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British Government gives go ahead to ‘three-parent baby’

The UK government has given approval to the controversial IVF technique that would lead to the creation of babies with three parents. If the proposal is passed by its parliament then Britain would become first country to allow this technique. The decision has invited criticism from different calling it unethical, unnecessary and unsafe.

What is a ‘Three-Parent Baby?

It is a baby born with the genetic contribution (DNA) from three people. It is done through IVF technique which involves taking the nucleus of one egg (first female) and inserting it into the cytoplasm of another egg (second female) which has had its nucleus removed, but still contains mitochondrial DNA, and then fertilizing the hybrid egg with a sperm (third person). The purpose of the procedure is to remove a nucleus from a cell with defective mitochondria and place it in a donor cell with healthy mitochondria, which after fertilisation will contain a nucleus with genetic material from only the two parents.

How would this technique help?

As per experts, this method will give a choice to women with mitochondria disorders to bear children free from such diseases. These are caused by mutated mitochondria — tiny structures that supply power to human cells — and are passed from a mother, through the egg, to her child. It is said to affect one in every 6,500 babies. The technique will help combat genetic problems that can cause rare and debilitating conditions affecting the heart, muscles and brain.


Croatia enters European Union

Croatia was added into the European Union (EU) on July 1, 2013 making the total number of member states in the EU to 28. Croatia is the second country from the once war-torn former Yugoslavia to enter the bloc. It negotiated with the EU for more than 6 years after the bloc agreed to embrace it.

Croatia which is struggling with its economic woes has joined the EU amid concerns whether the country is fully prepared to face the fierce competition of the open market. The economy has been battered by the ongoing financial crisis and owing to structural weaknesses that yet need to be addressed by reforms.

From this event Croatia is hopeful that it will help to lift many people out of poverty and modernzse the economy. Croatia will also receive funds from the EU to build roads, clean up the environment and increase research and development.

However, there are concerns that tough EU competition will shut down or buy out parts of the national economy. There is concern about whether EU membership will lure immigrants seeking work, which could put the reeling labour market under even more pressure.


Fact Box: White Label ATMs

RBI gives nod to Muthoot Finance to set up White Label ATMs

Indian gold loan company Muthoot Finance Ltd has obtained the RBI’s in-principle approval to set up the white label ATMs,as the government seeks to take financial services to the remote regions of the country.

What are White Label ATMs?

ATMs set up and run by non-banking entities are called White Label ATMs (WLAs). Earlier, only banks were allowed to establish and operate ATMs. RBI had allowed the company under the guidelines it released in June 2012 which set certain minimum net worth and obligation for permitting independent non-banking firms to operate such ATMs, as per three different schemes.

The Muthoot Finance has been given approval as per Scheme A under which Muthoot Finance will set up WLAs, a minimum of 1,000 WLAs have to be installed in the first year; a minimum of twice the number of WLAs installed in the first year have to be installed in the second year; and a minimum of three times the number of WLAs installed in the second year have to be installed in the third year.

What is the purpose of this move?

The fundamental objective of permitting non-banks to operate WLAs is to enhance the penetration of the machines in semi-urban and rural areas, where bank-run ATMs are a few or none. The move is in line to the governments objective of achieving financial inclusion.