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New Mutant coronavirus variant found in 18 Indian states and union territories March 24, 2021 17:11

The Union Health Ministry announced that the new mutant coronavirus variant is found across 18 Indian states and union territories. Apart from these, several variants of Concerns (VOCs) are found across these states and union territories. The Health Ministry said that there is no enough clarity if these variants are the reason for the recent spike in the coronavirus cases in India. The new double mutant variant was discovered by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG). The institute has been taking the samples from international travelers from some time. Maharashtra has been on peaks and is reporting a huge number of coronavirus cases for the past few weeks. The spread of the new mutations are high than the novel coronavirus as per the experts. The new mutations are found in 20 percent of the samples tested but they never matched the previously cataloged VOCs. Genomic sequencing and epidemiological studies are continued to analyze the situation. As per the reports from the INSACOG, 771 VOCs are detected out of the total 10,787 positive samples that are shared by the states and the union territories. Among the regular coronavirus samples from India, 736 samples are tested for the UK-based variant. The Union Health Ministry said that the samples from the UK, Brazilian and South African VOCs are identified in 18 Indian states. By Siva Kumar

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Breaking: CID serves notices to Chandrababu in Amaravati Land Scam March 16, 2021 11:21

In a major development, ex-Chief Minister and TDP Supremo Nara Chandrababu Naidu has been served notices by the Crime Investigation Department of Andhra Pradesh in Amaravati land irregularities. The CID officials reached the residence of Chandrababu this morning to serve the notices. CID Chief Sunil Kumar said that the notices are served under 41 CRPF and Chandrababu is asked to attend for the investigation on March 23rd. Eight others apart from Chandrababu Naidu are issued notices by the CID officials. Six CID officials reached the residence of Chandrababu in Hyderabad. The notices are issued over the allegation of inside trading that took place in Amaravati. Former Minister Narayana received notices from the CID officials. TDP, the major opposition party has been fighting against the leading YSRCP in the state. Both Chandrababu and Narayana will appear before the CID for questioning on March 23rd. TDP spokesperson B Umamaheshwara Rao dismissed the allegations of inside trading and called the CID notices as apart of YSRCP's vindictive acts. CID officials said that the TDP leaders, ministers and other prominent leaders of the party had prior information of Amaravati being made as capital and they purchased the lands around the region at low prices. CID alleges that the land prices touched the skies after Amaravati was announced as the new capital of the state. On January 19th, the High Court of Andhra Pradesh dismissed the inside trading cases announcing that there is no evidence for the same. The AP Government constituted a Cabinet Sub-Committee in June 2019 to investigate about the illegal transactions on Amaravati lands. The sub-committee submitted a detailed report on December 12th, 2020. This turned out to be a rude shock for Chandrababu and the TDP leaders at the time when TDP is struggling badly to bounce back in Andhra Pradesh. By Siva Kumar

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15,388 new coronavirus infections reported in India March 09, 2021 13:11

The new cases of coronavirus in India are increasing at a rapid speed. States like Maharashtra and Kerala reported huge numbers in the last two weeks. The vaccination drive is happening at a fast pace and the new cases too are increasing on a regular basis. The total tally of coronavirus in the country now reached 1,12,44,786 as per the reports from the Union Health Ministry. The active cases too are increasing and they reached 1,87,462 which comprises of 1.67 percent of the total infections. The recovery rate in India stands at 96.93 percent as per the reports. 77 people passed away in the last 24 hours in India. 142 new cases of coronavirus are reported in Telangana in the last 24 hours. The total vaccination coverage in India reached 2.3 crores. 20 lakh people received the vaccination yesterday in India as per the reports from the Union Health Ministry. The new cases reported in the last 24 hours are 17 percent lower than the previous day. The total number of recoveries in India are at 1,08,99,394. 16,596 people recovered from coronavirus in the last 24 hours. As per the reports released from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the total number of samples tested in the country in total are said to be 22,27,16,796. The samples tested in the country yesterday are said to be 7,48,525. By Siva Kumar

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Moderate earthquake shakes Ladakh this morning March 06, 2021 16:13

Ladakh woke up with a moderate earthquake this morning at a magnitude of 3.6 on the Richter Scale as per the report from the National Center for Seismology. The earthquake took place early this morning. The tremors are felt at 5:11 AM in Ladakh and no casualties are reported. The depth of the earthquake is said to be 200 kilometres. Yesterday, New Zealand felt the tremors and issued a warning of tsunami after the reported earthquake was said to be 7.3 magnitude on Richter scale. This is one of the strongest attacks in the South Pacific in the recent years. Tsunami warnings are issued after the magnitude was high. Thousands of people who are residing over the coastal regions of New Zealand are evacuated. There are reports that small tsunami waves are spotted and there are little damage done to the coastal regions of New Zealand. Coming to India, there are no tremors felt in other regions except Ladakh. By Siva Kumar

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Rahul Gandhi swims in the Arabian Sea with Kerala fishermen February 26, 2021 13:01

Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi visited Kerala recently and spent time interacting with the fishermen community. He was spotted swimming in the ocean with fellow fishermen and even enjoying breakfast which consisted of fish curry and bread, while eating on a boat. The political leader spent 10 minutes swimming in the ocean. He was spotted wearing the traditional Kerala fishermen attire, which is a blue t-shirt and khaki trousers. He was also seen pulling the local fisher men's net to catch fish. The leader also discussed the fisher men’s problems, the disappointment of pulling out empty nets with no catch, and financial struggles with the group. He made a statement to the media, stating that everybody eats and, or wastes fish on their plate but no body see’s the struggle behind catching the fish. There were videos and pictures posted by multiple people on social media and websites. The leader himself also shared a few heartwarming pictures and videos on his social media page of the visit. The political leader visited the place to promote his poll-bound battle with the state. Although the motive might have been political, the congressman seemed to have enjoyed this slice of life experience. By Meena Atmakuri

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The Pakistan Meme that is Trending in India February 22, 2021 15:18

The 2020 cult for the world is memes. No matter how horrible the world is, and whatever situation goes down, the world is ready with memes. Each day there is some type of meme trending on social media and people having their fair share of laughs, recreating and sharing the memes. The latest meme trending on the internet is a more unusual one. It shows a Pakistani girl partyign with her friends and for some reason, it has got the entire India’s attention, which caused her to trend on social media. Here is what the meme is: Instagram user Dananeer, a Pkistani social media influencer, posted a reel on Instagram. She is Peshawar in northern Pakistan. She started a viral trend called #PawriHoRahiHai. In the video, you can see Dana holding up her camera, twirling it around and saying “Yeh hamari car aur yeh hum hain, aur yeh hamari pawryy ho rai hai” which translates to, this is our car, this is us, and this is our party.       View this post on Instagram A post shared by Dananeer | (@dananeerr) The video shows her partying with her friends while showing herself and her friends, a mountain view and a car. She shows the countryside on full display. The video has gotten over a million views and Indian Instagram users are making their own rendition of it. Even celebrities and comedians have taken out the time to create their own rendition of the meme. By Meena Atmakuri

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Amul back at it again with a witty tagline for increased petrol prices February 20, 2021 12:17

Apart from their dairy products, Amul is also known for their creative taglines and advertisements, starring the Amul girl and trending topics. Now that the prices of petrol and diesel in India have increased, Amul has taken the opportunity to make a creative comic out of this issue and Indian citizens are impressed. The Tagline reads “Painfuel Increase” which is a wordplay on the steep rising of the prices of petrol and diesel in India, along with “Amul affordable taste” on the bottom. Citizens have not been happy with the increased prices of fuel throughout the country. To put it plainly, it has been fueling anger among the people. Amul had shared the cartoon on their Twitter account, which shows the Amul girl anxiously filling her car’s tank up. Fans were quite impressed with the cartoon and even sparked some funny responses to the cartoon. Overall, the cartoon spiked all positive reactions and people are thoroughly impressed. The Union government hiked the excise duty on petrol and diesel 21 times in 2021. Roughly, the fuel prices have increased by 6 rupees for both the fuels. Although fuel prices have risen, the price of oils, seems to remain the same. Some believe the cause of the spike in the fuel prices is to compensate for the economic loss that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. By Meena Atmakuri

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Multiple Indian Americans make the Forbes entrepreneur 30 Under 30 list this year February 17, 2021 12:07

This business season, multiple Indian Americans and those from the South Asian origin were declared to be a part of the recent Forbes 30U30 list which is the 30 under 30 list. Most of them were honorees in the Manufacturing and Industry category. Some of the honorees in this category include Joseph Varikooty, Randeep Singh, Sahir Zaveri, Ameer Shakeel and Krishna Manda. Varikooty a 24 year old, along with his 28 year old partner Lucas Frye, co- founded Amber agriculture. Both received their bachelor’s degree and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign with a degree in agricultural economics. They even completed their MBA in the same university. Thiel Fellow, the original founder of Amber Agriculture, dropped out of the same university to start this agricultural company. Amber Agriculture helps farmers monitor and manage their crops with sensors. The core technology the company uses is a wireless sensor which can flow with the grains throughout its supply chain. Amber Agricultural also helps detect moisture or incorrect temperatures. The company was founded in Chicago and has raised almost 2 million USD in funding. It also helps farmers protect their grains from getting spoilt and captures accurate prices which helps farmers altogether. Coming in next are the Indian Canadian, Randeep Singh, a 28 year old, Kevin Han and Andrew Walker- who all founded AON3D which designs and manufactures 3D Printers to produce a wide range of high performance materials. The beauty of this company is that is costs as little as a tenth of the standard rate to make affordable production, of even very small volumes. The 3D company has printed items ranging for multiple corporations including Siemens, NASA, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. They even raised 14.2 million USD from backers including SineWave Ventures, AlleyCorp and YCombinator. Sahir Zaveri along with his partner Lee, both 28 year olds, co-founded King Children which is a sustainable eyewear company. The reason this company is one of the best is because it produces zero waste each year. King Children also produces 3D printed eyewear which are made to order and customized accordingly, to reduce waste. This Brookln Based company has raised around 2 million USD from companies such as Great Oaks Capital. Krishna Manda, the 26 year old entrepreneur is the co-founder for Etho. During a drive in Brooklyn on his motorcycle, a car made an illegal U-turn collided with him. This accident severed his right arm and doctors reattached his limb with two titanium plates and 13 screws. Manda dropped out from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and decided to lower the ricks of death an injury for other motorcycle riders. Manda and his partner, Parth Darj who is over 30 years old, founded Etho which creates smart helmets for riders. The helmet provides riders with information on GPS, speed, and nearby vehicles with a heads up display that will prevent accidents. The 26 year old Ameer Shakheel along with Payam Puourtaheri, 27, is the founder for Agrospheres, which shows how synthetic pesticide uses and misuses and contaminates the environment. Agrospheres helps replace chemicals with non toxic substitutes. The company has recieved 11 million USD from partners. There were a total of 600 young entrepreneurs, activists and scientists and even entertainers who were a part of the under 30 list. The Forbes 30 Under 30 list published the names of the honorees in all categories. By Meena Atmakuri

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Rare NASA Photos reveal the gold rivers in the Amazon February 12, 2021 12:18

Stunning and extremely rare photos from NASA have revealed how extreme gold mining has become in Peru’s Amazon Rainforest. Some of it is thought to be illegal. The line of gold seen from space is known as the rivers of gold. This gold line captures images which are believed to be mines dug up illegally by unlicensed miners according to the space agency. It is actually difficult to spot these gold mines from as far as space. However, the pits were illuminated by reflected sunlight. This photo was captured by an astronaut who was on the International Space Station (ISS). The photo was captured in December 2020. The images are evidence that there is high destructive gold mining in the Madre de Dios region in the south-east of Peru. Peru is the leading country for exporting gold in the world and Madre de Dios is home to a large unregulated gold mining industry filled with workers who are trying to make a living. This area is home to the largest biodiversity variety in the world. Now, due to extensive extractive industries, there is a lot of deforestation and destruction of species’ habitats. The mining also has an effect on humans. The mining poisons local communities as there is a lot of mercury used to extract the gold. Scientists have also stated that a lot of this poison has been dumped into the rivers or released into the atmosphere. After searching the mine pits in person, there were hundreds of basins filled with water and gold. The vegetation has been removed and the mud is infertile. This part of the region where the mining is taking place is home to exotic species including monkeys, jaguars and butterflies. Mining has been the lead cause of deforestation in the Amazon. A study done for the forest in 2019 showed that gold mining destroyed 22,930 acres of Peru’s Amazon.However, there is the crisis of the local communities making a living from gold mining. In 2020, in another part of Peru, La Pampa, a huge gold mining site was shut down and 5,000 miners were expelled. By Meena Atmakuri

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Sound of Music Star Christopher Plummer dies at 91 February 06, 2021 12:14

For seven decades, Christopher Plummet has delivered incredible performances on stage and on screen. This Canadian actor is best known for his role in the Hit movie, The Sound of Music as Captain Von Trapp. He passed away at the age of 91. In 2021, he wont an Oscar for the film Beginners. He was also nominated for The Last Station in 2010 and All the Money in the World in 2018. Other films of his include The Man Who Would Be King and Knives Out. He also played the memorable villain Klingon in the sixth Star Trek movie and played a TV anchorman called Mike Wallace in The Insider released in 1999. His roles were always very diverse. He played Sherlock Holmes in Murder by Decree. He also appeared with Peter Sellers in the movie The Return of the Pink Panther. According to reports, Plummer died a peaceful death at his home in Connecticut with his wife Elaine Taylor at his side. Actors who have acted alongside the legendary actor took to Twitter to express their condolences for the late actor. They cherished over their memories with the actor, stating that he was the best of his time, and was very nice to the cast and crew on and off set. Even the film The Sound of Music took to Twitter to express their grief and remember the legacy he had left for the world. By Meena Atmakuri

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Hitler’s toilet is now up for Auction February 03, 2021 12:09

According to a source from an auction company, Hitler’s toilet seat will be up for auction. During the World War 11, his toilet seat was looted by a US army soldier. According to the auction company, the family of the soldier has now decided to cash in the two piece wooden toilet sat with its lid removed. The toilet seat’s starting price is expected to fetch around 15,000 dollars USD. The starting bidding price for this item is 5000 USD. During World War II, A US solider looted the toilet seat from Hitler’s private bathroom in his holiday home in the Bavarian Alps near Berchtergaden. The unusual historical item will be auctioned at the Alexander Historical Auctions LLC in Chesapeake City, Maryland on February 8th. The toilet seat measures 19 inches from back to front and is 16 inches wide. It also has two photographs of the soldier Ragnvald Borch and his immediate superior officer at the Eagles Nest at Berchtesgaden. The toilet seat also has a satirical anti Hitler newspaper clipping. The soldier’s family who has the seat said the item remained untouched in the basement of the family’s home. The item is ready to be auctioned off to a lucky yet unusual buyer. This is the closest we can get to any of Hitler’s properties. When Hitler reportedly committed suicide with his girlfriend at the time, there bodies were never found and when they dug his grave out, after a DNA test it was determined that that was not Hitler. Till today, no body knows where Hitler’s body is. By Meena Atmakuri

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Rhino Poaching in Africa decreases due to COVID-19 February 02, 2021 14:24

South Africa has reported that there has been a great decline in the number of rhinos that are killed by poachers. After research, it had been determined that the reason for the decline is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, 394 rhinos were killed for their horns in the country. In 2019, 594 rhinos were recorded dead for their horns. This is a 33% decline in the numbers according to the environment ministry. The lockdown had helped restrict the movements of poachers and rhino horn smugglers in the country. Despite the drastic decline in the poaching number, conservatives are still warning people that the rhino population is drastically declining. Poaching still seems to remain a big problem around the world. However, since Monday, the lockdown restrictions have been eased in the country which might give poachers a more liberal chance of going back to hunting and illegal trade. In South Africa, the African Rhino population is about 80%. Hundreds of rhinos are killed each year for their horns. The body parts, especially their horns are sent to Asia where the horn is used as an ingredient for medicines and herbal remedies. Rhinos horns contain Keratin, which is the same material present in human fingernails. Most of the poaching takes place at the Kruger National Park where there has been a 70% decline in the number of rhinos over the last decade. According to the IUCN Red List, Rhinos are under the critically endangered category, meaning that they are closer to becoming extinct. WWF officials are increasing the security around these animals in reserves. There is a marginal improvement as there is a decline in poaching but the pandemic is only a temporary stop. Rhino horns are in huge demand in Asian countries such as China and Vietnam where they are used in traditional medicines. To stop rhino poaching, it is important to address the certain factors that enable wildlife trafficking syndicates to operate. WWF has also been talking about inserting chips to track the rhinos movements and save them from any further danger such as poaching. By Meena Atmakuri

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