Delhi govt to launch campaign to control rising number of cases of dengue, malaria

New Delhi: In the backdrop of rising number of cases of malaria, chikungunya and dengue, the Delhi government has decided to launch a major campaign to raise awareness among people about methods of prevention.

Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday, however, said the proportion of cases being reported in Delhi are “far less” as compared to some of the other states, like Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

At least 30 fresh cases of dengue were reported last week, taking the number of people affected by the vector-borne disease in the city this year to 180, according to the latest municipal report.

The total number of malaria cases recorded till 22 July has shot up to 230 while the chikungunya cases stand at 195, it said.

“In a week’s time we are going to start a big campaign to raise awareness about prevention of vector-borne diseases. We are already working in collaboration with MCD to put up hoardings on the theme, and we will also involve the masses in our campaign,” he told reporters.

Jain, quoting figures of the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) said, till 16 July, at least 23,094 cases and 32 deaths due to dengue have been reported across the country, while Delhi has only 180 cases.

Also, two deaths due to swine flu have been reported in Delhi, but fatalities due to this disease recorded in Gujarat and Maharashtra are quite high, he said.

“We are prepared and have adequate stock of medicines and we will make more arrangements as per the situation,” he said.

Authorities in Delhi fear the cases in the city may rise as the season for the vector-borne diseases begins from mid-July and generally lasts till November-end.

Cases of all three vector-borne diseases have been reported much earlier this time, which doctors have attributed to early arrival of the monsoon.

Of the 230 malaria cases, 116 affected people were residents of Delhi while rest of the cases diagnosed were traced to other states. At least 57 cases have been recorded this month.

Of the 195 chikungunya cases, 127 of the affected people were residents of Delhi while the rest were from other states.


HMD Global sends out invite for Nokia 8 launch on August 16

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Nokia 8 launch date confirmed: The invites have started going from HMD Global, and the event takes place on August 16.

Nokia 8 will launch on August 16, and HMD Global has started sending out invites for the same. The Verge reported about the upcoming launch event. Nokia 8 was recently spotted on the China website of the firm, before the image was taken down. We’ve seen quite a few leaked images of the Nokia 8 thanks to HMD Global’s leaked image, and of course, Evan Blass, better known as @Evleaks on Twitter.

According to the report on The Verge, Nokia 8 launch will take place at an event in London, and this smartphone will likely come with Carl Zeiss Optics on the camera lens. HMD Global had itself confirmed it will be working with Zeiss for the camera optics. In terms of specifications, Nokia 8 will likely be the flagship device from HMD Global.

Recently a Nokia 8 in copper gold colour was leaked online, but the company is expected to launch this phone in silver and blue models as well. Nokia 8 will come with a 5.3-inch Quad HD screen, coupled with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. Based on leaked images, the display will have a 2.5D glass on top, capacitive buttons, a fingerprint scanner in the home button. So, this won’t be a bezel-less device without a home button, just yet.

The key highlight of the Nokia 8 is expected to be the dual cameras stacked. Leaked images indicate these will be stacked vertically, and HMD Global could go for a dual 13MP+13MP camera set up. The rear camera setup will also have a laser autofocus sensor, dual-tone LED flash along with the Carl Zeiss branding.

Nokia 6, Nokia 5, Nokia 3 First Look: HMD Global’s New Nokia Phones

Other specifications of the Nokia 8, according to the rumours are 4GB RAM, 64GB storage and dual-SIM slots, along with Android 7.1 Nougat. A report by WinFuture claimed Nokia 8 will be priced at €589 or approximately Rs 43,000 plus in Scandinavian countries.

HMD Global is getting ready to launch its new flagship phone, but its first set of global offerings like Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 are yet to go on sale in India. Nokia 3 and Nokia 3310 are already available for purchase in the market, but the mid-range offerings will only go on sale in August.


This Is the Gear You Need to View the Upcoming Solar Eclipse


It’s tempting to stare at the sun during a solar eclipse, but if you try to do so without protection, you could damage your eyes. This image of a partial eclipse in 2012 was taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite. (Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams)

On August 21, North America will experience the first total solar eclipse visible across the continent in nearly a century–and, while it may seem illogical, this period of semi-darkness is an important time to practice sun safety.

That’s because while during an eclipse, you won’t want to tear your eyes away from the show, staring directly at the sun can lead to solar retinopathy, a condition where light floods the eye’s retina. In 1999, 45 patients visited an eye clinic in Leicester, England, after viewing a solar eclipse without proper eyewear. About half of the patients suffered from eye pain; the others reported impaired vision. Although these eclipse watchers were not totally blinded, several incurred long-term damage.

The United States hasn’t experienced a total eclipse since 1979, and that one only passed over a small swath of the Northwest. This year, in contrast more than 500 million people in North America, plus parts of South America and northwestern Europe, will be able to see at least a partial eclipse. Those within a 70-mile wide pathbetween Oregon and South Carolina will witness a total eclipse.

A partial eclipse occurs when the moon blocks part of the sun from view. A total eclipse, in contrast, is when the moon completely blocks the sun. “Totality,” the part of the total eclipse when the sun is completely covered, lasts only around two minutes.

Most people in the continental United States live within a one- to two-day drive of the total eclipse’s path. Madhulika Guhathakurta, the lead program scientist for NASA’s “Living With a Star” initiative, says the breadth of the path makes the eclipse accessible to everyone. She says observing a total eclipse is transformative: “It’s akin to the way astronauts describe their first trip to space. You’re just so in awe of nature.”

To view the solar eclipse, you’ll need proper equipment. It may seem odd to don protection in the semi-darkness of a partial eclipse, but staring at the sun can cause retinal injury. The only time it’s safe to look at the sun without protection is during totality. Keep your equipment on hand, and put it back on when the sun starts to reappear.

Opt for gear featuring ISO-approved solar filters, which are about 100,000 times darker than everyday sunglasses. The American Astronomical Society’s website includes a list of manufacturers that have certified their products meet the ISO 12312-2 standard. If you purchase equipment from other outlets, double check that their merchandise meets ISO standards.

Whether you’re a stargazing neophyte or dedicated astronomer, this gear will help you make the most of a spectacular event.

These solar viewers give 2x magnification and protection from the sun during the partial eclipse.
These solar viewers give 2x magnification and protection from the sun during the partial eclipse. (Celestron)

Eclipse glasses and handheld viewers

Eclipse glasses look like hybrids of 3-D movie glasses and sunglasses. As Guhathakurta explains, these glasses have the added protection of a solar filter. Whereas sunglasses only block UV rays, eclipse glasses also cut off visible light.

If you’re a casual observer or part of a large group, you’ll like these glasses’ low prices and bulk packaging. You can buy a pack of five paper glasses from Rainbow Symphony for around $12. If you want a sturdier option, try these plastic glasses from American Paper Optics. And feel free to go for style: TSE17 has a $5.05 stars-and-stripes five-pack, and American Paper Optics features everything from Bill Nye glasses to astronaut-themed frames.

Looking for something between basic glasses and high-tech binoculars? Check out this handheld viewer from Celestron. For $9.95, you’ll receive two viewers with 2x magnification capabilities and a pocket eclipse guide.

Binoculars and telescopes

Binoculars and telescopes are pricier than eclipse glasses and handheld viewers but can be worth the investment. They feature a higher magnification, but higher magnification results in a shakier image––as power increases, the equipment becomes more sensitive to its holder’s small hand movements.

Binoculars are rated with two numbers. The first number is the magnification, the second is the aperture—the diameter of the front lens, measured in millimeters. If you’re buying a pair of binoculars and plan to use them for other astronomy viewing, the bigger the aperture, the better, but bigger lenses also mean heavier equipment.

The following options offer a range of viewing strengths. Celestron’s EclipSmart binoculars feature non-removable solar filters, so you’ll only be able to use them for solar viewing. A 10×25 pair (10x magnification and 25mm aperture) costs around $35, while a 10×42 pair costs just about twice as much. A cheaper option is Lunt’s mini SUNocular. A 6×30 pair costs $29.95.

If you prefer binoculars with removable solar filters, Meade has a $69.99 10×50 pair that works for both solar viewing and nighttime stargazing. Once you remove the solar filters, the binoculars will operate like a normal pair.

Telescopes offer some of the best eclipse views, but you’ll pay more for added detail if you want an advanced model. A basic lightweight option is the Explore Scientific Sun Catcher 70mm telescope. It costs $59.99 and can be used during both the day and night. A more advanced option is the $99.95 Celestron EclipSmart telescope. It offers 18x magnification, 50mm aperture and non-removable solar filters.

Another choice is the Meade EclipseView telescope. The cheapest model is a $79.99 82mm reflecting telescope designed for on-the-go use. A sturdier long-term bet is the 76mm reflecting telescope, which costs $129.99. Both models feature removable solar filters and are suitable for solar and nighttime use.

The Meade EclipseView 82mm telescope is designed to be portable, for eclipse watching anywhere.
The Meade EclipseView 82mm telescope is designed to be portable, for eclipse watching anywhere. (Meade)

Add-on solar filters

Another category of eclipse viewing gear is add-on filters. These can be attached to binoculars, telescopes and cameras not originally designed for solar viewing and are mainly used by experienced observers. Similarly to eclipse-specific gear, add-on filters prevent retinal damage. They also protect your equipment’s optics from the heat of the sun, as the intensity of an eclipse can damage gear designed for nighttime observing.

Filters are typically made of metal on glass (sturdy but most expensive), aluminized polyester film (also known as Mylar) or black polymer (also used in eclipse glasses). Rainbow Symphony sells black polymer and silver Mylar filters starting at $19.95. Thousand Oaks Optical and Orion offer higher-end filters ranging in price from $22 to $150-plus.

Pinhole projectors

If you want to view the eclipse without spending money on special equipment, you’re in luck. Stand with your back to the sun, and use your hands, a hole-punched index card or even a patch of leaves to create a tiny opening. As sunlight flows through the empty space, an image of the sun will project onto a nearby surface. For more detailed instructions, visit the American Astronomical Society’s pinhole projection page.

Guhathakurta’s final words of advice are simple: During the partial eclipse, “do not look at the sun without glasses on, but absolutely look at the total solar eclipse without glasses on. These are two binary events. When you wear glasses and you cannot see anything anymore, that’s totality.”


Teachers flag concerns over budgets cuts in education

Up in arms: Teachers protest at Jantar Mantar on Monday. Sandeep Saxena   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Seek revised pay scales, regularisation of contractual staff

College and university teachers from across the country protested at Jantar Mantar on Monday, raising concerns over low budget allocation in the education sector.

The protest was organised by the All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisations (AIFUCTO). Appealing to the Centre, the body demanded the implementation of the 7th UGC pay revision recommendations after consultation with it and other teachers’ bodies.

It also demanded the regularisation of temporary and contractual teachers, introduction of pay scales and service conditions for part-time and ad hoc teachers, and filling up of vacancies.

‘Scrap API’

Members of the AIFUCTO also demanded scrapping of the Academic Performance Index (API) system, which was introduced by the University Grants Commission to assess teachers before their promotions are granted.

A statement issued by the AIFUCTO read, “All Central government employees, except university and college teachers, are getting their revised pay scales and allowances. Service conditions and terms of career advancement in the teaching profession are becoming stiffer by the day.”

Seeking immediate relief, the statement further read, “The time has come when, as educated minds of the society, we rise up against the autocratic and anti-teachers/anti-education activities of the government.”

The members also protested against the new pension scheme introduced for those appointed after 2004, which does not guarantee any clear amount to them after retirement.

‘Excessive centralisation’

The AIFUCTO also stated that there had been “blatant attempts to throttle the autonomy of higher education through excessive centralisation” under the garb of reforms.

Members of the Haryana Government Teachers’ Association, West Bengal College Teachers’ Association, and Rajasthan University and College Teachers’ Association, among others, participated in the protest.