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News in Short

News in Short - 24-December-2020

Cairn energy wins arbitration case against Indian government

Date: 24 December 2020 Tags: Judiciary & Judgments
  • British explorer Cairn Energy Plc has won an arbitration award against the Indian government in a retrospective tax dispute case.
  • An international arbitration tribunal ruled that India's tax claim of ? 10,247 crore in past taxes over a 2006-07 internal re-organisation of Cairn's India business was not a valid demand.
  • The tribunal has also asked India to refund the money withheld along with the interest to the Scottish oil explorer for seizing dividend, tax refund and sale of shares to partly recover the dues.

1.7 million deaths attributed to air pollution in India

Date: 24 December 2020 Tags: Reports & Indices
  • In India, 1.7 million deaths were attributable to air pollution in 2019, which was 18% of the total deaths in the country. The economic loss due to the lost output from premature deaths and morbidity from air pollution was 1.4% of the GDP.
  • The study has been funded by the UN Environment Programme, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • The data released further indicates that household air pollution is decreasing in India, resulting in 64% reduction in the death rate attributable to it from 1990 to 2019, whereas the death rate from outdoor ambient air pollution increased during this period by 115%.
  • The economic loss due to air pollution as a percentage of the state GDP was higher in the northern and central India states, with the highest in Uttar Pradesh (2.2% of GDP) and Bihar (2% of GDP).
  • The findings in this analysis show that while 40% of the disease burden due to air pollution is from lung diseases, the remaining 60% is from ischemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and neonatal deaths related to pre-term birth, highlighting the broad-ranging impact of air pollution on human health.

Israel set for new elections

Date: 24 December 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • Israel’s divided government has collapsed, triggering the country’s fourth election in under two years and bringing an unprecedented threat to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lengthy grip on power.
  • Netanyahu finds himself confronted by a trio of disgruntled former aides who share his hard-line ideology, led by a popular lawmaker who recently broke away from the prime minister’s Likud party.
  • The country is almost certain to be led by a right-wing politician opposed to concessions to the Palestinians, complicating hopes of the incoming Biden administration to restart peace talks.
  • The prospects of Israel’s center-left bloc appear worse than in previous contests because its leader, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, entered into the ill-fated alliance with Netanyahu.

Renowned Malayalam poet Sugathakumari dies

Date: 24 December 2020 Tags: Obituaries
  • Acclaimed Malayalam poet and environmental activist Sugathakumari passed away following Covid-19 complications in Thiruvananthapuram. She was 86.
  • Sugathakumari was an influential voice in the field of Malayalam literature with her works garnering all the major accolades on offer in the country.
  •  She was a recipient of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award, Kendra Sahitya Akademi award, Odakkuzhal award, Ezhuthachan award among others.
  • She was the founding secretary of the nature outfit Prakriti Samrakshana Samiti and ‘Abhaya’, a home for destitute women in Kerala.
  • For her contribution to conservation of nature, she was awarded the first Indira Priyadarshini Vrikshamitra by the Centre. She got the Padmashri honour in 2006. She held the post of chairperson of the Kerala State women’s commission.

Kisan Diwas

Date: 24 December 2020 Tags: Days & Dates
  • India observes National Farmers Day or Kisan Divas on December 23 every year to mark the birth anniversary of fifth Prime Minister Choudhary Charan Singh.
  • Choudhary Charan Singh was regarded as a farmer's leader as he introduced many policies to improve their lives. People refer to him as the 'champion of India's peasants. The government had in 2001 decided to mark Charan Singh's birth anniversary as Kisan Diwas.
  • He took a keen interest in the laws that were detrimental to the village economy. He is credited for playing an important role in bringing the issues of small and marginal farmers to the forefront.
  • Charan Singh became notable in Uttar Pradesh from the 1950s after he drafted and ensured the passage of revolutionary land reform laws.