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By Sanjeev Sharma
Since the epidemic began, the number of billionaires in Asia Pacific has increased dramatically. According to Oxfam's new research, it reached 1,087 in November 2021, up about a third from pre-crisis levels.
The severe and rising concentration of wealth at the top throughout this extended health and economic crises is even more obvious. In Asia Pacific, the richest 1% had more money than the poorest 90% in November 2021, and the region's billionaires had boosted their fortune by 74% since the epidemic began.
Also read: India, China face exodus of millionaires
Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on Asia's health and economy, exposing and increasing the region's severe levels of economic disparity. According to Oxfam, although wealthy elites can preserve their health and riches, the poorest people and minorities are at higher danger of sickness, death, and poverty.
Coronavirus has exacerbated the flaws of this inequitable system, fueling a vicious cycle of poverty and economic inequality in Asia.
Coronavirus and growing economic disparity, according to the World Bank, pushed 140 million more people into poverty in Asia in 2020, and 8 million more in 2021. These findings are likely to be underestimates due to new variations and greater inequality levels than expected7.
Asia's billionaires accumulated enough new money to provide a salary of over $10,000.wikipedia
So, although economic stagnation and lockdowns have ruined the lives of many impoverished and 'just managing' families, the region's wealthiest families have recovered and even extended their fortunes.
Between March and December 2020, Asia's billionaires accumulated enough new money to provide a salary of over $10,000 for each of the region's 147 million comparable jobs lost during that period. By November 2021, the number of billionaires in Asia Pacific had climbed by over a third compared to pre-pandemic levels, and their combined wealth had increased by 74%.
Some of the region's wealthiest individuals have directly benefitted from the crisis. For example, between February and June 2020, one of Malaysia's wealthy glove makers quadrupled his fortune. By March 2021, there were 20 new Asian 'pandemic' billionaires, whose profits sprang from the Covid-19 response's equipment, drugs, and services.
Also read: Study: Hypertension Hits Rich, Poor Nations
"Taxes on wealth and excess profits, for example, might generate significant additional income if governments are prepared to impose them. A wealth tax of 2-5 percent on Asia Pacific's multi-millionaires and billionaires might raise an additional $776.5 billion each year, according to our calculations. That would be enough to double the region's public health spending by 60% ", according to Oxfam.
In Asia, the allocation of productive assets such as land has long been lopsided. According to study conducted before to the present crisis, Pakistan's top 20% of farmers owned 69 percent of the country's agricultural land. In Thailand, the richest ten percent controlled more than 60% of the land, while the lowest ten percent owned only 0.07 percent.
While the epidemic continues to obstruct any recovery for Asia's poorest citizens, extreme wealth and corporate profits are on the rise. Not only did the wealthiest people recover fast in the early months, but they have continued to flourish as the coronavirus epidemic has progressed.
(Keywords: Asia, rich, poor, Coronavirus, growing economic disparity, World Bank, Thailand, Pakistan, Asia Pacific's multi-millionaires)
A group of Indian and international scientists have spotted a peculiar binary star that shows heartbeat but no pulsations, contrary to the norm of binary stars sporting both heartbeats as well as pulsations. This star is called HD73619 in Praesepe (M44), located in the Cancer constellation, one of the closest open star clusters to the Earth. A total of about 180 heartbeat stars are known to date. The name 'Heartbeat' stems from the resemblance of the path of the star to an electrocardiogram of the human heart. These are the binary star systems where each star travels in a highly elliptical orbit around the common centre of mass, and the distance between the two stars varies drastically as they orbit each other.
Also Read : Stars and planets grow up together : Study
When the stars are at closest passage of binary systems, a sudden increase in integrated brightness with amplitude of the order of several parts-per-thousand (ppt) is observed. As the components move apart, the light variation falls and finally becomes flat, indicating that combined flux is reduced, resulting in alternating peaks and troughs in their light curves. The pulsational activity of such stars is due to the oscillations in the component stars when they are at their closest approach.
A group of Indian and international scientists have spotted a peculiar binary star. CDC / Unsplash
A team of 33 scientists, led by Dr Santosh Joshi from Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), an autonomous institution under the Department of Science & Technology, carried out analysis of photometric and high-resolution spectroscopic observations of HD73619 obtained using eight ground-based telescopes located in different parts of the globe, a release from the Science and Technology Ministry said.
The scientists have found that HD73619 is the first member of heartbeat systems in binary chemically peculiar stars that do not show any pulsational/vibrational activity at their closest approach. Chemically peculiar stars are those stars which have an unusual abundance of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium on the surface. Their data also revealed that the newly discovered heartbeat star exhibits either very weak or no magnetic field. Absence of weak magnetic field means that any dark spots on the HD73619 may have different and hitherto unknown origin as compared to sunspots which are created by strong magnetic field. The findings have been accepted for publication by Monthly Notices of Royal Astronomical Society.
Observations obtained using eight ground-based telescopes located in different parts of the globe. Jaredd Craig / Unsplash
The discovery is of vital importance for the study of inhomogeneities due to spots in non-magnetic stars and to investigate the origin of the pulsational variability. The research has been the result of the Nainital-Cape survey, one of the longest ground-based surveys to search and study the pulsation variability in a sample of CP stars which was initiated about two decades ago by astronomers of ARIES, Nainital, and South African Astronomical Observatory SAAO, Cape Town.
As part of this survey, the group had monitored a few members of Praesepe in the past. The other members of this collaboration are from Uganda, Thailand, the US, Russia, Belgium, the UK, France, Spain, South Africa, Poland, and Turkey. This joint work is supported by India's Department of Science & Technology, and the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office under the Belgo-Indian Network for Astronomy and Astrophysics (BINA) project. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : scientists, India, international, binary star, heartbeats, pulsations, constellation, telescopes, brightness, components, observations, hydrogen, helium, magnetic field, discovery, research, collaboration, Uganda, Thailand, United States, Russia, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Spain, South Africa, Poland, Turkey.)
Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama virtually addressed a two-day major event held in Colombo during which he spoke to around 600 monks from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.
The event as part of the Maha Satipatthana Sutta celebrations for the Theravada Sangha members from the above mentioned countries.
The Dalai Lama spoke on the first day of the event on December 17, which was followed by a question and answer session the next day.
He addressed the event from his residence in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh.
The organiser, Sri Lankan Tibetan Buddhist Brotherhood Society aims to raise understanding and awareness of the common Buddhist heritage of the Sri Lankan and Tibetan peoples.
(Keywords: Dalai Lama, Holiness, Buddhism, Sri Lanka, Religion, Festivity, Tibet, People, Brotherhood Society, Himachal Pradesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Tibetan People
It must be noted that different religions and societies in Southeast Asia have alternative narratives of Ramayana, one of the greatest epic.
Here are some of the versions of Ramayana!
Dasaratha Jakarta: The Buddhist Version
Interestingly, this version of Ramayana does not mention Ravana at all and in fact, there's no mention of Sita's abduction, too. In this version, Dasaratha is the king of Benaras and not Ayodhya. Also, Rama and Sita leaves kingdom and go to the Himalayas and not forests. Then, after twelve years, Rama and Sita return back to Benaras and get married.
Paumachariya: The Jaina Version
In this version, Lakshamana is the killer of Ravana and not Rama. Here, Rama is an ardent follower of Jainism, and so he cannot be the killer of Ravana. Also, this version states an army of warrior and not monkeys, as stated in Valmiki's Ramayana. Another interesting feature of this version is that Ramayana is not shown as a villain, rather a magnanimous king and follower of Jainism.
Gond Ramayani: The Gond Version
Gond is an adivasi clan belonging from Madhya Pradesh in India. Interestingly, in this version, the story begins from where Valmiki's Ramayana ended; when Sita is rescued from captivity. Also, Bhima, one of the Pandavas from the epic of Mahabharata, is mentioned in this version. Unlike Valmiki's Ramayana, Rama is not the protagonist in this version.
Ramakien: The Thai Version
This is considered as Thailand's national epic, and is still taught in some schools in the country. In this version, Ravana is shown as a learned scholar and a noble king in this version. Also, Ravana's pursuit for Sita is depicted as true love. There are a lot of similarities between this version of Ramayana and Valmiki's version, but this version lays a lot of emphasis on Hanuman.
Keywords: Ramayana, Epic, India, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Gond Clan