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News in Short

News in Short - 24-May-2021

European explorers led mass reptile extinction on Guadalupe Islands

Date: 24 May 2021 Tags: Biodiversity
  • The arrival of European colonists led to a mass extinction of between 50 to 70 percent of the snake and lizard populations of the Guadeloupe Islands, according to a large fossil study.
  • These were sorted into four periods: the Late Pleistocene (32,000 to 11,650 years ago), the Holocene before the arrival of humans (starting 11,650 years ago), the Indigenous habitation period, and the modern period.
  • By carbon dating the remains and their surrounding sediment, they were able to reconstruct the region's evolutionary history, and found that the mass extinction occurred over only the last 500 years.
  • The islands could have been first inhabited by humans as far back as 5,000 years ago. Columbus arrived in Guadeloupe in 1493, while French colonization started in 1635 and led to the disappearance of Guadeloupe's indigenous people within 20 years.

Air India’s customerdata leaked by hackers

Date: 24 May 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • A massive cybersecurity attack targeting the data processor of Air India’s passenger service system has leaked the personal information of lakhs of passengers.
  • The data breach has affected around 45 lakh customers registered between August 26, 2011 and February 2, 2021 across the world.
  • The data that have been compromised include names, credit card details, date of birth, contact information and ticket details. The airline clarified that no passwords or CVV/CVC numbers were leaked.
  • The attack targeted Geneva-based passenger system operator SITA that serves the Star Alliance of airlines including Air India, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and United.
  • Air India has launched an investigation into the incident and took steps like securing the compromised servers, getting external data security specialists on board and resetting passwords.

Personal guarantors are liable for corporate debts

Date: 24 May 2021 Tags: Judiciary & Judgments
  • The Supreme Court has upheld a government move to allow lenders initiate insolvency proceedings against personal guarantors along with the stressed corporate entities for whom they gave guarantee.
  • In a judgment held that the November 15, 2019 government notification allowing creditors, usually financial institutions and banks, to move against personal guarantors under the Indian Bankruptcy and Insolvency Code (IBC) was “legal and valid”.
  • The November 15, 2019 notification was challenged before several High Courts initially. The Supreme Court had transferred the petitions from the High Courts to itself on a government request.

Noted environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna passes away

Date: 24 May 2021 Tags: Obituaries
  • Noted environmentalist and Chipko movement pioneer Sunderlal Bahuguna died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rishikesh after battling Covid-19 for several days. He was 94.
  • Bahuguna spent his life persuading and educating the villagers to protest against the destruction of the forests and Himalayan mountains.
  • The Chipko Movement had gained traction under Bahuguna. It was a non-violent agitation in 1973 that was aimed at protection and conservation of trees.

Nepal’s President dissolves Parliament

Date: 24 May 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • In a dramatic turn of events, Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari has dissolved the parliament and announced mid-term polls on November 12 and 19.
  • Bhandari’s announcement came after she endorsed the recommendation to dissolve the parliament made by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli.
  • Nepal’s political crisis had taken a dramatic turn as Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and the Opposition parties staked separate claims for the formation of a new government.