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Brussels/Athens: An emergency Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on the Greek debt deal ended inconclusive on Tuesday, with lenders saying that they expected to discuss Greece’s proposals on Wednesday during a Eurogroup teleconference.
The finance ministers of euro zone countries didn’t receive new proposals they had expected from Greece on Tuesday, Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said after the crucial meeting.
“We welcome our new Greek colleague and listen to his assessment of situation after the ‘no’ vote in Greece,” he said in a short statement, adding that there are no new proposals from new Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, Xinhua reported.
“The Greek government will send a new request letter for European Stability Mechanism (ESM) support, as soon as it comes in, I am hopeful that tomorrow morning we will have another conference call in the Eurogroup to formally start the process of dealing with the request,” Dijsselbloem said.
He noted that the group will ask the European Union institutions to look at the financial situation in Greece.
“And then the institutions will come back to us, and we will see whether we can formally start the negotiations,” he said.
However, Greek government sources dismissed the criticism, insisting that Greece’s new Finance Minister Tsakalotos had in fact presented proposals.
“Is the problem that we do not have proposals, or that they do not like our proposals? ” a government source asked, according to the Greek national news agency AMNA.
The Greek side stressed that Greece’s proposals had been rejected again.
The statements from both sides were made as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was holding a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in Brussels ahead of the extraordinary euro zone summit which convenes later on Tuesday on the Greek issue.
According to government sources in Athens, the Greek side is requesting a two-year, 29-billion-euro-worth ($32 billion) bailout programme through the ESM.
Meanwhile, several European partners prefer a bridge agreement for a few months first in exchange for the swift implementation of reforms by the Greek side as a test before a comprehensive deal is discussed.
Officials and analysts from both sides warn that the situation is perilous. Greek banks are closed and capital controls have been imposed in Greece since June 29, ATMs are expected to run out of cash this week, and without emergency assistance, Greece seems to be heading to default and possibly an exit from the euro zone.
Since July 1, Greece has been in arrears to the International Monetary Fund and needs to repay 3.5 billion euros in loan installments to the European Central Bank by July 20.
Earlier in the day, European Commission (EC) president Jean-Claude Juncker called on partners to put “egos” aside and return to the negotiation table to avoid a “Grexit”.
“We have to put our little egos, and in my case very large ego, away and we have to deal with the situation we face,” Juncker said.
The US urged “a compromise” between Athens and international creditors and suggested a package of reforms and financing.
“The referendum is over, but our view here at the White House remains the same… it will require both a package of financing and reforms that will allow Greece to achieve, or at least be on a path towards some debt sustainability, but also be on a path towards economic growth,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that an eventual Grexit from the eurozone would put the economic recovery of the European bloc on edge and likely trigger political instability in the region.
“France is convinced that we cannot take the risk of a Greek exit from the eurozone for economic reasons but mainly for political ones. It is Europe that is in question,” the French premier told RTL radio.
Following the Eurogroup group meeting, a euro zone EU leaders emergency summit was underway in Brussels, Belgium, to find a way for an agreement between Athens and its creditors.
Winters in India have always beckoned for that hot, steaming bowl of tomato and pepper rasam or the mellow, millet based Raab. Certain dishes like sarson ka saag, undhiyu, nimona pulao are winter specialites in the country. Seasonal food has always been an Indian speciality -- we switch our choice in fruits, vegetables, sometimes even grains with the onset of different season. The preference of using specific ingredients during certain climates is visible in our sweets as well. It's common to find local and traditional delicacies made of jaggery, instead of sugar during the winters. Case in point -- the Nolen Gur Rasgulla, a speciality made in Odisha and West Bengal between November to February.
Celebrity chef, Sanjeev Kapoor, strongly advocates this need of eating seasonal produce. He says, "The beauty of our food is in our seasonal usage of fruits and vegetables. If you realise, Gajar ka halwa is made aplenty during winters as this is the season when beautiful red carrots hit the market or mango pickle is made during summer, thanks to its availability. Despite people and sometimes, even me, suggesting that we should eat fresh as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables, we do not know what chemicals are sprayed on them to keep them safe while they are growing. When this produce hits the market, there isn't a certifying agency like the FSSAI that will help people understand what vegetables and fruits are free of pesticides and germs and which ones don't. Hence, the onus lies on us to make them safe for consumption. ITC's Nimwash is a good solution."
When it comes to winters, the Chef recommends eating these fruit and vegetables:
* Purple Mogri -- Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country. But you can spot them during the winters in local markets in northern India where women pick them up to make raitas, curries and stir fries. Rich in magnesium, calcium and copper, the vegetable is known to aid people from digestive problems.
Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country, but you can spot them during the winters | Pixabay
* Sweet Potato -- A re-discovered favourite, Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. With its diverse addition in burgers, chips and even chat, the root vegetable is filled with nutrients such as fibres and vitamins.
Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. | Wikimedia Commons
* Avarekalu -- Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. Bangalore is famed for its Averakalu mela during the winter months, where you can find these beans in dosas, Pani puri and even Jalebis! Thronged by crowds from all over the city, the food fest is a gourmand's delight.
Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. | Wikimedia Commons
* Amla -- The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. High in Vitamin C, it is known to be immunity building and extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. There are multiple ways to eat Amla -- it is pickled, made into a fruit preserve called as Murraba or even eaten by sprinkling salt over it.
The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. | Pixabay
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: winter, Sanjeev Kapoor, chef, Indian gooseberry, Sweet Potato, Radish pods
Just three minutes of exposure to deep red light once a week, when delivered in the morning, can significantly improve declining eyesight, finds a new study. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, found there was, on average, a 17 per cent improvement in participants' colour contrast vision when exposed to three minutes of 670 nanometre (long wavelength) deep red light in the morning and the effects of this single exposure lasted for at least a week.
However, when the same test was conducted in the afternoon, no improvement was seen. "We demonstrate that one single exposure to long wave deep red light in the morning can significantly improve declining vision, which is a major health and wellbeing issue, affecting millions of people globally," said lead author, Glen Jeffery from the University College London.
Using a provided LED device, all participants were exposed to three minutes of 670nm deep red light in the morning between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m | Photo by Hush Naidoo Jade Photography on Unsplash
For the study, the team involved a small yet significant number of participants aged between 34 and 70, had no ocular disease, completed a questionnaire regarding eye health prior to testing, and had normal colour vision (cone function). This was assessed using a 'Chroma Test' -- identifying coloured letters that had very low contrast and appeared increasingly blurred, a process called colour contrast.
Using a provided LED device, all participants were exposed to three minutes of 670nm deep red light in the morning between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Their colour vision was then tested again three hours post exposure and 10 of the participants were also tested one week post exposure. On average there was a 'significant' 17 per cent improvement in colour vision, which lasted a week in tested participants; in some older participants, there was a 20 per cent improvement, also lasting a week.
A few months on from the first test (ensuring any positive effects of the deep red light had been 'washed out') few participants, carried out the same test in the afternoon, between 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. When participants then had their colour vision tested again, it showed zero improvement. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Deep red light, therapy, eye sight, study,chroma test
As the world reopens after 18-20 months of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, a new variant of the coronavirus -- called B.1.1.529 -- has been identified in South Africa that has left the scientific community worried, as they fear that this new strain could fuel outbreaks in several countries and cripple health systems once again. Over 100 cases have been detected in South Africa, where the new strain is slowly becoming the dominant one.
Here are five things you should know about this deadly super Covid variant that has forced a number of countries, including the UK, Israel, Italy and Singapore, to restrict travel from South Africa and other countries in the region.
1. According to South African health officials, the 'B.1.1.529' variant has many more mutations than scientists expected, especially after a severe third wave, which was driven by the Delta variant. Many of the mutations are of concern for immune evasion and transmissibility.
2. B.1.1.529 carries a high number of mutations in its spike protein, which plays a key role in the virus' entry into cells in the human body. The B.1.1.529 variant has 50 mutations overall, including more than 30 on the spike protein alone which is the target of most current Covid vaccines.
The new strain "likely evolved during a chronic infection of an immuno-compromised person, possibly in an untreated HIV/AIDS patient".| Flickr
3. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it will take a few weeks to understand the impact of the new variant. Scientists have said it is the most heavily mutated version yet, which means vaccines, which were designed using the original strain from Wuhan in China, may not be as effective. The WHO has called a meeting to discuss B.1.1.529 and decide if it will be officially designated a variant of concern.
4. First identified in South Africa this week, the strain has spread to nearby countries, including Botswana. Israel has identified a case of a Covid-19 variant with a large number of mutations "in a person who returned from Malawi". Two cases have been detected in Hong Kong. India has called for rigorous screening of passengers from South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong.
5. There are still speculations floating around the variant's origin. According to Francois Balloux, Director of the London-based UCL Genetics Institute, the new strain "likely evolved during a chronic infection of an immuno-compromised person, possibly in an untreated HIV/AIDS patient". (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: pandemic, Delta, Lethal, B.1.1.529, New COVID Strain