05&06, November 2017

1.International Conference – ‘FIPSPHYSIOCON 2017’

Source: PIB

“FIPSPHYSIOCON 2017”, Conference on Human Physiology – VII Congress of Federation of Indian Physiological Societies (FIPS) along with XXIX Annual Conference of the Physiological Society of India (PSI) organised by Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Science (DIPAS) of DRDO was inaugurated at Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute (VPCI), University of Delhi.

  • The objective of the conference is to update the scientific community about most recent advances in human Physiology in extreme environments, Neuroscience, Yoga, Sport Physiology and translational research.

Highlights:

FIPSPHYSIOCON -2017 will highlight the importance of Physiology as a basic & applied science and promote it’s teaching and research.

Integrating Physiological and Biomedical Science Approaches to Improve Performance, Health and Safety.

  1. Environmental Physiology (High altitude, desert, underwater space etc)
  2. Cardiovascular and Respiratory Physiology
  3. Exercise and Sports physiology
  4. Nutritional, Metabolism and Lifestyle
  5. Neurophysiology and Endocrinology
  6. Biochemistry, Pharmacology and Immunology
  7. Molecular biology and omic sciences
  8. Complementary & alternative approaches, Yoga for healthy living
  9. Biomedical instrumentation: Health monitoring
  10. Occupational health and Ergonomics

ABOUT DIPAS

  • Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences (DIPAS), a DRDO life sciences establishment under Ministry of Defence is immensely contributing for improving the performance and habitability of Armed Forces Personnel in extreme hot & humid areas, high and extreme altitude areas, under water and closed environment operations.
  • Vision: Be a center of excellence in the field of environmental physiology and human factor research
  • Mission: Optimization of human performance in different occupational environment conditions using physiological, biochemical, nutritional and ergonomic approach.
  • Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences (DIPAS) was officially established on 20th September 1962. In India, research in military physiology was initiated in the year 1950 through a small group of scientists and medical physiologists within the realm of Defence Science Laboratory, Delhi. In 1962, with the thrust area identification of high altitude physiology, nutrition and biochemistry of human in severe stress environment and also with the urgent need felt for ergonomic assessment of workstations and man-machine interface, a full-fledged laboratory was established.

ABOUT FIPS

  • The FIPS is a scientific federation of all the physiologists of this country.
  • It is affiliated to the Federation of Asian and Oceanian Physiological Societies.
  • The Association of Physiologists and Pharmacologists of India (APPI), Physiologists Society of India (PSI), Indian Society for Comparative Animal Physiology (ISCAP) and Society for Animal Physiologists of India (SAPI) are its constituents societies.

2.Paradise Papers Leak On Hidden Wealth Has 714 Indian Names

Source: Indian Express

Paradise Papers: The data leak reveals details of prominent individuals from India who have invested in offshore accounts.

  • There are 714 Indian names in the cache of 13.4 million documents named “Paradise Papers”, which have emerged just two days before the government marks one year of demonetisation as “anti-black money day”.
  • Both sets of data were obtained by German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and were investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) working in partnership with 96 news organisations.
  • A bulk of the records are from Bermuda-based Appleby, a 199-year-old law firm involved in setting up offshore companies and managing bank accounts for clients.
  • India ranks 19 among 180 countries in the number of names in the list.

Is this illegal?

  • Owning or contributing to an offshore fund isn’t an automatic crime in most jurisdictions.
  • In India, as per the Reserve Bank of India guidelines, citizens were not allowed to start an overseas entity before 2003. However, this changed in 2004 when the central bank allowed individuals to remit funds of up to $25,000 a year under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS).
  • In 2013, the legal groundwork for offshore funds was finalised after individuals were allowed to set up subsidaries or invest in joint ventures abroad under the Overseas Direct Investment window. This means that before 2013, owning or contributing to an offshore bank account was mostly restricted.
  • In previous data leaks on high net-worth individuals who had offshore accounts, most noticeably the HSBC Geneva leaks, the people who were identified received tax notices and some have started being prosecuted for not declaring these offshore companies. In 2015, that the government started legal proceedings against 60 people who had been named in the Swiss leaks, indicating that they parked black or illegally obtained money in those offshore accounts.

What exactly do the Paradise Papers show?

  • In the Panama Papers or HSBC Geneva leaks, the issue was more about certain individuals holding offshore bank accounts.
  • In the Paradise Papers, the leaks come mostly from offshore service providers.

A bulk of the records investigated are from Bermuda law firm Appleby

  • Although not a tax advisor, this 119-year-old company is a leading member of the global network of lawyers, accountants, bankers and other operatives who set up offshore companies and manage bank accounts for clients to do one or a combination of the following:
  1. Avoid or evade taxes;
  2. Manage real estate assets;
  3. Open escrow accounts;
  4. Purchase airplanes and yachts paying low tax rates; or,
  5. Simply, use offshore vehicles to move millions across the globe.

Way ahead:

  • Setting up offshore entities for corporate restructuring or expansion in a rapidly globalising world may not be illegal but it raises a crucial issue: how firms such as Appleby help MNCs exploit loopholes in law to avoid legitimate taxes in their country.
  • That’s why Paradise Papers open the door for regulatory bodies to investigate and ascertain the legitimacy of these offshore transactions.

3.Hotspots of rattan found in Western Ghats

Source: The Hindu

Scientists have discovered that non-protected areas near the Agastyamalai Biosphere Reserve, Silent Valley-Mukurthi National Parks and Coorg-Wayanad in the Western Ghats are hotspots of rattan or cane (light, flexible climbing palms) species.

Urgent conservation attention in the face of threats including habitat loss and excessive harvesting would be critical here, warns a study published in Plant Diversity.

More than half a million people are directly employed in harvesting and processing rattan in Southeast Asia, including India. Though unsustainable harvests driven by rising demands are decimating rattan stands (clumps) worldwide.

Distribution:

  • Utilising niche modelling to predict areas of high rattan diversity, the scientists also identified three rattan hotspots in the Western Ghats. — near the Agastyamalai Biosphere Reserve, Silent Valley-Mukurthi National Parks and Coorg-Wayanad regions.
  • All these areas fall outside existing protected area networks, where excessive unsustainable harvests could be a problem.
  • Loss of tropical forest tracts to coffee and tea plantations — as is common in the Coorg-Wayanad complex — is also an issue, say the scientists.

IUCN Status

  • The team then designated ‘conservation values’ (CV) for each species based on aspects such as the area it is found in and the commercial harvesting pressure it faces.
  • Three species (including Calamus neelagiricus which is found only in Kerala’s Silent Valley National Park) showed very high CV; the authors suggest that these be classified as endangered (based on categories developed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) while three others be categorised as near-threatened and 15 as vulnerable for prioritising conservation action.

The Western Ghats: biodiversity hotspot

  • Older than the Himalaya mountains, the mountain chain of the Western Ghats are well known for their rich and unique flora and fauna.
  • It is not without reasons that Western Ghats is named one of the Hottest Biodiversity Hotspots. It supports the life of 7,402 species of flowering plants,1814 species of non-flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species, 179 amphibian species, 6000 insects species and 290 freshwater fish species. And many are still to be discovered.
  • Western Ghats is a mountain range that runs through the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Running parallel to the western coast and along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, the hills cover over 1,60,000 square kilometre. And it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The Western Ghats block southweat monsoon winds from reaching the Deccan Plateau and are consequently an area of high rainfall, particularly on their western side.
  • Geological studies have found the west coast broke away from Madagascar 100 million years ago and appeared as cliff with an elevation ranging at 3,300 feet. Anamudi, the highest peak here, is located in Kerala. Outside of the Himalayas, the mountain at an elevation of 2,695 is also the highest peak in India.
  • The major river systems originating in the Western Ghats include Godavari, Kaveri, Krishna, Thamiraparani and Tungabhadra. They are lost faster than other species. The area covers five percent of India’s land with 27 per cent of all species of higher plants in India are found here and 1,800 of these are endemic to the region.

4.Banaganapalle mangoes get GI tag

Source: The Hindu

A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.

  • The famous Banaganapalle mangoes of Andhra Pradesh and Tulaipanji rice of West Bengal are among the seven commodities that have been granted Geographical Indication (GI) this fiscal year by the Indian patent office.
  • Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.
  • Darjeeling tea, Tirupati laddu, Kangra paintings, Nagpur orange and Kashmir pashmina are among the registered GIs in India.

The other five products which have received the GI tag this year include

  1. Pochampally Ikat of Telangana;
  2. Gobindobhog rice of West Bengal;
  3. Durgi stone carvings and Etikoppaka toys of Andhra Pradesh; and
  4. Chakshesang shawl of Nagaland, according to the Indian patent office website.

In 2016-17, as many as 33 items got GI registration.

Experts said that this tag gave protection to the producer of these genuine products, which commanded premium pricing in the markets, both domestic and international.

GI Tag: Intellectual Property Rights

  • Geographical Indications of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property which refer to the geographical indication referring to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product.
  • Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality, region or country.
  • Under Articles 1 (2) and 10 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical indications are covered as an element of IPR
  • They are also covered under Articles 22 to 24 of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, which was part of the Agreements concluding the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations.
  • India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15th September 2003.



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