India set to become water scarce by 2025: report

India, U.S. set to ink pact on terror database

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1.India, U.S. set to ink pact on terror database

India could soon get access to a U.S. database of 11,000 terror suspects if the countries sign a pact to exchange information on terrorists, during the Homeland Security dialogue in December. The information would be shared through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s legal attache at the U.S. embassy in New Delhi.

Though some security agencies expressed concern over giving unhindered access to the U.S. on such “sensitive database”, the government is of the view that it would be beneficial in the long run. India is, however, insisting that “privacy issues” be taken care of, and the agreement not be a tool to serve only the interests of the U.S. In return, it wants access to Internet-related data from U.S.-based service providers like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, among others.

The Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD -6) is a model text agreement proposed by the U.S. for exchange of terrorist screening information between the Terrorist Screening Centre of the U.S. and an Indian agency.

2.Revisit national policy for the elderly: SC

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to revisit its national policy for the elderly, saying it is over 15 years old and a lot has changed on the ground.

The Social Justice Bench, comprising Justices Madan B. Lokur and U.U. Lalit, said a relook was necessary in the wake of the enactment of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

The National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) envisages State support to ensure financial and food security, healthcare, shelter and other needs of older persons, equitable share in development, protection against abuse and exploitation and availability of services to improve the quality of their lives.

The observations came during the hearing of a PIL petition seeking setting up of old age homes with basic healthcare facilities in every district of the country.

3.High protein diet lowers blood pressure

Eating high-levels of certain proteins found in meat and plant-based foods can lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness leading to better heart health, a study has found.

Eating foods rich in amino acids — building blocks of proteins — could be as good for your heart as stopping smoking or physical exercise — researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) found.

“Increasing intake from protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, dairy produce, beans, lentils, broccoli and spinach could be an important and readily achievable way to reduce people’s risk of cardiovascular disease,” explained lead researcher Dr Amy Jennings from UEA’s Norwich Medical School.

This research shows a protective effect of several amino acids on cardiovascular health.

Researchers investigated the effect of seven amino acids on cardiovascular health among almost 2,000 healthy women.

They found strong evidence that those who consumed the highest amounts of amino acids had lower measures of blood pressure and arterial stiffness.

The food source was important. A higher intake of amino acids from plant-based sources was associated with lower blood pressure and a higher intake from animal sources associated with lower levels of arterial stiffness.

“Beneficial daily amounts equate to a 100 gram salmon fillet or a 500 ml glass of skimmed milk,” Jennings added in a paper that appeared in the Journal of Nutrition . — IANS

4.SHG women make a livelihood from algae

For Andhra Pradesh, which has a coastline of 974 km, algae cultivation is an opportunity to improve the living conditions of lakhs of fishermen and to earn foreign currency as well. Popularly known as seaweeds, algae can be cultivated in seawater, including shallow and brackish waters.

It has been of immense industrial, human and agricultural value since time immemorial and gained prominence during 13th century, after the discovery of agar-agar in Japan and Alginic Acid in the European continent.

Substances of the seaweeds are being used as additives in food products and drugs to give them a smooth texture and help them retain moisture. They are also used in lipsticks, soaps, film, paint, varnish and buttons and of huge demand in the domestic and international markets.

“As far as Andhra Pradesh is concerned, algae cultivation is yet to be explored fully. Though there is vast scope, attempts are still at a nascent stage,” says A. Srinivasa Rao, lecturer at the department of Botany and Microbiology at Pithapuram Rajah Government Degree College.

Fisherfolk, especially women self-help groups from Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, have already been enjoying the benefits of algae cultivation while their counterparts from Kerala are on the job of tapping the potential.

Though a pilot project was launched in Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram districts of Andhra Pradesh long back, the cultivation, however, has not been expanded to the other coastal districts. “Initiative from the government is important. It is a highly subsidised crop, as the farmers would get 50 per cent of subsidy on input costs. The crop duration is just 45 days and there has been a steady increase in the demand for the produce in the international market,” says P.V. Subba Rao, retired scientist from the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research and instrumental in the operations of Aquaculture Foundation of India that involved in algae cultivation at Mandapam in Tamil Nadu.

Popularly known as seaweed, algae has been of immense industrial, human and agricultural value

5.India rebuffs Afghanistan on strategic meet[VIP]

Stung by Afghanistan’s security and strategic shift towards Pakistan in the past year, India has rebuffed another invitation from Kabul to revive the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) signed in 2011 to hold a meeting of the Strategic Partnership Council (SPC).

Diplomatic sources at the highest level have confirmed to The Hindu that India has conveyed its inability to hold the meeting that would be chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani “due to prior commitments.”

New Delhi has also conveyed that Ms. Swaraj will not attend the upcoming Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) in Kabul on September 3 and 4, and instead Sujata Mehta, Secretary, Multilateral and Economic Relations, will represent India at the conference. India’s representation will be in sharp contrast to some of the other regional countries participating at the Foreign Minister-level, while Iran is expected to send its Interior Minister and Pakistan its National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz, RECCA official Asadullah Hamdard confirmed to The Hindu .

While India’s decision to not attend the RECCA conference, which is essentially a development and donor conference, may not affect relations given India’s $2.3-billion strong commitment to Afghanistan, Afghan officials said the delay in the SPC meeting is more significant. India and Afghanistan have held only one meeting of the SPC (in 2012) since former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and former India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed the historic agreement in 2011.

“We can’t understand what the agreement means if we can’t even schedule a meeting for three years,” an Afghan official told The Hindu , adding that Afghanistan has made four requests since January for the meeting, the fourth request being made in August.

Officials in Delhi confirmed they had received “at least two to three written requests, and several oral requests had been raised as well.”

India was the first country Afghanistan chose to sign a strategic partnership agreement with, despite the U.S. and Pakistan keen on doing so. Since then, however, India has significantly withdrawn from its strategic promises to Afghanistan for a number of reasons.

To begin with, a barrage of attacks from the Taliban supported by Pakistan as a “backlash” to Indian presence have forced India to reconsider its strategic and military assistance there.

Next, said officials, after President Ashraf Ghani took charge in 2014, he made a decisive shift towards mending fences with the Pakistan Army, including visits to the Pakistan General Headquarters and inviting the Army and intelligence chiefs to Kabul, and signing an MoU between intelligence agencies NDS and ISI, even as his government joined talks with the Taliban hosted by Pakistan.

Trust deficit

“After Karzai, we have never trusted Ashraf Ghani’s motivations given the overtures he made to the Pakistan Army,” said the former Ambassador to Kabul Rakesh Sood, adding, “India has always been hesitant about what it wanted from the SPA anyway. The demand for defence equipment, for example, was something we were never able to deliver on.”

India’s development commitment remains robust, and Mr. Modi's visit is expected to take place once the Afghan Parliament is completed by the Indian Public Works Department by January 2016.

India is the first country Afghanistan chose to sign a strategic partnership agreement with

6.Indian scientist Modadugu Vijay Gupta awarded first Sunhak Peace Prize[VIP]

Noted Indian agriculture scientist Modadugu Vijay Gupta, who has done pioneering work in aquaculture in India and several other countries, was on Friday awarded the first Sunhak Peace Prize, billed as an alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize, which he shared with the President of Kiribati Islands.

Dr. Gupta, 76, received the $1 million prize along with Anote Tong, President of Kiribati Islands, here at a glittering function which was attended by invitees from all over the world.

Mr. Tong, 63, the head of the Pacific Ocean island nation which is facing the dire prospects of being engulfed by rising sea waters by 2050, was chosen for the award for his dogged fight to end the carbon emissions which are spelling doom for small island nations.

The awards were presented by South Korean religious leader Hak Ja Han Moon, the wife of late Rev Sun Myung Moon, who instituted the awards to recognise and highlight the work of individuals making big efforts for the betterment of people.

Hailing from Bapatla in Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Gupta, a biologist, was also the recipient of the World Food Prize in 2005 for development and dissemination of low-cost techniques for freshwater fish farming.

Before his retirement, he served as the assistant director general at WorldFish, an international fisheries research institute under the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research based in Penang, Malaysia. — PTI

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