|261.||Chemical from turmeric treats cancer in children: study|
Scientists from United States have found that curcumin, the bioactive component of turmeric that is widely used in Indian cuisine can treat cancer in children.
They have found that nanoparticles loaded with curcumin can target and destroy neuroblastoma tumour cells, which commonly affects children aged five or less.
In their study, scientist had attached curcumin to cerium oxide nanoparticles and tested the formulation in cell lines of a high-risk form of neuroblastoma. It was found that curcumin-cerium formulation induced substantial cell death in neuroblastoma cells while producing no or only minor toxicity in healthy cells.
Significance: The study demonstrates cancer treatment method without the toxicity of agressive therapy. It also shows that nanoparticles can be an effective delivery vehicle for cancer drugs. The use of cerium oxide nanoparticles also help to remove curcumin’s low solubility and poor stability which had earlier restricted its use in therapeutic applications
NB is a type of cancer that forms in certain types of nerve tissue. It most frequently starts from one of the adrenal glands normally near the kidneys. But it can also develop in the neck, abdomen, chest or spine. Its symptoms may include bone pain, lump in the abdomen, neck or chest, or painless bluish lump under the skin. It is mostly resistant to anti-cancer drugs, and is known to cause health problems, such as hearing loss and disabilities, even after successful treatment.
|262.||Shahid Khaqan Abbasi elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan|
Pakistan’s Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was elected the 18th Prime Minister of Pakistan by the National Assembly. Abbasi, nominee of ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N) secured 221 votes in the House of 342.
Abbasi succeeds Nawaz Sharif who was disqualified by the Supreme Court over the Panama Papers scandal. He will be interim PM of Pakistan. He will vacate the position for Nawaz Sharif’s brother Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister gets elected to the National Assembly.
About Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
He was born 27 December 1958 in Karachi, Sindh and comes from a military family. Prior to entering politics, he was an electrical engineer and businessman owning Pakistan’s most successful private airline Airblue. He had started his political career after the death of his father in 1988, and since then he has been an elected Member of the National Assembly six times from Rawalpindi District.
He is member of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N) in the National Assembly. He had served as the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources (2013 to 2017) in the third Nawaz Sharif Government. He had briefly held the cabinet portfolio of Minister for Commerce in the Gillani Government in 2008. He also had served as Chairman of Pakistan International Airlines (1997 to 1999) during the second Sharif Government.
|263.||Arvind Panagariya resigns as Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog|
Arvind Panagariya (64) has resigned as Vice Chairman of NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog and announced to return to academics in US.
He resigned after his public service leave for two years from the Columbia university, where he is professor of Indian Political Economy did not receive extension. He was appointed as the as Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog in January 2015 and held cabinet minister rank.
About Arvind Panagariya
Before joining Niti Aayog, he was a professor at Columbia University and chief economist at the Asian Development Bank (ABD). He has also worked for the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organisation (WTP), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD) in various capacities.
He has earned PhD in economics from prestigious Princeton University. He has written around 10 books and the latest was India: The Emerging Giant published in 2008. He was honoured with Padma Bhushan in 2102.
About NITI Aayog
NITI Aayog was formed on January 1, 2015. NITI Aayog via a resolution of the Union Cabinet. It is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Union Government, providing both directional and policy inputs. It had replaced the 65-year old Planning Commission established in 1950. Prime Minister is ex-officio Chairperson of the Aayog.
NITI Aayog plays important role in designing strategic and long term policies and programmes for the Government. It also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre and States. It also acts as the quintessential platform of Union Government to bring States to act together in national interest, and thereby fosters Cooperative Federalism.
|264.||Dhrupad maestro Ustad Sayeeduddin Dagar passes away|
Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar, one of the foremost exponents and custodian of the venerable Dhrupad tradition of Hindustani classical music passed away in a Pune. He was 78.
About Sayeeduddin Dagar
Ustad Sayeeduddin Dagar was born on April 29, 1939 in Alwar, Rajasthan. He was member of the illustrious Dagar family of musicians and was the youngest of the famous seven ‘Dagar Bandhus (Brothers)’, all exponents of the ancient, complex and elaborate Dhrupad tradition.
He had dedicated his life to keeping the Dhrupad tradition alive. He had performed at some of the most prestigious venues and festivals in India and abroad, including the Tansen Savai Gandharva, Samaroh, Dhrupad Samaroh, Dagar Saptak, Dhrupad Mela, Dhamar Samaroh etc.
He also travelled abroad extensively and enthralled audiences with his Dhrupad performances. He was also President of Dhrupad Society Jaipur and Pune. He also had conducted workshops and interactive lecture demonstrations on Dhrupad in India and twice a year in Holland, Germany, France and Belgium.
Dhrupad is a genre in Hindustani classical music. It is one of oldest forms of compositions in classical Indian music. Dhrupad is a Sanskrit name, derived from words dhruva (permanent) and pad (verse) and in combination it means “pillar”.
The roots of Dhrupad are ancient and it is mentioned in Natyashastra (200 BCE – 200 CE). It is also described in other ancient and medieval Sanskrit texts, such as Bhagavata Purana (~800–1000 CE).
The nature of Dhrupad music is spiritual and does not seek to entertain, but to induce feelings of peace and spirituality in the listener. It is primarily a form of worship, in which offerings are made to the divine through sound or Nada.
Dhrupad was initially sung only in the temples, the singer facing the Lord. From this early chanting, it evolved into a sophisticated classical form of music. One significant characteristic of Dhrupad is the emphasis on maintaining purity of the Raga.
|265.||SC bans use of five heavy metals in firecrackers|
The Supreme Court has imposed ban on use of five harmful heavy metals like lithium, antimony, mercury, arsenic and lead in the manufacturing of firecrackers as they cause air pollution.
The SC order came on a 2015 petition filed by three Delhi children who had requested the apex court to intervene to regulate the use of crackers and fireworks during festivals like Diwali.
The apex court held that it is the responsibility of the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to ensure compliance of ban order particularly in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu where there are large number of firecracker manufacturers. It also asked CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) and PESO to make collaborative efforts for setting up of standards with regard to air pollution caused by the bursting of fire-crackers.
Heavy metals in firecrackers
Lithium is a metal used to impart red colour to fireworks. Antimony is used to create glitter effects. Lead oxide provides a special crackling effect which, if inhaled, in high concentration can cause damage to the nervous system.
About Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO)
PESO is the apex department to control and administer manufacture, storage, transport and handling of explosives, petroleum, compressed gases and other hazardous substances in India. It functions under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It is headed by Chief Controller of Explosives and is headquartered at Nagpur, Maharashtra.
|266.||19th RCEP Trade Negotiating Committee Meeting held in Hyderabad|
The 19th round of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) meetings and other related meetings were held in Hyderabad, Telangana.
Besides, the 19th round of TNC, parallel meetings were also held by the three main Working Groups on Trade in goods, services and investment. Working Groups in other areas like electronic commerce, Intellectual Property, Legal and Institutional Issues etc. also had held their meetings.
Key takeaways of 19th round
All RCEP Participating Countries (RPCs) agreed that RCEP agreement has immense potential to deliver on new economic opportunities including job creation that are much needed in today’s uncertain world. India held that RCEP can offer a forward looking alternative in face of growing protectionism in world.
RPCs also expressed shared commitment to work collectively and in cooperative manner to progress the negotiations in an accelerated way and achieve a comprehensive, modern, high-quality and mutually beneficial agreement that balances and addresses sensitivities and aspirations of participating countries.
About Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
RCEP is a proposed comprehensive regional economic integration agreement (mega Free Trade Agreement) amongst the 10-ASEAN countries (Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam) and its six Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) partners, viz. Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Japan and Korea.
RCEP negotiations were formally launched at 2012 ASEAN Summit in Cambodia. RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement that includes several Asian and American nations but excludes China and India.
Till 2017, RCEP member states accounted for a population of 3.4 billion people with a total GDP (in terms of PPP) of $49.5 trillion, approximately 39% of the world’s GDP (combined GDPs of China and India makes up more than half that amount).
|267.||India-Bhutan New Trade and Transit agreement come into force|
The new bilateral Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Bhutan came into force from July 2017. The new agreement aims to further strengthen the bilateral trade relations between both countries.
The new agreement signed in November 2016 provides for a free trade regime between the territories of India and Bhutan. It also provides for duty-free transit of Bhutanese merchandise for trade with third countries.
Bilateral trade between both countries will continue to be transacted in Bhutanese Ngultrums and Indian Rupees. Moreover, the new agreement removes requirement of having an annual consultation between India and Bhutan for the transit of goods of both countries along with the goods originating in third country
The bilateral trade relations between India and Bhutan are governed by the Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit. The agreement provides for a free trade regime between the territories of India and Bhutan. The last agreement was renewed on July 29, 2006 for ten years. The validity of this agreement was extended (from July 29, 2016) for one year or till new agreement comes into force.
|268.||BSF and NSDC sign MoU on Skill Development|
The Border Security Force (BSF) signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
The MoU will enable NSDC to provide skill training to retired and retiring BSF personnel, as well as to the population residing in the border areas.
The collaboration between BSF and NSDC aims to train and provide gainful employment to retired BSF personnel and their families, school students, youth, differently abled for five years (April 2017 to April 2022). The programme will be appropriately named keeping in view the objectives and will have BSF co-branding with Skill India and NSDC.
It will contribute to Skill Development Agenda of the country by ensuring the successful roll out of NSQF (National Skill Qualification Framework) based skill training to the retiring or retired BSF personnel and local population. The skill training will be based NSQF compliant training programmes at multi-skill development centres run by BSF. This will help in meeting the aspirations of the stakeholders for training and employment.
The skill training project will be of a limited to 5 years period in mission mode. Moreover, the curriculum development and capacity building under the programme will be encouraged to enable the model to be self-sustaining over time.
About National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC)
The NSDC is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship. Its overall objective of NSDC is to create training capacity in the country; fund vocational training initiatives and create a market ecosystem for skill development. Its mandate is to train 150 million people by 2022.
|269.||CBDT inks 9 Advance Pricing Agreements|
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has entered into 9 Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (UAPAs) with Indian taxpayers in July, 2017. With this, total number of APAs signed till date stands at 171 (Bilateral-12 and Unilateral-159).
The nine APAs signed pertain to diverse sectors of the economy including Oil & Gas exploration, education, banking, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and IT. They also cover international transactions and provision of software development services, ITES , engineering design services, distribution, contract manufacturing, etc.
About Advance Pricing Agreements (APA)
The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-tax (IT) Act. It endeavours to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and determining the Arm’s Length Price of international transactions in advance. It aims to strengthen the Government’s commitment to foster a non-adversarial tax regime. Further, the taxpayer has the option to roll back the APA. The roll back provisions under the scheme were introduced in 2014. APA provides total of nine years of tax certainty including four year term of rollback.
About Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)
CBDT is nodal policy-making body of the Income Tax (IT) department under the Union Finance Ministry. It is a statutory authority established under The Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963. It is supreme body in India for framing policies related to direct taxes. The composition of CBDT includes Chairman and six members.
|270.||National Mission for Clean Ganga approves 7 projects|
The Executive Committee of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in its 4th meeting has approved seven projects in the sector of sewage infrastructure, ghat development and research.
Three projects each were approved in sewage sector in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Central Government will provide operation and maintenance cost for 15 years to all these six projects along with 100% central assistance
Besides, a research study to understand the non-putrefying properties of river Ganga in both water and sediment was also approved. The study will be an extension of a research carried out by National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to identify the special properties of river’s waters.
About National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)
NMCG is the implementation wing of National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (referred as National Ganga Council). It was established in 2011 as a registered society under Societies Registration Act, 1860.
It has a two tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee. Both of them are headed by Director General (DG), NMCG. Executive Committee is authorized to approve projects under mission up to Rs.1000 crore.
Similar to structure at national level, State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) acts as implementing arm of State Ganga Committees. This structure attempts to bring all stakeholders on one platform to take a holistic approach towards the task of Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation.
Note: In October 2016, National Ganga Council has replaced National Ganga River Basin Authority(NGRBA) which was constituted under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA), 1986.