Tuesday, April 3, 2018

NK-FM headed for Russia

North Korea’s foreign minister is reportedly headed for Azerbaijan and Russia. The North is stepping up diplomacy ahead of planned summits with South Korea and the United States.
Ri Yong Ho flew from Pyongyang on Tuesday morning stopping in Beijing.
Ri’s itinerary is undisclosed. But diplomatic sources say he is due to visit Baku, Azerbaijan to attend a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement later this week.
They say Ri will then travel to Russia, where he is likely to meet his counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
North Korea is set to hold a summit meeting with the South on April 27th, and possibly with the United States by the end of May. Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is expected to be a key issue.

China 200 million religious believers

China has nearly 200 million religious believers and more than 380,000 clerical personnel, according to a white paper released by the State Council Information Office Tuesday.
The major religions practiced in China are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism, said the white paper, titled “China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief.”
It noted that China has numerous Buddhist and Taoist believers, but it is difficult to accurately estimate their numbers as there are no set registration procedures which ordinary believers must follow as part of their religion.

Mexico presidential election campaign

Mexico campaign for its presidential election  begins, with three major-party candidates facing off for the July 1st ballot.
The front-runner is former Mexico City mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who is backed by a new party National Regeneration Movement. He is followed by former Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party and opposition leader Ricardo Anaya.
On Sunday, Lopez Obrador spoke to about 1,500 supporters in the northern city of Ciudad Juarez near the US border. He called for a change in the situation surrounding young people to improve the country’s worsening security. He said youths are deprived of their right to education and jobs and are getting involved in drug trafficking and violence due to poverty.

Government issues clarification with respect to the E-way Bill System

The e-way Bill System for Inter-State movement of goods across the country has been introduced from 01st April 2018. Few clarifications given by the Government regarding the new e-way bill system are as follows:
1. Situation: -Consider a situation where a consignor is required to move goods from City X to City Z. He appoints Transporter A for movement of his goods. Transporter A moves the goods from City X to City Y. For completing the movement of goods i.e. from City Y to City Z, Transporter A now hands over the goods to Transporter B. Thereafter, the goods are moved to the destination i.e. from City Y to City Z by Transporter B. How would the e-way bill be generated in such situations?
Clarification : -It is clarified that in such a scenario, only one e-way bill would be required. PART A of FORMGST EWB-01 can be filled by the consignor and then the e-way bill will be assigned by the consignor to Transporter A. Transporter A will fill the vehicle details, etc. in PART B of FORMGST EWB-01and will move the goods from City X to City Y.
On reaching City Y, Transporter A will assign the said e-way bill to the Transporter B. Thereafter, Transporter B will be able to update the details of PART B of FORMGST EWB-01. Transporter B will fill the details of his vehicle and move the goods from City Y to City Z.
2. Situation : – Consider a situation where a Consignor hands over his goods for transportation on Friday to transporter. But, the assigned transporter starts the movement of goods on Monday. How would the validity of e-way bill be calculated in such situations?
Clarification: -It is clarified that the validity period of e-way bill starts only after the details in PART B of FORMGST EWB-01 are updated by the transporter for the first time.
In the given situation, Consignor can fill the details in PART A of FORMGST EWB-01 on Friday and handover his goods to the transporter. When the transporter is ready to move the goods, he can fill the PART B of FORMGST EWB-01 i.e. the assigned transporter can fill the details in PART B of FORMGST EWB-01 on Monday i.e. 2nd April 2018 and the validity period of the e-way bill will start from Monday.

Sisi wins 2nd term

Egyptian incumbent President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi made a landslide victory in the country’s presidential election, winning 97.08 percent of the valid votes, official results showed on Monday.
The turnout was 41.05 percent, as 24,254,152 voters inside and outside Egypt cast their ballots, head of Egypt’s National Elections Authority, Lashin Ibrahim, told a press conference in Cairo.
A total of 21,835,387 voted for Sisi at home and abroad, while Sisi’s only rival Moussa Mostafa Moussa garnered 656,534 votes, or 2.92 percent.
A couple of possible strong competitors in the presidential race have either withdrawn or been disqualified over violations.
Moussa said he is satisfied with the results, applauding the transparency of the electoral process.

Trump criticizes Amazon

US President Donald Trump has again attacked the online retailer Amazon over its delivery pricing.
Trump accused Amazon of forcing the US Postal Service to accept low fees in order to deliver its packages to customers’ doorsteps.
Trump tweeted on Monday that “only fools” are saying the “Post Office makes money with Amazon.” He said the US Postal Service loses “a fortune” and that “this will be changed.”
Neither Amazon nor the Postal Service has responded to his comments.
US media say Amazon does not receive any special treatment and has the usual large company discount. They add that the Postal Service would be under even more pressure without Amazon’s business.
Trump has regularly disparaged Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos. Bezos bought The Washington Post newspaper in 2013 and the publication has been openly critical of the president.

Boao Forum for Asia

Boao Forum for Asia annual conference will take place in China from 8th to 11th of this month.The theme of the conference, to be held in Chinese province Hainan, is An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday.
Participants are expected to discuss key issues related to globalization, the Belt and Road Initiative and innovation.
According to experts, the upcoming forum will be a platform for global political and business leaders to share insights on China’s economic opening-up, the Belt and Road Initiative and fostering innovation.
BFA is held every year in Boao, on Hainan Island, and is modeled after the World Economic Forum. It has met every year since 2001, making this year the 17th annual meeting for the forum.
Boao Forum is held in mid-to-late March, however the forum was delayed until April this year, because the Communist Party in Hainan was celebrating the 30th anniversary of Hainan as an individual province separate from Guangdong’s administration.
This year the theme of the conference will be “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity.” Most are expecting the hosting Chinese delegation to focus discussion on their One Belt, One Road Initiative.
Over 30 business leaders from Taiwan are also expected to attend the forum, led by Vincent Siew, reports now news.
A  meeting between Xi Jinping and Vincent Siew to take place, in what may be an opening for diplomacy in the midst of tense cross strait relations, that have grown chilly since the Tsai administration came to office in 2016.
Other notable attendees expected at the BFA are Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, and the IMF’s President Christine Lagarde.
Sok Siphana, an advisor to the Cambodian government. He Speaking to Xinhua ahead of the annual Boao Forum recently, which is scheduled for April 8-11 in south China’s Hainan Province, Siphana said 2018 started with a lot of mixed global and regional developments, like the prospects of trade war, geo-political rivalries, protectionism, and anti-globalization tendencies on the one hand, and on the other hand, the globe has disruptive technologies which were shaping the growth prospects of the world.
“As usual, the Boao Forum is quite bold in tackling sensitive issues of regional and global importance, from Fintech, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data, to broad topics of connectivity, like infrastructure, the Belt and Road, trade and monetary policies of major powers (China, the United States, Japan and India),” he said.
He added that the forum had its likely impacts on the world economic growth and global governance issues to respond to profound changes in a global economic landscape, i.e. from International Monetary Fund reform to Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and from G7 to G20.


The global growth continued to strengthen and rose in the second half of 2017, driven by strong investment and trade developments across the nations. The growth momentum is broad-based with strengthened activities in most of the countries over the last year including stronger-than-expected outcomes in the euro region, Japan and United States, continued fast expansion in China and improving conditions for commodity exporters.

International Monetary Fund’s in its report “Global Prospects and Policy Challenges” notes that financial conditions remain supportive despite the recent equity market turmoil in the world. A strong rebound in investment and international trade is supporting the global expansion led by advanced economies. The picture in emerging economies is more mixed, with higher commodity prices sustaining the recovery in commodity exporting countries. Also, Euro area growth has been the highest in a decade and strong global trade boosted activity in Asia, with China benefitting from continuing fiscal and credit stimulus.
While headline inflation is being pushed up by oil prices, it remains below target in many G-20 countries. In the United States, which is now close to full employment, signs of rising inflation and wage pressures are being watched closely by policymakers and financial markets alike.
In line with the strengthening cycle, policy rates among advanced economies are beginning to normalize, with a sequence of cautious interest rate hikes in the United States and in other countries. The Fed is also gradually reducing the size of its balance sheet and the European Central Bank has started to taper its large-scale asset purchases. Long-term market interest rates increased notably—driven by concerns about inflation—and there was a spike in equity market volatility, but broad financial conditions are still supportive by historical standards.
Going ahead, growth is set to slow, however, as the global cycle matures further one important factor will be the gradual tightening of financial conditions under the baseline. As inflation is expected to rise due to reduction in residual slack of higher growth including lowering unemployment where it is still elevated and reducing involuntary part-time work—monetary policy will gradually normalize, leading long-term interest rates higher. At the same time, there will be an end of some of the temporary fiscal support behind current growth.

Recent pharma innovations

1. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati has developed a scaffold made of silk composite functionalised with copper-doped bioactive glass to facilitate faster bone regeneration.
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 research team developed the silk composite by adding chopped silk fibre to liquid silk. Unlike pure silk, the silk composite has greater strength. The addition of bioglass further enhanced the strength of the composite.
The team plans to undertake trials on larger animals now, and is hopeful to get regulatory clearance soon.
2. AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company, announced that the European Commission has granted marketing authorisation for Lokelma (formerly ZS-9, sodium zirconium cyclosilicate) for the treatment of adults with hyperkalaemia.
Hyperkalaemia is a serious condition characterised by elevated potassium levels in the blood associated with cardiovascular, renal and metabolic diseases.
3.Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are used to suppress acid production in the stomach and are among the most widely sold drugs in the world, but a new study reveals that long-term use of the medicine can increase stomach cancer risks by almost 250 percent.  Helicobacter pylori, carried by more than half of the world’s population – most often harmlessly, but in a small percentage of people, the bug has been tied to the development of stomach cancer.
Previous research found that people with an ongoing Helicobacter pylori infection taking a PPI stood a greater chance of developing a precursor to stomach cancer, called atrophic gastritis.
4.Microsoft is partnering with Seattle biotech company Adaptive Bio-technologies on a year-long project to build a universal blood test that can screen for dozens or even hundreds of diseases at a time, all by decoding the information in the immune system.
Microsoft is investing an undisclosed sum in Adaptive and is offering the company cloud computing and machine learning services. The combined value of those two is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. If the project is a success, it would be a radical change to how we diagnose diseases from cancer to multiple sclerosis and would mark a new era for health technology. Revolution in diagnostic aspects specially  on diseases that are often diagnosed in very late stages, like pancreatic and ovarian cancer; autoimmune diseases that are typically hard to diagnose, like multiple sclerosis; and infectious diseases that can remain in a person’s system and reoccur, like chronic Lyme disease.
5.AstraZeneca is working in collaboration with the molecular diagnostics firm Myriad Genetics’ for its test myChoice HRD Plus to identify advanced ovarian cancer patients who might benefit from maintenance treatment using Lynparza (olaparib) and Avastin (bevacizumab).
The new deal is part of an ongoing collaboration formed by the firm with AstraZeneca in 2007 for the development of a companion diagnostic test to detect individuals for treatment with olaparib.
myChoice HRD Plus is a comprehensive homologous recombination deficiency test for the detection of loss of a tumour’s ability to repair breaks in double-stranded DNA. The test includes loss of heterozygosity, telomeric allelic imbalance and large-scale state transition technologies, along with 90 additional genes and molecular markers.
6. GHIT Fund is an international public-private partnership spearheaded by the Government of Japan, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust and a group of pharmaceutical companies. GHIT Fund has awarded the University of Florida and partners in the United States and Japan $3.2 million to advance a promising vaccine to prevent transmission of malaria. New grant from the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund will further development of processes to move the vaccine from the experimental stage to human trials and, ultimately, a clinical treatment.
Rhoel Dinglasan, an associate professor of infectious diseases in UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the university’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, has spent years developing a malaria transmission blocking vaccine, or TBV.
7. Merck to  introduce on April 17-19, in New York City, US three new products for the flexible manufacturing of biologics at INTERPHEX, .
Pellicon® Capsule with Ultracel® Membrane. This first-of-its-kind single-use tangential flow filtration device is used for bio-processing of antibody-drug conjugates and monoclonal antibodies.
Millipak® Final Fill Filter. These filters provide maximum product yield in high-value, small-volume processing.
Mobius® Power MIX 2,500-Liter and 3,000-Liter large-scale single-use mixers. These mixing systems combine high-performance technology with design elements that make them easy to use when mixing the most challenging buffers, media and bio-pharmaceutical ingredients.


Preliminary Earthquake Report
  • 2 Apr 2018 05:57:32 UTC
  • 2 Apr 2018 17:57:32 near epicenter
  • 2 Apr 2018 09:57:32 standard time in your timezone
Location24.896S 176.606W
Depth83 km
  • 440 km (273 miles) SSW (198 degrees) of NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga
  • 500 km (311 miles) NNE (15 degrees) of Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands
  • 2914 km (1811 miles) WSW (249 degrees) of PAPEETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Location UncertaintyHorizontal: 7.5 km; Vertical 5.

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