BBIN delegations exchange views for cooperation at sub-regional level

The second meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on sub-regional cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) on water resources management and power/hydropower and on connectivity and transit were held here on Friday and Saturday.
The official release said that the talks were held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere.

IS kidnaps 78 people in Iraq

Islamic State (IS) militants kidnapped 78 people Saturday in northern Iraq, including 15 workers from a state oil company in Kirkuk, officials said.

IS combatants attacked Kirkuk Friday and briefly occupied the North Oil Company field located 25 km southeast of Kirkuk city before abducting 15 workers, an Iraqi police spokesperson told Efe.

Peshmerga forces from the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq subsequently recovered control of the field but did not find any of the oil workers.

Avalanche warning issued in Jammu and Kashmir

Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir today issued an avalanche warning in higher reaches of the state with weatherman predicting moderate to heavy snowfall during the next three days in several parts. Travellers were also cautioned to take Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in view of the weather forecast.
In view of the prediction, the deputy commissioners of north and south Kashmir districts advised people living above 2,500 meters altitude to exercise restraint and avoid avalanche prone areas especially in Tangdhar, Machil and Keran along the Line of Control.

Kejriwal crticises Modi for focusing on AAP

Hitting back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal today criticised him for targeting AAP in his election rally and not touching upon critical issues like laying out a roadmap for development of the city.

Kejriwal said given the “dwindling” support for BJP on the ground, Modi was left with no choice but to attack AAP.

The former Chief Minister said he was disappointed as Modi did not talk “at all” about Delhi’s development and welfare of its people.

Beware! Your make-up products can be risky

Your make-up products can put you at risk of early menopause.

Chemicals in lipstick, face cream and nail varnish can speed up the process by four years, according to a study.

The study examined the effects of 111 chemicals on 31,575 women.

As many as 15 different chemicals were identified as harmful by a team of researchers at Washington University in St Louis and among them were phthalates, which are used to soften plastics.

HIV may stay hidden in ‘quiet’ immune cells

In what could lead to a cure for HIV, researchers have found that the human immunodeficiency virus may stay hidden for years in certain “quiet” immune cells.

Drugs for HIV have become adept at suppressing infection, but they still can not eliminate it because the medication in these pills does not touch the virus’ hidden reserves, which lie dormant within infected white blood cells, the researchers said.

India’s first double hand transplant successful

Doctors at a private hospital here in Kerala have registered a rare feat of conducting India’s first successful double hand transplant.

The transplant was conducted at Amrita Institute of Medical Science here Jan 12 and 13 on a 30-year-old train accident victim, who received both hands of a 24-year-old road accident victim.

Subramania Iyer, professor and head of the plastic surgery department, said that only 110 successful hand transplants have been conducted so far in the US, European countries, China and Australia, since the first one in France 13 years ago.

Scientists recant Big Bang gravitational wave theory

A new analysis has dynamited a much-hyped discovery of primordial “gravitational waves” from the dawn of time.

Despite earlier reports of a possible detection, a joint analysis of data from ESA’s Planck satellite and the ground-based BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments has found no conclusive evidence of primordial gravitational waves.

Scientists revealed that interstellar dust caused more than half of the signal detected by the Antarctica-based BICEP2 experiment. The Planck spacecraft observations were not yet available in March 2014 when the BICEP2 science team made its announcement.

New sensor spots minute quantities of atmospheric mercury

Researchers have developed a new sensor to detect minute levels of mercury in the atmosphere in just 10 seconds.

The new highly sensitive, laser-based instrument provides scientists with a method to more accurately measure global human exposure to mercury, the researchers noted.

“Our instrument has the potential to greatly enhance our understanding of the atmospheric cycling of mercury and increase understanding of the global impact of mercury on human health,” said co-author of the new study Anthony Hynes from University of Miami.

4.4b-year-old ‘Black Beauty’ Martian meteorite is chunk of planet’s crust

The 4.4 billion year-old Martian meteorite, which was found a few years ago in the Moroccan desert, is a piece of planet’s crust, it has been revealed.

In a new paper, scientists reported that spectroscopic measurements of the meteorite are a spot-on match with orbital measurements of the Martian dark plains, areas where the planet’s coating of red dust is thin and the rocks beneath are exposed.

India’s first double hand transplant successful, says doctors

With the first successful double hand transplant, Indian doctors have registered a rare feat of carrying out the world’s first hand transplant of a coloured skin and the first hand transplant in any developing country.

So far, only 110 successful hand transplants have been done, since the first one in France 13 years ago, in USA, European countries, China and Australia.

Vine releases new version of app for kids with ‘adorable animated characters’

Vine has released a new application for its junior target audience “Vine Kids” that has a cast of “adorable animated characters” wherein kids will only need to swipe left and right to see new Vine videos pop up.

According to the Verge, Vine Kids is tailor-made for young children in terms on content as well as design.

A Vine spokesperson said that Vine Kids showcases clips that they select so nothing unseemly makes it through to young children.

Vine Kids is only available on iOS as of now and there has been no announcement about the app coming on other platforms like Android.

Investors robbed of $11 mn Bitcoins in four years: Study

Frauds such as online ponzi schemes have skimmed at least $11 million in Bitcoin deposits from unsuspecting cyber customers over the past four years, a study says.

Bitcoin is the digital world`s most popular virtual currency, with millions in circulation.

“Our calculation of $11 million is almost certainly at the low-end,” said lead researcher Marie Vasek from Southern Methodist University in the US.

“The amount of Bitcoin that depositors have lost to these scams is probably many millions more,” Vasek added.

Obama seeks $215 million for unique medical plan

US President Barack Obama has sought $215 million for an effort that will match patients` genetic and physiological data to treat their health conditions more precisely.

Obama proposed the plan, known as the “Precision Medicine Initiativea, in his annual State of the Union address last week.

Details of the plan come as Obama prepares to release his fiscal year 2016 budget request to Congress Feb 2, the scientific journal Nature reported.

Central Bank of India opens first forex hub in Guj at Vadodara

The first forex hub of the Mumbai- headquartered Central Bank of India in Gujarat was opened at Urmi Char rasta here to provide prompt and efficient services to importers and exporters.

Ramesh Singh, General Manager, Treasury & International division, Central Bank of India inaugurated this forex hub here yesterday which is fully equipped with necessary infrastructure such as swift facility, fax Internet etc besides trained staff.

Speaking on the occasion, Singh said it is the first forex hub of the bank in Gujarat after opening of a forex hub in Mumbai in August 2014.

Base year change: Per capita income rises to Rs 6699/month in FY14

India’s per capita income, a gauge for assessing standard of living, for 2013-14 is up at Rs 6,699 per month for 2013-14 as against the earlier estimate of Rs 6,198.33 after the government updated the base year for measuring national accounts.

Government on Friday made changes in the national accounts calculation methodology by revising the base year to 2011-12 from 2004-05.

In 2012-13 and 2011-12, the per capita income per month were estimated at Rs 5,966.08 and Rs 5,359.67 respectively, data released by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MOSPI) showed.

Prabhu pitches for greater investments in Railways

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu here Saturday pitched for greater investments in railways and said development in the sector will help the country grow.

The minister was here to flag off two new trains – Ahmedabad-Chennai bi-weekly express and Ahmedabad-Darbhanga Jansadharan express. He also launched Wi-fi facility at the city railway station.

“It is a matter of pleasure for the country that our economy is on the path of improvement and progress.

With this, responsibility of Railways has also increased. We need to work on many levels,” said Prabhu.

Four more die of swine flu in Telangana, Andhra

Four more people died of swine flu in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Saturday, officials said.

While three people died at the government-run Gandhi Hospital here, one woman succumbed at Ongole in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh.

With this, the toll in Telangana rose to 27 and in neighboring state to three this month.

Three people including two women died at Gandhi Hospital, which is the state nodal centre for swine flu in Telangana. The deceased include a 35-year-old pregnant woman.

Doctors said 35 people including 12 children are undergoing treatment at the hospital.

PM Modi reviews progress of LPG subsidy transfer scheme

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday reviewed the progress of implementation of the scheme for paying subsidy on cooking gas (LPG) directly into bank accounts of consumers.

The Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme for LPG subsidy, now renamed PAHAL or Pratyaksha Hastaantarit Laabh, covers more than 9.75 crore LPG consumers and is the world’s largest cash transfer programme as compared to similar programmes in other countries such as China, Mexico and Brazil, an official statement said here.

‘Ensure improved climate to protect press freedom in Sri Lanka’

A US-based journalist advocacy group has asked the new Sri Lankan government to ensure improved climate for press freedom and to take concrete and meaningful steps in this regard.

In an open letter to the new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPG) said, he has the opportunity to write a new chapter in country’s history.

UN concerned over Nepal’s deadlock in drafting Constitution

The UN has expressed concern over Nepal`s deadlock in drafting a new constitution and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the nation`s leaders to continue their dialogue, according to his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric.

He told reporters here on Friday that Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jens Toyberg-Frandzen “expressed the UN`s increasing concern about the diminishing momentum for inclusive negotiation on the new constitution to be adopted by consensus.”

KCR orders modernization of Monda Market

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has announced that the Monda Market in Secunderabad would be modernized without damaging the existing the heritage structure.

The Chief Minister, along with Deputy CM Mohammed Mahmood Ali, Ministers Nayani Narasimha Reddy (Home) and Talasani Srinivas Yadav (Commercial Taxes), GHMC Commissioner and Special Officer Somesh Kumar and other senior officials, inspected the Monda Market in Secunderabad on Saturday. During the visit, KCR interacted with the vegetable vendors and heard their grievances.

Pakistan mourns victims of deadly suicide bombing in Shi’íte mosque

Pakistan on Saturday mourned the victims of the deadly suicide bombing in a Shia mosque in southern Sindh province that killed 61 people with many of the injured still in critical condition, officials said.

The blast ripped through the Shia mosque in Lakhi Dar area of Shikarpur district when about 400 worshippers lined up to offer weekly Friday prayers.

Provincial Health Minister Jam Mehtab said that 61 people were killed and over 50 injured in the attack.

SSP Saqib Memon said that a severed head and other body parts of an unidentified bomber were sent for DNA testing.

BJP’s downfall has begun, says Shankar Rao

Former minister Dr P Shankar Rao on Saturday claimed that the downfall of Bharatiya Janata Party across the country has begun.

Speaking to media persons in the Assembly premises here, Shankar Rao predicted that the Congress would win the Delhi elections and its main contender is Aam Aadmi Party. He hoped that nearly 29% minorities in Delhi would vote in favour of Congress party to defeat the communal BJP. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who won the election on development agenda, has started showing his true colours and started implementing the communal agenda.