MediaEye RSS Feedhttps://www.mediaeyenews.comMediaEye news RSS Feeden-usCopyright (C) 2016 mediaeyenews.comBrazilian SC upholds annulment of Lula s convictions

Brasilia, April 16

 Brazil's Federal Supreme Court (STF) has upheld the annulment of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's convictions on corruption charges, clearing the way for him to contest in next year's general elections.
By a vote of eight to three, the court on Thursday rejected an appeal by the Attorney General's Office against the annulment of the convictions handed down by a federal court in the state of Parana, which stemmed from charges brought by the so-called anti-corruption 'Operation Car Wash', reports Xinhua news agency.
In March, STF Judge Edson Fachin, rapporteur of the case, declared the federal court in Parana incompetent, saying it had overreached its jurisdiction.
Lula was imprisoned for one year and seven months, from April 2018 to November 2019, in Parana's capital Curitiba, and has since been under house arrest.
The former President had been sentenced to eight years and 10 months in prison for allegedly accepting a luxury apartment from a construction company in exchange for lucrative government contracts.
Being found guilty derailed Lula's run for the presidency in 2018 as the candidate of the Workers' Party, since Brazilian law bars those with convictions from holding public office.

ians
 

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 13:41:48 +0530
NZ to hike penalty fee for using mobile while driving

Wellington, April 16

New Zealand will increase the infringement fee from NZ$80 to NZ$150 for people who are caught using mobile phones while driving from April 30, according to a statement issued by the Transport Ministry on Friday.
The figures from the Transport Ministry showed that between 2015 and 2019, there were 22 road deaths and 73 serious injuries where drivers were distracted by mobile phones, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.
Transport Minister Michael Wood said the figure was likely to be under-reported as it is always difficult for the police to detect phone use when they attend crashes.
"Safety is one of our top transport priorities, but still too many people picking up the phone while driving," Wood said.
Using mobiles while driving will continue to attract 20 demerit points, accumulating 100 demerits points from driving offences within two years results in driving licence suspension for three months in New Zealand.
A spokesperson from the Transport Ministry said this is an increase to the current rules, including drivers can't use, while driving, a hand-held mobile phone to: make, receive or terminate a telephone call, nor create, send or read a text message or email, nor create, send or view a video message, nor communicate in a similar or any other way.
But it does have a couple of exceptions such as using a navigation app when the phone is attached to a car.

ians

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 13:35:39 +0530
Chacko wants CBI to question Antony Chandy in ISRO spy case

Thiruvananthapuram, April 16

 Former top Congress leader P.C. Chacko on Friday asked the CBI, which has been ordered by the Supreme Court to reinvestigate the ISRO spy case, to first question A.K. Antony and Oommen Chandy.
Chacko recently quit the Congress and rejoined the NCP and was seen campaigning for the Left in Kerala.
He shared the campaign space with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and was seen slamming the Congress leadership here.
Chacko was wanting to contest the Assembly polls, but after failing to get a seat decided to leave the Congress.
The apex court gave the orders after it had in 2018 appointed a three-member committee headed by retired SC judge D.K. Jain to probe if there was a conspiracy among the then police officials to falsely implicate Narayanan.
On Thursday, the apex court which went through the report ordered the CBI to conduct a new probe and it can treat the Jain panel's report as the preliminary document. The Supreme Court asked the CBI to submit its report in three months.
"If the CBI is really serious to do an impartial probe, then it should first question Antony and Chandy. This ISRO spy case was one of the worst ever thing that the Congress party had to undergo. Never was the ISRO scientist, S. Nambi Narayanan, the target. K.Karunakaran has told me everything on how he was attacked in the case," said Chacko.
"These leaders (Antony and Chandy) could never take on Karunakaran directly and instead this case was used by the A faction of the Congress party to take on Karunakaran, while the infighting in the Kerala Police was also used by the police, especially Siby Mathew," added Chacko.
The ISRO spy case surfaced in 1994 when Narayanan was arrested on charges of espionage along with another senior official of ISRO, two Maldivian women and a businessman.
The CBI cleared him in 1995 and since then he has been fighting a legal battle against the then top police official Siby Mathews and the other officials which include S. Vijayan and K.K. Joshua who probed the case and implicated Narayanan.
Siby Mathews later got the rank of the Director General of Police and took VRS, months before he was to have been superannuated and became the Chief Information Officer of the state and has since retired from that post. He is now settled in Thiruvananthapuram.
Incidentally, this case took place when the factional feud in the Congress party between Karunakaran and the A.K. Antony faction led by Oommen Chandy was at its zenith. Karunakaran had to quit office in 1995 after it was found that he was shielding his close aide and senior police officer Raman Srivastava who later became the state police chief and after retirement. He till recently was the advisor to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
But the erstwhile A faction dismisses all this as nothing but humbug as former State Minister and top most aide of Antony and Chandy, Dominic Presentation said there was a difference of opinion with Karunakaran and it began with the resignation of Chandy as Finance Minister in the cabinet of Karunakaran in 1994.
"The resignation was with regards to a Rajya Sabha nomination and at that time the ISRO spy case was not there in the horizon at all. It came later. There is no link between the faction feud and the ISRO spy case at all," said Presentation.

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 13:30:46 +0530
Dates for the holy month of Ramadan

New Delhi, April 15

 Muslims across the world break their Ramadan fast with a date as it was guided by the Prophet.
Although dates are loaded with a diverse profile of nutrients, carbohydrates and sugars contribute the most which makes them one of the best sources of instant energy and nutrition after a long day of fasting.
There are plenty of different types of dates available which not only vary in their taste, size and texture but also in their nutrition values.
Since carbohydrates and sugar are major contents of nutrition profile of a date, its best to be able to identity them on sight. One should know that all dates are a great source nutrients and thus offer plenty of healthy benefits.
Since dates are dried fruit they are significantly higher in calories compared to other fresh fruit and therefore one should keep in mind that they should be consumed in moderate quantities.
Though a majority of the calories in dates come from carbohydrates and sugar, they also contain some vital vitamins, minerals and a significant amount of fiber .
Speaking of dietary fibers, dates on an average contain 7g to 9g of dietary fibers per 100g which is almost four times as compared to spinach for the same quantity, and almost five times compared to the same quantity of mangoes.
Dietary Fibers are great for the health of our gut, it helps keep blood sugars in control, promotes smooth bowel movements amongst many other health benefits.
Flavonoids in dates are powerful antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and have been studied for their potential role in reducing the risk of diabetes, alzheimer's disease and certain types of cancer.
Carotenoids in dates have been proven to promote heart health and also reduce the risk of eye-related disorders, such as macular degeneration.
Phenolic acids in dates are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and also help lower the risk of certain types of cancer and heart disease.
Phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium in dates are known for their potential to prevent bone-related conditions like osteoporosis and overall bone health.
Fructose in dates is a natural sugar and makes for a healthier substitute to white sugar in recipes due to the nutrients, fiber and antioxidants present in them.

While there are many types of Dates available today these six varieties are popular.
Safawi/Kalmi ,
Ajwa
Sukkary
Mabroom
Khudri
Sagai

Safawi aka Kalmi Dates: Are one of the most commonly consumed and easily available varieties. They are dark brown in colour and approx size of a thumb.100g of these dates are roughly around 7pcs and gives you almost 400 calories of which almost 93 percent are carbs. This makes them calorie rich with maximum carbohydrate content thus
Recommended : for people seeking weight gain.
Not recommended : for obese, diabetic patients and those looking to keep a check on their calories
Ajwa Dates: are black in colour and also known as the King of All Dates, these are usually available in different sizes (Price goes up as the size increases ) 12 pcs of small to medium ones are roughly 100g. Ajwa amongst all dates has the highest amount of Iron, almost double compared to any other type of date. It also contains over 700mg of Potassium which is the highest amount of Potassium compared to any other type of dates. It also has a fairly better amount of vitamin D. Overall Ajwa date is best with respect to nutrients, as compared to all dates.
Recommended: better for people with anemia, constipation
not recommended: for people with polycythemia

Sukkary Dates :
One of the most commonly consumed dates in Saudi Arabia, lowest in calories, only 329 Kcal per 100g which is wight pieces, as compared to other dates. It is the highest source of Fibre ( 9g/100g). Highest in calcium compared to other dates. After Ajwa it has the 2nd highest amount of potassium.
Recommended: for people with constipation, calcium deficiency, osteoarthritis.
not recommended: for people with kidney issues & hypercalcinemia.
Mabroom Dates :
Lower in Calories 9g of Dietary Fiber which makes them richest source of fibre and contains a good amount of calcium. A 100 gems is 7 pieces of mbar dates.
Recommended: for people with constipation, calcium deficiency, osteoarthritis
Not recommended: for people with Hypercalcinemia
Khudri Dates: Low in calorie and sodium, 100 gems is seven pieces.
Recommended: for people seeking weight loss ( amount � as prescribed by your dietician )
Not recommended: for people seeking weight gain
Sagai Dates :
It has a unique dual shade with a beige colour crown on the top of the date. It has a good amount of calcium and potassium.
Recommended: for people with calcium deficiency or arthritis patients.
Not recommended: for people with hypercalcemia.
Best Tip for Diabetics:
With respect to diabetics we recommend Eating Ajwa as they are small so accounts for fewer calories and sugar or Mabroom as they are amongst the highest dietary fibre and lowest in carbs.
Removing the seeds of the Dates and filling the date with Cinnamon Powder further increases the Dietary Fibre which helps in better control of Blood Sugars compared to eating a date by itself.
If Not cinnamon Powder, added an Almond or a Walnut also will relatively have better blood sugar control compared to eating a date by itself.
(This is not to treat or cure any medical condition. Always Consult and keep your medical professionals in loop before making any modifications to your diet or lifestyle)
For General population it's best to try and add all the varieties of dates on rotation to reap maximum benefits that each type of date has to offer.

ians









 

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 13:20:08 +0530
Amazon Prime hits 200M users globally Bezos

 

New Delhi, April 16

 Amazon Prime has reached a user base of 200 million, according to the outgoing CEO Jeff Bezos, which is an increase of over 50 million during the pandemic only.
In his final annual letter to Amazon's shareholders on Thursday, Bezos who will be replaced by former AWS head Andy Jassy as Amazon CEO this year, said that customers have connected more than 100 million smart home devices to Alexa.
"Last year, we hired 500,000 employees and now directly employ 1.3 million people around the world. We have more than 200 million Prime members worldwide. More than 1.9 million small and medium-sized businesses sell in our store, and they make up close to 60 per cent of our retail sales," Bezos informed.
"Customers have connected more than 100 million smart home devices to Alexa. Amazon Web Services serves millions of customers and ended 2020 with a $50 billion annualised run rate," he added.
Bezos said that Amazon has created $1.6 trillion of wealth for share owners.
On the Cloud services vertical, Bezos said that across AWS's entire 2020 revenue of $45 billion, "that 30 per cent would imply customer value creation of $19 billion (what would have cost them $64 billion on their own cost $45 billion from AWS).
"To be conservative here (and remembering we're really only trying to get ballpark estimates), I'll say it's the same and call AWS customer value creation $38 billion in 2020. Adding AWS and consumer together gives us total customer value creation in 2020 of $164 billion," he noted.
According to him, this value creation is not a zero-sum game.
"It is not just moving money from one pocket to another. Draw the box big around all of society, and you'll find that invention is the root of all real value creation. And value created is best thought of as a metric for innovation," Bezos stressed.

ians

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 13:09:08 +0530
The Oberoi Group to further its sustainability initiatives

New Delhi, April 15

 As part of The Oberoi Groups efforts towards sustainability, tailor-made energy efficiency initiatives for each of their hotels and resorts will be executed as it partners with EESL. Through its nationwide network, EESL will collaborate with all Oberoi Group Hotels to evaluate opportunities for saving energy and lowering emissions. It will recommend select energy programs from its portfolio with proven track records of successful implementation. Additionally,
EESL will provide technical support and extend its procurement advantage through its partners across the energy sector. The potential energy efficiency measures will include lighting, electric motors & pumps, air-conditioning, ventilation systems, indoor air quality systems and electric vehicles along with charging infrastructure.
Speaking about this partnership, Mr. Saurabh Kumar, Executive Vice Chairman, EESL said, "Energy efficiency is becoming central to sustainable growth of businesses. EESL has pioneered energy efficiency improvement across India and empowered millions of people through its innovative schemes. Our partnership with The Oberoi Group stands testament to the exemplary vision and progressive approach of a hospitality leader in joining the forces of achieving sustainable development of the country."
Vikram Oberoi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of The Oberoi Group said, "Sustainability is at the core of our ethos at The Oberoi Group. It has always been our endeavour to identify and implement innovative, ecological solutions across our hotels and businesses. Several of our hotels are powered by renewable sources and are supplemented with energy efficient measures which have progressively reduced our carbon footprint. Our partnership with EESL further strengthens our commitment towards the planet and our vision of providing sustainable luxury experiences to our guests."
ians

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 13:02:09 +0530
How to make your basic meals full of nutrition

New Delhi, April 16

 The fact that fancy diets are difficult to follow is because they try to eliminate all ingredients that are well accustomed to our taste pallet. It's important to follow a diet that helps in reaching our fitness goals in a flexible and comfortable manner.
However, making major changes to your diet can sometimes seem very overwhelming. Instead of making big changes, it may be better to start with a few smaller ones, by tweaking your regular cooking style, chapati, curries, dal and soups be a welcome change and add value to everyday nutrition.
Diksha Chhabra, Founder, Diksha Chhabra Fitness Consultations, shares a few ways you can make load your meals with nutrition and that too effortlessly.
Power of Protein:
We have seen our mothers and grannies making paneer or curd at home with leftover milk. Ever wondered what that water like substance is? Often thrown as waste after making paneer or seen as leftover after the curd is set is actually pure milk protein that gets filtered during the process. It's a quick digesting class one protein which the human body can easily absorb and can benefit of. Instead of throwing the residual water after making paneer or removing it from curd to make it thick and creamy, use it in kneading your dough for chapati, or add it to dals, vegetable curries, soups and even for cooking rice and pasta. Our Indian vegetarian meals lack class one source of protein and this can positively increase the nutritional value of simple everyday meals.
Power of Fibre:
Food rich in fibre helps your body to dispose off the toxins, regularise bowel movement, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels. A few basic changes to our whole wheat flour, dosa idli batter and chapati can lead to more fibre. Adding multiple grain like jowar, bajra, oats, ragi, legumes in our flour or batter doubles up its nutritional value and fibre content. The same can be done if you are fond of baking cakes and cookies. The more the number of different kinds of grains in your plate, the healthier it is.
For your sweet tooth:
There is a great way of having your favourite ice-cream, make it with frozen fruits at home with no added sugar. Fruit with natural pulp like banana, mango, chikoo, coconut cream or papaya can be frozen in the refrigerator for few hours after which once you blend it in the blender it gets nice creamy ice-cream. You can also add berries, nuts or dark chocolate to enhance the flavour. Juicy fruits like orange, watermelon, sweetlime, kiwi can be great options for making popsicles once its juice is extracted. Also, instead of sugar laden thick shakes with artificial flavours and milk, adding fruits and yogurt can be a game-changer in your list healthy and guilt-free dessert or snacks.

ians
 

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 12:52:45 +0530
My musical journey began with shabads in Gurudwaras Asees Kaur

New Delhi, April 16

 Indian playback singer Asees Kaur, who has most recently sang 'Panghat' for the Janhvi Kapoor-starrer 'Roohi' (2021), says that she feels spiritually inclined towards music, since her father wanted her to sing Gurbani. Her musical journey, thus, began with singing shabads in Gurudwaras at the young age of five.
The 32-year-old is fast climbing the Bollywood ladder, and has sung 'Jaan Ban Gaye' from 'Khuda Haafiz', 'Dildara Reprise' from 'Tamanchey', 'Ve Maahi' from 'Kesari', 'Tere Bin' from 'Simmba', and 'Bolna' from 'Kapoor & Sons'.
 The singer in an exclusive interview:
Q: What got you interested in music and singing?
A: I belong to a Sikh family, and I feel and I think that in every Sikh family, parents want their children to feel connected to God, do Paath and sing Gurbani. That's how my musical journey started. My father wanted me to sing Gurbani and I began with singing shabads in Gurudwaras. Eventually, I started falling in love with music. It became a part of my life; I really can't imagine a life without music in it.
Q: How would you describe your connection to music?
A: My connection to music is spiritual or you can simply call it a very soulful connection. As mentioned earlier I started with singing Gurbani, so I feel very spiritually inclined towards music. The first thing I do every morning is riyaaz (practice) and if I don't do that I feel very mismanaged in my life. It has a very soulful and a spiritual effect on me.
Q: What does success mean to you?
A: For me, success is when someone tells me that my song has touched their heart and they love it when I sing. I think that is the response that I look forward to from my audience. That is something I really want in my life. Therefore, it is these kinds of reactions from my audience that defines success for me.
Q: Do you find enough avenues for young talent to shine through and make a mark in the Indian music industry?
A: Yes, I really feel that there are a lot of opportunities for young talent to enter the music industry because right now, non-film music is on the rise and even common people are looking forward to new songs which are from a non-film background. The industry has been very encouraging towards new singers. I think the industry really welcomes everyone with their arms wide open.
Q: Please tell us about the challenges you faced on your way up.
A: I belong to a non-film background and one day, I just decided to come to Mumbai and give it a try and that's when I started meeting people. The only challenge for me was to manage the music directors. Being a female, I haven't faced any challenge and I feel the industry is equally welcoming to all singers. When it comes to the part of struggling, I feel like it is part of becoming who you want to become. So I don't call it a struggle but a process. I really enjoyed my process and I'm happy that I am here today because of my decision to not give up and always give a 100 per cent. That is one thing I really live by.
Q: Who inspires you in the world of music? Who do you look forward to working with?
A: I am really inspired by Madan Noor Jahan Ji. From childhood I've been listening to her songs. Her singing style and her 'adayegi' (style) is something I really want in my own singing. In today's generation, I'm really inspired by Arijit Singh as I have worked with him a lot. I think we've sung like four or five songs together. I also look forward to working with Mithun Sir, A. R. Rahman Sir, and Shankar Ehsan Loy. These are a few of my favourite composers or collaborations.
Q: A little about your upcoming projects.
A: There is a song coming out on April 18 with the DMF, it's a very beautiful Punjabi number and I really feel that people will love dancing to it at weddings. There is another love song coming up with Tipz music. A lot of film songs are in the pipeline and we're just waiting for the theatres to reopen for the release of films so that I can talk about my film songs. There is a very exciting and busy life ahead for me and I'm very happy and thankful for that.

ians
 

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 12:44:40 +0530
US CDC reports 5 800 Covid infections in fully vaccinated people

Washington, April 16

 About 5,800 people who have been administered Covid-19 vaccines in America have been infected by the virus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
So far, about 5,800 "breakthrough" cases have been reported to the CDC, Xinhua news agency quoted the agency as saying on Thursday.
Vaccine breakthrough infections make up a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated, less than 1 percent, according to the CDC.
Among the 5,800 "breakthrough" cases, some became seriously ill and 74 people died, it said.
Meanwhile, 396 cases, 7 pe rcent of those who got infected after they were vaccinated, required hospitalisation.
The health agency called on all eligible people to get a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible and urged fully vaccinated individuals to keep up precautions, such as wearing masks and social distancing, to avoid contracting the disease.

ians
 

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 12:34:47 +0530
US sanctions Pak firm owners for working as Russian proxy

New Delhi, April 16

 The US Treasury Department has sanctioned Pakistani IT firm, Second Eye Solutions (SES), and its owners and employees for acting as a proxy for a Russian troll entity which interfered in the American elections.
The Treasury has targeted Yevgeny Prigozhin's network in Africa as part of the sanctions announced against the Russian government and entities.
Prigozhin is the Russian financier of the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the Russian troll entity that the Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated in 2018 for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.
The Treasury has sanctioned SES, also known as Forwarderz, which is an organisation that specialises in creating and selling fraudulent identities and has assisted the IRA in concealing its identity to evade sanctions.
Since at least 2012, the SES has engaged in a scheme to provide digital photographs of fake documents including passports, driving licenses, bank statements, utility bills, and national identity documents.
SES markets these fake documents for use to verify online accounts, including money service business accounts and social media accounts.
In 2017, the IRA purchased 15 fraudulent US driver licenses images from SES. The purchased licenses were used as supporting documents for online social media accounts opened by the IRA, as per the sanctions documents.
Pakistani nationals Mohsin Raza, Mujtaba Raza, Syed Hasnain, Muhammad Hayat, Syed Raza, and Shahzad Ahmed are the owners and employees who were instrumental in processing the payments for fraudulent identities.
Fresh Air Farm House, Like Wise, and MK Softtech are four Pakistani front companies used to launder SES' profits.
The fraudulent documents produced by SES are likely used at many online services to evade sanctions and anti-money laundering (AML) screening protocols beyond what OFAC has been able to identify.
SES advertises that their fraudulent documents may be used on social media, freelancing job postings, and commerce platforms.
As part of Thursday's listing of SES on OFAC's Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), the Office is also identifying digital currency addresses used by SES to fulfil customer orders in order to help assist financial institutions, and their third-party identity verification services, in identifying customers on their platforms who have purchased fraudulent identity documents.
Known SES digital currency addresses have received over $2.5 million in digital currencies over more than 26,900 transactions from 2013 to March 2021.
SES was designated for acting on behalf of the IRA.
Mohsin Raza, Mujtaba Raza, Seyed Hasnain, Muhammad Hayat, Syed Raza, and Shahzad Ahmed were designated for acting for or on behalf of SES.
Fresh Air Farm House, Like Wise, and MK Softtech were designated for being owned or controlled by Mohsin Raza and Mujtaba Raza.

ians

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 12:26:53 +0530
Qualcomm invests in homegrown audio leader boAt

New Delhi, April 16

 Home-grown audio brand boAt on Friday announced it has received funding from Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of chip-maker Qualcomm.
The investment, for which the company did not divulge more details, will be utilised to roll out next-generation audio and lifestyle products across geographies.
"As boAt enters the next phase of growth and innovation, we look forward to building a relationship with Qualcomm to deepen our R&D capabilities and further augment our efforts to manufacture products in India," said Sameer Mehta, Co-founder, boAt.
In January, boAt raised approximately $100 million (over Rs 731 crore) from an affiliate of Warburg Pincus, a leading global private equity fund, towards ramping up manufacturing and go global.
Currently the top brand in the earwear (headphones, earphones, sound-related accessories) and TWS (True Wireless) category in India, boAt has also emerged as the 5th largest wearable brand globally, according to the latest IDC data.
"As a technology enabler and an investor with a long-standing presence in India, we look forward to being part of boAt's growth and powering its vision of delivering world-class products to consumers, not just for India but for supporting their vision of global expansion," said Rajen Vagadia, Vice President and President, Qualcomm India Pvt Ltd.
In the past year, boAt has doubled its employee strength and has built up a local R&D in Bengaluru.
Launched in 2016 by Aman Gupta and Sameer Mehta, the company has also expanded into newer categories like smartwatches, besides launching over 20 new products in the audio category in FY21.

ians
 

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 12:19:10 +0530
Covid spread in rural and tier 2 cities worries administration

Chennai, April 16

 The spread of Covid pandemic in tier-2 cities of Tamil Nadu, including Nagapattinam, Tuticorin, Nagercoil, etc. are worrying the administration as without proper awareness on wearing of masks, safe-distancing and use of sanitizer, the spread may increase in these cities.
The state health secretary J. Radhakrishnan has already directed the district collectors of these places to be on alert and has also communicated to the district Superintendent of Police to have vigil on these towns.
Nagapattinam for instance has recorded 172 cases as on Thursday evening and the Test positivity rate (TPR) is nearly 10 per cent and Tuticorin with 9 per cent TPR, Coimbatore, Chengalpett, Tirunelveli, Tiruppur and Tiruvallur the TPR was between 8 and 9 per cent.
While Tamil Nadu with an average tests 2,35,740 people per million is much higher than 1,87,831 per million in India, testing in 17 Tamil Nadu districts is much below the national average.
Nagapattinam with 1,14,039 tests is the least followed by 1,19,518 in Krishnagiri.
Director of Public Health Dr. T.S. Selvavinayagam  said, "The spread in two tier cities and rural Tamil Nadu is a worrisome factor but we are taking measures to contain it and increasing testing is the immediate necessity. Already the Health secretary has communicated with the district collectors and district police superintendent to conduct these tests. People must refrain from going out of their houses which is primarily the most important thing and if you are going out for work or in absolute necessity wear a mask and ensure social distancing."
While Nagapattinam and Krisnagiri has shown rock bottom in testing for Covid, most of rural Tamil Nadu is facing this stark reality and this would lead to a spike in Covid cases. The administration has already taken precautionary measures in these areas and is creating maximum public awareness on Wearing masks, safe distancing and use of sanitizers.
M. Ganeshkumar, a trader at Nagapattinam  said, "People were not wearing masks and it was a callous situation and even the police were not taking things seriously. Now we are on the threshold of the second wave and I don't know what is happening at Nagapattinam, the testing is low, high test positivity rate is recorded and this means we are in a pitiable situation. Hope the authorities are taking action with immediate effect so that precious lives are saved."

ians
 

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 12:12:43 +0530
Troops withdrawal need to coincide with Afghan peace

 

Islamabad, April 16

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said that it is important that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan coincides with progress in the peace process.

Pakistan believes there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, spokesman of the Foreign Ministry Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said while responding to media queries about the US decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan before September 11, reports Xinhua news agency.

He said a negotiated political solution through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process is important for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The spokesman said Pakistan will continue to work together with the international community in efforts to promote Afghan peace process.

ians

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 11:57:32 +0530
Troops withdrawal need to coincide with Afghan peace

 

Islamabad, April 16

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said that it is important that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan coincides with progress in the peace process.

Pakistan believes there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, spokesman of the Foreign Ministry Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said while responding to media queries about the US decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan before September 11, reports Xinhua news agency.

He said a negotiated political solution through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process is important for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The spokesman said Pakistan will continue to work together with the international community in efforts to promote Afghan peace process.

ians

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 11:52:35 +0530
India reports over 2 lakh new Covid cases for 2nd straight day

New Delhi, April 16

India reported 2,17,353 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the biggest single-day spike ever, taking the overall tally to 14,291,917 cases on Friday, according to the Health Ministry data.
This is the second consecutive day that the country has registered over 2 lakh cases. On Thursday, the number was 2,00,739.
Also in the last 24 hours, there were 1,185 new Covid-19 fatalities, the second consecutive day with over a thousand deaths.
This took the overall death toll in the country to 1,74,308.
Meanwhile, the daily active cases tally on Friday rose to 15,69,743.
A total of 1,18,302 patients recovered in the same time span, taking the number of recoveries to 1,25,47,866, with a recovery rate of 88.31 per cent.
The Health Ministry said that a total of 14,73,210 samples were tested in the last 24 hours.
So far, 26,34,76,625 samples have been tested in the country.
According to the government data, a total of 27,30,359 people were also vaccinated in the same period, taking the total inoculation count to 11,72,23,509.

ians

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 11:40:53 +0530
I know I am paid to slog Morris

Mumbai, April 16  

A few days after he was denied strike on the last ball of the match against Punjab Kings as his captain Sanju Samson thought he won't be able to clear the boundary, Rajasthan Royals (RR) all-rounder Chris Morris proved he is no muck with the bat as he led RR to a fascinating three-wicket win over Delhi Capitals.
Morris, who hit an unbeaten 18-ball 36 laden with four sixes, however said he had no regrets on being denied strike although his reaction in Monday's match after being sent back by Samson was one of bemusement and a sarcastic smile.
"I was going to run back no matter what to sacrifice because Sanju was hitting it so sweetly. Sanju was hitting it like a dream, I wouldn't have been too upset if he had hit the last ball for a six," said Morris            about the incident in Monday's game.
Morris, who was bought for Rs 16.25 crore at the IPL mini-auction, said that he knows he is being paid to hit big.
"There are guys who get paid to bat and there are guys who get paid to slog, I know what I am. I am a slogger that swings everything I can, I play so much golf," he added.
RR had earlier restricted DC to 147/8 in 20 overs and the right-handed batsman and right-arm bowler from South Africa said that he would have taken that target before the start of the match.
"If we had to chase 140-odd when we got here, we would have taken it, so happy to get over the line...it's quite nice to know that we can win a game from anywhere after being down in the dumps. That's                       T20 cricket," he added.

ians
 

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 11:20:45 +0530
Indian French space agencies sign pact for human space mission

Chennai, April 15

The Indian and French space agencies on Thursday signed an agreement for cooperation in human space flight programme, specifically on sharing of expertise in space medicine, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

According to the Indian space agency, an implementing arrangement between its Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) and the French National Space Agency (CNES) was exchanged for cooperation concerning human spaceflight programme, specifically on sharing of expertise in space medicine.

The agreement was signed during French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Yves Le Drian's visited to the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru.

ISRO Chairman and Space Secretary, K.Sivan, and other officials of both the countries were present during the occasion.

The French Minister, with his delegation, also visited ISRO's HSFC where details of India's human space flight programme Gaganyaan including the full-size model of crew module were explained to him.

The visiting minister was given a presentation of the evolution and achievements of Indian space programme, India-France space cooperation and details of the recent space reforms announced by the Indian government, ISRO said.

ians
 

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 11:10:26 +0530
Covid impact Lack of fresh TV content could spell drop in ad revenue

Mumbai, April 16

The decision of the Maharashtra government to stop all shooting impacts TV shows acutely, as compared to films or OTT series. The world of soaps, after all, needs a steady flow of content.
If shooting stops, channels are forced to run repeats. In turn that has direct impact on advertising revenue.
Many shows, realising the threat of that scenario are already shifting shooting base outside Maharashtra. "Hamari Wali Good News" is going to be shot at Manesar in Haryana. "Kundali Bhagya", "Kumkum Bhagya", "Qurbaan Hua" and "Apna Time Bhi Ayega" move to Goa. "Teri Meri ikk Jindri" is shifting base to Jaipur while "Kyun Rishton Mein Katti Batti" is moving to Surat for now.
The scene is similar for many reality shows. According to sources, "Indian Idol" has an episode bank for two weeks right now and "Super Dancer: Chapter 4" has a bank for a week.
Confirming that his show is shifting base, lead actor Siddhaanth Vir Surryavanshi of "Kyun Rishton Mein Katti Batti" says the entire team was tested for Covid on Wednesday and will be travelling on Friday.
"This was unexpected and the entire storyline is being reworked overnight. So, we are not sure what it will be but the story will definitely move outdoors," he says, adding: "We will be moving to a resort and will be in a bio bubble. We will be following protocol."
Siddhaanth adds they are mentally prepared to stay for a month. "Looking at how last year turned out. We are mentally prepared to be out for a month. I am going to miss my family and the comfort of home, but this is also a good time to bond with the team," he says.
Budgets will be impacted, of course. According to experts, the cost of shooting an episode per day comes to Rs 1-1.5 lakh minimum. In this case, it could go up to Rs 2-2.5 lakh per day.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan says that due to this gap, producers might be forced to run old content, which might lead to advertisers consider the idea of backing out.
"Advertisers book slots a month in advance, sometimes they also do so for the entire season. So, they might stop their ads and agree to continue the contract once the fresh episodes are on air. Channels will lose money from ads. Of course, they will generate money from their web channels," he says.
Ad guru Prahlad Kakkar dissects the situation bluntly: "If they are not shooting, then they are not earning. And who said this will last only for 15 days?"
While they continue to be worried about how their shows will survive, the actors also feel that the step has been taken in everyone's interest.
Actor Prateik Chaudhary, who was last seen in Paramavatar Shri Krishna, says that this time off would give him a chance to work on himself.
"For an actor, shooting is not the only thing he needs to consider as work, I guess being an actor is a 24/7 job. You need to work on your craft, work on your fitness, and many things. When I don't have a shoot or work, rather than cribbing or being negative, I am focusing on myself. I am really using this time in things like doing my home workout, working on my acting craft, watching a lot of movies and series," he says.
Actor Mrunal Jain says that this is the time for actors to look at other types of content.
"We were not expecting this at all and now this has led to a lot of uncertainty as to what will happen. I hope that the shows are able to survive as I am sure not many have large episode banks. As for me, I am at home, but I am regularly shooting content for social media. I feel this is the time that we can reconnect with our fans," he says.
Kunal Jaisingh ends on an optimistic note. "We just started shooting, and somehow we really sensed looking at the situation that lockdown can be imposed. Even after so much of precautions and after following all Covid-19 guidelines so many actors and people on set tested positive. Hope the phase of lockdown lasts for a small time and we resume our work the soonest. We are already missing the shoot vibes," he sums up the situation.

ians
 

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 11:02:41 +0530
LIC employees to get over 25 wage hike

Chennai, April 16

The new fiscal year 2020-21 has started for about 1.14 lakh employees of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) on a happy note with over 25 per cent hike in their pay packets, said a top union leader.
The Central government on Thursday notified the revised pay packets for LIC employees.
The wage revision is effective from 1.8.2017.
"The employees are happy with the wage revision that has come at a difficult situation. The pay hike for the employees is expected to be over 25 per cent per month," Shreekant Mishra, General Secretary, All India Insurance Employees Association (AIIEA) told IANS.
He said a loading of 15 per cent has been given after 100 per cent neutralization of dearness allowance (DA) at 6,352 points of consumer price index (CPI).
An additional Special Allowance ranging between Rs.1,500 to Rs.13,500 per month has been introduced for all cadres, which shall be reckoned for the purpose of calculation of dearness allowance (DA) but will not count for any other purpose i.e. house rent allowance, city compensatory allowance, privilege leave encashment, gratuity, superannuation benefit and others.
Mishra said the overall increase in LIC's total wage bill will be about Rs 2,700 crore per year.
Mishra also said it will be five day week for LIC employees.
"In the first round, the management offered 10 per cent wage hike and it was revised upwards in the second round to 15 per cent. We said the offer does not meet our expectations," Mishra said.
According to Mishra, the 15 per cent wage hike offer was made on September 30, 2020 and the first offer of 10 per cent hike was made in March 2019.
"We were having regular discussions with the management on the wage revision," Mishra said.
The AIIEA had submitted a charter demanding 40 per cent wage hike. In the last wage agreement, the hike given was 25 per cent at average.
Mishra said the unions next focus is to conclude wage revision for the employees of the government companies in the general insurance sector.
The management of the four government owned general insurance companies are yet to call a meeting of the unions there for wage revision talks, he added.

ians

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 09:47:06 +0530
Kim Jong un visits mausoleum to mark grandfather s birth anniversary

Seoul, April 16

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a mausoleum of his late grandfather and the country's founder, Kim Il-sung, on the occasion of the latter's birth anniversary, state media reported on Friday.
In its report Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that Kim Jong-un and his wife, Ri Sol-ju, visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun on Thursday to mark Kim Il-sung's 109th                      birth anniversary.
The mausoleum is where the bodies of his late grandfather and father, Kim Jong-il lie in state, reports Yonhap News Agency.
"Kim Jong-un, together with his wife, paid high tribute to the statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il and extended the best wishes of immortality at the halls where the President and the Chairman lie in the state,          " KCNA said.
The birth anniversary, referred to in the North as the 'Day of the Sun', is the country's biggest national holiday marked by large-scale cultural and sports events.
Since taking office in late 2011, Kim Jong-un had paid tribute to the mausoleum every year to mark the anniversary, but he skipped a trip last year amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, prompting speculation about his health.
Accompanying Kim Jong-un on Thursday's visit were his top aides, including Kim Yo-jong, his younger sister; Jo Yong-won, secretary for Organisational Affairs of the party's Central Committee; and Pak Jong-chon, chief of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army, the KCNA said.

ians

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 09:37:56 +0530
Covid 2nd wave also affecting newborn and youth

New Delhi, April 16

As the country is reeling under the second wave of Covid-19 amid a massive spike in the number of positive cases, doctors in the national capital said the return of the lethal disease is affecting even the newborn and the youth.
While Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is considering the second wave as "dangerous", doctors call it "very dangerous".
Speaking to IANS, Dr. Ritu Saxena, Head of Emergency Department at the LNJP Hospital said: "This time, Covid is also seen in children... few days old children are also getting infected."
"Since this new wave has started, 7 to 8 children have been admitted so far. The youngest among them is a newborn baby who was infected in the hospital itself.
"In addition, about 30 per cent of young people between 15 and 30 years of age have also been infected."
Dr. Saxena further said: "All those young people who have got affected had fever also."
In the second wave, it's also being seen that if one person is positive in the house then the whole family is also found infected.
In the last 24 hours in Delhi, 17,282 new patients of corona were confirmed and over one lakh 1,08,534 samples were tested. A positivity rate of 15.92 was recorded and a total of 104 patients died due to the virus, officials said on Thursday.
Weekend curfew has been imposed in Delhi in view of increasing cases. The curfew will start at 10 p.m. on Friday night and continue till 6 a.m. on Monday.

ians

Fri, 16 Apr 2021 09:29:32 +0530
IL FS addresses Rs 43 000 cr debt raises aggregate debt recovery target

Mumbai, April 15

 IL&FS Group has addressed a debt of Rs 43,000 crore so far and the management has now raised its aggregate debt recovery estimate to Rs 61,000 crore.
The previous estimate of overall debt recovery was Rs 56,000 crore.
The increased estimate represents a resolution of nearly 62 per cent of overall fund based and non-fund based group debt of around Rs 99,000 crore, as of October 2018, Chairman of IL&FS, Uday Kotak told the media on Thursday.
The aggregate debt of Rs 43,000 crore addressed till date represents nearly 71 per cent of the overall revised targeted recovery value of Rs 61,000 crore and 44 per cent of the overall debt of over Rs 99,000 crore.
"It may be kept in mind that the recovery target is higher than the average recovery observed under IBC since its inception," said an IL&FS statement.
Out of total 347 entities under IL&FS Group, as of October 2018, a total of 186 entities stand resolved till date, while the remaining 161 entities are under various stages of resolution.
The new board, while working in public interest, has been able to maximise the recoveries for all classes of creditors, through following a three-pronged strategy of resolution, restructuring and recovery, while keeping the tenets of corporate governance and corporate finance in mind.
"The upgrade in potentially addressable debt by Rs 5,000 crore has been largely on account of improved valuations, better operating performance and enhanced recoveries from non-group exposures," IL&FS said.
The aggregate addressed debt of Rs 43,000 crore comprises Rs 26,800 crore on the basis of entity monetisation initiatives and accrued cash balance, Rs 14,350 crore of additional net recovery expected from resolution and restructuring applications filed with and awaiting approval of the Mumbai-bench of NCLT and the NCLAT and Rs 1,926 crore from Supreme Court verdict passed in favour of Rapid Metro Gurgaon.
The period since January 2021 also saw the filing of NCLT application for Phase 1 of IL&FS Group's Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) with a resolution value of over Rs 9,300 crore across six Road SPVs.
The InvIT, which is being set-up across multiple phases (encompassing 12 Road SPVs) represents one of India's largest such resolution initiatives and would contribute to significant value enhancement for IL&FS Group stakeholders, it said.
The gross resolution value across all completed NCLT and NCLAT filings but awaiting final approval amounts to over Rs 20,450 crore.
In the next few quarters, IL&FS estimates to address around Rs 8,000 crore of additional debt by September 2021 which would include monetisation of stake in ONGC Tripura, Warora Chandrapur and Karyavattom Stadium, phase-2 of InvIT including five road SPVs, and receipt of expected settlement claims from road authorities for Khed Sinnar Expressway and Srinagar Sonmarg Tunnel.
With this, the overall debt addressed is expected to cross Rs 51,000 crore by September 2021.
Further, recovery of around Rs 10,000 crore is likely to spill over beyond September 2021 on account of various reasons, including procedural complexities. This includes sale of Paradip Refinery, Mangalore SEZ, Tamil Nadu Water, ILFS Prime Terminals Fujairah, Hill County Properties, phase-3 of InvIT, sale of real estate assets including IL&FS building in BKC, Mumbai, expected receipt of settlement claims for balance road assets, among others.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 13:26:34 +0530
59 Delhi residents favour a 3 week lockdown

 

New Delhi, April 15

 Ahead of the meeting Thursday between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and LG Anil Baijal, 59 per cent Delhi residents are in favour of a 3-week lockdown.
As per a Local Circles survey, 16 per cent residents of Delhi were in support of lockdown at the end of March and the number of people supporting it has risen by 275 per cent in less than three weeks.
Covid-19 cases are rising exponentially amid the SARS-COV-2 variant propagating in Delhi with the city registering a 4,200 per cent increase in its daily caseload within the last 30 days.
On March 15th, the city had 400 Covid cases which on April 14th had gone up to 17,282. The positivity rate is currently at 15.92 per cent, with 7,67,438 positive cases, which is the highest ever in the state. Notably, 91.92 per cent of ventilator beds are currently occupied, with only 99 beds now available from the total 1,226 beds.
LocalCircles conducted a survey which received over 8,000 responses from residents located in all 11 districts of Delhi.
As daily caseload in Delhi goes past 17,000, 59 per cent residents say impose lockdown, the survey said.
Taking cognizance of the drastic increase in the daily Covid caseload that has surpassed 17,000 the survey sought residents of Delhi's perception if they support imposition of a complete 3-week lockdown in the city. In response, 59 per cent said "Yes". There were also 36 per cent of residents who said "No", while 5 per cent couldn't say. The question in the survey received 8,211 responses.
At the end of March, when LocalCircles did a similar exercise, only 16 per cent residents of Delhi, who participated in the survey, were in favour of a lockdown.
However, with rising cases, people seeing their contacts in social networks struggling to find hospital and ICU beds, remdesivir, etc. many more are now understanding the criticality of the situation and as a result 59 per cent residents of Delhi, who participated in the survey concluding on April 15, voted in favour of a 3 week lockdown.
It was categorically stated that while lockdown is imposed, all essential services must continue to function in the city so that people do not face hardships in running their households.
LocalCircles has shared the findings of this survey with the Office of Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and the Office of Chief Minister so as they discuss the Delhi situation and decide on the way forward, this collective public feedback is taken into account.

ians

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 13:20:03 +0530
Govt begins mapping of states with greater need of oxygen

 

New Delhi, April 15

 Amid reports of shortage of medical oxygen from various parts of the country, the Centre has clarified that the present availability of "oxygen is sufficient", however, it has started mapping of states with greater need of oxygen.
Of the states with greater needs of oxygen are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Chhattisgarh. Besides, there is more consumption of medical oxygen in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Rajasthan.
Considering reports, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHF) maintained that India's daily production Capacity of medical oxygen is 7,287 metric tonne and the current stock is more than 50,000 metric tonne, more than the daily consumption of 3,842 metric tonne.
However, the government has expected that "the challenge presently is to move oxygen from states with less necessity to states with increased necessity".
The Ministry has said, "mapping of the surplus sources with states that have greater need for oxygen has been started in consultation with the manufacturers, states and other stakeholders".
This has been undertaken through coordinated planning between the Central and state governments to map their requirements up to April 30 with the available sources and stocks of oxygen in the country.
For the purpose, the Ministry said, a sub-group has been formed under Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) with Ministry of Railways and transport departments of states to facilitate the movement of transport tankers for Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO).
"Moving of oxygen tankers by rail is also being actively worked out."
For the seamless movement of oxygen tankers, orders have been given by PESO (Petroleum and Safety Organisation) for conversion of argon and nitrogen tankers for use as oxygen tankers; thereby the fleet available for transportation of tankers has been enhanced.
Free movement of oxygen tankers inter-state has been facilitated through MoRTH without registration in other states. Further, mapping of cylinders state-wise has been done and industrial cylinders have been permitted to be used for medical oxygen after due purging.
Placing of orders for purchase of another one lakh oxygen cylinders by MoHFW is also being undertaken and PSA plants sanctioned under PM-Cares are being closely reviewed for early completion of 100 per cent of the plants to enhance self-generation of oxygen in hospitals especially in remote areas.
Daily reviews with the high burden states are being jointly done by DPIIT with MoHFW and Steel Ministry. Oxygen manufacturers are also present in these meetings, as are the Steel units. This results in handholding of the States for facilitating oxygen supply, resolving any inter-State issues on supply or tanker movement.
Meanwhile, the government has directed an inter-ministerial Empowered Group to initiate action to avoid panic. The Empowered Group (EG2) of officers under the chairmanship of Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has been meeting and interacting frequently with the states, Oxygen manufacturers and other stakeholders to facilitate medical oxygen supply to states are per necessity.
Noting that "there is sufficient production capacity of around 7,127 metric tonne for oxygen in the country", the Minister said the surplus oxygen available with the steel plants is also being utilized as per the need.
"The country has a daily production capacity of 7,127 MT of oxygen per day. Against this, the total production has been 100 per cent since past two days, as directed by EG2, since supply of medical oxygen has gone up rapidly."
On April 12, the medical oxygen consumption in the country was 3,842 metric tonne, that is 54 per cent of the daily production capacity.
For this, the current oxygen stocks of the country, including the industrial oxygen stocks with the manufacturing plants, is more than 50,000 metric tonne.
"Along with the ramped-up production of the oxygen manufacturing units and the surplus stocks available, the present availability of oxygen is sufficient."
At the same time, states are being asked to make rational use of medical oxygen and ensure there is no wastage, said the Ministry.
Besides, it is directed to the states to set up control rooms to ensure smooth supply of oxygen to the districts as per need, review requirement of cylinders and tankers.
The EG2 has initiated several measures to ensure supply of medical oxygen to various affected states. The EG2 consists of senior officers from various ministries and departments including Ministry of Health, Ministry of Textiles, Ministry of AYUSH, Ministry of MSME. It was constituted during the Covid pandemic in March last year to ensure the availability of essential medical equipment including medical oxygen to the affected states.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 13:14:44 +0530
ISRO spy case SC orders CBI probe in framing of Narayanan

New Delhi, April 15

 The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a CBI probe into the role of Kerala police officers in framing ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan in the 1994 ISRO espionage case.
A bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar accepted the report of a panel headed by former top court judge D.K. Jain, and asked the CBI to carry out further investigation. The top court said the matter is very serious and it requires a CBI probe.
The bench asked acting CBI Director to take charge of the case and treat the report by Justice Jain panel as a preliminary inquiry report to conduct further investigations into the matter.
The bench also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna Murari also asked the CBI to file status report on its investigations in three months. The top court has ordered that panel's report should be kept confidential in a sealed cover.
The 79-year-old Narayanan waged a legal battle against the Kerala police officers who accused him of being a Pakistan's spy in 1994. Besides appointing the panel, the top court had directed the Kerala government to pay Rs 50 lakh compensation to Narayanan for causing him immense humiliation.
In 2018, a bench of the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra decided to appoint a committee under Jain and asked the Centre and the Kerala government to name one person each to the committee. While the Centre appointed a top official -- D.K. Prasad, the Pinarayi Vijayan government appointed former Additional Chief Secretary V.S. Senthil.
The ISRO spy case surfaced in 1994 when Narayanan was arrested on charges of espionage along with another senior official of ISRO, two Maldivian women and a businessman.
The CBI had held that the then top police officials in Kerala were responsible for Narayanan's illegal arrest. The panel examined the circumstances leading to Narayanan's arrest. It was alleged that confidential documents on India's space program was allegedly transferred to foreign countries.
Narayanan had maintained that Kerala police fabricated the case and the technology he was accused to have stolen and sold in 1994 case did not even exist at that time.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 13:09:33 +0530
Global Covid cases spike for 7th consecutive week WHO

 

Geneva, April 15

Global Covid-19 cases have continued to increase for a seventh consecutive week, with over 4.5 million new infections reported last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported.
As of Thursday morning, the current global caseload and death toll stood at 138,021,474 and 2,971,130, respectively, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
In its latest update, the WHO said that number of new deaths also increased for the fourth consecutive week, increasing by 7 per cent compared to last week, with over 76,000 new fatalities.
The outbreak was especially violent in India, which recorded an increase of 70 per cent in the number of new cases compared to last week.
It also saw the number of new deaths growing by 51 per cent.
On Thursday, India reported 2,00,739 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the biggest single-day spike ever, taking the overall tally to 1,40,74,564, while the death toll stood at 1,73,123.
The US came the second with a 5 per cent increase of 468,395 new cases; and Brazil listed the third with a rise of 463,092 new cases.
In terms of global Covid deaths, the South-Asia, Southeast Asia and Western Pacific region saw sharp surges with the Western Pacific displaying an increase of 189 per cent in number, the Philippines leading with the grim record of 1,321 new deaths, 400 per cent more than last week.
Furthermore, new virus variants continue to spread to other countries, with the variant B117 first identified in the UK reported in 132 countries, the variant B 1351 originating from South Africa present in 82 countries, and the P1 first identified in Brazil now established in 52 countries.
The WHO also noted that existing vaccines have displayed reduced efficacy against variants, even if the related studies remained limited in number.
As an example, the AstraZeneca vaccine saw reduction in post-vaccine neutralisation for variant B117, while it saw "substantial reduction" for the variant originating from South Africa.
Studies also reported "evidence of more substantial reduction" in post-vaccine neutralisation of the variant first found in Brazil for AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
Earlier this week, the WHO stressed that measures such as wearing masks and hand hygiene were still important as "we are in a critical point of the pandemic right now".

ians


 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 13:03:04 +0530
Google Assistant can now help find lost iPhone

San Francisco, April 15

 Google has announced features coming to Google Assistant, with the most notable feature for Apple users being the ability to locate a lost iPhone using the digital assistant.
Android users have long been able to use the Google Assistant to trigger a sound for their smartphone if it got lost.
According to MacRumors, that same ability, much like Apple's own Find My system, is coming to the iPhone.
The feature will let users who have a Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker and the accompanying Google Home app for iOS find a misplaced device, the report said.
The alert is triggered when asking "Hey Google, find my phone" through Google smart home devices. Following the trigger, the Google Home app will send an iOS critical alert on the iPhone.
Apple offers apps the ability to utilise critical alerts, which are special notifications that can break through Do Not Disturb, or silent mode, to ensure they reach the user.
Apps with critical alerts require special approval from Apple, and Google seems to have obtained that approval, according to the report.
Additional features coming to the Google Assistant app include "Assistant Routines" which the company says will make it easy to perform multiple actions at once with a single command automatically and a Duplex update that makes ordering takeout and delivery easier with partner restaurants.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 12:57:33 +0530
Daily exercise in youth can give you a robust life after 40

New York, April 15

Maintaining a daily exercise routine in youth may help reduce risk of high blood pressure or hypertension and dementia in later life, according to a study.
People with moderate exercise for at least five hours a week during early adulthood had 18 per cent lower risk of developing hypertension than for those who exercised less than five hours a week.
The likelihood was even lower for participants who maintained their exercise habits until age 60.
While current guidelines indicate that adults should have a minimum of two-and-a-half hours of moderate intensity exercise each week, but the study led by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) reveals that boosting exercise to as much as five hours a week may protect against hypertension in midlife -- particularly if it is sustained in one's thirties, forties and fifties.
In the study, published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers followed approximately 5,000 adults ages 18 to 30 for 30 years. The participants were asked about their exercise habits, medical history, smoking status and alcohol use. Blood pressure and weight were monitored, together with cholesterol and triglycerides.
Hypertension was noted if blood pressure was 130 over 80 mmHg, the threshold established in 2017 by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association.
"Results from randomised controlled trials and observational studies have shown that exercise lowers blood pressure, suggesting that it may be important to focus on exercise as a way to lower blood pressure in all adults as they approach middle age," said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
"Teenagers and those in their early twenties may be physically active but these patterns change with age. Our study suggests that maintaining physical activity during young adulthood -- at higher levels than previously recommended -- may be particularly important," Bibbins-Domingo added.

ians

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 12:51:09 +0530
Tanuj Virwani opens up on shooting in Kamathipura

 

Mumbai, April 15

For actor Tanuj Virwani, who stars in the web series "The Tattoo Murders", says shooting in real locations of Kamathipura for the show was nerve-racking at times.
"We mostly shot in gruelling style and we weren't shooting in a controlled and contained environment. So, it was nerve-racking on certain days. Thankfully, the locals were supportive and I would also like to mention the entire cast and crew who pulled off the shoot without any glitches," he said.
The series revolves around three murders, and was earlier titled "Kamathipura". Tanuj plays the role of a don.
Talking about shooting locations and how they tied up with a family for it, Tanuj says: "It was a crazy experience as there were no physical sets. We shot in Kamathipura, and a certain locality in Ahmedabad, which resembles the geography and the milieu of Kamathipura. Most of my scenes were shot in one home that was owned by a family who were staying while we were shooting. We would shoot from 7am to 7pm and then they would come back and the next morning they would vacate, and we would move in."
Tanuj will next be seen in "Inside Edge 3" where he will be seen reprising his character of Vayu Raghavan, a hot-headed star cricketer.

ians

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 12:45:52 +0530
Imran holds virtual summit with Uzbek Prez

 

Islamabad, April 15

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan exchanged views on bilateral, regional and international issues during a virtual summit with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, according to the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad.
During the wide-ranging talks on Wednesday, Khan underlined the importance of enhancing political and diplomatic linkages; fast tracking trade and economic cooperation; increasing security and defence cooperation; and taking steps to deepen mutual collaboration in the fields of education, culture and tourism, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying.
The Prime Minister also underscored the importance of rail, road and air connectivity and highlighted the enormous potential that exists in diverse fields to build an expanded mutually-beneficial partnership.
The two leaders reviewed the level of progress on the trans-Afghan railway project, agreed between Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan earlier this year.
The project would be a first step in linking the Central Asian transport network with Pakistani seaports of Gwadar, Karachi and Qasim, according to the Ministry.
The two leaders also discussed important global and regional matters of mutual interest, and reaffirmed the commitment to supporting each other at all international and regional fora, it added.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 12:40:59 +0530
Lebanese PM to ask Russia for political economic support

Beirut, April 15

 Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri intends to ask Russia for support in solving the country's political and economic crisis during his visit to Moscow, a top official said here.
"We believe that Russia can help in solving the political deadlock in Lebanon since Moscow has good ties with all political parties in Lebanon, and with the regional countries that have an influence on the situation in our country," George Chaaban, Hariri's advisor on Russian affairs, told Xinhua news agency on Wednesday said in a phone interview.
Hariri will also ask for economic help, as "Lebanon is in need for support in economy and trade in addition to social and humanitarian help", Chaaban added.
The advisor noted Russia is in favour of a government of specialists headed by Hariri without giving a veto power to any party.
Prime Minister-designate is expected to visit Russia to discuss with officials about Lebanon's situation and the potential of receiving support from Mosco.
It is the third time that Hariri has been designated as the Lebanese Prime Minister.
He resigned in 2019 after nationwide protests that blame the ruling class for causing the country's collapse.
Hariri was appointed Prime Minister for the third time in October 2020, but has been unable to form a cabinet since then in the light of his differences with President Michel Aoun on the form and nature of his cabinet.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 12:36:06 +0530
Register case against Vijayan for flouting Covid protocol BJP

 

Thiruvananthapuram, April 15

A day after reports surfaced that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has violated Covid protocols, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan on Thursday asked for a case to be registered against Vijayan.
State Health Minister K.K. Shailaja however denied any violation by Vijayan.
"None is above the law and for the past one year practically every day we all saw Vijayan holding press conferences speaking on how Covid protocols should be followed. At times even he admonished political leaders for violation of Covid protocols. I want to ask him one question," said Muraleedharan.
"We all wish to know from him when did he turn Covid positive, as according to the Kozhikode Medical College officials, after Vijayan was discharged on Wednesday, it was said that on April 4 that he showed Covid symptoms and hence after 10 days, when he tested negative he was discharged. If that is the case, how come he conducted a roadshow along with film stars on April 4? Also on polling day on April 6, he walked 500 metres from his house to the polling booth," asked Muraleedharan.
"It must also be noted that all saw his daughter voting wearing a PPE kit. Here again there was a violation because if a family member is positive, others have to follow Covid protocols. So there has been large-scale violation by Vijayan and hence the Kerala Police should register a case against him, as none is above law," added Muraleedharan and pointed out that all saw Vijayan travelling in a car to the hospital for getting admitted and on his return, his wife who was Covid positive, travelled with him.
Trouble for Vijayan began soon after news came that he will be discharged on Wednesday and the entire visual media was there at the Kozhikode Medical College hospital and there was no social distancing as there was a good crowd with officials, police and others coming to wave him goodbye.
It was on April 8, two days after voting in the Assembly polls, that Vijayan revealed he had tested positive.
According to the rules, anyone who has turned Covid positive should be tested after 10 days and then discharged.
However State Health Minister K.K. Shailaja flatly denied that Vijayan broke protocols.
"There is always a tendency to drag the CM into needless controversies and this is another one. He has not violated any protocol," said Shailaja.
Last year, Vijayan had come down heavily on a Congress leader from Idukki who turned Covid positive and had admonished him for not following Covid protocols.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 12:24:40 +0530
Governors should supplement states efforts to tackle Covid Modi

Amaravati, April 15

 Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswa Bhushan Harichandan participated in the video conference convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the coronavirus pandemic situation, in which all the Governors have been asked to supplement the efforts of their respective states to tackle the virus.
"Governors can play an important role with the involvement of Red Cross volunteers, ex-servicemen, NCC, NSS, NGOs, youth associations in creating awareness among the people on Covid appropriate behaviour such as maintaining social distance, wearing mask, vaccination, etc. and curb the spread of the virus," said Modi.
The Prime Minister, who chaired the meeting, said the fight against coronavirus was at a crucial stage and the country was facing a serious situation.
"Testing and treatment capacities have been increased many times more than the previous year and the country developed manufacturing capabilities in RT-PCR testing kits, PPE kits, ventilators, etc. through Atmanirbhar programme and these can be now procured through the GEM portal," said Modi.
He called for raising RT-PCR testing percentage and decreasing positivity rate to less than 5 per cent while at the same time speeding up vaccination programme on a mission mode.
According to the Prime Minister, 11.1 crore people have been vaccinated in the country so far and a new vaccine has also been given emergency use approval.
Modi also prompted the Governors to encourage the use of AYUSH and traditional medicine in the treatment of coronavirus as much as possible.
Meanwhile, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, who also addressed the Governors, said India succeeded in the fight against coronavirus in 2020 and emphasized that the same experience will be useful now.
"Governors should supplement the efforts of state governments by involving leaders of all political parties, religious leaders and build consensus and involve them in guiding the people in observing Covid appropriate behaviour and following all Covid protocols as per the guidelines," said Naidu.
Along with all the Governors, Lieutenant Governors of union territories also joined the meeting.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 12:19:03 +0530
Announcing Afghan pullout Biden asks India to do more for Kabul News Analysis

New York, April 15

US President Joe Biden has asked India and other regional countries to pitch in to help stabilise Afghanistan as Washington has decided to pull out its troops ending a 20-year-old war.
Announcing his plans on Wednesday to unconditionally bring home the last of the US military before September 11 this year, Biden said: "We'll ask other countries, other countries in the region, to do more to support Afghanistan, especially Pakistan, as well as Russia, China, India, and Turkey. They all have a significant stake in the stable future for Afghanistan."
The US and the NATO invaded Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001, attacks by the Al Qaeda using hijacked aircraft on New York and Washington.
The terror group was sheltered by the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan.
The way out of Afghanistan was charted by Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who had set a deadline of May 1 for troops' withdrawal.
Biden is following through, but has extended the deadline to September 11, a date seared in American minds.
NATO also announced on Wednesday a collective withdrawal from Afghanistan.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters that there are 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, a majority from countries other than the US, and they would begin to be withdrawn starting on May 1.
The Kabul government of President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban have been holding negotiations that began during Trump's administration for power-sharing and transition.
The longest US war is estimated to have cost the nation more than $2 trillion, claimed the lives of 2,448 American personnel and left 20,722 troops wounded in action.
In addition, several tens of thousands of Afghans, many of them civilians, have died in the war.
Soon after his speech on his Afghan withdrawal plan, Biden went to the Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for military personnel, to pay tributes to those killed in Afghanistan.
While Biden downplayed the terror threats from a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan, just a few hours before his speech, the head of the CIA issued a warning before a Senate panel that "there is a significant risk once the US military and the coalition militaries withdraw".
CIA Director William Burns said: "When the time comes for the US military to withdraw, the US government's ability to collect and act on threats will diminish. That's simply a fact."
Biden, however, was undeterred asserting: "We'll reorganise our counterterrorism capabilities and the substantial assets in the region to prevent re-emergence of terrorists, of the threat to our homeland from over the horizon.
"We'll hold the Taliban accountable for its commitment not to allow any terrorists to threaten the US or its allies from Afghan soil."
Explaining the rationale for leaving Afghanistan, Biden said that the nature of the terror threats that brought the US and NATO forces to Afghanistan in 2001 have changed and now terrorists were "more dispersed, metastasizing around the globe".
He listed Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; al-Nusra in Syria; the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq with affiliates in Africa and Asia.
Therefore, he said, "keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions each year makes little sense to me and to our leaders".
At the same time, he tried to reject any notion of a defeat, instead asserting: "We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives. (Al Qaeda leader Osama) Bin Laden is dead, and Al Qaeda is degraded in Iraq, in Afghanistan. And it's time to end the forever war."
But the withdrawal would be unconditional.
He asserted that if the US exit was tied to conditions, certain questions such as justification for the continued impact on troops and money would have to be answered.
"And if you can't answer them, in my view, we should not stay," he said, making the retreat unconditional.
The Afghan withdrawal plan underscores Washington's abandonment of nation-building and moulding societies to an image it imagines, and also a move away from the Middle East-Central Asia region towards what is perceived as the threat from China.
The US has already scaled back its troop presence in Iraq to a nominal 2,500 and is now on its way to leaving Afghanistan. This will let Washington put more focus and resources into the Indo-Pacific for meeting threats from China.
The Annual Threat Assessment report from the US intelligence agencies sent to Congress on Tuesday made China the top global danger to the country's security.
Within the US, the two polar opposites, the left and the right, in politics have welcomed the Biden commitment to troop withdrawal, while the moderates of the Democratic and Republican parties have opposed it.
In a sampling of reactions, Senator Ted Cruz on the Republican Party's right and Ro Khanna, a member of the House of Representatives belonging to the Democratic Party's left, welcomed Biden's decision.
But Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate who is a moderate, criticised Biden and asked: "Why he thinks abandoning our partners and retreating in the face of the Taliban will make America safer?"
McConnell had also criticised Trump when he set the withdrawal deadline.
Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a moderate, tweeted: "The US has sacrificed too much to bring stability to Afghanistan to leave without verifiable assurances of a secure future."
Biden, who is trying to draw India closer on the strategic front in the Indo-Pacific also wants to increase its involvement in Afghanistan.
It would be to India's advantage to be involved in that country, which could harbour anti-India terrorists under the Taliban.
As Biden said, India has "a significant stake in the stable future for Afghanistan".
India and the Taliban do not have a history of cordial relations, but that may be changing.
Prior to 2001, India had opposed the Pakistan-backed Taliban and supported the Northern Alliance.
With the US involvement imminent, New Delhi has tried to open a line to the Taliban.
Last year India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar participated virtually in the start of the talks in Qatar between the Taliban and the Kabul government expressing New Delhi's support for an                  "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned" peace.
The Taliban, in turn, has denied reports that it supports terrorists in Kashmir and asserted that it was against interfering in other countries.
Biden said that he would hold the Taliban to its commitment to not allow any terrorists to threaten US allies from Afghan soil. The test will be if Taliban abides by the commitment and if the US can enforce it if it doesn't.
New Delhi, which signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Kabul, has given Afghanistan economic assistance of over $3 billion since 2001 and also provided security assistance through training over 4,000 Afghan military and security personnel and supplying helicopters.
India has built Afghanistan's parliament, a Taliban target for being a symbol of democracy, and is constructing a network of roads that would also provide a link for the landlocked country to a port it has constructed in Chabahar, Iran.

ians

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 10:50:02 +0530
Patriotism the reigning flavor down South

New Delhi, April 15

Superstars down South suddenly seem to be in a race to announce patriotism-themed mega projects. Filmmakers are going all out to launch teasers, trailers and announcements of films that hoist the Tricolour  spirit high.
Here are recent announcements in the southern film industry that are high on the patriotic spirit:

"1947"
"Ghajini" director AR Murugadoss will co-produce the pan-Indian film (simply put, the term means it will be made and released in multiple languages). Murgadoss co-produces with Om Prakash Bhatt, and the film will be directed by Pon Kumaran. The Tamil film will be released in multiple languages across the country.

"RRR"
SS Rajamouli film -- "Roudram Ranam Rudhiram" -- is said to be one of the costliest films ever produced in India. The film is a fictional account starring Ram Charan and Jr NTR as freedom fighters Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem, who fought against British and the Nizam of Hyderabad.

"Major"
Adivi Sesh stars as 26/11 martyr Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan. The film is a biographical drama and its teaser was recently released. The film marks Telugu superstar Mahesh Babu's debut as producer and is directed by Sashi Kiran Tikka. The film is slated to release on July 2. It is being shot in Telugu and Hindi and will be dubbed in Malayalam.

"Wild Dog"
The Telugu film released recently. Superstar Nagarjuna plays an NIA agent in the film that references contemporary terrorist attacks. The film also features Dia Mirza and Saiyami Kher.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 10:40:23 +0530
Russia aims at yr round sailing across Arctic sea

Moscow, April 15  

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the country seeks to establish year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route in the Arctic.
"In the coming years, movement along the Northern Sea Route may become year-round, bearing in mind the consequences of possible climate change," Putin said on Wednesday while addressing a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Geographical Society via video link.
The Arctic is a region where the effects of climate change are most obvious, he said, adding that the study of the Arctic is in the interests of all mankind, reports Xinhua news agency.
Putin underlined Russia's ongoing efforts to construct "the world's most powerful" nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet.
Last month, the Russian Navy conducted the "Umka-2021" comprehensive Arctic expedition in the Franz Josef Land archipelago, during which three nuclear-powered missile submarines broke thick ice and surfaced from the Arctic Ocean for the first time in its history.
The submarines shattered 1.5-metre-thick ice and ascended to the frozen sea surface at the same time in an area with a radius of 300 metres.
More than 600 military and civilian personnel, and about 200 pieces of military and special equipment and weapons are involved in the expedition.
Last week, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that the US Department of Defence is "very closely" monitoring Russian military activities and infrastructure build-ups in the Arctic.
In response to Kirby's remark, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia also keeps in mind the US presence in the Arctic.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 10:30:13 +0530
Kohli reprimanded for breaching IPL code of conduct

Chennai, April 15

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli has been reprimanded for breaching the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Code of Conduct during RCB's match against Sunrisers Hyderabad at                      the MA Chidambaram Stadium here on Wednesday night.

A statement from IPL said, "Mr Kohli admitted to the Level 1 offence 2.2 of the IPL's Code of Conduct. For Level 1 breaches of the Code of Conduct, the Match Referee's decision is final and binding"

Earlier, in the match against SRH on Wednesday, Kohli was upset after he was dismissed for 33 off 29 balls and took out his anger on a chair in the RCB dugout.

Walking back to the team dugout, a frustrated Kohli hit a chair with his bat as his other RCB teammates looked on. A video of Kohli hitting the chair went viral on social media.

Kohli fell for 33 for the second successive IPL game while failing to get a fifty. Against Mumbai Indians too, in the tournament, he had made 33.

ians

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 10:20:21 +0530
Infosys to buy back shares worth Rs 9 200 crore

Bengaluru, April 15

Global software major Infosys on Wednesday said it would buy back shares amounting to Rs 9,200 crore ($1.23 billion) from the open market route.

"As part of capital allocation, the board of directors approved buyback of shares equity shares from the open market route through the stock exchanges amounting to Rs 9,200 crore, excluding tax," said                 the city-based IT major in a statement here.

The buyback will be subject to the approval of the company's shareholders in the annual general meeting (AGM) of the company in June.

The last time (the second) when the IT major bought back shares was in March 2019, buying 2.36 per cent of the paid-up capital (103.25 million shares) worth Rs 8,260 crore at Rs 800 per share.

It made a maiden buyback of 11.3 crore equity shares in December 2017 for Rs 13,000 crore at Rs 1,150 per share.

The board, which met here to approve the company's financial results for fiscal 2020-21, also recommended a final dividend of Rs 15 per share of Rs 5 face value under its capital allocation policy.

"With Rs 12 per share interim dividend paid in October 2020, the total dividend for the fiscal will be Rs 27 per share, which is a 54 per cent increase over the dividend for the previous fiscal (2019-20)," said           the statement.

The outsourcing firm reported Rs 5,076-crore consolidated net profit for the fourth quarter (January-March) of the fiscal under review, registering 17.5 per cent annual growth from Rs 4,321 crore in the same       period a year ago.

Sequentially, net profit for the quarter (Q4), however, declined 2.3 per cent from Rs 5,197 crore in the third quarter (October-December) of the fiscal.

Consolidated revenue for the quarter under review (Q4) increased 13.1 per cent year-on-year (YoY) to Rs 26,311 crore from Rs 23,267 crore in like period a year ago and rose 1.5 per cent sequentially from           Rs 25,927 crore a quarter ago.

For the entire fiscal (2020-21), the IT behemoth posted Rs 1,00,472 crore consolidated revenue, registering 10.7 per cent YoY growth from Rs 90,791 crore a year ago in fiscal 2019-20.

This is the first time the company's annual revenue crossed Rs 1-lakh crore.

Net profit grew 16.6 per cent YoY to Rs 19,351 crore for the fiscal under review from Rs 16,594 crore a year ago (2019-20).

The company's blue-chip scrip of Rs 5 face value closed at Rs 1,398.60 per share at the end of trading on BSE against opening price of Rs 1,433.80 per share and Tuesday's closing price of Rs 1,425.80             per share.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 09:40:28 +0530
Pakistan bans Islamic party after violent protests

 

Islamabad, April 14

The Pakistan government has decided to impose a ban on the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan under the anti-terrorism law.
Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed announced on Wednesday that the file will be taken to the Federal Cabinet for approval, adding that the decision was taken on the request of the Punjab government.
"They (the protesters) were well-prepared. TLP leaders used to come to all talks with the government but after issuing instructions to their workers regarding road closures," he said, reported Samaa TV.
Supporters of the religious party took to the streets Monday afternoon after TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi was arrested by the Lahore police.
The report said that main roads in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and other cities were blocked following this, and people were stuck in traffic for hours.
Sheikh Rasheed said all highways, motorways, and roads in Punjab have now been cleared. "The protesters created a lot of problems for the government and the public."
Before the TLP, Pakistan had two Barelvi political groups: the Sunni Tehreek and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan.
None of them was mainstream, explains Sabookh Syed, an Islamabad-based analyst who monitors such groups. "The JUP and Sunni Tehreek never fielded candidates all over the country but the TLP did in the last election."
There is only one man who deserves credit for making TLP mainstream and that was Allama Rizvi, said Syed, as per Samaa TV.
Of course, every religious group tried to erect Mumtaz Qadri, the executed assassin of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, as their symbol but they all failed where Rizvi succeeded. "He had a charismatic personality and an aggressive unique style of delivering sermons that made him the centre of attraction."
Syed said in his opinion it would be an uphill task for his son to mimic such style and aggression and the party could lose support in the next elections.
Saad Rizvi, Allama Rizvi's 26-year-old son, was chosen to lead the party by its 18-member shura. He has been active in the party for the past few years, serving as its Deputy Secretary General. He used to stay in touch with reporters and made the party presence felt on social media, the report said.
According to his friend Salman, Saad is a student of Darja-e-Aaliya of Dars-e-Nizami. He is studying at his father's Abuzar Ghaffari seminary.
"He is a smart man with a deep interest in books," said Salman. "Unlike other madrassa students, Saad knows the importance of social media and used it to spread his father's message."
The TLP and its members had accounts on Facebook but they knew nothing about Twitter, said Salman. Saad knew that the microblogging site was a very important platform and believed that the party should have a presence on it because the mainstream media wasn't giving them coverage, the report added.
"He visited several madrassas and explained Twitter and its use to the students," his friend said. "Now, you can see TLP trends on Twitter."
The report said Saad is popular among young party workers and also worked as a bridge between them and Allama Rizvi, according to his friend.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 09:29:22 +0530
Ramzan fasting begins in Karnataka amid Covid surge

Bengaluru, April 15

The month-long Ramazan fasting began across Karnataka on a solemn note in compliance with the Covid norms amid the second wave of the pandemic, an official said on Wednesday.
"The first day of Ramzan fasting began in the wee hours (04:55am) of the day with Sehri namaz and concluded with Iftar prayers in the evening (6:37 pm)," Markazi Ruyath-e-Hilal convenor Mohammad Sageer Ahmed Rashadi told IANS here.
Though mosques in containment zones remained shut as per the guidelines, hundreds of the devout were allowed to offer prayers (namaz) in other mosques in a limited number to maintain social distancing and avoid crowding the place of worship.
As the sacred ninth month in the Islamic calendar, based on new moon's sighting, Ramadan begins 11 days early every year and its fasting (roza) is observed from dawn (fajar) to dusk (maghrib) and ends      evening at iftar.
Special night prayers (teraveeh) are also offered during the holy month.
"The steep increase in the number of positive cases daily across the state calls for strict compliance of Covid appropriate behaviour during Ramzan and the rituals for which people congregate in mosques in large numbers," state Minority Welfare, Wakf and Haj Secretary P. Mannivanan said on Tuesday.
Wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, washing hands, thermal screening and providing sanitisers have been made mandatory in all mosques.
Those above 60 years of age and persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below 10 years stayed at home, and offer prayers there, as per another guideline.
As mandated, separate gates were used at mosques for arrival and departure of the devout to ensure social distancing.
"Entry of devout was staggered and regulated to avoid crowding in mosques," said Rashadi.
The devotees also brought their own mat for offering prayers.
Mosques were sanitised after every namaz session throughout the day.
According to the state's Imarat-e-Sharia, fasting during Ramzan is one of the 5 pillars of Islam and considered as a blessed month by Muslims the world over.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 09:18:11 +0530
Coast Guard nabs 8 Pak men with 30 kg heroin

Gandhinagar, April 15

In a joint operation, Indian Coast Guard and the Anti Terrorism Squad of Gujarat on Thursday apprehended a boat with eight Pakistan nationals and 30 kilos of heroin.

According to the Coast Guard, the Pakistani boat was apprehended close to the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the Indian waters.

The Coast Guard said the operation was carried out in coordination with the ATS Gujarat.

A Coast Guard official told IANS that the boat which is still at the sea will be brought to the shore for joint investigation by various security agencies of the country. And the boat will be thoroughly checked for any more hidden items.
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 09:08:05 +0530
NATIONAL INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ENTERTAINMENT SCIENCE TECH SPORTS IANS LIFE MORE ALL STORIES Click

Bengaluru, April 15

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is on a 3-day visit to India, will be in this tech hub on Thursday for promoting bilateral relations in science and technology, an official said on Wednesday.
"On his day-long visit to the city, Le Drian will announce contribution of France to India's human space flight programme 'Gaganyaan' at the human space flight centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in the city," said a French consulate official in a statement here.
Le Drian will also interact with the state-run ISRO's chairman K. Sivan and human space flight centre director S. Unnikrishnan Nair on the occasion.
"In the space cooperation over the decades, France and India worked on many missions, including the operational climate research satellites," said the official.
The Indo-French Oceansat3-Argos mission will be launched soon, while a third joint satellite Trishna is in the development phase.
"The thermal infrared orbiter will be the first to monitor temperature of earth on a global and constant basis, with very high accuracy," said the statement.
France is also keen to strengthen dialogue with India on emerging space security issues.
Le Drian will also visit Bangalore Life Sciences cluster, with National Centre for Biological Sciences, the Centre for cellular and molecular platforms and the Institute of Stem cell science and regenerative medicine.
"Besides highlighting the cooperation between the two countries on health, life sciences and biotechnology, Le Drian will hold talks with heads of National Centre for Biological Life Sciences and French companies in the city," added the official.
Le Drian will meet investors and top executives of major business groups to showcase his country as an attractive business destination for Indian firms, which are choosing France as their gateway to the EU (European Union) market, especially in the context of Brexit.

ians

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 08:57:29 +0530
As Covid spread gets worse leading doctors say go for a quick restrictive lockdown

New Delhi, April 15

Spreading at a very high speed, the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has overwhelmed healthcare infrastructure in several states, urgently requires an extraordinary response to contain the virus, feel the leading doctors, dealing with the health crisis in the country.
"One robust way to respond to this new variant of virus is to quickly go for a restrictive lockdown," said Naresh Trehan, top cardiovascular and cardiothoracic surgeon.
"The way Maharashtra had taken a decision, the other states too should make a fast move... because time is precious."
Regarding the magnitude of the situation which is getting worse and worse, Trehan, chairman of the Medanta hospital chain in India, said that the different new strains of virus have spread at a double speed and caught the medical fraternity by surprise.
"Even the second wave of the Spanish flu was very devastating. Similarly in this second wave of Covid-19, I see that the number of cases are swelling very fast, each day. The difference between the figures of the first and second wave is enormous, almost double." said Tehan.
On how to contain the virus, the leading cardiologist said the vaccination drive has to be augmented.
"Besides, we have to increase the base of testing to ascertain the spread of this virus. And lastly everyone has to be cautious. Wearing a mask is a must... It's simple to say but hard to implement on the ground, particularly in smaller towns and places ," Trehan, an alma mater of the famous King George Medical College (KGMC) of Lucknow, told IANS.
The new variants of coronavirus, which is spreading faster than ever before is affecting young people, even children this time.
When asked how dreaded are these new variants, leading Indian physician and former President of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), K.K. Agarwal told IANS: "The UK strain, seen largely in Punjab is affecting the young, specially those under the age of 45. Then there are strains from South Africa, Brazil and ones traced in Maharashtra. Out of these, the Indian mutation (of the virus) seems a bit dangerous. Like a wave, the virus is now spreading from the west(Maharashtra) to north (Delhi)... But seeing the cases, I can say that the UK virus doesn't look dangerous."
On the question of enforcing a complete lockdown in the country to curb the further spread of the second wave of the pandemic, Agarwal suggested that area wise containment could be effective.
"Complete lockdown would not be practical. Actually enough time has been lost. We have to now focus on how to back the healthcare services and provide treatment to patients as numbers of admission are rising at a very fast pace. I would suggest that people should go for treatment as soon as symptoms appear," said Agarwal, who was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour for his contribution to the field of medicine.
The leading medical practitioners have a word of caution for India's young generation.
"For the past fortnight, I am seeing a trend that more and more youngsters are coming to our centres," said Sandeep Sharma a top radiologist and a former key functionary of the Delhi Medical Association.
"On Wednesday, I had seen 15 Covid positive patients for their chest CT scan. Out of 15, only one patient was around 60 years old. Rest were within the age group of 40 to 22," he said.
"The young population seems to have less fear about the virus. I would suggest they should be more careful as new strains of virus are affecting them."
The leading doctors were of the opinion that a callous approach by people, especially youngsters, and huge gatherings in recent festivals, and social events have led to the second wave.
"Everyone has to be careful. I will reiterate, that wearing a mask, and maintaining social distancing is the simplest form of prevention. Let's follow this rule," Trehan quipped.

ians
 

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 08:47:11 +0530
Pandemic Job Losses and Earning Money in Tough Situations

Sasi Nair,

Mumbai April, 14

Many among us have been facing burre din since the novel coronavirus outbreak and the series of lockdowns imposed, first by the central government and later by respective state governments. While some sectors such as IT went online in full flow, others such as Pharma saw their earnings go up and yet many more sectors such as travel and hospitality had their businesses shut.

In any such pandemics and economic slowdown, employee becomes the first to be hit, employers are quick to announce pay cuts, withhold bonuses, or terminate them at the earliest. Many private companies were quick to remove people from jobs citing businesses being shut.

Well several of the new generation youngsters lead a hand-to-mouth existence with many of them having to deal with their monthly EMIs (housing loans, vehicle loans, business loans or personal loans). Remember, banks won’t stop functioning and neither would your EMIs stop, that will come as per the allotted time and money will get deducted. In case one is unable to pay then either they will have to forgo their property or face legal procedures.

Sudden job losses are a norm in private sector but pandemic like this is out of the blue when whole sectors businesses get affected and you don’t have anyone to blame but providence and the pandemic. However, men have to earn one way or the other, if not then it takes an adverse hit on his self-confidence besides listening to their nagging wives or parents, as the case may be. It is always good to earn something than nothing at all and in the process people take up anything as a stop gap arrangement. Some dig into their savings, provident funds or borrow from friends or colleagues while others do whatever they can to cover their expenses. For some it is a matter of life and death and they don’t care about right or wrong or the consequences in the long-term as it is a face saving measure for them.

In a recent incident reported in the media in Bangalore one man began working as a gigolo as he lost his job due to the pandemic, eventually his wife came to know about it, and she decided to end the marriage, counselling did not work in the case and the couple decided to file for divorce. In a similar instance which was recently reported in Ludhiana where police on conducting raids discovered that women from different states who lost their jobs due to the lockdown had been pushed into prostitution. As per media reports, around two-thirds of working women in India had lost their jobs in last year April itself during the first phase of the lockdown and fewer number returned to work in August 2020 during the unlock phase. When a large chunk of people do not have any wage earning work, prosperity and growth are a far cry, worse people will take to crime and crime rate will increase which already is happening.

When household expenses cannot be met then child marriages, drug trafficking, prostitution, rise in domestic violence will be commonplace. Some form of government intervention is the need of the hour. Many women will have to simply give up their career when their parents force her into marriage early, it then depends on husband and in-laws whether they would allow her to work or not. Those who are working are earning only a fraction of what they use to during pre-pandemic days. The impacts of Covid-19 are far more than what can be comprehended right away, it is time to fix the problems immediately and for this the society needs to do its bit, else from burre din we will surely move to more burre waqt.

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 00:37:05 +0530
Pandemic Job Losses and Earning Money in Tough Situations

Sasi Nair,

Mumbai April, 14

Many among us have been facing burre din since the novel coronavirus outbreak and the series of lockdowns imposed, first by the central government and later by respective state governments. While some sectors such as IT went online in full flow, others such as Pharma saw their earnings go up and yet many more sectors such as travel and hospitality had their businesses shut.

In any such pandemics and economic slowdown, employee becomes the first to be hit, employers are quick to announce pay cuts, withhold bonuses, or terminate them at the earliest. Many private companies were quick to remove people from jobs citing businesses being shut.

Well several of the new generation youngsters lead a hand-to-mouth existence with many of them having to deal with their monthly EMIs (housing loans, vehicle loans, business loans or personal loans). Remember, banks won’t stop functioning and neither would your EMIs stop, that will come as per the allotted time and money will get deducted. In case one is unable to pay then either they will have to forgo their property or face legal procedures.

Sudden job losses are a norm in private sector but pandemic like this is out of the blue when whole sectors businesses get affected and you don’t have anyone to blame but providence and the pandemic. However, men have to earn one way or the other, if not then it takes an adverse hit on his self-confidence besides listening to their nagging wives or parents, as the case may be. It is always good to earn something than nothing at all and in the process people take up anything as a stop gap arrangement. Some dig into their savings, provident funds or borrow from friends or colleagues while others do whatever they can to cover their expenses. For some it is a matter of life and death and they don’t care about right or wrong or the consequences in the long-term as it is a face saving measure for them.

In a recent incident reported in the media in Bangalore one man began working as a gigolo as he lost his job due to the pandemic, eventually his wife came to know about it, and she decided to end the marriage, counselling did not work in the case and the couple decided to file for divorce. In a similar instance which was recently reported in Ludhiana where police on conducting raids discovered that women from different states who lost their jobs due to the lockdown had been pushed into prostitution. As per media reports, around two-thirds of working women in India had lost their jobs in last year April itself during the first phase of the lockdown and fewer number returned to work in August 2020 during the unlock phase. When a large chunk of people do not have any wage earning work, prosperity and growth are a far cry, worse people will take to crime and crime rate will increase which already is happening.

When household expenses cannot be met then child marriages, drug trafficking, prostitution, rise in domestic violence will be commonplace. Some form of government intervention is the need of the hour. Many women will have to simply give up their career when their parents force her into marriage early, it then depends on husband and in-laws whether they would allow her to work or not. Those who are working are earning only a fraction of what they use to during pre-pandemic days. The impacts of Covid-19 are far more than what can be comprehended right away, it is time to fix the problems immediately and for this the society needs to do its bit, else from burre din we will surely move to more burre waqt.

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 22:41:04 +0530
COVID S EASY BREEDING GROUND

Viswanathan KA

Mumbai, April 14

Due to the announcement of the total Lockdown in Maharashtra, migrant labourers with their families are waiting outside Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Kurla to catch trains to go to their villages without wearing a mask and without following social distance norms. This will be the easy breeding ground for the COVID virus.

 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 22:17:47 +0530
Woman gives birth in car

Sasi Nair

Mumbai, April 14

Mumbai Police has once again done a job that will uplift the dignity of humanity. While taking a pregnant woman to the hospital, the woman gave birth in the Police vehicle at Mumbai. The woman and the baby are safe.

At Worli Naka on April 13 at around 5 pm, a pregnant woman suddenly fainted while walking on the road. People on the road immediately informed the police. Two police vehicles reached the spot without delay. The police found out that the woman was pregnant and she was having labor pains.

The woman's health was fragile and police did not have much time to call an ambulance. Without a moment's delay, the police put the woman in a police vehicle and took her to Nair Hospital.

The woman’s condition was critical and was deteriorating. As it was taking time to get to the hospital, it was time to give birth in the police car. The female staff present in the car successfully made all arrangements for the pregnant woman to deliver in the police car and protected the life of the woman and baby.

The woman was seven months pregnant. But she gave birth prematurely. The mother's condition is safe and the baby has been kept in the intensive care unit of The Nair hospital. 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 18:06:44 +0530
Woman gives birth in car

Sasi Nair

Mumbai, April 14

Mumbai Police has once again done a job that will uplift the dignity of humanity. While taking a pregnant woman to the hospital, the woman gave birth in the Police vehicle at Mumbai. The woman and the baby are safe.

At Worli Naka on April 13 at around 5 pm, a pregnant woman suddenly fainted while walking on the road. People on the road immediately informed the police. Two police vehicles reached the spot without delay. The police found out that the woman was pregnant and she was having labor pains.

The woman's health was fragile and police did not have much time to call an ambulance. Without a moment's delay, the police put the woman in a police vehicle and took her to Nair Hospital.

The girl's condition was critical and was deteriorating. As it was taking time to get to the hospital, it was time to give birth in the police car. The female staff present in the car successfully made all arrangements for the pregnant woman to deliver in the police car and protected the life of the woman and baby.

The woman was seven months pregnant. But she gave birth prematurely. The mother's condition is safe and the baby has been kept in the intensive care unit of The Nair hospital. 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 17:53:23 +0530
Woman gives birth in car

Sasi Nair

Mumbai,  April 14

Mumbai Police has once again done a job that will uplift the dignity of humanity. While taking a pregnant woman to the hospital, the woman gave birth in the Police vehicle at Mumbai. The woman and the baby are safe.

At Worli Naka on April 13 at around 5 pm, a pregnant woman suddenly fainted while walking on the road. People on the road immediately informed the police. Two police vehicles reached the spot without delay. The police found out that the woman was pregnant and she was having labor pains.

The woman's health was fragile and police did not have much time to call an ambulance. Without a moment's delay, the police put the woman in a police vehicle and took her to Nair Hospital.

The girl's condition was critical and was deteriorating. As it was taking time to get to the hospital, it was time to give birth in the police car. The female staff present in the car successfully made all arrangements for the pregnant woman to deliver in the police car and protected the life of the woman and baby.

The woman was seven months pregnant. But she gave birth prematurely. The mother's condition is safe and the baby has been kept in the intensive care unit of The Nair hospital. 

 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 17:50:59 +0530
Woman gives birth in car

Sasi Nair

Mumbai

Mumbai Police has once again done a job that will uplift the dignity of humanity. While taking a pregnant woman to the hospital, the woman gave birth in the Police vehicle at Mumbai. The woman and the baby are safe.

At Worli Naka on April 13 at around 5 pm, a pregnant woman suddenly fainted while walking on the road. People on the road immediately informed the police. Two police vehicles reached the spot without delay. The police found out that the woman was pregnant and she was having labor pains.
The woman's health was fragile,
The police did not have much time to call an ambulance. Without a moment's delay, the police put the woman in a police vehicle and took her to Nair Hospital.
The girl's condition was critical and was deteriorating. As it was taking time to get to the hospital, it was time to give birth in the police car. The female staff present in the car successfully made all arrangements for the pregnant woman to deliver in the police car and protected the life of the woman and baby.
The woman was seven months pregnant. But she gave birth prematurely. The mother's condition is safe and the baby has been kept in the intensive care unit of The Nair hospital. 
Wed, 14 Apr 2021 17:46:20 +0530
Woman gives birth in car

Sasi Nair

Mumbai, April 14

Mumbai Police has once again done a job that will uplift the dignity of humanity. While taking a pregnant woman to the hospital, the woman gave birth in the Police vehicle at Mumbai. The woman and the baby are safe.

At Worli Naka on April 13 at around 5 pm, a pregnant woman suddenly fainted while walking on the road. People on the road immediately informed the police. Two police vehicles reached the spot without delay. The police found out that the woman was pregnant and she was having labor pains.
The woman's health was fragile,
The police did not have much time to call an ambulance. Without a moment's delay, the police put the woman in a police vehicle and took her to Nair Hospital.
The girl's condition was critical and was deteriorating. As it was taking time to get to the hospital, it was time to give birth in the police car. The female staff present in the car successfully made all arrangements for the pregnant woman to deliver in the police car and protected the life of the woman and baby.
The woman was seven months pregnant. But she gave birth prematurely. The mother's condition is safe and the baby has been kept in the intensive care unit of The Nair hospital. 
Wed, 14 Apr 2021 17:42:26 +0530
130th Birth Anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Governor Koshyari offers tributes to Dr Ambedkar a

Mumbai, April 14

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari visited the Chaityabhumi memorial of Bharat Ratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and offered his floral tributes to the architect of the Indian Constitution on the occasion of the 130th birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar in Mumbai on Wednesday (14th April).

A Tri-Sharan Buddha Vandana was recited on the occasion.

Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale, Home Minister of Maharashtra Dilip Walse Patil, Guardian Minister of Mumbai Aslam Sheikh, former MP Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar and General Secretary of the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Mahaparinirvan Din Samiti Nagsen Kamble were prominent among those present.

Speaking at a public meeting on the occasion, the Governor described Dr B R Ambedkar as a man of extraordinary flair, economist and scholar who created a sense of confidence among the most oppressed sections of society.

The Governor said, Dr Ambedkar studied the constitutions of various countries and gave India the best constitution. He said as happened in the case of Bhagwan Buddha and Mahavir in the distant past, people of the world will appreciate and realize the greatness of Dr Ambedkar with the passage of time. The Governor appealed to the people to read the books and biography of Dr Ambedkar and strive to build an India of his dreams.

The Governor released the book ‘Kalachya Palikadcha Mahamanav’, which is a compilation of articles on the life and work of Dr Ambedkar penned by various eminent persons on the occasion. The volume has been guest edited by Member of Parliament Rahul Shewale.

The Governor presented ‘Cheevar’ (holy clothes) to religious leaders on the occasion. 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 15:57:00 +0530
The Jallianwala Bagh A Massacre That Shook 19 Million Indians on Baisakhi 1919

By Anupama Nair

Mumbai, April 13

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on the Baisakhi Day i.e., 13 April 1919, when General Reginald Dyer ordered troops of the British Indian Army to fire their rifles into a crowd of unarmed Indian civilians, in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar killing thousands and injuring many more. A visit of Jallianwala Bagh after all these years leaves me in disbelief how a human being can order the killing of thousands of men, women and children. It is said the Shaheede- azam Bhagat Singh visited Jallianwala Bagh as a young boy and swore to free his motherland from the British rule. Even after 102 years my mind is filled with sorrow when I see in my mind’s eye the innocents try to save their lives from the bullets of the British soldiers, majority of whom where surprisingly Indians.

Before I talk about Jallianwala Bagh I want to take you down memory lane, how merchants who came to do trade with India within 300 years became the masters of the land from Khyber to Chittagong and from Kashmir to Comorin (now Kanya Kumari), i.e., entire sub-continent. The English East India Company was formed by merchants of England to trade with Asia and India the “golden bird” in particular and America. It was formed by Royal Charter on New Year’s Eve on 1600, The Mughal Emperor gave them permission to trade in India. They managed to reduce the influence of Portuguese, Dutch and French in India, by 1707, they began to be called as the British East India Company.

The Battle of Plassey (1757) and Battle of Buxar smoothened their path to conquer the sub-continent. By spinning a web of deceit, they succeeded ruling the entire sub-continent by 19th century. Jawaharlal Nehru in his book Discovery of India quoted “British rule in India had an unsavory beginning and something of that bitter taste has clung to it ever since”. The rule of the Company was a “reign of terror”. The last Governor General never imagined the Enfield Rifle (rumored to be greased with flesh of pigs and cows) will have the soldiers under Mangal Pandey revolt against the Company, and such rebellion will rage through India. Who can forget the bravery of Mangal Pandey (who was hanged), Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi and Tatya Tope? The First Battle of Independence or Revolt of 1857, bought an end to the rule of the East India Company or Company Bahadur. India then came under the rule of British Crown. Queen Victoria was called “Kaiser e Hind”.

This government was also no better. Freedom of the Indians was brutally suppressed. The government forced the Indian soldiers to fight the First World War (1914-1918). Many soldiers lost their lives. After the War, Indians expected some ease of strict laws. The Montagu-Chelmsford Report, in 1918, recommend limited local self-government. However, the government of India passed a repressive act called Rowlett Act in early 1919, which essentially extended the war-time restrictions. The Act was met by widespread anger and discontent among Indians, notably in the Punjab region. General Reginald Dyer was given the responsibility to maintain law and order in Punjab by the Governor of Punjab Michael O Dwyer.

On April 13, 1919, thousands of innocent men, women and children met in Jallianwala Bagh to protest against Rowlett Act and the arrest of local leaders Kitchlew and Satyapal. General Dyer banned all public meetings in Punjab. People ignored his orders and by 3 pm around 15,000 people assembled in Jallianwala Bagh -- a mix of speakers, listeners, and picnic makers. An enraged General Dyer went with his army and fired at the innocents. Without any warning, the troops opened fire on the crowd, reportedly shooting hundreds of rounds until they ran out of bullets. It is not certain how many died in the bloodbath, but, according to one official report, more than 1,000s died and about 1,200 more were wounded. After they ceased firing, the troops immediately withdrew from the place, leaving behind the dead and wounded. During the massacre, there were no escape routes. The narrow passage was blocked by the army and people either ran towards the walls or jumped in the well called “martyr’s well”.

The shooting was followed by the proclamation of martial law in the Punjab that included public floggings and other humiliations. Indian outrage grew as news of the shooting and subsequent British actions spread throughout the subcontinent. The great Bengali poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, renounced the knighthood that he had received in 1915. The Hunter Commission set up for inquiry in 1920 heard Dyer’s own damning testimony. He admitted he could have dispersed the crowd without firing, but chose not to do so because “they would have come back and laughed”. He said he would have used machine guns to kill even more if he could have, and that he saw no reason to help the wounded. By July 1920, Dyer’s support had diminished to such a level that only few imperialist enthusiasts and hardline officials, like Sir Michael O’Dwyer supported in him. Even Sir Winston Churchill condemned General Dyer in the House of Commons. But he was supported and seen as the “savior of the British empire” in The House of Lords.

Udham Singh (26 December 1899–31 July 1940) was an Indian revolutionary belonging to the Ghadar Party, best known for his assassination in London of Michael O Dwyer, the former governor of Punjab, on 13 March 1940. He was deeply influenced by Bhagat Singh and his revolutionary group. The assassination was done in revenge for Jallianwala Bagh, in 1919, for which O'Dwyer was indirectly responsible. He was tried and convicted of murder and hanged in July 1940. In the court he said “I did it because I had a grudge against him. He deserved it”. He is called as shaheede-azam. A district, Udham Singh Nagar in the Indian state of Uttarkhand was named after him to pay homage in October 1995 by the government.

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre turned millions of moderate Indians from patient and loyal supporters of the British Raj into nationalists who would never again place trust in British “fair play.” It thus marked the turning point for Indian Nationalism and finally we could see “the dawn of freedom” on August 15, 1947, due to the efforts of many revolutionaries like Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Kudiram Bose, Sardar Patel and others.

Now the area houses a museum, gallery and a number of memorial structures. The seven-acre garden site of the massacre is located near the Golden Temple Complex, and is managed by the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Trust, which was established as per the 'Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951’.  A portrait of Udham Singh is displayed in the gallery and his ashes are still kept in the museum. There is a notice that said “this place is saturated with the blood of thousands of Indian patriots, who were martyred in a non-violent struggle to free India from British Dominion, General Dyer of the British Army opened fire on unarmed people. Jallianwala Bagh is thus an everlasting symbol of non-violent & peaceful struggle for freedom of Indian people and the tyranny of the British.”

After Independence Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth visited the site three times in 1961, 1983 and 1997. Prince Philip, known for his many gaffes over the years, once hit the headlines in India after he reportedly questioned the number of casualties in the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Erstwhile British Prime Minister David Cameron visited the site in 2013. Till now even after a century no British Prime Minister or Royalty apologized for the massacre. However, the Prime Minister Theresa May, told the British parliament instead “We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused by the massacre."

My heart swells with pride for those innocents who became martyrs and indirectly free Bharat Maa from her slavery and we are today on our way on becoming a developed country under the leadership of our great Prime Minister. We even managed a successful landing on the moon. We will achieve more in the coming years.

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 13:25:15 +0530
Malayalees celebrate Vishu Tamilians Puthandu

K.A.Viswanathan

Mumbai, April 14

Vishu- Kerala new year day is celebrated on April 14. Malayalees celebrate this day by keeping Vishu Kani. This is Kerala's harvest festival marks the first day of the month Medam, the ninth month in the solar calendar followed in Kerala. The items kept in Vishu Kani includes rice, golden lemon, golden cucumber, coconut cut open, jack fruit, betel leaves, areca nut, golden yellow Konna flowers. All these kept in front of a mirror. Devotees believe if they see the reflection of these items in the morning it will bring peace and prosperity.

On this day Tamilians celebrate their New year called “Puthandu”. The festival date is set with the solar cycle of the Hindu calendar, as the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai.

Due to government restrictions, both the festivals will be celebrated "At Home", as precautionary measures.

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 13:11:48 +0530
Malayalees celebrate Vishu Tamilians Puthandu

Vishu- Kerala new year day was celebrated on April 14. Malayalees celebrate this day by keeping Vishu Kani. This is Kerala's harvest festival marks the first day of the month Medam, the ninth month in the solar calendar followed in Kerala. The items kept in Vishu Kani includes rice, golden lemon, golden cucumber, coconut cut open, jack fruit, betel leaves, areca nut, golden yellow Konna flowers. All these kept in front of a mirror. Devotees believe if they see the reflection of these items in the morning it will bring peace and prosperity.

On this day Tamilians celebrate their New year called “Puthandu”. The festival date is set with the solar cycle of the Hindu calendar, as the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai.

Due to government restrictions, both the festivals will be celebrated "At Home", as precautionary measures.

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 12:59:48 +0530
Malayalees celebrate Vishu Tamilians Puthandu
K.A.Viswanathan
 
Mumbai April 14
 
Vishu- Kerala new year day was celebrated on April 14. Malayalees celebrate this day by keeping Vishu Kani. This is Kerala's harvest festival marks the first day of the month Medam, the ninth month in the solar calendar followed in Kerala. The items kept in Vishu Kani includes rice, golden lemon, golden cucumber, coconut cut open, jack fruit,  betel leaves, areca nut,  golden yellow Konna flowers. All these kept in front of a mirror. Devotees believe if they see the reflection of these items in the morning it will bring peace and prosperity.

On this day Tamilians celebrate their New year called “Puthandu”. The festival date is set with the solar cycle of the Hindu calendar, as the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai.

Due to government restrictions, both the festivals will be celebrated "At Home", as precautionary measures.

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 12:53:50 +0530
Blue Origin s next launch to run astronaut rehearsal

San Francisco, April 13

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's aerospace company Blue Origin is planning to conduct an "astronaut rehearsal" during the 15th launch of its New Shepard rocket, dubbed NS-15, which is targeting liftoff on Wednesday from Launch Site One in West Texas.
This flight is a "verification step" for the vehicle and operations prior to flying astronauts, Blue Origin said on Monday.
During the mission, astronaut operational exercises will be conducted in preparation for human space flight.
The primary operations will entail Blue Origin personnel standing in as astronauts entering into the capsule prior to launch.
These astronauts will climb the launch tower, get into their seats, buckle their harnesses, and conduct a communications check from their seat with CAPCOM, the Capsule Communicator.
The tower operations team will prepare the capsule cabin for launch and then briefly close the capsule hatch.
The astronauts will then exit the capsule prior to launch, Blue Origin said, adding that the launch window for the flight on Wednesday opens at 8 a.m. CDT (Central Daylight Time).
Post-landing, the astronauts will get inside the capsule to rehearse hatch opening, and exiting the capsule at the landing site.
However, it is still not clear when Blue Origin will launch the first commercial flights.

ians
 

 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 12:18:10 +0530
Petrol diesel prices static even as crude prices firm

New Delhi, April 14

Fuel prices in the country remained unchanged on Wednesday with oil marketing companies continuing on the pause mode and keeping petrol and diesel prices static for over a fortnight now.
Accordingly, pump price of petrol and diesel remained at previous days level of Rs 90.56 and Rs 80.87 a litre respectively in the capital.
With crude remaining below $ 65 a barrel, any softening on global oil in the wake of a fresh wave of the pandemic and rising stocks in the US could actually mean lower petrol and diesel prices for consumers           in India. But crude has firmed up in the last couple of days.
Before the long drawn pause, petrol and diesel fell by 22 paise and 23 paise per litre respectively on March 30 in the wake global softening of oil prices. OMC have decided to pause price revision since then          as they want to watch the crude price movement.
Across the country as well the petrol and diesel prices remained static on Wednesday but its retail levels varied depending on the level of local levies on respective states.
In Mumbai, petrol continued to be priced at Rs 96.98 a litre and diesel at Rs 87.96 a litre. Premium petrol, however, continued to remain over Rs 100 a litre in the city as is the case with several cities across            the country.
The OMCs went on price cut for the first time this year on two consecutive days -- March 24 and 25 after keeping oil prices steady for the past 24 days. It again reduced the price on March 30. Thereafter,                fuel prices have remained unchanged.
Earlier, the petrol and diesel prices increased 26 times in 2021 with the two auto fuels increasing by Rs 7.46 and Rs 7.60 per litre respectively so far this year.

ians
 

 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 12:04:30 +0530
2021 04 14 Tokyo marks 100 days to go until Olympics amid Covid spike

Tokyo, April 14

Tokyo marked 100 days to go until the postponed Olympics on Wednesday amid lingering uncertainty over whether the Games can be staged safely amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Olympic host city has been under a month-long semi-state of emergency over the pandemic since Monday amid a growing number of new infections.
"During this period, we will put our efforts to prevent the spread of infections and beat the coronavirus, and would like to be able to hold the Games with everyone," Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said at an event marking the occasion, DPA reports.
Tokyo confirmed 510 new daily infections on Tuesday, exceeding 500 cases for the first time in three days, while the western prefecture of Osaka reported a record 1,099 cases amid the rapid spread of new variants of the virus.
Speaking at a lower house committee, Shigeru Omi, who chairs the government's coronavirus advisory panel, confirmed "the fourth wave" of coronavirus infections.
The roll out of Covid-19 vaccines has been extremely slow since its start in mid-February. Only 0.4 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
Despite the pandemic, the Olympics "certainly will happen," John Coates, Tokyo 2020 coordination commission chair said in a video message.
"They will commence the Games on the 23rd of July," Coates said.
He called the Tokyo Games "the best-prepared ever Games."
In March 2020, the pandemic forced the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organisers to delay the Games by one year in an unprecedented move.

ians
 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 11:53:56 +0530
Death toll up to 42 after boat capsizes off Djibouti

Addis Ababa, April 14

The death toll in the boat capsize off Djibouti coast has climbed to 42, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said.
"At least 42 people have died after a boat operated by people smugglers, transporting approximately 60 migrants escaping conflict in Yemen, capsized on its way to Djibouti in the early hours of Monday morning," the UN migration agency said in a statement.
At least 16 children were said to be among the deceased, the IOM said.
On Monday, the IOM announced that some 34 migrants had died in the incident as they were being transported by human smugglers, Xinhua reported.
"Despite the dangers, the number of migrants arriving in Djibouti continues to increase. In March, over 2,343 migrants arrived from Yemen, compared to 1,900 in February," the UN agency said.
The latest boat accident is one of many similar deadly calamities that have occurred on Djibouti's Red Sea coast area.
In most such incidents, desperate East African migrants attempted to cross the dangerous route hoping to reach the Middle East via war-torn Yemen. They mainly sought to reach Yemen's northern neighbor      Saudi Arabia.
Noting that the conditions of migrants stranded in Yemen have become so tragic that left migrants with no option but to rely on smugglers to return home, the IOM called on all governments along the route to join hands and support its efforts to allow migrants to return home safely.

ians
 


 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 11:43:28 +0530
A low profile Vishu for Kerala Hindus

Thiruvananthapuram, April 14

If the last year's Vishu went off as closed door on account of the Covid pandemic, this time, with the pandemic continuing its surge with cases spiking like never before, for Hindus in Kerala, Vishu - the traditional New Year, is believed to signal the arrival of good luck and fortune for the coming year and is being celebrated on Wednesday with a lot more gusto than in 2020.
If in 2020, with the pandemic announcing its arrival and the country and the world entering an unknown territory of total lockdown, Vishu went practically unnoticed, but this time, on Wednesday morning there was a rush in temples across the state but, devotees were seen observing Covid protocols and maintaining social distancing.
The most important Vishu event happens indoors, in one's own homes as the custom for the day is to have the 'Vishukani darshan' (auspicious sight of their favourite deity, the first thing in the morning), that is arranged, by the women folk, the previous night in their puja room.
The puja room is decked up, where in a special vessel (urali) apart from fresh farm produces which include cucumber, pumpkin, coconut, plantains, mangoes, pineapples, rice, grains and even areca nut are neatly arranged and kept in front of their favourite deities.
However, the most sought after product today that is a must in all homes that is neatly displayed in the worship room is the bright yellow konna flowers (cassia fistula - also known as the Golden Shower Tree).
The first thing that happens early morning is when elders in the house after having their darshan of this at the puja room, then go to wake up others in the house and after closing their eyes, each one of them are brought into the worship room and then only they open their eyes, to have the first darshan of the day, which is often referred to as 'vishukani'.
Another important event of the day is the giving away of 'vishukaineetam' (a gift) and it is mostly given in coins.
The custom is the head of the household gives away coins to other members and there are some who are particular to get their's from people who are considered as lucky charms.
Irrespective of the Covid pandemic, there is no change in the major meal of the day, when the entire household gets ready for partaking of the traditional Vishu lunch, which is, Kerala's time tested and most sought after, a 26-course vegetarian meal served on a banana leaf.
Here, the only difference, is while in the southern and central districts of the state, this is a pure vegetarian meal, but in northern districts, the lunch consists of non vegetarian dishes too.
Hindus constitute more than 50 per cent of the 33 million Kerala population, but today it has become a truly secular event and the 26-course lunch has become the order of the day.
Today, hotels and caterers are ready with packed Vishu lunch and a packet for five costs Rs 2,000 and upwards and those in this business make a killing.

ians

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 11:30:33 +0530
Microsoft s new Surface headset has dedicated Teams buttons

New Delhi, April 14

Microsoft has introduced Surface Headphones 2+ Plus and two more new headsets that come fitted with a dedicated Teams buttons for seamless video collaborations and meetings.
Each of these headsets offers plug-and-play functionality for seamless setup, LED indicators to know your Teams status, and on-device call controls to keep you in the flow.
"Additionally, most accessories feature a dedicated Teams button to bring Teams to the front of a crowded screen or quickly join your next meeting," Microsoft said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mow certified for Microsoft Teams with the included dongle, Surface Headphones 2+ provides an even more robust meeting experience with on-ear Teams controls and improved remote calling.
Surface Headphones 2+ is priced at $299.99 in select markets.
The product carries over all of the features loved by existing Surface Headphones customers — 13 levels of active noise cancellation, innovative earcup dials, an advanced 8-microphone system for incredible voice clarity, 18.5 hours of music listening time or up to 15 hours of voice calling time, and the all-day comfort to help you through the day's virtual meetings.
The company has also unveiled two new Modern Wireless headsets with dedicated Teams buttons.
Microsoft Teams now has more 115 million daily active users. That's a more than 50 per cent rise from the 75 million that Microsoft reported last year.

ians
 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 11:24:07 +0530
MBBS students in UP to be put on Covid duty

Lucknow, April 14

In an emergency move, the Yogi Adityanath government has decided to include students of fourth and fifth year in MBBS in Covid management.
The decision has been taken following the cancellation of MBBS examinations.
"These students will now be deployed on Covid duties and this will ease the pressure on doctors to a considerable extent," said a government spokesman.
Apart from this, private labs and hospitals are also expected to be acquired in order to increase the medical infrastructure in the state to cope with increasing Covid cases.
 

ians

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 11:06:57 +0530
His Storyy poster controversy Sudhanshu Saria not satisfied with apology Lead

Mumbai, April 14

 : National Award-winning filmmaker Sudhanshu Saria had recently pointed out how the poster of the upcoming ALT Balaji show "His Storyy" is similar to that of his film "Loev". Saria feels such an act of plagiarism is "brazen, disrespectful, inconsiderate", and "smacks of arrogance".
Expressing his mind with an emotional outburst during a video interaction with, the filmmaker said: "I have to say my first reaction was numbness and then it knocked the wind out of me. I found myself instinctively so angry that I could not even explain it. This action is brazen, disrespectful, inconsiderate, careless and it is smacks of arrogance. It made me show that I do not matter. They saw the poster, they took it and reused it thinking I am such a nobody in the business that no one would notice who originally created the poster! They thought I am insignificant. I am in the business for last 18 years."
Saria also demanded a public apology from the production house to the maker of the original poster.
On Sunday, ALT Balaji had put out a statement on social media that read: "On the 9th of April, we released a poster of His Storyy and were made aware of the existence of Sudhanshu's 'Loev' poster. The uncanny resemblance and similarity cannot be written off as a mere coincidence. It has been an oversight on part of our design team. For this, we apologise. We respect the creativity of every designer and would never intentionally lift their work nor disregard their talent. Thus, an apology to the artists involved in the making of this poster is warranted. We have deleted the poster from all our platforms and we humbly apologise to the artists involved in the creation of the beautiful poster of 'Loev'."
However, Saria said: "There are few points to be noticed here, when it comes to ALT Balaji putting out a statement with their apology. Firstly, on social media, they did not tag or mention the name of the poster artiste who authored the poster. In the apology, they said that they only became aware of the existence of the poster on April 9th. I find that to be insincere and not truthful because the photographer of the poster said to us that he shot it two months ago."
"This means everyone on the set, including actors and the photographers are well-aware of the existence of the poster. Clearly, creative briefs were given and a team of people must have processed it to execution. This is not the only time when this production house has done this. In fact, the very name of the show 'His Storyy' is ripped off from a Korean show."
"It is a culture in that production house, clearly. Instead of acknowledging that and promising to change it, instead of apologising to the artiste directly, they just put up this courtesy statement. I know I am supposed to be satisfied because at least they apologised but, no, I am not satisfied. We want to kick start a larger discussion on the whole matter," Saria added.
"Loev" featuring Shiv Pandit, is directed and produced by Saria, and it released in 2017 after a few rounds of festival screening. It streams on Netflix.
Saria won the National Award as Best Director last month in the non-feature film category for his short film "Knock Knock Knock".

ians

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 10:59:36 +0530
Class 12 boy bludgeons grandmother to death sets body on fire

 

Chandigarh, April 14

 In a shocking incident, a Class 12 boy bludgeoned his bed-ridden 83-year-old grandmother to death in a fit of rage in a Punjab village over her insistence to study rather than spending too much time on mobile phones and loitering on a motorcycle.
After committing the crime, the 16-year-old boy put her body on fire and locked himself in a room in his home to pretend that robbers did this act.
The incident was reported in the Bassi Kale Khan village in Hariana tehsil in Hoshiarpur district on Monday.
At the time of the crime the boy's parents were not at home.
According to the police, the boy on Tuesday confessed that he killed his grandmother by hitting an iron rod on her head. He took cues from television crime serials to commit the crime.
After the crime, the minor rang up his parents to inform them that four miscreants had come with an intention of robbery and had set the grandma's room on fire.
When his parents returned, they found their son lying in a bed box with hands and feet tied with a cloth. The door of the room was locked from outside.
The family informed the police about the crime.
During his questioning, the boy confessed the crime, Superintendent of Police Ravinder Pal Singh Sandhu told the media.
He said the boy was inspired by the crime serials and was planning the murder for quite some time. The accused was sent to a juvenile home.

ians

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 10:47:42 +0530
Kohli floated idea of me joining RCB during Aus tour Maxwell

Chennai, April 14

 All-rounder Glenn Maxwell said that Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli had first floated the idea of him joining the franchise during the limited overs leg of India's tour of Australia last year.
"We had been texting a fair bit. We obviously caught up. We chatted after the ODI and T20I series in Australia. He talked to me about potentially playing for RCB. If I got the opportunity, he said 'we would love to have you'. But obviously, there was an auction," Maxwell said in a video tweeted by RCB.
"He said it would be wonderful to have you. He floated the idea back even then. There was a long process in work. Thankfully, I am playing for RCB now," he added.
Maxwell was the focus of a bidding war between RCB and Chennai Super Kings which led to him eventually being sold for a whopping Rs 14.25 crore.
Kohli had earlier recalled Australian spinner Adam Zampa giving Maxwell the RCB cap even before the auction happened. Maxwell said that it would have looked a bit silly had RCB not been able to acquire him and he is happy with how things have turned out.
"The day of the auction, it was at night time in New Zealand. We were training while in quarantine in New Zealand. Adam Zampa had his RCB hat in his bag, so he took it out and made sure we had a photo," said Maxwell.
"He sent it to Virat and said 'Let's get it over the line. Congratulations I have already given him his first cap!
That was before the auction, so it all happened pretty well. It would have looked pretty silly if it didn't work out that way. He put the picture on afterwards but we took the photo before the auction. Virat said you guys are idiots but in a lovely way," he said.

ians
 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 10:42:58 +0530
FBI says will remove backdoors from hacked Microsoft servers

San Francisco, April 14

 The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched a mega operation to copy and remove malicious web shells from hundreds of vulnerable computers in the US that were running on-premises versions of Microsoft Exchange Server software used to provide enterprise-level email service.
A court in Houston has authorised an FBI operation to "copy and remove" backdoors from hundreds of Microsoft Exchange email servers that have been compromised by nation-state hackers, including from China.
"Today's court-authorised removal of the malicious web shells demonstrates the Department's commitment to disrupt hacking activity using all of our legal tools, not just prosecutions," Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department's National Security Division said in a statement on Tuesday.
Earlier reports have claimed that five different hacking groups (including China-backed hacking group called 'Hafnium') are exploiting vulnerabilities in the business email servers of Microsoft.
Through January and February this year, certain hacking groups exploited zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server software to access email accounts and place web shells for continued access.
Web shells are pieces of code or scripts that enable remote administration.
Other hacking groups followed suit starting in early March after the vulnerability and patch were publicised.
Many infected system owners successfully removed the web shells from thousands of computers. Others appeared unable to do so, and hundreds of such web shells persisted unmitigated.
"This operation removed one early hacking group's remaining web shells which could have been used to maintain and escalate persistent, unauthorised access to US networks," the FBI informed.
The FBI conducted the removal by issuing a command through the web shell to the server, which was designed to cause the server to delete only the web shell (identified by its unique file path).
Throughout March, Microsoft and other industry partners released detection tools, patches and other information to assist victim entities in identifying and mitigating the cyber incident.
Despite these efforts, by the end of March, hundreds of web shells remained on certain US-based computers running Microsoft Exchange Server software.

ians
 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 10:37:28 +0530
What s in a nickname A lot if you re a South superstar

New Delhi, April 14

Rajinikanth is Thalaivar. Kamal Haasan, through his heydays as a superstar, has been Ulaganayagan to fans. Vijay has been hailed as Thalapathy while Ajith is Thala. Chiranjeevi is Mega Star to Telugu fans while Mahesh Babu is Prince, Pawan Kalyan is Power Star, and Ravi Teja has been Mass Maharaja for well over a decade. Mohanlal is widely known to fans of Malayalam cinema as Lalettan while Mammootty is Mammookka.
Superstar sobriquet have existed in the South for ages, and the new generation screen icons have followed suit. Having a moniker helps -- for one, it endears the star to his/her fans and, importantly, also conveys the particular image he or she might want to project as a public icon.
So, while most actors get sobriquets from fans that toast them as the best (most monikers roughly translate to words like leader, hero, chief etc), a few stars have also found the apt title from films they have worked in. Vikram, for instance, became Chiyaan, after his hugely popular character's name in the 1999 blockbuster "Sethu". Kannada star Sudeep has been Kiccha to fans since he essayed the title role in the 2003 superhit of that name.

In the past, too, iconic actors down South were given endearing names by their fans. MG Ramachandran was called Makkal Thilagam during his acting days, Jayalalithaa was referred to as Puratchi Thalaivi. Sivaji Ganesan was called Nadigar Thilagam, while Rajkumar was Annavru.
These are just a few instances over the decades in southern film industries, where filmstars are deified as nothing short of deities.
Here's looking at the new set of monikers, among Southern stars:
ALLU ARJUN is ICON STAAR
He was earlier called Stylish Star, and has only recently been named Icon Staar (the extra 'a' is perhaps for added impact). The name came about recently when the first look of his upcoming film "Pushpa" was launched a few days ago. The film's director Sukumar announced at the event: "Everyone has known him as the Stylish Star. From now on, he will be Icon Staar". So much so, the teaser of the film introduces Arjun as Icon Staar.
RASHMIKA MANDANNA is THE NATIONAL CRUSH
Her career may be just about five years old, and her Bollywood debut is yet to happen. But Rashmika, who has already garnered sizeable popularity in the Kannada, Telugu and Tamil film industries, has been named the National Crush by her fans. Asked if she is aware of the title, the actress recently told IANS: "I am aware of it but at the same time I am not. I know that there is so much love for me out there but I am not swayed by it. I know where my roots are and I know what all this is. I am mindful of who I am a person, so it is not that I am like 'Oh my God!, I get to be swayed away by all love. "
VIJAY SETHUPATI is MAKKAL SELVAN
The Tamil actor who has proved his acting prowess in multiple films, has been given the title or Makkal Selvan or People's Treasure. The name came about during the shoot of his 2016 film "Dharmadurai". His director Seenu Ramasamy gave the actor the title.

ians
 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 10:29:49 +0530
Sonakshi Sinha As celebrities we can make a difference

Mumbai, April 14 -

 Sonakshi Sinha is often seen raising her voice for causes she believes in, be it donating money for PPE kits or taking a stand against trolling. The actress feels as a celebrity, one can make a big difference if one speaks up for the right things.
"I tie up with causes I strongly believe in and, as celebrities, I feel we can make a difference because we have a voice, and it should be used to make the world a better place. So, if there is any cause that is for the upliftment and development of society, why not?" she said.
Meanwhile, the actress has been doing her bit by posting about the importance of wearing a mask on social media. She says that although last year was slow for Bollywood, she didn't mind being at home and spending time with her family.
"Personally, it was a blessing to be home, since I do not remember the last time I got such ample time to spend with my family. Over the last few years, I have constantly been working, so I enjoyed this break to the fullest," she says.
In fact, she adds that she took up a lot of hobbies during this time.
"I also started painting, sketching, and binged-watched TV shows and lots of movies. I think I made the most of it," she says.
Sonakshi will soon be seen in the film "Bhuj: The Pride Of India", which also stars Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt, Sharad Kelkar, Ammy Virk, Pranitha Subhash and Nora Fatehi. She will also be seen in the film "Bulbul Tarang", which is also slated to release digitally. She makes her OTT debut with the web series "Fallen".

ians
 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 10:24:18 +0530
Minari actor Steven Yeun Was blown away by story s simplicity

Mumbai, April 14

"The Walking Dead" star Steven Yeun toplines "Minari", Lee Isaac Chung's drama that is in contention for six Oscars including one for Yeun in the Best Actor category. He says was blown away by the story's simplicity and truthfulness.
"Minari" is the story tale of an immigrant family's struggle with cultural identity when they move to the raw and rugged terrain of Arkansas. It talks of what happens when an outsider's Great American dream collides with reality, and is set in the US of the early eighties.
While receiving accolades for his brilliant portrayal of an ambitious and hopeful man, Yeun shares that he initially didn't think he would fancy the script.
"I've read some other things in this vein and most just touch on the surface, so I honestly didn't expect I'd be that interested", he said.
He added: "But I was blown away by the story's simplicity and truthfulness. Reading Minari, I realized what was missing from other things on this topic: the feeling that the story is coming from an intrinsic, relatable humanity rather than a narrow identity."
The actor went down a whirlwind of trepidations while preparing for his character.
He said: "For one thing, Korean is something that I can speak, but not necessarily in the right vernacular for Jacob (his character), so I knew that would take some real study and work. Even more worrisome was taking on playing a father in Jacob's generation -- as a minority, playing this kind of role felt very large to me and weighty."
The actor added: "People often idealise or romanticise the first generation who came to this country, but that's not what I was looking to do. I was trying to get to the bottom of this very human man, flaws and all."
"Minari" will be released in India on April 16 by PVR Pictures.

ians
 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 10:17:04 +0530
BJP MP seeks deferment of Panchayat polls in UP

Lucknow, April 14

 Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Mohanlalganj, Kaushal Kishore, has asked the state election commission (SEC) to defer the Panchayat elections by a month, in view of the pandemic.
The first phase of polling for the Panchayat election is due on Thursday.
Kaushal Kishore tweeted that instead of conducting elections, saving lives of people should be of prime concern. He said that thousands are in the grip of disease.
"The crematoriums are flooded with dead bodies," he said in a tweet while tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
This comes a day after state minister Brijesh Pathak wrote a letter to senior health officials, underlining the poor state of health system in the state capital amid a surge in Covid cases.

ians
 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 10:10:39 +0530
Netflix redesigns kids profiles to show their favourites on TVs

New Delhi, April 14 -

Streaming giant Netflix is redesigning kids profiles on connected TVs to help them watch their favourite shows and movies.
The redesigned kids' profile will prominently feature characters from their most-watched titles right on home screen, reports Variety.
Netflix Kids profiles on TVs will include a "favourites" row on the homepage with five characters shown above the related series or movie.
"We wanted to represent a title in the way that kids most recognise it — through the characters," said Michelle Parsons, product manager for kids and family at Netflix.
"This is going to be like a kid walking into their own room, where they know where every Lego piece is," Parsons was quoted as saying in the report on Tuesday.
For a show to appear in the favourites row, a kid must watch it at least once.
The favourites row will feature characters from all titles available on Netflix, covering both licensed and original content.
For now, the new favourites row appears in kids profiles in Netflix's connected TV apps.
"The company will test the feature across other devices in the coming months," Parsons said.

ians

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 10:06:51 +0530
Covid restrictions to hit economic activities in Apr Jun Report

New Delhi, April 13

The restrictions and partial lockdowns in several states and cities amid rising Covid-19 cases are likely to impact economic activities in the current quarter (April-June), according to a Goldman Sachs report.
It said that the containment restrictions are likely to be more targeted with impact on specific services such as food and beverages, leisure and recreation, and transport, but with limited spillovers into other sectors such as construction and manufacturing.
"While these restrictions are likely to hit activity in Q2, we think activity is likely to rebound sharply from Q3 onwards as containment policies normalise," it said.
"Consequently, our economists have revised down their overall CY21 real GDP growth forecast to 10.5 per cent (from 10.9 per cent previously) but remain above the consensus forecast of 9.4 per cent."
It also said that the domestic fiscal policy and government spending are likely to continue supporting growth in the coming months.
Globally, Goldman Sachs' economists remain optimistic about a rebound in the global economy and expect very strong GDP growth in 2021. A strong recovery in global growth provides a supportive backdrop for India's macro and cyclical recovery too, it said.

ians
 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 09:59:10 +0530
Tamils celebrate New Year with traditional fervour

Chennai, April 14

 People across Tamil Nadu welcomed the Tamil New Year or 'Pilava' year on Wednesday with traditional fervour.
People greeted each other saying 'Puthaandu Vazhthukkal' or New Year Wishes.
The Tamil New Year is celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month 'Chithirai' which normally falls on April 13 or 14 annually.
Houses are decorated with 'kolam' (rangoli) outside the front door. Mango leaves adorn the door frames.
People also visit temples.
At home, Tamilians normally feast on dishes like 'vada' and 'payasam' (sweet dish) and other savouries.
However, the special dish of the day the 'mango pachidi' made with neem flowers, jaggery, mango, green chilli, salt and tamarind juice representing the six major human emotions was made.
Tamils in other countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and other countries also celebrate New Year on this day.

ians

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 09:53:13 +0530
Fresh Covid cases back over 700 in S Korea

 

Seoul, April 14

 South Korea's daily new Covid-19 cases rebounded to over 700 on Wednesday, the most in over three months, as health authorities are looking at the option of raising social distancing rules to contain the virus resurgence.
The country reported 731 more Covid-19 cases, including 714 local infections, raising the total caseload to 111,419, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
Wednesday's daily caseload was the highest since January 7, when 869 new cases were confirmed. The number of new cases remained in the 500s over the last two days due largely to fewer tests conducted over the weekend, Yonhap reported.
The country added seven more deaths, raising the total to 1,782.
Health authorities worried over a fourth wave of the pandemic in spring, warning of stronger restrictions on multiuse facilities if the virus transmissions show no signs of letup.
"We will consider adjusting the social distancing schemes and measures on business operation hours after closely monitoring this week's situations," Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health official, said in a briefing.
On February 15, the country lowered its tougher social distancing measures by one notch to Level 2, the third highest in its five-tier scheme, in the greater Seoul area and to Level 1.5 in other regions.
Private gatherings of five or more people are banned nationwide.
The nationwide traffic volume stood at 71 million over the weekend, up 14.6 per cent from a week earlier, which is similar to the level in November when the third wave of pandemic began, Yoon said.
"This seems to be more evidence that people have let their guard down," Yoon said. "People could become relaxed, but the Covid-19 virus doesn't. The virus is tireless and indiscriminate."
The number of locally transmitted cases surpassed 600 over the past week for the first time in three months, and the proportion of untraceable virus cases stood at 28.2 per cent during the period, the KDCA said.
Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol vowed to expand preemptive testing to detect patients at an early stage and explore ways to effectively use self-testing kits to further step up the testing capacity.
The Seoul metropolitan government is pushing to introduce rapid Covid-19 self-testing kits in schools, universities and religious facilities as part of its new campaign to safely reopen the city.
Under new Mayor Oh Se-hoon, the city government has been working on a coronavirus response scheme tailored to the needs of individual businesses, raising concerns about potential inconsistencies with the policies of the central government.
Since the country started its vaccination program on February 26, a total of 1,239,065 people have been given Covid-19 vaccine shots, including 43,489 the previous day.
AstraZeneca's vaccine has been given to 936,448 people, while 302,618 received that of Pfizer.
The KDCA said 60,567 people have received two doses.
A total of 11,799 cases of side effects after vaccinations have been reported, up 64 from a day earlier, but 98.4 percent were mild symptoms, including muscle pain and fever.
Another death after vaccinations was reported, raising the total to 49, according to the KDCA. Authorities, however, said most cases were not related to the vaccination.
South Korea plans to vaccinate 12 million people by the end of June, with a goal of achieving herd immunity by November.
Health authorities resumed administering AstraZeneca vaccines to eligible recipients aged over 30 on Monday, days after putting the program on hold amid growing concerns over its safety.
With only two types of vaccines currently available here, the health ministry said it expects to secure Novavax vaccines as early as June, and 20 million doses will be ready by the third quarter. Novavax vaccines require two shots for immunization.
Of the newly confirmed locally transmitted cases, 245 came from Seoul, with Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital city accounting for 238.
The southeastern port city of Busan reported 48 new cases.
There were 17 additional imported cases, adding three from the previous day.
The number of seriously or critically ill Covid-19 patients was 100, down one from Tuesday
The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries was 101,938, up 651 from a day earlier.

ians

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 09:47:54 +0530
Global Covid caseload tops 137 2mn

Washington, April 14

 The overall global Covid-19 caseload has topped 137.2 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 2.95 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
In its latest update on Wednesday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 137,226,735 and 2,956,845, respectively.
The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 31,345,312 and 563,440, respectively, according to the CSSE.
India follows in the second place with 13,689,453 cases.
The other countries with more than two million confirmed coronavirus cases are Brazil (13,599,994), France (5,167,265), Russia (4,605,444), the UK (4,390,801), Turkey (3,962,760), Italy (3,793,033), Spain (3,376,548), Germany (3,040,356), Poland (2,599,850), Argentina (2,579,000), Colombia (2,569,314), Mexico (2,281,840) and Iran (2,118,212), the CSSE figures showed.
In terms of deaths, Brazil comes second with 358,425 fatalities.
Nations with a death toll of over 50,000 are Mexico (209,702), India (171,058), the UK (127,369), Italy (115,088), Russia (101,882), France (99,639), Germany (78,924), Spain (76,625), Colombia (66,482), Iran (65,055), Poland (59,126), Argentina (58,174), Peru (55,230) and South Africa (53,423).

ians

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 09:41:37 +0530
Those fasting in Ramzan can take jab

Lucknow, April 14

 A 'fatwa' issued by a prominent Sunni cleric here has said that those observing fast during the month of Ramzan can get vaccinated for Covid-19.
Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali, in a fatwa, said, "At a time when vaccination has become a necessity to stay safe from Covid-19 pandemic, devotees can go for vaccination while fasting for Ramzan."
"Roza observed by devotees does not break due to Covid vaccination, which means that those who wish to and are allowed to get vaccination, should do so. Vaccination is an intramuscular injection, hence not digested. Therefore, it will not break your fast. We are encouraging Muslims to go for vaccination as a part of their commitment to their well-being," said Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali.
To help fasting Muslims during Ramzan, helplines are run by both Shia and Sunni clerics and these are flooded with questions related to vaccination.
There are women centric helplines too where questions are being answered by women educated in Islamic laws.
Among other queries that callers have put forth recently ahead of Ramzan include if a devotee is experiencing Covid symptoms, how should he observe the fasting month, and what is the code of law to avoid Covid-19 or any other infection or disease.
"Those who are experiencing Covid symptoms should immediately get themselves tested and not observe roza this time. For the ones who are not well, the instructions of the Prophet for the devotee is to first visit a doctor and take their suggestions. It is also mentioned in the Hadith Shareef that 'kalonji' (nigella seed) keeps every illness at bay. Therefore, it should be taken during sehri and iftar," the cleric said.
A caller asked if a person could recite 'ayats' (verses) and read 'tasbeeh' (rosary) without cleaning himself, to which it was suggested that people could do so without cleaning their hands but they should not touch the Holy Quran.
Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali, recently got himself vaccinated and asked Muslims to shed hesitancy and get themselves vaccinated.
 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 09:35:50 +0530
3 dead as fishing boat sinks off Karnataka coast

Mangaluru, April 14

 Three crew members died after a Indian fishing boat collided with a foreign ship and capsized in the Arabian sea near Mangaluru off Karnataka's west coast, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said on Tuesday.
"Three crew members died after the Indian fishing boat 'Rabah' collided with a Singapore container ship (Apl Le Havre) and sunk 43 nautical miles west of Mangaluru in the Arabian sea in the wee hours of the day," said the ICG in a tweet later.
Of the 14 crew members of the fishing boat, 2 were rescued and search was on to trace the remaining 9 members on the high sea.
"Three vessels and a Dornier aircraft from Kochi in Kerala were rushed to the mishap spot for search and rescue operation," said the ICG.
The fishing boat with 14 crew members, including 7 each from Tamil Nadu and West Bengal ventured into the sea from Beypore in Kozhikode district in the neighbouring southern state on Sunday.
The rescued duo has been identified as Sunil Das (34) from West Bengal and Velmurukan (37) from Tamil Nadu.

ians
 

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 09:26:18 +0530
FB Insta users can ask Oversight Board to purge harmful content

London, April 13

 The independent Oversight Board on Tuesday announced it will begin accepting cases from Facebook and Instagram users who believe the company wrongfully allowed harmful content to remain on its platforms.
The content eligible for review includes posts, status updates, photos, videos, comments, and shares.
Decisions made through the Board's independent judgment are binding on Facebook. The Oversight Board, with an initial strength of 20 members, was formed last year.
The Oversight Board in January made 17 recommendations, based on the six cases, for Facebook to improve its content moderation.
"Enabling users to appeal content they want to see removed from Facebook is a significant expansion of the Oversight Board's capabilities," said Thomas Hughes, Director of the Oversight Board Administration.
Starting today with an expanding roll out over the coming weeks, after an individual has exhausted Facebook's appeals process, they will receive an Oversight Board Reference ID and can formally appeal for independent review.
"As content will be live on Facebook and Instagram, many people may report the same piece of content. In these cases, multiple user appeals will be gathered into a single case file for the Board, providing greater context of the impact of the content," the Oversight Board explained.
As with appeals on content that users want restored to Facebook, users may appeal to the Oversight Board once they have exhausted the appeals process with the company.
"The Board was created to ensure that fewer decisions about highly significant content issues be taken by Facebook alone, and that better decisions can be delivered through an independent and transparent process that works to safeguard human rights and freedom of expression," Hughes said in a statement.
Since October 2020, users have been able to appeal to the Oversight Board about their own content being removed.
So far, the Board has received over 300,000 user appeals and thousands of public comments.
The Oversight Board's most recent decision was issued to Facebook on Tuesday, on a case from the Netherlands, where the company removed a video showing a young child meeting adults with their faces painted black, dressed to portray "Zwarte Piet" - also referred to as "Black Pete."
The Oversight Board upheld Facebook's decision after a majority found sufficient evidence of harm to justify the removal.

ians
 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 20:04:15 +0530
US calls for pause on Johnson Johnson Covid vaccine

New York, April 13

 Federal health agencies in the US on Tuesday recommended a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson's Covid vaccine in the country "out of an abundance of caution" after six recipients developed a rare and severe type of blood clot.
All six cases occurred among women between the age group of 18 and 48, and the symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have urged the states across the country to pause the use of the single-dose vaccine while they investigate cases of blood clots.
The US CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance while the FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases.
"Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution," the CDC and the FDA said in a joint statement.
"This is important, in part, to ensure that the healthcare provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required for this type of blood clot," it said.
As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the US.
In the six reported cases in the US, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets.
Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered.
Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given, the CDC and FDA joint statement said.
"Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare," said the statement.

ians

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:59:01 +0530
Rahul Gandhi to campaign in Bengal for first time on Wed

New Delhi, April 13

 Congress MP Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to address his first election rally in West Bengal on Wednesday ahead of the fifth phase of polling scheduled for April 17.
The Congress is contesting 12 seats in the fifth phase out of the 44 Assembly constituencies that will go to the polls on April 17, including three seats where it had won in 2016.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will address his first public meeting at the Lodhan school ground in Goalpokhar in Uttar Dinajpur district. The second public meeting will be held at the Sarojini ground in Darjeeling district, which is part of the Naxalbari Assembly constituency.
While Rahul Gandhi is a late entrant in the poll arena of West Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has led the BJP campaign so far in the state.
While the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are involved in a direct contest in Bengal, the Left is trying to win back its rural support, and the Congress is looking to retain its tally of 44 seats it won in the 2016 elections.
The Congress' vote share had declined to 4 per cent in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but it still remains an important factor in some districts such as Purulia, Malda and Murshidabad.

ians
 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:53:59 +0530
Mumbai NCB seizes drugs hidden in Hitler s biography

Mumbai, April 13

 Busting yet another unusual modus operandi, the Narcotics Control Bureau's (NCB) Mumbai Zonal Unit seized a consignment of drugs concealed in a biography of Adolf Hitler, a top official said here on Tuesday.
Following a tip-off, the NCB on Monday intercepted a parcel containing the book at the Vile Parle East Post Office.
On checking the book, a commercial quantity of 80 blots of LSD hidden in it was found and seized, said NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede.
He added that the LSD was procured from some European countries through the dark net by some youngsters and the payment was done through crypto currencies like bitcoin.
Wankhede said that the common name for the hallucinogenic drug LSD is lysergic acid diethylamide, but there are more than 80 other street names for the recreational narcotic.
It is a synthetically created psychedelic drug known for its induction of a range of psychological effects, and a LSD trip includes various images and sensations which seem real but are not actually occurring, he said.
The latest action is part of the NCB's ongoing campaign against the drug mafia in the city and efforts to unravel their connections with people in the glamour and entertainment industry, launched after the probe into the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June 2020.

ians

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:49:44 +0530
Who funds Pak s purchase of western military equipment By Binay Kumar Singh

New Delhi, April 13

 A third world country that is on the brink of economic implosion, living on IMF loans and unable to guarantee the necessities of life to its people is still procuring military equipment from some of the most advanced nations in the world! A country which has been kept on the FATF grey list yet again and regularly signs dubious deals with proscribed organisations and faces strictures by the UK High Court with millions being debited from the bankrupt nations accounts due to the aforementioned shady deals. A country whose foreign exchange reserves stand as on date at only $13 billion- barely adequate for two months imports.
No prizes to guess the right answer, it's a state where the Army has a nation, Pakistan. The situation has been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Ayesha Siddiqa, a noted Pakistani author and defence expert states, "before the pandemic, Pakistan was already burdened by an external debt of about $112 billion. Today it is facing the additional challenge of feeding some 25 million poor families that can no longer make a living due to Covid-19. Moreover, the country saw a 30 per cent reduction in tax revenue, due to the government's incompetence and decreased spending caused by the coronavirus lockdown". Or as Tara Kartha a former Indian National Security Council member blithely states, "An Army that drives its posh SUVs oiled by Chinese money is bad news, whether in Mandarin, Punjabi or English".
In such a situation, the leaders of Pakistan should have focussed on the economy and growth. However, Ayesha Siddiqa brings out, in comparison with the spending on the pandemic caused by the pandemic, the Government did not focus on the economy "Islamabad allocated $7.85 billion for defence and merely $151 million for health in the budget for the financial year 2020-2021. This represents a 12 per cent rise in Pakistan's defence spending compared with the last financial year."
Should we be surprised? Actually, no.
Adm Zafar Mahmood Abassi, Pakistan's Chief of Naval Staff till October 2020, had painted his evision' to transform the Pakistan Navy. Ina televised address to the nation on October 7, 2020, he spoke about three pillars of his approach - (a) enhancing combat readiness, (b) jumpstarting the maritime economy and (c) reinvigorating the ideological domain. Whilst the third facet of his address should worry the efriends' of Pakistan, and, the new Biden administration, the recent steps to procure state-of-the-art military hardware indicates the operationalisation of Admiral Abassi's plan.
So, buy high-end military equipment it does. The Pakistan Navy buys passenger aircraft from Brazil through a third party deal and then gets them modified for military purposes in another EU country; it is attempting to procure German engines for its new Chinese submarines as it finds the Chinese engines too noisy; it is procuring ten low-level air search radars from Italy; it is also buying Italian torpedoes once again for its Chinese built submarines. Obviously, it finds the Chinese torpedoes unreliable. According to a report by the Italian Government - Pakistan has become the second largest arms importer from Italy.
This by itself is quite normal as the Pakistan Armed Forces have always looked at key procurements, especially of force multipliers, to retain their edge over the vastly superior Indian forces. The list is quite endless and begets the question -how does a country which is mired in debt and whose friends including the UAE are seeking a return of their loan - buying such equipment?
Another important facet is that e as the larger comity of nations is now coming together against a Revisionist China, the Chinese are using their rentier state e Pakistan to procure high-end technology from across the world in order to reverse engineer the same and induct it for the PLA forces. Otherwise, there is no way to explain these costly procurements in foreign exchange from Western sources without any financial aid. Tara Kartha alludes, "all of this is being powered by Chinese money. Which means that Beijing has just bought itself an army, with a State attached". It is also within the realm of possibility that, the Chinese soft loans amounting to over $5 billion given ostensibly to fund the four Type054A and eight submarines purchased from Chinese shipyards, also includes a covert tranche for foreign purchases. Was this also a part of the MoU that was signed in December 2020 by the Chinese and the Pakistanis amidst tensions with India?
To convince the diehard fans of Pakistan, let me provide some more examples of the Pakistani dedication for sharing sensitive Western technology and intellectual property with the Chinese. The recent report by HI Sutton in Forbes, based on satellite imagery of an Agosta-90B berthed between two CCP Navy ships during their visit to Karachi in January 2020, and he states (sic) "This (berth of Agosta-90B) was not in the Pakistani Navy's usual berths, but in a cordoned-off part of the commercial docks. The placement of the Pakistani Navy submarine cannot be viewed as coincidental". Readers may also recall the admission by the former PM Nawaz Sharif who, in Oct 2020 stated that the Pakistanis had shared a Tomahawk missile found in Balochistan with their iron-brother, China, in 1990s which in turn assisted Pakistan to develop the Babur cruise missile.
Thus, the Biden administration and other governments in the EU should remember that a hand of friendship extended to the Pakistanis along with Aid and an assurance to take Pakistan of the FATF grey List in June 2021, may lead to key defence technologies being delivered on a platter to the Xi Jingping and the CCP Armed Forces.

ians

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:44:59 +0530
Matchmaking on video calls rises to 50 Survey

New Delhi, April 13

 Virtual ways to find a life partner is now a reality, or better yet, the new normal, suggests a new survey.
With the second wave of Covid-19, Jeevansathi.com, a matrimony platform, rolled out a survey to understand how this impacts the search for a life partner.
Results show that half of the respondents feel that virtual meetings will become the norm very soon; completely replacing physical meetings during one's search for a life partner. In contrast, in August 2020, only 40 per cent respondents confirmed the same. When digital transformation is the in-thing across industries, finding soulmates has also found its safe haven online.
Rohan Mathur, Business Head, Jeevansathi.com said, "Pandemic has changed the way people search for a life partner. We have witnessed the increasing affinity among our users towards virtual ways of connecting with prospective matches. While we saw a spike in usage of voice and video-calling on our platform as soon as Covid hit, the trend has continued even after relaxations in government restrictions and a drop in cases. At the onset of the Covid pandemic, we had seen the volume of calls on the platform go up 1.6X. This year, the number of voice/video calls is a whopping 11X of what it was pre-Covid. Total time spent on calls has also gone up 10 times."
As many as 38 per cent of the respondents are comfortable taking a decision based on virtual meetings alone! While digital has its own ease, it has not completely banished the importance of in-person meetings. 44 per cent respondents are happy to connect over video calls to know each other but meeting in-person is still required for the final decision. Only 18 per cent said that they still prefer meeting matches face-to-face over virtually.
It is interesting to see the newfound appreciation for small weddings with limited guest lists. While it was understandably the most popular choice when cases in the country had peaked, even after the vaccine rollout, 55 per cent of respondents have expressed their preference for smaller weddings. The second wave of Covid-19 could be one of the reasons for the same. However, in this wave, people are relatively more relaxed and want to go back to a world where big fat Indian weddings were common. Twenty seven per cent respondents said they would readily have a regular wedding now, albeit with safety precautions vs only 11 per cent respondents willing in August '20. While searching for a partner has moved online in the wake of the lockdown, virtual weddings are completely eliminated. No respondent opted for a virtual wedding in the survey, as compared to 11 per cent who did in August '20.
That said, safety and sanitisation have become the top priority in Indian weddings since the pandemic hit. Over 50 per cent respondents chose a Covid-safe wedding over the perfect outfits, pictures, food, etc. Sixty nine per cent respondents said they are now comfortable attending a pandemic wedding with the requisite precautions.

ians

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:37:36 +0530
Summer recipes for your pet

New Delhi, April 13 -With the onset of summer, it is important to know what is good and safe to feed your dogs. While we don't want to change their daily meals, we do have the opportunity to be able to give them some fresh home-made treats which will cool them down.
We all know that dogs have a higher internal body temperature than us humans and hence, it is important that we tweak their diets in the summer months so as to avoid them feeling too hot. A higher core temperature will result in hair loss in patches, dehydration and panting.
Some key food elements to avoid in summer are mutton, beef (buffalo meat) and egg yolks. While some pet parents feed their dogs mangoes, they are to be avoided too.
Some food elements which are good for your dogs in summer are chicken, egg white, curd, cucumber, cauliflower and brown rice.
Ishmeet Singh Chandiok, Founder, Harley's Corner shares some recipes that you can make at home and treat your dog with during these hot months:
*Wash and clean the bones thoroughly
*Do not remove the marrow
*Boil the bones with the mint in a pressure cooked for 4-5 whistles
*Let it cool and remove any marrow and meat and leave it in the soup
*After you make the broth, you can serve this in multiple ways;
a. Chilled -- as a soup in the summer months
b. Frozen -- keep 1 ice cube tray and make ice of the broth and serve it after your dog comes back from a walk
*Boil and puree the liver
*Whisk the curd until smooth
*Mix the liver and the curd till blended well
*Portion this out into 5 small bowls/containers and freeze
Y.ou can replace the liver with blended raw bananas, mashed sweet potato also. This is to be served frozen as an ice cream.

ians

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:31:18 +0530
A modern retelling of a lesser known Mahabharata tale

New Delhi, April 13

 While the term 'Mahabharata' usually evokes stories of Kauravas, Pandavas and their affiliate mythological characters, the largely-obscured tale of their ancestors Yayati and Devayani pre-dates the main narrative by several generations, and has much insight to offer into Indian mythology. The tale of love, betrayal and self-realisation has been revisited by US-based author-translator Manjula Tekal in her new book 'Devayani'.
A pre-Rigvedic prelude to the colossal epic of 'Mahabharata', is the intriguing story of Yayati, an ancestor of the Kaurava princes and the emperor of Aryavarta, and Devayani, his wife and the daughter of sage Shukracharya. The book narrates how the demon princess Sharmishtha became Devayani's servant and then her rival; and why Yayati had to ask his children to make the ultimate sacrifice -- to give up their youth for him. The ancient couple were also parents to Yadu, who gave rise to Yaduvansha, from which Krishna descended.
A deeply-researched peek into an ancient tale, 'Devayani' takes you on a journey through infatuation, lust, jealousy, rage, betrayal, love and wisdom. It is published by Garuda Prakashan and makes for a recommended read for those interested in learning Mahabharata's backstory.
"Yayati and Devayani are remembered today only because they were the forebears of Pandavas and Kauravas many, many generations ago. That was even before 'Rigveda' was written. So, in some sense, what has come to us as our culture, scriptures, itihasa, and Puranas started with them," the author told IANSlife.
Surprised upon a general lack of knowledge about the characters, specifically Devayani, Tekal has lived with them for over two years now. "I am surprised when I realise that many people don't know her! And pleased that they can discover her through me," she says.
Speaking about the contemporary relevance of the colloquially-articulated book, Tekal says: "Human emotions are constant. Despite the momentous change that must have occurred through the millennia that separates Devayani's time from today, people still feel the same today as they did then. I know people relate to these characters as though they are contemporary from the comments and feedback I have received from my readers."
Adding,"I discovered Puranas while writing the book. I had the impression that Puranas were a bunch of old stories that are anachronistic. But I found to my delight that there are many stories instructive to the modern reader. The book, 'Devayani' is cast in a contemporary idiom and is eminently relatable."
What are the characters' key takeaways for the author?
"The highlights of the characters as I see it are, first and foremost, they are all human, with all the human foibles and weaknesses. That said, there is a core of values and grace that ennobles them all. Devayani is unfailingly loyal and true to her own feelings. She has constancy, and she goes on against all odds."
Yayati also has human failings. He wants to be loved. He seeks love from Devayani, first, and later, Sharmishtha. Devayani is conflicted, but Sharmishtha loves him back unreservedly. Yayati also wants to do and achieve many things, but all his longings and ambitions are cut short when he loses his youth. He begs his children for youth, which no father should do in a more forgiving world. But he does, and he is lucky enough to find a son that humors him and gives him what he needs. Yayati confers his kingdom upon his last son because he has taken his youth from him," Tekal says.
"Sharmishtha is made out to be the epitome of love in popular culture. She is indeed very loving towards Yayati. Yayati is everything she has idealised in a man, and he is taken by her best friend and enemy. Is her love perhaps just a tinge actuated by jealousy and competitiveness? Regrettably, Devayani will never know the answer to that. Sharmishtha knows that Shukracharya has warned Yayati against marrying her. She is overriding prudence, wisdom, and loyalty towards her best friend when she solicits Yayati's love. And yet, she plays with fate and surrenders to her love. Sharmishtha is a fascinating character study," she concludes.

ians

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:24:35 +0530
Boost your Keto diet

New Delhi, April 13

 The 'Ketogenic Diet', also known as the Keto diet is a popular weight loss routine followed across the world, and is currently in vogue. Put simply, it's a low-carb and high-fat diet, where the body begins to burn fat as fuel, instead of glucose. In addition to being more efficient when it comes to toning down than other calorie-restricted diets, Keto is also known to have other health benefits.
Before embarking on a Keto diet, here are six important tips suggested by Devansh Jain Nawal, Co-Founder -- The Healthy Company, to boost your ketones and get into ketosis.
"Although a Keto diet is definitely known to give a lot of health benefits in addition to just reducing your weight, one must also understand that it isn't something that should be over a long stretch, and must be undertaken as per the specific demands of each body. Not every diet is made for every individual. An easy way to boost ketosis is by using specific Keto-boosting products in the market like The Healthy Company's Keto Green Tea. To follow a Ketogenic diet properly, always do it under the supervision of a trained nutritionist, who can time your meals accordingly and reduce your keto flu symptoms as much as possible," he suggests.
Stay hydrated
The first and foremost thing to remember is to have enough water throughout the day. Carbohydrates act as storage facilitators for water and sodium in the body. Since carbs consumed are in limited quantities, your body water stores go down, possibly leaving you dehydrated! So drink up! If you're someone who tends to forget, try using water consumption apps that remind you to drink water in designated minutes.
Start slow
One might think that jumping right into Keto, post following a normal routine would be the right thing to do, however, that's simply not the case. Take the time to slowly introduce high fat foods in your routine and to slowly reduce on the carbs in your diet. This would help you in the possible reduction of constipation, diarrhea, poor energy levels and other keto flu symptoms.
Remain active
While on a Keto Diet, do not assume that it's best to simply give up on exercise. It would still remain an important part of maintaining your health. However, what you could easily do is, to include low intensity exercises such as walking, light jogging or even gentle yoga for about 30-45 minutes daily. The idea is to maintain a steady state of physical activity and avoid workouts that demand a sudden burst of energy.
Cut down on starch and sugar
The main idea behind a keto diet is to cut on carbs. Starch and sugar are rich in carbs and need to be avoided. Ensure to cut back on foods such as cakes, sugar, candies, fruit juices, rice, wheat, pasta, veggies such as potatoes, yam and sweet potato and alcoholic drinks, slowly but progressively.
Indulge in fibre and protein
While keto diet does dictate a diet high in fat, you still need to include a moderate amount of protein. Foods such as nuts and all types of seeds, and nut butter. An addition of cinnamon, pepper, ginger to meals can also help induce ketosis. Low carb veggies such as tomato, zucchini, green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, cabbage give good fibre and fill one up as well. Non-vegetarians can include red meat, chicken, whole eggs and fatty fish like mackerel and tuna which provide a lot of protein and fibre to the body and compensate for the carbs reduction too.
Increase salt intake.
A ketogenic diet involves a paradigm shift from an intensive carb-based diet to a fat-based one. This shift unbalances the electrolyte balance in the body. So, if one mineral is affected, the other one is affected on its own. Since the consumption of processed foods goes down, sodium intake goes down considerably, one might end up feeling restless, have considerable fatigue and other symptoms of keto flu. To avoid this,

simply increase the amount of salt you add to your food.

ians

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:18:42 +0530
Portuguese artist exhibits oil paintings on happiness

New Delhi, April 13

 An online exhibition of paintings in oil by Portuguese artist Ana Romero, titled 'Eudaimonia', which is a Greek concept for happiness or blessedness, is on view on the website of India International Centre till April 25.
Co-organised by the Portuguese Embassy Cultural Centre, the solo show titled 'Eudaimonia' exhibits works by the 1971-born Romero who has exhibited across European cities.
"Every man has a vocation, an inclination, his demon, his personal genius. Eudaimonia -- happiness for the Greeks -- or the good performance of their demon, is achieved by doing what they are called or evoked for.
"The liberation of our demons, whatever they may be, results largely from what we are: from the fusion between cinema and life, or from Art and life, from music and literature, and also from the contamination of the very small things that daily they bring us "Eudaimonia" and drive away our demons," writes Romero.
The artist adds: "This permanent and unattainable construction of our happiness is strongly contributed by artists, consecrated or not, who influence us and keep us devotedly in love with this wonderful 'thing' which is the creation of images; in a world saturated with them, the ability that some have to attract us is undoubtedly something of extreme beauty; even when they represent the lack of it."

ians
 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:11:26 +0530
Doing lot of work on lower body hamstring Rohit

Chennai, April 13

 Mumbai Indians (MI) captain Rohit Sharma said that he does a lot of maintenance work on his lower body and hamstring to remain fully fit following his injury in the last Indian Premier League (IPL) season.
"It was more about maintaining what I've built up over the past three or four months. Obviously, I was injured during the last IPL so there is a lot of maintenance work that I have to keep doing for my lower body and hamstring," he said.
Rohit missed a few matches in the latter half of the league stage of the 2020 IPL due to a hamstring injury. He also missed the limited overs leg and first two Tests of India's subsequent tour of Australia. Since then, however, Rohit has played in almost all of India's international matches and led MI in their season opener against Royal Challengers Bangalore last week.
Sharma also praised his teammates for putting in effort during training.
"It's really great to see all the players, especially the fast bowlers, come out and get involved in the fitness drills," Rohit said in a video tweeted by MI.

ians
 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:06:28 +0530
Ant Group to overhaul business as China tightens regulations

Beijing, April 13

 Ant Group as a whole will apply to become a financial holding company that is overseen by China's central bank as billionaire Jack Ma's financial technology giant makes efforts to calm regulatory concerns in the country.
All of the company's institutions engaged in financial businesses will be included in the financial holding company and be regulated as per the plan, Xinhua reported.
The People's Bank of China (PBOC), the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange carried out joint regulatory talks with Ant Group on Monday.
After the previous talks with regulators in December last year, Ant Group set up a special task force to map a rectification plan under the guidance of the financial authorities and to actively carry out the rectification work, according to Pan Gongsheng, deputy head of the PBOC.
The group must carry out profound and effective rectification to stay firm in serving the real economy and the people and actively respond to national development strategies, he said.
Pan said the group's rectification plan aims to correct unfair competition in the group's payment business, giving consumers more payment options.
According to the plan, the group should break the monopoly of information, and guarantee the security of personal and state information, he said.
The group should strictly implement the requirements of prudent regulation, improve corporate governance, and rectify non-compliant lending, insurance, wealth management and other financial activities, and curb high leverage and risk contagion.
The group should manage the liquidity risks of major fund products, according to the plan.
The move comes as China is tightening regulation for Internet companies.
The formulation of Ant Group's "rectification plan" follows the suspension of the company's initial public offerings (IPOs) in November, 2020.
China's decision to suspend the IPOs came after Ma publicly criticised the country's financial regulators.
In another setback for the Ma-founded business empire, Chinese regulators last week slapped a record fine of 18.2 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) on e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding.
The fine was imposed on Alibaba for violating anti-monopoly rules as the country seeks to rein in the power of Internet conglomerates.

ians
 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 19:01:12 +0530
Madhuri Dixit Nene looks pretty in pink in new photo op

Mumbai, April 13

 Actress Madhuri Dixit Nene ups her style quotient in a pretty pink lehenga, in her new Instagram post on Tuesday.
In the Instagram photo-op, Madhuri is seen posing in a light and dark pink zari lehenga. She completed her look with dark pink lips, drop diamond earrings and a neck piece. She tied her hair into an untidy bun.
"Pretty in pink," she wrote as caption.
The actress is set to make her digital debut in the series "Finding Anamika". In the show, Madhuri plays a superstar who goes missing.
The show has been directed by Karishma Kohli and Bejoy Nambiar.

ians
 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 18:54:24 +0530
No role of Kishor in ticket finalisation for 2022 polls Amarinder

Chandigarh, April 13

Putting to rest all speculation, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday ruled out any role of poll strategist Prashant Kishor in the finalisation of Congress tickets in the 2022 Assembly elections.
"There is no question of it. (Prashant) Kishor has no say in the matter," said the Chief Minister, amid reports of resentment brewing in Punjab Congress over Amarinder Singh's newly appointed principal advisor Prashant Kishor deciding on the tickets for next year's Assembly elections.
There are set norms and patterns for ticket allocation in the Congress, which are followed in all elections in all the states, said Amarinder Singh, adding that Punjab is no exception.
A state election committee is set up by the party high command ahead of any Assembly poll, which considers all the names and decides on the final candidates, the Chief Minister pointed out, adding that the shortlisted names are then sent for scrutiny to the screening committee, comprising top party leadership, including the Congress President.
The final decision is taken by the Central Election Committee, with no individual having any role to play, he added.
In the process of ticket finalisation, inputs are always taken by this committee from various internal and external parties, including independent agencies as well the state party unit, he said, adding that this is the process that was followed in 2017 and it will be adopted this time also.
"So where does Kishor come into the picture," he asked.
Amarinder Singh further said that this system had worked well last time, when the Congress won 80 seats in Punjab. "Why should the party want to change it and disturb the political balance that we have managed to strike so beautifully in the past four years," he said.
In fact, the Chief Minister pointed out, the Congress in Punjab has been on a strong wicket in every election in the last four years, including in the recent urban local body polls, which the party swept.
"This shows that there is no anti-incumbency at play in the state, as is being speculated by the media ever since Kishor's appointment," he said.
If the party sees any instances of local anti-incumbency, it will handle it the way it usually does -- by looking at the alternatives, and finding the best fit to ensure victory, Amarinder Singh said, making it clear that this is an issue for the Congress, and not Kishor, to consider and decide.
"His (Kishor's) role as my principal advisor is limited. It is only advisory in nature, with no decision-making authority vested in him," added the Chief Minister.

ians

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 18:42:37 +0530
CFMA seeks FTMF repay Rs 14K cr balance to unit holders of 6 shut funds

Chennai, April 13

Chennai Financial Markets and Accountability (CFMA), an investor protection body, on Tuesday raised serious concern about the balance repayment of over Rs 14,000 crore to be made by Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund (FTMF) to its three lakh unit-holders in the six shut debt schemes.
"FTMF has paid Rs 9,122 crore and an additional Rs 2,962 crore is being repaid this week, taking the total pay-out to only Rs 12,074 crore of the total outstanding of Rs 26,670 crore," it noted.
The investor body reiterated that three lakh unit-holders of the six shut debt schemes will have to bear a minimum haircut of anywhere between Rs 13,000 and Rs 15,000 crore, or roughly 50 per cent, on their principal amount, for FTMF's "poor investment decisions and inferior asset quality".
CFMA has been persistently questioning how much loss the unit-holders would bear eventually and when they would actually recover their dues. However, FTMF has never committed on these issues, making it amply clear that they do not take any responsibility for their mismanagement, it said.
"The FTMF fund managers have made mostly questionable investments and did not resort to any course corrections mid-way. For such a highly paid team of managers, it is difficult to conceive that they did not gauge the market disruptions well in advance and persisted in substantial investment in sub-AAA rated paper," it said.
"The real reason for the winding up and ultimate loss to unit-holders is the dubious investment decisions made by the fund managers, who did not actively monitor the investments closely. As a result, the FTMF lapse has cost the unit-holders not only their returns but also their principal investment in the six shut debt schemes," it added.
CFMA pointed out: "FTMF failed to exercise any due diligence and care in its investment decisions. It had exposure to papers in some companies where it increased investment to as much as 85 per cent in March 2020. Failing to exercise put options on its investment in some papers may have caused sizable loss to the unit-holders. As per the forensic report, the exposure to these companies could well have been Rs 3,000 crore and this FTMF has marked down to zero."
FTMF is believed to have committed several irregularities. It retained Rs 100 crore as brokerage even when the six schemes were shut, the six schemes repaid Rs 100 crore loans to the FTMF without seeking regulatory approval, the fund sought diplomatic intervention on account of a Rs 440 crore disgorgement bill, and the management and connected companies withdrew Rs 56 crore before it shut, according to some media reports.
"For debt market mutual funds, the return benchmark is similar to 10-year G Sec, while the principal amount should be as safe as the government treasury bond. FTMF is taking everybody for a ride and fooling everyone in the system by saying market fraud is market risk. FTMF has taken the benchmark of junk bonds to compare its performance and just for that, FTMF should be criminally punished," said CFMA, which has been fighting for the cause of the unit-holders of the six abruptly shut debt schemes since last April.

ians
 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 18:34:38 +0530
Hacker hits Route Mobile access Tata Comm data firms deny

New Delhi, April 13

 A cybercriminal has claimed to have compromised the network of Route Mobile, one of the leading Cloud communication platform service providers based in Mumbai, allegedly accessing internal data of Tata Communications and selling them on Telegram for $5,000. However, both Route Mobile and Tata Communications denied the claims on Tuesday.
According to independent security researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia, the seller is claiming to have 16GB compressed files, including over 10 million rows of data.
"For selling the data, the hacker has created a Telegram group. On the Dark Web forum, he claims to have Tata Communications' data. But on Telegram, he claimed that the source was Route Mobile," Rajaharia told IANS on Tuesday.
"The hacker claims that Route Mobile is the private technical team of Tata Communications, and this team has full access to the internal network," said the cyber security researcher, while sharing the screenshots of data dump.
In a reply to IANS, Route Mobile said that unverified posts and claims are being circulated about an alleged data breach at the company.
"Our cyber security team is aware of these alleged claims and are currently investigating the same. As of today, we can confirm that Route Mobile's systems are secure and there is no evidence to suggest that this has any impact on Route Mobile customers' personal data," the company said.
"As we take all data security claims seriously, we have engaged a third-party cyber security consultant to independently verify and audit our findings," Route Mobile added.
Meanwhile, Tata Communications said that security of its customers is of paramount importance.
"Our global information security team has investigated the matter. We believe there is no consequence, neither for Tata Communications nor for any of our customers. We have already issued legal notices to the concerned parties. We reiterate our commitment to ensure the safety of our customers' data," the company said in a statement.
The hacker claims to have data involving mobile numbers, HR log, customer documents, short message peer-to-peer (SMPP) log, SMS logs and employee details, etc.
According to Rajaharia, the hacker first claimed $18,000 for the data dump, but he is currently asking for $5,000.
There have been a string of hacking incidents involving Indian firms in the recent past, including Bigbasket, BuyUcoin, JusPay, Upstox and others.

ians
 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 18:23:54 +0530
CBI arrests senior passport assistant for taking bribe

New Delhi, April 13

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday said that it has arrested Adarsh Kumar, a senior Passport Assistant posted at the Regional Passport Office in Jammu in an alleged bribery case.
A CBI official here said that the agency arrested Kumar for demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 4,000 from the complainant.
The agency had registered a case on a complaint alleging that the official had demanded a bribe for issuance of his passport in January 2020.
"The complainant was informed that an FIR has been registered against him and due to this, issuance of passport was pending. The complainant however informed that he has been acquitted in the said FIR. Thereafter, the complainant visited Passport Office, Jammu and met Kumar," he said.
Kumar allegedly demanded bribe of Rs 5,000 for issuing the passport but agreed to accept Rs 4,000 after negotiation, the CBI official said.
"CBI laid a trap and caught the accused red-handed while demanding and accepting bribe of Rs 4,000. After his arrest, searches were conducted at the residential premises of Kumar at Jammu and Lucknow," he said.

ians
 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 17:52:42 +0530
HK based airline bans Vivo phones post airport fire Report

 

Hong Kong, April 13

 After cargo pallets containing Vivo Y20 smartphones caught fire at Hong Kong airport this week, a major cargo airline has reportedly announced a ban on Vivo phones.
According to Android Authority, Chinese smartphone maker Vivo has confirmed that it is investigating the cause of the fire.
"We noticed that a shipment of goods, some of which were Vivo products, got burned on the parking apron of Hong Kong International Airport on April 11," Android Authority quoted the company as saying.
"We have paid high attention and immediately set up a special team to work closely with the local authorities to determine its cause," it added, saying it would keep the media and public informed of any development.
The report, citing The Standard, said that the cargo fire occurred on the airport's apron just before the pallets containing Vivo Y20 phones and associated accessories were due to be loaded into a Hong Kong Air Cargo plane bound for Thailand.
Several industry outlets have since reported that Hong Kong Air Cargo has banned Vivo devices and two air freight companies until further notice, the report said.
The cause of the fire is not known yet, but lithium-ion batteries used in smartphones can cause fires if they are defective or damaged, it added.

ians
 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 17:46:15 +0530
2021 04 12 Massive Dinosaur dance floor unearthed in China

Beijing, April 13

Chinese researchers have unearthed a massive concentration of dinosaur footprints, scientifically termed a "dinosaur dance floor," in Shanghang County in east China's Fujian Province.
The "dance floor" was an excavation site measuring 100 square metres and approximately 200 dinosaur tracks have been identified there, news agency Xinhua quoted Xing Lida, a paleontologist at the China University of Geosciences and a member of the research team as saying.
The concentration of dinosaur footprints indicates that it could have been a pathway for dinosaurs roaming the area in a relatively short period of time during the Late Cretaceous, Lida added.
The footprints were first spotted last November when over 240 fossilised dinosaur footprints were identified, and another 364 dinosaur tracks were found in early April, Xinhua reported.
So far over 600 dinosaur footprints have been discovered in the dinosaur track site, which covers an area of about 1,600 square metres in the county's Longxiang Village.
The number of dinosaur footprints is expected to exceed 1,000 as the excavation works proceed, said Xing, noting that the 80-million-year-old tracks were believably left by at least eight types of dinosaurs including sauropods, large and small theropods and ornithopods.
The newly discovered tracks include imprints left by large sauropods, which were herbivorous creatures with a long neck and tail and a body that could span up to 20 metres.
The site also revealed footprints measuring less than 10 centimetres in length, which Xing said, belong to bird-footed dinosaurs about 1 metre long.
According to the scientists, it is the largest and the most diverse site of its kind discovered in China so far that dates back to the Upper Cretaceous period.
The site boasts abundant geological sedimentary structures, indicating that it used to be adjacent to a water source where dinosaurs used to consume food and water, said Chen Runsheng, deputy director of Fujian Geological Survey and a member of the research team.
Chen added that more dinosaur fossils other than footprints could be found in the area as the research progresses.

ians
 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 09:22:21 +0530
Manufacturing slump contracts industrial output by 3 6 in Feb Lead

New Delhi, April 13

A sharp fall in manufacturing and mining activities led to a slump in India's industrial output in February.
Data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation on Monday showed that the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for February contracted by 3.6 per cent over the same month a year ago.
On a sequential basis, the IIP had contracted by 0.87 per cent. For the April-June period of the previous financial year, it fell by 11.3 per cent.
"For the month of February 2021, the 'Quick Estimates of Index of Industrial Production' (IIP) with base 2011-12 stands at 129.4.
"The Indices of Industrial Production for the Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity sectors for the month of February 2021 stand at 116.5, 129.3 and 153.9, respectively. These 'Quick Estimates' will undergo revision in subsequent releases as per the revision policy of IIP."
Among the major segments, manufacturing production fell by 3.7 per cent from a growth of 3.8 per cent reported for the corresponding month of 2020.
Similarly, mining output de-grew 5.5 per cent on a YoY basis from 9.6 per cent in the corresponding month of the previous year.
However, electricity generation inched up by 0.1 per cent from a rise of 11.5 per cent during February 2020.
Furthermore, the data on a YoY basis showed that manufacturing of primary goods de-grew by 5.1 per cent, while capital goods production fell by 4.2 per cent, and intermediate goods plunged by 5.6 per cent.
Similarly, the production of infrastructure or construction goods fell by 4.7 per cent, however, consumer durables' production grew by 6.3 per cent.
The sub-segment of consumer non-durables showed a growth of 3.8 per cent.
"The pace of contraction in industrial output worsened in February 2021 to a deeper-than-expected 3.6 per cent, with a deterioration across all the three sectors," said Aditi Nayar, Chief Economist, ICRA.
"The IIP has displayed a sombre trend in the last six months, with three months of contraction interspersed with three months of tepid growth. On average, the IIP has risen by a marginal 0.1 per cent in September 2020-February 2021, highlighting that the recovery in industrial volumes lacks conviction."
Devendra Kumar Pant, Chief Economist, India Ratings and Research, said: "Contraction in IIP growth in February 2021 can be attributed to base effect... February 2020 growth was 16 months high. The data trend of past few months therefore reinforces the view that the uptick witnessed in the month of September 2020 and October 2020 was more due to a combination of festive and pent demand and we are still far from witnessing a sustained recovery."
"Growth pattern of primary and intermediate goods, two leading indicators of industrial production are pointing towards a lacklustre industrial performance in short- to medium-run. This also means the government and the RBI will have to continue to support the demand."

ians
 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 09:12:17 +0530
Russia slashes flights with Turkey over Covid 19 concerns

Moscow, April 13

Russia will reduce the number of regular and charter flights with Turkey from April 15 to June 1 to curb imports of Covid-19 infections, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova announced.

There will be only two flights a week between Moscow and Istanbul, and Russian travel agencies are advised to suspend sales of tours to Turkey, Golikova said at a briefing, Xinhua news agency reported.

Most coronavirus-positive Russians that are returning from abroad are arriving from Turkey, Anna Popova, head of Russia's consumer rights and human well-being watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, said at the briefing.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied speculations that the limit on air traffic is retaliation for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to Istanbul and talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday.

ians

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 09:05:44 +0530
Agencies trail Dawood s brother Anees Ibrahim for striking drug deals in India via Dubai

New Delhi, April 13

India's most wanted fugitive Dawood Ibrahims younger brother and accused in the Mumbai serial blasts, Anees Ibrahim is under the lens of Indian security agencies for his involvement in smuggling and manufacturing of contraband narcotics.
Anees Ibrahim's close aide Kailash Rajput, a high profile drug operator based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is already on the wanted list of Mumbai Police and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), for smuggling drugs from India, highly placed sources told IANS on Tuesday.
Sources said Anees Ibrahim's linkages with a drug syndicate operating in South Mumbai came to light when his aide Arif Bhujwala was arrested by the NCB earlier this year from Raigarh in Maharashtra.
"During questioning of Arif Bhujwala, it was revealed that he was in touch with Kailash Rajput, an alleged financier of Anees Ibrahim, who also looks after the D-company's drug operation in Europe. Kailash Rajput's location has been traced in Dubai by our agencies," said an officer associated with investigations.
Based on specific inputs of intelligence agencies, the NCB has been trailing D-company's drug operators in India. The Bureau hit the jackpot when its sleuths busted a drug factory in South Mumbai, reportedly run by Dawood's aide Chinku Pathan in the third week of January this year. After Pathan's questioning, the sleuths arrested key drug operator Arif Bhujwala, linked with Anees Ibrahim. Bhujwala disclosed that he had earlier visited Dubai, where he met Anees Ibrahim's financier Kailash Rajput.
A report of Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) of Mumbai Police reveals that Kailash Rajput has links with Mexican cartel and had been involved in smuggling huge consignments of drugs like Phenethyl-4-Piperidone and Fentanyl from India.
The report says that in 2019, a rice exporter was interrogated by the ANC who later revealed that during a holiday trip to Dubai in November 2018, he was introduced to Kailash Rajput. Through this exporter, Kailash Rajput tried to smuggle a shipment of drugs from Mumbai, which was to be pushed to Mexico.
Dossier on Kailash Rajput says that he fled to Dubai in 2014 and later came into contact with Anees Ibrahim, who is currently based in Karachi.
A major shift in D-company, sources said, is that earlier such underworld operations were directly looked at by Chhota Shakeel.
But recently Anees Ibrahim, who handles the finance of D-company, also looks after drug operations.
Sources said Anees Ibrahim's operatives are also based in Germany, Netherlands and Britain, who look after the lucrative drug deals of D-company.
Earlier Dawood's right hand man, Iqbal Mirchi was reportedly incharge of Dawood's drug operations in Europe.

ians
 

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 08:57:56 +0530
Heavy rains in Kerala for 5 days forecasts IMD

Thiruvananthapuram, April 13

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy rains in Kerala for the next five days and has issued yellow alert in six districts -- Idukki, Thrissur, Malappuram, Palakkad, Kozhikode and Wayanad.

The IMD also issued another alert on thunderstorm and rain. "Thunderstorm with light to moderate rainfall and gusty winds with speed reaching 40 kmph is likely to occur at one or two places in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur districts of Kerala as well as Lakshadweep Islands," it said.

It has predicted 64.5 mm to 115.5 mm rainfall in isolated places within 24 hours.

Yellow alert has been issued for April 12 for Ernakulam, Kottayam, Malappuram, and Thrissur, for April 13 for Wayanad, for April 14 for Idukki, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, and Wayanad, for April 15 for Idukki, Thrissur, Malappuram, Palakkad, and Wayanad, and for April 16 for Idukki, Malappuram, Thrissur, Palakkad, and Wayan

ians

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 08:50:28 +0530
Prince Phillip The End of an Era

By Anupama Nair

Mumbai, April 12

His Royal highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (June 10,1921—April 9, 2021) breathed his last, just two months before his century year leaving behind a legacy, 73-year-old marriage with Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty the Queen said on the 50th Anniversary of her marriage “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years”. Their marriage was to become the longest of any British monarch. He was fondly called as Lord Mountbatten.

 Prince Phillip was also the Prince of Greece and Denmark. He was born in Greece and passed away in Windsor Castle, United Kingdom.

Prince Philip’s father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark. His mother was Princess Alice who was the eldest daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten (the last viceroy of British India). Prince Phillip was raised in Great Britain as his family was exiled from Greece, when he was only eighteen months old. He was educated at Gordonstoun School, Moray, Scotland, and at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, England. he joined the British Royal Navy in 1939, when he was just eighteen. From July 1939, he began corresponding with the thirteen-year-old Princess Elizabeth, whom he had first met in 1934. During the Second World War (1939-1945) he served with distinction in the Mediterranean and Pacific Fleets.

In 1947, Prince Philip became a British national, rejecting his right to the Greek and Danish thrones and took his mother’s surname, Mountbatten. After the war, Philip was granted permission by the then monarch King George VI to marry Princess Elizabeth. He married Princess  Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. Just before the Royal wedding, he was granted the tile, His Royal Highness and made Duke of Edinburg. Prince Philip and Elizabeth were married in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey, which was recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio to 200 million people across the globe. Prince Philip retired from military service when Elizabeth became the Queen in 1952, He was ranked a commander. He had four children with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles (Prince of Wales),  Princess Anne (Princess Royal), Prince Andrew (Duke of York) and Prince Edward (Earl of Wessex). In 1960, the four children got the tile Mountbatten-Windsor.

As a sports enthusiast, he helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He was a patron, president and member of over 780 organizations, across the world. He served as chairman of the Duke of Edinburg’s Award, a self-improvement program for youth aged 14 to 24. He retired from his royal duties on 2nd August 2017, aged 96, having completed 22,219 solo engagements and 5,493 speeches since 1952

 He was the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the longest-living male member of the British royal family. He was not enthusiastic about living an extremely long life, remarking in an interview when he was 79, that he could not "imagine anything worse" and had "no desire whatsoever" to become a centenarian, saying "bits of me are falling off already".

Prince Philip was a patron of some 800 organizations, particularly focused on the environment, industry, sports, and education. He was president of the National Playing Fields Association (now known as Fields in Trust) for 64 years, from 1947 until his grandson Prince William took over the role in 2013. He served as UK president of the World Wildlife Fund from 1961 to 1982, international president from 1981, and president emeritus from 1996.  In 2017, the British Heart Foundation thanked Prince Philip for being its patron for 55 years, when in addition to organizing fundraisers, he "supported the creation of nine BHF-funded centers of excellence". 

In 2008, Prince Philip was admitted to King Edward’s Hospital, London, for a chest infection, he walked into the hospital unaided, recovered quickly, and was discharged three days later. In June 2011, in an interview marking his 90th birthday, he said that he would now slow down and reduce his duties, stating that he had "done his bit". In December 2011, the Duke suffered chest pains and was taken to the cardio-thoracic unit at Papworth Hospital, where he underwent successful coronary angioplasty and stenting. He was discharged soon.

On 9th January 2021, Philip and the Queen were vaccinated against Corona by a household doctor at Windsor Castle. On 16th February 2021, Philip was admitted to King Edward VII's Hospital as a "precautionary measure" after feeling ill. He was visited by Prince Charles in the hospital in February. In the month of March, Prince Philip was transferred by ambulance to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, to continue treatment for an infection, and additionally to undergo "testing and observation" relating to a pre-existing heart condition. He underwent a successful procedure for his heart condition and was transferred back to King Edward VII's Hospital on 5th March. He was discharged on 16th March. He died on 9th April 2021. The cause of his death is still unknown.

Prince Phillip made three memorable Royal visits to India in his long years of accompanying the 94-year-old monarch during her long rule. He along with the Queen visited India in 1961, 1983 and 1997 - during which he made quite an impression with his sense of humor, which often also got him into some controversy. During his 1961 visit to India, he was pictured with the Queen and the Maharaja and Maharani of Jaipur with a dead eight-foot tiger he had shot while on a hunting mission. He also shot a crocodile and mountain sheep on that trip but it was the photograph of the tiger that caused ripples around the world. During Prince Philip's last visit to India to mark the 50th anniversary of independence in 1997, he joined the Queen on a visit to Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab, where the Royals laid a commemorative wreath at the site associated with General Dyer's orders to open fire on a large Baisakhi gathering in April 1919.

Prince Phillip’s death was an end of an era as he witnessed the “disintegration of the great empire where the sun never sets”. May his soul Rest in Peace.
 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 20:59:06 +0530
Prince Phillip The End of an Era

By Anupama Nair

Mumbai, April 12

His Royal highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (June 10,1921—April 9, 2021) breathed his last, just two months before his century year leaving behind a legacy, 73-year-old marriage with Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty the Queen said on the 50th Anniversary of her marriage “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years”. Their marriage was to become the longest of any British monarch. He was fondly called as Lord Mountbatten.

 Prince Phillip was also the Prince of Greece and Denmark. He was born in Greece and passed away in Windsor Castle, United Kingdom.

Prince Philip’s father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark. His mother was Princess Alice who was the eldest daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten (the last viceroy of British India). Prince Phillip was raised in Great Britain as his family was exiled from Greece, when he was only eighteen months old. He was educated at Gordonstoun School, Moray, Scotland, and at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, England. he joined the British Royal Navy in 1939, when he was just eighteen. From July 1939, he began corresponding with the thirteen-year-old Princess Elizabeth, whom he had first met in 1934. During the Second World War (1939-1945) he served with distinction in the Mediterranean and Pacific Fleets.

In 1947, Prince Philip became a British national, rejecting his right to the Greek and Danish thrones and took his mother’s surname, Mountbatten. After the war, Philip was granted permission by the then monarch King George VI to marry Princess Elizabeth. He married Princess  Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. Just before the Royal wedding, he was granted the tile, His Royal Highness and made Duke of Edinburg. Prince Philip and Elizabeth were married in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey, which was recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio to 200 million people across the globe. Prince Philip retired from military service when Elizabeth became the Queen in 1952, He was ranked a commander. He had four children with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles (Prince of Wales),  Princess Anne (Princess Royal), Prince Andrew (Duke of York) and Prince Edward (Earl of Wessex). In 1960, the four children got the tile Mountbatten-Windsor.

As a sports enthusiast, he helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He was a patron, president and member of over 780 organizations, across the world. He served as chairman of the Duke of Edinburg’s Award, a self-improvement program for youth aged 14 to 24. He retired from his royal duties on 2nd August 2017, aged 96, having completed 22,219 solo engagements and 5,493 speeches since 1952

 He was the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch and the longest-living male member of the British royal family. He was not enthusiastic about living an extremely long life, remarking in an interview when he was 79, that he could not "imagine anything worse" and had "no desire whatsoever" to become a centenarian, saying "bits of me are falling off already".

Prince Philip was a patron of some 800 organizations, particularly focused on the environment, industry, sports, and education. He was president of the National Playing Fields Association (now known as Fields in Trust) for 64 years, from 1947 until his grandson Prince William took over the role in 2013. He served as UK president of the World Wildlife Fund from 1961 to 1982, international president from 1981, and president emeritus from 1996.  In 2017, the British Heart Foundation thanked Prince Philip for being its patron for 55 years, when in addition to organizing fundraisers, he "supported the creation of nine BHF-funded centers of excellence". 

In 2008, Prince Philip was admitted to King Edward’s Hospital, London, for a chest infection, he walked into the hospital unaided, recovered quickly, and was discharged three days later. In June 2011, in an interview marking his 90th birthday, he said that he would now slow down and reduce his duties, stating that he had "done his bit". In December 2011, the Duke suffered chest pains and was taken to the cardio-thoracic unit at Papworth Hospital, where he underwent successful coronary angioplasty and stenting. He was discharged soon.

On 9th January 2021, Philip and the Queen were vaccinated against Corona by a household doctor at Windsor Castle. On 16th February 2021, Philip was admitted to King Edward VII's Hospital as a "precautionary measure" after feeling ill. He was visited by Prince Charles in the hospital in February. In the month of March, Prince Philip was transferred by ambulance to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, to continue treatment for an infection, and additionally to undergo "testing and observation" relating to a pre-existing heart condition. He underwent a successful procedure for his heart condition and was transferred back to King Edward VII's Hospital on 5th March. He was discharged on 16th March. He died on 9th April 2021. The cause of his death is still unknown.

Prince Phillip made three memorable Royal visits to India in his long years of accompanying the 94-year-old monarch during her long rule. He along with the Queen visited India in 1961, 1983 and 1997 - during which he made quite an impression with his sense of humor, which often also got him into some controversy. During his 1961 visit to India, he was pictured with the Queen and the Maharaja and Maharani of Jaipur with a dead eight-foot tiger he had shot while on a hunting mission. He also shot a crocodile and mountain sheep on that trip but it was the photograph of the tiger that caused ripples around the world. During Prince Philip's last visit to India to mark the 50th anniversary of independence in 1997, he joined the Queen on a visit to Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab, where the Royals laid a commemorative wreath at the site associated with General Dyer's orders to open fire on a large Baisakhi gathering in April 1919.

Prince Phillip’s death was an end of an era as he witnessed the “disintegration of the great empire where the sun never sets”. May his soul Rest in Peace.
 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 20:45:11 +0530
Governor Koshyari greets people on Gudhi Padwa Samsar Padvo New Year

Mumbai, April 12

Appeals to people to celebrate a simple Gudhi Padwa this year

Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has greeted the people on the occasion of Gudhi Padwa, Samsar Padvo and New Year. He has also appealed to the people to celebrate a simple Gudhi Padwa staying at home in view of the serious Corona situation in the State.

“Even as we are preparing to celebrate Gudhi Padwa and welcome the New Year, India, and especially Maharashtra is passing through a serious situation caused by the outbreak of the COVID -19 pandemic.  I therefore appeal to the people to celebrate a simple Gudhi Padwa and welcome the New Year staying at home. May the New Year bring happiness, good health and prosperity to all.  I also take this opportunity to extend my warm greetings to the people on Ugadi, Cheti Chand, Baisakhi and Samsar Padvo,” said the Governor in his message.

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 16:07:19 +0530
SC questions lawyer s plea seeking judiciary to increase its own retirement age

New Delhi, April 12

 The Supreme Court on Monday queried an advocate whether he had moved court seeking judiciary to enhance its own age of retirement, as it declined to entertain a plea seeking uniform of retirement for the judges of High Court and the top court.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian asked advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, "You want judiciary to enhance its own age of retirement? What is this?" Upadhyay submitted that both High Court and top court have the same oath and the same duty, and the judges are protector of our rights.
"I have many friends who do not want to become High Court judges because of early retirement age", submitted Upadhyay. The bench replied: "there must be something wrong with their thinking if this is their reasoning..and you call them fine lawyers."
After a brief hearing in the matter, the Chief Justice said the court is not inclined to entertain the plea and asked Upadhyay to make a representation before the government. Upadhyay said difference in retirement of judges of the High Court and top court is arbitrary and irrational. The bench told Upadhyay it was enacted in the Constitution.
The Chief Justice queried Upadhyay, "Have you asked the judges if they want their retirement age to be increased?" After a brief hearing in the matter, Upadhyay agreed to withdraw the petition.
The plea had said in developed countries, retirement age of higher court judges varies from 70-80 years. For example, Judges retires at the age of 75 years in UK and Canada and at the age of 70 years in Australia, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Norway. Moreover, judges works for lifetime in the United States, Russia, New Zealand and Iceland, subject to their physical-mental fitness.
The petitioner argued that uniformity in the retirement age will not only necessary to reduce pendency of cases but it will also attract and retain the best legal talent on the bench. To reduce judicial and procedural error, India needs more experienced judges, argued the petitioner.
At present, the retirement age for the apex court judges is 65 years whereas for the High Court judges, it is 62 years. "Finest Lawyers don't want to become Judge of the High Courts because instead of continuously giving valuable services to the nation, High Court Judges are compelled to retire at a very early age i.e., 62 years", said the plea.
The petitioner argued that uniformity in the retirement age of judges will create a pool of experienced judges in High Courts, which will be extremely useful for deciding the cases of extreme importance.

ians
 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 15:28:12 +0530
New book captures changing socio political landscape in India

 

New Delhi, April 12

 In the book "Sanghi Who Never Went To A Shakha", author Rahul Roushan, who is a former journalist and media entrepreneur, captures winds of change in the socio-political narrative and shifts in political dynamics in contemporary India in the last few decades.
Published by Rupa Publications, the new release explains the changing ideological landscape the youth of today were witness to while growing up, through the lens of the author's personal life.
Analysing, "Why Hindutva as an ideology is no longer anathema and what brought about this change", Roushan's book aims to answer, among others, a key question: "Why did a country that was ruled for decades by people espousing Nehruvian secularism suddenly began to align with the 'communal politics' of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)?"
The book is the retelling of some historical events and how those events impacted the journey of Roushan and countless people like him. The book looks at factors like education, media, technology and obviously, electoral politics, which played a key role in this transformation. The book also touches upon some of the personal experiences of the author, both as a media entrepreneur and a journalist.
According to the book's synopsis, the first time Roushan was called a 'sanghi' -- literally meaning someone who is a member of the right-wing RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) or its affiliates -- he felt deeply offended. From then to now, what makes him write a book and adopt that tag for himself?
"I have adopted the 'Sanghi' tag, because I thought it was a waste of time trying to fight such tags or labels thrown at you. Labels are primarily thrown to discomfort and silence you, so that you lose your original line of thoughts and arguments. Even though I'm not any member of the RSS, and in fact, I have listed out a few concerns and disagreements I have with the Sangh in the book itself, I feel no moral pressure to keep clarifying that I'm not a Sanghi i.e. I'm no longer offended by that term."
"I decided to write the book so that it defeats the purpose of such labelling, which is to distract or stop a person from exploring or expressing contrarian points of view. The book is about those points of view and contrarian takes on various issues, mostly contemporary sociopolitical issues, which are supposed to be at odds with the so-called 'liberal' narrative," Roushan said.
He adds: "I thought to pen this book as it is important to capture contemporary developments -- especially the rise of Hindutva politics and narrative in the last decade -- which has also resulted in the BJP scoring handsome back-to-back Lok Sabha victories of its own. While the same has been done in the shape of various articles, social media posts, op-eds, etc., the bulk of those have been written toeing the same old "liberal" narrative. I wanted to provide a counter perspective and an alternate narrative, and thus the book came about. The book captures this change in sociopolitical narrative and shifts in political dynamics. I happen to be one of those who experienced this change, and I decided to chronicle it. In order to keep it relatable and readable, I've fashioned this as the ideological journey of an individual, but it's essentially a re-telling of contemporary history and the ideological journey of an entire generation."
Reading at times like an autobiography, and often like a collection of intellectual essays, the book features a whole range of themes -- "politics, society, religion, education, media, internet, history, narratives, and many more", in the author's words.
"How to weave them all in a single book in a single narrative was going to be a challenge, but I think I have been able to do it. I must make it clear that every one of these topics actually deserve independent books on themselves as such, and I don't offer my book as the final commentary on these subjects. However, a person will be able to gain a decent understanding and insights into the relevant aspects is something I can definitely guarantee!"

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 15:19:53 +0530
Lockdown panic triggers sell off Sensex down over 1 700 pts 2nd Ld

Mumbai, April 12

 Rising Covid cases as well as reimposition of movement restrictions across states dented India's stock markets on Monday.
Accordingly, the new cases count has crossed 1.5 lakhs for the first time on April 11.
This spooked investors and led the S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 to crash by over 3.5 per cent each.
Around 1.55 p.m., Sensex traded at 47,842.31, lower by 1,749.01 points or 3.54 per cent from its previous close of 49,591.32.
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange traded at 14,313.90, lower by 520.95 points or 3.51 per cent from its previous close.
"Taking cues from SGX Nifty, our market started the week on a negative note. Nifty opened gap down and continued its downward momentum," said Jay Purohit, Technical & Derivatives Analyst, Motilal Oswal Financial Services.
"Selling pressure is quite severe as Nifty fell by more than 500 points and touched 14,283 levels."
According to Gaurav Garg, Head of Research at CapitalVia Global Research: "The response from various state governments have been to impose lockdowns which has created a panic in the market and we are seeing sell off across the sectors."
"All the support levels have been breached and the mood of the markets seems very bearish. Investors are advised to exercise caution while creating any fresh positions. The volatility is expected to remain in the market because of the underlying uncertainty."

ians
 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 15:10:08 +0530
Living Covid patient declared dead in Bihar

Patna, April 12

 A case has come to light at Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) where a living person infected with Covid-19 was declared dead and a death certificate issued to his family members.
A doctor at PMCH said Chunnu Kumar, a resident of Bihar's Mohammadpur near the Barh police station, was admitted to the hospital on April 9 after suffering a brain haemorrhage. He underwent a coronavirus test for which he tested positive during the course of the treatment. He was then admitted to a corona ward and treatment was started.
The victim's wife and brother were informed by the hospital administration on Sunday that Chunnu had died. In a rush to remove the body after the death, the hospital administration sealed the body of the patient and handed it over to Chunnu's brother Manoj Kumar and also issued a death certificate.
They were taking the body for cremation under the supervision of the hospital administration when the wife of the deceased insisted on seeing her husband for the last time. According to the family members, when the covering cloth was removed from the body, it was found to be of a person other than Chunnu.
The PMCH authorities then swung into action. Chunnu was detected undergoing treatment at PMCH which has also been confirmed by his family members and the hospital administration.
PMCH Superintendent I.S. Thakur has dismissed health manager Anjali Kumari for issuing a death certificate for a living Covid patient calling it a 'big mistake'.

ians
 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 14:58:56 +0530
Minimalist interiors are taking over

New Delhi, April 12

 The minimalist decor trend has been on the rise since the global pandemic began. As the happiness quotient of people around the globe has dropped, they prefer simplicity and comfort within their homes; and minimalism has somehow managed to take away all the noise and clutter from their life.
Minimalism is surely the new trend and is going to stay for long. Michelle Williamson, Interior Designer, WoodenStreet, talks about minimalist decor .
1. Organised and clutter-free spaces have become a priority
A home with clutter-free space and organised essentials in every room is what people want today. There was a time when people used to live like bachelors, where everything is always extra and unwanted, but still occupied your home. We have come a long way since then. The lifestyles of people have improved a lot, thanks to exposition to minimalism and detailed decor on social media.
2. It keeps people healthy and happy
In a research on the daily habits of people, it has come out that many people are unhappy and unhealthy because their home is a mess, or it is filled with incessant furniture products or other unrequired objects collecting dust. This is why people are shifting their focus towards accommodating minimalist furniture and keeping their home simple. It results in contentment and better health as compared to the people with traditional decor, where every inch is occupied.
3. Improves the aesthetics of your home and promotes luxury
One thing the minimalism promises you is comfort at peak, whether you want your living room with just a handful of seating accommodation or your balcony with the required bench, it all prevails when the setting is minimalist. Minimalism is thriving because it aesthetically improves your home and portrays luxury.
4. More minimalism and less maintenance
When you go the minimalism way on all your interiors, there is less need to clean and dust everyprint of furniture. Fewer components are directly proportional to less maintenance. The more you keep on filling your home with additional furniture, which is required momentarily, the more you will be under stress to clean them or maintain every unit in case they get ruined.
5. More simplicity with more functionality
Opting for minimalist decor for your home doesn't mean that you should adjust with a single unit, but it means that whatever module you are buying must be functional.
6. Lots of space -- expression of freedom
The big reason behind the abundance of minimalism is the lots of free space that is left around. As you implement the theme of minimalist decor in your house, you can also visualise any further changes you can make to this white space.This is what minimalism does to people, giving them what they always wanted. Though the availability of space might not be a very good advantage for you, it will certainly be one for your kids or pets because, in urban spaces, there is lack of open gardens and backyards.

ians
 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 14:43:09 +0530
Rajasthan becomes second state to vaccinate over 1 cr people

Jaipur, April 12

 Rajasthan has become the second state in the country to have got more than one crore people vaccinated by Monday afternoon.
State medical and health minister Dr. Raghu Sharma congratulated the medical personnel of the state for getting more than one crore people vaccinated.
He also appealed to the people of the state to get vaccinated in large numbers.
Dr. Sharma said that till Sunday, 99,83,418 people had been vaccinated. On Monday morning, this figure crossed 1 crore.
Vaccination for people above 45 years of age has been started from April 1. A total of 3380 government and 188 private sites in the state are providing vaccination facility, he informed.
An average of 4.70 lakh persons have been vaccinated every day since last four days. He said that a total of 5.44 lakh were vaccinated on 5th April, 4.84 lakh were vaccinated on 6 April, 5.81 lakh were vaccinated on 7 April, 4.65 lakh were vaccinated on 8 April, 4.21 lakh were vaccinated on 9 April, 2.96 lakh on 10 April and 1.11 lakh were vaccinated on 11 April.
A total of 1,11, 40,860 crore vaccine doses have been received by the Centre till 11 April, he informed.

ians
 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 14:34:15 +0530
AP police arrest 10 treasure hunters for hammering Nandi idol

Jagamarla (Andhra Pradesh), April 12

 Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor police arrested 10 persons for stealing and destroying a Nandi idol from a temple in a Dalit colony in Jagamarla village, believing that diamonds were embedded inside it.
Police arrested M. Venkata Chalapathi (43), K. Srinivasulu (34), K. Hari (34), B. Sridhar (27), G. Venkatesh (24), P. Dasaradaiah (40), G. Narasimhulu (60), K. Ranga Babu (40), D. Prakash (34) and B. Munendra (29).
On April 4, police received a complaint that the Nandi idol belonging to Vandana Malleswara Swamy temple, located in the Koundyana forest area near the Scheduled Tribes (ST) colony in Devalampeta locality of Jagamarla village in Palamaneru mandalam was stolen.
Acting on temple priest S. Narasimhulu's complaint, police registered a case under IPC Section 379 and started investigation.
Around 6.30 p.m. on Saturday, police received a tipoff that five people were moving suspiciously in Jagamarla forest area, prompting the cops to round them up and question.
"On questioning, they admitted that they decamped with the Nandi idol, believing that it had diamonds inside it. Another five more persons have been arrested as part of the probe," said a police official.
Chittoor superintendent of police (SP) S. Senthil Kumar said that Srinivasulu, also known as Ashwathama, belonging to Nagarkurnool district in Telangana and his local friend Hari from Kandada together went to check the idol on March 21, which they would eventually decamp with.
Kumar said on March 26, Srinivasulu dispatched Hari, who along with Chalapathi, Sridhar, Venkatesh and Ranga Babu stole the idol and hid it in a pond at Gangasagaram village belonging to one Munindra.
The treasure hunters planned to break open the idol on March 27 but one of the thieves, Ranga Babu, came with Prakash Naidu, Narasimhulu, Dasaradhayya and Gopi to steal it again from the place where it was hidden.
In the second theft of the idol, Ranga Babu and his accomplices stole it away to Poyya village in Thottembedu mandalam and buried it.
On April 2, they dug out the idol and hammered it into pieces to find no diamonds in it. Since abandoning the idol pieces will raise suspicion, they threw the Nandi pieces in Swarnamukhi river.
"Gopi, who broke the idol into pieces died in a road accident three days ago while the remaining 10 accused have been arrested, along with the confiscation of an auto rickshaw, one Tata Ace, three two-wheelers and the idol pieces," he said.
This incident comes in light of several alleged temple attacks which already rocked the southern state.
Under the TDP government, 163 temple offences were reported in 2015, 139 in 2017, 123 in 2018 and 177 in 2019, when the government transitioned to the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).
In 2020, a year which saw an uproar following the chariot burning at the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple in Antarvedi, there were 143 alleged temple offences.

ians

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 14:28:17 +0530
BAFTA 2021 Priyanka says it s great time to be a cartoon in Covid era

 

London, April 12

Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas was the first presenter at the 74th British Academy of Films and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards, for the category of Best Animated film.

"Animated film characters have had a great year -- no social distancing, no quarantine. It's a great time to be a cartoon," Priyanka said, before revealing winning film's name at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall.

Pete Docter's "Soul" was the winner in the category, beating competition from niminees such as "Onward" and "Wolfwalkers".

Moments before the award celebration started, Priyanka and her husband, pop star Nick Jonas, were photographed together.

Priyanka wore a fiery red embroidered jacket with an open neckline and paired it with ivory harem pants. Nick chose a classy wardrobe. He looked dapper in black suit and a crisp white shirt.

ians
 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 14:00:57 +0530
BAFTA 2021 Rishi Kapoor Irrfan Khan among late icons given tribute

London, April 12

Rishi Kapoor and Irrfan Khan were among late screen icons who were given tributes along with Sean Connery, Kirk Douglas and Chadwick Boseman, at the 74th British Academy for Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards held in the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday night.

The tribute, in the form of a video clip, was a homage paid to over 40 artistes the world of screen lost during the past year, including actors, writers, directors, and technicians.

The video started with a tribute to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Irrfan's name was accompanied by a dialogue from his 2012 Hollywood film "Life Of Pi".

Other late artistes who were remembered in the video included Ian Holm and Barbara Windsor, and the video ended with a tribute to "Black Panther" star Chadwick Boseman.

The BAFTA, hosted by Edith Bowman and Dermot O'Leary, offered their condolences to the Royal household on the loss of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away on April 9.

ians

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 13:52:10 +0530
Sensex tanks 1 700 points banking finance stocks slump Ld

Mumbai, April 12 (IANS) 

The Indian stock market slumped on Monday with the BSE Sensex falling over 1,700 points amid rising cases of Covid-19 and localised lockdowns.

India reported 1,68,912 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, as per health ministry data. With this, India has once again taken its spot as the second-worst hit nation in terms of infections after the US.

Along with the surging Covid cases, the subdued trend in the Asian markets also weighed on the Indian indices.

Around 12.10 p.m., Sensex was trading at 47,834.84, lower by 1,756.48 points or 3.54 per cent from its previous close of 49,591.32.

It opened at 48,956.65 and has so far recorded an intra-day high of 48,956.65 and a low of 47,813.60 points.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 14,304.00, lower by 530.85 points or 3.58 per cent from its previous close.

ians

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 13:40:48 +0530
GS1 India elevates S Swaminathan as CEO

New Delhi, April 12

GS1 India, the global supply chain standard organisation, announced the elevation of S. Swaminathan as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Prior to his elevation, Swaminathan was the Chief Operating Officer and led the Business Development and Industry Engagement departments at GS1 India, in the last decade. He brings in 28 years of experience in leading sales and project management, channel development, supply chain management, customer support teams for domestic as well as the international markets.

Speaking about his new role, S. Swaminathan said, "I am excited to have been offered the opportunity to lead GS1 India at this crucial time. With changing business environment, GS1 India has a larger role to play in empowering industries and SMEs across sectors. My role would be to embrace emerging technologies and building our digital capabilities to facilitate our subscribers in their digital transformation journey."

Swaminathan is a member of the GS1 Global Advisory Council and in various Industry Committees of CII and FICCI. He has been instrumental in the development of FASTag data standardisation and creation of the 'National Industry Forum for Retail (NIFR) comprising leading brand owners, retailers/e-tailers.

GS1 India is a standards organisation set up by the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry along with apex industry trade bodies. It is an affiliate of GS1®, a global standards organisation, headquartered in Brussels, which oversees operations of 115 GS1 member organisations across the world.

ians
 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 13:28:12 +0530
India reports 1 68 lakh fresh Covid 19 cases 904 deaths

New Delhi, April 12

India reported 1,68,912 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, setting another grim one-day record as the overall tally reached 1,35,27,717 so far. The health ministry data said here on Monday. With this, India has once again taken its spot as the second-worst hit nation in terms of infections after the US.
As many as 904 deaths were reported taking the total Covid related deaths in the country to 1,70,179 so far.
India is now the fourth-worst Covid affected country worldwide after the number of active cases rose to 12,01,009.
A total of 75,086 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, taking the number of recoveries to 1,21,56,529 with a recovery rate of 90.44 per cent.
The Health Ministry said that a total of 11,80,136 samples were tested in the last 24 hours. So far, 25,78,06,986 samples have been tested.
A total of 29,33,418 people were vaccinated in the last 24 hours taking the total vaccination count to 10,415,28,565.
States such as Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan have shown a steep rise in new Covid-19 cases.

ians

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 13:22:24 +0530
6 1 magnitude quake kills 8 in Indonesia

Jakarta, April 12

At least eight people were killed and 39 others injured when an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale jolted Indonesia's East Java province, the National Disaster Management Agency said.
The agency's spokesman Raditya Jati said on Sunday 1,189 houses were destroyed in several districts including Lumajang, Malang, Blitar, Jember, Trenggalek and Blitar.
Hundreds of public buildings like health centres, education facilities, places of worship and office buildings were also damaged, Xinhua news agency quoted the spokesman as saying.
Shelters for the evacuees and logistics facilities have been established.
Food including rice, fast food and noodles as well as blankets and tarpaulins have been distributed by the provincial administration.
The 6.1-magnitude quake hit at 2 p.m. on Saturday with the epicentre at 96 km south of Kepanjen town of Malang district and the depth at 80 km under the seabed, according to the agency.
Indonesia has been hit by other natural disasters in the past few days.
Some 167 people have been killed, while more than 40 others still remain unaccounted for due to the cyclone-triggered floods and landslides in East Nusa Tenggara province.

ians
 

 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 10:12:13 +0530
Houthis launch drone attacks at Saudi airport airbase

Sanaa, April 12

Yemen's Houthi militia said they launched bomb-laden drone attacks towards the Jizan Airport and King Khalid Airbase in southwestern Saudi Arabia.
"The attacks targeted aircraft hangars in Jizan Airport (in Jizan city) and King Khalid Airbase in Khamis Mushait city," Houthi military spokesman Yehya Sarea said in a statement on Sunday aired by                        the group's al-Masirah TV.
Meanwhile, Saudi-owned Alarabiya TV reported that the Riyadh-led coalition intercepted an explosive-laden drone launched by the Houthi militia toward Khamis Mushait, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Houthis have recently stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks against Saudi cities and oil facilities.
On Friday, the Saudi-led coalition said that it intercepted a bomb-laden drone and a missile launched by the Houthi military towards the border cities of Khamis Mushait and Jazan.
Both cities are among districts in southwestern Saudi Arabia that are frequently targeted by Houthis with drones and missiles.
Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthis seized control of several northern Yemeni provinces and forced the internationally recognized government of President              Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to support Hadi's government.

ians
 

 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 10:05:59 +0530
Kenya s elephant number increases at 2 8

 

Nairobi, April 12

Kenya's elephant population has gradually increased at an annual rate of approximately 2.8 per cent over the last three decades amid declining poaching, a wildlife research institute said.
The state-owned Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI) said on Sunday that the country has experienced about a 96 per cent decline in poaching, with more than 386 elephants being lost to poaching in 2013 compared to the 11 tuskers poached last year, reports Xinhua news agency.
"This success is attributed to enhanced government initiatives to combat poaching and trophy trafficking, and the continued collaboration with national and international partners to stop the trade in ivory," the WRTI said in a statement.
It added that whilst Kenya acknowledges that poaching was the major cause of the decline in the past, increasing human population and the subsequent change in land tenure and land-use systems have led to the constriction of elephant range, loss of dispersal areas and corridors, resulting to heightened interaction between elephants and people, mostly resulting to conflict.
"Today, human-elephant conflict (HEC) and loss of elephant corridors and dispersal areas are the main challenges facing elephant conservation and management in Kenya," it said.
Kenya has also taken a much tougher approach to poaching in recent years.
Anyone caught poaching wildlife or smuggling wildlife trophies in Kenya will either receive a heavy fine or could be sent to jail.

ians
 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 09:55:11 +0530
Panchayat candidate shot dead over land dispute

 

Varanasi, April 12

A former village head, Brijesh Yadav, also known as Pappu Yadav, who was seeking re-election, has been shot dead.
His family lodged a complaint against a history sheeter Anil Yadav a.k.a. Bhushi Yadav, accusing him of the murder.
Police have lodged an FIR against Anil Yadav under Section 302 of IPC and launched a manhunt to nab him.
SP (rural) Amit Verma said: "Initial probe has revealed that Anil developed a grudge against Brijesh after the latter got a land registered from Anil's relatives. Anil wanted the land for himself."
Police officials said Brijesh and Anil were friends earlier and the deceased panchayat poll contestant was also a history-sheeter.
Brijesh was returning home on a motorcycle when he was attacked near an orchard on the way on Sunday. He received multiple bullet injuries and died on the way to the Trauma Centre of Banaras Hindu University.
"Before dying, he told his family that Anil had attacked him. His family members recorded a video of his statement, naming the accused," said the SP, adding that the family had given the video of his dying statement to the police.
Senior police officials inspected the crime spot and heavy police force was deployed in the village to maintain law and order.
Raids are being conducted to nab the absconding accused.
ians

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 09:44:40 +0530
Online registration for devotees at Bankey Bihari temple

Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), April 12

Devotees will now have to register online from Tuesday before they are allowed to enter the famous Bankey Bihari temple in Vrindavan for 'darshan'.
These has been done in view of the huge rush at the temple and the prevailing pandemic conditions.
Munish Sharma, the manager of the temple, said: "The step has been taken in the interest of devotees considering the rapid increase in the number of Corona virus cases in the second wave."
He said that it was becoming extremely difficult for the temple management to ensure the implementation of Covid-19 norms owing to the heavy rush of devotees at the temple.
Now, 2,000 visitors would be allowed inside the temple in a day and the devotees may use an online link for prior registration.
A limited number of devotees would be allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum at any given time and nobody would be allowed to stay in for more than two-three minutes.
Apart from this, the devotees would be allowed entry and exit only through designated gates.
The temple management has also advised devotees not to bring children or elderly people, without specifying the age limits.
The Mathura district administration has already imposed a night curfew with immediate effect.
District magistrate Navneet Singh Chahal said that the curfew will be in place from 9 pm to 6 am every day, till further orders.
People associated with essential services, panchayat elections, large-scale construction work, essential commodities, petrol pumps, CNG stations, goods and luggage carriers will be exempted from the curfew. Also, employees associated with sanitation have been exempted.
The wholesale trade in mandis and factories have also been exempted from night curfew, the district magistrate said.
Mathura reported 171 Covid-19 cases on Sunday. No Covid-19 death has been reported in the last 24 hours.

ians
 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 09:26:27 +0530
We failed to execute plans while bowling Warner

Chennai, April 12

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) captain David Warner said that the team failed to execute their plans while bowling and ended up conceding too many runs towards the end of the Kolkata Knight Riders (SRH) innings on Sunday.

SRH lost to KKR by 10 runs in their first Indian Premier League (IPL) match of the season. KKR scored 187/6 batting first and Warner said that the was surprised by the amount of runs they managed to get considering the conditions at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

"I didn't think there were that many runs on this wicket. They adapted really well, they had a fantastic partnership over there. We failed to execute the first ball of most overs and then conceded a lot at the end," said Warner after the match.

"The dew made a difference. If the bowlers overpitched, it was easy to hit it, and with the height in their team, and with the cross-seam, it stopped a little bit on us. We would like to have won the first game, but we have four more games at this venue and hopefully we will get used to the square and the dimensions of this ground," said Warner.

ians

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 09:10:50 +0530
Michelle Monaghan Proud to be part of Mission Impossible seriesMon, 12 Apr 2021 09:03:37 +0530FPIs turn net sellers pull out Rs 740 cr so far in April

Mumbai, April 11

As resurgent Covid cases turn a cause a concern for both the global and Indian markets, foreign portfolio investors (FPI) have pulled out net investments worth Rs 740 crore from the Indian equity market.

This is a reversal from the bullish sentiments among the foreign investors over the past one year.

So far in 2020, net FPI investments into the equity market have stood at Rs 55,002 crore, with Rs 19,473 crore, Rs 25,787 crore and Rs 10,482 crore net investments in January, February and March.

The sell-off in April comes amid the rising cases of Covid-19 and the possibilities of partial localised lockdowns, which may bring a halt to the reviving economic and business activities, market experts said.

Further, weakening of the India rupee also has led to the outflow of foreign funds. On Friday, depreciating for the fifth consecutive day, the Indian rupee closed at 74.74 per dollar.

ians

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 08:58:31 +0530
Moscow wants no war with Ukraine but cares for Russian speaking residents

Moscow, April 12

Russia does not seek a war with Ukraine but is concerned for the Russian-speaking population in the country's eastern Donbass region, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"No one is going to move towards a war, and no one at all accepts any possibility of such a war," Peskov told a Russian TV program on Sunday.

"Russia has never been a party to this conflict (between Kiev and insurgents in Donbass). But Russia has always said that it will not remain indifferent to the fate of Russian speakers who live in the southeast of Ukraine," he added.

According to the spokesman, Kiev refuses to fulfill its responsibilities under the Minsk agreements on a Donbass settlement, with government forces intensifying "provocative actions" in the region, Xinhua news agency reported.

Russia, Germany and France are "bewildered" by Kiev's recent claims that the Minsk agreements are useless, Peskov said, adding that there are no alternatives to the pacts for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Political advisers of the Russian, German, French and Ukrainian leaders are working towards holding a summit on eastern Ukraine, he said.

ians

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 08:50:46 +0530
Curfew clamped internet suspended in Rajasthan town after communal clash

Jaipur, April 11

Curfew was clamped and internet services suspended in Chhabra town of Rajasthan's Baran district on Sunday as communal clashes broke out, leaving several shops and vehicles set on fire, while other shops were looted, police said.
Senior officials, including the Inspector General of Police, the District Collector, and the Superintendent of Police, were holding a high-level meeting.
Police said that two groups from different communities pelted stones on each other on Sunday and torched vehicles parked around after putting six shops afire. A few shops were also looted and police carried out a baton charge to disperse the crowd.
The District Collector announced imposition of curfew in the evening and later, the Divisional Commissioner announced suspension of internet.
Sunday's clash was an extension of an incident reported on Saturday, when Kamal Singh, a resident of Ahmedpura, faced comments while he was buying fruits. The matter escalated when the other side took out sharp knives. The shopkeepers present there intervened, but in the meantime, two people were injured, and taken to the hospital for treatment.
After the incident, people reached the local police station and demanded action against the accused. Police interrogated three youths and took them in custody.
However, on Sunday, a few people gathered at the same area while people from other communities also came there.
As members of the two communities came face to face, they started pelting stones on each other, and the matter escalated with the arson and looting.
The fire brigade was also vandalised, before police reached the spot, and used force to disperse the mob.
A few people have been taken into custody, police said.

ians
 

 

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 08:43:12 +0530
What the new government of Kerala has to do Put the state on FAST track to Growth

Prasad Nair

Mumbai, April 11

Finally the elections held in Kerala amidst the coronavirus pandemic has concluded and the winner will be announced on May 2. It could be the Communist-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) or the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) which would be assuming power soon. Interestingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by metro man E. Sreedharan is also in the fray but it is unlikely that they will form the government as conventionally in Kerala power keeps oscillating between LDF and UDF in every election.  

Whoever may assume power, the real job begins after the new government is formed as the state is reeling with the Covid impact on one hand and loss of jobs due to coronavirus and business slowdown in Gulf countries which has forced many of migrant labour workforce to return back to Kerala as they lost their jobs in the countries where they worked prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.

For several decades Gulf was the destination of every Malayali looking to acquire status, earn money, buy property or get married, and more importantly send money back home to their families. A large number of people migrate from Kerala to Gulf countries every year, the educated ones take up white collar jobs while the less fortunate ones who are not that highly educated toil hard in blue collar jobs. Some after acquiring experience and expertise open their own business and do well in their career path. A number of Malayali individuals such as M.A. Yusuf Ali, EMKE Group (LuLu), Sunny Varkey, GEMS Education, Ravi Pillai, RP Group, P N C Menon, PNC Investments, Azad Moopen, DM Healthcare LLC, and many others have made their fortunes in the Gulf.

Nevertheless these migrants show the courage to work hard in tough circumstances to fend their family back home and educate their children and eventually helping the Kerala state also to prosper. This was so as the wages were better in places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Muscat, and so on, as against what one could earn in India. An Ashari (carpenter) for example, who has been forced to return from the Gulf to Kerala, may perhaps get around 10 per cent of the regular salary that he would be getting while working in the Gulf. Many foreign emigrants are now populating the broad spectrum of blue collar workforce in Kerala cities and towns which just a year ago were being done by migrant workers from other states like West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, etc.

Undoubtedly, there is stiff competition with migrant workers from other states. A number of the Gulf returnees find it tough to deal with the situation but there are very few options as earning something is any day better than earning nothing. In Kerala the minimum wage is about Rs.700 - 750 which would perhaps not even be a quarter of what they used to get abroad and yet some believe that they are lucky as many are there without any jobs. Kerala is currently witnessing a reverse globalization which could adversely hit the state’s economy sooner or later as the state’s revenue exchequer is boosted by the remittances that emigrants send back home.

Finding work and money for their immediate family and personal needs hasn’t been easy and the impact on economy and society cannot be gauged immediately as it is still unfolding. Kerala’s diaspora population was one of the primary reasons behind the state’s real advancements and now many of them are knocking the state government’s doors for help. Hitherto, working in the Gulf had been a status symbol among Malayali families as they could afford to buy property, build state-of-the-art houses that are rarely found in other states of India, drive a swanky car, and buy gold jewellery that women flaunt during weddings and buy other luxury goods. All this was possible as the workers used to get hefty salaries and good bonuses and it has all been wiped out by the global pandemic. Income from the Gulf after the good exchange rate is enough to have a luxury life in Kerala. Can families who were having a better standard of life now adjust to a new low profile life?

Kerala government will have a daunting task in dealing with this reality as there will be a steep fall in the money inflow as domestic consumption is heavily dependent on this monetary inflow and the stoppage of it will affect retail consumption and the health of banks and financial institutions. Returning back is a good option and many are keenly looking forward to it but the post-Covid situation may not be the same as there could be wages cut.

However, the new government needs to put Kerala on the FAST track mode of development for real progress. The state government needs to concentrate on developing fisheries and fertilizers, agriculture and Ayurveda, tourism and technology, enhancing the skill-sets of youngsters and the unemployed besides imparting social justice, as said by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi in one of his recent election speeches. As this happens Kerala could see a new phase of growth notwithstanding the foreign remittances or lack of it.  

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 17:39:49 +0530
What the new government of Kerala has to do Put the state on FAST track to Growth

Prasad Nair

Mumbai, April 11

Finally the elections held in Kerala amidst the coronavirus pandemic has concluded and the winner will be announced on May 2. It could be the Communist-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) or the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) which would be assuming power soon. Interestingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by metro man E. Sreedharan is also in the fray but it is unlikely that they will form the government as conventionally in Kerala power keeps oscillating between LDF and UDF in every election.  

Whoever may assume power, the real job begins after the new government is formed as the state is reeling with the Covid impact on one hand and loss of jobs due to coronavirus and business slowdown in Gulf countries which has forced many of migrant labour workforce to return back to Kerala as they lost their jobs in the countries where they worked prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.

For several decades Gulf was the destination of every Malayali looking to acquire status, earn money, buy property or get married, and more importantly send money back home to their families. A large number of people migrate from Kerala to Gulf countries every year, the educated ones take up white collar jobs while the less fortunate ones who are not that highly educated toil hard in blue collar jobs. Some after acquiring experience and expertise open their own business and do well in their career path. A number of Malayali individuals such as M.A. Yusuf Ali, EMKE Group (LuLu), Sunny Varkey, GEMS Education, Ravi Pillai, RP Group, P N C Menon, PNC Investments, Azad Moopen, DM Healthcare LLC, and many others have made their fortunes in the Gulf.

Nevertheless these migrants show the courage to work hard in tough circumstances to fend their family back home and educate their children and eventually helping the Kerala state also to prosper. This was so as the wages were better in places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Muscat, and so on, as against what one could earn in India. An Ashari (carpenter) for example, who has been forced to return from the Gulf to Kerala, may perhaps get around 10 per cent of the regular salary that he would be getting while working in the Gulf. Many foreign emigrants are now populating the broad spectrum of blue collar workforce in Kerala cities and towns which just a year ago were being done by migrant workers from other states like West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, etc.

Undoubtedly, there is stiff competition with migrant workers from other states. A number of the Gulf returnees find it tough to deal with the situation but there are very few options as earning something is any day better than earning nothing. In Kerala the minimum wage is about Rs.700 - 750 which would perhaps not even be a quarter of what they used to get abroad and yet some believe that they are lucky as many are there without any jobs. Kerala is currently witnessing a reverse globalization which could adversely hit the state’s economy sooner or later as the state’s revenue exchequer is boosted by the remittances that emigrants send back home.

Finding work and money for their immediate family and personal needs hasn’t been easy and the impact on economy and society cannot be gauged immediately as it is still unfolding. Kerala’s diaspora population was one of the primary reasons behind the state’s real advancements and now many of them are knocking the state government’s doors for help. Hitherto, working in the Gulf had been a status symbol among Malayali families as they could afford to buy property, build state-of-the-art houses that are rarely found in other states of India, drive a swanky car, and buy gold jewellery that women flaunt during weddings and buy other luxury goods. All this was possible as the workers used to get hefty salaries and good bonuses and it has all been wiped out by the global pandemic. Income from the Gulf after the good exchange rate is enough to have a luxury life in Kerala. Can families who were having a better standard of life now adjust to a new low profile life?

Kerala government will have a daunting task in dealing with this reality as there will be a steep fall in the money inflow as domestic consumption is heavily dependent on this monetary inflow and the stoppage of it will affect retail consumption and the health of banks and financial institutions. Returning back is a good option and many are keenly looking forward to it but the post-Covid situation may not be the same as there could be wages cut.

However, the new government needs to put Kerala on the FAST track mode of development for real progress. The state government needs to concentrate on developing fisheries and fertilizers, agriculture and Ayurveda, tourism and technology, enhancing the skill-sets of youngsters and the unemployed besides imparting social justice, as said by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi in one of his recent election speeches. As this happens Kerala could see a new phase of growth notwithstanding the foreign remittances or lack of it.  

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 17:36:45 +0530
After nuclear weapons Turkey Pakistan and China bond on Afghanistan

New Delhi, April 11:

Turkey and Pakistan, in partnership with China, are working together to exercise dominance over Afghanistan in anticipation of American withdrawal from the strife-torn nation, oftenely known as the        "graveyard of empires".
In its major expose, the website greekcitytimes.com points to the crucial end-of-March visit to Turkey by Pakistan's Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), General Nadeem Raza, to put together the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to dominate the region. General Raza visited Turkey from March 27-April 2, the web portal reported.
The visit fused with Turkey's growing ambition to revive its Ottoman empire dreams, which include regaining its cultural hegemony in the Turkic region of Central Asia, and Afghanistan. Separately, in the Levant, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wants to fulfil his revivalist neo-Ottoman ambitions by rolling over Syria, relying on well-trained Jihadi fighters, backed by the Turkish military for relentless subversion.
Also, the area known as Hejaz, now part of Saudi Arabia where Islam's two holy mosques are located is also on Erdogan's radar -- an aspiration which is bound to re-craft the map of West Asia and North Africa that emerged after World War I.
Turkey's Chief of General Staff, General Yasar Guler, hosted Gen. Raza at the Turkish General Staff Headquarters on March 30.
Gen. Raza's visit follows the December 22-23 apex meeting of the Turkey-Pakistan High Level Military Dialogue Group (HLMDG), led by Pakistani Defence Secretary Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussain, where nuclear weapon collaboration was on the cards.
"Erdogan has already aired his obsession about developing the 'Caliphate atom bomb' to fulfil his neo-Ottoman aspirations. China and Pakistan have been facing charges of illegal sale of missiles and creating a clandestine proliferation market."
Four major themes were discussed to fulfil the broader strategic goals of Turkey, Pakistan and China during Gen. Raza's visit.
Afghanistan, undergoing a major transition, marked by extreme political fluidity was a top item on the agenda. This is an area where the interests of Turkey, Pakistan, and China strongly converge. For Turkey, an entrenchment in Afghanistan will turn Kabul into a springboard for forays into broader Central Asia -- a resource rich region with which Ankara shares deep seated cultural and linguistic ties.
For Pakistan, Turkey's assistance is badly needed to re-acquire its "strategic depth" to counter India and Iran, and to seal a security threat from across the Durand Line.
For China, tighter control will allow the extension of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), to access Afghanistan's resources including lithium, the feedstock of Beijing's electric car revolution. It would also help prevent the seepage of Islamic extremists from Afghanistan into the Wakhan corridor, and help prevent the destabilisation of China's strategic Xinjiang region.
Unsurprisingly, the discussions held during the meeting reveal that Pakistan wants Turkish forces to replace NATO and American forces following US military withdrawal, the article said.
Further, Pakistan also conveyed that through the help of the Haqqani Network (HQN), it has already managed to convince the Taliban to allow Turkish forces to continue their deployment as well as to send more troops to Afghanistan.
"Both of them also brainstormed on efficiently using terror organisations like Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and HQN for creating a more conducive environment in Afghanistan for Turkey," the website reported.
The writeup further quoted defence experts as expressing their apprehensions about Turkey's intent to deploy Islamic State terrorists fleeing from Syria to Afghanistan.
"With this, it is expected that the Islamic State would become stronger in the country with infiltration of Syrian-based terrorists into it. Until now, it was being driven by cadres from Pakistan based terror entities deployed by Pakistani agency ISI."
Apart from promoting Afghanistan's return to radicalisation, the article pointed out that inclusion of Turkey as part of an expanded CPEC was also part of the discussions.
It spotlighted the Pakistan's Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Ali H Zaidi, had earlier met the Turkish ambassador to Islamabad, Mustafa Yurdakul, to discuss Turkish entry and participation in the Port Qasim in Karachi within the ambit of CPEC. Two important deals were struck following the meeting -- Turkey's Sanmar Shipyards would deliver four LNG compatible ASD Tugs and two pilot boats to the Port Qasim Authority at a cost of $33.46 million.
Referring to China, the website, citing reports said that Beijing had become a major factor in boosting Pakistan's air power to the next level by helping it develop a fifth-generation fighter jets, in coordination with Turkey. The trilateral nexus is also coming into fruition for developing drones, which Turkey had supplied to Azerbaijan, with telling effect, in its recent war with Armenia.
The website highlighted that the Pakistani delegation visited the Bakyar National S/UAV Research & Development and Production Centre as its first public engagement made during Gen. Raza's visit. He also held discussions with the General Manager of the company, Haluk Bayraktar, on assisting the Pakistani Army by transferring technology and capacity building in the production of drones.

ians


 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 14:23:31 +0530
Rhea Chakraborty is keeping the faith

Mumbai, April 11

 Bollywood actress Rhea Chakraborty took to Instagram to share a hope-filled message with her fans. She shared a picture of herself dressed in a yellow kurta, reading poet Rabindranath Tagore's collection of poems, "Gitanjali".
She wrote: "The question and the cry "Oh, where?" melt into tears of a thousand streams and deluge the world with the flood of the assurance, "I AM!" -- Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali #keepingthefaith."
Within minutes, her close friend Shibani Dandekar posted "love you" with a heart emoji. Rhea has not been very regular on social media after the death of her alleged boyfriend and Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
She was accused by Sushant's family for abetment to suicide and also siphoning off funds from the late actor. She was also named in the first Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) chargesheet along with her brother Showik in a drug-related probe into Sushant's death case.
She was arrested last year and spent a month in Mumbai's Byculla jail in September last year in a drug-related charge. Meanwhile, the actress is part of the film "Chehre" starring actors Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi. This is her first film release after Sushant's death.
The actress was missing from the first poster and teaser of the film, which sparked off rumours of her being ousted from the project. However, she is part of the trailer.
Directed by Rumy Jafry, "Chehre" also features Annu Kapoor, Raghubir Yadav, Krystle D'Souza and Raghubir Yadav.

ians
 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 14:11:17 +0530
Shreya Ghoshal shares surprise baby shower pictures

Mumbai, April 11

 Singer Shreya Ghoshal took to Instagram, on Sunday, to post a series of pictures from her virtual baby shower.
The singer is glowing in the pictures and sports a 'Mom To Be' sash. She is holding a 'Mommy to be' card as well. In front of her, Shreya has a plate and bowls full of food, cooked by her friends.
She captioned the pictures as: "When friends decide to pamper you even from a distance?????? Online surprise baby shower from my cutest 'Baawris' ???? Everyone cooked something, or made something hand made, sent in a platter, plenty fun and games??.. How lucky am I! ?? Wish the times were different and no lockdown/curfew were here. Missing meeting my girls. @moitrasarada @sharivanaik @kaushiki_sings @saiyami @rush2mee #IndraniDi #RakhiDi Backstage and tech management: @moitrashantanu @shiladitya ??"
Shreya, who is expecting her first baby with husband Shiladitya Mukhopadhyaya, had shared the news of her pregnancy with her fans on social media last month.

ians
 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 14:05:32 +0530
Indians hail British Columbia gesture to mark Ambedkar s birthday as Equality Day

Mumbai, April 11

 The decision of British Columbia province of western Canada to celebrate the upcoming 130th birth anniversary of Architect of Indian Constitution Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on April 14 as 'Equality Day' has been hailed by his kin in Mumbai and other prominent Indians, who term it as "yet another acknowledgement of his growing global acclaim".
The grandsons of Ambedkar - Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi President Dr. Prakash Ambedkar and Republican Sena President Anandraj Ambedkar - say that their grandfather is already an icon for the depressed classes of society and now the world is also recognizing this in a big way.
"The decision of the British Columbia government is indeed a great honour India and even his family -- The principles of Equality, enshrined in the Indian Constitution due to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, have inspired many other countries which secured independence after the 1950s to include similar fundamentals in their own Constitutions," Dr. Prakash Ambedkar said.
"The Republican Party of India (RPI-A) and myself are moved by this honour to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in the British Columbia province -- I shall write a letter of thanks to the government there," an elated Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale said.
He recalled how Dr. B.R. Ambedkar worked hard all his life, often surviving on a small loaf of bread, studying 18 hours daily at the Lehman Social Sciences Library during his days at the Columbia University in New York (USA), and later became its most famous alumnus to be honoured with a statue (bust) there in 1995."The British Columbia gesture has made us all extremely proud, it shows that the world understands and appreciates Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's philosophy of Equality, the first person to propound it after Lord Gautam Buddha, for the upliftment of the oppressed sections," Anandraj Ambedkar said.
The Proclamation was made on April 1 by the Lieutenant Governor of the Province of British Columbia, Janet Austin, declaring that "April 14, 2021, shall be known as 'Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Equality Day' in the Province.
Decreed in the name of Queen Elizabeth II, the Proclamation noted that British Columbia is 'a culturally diverse province comprising many peoples and communities'.
It added that the "Indigenous people, Black people and people of colour in British Columbia continue to experience systemic racism, injustices, discrimination and hate" and the province's government was committed to address all forms of racism.
Dr. Prakash Ambedkar pointed out that this was in tune with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's doctrine of "positive revolution in all oppressed human societies", while Anandraj Ambedkar said "it respects (Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's) his humanitarian role as emancipator of the persecuted people world over'.
Athawale feels the latest recognition proves that "Dr. B.R. Ambedkar belongs not just to India but to the humanity and all tyrannized people everywhere on Earth", and said even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has deep respect for him.
The decision has struck a warm chord among Indians elsewhere in Canada, like a hospitality industry professional Shirish Deshpande in Mississauga in Ontario.
"It has made all Indians here very proud - Dr. B. R. Ambedkar taught the world to end all kinds of discrimination and his legacy is being followed in many parts of the world," Deshpande told IANS.
In 2015, the York University, Toronto, unveiled his bust and in 2016, Carleton University, Ottawa celebrated his 125th birth anniversary, he added.
A legendary jurist, economist, social reformer, anthropologist and political leader, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar was born in Mhow (now in Madhya Pradesh) town on April 14, 1891, as the 14th child of Ramji M. Sakpal and Bhimabai R. Sakpal with family roots in Ambadawe village of Maharashtra's Ratnagiri district, and belonged to the Mahar (Dalit) caste.
Facing the scourge of discrimination, untouchability from an early left a deep scar on his psyche and barely six years old, he moved to Bombay (Mumbai, now) and became the only 'untouchable' student at the famed Elphinstone High School.
By the time he was 15, he had an arranged marriage with a 9-year old girl, Ramabai, the next year (1907), he graduated from the University of Bombay in 1912, later went to Columbia University, New York and London School of Economics, acquired two PhDs, became a Barrister, was conferred with top academic honours and accolades.
On return to India, he joined the Freedom Movement, with Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and others, became a Minister of Labour in the Viceroy's Executive Council and a Member of the Constitution Drafting Committee.
Later, after the country's Independence on August 15, 1937, he became India's first Law Minister in Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's Cabinet and also Chairman of the new Constitution Drafting Committee.
After a glorious life dedicated to the common masses, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar who had converted to Buddhism on October 14, 1956, passed away peacefully on December 6 that year and his funeral was performed at Dadar Chowpatty in Bombay the next day, attended by over 500,000 people.

ians

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 13:59:13 +0530
MILES for overall development of Kalapakanchery Panchayath

Thiruvananthapuram, April 11

 Moopen Institute for Local Empowerment - MILES is a community organization developed by Padmasri Dr Azad Moopen established in 2010 and is now into wholesome development of his home village Kalpakanchery Panchayath in Kerala's Malappuram district.
Dr Azad Moopen, an alumini of the prestigious Calicut Medical College has established several hospitals within and outside the country and alongside his professional commitments as a medical doctor is engaged in total and comprehensive development of his home village, Kalpakanchery.
The organization has been working in areas of Education, Employment, Human Resources Development, Community Health, Women Empowerment and Environmental studies since it was established in 2010. The study conducted by MILES in association with Kalpakanchery grama panchayath has found that almost all sections of the civil society has benefitted from the involvement and intervention of MILES in issues that the panchayath was not able to handle on its own.
MILES is now conducting a comprehensive study in Kalpakanchery panchayath in collaboration with IRDP (Initiative for Development Research and Practice) and panchayath. The study mainly focusses on Youth, women, children and general public.
Kamarudhin, Administrative Officer of MILES who manages the institution while speaking to IANS said, "The program is being organized with the support of Kalpakanchery Panchayath and elected ward members are totally in support of our project and in each ward elected members lead our program."
The organization conducts Village walk which is an effective tool to touch the rural life and to know more on it for further studies and research before intervention in the specific issues pointed out during the walk. Specific data will be collected through questionnaires from youths and general public.
Focused Group Discussions(FGD) will be conducted with a maximum of eight participants drawn from the sections of the ward which include ward member (Current member, Past member (optional), Social activists (2), Youth representatives (1 male, 1 female), Professionals 2 (Preferably from social sector), Anganwadi Teacher (1) and Kudumbasree members (2). This group will conduct a one hour focused group discussion and implement the projects which are in the priority following these discussions.
The organization uses Participatory learning and Action (PLA) and Participatory Rural Apprisal (PRA) in the study and brings out solutions and executes the necessary requirements.
Khadeeja, (61) who lives in Kalpakanchery grama panchayath, 2 ward while speaking to IANS said, "MILES has now become a household name in this area and we are all benefited by the intervention of the organization. The young team of MILES comes to our homes regularly, ask questions and if we need anything including issues like drinking water, environmental pollution, education of children, health issues and electricity problems, they intervene and either bring to the notice of the panchayath or they directly provide the solution. Slowly but surely there is a major positive impact since MILES was launched here."
With the support from Dr Azad Moopen and his family trust, the organization is managing a good team of professionals who are highly educated in social sciences and who know the requirements of the village.
Dr Azad Moopen while speaking to IANS said, "It is largely true that India lives in villages as told by Gandhiji a century back. Our panchayaths are powerhouses of human potential with over a billion people, which is yet to be unleashed for our nation building. Our efforts through establishing MILES, has been to make Kalpkanachery a model panchayath and uplift the people through various initiatives and enablers. We undertake many programmes in education, career development, women's empowerment, environmental protection, health and wellness etc at the grass root level, in association with local bodies."
MILES is being curated as a Proof of Concept that can be replicated across other panchayaths in India which would pave the way for overall development of our country as vast majority of our people still live in villages."

ians
 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 13:49:57 +0530
Lenovo leads global PC market in Q1 2021 HP 2nd

New Delhi, April 11

 Lenovo led the global traditional PC market (including desktops, notebooks, and workstations) in the first quarter of 2020 with 24.3 per cent share, as the worldwide shipments grew 55.2 per cent (on-year), according to an IDC report.
HP Inc was second with 22.9 per cent PC market share, followed by Dell Technologies at 15.4 per cent share.
PC shipments reached 84 million worldwide in the January-March period, a modest 8 per cent decline from the fourth quarter of 2020.
While sequential declines are typical for the first quarter, a decline this small has not been seen since the first quarter of 2012 when the PC market declined 7.5 per cent sequentially, according to IDC's ‘Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker' showed on Saturday.
"Unfulfilled demand from the past year has carried forward into the first quarter and additional demand brought on by the pandemic has also continued to drive volume," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers.
"However, the market continues to struggle with setbacks including component shortages and logistics issues, each of which has contributed to an increase in average selling prices," he added.
Apple with 8 per cent market share (by shipments) was fourth while Acer Group with 5 per cent came fifth.
The continued resurgence in the PC market as well as increases in average selling prices (ASPs) have primarily been driven by growth in gaming, the need for higher performance notebooks in the enterprise, and an increase in demand for touchscreens within the education segment.
Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers said that the ongoing shortages in the semiconductor space only further prolong the ability for vendors to refill inventory and fulfill orders to customers.
"We believe a fundamental shift has occurred around the PC, which will result in a more positive outlook for years to follow. All three segments — business, education, and consumer — are experiencing demand that we didn't expect to happen regardless of many countries beginning their ‘opening up' process," Reith noted.
Component shortages will likely be a topic of conversation for the majority of 2021.
"The more important question should be what PC demand will look like in 2-3 years," Reith said.

ians

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 13:43:34 +0530
One third of Antarctic ice shelf area at risk of collapse Study

London, April 9

 As climate change is making temperatures soar, more than a third of the Antarctic's ice shelf could be at risk of collapsing into the sea, and causing global sea-levels to rise, new research has shown.
The study, led by a researcher at the University of Reading in England, found that if global temperatures reach 4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, 34 per cent of the area of all Antarctic ice shelves -- around half a million square kilometres -- including 67 per cent of ice shelf area on the Antarctic Peninsula, would be at risk of destabilisation.
Ice shelves -- Larsen C, Shackleton, Pine Island and Wilkins -- were identified as most at-risk under 4 degrees Celsius of warming, due to their geography and the significant runoff predicted in those areas.
Limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, as mandated by the United Nations under the Paris Climate agreement, would halve the risk and potentially avoid significant sea level rise, said the study, published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal.
"If temperatures continue to rise at current rates, we may lose more Antarctic ice shelves in the coming decades," said Ella Gilbert, a research scientist at the varsity's Department of Meteorology.
"Limiting warming will not just be good for Antarctica -- preserving ice shelves means less global sea level rise, and that's good for us all," she added.
When melted ice accumulates on the surface of ice shelves, it can make them fracture and collapse spectacularly.
Ice shelf vulnerability from this fracturing process was forecast under 1.5 degrees Celsius, 2 degrees Celsius and 4 degrees Celsius global warming scenarios, which are all possible this century.
"Ice shelves are important buffers preventing glaciers on land from flowing freely into the ocean and contributing to sea level rise. When they collapse, it's like a giant cork being removed from a bottle, allowing unimaginable amounts of water from glaciers to pour into the sea," Gilbert said.
"We know that when melted ice accumulates on the surface of ice shelves, it can make them fracture and collapse spectacularly," Gilbert said.

ians
 

 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 13:38:20 +0530
What the new government of Kerala has to do Put the state of FAST track to Growth

Prasad Nair

Mumbai,April 11

Finally the elections held in Kerala amidst the coronavirus pandemic has concluded and the winner will be announced on May 2. It could be the Communist-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) or the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) which would be assuming power soon. Interestingly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by metro man E. Sreedharan is also in the fray but it is unlikely that they will form the government as conventionally in Kerala power keeps oscillating between LDF and UDF in every election.  

Whoever may assume power, the real job begins after the new government is formed as the state is reeling with the Covid impact on one hand and loss of jobs due to coronavirus and business slowdown in Gulf countries which has forced many of migrant labour workforce to return back to Kerala as they lost their jobs in the countries where they worked prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.

For several decades Gulf was the destination of every Malayali looking to acquire status, earn money, buy property or get married, and more importantly send money back home to their families. A large number of people migrate from Kerala to Gulf countries every year, the educated ones take up white collar jobs while the less fortunate ones who are not that highly educated toil hard in blue collar jobs. Some after acquiring experience and expertise open their own business and do well in their career path. A number of Malayali individuals such as M.A. Yusuf Ali, EMKE Group (LuLu), Sunny Varkey, GEMS Education, Ravi Pillai, RP Group, P N C Menon, PNC Investments, Azad Moopen, DM Healthcare LLC, and many others have made their fortunes in the Gulf.

Nevertheless these migrants show the courage to work hard in tough circumstances to fend their family back home and educate their children and eventually helping the Kerala state also to prosper. This was so as the wages were better in places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Muscat, and so on, as against what one could earn in India. An Ashari (carpenter) for example, who has been forced to return from the Gulf to Kerala, may perhaps get around 10 per cent of the regular salary that he would be getting while working in the Gulf. Many foreign emigrants are now populating the broad spectrum of blue collar workforce in Kerala cities and towns which just a year ago were being done by migrant workers from other states like West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, etc.

Undoubtedly, there is stiff competition with migrant workers from other states. A number of the Gulf returnees find it tough to deal with the situation but there are very few options as earning something is any day better than earning nothing. In Kerala the minimum wage is about Rs.700 - 750 which would perhaps not even be a quarter of what they used to get abroad and yet some believe that they are lucky as many are there without any jobs. Kerala is currently witnessing a reverse globalization which could adversely hit the state’s economy sooner or later as the state’s revenue exchequer is boosted by the remittances that emigrants send back home.

Finding work and money for their immediate family and personal needs hasn’t been easy and the impact on economy and society cannot be gauged immediately as it is still unfolding. Kerala’s diaspora population was one of the primary reasons behind the state’s real advancements and now many of them are knocking the state government’s doors for help. Hitherto, working in the Gulf had been a status symbol among Malayali families as they could afford to buy property, build state-of-the-art houses that are rarely found in other states of India, drive a swanky car, and buy gold jewellery that women flaunt during weddings and buy other luxury goods. All this was possible as the workers used to get hefty salaries and good bonuses and it has all been wiped out by the global pandemic. Income from the Gulf after the good exchange rate is enough to have a luxury life in Kerala. Can families who were having a better standard of life now adjust to a new low profile life?

Kerala government will have a daunting task in dealing with this reality as there will be a steep fall in the money inflow as domestic consumption is heavily dependent on this monetary inflow and the stoppage of it will affect retail consumption and the health of banks and financial institutions. Returning back is a good option and many are keenly looking forward to it but the post-Covid situation may not be the same as there could be wages cut.

However, the new government needs to put Kerala on the FAST track mode of development for real progress. The state government needs to concentrate on developing fisheries and fertilizers, agriculture and Ayurveda, tourism and technology, enhancing the skill-sets of youngsters and the unemployed besides imparting social justice, as said by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi in one of his recent election speeches. As this happens Kerala could see a new phase of growth notwithstanding the foreign remittances or lack of it.  

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 13:35:27 +0530
Working long hours Keep your body mind active

New Delhi, April 10

 Whether working from home or office, toiling away for long hours without breaks and physical activity can begin to damage your body, vitality and even without tell-tale signs.
"It is important to achieve a healthy work-life balance in order to live a fulfilled life. But there are moments in life when you have to finish certain deadlines and cannot avoid spending a lot of time on your desk," says Beenu Rajpoot, noted filmmaker and a Fit India Champion.
The fitness expert has these suggestions for those busy hours that will not only nourish your body and mind, but also increase overall productivity:
Between emails, meetings and calls, try to take a stroll even for a few minutes to reset your body and brain. A little bit of movement during those long sitting hours will go a long way to ensure that your body and joints do not become too stiff by sitting.
Check your breath during intervals. Take a few long breaths engaging your abdominals to ensure that your body is getting enough oxygen. Learn some Pranayama techniques to recreate yourself quickly so that you can maintain a constant energy level throughout the long span of desk sitting.
Remember to do a few neck and shoulder stretches while on your desk to avoid neck pain or back pain later. It will also help in keeping your posture upright. Add useful stretches from your yoga class to these intervals.
Choose the appropriate ergonomic chair and table in order to maintain a good posture while sitting for long hours. Some of the important factors to be considered are -- shape of the chair, height of the chair, height of the table, lumbar support in the chair, among others. Ensure that your chair has some kind of lumbar support. Lumbar support will protect your lumbar spine from pressures of excessive flexion during long sitting hours. It is also important to choose a chair where you can adjust the height of the chair so that you can adjust its height vis-a-vis your table. It will be good for your mid-upper back and shoulders. Often people who ignore this advice can develop health conditions like scoliosis and rounded shoulders.
Keep drinking water during a long shift. It's quite common that people under pressure keep suppressing their thirst subconsciously that makes them dehydrated. Remember to keep sipping the water every hour or so to keep your body rich in fluids that will improve the circulation and will keep your blood pressure in check, apart from many other benefits of drinking water.
Decorate your space nicely and keep it clean, organised and minimal. Avoid too much clutter around in your space. Too much physical clutter affects the states of your mind, too. Practice the yogic principle of 'Aparigraha' or minimalism to keep your space, physical as well as mental, free.
Ensure that you are getting some sun during the day. It will not only enrich your Vitamin D levels but also give a big boost to your immune system. It is very common among the big cities in India that people don't get enough Vitamin D as they are not exposed to the sunlight often. Lack of exposure to the sunlight leads to Vitamin D deficiency that is often linked to other health issues.
Gives your eyes some rest in between after every half an hour or so by doing a simple yoga technique of palming. Rub your palms together and just cover your eyes with your warm palms. Your eyes will feel energised immediately.

ians

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 13:31:11 +0530
Mumbai s exemplary globally inspired fine dining experience now in Delhi

New Delhi, April 10

 Gourmands will get a chance to savour Mumbai's award-winning restaurant, The Table, in the heart of the capital at The Lodhi's Elan. Founded in 2011 by the power couple, Gauri Devidayal and Jay Yousuf, The Table is renowned for an extensive palette of international cuisines inspired by their travels abroad. From the introduction of small and large plates, to giving diners an authentic farm-to-table experience with their very own farm produce -- they've been trendsetters from the very beginning and the restaurant has won numerous accolades in a decade since its inception.
Gauri and Jay have put together an exclusive menu for this pop-up, with which diners can expect their signature flavours. Some of the most compelling offerings include Crab Royale, Australian Lamb Shank and Duck Salad with Hoisin Glaze. While the menu consists of classics like The Sobo Salad and Miso-Glazed Eggplant, there are also more contemporary renditions like Seabass Roasted in Japanese Aromatics. The inventive line-up of cocktails features Beetroot Mezgroni, Oaxaca Collins, McMahon Line, Cucumber Saketini, et al, while non-alcoholic options include fruity concoctions like Kalingad and Mick Jaggery. The Brunch selection has exotic specials such as Lobster Benedict, Puccia Al Tartufo, Miso Crab Omelette, Tiramisu Pancakes, Black Truffle Mac N' Cheese, and more.
With global accents and nuances, the menu is an expression of the finest available seasonal ingredients and a commitment to simplicity and purity of flavours -- a philosophy inherited from San Francisco. It draws inspiration from each corner of the globe, from America, Italy, and France, to China, Thailand, Japan, and beyond. Utilising these influences, the restaurant offers an eclectic selection, creating a diverse experience for guests.
Commenting on this collaboration Devendra Bharma, Executive Director -- Hospitality, DLF Limited, said, "Having spent several years in Mumbai, I have had a long-standing association with Gauri and Jay and have deep admiration for their culinary expertise. The Table has been Mumbai's drawing room and has become a trailblazer within the national restaurant community. At The Lodhi, we are always looking for new ways to delight our guests by bringing them the best of global and Indian culinary experiences in the comfort of their city. The Table was an obvious choice for us to bring to The Lodhi, New Delhi."
Talking about their first-ever pop-up in the capital, Devidayal said, "The Table was just marking its 10 year anniversary when the opportunity to do a pop-up at The Lodhi presented itself. We've been wanting to bring the experience to Delhi for a very long time but finding the right partner was imperative and when we were approached by The Lodhi, we didn't think twice about it. This has been a difficult year for the industry but collaboration and working together is what's got us through it, and this is just one more example of that.
 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 13:24:49 +0530
Real Madrid pull off thrilling Clasico win Barca coach fumes

 

Barcelona, April 11

 Real Madrid held on to earn a narrow 2-1 El Clasico win over Barcelona on Sunday and go top of the La Liga charts on Saturday. Karim Benzema broke the deadlock in the 13th minute with his ninth goal in seven league games, finishing Lucas Vazquez's cross with a back heel nudge.
Madrid doubled the lead before the half-hour mark when Toni Kroos' freekick deflected against Sergino Dest's back and flew past Jordi Alba on the line, reports DPA.
Barcelona fought back in the second half in torrential rain, with Oscar Mingueza pulling one back from close range. Substitute Ilaix Moriba almost equalised in stoppage time but hit the crossbar.
Atletico Madrid travel to face Real Betis later on Sunday and could go back top with a point. They are currently level with Real on 66, while Barcelona are third on 65.
Barcelona complained of two penalty decisions they were not given, with Ferland Mendy clashing with Ousmane Dembele and later Martin Braithwaite in the area.
"I think everyone saw the game, if you're a Barcelona fan you're furious, very unhappy about the two refereeing decisions," said an angry Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman.
"In the first half we were not good in attack or defence, in the second we improved. It's a very clear penalty, once more we have to shut up and accept it."
The Barcelona coach later walked out of a pitch-side interview after a reporter did not answer his question about whether his team should have been given a penalty.
Neither incident was clear cut, and Madrid could have put the game to bed in the first half when Fede Valverde hit the post with the score already at 2-0.
Barcelona captain Lionel Messi hit the post near the end of the first half, direct from a corner before Mingueza put his team back in the game after 60 minutes. However, Madrid held on to win an entertaining Clasico despite a nervy finale.
"I'm happy for (the players), we made a lot of subs today, we suffered but nothing changed," said Real manager Zidane. "They are all committed, and they want to play and that's the good thing. We have to enjoy today and the other day," he said, referring to the team's defeat of Liverpool in the Champions League.
"We got two good results and we have to rest well. I don't know how the season will end but we'll need everyone, we're physically at the limit, it's hard for us to finish games," added Zidane.

ians

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 13:15:17 +0530
Lenovo leads global PC market in Q1 2021 HP 2nd

New Delhi, April 11

 Lenovo led the global traditional PC market (including desktops, notebooks, and workstations) in the first quarter of 2020 with 24.3 per cent share, as the worldwide shipments grew 55.2 per cent (on-year), according to an IDC report.
HP Inc was second with 22.9 per cent PC market share, followed by Dell Technologies at 15.4 per cent share.
PC shipments reached 84 million worldwide in the January-March period, a modest 8 per cent decline from the fourth quarter of 2020.
While sequential declines are typical for the first quarter, a decline this small has not been seen since the first quarter of 2012 when the PC market declined 7.5 per cent sequentially, according to IDC's ‘Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker' showed on Saturday.
"Unfulfilled demand from the past year has carried forward into the first quarter and additional demand brought on by the pandemic has also continued to drive volume," said Jitesh Ubrani, research manager for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers.
"However, the market continues to struggle with setbacks including component shortages and logistics issues, each of which has contributed to an increase in average selling prices," he added.
Apple with 8 per cent market share (by shipments) was fourth while Acer Group with 5 per cent came fifth.
The continued resurgence in the PC market as well as increases in average selling prices (ASPs) have primarily been driven by growth in gaming, the need for higher performance notebooks in the enterprise, and an increase in demand for touchscreens within the education segment.
Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers said that the ongoing shortages in the semiconductor space only further prolong the ability for vendors to refill inventory and fulfill orders to customers.
"We believe a fundamental shift has occurred around the PC, which will result in a more positive outlook for years to follow. All three segments — business, education, and consumer — are experiencing demand that we didn't expect to happen regardless of many countries beginning their ‘opening up' process," Reith noted.
Component shortages will likely be a topic of conversation for the majority of 2021.
"The more important question should be what PC demand will look like in 2-3 years," Reith said.

ians
 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 13:08:26 +0530
Taapsee Pannu shares lockdown Sunday gaze

 

Mumbai, April 11  Maharashtra is in a state of partial lockdown and actress Taapsee Pannu took to Instagram on Sunday morning, to post her lockdown "gaze".
She shared a black and white picture of her dressed in a formal shirt, pants and a long coat. She completed the look with a loose bun. "My lockdown Sunday gaze", she captioned the picture.
Meanwhile, the actress has multiple projects lined up. She is currently shooting for her film "Shabaash Mithu". Taapsee has been keeping her fans updated with pictures from the shoot as well as the preparations. The film is based on the life of Indian women's ODI cricket team captain Mithali Dorai Raj. It has been written by Priya Aven and directed by Rahul Dholakia.
She is also part of the film "Haseen Dilruba", directed by Vinil Mathew. She will be seen alongside actor Vikrant Massey in the film.
Her other upcoming films are "Rashmi Rocket" and "Looop Lapeta".
 

ians

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 12:56:47 +0530
3 iPhone 12 phones contribute to 71 of Apple sales in Jan

New Delhi, April 11

 Three iPhone 12 series smartphones (12, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max) have contributed to 71 per cent of Apples total sales for the month of January, as the tech giant grabbed six places in the global top 10 best-selling smartphones list.
The Apple iPhone 12 led the list followed by the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, according to Counterpoint Research's ‘Market Pulse' report.
There was a pent-up demand for 5G upgrades within the iOS base which, along with strong carrier promotions, resulted in robust sales for the iPhone 12 series.
"Besides, Apple launched the new iPhone series later than the usual date, resulting in strong demand for these models spilling over into January," the report said late on Saturday.
Nearly one-third of Apple's sales for the iPhone 12 series came from the US due to strong carrier promotions and 5G demand.
"The iPhone 12 Pro Max was the top-selling model in the US, as consumers preferred the high-end version. Old models iPhone SE 2020 and iPhone 11 also continued to do well," the report mentioned.
The iPhone 12 mini made it to the top 10 list, trailing the other iPhone 12 series models as well as the iPhone 11.
"The iPhone 12 mini, which offers specs similar to that of the iPhone 12 at a lower price, failed to attract buyers because of a smaller display and lower battery capacity".
The sub-$150 devices Redmi 9A and Redmi 9 managed to grab fifth and sixth spots, respectively, in January.
These smartphones together contributed a 25 per cent share to Xiaomi's total sales for the month which is gradually expanding its share in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.
Samsung's Galaxy A21s managed to maintain its position in the top 10 list.
The Galaxy A31, the other Samsung model in the top 10, entered the list for the first time.
"Samsung is aggressively promoting the Galaxy A series. It comes with a premium design, fresh colours and latest specs at affordable prices," the report noted.
Through the A series, Samsung is also looking to attract the users of Honor devices, present in sizeable numbers in Europe, Latin America, South East Asia and MEA.

ians
 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 12:47:39 +0530
If the health system collapses Delhi may face another lockdown Kejriwal 11 56

New Delhi, April 11

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said the state government was not in favour of imposing lockdown in the national capital, but 'if the health system collapsed then lockdown would be the only option'.
"I will request all citizens of Delhi to follow Covid-19 protection measures. I will also appeal to the people to go to the hospital only when it is urgent.
"The Delhi government assures you that healthcare workers will visit you and guide you for home isolation. Come to hospital only if the case is serious," Chief Minister said while addressing a press conference.
He further added that at present Delhi's health system was strong and all government and private hospitals have been strengthened again in view of rising new cases of Covid-19.
He said doctors and health workers have been serving relentlessly for the last one year.
"We have enough beds in all the government and private hospitals for Covid infected patients. But, if the health system collapses, we will have no option except to impose lockdown again in the city," he added.

ians
 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 12:40:41 +0530
Nationwide Tika Utsav begins Modi urges people to abide by 4 things

New Delhi, April 11

Announcing that a four-day countrywide 'Tika Utsav' (inoculation festival) is being started from Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to abide by four things that include wearing of masks as well as motivating others to follow the norm in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
The initiative, which will continue till April 14, is called by the Centre a second major war against the deadly virus which registered the highest single-day spike on Sunday infecting 1,52,879 more people within 24 hours.
"Today, on the occasion of Jyotiba Phule Jayanti, we are starting countrywide 'Tika Utsav'. This exercise will run till April 14, the event of Baba Saheb Ambedkar Jayanti. This celebration is, in a way, the beginning of another major war against Corona," the Prime Minister made the announcement through Twitter.
In the 'Tika Utsav', the Prime Minister said: "We (countrymen) have to give special emphasis on personal hygiene as well as social hygiene".
For a successful fight against Covid-19, the Prime Minister stressed on the need to follow four things: "Each One-Vaccinate One", "Each One-Treat One", "Each One-Save One" and "Micro Containment Zone".
"In these four days, at the individual level, at the level of society and at the level of administration, we have to make our own goals, we have to make every effort to achieve them. I am confident that in the same way, with public participation, being aware and fulfilling our responsibility, we will be able to control the corona once again. Remember -- medicine as well as rigor."
Explaining "Each One-Vaccinate One" formula, the Prime Minister urged people to help those who are less educated, elderly, who cannot go and get vaccinated themselves.
Modi advised people to help in providing Covid treatment to all as per his "Each One-Treat One" call helping people who do not have proper resources and who are less aware.
Under his "Each One-Save One" formula, the Prime Minister said the emphasis is "I myself should wear a mask and thus save myself and save others as well".
And the fourth important thing, the Prime Minister said, in the event of someone being a Covid-19 positive, the people of the society should lead the creation of a "Micro Containment Zone". "Where there has been a positive case of a single corona, the people of the family, the people of the society should create a 'Micro Containment Zone'."
Our success will be determined by how much awareness we have about the 'Micro Containment Zone', Modi said.
The Micro Containment Zone is also an important way of fighting against corona in our densely populated country like India, said the Prime Minister, adding "it is very important for all of us to be aware when a single positive case comes, and to test others".
"Along with this, the person who is entitled to be vaccinated, should get vaccinated. The whole effort has to be done by the society as well as the administration.
Modi further emphasised on "zero vaccine waste", saying "We have to ensure that there is no loss of a single vaccine. We have to move towards zero vaccine waste".
"During this time, we have to move towards optimum utilization of the country's vaccination capacity. This is also a way to increase our capacity."
He also advised to stay at home until there is extreme need, mentioning "our success will be determined by this fact".

ians
 

 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 12:30:55 +0530
NASA seeks to send 1st person of colour to Moon in 2024

Washington, April 10

Acting NASA administrator Steve Jurczyk has sought to not only land the first woman on the Moon but also the first person of colour under the Artemis programme.
The Artemis III mission is expected to launch the first woman and next man to the Moon in 2024.
The Joe Biden-Kamala Harris Administration submitted to Congress on Friday the president's priorities for fiscal year 2022 discretionary spending.
"The president's discretionary request increases NASA's ability to better understand Earth and further monitor and predict the impacts of climate change. It also gives us the necessary resources to continue advancing America's bipartisan Moon to Mars space exploration plan, including landing the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon under the Artemis programme," Jurczyk said in a statement on Friday.
"This $24.7 billion funding request demonstrates the Biden Administration's commitment to NASA and its partners who have worked so hard this past year under difficult circumstances and achieved unprecedented success," he added.
With a budget increase of more than 6 per cent from the previous year, NASA will continue to boost its ingenuity in exploration, technology, aeronautics and science.
NASA has welcomed the nomination of former Democratic Senator Bill Nelson as its next administrator, as the US space agency works towards the key Artemis III mission.
The Biden administration aims to Keep NASA on the path to landing the first woman and the first person of colour on the Moon under the Artemis programme.
"This goal aligns with President Biden's commitment to pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all," said the US space agency.
NASA has completed a crucial hot fire test of the core stage of Space Launch System (SLS) rocket which is designed to power future Moon missions under the agency's Artemis programme.
The successful test is a critical milestone ahead of the agency's Artemis I mission, which will send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a test flight around the Moon and back to Earth, paving the way for future Artemis missions with astronauts.

ians
 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 12:22:16 +0530
Big B gets nostalgic as Chupke Chupke clocks 46 years

Mumbai, April 11

Actor Amitabh Bachchan posted an interesting trivia about his 1975 film 'Chupke Chupke' as the film completed 46 years of release on Sunday.

The superstar, who played the role of a English professor Sukumar in the comedy film, revealed that the house used in the film to shoot some scenes is now his current Mumbai residence Jalsa.

Amitabh took to Instagram on Sunday as he shared a fascinating fact from the film.

He uploaded a still from the movie and captioned it as: "Chupke Chupke " our film by Hrishikesh MUKERJI.. closing today at 46 years ..!! This house you see in the picture is Producer NC Sippy's house .. we bought it , then sold it , then bought it back again .. rebuilt it .. this is our home now JALSA !!

Many films were shot here .. Anand, NamakHaram , Chupke Chupke , Satte pe Satta , and many more .."

The film also starred Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, Asrani, Jaya Bachchan and Om Pakash in pivotal roles.

ians
 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 12:15:45 +0530
Fuel prices unchanged for 12th straight day

New Delhi, April 11

Oil marketing companies (OMC) kept petrol and diesel prices unchanged for the 12th straight day across the four metro cities on Sunday.
In the national capital, petrol was sold for Rs 90.56 per litre.
Prices of the fuel in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata were at Rs 96.98, Rs 92.58 and Rs 90.77 per litre respectively, same as the previous levels.
Petrol and diesel prices fell by 22 paise and 23 paise per litre, respectively, on March 30 in wake the global softening of oil prices. The OMCs have decided to pause price revision as they want to watch the crude price movement that has now dropped below the $63-per-barrel mark.
In tandem with petrol prices, diesel was sold at unchanged levels of Rs 80.87, Rs 87.96, Rs 85.88 and Rs 83.75 per litre, in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, respectively.
After petrol stayed at record levels for a considerable period and were steady for past 24 days, OMCs went on price cut for the first time this year on two consecutive days - March 24 and 25. It again reduced the price on March 30.
Thereafter, fuel prices have remained unchanged. Earlier, petrol and diesel prices increased 26 times in 2021.
ians

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 12:03:40 +0530
Google Pixel 5a 5G to launch in US Japan later this year

 

San Francisco, April 10

Amid the reports of Google Pixel 5a 5G getting cancelled following the global chip shortage, the company said the upcoming smartphone will be released in the US and Japan later this year.
According to two sources familiar with the matter, Android Central came to believe that the Google Pixel 5a 5G was cancelled in its entirety.
Pixel 5a 5G is not cancelled. It will be available later this year in the US and Japan and announced in line with when last year's a-series phone was introduced, a Google spokesperson said.
The upcoming mid-range smartphone was expected to be launched at this year's Google I/O developer conference alongside the rumored Pixel Buds A.
According to Android Central, the Google Pixel 5a 5G is set to be one of this year's best cheap Android phones.
However, the report said that Google's engineers will continue to focus on the Google Pixel 4a 5G for software testing, and it will likely be the focus of much of Google's global mid-range smartphone sales, where it will continue to be sold in markets that won't stock the Pixel 5a 5G.
The Pixel 4a 5G, which bears major similarities to the Pixel 5a 5G including Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip that's in such short supply right now, was released in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, UK and the US, according to Google's device availability page.
The global chip shortage has been causing problems for smartphone manufacturers beyond Google, too, with reports that it has been affecting Samsung's smartphone production as well.

ians

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 10:57:32 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 135 million

Washington, April 11

The overall global Covid-19 caseload has topped 135 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 2.92 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
In its latest update on Sunday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 135,181,236 and 2,926,756, resp.
The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 31,149,565 and 561,780, respectively, according to the CSSE.
Brazil follows in the second place with 13,445,006 cases and 351,334 fatalities.
The other countries with more than two million confirmed coronavirus cases are India (13,205,926), France (5,001,685), Russia (4,580,633), the UK (4,382,880), Turkey (3,798,333), Italy (3,754,077), Spain (3,347,512), Germany (2,996,742), Poland (2,552,898), Colombia (2,518,715), Argentina (2,517,300), Mexico (2,278,420) and Iran (2,049,078), the CSSE figures showed.
In terms of deaths, Mexico comes in the third place with 209,212 fatalities.
Nations with a death toll of over 50,000 are India (168,436), the UK (127,324), Italy (113,923), Russia (100,949), France (98,213), Germany (78,346), Spain (76,328), Colombia (65,608), Iran (64,232), Poland (58,176), Argentina (57,647), Peru (54,669) and South Africa (53,256).

ians
 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 09:45:15 +0530
3 terrorists killed in Kashmir encounter

Srinagar, April 11

Three terrorists were killed in an encounter at Hadipora in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district, officials said on Sunday.
The Army said three terrorists were eliminated at Hadipora in Shopian. One AK rifle and one pistol has been recovered, and the joint operation is is progress.
Police said sincere efforts were made by police and security forces to take surrender of a newly recruited terrorist. The parents also made appeals, but other terrorists didn't allow him to surrender.
Earlier, on Saturday evening, two back to back encounters started in Anantnag and Shopian districts of South Kashmir.
Police said the first encounter started at Hadipora area of South Kashmir's Shopian district while the second encounter began at Semthan Bijbehara area of the Anantnag district.
The firefight between terrorists and security forces at both the places took place after joint teams of the police and the army cordoned off the areas and launched search operations on the basis of specific information about presence of terrorists.
As the security forces zeroed in on the spots where terrorists were hiding they came under a heavy volume of fire that triggered the encounters.

ians

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 09:14:40 +0530
12 killed as truck falls into gorge in UP

 

Etawah, April 11

At least 12 people were killed and 43 others were injured after a DCM truck in which they were travelling fell into a 25-feet deep gorge at Chakkarnagar road near Udi crossing in Uttar Pradesh's Etawah district on 

SSP Brijesh Kumar Singh said that Agra resident Birendra Singh Baghel was going to hoist a flag at Kalka Devi Temple in Lakhna town to mark the birthday of his son. He was carrying 60 to 70 people in his truck.

When the truck reached the Chakkarnagar road near Udi crossing, Birendra lost control of the truck and it fell into a deep pit.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has expressed his condolence to the kin of the deceased and has also announced financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh to be provided to the dependents of those who lost their lives in the accident.

ians
 

Sun, 11 Apr 2021 09:05:24 +0530
Centre may redraw bank recapitalisation plan in wake of new challenges

 

New Delhi, April 10

The government may redraw the recapitalisation roadmap for public sector banks (PSB) in the current fiscal as the institutions face additional burden to meet interest on interest obligation for all its borrowers while changes in valuation norms AT1 bonds by Sebi will make the instrument less attractive for banks to raise their capital.

Sources said that the finance ministry has already started a preliminary exercise to determine the capital requirement of banks in wake of the changes in norms and rise in bad assets during the time of the pandemic. Based on the inputs received by banks, additional capital may be provided to them from budgetary resources.

The Budget allocated Rs 20,000 crore towards recapitalisation of PSBs to help them consolidate their financial capacity. Some balance from previous year towards recapitalisation is also available for disbursement. Moreover, PSBs have proactively built buffers during financial year 2020-21 (FY21) to improve their resilience in the face of the shock from the pandemic. But despite this, banks will need more capital infusion from the government for business growth and to meet regulatory norms.

The problem has been accentuated with the Reserve Bank of India now writing to bank to meet their obligation towards interest on interest for all borrowers where exposure is over Rs 2 crore as well. This will put additional burden of close to Rs 7,500 crore on banks.

Moreover, the SEBI, though has amended the valuation rule of perpetual bonds in line with objections raised by the finance ministry, it still has said that from April 2023 onwards, the residual maturity of AT-1 bonds will become 100 years from the date of issuance of the bond. This will make the most used route of raising capital by banks less attractive.

On its part, the government is strengthening the banking segment by merger and amalgamation of PSBs. Since 2017, this exercise has resulted in seven large and five smaller PSBs. The measures (based on bad loans and regional factors) were intended to help manage capital more efficiently. But emerging regulatory needs and pandemic affected businesses continue to pose challenges for banking segment.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 20:40:24 +0530
Holding Exhibitions Conferences and Summits during Pandemic the Digital Way

Jyothy lakshmy C.

Mumbai,April 10

Exhibitions, conferences and corporate events are the best medium to showcase products and technologies and build network with the business community, especially when sales targets aren’t being achieved in times of economic slowdown. Well, the pandemic has made it worse as it has momentarily dented every possibilities of holding large-scale events – travel restrictions, social distancing and health concerns being primary challenges. The vaccine has been rolled out and the government through hospitals and medical colleges are vaccinating people above 45 years of age. However, for a country with a population of 130 crores or so, vaccination cannot happen quickly, it will take its own time.

As we are in the midst of all this businesses are keeping up their network alive by conducting events on the digital platform, even large exhibition organizers, both Indian and international ones are doing so, although the earnings are largely miniscule when compared to it being done face-to-face. With powerful online tools for engagement companies are reaching out to a wider audience and exchanging knowledge on the digital platform. Live chat tools and webinars are helping customers understand the technologies and products that companies are offering them. It also gives them a fair understanding of the products before they plan their visits to the exhibition venue.

Event industry insiders opine that business-to-business (B2B) events can be held safely as the visitors that throng these events are “organized business gatherings” and not the “usual mass gatherings” that you would perhaps see at a concert. With larger spacing in halls, temperature checking, sanitization, quarantining suspect cases, etc. safe events can be held. However, considering the safety aspects many are backing out and as the pandemic recedes, things will be back to normal and events can be held with the same élan as in the pre-Covid days, it is a matter of time.

Until then during unpredictable times such as the one we are facing currently, it is extremely important to brace up to the changes and adapt to the digital avenues which can be an effective alternative to the events that are cancelled, postponed or rescheduled. Businesses such as exhibitions, events, hotels, or airlines are the first ones to be hit by pandemics and the last ones to recover and no wonder that these sectors will take some time to recover fully. However, it will all be up and running, if not in 2021, then in 2022 for sure and till then we have to contend with the digital format as earning some money is better than getting nothing. 

 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 18:15:19 +0530
Queen Elizabeth II s consort Prince Philip passes away at 99

London, April 9

Prince Philip, the "beloved" consort and a crucial supporter and confidante of UK's Queen Elizabeth II, who did much to modernise the monarchy but was panned over his "insensitive" remarks in various countries while on state visits, passed away on Friday, the Buckingham Palace announced. He was 99.

"It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle," the statement said, the BBC reported.

Prince Philip died weeks after he returned home to Windsor Castle, where the Royal couple was staying amid the Covid pandemic, on March 16 from a month-long stay in hospitals in London - first admitted to King Edward VII's hospital on February 16, and then he was operated for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew's.

The exact reason for his initial admission to hospital was not disclosed, but Buckingham Palace said at the time it was not related to coronavirus.

As the news spread, mourners gathered at both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle and left floral tributes at the gates. All UK parties announced suspension of their election campaigns as a mark of respect. The Parliament has been called into session on April 12 to pay tributes to Prince Philip.

Top leaders from around the UK, the Commonwealth and acrossed the world, as well as royalty from around Europe mourned his passing.

Emerging out of 10 Downing Street to address the waiting media, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Prince Philip had "earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world".

"Like the expert carriage driver that he was, he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy so that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life," he said.

Extending his condolences to the Royal family, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: "Today, we mourn the loss of an extraordinary man, who devoted his life to public service and helping others."

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he "embodied a generation that we will never see again", while former PM Julia Gillard recalled "fond memories" of spending time with him during a Royal visit to Australia, and termed him a "man of duty", who had "a sense of fun".

"My thoughts are with the British people and the Royal Family on the passing away of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He had a distinguished career in the military and was at the forefront of many community service initiatives. May his soul rest in peace," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

Hailing from the Greek and Danish families, Prince Philip was also the nephew of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, under whom the country became Independent.

Living in Britain and joining the Royal Navy in 1939 and seeing action in World War II, he married Princess Elizabeth in 1947, five years before she became the Queen. After her accession to the throne, he had to give up his naval career to help her.

It was as the Queen's key support during her long reign that he is most known, but there were many sides to his personality.

While he was known for his efforts for conservation of wildlife and nature (despite one tiger hunt in India in 1961 that drew flak), and for welfare of youth and providing them greater opportunities, his remarks on the people of host countries on various Royal trips drew much adverse comment. Supporters, however, contended that he was joking.

The couple had four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. There were also claims that he was a "brusque and insensitive" parent, especially with respect to their eldest child and Heir, Prince Charles. While critics cited the strained marriages of three of their four children, the insiders, on the other hand, cited his concern and support to them.

He was also a keen sportsman, playing polo before shifting to carriage-driving as he aged.

Prince Philip had retired from his Royal duties in 2017, months ahead of the couple's 70th marriage anniversary.

ians

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 17:21:31 +0530
Queen Elizabeth II s consort Prince Philip passes away at 99

London, April 9

Prince Philip, the "beloved" consort and a crucial supporter and confidante of UK's Queen Elizabeth II, who did much to modernise the monarchy but was panned over his "insensitive" remarks in various countries while on state visits, passed away on Friday, the Buckingham Palace announced. He was 99.

"It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle," the statement said, the BBC reported.

Prince Philip died weeks after he returned home to Windsor Castle, where the Royal couple was staying amid the Covid pandemic, on March 16 from a month-long stay in hospitals in London - first admitted to King Edward VII's hospital on February 16, and then he was operated for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew's.

The exact reason for his initial admission to hospital was not disclosed, but Buckingham Palace said at the time it was not related to coronavirus.

As the news spread, mourners gathered at both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle and left floral tributes at the gates. All UK parties announced suspension of their election campaigns as a mark of respect. The Parliament has been called into session on April 12 to pay tributes to Prince Philip.

Top leaders from around the UK, the Commonwealth and acrossed the world, as well as royalty from around Europe mourned his passing.

Emerging out of 10 Downing Street to address the waiting media, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Prince Philip had "earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world".

"Like the expert carriage driver that he was, he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy so that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life," he said.

Extending his condolences to the Royal family, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: "Today, we mourn the loss of an extraordinary man, who devoted his life to public service and helping others."

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he "embodied a generation that we will never see again", while former PM Julia Gillard recalled "fond memories" of spending time with him during a Royal visit to Australia, and termed him a "man of duty", who had "a sense of fun".

"My thoughts are with the British people and the Royal Family on the passing away of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He had a distinguished career in the military and was at the forefront of many community service initiatives. May his soul rest in peace," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

Hailing from the Greek and Danish families, Prince Philip was also the nephew of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, under whom the country became Independent.

Living in Britain and joining the Royal Navy in 1939 and seeing action in World War II, he married Princess Elizabeth in 1947, five years before she became the Queen. After her accession to the throne, he had to give up his naval career to help her.

It was as the Queen's key support during her long reign that he is most known, but there were many sides to his personality.

While he was known for his efforts for conservation of wildlife and nature (despite one tiger hunt in India in 1961 that drew flak), and for welfare of youth and providing them greater opportunities, his remarks on the people of host countries on various Royal trips drew much adverse comment. Supporters, however, contended that he was joking.

The couple had four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. There were also claims that he was a "brusque and insensitive" parent, especially with respect to their eldest child and Heir, Prince Charles. While critics cited the strained marriages of three of their four children, the insiders, on the other hand, cited his concern and support to them.

He was also a keen sportsman, playing polo before shifting to carriage-driving as he aged.

Prince Philip had retired from his Royal duties in 2017, months ahead of the couple's 70th marriage anniversary.

ians

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 17:19:04 +0530
EC adjourns polling at PS 126 of Sitalkurchi after 4 killed

New Delhi, April 10 - 

Election Commission on Saturday adjourned polling at one booth in Sitalkurchi Assembly constituency under Cooch Behar district where four people were killed in the firing by the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) personnel.
Following the incident, the EC issued the order to adjourn the polls at Polling Station 126 of Sitalkurchi Assembly constituency. The poll panel's move followed the reports submitted by Special Observers.
A detailed report of the incident has been sought by the Chief Election Officer in West Bengal by 5 p.m. on Saturday.
"The Commission hereby orders adjourning the poll in PS 126 of Sitalkurchi AC, Cooch Behar based on interim report from Special Observers. Detailed reports are sought from them and CEO by 5 p.m. today," an EC official told IANS.
As per preliminary reports, four persons were killed as CAPF personnel opened fire after coming under attack by locals in Sitalkurchi Assembly constituency area during ongoing fourth phase of elections in state
According to sources, the incident took place at the polling booth in Sitalkuchi at around 10 a.m. when a Quick Response Team (QRT) were allegedly attacked by unidentified persons.
Five rounds of bullets were fired as the clash broke out when the QRT team along with local police which was clearing a crowd which reportedly was preventing voters from reaching polling booths, source said.
Meanwhile, the source said, a voter fell down and unidentified miscreants started to damage vehicle of QRT, and it led the CAPF personnel to fire bullets.
Reacting to the incident, Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: "We have been saying that the home ministry has been influencing the central forces and our worst fears have come true today. They have killed four people."
The TMC accused Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of the incident, saying the deceased was the saffron party's polling agent at the booth.
"Since morning BJP miscreants were blocking people's right to vote while CRPF was influencing voters to vote in favour of BJP. When TMC workers went to enquire why people were not being allowed to vote, BJP miscreants launched an attack creating an atmosphere of chaos, following which CRPF opened fire leading to 5 TMC workers losing their lives," the TMC said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Sitalkuchi's BJP candidate Baren Chandra Barman said that a deceased person was the party's polling agent at the booth and TMC activists were behind the murder.

ians
 

 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 14:24:06 +0530
AB s versatility unnerves opposition Kohli

Chennai, April 10

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli lavished praise on his ace batsman AB de Villiers after the South African hit a 27-ball 48 to help his team beat defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in the thrilling tournament-opener on Friday.
Kohli said de Villiers is a batsman who can bat on any wicket due to his versatility.
"The opposition gets nervous about AB," said Kohli, who is also the India skipper, and shares deep bond with the South Africa batsman.
"We have depth in the batting which we want to utilise. AB is probably the only one in the team who is so versatile. And he does it on slow wickets what not many can do."
Kohli had, in fact, spoken to AB during the recent series against England when he was struggling to get runs. AB's tips - watch the ball closely -- had helped the India skipper get back to form.
In Friday's match against Mumbai Indians (MI), the South African batsman walked in at the fall of skipper Virat Kohli's wicket when the team score was 98. RCB needed just 62 runs in 45 balls.
However, the former Proteas batsman saw the fall of three quick wickets at the other end. At 122/6, it looked like MI had sneaked in.
But AB kept his cool and brought his team within two runs of victory before being run out.
 

ians

 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 14:15:02 +0530
Vivo X60 Pro revitalises mobile photography among flagships

New Delhi, April 10

Known for professional-grade mobile photography in India for years before the new entrants kicked-off a new camera megapixel war, Vivo flagship smartphones have left an indelible mark in the space of photography across genres.
The smartphone brand, the third largest in India after Xiaomi and Samsung with 18 per cent market share in 2020 (according to the IDC), has now brought its flagship X60 series with three devices to India and the Big Brother -- X60 Pro+ -- claims to redefine the company's existing imaging technologies for the camera lovers (especially the Gimbal Stabilisation 2.0 technology).
Available for Rs 69,990 (12GB+256GB variant), the 6.56-inch X60 Pro+ with industry-leading ZEISS imaging system offers an Ultra-Wide gimbal camera, allowing you to capture clear shots in dynamic motion.
Additionally, the ‘Extreme Night Vision 2.0' will help you recreate million shades of night with a single tap, capturing the moment via an innovative AI noise reduction algorithm.
Les us delve deeper into the imaging technology.
The X60 Pro+ in Emperor Blue colour (the back of the device has a super texture case like feel) comes with a quad-camera design with four rear cameras (50MP+48MP+32MP+8MP).
The X60 Pro+ houses a new Dual Main Camera System, with a super-large 50 MP ultra-sensing GN1 sensor with f/1.57 large aperture and 100MP super-HD mode, as well as a 48MP ultra-wide gimbal camera with 114-degree field of view for steady footage control.
You can also choose among a plethora of options, like HDR super night portrait, ultra-wide night mode, panorama night mode, pro-sports mode, kids' snapshot, multi-style portrait and long-exposure mode, etc.
The ZEISS logo has been emblazoned on the lens, while the ZEISS Vario-Tessar trademark is engraved beneath the cameras.
For the first time, you can also access ‘ZEISS Biotar Portrait Style' on the device.
This new feature will allow you to create customised professional portraits and images with bokah effect.
The X60 Pro+ offers a 32MP front camera that resulted in some excellent selfies in normal-to-moderate light conditions.
The device comes with ‘ZEISS T Coating', thus improving light transmission and reducing reflections.
The vivo X60 Pro+ runs on latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile Platform for a superior experience, be it gaming, streaming or social media use.
The device that runs Android 11 will also give you quicker file transfer and larger file storage.
Housing a 4200mAh battery along with the 55W FlashCharge technology, the device gets charged in a jiffy.
The Vivo X60 Pro+ is a dual-SIM (GSM and GSM) smartphone that accepts nano-SIM cards. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth v5.20, NFC, USB OTG, USB Type-C, 3G, 4G and, of course, 5G (depending on the country).
The device has all the sensors that are needed nowadays, like accelerometer, ambient light sensor, compass/magnetometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, and in-display fingerprint sensor and face unlock.
Conclusion: According to Vivo, the X60 series has taken learnings from the earlier X50 series to a whole new level. The statement is correct as mobile photography system housed in an elegant and ergonomic designed X60 Pro+ has absolutely shrunk its closest rivals.
If you are an amateurish or even a Pro-grade photographer, the device is a must try.
ians

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 14:09:01 +0530
Rahul Dev explored Ranthambore during recent Rajasthan shoot

Mumbai, April 10

Actor Rahul Dev plays an investigating officer in the upcoming web film "Raat Baaki Hai", and he particularly enjoyed shooting portions of the film in Rajasthan.
Rahul says he had a great time exploring Ranthambore National Park during his free time. Contrary to the sombre mood of the murder mystery, Rahul says the mood was light on the set and the cast, also featuring Annup Sonii and Paoli Dam, had fun.
"We were in a light mood, but I did not shoot much with Annup and Paoli because I did not have many scenes with them. It was a night shoot mostly, so in the daytime most of the actors would be resting. I love Rajasthan and even though I have been there so many times, I get fascinated. This time, I was exploring Ranthambore when I was not shooting," Rahul told IANS.
He added: "It is interesting to see how the park is so well maintained and, even though so many tourists visit, nature and the animals and so well-kept. Rules are followed so that animals can roam freely. I am fascinated."
"Raat Baaki Hai" based on Atul Satya Koushik's play "Ballygunge 1990".
On how different the film would be from the play, Rahul said: " I think it would be very different because the play was a one-act play. Our film revolves around three principal characters and the mysterious death of a person named Vaani Kapoor. A series of incidents unfolds in the course of the investigation."
Directed by Avinash Das, "Raat Baaki Hai" also features Saurabh Sachdeva, and Dipannita Sharma, and will release on Zee5 on April 16.

ians

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 13:56:27 +0530
Mid and small caps best performers gold slumps in 1st quarter

 

New Delhi, April 10

Mid and small cap stocks are the best performing asset class for the quarter ending March 2021 while gold is the worst performer.
Mid & small cap stocks delivered returns of 14 per cent in the quarter while gold under-performed with negative 11 per cent returns. Gold is the biggest under-performer for the first three months of 2021 vs. the other asset classes. Gold prices are down by 11 per cent in rupees and 10 per cent in US Dollar in the last three months. Apart from ‘Risk on' trade, rising bond yields are short term negative for the gold prices
As per Axis Securities, gold proved to be one of the best performing asset classes in 2020. In the last 10 years, Nifty outperformed the Emerging market in five years and developed market in four years.
The performance of smallcaps is highly volatile versus other asset classes. Small-cap ranked at the bottom in 2018 and 2019 and recovered sharply in 2020, outperforming the other asset classes in the first quarter of 2021.
NIFTY50 delivered a healthy 15 per cent return which was significantly better than the 2019 return of 12 per cent. While NIFTY Midcap 100 and Nifty Smallcap 100 delivered 22 per cent and 21 per cent returns respectively in 2020, the returns for mid and small-cap indices were negative in 2019.
"We expect the broad-based rally of 2020 to continue well into 2021 (already visible in Q12021) as we believe a strong earnings revival across the board is on the cards. A lower interest rate environment and higher fiscal spending will continue to support the equity markets," Axis Securities said.
It said that asset allocation and sector rotation will be key to generate out-performance in 2021. An equity market is likely to be the best performing asset class for the next one to two years.
It said that trading at a 10 per cent premium to large caps From a valuation perspective, the midcaps look attractive vs. large caps. Historically, during the bull phase of 2017, midcaps were trading at a 45 per cent premium to large caps. The recent spate of IPOs and their success clearly indicates the appetite for mid and small-cap stocks, the report said.
Since November 2020, small and midcaps are picking up steam and they should deliver solid returns in 2021 as economic uncertainties will reduce and volatility will decline.
The report said that top 10 stocks domination is dwindling in the market. Since December 2017, Nifty has delivered a return of 40 per cent. Out of which, the top 10 stocks by free-float market cap have delivered a stellar return of 58 per cent while the remaining 40 stocks had delivered only 17 per cent. This divergence has started narrowing in recent months. Based on the top 10 stocks, the adjusted Nifty value works out to 16,647 while the remaining 40 would lead NIFTY to just 12,354. This indicates Nifty is better valued beyond the top 10 names. Long term risk rewards are better in the next 40 names vs the top 10 a report said.
Broader rally since November and broad-based market performance was seen in the month of March despite higher volatility signifying intact overall risk appetite towards mid and small stocks. Stocks ranking from 101-200 rallied by 2 per cent in March, and 98 per cent in the last year which is superior to the large-cap performance.
Stronger FII flows since November continue to drive the momentum FIIs are net buyers; FIIs have added $7.8 billion while DIIs have pulled out $3.1 billion from the Indian equity market in the last 3 months. Since Jan 2020, FIIs have bought a massive amount of $30.9 billion while the DIIs have sold $8.6 billion from the Indian equity market. Highest ever FII inflows seen in the current financial year: $37 billion, higher than FY10/11/13 levels.
The fiscal year ended on a strong note for the equity markets with all the sectors delivering positive returns. The report said metals and IT registered the strongest gains while FMCG grew the slowest. Autos and Realty also delivered solid returns during the fiscal.
While FY21 was strong which was aided by cheap valuations and a low base, March performance was a mixed bag. The high beta sectors such as BFSI witnessed a profit booking while defensives such as FMCG and Pharma registered marginal gains.
The report said now the investors are betting higher on riskier assets like equity. Sentiments are improving further with increasing optimism driven by vaccination and faster than expected economic recovery.
All these developments are keeping the gold prices under pressure. Based on these fundamental pressures, gold is the biggest under-performer for the first three months of 2021 vs. the other asset classes. Gold prices are down by 11 per cent in INR, and 10 per cent in USD in the last three months. Apart from ‘Risk on' trade, rising bond yields are now short term negative for the gold prices, Fundamentally, Gold prices are inversely correlated with bond yields. However, gold will continue to attract investments to hedge risk against other asset classes.
As per the report, gold saw record inflow of 657 tonnes in the last one year ETF flows contributed significantly to the run-up of gold prices since the beginning of CY2020. ETF flows (in tonnes) jumped to 657 tonnes in the last one year, increased by 1.3x vs last year, in which major contribution done by North America. However, the pace of ETF investment has been moderated in recent months with outflow seen in the month of February for the third time in the last four months.
Global ETF's had seen a loss of 2% holdings in February on account of a fell in gold prices and rising yields. Gold suddenly lost its momentum due to ‘Risk on' trade in the global market amid positive development on the vaccine front. Equity markets are trending higher on account of relief from uncertainty over the US election and vaccination news and economic recovery. Nonetheless, a low-interest-rate environment and higher fiscal spending continue to attract gold investment, the report said.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 13:50:06 +0530
NASA seeks to send 1st person of colour to Moon in 2024

Washington, April 10

 Acting NASA administrator Steve Jurczyk has sought to not only land the first woman on the Moon but also the first person of colour under the Artemis programme.
The Artemis III mission is expected to launch the first woman and next man to the Moon in 2024.
The Joe Biden-Kamala Harris Administration submitted to Congress on Friday the president's priorities for fiscal year 2022 discretionary spending.
"The president's discretionary request increases NASA's ability to better understand Earth and further monitor and predict the impacts of climate change. It also gives us the necessary resources to continue advancing America's bipartisan Moon to Mars space exploration plan, including landing the first woman and first person of colour on the Moon under the Artemis programme," Jurczyk said in a statement on Friday.
"This $24.7 billion funding request demonstrates the Biden Administration's commitment to NASA and its partners who have worked so hard this past year under difficult circumstances and achieved unprecedented success," he added.
With a budget increase of more than 6 per cent from the previous year, NASA will continue to boost its ingenuity in exploration, technology, aeronautics and science.
NASA has welcomed the nomination of former Democratic Senator Bill Nelson as its next administrator, as the US space agency works towards the key Artemis III mission.
The Biden administration aims to Keep NASA on the path to landing the first woman and the first person of colour on the Moon under the Artemis programme.
"This goal aligns with President Biden's commitment to pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all," said the US space agency.
NASA has completed a crucial hot fire test of the core stage of Space Launch System (SLS) rocket which is designed to power future Moon missions under the agency's Artemis programme.
The successful test is a critical milestone ahead of the agency's Artemis I mission, which will send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a test flight around the Moon and back to Earth, paving the way for future Artemis missions with astronauts.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 13:37:27 +0530
Rashmika Mandanna I like surprising myself with different roles

 

Hyderabad, April 10

 Actress Rashmika Mandanna, who has had a series of blockbusters in the Telugu industry, recently entered the Hindi entertainment scene with the music video of "Top tucker", sung by Uchana Amit, Jonita Gandhi, Yuvan Shankar Raja and Badshah. Even before her Bollywood debut "Mission Majnu" has released, she has signed her second Hindi film, "Goodbye", with Amitabh Bachchan.
Rashmika says she is always curious to know how the audience reacts, and that is what drives her towards diversity.
"Since I am just a beginner in the field of acting, as a person I am curious how it is going to pan out when I do different things. For me, every film I choose, I do a different character because, for me, I wouldn't want to watch myself do the same content twice. Be it 'Geetha Govindam', 'Dear Comrade', 'Mission Majnu' or 'Goodbye', each is so different," says the actress.
She adds: "I like to keep surprising myself -- 'am I really doing this?' It's wonderful when you can surprise yourself. I am grateful. People are seeing me in different characters and it is not easy but I am doing it," says the actress, who made her acting debut with Kannada film "Kirik Party" in 2016.
The actress, who is called "National Crush" by her fans, is aware that people around the country have watched her work through dubbed films. It makes her feel more confident about the fact that film lovers are watching content across the country, irrespective of language barrier.
"For me, the films which I have done so far, people have watched them with subtitles. I recently got to know that 'Dear Comrade' with subtitles was hitting 100 million views and I was like, 'this is crazy and this is big'! People here (Mumbai) still call me by (names of) the characters from the South and that is how I know that barriers are breaking," she says.
She adds: "People are watching good content and not just national cinema anymore. I am craving to do better work in any language and it's not that I am from South, so I should be doing only South Indian films or if I am doing Bollywood, then I would do only Bollywood films. Now the barriers are breaking and I just want to be part of good films. People loving me came with the films I chose, and I hope that a lot more people love me with the work I do."
The actress has almost finished the shoot of "Mission Majnu", co-starring Sidharth Malhotra, and has started shooting with Amitabh Bachchan for "Goodbye." Her Telugu film "Pushpa" with Allu Arjun is under production. She will also be seen in the Telugu film "Aadavaallu Meeku Johaarlu".


 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 13:31:19 +0530
JioMart activity scaling up

New Delhi, April 10

 JioMart activity is scaling up as per a report by JP Morgan research which found brisk online activity across stores and formats it visited in Mumbai in the last week of March that could have been nudged further by rising Covid-19 cases.
"We found the delivery infrastructure to be a mix of bike-based delivery executives, similar to e-commerce/food O2O, and van-based batched delivery that peers use (e.g., Bigbasket, DMart, Grofers). Our conversations suggest that there has been an evolution from bikes to largely vans at several stores, reflecting higher value, and heavier and more complex orders delivered with greater efficiency. Bike-based delivery ensures short turnaround times for lighter, low-value orders, improving customer experience," JP Morgan said.
The note said most delivery staff identified themselves as being from JioMart or Grab (a delivery firm acquired by Jio in 2018), although few wore JioMart or Grab branding, and the vans and drivers were largely outsourced. This is unlike the branded fleets maintained by peers (Bigbasket, DMart Ready, Swiggy) that provide free publicity.
The report notes that the current infrastructure can support $8-11 billion in annual gross merchandise value (GMV).
"The stores we checked included a mix of Reliance Smart, Smart Point (smaller stores) and Sahakari Bhandar (SB) stores," it added.
Larger Smart stores had 22 bike-based delivery agents and 17 vans on average, while smaller stores (Smart Point, SB) had 12 bikes and 2 vans on average.
Reliance Retail recently converted its 52 large format wholesale stores (Reliance Market) into fulfilment centres for JioMart.
"While our sample size is small, extrapolating across the national network suggests a capacity of 2,500-2,800 daily orders per store (570-620 in small formats, 2,500-2,800 in larger formats). Assuming AOVs of Rs1,100-1,300, this network can support an annual e-grocery GMV of $8-11bn. Our base-case FY23E egrocery GMV of $6bn appears achievable with this infrastructure," JP Morgan said.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 13:26:15 +0530
12 injured in B desh mosque attack

Dhaka, April 10

 At least 12 people were injured in an attack staged by members of the Hefazat-e-Islam militant outfit at a mosque in Bangladesh's Gaibandha district.
Police claimed the incident in Sundarganj area took place on Friday afternoon due to a conflict over the Silamoni mosque's management committee.
Motlob Uddin, the mosque's Imam, said the attackers had long been identified themselves as Hefazat activists.
The militants snatched the microphone from the Imam after the Friday prayers and threatened the devotees to go out and support the Hefazat's violence.
The militants attacked the devotees when they tried to intervene, Imam (the priest) Motlob informed the police.
The injured are being treated at various hospitals in the district.
A case is being filed at Sundarganj Police Station regarding this issue.
Officer in Charge of the police station Bulbul Islam said it was not an attack by Hefazat activists.
"Disagreements over the mosque's committee is the reason for this untoward incident," he added.
The Bangladesh government has instructed not to hold any meeting at mosques and other religious places across the country before and after prayers.
On Monday, the Religious Affairs Ministry issued some guidelines on offering prayers and maintaining health guidelines at mosques during the lockdown.
It also said the instruction had been issued to discourage mass gatherings at all mosques centering Friday's and other prayers, in addition to other religious places.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 13:19:49 +0530
Death toll from armed clashes in W Darfur reach 137

Khartoum, April 10

 The death toll from the recent armed clashes in El Geneina, capital city of Sudan's West Darfur State, has increased to 137, while the number of the injured stood at 221.
"The committee counted a new toll of victims, bringing the number of those who were killed so far to 137 and the injured to 221," the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors announced on Friday.
The armed clashes broke out on April 3 in El Geneina city between the Al-Massalit and Arab tribes, reports Xinhua news agency.
On April 5, Sudan's Security and Defence Council declared a state of emergency in West Darfur state and authorised forces to adopt all necessary measures to end armed clashes.
Sudan's Darfur region has been mired in a civil war since 2003.
On December 31, 2020, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution that ends the mandate of the UN-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in the region. The around 16,000 UNAMID soldiers, who have been deployed in Darfur since 2007, are set to complete their exit in July.
Meanwhile, a UN Integrated Transitional Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) will be deployed during 2021 to support the transitional period in the country.
The transitional government in Sudan is trying to fill in the security gap in Darfur by forming a special force from the security and military institutions and armed groups which signed a peace agreement with the government in October 2020.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 13:13:28 +0530
2 3mn people in Niger could face food insecurity

United Nations, April 10

 Over 2.3 million people in Niger could face food insecurity in the coming months, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
About 1.6 million of them are likely to face severe food insecurity as soon as May, a 30 per cent increase compared to projections made in November 2020, Xinhua news agency quoted the OCHA as saying on Friday.
The humanitarian office projects the 2.3 million food-insecure people for "the lean season, between June and August".
The western-most region of Tillabery is the most affected, with more than 30 per cent of its population, 686,500 people, at risk of severe food insecurity between June and August, OCHA said.
Increasing hunger in the region comes with growing protection concerns, the humanitarians said. Armed attacks since the beginning of the year have claimed more than 300 civilian lives.
OCHA said already 500,000 people in Tillabery need humanitarian assistance, including 125,000 internally displaced people and refugees.
In February, UN humanitarian partners in Niger, which has a population of nearly 25 million, launched an appeal for $523 million, targeting aid for 2.1 million of the most vulnerable 3.8 million people in need, the humanitarian office said.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 13:08:01 +0530
Germany to amend law for nationwide Covid response

Berlin, April 10

 Germany would amend its infection protection act to "regulate on a nationwide basis" what restrictions would apply when local seven-day Covid-19 incidence exceeded 100 per 100,000 citizens, deputy government spokesperson Ulrike Demmer said.
Demmer told a press conference on Friday that it was not yet clear how quickly the change in the law would be implemented, but it would be done "as quickly as possible", reports Xinhua news agency.
In the past, Germany's Covid-19 response has been characterised by regional differences as the ultimate legal power lay with the country's federal states.
Although Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state governments agreed on an emergency brake in case of a seven-day incidence above 100, not all states reacted accordingly in recent weeks.
Earlier on Friday, Minister of Health Jens Spahn and the president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) Lothar Wieler warned that the pandemic situation in Germany was serious as the number of patients in intensive care units was rising rapidly.
Despite the ongoing lockdown and the country's vaccination campaign, new infections rose sharply again.
Germany recorded 25,464 new cases within one day on Friday, around 3,500 more than on the same day last week.
The seven-day incidence rose from around 105.7 per 100,000 citizens on Thursday to 110.4, according to the RKI.
Spahn appealed for uniform nationwide measures.
"I recommend that we all tone down the party squabbling, election year or not, and concentrate on the essentials, fighting the pandemic," he said during the press conference.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 13:02:46 +0530
India China border dispute talks lasted 13 hrs

New Delhi, April 10

Talks between Indian and Chinese military delegates over the disengagement in Eastern Ladakh at various friction points lasted for 13 hours.
The dialogue that started at 10.30 a.m. ended at 11.30 p.m..
They discussed disengagement at friction areas like Hot Springs, Gogra and the 900 sq-km Depsang plains.
The 11th round of the Corps Commander talks at Chushul took place after almost a two-month gap.
The Indian military delegation was led by Lieutenant General P.G.K. Menon, Commander of the 14 Corps based in Leh.
The focus of the talk is disengagement on other friction points. After Pangong lake disengagement, both the countries have planned to carry out disengagement on other friction points like Gogra, Hot Springs and Depsang
"The military dialogue is still on and it is important that before the onset of summer de-escalation takes place at Line of Actual Control (LAC). Both sides need retreat to original positions for things to ease," said a senior Indian Army officer.
The build-up in Depsang was not being considered as part of the current stand-off that started in May 2020 as escalations here took place in 2013, India has insisted during recent military commander meetings to resolve all issues across the LAC.
On February 20, Indian and Chinese military held the 10th round of military dialogue to deescalate tension at the LAC.
So far, the disengagement process at both banks of the Pangong Lake has taken place.
It was on February 10 that China made an announcement that New Delhi and Beijing had agreed to disengage at Pangong Lake.
As per the agreement, Chinese troops moved back to Finger 8 and Indian troops pulled back to the Dhan Singh Thapa post between Finger 2 and 3 of the north bank of Pangong Lake.
A temporary moratorium on military activities, including patrolling to the traditional areas.
The mountain spur jutting into the lake is referred to as Finger in military parlance.
The north bank of the lake is divided into 8 Fingers.
Indian has claimed its territory till Finger 8 and China dispute it claims till Finger 4.
India and China are engaged in a year long stand-off at the LAC.
The confrontations began on the north bank of Pangong Lakeas Chinese incursions increased in May last year.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 12:55:10 +0530
India reports 1 45 384 new Covid cases 794 deaths

New Delhi, April 10

 India has reported 1,45,384 new Covid-19 cases and 794 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.
India is now the fourth-worst Covid-hit country worldwide after the number of active cases rose to 10,46,631. The death toll stood at 1,68,436 the Health Ministry said.
A total of 77,567 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, taking the number of recoveries to 1,19,90,859 with a recovery rate of 90.80 per cent.
The Health Ministry said that a total of 11,73,219 samples were tested in the last 24 hours. So far, 25,52,14,803 samples have been tested.
A total of 34,15,055 people were vaccinated in the last 24 hours taking the total vaccination count to 9,80,75,160.

ians

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 12:49:52 +0530
Minister to move Kerala HC after Lokayukta asks him to quit

Thiruvananthapuram, April 10

 A day after the Kerala Lokayukta on Friday said that the state's Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel has no moral right to continue in office as he has "misused" his powers and indulged in "nepotism", asking Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to take action against him, Jaleel on Saturday decided to approach the Kerala High Court.
Soon after the verdict came, Jaleel, said once he gets the details of the verdict he will take appropriate legal advice.
He had written on his Facebook page that this very same case when it came before the High Court he was given a clean chit and when a petition was given to the then Kerala Governor P. Sathasaivam- a retired Chief Justice of India, he too had exonerated him.
But, now with the fresh directive from the Lokayukta, he has decided to file a petition before the High Court on Monday and the vacation bench of the court will look into the matter on Tuesday.
The case pertains to an appointment made by Jaleel in 2018 when he had appointed his close relative K.T. Adeeb as General Manager of the Kerala State Minorities Development Finance Corporation. Since then the youth wing of the Indian Union Muslim League, the second biggest ally of the Congress-led UDF, has been up in arms.
The Kerala Lokayukta is headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Cyriac Joseph.
The appointment made by Jaleel triggered huge protests inside and outside the Assembly even though he defended it saying that the appointment was in order. He also got the support of the CPI-M, but later Adeeb had quit and returned to his bank job.
It was P.K. Mohammed Shafi, a resident of Jaleel's home district Malappuram, who approached the Lokayukta. His counsel George Poonthotem said the verdict is very clear and the Lokayukta has said Jaleel has no moral right to continue as a minister.
Jaleel, in the 2006 debut Assembly elections, trounced the second topmost politician in the Congress led UDF -- P.K. Kunhalikutty, a former Minister and since then the former, though not a CPI-M card holder has become the blue eyed boy of Pinarayi Vijayan, who in 2016 appointed him as a Cabinet Minister.
Jaleel contested the April 6 Assembly polls from the Thavanur assembly constituency in Malappuram district.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 12:44:15 +0530
BJP shares audio chat of Prashant Kishor praising Modi

Kolkata, April 10

 A political controversy erupted in West Bengal during the fourth phase of the elections when BJP's IT cell released an audio tape of Trinamool' election strategist Prashant Kishor where he was heard saying a 'ClubHouse' chat that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hugely popular in West Bengal and this is one of the factors that will decide which party sweeps the state.
BJP's IT cell chief Amit Malviya claimed that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's election strategist Prashant Kishor had accepted the BJP's victory. Malviya shared the audio of Prashant Kishor's discussion on the ClubHouse platform on social media. In this, Kishor is chatting with some journalists.
In a public chat on ClubHouse, Mamata Banerjee's election strategist concedes that even in TMC's internal surveys, BJP is winning. The vote is for Modi, polarisation is a reality, the SCs (27 per cent of WB's population), Matuas are all voting for the BJP, Amit Malviya- National in-charge of BJP's Information & Technology department wrote in his tweet.
In the audio, Kishor is saying that on a public chat at the clubHouse, Prashant Kishor admitted that BJP is winning in TMC's internal survey too. People are voting for Modi and polarization has taken place. SC and Matua, 27 per cent of Bengal's population all voted for the BJP.
Another candid admission by Kishor is that -- all that the Left, Congress and TMC ecosystem have done in the last 20 years is Muslim appeasement. Implication? It has resulted in resentment on the ground. The speakers had not realised that the chat was public, Malviya wrote.
That moment when Mamata Banerjee's strategist realised that the ClubHouse room was open and his admissions were being heard by the public at large and not just a handful of Lutyens journalist. Deafening silence followed, Malviya added.
Prashant Kishor was immediate to react. "I am happy that the people of BJP are taking my clubHouse chat more seriously than the statements of their leaders. I appeal to them to release the entire conversation except for some part of the chat. In the part that has been released, the question was being answered about how BJP is getting 40 per cent votes and how it has been thinking that the BJP is winning. He also said through social media that the BJP will not be able to cross the 100 mark in Bengal elections" Kishore tweeted.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 12:37:00 +0530
Xiaomi OPPO s in house 5G chipsets may arrive this year Report

Beijing, April 9

Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi and OPPO are working on their own custom 5G chips and these could be ready by the end of 2021.
Unisoc, a Shanghai-based chipset company, is also working on SoC with support for next-gen connectivity, a GSMAarena report said, citing sources in Taiwan.
This isn't the first Xiaomi in-house chipset either. Back in 2017, the maker revealed the Surge S1 chip, built on the 28nm process and powering the Xiaomi Mi 5c smartphone, the report said.
"Since then, we haven't seen much from the chip division until the arrival of the Surge C1 -- a dedicated ISP for the Mi Mix Fold camera," it added.
Last week, a report said that tech giant Google is working on its own chipset codenamed Whitechapel that will power its upcoming Pixel 6 device.
According to documents viewed by 9To5Google, 'Whitechapel' is used in connection with the codename 'Slider'.
'Slider' is a shared platform for the first Whitechapel systems on a chip (SoC).
Internally, Google refers to this chip as "GS101," with "GS" potentially being short for "Google Silicon," the report said on Friday.
'Whitechapel' is an effort on Google's part to create their own systems on a chip (SoCs) to be used in Pixel phones and Chromebooks alike, similar in to how Apple uses their own chips in the iPhone and Mac.
Google was reported to be co-developing 'Whitechapel' with Samsung, whose Exynos chips rival Snapdragon processors in the Android space.
Currently, smartphone brands, including, Samsung, Huawei, and Apple are designing their own platforms.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 09:39:50 +0530
Russia s Soyuz capsule with 3 space travellers to dock with ISS

Washington, April 9

A Russian Soyuz capsule with a manned spacecraft named after Yuri Gagarin blasted off from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan on Friday for the International Space Station (ISS).
Nearly nine minutes after a successful launch of the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos safely reached orbit, the US space agency said.
They launch started a two-orbit, three-hour flight to reach the International Space Station and join the Expedition 64 crew.
"The crew aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft were given the go for final approach to the @Space_Station, and final approach has started. They are scheduled to dock to the station at 7:07am ET," NASA tweeted.
"Welcome to the @Space_Station! Docking is confirmed at 7:05am ET for the Soyuz spacecraft. On board are Mark Vande Hei (@Astro_Sabot), and Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of @Roscosmos," it added a few minutes later.
This is the second spaceflight for Vande Hei, the third for Novitskiy, and the first for Dubrov.
The spacecraft carrying the three space travellers honours the 60th anniversary of Gagarin becoming the first perso

ians

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 09:33:59 +0530
Petrol diesel prices remain unchanged

 

New Delhi, April 10

Fuel prices in the country remained unchanged on Saturday with oil marketing companies continuing on the pause mode and keeping petrol and diesel prices static for 11th consecutive day.
Accordingly, pump price of petrol and diesel remained at previous days level of Rs 90.56 and Rs 80.87 a litre, respectively, in the capital.
Petrol and diesel fell by 22 paisa and 23 paisa per litre respectively last week on Tuesday in wake global softening of oil prices. OMC have decided to pause price revision as they want to watch the crude price movement that has now fallen to around $62.5 a barrel from remaining above this level in much of the last week.
Across the country as well the petrol and diesel price remain static on Saturday but its retail levels varied depending on the level of local levies on respective states.
In Mumbai, petrol continues to be priced at Rs 96.98 a litre, diesel at Rs 87.96 a litre. Premium petrol, however, continues to remain over Rs 100 a litre in the city as is the case with several cities across the country.
The OMCs went on price cut for the first time this year on two consecutive days - March 24 and 25 after keeping oil prices steady for past 24 days. It again reduced the price on March 30.
Thereafter, fuel prices have remained unchanged.
Earlier, petrol and diesel prices increased 26 times in 2021 with the two auto fuels increasing by Rs 7.46 and Rs 7.60 per litre, respectively, so far this year.
Officials in public sector oil companies said that retail price may rise again if crude and product prices pick up but for now it will fall or remain static for few more days.

ians

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 09:26:17 +0530
Radioactive water from Fukushima may be disposed into ocean

Tokyo, April 10 - 

The Japanese government may announce plans to dispose of radioactive wastewater from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean, informed sources said.
The sources said on Friday that the government will convene a meeting and announce the decision as early as April 13 to formalise plans to release radioactive water that has accumulated at the plant into the Pacific Ocean.
While treated, the radiation-tainted water, stored in tanks at the plant in Japan's northeast, is expected to reach capacity next year.
The plant had its key cooling functions knocked out after being battered by a massive earthquake-triggered tsunami in 2011, resulting in the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.
The tainted water contains radioactive tritium as a result of being used to cool down melted nuclear fuel at the plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
Japan's Fisheries Industry has voiced its ardent opposition to the plan which may start in around two years according to the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO), as the plan could cause further damage to the industry's reputation.
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said on Friday that while working on the concerns of the Fisheries Industry, the government hopes to seek cooperation of the International Atomic Energy Agency and other global organisations, while maintaining transparency over the matter.
A number of countries and regions continue to impose restrictions on Japanese agricultural and fishery products as a result of the Fukushima crisis amid continued concerns about the safety of the produce.
Meanwhile, some of Japan's neighbours have voiced their concerns about radioactive wastewater being discharged into the Pacific.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 09:20:24 +0530
Sonia Gandhi to meet party leaders over Covid situation

 

New Delhi, April 10

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi will on Saturday conduct a virtual meeting with senior party leaders over the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country.

The meeting at 10.30 a.m. will be joined by former Congress President Rahul Gandhi and party Chief Ministers.

On Friday, Rahul Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that the Indian scientific community had worked overtime to develop a solution, but their efforts have been undermined by the Centre's poor implementation and "oversight".

He also demanded that the government should place an immediate moratorium on vaccine export and open up inoculation to everyone who needs it.

"I write to you with great concern since we are once again at the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. Over the last year, our country suffered irreparable losses, made tremendous sacrifices, and yet, we are under a renewed attack by this virus," he added in the letter.

ians

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 09:15:29 +0530
Harshal is clear with his plans Kohli

Chennai, April 10

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli praised Harshal Patel saying that clarity in the fast bowler's thinking is what got the franchise interested in him.
"We brought Harshal in a trade from Delhi. He is relishing the responsibility and is clear with his plans. He was the difference today. He is going to be our death bowler. As a captain you want players with clarity, and he has that," said the RCB skipper after the match.
"In T20 cricket, clarity at the top of your mark is all you ask for as a captain. Harshal was very clear with that and it was his day today," he added.
Kohli also applauded his other bowlers -- Mohammed Siraj and New Zealander Kyle Jamieson. The two kept the economy rate very decent and didn't allow batsmen to go after the bowling.
"Jamieson started off well, Yuzi was good, Siraj was good too."
The RCB skipper, who made 33 off 29 balls, said that facing MI in the tournament opener was important to test the side as it gave him an idea of the options they have.
"It was important to play against the strongest side in the competition and test our side. Everyone was involved in this game, and when you win by two wickets, it means that everyone has gone in and played. A lot of options for me as well that helped bringing the game back."
Kohli also explained why he had sent Maxwell up the order to bat at No. 4, saying, "We wanted Maxi to bat at four. The thinking was that we wanted to give Maxi some balls at the start and not get him slogging right away. You saw the result today of him playing 10-15 balls. His innings was the game-changer. Had he stayed in we would have finished a couple of overs earlier."

ians

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 09:08:23 +0530
Kristen Wiig Annie Mumolo Jamie Dornan on parenting during quarantine

Mumbai, April 10

American actors Jamie Dornan, Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo have opened about parenting during lockdown on "The Drew Barrymore Show".
Hollywood actress and host Drew Barrymore kickstarted the discussion, asking: "By the way, how are each and all of your children? Kristen, you have your two beautiful babies, how has it been, babies in quarantine, which is semi good timing but also very difficult."
Kristen replied: "Yeah, it's a weird time because they can't see human beings at all and when they do they are just like, they don't, it's like 'The Truman Show'. I feel like they are just going to come out in the world and be like, 'There's more'. But they are really good. I mean they are the best."
Barrymore then asked Mumolo about how her family is during the quarantine time? Mumolo replied that she is yelling a lot.
"Oh boy, I have a 14 and a 10-year-old and I'm yelling a lot at them and they are taking it all in stride. It's so hard when they are this age because they are just more aware of everything of what was before and what's now and the isolation, it's very difficult and I just think these kids are really champions right now. All these kids, we've got to root for them because it's tough," she said.
Dornan, too, opened up about his his three children. "Yeah, it's just a madhouse and I feel like the last 11 months I've had some of the best moments I've ever had as a parent and some of the worst I think like most parents feel like that," he said on the show, which airs on Zee Cafe in India.
Barrymore concluded the show in a funny manner: "Oh my God! I'm really glad I asked you guys that because between 'The Truman Show' and the keeping it real and the highest and lowest, it just is perfectly poetic 

ians

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 09:00:54 +0530
Coercive actions economic revival team up to lift tax mop up

New Delhi, April 9

In a paradox of sorts, tax collections have significantly improved in the past few months despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy.
Experts said the reasons for the surging tax collections have been a combination of improving economic activities and coercive actions by the authorities.
In an ideal situation, tax collection should be in tandem with the GDP growth rate, but currently tax mop-up has been growing at a much faster pace, said Rajat Mohan, senior partner at AMRG & Associates.
Direct tax collection for the financial year 2020-21 stood at Rs 9.45 lakh crore, as per the provisional data. The net collection was around 5 per cent higher than the revised estimates for 2020-21.
"The net direct tax collections represent 104.46 per cent of the revised estimates of Rs 9.05 lakh crore of direct taxes for FY 2020-21," said a Finance Ministry statement.
Ved Jain, former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), told IANS that a major reason for direct tax collections having surpassed the revised estimate for FY21 was because the estimate was "conservative".
"Budget estimates for FY21 were quite high, as the pandemic was not anticipated. In April, May and June, there was no collection... September onwards the economy started picking up and when the revised estimates were prepared, the government was not so hopeful that the economy will revive to this extent. Now that the economy has done well in the months of January, February and March, the collection has surpassed the estimates, which were too conservative," he said.
Jain also said that the direct tax amnesty scheme of 'Vivad Se Vishwas' has helped the government increase its tax collection.
"The Vivaad Se Vishwas scheme also must have helped the government get direct tax revenue. The government says its has been able to collect around Rs 50,000 crore on the basis of the scheme," he said.
According to Aditi Nayar, Chief Economist, ICRA: "As expected, the government of India's direct tax collections have modestly overshot the revised estimates for FY2021. The collections appear to have contracted by a modest 3.5 per cent in March 2021, suggesting the back-ended release of refunds."
Noting that the FY21 provisional direct tax collection numbers are better than the revised estimates, Devendra Kumar Pant, Chief Economist, India Ratings and Research, said that the economy is slowly recovering and with 3QFY21 registering positive growth after two consecutive quarters of negative growth, the numbers are more on the expected lines.
"The sharp recovery in Q3 and Q4 of FY21 is validated by the GST and direct tax numbers. It is a welcome move on the part of the Finance Minister to project conservatively and beat the estimates... If we manage to contain the second wave without much damage, we are in for an extremely robust growth in fiscal 2022," said Ravi Vishvanathan, CFO, PayMate.
Apart from direct taxes, the government has also been able to reach record levels in terms of Goods and Services Tax (GST), the indirect tax regime. India's gross GST revenue collection reached a record high of over Rs 1.23 lakh crore in March 2021.
The GST revenues recorded last month are the highest since the introduction of the tax regime. Also, it was the fifth consecutive month when GST collections have topped the Rs 1 lakh crore landmark.
Experts said that detection of frauds and bogus input credit claims along with stringent action by authorities have played a major role in the improvement in compliance and increased tax collection.
Rajat Mohan noted that notices, summons, attachment of bank accounts and properties, survey and detentions have played a major role in tax collections.
The tax expert also told IANS that the government has uncovered a number of frauds that were going on, which has also boosted tax collection.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 08:53:49 +0530
UN chief applauds IMF World Bank measures to address COVID related debt crises

United Nations, April 10

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the steps announced by the International Monetary and Finance Committee (IMFC) and the World Bank Group Development Committee to address debt crises and other financial distress to economies arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement issued via his spokesperson on Friday, the UN chief said developing economies had struggled to secure enough financial resources to cope with the onset of the coronavirus crisis, "let alone to recover from it", Xinhua news agency reported.
Since the beginning of the crisis, the secretary-general has called for liquidity, the statement continued, through a large issuance of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) - an instrument created by the International Monetary Fund to help supplement cash reserves - for those most in need, and a reallocation of unused SDRs.
The top UN official has proposed a "three-phased approach to address debt burdens: a debt standstill, targeted debt relief for the most vulnerable, and a reform of the international debt architecture."
The secretary-general welcomed the IMF committee's "concrete calls" for a new allocation of SDRs, and voluntary reallocations to countries in need. He said he was encouraged by the support given for the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which has provided 5 billion U.S. dollars in temporary relief for vulnerable countries, and for the Common Framework for Debt Treatments, agreed by the G20 economies.
"Debt standstills and relief must be extended to countries that need it most - including middle income countries, which are home to more than 60 percent of the world's poor - without creating stigma or compromising their sovereign ratings," said the statement.
Reforming the international debt architecture is also critical, said the UN chief, noting that a debt crisis amidst the Covid-19 emergency "would put the Sustainable Development Goals out of reach."
This week's discussions on the international debt architecture are a major step in the right direction, he added.
The secretary-general called on all countries and institutions to join in a global effort to "rethink the principles underpinning today's debt architecture, and urged action to "complement existing instruments with more effective debt crisis resolution mechanisms."
He expressed great encouragement over the IMF's and World Bank's emphasis on a sustainable, inclusive, smart and green recovery.

ians

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 08:45:18 +0530
K taka RTC employee ends life in Belagavi district Ld

Belagavi, April 10

As the Karnataka State Transport Employees League's indefinite strike entered third day on Friday, an employee working with the North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) had allegedly committed suicide by hanging at his house near here, police said.
The incident took place at Saundatti taluk of Belagavi district, which is also the home district of Deputy Chief Minister Lakshman Savadi, who also holds the transport portfolio.
The deceased identified as Shivakumar Neelgar, 40, was working as driver-cum-conductor attached with the Saundatti depot.
Sources close to the deceased family told media that he was serving as a driver-cum-conductor in NWKRTC for about 12 years.
Meanwhile, Lakshmi, widow of Neelgar, accused the police of pressurising her to file a case stating that her husband was debt-ridden.
She told media that her husband committed suicide by hanging only after realising that he would not be included in sixth pay commission.
Lakshmi also alleged that the NWKRTC had not issued him any notice but rather directed him to report to his duty in a short notice.
"My husband committed suicide only because he realised that he would not be brought under sixth pay commission. He desperately wanted his salary to be brought under this commission," she said.
However, Deputy Chief Minister Lakshman Savadi said that the deceased was suffering from depression due to his high debts.
Earlier, Neelagar, a 40-year-old driver cum conductor attached to Saundatti depot of NWKRTC committed suicide by hanging at his residence on Thursday late night.

ians
 

Sat, 10 Apr 2021 08:39:20 +0530
Swami Vivekananda The Monk Who Changed the Perception of Bharat to the West

-By Anupama Nair

Mumbai, April 9

Swami Vivekananda (12 January 1863--4 July 1902), born as Narendranath Datta or Naren, was one of the greatest sons of Bharat Maa. He is one of the persons who has inspired me in every aspect of my life. Just reading his book “My India, Eternal India” on a train journey changed my views of my great Bharat Maa. In the words of a disciple of Swamiji Sister Christine “Our love for India came to birth, I think, when we first heard him (Swami Vivekananda) say the word, "India", in that marvelous voice of his. It seems incredible that so much could have been put into one small word of five letters. It seems incredible that so much could have been put into one small word of five letters. There was love, passion, pride, longing, adoration, tragedy, chivalry, and again love. Whole volumes could not have produced such a feeling in others. It had the magic power of creating love in those who heard it.” The result was me--, a big fan of the Western life and philosophy began to look towards my own country of birth. As it is not possible to write about such a great person in a single article, yesterday I wrote about his early, today I am writing about the Parliament of Religions and his death and some great quotes, which is a source of Inspiration.

The Parliament of the World's Religions was inaugurated on 11 September, 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago, in Chicago, as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition. On this day, Vivekananda gave a brief speech representing India and Hinduism. Though he was initially nervous, he bowed to Saraswati Devi (the Hindu goddess of learning) and began confidently with "Sisters and brothers of America!". At these words, Vivekananda received a two-minute standing ovation from the crowd of seven thousand. According to Sailendra Nath Dhar, when silence was restored, he began his address, “greeting the youngest of the nations on behalf of the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasis, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance”. Though, "it was only a short speech, but it voiced the spirit of the Parliament of Religions."

John Henry Barrows, the President of the Parliament, hailed "India, the Mother of religions was represented by Swami Vivekananda, the Orange-monk who exercised the most wonderful influence over his auditors". Vivekananda attracted widespread attention in the press, which called him the "cyclonic monk from India". The New York Critique reported, "He is an orator by divine right, and his strong, intelligent face in its picturesque setting of yellow and orange was hardly less interesting than those earnest words, and the rich, rhythmical utterance he gave them". According to American newspapers Vivekananda was "the greatest figure in the Parliament of religions" and "the most popular and influential man in the Parliament". The Boston Evening Transcript stated that Vivekananda was "a great favorite at the Parliament, if he merely crosses the platform, he is applauded". He spoke several more times  "at receptions, the scientific section, and private homes", topics related to Hinduism, and harmony among religions until the Parliament ended on 27 September 1893. He soon became known as a "handsome oriental" and made a huge impression as an orator.

After the Parliament of Religions, he toured many parts of the US as a guest. His popularity opened up new views for expanding on "life and religion to thousands". During a question-answer session at Brooklyn Ethical Society, New York, he stated, "I have a message to the West as Buddha had a message to the East."

Vivekananda spent nearly two years lecturing in the eastern and central United States, primarily in Chicago, Detroit, Boston and New York. He started the Vedanta Society of New York in 1894. During his visit to the West, he visited England twice, in 1895 and 1896, lecturing successfully there.  During his second visit to the UK in May 1896 Vivekananda met Max Mueller, who was a noted Indologist, who wrote Ramakrishna's first biography in the West. From the UK, Vivekananda visited other European countries. Vivekananda was offered academic positions in two American universities (Eastern Philosophy at Harvard University and University of Columbia). However, he declined both, since his duties would conflict with his commitment as a monk.

He initiated several followers -- Marie Louise who became Sister Abhayanda and Leon Landsberg became Swami Kripananda, so that they could continue the work of the mission of the Vedanta Society. This society still has foreign nationals and is also located in Los Angeles, California. During his stay in America, Vivekananda was given land in the mountains to the southeast of San Jose, California, to establish a retreat for Vedanta students. He called it "Peace retreat, or Shanti Ashrama. The largest American center is the Vedanta Society of Southern California in Hollywood. There is also a Vedanta Press in Hollywood which publishes books about Vedanta and English translations of Hindu scriptures and texts.

Vivekananda founded the The Ramakrishna Mission in 1897 for social service. Its ideals are based on Karma Yoga and its governing body consists of the trustees of both Ramakrishna Matt and Ramakrishna Mission and have their headquarters at Belur Matt, Calcutta. Vivekananda founded two other monasteries: one in Mayavati in the Himalayas (near Almora), the Advaita Ashram. Two journals were founded—Prabudha Bharatam in English and Udbhodan in Bengali. 

Vivekananda had earlier inspired Jamshed ji Tata (founder of Tata Sons) to set up a research and educational institution when they travelled together from Yokohoma to Chicago on Swamij’s first visit to the West in 1893. Tata now asked him to head his Research Institute of Science. Vivekananda declined the offer, citing a conflict with his "spiritual interests". After brief visits to Lahore, Delhi and Khetri, he returned to Calcutta in January 1898. He consolidated the work of the matt and trained disciples for several months.

On 4 July 1902, Vivekananda awoke early, went to the monastery at Belur Matt and meditated for three hours. He discussed with colleagues and planned to establish a Vedic college in the Ramakrishna Matt. At 7:00 pm Vivekananda went to his room, asking not to be disturbed. He died at 9:20 p.m. while doing meditation. According to his disciples, Vivekananda attained “maha-samadhi”. The rupture of a blood vessel in his brain was reported as a possible cause of death. Vivekananda prophecy that he would not live forty years came true. He was cremated on bank of the Ganga in Belur Matt, opposite where his Guru, Sri Ramakrishna was cremated sixteen years ago.

Charles Freer Andrews a social reformer stated, "The Swami's intrepid patriotism gave a new color to the national movement throughout India. More than any other single individual of that period Vivekananda had made his contribution to the new awakening of India".  His nationalistic ideas influenced many other Indian thinkers and leaders, like Sri Aurobindo who regarded Vivekananda as the one who awakened India spiritually.

“Bartaman Bharat” meaning "Present Day India" is an erudite Bengali language essay written by him, which was first published in the March 1899 issue of Udbodhan, the only Bengali language magazine of Ramakrishna Matt and Ramakrishna Mission. The essay was reprinted as a book in 1905 and later compiled into the fourth volume of “The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda”

The greatest of Swamiji’s disciples was an Irish woman called Margaret Noble who later became Sister Nivedita. She was an Irish teacher, author, social activist, and later a disciple of Swamiji. She spent her childhood and early youth in Ireland. She was engaged to marry a Welsh youth, but he died soon after their engagement.

Sister Nivedita met Swami Vivekananda in 1895 in London and travelled to Calcutta in 1898. Swami Vivekananda gave her the name Nivedita (meaning "Dedicated to God") when he initiated her into the vow of Brahmacharya. She wanted to educate girls who were deprived of even basic education. During the plague epidemic in Calcutta in 1899, Nivedita nursed and took care of the poor patients. Nivedita had close associations with the newly established Ramakrishna Mission. She was very close to Sharada Devi, the wife of Sri Ramakrishna, and one of the major influences behind Ramakrishna Mission, and also with all brother disciples of Swami Vivekananda. She died on 13 October 1911 in Darjeeling. Her epitaph reads thus, "Here lies Sister Nivedita who gave her all to India".

In today’s world of such chaos, adharma and all other evils and now Corona, we will do well to remember this great monk and read his works. His birthday is celebrated as Youth Day in India.

Quotes of Swamiji

“Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached”

“Say brother, the soil of India is my highest heaven, good of India is my highest good”

if there is any land in this earth that can lay claim to be blessed as punya bhumi the land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, generosity, purity and above all land of introspection and spirituality, it is India

(Dedicated to Ramakrishna Mission --Trivandrum, Vivekananda Ashram – Kanyakumari, Ramakrishna Mission School – Jamshedpur, and Belur Matt – Calcutta)

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 21:13:03 +0530
Pak Army reviews LoC situation in Corp Commander Conference

Islamabad, April 9

Top commanders of the Pakistan Army held a Corps Commander Conference (CCC) to review the overall security situation with a detailed review of the situation at the Line of Control (LoC) after the recent agreement of a ceasefire between New Delhi and Islamabad.


"The CCC chaired COAS (Chief of Army Staff) held at GHQ (General Headquarter). The participants undertook a comprehensive review of global, regional and domestic security environment," the military's media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a tweet.

"Forum expressed confidence in operational preparedness of the Army displayed during recently held formation exercises."

The forum also held detailed deliberations on the situation along the eastern border, the LoC, especially after the recent mutual agreement at the Director General Military Operations (DGMOs) level of both India and Pakistan, bring a halt to a longstanding tense and escalated situation with both sides coming eye-to-eye on almost a daily basis.

"The forum held a detailed discussion on situation along the eastern border/LoC especially the environment post ceasefire understanding 2021 between the DGMOs," ISPR statement added.

The CCC also reaffirmed "complete solidarity with the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in their struggle for right to self-determination".

Pakistan's military establishment along with the civil administration under Prime Minister Imran Khan have been giving positive statements and showing gestures, expressing intent to normalise tensions with India.

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, in his recent statement said that the time had come to bury the past and move forward towards peace, a clear signal towards Islamabad's intent to initiate dialogue and table talks with India.

The recent decision to open cotton and sugar specific import trade with India, which was later reversed and deferred by the Cabinet Committee, coupled with the meeting between India and Pakistan delegations on the water dispute as per the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), are certainly showing positive nods from both sides for each other.

While the olive branches shared from both sides are signs of hope, but the prime agenda and concern of India against Pakistan is focused on terrorism and its export into India, while Pakistan's main contention is on the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir.

And it seems that both sides are not ready to show any flexibility or compromise on it, and both sides refuse to acknowledge each other concerns on the same.

ians

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 19:05:44 +0530
Modern human brain originated 1 7 mn years ago in Africa

London, April 9

Modern human brain structures developed 1.5 to 1.7 million years ago in the African Homo populations and after they had already begun walking on two feet and had even started spreading out of Africa, according to a study.
The first ancestors from the genus Homo emerged in Africa about 2.5 million years ago and walked upright, but had
primitive ape-like brains -- only about half the size of present-day humans, said the researchers from the University of Zurich (UZH) in Switzerland.
Besides the size, the team also found that their location and organisation of individual brain regions differed
from the modern human brain.
"The features typical to humans are primarily those regions in the frontal lobe that are responsible for planning and executing complex patterns of thought and action, and ultimately also for language," said Marcia Ponce de Leon, from the varsity's Department of Anthropology .
Since these areas are significantly larger in the human brain, the adjacent brain regions shifted further back, de Leon noted.
The team used computed tomography to examine the skulls of Homo fossils that lived in Africa, Georgia and the Java in Indonesia 1 to 2 million years ago. They then compared the fossil data with reference data from great apes and humans.
They found that the first Homo populations outside Africa -- in present-day Georgia -- had brains that were just as primitive as their African relatives.
And their brains were not particularly large or modern until around 1.7 million years ago.
However, these humans were quite capable of making numerous tools, adapting to the new environmental conditions of Eurasia, developing animal food sources, and caring for group members in need of help.
"It is likely that the earliest forms of human language also developed during this period," said anthropologist de Leon.

ians
 

 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 17:06:25 +0530
Huma Qureshi says Maharani role let her explore many layers

Mumbai, April 9

Actress Huma Qureshi is gearing up for the release of her series "Maharani". Opening up on her role of Rani Bharti in the show, she claimed it was a character that let her explore many layers as a performer.

"It's not often that you get to portray a character that lets you explore so many layers as a performer. Rani Bharti has been a delight to play," Huma said.

She added: "She starts off as someone whom we all know and relate to but what she goes onto become is someone few of us can aspire for. It has been a wonderful experience of working with such a talented cast and I can't wait for my viewers to watch the series."

ians

According to reports, Huma's character will go through a roller coaster journey in her political career in the show.

Other details about "Maharani", which will air on SonyLIV, are kept under wraps.

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 16:56:13 +0530
2021 04 09 Sony launches BRAVIA X80J Google TV series in India

New Delhi, April 9

Sony India on Friday unveiled all-new X80J Google TV series with 4K Ultra HD LED display at Rs 1,30,000.
The new X80J TV series is available in 189 cm (75-inch), 165 cm (65-inch), 140 cm (55-inch), 126 cm (50-inch) and 108 cm (43-inch).
The new lineup integrates Google TV that allow users to browse upto more than 700,000 movies and TV episodes from across your streaming services.
"The new BRAVIA X80J lineup powered with Dolby Vision is an HDR solution that creates an immersive, engaging cinematic experience in your home bringing scenes to life with striking highlights, deeper darks, and vibrant colours," the company said in a statement.
"With Dolby Atmos, sound from the new BRAVIA X80J 4K televisions come from above as well as from the sides so you can hear objects moving overhead with more realism for a truly multi-dimensional experience," it added.
The series comes with a wide colour gamut and unique TRILUMINOS PRO algorithm that can detect colour from saturation, hue, and brightness to reproduce natural shades in every detail.
Apple Home Kit and AirPlay support integrates Apple devices like iPads and iPhones with Sony TV for effortless content streaming, the company said.
The series also features an in-built microphone for viewers to have a truly hands-free experience.
Users can simply talk to the TV using the Google Assistant to find what they want quickly, or to play TV shows, movies, and more without using the TV remote.
The company said that, currently, the 65-inch model of the newly launched TV series is available across all Sony centres as well as major online/offline stores. The availability of other models will be announced soon.

ians
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 16:46:40 +0530
Cautious optimism prevails in India Pak ties

 

Islamabad, April 9 :Pakistan and India relations may have hit a small bump with the recent decision by the Imran Khan-led government to refrain from importing cotton and sugar from New Delhi and reopening the trade, a decision approved and then disapproved within 24 hours after deference by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and the federal cabinet; experts still believe that there is a positive and cautious optimism in Islamabad that the defrosting in relations with India is still holding ground.


Insiders, who are monitoring the ongoing situation of relations between India and Pakistan closely, maintain that despite the recent bump, which certainly sparked some flames of uncertainty in the defrosting process of relations between the two nuclear-powered arch-rivals, the process has not been derailed or halted, with prime reason being that too much time and efforts has been put in by both sides through active backdoor and backchannel engagements.

As per sources, engagements through backdoor channels between India and Pakistan started way back in 2018, with high level people with relevant seniority from both capitals initiated active but quiet talks, with an aim to de-escalate tensions and pave way towards normalcy.

Further details revealed that the process of backdoor engagement continues till August 2019.

However, after India abrogated Article 370 and 35A and changed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, this process of engagement and defrosting of tensions was bushed to an immediate stop.

Both sides got engaged in a major confrontational footing throughout 2019 as both kept coming closer to a brink of an all out war.

Pakistan stood its position that there can be no compromise on its principal position on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

However, experts maintain that both sides were well aware that there was always space to engage and talk while holding on to principle positions, especially in adverse circumstances.

The realisation from both sides later prompted them to re-engage through quite engagement during the spring of the year 2020.

As per insiders, both sides had a series of meetings at various locations outside Pakistan and India as the initiative was encouraged and supported by influential countries, who urged both sides to keep the contacts alive.

Sources also revealed that the restart of engagements were the reason why both sides agreed to de-escalate tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) and enforce ceasefire.

Both sides, as per sources, have been all ears for each other, when it comes to hearing the concerns. Pakistan has expressed its concern over the issue of statehood, being enforced in Jammu and Kashmir. Indian officials have responded to the concern, stating that they could even talk about not bringing any changes demographics, the insider source confirmed.

India, on the other hand, has raised its concern over cross-border terrorism, being exported from Pakistan. Pakistan responded and assured the Indian side that Islamabad was strictly following policy of zero tolerance towards non-state actors, who engage in any armed activity.

With both sides actively engaging with each other in closed doors, results of the engagements do give hope of positive movement towards normalisation between the two countries.
IANS

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 16:39:50 +0530
Earth receives over 5K tonnes of extraterrestrial dust each year

London, April 9 : Every year, over 5,000 tonnes of extraterrestrial dust fall to Earth each year, scientists have determined.

Our home planet encounters dust from comets and asteroids. These interplanetary dust particles pass through our atmosphere and give rise to shooting stars. Some of them reach the ground in the form of micrometeorites.

Micrometeorites have always fallen on our planet. These interplanetary dust particles from comets or asteroids are particles of a few tenths to hundredths of a millimetre that have passed through the atmosphere and reached the Earth's surface.

An international programme conducted for nearly 20 years by scientists from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the Universite Paris-Saclay and the National museum of natural history with the support of the French polar institute, has determined how much of these micrometeorites reach the ground.

To collect and analyse these micrometeorites, six expeditions led by CNRS researcher Jean Duprat have taken place over the last two decades near the Franco-Italian Concordia station (Dome C), which is located 1,100 kilometres off the coast of Adelie Land, in the heart of Antarctica.

Dome C is an ideal collection spot due to the low accumulation rate of snow and the near absence of terrestrial dust.

These expeditions have collected enough extraterrestrial particles (ranging from 30 to 200 micrometres in size), to measure their annual flux, which corresponds to the mass accreted on Earth per square metre per year.

If these results are applied to the whole planet, the total annual flux of micrometeorites represents 5,200 tonnes per year, according to the study which will be available in the journal Earth & Planetary Science Letters from April 15.

This is the main source of extraterrestrial matter on our planet, far ahead of larger objects such as meteorites, for which the flux is less than ten tonnes per year.

A comparison of the flux of micrometeorites with theoretical predictions confirms that most micrometeorites probably come from comets (80 per cent) and the rest from asteroids.

The results could help scientists better understand the role played by interplanetary dust particles in supplying water and carbonaceous molecules on the young Earth.
 

IANS

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 16:33:56 +0530
CBI nabs 2 Mumbai IT officials for graft

Mumbai, April 9 : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has nabbed two Income Tax Department officials for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 15 lakh, an official said here on Friday.

The arrested officials were identified as Dilip Kumar and Ashish Kumar, both attached as Inspectors of the ITD Investigation Unit-I in Ballard Pier, Mumbai.

Third accused, Inspector S.N. Rai, has been named by the CBI and further investigations are underway.

According to the CBI, following a complaint, a case was registered against the accused trio who demanded the bribe amount from the complainant for helping him out during a probe by the ITD.

The agency sleuths set up a trap and nabbed the two inspectors, while accepting the bribe of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 5 lakh from the complainant.

The CBI also raided two places in Mumbai and one in New Delhi comprising official and residential premises of the accused duo.

It led to the recovery of Rs 700,000 cash and incriminating documents relating to investments in the realty sector by one of the accused. The two will be produced before a Special CBI court later.

IANS
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 16:30:33 +0530
2021 04 09 Development projects in J K get wings post August 5 2019

New Delhi, April 9

In November 2015, Narendra Modi in his second public meeting in Kashmir after becoming the Prime Minister had announced Rs 80,000 crore development package for J&K's development.
The then J&K Chief Minister, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who shared stage with Prime Minister Modi and was his alliance partner at that point of time, had tried his best to push Modi to soften his stand towards Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists but the Prime Minister had snubbed him by saying, "I don't need advice or analysis from anyone in this world on Kashmir. The three mantras of Atal ji... and these will be helpful in moving forward. 'Kashmiriyat ke bina Hindustan adhura hai'. (Without Kashmiriyat, India is incomplete). Sufi tradition has emerged from this land and this tradition has taught us oneness and strength of unity."
Even four years before, when there was no debate over scrapping Article 370 -- due to which J&K enjoyed special privileges -- PM Modi had made it clear that it was his "heartfelt desire" that the Rs 80,000 crore package announced by him should help in turning the fate of J&K people. He had stated that the money should be used for converting Jammu and Kashmir in a modern, prosperous and progressive place.
PM Modi had assured the people of J&K that the package announced by him was just a beginning and it was not a full stop. "Delhi's treasury is for you. Not only our treasury, but our heart also beats for you," PM Modi had told the gathering.
In 4-years only 37 per cent of funds were utilized
Till 2020 the J&K Government could only spend 37 per cent of Rs 80,000 crore package that was announced by the Prime Minister. When PM had made the announcement at that time it was decided by the Central Government that the sanctioned amount would be spent in five years and the developmental works under the package had to be completed by the ending 2020.
According to the official figures, of the Rs 80,068 crore package, Rs 30,049 were released till March 31, 2019 for the erstwhile J&K state. Of the 63 projects, only 18 were completed in five years. In 2020, the parliamentary panel had expressed dismay over the slow pace of work under the package.
Change after August 5, 2019
Soon after the Government of India (GoI) announced its decision to revoke J&K's special status and divided it into two union territories on August 5, 2019, many things changed in Jammu and Kashmir. The biggest change the newly carved out union territory witnessed was the government shifting its focus on development projects and expediting the pace of the works.
Nearly one year after the abrogation of Article 370, in July 2020, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated six bridges in border areas of J&K.
The work on Shahpur-Kandi, electricity, and irrigation project that couldn't commence for five decades has begun. The Ujh project has been fast-tracked. And the metro rail is on its way to Srinagar and Jammu. Union Power Minister R.K. Singh and then Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik had jointly inaugurated 15 power projects and laid the foundation stone for 20 others worth Rs 10,000 crore in September 2019.
The world's highest railway bridge over the river Chenab that is expected to connect Kashmir with the rest of India by train for the first time is likely to be completed by 2022.
Municipal Committees were empowered to approve projects up to Rs 5 crore and transparent e-tendering was also made mandatory. In 2021, Kashmir witnessed a heavy snowfall. It was for the first time in the past seven decades that the Valley didn't plunge into darkness due to weather vagaries and the Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (KPDCL) ensured that history is not repeated in the harsh winter season.
After the scrapping of Article 370 the government announced that it would refurbish 11 airports -- including two along the India-China border and military airports along India-Pakistan border like Poonch, Rajouri, Gurez would also be expanded and opened up for civilian use.
For developing the Information and Technology sector in J&K many sops have been framed like providing "subsidy on rent" to the outside investors. The policy document of the government envisages two IT parks -- one each in Srinagar and Jammu -- spread over 5 lakh square feet.
The J&K administration has also released a real estate policy which said that "land banks" created by the government will be disbursed to "private developers" through a transparent bidding process.
According to Union Minister of State for HRD, Communications, and Electronics & Information Technology Sanjay Dhotre, the Government of India after August 5, 2019 has expedited the process of opening of IIT, IIM and AIIMs and allowing development of highways, power generation and irrigation projects.
The projects that were lying dormant for the last several decades were also being revived in a speedy manner. Dhotre had stated that various developmental schemes include, acceleration of the projects being executed under the Prime Minister Development Package (PMDP); to execute effective implementation of various schemes targeting the individual beneficiaries; to restart the long-pending projects by removing the obstacles that have been holding such projects; and, to ensure effective administration with transparency.
J&K opens up for outsiders
After August 5, 2019, the government has left no stone unturned to woo the outside investors into Jammu and Kashmir as the region is now free of the restrictions imposed by the special status.
The creation of land banks, the new industrial policy under which the outsiders can get the land on lease for 90-years have been among the major steps that were taken during the past one and a half years.
According to the official figures, more than 40 companies have expressed their interest to invest in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370. Till December 2020 the government had accepted proposals of 33 companies. The current figure of the proposal of investments stands at Rs 15000 crore. Companies from various fields like Renewal Energy, Hospitality, Defence, Tourism, Skill, Education, IT & Technology and infrastructure have come forward to set up their units in J&K.

ians
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 16:29:48 +0530
Dhoni s CSK takes on Pant s DC

Mumbai, April 9 : Saturday night will see a clash between the master and the apprentice. MS Dhoni, who is on the last bend of his career and has been turning up only for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) since his retirement from international cricket last year, will lead the three-time champions against Delhi Capitals (DC), who will be captained by Rishabh Pant, his long-term successor as India's first choice wicketkeeper.

Pant has said in the past that he wants to emulate Dhoni but seems to be carving his own niche. While his power-hitting has already been well-known, his batting went a notch higher since the last Indian Premier League (IPL) as he helped India win the Test series in Australia and against England at home.

His wicketkeeping skills came as a pleasant surprise during both series and now it will be his captaincy skills that will be put to test. Pant replaced the injured Shreyas Iyer, who is nursing a shoulder injury.

The last year's runners-up have also added Steve Smith to their squad. Their pace bowling attack, comprising Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma along with all-rounders Chris Woakes, Tom Curran and Marcus Stoinis, is among the best in the league.

Experienced and acclaimed spinners like off-spinner R Ashwin and leg-spinner Amit Mishra make up a very strong bowling line-up that will test the CSK batting line-up that performed very poorly in the last edition.

The CSK batting will rely a lot on Faf du Plessis but the return of Suresh Raina, who missed the last season, will be a boost for the three-time champions as they look to do better this time than the seventh place finish they got last season.

India's Test batting stalwart Cheteshwar Pujara too has been included in the CSK line-up for his first IPL in seven years. The India No. 3 batsman was seen using a higher back-lift and hitting sixes in one of the net sessions.

CSK blundered last year by not reading the pitches well and not playing their spinners early enough. They realised their mistake and started to give Mitchell Santner and Imran Tahir matches. But it was too late by then.

One man who could make a difference is Shardul Thakur, who has done exceedingly well for India since the last IPL. He would be leading their pace bowling along with Deepak Chahar or Aussie Jason Behrendorff, who has come in for Josh Hazlewood.

But essentially, CSK's fate on Saturday will depend on how their batting stands up to DC's bowling.

DC squad: Rishabh Pant (captain/wicketkeeper), Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Sam Billings, Shimron Hetmyer, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Umesh Yadav, Tom Curran, Avesh Khan, Lalit Yadav, Pravin Dubey, Ripal Patel, Lukman Hussain Meriwala, M Siddharth, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Chris Woakes, Vishnu Vinod (wicketkeeper), Aditya Tare (wicketkeeper)

CSK squad: MS Dhoni (captain/wicketkeeper), Suresh Raina, Narayan Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif, Karn Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, Faf du Plessis, Shardul Thakur, Mitchell Santner, Dwayne Bravo, Lungi Ngidi, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Imran Tahir, Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, K Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujara, M.Harisankar Reddy, K.Bhagath Varma, C Hari Nishaanth, R Sai Kishore

IANS

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 16:26:42 +0530
Samsung launches Smart Monitor in India

New Delhi, April 9

Samsung on Friday launched its all-new Smart Monitor for the India market at a starting price of Rs 28,000.
The Smart Monitor is available in two models -- the M7 that supports Ultra-High Definition (UHD) resolution in 32-inch screen size and the M5 that supports full HD (FHD) resolution in 32-inch and 27-inch screen sizes.
"At Samsung, we believe in bringing impactful innovations and our new Smart Monitor is an example of that," Puneet Sethi, Vice President, Consumer Electronics Enterprise Business, Samsung India, said in a statement.
"Consumers no longer have to choose between different screens for varied uses as Smart Monitor brings it all together and offers the flexibility to smoothly transition from working and learning to entertaining oneself," Sethi added.
The new monitor provides numerous connectivity options for both PCs and smartphones, the company said.
Users can connect their personal mobile devices with just a simple tap using Tap View, App Casting, Screen Mirroring or Apple AirPlay2.
The monitor also comes with in-built Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV and other OTT apps.
For home office and learning, the Smart Monitor operates Microsoft 365 applications without a PC thanks to embedded Wi-Fi, allowing users to view, edit and save documents on the cloud directly from the monitor, with help from their Bluetooth connected keyboard       & a mouse.
Remote access allows users to wirelessly and remotely access files from a PC or view content from a laptop.
Samsung Smart Monitor is now available on Samsung Shop, Amazon and leading retail stores.

ians

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 16:14:06 +0530
Is your dog a cardiac patient

New Delhi, April 6

 Stress has become the most widely used term which is engulfing not only humans but also companion animals. Although in pets, stress is linked with ageing, compromised immunity, change of weather, among various other factors, informs Prachi Kshatriya, Veterinarian, who also consults on Practo.
"Talking about the most stress sensitive organ, heart, it not only fulfills the requirement of every body tissue but also acts as a support system during the pressure phase."
*Usually large breeds like
*Doberman Pinschers
*Labrador Retrievers
*Boxers
*Great Danes
*German Shepherds, etc
and middle aged dogs are more prone to cardiac ailments like congestive cardiac failure, heart valve insufficiency, pericardial effusion and many more, says the doctor.
Don't ignore your dog if you notice the following:
*regular coughing
*exhausted after short walk or playful activity
*lying down for long
*reduced appetite
*reluctant to climb stairs
*dull appearance and sitting alone
"Approximately, 10 per cent young and 65 per cent of older dogs suffer from various cardiac problems and end up dying either due to negligence or unawareness of the owners."
The expert advises: "Consult a vet if you find any changes in your pet's behaviour or routine activities, the vet will perform some blood work and imaging tests like x-ray, echocardiography, electrocardiography, etc to confirm whether your pet is suffering from any cardiac malfunctioning or not."
 

ians

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 13:07:06 +0530
Innovative and Indulgent athleisure leisurewear and activewear

New Delhi, April 8 (IANSlife) Multi-brand e-commerce fashion platform Nykaa Fashion, expands its offering with the launch of Nykd All Day, a new indulgent sub-brand featuring athleisure, leisure, and activewear. Designed with a focus on comfort and inclusivity, it offers minimal yet versatile pieces which promise to seamlessly transition from at-home wear to stepping-out attire as per the dictates of the hybrid work model of today.
Derived from the name Nykaa and inspired by its values of being real, relatable, authentic, and inclusive, the Nykd by Nykaa (pronounced nay-ked) philosophy centres around giving customers the ultimate sense of comfort with a blend of fashion, function, and technology. The brand wants to positively reinforce its DNA of realness and the importance of self love at the core of its messaging through the tagline, 'Love Your Every Self'.
The attire is designed keeping in mind the real Indian women's body types and includes special touches like high waist compression leggings, everyday tights with pockets, hip covering silhouettes, and options of layering tanks with shrugs. The looks make for the perfect travel or stay-at-home companions. One can sport an Airport look, a seamless work from home look that can easily be translated into an outfit for running errands or catching that last-minute workout.
Adwaita Nayar, CEO, Nykaa Fashion and Founding Team Member, Nykaa, says, "We are excited to expand Nykd by Nykaa to include athleisure, leisure & activewear after successfully launching lingerie and sleepwear. Over the past one year, as we navigate new ways of working, living, and managing our hectic schedules, athleisure & activewear have now become wardrobe staples that we choose to make a style statement in! We combine high-quality athletic staples with versatile leisurewear to offer the utmost comfort whilst maintaining a modern appeal and ensuring a wide selection so that we have something for almost everyone. We hope that it will deliver on both; functional and comfortable products steeped in the latest innovations in fabric and fit."
Nykd All Day will be available online and in-store at Ambience Mall, New Delhi.

ians

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 13:01:14 +0530
The big IPL funfair begins Column Close In

The Indian Premier, Popular, Prestigious, Pulsating League (IPL) will once again capture the imagination of cricket lovers and fans amid the second galloping surge of the Covid-19 virus that has brought about lockdown, curfew and severe restrictions in India.
Cricketainment will capture eyeballs like never before, since it will be one of the only few things to look forward to in the evenings for people locked up in their homes.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has an enormous responsibility to ensure that the bio-secure bubble created for the safety of all those involved with the IPL doesn't get breached.
The IPL is the main vein on which the finances of the BCCI depend and its success keeps Indian cricket alive.
For cricketers, IPL is a job that they are fortunate enough to have in current circumstances. The pandemic has had a massive impact on the lives of people across the globe and many have been laid off. Cricketers have been fortunate that their profession is still operating.
The eight franchises in the last 14 years of the tournament have become far more savvy and experienced.
The selection of squads and their professionally-managed approach is a lesson on how to turn cricket into a successful business venture.
The coaching and support staff from India and overseas have brought the best practice into play in every aspect of the game, especially in getting the most out of players.
The IPL has become the arena to perform in for superstars, the platform to be heard for aspiring cricketers. It provides the best education and learning experience for young Indian cricketers.
The IPL has been a tremendous contributor to many of the success stories as well as for the performance of the Indian team.
Mumbai Indians have been the most successful team and have been a shade above the rest once the form of Chennai Super Kings, their biggest challengers, waned.
However, the last IPL tournament held in 2020 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), eight months ago, showed that, on a given day, each side is as good or bad as the other. The differential factor is the consistency and confidence, which only comes by winning regularly and having their combination in place.
The Mumbai Indians side scores in this area as they have a set unit in place which requires very few alterations or changes. With hard and skillful hitters in their fold starting with their captain Rohit Sharma, and Quinton de Kock followed by Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, the Pandya brothers and Kieron Pollard, they have a very lethal batting line-up that requires only two of them to flourish to make it difficult for any side.
The other seven sides are still not as settled with either their batting or bowling combinations.
The 2021 IPL may prove to be different as many of the sides in the last edition did put a structure in place and therefore, the auction was of interest to ensure that the void or weakness was filled adequately.
This too is not a simple formula as the combination goes topsy-turvy if a player does not perform to his potential or is out of form. Punjab Kings (earlier Kings XI Punjab) faced this issue with Glen Maxwell in the last edition of the game. Royal Challengers Bangalore have now put their hope on Glenn Maxwell and with Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers by his side, the trio could be just the batting entertainment that would be fun to watch.
The IPL 2021 is a very open affair, as with matches being played in designated centres, the home side's advantage has been completely nullified. The playing surface at most Indian venues, even on the same patch of the wicket is different. The reading of the playing conditions and the toss will be vital in the selection of the ideal playing eleven.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) are another of the sides that seem to have identified their combination well. They missed the services of Bhuvneshwar Kumar but with him back in the saddle, along with Rashid Khan, SRH have two lethal front-line bowlers in their midst.
The two teams that one will watch carefully would be Delhi Capitals, last year's runners-up, and Rajasthan Royals. Both these sides will be led by two young captains in Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson, respectively. The two are innovative and unpredictable. They have shown that they play their cricket instinctively rather than thoughtfully. The onus of captaincy and the responsibility to lead through a structured process would be completely different from the way they approach their game.
Rishabh Pant is in top form having been the most destructive player for India recently. One wonders if captaincy will become a burden for him and so too for Samson, who has seen two astute leaders in Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith fail for Rajasthan Royals in the past editions of the tournament.
The Kolkata Knight Riders and Punjab Kings are sides that will need to get their base eleven in place quickly in order to make an impact in the tournament. The likes of Chris Gayle (Punjab Kings) and Andrew Russell (Kolkata Knight Riders), if in form, can upset any team's applecart.
This is precisely why the IPL is a cricket feast that has delicacies from Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Rajasthan, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Delhi and Punjab.
The Mumbai Batata Vadas are the favourites, and at this point, looking beyond them seems a tough call. They have a mission of becoming the first IPL side to win three back-to-back titles. Good luck to them!

ians
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 12:54:17 +0530
OnePlus 9R 5G brings top class gaming to Indian fans

New Delhi, April 9

A formidable player in the premium market in India, smartphone brand OnePlus has now listened to the gaming community in India — with 9R 5G that is offering smooth scrolling, immersive gaming controls with solid internals and better viewing experience.
The mobile gamers -- both entry-level and hardcore ones -- in the country seek solid internals to back up demanding games and the latest device in the OnePlus 9 series aims to deliver a fast and smooth flagship experience, featuring Qualcomm Snapdragon 870, 120Hz Fluid AMOLED Display and Warp Charge 65 technology for hours of seamless gaming.
The 6.55-inch OnePlus 9R 5G will be available in Carbon Black and Lake Blue colours for Rs 39,999 (8GB+128GB) and Rs 43,999 (12GB+256GB) from April 14 (for Amazon Prime members and OnePlus Red Cable Club members) while open sales will begin from April 15 across online and retail channels with some exciting offers.
Let us dig deeper into what the Lake Blue (12GB+256GB) variant has in store for the gaming enthusiasts.
First thing that will impress you is the 240Hz touch sampling rate, allowing you to simultaneously use up to five fingers for faster, smoother gaming.
Furthermore, the device features an "X-axis linear motor", which can be easily tuned to produce excellent dynamic vibration, simulating different styles of in-game vibrations to provide an immersive gaming experience.
It house dual stereo speakers that deliver an intense, life-like 3D soundscape, and Dolby Atmos audio further elevates situational awareness with augmented directional audio cues.
The OnePlus 9R 5G offers multi-layer cooling system so that the device does not heat ups during gaming.
The system uses a graphite and copper lined vapour chamber. The device also has 14 temperature sensors, constantly monitoring the temperature of the device, keeping the internals and the back of the device cool even when the game heats up.
Play ‘Crash Bandicoot: On the Run', ‘Dungeon of the Endless: Apogee' or ‘Abysswalker,' and the performance will leave you stunned.
Furthermore, the ‘Pro Gaming Mode' optimises the system resources and minimises unwanted distractions, so that games perform at their best.
While enabled, it restricted background apps, reduced lag and improved the overall gaming experience.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 mobile platform offers processing speeds that are 12.6 per cent faster than the previous generation.
In addition, the UFS 3.1 flash storage delivers nearly 3 times faster performance than UFS 3.0 and 10 times faster than a standard microSD card, surpassing even a PC-based SATA SSD running at 540 MB/second, empowering users to multitask with ease.
The ‘Warp Charge 65' technology claims to give a day's charge in 15 minutes, and fully charges from 1-100 per cent in just 39 minutes (In our case, it took nearly 45 minutes to fully charge the device).
The large 4,500mAh battery utilises an improved dual-cell design to cut down on the charging speed.
The quad main camera at the rear (48MP+16MP+5MP+2MP) features a customised 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor that ensures faster focus speeds and greater colour accuracy, reducing motion blur in videos.
The ‘Nightscape Mode' features intelligent multi-frame processing, adds clarity and detail to bright spots.
The main camera also features enhanced OIS for greater image stability.
The ultra-wide camera uses a 16MP sensor and a 123-degree ultra-wide angle that will allow you to capture good panoramic shots.
The device also features a 5MP macro lens, while a dedicated monochrome camera works with the main camera for detailed and layered black and white photos. It houses a 16MP selfie camera.
It runs OxygenOS 11, optimised for users to work seamlessly with the OnePlus 9R 5G. With ‘Turbo Boost 3.0' technology, the device enables users to have 25 per cent more apps opened in the background than before.
Conclusion: OnePlus 9R 5G is a game-changer as far as mobile gaming is concerned. It packs solid punch and offers a top-class premium experience.
For the core OnePlus audience and those on the Android ecosystem, the upgrade to this device will not only enhance gaming but also elevate overall work, streaming and social media experience.

ians
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 12:48:35 +0530
Aparshakti I don t have a great sense of humour in real life

New Delhi, April 9 -

 He is known for his comic timing in films such as "Dangal", "Lukka Chuppi", "Stree" and "Bala", but Aparshakti Khurana surprises you when he says he does not have a great sense of humour.
If comedy has dominated his filmography so far -- although he impressed with the odd emotional act in "Street Dancer 3D" -- the actor says it was not a conscious decision to play the funnyman all along.
"It just happened. I think in real life I don't have a great sense of humour. I used to have PJs... all bad jokes. Thankfully, I have some really good lines in my films to add a good sense of humour in the films, but otherwise my sense of humour is very word play," he said.
"Talking about why comedy (is) more (in his filmograpohy), it was not a conscious effort. Let's be honest, beggars can't be choosers. I started my journey with whatever I got on my plate. I took it with arms wide open. Even today, I don't think an actor in my space has a lot of choices to make. Whatever comes your way you do it," he says.
Aparshakti feels that his role in "Street Dancer 3D" helped him move out of the comic zone.
"Having said that 'Street Dancer' is something that helped me to come out of the comedy zone and I could strike an emotional chord. People did relate to that character and had a sentimental moment. So, that makes me believe that I am not here only for comedy. I can also do serious stuff as well," he says.
The actor says there has been a shift in the way the audience watches films.
"There has been such a paradigm shift in the way we watch films or talk about our actors. There is nothing called a villain anymore," he says.
Aparshakti is all geared up for "Helmet", his first film as a solo lead. The film is a satire on the ground reality in the country, where people feel awkward while buying and talking about condoms. The film tries to highlight the message in a funny manner without being preachy.
Does Bollywood have a herd mentality, considering the recent surge in socially relevant films? "It (a socially-relevant theme) just makes your script a little more relevant. That's about it. Otherwise there is no math that you need this particular element (refers to social message). At the end of the day it will always be about good storytelling, tight script. You can have fun, if it's funny. You can get creeped out if it is a suspense thriller or a horror film. If you have that you are home. Of course, if the film has a social element it is just a cherry on the cake. People can go home with a little message," he says.
"It is more important to have a nice narrative, script, and an apt form of storytelling. It does not matter if it has a social message or not," he concludes.

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 12:38:37 +0530
EC issues another show cause notice to Mamata

Kolkata, April 9

 The Election Commission (EC) has again issued a show cause notice to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, seeking a written explanation for her "attempt to berate and vilify the central forces by making false, provocative and intemperate statements".
This is the second EC notice to the Trinamool Congress supremo in a week. Banerjee was issued another notice earlier on Wednesday in which the EC directed her to submit a written clarification explaining her open demand for votes on communal grounds for her party in the ongoing Assembly elections in the state
The new EC notice, issued on Thursday night, has asked the chief minister to submit her written explanation to the commission before 11 a.m. on April 10 failing which the "commission shall take a decision without further reference to you".
In a two-page notice sent to the chief minister the commission mentioned that a report by the CEO of West Bengal with an authenticated transcript of the chief minister's speech made on march 28, said: "Who gave so much power to them that the central police are threatening the women without allowing them to cast their votes. I saw the same thing in 2019. I saw the same thing in 2016".
In another portion she said: "I know under whose instruction they beat up and how they beat up, It is your duty to save the family of the people. If any of your mothers and sisters suffer a single stroke with a stick attack them... I am telling you. It is the right of the women. And if anyone of our mothers and sisters is denied entry in the voting compartment all of you come out and revolt."
The commission also refers to a speech made by her at Cooch Behar on April 7 where she said, "And if CAPF create disturbances, I will tell you, ladies and group of you go and restrain (gherao) them which another group will go to cast their votes. If you engage yourself only in restraining them then they will be happy that you didn't cast your vote. It is their plan. It is the plan of BJP. And your plan will be that you will not be scared if they try to intimidate you coming to your village on the one hand, and on the other you just talk to them. Talking to them will tantamount to restrain them."
The commission in its notice mentioned that "going by the statements, and the historicity of the subsequent statements, it is more than obvious that Banerjee has been consisting in berating and demoralising the Central Para Military Forces who often played a significant role in assisting the concerned state government. Banerjee has been trying to make an emotional pitch for women voters to go to the extent of inciting them to attack the personnel of CPFs".
Election Commission is prima facie convinced that your statements are in violation of Model Code of Conduct as well as sections of 186, 189 and 505 of Indian Penal Code 1860, the notice said.

ians
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 12:29:38 +0530
US announces Freedom of Navigation Operation in Indian waters

New Delhi, April 9

 The US has announced that it conducted the Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in Indian waters in the Lakshadweep Islands, leaving the Indian security establishment in a surprise leading to an assessment to ascertain if an operational exercise was actually carried out or was it just an innocent passage.
The US Navy announced that it carried a Freedom of Navigation Operation inside India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) without prior consent.
Reacting to it, a senior government official stated that if it was an innocent passage it's not an issue.
"We don't object to normal transiting but if there has been an operational exercise without informing then it needs to be taken up," the official said.
The US Navy statement said: "On April 7, 2021, the USS John Paul Jones asserted navigational rights and freedoms approximately 130 nautical miles west of the Lakshadweep Islands, inside India's EEZ, without requesting India's prior consent, consistent with international law.
"India requires prior consent for military exercises or manoeuvers in its exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, a claim inconsistent with international law."
The statement further said the FONOP upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognised in international law by challenging India's excessive maritime claims.
US forces operate in the Indo-Pacific region on a daily basis.
All operations are designed in accordance with international law and demonstrate that the US will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, the statement said.
"We conduct routine and regular FONOP), as we have done in the past and will continue to in the future. FONOPs are not about one country, nor are they about making political statements."
Indian government officials said it's unusual for such a statement to be released.
Any activity within 200 km nautical miles, which falls under EEZ or Indian waters needs prior permission as per Indian laws.
Chinese vessels on the pretext of carrying out research activities in Indian waters have been tracked and sent back in the past.

ians

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 12:23:09 +0530
Equity indices in green amid choppy trade

Mumbai, April 9

 The key Indian equity indices traded marginally higher on Friday morning amid largely choppy trade session.
At around 10.35 a.m., Sensex was trading at 49,860.96, higher by 114.75 points or 0.23 per cent from its previous close of 49,746.21.
It opened at 49,743.39 and has so far touched an intra-day high of 49,906.91 and a low of 49,499.99 points.
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 14,896.75, higher by 22.95 points or 0.15 per cent from its previous close.
Manish Hathiramani, technical analyst with Deen Dayal Investments said: "The resistance of 14,950 has worked accurately for the Nifty. We failed to close above it. We need to get past 14,950-15,000 for an up move to commence.
"Thereafter it should be a bullish market which can take the index to 15,300-15,400. If we break 14,500, we can tumble to 14,200-14,300. It is a situation which requires patience and discipline. Traders need to be cautious."
The top gainers on the Sensex were Titan Company, Hindustan Unilever and the State Bank of India, while the major losers were Bajaj Finance, NTPC and Asian Paints.

ians
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 12:15:22 +0530
Andhra to vaccinate 6 lakh daily during vaccination utsav

 

Amaravati, April 9

 Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy directed officials to vaccinate at least 6 lakh people a day during the 'vaccination utsav' between April 11-14.
Reddy gave this direction after a video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, which the latter held with chief ministers on the prevailing coronavirus situation.
Reddy is aiming at vaccination for at least 24 lakh people during those four days and directed officials to arrange sufficient vaccine supplies by co-ordinating with the Centre.
"Focus on vaccination drive as the elections are over... be prepared in all possible ways to take up the drive successfully," said the chief minister.
Before the PM's meeting also, he held a review meeting on the pandemic and reiterated that vaccination is the solution to prevent Coronavirus.
He instructed officials to vaccinate vigourously with a target of providing 4 lakh doses in rural areas and two lakh doses in urban areas on a daily basis.
The CM said all the people above 45 years of age have to be vaccinated in the next 30 days.
Despite the mega vaccination plans, officials informed Reddy that only 1 lakh doses were available on Thursday, with a leftover stockpile sufficient for only two days of vaccination, even as 1 crore more people above 45 are yet to be inoculated.
The chief minister advised officials to talk to the Central government to procure required supplies of the vaccine.
He also directed them to conduct awareness programmes through Asha workers and volunteers to see that every eligible person is vaccinated.

ians
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 12:10:20 +0530
Syria urges UNSC to prevent Israeli attacks

Damascus, April 9

 The Syrian Foreign Ministry has urged the UN Security Council to take "decisive and immediate measures to prevent the repetition of Israeli attacks on the Syrian territory".
In a statement on Thursday, the Ministry highlighted the need to hold Israel accountable for its "terrorism and crimes committed against the Syrian and Palestinian peoples and its continuous support for terrorist organisations", reports Xinhua news agency.
Israel has yet to respond to the accusation from the Syrian government.
The statement comes as Israeli warplanes fired missiles on Wednesday night against Syrian military positions in the countryside of the capital Damascus.
Pro-rebel activists said four pro-government fighters were killed in the attack while a weapon depot was destroyed.

ians
The Ministry also slammed the Israeli attack as a flagrant violation of the UN Charter, principles of international law and relevant Security Council resolutions that demand respect for the sovereignty of Syria.

According to reports, Israel in recent years has carried out numerous airstrikes against Iranian-linked targets in Syria.

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 12:03:31 +0530
Covid surge PMO s top priority to prevent reverse migration of workers this time

New Delhi, April 9

With a sudden surge in Covid-19 cases in India, preventing another reverse migration of workers, particularly from key industrial areas, seems to be the top most priority of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

In a bid to avert any panic like situation similar to that of last year, the government, including local administration and railways, are working on an elaborate plan to prevent the exodus of labourers from major cities, including Mumbai.

Top sources in the government said the local administration in industrial pockets of Mumbai and other metros have been asked to approach factory management, labour unions and concerned groups to convince the migrant workers not to get scared of the sudden resurgence.

Industrial bodies and factory managements are also being apprised of the ongoing vaccination plan which will be escalated in weeks to come and would cover industrial workers.

The PMO is concerned about the migrant workers and wants to prevent mass exodus of workers which resulted in loss of jobs and human miseries last year.

On Wednesday night, several hundred migrant workers had flocked to the railway stations at Bandra, Dadra and Churchgate, triggering fears that a mass exodus have started and may affect production in factories.

However the concerned authorities said that platforms were crowded mainly due to summer rush.

"I have spoken to IG, RPF Central Railway and IG, Western Railway in Mumbai. I want to clarify that groups of workers stayed at different railway stations because of the night curfew in Mumbai. They returned to their factories when curfew was lifted. The rush seen at platforms was mainly of waitlisted passengers boarding summer special trains," said Arun Kumar, Director General (DG) of the RPF.

He informed IANS that all efforts are being made to allay fears relating to reverse migration of workers.

"Our officers at the Western and Central Railway are coordinating with CP (Railways, Mumbai Police) and concerned authorities in industrial areas. They are being apprised of Covid protocols. Meanwhile additional special trains are being run to take care of the usual summer rush.," Kumar, a 1985 batch UP cadre IPS officer, said.

On Thursday, the DG and a team of senior officials held an important meeting with Chairman, Railway Board to further review the situation in Maharashtra, primarily Mumbai, a major railway hub in India presently facing the highest spike in cases relating to pandemic.

During March 2020, several lakh migrant workers returned to their villages, many of them reaching home on foot, as trains and local transport were shut due to nation wide lockdown.

Stories of human miseries and sufferings of migrant workers during their journey to villages had caught a large media attention.

Sources said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was perturbed over such incidents where poor labourers had to walk on foot, often without food for days.

"This time we are on alert. The government doesn't want this to happen again. All out efforts are being made at every level to prevent large scale migration of labourers. In a Covid affected economy, health of factory workers as well as the country's industrial production is our top priority," a senior officer said.
ians

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 11:03:33 +0530
Shanghai Disney Resort marks 10th ground breaking anniversary

Shanghai, April 9

The Shanghai Disney Resort celebrated the 10th anniversary of its ground-breaking, with president and general manager Joe Schott expressing his great confidence in its future.
"We believe in the long-term benefits of the China market. That's what you'll see us continue to do," Xinhua news agency quoted Schott as saying on Thursday.
Since its opening on June 16, 2016, the Shanghai Disney Resort has set many records, including welcoming more than 11 million guests in its first year of operations.
Among the main features of the resort's story is the rapid expansion of its operations.
The first major expansion, Disney·Pixar Toy Story Land, opened on April 26, 2018, making the resort the fastest Disneyland in the world to expand after opening.
The second major expansion is the Zootopia-themed land, which is currently under construction in Shanghai, and is the first-ever Zootopia-themed land at any Disney park in the world.
Shanghai plans to double the number of scenic spots and tourist projects each with more than 10 million visits annually in 2025, compared with 2020.

ians

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 09:37:24 +0530
Nokia maker HMD Global introduces 6 new phones

 

New Delhi, April 9

HMD Global, the maker of Nokia phones, has launched six new smartphones -- Nokia X20, Nokia X10, Nokia G20, Nokia G10, Nokia C20 and Nokia C10 -- in three distinct series with innovative features.
At top of the new portfolio are the Nokia X20 and Nokia X10, powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G Mobile Platform, Android 11 straight out of the box, ZEISS Optics and innovative AI solutions.
With a wide 6.67-inch Full HD+ punch-hole display, Nokia X20 and Nokia X10 also come with a 100 per cent compostable case in the sales box, the company said in a statement late on Thursday.
"We want you to trust that we put security at the heart of everything we do – Nokia smartphones come with security and software updates for extra piece of mind. And we want people to keep their phones for longer, thanks to our signature durability," said Florian Seiche, CEO, HMD Global.
The Nokia X20 comes with 32MP front camera and 64MP quad camera on the rear. The Nokia X10 offers 48MP quad-camera.
"Finding that perfect balance between specs and affordability is what the G-series is all about. The C-series, meanwhile, thrives on delivering ultra-high value tech to the smartphone market," said Stephen Taylor, CMO, HMD Global.
The three Nokia series devices will will be available in select markets globally starting this month.

ians
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 09:27:58 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 133 7mn

Washington, April 9

The overall global Covid-19 caseload has topped 133.7 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 2.90 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
In its latest update on Friday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 133,796,725 and 2,900,922, respectively.
The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 31,000,053 and 560,084, respectively, according to the CSSE.
Brazil follows in the second place with 13,279,857 cases and 345,025 fatalities.
The other countries with more than two million confirmed coronavirus cases are India (12,928,574), France (5,000,023), Russia (4,563,026), the UK (4,384,954), Italy (3,717,602), Turkey (3,689,866), Spain (3,336,637), Germany (2,966,789), Poland (2,499,507), Colombia (2,492,081), Argentina (2,473,751), Mexico (2,267,019) and Iran (2,006,934), the CSSE figures showed.
In terms of deaths, Mexico comes in the third place with 206,146 fatalities.
Nations with a death toll of over 50,000 are India (166,862), the UK (127,224), Italy (112,861), Russia (100,158), France (98,196), Germany (78,049), Spain (76,179), Colombia (65,014), Iran (63,884), Argentina (57,122), Poland (56,659), Peru (53,978) and South Africa (53,173).

ians
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 09:21:46 +0530
As COVID situation worsens J K imposes night curfew in 8 districts

 

Jammu, April 9 - 

Battling with the worsening Covid spread situation, J&K government has decided to impose night curfew in eight districts from Friday.

"All leaves of the doctors and paramedics have been cancelled. Areas around GGM Science College and the Sanskrit University in Jammu have been declared as micro-containment zones. Permissions granted to hold exhibitions and fairs have also been cancelled," an official of the government said.

The official added that night curfew will remain confined to the municipal limits Jammu, Srinagar, Udhampur, Baramulla, Kathua, Anantnag, Budgam and Kupwara.

There has been an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases during recent days in J&K as 835 new cases were reported on Thursday with which the number of active cases has surged to 5,623 in J&K.

ians
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 09:15:54 +0530
2 terrorists killed in Pulwama encounter Ld

Srinagar, April 9 - Two terrorists were killed in an encounter at Tral in South Kashmir's Pulwama district on Friday, officials said.

Police said the encounter was still continuing.

The identity of the two killed terrorists was being ascertained, said the officials.

The gunfight between the terrorists and security forces took place on Friday morning after a joint team of the police and the Army cordoned off the area and launched a search operation on the basis of specific information about the presence of terrorists.

As the security forces zeroed in on the spot where terrorists were hiding they came under a heavy volume of fire that triggered the encounter

ians

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 09:11:08 +0530
Romanian referee seeks autographs for charity

Bucharest, April 8

Romanian assistant referee Octavian Sovre has explained his asking Borussia Dortmund's Norwegian striker Erling Haaland to autograph his red and yellow cards by saying he regularly does so at matches and donates them to charity.

The official told the playsport.ro portal on Thursday that Haaland's signed items would be used to raise funds for an organisation which supports those suffering from autism, DPA reported.

Sovre raised eyebrows when he was filmed by broadcaster BT Sport asking Haaland to sign the cards on way to the dressing room after Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg in which Manchester City beat Dortmund 2-1.

UEFA, the European football's governing body, said it would not comment on the matter.

The SOS Autism organization in Romania thanked Sovre for his contribution and chairman Simona Zlibut told the gsp.ro portal donations were needed for it to survive.

Sovre believes he has had gathered around nine autographs for the charity including nine from Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi - albeit usually more discreetly than in front of a camera.

ians

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 09:06:20 +0530
Kat Dennings Got a lot of negative talk about my body

Mumbai, April 9

Actress Kat Dennings said she faced a lot of criticism over her body, adding that she lived with it.
The "2 Broke Girls" star opened up on "The DRew Barrymore Show", when host Barrymore said: "I love that you posted in October a really thoughtful tweet for Billie Eilish who since she has come onto the scene, we are all freaking out how amazing she is. What was your support may I ask?"
Dennings replied: "I love Billie Eilish anyway, I was obviously in a mood that day. It's just that, it's a young girl, like this is a child we are talking about and I grew up, and I know you certainly grew up, in a time when you are just scrutinised so much."
She praised the body positivity movement.
"I mean this amazing body positivity movement that is happening now is amazing and awesome but when I was younger this wasn't the way it was and I got a lot of negative talk about my body and I just kind of like lived with it and I'm sure it created a lot of problems, I'm sure it's kind of why I am a jerk now," Dennings said.
The actress says she cannot stand anyone talking about a young person's body.
"There is something visceral that happens to me when somebody talks about a young person's body. It's not okay and it's none of their business. And this is a person who has created the most beautiful, culture changing art and this is what you talk about. It's so stupid to me," Dennings added.
Barrymore said that supporting each other is very important.
"I just loved hearing that. It's true we should all support each other and that's exactly what you did," Barrymore concluded on the show, which airs on Zee Cafe in India.

ians
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 08:59:09 +0530
Number of multi millionaires in Hong Kong reaches new high

Hong Kong, April 9

A survey released by Citibank Hong Kong showed that the number of multi-millionaires in Hong Kong has reached 515,000, up 2.18 per cent compared with the previous survey released in September last year.

A multi-millionaire is defined as a person with a total net worth of 10 million HK dollars (about $1.28 million) or more and at least 1 million HK dollars in current assets, according to the bank, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

The bank randomly interviewed over 4,000 Hong Kong residents aged between 21 and 79 via phone and calculated the number. The results showed that the net assets of the multi-millionaires mainly distributed in properties, accounting for 71 per cent.

The number of multi-millionaires who were optimistic about the property market in the next 12 months was significantly higher than that in the last survey, rising from 7 per cent to 15 per cent, the survey said.

The survey also showed that under the Covid-19 epidemic, 25 per cent of the multi-millionaires reported an increase in their liquid assets compared with the end of 2019, with a median increase of 1 million HK dollars. Among them, 65 per cent said that the increase in liquid assets was mainly due to investment returns, with the majority of the increase gained from stocks.

Josephine Lee, head of retail banking for Citibank Hong Kong, said that some of the respondents' liquid assets increased despite the economic impact caused by the epidemic, which reflected the operational effect of diversified investment.

Lee said that the increase also reflected the appreciation of related financial assets driven by measures taken by major countries to save the economy and stabilize the financial sector in response to the epidemic.

ians

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 08:51:53 +0530
Covid surge PMO s top priority to prevent reverse migration of workers this time

 

New Delhi, April 9

With a sudden surge in Covid-19 cases in India, preventing another reverse migration of workers, particularly from key industrial areas, seems to be the top most priority of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
In a bid to avert any panic like situation similar to that of last year, the government, including local administration and railways, are working on an elaborate plan to prevent the exodus of labourers from major cities, including Mumbai.
Top sources in the government said the local administration in industrial pockets of Mumbai and other metros have been asked to approach factory management, labour unions and concerned groups to convince the migrant workers not to get scared of the sudden resurgence.
Industrial bodies and factory managements are also being apprised of the ongoing vaccination plan which will be escalated in weeks to come and would cover industrial workers.
The PMO is concerned about the migrant workers and wants to prevent mass exodus of workers which resulted in loss of jobs and human miseries last year.
On Wednesday night, several hundred migrant workers had flocked to the railway stations at Bandra, Dadra and Churchgate, triggering fears that mass exodus have started and may affect production in factories.
However the concerned authorities said that platforms were crowded mainly due to summer rush.
"I have spoken to IG, RPF Central Railway and IG, Western Railway in Mumbai. I want to clarify that groups of workers stayed at different railway stations because of the night curfew in Mumbai. They returned to their factories when curfew was lifted. The rush seen at platforms was mainly of waitlisted passengers boarding summer special trains," said Arun Kumar, Director General (DG) of the RPF.
He informed IANS that all efforts are being made to allay fears relating to reverse migration of workers.
"Our officers at the Western and Central Railway are coordinating with CP (Railways, Mumbai Police) and concerned authorities in industrial areas. They are being apprised of Covid protocols. Meanwhile additional special trains are being run to take care of the usual summer rush.," Kumar, a 1985 batch UP cadre IPS officer, said.
On Thursday, the DG and a team of senior officials held an important meeting with Chairman, Railway Board to further review the situation in Maharashtra, primarily Mumbai, a major railway hub in India presently facing the highest spike in cases relating to pandemic.
During March 2020, several lakh migrant workers returned to their villages, many of them reaching home on foot, as trains and local transport were shut due to nation wide lockdown.
Stories of human miseries and sufferings of migrant workers during their journey to villages had caught a large media attention.
Sources said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was perturbed over such incidents where poor labourers had to walk on foot, often without food for days.
"This time we are on alert. The government doesn't want this to happen again. All out efforts are being made at every level to prevent large scale migration of labourers. In a Covid affected economy, health of factory workers as well as the country's industrial production is our top priority," a senior officer said.

ians
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 08:43:53 +0530
US reports over 20 000 coronavirus variants infections

Washington, April 9

The United States has recorded more than 20,000 infection cases of coronavirus variants, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The majority of those variants cases, 19,554 cases were caused by the variant known as B.1.1.7, which was originally detected in Britain, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.
There were 424 cases of a new strain initially discovered in South Africa, called B.1.351, and 434 cases of the P.1 strain first discovered in Brazil.
In addition, the B.1.427 and B.1.429 variants, two coronavirus strains first detected in the U.S. state of California, are also being closely monitored by the CDC.
The five coronavirus strains are currently classified by the CDC as "variants of concern," as evidence shows an increase in their transmissibility, increased hospitalizations or deaths, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, and diagnostic detection failures.
Even as the country picks up its Covid-19 vaccination pace, the coronavirus variants are spreading rapidly, and experts warn the variants infections could potentially stall the nation's recovery from the pandemic.
The B.1.1.7 variant is "now the most common lineage circulating in the United States," said CDC Director Rachelle Walensky on Wednesday.
"Testing remains an important strategy to rapidly identify and isolate infectious individuals, including those with variants of concern," she said.
Walensky said earlier the B.1.1.7 strain was starting to become the predominant strain in many regions of the United States, accounting for 26 percent of COVID-19 cases circulating across the nation.
She urged the public to continue pandemic safety measures, such as washing hands, wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
Walensky said the United States must accelerate its vaccination efforts.
About 174 million Covid-19 vaccine shots have been administered by Thursday, while more than 229 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been distributed across the country.
On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden announced that all American adults will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccine by April 19, moving up his original deadline by nearly two weeks.

ians
 

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 08:28:04 +0530
India Inc expected to log double digit revenue growth in Q4FY21 Crisil

A spurt in volumes on a low base, coupled with improvement in realisations riding on higher commodity prices, are expected to lift corporate revenue by 15-17 per cent year-on-year to Rs 6.9 lakh crore in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, a Crisil Research report said.

As per the estimates, the double-digit growth comes after eight quarters of either decline or single digit growth.

The estimates are based on an analysis of 300 companies, which account for 55-60 per cent of the market capitalisation excluding financial services and oil companies of the National Stock Exchange.

Crisil Research Director Hetal Gandhi said: "The robust revenue growth rides on a low base of the corresponding year-ago quarter, besides higher government capital expenditure, and higher realisations amid a commodity upcycle, among others."

"A closer look at the revenue breakup indicates 50 per cent of the recovery is contributed by three key verticals - automobiles, IT services and construction."

The report cited that construction-linked sectors such as steel and cement are estimated to have seen revenue rise 45-50 per cent and 17- 18 per cent on-year, respectively, buoyed by higher realisations and volumes.

However, the report said that a cloud of uncertainty continues to loom over consumer discretionary services.

"Revenue for players in sectors such as airline services is estimated to drop 30 per cent on-year amid social distancing and cut in discretionary expenses, especially travel budgets.

"Similarly, revenue for players in media and entertainment is also expected to drop 10 per cent on-year due to lower advertisement spends and subscriptions. That said, a lower share of such sectors in the top 300 sectoral mix has muted the impact."

Besides, an increase in commodity prices should result in contraction of margins across key sectors, it warned.

"Margins in steel, cement and pharmaceuticals sectors, which together account for 30 per cent of aggregate Ebitda profits, are expected to contract by 380 bps, 230 bps and 160 bps, respectively, on a sequential basis."

"Despite this, fiscal 2021 would see Ebitda profiles rise 12-13 per cent on-year over flat revenues. Ebitda margins would reach a decade high of 22.2 per cent led by low commodity prices in the first half and fixed cost-reduction initiatives across companies for the year."

In addition, the report said that due to the second wave, states are likely to mount partial lockdowns, keeping demand recovery uncertain in the near term.

"Newer strains of the virus, scale of vaccinations and subsequent revival in demand would be among the key monitorables for fiscal 2022."


Source: ians

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 07:52:34 +0530
Priyanka Chopra is a presenter at 74th British Academy Film Awards

Priyanka Chopra Jonas is one of the presenters at the upcoming 74 British Academy Film Awards, which will take place on April 10 and 11 at Royal Albert Hall.

The actress, who is currently in London, took to Instagram Stories to repost from the official BAFTA Instagram page, announcing the news.

"So honoured and excited to be presenting at the #EEBAFTAs this Sunday!" she wrote.

The category she will present, EE BAFTA, represents the Rising Star Award that honours new talent. Earlier called Orange Rising Star Award, it is now designed as EE owing to commercial reasons.

Other presenters this year include Phoebe Dynevor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Cynthia Erivo, Hugh Grant, Richard E. Grant, Tom Hiddleston, Felicity Jones, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, James McAvoy, David Oyelowo, and Pedro Pascal.

Priyanka and other presenters at London will be joined virtually by presenters from the Los Angeles including Rose Byrne, Andra Day, Anna Kendrick and Renee Zellweger.

Priyanka's last outing onscreen was "The White Tiger", a film she featured in as well as executive-produced.

Interestingly, "The White Tiger" has two nominations at the BAFTAs this year -- for lead actor Adarsh Gourav in the Leading Actor category, and writer-director Ramin Bahrami in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay.

Recently, Priyanka and her husband, pop star Nick Jonas, announced the Oscars 2021 nominations.


Source: ians

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 07:49:16 +0530
As COVID situation worsens J K imposes night curfew in 8 districts

Battling with the worsening Covid spread situation, J&K government has decided to impose night curfew in eight districts from Friday.

"All leaves of the doctors and paramedics have been cancelled. Areas around GGM Science College and the Sanskrit University in Jammu have been declared as micro-containment zones. Permissions granted to hold exhibitions and fairs have also been cancelled," an official of the government said.

The official added that night curfew will remain confined to the municipal limits Jammu, Srinagar, Udhampur, Baramulla, Kathua, Anantnag, Budgam and Kupwara.

There has been an alarming spike in Covid-19 cases during recent days in J&K as 835 new cases were reported on Thursday with which the number of active cases has surged to 5,623 in J&K.


Source: ians

Fri, 09 Apr 2021 07:45:24 +0530
Mask Up in Public Space rules Delhi High Court

Prasad Nair

Mumbai, April 8

A year ago or so, before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, if anyone was wearing mask on their face then you would have considered them to be doctors after all many of the dentists or other doctors used to wear it in hospitals. People wanting to protect themselves from dust and pollution in factories or exhibition halls during set-up and dismantling also used to wear masks and these were limited for certain hours. The pandemic changed it all with people being forced to wear it all the time while on the move even if they are comfortable with it or not. Moreover authorities are deploying marshal squads to keep a check on persons flouting the rules and fining them.

In a new judgment in the case of Saurabh Sharma vs. Sub-Divisional Magistrate, East & Ors, a single judge bench chaired by Justice Pratibha M. Singh dismissed writ petitions challenging the imposition of fines by Delhi government on persons not wearing masks even when travelling solo in their personal vehicles. Pronouncing the judgment Justice Singh stated, “Wearing of masks or a face cover in a vehicle, which may be occupied by a single person…is compulsory in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.” The judge also said that a mask is a suraksha kavach for preventing the spread of coronavirus. It protects the person who is wearing it as also the person who is exposed…wearing of masks has been one measure that has saved millions of lives.

The Court ruled that a private vehicle moving in a public place, even if occupied by a single person, is a “public place” for the purposes of Covid-19 control. The ruling stated:

“The person may have visited a market, or workplace, or hospital or a busy street, prior to entering the car or vehicle. Such person may be required to keep windows open for the purposes of ventilation. The vehicle may also be required to be stopped at a traffic signal and the person could purchase any product by rolling down the window. The person may thus, be exposed to a street side vendor… (other occupants) can also be exposed to the virus if the occupant was not wearing the mask. The droplets carrying the virus can infect others even after a few hours after the occupant of the car has released the same. There are several possibilities in which while sitting alone in the car one could be exposed to the outside world. Thus, it cannot be said that merely because the person is travelling alone in a car, the car would not be a public place.”

The judge further opined:

“Immediately upon the outbreak of the pandemic, globally as well as nationally, scientists, researchers, international organizations and governments emphasized the importance of wearing facial masks to control the spread of the disease. In the absence of a complete definitive cure, the world continues to wrestle with the pandemic. The challenge of the pandemic was enormous at the outbreak of the same and even with the introduction of a few vaccines; the emphasis continues to be laid on wearing of face masks. The wearing of masks is necessary irrespective of whether a person is vaccinated or not.”

 The judge also read out the relevant portion of the advisory by World Health Organisation (WHO) on masks in the context of Covid-19 which reads as under:

“Masks should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy of measures to suppress transmission and save lives; the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection against Covid-19. If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, stay safe by taking some simple precautions, such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds, cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue. Check local advice where you live and work. Do it all! Make wearing a mask a normal part of being around other people. The appropriate use, storage and cleaning or disposals of masks are essential to make them as effective as possible.”

In conclusion the Court said that the petitioners as advocates ought to recognize and assist in the measures to contain the pandemic without questioning the same. Being lawyers they had a higher duty to comply with public health protocols as they were legally trained. As the Court didn’t find any merits in the arguments by the four petitioners, the petitions were dismissed.

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 21:58:32 +0530
Swami Vivekananda The Monk Who Changed the Perception of Bharat to the West

-By Anupama Nair

Mumbai, April 8

Swami Vivekananda (12 January 1863 -- 4 July 1902), born as Narendranath Datta or Naren, was one of the greatest sons of Bharat Maa. He is one of the persons who has inspired me in every aspect of my life. Just reading his book “My India, Eternal India” on a train journey changed my views of my great country. In the words of a disciple of Swamiji, Sister Christine “Our love for India came to birth, I think, when we first heard him (Swami Vivekananda) say the word, "India", in that marvelous voice of his. It seems incredible that so much could have been put into one small word of five letters. There was love, passion, pride, longing, adoration, tragedy, chivalry, and again love. Whole volumes could not have produced such a feeling in others. It had the magic power of creating love in those who heard it.” The result was me; a big fan of the Western life and philosophy began to look towards my own country of birth now with a change. It is not possible to write about such a great person in a single article, so it will be in two parts.

Swamiji was the chief disciple of the 19th-century saint Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world, and is credited with raising inter-faith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century. He was a major force in the contemporary Hindu Reform Movements in India, and contributed to the concept of nationalism in Colonial India. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Matt and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is perhaps best known for his speech which began with the words "Sisters and brothers of America, in which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago in 1893.

I learnt about Swami Vivekananda when I was associated with Ramakrishna Mission from childhood and I was lucky to work as an honorary teacher in Ramakrishna Mission School. Staying in Trivandrum in childhood, Kanyakumari was my favorite place to visit. The Vivekananda Rock Memorial inspired me to learn about his life and read his books. You read any of his books, love for this great country fills you. It is said “If Vivekananda hadn’t been a sanyasi, he would have fought against colonial rule”. His love for our mother land was immense and can be seen his books and his speeches.

Let me tell you about his early life. Naren was the son of Bhuvaneshwari Devi and Vishwanath Datta. Naren was born in Calcutta, the then capital of British India. Delhi became the capital of British India in 1911 after the proclamation of the King George V. Naren was interested in spirituality as a young boy and used to meditate before the images of deities such as Shiva, Ram, Sita and Hanuman. As a boy he was very mischievous and his mother Bhuveneshwari Devi used to scold him and said “I prayed to Bhootnath (Bhagvan Shiva) for a son and he sent me one of his Bhoot (demons)".

In 1871, at the age of eight, Naren was enrolled at Ishwar Chander Vidyasagar Metropolitan Institution, and studied there till his family, migrated to Raipur in 1877. In 1879, after his family's return to Calcutta, he was the only student to receive first-division marks in the Presidency College entrance examination.  He was an avid reader in a wide range of subjects, including philosophy, art and literature, and history. He was also interested in Hindu philosophy like Vedas, Upanishads, Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas. Naren was interested in classical music, and sports. He used to do Yoga and exercise to keep himself fit. Later he studied Western Philosophy and European History at Scottish Church College. Along with studying the works of Western philosophers, he also learned Sanskrit scriptures and Bengali Literature.

William Hastie (former principal of Christian college, from where he graduated) wrote “Narendra is really a genius. I have travelled far and wide but I have never come across a lad of his talents and possibilities, even in German universities, among philosophical students. He is bound to make his mark in life", which he did as we all know. Once he had an argument with a Swedish national where he gave reference to some details on Swedish history that the Swede originally disagreed with but later conceded.

In 1880, Narendra joined Kesab Chandra Sen’s “Nava Vidhan” which was established by Sen after meeting Sri Ramakrishna.  Narendra became a member of the Sadhan Brahmo Samaj in his twenties, which was a breakaway faction of the Brahmo Sama (founded by Ram Mohan Roy in in 1828) led by Sen and Debendranath Tagore (father of Rabindranath Tagore). From 1881 to 1884, he was also active in Sen's Band of Hope, which tried to discourage youths from bad habits like smoking and drinking.

It is said he asked several prominent Calcutta residents if they had come "face- to-face with God", but none of their answers gave him satisfaction. At this time, Narendra met Debendranath Tagore, and asked if he had seen God. Instead of answering his question, Tagore said "My boy, you have a Yogi’s eyes." According to Banhatti,  a historian it was Sri Ramakrishna who really answered Narendra's question, by saying "Yes, I see Him as I see you, only in an infinitely intense sense." It was also due to Sen that he met his Guru and idol Sri Ramakrishna.

In 1881, Narendra met Ramakrishna, who became his Guru after his own father Vishwanath Datta died in 1884. Narendra's first introduction to Ramakrishna occurred in a literature class at Scottish Church College when he heard Professor William Hastie lecturing on William Wordsworth’s poem, “The Excursion”. While explaining the word "trance" in the poem, Hastie suggested that his students visit Sri Ramakrishna of Dakshineshwar, to understand the true meaning of trance. This inspired Narendra to visit Sri Ramakrishna.

At this time, Narendra was preparing for his upcoming F.A. (Formative Assessment) examination, when Ram Chandra Dutta  accompanied him to Surendra Nath Mitra's house

, where Sri Ramakrishna was invited to deliver a lecture. It is believed that at this meeting, Sri Ramakrishna asked young Narendra to sing and impressed by his singing talent, he asked Narendra to come to Dakshineshwar.

In late 1881 or early 1882, Narendra went to Dakshineswar with two friends and met Sri Ramakrishna. This meeting proved to be a turning point in the life of Naren. Although, he did not initially accept Ramakrishna as his teacher and rebelled against his ideas, he was attracted by his personality and began to frequently visit him at Dakshineswar. He initially saw Sri Ramakrishna's ecstasies and visions as "mere figments of imagination" and "hallucinations". As a member of Brahmo Samaj, he opposed idol worship, polytheism and Ramakrishna's worship of Devi Kali. He even rejected the Advaita Vedanta of "identity with the absolute", and often ridiculed the idea. Narendra even tested Sri Ramakrishna, who faced his arguments patiently, "Try to see the truth from all angles", he replied to his shishya

Narendra's father's sudden death in 1884 left the family bankrupt, creditors began demanding the repayment of loans, and relatives threatened to evict the family from their ancestral home. Narendra, once a son of a well-to-do family, became one of the poorest students in his college. He unsuccessfully tried to find work and became an atheist. He found solace in Sri Ramakrishna and his visits to Dakshineswar became more frequent

One day, Narendra requested Sri Ramakrishna to pray to Devi Kali for their family's financial welfare. Ramakrishna advised him to go to the temple himself and pray. Following Sri Ramakrishna's suggestion, he went to the temple thrice, but failed to pray for any kind of worldly necessities and ultimately prayed for true knowledge and devotion from the Devi. Narendra gradually grew ready to renounce everything for the sake of God realization, and accepted Sri Ramakrishna as his Guru.

In 1885, Sri Ramakrishna developed throat cancer, and was transferred to Calcutta and later to a garden house in Cossipore. Narendra and Sri Ramakrishna's other disciples took care of him during his last days, and Narendra's spiritual education continued even though his Guru was in his death bed. At Cossipore, he experienced Nirvikalpa Samadhi (highest stage of Samadhi). 

Narendra and several other disciples received ochre robes from Sri Ramakrishna, forming his first monastic order. He was taught that “manav seva” was the most effective worship of God. Sri Ramakrishna asked him to care for the other disciples, and in turn asked them to see Narendra as their Guru now. Sri Ramakrishna died in the early-morning hours of 16 August 1886 in Cossipore.  Many disciples abandoned the sanyasi way of life and adopted grahasthashram. Narendra decided to convert a dilapidated house at Baranagar into a new matt for the remaining disciples. Rent for the Baranagar Matt was low, raised by "holy begging". The matt became the first building of the Ramakrishna Matt, the monastery of the monastic order of Sri Ramakrishna. Narendra and other disciples used to spend many hours in practicing meditation, and religious austerities every day. 

On the Christmas Eve of 1886, Narendra and eight other disciples took formal monastic vows. They decided to live their lives as their master Sri Ramakrishna lived. In 1888, Narendra left the monastery as a Parivrâjaka— the Hindu religious life of a wandering monk, "without fixed abode, without ties, independent and strangers wherever they go". His sole possessions were a kamandalu (water pot), staff and his two favorite books: The Bhagvad Gita and the Imitation of Christ written by Thomas Kempis. Narendra travelled extensively in India for five years, visiting centers of learning and familiarizing himself with diverse religious traditions and social patterns. He developed sympathy for the suffering and poverty of the people, and resolved to uplift the nation. Living primarily on bhiksha (alms), Narendra travelled on foot and by railway (with tickets bought by admirers). During his travels he met, and stayed with Indians from all religions and walks of life --scholars, dewans, rajas and government officials.  Narendra left Bombay for Chicago on 31 May 1893 with the name "Vivekananda", which was suggested by Maharaj Ajit Singh of Khetri, which means "the bliss of discerning wisdom," from Sanskrit viveka and Ananda.

Vivekananda started his journey to the West on 31 May 1893, and visited several cities in Japan, China and Canada en-route to the United States, reaching Chicago on 30 July 1893, where the "Parliament of Religions" took place in September 1893. The Congress was an initiative of the Sweden-Borgian layman, and judge of the Illinois Supreme Court, Charles Bonney to gather all the religions of the world, and show "the substantial unity of many religions in the good deeds of the religious life." It was one of the more than 200 adjunct gatherings and congresses of the Chicago's World's Fair, and was "an avant-garde intellectual manifestation of cultic milieus, East and West," with the Brahmo Samaj and the Theosophical Society being invited as representative of Hinduism

Swamiji wanted to join the Parliament, but was disappointed to learn that no one without credentials from a bonafide organization would be accepted as a delegate. He contacted Professor John Wright of Harvard University, who invited him to speak at Harvard. Vivekananda submitted an application, "introducing himself as a monk “of the oldest order of sanyasis” founded by Adi Shankara, supported by the Brahmo Samaj representative Pratap Chandra Mozzambar, who was also a member of the Parliament's selection committee, "classifying the Swami as a representative of the Hindu monastic order." Hearing Vivekananda speak, Harvard psychology professor William James said, "that man is simply a wonder for oratorical power. He is an honor to humanity."

 

… To be continued

(Dedicated to Ramakrishna Mission --Trivandrum, Vivekananda Ashram – Kanyakumari, Ramakrishna Mission School – Jamshedpur, and Belur Matt – Calcutta)

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 18:17:24 +0530
Bhuvneshwar Rajeshwari Punam in ICC shortlist

New Delhi, April 8 :Fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar from India's men's team and spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad and batter Punam Raut from the women's team have been nominated for the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Player of the Month award.

Bhuvneshwar played three ODIs against England in which he took six wickets with an economy rate of 4.65. He also went on to play five T20Is against them where he took 4 wickets with an economy rate of 6.38. He was the standout bowler on either side in the white ball series between India and England.

Rajeshwari played five ODIs against South Africa and was their leading wicket-taker in both the white ball series with South Africa. She took eight wickets with an economy rate of 3.56 in the ODIs and in the three T20Is against the same opponent she took four wickets with an economy rate of 4.75.

Punam played five ODIs against South Africa where she scored 263 runs at 87.66 with a strike rate of 71.66. Punam was India's top run-scorer in the ODI series against South Africa, scoring a century and two half-centuries in these games.

IANS
 

 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 17:26:48 +0530
Lack of home advantage will make IPL 2021 competitive Kohli

Chennai, April 8 : Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday said this year's Indian Premier League will be competitive just like the one last year in UAE since teams won't be having any home advantage for the second edition in succession.

"There is nothing quite like playing at the Chinnaswamy Stadium (RCB's home ground in Bengaluru) in front of your home crowd. I understand and agree with that. Obviously, the fans are going to miss watching us play -- such is the time that we in right now," said Kohli on the eve of his franchise's season-opener against Mumbai Indians.

"But the good thing is that we are back in India and one more positive thing about this edition like last year is that there is no home advantage. Everyone is playing at neutral venues and the strength of your squad really comes to the fore. This is precisely why last IPL was competitive and until about the last 3-4 games, everyone was in the reckoning to qualify [for the playoffs] which I think is great for the tournament. The viewership went through the roof which I expect to be the case this time around as well. The [2021] tournament is going to be competitive," added Kohli, who is also the India skipper.

Kohli said that RCB are one of the strongest sides at this edition and hopes his side will do well.

"Having done well last year, in such a competitive scenario, as a side we are confident that we are the strongest squad this time around. This time we are also going to have a great season. It is something we are all looking forward to being part of. Just playing in set venues with four teams that is going to be nullify the home advantage every team used to have and we will really have some competitive excitement," he added.
IANS

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 16:55:37 +0530
Israel remembers Holocaust victims

Tel Aviv, April 8 : Israel paused on Thursday to mourn the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis during the Second World War on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

At about 10 a.m., sirens went off nationwide for two minutes while pedestrians paused and drivers pulled their cars over on streets and highways, reports dpa news agency.

The sirens marked the beginning of a series of memorial activities on the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day, an official day to honour the Jews who died at the hands of Nazi Germany and its collaborators.

According to official figures, 174,500 Holocaust survivors are still alive in Israel.

Eighty-three per cent of them are older than 80, and 18 per cent are older than 90.

More than 900 Holocaust survivors in Israel are older than 100.

President Reuven Rivlin said at a ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial that some 900 survivors in Israel died "as a direct result" of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said many of them spent their final days "distraught and isolated, behind masks and protective gloves, longing for contact but separated from their loved ones".

"Our hearts are with them and their families," Rivlin said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials also attended the ceremony.
IANS

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 16:53:22 +0530
Assam CM gets Covid 19 jab urges others to get vaccinated 16 18

Guwahati, April 8 : Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday took his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).

After the jab, Sonowal,59, tweeted: "Took my first shot of Covid-19 vaccine at GMCH. Vaccines are safe and will help us defeat this pandemic. I urge all eligible persons of the state to get vaccinated and continue following safety precautions."

Most Governors and Chief Ministers of northeastern states have taken the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

IANS

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 16:35:42 +0530
PM hails social service by Sikhs calls for proper research

New Delhi, April 8: Hailing the social service by Sikh community and Gurudwaras all over the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday stressed the need to do "proper research and documentation" on this aspect of the Sikh tradition.

The Prime Minister expressed his views while chairing the meeting of the High-Level Committee to commemorate 400th Birth Anniversary (Prakash Purab) of Guru Tegh Bahadur--ninth of the ten Gurus who founded the Sikh religion and was the head of the followers of Sikhism from 1665 until his beheading in 1675.

Addressing the meeting via video conferencing, the Prime Minister highlighted that it is important to make the younger generation understand the teaching and lessons from the life of Guru Tegh Bahadur, and noted that through digital means, it is easier to reach out to the younger generation world over to spread the message.

Elaborating on the discussions in the meeting, the Prime Minister said that to connect more and more people to commemorate the 400th Prakash Purab of Guru Tegh Bahadur, various activities will be organized throughout the year.

Modi said that the organisation of activities should be such that not only the life and teachings of Guru Tegh Bahadur, but of the entire Guru Tradition is propagated world over.

He later hailed the social service by Sikh community and Gurudwaras all over the world and said that "proper research and documentation on this aspect of the Sikh tradition should be done".

Prime Minister said that the Sikh Guru tradition is a complete life philosophy in itself. It is the privilege and good fortune of the government that it has got the opportunity to celebrate the 550th Prakash Purab of Guru Nanak Dev, the 400th Prakash Purab of Guru Tegh Bahadur and the 350th Prakash Purab of Guru Gobind Singh.

The meeting was attended by Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh; Union Home Minister Amit Shah; Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla; Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh; Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge; Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar; Punjab CM Capt. Amarinder Singh; Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot; President, Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, Bibi Jagir Kaur; MPs Sukhbir Singh Badal and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa; Former MP Tarlochan Singh; MD Amul R. S. Sodhi; and Eminent Scholar Amarjit Singh Grewal among others.

The Home Minister said that collective efforts should be made to ensure that the message of Guru Tegh Bahadur reaches out to all.

Culture Secretary gave a presentation on suggestions outlined till now for the commemoration.

The High-Level Committee was constituted by the Central government on October 24 last year to approve policies, plans and programs related to the commemoration of the 400th birth anniversary of Guru Tegh Bahadur along with supervision of the events.

The High-Level Committee has 70 members including the Prime Minister as Chairman.

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 16:32:19 +0530
Canadian organic skincare line launches in India

 

Canadian organic skincare line, Refresh Botanicals, announced its launch in India. The brand which was launched in 2017 in Canada, became a household favourite for natural and organic skincare and became popular across Canadian and US markets.

The organic brand features products made through scientifically proven formulations that result in diminishing fine lines and increasing intracellular water by 85 per cent in only two weeks. Additionally, it is packed with antioxidant and vitamin support for the skin through the curative properties of bioactives. The product line is formulated especially for sensitive skin types and geared towards anti-ageing and acne-prone skin; it is made for men and women, all skin types, at any stage of life. The products launched in India include a wide range of facial cleansers, toners and moisturizers along with eye and face makeup remover, intensive serum, night restore complex, premium eye serum among others.

Dr. Jagvir Singh, Founder and CEO, said: ''The Indian organic skincare space is evolving constantly and we are excited to launch our brand in this market. Through our research on powerful bioactives and novel extraction techniques that allow us to zero in and take a look at botanical molecules that address specific skincare concerns, the brand is beyond just being organically sourced. We understand that alleviating everyday skincare concerns, regardless of what stage of life one is in, requires scientific evidence through research and the absence of parabens, gluten, petroleum by-products, animal by-products, and artificial oils, alcohol and fragrances. Our natural and organic skincare allows consumers to refresh their routine with unequivocal vitamin and antioxidant support to relieve, restore and revitalize their skin."

Manufactured in a 4,000 square feet production facility in Canada, equipped with advanced manufacturing equipment, follows the strictest procedures prescribed under NNHP GMP and Health Canada guidelines. The company also ensures to verify the purity of the ingredients, uniformity of its production batches, stability data, in-process integrity and safety, and shelf life data.

By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 16:29:21 +0530
Surprised SA allowed players to leave for IPL during series Afridi

Lahore, April 8: Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said that it was surprising to see Cricket South Africa (CSA) allowing players to leave for the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the middle of an international series.

South Africa's Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje were among players who were allowed to leave for their respective IPL teams after the second ODI of their three-match series against Pakistan.

"Surprising to see @OfficialCSA allowing players to travel for IPL in the middle of a series. It is sad to see T20 leagues influencing international cricket. Some rethinking needs to be done!!" Afridi tweeted.

The series was poised at 1-1 and a depleted South Africa ended up losing the third ODI by 28 runs.

Additionally, New Zealand could be without captain Kane Williamson and frontline fast bowlers Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson and Lockie Ferguson in their upcoming Test series against England if the trio's respective IPL teams end up reaching the final. England themselves could be missing players like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes among others if their teams end up reaching the IPL final.

IANS
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 14:18:05 +0530
Young Aus women most resistant to Covid vax Poll

Canberra, April 8 : Young women are the most reluctant group in Australia to get vaccinated against Covid-19, a new survey revealed on Thursday.

Researchers from Australian National University (ANU) published the latest edition of the survey that has tracked the experiences and attitudes of 3,030 Australians during the pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.

It found that only 43 per cent of women aged 18 to 24 said they were willing to get vaccinated as soon as possible compared to 63 per cent of the rest of the population.

"Young women were less willing than other groups to receive the vaccine," Diana Cardenas, the lead author of the survey, said.

"More than half of Australia's young men, aged 18-24, are keen to get vaccinated as soon as possible - 62 per cent."

People aged over 65 were most willing to get vaccinated, with 80 per cent saying they will volunteer for it as soon as possible.

"We found people, regardless of ethnicity, age and gender, who have greater confidence in state and the federal governments are more willing to be vaccinated," Kate Reynolds from ANU's Research School of Psychology said.

"Social cohesion also mattered. We found key drivers of getting vaccinated for Covid-19 included when people had a sense of belonging in their neighbourhood, and a belief that people are being treated fairly."

Less than a third, 30 per cent, of young women said they had confidence in the federal government compared to 47 per cent of the rest of the population.

In mid-2020, 18 per cent of respondents said they were unsure if they would be willing to get vaccinated.

By October 2020 that figure had risen to 20 per cent.

The survey found 21 per cent of Australians were concerned about serious risks of being vaccinated.
IANS

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 14:14:55 +0530
New letter writing trend is political conspiracy Sena

Mumbai, April 8 : A new trend of letter-writing by accused in jails has started in Maharashtra which is a political conspiracy intended to defame and destabilize the Maha Vikas Agadhi government, Shiv Sena MP and Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut said here on Thursday.

In his first reaction after the 'letter-grenade' lobbed by arrested-suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze levelling several allegations against the MVA ministers, Raut said that these efforts to dislodge the government are on since day one.

"The real faces of those who are trying to sabotage the state government are coming to the fore. A new trend has begun of people in jail writing letters which are used to hammer the government. There are many others in jail and a lot can be written from them also. This kind of dirty politics is unprecedented in the history of state and the country," Raut said.

In Vaze's letter, the names of former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Transport Minister Anil Parab and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar have cropped up.

"But who is taking these names. It (letter) is written in prison by a person who is jailed for the crime and is now being trumpeted as 'evidence'. This is nothing by a political conspiracy," Raut added sharply.

He called upon the Opposition to clarify the antecedents of the person writing the letter, how saintly or notorious he is and whether the letter itself is genuine or not.

Defending Parab, the Sena MP said that he could never be involved in such activities and 'then take a false oath in the name of Balasaheb Thackeray'.

"It is unfortunate that the so-called National Investigation Agency (NIA) is laying the red carpet for the opposition to shake the MVA government. But their intentions will not succeed," Raut warned.

The Sena MP's reactions came a day after a letter written on April 3 by Vaze to the Special NIA Judge came into the public domain in which he has made certain allegations of corruption against Deshmukh, Parab, Ajit Pawar as the tainted policeman was sent to NIA custody till April 9.
 

IANS

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 14:11:14 +0530
60 hour lockdown in MP s urban areas from Friday evening

Bhopal, April 8 : Owing to the rising cases of coronavirus, the Madhya Pradesh government has decided to put all urban areas under lockdown from 6 p.m. on Friday evening to 6 a.m. on Monday morning.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, talking to reporters on Thursday, said that he has reviewed the coronavirus situation in the state and has decided to place all urban areas under lockdown for two days from 6 p.m. on Friday evening to 6 a.m. on Monday morning. During this time, all the urban areas will be completely shut.

The lockdown has already been clamped in 13 districts of the state on Sundays. Now the government has decided to do a 60-hour lockdown in all urban areas starting Friday.

The state government a day earlier had announced a night curfew in all the cities of Madhya Pradesh. But after a record 4,043 corona cases were discovered on a single day on Wednesday, the government announced a Saturday-Sunday lockdown.

The chief minister has appealed to all to wear mask, maintain social distancing and wash hands regularly.
 

IANS

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 14:04:47 +0530
What your travel checklist should include

Travellers, it's time you add a few new essentials to your checklist along with your masks, sanitizers and disinfectants. This new list will help you plan a safe, seamless and most importantly, ambiguity-free travel in these uncertain times.

As coronavirus cases see a new spike in the country, MakeMyTrip has released travel products and solutions that one should consider even as you exercise more caution while taking up your journey. With a promise to make end-to-end travel safe, contactless and secure, the company has introduced a slew of tech-integrated solutions to help travellers prioritise safety at all times.

Lock air fares as you firm up your air travel

Staying watchful of the ongoing uncertainty and planning your air travel accordingly is the best that you can do as you firm up your travel dates. But given the evolving scenarios one cannot worry least about the change in air fares -- leaving many to think whether they should wait and consequently risk fare hike, or book the ticket right away. So, here's what flyers can do as they finalise their travel. Lock fares and reserve their seats without paying for the actual price of the ticket upfront. With this flyers can also secure themselves against any price hike as they can purchase the ticket at the same locked-in price later. The service allows customers to lock airfares for one, three or seven days for a nominal fee -- that later gets adjusted into the full price of the ticket at the time of the final purchase. Here's a quick and easy resolve to buy time and same money on your air tickets!

Finding an answer for the quintessential question

'What if' the unforeseen happens a few days before the trip?: 2020 was a year of disappointment for travel lovers and having waited long enough for that holiday, you would not want anything to jinx it. But having a Plan B or C is important in these times? So, while you prepare for that much-awaited summer holiday with your loves ones, take out a few minutes to opt for a Corona Protection Plan. Bookable on the platform, the plan allows a traveller to cancel the holiday 72 hours prior to the travel date, in case she or her co-travellers tests positive. The booking amount is converted into a Holiday Gift Card for the full value with a validity of one year to ensure you make up for the lost time. So, it's time you press a shift+alt+delete on 'What If' from your holiday plans!

COVID travel insurance a must to protect you or your loved ones

It is always wise to prepare for any uncertainty than being sorry later. Yes, it sounds harsh but as unforgiving the virus is, it's always advisable to take some preventive measures beforehand. It recently rolled out an option for COVID-19 insurance to secure travellers against any risk of infection during the trip. The option provides a coverage of Rs 2 lakh (per customer) along with other benefits such as zero restrictions on room rent, consumables, post-hospitalization diagnostics etc. The insurance also covers hospitalization for 16 days post-travel in case of infection as it usually takes 14-15 days for the virus to surface.

You need not worry about lugging your baggage to the airport: Travelling with baggage can be pretty exhausting, especially in times like now when safety and hygiene are non-negotiable. In a bid to make flying safe, convenient and hassle-free, the platform has introduced a 'door-to-door' baggage transfer service for its customers. The new offering allows travellers to book an end-to-end baggage transfer service from the departing address to the destination address. While the service has been designed and developed with an aim to make baggage handling easy for all travellers, it is especially targeted at customers who may check-in with bulk luggage or need assistance otherwise at the airport -- for instance, people moving cities, senior citizens among others.

 By Puja Gupta 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 14:01:23 +0530
What your travel checklist should include

New Delhi, April 8 :Travellers, it's time you add a few new essentials to your checklist along with your masks, sanitizers and disinfectants. This new list will help you plan a safe, seamless and most importantly, ambiguity-free travel in these uncertain times.

As coronavirus cases see a new spike in the country, MakeMyTrip has released travel products and solutions that one should consider even as you exercise more caution while taking up your journey. With a promise to make end-to-end travel safe, contactless and secure, the company has introduced a slew of tech-integrated solutions to help travellers prioritise safety at all times.

Lock air fares as you firm up your air travel

Staying watchful of the ongoing uncertainty and planning your air travel accordingly is the best that you can do as you firm up your travel dates. But given the evolving scenarios one cannot worry least about the change in air fares -- leaving many to think whether they should wait and consequently risk fare hike, or book the ticket right away. So, here's what flyers can do as they finalise their travel. Lock fares and reserve their seats without paying for the actual price of the ticket upfront. With this flyers can also secure themselves against any price hike as they can purchase the ticket at the same locked-in price later. The service allows customers to lock airfares for one, three or seven days for a nominal fee -- that later gets adjusted into the full price of the ticket at the time of the final purchase. Here's a quick and easy resolve to buy time and same money on your air tickets!

Finding an answer for the quintessential question

'What if' the unforeseen happens a few days before the trip?: 2020 was a year of disappointment for travel lovers and having waited long enough for that holiday, you would not want anything to jinx it. But having a Plan B or C is important in these times? So, while you prepare for that much-awaited summer holiday with your loves ones, take out a few minutes to opt for a Corona Protection Plan. Bookable on the platform, the plan allows a traveller to cancel the holiday 72 hours prior to the travel date, in case she or her co-travellers tests positive. The booking amount is converted into a Holiday Gift Card for the full value with a validity of one year to ensure you make up for the lost time. So, it's time you press a shift+alt+delete on 'What If' from your holiday plans!

COVID travel insurance a must to protect you or your loved ones

It is always wise to prepare for any uncertainty than being sorry later. Yes, it sounds harsh but as unforgiving the virus is, it's always advisable to take some preventive measures beforehand. It recently rolled out an option for COVID-19 insurance to secure travellers against any risk of infection during the trip. The option provides a coverage of Rs 2 lakh (per customer) along with other benefits such as zero restrictions on room rent, consumables, post-hospitalization diagnostics etc. The insurance also covers hospitalization for 16 days post-travel in case of infection as it usually takes 14-15 days for the virus to surface.

You need not worry about lugging your baggage to the airport: Travelling with baggage can be pretty exhausting, especially in times like now when safety and hygiene are non-negotiable. In a bid to make flying safe, convenient and hassle-free, the platform has introduced a 'door-to-door' baggage transfer service for its customers. The new offering allows travellers to book an end-to-end baggage transfer service from the departing address to the destination address. While the service has been designed and developed with an aim to make baggage handling easy for all travellers, it is especially targeted at customers who may check-in with bulk luggage or need assistance otherwise at the airport -- for instance, people moving cities, senior citizens among others.

By Puja Gupta 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 13:58:32 +0530
Oommen Chandy likely to be shifted to hospital

 

Thiruvananthapuram, April 8

Two time former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who has been suffering from fever for the past two days is likely to be shifted to a hospital in the state capital city.
The 77-year-old top most Congress leader of the state was the most sought after party politician for the past three weeks during the assembly election campaign and was literally travelling across the state.
On election day on April 6, Chandy looked weak and was waiting for his turn to cast his vote at his home turf Puthupally in Kottayam district aiming for his 12th successive electoral victory.
following that he returned to his home in the state capital city and was resting and with fever continuing to rise, doctors attended to him on Thursday and advised that he be shifted to a hospital.

ians

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 12:12:18 +0530
Covid All hostels in Bhopal closed indefinitely

Bhopal, April 8

The Madhya Pradesh government is taking all precautionary measures to contain the rising infections due to coronavirus. The government has now decided to close all hostels in the state capital Bhopal indefinitely.
Bhopal District Collector Avinash Lavania has directed the hostel superintendents of the government colleges to keep the departmental hostels closed till further orders for the prevention of coronavirus infections.
Earlier, the Additional Chief Secretary of the Home Department had instructed to discontinue teaching and othe academic activities in all the schools and colleges of Bhopal till April 15. He had also instructed that all undergraduate and postgraduate examinations for the academic year 2020-21 will be held in the months of May and June.

ians

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 12:06:42 +0530
Emraan Hashmi I still get nervous before first day of shoot

Mumbai, April 8

 Actor Emraan Hashmi says despite his years in the industry, he is very apprehensive before starting a new film. The actor says that he is nervous about matching up to the demands of his character.
"With each film I hope I can match up and portray my character well. Every new character, you feel you have to learn (all over again), that I don't know anything. I still get nervous before the first day of shoot. Things get easier as you continue to shoot," he said.
The actor adds that his process of coming on board with a film has remained the same over the years. "If you have an interesting story, I am up for it. That has remained the same since my first film," he says.
Talking about the other things that help him get on board a film, he says: "It's the same process from the word go -- hearing stories, enjoying them, wanting to work with certain people."
Ask him if money is an important criterion , and he says: "Money is not the sole criterion to do a film, it's a by-product. It's not my first love, that is the process of filmmaking. But there are business aspects. I don't do films for free."
Meanwhile, Emraan has a busy year ahead. He was recently seen in the film "Mumbai Saga". His next film "Chehre" is all set for release. However, the makers had to push the date due to the second wave of Covid. He will also be seen in "Tiger 3".

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 12:00:28 +0530
Hefazat preacher arrested in B desh

 

Dhaka, April 8

 Rafiqul Islam Madani, a preacher of the Hefazat-e-Islam militant outfit in Bangladesh, has been arrested on charges of anti-state speech and inciting chaos.
The 28-year-old Madani, also known as 'Shishu Bokta' or child preacher, was arrested on Wednesday night by a team of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the elite force of Bangladesh Police, from his ancestral home in Netrokona's Purbatola area.
A case has been filed against the preacher under the Digital Security Act for allegedly making anti-state, provocative and arrogant remarks and creating chaos.
The case was filed on Thursday morning by Deputy Additional Director of the RAB, Mohammad Khaled, at the Gaccha Police Station, Gazipur Metropolitan Police DCP Mohammad Eltutmish said.
Imran Hossain, Assistant Director at the RAB headquarters, also confirmed Madani's arrest .
On March 26, Madani and around 30 others were detained after clashes between police and demonstrators in Dhaka during the violent protests against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh.
However, he was released later.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 11:55:14 +0530
Moderna vax has more side effects than Pfizer BioNTech Study

Washington, April 8

 In a first, a new study has pointed out that those taking the Moderna vaccine have reported more side effects than people who get the Pfizer/BioNTech jabs.
The study, published in the journal JAMA, analysed reports collected via a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) programme called v-safe that tracks side effects in vaccine recipients.
A total of 3,643,918 people were enrolled in v-safe and completed at least one health survey within seven days following their first vaccine dose before February 21, and 1,920,872 v-safe participants reported receiving a second vaccine dose and completed at least one daily health survey within seven days following the second dose.
Nearly 70 per cent of those said they had some kind of injection site reaction, like pain or swelling, and half had generalised reaction like fatigue or chills.
"A greater percentage of participants who received the Moderna vaccine, compared with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, reported reactogenicity; this pattern was more pronounced after the second dose," the researchers noted.
Reactogenicity refers to a subset of reactions that occur soon after vaccination.
People who got a Moderna shot were more likely to have a side effect -- 73 per cent had an injection site reaction, compared with 65 per cent of people who had a Pfizer/BioNTech dose.
Nearly 51 per cent of Moderna recipients had full-body symptoms, compared with 48 per cent of people who got the Pfizer/BioNTech shot.
The gap widened after the second dose.
Almost 82 per cent of people getting their second Moderna shot had injection site pain versus just under 69 per cent of people with Pfizer/BioNTech, reports The Verge.
"Overall, 74 per cent of people said they had general reactions after their Moderna shot, compared with 64 per cent of people getting Pfizer/BioNTech," the report said on Tuesday.
People over 65 were also less likely to have side effects than people under 65, regardless of which vaccine they received.
"Data from millions of v-safe participants indicate that injection site pain is common after both the first and second doses of either mRNA-based vaccine," the study noted.
Systemic reactions, including fatigue, headache, myalgia, chills, fever, and joint pain, occurred in participants after the first dose, although they were more frequently reported after the second dose among both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine recipients.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 11:48:10 +0530
Retail sector revives hiring as 2nd Covid wave haunts India

New Delhi, April 8

 As the second Covid wave begins to haunt us, a new report said on Thursday that apart from the IT-software industry, retail sector that was severely impacted by the pandemic has seen robust revival in hiring that saw an uptick of more than 15 per cent in March.
Amid the wave of digital transformation, the IT-software sector once again remained shielded and hiring continued to grow by 11 per cent in the sector in March over February.
Overall across industries, the Naukri JobSpeak Index for March witnessed an uptick of more than 3 per cent in hiring activity as compared to the previous month.
"Overall, hiring activity shows a robust growth of 23 per cent in the January-March quarter as compared to the Q4 2020. The IT sector has been at the forefront of fuelling this growth and it is encouraging to see sectors like retail and accounting/finance also showing promising recovery over the past few months," said Pawan Goyal, Chief Business Officer, Naukri.com.
All six metros and key Tier-2 cities witnessed sequential growth in hiring in March, barring Kolkata (-3 per cent) and Vadodara (-2 per cent) that saw a slight decline in hiring.
Within metros, Bengaluru and Mumbai led the sequential growth, respectively followed by Hyderabad and Chennai.
Ahmedabad registered the highest hiring growth among Tier-2 cities.
"With the economy opening up, recruiters are ready to hire again, and 83 per cent confirmed this in our latest survey," Goyal said.
Demand for IT-software professionals saw a leap of more than 53 per cent in march versus the previous year.
In addition, hiring for roles in marketing/advertising, and HR/administration domains showed a notable uptick, said the report.
The figures came as India registered 1,26,789 fresh Covid cases, setting another grim one-day record, and 685 deaths in the last 24 hour.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 11:42:34 +0530
Girl aged 12 with 5 kg tumour gets new life after surgery Ld

New Delhi, April 7

 A 12-year-old girl from Delhi got a new lease of life by a team of doctors of City based Sir Ganga Ram Hospital who removed two football-sized tumours weighing 5 kg from her stomach which she was carrying for the past few years.
The girl, whose name is withheld with request from the hospital, visited the hospital with complaints of abdominal distension which was associated with mild pain. The abdominal swelling started 4-5 years back and was slowly increasing in size.
It started rapidly increasing in size from the last year and started causing discomfort to the girl and she was having pain and difficulty in breathing.
Due to fear of Covid-19 disease, the patient's family reportedly did not approach any hospital to seek medical care.
In March, the family finally visited sir Ganga Ram hospital and met Dr Tarun Mittal (laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon) Department of General and Laparoscopic Surgery one week back from the surgery.
"At that time her abdomen was grossly distended and huge lump was felt encompassing the full abdomen during clinical examination. We were surprised that the swelling has reached such a huge size without causing many complaints," Mittal said.
"An urgent CT scan was done to find the nature and origin of the swelling which showed a large lobulated mass (30x20x14cm) in the retroperitoneal area."
After proper evaluation and counseling of the parents and the girl surgery was planned and the two tumours were operated on March 25 with full precautions, the surgeon said.
"During surgery it was confirmed that a large retroperitoneal mass was present occupying whole of the abdominal cavity and was densely adherent to vital structures including large blood vessels and intestine.
"Utmost precautions were taken that vital structures including blood vessels and intestine are not injured during the surgery," Mittal said.
In a successful surgery which lasted three hours, the doctor said the tumour was removed in totally.
Asked about the current situation of the girl, the doctor told IANS that she underwent an uneventful surgery but now she is perfectly fine and participating in her all-daily work like a healthy person.
The surgical team was led by Tarun Mittal along with Dr Ashish Dey and Dr Anmol Ahuja, and the anesthetist team included Dr Jayashree Sood and Dr Ajay Sirohi.
"The tumour was completely excised and measured 32x22 cm and weighed 5kg. The tumour was sent for histopathological examination. The girl recovered well and was discharged within few days of surgery," the doctor said.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 11:37:30 +0530
Bayern lose to PSG in thriller Chelsea beat Porto

Berlin, April 8

Title holders Bayern Munich are on the verge of elimination from the Champions League after Kylian Mbappe's double gave Paris Saint-Germain a thrilling 3-2 victory in the first leg of their quarter-final.
Mbappe struck the opener and the winner on counter-attacks against a woeful Bayern defence and PSG captain Marquinhos made it 2-0 midway through the first half, DPA news reports.
Bayern carved out plenty chances but were profligate without injured star Robert Lewandowski.
His deputy Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting cut the deficit with a header and Thomas Mueller levelled but Bayern's weakness at either end has left them with an uphill task going into next week's return in Paris.
Lewandowski will not be available for that game as he recovers from a knee injury. PSG will hope to finish the job for an element of revenge after losing to Bayern in the fina of last year's tournament.
A brilliant goal from Mason Mount and another from Ben Chilwell gave Chelsea a 2-0 win 'away' to Porto in a game which was played in Sevilla due to coronavirus restrictions. The same venue will host the return leg as well.
On Tuesday, record 13-time winners Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 and Manchester City defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1.
Bayern kept the same team which beat RB Leipzig in a crucial Bundesliga clash at the weekend but were exposed immediately in the Munich snow.
A lovely pass from Angel Di Maria found Neymar in space and he in turn fed Mbappe who lashed a third minute opener through Manuel Neuer.
Choupo-Moting had already headed onto the bar, the first of some 31 Bayern shots on the night, but the hosts found themselves two down when Marquinhos beat the offside trap to convert Neymar's swinging cross in the 28th minute.
Without world player of the year Lewandowski, Bayern found themselves frustrated by visiting keeper Keylor Navas but Choupo-Moting - who came off the bench for PSG in the final last season - gave them hope with a downward header before the break.
"We have to score more goals," Mueller told Sky TV. "That's how it is now, we have to chase after the deficit."
The pressure mounted and Mueller headed an equalizer from a free kick but Bayern, despite bringing on Alphonso Davies and Jerome Boateng to rework the defence when Leon Goretkza and Niklas Suele picked up injuries, had not learnt their lesson.
Mbappe was given time with Boateng, who will leave the club after 10 years this summer, standing off him and the French international found the 68th minute winner at the near post.
"We had a lot of hard work to do because the way they play is dangerous, with or without Lewandowski," said PSG's German midfielder Julian Draxler, who added Mbappe "has quality like no-one else in the world.
"We need his speed. At the moment, he has chances and he scores. That's really important for us, especially against this Bayern side."
Thomas Tuchel coached PSG last season but now manages Chelsea after being sacked by the Lique 1 side at Christmas and he is also on course for a return to the semi-finals.
Mount spun away from his marker and found the bottom corner in the 32nd minute to give Chelsea a lead against the run of play.
"It was about time it came," England's Mount told BT Sport of his first Champions League goal.
"I'm always working on my finishing, it's a part of my game I can improve on."
Porto faded as the game went on and Chilwell rounded keeper Agustin Marchesin for a late second shortly after Christian Pulisic thumped the bar.
The victory eased Chelsea's concerns after a spectacular 5-2 home defeat by Premier League strugglers West Brom at the weekend.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 11:29:38 +0530
Facebook won t tell you if you re part of massive data breach

New Delhi, April 8

Facebook is in no mood to notify those who were affected in a massive data breach involving 533 million users, including over 61 lakh Indians.
The company, however, said that it has "made changes to the contact importer" to stop the scraping of the data which is old.
"We have teams dedicated to addressing these kinds of issues and understand the impact they can have on the people who use our services. It is important to understand that malicious actors obtained this data not through hacking our systems but by scraping it from our platform prior to September 2019," Facebook said in a statement this week.
Scraping is a common tactic that often relies on automated software to lift public information from the internet that can end up being distributed in online forums like this.
"As a result of the action we took, we are confident that the specific issue that allowed them to scrape this data in 2019 no longer exists," the company said.
The company said that it believes the data in question was scraped from people's Facebook profiles by malicious actors using its contact importer prior to September 2019.
This feature was designed to help people easily find their friends to connect with on our services using their contact lists.
"When we became aware of how malicious actors were using this feature in 2019, we made changes to the contact importer. In this case, we updated it to prevent malicious actors from using software to imitate our app and upload a large set of phone numbers to see which ones matched Facebook users," Facebook explained.
There are third-party platforms that can still tell you if you were part of the Facebook data breach.
One such website that tracks data breaches is "Have I Been Pwned".
Put in your email address or phone number and it will not only tell you if you've been part of the latest Facebook breach but also breaches in the past.
The Facebook leaked data includes Facebook ID numbers, profile names, email addresses, location information, gender details, job data, and other details.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 11:22:04 +0530
Fahadh Faasil Bollywood will happen when I start thinking in Hindi

 

New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) Malayalam actor Fahadh Faasil's new film "Joji" has dropped on OTT. While the National Award-winning actor has belted out a few commercially and critically successful films, Hindi films are still not on the immediate radar.
"I need to get fluent with Hindi, and more than that I need to think in Hindi," Fahadh said.
The actor, who has been part of hit films such as "Kumbalangi Nights", "C U Soon", "Super Deluxe" and "Athiran", adds: "It's not that I cannot speak in Hindi. I can speak and understand Hindi, but I need to think in Hindi to improvise a scene. I need to feel what I feel when I work here (in Malayalam cinema) to go outside and work. Unless I get the language perfect, I don't think that (Bollywood debut) will happen."
Fahadh's film "Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum" won three trophies at the 65th National Film Awards. Besides Best Malayalam Film and Best Screenplay for the film, Fahadh won in the Best Supporting Actor category.
The film is also a commercial success, though not a mass blockbuster. "I cannot complain. The film has been watched by more people than I ever expected. I never expected the film would have such a wide audience at any point and I cannot complain. You don't make films to cater to any particular audience, whether it should go pan India or not. I basically don't think like that when I make a film," says the actor.
He has teamed up again with "Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum" director Dileesh Pothan for his latest release "Joji". The actor talks about how Dileesh viewed the film and told him about their treatment of the film, inspired from Shakespeare's "Macbeth".
"Even before he became a director, he (Dileesh) was a trained actor. He was already familiar with the stage version of Macbeth. After he became director, he called me and said he wanted to try a different take. This is not a direct adaptation but highly inspired. You will see some connect with emotions. It comes and goes. I think this is a very fresh take. I was excited about this deviation that he wanted to try and I love working with him," sums up Fahadh, about his experience of working in his latest film, which dropped on Amazon Prime.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 11:15:29 +0530
Alaya F says mom Pooja Bedi is an extremely positive person

Mumbai, April 8

 Her mom, actress Pooja Bedi, has never really minced words when it comes to sharing her thoughts. However, budding actress Alaya F says when it comes to sharing knowledge and experiences about the industry, she and her mom have always had positive conversations.
She says when it comes to her mom, she has always been positive about her experience in the industry.
"The one wonderful thing is that she is an extremely positive person. She focusses on telling me the positives. If I ask about it, she will tell me anything I want to know. Most of the conversations related to the the industry have been positive," Alaya said.
She adds that her mother never planned to be an actress.
"My mother never intended to be an actor. It was never her big dream to be an actor. She kind of fell into it. I don't think there were many heartbreaks with the industry when it came to her," she says.
Meanwhile, the actress, who was seen in her film "Jawaani Jaaneman", recently starred in a music video called "Aaj sajeya". The song has been written, composed and sung by Goldie Sohel.
"My film released and the world went into lockdown, so I lost a year at the start of my career. Which is okay! I knew that I wasn't going to have a release coming out super soon. When Punit (Malhotra) came to me, I saw no reason not to do it. I mean Manish Malhotra was doing my clothes and Micky (Contractor) sir was going to do my make up and he (Puneet) was directing it. Everyone else involved was just so wonderful, I was like let's totally do it!" she says.
Alaya dons the look of a young bride in the music video.
"The concept is fun, young, new, modern bride. It is funny because when I go to a wedding, instead of heels, I wear boots or high sneakers as they are more comfortable. I related to it on a personal level. I loved the whole vibe of it. It was something which my character from 'Jawaani Jaaneman' never got. In the film, I got pregnant, but never married. So here I got to get married!" she says.
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 11:09:16 +0530
Sensex up 400 points reclaims 50 000

Mumbai, April 8

 The key Indian equity indices traded in the green on Thursday morning with the BSE Sensex rising over 400 points to reclaim the 50,000-mark.
Around 10 a.m., Sensex was trading at 50,069.02, higher by 407.26 points or 0.82 per cent from its previous close of 49,661.76.
It opened at 49,885.26 and has so far touched an intraday high of 50,091.16 and a low of 49,832.35 points.
The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 14,943.70, higher by 124.65 points or 0.84 per cent from its previous close.
Manish Hathiramani, technical analyst with Deen Dayal Investments: "We are currently trading at an important juncture. 14,900-14,950 is a resistance zone for the Nifty. If we can keep above this level for a few hours, the markets would break out of its current range bound movements and scale higher to 15,300-15,400."

ians

"If we fail and resist these levels, the index can turn around and head back to 14,500-14,600," he said.
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 11:03:00 +0530
Modi takes 2nd jab says vax can defeat Covid

New Delhi, April 8 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday received the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine here at the city's premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), giving a message to the people that "vaccination is among the few ways we have, to defeat the virus".

The Prime Minister also advised the citizens through a Twitter message: "If you are eligible for the vaccine, get your shot soon. Register on CoWin.gov.in."

"Got my second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at AIIMS today (Thursday). Vaccine is among the few ways we have, to defeat the virus," Modi tweeted.

He also posted a photograph while taking the second jab.

The Prime Minister has taken Covaxin, India's homegrown vaccine developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.

The two nurses who administered the Covid-19 vaccine to the Prime Minister on Thursday are P. Niveda from Puducherry and Nisha Sharma from Punjab.

Niveda was also involved in administering the first dose of Covid to the Prime Minister on March 1.

He was the first beneficiary on March 1 as the second phase of nationwide vaccination against the deadly pandemic began.

Amid the "second wave" of Covid-19 across the country, the Centre allowed administering vaccine shots at workplaces with around 100 eligible beneficiaries from April 11. Currently, people at the age of 45 and above are eligible for vaccination.

The Union Health Ministry recently said India has surpassed the US to become the fastest Covid-19 vaccinating country in the world with an average daily rate of 30,93,861 vaccine doses.

So far, over 9.01 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in India, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.
ians

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 11:01:55 +0530
Focused vaccination drive begins today in UP

Lucknow, April 8

 The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh will launch a special focused covid vaccination drive from Thursday.
The drive will focus on the beneficiaries of different social groups who are above 45 years age. The drive will continue till April 23.
Chief medical officers in all districts of the state will be in charge of this drive.
Mission Director, National Health Mission Uttar Pradesh, Aparna Upadhyay, said that journalists, media workers, retail and wholesale shopkeepers will be vaccinated on Thursday and Friday.
Bank and insurance employees will get their vaccine on Saturday while teachers of schools and colleges will be vaccinated from 12th to 14th of this month.
On April 15 and 16, auto rickshaw drivers, taxi drivers and employees of construction sector will be vaccinated while on April 17 to 19, government employees and officers other than frontline workers will be vaccinated.
Lawyers and workers of judiciary will be vaccinated on April 20 and 21 while private sector employees will be vaccinated on April 22 and 23.
Meanwhile, the state is witnessing a sharp increase in the Covid cases.
With 6,023 new Covid patients in the last 24 hours, the State currently has 31,987 active cases. 40 deaths were reported on Wednesday.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 10:55:53 +0530
Mulayam s niece opts for BJP ticket in Panchayat polls

Lucknow, April 8

 In a major setback to the first family of the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, Sandhya Yadav, niece of party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, will be contesting the Zila Panchayat elections on a BJP ticket from Mainpuri, a stronghold of the Samajwadi Party.
Sandhya Yadav is the sister of former Badaun MP Dharmendra Yadav and also the incumbent chairperson of Mainpuri district panchayat.
Sandhya, who had won the last election on a Samajwadi ticket, filed her nomination papers on Wednesday.
The polling is scheduled to take place on April 19.
In 2017, a no-confidence motion was moved against Sandhya just a week after her husband, Anujesh Yadav, who was a member of the Firozabad Zila Panchayat and was close to Shivpal Yadav, was expelled from the party. Anujesh had signed a motion against the local Zila Panchayat president, Vijay Pratap, who in turn, is a close associate of Ram Gopal Yadav.
Later, the motion was withdrawn after 11 members submitted an affidavit disassociating themselves from the decision.
Two years ago, in 2019, Anujesh joined BJP. He told reporters, "If SP members could move a no-confidence motion against my wife (Sandhya), she can also fight the elections on a BJP ticket."
Anujesh claimed that his wife would win this election.
Yadav further said, "My mother, Urmila Yadav, had been MLA twice from Ghiror in 1993 and 1996 and we enjoy considerable support among the people."
Former Samajwadi MP from Mainpuri, Tej Pratap Yadav, who is a nephew of Sandhya Yadav, said the party will treat her as a political opponent.
"We have our own candidate and we will work for his victory," he added.
BJP district president Pradeep Chauhan said, "Mulayam Singh Yadav himself had praised PM Narendra Modi in Parliament, and if the former's niece is contesting as our party candidate, it means that she also supports the development agenda of the BJP. There is nothing wrong in it. Everyone has a right to choose one's path."
However, the SP leaders in Lucknow admitted, albeit on condition of anonymity, that Sandhya's decision to contest on a BJP ticket was a 'huge embarrassment' for the party and also the family.


 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 10:46:18 +0530
Unwell Kerala Speaker not to appear before Customs

Thiruvananthapuram, April 8

 Kerala Assembly Speaker and senior CPI-M leader P. Sreeramakrishnan for the second time will not appear before the Customs Department at their Kochi office on Thursday, after claiming to be 'unwell'.
He was served the notice by the Customs to appear on April 8 for questioning on his alleged role in the dollar smuggling case, as claimed by two gold smuggling case accused.
He has informed the Customs that he is unwell and hence he is unable to present himself before the probe agency.
Sreeramakrishnan was earlier asked to appear before the Customs on March 12, but did not, citing his inability to do so.
The Speaker's name cropped up in the case last December after the statement of gold smuggling case prime accused Swapna Suresh in a court that 'big sharks' had a role. Since then, he was in a tight corner, and had to face the wrath of Opposition, which moved a motion in the House in January demanding his removal, but it was rejected.
Incidentally, a statement of Swapna Suresh recorded under Section 108 of the Customs Act, and her statement before a magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC, filed by the Customs in the Kerala High Court early this month, revealed her close connection with the Chief Minister, his Principal Secretary and a personal staffer.
Her statement further alleged smuggling of foreign currency at the instance of the Chief Minister and the Speaker with the help of the UAE Consulate in the capital city, and the "improper and illegal activities" of three state Ministers and the Speaker. She had also alleged kickbacks were received by high-profile persons from various deals.
The wife of former CPI-M state secretary Vinodhini Balakrishnan by now has failed to appear before the Customs despite being served three notices to question her on an iPhone which she owns.
Incidentally, all through, the ruling CPI-M led Left government had said that various central agencies were out to ruin the good governance of the Pinarayi Vijayan government, during the nearly three week-long Assembly election campaign.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 10:09:41 +0530
Egyptian FM visits Lebanon

 

Beirut, April 8

 Visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met Lebanese President Michel Aoun here during which he affirmed Cairo's "solidarity with Lebanon and its support for efforts to form a new government".
During their meeting at the Baabda Palace on Wednesday, Shoukry delivered a "message of solidarity" from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to Aoun and emphasized Cairo's keenness to communicate with all Lebanese political parties in hope to get out of the current crisis", reports Xinhua news agency.
In response, Aoun expressed his appreciation and gratitude for Egypt's role in helping Lebanon face its various crises, namely the governmental deadlock.
The President also discussed with Shoukry obstacles facing the government formation process, hoping to cooperate with all political parties to come up with a successful cabinet capable of assuming its duties.
The Foreign Minister said he will hold a series of meetings with various political parties to explore ways of reaching a consensus on the cabinet formation which opens the door for regional and international support.
He added that Lebanon's stability is vital to the region and its interests.
The Egyptian Minister arrived in Beirut on Wednesday to hold discussions with various political parties on government formation in the country.
Lebanon has been facing a governmental vacuum since last August due to officials' disagreements over ministerial shares and the form and nature of the future government.
The country is also going through its worst economic and financial crisis with poverty rate exceeding 50 per cent according to the World Bank amid a sharp increase in unemployment rate and the collapse of the local currency.
This year, the Central Bank of Lebanon also tightened regulations against the country's banks, which compelled some of them to close branches and lay off employees to stay afloat.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 10:03:57 +0530
60 IS militants killed in Iraq airstrikes

Baghdad, April 8

 A total of 60 Islamic State (IS) terrorists were killed in airstrikes in a mountainous area in Iraq's Salahudin province, the military said.
The Iraqi aircraft, in coordination with the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), conducted airstrikes on IS hideouts on March 25 in Himreen mountain range, Xinhua news agency quoted Yahia Rasoul, spokesman of the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi forces, as saying in a statement on Wednesday.
On March 24, Rasoul said that the security forces, backed by US-led coalition, launched the offensive on March 9 and continued for 14 days in the Makhmour mountain range in Nineveh province, destroying 120 IS positions and killing 27 terrorists.
According to Rasoul, March's offensive forced the IS militants to flee to alternative hideouts in Himreen Mountain in Salahudin province.
The mountains and vast rugged areas north of Baghdad have witnessed intense activities of the terrorists during the past months, despite repeated military operations to hunt them down.
The security situation in Iraq has been improving since security forces fully defeated the IS across the country late in 2017.

ians

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 09:58:31 +0530
Ground water level improves in Telangana

Hyderabad, April 8

 With the rising day temperatures, Telangana is heading for scorching summer but on water front there is some good news for the state.
According to Ground Water Department of the state, there was a net rise in groundwater level of 2.16 m during March 2021 as compared to the same month last year. The rise is observed in 27 districts and fall in remaining six districts.
Average groundwater level in the state during March 2021 is 8.35 meters below ground level (m bgl) and it varies from 3.50 m bgl (Wanaparthy) to 14.87 m bgl (Medak). Out of 33 districts, only in one district, average water level is 10 m bgl.
A minimum rise of 0.15 m is observed in Komaram Bheem Asifabad district and maximum rise of 8.11 m in Sangareddy district. A minimum fall of 0.09 m is observed in Bhupalapally and maximum fall of -1.16 m in Jagityal district.
This will surely come as a relief for people, especially in those districts which see water scarcity during peak summer.
A net average rise of 2.93 m in groundwater levels is observed during March 2021 as compared to May 2020 and rise is observed in 30 districts (0.19 m Adilabad to 8.92 m in Sangareddy) and fall is observed in remaining three districts, the department said.
The increase in ground water comes as another boost for the state which has considerably increased the area under cultivation thanks to the completion of irrigation projects and revival of tanks under Mission Kakatiya programme.
The improvement in ground water level is also attributed to the good rainfall the state received last year.
According to Ground Water Department, during the water year 2020-21, the state received actual rainfall of 1,262 mm against 865 mm of normal rainfall up to March 31, 2021. The rainfall ranges from 864 mm (Nalgonda district) to 2,064 mm (Mulugu) and thus there is a 46 per cent more rainfall during this period in the state as compared to normal annual rainfall up to March 2021.
Twenty seven districts received Excess rainfall (+20% to 130%) and remaining six districts received normal rainfall (-17 to 6%).
Authorities hope that the improvement in ground water level will avoid a situation where people have to rely on water supply through tankers.
The state government claims that its Mission Bhagiratha completely put to an end to the drinking water problem. The scheme is termed as a torchbearer for the entire country.
The Central Jal Shakti Mission has declared that Telangana is the only state in the country, which is providing safe and pure drinking water through pipes to all the households, schools and Anganwadi centres.
Prior to 2014, drinking water supply was provided, that too partially, to just 5,672 habitations. Now, protected drinking water is supplied to 24,543 habitations to every household, every day through pipes and taps, Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan said during his speech in State Assembly on the first day of the budget session last month.
On the whole, there are 57,26,804 household tap connections, 65 intake wells, 109 water treatment plants, 1,49,905 km long pipelines and 13,901 service crossings constructed as part of this mega scheme.
During the last six-and-half years, the state government has spent Rs 32,500 crore to solve the drinking water problem in the state.
Mission Kakatiya, one of the flagship schemes of the state government, has helped in improving water availability. Under this programme, the government embarked on revival of 45,000 tanks. With tanks now brimming with water, the area under cultivation has also increased. The programme also resulted in the increase in ground water levels.
This has been proved by the data released by the Centre on the ground water levels. It analysed ground water levels in 549 wells in the state. The report stated that out of the 549 wells, ground water has increased by 91 per cent in 498 wells.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 09:45:39 +0530
Iran boosts uranium enrichment capacity to 16 500 SWUs

 

Tehran, April 8

Iran has increased its uranium enrichment capacity to 16,500 separative work units (SWUs), Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), said, official Islamic Republic News agency reported.
The AEOI announced that it had plans to boost the capacity of its uranium enrichment to 190,000 SWUs, Xinhua news agency reported.
SWU is the standard measure of the effort required to separate isotopes of uranium during an enrichment process. One SWU is equivalent to 1 kg of separative work.
Salehi on Wednesday also said that Iran has a stockpile of some 5 tons of enriched uranium, 57 kg of which is 20 per cent, according to the report.
He noted that 20 per cent enriched uranium capacity would reach 120 kg in a year.
The 20-percent uranium enrichment process has been launched as part of Iran's Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, which was approved by the Iranian parliament in December 2020. The implementation of the action plan by the AEOI began on January 4.
Salehi also stated that Iran's yellow cake production capacity is currently 35 tons annually, said the report.
Iranian authorities have said a boost in uranium enrichment, along with other measures to reduce some commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is a reaction to the US withdrawal from the deal and the failure of European signatories to protect Iran's interests amid US energy and banking sanctions.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 09:10:22 +0530
Pak Russia vow to boost bilateral ties

Islamabad, April 8

Visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi here during which the two sides agreed to strengthen bilateral ties and deepen cooperation.
Lavrov arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday for a two-day visit to discuss bilateral and regional matters, reports Xinhua news agency.
A statement from the Prime Minister Office said that during the meeting on Wednesday, Khan reiterated that "the importance Pakistan attaches to its relations with Russia as a key foreign policy priority" and expressed satisfaction at the steady growth in bilateral ties.
Enhanced bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, industrial modernization, railways and aviation was discussed, the statement said.
The Prime Minister reaffirmed Islamabad's resolve to expeditiously conclude the requisite legal process for the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline project and commence the work as early as possible.
Views were also exchanged on the health and economic challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, while Khan also congratulated Russia on its development of Sputnik-V vaccine and underscored Pakistan's procurement plans in this regard, according to the statement.
In the regional context, Khan stressed the importance of a negotiated political settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan and appreciated Russia's efforts in promoting the Afghan peace process.
Earlier in the day speaking at a joint press conference with Qureshi, Lavrov said that his country is ready to further build counter-terrorism cooperation with Pakistan through supply of military equipment.
"This serves in the interest of all states of the region," Lavrov said, adding that both countries have agreed on conducting more joint military exercises.
The visiting Foreign Minister said the increase in bilateral trade is satisfactory and expressed readiness to "further strengthen economic relations".
He showed concern over the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.
"Russia and Pakistan have agreed to further facilitate the agreement among Afghan parties through inclusive political dialogue," he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Qureshi reiterated Pakistan's resolve to build a strong multifaceted relationship with Russia.
"There is a new approach and mindset in Pakistan for a relationship with Russia. We feel that not just we have geographic proximity but Russia is a factor of stability in the region and the world at large," he added.
 

ians

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 09:03:54 +0530
Bolt challenges Kohli AB

Chennai, April 7

A few days after AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli had engaged in a cheeky banter on Twitter which saw the South African challenging his RCB skipper Kohli for a race, multiple Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt checked in to assert that he is still the fastest man on earth.
Bolt posted a photo of himself in an RCB jersey on Twitter with his signature celebration style.
"Challengers, just letting you know, I'm still the fastest cat around. @imVkohli @ABdeVilliers17 @RCBTweets," he tweeted on Wednesday.
De Villiers then responded, "We know whom to call when we need a few extra runs @bolt!."
Bolt comes from Jamaica where cricket is popular. Former West Indies players like Courtney Walsh among hail from the island nation.
Of late though, athletics, especially sprinting has caught up with the Jamaicans following the success of their athletes in Olympics and World Championships.
Bolt holds the fastest time in 100m sprint, clocking 9.58 sec in Beijing Olympics back in 2008.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:59:05 +0530
China can launch cyber attacks India getting ready for it Gen Bipin Rawat

New Delhi, April 7

China can disrupt systems by launching cyber attacks on India and a mechanism is being readied to combat any such move, Chief of Defence Staff(CDS), General Bipin Rawat, said at an event here on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Vivekananda International Foundation on shaping the armed forces to meet the likely current and future challenges, General Rawat said, "We may not be able to fully catch up with China. So we are trying to develop some kind of a relationship with the western nations and see how better we can get some support from them, during peace time at least, which will help us overcome this deficiency."
Rawat said that China has the first movers advantage as India was slow to adopt cyber warfare capabilities, which has led to the gaps.
"The biggest differential lies in the cyber field. We know that China is capable of launching cyber attacks on us and it can disrupt a large number of systems," he said.
According to the official data presented in the Parliament, India witnessed a nearly 300 per cent spike in cyber attacks last year in comparison to 2019, from 3,94,499 cases in 2019 to 11,58,208 in 2020, which is alarming for the government.
"What we are trying to do is create a system which will ensure cyber defence. We have been able to create a cyber agency within the armed forces and each service also has its own cyber agency, so that even if we come under a cyber attack, the downtime of the attack doesn't last long," Rawat said.
The CDS said while China has a lead in this respect, India is evolving its technologies to match up.
"While we are trying to create firewalls for cyber attacks, someone may break through them. We are trying see how long your systems will be down and how will you be able to operate through the phase of cyber attack that we have been put through. That is what we are seriously looking at."
The CDS said the key for combating such attacks is to integrate the resources of the three services. "The Navy is far ahead of the Army and the Air Force in the way it has imbibed technology," he said.
On other security challenges, Rawat said that India faces multiple and varied security threats and challenges across the full spectrum of conflict - from proxy war to hybrid to non-contact, conventional and collusive wars under a nuclear overhang.
"There is an emergent need to develop a vision for the region. However, one must be careful to not 'bite more than one can chew'. The vision for the region or even our global vision must be intrinsically linked to our national interests, which are directly linked to national security," the CDS said.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:54:15 +0530
Margot Robbie is a tea fanatic

 

London, April 8

Hollywood star Margot Robbie has shared that she is a tea fanatic and that she is obsessed with drinking the hot beverage after moving to London from Australia.
"Breakfast is usually porridge, and during the morning I'll have an immunity-boosting smoothie. I'll normally have a chicken salad for lunch, and for dinner I'll tuck into a tuna steak with sweet potato. Throughout the day, I'll sip on tea -- I've been obsessed with it ever since I lived in the UK," Robbie told Women's Health UK magazine.
She has been living in the US over the past several years to pursue a Hollywood career, and is said to be a huge fan of burgers and beer. When she lived in London, the actress was obsessed with a Mexican restaurant.
"Food is a big thing for me. I love burgers and fries, which I'll order with a pint of beer. In the US, my favourite meal is a double truffle burger from the American chain Umami Burger: it comes with a truffle cheese fondue, truffle aioli and truffle glaze," she said.
"But back when I called London home, I loved the Mexican restaurant and bar in Soho. Everything I ate there was amazing -- and they whip up the best margarita I've ever had anywhere," Robbie added.
The actress is said to particularly enjoy her experience of working with filmmaker Quentin Tarantino.
"When I got the chance to work with Quentin Tarantino (on 'Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood') I was so excited. He is one of the all-time great directors -- and I wrote him a letter telling him I'd love to be in one of his films," she said.
Robbie added that once she was on the set, she made sure she soaked up all the knowledge from him.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:48:40 +0530
Black rice farmer in Andhra hopeful of bumper harvest

Vissakoderu (Andhra Pradesh), April 8  

In what could be a trailblazer, a local farmer from Vissakoderu village in Andhra Pradesh's West Godavari district started growing black rice and is eagerly waiting to harvest it soon.
Black rice is uncommon in this part of the state at a time when many people are transitioning into aquaculture, however, enterprising Arepalli Venkatramaiah is experimenting with the new paddy variety.
"I first came across black rice when I ate prasadam from Chinna Jeeyar Swamy. That prasadam was made with black rice," Venkatramaiah told IANS.
Following this encounter, the Godavari farmer sent his son to the pontiff's ashram to fetch some seeds of this variety to experiment in his black soil field, fed by irrigated water from the Godavari river.
Venkatramaiah was informed that he should follow organic cultivation, without using any chemicals. His initial attempts to grow black rice failed.
Later, with a small amount of seeds he procured from Hyderabad, Venkatramiah sowed them and began his experimental cultivation.
"I started with 100 grams seeds and managed to produce 20 kg more," he said. It took three crops and about 18 months' time for him to multiply it to 20 kg of black rice.
For the current crop, he used only 250 grams and noted that the black rice variety grows tall, making it vulnerable to strong winds.
To suit this variety, he cultivated it by the roadside in 30 cents of land with an easy water outlet.
Adhering to organic farming methods, he used neem oil, cow urine, cow dung and jaggery, including deviating slightly with the use of DAP, potash and urea.
"With my limited resources, I followed organic methods. Currently the crop is fine but if heavy winds blow then I have to see," said Venkatramaiah.
Without any further hiccups and wind, he hopes to harvest at least 20 sackfuls of black rice. Twenty sacks from 30 cents land is a big number as 40 sacks of paddy for an acre is a decent yield.
According to Venkatramaiah, black rice grown in organic farming methods is good for cancer patients, diabetics, blood pressure issues, body pains and others.
For his crop, Venkatramaiah admitted that he used some DAP and ureas which should also not be used.
Though the black rice cereal is black in colour, he said the skin can be removed to make it white while milling.
Organic style of black rice cultivation did not cost him much and highlighted that he used only about 40 kg of organic inputs.
The black rice field turned into a cynosure, attracting many people to visit and check it out.
Venkatramaiah said he has more varieties of black rice seeds with him now and is raring to experiment with them soon.
However, to consume this variety, the peasant said that the rice variety should be soaked in water overnight.
Majority of the people in AP consume rice as a staple and black in this part of the state is completely new.

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:42:09 +0530
Policy support RBI MPC retains accommodative stance rates Roundup

Mumbai, April 7

To support a faster economic recovery amid a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, the Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday retained its key short-term lending rates along with the growth-oriented accommodative stance at the first monetary policy review of FY22.

Accordingly, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the central bank voted to maintain the repo rate, or short-term lending rate, for commercial banks at 4 per cent.

Likewise, the reverse repo rate was kept unchanged at 3.35 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the 'Bank Rate' at 4.25 per cent.

In a virtual address after the Monetary Policy Committee's bi-monthly meet, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said that the growth rate forecast has been retained at 10.5 per cent.

Besides, he said India's GDP is expected to grow on the back of accelerated anti-Covid vaccination drive as well as gradual release of pent up demand. However, he warned against the resurgence of Covid-19 infections and high commodity prices.

Furthermore, the RBI has pegged retail inflation for the April-June quarter of the current financial year at 5.2 per cent. Das said the evolving CPI inflation trajectory is likely to be subjected to both upside and downside pressures.

"The bumper foodgrains production in 2020-21 should sustain softening of cereal prices going forward, while the prices of pulses, particularly tur and urad, remain elevated, the incoming rabi harvest arrivals in the markets and the overall increase in domestic production in 2020-21 should augment supply which, along with imports, should enable some softening of these prices going forward," he said.

The RBI Governor cited that while edible oils inflation has been ruling at heightened levels with international prices remaining firm, reduction of import duties and appropriate incentives to enhance productivity domestically could work towards a better demand-supply balance over the medium-term.

Suggesting that the states and the Centre should take steps to control the rising fuel prices, Das said: "Pump prices of petroleum products have remained high. Reduction of excise duties and cesses and state level taxes could provide some relief to the consumers on top of the recent easing of international crude prices. This could slow down the propagation of second round effects."

The impact of high international commodity prices and increased logistics costs are being felt across manufacturing and services sectors, he added.

Inflation expectations of urban households one year ahead showed a marginal increase over the three months ahead horizon, according to the RBI's March 2021 survey.

"Taking into consideration all these factors, CPI inflation is now projected as 5.0 per cent in Q4:2020-21; 5.2 per cent in Q1:2021-22, 5.2 per cent in Q2, 4.4 per cent in Q3 and 5.1 per cent in Q4, with risks broadly balanced," it said.

Meanwhile, the India Inc welcomed the MPC decision with stock markets rallying after RBI's announcements.

"With the MPC forecasting CPI inflation to average around 5 per cent in FY2022, rate cuts seem to be ruled out unless economic activity is severely disrupted by the ongoing wave of Covid-19," said Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist, ICRA.

"At the same time, early rate hikes appear extremely unlikely, with inflation expected to remain below the 6 per cent upper threshold of the MPC's newly renewed medium-term target range. Therefore, we maintain our view of an extended pause in the repo rate through 2021, with a low likelihood of an upward revision in the reverse repo rate over the next two quarters," Nayar added.

According to Sunil Kumar Sinha, Principal Economist, India Ratings and Research: "Growth recovery from the Covid-19 induced slump has been sharper than anticipated. However, the second wave of Covid-19 infections in certain parts of the country and the associated localised lockdowns could adversely impact the growth impulses in the economy and delay the return to normalcy despite the ongoing vaccination drive. Further, the downside of the sharper than anticipated recovery has been an abrupt rise in the global commodity prices leading to cost-push pressure on inflation.

"Though cost push pressure has partially been offset by the normalisation of supply chains, it will remain a driver of future inflation. While growth outlook and consumer sentiment once again looks somewhat unstable due to the second wave of Covid-19 infections, inflation outlook amid the bumper foodgrain production and rising global commodity prices appear to be more evenly balanced. Thus Ind-Ra believes RBI to continue with its accommodative policy stance and maintain status quo on policy rate over the next six to nine months."
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:35:45 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 132 9mn

Washington, April 8

The overall global Covid-19 caseload has topped 132.9 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 2.88 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Thursday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 132,944,526 and 2,886,103, respectively.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 30,920,837 and 559,086, respectively, according to the CSSE.

Brazil follows in the second place with 13,193,205 cases and 340,776 fatalities.

The other countries with more than two million confirmed coronavirus cases are India (12,801,785), France (4,902,951), Russia (4,381,823), the UK (3,700,393), Italy (3,700,393), Turkey (3,633,925), Spain (3,326,736), Germany (2,927,572), Colombia (2,479,617), Poland (2,471,617), Argentina (2,450,068) and Mexico (2,261,879), the CSSE figures showed.

In terms of deaths, Mexico comes in the third place with 205,598 fatalities.

Nations with a  toll of over 50,000 are India (166,177), the UK (127,171), Italy (112,374), Russia (99,800), France (97,444), Germany (77,566), Spain (76,037), Colombia (64,767), Iran (63,699), Argentina (56,832), Poland (55,703), Peru (53,411) and South Africa (53,111).

ians
 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:29:04 +0530
2021 04 08 Labourers losing jobs amid Covid 19 resurgence

 

Patna, April 8

The labourers have started losing jobs amid the Covid-19 resurgence across the country.
Fentus Kumar (29), a native of Bihar's Khagaria district, came with his group of 45 fellow labourers from Hanumangarh in Rajasthan.
"Since the manufacturing unit where we were working was partially operational so our employer asked us to return to home. The company is not receiving ample amount of work orders, therefore, limited labourers were required," Fentus said while waiting for Katihar bound train to Khagaria at Patna after reaching from Delhi.
52-year-old Vinod Sharma, who is also part of the group, said: "Once we lost our jobs, there was no reason for us to stay there. Hence, we decided to return. The situation in industrial areas of Hanumangarh was almost similar. Too many labourers lost jobs."
Bhim Mehta, a native of Saharsa district ,said: "During normal days, the garment factory where we worked was operating 24 hours. Now, due to the night curfew the manufacturing is done only during the day. Therefore, our employer shut the manufacturing unit for the night shift and reduced the numbers of labourers."
Mehta's friend Vikas Kumar, who was also employed in the same garment factory, remembering the plight of the last year said: "During the last year's lockdown, our landlord held us captive inside the room and released us after we paid the room rent for the entire month. We had to walk for 60 km to reach Anand Vihar bus station to board the bus for our village. We not lucky enough to get the bus so we had to further walk till Lucknow. We reached Lucknow after nine days. The UP government had arranged a bus for us till Bihar border."
"We didn't want to undergo the same plight this year. Despite possibilities of lockdown have been ruled out but the resurgence of Covid has led to a kind of partial lockdown and the pandemic is even more lethal. So we decided to return before the situation goes beyond our control," he added.
Mohamad Jabir, a native of Khagaria, who was waiting with his group of labouers on the stairs of foot over bridge at Patna Junction, said: "We were in the construction sector and our average monthly salary was between Rs 16-17 thousand. Amid the fear of Corona, our contractor suspended the work at the construction site and asked us to go back to our homes. Due to uncertainty about the work we came back."

ians.
 

 

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:22:08 +0530
Delhi night curfew Shops being closed at 8 p m employees fear job loss

New Delhi, April 8

With the first night curfew of the year being imposed in the national capital, the shops at various places here are being closed at 8 p.m. while the workers are fearing job loss.
Amid the Covid resurgence across the country, night curfew has been imposed in Delhi from Tuesday till April 30 where everything will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Ramesh Sharma, manager of food outlet brand Haldiram, told IANS: "On the first day of night curfew, I couldn't leave my workplace on time. Delhi Police stopped me at Chandni Chowk and asked me to reach home on time from the next time."
"We close our shop at 9 p.m. so that the staff reaches home on time. Till now, none of our staff has asked for early closure as they all reside nearby," he added.
Sunil Dutt, manager of Snow White, a shop in Connaught Place, said: "90 workers work here and considering their convenience we are closing our shop by 8 p.m., however, the Delhi Metro should also close the entry by 9 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. so that people can reach their homes on time."
A lot of people have even asked their employers to leave workplace by 7.30 p.m.
One of the workers said, "Earlier, I used to reach home in one hour but on Tuesday it took more than two hours due to traffic. Due to night curfew, the police stopped me at a couple of places. Charging it to experience, I asked my employer to allow me to leave by 7.30 p.m."
The night curfew is also hampering the business of the restaurants and food outlets which are open till late night which is causing a fear of job loss among the workers.
Amit Kumar Dhingra, manager of Ware House cafe in Connaught Place, said, "Due to night curfew, we are closing our cafe by 9 p.m. Around 20 workers work here. We were in loss due to the pandemic while night curfew will add to it."
"We are constantly talking to our workers as well as management. We have asked our employees to come on alternate days, however, the salary part is yet to be decided," he said.
A worker who works at Ware House cafe said that some of the employees have been asked to go on leave while the manager didn't confirmed it.
Amit Gupta, executive member of New Delhi Traders Association, said, "Traders don't have much power during the night curfew. If the shops have to be closed by 10 p.m. then they have to be closed. If the workers have to reach home by 10 p.m. then the shops have to be closed by 8 p.m."
"Apart from night curfew, the government should take some measures during the day also to contain the pandemic spread," he said.

ians

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 08:15:56 +0530
Astronomers spot double quasars in merging galaxies

Washington, April 7 :  Peering back 10 billion years into the universe's past, astronomers have found a pair of quasars that are so close to each other they look like a single object in ground-based telescopic photos, but not in Hubble Space Telescope's crisp view.

The researchers believe the quasars are very close to each other because they reside in the cores of two merging galaxies. The team went on to discover yet another quasar pair in another colliding galaxy duo.

A quasar is a brilliant beacon of intense light from the centre of a distant galaxy that can outshine the entire galaxy.

It is powered by a supermassive black hole voraciously feeding on inflating matter, unleashing a torrent of radiation.

"We estimate that in the distant universe, for every 1,000 quasars, there is one double quasar. So finding these double quasars is like finding a needle in a haystack," said lead researcher Yue Shen of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the US.

The discovery of these four quasars offers a new way to probe collisions among galaxies and the merging of supermassive black holes in the early universe, researchers said.

Quasars are scattered all across the sky and were most abundant 10 billion years ago. There were a lot of galaxy mergers back then feeding the black holes. Therefore, astronomers theorise there should have been many dual quasars during that time.

"This truly is the first sample of dual quasars at the peak epoch of galaxy formation with which we can use to probe ideas about how supermassive black holes come together to eventually form a binary," said research team member Nadia Zakamska of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The team's results appeared in the online issue of the journal Nature Astronomy.

Shen and Zakamska are members of a team that is using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the European Space Agency's Gaia space observatory, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, as well as several ground-based telescopes, to compile a robust census of quasar pairs in the early universe.

The observations are important because a quasar's role in galactic encounters plays a critical part in galaxy formation, the researchers said.

IANS
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 16:59:54 +0530
2nd ODI Australia beat New Zealand by 71 runs

Mount Maunganui, April 7 : New Zealand's Leigh Kasparek took six wickets but her side ended up losing to Australia by 71 runs in the second ODI on Wednesday. Australia scored 271/7 batting first and New Zealand were all out for 200 in reply.

This was Australia's 23rd consecutive ODI win and they have taken a 2-0 lead, thus sealing victory in the three-match ODI series.

New Zealand were dealt with early blows in their chase, with opener Lauren Down falling for a duck and captain Amy Satterthwaite being dismissed for six runs. Hayley Jensen and Amelia Kerr then managed to take the hosts to 76 after which Australia made it difficult for New Zealand to score runs. Kerr remained New Zealand's highest scorer with 47 runs.

Australia were off to a strong start with the top three putting 187 runs in the first 36 overs. Kasperek then tore through the batting order, ending the innings with figures of 6/46. Opener Rachael Haynes was their highest scorer with 87 runs off 105 balls.

Brief scores: Australia 271/7 in 50 overs (Rachael Haynes 87, Meg Lanning 49; Leigh Kasperek 6/46) beat New Zealand 200 all out in 45 overs (Amelia Kerr 47, Brooke Halliday 32; Jess Jonassen 3/29) by 71 runs

IANS
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 16:55:21 +0530
Ex Aus PM mistaken as Uber driver

Canberra, April 7 : Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd briefly stepped into a new role as an Uber driver in Queensland state, giving a lift to a group of "tipsy" diners who mistakenly piled into his car.

"Guilty as charged," Rudd tweeted in response to a media report on the incident on Wednesday.

"Four young Melburnians getting drenched in a Queensland subtropical downpour at Noosa last night with no Uber in sight... So what's a man to do?" he said in the tweet

The former Prime Minister's daughter Jessica Rudd had tweeted the series of events as it happened, reports dpa news agency.

"Dad just dropped us off at a restaurant in Noosa then went to find a park because it's raining," she wrote.

"Then I thought I saw some people pile into his car, told myself it wasn't, must be a similar looking Uber. It wasn't. It was Dad's car."

She said the "lovely but tipsy crew had been at the restaurant since lunch".

When the former leader told them he wasn't an Uber they offered to pay him to drive them to a nearby street anyway.

His daughter said it took the group half the ride to realise their driver was the 26th Prime Minister of Australia.

Rudd was the leader of the Labor Party, serving as Australia's Prime Minister between 2007-2010 and again from June-September in 2013.
 

IANS

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 16:53:36 +0530
Aus PM calls on EU to release Covid jabs

Canberra, April 7 : Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday called on the European Union (EU) to release doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

Morrison said that delays to Australia's vaccine rollout were a matter of "straightforward maths" with AstraZeneca blocked from exporting more than 3 million doses, reports Xinhua news agency.

"It's straightforward maths - 3.1 million out of 3.8 million doses did not come to Australia," he told reporters in Canberra.

"That obviously had a very significant impact on the early rollout of the vaccination program, until we got into a position when the domestically produced AstraZeneca vaccine would be in place."

Earlier the European Commission said that only 250,000 doses of the vaccines had been formally blocked.

In response, the Australian government said in a statement that the Commission was "arguing semantics".

Morrison has previously announced that 1 million of the vaccines will be redirected to Papua New Guinea (PNG) if they are allowed to leave Europe.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister said he would write to the EC asking that they be exported.

Morrison was joined by Brendan Murphy, the Secretary of the Department of Health, who said that the domestic production of AstraZeneca vaccines was continuing to escalate but had not reached the goal of manufacturing 1 million doses per week.

So far about 920,334 vaccines had been administered in Australia, short of the government's initial target of 4 million by the end of March.
 

IANS

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 16:50:24 +0530
Maha has only 3 days vaccine oxygen stock low too Minister

Mumbai, April 7 : Bogged down by second wave of Covid-19, Maharashtra is now left with only three days of vaccine stocks. The state is also plagued by shortages of oxygen and remdesivir medicine to combat the surge, as it sees above 50,000 new infections daily, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday.

"We have around 14 lakh doses left available... That is the stock sufficient for only three days. Our weekly requirement is around 40 lakh doses to enable us to vaccinate up to 500,000 people. In the current surge, the vaccine is the only 'Ram-baan' available," a grim Tope told media persons here this afternoon.

He said that he has already informed Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan of the prevailing scenario at a video conference of the Health Ministers of nine worst-hit states.

Owing to the shortage of vaccines at various vaccination centres, the people are being sent back and the state has demanded that people in the vulnerable 20-45 age groups should be given the life-saver jab on priority, he said.

Close on the heels of Tope's announcement, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Mayor Kishori Pednekar also said that vaccine stocks in Mumbai are on the verge of getting over.

"We have barely 100,000 doses left now. Most of our vaccines are being supplied to the government hospitals. If we don't get fresh stocks soon, we may not be able to administer the second dose to the people," a worried Pednekar told media persons.

Health Secretary Pradeep Vyas has cautioned that most districts will run out of vaccine stocks in a couple of days or so, and it would be impossible to vaccinate an estimated 500,000 people daily.

Besides vaccines, Tope said the state is also experiencing shortage of oxygen supply - essential to treat Covid patients in the ICU or on ventilators.

"We have already ordered a ratio of 80:20 for the oxygen manufacturers. While 80 percent should be for medical purposes, the rest can be for industrial uses since the inflow of patients in the state is growing at an alarming rate," he said.

Additionally, the daily requirements of remdesivir, of around 50,000 doses, is getting exhausted almost everyday, amid reports of some unscrupulous stockists either hoarding it or selling in the black market.

"It has been found that patients who do not need remdesivir are also being administered the drug which deprives the other genuine patients," Tope said, urging the Indian Medical Association to look into this issue.

On reports of highly-inflated prices of the medicine in the market, the minister made it clear that it can be sold at a price between Rs 1,000-1,400.

Incidentally, on Tuesday, Maharashtra became the first in the country to surpass the 80 lakh vaccination mark since the drive started in mid-January.

IANS

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 16:47:23 +0530
Anubhav Sinha takes vaccine for COVID 19 prevention

Mumbai, April 7 : Filmmaker Anubhav Sinha on Wednesday took the vaccine for Covid-19 prevention, and shared a photograph with a frame with reads: "I am Covid-19 vaccinated".

"Here we go!!! Thanks @nanavatihospital," the 55-year-old filmmaker shared in an Instagram post along with the picture.

Sinha's post comes at a time when several Bollywood celebrities are battling the coronavirus during the second wave of the pandemic.

Celebrities including Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan, Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Vicky Kaushal, Govinda, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Bhumi Pednekar, Ajaz Khan, Shubhangi Atre and Ritwik Bhowmik have been afflicted by the virus so far.

Sinha is currently busy with his forthcoming film "Anek" featuring Ayushmann Khurrana in the lead. The spy thriller has been shot in various parts of the Northeast and Delhi.

This is Ayushmann‘s second film with Anubhav Sinha after their critically acclaimed 2019 flick "Article 15".
 

IANS

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 16:45:48 +0530
Set up vax centres in RWAs malls schools airports corporations

New Delhi, April 7

NATHEALTH-Healthcare Federation of India, an apex body representing the ecosystem of the private healthcare sector, has submitted a set of recommendations to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the NITI Aayog on the urgent need to scale up the country's vaccination drive by including private diagnostics labs and home care providers in the inoculation process.
The recommendations also include setting up of vaccination centres in RWAs, malls, schools, airports, and large corporations with space and staff facilities.
These steps will not only accelerate vaccination numbers at the community level but will also play a pivotal role to stem the rising cases of Covid-19 in India, effectively scaling up numbers and expanding coverage in a short span of time.
In the representation to the Health Ministry, NATHEALTH has suggested involving other healthcare providers with skilled medical workforce to ramp up to the vaccination drive.
It suggested that temporary vaccine centres can be set up in schools, malls, hotels/dormitories, airports, and large corporate houses can be created to conduct the inoculation drive as per the SOPs and operational guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Central government, which can facilitate vaccine storage, handling, administration and documentation.
The entire process will be similar to that being followed at hospitals, including registration on CoWIN, utilisation of only those nurses who have been specifically trained on COVID19 vaccination administration, infection control protocols and standards.
It advocated involving more private home healthcare industry players in order to reduce the cost of care for patients and the burden on the stretched hospitals system - Home healthcare industry has a huge potential in preventing the spread of the infection in current times of surge.
Creation of satellite, temporary off-site community vaccination clinics/centres managed by home healthcare providers has been suggested as these centres outside of hospitals can be set up in community centres, malls, colleges, schools, stadiums, RWAs, offices of large corporations and others.
Involving certified, private diagnostic organisations can increase coverage and ensure that the general public has quick access to vaccination, especially those in the high-risk category. Large private labs already have a ready network of labs spread across India in Tier 1, 2 and semi-urban areas, along with an established cold-chain network supported by an army of trained workforce.
Phlebotomists at accredited laboratory chains are well-trained to proficiently inoculate the population with utmost compliance under the supervision of MBBS doctors. As per the official guidelines, private labs can easily create dedicated sections for registration verification vaccination and observation, if given a chance to participate in the vaccine administration drive.
Harsh Mahajan, President, NATHEALTH and Founder and Chief Radiologist, Mahajan Imaging said: "India has 2000 labs for Covid testing now and keeping in mind the unprecedented second wave of the pandemic, we must focus on increasing the coverage of the vaccination drive and continue large scale testing in the states which are reporting high number of cases. We can utilie the infrastructure built by private diagnostics labs in the 1st wave of the pandemic. The phlebotomists at any accredited diagnostic laboratory chain are well-trained to inoculate the population with utmost compliance under the supervision of MBBS doctors.
"Home healthcare service providers and certified diagnostic labs in India have the required infrastructure and trained medical professionals to vaccinate. This will definitely help increase the coverage of the vaccination drive effectively in tier 2 and tier 3 geographies.
"Some hospitals are back to their pre-Covid levels of occupancy and also focusing on non-Covid patients. As cases surge in some pockets of India, many hospitals have also started reserving spaces and beds for Covid testing treatment. In addition, there is a need to give flexibility and convenience of access to vaccines for working professionals and dispel the fear of visiting hospitals for the elderly.
"If India wants to achieve a milestone by inoculating the entire population by the end of this year, the government should consider bringing in additional service providers in the health care Industry as it played a vital role in the initial phase of Covid response by facilitating the home isolation/remote home monitoring program for the mildly symptomatic Covid patients across many states following the guidelines laid down by MOHFW."

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 12:13:51 +0530
2021 04 07 RCB s Daniel Sams tests Covid positive

Chennai, April 7

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) fast bowler Daniel Sams has tested positive for Covid-19, the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise said in a statement on Wednesday.

Sams had a negative report upon his arrival on April 3, but was found to be positive on Wednesday during the second round of testing, RCB said.

"Sams is currently asymptomatic and he is currently in isolation at a designated medical facility. The RCB medical team is in constant touch with Daniel Sams and continue to monitor his health and abide by the BCCI protocols," the team said.

RCB will face defending champions Mumbai Indians in their first match of the season on Friday.

Sams was traded in from Delhi Capitals along with Harshal Patel.

Sams played for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League this year, picking 10 wickets at an economy of 8.58. He also scored 199 runs at an average of 49.75 with two half-centuries.

It was his strike-rate of 191.34 that helped the Thunder to a large extent.

ians

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 12:09:23 +0530
Spotify announces new podcasts for Indian listeners

Mumbai, April 7

Swedish music streaming service Spotify on Wednesday announced a slate of new podcasts from India, including four new Spotify Originals and one exclusive podcast partnership.

Originals include Tamil talk show "The RJ Balaji Podcast", Hindi comedy podcast "Andar Ki Baat by Amit Tandon", psychological horror show "Darr Ka Raaz with Dr. Phobia" & true crime series "Crime Kahaniyan".

The company has also signed an exclusive deal for multiple children's podcasts produced by gaathastory.

"Over the last year, we've seen an increased shift toward audio across demographics in India. In a video-saturated world, podcasts are a medium that nurture imagination, and can accompany listeners no matter where they are, or what they are doing," Amarjit Singh Batra, Managing Director - India, Spotify, said in a statement.

"We are continuing our effort to bring relevant, relatable local content with a focus on storytelling, crime, and talk shows with talented creators and hosts," Batra added.

This diverse content acquisition aligns with the brand's strategy to cater to as many listeners in India as possible through relevant, relatable and exciting audio content, the company said.

Globally, Spotify has more than 2.2 million podcasts on the platform.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 12:04:44 +0530
Rani Mukerji Being an actress in film industry is not easy

Mumbai, April 7

Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji, who has worked in Bollywood for 25 years now, says it is challenging to be a part of showbiz.

She says her advice to newcomers would be to understand that there are a lot of expectations in this industry.

"My only advice would be that being an actress in the film industry is not easy. It's a very, very difficult profession to be in, as there are a lot of expectations that the audience has from you once you become an established star. Also, to be able to work in different conditions is not easy," she says.

"Of course, on screen it all looks glamorous and easy and nice. It looks serene and beautiful, especially the locations where we shoot at times, but actually working in the industry is very very hard," she adds.

She urges people to only join the profession only if they are passionate about their craft.

"So, if you are ready to work really hard and you really love the craft of acting then you should be here, not for any other reason because success, glamour, name and fame come only when the audience loves you. The first and foremost thing is to work sincerely so you gain loyal fans for life," she says.

The actress will be seen in the upcoming films "Bunty Aur Babli 2" and "Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway".

ians
 

 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 11:55:04 +0530
CPI inflation for April June seen at 5 2 RBI

Mumbai, April 7  

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has pegged retail inflation for the Apri-June quarter of the current financial year at 5.2 per cent.
Announcing the first Monetary Policy for FY22, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said that the consumer price index (CPI) inflation for the fourth quarter of the last fiscal has been revised to 5 per cent.
He noted that the evolving CPI inflation trajectory is likely to be subjected to both upside and downside pressures.
"The bumper foodgrains production in 2020-21 should sustain softening of cereal prices going forward, while the prices of pulses, particularly tur and urad, remain elevated, the incoming rabi harvest arrivals in the markets and the overall increase in domestic production in 2020-21 should augment supply which, along with imports, should enable some softening of these prices going forward," he said.
The RBI Governor added that while edible oils inflation has been ruling at heightened levels with international prices remaining firm, reduction of import duties and appropriate incentives to enhance productivity domestically could work towards a better demand-supply balance over the medium-term.
Suggesting that the states the Centre should take steps to control the rising fuel prices, Das said: "Pump prices of petroleum products have remained high. Reduction of excise duties and cesses and state level taxes could provide some relief to consumers on top of the recent easing of international crude prices. This could slow down the propagation of secondround effects."
The impact of high international commodity prices and increased logistics costs are being felt across manufacturing and services, he added.
Finally, inflation expectations of urban households one year ahead showed a marginal increase than over the three months ahead horizon according to the RBI's March 2021 survey.
"Taking into consideration all factors, CPI inflation is now projected as 5.0 per cent in Q4:2020- 21; 5.2 percent in Q1:2021-22, 5.2 percent in Q2, 4.4 % in Q3 and 5.1 per cent in Q4, with risks broadly balanced."
The Monetary Policy Committee at its meeting on Wednesday decided to keep the policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) unchanged at 4.0 per cent.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 11:51:17 +0530
1 in 3 Covid survivors diagnosed with neuro problems Lancet

London, April 7

One in three people who survived Covid-19 have been diagnosed with anxiety and mood disorders, within six months of infection, according to a large study published in the science journal The Lancet Psychiatry.
For the study, researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK looked at 14 neurological and mental health disorders in 2,36,379 Covid-19 patients mostly from the US.
The findings showed 34 per cent were diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition within six months of infection.
The most common condition was anxiety (17 per cent) and mood disorders (14 per cent).
Neurological diagnoses such as stroke and dementia were rarer, but people among admitted to intensive care, 7 per cent had a stroke and almost 2 per cent were diagnosed with dementia.
"These are real-world data from a large number of patients. They confirm the high rates of psychiatric diagnoses after Covid-19, and show that serious disorders affecting the nervous system (such as stroke and dementia) occur too. While the latter are much rarer, they are significant, especially in those who had severe Covid-19," said lead author Paul Harrison, Professor at the University of Oxford.
"Although the individual risks for most disorders are small, the effect across the whole population may be substantial for health and social care systems due to the scale of the pandemic and that many of these conditions are chronic.
"As a result, health care systems need to be resourced to deal with the anticipated need, both within primary and secondary care services," Harrkson said.
The study also found 44 per cent greater risk of neurological and mental health diagnoses after Covid-19 than after flu, and a 16 per cent greater risk after Covid-19 than with respiratory tract infections.
This shows that Covid-19 does lead to a greater risk of neurological and psychiatric disorders than these other health conditions, the researchers said.
However, there was no clear evidence that Covid-19 led to an increased risk of Parkinson's or and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
"Our results indicate that brain diseases and psychiatric disorders are more common after Covid-19 than after flu or other respiratory infections, even when patients are matched for other risk factors. We now need to see what happens beyond six months," said co-author Max Taquet, from the University of Oxford.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 11:42:49 +0530
TN political parties in calculation mode a day after polling

Chennai, April 7

Political parties of Tamil Nadu, especially the Dravidian majors are in calculation mode with permutations and combinations on the poll outcome.

Parties have started trying to decipher who will benefit from the 71 per cent voting that took place on April 6. While in 2011 and 2016, AIADMK-led front had benefited from the higher percentage, DMK leadership dismissed this and was of the opinion that the front would win a comfortable majority.

While almost all national level opinion polls have predicted a landslide for the DMK front, political observers and election analysts prefer to be modest and vouch for a win for the DMK but not with a huge majority.

DMK leader Duraimurugan while speaking to IANS said, "It will be DMK all the way and as a political worker who has been in the grassroots level across Tamil Nadu, I could easily find a wave in favour of the DMK. We will win with a huge majority and the results will surprise our opponents."

However political observers begged to differ. C. Rajeev of Centre for Policy and Development Studies, a Think tank based out of Chennai while speaking to IANS said, "It is a close neck and neck fight. While at the superficial level we could find a wave in favour of the DMK, I think it is confined to the urban centres, and rural Tamil Nadu seems to have preferred the AIADMK. The anti-incumbency factor is much less during the Edappadi K Palaniswami regime and this might have worked in favour of AIADMK at the grassroots in rural areas. Whoever wins it is a close contest."

Of the 6.29 crore eligible voters of Tamil Nadu, 4.51 crore had cast their votes and this was a welcome sign as far as election amidst Covid is concerned.

This sizable voter turnout has given hopes to the AIADMK camp as low turnout means support for the cadre based DMK and the higher turnout can give a slight edge to the AIADMK. While the cadre based BJP is with the AIADMK in its alliance, the saffron party is not much a force to reckon with in Tamil Nadu and in several constituencies where the party contested, there were not even booth agents. Both the Dravidian majors had put up several temporary booths outside the election centres to assist the voters and here the BJP had lagged behind.

AIADMK Chennai city leader M. Senthilanathan while speaking to IANS said, "AIADMK led front is winning this election leaving aside the anti-incumbency disadvantage. The government had done several good things for the people and it was effectively communicated to the grassroots level and this will definitely see the AIADMK front through and win with a comfortable majority. In urban areas it's a neck and neck race but in rural Tamil Nadu it is advantage AIADMK."

While it's a long waiting time to get the clear results on May 2, the parties are taking up reports from each booth and trying to work out the results.

ians

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 11:37:25 +0530
Microsoft puts servers in liquid to enhance performance

San Francisco, April 7

 After sinking an entire data centre to the bottom of the Scottish sea, Microsoft has now started to submerge its servers in liquid to improve performance and save energy.
According to a report in The Verge, a rack of servers is being used for production loads "in what looks like a liquid bath".
"It's essentially a bathtub. The rack will lie down inside that bathtub, and what you'll see is boiling just like you'd see boiling in your pot. The boiling in your pot is at 100 degrees Celsius, and in this case it's at 50 degrees Celsius," Christian Belady, vice president of Microsoft's data centre advanced development group, was quoted as saying in the report on Tuesday.
The fluorocarbon-based liquid works by removing heat as it directly hits components, and the fluid reaches a lower boiling point to condense and fall back into the bath as a raining liquid.
This liquid cooling has been used by cryptocurrency players to mine for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
"It potentially will eliminate the need for water consumption in data centres, so that's a really important thing for us," Belady said.
"It's in a small data centre, and we're looking at one rack's worth. We have a whole phased approach, and our next phase is pretty soon with multiple racks."
In an earlier experiment, Microsoft sank a shipping container-sized data centre 117 feet deep in the seafloor off Scotland's Orkney Islands in 2018 as part of its Project Natick.
The tech giant in September last year said it retrieved the data centre coated in algae, barnacles and sea anemones, confirming viability of seafloor data storage in the near future.
The researchers think this hardware will help them understand why the servers in the underwater datacenter are eight times more reliable than those on land.
The team hypothesises that the atmosphere of nitrogen, which is less corrosive than oxygen, and the absence of people to bump and jostle components, are the primary reasons for the difference.
"By putting data centre underwater near coastal cities, data would have a short distance to travel, leading to fast and smooth web surfing, video streaming and game playing," Microsoft had said in a statement.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 11:29:46 +0530
1 in 3 Covid survivors diagnosed with neuro problems Lancet

London, April 7

 One in three people who survived Covid-19 have been diagnosed with anxiety and mood disorders, within six months of infection, according to a large study published in the science journal The Lancet Psychiatry.
For the study, researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK looked at 14 neurological and mental health disorders in 2,36,379 Covid-19 patients mostly from the US.
The findings showed 34 per cent were diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition within six months of infection.
The most common condition was anxiety (17 per cent) and mood disorders (14 per cent).
Neurological diagnoses such as stroke and dementia were rarer, but people among admitted to intensive care, 7 per cent had a stroke and almost 2 per cent were diagnosed with dementia.
"These are real-world data from a large number of patients. They confirm the high rates of psychiatric diagnoses after Covid-19, and show that serious disorders affecting the nervous system (such as stroke and dementia) occur too. While the latter are much rarer, they are significant, especially in those who had severe Covid-19," said lead author Paul Harrison, Professor at the University of Oxford.
Although the individual risks for most disorders are small, the effect across the whole population may be substantial for health and social care systems due to the scale of the pandemic and that many of these conditions are chronic.
"As a result, health care systems need to be resourced to deal with the anticipated need, both within primary and secondary care services," Harrkson said.
The study also found 44 per cent greater risk of neurological and mental health diagnoses after Covid-19 than after flu, and a 16 per cent greater risk after Covid-19 than with respiratory tract infections.
This shows that Covid-19 does lead to a greater risk of neurological and psychiatric disorders than these other health conditions, the researchers said.
However, there was no clear evidence that Covid-19 led to an increased risk of Parkinson's or and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
"Our results indicate that brain diseases and psychiatric disorders are more common after Covid-19 than after flu or other respiratory infections, even when patients are matched for other risk factors. We now need to see what happens beyond six months," said co-author Max Taquet, from the University of Oxford.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 11:24:31 +0530
Soap therapy How to shoot a Covid proof TV show

Mumbai, April 7

 Getting ready for a soap shoot is no longer just about mugging dialogues and putting on make-up and costumes. In the 'new' normal that comes with restricted shooting permission in the wake of the second Covid wave, the process of creativity has to be made pandemic-proof, too.
So, for a start, TV series makers are focussing on the script. Writers are being told to visualise scenes that require less characters in every shot -- come to think of it, a tall order since Indian soaps are typified by a surfeit of protagonists filling up the frames.
Also, producers are creating episode banks by shooting episodes in bulk at a time, to ensure the flow remains intact in case a key cast member or two are out for a fortnight after contracting the virus. That, again, is quite a challenge, given the fact that television, more than the comparatively relaxed work culture of films or OTT, demands an unending flow of fresh programming to keep the show running.
The scene, after all, has not been rosy. Lately, there has been a rapid increase in Covid cases among television stars, perhaps because the community is forced to spend long hours together. Around 18 crew members of dance-reality show "Dance Deewane 3" tested positive. The list of television actors who have tested positive keeps growing -- Shubhangi Atre, Abrar Qazi and Narayani Shastri, filmmaker Rajan Shahi and the lead actors of his show "Anupamaa", Rupali Ganguly and Sudhanshu Pandey have all been infected with Covid-19. Actors Amar Upadhyay and Priyal Mahajan were diagnosed with the virus, too, in a span of a few days.
While every TV producer readily talks bio bubble, and insists social distancing is being maintained on the set, the industry is wary. room for error will always remain for a virus threat that spreads quickly and shows no sign of ebbing.
Producer Binaifer Kohli, known for her shows "Bhabhiji Ghar Pe Hai" and "Jijaji Chatt Par Koi Hai" and "Happu Ki Ultan Pultan", is among creators who believe the start at thwarting the entry of Covid into sets has to happen from the root -- the way scripts are written.
"TV shooting can continue with social distancing on the sets. Everybody is going to be tested via RT-PCR on the 10th of this month, that is before they get into the set. Distancing is possible if you plan your shooting well, take it in cuts, it can be done. The way forward is to write your story in a manner where there are lesser people in a scene and distance can be maintained," she says.
"We always had strict restrictions and we are still following those. In fact, we had made some rules of our own, too," she adds.
Others like director JP Sharma "Vignaharta Ganesha" talks of bulk shooting, to be prepared for a scenario when key cast and crew members might fall sick.
"We have a 10-episode bank. So, we don't have to run around too much. We try to social distance. Every time, it's not possible, but we try to do it," says Sharma.
Agrees Kohli: "Episode banks are important. Right now, there is a Saturday-Sunday curfew, so two days are cut from the shooting. So, nine to 10 days in a month are out. Episode banks are very important. When someone falls ill, we have to shut down the set for three days," she explains.
"Aapki Nazron Ne Samjha" producer Amir Jaffar, however, says that it is challenging to maintain an episode bank.
"It is tough as we will have to shoot the same number of episodes in five days, in reduced hours. Of course, once we start doing this, we will have a better idea. Right now, we are just trying to figure out how to go about this," says Jaffar.
Director JP Sharma of "Vignaharta Ganesha" reiterates the importance of the simplest of solutions -- wearing masks for as long as possible on set -- as the most effective tool against the virus.
After getting ready from the make-up room, we try to keep only those people close by who are involved in the shoot. We are wearing masks all the time. After the cut, we tell the artistes to wear their masks, too" he says.
The basic diktat of social distancing, of course, is now a norm. "We have a monitor and we keep distance. We explain scenes from a two-foot distance. In the mornings, afternoons and nights, there is proper sanitising done," informs Sharma.
For the small screen, the challenge is all the more intense. Every producer knows they have to shoot. The last year saw the OTT culture wean away a portion of the audience base. A few shows like "Qubool Hai" shifted base to the digital domain, too. Total shutdown of production really isn't an option for TV producers right now.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 11:18:44 +0530
Policy support RBI MPC retains accommodative stance rates

Mumbai, April 7

 To support a faster economic recovery amid the surge in Covid-19 cases, the Reserve Bank retained its key short-term lending rates along with the growth-oriented accommodative stance during the first monetary policy review of FY22.
Accordingly, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the central bank voted to maintain the repo rate, or short-term lending rate, for commercial banks, at 4 per cent.
Likewise, the reverse repo rate was kept unchanged at 3.35 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the 'Bank Rate' at 4.25 per cent.
It was widely expected that MPC would hold rates and the accommodative stance.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 11:08:46 +0530
California to fully reopen economy on June 15

San Francisco, April 7

 California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state is ready to fully reopen its economy by June 15 if vaccine and hospitalisation numbers remain stable.
Newsom made the announcement during a news conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.
"This is a big day in terms of the pandemic... We will be moving beyond the blueprint and getting rid of coloured tiers, moving past the dimmer switch.
"Getting rid of the blueprint as you know it today. That's on June 15 if we continue our good work," Newsom was quoted as saying at the news conference.
California is set to surpass more than 20 million vaccine doses administered, including 4 million in the state's hardest-hit communities, according to the state government.
With hospitalisations continuing to steadily decline, Newsom said the next step in the Covid-19 pandemic recovery is moving beyond the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
In a statement issued by his office later in the day, the Governor said: "We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic.
"We will need to remain vigilant, and continue the practices that got us here – wearing masks and getting vaccinated – but the light at the end of this tunnel has never been brighter."
California, one of the hardest-hit US states by the pandemic, has so far reported 3,583,830 coronavirus cases and 58,541 deaths.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 11:03:25 +0530
Denmark begins gradual reopening with Corona passport

Copenhagen, April 7

 Danish authorities have started the gradual reopening of the country amid the pandemic with the 'Corona passport', which will officially document a negative Covid-19 test taken within the last 72 hours, a previous infection during the past two to 12 weeks, or a completed vaccination course.
The passport, which can be downloaded and shown by an app onto a smartphone or alternatively printed out from the website of health portal Sundhed.dk, was introduced on Tuesday by the Danish Health Authority, Xinhua news agency reported.
"We are pleased to deliver the solution that contributes to the gradual reopening of Denmark. We have been working hard under high pressure lately. So it is great to be able to say that we are ready to start," Morten Elbaek Petersen, CEO of Sundhed.dk, said in a statement.
The initial beneficiaries of the passport will be a number of liberal professions, such as hair salons and driving schools.
However, customers are still required to use a face mask when they present their valid "corona passport".
Children under 15 years are exempt from the requirements.
Sundhed.dk expects a huge application for the passport from people eagerly seeking to resume their "pre-Covid" lives, said Petersen.
"I would also like to say that at times you have to expect waiting time and queues, as we anticipate a great deal of pressure on the system. This can also be the case with the website and app if many people log on at the same time."
According to a poll conducted by Danish news agency Ritzau on Tuesday, 67 per cent of those surveyed think a "corona passport" is a good idea, while 16 per cent said that it was a bad idea.
The Danish government on March 23 announced a phased reopening plan after lengthy negotiations between the government and the majority of parliamentary parties.
According to the Statens Serum Institut (SSI), Denmark registered 520 new Covid cases and two more deaths in the past 24 hours.
To date, the country has reported 234,317 cases and 2,432 deaths.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 10:58:19 +0530
India records 1 15 736 Covid 19 cases highest ever daily tally

New Delhi, April 7

 India recorded 1,15,736 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the biggest-ever single-day surge since the onset of the pandemic early last year, taking the overall tally to 12,801,785 on Wednesday, according to the Health Ministry.
Active cases crossed the 800,000 mark in the last 24 hours and now stands at 843,473, comprising 6.59 per cent of the total infections.
Reports suggest that India is now the fourth most affected country in the world in terms of active cases.
On Tuesday, the Health Ministry said that the next four weeks will be "very critical".
Also in the last 24 hours, a total of 59,856 patients recovered, with the recovery rate reported to be at 92.11 per cent.
Meanwhile, the death toll increased to 1,66,177 on Wednesday with 630 new fatalities. The fatality rate stood at 1.30 per cent.
A total of 12,08,329 samples were tested for Covid-19 in the period, taking the total sample tests so far 25,14,39,598.
In the meantime, India has vaccinated 33,37,601 in the last 24 hours, while 8,70,77,474 doses of the corona jabs have been administered in the country since the drive began on January 16 after the approval for the Covishield and Covaxin.
On April 1, the third phase of the vaccination drive began under which anyone 45 years or older is allowed to get a jab.
Amid the continued surge in Covid-19 cases in India again in the past few weeks, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday that vaccination is being carried out on the basis of priority.
It added that the aim of the drive is to vaccinate the ones who need it most, rather than the ones who want to get inoculated.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 10:53:04 +0530
UP Panchayat candidate held for distributing rasgullas

Amroha (UP), April 7

 The Amroha police has seized 'rasgulla' packets weighing around 100 kg from a village panchayat candidate who was distributing them to the voters.
Sohanveer, the candidate, and his relative Chandra Sen have been booked for violating the model code of conduct and the police later arrested Sohanveer.
Amroha goes to polls in the second phase on April 19.
Amroha superintendent of police (SP) Suniti said, "Police have seized around 100 kg of rasgullas in Hasanpur area and arrested Sohanveer of Porara village. His relative, Chandra Sen, however, escaped. Sohanveer is a contender for the village head seat. We have registered a case against them under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code."
She further said, "Police and the district administration are on high alert to ensure free and fair polling. A crackdown on people, especially candidates, indulging in the distribution of liquor, chicken and sweets among voters to lure them is going on."

ians

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 10:48:52 +0530
Ex Mumbai top cop Param Bir Singh appears before NIA

Mumbai, April 7

 Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh on Wednesday deposed before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for the first time in connection with the explosive laden SUV outside Reliance industries chairman Mukesh Ambani's residence and mysterious death of businessman Manuskh Hiren.
Singh arrived at the NIA office here on Wednesday morning. He directly went inside the anti-terror probe agency office.
According to NIA sources, Singh will be questioned in connection with the explosive laden SUV found outside Antilia on February 25 this year.
The NIA had already arrested several people, including suspended Crime Branch police officer Sachin Vaze.
The NIA had earlier seized several high-end vehicles used by Vaze and also recovered several items from a river here.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 10:44:53 +0530
40 KGMU doctors test Covid positive

 

Lucknow, April 7

 Forty doctors of Lucknow's King George's Medical University (KGMU), including Vice Chancellor Lt Gen (retd) Vipin Puri, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
This is the second time since last August that the Vice Chancellor has been infected by the virus.
He was administered the second dose of vaccine on March 25.
Sandeep Tewari of KGMU saidL "During the last four days, around 40 doctors, including medical superintendent Himanshu, have tested positive."
Most of the doctors have tested positive despite taking both the doses of vaccine.
The infected doctors include 20 from the general surgery department, nine from the urology department and three from the department of medicine.
Tests of several other faculty members are being conducted after they complained of influenza-like symptoms on Tuesday and their reports will be available later.
Screening of entire staff in several departments will also be done on Wednesday.
The heads of the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Medanta hospital and Era Medical college have already tested positive for Covid even after getting vaccinated.
Senior BJP leader Jagdambika Pal also tested positive after he complaint of fever.
Meanwhile, seven new fatalities were reported in the state during last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 1,248.
The new deaths include Professor Brajesh Shukla of the Lucknow University, a recipient of the Padma Shri award, and chief pharmacist of police lines, R.K. Chaudhary.
Lucknow, which has emerged as a Covid hotspot in Uttar Pradesh, reported 1,188 new Covid cases in the past 24 hours.
Presently, there are 4,560 coronavirus patients under home isolation.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 09:38:26 +0530
Fatma R Zakaria who interviewed Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher falls to Covid 2nd Ld

Aurangabad (Maharashtra), April 6

Veteran journalist Fatma R. Zakaria, the former Editor of the Sunday Times, Mumbai - who achieved glory by interviewing two of the then most powerful women Prime Ministers on the planet, India's Indira Gandhi and Britain's Margaret Thatcher - passed away here on Tuesday due to Covid at a private hospital, a close family friend said.
Fatma R. Zakaria, in her '80s, was the widow of former Maharashtra Minister and Islamic scholar Dr. Rafiq Zakaria, and had been admitted to a local hospital since the past few days, Aurangabad AIMIM MP Syed Imtiaz Jaleel told IANS.
She is survived by four children - Tasneem Zakaria-Mehta, an art historian, Manzoor Zakaria, Arshad Zakaria who is with a US-based global hedge fund and Fareed Zakaria, the US-based former Editor of Newsweek magazine and ex-Editor at large with Time magazine, and currently hosting the 'Fareed Zakaria GPS' show on CNN TV channel.
"This is shocking and an irreparable loss to the media fraternity. Details of her last rites and other formalities are being finalized in consultation with her family members in view of the stringent Covid restrictions imposed here," he added.
She joined the Times of India Group in 1970, worked for the Illustrated Weekly of India, and went onto become the Editor of The Sunday Times, the Bombay Times, and later edited the Taj magazine, a prestigious quarterly publication brought out by the Taj Group of Hotels.
Senior journalist and her former colleague at The Times of India Group, S. Balakrishnan described Fatma Zakaria "as an extremely hard-working journalist, meticulous, well-read and scholarly, a team-leader who could carry along an entire array of differing viewpoints, but "an extremely cool-headed person".
"I recall how she had once worked diligently on a cover story on Islam for the Illustrated Weekly of India The article created history, and that issue of the magazine became the highest selling ever for the publication," Balakrishnan told IANS.
Her professional highlights included interviews with two of the most powerful women leaders on earth then, Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher, besides several other renowned Indian and global personalities, which old-timers fondly remember.
According to Jaleel, though hailing from Mumbai, since the past few years, Fatma Zakaria was mostly living in Aurangabad and handling the affairs of the reputed 'Maulana Azad Education Trust' (MAET) as the Chairperson, besides several other.
The MAET was founded by the late Dr. Rafiq Zakaria in 1963 - a prominent Congress leader, former state minister and acknowledged as the architect of modern Aurangabad - and runs a chain of prominent educational institutions in the backward Marathwada region of Maharashtra, with branches elsewhere.
Fatma Zakaria carried forward her late husband's legacy and transformed these academic institutions, brought in foreign educational collaborations, and ultimately made them comparable with the best centres of learning in Asia.
Among the institutes of higher education are regular degree colleges, engineering, pharmacy, medical, catering, journalism, IT and Computers, business management, and other fields, plus schools and a women's college, for the upliftment of all sections of society, including the minorities.
During her long professional career, Fatma Zakaria was conferred with several honours and awards, including the Padma Shri in 2006, and encouraged hidden talent in many sectors of arts, culture, literature and mediaetc.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: q.najmi@ians.in)

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 08:58:25 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 132 2mn

Washington, April 7

The overall global Covid-19 caseload has topped 132.2 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 2.87 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Latest update on Wednesday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 132,293,566 and 2,871,642, resp.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 30,845,915 and 556,509, respectively, according to the CSSE.

Brazil follows in the second place with 13,100,580 cases and 336,947 fatalities.

The other countries with more than two million confirmed coronavirus cases are India (12,686,049), France (4,902,025), Russia (4,546,307), the UK (4,379,033), Italy (3,686,707), Turkey (3,579,185), Spain (3,317,948), Germany (2,909,902), Colombia (2,468,236), Poland (2,456,709), Argentina (2,428,029) and Mexico (2,256,509), the CSSE figures showed.

In terms of deaths, Mexico comes in the third place with 204,985 fatalities.

Nations with a death toll of over 50,000 are India (165,547), the UK (127,126), Italy (111,747), Russia (99,431), France (97,431), Germany (77,245), Spain (75,911), Colombia (64,524), Iran (63,506), Argentina (56,634), Poland (55,065), Peru (53,138) and South Africa (53,032).

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 08:51:42 +0530
48 lakh people vaccinated in Karnataka Minister

Bengaluru, April 7

Over 48-lakh people have been vaccinated so far amid surging Covid cases in Karnataka, said state health minister K. Sudhakar on Tuesday.
"Over 48 lakh people, including 23-lakh senior citizens above 60 years of age and 10-lakh above 45 years of age have received the jab across the state since the vaccination drive was launched on January 16," Sudhakar told reporters here.
According to the state health bulletin, 49,646 people, including 20,725 senior citizens and 28,058 above 45 years were vaccinated on Tuesday.
Cumulatively, 46,44,731 people, including 23,05,461 senior citizens and 10,80,361 above 45 years have received the shot till Monday across the southern state since January 16.
"Karnataka is in the sixth position across the country in the vaccination drive after Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal," said Sudhakar, who is a medical doctor by profession.
The state received an additional 15 lakh doses of vaccines on Monday for inoculating its citizens against the virus.
"Of the 15-lakh additional anti-Covid vaccines, 10 lakh are for Bengaluru region and 5 lakh for Belagavi in the state's northwest region," aid Sudhakar.
Ruling out vaccine shortage in the stare, Sudhakar said steps have been taken to ensure sufficient supply of the doses to all eligible people, including senior citizens and above and 45-59 years of age.
"We have 12 lakh dosages in stock after vaccinating 45 lakh people across the state since the drive was launched on January 16," said the minister.
Admitting that mortality among mid-age group in the state was a cause of serious concern, Sudhakar said he had directed the technical advisory committee of health experts to conduct a death audit in the state.
"The pandemic's second wave is spreading faster than the first wave across the country, with over a lakh cases registered on Monday. We cannot predict the severity of the situation now though we are prepared for it," asserted the minister.
As per the bulletin, 6,150 new cases were registered in Karnataka on Monday, taking the state's Covid tally to 10,26,584, including 45,107 active cases.
As epi-centre of the virus, Bengaluru reported 4,266 fresh cases on Monday, taking the city's Covid tally to 4,55,025, including 32,605 active cases,
Touching a new high, 32 patients, including 26 in Bengaluru succumbed to the infection during the last 24 hours, taking the state's death toll to 12,696 and the city's toll to 4,693 since the pandemic broke in mid-March, 2020.
Of the 351 patients in the intensive care units (ICUs), 160 are in Bengaluru hospitals.
"We have reserved 33,697 beds in government and private hospitals for Covid cases across the state. Of them, 15,733 are oxygenated and 10,083 have been reserved for the virus cases," reiterated Sudhakar.
The state government directed private hospitals to reserve 20 per cent of their beds for Covid patients. More beds will be arranged across the state if cases increase in the coming days.
Noting that vaccine would reduce the severity of the infection, the minister said vaccination was preventive but would not give total immunity from the virus.
"As people who did not get vaccinated are getting admitted into ICUs, I urge all eligible people across the state to take the jab at the earliest, dosage only reduces the severity of the infection," affirmed  minister.
Cautioning people against underestimating the scale and speed with which the virus was spreading in its second wave, Sudhakar said the state could face bed shortage if new cases increased drastically in the coming weeks.
"The state health department is in talks with private hospitals to reserve beds for Covid treatment. The technical advisory committee of experts has advised to consider the pandemic seriously till May-end to contain the second wave and save lives," Sudhakar pointed out.
The committee hinted that Bengaluru will have 6,500 cases a day if the virus spread is not contained at the earliest.
"If we do not contain the virus spread, surge in new cases will be inevitable," added the minister.

ians

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 08:47:19 +0530
Indian operators providing hawala money to Mexican cartels hunted by US sleuths

New York/New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) Controversial Bollywood actress Mamata Kulkarni's husband Vicky Goswami extradited by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), leaves a trail of several drug traffickers from the Indian sub-continent which are presently wanted by Washington. While Goswami is jailed in New York, three Indians, reportedly operating from British Columbia in Canada, figure on the list of the DEA's most wanted fugitives.

Top DEA sleuths are reportedly hunting for Bakshish Singh, a key money launderer linked with the dreaded Sinaloa drug cartel of Mexico. As per DEA reports, Bakshish was earlier working for international hawala ring leader Gurkaran Singh, a Canadian national of Indian origin. Gurkaran was arrested by the DEA a few years ago in Los Angeles on charges of providing millions of dollars to the Sinaloa drug cartel. Sources in Indian agencies revealed that Bakshish Singh and his two aides, Balwant Rai Bhola and Sanjeev Bhola, could be hiding in Canada or Punjab.

The DEA's wanted list also names Balwant and Sanjeev Bhola as members of the international hawala ring allegedly working at the behest of Mexican drug cartels. Along with Bakshish, both Sanjeev and Balwant are charged for "conspiracy to launder money". According to a DEA report, Bakshish Singh's last known address was located in Surrey, a city in British Columbia. Several Indian-origin drug traffickers have been earlier operating from Surrey, which is apart of the metro Vancouver area and touches the US border. Sources said that Bakshish might have escaped to India and could be living under fake identity.

Bakshish, born in the 1970s, was not the only one from India to facilitate funds for the Sinaloa cartel. In 2018, two Indians, Manu Gupta and Mohammed Sadik were arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) from Indore for supplying drugs to one Jorge Solis, member of the Sinaloa cartel. The DRI had recovered 10 kg of drugs from the possession of Solis and Gupta which was priced over Rs 100 crore in the international market. Gupta was later found to be working for the Sinaloa drug cartel for the past several years.

Sinaloa is a sovereign state within Mexico facing the Gulf of California.The strategic location of Sinaloa & poltical patronisation, gives the drug cartel a safe haven to operate their international drug racket fromstate.

The DEA has earlier unearthed another big time drug cartel involving Vicky Goswami, a former aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. The DEA had also tipped Indian agencies about a pharmaceutical company allegedly operating from India, where drugs like mandrax and ephedrine were being manufactured. The pharma company having linkages with alleged drug traffickers was later sealed by the police.

The investigation report filed by DEA in the US District Court, Southern District of New York on July 25, 2019, had revealed the name of D-company aide Goswami and Ali Punjani, former husband of another Bollywood star Kim Sharma.

Goswami was extradited by the DEA from Kenya to face trial in New York.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 08:38:26 +0530
Depleted SA take on Pak in series decider

Centurion, April 7 (IANS) 

A depleted South Africa will take on Pakistan in the third and deciding ODI here on Wednesday.

South Africa, who survived a Fakhar Zaman onslaught on Monday, to survive and take the series into the decider, will miss the services of some of their key players who flew to India to join their Indian Premier League franchises.

The IPL begins on April 9.

Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje (both Delhi Capitals), Quinton de Kock (Mumbai Indians), David Miller (Rajasthan Royals) and Lungi Ngidi (Chennai Super Kings) have started to arrive in India for the cash-rich tournament that begins on April 9.

On Tuesday, Nortje and Rabada landed in Mumbai to join the Delhi Capitals squad.
The match will provide an opportunity to Pakistan to win their second-ever ODI series in South Africa. They had previously won a three-match ODI series a few years back under Misbah-ul-Haq.

Pakistan will be missing leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who is out due to injury.

The ODI series will be followed by a four-match T20I series.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 08:31:33 +0530
Indian astronomers trace rare supernova explosion to WR stars

 

New Delhi, April 6

Tracking a rare supernova explosion, Indian astronomers have traced it to one of the hottest kind of stars, called Wolf-Rayet stars or WR stars.

The rare Wolf-Rayet stars are highly luminous objects a thousand times that of the Sun and have intrigued astronomers for long, the Union Ministry of Science and Technology said in a statement on Tuesday.

They are massive stars and strip their outer hydrogen envelope which is associated with the fusion of helium and other elements in the massive core.

Tracking of certain types of massive luminous supernovae explosion can help probe these stars that remain an enigma for scientists.

A team of astronomers from the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) in Nainital, along with with international collaborators, conducted the optical monitoring of one such stripped-envelope supernova called SN 2015dj hosted in the galaxy NGC 7371 which was spotted in 2015.

They calculated the mass of the star that collapsed to form the supernovae as well as the geometry of its ejection, according to the study published in The Astrophysical Journal.

The scientists also found that the original star was a combination of two stars -- one of them is a massive WR star and another is a star much less in mass than the Sun.

Supernovae are highly energetic explosions in the universe releasing an enormous amount of energy.

Long-term monitoring of these transients opens the door to understand the nature of the exploding star as well as the explosion properties.

It can also help enumerate the number of massive stars.

ians
 

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 08:28:29 +0530
Iggy Azalea was self conscious about motherhood

Los Angeles, April 7

Rapper Iggy Azalea has shared that it took her time to come to terms with motherhood, adding that in the beginning she felt self-conscious about some of her parental duties.

Azalea announced the arrival of her son Onyx with former-beau Playboi Carti last year.

The rapper said that she was embarrassed to read books aloud to her son.

"It seems silly but when I first had my son I felt embarrassed to read books aloud and put on silly voices etc. but now I get so into it and I don't even care," she shared on social media.

Meanwhile, Azalea is set to receive her Covid vaccine later this month. She is eager to get the vaccine so she can enjoy a "normal" summer with her son this year.

She had tweeted: "I'm getting my Covid vaccine later this month and I'm very excited! I'll gladly feel like s*** for a few days if it means I can potentially have a normal summer this year."

Azalea had recently shared that she thought she would need "lots of plastic surgery" after giving birth.

ians

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 08:24:12 +0530
Mukesh Ambani India s richest with 84 5 bn Gautam Adani 2nd Forbes

New Delhi, April 7

 Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani topped the Forbes list of India's 10 richest billionaires with a net worth of $84.5 billion, followed by Adani Group chief Gautam Adani.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Ambani accomplished a fund-raising feat, garnering $35 billion through a string of deals to achieve his target of reducing his flagship Reliance Industries' net debt to zero by 2021.

"He also sold a third of telecom unit Jio to marquee investors such as Facebook and Google and offloaded 10 per cent of Reliance Retail to private equity firms such as KKR and General Atlantic, plus concluded a $7.3 billion rights issue of Reliance shares," Forbes said.

Second richest Indian, Adani, who has also diversified the group's business and has taken a significant share in India's airport management and operations business has a net worth of $50.5 billion.

Adani acquired a 74 per cent stake in Mumbai International Airport, the country's second-busiest, last September. He also sold 20 per cent in his listed renewables firm, Adani Green Energy, to French energy giant Total for $2.5 billion.

The third richest Indian is HCL founder Shiv Nadar as per the Forbes list of India's 10 Richest Billionaires 2021, with a net worth of $23.5 billion.

Last July, Nadar stepped down as chairman of $9.9 billion (revenues) HCL Technologies, handing over the position to his daughter, Roshni Nadar Malhotra.

Avenue Supermarts' founder Radhakishan Damani ($16.5 billion) and Kotak Mahindra Bank MD Uday Kotak ($15.9 billion) took the fourth and the fifth spot in the list.

ians

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 08:19:01 +0530
All US adults eligible for Covid 19 vaccine by April 19 Biden

 

Washington, April 7

US President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that all American adults will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccine by April 19.

Biden announced the new timetable after his visit to a vaccination site in Alexandria, Virginia, moving up his original deadline of May 1 by nearly two weeks, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Biden said that 150 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered within his first 75 days in office, in line with a stated goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office.

He urged Americans to continue to practice pandemic safety measures, saying the country is not "at the finish line yet" and may experience more "disease and misery" before July 4.

A few weeks ago, Biden called on states, tribes and territories to make all US adults eligible for vaccination no later than May 1.

ians

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 08:14:56 +0530
India s market cap may grow to 6 4tn by 2030

The research by Morgan Stanley said over the past two and half decades, India's GDP has risen 11-fold and equity market cap has risen 30 times.

In 1993, when foreign portfolio investors were first allowed to buy Indian stocks, India's GDP and market cap stood at $260 billion and $90 billion, respectively.

Since then FPIs have bought a cumulative $217 billion In the 27 years since then, India's GDP has risen 11-fold to $2,870 billion, an average annual real growth rate of 6.5 per cent.

The country's equity market capitalisation has increased by over 13 per cent annually to $2.7 trillion. The MSCI India index has outperformed the MSCI Emerging Market index by a factor of 2.

"If our growth projections were to come to fruition, India's economy would pass the $6.4 trillion mark by 2030, with per capita income at $4,279 – reaching the upper middle income country threshold. This implies a real GDP growth of 6 per cent and nominal growth of 10-10.5 per cent," Morgan Stanley said.

A key ingredient to the forecast is estimate that manufacturing as a share of GDP will rise from approximately 15 per cent of GDP currently to 20 per cent by F2030, implying that its goes from $400 to $1,175 billion.

The note said that the thrust toward a manufacturing-led growth will set in motion the virtuous cycle of productive growth of higher investment - job creation - income growth - higher saving - higher investment and India would be one of the few large economies offering high nominal productive growth.

"The stars appear aligned for a new profit cycle. For an economy that is likely to grow at a nominal rate of 10 per cent per annum, if the profit share in GDP hits its long term average of 3.5 per cent over the next five years from its all-time low current level, it gives us an annual com-pounded growth in earnings of 23 per cent for the broad market," Morgan Stanley said.

Morgan Stanley said by 2030, India's market capitalization could grow to $6.4 trillion in line with GDP growth, an annual increase of 10 per cent. With accelerating earnings and reasonable relative valuations, trailing under-performance in the past five years and strong policy traction, India seems set to beat EM equity returns in the ensuing five years.

"To be sure, the journey toward a $6 trillion GDP and market cap is not without its challenges and risks. We see risks to our base case from the global growth environment, and delivery and execution of policy reforms required to support the medium-term growth trajectory," it added.
 

ians

Wed, 07 Apr 2021 08:09:40 +0530
Munich hopes to host Euro 2020 games with fans in stadium 23 18

Munich, April 6 : Munich is optimistic it can stage Euro 2020 matches this summer with fans inside the stadium despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The month-long tournament kicks off on June 11 and the German football federation (DFB) is discussing various scenarios regarding possible entry of fans.

"The German football federation and the host city of Munich continue to plan for UEFA Euro 2020 with various scenarios regarding possible spectators in the stadium. Accordingly, the documents will now also be submitted," a top Munich official said on Tuesday.

Munich will host three group stage games and a quarter-final match at Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena, reports DPA.

"It's certainly conceivable and desirable that spectators can be in the stadium for the four games in Munich," said the official.

Earlier this week, Europe's football-governing body, UEFA, had said that the 12 host cities -- including Munich -- had submitted their concepts for hosting the matches.

"We set April 7 as a deadline, so it's pleasing that all cities have already responded positively," UEFA tournament director Martin Kallen had said at the beginning of the week.

Meanwhile, the Italian government has taken a decision to throw open Rome's Olympic Stadium gates to the public for Euro matches.

IANS
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 23:37:49 +0530
Modi s coins Chalo Paltai slogan says Trinamool will fade away

Kolkata, April 6

Referring to a new audio tape that the BJP had released a few days back, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's defeat is on the cards, as he coined a new slogan -- 'Chalo Paltai' (let us make the change) -- and urged the people to vote for the saffron party in the ongoing Assembly elections for a new and better government.

Modi was perhaps referring to the three tapes that had surfaced in relation to the coal smuggling in which money was allegedly being received (up to Rs 35 crore) by Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee every month as part of 'cut-money' via a syndicate racket.

In the alleged audio tapes, a conversation between Ganesh Bagadiya, who is said to be a close aide of one Anup Majhi, an accused in the coal smuggling case, and a government official is claimed to be heard.

Addressing a public meeting in Cooch Behar, the Prime Minister said, "For 10 years, women, Dalits, backward classes, farmers and tea graden workers were subjected to injustices, but 'Didi' (Mamata Banerjee), you were just an onlooker. There is a new tax that has started in Bengal -- 'Bhaipo Service Tax'! When the women have to struggle for their food, when a youth has to struggle for a penny here, Rs 35-40 crore is coming every month. For this reason, today a voice is coming from every corner of the state -- 'Chalo Paltai, Chalo Paltai'."

"When your party announces that Didi will now contest from Varanasi, then anyone can easily understand that Trinamool is going to fade away. Every day you have to say that you are winning Nandigram. But after the game you played on the polling day in Nandigram, the entire country got to know that you have lost. Didi, your anger, your resentment, your behaviour and your speech describe that you have lost the elections," Modi said.

Taking a jibe at Banerjee, the Prime Minister said, "I heard that Didi is asking questions these days about whether the BJP is God so that it comes to know about the big victory in the first two phases. Oh, Didi...We are ordinary people, and with the blessings of God, we are committed to serve the nation.

"There is no need to trouble God to find out who is losing in the elections and who is winning. 'Janata Janardhana' (public) is the form of God. On seeing the temperament of the people, one can gauge which way the wind is blowing."

Rationalising Banerjee's defeat, the Prime Minister said, "When she says 'Sab Muslim ek ho jao' (All Muslims should come together), it proves that the vote-bank which she considered as hers is no more with her. This proves that she is going to lose the elections.

"Just come to think of it, had I said that all Hindus should come together and vote for the BJP, it would have not only made headlines, but the Election Commission would have sent me a notice for violation of model code of conduct. She is abusing the Election Commission everyday, but it has not even sent her a notice for this," he added.

"In the first two phases of polling, Didi's departure has already been confirmed. People in huge numbers have come out and voted in our favour. The wave of the BJP in Bengal has cornered Didi's goons and her nephew," the Prime Minister said.

ians

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 18:40:09 +0530
Governor presides over 57th Convocation of Shivaji University

Mumbai, April 6

The Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari presided over the 57th Annual Convocation of the Shivaji University, Kolhapur through online mode from Raj Bhavan, Mumbai.

Degrees, Diplomas and Ph.Ds were presented to 77542 graduating students on the occasion.

Minister of Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant, Chairman of All India Council of Technical Education Dr Anil Sahasrabuddhe and Vice Chancellor of Shivaji University Dr Digambar Shirke were prominent among those present on the occasion.

While the President’s Gold Medal was presented to Saurabh Sanjay Patil, the Chancellor’s Gold Medal was awarded to Maheshwari Dhananjay Gole on the occasion. Ph.Ds were conferred on selected candidates on the occasion.

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 18:35:31 +0530
Covid cases will rise despite vax UK scientistsTue, 06 Apr 2021 17:54:36 +0530Pakistan and India cannot afford a war says Pak FM

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that India and Pakistan cannot afford to engage in an all-out war, as both countries are powered by nuclear weapons.

Pakistan Foreign Minister's comments came after questions were raised over a statement by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who had said that some counties changed their position over just one phone call. Qureshi maintained that the statement made by the Chinese Foreign Minister was not directed at Pakistan.

Commenting about India-Pakistan relations, Qureshi said that it is Pakistan's firm belief that "all issues could be resolved through dialogue", adding that it is India's responsibility to create a conducive environment.

"Pakistan has a clear stance on trade with India. It's now India's turn to make the environment conducive for dialogue," he said.

Saying that Pakistan had "serious concerns" about the in situation Jammu and Kashmir, Qureshi said, "The people of Kashmir and different political parties had already rejected the Indian government's decision of August 5, 2019."

Qureshi's statement comes at a time when the Imran Khan-led government in Pakistan took a U-turn on its decision to open trade with India, summary of which was later rejected in the cabinet meeting, which reiterated that there can be no trade with India until it reverses its decision of August 5, 2019, which changed the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two Union Territories, by abrogating Articles 370 and 35A.

While the Pakistan government maintains that its position on Kashmir cannot change, opposition benches have raised serious questions on the government's intentions and competency in taking major decisions related to the country's foreign policy.

Moreover, questions have also been raised over the country's foreign policy and approach after it was ignored by the US for a recent environment conference. Qureshi, however, maintained that invitations to the conference were only extended to countries, which were creating pollution.

"The US government had invited only those countries, which were creating pollution. Prime Minister Imran Khan is a role model for developing countries regarding his efforts to control global warming and environmental pollution," he said.

"I wrote a letter to the special envoy to the Joe Biden administration and former Secretary of State of America, in which I have conveyed that Pakistan and America have the same policy on environment and both countries can work together on the issue," Qureshi added.

By Hamza Ameer

 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 17:51:45 +0530
Biden administration lukewarm to Pak desire for relationship reset

Since the time the Biden administration has taken over, Pakistan has been putting its efforts to reset its relations with the US through a transformational phase, but all its efforts have been met with a lukewarm response.

The Imran Khan-led dispensation had hoped to opt for a transactional relationship with the new US administration, knowing that President Joe Biden knew Pakistan well as the Vice President earlier, and had a better knowledge of the country, which Islamabad felt would pave the way for a better understanding.



Pakistan's efforts were focused on resetting ties with the US on the basis of security and economic cooperation. However, government officials now admit that the effort has been met with a cold shoulder so far.



The level of interest expressed by Pakistan can be well gauged by the fact that Prime Minister Imran Khan had formed an apex committee to evolve a broad-based agenda for engagement with the Biden administration, with special focus on seeking economic cooperation and not only relying on security cooperation.



Enhanced trade ties, energy and climate change, and investment were among the important areas for Pakistan to seek US cooperation.



Pakistani officials maintained that their ambition was to evolve the relationship with the US "through a bilateral lens" and not through the paradigm of China or India.



"We want to evolve relationship with the US purely through bilateral lens. We don't want to be perceived through the Chinese lens or Indian lens," said a senior Pakistani official.



"However, the trouble is that the new US administration has not given us a positive signal so far," he admitted.



The new US President speaks to heads of various key governments, especially allies, as a normal ritual. Biden, who has been in the White House for over two months now, has not yet spoken to Imran Khan over the phone, and has ignored Pakistan's request for a direct contact.

On the other hand, he has already spoken to the Afghan President and the Indian Prime Minister.



While the US's lukewarm response has come as a surprise to many in Pakistan, Islamabad is hopeful that Pakistan's pivotal role in the Afghan peace process and ongoing negotiations will compel Biden to speak to Imran Khan in the coming days.

By Hamza Ameer

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 17:49:41 +0530
Researchers debunk Covid link with blood group

New York, April 6 : US researchers have claimed that blood group does not make a person vulnerable to Covid-19 infection nor does it increase the severity, debunking the earlier theories that SARS-CoV-2 infection is linked to certain blood groups.

For the new study, researchers from the University of Utah included more than 11,000 individuals who were newly infected with SARS-CoV-2.

The findings, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, showed that the blood types A, B, AB and O were not associated with disease susceptibility or severity.

Compared with type O blood, type A was not associated with increased viral positivity, hospitalization or ICU admission. Similarly, types B and AB were not associated with worse outcomes than type O.

"Given the large and prospective nature of our study and its strongly nil results, we believe that important associations of SARS-CoV-2 and Covid-19 with ABO groups are unlikely and will not be useful factors associated with disease susceptibility or severity on either an individual or population level for similar environments and ancestries," said the research team led by Jeffrey Anderson, from the varsity's School of Medicine in Salt Lake City.

Earlier, a report from China had suggested that blood group A was linked with increased susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection, while blood group O was associated with reduced susceptibility.

Another set of studies from Italy and Spain reported that blood group A was associated with an increased risk of severe Covid-19 and blood group O was associated with a reduced risk.

In contrast, a large Danish study implicated disease susceptibility but not severity. However, result of studies from Boston, Massachusetts, and New York, did not confirm any specific associations between ABO blood group and disease.

These reports led to widespread interest in examining ABO blood groups as potential Covid-19 risk factors, researchers said.

"The smaller sample sizes and retrospective, observational nature of many prior studies, in addition to their striking heterogeneity of ABO associations with disease susceptibility and severity, could be due to chance variations, publication bias, differences in genetic background, geography and environment, and viral strains," the researchers noted.
 

iANS

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 17:47:57 +0530
Raindrops can help identify potential habitable planets

New York, April 6: The size of raindrops can help identify potentially habitable planets outside our solar system, according to a new research.

The study led by researchers from Harvard University in Massachusetts, US, found that raindrops are remarkably similar across different planetary environments, even planets as drastically different as Earth and Jupiter.

Understanding the behaviour of raindrops on other planets is key to not only revealing the ancient climate on planets like Mars but also identifying potentially habitable planets outside our solar system.

"The lifecycle of clouds is really important when we think about planet habitability," said lead author Kaitlyn Loftus, a graduate student in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

"But clouds and precipitation are really complicated and too complex to model completely. We're looking for simpler ways to understand how clouds evolve, and a first step is whether cloud droplets evaporate in the atmosphere or make it to the surface as rain," Loftus added.

For the study, the team identified three properties of raindrops: drop shape, falling speed, and evaporation speed.

Drop shapes are the same across different rain materials and primarily depend on how heavy the drop is. Falling speed depends on shape as well as gravity and the thickness of the surrounding air.

Evaporation speed is more complicated, influenced by atmospheric composition, pressure, temperature, relative humidity and more.

The researchers found that across a wide range of planetary conditions, the math of raindrop falling means only a very small fraction of the possible drop sizes in a cloud can reach the surface.

"The humble raindrop is a vital component of the precipitation cycle for all planets," said Robin Wordsworth, Associate Professor at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

"If we understand how individual raindrops behave, we can better represent rainfall in complex climate models," Wordsworth said.

IANS
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 17:46:05 +0530
NASA team names Martian hill after Rafael Navarro Gonzalez

Washington, April 6 :The team of scientists and engineers behind NASA's Curiosity rover has named a hill along the rover's path on Mars in honour of recently deceased mission scientist Rafael Navarro-Gonzalez.

A craggy hump that stretches 120 meters tall, "Rafael Navarro Mountain" is located on Mount Sharp in northwest Gale Crater, NASA said on Monday.

Navarro-Gonzalez died on January 28 from complications related to Covid-19.

A leading astrobiologist in Mexico, he was a co-investigator on the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), a portable chemistry lab aboard Curiosity that has been sniffing out the chemical makeup of Martian soil, rocks, and air.

As such, he helped lead the team that identified ancient organic compounds on Mars; his many accomplishments also included identifying the role of volcanic lightning in the origin of life on Earth.

Navarro-Gonzalez was a researcher at Nuclear Sciences Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City.

"We are truly honoured to have a prominent hill named after our dad; it's his and our dream come true to see this happen," wrote Navarro-Gonzalez's children, Rafael and Karina Navarro Aceves, in a statement to NASA.

Rafael Navarro Mountain sits at a major geological transition in Gale Crater from a clay-rich region to one that is rich in sulfate minerals.

Analysing sulfate minerals may help scientists better understand the major shift in the Martian climate from wetter to drier conditions, according to Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity's project scientist based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

IANS

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 15:18:51 +0530
HP launches MediaTek powered Chromebook for students in India

New Delhi, April 6 : In a bid to empower students in the extended remote learning era, PC and printer major HP on Tuesday launched an affordable Chromebook 11a with a MediaTek processor for a starting price of Rs 21,999.

Powered by the MediaTek MT8183 Octa-core processor and 11.6-inch HD Touch display, the new HP Chromebook 11a notebook brings the flexibility of digital learning into the hands of students so they can participate in interactive, personalised learning.

Weighing just 1 kg, the device is available on Flipkart in indigo blue colour with a matching keyboard deck.

"At HP, we believe in building a dynamic, engaging, and inclusive ecosystem of learning. We want to prepare the next generation for the future and set them on a new course for lifelong learning, and the new Chromebook 11a is a step in that direction," said Ketan Patel, MD, HP India Market.

The HP Chromebook 11a comes with Google One that provides 100GB of cloud storage, access to Google experts for a year, and other exclusive member benefits.

Google Assistant is also available on HP Chromebooks, along with access to more than three million apps in the Google Play Store.

"With the rapidly evolving education landscape in the country, it is imperative that we arm students and educators with the right tools and technology for remote and hybrid learning environments," said Vickram Bedi, Senior Director, Personal Systems, HP India Market.

The HP Chromebook 11a offers a competitive price point with up to 16 hours of battery-life.

"HP's new Chromebook powered by the MediaTek MT8183 octa-core processor ushers in a new era of computing and digital learning," said PC Tseng, General Manager of Intelligent Multimedia Business Unit, MediaTek.

IANS
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 15:16:31 +0530
Budweiser accused of advertising over street art murals

Alleging that some of the earliest street art murals in New Delhi have been "hijacked" and converted to advertisements by Budweiser India, an open letter by Hanif Kureshi-cofounded art-based organisation St+Art India has captured public attention online recently. The letter targets 'murals of tribute' created for ace footballer Lionel Messi.

"It has taken many years for organisations such as ours to build the street art scene in India. One cannot simply hijack it overnight," says an Instagram post by St+art India, adding that some of these earliest murals in Delhi have "now been turned into billboards for Budweiser overnight".

The social media post mentioning two Hauz Khas murals has garnered over 18,000 likes in a day. According to St+art India, one of these murals by a Madrid-based artist was on the walls of a primary school.

"It is unethical for an alcohol brand to advertise on a school wall," it said, adding that "This is not art. This is blatant advertising in the name of street art".

"We have always believed in the power of art and have worked with multiple artists over the years to build a strong foundation that is supportive towards the creator community. As part of curating these murals, we reached out to multiple artists including St+art India and collaborated with artists that met our creative and commercial direction through these illustrations that they curated over months and even restored the wall. Our aim was always to offer the insider perspective into the G.O.A.T's iconic journey and inspire fans through creative murals that celebrated his journey. We continue to support the creator community," said a spokesperson from Budweiser India in response to a query from IANS.

In a previous statement on the murals, dated March 10, Budweiser India had said: "To celebrate (Messi's) greatness, Budweiser 0.0 has rolled out a 360 campaign, part of which is a series of murals at iconic locations in Mumbai [Chapel road, Bandra] and Delhi [Hauz Khas Village], offering fans an insider's perspective into his humble beginnings as a young boy, along with some lesser-known peaks and hardships of his career. To engage the football community in India, Budweiser 0.0 is hosting exclusive virtual walking tours called 'Path of Greatness' in Mumbai and on-ground in Delhi."

The initiative had also prompted a comment from Messi.

He said: "I am delighted with Budweiser's effort to celebrate my journey and bring it alive beautifully, through the artistic murals. It feels surreal to be standing where I am today. Day after day, year after year, it took sacrifice and hard work to reach my dreams. I am grateful to my fans, around the world and in India, who have supported me immensely through every victory and loss. I truly hope that fans can find inspiration in my story, just as they have motivated and encouraged me, to keep chasing my own."

By Siddhi Jain 
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 15:14:18 +0530
Annual crafts bazaar underway at Dilli Haat till mid April

Bringing together a confluence of around 170 artisans and master craftsmen from all parts of India, the 35th edition of the Dastkari Haat Annual Craft Bazaar by Dastkari Haat Samiti is a rich showcase of Indian art, crafts and textiles. It is currently underway at INA's Dilli Haat till April 15.

The physical edition of the annual crafts bazaar hosts a special sari exhibition with 15 craftspersons under the title 'Sari Specialists of India'. The exhibition showcases 10 new saris by each craftsman giving 150 new saris designs which have not been created before in natural block printing, dyeing, weaving, batik, shibori and others. The colourways, blocks and combinations are theme based, some are naturally dyed, some are revivals of decades old blocks and geometric explorations. All the known masters have worked to offer a rare never-before attempted treat for sari lovers, says Dastkari Haat Samiti.

The collective has been working for the dignity and economic uplift of its members since 1986. The bazaar has been made possible in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic and its challenges, especially for the crafts sector.

A recent survey report brought out by All India Artisans and Craftworkers Welfare Association (AIACA) has also mentioned cash flow crunches, wage losses, cancellation/withholding of orders, supply disruptions in the raw material value chain and uncertainties regarding shipment (both domestic and export) as some key challenges faced by craft enterprises because of the lockdown.

The opening ceremony also saw the release of an e-book offering documentation of 21 art, craft and textiles skills of India, covering over 100 styles and techniques. It also announced a revamped website dastkarihaat.org that highlights 35 years of Samiti's work, and the entire atmosphere of crafts bazaars, with videos, skill demonstrations and snippets of craftspersons' voices. A separate crafts shopping website also entails.

"The only way to counter the negative is to offer the positive. The work of the Dastkari Haat Samiti completes 35 years of proud and exciting interactions with our wonderful karigars which deserves a collective celebration and an announcement of new work in new areas. These are a new e-commerce platform called dastkarhaat.com, two major publications on craft skills and graphic design and an exhibition of 20 sari specialists of India offering 200 new sari designs. Never before has this been done exclusively with saris. Everyone has worked valiantly and creatively during the past horrible year. This itself is worth celebrating," says Jaya Jaitly, President, Dastkari Haat Samiti.

By Siddhi Jain
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 15:11:03 +0530
Is your dog a cardiac patient

Stress has become the most widely used term which is engulfing not only humans but also companion animals. Although in pets, stress is linked with ageing, compromised immunity, change of weather, among various other factors, informs Prachi Kshatriya, Veterinarian, who also consults on Practo.


"Talking about the most stress sensitive organ, heart, it not only fulfills the requirement of every body tissue but also acts as a support system during the pressure phase."

*Usually large breeds like

*Doberman Pinschers

*Labrador Retrievers

*Boxers

*Great Danes

*German Shepherds, etc

and middle aged dogs are more prone to cardiac ailments like congestive cardiac failure, heart valve insufficiency, pericardial effusion and many more, says the doctor.

Don't ignore your dog if you notice the following:

*regular coughing

*exhausted after short walk or playful activity

*lying down for long

*reduced appetite

*reluctant to climb stairs

*dull appearance and sitting alone

"Approximately, 10 per cent young and 65 per cent of older dogs suffer from various cardiac problems and end up dying either due to negligence or unawareness of the owners."

The expert advises: "Consult a vet if you find any changes in your pet's behaviour or routine activities, the vet will perform some blood work and imaging tests like x-ray, echocardiography, electrocardiography, etc to confirm whether your pet is suffering from any cardiac malfunctioning or not."

By Puja Gupta 
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 15:08:07 +0530
Mocked for shifting to digital content creation Chhavi Mittal

Actress Chhavi Mittal, who broke away from the silver screen to dive into the digital world six years ago, says, "Initially we had fellow industry veterans mocking us saying that shifting to digital content creation is a downgrade and we were probably out of work."


Chhavi founded 'Shitty Ideas Trending' (SIT) in 2015 with her husband Mohit Hussein of 16 years now. SIT is a popular YouTube channel which focusses on the content based mostly on funny real life situations of a husband-wife relationship. It has over 1.85 million subscribers.

IANSlife spoke to Chhavi to discover the community she is part of. Read excerpts:

Q: How has your journey been till now?

A: We started six years ago with the need to do something out of the box -- something the heart wants. We did not think of it as a business to begin with, and I think that became our strongest point. Mohit and I both feel that something which comes from the heart reaches the heart. Hence, we were able to instantly connect with our audience, and still continue to do so. The journey has been full of ups and downs, and new learnings along the way. The new tools that Facebook comes up with every now and then makes it impossible to become complacent and that becomes one of the most exciting part of the journey.

Q: What was your inspiration to begin with?

A: When we started, Mohit had been a film-maker and television director for almost 15-20 years, and I had been an actor for around 12-15 years. We wanted to break away from what we were doing at the time, and literally just wanted to float and experiment without putting too much thought into it. We felt that it was time to take our respective crafts to the next level, and to also finally create the content that we wanted to create, not what the networks decided for us.

We found freedom of expression in content creation. We pioneered content in the husband-wife relationship space and since a 100 per cent of the people around the world have had some experience or the other in the dynamics of this relationship, our content flew from the very first video. And with virality as one of the best forms of addictions doing the rounds, the bug hit us quite early on!

Q: What made you shift from the silver screen to the realm of digital video creators?

A: Like I mentioned earlier, it all began with the question, "what next?". But once the virality bug hit us, there was no turning back. Initially we had fellow industry veterans mock us saying that shifting to digital content creation is a downgrade and probably we're out of work now.

But slowly and surely when the videos started reaching out, we had the same people call us to ask us how we did it. And now of course you have the Netflix and the Amazons of the world in the same business. You know that it's no longer the future, it is the present. But I must mention that the popularity, the recognition and most importantly, the love that we receive on SIT, we did not receive in even the biggest of TV shows that we had both been a part of, respectively. While it is relatively easy for actors as they are visible on screen, for people like Mohit, who is behind the camera; to know that people know him by name as the creator of SIT just proves the power of digital media.

Q: Given that you are also a part of Facebook's ongoing 'More Together' campaign which focuses on the power of connections, how do you relate to it?

A: SIT is a combined effort. Mohit thinks of ideas and scripts, he picks the topics that we incorporate, we bring in actors and all of us collaborate to put into execution the script which is on paper. I think of ways to market it and drive engagement and curiosity around it. We all do our bit of sharing to help the content reach out. We sit down and brainstorm at times and the whole process is so therapeutic. I couldn't think of any other campaign where SIT fits so aptly.

Q: How do you feel about the community that you are part of? How has it evolved with time?

A: Our community is our strength and that is what drives us day in and day out. We have a very immersive and a very loyal community who have been a part of our growth journey. We take their feedback very seriously, as they have been nothing but kind to us. From the time we began, the community was mostly newly married couples or couples in relationships, but now it seems as though their lives have moved forward with ours and now even the community is settled in their relationships, have kids, have settled jobs etc., just the way we have.

Q: What were some of the challenges that you faced when you started, and how did you overcome them?

A: Well, the biggest challenge was generating revenue. We knew that we loved doing this. But, it was also a question of sustaining SIT by generating returns. The next big thing was understanding social media. We had never been active on any platform and this was all so new to us. We just kept the faith that if the videos are getting viral, it is only a matter of time before we find a way to monetise them. And platforms like Facebook are so user friendly that it is almost like somebody giving you a tutorial. We still continue to hit roadblocks now while thinking of novel ideas to script the next video, though. But we believe that we pull through each time.

Q: People resorted to social videos for entertainment -- what do you have to say to that?

A: When Covid-19 hit, the first thing that worried us was that collective shoots were no longer possible. Which meant, it was just Mohit and I. Luckily for us, the two of us were able to pull through with content production. We own most of the equipment that is required, we write our content ourselves, and Mohit knows how to handle the camera and other technical aspects. So, we started shooting as a two man army. Scripts were written with me as the solo actor, and we got other actors on the phone. We collaborated with a new member, who is our neighbour and roped her in as an actor. And when things started opening up a bit, one more crew member, Karan V Grover started coming home for shoots considering we all live in the same apartment complex.

The bigger challenge was the post-production. Uploading of the footage on the servers and downloading by the editor who was working from home became very time consuming. Besides that, some of our other staff also quit. I would say Covid-19 made us much more efficient in that sense because we learnt that the show must go on.

Q: Has this journey affected your silver screen presence in any way?

A: It has only made it better in the sense that it has given us the power to choose what we want to do. There are still a lot of offers that pour in on a regular basis but somewhere to be able to choose to associate with the projects that resonate with us was never there before SIT happened. I think happiness is to be able to wake up and decide what you want to do every day. And that sort of happiness, we only experienced with SIT.

 By Puja Gupta 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 15:04:30 +0530
Two trend setting books set to clear the air on Indian data

New Delhi, April 5 :Two new books by Chennai-based data journalist Rukmini S, "Whole Numbers and Half-Truths: What Data Tells Us About Modern India" and "India in 100 Charts", to be published by Westland, are set to release in quick succession

The first is a sleek, ambitious book that sets out to answer 10 big questions about how India operates. Currently, most of the narrative is based on manifestly bad data, and it is to counter this that Rukmini takes a deep dive into the subject by drawing on extensive data sources and her own experiences from reporting across the length and breadth of the country.

Her second book captures fundamental changes in the country through surprising data points and engaging visuals to show us what we are really all about. A fascinating read and an essential addition to the bookshelf of every student, reporter, academician, policy-maker and just about any curious mind, this will be a collaboration with the artist and illustrator Satwik Gade.

Commenting on the acquisition, Rukmini S said: "I am thrilled at the opportunity to share what I've learnt from years of grappling not only with numbers, but with how they relate to lived reality. These are simply the stories of how India lives life, but with a wealth of data behind the insights. I look forward to surprising readers and for us to challenge our own dearly-held assumptions about the country."

Anish Chandy of Labyrinth Literary Agency said, "Rukmini's books were acquired by Westland in a keenly contested auction. Her unique approach where hard-to-source data meets accessible narrative will deeply enrich our understanding of India. Context has built a formidable portfolio in this genre."

Karthika V.K., Publisher, Westland Publications, said the two books are bound to change the way Indians - and the world - think about India. "Rukmini's writing is revelatory. It draws on painstakingly unearthed and carefully plotted data to provide a precise and often startling understanding of trends as well as truths that we would all be better off knowing," she added.

Rukmini S is the first Data Editor of an Indian newsroom. She is the recipient of several journalism awards, the most recent of which was the Emergent Ventures Covid-19 India Prize for her pandemic podcast, "The Moving Curve". Her work focuses on data-driven storytelling around gender, politics, crime, consumption, inequality and caste.

IANS

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 15:02:05 +0530
The long walk home

She says ideas are mysterious things. They come to us in many different ways and then we begin to make choices and make decisions about what we want to do with them, and shape the work. Delhi-based writer, filmmaker and teacher Samina Mishra wrote the first draft of the 'Jamlo Walks' (Penguin), to be released on April 19, in one sitting. A picture book for ages 7-9, but a story that she hopes children across ages will read.

A book on what the lockdown did to the people, particularly its young citizen, Mishra, who wrote the book, which has illustrations by Tarique Aziz, in April last year still remembers those videos of the migrants walking through the night, out of Delhi, on the Yamuna bridge "That was such a searing image. And it was juxtaposed by the middle class apathy all around, from what people were saying on social media about the migrant labour walking, to stories about how domestic workers were being treated at colony gates and incidents of police walking into bastis and thrashing people for being outside etc. It was all so horrible � as if our humanity had completely disappeared. The working class has always been treated differently but this � it was as if they were not people. And then when Jamlo's story was reported in the media, it was simply heartbreaking. Considering I work with children and the experiences of childhood, I thought of what this divide means for all children, how are they to think about these stark differences across different childhoods, would they go on to continue institutionalising this inhumanity... So, I think the first draft just came out of a need to respond to all this," she tells IANS.



Considering the book was quite 'visual', the idea of it being a picture book developed. Though she wanted to, doing anything longer would not have been possible for Mishra without actually getting out on the ground. "That's my process as I work with documentary film. And I couldn't get out at that time. So it remained a short story that I kept working on," says the writer of 'Hina in the Old City'.



In fact, when Lockdown 1.0 was announced, she began an online art project with kids, 'The Lockdown Art Project', asking them to reflect on their experiences of the lockdown. Stressing that it is important to include children's voices in all that we grapple with in the world, and making room for them to express themselves is part of her practice, she adds, "These were all middle-class children and the enormity of the gulf between those who had access to the Internet and those who didn't was glaring � everything that was present from before just became worse and more solidified. There was all this content for children being shared generously online but so many kids who couldn't access it. Old media suddenly became important and so I recorded a set of audio stories for Radio Mewat � just to create content for kids who could not access content on the internet."



For Mishra, writing, making films and teaching feed into each other and complete her. "For me, they all inter-connected for me. My creative practice involves using image, sound and text to tell stories or share experiences of a particular time and place. The challenge of practice across both film and writing is the same in many ways � how to create something that engages both the heart and the mind."



Adding that teaching creates a context for her to engage with the world, with children and young people, the author, who that in both formal and non-formal spaces, says, "Whether I am teaching the IB Film programme or doing writing workshops, I am engaging with the idea of the arts in education, and that connects to the idea of making work that engages the heart and the mind. I have to be able to connect with the young people I teach and so I learn a lot from that process that I think shapes my personal creative work."

By Sukant Deepak

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 15:00:15 +0530
Overslept Kerala poll officer turns up late for duty

Thiruvananthapuram, April 6 :A polling officer in Kerala's Alappuzha failed to turn up on time at his post for Tuesday's Assembly elections, with the excuse that he had overslept.

This incident occurred at a booth at Thalavady in Alappuzha.

According to rules, all poll officials had to conduct a mock poll at 5.30 a.m. and commence polling at 7 a.m.

But at this polling booth, a key poll official was absent, and the authorities were unable to contact him. Proceedings eventually started after a reserve poll official took over the missing officer's duties.

And when the poll official was finally located, he said that he had overslept and hence was not able to be present on time.

The Alappuzha District Collector has decided to initiate action against the erring poll official.

Polling for the 140-member Kerala Assembly is underway on Tuesday.

IANS

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 14:56:24 +0530
Rabada Nortje arrive at DC s team hotel

Mumbai, April 6 : South African fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje arrived at the Delhi Capitals' team hotel here on Tuesday.

The pair will now be in quarantine for seven days after which they will join the rest of the DC squad before their second match of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL)

DC face Chennai Super Kings in their first match at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on April 10. They are currently training at the Cricket Club of India with players and coaching staff joining the sessions after completing their quarantine periods.

Head coach Ricky Ponting attended his first practice session on Sunday.

"I am thrilled with the players that we've got here, and I think we can win the IPL. Might as well go on record and say it now because that's what I am here for and that's what the players are here for," he said.

"We've had our chat and it's all about winning and how we can go one step further from last year. But the other important thing for me is that we've got a very different group from the one we had last year. What happened last year doesn't matter. We've got to work out a way to win enough games to qualify and then win the final," he added.
IANS

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 14:53:47 +0530
US wants to ramp up vax sharing Blinken

Washington, April 6 : The US is looking into how it can share more vaccine resources with other countries in future, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

"We believe that we'll be in a position to do much more on this front. I know that many countries are asking for the US to do more, some with growing desperation, because of the scope and scale of their Covid emergencies," dpa news agency quoted Blinken as saying on Monday.

"We hear you. And I promise we're moving as fast as possible," the Secretary of State added.

The US government has made it a priority to vaccinate its own population first, which has seen President Joe Biden accused of continuing the "America First" doctrine of his predecessor Donald Trump and of making it difficult for poorer countries to obtain vaccines.

More than 167 million vaccine doses have already been administered in the US.

According to the White House, more than 4 million jabs were given in a single day over the weekend.

Some 32.4 per cent of the country's population has already received at least one dose.

But Blinken made clear that the US administration knows a successful domestic vaccine campaign is not enough.

"This pandemic won't end at home until it ends worldwide," Blinken said.

IANS
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 14:18:17 +0530
Navalny s health in prison camp further deteriorates

 

Moscow, April 6 : Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition figure currently being held in a prison camp, has complained of a further deterioration in his health.

He has been diagnosed with a fever and a "severe cough", but he will continue his hunger strike, which he started a few days ago, dpa news agency quoted Navalny as saying in an Instagram post on Monday.

Three of his fellow prisoners had already been taken to hospital because of tuberculosis.

According to the Izvestia newspaper on Monday evening, Navalny received medical care.

The 44-year-old was to be examined for signs of respiratory illness and elevated body temperature.

Navalny is "under the supervision of medical staff", prison authorities said, according to the report.

A coronavirus test has also been carried out.

The leading opposition figure, who is imprisoned in the prison camp about 100 km east of Moscow, has been reporting severe back pain and paralysis in one leg for some time.

On March 31, Navalny declared that he had gone on hunger strike in protest at a lack of medical care.

In February, Navalny was sentenced to several years in prison.

The Russian judiciary accuses him of violating reporting requirements in an earlier criminal case while he was recovering in Germany from an assassination attempt involving the nerve agent Novichok.

According to a survey by independent pollsters Levada, just under a third of Russians, or 29 per cent, consider the verdict "rather unfair".

Significantly more respondents, or 48 per cent, on the other hand, thought that Navalny's conviction was probably justified.

Last August, Navalny fell into a coma after collapsing during a domestic flight.

He was treated for weeks at the Charite hospital in Berlin.

The prominent opposition figure blames a "hit squad" of the FSB domestic intelligence service, under the command of President Vladimir Putin, for the attempt on his life.

Putin and the FSB reject the accusations.

IANS

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 14:15:44 +0530
IIIT Hyderabad researcher designs flexible drone

Hyderabad, April 6: Researchers at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Hyderabad have unveiled a working prototype of a flexible drone that changes its shape to fit the size of package to be lifted.

Suraj Bonagiri, a researcher from the Robotics Research Centre in his research on the mechanism behind a reconfigurable quadcopter, highlighted limitations of existing delivery drones and proposed a novel design.

"Current design of such drones focuses only on the weight of parcels to be lifted ignoring their size. Packages however come in various sizes and is an important parameter to be factored in," said the 24-year-old robotics researcher.

According to him, since drones are typically designed to carry specific payloads, forcibly fitting and lifting inappropriate payloads will lead to instability, loss in efficiency and even compromise on safety.

Unlike other rigid drones, Suraj's patent pending design which he calls 'Elasticopter' is a dynamic one. Thanks to a flexible chassis and a novel mechanism that expands or collapses, it can grip and match the shape of the parcel to be lifted.

With this method of attachment to cargo, the mass is always centred and results in an optimal battery performance. It also ranks high on the stability front due to the unique positioning of the propellers.

Explaining how typically airflow from propellers hits the payload causing turbulence mid-air, Suraj pointed out that in this design, there is zero propwash interference with the payload no matter its size.

Under the guidance of Professors Spandan Roy and Madhava Krishna, Suraj set out to validate the superiority of his design via a series of simulations comparing current drones with the Elasticopter.

"We found that in existing drones, even if they can lift and deliver packages of varying shapes, the battery life and flight time is short lived because it's not done in an optimal manner. And this is especially evident when there are large-scale delivery operations," he says.

For Suraj who began his research journey into the world of drones first as an intern at RRC and then as an MS student, IIITH seemed the perfect choice.

"I've always wanted to start up. And the reason I chose to pursue my Masters here is that the campus not only houses incubators but there's active commercialization of research through Product Labs. With appropriate advice from the professors here, and access to the resources and tools, I had a rough idea of spinning my thesis into an entrepreneurial venture."

Professor Krishna corroborates Suraj's passion by describing him as "an extraordinary and rare student who wanted to innovate at the level of a novel mechanism in flying vehicles."

Creating A Product

Suraj approached Product Labs with his idea where he was guided to enroll for the Technology Product Entrepreneurship (TPE) course. "For us, this is a text book case of taking research to the market. And also something that we've always wanted to see happen, that is, our students taking their research forward to build products leading to startups. It's exciting to see some deep research taking shape," says Prakash Yalla who heads Product Labs,

Suraj extensively leveraged the Maker's Lab and is now pre-incubated at Product Labs. The initial prototype he built won him a productization grant of Rs. 8 lakhs from the institute. Fabrication of the second prototype design using high quality materials is currently underway and a commercial model is expected to go public by the end of the year.

"Materials movement is a key use case for this drone design," says Ramesh Loganathan, Prof. Co-Innovation who heads Outreach at IIITH. According to him, it will be highly useful in warehouses, on manufacturing floors, e-commerce supply chain operations, medicine delivery and such where there are packages of different sizes and frequent movement is needed.

While the Elasticopter scores over other delivery drones from minimal storage space it occupies, to the time taken to attach and detach itself to parcels, the researchers envision its relevance and applicability to other universal drone applications too.

"I'd like to think of it as a multi-purpose drone. From a large agricultural spray tank for aerial spraying of fertilizers and pesticides to a megaphone for disseminating public information about the Covid-19 vaccination programme or a lockdown situation, the sky is the limit in its application", added Suraj.

IANS
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 14:12:53 +0530
Amid uncertainty 5G phone sales to grow in India in 2021

New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) While the commercial roll out of 5G is still some years away in India, smartphone sales are expected to grow exponentially in 2021 and this will be the first year when consumers will buy 5G smartphones by choice and maximise their returns on investments by future-proofing the expenditure, a new report said on Tuesday.
While consumers looking to buy a smartphone above Rs 25,000 (premium and luxe) category will prefer a 5G smartphone, consumers willing to spend lesser than this will not necessarily buy a 5G smartphone despite being made available by the OEMs, according to the report by Gurugram-based market research firm techARC.
"This is because of the two reasons. Firstly, as we move along the mass markets in technology, we see lesser early adopters. Second, there is still apprehension about usage of 5G services," said Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst, techARC.
The users fear investing in the first version of the technology and believe that the second generation is always stable and safe to invest as market feedback and tests will result in improvisations.
"Looking at the present macro conditions of the telecom sector in India, it is unlikely that 5G services will be launched at affordable price plans. To recover the 5G investments, operators will have to price them at least 30-50 per cent more than the present 4G plans," Kawoosa added.
While smartphone OEMs will 'loud-speak' about 5G smartphone launches, there will be periodic 4G smartphones launched as well.
Towards the second half of 2021, OEMs could launch more 4G smartphone models to boost the overall smartphone sales across mass and entry-level segments, the report mentioned.
Smartphone OEMs like OPPO and OnePlus have made specific steps to bolster their 5G initiatives in India, which will also serve global markets. Other major OEMs like Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo and realme have already launched their 5G portfolio in India.
"Both these developments have placed the smartphone industry in the anchoring spot driving the growth of 5G in India and ramping up its presence on the 5G map globally," the report said.
Other enablers in the 5G ecosystem have also started their work on the ground, but the smartphone players have outshined others including telecom operators, equipment manufacturers as well as the policy makers.
This is going to be a major contribution of the smartphone OEMs in India's journey towards 5G by building up an active subscriber base with a 5G compatible smartphone in their hands that encourages operators and others to pace up the activities, said the report.

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 11:37:50 +0530
With Mumbai theatres shut will Bollywood move to OTT

Mumbai, April 6

"Sooryavanshi" has been postponed. The Akshay Kumar-Katrina Kaif starrer cop action drama, which was supposed to be Bollywood's first mega release of the year on April 30, has been pushed, with no new release date announced. The reason, of course, is the current Covid situation in Maharashtra.
The buzz is the production houses backing the film -- Reliance Entertainment, Dharma Productions, Rohit Shetty Picturez and Cape of Good Films -- were never keen on putting up "Sooryavanshi", an extravagant Rohit Shetty entertainer, for a direct-to-OTT release. According to sources, the makers are now assessing the situation. They will make a formal announcement around April 10 if they plan to drop the film directly on OTT irrespective of whether it gets a theatrical release.
"Team Sooryavanshi postpones the release of the film. The Honorable Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray had a discussion with director Rohit Shetty yesterday. In the meeting, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray appreciated Rohit Shetty as he took the brave and difficult decision of postponing Sooryavanshi owing to the current COVID situation in the state," a statement issued by the makers of tye film on Monday evening reads.
While Bollywood is in a tizzy over the current shutdown of cinema business in Maharashtra, one of the most important markets for Hindi films, the fate of "Sooryavanshi" could have ramifications on film trade trends far beyond just the film. Being one of the most important Bollywood biggies of the year, the decision whether such a huge film goes directly to OTT could set the course for other films as far as future exhibition trends go (at least for now), in an industry that is quick to adapt herd mentality.
When cinemas opened up after last year's lockdown, Bollywood was quick to announce a rich line-up of films, beginning March this year right up to the yearend. "Mumbai Saga", among the first big commercial films to release in cinemas, fared below expectations, what with the public maintaining a cautious stance about visiting theatres. Still, the big films of big banners were undeterred and insisted they would go ahead with release.
Among the most-hyped films whose release dates were confirmed over the next months were the Ranveer Singh-starrer cricket drama "83", Salman Khan's Eid 2021 release "Radhe", Akshay Kumar's "Bell Bottom" and "Prithviraj", the Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer "Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui" and the period drama "Shamshera" starring Ranbir Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt.
While no announcement has been made on any of the above films yet, release of the first lot of films, which were to open over the next few weeks, was already postponed even before the Maharashtra government officially decided to shut down halls owing to the second wave of Covid. These include the Amitabh Bachchan-Emraan Hashmi starrer "Chehre", the Rani Mukerji-Saif Ali Khan starrer "Bunty Aur Babli 2" and Rana Daggubati's "Haathi Mere Saathi".
Now, rumours abound that makers of many of these films are weighing the option of direct-to-OTT release and that negotiations might be on with digital platforms.
The film trade, however, would prefer to stay optimistic at this point. Most trade experts would rather take a wait-and-watch stance.
"These are speculations, we need to wait for the official announcements. The theatres have shut down so people tend to believe that big films will release on OTT. But let's not speculate. These filmmakers might postpone and release in the theatres," trade analyst Taran Adarsh tells IANS.
Filmmaker Atul Mohan feels the situation right now is definitely uncertain.
"We might have official announcements in a few days. Whenever a project is delayed, 10 to 15 per cent of the budget is lost. You need to restructure the schedules, get dates. Plus, you have to pay interest on the budget. For a 100-crore film, 15 to 20 crore worth interest is charged in a year," he says.
Mohan adds: "Theatres have been shut in Maharashtra and these account for more than 40 per cent of box office collections. It's a huge market and cannot be ignored."
Film trade experts are unanimous in agreeing that, due to Covid, the film industry's monetary suffering has only been worsening over the months since the first lockdown in March last year.
"In 2019, we made a profit of Rs 4,400 crore, but last year, in three months, we made only Rs 600 crore, and this year, we have made only Rs 55 crore. The profit was going up but now most of it has been lost. We lost Rs 3,500-4,000 crore in 2020. I don't see movies making this kind of money in the near future," says Mohan.

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 11:31:27 +0530
Equity indices in green Sensex up 250 points

 

Mumbai, April 6

The key Indian equity indices traded in the positive territory on Tuesday morning with the BSE Sensex trading 250 points higher.

Healthy buying was witnessed in metal, healthcare and auto stocks.

Around 10 a.m., Sensex was trading at 49,409.77, higher by 250.45 points or 0.51 per cent from its previous close of 49,159.32.

It opened at 49,441.13 and has touched an intraday high of 49,558.77 and a low of 48,936.35 points.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 14,717.05 points, higher by 79.25 points or 0.54 per cent from its previous close.

Manish Hathiramani, technical analyst with Deen Dayal Investments said: "14,950 is the key level to watch out for. If we can get past that we could resume the macro uptrend and scale higher to 15,300. If the Nifty fails to move up and breaks yesterday's lows, we will go back to the recent lows of 14,200. It is a wait and watch situation."

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 11:24:58 +0530
34 IS militants killed in 3 month Iraq operation

Baghdad, April 6

At least 34 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed and 99 others arrested during a three-month security operation in the country against the terror group, the military said.

Yahia Rasoul, spokesman of the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, said in a statement on Monday that the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) conducted 109 security operations against IS positions in the past three months across the country, reports Xinhua news agency.

The operations were backed by the Iraqi and international coalition aircraft, with 337 airstrikes launched against the terror group, according to the statement.

The three-month-long CTS operations were part of Iraq's efforts to eliminate the IS militants who have intensified their attacks on security forces and civilians in Sunni provinces, the group's former strongholds.

The security situation in Iraq has been improving since the security forces fully defeated the IS militants across the country late in 2017.

ians

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 11:15:45 +0530
Mortal remains of martyred CRPF jawan reach Hyderabad

Hyderabad, April 6

The mortal remains of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) constable Sakhamuri Murali Krishna, who was martyred in an attack by Maoists in Chhattisgarh on Saturday, reached the Hyderabad airport late Monday night.

The body of Murali Krishna was later transported by road to his native village Gudipudi in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

He was one of the two CRPF jawans from Andhra Pradesh who were martyred along with 20 others in the exchange of fire with the extremists of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in the forests of Bijapur in Chhattisgarh

The body of Murali Krishna, who belonged 210 Cobra ballation, elite Anti-Naxalite Force of CRPF, reached Hyderabad Airport around midnight by Indigo Flight 6E 624.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner V.C. Sajjanar paid tributes to Murali Krishna in the presence of CRPF and Telangana state police officers.

Sajjanar said the police force of Telangana stands with the family of Murali Krishna. All the police officials present there offered salutations and observed two minutes of silence for the brave departed soul.

Sajjanar, conveying his condolences to the officer's family, said arrangements were made by the authorities concerned for the family to travel to his native place. The body was transported to his native place Guidpudi Village in Guntur district where his final rites would be performed.

Ranga Reddy district Deputy Collector Prateek Jain, DIG GC-CRPF Rajkumar Agarwal, DIG GC - CRPF Sallauddin, CRPF DIG GC Rangareddy Brajesh Singh, CRPF Commandant Meena, CRPF Commandant Dharamprakash, and other officials were present.

ians

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 11:10:42 +0530
Glenmark Pharma to use IFC s 40 mn loan for debt refinance and capex

 

Chennai, April 6

 Pharma major Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd will be utilising the $40 million loan from International Finance Corporation (IFC) to refinance existing debt and for capital expenditure.
Glenmark is having a good presence in generics, over the counter and specialty drugs.
The IFC has committed an unsecured loan of $40 million to the company.
Queried about the deployment of the loan fund a company spokesperson told IANS: "The $40 mn loan will be utilized to refinance existing Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCBs) and capex funding."
The IFC in 2016 had invested in convertible debt of $75 million in Glenmark for expansion project.
According to the Glenmark spokesperson, IFC had subscribed to the company's FCCB for a principal of $75 million.
"The FCCB's have maturity in June 2022 and are not yet converted," the official said.

ians

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 11:00:45 +0530
Sudan reiterates need to change Nile dam negotiating approach

Khartoum, April 6

 Sudan reiterated the need to change the approach to negotiations regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile river after 200 "ineffective" days of talks in the previous rounds.
"The previous rounds, under the patronage of the African Union chaired by South Africa, were ineffective and wasted 200 days in the negotiations, which resulted in a retreat from what had been achieved and agreed upon in the earlier rounds," Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi was quoted as saying on Monday by Xinhua news agency.
"Sudan still calls for a new approach to avoid the negative aspects of the past and calls on the African Union to lead the mediations to overcome the stalemate in the talks," she added.
The future talks should take place in a formula of 1+3, which means the mediation led by the African Union and backed by the UN, the European Union and the US, to reach a fair and binding agreement for the filling and operation of the GERD, Al-Mahdi noted.
She renewed Sudan's rejection to any unilateral filling of the GERD as "dispute over resources is undesirable for Africa", calling for "innovative solutions to spare the peoples from useless conflicts".
Earlier, Sudan had proposed a mediation quartet of the UN, the European Union, the US and the African Union regarding the GERD issue.
Ethiopia, however, has announced its rejection to this formula.
In February, Ethiopia said it would carry on with the second-phase 13.5-billion-cubic-metre filling of the GERD in June.
The volume of the first-phase filling last year was 4.9 billion cubic metres.
Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have been in talks for years over the technical and legal issues related to the filling and operation of the GERD.
Ethiopia, which started building the GERD in 2011, expects to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity from the dam project.
But Egypt and Sudan, downstream Nile Basin countries that rely on the river for its freshwater, are concerned that the dam might affect their share of the water resources.

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 10:53:41 +0530
India reports 96 982 new Covid cases 446 deaths

New Delhi, April 6 -

 India recorded 96,982 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total tally to 1,26,86,049 on Tuesday. This comes a day after daily cases crossed one-lakh mark.
On Monday, the country recorded 1,03,558 new coronavirus cases, the highest single-day tally since the coronavirus outbreak.
Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab have shown a steep rise in the daily new cases.
The Central Government has rushed 50 high-level multi-disciplinary public health teams to 50 districts across Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab in view of the recent very large numbers of daily new Covid-19 cases and daily mortality being consistently reported by these States.
The active cases have now increased to 7,88,223 comprising 6.21 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 92.48 per cent.
The death toll increased to 1,65,547 with 446 daily new fatalities. The number of people who have recovered from the disease surged to 1,17,32,279, while the case fatality rate stood at 1.30 per cent, the data stated.
A total of 25,02,31,269 samples tested for Covid up to April 5. Of these, 12,11,612 samples were tested on Monday, said the Indian Council of Medical Research.
The Centre has advised high-burden states and union territories to take stringent measures for containment of the surge.
So far, 8.31 crore doses of corona vaccine have been administered in the country since the drive began on January 16 after approval for 'Covishield' and 'Covaxin'.

ians

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 10:48:12 +0530
Ambedkar s follower looks forward to contest 94th election

Agra, April 6

His name, Hasanuram Ambedkari, is self-explanatory. This 74-year-old follower of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar is all set to contest his 94th election in the zila panchayat polls as an independent candidate.
His wife, Shivdevi Surma, 68, has also filed nomination as an independent candidate for Agra zila panchayat polls. She has filed a nomination for the post of village head from Kheragarh subdivision.
Hasanuram Ambedkari is a senior member of the erstwhile All India Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF), founded by Kanshi Ram before the BSP was formed.
As one of the most experienced political candidates in the fray, Ambedkari says he will contest the elections on the ideology of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
Since 1985, Ambedkari has unsuccessfully contested a total of 93 elections to various bodies, including the Lok Sabha and state Assembly polls from different seats.
In 1988, his nomination for the post of President of India was rejected.
Ambedkari had contested the last Lok Sabha election from Agra and Fatehpur Sikri seats but was not able to retain his deposits.
The last election he fought was for member of Legislative Council in 2020.
His best performance was in 1989 Lok Sabha elections when he secured 36,000 votes from the Firozabad seat.
Ambedkari said, "My wife and I have started door-to-door campaign this time. I have a lot of well-wishers actively supporting me. Our agenda is impartial and corruption-free development. I will work according to the constitutional principles. I don't care who my opponents are as I contest the election to give an option to voters who believe in Ambedkar's ideology."
Ambedkari works as a farm labour and has a MNREGA job card.
"I have no formal schooling, but I can read and write Hindi, Urdu and English. I have 10 children, all of them married and well settled," he said.

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 10:43:30 +0530
Palestine urges pressure on Israel over polls in E Jerusalem

 

Ramallah, April 6

 Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye said letter have been addressed to international parties, urging them to exert pressure on Israel for allowing the upcoming Palestinian elections to take place in East Jerusalem.
During an online cabinet meeting on Monday, Ishtaye said the letters were addressed to the UN, the European Union, the US and Russia through the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reports Xinhua news agency.
"The letters asked the international parties to oblige Israel to abide by the signed agreements and to allow the Palestinians in East Jerusalem to participate in the upcoming legislative elections scheduled on May 22," he said.
Ishtaye said all the Palestinian factions have a consensus on holding the legislative elections in all the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.
In February, Palestine announced that it officially addressed the Israeli government, requesting it to allow the Palestinians in East Jerusalem to participate in the legislative elections.
On March 30, the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (PCEC) announced that 36 electoral lists have registered for the legislative elections, including the Islamic Hamas movement, left-wing parties, independent figures, youths and women.
In January, President Mahmoud Abbas announced the 2021 general elections will include the legislative elections on May 22, the presidential elections on July 31, and the elections of the Palestinian National Council, the highest decision-making body of the Palestine Liberation Organization, on August 31.
The last presidential elections were held in March 2005, and the legislative polls in January 2006.

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 10:37:32 +0530
Swiggy close to raising Rs 5 862 cr at 5 bn valuation

New Delhi, April 5 - Online food delivery platform Swiggy is close to raising $800 million (about Rs 5,862 crore) in funding, with Falcon Edge Capital, Amansa Capital, Think Investments, Carmignac and Goldman Sachs joining as new investors, that will take its valuation to nearly $5 billion.
According to an internal memo sent by company founder Sriharsha Majety to employees on Monday and seen by IANS, existing investors Accel and Prosus will also participate in the series J round of funding.
Singapore-based GIC Private Ltd and the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) are also likely to participate in the ongoing funding round at a later stage, people aware of the deal revealed.
Swiggy was valued at $3.7 billion when it raised funds in February last year.
The fresh fundraising comes at a time when Zomato is planning for a $750 million-$1 billion IPO later this year.
"The fundraise was also very heavily oversubscribed given the very positive investor sentiment towards Swiggy," Majety said in the email.
"This fundraise gives us a lot more firepower than the planned investment for our current business lines. Given our unfettered ambition though, we will continue to seed/experiment new offerings for the future that may be ready for investment later," he told the employees.
"We will just need to now relentlessly invent and execute over the next few years to build an enduring iconic company out of India".
The internal memo further read that the next 10-15 years offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for companies like Swiggy "as the Indian middle class expands and our target segment for convenience grows to 500M (million) users over the period".
"Even globally now everyone acknowledges the TAM (total addressable market) for the food delivery category and how it is still very very early in India," Majety said.

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 10:32:03 +0530
10 voting in first two hours in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, April 6

 Across Kerala, the response to polling was enthusiastic and after the first two hours of poll, 10 per cent of the electorate had cast their votes, said the State Election Commission officials on Wednesday.
The fate of 957 candidates would be decided by an electorate of 1,41,62,025 women, 1,32,83,724 men and 290 transgender voters.
The ruling Left led by its 'Captain' Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan cast his vote at his home town in Kannur and later said, "The writing on the wall was very evident, right from the time the campaign started we could sense the mood of the people and the Left will retain power."
What surprised many was the response of Vijayan when asked if the Sabarimala temple issue would snowball, he while dismissing that said, "it's not just Ayyappan alone, all God's are supporting the Left," said Vijayan, who was accompanied by his wife Kamala Vijayan.
Expressing absolute confidence, Vijayan said there is no doubt on the outcome of the polls, which they are sure to win with a better margin than 2016.
"We will close the BJP, which opened their account in the 2016 polls, by winning one seat. I have full faith in the people and the people also have extended their full faith in the Left government. I travelled all across the state and I could sense the people's mood towards us," said Vijayan.
Meanwhile down south in Haripad in Alappuzha district, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala was spotted at his home turf accompanied by his family. After casting his vote, he said it would be a historic win for the Congress-led UDF which would regain power.
"All that we have raised against the most corrupt Left government has been fully accepted by the people. All the five years it was only suffering for the people and even the floods that took place in 2018 was man made. There was huge support for the campaign of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and people will use the ballot to give a sound beating to the misrule of Vijayan," said Chennithala.
Reacting to Vijayan's sudden love for Lord Ayyappan, Chennithala laughed and said it's strange to hear an atheist's sudden love for Ayyappan.
"Vijayan will get the wrath of Ayyappan as he destroyed the sanctity of the famed Sabarimala temple," said Chennithala.
Meanwhile, state BJP president K.Surendran, who is contesting from two constituencies said this time it's a crucial election for them.
"This is an election which will see the BJP strengthening its base in the state. A phenomenon is taking place like the 2016 polls, when the traditional rival fronts -- the Left and the Congress-led UDF are hand in glove in a few constituencies to oust us, but the people are going to help us," said Surendran.
State Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran was confident of the outcome and he said the UDF will score a 'century' as people are badly waiting for a change in governance.
Meanwhile, a 65-year-old man, who was standing in the queue to vote at the Aranmula constituency in Pathanamthitta collapsed and was declared dead when he was brought to a nearby hospital.
Polling is taking place as per the strict Covid protocols and while in the 2016 Assembly polls, 21,498 polling booths were there, this time due to the Covid pandemic the number of polling booths has been increased to 40,771.
The poll will end at 7 p.m. and the last hour has been kept aside for Covid positive patients and for those in quarantine.
The principal political fronts contesting the elections are the ruling CPI-M led Left Democratic Front (LDF), the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
In the outgoing Assembly (2016 polls) the LDF had 91 seats, the UDF 47 the NDA one seat and there was one independent candidate.
A total of 59,292 Kerala Police personnel and 140 companies of the CISF, CRPF and BSF officials are also deployed for duty, which is by far the biggest deployment of central forces for any poll in the state.
The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

ians

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 10:27:27 +0530
I never spoke to Elon Musk on buying Tesla Tim Cook

New Delhi, April 6

 Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that he never spoke to Tesla CEO Elon Musk about buying his failed electric car business couple of years back.
Musk in December last year tweeted that he offered Cook to sell his electric car company at one-tenth of its value during the struggling period in 2017 but the Apple CEO refused to meet him.
In an interview with The New York Times on Monday, Cook said that talks never happened.
"You know, I've never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he's built," Cook was quoted as saying.
Musk had said that during the "darkest days" for Tesla Model 3, he wanted to sell the company off.
"During the darkest days of the Model 3 programme, I reached out to Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for 1/10 of our current value). He refused to take the meeting," Musk had said in a tweet.
Musk's tweet came as reports resurfaced that Apple is planning to introduce its first electric, autonomous car in 2024.
Musk had said during a media interview in 2018 that his electric car startup was close to death within "single-digit weeks".
He said that the company nearly went bankrupt in 2008, the year he took over as CEO, and that at the time Tesla had "less than a 10% likelihood to succeed."
Tesla and Model 3, however, survived and the company went on to produce Model Y SUV and new vehicles like the Cybertruck.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Musk is now the second richest man on the planet after Amazon's Jeff Bezos.
Tesla last week said it produced 180,338 vehicles and delivered nearly 185,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2021.
In the interview, Cook also offered some hints about augmented reality and the autonomous cars.
"I'm already seeing AR take off in some of these areas with use of the phone. And I think the promise is even greater in the future," Cook said.
"We love to integrate hardware, software, and services, and find the intersection points of those because we think that's where the magic occurs," Cook added.

ians

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 10:23:05 +0530
Japan PM willing to establish children s agency

Tokyo, April 6

 Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he is willing to establish a new agency aimed at spearheading policies related to children.
The ruling party lawmakers proposed the children's agency last week in an effort to woo voters ahead of a general election, reports Xinhua news agency.
"We need to eliminate the sectionalism of policies and consider how an organisation should be," Suga said during a meeting of the House of Councillors' Audit Committee on Monday.
"From the broad standpoint of ensuring Japan's future, I want my party to study the establishment of such an agency," he said.
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers asked the government to set up the agency to coordinate child policies in terms of medical and educational services and those handled by police as part of the country's efforts to address its low birth-rate.
Suga has already instructed the LDP to produce a blueprint for the agency, according to local media reports.
It will be set up as part of a special organisation under the Prime Minister and headed by Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai.
In order to appeal to people with children, the government is trying to include the children's agency in its basic policies to be compiled around June.
The agency may be in charge of issues including child poverty, abuse and suicides as well as the realignment of the administrative jurisdiction of nursery schools and kindergartens.

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 10:18:12 +0530
Isolation barrack ready for Mukhtar Ansari in UP s Banda jail

Lucknow, April 6

 Two barracks in the Banda jail have been converted into an isolation cell for mafia don and Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Mukhtar Ansari, who will be lodged here after he is brought back to Uttar Pradesh from Punjab.
The barrack will have a three-layer security, said the police. The outer security ring will be manned by two teams of civil police, each led by a sub-inspector and 10 armed constables.
The second security ring will comprise special CCTVs that have been installed at the entry points and a team of five jail officials which will keep an eye on the CCTV footage round-the-clock.
The third and innermost ring will comprise a team of jail warders.
The 100-member police team that is in Ropar, is likely to return with the mafia don, late on Tuesday night.
A security audit was conducted by prison headquarters after which the security has been beefed up.
A jail officer has also been deputed who will keep in contact with prison headquarters in Lucknow.
Pramod Tiwari, acting superintendent of the Banda District Jail, said no other prisoner can access Barrack Number-15 where Mukhtar Ansari will be kept.
"Three prison guards will be deployed inside the barrack," he said.
Inspector General, Chitrakoot Dham Range, K. Satyanarayan, said a PAC unit has also been deployed outside the Banda jail.
A temporary police outpost has also been recommended outside the jail.
Satyanarayan said the Banda police has been kept on high alert and checking of lodges, hotels, rest houses in the district was being done since Monday.
The Uttar Pradesh Police said that Mukhtar Ansari is facing 52 cases in the state and elsewhere, and 15 of them are in the trial stage.
The BSP MLA from Mau has been lodged in Rupnagar prison since January 2019 in connection with an extortion case.
The police have, till now, arrested 96 criminals and seized, freed, or demolished property worth Rs 192 crore linked to the BSP MLA and his associates.
Meanwhile, Mukhtar Ansari's family members have said that they fear for his life in Uttar Pradesh.
Mukhtar Ansari's brother and BSP MP from Ghazipur, Afzal Ansari, expressed apprehension that a 'conspiracy' may be hatched against him in the UP jail.
The Ansari family is worried following the media reports and statements made by the BJP leaders. We will approach the judiciary on the issue of security for Mukhtar. When a problem is being created by the state government, then there is no option except seeking the shelter of the judiciary. Justice is still alive in the country. I am confident that justice will prevail and Mukhtar will be proved innocent in all cases," he said.
His wife Afshan Ansari had earlier written to the President of India, seeking his intervention in the matter.
Meanwhile, family sources said that they planned to take a house on rent in Banda to ensure that they remain close to Ansari.
It may be recalled that Mukhtar and his wife Afsha had suffered a heart attack in the Banda jail in 2018. The two reportedly fell unconscious after consuming tea inside the jail. Afsha had gone to meet her husband.
After this, Mukhtar was shifted to Ropar jail.

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 10:11:41 +0530
Weather to remain erratic in J K Ladakh till Wednesday

 

Srinagar, April 6

 Rain lashed the plains and snow occurred in higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on Tuesday as the Meteorological (MeT) Department forecast erratic weather till Wednesday afternoon.
Sonam Lotus, director of the MeT department said, "Weather to remain erratic with intermittent light to moderate rain/snow (on higher reaches) of J&K and Ladakh till 7th afternoon.
"Occasional heavy snowfall is possible on Zojila, Banihal-Ramban and prominent passes of the Leh-Manali highways during this period.
"Expect significant improvement from 8th onwards in both UTs."
Srinagar had 8.8, Pahalgam 5.9 and Gulmarg 0.8 degrees Celsius as the minimum temperature on Tuesday.
Leh town of Ladakh had minus 1.6, Kargil minus 2.2 and Drass minus 0.4 as the minimum temperature.
Jammu city had 20.6, Katra 18.2, Batote 10.5, Banihal 9.6 and Bhaderwah 8.5 as the minimum temperature.

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 10:03:47 +0530
UP School manager 2 get life term for killing child

Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh), April 6

 A court in Muzaffarnagar has awarded life sentence to four people, including a school manager for shooting dead a seven-year-old boy and injuring his father.
Additional District Sessions judge, Nishant Dev, also imposed a fine of Rs 30,000 each on Amit Kumar (the school manager), Abid, Rahul and Ajay after holding them guilty under sections 302 (murder) rand 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.
Government counsels, Niraj Kant Malik and Pradeep Sharma, said Vinod was injured while his seven-year-old son died after they were fired upon on the Khatauli-Jansath road, while returning to their home on a scooter on July 18, 2016.
Vinod's wife had lodged an FIR against four people, including Amit, alleging that they had committed the crime, following a dispute over running of the school.

ians

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 09:57:39 +0530
Mental health problems to be next pandemic after Covid

Barcelona, April 6

Mental health problems caused by the global Covid-19 crisis will be the next pandemic, according to a study issued by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal).

People's mental health has been attacked simultaneously by multiple mechanisms and urgent action is needed, Xinhua news agency quoted authors of the study as saying during its presentation on Monday.

The global economic costs associated with mental health problems has risen to a trillion US dollars a year and 85 per cent of those with mental disorders could not receive treatment in poor and middle-income countries, causing an "unprecedented global crisis", they said.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has affected people's health, but also their personal goals, their family dynamics, their role at work and their economic stability," they explained.

Other factors that deepened this crisis include the modification of family roles, domestic violence, isolation, loneliness, grief due to loss of family or friends, generalised anxiety, professional burnout, and post-traumatic stress.

The study also reported that between 30 and 60 per cent of patients with Covid-19 have their central and peripheral nervous system affected, leading to various issues.

Delirium is the most frequent and acute neuropsychiatric syndrome suffered by Covid-19 patients, followed by a state of depression and anxiety, while depression and fatigue are more long-lasting conditions.

The ISGlobal urged for social protection strategies to combat problems arising from unemployment, the unexpected loss of loved ones, loneliness and isolation, with the guarantee of the provision of basic services and financing social services to help needy families.

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 09:17:47 +0530
Arch closure of Chenab Bridge worlds s highest rail bridge done

New Delhi, April 5

Indian Railways on Monday completed the arch closure of the iconic Chenab Bridge, the world's highest railway bridge and a part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project.

In a statement, the Railway Ministry said that this was one of the most difficult parts of the bridge over the Chenab and this achievement is a major leap towards the completion of the 111-km-long winding stretch from Katra to Banihal.

"It is arguably the biggest civil engineering challenge faced by any railway project in India in recent history. The 5.6-metre last piece of metal was fitted at the highest point today and joined the two arms of the arch that currently stretch towards each other from both the banks of the river," the statement said.

This completed the shape of the arch that will then loom over the treacherous Chenab, flowing some 359 metres below.

"After completion of the arch work, removal of the stay cables, filling of the concrete in the arch rib, erection of the steel trestle, launching of the viaduct and track laying work will be taken up," the statement said.

The completion of the historic arch work was also seen by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Railway Board Chairman and CEO Suneet Sharma and General Manager, Northern Railway, Ashutosh Gangal, through video conferencing.

"This bridge is 1,315 metres long and the highest railway bridge in the world being 359 metres above the river bed level. It will be 35 meters higher than the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris," the Ministry said.

ians

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 09:10:59 +0530
Prithvi Shaw can be a superstar Ponting

New Delhi, April 5

Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting believes opening batsman Prithvi Shaw has the potential to become a superstar.

Shaw had a poor outing in IPL 2020 as he got a string of single digit scores and was eventually dropped from the squad.

He had a poor outing in the warm-ups and the first Test in Australia.

However, he seems to have come back into form, scoring 827 runs in eight matches of the Vijay Hazare one-dayers.

"I've had some really interesting chats with him through last year's IPL, just trying to break him down, trying to find out exactly what was the right way to coach him and how I was going to get the best out of him," Ponting told cricket.com.au.

"He had an interesting theory on his batting last year. When he's not scoring runs, he won't bat, and when he is scoring runs, he wants to keep batting all the time. He had four or five games where he made under 10 and I'm telling him, 'We have to go to the nets and work out [what's wrong]', and he looked me in the eye and said, 'No, I'm not batting today'. I couldn't really work that out.

"He might have changed. I know he's done a lot of work over the last few months, theory that he had might have changed, and hopefully, it has, because if we can get the best out of him, he could be a superstar player."

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 09:05:33 +0530
Asteroid that eliminated dinosaur gave rise to Amazon rainforest

New York, April 5

The asteroid impact that wiped out dinosaurs from Earth also gave birth to the Amazon rainforest, says a new study.
In an analysis of thousands of fossil pollen and leaves, the researchers found that the cataclysmic asteroid impact that resulted in the destruction of nearly 75 per cent of all terrestrial life on Earth drastically restructured tropical forests.
It set the stage for the evolution of what has become one of the planet's most diverse ecosystems -- the neotropical rainforest, according to the study published in the journal Science.
While the end-Cretaceous impact nearly 66 million years ago was catastrophic for terrestrial ecosystems worldwide, its long-term effects on tropical forests have remained a mystery.
This is largely due to the lack of palaeobotanical exploration in the region, which has only just begun to provide the data needed to evaluate these questions.
For the study, Monica Carvalho from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution in Panama, and colleagues used fossil pollen and leaves recovered from Colombia to characterise how the impact changed South American tropical forests, finding large-scale changes in species composition and forest structure.
According to the findings, late Cretaceous rainforests were characterised by an open canopy environment.
However, plant diversity declined by roughly 45 per cent at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary and extinctions were widespread, particularly among seed-bearing plants.
While the forests recovered over the subsequent six million years, angiosperms, or flowering plants, came to dominate the forests, said the study.
This transition led to the closed canopy structure and the layered, vertical distribution of plant biodiversity that defines modern tropical rainforests, said the study.

ians

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 08:58:32 +0530
Paloma Faith is praying for newborn daughter s recovery

London, April 6

British singer Paloma Faith is praying for a speedy recovery for her newborn daughter, who had to be rushed to hospital with an infection.

"(She is) Finally out of the hospital but she has to IV meds every day for a week. Praying for a speedy recovery," said Faith.

The singer had earlier shared that her daughter was rushed to hospital and had to stay overnight as the doctors treated her symptoms.

She had earlier shared on Instagram: "Back in hospital with my new baby she has an infection of some kind and we have to stay in. Bloody sad she's so small and so sweet #godblessthenhs #ilovenhs."

Faith recently opened up about her difficulties feeding the baby in a "postpartum diary", reports femalefirst.co.uk.

The singer, who gave birth to her daughter in February after five failed IVF attempts, said lockdown encouraged her to take the final chance. She already has a daughter with partner Leyman Lahcine.

ians
 


 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 08:53:10 +0530
Iron ore miners want Karnataka to lift trade barriers

Bengaluru, April 6

Iron ore miners have urged the Karnataka government to remove the trade barriers, which are preventing them from doing business and export the raw material, an industry body official said on Monday.
"The state government should file an affidavit in the Supreme Court to lift the ban on exports of iron ore and abolish e-auction in the state for level-playing field," G. Santesh, Chairman (southern region), Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (Fimi), told IANS here.
In response to a writ petition by the Hubli-based NGO Samaj Parivartana Samudaya, the apex court in 2011 had banned miners in the southern state from exporting iron ore and pellets so as to first meet the needs of domestic end-users (steel and sponge iron plants).
"The state government has been losing Rs 8,000 crore annual revenue for over a decade due to the restrictive trade practices, while competitors in other states like Odisha are free to export their iron ore as per the Centre's Exim policy," asserted Santesh.
The annual revenue includes royalty and taxes which the miners pay to the state government for mining iron ore in the leased mines, located largely in Ballari district in the state's northwest region.
While end-users like steel plants are free to buy iron ore from any miner in the country or even import them, Karnataka mining firms are forced to sell the raw material only through e-auction on the  court's direction.
"As 45 million tonnes of iron ore are mined against the demand is for 36 million tonnes, we should be allowed to export the surplus 9 tonnes of the raw material and pellets to sustain our business," Santesh said.
The iron ore industry has the potential to drive socio-economic development and create hundreds of jobs in the state with policy amendments.
The apex court's appointed central empowered committee (CEC) has also recommended to the top court to ease the conditions it imposed on the local miners following the unearthing of the multi-crore mining scam by the state Lokayukta (ombudsman).
Expressing concern over the non-utilisation of the special fund set up over a decade ago on the apex court's direction, Santesh said the mining sector pays 35 per cent royalty and taxes on its income to the state exchequer.
"We have contributed Rs 2,336 crore to the DMF (District Mineral Fund) and a corpus of Rs 18,000 crore has ben accumulated over the last six years under the special purpose vehicle (SPV)," added Santesh.

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 08:43:27 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 131 6mn

Washington, April 6

The overall global Covid-19 caseload has topped 131.6 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 2.85 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Tuesday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 131,696,594 and 2,859,357, resp.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 30,777,338 and 555,403, respectively, according to the CSSE.

Brazil follows in the second place with 13,013,601 cases and 332,752 fatalities.

The other countries with more than two million confirmed coronavirus cases are India (12,589,067), France (4,893,971), Russia (4,538,101), the UK (4,376,629), Italy (3,678,944), Turkey (3,529,601), Spain (3,311,325), Germany (2,903,036), Colombia (2,456,409), Poland (2,448,463), Argentina (2,407,159) and Mexico (2,250,458), the CSSE figures showed.

In terms of deaths, Mexico comes in the third place with 204,147 fatalities.

Nations with a death toll of over 50,000 are India (165,101), the UK (127,106), Italy (111,326), Russia (99,049), France (97,005), Germany (77,070), Spain (75,783), Colombia (64,293), Iran (63,332), Argentina (56,471), Poland (55,005), Peru (53,138) and South Africa (52,995).

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 08:36:41 +0530
5 Assam cops suspended for firing during second phase of polling

Guwahati, April 6

Five Assam Police personnel have been suspended in connection with the firing incident that left three people injured during the second phase of polling on April 1, officials said on Monday.

A Cachar district official said that after a preliminary inquiry, these five police personnel associated with Deputy Speaker Aminul Haque Laskar have been suspended.

Cachar Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli had on Saturday has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident. District Development Commissioner B.C. Das was asked to conduct the probe and submit a report within three days.

Three persons were reportedly injured in the firing allegedly by security guards of Laskar, who is contesting from the Sonai assembly constituency as a Bharatiya Janata Party nominee.

Laskar told the media that the security personnel opened fire to protect his life during a clash between rival political parties. The opposition parties have demanded his arrest.

ians

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 08:30:17 +0530
Take action against Stalin over false allegations BJP to EC

New Delhi, April 6

The BJP on Monday urged the Election Commission to take action against DMK chief M.K. Stalin for his "false allegations" against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The BJP delegation comprising Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, party Secretary Sunil Deodhar, G.V.L. Narasimha Rao and others, submitted a memorandum saying Stalin, in his public address at Jayankondam in Ariyalur, "levelled false allegations against the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister saying: Modi while coming to Dharapuram two days back came with bundles of money bags. He (Modi) gave those bundles in Dharapuram. Tomorrow Amit Shah will be coming. He will also come with bundles of money bags'."

The BJP said that these falsehoods and personal allegations and attacks, without any shred of evidence and totally unsubstantiated, are in clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

"The aforementioned false, baseless and frivolous allegations against BJP's top leadership and the Prime Minister by Stalin are in clear violation of the election code. We request that the video of the address of Stalin be requisitioned from the election observers appointed by the Commission. It is also requested that the Commission may take immediate and exemplary action against Stalin," it said.

The BJP also reiterated its request submitted already, for action against Stalin's son Udaynidhi Stalin for "spreading lies and casting false allegations against the Prime Minister for causing the death of former Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley".

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 08:24:13 +0530
Centre flags irregularities in vax drive in Delhi seeks action

New Delhi, April 5

The Union Health Ministry has written to Delhi's Principal Secretary, Health, drawing attention to irregularities in the identification of Covid vaccination beneficiaries, below the age of 45 years, by some private vaccination centres.

In the letter, it has been pointed out that there have been serious lapses in registration of beneficiaries by the VIMHANS at Nehru Nagar area in the northeast district.

"VIMHANS has been found to be registering beneficiaries below the age of 45 years as health care workers (HCWs) & front line workers (FLWs), and vaccinating them," the Centre said in a statement.

As per provisions of the ongoing Covid vaccination drive, citizens above 45 years of age  are being vaccinated along with HCWs and FLWs above 18 years of age as per the recommendations of NEGVAC.

CoWIN sample data (March 19-April 3, 2021) of vaccinated beneficiaries from this private CVC verified by the Health Ministry, revealed that many beneficiaries lie outside the ambit of the eligible beneficiaries (not under the identified priority populations groups), in violation of the guidelines laid down by the Union Health Ministry.

It noted that vaccines are a precious commodity, and these serious lapses at the VIMHANS CVC in terms of compliance of Covid vaccination guidelines harm the countrywide vaccination exercise as eligible beneficiaries may get deprived from vaccination.

The Delhi administration has been asked to immediately issue a show cause notice to VIMHANS regarding such wrong practices which violate Covid-19 vaccination norms, and seek a written explanation from them within the next 48 hours.

"Appropriate monetary fine may also be imposed on the hospital. Further, it has been suggested that depanelment of the Hospital may be considered if the explanation to the show cause notice is found unsatisfactory," the Centre said.

In another case, the Delhi Government, in pursuance of the advice from the Union Health Ministry, has issued a show cause notice to Bensups Hospital, Sector-12 Dwarka, Delhi for violation of the guidelines issued by the Centre on the eligible groups of population for receiving Covid vaccination, where persons below the age of 45 years have been wrongly registered as HCWs and FLWs.

ians
 

Tue, 06 Apr 2021 08:17:02 +0530
Under new skipper Pant DC look to go one step further in IPL 2021

 

New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) Delhi Capitals lost their captain well before the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) started but it is this very factor that makes them arguably the most intriguing team going into the new season.

Shreyas Iyer's replacement as skipper of the team this year will be 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who couldn't make much of an impression last season, but has put up career-defining performances since then for India team.

Pant struggled to find consistency in IPL 2020, scoring 343 runs in 14 matches with just one half-century. He also missed a few matches due to injury.

Pant was dropped from the subsequent limited-overs tour of Australia but then turned it around in India's 2-1 Test series win. Impressive performances followed during the series against England and it has culminated in him becoming captain of the franchise.

Iyer's absence does leave a hole for DC in batting and puts more pressure on the top order to perform. This brings into focus Prithvi Shaw, who, unlike Pant, was dropped from the team after a string of failures last season and lost his place in the Indian setup as well due to his struggles with the bat.

The opener has since plundered a record 827 runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and DC would be hoping that he would carry forward his good form into the IPL.

He would be opening the batting with Shikhar Dhawan, who would be hungry to prove his worth in the shortest format of the game ahead of the T20 World Cup. DC have bought Steve Smith.

Smith may have to contend with a place on the bench considering that DC will be looking to field a foreign player in Shimron Hetmyer or Sam Billings in the lower middle-order in addition to all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and South African fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje.

It is to be noted, however, that Rabada and Nortje will be available for selection only from the second game which means Smith could be playing in DC's season opener against Chennai Super Kings.

In the absence of Nortje and Rabada, England all-rounder Chris Woakes could also find a place in the squad that plays the first match. Woakes missed the previous season due to personal reasons and in his absence, Nortje established himself as one of the most important players in the team due to his propensity to take wickets in the powerplay and the death overs.

Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin make up valuable spinning options for DC, although the former testing positive for Covid-19 puts in doubt his participation in the first match at least.

It was a tale of two halves for DC last season -- they started in emphatic fashion, winning seven out of their first nine matches. They, however, struggled to replicate that kind of form toward the end of the league stage and in the final, they lost to Mumbai Indians by five wickets.

"We want to go one step further this year and that's the Delhi Capitals team goal. We have the players to win the title. We were very close last year and the plus point for this season is that most of the players such as Rishabh Pant have been playing a lot of cricket. They have been in touch with the game and therefore they are in good rhythm going into the IPL," said assistant coach Mohammad Kaif.

Full squad: Rishabh Pant (captain/wicketkeeper), Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Sam Billings, Shimron Hetmyer, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Umesh Yadav, Tom Curran, Avesh Khan, Lalit Yadav, Pravin Dubey, Ripal Patel, Lukman Hussain Meriwala, M Siddharth, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Chris Woakes, Vishnu Vinod (wicketkeeper), Aditya Tare (wicketkeeper)

Coaching staff: Ricky Ponting,(head coach), Mohammad Kaif and Ajay Ratra(assistant coaches), Pravin Amre (batting consultant), James Hopes (bowling coach).

IANS

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 19:46:03 +0530
Wankhede ground staff test negative for Covid 19 16 54

New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), despite the city witnessing a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases, on Monday breathed a sigh of relief after 15 members of the ground staff at the Wankhede Stadium tested negative for Covid-19.

They have been put in the Wankhede Stadium bubble while the two persons who had tested positive last week have been placed under home quarantine, a source in the MCA told IANS on Monday.

"The two members of the ground staff who had tested positive last week have been placed under home quarantine. The reports of the other 15 staff at the Wankhede Stadium have, however, returned negative. We are yet to receive a copy of the final report though. Those 15 members of the ground staff will stay at the Wankhede Stadium only," an official of the Mumbai Cricket Association confirmed with IANS.

While practice is on at the other stadia like the BKC in Bandra and the MCA Stadium in Kandivali, all the Indian Premier League matches will be played at the Wankhede Stadium.

The official had earlier told IANS that the association has 40 groundstaff.

"There are no problems in the other two venues where the teams are practicing. Other than Axar Patel and the two members of the ground staff who had tested positive, there have been no problems," added the official.

The Cricket Club of India's Brabourne Stadium, which has also seen some pre-tournament practice sessions, however, does not come under the purview of MCA.

Mumbai has seen a spike in the number of Covid cases with Sunday alone seeing over 11,000 cases. The entire country reported over 1 lakh cases on Sunday.

The previous edition of IPL in 2020 had to be conducted in the UAE due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

IANS

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 19:41:57 +0530
New USTR slams India s high tariffs equalisation levy

New Delhi, April 5 : The US Trade Representative (USTR) in its latest report on Foreign Trade Barriers released on March 31 has highlighted major trade barriers to American exports, FDI and e-commerce.

This report has been issued by Joe Biden Administration's newly appointed USTR, Katherine Tai who replaced Ambassador Robert Lighthizer after Donald Trump lost the election last year. It has found India's trade policies discriminatory which creates both tariff and non tariff-barriers and poses a threat to US trade and imports to India. Trade barriers include government laws, regulations and policies.

Duties, according to the report, have been increased across two large groups: Labour-intensive products and electronics and communication devices, such as cell phones, televisions, and related parts and components.

Earlier in January 2021, USTR had found India's Equalisation Levy as discriminatory and unreasonable,creating significant new tax burden for the US companies and/or restricting US commerce -- forcing them to undertake costly compliance measures.

Finance Ministry issued clarifications in February 2021, but the matter, instead of improving, has become much worse. US companies across the board have complained that the latest interpretation means that even merchandise trade will be subject to Equalisation Levy. The new interpretation is increasing nervousness and fear of tax terrorism, due to retrospective impact of such levy, even further.

According to the report, the United States' trade deficit with India in 2020 was up 1.7 per cent to $23.8 billion, exports down 20.1 per cent to $27.4 billion, and India's imports down 11.3 per cent to $51.2 billion, from last year. The report highlights that the US exporters continue to encounter significant tariff and non-tariff barriers. Additionally, there exists large disparities between WTO bound rates and India's MFN applied rates -- currently the highest in the world at 17.6 per cent.

In addition, the report also highlights the unpredictability and opaqueness that plagues India's tariff regime and how it poses major challenges to the US trade to India. As per the report, the Indian Government used the last two Union Budgets to increase tariffs on approximately 70 product categories, including key US exports, without warning or public consultation.

The report also places a major focus on barriers to Digital Trade. From wide-ranging data localisation requirements across sectors and policies like the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, RBI localisation guidelines, yet-to-be released e-commerce policy to the much discussed Equalisation Levy, the USTR claims that these digital barriers will impede foreign trade and increase the risk of retaliation from other countries, putting interests of Indian companies at risk.

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has made every attempt to negotiate a trade deal with previous USTR Lighthizer since September 2019, but without success. Fresh tariff hikes, equalisation levy and the recently notified IT Rules highlighted in the report, will further queer the pitch for a trade negotiation with the new USTR Katherine Tai, with whom Goyal has already held an introductory meeting two weeks ago.

As per the USTR, the recently notified IT Rules "incentivize overly restrictive approaches to policing non-IP user-generated content and will undermine many Internet-based platform services."
IANS

 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 19:37:59 +0530
Gadkari to review progress of Delhi Mumbai expressway project

Gurugram, April 5 : Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari will on Thursday review the progress of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway project in Haryana's Nuh district.

The foundation stone for the project was laid in March 2019.

The 1,250 km long expressway to pass through Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra, will cut travel time between Delhi and Mumbai by 13 hours from 24 hours.

Recently, the Minister and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) claimed in a statement that a section of the expressway will be operational in the second half of 2022.

It is expected that the proposed 12-lane expressway will ease traffic congestion on Pune-Mumbai expressway and other highways as well as bring down vehicular pollution in the national capital. Besides, vehicles including buses and trucks can ply on the route at 120 kmph speed.

The total estimated cost of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway project is about Rs 87,453 crore, including land acquisition cost of about Rs 20,589 crore.

The carriageway will run parallel to the Delhi-Alwar route in Haryana and will exit the state at Kolgaon.

In Rajasthan, the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway will pass through Bharatpur, Malakhera, Rajgarh, Jaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Indragarh, Kota and Rawatbhata. In Madhya Pradesh, the highway will cross Bhanpura, Garoth, Neemuch, Mandsaur, Jaora, Ratlam and Thandla. In Maharashtra, the expressway will pass through Thane and Palghar to end at Mumbai.

The upcoming expressway, will have India's first animal bridges. These will be designed to keep the wildlife section unaffected from the new infrastructure. There will be around five such animal bridges, passing through Ranthambore wildlife corridor and Mukundra wildlife sanctuaries in Rajasthan.

Also, the toll collection on the stretch will be through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. An initiative of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) for implementing electronic toll collection across the national highways in India.

IANS
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 19:34:05 +0530
Plea in SC seeks uniform retirement age for SC HC judges

New Delhi, April 5 :A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a uniform retirement age for judges of both the apex court and the high courts.

The plea, moved by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, sought direction from the top court to the Centre to take steps to make the retirement age of judges of high courts and Supreme Court uniform, as it is irrational to have different retirement age for judges of constitutional courts.

"Alternatively, being protector of right to speedy justice guaranteed under Article 21, the Court may use its plenary constitutional power to declare that the judges of high courts shall retire at the age of 65 years until Centre takes steps to reduce the pendency of cases from 15 to 3 years," the plea said.

The plea said in developed countries, the retirement age of higher court judges varies from 70-80 years. For example, judges retire at the age of 75 years in the UK and Canada and at the age of 70 in Australia, the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, and Norway. Moreover, judges works for lifetime in the US, Russia, New Zealand and Iceland, subject to their physical-mental fitness.

The plea contended that uniformity in the retirement age will not only necessary to reduce pendency of cases but it will also attract and retain the best legal talent on the bench. To reduce judicial and procedural errors, India needs more experienced judges, argued the petitioner.

At present, the retirement age for the apex court judges is 65 years whereas for the high court judges, it is 62 years. The plea argued that the judges of the high court will work independently, without any expectation to move to the top court, if retirement age is made uniform.

"Finest lawyers don't want to become judges of the high courts because instead of continuously giving valuable services to the nation, high court judges are compelled to retire at a very early age i.e., 62 years," said the plea.

The petitioner argued that uniformity in the retirement age of judges will create a pool of experienced judges in high courts, which will be extremely useful for deciding the cases of extreme importance or which require deep knowledge for interpretation of the Constitution.

According to Upadhyay, the top court's Registrar granted four weeks to the Centre to file reply in the matter and directed it should be listed before the court.IANS
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 19:32:22 +0530
To win WC again India need to get occasion out of system Gambhir

 Ten years ago on April 2nd, Gautam Gambhir had played one of the best knocks by an Indian batsman in a World Cup, scoring 97 in the final against Sri Lanka to help India win the second title after 28 years.


Riding on his 97, which helped India recover from the loss of two early wickets, and an unbeaten 91 by skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India chased down 274 to win the World Cup in front a jubilant home crowd in Mumbai.

The gritty former opening batsman, who also served as India captain and scored a crucial 75 in the World T20 final against Pakistan in 2007 to help India win the title, was on Friday gearing up for canvassing for his party, the BJP, for the upcoming state elections in Bengal.

A day before his departure, Gambhir spoke to IANS on the 2011 World Cup win and also what the team has lacked in the recent ICC tournaments.

Excerpts:

Q: How do you remember the day of the World Cup final?

A: I don't actually look back. I am a guy who believes there is no point looking back at things. It is about looking forward on what you want to achieve. I think Indian cricket needs to look forward, beyond 2011. Even on that particular day I said the same thing -- that the job was done, it was meant to be done. It was about looking ahead. It is exactly the same even today.

Q: Do you think that moment changed Indian cricket?

A: Obviously, by winning the World Cup, you make your country proud. You make everyone happy. But whether that moment changed Indian cricket? Well, I don't think so. I think every win you earn for your country changes the face of Indian cricket. So, it is not one particular tournament. There are so many people who are still talking about 1983; there are people who talk about 2007 and 2011. But I don't think those moments alone changed Indian cricket. I think Indian cricket is probably about winning as many games and as many series as possible, and that will probably change Indian cricket, not one or two particular tournaments.

Q: What was the conversation with Virat (Kohli), when he joined you in that final after India lost Sehwag and Tendulkar early (31/2) chasing 274?

A: Again the same thing. I don't look back at what has happened. It (early loss of wickets) really didn't matter to me then. The target that we needed to achieve was what we zeroed in on. So, we were not looking at what we lost, but we were looking at where we needed to reach. And how we can achieve the target. If I didn't have the belief of winning the World Cup (in the face of early loss of wickets), then I might as well not have been part of the World Cup team. For me, it didn't really matter if we lost two early wickets. It was all about winning the game for the team.

Q: In your opinion, was the 2011 team India's best-ever?

A: Absolutely not. I don't believe in these statements -- when people or ex-cricketers turn up and say, this is the best Indian team or that is the best Indian team. Neither the 1983 team was the best Indian team, nor the 2007 nor 2011. Neither is this current one, because you can never compare eras. All you can do is probably put your best team in the park and try and win as many games as possible. That is what I believe. I don't believe in comparisons. You can never compare any two teams. I don't know why these ex-cricketers end up giving these statements. I would not say that the 2011 World Cup-winning team was the best Indian team that was put on the park. I don't believe in comparing teams.

Q: In the recent past, especially since the 2013 Champions Trophy success, the Indian team has often gone down in crunch games in ICC tournaments – 2015 and 2019 ODI World Cup semis, the 2017 Champions Trophy final or the 2016 T20 World Cup semifinal. Where do you think these Indian teams lacked?

A: Probably mental toughness, to be honest. You can play as many bilateral series as you want. You can win as many bilateral series as you can. You can win league stage games. But come the crunch moments, you know there is no opportunity of making a mistake and if you make a mistake, there is no way you can rectify it. Then, obviously, it comes down to mental skills. You will always have technical skills (playing at this level and doing so well). But do you have the mental toughness, the mental courage to actually play those moments to the best of your ability? That is what defines you, not only as a team but also as individuals. That will separate you from being a good to a very, very good player, because that is all that matters. Come the crunch moments -- that is when you should deliver for the team and for the country. Eventually it comes down to mental toughness.

Q: So you are saying these Indians teams lacked mental toughness in key games?

A: I don't know whether India lacked it. But I believe that if you don't win those important games, those crunch games, then you probably had the skill and that is why you reached that stage. If you didn't have the skill, you would not have reached the semifinals. And since you had skill, it is probably only mental toughness that was lacking. There are only two things that win you a game of cricket. One is skill and second is mental toughness or the mental ability to handle pressure. Whether it is quarterfinal or semifinal, it is about how you handle the pressure. Whoever handles the pressure, ends up coming out on top. So, probably India would have lacked the ability to handle pressure -- i.e. mental side, because I don't think India lacked anything from the skill point of view. If they were lacking in skills, they wouldn't have reached the semifinals.

Q: There are three World Cups lined up for the current bunch of India players – T20 World Cups this year and in 2022, and the 50-over World Cup in 2023..

A: These guys are going to be very privileged that they will get to play three World Cups in a row, because a lot of players have never played three successive World Cups. In fact, no one has ever played three World Cups in a row (in three successive years). So (my advice is) just go out there and win the World Cup, don't put much pressure that you have to go out there and win it. Try and play to the best of your ability and try and handle the crunch games better. Get the platform and the occasion out of your mind, because ultimately, it is not the occasion or the platform. It is the contest between bat and ball that matters, whether it is a World Cup final, a league game or a Ranji Trophy match. The platform is not the criteria. The criterion is whether you can win the contest between bat and ball. If you can win that contest, you will make things easier for yourself.

Q: Keep the occasion out of system...

A: They need to get the platform and the occasion out of their minds, because if they keep thinking that it is the World Cup or you have to win the World Cup and that it is now or never, I don't think these things ever work. I think they've got to remember that the contest is between bat and ball. Try and win as many contests. The more contests you win, the more chances you get to win the World Cup.

Q: You've been quoted as saying that the 2011 World Cup win was more than just the six (that MS Dhoni hit to win the final). It seems to have got a lot more hype than anything else from that final...

A: For me, 20 people sitting in the dressing room won the World Cup for the country. In fact, one billion people won the World Cup for the country. Not that particular six (by Dhoni).

By Khurram Habib

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 17:19:21 +0530
India tops global Covid charts hits highest average daily tally

New Delhi, April 5: India' daily Covid-19 tally is now the highest in the world, surpassing Brazil and the US, as it recorded over one lakh cases in the last 24 hours.

During the past one day, Brazil recorded 31,359 new Covid-19 cases, while US logged 34,282. Besides this, India, which now recorded an all time high of 1,03,558 new cases, has also surpassed Brazil's average tally of 64,324 and the US's 64,019 to become the biggest hotspot.

It is now recording an average of 78,489 Covid-19 cases per day, based on a 7-day moving average to visualise the number of new Covid-19 cases and calculate the rate of change.

Notably, India, which is witnessing the second wave of the pandemic, added 5,49,423 Covid-19 cases over the last week, while US and Brazil logged 4,42,981 and 4,50,268 cases, respectively.

Daily cases in India had peaked on September 16 last year, with 97,894 people testing positive for the virus in a single day.

India has become the second country in the world, after the US, to add more than 1,00,000 cases in a single day at any time during the pandemic.

Eight states -- Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab -- have shown a steep rise in the daily Covid cases, and account for 81.90 per cent of the new cases.

Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 57,074 (55.11 per cent). It is followed by Chhattisgarh with 5,250 while Karnataka reported 4,553 new cases.

With 50,223 more cases in the last 24 hours, India's total active caseload has reached 7,41,830, and comprises 5.89 per cent of the country's total cases.

Five states -- Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Punjab -- cumulatively account for 75.88 per cent of the total active cases in the country. Maharashtra alone accounts for nearly 58.23 per cent.

India's cumulative recoveries stand at 1,16,82,136 as on Monday with 52,847 recoveries were registered in the last 24 hours. The national recovery rate is 92.8 per cent.

A total of 478 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, with eight states accounting for 84.52 per cent of the new deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum fatalities, at 222, and Punjab followed with 51.

IANS
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 17:09:54 +0530
Tehran April 5 IANS The first consignment of jabs allocated to Iran under the World Health Organi

New Delhi, April 5: The Supreme Court on Monday called Kerala's People Democratic Party leader Abdul Nazir Maudany, facing trial in the Bengaluru blasts case of 2008, a dangerous man.

Maudany had moved the top court seeking permission to leave for Bengaluru for his hometown in Kerala and wanted to remain there till the trial was over.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said: "You are a dangerous man." The Chief Justice noted, "Bail was granted by a Bench of which I was a part." However, Justice Ramasubramanian said he might have represented him earlier as a lawyer, and if it is correct then he will not be able to hear the matter.

Maudany had moved the top court has sought relief citing delay of more than six years in completing the trial.

Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, representing the petitioner, submitted before the bench that Justice Bobde had allowed him to travel to Kerala for a brief period for personal reasons. However, the bail was granted by another bench.

Maudany's counsel sought time to verify the observation made by Justice Ramasubramaniam. After a brief hearing in the matter, the top court scheduled it for further hearing next week.

In an application, Maudany,56, had contended the cases were being dragged due to various reasons - recall of witnesses, transfer of prosecutor and trial judges, and Covid-19 -- and it was necessary to relax the bail conditions. He insisted that currently his presence in the trial was not required.

In July 2014, the top court had granted bail to Maudany in the backdrop of his health issues and directed him not to leave Bengaluru.

Maudany claimed that he was unable to avail Ayurveda treatment for his ill-health and cited the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as the reason.

His application, filed through advocates Harris Beeran and R.S. Jena contended the Karnataka government had made a submission before the top court in 2014, that the trial will be completed within a period of four months. However, since then, more than six years have elapsed, and the trial has still not been concluded.

IANS
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 17:07:00 +0530
Iran receives 1st batch of COVAX jabs

 

Tehran, April 5 : The first consignment of jabs allocated to Iran under the World Health Organization's Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) program has arrived in Tehran, the country's Food and Drug Administration said on Monday.

The shipment, including over 700,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, was shipped to Iran on Sunday night, Xinhua news agency reported citing Kianoush Jahanpour, the administration's spokesperson, as saying.

Iran's quota under the COVAX program amounts to 16.8 million doses, Jahanpour said.

So far, Iran has received 520,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and plans to produce domestic vaccines in the next months.

Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani recently blamed Washington's sanctions for "hindering the availability of Covid-19 vaccines" for Iranians.

Rouhani said that his administration has allowed the private sector to import the vaccines, using the subsidized foreign currency and under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education.

Iran has registered 1,932,074 confirmed coronavirus cases with 63,160 deaths.

IANS
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 17:04:34 +0530
6 1 magnitude quake jolts NZ

Wellington, April 5 : An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale jolted New Zealand's east sea on Monday and was widely felt in the North Island.

The quake occurred at 7.37 p.m. (local time) in the East Cape Region, 120 km east of Te Araroa at a depth of 33 km, according to GeoNet, the country's geological hazard information centre.

GeoNet said it had received more than 7,800 felt reports, reports Xinhua news agency.

Last month, three strong quakes jolted the sea off the coast of the North Island, which resulted a tsunami warning on the coast.

IANS
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 17:01:27 +0530
Landslides floods kill over 100 in Indonesia

Jakarta, April 5 : More than 100 people were killed and dozens are missing after floods and landslides hit East Nusa Tenggara province in Indonesia, officials and media reports said on Monday.

Volcanic debris from Mount Lewotolo engulfed homes on Sunday following heavy rain, killing 20 people and leaving more than 60 missing, Thomas Ola, the head of Lembata district, told dpa news agency.

"Fourteen villages are still totally isolated, with roads inaccessible," he said.

The death toll is likely to increase as information was still being gathered from the villages, he said.

Mount Lewatolo has erupted intermittently since December.

In another part of the province, the death toll after flash floods and landslides hit villages on Adonara island on Sunday rose to 73, Metro TV news channel reported.

Access to the island had been difficult because of high seas, said Raditya Jati, spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency.

"The only way to get there is by sea and strong winds and storms mean that we can't sail," he said.

Furthermore, interruptions to internet access mean limited information is available and the death toll could be higher.

Meanwhile, on nearby Alor island, similar disasters killed at least 11 people, according to the disaster agency.

It said more than 100 homes damaged and five bridges collapsed.

The climatology and meteorological agency predicted that some parts of Indonesia could face extreme weather, with heavy and torrential rain, strong winds and large waves during the week ahead.

The tropical cyclone Seroja may intensify over the coming day and is expected to move south-west away from Indonesia, it said.

President Joko Widodo said he was deeply saddened by the disasters.

"I understand the plight of our fellow citizens affected by the disasters," he said.

"I'm calling for immediate provision of health care, food and other basic needs to the affected people and restoration of infrastructure."

Indonesia has recorded nearly 1,000 disasters since January, mostly hydro-meteorological hazards, including flooding and landslides, according to the disaster management agency.

At least 337 people have been killed, 55 are missing and 4.3 million have been affected, with many displaced, it said.

IANS
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 16:58:30 +0530
Power packed RCB look to win their first title

 

New Delhi, April 5 : Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) are one of the three IPL sides never to have won an IPL title -- Delhi and Punjab franchises being the other two -- and the fact that the India skipper Virat Kohli has been leading the franchise since 2013 makes their failure in winning an IPL title even more noticeable.

Although they made the play-offs last time after a gap of four years, RCB have failed to get their balance right over the last few years. Their middle-order has always been brittle and their batting has depended solely on the Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers duo in recent years.

With even one of the two failing, they have lacked a batsman who could take them to big totals.

This season though they have decided to strengthen it by including Australian hard-hitter Glenn Maxwell and Kerala batsmen Mohammed Azharuddeen, who scored a 37-ball century in Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s, and Sachin Baby.

Maxwell has been included to provide power-hitting option in the middle-order.

RCB have also bought New Zealand's bowling all-rounder Kyle Jamieson and Australia all-rounder Daniel Christian. Both can provide the impetus towards the end of the innings.

Another thing that failed RCB was their bowling, especially the faster variety.

Virat Kohli's team had till recent years relied on a pace attack that was one-dimensional, relying mainly on pace or some early swing, while lacking the ability to change pace and bring in variations.

However, with the likes of Aussies Daniel Sams and Christian, they have bowlers who can use change in pace. They also have Kane Richardson.

Jamieson, who has been a rage and New Zealand's fast bowling find over the last 12-14 months, provides not just pace but also bounce.

RCB wasn't averse to spending a fortune on high-impact players like Maxwell and Jamieson. The Aussie, who is also a spinner was bought for Rs 14.25 crore whereas the New Zealand bowler was picked for Rs 15 crore.

They also have Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini and one of the two will take the new ball.

The Bengaluru franchise's spin-bowling attack comprises Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa besides India internationals like leggie Yuzvendra Chahal and off-spinner Washington Sundar. Zampa played very little last season but after a successful home summer against India, he will probably be their lead spinner if combination permits.

While Kohli had made it clear that he would open, RCB got a jolt on Sunday when their other opener Devdutt Padikkal, who had a successful IPL 2020, tested positive for Covid-19. He is in quarantine. The left-hander, who made 473 in 15 matches in IPL's last season and 737 runs in seven games in Vijay Hazare Trophy for Karnataka, could miss the first match.

Royal Challengers Bangalore squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Devdutt Padikkal, Finn Allen (wicket-keeper), AB de Villiers (wicket-keeper), Pavan Deshpande, Washington Sundar, Daniel Sams, Yuzvendra Chahal, Adam Zampa, Shahbaz Ahmed, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Kane Richardson, Harshal Patel, Glenn Maxwell, Sachin Baby, Rajat Patidar, Mohammed Azharuddeen, Kyle Jamieson, Daniel Christian, Suyash Prabhudessai, K.S. Bharat.

Support staff: Mike Hesson (director of cricketing operations), Simon Katich (head coach), S Sriram (batting and spin-bowling coach), Adam Griffith (bowling coach), Shanker Basu (strength and conditioning coach), Evan Speechly (physiotherapist), Navnita Gautam (sports massage therapist).

"We have back-up players, providing more depth. We want to change the style of play on particular venues, there might be certain grounds where we need players who bowl more cutters, there might be certain grounds where we need bounce bowlers," Mike Hesson (RCB director of cricketing operations)

IANS

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 16:32:20 +0530
UK PM to unveil traffic light system for international travel

London, April 5: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to unveil a new traffic light system for international travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic after May 17.

Johnson, who is expected to speak on Monday evening, will announce a red, amber and green system for residents in England who want to go on holiday abroad, reports dpa news agency.

Each country will be given a rating which determines whether or not travellers will need to go into quarantine on their return, a statement from Johnson's office said.

"Green" countries mean residents will have to take coronavirus tests before and after departure but will not have to quarantine upon returning to England.

"Amber" or "red" countries mean citizens would have to take tests and go into quarantine upon their return.

The system will be based on how many people have been vaccinated in each country, the rate of infection, emerging variants of the coronavirus and the country's access to "reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing".

"It is too early to predict which countries will be on which list over the summer," a spokesperson said.

"Our decisions will be driven by the evidence available at the time, as such, we continue to advise people not to book summer holidays abroad."

It is not clear how vaccines will be taken into consideration for the system but Johnson is expected to confirm this later on Monday.

While the traffic light system is just for England, the British government is said to be in talks with the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

IANS

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 16:29:38 +0530
Hyundai sells over a million Made in India SUVs

New Delhi, April 5 : Automobile major Hyundai Motor India has cumulatively sold over one million SUVs in domestic and export markets since its inception, the company said on Monday.

At present, the company offers 4 SUVs in the country, namely Venue, Creta, Tucson and Kona Electric.

"With over 1 Million cumulative SUV sales in domestic and export markets, we have reiterated the promise of Make-in-India over nearly two and a half decades of our presence in India," said Tarun Garg, Director (Sales, Marketing & Service), Hyundai Motor India.

"This achievement also epitomises our manufacturing excellence and the unconditional admiration for Hyundai brand in India."

In terms of offerings, the company launched Creta in 2015 which has recorded a cumulative sale of over 5.9 lakh units in the domestic market and over 2.2 lakh units in the export market.

Similarly, Venue was introduced in 2019 as the country's first Connected SUV. HMIL has already sold over 1.8 lakh units of VENUE in the domestic market.

The company currently has 10 car models across segments on offer.

IANS
 

 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 16:27:35 +0530
NASA seeks public s help to envision future of aviation

Washington, April 5

In a bid to increase innovation in aviation, the US space agency NASA has asked the people to share ideas for the future of flight.

The challenge Future-Scaping our Skies, open only for participants from the US, aims to foresee how societal, technological, regulatory, environmental, economic, and political changes over the next 30 years may impact aviation, and vice versa.

"We're calling on the public to give us their visions of the future connected to aviation, as well as related needs," said Keith Wichman, lead of the Convergent Aeronautics Solutions project at NASA's Langley Research Centre in Hampton, Virginia, in a statement.

"The input we receive from this challenge will help us build a better understanding of possible future state scenarios and make better decisions about technology developments today," Wichman added.

The participants must foresee for the next 30 years the scenarios in aviation, describe key events, trends, dependencies, risks, as well as the potential impacts on society. Multimedia can also be used to illustrate ideas. Top nine ideas will be awarded.

"The diverse range of responses could help inform NASA's aviation-related efforts. We are excited to see what the public can envisage," Wichman said.

ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 15:31:56 +0530
2021 04 05 Canon India appoints Yamazaki as new India President CEO

New Delhi, April 5

Canon India on Monday announced that Manabu Yamazaki has replaced veteran Kazutada Kobayashi as new President and CEO for the company in the country.

Kobayashi was at the helm for nine years, leading growth across portfolios in the India market.

Acoording to industry sources, Kobayashi will step into a larger role within the organisation.

"We, at Canon, are fully committed to the Indian market and I am looking forward to building on Canon's track record of success and innovation and continuing to deliver value and delight to all," said Yamazaki.

In his new role, Yamazaki will spearhead Canon's business strategy and operations in India.

Earlier, he was working as chief regional officer for the brand in Eastern China, overseeing various functions in the APAC region.

Yamazaki has been associated with Canon since 1989 and has also been a notable contributor in business management across European, Middle Eastern, Russian, and African markets.

Canon today has offices and warehouses in 14 cities across India and employs over 1,000 people and over 850 channel partners.

ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 15:24:39 +0530
Letter bomb blast Maha HM Anil Deshmukh resigns after HC ruling

Mumbai, April 5

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has resigned from his post, hours after the Bombay High Court asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the corruption allegations levelled against him by former Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh, a top Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader said here on Monday.

"Soon after the high court directives, Deshmukh met NCP President Sharad Pawar and offered to resign to ensure an impartial probe. After the nod, Deshmukh has gone to meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to submit his resignation," NCP National Spokesperson and Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik told mediapersons.

The development came shortly after a division bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G. S. Kulkarni directed the CBI to conduct a 'preliminary probe' within 15 days into Singh's allegations against Deshmukh.

Following the High Court ruling, a high-level NCP meeting was convened by Pawar in which Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and other senior leaders were present to discuss the ramifications even as the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party clamoured for Deshmukh's resignation.

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 15:17:51 +0530
Bulgarian PM s party wins poll Ld

Sofia, April 5

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's centre-right, pro-European Union GERB party won the parliamentary elections held during the weekend but fell short of an absolute majority, official interim results showed .
With 42 per cent of the ballots counted, the Central Election Commission reported that GERB had garnered 24 per cent of the vote share, reports dpa news agency.
There Is Such a People (ITN) party, headed by TV presenter and cabaret artist Slavi Trifonov, came in a surprisingly strong second place with 19 per cent.
The opposition Socialists came in third at nearly 15 per cent, followed by the Turkish minority party DPS with 8.8 per cent.
Two other protest forces are likely to enter Parliament: The conservative-liberal-green coalition Democratic Bulgaria and the anti-corruption alliance Stand Up! Mafia Out!
According to the official figures, the nationalist Bulgarian National Movement (IMRO) was unable to clear the 4 per cent hurdle.
It has so far been a junior partner in Borisov's coalition.
Given the distribution of power and the enmities between some of the these parties, the formation of a new government looks likely to be filled with pitfalls.
The protest parties had ruled out a coalition with GERB before the election, accusing Borisov's coalition government of corruption and proximity to oligarchs.
Earlier Monday, Borisov suggested putting together a cross-party government of experts, citing the coronavirus pandemic, but was short on details.

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 15:12:33 +0530
2021 04 05 FDI policy on e Commerce should protect the interests of smaller merchants PHDCCI

New Delhi, April 5

Foreign companies who are allowed to setup up only e-commerce marketplace platform should not have any direct or indirect control over the inventories, industry chamber PHDCCI said on Monday.

For this to happen, the chamber said that the definition of group companies should be extended to include companies operating the marketplace platform itself, its group companies, its affiliates companies, its associated enterprises, its related parties, and any other person controlled, directly or indirectly, by above or in which the person in the companies mentioned above have any direct or indirect equity or economic participation in any manner.

In a set of suggestions for inclusion in the FDI policy on E-commerce, the chamber said that e-commerce marketplace entity having FDI should not be allowed to control inventory, directly or indirectly, as it tantamount to prohibited multi-brand retailing by foreign companies. Therefore, the definition of marketplace based e-commerce and inventory-based model of e-commerce should be defined as an information technology platform by an e commerce entity on a digital & electronic network to act as a facilitator between buyer and seller.

The suggestions, the chamber said, are aimed at protecting the interest of 8 crore small merchants and the livelihood of 30 crore people dependent on them. The chamber believes that while the government has come out with a policy to protect the interest of the smaller merchants, there are still some issues that need to be addressed.

PHDCCI said that an Inventory based model of e-commerce should mean an e-commerce activity where the inventory of any of the goods or services sold on the e-commerce platform is directly or indirectly owned or controlled by the e-commerce entity and is sold to the consumers directly. If any goods or services which are sold by the Group Companies are resold in the e-commerce platform, then such activity shall also be treated as inventory based model of e-commerce.

It further said that the permission to enter the B2B agreement should be clarified that the e-commerce marketplace entity and its group companies cannot sell those inventories that are purported to be sold by them on its marketplace.

Further, there should be a threshold limit of buying from domestic producers and the armed pricing to be followed with respect to the domestic players. It is required to integrate the online marketplaces with the offline markets and ensure that they coexist peacefully with enough opportunities for domestic and international players in India's booming retail e-commerce industry.

The chamber believes that E - Commerce platforms have a revenue stream through advertising and vendors with deeper pockets are able to exploit smaller vendors for front-page placement. While the algorithm for e-commerce platforms is proprietary - it allows for "preferred vendors" to gain top ranks on the front page. If there is a possibility to regulate the "advertising norms" to allow preferential treatment for small local vendors - it would level the playing field to some extent.

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 15:04:05 +0530
Byju s to acquire Aakash Educational Services in nearly 1B deal

New Delhi, April 5

BYJU'S will acquire Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL) through a strategic merger. The deal size is pegged at close to $1 billion, according to a person familiar with the transaction.

This partnership brings together two of the largest and most-trusted education brands in India - combining Aakash's pedagogy expertise in the test-prep segment with BYJU'S content and tech capabilities. After the integration, BYJU'S will make further investments to accelerate Aakash's growth.

Amit Dixit, Co-Head of Asia Acquisitions and Head of India Private Equity at Blackstone, said: "We invested in AESL because it is one of the leading education brands in India with a professional management team, best-in-class corporate governance and a 33-year track-record of exceptional results. We have always believed omni-channel will be the winning model in test prep and tutoring, and we look forward to being a part of the partnership between the two foremost companies in Indian supplementary education - Aakash and BYJU'S. The combination of Aakash and BYJU'S is highly synergistic and we are excited to help build India's largest education company."

With over 215 centres, Aakash provides test preparatory services to students preparing for medical and engineering entrance exams, board exams, KVPY, NTSE, Olympiads, and other Foundation level exams.

Byju Raveendran, Founder and CEO, BYJU'S said, "Our complementary strengths will enable us to build capabilities, create engaging and personalised learning programs. The future of learning is hybrid and this union will bring together the best of offline and online learning, as we combine our expertise to create impactful experiences for students."

Byju's further added, "The pandemic has brought the importance of the blended format of learning to the forefront. As we unite our forces to bring together decades of expertise and experience, this partnership will further accelerate Aakash's growth and success."

Aakash Chaudhry, Managing Director, AESL said: "Together with BYJU'S, we will work towards building an omni-channel learning offering that will accelerate test-prep experience to the next level. While this partnership will enhance our operational verticals, Aakash will continue to operate as a separate entity with the same passion and commitment with which its Founder & Chairman J C Chaudhry incepted it. We are excited to partner with BYJU'S, and will strive to deliver long-term value to our students, employees, investors, and other stakeholders."

The addition of Aakash is a significant step towards strengthening BYJU'S product offering. It reiterates the company's focus on creating impactful learning products for students by adding more verticals, subjects, and languages to the same platform.

ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 14:58:10 +0530
Triangular fight on 20 seats in Kerala BJP

Thiruvananthapuruam, April 5

The BJP-led NDA in Kerala is gaining ground and the April 6 assembly polls is going to be a game changer as there is a triangular fight on 20 seats, a top BJP leader said.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan who was overseeing his party's election campaign in the state, said here on Monday that Tuesday's polls could be a major milestone for the BJP.
"If we had opened our account in the 2016 assembly polls by winning the Nemom seat (in state capital city), this time it could be perhaps a game changer in the political scenario in Kerala. The strengthening of the BJP has sent ripples in both the ruling Left and the Congress-led UDF camp. In 20 seats it's a stiff triangular contest," said Muraleedharan.
He went on to point out that the principal reasons for the surge in the BJP is on account of the scams that broke out in the ruling front and also the good governance of Narendra Modi.
"Just see what has happened in the assembly constituency at Dharmadom where Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is contesting in Kannur. Yesterday he had to conduct a road show with the help of film stars. This is what's called the new face of the CPI-M. Gone are the days when they stood on their ideology, today its adulation, and Vijayan appears to have got a new name in 'Captain'," said Muraleedharan.
He also pointed out that even the single point campaign of Vijayan appears to have changed when he went around saying that  central agencies are being used to target them and prevent development in the state.
"All that campaign has gone out of the window and parading of film stars by Vijayan at his constituency tells the tale of what is happening," added Muraleedharan.
But to a pointed question on his predictions for his party, Muraleedharan side stepped it, with his characteristic smile.
While one pre-poll survey has predicted up to three seats, some have opined that they will lose the one seat that they won in 2016.
In 2016, they won Nemom and came second in seven constituencies and bagged 14.96 per cent of the total votes.

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 14:48:14 +0530
Adobe Illustrator for Apple silicon in beta released

San Francisco, April 5

 Software major Adobe has now started testing Illustrator on Apple's latest chip architecture, a move that has come less than a month after the release of Adobe Photoshop for Apple silicon.
"We are excited to announce the first Beta release of Illustrator running natively on Apple Silicon hardware," Avinash Singh Kotwal, Senior Product Manager, Adobe Illustrator, said in a post at a 'UserVoice' forum late last week.
"This early version of Illustrator for Apple Silicon offers many of the core features that you've come to rely on for your day-to-day needs. Please give it a try. We would love to hear your feedback."
One can download this beta version through the Creative Cloud Desktop app's "Beta Apps" section.
Adobe last month announced the release of the first version of Photoshop to run natively on Macs with the new Apple silicon M1 chip.
The internal tests by Adobe showed that Photoshop delivers significant performance gains across the application for customers using the latest Macs.
According to the company, Photoshop for M1 Macs completes most tasks 1.5 times faster than on Intel chips.

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 14:34:57 +0530
99 students 23 staff members of elite Himachal school test positive

Shimla, April 5

 At least 99 students and 23 staff members of an elite residential public school in Himachal Pradesh's Dalhousie resort in Chamba district have been tested positive for coronavirus, officials said.
Deputy Commissioner D.C. Rana told the media that all patients of Dalhousie Public School were asymptomatic.
"All of them have been kept in isolation and a medical team is monitoring their health," he said.
The school was set up in 1970 and it has several students from non-resident Indian families and prominent personalities.
The government has already closed all educational institutions in the state till April 15 owing to spike in coronavirus cases.
However, the teaching and non-teaching staff will perform duty.
The coaching centres and all medical, dental and nursing institutions will remain open in strict compliance of the SOPs issued by the Health Department, an official statement said.
The educational institutions having residential facility can remain open too.

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 14:29:57 +0530
Indian American activist fights for son s treatment

Washington, April 5

 Jo Kaur, an Indian-American activist and civil rights lawyer, is is now fighting for the treatment of her 15-month son, who has been diagnosed with a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorder and is reaching out to scientists, researchers and physicians.
A report in The American Bazaar on Sunday says that the fatal disease is extremely rare and affects just about 100 children in the US every year, leaving them with an average life expectancy of three to five years.
Currently there is no cure or treatment available for the condition.
The New York-based Kaur, an active civil rights campaigner, represented the Sikh Coalition while seeking deliver justice to a Sikh Disney employee who was asked not to appear before company guests because of his turban.
She has also worked with the survivors of the 2012 shooting at the Oak Creek gurdwara in Wisconsin, which claimed the lives of six worshippers.
The activist and her husband aims to start a research foundation towards finding a possible cure for Riaan's disease and help other similarly impacted children.
They have set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs for their initiative.
According to Kaur, she has received widespread support on social media, with the hashtags #PrayforRiaan and #FightforRiaan.
Speaking to The American Bazaar, Kaur said: "We have had an amazing response, people have been so kind and supportive. More importantly, people have connected us to researchers, doctors, and biotech companies, and other parents doing the type of work we're looking to do.
"We aren't going to sit back and let Riaan die without doing more. We're committed to finding and doing whatever we can to push the research and create viable therapies for our son."

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 14:24:26 +0530
26 killed in B desh ferry capsize Ld

Dhaka, April 5

 At least 26 people were killed after a ferry capsized in the Shitalakkhya river in Bangladesh's Narayanganj district, an official said on Monday.
The accident site is about 20 km away from the capital Dhaka.
Ershad Hossain, senior duty officer of the Fire Service and Civil Defence Headquarters, told Xinhua news agenncy that the victims included children and women.
The overcrowded ferry, carryingsome 50 passengers onboard, capsized after it was hit by another boat at around 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Hossain further said that a search operation is still underway for the unknown number of people still missing.
"We've come to know that the ferry was carrying about 50 passengers," he said, adding that the boat has been dragged to the bank

ians

Ferries are a key means of transport in Bangladesh and most of them are often overcrowded.

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 14:17:49 +0530
Andhra CM Guv hail Jagjivan Ram s legacy on birth anniversary

Amaravati, April 5

 Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy hailed the legacy of Babu Jagjivan Ram on Monday, which is his 113th birth anniversary.
"Tributes to Babu Jagjivan Ram, a freedom fighter and reformist on his 113th birth anniversary. We cannot forget his efforts to bring financial equality to the poor and downtrodden," said Reddy.
Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan said Ram's contribution to the nation's politics and development will always be remembered.
"I offer my humble tributes to Babu Jagjivan Ram on his birth anniversary. Babu Jagjivan Ram was an illustrious freedom fighter and a visionary leader," said Harichandan.
According to the Governor, Ram was an able administrator who rendered impeccable services to the country.
Calling him a true democrat, Harichandan said he fought to uplift the poor, downtrodden and weaker sections of the society.
He said Ram served the country as a cabinet minister for 35 years, holding several key portfolios and noted that Ram introduced path breaking reforms such as the green revolution in the country.
Similarly, at Sareen Nagar Park in Kurnool town, local leaders garlanded Ram's statue and paid tributes.
Kurnool collector Veerpandian cut a cake as part of Ram's memorial.

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 14:10:07 +0530
India s plan ensures vultures rule skies once again

New Delhi, April 5

The crash in the population of vultures, nature's scavengers, in India from estimated four crore in the early 1980s to less than a lakh by 2007 is unprecedented in the animal world.
To save them from certain extinction, the government of India's Action Plan for Vulture Conservation in India -- 2020-2025, which was recently presented to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) secretariat, advocates the prevention of misuse of veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by ensuring their sale only on prescription.
This would ensure that the banned drugs are not used in veterinary treatment, says the Foreword by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar in the report.
The vulture conservation plan with an outlay of Rs 207.50 crore, part of the Gandhinagar Declaration adopted by CMS Parties in 2020, also strongly recommends the veterinary treatment should be given only by qualified veterinarians that would prevent overuse of NSAIDs in treating livestock as toxicity of most of the drugs is dose dependent.
Also, the scientific manner of disposal of livestock carcasses will ensure that the vultures do not get exposed to the carcasses of animals that died during treatment. This should be done as soon as possible, says the five-year plan.
CMS, the only United Nations treaty that addresses migratory species and their habitats, provides an international legal framework for collaborative conservation across borders.
Hailing the vulture action plan, a spokesperson for CMS told IANS that India presented a report on conservation initiatives during the first year of its COP (Conference of Parties) presidency.
The comprehensive plan, which the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is implementing with its two crucial counterparts, Health and Family Welfare; and Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, aims for conservation breeding programme of vultures by establishing more centres in different parts of the country.
Interestingly, two other species -- the red-headed vulture and the Egyptian vulture -- are also included in the breeding programme.
The 118-page plan takes cognizance of the causes of mortality other than veterinary drug poisoning of vulture food.
The poisoning of dead domestic animals by the owners to kill a rogue predator often is a problem for vultures in some parts of the country. Though it is not as serious a problem as poisoning of food by veterinary painkiller, which is far more widespread, it still needs attention, says the action plan quoting Union Minister of State for Environment Babul Supriyo.
Secretary Environment R.P. Gupta believes the banning of vulture toxic drugs is cumbersome and time consuming. So, it is better to be judicious in using the drugs and make the environment safe for the vultures.
The action plan admits the Vulture Safe Zone programme has been initiated for conservation of remnant vulture population.
However, work on establishing Vulture Safe Zones has not started in all states and requires a lot more urgency.
Vultures were very common in India till the 1980's. During this period, the populations of the three resident Gyps species -- the oriental white-backed, the long-billed and the slender-billed -- in the country was estimated at 40 million individuals.
The overall population however crashed by over 90 per cent during the mid-90's. By 2007, 99 per cent of the three species had been wiped out.
These three species are now listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, the highest threat category ahead of extinction.
In 2004, the cause of their crash was established as diclofenac, a veterinary drug.
When the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are administered to cattle, and if the cow or buffalo dies within a few days and is consumed by vultures, it causes gout, kidney failure and death in the following days.
Subsequently, the Drug Controller General of India in 2006 banned the veterinary use of diclofenac. In 2015, it also restricted the vial size of the human formulation of diclofenac to prevent its misuse in treating cattle.
Besides prevention of poisoning of the principal food of vultures, the cattle carcasses, with veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025 proposes to establish additional conservation breeding centres in the country.
At present, there are eight centres in the country. While the primary focus of these centres is breeding of vultures, they also serve as vulture conservation centres.
For example, the in-situ conservation efforts are coordinated by the biologists based at the centres. The samples and information collected from the wild is analyzed and stored at these centres.
Given that the centres have well-equipped facilities for veterinary care, laboratory, sample processing and storage facilities, they also help in identifying the cause of mortality in vultures in the region by providing all the necessary veterinary and laboratory support.
The plan says certain regions of the country cannot be fully covered by the existing network of breeding centres. So it is proposed to set up one centre each in Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, which will cover most parts of the country.
The populations of red-headed vulture and the Egyptian vulture have also crashed by over 80 per cent over the years and it is important to set up a conservation breeding programme for these species.
It is proposed to initiate the conservation breeding programme for both species in the vulture conservation breeding centres by creating additional infrastructure.
Also four rescue centres have been proposed for different geographical areas like Pinjore in the north, Bhopal in Central India, Guwahati in northeast India and Hyderabad in South India.
The centres will be established five km from the breeding centres such that veterinary expertise of the breeding centres could be utilized for treatment of sick and injured birds.
Currently there is no dedicated vulture rescue centres to treat the injured in accidents and fall sick by unintentional poisoning.
It is proposed to have at least one vulture safe zone in each state for the conservation of the remnant populations.
To know the exact bird count, the plan proposed to carry out coordinated nationwide vulture count, once in four years in February, by involving state Forest Departments, BNHS, research Institutes, etc.
Responding to the action plan, Rhys Green, Saving Asia's Vultures From Extinction (SAVE) Chair, said this important plan covers an impressive range of actions, from testing the safety to vultures of veterinary drugs, linked with the regulation of their use, to conservation breeding to maintain a safe captive population.
"The plan includes the appointment of a national committee with representation of the different government departments whose work affects vulture conservation. SAVE welcomes this plan and offers the national committee any technical assistance it might want."

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 14:02:27 +0530
New USTR slams India s high tariffs equalisation levy

New Delhi, April 5

 The US Trade Representative (USTR) in its latest report on Foreign Trade Barriers released on March 31 has highlighted major trade barriers to American exports, FDI and e-commerce.
This report has been issued by Joe Biden Administration's newly appointed USTR, Katherine Tai who replaced Ambassador Robert Lighthizer after Donald Trump lost the election last year. It has found India's trade policies discriminatory which creates both tariff and non tariff-barriers and poses a threat to US trade and imports to India. Trade barriers include government laws, regulations and policies.
Duties, according to the report, have been increased across two large groups: Labour-intensive products and electronics and communication devices, such as cell phones, televisions, and related parts and components.
Earlier in January 2021, USTR had found India's Equalisation Levy as discriminatory and unreasonable,creating significant new tax burden for the US companies and/or restricting US commerce -- forcing them to undertake costly compliance measures.
Finance Ministry issued clarifications in February 2021, but the matter, instead of improving, has become much worse. US companies across the board have complained that the latest interpretation means that even merchandise trade will be subject to Equalisation Levy. The new interpretation is increasing nervousness and fear of tax terrorism, due to retrospective impact of such levy, even further.
According to the report, the United States' trade deficit with India in 2020 was up 1.7 per cent to $23.8 billion, exports down 20.1 per cent to $27.4 billion, and India's imports down 11.3 per cent to $51.2 billion, from last year. The report highlights that the US exporters continue to encounter significant tariff and non-tariff barriers. Additionally, there exists large disparities between WTO bound rates and India's MFN applied rates -- currently the highest in the world at 17.6 per cent.
In addition, the report also highlights the unpredictability and opaqueness that plagues India's tariff regime and how it poses major challenges to the US trade to India. As per the report, the Indian Government used the last two Union Budgets to increase tariffs on approximately 70 product categories, including key US exports, without warning or public consultation.
The report also places a major focus on barriers to Digital Trade. From wide-ranging data localisation requirements across sectors and policies like the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, RBI localisation guidelines, yet-to-be released e-commerce policy to the much discussed Equalisation Levy, the USTR claims that these digital barriers will impede foreign trade and increase the risk of retaliation from other countries, putting interests of Indian companies at risk.
Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has made every attempt to negotiate a trade deal with previous USTR Lighthizer since September 2019, but without success. Fresh tariff hikes, equalisation levy and the recently notified IT Rules highlighted in the report, will further queer the pitch for a trade negotiation with the new USTR Katherine Tai, with whom Goyal has already held an introductory meeting two weeks ago.
As per the USTR, the recently notified IT Rules "incentivize overly restrictive approaches to policing non-IP user-generated content and will undermine many Internet-based platform services."

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 13:54:52 +0530
How to help children cope with Covid related stress

New Delhi, April 5

 The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown generated a lot of fear and stress across all age groups. Children usually thrive under predictable conditions, but disruption led by the pandemic greatly impacted them physically and emotionally.
Online schooling, isolation, quarantine at home, lack of social interactions, lack of physical sports and parental angst have developed fears, depression, and boredom among children. While most parents, were involved in dealing with the uncertainty of the pandemic and putting all efforts to keep their family safe and sustainable, the emotional needs of children were somehow ignored, points out Jesal Sheth, Senior Consultant-Paediatrician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.
The experts discusses with IANSlife the impact of the pandemic on children and how to tackle it:
THE IMPACT OF THE PANDEMIC ON CHILDREN
The pandemic has changed the way children typically grow, learn, play, behave, interact, and manage emotions. Children have been observed to have conduct problems, peer problems, externalising problems, and general psychological distress. When compared with children who did not exercise, children with psychical activity had lower hyperactivity-inattention and less pro-social behaviour problems.
Moreover, from a more emotional perspective, they have a lot going around in their head, and the biggest worry for them is whether or not they will see their friends in school or will they get sick. The joint effect between lifestyle changes and psychosocial stress caused by home confinement perhaps aggravated behavioural problems in children.
In the long run, this can lead to an emotional breakdown among children, and the same may lead to these children resisting to return to school post-lockdown. This can happen primarily because children have lost their pre-lockdown routines and the loss of touch with their peers and mentors. In addition to this, the lockdown-related constraints can have a long-term negative effect on their overall psychological well-being.
Here's how you can help children cope with Covid-related stress:
Addressing fears -- Anxiety and emotional depression can be tackled by parents to some extent by addressing fears of children, talking about problems and possible solutions from the child's perspective
Spending time with grandparents -- Children who have grandparents can decide to spend some quality time with them
Create a routine -- Parents can maintain some routines even if confined at home. It is always good if parents and children can plan some activities together. Parents should also plan their children's tasks one at a time, involve them in various home activities, educate them about following hygiene habits and social distancing
Play Games -- Engage in indoor play and creative activities. In addition to these activities, children can be advised to be involved in household chores and understand their social responsibilities
Virtual play dates -- To keep them in touch with friends and classmates, plan a virtual party and playdates
Bad behaviours can be redirected and discussed -- Parents should pay more attention to the emotional well-being of the child. Keep emphasising Covid-19 measures like wearing a mask, social distancing, and frequent hand washing, as the pandemic is not over yet. Also, children should be encouraged to socialise with their friends and classmates through digital forums under the parent's supervision.

ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 13:49:37 +0530
Veteran journalist K N Malik pens inspirational autobiography

New Delhi, April 5

 In the evening of his life, as his friends keep frequently reminding him of the legacy he leaves behind of brave and impartial journalism, 90-year-old K.N. Malik is humbled as he begins to realise that he "might have done something worthwhile" with his life.
"In the evening of my life, my friends in Delhi keep reminding me frequently of the legacy I leave behind of brave and impartial journalism. Whenever I go back to India, I meet all sorts of people and they remind me of the stories I wrote and how they grew up with them," Malik writes from the heart in "An Autobiography" (Fingerprint), that traces his journey from the small town of Sheikhpura (now in Pakistan), through the horrors of partition to the rough-and-tumble political world of New Delhi and finally to London, where he is now settled and has found a second calling for himself as a commentator and author.
"They still remember that period of our history that was marked by sheer fearlessness and boldness to uncover the truth and when so many uprooted Indians were still trying to feel the ground under their feet and find their own identity in the new India," Malik writes.
Noting that India was very poor at that time and it often faced food shortages, the least the people expected from their leadership "was integrity and sincerity in governance. I feel humbled to say that for many, my stories seemed to embody the sentiments and spirit of the time. I was beginning to realise, and it humbled me that I might have done something worthwhile in my life", Malik states.
Life is, indeed, a journey and his has been an interesting one, from putting partition behind , to completing his studies and joining The Times of India in 1956 and in 1982 being "kicked upstairs" (for rattling the political leadership) as its European correspondent, a position he retired from in 1989 when he turned 60.
Thereafter, he was a research associate at Oxford's Queen Elizabeth House (1989-91), and a senior research fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (1991-96). He was also offered 75,000 pounds grant by the Ford Foundation for organising a conference.
He co-edited, with Peter Robb of SOAS, "India and Britain: Recent Past and Present Challenges". He is also the author of "India and the United Kingdom: Change and Continuity in the 1980s".
Besides giving extensive commentaries on television and radio in the UK, he has contributed numerous articles to newspapers and magazines.
"I have been imprisoned on false charges and detained without trial (in the wake of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination when anyone connected with the RSS was rounded up). I have been banished from my country at the behest of my government (for annoying a whole string of ministers). I have had my voiced silenced unjustly. I have had my words twisted and my motivations questioned. I've had marauders descend upon my family home (in Sheikhpura) with the sole intention of killing everybody inside. I have been a refugee. I have had my last possession stolen (while fleeing Pakistan on the buffer of a railway engine)," Malik writes.
At the same time, he has also been close friends with more than one Prime Minister. His friends have given him inexhaustible love, affection, and trust all his life.
"I have been involved in some of the biggest stories in the history of Indian journalism. I have found love and started a family. I have been a part of my country's war effort (in 1962 as a fund raiser). I have travelled the world many times over, with friends spread around the globe. I have been graced with awards and even an honorary doctorate.
"Life is wonderful. Life is for living. I have enjoyed to the utmost when I have faced its sunny side. When times were difficult, I faced adversity, and this gave me the resilience to overcome it. At such times, my family and friends were my strong anchors. When I was faced with ambiguity and doubt, my principles and my life lessons became my mariner's compass to navigate through life. Life presented itself in different hues. When I do not like a shade, I tried my best to change it, but when I could not do so, I accepted it gracefully. Life is varied. My own life has been no exception," Malik explains.
His odyssey is best summed up in his own words.
"I recall one day when my elder brother Ram, my cousin Jagmohan, and my younger brother Shiv were chatting over a cup of coffee in the lounge of the IIC. Somehow, we slipped into a nostalgia about the past which we had shared.
"Ram, Shiv and I had belonged once to a well-to-do advocate's family before we lost everything. I had arrived in Delhi on the bumper of a train engine with just what I was wearing. Ram went on to become governor of the Reserve Bank of India. His wife Anna and he were recipients of the Padma Bhushan Award. Shiv led prestigious government organisations like PEC and MMTC. Jagmohan became Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
"‘Look at us,' I said. ‘What have we lost? Whatever we lost, we have regained! God has been very kind to us. We must have done some good karmas'," Malik writes.
Which explains why "An Autobiography" is a must-read across the spectrum. It will surely inspire you, particularly in these hard times we are living in.

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 13:39:21 +0530
DRDO s chaff technology to safeguard naval ships from missile attack

New Delhi, April 5

 The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an advanced chaff technology which will protect naval ships against enemy missile attack.
Defence laboratory Jodhpur (DLJ), a DRDO laboratory, has indigenously developed three variants of this critical technology, namely Short Range Chaff Rocket (SRCR), Medium Range Chaff Rocket (MRCR) and Long Range Chaff Rocket (LRCR) meeting Indian Navy's qualitative requirements.
Recently, Indian Navy conducted trials of all three variants in the Arabian Sea on Indian Naval Ship and found the performance satisfactory.
Chaff is a passive expendable electronic countermeasure technology used worldwide to protect naval ships from enemy's radar and RF missile seekers.
"The importance of this development lies in the fact that very less quantity of chaff material deployed in the air acts as a decoy to deflect enemy's missiles for the safety of our ships," the DRDO stated.
DRDO has also gained the expertise to meet the futuristic threats from adversaries, which is a unique technology not available from outside. The technology is being given to industries for production in large quantities.
Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral G. Ashok Kumar has applauded the DRDO efforts in developing strategically important technology indigenously in a short span and cleared for bulk production.

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 13:30:31 +0530
Indian agriculture Maladies and remedies

Since Independence, the agriculture sector has remained the main source of national income and occupation in India. In 1947, 72 per cent of the total working population was engaged in agricultural sector, but still a majority of Indias poor (some 770 million people or about 70 per cent) inhabit the rural areas.
Though due to the high growth rates of the industrial and services sectors, the share of agricultural share in India's economy has progressively declined to less than 15 per cent, yet its importance in the country's economic and social development can't be denied.
On road to self-sufficiency
The Green revolution of the 1960s witnessed a drastic increase in total agricultural production, particularly wheat and rice. The second phase of the Green Revolution further boosted it in the 1980s, which was accelerated further by the liberalisation policy of 1990s.
However, the results of the Green revolution were not uniform over the entire country. It particularly resulted in enhanced cultivation and production of wheat and rice in the northern states, and other cash crops such as cotton and onion in the western and southern states. But it neglected the cultivation of pulses and other cereals.
Though, India is considered to be a global agricultural powerhouse, yet the sector suffers from serious maladies. According a World Bank report of 2010, India is the world's largest producer of milk, pulses, and spices, and has the world's largest cattle herd (buffaloes), as well as the largest area under wheat, rice and cotton. It is the second largest producer of rice, wheat, cotton, sugarcane, farmed fish, sheep and goat meat, fruit, vegetables and tea. But in spite
of this the Indian farmer remains poor, though he contributes a lot to the economy.
As per experts' opinion the factors which contribute to the poor performance of the Indian agricultural sector are multi-dimensional, such as: poor access to reliable and timely market information to the farmers, absence of supply and demand forecasting, poorly structured and inefficient supply chains, inadequate cold storage facilities and shortage of proper food processing units, large intermediation between the farmers and the consumers, besides regional disparities are some of the major causes of the losses for the farmers.
The World Bank report lists that one of the biggest issues facing the agricultural sector in India is low yield: India's farm yield is 30-50 per cent lower than that of developed nations. Average farm size, poor infrastructure, low use of farm technologies and better farming techniques, decrease in soil fertility due to over fertilisation and sustained pesticide use, are leading contributors to low agricultural productivity.
Thus, measures to increase productivity will need increasing yields, diversification to higher value crops, and developing value chains to reduce marketing costs.
The sharp rise in food-grain production during India's Green revolution of the 1970s enabled the country to achieve self-sufficiency in food-grains and stave off the threat of famine. Agricultural intensification in the 1970s to 1980s saw an increased demand for rural labour that raised rural wages and, together with declining food prices, reduced rural poverty. However agricultural growth in the 1990s and 2000s slowed down, averaging about 3.5 per cent per annum, and cereal yields have increased by only 1.4 per cent per annum in the 2000s. The slow-down in agricultural growth has become a major cause for concern. India's rice yields are one-third of China's and about half of those in Vietnam and Indonesia. The same is true for most other agricultural commodities.
Reforming the sector
What we need is a pragmatic, realistic and holistic approach to be adopted by the policy makers to address the maladies faced by the Indian agriculturists. Besides resolving the regional disparities in crop patterns, the government also needs to promote cultivation and change in eating habits of the populace. One route to this could be propagating the inclusion of millets and other high nutritious cereals, in the eating habits of the populace. This besides increasing the earning potential of the farmers in the drought prone or less irrigated areas will also result in making better use of the cultivable area across the country.
Further action in this regard could be taken by the government by supporting and collaborating with international institutions like International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), which are engaged in popularising the cultivation and use of highly nutritious crops like millet and sorghum.
ICRISAT, as per its mandate strives to be the change catalyst through a partnership approach to help rural communities develop their own solutions and engages
with them to bring the vision to reality. Its inclusive approach ensures participation of women and youth, a must in finding sustainable and profitable solutions, besides contributing to several of the UN SDGs.
As ICRISAT's research area focuses on the drylands, it has an extra specialisation on crops that survive in these harsh climates, such as Chickpea and Groundnut, besides nutri-cereals like Sorghum, Pearl millet and Finger millet. Most of these crops besides being highly nutritious are also good for the planet as they have a low water footprint, lowers the carbon footprint, are good for the soils, use fewer chemicals, etc. Further they are good for the small farmer as they survive in the harshest climates, have multiple uses, have potential to significantly increase yield and cater to an untapped usage and demand.
Last month, the UN General Assembly unanimously declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets, the resolution for which was sponsored by India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi while endorsing this announcement expressed gratitude to all the nations, which initiated and co-sponsored this resolution. In a tweet, he said that India is honoured to be at the forefront of popularising millets, whose consumption furthers nutrition, food security and welfare of farmers.
Both the cultivation and usage of these cereals and grain legumes could be achieved by focused efforts initially to popularise these smart foods to bring them into mainstream food habits. The strategy adopted to achieve this should involve and ensure that small farmers and rural communities benefit by receiving on-farm support, connecting farmers to value chains, linking smart food with health activities on the ground, and advocacy for policy support, research and development.
Policy makers will thus need to initiate and accomplish policy actions and public programmes to shift the agricultural sector away from the existing policy and institutional regime that appears to be no longer viable and build a solid foundation for a much more productive, internationally competitive, and diversified agricultural sector in the country. In addition, we'll have to promote increased cultivation of those crops, which besides being nutritious and profitable are also able to counter the environmental challenges.

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 12:51:39 +0530
Sensex tanks 1 300 points banking auto stocks plunge

 

Mumbai, April 5 

The key Indian equity indices fell on Monday morning with heavy selling in banking, finance and auto stocks.

The night curfew and weekend lockdown announced in Maharashtra amid the rising number of Covid cases has weighed on the investor sentiments, analysts said.

Around 10.15 a.m., Sensex was trading at 48,709.84, lower by 1,319.99 points or 2.64 per cent from its previous close.

The Nifty50 on the National Stock Exchange was trading at 14,529.95, lower by 337.40 or 2.27 per cent from its previous close.

The losers on the Sensex were IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finance and Bajaj Finserv, while the only gainers were Infosys HCL Technologies and TCS

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 12:38:49 +0530
118 yr old woman gets corona vax in MP

Sagar (Madhya Pradesh), April 5

A 118-year-old woman has set a record of sorts by receiving the first dose of coronavirus vaccine in Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh. She got the first jab at a vaccination centre in Sagar on Sunday.

Sagar District Magistrate, Deepak Singh, has retweeted the tweet by the state Public Relations Department which said a 118-year-old woman Tulsabai, who is a resident of the Sadarpur village in Sagar district, has received the Covid vaccine, thus becoming the country's oldest woman to get the jab. The woman in Bundeli dialect said, "I have myself received the corona vaccine, so everybody should get it. There is no problem in getting inoculated. The people should wait for their turn and get themselves vaccinated."

Doctor Bhupendra Kurmi has said that the date of birth of the elderly woman is January 1, 1903 as per her Aadhaar card and she is a resident of Sadarpur village.

Raising the alarming level of new coronavirus cases, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath attacked the government on the shortage of the vaccines in the state and said, "On one hand the present Shivraj Singh Chouhan government has appealed to each and every person to receive the vaccine, on the other hand, there are not enough vaccines available in many districts of the state. People are forced to return homes without the jab. There are deaths due to shortage of oxygen supply in hospitals. There is a lack of medicines for treatment of Covid-19 patients, there are not enough Covid testing kits, no beds for treatment in many districts, private hospitals brazenly charging high treatment rates. What is the government doing? Don't know if the Chief Minister is reviewing the Covid-19 situation or not?"

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 12:32:07 +0530
Rajasthan Royals launch jersey via 3D show in Jaipur

Jaipur, April 5

Rajasthan Royals (RR) launched their Indian Premier League 2021 season jersey through a 3D projection and light show at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. The show was broadcast live from the stadium to fans around the world and to RR players in their bio-bubble in Mumbai.
RR, champions in the inaugural edition in 2008, will miss playing at their home venue in Jaipur once again after the BCCI picked just six host venues for this season & also ensured that no team gets to play at home.
The audio-visual show, depicting the stadium, the city of Jaipur, Rajasthani culture and landscape, was held in partnership with Red Bull.
"The show began with Sawai Mansingh Stadium being lit up, from the pitch to the stands. The limelight was then placed on a screen set up especially for the live show where a video montage of the stadium, city and Rajasthan landscape were interspersed with high-speed action shots of Red Bull vehicles and events. The Royals players were 3D projected on the screen, wearing the jersey for the new season, giving fans a first-ever look at the pink and blue jersey they will wear in (the) 2021 (season)," said a statement from the team.
RR's latest buy, South African all-rounder Chris Morris praised the jersey.
"Unbelievable reveal of the new jersey. From 2015 till now the jersey has changed a lot since the last time I played for Royals, and it is a beautiful jersey. I'm excited to be a part of this team again and proud that the (RR) foundation is the main driver behind the design," the Proteas all-rounder, who was the most expensive buy ever in IPL history, was quoted as saying in the statement.
Morris was bought for Rs 16.25 crore at this season's mini-auction.
Another RR all-rounder, Riyan Parag said: "Last year, Rajasthan Royals team was wowed witnessing Dani Roman (professional skydiver and base jumper) fly down to the beachside of our hotel in Dubai to reveal and hand over the IPL 2020 team jerseys. This year, another epic jersey reveal. We look forward to making our fans proud this season."
The franchise statement described the jersey for the new season as, "eye catching and socially powered".
"Consisting of four unique and special elements which serve as the Royals' bastion of making a social difference through cricket, the jersey is dedicated to how the team has been working with empowered women through their Royal Rajasthan Foundation and impacting the lives of millions of women in their home state of Rajasthan," the statement said.
"Whether it is planting 14,000 'Khejri' trees to raise groundwater levels, harnessing and cultivating the unique creativity and talent of women to weave rugs, addressing and providing help to women dealing with less talked-about issues such as mental health and menstruation these special elements on the carefully curated jersey mean more to the Royals than just being an item of knitted clothing."

ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 12:23:50 +0530
NASA s Ingenuity helicopter touches down on Red Planet

Washington, April 4  

NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity has been dropped on the surface of the Red Planet ahead of its historic first flight scheduled for April 11.
Ingenuity flew to Mars while being attached to the belly of NASA's Perseverance rover, which made a February 18 touch down on the Red Planet.
"#MarsHelicopter touchdown confirmed! Its 293 million mile (471 million km) journey aboard @NASAPersevere ended with the final drop of 4 inches (10 cm) from the rover's belly to the surface of Mars today," NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, tweeted late on Saturday.
"Next milestone? Survive the night."
The US space agency last week announced the decision to push back the date of the first attempt to fly the helicopter on Mars from April 8 to April 11.
Flying in a controlled manner on Mars is far more difficult than flying on Earth.
The Red Planet has significant gravity (about one-third that of Earth's), but its atmosphere is just 1 per cent as dense as Earth's at the surface.
During Martian daytime, the planet's surface receives only about half the amount of solar energy that reaches Earth during its daytime, and nighttime temperatures can drop as low as minus 90 degrees Celsius, which can freeze and crack unprotected electrical components.
To fit within the available accommodations provided by the Perseverance rover, the Ingenuity helicopter must be small.
To fly in the Mars environment, it must be lightweight. To survive the frigid Martian nights, it must have enough energy to power internal heaters.
The system -- from the performance of its rotors in rarified air to its solar panels, electrical heaters, and other components -- has been tested and retested in the vacuum chambers and test labs of NASA's JPL in Southern California.

ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 12:05:11 +0530
Sunny Leone I want to stay here

Mumbai, April 5

It has been nine years now for Sunny Leone in Bollywood, almost all of it in the spotlight and, of course, she wants to stay here.

After appearing in "Bigg Boss" season 5 in 2012, she made her Bollywood debut with"Jism 2" the same year. Sunny describes the stint so far as "amazing".

"I think it has been absolutely amazing. I do feel that I can follow my dreams and be in a place that is just so amazing. It is one of India's most amazing places," Sunny told IANS.

The actress, who is a mother of children Nisha, Noah and Asher, is looking for a brighter future.

"I have really put in a lot of time on myself being here, and I want to stay here. Looking forward to many many more good experiences," said Sunny, who is currently busy with "MTV Splitsvilla".

Sunny is all set to make her debut on the digital space with the fictional web show "Anamika", which is billed as a 'gun-fu' action thriller and is directed by Vikram Bhatt.

ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 11:53:00 +0530
India reports highest ever tally of 1 03 lakh Covid cases

New Delhi, April 5

India registered 1,03,558 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the highest ever single-day spike since the onset of the pandemic last year, taking the total tally to 1,25,89,067 on Monday.
Daily cases in India had peaked on September 16, 2020, with 97,894 people testing positive for the virus in a single day.
Monday's figure is the highest spike since the first case was detected in the country last January.
The country has witnessed an unabated rise in the number of fresh cases.
Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Haryana have been deemed states of "grave concern".
The active cases have currently increased to 7,41,830 comprising 5.89 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 92.80 per cent.
On Monday, the death toll increased to 1,65,101 with 478 new fatalities.
The number of people who have recovered from the disease surged to 1,16,82,136, while the case fatality rate stood at 1.31 per cent, according to official data.
Taking note of the spike in cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting on Sunday, directed that the "mission-mode" approach should continue in states & districts reporting the resurgence.
He exhorted all states to take required stringent measures with comprehensive restrictions in places so that the collective gains of Covid management in the country in the last 15 months are not squandered.
The Centre has advised high-burden states and union territories to take stringent measures for containment of the surge.
So far, 7.91 crore doses of corona vaccine have been administered in the country since the drive began on January 16.

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 11:46:36 +0530
Amit Shah leaves for Chhattisgarh to review Maoist attack

New Delhi, April 5

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday left for Chhattisgarh to review the security situation in the wake of the deadly Maoist attack in which 22 security personnel were killed. Shah will meet the security personnel injured in the attack.

Shah will visit the gun battle site in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur where the attack took place, a Home Ministry official said.

The Home Minister later will take a review meeting and then reach Raipur to see the injured security personnel.

Shah also reviewed the gun battle inicident on Sunday at his residence in the National Capital, asserting that the "fight against Maoists will continue and we will take it to the end".

In the meeting, the Home Minister took the stock of the situation on the ground with senior officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Intelligence Bureau and Central Armed Police Forces soon after he reached Delhi from Assam.

He cut short his campaigning in Assam and returned to Delhi on Sunday in the wake of the Maoist attack.

A total of 22 security personnel were killed and 31 were injured in a fierce gun battle with a platoon of over 300 People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district.

Central Reserve Police Force's (CRPFs) Rakeshwar Singh Manhas from the 3.25 lakh strong paramilitary force's elite CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) unit is still missing, and search operation is still on to trace him.

There are reports of heavy damage to the Maoists too. The security forces also recovered the body of a woman Maoist commander-- identified as Madavi Vanoja-- along with an Insas rifle, said the CRPF and the state police officials.

Besides, citing intelligence inputs, the CRPF said more than 12 Maoists were killed in the operation and over 16 faced grievous injuries. "All the injured Maoist cadres were learnt to be taken into two-three tractor towards Jabbamarka and Gomguda region in the area."

The gun battle took place on Saturday noon near Tekulgudem village under Tarrem police station in which eight personnel of Chhattisgarh's District Reserve Guard (DRG) and six of Special Task Force (STF), seven from CRPF's CoBRA and one from its Bastaria Battalion lost their lives.

A shootout began soon after a joint team of CRPF and Chhattisgarh police's DRG and STF men reached the spot following the tip off regarding presence of wanted Maoist Hidma -- the commander of PLGA's Battalion No.1 -- and his associates. The PLGA's Battalion No.1 is one of the guerrilla forces that are very rampant in Chhattisgarh.

Of the injured personnel include 10 from DRG, five from STF, and 16 from CoBRA-210 Battalion. Of the 31 injured, 13 suffered critical injuries and are being treated at a hospital in Raipur while 18 faced minor injuries and getting treatment in Bijapur.

ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 11:34:05 +0530
Global trade frictions severe in 2020 Report

 

Beijing, April 5

Global trade frictions were severe last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and also the consequent economic decline, said a report from China's trade promotion body.

The global economic and trade measures index, introduced by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, was on the rise in 2020, said the report released by the council's legal advisory committee on economic and trade frictions, the Xinhua news agency reported.

It looked into trade frictions in 20 countries and regions, including the United States, China, and Japan, and trade-measure usages such as import and export duties, trade remedies, and technical barriers.

Competition between major economies was increasing, the report said, citing the sub-indexes for countries and regions such as India, the US, the UK, and the European Union. Competition in these countries remained high in the reporting period.

Meanwhile, trade frictions between other countries were relatively mild, it said.

In 2020, 20 countries and regions imposed 3,497 trade measures, 46.8 per cent of which were technical barriers.

The US topped the ranking of the most frequent user of trade measures. It launched 624 trade actions throughout the year, accounting for 17.8 per cent of the total.

Zhang Yuejiao, director of the legal advisory committee, said the global economic recession in the wake of Covid-19 impacted global supply and industrial chains.

"History has proven that a sluggish economy is a major cause behind the rise of trade protectionism," said Zhang, also a law professor with Tsinghua University.

ians
 

 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 08:57:23 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 131 1mn

Washington, April 5

The overall global Covid-19 caseload has topped 131.1 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 2.85 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In latest update on Monday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 131,196,109 and 2,851,973, respectively.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 30,671,074 and 554,999, respectively, according to the CSSE.

Brazil follows in the second place with 12,953,597 cases and 331,433 fatalities.

The other countries with more than two million confirmed coronavirus cases are India (12,392,260), France (4,802,545), Russia (4,520,879), the UK (4,371,393), Italy (3,650,247), Turkey (3,445,052), Spain (3,300,965), Germany (2,886,029), Colombia (2,437,197), Poland (2,415,584), Argentina (2,383,537) and Mexico (2,247,357), the CSSE figures showed.

In terms of deaths, Mexico comes in the third place with 204,011 fatalities.

Nations with a death toll of over 50,000 are India (164,623), the UK (127,078), Italy (111,030), Russia (98,713), France (96,808), Germany (77,022), Spain (75,698), Colombia (64,094), Iran (63,160), Argentina (56,199), Poland (54,941), South Africa (52,987) and Peru (52,625).

ians
 

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 08:51:39 +0530
Switch Delhi receives support from youth Delhi govt

New Delhi, April 5

The final phase of "Switch Delhi" campaign for promoting the electric-run vehicles in the national capital gained overwhelming support from the city youth, the Delhi government said in a statement.

The final phase of the EV mass awareness campaign, which is being run under the supervision of Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, engaged the youth of the city. Hundreds of youth took the "Switch Delhi" pledge to make their first vehicle an electric one, said the Delhi government on Sunday.

Vrikshit Foundation, led by a group of students, conducted a wall painting event to spread awareness about the campaign and on the importance of 'Let Me Breathe' -- an environment storytelling platform.

"As a responsible person of Delhi, I have taken the Switch pledge and I encourage every person around me to do the same," Trisha Pavagadhi, a member of Enactus Hansraj -- a non-profit organisation -- said.

Earlier, Gahlot had said that the Delhi government is taking all steps to encourage people to move from fuel-run vehicles to electric vehicles by establishing charging points at a distance of every three km.

The government also claimed that it has floated the largest tender in the country so far to build 100 public charging stations with a target of total 500 charging points at prominent locations across the city.

In another step in this regard, the Delhi government had earlier directed all commercial buildings in the city to set aside 5 per cent space in their premises for charging points.

ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 08:44:34 +0530
Jitin Prasada emerges as Congress Lone Ranger in West Bengal

As West Bengal prepares for its third round of polling, the Congress is feeling the heat of lack of star campaigners in the state so far, with the only exception being Jitin Prasada who is also the state in-charge.

Congress candidates are struggling to find leaders to campaign for them in the high-pitch fight. Prasada is criss-crossing the state as the party did not have much resources at its disposal and struggling for leaders to to come and canvass in the state. The only big names from Delhi coming to campaign were Salman Khurshid and Jaiveer Shergill. The other person who is holding the fort is party leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

Prasada, who was on way to Falta, told IANS that "my job is to oversee and manage the elections and I am camping in the state travelling at least 500 km a day".

Asked why no big leaders came for campaigning, he said: "Soon a battery of leaders will descend to West Bengal and the Congress alliance is getting good response in the state."

Congress insiders say that lack of positive feedback is stopping leaders from coming to the state. While the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are in direct contest, the Left is trying to win back its rural support, and the Congress is trying to retain its last tally of 44 in 2016 elections. The Congress' vote share had declined to 4 per cent in the 2019 General Elections, but it still remains an important factor in some districts such as Purulia, Malda and Murshidabad.

Congress leaders also say for the party, it was a problem to join the dais with the Left in the states till elections in Kerala get over. Congress cannot go full throttle in West Bengal as it is difficult for the party to praise the Left in Bengal and criticise it in Kerala.

In Kerala, former party president Rahul Gandhi has been attacking the Left.

Polling in West Bengal will be held in eight phases till April 29 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2.


Source: ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 07:01:47 +0530
Soota commits Rs 200 cr for medical research centre in B luru

Serial entrepreneur Ashok Soota on Sunday announced Rs 200 crore funding to set up Skan medical research trust here for ageing and neurological disorders.

"The not-for-profit trust will conduct research with partners and in-house. For neurological research, the trust has tied up with the Centre for Brain Research (CBR) at the premier Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in the city," said Soota in a statement here.

Soota, 78, is the co-founder of Happiest Minds Technologies Ltd and over 2 decades ago, co-founded software major MindTree after serving as an executive in global IT major Wipro.

Of the Rs 200-crore fund, Rs 100 crore will be for partners like CBR, St John's Hospital and state-run Nimhans in the city and IIT at Roorkee in Uttarkhand.

As part of consortium, CBR's first research project will be on Parkinson's disease, a disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement.

Soota has also agreed to fund the centre for research in ageing and geriatrics at St John's geriatrics centre in its hospital campus.

"In ageing, the research will be in community-based set-up and in neurological research, the plan will be to foray into areas like bipolar disorders, strokes and cerebro-vascular disorders," he said.

Admitting that it would take 10 years to build a centre for ageing and neurological research, he said the research will include searching for kinder, gentler therapies.

"Delaying onset and slowing progression of the disease and providing the affected a better quality of life even as they live with the illness," added Soota.


Source: ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 06:45:45 +0530
PM reviews Covid situation seeks mission mode approach in most hit states

Taking note of the alarming rate of growth of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country with 10 states contributing more than 91 per cent of cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chairing a high-level meeting on Sunday, directed that the "mission-mode" approach be continued in states and districts reporting high cases.

Reviewing the pandemic situation and vaccination programme across the country, he exhorted all states to take required stringent measures with comprehensive restrictions in places so that the collective gains of Covid management in the country in the last 15 months are not squandered.

It was emphasised that the reasons for the sharper rise in cases could be mainly attributed to the severe decline in compliance of Covid-appropriate behaviour, primarily in terms of use of masks and maintaining '2 Gaj ki Doori', pandemic fatigue and lack of effective implementation of containment measures at the field level.

Although the exact contribution of mutant strains to the escalation of cases in some states remains speculative, the measures to control the pandemic remain the same and hence, implementation of various protocols for Covid-19 management are all the more critical in those areas.

The Prime Minister stressed on the need for awareness of the community witnessing high surge to curb the spread. "Public involvement is paramount and there is a need to continue Jan Bhagidari and Jan Andolan for Covid-19 management."

He mentioned that the five-fold strategy of Testing, Tracing, Treatment, Covid appropriate behaviour, and Vaccination, if implemented with utmost seriousness and commitment, would be effective in curbing the spread of the pandemic.

In the review meeting, it was decided to hold a special campaign for Covid appropriate behaviour with emphasis on 100 per cent mask usage, personal hygiene and sanitation at public places, workplaces and health facilities. The campaign will be organised from April 6 to 14.

The Prime Minister highlighted the need to enforce Covid appropriate behaviour in the coming days and ensure the availability of beds, testing facilities and timely hospitalisation.

He called for avoiding mortality under all circumstances by ramping up healthcare infrastructure, availability of oxygen, ventilators besides required logistics, and ensuring that clinical management protocols are followed across all hospitals as well as for those in-home care.

He directed that central teams consisting of public health specialists and clinicians be sent to Maharashtra in view of high case load and deaths, and likewise to Punjab and Chhattisgarh because of the disproportionate number of deaths being reported there.

The Prime Minister especially highlighted the need to ensure effective implementation of containment measures, besides the involvement of community volunteers in active case search and management of containment zones.

Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh are of serious concern with their highest contribution in Covid cases. As of date, Maharashtra has contributed 57 per cent of total cases in the last 14 days and 47 per cent of deaths during the same period.

In Maharashtra, the total number of new cases per day has touched 47,913 which is more than double its earlier peak. Punjab has contributed 4.5 per cent of the total number of cases in the country in the last 14 days. However, it has contributed 16.3 per cent of the total number of death, which is a matter of serious concern.

Similarly, though Chhattisgarh has only contributed 4.3 per cent of total cases in the country over the last 14 days, its contribution in total death has exceeded 7 per cent during the same period. The 10 high burden states and UTs are contributing 91.4 per cent of total cases and 90.9 per cent of total deaths in the country.

The meeting was held at a time when India recorded 93,249 new cases in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day spike since September 2020, taking the total tally to 1,24,85,509.

It was suggested that daily analysis of vaccination performance should be shared with states and UTs as feedback for corrective actions.

The meeting was informed that vaccine manufacturers are ramping up their production capacity and are also in discussion with other domestic and offshore companies to augment it. The focus was to make all efforts to secure adequate quantities of vaccines to meet the rising domestic requirements as well as to meet the genuine needs of other countries in the spirit of "Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam".

The meeting was attended by the Principal Secretary to PM, the Cabinet Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Chairperson of the Empowered group on Vaccine Administration, the Health Secretary, the Pharmaceuticals Secretary, the Biotechnology Secretary, the AYUSH Secretary, the DG ICMR, the Principal Scientific Advisor to Govt, and Member NITI Aayog, besides other officials.


Source: ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 06:43:27 +0530
Saudi newspaper says J K youth responding positively to govt s developmental initiatives

Youth from the Jammu and Kashmir region have responded positively to the Modi government's development initiatives and have shown their desire to become a part of the progress and prosperity of New India, Saudi newspaper, Saudi Gazette, reported.

Saudi Gazette, established in 1978, is one of the leading English newspapers of the kingdom. Living upto its theme of "The Tone of Truth and Moderation", it has carved a niche for itself in the Saudi media industry.

The Saudi newspaper said India's federal government has unveiled a number of initiatives and programmes in Jammu and Kashmir as part of its developmental push for the region in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370.

Youth from the region have responded positively to these development initiatives and have shown their desire to become a part of the progress and prosperity of New India. Even the local militants who gave up arms after August 5, 2019, have been rehabilitated and have become a part of the national mainstream, the report said.

"Most of the local leaders of Kashmir who used to claim that 'if J&K's special status is revoked no one will be left in Kashmir to hold the tricolor" have been proven wrong as one can visit Gulmarg and witness how much Kashmiri youth have draped themselves in tricolor and are holding it close to their heart," it added.

The initiatives that are being taken by the Indian government to boost sports in the Union Territory include recently organised programmes like the second edition of the 'Khelo India' winter games at Gulmarg in north Kashmir which ended this month.

Recently, PM Narendra Modi, in his inaugural virtual address, pointed out that holding such an event is a step toward making India's presence felt in the international winter games arena and also make Jammu and Kashmir a hub of winter sports.

As per the repot, the Indian Prime Minister stressed that these games in Gulmarg show that Jammu and Kashmir is eager to reach new heights of peace and development and these games will strengthen the resolve for 'Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat (One India, best India)' objective.

The government of India's determination to build optimum sports infrastructure in the UT reflects in the development of two Khelo India Centres of excellence in Jammu and Srinagar and other Khelo India Centres in 20 districts, which will facilitate young players.

"The Central government's special scholarship scheme for Jammu and Kashmir students has helped many youth from poor family backgrounds to get admissions in professional colleges across the country. In fact, many of them have completed their degrees and have even taken up jobs in big corporate houses within the country and abroad. The Indian government has remained firm in its decisions to ensure that the region is pulled from the quagmire of uncertainty," the report said.

"It is, in this context, very much relevant to point out that the decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status and completely merge it into the Union of India, has already started paying dividends in terms of economic growth and development of Kashmir valley," the Saudi newspaper said.

"The biggest change that Kashmir witnessed was the number of youth becoming a part of stone pelting mobs declined manifold as new avenues being open up for Kashmiri youth at a faster rate," it added.

The government departments were asked to ensure that the benefits of the centrally sponsored schemes trickle down to youth so that they are enabled to choose a progressive path in life. In addition to the great scope being offered by the high potential tourism industry in the region, many Kashmiri youth have been imparted training under the 'Himmayat' scheme and have been benefitted in terms of getting jobs in companies across the country.

"During the past one and half years, hundreds of youth have been placed and they are living decent lives. Recruiting agencies that had almost become defunct in Jammu and Kashmir advertised posts for unemployed educated youth and the process to employ them was expedited. Many of them have been absorbed by different units in the country. The boom in sports activities allowed youth to come forward and showcase their abilities and skills. Youth-oriented initiatives taken by central government has infused new life and enthusiasm in Kashmiri youth, who during the past three decades were being misguided by evil forces to take up arms in a proxy war against a welfare state," the report said.


Source: ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 06:38:39 +0530
You re playing with fire Hasina warns Hefazat slams anti Modi protests

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday warned all Hefazat-e-Islam militant involved in the long spell of violence since last month following the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi of legal action as she stressed her government's zero tolerance strategy against social menaces like militancy.

"You, the Hefazat leaders and workers, don't you go to study at Deoband (in India)? So, how dare you to protest against the Prime Minister of India's visit?"

"I have managed all opportunities for you people to go abroad... I'm surprised...," she said.

Speaking in Parliament, she questioned Hefazat leaders' ethics and honesty, especially its Joint Secretary General Mamunul Haque.

"Hefazat leader Mamunul set vehicles on fire and attacked people... after then he went to spend holidays with a beautician in a resort, whom he claimed as his second wife..., she said, questioning the source of Mamunul's money.

People will never spare these militants, those who only destroy Islam, she said.

"I want to ask... Islam is a religion of peace, how did these Hefazat militants attack public!" Hasina questioned.

"It is a secular country, no one should be attacked in the name of Islam. Who uses children in massacres, set vehicles and homes of Awami League leaders on fire, attacked Awami league workers only, destroyed all the establishments of the government... These militants are a shame to the Muslims. Those militants will never be spared," she said in her 44 minutes speech ending the parliament session.

Earlier on Sunday morning, Hasina asked officials of National Security Intelligence (NSI), the government's intelligence agency, to work towards eradicating terrorism.

Referring to the government's zero tolerance stance against militancy, terrorism, drug and corruption, she said the NSI will have to do whatever is required to protect the people's lives, livelihoods, properties and interests as well as ensure peace in society.

She was speaking after inaugurating the NSI's newly-constructed 20-storey head office, virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban.

Asking the NSI to remain alert always, she said Bangladesh has attained the status of a developing nation and would be a developed country by 2041 if "you people perform your responsibilities perfectly".

Hasina also directed all authorities concerned to perform their duties properly to ensure the government's directives are implemented appropriately to battle the fresh wave of the Covid-19 in the country.

She said her government is conscious about keeping the economic activities running, but saving the lives of the people is the first priority.

Sheikh Hasina said various countries across the world witnessed an economic slowdown due to the coronavirus situation, but Bangladesh has been able to keep the economic pace running and its economic growth rate is higher than other South Asian countries. "We will have to maintain the trend of growth."

Extending her thanks to NSI members for playing a role in fighting the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, she asked them to play a more significant role this time around too.


Source: ians

Mon, 05 Apr 2021 06:29:03 +0530
SA fined for slow over rate in 1st ODI against Pak

Johannesburg, April 4 : South Africa were on Sunday fined 20 per cent of their match fee for maintaining a slow over-rate against Pakistan in their first ODI held two days ago.

"Andrew Pycroft of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees imposed the sanction after South Africa was one over short of the target after time allowances were taken into consideration," said the International Cricket Council (ICC) in a statement.

In accordance with Article 2.22 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to minimum over-rate offences, players are fined 20 per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time.

"Captain Temba Bavuma pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted the proposed sanction, so there was no need for a formal hearing," the ICC further said.

IANS

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 15:45:23 +0530
61 lakh Indians among over 53 cr users suffer FB data leak

New Delhi, April 4

 A hacker has posted the phone numbers and sensitive account details of nearly 533 million (53.3 crore) Facebook users -- about a fifth of the social networking platform's entire user base -- including over 61 lakh Indian users which has been dumped on a public cybercrime forum.
The leaked data includes Facebook ID numbers, profile names, email addresses, location information, gender details, job data, and other details.
"All 533,000,000 Facebook records were just leaked for free. This means that if you have a Facebook account, it is extremely likely the phone number used for the account was leaked," tweeted Alon Gal, CTO of security firm Hudson Rock.
"I have yet to see Facebook acknowledging this absolute negligence of your data," he added.
Facebook has confirmed the leak to The Record.
"This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019. We found and fixed this issue in August 2019," a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying in the report late on Saturday.
With the data now entering the public domain, there is a real danger that this information can be widely used by cybercriminals for email or SMS spam, robocalls, extortion attempts, threats and harassment, etc.
The data is reportedly broken up into download packages by country.
As Cambridge Analytics still haunts nearly 87 million users, including over 5 lakh users from India, this has come as the biggest ever leak of a social media platform that has billions of users.
In January this year, reports first surfaced that the phone numbers of 533 million users were currently being sold via a bot on encrypted messaging platform Telegram, which came from a Facebook vulnerability that was patched by the social network in 2019.
According to a report in Motherboard, the person selling the database full of Facebook users' phone numbers ($20 per number) lets customers lookup those numbers by using an automated Telegram bot.
Gal had then said: "It is very worrying to see a database of that size being sold in cybercrime communities, it harms our privacy severely and will certainly be used for smishing (the fraudulent practice of sending text messages) and other fraudulent activities by bad actors."
However, this time, the Facebook data leak has been published with more details.
In December last year, reports surfaced that a bug exposed the personal information like email addresses and birthdays of Facebook-owned Instagram users.
Saugat Pokharel, an experienced bug hunter from Nepal, discovered the bug. The attack used Facebook's Business Suite tool, available to any Facebook business account, reported The Verge.
According to a Facebook spokesperson, the bug was only accessible for a short period of time during a small test.

ians

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 11:56:37 +0530
Akshay Kumar tests positive for Covid 19

Mumbai, April 4

 Bollywood star Akshay Kumar announced on Sunday that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and has isolated himself.
Akshay shared on Twitter that he has contracted the virus and is under home quarantine.
"I wish to inform everyone that earlier this morning I tested positive for Covid-19. Following all the protocols, I have immediately isolated myself. I'm under home quarantine and have sought necessary medical care," he tweeted.
He then requested those who have come in contact with him to get themselves tested.
"I would sincerely request all those that have come in contact with me to get themselves tested and take care. Back in action soon," the actor added.
Akshay had started shooting for his next titled "Ram Setu".
The film also features Jacqueline Fernandez and Nushrratt Bharuccha. It is directed by Abhishek Sharma.

ians

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 11:51:03 +0530
4th Covid wave underway in Iran Rouhani

 

Tehran, April 4

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is already underway in two provinces.
"If people in other provinces do not honour (health guidelines), they may experience the fourth wave as well," Xinhua news agency quoted Rouhani as saying on Saturday.
"According to the statistics, compliance with health guidelines has decreased," he warned.
On Saturday, the Health Ministry registered 11,420 new Covid-19 cases, raising the overall caseload to 1,920,394.
The pandemic has so far claimed 62,999 lives in Iran, up by 123 in the past 24 hours, said Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for the Ministry.
Of the newly infected, 1,060 were hospitalised, she added.
A total of 1,642,418 people have recovered from the disease and been discharged from hospitals, while 4,024 remain in intensive care units, she noted.
According to the spokeswoman, 13,038,709 tests for the virus have been carried out in Iran by Saturday.
Currently, 47 Iranian cities are on red alert for a high risk of infection, while 126 others on orange alert for a medium risk, the spokeswoman said.
Iran reported the first coronavirus cases in February 2020.

ians
 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 11:45:31 +0530
Increase of women voters might play key role in Bengal polls

Kolkata, April 4

 A substantial increase in the number of women voters might play an important role in the ongoing Assembly polls in West Bengal. The percentage of women voters has not only crossed the 49 per cent mark, but the gender ratio has also advanced from 956 last year to 961 in the final voters' list published by the Election Commission of India.
Among the other major states, West Bengal is the one where women's participation in the electoral process has been substantially high.
The final electoral roll published by the ECI shows that the percentage of women in the state is 49.01 per cent.
This makes West Bengal the fourth major state after Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh where women participation in the electoral process is high.
Kerala with 51.4 per cent ranks the best among the bigger states in the country followed by Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh that have 50.5 per pent and 50.4 per pent female electorates, respectively.
There are five smaller states -- Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya -- where women electors are higher than their male counterparts.
West Bengal has also advanced in gender ratio.
In 2020, the gender ratio was 956 females against 1,000 male electors, this time the female electors have increased to 961.
Experts believe that as the female participation in the elections is higher than 81 per cent the increase of women voters might become a deciding factor.
Only smaller states like Tripura, Nagaland and the union territory of Lakshwadeep have better women participation than West Bengal.
Among the overall 7,32,94,980 electors in West Bengal, 3,73,66,306 are male and 3,59,27,084 are female.
There are 1,430 voters of the third gender and 1,12,642 service electors in the state.
The final voters list shows that there has been an addition of 20,45,593, deletion of 5,99,921 and correction of 14,45,672 and that led to an increase of 2.01 per cent compared to the draft roll published in November 2020.
As a result, both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress are doing everything to woo the female voters of the state.
Recently, the BJP's National General Secretary, B.L. Santosh tweeted: "Women voters will chug BJP to sweeping victory, just like Bihar. The dignity of life provided to women by the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created a huge goodwill that is visible on the roads leading to the polling booths even in Nandigram, where Mamata Banerjee herself is the candidate".
The BJP has also made several announcements in its manifesto focusing on women, including 33 per cent reservation for women in government jobs, increased pension to widows, free transport, and free education from KG to PG level.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has appointed 'Bongo Janani', the party's political front formed after the Trinamool's drubbing in the 2019 elections, to reach out to women by highlighting the developmental schemes of her government and "rise in crimes against women" in BJP-ruled states.
"The Trinamool government in the last 10 years of its rule in West Bengal, has implemented several globally-acclaimed schemes like 'Kanyashree' which have benefited women and girls. We don't need a certificate from the BJP on what we have done to ensure women's safety," Sashi Panja,Women and Child Development Minister and Bongo Janani General Secretary, said.
But the state has witnessed a a substantial dip in the number of teen voters, the first time voters in the age group between 18-19.
In March 2020, there was a 3.13 per cent increase in the number of teen voters. This time it came down to 2.68 per cent.
This is for the first time in the last three years that there has been a decline in the number of teen voters.
In 2018 it was 2.94 per cent, which increased to 2.96 per cent in 2019 and it further climbed to 3.13 per cent in 2020.

ians

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 11:38:49 +0530
Focussed Covid vaccination drive in UP from April 8

Lucknow, April 4 - The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is widening the ambit of Covid vaccination by starting a focused drive from April 8.
Under this focused drive, vaccination will be given to professional groups.
Vaccination for media persons will take place on April 8 and 9, while bank and insurance employees will be vaccinated on April 10.
On April 15 and 16, bus, auto, rickshaw pullers and street vendors can get the jab while advocates and judicial officers will get their turn on April 20 and 21.
Staff of private offices will get vaccinated on April 22 and 23 while those in government offices will get the vaccine earlier on April 17 and 19.
"Though anyone above the age of 45 years can go and get vaccinated but on these specific dates we will welcome beneficiaries in different categories," said additional chief secretary, medical health, Amit Mohan Prasad.
At present vaccination is being done six days a week, from Monday to Saturday.

ians
 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 10:32:33 +0530
Uber to pay 1 1mn to blind woman for refusing rides 14 times

 

San Francisco, April 4

 Ride-hailing platform Uber will have to pay a blind woman $1.1 million who was left stranded for 14 different occasions by its drivers who refused to give her a ride along with her guide dog.
Lisa Irving and her dog have won in an arbitration case against Uber in the US, reports San Francisco Chronicle.
According to Irving, she missed work, birthday celebration, Christmas Eve church services and "was left out in the dark, in the rain, and other such humiliations because Uber drivers refused to carry her and her dog on 14 different occasions".
Uber was also sued in 2014 for discriminating against blind people and their guide dogs and agreed to pay $2.6 million in settlement in 2016.
The company will not pay an additional $1.1 million to Irving.
According to Irving, she was rejected by Uber drivers at least 60 times.
"Uber allowed drivers who discriminated against disabled riders to continue driving without discipline," the arbitrator was quoted as saying in the report.
"When Uber did conduct an investigation, its investigators were trained, in some instances, to coach drivers to find non-discriminatory reasons for ride denials, sometimes even to 'advocate' to keep drivers on the platform despite discrimination complaints," the arbitrator added.
Irving will get $324,000 in damages while $805,313 will go towards legal costs, including attorney fees.
According to The Verge, Uber now has a dedicated policy for issues with service animals like guide dogs.

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 10:26:52 +0530
Egypt moves 22 Pharaonic mummies to new museum

 

Cairo, April 4

 Authorities have moved 22 Pharaonic mummies from the Egyptian Museum on Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) in a festive parade known as "The Pharaoh's Golden Parade".
The festivity started on Saturday evening with 22 ancient-styled vehicles especially designed for the event, each carrying the name of the mummy of the king or queen inside, moving from Tahrir Square and escorted by parades of chariots, motorcycles and men and women dressed in ancient Egyptian outfits, reports Xinhua news agency.
The royal mummies belong to 18 kings and four queens from the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties that ruled ancient Egypt over 3,000 years ago.
They include mummies of famous ancient Egyptian King Ramses II and Queen Hatshepsut.
About an hour before the parade set off, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated the main hall and the mummies hall in the NMEC, accompanied by Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled al-Anani, Unesco Director-General Audrey Azoulay and Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili.
The Minister explained that the main hall of the NMEC contains 1,500 artefacts and it will be open for visitors the next day, while the mummies hall will be opened on April 18 to coincide with the International Day for Monuments and Sites, also known as World Heritage Day.
"It is a unique cultural, awareness, tourism event. It's unprecedented and it shows that Egypt puts our civilization and antiquities on the top of our priorities," Anani said in a statement before a ceremony started at the NMEC.
With joint efforts of the Unesco and the Egyptian government, the NMEC's foundation stone was laid in 2002 and its temporary exhibition hall was opened in 2017.
The 22 royal mummies of the Pharaoh's Golden Parade were discovered in two cachettes, the first of which was unearthed in 1881 and the second in 1898, both in Upper Egypt's monument-rich province of Luxor.

ians
 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 10:20:37 +0530
11 dead 19 injured in China truck bus collision

Beijing, April 4

 A truck collided with a passenger bus on Sunday in China's Jiangsu province, killing 11 people and injuring 19 injured others.
The accident took place at around 1 a.m. on the Shenyang-Haikou expressway, as the truck crossed the fence along the middle of the road and crashed into the passenger bus, causing the latter to overturn as well as the rear-end collision of another two trucks in line, Xinhua news agency reported.
The injured have been sent to hospital.
Preliminary investigation shows that the passenger bus was shuttling between Shanghai and Guanyun county, the city of Lianyungang, Jiangsu.
When the accident occurred, the truck was not overloaded and further investigation is underway.

ians
 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 10:15:02 +0530
UNSC condemns attack on peacekeepers in Mali

United Nations, April 4 -

 The Security Council has condemned an attack on UN peacekeepers in Aguelhok, Mali, that claimed the lives of four and injured 19 others.
In a statement on Saturday, the members of the Security Council expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims, as well as to Chad and to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, known by its French acronym as MINUSMA, reports Xinhua news agency.
They wished a speedy and full recovery to those injured and paid tribute to the peacekeepers who risk their lives.
The Council members called on the transitional government of Mali to swiftly investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.
They underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law.
They stressed that involvement in planning, directing, sponsoring or conducting attacks against MINUSMA peacekeepers constitutes a basis for sanctions designations pursuant to Security Council resolutions.
The council members reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and stressed the need for all states to combat by all means threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.
They reiterated their full support to MINUSMA and the other security presences in Mali and the Sahel region.
They expressed concern about the security situation in Mali and the transnational dimension of the terrorist threat in the Sahel region.
They urged the Malian parties to fully implement the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali without further delay.
The Council members noted that the full implementation of the peace agreement and the intensification of efforts to overcome asymmetric threats can contribute to improving the security situation across Mali.
They underlined that the efforts of the joint force of the five Sahel countries to counter the activities of terrorist groups and other organised criminal groups will contribute to creating a more secure environment in the region.
The members of the Security Council further stressed the importance of MINUSMA having the necessary capacities to fulfil its mandate and promote the safety and security of the UN peacekeepers, said the statement.

ians
 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 10:09:41 +0530
UP Books with Prophet s image withdrawn after uproar

 

Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh), April 4

 A prominent publisher of school textbooks and examination guides in Uttar Pradesh has tendered an unconditional apology and has agreed to recall all the copies carrying imaginary photographs of Prophet Muhammad after objection from Islamic seminary Darul Uloom in Deoband.
According to most Islamic scholars, pictorial depiction of the Prophet is prohibited in the religion.
The managing director of the publishing house has written a letter to Saharanpur MP Fazlur Rehman telling him that it was an 'inadvertent error and the books have been recalled from the market.
This came a day after the Islamic seminary raised objection to the imaginary photograph and demanded action against the publisher.
Earlier, the Saharanpur MP and scores of Deoband clerics had approached administration seeking action against the company for hurting the religious sentiments.
They had also submitted a memorandum addressed to the President.
Vice-chancellor of the seminary, Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, said, "There is no picture of Prophet Muhammad, and publishing an imaginary image is condemnable. We strongly condemn it. Administration and government should take strong action against the publishing house."
When contacted, MP Fazlur Rehman said, "We have received an apology letter from the publishing house. They have assured us that all books have been removed from the market and destroyed. I think the controversy ends now".

ians
 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 10:05:02 +0530
3 held for abducting gang raping UP woman

Shahjahanpur (Uttar Pradesh), April 4

 The Uttar Pradesh Police have arrested three men in connection with the alleged gang rape of a 25-year-old woman.
The three have been accused of gang raping the woman on March 22 after abducting her from her house.
The incident occurred in a village under the Mirzapur police station limits, the police said.
On March 22, the woman was allegedly abducted by the accused from the roof of her house after which they took turns to rape her.
Soon after, the victim escaped from their custody and reached her house.
Jalalabad Circle Officer (CO) Massa Singh said, "The incident came to light when the victim narrated her ordeal to her husband, when he returned from Delhi on Holi. Following this, a case of gang rape was registered on Friday."
The police detained the three accused on Saturday and the woman has been sent for medical examination.

ians

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 10:00:49 +0530
13 injured in thermal power plant blast in UP

 

Sonbhadra (Uttar Pradesh), April 4

 Thirteen labourers were injured following an explosion in a boiler in the Lanco Anpara thermal power plant on Sunday morning.
Five of the injured labourers were in a serious condition and have been shifted to Varanasi for advanced treatment.
Relief and rescue operations have begun to evacuate other labourers who are feared trapped in.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed district officials to provide all possible assistance to the injured persons.
He has also directed the concerned officials to investigate the incident and fix responsibility for the lapses that led to the accident.

ians

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 09:55:52 +0530
Miss India finalist to contest UP Panchayat polls

 

Lucknow, April 4

 Femina Miss India finalist, Diksha Singh, will add a dash of glamour to the Zila Panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Diksha, a finalist in 2015, is contesting the polls from Jaunpur.
She told reporters that she would contest from the Baksha ward of the district and would be filing her nomination papers on Sunday.
Jaunpur goes to polls on April 15 and the result would be announced on May 2 after four phases of polling.
Diksha has already started campaigning in her ward.
"I belong to the Chittori village in Jaunpur and I studied here till Class 3 after which my parents moved to Mumbai and then to Goa. I went to the MES College of Arts and Commerce, Zuarinagar, Goa, for my graduation, she said.
In her second year in college, Diksha participated in the Femina Miss India pageant in 2015. She was one of the 21 finalists and also the winner of a sub-contest 'Miss Body Beautiful'.
Thereafter, she signed several modelling assignments and recently appeared in some music videos, including one in February 2021.
In 2020, Diksha appeared in the music video of Darshan Raval and Neha Kakkar's song "Teri Aakhon Mein". Apart from this, she also starred in the music video of Darshan Raval's song "Rabba Mehar Kari", which released this February.
Diksha has over two lakh followers on Instagram.
Diksha's apparently decided to contest the seat after it was declared reserved for women. Her father, Jitendra Singh, was keen to contest the Panchayat polls.
However, her family denies it. "It is her independent decision and is driven by her desire to serve her native place," said her father, who runs his business in Goa and Rajasthan.
Diksha, meanwhile, said, "The lives of people has not improved over the years. My native place is still underdeveloped. Whenever I came here, I felt that the place was stuck somewhere in the 1990s. I intend to work for the people here and change the situation."
Diksha, who has studied political science college, further said, "I have grown in this place which is like a scene from old classics such as 'Mother India' and 'Purab aur Paschim' where misery and poverty drive the way. Women lead a restricted life and children are forced to give up their dreams. Many cannot relate with the situation here but I can."
Diksha will be contesting as an independent candidate.

ians
 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 09:51:23 +0530
OTT Skirting controversies Column B Town BY VINOD MIRANI

When the OTT streaming platforms came to India, the controversies followed. Because, what followed was an unabashed abuse and misuse of the medium in the name of creative liberty! The main themes of many OTT streaming serials were gore, violence, sex. The same old Hindi belt "Bahubali" films, which used to fail by the dozen at the box office, were rehashed with stress on sex and violence.
Were the makers suffering from deprivation or did they think the viewer was? Every next such serial went on to outdo the previous one in depicting all that was undesirable. Did these makers have a target audience in mind? Far from it, since the content was meant for a family audience to be viewed within the four walls of a home!
Streaming platforms may have business interests all over the world, but no country offers such a huge chunk of consumer base as India does. As things stand today, Indians are more sensitive to certain kind of content. Especially, anti-national or anti-religious content that provokes the masses to react instantly. Also, India is a country with myriad ways of life, sentiments and beliefs.
In an event when a film, TV serial or steaming platform content goes against their sentiments or belief, reactions can rise from any corner of India. Court petitions are a norm. The law says that once a film is passed by the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification), a court of law can't be moved against it. However, this has not deterred people from getting a film entangled in a legal case. Despite the explicit law to the contrary, the courts pay heed to such cases, otherwise what follows is violence.
When people of a section or a region or a religion take exception to some content, the law gives authority to the local district collector to stop the spread of such content. A DM's intervention is possible when it comes to films, but with OTT streaming it is out of reach for almost all authorities.
When the Aamir Khan film "PK" released, there was much hue and cry, and violence was feared. The film, people felt, made fun of the Hindu gods. But, to demonstrate tolerance and freedom of expression in the democratic set up, the government offered police protection to cinema halls screening the film. The very people who were objecting to the content, flocked the cinema halls to watch it, making the film a blockbuster! That was in 2014. The tolerance level is not the same anymore.
The first OTT film to draw the ire of the public as well as Indian Air Force personnel was "Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl". The content was said to be based on lies, it was said to have twisted facts and was derogatory to the Air Force. The controversy did not go beyond TV debates, nor did it help the film generate any more viewers as some controversies do.
The recent and more serious case was that of "Tandav", which released on Amazon Prime on January 15 this year. "Tandav" makers were accused of portraying Hindu gods as well as the Prime Minister of India in a bad light. Not only was a police FIR filed but the matter was also taken up at the ministerial level. The Amazon team was asked for an explanation by the I&B ministry. Apologies were sought and duly provided. The scenes hurting the sentiments of people were removed.
This must have been quite embarrassing for Amazon, a company that does business all over the world. The incident also made the Government answerable for allowing the OTT platforms an unregulated, free run.
This finally led I&B Ministry to introduce some checks on the OTT medium. The ministry has proposed to take over the control of OTT platforms from the Ministry Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). The platforms were given a timeline by which they were asked to set up a self-regulating body as well as a code of conduct.
This seems to have led to a change in the film content-buying policy of OTT platforms. After all, these platforms, reeling out content on a regular basis, can't afford to have a government appointed CBFC kind of body to check their content. That would lead to a lot of red tape and delays leading to uncertainties.
Hence, what looks like a safety valve, the OTT platforms have decided that the films they buy are first censored and also released theatrically. Unlike earlier, only censored films will be aired on OTT. If issues and objections are raised, they will happen before the OTT release. The recent film, "Mumbai Saga", went through a theatrical release first and will now premiere on OTT, probably on April 13, on Gudi Padwa, which is the Marathi New Year's day.
The films released on OTT so far have neither brought them glory nor, in all probability, returns worth their while. That would also be a reason why these platforms have to embark on backing their own film projects with face value and themes that work. Besides, with the closure of cinema outlets for over a year as well as slowdown in the production sector, streaming platforms will eventually run out of supply. Getting into production will ensure a regular flow.
The theatrical release of a film has its value and advantage. The Indian thinking is such that only a film released at cinemas is really a film made for masses and worth spending money and time on. It gives a film the recognition as a feature film. The fact that a film released at cinemas creates awareness is an advantage.
This reality about films was proved long back when the video format came to India. A lot of aspiring makers took to making films exclusively for the video format. Some reports suggested that the number of such films made stood at over 500. Whatever the number, these films were just not acceptable to the viewers. The few that released on video found no takers. They were made at moderate budgets of Rs 3 to 5 lakh, or 10th of a feature film cost in those days, but it was all investment down the drain.
Meanwhile, Neflix, which has acquired the OTT rights of "Sooryavanshi", seems to have waited long enough for the film to hit the screens so as to follow it up with an OTT release. However, the film release has been postponed many times and, as the Covid-19 situation stands today, it is getting worse by the day, and the fear of another lockdown of cinema stares in the face.
Netflix is reported to have set the OTT release of Sooryavanshi for May 28 notwithstanding its theatre release. The makers may, however, plan a theatre release of the film during this period. For, Sooryavanshi is a star-studded film riding the name of director Rohit Shetty, and it would have raked in a massive opening figure under normal circumstances.
(Vinod Mirani is a veteran film writer and box office analyst. The views expressed are personal)

ians
 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 09:46:20 +0530
Raj cows fast tracking village economy clearing air

 

Jaipur, March 27

 Will cows in Rajasthan turn villagers into millionaires, clear air and turn out to be the most productive being?
Yes, says Vishnu Sharma, Krishi Upaj Mandi secretary, Nauhar, who is working hard to boost the rural economy and generate new sources of livelihood in the rural belt by running over 50 centres through out the state to produce cow dung products at a mass scale using automated machines made by engineering students.
This Holi, we are making cow dung cakes for Holi Dahan which will replace wood being used for the purpose. Also, we are generating demand for cow dung bricks which are used in laying the foundation of houses and are also creating market for idols of Gods and Goddesses made of cowdung.
In fact, automation machines are used to make quantum of products looking at the soaring demands in the market for these products, he says.
Hundreds of villagers are engaged these days in making cow dung cakes which are being sold like hot cakes for Holika Dahan.
"We have pledged to make maximum use of cowdung cakes for holika dahan this time and hence have engaged villagers across Rajasthan in different centres."
In fact, we have invited students from engineering colleges who shall sit along with their machines to study the air quality index during Holida Dahan programmes. Cowdung cake use will definitely make a difference in checking air quality as compared to wood, he added.
As the centres are being run in the centre of villages and cities, people are seeing women making these cowdung cakes and hence are giving them advance orders for the same, he added.
Cows have the potential for changing the economic scenario of our nation. Recently Union Minister Nitin Gadkari launched cowdung paint. Besides this paint, pesticides being made of cow urine and neem leaves are much in demand to save plantation, said Vishnu.
Even the flower pots made of cowdung are much in demand these days. This way, cows which are not milking are also proving to be of immense use and helping villagers generate ample employment opportunities, he said adding the villages have started earning minimum salary of Rs 5,000 sitting at home engaged in making diverse range of cow products.
Shiv Dadheech, a PHD research student from The LNM Institute of Information Technology, says, "We are attempting to design modern automated machines which can help us make quality products. We strongly believe that cow can never remain unproductive.
"If our products make a hit in the market, gaushalas for lifetime will be productive. And more number of people can earn livelihood out of it," he says.
During Diwali, we lit 51,000 lamps in Chittaurgarh which were made of cowdung, we sold rakhis too which were made up of cowdung and now, on this Holi, we have vowed to clean the air around and purify the surroundings, said Vishnu.
The entire benefit of the sale of these products will definitely help uplift the rural economy, he added.

ians

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 09:35:51 +0530
Global Covid 19 caseload tops 130 6mn

Washington, April 4

 The overall global Covid-19 caseload has topped 130.6 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 2.84 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
In its latest update on Sunday morning, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 130,659,436 and 2,845,012, respectively.
The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 30,671,074 and 554,779, respectively, according to the CSSE.
Brazil follows in the second place with 12,953,597 cases and 330,193 fatalities.
The other countries with more than two million confirmed coronavirus cases are India (12,392,260), France (4,802,545), Russia (4,520,879), the UK (4,371,393), Italy (3,650,247), Turkey (3,445,052), Spain (3,300,965), Germany (2,886,029), Colombia (2,437,197), Poland (2,415,584), Argentina (2,383,537) and Mexico (2,247,357), the CSSE figures showed.
In terms of deaths, Mexico comes in the third place with 203,854 fatalities.
Nations with a death toll of over 50,000 are India (164,110), the UK (127,068), Italy (110,704), Russia (98,363), France (96,439), Germany (76,959), Spain (75,698), Colombia (63,932), Iran (62,999), Argentina (56,106), Poland (54,737), South Africa (52,954) and Peru (52,331).

ians
 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 09:29:27 +0530
T gana Wadhwani AI team up to benefit cotton farmers

Hyderabad, April 4 -

Telangana agriculture department has signed an agreement with Wadhwani Institute of Artificial Institute (Wadhwani AI) to deploy solutions for the benefit of cotton farmers on Saturday.
"Wadhwani AI has developed an AI solution that equips smallholder cotton farmers with scientific knowledge of an agriculture expert with the help of a simple smartphone," said an official.
The solution, delivered through an app provides real-time localized advisory and surveillance, enabling farmers to catch pest infestations early to take correct and immediate action to avoid significant crop damage and subsequently improve quality of the crop and incomes.
"The solution is based on the scientific concept of action thresholds and is able to predict pink bollworm and American bollworm infestation, two of the most devastating pests for the cotton crop," he said.
In 2020 kharif, the solution was deployed with 700 lead farmers and 17,000 cascade farmers across the four states of Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka through agricultural programmes managed by better cotton initiative (BCI) partners.

ians
 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 09:24:36 +0530
19 people withdraw candidature for Nagarjunsagar by poll

Hyderabad, April 3 -

 Telangana Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shashank Goel on Saturday said that as many as 19 people have withdrawn their candidature for the forthcoming Nagarjunasagar Assembly by-poll.
"The returning officer has reported that the following validly nominated candidates have withdrawn their candidature today," said Goel and listed out their names.
The candidates who withdrew their candidature include Godavarti Janakiram, Mudigondla Venkataiah, Ravulapati Ravi Shankar, Bandaru Nagaraju, Rekala Saidulu, Maram Venkat Reddy, Pettam Mallikarjun, Jannu Bharath and Dhudapaka Sanjeeva.
Others include Thandu Upender, Gangireddy Kotireddy, Eesam Nagarjun, Dodla Venkatesham, Kolkur Pratap, Pidishetti Raju, Varikolu Srinivas, Mohammed Abdul Saleem, Vummadi Venkat Reddy and Naresh Patti.
Scheduled on April 17, candidates of major political parties have already filed their nomination for the Nagarjunsagar by-poll.
Ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) candidate Nomula Bagath Kumar, opposition Congress party's veteran leader and former minister K. Jana Reddy and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee P. Ravi Kumar filed their papers for the by-poll.

ians

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 09:19:01 +0530
Despite Covid Vizag port achieves 2020 21 cargo handling target

Visakhapatnam, April 3

Having achieved it's target of handling 69.84 metric tons (MT) in financial year 2020-21, the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) is aiming to handle 80 million MT of cargo in the current fiscal.
Addressing a media conference here on Saturday, Chairman K Rammohan Rao said that the VPT maintained 3rd position among major ports for the second year in succession.
The year past also saw an increase of handling iron pellets and finished steel exports from the port to China.
Disclosing future diversification plans, Rao said that Vizag port would soon have a cruise terminal with an outlay of Rs 103 crore, aimed at boosting tourism revenues. The project had hit a roadblock in 2020, following the Covid pandemic and lockdown.
Also on the anvil are the acquisition of a mobile harbour crane and commissioning of two railway projects. In addition, port berths are being developed at a cost of Rs 20 crore. Similarly, an automated signalling system is also being introduced at the port, he said.

ians
 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 09:14:14 +0530
France reports 213 Covid 19 deaths in one day

Paris, April 4

 France reported 213 new Covid-19 deaths on Saturday, bringing the toll to 96,493 since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the health ministry.
Hospital admissions for Covid-19 went up by 157 to reach 28,886. A total of 5,273 people with Covid-19 were in intensive care units (ICU), 19 more than the Friday figure, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The number of new infections is still under calculation, the ministry noted. France reported on Friday 46,677 new cases, after registering 50,659 on Thursday and 59,038 -- the highest daily figure since November 6 -- on Wednesday.
France entered its third national lockdown on Saturday as shops deemed non-essential have to close, people's movement is limited to a radius of 10 kilometers from home while nurseries and schools will be closed for three to four weeks.
As of Saturday, 9.24 million people in France, or 17.6 per cent of the adult population, have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and 3.11 million have received two injections, according to the health ministry.
France has approved the use of vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.
Meanwhile, 269 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 85 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on April 2.

iansfra
 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 09:09:12 +0530
First baby born in Spain with Covid 19 antibodies Reports

Madrid, April 4

 A boy born last week on the Spanish island of Ibiza has become the first newborn in Spain with Covid-19 antibodies, after his mother received the vaccine in the third trimester of her pregnancy, according to local media reports.
A sample from the baby's umbilical cord analysed at the Hospital Son Espases in Mallorca confirmed that he had developed antibodies against Covid-19, Spanish media reported.
Manuel Grandal Martin, deputy director of the Madrid Hospital Directorate, said on Friday that the protection that the baby has is equal to that of someone who has been vaccinated, the Xinhua news agency reported.
"At the moment, he is perfectly protected, but it is not yet known how long it will last," said Grandal.
The case of the infant, named Bruno, is part of a study on the impact of Covid-19 on pregnant women. The study monitors 88 pregnant women who have caught Covid-19 during pregnancy, including those who are asymptomatic.
Other specialists believe this result opens the doors to the possibility of vaccinating pregnant women to immunise both themselves and their babies, who receive the antibodies through placenta.
Grandal explained there has so far been a lack of information about the effects of the vaccine on pregnant women, although there is no evidence that doing so is harmful.

ians

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 09:04:30 +0530
Hard work of workers will ensure victory of BJP candidates in TN CT Ravi

New Delhi, April 4

Two days before voting in the Tamil Nadu polls, BJP National General Secretary & state in-charge C T Ravi said, hard work of workers in the last 50 years will ensure the victory of the saffron party's candidates.
Polling for the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly will be held on April 6 and counting of votes will take place on May 2. Currently the BJP has no representation in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. The saffron party is contesting the Tamil Nadu polls in alliance with the ruling AIADMK and the PMK. The BJP has got 20 seats to contest in the alliance.
Ravi told IANS that don't go by the number of seats the BJP is contesting but our strike rate will be more than 60 per cent.
"For the last five decades our workers worked hard on a daily basis and their hard work will be visible in election results on May 2. One should not get surprised seeing the results as it has been achieved over the years with the help of dedicated and committed workers," the Tamil Nadu BJP in-charge said.
"We will be winning the majority of seats. We have got seats in all the regions of the state and that shows our presence and organisational strength," he said.
The BJP believes that the organization has reached every booth of the state and is active among the electorate. "BJP has constituted booth committees at all booths across the states and over 75 per cent of these booth committees are active," he said.
Ravi claimed that this Assembly election will establish the BJP as a party of the masses in Tamil Nadu. "We are winning seats in all the regions and getting support from people for our developmental agenda. This election will establish BJP as a force in Tamil Nadu," he said.
He said that along with the seats, the party vote share will also increase in the state.
"We are confident of increasing our vote share from 19 per cent in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which dipped in 2016 to single digit when we contested from many new areas. In this election we will get a record vote," he said.
Talking about increased acceptance of the party, Ravi said that people from all sections of society have joined the BJP.
"In future, I assure everyone that Tamil Nadu will have BJP MLAs from the current zero representation. People are coming out in support of the BJP despite the negative campaign run against us by the DMK and other rivals," he said.

ians
 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 08:56:47 +0530
Google Home s new settings to help customise Feed tab

San Francisco, April 3

Google Home has rolled out new settings to make it easier for users to customise the Feed tab in the app.

Through the new settings, users can customize the Feed tab to "choose the types of events" that can appear in the tab.

According to 9To5Google, there's a new button in the top-left corner at the top of Google Home's second tab.

The "Feed customization settings" page starts with "Whole home" where Google lists two categories -- Household Routines: Home & Away Routine and Wi-Fi: Network status, Wi-Fi activity.

"Cameras" will list what devices are available in your home, with capabilities varying depending on the model, the report said.

These new Google Home settings can make the Feed tab less overwhelming to use with its two sections for Priority and Recent events already quite busy.

Discover suggestions at the bottom are unchanged, but Google has updated the header font for each section to be bolder, according to the report.

Google first announced this feature last month with Home 2.34 -- alongside real-time Google/Nest Wifi stats and Nest Hub (2nd gen) support, but it's now widely rolled out (server-side update) on Android and iOS following this week's 2.35 update that revealed a new Nest device.

ians

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 08:31:01 +0530
Tom Holland was massively scared for Cherry

Los Angeles, April 4

Actor Tom Holland admits being scared while taking on his role in the new crime drama "Cherry". The film casts him as a soldier-turned-bank robber who suffers from PTSD, and the "Spider-Man" star says he was not sure if he could do justice to the role.

"I was on the Disney lot doing my last day of work on 'Avengers: Endgame' when Joe and Anthony mentioned a movie they wanted to do. I was immediately up for it. I was like, 'I'm in for whatever you guys are doing. If it's just two pages of dialogue, or an entire film, I'm there'," Holland told an interview with OK! Magazine, according to femalefirst.co.uk.

He added: "And then they sent me the book on which the story was based and I was blown away. This is something very different for me. I was massively scared too."

The actor wanted to make sure his portrayal spread the right message.

"I wanted to please everyone and do justice to the story and to the thousands of stories around the world that are about recovery, addiction, or PTSD. I felt a real sense of responsibility to get it right," he said.

ians

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 08:25:11 +0530
GMR Group to support StartUps innovations launches new vertical

New Delhi, April 3

Diversified conglomerate GMR Group has launched a new business vertical - GMR Innovex - to support StartUps as well as innovations in aviation and other fields.

"GMR Innovex will operate on an 'Open Innovation' model, acting as an 'Innovation Exchange' to partner with startups, corporates, innovation platforms, research institutions and academia to bring innovative ideas and solutions to life and help to nurture and sustain a 'Culture of Innovation and Entrepreneurship'," the group said in a statement.

"A dedicated new facility for innovation has also been established at the Hyderabad Airport campus to act as a platform for various innovation activities by various collaborating startups, industry partners and GMR employees."

According to the statement, GMR Innovex will focus on innovations across both digital and non-digital domains to deliver improved efficiency, better customer experience and higher value to all stakeholders.

"It will create a structured mechanism to build creative ideas, nurture and foster them, and build a 'Go-To-Market' strategy for all successful initiatives. It will provide an avenue for its partners to work on their ideas and bring it to a forum to validate."

ians

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 08:21:09 +0530
5 9 magnitude quake hits eastern Indonesia

Jakarta, April 4 (IANS) A 5.9 magnitude quake jolted Indonesia's eastern province of Maluku early on Sunday, the meteorology and geophysics agency said.

The quake struck at 1:42 a.m. on Sunday Jakarta Time (1842 GMT Saturday), with the epicenter at 163 km south of Ambon, the capital of the province, and the depth of 329 km under seabed, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The intensity of the quake was felt at II to III MMI (Modified Mercalli Intensity) in the city.

The tremor did not potentially trigger a tsunami, the agency said.

ians
 

 

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 08:12:23 +0530
Centre closes vaccine registration for healthcare frontline workers

New Delhi, April 4

The Central government has decided to close the registration of healthcare and frontline workers for Covid-19 vaccination after reports of fake registration under these categories came to the fore. About 24 per cent spike in registration under these categories has been observed in last few days.

In a letter to states and union territories, Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that some ineligible beneficiaries are being registered as healthcare and frontline workers and getting vaccinated in complete violation of the prescribed guidelines.

He stated that there has been 24 per cent increase in healthcare workers database in the past few days. "...it has been decided that no fresh registrations in categories of HCWs and FLWS will be allowed with immediate effect. Registrations of persons aged 45 years and above will continue to be permitted on Co-WIN portal."

"I request you to kindly direct the concerned officials for wider dissemination of this policy decision for compliance. However, universal vaccination of already registered HCWs and FLWs should be ensured at the earliest," the Health Secretary stated in the letter.

So far, 7.44 crore doses of corona vaccine have been administered in the country since the drive began on January 16 after approval for 'Covishield' and 'Covaxin'.

Covid-19 vaccination drive is going on across the country since January 16, 2021 for different groups of beneficiaries. The first category of priority group included healthcare workers and frontline workers as decided with a goal to protect them.

Vaccination started for healthcare workers on January 16, followed vaccinations for frontline workers from February 2. Later, persons aged 60 years and above and those aged 45-59 years with identified 20 co-morbidities were covered from March 1 2021.

Subsequently, from April 1, 2021, all persons aged 45 years and above are eligible for Covid vaccination.

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Sun, 04 Apr 2021 07:49:08 +0530
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