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FILE - A large American crocodile is shown in Homestead, Florida, Nov. 16, 2011. VOA

A World Wildlife Conference is wrapping up Wednesday, after adopting dozens of resolutions aimed at protecting some of the reported 1 million animal and plant species threatened with extinction.

CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also has revised the trade rules for dozens of wildlife species whose sustainability is threatened by overharvesting, overfishing or overhunting, and has expanded the capacity to fight illegal trade.

CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said illegal traders remain a threat, and praised the actions taken by representatives at the conference to combat the growing menace posed by the rapid pace with which wildlife crime is moving online.

“For example, you adopted decisions on strengthening enforcement efforts for tortoises and freshwater turtles,” she said. “You will also support efforts to tackle illegal trade in the sub-regions of West and Central Africa. This illegal trade affects elephant ivory and species such as pangolins, parrots and rosewood. Another important decision was to establish the CITES Big Cat Task Force.”

A World Wildlife Conference is wrapping up Wednesday, after adopting dozens of resolutions aimed at protecting some of the reported 1 million animal. Pixabay

The mandate of that task force, she said, is to improve enforcement, tackle illegal trade and promote collaboration on conserving tigers, lions, cheetahs, jaguars and leopards. The illegal trade in wildlife is estimated to be worth up to $20 billion a year.

Higuero said more needs to be done to assist countries in strengthening their criminal justice systems, adding that more vigorous action will have to be taken to combat wildlife crime linked to the internet.

“I am pleased to note that CITES has now started to open a new digital front, both to more effectively regulate legal trade and to combat illegal trade,” she said. “This will lead to more efficient border controls using modern technology-based approaches, such as electronic risk management and targeted inspections.”

CITES noted that vicuna populations in Bolivia, Peru and parts of Argentina have been revived through sustainable use. As a result, the conference downlisted a regional vicuna population in Argentina to permit sustainable trade, instead of banning all commercial trade in the species.

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The recovery of the American crocodile population of Mexico, which is seen as another conservation success, has been similarly downlisted. (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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MEA Jaishankar instructed Indian envoys to Canada and the US, "to urgently respond to the situation."

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Friday instructed Indian envoys to Canada and the US, Ajay Bisaria and Taranjit Singh Sandhu, "to urgently respond to the situation" where four Indian nationals including an infant have lost their lives on the US-Canada border. The minister said this in a public tweet. Neither of the two missions have responded on the microblogging site till the time of filing of this report.

In a statement Thursday without identifying the victims, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) stated that "on the morning of January 19, 2022, RCMP officers with the Integrated Border Enforcement Team received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States".

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) RCMP officers received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States.Wikipedia

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