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FILE - A herd of elephants walk past a watering hole in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, Oct. 14, 2014. VOA

The group that regulates the global trade of wildlife has approved a nearly complete ban on the capture and transfer of wild African elephants to zoos, despite strong opposition from the United States and some African countries.

Member nations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Geneva approved the near total ban Tuesday after heated debate.

A version of the ban that was slightly weakened by the European Union was approved after it was cleared by a required two-thirds majority vote.

The ban prohibits the transfer of all captured wild African elephants to so-called captive facilities, such zoos, circuses and other entertainment venues. The ban restricts the trade of elephants caught in the wild from Zimbabwe and Botswana to off-site conservation locations or secure areas in their natural habitats.

FILE – Visitors watch an elephant at the Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin, July 3, 2019. VOA

The EU amendments included a loophole that allows the transfer of the elephants in “exceptional circumstances” and “in emergency situations” that require consultation with the CITES Animals Committee and the elephant specialist group the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The amendment also states that wild caught elephants already in zoos could be transferred to other facilities outside of Africa.

The U.S. opposed the original and the revised proposals.

Zimbabwe, which has captured and exported more than 100 baby elephants to Chinese zoos in the last seven years according to the Humane Society International, also opposed the decision.

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Humane Society International/Africa director Audrey Delsink praised the vote as “momentous” despite the EU’s “compromised language.”

“Public sentiment is shifting, and people are increasingly outraged at the senseless and cruel practice of snatching baby elephants from the wild to live a life as a zoo exhibit,” Delsink added.

CITES previously banned the trade of elephants in western, central and eastern Africa, citing the need for protection. Some trade, however, has been allowed in southern Africa, where elephant populations are healthier. (VOA)



As the economy continues to recover from the prolonged pandemic.

By Rohit Vaid
The Centre might bestow infrastructure as well as industry status to new sectors to boost several pandemic hit industries in the upcoming Union Budget. Industry insiders said that several sectors and sub-industries such as hospitality, automobile retail, specific diganotics facilities and companies engaged in installation of EV charging stations amongst others might get the status.
The infra tag will enable these sectors to avail tax breaks, incentives and credit on lower interest rates. "Sectors which are in greenfield or which would need capex augmentation to help them overcome the pandemic can be looked from the lens of an infrastructure sector," said Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, Director and Practice Leader, Transport & Logistics, Crisil Infrastructure Advisory. "Also many of the already identified sectors need a sustained policy push which will help them get visibility both in terms of quantum and the time period of applicability."

Till now, activities associated with laying of power and telecom transmission and distribution lines, roads, highways, railways and construction of facilities such as hospitals, affordable housing, power generation units, water treatment plants, SEZs and certain type of hotels amongst others were given such status.

Besides, these sectors are a part of harmonised master list for infrastructure sub-sectors. However, in April 2021, exhibition-cum-convention centre was included in the list. "Given the focus around electric vehicle, and need for significant investment in charging stations, if the government adds the sector in infrastructure list, the benefits arising out of it will be significant," said Vishal Kotecha, Director, India Ratings and Research. "Infra tag on sectors increases ability to raise funds, access to dedicated funds and lenders, foreign capital, lower interest rates among others."

Electric car Given the focus on electric vehicles, the advantages of including the industry in the infrastructure list will be enormous. Free SVG

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A team is working to produce safest medicine for covid treatment.

A team led by chief scientist Ravi Shankar, is working on two combinations to provide the safest medication to coronavirus patients. "Experts say that a combination of antivirals with different mechanisms can be more effective to counter the viral pandemic. We are working on two combinations - Umifenovir with Molnupiravir (an antiviral) and Umifenovir with Niclosamide (anti-parasitic)," he said.

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Molnupiravur drug has received only Emergency Use Authorisation in India and abroad. Though its usage showed reduced hospitalisation during clinical trials, its biggest drawback are the side-effects, he added.

"Now, we are trying to keep a low dosage of Molnupiravir in its combination with Umifenovir which may weed out the side-effects such as the risk of cartilage and muscle damage. If successful, it will make Umifenovir more effective in Covid-19 treatment," said the chief scientist. The other combination is Umifenovir with Niclosamide.

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Take a moment to reflect on how much more there is to be thankful for in this life than there is to be sad about.

"Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced."
– Soren Kierkegaard

No matter what obstacles life throws at you, it always creates a means to overcome them, whether via determination, persistence, or both. With so many things going on in our lives, it is easy to forget to be grateful for the valuable life that we have been given. To remind people of the value of life, it was determined that there should be a day when people take a close look at their lives and be appreciative of the experiences and memories it has brought us.

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