Top 10 causes of deaths in India

Nearly 61% of deaths in India are due to non-communicable diseases, which include heart disorders, cancer and diabetes. But other big killers include lung diseases caused by air pollution, smoking, etc and diarrhea – which can be prevented with improving hygiene. Here’s more…

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Google to launch mobile payment service in India next week: report

Blue Dogs Spotted in India—What’s Causing It?

Residents were initially baffled after several stray dogs were found roaming the streets with bright blue fur.

When dogs in Taloja, an industrial neighborhood in Mumbai, India, began walking around with bright blue fur, residents took notice.

Concern about the dogs, and fear that the dye could portend a dangerous pollutant, was quickly evident on social media and in local news reports.

A representative from the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell (NMAPC), one of the animal clinics that treated the dogs, told National Geographic over the phone that heavy rains have since washed the dogs clean. In an email, Shakuntala Majumdar from Mumbai’s Thane SPCA also said they had caught one of the dogs and were able to clean it up.

While the dogs that have been treated are reportedly fine, their appearance prompts a number of questions, chief among them—how a bunch of dogs turned bright blue.

According to reporting from the Hindustan Times, the dogs were likely affected by untreated industrial waste that had been allegedly dumped by one company into the nearby Kasadi River. The river flows through an area with hundreds of factories, but the Times quoted officials who are blaming one factory whose name has not been released but which allegedly manufactures detergent. An investigation has been opened by the local regulatory agency, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, who will reportedly release a full report on the incident in the coming weeks.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Majumdar and his team were initially notified of the blue strays by concerned residents. The factory that locals think may be responsible and water areas surrounding it were fenced off, but the dogs were reportedly able to find holes in the wire fence, where they swam in the water to cool off. The Thane SPCA counted five dogs initially affected but estimate there could be more in the area based on the higher population of strays and the relatively weak fence.

“They looked apparently healthy excepting blotches of blue on their fur,” said Majumdar.

The team struggled to catch the nimble dogs in the marshy area, but were eventually successful in taking one back to their clinic.

“The dye is possibly water based as it washed off after two regular baths,” said the animal care worker.

In addition to baths, the dog’s skin was lightly scraped to test for toxicity. A number of regional outlets have reported that the dogs were found blind, which Majumdar says is false.

“We have not seen any blind dogs.”

A representative from the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell reached similar conclusions about the dye’s toxicity. The have observed no adverse health effects in the dogs or other animals in the region. However, until lab tests on the dogs are finished and the pollution control board releases its report, a judgement on the complete impacts of the dye cannot be made.

MUMBAI’S STRAY DOGS

Dogs are protected by law in India. This past May, the government passed sweeping regulations that ended indiscriminate breeding and provided funding for necessities like food and shelter. In a country with a billion people and 30 million dogs, it’s a massive undertaking.

“They stay on the streets; they are sheltered by small business communities and slum dwellers; most gated communities hate them, but they continue to exist,” remarked Majumdar.

They’re not just existing, says one expert, they’re thriving.

N.G. Jayasimha is the managing director of Humane Society India. He hadn’t heard of the incident in which dogs were turning blue, but he wasn’t surprised that they had been able to access polluted water.

Adding to Majumdar’s comments on the concerned community members who contacted the SPCA, Jayasimha emphasized the important relationship dogs can serve in Mumbai’s communities.

“There are street dogs which do not have personal owners or a referral household but may still be accepted by the neighborhood as belonging to the community,” said Jayasimha.

While dogs can provide an important source of companionship, they also pose a threat as a vector for rabies, often transmit from bites. (Read more about the effort to vaccinate dogs in India.)

According to Humane Society data, 60 percent of India’s dog population falls under the “community owned” status. In Mumbai, over half the city’s human residents are estimated to live on the streets or in slums, and dogs provide companionship while scavenging on trash or other human byproducts.

It’s this scavenging nature, Jayasimha said, that could have led them to rummage around the factory in the first place. A temporary gate has been reportedly installed to block off any additional dogs from entering the waste area.

Indian Independence Day: everything you need to know about Partition between India and Pakistan 70 years on

70 years ago, Partition came into effect, dividing British India into two new, independent countries: India and Pakistan.

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Indian Muslim children carry Indian flags as they celebrate on the eve of India’s Independence Day in old Delhi city area, New Delhi, 14 August 2017 CREDIT: EPA

At midnight on August 14 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India, gave a famous speech which hailed the country’s decades-long, non-violent campaign against British rule:

At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

However, it soon dawned on the leaders of both countries that the hope and optimism of that night would quickly turn to the harsh realities of how to handle one of the largest mass migrations in modern history and the ensuing communal violence.

As India and Pakistan celebrate 70 years of independence, we look back at how two nations were formed – and the years of bloodshed that followed.

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A ‘Google Doodle’ on August 15 to celebrate Indian independence

How did Indian and Pakistani independence come about?

The Indian independence movement began in 1857. The early proponents led militant uprisings against British rule, but the leaders of the Indian National Congress, which was founded in 1885, pushed for more rights for Indians in terms of the vast civil service and land ownership.

From the 1920s onwards, Mahatma Gandhi was established as the leader of the Indian independence movement. His belief in civil rights and non-violent struggle inspired a generation. Many inspirational activists came to the fore, such as B. R. Ambedkar, who championed greater rights for the lower castes, that had been treated despicably under British colonial rule.

In 1942, Congress launched the “Quit India” movement. Britain, leading the fight against Nazism in the Second World War alongside 2.5 million Indian troops, promised to grant India independence after the war. Following the Battle of Britain, Gandhi said he would not push for India’s self-rule out of the ashes of a destroyed Britain.

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Mahatma Gandhi in 1947 CREDIT: ROYSTON LEONARD / MEDIADRUMWORLD

However, by the end of the war and with its empire weakened, Britain was unable to resist the overwhelming demand for independence. Both Congress and the Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, dominated elections. Further, Clement Attlee, by now Britain’s prime minister, was a supporter of independence.

In a climate of growing communal tensions and pressure from Jinnah, who argued that Muslims should have their own state, the Mountbatten Plan was hastily conceived. It divided British India along broad religious lines. The problem being that there were millions of Muslims living in what would become Hindu-majority India and huge numbers of Hindus and Sikhs living in what would be Muslim-majority Pakistan.

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Mountbatten and Jinnah CREDIT: ROYSTON LEONARD / MEDIADRUMWORLD

Sir Cyril Radcliffe, who led the Boundary Commission, proposed the Radcliffe Line, which was a “notional division” of the vast country based on simple district majorities. He submitted his plan for both the west and east borders on August 9 1947 – just five days before it came into force.

The two countries celebrate on different days because Lord Mountbatten, the viceroy of British India, had to attend the Pakistan celebration on August 14th and then travel to Delhi for India’s first independence day on August 15.

King George VI remained the head of state of India until the enshrining of the country’s constitution in 1950. Likewise, Pakistan remained a Dominion of the Crown until 1956, when its constitution came into force.

Tim Cook commits more energy, money to grow Apple in India

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“We are investing in India-…we’ve already launched an app accelerator centre,” Cook said. 

KOLKATA: Apple CEO Tim Cook has reiterated the iPhone maker’s commitment to invest more money and energy in India, saying he is “very, very bullish and very, very optimistic” about the country. Talking to analysts during the tech giant’s third quarter earnings call on Tuesday, Cook indicated expansion of Apple’s manufacturing and distribution operations in the country.

“We are investing in India-…we’ve already launched an app accelerator centre,” Cook said. “That’s on top of working with the channel and looking at expanding our go-tomarket in general. And we began to produce the iPhone SE there during the quarter, and we’re really happy with how that’s going. And so we’re bringing all of our energies to bear there. I see a lot of similarities to where China was several years ago.”

Apple has started iPhone SE assembling operations in Bengaluru with partner Wistron, while it has plans to start full-fledged manufacturing operations in the country by bringing its key component makers under one roof, and has sought some tax exemptions and fiscal benefits from the Centre. Market trackers said much of Apple’s growth in India in the last few quarters came from wider distribution reach. “It expanded from couple of distributors to more than five now within two years,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director at Hong Kong-based market research firm Counterpoint Technology Market Research. “We believe that Apple’s direct tie-up with regional/area distributors can have a larger impact on its distribution reach,” he said.

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Pathak said that while the tier 2 and 3 cities are important for Apple when it comes to targeting first-time users in the country, the company’s proposed own retail stores in big cities will appeal to repeat buyers to upgrade by controlling end-to-end experience and generating more interest in overall Apple devices and ecosystem. In the April-June quarter, iPhone gained market share in the Indian premium smartphone market at 34 per cent, up from 30 per cent a year earlier, as per Counterpoint data. Rival Samsung led the market with 55 per cent share during the quarter with China’s OnePlus at the third spot with 9 per cent share.

World War I: Role of Indian Army in Britain’s victory over Germany

Indian Army contributed a large number of soldiers to the British and helped them win the war. British promised self-rule to India at the end of the war. They failed to keep their promise, had they kept that pledge, the sacrifices of India’s First World War soldiers might have been seen as a contribution to India’s freedom in 1919.

World War I officially began on July 28, 1914, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and lasted until 1918.

During the World War I, the Central Powers made up of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire fought against the Allied Powers which consisted of Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan and the United States.

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13 lakh sodliers from Indians Army served during World War I fighting for the British. Photo Courtesy: Newsflicks

Being a British colony, the Indian Army contributed a large number of soldiers to the European, Mediterranean and the Middle East conflicts of war in World War I.

The Indian Army fought against the German Empire in East Africa and also on the Western Front.

More than 13 lakh Indian soldiers served during World War I fighting for the Britishers.They served in places as diverse as France and Belgium, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine and Sinai.

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74,187 of the 13 lakh soldiers who fought for Britishers lost their lives. Photo Courtesy: Newsflicks

As many as 74,187 of the Indian soldiers who served British in World War I lost their lives.

Sir Claude Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army once said ” Britain couldn’t have come through the wars if they hadn’t had the Indian Army.”

They were heroes, some recognised but mostly unsung. The Indian Army played vital roles during the war.

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In 1931 British commemorated the war by constructing the arch knwon as India Gate. Photo Courtesy: Newsflicks

India Gate is a popular monument, visited by thousands daily who have no idea that it commemorates the Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for British in World War I. India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and is at New Delhi’s Raj Path.

The India Gate was originally named All-India War Memorial and it was built to pay homage to the soldiers of the Indian Army who lost their lives fighting for the British Empire in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War.