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India, Israel to collaborate in life sciences, agritech



Bengaluru, July 24. India and Israel would collaborate in life sciences and agritech through an innovation bridge between the two countries, an official said on Friday.

“An agreement has been signed for Indo-Israel innovation bridge to collaborate in life sciences and agritech by the city-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) and the Consul General of Israel to South India,” said the official in a statement here.

As the country’s premier bio-sciences’ technology and innovation hub, C-CAMP has called for the first national level ‘Agriculture Grand Challenge-2021’ under the Karnataka supported Centre of Excellence for agri-innovation.

“The winners of the challenge programme will be funded up to Rs 25 lakh,” said the official.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan, who was present on the occasion, said through the grand challenge programme, C-CAMP and the state government would promote entrepreneurship in the agri-sector.

“The Grand Challenge aims to identify innovations to address major problem areas in the Indian farm sector. For each winning start-up, funding will be given up to Rs 25 lakh with incubation, mentorship and hand-holding by C-CAMP,” said Narayan.

Narayan, a medical doctor by profession, also holds portfolios of IT, BT (biotech), Science & Technology and Higher Education in the BJP-ruled government.

“The potential of the initiative is huge as evident from the cooperation between start-ups of the two countries. The agreement will enable to consolidate islands of excellence in both nations and create a collaborative environment for research and development,” said Israeli Consul General Zonathan Zadka.

The 3 problem statements under the Agri Grand Challenge-2021 are:

(1) A quick, accurate, and affordable PoC (Proof of Concept) method for testing a) macro/micronutrient density in soil and/or plant tissue and b) soil microbial diversity.

(2) A technology to enhance the shelf life of produce and minimisation of post-harvest losses through chemical/biological/IR methods.

(3) A technology for detection and treatment of white stem borer infestation in Coffee crop.

C-CAMP assisted indigenously developed portable Covid vaccine cold chain equipment was handed over to the state government at the event.

National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) director Satyajit Mayor, InStem director Apurva Sarin and state IT-BT and S&T director Meena Nagaraj were present on the occasion.


Air India goes to Tata Sons, Ratan Tata tweets, Welcome Back!



New Delhi: Finally, Air India has gone to Tata Group which emerged the highest bidder. This was a much-awaited deal for the Government of India which wanted to sell this national career from a very long time. Welcome back, Air India, tweets Ratan Tata on Tata Sons winning the bid for Air India.
An SPV of Tata Sons – the holding company of conglomerate – has emerged as successful bidder, Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) — the government department responsible for privatisation, said.

The international service was among the first public-private partnerships in India, with the government holding 49 per cent, the Tatas keeping 25 per cent and the public owning the rest. In 1953, Air India was nationalised. The government is selling 100 per cent of its stake in the state-owned national airline, including Air India’s 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Ltd.

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Powerful earthquake in Japan injures 32, disrupts train services



Tokyo, Oct 8: Authorities in Japan said on Friday that a powerful earthquake which jolted the country the previous day left 32 people injured, while also disrupting train services in the Tokyo area, affecting around 368,000 passengers in total.

The earthquake that struck the capital region at 10.41 p.m. on Thursday night reached upper 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in parts of Tokyo and Saitama prefecture, reports Xinhua news agency.

The last time that people in central Tokyo faced such an intense jolt was during the massive quake of March 11, 2011, which devastated northeastern Japan and triggered a tsunami and nuclear disaster.

According to East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), the strongest earthquake for the Japanese capital in a decade caused services on the Shinkansen bullet train and 16 local train lines cancelled or delayed from late night Thursday to about 3 p.m. (local time) on Friday, resulting in many late-night train passengers stranded and a commuter disruption in the morning.

JR East have resumed train services, but many passengers were forced to wait at stations due to delays.

After a train derailed in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward, one of the areas hit hardest by the temblor, the operation of the Nippori Toneri Liner, a driverless guideway transit system in Tokyo, might remain suspended for several days, according to its operator.

The Japan Transport Safety Board has sent officials to investigate the derailment.

According to a tally by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, two in Saitama Prefecture and one in Chiba Prefecture sustained severe injuries among the 32.

Around 250 houses in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward briefly experienced power outages due to the earthquake, and water stoppages and leaks were reported in central Tokyo.

The earthquake also caused 28 cases of people being trapped in elevators in Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures, but all cases have been cleared according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism.

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India to showcase its art, culture, tradition and business prospect in Dubai



Dubai: India is out to showcase to the world its arts and culture, rich history and tradition and opportunities that exist for individuals and corporates with its biggest pavilion of the 192 participating countries in the Expo 2020 Dubai.

The six-month-long Expo kicked off on October 1 with Dubai expecting a large number of visitors despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With the number of daily infections now well below 200 for the past week, the city has opened itself to the world. Most of the visitors are allowed to travel with a valid negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours.

However, India is still in the category that requires a valid negative PCR test certificate (with a QR code) for a test conducted within 48 hours, and a rapid PCR test report with a QR code for a test conducted at the departure airport within six hours of departure. The pavilion features a kinetic facade of 600 individual colourful blocks. The panels rotate and the facade presents a different look with each rotation, a unique representation of the country’s theme at the Expo, ‘India on the Move’.

The Indian pavilion was officially inaugurated by Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, and Textiles who said the Pavilion “shows an India on the move, it describes a new India rejuvenated, reinvented and revitalised, which can convert any adversity into an opportunity”.

As the country comes out a deadly second wave of the pandemic, India is eager to make an impression on the world and the Expo is a great platform. Aman Puri, Consul-General of India in Dubai, said: “India at Expo 2020 Dubai will present a new and dynamic India with its never-ending opportunities.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given us a clarion call for action to all stakeholders to give a renewed push to boosting exports and Expo 2020 will provide an important platform in driving forward this national agenda.”

While art and culture has always been a staple of India’s exhibitions in foreign countries, there is a big push for innovation and industries in Dubai. The India Innovation Hub, a specially designed mobile platform, was recently launched. It showcases innovations by Indian startups and corporates across various cutting edge fields like artificial intelligence, machine learning, mobility, robotics and space. As many as 15 states and eight Union Territories are taking part in the Expo, most of them displaying food, art & culture and business opportunities. Also, present and various ministries, like textile, space and energy, as well as some of the leading business houses like Tata, Reliance, L&T and Adani.

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