31 May 2021

China to Send 3 Male Astronauts to Its Space Station in June 2021.

A three-man crew of astronauts will blast off in June for a three-month mission on China’s new space station, according to a space official who was the country's first astronaut in orbit.

The comments by Yang Liwei, the manned space program’s deputy chief designer, to state television came as an automated spacecraft was launched with fuel and supplies for the Tianhe station.

The Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, is the third and largest space station launched by China’s increasingly ambitious space program. Its core module was launched into orbit April 29.

The Shenzhou 12 capsule carrying the crew will be launched from the Jiuquan base in China’s northwest next month.

Yang, who orbited Earth in 2003, gave no details of the astronauts’ identities or a flight date and said the crew will come from the program’s two earliest groups of astronauts. They are now under Level-02 Quarantine Process. 

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Chinese climber becomes 1st blind Asian to scale Mount Everest.

A Chinese climber who became the first blind Asian to scale Mount Everest says he aims to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents and then travel to the North and South Poles.

Zhang Hong, 44, is also the third blind climber internationally to reach the world's highest peak.

Following his guides and Sherpas, he reached the summit on May 24 and returned safely to Kathmandu.

He said that he was inspired by a blind American climber, Eric Weihenmayer, who scaled Everest in 2001. A climber from Austria was the second blind person to reach the peak.

Zhang became blind at age 21 due to glaucoma. 

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Grammy winning American Singer B. J. Thomas Passes away.

Following a battle with stage-four lung cancer, B.J. Thomas, whose musical career endured for over 50 years, died May 29 at his home in Arlington, Texas. He was 78.

Thomas was a chart force beginning in the 1960s. He logged 26 hits, including two No. 1s among five top 10s, on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1966 through 1983 and achieved No. 1 singles across the Hot 100, Hot Country Songs and Adult Contemporary charts. His 1969 classic "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" became his first leader on any Billboard survey, spending four weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and seven frames atop Adult Contemporary.

He was the winner for 05 times Grammy Awards and his "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" made him win an Oscar for best original song. 

Thomas also authored few books including the autobiography "Home Where I Belong",

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EDB Supports Farmers and Processors to obtain Sri Lanka Organic Certification.

The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) is implementing an assistance scheme to enable farmers and processors in Sri Lanka to obtain organic certification as per the Sri Lanka Organic Standard – SLS 1324:2018. The certificates will be issued by the certification institutes accredited for SLS 1324:2018 by the Sri Lanka Accreditation Board (SLAB).

This assistance initiative intends to promote the National Organic Standard (SLS 1324:2018) among small farmers; streamline production, handling, processing, and labelling of organically grown agriculture products to meet a consistent standard; encourage conventional farmers to transform into organic cultivation and increase the production volumes and income; establish transparency throughout the supply /value chains from farm to market and upgrade farmers to obtain international certification in the future to meet the export demand.

The farmers and processors willing to follow organic agriculture and processing practices in rice, fruits, vegetables, cashew, herbs, fertilizer, pulses, spices, coconut kernel-based products, and green leaves are eligible to apply for assistance. The selected applicants will be assisted by the EDB to cover the initial cost of certification including field inspection and lab testing of samples.

Source: https://island.lk

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World Bank and European Union Support Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Modernization and Job Creation.

The Ministry of Finance and the World Bank recently signed a new grant from the European Union to support the Agriculture Sector Modernization Project (ASMP). This grant is part of the EU’s EUR 25 million support to the US$ 125 million project and will be administered by the World Bank.  

Since inception in 2016, the Agriculture Sector Modernization Project has supported the Government of Sri Lanka’s efforts to increase agriculture productivity, boost the value addition of smallholder farmers and agribusinesses and to improve their access to markets. The project also supports agricultural diversification and technology improvements. The project has so far benefitted more than 48,000 smallholder farmers across the country and has created more than 1500 new jobs through investments in agribusiness organizations. 

“Sri Lanka is blessed with an agricultural sector with deep historical roots, which will continue to underpin rural livelihoods and enable the country to rise to future challenges,” said Faris. H. Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. “Agriculture is important for Sri Lanka’s economy, and we continue to work with all our partners to promote inclusive and resilient growth, through increasing agricultural productivity, farmer incomes and creating jobs in the sector.”

This additional investment will help prepare Sri Lanka for COVID-19 recovery by contributing to export revenues and creating high quality jobs in agro-processing. It will also help expand opportunities for inclusive livelihood support in rural areas, and providing essential food items.

The additional grant funding from the European Union will support the expansion of agriculture clusters in five districts: Kandy (Central Province), Badulla (Uva Province), Ampara (Eastern Province), and Killinochchi and Vavuniya (Northern Province). The scale-up will contribute to a greater livelihood transformational impact and by reaching a larger number of project beneficiaries.  It is expected that a total of 25,000 additional beneficiaries would be supported, including 6,000 direct members of farmer producer organizations.

“The European Union is pleased to be partnering with the World Bank and the Government of Sri Lanka to move towards a more sustainable, resilient and productive agriculture”, said Denis Chaibi, European Union Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. “By contributing to the agriculture sector modernization programme we aim to support smallholder farmers, promote new farming solutions to boost productivity and create more jobs, all ultimately to be able to make a positive impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable".

The current World Bank portfolio in Sri Lanka consists of 19 ongoing projects, with a total commitment value of US$2.33 billion in a variety of sectors including transport, urban, agriculture, water, education, and health.

The EU has provided over EUR 1 billion in grants so far to Sri Lanka to support and accompany local efforts for recovery and reform processes in a wide range of areas including poverty reduction, democratic governance, local development, agriculture, water or health.

Source: www.worldbank.org

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The French to Explore Sri Lankan Markets in Maritime Economy, Renewable Energies and Mineral Resources.

Following the high-level webinar on Maritime Economy organised by the Mouvement Des Entreprises de France (MEDEF), and the International Maritime Task Force together with Sri Lanka Embassy in France in March 2021, a virtual meeting was organized on 21 May 2021 to consider the actions to take forward, that could be led within the framework of MEDEF International Action.

During the meeting Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to France Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama emphasised the availability of numerous opportunities in the fields of maritime economy, natural gas resources and graphite/graphene in Sri Lanka, and the need for investors from relevant companies in those fields.

Third Secretary of the Sri Lankan Embassy Amila Dissanayake pointed out the untapped market for renewable energies in Sri Lanka, within the framework of a Renewable Energy Resource Development Plan 2021 – 2026, by the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority. Further Third Secretary Dissanayake reiterated the market potential of graphene projects in Sri Lanka.

Director, MEDEF International Mr. Bogdan Gadenne -Feertchak highlighted the French expertise in energy efficiency and transformational process, as well as the French presence in graphene activity (South of France).

Source: https://theinvestor.lk

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“Ceylon Cinnamon Tea” launched in Oman coinciding with International Tea Day.

Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Sultanate of Oman Ameer Ajwad launched a new brand “Ceylon Cinnamon Tea” at AI Meera Hypermarket in Muscat, Oman on 21 May 2021 coinciding with the International Tea Day. He also distributed “Ceylon Tea” dyed Face Masks which were recently debuted by Sri Lanka Tea Board, among the participants during the launch, to mark the occasion of the International Tea Day.

“Ceylon Cinnamon Tea” is a product of Cinnamon One (Pvt) Ltd in Sri Lanka and imported by Dynamic Global Service LLC in Oman. “Ceylon Cinnamon Tea” is blended with 100 % high quality Ceylon cinnamon which has numerous health benefits.

The tea launch took place at the Sri Lanka Restaurant, “OJAYE” located at Meera Hypermarket in Aziba, Muscat which is a Sri Lankan - Omani joint venture recently opened by Ambassador Ameer Ajwad. Restaurant proprietor Chanaka Hettiarachchi, his Omani sponsor Saleh Suliman Mohammed al Salmi and well-wishers participated during the launch of “Ceylon Cinnamon Tea” which is now available at the OJAYE Restaurant for sale. This is yet another effort by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Oman, to promote new brands of Sri Lankan products into the Omani market.

Source: https://mfa.gov.lk

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Google Photos ending free storage on June 01.

Google Photos will end its unlimited free storage policy for photos and videos next week. After June 1, any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15GB of storage that comes with every Google account. But don’t worry, any photo or video you’ve uploaded before that day won’t be part of the cap. And Google has added a new free tool to help you manage your storage quota.

The move, first announced in November, is meant to encourage people to sign up for Google’s storage subscription service, Google One. Google One plans start at $2 a month in the US for 100GB of storage and other features, like Google Store discounts. It’s a good idea to make sure your existing photos and videos are backed up in Google Photos before the Tuesday deadline since those will be considered free and exempt from the storage limit. You can check your backup quality in the Photos app by going to Settings > Back up & sync.

Once the change takes effect, more than 80% of current Google Photos users should still be able to store about three years of content with that free 15GB. Google will notify you in the app and by email once you get close to hitting your 15GB limit. You can also find a personalized estimate for how long your free storage may last, based on how frequently you back up photos and videos to your Google Account.

In May, Google added a new tool in the Photos app to help you manage the photos and videos you’ve backed up that count toward your 15GB storage quota. It will surface photos or videos that you might want to delete, like photos that are blurry or screenshots, or videos that are large, to better manage the storage you have.

More than 4 trillion photos are stored in Google Photos, the company said in November, with 28 billion new photos and videos uploaded each week. In May, Google unveiled new Photos features including the ability to remove photos from your Memories and new AI-powered techniques to make your photos come alive.

Source: www.businessupturn.com

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‘Tarzan’ actor Joe Lara among 7 killed in plane crash.

Investigators on Sunday 30 May 2021 continued searching for the bodies of seven people believed killed in the crash a day earlier of a small jet into a Tennessee lake, including an actor who portrayed Tarzan in a 1990s television series.

Rutherford County Fire Rescue Capt. John Ingle said in a statement Sunday that recovery efforts were ongoing at Percy Priest Lake near Smyrna. He said efforts also were focused on examining a half mile-wide debris field in the lake.

County officials identified the victims in a news release late Saturday as Brandon Hannah, Gwen S. Lara, William J. Lara, David L. Martin, Jennifer J. Martin, Jessica Walters and Jonathan Walters, all of Brentwood, Tennessee. Their names were released after family members had been notified.

Gwen Shamblin Lara founded the Remnant Fellowship Church in Brentwood in 1999 and wrote a faith-based weight loss book. Her husband of nearly three years, known as Joe Lara, was an actor featured in the TV series “Tarzan: The Epic Adventures.”

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Chelsea beats Manchester City to win Champions League 2020-21.

Chelsea clinched the Champions League title on Saturday 29 May 2021 after beating Manchester City 1-0 in the all-English final.

A first-half goal from summer signing Kai Havertz, the most expensive player in Chelsea's history, was enough to earn Thomas Tuchel's side victory in front of thousands of fans at Porto's Estadio Dragao in Portugal.

Meanwhile, Manchester City's wait for European glory continues after making its first final in this season's competition.

Chelsea, which last won the Champions League in 2012, was worthy of the win having executed a perfect game plan masterminded from Tuchel, who took over from club legend Frank Lampard in January.

The former boss of Paris Saint-Germain, who lost to Bayern Munich in the final last season, was an animated figure throughout, conducting the 16,500 fans present and urging his side to a famous win.

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Members appointed to Port City Economic Commission.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today (May 31) appointed members to the Colombo Port City Economic Commission.

President’s Counsel Gamini Marapana has been appointed as the Chairman of the Commission.

Remaining members of the Commission are:

  • S. R. Attygalle - Secretary to the Treasury
  • Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama - Secretary to the Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage
  • Saliya Wickramasooriya - Former Chairman of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka
  • Kushan Kodithuwakku - Chairman and Managing Director of Orel Corporation
  • Gerard George Ondaatjie - Managing Director of Mercantile Investment & Finance
  • Rohan de Silva - Chairman and Managing Director of McLarens Group

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US says it will not rejoin Open Skies treaty with Russia.

The United States told Russia on Thursday 27 May 2021 it will not rejoin the Open Skies arms control pact, which allows unarmed surveillance flights over member countries, a US official reportedly said.

Citing unnamed US officials, The Associated Press reported that Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told the Russians that the Biden administration had decided not to re-enter the treaty, which had allowed surveillance flights over military facilities in both countries before President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact.

Thursday’s decision means only one major arms control treaty between the nuclear powers – the New START treaty – will remain in place. Trump had done nothing to extend New START, which would have expired earlier this year, but after taking office, the Biden administration moved quickly to extend it for five years and opened a review into Trump’s Open Skies Treaty withdrawal.

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Vietnam detects a new UK-Indian coronavirus variant.

Vietnam has detected a Covid variant that appears to be a combination of the Indian and UK variants and can spread quickly by air, officials say.

Vietnam's Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long described the latest mutation as "very dangerous".

Viruses mutate all the time and most variants are inconsequential, but some can make a virus more contagious.

Since Covid-19 was first identified in January 2020, thousands of mutations have been detected.

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Exercise Steadfast Defender 2021 is underway.

NATO’s largest military exercise since 2018, Exercise Steadfast Defender 2021, has begun with a maritime operation off Portugal, a logistics exercise in southern Germany and a rapid reaction exercise in central Romania.

Exercise Steadfast Defender 2021, which is designed to improve the Alliance’s defensive capabilities, includes over 9,000 air, land, maritime and special operations forces from more than 20 Allies and partners training together.

Steadfast Defender 2021 officially began on May 12 and ends June 22 in Romania.

The exercise took around two years to plan; Lieutenant Colonel James Scott serves as the officer with primary responsibility of organising the multi-phase exercise.

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EU approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12-15 year old.

The EU's medicines agency (EMA) has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12-15 year olds, the first jab allowed for this age group in the bloc.

Individual member states must now decide if they will offer the vaccine to children. 

The US and Canada approved the Pfizer jab for adolescents earlier this month.

An announcement came as the World Health Organization (WHO) said Europe needed to speed up its vaccine rollout.

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World No Tobacco Day - 31 May.

World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed around the world every year on May 31. It is intended to encourage 24 hours of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption around the globe. The day is further expected to draw attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to adverse health effects, which currently lead to more than 7 million deaths each year worldwide, including 890,000 of which are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

The World Health Organization estimates worldwide, there are 1.1 billion tobacco smokers and nearly 350 million smokeless tobacco users.

The member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) created World No Tobacco Day in 1987.

In 1987, the WHO set aside April 7, 1988, to be “a world no-smoking day.” The objective of the day was to urge tobacco users worldwide to abstain from using tobacco products for 24 hours, an action they hoped would assist those trying to quit.

This year theme of the 2021 WNTD is "Commit to quit."

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World Parrot Day - 31 May.

Every year on May 31st, World Parrot Day highlights the threat to wild and captive parrots throughout the world. It’s also a day to learn more about this intelligent and magnificent bird.

When you picture a parrot, you probably think of a colorful bird that talks or mimics sounds. Both of these things are true of most parrots, but not all of them. Even the parrots that can’t talk are still considered intelligent. The most intelligent parrot is the African grey parrot. A particular bird of this species, named Alex, was believed to have the intelligence of a 5-year old. Alex knew colors, shapes, and over 100 English words. Besides the African grey parrot, other popular types of parrots include the cockatiels, Fischer’s lovebirds, monk parakeets, cockatoos, Amazon parrots, and macaws.

The World Parrot Trust organized the first World Parrot Day in 2004. On May 31st, the WPT held a parrot rally in Trafalgar Square in London. From there, organizers and supporters marched toward Downing Street. They then handed a petition that contained 33,000 signatures to the Prime Minister of the UK. The petition asked for a complete ban on importing wild parrots into the European Union. In 2007, the EU Commission announced a permanent ban on wild bird imports, including parrots.

The motto for 2021 is “Be kind and selfless – be more parrot!” highlighting the recent research into parrot behaviour where grey parrots demonstrated selfless behaviour in helping other parrots get food with no immediate benefit to themselves; a behaviour which is normally only observed with apes!

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International Flight Attendant Day - 31 May.

Monday, May 31 is International Flight Attendant Appreciation Day. Just like its name, the International Flight Attendant Day's meaning is as simple as celebrating the spirit and efforts of Flight Attendants.

International Flight Attendant Day is celebrated in different parts of the globe with different names, however, all of them celebrate and honor the efforts and hard work of Flight Attendants. It is reported that the International Flight Attendant Day celebration was first observed in 2015 in Canada. A Canadian Union reportedly decided to honor and celebrate the spirit and hard work of Flight Attendants. Since then, the International Flight Attendant Day celebration has been hosted in different countries for several years now. 

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30 May 2021

Mali court appoints Assimi Goita as interim president.

Mali’s constitutional court has named the colonel who led a military coup this week as the country’s new interim leader.

The ruling, issued late on Friday, said Assimi Goita would “lead the transition process to its conclusion” and carry the title of “president of the transition, head of state”.

Goita was previously Ndaw’s deputy, and had ordered the former leader’s arrest following a cabinet reshuffle that stripped two soldiers of their ministerial posts.

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Djokovic Wins 83rd Career Title In Belgrade.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic captured the 83rd title of his career on Saturday with victory on home soil at the Belgrade Open.

The Serbian superstar lost his serve three times in the first set before changing his game to defeat Slovakian qualifier and first-time ATP Tour finalist Alex Molcan 6-4, 6-3 in 88 minutes at the Novak Tennis Center.

The Serbian superstar lost his serve three times in the first set before changing his game to defeat Slovakian qualifier and first-time ATP Tour finalist Alex Molcan 6-4, 6-3 in 88 minutes at the Novak Tennis Center.

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Penpa Tsering Sworn-In As President Of Tibetan Government-In-Exile.

Penpa Tsering was sworn-in as president of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the Dharamshala-based Tibetan government-in-exile on Thursday 27 May 2021. 

Penpa Tsering said he will reach out to the Chinese government to find a "mutually beneficial" and non-violent solution to the Sino-Tibet conflict. 

Chief Justice Commissioner Sonam Norbu Dagpo administered the oath to Penpa Tsering, the second democratically-elected Sikyong (president) of the 17th Parliament-in-Exile of the Central Tibetan Administration, at a small ceremony held in Dharamshala, amid the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Penpa Tsering succeeded Lobsang Sangay.

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Britain's new aircraft carrier joins NATO.

HMS Queen Elizabeth took part in NATO exercises in the Mediterranean this week.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will exercise with naval vessels from the United States, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea, along the route.

Britain, like China, now has two aircraft carriers, both countries dwarfed by the United States' 11. 

The new 65,000-tonne vessel carries eight British F-35Bs and 10 U.S. F-35s as well as 250 U.S. marines as part of its 1,700-strong crew.

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OneWeb launches 36 new LEO satellites.

Bharti Airtel owned satellite communications company OneWeb, confirmed the launch of 36 new Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. The launch is part of OneWeb’s ‘five to 50’ programme, which is meant to bring satellite-based broadband Internet to countries like the UK, Alaska, US, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Arctic seas, and Canada. The company has said that its services will start from 2022.

The launch took place on 28 May, 18:38 BST, and was carried out by European satellite launch company, Arianespace, from the Russian spaceport, Vostochny Cosmodrome. OneWeb had launched a previous wave of 36 satellites from the same spaceport in March.

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Galápagos tortoise found alive is from species thought extinct.

Genetic tests have confirmed that a giant tortoise found on the Galápagos Islands is from a species which scientists thought had died out more than a century ago.

The single female was discovered during a 2019 expedition to Fernandina Island.

To prove the link, scientists took samples from the female to compare to the remains of a male from the species Chelonoidis phantasticus.

The last previous sighting of the species had been in 1906.

That sighting was made by scientists from the California Academy of Sciences who sailed to the Galápagos Islands to carry out comprehensive survey of their flora and fauna.

They took back the male specimen to the academy's herpetology department and it was samples from there that allowed geneticists from Yale University to determine 115 years later that the female found in 2019 is indeed a Chelonoidis phantasticus, also known as Fernandina giant tortoise.

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American actor Gavin MacLeod died at age 90.

Gavin MacLeod of 'Love Boat' and 'Mary Tyler Moore' fame dead at 90.

Gavin MacLeod, a sitcom veteran who played seaman "Happy" Haines on "McHale's Navy," Murray on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and the very different, vaguely patrician Captain Stubing on "The Love Boat," has died. He was 90.

MacLeod's nephew, Mark See, confirmed his death to Variety.

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World Multiple Sclerosis Day - 30 May.

World Multiple Sclerosis Day on May 30th creates an opportunity to boost awareness and connect those with MS to resources and improve support systems.

As one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system, Multiple Sclerosis impacts more than 2.3 million people around the world according to the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation.  The term multiple sclerosis means “many scars,” and this term relates to the areas that appear on the brain and spinal cord after the myelin covering our nerves is damaged or dies. The damaged myelin leaves a lesion behind. These lesions are identified by an MRI when symptoms begin to appear.

Since 2009, the Mulitple Sclerosis International Federation has sponsored World MS Day to raise awareness and provide resources for everyone affected by Multiple Sclerosis.

The theme for 2020-2022 World MS Day campaign is connections. The MS Connections campaign is all about building community connection, self-connection and connections to quality care. The campaign tagline is ‘I Connect, We Connect’ and the campaign hashtag is #MSConnections.

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29 May 2021

UN calls for swift zero carbon recovery action at climate summit.

The United Nations made a call for coordinated action to secure global net-zero emissions and fulfill its goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels by 2050. 

The Climate Breakthroughs Summit — a collaboration between the World Economic Forum, Mission Possible Partnership, the United Nations Climate Champions, and the United Kingdom Climate Change Conference (COP26) Presidency — took place virtually May 27, 2021.

Climate leaders at the summit discussed progress in critical sectors of the global economy, including steel, shipping, green hydrogen as well as nature. One of its key campaigns is ‘Race to Zero’ campaign that mobilises support of 708 cities, 24 regions, 2,360 businesses, 163 investors, and 624 higher education institutions to move towards zero-carbon recovery for a sustainable future.

There were new joiners to ‘Race to Zero’, including Maersk, a Danish integrated shipping company, which committed to halving its emissions by 2030 in line with achieving the long-term goal of full decarbonisation under the Paris Agreement, 2015.

There is a 40 per cent chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius in at least one of the next five years, and these odds will increase with time, according to a recent World Meteorological Organization report.

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Menstrual Hygiene Day - 28 May.

May 28 is observed as Menstrual Hygiene Day across the world. Though it is as normal as any other biological function of a human body, where the lining of the uterus breaks down and leaves the body through the vagina, it is still brushed under the carpet and not discussed openly. 

The stigma associated with a woman bleeding every month leads to poor hygiene among a large section of rural women who use wood husk, leaves, paper and other such materials instead of sanitary napkins when on their periods. This cycle in a woman’s body leads to ovulation and reproduction and yet women feel ashamed and dirty discussing it openly. Let us know better this menstrual hygiene day.

History and Significance of May 28

In 2014, German-based NGO WASH United chose this day to advocate for good menstrual hygiene across the globe. The date 28 was chosen as most women on average have their periods for 5 days and May is the 5th month of the year. The cycle tends to occur every 28 days, thus May 28 was marked symbolic for this day. The theme of Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021.

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International Everest Day - 29th May.

International Everest Day is being observed on 29th May. Nepalese Tenzing Norgay and New Zealand’s Edmund Hillary had climbed Mt. Everest on this day in 1953, as the first humans to achieve the feat. Nepal decided to observe the day as International Everest Day in 2008 when the legendary climber Hillary passed away.

Everest Day on May 29 every year in memory of the first summit of Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa on the day in 1953. The day is celebrated with memorial events, processions, and special events in Kathmandu and the Everest region.

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World Digestive Health Day - 29 May.

Every year, World Digestive Health Day (WDHD) is observed on 29 May. It is organised by the World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) in collaboration with the WGO Foundation (WGOF). Each year the day focuses upon a particular digestive disease and/or disorder in order to increase general public awareness of prevention, prevalence, diagnosis, management and treatment of the disease and/or disorder. 

The theme of World Digestive Health Day (WDHD) 2021 is “Obesity: An Ongoing Pandemic.”

World Digestive Health Day was launched in 2004 to mark the 45th anniversary of the creation of the World Gastroenterology Organisation. The organisation has over 100 member societies and 50,000 individual members all over the world.

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Louvre gets its first female leader in 228 years.

Historian Laurence des Cars becomes the first female president of Musée du Louvre, the world’s largest museum in Paris, France in 228 years. She was appointed as the first female president of Musée du Louvre by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron.

Laurence des Cars, 54, is currently heading the Musée d’Orsay, the Paris landmark museum which is dedicated to 19th-century art. On September 1, 2021, she will replace the current president, Jean-Luc Martinez, who had been heading the Orsay museum for the past eight years.

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Christine Wormuth confirmed as the first woman secretary of the US Army.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Christine Wormuth, an international The U.S. Senate confirmed Christine Wormuth, an international security expert and Defense Department aide during the Obama administration, as secretary of the Army. She is the first woman to serve in the role.

Wormuth, who led President Joe Biden’s transition team at the Pentagon, got an overwhelmingly warm reception from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing this month. 

Her confirmation sets her up as one of the more powerful officials in a defence establishment long dominated by men. She is the second woman named to a top Pentagon role by Biden. 

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Sri Lankan shooter Tehani Egodawela qualifies for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Shooter Tehani Egodawela has become the third Sri Lankan to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Accordingly, the 35-year-old will be taking part in the 10m Women’s Rifle Shooting in the major international multi-sport event delayed by the COVID-19 outbreak last year.

The National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Sri Lanka said the Olympic Solidarity/International Olympic Committee (OS/IOC) has confirmed a slot being allocated for Egodawela.

The NOC, in consultation with President of Shooting Federation, has confirmed the acceptance of this slot.

Tehani who is attached to the Sri Lanka Navy, was a former student at Good Sheppard’s Convent, Nayakakanda.

Recently, show-jumping rider Mathilda Karlsson and artistic gymnast Milka Gehani de Silva also became qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games from Sri Lanka.

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Hong Kong’s Tsang Yin-hung breaks the record for fastest ascent of Everest.

Hong Kong mountaineer Tsang Yin-hung has recorded the world's fastest ascent of Everest by a woman with a time of just under 26 hours.

Tsang, 44, scaled the 8,848.86-m mountain in a record time of 25 hours and 50 minutes, Everest base camp's government liaison officer Gyanendra Shrestha said.

But Tsang still needs to present her claim to officials from Guinness World Records to receive certification of her feat. The Nepal government certifies that climbers have reached the summit but does not issue certifications for records.

The fastest woman to conquer Everest had been Nepali Phunjo Jhangmu Lama when she completed the climb in 39 hours 6 minutes.

In 2017, Tsang became the first Hong Kong woman to reach the top. It was her third attempt at scaling the Himalayan peak.

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International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers - 29 May.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, May 29, is “a day to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations and to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace

The United Nations says Peacekeepers are not a military branch of the UN. They include civilian, police, and military personnel from 122 UN members. As of April 2014, more than 115,000 peacekeepers serving in 16 UN peacekeeping missions around the world. In 1988, UN Peacekeeping Forces won the Nobel Peace Prize.

It was so designated by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 57/129, on December 11, 2002, after an official request of the Ukrainian Peacekeepers Association and the Government of Ukraine to the UN General Assembly and first celebrated in 2003. The date, May 29, marks the anniversary of the creation of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in 1948 to monitor the ceasefire after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, which was the first ever UN peacekeeping mission.

The 2021 Theme: “The road to a lasting peace: Leveraging the power of youth for peace and security.”

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President Biden's First Budget: sets out $. 6tn spending plan.

US President Joe Biden has released his first annual budget - a $6tn (£4.2tn) spending plan that includes steep tax increases for wealthier Americans.

The bumper proposal would include huge new social programmes and investment in the fight against climate change.

But it needs approval from Congress, where Republican Senator Lindsey Graham condemned it as "insanely expensive".

Under the plan, debt would reach 117% of GDP by 2031, surpassing levels during World War Two.

That would be in spite of at least $3tn in proposed tax increases on corporations, capital gains and the top income tax bracket.

Former President Donald Trump, a Republican, also ran up the deficit each year he was in office, and his final annual spending proposal had a price tag of $4.8tn.

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Massive bitcoin mine discovered in UK.

An illegal bitcoin mine has been found by police in the U.K. who were looking for a cannabis farm.

The mine — located in an industrial unit on the outskirts of the English city of Birmingham — was stealing thousands of pounds worth of electricity from the mains supply, West Midlands Police said Thursday.

Police searched the unit in Sandwell on May 18 on the back of intelligence that led them to believe it was being used as a cannabis farm.

Many people were visiting the unit at various points of the day, police said, adding there were numerous wiring and ventilation ducts visible. A police drone also detected a lot of heat coming from the building.

These are all “classic signs” of a cannabis farm, police said. However, officers found a bank of around 100 computers and zero cannabis on entering the building.

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NASA’s Mars helicopter goes on malfunction.

A navigation timing error sent NASA’s Mars helicopter on a lurching ride, its first major problem since it took to the Martian skies last month.

The experimental helicopter, named Ingenuity, managed to land safely after the problem occurred, officials at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said on Thursday 27 May 2021.

The trouble cropped up about a minute into the helicopter’s sixth test flight on Saturday 22 May 2021 at an altitude of 10 metres (33ft). One of the numerous pictures taken by an onboard navigation camera did not register in the system, confusing the craft about its location.

Ingenuity began tilting back and forth by as much as 20 degrees and suffered power consumption spikes, according to Havard Grip, the helicopter’s chief pilot.

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28 May 2021

Amnesty International Day - 28 May.

Amnesty International was founded in London in 1961, following the publication of the article "The Forgotten Prisoners" in The Observer 28th of May 1961, by the lawyer Peter Benenson.

Amnesty International is a non-governmental organisation focused on human rights with over three million members and supporters around the world.

Citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights articles 18 and 19, it announced a campaign on "Appeal for Amnesty, 1961" and called for common action.

The objective of the organisation is to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.

Amnesty International works to mobilise public opinion to put pressure on governments that let abuse take place.

The organisation was awarded the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize for its campaign against torture and the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1978. 

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org

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International Day of Action for Women’s Health - 28 May.

The International Day of Action for Women’s Health (International Women’s Health Day) is observed every year on May 28 since 1987 to raise awareness on the issues related to women’s health and well being. Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network (LACWHN) and Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) launched the day.

Year after year, women, girls, advocates and allies have continued to take action and stand up for sexual and reproductive rights for what they are: an indivisible and inalienable part of our human rights.

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Syria’s Bashar al-Assad re-elected for the fourth term.

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad re-elected as the President of Syria for the fourth term with 95% of vote. 

Bashar Al-Assad will continue to serve as the President of Syria after winning the election for the fourth time. Bashar Al-Assad, 55, has been president since 2000.

He succeeded his late father, Hafez, who had ruled Syria for more than a quarter of a century before that. Syria's opposition called the vote a farce, while the US and European countries said it was not free or fair election.

Syria has been devastated by a decade-long conflict and the fighting has left at least 3,88,000 people dead and caused half the population to flee their homes, including almost six million refugees abroad.

The election was held in government-controlled areas of the country and in some Syrian embassies overseas.

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World Hunger Day observed - 28 May.

World Hunger Day is observed globally on 28 May every year. The objective of this day is to raise awareness about more than 820 million people living in chronic hunger worldwide. It is observed since 2011 to not only spread awareness about the malaise of chronic hunger but also to solve hunger and poverty through sustainable undertakings.

The initiative recognizes the dire need to save nearly a quarter of a billion lives from malnourishment and chronic hunger. The need to provide outreach globally during the pandemic for the distribution of food is seen as paramount to save those who have been vulnerable even in pre-pandemic times.

World Hunger Day is an initiative by The Hunger Project, first started in the year 2011. This year marks the 11th annual WHD to look at hunger as a whole.

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International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories: 25-31 May.

The United Nations is observing the International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories from May 25 to 31, 2021. On December 06, 1999, the UN General Assembly called for the annual observance of the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories. In UN Charter, a Non-Self-Governing Territory is defined as a Territory “whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government.”

The observation aims to take effective measures to safeguard and guarantee the inalienable rights of the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to their natural resources, including land, and to establish and maintain control over the future development of those resources and requested the Administering Powers to take all necessary steps to protect the property rights of the peoples of those Territories. At present, there are 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories remaining.

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Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen conferred with Spain’s top award.

Indian economist and Nobel Laureate, Amartya Kumar Sen has been conferred with the ‘ 2021 Princess of Asturias Award’ by Spain in the social sciences category. Princess of Asturias Awards is annual prizes awarded by the Princess of Asturias Foundation in Spain to individuals, entities or organizations from around the world who make notable achievements in the sciences, humanities, and public affairs.

The 87-year-old Sen was selected from 41 candidates of 20 nationalities for “His research on famines and his theory of human development, welfare economics and the underlying mechanisms of poverty have contributed to the fight against injustice, inequality, disease and ignorance". The award comprises a cash prize of 50,000 Euros along with a Joan Miro sculpture representing and symbolising the award, a diploma and insignia.

His candidature was put forward by Javier Parrondo, Director General of Casa Asia (Barcelona).

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Bidya Devi Bhandari issues ordinance to amend Nepali Citizenship Act.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari has issued an ordinance to amend the Nepali Citizenship Act.

She had issued the Nepali Citizenship (first amendment) ordinance pursuant to Article 114 (1) of the Constitution of Nepal.

After the issuance of the ordinance, citizenship by descent will be provided to offsprings of 'bona fide' citizens of Nepal, those owning citizenship by birthright. Likewise, as per the ordinance, the children whose mothers are Nepali citizens but their fathers' identities cannot be established, will be granted Nepali citizenship.

Amendment of the citizenship act was one of the clauses put forward by Mahantha Thakur, Rajendra Mahato faction of the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal to provide their support to Prime Minister Oli.

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WHO and Switzerland launch global BioHub.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Swiss Confederation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch the first WHO BioHub Facility as part of the WHO BioHub System, which was announced in November 2020. 

This facility will enhance the rapid sharing of viruses and other pathogens between laboratories and partners globally.

Based in Spiez, Switzerland, the facility will serve as a centre for the safe receipt, sequencing, storage and preparation of biological materials for distribution to other laboratories, in order to inform risk assessments, and sustain global preparedness against these pathogens.

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Villarreal defeats Manchester United to win Europa League.

Villarreal won its first major European trophy after defeating Manchester United in a marathon penalty shootout in the UEFA Europa League final.

With the game poised at 1-1 after extra-time, United goalkeeper David de Gea missed the decisive penalty after all previous 21 penalties had been scored, including by De Gea's opposite number, Gerónimo Rulli.

The dramatic conclusion in Gdansk, Poland, also handed Villarreal coach Unai Emery a fourth Europa League trophy after he won three consecutive titles with Sevilla between 2014 and 2016.

United was the favorite to win the final having finished second in this season's English Premier League, while Villarreal finished seventh in Spain's La Liga.

But Villarreal defended stubbornly throughout the game, presenting United with few scoring opportunities.

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NASA joins hands with ISRO to develop Earth Observatory.

A new system going to be developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) aided by radar systems from the Indian Space & Research Organisation (ISRO) 

That will provide key information to guide efforts related to climate change and disaster mitigation.

As part of the Earth System Observatory, each satellite will be designed uniquely to work together and create a 3D, holistic view of Earth.

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Jawaharlal Nehru Death Anniversary - 27 May.

As India pays homage to the country’s first and longest serving Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, on his 57th death anniversary by remembering his ‘contribution to the nation’.

Nehru was born on November 14, 1889, in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj and breathed his last on May 27, 1964 with as many as 1.5 million people attending his cremation ceremony from all across the country.

Following an active role in the freedom struggle of the country, he became the prime minister of India on August 15, 1947 and went on to win 11 nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize for upholding peace in the Indian subcontinent from 1950 to 1955. 

It was during the partition of India that the first attempt was made to assassinate him and then thrice again in 1955, 1956 and 1961. He was imprisoned 09 times during his fight for India's freedom.

He played a major role in making India a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic and was also a very prolific writer in English who authored a number of books including The Discovery of India, Glimpses of World History and his autobiography Toward Freedom. 

Nehru established institutions of higher learning including IITs, AIIMS and IIMs, included free and compulsory primary education to all children in his five-year plan, established heavy industries, laid the stepping stone for the foundation of the National Defence Academy and the Atomic Energy Commission and initiated the non-aligned movement. 

Source: www.hindustantimes.com

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