Indian Express Explained 19+20/05/2020

1)Explained: The ‘travel bubble’ idea that many are pinning their hopes on:- So here’s what happened : The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania started what is being referred to as a ‘Baltic travel bubble’ to help put their economies back on track post-Covid lockdowns.

What is a travel bubble?
Creating a travel bubble involves reconnecting countries or states that have shown a good level of success in containing the novel coronavirus  pandemic domestically.
Such a bubble would allow the members of the group to rekindle trade ties with each other, and kickstart sectors such as travel and tourism.

If this happens among all the countries that have shown success in containing covid-19, it can rekindle 35% of World GDP.

In the Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania travel bubble, residents would be able to travel freely by rail, air, and sea without quarantine measures. All three are sparsely populated (Lithuania- 28 lakh, Latvia- 19.2 lakh, Estonia- 13.3 lakh people) and have been fairly successful at managing the outbreak.

In Future we may see some other bubbles too : Australia and New Zealand reached an agreement to form a travel bubble between the two countries once it becomes safe to operate flights between them.

2)Explained: US-WHO relationship in the past, what could change:- Recently USA threatened to permanently halt funding to the WHO if it did not commit to “substantive” improvements within 30 days, USA is also reconsidering the membership in the body.


WHO gets Money from these Sources
Credits: Indian Express
Now Where does WHO Spend Money

Criticism of WHO regarding Covid-19 pandemic : Some have blamed the UN body for the lavish praise it laid on Chinese efforts to contain the virus, while ignoring reports of whistleblowers being targeted in that country.

It is also criticised for relying on data from China which led it to announce in January that there was no “clear evidence” of human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus.

The UN agency is also blamed for its delay in classifying the outbreak as a global pandemic, which it declared did on March 11.

USA Influence over WHO : The US, a founding member of the WHO as well as its biggest donor, has long exercised a strong influence over the organisation. It has played a key role during the 2014 Ebola epidemic, the humanitarian response in Afghanistan and Iraq, combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and efforts to eradicate polio and tuberculosis, among several other achievements.

US domestic bodies like Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which assist WHO in regional training efforts, and the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) which helps regulate essential medicines.

If the US ceases to remain a member state, experts say it would be left with much less access to the WHO resources, especially at a time when it is the worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic— both in the number of cases as well as deaths.

3)Explained: Why is the Companies Act being changed?
Government was moving to decriminalise provisions of the Companies Act to enhance ease of doing business in the country as part of the government Covid-19 relief package.

So What does Decriminalisation mean :- 3 things have happened

  1. A number of offences previously classified as compoundable offences, i.e. those offences that had either imprisonment or fines as punishments have had the imprisonment penalty removed.
  2. Some of these offences have been omitted altogether
  3. while others have been shifted from the purview of the National Company Law Tribunals (NCLT) to an in-house adjudication mechanism.

Some of these punishments were not allowing businesses to operate freely in India and thus were preventing the ease of doing business. For Ex. Govt. earlier imposed Criminal Liability on CSR ( Corporate social responsibility). The Companies Act amendment bill 2020 has also proposed to remove criminal liability from CSR provisions.

Some other Changes :- The number of compoundable offences under the Companies Act have come down to 31 from 81 prior to the 2018 amendment to the Companies Act.

A number of these offences have been moved from needing to be prosecuted through the National Company Law Tribunals to being dealt with by the Registrar of Companies. 

4) The Irish are repaying a 173-yr-old ‘debt’ to Native Americans during Covid-19; here’s why : 173 years ago Irish People were running away from a Femine,  aid that Native Americans had provided to Ireland during the Great Famine that occurred between 1845 to 1849 helped the Irish People in saving their life. Though the Native Americans had themselves experienced starvation some 16 years prior(1831), after they had been forcefully displaced by settlers from their native lands, an occurrence that came to be known as the Trail of Tears

The humanitarian gesture of the Native Americans towards Ireland’s people was hence rooted in an understanding of pain and suffering to which they had also been subjected.

About 173 years later, comments on the GoFundMe page appeared to indicate that Ireland’s people were repaying the generosity of the Native Americans. “Ireland remembers”, said one donor on the GoFundMe page.

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