India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

Indian Coast Guard personnel keep watch on a Myanmarese ship’s crew after seizing 1,160 kilograms of Ketamine drug from their boat near Car Nicobar islands. (India’s Ministry of Defense/AFP)
Updated 22 September 2019

India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

  • India’s coast guard seized $42 million worth of ketamine

NEW DELHI: India’s coast guard has arrested six Myanmar men and seized $42 million worth of ketamine after spotting a suspicious vessel in the Indian Ocean near the Nicobar Islands.
The 1,160-kilogram drug haul came after coast guard aircraft spotted the boat, which had its lights off, on Wednesday in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the defense ministry said in a statement.
The boat’s crew did not respond to radio calls and the coast guard eventually boarded it, with officials finding “57 gunny bundles of suspicious substance” on Friday.
“Preliminary analysis ... revealed that the suspicious substance was ketamine and there were 1,160 packets of 1kg each onboard the vessel,” the ministry added.
The six Myanmar men and cargo were taken to Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where they were questioned by investigators.
They claimed they left Myanmar on September 14 and were due to rendezvous with another boat “operating near the Thailand-Malaysia maritime border line” on Saturday, the statement said.
The Nicobar Islands are located near Southeast Asia, off Myanmar’s coast.
Parts of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand are in the lawless “Golden Triangle” zone, the world’s second-largest drug-producing region after Latin America.
Large amounts drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine are churned out in remote jungle labs each year and smuggled across Asia and beyond.


Medical experts say health care needs ‘democratization’ during WEF cancer discussion

Updated 24 min 26 sec ago

Medical experts say health care needs ‘democratization’ during WEF cancer discussion

  • In terms of cancer care, treatment often depends on “social status”

Medica experts on Friday called for the democratization of healthcare globally during a World Economic Forum (WEF) discussion on “Breakthroughs in Cancer Care.”

“There is a social aspect of cancer care. There are people who cannot get basic access to care, so we have a lot of social responsibility. We need to democratise health care,” Chairman and Managing Director of VPS Healthcare, Shamsheer Vayalil said.

Vayalil discussed the issues many around the world who are unable to access healthcare for basic treatments.

In terms of cancer care, treatment often depends on “social status” and “where you live,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said, explaining that it can make a difference of survival of a patient.

Although cancer death rates have fallen by nearly 20 percent in the past 30 years, this is due to early detection and treatment, the experts said.

According to the WEF, despite significant progress, cancer continues to be the number one killer of working-age adults and costs society billions in lost productivity.

Vayalil says that pharmaceutical companies to go beyond the west to treat illness.

“We want to attract bigger pharmas to focus on the other side of the world. We want to do research on the Arab genome, on the Asians. We want to be more proactive.” He said.

Despite many government-led efforts to increase racial, ethnic and gender diversity in research studies, progress has been slow in all parts of the world, a report by the WEF said.