Nipah returns to haunt covid-battered Kerala, kills 12-year-old boy

News Network
September 5, 2021

A 12-year old boy in Kozhikode in Kerala died of Nipah virus infection, state health minister Veena George said on Sunday. 

The Centre has rushed the NCDC team to the southern state to provide technical support.

The samples of the boy, which were sent to the Pune National Institute of Virology, confirmed the presence of Nipah virus.

The team will provide technical support to the state, the ministry said.

Some immediate public health measures have been advised by the Centre which include active case search in the family, families, village and areas with similar topography especially in Malappuram.

The measures also include active contact tracing for any contacts in the past 12 days, strict quarantine of the contacts and isolation of any suspects and collection and transportation of samples for lab testing, the ministry said.

Nipal virus is spread by saliva of the fruit bats.

In 2018 also, there was a Nipah outbreak in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts of Kerala.

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News Network
November 30,2021

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With his elevation as the CEO of Twitter, Parag Agrawal, in whom co-founder of the microblogging giant Jack Dorsey has “bone-deep” trust, joins the growing power club of Indian-origin executives helming US-based global multinationals.

Twitter’s outgoing CEO Dorsey announced on Monday that 37-year old Agrawal, an IIT Mumbai and Stanford University alumnus, will be the company’s new chief executive as he stepped down after 16 years at the company that he co-founded and helmed.

A report in The New York Times said that Agrawal will receive an annual salary of $1 million, in addition to bonuses, restricted stock units and performance-based stock units.

“After almost 16 years of having a role at our company...from co-founder to CEO to Chair to Exec Chair to interim-CEO to CEO...I decided it's finally time for me to leave. Why?

“There's a lot of talk about the importance of a company being 'founder-led.' Ultimately I believe that's severely limiting and a single point of failure. I've worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders. There are 3 reasons I believe now is the right time.

“The first is Parag becoming our CEO. The board ran a rigorous process considering all options and unanimously appointed Parag. He's been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs.

Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He's curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware, and humble. He leads with heart and soul and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone-deep,” Dorsey said.

Agrawal’s ascension as Twitter CEO puts him in the growing ranks of Indian-origin and Indian-born executives being named to the helm of global multinationals.

In January last year, Indian-born technology executive Arvind Krishna was named Chief Executive Officer of American IT giant IBM after a "world-class succession process", succeeding Virginia Rometty, who had described him as the “right CEO for the next era at IBM” and “well-positioned" to lead the company into the cloud and cognitive era.

Krishna, 59, had joined IBM in 1990 and has an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and a PhD. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In August 2015, Sundar Pichai was named CEO of the newly organised Google, becoming only the third chief executive of the company after former CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founder Larry Page. In December 2019, Pichai became the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet.

Pichai wished Dorsey “the very best ahead” and congratulated Agrawal and Board Chair Bret Taylor, saying he is “excited for Twitter's future!”

In February 2014, Microsoft veteran Satya Nadella was named CEO of the technology giant. MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, PepsiCo’s former CEO Indra Nooyi and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen are among the other Indian-origin executives who have climbed up the corporate ladder and helmed multinational giants.

Mumbai-born Agrawal tweeted Monday “Deep gratitude” for Dorsey and the entire team.

In a note posted on Twitter, he said he is “honoured and humbled” on his appointment and expressed gratitude to Dorsey’s “continued mentorship and your friendship.”

Agrawal had joined Twitter 10 years ago when there were fewer than 1,000 employees.

"While it was a decade ago, those days feel like yesterday to me. I've walked in your shoes, I've seen the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the wins and the mistakes. But then and now, above all else, I see Twitter's incredible impact, our continued progress, and the exciting opportunities ahead of us,” he said.

“Our purpose has never been more important. Our people and our culture are unlike anything in the world. There is no limit to what we can do together,” he said.

“The world is watching us right now, even more than they have before. Lots of people are going to have lots of different views and opinions about today's news. It is because they care about Twitter and our future, and it's a signal that the work we do here matters,” he said.

A report in The New York Times said Agrawal, who was Twitter’s chief technology officer since 2017, “is little known to the public, with even some Twitter insiders saying they were surprised by his appointment."

But behind the scenes, the India-born engineer has been a Twitter veteran and confidant of Dorsey who has been involved in many of the company’s biggest strategic initiatives, it said.

The NYT report said that in 2005, Agrawal moved to the United States and pursued a doctorate in computer science while enrolled at Stanford University.

“Even among students at Stanford, Agrawal stood out for his strong grasp of the math and the theory that underpins computer science,” the NYT report quoted Jennifer Widom, who led the research lab and served as his thesis adviser, as saying.

As CTO, Agrawal was responsible for Twitter’s technical strategy, leading work to improve development velocity while advancing the state of Machine Learning across the company.

“Even as chief technology officer, Agrawal has kept a low profile. He worked behind the scenes to rebuild Twitter’s technical infrastructure, which had been cobbled together over the years. That led to engineering problems and prevented the company from introducing new products and services as quickly as it wanted. Agrawal helped Twitter shift to using cloud computing services from Google and Amazon, streamlining its operations,” the NYT report said.

Prior to being appointed CTO, he “had risen to be Twitter's first Distinguished Engineer due to his work across revenue and consumer engineering, including his impact on the re-acceleration of audience growth in 2016 and 2017,” company said.

Agrawal also managed Twitter’s effort to “incorporate cryptocurrencies into the platform, letting users send tips in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. And he has supported efforts to be transparent about Twitter’s algorithmic mistakes, urging the company to go public with its findings that a photo-cropping algorithm it used was biased,” the NYT report said.

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News Network
November 29,2021

New Delhi, Nov 29: Intelligence agencies have sounded an alert after Sikhs for Justice released an online video appealing to farmers to 'gherao' Parliament and hoist the 'Khalistani' flag there today. Delhi Police and other agencies have been asked to remain alert and vigilant. 

The Centre is planning to bring it in Rajya Sabha on Monday itself after it is passed by Lok Sabha.

Sources said the Bill was circulated among Rajya Sabha MPs on November 26 and the government may move it in Rajya Sabha in the afternoon after the Lower House passes it.

The Council General of Sikh for Justice Gurpatwant Singh Pannu has released a video on YouTube, appealing to gherao the Parliament and hoist the Khalistani flag during the winter session of Parliament.

Pannu has said in the video that the one who hoists the flag of Khalistan on the Parliament will be given a reward of 125000 US dollars.

The Intelligence agencies have asked all the agencies including Delhi Police to be on alert as well as to make elaborate security arrangements around the Parliament.

Parliament's winter session 2021 is set to begin on Monday and will conclude on December 23.

The BJP-led government has a heavy agenda for the winter session with its legislative business including Farm Laws Repeal Bill 2021.

Lok Sabha's Business Advisory Committee (BAC) is scheduled to meet at 10:30 am on Monday as the Parliament's winter session 2021 commences on Monday. 

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News Network
November 24,2021

New Delhi, Nov 24: Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan on Wednesday said of the 6,000-odd cryptocurrencies in existence today, only one or two, or at most, only a handful would survive.

In an interview with CNBC-TV18, the former RBI governor said, “If things have value only because they because they will be pricier down the line, that’s a bubble.” 

“A lot of cryptos have value only because there is a greater fool out there willing to buy.” He compared the current mania in cryptocurrencies to the tulip mania in the Netherlands in the 17th century.

“Cryptos may pose the same problem as unregulated chit funds which take money from people and go bust, a lot of people holding crypto assets are going to be aggrieved,” he said.

According to Rajan, it was not as if cryptocurrencies had no value at all, just that most of them did not have permanent value. Also, some of them would survive to provide payments, especially cross border payments.

Rajan was not alone in voicing concerns over cryptocurrency dealings in India. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das recently has also issued warnings on cryptocurrency trading. Das in his address has opined for a strong and formal framework to regulate cryptocurrency dealings in India.  

The Centre is all set to introduce a Bill to regulate cryptocurrencies during the winter season of Parliament. A comprehensive Bill on the digital currencies is likely to be tabled for the Cabinet approval.  

Rajan also said, “In the US, crypto is a $2.5 trillion problem that nobody really wants to regulate,” adding that the problem was partly due to regulators not fully understanding this space and how to regulate it. What governments can insist on is getting information from crypto entities, when crypto entities get too big, government can examine them more closely to ensure there isn’t fraud. This is a situation where at best you can send warnings to the broader public,” he added. 

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