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Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman K. Sivan, left, and Junior Indian Minister for Department of Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh address a news conference in New Delhi. VOA

India (ISRO) said on Tuesday it expected to spend less than 100 billion rupees ($1.43 billion) on its first manned space mission to be launched by 2022, suggesting it is likely to be cheaper than similar projects by the United States and China.

India is cultivating a reputation as a low-cost space power, after the 2014 launch of an unmanned Mars mission at a cost of $74 million, or less than the budget of the Hollywood space blockbuster Gravity and a fraction of the $671 million the U.S. space agency NASA spent on its MAVEN Mars mission.


The Indian manned mission, announced this month by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to be led by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), will aim to send a three-member crew to space for five to seven days in a craft that will be placed in a low Earth orbit of 300-400 km, the Department of Space said in a statement.


Private agencies will also participate in the mission. Flickr commons

“ISRO has developed some critical technologies like re-entry mission capability, crew escape system, crew module configuration, thermal protection system, deceleration and floatation system, sub-systems of life support system etc required for this program,” the statement said.

ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said the agency had “perfected the engineering aspects of the mission,” although it was new to the field of bioscience — dealing with living beings.

Private agencies will also participate in the mission, and ISRO might consider collaborations with space agencies from “friendly countries with advanced space programs,” the statement added.


ISRO is the mastermind behind Mangalyaan mission. Wikimedia Commons

India’s neighbor and old rival China first sent humans to space in 2003, becoming only the third country to have such capability after Russia and the United States.

China’s Shenzhou program is secretively run through military and government agencies and its budget is not public. In 2003, officials said it had cost 18 billion yuan ($2.62 billion).

India’s space program has a total budget of around $4 billion, and Modi’s government hopes recent satellite launches — many on behalf of foreign governments — would improve its prospects of winning a larger share of the more than $300 billion global space industry.


India: Manned Space Mission to Cost $1.4 Billion

Also Read: India’s Government Hosts First Ever CSR Awards

Earlier this month, NASA unveiled its analysis of data collected from lunar orbit by an Indian spacecraft. The findings marked the first time scientists confirmed by direct observation the presence of water on the moon’s surface — in hundreds of patches of ice deposited in the darkest and coldest reaches of its polar regions. (VOA)


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This photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah shows fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation

WASHINGTON — U.S. federal law enforcement agencies and Europol announced dozens of arrests to break up a global operation that sold illegal drugs using a shadowy realm of the internet.

At a Department of Justice news conference Tuesday in Washington, officials said they arrested 150 people for allegedly selling illicit drugs, including fake prescription opioids and cocaine, over the so-called darknet. Those charged are alleged to have carried out tens of thousands of illegal sales using a part of the internet that is accessible only by using specialized anonymity tools.

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Photo by Benjamin Dada on Unsplash

Currently, when users set up WhatsApp Pay in India, the service only verifies the phone number linked to your bank account to enable UPI-based transactions

Facebook-owned WhatsApp may soon ask users to verify their identity to make payments on the platform. According to XDA Developers, new strings spotted in the latest WhatsApp beta release suggest that the messenger will require users to upload verification documents to continue using payments on WhatsApp. Currently, when users set up WhatsApp Pay in India, the service only verifies the phone number linked to your bank account to enable UPI-based transactions. In Brazil, the messenger uses Facebook Pay to validate users' credit or debit cards to facilitate payments.

At the moment, the service doesn't require users to submit any identity verification documents to make payments. However, that might change soon, the report said. WhatsApp v2.21.22.6 beta includes a few new strings which suggest that users might have to submit identity verification documents to continue using payments.

The identity verification might be limited to those who use WhatsApp Pay to receive payments for their businesses. UPI-based apps, like Google Pay, PhonePe and even WhatsApp Pay don't require users to submit any documents to transfer or receive money. However, wallet apps like PayTM do ask for KYC verification as per RBI guidelines.

WhatsApp is yet to make an official announcement regarding this change. Since the new strings have just made their way to the beta version, it might be a while before the company reveals any details, the report said. (IANS/ MBI)


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Photo by Chelson Tamares on Unsplash

Practising good nail hygiene involves following a systematic process to ensure the longevity of our nail health.

By Rajesh U. Pandya

Although the world is recovering from coronavirus pandemic, we must not lower our guards and stay alert when it comes to hand hygiene to curb the spread of the deadly virus. But are we paying sufficient attention to our nail hygiene? Our nails are the index of well-being for our entire body. The manifestations of several critical diseases were first detected within the dirty nails.

The ignorance towards our nails becomes the breeding ground of harmful bacteria. These germs enter our body through our hands because in India we eat through our bare hands. Therefore, nail hygiene is crucial and without it hand hygiene is incomplete.

Practising good nail hygiene involves following a systematic process to ensure the longevity of our nail health. It includes ensuring that food particles, dirt and dust are not sticking to our nails and there is no build-up of nail bacteria. Thankfully, contrary to popular belief, it is not that difficult to maintain good nail hygiene. A little diligence, awareness and attention are sufficient to keep our nails healthy.

Avoiding nail hygiene makes you prone to viral infections
Due to constant negligence towards the cleanliness of the nails, many serious issues like bacterial and viral infections arise. Often these lead to serious health problems. Our hand hygiene is not perfect till the time we clean the undersides of our nails besides washing hands regularly. Most people don't mind sharing nail clippers with others. This is however an extremely unhygienic practice. When we don't share any of our personal hygiene products then why do we share our nail clippers? Nails harbour abundant germs, bacteria and viruses and sharing nail clippers is equivalent to exchanging those microorganisms.

microscopic organisms Nails harbour abundant germs, bacteria and viruses and sharing nail clippers is equivalent to exchanging those microorganisms.| Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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