Daily Current Affairs – 3 Key Updates
1. NASA launches satellite to track Earth’s melting ice
In a bid to understand Earth’s ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, snow cover and permafrost, NASA successfully launched its Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2. ICESat-2 is NASA’s most advanced Laser instrument — the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System, or ATLAS. It measures height by precisely timing how long it takes individual photons of light from a Laser to leave the satellite, bounce off Earth and return to the satellite.
The satellite will provide critical observations of how ice sheets, glaciers and sea ice are changing, leading to insights into how these changes impact people where they live. ICESat-2’s orbit will make 1,387 unique ground tracks around Earth in 91 days and then start the same ground pattern again at the beginning.
2. India ranks third globally in terms of number of family-owned businesses
India, with a total of 111 companies and $839 billion total market capitalisation, continues to rank third globally in terms of number of family-owned companies, Credit Suisse said in its report. It closely follows China (159 companies) and the US (121 companies).
The rating agency analysed over 1,000 family-owned, publicly-listed companies, and compared their 10-year performance to a control group of more than 7,000 non-family owned companies globally.
In the Non-Japan Asian region, China, India and Hong Kong dominate. Family businesses from these three territories have a combined market capitalisation of $2.85 trillion.
3. Human Development Index 2018
India ranks a low 130 out of 189 countries in the latest human development Index (HDI) released by the United Nations Development Programme, with the findings indicating a glaring inequality in the country though “millions have been lifted out of poverty”.
The UNDP report stated that with an HDI value of 0.64 compared to last year’s 0.636, India is categorised as a medium human development and that its rank rose one spot compared to the 2017 HDI.
According to the 2018 findings, between 1990 and 2017, India’s HDI value increased from 0.427 to 0.640, an almost 50 per cent increase, which is “an indicator that millions have been lifted out of poverty”. At the same time, in what signals the glaring inequality in the country, the HDI value declines by more than a fourth when adjusted for inequality. The value of India’s Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI) falls to 0.468, a 26.8 per cent decrease, far worse than the global average decrease in the global HDI value due to inequality at 20 per cent.
The HDI is the composite measure of every country’s attainment in three basic dimensions: standard of living measured by the gross national income (GNI) per capita, health measured by the life expectancy at birth, and education levels calculated by mean years of education among the adult population and the expected years of schooling for children.
India ranks 127 out of 160 countries on the Gender Inequality Index which reflects gender-based inequalities in reproductive health, empowerment (political and educational), and economic activity.
Norway at 0.95 has been ranked the highest on the HDI scale while Niger is the bottom at 0.35. The greatest increase in HDI rank over the last five years is by Ireland followed by Turkey while the worst decline was seen in conflict-hit countries of Syria, Libya, and Yemen.