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Monday, October 31, 2016

Man Changes Name to iPhone 7 to Get the Latest Apple Smartphone for Free

The craze for iPhones is nothing new, with oft-quoted stories about people selling kidneys to buy the devices, but this one might be a first even among Apple fans.

A Ukrainian man has legally changed his named to iPhone 7 to score a free unit of the latest Apple smartphone.

While the smartphone costs approximately $850 in Ukraine, 20-year-old Olexander Turin – now known as iPhone Sim (Sim translates to seven in Ukrainian) – got one for free as part of an electronics store’s promotion offer.

Getting his name legally changed to iPhone Sim cost him $2.

Turkey Post-coup Crackdown - Sacks 10,000 More Civil Servants, Shuts More Media

Turkish authorities have dismissed more than 10,000 civil servants over their suspected links with US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for orchestrating the failed coup in July 2016

Thousands of academics, teachers and health workers were among those removed through a new emergency rule decree published on the Official Gazette late on Saturday Oct 29,2016 while 15 media outlets, almost all of which reported from the largely Kurdish southeast, were shut down.

Through the decrees, elections to choose a rector at the universities have also been abolished. President Tayyip Erdogan will directly appoint the rectors from the candidates nominated by the High Educational Board (YOK).

Turkey has formally arrested more than 37,000 people and has already sacked or suspended 100,000 civil servants, judges, prosecutors, police and others in an unprecedented crackdown the government says is necessary to root out all supporters of Gulen from the state apparatus and key positions.

A state of emergency imposed right after the bloody failed coup in July has been extended for another three months until January after Erdogan said the authorities needed more time to eradicate the threat posed by Gulen's network as well as Kurdish militants who have waged a 32-year insurgency

The total number of media outlets shut down since the start of the state of emergency has now exceeded 160.

The extent of the crackdown has worried rights groups and some Western allies, who fear Erdogan is using it to curtail dissent.

The government says the actions are justified by the threat to the state on July 15,2016 when more than 240 people died

Australia Plans to Ban for Life Refugees Arriving by Boat

Australia on Sunday Oct 31,2016 announced plans to ratchet up its tough policy against refugees by banning any asylum seeker who attempts to reach its shores by boat from ever visiting the country.

A previous government introduced a policy on July 19, 2013, banning refugees who arrive by boat from Indonesian ports after that date from ever being resettled in Australia.

Under legislation to be introduced to Parliament next week, thousands of asylum seekers who have returned to their homelands in the Middle East, Africa and Asia would be banned for life from ever traveling to Australia as tourists, to do business or as an Australian's spouse, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

The new policy would apply to all asylum seekers who have attempted to reach Australia since July 19, 2013.

More than 51,000 asylum seekers arrived in Australian waters by boat during the six years the former center-left Labor Party government was in power from 2007 until 2013.

More than 20,000 arrived in 2013.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said asylum seeker children would be exempt from the visa ban and he would have discretion to make exceptions for adults in cases where to do so was in the public interest.

Daniel Webb, director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Center, said the change would permanently separate families and "entrench the limbo" for asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru and Papua New Guinea

Ariel Winter copies Kylie Jenner by parading her booty tattoo in high-cut swimsuit at photo shoot

Ariel Winter's never been shy when it comes to showing off her curves.

And Ariel Winter was in her element when taking part in a racy photoshoot on Saturday Oct 29,2016

The 18-year-old actress flaunted her gorgeous figure in a skimpy lace-up swimsuit as she posed by a Los Angeles swimming pool.

Pakistan to Free on Bail National Geographic 'Afghan Girl' Sunday Oct 30,2016

An Afghan woman immortalised on a National Geographic magazine cover is to be freed on bail days after being arrested in Pakistan for fraud, a government minister said on Sunday Oct 30,2016

The haunting image of Sharbat Gula, taken in a Pakistan refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry in the 1980s, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history.

Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested Gula on Wednesday Oct 26,2016 for living in the country on fraudulent identity papers following a two-year investigation on her and her husband, who has absconded.

"I think I will have to review this case because she is a woman and we should see it from a humanitarian angle," Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a press conference on Sunday.

"But if we withdraw charges against her, deport her or give her a temporary visa to leave Pakistan, then we will have to take back cases against the officials who issued her fake ID card, they are real culprits and I do not want to let them off the hook in any manner," he said.

"As a first step the FIA should arrange her bail as soon as possible so that she should get of jail," Khan added

World's Shortest Flight between two remote British islands celebrates its millionth passenger on the route Monday Oct 31,2016

The world's shortest flight, a tiny hop between two remote British islands, on Monday Oct 31,2016 celebrated taking its millionth passenger on the route.

The 1.7-mile (2.7-kilometre) flight between Westray and Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands, off mainland Scotland's northeast coast, holds the Guinness World Record as the shortest scheduled service.

The flight, in an eight-seater Britten Norman Islander aircraft, officially takes two minutes but with favourable winds it can be done in 47 seconds.

It is part of a service route that leaves Orkney's main town Kirkwall and stops off around the archipelago.

Scottish regional airline Loganair has operated the route since 1967 and today honoured veteran passenger Anne Rendall, presenting her with a bouquet of flowers.

The Royal Bank of Scotland flying banker has flown more than 10,000 trips on the service, visiting island communities and tending to their banking requirements.

Canada Sets 2017 Immigration Target at 300,000 People

Canada said on Monday Oct 31,2016 it would let 300,000 immigrants into the country in 2017, maintaining this year's target despite recommendations to increase it to help spur economic growth and help business leaders bring in more talent.

Immigration Minister John McCallum told reporters that making the 300,000 target permanent laid the foundation for future immigration growth, and fought off the suggestion that he had lost a battle against anti-immigration forces.

Under next year's plan, the number of immigrants admitted under the economic category will increase to 172,500 from 160,600 this year, the government said.

The number of refugees will decrease to 40,000 from 55,800.

Canada has a population of about 35 million.

Countries Where Employers Are Not Able To Find Enough Candidates

Despite a slowing global growth, 40 % of employers across the world are having difficulty filling positions. 

This is according to a recent survey from global staffing solutions provider ManpowerGroup.

It is a 200-basis-point increase from last year's level and the highest percentage of employers reporting talent shortage since 2007. 

More than 42,300 employers in 43 countries participated in ManpowerGroup's eleventh annual talent shortage survey.

Talent Shortage Since 2007

The Hardest Skills To Find
According to the survey, for the fifth consecutive year, skilled trades positions are the hardest to fill globally while this year IT roles jumped seven places to second position. In the "IT sector, businesses are reporting the most marked talent shortage in a number of years," said the survey. 

1) Skilled Trades (electricians, carpenters, welders, bricklayers, plasterers, plumbers, masons and more)
2) IT Staff (developers, and programmers, database administrators and IT leaders and managers)
3) Sales Representatives (sales executives, sales advisors and retail sales people)
4) Engineers (mechanical, electrical and civil engineers)
5) Technicians (production, operations or maintenance technicians)
6) Drivers (truck, lorry, heavy goods, delivery, heavy equipment and construction drivers)
7) Accounting & Finance Staff (bookkeepers, certified accountants and financial analysts)
8) Management/ Executives (senior and board level managers)
9) Production/ Machine Operations (operators of special machinery)
10) Office Support Staff (secretaries, personal assistants, receptionists and administrative assistants)

Countries Where Employers Are Having The Most Difficulty Filling Roles
According to the survey, Japan tops the list of countries where the highest percentage of employers reported talent shortage.  In Japan, 86 % of employers reported facing talent shortage, followed by Taiwan (73 %) and Romania (72 %).

In India, despite a million people entering the workforce every month, a higher proportion of employers in the country face talent shortage as compared to their global counterparts, the survey said.

According to the survey, 48 % of employers in India report difficulty in filling jobs due to talent shortage. In comparison, the global average is 40 %

In India, the maximum talent shortage is in IT and accounting and finance sectors in India, the survey said.

Here are top jobs in India where employers are facing talent shortage, according to the survey.

1) IT Personnel
2)  Accounting & finance staff
3) Project Managers
4) Sales Managers
5) Customer Service Representatives & Customer Support
6) Technicians
7) Quality Controllers
8) Buying & Procurement staff


Japanese Car Maker Toyota Creates Smartphone App to Start a Car

Japanese car maker Toyota has developed an app called Smart Key Box that lets people use smartphones to access and start up a car.

The app would only allow users that have previously signed up for the shared-use car to operate it, providing a more secure way of lending and renting cars, Toyota said in a statement on Monday Oct 31,2016

The device works with a cloud service where an individual can be given access to a specific car for a set time period

According to Toyota, Smart Key Box "can be placed in a vehicle without modification," enabling engine start and door lock access.

The smartphone app, connecting to Toyota's cloud-based Mobility Services Platform, can also handle payments and loan scheduling.

2016 LPG Price Revision - Non-Subsidised LPG Hiked by Rs 37.5 Per Cylinder from Tuesday Nov 01,2016

State-run oil marketer Indian Oil Corp. (IOC) on Monday Oct 31,2016  hiked prices of non-subsidised LPG, or cooking gas, by Rs 37.50 per cylinder and by Rs 2 for a subsidised one, effective from midnight.

Non-subsidised LPG is available at market price for customers who exhaust their quota of 12 subsidised cylinders per annum.

From Tuesday Nov 01,2016, a 14.2-kg cylinder of non-subsidised LPG will cost Rs 529.50 in Delhi, Rs 551 in Kolkata, Rs 531 in Mumbai, and Rs 538.50 in Chennai, IOC said in a statement.

Similarly, with subsidised LPG cylinder prices being raised by Rs 2, it will cost Rs 430.64 per cylinder in Delhi, Rs 432.64 in Kolkata, Rs 460.27 in Mumbai, and Rs 418.14 in Chennai.

2011 Census - Over 6.54 Crore Indians have Never Set Foot in a School in India

As many as 6.54 crore people in the age group of 5-19 years in the country have never attended any school while another 4.49 crore have dropped out of schools in the last decade.

According to the 2011 Census data, there is 38.01 crore population in the age group of 5-19 years of which 26.98 crore (71 %) are attending educational institutions.

 As many as 4.49 crore (11.8 %) people have attended schools earlier while 6.54 crore (17.2 %) have never been to a school.

There were about 65.7 lakh disabled people in the age group of 5-19 at Census 2011 in India, according to the Census data

Nearly 17.5 lakh (26.7 %) of the disabled population have never attended any school, 8 lakh (12.1%) have dropped out of schools in the last decade while 40.2 lakh people (61.2 %) are attending educational institutions

The proportion of disabled persons who never attended any educational institution in 2011, was found to be highest among persons with 'multiple disability' (54.4 %), followed by 'mental illness' (50.3 %) and 'mental retardation' (41.2 %), whereas persons with 'any other disability' (17.7 %) show the least percentage.

Further, out of 40.2 lakh disabled persons attending educational institutions, 22.8 lakh (56.7 % ) are males and 17.4 lakh (43.3 %) are females.

Kerala declared drought-hit state Monday Oct 31,2016

The Kerala government has declared the entire state drought-hit, with all 14 districts witnessing successive monsoon failures. 

The northeast monsoon may have just set in, but even if it were to rain heavily in November and December, it would not be enough to make up for the past deficiencies. 

State Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan made the announcement in the State Assembly on Monday Oct 31,2016 while replying to a notice for an adjournment motion. 

“There has been 34 per cent rainfall during the southwest monsoon. The northeast monsoon, which has set in after a delay, has started off with a 69 % deficit with hardly any rain in October.”

He said the State Disaster Management Authority had met under Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday and decided to declare the entire State drought-hit. 

Reservoir levels are at least 22 % lower than the average. Any significant shortfall in rainfall during the northeast monsoon could lead to power supply restrictions in the state. 

The declaration of drought also means that a provision of a moratorium kicks in with respect to agricultural loans, including those drawn from cooperative banks, the minister said. 

The state government will seek Central aid to overcome the brewing crisis.

 District collectors have been given a 26-point protocol to be followed to undertake drought-relief measures. 

The State Disaster Management Agency had earlier completed the process of evaluating various parameters for declaring a drought in various districts. 

4 key indices, including rainfall deficiency, area under sowing, normalised difference vegetation index (decline in green cover), and moisture adequacy are weighed in before precipitating a decision in the matter, they added.

Tamil Nadu completes 60 years on Tuesday Nov 01,2016

Tamil Nadu, which was created on Nov 01, 1956, completes 60 years on Tuesday Nov 01,2016

Every year, the State government holds birth or death anniversaries of over two dozen personalities but there has never been any tradition to observe the establishment of the present State of Tamil Nadu, which completes 60 years of existence on Tuesday.

On the contrary, other southern States such as Karnataka and Kerala which celebrate their formation days as Kannada Rajyothsava day and Piravi day respectively.

Till Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh (AP) in June 2014, the day was observed as the State formation day by AP.

Haryana completes 50 years on Tuesday Nov 01,2016

Haryana, which was created on Nov 01, 1966, completes 50 years on Tuesday Nov 01,2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to launch Haryana's year-long golden jubilee celebrations from Gurugram on Tuesday Nov 01,2016, said Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar while clarifying that his government was not spending Rs 1,700 crore on the celebrations.

Modi will kick-off Haryana's 'Swarna Jayanti' celebrations on Tuesday Nov 01,2016 from Gurugram's Tau Devi Lal stadium.

The Haryana government is expecting over 100,000 people to attend the inaugural ceremony.

Central Vigilance Commission(CVC)asks banks to report frauds of ₹1 cr and above

With several high-ticket alleged frauds coming to the fore, the Central Vigilance Commission(CVC) has now made it mandatory for public sector banks to report to it instances involving over ₹1 crore.

Based on the reports, the anti-corruption watchdog, which has hired four officers of General Manager rank from banks as advisors, will recommend whether a CBI probe can be ordered.

According to CBI data, in 2015, the agency had probed 171 cases of bank frauds involving ₹20,646 crore. In addition, the CBI is investigating Ponzi schemes involving over ₹1.20 lakh crore.

The Commission will also call regular monthly meetings of senior officials of Reserve Bank of India, CBI and banks to monitor probes in suspected bank frauds of ₹50 crore and above.

The banks have been asked to share their reports of Fraud Monitoring and Reporting (FMR) mechanism with the CVC in suspected cases of ₹1 crore and above.

Till now this report was shared only with the RBI, Vigilance Commissioner TM Bhasin said.
The banks will also now have to report the modus operandi of all the alleged frauds to the CVC which will share these details with other banks in order to ensure that systemic changes be brought in to prevent repeat of such cases, he said.

“Frauds were being reported by the Central Vigilance Officers of the banks to the RBI through the Fraud Monitoring and Reporting mechanism. Now the Commission has decided that frauds of ₹50 crore and above will be regularly followed up by the CVC,” Bhasin said.

The move follows the difference in the definition of “fraud” by banks and investigating agencies. The CBI had complained that banks were not forthcoming with reporting of frauds to it.

What’s fraud?
CBI Director Anil Sinha had recently red-flagged rising cases of bank frauds saying the issue of delay in identifying and reporting frauds, which allows borrowers to siphon off funds before investigations are taken up, need serious thought.

“In the case of banks, there is some misunderstanding in what constitutes fraud. Fraud as understood in the banking sector is different from fraud as understood by investigating agencies under IPC and CrPC. Banks do report NPAs and frauds to the Reserve Bank as per their guidelines,” Central Vigilance Commissioner KV Chowdary said.

He said after consultation with the RBI, changes have been brought in to the system.

A special chapter has been added in the Vigilance Manual for Banking system with an updated one to be unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a CVC function on Nov 07,2016

The CVC has defined mala fide and bona fide actions which caused misunderstanding between banks and investigating agencies.

Bhasin clarified that the CVC was not looking into such cases, but now banks will have to hold monthly meetings in cases of suspected frauds of ₹50 crore and above and reporting of frauds of ₹1 crore and above.


Microsoft’s new Cloud service "Dynamics 365" will be available to customers in more than 135 markets in over 40 languages, beginning Tuesday November 01,2016


Microsoft’s new Cloud service "Dynamics 365" that will help enterprises and small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India transform their enterprises with intelligent applications, will be available to customers in more than 135 markets in over 40 languages, beginning Tuesday Nov 01,2016

 Powered by advanced analytics and machine learning, Dynamics 365 will be available in two editions -- Enterprise and Business -- on a subscription per app/per user model.

On 6th July 2016, Microsoft launched Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource which bring under a single cloud-based platform; the powers of ERP and CRM.  Microsoft Dynamics 365 will be leading the next step ahead in business transformation, providing efficient ways to employ modern communication technology for business needs

Two versions of Dynamics 365 are available: Business Edition (for small businesses) and Enterprise Edition (for enterprises).

 While the SMB Financial suite will reside in the Business Edition, Enterprise Edition will house the full Dynamics AX suite for financials.

Those who are already using Dynamics CRM online or Dynamics AX online can also seamlessly transport to Dynamics 365.

 A Common Data Model will coherently order the business processes.

 Highlights include integration with Office 365, Cortana Intelligence and Power BI as well as LinkedIn (procured by Microsoft for over $25 billion in 2016).

Azure stands as the uniting infrastructure for Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Chhattisgarh Celebrates its 16th foundation day Tuesday Nov 01,2016

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate Chhattisgarh's 16th foundation day celebrations in Naya Raipur on Tuesday Nov 01,2016

During his visit to the state he will also launch 'Saur Sujala Yojana' which aims to provide solar pumps to 51,000 farmers for irrigation in state

Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act will come into force on Tuesday Nov 01,2016

The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act will come into force on Tuesday Nov 01,2016

 Following this, the existing Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act will be renamed as the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act (PBPT Act).

 “The PBPT Act defines benami transactions, prohibits them and further provides that violation of the PBPT Act is punishable with imprisonment and fine,” the official notification said.

 “The PBPT Act prohibits recovery of the property held benami from benamidar by the real owner. Properties held benami are liable for confiscation by the Government without payment of compensation.”

Get ready for new 12-sided £1 in March 2017

Businesses have been urged to get ready for the introduction of the new 12-sided pound coin after claims it could cause retail chaos.

The Royal Mint has launched a website calling for retailers to adapt their equipment and make sure that their staff are trained to handle the arrival of the newly shaped £1 in March 2017.

The 12-sided coin has been created in a bid to halt the current trade in counterfeit pound coins, that has seen around one in 30 found to be false. The new coins are said be much harder to replicate.

All machines that accept cash will need to be adapted to accept the new currency and the Royal Mint’s website has said that businesses will need to contact their suppliers to make sure they will not be required to make changes.

In the run up to the coin’s introduction in March, the Royal Mint has advised that vendors’ machines are capable of accepting both the old and new pound coins.

The website also says that business should ‘train your staff on the features of the new £1 coin’.

According to the Royal Mint, the new coin will weigh 8.75g, 0.25g lighter than the current £1 and will feature the fifth coin portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the ‘heads’ side.

The design on the ‘tails’ side of the coin will show ‘the English rose, Welsh leek, Scottish thistle and Northern Irish shamrock emerging from one stem within a royal coronet’, designed by a 15-year-old, David Pearce.

David Gauke, the chief secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘The new £1 coin will be the most secure of its kind in the world and its cutting-edge features will present a significant barrier to counterfeiters, reducing the cost to businesses and the taxpayer.’

During the ‘co-circulation’ period the website suggests firms should accept both coins and keep customers informed which coins their equipment can accept.

Businesses may need to agree with their bank or cash in transit provider how to return the current £1 coin and new £1 coin.

Adele on the cover of Vanity Fair

Adele(28)has now revealed in a new interview with Vanity Fair that soon after she and partner Simon Konecki welcomed the birth of their son Angelo in 2012, she ensured a crippling bout of postpartum depression.

When asked if she plans to have another baby, Adele said she didn't think so, explaining: 'I’m too scared. I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me... I didn't talk to anyone about it. I was very reluctant.' 

Lebanon elects Michel Aoun as president, ending two-year stalemate Monday Oct 31,2016


After a two-and-a-half year vacancy, the position of Lebanese head of state was finally filled Monday Oct 31,2016 when veteran politician and former general Michel Aoun was elected president by parliament. 


An octogenarian former general, Aoun has long eyed the presidency, a position that must be filled by a Maronite Christian under Lebanon’s confessional political system.

With his election, Aoun becomes the 13th president of the tiny, Middle Eastern country riddled with internal sectarian divides that have plunged it into war in the past and that holds together at peacetime with a fragile mix of power sharing and realpolitik.

What is canonization?

Many people at the Vatican agree that Mother Teresa was a living saint, but the Catholic Church nevertheless has a gruelling process to make it official, involving volumes of historical research, the hunt for miracles and teams of experts to weigh the evidence. In Mother Teresa's case, the process will come to a formal end Sunday when Pope Francis declares the church's newest saint. Here is a look at the process of canonization.

Beipanjiang Bridge in China - The world’s highest bridge is almost ready

China, which is home to 8 of the world's highest bridges is close to accomplishing another feat.

 Its engineers have just connected two ends of the Beipanjiang bridge, slated to be the world's highest, which will connect two of its remotest provinces.

India second fastest growing tourist destination

Analysing data on international tourist arrivals on World Tourism Day shows that among the top eight on this count are the world’s largest economies.

This perhaps indicates that business travel comprises a significant chunk of international tourism.

Though India and Japan are both missing from the top 10 list, they have witnessed the fastest growth in the tourism segment in the past 19 years

Comparison of Military Power - India Vs Pakistan Vs China

This is how our military strength compares with Pakistan and China.

 While we are better equipped to tackle Pakistan, China offering support to Pakistan is certainly a cause for concern. 

China’s poorest getting richer 3 times faster than India's poorest

India’s economy might be growing at a faster rate than many developed nations, but at per capita level, its growth rate of income is the lowest among emerging economies.

A recent report by the World Bank shows that between 2008 and 2013, per capita income in China grew at 8.23% for overall population and 8.87% for the poorest 40%.

India, however, not only witnessed a slower overall growth in comparison, but also a 2.7 times slower growth among the bottom 40%, indicating slugging closing of the inequality gap.

India Tops in Workplace Trust

Trust goes a long way in building a conducive and productive work place.

 A recent global survey by EY reveals that trust levels at work vary tremendously between countries.

The Japanese are the least trusting of their employers, bosses and team/colleagues. India, on the other hand, sets the bar high and employers, bosses and colleagues all enjoy high levels of trust.

Norway's poorest people have 22 times higher daily income than India's poorest

With an average daily income of Rs 30 per day, India's bottom 40% in income terms is among the poorest in the world.

 Comparably, the poorest 40% in Norway earn the equivalent of Rs 652 per day.

Even lower than India at the poorest level is the segment in Democratic Republic of Congo, with an average daily income equivalent to Rs 10.

The 2016 Nobel Prizes winners

The 2016 Nobel Prizes winners

2016 US Presidential Election - How is the President of the US elected?

CBSE tells schools to make information public

CBSE has now made it mandatory for all schools across the country to make public information about their functioning under 130 heads.

School managements are protesting against what they see as the CBSE overstepping its authority and trampling on the autonomy of the schools.

The order, no longer an advisory, to upload the disclosures on the school websites has not gone down well with them

Rural India's Consumption Patterns

The report showcasing consumption patterns reveals that a rural household spends Rs 504 a month on FMCG products, roughly 18% of the total monthly budget of Rs 2,800.

The survey , conducted in 50,000 villages across 19 states, says merely 1% of the house holds spend more than Rs 1,000 a year on skincare and cosmetics, while a majority (63%) spends less than Rs 400 a year on this category.
The report showcasing consumption patterns reveals that a rural household spends Rs 504 a month on FMCG products, roughly 18% of the total monthly budget of Rs 2,800. The survey , conducted in 50,000 villages across 19 states, says merely 1% of the house holds spend more than Rs 1,000 a year on skincare and cosmetics, while a majority (63%) spends less than Rs 400 a year on this category. 

World's first bionic eye to give millions the chance of seeing again

Scientists are on the brink of restoring sight to the blind by sending moving images directly to the brain.

In a world-first, surgeons have implanted a visual stimulator chip in the brain of a 30-year-old woman.

The patient, who has been totally blind for seven years, saw coloured flashes, lines and spots when signals were sent to her brain from a computer.

Her doctors are now planning to send footage from a tiny video camera to the brain, which could provide the world’s first bionic eye and restore sight to millions.

The technology bypasses the eyes, meaning it has the potential to restore sight even to those who have lost an eye or become blinded by cancer.

During six weeks of testing, the patient has consistently seen the exact signals the scientists sent to her visual cortex, the section of the brain which usually receives images from the optic nerve.

Doctors at the University of California Los Angeles are awaiting permission from US regulators to connect the system to a camera, worn in a pair of glasses, which they hope will send moving images directly to the brain.

Dr Nader Pouratian, who performed the operation, said: ‘The moment she saw colour for the first time was a very emotional experience. It touched us all very deeply as human beings. Based on these results, this system has the potential to restore sight to the blind.’

The patient, who has asked to remain anonymous, began to lose her sight eight years ago due to a rare disease called Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome, which attacks the pigment in the eyes. Within a year of starting to lose her sight she was completely blind. Dr Pouratian inserted the stimulator – an array of tiny electrodes – into the back of her brain in August. In a four-hour procedure, surgeons cut a small hole in the back of her skull and laid the stimulator on the surface of her brain

A small antenna receiver was implanted into the gap in her skull, which receives signals sent from a computer.

When the team receives approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, which they hope will be early next year, they will try sending video signals from a system called the Orion I, which captures images in front of the eyes using a camera on the bridge of a pair of glasses.

It is built on the success of a device called the Argus II, unveiled at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital last year, which uses a similar camera to send images to an implant at the back of the eye.

But it relied on a patient having some working retinal cells. The new system takes the concept a step further by sending signals straight to the brain. In the UK more than two million are visually impaired or blind, with no hope of a cure until now.

Professor Paulo Stanga, consultant ophthalmologist at the University of Manchester, said: ‘There are a significant number of patients who would benefit from this technology, for example people who have lost an eye on the battlefield or through trauma.’

Dan Pescod, of the Royal National Institute of Blind People, said: ‘This is a very exciting and potentially life-changing development, though the research is at an early stage.’

Dr Robert Greenberg, chairman of Second Sight, which developed Orion I, said: ‘It is rare that technological development offers such stirring possibilities. By bypassing the optic nerve and directly stimulating the visual cortex, the Orion I has the potential to restore vision to patients blinded due to virtually any reason, including glaucoma, cancer, diabetic retinopathy, or trauma.’

Tallia Storm celebrates turning 18 with a photo-shoot

Tallia Storm,the singer-songwriter marked her 18th birthday with a photo-shoot that saw her posing around various halls of the Rosewood London on High Holborn.

She made her way through two outfits over the course of the session, swapping some casual day-wear for a party dress that flashed her svelte legs

Coca-Cola launches in Australia new GINGER flavour Monday Oct 31,2016

Coca Cola has launched a new limited edition ginger-flavoured drink called 'Coca Cola Ginger'. 

The new range of fizzy beverage is described as having a 'Great Coke taste with a refreshing ginger twist'.

Labels on the new Coke bottles are similar to the original, but feature strips of gold and both the plastic and glass bottles have gold lids.


The limited edition version of Coca Cola Ginger launched on Monday and is available to buy in plastic or glass bottles and cans

Dubai Begins Building World's Tallest Tower Monday Oct 31,2016

Dubai said on Monday Oct 31,2016 it had started building what would be the world's tallest tower, another record for the city that is already home to the highest skyscraper - the Burj Khalifa  829.8 meters (2,722 feet) high.

The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour - a joint venture between Emaar Properties and Dubai Holding, the investment vehicle of the Emirate's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum - will be completed in 2020, Dubai's government said.

Its statement did not say how high the tower would be nor how much it might cost.

Guinness World Records defines a tower as a structure in which less than 50 % of the total height is useable floor space.

The world's tallest tower is the Tokyo Sky Tree, a 634-metre-high broadcasting, restaurant and observation tower.

Dubai, a major tourism and entertainment center, is continually laying plans for new attractions. Its new tower, part of a plush new residential area next to a waterfront, will feature several garden-themed observation decks, it said.

Lara Bingle stuns in her very first cover shoot for Marie Claire magazine after giving birth to her second son

Lara Bingle has starred in her very first cover shoot for Marie Claire magazine after giving birth to her second child, a baby boy.

The newborn is a younger brother for the model and her husband Sam Worthington's elder son Rocket Zot, 18.

The 29-year-old told the magazine she was thrilled to be expanding her family.