- President of India Inaugurates Centre of Excellence for Genetic Blood Disorders at Prathima Institute in Karimnagar
- The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the Centre of Excellence for Sickle Cell Anaemia, Thalassemia and Other Genetic Blood Disorders at the Prathima Institute of Medical Sciences in Karimnagar, Telangana.
- Speaking on the occasion, the President said that our country has made significant strides in the field of healthcare. However, we still have a long way to go in evolving a holistic healthcare system, one which is uniformly affordable and accessible. Strengthening public hospitals, municipal hospitals, charitable hospitals and primary health and wellness clinics must receive priority. This apart, we need to spread awareness on healthcare issues especially in rural areas and among disadvantaged sections.
· U.S. Senate passes the First Step Act
- The S. Senate passedthe First Step Act, a criminal justice reform Bill, that would roll back what are seen as excessively punitive criminal justice policies that have been in place since the crackdown on crime in the 1980s.
- The Bill benefits federally convicted individuals, mostly serving drug offences. Major reforms include reducing the disparity in how crack cocaine and powder cocaine offences are treated byfederal law, the differential treatment of the types of cocaine offences tends to be harsher on African-American users. Some 2,000 federal offenders are likely to be impacted by this.
- The leaders of the U.S. House expects the Bill to pass their chamber so that President Trump can sign it into law.
· Genetically Modified plant that cleans indoor air
- Researchers have Genetically Modified (GM) a common indoor plant, golden pothos or Devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum), to remove pollutants inside the house. It has been modified to produce a liver enzyme calledcytochrome p450 2e1, which is taken from rabbits, that breaks down a wide range of pollutants.
- The researchers put the modified plant and normal pothos ivy in glass tubes and added eitherbenzene or chloroform gas into each tube. They found that the concentration of either gas did not change for normal plants. However, for the modified plants, the concentration of chloroform dropped by 82%, and it was almost undetectable by day six.
- Raksha Mantri Inaugurates Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR)
- Nirmala Sitharaman, the Honourable Raksha Mantri, launched the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) today, 22 Dec 18, at Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) Gurugram.
- Apart from representation by officials from the MoD, MEA, MHA, Ministry of Shipping and the NSCS, Ambassadors and Resident Defence Attaches of partner countries also participated in the event.
- The Indian Ocean Region is vital to world trade and economic prosperity of many nations as more than 75% of the world’s maritime trade and 50% of global oil consumption passes through the IOR. However, maritime terrorism, piracy, human and contraband trafficking, illegal and unregulated fishing, arms running and poaching pose myriad challenges to maritime safety and security in the region.
- India’s first music museum to be set up in Thiruvaiyaru
- The country’s first music museum will be set up with assistance from the Central government in Thiruvaiyaru, Tamilnadu, and the birth place of Saint Tyagaraja, one of the Trinities of Carnatic music.
- Tyagaraja saw the reigns of four kings of Maratha dynasty — Tulaja II (1763-1787), Amarasimha (1787- 1798), Serfoji II (1798-1832) and Sivaji II (1832-1855), although he served none of them.
- The Tyagaraja Aaradhana Music Festival which is held annually in January in Thiruvaiyaru attracts musical talents from all over the world.
- Govt turns to NREGA in a bid to counter climate change
- The ministry of rural development has put forward a proposal to use the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) — the world’s largest wage-based social protection programme — to achieve India’s third climate target under the2016 Paris climate change agreement. The proposal was submitted on the sidelines of COP 24 in Katowice, Poland.
- India is on track to achieving two of its three key climate targets — 40% electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 and to reduce the emissions intensity of India’s gross domestic product by 33% to35% from the 2005 But India has been lagging on the third target — to create carbon sinks of about 2.5 to 3 billion tons.
- Under MGNREGA, at least one member of every rural household is eligible for at least 100 days of employment in the form of unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage.
- Govt to set up panel to look into tax issues faced by start-ups
- The government has decided to set up an expert committee to look into all the taxation issues being faced by startups and angel investors.
- It has been decided that the issue of recognition of these startups including the issue of premium among others will be decided on the basis of recommendations of a committee of eminent experts drawn from institutions like IITs, IIMs which will soon be set up by the DIPP on grant of tax exemptions and other connected matters.
- Several startups have raised concerns on taxation of angel funds under Section 56 of the Income Tax Act, which provides for taxation of funds received by an entity.
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