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News in Short

News in Short - 15-October-2020

Methane ice snowcaps on Pluto

Date: 15 October 2020 Tags: Space
  • An international team of scientists have found that snowcaps discovered on Pluto's mountains differed the snowcaps on Earth's mountains.
  • They first determined that the 'snow' on Pluto's mountains actually consists of frozen methane, with traces of the gas being present in Pluto's atmosphere, just like water vapour on Earth.
  • Pluto's atmosphere is rich in gaseous methane at altitudes. As a result, it is only at the peaks of mountains high enough to reach this enriched zone that the air contains enough methane for it to condense. At lower altitudes, the air is too low in methane for ice to form.
  • Earlier in 2015, the New Horizons space probe discovered spectacular snowcapped mountains on Pluto, which seemed strikingly similar to mountains on Earth.

India set to slip below Bangladesh in per capita GDP in 2020

Date: 15 October 2020 Tags: Reports & Indices
  • Bangladesh is set to beat India in terms of per capita gross domestic product (GDP) this calendar year, due to a sharp contraction in the Indian economy due to Covid-19 and the economic lockdown.
  • According to International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Economic Outlook (WEO), Bangladesh’s per capita GDP in dollar terms is expected to grow 4 percent in 2020 to $1,888. India’s per capita GDP, on the other hand, is expected to decline 10.5 percent to $1,877 – the lowest in the last four years.
  • This makes India the third poorest country in South Asia, with only Pakistan and Nepal reporting lower per capita GDP, while Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Maldives would be ahead of India.
  • IMF predicts a sharp economic recovery in India next year, which is likely to push per capita GDP ahead of Bangladesh in 2021 by a small margin.

Pakistan likely to remain on FATF grey list

Date: 15 October 2020 Tags: International Organizations
  • Pakistan is unlikely to exit the Financial Action Task Force (FATF’s) greylist after its latest evaluation saw it clear 21 of 27 action points, with six key areas outstanding where Pakistan has yet to show progress.
  • There is still no consensus amongst the 39-member FATF, which includes the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, China, and Russia, to blacklist Pakistan.
  • The six points of failure in the FATF’s 27-point action list include Pakistan’s lack of action against charitable organisations connected to terror groups banned by the UN Security Council, and delays in prosecution of banned individuals and entities like Lashkar e Toiba chief Hafiz Saeed and LeT operations chief Zaki Ur Rahman Lakhvi, as well as Jaish-e- Mohammad chief Masood Azhar.

China and Russia win seats on UN rights council

Date: 15 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • China, Russia and Cuba won seats on the UN's premiere human rights body despite opposition from activist groups over their abysmal human rights records.
  • Russia and Cuba were running unopposed, but China and Saudi Arabia were in a five-way race in the only contested race for seats on the Human Rights Council.
  • Under the Human Rights Council's rules, seats are allocated to regions to ensure geographical representation.
  • Except for the Asia-Pacific contest, the election of 15 members to the 47-member Human Rights Council was all but decided in advance because all the other regional groups had uncontested slates.

Mehbooba Mufti released from detention

Date: 15 October 2020 Tags: Appointments & Resignations
  • PDP chief and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti was released from detention after the government revoked the PSA act.
  • Mufti was initially detained on August 5 last year when the Centre abrogated special status of the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into two union territories — Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • She was in preventive detention for more than 14 months. She was first detained under Sections 107 and 151 of CrPC but later booked under the controversial Public Safety Act.