Loneliness may be a greater public health hazard than obesity: Study

Loneliness and isolation may actually lead to early death, researches say

Loneliness may be a greater public health hazard than obesity, according to a study which found that social isolation may put people at an increased risk of early death.

“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need – crucial to both well-being and survival,” said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, professor at Brigham Young University in the US.

“Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die, and indeed, social isolation or solitary confinement has been used as a form of punishment,” said Holt-Lunstad.

“Yet an increasing portion of the USPopulation now experiences isolation regularly,” she said.

To illustrate the influence of social isolation and loneliness on the risk for premature mortality, Holt-Lunstad presented data from two research reviews.

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The first involved 148 studies, representing more than 300,000 participants, and found that greater social connection is associated with a 50 per cent reduced risk of early death.

The second study, involving 70 studies representing more than 3.4 million individuals from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, examined the role that social isolation, loneliness or living alone might have on mortality.

Researchers found that all three had a significant and equal effect on the risk of premature death, one that was equal to or exceeded the effect of other well-accepted risk factors such as obesity.

“There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,” said Holt-Lunstad.

From missiles to tomatoes: Israel’s importance for India and Modi explained

India and Israel have had clandestine defence ties since the 1962 Indo-China war

Defence, agriculture, trade, diplomacy and water management will dominate talks when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Israel from July 4-6 at the invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Jewish homeland.

Modi is also expected to meet Moshe Holtzberg, a survivor of the 2008 Mumbai 26/11 terrorist attack. Moshe was two years old when the attack happened.

“Ahead of the visit, both countries have prepared a roadmap of joint economic undertakings,” The Haaretz reported on June 29, 2017. “The Israeli cabinet approved a 23-page document continuing scores of bilateral measures and a budget of 280 million shekels (about $79.6 million or Rs 514 crore)–a bigger sum than Israel has ever set aside for China, Africa and Latin America combined. No fewer than 11 ministries were involved in preparing the program.”

Also Read : India-Israel relationship is plateauing. Can PM Modi’s visit change this?

Here are five things that define the India-Israel relationship today:

1) Defence: India is Israel’s top destination for arms exports, buying 41% of Israel’s arms export between 2012 and 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an independent global conflict and arms-research institute.

Israel is India’s third-largest source of arms, with a 7.2% share of imports between 2012 and 2016, next to the USA (14%) and Russia (68%).(more)

No-fly list: Govt proposes maximum 2-year ban on unruly flyers

Draft rules, a first of kind in the world, have three levels with progressively higher sanctions

Almost a month after the country was shocked by the visuals of a parliamentarian assaulting an airline crew member for not being able to provide a business class seat as it didn’t exist, the government took steps to empower airlines to ban unruly passengers.

The centre on Friday released draft rules for a ‘no-fly list’ — a first of its kind in the world — for unruly passengers. The rules allow airlines to bar a passenger from three months to maximum two years depending on the intensity of the offensive behaviour. The government has placed disruptions from flyers into three categories — level-1 will include disruptive behaviour such as physical gestures etc., level-2 will be physically abusive behaviour like pushing, kicking and sexual harassment, and level-3 is for life-threatening behaviour and damage to aircraft operating systems.

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Punishment for unruly behaviour will simultaneously depend on the category of the offence.

The corresponding time of grounding for offenders, would be three months for level-1 and six months for level-2, while level-3 will attract a ban of two years. The new rules will be open for public comments for a month, and will pass through stakeholders’ consultation before being finalised.

“There is no other country in the world with a no-fly list based on safety. There are no-fly lists based on security where people are seen as grave threats and they are not allowed to fly. India is blazing a new trail in this regard,” Jayant Sinha, minister of state for civil aviation said. Read more

Want Rs 2,500 tickets under UDAN? Please book in advance on popular routes

Shimla-Delhi flights are sold out but others are available much below the capped limit of Rs 2,000

Five days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the “Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik”, or UDAN, scheme from Shimla airport, Tushar Patel tried to book tickets from Delhi to the hill station. To his surprise, he couldn’t find the subsidised Rs 2,500 fare. Instead, the cheapest fare in May was Rs 8,049 and on some days, it was as high as Rs 15,090.

Travellers lapped up the cheaper tickets soon after the scheme was launched. “On Delhi-Shimla route, all tickets reserved under UDAN scheme are sold out until June end. What’s available now are few seats that have market-linked rates,” says CS Subbiah, chief executive officer of Alliance Air, an Air India subsidiary.

This is quite a contrast to the other three routes that are operational at present. If you were to take a round trip between Mumbai and Nanded, the fares are Rs 4,000 – below the cap of Rs 2,500 one way. But if you are flying between Hyderabad and Kadapa or Nanded and Hyderabad, you can get a return ticket even for around Rs 2,000.

Shimla stands out among all other operational routes because of the holiday season. “The city is one of the most popular holiday destinations in India, hitherto inaccessible to many tourists due to lack of convenient air connectivity. It is also a state capital. There is a huge unmet demand,” says Amber Dubey, partner and India head of aerospace and defence at global consultancy KPMG.

The number of seats available on the route are much lower, too, because the airport is at a high altitude. “From Delhi to Shimla, the 42-seater aircraft can only carry 35 passengers. Read more

MP becomes first state to formally shift to January-December financial year

PM Modi has also hinted that he favours a January-December financial year

Madhya Pradesh has become the first state in the country to formally switch to a January-December financial year format, with the state Cabinet on Tuesday approving the proposed move.

The next Budget session of the state Assembly will be held in December 2017 or January 2018, while the next financial year will start from January 2018.

“From now onwards, the financial year in the state will be from January to December,” said a statement from the state government.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, meanwhile, has directed all state departments to prepare road maps of work to be done with full details of targets to be met in the next quarter, half-year and full year. After Madhya Pradesh, other BJP-ruled states might also gradually change their financial years from April-March to January-December, officials said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a recent meeting of the Niti Aayog has urged states to share their views on changing the financial year from April-March to January-December.

The Central government had constituted a high-level committee under former Chief Economic Advisor Shanker Acharya to examine “desirability and feasibility” of having a new financial year. The report hasn’t been made public yet. Read more

Wipro Q4 consolidated net rises marginally to Rs 2,267 cr

Board approves bonus issue in the ratio of 1:1; standalone net rises 20% on sequential basis

Wipro, India’s third largest software exporter said fourth quarter profits grew 0.4% to Rs 2,267 crore on revenues of Rs 13,987.5 crore, a jump of 2.6%

The Bengaluru-based IT services firm said IT services revenue grew 2.7% over the previous quarter to $1.96 billion. For the fourth quarter, Wipro had projected growth between $1.9 billion-$1.94 billion or 1-2%.

Wipro has forecast its IT services revenue in the first quarter of the fiscal 2018 to be in the range of $1.92 billion to $1.96 billion.

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“We delivered revenues within the guidance range in our fourth quarter,” said Abidali Z Neemuchwala, Chief Executive Officer of Wipro. “We are confident that the recovery in Energy & Utilities and our demonstrated strength in Digital will help us improve our growth trajectory during the course of the current financial year.”

Wipro’s larger rivals Infosys and TCS too faced business and currency challenges in the quarter.

The company board approved bonus issue in the ratio of 1:1.

Standalone net profit jumped 20% to Rs 2,303 crore sequentially as compared to Rs 1,918 crore in December quarter. (more)