Bank in early 2018. (Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority)
    A 9,000-year-old stone mask discovered in the southern Hebron Hills area of the West Bank in early 2018. (Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority)
  • Side view of a 9,000-year-old stone mask discovered in the southern Hebron Hills area of the West Bank in early 2018. (Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority)
    Side view of a 9,000-year-old stone mask discovered in the southern Hebron Hills area of the West Bank in early 2018. (Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority)

The Israel Antiquities Authority on Wednesday unveiled what it said was a rare 9,000-year-old stone mask linked to the beginnings of agricultural society. It is one of only 15 in the world.

The IAA said the pink and yellow sandstone object was discovered in a field near Pnei Hever, a West Bank settlement east of Hebron, and handed in to authorities in early 2018.

The rare mask may have been worn by people as part of rituals surrounding ancestor worship, according to IAA archaeologist Ronit Lupu.

“Discovering a mask made of stone, at such a high level of finish, is very exciting. The stone has been completely smoothed over and the features are perfect and symmetrical, even delineating cheek bones. It has an impressive nose and a mouth with distinct teeth,” Lupu said.

Archaeologists believe it was meant to be worn or attached to an artifact for display, because it has four holes drilled into its edges to enable it to be tied.

Its smooth finish was achieved by painstaking work with the stone tools of the Neolithic or “new stone” age.

Only 15 such masks have ever been found anywhere in the world, and just two have a usable provenance — that is, archaeologists know where they were found and can therefore place them with relative confidence in the context of a period and place.

The remaining 13 “are in private collections throughout the world, which makes it more difficult to study them,” the IAA announcement said.

A 9,000-year-old ritual mask discovered in the southern Hebron Hills area of the West Bank in early 2018. (Antiquities Theft Prevention Unit, Israel Antiquities Authority)

The mask will shed new light on a time of profound transformation, as humans were moving from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to permanent settlement and systematic agriculture, a shift that led to the rise of the first cities and, eventually, the first complex states and writing.

“Stone masks are linked to the agricultural revolution,” according to Omry Barzilai, head of the IAA Archaeological Research Department. “The transition from an economy based on hunting and gathering to ancient agriculture and domestication of plants and animals was accompanied by a change in social structure and a sharp increase in ritual-religious activities. Ritual findings from that period include human shaped figurines, plastered skulls, and stone masks.”

This was a time of ancestor worship, explained Lupu, and of an artistic culture that seemed focused on human faces.

“It was part of the ritual and retention of family heritage that was accepted at the time. For example, we find skulls buried under the floors of domestic houses, as well as various methods of shaping and caring for the skulls of the dead,” Lupu said. “This led to plastering skulls, shaping facial features, and even inserting shells for eyes. Stone masks, such as the one from Pnei Hever, are similar in size to the human face, which is why scholars tend to connect them with such worship.”

Side view of a 9,000-year-old stone mask discovered in the southern Hebron Hills area of the West Bank in early 2018. (Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Lupu explained that not only the mask’s discovery, but also knowledge of its provenance, made it a rare find.

“The mask is a unique finding in the archaeological world. It is even more unusual that we know which site it came from. The fact that we have information regarding the specific place in which it was discovered makes this mask more important than most other masks from this period that we currently know of,” Lupu said.

The southern Hebron Hills area has been the source of other masks dated to the same time, known to specialists as the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period. Its discovery thus bolsters the prevailing belief among archaeologists that this area served as a key center for the production of such masks, “and most likely also for ritual activities” associated with them, the statement said.

Initial conclusions from the study of the mask by scientists at the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Geological Survey of Israel are to be presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the Israel Prehistoric Society at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story inaccurately described the way in which authorities acquired the mask

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