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Sunday, September 15, 2013

67 kids ill after vaccine mix-up

Hooghly/Kolkata: Sixty-seven children were hospitalized in Arambag, about 80km from Kolkata, after they were mistakenly given hepatitis B vaccine instead of pulse polio drops on Sunday. Four health workers have been suspended for the lapse and chief minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered an inquiry. Pulse Polio drops are given orally while the hepatitis B vaccine is administered through an injection. On Sunday, more than 100 children were given the latter vaccine orally. 

    Of the 67 children admitted to Arambagh sub-divisional hospital, 18 were discharged later and the rest have been kept under observation. TNN

Mumbai has largest number of green buildings coming up

Pune Fourth On List After Delhi & B'lore

    Mumbai has the country's maximum number of environmentfriendly buildings under construction, a survey has shown. The city has 60% more green building projects compared to Delhi and Bangalore, which are second and third on a list released by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). The list has six cities, including Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai.

    Mumbai has 319 registered projects that fall in the green building category and are spread over 229 million square feet, according to the IGBC. Delhi is second on the list with 199 projects, followed by Bangalore with 198 and Pune with 197. 
    The IGBC report says India with more than 2,111 registered green building projects covering 1.54 billion square feet is among the top five countries on the world green map. 
    A green building is one that uses less water, improves energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants as compared to a conventional building. "These are judged on the basis of material used, sites chosen, ventilation and use of lights, among other things," said a member 
of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). 
    Constructing green buildings is costlier. "Earlier, it was 15-18% more expensive than a regular building. Now, the cost has come down to 3-5%," said M Anand, principal councillor, CII. "A green building ought to use minimum quantity of glass. We insist on only 7-8% of glass use. Also, builders are asked to go for high-performance glass that won't reflect much heat."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

School bus cleaner arrested for raping 4-year-old student Assault Revealed 8 Days Later After Pain Complaint

Thane: A school bus cleaner was arrested on Saturday and charged with the rape of a four-yearold student under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act. 

    Badlapur police said the assault took place when the girl was alone in the bus with a friend while it was parked in the compound of an English-medium school eight days ago. The girl, threatened by the accused, had kept quiet, but the horror was revealed when she complained of pain and had to be hospitalized. 
    Cleaner Sandeep Kerve was arrested from his home after the girl's family approached the police. 
    On September 6, the girl and her friend left their class 
room early, at 4.30pm, and went to the school bus to grab good seats. Finding the girl and her friend alone in the vehicle, Kerve took the child to the backseat under the pretext of showing her magic and sexually abused her, according to police. 
    When the girl cried for he
lp, her friend rushed to the back seat to see what was wrong. The accused told the two girls not to tell anyone of the incident, threatening to kill both of them. 
Man may have molested 1-yr-old, both found dead by rly tracks 
Aman who had kidnapped a one-year-old girl on Friday night outside Borivli station and had taken her to an isolated area near the tracks was knocked down by a train. The child was also found dead nearby. Police suspect the man wanted to sexually assault the infant and are probing if he had killed the child or the baby died in the accident. A DNA profiling of the accused has been sought to check if he had a role in earlier child assaults in other parts of the city. P 2 Fifth accused in July Shakti Mill gangrape case held Ahoney-trap finally led to the arrest of Ashfaque Shaikh (27), the fifth accused in the second gangrape case at the Shakti Mills of a call-centre employee. Shaikh twice gave the slip, but was nabbed on Saturday after he came to see his girlfriend at a lodge near Girguam Chowpatty. "We were tracking his cell phone but lost him as he switched it off. But his call records showed he was in touch with a commercial sex worker at Kamathipura. We questioned her and she promised to help," a police official said. P 3 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Another death raises question on city’s dengue preparedness

  A41-year-old man from Malwani died of suspected dengue on Friday, adding toconcernscreated by two consecutive dengue deaths in Goregaon this week. The latest death has highlighted how doctors and hospitals areclearly unpreparedtotackle thedenguethreatin thecity. 

    Devendra Singh's family said he was shunted from three hospitals.Thefamily spentover Rs 65,000 on Singh's treatment, butdoes nothave a clear answer to what killed him. Doctors at Malad's Riddhi Vinayak Hospital, where he was treated last, claimed his dengue report was "equivocal". "He did have classic dengue symptoms. When he came to our hospital, his plateletcountwas18,000(the normal range is 1.5-4 lakh per ┬Ál)," said intensivistDr Vinay Goyal.The hospital has stated Singh's cause of death as septicemia shock, multi-organ failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The hospital said it did not get time to run confirmatory denguetestson the patient. 
    Singh, a manager with a cooperative credit society, went to an ayurvedicdoctor after getting fever and rashes a week ago. After two days, he was referred to Bhagwati Hospital, Borivli. Late on Monday, Singh reached the civic-run hospital, where he was given medicines and sent home. By then, his platelet count had dropped below the acceptable range. The hospital told him there were no beds available. A doctor from Bhagwati said the patient did notlook "thatserious". 
    On Tuesday, Singh went to Shatabdi Hospital, Kandivli, which told him it was not equipped to treat dengue. Neighbours took him to Aditi Hospital, Malad, where he was 
admitted for two days. His family said he was never given platelets,whilethehospitalsaidhe was given thebest possiblecare. On Thursday afternoon, it referred him forward, and Singh was taken to Riddhi Vinayak, where he succumbed on Friday morning, after breathing with thehelp of a ventilator for three hours.TheBMCis yettolabelit as a confirmeddenguecase.

Lifestyle diseases to cost India $6tn: Study Will Reduce Productivity, Lead To Early Retirement

New Delhi: India's march towards being an economically stable nation is threatened not just by global financial issues. Poor health indicators pose an equally big threat. 
    The Harvard School of Public Health has, in a study on economic losses due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), estimated that the economic burden of these ailments for India will be close to $6.2 trillion for the period 2012-30, a figure that is equivalent to nearly nine times the total health expenditure during the previous 19 years of $710 billion. 
    NCDs, chiefly cardiovascular diseases (including heart disease and stroke), diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, are defined as diseases of long duration and generally slow progression. They are the major cause of adult mortality and illness worldwide. 

    The Harvard report, which is based on WHO projections of the mortality trajectory associated with NCDs, says ischemic heart disease is going to be the single most costly non-communicable dis
ease in India (causing an output loss of about $1.21 trillion over 2012-30), followed by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 
    China, the report adds, is estimated to face output losses of $27.8 trillion for 2012-30 – which is more than 12 times the total health expenditure during the previous 19 years of $2.2 trillion. "The economic impact of NCDs is estimated higher in China than in India mainly because of China's higher income and older population," said David E Bloom, the lead researcher. 
    According to Dr K Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, NCDs can impact the economy in multiple ways. "Most of the non-communicable diseases, for example diabetes or heart disease, affect the per
son in the productive years. They cause reduced productivity and early retirement. Also, they put immense pressure on public health expenditure as in most cases the treatment costs are higher compared to communicable diseases," he said. Reddy added that the increasing burden of NCDs could rob India of the 'demographic dividend' it is projected to reap on account of a predominantly young population. A recent report published by IRIS Knowledge Foundation in collaboration with UN-HABITAT states that by 2020, India is set to become the world's youngest country with 64% of its population in the working age group. 
    The WHO has suggested 'best buy' interventions (policy measures) for reducing NCDs that include increasing tax on tobacco products and alcohol and ban on their advertising. It also proposes interventions, such as reduced salt intake in food, counselling and multi-drug therapy for people with a high risk of developing heart attacks and strokes, and hepatitis B immunization to prevent liver cancer. 
    "The implementation of these 'best buy' interventions for reducing NCDs in low-andmiddle income countries (LMICs) could lead to a 10-15 percent reduction in premature death from NCDs (and in their economic costs)," the Harvard researchers have pointed out.

Obama set for showdown at G20 over Syria Host Putin Poses Major Challenge To Attack Plan

St Petersburg: President Barack Obama faced growing pressure from world leaders not to launch military strikes in Syria on Thursday at a summit on the global economy that was eclipsed by the conflict. 
    The Group of 20 (G20) developed and developing economies met in St Petersburg to try forge a united front on economic growth, trade, banking transparency and fighting tax evasion. 
    But the club that accounts for two thirds of the world's population and 90% of its output is divided over issues ranging from the US Federal Reserve's decision to end its programme of stimulus forthe economy to the Syrian crisis. 

    Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to use the meeting in a seafront tsarist palace to talk Obama out of military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over a chemical weapons attack which Washington blames on government forces. 
    Obama wore a stiff smile as he approached Putin on arrival at the summit and grasped his hand. Putin also maintained a businesslike expression. It was only when they turned to pose for the cameras that Obama broke into a broader grin. The first round at the summit went to Putin as China,the EU and Pope Francis — in a letter for G20 leaders — aligned themselves more closely with him than with Obama over the possibility and legitimacy of armed intervention. 

    Putin, Assad's most important ally, was isolated on Syria at a G8 meeting in June, the last big meeting of world powers. 
    He could now turn the tables on Obama, who recently likened him to a "bored kid in the back of the classroom." Only France, which is preparing to join US military action, rallied behind Obama. 
    "We are convinced that if there is no punishment for Assad, there will be no negotiation,"French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said. Putin has no one-on-one talks scheduled with Obama but hopes to discuss Syria at a dinner with all the leaders. REUTERS 


Not chemical weapon sites, which could set them off and create a bigger disaster 
Military units that carry out these strikes 
    Operational headquarters 
    Rockets and artillery that are used to launch the attacks 
    Air bases for the attack helicopters 
    Command and control centres 
The main attack is expected to be carried out by 
Tomahawk cruise missiles 
from the four Arleigh Burkeclass destroyers currently in the Mediterranean — the Mahan, the Barry, the Gravely and the Ramage 

Chuck Hagel told Congress they would be asking for 'tens of millions of dollars' which makes it surprisingly cheap. The Libya operation cost $1 billion. John Kerry said Gulf's Arab states have offered to foot the entire bill for the operation
Scenario 1 
Tomahawk cruise missiles hit chemical delivery targets, military units, artillery and rocket bases 
Deterrent, limited tactical effect Would not affect war or Assad's future Signal of no tolerance for chemical attacks, Obama's self-imposed 'red line' Cruise missiles cannot penetrate underground bunkers or mobile targets which means some of Assad's arsenal would survive Possible civilian casualties 

Scenario 2 
Wider attack to hit communication nodes, infrastructure, impose a 'no-fly' zone, crater airfields used to ship in conventional weaponry from Russia and China 
    This would imply a deeper intervention, including suppression of air defences. Involve hundreds of sorties 
    Would hurt Assad's military capability 

Scenario 3 Big sustained attack, going over a few weeks, target leadership, degrade and possibly lead to the removal of Assad. This would need more expensive involvement 

Strikes against Syria would open US to charges that it is trigger-happy when it comes to attacking Muslim countries, deepening divide between Islamic societies and the West 
    If Assad is removed as a result, the world could see cocktail of Sunni jihadi groups in charge 
    Military strikes in Syria could bring US & Russia on confrontational path 
    Iran, Syria's biggest supporter, could retaliate, either through terrorist 
attacks by Hezbollah or through other means like attacking Turkey or Jordan SYRIA FIRE, WEST ASIA INFERNO 
Syrian civil conflict has turned into a sectarian strife Sunni and Shia communities seizing on religious symbols, sowing sectarian passions Saudis and Iran support rebel groups for regional supremacy Religious fighters, radicals making a beeline to the region Within Syria, 1,200 rebel groups split along sectarian lines Sunni vs Alawite civil war in 
Syria merging and growing into Sunni vs Shia tensions in Gulf, re-igniting other violent intra-faith strifes 
    The Sunni-Shia strife has spiked violence in Iraq and Lebanon 
    Spreading violence can destabilize not just Lebanon and Jordan, but also Turkey, Bahrain, Kuwait and even Pakistan 
    Sunnis expect Washington to back them 

First mentioned by Obama last year for Iran's drive for nukes. Red lines include any development by Iran seen as decision to make nukes or enrich uranium 
    In Syria, initial talk of strike alluded to red line of 'no 
chemical weapon use' 
On way to G 20 meet, Obama said, "I didn't set a red line. The 
world set a red line" On Syria, the US not first to call for military intervention France, Turkey, UK for action UK MPs vetoed military strike Obama got Republican support No decision till Congressional debates and votes next week PRO-STRIKE ARGUMENT | Disregard for red lines may embolden Iran to make nukes, Syria to use chemical weapons 
Anti-strike, hasn't ruled out support to UNSC resolution authorizing force 

One of Syria's main arms suppliers, warned strike will hurt world economy 

Strong support to Assad regime. Looking to cement its role as regional superpower

Rebels of Free Syrian Army atop a tank that belonged to forces loyal to Syria's President Assad

Placard with altered image of Obama at a rally in Kiev


12% of bottled water sold in Maharashtra of poor quality

New Delhi:The common perception of packaged drinking water manufacturers flouting norms has come true. During 2010-11 and 2011-12, at least one in every 10 samples picked up for quality testing failed. The percentage of failing samples was higher in the Delhi-Noida region and Maharashtra and Goa combined. 

    In a written reply in the Lok Sabha last week, consumer affairs minister K V Thomas submitted details of samples collected from each state and Union territory. During 2010-11, 6,648 samples of packaged drinking water were taken and 805 of them failed. The government agencies also issued 543 warning letters to manufacturers for flouting norms. The data shows that at least 30 licences were cancelled. In Delhi and Noida, 23 of the 190 samples failed and two licences were cancelled. In Maharashtra and Goa, 104 of 729 samples (14%) failed. 
    Though state govern
ments issue permission to set up water bottling plants, the Bureau of Indian Standards grants product licence. It has the mandate to ensure quality of both packaged drinking water and packaged mineral water. 
    According to government data, during 2011-12, out of 7,732 samples of packaged drinking water, 720 failed the test. In Delhi and Noida, around 20% of samples were found flouting norms. Similarly, in Maharashtra and Goa, 123 of 989 samples (12%) failed the test. During the period, 547 warning letters were issued to manufacturers and 32 licences were cancelled or not renewed. 
    However, there was some correction during the last financial year with 8% of samples failing tests. In fact, almost every state reported better results as the number of failed samples was only 607 out of 7,456. But the action taken for flouting norms was higher, with 190 licences getting cancelled.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

H1N1 toll 6 times that of dengue, malaria Virus Has Killed 1 In 4 Patients In State This Year; City Better Off

    The H1N1 influenza has emerged as the biggest killer disease in the state this year claiming three times the number of lives taken by dengue and malaria put together, and six times if compared individually. Initially termed as swine flu, the virus has also shown a worryingly high mortality rate with almost one in four confirmed cases that resulted in death. 

    State experts pointed out that mortality in H1N1 cases has been higher when compared with seasonal ailments, mainly malaria and dengue. For instance, around 23% of the patients who contracted the viral infection succumbed to it whereas less than 1% of malaria patients have died during the period. Even dengue's mortality rate stands at 2% despite a clear shift in the seriousness of the infection as well as its manifestation this monsoon. 
    Pune, Nagpur and Nashik have been the worst affected recording 58, 24 and 25 swine flu deaths, respectively. Mumbai has recorded a single death and around 50 cases so far. The cases remained largely under control during monsoon with less than 15 being officially reported since June. The situation this year was much better for the city with only 10 cases in August compared with 103 during the corresponding period last year. 
    With no significant changes detected in the behaviour of the virus, experts are baffled as to what could have caused the fatalities. To add to the trepidation is the fact that more deaths have 
taken place among people with no known medical complications. For instance, out of the 130 deaths, 68 did not have any preexisting ailments. 
    Dr Abhay Chaudhary, director of Parel's Haffkine Research Institute, said, "The virus is pretty much the same. There may be minor changes as is common with influenza viruses but nothing that can affect the population in a big way." Chaudhary blamed the deaths more on individual patients' immune response to the virus. "The virus per say may not be killing people. It is how their immune systems are responding to it." 
    The most recent victim of the virus in Mumbai was a 75-year-old resident of Mahalaxmi. She succumbed within a day of being admitted to Kasturba Hospital, exclusively meant to treat infectious diseases. Her treating physician, Dr Om Srivastava, said the case was a typical presentation of how the virus may not be affecting many, but progresses aggressively once it affects someone. "The time taken for the symptom to manifest, develop into the illness, then hospitalization and death seems to have shrunk. For the lady, it took merely four days for it to cause the death." 
    State health officials claimed the situation is being closely monitored. Dr Satish Pawar, head of the directorate of health services, said the deaths are worrying but adequate screening and treatment measures are in place. "We have enough medicines available. Vaccines, too, are available for the health workforce," he said. Srivastava added that antiviral oseltamivir continues to be "very effective".

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