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May 2020 International News

  • World Thalassaemia Day is observed on 8 May
    World Thalassaemia Day is observed on 8 May globally. The day aims to create awareness about thalassemia, its prevention, and measures to avoid its transmission among people throughout the world.

    The day is observed to honor all patients suffering and fighting from thalassemia. It also appreciates scientists working hard to provide improved quality of life to people suffering from it.

    The theme for 2020 World Thalassaemia Day is "The dawning of a new era for thalassemia: Time for a global effort to make novel therapies accessible and affordable to patients."

    World Thalassaemia Day has been observed since 1994. Also, the Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) organizes many diverse activities for the International Thalassaemia Day.

    The objective to draw the attention of the general public, patient associations, public authorities, healthcare professionals, and industry representatives, to fuel discussions and promote actions on a particular theme related to the prevention, management, or treatment of the disease in a patient-centered manner.

    Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder which is characterized by abnormal hemoglobin production. As it is inherited, it cannot be prevented completely But it can be lessened through the prenatal tests which help in the early detection and cure before the childbirth.

    There are two main types of Thalassemia are Alpha thalassemia, Beta-thalassemia.

    The Symptoms of the disease include mild to severe anemia, that is low red blood cells, Chest pain, dizziness and faintness, headaches, jaundice, and pale skin. It also causes bone problems, an enlarged spleen, yellowish skin, and dark urine. It also slows the growth of children.

    Treatments include blood transfusions, iron chelation, and folic acid.

  • World Red Cross day is observed on 8 May
    World Red Cross day is observed on 8 May. The day aims to celebrate the principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

    The day pays tribute to the Red Cross volunteers for their contribution to helping those in need.

    The day creates awareness about the need for life protection in some drastic conditions.

    The World Red Cross is observed on the birth anniversary of Henry Dunant, who was the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Red Cross Society aims to inspire, initiate, and encourage all kinds of humanitarian activities under all times and circumstances.

    Red Cross Society:
    Red Cross Society, former International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, was established on 9 February 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland. The mission is to encourage and initiate at all times and all forms of humanitarian activities so that human suffering can be minimized and to create a peaceful environment

    The day is celebrated by the National Societies affiliated to the International Committee of the Red Cross in their countries. The Red Cross Society is based on 7 principles are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary, unity, and universality.

  • International Day to End Obstetric Fistula is observed on 23 May
    International Day to End Obstetric Fistula (IDEOF) is observed on 23 May. The day is celebrated by the United Nations. In 2003, the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), formerly known as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and its partners had launched a global campaign to End Obstetric Fistula.

    The theme for 2020 IDEOF is "End gender inequality! End health inequities! End Fistula now!". The theme urges universal access to quality maternal health care, preventive measures. It also aims to increase the attention to affected women and prioritize girls and their health.

    Obstetric fistula:
    An obstetric fistula is a hole between the birth canal and rectum (bladder) that is caused by prolonged obstructed labor, leaving a woman incontinent of urine or feces or both. The injury occurs during childbirth. It leaves women incontinent, and as a result they are often shunned by their communities.

    Obstetric fistula can be preventable. It can be avoided by delaying the age of first pregnancy, the cessation of harmful traditional practices, and timely access to obstetric care.

  • China successfully tests its first unmanned helicopter drone
    China's first unmanned helicopter drone, AR500C unmanned helicopter, made its maiden flight at an AVIC base in Poyang in East China's Jiangxi Province. The drone was developed by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

    AR500C unmanned helicopter:
    The helicopter has been designed in plateau areas and capable of firing and conducting reconnaissance from a high altitude.

    It could be deployed along the country's borders with India.

    China's first unmanned helicopter can take off at an elevation of 5,000 metres and has a ceiling of 6,700 metres.

    The drone has an endurance of 5 hours, a maximum speed of 170 km an hour, and a maximum take-off weight of 500 kg.

    The helicopter has the ability to relay communication from a high altitude.

    The helicopter will help safeguard China's southwestern borders with India in Tibet.

  • JK Rowling to release “The Ickabog”
    Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling announced that she is to release "The Ickabog." The new children's book marks her first novel aimed toward younger readers that doesn't take place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

    The Ickabog:
    The book has been written for children aged between 7 and 9.

    It is a story about abuse of power and truth.

    The themes of the fairytale are timeless and could apply to any era or any country.

    The first two chapters of The Ickabog are available online for free. Daily installments of the book are being released between 26 May and 10 July.

    The full book will be released in November 2020.

  • ‘Hong Kong body will play an advisory role’
    China’s Parliament is expected to approve a proposal to draft a national security law for the semi-autonomous city, which has sparked fresh protests over fears the financial hub will lose its unique freedoms.

    According to a member of China’s top political advisory body, the proposed security law could allow Chinese mainland authorities to set up shop in Hong Kong, but their powers would likely be restricted to intelligence gathering and an advisory role.

  • U.S. strips Hong Kong of special trading status
    U.S. Secretary of State stripped Hong Kong of its special status under U.S. law, under the pretext that the financial hub no longer enjoys the autonomy promised by Beijing.

    A notice was sent by the U.S. Secretary of State to Congress, that China was not living up to obligations from before it regained control of the territory from Britain in 1997.

    The Secretary of State said in a statement, “No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground.”

    Under a law passed in 2019 by Congress aimed at supporting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, the administration has to certify that the territory is still autonomous to enjoy its separate status with the U.S. for trading purposes.

  • International Day of UN Peacekeepers is observed on 29 May
    International Day of UN Peacekeepers is observed on 29 May every year. The day aims to offer a chance to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilian personnel's invaluable contribution to the work of the Organization.

    The day also aims to honour more than 3,900 peacekeepers who have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948.

    The theme for 2020 International Day of UN Peacekeepers is "Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace". The theme has been chosen by the United Nations as it commemorates the 20th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.

    International Day of UN Peacekeepers is adopted by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in its resolution 57/129. The first UN peacekeeping mission was established on 29 May 1948, when the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) authorized the deployment of a small number of UN military observers to the Middle East.

    These observers formed the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The day was initiated to pay tribute to the 3700 uniformed and civilian personnel who lost their lives upholding peace.

  • International Day of Light is observed on 16 May
    International Day of Light is observed on 16 May. The day marks the 60th anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser in 1960 by Theodore Maiman, the physicist, and engineer.

    The day aims to raise awareness about the important role played by all the light-based technologies in the lives of people in areas of education, art, and culture sustainable development, science & technology, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications, and energy.

    The International Day of Light was initiated by UNESCO. The day marks the anniversary of the first successful operation of the laser by engineer and physicist Theodore Maiman on 16 May 1960. 2020 International Day of Light marks the global celebration of the second edition of the International Day of Light.

  • PM of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu sworn-in for the 5th time
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally swore in his new government on 17th May for the fifth time. The ceremony of the swearing-in of Israel's new government, the Knesset, was held in accordance with coronavirus social distancing directives. Netanyahu will be in power until 13th November 2021. This ended the 18-month political crisis in the country. Benny Gantz will serve in the specially created role of alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister.

  • World Telecommunication and Information Society Day was observed on 17th May
    World Telecommunication and Information Society Day was observed on 17th May every year. The day aims to celebrate the power of telecommunication and its importance in building relationships across cultures around the world.

    The World Telecommunication and Information Society Day aims to raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information communications technology (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, and the ways to bridge the digital divide.

    The theme for the year 2020 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is "Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)." The theme focuses to achieve five SDGs and aim for environmental, economic, and social sustainability. These five plans include growth, inclusiveness, sustainability, innovation, and partnership.

    World Telecommunication and Information Society Day was initiated by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969. The day commemorates the establishment of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on 17 May 1865. ITU was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference held in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973. Until 2015, it was just regarded as World Telecommunication Day. But, later, the UN renamed it as "World Telecommunication and Information Society Day".

  • World Hypertension Day is observed on 17th May
    World Hypertension Day (WHD) is observed on 17th May every year. The day aims to promote public awareness of hypertension. It also encourages all the people across the world to prevent and control this silent killer.

    The theme of 2020 World Hypertension Day is "Measure Your Blood Pressure, Control It, Live Longer." It focuses to create awareness about raising high blood pressure (BP) in all the populations around the world.

    The observation of World Hypertension Day was initiated by the World Hypertension League (WHL). The day was first inaugurated in May 2005. WHL is an affiliated section of the International Society of Hypertension (ISH). The day aims to spread awareness about hypertension disease, early detection, prevention, and control. The main risk factor to develop cardiovascular disease is high blood pressure.

  • International Museum Day is observed on 18th May.
    Development of Museums and Cultural Spaces, Ministry of Culture, Government of India hosted a webinar on “Revitalising Museums and Cultural Spaces” to celebrate the International Museum Day on 18 May. The theme is "Museum for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion".

  • Historic Travel Bubble amid COVID-19. 
    Recently, the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania started a travel bubble to help put their economies back on track after Covid-19 lockdowns.

    All three have been fairly successful at managing the Covid-19 outbreak and remaining comparatively safe.

    In the Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania travel bubble, residents would be able to travel freely by rail, air and sea without quarantine measures.

    Travel Bubble?
    Creation of this travel bubble involves reconnecting countries or states which have shown a good level of success in containing the Covid-19 pandemic domestically.

    Such a bubble would allow the members of the group to restart trade ties with each other and open travel and tourism.

    According to a report, potential travel bubbles among better-performing countries around the world would account for around 35% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    Travel bubbles are favoured by smaller countries because they are likely to benefit after being able to trade again with larger partners.

    Criteria for Entering the Travel Bubble?
    People from the outside countries, willing to join the bubble corridor, will have to go into isolation for 14 days.

    One should not have travelled outside the member countries of the travel bubble, in the past 14 days.

    One should not be infected with coronavirus and should not have come in contact with anyone who has been coronavirus infected.

    Which are the other Countries to Start such a travel bubble?
    Australia and New Zealand have reached an agreement to form a travel bubble, once it becomes safe to operate flights between them. Once it opens, the trans-Tasman zone (around Tasman Sea) will allow travel without a quarantine period.

    Trans-Tasman Zone: Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement is an arrangement between Australia and New Zealand which allows for the free movement of citizens of one of these countries to the other. The arrangement came into effect in 1973 and allows citizens of each country to reside and work in the other country, with some restrictions.

    China and South Korea have launched a fast track channel for business travellers.

    In the USA, travel bubbles are being suggested to group states who are doing well against the pandemic.

  • World Bee day is observed on 20th May
    World Bee day is observed on 20th May every year. The day aims to strengthen measures to protect bees and other pollinators. The day aims to spread awareness about the significance of pollinators like bees, butterflies, bats, and sparrows.

    The theme for 2020 World Bee Day is "Save the Bees". The theme aims to stress the protection of bees and other pollinators. It also aims at protecting the natural habitat of pollinators.

    The United Nations initiated the observation of World Bee day. The days also commemorate the birth anniversary of the pioneer of beekeeping Anton Jansa who was born in 1734 in Slovenia. The UN Member States approved the proposal of World Bee Day in December 2017. The first World Bee Day was celebrated on 20 May 2018. The purpose of the Bee Day is to acknowledge the role of bees in the ecosystem. The day aims to highlight the variety of threats and development.

  • 46th G-7 SUMMIT via Videoconferencing
    Recently, an announcement to host the 46th G7 summit in-person instead of remotely by videoconference was made by the US President Donald Trump.

    The annual G7 summit was scheduled to be held on June 10 to June 12, 2020 in Camp David, United States.

    What you need to know about Group of Seven (G-7)?
    Group of Seven (G-7) is a bloc of industrialized democracies i.e. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, and Canada.

    It is an intergovernmental organisation that was formed in 1975.

    The bloc meets annually to discuss issues of common interest like global economic governance, international security and energy policy.

    The G7 was known as the ‘G8’ for several years after the original seven were joined by Russia in 1997.

    The Group returned to being called G7 after Russia was expelled as a member in 2014 following the latter’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.

    The world’s biggest population and second-biggest economy, China has relatively low levels of wealth per head of population. Thus it is not considered as an advanced economy like other G7 members. Hence China is not a member of G7.

    The G-7 Summits
    Summits are held annually and hosted on a rotation basis by the group’s members.

    The host country not only holds the G7 presidency but also sets the agenda for the year.

    The groundwork for the Summit, including matters to be discussed and follow-up meetings, is done by the sherpas, who are generally personal representatives or members of diplomatic staff such as ambassadors.

    The leaders of important international organizations like European Union, IMF, World Bank and the United Nations are also invited.

  • International Day for Biological Diversity is observed on 22 May
    International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) is observed on 22 May. The day to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. It calls people to re-examine human relationship to the natural world.

    The theme for 2020 International Day for Biological Diversity is "Our solutions are in nature". The theme emphasizes hope, solidarity, and the importance of working together at all levels to build a future of life in harmony with nature.

    The theme aims to increase the resilience of nations and communities as the world countries are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    IDB was first initiated by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 29 December 1993, when the Convention of Biological Diversity came into force.

    In December 2000, the UNGA adopted 22 May as IDB with an aim to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

  • International Tea Day is observed on 21 May
    International Tea Day is observed on 21 May every year. The day provides an opportunity to celebrate the cultural heritage, health benefits, and economic importance of tea. The day is celebrated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

    The origins of tea go back to more than 5,000 years. Tea contributes to health, culture, and socioeconomic development. Currently, Tea is grown in more than 35 countries.

    It supports over 13 million people, including smallholder farmers and their households, who depend on the tea sector for their livelihoods. Tea has many health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties.

    In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 21 May as International Tea Day as it recognized the long history and deep cultural and economic significance of tea around the world.

    UNGA recognized that tea has medicinal value and has the potential of bringing health benefits to people. The reason for the UN celebrating Tea day on 21 May is that the season of tea production begins in May in most of the tea producing countries.

    Earlier, tea producing countries like Malawi, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Uganda, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, and Tanzania observed International Tea Day on 15 December every year.

  • World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is observed on 21 May
    World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is observed on 21 May. The day celebrates the richness of the world's cultures and the essential role of intercultural dialogue for achieving peace and sustainable development.

    The day aims to promote culture and highlight the significance of its diversity as an agent of inclusion and positive change.

    The day aims to provide an opportunity to celebrate culture's manifold forms, creative industries, diversity of cultural expressions, and to reflect on how these contribute to the dialogue, mutual understanding, and the social, environmental, and economic vectors of sustainable development.

    The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) first declared the observation of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development in 2002. The move followed UNESCO's adoption of the 2001 Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity which recognized the need to enhance the potential of culture as a means of achieving prosperity, sustainable development, and global peaceful coexistence.

  • UN and partners launch USD 6.7 billion appeals for vulnerable countries for COVID-19 relief
    The United Nations and its partner agencies launched a $6.7 billion global appeal to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. It will focus on more vulnerable countries and combating food insecurity and gender-based violence.

    The UN Emergency Relief:
    The UN Emergency Relief plan originally included 54 countries and programmes to respond to the growth in food insecurity.

    Under the plan, 9 more vulnerable countries have been added. The nine newly added countries are Pakistan, Benin, Mozambique, Djibouti, Liberia, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Zimbabwe.

    The plans are for quick and determined action to stave off the most debilitating effects of the pandemic in 63 low and middle-income countries.

    New transport hubs for delivering supplies by air have also been established under the plan. Nearly 2 million people worldwide, including health workers, have been trained in virus identification through an online portal run by the WHO.

    World Food Programme (WFP) the UN agencies and partners responding to the immense needs, reaching nearly 100 million people on any given day.

  • Prime Minister of Iraq Mustafa al-Kadhimi assumed office
    Iraq's new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi assumed office on 6 May after the country's parliament approved a new government. The approval came after around 6 months of political wrangling. Mustafa replaced Adel Abdul Mahdi.

    Along with Mustafa al-Kadhimi, two other candidates, Mohammed Allawi and Adnan al-Zurfi were nominated by the Iraqi Parliament. But Mohammed Allawi and Adnan al-Zurfi withdrew after failing to win enough support in parliament. Kadhimi Won with the backing of the biggest political blocs The Iraq Parliament also approved 15 ministers out of a prospective 22-seat cabinet in a vote of confidence.

    Mustafa al-Kadhimi:
    Mustafa al-Kadhimi is a Shia Muslim and is seen as a political independent and a pragmatist. The 53-year-old is a former journalist. He wrote against former President Saddam Hussein from exile in Iran and the UK before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. He served as head of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (Inis) from 2016 until April 2020 when he was tasked with forming a government.

  • WHO, UN postal agency release commemorative postage stamp on 40th anniversary of eradication of smallpox
    The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN's postal agency have released a commemorative postage stamp on 9 May to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox.

    WHO's smallpox eradication campaign was launched in 1967. WHO raised awareness about smallpox across the world through postage stamps. In 1980 May, the 33rd World Health Assembly issued its official declaration that the world and all its peoples have won freedom from smallpox.

    The causative agent of Smallpox is the Variola virus. It is a member of the genus Orthopoxvirus, subfamily Chordopoxvirinae of family Poxviridae.

    The symptoms of smallpox include fever (range of 101 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit), malaise, head and body aches, vomiting, rashes which turn into small red spots on the tongue and mouth, sores and bumps.

    In 1796, Edward Jenner developed the first successful vaccine. The smallpox disease has now been eradicated after a successful worldwide vaccination program.

  • Global Energy Review of IEA states 15 percent decline in electricity demand
    The International Energy Agency (IEA) released the Global Energy Review in 2020. The report stated that 15% of the daily electricity demand has been reduced. It highlighted the carbon dioxide emissions and the global energy demand in the year 2020.

    Report Highlights:
    The report was based on the survey collected from 30 countries including India and China.

    The report stated that decline in the electricity demand is due to lockdown imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic in countries such as India, Italy, France, UK.

    The pandemic has reduced fossil-fuel based power generation. In India, the production of electricity has declined by 32.2% as compared to the 2019 level.

    It also stated that the oil demand was reduced by 5% and Carbon Dioxide Emissions have declined by 8% as compared to 2019.

  • World Migratory Bird Day is observed on 9 May
    World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is observed on 9th May in the year 2020. The day is globally observed on the second Saturday of May month. The day aims to bring attention to the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance.

    It also aims to raise awareness about the increasing need for international cooperation to conserve them.

    The theme of 2020 World Migratory Bird Day is "Birds Connect Our World." The theme highlights the importance of conserving and restoring the ecological connectivity and integrity of ecosystems that support the natural movements of migratory birds and that are essential for their survival and well-being.

    Issues faced by the Migratory Birds:
    Migratory birds rely on their natural habitats for food, shelter, and nesting. Various issues including Unsustainable agricultural practices and infrastructural pressures cause the habitats of migratory species to shrink. The use of pesticides also poses great threats to the birds.

    Furthermore, stop-over-sites have seen increased competition, especially where bird densities are high and food supplies have depleted. As stopover sites continue to be exposed to degradation and human expansion, this competition is likely to increase, harming migratory birds greatly.

    Also, the collision of birds with artificial man-made structures has posed a threat to over 350 species of migratory birds, especially the birds that fly at night. Structures made of glass and other reflective material can cause the death of more birds than almost any other human-related mortality factor.

    The increased building of wind turbines in flight paths, especially near wetlands, and expanded power lines near sites where birds congregate have also resulted in high bird mortality rates.

  • Finding Freedom Harry and Meghan and the Making of A Modern Royal Family to be released in 2020 August
    The biography of Britain's Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle "Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of A Modern Royal Family" by royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand has been scheduled to be released worldwide on 11 August.

    The book reveals details of the couple who stepped back as frontline royals to settle down in the US in April 2020.

    The book provides a glimpse into the lesser-known aspects of their romance and decision to go their separate way from Buckingham Palace.

    The book aims to portray the real Harry and Meghan, a couple who continue to inspire many around the world through their humanitarian and charitable work but are often inaccurately portrayed.

    Prince Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, quit as senior members of the royal family earlier 2020. They are now living with their one-year-old son Archie in a Los Angeles mansion.

  • International Nurses Day is observed on 12 May
    International Nurses Day (IND) is observed around the world on 12 May of every year. The international day marks the contributions that nurses make to society. The day assumes more significance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past several months, nurses and other medical professionals have put their lives on the line to save lives and defeat this menace.

    The theme for 2020 International Nurses Day is "Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health." The theme aims to demonstrate how nurses are central to addressing a wide range of health challenges. The theme aims to inspire nurses and make the public aware of their contribution to healthcare and health management.

    International Nurses Day was initiated by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) in 1974. The day marks the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, who was born in 1820. She is revered as the founder of modern nursing. The International Nurses Day 2020 marks her 200th birth anniversary. The day highlights the important role nurses fulfill in health care.

  • International Day of Families is observed on 15 May
    International Day of Families is celebrated on 15th May every year. The day is celebrated to raise awareness towards the significance of families and to overcome the aspects that might be negatively affecting these efforts.

    The day highlights the various issues that plague the families around the world and suggests the necessary measures that can be taken to resolve these and build harmony. The day aims to strengthen a single family, as it will empower and strengthen the entire society and a nation.

    The theme for 2020 International Day of Families is "Families in Development." The theme aims to portray the importance of families and their roles in social development. The theme stresses the importance of families and how much they mean in the context of the pandemic COVID-19.

    In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution and designated the observation of the International Day of Families. The day aims to encourage improved living standards and the social progress of families in the world. The day aims to cater to the changing socio-economic structures affecting the stability of families in different parts of the world. The day was first observed in 1994.

  • US FDA allows use of remdesivir drug for severely ill COVID-19 patients
    The United States Food and Drug Authority (USFDA) have allowed emergency use of the antiviral drug, Remdesivir for treatment of severely ill COVID-19 patients.

    Remdesivir for COVID-19 patients:
    A study by Gilead Sciences in the US showed that Remdesivir shortens the recovery time by 31% or about 4 days on average, for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

    The reports also stated that the clinical trials of Remdedivir were conducted on 1,063 patients. When the patients were given the drug, they were able to leave the hospital in 11 days on average versus 15 days for the comparison group.

    The drug has not yet tested on people with the milder illness. The medicine is currently given through an IV in a hospital.

    Remdesivir would become a new standard of care for severely ill COVID-19 patients.

  • World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on 3 May
    World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on 3 May every year. The day aims to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom and pay tribute to journalists who have laid down their lives in the exercise of their profession. The day also focuses to assess its state around the world, defend the media from attacks on their independence.

    The theme of 2020 World Press Freedom Day is "Journalism Without Fear or Favour." The theme creates awareness on specific issues about the safety of journalists, their independence from political or commercial influence, and gender equality in all aspects of the media.

    As the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic, journalists and media workers are crucial to helping the public make informed decisions, which can make the difference between life and death.

    The World Press Freedom Day was started by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1993, on a recommendation from UNESCO. The observation of World Press Freedom Day was marked on the jubilee of the Declaration of Windhoek. It holds a statement of fundamentals of press freedom assembled in 1991 by the African Journalists to encourage an independent African press.

    United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):
    UNESCO was established on 4 November 1946. It is headquartered in Paris, France. It functions under the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNSC). It also aims to promote international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms.

  • World Tuna Day is observed on 2 May
    World Tuna Day is observed on 2 May. The day aims to raise awareness about the importance of tuna. The day will promote more sustainable fishing practices.

    The day aims to spread information about the possible impact of drastically declining tuna stocks. The day also highlights the economic and social benefits of establishing more sustainable fishing practices.

    The World Tuna Day aims to stress the importance of a stable and healthy tuna population. It also shows the importance of sustainably managed fish stocks in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

    Tuna is a saltwater fish. It belongs to the Thunnin tribe. Tuna are found in warm seas. It can maintain a body temperature higher than that of the surrounding water. The fish has a life span of 50 years.

    In December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed resolution 71/124 and designated the observation of the day on 2 May. It is observed for the first time in 2017. The UN report stated that a large number of countries worldwide depend on tuna for both food security and nutrition. It also stated that more than 80 countries have tuna fisheries, and their capacity is constantly growing.

    Environmental groups like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have warned that some types of tuna, such as the bluefin, are now endangered because of overfishing.

    A 2013 Stock assessment reported that because of overfishing, bluefin stocks in the Northern Pacific Ocean have declined by more than 96% in comparison to un-fished levels. In 2016, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) registered new record catches for tuna. Total catches of tuna and tuna-like species were almost 7.7 million metric tonnes (MT). Effective management to restore the overfished stocks including tuna is needed.

  • International Astronomy Day is celebrated on 2 May
    International Astronomy Day is celebrated on 2 May. The day is celebrated twice a year, one in autumn and another in spring. The next Astronomy Day will be observed on 26 September 2020. The day is celebrated by enthusiasts and professionals to share their knowledge and love of outer space with the general public.

    On this special day, museums, astronomical institutions, and planetariums organize seminars, workshops, and other fun-filled activities with an aim to spread awareness about the world of astronomy.

    The day was first celebrated in 1973 by Doug Berger, the then president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California. He planned to set up various telescopes in busy urban locations so that passersby could enjoy views of the heavens. He wanted to increase interest in the field of astronomy and give the general public access to more ways to learn about it.

    The day is also celebrated by setting up telescopes in urban locations in order to make space more accessible to everyone. The day included many countries and many organizations and groups. The observation of the day was amended in 2006 to include a second day of celebration in the year.

    Initially, the Astronomy Day occurred on a Saturday between mid-April and mid-May. It was scheduled so as to occur at or close to the first quarter Moon. In the year 2007, an autumn rendition of Astronomy Day was added.

    The observation of the day was scheduled to occur on a Saturday between mid-September and mid-October so as to be on or close to the first quarter Moon.

  • GRFC 2020 says around 135 million people are living under food crisis
    The Global Network against Food Crisis released the Global Report on Food Crisis (GRFC) 2020. The report stated that around 135 million people are living under the food crisis. The report aims to address the root causes of extreme hunger.

    Global Report on Food Crises:
    The report described the scale of acute hunger in the world.

    It provided an analysis of the drivers that are contributing to food crises across the globe. It examines how the COVID-19 pandemic might contribute to their perpetuation or deterioration.

    The analyses in the GRFC report were prepared before the global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic and do not account for its impact on vulnerable people in food-crisis situations.

    The report stated that around 183 million people in 47 countries were classified in Stressed (IPC/CH Phase 2) conditions, at risk of slipping into crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) if confronted by an additional shock or stressor.

    As per the report, the population in crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) increased from 112 to 123 million.

    The reports stated that the main driver of food crises in 2019 was Conflict and insecurity. And, weather extremes and economic shocks became increasingly significant.

  • US President Trump nominates Indian-American lawyer as US representative for IBRD
    The US President Donald Trump has nominated Indian-American lawyer Ashok Michael Pinto as a representative to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the World Bank's lending arm.

    He was nominated for the post of the US Alternate Executive Director of IBRD for a term of two years. If confirmed, he would replace Erik Bethel, who has resigned from the post.

    Michael Pinto:
    Pinto has worked as a Special Assistant and Associate Counsel to former President George W Bush. He also served as a law clerk to Judge F A Little, Jr. of the US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

    Pinto is currently serving as the Counsellor to the Under Secretary for International Affairs at the US Department of the Treasury. He holds a BA degree from Stanford University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law. He served as a Counsellor to General Counsel at Treasury.

  • World Asthma Day is celebrated on 5 May
    World Asthma Day is celebrated on 5 May 2020. The day aims to raise awareness, care, and support for those affected by asthma. The primary focus of the day is to support the person with asthma, family, friends, and caregivers. Every year the day is observed on the first Tuesday of May month.

    The theme of the 2020 World Asthma Day is "Enough Asthma Deaths." The day is not actively promoted this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. It also aims to raise awareness and the struggles of people suffering from asthma.

    World Asthma Day is annually organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). The day was aimed to increase awareness about chronic respiratory disease asthma, its precautions, prevention, and care around the world.

    GINA works with health care groups and asthma educators to reduce asthma "prevalence, morbidity, and mortality". It also aims to improve the lives of people suffering from asthma.

  • International Firefighters’ Day is observed on 4 May
    International Firefighters’ Day is observed on 4 May. The day aims to remember those firefighters’ who have died while serving the community or dedicated their lives to protecting the safety of all.

    Firefighters' Day was initiated after the tragic death of 5 firefighters' in 1999 during a bushfire at Linton in Victoria, Australia when they were on a rescue mission. They died due to the sudden change in the direction of the wind.

    Soon after that tragic event, a firefighter’ named JJ Edmondson sent an email to his colleagues calling for an international holiday that would honour the sacrifices and triumphs of firefighters’ everywhere. On 4 May 1999, people all over the world celebrated the first International Firefighters’ Day.

    The Ribbon:
    The most unique and significant symbols of International Firefighters’ Day is the red and blue ribbon. The ribbon is 5 cm long and 1 cm wide, with the two separate colors conjoined at the top.

    The red and blue colour was chosen as red stood for the element of fire and blue represents the element of water. Coincidently, red and blue are also the colors recognized worldwide to signify emergency services.

  • Russia awarded Kim Jong Un on its 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany
    Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Kim Jong Un a commemorative war medal to mark the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany.

    The medal was awarded to recognize the North Korean leader's role in preserving the memory of Soviet soldiers who died on North Korean territory.

    Russia-North Korea ties:
    In 1948, diplomatic relations were established between the Soviet Union and North Korea. The Soviet military forces supported the Korean People's Army during the Korean War. N. Korea was established as communist bloc gaining maximum support from Russia.

    In 2019, Russia invited Kim Jong Un to visit Moscow on 9 May and attend the military parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the victory. Russian President later announced the decision to postpone the parade indefinitely in April because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2015, the North Korean leader rejected an invitation by Moscow to attend the 70th anniversary, citing domestic affairs.

  • Irans parliament introduces new currency, Toman, to tackle inflation
    The Iranian Parliament has announced the decision to replace its currency "Rial" with another basic unit of currency called the "Toman." Each toman will be worth 10,000 rials under the new system.

    The move aims to ease the psychological impact of soaring consumer prices on a population that has endured high inflation for decades and grappled the number of zeros in government figures.

    The move by the Iranian government aims to simplify financial transactions. Once the law is ratified, the Central Bank of Iran will have two years to implement the change.

    The rial and the new currency is expected to overlap for between two to five years in the market. The new system was authorized to manage high inflation in the country.

    In 1930, Iran changed its basic monetary unit from dinar to the rial. The change was a part of the modernization of the economy undertaken by the Pahlavi dynasty, which was overthrown by the revolution in 1979. The Iranian government has been planning to replace currency notes since 2016.

  • Lost At Home report of UNICEF says largest number of children displaced in 2019 yr
    UNICEF released a report titled "Lost At Home" on 5 May. The report highlighted the risks and challenges of internally displaced children and the need to protect them.

    The report highlighted that 19 million children were living in displacement within their own countries due to conflict and violence in 2019.

    In 2019, an estimated 46 million people were internally displaced by conflict and violence.

    It also stated that there were around 12 million new displacements of children in the 2019, out of which 3.8 million of them were caused by conflict and violence, and 8.2 million by disasters related to weather-related events like flooding and storms.

    UNICEF also called on governments to take concrete action and investment that will help provide protection and equitable access to services for all internally displaced children and their families.

  • EU hosted online Coronavirus Global Response International pledging conference
    Coronavirus Global Response International pledging conference was held virtually on 5 May. The conference began on 4 May and expected to end on 23 May.

    Around 40 countries participated in the online summit. The conference was hosted by the European Union (EU) and its partners.

    The conference aimed to raise €7.5 billion in initial funding in global cooperation.

    The conference highlighted the requirement of global responsibility for the global coronavirus pandemic.

    The need to develop and deploy effective diagnostics, treatments, and a vaccine against COVID-19 pandemic was stressed.

    Countries and organizations around the world ensured the development of the life-saving vaccine.

    Several world leaders and organizations pledged $8 billion (around Rs.60,000 crore) to manufacture a vaccine to combat COVID-19, the diseases caused by the novel coronavirus. The fund will be used to fund laboratories across the world that have promising leads to research and develop a vaccine.

    Romania contributed $200,000, Canada contributed $850 million. Other top donors were Japan, the United Kingdom (UK), Germany, France, and Saudi Arabia.

  • World Athletics Day is celebrated on 7 May
    World Athletics Day is celebrated on 7 May. The date of observation is subjected to change as International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) decides the date every year, but the month remains the same which is May. The day aims to boost participation in athletics among youngsters.

    World Athletics Day falls under the social responsibility project of IAAF 'Athletics for a Better World.' The day is observed to make people aware of the various health issues and to promote physical fitness. The day also aims to establish a link between the youth, sport, and environmental conservation.

    World Athletics Day was celebrated for the first time in the year 1996. The observation of the day was initiated by Primo Nebiolo, the then-president of IAAF. Several competitions take place on the day with the most common types are track and field, road running, race walking and cross country running, etc.

    World Athletics:
    World Athletics was formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation. It was formed on 17 July 1912. The headquarters is located in Stockholm, Sweden. It governs the sport of athletics, covering track and field, road running, racewalking, mountain running and ultrarunning, and cross country running.

  • Vesak day is observed on 7 May
    'Vesak', the Day of the Full Moon is observed in the month of May by the United Nations on 7 May 2020. The day commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and Death of Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, all of which is said to have taken place on the same day.

    Gautam Buddha:
    The birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha is celebrated as Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti across the world. According to the Hindu calendar, the day falls on a full moon day in the month of Vaisakh (April/May). In 2020, the Buddha Purnima is celebrated on 7 May.

    In Theravada Buddhism, the day is observed as the day when Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha Gautama and attained Nirvana (salvation) under the Mahabodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, Bihar and his death anniversary.

    The Vesak full moon day is the most important day in the Buddhist calendar. On this day, several Buddhists go to the pagodas to pour water at the foot of the sacred tree in remembrance of the Buddha's Enlightenment.

    Buddha Purnima is a major festival celebrated with great pomp and fervour in countries like India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka (where it is called Vesak), Burma, Thailand, Tibet, China, Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Mongolia, Cambodia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

  • UNEP extends Actress Dia Mirzas term as Goodwill Ambassador
    The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) extended environmentalist and actor-producer Dia Mirza's term as its National Goodwill Ambassador for another two years till the end of 2022. Dia is also a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocate.

    Dia Mirza:
    Dia Mirza has contributed and taken an active part in the campaign "Beat the Pollution". She has made significant contributions towards World Environment Day celebrations, Circular fashions, and other UNEP campaigns. Under Beat the Pollution Campaign India works to become completely free from single-use plastics by 2022.

    United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):
    UNEP was established on 5 June 1972. It is headquartered at Nairobi, Kenya. It is responsible to coordinate the UN's environmental activities. It also assists developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. UNEP also provides funds and implements specific environmental development projects worldwide including reforestation and wetlands restoration.

  • Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for victims of WWII is observed on 8-9 May
    The Time of remembrance and reconciliation for those who lost their lives during the Second World War is observed on 8-9 May every year. On this day people across the world and many authority bodies including UNGA, pay tribute to all victims of World War-II (WWII).

    The time of remembrance and reconciliation was designated by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) by resolution 59/26 of 22 November 2004. On 2 March 2010, UNGA passed resolution 64/257 and designated 8-9 May as the day to honour the victims of the Second World War.

    It also encouraged its Member States, NGOs and individuals to honour the victims of WWII. UNGA plans to make every effort to settle all disputes by peaceful means in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and in such a manner that international peace and security are not endangered.

    United Nations (UN):
    After WWII, the United Nations was created as a body to promote international co-operation and to create and maintain international order. UN was established on 24 October 1945. It replaced the ineffective League of Nations that was disbanded in 1946 after WWII following its failure in preventing the conflict.



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