👋 Ia Orana!*
Welcome to Tuesday, where Norway veers left, Putin is self-quarantining, and German scientists try to potty-train cows. Meanwhile, Delhi-based news website The Wire applauds India's recent Olympic gold medals but asks why it can't win Nobel Prizes?
🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• Taliban deny death of top leader: The Taliban have denied that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of their top leaders, has been killed in a shootout with rivals, following rumors of possible rivalries and internal divisions in the movement.
• COVID update: New cases have more than doubled in China's southeastern province of Fujian following an outbreak of the Delta variant, which is thought to have started in a primary school. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin is self-isolating after members of his entourage tested positive to COVID-19.
• Norway center-left opposition wins elections: Norway's left-wing opposition has won the general election in a landslide following a campaign dominated by tensions between the future of the country's lucrative oil industry and climate change.
• South Korea fines Google for antitrust: South Korea's antitrust regulator has fined Alphabet Inc.'s Google $177 million for hampering the development of rivals to its Android operating system.
• Apple's emergency update to block spyware: Apple issued an urgent iPhone software update after security researchers found that the Israeli company NSO Group exploited a flaw in the Messages app to infect devices with the spyware Pegasus, even without a click from the user.
• Hurricane Nicholas hits Texas and Louisiana: Heavy rains fell on Texas and Louisiana as tropical storm Nicholas strengthened into a hurricane before making landfall, raising fears of potential life-threatening flash floods in the coming hours and days.• Moo to the loo: Researchers in Germany are potty-training cows in a process they call "MooLoo training" to try and find a solution to the environmental damage caused by livestock waste.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
Norwegian daily Stavanger Aftenblad reports on the country's general elections yesterday, which saw left-wing millionaire Jonas Gahr Støre come out on top. WIth a campaign centered on the future of the oil industry, the results put an end to the conservative government's eight-year rule under Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
Why can't India win more Nobel Prizes?
Winning a Nobel Prize can't be the only criterion by which we measure a nation's scientific achievement — but it is a matter of pride, like winning a gold at the Olympics. Lower funding on R&D alone doesn't explain India's abysmal show at the Nobel Prizes, writes Suprakash Chandra Roy in Indian news website The Wire.
🏅 According to the Research and Development Statistics published in 2019 by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), science workers in India numbered 2.78 million in 2018, being the sixth largest scientific workforce worldwide. The number of athletes according to the Athletics Federation of India was a little more than 30,000. Mathematically, we have a higher chance of winning a Nobel Prize than a gold at the Olympics. But history hasn't borne this out.
💰 Indian sportspersons have won 35 medals of the 18,876 medals awarded thus far. The first and only Nobel Prize for an Indian scientist — C.V. Raman — was awarded in 1930. Many commentators have said that one major reason for our poor show at the Nobel Prizes has been the inadequate expenditure on scientific work. It is true that, in general, countries that spend more on R&D have won more Nobel Prizes in the sciences. However, India has spent 0.81% of its GDP on R&D and produced only one Nobel laureate in the sciences — while 11 countries that have spent less than India have produced 22 laureates.
🤔 The data suggests that we can improve if we spend more on R&D — but it also says that more money won't guarantee the outcome we seek. The Union Ministry of Science and Technology has been allocated around Rs 147 million for 2021-2022 — an increase of around Rs 95 million from 2015. But India's sports budget is about 10-times lower than that spent on science. In conclusion, some key elements seem to be missing, beyond funding and infrastructure. Is it a fire in the belly that's missing? Do we have a leadership vacuum that fails to motivate scholars to think out of the box?
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
New Zealand's Māori party launched a petition to officially rename the country Aotearoa ("the land of the long white cloud" in Māori), its original Indigenous name before Dutch explorers named it after the Dutch province of Zeeland in 1642. Since 1987, the island nation has recognized both English and Te Reo Māori as official languages, but has been recently divided over the question of changing the names of organizations and localities to promote the Maori language.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
The world now averages 26 days a year where temperatures exceed 50 °C (122 °F), as compared with only 14 days in the 1980s. According Dr Friederike Otto, associate director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, "the increase can be 100% attributed to the burning of fossil fuels."
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