Being described as ‘the salt of the earth’ is usually a good thing, going by the old saying. But with at least 20 per cent of the world’s irrigable soils damaged by salinization, according to a United Nations agency, there is, it seems, more truth to another old saw: that you can get too much of a good thing.While the right amount of sodium chloride is a necessary nutrient and staple that brings out the best in most meals, too much of it is not only bad for you, but also leaves soils less fertile and less productive, thereby posing “a threat to the global fight against hunger and poverty,” the Food and Agriculture Organization says.
Images of grinning, gun-toting, khaki-clad hunters posingI over dead lions and elephants have long provoked outrage, scorn and bewilderment. But safari trophy-seekers are not the biggest threat to some protected animals, including several species closely related to humans, according to a report published by the UN’s Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). According to the study, “most migratory ungulates” as well as “all chimpanzee subspecies and three of the four gorilla subspecies” are “experiencing large population declines” that can in part be blamed on them ending up on people’s dinner plates. Of the 105 species covered in the study, which was prepared by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), 47 are hunted for so-called “bush meat” markets and another 20 are taken for other reasons, including “sport hunting.”
BAGH — The drive across Azad Jammu and Kashmir would ordinarily be a compelling experience for any traveller. The 10,000 foot-high Himalayan foothills provide a backdrop of stunning beauty. Pine trees cover the rocky slopes, and along the horizon, the snow-peaks of the Karakorum and Himalayas emerge between the lower peaks in this desolate area of northern Pakistan. But these snow-peaks are a harbinger of a different reality for northern Pakistan. What United Nations boss Kofi Annan terms ‘the merciless Himalayan winter’ has arrived – with snow already piling on densely-populated higher ground, hundreds of cases of pneumonia, and, children dying. Another harbinger: on Tuesday 6 last, the Pakistani Met Office forecast an even harsher-than-usual winter for Kashmir and the northern areas of the country.