Friday, December 22, 2017

Pro Independence way ahead in Catalona Election

Media reports play various exit polls,counting in progress results are in favour of  Catalan pro independence leaders.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, are on course to win 70 of the 135 parliamentary seats.
Media report parties opposing the region’s independence are likely to gain 57 seats.
Observers say if secessionist forces regain their majority, they could step up pressure for independence, dealing a heavy blow to the administration of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
The Catalan election was conducted after Rajoy’s central government dissolved the regional parliament as it approved the unilateral declaration of regional independence in October.

Young Food Leaders

Dear Nksagar,

We’ve just announced some of our incredible speakers for our upcoming District of Columbia (February 28), Seattle (March 17), and Boston (April 19) 2018 Food Tank Summits.
All three events are going to be incredible, and we hope you will join us in 2018.
Also, we are putting up a limited number of tickets for all three summits at 20-percent off, while supplies last ($239 instead of $299).
Here are just a few of the incredible people you will see:
Washington, D.C. (February 28, 2018, at the Jack Morton Auditorium)
Cultivating the Next Generation of Young Food Leaders
In partnership with The George Washington University, World Resources Institute, the National Farmers Union, Future Farmers of America, and the National Young Farmers Coalition
30+ speakers including (many more to be announced): M.J. Altman, World Food Program USA; José Andrés, Celebrity Chef and Owner, ThinkFoodGroup; Allison Aubrey, National Public Radio; Eliza Barclay, Vox; Xavier Brown, Soilful City; Blaze Currie, National Future Farmers of America; Caitlin Dewey, The Washington PostJill Isenbarger, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture; Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union; Rachel Konrad, Impossible Foods Inc.; Jeremiah Lowery, D.C. Food Policy Council; Kathleen Merrigan, The George Washington University; Edie Mukiibi, Slow Food International; Regina Northouse, Food Recovery Network; Andrew Steer, World Resources Institute; Lindsey Lusher Shute, National Young Farmers Coalition; Dan Simons, Founding Farmers; Lauren Frances Tucker, Kiss the Ground; and Cecily Upton,FoodCorps.
To learn more or purchase tickets for the Washington D.C. Summit click HERE.
Seattle, WA (March 17, 2018, at Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University)
Growing Food Policy
In partnership with Food Action and Seattle University
30+ speakers including (many more to be announced): Ashley Ahearn, KUOW Seattle; Steve Cohen, City of Portland; Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group; BJ Cummings,Sustainable Seattle; Whitney Ellersick, Portland Public Schools; Mark Freeman, Microsoft; Ben Friedman, Homegrown; Chip GillerGristRosalinda Guillén, Community to Community Development; Katie HerzogThe StrangerStephen Jones, The Bread Lab at Washington State University; Sharon Lerman, City of Seattle; Mike Lufkin, King County Government; Amanda Oborne, Ecotrust; and Nicole Sprinkle, Seattle Weekly.
To learn more or purchase tickets for the Seattle Summit click HERE.
Boston, MA (April 19, 2018, at Royale)
Exploring the Paradox of Hunger and Obesity
In collaboration with the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and Oxfam America
30+ speakers including (many more to be announced): Eva Botkin-Kowacki, The Christian Science MonitorLindsay KalterBoston HeraldJeff Cole, Mass Farmers Markets; Jennifer L. Harris, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity; Alex Kingsbury, The Boston GlobeKatherine Miller, James Beard Foundation; Michel Nischan, Wholesome Wave; Gideon Porth, Atlas Farm; Noreen Springstead, WhyHunger; and Norbert Wilson, Tufts University.
To learn more or purchase tickets for the Boston Summit click HERE.
Every day we will be making more incredible announcements, and these events will all sell out quickly! Tickets include breakfast and lunch. All of our events are free to watch via live stream, and a limited number of scholarships are still available.
Hope to see you at one of these incredible events!
All the best,

Myanmar denies entry of UN special rapporteur

Myanmar denies entry of UN special rapporteur. A United Nations human rights investigator Yanghee Lee has disclosed that she had been barred from visiting Myanmar to assess the human rights of minority Rohingya Muslims there.
UN special rapporteur Yanghee Lee on Wednesday released a statement saying the declaration of non-cooperation with her mandate can only be viewed as a strong indication that there must be something terrible happening in Rakhine state.
Lee condemned Myanmar’s government, saying she is puzzled and disappointed by the decision. Lee was scheduled to visit the western state of Rakhine next month, where security forces have been accused of abusing the human rights of Rohingya Muslims.

Initiatives of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) in 2017

The Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) envisions a vibrant MSME Sector by promoting growth and development of the MSME Sector, including Khadi, Village and Coir Industries, in cooperation with the concerned Ministries/Departments, State Governments and other Stakeholders, through providing support to existing enterprises and encouraging setting-up of new enterprises.
The year 2017 has been very significant for the Ministry of MSME during which it took various initiatives to promote MSME Sector including launching of Digital MSME Scheme, augmented the package for supporting MSEs, took various initiatives to support MSMEs in the backdrop of demonetization, work started to establish Technology Centers in eight cities, launched MSME Delayed Payment Portal and Public Procurement Portal among others.
The Major Initiatives of the Ministry during this year are mentioned below:
   Digital MSME Scheme launched:
The Digital MSME Scheme is revolving around Cloud Computing which is emerging as a cost effective and viable alternative in comparison to in-house IT infrastructure installed by MSMEs. In Cloud Computing, MSMEs use the internet to access common as well as tailor-made IT infrastructure including software for managing their business processes.  Cloud Computing is free from the burden of investment on hardware/software and infrastructural facilities.  This Scheme would encourage MSMEs towards this new approach i.e. Cloud Computing for ICT adoption.
Package for supporting Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) approved – Corpus of Credit Guarantee Trust Fund for Micro, and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) augmented:

1.    Corpus of the Trust augmented from Rs. 2,500 crore to Rs. 7,500 crore and will be fully funded by the Government of India.
2.    Coverage of the loans covered under the Credit Guarantee Scheme from Rs.1 crore to Rs.2 crore increased.
3.    Coverage of the Credit Guarantee Scheme for loans being extended to Micro and Small Enterprises by NBFCs increased
Initiatives taken for MSMEs in the backdrop of Demonization:
1.    The coverage of the loans covered under the Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSEs implemented by CGTMSE has been increased from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 2 crore
2.    The credit Guarantee scheme has also been extended for loans given to MSMEs by NBFCs.
3.    Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance has issued an advisory to Banks regarding raising of working capital/cash credit limit for MSEs. 
Technology Centres are being established in 8 cities viz., Puducherry, Visakhapatnam,  Rohtak, Durg,  Baddi, Bhiwadi, Bengaluru and Sitarganj 
MSME Delayed Payment Portal – MSME Samadhaan launched: 
This Portal will empower Micro and Small entrepreneurs across the country to directly register their cases relating to delayed payments by Central Ministries/Departments/CPSEs/State Governments.  The Portal will give information about the pending payment of MSEs with individual CPSEs / Central Ministries, State Governments, etc.  The CEOs of PSEs and the Secretary of the Ministries concerned will also be able to monitor the cases of delayed payment under their jurisdiction and issue necessary instructions to resolve the issues.  The Portal will greatly facilitate the monitoring of the delayed payment in a more effective manner.  The information on the Portal will be available in public domain, thus exerting moral pressure on the defaulting organizations.  The MSEs will also be empowered to access the Portal and monitor their cases.
Public Procurement Portal for MSEs – MSME Sambandh htttp:// launched:
The Portal will help in monitoring the implementation of the Public Procurement from MSEs by Central Public Sector Enterprises(CPSEs).  Using this Online Portal, the Ministries and CPSEs can assess their performance. 
MOU signed between India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) for co-operation in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises and Innovation:
The MoU would benefit Indian SMEs and lead to equitable and inclusive development.  The exposure to best practices in SME sector abroad would provide an opportunity to Indian SMEs to improve upon them and innovate further.  It would also provide to Indian SME sector an opportunity to have a mutually beneficial relation with SME sector of the United Arab Emirates and to explore their markets.

MOUs signed with 4 Sector Skill Councils to provide skill development trainings to SC-ST Entrepreneurs under National SC/ST Hub Scheme.

Report on National MSME Policy submitted.

Evaluation study of the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) by Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurugram presented.

Darpan Launched For Financial Inclusion Of Rural Population

The Minister of Communications Shri Manoj Sinha today launched DARPAN – “Digital Advancement of Rural Post Office for A New India” Project to improve the quality of service, add value to services and achieve “financial inclusion” of un-banked rural population. He said, the goal of the IT modernization project with an outlay of Rs. 1400 Crore is to provide a low power technology solution to each Branch Postmaster (BPM) which will enable each of approximately 1.29 Lakhs Branch Post Offices (BOs) to improve the level of services being offered to rural customers across all the states. Shri Sinha said that as on date, 43,171 Branch Post Offices have migrated under the “DARPAN”projectwith the aim of financial inclusion to rural population and it is targeted to complete the project by March, 2018.
The Project shall increase the rural reach of the Department of Posts and enable BOs to increase traffic of all financial remittances, savings accounts, Rural Postal Life Insurance, and Cash Certificates; improve mail operations processes by allowing for automated booking and delivery of accountable article; increase revenue using retail post business; provide third party applications; and make disbursements for social security schemes such as MGNREGS.
As part of IT modernization project, the Department of Posts (DoP) has carried out business process reengineering across various functional areas and has created To-Be processes that will enable it to achieve these objectives. As an achievement, Department of Posts has established 991 ATMs across the country, which are interoperable with other banks and the common people has directly benefited with the wide network of Department of Posts especially in rural areas. Till now, 1,12,85,217 transactions have been carried out on the DOP’s ATMs out of which 70,24,214 transactions have been done by the non-DOP customers. Department of Posts is the only Government player in this space.
For more than 150 years, the Department of Posts (DoP) has been the backbone of the country’s communication and has played a crucial role in the country’s socio-economic development. It touches the lives of Indian citizens in many ways: delivering mails, accepting deposits under Small Savings Schemes, providing life insurance cover under Postal Life Insurance (PLI) and Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI) and providing retail services like bill collection, sale of forms, etc. The Department of Posts also acts as an agent for Government of India in discharging other services for citizens such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) wage disbursement and old age pension payments. With 1.5 lakh Post Offices (approximately), the Department of Posts has the most widely distributed postal network in the world.
Trends such as urbanization, increased demand for financial services, increased funding by the government for the weaker sections and the rural sector, have opened up new opportunities for the Department of Posts,which in turn has necessitated development of new processes and supporting technology. The Department of Posts is also faced with twin challenges of increasing competition and continuing advances in communication technology, especially in mobile telephony and the Internet. In order to provide the best-in-class customer service, deliver new services and improve operational efficiencies,the Department of Posts has undertaken an end to end IT modernization project to equip itself with requisite modern tools and technologies. The IT modernization project intends to achieve the following:
I. Wider reach to the Indian populace through more customer interaction channels
II. Better customer service
III. Growth through new lines of business
IV. IT enablement of business processes and support functions

Cancer cell killer ‘Disarib’

Indian Researchers from eight different groups spread over labs in Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru, and a couple of Indian scientists at the Department of Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine, University of Liverpool, have designed and synthesised ‘Disarib’, a drug which induces the death of cancer cells. Preliminary tests have been carried out as well. It has been patented, a first for a home-grown drug developed for targeted therapy of cancer.
Initial results after the preliminary tests, the molecule was found effective against a range of cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and colon cancer. Department of Biotechnology will decide when the drug will be available in the market.

ANC Leader Ramaphosa

ANC delegates  elected Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as the party’s new leader. President Jacob Zuma remains head of state.
South Africa’s ruling party says, the country’s embassy in Israel should be downgraded to a liaison office to show support for the Palestinians.
The African National Congress said late yesterday that delegates to a national party meeting endorsed the proposal to the government for an immediate and unconditional downgrade of the embassy in Tel Aviv.
The proposal comes ahead of a UN General Assembly vote today on a resolution urging President Donald Trump to rescind his decision recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
South African media say, the ANC endorsed a boycott of Israel at a party meeting in 2012 but the government did not implement it.

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