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AUGUST 1, 2017

‘Methanol a clean, cheaper fuel’

  • Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday held a high-level stakeholders meeting to deliberate upon a strategy to use methanol as an alternative fuel in automobiles.

‘Import substitution’

  • “Methanol economy will help India use its vast reserves of coal while driving import substitution. Research in converting carbon dioxide to methanol is promising and can be a game-changer for methanol economy,
  • “Mr. Gadkari stressed on the use of local or indigenous materials for production of fuel like making ethanol from agriculture produce or waste and from coal,”
  • In its presentation, Niti Aayog said methanol is a promising fuel for waterways as it is clean, cheaper than fossil fuels and a good substitute for heavy fuels.
  • India imports methanol from Saudi Arabia and Iran at present

‘Economic sense’

  • “All stakeholders agreed that methanol is a promising fuel used in many parts of the world. While in most countries it is being made from natural gas, for India it makes much more economic sense to use locally available coal,”

Roll-out of GM mustard will be challenged, says SC

  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar prima facie noted that the court would hear pleas highlighting the health hazards involved in case the government frames a policy favouring the release of GM mustard seeds into the market. In short, such a policy would have to survive judicial scrutiny.
  • The Bench had urged that an injunction order should be passed — either by the court or by the government — if it was found that GM mustard affected the health and lives with impact spread over to future generations.

Chemical from turmeric helps treat cancer in children

  • Scientists in the U.S. have found yet another use for curcumin, the bioactive component of turmeric that is widely used in Indian cuisine, this time to treat cancer in children.
  • Researchers at Nemours Children’s Hospital and the University of Central Florida (UCF) have found that nanoparticles loaded with curcumin can target and destroy neuroblastoma tumour cells. Children aged five or less are most commonly affected.
  • Curcumin has been shown to have substantial anti-cancer ability, but its low solubility and poor stability have restricted its use in therapeutic applications.
  • The study demonstrates a treatment method “without the toxicity of agressive therapy” and shows that nanoparticles can be “an effective delivery vehicle” for cancer drugs, said a statement from UCF.

Minor transgression by China

  • Even as the Indian and Chinese troops are in a standoff along the Sikkim border, Indian officials have reported a transgression by the Chinese border troops along the Uttarakhand border.
  • “It was a minor transgression, and it happens regularly during summer, because of our differing border perceptions,” a senior Army officer said.
  • Barahoti is one of the rare areas in the Middle Sector that sees regular transgressions because of difference of perception over the border between the two sides. Last year, around the same time when people reported Chinese troops, local authorities were rushed to the spot where Chinese had come in a vehicle. There have been occasional reports of Chinese helicopters violating the border.