Disasters are defined as severe disruptions in the routine functioning of society due to adverse events which cause serious harm to lives and livelihoods, economy, environment, and social and cultural resources. Based on this definition, the novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19 qualifies as a ‘disaster.’ Though COVID 19 has not caused damage to property or infrastructure, it has claimed many lives and created a serious disruption in the functioning of the society, thereby affecting almost everyone across the world.
The planet Mars is in the news again. Three missions are expected to be Mars-bound during 2020. Typically, it takes between six to nine months to reach Mars from Earth. The minimum distance from the Earth to Mars is about 54.6 million km. Mars launch windows are available only after a gap of 26 months and the present launch window is open till the third week of August. The first Arab space mission to Mars, an unmanned probe dubbed ‘Hope’ (Al-Amal in Arabic), successfully took off from Japan on 20 July 2020.
While the entire world has been reeling under the COIVD-19 crisis since the beginning of this year, South Asia has witnessed a spike in border disputes, besides facing the rapid spread of the pandemic itself. Although many of these disputes existed before the COVID period, the Chinese claims of territories in India and Bhutan and Nepal’s claim of three disputed territories which India has traditionally claimed to be it's own has brought a new dimension to the security discourse in the sub-continent.
The tourism industry, which depends heavily on a hedonic and sensorial experience, is facing the severest stress ever amid the ongoing pandemic. The interlinked socio-cultural, economic, psychological and political impacts of this magnitude can alter the predictive power of previously studied explanatory models in the tourism recovery process. This article attempts to explain the transformational effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry.
Impact of COVID-19 on tourism
Nepal’s House of Representatives (the Lower House of the Parliament) on June 13, unanimously passed the Constitution Amendment Bill to revise the country’s political map, laying claim over areas of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadura, which are currently in Indian territory. Earlier, on May 19, Nepal issued a new map by merging these three territories into its map based on the 1816-Sugauli Treaty.
While the COVID-19 has devastated health, economy and social sectors across the world with the death of millions of people, its impact is mixed in the low-intensity conflict regions. In case of India, more than one lakh people have been affected (at the time of finalising this report), and more than three thousand people have succumbed to the pandemic despite a nationwide lockdown imposed since March 23.
"It may be a sheer coincidence that such major reforms have been announced during pandemic times. But such efforts by the state actually transcend regimes, boundaries, difficulties or even emergency situations."
The pharma and other biotechnology agencies in the United States researching Covid-19 are under cyber espionage. As of date, the US authorities do not have any direct evidence to prove this fact but possibly based on the circumstantial evidence the US is making this claim. Besides, there are murmurs that Iran also could be involved in some form of cyber espionage. For the last few months, Chinese hackers, possibly more at the individual level, are found to be targeting some universities, pharmaceutical and other health-care businesses in the US.
Post COVID-19 sustainable urban planning depends on how cycling as an urban mobility component is being prioritised.
Developing a vaccine is a serious job. Post the outbreak of Covid-19, many agencies in the world have started working towards the development of a vaccine to stop the spread of Coronavirus. At present, the usable vaccine is still a few months or a year away. As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), currently around 60 vaccine candidates are in the pre-clinical trial stage. For any vaccine to reach the stage of public distribution, normally takes around 12 to 18 months. It is expected that by January/February 2021, the Covid-19 vaccine could become available.