Timeframe: January 8th to January 14th, 2022
Contributors: Redwan Reham and Farhan Uddin Ahmed.
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Boris Johnson: Senior Tories urge PM to quit after party apology
Boris Johnson is facing calls from senior Tories to resign after he admitted to attending a drinks party during the lockdown.
The prime minister apologized for the way he handled the event in the Downing Street garden in May 2020 and said he understood the public’s “rage” over it.
Cabinet members including deputy PM Dominic Raab rallied around Mr. Johnson.
But Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross and MPs William Wragg, Caroline Nokes, and Roger urged him to go.
China steps up construction along disputed Bhutan border, satellite images show
The images and analysis supplied to Reuters by U.S. data analytics firm HawkEye 360, which uses satellites to gather intelligence on ground-level activities, and is vetted by two other experts, provide a detailed look into China’s recent construction along its frontier with Bhutan. China has accelerated settlement-building along its disputed border with Bhutan, with more than 200 structures, including two-story buildings, under construction in six locations, according to satellite image analysis conducted for Reuters.
Construction-related activity in some of the locations along Bhutan’s western border has been underway since early 2020, with China initially building tracks and clearing out areas, based on material provided by satellite imagery firms Capella Space and Planet Labs, said Chris Biggers, the mission applications director at HawkEye 360.
Two other experts who studied the locations of the new construction and recent satellite images taken by Capella Space said all six settlements appear to be in territory disputed by China and Bhutan – including a contested tract of roughly 110 square kilometers – with little in the way of resources or native population.
The construction suggests that China is bent on resolving its border claims by giving its ambitions concrete form, said the experts and one Indian defense source.
The new construction is 9 to 27km from the Doklam area at the junction of the borders of India, Bhutan, and China, where Indian and Chinese troops were locked in a standoff for more than two months in 2017.
The settlements would allow China to better control and monitor far-flung areas and potentially use them to establish security-focused installations, according to one expert and the Indian defense source.
“China’s village building across the claimed Bhutan border appears to be designed to force Bhutan to yield to Chinese demands in their border negotiations, now in their 24th round after 37 years,” said Robert Barnett, a professorial research associate at SOAS University of London, who is an expert on Tibet and has studied the China-Bhutan border closely.
The settlements appear part of a plan Beijing made public in 2017 to build more than 600 villages in border areas in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), which lies on the Chinese side of the disputed border, said Barnett and M.
Control over the remote Doklam plateau would potentially give China greater access to the adjoining “Chicken’s Neck” area, a strategic strip of land that connects India to its northeastern region.
India has been closely monitoring Chinese construction along its borders, the Indian defense source said, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The satellite imagery suggests that neither India nor Bhutan has responded on the ground to China’s construction activities, Biggers said.
2. Economics & Business
2021: A year of record trade amid frozen India-China ties over Ladakh chill
India and China achieved a major milestone this year when their bilateral trade crossed the landmark figure of USD 100 billion but it did not generate any fanfare in both capitals as the two Asian giants are going through a “particularly bad patch” in their relations.
According to last month’s data from China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC), the India-China bilateral trade totaled USD 114.263 billion, up 46.4 percent year-on-year from January to November 2021.
Source: Economic Times
3. Science & Technology
Fact-checkers label YouTube a ‘major conduit of online disinformation’
Fact-checking organizations around the world say that YouTube is not doing enough to prevent the spread of misinformation on the platform. The organizations want YouTube to take firmer action against anti-vaccine videos, and election disinformation. The fact-checking groups have called for:
– A commitment to meaningful transparency about disinformation on the platform
– More context and debunks rather than just deleting videos
– Action against repeat offenders
– Increased effort to tackle misinformation in languages other than English
YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez told the Guardian the company was already investing in ways “to connect people to authoritative content, reduce the spread of borderline misinformation, and remove violative videos”. While the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a surge in misinformation about the virus and vaccines, YouTube and other social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have been plagued with content promoting fake news and conspiracy theories for years.
What to expect from the world’s sixth mass extinction
About 65 million years after the last mass extinction, which marked the end of dinosaurs roaming the planet, scientists are warning that we are in the early throes of another such annihilation event. Unlike any other, this sixth mass die-off — or Anthropocene extinction — is the only one caused by humans, and climate change, habitat destruction, pollution, and industrial agriculture all play a hand.
In mass extinctions, at least three-quarters of all species cease to exist within about 3 million years. Some scientists believe that at our current rate, we could be on track to lose that number within a few centuries.
Over the next few decades alone, at least 1 million species are at risk of being wiped out. That’s according to an estimate in a landmark report published in 2019 — but many scientists say it could well be an undercount.
5. COVID-19 news
Pfizer says its vaccine targeting Omicron will be ready in March
Pfizer will have a COVID-19 vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant ready by March, the pharmaceutical company’s chief executive said Monday.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company has already begun manufacturing a new version of its COVID-19 vaccine that aims to protect recipients against Omicron. “This vaccine will be ready in March,” he told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday. “We [are] already starting manufacturing some of these quantities at risk.”
Source: CBS News
Disclaimer: The information provided here is obtained solely from the third parties mentioned above. Youth Policy Forum (YPF) is not responsible for any misinformation or misrepresentation.