In Brief – April 2022


Japan’s new minister for Loneliness

In an effort to address loneliness and social isolation, Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga has appointed Tetsushi Sakamoto, the current minister of regional revitalisation and increasing Japan’s birth rate, to oversee government policies to deal with loneliness and isolation. With rising suicide rates, the minister of loneliness, as the title denotes, with the help of a task force, will oversee efforts to address the issue. Last October, more people reportedly died from suicide than from Covid-19.



Airbnb houses Ukrainian refugees

Airbnb has halted operations in Russia, with its non-profit wing now offering free temporary housing for thousands of refugees fleeing Ukraine. The online home rental company’s general manager Kathrin Anselm announced that Airbnb will offer free housing to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees in its neighbouring countries such as Romania, Germany, Poland and Hungary.



Students to develop robotic tech for lunar probe

NASA has awarded nearly $1.2 million to seven university teams from the US through the 2022 Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing Idea Challenge, to develop innovative and cost-effective robotic technologies to meet the agency’s Artemis programme goals to explore the lunar surface. The teams will present the results of their testing to a NASA panel in November this year.



All-women’s crew special train

The Waltair division of Indian Railways, for the first time, flagged off a special train from Visakhapatnam to Rayagada with an all-women’s crew on the occasion of Women’s Day. The East Coast Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation president Parijata Satpathy was present at the flag off. The train had three women drivers and three ticket checkers.



Endangered giant tortoises into wilderness

The Galapagos National Park, Ecuador, has released 36 endangered giant tortoises, born and raised at the eco-park, into the wild on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos islands cluster. They were monitored and tested for disease before being released. Each of the tortoises is 6–8 -year-old, and weighs between 6–11 pounds. Their life expectancy is around 100–150 years. The endangered species has reduced in number from 24,000 to 6,700.

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