18 child deaths in Uzbekistan linked to India-made syrup

Uzbekistan has claimed that at least 18 children in the country have died after allegedly taking an India-manufactured cough syrup. The health ministry of Uzbekistan, in a statement, said that the children who died had consumed cough syrup Doc-1 Max, manufactured by Noida-based Marion Biotech.


Uzbekistan has claimed that at least 18 children in the country have died after allegedly taking an India-manufactured cough syrup. The health ministry of Uzbekistan, in a statement, said that the children who died had consumed cough syrup Doc-1 Max, manufactured by Noida-based Marion Biotech.

According to the Uzbekistan’s health ministry, the laboratory tests of a batch of syrups found “the presence of ethylene glycol”, a toxic substance. It also said the syrup was given to children at home without a doctor’s prescription, either by their parents or on the advice of pharmacists, with doses that exceeded the standard dose for children.

It was found that the children, before being hospitalised, took this syrup at home for 2-7 days, in doses of 2.5 to 5 ml three to four times a day, which exceeds the standard dose, the ministry said. After the deaths of 18 children, Doc-1 Max tablets and syrups have been withdrawn from all pharmacies in the country, the statement said, adding that seven employees were sacked because they failed to analyse the situation in time and take steps.

Marion Biotech is headquartered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, and operates primarily in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, herbal and cosmetics businesses. As per the company’s LinkedIn page, it is a flagship company of the Emenox Group.

According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website, the current directors of Marion Biotech are Sachin Jain and Jaya Jain. Sachin Jain and Jaya Jain are reportedly serving as directors in 23 companies, as per company research platform Tofler.

According to the Registrar of Companies, the drugmaker was incorporated on May 21, 1999. The authorised share capital of the company is Rs 2.50 crore and paid-up is Rs 2.27 crore.

Marion Biotech has a manufacturing unit in Noida. The company’s website indicates it has a WHO GMP Certificate.

Earlier this year, deaths of 70 children in Gambia were linked to cough syrups manufactured by Haryana-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals, whose MD is Naresh Kumar Goyal.

US scientists make breakthrough in nuclear fusion
The US Department of Energy (DOE) and DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) recently announced the achievement of fusion ignition at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) a major scientific breakthrough decades in the making that will pave the way for advancements in national defence and the future of clean power.

On December 5, a team at LLNL’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) conducted the first controlled fusion experiment in history to reach this milestone, also known as scientific energy breakeven, meaning it produced more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to drive it. This historic, first-of-its kind achievement will provide unprecedented capability to support NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program and will provide invaluable insights into the prospects of clean fusion energy, which would be a game-changer for efforts to achieve President Biden’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced a “major scientific breakthrough” in the decades-long quest to harness fusion, the energy that powers the sun and stars.

Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California for the first time produced more energy in a fusion reaction than was used to ignite it, something called net energy gain, the Energy Department said.

The aim of fusion research is to replicate the nuclear reaction through which energy is created on the sun. It is a “holy grail” of carbon-free power that scientists have been chasing since the 1950s. It is still at least a decade, maybe decades away from commercial use, but the latest development is likely to be touted by the Biden administration as an affirmation of a massive investment by the government over the years.

Charles Sobhraj released from prison after 19 years
French Serial killer Charles Sobhraj was released from Nepal’s central prison on December 23 after the Supreme Court of Nepal ordered his release on the grounds of old age and declining health. He has been serving a prison sentence in Nepal since 2003 for the murder of two American tourists. The court ruled that the 78-year-old man can be released because he had already served 95% of his sentence.

Sobhraj’s lawyers have long asked the court to intervene in his amnesty. In various petitions, citing the provisions, they were seeking a waiver of his prison sentence. The court has now ordered the government to arrange for Sobhraj to return to his home country within 15 days.

The notorious criminal with police cases in different countries was convicted of killing the American citizen Connie Jo Boronzich, 29, and his Canadian girlfriend Laurent Carriere, 26, in 1975.

Arrested on September 19, 2003, Sobhraj’s lifetime imprisonment was to have ended on September 18 next year. The French citizen with Vietnamese and Indian parentage committed a string of murders throughout Asia in the 1970s. Sobhraj, who has been implicated in more than 20 killings, served 21 years in India for poisoning a French tourist and killing an Israeli national.

Sobhraj was also awarded a 20-year jail term in 2014 after being found guilty of a second murder, of a Canadian tourist Laurent Carriere, who was killed in 1975. The French serial killer was arrested in 2004 after he was first spotted in a Kathmandu casino.

India beat Spain to list Women’s FIH Hockey Nations Cup
India’s title win in the inaugural FIH (International Hockey Federation) Women’s Nations Cup in Valencia comes at the right time for the team, ahead of next year’s Asian Games. India beat Spain 1-0 in the final of the Nations Cup on December 17 to also qualify for the 2023-24 FIH Women’s Pro League. The Nations Cup only had eight teams and therefore did not qualify as a global event. The only team in the competition ranked higher than India (No. 8) was Spain (7). Spain and India, therefore, were anyway expected to be in the final and either of them were good enough to win.

The Pro League will help as the Indian women would get to play against the best teams. Only the top nine of the world qualify for this league. Since India does not have a strong domestic structure for women and therefore no steady supply of players, the Pro League will give the players valuable exposure, said chief coach Schopman.

“India has a lot of talent. It’s a matter of making sure you develop your players,” says Schopman, who has played for the Dutch national team. “There is a great effort in improving the coaching education. That will be important to make sure young players develop and can be better.”

Tawang: Indian Army push back PLA
As per the defence minister’s statement in Parliament on December 13, the Indian Army firmly resisted an attempt by China to unilaterally change the status quo on the Line of Actual Control. (LAC) in Yangtse area-Tawang Sector. The defence minister said: “In the scuffle during the faceoff, our army, with great bravery, forced the PLA to return to its post.

The minister added that some soldiers on both sides sustained injuries during the clash. On December 11, the local commander held a meeting with his Chinese counterpart.

From the operational perspective, the PLA’s transgressions on the LAC are in keeping with its “nibble and negotiate” tactics. Ever since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, the Chinese military has adopted a rather aggressive approach. Cases in point are: Depsang in April 2013, Chumar in October 2014, Doklam in July-August 2017 and Eastern Ladakh in May 2020.

The recent action by the PLA at Yangtse was quite similar to that of Galwan-Eastern Ladakh in June 2020. From the available inputs, the PLA soldiers numbering over 300, armed with bats and batons intruded surreptitiously on the night of December 8-9, taking advantage of bad weather and rugged terrain. The aim was to secure the Yanki outpost. Indian troops responded quickly with reinforcements coming from the main position. A hand-to-hand scuffle ensued, which possibly lasted for a few hours. The two sides disengaged when the Chinese troops were forced to retreat to their location.