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AIDS-Related Deaths Is Slowing Down: UNAIDS Global Report July 16, 2019 18:07

The data released by United Nations Tuesday said that deaths related to HIV fell to around 770,000 in 2018, some 33 percent lower than in 2010, but warned that global efforts to do away with the disease were stalling as funding dries up.About 37.9 million people are living with HIV currently - a record 23.3 million of those have access to some Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), UNAIDS said in its annual report.Focusing on the enormous progress made since the height of the AIDS epidemic in the mid-1990s, the report showed that the number of people breathing one’s last from the disease fell from 800,000 in 2017 to 770,000 last year. The figure was down by more than a third from 2010 when there were 1.2 million AIDS-related deaths.But it also exposed helplessness in the world's fight against AIDS. The AIDS-related deaths in Africa, the continent most affected by the epidemic, have plummeted this decade, Eastern Europe has seen the death toll rise 5 percent and the Middle East and North Africa 9 percent. Year-on-year, those same regions saw a 29-percent and 10-percent rise in new infections, respectively."We urgently need increased political leadership to end AIDS," said Gunilla Carlsson, UNAIDS executive director."Ending AIDS is possible if we focus on people, not diseases... and take a human rights-based approach to reach people most affected by HIV." Decades of research have yet to yield a cure or vaccine for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which has infected almost 80 million people and killed more than 35 million since the early 1980s.The UN said that more than half of new HIV infections worldwide come from "key populations" - intravenous drug users, gay men, transgender people, sex workers, and prisoners. Despite this, the report said that under 50 percent of these at-risk populations were reached by HIV prevention services in more than half of countries. Another vulnerable group is children, with more than 160,000 new HIV infections last year. That is 41 percent lower than in 2010, but far off the mark countries set themselves of no more than 40,000 new cases worldwide each year by 2018. There remains a noticeable disparity in new infection rates among young men and women, with young women 60 percent more likely to pick up HIV than young men of the same age.The report further warned that a lack of political will coupled with decreasing finance risked undermining the progress made up to now. Early this year $19 billion (17 billion euros) was made accessible for AIDS response, more than $7 billion short of the estimated $26.2 billion needed by 2020.By Sowmya Sangam

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Indians Spending on Overseas Travel, Education Sees Record Surge: RBI Data July 16, 2019 17:23

A data revealed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) shows that Indians are spending more on overseas travel and education. The spends rose more than 60 percent year on year this May just ahead of the next academic season. Expenses on overseas travel under the Liberalized Remittances Scheme(LRS) rose 56 percent to $568 million in May year-on-year, while spends on education and maintenance of close relatives rose 88 percent to $334 million and 21 percent to $ 300 million, respectively, according to the latest figures released by the RBI in its monthly bulletin showed. These three outgo heads accounted for 80 percent of $1.5-billion outflows under the LRS. Under this scheme, resident Indians are permitted to spend up to $250,000 a year overseas for a certain permissible current account and capital account expenditure. These include spends on travel abroad, education, maintenance of close relatives as well as gifts to family and friends overseas and medical expenses. Also, certain capital account expenses like investments in overseas stock, properties, bonds, and deposits are also included in this limit. Remittances under LRS have been soaring over the past five years ever since the Reserve Bank of India broadened the scope by including several transactions under overseas travel and education expenses. From $4.6 billion in FY16, outward remittances under LRS rose to $13.8 billion in FY19. According to travel industry experts, Indians are spending more on foreign travel than before. Not only has their disposable income going up, travel agencies now offer flexible payments options and banks are also offering unsecured personal loans for travel and tourism.  Another trend that is picking up these days is university tours by families of prospective students going overseas for undergraduate studies. Overseas education, of late, has turned out to be a major source of dollar outflow. Ever since the tech bubble burst in the early 2000s, universities in North America have cut down on offers of scholarships and fellowships. As a consequence, self-funding of overseas education is rising, bankers point out. Self-funding of education has also resulted in a rise in outgo for maintenance of close relatives. Parents also send money for the regular expenses of their children studying overseas. Though the amount of outflows under LRS is still not very significant, at a time when the country’s import bill is under pressure, higher outflows could put pressure on the current account in the balance of payments.By Sowmya Sangam

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6 Dangerous Side Effects of Oversleeping July 16, 2019 16:40

For some people the fondness to sleep day and night is ceaseless. Though it might hold a few good points there are certain pitfalls on top of that. While some people sleep all the time willfully, some sleep due to lack of stamina to work one's socks off. So if you are lacking energy even after ten hours of sleep, it can be a major sign that something is seriously wrong. Below are some of the negative effects of sleeping too much: 1. Aggravates Your Back Pain You may feel relaxed to sleep for a longer time if you are suffering from back pain, but sometimes sleeping for too long can aggravate your pain. Your back pain can worsen when you do too little activity and spend too much time in bed. In most of the cases, sleeping in the wrong position or using an unsupportive mattress can also trigger your pain.2. Causes Tension Headache Oversleeping can also be a reason behind headaches. Referred to as weekend headache, oversleeping can trigger tension and migraine headaches.3. Depression Sleeping for a long time is a possible symptom of depression but if you flip the coin, long sleeping hours can also lead to persistent depression and anxiety. A study published in the Journal Sleep found that those who slept more than ten hours in a day reported signs of depression and anxiety than people who got just enough sleep. Irregularities in the body’s sleep clock may also contribute to symptoms of depression.  4. Weight Gain Oversleeping can lead to weight gain. However, inadequate sleep is also one of the strong points behind weight gain. It is pretty evident that if you are devoting more amount of time in bed and not working out or even moving around, you are burning fewer calories. 5.Heart Disease One of the concerning problems associated with oversleeping is cardiovascular diseases. When you put in excessive time sleeping, you tend to exercise to a lesser extent. This can increase the strain on the heart so even simple tasks turn hard. The heart has to work harder to keep you going, and this can increase your risk of a heart attack. 6. Diabetes Sleep can affect your blood glucose levels irrespective of your weight. When you sleep for a longer time, you exercise less and physical activity is an important factor in enabling your body to utilize the glucose present for muscles instead of having it overflow into the blood. So rather sleeping for that long, it is suggested to wake up and get moving.By Sowmya Sangam

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Now NRIs Can Get Home Loan from State Bank of India - Eligibility, Documents Required July 16, 2019 16:29

India’s multinational bank, the State Bank of India is now open to provide home loans to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) with a maximum home loan repayment tenure being fixed at 30 years. In order to avail the option, NRIs and PIOs are required to fulfill certain criteria and submit a set of prescribed documents. As per the statement released by the bank, SBI charges the interest rate on the principal home loan amount on daily reducing balance. According to the guidelines, borrowers between the ages of 18 and 60 years are entitled to the loan and as well available as an overdraft. SBI charges a processing fee at a rate of 0.35 percent of the home loan amount excepting service taxes between INR 2,000 and INR 10,000. The documents required by the bank consists of an employer identity card, attested copy of valid visa and passport, address proof mentioning the current abroad address, copy of continuous discharge certificate (for applicants holding down a job in the merchant navy), PIO card issued by Government of India (in the case of PIOs).According to SBI, the attestation of documents may be done by Foreign Offices/Indian Embassy or Representative Offices/Consulate or Overseas Notary Public or officials of branch/sourcing outfits based in India.Property Papers Required by SBI Permission for construction (wherever applicable) Registered agreement for sale (only for Maharashtra) Allotment letter Stamped agreement for sale Occupancy certificate (in case of ready to move property) Share certificate (only for Maharashtra) Maintenance bill Electricity bill Property tax receipt Approved plan copy (xerox blueprint) and registered development agreement of the builder Conveyance deed (for the new property) Payment receipts or the bank account statement showing all the payments made to the builder or seller For Salaried NRI and PIO Applicants, Co-Applicants and Guarantors Are Required to Provide:   Valid work permits Employment contract (in English) duly attested by the employer, consulate, SBI foreign office or Embassy in case it is in any other language Last three months’ salary slip Last six months’ bank statement showing salary credit Latest salary slip in original Copy of identity card issued by the current employer Duly acknowledged copy of last year individual tax return (excluding NRIs/PIOs residing in Middle East countries and employees in the Merchant Navy) For Non-Salaried NRIs and PIOs:  Business address proof Proof of income The audited balance sheet of the last two years and P&L accounts Individual tax returns for the last 2 years (except for NRI/PIO located in Middle East countries) Six months’ bank statements of overseas accounts in the name of the individual as well as the company By Sowmya Sangam

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NRI Suicide in Kerala over Red Tape Highlights Returning Expat Problems July 16, 2019 16:09

The recent suicide by a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) businessman in Kerala has highlighted the stumbling blocks faced by Indian expats returning home after working abroad for many years. From corruption to self-serving political parties and politicians, there are various matters in question in India that make lives of returning NRIs on edge. NRI Sajen Parayil who committed suicide in Kerala’s Kannur district in June had worked in Nigeria for many years before making up his mind to go back to his home state with a purpose to begin construction business.                         (Image source from: The News Minute) However, he struggled to beat the red-tape in the state and did not get an occupancy certificate for a convention center on which he spent a whopping INR 180 million, nearly all his savings after his stint in Nigeria. His efforts didn’t stop. The hapless person made 19 visits to the Anthoor Municipality to seek permission but each time he was sent back by the officials. According to reports, he has turned down approvals because of infighting within the political party that controlled the municipality. Sajen’s suicide triggered massive uproar in Kerala’s state assembly suspending four employees of the municipality. Besides, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan assured the Assembly that things will be sorted out before long. The project was then given the necessary approvals. Some observers blamed Kerala state’s miserable ease of business ranking for the tragedy while others thought it revealed a systemic problem. Overall, about 270,924 Indian expatriates returned home from Gulf countries in 2018 maximum number being from the United Arab Emirates, as per the latest figures mentioned in Parliament by former Indian Minister for State for External Affairs VK Singh in 2018.                         (Image source from: Sputnik International) Last year, about 91,995 workers returned to India. The figure touched a high of 154,957 in 2017 while the number of returnees in 2016 was 88,647. Saudi Arabia was another country from where Indian workers returned in large numbers owing to the imposition of levies on the workers and ban on the recruiting of foreign workers in certain trades and professions due to dip in oil prices and following the policy of providing more jobs to its citizens. In the year 2018, Saudi Arabia, to provide more jobs to its citizens, imposed a ban on foreign workers including Indian expatriates from working in outlets selling watches, eyeglasses, medical equipment, electrical appliances and electronics, car spare parts, building materials, carpets, automobiles and motorcycles, furniture and ready-made office materials, ready-made garments, children’s clothes and men’s wear, household utensils and pastries. Earlier, these jobs were mostly done by Indian and South Asian expatriates. Due to the policies and escalation in cost of living, a record number of 151,611 Indian workers returned from Saudi Arabia in 2017 followed by 79,666 people next year. Proper assistance is also provided by the Indian government to get these workers home. But then, India’s state governments, which is so far struggling to provide basic amenities to people already living in their state, feel to be challenging to now invest time and money to deal with the expat returnees. The returnees as such are regrettably forced to adapt to the realities of a hard Indian life very quickly with little state help. Appealing Life Story of Indian Expats Mohd. Shakeel, a trained barber who once worked on the outskirts of Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia before returning to India, earned INR 70,000 to INR 80,000 which was enough for him and to send back remittances back home. However, a government levy on foreign workers was increased to SRA 200 (INR 3682) in 2018 which ate into Shakeel’s savings and had a huge impact on his living situation in Saudi Arabia.                         (Image source from: www.connectedtoindia.com) Left with no choice, he returned to India in 2018. In the absence of any governmental support, he spared no effort to eke out a living and then found work at a barbershop at Allahabad (now Prayagraj) where he earns just INR 8,000 to INR 10,000 per month. Mukhtar Ahmad was a catalog designer making different types of readymade garments for the last 25 years in Saudi Arabia. Though initially, he made a decent living nevertheless things turned resentful in the past few years. He had to pay his sponsor each month irrespective of profit or loss. The introduction of levies on foreign workers was also a financial jolt for him. He also returned to India in 2018. However, he is not fully settled and managing his affairs with the savings he made during the times spent in Saudi Arabia. By Sowmya Sangam

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World’s Best Airports for Business Travelers July 16, 2019 13:24

Two airports from India have been featured in the list of world’s best airports for business travelers with Japan’s Narita International Airport in Tokyo and American airports topping the list. Online travel agency Globehunters has compiled a list of world's 45 most popular airports and ranked them according to their suitability for business travelers.Japan’s Narita Airport, which recorded 81.1 percent on-time flight arrivals, was crowned as the world's best business airport. It also boasts of 19 passenger lounges, second only to Los Angeles International Airport.The United States of America has the highest number of business travel-friendly airports in the top 10 list, with the Los Angeles airport being at No. 2.Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport is at the 38th spot while Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport finds its place at the bottom of the list - No. 43.Globehunters team took into account several factors such as on-time arrival performance, number of airlines and destinations served, number of lounges, the price of airport parking per day, etc.While Japan's Tokyo Haneda Airport was ranked at the top for on-time arrival performance, Mumbai airport was assessed to be the second-worst airport for a low on-time arrival record.When compared to other international airports, Delhi airport isn't as bad, according to ratings given by Skytrax, a certified airport rating program that takes into account how happy are travelers using the airport.Delhi airport got 4 out of 5 stars while Mumbai airport got 3. The two are India's busiest airports.Top 10 Airports for Business Travelers:   1. Narita International Airport, Japan 2. Los Angeles International Airport, USA 3. Frankfurt Airport, Germany 4. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Netherlands5. George Bush Intercontinental Airport, USA6. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport7. Munich Airport8. Madrid Barajas Airport9. Tokyo Haneda Airport 10.Dubai International AirportBy Sowmya Sangam

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SRK’s ‘Betaal’, Anushka Sharma’s ‘Mai’, and ‘Masaba Masaba’: Netflix India Announces 5 New Originals July 16, 2019 13:06

Streaming giant Netflix on Tuesday unveiled their new list of Original series with superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma attached as producers on two different projects.According to Netflix, Shah Rukh's Red Chillies Entertainment will produce zombie horror Betaal, while Anushka and Karnesh Sharma's Clean Slate Films will serve as executive producers on Mai. "This is my second collaboration with Netflix after Bulbul and we are again looking to disrupt the kind of content audiences are consuming. We at Clean Slate Films have been dedicated to making clutter-breaking, powerful stories since our first production and we are looking forward to pushing the content envelope."The creative freedom to be able to translate these stories to screens that reach a global audience is exciting for us, which is why Netflix is such an important partner," Anushka Sharma said in a statement.Mai revolves around 47-year-old wife-and-mother, Sheel, who finds herself accidentally sucked into a rabbit hole of violence and power, following a personal tragedy. The series is penned by Atul Mongia along with Tamal Sen, Amita Vyas, with Sudip Sharma as a creative producer.Shah Rukh's Betaal, which also marks the actor's second collaboration with Netflix", is based in a remote village, visited by two-century-old Betaal, a British Indian Army officer, and his battalion of zombie. "With Indian police pitted against the undead army, hapless villagers are trapped in a horrific, edge-of-your-seat conflict," the plotline read.Patrick Graham is attached as writer/director and showrunner, along with Nikhil Mahajan as the director and Suhani Kanwar as a writer. The Original will be executive produced by Blumhouse, known to design some of the best horror content and Ivanhoe. Besides, Netflix is coming with Masaba Masaba, a scripted series based on real-life moments from fashion designer Masaba Gupta's life. It follows her unique background, the diverse worlds she straddles across fashion and family, and her foray back into the dating world. The series will star Masaba alongside her mother, veteran actor Neena Gupta, as themselves. The genre-bending show is created and produced by Ashvini Yardi's Viniyard Films and will be directed by Sonam Nair.Alankrita Shrivastava's Bombay Begums and American actor and director, Ravi Patel's Messy, are also part of the streaming platform's list of upcoming series. Bela Bajaria, VP, International Originals, Netflix, said they are excited to present these entertaining India-based stories."India is home to some of the world's greatest stories. It's been thrilling to watch these amazing storytellers embrace the artistic freedom possible at Netflix to create entertaining stories. Audiences everywhere will love these five inventive series set in stories of horror, drama, and comedy," Bajaria said.Bombay Begums revolves around five women from different generations and their lives in contemporary urban India. Created, written and directed by Alankrita, the show has Chernin Entertainment and Endemolshine India attached as executive producers.Messy focuses on Mumbai's rising stand-up comic, Beanie, who struggles to balance a career in comedy with pleasing a yuppie day-job boss, peculiar best friends forever, persistent parents, and proposal-popping boyfriend. Patel has co-written the series with Neel Shah. It is co-produced by The District's David Bernad and Ruben Fleischer and Mutant Films' Seher Aly Latif and Shivani Saran. By Sowmya Sangam

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Health Alert! Bacteria in Hospital Gowns, Equipment Can Lead to Severe Illness July 16, 2019 13:02

A study led by an Indian origin scientist found that surgical gowns and stainless steel stay around contaminated with the pathogen Clostridium difficile although after being treated with the recommended bactericide. "The spores of the bacteria were able to grow after decontamination," said Tina Joshi, Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology, University of Plymouth, UK. "This shows that spores are becoming resistant and we need to reconsider how we decontaminate and employ hygiene measures in hospitals," Joshi said. Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infects roughly half a million Americans every year, killing 29,000.The study, published in the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews, says that new strains are accountable for difficult-to-treat cases of severe sickness. The symptoms can range from looseness of the bowels to fever, rapid heartbeat, inflammation of the intestines, and kidney failure. This pathogen often affects older adults in medical centers and in long-term care facilities. The motive for the research was an instance in an American hospital in which gowns were suspected of contributing to the transmission of C. diff, said Joshi.The surgical gowns were found to be contaminated with the fatal 027 strain of C. diff. The researchers examined the ability of C. diff to stick to, and subsequently transfer from hospital surgical gowns, by applying spores in sterilized water, at a concentration of one million per millilitre (ml), directly to the surgical gowns in fluid for 10 seconds, 30 seconds, one minute, five minutes, and 10 minutes before being removed and cast-off.“That methodology was designed to mimic the transfer of infectious bodily fluids in the clinical setting in order to assess the potential for transmission to patients. The numbers of spores recovered from gowns did not increase with the contact time, suggesting that the spore transfer between surfaces occurred within the first 10 seconds of contact,” said Joshi.The researchers say that the gowns which are inefficient at trapping spores within their fibers and putting a stop to the advancing transmission of spores as demonstrated by spore recovery from the gowns. This calls attention to the significance of making sure that single-use surgical isolation gowns are used suitably in infection control and prevention.The gowns were in the end treated with a disinfectant carrying 1,000 ppm chlorine for 10 minutes. The disinfectant is found deficient to clear the gowns of C. diff. That "showed that the gowns can pick up and retain the spores," said Joshi. The spores on vinyl flooring and stainless steel also continued to exist viable even after treatment with the disinfectant."Due to this resistance, it may be prudent to reconsider how much biocide we use currently, and to ensure infection control is standardized. This work can be applied to hospitals anywhere in the world, and should help inform future guidelines on infection control and biocides," said Joshi.By Sowmya Sangam

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Its a wrap for Prabhas' Saaho July 16, 2019 11:06

Young Rebelstar Prabhas is on a roll after Baahubali franchise. All his next offerings will get a wide release across the country and Saaho is already in race. Directed by Sujeeth, Saaho is made on a budget of Rs 300 crores and is releasing across the globe on August 15th in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi languages. Shraddha Kapoor is the female lead and some top Bollywood actors will be seen essaying other crucial roles. The entire shoot of Saaho has been wrapped up and Prabhas clicked a selfie on the occasion. The post-production work of Saaho is happening on a fast pace and Ghibran is composing the background score. The dubbing work of the film too is happening at a fast pace. UV Creations are the producers and Saaho is made on a budget of Rs 300 crores. Prabhas will be seen essaying stylish looks in this high voltage action drama.

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Meet Isaac Richards, an American Guy Who Is Winning the Internet with His Flawless Telugu July 16, 2019 10:39

Foreigners visiting India and doing all one can to become competent in local language slowly but surely is not an unheard-of thing. But a native of the United States living in Utah, is doing rounds on the internet for his flawless converse in Telugu. Isaac Richards, an American citizen, has a huge fan following in India currently. In a video that has gone viral on Facebook, customers are seen cheering and clapping for Richard’s commendable flair for the south Indian language as he effortlessly makes conversation with his customers.Isaac Richards's video was taken by a group of Telugu customers who visited his ice-cream outlet Haagen Dazs, in Montana. The video was later posted by Hyderabad man Ganesh Kesana, and it now has 2.7 lakh views and more than 6,400 shares on Facebook.“Telugu lo cheppandi (Speak in Telugu),” Richards is seen telling his customers in the video. They explain to him that they've come all the way just to listen to him speaking in Telugu. As his customers are heard trying to converse in English, Richards insists that they speak in Telugu.“Meeru rakamundu Hyderbadulo unaara?" (Were you in Hyderabad before you came here?) Richard further asks the customers who are totally baffled listening to the U.S. man matching their skills in Telugu. Richards, a missionary and human rights student, explains that he was in Hyderabad before and that he has also spent a year each in Visakhapatnam and Vijaywada. He eloquently ends the conversation with a "Dhanyavadulu". After Ganesh Kesana posted the video on his Facebook page on July 9, Richards soon became internet famous in India. Overwhelmed with the response, Richards posted a video saying he was from the United States and not New Zealand as some people had assumed. Throughout the video, Richards, who is wearing a Haagen Dazs T-shirt, speaks in fluent Telugu using very few English words.“How is everyone in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana doing?” Richards begins his video with polite greetings. He goes on to explain that he works in an ice-cream shop in Montana, frequented by a lot of foreign tourists every day. “But I still don’t understand why the customers found it so unusual seeing me talk in Telugu,” Richard wonders, adding, “But I cannot believe the video has got so many views and so many people have watched it. I really like the Telugu language. Andhra Pradesh naa gundello undhi” (My heart is for Andhra Pradesh forever). “Telugu marchipokudadhu! Chala manchi basha adhi (Don't forget Telugu! It's is a very good language),” Richard wrote on his Facebook page, sharing the video. He has also promised his Indian fans that he will post new videos and jokes, and also explain how he learned the language, all in Telugu.By Sowmya Sangam

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