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News in Short

News in Short - 17-October-2020

US appoints special officer for Tibetan issues

Date: 17 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has named Robert Destro, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, as the Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues.
  • Mr. Destro will focus on advancing dialogue between the Communist-run government in Beijing and the Dalai Lama, protecting the distinct religious cultural, and linguistic identity of Tibetans.
  • China slammed the U.S. for appointing a Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues, describing Washington’s move as political manipulation aimed at destabilising Tibet.

Common vulnerabilities among lethal coronaviruses

Date: 17 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • Researchers, including scientists from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, found that there are common vulnerabilities among three lethal coronaviruses — SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV.
  • The vulnerabilities include hijacked cellular pathways, that could lead to promising targets for broad coronavirus inhibition.
  • The researchers noted that the world has witnessed three deadly coronaviruses in the last 20 years: SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1, and MERS-CoV.
  • SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, has caused a global pandemic that led to over 37 million confirmed cases and more than one million deaths.

Centre plans limit on purchase of fertilizers by farmers

Date: 17 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • Thecentre is working on a plan to cap the number of subsidised fertiliser bags that individual farmers can buy in any cropping season.
  • This comes even as disbursal of fertiliser subsidy to companies has been made conditional upon actual sales to farmers and these getting registered on point-of-sale (POS) machines.
  • Under the new system, the subsidy on the total quantity of fertilisers sold to farmers through a retailer’s POS machine is transferred to the company concerned on a weekly basis.
  • Currently, the government is following a “no-denial” policy: anybody, non-farmers included, can buy any quantity of fertiliser through POS machines. All they have to do is furnish their Aadhaar unique identity number.

Centre to borrow entire GST shortfall on behalf of states

Date: 17 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • The central government has decided to borrow the full amount of GST revenue shortfall that was generated due to low returns from GST tax.
  • By October 14, 21 States and Union Territories such as Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to the Centre’s proposal that States undertake the borrowings to meet the GST compensation shortfall.
  • In its original proposal, the Centre said the shortfall on account of GST implementation will be borrowed by States through issue of debt under a Special Window coordinated by the Finance Ministry.
  • The current proposal will not have any impact on the fiscal deficit of the Government of India (GOI). The amounts will be reflected as the capital receipts of the State Governments and as part of financing of its respective fiscal deficits.

Oscar winning costume designer Bhanu Athaiya passes away

Date: 17 October 2020 Tags: Obituaries
  • Costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, India’s first Oscar winner, passed away in Mumbai. She was 91.
  • Bhanu Athaiya won the Best Costume Design Oscar for her work in the 1982 film Gandhi. She managed to give the characters in the Richard Attenborough directorial an authentic look.
  • Athaiya also designed costumes for Bollywood movies like C.I.D, Pyaasa, Kagaz Ke Phool, Waqt, Arzoo, Amrapali, Suraj, Anita, Milan, Raat Aur Din, Shikar, Guide, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Teesri Manzil, Mera Saaya, Inteqam, Abhinetri, Johny Mera Naam, Geeta Mera Naam, Abdullah, Karz, Ek Duuje Ke Liye, Razia Sultan, Nikaah, Agneepath (1990), Ajooba and 1942 – A Love Story among others.