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EU, India to take stock of FTA negotiations

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Brussels: A top trade official of the European Union (EU) said on Tuesday that negotiators from India and the EU will meet in September to take stock of negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA), which have been in limbo since 2013.

Photo Credit: www.computing.co.uk
Photo Credit: www.computing.co.uk

“We started negotiations on a free trade agreement with India few years ago. We had different levels of ambitions, so it has been paused for quite some time,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters here.

Malmstrom said that she met India’s Minister of State (MoS) for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman in Paris earlier this year to discuss the issue.

“We discussed that the chief negotiators’ teams would meet in September to take stock of the progress made and whether there is a similar level of ambition to restart the talks. That doesn’t mean it will resume immediately. There will be a stock-taking meeting I think in the first week of September,” she said.

India and the EU have been negotiating the bilateral free trade and investment agreement since June 2007, but after 12 rounds of talks the negotiations were brought to a standstill in 2013.

According to the European Commission, outstanding issues concern market access for some goods, the overall ambition of the services package, and a meaningful chapter on government procurement and sustainable development.

(IANS)

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Low Cure Rate For Childhood Cancer in India: Experts

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner

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Health insurance covers only for hospitalization and doesn’t necessarily cover the medical expenses incurred for the treatment of major illnesses. flickr

Childhood cancer comprises almost 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India, experts said here on Friday, expressing concern over the low cure rate due to lack of available data.

“The disturbing reality is that the cure rate of pediatric cancer is almost 80 per cent in the developed countries. When we see the data from major cancer centres, it actually can match up to the Western standard but this data is not enough,” Haemato-Oncologist Vivek Agarwala said at an awareness programme conducted by Narayana Superspecialty Hospital, Howrah.

According to the Indian Council for Medical Research, cancer in children constitutes approximately 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India.

Agarwala said a large portion of the incidence of childhood cancer in society is still not addressed.

Cancer survivor. Flickr

Also, a large section who don’t have access to premier institutes are often diagnosed late due to financial crunch and that is why the overall treatment rate in India is low.

“Probably, the government and society at large are not considering it a big problem as it is just around 5 per cent. We are always campaigning for breast and cervical cancers,” Agarwala said.

“We must remember this 5 per cent of cancer is majorly curable if given proper treatment,” he said.

Leukaemia and retinoblastoma (a form of cancer where children have a white eye) are the two common forms of cancer in children.

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Talking about awareness and symptoms that parents need to watch out for, he said: “Symptoms are different for different cancers, but children who have cancer have poor growth, poor weight gain and decreased appetite. One must get their children evaluated on seeing these symptoms”.

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner. (IANS)