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‘Fidelito’ commits suicide

The eldest son of late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, committed suicide on Thursday aged 68 after being treated for months for depression, Cuban state-run media reported.His death came just over a year after that of his father on Nov. 26, 2016, aged 90.
Castro Diaz-Balart, nick name “Fidelito” because of how much he looked like his father, been hospitalized for depression and then continued treatment as an outpatient.
“Castro Diaz-Balart, cared by group of doctors for several months due to a state of profound depression, committed suicide this morning,” Cubadebate website said.
Fidelito was born in 1949 out of his father’s brief marriage to Mirta Diaz-Balart before he went on to topple a U.S.-backed dictator and build a communist-run state on the doorstep of the United States during the Cold War.
A nuclear physicist,studied in the former Soviet Union, Castro Diaz-Balart had been working as a scientific counsellor to the Cuban Council of State and Vice-president of the Cuban Academy of Sciences at the time of his death.
From 1980 to 1992, he was head of Cuba’s national nuclear program and spearheaded the development of a nuclear plant on the Caribbean’s largest island until his father fired him.
Cuba halted its plant plans that same year because of a lack of funding after the collapse of Cuba’s trade and aid ties with the ex-Soviet bloc and Castro Diaz-Balart largely disappeared from public view, appearing at the occasional scientific conference.

May tossed 9 bn pounds in China deals

Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister Theresa May have agreed to hold a joint trade and investment review. This would be the first step towards an ambitious future trade agreement after Brexit, May’s office said on Thursday. “The PM said that, once Britain leaves the EU, we will be free to strike our own trade deals,” according to the statement. Xi and May agreed in Beijing to hold more talks on China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. Xi said China’s markets would be further opened to the UK, including in sectors such as beef, dairy and other agricultural goods, Reuters reported.
 
British Prime Minister Theresa May left China on Friday with deals worth more than 9.3 billion pounds ($13.26 billion), at the end of a three-trade trade mission where President Xi Jinping pledged to upgrade their “golden era” in relations.
 
Britain is trying to reinvent the chief  global trading nation after a 2016 referendum decision to leave the European Union.China, the world’s second-largest economy, is on the list of countries that Britain wants to sign a FTA soon.
 
Speaking at a business summit in China’s commercial capital Shanghai, May said Britain was keen to help bring Xi’s vision for globalisation and a more open Chinese economy to life.“Meanwhile, the UK is preparing to leave the European Union. We’re seizing the opportunity to become an ever-more outward-looking Global Britain, deepening our trade relations with nations around the world – including China,” she said.
 
Chinese investment is helping Britain develop infrastructure and create jobs, with some 50,000 British businesses importing goods from China and more than 10,000 sell their goods to China, she added.
 
“We’ve agreed on moves to bring more of the UK’s internationally renowned food and drink to China, to open up the market to some of Britain’s world-class financial services providers,” May said.
 
The 9.3 billion pounds in deals will create over 2,500 jobs across the United Kingdom, the British government said.
 
Britain’s financial services firms alone secured deals worth more than 1 billion pounds and market access, that would lead to 890 jobs, it said, without giving details.
 
China sees Britain as an important ally in its call for more open global markets, despite widespread concerns in the foreign business community about the difficulty of operating in China, and both countries refer to a “golden era” in relations.
 
Xi told May the two countries should “add new meaning into the bilateral ties so as to forge an enhanced version of the ‘Golden Era’,” according to state-run media.
 
China appreciative of Britain’s enthusiasm for the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Xi’s Belt and Road initiative to build a new Silk Road.
 
On Friday, edition of the People’s Daily said Britain had shown “intelligence and pragmatism” in supporting Belt and Road.
 
“It is a model for other Western nations,” it said.
 
But Brexit has unnerved Beijing, concerned about losing an important voice supporting free trade in the European Union and what it may mean for market access to Europe for Chinese firms which have invested in Britain.
 
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told May on Wednesday that China’s relations with Britain will remain unchanged through Brexit.

Alibaba net profit soars

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Thursday posted a 35 percent surge in net profit in the third quarter, fuelled by a record-breaking sales bonanza during its annual Singles Day shopping festival.
The company said profit jumped to 24.1 billion yuan ($3.7 billion) between October and December, compared to 17.9 billion yuan in the same quarter in 2016.
Alibaba runs an annual promotion on November 11 that draws the country’s growing consumer class which can buy an array of products at the click of a button on their smartphones.
Last year’s event recorded 168.2 billion yuan ($25.9 billion) in payments, a 39 percent increase from the 2016 festival.
Rivals such as JD.com had also reported brisk business on November 11.
“Alibaba had another great quarter driven by the continued strength of the Chinese consumer and the wide and innovative range of services we provide for merchants and consumers,” Alibaba chief executive Daniel Zhang said in an earnings report.
“We are excited by the continued momentum in new retail, which came to life during another record-breaking 11.11 Global Shopping Festival,” Zhang said.
Alibaba, which has made billionaire founder Jack Ma one of China’s richest men and a global e-commerce icon, has been on a roll, regularly beating revenue estimates.
The New York-listed company said revenue jumped 56 percent to 83 billion yuan ($12.76 billion) in the quarter.
The shopping platform also continued to attract new customers to its platform, the key to maintaining its dominance in China, where trends and shopping preferences can shift quickly.
The number of active consumers on its retail marketplaces reached a new high of 515 million, the company said, an increase of 27 million from the 12-month period ended September 30, 2017.
Also on Thursday, Alibaba announced it would formally take a stake in its affiliated business unit, Ant Financial which operates the massively popular Ali Pay mobile payment application and credit scoring unit Sesame Credit, among other financial services businesses.
Alibaba said it would take a 33 percent stake in Ant Financial, controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, which had been held as a separate company but part of the Alibaba Group.
Alibaba said it would acquire newly issued shares from Ant Financial in exchange for certain intellectual property rights held by Alibaba but connected to Ant Financial.
The step is a sign that Ant Financial is on a path to its own public listing soon, with Alibaba’s equity stake likely to resolve some lingering legal issues.
In 2016, Ant Financial raised $4.5 billion at a roughly $60 billion valuation.

Tumbles digital currency bitcoin

Tumble tumbling down digital currency bitcoin dropped nearly 14 percent on Friday, losing over half of its value since January, representing more than $72 billion. The cryptocurrency was trading at $8,473 as of 8:00am GMT, according to CoinMarketCap data. Bitcoin has now lost over 55 percent since hitting a record price of $20,000 in mid-December.The decline followed reports on increased regulation in India and potential price manipulation at a major exchange. India’s Finance Ministry declared on Thursday that cryptocurrencies are illegal in the country and the government fully intends to stamp out their use.
Facebook’s announcement that it would ban all ads for cryptocurrencies and ICO’s, as well as reports that two major exchanges, Bitfinex and Tether, had been investigated by the US regulators, also helped to spook the cryptocurrency market this week.
Facebook further says it is banning all ads related to cryptocurrencies in an effort to fight scams. Global social media giant said it is barring ads for “financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency.”
Initial coin offerings or ICOs are a way for companies to raise funds by selling investors cryptographic assets. Fraud is common in the world of red hot digital currencies such as bitcoin.This week, for instance, the US Securities and Exchange Commission shut down an initial coin offering by a Texas company called AriseBank.
AriseBank was accused of relying on celebrity endorsers such as boxer Evander Holyfield and social media to cheat investors out of $600 million of its goal of $1 billion for a currency it called “AriseCoin.”
In a blog post announcing the news, Facebook product management director Rob Leathern hinted that Facebook may modify the new policy at some point to allow bona fide crypto-related businesses to advertise again.
“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception,” Leathern wrote. “That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”
“This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and enforcement will begin to ramp up across our platforms including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram. We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve,” he added.
“Lots of news regarding regulation is causing the market to panic,” a quantitative developer and data scientist at Cypher Capital, Nick Kirk, told CNBC.
All the leading cryptocurrencies except two were trading lower on Friday.
Ethereum was the only major coin to finish January on a positive note. The second-largest cryptocurrency saw gains of 45 percent during 2018’s first month, compared to a loss of 25 percent for bitcoin, and respective declines of 45 percent and 35 percent for ripple and bitcoin cash.
“The state of cryptocurrency is incredibly strong,” Andy Bromberg, CEO of CoinList, an ICO hosting platform, told Business Insider. “Looking far beyond the prices, we’re seeing an increasing number of high-quality projects in the space, with experienced teams, impressive early technological breakthroughs, and rigorous legal structuring.”
Kirk, ethereum will outperform bitcoin “by a country mile.”
“We think the war between bitcoin and bitcoin cash is having a negative effect on bitcoin sentiment,” he said.

IGNCA:PROGRAMME SCHEDULE FOR FEBRUARY, 2018

इन्दिरा गाँधी राष्ट्रीय कला केन्द्र (आईजीएऩसीए), नई दिल्ली
INDIRA GANDHI NATIONAL CENTRE FOR THE ARTS (IGNCA), New Delhi
PROGRAMME SCHEDULE FOR FEBRUARY, 2018
____________________________________________________________________________________
Please visit Web Portal of Begum Akhtar at http://ignca.nic.in/begum_akhtar/index.html
and
National Cultural Audiovisual Archives (NCAA) Project at http://ncaa.gov.in/repository
——————————————————————————————————————————————–
Date : Ist February, 2018
Event : Sufi Qawwali by Yusuf Khan Nizami in collaboration with Lady Shri Ram College
For Women, University of Delhi, New Delhi.
Venue : LSR Auditorium, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi – 110024
TIme : 11.30am onwards

Contact No. : 011-23388155/ 011-26434459
——————————————————————————————————————————————–
Date:   3rd – 4th February
Event : International Conference on DEMITRIOS GALANOS AND HIS LEGACY: Indo-Greek
scholarship 1790-2018.​
Venue : IGNCA Auditorium, C.V. Mess Janpath, New Delhi.
Time :   9.00 am – 5.00 pm​.
Date: 4th February, 2018
Event : Music Concert by Greek musicians.
Venue : India International Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.
Time : 6.00 pm onwards
Contact No. : 011-23388063
​Date: 8th – 10th February 2018
Event : International Conference on DEMITRIOS GALANOS AND HIS LEGACY: Indo-Greek
scholarship 1790-2018.​
Venue : Dr. K. N. Udupa Hall, IMS, BHU, Varanasi.
Time :   9.00 am – 5.00 pm​.
Date: 10th February, 2018
Event : Music Concert by Greek musicians.
Venue : Pandit Omkarnath Thakur Hall, BHU, Varanasi.
Time : 3.00 pm
Contact No. : 0542-2570169, 2570238.
——————————————————————————————————————————————–
Date : 4th February, 2018
Event : Fourth Concert in the series `bhairav se bhairavi tak’ presenting meditative morning
ragas in collaboration with Antarnaad.

`bhairav se bhairavi tak’ series has been conceived and curated by Saloni Gandhi.
Padmabhushan Pandit Rajan & Pandit Sajan Misra will be accompanied by Pandit Kumar Bose
(Tabla) and Pandit Dharmnath Mishra (Harmonium).

Venue : IGNCA Lily Pond Lawns, 11, Mansingh Road, New Delhi
Time ; 10am onwards.


Contact No.: 011-23388155

——————————————————————————————————————————————–
Date : 4th -18th February, 2018
Event : First  International Kala Mela in collaboration with  Lalit Kala Akademi

Inauguration on 4th February, 2018 at 5.00pm at IGNCA lawns, Janpath, New Delhi.

Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Vice President of India will inaugurate the Kala Mela in the gracious presence of Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Hon’ble Minister of Culture  and Shri C.S. Krishna Setty, Administrator, Lalit Kala Akademi.

The inauguration will be followed by Folk Dance by Karunadasa Olaboduwa Dance Troupe, Srilanka and `SARGAM’ Kathak Recital by Pandit Harish Gangani’s Team, India.

Venue : IGNCA Lawns, Janpath, New Delhi.


Contact No. : 9999668367
——————————————————————————————————————————————-Date : 11th February, 2018
Event : The seventh  Chapter of Sanskriti Samvaad Shrinkhla (Cultural dialogue series) will
have a symposium on famous Hindi litterateur Krishna Bihari Mishra.

Venue: Bhartiya Bhasha Parishad, 36 A, Shakespeare Road,  Kolkata, West Bengal – 700017
Time : 11.00am onwards


Contact No. ; 9716950275
——————————————————————————————————————————————–
Date : 13th February 2017
Event : Ninth Prof. Nirmal Kumar Bose Memorial Lecture on “First Citizens: The Tribal People
at Crossroads” by Prof. Nadeem Hasnain (Senior Fellow, Indian Council of Social Science Research, Former Prof. & Head, Department of Anthropology, Lucknow University, India).
Venue : Lecture Hall, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, 11 Mansingh Road, N. Delhi -1.
Time : 4.00 pm

Contact No. : 011-23388016
——————————————————————————————————————————————
Date : 18th February, 2018
Event : Celebrations of Muthuswamy Dikshitar Anniversary in collaboration with
Shanmukhananda Sabha
Venue : IGNCA Auditorium, C.V. Mess, janpath, New Delhi

Contact No. :  9717019444
—————————————————————————————————————————————–
Date :             21st  & 22nd  February, 2018
Event :            : Seminar on “The Great Vaggeykars of Classical Music” In collaboration with Kumud
 Diwan Foundation of Classical Music and Dance.
Venue :            IGNCA Auditorium, CV Mess, Janpath, New Delhi
Speakers   :  Pt. Satyasheel Deshpande, Vidushi Shruti Sadolikar, Pt. Suhas Vyas,
       Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan, Shri Shounak Abhisheki, Vidushi Shubra
       Guha, Ustad Raja Miyan and Vidushi Sulochana Brahaspati


Contact No. : 011-23388155
————————————————————————————————————————————————–
Date : 23rd February, 2018
Event : Concert by Ms. Sonia Shirsat Fadista under Sanjari- a monthly folk music concert
Series.
This is the fourth concert in this series.  Sanjari was launched on the 30th Foundation Day of IGNCA on 19th November, 2017.

Venue ; IGNCA Auditorium, C.V. Mess, Janpath, New Delhi
Time : 6.30pm

Contact No. : 011-23388155
——————————————————————————————————————————————–
Date             : 24th & 25th  February, 2018
Event            : Talks in in collaboration with India City Walks for the story-telling sessions
Theme One   : Eight Cities of Delhi
Theme Two : Mughal Art
Venue           : IGNCA Auditorium, CV Mess, Janpath, New Delhi
Time             : 4 PM to 5 PM
——————————————————————————————————————————————–
FILM CIRCLE SCREENING –  2nd & 4th Friday of every month

Date: 9th February, 2018
Event : Film screening of The Man who Dwarfed the Mountains
       (A National Award winning PSBT Documentary)
       Director: Ruchi Srivastava and Sumit Khanna
       Duration : 59 minutes

Venue : IGNCA Auditorium, Media Centre, 3 Dr. R. P. Road, N. Delhi
Time:         5.00 p.m onwards

Contact No.  :   011-23388815

Date: 23rd February, 2018
Event Film screening of  Pandvani
       Director : Manohar Aashi
        Duration: 58 minutes

Venue : IGNCA Auditorium, Media Centre, 3 Dr. R. P. Road, N. Delhi
Time:         5.00 p.m onwards

Contact No.  :   011-23388815

—————————————————————————————————————————-
IGNCA has reactivated its twitter handle @igncakd. Please interact with us actively

Respect Your Elders—Plants!

Have issue viewing this email? Click here
I had a very unique opportunity this week to join a group of entrepreneurs, chefs, scientists, advocates, writers, policymakers (including the very inspiring President of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib), and other food and agriculture experts to attend a luncheon at Clarence House in London, England, with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who serves as the Patron of the Crop Trust.
The Crop Trust is an organization I have long admired, and they may be best known for the so-called Doomsday Seed Vault in Svalbard, halfway between Norway and the North Pole, which holds the largest collection of the world’s crop diversity. The collection is, needless to say, priceless, and it provides a global safety net in case of catastrophe. But the group is also doing a number of important activities to raise awareness and inspire action—including encouraging financial investment to create an endowment—to protect and preserve seeds both in seed banks and in farmers’ fields across the globe.
It’s no secret that Prince Charles has a long-standing interest in food and agriculture. His gardens at Highgrove are a monument to sustainable agriculture practices and the rich agricultural diversity of England. As a Patron of the Crop Trust, His Royal Highness is using his platform to push world leaders—and world eaters—to respect, honor, value, and most importantly protect the world’s agricultural diversity.
He says, “now, we have the world’s farmers to thank for the rich variety of foods we eat. Over many millennia they have developed, grown, and guarded the diversity of domesticated plants and animals. Every major crop now has hundreds, perhaps thousands, of different varieties, each with unique characteristics. But that very diversity is disappearing fast, as so many of you know, as changing agricultural practices sweep away what are seen as ‘old’ and ‘inefficient’ varieties, including so-called ‘orphan crops’ that were once collected from the wild rather than being planted and grown. And at the same time, the wild relatives of our crop species, which provide new and vital resources for future breeding, are left to decline unnoticed and undervalued.”
His words underscore why the Crop Trust—and the many organizations with whom they work—is so important. While thousands of gene banks exist across the world—in places as diverse as the seed collections I saw at the Africa Rice Center in Senegal a few weeks ago to collections supported by the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in Colombia, sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere—the world’s global genetic diversity is at risk. Climate change and the growth of often unsustainable industrial agricultural practices, as well as urbanization, land use changes, and a host of other challenges, are threatening agricultural diversity.
It’s time, as I heard one colleague at the luncheon proclaim, to respect our elders. Plants have been on Earth for more than 380 million years, much longer than Homo sapiens or our ancestors. They keep us fed, clothed, and sheltered, and there’s no doubt that they make life more delicious. They need our protection, and they need it now.
As you know, Food Tank rarely asks our members and readers to donate. And it’s even rarer for us to ask you to give to another organization. But I want to encourage all of you to visit the Crop Trust’s website and donate as little as US$10 to support this vitally important mission.
As His Royal Highness says, “What we eat, and in what quantities, can be the difference between life and death. It can keep us healthy, or ruin us. And we can produce this food in harmony with the environment that sustains every aspect of our lives, or place our own survival in peril by undermining it.” Let’s head those words and take action for the world’s crops and farmers today!
Sincerely,
Danielle Nierenberg
Cultivating the Next Generation of Young Food Leaders
Seattle, Washington
Growing Food Policy

Exploring the Paradox of Hunger and Obesity
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In West Africa, the red goat of Maradi and guinea fowl are improving the lives of family farmers, stimulating local economies, and making better nutrition more accessible.
The U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution aiming to ignite international efforts to support family farmers and their roles in developing hunger and poverty solutions.
Antanitis is a farmer, healthcare professional, and veteran with a passion for helping others and providing opportunities within organic agriculture.
ICRISAT’s goals are to improve food availability and rural livelihoods in drought-prone areas by combining crop commodity research with natural resource management practices. Bergvinson leads its strategic development and is an expert in international agriculture research for development.
Food Tank The Think Tank For Food
317 Royal St., #4
New Orleans, LA 70130
United States 

Syed Saqib Ahmed soars to the top

Syed Saqib Ahmed soars to the top on the back of a hole-in-one, leads by four.
Syed_Saqib_Ahmed.JPG
Kochi, February 1, 2018: Bengaluru’s Syed Saqib Ahmed hardly put a foot wrong during his second round of six-under-66 that helped him soar to the top of the leaderboard at the PGTI Cochin Masters presented by CIAL Golf Club. Saqib, whose round on Thursday featured a hole-in-one, totaled nine-under-135 at the halfway stage to lead by a massive four shots. 
First round leader Amardip Sinh Malik of Noida dropped to second place after his round of even-par-72 took his total to five-under-139 at the Rs. 40 lakh event.
The cut was declared at five-over-149 on an extremely windy day. Fifty-three professionals made the cut.
Twenty-three-year-old Syed Saqib Ahmed (69-66) climbed from overnight tied third to the top as he fired the best round of the tournament so far that was punctuated by a hole-in-one on the 14th, five birdies and a bogey.
Saqib, who had a top-10 on the PGTI last year and finished 53rdon the Order of Merit, began well on Thursday, leaving himself a tap-in birdie on the second where he nearly chipped-in. His only blemish of the round came on the fourth but he more than made up with a chip-in birdie on the next.
Ahmed then raced away into the lead with three long putts on the ninth, 11th and 12th. But the highlight of his round came on the 14th where he made a hole-in-one after his shot landed an inch beyond the hole and spun back into the cup. He did miss a couple of short birdie putts thereafter but that did not stop him from taking the lead in a tournament for the first time in his three-year-long professional career.
A confident Saqib said, “I’m really pleased about today’s effort. It’s great to lead an event for the first time in my professional career. Everything just felt right today. I was in a good frame of mind from the very start and that translated into a great score.
“There was also less pressure as I was playing alongside my good friend Divyanshu Bajaj. We even played the practice round together here. We enjoy each other’s company and that just eased the pressure for me as it felt like just another round of golf.
“The hole-in-one was special as I saw the ball roll in. I was actually between clubs there and I guess the decision to play the nine-iron just paid off. I’m glad that Divyanshu was also there when it happened.
“I didn’t come to this event with any expectations so I have no fixed goals in mind for the next two days as well. I didn’t have a great 2017 so I’m just looking to turn the tide this year.”
Amardip Sinh Malik (67-72) had a mixed day with six birdies and an equal number of bogeys. He made a long eagle conversion on the second and chipped-in for birdie on the eighth but also found the hazard on a couple of occasions.
Kolkata’s Shankar Das and Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha were tied for third at four-under-140.
Defending champion Mukesh Kumar (77-73) of Mhow missed the cut by one shot as his two-day total read six-over-150.

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