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Kathmandu: The Nepal government tabled two bills in the parliament amidst the instability in the country borne by the devastating earthquake and protesting Madhesis. The “Nepal Reconstruction Authority” bill seeks to rebuild the earthquake-hit country while another seeks to address the concerns of the Madhesis who are protesting for a constitutional amendment.
The reconstruction bill was tabled eight months after the earthquake. The delay was a result of finding a CEO for the authority that was acceptable to the two largest parties in the parliament. The erstwhile Nepali Congress government had introduced an ordinance and appointed Govinda Pokhrel as CEO, but later the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxists-Leninists), the second largest party in parliament, did not support the conversion of the ordinance into a bill.
Over $4 billion dollars was committed by International donors to reconstruct earthquake struck Nepal. However, not a penny has been spent due to the failure to construct a competent authority. Under overwhelming pressure from National and International quarters, the ruling dispensation was compelled to negotiate with other political parties to formulate an acceptable bill.
Another bill tabled in the parliament sought to resolve the simmering agitation of the Madhesis for proportional representation under the new constitution. The bill aims to amend the Constitution to ensure inclusive proportional representation of ethnic minorities in various state entities apart from the Nepal Army and redrawing the electoral constituencies based on population.
The southern plains comprise over 50 percent of the country’s population and if this bill is passed, the plains will have a majority representation in parliament after the next general elections.
However, the Madhesi leaders have opposed the move saying that were not consulted before the tabling of the bill. The agitating Madhesi parties have refused to accept the constitution amendment bill, claiming that it failed to address their concerns.
The government feels that the constitution amendment bill will address some grievances of the agitating Madhesi leading to an end to the ongoing demonstrations at Nepal-India border entry points.
Due to the ongoing agitation, thousands of Nepal-bound cargo vehicles have not been able to enter Nepal from India since the last four months. As a result, Nepal is facing a serious shortage of essential supplies like food, medicines, fuel and other items. (IANS)
As the world adjusts to a post-pandemic reality dominated by technology, public concerns about the dangers of over-consumption are gathering pace. According to a major new survey from Saudi-based cultural institute, Ithra, over one in two (56 per cent) South Asians are worried about the impact of Internet and smartphone use on their health.
According to Ithra's survey, the overwhelming majority (88 per cent) of respondents worldwide agree that technology can be a great force for progress, with the key benefits including access to news, connectivity and freedom. 74 per cent South Asians say technology plays an even more pivotal role as it helps create and generate professional opportunities. The study in partnership with ASDA'A demonstrates tangible wellbeing concerns. Many of these benefits were brought to the fore by the COVID-19 outbreak, with 64 per cent global audiences crediting technology with having helped combat the pandemic. The outcome, however, is that almost everyone (91 per cent) are spending more time online as a result.
According to a major new survey over one in two (56 per cent) South Asians are worried about the impact of Internet and smartphone use on their health. | Photo by Grzegorz Walczak on Unsplash
Despite this underlying positivity, Ithra's findings highlight significant concerns about the damaging effects of unchecked access. In terms of relationships, 42 per cent of respondents believe technology reduces time spent with loved ones, and over a third (37 per cent) blame it for blurring the lines between work and social lives. 55 per cent South Asians state that they would rather live without a close friend than a cell phone. Parenting is also affected, with 44 per cent of people with children admitting to letting them use a computer or smartphone unsupervised, said Ithra.
Turning to technology's impact on health, half (44 per cent) of all people say they are concerned. Respondents in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia appear most worried, with 74 per cent and 56 per cent respectively fearing the negative consequences of the Internet on wellbeing, compared to only 27 per cent in Europe and Central Asia. Consistently with the group's increased device usage, younger people are experiencing more physical symptoms than their elders: 50 per cent of Gen Z respondents complain of tiredness, poor sleep and headaches as a result of digital consumption.
50 per cent of Gen Z respondents complain of tiredness, poor sleep and headaches as a result of digital consumption. | Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash
Close to one third (60 per cent) of South Asian respondents are spending more time online than they would like to. 41 per cent of global respondents admit to getting withdrawal symptoms without access to their devices. Sleep deprivation is also a significant issue, with 51 per cent of respondents skipping sleep every week, and one in four daily, due to use of technology.
(Article originally written by: Siddhi Jain) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Screen time, digital, well being, survey, sleep, tiredness
Long Covid symptoms rarely persist beyond 12 weeks in children and adolescents unlike adults, suggests a review. The review, published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, analysed 14 international studies involving 19,426 children and adolescents who reported persistent symptoms following Covid-19. The findings showed that long covid among children is less common than feared. The mostcommon symptoms reported four to 12 weeks after acute infection were headache, fatigue, sleep disturbance, concentration difficultiesAand abdominal pain.
"It is reassuring that there was little evidence that symptoms persisted longer than 12 weeks suggesting long Covid might be less of a concern in children and adolescents than in adults," Nigel Curtis, Professor at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne, Australia. A recent study, led by University College London and Public Health England researchers, showed that up to one in seven children and young people who caught SARS-CoV-2 may have symptoms linked to the virus about three months later.
Most children with Covid recover within a week, only a small percentage had long-term symptoms. | Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Another study published in the journal Lancet Child and Adolescent Health in August, noted that most children with Covid recover within a week, only a small percentage had long-term symptoms. The study, by researchers at King's College London, showed that less than one in 20 children with symptomatic Covid-19 experienced symptoms lasting longer than four weeks, and almost all children have fully recovered by eight weeks.
However, the existing studies on long Covid in children have not pointed to long lasting symptoms unlike adults. The most common symptoms reported in children have been headaches, tiredness (fatigue), a sore throat, and loss of smell (anosmia). Reassuringly, there have been no reports of serious neurological symptoms such as fits or seizures, impaired concentration or attention, or anxiety.
Yet more studies are required to investigate the risk and impact of long Covid in young people to help guide vaccine policy decisions, said Curtis. "The low risk posed by acute disease means that one of the key benefits of Covid vaccination of children and adolescents might be to protect them from long Covid," he said. "An accurate determination of the risk of long Covid in this age group is therefore crucial in the debate about the risks and benefits of vaccination." Many countries, including the US, Canada, Denmark, Spain, France have rolled out Covid vaccinations for children aged 12 and above. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: covid, symptoms, survey, report, 12 weeks, risks, children
When it comes to the kitchen, our daily rituals and considerations are limited to stocking the larder or finding great recipes to keep our menus interesting. Given that kitchens are the centre of our homes, it is also imperative to think about measures that keep it clean and hygienic. This extends to curbing common ailments that might emanate from cross-contamination of food, or unintended exposure to germs. Food poisoning is chief amongst them and can be caused by unwashed hands, improperly cleaned kitchen surfaces or kitchen storage units.
Food poisoning is chief amongst them and can be caused by unwashed hands, improperly cleaned kitchen surfaces or kitchen storage units. | Photo by Max Delsid on Unsplash
ITC Savlon gives us a look at the most insidious culprits behind ailments caused by cross-contamination as stated in research papers and scientific journals:
*The multiple uses of home kitchens provide the risky potential to introduce an array of pathogens (germs) that can spread to foods, proliferate, and result in illness. Some of the pathogens that have been confirmed in home kitchens include Salmonella, pathogenic Escherichia coli, S. aureus, and Campylobacter
*One of the dirtiest corners of your home is the kitchen sink that can be brimming with all kinds of bacteria -- the reason is that we are not only doing dishes in the sink but we are also inviting bacteria from washing fruits and veggies, juice from raw poultry, etc.
*Hands are a major vehicle for spreading pathogens around the kitchen or cooking corners as they come in direct contact with the raw food multiple times while the meal is prepared. Thus, hand washing is critical to preventing cross-contamination.
*Potentially contaminated areas in the kitchen like refrigerator handles, tap handles, sink drain areas, dishcloths, and sponges are touched during meal preparation. It becomes very important to clean these contact surfaces as studies have shown the presence of germs on such surfaces as well.
*High numbers of E. coli last in dishcloths for at least 48 hours. Therefore, dishcloths and sponges become heavily contaminated with a diverse array of microbes, harbouring and spreading contamination to hands, kitchen equipment, and contact surfaces.
With this awareness of germ-load and risk factors, let's look at tips to avoid such risks. Interventions like the ones listed below will go a long way into making.
Use products with Anti-microbial agents
Ensure cleaning agents have well-known and safe anti-microbial agents. The products with anti-microbial agents are known to be effective against a wide variety of illness-causing germs without having adverse effects on health.
Ensure cleaning agents have well-known and safe anti-microbial agent | Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
Look for combo products that clean and disinfect
Instead of using a two-step time-consuming method where we have to first use a detergent/soap-based cleaner and then reaching for a disinfectant fluid for a wipe down, use a trusted product that has both -- disinfectant as well the cleaner. This product, like the one from Savlon, will save time by combining the actions of a cleaner and a disinfectant in one go as it will easily wipe down the kitchen counter, theknobs of the hob, the cutting board (followed by a quick water rinse), the cabinet handles that we tend to touch the most to reach for masalas and the refrigerator handle at the end of each cooking session. Additionally, fresh fragrances like citrus fragrances add to the clean & disinfected kitchen.
Fresh fragrances like citrus fragrances add to the clean & disinfected kitchen. | Photo by Crystal de Passillé-Chabot on Unsplash
Have a good hand wash readily available in the kitchen
If food is prepared with germ-ridden hands it increases the risk of getting exposed to viruses, bacteria, etc. While we have handwashes planted in bathrooms and near washbasins, we should also ensure that an effective handwash is also kept handy near the kitchen sink. Wash your hands before, and during meal preparation to ensure germs don't find their way onto your dinner plate.
If food is prepared with germ-ridden hands it increases the risk of getting exposed to viruses, bacteria, etc. | Photo by Mélissa Jeanty on Unsplash
By sanitizing your kitchen surfaces and equipment, and having a cleaning ritual in place, you can create a kitchen environment that follows optimal hygiene levels and the importance of this shouldn't be taken lightly.
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: kitchen, hygiene, handwash, savlon, disinfectant, germs, anti-microbal