News Wrap


In their annual report for 2018-19 financial years, electoral bonds account for nearly two-thirds of their funds, received by seven Indian political parties that have reported accepting money through this route. These seven, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Trinamul, BJD, Congress, JDS and the TRS, received Rs 3696.62 crore from various sources of funding in 2018-19. Declared corporate donations now make up only 1.45 per cent. The seven political parties individually received 55 to 88 per cent of their funds through electoral bonds. The highest proportion was received by the BJD (87.91 per cent), and JDS (82.20 per cent). Of all its funding through electoral bonds the Congress Party received 69.49 percent while the BJP received 61.63 per cent. The BJP's overall funding from donations and contributions was about Rs 2354 crore. The received about Rs 383.86 crore through electoral bonds, and about Rs 551.56 crore via donations and contributions.

Melting Of Himalayan Glaciers
Owing to melting of Himalayan glaciers by the end of the century, 1.4 crore people in Kolkata, the highest among 20 cities worldwide, with a population of more than 10 lac (in 2005) will be severely affected. Mumbai, Surat and Chennai are projected to be similarly affected by a 1 metre sea level rise in 2100 while several other cities in north India are expected to face a severe water crisis. A one metre rise of sea level would affect a total of 140 crore people around the glove, unless the major polluters drastically cut emissions of climate damaging greenhouse gasses. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its report on "Ocean and cryosp here", released in Monaco in September 2019, shows the sea level had risen globally by around 15 cm during the 20th century, while it is currently rising more than twice as fast 3.6mm per year and accelerating.

Rage in Chile
Poverty rate in Chile has fallen from over 40 per cent in 1990 to under 10 per cent today. Middle classes now form a majority. Even though income inequality is below the Latin American average, still many Chileans struggle to make ends meet. Since 18 October 2019, protesters in rage set fire to stations and trains, leaving only one line operating. The immediate trigger was a modest 3,7 per cent rise in the country's metro's peak hour fares, but discontent has been growing for more than a decade. This arson was part of a collective nervous break down in Chile, ranging from peaceful protests demanding a fairer and less unequal society, to nightly looting of supermarkets and feral criminality, with marauding delinquents, robbing homes. Sebastian Pinera, the centre-right president, declared a state of emergency and curfew, and sent the army onto the streets for the first time since General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship.. At least thirty people died, most of them looters. Violent protests and unrest in Santiago, Chile's capital has spread to other cities.

Albania & NATO
Once part of the Warsaw Pact, Albania is now hosting a NATO air base. 71 rusting and broken Soviet and Chinese planes are being evicted. By 2005 safety concerns and a lack of cash meant that the last of Albania's Migs, were grounded, even though Albania had a formidable air force. Engineers from China assembled the Migs, when they were shipped in 1970s. The Albanian air force now flies just helicopters. Having left the Warsaw Pact in 1968, after years of disagreement with Russia, Albania finally became a member of NATO in 2009.While Albania is a majority Muslim country, Albanians today are ferociously pro-American. Reason: Americans provided support for the Kosovars, against the Serbs in the Kosovo war.

Vol. 53, No. 18, Nov 1 - 7, 2020