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   Thursday, September 19, 2019
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Coral reefs generate new species: Report


New species originate 50 per cent faster in coral reefs than in other tropical marine habitats making the reefs evolution hotspots, according to a report published in the journal Science.

The scientists used fossil records stretching back 540 million years to work out the evolution rate at reefs and they now say that the loss of these evolution hotspots could mean "losing an opportunity to create new species" in the future. Coral reefs harbour a huge number of marine species - they are often likened to rainforests in terms of their biodiversity.

But they also provide a "pump of new marine species", according to Wolfgang Kiessling the scientist from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, who led this study.

These creatures provide a good record of evolution. They remain on the seafloor once they die, and are often fossilised along with some of the remains of their original habitats.

But currently the planet is losing 2% of its reefs each year, mainly because of increasing ocean temperature bleaching and stunting the coral's growth, and ocean acidification making it more difficult for corals to build their skeletons.

This huge data set was compiled by an international project called the Paleobiology Database, which was started in 2000.

Source: BBC

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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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