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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Why the world needs a malaria vaccine

The mosquito is the world’s deadliest animal, killing more humans than any other; and malaria remains one of the world's most stubborn health challenges.

World Book Day - April 23

World Book Day or World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days) is a yearly event on April 23rd, organized by UNESCO to promote readingpublishing and copyright.

 In the United Kingdom, the day is recognized on the first Thursday in March. World Book Day was celebrated for the first time on 23 April 1995.

World Malaria Day(WMD) - April 25

World Malaria Day sprung out of the efforts taking place across the African continent to commemorate Africa Malaria Day

WMD is one of 8 official Global Public Health campaigns currently marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with World Health DayWorld Blood Donor DayWorld Immunization WeekWorld Tuberculosis DayWorld No Tobacco DayWorld Hepatitis Day and World AIDS Day

World Malaria Day (WMD) is an international observance commemorated every year on 25 April and recognizes global efforts to control malaria.

 Globally, 3.3 billion people in 106 countries are at risk of malaria.

 In 2012, malaria caused an estimated 627,000 deaths, mostly among African children

 Asia, Latin America, and to a lesser extent the Middle East and parts of Europe are also affected.

Immunisation: How it greatly reduces disease, disability and death worldwide

 Getting immunised is important to protect yourself as well as those around you. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), immunisation averts two to three million deaths from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles every year. This indicates that there is arguably no single preventive health intervention more cost-effective than immunisation.
However 22.6 million infants worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines, mostly in developing countries.
World Immunization Week is observed in the last week of April each year. This year, it is held from 24-30 April. It aims to raise awareness about the critical importance of full immunisation throughout one's life.
Here are some facts on immunisation:
  • Immunization can protect against 25 different infectious agents or diseases, from infancy to old age, including diphtheria, measles, pertussis, polio and tetanus.
  • Between 2010 and 2015, vaccines prevented at least 10 million deaths and many million lives were protected from illness.
  • Any licensed vaccine is rigorously tested before it is approved for use, regularly reassessed and constantly monitored for side effects. In the rare event a serious side effect is reported, it is immediately investigated.
  • WHO data reveals that more children are being immunised worldwide than ever before. During 2015, an estimated 116 million children under the age of one worldwide received three doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine that protects against infectious diseases that can have serious illness and disability or be fatal.
  • The first ever vaccine against malaria will be piloted in three African nations in 2018. A new vaccine against dengue has licensed in several countries.
  • Accelerated immunisation activities have reduced the number of deaths from measles, which is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It can lead to a high fever, rash and can cause blindness, encephalitis or even death.
  • Vaccinations not only prevent the suffering and death associated with infectious diseases, but also help enable national priorities like education and economic development to take hold.

Zaheer Khan gets engaged to actress Sagarika Ghatge

The rumours of an alleged relationship between Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan and Bollywood actress Sagarika Ghatge have been doing rounds around the internet world for quite some time, but today, the fast bowler himself took to Twitter to announce that he has been engaged with the Chak De India actress.

Arkansas Carries Out First Double Execution in US Since 2000 Monday April 24,2017

Arkansas carried out back-to-back executions on Monday night April 24,2017, administering lethal injections to two men convicted of rape and murder to become the first U.S. state to put more than one inmate to death on the same day in 17 years.

Jack Jones was convicted of raping and killing Mary Phillips, 34, in 1995 and trying to murder her 11-year-old daughter. He also was convicted of rape and murder in Florida.
Marcel Williams was convicted of the 1997 kidnapping, rape and murder of 22-year-old Stacy Errickson. He also abducted and raped two other women.
The two men were among eight that the state had initially planned to execute over the course of 11 days this month, prompted by the impending expiration date of the state's supplies of midazolam, a sedative used as part of the three-drug protocol.

Britain's gold medallist cycling heroes Jason and Laura Kenny Receives CBE Tuesday April 25,2017

Laura and Jason Kenny were among a host of Olympians honoured at Buckingham Palace Tuesday April 25,2017

The nation's favourite cycling couple received CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) accolades from Princess Anne for the string of gold medals they won for Team GB at Rio 2016.
Mrs Kenny beams with delight as she is given the honour by Princess AnneMr Kenny contributed to Team GB's medal haul at the Rio Olympics

NSE to delist Deccan Chronicle, Koutons Retail, 17 others with effect from May 12, 2017

Leading bourse NSE has decided to delist as many as 19 firms including Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd and Koutons Retail India Ltd from its platform from next month.
This is in addition to 70 companies that were delisted by NSE in August and March.
The National Stock Exchange said it has now “decided to delist (withdraw the admission to dealings in) equity shares of the following companies with effect from May 12, 2017 as per Chapter V of SEBI (Delisting of Equity Shares) Regulations, 2009“.
Chapter V of SEBI deals with compulsory delisting. The market regulator has been pushing for delisting of over 4,200 listed firms whose shares are not being traded.
The companies to be delisted include Coral Hub, Evinix Accessories (currently known as Evinix Industries), Nuchem Ltd, Spanco Ltd, Parekh Platinum , Pasupati Fabrics, Pearl Engineering Polymers, Polar Industries, Vikash Metal & Power and Taksheel Solutions.
Besides, NSE said, Koutons Retail, Ankur Drugs and Pharma, Ashco Niulab Industries, Crew BOS Products, Dhanus Technologies, Dhanus Technologies, Teledata Technology Solutions, Teledata Marine Solutions and IOL Netcom will be delisted “pursuant to liquidation".
Under compulsory delisting, these firms will cease to be listed on the exchange and would move to the dissemination board of the exchange.
The exchange had delisted 14 in August and another 14 in November, besides 3 in February and 39 last month, as these entities were in the process of winding up their respective businesses.
In April 2016, an NSE public notice had named 80 companies for compulsory delisting as trading in shares of these entities had been suspended over a long period of time.

Volkswagen launches in India limited edition Polo GT Sport

German auto major Volkswagen Tuesday April 25,2017  launched a limited edition of its Polo GT hatchback priced up to Rs. 9.21 lakh.

The limited edition, Polo GT Sport will be available across both petrol and diesel variants of Polo GT, Volkswagen Groups Sales India said in a statement.
While the petrol variant powered by a 1.2 litre engine is priced at Rs. 9.11 lakh, the diesel option with a 1.5 litre engine costs Rs. 9.21 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
The Polo GT Sport has new exterior and interior updates such as glossy black spoiler, 16 inch alloy wheels and leatherette finished seat covers, it added.
Commenting on the launch, Volkswagen Groups Sales India Managing Director Thierry Lespiaucq said the Polo GT Sport edition increases the sport quotient of the vehicle. With this offering, the company is providing consumers with an option to choose a sportier variant of the Polo GT hatchback, he added.

Tamil Nadu Govt signs agreement with BBNL to implement BharatNet

The Tamil Nadu Government on Tuesday April 25,2017 entered into an agreement with Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL) for implementing the Centre’s rural internet connectivity programme, ‘BharatNet.’
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was ‘exchanged’ between the state government and BBNL in the presence of Chief Minister K. Palaniswami here, an official release said.
Additional Secretary in the Department of Telecommunications, N Sivasailam; BBNL Director (Operations) B.K. Mittal; and Tamil Nadu Principal IT Secretary T.K. Ramachandran were also present.
A sum of Rs. 50 lakh has been allocated as the state’s share capital for this purpose and work for registering it was on, it added.
Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV) was in the process of preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for BharatNet’s implementation in Tamil Nadu.
The scheme will enable implementation of Jayalalithaa’s “dream” of providing Internet connectivity to every household in Tamil Nadu, the release said.

UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) Regional Connectivity Scheme

Trujet announces new flights under regional link plan Monday April 24,2017

Trujet, a regional airline based out of Hyderabad, on Monday April 24,2017 announced the launch of flights in the Hyderabad-Kadapa, Hyderabad-Nanded, Nanded -Mumbai sectors.

Under the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) Regional Connectivity Scheme of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Trujet will be the only airline to operate flights on these sectors starting from April 27,2017

Vankayalapati Umesh, Managing Director, Turbo Megha Airways, in a statement said “Providing air connectivity on hitherto unconnected sectors is part of our strategy of connecting un-served and under-served markets.”
The airline operates a set of ATR-72 aircraft and has acquired the fourth. The latest aircraft will operate the new sectors. With a fleet of ATR-72 aircraft, Trujet connects 8 stations, including Hyderabad, Aurangabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, Goa and Tirupati.

2017 IPL Season 10 - Irfan Pathan Replaces Dwayne Bravo in Gujarat Lions Squad

 Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan got an IPL lifeline after the struggling Gujarat Lions roped him as Dwayne Bravo's replacement.
Pathan Junior was one of the biggest names that went unsold at the February auctions of IPL. He had a base price of Rs 50 lakh and twice his name came under the hammer only to be ignored by franchises.
Bravo has already been ruled out of IPL as he is yet to fully recover from a surgery he underwent for his injured left hamstring.
It was Irfan's experience of 102 IPL games in previous nine seasons and dearth of quality all-rounders in the country that worked in his favour.
He has 80 wickets and 1137 runs in IPL cricket.
In nine years Irfan have played for five franchises including Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils, Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rising Pune Supergiant.

Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clears six FDI proposals worth Rs 85-cr investments

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) has approved six proposals entailing foreign direct investment (FDI) of about Rs 85 crore and has recommended one proposal for approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

 Among the six proposals approved by the FIPB, three relate to the pharma sector. These include proposals by PMC Group International, Enaltec Labs and Bigtec Pvt Ltd.
The FIPB also approved proposals of Powervision Export and Import India, Crown Cement Manufacturing and Entrepreneur India Media Private Limited.

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail(VVPAT) Machines - All You Need To Know

A VVPAT is a machine that is attached to the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). A voter casts his or her vote on the EVM as is currently being done.
The VVPAT attached to the EVM generates a paper slip which has the name of the candidate voted for and the symbol of his party. This is recorded in the machine’s control unit. A printer is attached to the balloting unit and kept in the voting compartment.
The paper slip remains visible on the VVPAT for seven seconds through a transparent window. The paper slip can later be retrieved and tallied with the button pressed in the EVM.
The use of VVPATs falls under Rule 49A of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, which provides that every EVM shall have a control unit and a balloting unit. It further states that a printer with a drop box may also be attached to a voting machine for printing a paper trail of the vote
In case of any dispute, the paper slips in the VVPATs can be tallied with the buttons pressed on the EVMs. These printed slips can be counted to verify the results.
At the moment, EVMs do not have this feature of cross checking. The use of VVPATs becomes important as a number of political parties have raised questions about the EVMs being tamper proof.
Though the EC has maintained that the EVMs cannot be tampered with, the use of VVPATs will ensure that there is greater transparency in the voting process.
As a part of the democratic process, every voter has the right to know that his or her vote went to the candidate chosen. VVPATs will ensure this and further strengthen the electoral process in the country.
It is also perhaps the final step in making the voting process as transparent as it can get. Changes in the law over the decades have sought to make elections in the country fool-proof.
In 1989, the law was amended to give the EC the power to countermand elections if it was proved that a candidate had used muscle power to win.
This put an end to booth capturing. The introduction of VVPATs will give the EC the proof to back its claim of holding free and fair elections. It will put to rest the allegations raised by various political parties about EVMs being tampered with as was seen after the recent Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
The NDA Govt Cabinet on April 19,2017  agreed to release over Rs 3,100 crore so that the Election Commission (EC) could procure 1.6 million VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machines.
These can hopefully be used in all polling stations in the General Elections in 2019.

Nifty ends above 9,300 level for first time Tuesday April 25,2017

NSE index ended above the 9,300 level for the first time on Tuesday April 25,2017, helped by a string of strong quarterly results, including from Reliance Industries Ltd, and positive global cues.

The broader NSE index closed up 88.65 points or 0.96 per cent at 9,306.60. The index earlier hit a record high of 9,309.20, surpassing its previous milestone set on April 5.

Monday, April 24, 2017

India slowest in alleviating poverty amongst its neighbors

Poverty has traditionally been measured by the number of people with income below the poverty line.

 But this doesn’t tell us how far below that line the poor are. 

The poverty gap index adds up the shortfall of each poor person’s income from the poverty line and divides the sum by the country’s population to arrive at the mean shortfall.

2017 MCD Elections - Delhi’s voter turnout was the highest ever

With a voter turnout of 53.58% - the highest ever, Delhi’s poor and those who live on the peripheries of the urban centre – the unauthorized colonies, resettlements and slums – came out strongly to have a say in the way the city will be run. 

World’s top military spenders

The world military expenditure in 2016 is estimated to have been $1686 billion. 

This is equivalent to 2.2 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) or $227 per person. 

India is the fifth highest military spender in the world

Rcom-Aircel merger gets shareholders nod Monday April 24,2017

Reliance Communications (Rcom) shareholders have approved the merger of its wireless business with Aircel to create India's fourth largest telecommunications company.
“The shareholders of Reliance Communications at their meeting convened pursuant to the order of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), have today approved with 99.99 per cent majority for the Scheme of Arrangement for demerger of the wireless division of the company and Reliance Telecom Limited (RTL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, into Aircel Limited and Dishnet Wireless Limited (the Scheme),” said a company statement adding that the scheme was also approved by shareholders of RTL at their meeting held on April 24 pursuant to the order of the NCLT.
Shareholders of Aircel had already approved the merger at their meeting held on April 22, 2017, convened under the order of the NCLT.
The company has already received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India, BSE Limited, National Stock Exchange of India Limited and Competition Commission of India for the proposed Scheme of Arrangement.
The RCOM-Aircel merger will create a strong operator clearly ranked amongst India’s top 4 telcos by customer base and revenues, also ranking amongst the top 3 operators by revenues in 12 important circles.
The merged entity will have the second-largest spectrum holding amongst all operators, aggregating 448 MHz across the 850, 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands, and will enjoy enhanced business continuity through extended validity of spectrum holdings till 2033-36.
The merged entity will be one of India’s largest private sector companies, with an asset base of over Rs. 65,000 crore ($10 billion) and net worth of Rs. 35,000 crore (USD 5.38 billion).
RCOM’s overall debt including the deferred spectrum payment liability will be reduced by Rs 20,000 crore ($ 3.07 billion) and Aircel’s debt will reduce by Rs. 4,000 crore ($615 million), upon completion of the transaction.
A petition is being filed with the NCLT, Mumbai Bench, for approval of the said Scheme. The proposed transaction is subject to other necessary approvals. Post closing, the company and the present shareholders of Aircel Limited will hold 50% stake each in the merged entity.

2016 Dadasaheb Phalke award - Director and Actor K Viswanath wins Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2016 Monday April 24,2017

Veteran filmmaker and actor Kasinadhuni Viswanath is the winner of the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2016, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting announced on Monday April 24,2017
The Award consists of a Swarn Kamal (Golden Lotus), a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakhs and a shawl. The Award shall be conferred by the President of India at a function on May 3, 2017 at Vigyan Bhawan, the MIB said in its blogpost.
“His contributions have received recognition in the form of Padmashri Award in 1992 by the Government of India for his contribution to film making. He has also been awarded 5 National Awards, 20 Nandi Awards (awarded by the State Government of Andhra Pradesh), 10 Filmfare Awards including Lifetime Achievement Award. His national award winning Swathi Muthyam was the India’s official entry to the 59th Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Film category. His film, Sankarabharanam, is one of India’s most memorable classics, which was appreciated across the world,” the blogpost added.

2017 ICC Champions Trophy - Sri Lanka Announces Squad Monday April 24,2017

A fit-again Angelo Mathews will lead Sri Lanka in June 2017’s ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales, the cricket board announced on Monday April 24,2017, unveiling a 15-member squad which also includes maverick paceman Lasith Malinga.
Angelo Mathews missed the one-day series in South Africa, the tour of Australia and the home series against Bangladesh with a hamstring injury but is back in action for Delhi Daredevils in the ongoing 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL).
Sri Lanka Squad

 Angelo Mathews (captain), Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Nuwan Kulasekera, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Seekkuge Prasanna

LG G6 vs Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+: Here’s the difference

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LG G6 comes with a new 5.7-inch FullVision display, which the company says offers a better cinematic viewing experience and support for wide-angle cameras, though this has narrow bezels on the side. The display features a QHD+ resolution (2,880 x 1,440 pixels) with a pixel density of 564ppi, and also features, for the first time among LG phones, an 18:9 aspect ratio instead of a 16:9 one. The 5.7-inch IPS In Cell Touch Display isn’t an OLED. However games like Temple Run 2, Spider-Man Unlimited, Crossy Road, SimCity BuildIt, Cookie Jam and Genies & Gems have been curated for the new aspect ratio.

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Samsung’s Galaxy S8 features a slightly larger 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display. But Samsung has managed the slightly larger screen despite fielding the same 148.9mm dimension as the G6 thanks to its Infinity Display, which has no bezels on the side. The resolution of the Galaxy S8 is Quad HD+ tag but with 2,960 x 1,440 pixels and the pixel density is slightly higher at 570ppi. The display also curves at the edges, offering users an edge-to-edge experience which the G6 can’t do just yet.
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For those looking for larger screens, the Galaxy S8+ offers a 6.2-inch Super AMOLED display with a similar resolution as in the Galaxy S8, but the pixel density here comes down to 529 ppi. To prolong battery life, Samsung has set the default display resolution to Full HD+. However users can change it to Quad HD+ in settings.
In terms of display type, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ also feature a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio, which does offer a larger surface area to the display. When viewing videos on YouTube you can choose to go into Infinity mode, and the aspect ratio is corrected to fit the display. However a lot of apps, games are not yet redesigned for this.
Processing power
LG G6 features a 64-bit quad-core Snapdragon 821 processor, which also features in Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL phones and the OnePlus 3. The chip offers clock speeds of up to 2.4GHz, and comes with Adreno 530 GPU.
However,  Snapdragon 821 is nearly an year old, if you compare it to Samsung’s new Exynos  8895 processor built with 10nm-based FinFET technology. The US version of the phone runs Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, which is also built with the same 10nm-based FinFET technology.  In India, the Samsung phones come with the Exynos processor and given the smaller size, these are more power efficient that the old 821 processor.
Storage & RAM
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+ are available as single storage (64GB) models. The phones also offer additional microSD support of up to 256GB and feature 4GB LPDDR4 RAM. 
LG G6 is available with 64GB storage with 4GB LPDDR4 RAM. The microSD slot also supports up to 2TB of additional storage.
Both the Galaxy S8 and S8+ feature similar cameras without any variations. The 12-MP Dual Pixel rear camera features OIS, auto-focus as well as large 1.4µm pixels. Other features include Pro mode, Panorama, Slow motion, Hyperlapse, Food mode and the ability to save pictures in RAW format.
The front camera carries a resolution of 8-MP with 1.22µm pixels and a f/1.7 aperture and is capable of capturing wide-angle images. It also has auto focus. Both front and rear cameras are equipped with Video Digital Image Stabilization, HDR, motion photos and stickers.
LG G6, like its predecessor, features two rear cameras, with each of them with 13-MP resolution. Featuring an f/1.8 aperture, one of them is a standard angle 75 degree lens and the other is a 125-degree wide-angle one. The image ratio is consistent with the 18:9 display and the cameras offer up to 8X zoom, standalone modes, image capturing in RAW and JPEG modes. The 5-MP front camera lens has a 100-degree angle.  
Battery life
LG G6 features a non-removable 3,300 mAh battery. This one is not removable like it was with the G5.  Samsung has decided to equip the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ with 3,000 mAh and 3,500 mAh batteries respectively.
However, what’s different in the new Galaxy phone batteries is that they can be charged with USB Type-C ports, which offer quicker charging and are also supported by in-house fast charging and wireless charging solutions.
LG G6 is equipped with a new 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC audio tech which, the company says, replicates the experience offered by professional home-audio systems. It reduces ambient noise levels by up to 50% and works with B&O PLAY’s audio technology to reduce external noise.
The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are not far behind as far as audio capabilities are concerned. Powered by Pure sound by AKG, both phones feature UHQ 32-bit & DSD support and also feature Dual Audio, which lets users connect them to two Bluetooth speakers at the same time to amplify sound levels.
All three phones, namely the LG G6, Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, are as much premium in appearance as their price tags suggest. Featuring metal and glass bodies, all three phones look sleek, even though the G6 is slightly thinner at 7.9mm compared to 8mm and 8.1mm thickness of Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ respectively. The G6 is also much lighter at 145g compared to 155g and 173g of the Galaxy phones.
In terms of protection from dust and water, all three phones feature IP68 certification, which offers water resistance up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes.  
While the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are presently priced at Rs 57,900 and Rs. 64,900 respectively, LG has put a price tag of Rs 51,990 on the G6.