Monday, 4 June 2018

Modi, Mattis pledge to continue strong US-India strategic partnership  

India and the United States have pledged to continue their strong bilateral strategic partnership, the Pentagon said after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.
Mattis met the prime minister on the sidelines of the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ 17th Asia Security Summit — also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue — in Singapore on Saturday.
“The two discussed the importance of the US-India relationship, and the role of both nations in cooperating to uphold international laws and principles, and to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific,” defence spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis said here yesterday.
The two leaders “pledged to continue the strong US-India strategic partnership and affirmed their commitment to maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region,” Davis said in a readout of the meeting. — PTI  

RFID chips for keeping track of organoids

Researchers in the U.S. and Japan plan to use Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips for keeping track of organoids, samples of human tissue that mimic pieces of organs and are grown from stem cells. The organoids the researchers embedded with RFID chips functioned normally and withstood extreme conditions, suggesting that they could be a useful way to organize and identify the large quantities of organoids that are often needed in experimental situations.
Human organoids are a promising avenue for research into human development and disease because they replicate the structure, function, and phenotype of our organs in miniature in the lab. Grown from human induced pluripotent stem cells, they divide, differentiate, and self-assemble according to the growth programs of their corresponding organs. And particularly in medicine, they can illustrate the effects of certain drugs on our organs in ways that more traditional cell cultures cannot.
More work needs to be done to scale up the production of these hybrid organoids, and the research team is currently working to develop a system that could scan the radio frequency and fluorescence of an organoid at the same time. The team also hopes that other kinds of microchips could be integrated into organoids in the future and that RFID chips with sensing technologies could be used to record real-time data about the organoids.

13 Indian beaches will get the Blue Flag certification.

Environment-friendly, clean and equipped with amenities of international standards for tourists, 13 Indian beaches will soon get the Blue Flag certification. These beaches of Odisha, Maharashtra and other coastal states will be the first in not just India, but in Asia, to get the Blue Flag certification.
The Indian beaches are being developed by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), an environment ministry’s body working for the management of coastal areas.
Project Head of SCIOM Arvind Nautiyal said that to make the beaches environment and tourist-friendly in accordance with the Blue Flag standards, a beach has to be plastic-free and be equipped with a waste management system.
They also have to ensure availability of clean water for tourists, have amenities of international standards for tourists and be equipped with facilities for studying environmental impact around the beach, he said.
Mr Nautiyal was speaking at a five-day conference, which was organised to commemorate the World Environment Day, about making the beaches pollution free.
He said that according to the Blue Flag standards, a beach has to strictly comply with 33 environment and tourism related conditions. There is not a single Blue Flag beach in Asia so far, he added.
The Blue Flag beach standards were established by Copenhagen-based Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in 1985. The Blue Flag programme, which requires 33 standards in four areas to be met to make beaches environment-friendly, first started from Paris.
Within the next two years, almost all beaches in Europe were accorded the Blue Flag certification. This campaign spread outside Europe, to South Africa, in 2001.
Asia remains untouched by it till date. The environment ministry started a pilot project to develop the Indian beaches according to the Blue Flag standards in December 2017.
A senior ministry official said that 13 beaches from the coastal states had been chosen for the Blue Flag certification under the project. For this, these beaches are being developed in accordance with the Blue Flag beach standards under a Unified Coastal Areas Management Programme.
This project has two main aims. Firstly, to improve the aquatic habitat by cleaning the growing pollution and garbage in the Indian beaches. Secondly, to develop ecological tourism with constant progress and development of tourist facilities.
According to ministry sources, Chandrabhaga beach of Odisha’s Konark coast was the first to complete the tag certification process. It will be awarded the honour on the World Environment Day tomorrow.
Maharashtra’s Chiwla and Bhogave beaches are also being made a part of this initiative. Apart from these, one beach from Puducherry, Goa, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands each has been chosen as Blue Flag beach.

Met Dept advisory

Met department has issued a weather warning of thunderstorm, gusty winds and lightning at various places in the country today. According to the advisory, thunderstorm accompanied with gusty winds and lightning are very likely at isolated places over Gangetic West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Vidarbha, Konkan and Goa, Madhya Maharashtra, Marathawada, Tamilnadu, Telangana, Rayalaseema and Interior Karnataka and Coastal Andhra Pradesh.
Heavy rain is also expected at isolated places over Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Assam and Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, Telangana, Rayalaseema, Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
The advisory further said, heat wave conditions are very likely to occur at one or two pockets over West Rajasthan.

Indian Navy evacuated stranded Indians from Socotra island

Indian Navy today evacuated 38 stranded Indians from Socotra island in Yemen where they got stuck after cyclone Mekunu hit the area 10 days ago, forcing India to launch an operation to rescue them.
Indian Navy Spokesperson Captain D K Sharma said, the Navy evacuated the Indians as part of operation ‘NISTAR’ carried out off the coast of Socotra early today and embarked them at Indian Naval ship INS Sunayna to bring them back to India.
He said, the evacuated Indians were immediately provided with medical care, food, water and telephone facilities to call and reassure their families and all have been reported to be safe. He said, post evacuation, the ship is proceeding towards Porbandar.

Myanmar: Ready take back 700K Rohingya Muslim refugees

Myanmar today said it will take back all 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who have fled to Bangladesh if they volunteer to return.
Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Myanmar’s National Security Adviser Thaung Tun said, if you can send back 700,000 on a voluntary basis, we are willing to receive them.
Mr. Thaung Tun said Myanmar does not deny that what is unfolding in northern Rakhine is a humanitarian crisis. He said that while the military had the right to defend the country if investigations showed they had acted illegally, action would be taken.
Since August 2017, about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled a military crackdown in the country.
Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed in January to complete the voluntary repatriation of the refugees within two years.
Myanmar signed an agreement with the United Nations on Thursday aimed at eventually allowing the Rohingya sheltering in Bangladesh to return safely and by choice.

Madrid’s direct rule ends with new Catalan regional government in place

A new regional government has been formed in Spain’s Catalonia region, ending 7 months of direct rule by the central government in Madrid. After months of tension with the central government, a new cabinet led by separatist Quim Torra was sworn in yesterday.
It came as Spain’s new prime minister took office the same day. Socialist Pedro Sanchez replaced Mariano Rajoy, who had been ousted following a corruption scandal.
Last October, the Spanish government withheld Catalonia’s autonomy, after the region unilaterally declared independence from Spain. The Catalan parliament was dissolved and its leader, Carles Puigdemont, was dismissed.
In December, pro-independence parties won a majority in the regional parliamentary election. The new government was formed after several failed attempts.

G7 FMs ask Trump no tariffs on Steel-Al imports

Finance Ministers of Group of Seven nations have urged US President Donald Trump to reverse his decision to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. The group has ended it’s annual meeting at Whistler in Canada.
US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin faced sharp criticism from the Finance Ministers of other G-7 nations over the issue. The group that inculdes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, expressed unanimous concern and disappointment to the US President. United States is also a part of this group.
Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said, discussions should continue at the G7 leaders’ summit beginning on Friday in Quebec. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, the participants had tense discussions, describing the meeting as far more a G6-plus-one than a G7.
Germany Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said, US tariffs were a very severe problem for transatlantic relations. After Mr Mnuchin faced criticism over the US decision, US President Donald Trump said in a tweet that Washington cannot afford to lose a trade war when it is being ripped off.
Finance leaders of the closest US allies vented anger over the Trump administration’s metal import tariffs but ended a three-day meeting in Canada on Saturday with no solutions, setting the stage for a heated fight at a G7 summit next week in Quebec.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to soothe the frustrations of his Group of Seven counterparts over the 25 percent steel and 10 percent aluminium tariffs that Washington imposed on Mexico, Canada, and the European Union (EU) this week.
“Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors requested that the United States Secretary of the Treasury communicate their unanimous concern and disappointment,” the group said in a summary statement written by Canada.
“Ministers and Governors agreed that this discussion should continue at the Leaders’ Summit in Charlevoix (Quebec), where decisive action is needed,” the statement said.
All six of the other G7 countries are now paying the tariffs, which are largely aimed at curbing excess production in China. The topic dominated discussions at the finance meeting in the Canadian mountain resort of Whistler, British Columbia.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the US has only a few days to avoid sparking a trade war with its allies and it is up to the US to make a move to de-escalate tensions over tariffs.
Speaking after the meeting, Le Maire said the EU was poised to take counter-measures against the new US tariffs.
The meeting of top economic policymakers was seen as a prelude to the trade disputes that will dominate the two-day G7 summit that begins on Friday in Quebec.
Mnuchin is regarded as one of the more moderate voices on trade in the Trump administration,
The US steel and aluminium tariffs were imposed early on Friday after Canada, Mexico and the EU refused to accept quotas in negotiations with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Japanese metal producers have been paying the tariffs since March 23.
Officials at the G7 meeting said the tariffs made it more difficult for the group to work together to confront China’s trade practices, especially when Beijing, like most G7 members, supports the current World Trade Organization-based trade rules and the US is seeking to go around them.
media agencies

Hodeidah in Yemen under seige

Saudi-led coalition is reportedly seeking direct US support to recapture the port city of Hodeidah in Yemen. The battle for the humanitarian lifeline would spell disaster for the locals, human rights agencies warn.
 Saudi-led coalition forces have been preparing to launch a large-scale offensive on Hodeidah, the fourth-largest city in Yemen, with a population of 400,000 people, in an effort to recapture the city’s port which currently serves as one of the remaining humanitarian lifelines in the war-stricken country.
United Arab Emirates approached Washington with the request. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now waiting for a “quick assessment” of the UAE’s plea, which seeks US intelligence capabilities, mainly drone overflights, to help a Saudi-led coalition retake Hodeidah. Washington’s potential involvement has excited a number of US officials and has left others worried about the potential consequences of such an operation. While the US is weighing its options, the UAE and Saudi Arabian officials have allegedly assured the US that they will stay clear of the port.
Recapturing Hodeidah and its port is crucial for Saudi Arabia. Over the course of the conflict, Riyadh has repeatedly tried to blockade the docks, claiming that the port is being used to smuggle arms for the Houthi rebels. Repeated calls from human rights groups and the UN have kept the port open, on and off, so that vital aid can be delivered to the country.
While human rights groups warn that the battle to retake Hodeidah would spell humanitarian disaster.

Volcan de Fuego,Eruptions

 25 people have been killed and dozens injured, after the Volcan de Fuego in Guatemala erupted, shooting smoke and rocks 10 km into the air and forcing a mass exodus from nearby villages blanketed by ash.
Twenty-five people have been reported dead, mainly in the community of El Rodeo, the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction in Guatemala (Conred) confirmed, while at least another 20 were injured. Local reports indicate that some 2,000 people have fled the area.
At least two of the victims were children, who burned to death while standing on a bridge watching the eruption unfold, according to the head of Conred Sergio Cabanas.

Secure Ballots to Cost Rs.90 Cr vs Rs.1,80,000 Cr EVM Scam

Secure Ballots to Cost Rs.90 Cr vs Rs.1,80,000 Cr EVM Scam
June03, 2018 (C) Ravinder Singh
Honorable Chief Justice of India,
Supreme Court of India,
New Delhi -110001
Secure Ballots to Cost Rs.90 Cr – Poll Cost Rs.1,80,000 Cr

Secure Ballots for 2019 with many Currency Note Security Features shall cost only Rs.90 Cr – when General Elections 2014 alone cost Rs.20,000 Cr for Engaged Staff and Their Logistics, GDP Loss Rs.1,50,000 Cr and Candidates Expenditure of Rs.10,000 Cr, Plus Cost of EVMs Acquisition & O&M and Training of Polling Agents etc all adding well overRs.1,80,000 Cr.
Yet 95% of the Candidates SUSPECT their Working. There are 8,00,000 or 85% more EVMs or Control Units deployed – From 1st Polling day to End of Counting Day – up to 39 days EVMs are SEALED & STORED and Guarded.
Secure Ballots shall be Counted Like ‘Currency Notes’ Fully Accounted for Used & Unused and FULLY VERIFIABLE for 100% Reliability forever.
2019 Elections can be concluded in 4 Phases and 10 days without EVMs –
Saving Over Rs.1,00,000 Crores in CONDUCTING FREE & FAIR ELECTIONS.
50 Ballot Counting Machines like Currency Counting Machines can count 18 lakh Votes Per Hour and result declared in just 30 minutes to one hour.
25,000 BCM Required for 2019 General Elections may cost Rs.25 Cr Only.

Honorable Sir,
Consider this simple fact – when Printing of Currency notes cost only about Rs.2.5 that have Scores of Security Features – Secure Ballot Papers shall cost only Rs.1 each with 4-5 security features shall CostRs.80 Crores only that shall be Readable on Fast Counting Machines like Currency notes at over 500 Per minutes.
[LS2014 -TOTAL ELECTORS 83,40,82,814 & TOTAL VALID VOTES 54,78,00,004]
A5 Size Ballots [Cut to 5.5 in x 8 in] that shall have 10mm Strip of Space for ID of Election, Constituency Number, serial number – Polling Booth Number to be stamped on day of polling and signed by polling officer with time and Serial No. of Voting Register. 1-24 Boxes for Candidates to Stamp or Punch or Tick Mark with Special Ink in one box as per their selection.
Securest Ballots in the World to Cost Rs.90 Cr
90 Cr Secure Ballots Shall Weigh only 3000 Tones in Trunks or Pallets shall be Printed in Security Presses – Securely Stored well in advance and Airlifted, Couriered to All Constituencies 2-7 days in advance and Delivered to Polling Officers hours before Polling is to begin.
Bungling of ECI in General Elections 2014  & 86% Extra EVMs
1.   8m Extra EVMs Deployed: For 9,27,553 Polling Centers – ECI deployed 17,20,080 Control Unit and more equipment – VVPATs are to be introduced this time. Nearly Twice more EVMs were deployed than required. Refer Para 17 & 19 of the Press Note. Suspicion of Malfunctioning & Manipulations.
In 2019 ‘Exact Number of Ballots shall be Printed’ for each constituency. All Secured Ballots shall be Accounted for – Used & Unused and stocked. 

2.   Almost 10m Public Servants were ‘Deployed for Election Duty for 70-90 days’because ‘They Have to Undergo Special Training’ – Their Salary & Logistics cost alone add to over Rs.20,000 Cr.

3.   Instead of 10 Phase elections – From Mar05, 2014 Press Note to Swearing in on May26, 2014 is over 83 days, Elections Could Be Conducted in 4 Phases in 10 days, in 50 days – GDP Loss due to EXTRA LONG elections and its hangover at 1%+ of GDP is Rs.1,50,000 Cr.

4.    Total number of Contestants were 8251 in 2014 – @ Rs.1.2 Cr average Poll Expenses by Parties, Candidates & Supporters add up to over Rs.10,000 Cr.

Poll End 3 days to 38 days Tamasha – 72 hour Lock Down
5.   In 2014 GE Re-polling was ordered in just 301 out of 927553 Polling Stations but at5PM on May12 TV Channels began EXIT POLL Results and India watched TAMASHA for 72 hour until final tally was announced on May15 Evening.

6.   EVMs were Electronically Locked with RESULTS on Polling Days from April07 to May12, 2014 by 6PM which was not declared – Last set of EVMs were SEALED on 12th, TRUCKED to Counting Centers, Guarded for 38-2 Days, Unsealed and Votes Counted for Each machine from 8 AM to 5 PM on May15, 2014.

7.   In 2019 GE – A Polling Center in Charge with 2-3 other Officers to take Secure Ballots Used and Unused in a Car with Escort to Counting Station – Votes Counted in 5 minutes and Fed in to Central Server – result announced as early 6 PM on last polling day.
There is Enough Time to Switch to SECURE BALLOT VOTING in Elections – Currency Printing Presses Have Surplus Capacity to Print say 2-3 Crore Secure Votes Per Day.
Ravinder Singh, Inventor & Consultant, INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND PROJECTS
Y-77, Hauz Khas, ND -110016, India. Ph: 091- 8826415770, 9871056471, 9650421857
Ravinder Singh* is a WIPO awarded inventor specializing in Power, Transportation,
Smart Cities, Water, Energy Saving, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Technologies and Projects
 EC Rules Out Bringing Back Ballot Papers for Elections
Kolkata: Ruling out any possibility of bringing back ballot papers for elections, chief election commissioner OP Rawat on Saturday said the EVMs were being made a ‘scapegoat’ as the machines cannot speak and political parties needed to blame someone or something for their defeat.
“There is absolutely nothing about the integrity of the system… However, time and again whenever there are eruptions on this, we clarify the issue,” Rawat said at an interactive session on “Electoral Integrity and Role of Money in Elections” organised by the Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said the panel had last July announced that all elections henceforth would be conducted using EVMs coupled with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machines. — IANS

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