The Chief Information Commission (CIC) on 1 April 2016 directed the GEAC to make public the non-confidential bio-safety information on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).The direction is aimed at enhancing transparency in the regulatory approval process and applicable to all GMOs in the pipeline includingGM mustard variety - DMH11.As per the direction, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), the apex regulatory body for GMOs, has to keep all the relevant data in the public domain by 30 April 2016.However, the disclosure of intellectual property data was exempted from such disclosure.GMOs can be defined as organisms like plants, animals or microorganisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. GM foods are produced – and marketed – because there is some perceived advantage either to the producer or consumer of these foods. This is meant to translate into a product with a lower price, greater benefit (in terms of durability or nutritional value) or both.However, the GMOs attracted much criticism on various grounds including environment, public health, cost-benefit analysis, technological hurdles, monopoly of multinational companies, etc.Though the hybrid varieties are generally known to produce greater yields but they necessitate farmers to keep going to seed companies every year to buy fresh seed. DMH11 : It has been developed by Deepak Pental, a geneticist at the Delhi University, with support from the National Dairy Development Board and the Department of Biotechnology.The technology involves using a complex of genes, sourced from soil bacterium, which makes it easier for seed developers to easily develop hybrid varieties of mustard, generally a self pollinating plant.This new variety is expected to contribute to increasing yields of up to 25 percent compared to existing varieties.Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee is India’s apex regulatory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). It looks after approval of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from the environmental angle.It is also responsible for approval of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered organisms and products into the environment including experimental field trials. At present, GM cotton is the only GM crop commercially available in farmer fields. Since its introduction in India in 2002, it is grown in such quantities that India is the world’s fourth-biggest GM-crop producer, behind the United States, Brazil and Argentina.In July 2014, it gave the green signal for field trials of GM rice, mustard, cotton, chickpea and brinjal.
A statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh will be installed in France's Saint-Tropez town on 17 September 2016. The town is the birth place of Maharaja’s Army General Jean-Francois Allard.Henri Prevosat-Allard, Deputy Mayor and in-charge of tourism of Saint-Tropez on 6 April 2016 met Punjab Tourism Minister Sohan Singh Thandal and invited him to the installation ceremony of Singh’s statue in France.Henri Prevosat-Allard is a descendant of General Jean-Francois Allard, who trained Maharaja Ranjit Singh's troops. Prevosat-Allard has announced the step as a mark of respect towards the 19th century king.In September 2016, the Indian embassy in France will hold also an exhibition on the life of the king.The Punjab Government will hand over the bust of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to the French envoy in India in June 2016.Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the founder of the Sikh Empire, which came to power in the Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century.The empire, based in the Punjab region, existed from 1799 to 1849. It was forged, on the foundations of the Dal Khalsa, under the leadership of Ranjit Singh from a collection of autonomous Sikh Misls (sovereign states of the Sikh Confederacy).
International Romani Day is celebrated on April 08. The International Romani Day is a day to celebrate Romani culture.The Day also draws attention to discrimination directed to Roma and Gypsy communities globally and calls for all human rights to be respected and observed. In 1990 the UN and the EU, at the proposal of the International Roma Union, declare April 8 the International Roma Day.International Roma Day was declared in 1990 to celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the obstacles that continue to face the Romani people. The Roma are part of a heterogeneous ethnic group that has been a part of the European tapestry, with unique languages and culture, for hundreds of years. Roma have historically faced severe discrimination, including enslavement in the Romanian territories up to the 19th Century and systematic extermination at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. Today, the estimated 10-12 million Roma in Europe are working to build a better future for their families and communities despite continuing to suffer from prejudiced and discriminatory attitudes. As Secretary Kerry said on August 1, 2014, “Above all, we remember our common responsibility to stand strong against the cruel sting of biogotry and injustice. Racism against Roma persists even today, and racism anywhere is a threat to people everywhere. We must condemn all prejusdice wherever it springs up, because we know that words of hatred too often become acts of hatred.International Roma Day is significant as it commemorates the day on which the song “Gelem Gelem” was officially recognized as the national anthem of the Romani people.The International Roma day is observed worldwide to spread awareness about the rich and fascinating culture of the Romani population.
A State in Denial - Pakistan's Misguided and Dangerous Crusade: BG VergheseA State in Denial - Pakistan's Misguided and Dangerous Crusade authored by veteran journalist BG Verghese was re-released on 28 March 2016. It was re-released during a discussion organised by the India International Centre, New Delhi.The book explores a subject of immense global significance of Pakistan and its relations with remaining World including India.The author give a brisk overview of the events that came to define post-Independence Pakistan include the battle for Kashmir; the integration of Karat and Hyderabad into India; the creation of Bangladesh.He also draws a rare archival material, approaches subjects that have long been contentious like the Indus water treaty, Siachen and the dangerous nuclear forays of AQ Khan.The author while analyzing Pakistan’s present-day plunge into internal dissent, self-made jihadi extremism, provincial rivalry and military rule, he offers a gentle way out of the nation’s self-made dilemmas by encouraging Pakistan to become more than the Indian other, and urging it to move away from fundamentalism and embrace the syncretic, Sufi-infused Islam.BG Verghese who died on 30 December 2014, in his last book differs from others on the subject with its ultimately optimistic outlook and some radical out-of the-box solutions on how the two countries can dismantle and bury deep over six decades of acrimony.
A copy of the first edition of the original ‘First Folio’ authored by William Shakespeare was found at the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute, off the western coast of Scotland. The edition was first published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare death.The discovery comes ahead of the 400th death anniversary of the playwright. Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616.With this, the number of known surviving copies of the First Folio in the world to 234. Most others are in libraries and accessible only to scholars.It is one of the world’s most sought-after books, which contains 36 of the Bard, 18 of which would otherwise not have been recorded.The goatskin-bound book contains plays like Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and The Tempest among others.The First Folio is worth an estimated 2 to 2.5 million pounds (about 18.8 crore to 23.5 crore rupees) but it is not up for sale. It will be on public display at Mount Stuart until October 2016.The first page of the Folio is an inscription from an 18th century editor of Shakespeare called Isaac Reed, who has described the process that how he acquired the book in 1786. The Folio also includes annotations by Reed that suggest he used it as a working document.
Veteran journalist and author Yogendra Bali died here on April 6,2016.He was 86 and is survived by wife Vijay and daughters Kalika and Purva.In his long career, Bali served The Times of India as its roving correspondent till retirement.He was also associated with a number of newspapers and publications: The Tribune, Current Weekly, Probe, Sunday Mail, The Day After, Asia Defence News International and Mastana Jogi.Bali was a member of the general council of the Lalit Kala Akademi and a member of its committees on Art Education, Publications, the Triennele and International Exhibitions.The books authored by him include 'The Communal Bogey' with foreword by late prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, 'Chandra Shekhar: A Political Biography,' 'Pawan Chamling: Daring To Be Different,' and 'Sri Satguru Ram Singh Ji and Freedom Movement of India'.
Gujarat Governor O P Kohli has gave his assent to six out of the eleven Bills of the BJP-led state government passed in the recently-concluded budget session of the Legislative Assembly. These six Bills are: Gujarat Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, Gujarat Electricity Duty (Amendment) Bill, Gujarat Stamp (Amendment) Bill, Gujarat Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, Gujarat Tax on Entry of Specified Goods into Local Areas (Amendment) Bill and the Registration (Gujarat Amendment) Bill of 2016. These six bills were introduced in the first week of the Assembly session.The Governor has signed these bills. They will become Acts after respective departments issue notifications in this regard.These Bills include the Gujarat Special Investment Region (Amendment) Bill, The Right to fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement(Gujarat Amendment) Bill, The Ganpat University (Amendment) Bill, Gujarat Private Universities (Amendment) Bill and Gujarat State Higher Education Council Bill. The Bill proposing to amend the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 stirred a controversy, as it proposes to do away with requirement of Social Impact Assessment clause and consent of 80 per cent land owners for acquiring land for certain social sector projects as well as for industrial corridor.
Union Urban development Minister Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated 'Namma Toilet' in the national capital Delhi.This is a step in the direction of fulfilling the mission's target to establish over 2.5 lakh public toilets by 2nd October 2017.Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is contributing in a major way to ensure hygiene and cleanliness to all in the country. Public toilets are being built across the country. The mission targets to establish 2 lakh 56 thousand public toilets by 2nd October 2017. Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated 'Nama toilet' in Preet Vihar area of the capital. Across Delhi Namma toilets were inaugurated at 19 other places by the local municipal councillors.These toilets are being built under corporate social responsibility by NBCC. People were enthusiastic to see these innovative toilets.Namma model was evolved on the idea of APJ Abdul Kalam, who had suggested this based on composite materials when he was Principal Scientific Advisor to former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee in 1998.These toilets are Modular and have been designed to eradicate open defecation, keeping in mind the requirements of Indian society. It is designed to withstand the extreme harsh conditions one can expect outdoors in our country and the high usage. Namma toilets were also appreciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he saw them at the exhibition during the launch of three new urban missions last month.
D. Vasu will, according to reliable sources, be appointed as the new director of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) Academy for a period of two years.The former Tamil Nadu and South Zone all-rounder.State Ranji players also come to the TNCA Academy for honing their skills.The 48-year-old has played 76 first-class matches, scoring 3001 runs at 35.72, and picking up 240 wickets at 25.11.Beginning his career as a sharp left-arm pacemen, he developed into a useful left-arm spinner in the second phase of his career.Vasu has been the chairman of the selection panel in the TNCA at the various age-group levels, from under-13, to u-19 and u-23.He also worked under former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar in the Talent Resource Development Officer’s (TRDO) wing of the BCCI.He was a coach, too, in the BCCI’s Specialist Academy at Bangalore before moving back to Chennai, where he served in the suspect action protocol of the ICC, the BCCI and the IPL.Vasu will take over during a difficult period for Tamil Nadu cricket, with the State side failing to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Ranji Trophy.Tamil Nadu’s performances in the junior competitions have also been disappointing.
National Assembly (Parliament) of Vietnam on 6 April 2016 approved Nguyen Xuan Phuc as the country's eighth Prime Minister. In a formal vote, 446 of the 490 members in the National Assembly voted to install Phuc as the head of government.Phuc, 61, succeeded Nguyen Tan Dung who was removed from office on 6 April 2016. Dung had served a maximum two terms in office and is no longer part of the Communist Party's top brass.Punc, who served the country as its Deputy Prime Minister for five years, had served central province of Quang Nam as its governor. His selection to the post was procedural as he was the only candidate chosen by the Communist Party’s Congress at its January 2016 session.He becomes part of a new triumvirate with party chief Nguyen Phu Trong and President Tran Dai Quang, who were endorsed in first week of April 2016. Parliament will vote on a new cabinet on Saturday.
ITC Limited and Starwood Hotels & Resorts on 7 April 2016 announced that they have signed agreements to extend their existing partnership for 11 ITC Luxury Collection hotels and 1 hotel under the Sheraton brand. ITC and Starwood also announced 3 upcoming ITC hotels under The Luxury Collection brand in India. The addition of the ITC Kohinoor in Hyderabad, ITC Narmada in Ahmedabad and ITC Royal Bengal in Kolkata will take the inventory up to 15 hotels, over the next 4 years. ITC Limited is an Indian conglomerate headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal.Its diversified business includes five segments: Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Hotels, Paperboards & Packaging, Agri Business & Information Technology.It was established in 1910 as the Imperial Tobacco Company of India Limited.The company was renamed as the Indian Tobacco Company Limited in 1970 and further to I.T.C. Limited in 1974. The periods in the name were removed in September 2001 for the company to be renamed as ITC Ltd. The company completed 100 years in 2010.Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is an American hotel and leisure company headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. It is one of the world's largest hotel companies. It owns, operates, franchises and manages hotels, resorts, spas, residences and vacation ownership properties under its 11 owned brands.Nearly 40 decades old partnership between ITC Limited and Starwood Hotels came into being in 1979 with the Sheraton brand.In 2007, both companies signed an agreement through which Starwood introduced The Luxury Collection brand in India, which at present stands at 11 hotels.
The Kiss of Life: How a superhero and my son defeated cancer: Emraan Hashmi : The book has been published by Penguin Books India in three languages. The book narrates the story of Emraan’s life when his family dealt with the horrific struggle as his six-year-old son Ayaan battled his way through cancer.The book is about hope to all cancer patients who loses hope, his or her body starts to give up.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on 8 April 2016 launched the bookThe Kiss of Life: How a superhero and my son defeated cancer in New Delhi. Emraan Hashmi co-authored the book with author Bilal Siddiqi.
Logistics firm GoJavas on 7 April 2016 appointed Amitabh Coomar as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).The appointment of Coomar came after the departure of Vijay Ghadge, who was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the company.Besides, Jai Vohra, an IIT-Kharagpur and ISB Hyderabad alumnus, will now head the company's Strategy and Planning functions.Coomar holds a post graduate diploma in business management from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.Before joining the corporate world, he served the Indian Army for almost 12 years.Before GoJavas, he served as the Divisional Manager, Brand Marketing, at ITC, Kolkata.
The astronomers at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) discovered a supermassive Black Hole which weighs about 17 billion times the mass of Sun.It was discovered in the center of a galaxy in a sparsely populated area of the universe and it may indicate that these monster objects may be more common than once thought.The discovery was published on 6 April 2016 in the journal Nature.The lead discoverer is Chung-Pei Ma, a University of California-Berkeley astronomer and head of the MASSIVE Survey, a study of the most massive galaxies and supermassive black holes in the local universe, whereas the lead author is Jens Thomas of the Max Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany.The newly discovered supersized black hole resides in the center of a massive elliptical galaxy, NGC 1600, located in a cosmic backwater, a small grouping of 20 or so galaxies.It is located about 200 million light years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Eridanus.The amount of stars pushed away by this black hole equals 40 billion suns, comparable to ejecting the entire disk of our Milky Way galaxy. Unlike other galaxies, wherein the galaxy bulge is proportional to the mass of the black hole, galaxy NGC 1600 has a relatively sparse bulge in relation to the discovered black hole’s mass.The presence of the massive black hole was made through measuring the velocities of stars near it, which are strongly influenced by the gravity of the black hole. The velocity measurements give us an estimate of the black hole’s mass.The velocity measurements were made by the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) on the Gemini North 8-meter telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. GMOS spectroscopically dissected the light from the galaxy’s center, revealing stars within 3000 light-years of the core.However, these stars were found to be moving in a straighter path away from the core suggesting that they had ventured closer to the center and had been slung away, most likely by the twin black holes.This observation was supported by the images taken by the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) of Hubble telescope. The NICMOS images revealed that the galaxy’s core was unusually faint, indicating a lack of stars close to the galactic center.A star-depleted core distinguishes massive galaxies from standard elliptical galaxies, which are much brighter in their centers.
Odia IFS Debraj Pradhan appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Norway. Mr. Debraj Pradhan (IFS: 1981), presently Ambassador of India to Chile, has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Norway. He is expected to take up his assignment shortly.Mr. Debraj Pradhan was born on 27 June 1958. He holds Masters degree in Political Science.Mr. Pradhan joined the Indian Foreign Service in August 1981. After Foreign Service training in India he was posted as Third Secretary/Second Secretary to High Commission of India, Nairobi from December 1982 to January 1986. From February 1986 to July 1989 he served as Assistant High Commissioner in Rajshahi, Bangladesh. From August 1989 to August 1992 he served as First Secretary in Embassy of India, Vienna and later was posted as Deputy Secretary dealing with Bangladesh in the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi during the period September 1992 to July 1995. From August 1995 to July 1998, he was posted as First Secretary and later Counsellor overseeing Commercial matters in Embassy of India, Buenos Aires. He became Deputy High Commissioner of India, Lagos from September 1998 to July 2001. From August 2001 to December 2005 he was moved to Embassy of India, The Hague as Counsellor and then as Minister. From January 2006 to February 2009 he was Minister and later Deputy Chief of Mission in Embassy of India, Tehran before moving to Ministry of External Affairs as Head of Division handling Right to Information. He was appointed as Ambassador of India to Angola in October 2011 and continued as Ambassador of India in Luanda till February 2014
Hashim Thaci has sworn in as the President of Kosovo after he was elected by the parliament in March 2016. He succeeds Atifete Jahjaga. With this, he becomes fourth President of Kosovo after the European country had unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Prior getting elected as President he was serving as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in the Government led by Isa Mustafa.Hashim Thaci Born on April 24, 1968 in the Drenica region of central Kosovo. From the early 1990s as a student, Thaci was involved in passive resistance to the Belgrade authorities. He had rose to prominence as the political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a paramilitary organisation that was active during the Kosovo War. He was the first Prime Minister of Kosovo after it had unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. He was in office from January 2008 to December 2014.Kosovo is a disputed territory and partially recognised state in Southeastern Europe after it had unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008. Its independence has been recognised by the US and many EU countries. Since 1999, Kosovo is under UN administration after the NATO intervention had ousted Serbian forces. It is landlocked in the central Balkan Peninsula and is facing long-term severe ethnic tensions between Kosovo’s Albanian and Serb communities.
The first-ever North East-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Business Summit kicked off in Imphal, Manipur with the focus on road connectivity, trade and tourism. The two day summit has been organized by Manipur Commerce and Industries Department (MCID) in collaboration with the Union Ministries of External Affairs and Development of North-Eastern Region(DoNER), Indian Chamber of Commerce(ICC) and Indian Chamber of Service Industries(ICSI).The Summit aims at attracting investment from both domestic and foreign firms to the North-Eastern states to increase productivity and generate employment in the region. Delegates from the member nations of the ASEAN viz. Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Brunei and eight North-East states of the country are participating in the Summit. Bangladesh in also participating.Regional conference on Ease of Doing Business, Agro and Food Processing: Potential and Challenges and Session on Empowering MSME in North East.
Lamborghini India Pvt. Ltd has appointed Sharad Agarwal as its country head with immediate effect. In his new role, Agarwal will oversee the functions of sales, marketing, after sales and network development of the company. He was previously the head of Field Force for Audi India. Sharad Agarwal was associated with Audi India since May 2012 as head of corporate sales, fleet and leasing and financial services. Later in 2015, he had moved as head of Field Force. He has rich experience of 15 years in the automotive industry and was also associated with Zuari Industries, TVS Motor Company and Mahindra First Choice. Lamborghini India Pvt. Ltd is the Indian arm of Italy-based super luxury sports car maker.He has been associated with Zuari Industries, TVS Motor Company and Mahindra First Choice.
Reliance Foundation Chairperson Nita Ambani has been named the most powerful businesswoman in Asia by Forbes, leading a list of 50 women leaders from the region that includes eight from India.SBI Chairman and Managing Director Arundhati Bhattacharya has been ranked second on the 2016 'Asia's 50 Power Businesswomen' list that features trailblazing women from China, Indonesia, Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines and New Zealand. Apart from Ambani and Bhattacharya, six women from India have made to the list, including Mu Sigma CEO Ambiga Dhiraj (14), Welspun India CEO Dipali Goenka (16), Lupin CEO Vinita Gupta (18), ICICI Bank Managing Director & CEO Chanda Kochhar (22), VLCC Health Care Founder and vice chairman Vandana Luthra (26) and Biocon Founder, Chairman & Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (28).Describing her as the "first lady of Indian business", Forbes said Ambani, 52, is a "power near the throne" and makes her debut on the list because of her rising profile in Reliance Industries .Dhiraj, 40, became the first female boss of an Indian-owned tech unicorn when she took over as CEO of Mu Sigma, a provider of data-analytics services, from husband Dhiraj Rajaram, who founded the firm in 2004. Goenka, 46, took charge of home textiles maker Welspun India (part of her family's USD 3 billion in revenue Welspun Group) five years ago. Goenka has doubled down to disprove that. Revenue and earnings are up severalfold, with net profit of USD 81 million on revenue of USD 790 million in the year ended March 2015 .Gupta, 48, runs India's third-largest pharmaceutical company, with USD 2 billion in revenue. In the past year she has spearheaded USD 1.2 billion in acquisitions, the biggest of which was the USD 880 million purchase of Gavis Pharma, giving Lupin its first manufacturing facility in the US, a market that contributes nearly half its total revenue, Forbes .largest private-sector lender, Kochhar has to contend with the current bane of India's banking system: bad loans.Mazumdar-Shaw, 63, a "self-made" leader, has positioned Biocon as a large player in insulin .
Global pharmaceutical companies Pfizer Inc and Allergan Plc on 6 April 2016 jointly announced termination of proposed combination of the two companies.The decision to scrap the 160 billion US dollar agreement was driven by the actions announced by the US Department of Treasury.The US Treasury rules, announced on 4 April 2016, were aimed at curbing such corporate deals called inversions.Corporate inversion is one of the many strategies companies employ to reduce their tax burden.One way that a company can re-incorporate abroad is by having a foreign company buy its current operations. Assets are then owned by the foreign company, and the old incorporation is dissolved. In the above instance, New York-based Pfizer and Ireland-based Allergan, in November 2015, agreed upon a proposed combination deal worth 160 billion US dollars.The merger would have allowed Pfizer to cut its tax bill by an estimated 1 billion US dollars annually by domiciling in Ireland, where tax rates are lower compared to the USA.Pfizer Inc. is an American multinational pharmaceutical corporation headquartered in New York City. It is among the world's largest pharmaceutical companies.It was founded in 1849 by cousins Charles Pfizer and Charles F. Erhart in New York City as a manufacturer of fine chemicals.It develops and produces medicines and vaccines for a wide range of medical disciplines, including immunology, oncology, cardiology, diabetology/endocrinology, and neurology.Its products include the blockbuster drug Lipitor, used to lower LDL blood cholesterol; Lyrica, Diflucan, Zithromax (azithromycin), an antibiotic; Viagra (sildenafil, for erectile dysfunction); and Celebrex/Celebra (celecoxib), an anti-inflammatory drug.
Kento Momota of Japan on 3 April 2016 won men’s singles title at the 2016 Yonex-Sunrise India Open badminton championship.In the final match held at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in New Delhi, he defended the title by defeating Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen 21-15 21-18.Earlier, in an another match, Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon won the women’s singles title by defeating Xuerui Li of China.Men’s Doubles: Gideon Markus Fernaldi and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia.Women’s Doubles: Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi of JapanMixed Doubles: Kai Lu and Huang Yaqiong of China