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Your Table Salt May Contain Poison, Claims Activist June 26, 2019 05:22

Citing a lab report by the United States, an activist on Tuesday said that premium brands of processed iodized salt sold in India allegedly contain alarming levels of poisonous and carcinogenic components like potassium ferrocyanide. According to Shiv Shankar Gupta, Chairman of Godhum Grains & Farms Products, the test by the American West Analytical Laboratories has revealed that potassium ferrocyanide levels are an alarmingly high in Sambhar Refined Salt at 4.71 mg/kg, at 1.90 mg/kg in Tata Salt Lite, and 1.85 mg/kg in Tata Salt. In spite of frequent attempts and emails, neither the Tata Group nor their official media teams responded on the matter. Gupta, who has set up a mission “to rid salt of harmful substances, expose corrupt practices by the salt industry and help provide healthy and safe natural variants of salt to the masses”, said that no where in the world is the poisonous potassium ferrocyanide permitted for use in the edible salt industry or for that matter, in any other food item. “Leading companies in the edible salt manufacturing industry simply repackage industrial waste laden with hazardous chemicals like iodine and cyanide and market it as packaged edible salt, making people vulnerable to diseases like cancer, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, impotence, obesity, kidney failures, etc,” he told media. He accused the companies of adapting “dangerous and undisclosed processes such as bleaching, adding a plethora of dangerous chemicals like iodine and cyanide to ‘refine’ the salt”. Gupta alleged that the toxicant cyanide compounds are without constraint used by leading salt manufacturers in India, whereas iodine, which is already present in natural salt, is artificially added, virtually rendering the salt a poison. He said that the country’s natural salt industry, which is spread across Gujarat’s Kutch, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, has been systematically destroyed by successive governments which hailed “iodized salt” as a healthy alternative. “Declaring salt from these salt pans, which is naturally suited for human consumption, as inedible is one of the biggest scams in post-Independent India. This is one of the worst cases of corporate greed and corruption with the livelihood of workers in the indigenous salt industry at stake,” Gupta claimed. Alleging a strong connection between the industrial lobbies and government to swindle workers of the indigenous salt industry while selling it at excessively high prices, leaving the consumers with no alternative but to buy cheaper, chemical-laced variants, he accused the government departments assigned with the task of ensuring quality standards in production of branded salt of being “inert”. “RTI applications show that none of the big salt manufacturers have applied for testing or licensing with the FSSAI, which on its part has been unambiguous on how refined salt is produced. Moreover, food testing labs in the country are not equipped to measure the quantity of cyanide in salt,” he claimed. -Sangam Sowmya    

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Nirmala Sitharaman Named as Most Influential Woman in UK-India Relations June 26, 2019 05:18

Finance Minister of India and the Minister of Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman has been named in the list of 100 most influential women driving the United Kingdom-India relationship forward alongside one of Britain’s senior-most Cabinet ministers Penny Mordaunt. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid released the ‘100 Most Influential in UK-India Relations: Celebrating Women’ list on Monday to mark India Day in the Houses of Parliament in London on Monday. It credited Sitharaman as one of India's most "powerful women" who plays a "pivotal" role in the bilateral relationship as India's current finance minister and former defense minister. "Having studied at the London School of Economics (LSE) and worked in the UK in her previous career, Nirmala is familiar with the UK more so than probably all her other colleagues," notes the power list, released by UK-based media house India Inc. Britain’s Secretary of State for Defence Penny Mordaunt is another senior politician in the list who is credited as the first woman to be assigned the role in the UK Cabinet. "With India emerging as the world's largest importer of defense products, and a significant strategic partner for the UK, Penny plays a crucial role in the UK-India relationship," her citation notes. The Indian High Commissioner to the UK Ruchi Ghanashyam, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, who is herself honored in the list, welcomed the compilation as a recognition of the "front and center role" played by women in the bilateral relationship. "This list highlights the huge potential for the future of the UK and India as they continue to forge on together as two great countries. From business to politics, and art and literacy, women are continuing to pave the way in bringing together this bold partnership through collaboration and relationships," she said. The women in the list, released for a third consecutive year, hold positions of influence in the UK and India across 11 broad sectors including technology, politics, and sustainability. The list also includes some of the other eminent names like Indian origin parliament members in the UK like Baroness Sandy Verma and Priti Patel, filmmaker Gurinder Chadha, Indian law firm chiefs Pallavi S Shroff and Zia Mody, NASSCOM President Debjani Ghosh, and Apollo Hospitals' managing director Suneeta Reddy. "The women highlighted in this list hold positions of tremendous influence and therefore their inclusion here is as much about the promise they bring, as the success they may have already achieved," said Manoj Ladwa, Founder of India Inc. The release of the list likewise marked the start of UK-India Week in Britain, which will comprise a series of sessions on investment and trade and closer cooperation between the India and UK through the course of the week. -Sangam Sowmya  

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After Expending Rs 200 Cr for Wedding in Uttarakhand, NRI Gupta Family Will Pay Rs 54k for Clearing Dump June 25, 2019 12:51

South Africa-based controversial Indian Gupta family has deposited Rs 54,000 with the Municipal Corporation in Uttarakhand in India and also agreed to pay the entire cost of cleaning up after their mega Rs 200 crore wedding functions left the town of Auli with major waste management problems. The Municipality has deployed 20 workers to clear the waste lying around in the area. The High Court has likewise directed the Pollution Control Board and District Administration to submit a report by July 7 on the harm caused to the environment due to the waste material. The next hearing in the matter is scheduled for July 8. "The Gupta family had deposited Rs 54,000 as of user charge. Over 150 quintal waste has been cleaned up till now. After the cleaning work is complete the total bill of all the expenses, including manual labour and vehicles, will be sent to them. The family has agreed to pay the entire bill and also provide a vehicle to the Municipality," said Shailendra Panwar, Municipality President.  (Image Source: The Economic Times) The wedding ceremony of Suryakanth, son of Ajay Gupta took place in Auli in Uttarakhand from June 18 to 20, while the wedding ceremony of Atul Gupta's son Shashank was held from June 20 to 22. (Image Source: The Economic Times) Earlier, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed stating the extensive wedding preparations were damaging the environment. Many celebrities, including chief ministers, B-Town stars like Katrina Kaif, yoga guru Baba Ramdev had attended the wedding. A two-hour yoga session was also conducted by yoga guru at the wedding. Choppers were hired to ferry the guests. Almost all the resorts and hotels were booked and flowers were imported from Switzerland for the two high-profile marriages. By Sowmya Sangam

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Chili Peppers Help Burn Away the Fat June 25, 2019 12:10

Red chilies or green chilies that are meant to spice up our food benefits us in a lot more ways though it may seem strange. Many people refrain from chilies but little they know that it can also aid in weight loss. Chilies, including red chili, green chili, cayenne pepper, and jalapenos, contain special ingredients that increase the metabolism of the body. A substance present in chili known as Capsaicin is believed to fight weight gain and obesity. According to the National Health and Safety, chili contains capsaicin, the effect of which not only make chili hot and spicy, but also reduce the craving of sweet, salty and fatty foods.   A study carried out by researchers from Purdue University showed a positive result for chili being effective in curbing hunger. A study conducted on 25 participants showed 1 gm of chili pepper consumed by 13 of them reduced craving when compared to other 12 who did not eat it. Capsaicin present in chili also has the ability to convert white fat into brown fat. The most commonly found fat in the body, which gets stored in a body is white fat, which is also used as a source of energy. On the contrary, the role of brown fat is to burn calories to generate heat for the body, therefore it burns calories instead of storing them. How to Use Chili for Weight Loss?    One can use chili in any form and add it to roast veggies, stir-fries, curries, salads and all manner of savory dishes. Chilies can also be used in dressings, sauces, and marinades and even as a dessert option, like dark chili chocolate or mousse. Chilies make you warmer, the more the body get warm, the lesser the appetite will be. Chili aids in weight loss, however, it should not be consumed in excess. People who are having a high-blood pressure problem or have scheduled surgery should avoid eating chilies. Apart from this, one should follow a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a proper diet for overall weight loss. By Sowmya Sangam

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6 Easy Tips to Teach Your Kids Indian Culture and Traditions June 25, 2019 11:45

Parenting has become arduous in this day and age especially when you are staying abroad and has to enlighten your kids about Indian culture and traditions. Though Indian parents put down roots in a foreign land, they hanker to make their kids realize about Indian values and efforts they put in the process is mighty. India is the sole country in the world that has diverse religions, beliefs, languages, and foods. The country’s culture holds a unique identity. Why Is It Important to Teach Your Kids About Indian Culture?   Even though you wish to lay the groundwork to your kid to adapt them to western culture, making you kid acquire knowledge of Indian culture at least a bit of is no harm. With perseverance and patience, you should explain the rich legacy of our country that we have inherited from our ancestors. Kids should also be competent to conceive the actual Indian culture which is much above the style of dressing or eating and have genuine respect for it. This awareness will enable kids to understand the global changes and imbibe the modified and modern version of the culture. Tips to Make Your Children Aware of Indian Culture and Traditions:    1.  Let your child celebrate Indian festivals in the true spirit by following the customs, traditions, and rituals. This will give them a true glimpse of Indian culture. If children grow up seeing it as part of their upbringing, it will seep into their routine and remain everlasting. Tell them the stories too behind a particular festival.   (Image Source: Liebherr) 2. Teach them about Indian culture with examples. Giving examples of your roots will have a better and deeper impact on children. When they see the positive aspect of their own unique culture, they will be able to create a lifelong bond with it. 3. Make them attend Indian culture programs. If there is any special opportunity, children should be taken to see cultural functions. If children attend cultural programs, like folk dances or songs, they will catch a glimpse of the undiluted and purest form of Indian art. (Image Source: LPU) 4. Expose your children to the diversity of Indian culture. They should get an opportunity to see the customs and traditions followed across different states of India to understand the essence of ‘unity in diversity. They might forget what they read, but the imprints of whatever they see will remain in their minds forever. Therefore, take your kids to different states of India. Let them hear different languages, try traditional foods of a state, and see how people dress. The more the kids explore the more curious they will be to learn. (Image Source: Flyopedia.com)   5.  Narrate stories of the past highlighting Indian values and culture to your kids. If they understand the morals of the stories and different characters, they will be able to relate with them. Our country has a rich and vivid history, so you will have many stories to help them understand more about India. (Image Source: Thegreatcoursesplus.com)   6.  Encourage traditional food and clothing. Children should develop a sense of respect for ethnic clothing right from their childhood. A get together can be planned during weekends and you can eat traditional foods and wear ethnic outfits to promote Indian tradition. (Image Source: BabyCouture) By Sowmya Sangam

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Undercover Research Shows How Easily Teens Can Buy Tobacco Products in U.S. Shops June 25, 2019 10:16

Even underage smokers in the United States can effortlessly buy a tobacco product especially from small stores as they are usually not asked for identification, says a study. The researchers aged between 20 and 21 visited a variety of stores selling cigarettes in the United States and found that more than 60 percent of cashiers did not ask them for identification. Published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, the study found that young adult tobacco users slipped by without an age check most oftentimes when they visited small stores, tobacco shops, and shops plastered with tobacco advertisements. "Our findings suggest that certain types of stores - tobacco shops, convenience stores and those with a lot of tobacco advertising - are more likely to sell tobacco to a young person without checking his or her ID," said Megan Roberts, Assistant Professor at Ohio State University. "One implication of this finding is that enforcement may benefit from targeted outreach and monitoring at these locations," she added. The study involved visits to a randomly sampled 103 tobacco sellers in 2017. More than 64 percent of grocery stores checked identity documents, compared with about 34 percent of tobacco shops and convenience stores, and 29 percent of restaurants, bars, and alcohol stores. "Having a minimum legal sales age for tobacco is important for reducing youth access to tobacco. Not only does it prevent young people from purchasing tobacco for themselves, but it prevents them from buying tobacco and distributing it to others, often younger peers," Roberts said. By Sowmya Sangam

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A Cup of Coffee May Help Fight Obesity and Diabetes, Suggests Study June 25, 2019 07:45

Drinking a cup of coffee might have downsides but it also holds untold benefits. A new study found that a cup of coffee helps in fighting obesity and diabetes as it stimulates the body's fat-fighting defenses. Published in Scientific Reports Journal, the researchers who led the study found components in coffee that could have a direct impact on brown fat functions. Brown fat is an important organ of the human body, present in quite small amounts, which plays a key role in how speedily we can burn calories as energy. Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT), also known as brown fat, is one of two types of fat found in humans and other mammals. Its main function is to generate body heat by burning calories (as opposed to white fat, which is an outcome of storing excess calories).People with a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) thus have a higher amount of brown fat. "Brown fat works in a different way to other fat in your body and produces heat by burning sugar and fat, often in response to cold. Increasing its activity improves blood sugar control as well as improving blood lipid levels and the extra calories burnt help with weight loss," said study's co-director Michael Symonds, Professor at the University of Nottingham. "This is the first study in humans to show that something like a cup of coffee can have a direct effect on our brown fat functions. The potential implications of our results are pretty big, as obesity is a major health concern for society and we also have a growing diabetes epidemic and brown fat could potentially be part of the solution in tackling them," he noted. For the study, the researchers started with a series of stem cell studies to see if caffeine would stimulate brown fat. After finding the right dose, they then moved on to humans to see if the results were similar. The researchers used a thermal imaging technique to trace the body's brown fat reserves. The non-invasive technique helps the team to ascertain brown fat and assess its capacity to produce heat. "From our previous work, we knew that brown fat is mainly located in the neck region, so we were able to image someone straight after they had a drink to see if the brown fat got hotter," he said. "The results were positive and we now need to ascertain that caffeine as one of the ingredients in the coffee is acting as the stimulus or if there's another component helping with the activation of brown fat. We are currently looking at caffeine supplements to test whether the effect is similar," Symonds added. "Once we have confirmed which component is responsible for this, it could potentially be used as part of a weight management regime or as part of glucose regulation programto help prevent diabetes," he concluded. By Sowmya Sangam

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Arrive in India Tuesday Night for a 3-Day Visit June 25, 2019 07:38

The United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will arrive in India on Tuesday night, as part of his three-day visit to the country. This will be the first high-level engagement between India and the United States after NDA's return to power for a second term. Pompeo is scheduled to meet External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. Jaishankar will also host a lunch for his U.S. counterpart. Pompeo's visit will provide "an important opportunity for both sides to explore further ways to strengthen India-U.S. strategic partnership", according to MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. The two sides will hold high-level engagements on matters of mutual interest including bilateral, regional and global issues. Pompeo's visit to India comes in the backdrop of escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran and trade differences between New Delhi and Washington. Pompeo's visit will further prepare grounds for a summit meeting between President Donald Trump and Modi in Osaka on the sidelines of the G20 meeting scheduled to be held on June 28-29. By Sowmya Sangam

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Guide for NRIs Seeking Home Loan in India June 25, 2019 07:21

If you are a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) looking to avail a home loan in India, below given are few things for you to keep in mind while applying. Documents Required for NRI Home Loan   1.  Passport and visa forms as part of the Know Your Customer (KYC) exercise 2.  Details of your permanent address in India 3.  Salary certificates and statements of Non-Resident External (NRE) and Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) accounts supporting these are also required. 4.  Deputation or appointment letter, work experience certificate, work permit and contract of employment. 5.  Foreign land address proof, verified by your employer (i.e. over mail), together with the tax return statements from the overseas land. 6.  To ensure loan eligibility, you will have to present a qualification certificate. Also, General Power of Authority (GPA) in the bank's format should be duly notarized. Co-Applicant for NRI Home Loan A co-applicant and General Power of Attorney (GPA) is mandatory for NRIs applying for a home loan in India. A GPA holder either has to be a guarantor or co-applicant to the loan, with certain exceptions. The guarantor to the loan is an essential when a local resident is not available as a co-applicant. Eligibility for NRI Home Loan Your education qualification and level of income play a critical role in deciding the eligibility for a loan. Graduation is the minimum qualification for an NRI in order to apply for a home loan. The basis of eligibility is to know if you are on deputation or have been employed for good in the foreign land. As well, the income for eligibility can include both repatriate income and that earned in India. Banks in India take into account the net income (i.e. income left after paying taxes overseas) when deciding on eligibility. Minimum Income Norms These norms differ from bank to bank. For instance, in many banks, $24,000 a year is considered the minimum income level for United States-based NRIs. Tenure for NRI Home Loan The tenure of an NRI home loan is brief than that of a regular home loan because the repaying capacity of NRIs is meant to be stronger than that of an Indian resident. For the most part, banks give a home loan to NRIs for a period of 15 years. Interest Rates NRI home loans’ interest rates are the same as regular home loans. Repayment & Disbursement The payment of the loan has to be done in Indian currency and can be paid only through NRE or NRO accounts with remittance from abroad. In case of NRIs, the probability of bad loans is not high, as the property is in the native-born land and can be seized by the bank at whatever time. What many NRIs do not know is that the GPA holder has to be present in person, on the bank premises, at the time of disbursement of the loan. His signature is compulsory on disbursement documents since the chief applicant is not in person present in India. Process of Appraisal The appraisal of loan for NRIs is done through their official email address. All the details relevant for evaluating the loan is considered and confirmed over email. The employment of the applicant overseas is double-checked with his/her employer. You should notify your human resource department in advance to circumvent any hold up in the loan appraisal. The department can also receive a call to verify designation, the purpose of transfer, employee code, etc. Tax benefits Unless an NRI file return and become eligible to avail of tax rebates available for such loans, there are no tax benefits for NRI customers taking a home loan. By Sowmya Sangam

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Allu Arjun - Trivikram Movie for Sankranthi June 25, 2019 07:12

Stylish Star Allu Arjun is busy with the shoot of Trivikram's film which is under shoot. With Syeraa confirmed for Dasara release, the makers are not in a mood to release Allu Arjun's film this year. With summer 2020 too long to wait, the latest update is that the makers of Allu Arjun's next decided to release the film during Sankranthi 2020. With Mahesh Babu's Sarileru Neekevvaru and Balakrishna's Ruler already announced for Sankranthi release, it would be quite interesting to see Allu Arjun competing with two other top stars during the holiday season. Allu Arjun who is desperate of success took a long break and signed Trivikram's film. He is pretty confident on the project and he recently informed the makers about having a Sankranthi release. Pooja Hegde is the female lead and Tabu, Boman Irani will be seen in other pivotal roles. Geetha Arts along with Haarika and Hassine Creations are the producers. SS Thaman composes the music.  

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