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News in Short

News in Short - 28-January-2021

Exposure to PM 2.5 increases anaemia risk

Date: 28 January 2021 Tags: Reports & Indices
  • A study conducted by IIT-Delhi has found that extended periods of exposure to PM 2.5 can lead to anaemia among children under the age of 5 years.
  • The studyhas found that for every 10 micrograms per meter cube increase in PM2.5 levels exposure, there is a decrease of 0.07 grams per dL in average haemoglobin levels.
  • This is the first study to have been carried out in India, where an association between exposure to PM 2.5 and anaemia in children under the age of 5 years in India has been examined and established.
  • The study is important because so far anaemia has been looked at through the prism of nutrition deficiency, specifically that of iron. Anaemia is expected to prevail even if government programmes like Poshan Abhiyan were strengthened.

Kaja Kallas sworn in as Estonian Prime Minister

Date: 28 January 2021 Tags: Appointments & Resignations
  • Estonia's new two-party coalition government has been sworn in with the first female prime minister in the Baltic country since it regained independence in 1991.
  • The 15-member Cabinet of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas was approved in the 101-seat Riigikogu legislature, after President Kersti Kaljulaid had first appointed it.
  • The centre-right Reform Party, chaired by Kallas, and the left-leaning Centre Party, which are Estonia's two biggest political parties, clinched a deal to form a government replacing the previous Cabinet led by Centre leader Juri Ratas that collapsed this month due to a corruption scandal.
  • The Reform Party emerged as the winner of Estonia's 2019 general election under Kallas' lead but she failed to form a government at the time.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigns

Date: 28 January 2021 Tags: Appointments & Resignations
  • Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned after losing his Senate majority, plunging the country into political uncertainty amidst the pandemic.
  • Conte lost his absolute majority in the upper house Senate when a junior partner, the Italia Viva party, quit in a row over the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis and economic recession.
  • Conte's government had been on the verge of collapse since Renzi pulled out on January 13 in a row over the premier's handling of the pandemic.
  • The prime minister survived a vote of confidence in parliament last week but failed to secure an overall majority in the upper house, the Senate.

Indian billionaires increased their wealth by 35% during lockdown

Date: 28 January 2021 Tags: Reports & Indices
  • Indian billionaires increased their wealth by 35% during the lockdown to ? 3 trillion, ranking India after U.S., China, Germany, Russia, and France, according to a report by Oxfam.
  • The wealth of just the top 11 billionaires during the pandemic could easily sustain the MGNREGS or the Health Ministry for the next 10 years.
  • The increase in his wealth alone could keep 40 crore informal workers out of poverty for at least five months.
  • It recommended reintroducing the wealth tax and effecting a one-time COVID-19 cess of 4% on taxable income of over ?10 lakh to help the economy recover from the lockdown.
  • The report also delved deeper into different forms of inequities, including educational, gender, and health, which meant that facilities to wash hands and maintain distance, essential to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Indian and Chinese soldiers clash in Naku la

Date: 28 January 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • Indian and Chinese soldiers suffered injuries in a brawl in north Sikkim’s Naku La, with soldiers from both armies suffering injuries.
  • The latest incident took place at Naku La area at a height of over 5,000 metres on January 20 when Chinese soldiers attempted to intrude into the Indian territory but were pushed back.
  • Experts pointed to attempts by Beijing to open a new front amid the stalemate in the Ladakh sector, where tensions first erupted in May 2020. The two sides are holding diplomatic and military dialogues to defuse tensions there.