Rising temperatures could drive up farmer suicides in India without govt help — study

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FILE- In this March 7, 2017 file photo, Indian women farmers work in their farm on the eve of International Women's Day on the outskirts of New Delhi, India. Researchers report a link between crop-damaging temperatures and suicide rates in India, where more than 130,000 farmers end their lives every year. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)
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An Indian farmer from Tamil Nadu state arranges human skulls, said to belong to farmers who had committed suicide, during a protest in New Delhi on August 1, 2017. Farmers from Tamil Nadu are protesting in New Delhi with the bones of farmers who have committed suicide in the wake of a prolonged drought and rising amounts of debt, seeking action from the government including the write-off of bank loans and relief packages for drought affected areas. / AFP / SAJJAD HUSSAIN
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FILE- In this Feb. 1, 2017 file photo, an Indian farmer works in his paddy field in Roja Mayong village, east of Gauhati, India. Researchers report a link between crop-damaging temperatures and suicide rates in India, where more than 130,000 farmers end their lives every year. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath, File)
Updated 01 August 2017

Rising temperatures could drive up farmer suicides in India without govt help — study

MUMBAI: Climate change has led to more than 59,000 farmer suicides in India over the last three decades and rising temperatures could drive the suicide rate up further without government help for farmers, according to a US university study.
University of California Berkeley researcher Tamma Carleton said suicide rates in India have nearly doubled since 1980 and claim more than 130,000 lives every year, with about 7 percent of these attributable to warming linked to human activity.
“It was both shocking and heartbreaking to see that thousands of people face such bleak conditions that they are driven to harm themselves,” Carleton said in a statement.
“Without interventions that help families adapt to a warmer climate, it’s likely we will see a rising number of lives lost to suicide as climate change worsens in India,” she added.
The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found every 1 degree Celsius increase above 20°C (68°F) during the growing season led to about 65 suicides across India.
A 5°C increase had five times that effect, showed the study which focused on the summer monsoon period June-September.
More than half India’s population depends on the land for a livelihood.
Tens of thousands of farmers have killed themselves over the last couple of decades in India — by drinking pesticide or hanging themselves — as unseasonal rains and drought led to crop failures, leaving farmers struggling with debt.
More than 12,600 farmers and agricultural workers committed suicide in 2015 alone, accounting for about 10 percent of all suicides in India, according to official data.
Almost 60 percent of suicides were caused by bankruptcy and indebtedness, the data showed.
The government has announced loan write-offs, introduced crop insurance schemes and subsidised inputs such as fertilizers.
But farmers’ unions say implementation of these measures has been slow. They have taken to the streets to demand bigger loan waivers and better output prices in protests that have sometimes turned deadly.
With temperatures in India forecast to rise by 3°C by 2050, policies to protect farmers with crop insurance and improvements in rural credit markets may help check suicides, said Carleton.
“Learning that the desperation is economic means that we can do something about this. The right policies could save thousands,” she said.
“The tragedy is unfolding today ... This is our problem, right now.”


3 funeral workers fired over Maradona coffin photos

Updated 27 November 2020

3 funeral workers fired over Maradona coffin photos

  • The images distributed across social media have created outrage, even death threats, across a nation that venerated Maradona
  • Claudio Fernández confirmed that he’d lost his job at the Pinier funeral home, along with his son Ismael and Claudio Medina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina: Three funeral workers have been fired for posing for photos alongside the body of soccer star Diego Maradona shortly before his funeral.
The images distributed across social media created outrage, even death threats, across a nation that venerated Maradona, who died Wednesday of a heart attack at age 60. Tens of thousands lined up for a chance to file past his body at the nation’s presidential palace on Thursday.
Claudio Fernández confirmed to Radio Diez on Friday that he’d lost his job at the Pinier funeral home, along with his son Ismael and Claudio Medina.
One of the images shows Fernández and his son — smiling and with thumb raised — alongside Maradona’s body in the coffin on Thursday. Medina appears in another in the same pose.
Fernández insisted that he hadn’t known they’d planned to take a photograph, much less distribute it. “It was something instantaneous. I’d just raised my head and my son did it like any kid of 18,” he told the radio station.
He said he had been receiving threats from others living in the El Paternal neighborhood where Maradona debuted as a professional in 1976 with the Argentinos Juniors team.
“They know me. I’m from the neighborhood,” Fernández said. “They say they are going to kill us, break our heads.”
The team issued a statement saying it was considering expelling Fernández from its membership rolls.