Each year, 6 lakh newborns die within 28 days of birth in India, says Unicef study

New Delhi: A quarter of global neonatal deaths happen in India where nearly 600,000 newborns die within 28 days of their birth every year, according to a new Unicef study.  The study, which found the number of newborn deaths in India was one of the highest in the world, says the causes of such deaths are preventable and treatable as 80 per cent of these fatalities happen for no serious reason.

On a brighter side, the study says, India has remarkably reduced the under-five mortality. “Though infant mortality in the country has declined considerably, the number of newborns dying each year remains unacceptably high. India, with nearly 600,000 newborn deaths each year, accounts for a quarter of the global burden of neonatal deaths,” said Unicef in its global report on neonatal mortality “Every Child Alive” released on early Tuesday.

Of the 184 countries, which the report covers, India’s 31 rank with 25.4 neonatal mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) kept the world’s seventh largest economy below 153 countries who have better survival rates for their newborns. A year earlier, India was the 28th worst country among 184 nations in terms of neonatal mortality.

The first 28 days of life – the neonatal period – are the most vulnerable time for a child’s survival. Children face the highest risk of dying in their first month of life, at a global rate of 19 deaths per 1,000 live births. Globally, 2.6 million children died in the first month of life in 2016 most of which occurred in the first week, with about one million dying on the first day and close to one million dying within the next six days, as per the Unicef.

“Among those children, more than 80 per cent died from preventable and treatable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery, and infections like sepsis and pneumonia,” says the UN children’s agency. Affordable and quality healthcare solutions should be there for every mother and newborn. It includes steady supply of clean water and electricity at health facilities, presence of a skilled health attendant during birth, disinfecting the umbilical cord, breastfeeding within the first hour after birth and skin-to-skin contact between the mother and child, it said.

“India is currently off-track to meet the SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) target for neonatal mortality of 12 by 2030,” said the report. However, the country has made impressive progress in reduction of under-five mortality and with the current rate of decline “is on track to meet the SDG target for the under-five mortality of 25 per 1000 live births by 2030.”

India registered a reduction of 66 per cent in under-five deaths during 1990 to 2015, nearly meeting its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target. In comparison, the decline in under-five mortality for the world was 55 per cent. The recent progress is even better, with 120,000 fewer deaths in 2016 as compared to 2015. The number of annual under-five deaths in India has gone below one million for the first time in 2016, said the agency.

On the policy front, introduction of conditional cash transfers, provision of free transport services – 102 and 108 – and making free healthcare an entitlement for every women and infant have led to doubling of institutional deliveries from 39 per cent in 2005 to 79 per cent in 2016. However, the progress has been inequitable for girls, with under-five mortality rate for girls being at 41 per 1,000 as against 37 per 1000 for boys. India is the only big country in the world to have a higher mortality for girls as compared to boys, it said and added girls are biologically stronger but socially vulnerable in India.

India successfully test fires Agni II ballistic missile off Odisha coast

Bhubaneswar: India on Tuesday test-fired its indigenously developed intermediate range ballistic missile Agni II from the Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast.

The trial of the surface-to-surface missile was conducted from Launch Complex-4 of Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Balasore district at about 8.38 a.m., said a Defence Ministry official. The trial was conducted by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Indian Army as part of its user training exercise, he added.

Agni II missile has already been inducted into the Indian Army. The two-stage missile equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system, which is guided by a novel scheme of state-of-the-art command and control system was propelled by solid rocket propellant system.

It has a strike range of more than 2,000 km, is 20 metres long, weighs 17 tonnes and can carry a payload of 1,000 kg.

CBI refuses to disclose expenses incurred to bring back Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi

New Delhi: The CBI has refused to share details of expenses incurred to bring back to India fugitive businessmen Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya, claiming immunity from disclosures under the RTI Act. Pune-based activist Vihar Dhurve had approached the agency seeking details of expenses incurred by the government to bring back Mallya, wanted in India on charges of Rs 9,000-crore fraud and Modi, who is facing a money laundering probe.

Both Modi and Mallya have denied allegations of wrongdoings. Mallya had fled the country in March, 2016 after the CBI diluted its lookout circular against him. The agency has sent its team multiple times to London to pursue an extradition case against the embattled liquor tycoon. The RTI application was forwarded to the CBI by the Finance Ministry.

The agency transferred it to the Special Investigation Team looking after these cases. In its response to the RTI plea, the CBI said it is exempt from making any disclosures under the RTI Act through a government notification of 2011. According to Section 24 of the RTI Act, a few organisations are exempt under the transparency law.

However, the Delhi High Court had earlier underlined that organisations listed under Section 24 cannot claim exemption from disclosure if the information pertains to “allegations of corruption and human rights violations”.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visits Mathura wildlife sanctuary

Lucknow: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday visited Mathura Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Uttar Pradesh and interacted with the its founders and staff members.

The wildlife sanctuary team discussed with the Canadian Prime Minister the need to create awareness about the plight of Asian elephants.
Trudeau was accompanied by his wife and three children. Mathura District Magistrate S R Mishra and the SSP Police Swapnil accorded a warm welcome to the Trudeau along with Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani, founders of Wildlife SOS at the Elephant Conservation and Care Center.

“It is a great honour for Wildlife SOS to have the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sparing his valuable time to see our efforts to protect elephants in collaboration with Forest Department. Our goal is to help conserve and protect elephants,” said Satyanarayan.

Mishra said that it was an honour that the Prime Minister of Canada visited the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center. “This center is a wonderful and unexplored area of Mathura. We hope his visit will attract more people to visite here,” he added. SSP Police Swapnil said that the police had learnt about the special request of the Canadian Prime Minister and made all arrangements to ensure his security during his visit to the Elephant Care Center in Mathura.

Tripura Assembly polls: 78.56 per cent voter turnout in battleground Tripura

Agartala/New Delhi: 78.56 per cent of over 25.73 lakh voters exercised their franchise for the Assembly polls on Sunday in Tripura, where the BJP is trying to dislodge the Left Front after an unbroken 25-year stint in power, officials said.

The polling for 59 seats of the 60-member Assembly was peaceful with thousands of central paramilitary forces fanning across the northeastern state. There were reports of malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at some polling stations which were rectified. Polling could not be held in the Charilam constituency due to the death of CPI(M) candidate Ramendra Narayan Deb Barma last week. The constituency will go to polls on March 12.

The Election Commission said in New Delhi the updated polling percentage was complied from 41 of the 59 constituencies. In the last Assembly elections, the voter turnout was recorded at 91.82 per cent, while in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, it was 84.32 per cent, Deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain told reporters in the national capital. He said two crude bombs were detected and disposed of by security personnel. The voter turnout is likely to rise as queues were seen at polling stations even at 9 pm.

Chandrababu Naidu tops the list of richest Chief Minister, Tripura CM Manik Sarkar among the poorest: Report
The voting was to conclude at 4 pm. Under the electoral laws, voters standing in queue at the scheduled time for voting to conclude are allowed to exercise their franchise. Additional CEO Tapas Roy said in Agartala initially there were problems with several EVM machines which were fixed. Earlier in the day, Chief Electoral Officer Sriram Taranikanti had said voting was delayed in some polling booths of West Tripura, Khowai and Unakoti districts as officials could not properly connect the EVMs. Technicians were rushed in to these placed and EVMs set right.

The BJP, hitherto an “also ran” in the border state, has emerged as the key challenger to the CPI(M)-led Left Front, which has remained unvanquished in the last five Assembly elections. Manik Sarkar, one of the most enduring icons of the CPI(M), has helmed the state for the last four terms. The Congress, which has been marginalised in Tripura, was last in power between February 1988 and March 1993. It is contesting 59 seats and had not fielded candidate for Kakrabon constituency.

The BJP, which has been rapidly expanding its footprint in the northeast, with the party already in power in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, has forged an alliance with Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), an anti-Left party. The BJP has fielded candidates in 51 places, while its ally is contesting the remaining nine seats.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah spearheaded the BJP-IPFT challenge in one of the last bastions of the Left. Sarkar, known for leading a frugal life and the considered the “poorest” of chief ministers in the country, almost single-handedly tried to defend his ‘Red fort’ against the saffron challenge.

Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) K V Srijesh said the voting was “incident free” and no violence was reported from anywhere. While 300 companies of central armed forces were deployed, besides the state police, the BSF kept heightened vigil along the 856-km-long India-Bangladesh border in Tripura.

Director General of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) R K Pachnanda was appointed special observer to coordinate with all security forces deployed for the election. Manik Sarkar cast his vote in Ramnagar constituency here, while Biplab Deb, the state BJP chief, pressed the EVM button in R K Pur seat in Gomati district. Tripura Congress president Birajit Sinha cast his vote at Kailashahar in Unakoti district.

Bollywood make-up artist arrested for running sex racket; 2 models rescued

Bhayandar: Sleuths of the Bhayandar division of the Thane (rural) police rescued two aspiring models who were about to be pushed into flesh trade under the garb of promising roles in films. A 38-year-old female pimp who works as make-up artist in Bollywood was arrested immediately after she arrived with the models near a hotel on the Dhaavgi Road in Uttan late on Saturday night.

Following a tip-off in context to a high-profile prostitution racket, involving a small-time make-up artist in the film industry, a police team led by Assistant Superintendent of Police Atul Kulkarni, under the instructions of SP Dr Mahesh Patil deputed a decoy customer to established contact with the pimp. After the decoy sealed a deal for the two women, the police laid a trap, nabbed the make-up artist and rescued both the aspiring models (who are in their mid-20s) and apparently unaware that they were being taken to solicit potential clients under the garb of a film shoot in Uttan. Not ruling out the possibility of the accused operating a “casting couch” scam that involves trading of sexual favours by aspiring starlets, the investigating team led by Assistant Police Inspector Pravin Salunkhe is probing all angles, related to the racket.

Both the women had come to Mumbai with dreams of bagging roles in Bollywood. A case under section 370 of the Indian Penal Code and sections 4, 5, 7 of the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act, (PITA) 1956, has been registered against the pimp who is cooling her heels in police custody. Meanwhile both the rescued women were sent to a rehabilitation centre.

Amit Shah’s Jind rally: One lakh bikers to take part in BJP President’s rally in Haryana today

BJP national president Amit Shah will be holding a massive rally in Haryana’s Jind today. The said event will see more than one lakh motorcycle riders are set to participate in BJP chief Amit Shah’s ‘Yuva Hunkar’ rally in Jind on Thursday.

The rally has commenced early morning in the district with various local BJP leaders seen enthusiastically riding their bikes to join the rally. Leaders including state Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma was among the firsts to commence the rally on Thursday morning. Shah is also expected to ride a bike to reach to the venue, reported The Week.

The rally is being seen as an attempt by the BJP to consolidate its hold on Jind and adjoining areas. Jind is considered to be the nerve centre of Haryana politics.

On Wednesday, it was an unusual sight as Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar rode a motorcycle in Jind where he reached to take stock of the arrangements for the mega bike rally. “All necessary arrangements for tomorrow’s rally have been made,” the Haryana chief minister told reporters.

Khattar was personally overseeing the arrangements along with state party president Subhash Barala and Haryana BJP party in-charge Anil Jain.

State BJP leader Rajiv Jain said the rally was part of ‘Mission Vistaar’ or to strengthen the party at the booth level and to gear up the cadre for polls. The ‘Yuva Hunkar’ rally will attract youth and energise workers, a BJP leader said. As he oversaw the preparations, Khattar drove a bike for sometime while another person riding as a pillion.

The event will see tight security to oversee the smooth functioning the event. Armed jawans could be seen in different parts of Jind and some adjoining towns, including roads leading to the venue at Pandu Pindara village, on the outskirts of the Jind city. A few Companies of paramilitary forces have also reached Jind. Police and security forces have been put on alert to keep the situation under control.

(With inputs from PTI)

Mann Ki Baat: PM Narendra Modi to address nation on February 25

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on February 25 in his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat programme. This will be the 41st edition of the Mann Ki Baat programme, which will be broadcast on All India Radio (AIR), Doordarshan and also on the Narendra Modi mobile application.

Prime Minister Modi took to Twitter to ask people to share their views, ideas, and suggestions. “What are your ideas and inputs for this month’s #MannKiBaat, which will take place on the 25th? Dial 1800-11-7800 to record your message. You can also write on the NM App Open Forum or share your suggestions on MyGov,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

Narendra Modi

What are your ideas and inputs for this month’s #MannKiBaat, which will take place on the 25th? Dial 1800-11-7800 to record your message. You can also write on the NM App Open Forum or share your suggestions on MyGov. …

6:56 AM - Feb 15, 2018

Share your ideas for PM Narendra Modi's Mann Ki Baat on 25th February, 2018
As always, PM Narendra Modi looks forward to sharing his thoughts on themes and issues that matter to you. The Prime Minister invites you to share your ideas on topics he should address on the 41st...
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In his 40th edition of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ Prime Minister Modi had said, “Woman power is playing a pioneering role and establishing milestones and there are no upper limits for Nari Shakti.”

It will be streamed on the YouTube channels of the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and DD News. Akashwani will broadcast the programme in regional languages immediately after the Hindi broadcast. Mann ki Baat is now available as an Alexa skill.

Kolkata: Journalists attacked by members of right-wing group at an event, 4 held

Kolkata: Several mediapersons were beaten up today allegedly by the members of a right-wing group at a programme here, police said.

The journalists were attacked when they tried to approach a family of 14 members that was apparently converting to Hinduism at the programme organised by the Hindu Samhati Mancha at Rani Rashmoni Road in the central part of the city, a senior police officer said.

Four people, including the Hindu Samhati Manchas president Tapan Ghosh, have been arrested in connection with the incident, he said. “We will examine those arrested so far and carry out raids in different locations to get hold of others who are involved in this case,” he told PTI.

One of the channel reporters said that at least four to five journalists were injured in the attack. The Mancha volunteers insisted that none would be allowed to talk to the family and “pounced upon” the reporters and the camera crew, the reporter alleged. Condemning the incident, West Bengal Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee said people should come forward to stop this “anarchy”.

“Our fight is against this uncivilised behaviour” he said. State education minister Partha Chatterjee demanded strict action against those responsible for the assault. “I condemn this. Those who have tried to create ruckus and assaulted the journalists have no business (being) here. They do not have any presence in West Bengal. This is an attempt to stay in the news. The journalists did the right thing by questioning them,” Chatterjee said.

TMC MP and theatre personality Arpita Ghosh said all should unite to counter the right-wing forces. “Today they are attacking the journalists. Tomorrow they will target somebody else,” she said. Just before his arrest, Ghosh had described the incident as “undesirable” and said it was not an attack on the media.

BJP spokesperson Sayantan Basu said he and other workers do not support attack on the media. Hundreds of right-wing activists from different parts of the state attended the Hindu Samhati Manmcha programme, a senior police officer said, adding the situation has been brought under control.

Madhya Pradesh: 24 bogies of goods train derail in Satna

Photo by: ANI

Satna: 24 bogies of a goods train was derailed in Madhya Pradesh’s Satna late on Friday night. The train movement on Mumbai-Howrah up the line and Satna-Rewa track were affected due to the derailment. The Railway has started with the reconstruction work of the track to restore the services.

However, there were no reports of any casualties. The incident took place a day after the engine of a 13-wagon goods train derailed near Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district.

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