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News in Short

News in Short - 17-March-2021

New Delhi becomes world’s most polluted capital city for third consecutive year

Date: 17 March 2021 Tags: Reports & Indices
  • New Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital for the third straight year in 2020, according to IQAir, that measures air quality levels based on the concentration of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM2.5.
  • India was home to 35 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities, according to IQAir’s 2020 World Air Quality Report, which gathered data for 106 countries.
  • The findings were based on the country’s annual average of particulate matter PM2.5, airborne particles with less than 2.5 microns in diameter.
  • Prolonged exposure to PM2.5 can lead to deadly diseases, including cancer and cardiac problems.
  • Despite an 11% reduction in the annual average of PM2.5 levels due to nationwide coronavirus lockdown curbs imposed last year, India emerged as the world’s third most polluted country after Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Israeli experts announce discovery of new Dead Sea scrolls

Date: 17 March 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • Israeli archaeologists have announced the discovery of dozens of new Dead Sea Scroll fragments bearing a biblical text found in a desert cave and believed hidden during a Jewish revolt against Rome nearly 1,900 years ago.
  • The fragments of parchment bear lines of Greek text from the books of Zechariah and Nahum and have been radiocarbon dated to the 2nd century AD. They are the first new scrolls found in archaeological excavations in the desert south of Jerusalem in 60 years.
  • The new pieces are believed to belong to a set of parchment fragments found in a site known as “The Cave of Horror". The cave is located in a remote canyon in the Judean Desert south of Jerusalem.

Bee fences to tackle elephant attacks

Date: 17 March 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • A pilot project has been launched in Kodagu to install bee boxes along the periphery of the forest and the villages with the belief that the elephants will not venture anywhere close to the bees and thus avoid transgressing into human landscape.
  • These spots are located on the periphery of Nagarahole National Park and Tiger Reserve, known conflict zones.
  • The boxes are connected with a string so that when elephants attempt to pass through, a tug causes the bees to swarm the elephant herds and dissuade them from progressing further.
  • Bee boxes have been placed on the ground as well as hung from the trees. High resolution, night vision cameras have been installed at strategic points to record the impact of bees on elephants and their behaviour in these zones.

Swapan Dasgupta resigns from Rajya Sabha

Date: 17 March 2021 Tags: Appointments & Resignations
  • Swapan Dasgupta, the Bharatiya Janata Party‘s candidate for the Tarakeshwar assembly constituency in West Bengal, has resigned from Rajya Sabha.
  • Opposition leaders had raised the issue regarding nominated members of Rajya Sabha contesting on party tickets if they have not joined any political party.
  • Dasgupta was nominated to Rajya Sabha by President of India in April 2016. A nominated member of a House shall be disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat.

China to allow travellers only if they have taken Chinese vaccines

Date: 17 March 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • China will simplify visa applications for foreign nationals who have been inoculated with Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Vaccinated passengers travelling to China by air will still need to show negative tests as under current rules.
  • China has been exporting its vaccines mostly to emerging countries. This outreach prompted the United States, Australia, Japan and top global vaccine producer India to announce plans to distribute vaccines in Asia in a competition that has become known as "vaccine diplomacy".