Day: February 23, 2021

Augmented reality art: Where your home becomes the gallery



How virtual artworks allow you to see anything from the sun to a giant spider in your own home.



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Disha Ravi sent to police custody for 24 hours more | India News

NEW DELHI: Activist Disha Ravi was on Monday sent to one-day police custody by a Delhi court after the police sought her custody for five days to confront her with coaccused in the toolkit case, report Aamir Khanand Sakshi Chand.
Chief metropolitan magistrate Pankaj Sharma observed, “Through collective confrontation, the role played by each of them in deletion of the original toolkit document would come to light, which is very necessary for fair investigation.”
The court said the case involved allegations of a “vituperous campaign” to spread hatred and disaffection to disrupt peace and tranquillity to undermine India’s sovereignty, integrity and security, the probing authority must be provided fair time and chance within the ambit of law to reach out to truth through custodial interrogation and confrontation.
“At the same time, a balance has to be struck with the individual’s right and considering the same, police custody remand of the accused is deemed necessary for a shorter period than required by police as only confrontation of accused with other co-accused is sought and accordingly, accused is remanded to one-day police custody,” it said. Appearing for Disha Ravi, whose bail order is set to be pronounced on Tuesday, advocate Sidhart Aggarwal said the only question was if the investigation’s needs be met without putting her in police custody.
“They have the right to interrogate, confront. They will come on their time and go back on their time. Why should I be in police custody on the same questions. The demand of remand for five days is made to overreach the court deciding Ravi’s bail on Tuesday,” he argued. When the prosecutor objected to Aggarwal’s submission, he said, “There’s a possibility that I may be wrong. The fact that there’s a bail order for Tuesday should’ve been informed to court.”
Police sought Ravi’s custody on the ground that she had confronted co-accused Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk, who had been granted transit bail. They said the three accused have colluded with each other in creating the toolkit and its various tools. It also submitted that Disha Ravi had blamed others and the police had to ascertain each one of their roles.
“Further identification of other co-accused persons/conspirators and recovery of additional devices is to be made which is very likely and also to establish their links with proKhalistani group Poetic Justice Foundation,” the court noted. Nikita and Shantanu reached the cyber cell office in Dwarka to join the probe on Monday. They were also confronted with Disha.

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Mumbai: Cops network across stations to trace gold left in auto in 2 hours | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: When a 25-year-old homemaker accidentally left behind her bag of gold jewellery in an auto on Western Express Highway (WEH), personnel from three police stations got together to retrieve it within two hours.
Malad resident Sandhya Kale and her brother, Sagar Didore, wanted to travel to their hometown at Aurangabad recently. Kale was carrying 13 tolas of gold jewellery, her clothes and some cash in a bag. The brother and sister boarded an auto at Malwani and got off at Malad (E) on WEH. They were to board a bus for Aurangabad on WEH and in their hurry to catch it Kale forgot her bag in the auto. The auto had left by the time she realised her folly.
“Kale and her brother ran helter-skelter to look for the auto. Traffic constable Pradeep More, on duty on WEH, spotted them and wondered what was wrong. Kale’s brother told More about the bag they had accidentally left behind, but they did not have the vehicle’s registration number,” said senior inspector Mukund Yadav, Dindoshi traffic division.
More took the duo to Kurar police station, where officers checked CCTV footage of the stretch. Fortunately, the auto had been captured on camera clearly. More entered the vehicle’s registration number into a handheld device issued by traffic department to staff for checking the status challans and got the vehicle owner’s contact details.
When More called up the vehicle owner, he learnt that the auto was rented out and the driver had reached Chembur. “More called up his brother, also a policeman based out of Chembur. He told his brother to take the auto and Kale’s bag to RCF police station in Chembur,” said Yadav. Kale and the police went down to RCF police station, where the bag was opened and all valuables were found intact.
“Kale thanked the police personnel for their prompt help,” said Kurar police senior inspector Prakash Bele.

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Mumbai zoo welcomes 11,000 visitors over weekend | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: On the first weekend after it reopened to the public, 11,000 visitors thronged to the city zoo. The total revenue collected was Rs. 5.74 lakh.
However, the number was lesser as compared to pre-Covid times when the zoo saw up to 15,000 visitors.
Dr. Sanjay Tripathi, director of the zoo, said that on Saturday they received 4,600 visitors. However, at no point of time did the authorities need to shut the gates due to over crowding. “We were expecting a comparatively larger crowd on the weekend. So, adequate guards were stationed,” he said.

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Italian ambassador to DR Congo killed in UN convoy attack



Luca Attanasio and two other people die after his UN convoy is attacked near Goma.



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Maharashtra: Lockdown is not necessary, say experts | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: While the first lockdown introduced in March 2020 helped check the spread of Covid-19 across the country, experts believe such a stringent measure would not be necessary now even though SARS-CoV-2 cases are on the rise at the moment.

On Sunday, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray warned of a second complete lockdown if people failed to adhere to Covid-appropriate behaviour, but experts said “micro-containment” that has already started in the state’s new hotspots would be a better option.
Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of the state’s Covid task force, said people have shown “utter disrespect” for Covid norms, resulting in a rise in cases. “At the moment, the state is using a micro-containment policy, but if people continue to disregard basic Covid norms, the administration may have no choice but to impose a lockdown,” he said.
In Maharashtra, daily cases rose to over 6,000 after a month of being under 3,000. Cases have risen severalfold in the districts of Akola, Amravati and Yavatmal. In Mumbai, too, cases rose from 300-odd until the first week of February to 761 on Monday.
Genomic sequencing of random positive cases is underway to check for mutations and variants that may be responsible for the rise, and state officials said the results should be available later this week.
On Monday, state Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) head Dr T P Lahane said a total lockdown was not an option any longer. “The strategy this time will be micro-containment, containment of bigger areas or local lockdowns,” he told TOI.
Lockdowns, said scientists, is a public health tool used in pandemics when the health system isn’t ready for the critical cases and mortality. “Lockdown was necessary in March 2020 as the health system had to be upgraded to ensure adequate oxygen supplies, medicines as well as human resources,” said Dr Giridhara Babu, an epidemiologist with the Public Health Foundation of India. India had a massive shortage of ventilators in January 2020, and the lockdown slowed down the progress of Covid-19, allowing authorities to acquire medical equipment and resources.
“Lockdown is needed only if the system is unable to handle hospitalisation of severe cases or prevent deaths,” he said. The need of the hour is containment policies to ensure early diagnosis and isolation of cases in hotspots. “Areas need to be categorized as high-risk, moderate and low-risk zones. The administration will have to use different strategies for areas that are high-risk, including vaccinating the vulnerable (elderly and those with comorbidities) ahead of the rest of the places,” Dr Babu said.

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Experts want walk-in jab, not app, for 50-plus | Pune News – Times of India

PUNE: Members of the central Covid-19 task force and public health experts have called for walk-in registrations instead of pre-registration on the CoWIN app when vaccine drives open next month for people over 50 years of age.

The experts said their suggestion comes in the wake of reports of CoWIN glitches from many states. Currently, health and frontline workers have to pre-register on the CoWIN app before they can get their shots.
“People over 50 should be able to walk to the vaccination sites and register themselves after submitting their Aadhaar or voter IDs. This will make the entire process much more simpler,” said task force member Dr Giridhara Rao.
He added that it’s time the government considered “out-of-the-box solutions”. “We need walk-in vaccinations. That means, you walk in with your Aadhaar, authenticate age in a minute, get vaccinated, wait 30 minutes and get home,” Rao said.
The government had earlier announced that people over 50 will be able to self-register on the CoWIN app, but experts said the process needs to be simplified further if pace of vaccination has to pick up.
They said the private sector too has to play a key role in the plan that hopes to cover 7-10 million people per day. They suggested that private hospitals, corporates and NGOs need to be roped in to boost the drive.
“Health workers, who were already under pressure while caring for patients, were then burdened with a system that needed pre-registration, which was of not much use,” said a health official.
Rao said, “CoWIN is not the problem, but the over-reliance on it is. The real strength of India is health workers and the micro-planning they use to carry out several immunisation campaigns. We need to use these micro-plans, permit walk-ins and rope in private hospitals.”
Epidemiologist Dr Lalit Kant said while CoWIN ensures monitoring of distribution and dosage, it should be improved for faster vaccination in the above-50 group. He added that three quarters or more of all deaths in the country due to Covid-19 have been among people in this category. “Vaccination of this group is key to reducing hospital admissions and deaths. The process has to be made much more simpler,” he said.
He also added that the shots have been found to be effective against new variants. “These variants may have put a dent on how well the vaccines work, but have not made them ineffective. The vaccines reduce the number of severe cases even among the elderly,” he said.

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CBI questions Abhishek’s sis-in-law in 'coal scam'

A CBI team, comprising eight officers, questioned Mamata Benerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s sister-in-law, Menka Gambhir, at her residence for over three hours on Monday in connection with its probe into the alleged coal-mining scam.

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Mumbai’s biggest cycle track project goes off track | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: Environment and tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray son Sunday announced that major arterial roads would be made pedestrian-friendly and cycling tracks provided wherever feasible, but the city’s biggest cycle track project, in terms of length and cost, along the Tansa pipeline has hit a bump. With just three months to go, the project will miss the deadline for the first two routes.

The Rs331-crore project was launched with much fanfare in 2018 after the BMC cleared encroachments from Tansa pipeline following a Bombay HC order. The civic body hoped the 39-km cycling track would prevent encroachers from returning. According to officials, two routes were supposed to be ready by May 2021, while the third was to be ready by November. However, on all three routes, less than 40% of the work is complete.

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The state government’s move to provide cycling tracks on major arterial roads wherever feasible is welcome since it will go along way in decongesting roads and reducing pollution. However, a feasibility study of such projects must be carried out, else public money could end up getting wasted. Mumbai’s biggest cycle track project on the Tansa pipeline is a case in point. The BMC must review this project and ensure it is completed.

Though the BMC had sanctioned more than Rs 488 crore in its previous budget, work has been moving at snail’s pace. In Bhandup-Mulund areas, where the BMC claims to be making progress, the condition of the tracks that have been laid so far has already worsened.
The opposition said the cycling track along the Tansa pipeline has become a pipe dream. “It is a criminal waste of public money. There is not even a 5-km stretch for cycling. The pavements and track constructed have already broken and encroachments are coming up on the patch once again. Instead of announcing new cycle tracks, the BMC must first complete this project,” said Mihir Kotecha, BJP MLA from Mulund, one of the starting points for the cycling track. “It is now clear this project is not feasible at all. The BMC must complete the missing links and scrap the remaining part of the project. Before making such announcements, project feasibility must be checked,” Samajwadi Party corporator and MLA Rais Shaikh said.
“We have reviewed the project and are initiating some changes,” additional municipal commissioner (projects) P Velrasu said.

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Amravati, Yavatmal daily positivity rate as high as September peak | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: The daily positivity rates of Yavatmal, Akola, Amravati and Wardha districts from Vidarbha region are higher or almost as bad as the September peak. State experts believe that if Pune and Mumbai were driving the September peak, Vidarbha is the epicentre for the February surge.
Data accessed by TOI showed that Yavatmal’s daily positivity on Sunday was a whopping 41.4%, double that of September 15, when it recorded 21.7%. Amravati’s daily positivity was 38%, higher than its September rate of 32.5%. Significantly, Wardha’s daily positivity of 24% is almost three-fold higher than September’s 8.5%. Even Akola’s positivity of 29% is marginally higher than September, although it carried out more than double tests now.
Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra peaked between September 10-30. A state official said they picked up one of the worst days (September 15) to make the comparison with ongoing positivity rate and stumbled upon the alarming rise. Six of 11 districts in Vidarbha have a high positivity rate, almost three- to four-fold of the state’s present average. In fact, state’s daily positivity rate touched 11% on Sunday, after dipping to almost half in January.
Dr T P Lahane, head, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), said hospitalisation in these districts has seen a 20-30% jump over the past two weeks.
Last week, genomic sequencing of four patients from Amravati had shown mutation (E484Q) and four samples from Yavatmal found the N440K mutation. Lahane said over 300 samples from the region are being studied to understand if mutations have a correlation with the surge.
At GMC, Yavatmal, dean Milind Kamble said the only thing that separated the current incidence with the September peak is the infection of entire families. “We have six families whose all members are affected and currently hospitalised,” he said.

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