Securing your netbook from theft

Netbooks are terrific for computing on the go. Yet their very compactness makes them easy to lose or to forget — not to mention being a target for thieves.

The material loss is bad enough — the threat of someone getting access to your data can be catastrophic. The two obvious countermeasures include a mechanical lock or one of the various electronic solutions on the market.

There are three primary methods to protect the data on a netbook in the event of theft: encryption, BIOS and Windows passwords, or special anti-theft software.

Passwords alone aren’t necessarily secure, explains Christian Woelbert from German computer magazine c’t: “Thieves can circumvent Windows passwords by reinstalling the operating system, for example, or using a live CD.” BIOS passwords are also relatively easy to reset. If the thief removes the hard drive from the unit, it’s also possible to access the data.

Anti-theft software is also only a limited solution, Woelbert says. It works only if the thief goes online with the device. Then the rightful owner has the chance to lock or delete the hard drive remotely. If the thief avoids the web with the device altogether, then there’s nothing the owner can do.

“Encryption is the only true waterproof method,” Woelbert says.

Encryption doesn’t have to be an expensive option, either, he notes.

One major player in this area, TrueCrypt, is free.

For private users there is an entire series of encryption solutions, says Sascha Pfeiffer from the IT and data security company Sophos. The palette ranges from file packers with simple password protection for individual files or directories to commercial encryption products and on to free open source solutions.

“While the latter do offer reliable protection, they are primarily suited for technically savvy users,” Woelbert says.

In principle the entire hard drive should always be encrypted, not just individual folders or files, Woelbert adds. Otherwise thieves might be able to find copies of key files in unexpected locations, such as the temporary files folder. Another key factor is the password. The security is only as good as the password protecting it.

It should be as long and complicated as possible.

Mechanical locks are a good way to prevent amateur thieves from preying on a netbook. One best selling model is the Kensington Lock from Kensington Technology, for example.

The security mechanism features two components: the security slot located on almost all netbooks and notebooks and the cable/lock combination, explains Stephen Hoare from Kensington. The device is only secured once the owner stretches the cable around a fixed object, inserts the piece into the slot and turns the key.

“The casing on the netbooks should also be reinforced with a metal insert on the inside of the wall,” Hoare recommends. Otherwise the cable can be ripped out relatively easily. For this reason mechanical protections can only serve as an initial protection against theft.

Ultimately the safest method is to encrypt the entire hard drive of the netbook and secure it with a sufficiently complicated and long password.

Stay fit, not thin…

Fitness and nutrition expert Rujuta Diwekar talks about her weight loss methods, her bestselling book and, of course, Kareena Kapoor and size zero. An exclusive interview.

She is the brain and inspiration behind Kareena Kapoor’s size-zero figure, the svelte frames of Preity Zinta and Konkona Sen-Sharma and the fit physiques of actor Saif Ali Khan and corporate honcho Anil Ambani. Not just that, sports science and nutrition expert Rujuta Diwekar is also credited for magically transforming hundreds of others’ lives by teaching them how to lose weight without losing their minds! In an exclusive chat, Rujuta opens up about her magic mantras of eating, “not less but right”, even as she talks about her bestselling book Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight completing a very successful one year.

To begin with, tell us about your journey before you came into the limelight as the person behind Kareena’s enviable frame.

After my post-graduation in Sports Science and Nutrition from SNDT College, Mumbai, I started counselling people about nutrition and lifestyle. This was in 1999 when celebs were the only ones aware of the benefits of eating right. I began with actor Farah and director David Dhawan’s wife Laali. After that, there was no looking back. Today, I have hundreds of clients ranging from teenagers to senior citizens, and celebrities like Anil Ambani, Saif Ali Khan, Konkona Sen-Sharma, Preity Zinta and, of course, Kareena Kapoor (Bebo).

You are among the pioneers of advocating eating all you want and yet staying fit! Doesn’t this seem contradictory?

I advocate a common-sense approach to eating. First, never forget that our bodies need all nutrients; be it vitamins, protein, minerals and, yes, carbohydrates and fats! Depriving the body of any of these will create major physiological imbalances. On the flip side, stuffing yourself with any kind of food will also lead to imbalances: drastic increase in weight, increase in cholesterol levels, sugar levels, indigestion… The secret lies in eating not less, not more, but just right! So I say you can stay fit, despite having samosas and gulab jamuns; as long as you have them in moderation and at correct times. I advocate staying fit, not thin.

What is your take on diets and people resorting to extreme dieting?

A diet is a lifelong commitment to maintaining balanced eating habits. What we see are abused versions of the word, which obviously lead to disastrous results! I always maintain that choosing a diet is like choosing one’s life-partner! What works for you may not work for me! By opting for fads like liquid diet, low carb diet and others, you harm the body by depriving it of essential nutrients. You may lose weight, but at what cost? An ideal diet is one that is tailor-made for you. If you follow such a diet plan with commitment and without succumbing to contradictory fads, nothing can stop you from staying your fittest best always!

Tell us a bit about your Mitahar nutrition plan.

My Mitahar nutrition plan essentially advocates ‘eating food that makes you feel sweet (mita+ aahar) i.e. good about oneself’. The concept behind this is to evolve an eating pattern that fits into your work schedule and lifestyle so that there is no question of going “on” or “off” the diet.

Does one need to supplement a correct diet with correct exercise to gain optimum results?

Definitely! Both go hand in hand. Again, there is no ‘perfect’ exercise for everybody at large. Opt for whatever works best for you; be it cardio, yoga, kickboxing or Pilates. As long as your body is happy with what you’re doing to it and not rebelling. At our URJA gym, which works on the concept of ‘Use It or Lose It’, we focus on imparting the right training to each individual by offering tailor-made fitness advice and plans depending on a person’s current fitness levels, body composition, specific conditions and fitness goals.

You also provide Marathon training sessions. Now, that’s a novel concept…

The idea generated after I trained Anil Ambani for the 2005 Mumbai marathon. I realised that there are many enthusiastic marathon-aspirants who could do with professional training to build up fitness levels. My sports science background and a training stint in New York enabled me draw up a technically superior running programme, which is run in two stages: a year-long programme and the 14-week training programme just before the Marathon. It includes easy runs, long runs, breathing and relaxation techniques, suryanamaskars and so on.

I also believe that fitness can and should be practised beyond the four walls of a gymnasium. Trekking in the Himalayas has been an integral part of my life from childhood. I’m also actively involved with Gaurav Punj’s venture, “Connect with Himalaya”, which takes out interesting treks to these mountains.

Your book, Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, has had a superb innings since its release last year.

I’m thrilled about Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight becoming the national No.1 bestseller and selling over 1,00,000 copies! The translated Marathi version too has been doing well. To put in a nutshell, the book is about what ‘ diet’ is and should be all about, the four principles of eating right, a relearn and rethink about eating, inculcating awareness and fundamental steps to adopting a healthy lifestyle.

No conversation with you can be complete without asking about Kareena’s transformation.

Bebo came to me in 2007 after she was dubbed ‘overweight’ in the Yeh Mera Dil number from “Don”. The first thing she told me was, “Rujuta, I’m a hardcore Kapoor who loves to eat! Don’t expect me to give up my pizzas and pastas! Tell me if you can help me on that condition!” Much to her relief, I told her she would not be put on ‘a lettuce a day’ sort of diet. She is a very dedicated person. Even in the most gruelling schedules, she takes a quick break every two hours to chomp on some peanuts. While travelling, she religiously follows the food-chart I give her that allows her to sample all the local cuisine while retaining her fitness. A lot of noise was made about her ‘size zero’ figure; but she was not toothpick thin and unhealthy or weak! That enviable figure is a combination of a correct diet of home-made food, no pre-cooked foods, fresh local cuisine (when shooting outdoors) and doing 100 suryanamaskars daily! Behind Kareena’s transformation lies discipline, dedication and a completely holistic diet plan.

Lastly, tell us about your future plan.

For starters, I’ve just launched the ‘Fettle Club’, an initiative to keep my clients focussed and informed about their food, lifestyle and fitness. I’m also working on a new book for women and the diet they should follow in the various stages of their life; teenage, pregnancy, motherhood, hormonal upheavals, a busy lifestyle…

Rujuta’s mantras

Start your day by eating and not by drinking tea/ coffee. Fruits, nuts, milk or hot homemade breakfasts are great options.

Never leave home without carrying at least one dabba of a nutritious meal.

Grabbing lunch is an offence. Eat at leisure; it keeps you smart at work.

Exercise is something that you owe your body. Cull out time to work out at least three hours a week.

Restful sleep is non-negotiable and an integral part of staying fit.

Take a break from work, home and your “responsibilities”. Go trekking in the Himalayas. Check out my trips on http://www.connectwithhimalaya.com

Remember to eat when you are busy; it’s the smartest thing you could ever do.

Throw off those weighing scales; focus on feeling and looking better, not on losing kilos.

To know more visit, http://www.rujutadiwekar.com

Kareena Kapoor

“I met Rujuta Diwekar in 2007 when my friend Shaira introduced me to her. The first thing I told her was that I would NOT give up my pizzas, pastas and Christmas puddings for anything; glossies who termed me overweight, be damned! To my utter relief, she said I could have all that and still become healthily lean. I learnt some very imperative things about healthy eating from Rujuta: Eat something every two hours; or eat fresh food as far as possible. She made me chuck out all my pre-processed soups, soy chaklis, nachni crackers the first time she came home! They were my survival mechanisms but she made me see the logic behind eating freshly cooked food as opposed to the pre-packaged one. Rujuta has not just changed my physique; but has also changed my mind and soul. She is the best thing to have happened to me!”

Four basic principles

Never wake up to tea or coffee. First eat something that’ll help increase blood sugar levels that are always low in the morning, and then have your cuppa.

Eat every two hours; it actually creates a conducive environment in the body to burn fat!

Eat more when you’re active (working, travelling) and less when you’re inactive.

Try to wind up your last meal at least two hours before bedtime so that the body gets ample time to repair wear and tear and rejuvenate while you sleep.

Worst Actor Award for Harman

Harman Baweja was named worst actor for his performance in the dud What’s Your Raashee? and Kareena Kapoor got the worst actress title for her role in Kambakkht Ishq at the second annual Golden Kela awards, a spin-off on Hollywood’s Razzies in Delhi.

Funnyman Cyrus Broacha was the chief guest and he was awarded the Cyrus Broacha Memorial Award. “It’s great. I’m thrilled. I hope to win this award every year,” Cyrus said cheekily.

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar won the ‘Bas Kijiye Bahut Ho Gaya’ (Please stop its enough) award, asking him to stop making films. Hollywood stars Sylvester Stallone and Denise Richards won the ‘Baawra Ho Gaya Hai Ke’ (Have you gone nuts?) award for participating in the expensive flop Kambakkht Ishq. The worst supporting actor (male and female) went to Ranvir Shorey and Deepika Padukone, respectively for their roles in Chandni Chowk To China. While the worst film went to Kambakkht Ishq, Ashutosh Gowariker was declared the worst director for What’s Your Raashee?.

Rahul Ram, the vocalist of the band Indian Ocean, performed a humourous take on the songs Nani Teri Morni and Raat Ke Musafir. Jackky Bhagnani and Shruti Haasan were declared worst newcomer actors for their roles in Kal Kissne Dekha and Luck, respectively. Rani Mukerji-starrer Dil Bole Hadippa! was given the Most Original Story award for being copied from Hollywood’s She’s The Man, while her pairing with Shahid Kapoor in the same was named the Worst Pair.

IPL cricket: Why is Sachin Tendulkar so harshly judged as captain of Mumbai Indians?

The most revered cricketer in the world is Sachin Tendulkar and if anybody tells you differently, he (or she) should be lowered head first from the top of the Eiffel Tower, have his (or her) ears tweaked, nose tickled with a feather and  knuckles rapped with a sledgehammer.

Usually, there is more tortuous punishment for heresy, but since India was born out of non-violence (never mind Harbhajan Singh planting his palm smack on Sreesanth’s chubby cheek in the first edition of the IPL), the offender could be let off after that and fed a purgative to cleanse his system of such outrageous thoughts.

In India, of course, Tendulkar is not only revered but deified. He is master, lord, master-blaster, god, little master… you can choose the most euphemistic description without fear of reproach or dissent. Everything fits right. Yet, there remains one area where his stupendous record falls short: when it comes to captaincy, god becomes all too mortal and questions are occasionally asked, even if in furtive tones.

It is borne out by Wisden, and from anecdotes real and apocryphal, about how some of the game’s greatest players were somehow never brilliant captains. Hammond, Sobers, Richards, Lara, Botham are a few names that come readily to mind: their captaincy record pales in comparison to their other feats. Is it because they expect every player to perform to the same high degree that comes so easily to them, and are therefore impatient of lesser mortals?

But while I agree that Tendulkar’s record as Test captain falls short of the extraordinary standards he has set otherwise, I think this assessment is also a tad unfair because he is also judged by a different yardstick from other players. For instance, in Saturday’s match between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals, Shane Warne, considered the Wizard of Oz in matters of tactics and man-management, conceded 212 runs to Mumbai and even lost the match, but came out unscathed as captain; Tendulkar, having won the game, however narrowly, had darts of doubt thrown at him.

Life’s not fair, even for the world’s best, best-known, most loved, richest cricketer. I doubt any captain on Saturday could have done much to thwart Yusuf Pathan’s onslaught at the magnificent Cricket Club of India. When a batsman scores 100 runs off just 37 deliveries, a captain can at best wring his hands in despair and pray.  Tendulkar did more: he ran to his bowlers to guide them, cajoled his fielders to put in more effort — did so much work in fact that he ended up being fined for slowing down the over-rate.

None of this could faze Pathan however. With four wickets down for very little, and chasing a daunting 213, Rajasthan looked down for the count till the tall and strong Pathan opened his powerful, imposing shoulders and started hitting the ball with such frequency and such long distances that it seemed the parameters of a cricket field needed serious and rapid revision.

In the end, Mumbai won by a whisker, a mere four runs, but Pathan it was who won the awe and admiration of everybody, including the mighty Tendulkar. He has come nowhere near a Test match and last year lost his place in the one-day side. His batsmanship still appears one-dimensional. Make that two: slam-bang. But in the Twenty20 firmament, Pathan is the game’s fastest rising superstar.

In 2008, when the IPL began, he came cheap; at a little more than $100,000. Come next year, when all players will be up for sale again, the buzz already is that he will be a Multi-Million Dollar Baby. Want to know more why the IPL holds so much fascination for almost every cricketer in the world?

Aircel Peek – A device to read your emails

With the evolution of technology, gadgets too gradually undergo a change. The development continues till the time a gadget stabilizes and proves its utility. In a huge gamble Aircel has launched a new device, Peek, that can only read emails. There is no precedence of this kind of a device thus far.

The Peek targets the segment of people who need to keep in touch with their emails constantly while on the move. It is similar to Blackberry devices and has a QWERTY key board. Aircel has claimed that it is the thinnest device ever created. The device is priced at Rs 2,999. The charges are Rs 300 per month for checking your email. The device is available in two colors, black and red. You can configure three email accounts on the device.

However the biggest question is will such a device be a hit with the users. The only thing that it can be used is emails. When compared to this smartphones have more than a dozen additional functions. Even operating cost wise smartphones may prove better since the cost of GPRS access itself is Rs 300 per month or lesser. So it is very much possible that this device does not take of at all.

Aircel may have taken a big gamble by launching the Aircel Peek.

SRK: I think Aamir & I are friends

Shah Rukh Khan’s performance in My Name Is Khan has brought him to a new level of self-realisation as an actor. Speaking candidly on the year-long sabbatical in 2006, Shah Rukh says he has been able to sharpen his skills as an actor while recovering from his back and shoulder injury and surgery.

He says, “On February 16, it was a full year since my back surgery. It has been a year of torture, because my movement was confined and I hate to be restricted. But, I got to spend a lot of time with my children. I also read several books on acting. I connected to emotions within myself. It’s been 18-20 years that I’ve been acting and am starting to discover aspects of myself as an actor, that I didn’t know existed.”

In spite of the obvious preparedness, Shah Rukh has no intention of directing a film. “Not for a long, long time. I think it would be a while before the actor in me is satiated. People say I’m in character in MNIK, and that earlier I was only doing fluff. Being the court jester or the clown isn’t easy. It’s not easy making people smile.”

Shah Rukh sees his stardom as a monkey on his (injured) shoulder. “The luxury of failure is denied to you when people expect you to be successful constantly. When I hear someone like Mr Rakesh Roshan, whom I respect, tell me that people are applauding at the end of MNIK, I feel good. Somewhere, the film has connected emotionally with people.”

The star says he isn’t bothered with box-office figures and finds the comparisons of MNIK with Raj Kumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots, or any other film, absurd. “In our country, we always belittle what we have by saying something else is better. Better is the undoing of good. Have they ever compared Latabai (Mangeshkar) with Mohd Rafi saab or Kishore Kumar saab? Have you heard American critics comparing Brad Pitt to Tom Cruise?”

Comparison brings us to Aamir Khan constantly taking potshots at him. Says Shah Rukh, “We’re friends. At least, I’d like to think we are. We both have a sense of humour. At least, I do. I’d like to think all our exchanges are in good humour. Quite honestly, I’ve no desire to look at what he or anyone else is doing. I never look at my own box-office figures. Why would I look at others’ collections?”

The shoulder injury got aggravated while he was doing the guest appearance in Dulha Mil Gaya. Shah Rukh has decided to do no more guest appearances. “I don’t regret doing this one for producer Vivek Vaswani. I can’t forget his generosity when I came to Mumbai.”

However, Shah Rukh, who has done guest appearances, cameos and voiceovers in innumerable films, says he is done with guest appearances. “I’d do these things for any friend. ”

Ra.1, he says, is for his children. “And for children everywhere. I want to play superhero, yaar. I want my kids to be proud of me.”

So, is he looking at a whole shelf of awards for MNIK next year? “Why clear a shelf in my house? I’ll buy a new house for the awards to come,” he retorts. At the moment, he has just begun to enjoy all the praise for MNIK. “After the film’s release, when I was in Dubai performing on stage, I could feel the vibes from the audience were warmer than usual. It was meant to be for an hour, but I remained on stage double that time.”

Youtube can get you arrested

Lima (IANS/EFE) A Peruvian police officer who posted a video on YouTube to complain about corruption and irregularities on the force has been arrested, a media report said.

Sgt. Rogelio Escalante, 49, was charged with conspiracy and insubordination, El Comercio newspaper said Wednesday.

The video, which was posted on the Internet last month, shows Escalante in uniform demanding a pay raise for police and denouncing the ‘gag rule’ imposed on the force by former Interior Minister Mercedes Cabanillas, an influential figure in Peru’s ruling APRA party.

Escalante also urged fellow officers to join in a strike announced for April 5.

He voluntarily gave a statement to the police Inspector General Office after posting the video, but a judge subsequently ordered Escalante’s arrest.

Escalante is being held in a lockup at the police academy in Lima, along with Sgt. Edward Casas, who was detained last month for advocating a strike.

Following the two officers’s protests, President Alan Garcia’s government decided to pay a one-time bonus of 1,000 soles ($300) to members of the Peruvian police and armed forces.

Congress ratified the payments after a long, heated debate

Device to treat mentally challenged developed

The Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research has developed the country’s “first” Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) that can help treat mentally challenged people and heart ailments, a IGCAR top official said on Sunday.

SQUID’s sensitivity is so high that it is possible to detect even the tiny magnetic field associated with physiological activities of the human heart and brain, said IGCAR Director Baldev Raj.

“This device, which was indigenously made couple of days back at our unit, would be useful to cure mentally challenged people,” he said.

The device would help identify defective nerves and also help treat heart ailments. SQUID-based measurement of bio-magnetic fields is expected to complement conventional diagnostic tools like ECG (to probe human heart) and EEG (electroencephalography- to probe human brain) which measure the electric potential on skin surface, Raj said.

The SQUID-based measurements – magnetocardiography-MCG and magnetoencephalography-MEG – offer a number of advantages such as magnetic measurement techniques which are non-contact, much less sensitive to the conductivity variation of intervening tissues and offer superior source localisation accuracies, he said.

Tendulkar, Gambhir fined $20,000

Mumbai Indians captain Sachin Tendulkar, his Delhi Daredevils counterpart Gautam Gambhir and Kings XI Punjab skipper Kumar Sangakkara have been fined $20,000 each for their teams’ slow overrate in the Indian Premier League matches played on Saturday.

An IPL release said Tendulkar was fined after the Mumbai Indians “were assessed to be two overs behind their required rate” during their four-run win against Rajasthan Royals at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium.

“Under the IPL’s Code of Conduct relating to minimum over rate offences, Tendulkar was fined $20,000 by match referee Andy Pycroft,” the statement said.

In the game at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium at Mohali, both the Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils were each assessed to be one over behind the required rate.

Fines were slapped on both the captains by match referee Srinivas Venkataraghavan.

With Gambhir leading from the front with a knock of 72, Delhi Daredevils beat Kings XI by five wickets.

Earlier, Kolkata Knight Riders captain Sourav Ganguly was fined an identical amount for his side’s slow over rate during the tournament opener against defending champions Deccan Chargers at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai Friday.

28mn manufacturing jobs by 2015

With industrial output picking up, the manufacturing sector will be a major contributor to new employment and is likely to generate 27.95 million jobs by 2015, but the share of agriculture is expected to decline, according to a study.

In its study ‘Emerging Future Jobs’, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has projected 87.37 million new jobs by 2015, with 32 percent share held by the manufacturing sector, followed by trade and construction.

And within manufacturing, textiles, food and beverages, transport equipment, metals, leather and machinery are expected to contribute the most to employment generation, it says.

“The next most important source of new employment is expected to be trade with 24.24 million new jobs, followed by construction with a figure of 15.13 million,” the chamber said.

But agriculture, which accounts for a major share in total employment, is now likely to be minor contributor to new employment.

“Manufacturing will have the highest employment potential because after agriculture it accounts for the largest share of jobs at 12.5 percent among different divisions of economic activity. A faster growth of employment in it, therefore, would mean addition of a large number of jobs.”

The chamber said a one percent growth in employment in the manufacturing sector would mean over 6.25 lakh (625,000) new jobs and suggested that if manufacturing was made to grow at 10 percent per annum, its employment potential will grow at over five percent.

“This would mean an addition of over three million new jobs every year.”

The study also projected that though financial services has a small share of 3.4 percent in total employment at present, its contribution will almost double. New jobs will also accrue fast in IT and related sectors, growing to 3.28 million by 2015 from 1.62 million.

7-magnitude quake strikes Indonesia

An earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale struck the eastern Indonesian islands on Sunday morning in North Maluku province, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, meteorologists said.

The quake took place at a depth of 56 km, 2,430 km north-east of Jakarta. It occurred at 7:57 a.m. Jakarta time (0627 IST), the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said.

The BMG said the quake did not trigger a tsunami.

It was the latest in a series of earthquakes to jolt Indonesia in recent weeks. On Saturday, a moderate 6-magnitude quake jolted Manokwari in West Papua province, though it caused no casualties or damage.

A 7.6-magnitude quake struck in late September off the western coast of Sumatra, killing thousands and leaving hundreds injured.

A massive 9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck five years ago, leaving more than 170,000 people dead or missing in Indonesia’s Aceh province on the northern end of Sumatra and 500,000 people homeless.

‘Air India at disadvantage against private airlines’

Air India is facing a disadvantage as profitable routes in both domestic and international sectors were being allocated to private carriers

 Noting that Air India was reportedly at a disadvantage vis-a-vis the private players, a Parliamentary Committee has asked the government to make rules to penalise those airlines which were not operating 10 per cent of their capacity to socially important but commercially unviable routes like the Northeast.

The recommendation of the Committee on Public Undertakings (COPU) came in the wake of reports that the State-run Air India was facing a disadvantage as profitable routes in both domestic and international sectors were being allocated to private carriers.

Noting that these reports cannot be ignored, the COPU sought amendments to the Route Dispersal Guidelines to ensure “strict compliance” by all scheduled airlines to mandatorily operate 10 per cent of their flights to such sectors, called Category-II, II-A or III routes.

It suggested that airlines be compensated for operating flights in these far-flung regions in excess of this mandatory requirement.

The COPU report, tabled in Parliament on Friday, also sought creation of a mechanism to make these guidelines “mandatory for all private airlines and for punitive action against the violators.”

It listed out over 80 international and domestic routes from where Air India withdrew flights since 2002-03.

In the process of finalising its report, the COPU raised a large number of questions on the issue of route allocations, including about complaints that “remunerative routes are being surrendered” by the national carrier to private airlines.

It also wanted to know who decided the routes to be operated by the airline — the Ministry or the airline — and the considerations on which the decision to surrender a route was based. To this, Air India replied that it decided the routes it would operate on its own.

The airline officials, while deposing before the COPU, said several loss-making routes were taken off its network, while flights from some more were withdrawn due to shortage of aircraft.

The Committee asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to conduct a “transparent review” of the entire route and slot allocations in domestic and international sectors.

After the review, the Ministry should “effect necessary changes” to ensure that Air India was “neither put to any disadvantage nor appear to be placed in any disadvantageous position”, the COPU said.

Now, a device that can stop you grinding your teeth

Are you among those who grind their teeth at night? Don’t worry, scientists have now devised a novel way to treat the condition – bruxism – using an iPod-sized device that delivers an electric shock to the temples.

Clinical studies have also shown that the device, developed by Danish scientists, reduces teeth-grinding by more than 50 per cent within just three weeks and 80 per cent after six to eight weeks.

The new therapy called ‘Grindcare’ consists of a small electrode that is attached to the skin of the temple with sticky gel pads. The other end of the electrode is connected to a matchbox-sized unit on a bedside table.

While on sleep, the device monitors the movement of facial muscles, reading the electrical signals that cause the muscles to contract.

When it detects this is about to happen, it delivers a small electrical impulse to relax the muscle instead, in turn relaxing the jaw muscles. This impulse is not usually felt by the wearer.

The device also records how many times this occurs in a night, the Daily Mail reported.

“Grindcare works by retraining the muscles to relax. In effect, it teaches someone to stop grinding their teeth, so it can reduce or even cure the problem,” says Dr Oulton, one of the first dentists in Britain to use the device.

According to scientists, bruxism is a common problem and affects one in four adults. It’s the most frequent sleep disorder after insomnia and snoring.

Bruxism often occurs as a result of changes in the normal structure of the mouth such as missing teeth, a new filling or an abnormal bite known as malocclusion (where the upper and lower teeth do not sit together properly).

But more commonly, it is related to anxiety and smokers are five times more likely to have episodes of bruxism. The disorder is also associated with pregnancy and menopause.

Whether the cause is physiological or psychological, the effect is the same: tension in the temple muscles, leading to teeth grinding and clenching.

“It’s vastly stress related,” says Dr. Barry Oulton, of Haslemere Dental Centre in Surrey.

“If someone comes to me about teeth grinding, the first thing I do is check around their temples for the temporalis muscles to assess their tension levels.”

Traditional treatments for bruxism include sedatives, hypnosis, herbal remedies and, more recently, Botox; these all aim to relax the jaw by releasing tension.

Another option is to wear a mouth guard to act as a buffer between the teeth.

New Emigration Law to be introduced

Seeking to prevent exploitation of Indian workers abroad, the government is planning to make it mandatory for foreign employers from certain countries to register in India under a new Emigration Law.

The Emigration Bill that will replace the legislation of 1983 is expected to be introduced in Parliament during the ongoing Budget session.

The draft Bill has been sent to various ministries including Law Ministry and Home Ministry for their comments and once the process is completed, it will be taken up by the Cabinet for consideration.

Under the new law, an Immigration Authority would be set up to oversee all the aspects related to movement of workers, mainly to Gulf countries and Malaysia.

“Foreign employers from notified countries will have to register with the authority,” Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told PTI in an interview.

The notified countries are 18 countries of Gulf and Malaysia.

The proposal for mandatory registration has been mooted as workers wanting to go abroad for greener pastures are often duped by the recruitment agents and touts.

There have been umpteen cases where passports of the workers are confiscated by foreign employers or touts soon after arrival to their destinations abroad. The workers are then exploited and not paid the wages as promised.

“The current Emigration Act was framed 26 years back. We have drafted the new bill considering today’s requirement,” the Overseas Affairs Minister said.

“The salient feature of the new Bill is to create an immigration authority. They will have the complete control over the immigration process,” Mr. Ravi added.

Once the authority is set up, government would disband the office of the Protector of Emigrants (POE), which has often been accused of being involved in corrupt practices and harassment.

“The proposed authority will have complete control over all the matters related to migration,” Mr. Ravi said.

Highlighting other key features of the proposed law, Mr. Ravi said the bill also proposes measures to have control over recruitment agents and check human trafficking.

“We want to make every recruitment agent accountable. We want to ensure effective control over agents,” he said.

Mr. Ravi said his ministry also seeks to make registration compulsory for the students wanting to go abroad for studies.

The draft bill also provides for more power to the state police to deal with unscrupulous recruiting agents who duped those wanting to migrate to other countries.

Mr. Ravi said in view of the complaints about harassment received from workers, the Overseas Affairs Ministry has undertaken a massive audio visual campaign to educate prospective workers going abroad and warning them about the risks of dealing through unauthorised agents.

‘Job market good for pharmacy students’

 


Scientific support needed for traditional medicinal systems: expert

Shortage of taxonomists a setback, he says


VIZIANAGARAM: Job opportunities for pharmacy students are aplenty if only they honed skills in addition to acquiring quality education, speakers at a national seminar on Pharmakshetra-10, organised by Maharajah’s College of Pharmacy here on Saturday, felt.

Participating as chief guest, Sanjit Singh Lamba, president and CEO of EISAI, Visakhapatnam, who formally inaugurated the seminar by lighting a lamp and releasing a souvenir brought out to suite the occasion, said what was being taught in colleges was only primary and hence students must sharpen skills for placements in areas like quality control, clinical management, etc in pharmaceutical sector.

He said that India would scale up the ladder in pharmaceutical industry from the present 14th position among countries to 10th position by 2015. S. Ganapati, senior faculty in A.U. College of Pharmacy, said the outbreak of variety of diseases during the last three years like swine flu, dengue etc were due to wayward life style and deviation from nature. As diseases and drugs go together there was no dearth of opportunities for the right people. Scientific support for traditional medicinal system (Ayurveda and homoeopathy) was necessary.

However, shortage of taxonomists for identifying medicinal plants those are abundantly available in India was a setback. K. Hanumantha Rao, Director of M.R. Post-graduate College asked participants from various colleges to grasp the changes taking place in pharmaceutical industry. He said that M. Pharmacy would be introduced in the college from next year. A. Raghava Rao, correspondent of MANSAS educational institutions, who presided, regretted that not even 20 per cent of students of technical courses were getting employment mainly due to lack of standards.

As pharmaceutical industry was closely related to mankind a lot of quality input was required. P. Udaya Shankar, Principal of M.R. College of Pharmacy projected performance of the college. Prof. K.V. Ramana Murty from AU, Dr. Ram Rajendra Kapratwar, director, Dr. Reddy’s Lab and Dr. P. Ramesh, Pfizer, Mumbai, spoke.

Flood victims live in shadow of fear

Reconstruction work in Kurnool and Mahabubnagar districts yet to get a foothold

 

No relief:A woman cradles her child, born near the Sunkesula Dam near Kurnool during the floods in October last year, on Saturday.

SUNKESULA (KURNOOL DISTRICT): The worst may be over for the people of villages along Tungabhadra river in Kurnool and Mahabubnagar districts, but the scars left on their lives by the devastating floods of October 2009 are yet to be healed.

The rehabilitation and reconstruction work in these villages is yet to get a foothold, irrespective of tall claims of the government. The stench left behind by the unprecedented flood is yet to evaporate and the lives remain shattered, though the people could overcome the mental agony, even five months after.

The fear looming large in the minds of affected people, particularly those rendered homeless and are forced to live in makeshift huts, is the forthcoming wind season to be followed by rainy season. The temporary shelters are not in a position to withstand the heavy winds that blow in the area during the ‘gali kalam’ (wind season) commencing from April and in no way they can protect the dwellers from rains. “Our home was washed away and sand silt has left our six-acre land uncultivable. Even the pipeline laid with a cost of Rs. 1.3 lakh, months before the flood, was washed away robbing our livelihood”, explained G. Padma of Sunkesula. Except Rs. 8,000 cash assistance and 20 kg rice twice and sugar, redgram, kerosene and edible oil once nothing has come their way so far. Laxmidevi, a farm worker of the village says the cash assistance was not important for them but their worry is how they would stay in makeshift tents that cannot endure heavy wind and in the rainy season. “We are living just with the hope in the almighty”, says Suvartha, who delivered a baby days before the floods and was carried to safety during the floods.

The woes of thousands of other families affected by floods are no differentNot many elected representatives, particularly of the ruling party, have taken pains to infuse confidence among the displaced people by visiting the villages.

Naidu’s visit

Kurnool Special Correspondent adds: TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu accused the assailed the Congress government accusing it of miserable failure in providing timely succour to the flood victims in Kurnool and Mahabubnagar districts.

Mr Naidu, accompanied by the leaders of CPI, CPI (M) and TDP, undertook an extensive tour of flood affected areas in both districts on Friday and Saturday. He said there was no end to the woes of flood affected people, with the government failing to provide house sites, houses, compensation for crop loss of crops, lands and cattle. Except the initial Rs. 8,000 cash component and Rs. 3,000 assistance under the NREGS, nothing was given to the victims.