HEALTH, Latest News

4 of 5 Indian children do not survive cancer. What led to this sorry state? 

India has the highest prevalence of childhood cancer which can be traced to its higher population of young people, 30 per cent of its population is below 14 years, according to 2011 Census.

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How long does a cancer diagnosis take?

Six months, according to Bipin Jana, 45, whose eight-year-old son Parmeshwar has stage-4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. That is how long it took the family, travelling 2,000 km across West Bengal, New Delhi and finally, Mumbai, to get an effective diagnosis and start treatment.

Parmeshwar is currently undergoing chemotherapy at the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Mumbai, India’s foremost cancer treatment centre. Almost half (43.6 per cent) of the children with cancer admitted here had to travel over 1,300 km to reach the hospital, records showed. Up to 10 per cent travelled over 2,200 km and 20 per cent had undergone alternative or incomplete treatments before reaching TMH.

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With timely diagnosis, children with cancer have a high rate of survival. If he lived in a high-income country, Parmeshwar would have had a 90 per cent chance of recovery. Since he is being treated, his odds are still better than India’s national survival rate for juvenile cancers–less than 20 per cent, according to the World Health Organization.

Worldwide, most children with cancer are from low- to middle-income countries and have poor survival rates, showed the study published in The Lancet Oncology, a global journal, in July 2019.

India has the highest prevalence of childhood cancer which can be traced to its higher population of young people, 30 per cent of its population is below 14 years, according to 2011 Census.

In order to understand why most children with cancer in India do not survive five years, IndiaSpend interviewed patients, non-governmental organisations and doctors. Delays in diagnosis, high medical expenses and non-completion of treatment are significant reasons, we found.

Survival rate can be 70 per cent with timely care

About 50,000 Indian children between 0-19 years of age suffer from cancer each year, according to The Lancet study we mentioned. “However we think the actual figure is closer to 75,000,” said Girish Chinnaswamy, head oncologist at the TMH.

Approximately 20,000 children remain undiagnosed and untreated and their survival rate is 0 per cent, he said. “For the 55,000 who are accessing treatment, 15,000 are receiving a good standard of treatment with trained oncologists as well as social, dietary and financial support and this group has a survival rate of 70 per cent,” he said.

 

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Seven booked by CBI for peddling child pornography on WhatsApp

Three long months after receiving the information, the CBI registered a preliminary inquiry on May 10, 2019.

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The Central Bureau of Investigation has booked seven Indians for being part of international WhatsApp groups circulating child sexual abuse content, a probe triggered by the arrest of a group member in Germany, officials said here Monday.

The agency has carried out searches at several locations across the country after registering an FIR against seven persons who owned the numbers which were part of the WhatsApp groups, they said.

The agency was informed by German Embassy on January 31, 2019 about the arrest and conviction of Sasche Treppke in that country for involvement in sexual abuse of children and distribution of related material between November 24, 2015 and July 8, 2016, according to the FIR.

Three long months after receiving the information, the CBI registered a preliminary inquiry on May 10, 2019 to verify the facts, the FIR said. During their investigation, German sleuths searched the residence of Treppke and found huge data in the form of pictures and videos pertaining to child sexual abuse, officials said.

It also surfaced that Treppke was member of 29 WhatsApp groups, having a total of 483 participants, on which the sexual abuse content was shared. Seven “active” Indian numbers too were found to be part of these WhatsApp groups, they said.

After nearly five months of preliminary inquiry, CBI managed to access the customer application forms and identity proofs submitted by these seven subscribers to establish their identities, they said.

The phone numbers are from Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Trying to contact them failed as none were functioning, they said.

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Good news: Your stay at luxury hotels to be less expensive from today 

Travellers staying in a hotel room costing over Rs 7,500 per night will now have to pay GST of 18 per cent, against 28 per cent earlier.

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Staying at a mid or top-end hotel will be less taxing from today, as the new goods and services tax (GST) rates kick in. On September 20, the GST Council had slashed GST rates for mid- and high-segment hotels and six per centage points and 10 percentage points, respectively.

So now, travellers staying in a hotel room costing over Rs 7,500 per night will have to pay GST at the rate of 18 per cent, against 28 per cent earlier.

Similarly, for mid-segment hotels (in the price range of Rs 2,501 to Rs 7,500), the GST rates has been reduced to 12 per cent from 18 per cent.

While hotels in the price range of Rs 1,001 to Rs 2,500 will continue to attract a levy of 12 per cent, rooms that cost less than Rs 1,000 remain in the zero GST bracket.

The move, aimed at giving a boost to the hospitality sector, was welcomed by the hotel industry, which said it could provide a major fillip to the hospitality and tourism sectors.

Welcoming the move, Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) Chairman and ITC ED Nakul Anand had told PTI: “The news on GST rationalisation comes as a big shot in the arm for the tourism industry.”

“This will help us in offering our rooms at more competitive pricing and in turn greatly benifit our customers, moreover as festive season is approaching followed by a wedding season, we expect per room savings of 6-10 per cent for each booking for customers which will provide a boost especially to the domestic tourism across India,” the news agencyhad quoted Amatra Hotels and Resorts COO Anurag Dua as saying.

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Vikram had hard landing; NASA releases images of Chandrayaan 2 landing site 

Vikram was scheduled to touch down on September. 7. This event was India’s first attempt at a soft landing on the Moon.

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NASA on Friday released high-resolution images captured by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) during its flyby of the lunar region where India’s ambitious Chandrayaan 2 mission attempted a soft landing near the Moon’s uncharted south pole, and found Vikram had a hard landing.

The Vikram lander module attempted a soft landing on a small patch of lunar highland smooth plains between Simpelius N and Manzinus C craters before losing communication with ISRO on September 7.

“Vikram had a hard landing and the precise location of the spacecraft in the lunar highlands has yet to be determined, NASA said.

The scene was captured from a Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Quickmap fly-around of the targeted landing site image width is about 150 kilometres across the centre.

Vikram was scheduled to touch down on September. 7. This event was India’s first attempt at a soft landing on the Moon. The site was located about 600 kilometres from the south pole in a relatively ancient terrain, according to the US space agency.

The LRO passed over the landing site on September 17 and acquired a set of high-resolution images of the area; so far the LROC team has not been able to locate or image the lander.

LRO will next fly over the landing site on October 14 when lighting conditions will be more favourable, John Keller, Deputy Project Scientist Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission, Goddard Space Flight Centre, told PTI via email.

“It was dusk when the landing area was imaged and thus large shadows covered much of the terrain; it is possible that the Vikram lander is hiding in a shadow. The lighting will be favourable when LRO passes over the site in October and once again attempts to locate and image the lander,” NASA said.

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PM Modi tells investors ‘come to India’ to aid $5 trillion GDP goal 

“India is waiting for you,” PM Modi told political and business leaders at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged global businesses to “come to India” as his government seeks to build a $5 trillion economy by 2025.

His address to chief executives at a summit in New York comes less than a week after India delivered a $20-billion tax-cut stimulus to help shore up the $2.6-trillion economy that’s growing at the slowest rate in six years amid 45-year-high unemployment.

India is waiting for you,” Modi told political and business leaders at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum. “India is the only destination for you.”

Competitive Rates

Modi, who met energy company CEOs in Houston, is meeting more than 40 major companies, including Lockheed Martin Corp., American Tower Corp., Mastercard Inc. and Walmart Inc. at the forum hosted by Michael R. Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

Just recently we have decided to considerably reduce corporate tax,” Modi said, calling the move revolutionary. “If you want to invest in a market where there’s scale, come to India.”

The cut in corporate tax rates puts India on par with some of the lowest in Asia to help the south Asian nation compete with the likes of Vietnam and Indonesia for investments in the midst of ongoing global trade tensions. Attracting investments is key to revive economic growth and put the nation on the path to becoming a $5-trillion economy by 2025.

The cropped tax rates are the latest in a series of steps announced by the government, including easier foreign investment rules for companies from Apple Inc. to Huawei Technologies Co. to BHP Group Plc, to revive economic growth from the weakest pace since 2013. With $3 billion in foreign direct investment from American companies last year, the US is the fourth largest investor in the Indian economy.

Infrastructure creation is expanding at an unprecedented pace, with highways, metros, railways, ports, airports being built, Modi said. “Each sector is seeing massive investment and tremendous potential.”

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Why boys and girls use tech differently? Here’s the likely reason 

Emerging research indicates that brain differences between males and females help account for the split.

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Business Standard : Many parents of both boys and girls have witnessed striking differences in the way their kids use technology, with their sons generally gravitating to videogames and their daughters often spending more of their screen time scrolling through social media.

Emerging research indicates that brain differences between males and females help account for the split.

It is entirely plausible from a neurological perspective that there’s an underlying biological component to this difference people are seeing,” said Larry Cahill, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Irvine, who has spent two decades researching gender differences in the brain.

In this column I’ve chronicled the aggression some boys exhibit when they have to shut off videogames and transition to other activities, as well as the problems some young men face when they go to college and have to juggle game time and school work without mom and dad’s help.

That led some readers to question why girls don’t appear to be having these problems. Of course, girls have issues of their own, such as smuggling “burner” phones to keep up with forbidden social media accounts. It’s just that when it comes to videogames, most girls seem to have a better handle on when to stop.

According to a 2017 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 41 per cent of teenage boys said they spend too much time playing videogames while only 11 per cent of girls said they do.

Marc Potenza, a psychiatry professor at Yale University, teamed up with researchers at universities in China to find out why. Using functional MRIs, which measure brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow, the team studied neural responses in young male and female gamers, particularly in the parts of the brain associated with reward processing and craving—a motivating factor in addiction. When the men and women were shown photos of people playing videogames, those parts of the men’s brains showed higher levels of activation than those parts of the women’s brains.

Brain regions that have been implicated in drug-addiction studies also were shown to be more highly activated in the men after gaming. The researchers said the results suggest men could be more biologically prone than women to developing internet gaming disorder.

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All’s well in India, says PM at ‘Howdy Modi’ rally; Trump hints about visit

Modi spoke of his govt’s decision to scrap the provisions of Article 370, and received sustained applause, and asked the audience to give a standing ovation to all members of the of Parliament.

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All’s well in India,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi told an estimated 50,000 members of the Indian diaspora in Houston on Sunday at an event titled Howdy Modi and days after his government slashed corporate tax to address concerns of an economic slowdown.

The PM concluded his rousing speech by inviting US President Donald Trump, along with his family, to visit India soon, and the two leaders with their hands clasped, took a round of the stadium waving at the crowd in a gesture to convey the strength of their friendship to which both had alluded to in their respective speeches.

Earlier, addressing the Indian diaspora at the NRG Stadium in Houston, the US President hinted at visiting India as early as October, while Modi seemed to endorse his support for Trump’s re-election next year, and suggesting to the Indian-American community to do the same, by declaring “abki baar Trump sarkaar”.

During his speech, the US President received loud cheers when he said India and the US were united in their fight against “radical Islamic terrorism”, which is likely to be interpreted as a message to Pakistan. Modi spoke of his government’s decision to scrap the provisions of Article 370, and received sustained applause, and asked the audience to give a standing ovation to all members of the two Houses of Parliament.

While not mentioning Pakistan by name, the PM said the decision has inconvenienced some people who cannot take care of their own country, who nurse and support terrorism. He said the time has come for a “decisive battle against terrorism and people who support terrorism”. He said the US President is standing against terrorism with all his strength, and asked people to give him a standing ovation.

The PM said the days of “incremental change” in India were over, and it has transformed rapidly in the last five years. He spoke of the various social welfare measures taken by his government and the objective to make India a $5-trillion economy.

Business Standard