Jharkhand Cabinet on 3 June 2015 approved Jharkhand Special Courts Ordinance, 2015. The decision was taken during a Cabinet meet chaired by Chief Minister Raghubar Das. These Special Courts will be established for speedy trail of corruption cases and will help in creating a corruption-free state.
Further these courts will enable prosecution of individuals responsible for hoarding black money and confiscate the illegal acquired property of the guilty. The step to create such Special Courts was taken in light of increasing number of corruption cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 which resulted in delay in disposal of cases by the vigilance courts.
In this light, the Cabinet requested the Governor of Jharkhand Draupadi Murmu to provide clearance to the Jharkhand Special Court Ordinance, 2015 under Article 213 of the Constitution of India, which deals with the power of Governor to promulgate ordinances during recess of Legislature.
The abbreviation MCOCA was in news in first week of June 2015. It came in news after the state government of Maharashtra on 3 June 2015 invoked its stringent provisions against five persons from Nashik for allegedly being part of ration mafia. This ration mafia was involved in the pilferage (theft of part of the contents of a package) of food grains meant for public distribution.
This is the first time that MCOCA was applied against ration mafia and was done with an aim of weeding out the widespread corruption in public distribution system.
Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) was enacted in 1999 to combat organised crime and terrorism. It is a special law with stringent and deterrent provisions including certain circumstances power to intercept wire, electronic or oral communication to control the menace of organised crimes.
Syed Asif Ibrahim was on 3 June 2015 appointed as the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Countering Terrorism and Extremism. He is a former Director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB). In this new capacity,
he will liaise with governments in West Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and South East Asia, among others, in setting up channels for the exchange of intelligence and information on terror groups.
The appointment took place in the back drop of growing concern over probable poaching of some Indian youth by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and other militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq. He will report to National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and work out of the National Security Council (NSC) Secretariat in New Delhi.
Syed Asif Ibrahim was a 1977 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre and retired in December 2014. He held the position of DIB from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2014.
Inderjeet Singh won gold medal in men’s shot put event in the 21st Asian Athletics Championships on 3 June 2015. The 21st Asian Athletics Championships is being held from 3 June to 7 June 2015 at Wuhan, China. The 27-year-old Up and coming track and field star Inderjeet heaved the iron ball to a new championship record of 20.41meter, which he achieved in his fourth attempt. With this, he became the eighth Indian shot putter to win a gold medal in the history of Asian championships.
Chang Ming-Huang of Chinese Taipei won the silver with a throw of 19.56meter, while Tian Zizhong of the home country bagged the bronze with a throw of 1925meter.
World Bank has approved 250 million US dollars loan for Jhelum and Tawi Flood Recovery Project in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). The project will be funded by loan credit from International Development Association (IDA), a World Bank’s concessionary with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.
The recovery project will play important role in reconstruction of flood-affected public infrastructure. It includes roads, bridges and public infrastructure. It will also strengthen the capacity of state government to respond and better manage natural disasters in future. It will focus on 20 districts of state and help to rebuild damaged public buildings such as schools, hospitals, higher education buildings, fire stations, selected block and district offices. It also seeks to strengthen and reinforce existing weak and vulnerable flood control infrastructure. The investments will primarily include rehabilitation and renovation of storm water pumping stations in several areas. The project will also focus on disaster risk mitigation in state and strengthen the capacity of government entities in disaster risk management. It will also help in preparation of a Hydro-Meteorological Resilience Action Plan to enhance preparedness and achieve resilient recovery.
The action plan will focus on river morphology study for some key rivers impacted by the disaster, extreme weather events and urban vulnerability assessment.
In September 2014, continuous unprecedented heavy heavy rainfall had caused Jhelum, Chenab and Tawi rivers, their tributaries to flow above the danger mark. It had flooded the catchment areas, particularly low lying ones for more than two weeks in the state which had severely affected livelihoods and basic infrastructure in the state.
India and United States (US) have signed a new strategically important 10-year defence framework agreement on 3 June 2015. The agreement was signed between Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and visiting US Defence Secretary Dr. Ashton Carter in New Delhi. The framework agreement provides avenues for high level strategic discussions between both nations along with continued exchanges of armed forces and strengthening of defence capabilities.
Apart from signing this agreement both nations also agreed to Expedite discussions to take forward co-operation on jet engines, aircraft carrier design and construction and other areas. Pursue co-development and co-production projects that will offer tangible opportunities for American defence industries to build defence partnership with the Indian industries under Make in India programme. Continue efforts to enhance bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest such as maritime security and knowledge partnership in the field of Defence. Jointly develop protective gear for soldiers against biological and chemical warfare. Develop next generation power source i.e.generators for the battlefield.
India has joined the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI). The new global standards has wide in scope and oblige the treaty partners to exchange wide range of financial information from institutions from their country. In order to implement these standards in India necessary legislative changes will be made in section 285BA of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Apart from India 5 other nations including Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Indonesia and New Zealand also have joined it. Now the total number of countries agreeing to exchange information automatically in accordance with MCAA has gone up to 60. Implications When fully implemented, these standards will enable India to receive information from almost every country in the world including offshore financial centres. Thus, it will help to prevent international tax evasion and avoidance. It will be also instrumental in getting information about assets of Indians held abroad and their beneficial owners. Thus, it will directly help the Government to curb tax evasion and deal with the menace of black money stashed abroad.
Suresh Kalmadi on 2 June 2015 was conferred with the Asian Athletics Association (AAA) President’s award. He was awarded for his contribution towards the development of athletics in Asian continent. Adille Sumariwala, the President of Athletics Federation of India received the award on behalf of Kalmadi at the function held in Wuhan, China ahead of the start of Asian Athletics Championships.
He is credited with the introduction of top events like Asian Grand Prix series, Asian Indoor Championships and Asian All Star Meet and others during his tenure as the president of AAA for 13 years from 2000 to 2013. He was defeated by Dahlan Al-Hamad of Qatar in the presidential election of the AAA held in 2013 at Pune.
Earlier in March 2015, he was named as the Life President of AAA for his contribution for Asian athletics. The decision was taken during the council meet of AAA in Jakarta, Indonesia. He has served as the President of Indian Olympic Association from 1996 to 2012.
Asian Athletics Association is the governing body of athletics in Asia. It is headquartered in Singapore. It organises the Asian Championships in Athletics and other continental competitions.
Stempeutics Research Pvt Ltd on 1 June 2015 announced that its stem cell drug, Stempeucel, received Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). By virture of being an ODD, it will have 10 years of market exclusivity from product launch in the European Union (EU), fee reductions and access to the central authorisation procedure.
An orphan drug is a pharmaceutical agent that has been developed specifically to treat a rare medical condition, the condition itself being referred to as an orphan disease.
Stempeucel, will offer new hope to patients suffering from Thromboangiitis Obliterans (also known as Buerger’s Disease) a major unmet medical need in Europe. The Bengaluru-based Stempeutics Research Pvt Ltd was founded by Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG) in 2006 and has been jointly owned along with the Cipla Limited since the MEMG entered into a joint venture in 2009.
Cipla Limited is an Indian multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, headquartered in Mumbai.
The US-based World Justice Project (WJP) on 2 June 2015 released the Rule of Law Index 2015. The 2015 index, fifth in the series, provides data on how the rule of law is experienced in 102 countries around the globe.
The index has been topped by Denmark followed by Norway, Sweden and Finland at second, third and fourth place respectively. All the four countries have score above 0.85. On the other hand, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Venezuela are placed at bottom of the index with 100, 101 and 102 rank respectively. All these countries have score of less than 0.37.
India with a score of 0.51 has been placed at 59th position and is ranked at third place out of six countries in the South Asian region.
The Index is based on survey of over a 1000 respondents from three big cities, along with local legal experts, in each country. The data, collected in 2013, measures how the rule of law is experienced in practical, everyday situations using 47 indicators across eight categories. These eight categories are: constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice.
The index ranks countries on a scale of 0 to 1 (with 1 indicating strongest adherence to the Rule of Law).
Chinese cruise ship Eastern Star or Dongfangzhixing capsized in the Jianli section of the Yangtze River in Hubei province on 1 June 2015. The four-storey and 76-metre ship carrying 405 passengers, five tour guides, and 46 crew members capsized after it got caught in a cyclone.
The ship was headed from the eastern city of Nanjing to the southwestern city of Chongqing. Most of the passengers had retired for the night when the incident happened.
More than 30 boats have been pressed into rescue operations and more than 10 relief ships have also been dispatched to the area.
The President of India Pranab Mukherjee concluded his two-nation visit to Sweden and Belarus. He visited Sweden from 31 May to 2 June and Belarus from 2 June to 4 June 2015 and these visits were first ever by an Indian President to either country.
During the visit, the President held discussions with his counterparts of both the countries, admistrators and business leaders and concluded many agreements.
The eco-friendly solar panels will save fossil fuel as it needs reduced external charging of battery, thus reducing carbon foot print. The panels also require less maintenance in comparison to existing equipments. This is the first time in the history of Indian Railways, that a solar photovoltaic system has been used for power requirements of light and fan in a broad gauge coach. The coach, on an experimental basis, was attached to a high speed Self Propelled-Accident Relief Unit (SPART) that travelled from Delhi Cantonment to New Delhi railway station.
Scientists at Central Institute of Medicinal & Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), Lucknow succeeded in whole genome sequencing of Holy basil or Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum). CIMAP is a frontier plant research laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Scientists published the whole genome sequence of Tulsi on 28 May 2015 in BMC Genomics.
This is the first report of complete genome sequence of Tulsi, which is both used as an essential medicinal plant and revered as Vishnupriya and worshipped for over 3000 years in India. The availability of whole genome sequence is the first step to understand and unravel the secrets of this mother of all herbs and to provide scientific validity to the traditional claims of its utility in diverse medicinal usage.
Tulsi is rich in phenylpropanoids, terpenoids and their derivatives, and many of these are implicated for different therapeutic activities. The availability of the genome sequence now opens the possibility to identify genes involved in producing therapeutic molecules and to produce them in vitro.
The nuclear genome of Holy basil is the smallest (386 Mb) in the family Lamiaceae while the chloroplast genome (142,245 bp) is the smallest in the order Lamiales. According to the chloroplast genome similarity, O. sanctum shows maximum evolutionary closeness to Salvia miltiorrhiza, a plant of Chinese system of traditional medicine
This will also facilitate identification of not yet identified genes involved in the synthesis of important secondary metabolites in this plant. Specific pathway related genes identified or mined in this genome could be used for the production of secondary metabolites following synthetic biology approaches. The development of molecular tools and genomic resources will accelerate molecular breeding and ultimately the utility of Holy basil in medical community. To know more about Tulsi, click here
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