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Showing posts from January 14, 2017

Eating blue maize may reduce BP, cholesterol, fat (the hindu )

Eating blue maize may reduce high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol

Consuming blue maize may help prevent metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes high blood pressure and blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol, a study conducted by a Mexican university in rat models has found.

‘India should take leadership role in international collaborations’

As scientists explore the frontiers of our understanding of the universe, science problems will get bigger and need more and more international collaboration, according to Nobel laureates Randy Schekman and David Gross, who were in the city on Friday as part of the Nobel Prize Series India 2017, a series of lectures and talks with scientists and policy makers held across Gujarat, New Delhi and Bengaluru.

Prof. Schekman won the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine in 2013 for his work in molecular biology. Prof. Gross, who is a theoretical physicist, won the Nobel Prize in 2004 for his work in quantum physics.

Prof. Gross said that the physical sciences were seeing more and more scientific problems that needed enormous collaboration in research. “A major portion of science today is on big science and big data, such as from the Manhattan Project to CERN. There has to be room for international collaborations or we will never make progress, even if it doesn’t fit our individual style o…

In Praise of Air, a poem that ‘cleans’ your environment (the hindu)

A revolutionary air-cleansing poem has removed more than two tonnes of pollution from the environment in the U.K. as part of a project that could be used to fight pollution in cities across the world, a leading British University claimed on Friday.

In Praise of Air , the world’s first air-cleansing poem, was produced by scientists and writers at the University of Sheffield in the U.K. The catalytic poem by award-winning writer Simon Armitage, Professor of Poetry in the University’s School of English, has been printed on specially treated material developed by scientists at the university that is capable of purifying its surroundings through catalytic oxidation.

Nitrogen oxide removed

The poem, which has been on display on the University of Sheffield’s Alfred Denny building since May 2014, has now reached the end of its exhibition in Sheffield, and the project team has estimated that it has removed over two tonnes of nitrogen oxide from the surrounding environment.

The team now hopes …

Hospitals decide to stop Arogya Shree services (the hindu)

The Nursing Homes and Hospital Managements Association, Dakshina Kannada, has decided to stop offering Vajpayee Arogya Shree, Rajiv Arogya Bhagya and Jyothi Sanjeevini schemes from January 16 since the government has not cleared huge dues.

Association president Yusuf A. Kumble told reporters here on Friday that the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust that administers the schemes on behalf of the government owes over Rs. 200 crore to many super-speciality hospitals across the State, including 11 in Dakshina Kannada.

While reimbursement was made off and on till a year ago, no payment was made for the last nine months.

Dr. Kumble, managing director of Indiana Hospital, said that hospitals have been doing social service by participating in the schemes as the reimbursement covers only about 70 per cent of the actual cost (consumables) without including establishment cost (hospital maintenance). In such a situation, they were finding it difficult to continue with the scheme.

However, the hospita…

So what’s the big deal about advancing the Budget, asks SC(the hindu)

“What provision of law is violated by this?”

The Supreme Court on Friday said it found nothing wrong in the government’s move to advance the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament by almost a month, on February 1, amid the run-up to the elections in five States.

“So what is the big deal in that? It is only the presentation of the Budget. Everybody will get to know a little in advance on what the government is going to do. Any problems, everybody will get a due chance to object,” Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar told advocate Manohar Lal Sharma.

Mr. Sharma, in a PIL petition, had sought the postponement of the annual Budget till after the elections are over. He said it could contain sops to influence the voters in the Assembly elections, and was thus a violation of the poll code.

“We do not understand what your problem is. You are saying the Budget is presented usually towards March 1 and this year it is on February 1… We do not find any justification, tentatively, in what y…

Pay heed to Urjit Patel(Hindu)

Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel’s emphasis on the vital importance of protecting domestic macroeconomic stability could not have come at a more crucial juncture. With the Centre in the process of finalising the Union Budget, Dr. Patel has stressed the need to ensure that it does not stray from the path of fiscal consolidation, at a time when the external environment is already adverse and likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. That the clamour for a sizeable fiscal stimulus is likely to grow louder as budget day nears is a certainty, given the signs that an incipient demand slowdown may have been exacerbated by the cash crunch caused by the withdrawal of high-value banknotes. Within the government too, the temptation to loosen the purse strings to assuage adverse reaction to the demonetisation decision is likely to be high. It is in this context that the RBI chief’s reminder to the Centre that “borrowing even more and pre-empting resources from future gener…

Pakistan’s vanishing voices(Hindu)

Over the past few days, five Pakistani activists including the poet Salman Haider have gone missing. The incidents have left the rights groups, already under pressure from the military and extremist outfits, alarmed. Nobody has claimed responsibility, and the family members haven’t got any ransom calls. The government says it will find them, but the investigation that started after Haider’s disappearance on January 6 seems to have reached nowhere; since then four more have gone missing. Although the full facts are not available, the perception that the disappearances are somehow linked has gained credence. They were all active social media-based campaigners for human rights and critical of the military and its support for militancy. They challenged the extremist narrative propagated by the fundamentalist groups and promoted the idea of a modern, inclusive Pakistan, largely through Facebook posts and blogs. Haider was known for his strong stand on rights violations in Balochistan.

Thi…

The city’s bleak futur (thehindu.)

Unless citizens are motivated to live in ways not imagined before, the death of Indian cities will be rapid

Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for a new metro system in Pune. He also gave financial approval for a Shivaji statue in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai. Earlier, he sought Cabinet approval for highway projects in Odisha and Punjab; in June, his Smart Cities Mission launched 83 projects throughout India, including several for new city roads, sports infrastructure, Bus Rapid Transit systems and waste management.

The city is never a function of concrete objects assembled in space, but rather, how people live together, prosper and create better lives for themselves. Though Mr. Modi's intentions cannot be questioned, there is little evidence to suggest that he will meet these objectives. The history of urban renewal does not speak well of a city’s expansionist ideas.

Uncontrolled growth

Over the past decade, despite flow of funds for infrastructure,…