Facebook introduces new Notifications tab for iOS, Android

Facebook introduces new Notifications tab for iOS, Android
Image: Reuters
Facebook, making a bigger push to deliver personalized information to its members, said Monday it was expanding its mobile alerts to include sports scores, weather updates and local news updates.

Until now, the huge social network’s alerts to smartphone users had been focused around postings by friends, birthdays and upcoming events.

Facebook’s expanded alerts will now also include community news and events, storm warnings and other weather information, and suggestions for television programs or nearby movies.

“We’ve heard feedback that people wanted to add important information that they can easily see, all in one place,” said Facebook product manager Keith Peiris.

Members will be able to personalize these messages for “things happening around your community, like local events and news that is popular in the city you live in,” Peiris added.

Facebook said the change will be rolling out gradually to users of Android and iOS devices but that the notifications will be opt-in.

“Your current notification settings will not change, and you can adjust those any time in your settings,” through “cards” on the social network, Peiris said.

“We’ll continue to listen to feedback about the information people find most useful and may periodically add more cards to choose from.”

280 dead as powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake rocks Afghanistan, Pakistan and India

Kabul/Islamabad: A massive earthquake struck remote and impoverished regions of northern Afghanistan and Pakistan on Monday, killing at least 280 people as it shook buildings across South Asia and knocked out power and communications to already-isolated areas.

AfghanQuakeThe 7.5-magnitude quake was centered deep beneath the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan’s sparsely populated Badakhshan province, which borders Pakistan, Tajikistan and China, the US Geological Survey said.
In the Afghan capital of Kabul, buildings shook for up to 45 seconds, walls cracked and cars rolled in the streets as electricity went out. Frightened workers who had just returned from lunch also rushed from swaying buildings in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad and to the south in the Indian capital of New Delhi.

“I was praying when the massive earthquake rattled my home. I came out in a panic,” said Munir Anwar of Liaquat Pur in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province.
At least 228 people were killed in Pakistan, with more than 1,000 injured, while Afghan officials reported 33 dead and more than 200 injured, and authorities in the Indian-controlled Kashmir region reported two deaths. Officials expected the casualty toll to rise as they reached the remote areas.
Authorities struggled to reach the hardest-hit areas in Afghanistan near the epicenter, located 73 kilometers (45 miles) south of Fayzabad, the capital of Badakhshan province.

Abdul Humayoon Dehqan, the head of the National Disaster Management Authority’s provincial office, said he knew of only 12 dead and 20 injured in the province, mostly in collapsed buildings, and that his teams would not reach affected areas until Tuesday morning to get a better count.

Despite vast mineral deposits, Badakhshan is one of Afghanistan’s poorest provinces. It is often hit by earthquakes, but casualty figures are usually low because it is so sparsely populated, with fewer than 1 million people spread across its vast mountains and valleys. It also suffers from floods, snowstorms and mudslides.

Taliban-led insurgents have used its remote valleys as cover recently to seize districts as they spread their footprint across the country. Dehqan said some districts remain under Taliban control “and we don’t know how we will be able to help people in those areas.”

In Takhar province, west of Badakhshan, 12 students at a girls’ school were killed in a stampede as they fled shaking buildings, said Sonatullah Taimor, the spokesman for the provincial governor. Another 42 girls were taken to a hospital in the provincial capital of Taluqan.

Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah convened an emergency meeting of disaster officials and urged them to ensure that people were prepared for aftershocks. That could mean many hundreds would be forced to sleep outdoors in nighttime temperatures dropping below freezing. He instructed doctors and hospitals to be prepared to receive casualties.

President Ashraf Ghani sent condolences to those who lost relatives and property and appointed an “assessment committee” to ensure emergency relief reached the needy as soon as possible, his office said.

The US said it has emergency shelters and relief supply kits stored in warehouses throughout Afghanistan that could be used.

White House spokesman Josh earnest says the U.S. government has been in touch with officials in Afghanistan and Pakistan and is ready to provide any additional support.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was completing a trip to the U.S., said in a televised comment from London that he planned to fly to the quake-affected region Tuesday. He called the quake a “tragedy,” saying most of the casualties and damage were reported in remote areas in the country’s northwest.

Pakistan’s army chief, Gen Raheel Sharif, ordered troops to the areas, the military said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had contacted Sharif to offer help, Pakistani state-run media said. Pakistani TV said Sharif thanked Modi for the offer but provided no further details.

All set for AP capital Amaravati’s ground breaking

Vijayawada: The stage is set for the for the foundation stone laying ceremony of new Andhra Pradesh capital Amaravati on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone at at Uddandarayunipalem village in Guntur district on the occasion of Dussehra.

PM Modi to lay foundation stone of Amaravati tomorrow

Elaborate arrangements have been made for the gala event, which will be attended by ministers from Singapore and Japan, ambassadors from various countries, several central ministers, chief ministers and governors of various states, top politicians and business leaders.
AP capital Amaravati
Police have taken control of the venue, where more than two lakh people from different parts of the state are expected to gather. The prime minister along with other dignitaries will perform rituals at 12.35 p.m. to formally lay the foundation stone.
Soil and water brought from all 16,000 villages of Andhra Pradesh will be sprinkled all over Amaravati from helicopters. Water brought from holy places of all the religions will also be used for the foundation stone. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao will be attending the ceremony. This will be his first visit to Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation of the state last year.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu personally met Rao in Hyderabad on Sunday and invited him for the ceremony. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Tamil Nadu Governor Rosaiah, Assam and Nagaland Governor Padmanabha Acharya will attend the event.
YSR Congress party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who is the leader of opposition in Andhra Pradesh, has decided to boycott the ceremony. He wrote an open letter to Naidu, asking him not to invite him. Jagan alleged that fertile lands were forcibly taken from farmers for the capital.
The government, however, claimed that farmers had voluntarily donated over 30,000 acres of land for the building the capital. Some of the farmers will be felicitated at the foundation stone laying ceremony. Naidu has promised that it will be a world-class and ‘people’s capital’. He had invited prime ministers of Singapore and Japan for the event but the ministers from the two countries are expected to attend.
While the government of Singapore has prepared masterplan for the capital, Naidu is seeking partnership of Japan in building the city. Naidu is also hoping that Narendra Modi will use the occasion to announce special status and a package for the state. He has been pressing for special category status to undone the ‘injustice’ done to the state with the bifurcation.
Naidu, whose Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is a partner in BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, is under fire from the opposition for failing to get the special status despite the promise made by Modi during poll campaign. The chief minister also wants the Centre to extend help in building the capital. “We need the handholding by the Centre till the state develops on par with other neighbouring states,” said Naidu ahead of Modi’s first visit to the state after bifurcation.

Missile Complex in Hyderabad named after Abdul Kalam

India’s prestigious Missile Complex here has been renamed as Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Missile Complex as a tribute to the late former president.
The Missile Complex comprises Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI).

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday attended a renaming ceremony at RCI to mark the 84th birth anniversary of Kalam, the father of India’s missile programme.

Kalam had joined Missile Complex, DRDO in 1982 and was part of it for nearly two decades. ASI is considered is his brain child and as its founder director, he conceived and steered RCI as a generator of critical missile technologies.

Parrikar also inaugurated two advanced R&D facilities of RCI – Outdoor RCS Test Facility ‘ORANGE’, at Dundigal and Kautilya Advanced Research Centre at RCI.

Speaking on the occasion, he said renaming the institutions alone will not help but they should deliver to accomplish the vision of Kalam.

The defence minister said it was because of Kalam’s vision and the encouragement he gave to the students that many youngsters were taking up defence as a career.

Asserting that India should become 100 percent self reliant in missile technology, he called for filling the gaps in achieving the goal.

G. Satheesh Reddy, scientific advisor to the defence minister and director, RCI along with other scientists, lab directors, project directors and senior officials of Defence Research and Development Ogranisation (DRDO) attended the event.


For first time, Pakistan admits its mini-nukes only to deter conventional Indian attack

‘Pakistan has built low-yield nuclear weapons to counter Indian aggression’


WASHINGTON: Pakistan has made low-yield nuclear weapons in response to India’s actions under its cold-start doctrine, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhary told a news briefing here on Tuesday.

This is the first concrete explanation from a senior Pakistani official on how Islamabad plans to deal with India’s so called cold-start doctrine, now re-named the pro-active strategy.

It is also a rare explanation of Pakistan’s decision to make tactical nuclear weapons to deal with the possible threat of Indian aggression.

Briefing the Pakistani media on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington, Chaudhary also said that Pakistan would not sign any nuclear deal with the United States during the visit.

National interest a priority: PM
Earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday reaffirmed that Pakistan’s national interests will be prioritised during his upcoming visit to the United States (US).

The premier was speaking to media personnel in London, en route the US.

“We will protect the national interests of Pakistan during my meetings with US leadership,” said the prime minister.

While responding to a question on recent reports in US media regarding Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, and plans to limit it, the premier said: “We should not forget who the prime minister was in 1999 when we became a nuclear power.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also stated that concrete evidence regarding India’s sponsoring of terrorism has been forwarded to relevant people and organisations, and expressed hope that Pakistan’s concerns would be addressed.

The premier added that the incumbent government would end the power crisis facing the country before the next general elections.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also expressed his disappointment at the attitude shown by the opposing Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and their repeated claims of rigging following the by-elections recently held in Punjab.

Yesterday, the Foreign Office had clarified that no “deal” is being discussed between Pakistan and the United States.

According to earlier media reports, US has been weighing options to sign a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan.

A report in The Washington Post had claimed that the US is exploring an option that could pave the way for a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan like the one concluded with India in 2005.

Change of number plates from AP to Telangana clashes with GO making security plates must

All the vehicles in Telangana which were registered with ‘AP code’ in Undivided AP, will now have to register afresh with ‘TS code’.


The Telangana government on Thursday issued a notification for reassignment of registration numbers of vehicles from AP to TS.

Only the State code from AP to TS and the district code (2-digit number) will change. After district code, the second series of two alphabets and the last set of four numerical will continue to remain the same. Four months time has been given for vehicle owners to make these changes.

Transport Department will soon come up with a online facility in which it will  host the old number and the new number on its website ‘www.telangana.transport.gov.in’. The number will have a new State code of TS and the district code which will be in numerals.

The vehicle owner can access the facility using the engine/chassis number as the password and take a printout, which will then be the proof of the changed number and get the new number plate.

However, if the owner wants to get a new smart registration  card, he would have to pay a nominal price. The transport department will soon issue guidelines on all these issues to give clarity for vehicle owners seeking registration change.

There are an estimated 82 lakh vehicle owners  in Telangana, including 16 lakh in Hyderabad, who have to change the registration plates from AP to TS.

Workplace stress can kill you, here’s how


Stressed at work? A new research has suggested that it can increase your risk of having a stroke Having a lot of job stress has been linked to heart disease, but studies on job stress and stroke have shown inconsistent results, said Dingli Xu from Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, adding that it’s possible that high stress jobs lead to more unhealthy behaviors, such as poor eating habits, smoking and a lack of exercise.

The analysis looked at all of the available research on job strain and stroke risk. The six studies analyzed involved a total of 138,782 participants who were followed for three to 17 years.

The analysis found that people with high stress jobs had a 22 percent higher risk of stroke than those with low stress jobs. Women with high stress jobs had a 33 percent higher risk of stroke than women with low stress jobs.

People with high stress jobs were 58 percent more likely to have an ischemic stroke than those with low stress jobs. Ischemic stroke, which is the most common type of stroke, is caused by blockage of blood flow. People in passive and active jobs did not have any increased risk of stroke.

The researchers calculated that 4.4 percent of the stroke risk was due to the high stress jobs. For women, that number increased to 6.5 percent.

Based on this study, it is reasonable to consider testing interventions aimed at increasing job control, such as decentralization of decision-making and flexibility in job structure, such as telecommuting.

If effective, such workplace changes could have a major public health impact, said researcher Jennifer J. Majersik.

Xu said limitations of the research were that job stress was measured at only one point in time and that other factors, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, were not adequately adjusted for in the original studies.

The study is published in Neurology.