US freezes WHO funding
US President Donald Trump has ordered a freeze on funding for the World Health Organisation (WHO) for ‘mismanaging’ the coronavirus crisis.
About World Health Organisation –
- World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations’ specialised agency for Health was founded in 1948.
- Its headquarters are situated in Geneva, Switzerland.
- There are 194 Member States, 150 country offices, six regional offices.
- It is an inter-governmental organisation and works in collaboration with its member states usually through the Ministries of Health.
- The WHO provides leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.
- It began functioning on April 7, 1948 – a date now being celebrated every year as World Health Day.
Funding for WHO –
World Health Organisation is funded through –
- Assessed Contributions –
- These are the dues countries pay in order to be a member of the Organization.
- The amount each Member State must pay is calculated relative to the country’s wealth and population.
- These contributions have declined, and now account for less than one-fourth of its funding.
- Voluntary Contributions –
- These come from Member States (in addition to their assessed contribution) or from other partners (organisations & individuals)
- They can range from flexible to highly earmarked.
- Top funders include Bill and Melinda Gates (USD 367.7 million), GAVI Vaccine Alliance, World Bank, Rotary International and the European Commission.
The monsoon is arriving late in many States and exiting even later, the Indian Meteorological Department said at its annual monsoon forecast monsoon. It also said that India is likely to have a normal monsoon, with a chance of ‘above normal’ rain in August and September.
What is ‘monsoon’?
Out of a total of 4 seasonal divisions of India, monsoon occupy 2 divisions, namely.
- The southwest monsoon season – Rainfall received from the southwest monsoons is seasonal in character, which occurs between June and September.
- The retreating monsoon season – The months of October and November are known for retreating monsoons.
Monsoon prediction by IMD –
- IMD brands the monsoon as ‘normal’ or ‘deficient’ based on how it fares against its benchmark Long Period Average (LPA).
- LPA is the average rainfall received by the country as a whole during the south-west monsoon, for a 50-year period.
- Deficient rainfall – The country is said to have received deficient rainfall if the actual rainfall falls below 90 per cent of LPA.
- Excess rainfall – The country is said to have received excess rainfall if the rainfall is greater than 110 per cent of LPA.
- Normal rainfall – It is deemed ‘normal’ when the actual rainfall received falls between 96 and 104 per cent of LPA. The IMD has recently changed the definition of a “normal” monsoon by reducing average rainfall received during rainy season from 89 cms to 88 cms.
About Indian Meteorological Department –
- IMD was established in 1875.
- It is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India.
- It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology.
Recent Patiala incident in which a group of Nihangs attacked a Punjab police party has put the spotlight on the Nihangs.
Who is a Nihang?
- Nihang is an order of Sikh warriors.
- They are characterised by blue robes, antiquated arms such as swords and spears, and decorated turbans surmounted by steel quoits.
What does the word ‘Nihang’ mean?
The characteristics of the word ‘nihang’ stem from the Sanskrit word nihshank which means without fear, unblemished, pure, carefree and indifferent to worldly gains and comfort.
- Sources trace their origin to Guru Gobind Singh’s younger son, Fateh Singh (1699-1705), who once appeared in the Guru’s presence dressed in a blue chola and blue turban with a dumala (piece of cloth forming a plume).
- On seeing his son look so majestic, the Guru remarked that it shall be the dress of Nihangs, the reckless soldiers of the Khalsa.
Historical background –
- Nihangs had a major role in defending the Sikh panth after the fall of the first Sikh rule (1710-15) when Mughal governors were killing Sikhs, and during the onslaught of Afghan invader Ahmed Shah Durrani (1748-65).
- Nihangs also took control of the religious affairs of the Sikhs at Akal Bunga (now known as Akal Takht) in Amritsar. They did not consider themselves subordinate to any Sikh chief and thus maintained their independent existence.
- Their clout came to an end after the fall of Sikh Empire in 1849 when the British authorities of Punjab appointed a manager (sarbrah) for the administration of the Golden Temple in 1859.