Pune: A 21-year-old IT student, who developed an emergency mobile app that helped connect with thousands of people marooned during the 2015 Chennai floods, was found hanging in his house in Applewood Society in Khodenagar area of Nashik district on Wednesday afternoon.Police said, Kaushal Bag, a second-year Computer Science student of K.K. Wagh Arts, Commerce, Science and Computer Science College, was alone at the time of the incident. The motive remains unknown. Bag’s father, Yogesh, who has a travel agency, and mother, Deepa, an LIC employee, were at work. The body was found by his younger brother who returned home in the afternoon. Bag was rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead. Bag made news with his mobile app Helping Hands, an offline cellular system application for emergency services. The app helped people make emergency calls in the absence of network connectivity and contributed in rescuing nearly 20,000 people stranded during the Chennai floods. Many people used the app to send SMSes, which Bag and his colleagues routed to their server to identify the location of the stranded people. NGOs working on ground were immediately informed and rescue teams were sent. The app was a result of Bag’s desire to help people without internet connection in their mobile phones reach out to friends in an emergency. A big hitThe app, in its initial stage, was also used during the 2015 Nashik Kumbh Mela to send automated SMSes to emergency numbers already saved on phones. The app was circulated through a free download link, but was not available on Google Play Store. In January 2016, Bag launched as a women’s safety app, which he developed with three colleagues. The app received an overwhelming response with more than 24,000 downloads across the country. Bag’s innovations also drew praise from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook. The tech giant had also offered Bag a job as a Product Manager. Last year, Bag applied for a patent for his innovation and in a tweet to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 20, 2016 he expressed his desire to ‘to donate my application to all the sectors of India’.Last month, Bag used Facebook Live to draw attention to a half-marathon organised by the Nashik Police. District Police Commissioner Dr. Ravindra Singhal felicitated Bag after the run.
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday launched a supply of BS-IV grade fuel in 12 towns through video-conferencing from here.“We begin a new era of clean transportation fuels that would benefit 1.25 billion citizens of our country by substantially reducing pollution levels in our cities,” Mr. Pradhan said complementing three oil marketing companies for working in unison for launching the BS-IV grade fuels as per schedule.“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not made commitment under any external pressure in Paris summit. Even though India is not a polluting country, it has shown commitment for reducing vehicular emission,” said the minister.Mr. Pradhan asked oil companies to expedite their efforts to introduce BS-VI standards by April1, 2020“We had started oil upgradation programme in 1991. Oil companies have achieved emission standards by continuously introducing advance technology and making huge capital expenditure. The oil industry has spent over Rs. 28,000 crore after 2010 for supplying BS-IV grade fuel. It was in addition to Rs. 35,000 crore already spent before 2010,” said Petroleum Secretary K. D. Tripathi.Mr. Tripathi said oil companies would further spend ₹28,000 crore to supply BS-VI specification oil by 2020. As of now total investment made to upgrade oil comes to around ₹90,000 crore, he pointed out.The Supreme Court has banned the sale of BS-III vehicles from April 1. “On and from April 1, 2017, such vehicles that are not BS-IV compliant shall not be sold in India by any manufacturer or dealer, that is to say that such vehicles, whether two-wheeler, three- wheeler, four-wheeler or commercial vehicles will not be sold,” a Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta had ordered.According to Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry, India has reduced its diesel content from 10,000 ppm in the most of the country in 1996 to a maximum of 50 ppm in 2017. The proposed BS-VI regulation will reduce diesel sulphur content to a maximum 10 ppm, enabling the introduction of advanced emission control technologies, including diesel particulate filters and selective catalyst reduction systems, which will be needed to meet BS-VI emission standards. As the technology for BS-V is not very different, it was decided to go straight to BS-VI grade fuels from BS-IV.
Purulia town in south-west Bengal is in the grip of tension after Saturday’s clash between two groups over social media posts that allegedly hurt religious sentiments. According to local residents, a few persons were injured in the violence. Rapid Action Force [RAF] has been deployed in the area.A senior district police official said there had been “a law and order situation” in Purulia town. Police, he said, brought the situation under control. “Tension started brewing about a couple of days back when a member of one community allegedly posted a comment on social media hurting the religious sentiments of the other community,” a resident of the area told The Hindu.
HUBBALLI/PANAJI: Two women from Goa drowned and four other people were missing at Nagarmadi waterfalls at Chendia, 12 km from Karwar in Uttara Kannada district, Sunday. The police fear that more people may have drowned.The Margao police identified the deceased as Francila Pires (21) and Fiyona Pacheco (28). Those missing are Marcelina Estebio (38), Renuka (23), Siddarth Chari, (22) and Sameer Gavde (32).The Margao police said rescue teams were trying to trace the missing people. A group of 50 had gone from South Goa for a picnic to Karwar on Sunday.Superintendent of Police, Uttara Kannada, Vinayak V. Patil said the tourists had come in different vehicles, and hence the exact number of people who were washed away is yet to be ascertained. The police suspect that five or six people drowned. Mr. Patil said some of the tourists had entered a pool of water at the bottom of the waterfalls. The waterfalls are in a forest area, which has received heavy rain. As a result, the force of the water was strong, and some of those in the pool were washed away. The rescue team is facing difficulties as the water flow is still strong, Mr. Patil said.In July last year, a group of 10 tourists from Goa visiting Nagarmadi waterfalls were rescued from drowning by the Fire and Emergency Services.
A journalist with the Hindi daily Dainik Jagran and member of the RSS Rajesh Mishra was shot dead in Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday. His brother was also shot at and critically injured.Unidentified motorbike-borne assailants fired several rounds at Mishra while he was sitting at a building materials shop run by his family at the Brahmanpura Chauraha at Karanda in Ghazipur at 7 a.m.The police said there were three assailants, while locals spoke of only two men, one of whom was masked.Mr. Mishra, 38, worked as a block-level stringer with Dainik Jagran and was also a block in-charge of the RSS. His brother, Amitabh Mishra, was rushed to the district hospital in Ghazipur and then referred to a hospital in Varanasi.Brother also injured“On hearing the sound of bullets, Mr. Amitabh Mishra, who was working in the fields behind the shop, came to his brother’s rescue. The assailants shot at him too and fled the spot,” a police spokesperson said.Following the incident, protesters blocked the roads and attacked vehicles. The police later intervened to pacify the crowd and restore traffic. While the motive for the attack is not known, the police suspect that it could be the result of personal enmity.“Suspected enmity is probably the reason…two suspects identified…arrest should happen soon,” said Anand Kumar, Additional Director General-Law and Order. He said the police had already found clues.Family members and colleagues believe the murder could be due to Rajesh Mishra’s RSS background or journalistic work. Mishra had recently organised a week-long RSS camp in Karanda. Manoj, a friend of the victim and fellow RSS worker, also suspects that Mishra’s journalistic work had sparked the attack. “Some people were irritated by his work. Writing news against the wrong people became a cause for his death,” Manoj said.The content of Rajesh Mishra’s reports or journalistic work could not be independently verified, however.
Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief Hagrama Mohilary has assured the leaders of the All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union and other organisations that the land rights of the Gorkha people of Bodoland Territorial Area Districts will remain intact.Regarding the ongoing controversy over the new land policy of the BTC which governs BTAD comprising four districts, Mr. Mohilary said all land rights of the protected class of the people as defined in Chapter X of the Assam Land Revenue Regulation, 1886 would be applicable in the BTC area like in other parts of Assam.The BTC chief made the statement after meeting delegates of the AAGSU, the Assam Nepali Sahitya Sabha and the Gorkha Sanmiloni among others.AAGSU president Prem Tamang said the discussion with Mr. Mohilary “was very positive”.
At least 36 people in Bareilly and adjoining Badaun districts of Uttar Pradesh succumbed to fever in the last 15 days, officials said on Tuesday. Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh, who visited Bareilly, said the State government will do a “death audit” to find out the exact number of people who died due to fever. Taking note of the deaths, he ordered the suspension of Additional Director (Health) S.K. Agarwal and District Malaria Officer Pankaj Jain.Lack of cleanliness Finding lack of cleanliness during his visit, Mr. Singh also suspended District Health Officer Ashok Kumar and Jagatpur Hospital in-charge Sunita Bhardwaj. The government has constituted three teams of doctors to look into the cases in Bareilly and Badaun, U.P. DG (Health) Padmakar Singh said. “Twenty persons have died in the past 15 days due to fever in Bareilly district,” Bareilly Chief Medical Officer Vineet Kumar said. “In the past 15 days, fever has claimed 16 lives in Badaun district,” Badaun CMO Manjeet Singh said. In Lucknow, Medical and Health (Communicable Diseases) Director Mithilesh Chaturvedi said, “A five-member team of the Central government has also reached Bareilly. Preventive and remedial actions have been initiated in both the districts of the State”. He said camps have been set up in the districts and medical tests were being carried out using rapid diagnostic techniques. Necessary medicines are also being distributed and fogging and spraying of larvacides have been undertaken, officials added.‘Something is wrong’ When asked about the incident, Mr. Singh said, “Something had gone wrong. It will come to the fore after reports of the tests come. Lab technicians from other districts are being sent here (Bareilly) so that the reports can be out fast”. He also directed the authorities to provide best health care to the patients.
The Tripura High Court on Wednesday stayed the deregistration of Daily Desher Katha, a mouthpiece of the CPI(M)’s State unit, paving way for the Bengali daily to resume publication.In a letter on October 1, the Registrar of Newspapers for India said the publication of Daily Desher Kathawas being suspended based on a verdict passed by the District Magistrate of West Tripura, Sandeep Mahatme. It cited “unauthorised change of ownership” as the reason behind the step.The stay was granted by Tripura High Court Chief Justice Ajay Kumar Rastogi.“The future effect and operation of the order of the District Magistrate, West Tripura, dt. 01.10.2018, followed with the order passed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sadar, dt.01.10.2018, are hereby stayed,” the court said.Counter affidavitHowever, the respondents will be at liberty to file application for vacation/modification of the interim order after filing of the counter affidavit, it added.There is no restriction on publication of the newspaper any more, the daily’s counsel Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharjee told reporters at a press conference here.He alleged that West Tripura District Magistrate’s order was made under political influence and termed it as an attack on freedom of the press.Daily Desher Katha had applied to the RNI to change its ownership details in 2015. The process was not completed due to red tape, Mr. Bhattacharjee said.After fresh papers were submitted, the RNI approved the revised details of editor, printer and publisher on October 1. The DM and SDM issued a notice outside their jurisdiction on the same day and wrote to the RNI to cancel the newspaper’s registration. “This can’t be done without political intervention,” Mr. Bhattacharjee claimed.
A year after it had announced with much fanfare a ₹34,000 crore loan waiver for distressed farmers, the Maharashtra government has disbursed only half of the declared amount. According to latest data from the Cooperation and Information Technology Departments, the State has disbursed ₹16,498 crore as opposed to the initially estimated ₹34,000 crore. The loan waiver scheme has reached 39.08 lakh farmers as against an estimated 80 lakh announced by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis last year. “We have ended the scheme for now and only a few more crores may trickle into it. The estimated transfer is much lesser than our estimates based on the projections made by the bank,” said a senior official of the state government. State officials said the estimated amount could not be disbursed since most of the farmers did not have a loan and savings account, needed for claiming a loan waiver. As opposed to eligible 78 lakh farmers, the government only received 57 lakh applications. Of the total, ₹12,386 crore was disbursed as one time settlement (OTS), another ₹2,544 crore under the incentive-based scheme and ₹1,568 crore as the second instalment of the OTS. Mr. Fadnavis had admitted last year the farm loan waiver will burden the State’s finances for the next two years. Maharashtra had joined Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Punjab to announce the waiver recently. The State has over ₹4,00,000 crore in debts and a recent fiscal report by India Ratings warned that the waiver will push the State’s fiscal deficit to 2.71% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in the current financial year. The report has also estimated a rise in debt/GSDP at 17.44% over a budgeted 16.26%.
The Jharkhand High Court on Friday reserved judgement on the bail petition of RJD president Lalu Prasad in the multi-crore fodder scam cases. After hearing arguments of the petitioner’s lawyer as well that of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh reserved his order. Earlier, on December 21 last, the Bench had deferred the hearing on Prasad’s bail plea for January 4.In jail since Dec. 2017 The RJD chief is languishing in Ranchi jail since December 2017 after conviction in the multi-crore fodder scam cases. Noted lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal, representing Prasad, cited his bad health and also his need for distributing election symbol to candidates in the capacity of being RJD president while seeking bail. CBI’s counsel Rajeev Kumar said Prasad should not be given regular bail and referred to denial of bail to him previously in the case related to Deogarh treasury. He further said that Prasad is also being treated in custody and hence bail should not be given to him. The RJD is an important component of the mahagathbandhan of Opposition parties in Bihar and Prasad’s approval on seat-sharing holds significance.
As many as 1,742 people, including 10 foreign nationals, were arrested in last one year for allegedly peddling drugs in Himachal Pradesh, Governor Acharya Dev Vrat told the Assembly on Monday. He said the Jai Ram Thakur government is committed towards eradicating the drug menace from the State and 1,342 cases were registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985. Recently, a conference was also held at Panchkula in which Chief Ministers of Haryana, Punjab and Uttrakhand and senior officers of Rajasthan, Delhi and Chandigarh discussed a joint strategy for tackling the menace, the Governor said.MSP hike hailed He also hailed the Centre’s decision of increasing the minimum support price (MSP) of all notified Kharif and Rabi crops by at least 150% of the cost of production. “This initiative of the Union government will help in doubling the income of farmers,” he said in his address to the Assembly. The Governor said the State government had launched the ‘Prakartik Kheti-Khushal Kisan’ scheme to promote natural farming. Under the scheme, about 9,000 farmers were imparted training during the current financial year and about 3,000 farmers have successfully adopted this farming practice, he said. The budget session of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly began Monday and would last till February 18. The discussion on the Governor’s address would be held from February 5 to 7, Speaker Rajeev Bindal had said. The Jai Ram Thakur government would present its budget for 2019-20 on February 9.
Flight operations were suspended on Thursday at the Srinagar airport due to poor visibility and heavy snowfall.“All flights to and from Srinagar were cancelled on Wednesday. No flight could land or take off from the airport today morning,” officials at the Srinagar International Airport said.“Flight operations will start only after visibility improves,” the officials said, adding that snow clearance on the runway was getting hampered by continuing snowfall.The Jammu-Srinagar highway remained closed for the second consecutive day on Thursday due to fresh snowfall and landslides.“No stranded vehicle is parked at any avalanche or landslide prone area along the highway,” a department official said.Authorities decided to allow one-way traffic from Srinagar to Jammu on Wednesday, but the move was halted due to the landslides in Ramsoo-Ramban sector and snowfall in Bannihal.The prices of essentials like vegetables, mutton and poultry products, have skyrocketed in the landlocked Kashmir Valley.
There’s a new lead in the hunt to explain the global warming hiatus. The mystery is why average global surface air temperatures have remained essentially steady since 2000, even as greenhouse gases have continued to accumulate in the atmosphere. Many scientists believe the answer lies in the Pacific, which is sending massive slugs of cold water to the surface, helping cool the planet. But a new investigation, published online today in Science, presents sea temperature data implying that most of the missing heat has been stored deep in the Atlantic. The work draws on tens of millions of ocean temperature and salinity measurements taken globally by buoys, floats, and ships since 1970. Covering 24 depths from the sea surface down to 1500 meters, the data suggest that over the last decade or so the Atlantic has been absorbing heat (red in the graphic above) that would have otherwise warmed the surface. Over the past 14 years, the authors write, water below 300 meters in the North and South Atlantic oceans has stored more energy than the rest of the global oceans combined. “We found the missing heat,” says one of the authors, oceanographer Xianyao Chen of the Ocean University of China in Qingdao. He and co-author Ka-Kit Tung of the University of Washington, Seattle, postulate that the mechanism is the “conveyor belt” current that moves salty tropical water to the North Atlantic, where it sinks, carrying heat with it.
In the hands of a skilled lyricist, science can be the heart and soul of a catchy tune. “Balloons are full of helium, and so is every star/Stars are mostly hydrogen, which may someday fill your car,” the rock band They Might Be Giants croons in their modest hit “Meet the Elements.” Now, a team in Taiwan has put pop songs and lyricists under the lens. They culled 858 science-related phrases from 377 songs sung in Mandarin and three other Asian languages that were nominated for Golden Melody Awards (pictured)—Taiwan’s equivalent of the Grammys—between 1990 and 2012. Astronomy and biology reigned supreme in the lyrics, the researchers report in an upcoming issue of Public Understanding of Science, though in most instances the use of scientific terms was intended not to edify listeners but rather to serve as a metaphor or convey emotion. (“Chemical action is so hard to understand that I cannot guess your formula,” sings Feng-chi Chang in the 2004 song “Chemical Formula.”) The team points out that many songs with meatier science may never have been chartbusters, but they have nonetheless found a home for dedicated listeners in cyberspace.