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Researchers find genetically-diverse koalas

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Canberra, Sep 13: A new study published on Thursday in Australia said it has found pockets of genetically-diverse koalas that could help protect the species from extinction.

Previous studies pointed out that many koalas have low genetic diversity as a result of the decline in its population caused by human interference or diseases, Efe news reported.

The new research, however, analysed the koala genome and discovered several pockets of koalas holding genetic diversity that dates back to before the European settlement in the early 19th Century, when the animals were extensively hunted for their skins.

“To effectively manage koalas across Australia and in captivity we must understand how genetically diverse these populations are, how ‘fit’ they are,” Kyall Zenger of James Cook University (JCU) said in a statement.

The research, published in the scientific journal Heredity, indicated that these marsupials, despite their specific dietary requirements, live across a vast range of environments, including subalpine forests in Victoria state and tropical forests in the Queensland.

However, their distribution is not continuous in this territorial range and some populations live in places that are not their common habitats but where they were relocated to.

“We know that it would be unwise to move koalas between these regions because they live in different climates and have adapted to different environments, but this is the first study to give an indication of the geographic scale that these animals should be managed at,” Shannon Kjeldsen from JCU said.

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), which in the aboriginal language mean “no drink” – in reference to the fact that it gets 90 per cent of its hydration from eucalyptus leaves – numbers are declining in many areas and they are considered a vulnerable species in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Koalas are a very delicate animal and are especially sensitive to any environmental change. It spends up to 20 hours a day sleeping or resting, and uses the remaining four hours to feed on eucalyptus.

IANS

World

4 new Covid-19 cases reported in NZ

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Africa Coronavirus Case

Wellington, Sep 20 (IANS) New Zealand reported four new coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the nationwide tally to 1,464, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Of the four new cases, two were community cases and two were at managed isolation facilities, Xinhua news agency reported citing the Ministry statement.

The current number of active cases in New Zealand has reduced to 71, including three patients in Auckland hospitals.

Laboratories across New Zealand have conducted 5,417 tests, increasing the total number till date to 910,853, according to the Ministry.

New Zealand is now at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 with additional restrictions on gatherings for its biggest city Auckland.

–IANS

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Trump wants replacement of Ginsburg without delay

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Donald Trump

Washington, Sep 20 : US President Donald Trump has said he wants a new Supreme Court judge to be sworn in “without delay”, following the death of the long serving liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Ginsburg, 87, died on Friday, just six weeks before the presidential election.

Trump’s Democrat rival, Joe Biden, insists the decision on her replacement must wait until after the vote. The ideological balance of the nine-member court is crucial to its rulings on the most important issues in US law.

“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday, the BBC reported.

In 2016, Senate Republicans blocked Democratic President Barack Obama’s pick for the US top court. At the time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell justified the move on grounds that it was an election year.

But on Friday, Senator McConnell said he intended to act on any nomination Trump made.

Ginsburg, a liberal icon and feminist standard-bearer, died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at her home in Washington DC, surrounded by her family. She was only the second-ever woman to sit on the US Supreme Court.

Supporters gathered outside the court on Friday night to pay tribute to the woman who had become affectionately known as “The Notorious RBG”.

The appointment of judges in the US is a political question which means the president gets to choose who is put forward. The Senate then votes to confirm – or reject – the choice.

Ginsburg, who served for 27 years, was one of only four liberals on the nine-seat bench. Her death means that, should the Republicans get the vote through, the balance of power would shift decisively towards the conservatives.

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450 jobless Indian workers forced to begin Saudi, shifted to detention centres

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the situation of the economy of many countries has worsened. The effect can be seen in Saudi Arabia as well. As there are no jobs 450 Indian workers have no other choice but to beg for survival.

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jobless Indian workers in Saudi

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the situation of the economy of many countries has worsened. The effect can be seen in Saudi Arabia as well. As there are no jobs 450 Indian workers have no other choice but to beg for survival.

The workers are mainly from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Delhi, Rajasthan and Karnataka. The work permits of these workers have now expired and thus they have to beg as their situation is worse.

These workers are now being shifted to detention centres. Videos have gone viral where the workers are being taken to the Shumaisi detention centre in Jeddah. Among the workers 39 belong to the state of Uttar Pradesh, 10 belong to Bihar, 5 are from Telangana and four each from the state of J and K, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Workers said that they have not committed any crime but had to beg as they had lost their jobs and were helpless.

Social worker and MBT leader Amjed Khan told TOI that the workers with an expired work permit were taken to detention centres .

A total of 2.4 lakh Indians were reported to return to the country but only 40,000 have made it so far.

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