2 civilians, a policeman among 4 killed in Kashmir terror attack

The militant killed has been identified as Fayaz Ahmed alias Setha who was wanted by the NIA in Udhampur terror case.

Two civilians and a policeman were killed in a militant attack in Kulgam district of south Kashmir on Saturday night, while one militant was killed in retaliatory action, police said.

One of the militants was killed, while another was injured in retaliatory firing by police, Director General of Police S.P. Vaid informed.

The militant killed has been identified as Fayaz Ahmed alias Setha who was wanted by the NIA in Udhampur terror case.

The militants, travelling in a car, opened fire at a police team which had gone to Mir Bazaar area to investigate a road accident, the DGP said.

He said the police also retaliated and even managed to snatch a pistol from one of the militants.

“Four bodies were found at the spot. Two of the deceased are civilians and one policeman has been martyred,” Vaid said.

He said the fourth deceased was a militant who was carrying a grenade and some ammunition.

“While one militant has managed to escape, we are following the blood trail of another who was injured in the police action,” the DGP added.

When the eyes see more than there is

Hallucinations are among the possible side effects caused by medications for Parkinson’s disease

Sixty-five-year-old Srinivas K.* has been experiencing distressing side effects from his Parkinson’s disease medication. Sometimes, he walks into an empty room and imagines it filled with people. Other times, he says, he ‘sees’ snakes or raindrops. “One time, I looked out of the window and saw it pouring, but when I stepped outside, there wasn’t a single drop of rain,” he tells other patients and caregivers at a Parkinson’s support group meeting in Bengaluru.

Parkinson’s is a complex disease. A degenerative disorder, it results from nerve cells in the brain producing insufficient dopamine, a chemical partly involved in regulating movement. Many patients reach out to the doctor when they experience tremors, have difficulty walking, or feel increasingly lethargic.

While incurable, drugs or surgery can slow the disease and visibly improve a patient’s quality of life. At times, however, these medicines can trigger distressing side effects. “Approximately 10% of patients being treated with a combination of levodopa and carbidopa develop hallucinations as a consequence of extended medication,” says Dr. (Col.) R. Varadarajulu, consultant neurologist at the Bangalore Regenerative Advanced Institute of Neurosciences, Bengaluru.

Many illusions

Hallucinations can be visual, auditory or tactile. In patients with Parkinson’s, they occur mostly as visual images, experienced when they are awake and alert. Sometimes, if the patient has Parkinson’s with associated disorders such as Diffuse Lewy Body Dementia, hallucinations can occur even without the use of medicines.

The nature of these hallucinations varies. “One patient imagines being bitten by a snake every night, while another sees rats. Yet another feels that someone is breaking into their house,” says Dr. Varadarajulu.

Caregivers find it difficult to comprehend these “visions” of their afflicted loved ones. “For a few years now, my dad has been recreating scenes from the past. He starts to see me as a schoolgirl, in uniform, and asks me why I wasn’t at school. Incredibly, during these hallucinations, his own mannerisms would revert to those of his youth. He would start to walk upright sans tremors or stiffness. It was beautiful to watch him, but his mind was in a different place,” says Geetika Guha, whose 82-year-old father has been a patient for two decades.

Another patient, who didn’t want to be identified, started to see people coming and leaving his room shortly after a hernia operation. “A friend who was with me post-surgery told me I was having visions,” he says. “It is highly disturbing when you cannot believe what you see, and it makes you question your sanity,” says another patient who has been having hallucinations for over a year.

Instead of entering into conflict with the patient, caregivers should try to reassure the patient, say doctors. “The relatives should allay the patients’ fears, by explaining carefully what is happening to them,” says Dr. Varadarajulu.

“When there is a chance that a high dose of levodopa or anticholinergic (drugs which reduce tremors) triggers the hallucinations, doctors try reducing the dosage,” says Santhosh N.S., neurologist at Vikram Hospital, Bengaluru. Other times, to counter the side effects of the drug, an antipsychotic medicine, clozapine, is sometimes administered to patients, who are not at risk of dementia.

Being active

On the other hand, an active lifestyle and a positive approach can significantly delay debilitation. Stacey Kuruvilla*, 74, who has been living with the disease for ten years and goes for walks everyday, is an example. “I have difficulty walking and occasionally lose balance, so I hesitate to go alone. With my husband’s support I cover a few kilometres daily,” she says. When she first started to have difficulty walking, she went to a cardiologist. After several tests ruled her to be fine, he referred her to a neurologist. “He immediately diagnosed the symptoms and advised me to remain as active as I could,” she recounts. While she has her bad days, she says she’s steadily progressing. “A few years ago I couldn’t do much around the house, but now I do all the cooking by myself,” she adds. (*Names changed on request)

Best to start at six months, says study

Preterm babies don’t gain growth by early initiation of complementary feeding

Babies born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation) have a higher energy requirement than babies born full term and therefore fail to gain weight adequately. Parents of preterm babies and doctors alike are not sure whether breast milk or formula milk alone will meet the energy requirements after the first four months and whether preterm babies should be started on complementary food. While normal babies are given solids and semi-solids only from six months of age, early initiation of complementary food which has a higher calorie density in preterm babies appears to be a good idea to meet their energy needs and improve their growth.

Delhi-based study

Till recently there was little evidence of whether earlier introduction of complementary feeding (prior to six months of corrected age) would improve growth of preterm babies.

A study published a few days ago in The Lancet Global Health has found an answer to this vexatious issue — early initiation of complementary feeding in preterm babies born before 34 weeks of gestation does not improve growth (weight and length).

Doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Safdarjung Hospital and Kasturba Hospital, all in New Delhi, enrolled 403 babies born before 34 weeks of gestation and randomly assigned them to two groups — one in which they were started on complementary feeding at four months of corrected age and the other group of babies where complementary feeding was initiated at six months of corrected age. The corrected age refers to age that is corrected for the period of prematurity — for a baby born at 32 weeks of gestation, which is approximately two months earlier than the normal gestation period, the corrected age is 10 months at the end of one year of birth.

Complementary feeding was standardised in both the groups in terms of frequency, consistency, type of food, preparing food hygienically, and ways of feeding. Complementary foods were given in addition to breastfeeding/other milk feeding.

“Even though one group of babies was started on complementary feeding at an earlier age of four months of corrected age, there was no difference in growth compared with babies who were started on complementary feeding at six months of corrected age,” says Dr. Ramesh Agarwal from the Department of Paediatrics at AIIMS, one of the corresponding authors of the paper.

Some health risks

On the other hand, the study indicates that early initiation of complementary feeding had some negative fallout. “There were more hospitalisations in the group that started on complementary feeding at four months of corrected age,” he says. Though overall hospital admission in both the groups was low, babies in the four-month group were at increased risk of hospital admission due to diarrhoea and lower respiratory tract infections. “There could be several reasons for this increased risk, including potential contamination of complementary foods due to inadequate hygiene or having less breast milk,” he says.

“Our study shows that there is no difference in growth whether complementary feeding is started at four or six months of corrected age. But there are more infections when complementary feeding is started earlier. So it is advisable that complementary feeding is started only at six months of corrected age in preterm babies less than 34 weeks of gestation,” says Dr. Agarwal. However, studying the difference in growth and not infection was the primary objective of the study.

Air Pollution Can Up Heart Attack, Stroke Risk

LONDON: Tiny particles in polluted air can travel from the lungs into our bloodstream and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, a new study warns.

Nanoparticles in air pollution have been associated with cardiovascular disease, which can lead to premature death.

However, how particles inhaled into the lungs can affect blood vessels and the heart has remained a mystery.

Scientists, including those from University of Edinburgh in the UK and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, have found that inhaled nanoparticles can travel from the lungs into the bloodstream, potentially explaining the link between air pollution and cardiovascular disease.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that in 2012, about 72 per cent of premature deaths related to outdoor air pollution were due to ischemic heart disease and strokes.

Pulmonary disease, respiratory infections and lung cancer were linked to the other 28 per cent.

Many scientists have suspected that fine particles travel from the lungs into the bloodstream, but evidence supporting this assumption in humans has been challenging to collect.
Researchers used a selection of specialised techniques to track the fate of inhaled gold nanoparticles.

In the study, 14 healthy volunteers, 12 surgical patients and several mouse models inhaled gold nanoparticles, which have been safely used in medical imaging and drug delivery.

Soon after exposure, the nanoparticles were detected in blood and urine.

Importantly, the nanoparticles appeared to preferentially accumulate at inflamed vascular sites, including artery plaques in patients at risk of a stroke.

The findings suggest that nanoparticles can travel from the lungs into the bloodstream and reach susceptible areas of the cardiovascular system where they could possibly increase the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke, the researchers said.

The study was published in the journal ACS Nano.

ब्रेस्ट कैंसर से बचने के लिए डायट में शामिल करें ये फूड!

नई दिल्लीः महिलाएं आमतौर पर ऑफिस और घर के कामों में व्यस्त रहती हैं ऐसे में अपनी देखभाल नहीं करती. ब्रेस्ट कैंसर महिलाओं में सबसे आम बीमारी हैं. ये साइलेंटली महिलाओं को मारती रहती है. ऐसे में महिलाओं को ब्रेस्ट में होने वाले दर्द को नजरअंदाज नहीं करना चाहिए. अगर महिलाएं ब्रेस्ट कैंसर से बचना चाहती हैं तो उन्हें नियमित रूप से डॉक्टर के पास चेकअप के लिए जाना चाहिए और समय-समय पर अपनी जांच करवानी चाहिए.

शारीरिक तौर पर सक्रिय रहकर, फिजीकली फिट रहकर, हेल्दी डायट लेकर, एल्कोहल और धूम्रपान से दूर रहकर महिलाएं ब्रेस्ट कैंसर से आसानी से बच सकती हैं. इसके अलावा भी बहुत से ऐसे सुपरफूड हैं जिनके सेवन से महिलाएं ब्रेस्ट कैंसर से बच सकती हैं.

  • हल्दी- रसाईघर में आसानी से हल्दी मौजूद होती है. हल्दी में कैंसर से लड़ने की क्षमता होती है. इसे रोजाना के फूड में शामिल करके भी ब्रेस्ट कैंसर से बचा जा सकता है. इसके अलावा एक चुटकी हल्दी को सुबह एक गिलास पानी के साथ पीने से भी फायदा होता है.
  • व्हीटग्रास- जूस के रूप में या कच्ची ही व्हीटग्रास लेने से कैंसर सेल्स को मारा जा सकता है. हल्दी‍ की तरह व्हीट ग्रास में भी कैंसर सेल्स‍ को खत्म करने की क्षमता होती है. ये इम्यून सिस्टम भी बढ़ाता है.
  • पालक- एंटीऑक्सीडेंट्स से भरपूर पालक ना सिर्फ ब्रेस्ट कैंसर से लड़ने में मदद करता है बल्कि ये कई अन्य कैंसर सेल्स को नष्ट करने की क्षमता भी रखता है.
  • विटामिन डी- दूध या अंडे के रूप में विटामिन डी लेने से ब्रेस्ट कैंसर को खतरा कम हो जाता है.
  • अलसी के बीज- फ्लैक्ससीड्स ब्रेस्ट कैंसर से बचाता है. इसे सलाद या दही में मिलाकर भी खाया जा सकता है.
  • लहसून- लहसून ऐसा घरेलू नुस्खा है जिसके सेवन से ब्रेस्ट कैंसर के सेल्स को आसानी से मारा जा सकता है. आप इसे क्रश करके या फिर सुबह-सेवेर एक टुकड़ा पानी के साथ भी ले सकते हैं.
  • अंगुर- अंगुर ऐस्ट्रोजन का प्रोड्क्शन कम करता है जिससे ब्रेस्ट कैंसर के खतरे से बचा जा सकता है.
  • ब्रोकली- ब्रेस्ट कैंसर से बचने और कैंसर सेल्स को मारने में ब्रोकली भी बहुत उपयोगी है.

Time for a national policy on thalassaemia

As the number of thalassaemics grows in India, a prevention and control programme is nowhere in sight

Unlike most of her peers, Namitha A. Kumar, a PhD holder from a reputed research institute in India, considers herself incredibly lucky to be alive. She suffers from thalassaemia, a rare genetic blood disorder, and lives in a country that currently has no national plan for people like her.

Dr. Kumar, along with Vijay Chandru from the Centre for Health Ecologies and Technology (CHET), was instrumental in framing the first ever draft policy in India for rare diseases with help from the Centre for Human Genetics. The policy was submitted to the Karnataka government in March 2016.

Thalassaemia is a genetic blood disorder commonly characterised by the abnormal production of haemoglobin in the body. The abnormality results in improper oxygen transport and destruction of red blood cells. It has wide-ranging effects on the human body like iron overload, bone deformities and in severe cases can cause heart diseases. The disease has no cure and people living with thalassaemia require regular blood transfusions as an effective measure to prolong life.

Ahead of World Thalassaemia Day on May 8, experts say India is the thalassaemia capital of the world with 40 million carriers and over 1,00,000 thalassaemia majors under blood transfusion every month. Despite this, there has been no move to put in place a prevention and control programme at the national level.

With preventive health checks not being the norm in India, people suffering from thalassaemia are unknowingly passing on this genetic disorder to their children. Whereas in the neighbouring Pakistan, a Bill making carrier testing compulsory for relatives of thalassaemia patients was passed in February. A similar system is in place in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.

While the number of thalassaemics is growing in India, the effort to provide patients better health care is largely spearheaded by the private sector and non-governmental organisations. Over 1,00,000 patients across the country die before they turn 20 due to lack of access to treatment. The first case of thalassaemia in India was reported in 1938 and every year 10,000 children with thalassaemia major are born in India.

Dr. Kumar has been working to ensure that other thalassaemic patients in India get the same opportunities that she did.

Demand for a national policy

Shobha Tuli, president of the Federation of Indian Thalassemics, says the need of the hour is to have a national policy on thalassaemia. “This will help in not just creating awareness about the disease but also ensure treatment for all and strategies to prevent its spread,” she says. “In the absence of a national plan to prevent, control and provide adequate treatment for patients, there is little awareness about the disease. Patients need not just free blood transfusion but free lab tests and iron chelation medicines and other supplements, which are expensive. The disease can be prevented just if gynaecologists become more vigilant and screen for thalassaemia in every pregnant woman,” she says, adding, “Although thalassaemia is now under the purview of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, we are not sure what help we will get from this.”

Dr. Chandru, director of the CHET, said the human and societal burden of hereditary haematological disorders in India has reached alarming numbers. “The number of adult carriers of genetic disorders runs into the tens of millions in India. Carrier screening and prenatal testing through cost-effective multi-gene panel tests is within reach as a public health initiative and is consistent with the broad goals of the National Health Policy 2017,” he says.

Although some States including Karnataka provide free transfusion and some free medicines to thalassaemics, there is a need for a better care facility and emergency services and lab tests. Karnataka has around 5,000 patients who come all the way to Bengaluru for treatment. The government must set up a basic transfusion facility in every district, demand patients.

Gene therapy

Urging for ‘gene therapy’ as it is the only proven cure available, Gagandeep Singh Chandok, a thalassaemic, has started a petition on Change.org, an online platform to crowdsource support for various issues. “There is no known cure for thalassaemia except bone marrow transplant (BMT) and most patients in India can neither afford it nor do they have relevant matches with siblings or others. BMT can be done only for children up to the age of 10, after which it is a serious risk. Our only hope is gene therapy,” he says.

“We were thrilled when research on gene therapy was started in India several years ago. Unfortunately, due to a lack of incentives, willingness and support, the research has come to a standstill. There are clinical trials for thalassaemia gene therapy going on around the developed world. Clinical trials in India were stopped even though we have the highest number of thalassaemia patients in South Asia,” he adds.

Stopping the opioid crisis in the womb

The sound of a heartbeat pulsates through the air, and a grainy image of a baby flashes on screen. Jessica Hill smiles from her chair in the ultrasound room.

Gathered around are her doctor, nurse and best friend.
They are all eager, anxious, excited — and worried about the health of the baby. In that way, this ultrasound is like most.
But what’s happening in this room is anything but routine: Jessica, 28, is hooked on opioids and detoxing during pregnancy. Dr. Craig Towers is the pioneering — and controversial — obstetrician shattering the common medical belief that this approach could lead to the death of the fetus.
Moments earlier, Jessica’s baby underwent a stress test to see how she was progressing, a way to make sure the stress of detoxing is not harming the child. “She didn’t like it at all,” says Jessica, who is in her 35th week of pregnancy.
“It means that she’s paying attention to what’s going on,” says Towers, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
Jessica admits to making many mistakes, but here, she is making what she says is the best choice of her life: getting clean for her baby. She also has an 8-year-old son who has been raised by her mom. She hopes detoxing will further heal their relationship.
A tattoo above her heart reads “From pain comes strength.”
She wishes she could lean over her belly, put her lips by her daughter’s head and whisper to her about life lessons. “I’m working on building our relationship and trying so hard. I mainly want her to know that I won’t make those choices any more.”
Jessica marvels at the screen. “Is that her little face?”
“Yeah, that’s a cheek,” Towers says.
“She’s got chubby cheeks,” Jessica replies.
When Jessica first came to Towers four months ago, she was taking a standard opioid-based maintenance medication, called Subutex, meant to keep her from getting her fix from the street. She had been told at a drug maintenance clinic that detoxing would kill her fetus.
When she went to a doctor who she hoped could deliver her child, Jessica was humiliated. She had informed the doctor she was taking Subutex to tamp down her urge for painkillers. The doctor, she says, told her they don’t “take irresponsible patients.”
“I was just so upset, because they just shunned us away,” she says.
The maintenance clinic then referred her to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Jessica first visited a doctor at the hospital’s prenatal clinic in December and was introduced to Emily Katz, the substance abuse coordinator in Towers’ office. Katz saw a young woman who needed help — but, more important, wanted help.
“We snatched her up,” she says. “There was just a spark in her. When I told Jessica, ‘I think we can help you,’ tears just streamed down her face.”
It’s now mid-March. Towers has weaned Jessica off the medication slowly, with Jessica making the hour-long trip from her home in Morristown to his office every two weeks, almost always accompanied by her best friend, Stephanie Moore. Today, Stephanie chimes in with cheerful jokes about the baby’s stubbornness, similar to her mother’s.
In between visits, Jessica texts and phones Katz, who was motivated to help others after her brother died of an overdose. The two have become so close over the months that both say they’re like twins separated at birth. Jessica has nicknamed Katz “Nurse Barbie” for her attractiveness and her straight blonde hair.
On this day, Katz quietly observes during the ultrasound, making her show of support by just being there.
Jessica went completely off the opioids over the past week, a critical juncture during any detoxification. She suffered through diarrhea and other ailments. Only once did she give into her urge, taking one Subutex pill. “It sucks,” she says.
In those down moments, Stephanie and Katz remind her why she’s going through this: that the struggle is worth the pain.
But even with all that Jessica has endured, there’s no guarantee her baby will be free of the violent tremors and excruciating pain that marks those born to addicted mothers. About one in five women who detox in Towers’ program still sees her baby suffer withdrawal after birth, depending on how early in pregnancy the mothers were able to become drug-free and how their bodies metabolize the opioids still in their systems.

Things not well with partner? Give each other a massage for relationship satisfaction

According to a new study, giving your partner a nice massage can help boost your relationship.

Is your relationship in turmoil? Giving each other a massage can improve both your physical and mental well-being as well as lead to relationship satisfaction, a research has shown.

The findings showed that giving each other a massage may ensure relationship stability as couples tend to operate as a pair when coping with stress.

“Massage can be a simple and effective way for couples to improve their physical and mental well-being whilst showing affection for one another,” said Sayuri Naruse from Northumbria University in Britain.

Massage positively impacts the couples’ — both the giver and receiver — well-being, perceived stress and coping abilities as well as emotional well-being.

“The benefits of receiving a massage from a professional are well documented, but this research shows how a similar outcome can be obtained by couples with little prior training and experience of the activity,” Naruse added.

The results were presented at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Brighton.

Painful medical procedures hurt less if you like your doctor: Study

New research suggests trusting and feeling socially or culturally similar to your doctor influences the pain experienced during medical procedures.

Irrespective of your age – you might be a five-year-old kid or a 50-year-old – getting a shot at your doctor’s office can be a stressful experience.

But what if you knew your doctor was from your hometown, liked the same food as you, or shared your religious beliefs? Now that you feel more culturally connected to your doctor, will the shot hurt less?

It’s a scenario posed in a new study by Dr Elizabeth Losin, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences; Steven Anderson, a University of Miami graduate student in the Department of Psychology; and Tor Wager, Ph.D., professor in the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. The study is entitled, “Feelings of clinician-patient similarity and trust influence pain: Evidence from simulated clinical interactions,” and it is published in the Journal of Pain, the official journal of the American Pain Society.

In Losin’s lab, she simulates clinician-patient interactions to uncover the social and cultural factors that influence the pain that patients experience during medical care. Her goal is to try and find ways to help people feel less pain when seeing the doctor and help reduce phobias about doctor visits and check-ups.

 

Physician-patient interactions are typically fast and superficial so people often don’t actually get the time to figure out whether they have anything in common with their doctor. (Shutterstock)

“Pain also has a psychological component as well, and it’s the interaction between the psychological and physiological aspects of pain that we’re really interested in,” she said.

Losin says that physician-patient interactions are typically fast and superficial so people often don’t actually get the time to figure out whether they have anything in common with their doctor.

“You go to the doctor’s office and you have to get a procedure that is painful and scary,” said Losin.

“We want to know how the doctor-patient dynamic, in this case how the doctor and patient perceive one another, might affect how much pain the patient feels from that painful medical procedure. If the patient feels they have something in common with their doctor, is that enough to actually change how much pain they feel?”

For her study, Losin used a modified version of a “minimal group paradigm,” which is normally used in social psychology experiments to create artificial groups in the lab based on something completely arbitrary and superficial.

This approach allows researchers to figure out the minimal conditions required for real-world intergroup behaviour, like discrimination, to occur.

In Losin’s study the groups weren’t quite so arbitrary. “We created the groups based on participants’ core personal beliefs and values, the same things that we think doctors and patients infer based on race and ethnicity in the context of medical care,” said Losin.

“We gave participants a questionnaire that asked about their political ideology, religious and gender role beliefs and practices. When they came into the lab, we separated the participants into two groups and told them they were assigned to these groups based on their questionnaire answers but not giving specifics to which question put them there.”

‘Smart’ denim promises touchscreen technology clothes

This is clothing made from specially woven fabric with touch-screen control capabilities that can be designed in such a way to visually stand out or go unnoticed depending on designers’ wishes.(Levis)

A young man in a white t-shirt pulls on a dark blue denim trucker jacket, tucks his smartphone in an inside pocket and puts in-ear headphones in his right ear.He mounts a fixed-gear bike with flat, slightly curved wide handlebars. Riding through the streets of San Francisco, he occasionally taps or swipes his right hand over the left cuff of his jacket, as the directions he’s listening to continually pop up on the screen of this advertisement.It’s an ad from iconic US jeans maker Levi Strauss for Project Jacquard, an initiative with Google that the companies started two years ago for so-called “smart” denim.

The future of the popular fabric was the focus at a recent international fashion fair in Paris — after all most believe the word denim derives from the French “serge de Nimes”, a serge from the city of Nimes.

The fair featured many wearable innovations such as a waterproof jacket with sunscreen bands and a cable in the pocket to recharge a cellphone, or jeans that keep your body temperature stable.

Once mainly the purview of athletic gear — with moisture-wicking shirts and trousers and then clothing that can track motion, heart rate, and body temperature — the new trend for fashion designers is to take everyday wear and transform it using new technologies.

This is clothing made from specially woven fabric with touch-screen control capabilities that can be designed in such a way to visually stand out or go unnoticed depending on designers’ wishes.

French-based fashion company Spinal Design, for example, has created jeans that can give wearers with directions without having to whip out the mobile at every single intersection.

Through blue tooth sensors stitched into the jeans’ waistband, the smart phone stays out of sight.

“You put a destination into the pap (and) sensors will vibrate right if you need to turn right, left if you need to turn left,” Spinal innovation director Romain Spinal told AFP.

In 2015, the company from the eastern French town of Mulhouse designed a bikini that tells women when it’s time to apply more sun screen.

The two-piece retails for 149 euros ($163) and comes with a small detachable ultraviolet sensor that, through a smart phone or tablet, sends a “sun screen alert” when the sunbather’s skin needs more protective cream.

The detector is calibrated to the wearer’s skin type and how much of a tan she wants to get, and is “virtually devoid of any radiation,” Spinal said.

The Spinal jeans, made in France, cost 150 euros and also have email notification capabilities.

“They will vibrate differently depending on whether the message received is from your family, your friends or work, in a way that you won’t have to constantly check your email on weekends or on vacation,” Spinal said.

On their end, Google and Levi expect to release their denim jacket sometime this year, but it will come with a hefty $350 price tag due in part to its special interactive fabric that allows the jacket’s wearer to order various products online.

Environmental concerns

Other international etch and fashion companies have also jumped on the “smart” denim bandwagon.

Using thermo-regulated fabric and microfiber cloth popular in athletic wear, Brazilian textile maker Vicugna Tex til has designed denims that will keep the wearer’s core temperature stable.

American designer Cone Denim for its part has blended its denims with technical textile fibres from equipment used on motorcycles — this to better tout the sturdiness of its clothes.

But these companies recognise that there has to be more to “smart” jeans than just fashion sense and connected capabilities and that means making sure they are environmentally friendly.

“The consumer demands greater traceability and ecology, especially when it comes to denim because it is a product that is a bit controversial,” said Marion Foret, fashion products chief for Premiere Vision Paris, which organises trade shows for the textile and clothing sector, including the denim show.

Denim is a product “that doesn’t always carry the best reputation, so textile makers are forced to use more ecological processes,” Foret added, such as making denims with organic or traceable cotton, cleaning denims without water, and using dyes that won’t pollute the land.

In keeping with that trend, Dutch fashion designer Pauline van Wongen makes denims using fabrics from used and already worn jeans.

Others seek to keep consumers better informed like Pakistani manufacturer Artistic Fabric Mills which developed an application to retrace the history of the jeans.

But for some young fashion students the future of jeans is not all about technology.

“Connecting jeans to a smartphone is not necessarily what we want to have,” said Aurelia Martin, who studies fashion in Brussels.

“There are problems that are a little more essential in terms of production, the dye, the cotton, the (jeans’) pretty weak longevity, and the quality.”

IIT-M makes white light from pomegranate, turmeric extracts

This could be used in applications such as tunable laser, LEDs and white light display

Dr. Vikram Singh, former research scholar in the Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras won the BIRAC Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award 2017 for his work on producing white light emission using natural extracts.

Dr. Singh and Prof. Ashok Mishra from the Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras used a mixture of two natural extracts — red pomegranate and turmeric — to produce white light emission. The researchers used a simple and environment-friendly procedure to extract dyes from pomegranate and turmeric.

While polyphenols and anthocyanins present in red pomegranate emit at blue and orange-red regions of the wavelength respectively, curcumin from turmeric emit at the green region of the wavelength. White light emission is produced when red, blue and green mix together. This is probably the first time white light emission has been generated using low-cost, edible natural dyes. The results were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

“We had to mix the two extracts in a particular ratio to get white light,” says Dr. Singh, the first author of the paper; he is currently at Lucknow’s CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI). By changing the concentration of the two extracts the researchers were able to get different colour temperature (tunability).

“When we mix the two extracts and irradiate it with UV radiation at 380 nm, we observed energy transfer (FRET mechanism) taking place from polyphenols to curcumin to anthocyanins, which helps to get perfect white light emission,” says Dr. Singh. For FRET mechanism to take place there must be spectral overlap between the donor and acceptor.

Energy transfer

In this case, there is a perfect overlap of emission of polyphenols with absorption by curcumin so the energy from polyphenols is transferred to curcumin. Since there is also a perfect overlap of emission of curcumin with absorption by anthocyanin, the energy of curcumin is transferred to anthocyanin.

As a result of this energy transfer from one dye to the other, when the extract is irradiated with UV light at 380 nm (blue region of the wavelength), the polyphenols emit in the blue region of the wavelength and transfers its energy to curcumin. The excited curcumin emits in the green region of the wavelength and transfers its energy to anthocyanin, which emits light in the red region of the wavelength.

“Because of the energy transfer, even if you excite in the blue wavelength we were able to get appropriate intensity distribution across the visual wavelength,” says Prof. Mishra, who is the corresponding author of the paper.

Without turmeric

Taking the work further, the duo produced carbon nanoparticles using pomegranate and to their surprise it was producing fairly green emission. So instead of using turmeric to get green wavelength, the researchers used carbon nanoparticles made from pomegranate extract. “We could get white emission, though it is not as white as when we use turmeric. It’s slightly bluish but well within the white zone,” says Prof. Mishra. “It is an attractive to use a single plant source to create white light emission.” The principle by which the pomegranate extract and carbon nanoparticles made from the extract is the same as in the case when pomegranate and turmeric extracts were used. The results were published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C.

Though this natural mixture of dyes can be used in a wide variety of applications such as tunable laser, LEDs, white light display, much work needs to be done in terms of photostability and chemical stability before it becomes ready for translation. Biosystems have an inherent tendency to breakdown and so this has to be addressed.

Reversing drug resistance made possible

Drug-resistant E. coli become sensitive to antibiotics when H2S synthesis is inhibited

Indian researchers have unravelled the mechanism by which hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas produced by bacteria protects them from antibiotics and plays a key role in helping bacteria develop drug resistance. And by blocking/disabling the enzyme that triggers the biosynthesis of hydrogen sulphide in bacteria, the researchers from Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune, have been able to reverse antibiotic resistance in E. coli bacteria; E. coli bacteria were isolated from patients suffering from urinary tract infection. The results were published in the journal Chemical Science.

Antibiotics kill by increasing the levels of reactive oxygen species (oxidative stress) inside bacterial cells. So any mechanism that detoxifies or counters reactive oxygen species generated by antibiotics will reduce the efficacy of antibiotics. “Hydrogen sulphide does this to nullify the effect of antibiotics,” says Dr. Amit Singh from the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology at IISc and one of the corresponding authors of the paper. “When bacteria face reactive oxygen species a protective mechanism in the bacteria kicks in and more hydrogen sulphide is produced.” Hydrogen sulphide successfully counters reactive oxygen species and reduces the efficacy of antibiotics.

The researchers carried out simple experiments to establish this. They first ascertained that regardless of the mode of action of antibiotics, the drugs uniformly induce reactive oxygen species formation inside E. coli bacteria. Then to test if increased levels of hydrogen sulphide gas inside bacteria counter reactive oxygen species produced upon treatment with antibiotics, a small molecule that produces hydrogen sulphide in a controlled manner inside the bacteria was used. “Hydrogen sulphide released by the molecule was able to counter reactive oxygen species and reduce the ability of antibiotics to kill bacteria,” says Dr. Singh.

The small molecule was synthesised by a team led by Prof. Harinath Chakrapani from the Department of Chemistry, IISER, Pune; he is one of the corresponding authors of the paper. “We designed the small molecule keeping in mind that synthesis should be easy, efficiency in producing hydrogen sulphide should be high and the molecule should release hydrogen sulphide only inside bacteria and not mammalian cells,” says Vinayak S. Khodade from the Department of Chemistry, IISER, Pune and one of the authors of the paper who contributed equally like the first author. The researchers were able to selectively increase hydrogen sulphide levels inside a wide variety of bacteria.

To reconfirm hydrogen sulphide’s role in countering reactive oxygen species, the team took multidrug-resistant, pathogenic strains of E. coli from patients suffering from urinary tract infection and measured the hydrogen sulphide levels in these strains. “We found the drug-resistant strains were naturally producing more hydrogen sulphide compared with drug-sensitive E. coli,” says Prashant Shukla from the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology at IISc and the first author of the paper. So the team used a chemical compound that inhibits an enzyme responsible for hydrogen sulphide production. “There was nearly 50% reduction in drug-resistance when hydrogen sulphide production was blocked,” Dr. Singh says.

“Bacteria that are genetically resistant to antibiotics actually become sensitive to antibiotics when hydrogen sulphide synthesis is inhibited,” says Prof. Chakrapani. The multidrug-resistant E. coli regained its ability to survive antibiotics when hydrogen sulphide was once again supplied by introducing the small molecule synthesised by Prof. Chakrapani.

“As a result of our study, we have a found new mechanism to develop a new class of drug candidates that specifically target multidrug-resistant bacteria,” says Prof. Chakrapani. The researchers already have a few inhibitors that seem capable of blocking hydrogen sulphide production. But efforts are on to develop a library of inhibitors to increase the chances of success.

How H2S acts

The researchers identified that E. coli has two modes of respiration involving two different enzymes. The hydrogen sulphide gas produced shuts down E. coli’s aerobic respiration by targeting the main enzyme (cytochrome bo oxidase (CyoA)) responsible for it. E. coli then switches over to an alternative mode of respiration by relying on a different enzyme — cytochrome bd oxidase (Cydb). Besides enabling respiration, the Cydb enzyme detoxifies the reactive oxygen species produced by antibiotics and blunts the action of antibiotics.

“So we found that hydrogen sulphide activates the Cydb enzyme, which, in turn, is responsible for increasing resistance towards antibiotics,” says Dr. Singh. “If we have a drug-like molecule(s) that blocks hydrogen sulphide production and inhibits Cydb enzyme activity then the combination will be highly lethal against multidrug-resistant bacteria.”

This combination can also be used along with antibiotics to effectively treat difficult-to-cure bacterial infections.

The link between hydrogen sulphide and Cydb enzyme in the emergence of drug resistance is another key finding of the study.

100 years with our closest star /the sun

Indian Institute of Astrophysics releases digitised images of the sun for researchers and science enthusiasts

Every day, since 1904, staff at the Kodaikanal Solar Observatory in Tamil Nadu have aimed their telescope at the sun, freezing the images of its disc. This data, spanning a hundred years and more, has now been digitised by astrophysicists from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru, and made available to the public.

Apart from use in academic studies of long term behaviour of the sun, the data can be used to better understand sunspot activity which impacts climate and affects telecommunication systems. It also throws light on major events in the past which had an impact on the earth’s magnetic field. “From that knowledge we may understand the current and future events with greater precision. This also allows us to predict future [sunspot] activity levels with better accuracy,” says Dipankar Banerjee, IIAP, the Principal Investigator.

While ‘spectroheliograms’ were taken at the Kodai observatory since 1902, it was in 1909 that the data was used to discover the Evershed effect – that gases in the sunspots flowed radially outwards. The discovery by John Evershed put the KSO at par with the best observatories in the world. But its importance eventually declined as it was not upgraded or maintained. In a backhanded way, though, this turned out to be beneficial, because “the pictures had all been taken with the same instrument over the years, and this made it much easier to calibrate and digitise,” says Sudip Mandal, a Ph.D student who has worked on the project.

The data is unique not only in that it spans a hundred years, but that there are three sets of images, taken using different filters – White light, H-alpha and Calcium-K. It is known that the sun has a layered structure, and each of these data sets exposes a different layer.

Under white light filtering, the sun’s photosphere and the sunspots are visible, while the Calcium-K light can show layers some 2,000 km above this, in the chromosphere. The H-alpha images show up layers a little above the Calcium-K images. Features called “filaments” which are related to large expulsions of material from the sun’s surface can be viewed in the Calcium-K sets.

Opening up the digitised data has attracted international attention: Max Planck Institute, Gottingen; National Astronomical Observatories of China, Beijing and Big Bear Solar Observatory, US are interested in studying the way the sun’s luminosity changes. Though the sun appears to have a steady brightness, its luminosity actually undergoes changes over time. Some of the groups. The Big Bear Solar Observatory and the Beijing teams are interested in the H-alpha data in order to study the filaments that can be observed in those shots. Within India, groups from IUCAA, Pune; Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad; and IISER, Kolkata, want to make studies.

A movie that the scientists made out of a sequence of hundreds of white light images shows how the sunspots appear and disappear periodically over an eleven-year cycle. Such movies offer immense possibilities for developing educational software, as classes of students can visually experience how the sun and the sunspots behave over the years. Just like CERN offers its data to science hobbyists, for analysis that does not require much training and yet cannot be carried out without human intervention, this data, too, could be used by science fora in India to build citizen science projects.

The data was historically archived in photographic plates and film. After the digitisation, the images are preserved in high-resolution digital format. “We store it in FITS [flexible image transport system] which is the most commonly used digital file format,” clarifies Dr Banerjee.

Digitising this has been a challenging task wthat involves not just reading and displaying the image but also extracting information – for instance differentiating a sunspot from artefacts such as a scratch or a fungal streak. “It can only be done using a lot of sophisticated mathematical tools. Some are available some we have had to develop to handle these challenges,” says Dr Banerjee.

This data can be freely downloaded from https://kso.iiap.res.in and wis also available on request through the contact details given on this website.

The project which was initiated about six years ago by S.S. Hasan, then the director of IIAP, has succeeded in converting to digitised format some sixty-seventy thousand images previously stored in photographic plates. The team includes scientists and the big team of research assistants at the Kodaikanal lab.

At the moment, the group has released the “lowest level” or raw data and plans are on to eventually release the processed ones, too.

British inventor takes flight in ‘Iron Man’ suit

The personal flight suit is capable of propelling wearers much higher and faster, according to its creators.

British inventor Richard Browning lifted off from the shore of Vancouver Harbour on Thursday in a personal flight suit that inspired references to comic superhero ‘Iron Man’.

Using thrusters attached to his arms and back, Mr. Browning flew in a circle and hovered a short distance from the ground, captivating attendees at a prestigious TED Conference.

The personal flight suit is capable of propelling wearers much higher and faster, according to its creators.

“The hypothesis was that the human mind and body, if properly augmented, could achieve some pretty cool stuff,’ the extreme athlete and engineer said at the gathering a short time earlier.

Mr. Browning told of experimenting with various numbers and arrays of essentially miniature jet engines on his limbs. Along the way, he said, there were more than a few crashes to the ground.

“The whole journey was about trying and failing, and learning from that,” Mr. Browning said.

The first reasonably stable, six-second flight with the gear inspired his team to press on. His start-up, Gravity, formally debuted about a month ago with an early-version suit called Daedalus.

A 55-second video clip of the suit in action has logged more than a million views since being posted on YouTube about three weeks ago.

Mr. Browning said he was already getting interest from investors and some in the British military, who told him they had given up on the flight feature of an ‘Iron Man’ suit until seeing his human-propulsion gear.

“I don’t think anyone is going to be going down to Wal-Mart with it or taking anybody to school for quite a while, but the team at Gravity is moving it along,” Mr. Browning said.

He dreams of a flight suit that one day will allow its wearer to launch from a beach, soar along the coast and then perhaps hop into a helicopter in the air to continue their journey.

Mr. Browning has already seen the early-version flight suit compared to the ‘Iron Man’ armour worn by Marvel Comics character Tony Stark, but stressed that his goal was firmly rooted in the real world.

He also described the project as part of a personal journey, inspired by an engineer father with a love for flying machines, but who died when Mr. Browning was just a teenager.

More smartphone components to be included under Make in India to boost manufacturing

To promote domestic manufacturing of cellular mobile handsets, the government on Thursday announced a phased manufacturing programme (PMP), which will be rolled out over a period of time, a statement said here.

“The focus is to ensure that through appropriate fiscal and financial incentives, indigenous manufacturing of cellular mobile handsets and various sub-assemblies which go into manufacturing of handsets can be promoted over a period of time,” the statement said.

“This initiative will help in building a robust indigenous mobile manufacturing ecosystem in India and we believe that it will incentivise large scale manufacturing. It is our roadmap to ensure an increase in the domestic value addition in manufacturing of mobile handsets.

“It will give a huge impetus to local mobile manufacturing and will help us meet a significant portion of the global handset requirement over a period of time,” Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology said.

The PMP has been notified with the objective of substantially increasing the domestic value addition for establishment of a robust cellular mobile handsets manufacturing eco-system in India, it added.

The phase-wise programme covers mechanics, die cut parts, microphone and receiver, key pad and USB cable in the current financial year (2017-18).

It also aims to promote the indigenous manufacturing of populated printed circuit boards, camera modules and connectors in 2018-19; and display assembly, touch panels, vibrator motor and ringer in 2019-20.

The programme will be extended to parts/ sub-parts/ inputs for sub-assemblies as the manufacturing ecosystem evolves over the next few years, the statement said.

“We will not get entrapped by protectionism, but will create deep competencies, both cost and skills, which will create a globally benchmarked workforce and complementary industries intertwined with the global mobile phone and component ecosystem equally encouraging global and domestic enterprises,” said Pankaj Mohindroo, National President, Indian Cellular Association (ICA), Chairman – Fast Track Task Force and Trustee – Center for Development of Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (C-ESDM).

Do your jeans have a Bluetooth connection?

Paris show displays ‘smart’ denims that can give you street directions and send e-mail alerts

A young man in a white T-shirt pulls on a dark blue denim trucker jacket, tucks his smartphone in an inside pocket and puts in-ear headphones in his right ear.

He mounts a fixed-gear bike with flat, slightly curved wide handlebars. Riding through the streets of San Francisco, he occasionally taps or swipes his right hand over the left cuff of his jacket, as the directions he’s listening to continually pop up on the screen of this advertisement.

It’s an ad from iconic U.S. jeans maker Levi Strauss for Project Jacquard, an initiative with Google that the companies started two years ago for so-called “smart” denim.

The future of the popular fabric was the focus at a recent international fashion fair in Paris.

Wearable innovations

The fair featured many wearable innovations such as a waterproof jacket with sunscreen bands and a cable in the pocket to recharge a cellphone, or jeans that keep your body temperature stable. Once mainly the purview of athletic gear — with moisture-wicking shirts and trousers and then clothing that can track motion, heart rate, and body temperature — the new trend for fashion designers is to take everyday wear and transform it using new technologies.

French-based fashion company Spinal Design, for example, has created jeans that can give wearers directions without having to whip out the mobile at every single intersection.

Through Bluetooth sensors stitched into the jeans’ waistband, the smartphone stays out of sight.

“Sensors will vibrate right if you need to turn right, left if you need to turn left,” said Spinal’s innovation director Romain Spinal.

In 2015, the company designed a bikini that tells women when it’s time to apply more sunscreen. The two-piece retails for €149 euros (₹10,500) and comes with a detachable ultraviolet sensor that, through a smartphone or tablet, sends a “sunscreen alert” when the sunbather’s skin needs more cream.

The Spinal jeans, made in France, cost €150 euros and also have e-mail notification capabilities. “They will vibrate differently depending on whether the message received is from your family, your friends or work, in a way that you won’t have to constantly check your e-mail on weekends or on vacation,” Mr. Spinal said.

On their end, Google and Levi expect to release their denim jacket sometime this year, but it will come with a hefty $350 (₹22,500) price tag due in part to its special interactive fabric that allows the jacket’s wearer to order various products online.

England v Ireland: Eoin Morgan praises Adil Rashid for overcoming ‘tough’ winter

Adil Rashid showed he has learned from a “tough” winter by taking 5-27 to help England beat Ireland by seven wickets in Bristol, said captain Eoin Morgan.

Leg-spinner Rashid, 29, struggled for consistency as England lost a Test series in India 4-0 late last year.

He was dropped after the first one-dayer against India but performed well in the West Indies series in March.

“He’s a huge asset for us and hopefully he gets it right in the middle of the summer,” said Morgan.

Rashid’s figures on Friday were the second best by an English spinner in one-day internationals, behind the 5-20 taken by Vic Marks against New Zealand in Wellington in 1984.

“It was a tough time in the winter and he’s clearly learned from it,” Morgan told BBC Test Match Special. “He’s slowly building back enough confidence.

“Coming out with his career-best performance after having a very tough winter in India and starting to put something together in the West Indies – it shows the threat leg-spin has.”

England play the second and final one-dayer against Ireland at Lord’s on Sunday (11:00 BST).

Aizawl team members escape unhurt in bus accident

Newly-crowned I-League champions Aizawl FC team members today escaped unhurt when the bus carrying them to the airport met with an accident, police said.

The players were to catch a flight from Lengpui Airport, 40 kilometres west of Aizawl, as they were leaving for Cuttack to take part in the Federation Cup starting on Sunday.

But the bus carrying them met with an accident, police said.

There were no casualties and none of the players sustained injuries, police said.

The mishap occurred as the driver reportedly dozed off while driving and the bus fell into a drain, police said.

Earlier, an Aizwal FC fan had died during the reception ceremony of the club at the Assam Rifles ground on Monday, police said.

Aizawl take on Chennai City FC in their first match of the Federation Cup on Sunday.

Kumble irks BCCI, could land into trouble before Champions Trophy

New Delhi: India’s Champions Trophy participation may still hang till the May 7th Special General Meeting but controversies are chasing the Indian Team and those associated with it like an inseparable shadow.

In a fresh set of obstacles, Indian head coach Anil Kumble has apparently landed into hot soup after letting his emotions flow about Indian’s Champions Trophy fate.

Kumble had reportedly approached the BCCI lamenting that he along with the entire Indian team are willing to board the flight to England to defend their crown in the Champions Trophy. BCCI, which is seriously thinking of boycotting the ICC event, has apparently not taken Kumble’s move in the most harmonious manner.

Some BCCI officials are irked because they want the matter to be left to the board, which is on a head-on fight with the ICC for changing the revenue-sharing model for which the BCCI is set to incur a hefty loss.

“It is the institution which decides, and not one individual. Kumble writing to the Board about his decision of wanting to play in the Champions Trophy was uncalled for. He had no business in doing this,” a senior BCCI member was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

“Kumble is going to be on a sticky wicket for this act once the Board members take control of BCCI. It is just a matter of time,” said another senior functionary.

Notably, Indian captain Virat Kohli and a host of other former Indian cricketers including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly have also been vocal about the need for an assent for India’s Champions Trophy participation.

The CoA (Committee of Administrators) has also directed the board to select the squad for Champions Trophy after the April 25 deadline was missed.

India to participate in Champions Trophy

New Delhi: The Committee of Administrators (CoA) met the members of state association in Delhi on Saturday to reconfirm their status regarding to India participation in the Champions Trophy and with respect to Members Participation Agreement (MPA).

North zone and east zone unit went in first followed by central, west and south zone.

All members categorically stated that they do not favour a pull out or any drastic action. However, some members wanted a letter to be sent.

CoA reminded that negotiations are the only way out and they should bargain hard, and members were largely in agreement. BCCI may seek a tally of $400-450m from ICC.

ABP News first reported that India will play champions trophy and selection will happen on May 8. BCCI acting President CK Khanna confirmed this development and Amitabh choudhary will convene the meeting.

BCCI SGM now remains a matter of generic interest after all members reiterated their intention of India playing the Champions Trophy

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: Rupinderpal’s brace seals bronze for India

Ipoh: Rupinderpal Singh converted two penalty corners as India outclassed New Zealand 4-0 to clinch a bronze medal in the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, here today.

Rupinderpal sent identical ground drag-flicks into the corner past New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce’s outstretched right hand in the 17th and 27th minutes.

SV Sunil then scored his first goal of the tournament in the 48th minute as he captitalised on a cross from Mandeep Singh into the goalmouth, while Talwinder Singh rounded off India’s scoring in the last minute.

Earlier, Malaysia defeated Japan 3-1 in the playoff to decide the fifth place in the tournament standings.

Having failed to earn a place in the final after a listless show in the last preliminary league encounter against Malaysia yesterday, India gave an improved display to clinch the bronze medal – a shade below their silver medal behind Australia in the tournament last year.

Combining well, the Indian strikers showed purpose when they moved into the rival territory, but India missed three sitters in the first quarter that ended goalless.

India started with two successive penalty corners in the second minute of play, but the rushers denied Harmanpreet Singh a good look at the goal.

In the next minute, a soft error by the Black Sticks defenders saw Mandeep gain possession of the ball and move into the scoring area, but his reverse drive from the top of the circle was deflected by the goalkeeper.

Captain Manpreet Singh’s brilliant flair in the fifth minute saw him break into the circle down the right flank and feed a cross to Mandeep, who failed to deflect the ball toward the goal.

India’s best chance in the first quarter came in the 12th minute when Manpreet sent a cross parallel to the goalline for Mandeep, stationed near the far post, but Mandeep erred in his effort to tap the ball in.

Rupinderpal opened the scoring on India’s third penalty corner, his stinging grounder leaving the defenders gasping. In the 27th minute, Mandeep had a good run on the left flank.

After charging into the circle, his cross found no takers, but an obstruction on Mandeep earned India a penalty corner. Rupinderpal’s shot on the fourth penalty corner struck a defender’s foot and another penalty corner was awarded, which he duly converted with a fine low shot.

After failing to feature in goal-scoring action in the entire tournament, Sunil finally made en entry on the score- sheet by deflecting in Mandeep’s cross from right in the 48th minute.

Talwinder Singh also got among the goal scorers for the first time in the last minute of play after picking a pass from Manpreet in the circle. Talwinder created some space for himself and sent a reverse shot into the boards.

Unadkat does the ’trick for Pune

Sunrisers fail to overhaul a modest total

Left-arm pacer Jaydev Undakat could not have timed his hat-trick better.

With Sunrisers Hyderabad needing 13 runs in the final over to clinch victory, Unadkat removed Bipul Sharma, Rashid Khan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar with his second, third and fourth balls to guide Rising Pune Supergiant to a remarkable 12-run win in the Vivo IPL at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Saturday.

Unadkat finished off a five-for, and it had come against a formidable batting line-up and under pressure.

Stokes shines

A brilliant all-round performance from Ben Stokes earlier — he followed up a breezy knock of 39 (25, 1×4, 3×6) with a three-wicket haul.

Stokes dismissed Shikhar Dhawan, who was looking dangerous, and Kane Williamson in the fifth over, and then forced a well-set David Warner to slash straight to deep-point in the 13th over.

Yuvraj Singh also looked good with a straight six off Stokes and an imperious pull off pacer Shardul Thakur.

But Unadkat, returning for his second spell, drew Yuvraj into a slice to the deep, and Pune was back in the game.

It was a thoroughly disciplined bowling performance from Supergiant which fashioned the win.

Earlier, after being put in to bat, Supergiant did not manage the sort of start it would have hoped for.

In-form opener Rahul Tripathi was run out for one, thanks to a direct hit from short fine-leg by Bipul Sharma in the second over.

Ajinkya Rahane then swept left-arm spinner Bipul to Yuvraj Singh at deep square-leg in the seventh over, with score reading 39.

The fact that Rahane’s six in the sixth over — stepping out to medium-pacer Moises Henriques and lofting him over long-on — was the first boundary was a reflection of the Sunrisers’ discipline.

Bhuvneshwar, yet again, was miserly in his first spell of 2-0-9-0, even as he saw his new-ball partner, left-armer Ashish Nehra leave the field with cramps after bowling seven balls.

Boundaries at a premium

Interestingly, the first four of the innings was struck by Stokes off Siddarth Kaul in the 14th over!

Captain Steven Smith was lucky to be dropped when on five at short fine-leg by Bipul off Kaul.

The belligerence of the big-hitting Stokes, who hit Bipul for three sixes, and an unusually quiet Smith put the innings back on the rails.

Typical Dhoni knock

A typical M.S. Dhoni innings — the former India skipper shrugged off a sluggish start to hit Bhuvneshwar for a four and two sixes in the 19th over — ensured that Supergiant ended up with a far more respectable total than had looked likely.

While it was leggie Rashid Khan who struck the big blow to get rid of Stokes, Kaul was the pick of the bowlers for Sunrisers, with a four-wicket haul.

He was even on-a-hat-trick, dismissing M.S. Dhoni and Shardul Thakur off consecutive balls in the 20th over.

Game Of Thrones announces plans for four spin-offs to add to ‘vast universe’

For every Frasier, there’s a Joey – so can the Game of Thrones spin-offs live up to the hype of HBO’s most profitable ever show?

HBO has announced plans for four different spin-offs of hit TV show Game Of Thrones.

Author George R R Martin has signed a contract with the broadcasters and four “very talented writers” to prolong the network’s most profitable ever show.

“We’ll take as much or as little time as the writers need and, as with all our development, we will evaluate what we have when the scripts are in,” a spokeswoman for HBO said on Thursday.

The network has not set a deadline for the projects.

One of the four writers hired to extend the show’s success is Britain’s Jane Goldman, who co-wrote the R-rated superhero flick Kick-Ass in 2010.

The other three are Mad Men writer Carly Wray, Brian Helgeland, who penned the crime caper LA Confidential, and Max Borenstein from Kong: Skull Island.

:: Game Of Thrones actor teases ‘death by dragon fire’

Game Of Thrones
Season 07 First Look
(L-R) Nathalie Emmenuel as Missandei
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Conleth Hill as Lord Varys
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm
©2017 Macall B. Polay/HBO\

The announcement comes as the series is gearing up for its inevitable end, scheduled for 2018.

It is a smart and predictable move for HBO, but one which has had varying degrees of success for other much-loved series.

While Cheers spin-off Frasier undoubtedly managed to emulate and even surpass the success of its predecessor, and Breaking Bad follow-up Better Call Saul has also been well received by fans, many have failed to stand on their own.

‘Dear White People’ star sees Hollywood shift: ‘Being ethnic is cool

Dear Hollywood, the star of Netflix’s “Dear White People” thinks you’re in the midst of an important shift. And she couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.

She might be just 27, but Logan Browning has been in the entertainment business long enough to note that an increase in the industry’s desire for diverse programming has opened doors for talent and storytellers of color.
“I think we’re definitely in a wave of entertainment where — it sounds how it’s going to sound — being ethnic is cool,” Browning told CNN in a recent interview. “I think what writers are doing is taking this idea where networks want ethnicity and diversity and they’re taking the opportunity to broaden it and make [characters] not so one-note and simple.”
In “Dear White People,” Browning plays a woman who’s anything but simple.
Sam is a young radio host and activist who attends a fictional Ivy League college where the racial divide runs deeper than many students and the administration care to admit. Sam sees this divide clearly and isn’t afraid to talk about it.
If “quirky best friend” and “neighbor” were once the best opportunities available for actors of color, “Dear White People,” an adaptation of Justin Simien’s 2014 film, is a sort of hallmark of an era made possible by the Olivia Popes and Cookie Lyons of television.

If a character challenges me, then I am like a bull: Manoj Bajpayee

Manoj Bajpayee says different roles pose different kinds of challenges; adds that he is lucky to have worked with directors who have given him creative freedom.

With powerful and offbeat roles in films such as Aligarh (2015) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Manoj Bajpayee has showcased a gamut of emotions on screen. Ask the actor if he only likes taking up roles that are different and complex, and he says, “If the character says try me, or if it really challenges me then I am like a bull. When Aligarh was offered to me, it actually scared me. Not because I had to play a homosexual role, but because of the kind of performance it demanded.

If an actor doesn’t know how to give characterisation, he will never be able to give different kind of performances. Various roles pose different kind of challenge on the actor.”

Most actors rely on the director’s sensibilities for the projection of a character. Manoj, however, prefers to bring in his own interpretation to the table. “I bring in my own interpretation, but with the approval of the director. Be it a Ram Gopal Varma, Anurag Kashyap or Hansal Mehta, each one of them has given me loads of space. They never interfered. I’ve been lucky. They have so much respect that they give me a free hand to interpret and discuss with them,” says the actor.

I enjoy photoshoots if they aren’t random or aimless: Katrina Kaif

Actor Katrina Kaif, who is famous celebrity photographer Mario Testino’s latest muse, says she has been “following his work” for years.

Be it A-list stars, musicians, supermodels or other artists, he has captured a plethora of celebrities – over the years – through his lens. Now, Katrina Kaif has become famous celebrity photographer Mario Testino’s latest muse with a much-talked-about photo shoot. “It was really nice [shooting with Mario]. During my growing up years and especially, since I started out as a model, I’ve admired Mario’s works. He has an eye for detail and shoots women in a certain way,” says the actor.

The Bang Bang (2014) actor feels “anyone who follows the fashion or photography industry” knows that he is a legend in his field. I have been seeing his work for years, which, I feel, is unique. After a certain point, photography on that level can start to have a similar feel. But I think, you can always tell an image that he has clicked. There is some sort of an edge to it,” she says.

Does she enjoy photo shoots? “I do as long as they have a specific intention and aren’t random or aimless. Before going in, I need to know what kind of image we are trying to create. If you have clarity, enthusiasm and a nice theme, it can be a lot of fun,” she says, adding that it makes for a “much more enjoyable shoot” when one bonds well with a photographer.

Baahubali 2 box office collection day 8: SS Rajamouli film collects Rs 925 crore

Baahubali 2 box office collection day 8: Prabhas and Rana Daggubati film collected Rs 745 crore in the domestic market and Rs 180 crore in the overseas market.

SS Rajamouli’s film Baahubali 2 is on a record breaking spree and continues to surprise those who thought movies are dying. The film has collected Rs 925 crore worldwide. Baahubali 2 collected Rs 745 crore in the domestic market and Rs 180 crore in the overseas market. Trade tracker Ramesh Bala tweeted the figures, ” #Baahubali2 8 Days WW BO (Estimates) #India :Nett – ₹ 587 Crs Gross – ₹ 745 Crs Overseas : Gross – ₹ 180 Crs Total – ₹ 925 Crs.”

Vladimir Putin backs investigation into Chechnya ‘gay purge’

Authorities will look into reports of brutality and persecution of those with a “non-traditional sexual orientation”.

President Vladimir Putin has said he will intervene over reports of gay men in the Chechnya region being locked up and tortured.

He told Russia’s human rights ambassador, Tatyana Moskalkova, that he would personally “talk to the prosecutor-general and the interior minister”.

More than 100 gay men were arrested and tortured, at least two killed by relatives and one died in custody, the Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported in April.

It said people had been told to kill gay family members to “wash clean their honour”.

One man told Sky News how he was forced to flee Chechnya after police turned up at his home looking for him, while another said he was electrocuted and beaten.

The Russian leader has now agreed to an investigation into “the well-known information, or rumours” about people “with a non-traditional sexual orientation”.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov attends the dedication ceremony of a new mosque in the Arab Israeli town of Abu Ghosh, west of Jerusalem on March 23 2014.The Chechen government contributed six million dollars to help fund the building of the new Mosque. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman leader of the conservative and Muslim region, has denied the claims but following Mr Putin’s invention said officials would look into it.

However, the rigour of the investigation could be another matter – Mr Kadyrov believes Chechnya does not have any gay people.

“Chechen society does not have the phenomenon called non-traditional sexual orientation: its people have lived for thousands of years according to different rules laid down by Allah,” he said.

REVEALED: North Korea builds secret islands to stealthily launch nuclear missiles

NORTH KOREA has built islands containing secret military facilities to launch nuclear missiles without its enemies knowledge

A total of five islands are now being used to house the facilities in the bays surrounding the city of Sohae, which is the hermit kingdom’s main missile development and testing site.

Some of the islands are natural, while others have been constructed, Damen Cook, lead research associate for geopolitical analysis group, Strategic Sentinel revealed.

Dubbed the “Sohae islands” by the group, he said the North Koreans may be using the islands as alternative launchpads as global intelligence agencies find out more and more about the main facility in Sohae.

Writing in The Diplomat, he said: “As Sohae’s target value rises, the North Korean military may be dispersing its assets into nearby facilities.

“Firing exclusively from Sohae’s resident Tongch’ang-ri Launch Facility during wartime would be a dangerously predictable, amateurish mistake.

“But constructing island launch sites would buck the common and cost-effective practice of building remote Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) pads hidden between mountains.”

 

The empty patches of land on the islands could feasibly be used to launch nuclear ballistic missiles, he said.

He added: “These empty lots could plausibly accommodate a North Korean ballistic missile and the TEL it rode in on.

“These TELs — those vehicles so frequently touted in North Korean military parades, ballistic missiles stacked neatly on top — could disperse from their shelters and onto these various islands during times of heightened tension.”

These latest images were taken in December 2016, with Mr Cook saying some features on the islands would not make them an optimum place for some of North Korea’s missile launchers and some of the structures do not appear to have any blast shield protecting them.

However, he said the construction projects “could have been completed in the intervening time”.

What does Afghan warlord Hekmatyar’s return mean?

Afghanistan’s conflict-weary citizens have cautiously welcomed the return of warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to Kabul.

The leader of Afghanistan’s second-largest militant group, Mr Hekmatyar is an Islamist warlord accused of numerous atrocities during the civil war of the 1990s.

But he has signed a peace deal with the Western-backed Afghan government and says he is abandoning violence.

Afghan leaders say the deal is a step forward for the nation, but how significant is it really and what are Mr Hekmatyar’s plans now?

Will this help the security situation?

So far, no. Mr Hekmatyar’s move to renounce violence seems not to be having any noticeable impact on the battlefield.

The main insurgent groups fighting the Afghan and Nato-led forces are the Taliban and its semi-autonomous Haqqani network, al-Qaeda and recently the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.

Mr Hekmatyar’s forces were involved in sporadic small-scale attacks that were insignificant compared to the Taliban insurgency and they have largely tapered off in recent years.

Half of his Hizb-e-Islami party supported the post-2001 Western-backed Afghan government and the rest remained with him. Some believe this is more a peace accord with a person than with a major political or militant party that is actively involved in the current conflict.

But is there a bigger picture?

Yes. His return is of greater symbolic importance. Mr Hekmatyar is still regarded as a religious figure who led a significant resistance movement against the former Soviet Union occupation of Afghanistan under the banner of jihad.

 

Macron condemns ‘massive’ hacking attack as documents leaked

The campaign of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron says it has been the target of a “massive hacking attack” after a trove of documents was released online.

The campaign said that genuine files were mixed up with fake ones in order to confuse people.

It said it was clear that hackers wanted to undermine Mr Macron ahead of Sunday’s second round vote.

The centrist will face off against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

The documents were leaked on a file sharing website late on Friday and the Macron camp condemned the action just before the official campaigning period ended at midnight (22:00 GMT).

Candidates and the media now face restrictions until the polls close on Sunday evening, meaning Mr Macron cannot issue further statements.

Opinion polls had indicated the former economy minister carried a lead of 20 percentage points or more over Ms Le Pen, the National Front candidate.

What was released?

About nine gigabytes of data were posted online by an anonymous user.

Mr Macron’s En Marche movement said internal campaign documents, including emails and financial data, had been taken in an “act of massive, co-ordinated hacking”.

“The leaked files were obtained several weeks ago by hacking personal and professional email accounts of several officials of the movement,” it said in a statement.

The campaign said the documents showed only legitimate campaign activities.

France’s election commission warned that publication or republication of the leaked information could be a criminal offence.


How did the leaks spread?

The hashtag #MacronLeaks appeared on Twitter on an account used by a US alt-right figure on Friday afternoon – and was reportedly retweeted 87 times in the first five minutes, suggesting the use of automated bots to amplify the signal.

Within 90 minutes, the information had caught the attention of prominent supporters of Marine Le Pen and was further spread by bots.

Some three-and-a-half hours after the initial tweet, #MacronLeaks had been used some 47,000 times and the prominent Wikileaks account played a key role in publicising the hashtag.


Who might be responsible?

That too remains unclear. The Macron camp has not blamed any specific party but said the hack clearly aimed to damage it and undermine French democracy,

It compared it to the leak of Democratic Party emails in last year’s US presidential election that was blamed on Russian hackers.

Wikileaks, which published those emails, posted a link to the Macron documents on Twitter but implied it was not responsible.

Is this unprecedented?

Mr Macron’s team has already been the victim of hacking attacks, for which it has blamed groups based in Russia and Ukraine. It suspects the Kremlin of wanting to help Ms Le Pen, who supports a pro-Moscow foreign policy.

  • Macron campaign servers went down for several minutes in February after attacks apparently originating in Ukraine
  • Last month security experts from the company Trend Micro said that Russian hackers were targeting Mr Macron’s campaign, using phishing emails, malware and fake net domains in an attempt to grab login names, passwords and other credentials of campaign staff

Russia has denied that it is behind attacks aimed at Mr Macron.

On Thursday, the centrist candidate filed a lawsuit over online rumours that he had a secret bank account in the Caribbean.

Mr Macron called the allegations “fake news and lies” and said some of the sites spreading them were “linked to Russian interests”.

Armored military vehicle runs over Venezuelan protester

Sirens blared in the Altamira neighborhood of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.

Anti-government protesters poured into the streets of this once bustling commercial and residential hub, their young faces obscured by tear-gas masks and bandanas. They hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at riot police who responded Wednesday to the almost daily demonstrations calling for embattled President Nicolas Maduro to step down.
Police in riot gear opened fire with what appeared to be tear gas. A Molotov cocktail sparked a fire atop an armored National Guard vehicle. It backed away from the crowd. Protesters surrounded two members of the security forces.
The armored vehicle, flames spitting from its roof, plowed into the crowd. A young man, his head covered in a white rag, fell in front of the truck. A video camera captured the horror as someone in the crowd yelled, “Son of a —–!”
Interior and justice minister Nestor Reverol told reporters this week that the “lamentable” incident was under investigation. Referring to the protesters as “terrorists,” Reverol said that moments before Yaminne was run over, demonstrators hurled a Molotov cocktail at the armored vehicle, opened the side door and “brutally assaulted” the driver. He showed a video of the assault to make his point.
At least 36 people have died and more than 700 have been injured in protests in the last month, the Venezuelan prosecutor’s office reported. Half the deaths occurred in the capital of a country mired in economic crisis and political instability. The victims included four teenagers, a National Guard member and a police officer.

Trump signs $1 trillion spending bill, keeps government open

To keep the government operating through September, in first major piece of legislation.

President Donald Trump signed his first piece of major legislation on Friday, a $1 trillion spending bill to keep the government operating through September.

The bill was cleared by both houses of the Congress this week and Mr. Trump signed it into law behind closed doors at his home in central New Jersey, well ahead of a midnight Friday deadline for some government operations to begin shutting down.

But other budget battles lie ahead as the White House and Congress hammer out a spending plan for the fiscal year that starts October 1.

Republicans praised $15 billion in additional Pentagon spending obtained by Mr. Trump, as well as $1.5 billion in emergency spending for border security, though not for the wall he has vowed to build along the U.S.-Mexico border to deter illegal immigration, and the extension of a school voucher program in the District of Columbia.

Wants big military build-up

Mr. Trump also wants a huge military build-up matched by cuts to popular domestic programs and foreign aid accounts. He signed the bill despite his objections to numerous provisions included in the measure. One such provision prohibits the Justice Department from using any funds to block implementation of medical marijuana laws by states and U.S. territories.

In a signing statement that accompanied the bill and that laid out his objections, Mr. Trump said he reserved the right to ignore the provision. He held out the possibility that the administration could pursue legal action against states and territories that legalise marijuana for medical use.

Marijuana remains illegal for any purpose under federal law. The White House previously signalled a looming crackdown on recreational pot use.

“I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” Mr. Trump said in the signing statement, a tool that previous presidents have used to explain their positions on appropriations bills.

On Gitmo

Mr. Trump also objects to provision governing the transfer of prisoners held at a U.S. facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But the White House said his objection should not be seen as a shift in policy, but as a statement of his view that the provision could conflict with his constitutional authority and duties in some circumstances.

Mr. Trump said during the presidential campaign that he wanted the detention centre, known as “Gitmo,” kept open. At one point, he pledged to “load it up with some bad dudes.”

Republicans and Democrats, who negotiated the spending bill in recent days had successfully defended other accounts Mr. Trump had targeted for spending cuts, such as foreign aid, the Environmental Protection Agency, support for the arts and economic development grants, among others.

The sweeping, 1,665-page bill also increases spending for NASA, medical research, and the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Trump took to Twitter earlier this week to complain about the bipartisan process that produced the measure but later changed his tone and began highlighting the spending that was added for the military and for border security. He advocated in one tweet for a “good shutdown” in September to fix the “mess” that produced the bill, but then appeared in the White House Rose Garden hours later to boast that the measure amounted to a big win for him.

In other areas, retired union coal miners won a $1.3 billion provision to preserve health benefits for more than 22,000 retirees. House Democrats won funding to give Puerto Rico’s cash-strapped government $295 million to help ease its Medicaid burden.

Emotive connect with Infosys to remain forever: Gopalakrishnan

Kris Gopalakrishnan also said that the IT boom will continue for the next 30 years in India.

Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder and former CEO of Infosys, has said that even though he is no more professionally engaged with the company, the emotional connect will never fade.

The IT veteran’s comments assume significance at a time when there is an ongoing spat between the Infosys management and founders over a range of issues, including the corporate governance and salary hikes given to the top management.

Addressing the students of the Indian School of Business on Friday, Gopalakrishnan said, “The emotional connect will never go away (with Infosys). But you are not professionally involved. You are personally not involved in business. Infosys’ best interest will always be in my mind whether I am able to help or not.”

On his thoughts about founders’ departure from the IT bellwether, he said, “You cannot emotionally walk away from something that you have built over your lifetime, or most of your lifetime…33 or 35 years. But you also prepare yourselves for a second innings and get involved in something else“.

Speaking at an interactive session with students, the industry veteran also said the IT boom will continue for the next 30 years in India and it is the best time for entrepreneurs for venturing into a business as the situation is conducive.

Talking about the environment about startups in India, he said the future would be more exciting for industries such as healthcare and automobiles.

“I firmly believe that the next 30 years will be more exciting because it is not just about IT. It is the use of IT in every aspect of our life and every industry. Automotive industry is going to transform because cars with selfless driving and many are going to come. Alternative fuels and fuel efficient cars and many more innovations are going to come.

Healthcare will also witness many more changes, he opined.

Change Wage Structure For H-1B Visas, Says US Labour Department

In the four-page letter, US Acting Labour Secretary identified the “four-tier wage structure” as one of the main reasons under which companies have been hiring foreign workers on H-1B visas on a low wage.

Washington: The US Labour Department has said a legislative change is required in the four-tiered wage structure to take stronger action against firms using H-1B visas to replace their American employees with workers from countries like India.

“Absent a legislative change, the Department (of labour) lacks the authority to alter the employers’ ability to take advantage of the four-tiered prevailing wage structure currently used by employers in H-I B Labour Condition Applications,” US Department of Labour said in a letter to two top American Senators – Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin.

US Acting Secretary of Labour Edward C Hugler, in the letter dated April 27, has identified several other legislative changes for it to take stronger action against H-1 B visa-dependent companies who the lawmakers allege displace American workers.
Releasing a copy of the letter to the media, Senators Grassley and Durbin in a joint statement said that Congress needs to give the Department of Labour authority to investigate H-1B visa abuse, which is not the case now.

“The Labour Department’s response further highlights the urgent need to end H-1B visa abuse. The wellbeing of thousands of hard-working Americans is at stake,” they said.

In the four-page letter, Acting Labour Secretary identified the “four-tier wage structure” as one of the main reasons under which companies have been hiring foreign workers on H-1B visas on a low wage.

“With respect to foreign workers being paid less than US workers, the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) permits US employers to offer wages to H-1B workers based on a four-tiered prevailing wage structure that accounts for experience, education, and the level of supervision for a given occupation,” the Acting Labour Secretary said.

“Since the enactment of the four-tiered wage structure in 2004, a large number of US employers have employed H-1B workers at an entry level or ‘Tier 1’ wage in areas where the ‘average’ wage for all similarly employed American workers in the local area is much higher,” the letter said.

It said that in the absence of a legislative change, the department lacks the authority to alter the employers’ ability to take advantage of the four-tiered prevailing wage structure currently used by employers in the H-IB Labour Condition Applications.

Congress, he stressed, has a key role to play when it comes to protecting American workers and eliminating fraud from the H-1B visa programme.

“Congress must take legislative steps to provide the Department and other federal agencies involved in the H-1B visa programme with the tools it needs to improve and oversee the programme,” he wrote adding that the Department looks forward to working with Grassley and Durbin and others in Congress to achieve that goal.

In their joint statement, Grassley and Durbin said a number of US employers, including some large, well-known, publicly-traded corporations have laid off thousands of American workers and replaced them with H-1B visa holders.

To add insult to injury, many of the replaced American employees report that they have been forced to train the foreign workers who are taking their jobs, they alleged.

“That’s just plain wrong and our bipartisan legislation will help fix that problem, particularly by giving the Labour Department the authority it needs to investigate H-1B visa abuses,” said the two Senators who have introduced legislations in this regard in the US Senate.

The Acting Labour Secretary rued that the INA generally does not permit the Department to challenge the employer’s attestations entered on a Labour Condition Application, nor does the statute otherwise contemplate a comprehensive pre-labour certification review.

According to the letter, the Department is currently considering ways to bring greater transparency to the H-1B program to provide a clearer understanding of the effects of the program on domestic and foreign workers, employers and the public.

Observing that the INA provides very specific statutory limitations governing review of Labour Condition Applications and its investigation of violations of H-1B rules by employers, the letter said the Department simply on the basis of a television or print news report initiate an investigation against a company.

The specificity of statutory provisions demonstrates that the H-1B provisions of the INA carefully define the Department’s authority to conduct investigations, he said.

“The INA specifically limits the circumstances under which investigations may be conducted, he said.

While the INA requires H-1B dependent employers to inquire about displacement of US workers prior to providing H-1B workers to a secondary entity, and it can be unlawful for a dependent employer to displace US workers, the Acting Labour Secretary rued that the statute only prohibits H-1B dependent employers from displacing US workers employed by the secondary entity within the statutorily set period beginning 90 days before and ending 90 days after the placement of the H-1B worker with the secondary employer.

The Department is also considering changes to the Labour Condition Application (the application for a labour certification) for future application cycles, he said.

The Labour Condition Application, which is a required part of the H-1B visa application process, may be updated to provide greater transparency for agency personnel, US workers and the general public, he said.

The Wage and Hours Division (WED) is specifically limited by statute as to the nature and the source of information it can use in order to initiate an investigation, he said adding that WED is in the process of assessing the complaint intake process to better enable them to capture additional information from a credible source that may be used to initiate an investigation under existing INA authority.

Salary Deducted For Not Serving Notice Period Taxable? Good News For You

In many organisations, typically, when an employee resigns but does not serve out the notice period according to the employment conditions, the employer deducts part of the salary attributed to this period.

In a significant ruling, the Ahmedabad bench of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal or ITAT recently ruled that an amount deducted from an employee’s salary for not serving out a notice period cannot be considered as taxable income. “…in our considered view, the actual salary received by the assessee is only taxable and therefore, we allow this ground of appeal of the assessee,” the bench said earlier this month. In other words, this means that where an employee has not served the notice period as per terms of employment and deduction has been made from his or her salary in this regard, such deduction could not be treated as income of employee and subjected to income tax.

The ruling came in a case related to a person who did not serve the full notice period during his stint at two companies and his employers had deducted certain amount while paying the final salaries.

In this particular case, the person had shown only net receipt as income while filing his return of income. The Income Tax Department contended that as salary was taxed on due basis, whether paid or not, and did not allow this deduction. However, the Tribunal ruled in favour of assessee.

Commenting on the tribunal’s ruling, Sandeep Sehgal, director for tax and regulatory at Ashok Maheshwary & Associates LLP, said, “This is a significant ruling. The person got only net amount in his hands and the deductions were made by the employers beforehand. The tribunal recognised this fact and concluded that such deductions made can’t be considered as income in the hands of the person as this is not a real income.”

In many organisations, typically, when an employee resigns but does not serve out the notice period according to the employment conditions, the employer deducts part of the salary attributed to this period. Income tax authorities however tend to tax the entire salary due, whether paid or not. Hence, the Tribunal’s order assumes significance after it said that the deducted amount could not be considered as taxable salary income.

How Ramdev’s Patanjali Aims To Double Sales To Rs. 20,000 Crore In A Year

Co-founded by yoga guru Ramdev, Patanjali is planning to double its revenue base to Rs. 20,000 crore by the next financial year.

Patanjali Ayurved, which is co-founded by yoga guru Ramdev, is planning to double its revenue base to Rs. 20,000 crore by the next financial year. For the just-concluded financial year, which ended on March 31 this year, Haridwar-based FMCG company Patanjali Ayurved clocked a turnover of Rs. 10,561 crore. “We would grow more than double this year… By next year, Patanjali would be in the leading position and in most of the product categories, it would be number one,” Ramdev said.

Elaborating on how Patanjali Ayurved plans to double its sales in the year ahead, Acharya Balkrishna, MD and CEO of Patanjali Ayurved, told NDTV, “The company has opened production units at 2-3 places and going ahead, 3-4 production units will come up this year…we will definitely achieve our target of sales of Rs. 20,000 crore.”

Patanjali Ayurved is also setting up a facility to cater to exports.
Mr Balkrishna said, “In Nagpur, construction of production facility is underway in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) which will cater to exports. Like doubts on ‘swadeshi’ products have been eradicated here in India, the same way doubts surrounding ‘swadeshi’ products among foreigners will also be eradicated.”

Meanwhile, Patanjali is working on a model to sell its products through e-commerce as well.

“We have done research on e-commerce model and there are some practical problems for FMCG products, we have solved some problem and planning is underway, in coming time if these problems get solved we will go in for e-commerce model as well,” said the Patanjali CEO, who debuted on Forbes magazine’s ‘100 Richest Indians’ list last year.

Allaying concerns of industry experts that FMCG industry is growing at a slower pace after demonetisation, Mr Balkrishna said, “There has not been any impact on our sales rather our sales have increased. When there is shortage of liquidity in the system people tend to spend money on necessary items and people have liked Patanjali as our sales have increased and people think that our products useful.”

Economic affairs secretary questions global rating agencies

YOKOHAMA: India has expressed its displeasure over not getting a rating upgrade by global rating agenciesdespite improvements in growth and fundamentals. Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das hit out at them saying they are detached from ground realities of India and that they must introspect as the recent reforms in India warrant an upgrade. Das is at Yokohamato attend the Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting.

Speaking to the Indian media here, he said, “So far as government is concerned, it will continue to take measures which are good for the country, which are good for the economy. The government will continue to take structural reform measures, step up public investment, do what is good for the economy, for our growth, for our employment generation.”

He further added, “The kind of number and quality of reforms which India has experienced in last two-three years is unparalleled. It is only in India that you see this kind of reforms are happening.” Das said that with all these changes, India has continued to maintain 7 per cent plus GDP growth rate, while the ease of doing business has improved considerably.

Stating these facts, he claimed, “If the rating agencies do not give an upgrade to India, if they do not give any weightage to it, I think they are probably far detached from ground realities. So, it is really for them to introspect.”

Earlier this week, Moody’s and Fitch cited weak fiscal position to keep India’s sovereign rating unchanged at ‘BBB-‘, the lowest investment grade with stable outlook assigned to India, a decade ago. In past too, India has questioned the methodology used by global rating agencies saying the nation compares favourably with other emerging countries on metrics such as default risk. In particular, it points to S&P Global Ratings keeping China at AA- despite rising debt and slowing growth.

Markets end in red due to fag-end selling pressure

MUMBAI: Benchmark indices put on a sluggish performance in this truncated week. After posting solid gains in the last week, benchmark indices ended the week in red owing to Friday’s steep fall.

Domestic and global economic developments kept investors on the watch, throughout the week. Mounting issues over NPAs in the banking segment came under the government’s scanner as it issued an ordinance to amend the Banking Regulation Act that will empower the RBI to go after defaulters.

In another move by the government, Indian steel makers took a breath of relief after the Cabinet approved National Steel Policy, under which priority will be given to Indian steelmakers in government tenders for infrastructure projects.

News from other end of the globe, the U.S. Federal Reserve kept the key interest rates unchanged. Further, it viewed the slowdown in economy as transitionary and remained optimistic about the future, hinting at at least a couple more interest rate hikes in this year.

After opening the week at 30,021.49 points, the Sensex posted a loss of 0.20 per cent. It traded in the range of 29,804.12 and 30,176.55 to finally close at 29,858.80.

The Nifty started the week over 9300 mark at 9,339.85 and lost 0.20 per cent by the end of the week. It traded in the range of 9,269.90 and 9,377.10 and closed at 9,285.30.

Anupam Singhi, COO of William O’Neil India said,” Talking about the broader indices the Nifty Midcap snapped from its seven week winning streak to post a loss of 0.21 per cent in this week.

Talking of the trading action in this week, benchmark indices traded sluggishly in the first two trading sessions.

Volatility prevailed on Tuesday and Wednesday as key composites were range bound and closed flat with no major move. Investors awaited U.S. Federal Reserve’s verdict on key interest rate.

However, benchmark indices staged a strong rebound in Thursday’s session to end the day with significant gains. Government’s amendments to the Banking Regulation Act and approval of National Steel Policy fostered market growth. The Nifty clocked an all-time high on closing basis in the session.

The cheers were however short lived as bears rampaged markets on Fiday’s session giving away all the week’s gains. Key indices witnessed sharp correction amid weak metal prices and profit booking.

Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) and foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares net Rs 930.85 crores during the week.

The total turnover during the week on BSE and NSE fell to Rs Rs 17,292.52 crores and Rs 1,07,803.40 crores respectively from Rs 21,404.14 crore and Rs 1,42,309.69 crs last week.

President promulgates ordinance on banks’ non-performing assets

President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday promulgated an ordinance authorising the Reserve Bank of India to issue directions to banks to initiate insolvency resolution process in the case of loan default.

This will provide a big boost to the government’s efforts to tackle mounting bad loans.

The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, also empowered the central bank to issue directions with regard to stressed assets.

The RBI has been equipped with powers to specify one or more authorities to advise banks for dealing with the problem of non-performing assets (NPAs), which have reached “unacceptably high levels.”

The ordinance has been issued in the light of the urgency to deal with the toxic loans that have crossed the ₹6 lakh crore mark.

Kerala SSLC results 2017: 136 schools in Kochi score 100% result

KOCHI: Out of 326 schools in the district, 136 schools (42%) recorded 100% resultin the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) board examination, with all the students qualifying for higher studies.

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. 136 schools out of 326 district schools recorded 100% result in the SSLC board examination with all the students qualifying for higher studies.
  2. Students are celebrating and the schools are appreciating the efforts of the teachers and all the hard work of the students.

“We worked hard so that our students could do well in the examination. We conducted night classes in the last few months. We brought our students to school, taught them from 4pm to 8pm and also provided them with dinner,” said PJ Benny, headmaster, St George’s High School in Edappally, where 98 students appeared for the examination and all of them qualified for higher studies.

Several schools in Ernakulam had conducted before and after school classes.

A few school officials said the examination was evaluated strictly. “Only the students we expected to do exceptionally well were the ones who scored A+ grades,” said Jilu Varghese, chief superintendent of St John’s Syrian HSS in Muvattupuzha.

 

Indian-origin couple shot dead in US

WASHINGTON: An Indian-origin couple was killed in the US in an apparent revenge attack by their daughter’s ex-boyfriend who was eventually shot dead in a standoff with police.

Mirza Tatlic, 24, fatally shot Naren Prabhu, a Silicon Valley tech executive, and his wife at their home in San Jose, CBS San Francisco reported.

Prabhu’s daughter, who lives in another state, was not present.

“The suspect had been in a dating relationship with the victims’ adult daughter who was not home,” San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said. “The relationship ended last year. The suspect had a history of domestic violence and there was an active criminal restraining order.”

The incident was reported by the victims’ 20-year-old son.

300 students of Delhi school hospitalised after gas leak

Fumes emanating from a chemical container is said to have caused the irritation.

More than 300 students and few teachers were rushed to hospital in Delhi’s Tughlaqabad area on Saturday morning after they complained of irritation in eyes.

The students of the Rani Jhansi Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya near the customs area of Tughlaqabad are said to have complained of irritation in eye, and some even fainted, after they reached school on Saturday morning.

Fumes emanating from a chemical container is said to have caused the irritation. Police too said chemical leakage in the area was the reason.

“Local police, fire department and ambulance teams reached the spot and took the students to a nearby hospital. They are reported normal,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (South East) Romil Baaniya.

One of the school’s teachers who did not wish to be named told The Hindu that some of the students have been discharged after treatment and sent home. Meanwhile, the school has been temporarily shut.

According to Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, the students are fine.

“We received complaints about pain and related issues with their eyes by 85 students and got them admitted to three big hospitals located in the vicinity. I have spoken to the students and doctors, they are now fine. I have directed the district magistrate to investigate the incident.”

He said that he has ordered the area district magistrate and SDM to launch a probe into the gas leakage incident at the container depot.

“There was an exam in the school which we have cancelled following the incident,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

Nadda directs Centre-run hospitals to help victims

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda directed the Centre-run hospitals to be ready to help the gas leak victims.

“Central GoI hospitals have been instructed to be ready to help all victims of Delhi gas leak incident. My prayers are with children & families,” Mr. Nadda tweeted.

More than 40 students were admitted to the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals. According to the hospital statement, the patients — 42 children and one adult — were immediately managed by a multi-disciplinary team. Therapeutic interventions as per clinical requirements were administered and all patients are in a stable condition.

Shivpal didn’t speak to me before announcing secular front, says Mulayam | Exclusive

Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s statement comes a day after his brother Shivpal announced that he will form a new front within three months

Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav said on Saturday his brother Shivpal didn’t speak to him before announcing the formation of an all-India secular front.

In an exclusive interview to HT, Mulayam said he would talk to Shivpal and pacify him, and that no one in the family or party wanted a split in the 25-year-old Samajwadi Party.

“I have not met Shivpal for the last one week… He has not spoken to me as yet about it (the front)… I will talk to him,” a visibly relaxed Mulayam told HT in Lucknow.

“As for the front, he has simply given a statement. I will talk to him, pacify him.”

The statement came a day after the 62-year-old Shivpal, former UP president of the party, announced that he will form within three months the Samajwadi Secular Morcha (SSM) that will be led by Mulayam.

Shivpal didn’t make it clear if he was walking out of the Samajwadi Party or if the new front will enter electoral politics.

But the SSM’s formation was seen as a fresh twist in a months-long battle between Shivpal and his nephew Akhilesh for control of the party – a dispute that was held responsible for the party’s bruising defeat in state elections two months ago.

But Mulayam appeared to dismiss any speculation of a split. “Nobody in the family or party want it to split. What will they get if the party divides and weakens?”

“He (Shivpal) is hurt. I don’t know why my son Akhilesh Yadav doesn’t like him. I will always stand by my brother who has struggled and suffered so much for me and the party,” Mulayam said.