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News in Short

News in Short - 09-February-2021

US moves to re-join UN Rights Council

Date: 09 February 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • The Biden administration is set to announce that it will reengage with U.N. Human Rights Council that former President Donald Trump withdrew from almost three years ago.
  • The decision reverses another Trump-era move away from multilateral organizations and agreements. It is likely to draw criticism from conservative lawmakers and many in the pro-Israel community.
  • Trump pulled out of the world body's main human rights agency in 2018 due to its disproportionate focus on Israel, which has received by far the largest number of critical council resolutions against any country.
  • In addition to the council’s persistent focus on Israel, the Trump administration took issue with the body’s membership, which currently includes China, Cuba, Eritrea, Russia, and Venezuela, all of which have been accused of human rights abuses.

Chinese firm wins contract to develop renewable energy project in Sri Lanka

Date: 09 February 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • A Chinese company has won a contract to set up hybrid wind and solar energy projects on three Sri Lankan islands off the northern Jaffna peninsula.
  • The project was awarded to Sinosar-Etechwin, and will be implemented as a joint venture with the state-owned Ceylon Electricity Board as part of the Sri Lankan government’s Supporting Electricity Supply Reliability Improvement Project.
  • India had lodged a strong protest with the Sri Lankan government on the contract to the Chinese company days before the Sri Lankan government cancelled the contract for the Eastern Container Terminal.
  • Asian Development Bank will fund the project, which will come up on Delft, Nainativu, and Analativu, three islands in the Palk Strait off Jaffna peninsula. Delft, the largest of the three islands, is the closest to Rameswaram, which lies to the island’s south west.

Pope Francis appoints first woman in senior synod post

Date: 09 February 2021 Tags: Appointments & Resignations
  • Pope Francis has broken with Catholic tradition to appoint a woman as an undersecretary of the synod of bishops, the first to hold the post with voting rights in a body that studies major questions of doctrine.
  • Frenchwoman Nathalie Becquart is one of the two new undersecretaries named on February 6 to the synod, where she has been a consultant since 2019.
  • The synod is led by bishops and cardinals who have voting rights and also comprises experts who cannot vote, with the next gathering scheduled for autumn 2022.
  • The pope has signalled his wish to reform the synod and have women and laypeople play a greater role in the church.
  • He named Spaniard Luis Marin de San Martin as the other under undersecretary in the synod of bishops.

Indian tennis legend Akhtar Ali passes away

Date: 09 February 2021 Tags: Obituaries
  • Former Indian tennis player and coach Akhtar Ali passed away. He was 81
  • Akhtar made his mark in 1955 when he became the National junior champion and reached the junior Wimbledon semifinals.
  • He represented India in eight Davis Cup ties against Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran, Mexico, Japan, and Monaco between 1958 and 1964.
  • Akhtar, who was groomed by former Australian Davis Cup coach Harry Hopman, also played the Wimbledon and French Open. He was winner of the Asian mixed doubles championship.
  • He was National team coach from 1966 to 1993. Under his guidance, the Indian team reached the Davis Cup final in 1966.
  • Akhtar’s coaching influenced many famous players including Vijay Amritraj, Anand Amritraj, Ramesh Krishnan, Enrico Piperno, Leander Paes, and Somdev Devvarman. He was also advisor to Sania Mirza.

Glacial Lake Outburst creates flash floods in Uttarakhand

Date: 09 February 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • A flash flood situation took place in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand after an avalanche caused the Dhauliganga river to flood.
  • The deluge was believed to be caused by Nandadevi glacier breach. Nandadevi is the second highest mountain after Kanchenjunga.
  • An avalanche is falling masses of snow and ice which gathers pace as it comes down the slope. But an avalanche is unlikely to result in the rise of water of that magnitude.