World Water Day 2010 On March 22nd

22nd March is celebrated as the International World Water Day. This day marks the significance of fresh water and it also promotes the management of the fresh water sources.
The world water day spreads awareness for maintaining a healthy ecosystem by maintaining the water resources and maintaining the quality of fresh water. It also encourages all communities, government organizations, and people across the globe to take part in preventing water pollution and to clean up the water resources to maintain the quality of fresh water.
The quality of water is deteriorated day by day due to the release of chemicals from factories and also due to the increase of population and industries.
The maintenance of proper human health is widely dependent on fresh water. A single person needs about 50 litres of fresh water a day for drinking, sanitation, cooking and taking bath. Some developing countries lack proper sewage maintenance which leads to fresh drinking water contamination which spreads diseases.
As per the World Health Organization (WHO) reports, more than 4 billion people suffer from diarrhea every year along with other ailments due to contaminated water.
Fresh water resources should be protected by collective initiative by each one of us. Both public and private sectors should take necessary steps to protect the water from being contaminated. All of us should take active participation in preventing water pollution for maintaining a healthy society.

How to stay safe on Twitter

The Twitter “crimewave” reached a preliminary peak in October 2009, according to Barracuda Networks, which estimated that 12% of accounts created were eventually suspended as either malicious, suspicious or otherwise misused. In 2008, the equivalent “Twitter crime rate” averaged around 2%.

Last week, sensibly, Twitter launched a new automatic link screening service aimed at preventing phishing and other malicious attacks.

It also has advice for users on how to stay safe on Twitter:

– Use a strong password.

– Watch out for suspicious links.

– Make sure you’re at the real Twitter login page before entering data.

Twitter is also increasingly deleting misused accounts, a spokesperson of Barracuda Network says. “We fight phishing scams by detecting affected accounts and resetting passwords,” said Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter in a post. However, numerous accounts were used for malicious purposes such as poisoning trending topic threads with malicious URLs.

According to the report of Barracuda Network, Twitter experienced a number of attacks in 2009 including the following:

– January: Increase in Phishing Attacks on Twitter

– April: StalkDaily/Mikeyy worm

– June: Guy Kawasaki Account Offers Leighton Meester sex tape

– July: Koobface Increase in Twitter Activity

– July: Fake Retweets Spam

– August: Profile Image Spam

– August: Distributed Denial of Service Attacks

– September: Spam Increase including ‘Google is hiring’

– September: Direct Message Worm

– December: DNS records compromised and Web site defaced by “Iranian Cyber Army”

As reported recently, thousands of Twitter users were victims of a severe phishing attack where users found a direct message from someone they followed saying “LOL that you–“, or just “This you –” including a link to a fake Twitter login page, which URL contained already the users Twitter name.

If the user entered his or her credentials on that page, the phishers could sign in and trick more people. Twitter blogged about that phishing scam, and explained to its users how to detect and avoid an attack.

“As social networking, and specifically Twitter, becomes more ingrained in everyday business, it is crucial to understand the nature of attacks happening on these sites, as well as how users and networks can be compromised.” says Dr Paul Judge, chief research officer at Barracuda Networks.


Ways to avoid getting duped at a petrol station

 Fuel prices are getting dearer by the day but are we getting every drop of fuel paid for? Well, if the outpouring of woes online is any indicator, then no, we have a long way to go to prevent being cheated at fuel stations.

 These are some who have realized the bluff, though may not have taken the outlet to task – but there are many others who aren’t aware of such nefarious deeds. Hence the possibility of them getting duped is even more likely, and often repeatedly.

 So as customers, how can we ensure we aren’t at the receiving end of this trickery? What are the precautions that need to be taken and how do we get our grievances addressed? Here’s more-


 *Keep a keen eye on YOUR fuel pump – especially in the beginning and just before the end of the fill. Avoid all distractions – it’s indeed a blessing that cell phones aren’t allowed in fuel stations. Other distractions like your car stereo or balancing your 2-wheeher can be avoided too.

*Make sure the fuel attendant has heard the amount right. To be doubly sure, ask the attendant to repeat, just as you in restaurants, though this should be a lot easier for him.

*Pay the amount ONLY AFTER the filling is complete. In most cases, either due to our overzealousness or simply being told by the attendant, we often end-up fiddling our pockets or wallets, in the process neglecting the fill.

*Keep track of your fuel indicator during every refill, for this reading can be good source of verification. If your 2-wheeler fuel indicator takes that little longer to reflect, do wait by the side until it shows up. You really wouldn’t want to find out being duped in the middle of traffic.

*Also, it’s a misplaced notion that meters in fuel pumps are tamper-proof. While meter tampering is a grave issue, it can only be checked by specialists. However, this can be checked by informing the concerned fuel company.

In spite of these precautions, if you still get duped, it’s best to file a complaint. Take my word, the process isn’t as cumbersome as one may imagine, in fact it is a lot more effective than creating a ruckus at the petrol station.

You can share your complaint at the ‘Indian Consumer Complaints Forum’ or even better – register it directly with the respective fuel company. Their websites have contact details of various regional offices that you can directly walk-in to as well as an online complaint form and even a toll-free number.

And if you’re wondering if they do ever respond, well, in our case the field-officer from one of the regional offices promptly called to enquire, and ensured that the grievance was addressed. Nevertheless, we could have avoided all this, had we practiced what we just preached 🙂

 –Y! India News

Readers don’t want to pay for news online

Getting people to pay for news online at this point would be “like trying to force butterflies back into their cocoons,” a new consumer survey suggests.

That was one of several bleak headlines in the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s annual assessment of the state of the news industry, released on Sunday.

The project’s report contained an extensive look at habits of the estimated six in 10 Americans who say they get at least some news online during a typical day. On average, each person spends three minutes and four seconds per visit to a news site.

About 35 percent of online news consumers said they have a favorite site that they check each day. The others are essentially free agents, the project said. Even among those who have their favorites, only 19 percent said they would be willing to pay for news online — including those who already do.

There’s little brand loyalty: 82 percent of people with preferred news sites said they’d look elsewhere if their favorites start demanding payment.

“If we move to some pay system, that shift is going to have to surmount significant consumer resistance,” said Tom Rosenstiel, director of the project, part of the Pew Research Center.

Last year, online advertising saw its first decline since 2002, according to the research firm eMarketer. Four of five Americans surveyed told the project that they never or hardly ever click on ads.

Despite a lot of choices, traffic on news sites tends to be concentrated on the biggest — Yahoo, MSNBC, CNN, AOL and The New York Times.

“There was this view that we’re retreating into our own world of niche sites and that’s not true,” Rosenstiel said.

That offers a glimmer of hope for establishing a pay system if operators of the biggest sites could somehow agree on how to do it, he said. The survey found that if forced to make a choice, consumers prefer some kind of subscription service to a pay-as-you-go plan.

The Wall Street Journal requires readers to pay for content and The New York Times recently announced plans to charge for full access to its Web site. Starting next year under a metered system, Times readers will be allowed to click on a certain number of stories for free each month, with fees kicking in for readers who exceed that level.

In addition to attempts to reach back and charge readers for content they have become accustomed to getting for free, news executives hope that advances in technology and changes in consumer habits will provide future revenue opportunities.

The Associated Press last month announced a new business unit, AP Gateway, designed to develop and promote products that will help the cooperative, newspapers and broadcasters create revenue-producing products. The AP, for instance, will charge for an application it is developing for use on the iPad, Apple’s tablet computer.

While consumers may seem reluctant to pay for news, they’re more likely to pay for the functionality of news products on various devices, including smart phones, said Jane Seagrave, senior vice president and chief revenue officer at The Associated Press.

“I’m more hopeful now than I ever have been,” Seagrave said. “There seems to be a broad understanding that there is a value to professional journalism that is at risk right now.”

Pew’s survey also noted how news habits are changing rapidly. Blogging is declining in frequency, one quarter of Americans now say they get some news on their mobile phones and people are looking for news more frequently on social Web sites, the survey found.

For the online survey, the project interviewed 2,259 people from Dec. 28, 2009, to Jan. 19, 2010. The margin of error is plus or minus five percentage points.

Beyond the online activity, the study found that cable news, led by Fox News Channel, seemed to be the only sector of the news industry thriving.

Newspaper advertising revenue fell 26 percent in 2009 compared to the year before, the study said. Local TV and radio ad revenue were both off 22 percent. Network television ad revenue was down 8 percent.

Network news division resources are down more than half since the late 1980s, and that doesn’t count ABC News’ recent announcement that it could lose as much as a quarter of its staff due to cutbacks.

Newspaper spending on reporting and editing has fallen roughly 30 percent over the past decade, probably more at many big-city dailies, Rosenstiel said.

Costly gifts could put doctors out of practice for up to a year

In an attempt to tackle the problem of doctors accepting expensive gifts from the pharmaceutical and health care industry, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has decided to propose that doctors found accepting costly gifts not be allowed to practise for a year and more. The proposal will be sent to the Union Health Ministry for approval this week.

Having decided that a blanket ban on gifts, as proposed earlier, would not work, it is proposed that changes be made in the professional conduct, etiquette and ethics regulation. So doctors accepting gifts would be struck off the Indian medical register for periods ranging from three months to more than one year or as decided by the state medical council if they are found to be indulging in any wrongdoing.

While those accepting gifts worth more than Rs 1,000, till up to Rs 5,000, will be given a warning, those found to have taken gifts for more than Rs 5,000, till up to Rs 10,000, will have their names removed from the MCI register for three months. A gift worth between Rs 10,000 and Rs 50,000 can lead to removal from MCI register/state medical register for six months, and one above Rs 1 lakh would invite a penalty of more than a year.

‘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.

Cyber attacks worry firms more than terrorism

When it comes to threats, natural or man-made, Indian companies have rated cyber security as a major concern. In the light of increased cyber attacks, over 42 per cent of enterprises perceive cyber crime as a bigger threat than terrorism, crime and natural disasters.

This was one of the findings of ‘2010 State of Enterprise Security Study,’ a global study carried out by Symantec Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd., where Indian companies from sectors such as telecom, hospitality, manufacturing, retail and technology participated.

“Indian enterprises are experiencing frequent cyber attacks and the losses incurred due to them are escalating. In the past 12 months, 66 per cent of the companies experienced cyber intrusions and 51 per cent of them reported repeated attacks, while 34 per cent have experienced high number of malicious hits. On the other hand, 31 per cent said there were internal attacks as well,” said Vishal Dhupar, managing director, Symantec Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd., at a press conference here on Tuesday.

Also, each cyber attack had a financial impact, as organisations reported loss of revenue. “Apart from financial loss, companies will have to put up with damaged brand reputation, loss of customer trust. The average revenue lost by companies due to the virtual attacks was recorded at Rs. 58.59 lakh in 2009.” Interestingly, with IT security becoming a daunting issue for enterprises, the study pointed out that implementation of enterprise security is turning into a difficult task.

“Enterprise security is understaffed and the most affected areas in organisations are network security, web security and data-loss prevention. To tackle the issue, companies need to secure their messaging and web environments and defending critical internal servers. They should also have the ability to back up and recover data and respond to threats rapidly.”

To overcome such threats, companies should develop and enforce IT policies to secure data breach in anyway possible. “By prioritising risks and defining policies, companies will not only be able to identify threats but also come up with remedies. Also, they should know the location of sensitive information and how it’s coming or leaving the organisation. Companies should be able to monitor and report their systems status and be ready for any kind of threat.”