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News in Short

News in Short - 25-January-2021

New UK variant may be more deadly

Date: 25 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that early evidence suggests that the new variant of coronavirus that was detected in England may be associated with a higher degree of mortality.
  • The new variant was first discovered in Kent, south-east England, and spread rapidly through London and then across other regions of the UK.
  • It was already classified as a more highly-transmissible variant but its risk level was so far not believed to be any greater than the original strain.
  • Data suggests that for a man in his 60s, the risk of death with the new variant is 13 in 1,000 rather than the original 10 in 1000, making it about 30 per cent more dangerous.

India to expand research, tourism in Arctic

Date: 25 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • India has unveiled a new draft ‘Arctic’ policy that commits to expanding scientific research, “sustainable tourism” and mineral oil and gas exploration in the Arctic region.
  • India expects that National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research to lead scientific research and act as a nodal body to coordinate among various scientific bodies to promote domestic scientific research capacities.
  • Climate change has meant that seasons in the Arctic influence tropical weather. The Arctic influences atmospheric, oceanographic and biogeochemical cycles of the earth’s ecosystem.
  • The loss of sea ice, ice caps, and warming of the ocean and atmosphere would lower salinity in the ocean, increase the temperature differential between land and oceans in the tropical regions, dry subtropical areas and increase precipitation at higher latitudes.

Austin becomes first black Pentagon chief

Date: 25 January 2021 Tags: Appointments & Resignations
  • Lloyd J. Austin won Senate confirmation on Friday to become the nation's first Black secretary of defense. The vote gave President Joe Biden his second Cabinet member.
  • Biden is expected to win approval for others on his national security team in coming days, including Antony Blinken as secretary of state.
  • Mr. Austin's confirmation was complicated by his status as a recently retired general. He required a waiver of a legal prohibition on a military officer serving as secretary of defense within seven years of retirement.
  • As vice president, Mr. Biden worked closely with Mr. Austin in 2010-11 to wind down U.S. military involvement in Iraq while Mr. Austin was the top U.S. commander in Baghdad. At Central Command, Austin was a key architect of the strategy to defeat IS in Iraq and Syria.

Five native martial arts made part of Khelo India youth games

Date: 25 January 2021 Tags: Martial Arts
  • In a recent move, the Sports Ministry inducted four indigenous martial art forms — Kalaripayattu of Kerala, Mallakhamb of Central India, Gatka of Punjab and Thang-ta of Manipur — into the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG).
  • Kalaripayattu is a martial art based on the ancient knowledge of the human body. It originated in Kerala during 3nd century BC to the 2nd century AD.
  • Mallakhamb is a traditional form of gymnastics performed with a wooden pole (made of wood from sheesham or Indian rosewood and polished with castor oil), a cane, or a rope.
  • Gatka is a style of fighting with wooden sticks that originated in Punjab in the 15th Century. Originally called Shastar Vidya, it began as a means to defend righteousness and is considered both a spiritual and physical practice.
  • Thang-ta  art form combines ritual, demonstration and combat and involves a variety of dance forms and warrior drills. Training begins with stepping patterns and basic sword strikes. Spear techniques are taught later.

Mongolian Prime Minister resigns

Date: 25 January 2021 Tags: Appointments & Resignations
  • Mongolia's Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa submitted his resignation to parliament after protests in the capital Ulaanbaatar over the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The protests erupted after some Mongolians saw as the inhumane treatment of a COVID-19 patient and her newborn baby.
  • The protests triggered the dismissal of senior health officials. Mongolia's deputy prime minister and health minister also tendered their resignations.
  • The incident came amid growing public dissatisfaction with Mongolia's economic situation and a lack of job opportunities. Mongolia has recently been battling an outbreak caused by an infected driver entering from Russia.