NEWS DAY | Good news in Minnesota and disasters in Pakistan, Russia

Minnesota added 9,800 jobs in July, and the unemployment rate held steady at 6.8 percent, compared to a national unemployment rate of 9.5 percent. The increase in jobs is particularly significant, given that government employment in Minnesota dropped by 9,100, including 1,400 temporary census jobs. Overall, Minnesota employment has increased by 29,100 during the past 12 months. According to DEED:

The largest gains in July occurred in education and health care (up 5,500), followed by professional and business services (up 4,300), leisure and hospitality (up 2,900), other services (up 2,400), manufacturing (up 1,300), trade, transportation and utilities (up 900), financial activities (up 700), construction (up 600), information (up 200), and mining and logging (up 100).

Around the state, Rochester, St. Cloud and Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan statistical areas showed the most job growth, with Mankato and Duluth-Superior showing job losses.

In Pakistan, flooding has affected 20 million people, with at least one-fifth of the country now under water after three weeks of flooding. BBC has thorough coverage

Across Pakistan, millions of people are in need of everything from food to shelter, medical care, and water to drink.

And a nation has lost its limbs: infrastructure is broken, cash and food crops have been destroyed.

including individual stories of loss and despair

Big landowners may be able to recoup their losses. But people like Nizam Nathio, who lost his 10 acres in the flood, ask themselves how they will survive.

“All my resources are gone and the next crop will be harvested in six months,” he told me in a relief camp in Sukkur.

“Will my family eat mud till then to survive?”

and an analysis of why aid is slow in coming – donor fatigue after the Haitian earthquake earlier this year, concerns about terrorism and government corruption, and the nature of the disaster –

Dr Marie Lall says: “This was not one cataclysmic event, but one which grew over three weeks. The fact that 25% of the country was or is under water is not understood. The low numbers of dead, relatively speaking, mask the disaster on the ground. The crisis has destroyed crops, dead livestock and damaged homes and infrastructure. Food prices are through the roof and there won’t be a normal harvest. It will get worse. Farmers will starve.”

BBC also notes that aid is sometimes double-counted and often benefits the aid-giving nations more than the recipients:

Rich “donor” countries often double count their contributions to make themselves look more generous to voters at home, or to curry political favour with particular parts of the world.

They announce a figure at one pledging conference, for example, then announce the same projects at another forum as if the sums were separate amounts.

The donors also rarely point out that quite a lot of what they “give” goes straight into their own citizens’ bank accounts in the form of salaries for aid consultants or contract payments to manufacturers of 4×4 vehicles.

Meanwhile, an unnatural disaster is unfolding in Russia. This summer’s northern hemisphere heat wave brought the hottest temps in Russia’s history and more than 800 wildfires and more than 30 peat fires, according to Wikipedia’s well-documented article. The wildfires started at the end of July and continued into August. According to Wikipedia, on August 6:

According to the State environmental agency “Mosekomonitoring”, in the morning in Moscow, the maximum concentration of carbon monoxide in the air exceeded the acceptable norm by 3.6 times, the content of suspended particles by 2.8 times, and specific hydrocarbons by 1.5 times.

The Moscow airports of Domodedovo and Vnukovo are not able to land more than 40 planes and were only able to send about 20 planes due to the strong haze caused by the smoke.

During early August, heat and smog doubled Moscow’s daily death toll to 700, according to city authorities. That’s far greater than the toll of direct deaths from fires, reported by BBC as about 40 by August 3.

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