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36-year-old Egyptian Woman believed to be World Heaviest, Seeks Lifesaving Surgery

Born a heavy baby at 5 kgs, her family has said she began putting on weight by the age of 11 and stopped going to school by fifth grade when it became difficult for her to move

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An image of Egyptian national Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty, who weighs around 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds), is displayed at a press conference attended by her Indian bariatric surgeon Muffazal Lakdawala in Mumbai, Feb.13, 2017. VOA

A 36-year-old Egyptian woman, believed to be the world’s heaviest woman at 500 kilograms, has been brought to an Indian hospital to undergo surgical procedures aimed at drastically reducing her weight and giving her a chance of a normal life.

For Eman Ahmed, the journey to Mumbai was her first outside her home in Alexandria in 25 years. And it involved complex logistics on many fronts: The Indian foreign minister’s intervention to get her a visa, an Airbus modified to equip it with a special bed, a truck at the Indian airport to whisk her to the hospital where a crane lifted her bed into a special unit for her treatment.

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Born a heavy baby at 5 kgs, her family has said she began putting on weight by the age of 11 and stopped going to school by fifth grade when it became difficult for her to move.

Stroke worsened her condition

Her condition worsened two years ago when Ahmed suffered a stroke, which not only left her bedridden, but also affected her speech.

The reason for her abnormal weight is not clear. Her family has said she was diagnosed with elephantiasis, in which limbs swell because of a parasitic infection. In Mumbai, she will undergo a series of tests to identify her ailment.

Last October, a Mumbai doctor, Muffazal Lakdawala, who specializes in weight reduction surgeries, responded to a plea for help from the woman’s sister.

Travel, arrangements difficult

But the going was not smooth. Initially the Indian embassy in Cairo turned down her visa request because she could not travel to the city for the interview.

However, a tweet by Lakdawala in December to Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was herself in the hospital at the time, drew an immediate response and a visa was promptly granted.

After that, preparations to get her to Mumbai got into full swing. But it took time to arrange her travel because no airline was willing to carry her because of her health complications and the special arrangements that would have to be made. Eventually she took the seven-hour flight on an Egypt Air plane.

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Before she arrived in Mumbai Saturday, Indian doctors prepared her for the journey.

“A team of doctors has been in Egypt for the last 10 days to optimize the conditions for her travel,” a statement by her doctor said.

Egyptian Consul General in Mumbai Ahmad Khalil, who met her briefly at the airport, said she was happy to be in Mumbai and expressed hope her suffering would be over.

Her treatment in Mumbai could take two to three months. She will undergo bariatric, or weight loss surgery, which is a stomach-shrinking procedure.

At the moment, the Guinness Book of Records lists Pauline Potter from the United States, who weighs 291.6 kg as the world’s heaviest woman. If Ahmed’s family has her weight correct, she is much heavier at 500 kgs. (VOA)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

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