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U.S. Megadrought worst in 1,200 years

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Vast areas of the western United States are currently being affected by a megadrought, including states such as California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Montana, and New Mexico.

The US government recently permitted seven western states to use water from the Colorado river following cutbacks.

But also cautioned them to conserve water to protect drying reservoirs, which is only getting worst through climate change.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation had recently given western states 60 days to either organise their own reductions or face mandatory cutbacks.

Authorities asked for a reduction of water usage by 2 million acre-feet a year. That accumulates to anywhere between 15% to 20%

Officials said they will be co-ordinating  with the seven Colorado River states on reaching a deal, which are Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

A new forecast indicated decreasing levels of the two largest reservoirs on the river, Lake Mead and Lake Powell.

Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will have supplies lowered for two years in a row now: 21% for Arizona, 8% for Nevada and 7% for New Mexico.

Water has been called the elixir of life, and negotiating its use is a difficult task at times like this.

John Entsminger, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, says

“It is possible for us to make the larger necessary cuts, but I think it is going to take everyone at the table realizing that everyone needs to suffer a commensurate level of pain to get there”. 

The 23-year megadrought has been recorded as the worst on record in at least 1,200 years.

And experts say at this point- there are two moves to make.

Swift action and water conservation.

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Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwestern Florida as Category 4 storm

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Officials say it’s one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the U.S.

Hurricane Ian has made landfall in southwest Florida with winds of 155 mph. Hitting the mainland U.S. as a Category 4 storm— officials say it’s one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the nation.

Moving at a crawling pace— Hurricane Ian is prompting major concerns about flooding and delayed rescues for those who decided to ride out the storm.

Forecasters say the storm’s relatively slow surge could lead to even greater rainfall than expected.

After slamming Florida’s southwest coast with Category 4 force Wednesday afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told residents that Ian brought powerful conditions including relentless rainfall and life-threatening winds that are “incredibly dangerous.”

He said, “there will be debris in the air and flooding powerful enough to move cars around so please do not be outside during the storm. If you’re in those Southwest Florida counties that you need to be sheltering in place. Don’t forget that Ian will produce hurricane strength winds and massive flooding—not just where it makes the initial landfall—but throughout the state of Florida so central Northeast Florida will also feel impacts.”

The entire Sunshine state is under a state of emergency.

Several airports in Florida are closed with thousands of flights cancelled.

More than 50 of the state’s 76 school districts have already canceled classes, with many public schools be turned into evacuation shelters.

Meanwhile, FEMA has already deployed 700 personnel to Florida and the governor has activated 5,000 state national guard with another 2,000-guard coming in from other states.

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Nord Stream pipe attack “act of sabotage”

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The US State Department has described recent leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines as “apparent acts of sabotage”

U.S State Department spokesperson Ned Price says they have more questions than answers at this point.

Adding Secretary of State Antony Blinken will begin discussing the issue with European counterparts as soon as Wednesday.

Price confirmed the leak “impacts Europe’s broader energy security and energy resilience”.

When was pressed on whether sabotage would rise to the level of a breach of NATO Article 5, he declined to speculate.

But noted the investigation could take some time.

It comes as European countries ramp up their military presence at oil and gas facilities, following the Nord Stream incident.

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Russia is about to annex Ukraine, so what happens next?

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Moscow is about to annex a swath of Ukraine, releasing what it called vote tallies showing support in four partially occupied provinces to join Russia

It looks like Russia is poised to annex a large chunk of Ukraine.

This comes after so-called referendums were held in four occupied provinces, which showed overwhelming support for joining Russia.

Of course, these referendums were anything but legitimate. They were held at gunpoint and were widely denounced by Kyiv and the West as sham votes.

“They can announce anything they want. Nobody voted in the referendum except a few people who switched sides. They went from house to house but nobody came out,” said Lyubomir Boyko, 43, from Golo Pristan, a village in Russian-occupied Kherson province.

People attend a rally and a concert in support of annexation referendums in Russian-held regions of Ukraine, in Saint Petersburg on September 23, 2022.

Moscow takes charge

Nevertheless, it looks like Moscow is moving ahead with its plans to absorb these Ukrainian regions. A tribune has been set up on Red Square, with giant video screens proclaiming “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson – Russia!”

The Russian-installed administrations of the four Ukrainian provinces on Wednesday formally asked Putin to incorporate them into Russia, which Russian officials have suggested is a formality.

“The results are clear. Welcome home, to Russia!,” Dmitry Medvedev, a former president who serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said on Telegram.

It’s expected that President Vladimir Putin will give a speech within days confirming the annexation. This would mean that, in just over a week, Putin has gone from endorsing the sham referendums to formalizing the annexation of Ukrainian territory.

This latest development is sure to increase tensions between Russia and the West. It also further diminishes the chances of a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.

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