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This undated handout from the Australia Zoo received on August 22, 2017 shows a white koala joey on her mother Tia at the Australia Zoo on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. VOA

A new koala-tracking app and a marsupial hospital are the latest moves to protect one of Australia’s most famous native animals. The furry, tree-dwelling marsupials are in decline in eastern Australia, and authorities hope a multi-million dollar rescue plan will help to save them.

The app will help authorities map and track koala populations in New South Wales state, where the furry marsupials are in decline. Members of the public as well as researchers are encouraged to report koala sightings using the technology.

The koala faces various threats, including loss of habitat, disease, road traffic accidents and attacks by dogs. There are also susceptible to the impact of drought and climate change.

In New South Wales and Queensland the famous, and distinctive, animals are listed as vulnerable under national environment laws. In some areas it is estimated that numbers have fallen by a quarter in the last 20 years.

A new koala-tracking app and a marsupial hospital are the latest moves to protect one of Australia’s most famous native animals. Pixabay

How it works

New South Wales Environment Minister Matt Kean hopes the app will provide an accurate picture of where the koalas are.

“We are calling on the community to download the ‘I Spy Koala’ app on their phones,” said Kean. “That is about getting the community to go out in the wild, in our national parks, identify where koalas are, record it in their app so that we are better placed to protect them into the future. This is all about ensuring that the koalas can continue to thrive so that future generations can enjoy them. This is all part of the New South Wales government’s koala strategy, a AUD$44 (US$29.6m) investment in koalas. (It is) the biggest single investment of any government ever to ensure that koalas are protected and grow into the future.”

Health threats

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A new koala hospital is being built in Port Stephens, 180 kilometers north of Sydney, and will be part of a wildlife sanctuary that will open next year.

There will also be more research into chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease that has infected many koalas.

Fences to channel marsupials and other animals away from busy roads and into specially-made wildlife tunnels will also be built.

In parts of southern Australia officials say there are too many koalas, and that ‘overabundant’ populations are damaging valuable types of trees. In some areas there are programs that seek to reduce marsupial numbers. But further north, conservationists warn that the decline of the koala is an environmental emergency. (VOA)



As the economy continues to recover from the prolonged pandemic.

By Rohit Vaid
The Centre might bestow infrastructure as well as industry status to new sectors to boost several pandemic hit industries in the upcoming Union Budget. Industry insiders said that several sectors and sub-industries such as hospitality, automobile retail, specific diganotics facilities and companies engaged in installation of EV charging stations amongst others might get the status.
The infra tag will enable these sectors to avail tax breaks, incentives and credit on lower interest rates. "Sectors which are in greenfield or which would need capex augmentation to help them overcome the pandemic can be looked from the lens of an infrastructure sector," said Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, Director and Practice Leader, Transport & Logistics, Crisil Infrastructure Advisory. "Also many of the already identified sectors need a sustained policy push which will help them get visibility both in terms of quantum and the time period of applicability."

Till now, activities associated with laying of power and telecom transmission and distribution lines, roads, highways, railways and construction of facilities such as hospitals, affordable housing, power generation units, water treatment plants, SEZs and certain type of hotels amongst others were given such status.

Besides, these sectors are a part of harmonised master list for infrastructure sub-sectors. However, in April 2021, exhibition-cum-convention centre was included in the list. "Given the focus around electric vehicle, and need for significant investment in charging stations, if the government adds the sector in infrastructure list, the benefits arising out of it will be significant," said Vishal Kotecha, Director, India Ratings and Research. "Infra tag on sectors increases ability to raise funds, access to dedicated funds and lenders, foreign capital, lower interest rates among others."

Electric car Given the focus on electric vehicles, the advantages of including the industry in the infrastructure list will be enormous. Free SVG

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A team led by chief scientist Ravi Shankar, is working on two combinations to provide the safest medication to coronavirus patients. "Experts say that a combination of antivirals with different mechanisms can be more effective to counter the viral pandemic. We are working on two combinations - Umifenovir with Molnupiravir (an antiviral) and Umifenovir with Niclosamide (anti-parasitic)," he said.

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"Now, we are trying to keep a low dosage of Molnupiravir in its combination with Umifenovir which may weed out the side-effects such as the risk of cartilage and muscle damage. If successful, it will make Umifenovir more effective in Covid-19 treatment," said the chief scientist. The other combination is Umifenovir with Niclosamide.

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In a statement Thursday without identifying the victims, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) stated that "on the morning of January 19, 2022, RCMP officers with the Integrated Border Enforcement Team received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States".

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) RCMP officers received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States.Wikipedia

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