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Chikungunya virus may soon spread to US

March27/ 2015

Washington, March 27: The mosquito-borne chikungunya virus may soon spread to the US, predicts a new study.

The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine emphasised on stepping up efforts to reduce mosquito population.

“Chikungunya continues to be a major threat to public health around the world,” said researcher Scott Weaver from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Other than anti-inflammatory drugs to control symptoms and joint swelling, there are no specific therapies to treat infected persons and no licensed vaccines to prevent chikungunya fever, the researchers pointed out.

“Until there is a treatment or vaccine, the control of chikungunya fever will rely on mosquito reduction and limiting the contact between humans and the two virus-carrying mosquitoes — Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus,” Weaver added.

These efforts generally focus on reducing or treating standing water and water storage containers where eggs are laid and larvae develop as well as wearing protective clothing and/or insect repellent.

Since chikungunya was first identified in 1952 in present-day Tanzania, the virus has been confirmed in other countries in Africa, Asia, The South Pacific and Europe. In December 2013, the first locally acquired case of chikungunya in the Americas was reported in the Caribbean.

Since then, chikungunya has been identified in 44 countries or territories throughout the Americas, the study said.

Symptoms appear about three days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms and signs are fever and severe joint pain and may include headache, arthritis, muscle pain, weakness and rash.

People at increased risk for severe disease include young children, older adults and people with medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, the researchers pointed out.

India had a stunning World Cup: If Times Now can’t see that, they don’t know cricket

March27/ 2015

India may no longer be one-day world champions but MS Dhoni and his merry men in blue have given us many reasons to hold our heads high and be proud, no matter what a particular news channel might say.

Arnab Goswami claimed on the News Hour that India rolled over but if he believes that, he didn’t watch the game.

India were being put to the sword by Steve Smith and Aaron Finch. It looked like Australia would get at last 350 and maybe even 370, as they did against Sri Lanka on the same ground. But India did not fold up their tent and go home. Instead, they set a trap for Smith and sprung it perfectly. Glenn Maxwell then threatened to smash India out of the Sydney Cricket Ground. So Dhoni called on R Ashwin, who has a history with Maxwell. It was a huge risk. But it was a calculated one. Everyone and their dog knew Maxwell would go after Ashwin but in the space between aggression and recklessness lay India’s best chance to dismiss him.

Ashwin floated his first ball up and ripped it off the pitch, forcing Maxwell to defend. The second was flatter, quicker and on legstump. Maxwell went for the slog-sweep and hit it straight into the hands of the fielder Dhoni had put on the deep midwicket boundary precisely for that shot. It set off a spell where India took 3 for 16 from 29 deliveries. A side that rolls over doesn’t do that.

Despite Australia’s commanding position, India did not back down and settle for containment. They continued to hunt wickets and in doing so, showed strength of character and determination. They refused to go quietly into that good night.

That India ended up losing to Australia is not the point. Australia is a damn good side and favourites to win the World Cup at home, just like India were favourites four years ago. Yes, the final margin of defeat was disappointing but it does not take away from the brilliance of India’s seven-match winning streak in the tournament, nor the heart, guts and togetherness the team showed after spending four months away from home under the relentless spotlight of the Indian media and their fans.

It is no wonder #shameontimesnow was the number one trend on Twitter yesterday and continued to be so today. India’s cricket fans have rightly recognised the magnificent effort their team put in to get to the semi-finals. India rarely do well in Australia. They hadn’t won a game in the tri-series. But they came out all guns blazing against Pakistan and never let up. And the fans saw in the players the desire to win, to push themselves, to constantly get better. That they ran into a better team is no reason to feel ashamed. That is the nature of sport.

While there were pockets of frustration and anger at the team, there were many more sympathetic messages, like this one from Samar Singh Sheikhawat that was put up on Facebook.

“I am proud of my team. I am proud of my captain, who had tears in his eyes. Who is yet to meet his new born. I am proud of Virat Kohli, the best batsman in the world and the fact he had the guts to confess his love openly. I am proud of my bowlers who are in the top five. I am proud India cricket team fan. I am ashamed of Indian media which has the guts to trend shameinsydney. I am ashamed of the fact that I have friends who are sharing messages which call a woman whore just because she was at the stadium. I am ashamed as an Indian cricket team fan. ‪#‎isupportteamindia‬ ‪#‎bleedblue‬ ‪#‎IndvsAus‬

Times Now failed to grasp this sentiment and so became the very object of ridicule that they tried to turn the team into.

What they should have done instead, was focus on how this India team has grown as a group and as individuals. Unlike in 2011, India were not among the favourites to win the tournament. And after failing to win a Test or an ODI during their Australia tour, expectations were low. India not only exceeded those expectations, they did it with a ruthlessness nobody thought they possessed.

MS Dhoni captained with swagger and flair and his players responded. The bowlers showed a willingness to adapt and learn and the discipline to stick to their lines and lengths. The top six batsmen took personal responsibility, witch each one wanting to be the there at the end. Most importantly, there was a hunger to win games, embodied by India bowling out their first seven opponents.

The player who best symbolizes India’s transformation is R Ashwin. In 2012, Ashwin played 7 matches in Australia and took seven wickets at an average of 43.42 and a strike-rate of 54. In 2015, he also played 7 matches but took 11 wickets at an average of 24.63 and a strike-rate of 36.. He abandoned his penchant for experimentation and essentially stuck to two deliveries – the offbreak and the arm ball. Like the spin masters of old, he used flight and loop and pace to outfox the batsmen, a philosophy that will stand him good stead around the cricketing world.

None of this is to say India are the finished article but the signs are there that this team wants to mix it up with the best in the world, anywhere in the world. That they ran into an Australian buzz saw in the semi-finals is just one of those things that happen in sport. To attempt to tear them down for it not only misunderstands the nature of sport, but disrespects the team and their fans.

#ShameOnTimesNow trends worldwide as India takes on the news channel

March27/ 2015

New Delhi,March 27: Cricket fans across the country were left heart broken as India were knocked out of the World Cup after a 95-run defeat semi-final defeat against Australia. People united in mourning the loss on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

But when one of the country’s leading English news channelsTimes Now began tweeting as well as broadcasting the hashtag #ShamedinSydney, people did not take kindly to it and things quickly went downhill after that.

There was genuine anger among the people because the news channel was clearly sensationalising Team India’s defeat, which had come after an amazing run of seven straight wins. Alongwith New Zealand, they were the only unbeaten side in the tournament until they ran in Australia.

Moreover, unlike the 2007 World Cup where India were knocked out in the first round, Dhoni’s team made it all the way to the semi-finals. That run is worthy of being celebrated — and it certainly didn’t deserve the #ShamedinSydney campaign that was being run by Times Now.

Fans, in turn, slammed the news channel on Twitter and made the #ShameOnTimesNow hashtag trend worldwide.

Here are some of the tweets that criticised the channel:


When British journalist ‘accidentally’ asked Clarke of his ‘tremendous sex’ as skipper!

March27/ 2015

Sydney, March 27: m ask Aussie skipper Michael Clarke an all too personal question.

“Michael you’ve had tremendous sex … as Australia captain,” said Shemilt, before quickly correcting himself by saying “success” and following up with “you might have had that as well, I don’t know.”

It was too much for Steve Smith, who burst into laughter, but a blushing Clarke did his best to answer.

“How well do you know me? That’s a question for my wife,” Clarke said.

But the press conference quickly reverted to more serious matters, including discussion of the rest and rehabilitation that will be crucial for Australia’s bowlers over the next two days.

Clarke’s men often enjoyed a week between games during the pool stage of the World Cup, but they now face a turnaround of just two days before the MCG final.

New Zealand may be surrendering home-ground advantage for the first time in the tournament, but they’ve had an extra two days off after downing South Africa in Auckland last Tuesday.

Clarke was confident his teammates would be able to back up and perform at their best on Sunday.

“Obviously we haven’t got much time and recovery will be our goal and our focus over the next two days,” Clarke said.

“We’ll have training on Saturday, but I think that’ll be selected players and optional.

“I don’t think our bowlers will do too much.

“Mentally the team is ready for this final … it’s about making sure the guys can recover as well as we can from this tough game.”

Josh Hazlewood left the field after finishing his 10 overs in Thursday’s semi-final against India at the SCG.

However, Clarke insisted it was precautionary and he expected the 24-year-old paceman would be fit for Sunday’s trans-Tasman clash.

“Hazlewood come off the field there at the end there with a sore thumb, but it sounds to me like he’s completely fine,” Clarke said. “He just wanted to rest up for the finals, so the youngster just took a few overs off.

“At this stage, everybody else is pretty good.”

Australia fielded an unchanged side against India, with Hazlewood preferred ahead of Pat Cummins and Xavier Doherty.

The expectation is selectors will stick with the winning formula again on the weekend.

“If everyone is fully fit it’s going to be extremely hard to change the XI,” Clarke said.

Shruti Haasan in legal trouble

March27/ 2015

Chennai,March 27: Picturehouse Media, a leading media and entertainment house, has initiated legal proceedings against actress Shruti Haasan, who pulled out of its yet-untitled Tamil-Telugu bilingual project citing the issue of dates.

“Shruti Hassan after entering into a contractual agreement to be the female lead in a bilingual starring Nagarjuna and Karthi directed by Vamsi Paidipalli has reneged on her contractual obligations. She has arbitrarily pulled out of the project citing dates clash as a flimsy excuse,” read a statement.

“The dates were mutually discussed with her and schedules were planned around her convenience. The said movie has commenced its shoot and first schedule was completed and unexpectedly Shruti conveyed through an email that she wanted to exit the project,a added the statement.

The company claims that the unethical and unprofessional act of Shruti has resulted in heavy loss in time, reputation and finances.

“With an intention of ensuring that such unprofessional attitude is not repeated and to protect the interests of its various stakeholders, Picturehouse Media has initiated both civil and criminal proceedings against Shruti Hassan,” the statement read further.

According to the company, an injunction order restraining Shruti from signing any new movie has been passed.

Spice Girls to have a reunion?

March27/ 2015

London,March 27: The all-girls band Spice Girls may be getting back together next year to celebrate the 20th anniversary reunion.

In an interview with the Daily Star, former member Emma Bunton hinted at a possible reunion to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the beloved group’s breakthrough single “Wannabe”, reports aceshowbiz.com.

“I was with (Geri Halliwell) and (Melanie Brown) just recently, we love each other and we love performing together,” Bunton said.

“It’s just when the timing is right because we all have our own careers now and we have families, it’s just about getting five schedules together and that’s all it is,” she added.

Spice Girls last performed together at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

In an interview last year, Victoria Beckham aka Posh Spice revealed that she would never sing with her former bandmates again.

“I won’t ever do it again, doing the Olympics was an incredible honour. I was so proud to do it, proud to be British.

“That was a perfect time to say, ‘That’s great. Thank you to everybody, but no more.’ Sometimes you’ve got to know when it’s time to leave the party,” Beckham told Vanity Fair.

Old Sp-isis: IS fighters slap on aftershave for virgins in the afterlife

March27/ 2015
The terrorists believe martyrs to Islam are received into paradise – ‘Jannah’ (corr) – by 72 virgins.

They are spraying scent onto their suicide vests so they can take the perfume into the after-life.

The bizarre habit was revealed in a Twitter photo showing a masked fanatic being doused in perfume while another man packs his body with explosives.

Jihadists also believe the blood of martyrs carries its own fragrance to spur on surviving troops in their fight take over all of Syria – known as ‘Shaam’ by the regime -and Iraq.

Brit fighter Khattab Al Muhajir tweeted: ” Shaam has been fragranced with the smell of musk from the blood of the Shuhada.’’

Another Isis terrorist wrote: ”A brother died today and I swear even when they carried his body away we could still smell his fragrance.’’

Intelligence experts say the aftershave ritual shows how the terror network has indoctrinated its forces into believing they are fighting a holy war to introduce medieval Sharia law to its conquered lands.

There is no mention of 72 virgins awaiting martyrs in the Koran and suicide is forbidden by Islam.

But Isis scholars have latched onto an inaccurate translation of the Islamic holy book to spur on its fighters.

According to Muslim website Just Islam: ” There is no promise of 72 virgins for martyrs, terrorists or suicide bombers anywhere in the Quran (Koran).

”The controversy is due to the poor translation of one verse.’’

Investigators found documents indicating the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington that killed 3,000 in 2001 were driven on by the prospect 72 virgins awaiting them in paradise.

AAP turning into another Congress, says BJP

March27/ 2015

New Delhi,March 27: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was turning out to be just like the Congress, where one man and one family rules.

“AAP party has degenerated into worst kind of a regional party where one man party is there. It’s turning out to be another Congress where one man and one family rules,” saidBJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao.

The rift within the Aam Aadmi Party is showing no sign of abating with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal being adamant about ensuring the removal of senior AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav from his party’s National Executive.

Earlier, AAP leader Kumar Vishwas had accused Yadav of being ‘two-faced’, claiming the latter’s statements would vary depending on his audience, with different remarks made before the party and the media

He also linked the calls for Kejriwal’s removal from the post of the party’s national convener after Prashant Bhushan raised his objections.

Yadav, however, rubbished Vishwas’ allegations, asking the latter to furnish proof for his ‘ridiculous claims’ that he, along with Prashant Bhushan, insisted on Arvind Kejriwal’s removal as national convenor.

The AAP’s 320-member national council meeting will be held on Saturday.

Ex Spice Girl Geri Halliwell supports Zayn Malik’s exit from 1 D

March27/ 2015

LosAngeles,March 27: Former Spice Girls member Geri Halliwell has offered support to Zyan Malik, after his sudden exit from One Direction, saying that it reminded her of her own untimely exit from her band.

Halliwell took to Twitter, and posted a cryptic tweet after Malik’s exit, saying that, “Hello, thinking of you. Hope whatever is going on in your life it’s going well. X”, E! Online reported.

The tweet may be an indication that she was giving him lessons on how to deal with sound of millions of hearts breaking.

Halliwell’s exit from the British band group had left the world shattered, and people experienced the same trauma upon Malik’s exit from One Direction.

At least 19 injured, 4 critically, in NYC building explosion

March27/ 2015

Newyork,March 27: At least 19 people were injured, four of them critically, when an explosion and seven-alarm fire destroyed an apartment building and burned three other structures in New York City’s East Village Thursday.

At an evening news conference, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said a preliminary investigation indicated that a gas explosion caused by plumbing and gas work in the building that collapsed was to blame. The New York Post reported that construction crews accidentally “hit a gas main.”

Craig Ivey, the president of utility company Con Edison said a plumber had been doing work connected to a gas service upgrade, and inspectors had been there to check on a planned meter installation an hour before the fire. But the work failed the inspection, partly because a space for the new meters wasn’t big enough, and the inspectors said gas couldn’t be introduced to that part of the building, Con Ed said.

De Blasio said no one had reported a gas leak before Thursday’s explosion, and Con Edison said it had surveyed the gas mains on the block Wednesday and found no leaks. But bystander Blake Farber, who lives around the corner, told the Associated Press he’d been walking by the building and smelled gas seconds before the big blast.

Smoke from the fire could be seen and smelled across the city in the hours after the explosion, which occurred at around 3:15 p.m. local time. Flames shot out of the top of the five-story building at 2nd Avenue and 7th Street. Items from a ground-floor sushi restaurant were blown into the street, while the force of the explosion blew a cafe door across the avenue. Rubble, glass and debris littered the sidewalks.

The area was evacuated, and the city’s health department advised residents to keep their windows closed because of the smoke. Firefighters continued pouring water on the buildings for hours after the explosion, in an area of old tenement buildings that are home to students and longtime residents near New York University and Washington Square Park. At least one family sought help at an American Red Cross relief center set up at a school.

In addition to the collapsed building, at 121 2nd Avenue, another building next door was “in danger of possible collapse,” according to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. Two other nearby buildings were affected by the explosion.

Adil Choudhury, who lives a block away, ran outside when he heard “a huge boom.”

“Already there was smoke everywhere” when he saw the building, he told The Associated Press. “The flames were coming out from the roof. The fire was coming out of every window.”

Area resident Paul Schoengold said he was walking about two blocks away when he heard an “incredibly loud” roar.

“Then the fire started. I could see the flames on the roof, and they kept getting higher,” shooting perhaps 50 feet into the air, he said.

As freelance photographer Michael Seto ran up to the buildings after hearing the explosion in his apartment a block and a half away, flames were spreading and engulfing one building’s first floor.

Meanwhile, a man was climbing up the fire escape, not down, he said.

“People were calling to him that the building’s on fire — he needs to get down,” and he did, Seto said.


Other witnesses described a woman scrambling down her fire escape in the moments after the explosion. She stopped on the second floor, afraid to go further, before passers-by climbed up to help get her down.

In the aftermath, one person was lying on the ground, being attended to by two to three passers-by who were holding his head still, Seto said. A woman was sitting on the curb with blood coming down her face, and another woman walked past him with blood on her face, he said.

The fire happened a little over a year after a gas explosion in a building in East Harlem killed eight people and injured about 50.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.