- Four space tourists safely ended their trailblazing trip to orbit with a splashdown in the Atlantic off the Florida coast.
- Their SpaceX capsule parachuted into the ocean just before sunset, not far from where their chartered flight began.
- The all-amateur crew was the first to circle the world without a professional astronaut.
- The motive behind the mission is to show the world that space is for all of us.
- SpaceX’s fully automated Dragon capsule reached an unusually high altitude of 585 kilometers.
- It surpassed the International Space Station by 160 kilometers.
- These 4 were the first space travelers to end their flight in the Atlantic since Apollo 9 in 1969.
- SpaceX’s two previous crew splashdowns — carrying astronauts for NASA — were in the Gulf of Mexico.
- NASA’s Kennedy launch pad was used for this mission, which one was used for the Apollo moonshots and shuttle crews
- Bodhish Thomas, a 25-year-old techie from Pandalam, has long championed the importance of open-source technology as a force for good in uncertain times.
- In 2018, when Kerela was under one of the worst floods in its history, his team launched an afterflood. in, a crowd-sourced data hub for post-flood-related content focusing on health and well-being.
- The website found a place in keralarescue.in runby the government of Kerala, has assisted people not just in Kerala, but in Tamil Nadu during landfall of cyclonic storm Gaja and during Karnataka Kodagu floods.
- Further during COVID-19, a network was developed namely Coronasafe Network — an open-source pandemic management software solution that presently serves as the digital war room of several districts across six states, including Kerala, Maharastra, Haryana, and Tamil Nadu.
- The network has also been co-opted for the remote tele-ICU management under the 10-bed ICU project in 150 districts across the country.
- Launched along the lines of afterfloods.in, it is a multifunctional tool that provides real-time analytics of hospital facilities available, oxygen monitoring, capacity utilization, patient management, telemedicine, and ambulance, etc.
- The tool has now won global recognition in the form of an open-source grant from GitHub — the world’s largest open-source developer community platform.
- The network, meanwhile, has also been recognized by the United Nations as a Global Digital Public Good – an acknowledgment accorded to open-source software that can help achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Cabinet cleared a 30,600-crore guarantee program for securities to be issued by the newly incorporated ‘bad bank’ for taking over and resolving non-performing assets (NPAs) amounting to 2 lakh crore.
- The Reserve Bank of India is in the process of granting a license for the National Asset Reconstruction Company Limited (NARCL).
- Following which toxic assets worth 90,000 crores that banks have already fully provided for, will move to the NARCL.
- NARCL will acquire assets by making an offer to the lead bank.
- Private sector asset reconstruction (ARCs) firms may also be allowed to outbid the NARCL.
- Separately, public and private lenders will combine forces to set up an India Debt Resolution Company (IDRC) that will manage these assets and try to raise their value for final resolution.
- A 15% cash payment would be made to the banks based on some valuation and the rest will be given as security receipts.
- Once the NARCL and the IDRC have finally resolved the asset the balance 85% held as security receipts would be given to the banks.
- The government backstop will come in only as much as to pay the gap between the realized value and the face value of those receipts and this will hold good for only five year.
Taliban on the limitation on girls
- Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers set up a ministry for the “propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice” in the building that once housed the Women’s Affairs Ministry.
- It was the latest troubling sign that the Taliban are restricting women’s rights as they settle into government.
- During their previous rule of Afghanistan in the 1990s, the Taliban had denied girls and women the right to education and barred them from public life.
- The staff of the World Bank’s $100 million Women’s Economic Empowerment and Rural Development Program, which was run out of the Women’s Affairs Ministry, were escorted off the grounds.
- On September 17, the Taliban-run education ministry asked boys from grades six to 12 back to school, starting on September 18, along with their male teachers. There was no mention of girls in those grades returning to school.
- Previously, the Taliban’s minister of higher education minister had said girls would be given equal access to education, albeit in gender-segregated settings.
- Earlier this month the Taliban announced an all-male exclusively Taliban Cabinet but said it was an interim setup, offering some hope that a future government would be more inclusive as several of their leaders had promised.
- The Taliban are facing major economic and security problems as they attempt to govern, and a growing challenge by IS militants would further stretch their resources.
G20 agriculture meeting
- The G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting is one of the ministerial meetings organized as part of the G20 Leaders Summit 2021 to be hosted by Italy in October.
- The 2021 G20, under the Italian Presidency, will focus on three broad, interconnected pillars of action: People, Planet, Prosperity.
- Within these pillars, the G20 aims to take the lead in ensuring a swift international response to the COVID-19 pandemic – able to provide equitable, worldwide access to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines – while building up resilience to future health-related shocks.
Highlights on India’s statement
- India stressed at the G20 agriculture meeting that there is a need to increase investment in agricultural research and development amid the challenges of climate change and an expected increase in food demand by 2030.
- India has an annual production of 308 million tonnes of food grains which highlights that India is not only in the realm of food security but is also catering to the needs of other countries.
- However, the demand for foodgrain is expected to rise to 350 million tonnes with a likely increase in India’s population to 150 crores by 2030-32.
- The farm sector is facing the challenges of achieving food security, adapting to climate change and mitigating climate change hence more emphasis on practicing sustainable agriculture is needed.
- India has developed and released 17 varieties of different crops which are resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses.
- Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is developing bio-fortified varieties to meet the nutritional requirement of the people.
G20 Ministers of Agriculture
- The G20 Ministers of Agriculture met for the first time in Paris in 2011 to address the impact of the economic crisis on the agricultural sector threatened by price volatility.
- Since 2015, they have met annually to discuss food security, nutrition, and global agricultural development.
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The UNCTAD Trade and Development Report 2021
- The global economy is set for a strong recovery in 2021, albeit with a good deal of uncertainty clouding the details at the regional and country levels over the second half of the year.
- After a 3.5 percent fall in 2020, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) expects world output to grow 5.3 percent this year, partially recovering the ground lost in 2020.
- India “suffered a contraction” of 7 percent in 2020 and is expected to grow 7.2 percent in 2021.
- India is expected to grow at 7.2 percent in 2021 but economic growth could decelerate next year.
- Recovery in the country is constrained by the ongoing human and economic cost of the COVID-19 pandemic and the negative impact of food price inflation on private consumption.
- The report projects that India will clock an economic growth of 6.7 percent in 2022, slower than the country’s expected 2021 growth rate.
- However, even with a slower growth rate of 6.7 percent, India will still be the fastest-growing major economy in the world next year.
- It noted that income and wealth inequalities in the country have widened, and “social unrest has increased”.
- The US is projected to grow at 5.7 percent in 2021 followed by a three percent GDP growth next year.
- China, estimated to grow at 8.3 percent this year, will see its growth slow down to 5.7 percent in 2022.
- The report said that the world needs more effective multilateral coordination, without which recovery efforts in advanced countries will damage development prospects in the South and amplify existing inequalities.
World Bank and Doing Business Report
- The World Bank Group has decided to discontinue publication of its ‘Doing Business” rankings of country business climates after a review of data irregularities in the 2018 and 2020 reports.
- The development lender will work on a new approach to assessing countries’ business and investment climates.