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| Updated on May 09, 2021

Strain of the name

Since its discovery in Wuhan in China in December 2019, the novel coronavirus has been mutating rapidly running into lakhs of strains, though only some variants have been wreaking havoc in different parts of the world. The commonly known ones are the UK, the South African, Brazilian and the Indian double-mutant variants. The sheer association of a mutant to a geographical region is enough to give a bad name to the country or the region in popular perception. But during a recent webinar on the genomics of SARS-CoV2 virus, experts explained that a variant gets identified with a country or a region not because it originated there but because the scientists there were the ones to identify and isolate the strain. The strain may have originated elsewhere or may already be circulating elsewhere. In other words, the country should be getting pats rather than brickbats for discovering new infective agents. Incidentally, the World Health Organization long ago barred naming pathogens after countries or geographical locations as it can lead to racial and national backlashes.

‘Aatmanirbharta’ gasping

It was a war of tweets on oxygen between two MLAs in Mangaluru. The Indian Navy had brought 40 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen in cryogenic containers donated by Bahrain, to Mangaluru recently. Tweeting the picture of elected BJP representatives in front of the Navy ship, UT Khader, Congress MLA from Mangaluru, said Karnataka is not capable of handling its own oxygen production, but BJP leaders pose in front of the consignment from Bahrain. Criticising them, he wondered whether to clap for the ‘aatmanirbharta’ of these leaders. In his reply, Vedavyas Kamath, BJP MLA from Mangaluru South, tweeted that his (Khader’s) people blamed India when it exported vaccine to that country. Now, he is clapping for Bahrain. One should appreciate Khader's ‘aatmanirbharta’, he replied.

Space war

Just when the telecom world appeared to be heading towards a time of peace after arch-rivals, Sunil Mittal’s Airtel and Mukesh Ambani-backed Reliance Jio, announced a spectrum-sharing deal, there’s a new war brewing. This time the industry is ganging up against Elon Musk’s satellite communication venture SpaceX, which is eyeing a piece of India’s huge market. There is hectic lobbying going on at the Department of Telecom to block Musk’s entry. This comes even as Mittal has partnered with multinational giants like Hughes and Qualcomm to launch a satellite venture OneWeb. Satellites owned by OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink came dangerously close to each other in April. Clearly, the telecom sector will see more fracas with the two sides heading towards a collision course.

Police on a plate

In a novel initiative, the Telangana police, in association with Sri Satya Sai Seva Samithi, Swiggy, Big Basket, Hope and others, are providing free food at the doorsteps of quarantined Covid patients. While the service aims to support about 2,000 Covid infected people every day, it has limited the number of orders from one mobile number to five and the service to five days. But, be of cheer, they plan to expand and streamline the operations. Policemen know that the route to one’s heart is via the stomach.

Number 7

Looks like Number 7 is lucky for the DMK this time as the party swept to power in Tamil Nadu. The party won 133 seats (adding up to 7); Stalin will lead a 34 (tally 7) member Ministry and the oath taking took place on May 7.

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Published on May 09, 2021

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