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Evening New Digest: 23 Feb 2018

Revised India-Kenya Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement notified

  • India notified the revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) signed with Kenya on February 19, 2018.
  • The revised DTAA provides for reduction in withholding tax rates from 15% to 10% on dividends, from 15% to 10% on interest, from 20% to 10% on royalties and from 17.5% to 10% on fees for management, professional and technical services.
  • It also provides for a new Article on Limitation of Benefits to allow treaty benefits to bonafide residents of both countries, to combat treaty abuse by third country residents and to allow application of domestic law to prevent tax avoidance or evasion.
  • The DTAA with Kenya was first signed in 1985. It was again revised and a new agreement was signed on July 11, 2016.
  • Impact: It will improve transparency in tax matters, help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance, remove double taxation and will stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between India and Kenya.

Railways launched three digital supplier’s bill

  • In order to improve transparency, the Railway Ministry has launched digitalized supplier’s bills, viz., Digital Receipt Note, Receipted Challan & Digital Bill Submission.
  • The move will help enhance Railway-Vendor relationship, improve efficiency and promote Ease of Doing Business.
  • These supplier’s bill were launched ‘Suppliers’ Samvad – Journey towards Digitisation, Transparency & Ease of Doing Business”.
  • Supplier’s Samvad was organized by Railways Ministry in association with RITES Ltd. and The Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM).

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IIsc develops supercritical CO2 Brayton test loop facility

  • Scientists from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore have indigenously developed a supercritical Carbon Dioxide (S-CO2) Brayton test loop facility for generating clean energy from future power plants, including solar thermal.
  • S-CO2 is state of carbon dioxide above its critical temperature of 31°C and critical pressure of 73 atmospheres, which makes it twice as dense as steam and increases efficiency of energy conversion by as much as 50% or more.
  • The facility is part of Indo-US consortium- Solar Energy Research Institute for India and United States (SERIIUS). The technology is perhaps the first test loop coupled with solar heat source in the world.
  • The next generation, efficient, compact and waterless S-CO2 power plants will replace steam based nuclear and thermal power plants, thus reducing the carbon foot print significantly.
  • Today’s thermal power plants use steam to carry heat away from the source and turn a turbine to generate power. However, it could generate more power if, instead of steam, (SCO2) is used.

US wins Ice Hockey Gold at Winter Olympics 2018 

  • The US won the gold medal of Women’s Ice Hockey at 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, thus breaking the 20-year medal drought. They last won the medal in 1998 Nagano Games.
  • To win the medal, the women team defeated Canada in the final in dramatic shootout.
  • Canada had won four straight Olympic Golds, three times beating the United States in the final including twice in overtime.

Parrikar presents Rs 17,123-crore Goa budget

  • Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar presented in the state assembly a Rs 17,123-crore budget for 2018-19, an increase of 6.84 per cent over the fiscal 2017-18, with a stress on education and job creation. 
  • As per the Economic Survey 2017-18 tabled in the assembly, the gross state domestic product (GSDP) for 2017-18 is provisionally estimated to be Rs 70,257 crore, a growth of around 10 per cent over the previous fiscal. 

India to host 1st International Solar Alliance summit

  • India will host the first International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit on March 11, 2018 which will be attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
  • It aims to meet the growing energy demand and fight climate change by deploying over 1,000 Gigawatt of solar energy and mobilising more than USD 1,000 billion investments into solar power mostly in developing countries by 2030.
  • 48 countries have signed the framework agreement and 19 of them have ratified it.

Precision cancer therapy works in 3/4 of patients: study

  • In a study conducted in the US, it has been found that three-quarters of patients covered in the study responded well to precision cancer therapy.
  • A precision cancer treatment targets rare genetic mutations that exist in many people instead of the tumor’s location in the body.
  • In this particular study covering 55 patients (age range 4 months to 76 years) were administered medicine, called larotrectinib.
  • Larotrectinib has been made by Loxo Oncology of Stamford, Connecticut and was granted breakthrough therapy designation by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2016.
  • Taken orally once or twice a day, it interferes with an on-switch for cancer growth caused by an acquired genetic defect, known as tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) fusions.

1st night trial of Prithvi-II missile successfully conducted

  • First night trial of nuclear-capable surface-to-surface short-range ballistic Prithvi-II missile was successfully conducted from Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha.
  • It is first missile to be indigenously developed by DRDO under India’s prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). It was inducted into Army in 2003.
  • The tactical missile is capable of attacking targets at range of 350 km. It is capable of carrying 500 to 1,000 kg of nuclear as well as conventional warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines.

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India, Indonesia joint military drill begins

  • The Indian and Indonesian armies began the sixth edition of their annual military exercise named 'Garuda Shakti' in Bandung, Indonesia.
  •  It is a two-week long joint Military drill, which will include experience sharing in counter-terrorism operations, close quarter combat, and other areas of special operations.
  • Its first edition was conducted in the year 2012 in India with an aim to build and promote positive relations between the two Armies of India and Indonesia.

 Kerala makes vaccination compulsory for school admissions

  • The Kerala cabinet approved a draft Medical Policy which makes vaccination compulsory for school admissions.
  • Students seeking admission to schools now have to show their vaccination card before the admission process begins.
  • Other major highlights in the Medical draft policy include autonomy for state run medical colleges, a mandate for primary health centres in the state to function until 6 pm, and special clinics for transgender persons.
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