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7 Ways The Earth Is Answering Positively To Global Lockdown

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Coronavirus Lockdown: How Earth Is Responding?

COVID-19 is turning out to be deadly for the human race as it continues to actively wreak havoc across the globe. As the countries go under lockdown, everything–economy, travel industry, aviation, livelihood, education, daily life—is hampered. However, as movement of the Human Race is on a standstill, nature, rather planet Earth is getting a chance to heal. Amidst the turmoil and uncertainty imposed by coronavirus, here are seven instances to acknowledge the silver lining of the pandemic:

1. Clearer Skies:

coronavirus-lockdown:-how-earth-is-responding?

Source: Wikipedia

One of the most significant positive aspects of lockdown is the reduction in air pollution levels. NASA and the European Space Agency released satellite images which show plummeting emission levels of nitrogen dioxide in major Chinese cities and Northern Italy during January and February.

Due to the dramatic drop in carbon dioxide emissions, toxic gases released from vehicles, factories, power plants, the air quality has improved drastically.

In UK, NO2 levels have dropped by up to 60 per cent in certain cities. In India, some of the most polluted cities are witnessing clear blue skies as the air quality index moves to satisfactory levels in about 90 per cent of the 103 cities after lockdown.

2. Cleaner Water:

coronavirus-lockdown:-how-earth-is-responding?

Source: ISTOCK

As the industries are under lockdown, there is a reduction in industrial wastewater discharge into water bodies, making them cleaner. The best example, in this case, are the infamous Venice canals which are at their clearest state of the last 60 years, this is primarily due to rapid decrease in tourist numbers in the Italian city.

As the sediment has settled down, the murky grey waters appear crystal clear, welcoming aquatic fauna back to the canals. The tourist ban has prevented the motorized speedboats and gondolas from venturing in the water, and in their place, schools of fishes, swans and other water birds have found their abode.

3. Airline Emissions Stalled:

Coronavirus Lockdown: How Earth Is Responding?

Source: ISTOCK

Since the spread of the epidemic globally, air traffic has taken a nosedive. Around 67 million fewer passengers availed flights in the first three months of the year compared to 2019. According to studies, airlines add up to around 5 per cent of global warming, and international travel is one of the fastest-growing sources of global warming affecting climate change worldwide. With the travel industry grounded, emissions via airlines have reduced significantly.

4. Usage of Non-Renewable Resources Decreased:

Coronavirus Lockdown: How Earth Is Responding?

Source: ISTOCK

The stress on nature is finally released as the demand for natural resources see a great fall. Petrol and diesel used in automobiles, coal used in factories and thermal power plants, pressure on petroleum, natural gas have reduced considerably as the countries go under lockdown. Further, the reduction in demand for oil due to widespread lockdowns has also impacted the air quality as there is lesser emission of harmful gases released into the atmosphere as a result of the combustion of the fuel.

Big consumers and producers like China, India, USA, UK are all under lockdown, therefore providing a perfect opportunity for nature to heal and regenerate.

5. Animals Reclaiming Territories:

Coronavirus Lockdown: How Earth Is Responding?

Source: ISTOCK

With their human counterparts caged inside, animals have been emboldened to walk the streets unhindered. In Nara, Japan, Sika deer have been spotted in subway stations and city streets, munching on potted plants. In a beach in Panama, raccoons have been spotted. Several areas have experienced wild turkey and boar activities. In Llandudno, Wales, a herd of goats are tramping along the deserted lanes and empty town center.

The renowned Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland in the UK has introduced the Irish Dexter cattle, the smallest breed of cattle, in the Bay of Cows to help revive wildlife. The animals are fit to efficiently adapt to the region, and with the lack of human interference, they can settle down peacefully in their new surroundings.

6. Human-Nature Connection Re-Established:

Coronavirus Lockdown: How Earth Is Responding?

Source: ISTOCK

The people are now coming to realize what they had been missing out due to busy schedules- their connection with Mother Nature. As the commercial rat-race is forced to come to a pause, the over-burdened people are getting much-required rejuvenation time. Thus, they are finding time to appreciate the little beauties of nature, which they often tend to ignore.

With the spring in its full bloom, unperturbed by human presence, nature is healing and providing amazing sceneries – clear blue skies, morning birdsongs, seasonal blossom trees, a riot of pastel colors of the setting sun and others, for us to enjoy from the indoors. People have also been engaging in gardening activities during quarantine. As nature heals, so does mankind.

7. The Planet Unites:

coronavirus-lockdown:-how-earth-is-responding?

Source: ISTOCK

Coronavirus has provided the perfect opportunity for reflection and realization. It is one of the rare occasions where the whole world stands as one–helping with medical supplies, sharing information, spreading awareness, working to develop a possible cure or vaccine.

Humans are learning to cope with limited resources, industries reducing their dependence on a particular country, companies adopting new techniques, governments realizing their capability to combat a crisis. Though maintaining a social distance, the world has united as a single-family focused on the same goal.

No matter how powerful humans consider themselves to be, all it takes is a microorganism to remind them how insignificant they are in front of Mother Nature.

An ardent literature lover with my mind constantly travelling through far-off unexplored worlds. A lover of languages and cultures--the sweetest language in the world being my mother-tongue. Chasing the Northern Lights...taking one step closer. My pen is my sword. #BongAtHeart

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All You Need To Know About National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021

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National Institute Of Food Technology Entrepreneurship And Management Bill 2021

On July 26, 2021, Lok Sabha passed a bill under the ministry of Food Processing Industry. The bill is titled as National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021. The main motive of this bill is to address issues with the Food Processing Industry, Entrepreneurship and one Institution for National Importance. With the passing of this bill, the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) and National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) is now merged as Institutions of National Importance, and it aims at providing various research and advancement in learning about the Food Industry and its associated branches. The bill was first introduced in the house in February 2019 but was pending due to protest by the opposition.

Significance of Institutions of National Importance (INI)

With the passing of this bill, the institutions enjoy greater autonomy through which they can carry out various courses, research attracting skilled faculties and students from all over the country and overseas. Good standards in education will be adopted to improve the present and future of education in this branch and sector, overcoming the technological gap in the country. This law aims to improve and introduce new changes in food, bio-nanotechnology, cold chain technology etc. The desired efforts will be taken in terms of human resources and infrastructure developments, labs for research etc. Liberty to open centres anywhere in India is also granted to INI and include courses regarding food technology certification and improving the workforce of the country.

Some other important features of this act are the Institution has been authorized with the Board of Government, Senate and other acting Authorities. The Council of Board will include 16 members from different branches from the same field. The Head will be Chairperson, who will be a skilled person from the Food Industry, the Director, Dean and Registrar. Members appointed from Centre and State Governments, Members from FSSAI and Council of Agriculture Research, as mentioned in the bill. The 16 members of the board will carry out work of taking administrative decisions, creating annual budgets and paths for institution progress as an organization, establishing departments, their appointment terms of services, faculties etc. The Board of Council also holds power to grant Honorary Degrees and Diplomas. The Senate shall be the principal academic body of the Institute, consisting of the people such as Director as the Chairperson; Registrar; Full-time skilled level Professor; and Three academically skilled Individuals nominated by the board from the field.

The Union Minister of Food Processing Industry, Mr Pashupati Kumar Paras, expressed his gratitude to PM Modi for this landmark step in this industry from his Twitter handle, indicating new opportunities in Food Technology Industries. Therefore, this Act looks promising on paper with new opportunities and in Educational Development. Amidst the Pegasus Spyware and repeal of the farm laws, this looks positive from the Modi Government.

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Fake News: Accountability Of News Organisations

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Fake News II News Aur Chai

Fake news is false news stories or hoaxes, which are deliberately released to misinform and to create chaos in society or among readers. Fake news is one of the main reasons behind the disruption of peace in society and it becomes more dangerous in volatile places. Fake news is generally shared with propaganda to mislead the audience by hiding or twisting the truth. However fake news isn’t new to the web, it recently became an enormous problem in today’s digital world. Fake news mostly comes from sites that are bogus or have sensationalized stories.

Most of the users do not check the facts before sharing the information on their social media, which can be a reason for widespread fake news. So, it is important to differentiate between fake news and authentic news to maintain harmony in society and to avoid false news and its repercussions.

Fake News Stories

  • On 2nd April, a team of doctors, health workers, and revenue officials were attacked by the family members of a 65-year-old man who died of COVID-19 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh because of the fake video which claimed that healthy Muslims were being injected with the virus, reiterating the risks and physical manifestations of misinformation.
  • On March 22, 2020, Mr. Modi’s new term ‘Janta curfew’ has sparked a buzz on the Internet. Social media users started interpreting PM Modi’s concept of ‘Janta curfew’ in their own ways. Social media was flooded with a certain ‘scientific explanation’ behind the curfew as to how it will break the chain of transmissions of the deadly coronavirus infection. The claim was found out to be misleading. PM Modi, while announcing the curfew, didn’t mention this particular ‘scientific’ logic behind it.
  • Rumours were circulated on WhatsApp groups about a kidnapping gang operating in India’s western state of Maharashtra in 2018. The rumors eventually cause a mob lynching, that killed five migrant workers because they were suspected of being kidnappers.
  • On November 13, 2016, when the government of India has demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and planned to replace them with new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes, rumors were spreading about Rs 2000 notes. Rumors claimed the new higher denomination currency comes with a Nano-GPS chip which acts as a reflector, giving precise location coordinates of the currency to permit every note to be tracked. However, the RBI officials had dismissed these as false and said the new Rs 2000 note does not have a Nano-GPS chip as is being claimed on social media, WhatsApp.
  • In the pandemic situation, where vaccination has become crucial, in a series of viral videos it was seen that people are claiming that magnet was attracted to the arms of alleged COVID-19 vaccinated recipients. This kind of fake news can create misconceptions about vaccines and people may not take their jab of vaccines. The Centre has declined the claims that Covid-19 vaccines can make people ‘magnetic’. It has also dismissed theories about microchips in coronavirus vaccines.

Need of Accountability

False information on social media can cause huge problems. It is often done to influence political processes. Need for Accountability increases in such situations because the false information provided by certain news organizations can create a ruckus in society. Before publishing the news, it is necessary to check the facts.

If the news organizations, shared misinformation unintentionally they must remove the content right away and they should apologize to the readers. If fake news is spread with propaganda to create chaos in society, then the news organization should be punished under the law. The information must be checked before sharing it with other people.

 

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Curious Case Of Pegasus: Explained

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Pegasus II News Aur Chai

Pegasus is a spyware that can hack the victims’ mobile phones and read their SMS messages and emails. The Pegasus spyware is owned by an Israeli software company named NSO Group. According to the various reports, this company has targeted more than 50,000 phone numbers at the Global level, of which 300 are in India for surveillance.

The news broke out after the 17 media partners investigated. This investigation brought into the picture information about a leaked database of mobile telephone numbers of Indian Ministers, Opposition leaders, journalists, the legal community, business people, government officials, scientists, activists and many influential personalities of the nation.

Pegasus Spyware and India

According to the report by the agency, the Israeli company which sells Pegasus around the world says that its clients are confined to ‘vetted governments”, believed to number 36. The NSO Group also says that ‘the target list in India is not ours, never was.’ Their refusal of the leaked database has created a loophole in understanding this case.

This whole case has violated the integrity of democratic institutions. According to the report by the agencies, after the mobile phones of the opposition leader Rahul Gandhi and various other leaders were hacked under the Pegasus spyware surveillance. Multiple tweets were made against the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) government in India. This whole case has become one of the major threats in the political arena and the Indian Democracy.

Though at the start, it was used for national security purposes. The explosive expansion of surveillance technology vendors has become a vast human rights and a global security issue. If such surveillance technologies increase, it might cause a lot of problems to countries around the globe. Hence, as a precaution, all these countries need to work on regulating this technology.

According to the reports by the agency, one of the targeted phones by the Pegasus spyware was of the former election commissioner of India, Ashok Lavasa. Various such people and such opposition leaders were somehow against the BJP government having their phones hacked with the NSO-owned spyware. All these instances and the names in the leaked list have pointed figures towards the Modi Government.

The Modi government’s stand on this case was put forward in Lok Sabha by two serving ministers, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel. These two leaders were also featured in the leaked database. The recent Information Technology Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw defended the BJP government in the parliament by saying, “the expose was an attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions.” She even said, ‘any form of illegal surveillance is not possible with the checks and balances in our laws and robust institutions.’

This case has adjourned the parliament proceedings due to the protests inside and outside the house of parliament by the opposition party.

Pegasus Spyware and World.

 In the statement given to the agency, Access Now, an organisation defending the digital rights of global users, said it was outraged that products sold by NSO were allegedly “used to hack and invade the private communications” of thousands of people across the globe.

At a global level, France’s Emmanuel Macron was targeted in the Pegasus spyware case. As the phone of French President Emmanuel Macron was hacked, the investigation was carried out and later on was published which was directed by the Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden.  After this case came in front of the whole world, the Pegasus spyware surveillance came into the picture.

If this continues for some more time, it will ruin India’s Democratic values at a global level. As well as this might become a huge technological threat between the different nations around the globe.

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