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News in Short

News in Short - 19-May-2020

India joins efforts to identify WHO’s response to pandemic

Date: 19 May 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • A total of 62 countries, including India has backed a joint effort by Australia and European Union, calling for an independent inquiry into the WHO`s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The draft calls for an impartial, independent and comprehensive probe into the coronavirus crisis. Besides, an inquiry into the actions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and their timelines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The motion has not found the mention of China or the city of Wuhan where the outbreak is believed to have started.

Sun enters lockdown period

Date: 19 May 2020 Tags: Space
  • Our sun has gone into lockdown, which could cause freezing weather, earthquakes and famine, scientists say.
  • The sun is currently in a period of “solar minimum,” meaning activity on its surface has fallen dramatically.
  • Sunspot counts suggest it is one of the deepest of the past century. The sun’s magnetic field has become weak, allowing extra cosmic rays into the solar system.
  • Excess cosmic rays pose a health hazard to astronauts and polar air travelers, affect the electro-chemistry of Earth’s upper atmosphere and may help trigger lightning.

Melting glaciers cool Southern Ocean

Date: 19 May 2020 Tags: Climate Change
  • Research suggests glacial melting might explain the recent decadal cooling and sea ice expansion across Antarctica's Southern Ocean.
  • There are 30 or so climate models used to foresee what the world might look like as the climate changes. These models don’t match the recent observations of surface temperature in the Southern Ocean.
  • The research uses a series of “perturbation” experiments carried out with the GISS global climate model where they abruptly introduce a fixed increase in melt water around Antarctica and then record how the model responds.

Brazil health minister quits

Date: 19 May 2020 Tags: Appointments & Resignations
  • Brazil lost its second health minister in a month after President Jair Bolsonaro demanded wider use of unproven anti-malarial drugs to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Bolsonaro had demanded that minister Nelson Teich issue federal guidelines for the early use of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus patients, despite studies that cast doubt on the effectiveness of the malaria drug for Covid-19 and raised concerns it may cause heart problems.
  • Teich's predecessor, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, a former lawmaker and military medic, was fired on April 16 for resisting Bolsonaro's demands to promote hydroxychloroquine and fight against state governments' isolation orders.

Veteran CPI(M) leader K. Varadarajan dies

Date: 19 May 2020 Tags: Obituaries
  • Senior CPI(M) leader and former member of the party’s Polit Bureau K. Varadarajan died in Karur. He was 73.
  • Varadarajan worked in the Public Works Department (PWD) before joining the CPI(M) as a full-time member. He had represented the Polit Bureau two times.
  • Varadarajan was closely associated with the farmers association of the party and functioned as its State general secretary. Later he became the all India general secretary of the organisation.