A draft cabinet note detailing the structure of the Cauvery Management
Board has been prepared by the Union Water Resources Ministry and is likely
be circulated to other Ministries before being put up for clearance by the
According to a person privy to the process, the Board may have “extra
members” to accommodate representations from States such as Karnataka and
Kerala, who have expressed concerns over the constitution of the board in
the last month.
The Cauvery Management Board, according to the 2007 order of the Cauvery
Water Disputes Tribunal, is to have three full-time and six part-time
The latter including one from each of the riparian States of Karnataka,
Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
The Board to monitor the inflow of waters in the Cauvery basin and
decide the quantum of water to be released to the States — will also have a
Cauvery Water Regulation Committee to implement the Board’s decision.
Karnataka has objected to the constitution of such a Board, saying the
Supreme Court verdict only mentions a “scheme” and not a Board to take a
call on matters of distribution.
Earth Hour 2018
Lights were turned off across prominent landmarks in the city on evening
to mark the 11th annual Earth Hour event as part of a global campaign to
raise awareness about the impacts of climate change.
Earth Hour was observed by millions of supporters across 187 countries,
who turned off their lights at 8.30 p.m. local time in support of the cause.
WWF- India conducted a series of events at VUDA Park in partnership with
the CII and GVMC as part of the Earth Hour campaign.
A rock band show followed by cultural programme and finally a
candle-light formation at 8.30 p.m. marked the event.
WWF’s Living Planet Report 2016 revealed a 58 % decline in global
populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles between 1970
To address this issue, WWF-Indis launched the #GIVEUPTOGIVEBACK
initiative, starting with this year’s Earth Hour.
The campaign aims to inspire organisations, institutions and individuals
to make the choice to curb some habits, practices and lifestyles, burdening
both lives and the environment and inspire them to choose alternatives to
connect to earth.
The ‘Give Up’ initiative starts conversations at different levels and
for different agendas and is a lens and tool that organisations can use for
shifting organisational culture and behaviour change, for economising
operations and reducing costs.
Hotels in the city participated in Earth Hour by switching off lights in
their endeavour to sensitise people about the need for conserving the
environment and saving energy resource.
While the Earth Hour campaign has consistently focussed on climate
change as a key call to action over the last decade, the 2018-2020 global
Earth Hour campaign focusses beyond climate change and calls on people
across the world to take action.
Also understand the interconnectivity of people and our environment
through relevant issues such as air, water and energy.
India-China: Xiamen Reboot
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s telephone call to Chinese President Xi
Jinping after his election for a second term was part of the ‘Xiamen
process’ — a calibrated effort to rebuild ties that had been jolted last
year by the Doklam military stand-off.
The source said a decision had been taken to congratulate Mr. Xi after
he was elected for a second presidential term.
“Ultimately, it was the Prime Minister who decided to call President Xi
on the phone to congratulate him personally.”
Call by Mr. Modi has set the tone for his meeting with Mr. Xi at Qingdao
— the venue of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in June.
No other “informal” meeting between the two leaders is planned so far
ahead of the SCO conclave.
It is anticipated that the Qingdao meeting would further “change the
narrative for the better”, and set the stage for a bilateral summit,
possibly later in the year.
The step-by-step rebuilding of the post-Doklam ties began soon after the
Xiamen summit, with the back-to-back visits to India in December by the
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and of State Councillor and politburo
member Yang Jiechi.
Several high-level visits are now in the pipeline. China’s Commerce
Minister Zhong Shan is to participate in the India-China Joint Economic
Group meeting that Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu would host.
It is likely that the larger fallout of the ongoing trade tensions
between China and the U.S. would be part of the conversation.
Other high-level engagements between the two governments include a visit
by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj beginning April 23.
A visit by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is also in the pipeline.
The India-China strategic economic dialogue would be held in Beijing on
April 13-14, between the NITI Ayog and the China’s top planning body, the
National Development and Reform Commission.
To slow down fast moving drivers, radar speed signs will be used
There are traffic police, armed with interceptors, to flag down
motorists who drive over the speed limit. But that hasn’t really helped.
Recently, a head constable, who was on duty on NICE Road, was knocked
down by a speeding vehicle.
The police are now planning to use technology that will appeal to
drivers in the hope that they will slow down. LED display boards will be
installed on the medians of key roads. These will display a vehicle’s speed
in real time against the permitted limit.
The purpose of radar-speed signs is to make drivers aware that they are
crossing the limit. They are used to slow the drivers down in many
Traffic expert Prof. M.N. Srihari said this technology is commonly used
on highways in Europe and the United States.
Traffic police officers concur. The traffic police are all set to issue
tenders for 50 such driver feedback systems, where each will have two radar
systems for either lane.
North Korea agreed to hold high-level talks with South Korea next week
to discuss logistics for a rare inter-Korean summit, the South’s Unification
The two sides will each send a three-member delegation to the border
truce village of Panmunjom on Thursday for talks aimed at paving the way for
a summit due in late April, it said.
South Korea had proposed holding high-level talks with the North to
discuss details including the summit’s dates and agenda.
The talks will take place at the Unification Pavilion building on the
northern side of Panmunjom, which sits on the border, with Seoul’s
delegation led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon and his counterpart
Ri Son Gwon heading Pyongyang’s.
The decision by President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
to meet came amid a rapid rapprochement kicked off with the recent Winter
Olympics in the South.
The U.S. and South Korea had announced that their annual joint military
drills would go ahead next month, but the main exercise will be shortened by
The exercises have caused tensions for years, with Pyongyang condemning
them as preparations for an invasion of the North.
The inter-Korean summit is due to be followed by a face-to-face meeting
between U.S. President Donald Trump and Mr. Kim by the end of May.
Following a period of heightened tensions stoked by the North’s nuclear
and missile tests last year, a rapid rapprochement has been under way on the
The North broke its silence on the diplomatic thaw with Washington and
Seoul, with its official KCNA news agency saying Pyongyang was driving the
peace initiative and rejecting suggestions that sanctions forced it to
As diplomats scurry to arrange the North-South talks as well as the
proposed Trump-Kim meeting, the North’s silence has raised concerns over its
North Korean State media have not yet directly mentioned the summits.
Analysts say the North is carefully watching to see how events —
including the U.S.-South Korea military drills — play out before making them
public to its people.
Rodong Sinmun, the official daily of the North’s ruling Workers Party,
attacked the U.S. for continued sanctions and pressure on Pyongyang despite
Transgenders Military ban revoked: US
U.S. President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that bans some transgender
individuals from serving in the U.S. military, but gives the armed forces
latitude in implementing policies.
The memorandum said transgender individuals with a history of gender
dysphoria, defined as “those who may require substantial medical treatment,
including through medical drugs or surgery”, are disqualified from military
service “except under certain limited circumstances.”
It added that the Secretaries of Defence and Homeland Security “may exercise
their authority to implement any appropriate policies concerning military
service by transgender individuals.”
The White House said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had found that individuals
with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria presented a risk to military
Mr. Trump’s decision is less restrictive than his initial comments in a July
Twitter message saying he would prohibit transgender people from military
A number of federal judges have already issued rulings blocking Mr. Trump’s
ban, saying it would probably violate the right, under the U.S. Constitution, to
equal protection under the law to all American citizens.
The Pentagon reaffirmed that it would continue to comply with federal law.
Nestway to roll out of co-living, student housing in July
Home rental network NestAway Technologies Pvt. Ltd. is planning to roll
out its Community Living and Student Housing services from July.
The company had recently raised Rs. 330 crore from existing investors,
including Goldman Sachs, Ratan Tata’s RNT Associates, IDG India and Tiger
Global to help enter these emerging segments. NestAway is now in discussions
with real estate developers and property owners to close deals before
unveiling the services.
Community living, or co-living, is fast catching up in the developed
world. People from the same profession and sharing the same set of hobbies
are the target groups for service providers.
Here, an entire building is taken up and, apart from providing rental
accommodation, the premises will have shared facilities such as gyms,
libraries, common area and game rooms.
In student housing, the company sees opportunity in poor standards
currently on offer. NestAway’s aim was to provide quality accommodation to
students close to their educational institutions, he said.
The company will introduce its offering first in Kota, Rajasthan, where
thousands of students congregate to prepare for entrance examinations.
This will be followed by offers for service near Delhi University and in
5% duty on TV panel part: Centre
The government has halved customs duty on ‘open cell’ used in the
manufacturing of LCD and LED television panels to 5%, a move intended to
boost domestic manufacturing.
Experts said the move was an extension of domestic manufacturing push by
the government after it announced in Budget the hiking of import duty on
LCD/LED TV panels to 15%.
The customs duty of 5% on open cells used in the manufacturing of LCD
panels is lower than other items mentioned is Chapter 8529, this could
ostensibly be to encourage manufacturing of such panels in India. Other
items in the same chapter were either taxed at 7.5% or 10%.
The move should boost domestic manufacturing of such panels vis-a-vis
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Silk scaffold for bone regeneration
A scaffold made of silk composite functionalised with copper-doped
bioactive glass to facilitate faster bone regeneration has been developed by
researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati.
The scaffold seeded with stem cells was found to differentiate into bone
cells, facilitate growth of blood vessels and successfully integrate the
newly formed bone cells with the native bone.
The researchers were able to replicate the results in rabbits using
functionalised non-mulberry silk composite.
Rabbits with scaffolds implanted at the site of bone injury showed
successful growth of bone cells and integration with the native bone at the
end of three months.
Commercially available synthetic grafts have a failure rate of about 25%
and 30-60% complication rates.
This is due to slower bonding with native bone and poor blood vessel
growth. Unlike pure silk, the silk composite has greater strength. The
addition of bioglass further enhanced the strength of the composite.
Besides other kinds, both mulberry and non-mulberry silk composites were
tested. The non-mulberry silk composite was found to be superior in all
The RGD sequence in non-mulberry silk is a cell binding site and helps
in better cell attachment and proliferation. As a result, more stem cells
get attached to the composite leading to better bone tissue formation with
Besides enhancing the strength of the composite, the minerals from the
bioglass gets deposited on the composite making it rougher.
The doped copper plays a crucial role in stabilising the gene
responsible for blood vessel formation. The gene, in turn, regulates the
downstream angiogenesic factors thus helping blood vessel formation.
Copper also plays a role in attracting endothelial cells (which forms
the inner lining of blood vessels) present nearby to the bone defect site
making blood vessel formation possible.
The mulberry silk composite degrades and gets desorbed by the body at a
faster rate than the non-mulberry silk.
The rate of silk composite degradation should match the rate of new
tissue formation else the bone that forms will tend to be weaker.
The researchers tested the potential of the composites in repairing bone
defects in rabbits and found more than 80% bone formation at the end of 30
Targeted Cancer treatment using nanomotors
Research on nanomotors for various medical applications is an emerging
field in nanoscience and researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc),
Bengaluru, have had a measure of success.
The researchers have developed a new type of zinc-ferrite–coated
magnetic nanomotors that are highly stable and can generate localised
heating to kill cancerous cells. The results were published in Nanoscale.
Measuring just about 3 microns in size, the magnetic nanomotors can be
manoeuvred in different biological environments like blood, tissue etc using
rotating magnetic fields of less than hundred Gauss (safe level for human
beings) and targeted to the area of interest in the body.
They are popular due to their non-invasive nature and the absence of the
need for chemical fuel to propel them.
Hyperthermia experiments were carried out using these nanomotors on
human cervical cancer cells in the lab. The nanomotors are biocompatible and
in vivo studies are being carried out to understand how it will be processed
in the body.
Silicon dioxide forms the backbone of these nanomotors and magnetic
material such as iron is deposited on top of it.
The zinc ferrite coating is then applied to provide multifunctional
properties such as enhanced physical and chemical stabilities, and magnetic
Alien Skeleton found out to be Human foetus
A six-inch skeleton discovered in Chile’s Atacama Desert belongs to a
human foetus, and does not have extraterrestrial origins, scientists say.
After five years of deep genomic analysis, researchers from the Stanford
University and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the US have
pinpointed the mutations responsible for the anomalous specimen.
They found mutations in not one but several genes known to govern bone
development, researchers said.
The skeleton, nicknamed Ata, was discovered more than a decade ago in an
abandoned town in the Atacama Desert of Chile.
After trading hands and eventually finding a permanent home in Spain,
the mummified specimen started to garner public attention.
After sequencing Ata’s genome, researchers found mutations in seven
genes that separately or in combinations contribute to various bone
deformities, facial malformations or skeletal dysplasia.
The analysis pointed to a decisive conclusion: This was the skeleton of
a human female, likely a foetus, that had suffered severe genetic mutations.
Nolan noted that 8% of the DNA was unmatchable with human DNA, but that
was due to a degraded sample, not extraterrestrial biology.
Later, a more sophisticated analysis was able to match up to 98% of the
DNA, he said.