The Gujarat government on Wednesday announced a relief package of ₹700 crore for the farmers in the state, whose crops have been damaged due to excess rains this year.Talking to reporters, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the move would benefit over four lakh farmers in the State.Farmers in Gujarat witnessed damage to their crops due to excess rains that lashed the state even after the monsoon season officially ended.“The cabinet meeting held today decided to declare a relief package for farmers who have faced crop losses due to excess rains in the last week of October and early part of November,” Mr. Patel said.“We have decided to give a relief package of ₹700 crore for the farmers. The main crops that have been damaged are groundnut, cotton and rice…Over four lakh farmers will benefit from this package,” he said.The relief package will be over and above the crop insurance that the companies will provide to the farmers who under the insurance cover. The relief will be given as per the rules of the Central government’s Calamity Relief Fund, Mr. Patel said.According to him, a survey is being carried out in different parts of the state to assess the crop damage and it will soon be completed.“Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had promised to provide relief to all the farmers even if they have not taken crop insurance. To keep that promise to the farmers in the state, this relief package has been announced,” he said.However, the opposition Congress termed the relief package to farmers as a mere “lollypop” and asked the state government to provide crop insurance to them.The Gujarat government’s announcement came at a time when Congress leader Hardik Patel was about to end his day- long symbolic fast at Paddhari in Rajkot district over the issue of crop insurance and farm loan waiver in the wake of unseasonal rains.“Farmers are committing suicide as they are not paid 100 per cent crop insurance. While we welcome the government’s move (relief package), we want prompt disbursement of crop insurance,” Hardik said.“The BJP government was forced to announce a package of ₹700 crore because of the Congress. We will continue our fight for the farmers in the coming days,” he added.Congress MLA Lalit Kagathara, who accompanied Hardik during the fast, claimed that the relief package would hardly cover the actual losses incurred by the farmers.“This package is just another lollypop by the BJP government. As per the package, a farmer would get ₹2,000 to ₹1,000 per bigha as compensation. You can hardly cover the cost of hiring two labourers in that money. This announcement is misleading. Farmers must get 100 per cent payment towards the loss of their crop,” the legislator said.
China on Tuesday launched its first aircraft carrier, propelling its fast expanding navy’s blue-water capability beyond its territorial waters at a time when the neighbourhood is witnessing high-voltage tensions in Sino-Japan ties.The 60,000 tonne carrier, a former Soviet ship brought from Ukraine and later refurbished locally is named Liaoning, after a Chinese province liberated from Japanese occupation in 1945, in what can be seen as another symbolic warning to Tokyo.After the commission ceremony, President Hu boarded Liaoning and inspected the Navy’s guard of honour.China’s ties with Japan have plunged over an escalating diplomatic row over disputed islands in the East China Sea, and the country remains embroiled in a number of disputes with countries like the Philippines and Vietnam in the resource-rich South China Sea.The 300-metre carrier would raise the overall operational strength of the Chinese navy and help China to effectively protect national sovereignty, security and development interests, the defence ministry said in a statement.The carrier is capable of accommodating 33 fixed wing aircraft, according to the official media in Beijing.China says it is an experimental carrier and plans to construct three more.According to earlier reports, China will be deploying J-15 fighters, stated to be a home made variant of Russia’s Su-33 to operate from the carrier.Military officers stand onboard China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning in Dalian.The carrier, formerly known as the Soviet ship Varyag, underwent about seven years of refitting efforts to install engines, weapons, as well as a year-long sea trial.With its commencement China has become the tenth country in the world and the last among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to have an aircraft carrier in active service.advertisementThe defence ministry said the vessel will increase China’s capacity to defend itself and “cooperate on the high seas in dealing with non-traditional security threats”.The handing over ceremony was overseen by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao at a naval base in northeast China’s city of Dalian. Both the leaders will be retiring by the end of this year.Hu, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), endorsed a PLA flag and naming certificate to the naval unit that received the carrier.The aircraft carrier Liaoning is a landmark in China’s modernisation of armed forces.The ship will “be of great and far-reaching significance in inspiring patriotism, national spirit and driving national defence technologies,” Wen said, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.”It will also be of great significance in enhancing national defence power and the country’s comprehensive strength,” Wen said.”China’s development of an aircraft carrier was an important strategic decision made by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission,” Wen said.”The delivery and commission of the first carrier is a milestone in the PLA’s history and embodies a major achievement of China’s weaponry and equipment development, as well as its national defense modernisation,” he said.After the commission ceremony, Hu boarded the Liaoning, which was in full dress, and inspected the Navy’s guard of honour.The two leaders later came to the carrier’s flight deck and went around cabins where they interacted with sailors, scientists and engineers who developed the carrier.According to the CMC, after being commissioned to the Navy, the Liaoning will continue to serve for scientific research purposes as well as military training.In a separate commentary, Xinhua said the carrier poses no threat to world peace.The aircraft carrier, ‘Liaoning’, is a landmark in the country’s modernisation of armed forces and national defence and poses no threat to other countries, it said.The commentary pointed out that China had more than 18,000 km of coastline and three million square km of territorial waters and the carrier was a reasonable choice.China will not join any arms race, pose a threat to other countries or exceed its national and economic strength to develop arms, it said.”There is no need of panic about whether China has an aircraft carrier or how many aircraft carriers it will have,” the commentary said.
Share1NEWS RELEASEDavid Ruth713firstname.lastname@example.orgMike Williams713email@example.comRice U. reports progress in pursuit of sickle cell cureBioengineer Gang Bao uses gene editing to repair up to 40 percent of bone marrow cells from patientsAUSTIN – (Feb. 16, 2018) – Scientists have successfully used gene editing to repair 20 to 40 percent of stem and progenitor cells taken from the peripheral blood of patients with sickle cell disease, according to Rice University bioengineer Gang Bao. Return to article. Long DescriptionGang BaoBao, in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and Stanford University, is working to find a cure for the hereditary disease. A single DNA mutation causes the body to make sticky, crescent-shaped red blood cells that contain abnormal hemoglobin and can block blood flow in limbs and organs.In his talk at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Austin today, Bao revealed results from a series of tests to see whether CRISPR/Cas9-based editing can fix the mutation. His presentation was part of a scientific session titled “Gene Editing and Human Identity: Promising Advances and Ethical Challenges.”“Sickle cell disease is caused by a single mutation in the beta-globin gene (in the stem cell’s DNA),” he said. “The idea is to correct that particular mutation, and then stem cells that have the correction would differentiate into normal blood cells, including red blood cells. Those will then be healthy blood cells.”Bao’s lab collaborated with Vivien Sheehan, an assistant professor of pediatrics and hematology at Baylor and a member of the sickle cell program at Texas Children’s, to collect stem and progenitor cells (CD34-positive cells) from patients with the disease. These were then edited in the Bao lab with CRISPR/Cas9 together with a custom template, a piece of DNA designed to correct the mutation.The gene-edited cells were injected into the bone marrow of immunodeficient mice and tested after 19 weeks to see how many retained the edit. “The rate of repair remained stable, which is great,” Bao said. This engraftment study was carried out in the lab of Matt Porteus, an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford.Another major finding of the study is that the CRISPR/Cas9 system could introduce large alterations to the genes in patients’ cells, in addition to small mutations or deletions. These off-target effects could cause a disease.The findings, part of an upcoming paper, are a step toward treating sickle cell disease. Obstacles in the way of a cure include optimizing the CRISPR/Cas9 system to eliminate off-target effects, as well as finding a way to further increase the amount of gene-corrected stem cells.Bao pointed out that researchers still don’t know whether repairing as much as 40 percent of the cells is enough to cure a patient. “We’d like to say, ‘Yes,’” he said, “but we don’t really know yet. That’s something we hope to learn from an eventual clinical trial.”Bao is Rice’s Foyt Family Professor of Bioengineering.-30-Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related materials:Gang Bao: http://bao.rice.eduResearch Laboratory of Vivien Sheehan: http://txch.org/research/laboratories/vivien-sheehan-md-phd/Research Laboratory of Matt Porteus: http://med.stanford.edu/porteuslab.htmlImage for download: Return to article. Long Description http://news.rice.edu/files/2018/01/0219_BAO-1-WEB-22usgjb.jpgCAPTION: Gang Bao. (Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,970 undergraduates and 2,934 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for happiest students by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview. Gang Bao FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis Gang Bao