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Gold smugglers nabbed at Vishakhapatnam airport, over 50kg of gold seized

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Visakhapatnam: At Vishakhapatnam airport, over 50 kg of gold was seized by authorities from several passengers arriving from Singapore and Malaysia, officials said on Monday.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence seized the gold from passengers who arrived here since Sunday night by two flights from Singapore and one from Malaysia.

On a tip-off that some passengers were smuggling in gold in large quantities, DRI officials conducted an operation.

The DRI officials have not divulged further details including number of arrests, saying their investigations were still on.

According to sources, the passengers had concealed the gold in LCD/LED panels, mobile phones and music systems.

The customs officials learnt about the large scale smuggling after they seized one kg of gold from three women passengers a day ago. During the questioning, the women revealed about the smuggling racket.

This is the first time that gold in such large quantity was seized at Visakhapatnam airport. (IANS)

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Vizag Gas Leak: A Tragic Story of Human Blunder

In a horrific accident that claimed 13 lives in amidst the VIzag gas leak, LG polymers face charges

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Vizag Gas Leak from LG polymers claimed the life of 13 innocent people. Pixabay

-BY Varuni Trivedi 

“We were a happy family until Wednesday” said N Greeshma’s parents who lost her life because of the deadly gas release. Her parents found out about their youngest daughter’s demise only after they regained consciousness several hours after the leak. Like Greeshma many others lost their loved ones because of an error that multinational companies call merely a ‘mistake’. 

On the early morning of 7, May 2020 as the nation was under a lockdown one of the worst industrial accidents occurred at the LG Polymers chemical plant in R. R. Venkatapuram village near Gopalapatnam claiming the lives of 13 people. The Vizag gas leak, also known as the Visakhapatnam gas leak took place at the outskirts of Visakhapatnam as a vapor cloud spread over a radius of around three kilometers affecting the nearby areas and villages and exposing more than 1,000 people to the deadly gas styrene. 

The leak took place around 2.30 am in the night, the gas spread over nearby villages. Around 8 people lost their lives almost immediately and more than 800 were rushed to the hospital as the massive gas leaked occurred at LG Polymers chemical plant. Authorities claim that over 2,000 people have been affected in the nearby villages. 

Villages in a five-kilometer radius of the chemical plant were evacuated early morning of 7th. Residents reported being woken up by a cloud of noxious smelling vapor as they struggled to breathe. They suffered pain and itchy eyes and soon fell unconscious. The next day all they know is that they woke up in hospitals and heard the news of the demise of their knowns.

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A gas leak that yet again traumatized the nation. Pixabay

A day after the leak authorities doubled the evacuation area and residents were woken up in the middle of the night by Police. They were asked to board buses and follow the evacuation procedure in case there is a chance of further leakage. The victims came with complaints of vomiting, breathing problems, and severe headaches. 

Horrific visuals from the affected areas showed dead cows and people lying unconscious on the roads near the chemical plant in RR Venkatapuram village under Gopalapatnam limits. It was a dreadful sight, videos, and photographs from the tragedy which surfaced on social media show people lying in drains and on roads. There were even some who fell off their motorbikes after inhaling the toxic industrial gas. 

 

What is styrene, its effects on the human body?
Styrene (C8H8) is a volatile organic compound, likely to be a carcinogenic chemical. The levels of this deadly compound were 500 times higher than the limits prescribed by regulators on the day of the Visakhapatnam gas leak, an analysis by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) states. It enters the human body through the skin, eyes, and predominantly through respiration, getting absorbed into the blood through alveoli in the lungs. Short term effects of the gas include irritation in the eyes, hearing problems, and irritation in the gastrointestinal tract causing vomiting. Its effects can be fatal in kids and result in death. Chronic or longer exposure can affect the central nervous system, as of now human studies on styrene toxicity have been few. 

Styrene gas leak
Styrene gas leak from LG plant leaves more than five villages around the plant in a hazardous state. Flickr

The aftermath of the tragedy

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had immediately announced a package of ₹1 crore to the family of the deceased, jobs to one member from the family, and other relief packages. Inspections done in the aftermath of the gas leak have uncovered that there were other storage facilities at the factory that were vulnerable to a leak of vapour on a larger scale. In the meanwhile, an FIR has been lodged against LG polymers Chemical as the nation is still recovering from the trauma of this accident. Many victims blame the sheer negligence of the company’s management which has claimed several lives. On Saturday a protest was organised in front of the main gate of LG Polymers in RR Venkatapuram, Visakhapatnam, as villagers carried four dead bodies of those who died due to the leakage, demanding the shifting of the company. 

Also Read: COVID-19: Sports Enthusiasts Keep the Sports Spirit Alive

This incident has yet again left the whole nation dumbstruck and traumatised. This incident questions the credibility of multinational companies and their security protocols. It further poses a question on the management and authorities that cost the lives of 13 innocent people, people who slept not knowing they would never wake up. 

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Cloud Major Oracle Postpones “OpenWorld Asia” in Singapore Due To Coronavirus Concerns

The company also told employees to refrain from scheduling meetings that required flights until at least the end of April

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Oracle joins the growing list of tech companies who have either cancelled or postponed their conferences and meetings recently. Wikimedia Commons

Cloud major Oracle on Tuesday announced it is postponing the flagship OpenWorld Asia, currently scheduled for April 2020 in Singapore, owing to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.

“In the light of the ‘COVID-19’ outbreak and the recent pronouncement of a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation, we are postponing Oracle OpenWorld Asia,” the company said in an email.

Oracle joins the growing list of tech companies who have either cancelled or postponed their conferences and meetings recently.

Google has cancelled its ‘Global News Initiative’ summit in northern California in April while Facebook has called off its flagship F8 developer conference in May. Microsoft has cancelled its ‘IoT in Action’ conference in Melbourne while Intel has also cancelled briefing sessions for its flagship conference.

In mid-February, Cisco cancelled its flagship Cisco Live conference in Melbourne and later in the month, Salesforce cancelled its physical regional World Tour event for Sydney.

Meanwhile, Amazon has confirmed that two of its employees have been infected with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) in Italy.

Amazon spokesperson Drew Herdener said that the company was “supporting the affected employees, who were in Milan and are now in quarantine”.

A Google employee in Switzerland was tested positive for COVID-19 last week at its office in Zurich, Switzerland. Amazon has halted all non-essential travel, including trips within the US.

Coronavirus
Cloud major Oracle on Tuesday announced it is postponing the flagship OpenWorld Asia, currently scheduled for April 2020 in Singapore, owing to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns. VOA

The company also told employees to refrain from scheduling meetings that required flights until at least the end of April.

Twitter said that it would also restrict all nonessential business travel for its employees and partners.

“We have continued to monitor the situation closely and are adjusting our internal policies to respond to this rapidly-evolving situation. On February 29, we informed our people and started notifying partners that we are suspending all non-critical business travel and events,” the micro-blogging platform said in a statement.

ALSO READ: “I Will Do Whatever Possible To Bring Peace in India”, Says Superstar Rajinikanth

The death toll due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China has risen to 2,943, authorities said on Tuesday, while the number of confirmed cases has reached 80,151. (IANS)

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Top 3 Travel Destinations in Asia For Solo Women Travellers

Unique Asian destinations for solo female travellers

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While the most popular destinations for solo female travellers are in Europe, there are quite a number of destinations in Asia that are especially ideal for women travellers given that you're properly prepared. Pixabay

In recent years, the number of women embarking on solo adventures has skyrocketed — a fact corroborated by the data of many travel companies — and in many cases, to less-frequented destinations. Indeed, navigating new cities and learning to handle hustlers without a companion or ‘safety in numbers’ can be incredibly empowering for women. Right off the bat, travelling alone is the ultimate confidence boost and the freedom to plan ones own travel itinerary without having to accommodate anyone else is liberating.

For first-timers, travelling alone can seem like a daunting prospect, but with some research, planning and common sense, it could become a life-changing experience. While the most popular destinations for solo female travellers are in Europe, there are quite a number of destinations in Asia that are especially ideal for women travellers given that you’re properly prepared. Here are top picks by ONYX Hospitality Group of unique destinations in Asia for women to explore solo.

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Malaysia is a very safe travel destination for women. Pixabay

Colombo and Kandy, Sri Lanka

Spend a few days in Colombo, a busy and vibrant port city, to experience the laid-back charm of the historical era combined with the liveliness of a modern city. Those looking for a more peaceful environment can head for Kandy. Once the capital of the ancient kings, Kandy remains the country’s most significant cultural and religious centre. Visit the tea plantations, pray at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth relic and go trekking into the misty hills where you can take a deep breath and reconnect with yourself and nature.

Phuket, Thailand

Famously dubbed as the island of contrasts, Phuket is a great destination for solo female travellers looking to have the best of both worlds. From relaxing, feet-in-the-sand detox and laid-back beachside cafes, to adrenaline-fuelled activities and vibrant nightlife, this tropical paradise has it all. Start by exploring the spectacular stretch of gorgeous beaches along the island’s West coast where time goes slow and sunshine seems to last forever, before switching it up with a tuk tuk ride to the east coast for some cafe-hopping and bar-crawling with the local crowds.

Travelling around Phuket is surprisingly easy. You can either hop on a tuk tuk, grab a taxi or even rent a motorbike and helmet and zoom down the hills with the view of the turquoise sea stretching out before you.

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Phuket is a great destination for solo women travellers looking to have the best of both worlds. Pixabay

Possibly one of the most beautiful beaches in Phuket, Kata is a paradise waiting for people to visit and fall in love. White sand, blue sea and endless activities are just a few of the things that make Kata beach so special. Meanwhile, a walk through the local area can add a lively touch of Thai culture to any holiday.

Penang, Malaysia

Known as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is a truly fascinating destination with its colourful five-foot-ways, mouth-watering street food, lush hiking trails and sandy beaches. Declared a UNESCO world cultural heritage site, George Town, the island’s cultural and urban hub, is brimming with architectural marvels from the British colonial period, timeworn shophouses, modern cafes and temples. Feast on local delicacies such as Assam Laksa or Char Kway Teow from hawker stands before walking the guilt off while exploring the world-famous mural trails.

Also Read- 4 Superfoods to Balance Out Your Hormones

Feeling overwhelmed by the paddling trishaws and fuming fragrant? One only needs to take a short bus ride away from town for a stroll along the beaches, a visit to the Tropical Spice Garden or the picturesque Penang Hill. (IANS)