Entire Earth vibrating less due to COVID-19 lockdowns says study

Agencies
July 25, 2020

In a study conducted in 117 countries, researchers have found that the world is experiencing the most dramatic reduction in the seismic noise (the hum of vibrations in the planet's crust) in recorded history due to global COVID-19 lockdowns.

Measured by instruments called seismometers, seismic noise is caused by vibrations within the Earth, which travel like waves and the waves can be triggered by earthquakes, volcanoes, and bombs - but also by daily human activity like travel and industry.

This quiet period was likely caused by the total global effect of social distancing measures, closure of services and industry, and drops in tourism and travel, the study published in the journal Science, reported.

The new research, led by the Royal Observatory of Belgium and five other institutions around the world including Imperial College London (ICL), showed that the dampening of 'seismic noise' caused by humans was more pronounced in more densely populated areas.

"Our study uniquely highlights just how much human activities impact the solid Earth, and could let us see more clearly than ever what differentiates human and natural noise," said study co-author Stephen Hicks from ICL in the UK.

For the findings, the research team looked at seismic data from a global network of 268 seismic stations in 117 countries and found significant noise reductions compared to before any lockdown at 185 of those stations.

Researchers tracked the 'wave' of quietening between March and May as worldwide lockdown measures took hold.

The largest drops in vibrations were seen in the most densely populated areas, like Singapore and New York City, but drops were also seen in remote areas like Germany's the Black Forest and Rundu in Namibia.

Citizen-owned seismometers, which tend to measure more localised noise, noted large drops around universities and schools around Cornwall, UK and Boston, US - a drop in noise 20 per cent larger than seen during school holidays.

The findings showed that countries like Barbados, where lockdown coincided with the tourist season, saw a 50 per cent decrease in noise.

"The changes have also given us the opportunity to listen in to the Earth's natural vibrations without the distortions of human input," the study authors wrote.

Earlier in April, a study published in the journal Nature, reported at least a 30 per cent reduction in that amount of ambient human noise since lockdown began in Belgium.

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Agencies
September 28,2020

Bhopal, Sept 28: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday said a senior state IPS officer has been relieved of duties, after a video showing him assaulting his wife went viral on social media.

In the video, Madhya Pradesh Director General of Police (Prosecution) Purushottam Sharma is seen thrashing his wife, while the latter is seen resisting the assault.

"The officer has been relieved of his duties. Action will be taken against anyone who holds a responsible position, but indulges in illegal activities and taking law into his hands," the chief minister said.

He is senior IPS officer from MP. Showing bravery on his wife. She had caught him with other women. In the video only dog seems to be disturbed due the incidents. pic.twitter.com/iXeKTNoQI3

— Skand Vivek Dhar (@skandvivek) September 28, 2020
There is no official confirmation to reports that the IPS officer was caught red-handed by his wife of 32 years at a woman's house, after which he assaulted her.

Sharma's son Parth, a deputy commissioner in the Income Tax Department, sent the video to state Home Minister Narottam Mishra and some senior bureaucrats, and requested that a complaint be registered against his father.

Sharma, who has been married for 32 years, told PTI that if he has done anything wrong, then his son should say why was his mother living with him for so long.

"My son should say why was she taking money (from me) since 12-15 years and going on foreign trips. After enjoying so much comfort in life, she has an obligation towards her family, to save its reputation," Sharma said.

Meanwhile, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma has written to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan on Monday, demanding strict action against the senior police officer who is seen beating and abusing his wife in a purported video.

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News Network
September 21,2020

paytm.JPG

Noida, Sept 21: Financial services app Paytm has accused Google of making policies that are over and above the laws of India after it was briefly delisted from the Playstore last week.

"As a startup, we are running law-abiding businesses and building for India. Google and its employees are making policies which are over and above the laws of our country, and are arbitrarily implementing them," it said in a blogpost.

Paytm said Google owns Android which is the operating system on which over 95 per cent of smartphones in India run. Google, as a result, has enormous control over which apps you download through its Playstore policies.

"It also makes billions of dollars in advertising revenues from the Indian startups that make these apps. In many cases like maps, email, payments, shopping and cloud storage, Google also has apps that compete with other apps, including, of course, the apps that are made by Indian startups."

Paytm said it had launched a campaign where users could collect cricket stickers and scratch cards to earn UPI cashback. The offer was applicable on recharges, utility payments, UPI money transfers and adding money to Paytm wallet.

On September 18, it got an email from Google Play Support informing that the Paytm Android app had been delisted.

This was the first time that Google was sending it a notification regarding its UPI cashback and scratch cards campaign.

"Contrary to accepted practise, we were not given any opportunity to respond to their concerns or put forth our views. We maintain that our cashback campaign was within guidelines, as well as all laws of the land. We did not break any rules and there was no violation. It is not related to gambling in any manner whatsoever," said Paytm.

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News Network
September 29,2020

Bengaluru, Sept 29: Flipkart, India’s homegrown e-commerce marketplace, and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company, India’s leading private general insurer, have come together to offer ‘Digital Suraksha Group Insurance’ for customers who want to cover themselves against financial losses caused as a result of cyber-attacks, cyber frauds, or other such malicious activities across various online platforms.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday said that the Digital Suraksha Group Insurance compensates for direct financial loss (up to the sum insured) due to unauthorized digital financial transactions as a result of identity theft arising out of cyber-attacks, phishing/spoofing, and SIM-jacking. Customers can opt for a one-year cover at premiums as low as Rs. 183 for a cover of Rs. 50,000 (Fifty Thousand).

Highlighting the benefits of the product, Mr, Tapan Singhel, MD & CEO, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance said, “Cyber-attacks pose a serious threat wherein your money, reputation, and personal data is at stake. With this Digital Suraksha Group Insurance introduced on Flipkart’s platform, at less than 50 paise per day, you can protect yourself against the financial risk of getting defrauded online. During this COVID-19 era, as you shop online, this insurance will provide coverage against various cyber threats. Thus, making your online experience worry-free.”

Commenting on the new offering, Ranjith Boyanapalli, Head – Fintech and Payments Group, Flipkart, said, “At Flipkart, it is our constant endeavor to make online shopping safer and more convenient for customers transacting digitally. The cyber insurance offering in partnership with Bajaj Allianz is a step in this direction. As the festive season nears, we want to ensure that the customers’ online shopping experience, across any digital medium, is devoid of stress and apprehensions.”

A recent survey conducted by NortonLifeLock stated that about 80% of respondents reported being a victim of cybercrime at some point in their lives. Now, with customers spending more time online for activities such as working, learning, gaming, entertainment, shopping, and transacting, they are more vulnerable than before to cyber-attacks, especially the ones which are directed at individuals. Insurance products such as Digital Suraksha Group Insurance, provide consumers ease of mind and a strong tool to safeguard them from any new-age digital transaction risks that they might be exposed to.

Guided by the strong understanding of the needs of Indian consumers, Flipkart has, in recent months, introduced life, health, and motor insurance offerings, so that consumers can avail of these important financial services from the safety of their homes during the pandemic. This has expanded the reach of these services to Flipkart’s large and growing pan-India consumer base of more than 250 million. Flipkart is working with some of the leading insurance service providers in the country for providing access to customized and simplified plans based on the dynamic needs of Indian consumers.

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