GENEVA (AP):The head of the World Health Organization’s Zika response team is predicting that Brazil will host a “fantastic Olympics”, and that the mosquito-borne virus will be “way down” by the time the Summer Games begin in Rio de Janeiro on August 5.Dr Bruce Aylward, WHO’s executive director for outbreaks and health emergencies, said yesterday at a news conference that the mosquito population is expected to drop off around when Rio hosts the games, since it will be winter in the southern hemisphere.Rio’s Olympic venues are also in a relatively confined area, he noted, making it easier for authorities to control the local mosquito population.”Brazil is going to have a fantastic Olympics and it’s going to be a successful Olympics and the world is going to go there,” Aylward said. “I just wish I was going there, but there’s not going to be a lot of problems there by then, so I’ll be somewhere else.”Aylward also pointed to the “probability” that the Zika virus will have “gone through” a large slice of the country’s population by then, so many Brazilians might have developed an immunity to the disease by the time of the August 5-21 games.Zika, however, is just the latest cloud hanging over Brazil ahead of South America’s first Olympics. The country is coping with its worst recession in 100 years, impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff and a wide-ranging corruption scandal centred on the state-controlled oil-and-gas giant Petrobras.Brazil has recorded more than one million suspected Zika infections in recent months amid strong concerns that the virus could be linked to a spike in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads microcephaly and to a rare neurological syndrome that can cause temporary paralysis in people of all ages.In Brazil yesterday, ministers, state governors, health authorities and members of the armed forces visited schools throughout the country to involve students in the nationwide campaign to eradicate the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the Zika virus.WHO has declared a global health emergency due to the virus, saying it could produce as many as 4 million cases in the next year. The mosquitoes that spread Zika which also spread dengue and yellow fever are entrenched across the region and in a wide belt around the globe, mostly in tropical areas.
Kolkata: The first trial run of the container train between India and Bangladesh was held in Kolkata on Tuesday morning.Manasi Banerjee, one of the senior-most employees of CONCOR, flagged off the train in presence of Harindra Rao, General Manager, Eastern Railway and Kalyan Rama, CMD, CONCOR (Container Corporation of India Limited). Suchitto Kumar Das, Additional General Manager, Eastern Railway and Basudev Panda, Divisional Railway Manager, Sealdah, were also present. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsSpeaking on the occasion, Rao said that the passenger and goods train services are being regularly run between the two countries. This is for the first time that a container train from India will run between India and Bangladesh. The need for container service between these two countries has been felt by the exporters, as it has certain benefits like substantial time saving, safe transit, cost effectiveness and single window solution. It will also make trade safer and significantly organised in comparison to capacity constraints of the sea and land routes. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedHe further said that this container service will have a wider impact on bilateral trade and will lead to further boost in the peace and harmony between the two neighbouring countries.The first container train to Bangladesh, consisting of 30 wagons, carries 60 containers of soyabean extract and will run via Majerhat-Naihati-Ranaghat-Gede in India and Darsana-Ishurdi-Bangabandhu West in Bangladesh. Bangabandhu West in Bangladesh is 117 km from Dhaka but much closer to industrial hubs around Dhaka.
Kolkata: In a bid to showcase and sell the wide varieties of mango and various products prepared from them, the state Food Processing & Horticulture department is organising the three-day Bengal Mango Utsav at New Town Mela Grounds from Friday to Sunday.”Bengal, which is known for its wide variety of fruits and vegetables, produces around 400 varieties of mango and is one of the leading states in the production of table variety mangoes in the country, amounting to seven lakh metric tonnes. The three-day fair will also explore the possibilities of export to Middle East, Europe and South Asian Countries,” a senior official of the state Horticulture department said. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsImporters from Middle East countries like Dubai, Kuwait and Oman are scheduled to turn up at the three-day event, examine the quality of mangoes and hold discussions about export.Apart from Himsagar, Langra and Lakshmanbhog variety of Malda, the department’s major thrust will be Amrapali, Mallika and Alphonso variety of Bankura, which has been receiving positive response from buyers and exporters alike.”We are also gearing up for the Mango Festival at Janpath in Delhi, that will be held from June 14 to 30. Mangoes from Malda and Bankura have been selected for the festival there,” the official added. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedIn the last few years, Bankura has made it to the map of producing quality and exportable variety of mangoes, alongside Malda.”We will be carrying two varieties – Mallika and Amrapali, to Delhi. 17 tonnes of mangoes from Bankura will be taken in a special trans-cooling van, provided by the state Horticulture department. The Amrapali variety is purely organic and had won the first prize in Delhi last year,” said Subhasis Batabyal, vice-chairman of West Bengal Agro Industries Corporation (WBAIC).Last year, 5 tonnes of mango was carried to the capital but later, in response to the huge demand, another 4tonnes of mango had to be dispatched.This year, under the jurisdictional area of the state, mangoes have grown on 4,000 hectares of land in Bankura, with 10 tonnes on average in each hectare.”Orders for export have already come from Middle East countries like Qatar and Dubai,” an official of WBAIC said.
Wearable activity trackers that promise to monitor physical activity, sleep and other behaviours may be good at counting steps but bad at measuring sleep, says a new study. “Wearable devices that track physical activity, sleep and other behaviours are growing significantly in popularity,” said study co-author Robert Furberg from RTI International, a nonprofit organisation based in North Carolina, US.The researchers conducted a systematic review of 22 published articles researching the ability of Fitbit and Jawbone — two popular activity trackers — to measure steps, distance, physical activity, calories and sleep. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Several studies indicated that the step counting feature was accurate both in the lab and in the field. Using several different comparison measures, other researchers found that both tracker brands underestimated calories used, and overestimated total sleep time.Overall, the new study indicated higher validity of step counting, and lower validity for calories (energy expenditure) and sleep. Enter personal details like height and weight correctly at initial set-up, and update if there is significant change in weight, the researchers said.“When researching information on the trackers, we learned several tips users may be able to implement to make their tracker more accurate,” study lead author Kelly Evenson, professor at University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health in the US, pointed out.The findings appeared in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.