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April 2020 - International News



  • UNSC to hold virtual meeting on coronavirus outbreak
    The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is to hold a virtual meeting for the first time by next week under the presidency of the Dominican Republic. The council aims to discuss the coronavirus pandemic which killed over 42,000 people globally.

    The Dominican Republic assumed the rotating presidency of the council for the month of April, taking the baton from China.

    Highlights:
    The meeting will discuss the pandemic caused due to coronavirus.

    As per Johns Hopkins University estimate, the confirmed coronavirus cases across the world now stand at over 932,600 and over 42,000 deaths. As per the report, the US has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world at 213,372, followed by Italy (110,574), Spain (104,118) and China (82,361). Over 4,600 people have died in the US so far because of the COVID19.

    Earlier, Dominican Republic presented to members of the Security Council its program of work and informal plan of video teleconferencing (VTCs) for the month of April.

    During a virtual pre-council meeting, the members discussed the brought up the COVID-19 pandemic. The Security Council aims to find a solution to the pandemic as the primary responsibility of the UNSC deals with the geopolitical security and peace matters.




  • World Bank lends USD 1billion to India to combat COVID-19 outbreak
    The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors (ED) has approved $1 billion to India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project. The project will cover all the States/Union Territories in India.

    Aim:
    The aim of the project is to help India prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. It focuses to strengthen India's public health preparedness. This is the largest ever health sector support from the Bank to India.

    Highlights:
    The new support offered by the World Bank will cover all states/UTs across India.

    The project will address the needs of the coronavirus infected people, at-risk populations, medical and emergency personnel and service providers, medical and testing facilities, and national and animal health agencies.

    The project will immediately enable the Central Government to scale-up efforts to limit human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus.

    Under the project, new ways to strengthen the health system will be introduced to improve India's capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and be better prepared to respond to emerging disease outbreaks, including transmission between humans and animals.

    The project also includes the procurement of testing kits, infection prevention, and control, setting up of new isolation wards including turning hospital beds into intensive care unit beds and purchase of personal protective equipment (PPEs), ventilators, and medicines in district hospitals and COVID-19 dedicated hospitals.




  • UNCTAD cancels USD 1 trillion debts owed by developing countries
    The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has cancelled over $1 trillion debt owed by developing countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to help them overcome the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Highlights:
    UNCTAD report stated that over 64 low-income countries currently spend more on debt service than their health systems. For developing countries debt has become inevitable, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    UNCTAD estimated financing and liquidity requirements due to the pandemic sums up to at least $2.5 trillion.

    The high-income developing nations have debt service obligations of between $2 to $2.3 trillion in 2020 and 2021. Also, the UNCTAD stated that the middle and low-income countries have debt service obligations of $700 billion to $1.1 trillion.

    Earlier, the G20 countries allocated $8 trillion into a stimulus for their own economies. The G20 nations agreed to suspend the bilateral debt service payments by the world's poorest countries until the end of 2020.



  • Iran launched Noor, its first military satellite
    The US has accused Iran of violating the 2015 UN security council resolution after Iran's satellite launch.

    Iran launched its first military satellite called "Noor" into orbit. This launch has raised tensions with the US at a time the two countries are already facing off in the Persian Gulf.

    Noor:
    The satellite took off on top of a relatively unknown rocket called “Ghased” or "Messenger," from Iran's Central Desert and reached an altitude of 425 kilometers (265 miles), above the Earth.

    The Noor satellite was launched by a three-stage rocket that was powered by a combination of solid and liquid fuels.

    The US has accused Iran of violating the 2015 UN security council resolution.

    As per the resolution, Iran can not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.




  • World Immunization Week is celebrated from 24 to 30 April
    World Immunization Week is celebrated from 24-30 April. It is celebrated in the last week of April by the World Health Organization (WHO). The observation of the week aims to promote the use of vaccines in order to protect people of all ages against disease.

    Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is recognized as one of the world's most successful and cost-effective health interventions. At present, over 20 million children in the world are not getting the vaccines they need.

    Theme:
    The theme for the 2020 World Immunization Week is "#VaccinesWork for All." The campaign will focus on how vaccines, and the people who develop, deliver, and receive them, are heroes as they work to protect the health of everyone across the globe.

    Campaign objectives:
    The main objective of the campaign is to make people engage around immunization globally and to teach about the importance of vaccination in improving the health and wellbeing of everyone, everywhere throughout life.

    The campaign will demonstrate the value of vaccines for the health of children, communities, and the world.

    It aims to show how routine immunization is the foundation for strong, resilient health systems and universal health coverage.

    It highlights the need to build on immunization progress while addressing gaps, including through increased investment in vaccines and immunization.

    WHO has designated 2020 as the "International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife," WHO will highlight nurses and midwives for their crucial role in society.




  • World Intellectual Property Day is observed on 26 April
    World Intellectual Property Day is observed on 26 April every year. The day is observed to learn about the role that intellectual property (IP) rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity.

    Aim:
    World Intellectual Property Day provides an opportunity for IP offices, enterprises, and inventors to discuss and connect with each other about new innovations that will help to shape the world and improve the living of people.

    Theme:
    The World Intellectual Property Day 2020 carves a pathway to a green future. Hence, WIPO organizes a campaign "Innovate for a green future" that aims to create awareness about the need to preserve the environment.

    History:
    The World Intellectual Property Day was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000.

    The aim of the observation of the day is to create awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life and to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe.

    The date, 26th April, was chosen as on that day the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization entered into force in 1970.



  • International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day is observed on 26 April
    International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day is observed on 26 April. The day aims to raise awareness of the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster and the risks of nuclear energy in general.

    History:
    The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was built in 1977. It was built to help make electricity for the infrastructure of the Soviet Union (present Pripyat, Ukraine) to develop economic growth.

    On 26 April 1986, a reactor in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant experienced a catastrophic explosion and fire. It released unprecedented levels of radioactive materials into the atmosphere.

    The accident caused a relatively small number of casualties but left long-lasting, damaging consequences. The main danger that caused radiation exposure to over 8.4 million people was due to air pollution.

    The day was first observed in 2016 with an aim to teach people about the history of this incident, observe the consequences of what happened, and prevent future events from happening again.




  • International Delegates Day is observed on 25 April
    International Delegate's Day is observed on 25 April. The day aims to raise awareness of the role of the representatives and delegates of the Member States to the United Nations.

    History:
    International Delegate's Day marks the anniversary of the first day of the San Francisco Conference which is also known as the United Nations Conference on International Organization.

    On 25 April 1945, delegates from 50 countries came together for the first time in San Francisco. The conference happened after the devastation of the second world war. The delegates aimed to set up an organization that would restore world peace and imposes rules on the post-war world order.

    On 26 June 1945, the Charter of the United Nations was signed by representatives of the 50 countries that attended the conference. The agreement resulted in the creation of the United Nations (UN).

    The UN comprises 193 Member States and serves as the main international venue for collective dialogue between the delegates of its Member States. On 2 April 2019, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 25 April as International Delegate’s Day.




  • World Malaria Day is observed on 25 April
    World Malaria Day is an international event observed on 25 April every year. The day aims to spread awareness about malaria disease globally. It will also promote efforts to prevent malaria around the world.

    World Malaria Day 2019 Theme:
    The theme of World Malaria Day 2020 is "Zero Malaria Starts with Me." The movement aims to drive action and making change using the resources available.

    History:
    World Malaria Day was initiated from Africa Malaria Day which was first held in 2008. The event Africa Malaria Day had been observed since 2001 by African governments.

    In 2007, at the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) proposed that Africa Malaria Day be changed to World Malaria Day.

    The day aims to identify the existence of malaria in the countries worldwide and to bring awareness among people globally to fight against malaria disease.




  • Pakistan Navy successfully test-fired anti-ship missiles
    The Pakistan Navy successfully test-fired a series of anti-ship missiles in the North Arabian Sea on 25 April. The missile test was witnessed by the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi.

    Anti-missile test:
    The anti-ship missiles were fired from surface ships, fixed and rotary-wing aircraft at the sea level by warships and aircraft.

    The missile firing was a testament to the Pakistan Navy's operational capability and military readiness.

    The test by the Pakistan Navy stated that the country is now fully capable to respond to the enemy's aggression befittingly.




  • World Veterinary Day was observed on 25 April
    The World Veterinary Day was observed on 25 April 2020. The day is observed on the last Saturday of April of every year. The day provides an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of veterinarians to the health of animals and society.

    Theme:
    The theme for 2020 World Veterinary Day is "Environmental protection for improving animal and human health." The day is initiated by the World Veterinary Association (WVA).

    World Veterinary Day:
    World Veterinary Day was first observed in 2001. It is an annual celebration for the veterinary profession. The day aims to promote the work of veterinary professionals from all over the world as they work to improve human and animal welfare, food safety, practices of animal transport and quarantine, the environment, and environmental conservation and protection.

    The year 2011 was observed as the World Veterinary Year, in commemoration with the founding day of first veterinary school in 1761 in Lyon, France. The day was initiated with an aim to educate the public, particularly animal owners and producers, about the benefits of vaccination for the animal, human, and public health.




  • WHO launched COVID-19 Tools Act Accelerator
    World Health Organization (WHO) has partnered with Global Fund, UNTAID, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), etc. and launched the "Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator or the ACT Accelerator."

    ACT Accelerator initiative:
    ACT Accelerator initiative provides a global platform for action to enhance connections and leverage interdependencies for collective partnership. It also enhance problem-solving, mobilizing and guiding investments, and driving equitable access for new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines.

    The process will help "speed up and harmonize" the development, production, and equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics for COVID-19.

    The initiative will ensure all people have access to all the tools to defeat COVID-19.

    The ACT Accelerator ensures to bring together the combined power of several organizations to work with speed and scale.

    The initiative has been launched based on the experience that during H1N1 Swine Flu in 2009, the distribution of vaccines was not equitable.




  • World Day for Safety and Health at Work is observed on 28 April
    World Day for Safety and Health at Work is a UN international day that is celebrated every 28 April. The day aims to promote safe, healthy, and decent work. It has been observed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2003.

    World Day for Safety and Health at Work:
    The day is concerned about safe work and awareness of the dimensions and consequences of work-related accidents and diseases. It aims to place occupational safety and health (OSH) on the international and national agendas.

    It also aims to provide support to the national efforts for the improvement of national OSH systems and programmes which are in line with relevant international labour standards.

    National occupational safety and health culture is one in which the right to a safe and healthy working environment is respected at all levels, where governments, employers, and workers actively participate in securing a safe and healthy working environment through a system of defined rights, responsibilities and duties.

    History:
    The first World Day for Safety and Health at Work was observed on 28 April 2003. The day was observed to advance the opportunities for people to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security, and human dignity.

    International Labour Organization (ILO):
    ILO was formed in 1919. It became the United Nation's first specialized agency in 1946. ILO has 187 member States.

    It aims to bring together governments, employers, and workers to set labour standards, devise programmes, and develop policies to promote decent work for all women and men.

    ILO promotes rights at work, enhances social protection, encourages decent employment opportunities, and strengthens dialogue on work-related issues.




  • Economic decline of 2.7 percent expected in APEC region post-COVID-19 pandemic
    A report by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat stated that the APEC region is expected to post a 2.7% economic decline in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19. It also stated that this decline will be the most significant fall since the near-zero growth rate logged in 2009.

    Highlights:
    The report recorded a 3.6% economic growth in the APEC region.

    The unemployment rate in the region has been projected to rise to 5.4% in 2020 from 3.8% in 2019, which means an additional 23.5 million workers being unemployed in 2020.

    An economic rebound is a forecast for the year 2021, with the anticipated growth of 6.3%, higher than the projected global economic growth of 5.8%.

    It states that the rebound depends on the effectiveness of containment mechanisms to avoid a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to stimulate the economy.

    Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC):
    APEC was started in 1989. The regional economic forum was established to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific.

    The 21 APEC countries comprise of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam.




  • International Dance Day is celebrated on 29 April
    International Dance Day is celebrated on 29 April. The day is observed to appreciate the art form. It encourages participation and education in dance. The day is celebrated with people from all over the world contributing to dance.

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that people stay at homes and celebrate International Dance Day from their homes.

    Aim:
    The dance day promotes all dance forms throughout the world. It will also make people aware of the value of all the dance forms and bring attention to governments, leaders, and get support to enable the dance community to promote their artwork.

    History:
    The Dance Committee of International Theatre Institute (ITI) founded International Dance Day in 1982. ITI is the primary partner for the performing arts vertical of UNESCO. The day is celebrated every year on 29 April commemorating the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), creator of modern ballet. The day aims to celebrate dance, revel in the universality of this art form, cross all political, cultural, and ethnic barriers, and bring people together with a common language, dance.




  • IMD releases list of 169 new names of Tropical Cyclones
    The India Meteorological Department (IMD) released a new list with the names of 169 tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) including Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.

    Highlights:
    The tropical cyclones forming over different Ocean basins are named by the concerned Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres (RSMCs) and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs).

    For the North Indian Ocean including the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, the RSMC, New Delhi assigns the name to tropical cyclones following a standard procedure.

    IMD has issued advisories regarding upcoming tropical cyclones to 13 member nations. The countries are Bangladesh, India, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the UAE, and Yemen.

    Background:
    The requirement for a fresh list of tropical cyclones was tabled during the 45th session of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)/UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), held in September 2018. The session was hosted by Oman. In September 2019, IMD chief M Mohapatra presented the final list of tropical cyclones.




  • International Jazz Day is celebrated on 30th April
    International Jazz Day is celebrated on 30th April. The day aims to create awareness around the world of the virtues of jazz as a force of peace, unity, dialogue, and enhanced cooperation among people, and an educational tool. International Jazz Day 2020 is the ninth year celebration of International Jazz Day.

    Jazz:
    The musical form of Jazz was developed by African Americans. It was influenced by both European harmonic structure and African rhythms. It originated in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Events:
    Amid COVID-19 pandemic, the day has been decided to be celebrated virtually. The online celebration of International Jazz Day 2020 will be hosted by Herbie Hancock. The virtual Global Concert featuring artists from different parts of the world will Livestream on jazzday.com. The event will witness performances by Marcus Miller, Lang Lang, Charlie Puth, Cécile McLorinSalvant, John McLaughlin, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, SibongileKhumalo, Alune Wade, John Beasley, Ben Williams, Lizz Wright, John Scofield, and others.

    History:
    In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed 30 April as International Jazz Day. The day was designated to bring together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts from across the world to celebrate and learn about the art of jazz and its impact.




  • International Guide Dog Day was celebrated on 29 April
    International Guide Dog Day is celebrated on 29 April 2020 every year on the last Wednesday of April.

    This day aims to honour the importance of a guide dog that is in the life of a person who is blind or visually impaired. The dog enables people with impaired vision to get around safely by being independent.

    Aim:
    The day aims to raise awareness about Guide Dogs in society. The day honours the guide dogs and the hard-working people who dedicate their time to train and match them to their owners.

    History:
    The day was initiated by the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF). The first International Guide Dog Day was celebrated in 1992.

    The idea for a guide dog was initiated by Johann Wilhelm Klein, who was the founder of the Institute for the Education of the Blind in Vienna. In 1819, Klein wrote about a method for training guide dogs. In 1847, JakobBirrer, a blind man from Sweden, wrote how he had specially trained his own guide dog.




  • International Labour Day is observed on 1 May
    International Labour Day or Worker's day is celebrated on 1 May every year to commemorates the Haymarket affair or the Haymarket massacre in Chicago. The day aims to celebrate labourers and the working class. The day promotes international labour associations.

    Events:
    The day is observed as a national holiday in many countries.

    On this special day, the composition of Faiz Ahmed 'Faiz' is remembered. He has spoken about the rights of the workers.

    Labour unions and socialists celebrate the day by organizing programs and improving wages and working conditions of the workforce.

    History:
    During the rise of industrialization, the US exploited the working class during the 19th century and made them work up to 15 hours a day under rigorous conditions that exploited them. On 1 May 1886, thousands of workers came on the road and fought against the working hours.

    On 4 May, the police acted to disperse the public assembly when an unidentified person threw a bomb. Due to the blast several people and police officers died and more than 100 people were injured. The incident is remembered as the Haymarket affair.

    International Labour Day was celebrated for the first time in India on 1 May 1923. The observation of the day was initiated by the Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan in Chennai. The day aims to bring respect and rights to the workers.




  • US President Donald Trump unveils three phase plan to ease lockdown
    US President Donald Trump unveiled a three-phase plan to reopen the country's economy following the COVID-19 outbreak. The new program allows governors to ease the lockdown in their states gradually. America wants to be open and that a national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution.

    His administration is issuing new federal guidelines that will allow governors to take a phased approach to reopen their states.

    The guidelines recommend that states see a downward trajectory for 14 days in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases before they move to lift stay-at-home orders and other restrictions. The second phase includes asking for all vulnerable individuals to shelter in place, encourage telework, closure of common areas, and physical distancing.

    The third phase is permanently returning to the new normal with better hygiene practices, and respect for spaces between individuals.




  • Dubai extends 24-hour coronavirus lockdown by a week
    Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced the extension of the 24-hour National Sterilisation Programme for another week from 4th April to control the spread of COVID-19 in Dubai.

    Dubai Media Office to announce the extension of the 24-hour lockdown in the Emirate of Dubai for another one week. On the 4th of April, UAE govt announced a complete lockdown for two weeks which was due to end on the 18th of April 2020. The lockdown as of now has been extended till the 24th of this month.

    Friday Prayers remained suspended yesterday following the directives of the UAE Govt to close the places of worship in the country until further notice.




  • World Heritage Day observed on April 18
    World Heritage Day known as the International Day for Monuments and Sites is observed annually on 18th April every year.

    Theme:
    The theme of World Heritage Day 2020 is "Shared Culture’, ‘Shared heritage’ and ‘Shared responsibility". The main aim is to promote cultural heritage through activities undertaken by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

    History:
    The first World Heritage Day was organized by the ICOMOS in 1982 but it only got approved by the UN General Assembly in the following year. India has 38 heritage sites listed under UNESCO's World Heritage Site list.

    International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) organization established on the year 1964 International Charter on the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites.




  • Chinese Language Day is observed on 20 April
    Chinese Language Day is observed on 20 April every year. The day highlights the contribution of Chinese literature, poetry, and language in world culture. The aim of the observation of the day is to educate people about the history of the Chinese language.

    Chinese at the UN:
    The United Nations (UN) observes the Chinese Language Day to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity. The UN promotes all six of its official languages, namely Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish throughout the Organization. The observation of the first UN Chinese Language Day was held on 12 November 2010. In 2011, the date was moved to 20 April.

    Chinese Language-History:
    One of the most complex languages is Chinese. It is believed that the Chinese language has existed for thousands of years. Due to the complex nature of the language, its origins remain unknown and when it separated itself from that family.

    Chinese is formed from the Sino-Tibetian language family. It is believed that the origins of the Chinese language are credited to Cangjie. The written Chinese language was invented by Cangjie. Later, different dialects formed throughout the provinces of China. The dialects used in early and middle 11th to 7th centuries B.C. is not seen much in modern Chinese. Chinese Language Day is celebrated to honor Cangjie.




  • World Creativity and Innovation Day is observed on 21 April
    World Creativity and Innovation Day is observed on 21 April every year to encourage people to generate new ideas to make the world a better place to live in.

    The day aims to inspire people to live a more creative life.

    History:
    World Creativity and Innovation Day (WCID) was first initiated on 25 May 2001 in Toronto, Canada. The day was founded by the Canadian Marci Segal in 1977. She was studying creativity at the International Center for Studies in Creativity. She initiated the day after seeing the headline 'Canada in Creativity Crisis' appeared in the National Post.

    The first Creativity and Innovation Day was observed in April 2002. The day encouraged the people to let go of their creativity. In the year 2006, the World Creativity and Innovation Day were celebrated for a week that started with Leonardo da Vinci's birthday, 15 April.

    Leonardo da Vinci demonstrated creativity as both arts and sciences. Also, the United Nations designated 21 April as World Creativity and Innovation Day to raise the awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in all aspects of human development.




  • World Earth Day is observed on April 22
    World Earth Day is observed on April 22 every year. On 22nd April 2009 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring 22nd April as the “International Mother Earth Day”.

    The term ‘Mother Earth’ implies the interdependent relationship which exists between all the species of planet earth and to acknowledge earth’s role in sustaining them all.

    The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary.

    The founder of the Earth Day was Gaylord Nelson.

    In 2005 the United Nations General Assembly declared 2008 as the “International Year of Planet Earth”. The day was adopted with a view to promote education of earth sciences, acknowledging its importance in sustainable use of natural resources as well as for sustainable development.




  • US Senate approves 484 billion dollar in fresh relief for economy and hospitals
    US Senate has unanimously approved 484 billion dollars in fresh relief for the economy and hospitals hammered by the coronavirus pandemic. The bill was hurried along shortly after congressional leaders and the White House brokered an agreement.

    The measure which passed by unanimous consent after more than a week of negotiations between Democrats, Republicans and the White House, now heads to the House of Representatives where a vote could occur as early as tomorrow.




  • Global Report on Food Crises Released by World Food Programme
    Global Network against Food Crises report officially released by the UN World Food program.

    The report indicates around 135 million people across 55 countries and territories experienced acute food insecurity. Around 55 food-crisis countries covered by the report and 75 million children were stunted. 183 million people were classified in Stressed (IPC/CH Phase 2) conditions.

    Among 43 million live in the Middle East and Asia and 18.5 million live in Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Acute food insecurity when a person’s inability to consume adequate food puts their lives or livelihoods in immediate danger. Each year by the UN’s annual State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report are released.

    This report is the result of a consensus-based and multi-partner analytical process involving 16 international humanitarian and development partners (in alphabetical order) and various organisations participated all the way to United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Comité Permanent Inter-Etats de Luttecontre la Sécheressedans le Sahel (CILSS), the European Union (EU), Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Global Food Security Cluster, Global Nutrition Cluster, Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Global Support Unit, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Sistema de la IntegraciónCentroamericana (SICA), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).




  • UNODC launched a series of online dialogues with students
    The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) launched a "Lockdown Learners series of online dialogues with students and educators" in India. The series includes COVID-19 and its impact on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), peace, and rule of law.

    The dialogues have been launched by the United Nations body under its flagship program "Education for Justice".

    Aim:
    The aim of the initiative is to teach the students on concerns of vulnerable groups and emerging issues like cybercrime, misinformation, gender-based violence, discrimination, corruption among others.

    Highlights:
    The Lockdown Learners series will provide a platform for students to receive mentorship and knowledge support through activity-based learning, and use their talent and skills.

    The day also promotes awareness and shares their ideas and solutions to address some of these problems.

    Under the initiative, Educational resources have been shared with partner schools in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.

    It also focuses on conducting interactions convened with hundreds of students and educators, Samarth Pathak, UNODC's Communications Officer for South Asia.

    The initiative invited schools to join UNODC's efforts to create a positive framework for students to be productive and engaged during the period of lockdown, reduce stress through positive messaging, and empower young people.

    The products of the initiative include free-to-use educational material, comics, board, and online games, The Zorbs cartoon series, and other modules and videos. It can be used by teachers and students at home to develop an understanding of peace and the rule of law.




  • World Book Day is observed on 23rd April
    World Book Day is observed on 23 April every year. The day is celebrated by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and other related organizations. The global celebration of books and reading material is observed in more than 100 countries. This day is also known as World Copyright day.

    Aim:
    The World Book is celebrated to recognize the scope of books as a link between the past and the future. UNESCO and organizations representing publishers, booksellers, and libraries select the World Book Capital for a year to maintain the celebrations of books and reading.

    Events:
    On this day many authors, publishers, teachers, librarians, public and private institutions, humanitarian NGOs, and the mass media gather to promote literacy and help everyone get access to educational resources as the books are the cultural and generational bridge.

    Kuala Lumpur was officially recognized as the 2020 UNESCO’s World Book Capital (KLWBC 2020). In 2019, Sharjah, UAE was declared as the World Book Capital.

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the day is celebrated online.

    In India:
    In India, publishing houses including HarperCollins India, Penguin Random House, Hachette India, and Roli Books, launched online interactive sessions with authors. They launched it in digital and audio formats, and bookish games to cover unveiling, publishers.

    The online event will have sessions where the authors talk on different relatable themes, drawn from their areas of expertise. The audiences can post questions and interact further with their favourite authors

    Authors including Sanjay Dixit, Gautam Chintamani, Ziya Us Salam, Vijay, and Akshay Lokapally and Rituparna Chatterjee will participate in the event.

    History:
    The observation of the World Book Day was first initiated by Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andres. The aim was to honour the renowned author, Miguel de Cervantes. The day was first celebrated on 7 October, Miguel de Cervantes' birth anniversary. The observation of the day was finalized to be observed on April 23, his death anniversary.

    The day was first designated by UNESCO in 1995 at UNESCO's General Conference held in Paris, France. The day honours the world-famous author William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and all the authors.




  • International Girls in ICT day is observed on 23rd April
    International Girls in information and communication technologies (ICT) Day is observed on the fourth Thursday of the month of April. The day is observed on 23rd April in the year 2020.

    The day aims to encourage the girls to consider a future in the technology sector. More than 111,000 girls and young women have taken part in more than 3,500 events held in 140 countries, related to technology, around the world.

    History:
    The International Girls in ICT Day initiative is being backed by the ITU Member States in Plenipotentiary Resolution 70. The day aimed to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider studies and careers in the growing field of ICT.

    Resolution 70 calls for all International Telecommunication Union (ITU) members to celebrate the International Girls in ICT Day.




  • English Language Day is celebrated on 23rd April
    English Language Day is celebrated on 23rd April every year. The day aims to create awareness to people about the culture, history, and achievements associated with the language.

    English Language Day:
    The origins of the English Language was found in medieval England. The name 'English' its name from the Angles. The Angles were a West Germanic tribe who were from the Anglia peninsula that juts out into the Baltic Sea.

    The language has taken on grammar, tones, and words from every language it has come into contact with. The language slowly developed and spread across the world. English became the official language of nearly 60 countries and the language of commerce in countries all over the world

    History:
    The first English Language Day was observed as a result of work by the United Nations. The UN announced English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic as its official language.

    The move aims to promote the use of the official languages to ensure that the United Nations, its goals, and actions are understood by the widest possible public.

    The day is celebrated on 23 April to honour the birth anniversary of William Shakespeare who the greatest writer in the English language. Language is referred to as the world language. The UN celebrated the first English Language Day on 23 April 2010.




  • Lebanon legalizes cannabis farming in the country
    Lebanon has legalized cannabis farming in the country with a hope that sales from the plant will provide some relief to its debt-ridden economy. With this, it became the first Arab country to legalize marijuana farming.

    The legislation stated that marijuana cultivation will be considered for medicinal and industrial purposes. Any recreational use of marijuana will remain illegal.

    Why legalize marijuana cultivation?
    The move comes after the New York-based global consulting company McKinsey had estimated the cultivation of cannabis in Lebanon could generate up to $1 billion per year in government revenue. The revenue is needed badly for Lebanon's ailing economy which is experiencing its worst downturn since the 1975-1990 civil war.

    A government team will now study which soil in which regions are most suitable for cannabis farming. The "Cannabis Cultivation Body', created by the Lebanese government, will oversee planting, harvesting, and manufacturing of cannabis.




  • International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace is observed on 24 April
    International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace is observed on 24th April. The day aims to disseminate the advantages of multilateralism and diplomacy for peace through educational and public awareness-raising activities.

    To commemorate and promote the day, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) convenes a one-day high-level plenary meeting.

    History-International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace:
    UNGA officially proclaimed the observation of the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace on 24 April. It passed a resolution A/RES/73/127 and designated the observation of the day.

    The move by the UN aims to preserve values of multilateralism and international cooperation as it is fundamental to promote and support the three pillars of the UN namely Peace and Security, Development, and Human Rights. These values highlight the principles of the UN Charter and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also acknowledges the use of multilateral decision-making and diplomacy in achieving peaceful resolutions to conflicts among nations. The first official International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace was observed on 24 April 2019.

    The world is facing the biggest international challenge since the Second World War- The COVID-19 pandemic. The UN urged its member countries across the world to draw the appropriate lessons about the vulnerabilities and inequalities and mobilize investments in education, health systems, social protection, and resilience.




  • International day of Human Space Flight is observed on 12 April
    International Day of Human Space Flight is observed on 12 April. The day commemorates the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's historic spaceflight in 1961.

    The day is celebrated as the Cosmonautics Day in Russia. The day aims to ensure the countries realize the aspiration to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes.

    Human Space Flight:
    A Soviet citizen Yuri Gagarin carried out Vostok 1 space flight on 12 April 1961. The flight made one orbit around the Earth over 108 minutes in the Vostok 3KA spacecraft.

    The spacecraft was launched by the Vostok-K launch vehicle. This historic achievement paved the way for space exploration for the benefit of all humanity.

    History:
    In its 65th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution in April 2011 and designated the observation of International Day of Human Space Flight on 12 April.

    The day aims to reaffirm the important contribution of space science and technology in achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs). The day focuses on increasing the well-being of Countries and its people.




  • Easter festival is celebrated on 12 April
    Easter festival is celebrated on 12 April in the year 2020. The day varies every year. The festival is celebrated by Christians across the world.

    The festival is celebrated to observe the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The festival is celebrated on the Sunday after the first full moon, the Paschal full moon, after the vernal equinox.

    People celebrate the Easter festival this year at the homes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Easter Festival:
    Easter means Victory of Jesus Christ over death. According to the Holy Bible, the event occurred three days after Jesus was crucified by the Romans and died around 30-33 A.D. Easter follows a period of fasting known as Lent of 40 days.

    Lent starts with Ash Wednesday and ends with Good Friday (Crucifixion of Jesus Christ). The week that leads up to Easter is called Holy Week. The week includes Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

    The 40 days period is established by Pope Gregory 1 using the 40-day pattern that happened with Israelites in the desert, Moses, Elijah and Jesus' time in the wilderness.

    The date for the celebration of Easter is set after determining the date of Passover by the Jewish leaders. After fixing that the date is set for Easter by figuring three days after Passover. Therefore, the date of celebrating the Easter festival varies every year.




  • World homeopathy day is celebrated on 10 April
    The World homeopathy day is celebrated on 10th April every year to honor the birth of the father of the Homoeopathic system of medicines Dr. Samuel Hahnemann.

    The year 2020, commemorates the 265th birth anniversary of the founder of Homoeopathy. The theme of the 2020 World homeopathy day is "Enhancing the scope of Homoeopathy in Public Health".

    Samuel Hahnemann:
    Samuel Hahnemann was born on 10 April 1755 in Paris, France. He was a German physician, a great scholar, a linguist, and an acclaimed scientist. He was famously known as the Father of Homeopathy, Father of Human Pharmacology, Father of NanoMedicine and the Father of Infinite Dilution concept in Chemistry. He invented the term "Homeopathy". He discovered the way to heal through the use of homeopathy. He died on 2 July 1843.

    Homeopathy:
    Homeopathy is a system of medicine that follows a natural approach to the treatment of the sick. This type of medical system is based on the belief that the body can cure itself.

    Homeopathy uses animal, plant, mineral, and synthetic substances in its preparations and labels them in Latin or faux-Latin vocabulary. It is the world's second most widely used system of treatment.




  • World Chagas Disease Day is observed on 14 April
    World Chagas Disease Day is observed on 14 April every year to raise the visibility and public awareness of people with Chagas Disease and the resources needed for the prevention, control or elimination of the disease.

    Chagas disease:
    Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis. The disease is common in places where the triatomine bug transmits the parasite Trypanosomacruzi. These places include South America, Central America, and Mexico.

    Symptoms: The disease can cause swelling and fever. It can be long-lasting. If the disease is left untreated, it can cause congestive heart failure.

    Treatment: Chagas disease can be treated by taking medication that kills the parasite and on managing symptoms.




  • IMF to double its emergency financial assistance to countries combating COVID-19 pandemic
    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) proposed to release its full $1 trillion lending capacity to support countries that battle the COVID-19 outbreak.

    The IMF described the COVID-19 pandemic as a crisis like no other crisis ever. The announcement was made by the IMF head Kristalina Georgieva.

    In the first-ever virtual annual spring meeting of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington, the IMF announced its plans to double emergency financial assistance.

    The IMF Board has already approved debt relief for 25 of its poorest members due to the COVID-19 crisis. The G20 Finance ministers showed unanimous support for the Fund to raise more capacity for concessional funding for poor countries.




  • IMF reports that COVID-19 pandemic will bring Asia's 2020 growth to halt for 1st time in 60 years
    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its report on the Asia-Pacific region stated that Asia's economic growth in 2020 will grind to a halt for the first time in 60 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Report Highlights:
    The IMF's Asia and Pacific Department directed the policymakers to offer targeted support to households and firms hardest-hit by travel bans, social distancing policies and other measures aimed at containing the pandemic.

    IMF forecasted a 7.6% expansion in Asian economic growth in 2021 on the assumption that containment policies succeed. It also said that the outlook is highly uncertain.

    It also stated that The impact of the coronavirus on the region will be severe, across the board, and unprecedented.

    It suggested that the Asian countries need to use all policy instruments in their toolkits.

    Asia is set to fare better than other regions that suffered economic contractions. The projection is expected to be worse than the 4.7% average growth rate throughout the global financial crisis.




  • North Korea test-fired multiple short-range anti-ship missiles
    On 14 April, North Korea launched multiple short-range anti-ship cruise missiles into the sea. Also, Sukhoi jets fired air-to-surface missiles as part of its ongoing military exercises. The information was passed by South Korea's military.

    Missile Test:
    The missile test was launched at around 7 am on 14 April.

    The anti-ship missiles plunged into the sea more than 150 km off the east coast town of Munchon and the Sukhois carried out firing tests.

    These tests are expected to be the part of wintertime drills which North Korea has been carrying out in recent weeks after coronavirus concerns caused delays.

    North Korea was conducting weeks of military drills, including several launches of short-range ballistic missiles despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, the country had fired nine ballistic missiles in four rounds of tests.

    Also, the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had visited an airbase and observed drills by the country's fighter jets and attack aircraft.




  • World Haemophilia Day is observed on 17 April
    World Haemophilia Day is observed on 17 April every year to increase awareness of haemophilia, von Willebrand disease, and other inherited bleeding disorders.

    The increased awareness will increase better diagnosis and access to care for the millions who remain without treatment.

    Theme& History:
    The theme of 2020 World Haemophilia Day is "Get+involved". The theme aims to help increase the awareness of inherited bleeding disorders and the need to make access to adequate care possible everywhere in the world.

    World Haemophilia Day was initiated by the World Federation of Haemophilia. The day has been observed since 1989 by worldwide patient groups. The date was chosen to honour the birth anniversary of the World Federation of Haemophilia founder Frank Schnabel.

    Haemophilia:
    Haemophilia is a disorder in which the blood doesn't clot normally. This disease will cause excessive bleeding after injury damage. The symptoms of the disease include deep bruises, joint pain, and swelling, unexplained bleeding and blood in urine or stool.

    Heamophilia is called a "royal disease". The haemophilia gene was transmitted from Queen Victoria (who became Queen of England in 1837), to the ruling families of Russia, Spain, and Germany. The gene for haemophilia in Queen Victoria was caused by spontaneous mutation.

    Haemophilia research began around 1900. The scientists found that human blood could be divided into groups or types. This discovery made blood transfusions much more successful.

    Scientists learned to separate blood into its major parts, plasma and red cells in 1930. In 1960s Dr. Judith Graham Pool discovered the cryoprecipitate process, which is the best way of stopping hemophilia bleeds ever seen.




  • International Mine Awareness Day observed on 4 April
    International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance is observed on April 4 every year to raise awareness about landmines and progress toward their eradication.

    History:
    United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared that April 4 of each year would be officially proclaimed and observed as International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

    It was first observed on April 4, 2006. According to the Landmine Monitor Report 2005, 84 countries were affected by landmines and unexploded ordnance, which together kill or maim between 15,000 and 20,000 adults and children annually.

    The UN works together with countries to find and destroy these devices. It also helps to provide various mine-action services in many countries.




  • World Food Programme COVID-19 has little impact on global food supply chain
    World Food Programme (WFP) conveyed the rapidly growing novel Coronavirus pandemic so far, having little impact on the global food supply chain, but that could change for the worse if major food importers remain anxious.

    The UN agency's global markets for basic cereals are well-supplied, and prices are generally low. However, given the highly globalized nature of food production and supply, commodities need to move from the world's breadbaskets to where they are consumed, and the novel Coronavirus-related containment measures are starting to make this more challenging.

    The Disruptions are so far minimal; the food supply is adequate, and markets are relatively stable, noting that global cereal stocks are at comfortable levels. The outlook for wheat and other staple crops is positive for the rest of the year.




  • UNGA adopts resolution on COVID-19 calls for global cooperation to fight pandemic
    UN General Assembly unanimously adopted its first resolution on the coronavirus pandemic co-sponsored by India and 187 other nations, calling for intensified global cooperation to defeat the deadly disease that is causing severe disruption to societies and economies.

    The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was the first such document on the pandemic to be adopted by the world body.

    The resolution, adopted Thursday, said the 193-member General Assembly notes with great concern the threat to human health, safety, and well-being caused by the pandemic.

    It also emphasized the need for full respect for human rights and stresses that there is no place for any form of discrimination, racism, and xenophobia in response to the pandemic.

    The resolution was sponsored by Ghana, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Norway, Singapore, and Switzerland. General Assembly is not holding meetings due to the pandemic, the resolution was adopted under a silence procedure. The draft resolution was under silence procedure until April 2 at 6 pm.

    According to the new voting rules, if there were no objections to the resolution within the specified time period from member states, the President of the General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande would circulate a letter confirming the adoption.

    The 15-nation Security Council, the most powerful UN organ, is expected to hold a meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic next week.




  • International Day of Conscience is observed on 5th April
    International Day of Conscience is observed on 5th April every year to promote a culture of peace with love and conscience.

    The day reminds the people to self-reflect, follow their conscience, and do the right things.

    History:
    In July 1989, the concept of the culture of peace was introduced at the International Congress on Peace in the Minds of Men which was organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Côte d'Ivoire.

    The day was aimed to construct a culture of peace that requires cultural, social, comprehensive educational, and civic action, in which each person has something to learn and something to give and share.

    With a concern to create peaceful and friendly relations based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms to race, sex, language or religion, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) designated 5 April as the International Day of Conscience.

    On 25 July 2019, UNGA adopted a draft resolution submitted by the Kingdom of Bahrain, titled "Promoting the Culture of Peace with Love and Conscience". UNGA then declared 5 April as the International Day of Conscience. The day is first observed on 5 April 2020.




  • International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda is observed on 7 April
    International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda is observed on 7 April. The day commemorates the victims of the genocide in Rwanda.

    1994 Rwanda Genocide (massacre):
    1994 Rwanda Genocide was a mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda during the Rwandan Civil War. The was that began in 1990 was directed by members of the Hutu majority government.

    It lasted from 7 April to 15 July 1994.

    Most of the Rwandans (Around 85%) were Hutus. The Tutsi minority has long dominated the country. In 1959, the Hutus overthrew the Tutsi monarchy and the Tutsis fled to neighbouring countries, including Uganda.

    A group of these Tutsi exiles formed a rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

    In 1990, the RPF invaded Rwanda and the fight continued until a 1993 peace deal was agreed. On 6 April 1994, the then-President Juvenal Habyarimana and his counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, both Hutus, were assassinated when they were travelling in a plane. And it ended the peace accords.

    The genocide had lasting and profound effects on Rwanda and neighboring countries.




  • World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April
    World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April every year to create awareness of health to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organization.

    The day honors the contribution of nurses and midwives and recognizes their vital role in keeping the world healthy.

    World Health Day is marked by the World Health Organization (WHO) and many other organizations. The day aims to spread awareness around maintaining good health and a balanced lifestyle.

    Significance of Nurses and Midwives:
    WHO states that a strengthened workforce of nurses and midwives can only ensure that everyone gets the healthcare they need.

    They can help the countries to achieve their national and global targets related to universal health coverage, maternal and child health, infectious and non-communicable diseases including emergency preparedness and response, mental health, patient safety and the delivery of integrated, people-centered care, among others.

    History:
    World Health Day marks the inception of the World Health Day campaign at the First Health Assembly in 1948. It took effect in 1950.

    The campaign was initiated with the motive of promoting awareness about physical and mental health and offer the necessary support. It also focuses to make people understand the importance of universal health coverage.




  • FATF to review Pakistans performance to fight money laundering
    Global anti-money laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has announced that it will review Pakistan's performance to meet international commitments in the fight against terror financing.

    Highlights:
    FATF will review Pakistan's performance to meet international commitments and standards in the fight against money laundering and terror financing at a meeting that has been scheduled to be held in Beijing on 21-26 June 2020.

    In February 2020, the watchdog FATF gave Pakistan a 4-months of grace period to complete its 27-point action plan against money laundering and terror financing that is committed with the international community. Before the extension, Pakistan had delivered 14 points and missed 13 other targets.

    Pakistan government has taken several measures to be removed from the list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations. It is said that the country has taken a measure that can affect Pakistan's economy, which is already under severe strain.




  • New sectors to be added in the second phase of CPEC
    Pakistan announced that it is to add more sectors like agriculture and tourism in the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The multi-billion-dollar project has slowed down due to the coronavirus outbreak.

    China, earlier, has committed to invest over $60 billion in Pakistan as part of the CPEC under which it planned to build a number of special economic zones (SEZ).

    CPEC:
    The CPEC is the flagship project of the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China. It was initiated by the Chinese President Xi Jinping and launched in 2015.

    It aimed to enhance China's influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects. India objected to being a part of the CPEC as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.




  • US military strengthens its defence in Indio Pacific Region amid COVID-19 pandemic
    The US military has requested an additional $20 billion fund to strengthen naval, airborne and ground-based operations in the Indo-Pacific region.

    Highlights:
    Despite its battle against COVID-19, the US military is continuing to pursue its China containment strategy and plans to strengthen its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

    The fund sought by the US military aims to strengthen naval, airborne and ground-based operations in the Indo-Pacific region. The request would last through the financial year 2026.

    Of the total, around $1.6 billion would be released for the financial year 2021, with $18.5 billion earmarked for 2022-26.

    The spending amount has been planned under the title “Regain the Advantage,” calls. Of the total amount, around $1.7 billion will be funded to an air missile defence system in the Indo-Pacific region.

    The focus of the US military on the region has initiated several new initiatives, including the deployment of army task forces that views on cyber-warfare and other non-conventional forms of conflict in the area.




  • Amazon to set up coronavirus testing lab for its employees
    Amazon is building a lab that will enable it to test employees for the COVID-19 virus. The move by the online retailer is to protect its delivery employees and delivery drivers who are getting essential products to customers sheltering at home.

    For this, the company has assigned a team of scientists, software engineers and procurement specialists to build a lab that will test the small numbers of front line employees soon.

    Amazon remained open through the pandemic. It has announced plans to hire more employees as the people order online to get essentials without leaving their homes. The company is trying to get government permits to set up the lab.

    The company plans to test only the employees of the company. The company aims to set up regular testing of its employees to help keep people safe.




  • China launched new trial protocol for retesting the recovered coronavirus patients
    China has unveiled a new trial protocol for re-testing the recovered coronavirus patients. The protocol intensifies the screening of asymptomatic cases as concerns grew over the second wave of virus infections in the country.

    Highlights:
    The move by the China government comes after it lifted the 76-day lockdown in Wuhan.

    According to the protocol, recovered COVID-19 patients must stay in quarantine for 14 days either at their home or in an isolation centre for medical observation.

    During the quarantine/isolation period, COVID-19 recovered patients should take their temperatures daily and be on the lookout for fever and respiratory symptoms including cough and breathing difficulties.

    COVID-19 designated hospitals should make plans for patients' return visits and re-testing for the next 2-4 weeks after their discharge. The sputum samples of the patients, which are more reliable, should be the first choice for re-testing.

    If they are positive again by showing symptoms including fever and cough, and CT scan results show their lung conditions have worsened, the patients should be hospitalized for further treatment.

    The recovered people can only be released from quarantine/isolation upon two consecutive negative nucleic acid test results.




  • ADB announced USD 2.2 billion to support India to combat coronavirus pandemic
    Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced that it is to fund $2.2 billion (about Rs.16,500 crore) support to India in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. ADB is committed to supporting India's emergency needs.

    Aim:
    It aims to help the health sector of India and to help alleviate the economic impact of the pandemic on the poor. The fund will benefit informal workers, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and the financial sector of India.

    This is straining a large number of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, and the livelihood of formal and informal labourers across the country.

    ADB has announced that is to meet India's needs by considering all financing option including emergency assistance, policy-based loans, and budget support to facilitate swift disbursement of ADB funds.




  • US invoked the rarely used Defense Production Act
    The United States has invoked the Defense Production Act on 27 March 2020. The rarely used Act was invoked to direct General Motors to manufacture ventilators that are needed to combat COVID-19.

    President Donald Trump earlier criticized the company for slow-walking production.

    Highlights:
    President Trump also appointed trade advisor Peter Navarro to coordinate the government's efforts to purchase and distribute emergency medical supplies, including ventilators and protective equipment for health care workers.

    The US government aims to use the full authority of the federal government to combat the COVID-19 crisis.

    The Act was invoked as General Motors did not move quickly enough to produce needed ventilators amid the coronavirus pandemic.




  • IMF reported that the Global economy might enter a recession
    International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva announced that the global economy is now in a recession due to coronavirus. It has been made clear that the world countries have entered a recession.

    A rebound in 2021 can happen, only if the virus is contained and prevent liquidity problems from becoming a solvency issue.

    IMF stated that over 80 countries have already have requested emergency aid to contain coronavirus. Of the 80 countries, most of the countries are low-income countries. More countries have imposed lockdown measures to contain the rapidly spreading virus, which has infected over 337,500 people across the world.

    Background:
    Earlier, the IMF had warned that 2020 world growth would be below the 2.9% rate seen in 2019. The organization stopped short of predicting a recession.

    Trade wars pushed global growth last year to the lowest rate since a 0.7% contraction in 2009. Also, it forecasted a recovery in 2021.




  • FDA approved Convalescent plasma transmission to treat people from Coronavirus
    The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approved Convalescent plasma is the method to treat people who are critically ill with COVID-19.

    Convalescent plasma refers to the plasma extracted from those who are recovering from coronavirus (COVID-19). To run the process the doctors must get approval over the telephone.

    What is Plasma?
    Plasma is a fluid carries the blood components throughout the body. It is the largest part of blood. It makes up to 55% of its overall content.

    The liquid is light yellow in colour. It carries water, salts, and enzymes. Plasma also contains important components like antibodies, clotting factors, and the proteins albumin and fibrinogen.

    Convalescent plasma:
    The method was used in the past to treat diseases such as polio, measles, mumps, 1918 flu epidemic, and in previous outbreaks of respiratory infections namely H1N1 influenza, SARS, and MERS.

    Under the method, Plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 will be collected and transmitted to the critically ill COVID-19 patients. It is believed that it might contain antibodies to the virus that causes the disease and might be effective against the infection.

    Background:
    Earlier, a study suggested that the convalescent plasma could be a possible treatment methodology. The study was conducted by the Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital in Shenzhen, China.

    The study was conducted on 5 critically ill COVID-19 patients and the preliminary results from the test were promising. After the plasma transfusion, body temperature was normalized within 3 days in 4 of 5 patients, the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score decreased, and the ratio that determines the severity of ARDS increased within 12 days. Viral loads decreased and became negative within 12 days after the transfusion.




  • Tokyo Olympics might be held in 2021 July
    Tokyo Olympics organizers are planning to host the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics in July 2021. The event was delayed due to the coronavirus.

    The Tokyo Organising Committee is planning to begin the events from 23 July 2021. The day was suggested by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.

    The plan to host it in July 2021 comes as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had decided to move the games to be held in northern Sapporo city, Japan instead of Tokyo.

    Background:
    The Olympics were scheduled to open on 24 July 2020 with the Paralympics on 25 August. Japan announced that it had secured agreement from the IOC to postpone the Games.

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the games will be held in around a year. The Olympic flame which was lit would be displayed for a month at the J-Village sports complex in Fukushima, Tokyo.




  • UP government transferred Rs.611 crore to the beneficiaries under MNREGA
    On 30 March, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath transferred Rs.611 crore in the accounts of 27.15 lakh Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) labourers of the state. The move comes in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Highlights:
    The amount was electronically transferred to help the labourers in the situation of lockdown due to CoronaVirus. The state government informed the beneficiaries of the money transferred under the scheme.

    CM Yogi Adityanath directed private enterprises and organizations to compulsorily give one month's salary to their employees without any deduction.

    It also ordered the landlords not to charge one month's rent from any worker or labourer. Strict action will be taken on the violators.

    The Uttar Pradesh State Government has reported that there are no signs of community spread of the virus in the state, so far.




  • UN report India, China will stay away from world recession
    The United Nations Trade report titled "The COVID-19 Shock to Developing Countries: Towards a whatever it takes program" stated that the world economy will go into recession in 2020 with a predicted loss of trillions of dollars of global income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    It also predicted serious problems for developing countries with the likely exception of India and China.

    Report Highlights:
    The report highlighted that the two-thirds of the world's population living in developing countries face unprecedented economic damage from the coronavirus crisis.

    The UN is planning a $2.5 trillion rescue package for the nation.

    As per the new analysis from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the developed countries will face a $2 trillion to $3 trillion drop in investments from overseas in the next two years.

    It highlighted that the recession will occur despite the massive government package of $5 trillion that is to be infused by G20 member countries.

    However, the report did not mention any explanation as to why and how India and China will be exceptions as the world faces a recession and loss in global income that will impact developing countries.




  • China recommended bear bile to treat COVID-19 patients
    The National Health Commission of China published a list of recommended treatments to treat COVID-19. Apart from western medicine and Chinese medicine, the list included Tan Re Qing, injections that contain bear bile powder.

    Bear's Bile:
    Tan Re Qing is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder of the bear. The bile from various species of bears, including Asiatic black bears and brown bears, has been used as a traditional Chinese medicine since the 8th century.

    Bear's bile contains high levels of ursodeoxycholic acid, also known as ursodiol. It has been clinically proven to help dissolve gallstones and treat liver disease. Ursodeoxycholic acid has been available as a synthetic drug worldwide for decades.

    The process of extracting bile from the live bear is painful and can cause agony to the animal. Hence, a synthetic version of ursodeoxycholic acid has been available for decades.




  • World Bank offered USD 1 billion for proposed India project
    The World Bank has announced $1 billion to the Government of India for a proposed India COVID-19 emergency response and health systems preparedness project.

    The World Bank funding allocated the fund from its COVID-19 fast-track facility.

    Project:
    The span of the proposed project is four-years. The project aims to develop the preparedness of India's health care systems in the time of the pandemic.

    The main objective of the project is to respond and mitigate the COVID-19 threat and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness in India.

    Under this. both the World Bank and the Government of India will work on following the best international practice.

    The project will measure progress on key indicators such as the proportion of laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 who responded within 48 hours and the proportion of specimens submitted for SARS-COV-2 laboratory testing confirmed within WHO stipuIated standard time.

    The government has assessed that outbreaks like COVID-19 might continue in the coming years, and hence there needs to be a long-term strategy to tackle the disease.




  • UN report stated COVID-19 is worst crisis since World War II
    The United Nations warned that the world countries face the most challenging crisis since World War II.

    The pandemic is expected to cause a recession that probably has no parallel in the recent past.

    The announcement was made by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during the launch of the "Report on the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19" on 31st March.

    Report Highlights:
    UN stated that there is also a high risk that the combination of the disease and economic impact will contribute to enhanced instability, unrest, and conflict.

    The report also highlighted that International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates for the year 2020 which stated 5-25 million jobs will be lost, with a corresponding loss of between $860 million and $3.4 trillion in labor income.

    It pointed to the UN trade and development organization UNCTAD's estimate of a 30-40% downward pressure on global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in 2020.

    It also recommended establishing a COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to support efforts in low- and middle-income countries, with the aim of swiftly enabling governments to tackle the crisis and promote recovery.




  • World Athletics Championships rescheduled to 2022 due to Tokyo Olympics
    The 2021 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon has been shifted to 2022. The move is to accommodate the re-arranged Tokyo Olympics which was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

    The move was made by the World Athletics to support the Japanese organizers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). New dates were not announced yet.

    Background:
    The world athletics championships were scheduled to be held in Eugene on 6-15 August 2021. It is expected that the rescheduling will give the athletes enough time they need to get back into training and competition.

    World Athletics also discussed with the Commonwealth Games Federation to move the dates from 2021 to 2022 as the Commonwealth Games were scheduled to be held In the English city of Birmingham on 27 July to 7 August 2022.




  • World Autism Awareness Day is observed on 2 April
    World Autism Awareness Day is observed on 2 April every year to recognize and celebrate the rights of persons with autism. The day makes people understand, recognize, and accept people with autism.

    This year, the day is commemorated by the Department of Community Development, Abu Dhabi, the UAE.

    The theme of the 2020 World Autism Awareness Day is "The transition of adulthood."

    History:
    The United Nations held the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2006. It came into effect in 2008. It aimed to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal rights of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities.

    It assured the fundamental principles of universal human rights for all. In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed the resolution and designated 2 April as the day of World Autism Awareness Day.



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