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News in Short

News in Short - 21-October-2020

Israel to start human trials of Brilife vaccine

Date: 21 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • Israel has named its Covid-19 vaccine candidate ‘Brilife’ and its human trials will begin by October-end, according to an official press release.
  • The prospective vaccine is being developed by the Israel Institute of Biological Research (IIBR) that was established in 1952 as part of the Israel Defence Forces’ Science Corps, and later became a civilian organisation.
  • Israel had claimed in August that it already has the vaccine against the coronavirus “in hand” but it has to go through regulatory processes that would begin with human trials following the autumn holidays.

More than 80% of Europe’s natural habitat in poor shape

Date: 21 October 2020 Tags: Biodiversity
  • More than 80% of the European Union's natural habitats are in poor or bad condition and more must be done to protect them, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has warned.
  • The report, which covers the period 2013-2018, shows a deterioration from the 2007-2012 period when 77% of natural habitats were in “unfavourable” condition.
  • Common farmland species such as the skylark, and habitats such as wet heaths, are declining across the continent. Habitats and species are facing numerous pressures, including intensive agriculture, urban sprawl — coupled with tourism and recreation — unsustainable forestry activities, and pollution, among others.
  • Climate change, with increasing drought and decreasing rainfall, also poses a challenge. Habitats important to pollinators are another area of concern, as they are crucial to the planet's biodiversity. Their conservation status has deteriorated more than others, the report showed.

Government cannot deny service for not installing Aarogya setu app: HC

Date: 21 October 2020 Tags: Judiciary & Judgments
  • The High Court of Karnataka has clarified that the government or its agencies cannot deny any service or benefit to citizens for not installing the Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones in the absence of any legislation.
  • It may be noted that the Union government has said that no public authority can refuse any service for not having Aarogya Setu app in the wake of National Executive Committee set up under the Disaster Management Act not making the use of app mandatory.
  • Aarogya Setu is an open-source COVID–19 contact tracing, syndromic mapping, and self-assessment digital service, primarily a mobile app, developed by the National Informatics Centre under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Government increases expenditure for candidates fighting Lok sabha and assembly elections

Date: 21 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • The poll spending limit for candidates contesting Lok Sabha and assembly elections has been enhanced by 10% based on the recommendation of the Election Commission.
  • The hike in expenditure limit will help candidates contesting Bihar assembly poll as well as bypolls to one Lok Sabha and 59 assembly seats.
  • Over a month ago, the Election Commission had recommended a 10% hike in expenditure for all elections to be held during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The hike was recommended keeping in mind the difficulties candidates may face in campaigning amid the restrictions imposed, including those on holding rallies amid the pandemic.
  • The notification says the maximum expenditure a candidate can incur for campaigning in Lok Sabha polls is now ?77 lakh. It was so far ?70 lakh.
  • For assemblies, it has been hiked from ?28 lakh to ?30.8 lakh. The maximum expenditure limit for candidates to spend for their campaigning varies from State to State.

Australia to join Malabar Naval exercise

Date: 21 October 2020 Tags: Military Exercises
  • The Ministry of Defence has announced that Australia would join the Malabar 2020 naval exercise, consisting of India, Japan, and the U.S., to be held next month.
  • This will formally bring together the militaries of the four countries in the Quad group.
  • In 2018, the exercise was conducted off the coast of Guam in the Philippine Sea, off the coast the Japan in 2019, and was expected to be held in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea this year. This year, the exercise had been planned on a ‘non-contact - at sea’ format.