Mint Lite | Bitcoin, Quad naval exercise, covid vaccines, fossil fuel & others4 min read . Updated: 18 Nov 2020, 09:22 PM IST
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Bitcoin has been on a tear this year. On Wednesday, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency breached past the $18,000-mark to hit its highest in nearly three years, Reuters reported. It has jumped about 160% this year, adding 17% in the last three days alone. The ongoing rally is fuelled by demand for its quality as an inflation hedge and expectations of mainstream acceptance. Bitcoin is now nearing its all-time high of just under $20,000, which it had hit at the peak of its retail investor-fuelled 2017 bubble.
Quad countries resume naval exercise
India, Australia, Japan and the United States held the second phase of their naval exercises in the Northern Arabian Sea. The drill is seen as part of a regional initiative to counter China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific. The informal grouping known as the Quad had participated in a joint military exercise of this size previously in the Bay of Bengal at the beginning of this month. The current phase consists of operations centered on the Indian navy’s Vikramaditya carrier battle group and the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz carrier strike group. Analysts believe that the joint exercise will act as a deterrent against Beijing as India has been locked for months in a military standoff with China along their disputed border. The Malabar exercise started in 1992 as a bilateral drill between the Indian and U.S. navies with Japan joining in 2015. This year the Australian navy is participating for the first time since 2007.
Vaccines versus the virus
In an eerie coincidence, recent weeks have seen a string of optimistic announcements about the effectiveness of various experimental vaccines accompanied with a renewed surge in the covid cases. Global daily deaths from the deadly virus stood at 10,816 on Tuesday, according to Reuters. This is the highest single-day death tally. The US remains the global epicentre of the virus, which is rampaging through Europe with a vengeance. Daily infections in Tokyo and South Korea hit new peaks, while New Delhi battled rising cases made worse by pollution. Amid all the optimism about vaccines bringing “herd immunity" comes caution from experts. It’s unclear what is needed to achieve herd immunity with vaccines, as it involves a host of factors, many of which are unknown. How many people will accept the jabs and whether they offer the same protection to everyone are questions that have no easy answers.
UK to ban sale of petrol cars from 2030
In a step to tackle climate change, UK prime minister Boris Johnson has said that new cars which are powered by petrol and diesel will not be sold in UK after 2030. This step is a part of Johnson’s “green revolution" process. Last year Britain had become the first G7 country to set in law a net zero emission target by 2050, which will require wholesale changes in the way Britons travel, use energy and eat. Meanwhile in USA, a group of major utilities including Tesla and Uber are in talks to launch a group to lobby for policies to boost consumer electric vehicle incentives and encourage the retirement of gasoline-powered vehicles. The group will also advocate for tougher emissions and performance standards aimed at enabling full electrification by 2030.
Rift within Nepal Communist Party
A few days after tensions resurfaced between Nepal prime minister K P Sharma Oli and rival Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda", the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) started a crucial meeting of the Central Secretariat on Wednesday. The meeting comes after rift resurfaced in the CPN between Oli and his opponent Prachanda on October 31, with the prime minister hinting at splitting the party, according to a Press Trust of India report. The party's internal dispute had surfaced after the dissident group leaders, including Prachanda and senior leader of the party Madhav Kumar Nepal, demanded Oli's resignation as the party's chairman and as Nepal's prime minister after he accused the dissident leaders of conspiring against him to topple his government. In June, Oli’s government redrew the country's political map by incorporating three strategically key Indian territories.
Lone white giraffe gets GPS device
In an attempt to keep poachers away, the only white giraffe in the world has now been fitted with a GPS tracking device, reports BBC. The giraffe in North East Kenya can now be monitored by rangers at all times. This will be important especially since the only other two of his kind—a female and a seven-month old calf—were killed by poachers in March. White giraffes were first spotted in Kenya in March 2016, about two months after a sighting in neighbouring Tanzania.The colour of his skin is actually caused by rare genetic condition called leucism, which causes the loss of skin pigmentation. There has been a significant increase in reported poaching incidents of wild animals this year. The covid-19 pandemic have made many groups vulnerable, and they have turned to poaching of animals—either for consumption or for sale. Some places like Uganda have seen a doubling of incidents compared to last year.
Curated by Sohini Sen. Have something to share with us? Write to us at feedback@livemint or tweet to @shohinisen