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China’s new pneumonia epidemic may last till next year

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Beijing, April 1 : A new pneumonia epidemic that hit Beijing last year may continue till next year and eventually spread to other parts of China and neighbouring countries in Asia, say experts.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae (M. pneumoniae) infections began rising in the capital city last spring, and by December this pathogen was found in more than half of hospitalised children suffering from pneumonia in that city, according to investigators from the Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Beijing.

This type of pneumonia is also called atypical pneumonia because the symptoms are different from those of pneumonia due to other common bacteria, according to US National Library of Medicine.

From May to December 2015, the rate of diagnoses positive for M. pneumoniae in children nearly doubled, from 30 percent to 57 percent, said Hongmei Sun of the Capital Institute of Pediatrics.

In the study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, the researchers predict that this would affect more children in 2016 and could last longer than expected.

As the epidemic continues in Beijing, the investigators predict that related outbreaks will occur elsewhere in China, and possibly in other Asian countries, said Sun.

As a result of these findings, Beijing doctors are being advised to be alert for M. pneumoniae, Sun said.

“We have started investigating the rate of M. pneumoniae infection in several other regions of China, along with other Chinese Mycoplasma experts,” Sun noted.

Children infected with M. pneumoniae typically come down with chest colds. Sore throat, fever, fatigue, headache, and a slowly worsening cough that can last for months are common symptoms, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children under five typically do not have fevers, but may suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. People at highest risk live or work in crowded conditions, such as schools, hospitals, and dormitories.

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“Tremendous Growth In ‘GDP”’: Rahul Gandhi’s Dig Over Fuel Price Hike

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Rahul Gandhi
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the record hike in petrol and diesel prices, claiming that his government was busy collecting taxes while the public is plaqued with inflation.

“Modi ji has shown tremendous growth in ‘GDP’ i.e. gas-diesel-petrol prices! The public is plagued by inflation, Modi government is busy in tax collection,” Mr Gandhi wrote in a tweet in Hindi.

Petrol and diesel prices in the country on Saturday touched new all-time highs after rates were increased for the fourth time this week.

Petrol is currently being sold at ₹ 85.70 per litre in Delhi and ₹ 92.28 in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Diesel rate climbed to ₹ 75.88 a litre in the national capital and to ₹ 82.66 per litre in Mumbai, the price data showed.

This is the second consecutive day of rate increase and the fourth this week. In all prices have gone up by Re 1 per litre this week.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan earlier this week blamed Saudi oil output cut for the surge in oil prices but remained non-committal on tax cuts.

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PM salutes ‘nation’s daughters’ on National Girl Child Day

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Narendra Modi
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday saluted the ‘daughters of the nation’ on the occasion of the National Girl Child Day and praised all those working towards the empowerment of the girl child and ensure them a life of dignity and opportunity.

In a series of tweets, Modi said: “On the National Girl Child Day, we salute our #DeshKiBeti and their accomplishments in various fields. The central government has undertaken many initiatives that focus on empowering the girl child, including access to education, better healthcare and improving gender sensitivity.”

“Today is also the day to specially appreciate all those working towards empowering the girl child and ensuring she leads a life of dignity and opportunity.”

The National Girl Child Day was launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2008 to spread public awareness on inequalities girls faced in Indian society.

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Dates for Gujarat local body polls declared

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The Gujarat State Election Commission (SEC) on Saturday announced the local body elections in the state, involving six municipal corporations, 81 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats. The terms of these seats had ended last year, but the elections were postponed due to Coronavirus pandemic. With Saturday’s announcement, the model code of conduct (MCC) becomes effective in these constituencies.

The State Election Commission (SEC) has declared the dates for the polling for the local bodies like Municipal Corporations, municipalities, the district and Tehsil Panchayats in Gujarat.

The notification for the Municipal Corporation elections will be February 1, the last date of filing nominations will be February 6, scrutiny of nomination forms will be February 8, the last date of withdrawal of nominations will be February 9 and polling on the February 21. If repolling is required, then it will be carried out on February 22. The counting and the results are scheduled for February 23.

The notification for the Municipality, District Panchayat, Tehsil Panchayat elections will be February 8, the last date of filing nominations will be February 13, scrutiny of nomination forms will be February 15, the last date of withdrawal of nominations will be February 16 and polling on February 28. If repolling is required, then it will be carried out on March 1. The counting and the results will be on March 2.

“After the latest electoral roll, we have 4.09 crore voters in the state. There will be 47,695 polling stations, out of which over 11 thousand are sensitive and over 6 thousand extremely sensitive, but these are not final figures and they are dynamic. The total areas for which the elections will be held will be 6,577 and total elected seats will be 9,049,” said Sanjay Prasad, the State Election Commissioner.

“For these elections, more than 91,700 Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) will be utilised. The Voter Verification Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) won’t be used in these elections, as the standing Committee constituted technical Committee had recommended that as the EVM are tamper-proof, the VVPAT are not required. So none of the state election Commissions are using them,” added Prasad.

According to the programme, polling for Municipal Corporations will take place on Sunday, February 21 from 7 am to 6 pm while that for municipalities and panchayats, polling will take place on February 28th from 7 am to 6 pm. Counting for the Municipal Corporation polls will take place on February 23 while that for municipalities and panchayats will take place on March 2.

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