As many as 34 hotels on the sea beach in Odisha’s holy town Puri were served show cause notices by the district administration following test reports indicating contamination in drinking water samples drawn from these. Issuing show cause notices to these hotels on Saturday, Puri Sub Collector Madhusudan Dash has sought replies as to why action should not be taken against them. The Public Health Engineering Organisation (PHEO) had collected drinking water samples from these hotels recently and had reported the matter to the Sub Collector after test reports indicated of contamination. Sources said contamination was due to lifting of groundwater using powerful pumps. The Odisha Sun Times Bureau : 21st. May,17
Researchers have developed a sensor that can detect disease markers in breath or toxins in air, as well as tell the levels of sickness. A small and thin square of an organic plastic, the tech could soon be the basis of portable and disposable sensor devices, the team from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said. In the study published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, the team lead by Ying Diao demonstrated the device that monitors ammonia in breath, a sign of kidney failure. “In the clinical setting, physicians use bulky instruments, basically the size of a big table, to detect and analyse these compounds. We want to hand out a cheap sensor chip to patients so they can use it and throw it away,” said Diao. “We developed this method to directly print tiny pores into the device itself so we can expose these highly reactive sites. By doing so, we increased the reactivity by ten times and can sense down to one part per billion,” Diao added. The group is working to make sensors with multiple functions to get a more complete picture of a patient’s health. IANS : 21st. May,17
Researchers have invented a technique that types Braille in real time and helps deaf-blind people “watch” television without intermediaries. Researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid undertook “PervasiveSUB Project” that compiles all the subtitles of television channels and sends them to a central server which forwards them to smartphones or tablets. From there, they are sent to the Braille line of the deaf-blind person through an app making it possible to control the speed of the subtitles that are captured directly from the TV broadcast in perfect synchronisation. PervasiveSUB was financed by Spanish broadband and telecommunications provider Telefonica. “At Telefonica we endeavour to become a more accessible company and that way contribute to equal opportunities for all. And although we still have a long way to go, the new inclusive technologies and the digital revolution are the best means to help us get there,” Arancha DAaz-Llado, director of Telefonica’s Sustainable Innovation, said in a statement. The tests had great success and the technology has already been implemented on all the national and regional Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) channels in Madrid.
The research team is now providing this service free of charge to anyone who needs it. IANS : 21st. May,17
A novel e-health tool in the form of a pre-programmed tablet can help heart failure patients to manage their disease including drug dosages, say researchers. The tool called OPTILOGG provides heart failure education, helps patients monitor their weight and indicates when they should contact the clinic, according to a research presented at EuroHeartCare 2017 held at in Jonkoping, Sweden. Heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart does not pump blood around the body as well as it should. Not enough blood gets to the body, causing fatigue. Blood backs up waiting to enter the heart, leading to fluid accumulation in the legs and abdomen and fluid in the lungs (congestion). Patients with heart failure are prescribed diuretics which act on the kidneys to produce more urine, thereby reducing fluid retention and congestion. Patients are advised to monitor their weight, as a rapid loss could be a sign that the diuretic dose is too high while a sudden gain could indicate fluid retention. OPTILOGG is a pre-programmed tablet attached to a weighing scale that provides heart failure education, registers body weight and symptoms, and titrates diuretics. If the tool detects heart failure deterioration, the patient is instructed to increase the dose of diuretics. If weight gain is above a pre-determined range patients should contact the heart failure clinic. Patients can use OPTILOGG as required without pushing any buttons and it takes less than 30 seconds a day, the researchers said. “Approximately 60 per cent of patients with heart failure receive treatment and follow up in primary care,” said lead author Maria Liljeroos from Malarsjukhuset Hospital, Eskilstuna, Sweden. “Providing education to increase self-care is often a challenge in primary care due to lack of experience about heart failure and time,” Liljeroos said. The study included 32 patients from four primary care heart failure clinics. Participants were 65 years old on average and 31 per cent were female. The researchers found that 94 per cent of patients used OPTILOGG as intended. Nurses reported that the introduction of the tool did not increase their workload. “Patients’ self-care behaviours improved by 10.5 points or 37 per cent when they used OPTILOGG. The nurses said patients felt safer and were more committed to taking better care of themselves when using the tool. We also found that it did not create more work for nurses,” Liljeroos said. “Our study shows that introducing OPTILOGG into primary care is feasible and has the potential to help patients with heart failure to manage their condition,” she said. IANS : 21st. May,17
Blaming Pakistan for trying to destabilise and weaken India through violence in Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said the BJP-led central government will find a permanent solution to the issues bedevilling the Valley. Rajnath, who is on a three-day visit to Sikkim since Friday, said the neighbouring country was trying to destabilise India despite the latter’s efforts to maintain cordial bilateral relations. “I want to assure you that our government will find a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue,” the Minister said at a public meeting here in western Sikkim. “The truth is that Kashmir belongs to us, Kashmiris belong to us, and Kashmiriyat also belongs to us….” Rajnath asserted that India wants cordial relations with all its neighbours, including Pakistan. “We invited leaders of neighbouring countries, including Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, to the oath-taking ceremony (of Prime Minister Narendra Modi) in May 2014. “But, perhaps, they (Pakistan) couldn’t understand the initiative we took; even today, they are trying to destabilise, weaken and break India through the Kashmir issue,” Rajnath Singh, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader, said. IANS : 21st. May,17
The World Bank has warned that the Panama Papers issue has “enhanced political risks in Pakistan” and created “some policy uncertainty”, the media reported on 21st. May. In its report titled ‘Pakistan Development Update’, launched on Saturday, the World Bank cautioned that the country was “exposed to natural disasters, political events and terrorism” on the domestic front, while the upcoming national elections may affect “reform momentum and macro-economic policy orientation”, Dawn online reported. Released twice a year, the World Bank report sets out “recent developments across the economy and identifies risks and opportunities in the near-term future before focusing on a handful of key development challenges”. The bank is not the first international financial institution to warn that Panama Papers issue may have consequences for Pakistan’s growth. Last year, International Monetary Fund President Christine Lagarde noted that the perception of corruption in Pakistan would hurt private investment and impede efforts to promote sustainable and inclusive growth. Since the Supreme Court’s decision to form a joint investigation team to probe the assets of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, experts are divided over whether this would yield concrete results or whether it was a mere “eyewash”. Despite this, the bank notes that Pakistan’s economic growth is expected to climb to 5.2 per cent during the fiscal year ending in June, which is the highest in nine years, reports Dawn online. However, there are significant downside risks to the projected outlook, and the country remains vulnerable to domestic and external shocks. According to the report, the country’s growth rate will continue to accelerate, reaching 5.5 per cent in FY 2017-18 and 5.8 per cent in 2018-19. IANS : 21st. May,17
India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves declined by $443.6 million as on May 12, 2017. The Reserve Bank of India’s weekly statistical supplement released on 19th. May showed that the overall Forex reserves decreased to $375.27 billion from $375.71 billion reported for the week ended May 5. India’s Forex reserves comprise of foreign currency assets (FCAs), gold, special drawing rights (SDRs) and the RBI’s position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Segment-wise, FCAs — the largest component of the Forex reserves — edged lower by $429.4 million to $351.10 billion during the week under review. Besides the US dollar, FCAs consist of nearly 20-30 per cent of major (non-US) global currencies. The FCAs also include investments in US Treasury bonds, bonds of other selected governments, deposits with foreign central and commercial banks. The country’s gold reserves were stagnant at $20.43 billion. However, the SDRs’ value fell by $5.5 million to $1.45 billion. The country’s reserve position with the IMF inched down by $8.7 million to $2.28 billion. IANS : 21st. May,17