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Official unites with brother after 20 years with Facebook help

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New Delhi, April 18 : A Delhi-based central government employee’s 20-year-long search for his younger sibling finally ended on a happy note last week with help from social networking site Facebook.

The story, akin to a Bollywood drama, had its twists and turns before Vijay Nitnaware finally met his brother Hansraj.

Vijay Nitnaware, 48, who works in the library of Press Information Bureau here, last saw his younger brother Hansraj Nitnaware in May 1996, when he left the family without informing anyone as he was under stress after failing his matriculation examination.

“Hansraj was a good student in his childhood, but he felt disturbed after death of my mother in 1995. He left the house at the age of 15, days after he failed in the matric exam,” Vijay Nitnaware told.

Vijay Nitnaware said his father died when Hansraj, the youngest among the three brothers and a sister, was only nine months old.

The family, with Vijay as the eldest among siblings, hails from Wardha district of Maharashtra and was staying there when Hansraj left them.

Vijay said he registered a complaint with the police about Hansraj having gone missing. To his surprise, Vijay got a letter from his missing brother after 15 days. “Please don’t search for me. I am fine and will return only after doing something big,” the letter said.

Vijay said he was happy to know that his brother was alive but his hope to trace him dimmed a bit as the last two digits of the pin code of the place of origin of letter were not clearly visible.

“Through the first four digits, I got confirmation that the letter was sent from Gujarat. I then went to Gujarat, contacted some of my local friends and gave advertisements about his having gone missing in the local newspapers and some television channels. But all my efforts went in vain,” Vijay said.

Though saddened, Vijay did not lose his patience and went on searching for his brother. The family’s search for Hansraj continued even after Vijay and his other siblings got married.

Vijay also took to the internet and the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter to search for his brother. In 2016, he contacted Facebook to seek its help in locating his brother.

Vijay said Facebook found one Hansraj in Pune, Maharashtra, and contacted him with his messages but the person refused to recognize him (Vijay) as his brother.

Despite the refusal to identify him as his elder brother, Vijay persisted with his search and requested Facebook to provide him details of some of Hansraj’s Facbook friends.

Vijay said the social networking site provided him details of six of Hansraj’s friends. While looking at the details, Vijay found three of them working with Toyota company at Bhosari in Pune.

Vijay contacted one of them through e-mail. The person contacted Hansraj and shared Vijay’s feelings but he again refused to acknowledge Vijay as his brother.

Vijay said he was confident that the Pune man was his brother.

“It was the evening of April 5. I was writing a mail to the manager of the Toyota company requesting him for details about Hansraj. I was just about to send the mail when my phone rang,” Vijay said.

“When I picked up the phone, it was Hansraj on the other end. There were not many words we exchanged… mostly we cried,” he added.

Vijay reached Pune on April 12 and returned to Delhi happily with Hansraj’s family.

Hansraj told Vijay that he went to Gujarat after leaving home. He said one day he jumped into a well to kill himself but was saved by a passerby who also helped in bringing him up over the next five years.

Hansraj later moved to Mumbai in search of a job and worked there at a Mahindra company showroom. At the work place, he fell in love with a colleague and married her despite her family’s objections to Hansraj’s background.

Hansraj told Vijay he had once worked as a driver of a Mumbai Police Commissioner and an Assistant Commissioner of Police.

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More people could slip into hunger as result of COVID-19: UN Chief

The COVID-19 pandemic is making things even worse. Many more people could slip into hunger this year, he said.

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations, July 14 : UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that many more people could slip into hunger this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He sounded the alarm in a video message on Monday during the launch of “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020” report, which says almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019, up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years, Xinhua news agency reported.

“This year’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report sends a sobering message. In much of the world, hunger remains deeply entrenched and is rising,” said Guterres in the video message.

The COVID-19 pandemic is making things even worse. Many more people could slip into hunger this year, he said.

“The report is clear: if the current trend continues, we will not achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 — zero hunger — by 2030.”

Guterres said transformation can begin now. Investments in COVID-19 response and recovery need to help deliver on the longer-term goal of a more inclusive and sustainable world.

“We must make food systems more sustainable, resilient and inclusive — for people and the planet.”

He said he will convene a Food Systems Summit next year. “We must make healthy diets affordable and accessible for everyone.”

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Study reveals new strategies to control Covid-19 pandemic

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Social Distancing in Mizoram

London, July 13 : Strategies for the safe reopening of low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic must recognise that preserving people’s health is as important as reviving the economy, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin.

In the study, published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, the research team examined three community-based exit strategies, and recommended their scopes, limitations and the appropriate application in the LMICs.

The three approaches considered are sustained mitigation, zonal lockdowns and rolling lockdowns. “Successfully re-opening a country requires consideration of both the economic and social costs,” said study lead author Rajiv Chowdhury from the University of Cambridge in the UK.

“Governments should approach these options with a mind-set that health and economy both are equally important to protect – reviving the economy should not take priority over preserving people”s health,” he added.

The study also revealed that strategies need to be based on the local epidemic growth rate at the time, social and economic costs, existing health systems capabilities and detailed plans to implement.

Sustained ”mitigation-only” approaches such as those adopted in the UK, Switzerland and other European countries, involve basic prevention measures such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and the isolation of positive cases after testing.

Zonal lockdowns approach involves identifying and ”cordoning off” new outbreak clusters with a high number of cases, keeping contact between zones and containing the disease within a small geographic area.

However, the authors point out that any successful implementation of zonal lockdown requires regular data feedback operations in real-time to identify hotspots, including information on newly confirmed cases, updated region-specific reproduction and growth rates, and deaths by age.

Additionally, control of transmission within zones may be an enormous undertaking. For example, in India, where this approach has been employed, the infection size within a cordoned zone can be as high as 100-200 times outside the zone.

Intermittent rolling lockdowns are now advocated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in various LMICs. These involve implementing strict social distancing for a set number of days before a period of relaxation. Rolling lockdowns may be particularly useful in LMICs with dense populations, where this is a high potential for contact, weak health systems and poor contact tracing.

“These three strategies should not be considered as one or the other. A country should further adapt and could combine them as needed,” the authors wrote.

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Beauty salons, nail bars and tattoo shops reopen for first time in four months

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that there were more than 100 “local actions” taken across the country each week to stem fresh outbreaks.

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Beauty salons Tatoo

London, July 13 : Beauty salons, nail bars and tattoo shops in England reopened on Monday after a four-month closure due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Spas, massage studios and physical therapy businesses will also be able to welcome customers again from Monday, reports the Metro newspaper.

But businesses will be required to meet coronavirus guidelines, and restrictions on treatments which involve work directly in front of the face will not be available.

Government guidance states that face waxing, eyelash treatments, make-up application and facials should not be provided because of the greater risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The relaxation comes as around 200 workers at a farm in Herefordshire were quarantined following a fresh COVID-19 outbreas.

Some 73 positive cases of the virus have been confirmed among workers at vegetable producer AS Green and Co, which is based in the village of Mathon, near Worcester.

A joint statement from Public Health England (PHE) Midlands and Herefordshire Council said employees were being asked to remain on the farm during the period of isolation, the Metro newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that there were more than 100 “local actions” taken across the country each week to stem fresh outbreaks.

As of Monday, the UK reported a total of 291,154 coronavirus cases, with 44,904 deaths.

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