ADVERTISEMENT

International

Scientists unravel jumping strategies of spiders

ADVERTISEMENT

In a study that could lead to new generation of micro-robots inspired by mature, scientists have unlocked the secrets of how some predatory spiders catch their prey while hunting by successfully training one to jump different distances and heights for the first time.

Researchers from the University of Manchester in Britain trained the spider, which they nicknamed Kim, to jump different heights and distances on a man-made platform in a laboratory environment.

Kim belongs to a species of jumping arachnid known as Phidippus regius, or 'Regal Jumping Spider'.

The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that Kim can leap up to six times its body length from a standing start. The best a human can manage is about 1.5 body lengths.

"The force on the legs at take-off can be up to 5 times the weight of the spider - this is amazing and if we can understand these biomechanics we can apply them to other areas of research," said Mostafa Nabawy, lead author of the study.

The researchers used 3D CT scanning and high-speed, high-resolution cameras to record, monitor and analyse a spider's movement and behaviour.

The results showed that this particular species of spider uses different jumping strategies depending on the jumping challenge it is presented with.

For example, to jump shorter, close-range distances Kim favoured a faster, lower trajectory which uses up more energy, but minimises flight time. This makes the jump more accurate and more effective for capturing its prey.

But, if Kim is jumping a longer distance or to an elevated platform, perhaps to traverse rough terrain, she jumps in the most efficient way to reduce the amount of energy used.

Insects and spiders jump in a number of different ways, either using a spring-like mechanism, direct muscle forces or using internal fluid pressure.

Scientists have known for more than 50 years that spiders use internal hydraulic pressure to extend their legs, but what is not known is if this hydraulic pressure is actively used to enhance or replace muscle force when the spiders jump.

"Our results suggest that whilst Kim can move her legs hydraulically, she does not need the additional power from hydraulics to achieve her extraordinary jumping performance. Thus, the role of hydraulic movement in spiders remains an open question," explained Bill Crowther, co-author of the study.

IANS

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

India, Guatemala agree to support each other for non-permanent membership of UNSC

ADVERTISEMENT
India and Guatemala have agreed to support each other’s candidature for Non-Permanent Membership in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
 
Guatemala will support India’s candidature for UNSC membership for 2021-22 while New Delhi will push for Guatemala’s candidature in 2031-32.
 
This decision was one of the several outcomes of extensive talks Vice- President of India M Venkaiah Naidu held with the President, Vice President and Parliament Speaker of Guatemala here yesterday.
 
Kickstarting India’s high-level outreach to the Latin American countries, Mr Naidu held discussions on a wide range of issues spread over two hours with top leaders of Guatemala. The Vice-President’s visit is the highest level from either side since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1972.
 
“India is keen on enhancing its engagement with Latin America and looks at Guatemala, the most populous and biggest economy in Central America, as the gateway. My visit to Guatemala is a clear indication of this thinking in New Delhi.
 
"Going by trade patterns and consumption needs, we are complementary in nature and not competitors and need to take our relationship to a new high taking advantage of emerging opportunities in both countries for mutual benefit,” Mr Naidu said.
 
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said his country could benefit from the ‘’successful economic story of India” and stressed on the need for improving bilateral engagement in various fields.
 
Referring to India’s soft power, he said he was aware of the popular TV serial “Kaun Banega Karodpati” and films like “The Slum Dog Millionaire” and “The Life of Pi”. He also referred to the huge popularity of Indian made two-wheelers given their quality and after-sales service in Guatemala.
 
After talks with Mr Naidu and before leaving for Costa Rica on an official visit, he directed his deputy for detailed talks with the visiting dignitary for exploring new avenues of cooperation with India.
 
Mr Naidu later held detailed discussions with Guatemalan Vice-President Dr Jateth Cabrera Franco and Speaker of Parliament Alvaro Arzu Escobar.
 
Leaders of both countries agreed that India and Guatemala are faced with similar challenges including governance issues, terrorism in different forms, poverty and economic disparities and democracy is the best form of governance to address them.
 
Dr Franco noted that contrary to the perception their government was making determined efforts to check corruption and his country was facing a different kind of terrorism in the form of criminal gangs.
 
Guatemalan Speaker Escobar said, “India’s vibrant democracy is a role model in harmonizing vast diversities and offers a lot to learn and India’s economic success is equally inspiring”. Mr. Naidu suggested setting up of a Parliamentary Friendship Group to promote interaction among MPs of both sides.
 
During the talks, the Indian side agreed to Guatemala’s request for supplying solar panels to its airports. After discussions and in the presence of both the Vice-Presidents, both the sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the training of diplomats and a Letter of Intent for training Guatemalan English Teachers in India. These agreements will be valid for three years and will be extended thereafter if required.
 
During the talks, Mr Naidu said, “In the integrating world order, all the countries need to work together for mutual benefit and for this reason, India is keen about enhancing its engagement with Latin America. India is now making rapid strides with a stable government and able leadership with a focus on reforms and performance for transformation. India and Latin American countries could benefit hugely from increased cooperation for enhanced trade and investments”.
 
At the banquet hosted for the visiting delegation, Dr Franco invited India to send a delegation to the Conference of Ibero America to be held in Guatemala City in November this year which is to be attended by all the Latin American Countries besides Spain and Portugal.
 
This is the first time India got such an invitation for the conference held once in three years. Mr Naidu invited Guatemala to join the International Solar Alliance stating it has found wide appeal with 61 countries already joining it. 
 
Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Jaswant Sinh Bhabor and Members of Parliament Anil Desai (RS-Shiv Sena), Chhaya Verma (RS-Congress), Tiruchi Siva (RS-DMK) and Kamlesh Paswan (LS-BJP) besides Preeti Saran, Secretary, External Affairs and senior officials participated in the delegation level discussions.
 
NNN
 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Pakistani minister injured in assassination attempt

Ahsan Iqbal
Ahsan Iqbal
Pakistan Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was shot and injured in an assassination attempt during a rally in Narowal district of the country's Punjab province on Sunday, police said.
 
District Police Officer of Narowal Imran Kishwar said a local resident opened fire at the minister soon after he concluded his speech during a rally in Kanjrur town of the district, Dawn reported.
 
The gunman Abid Hussain, 22, managed to fire just one shot that hit the minister's right arm. The suspect was arrested by the police soon after he fired the shot, the officer said.
 
The minister was rushed to the District Hospital in Narowal where he is undergoing surgery. He is out of danger, the officer said.
 
Chief Minister of Punjab Province Shahbaz Sharif sent a helicopter to shift the minister to a hospital in Lahore, the provincial capital of Punjab.
 
Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi condemned the attack and ordered the police to trace the planners behind the attack.
 
Iqbal is considered among the top brains of Pakistan's political elite. He has two portfolios, including minister of interior and minister of planning, development and reform.
 
IANS
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Six Indians abducted in Afghanistan, Taliban blamed

ADVERTISEMENT
Militants abducted seven people, including six Indians, on Sunday in Afghanistan's Baghlan province, officials said, adding that talks were on to get them freed.
 
The kidnapping took place in Bagh-e-Shamal village, Tolo News reported.
 
Baghlan Governor Abdulhai Nemati said that those abducted worked for an Indian company KEC. The seventh person who was seized was an Afghan.
 
Nemati said the Taliban had done the kidnapping and moved the group to the Dand-e-Shahabuddin area of Pul-e-Khumri city.
 
He said they contacted the Taliban, whose representatives said the abduction took place because the insurgents thought that the seven were Afghan government employees.
 
Nemati said they were trying to rescue the victims with the help of tribal elders.
 
According to local officials, the incident occurred while the employees were travelling to the area where the company has a contract for an electricity sub-station.
 
Kidnapping of locals for extortion is common in Afghanistan. Most of those abducted have been Afghans but foreign workers have also become targets.
 
In 2016, Indian aid worker Judith D'Souza was kidnapped in Kabul. She was released after 40 days.
 
IANS
 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

NASA's InSight spacecraft blasts off to Mars

ADVERTISEMENT

NASA's InSight mission to study the deep interior of Mars blasted off to the Red Planet on Saturday aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.

"Humanity's next mission to Mars has left the pad! NASAInSight heads into space for an approximately six-month journey to Mars where it will take the planet's vital signs and help us understand how rocky planets formed," NASA tweeted soon after the launch at 7.05 AM (4.35 PM. India time).

InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all rocky planets formed, including Earth and its Moon. The lander's instruments include a seismometer to detect marsquakes and a probe that will monitor the flow of heat from the planet's interior.

InSight will be the first mission to peer deep beneath the Martian surface, studying the planet's interior by measuring its heat output and listening for marsquakes, which are seismic events similar to earthquakes on Earth.

It will use the seismic waves generated by marsquakes to develop a map of the planet's deep interior.

The findings of Mars' formation will help better understand how other rocky planets, including Earth and its Moon, were created.

IANS

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

6.9-magnitude quake jolts Hawaii as residents flee volcanic eruptions

 
Hawaii residents evacuated as volcano erupts
 
 
A massive quake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale jolted Hawaii as residents were evacuating from their homes following a volcanic eruption that has not showed any signs of slowing down, authorities said.
 
The temblor that struck 16 km southwest of Leilani Estates at 12.32 p.m., on Friday, was one of more than 110 earthquakes that hit the island since the Kilauea volcano, one of the world's most active, erupted on Wednesday, reports CNN. 
 
US Geological Survey (USGS) seismologist Jana Pursley said there have been 119 earthquakes on the Big Island since Thursday afternoon. 
 
The USGS said Friday's 6.9 quake was the most powerful on the island since 1975.
 
About 14,000 customers of Hawaii Electric Light lost power immediately after the earthquake.
 
The quake has knocked out power to residents who were already dealing with mandatory evacuation orders, molten rock and high levels of sulphur dioxide in the air.
 
The situation wasn't getting any better, Civil Defence Administrator Talmadge Magno told reporters on Friday afternoon.
 
"Activity continues. It doesn't look like it is slowing down," CNN quoted Magno as saying.
 
He said five volcanic vents have opened and indicated that at least one house and another structure were destroyed by lava.
 
It is highly unusual to see the vents so far from Kilauea volcano, he said.
 
Hundreds of people have evacuated from Leilani Estates, a community of about 1,700 people, and Lanipuna Gardens. 
 
Harry Kim, Mayor of Hawaii County, said the government will support residents, including those who want to go back to their homes to pick up some belongings.
 
"We have to work with them as to how we are going to minimise (the inconveniences) as best as possible," he said. 
 
Kim said people who want to check on their homes would be allowed into the neighbourhoods.
 
Cracks in Kilauea volcano's rift zone -- an area of fissures miles away from the summit -- erupted on Thursday and early Friday, spurting lava near the island's eastern edge.
 
Video posted on social media showed lava spewing several feet into the air from a new crack in a Leilani Estates street. 
 
Aerial videos showed lava searing a long orange and smoky line through a wooded area.
 
Hawaii Governor David Ige has activated the National Guard to help with evacuations and security.
 
IANS
 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Nobel Prize in Literature 2018 cancelled after sexual assault scandal

ADVERTISEMENT

The Swedish Academy that decides the Nobel Prize for Literature said on Friday that it won't announce the award for 2018 in the wake of a sexual and financial scandal that has engulfed the organisation.

The Academy, one of Sweden's most highly respected institutions, made the announcement on Friday morning following a meeting of its remaining 10 active members late on Thursday.

The decision came after a string of sexual assault allegations made against French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, a leading cultural figure in Sweden and husband of Academy member and poet Katarina Frostenson. Six Academy members, including her, stepped down following the crisis.

For the first time in 75 years, the jury will not unveil a winner this year. The Academy said it will now announce the 2018 winner along with the 2019 winner.

"We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the Academy before the next laureate can be announced," Academy's Permanent Secretary Anders Olsson said in a statement. He said the Academy was acting "out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation and the general public".

The Nobel Foundation said in a press release that "the crisis in the Swedish Academy has adversely affected the Nobel Prize. Their decision (the Swedish Academy) underscores the seriousness of the situation and will help safeguard the long-term reputation of the Nobel Prize".

"None of this impacts the awarding of the 2018 Nobel Prizes in other prize categories," the foundation said.

Arnault, who ran a cultural project with funding from the Swedish Academy, has been accused by 18 women of sexual assault and harassment, first reported in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter in late 2017. Several of the alleged incidents reportedly happened in properties belonging to the Academy.

Arnault is also facing the accusation that he touched Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria inappropriately at a Swedish Academy event over a decade ago. Another accusation is that he leaked the names of seven former Nobel winners.

He has denied all the allegations.

The Academy later cut all ties with Arnault and the organisation voted against removing his wife Frostenson from its 18-person committee. There were additional claims that some Academy staff and members' relatives had experienced "unwanted intimacy" at the Arnault's hands.

Followed it, there was a wave of resignations including Frostenson and Academy head Sara Danius.

The Academy is also under fire for contravening its own conflict of interest regulations by providing funding to the Kulturplats Forum, the cultural centre run by Arnault and Frostenson.

Carl-Henrik Heldin, Chairman of the Board of the Nobel Foundation, said that they now expect "the Academy to put all its efforts into restoring its credibility and called on members to show greater openness towards the outside world in the future".

The Nobel Prize for Literature was postponed on seven previous occasions since its launch in 1901, six of which occurred during World War I and II.

IANS

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Bug found, Twitter asks all users to change password

ADVERTISEMENT
Twitter has urged its 336 million users to change their passwords after the company discovered a bug that stored passwords in plain text in an internal system.
 
"As a precaution", Twitter on Thursday recommended its users to consider changing their password on all services where they have used the same password.
 
The company also assured it has fixed the problem and have seen "no indication of breach or misuse", the Guardian reported. 
 
On trying to login, a pop-up message said: "Keeping your account secure. When you set a password for your Twitter account, we use technology that masks it so no one at the company can see it. 
 
"We recently identified a bug that stored passwords unmasked in an internal log. We have fixed the bug, and our investigation shows no indication of breach or misuse by anyone.
 
"Out of an abundance of caution, we ask that you consider changing your password on all services where you've used this password." 
 
"We are very sorry this happened," said Twitter's Chief Technology Officer, Parag Agrawal, in a blogpost. "We recognise and appreciate the trust you place in us, and are committed to earning that trust every day."
 
Companies with good security practices typically store user passwords in a form that cannot be read. 
 
In Twitter's case, passwords are masked through a process called hashing, which replaces the actual password with a random set of numbers and letters that are stored in the company's system, the Gaurdian reported.
 
"This allows our systems to validate your account credentials without revealing your password," said Agrawal. "This is an industry standard."
 
"Due to a bug, passwords were written to an internal log before completing the hashing process. We found this error ourselves, removed the passwords, and are implementing plans to prevent this bug from happening again."
 
In an initial tweet, Agarwal said the company did not have to tell users about the bug, but nevertheless did. But on receiving criticism for saying so, he followed it up with an apology, the Time reported.
 
"I should not have said we didn't have to share. I have felt strongly that we should. My mistake," he tweeted.
 
Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that he believes "it's important for us to be open about this internal defect".
 
Agrawal advised people to change their passwords, enable two-factor authentication on their Twitter account and use a password manager to create strong, unique passwords on every service they use.
 
IANS
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Sex scandal jeopardizes Nobel Prize for Literature

ADVERTISEMENT

The Nobel Prize for Literature, one of the oldest and most prestigious cultural awards, could be cancelled in 2018 as the institution that awards it is mired in a sex and financial scandal.

The Swedish Academy is under fire for how it dealt with alleged sexual misconduct by French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, who is married to a former member of the centuries-old institution, the BBC reported on Thursday.

The Academy was scheduled to decide whether this year's prize will go ahead, with some members reportedly concerned it was in no state to make such an award.

In November, inspired by the #MeToo campaign, 18 women made allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Arnault. Several of the alleged incidents reportedly happened in properties belonging to the Academy. Arnault has denied all the allegations.

The organisation then voted against removing his wife, the poet and writer Katarina Frostenson from its 18-person committee.

The following day, the Academy's Permanent Secretary Sara Danius said the institution had cut all ties with Arnault in light of the reported allegations and additional claims that some Academy staff and members' relatives had experienced "unwanted intimacy" at his hands.

Till now, six members of the Swedish Academy have stepped down, including Danius.

The academy is also under fire for contravening its own conflict of interest regulations by providing funding to the Kulturplats Forum, a cultural centre run by Arnault and Frostenson.

An independent investigation by a Swedish law firm revealed that "unacceptable behaviour by (Arnault) in the form of unwanted intimacy had indeed taken place, but the knowledge was not widely spread in the Academy".

But the team of lawyers also discovered that the Academy had received a letter in 1996 outlining alleged sexual assault at Arnault's cultural forum, indicating that November was not the first time that some members were made aware that the photographer's name had been connected with misconduct.

In its statement, the organization said it "deeply regrets that the letter was shelved and no measures taken to investigate the charges".

Ebba Witt-Brattstroem, the former wife of Horace Engdahl, Academy's Permanent Secretary from 1999 to 2009 and currently a member of the Nobel Committee for Literature, had also cast doubt on the claim that its members were largely unaware of Arnault's alleged misconduct.

The flurry of withdrawals is potentially catastrophic for the 230-year-old academy, whose members, elected by secret ballot, must be approved by the King and traditionally hold their positions for life.

In 1943 -- the last time the literature prize was postponed -- was the height of World War II and the Nazis ruled much of the European continent.

IANS

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Nine dead in US military plane crash

ADVERTISEMENT
All nine people on board an aging US cargo plane died when the aircraft, making its final military flight, nose-dived into a highway in the US state of Georgia, an official said.
 
They were aboard the C-130 plane when it came down on Wednesday beside the highway intersection near the airport in the coastal city of Savannah.
 
The plane belonged to Puerto Rico Air National Guard and was on a training flight, the National Guard said. All the airmen were from Puerto Rico, an official said.
 
Images shared on social media showed wreckage engulfed in flames and black smoke spewing into the sky, the BBC reported.
 
It was flying from Georgia to Tucson in Arizona, where it was to be decommissioned. The plane was at least 50 years old, according to an official familiar with the aircraft.
 
"Nine crew members died in the accident, but until their families and relatives are notified, we cannot give their names," Brig. Gen. Isabelo Rivera said. "Our prayers, thoughts and condolences to the families and loved ones of our aviators."
 
One witness said the plane made a "loud, strange noise" just before the crash, while another said the ground shook as if a bomb went off when it hit.
 
Video from a business near the crash showed the horrifying final moments of the hulking plane, a version normally outfitted to do weather reconnaissance, a CNN report said.
 
The jet, with four turboprop engines on its overhead wing, banked left as it came down. The plane then headed straight down behind trees. Seconds later a fireball and thick black smoke appeared.
 
Puerto Rico's Governor sent his condolences. "While we are waiting for more information regarding this unfortunate accident, my thoughts and those of Beatriz are with the families of the crew..., " Governor Ricardo Rossello said.
 
President Donald Trump tweeted: "Please join me in thoughts and prayers for the victims, their families and the great men and women of the National Guard."
 
IANS
 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Cambridge Analytica is shutting down as data-sharing scandal drives clients away

ADVERTISEMENT
Cambridge Analytica, the political consultancy firm at the centre of the Facebook data-sharing scandal, is shutting down, media reported.
 
The firm was accused of improperly obtaining personal information on behalf of political clients.
 
According to Facebook, data of up to 87 million of its users was harvested by a quiz app and then passed on to the political consultancy.
 
The social network said its own probe into the matter would continue, the BBC reported.
 
"This doesn't change our commitment and determination to understand exactly what happened and make sure it doesn't happen again," said a spokesman.
 
"We are continuing with our investigation in cooperation with the relevant authorities."
 
Clarence Mitchell, a spokesman for Cambridge Analytica, referred the BBC to a statement on the firm's website.
 
"Over the past several months, Cambridge Analytica has been the subject of numerous unfounded accusations and, despite the company's efforts to correct the record, has been vilified for activities that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas," it said.
 
"Despite Cambridge Analytica's unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully... the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company's customers and suppliers.
 
"As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business."
 
The statement added that its parent company SCL Elections was also commencing bankruptcy proceedings.
 
The UK's Financial Times newspaper said it has spoken to another ex-employee of Cambridge Analytica, on condition of anonymity, who said they were sure the company would emerge "in some other incarnation or guise".
 
The Observer journalist whose investigation first exposed the data privacy scandal has suggested that the public remain sceptical.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
The chair of a UK parliament committee investigating the firm's activities also raised concerns about Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections' move.
 
"They are party to very serious investigations and those investigations cannot be impeded by the closure of these companies," said parliamentarian Damian Collins.
 
"I think it's absolutely vital that the closure of these companies is not used as an excuse to try and limit or restrict the ability of the authorities to investigate what they were doing," the BBC quoted Collins as saying.
 
In March, Channel 4 aired undercover footage of Cambridge Analytica's CEO, Alexander Nix, giving examples of how the firm could swing elections around the world with underhand tactics such as smear campaigns and honey traps.
 
The UK-based company, which denies any wrongdoing, has an extensive record of working abroad on many election campaigns, including in Italy, Kenya and Nigeria.
 
Cambridge Analytica's chief executive Alexander Nix was suspended in March after the Channel 4 News footage was aired.
 
In April, Cambridge Analytica said it had only licensed 30 million records belonging to US citizens from the quiz app's creator Aleksandr Kogan, and that they had not been used in the US presidential election.
 
The firm added that it had since deleted all the information despite claims to the contrary by others.
 
IANS
 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Woman flies from UK to India on husband's passport

ADVERTISEMENT
In a bizarre incident, a woman flew on an Emirates flight from Manchester to New Delhi on her husband's passport, without the error being noticed by the airport or the flight authorities.
 
A relative of the passenger Geeta Modha said the "shocking" error was spotted by Modha after reaching the New Delhi airport, BBC reported on Tuesday.
 
According to the relative, Modha had "accidentally" picked up her husband Dilip's passport when she set off on a business trip to India on April 23.
 
The mistake was only discovered when she tried to fill in an immigration form in New Delhi. She was refused entry into India and had to return to Dubai on the next available flight, the relative said.
 
Modha was then "stranded" at Dubai airport for a night until Emirates could get her passport on the next flight from Manchester.
 
The businesswoman, who runs Alankar House bridal shop in Rusholme, Greater Manchester, then had to book another flight to New Delhi.
 
Her relative said: "It is shocking. She was very, very worried. Imagine getting all the way to (India) and realising you had used someone else's passport."
 
She said had check-in staff spotted the error Modha "would have had enough time" to get her own passport to the airport as she arrived three hours before she was due to fly.
 
Modha is understood to have used an overseas citizenship of India card during a stop in Dubai. The relative added it was a "huge inconvenience" to her trip.
 
Manchester Airport said it was the airline's responsibility to check identification. 
 
Emirates apologised saying its "usual high standards were not followed". 
 
"In this instance, our usual high standards were not followed," the company said, adding that it was "investigating the incident and will ensure a review of training for the staff involved".
 
IANS
 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

China willing to break new ground in Sino-India ties

ADVERTISEMENT
China on Wednesday said it is ready to break new ground in Sino-India ties and follow through on the consensus reached between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at their meeting in Wuhan.
 
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the "one-of-its-kind" summit between India and China created a new model for exchanges between the two leaders and opened up new ground for bilateral relations.
 
"China is willing to work with India to follow through on the consensus reached between Xi and Modi, take this meeting as an opportunity to break new ground in the mutually beneficial cooperation," Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
 
Modi and Xi had freewheeling talks in the Chinese central city of Wuhan where they agreed that a peaceful border between the countries was a key to keep a good bilateral relationship. 
 
"The two leaders held a candid exchange of views in a relaxing and friendly atmosphere. They had an exchange of views on international relations, Sino-India ties, cooperation in various areas and reached important consensus," Hua said. 
 
The spokesperson added that Modi and Xi "identified the important principles guiding the development of China-India relations and drew up a blueprint for comprehensive cooperation".
 
Asked if India and China were working to set up a hotline between their military commanders, Hua said: "We should put the border issue in a proper situation in the bilateral relations and properly manage these issues, not enlarge them."
 
"And we should step up the exchanges between the relevant areas which will help to properly resolve such kind of differences. We are willing to maintain communication and enhance communication with relevant parties."
 
IANS
 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

27 killed in twin blasts in Nigeria

ADVERTISEMENT
At least 27 people have been killed and 56 injured after two blasts rocked Nigeria's Mubi town in Adamawa, officials said.
 
Two suicide bombers have carried out the attacks on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported citing Ahmad Sajoh, Adamawa state Commissioner of Information and Strategy.
 
The first blast took place inside the mosque, while the second bomber detonated his improvised explosive device near a clothes market outside the same mosque.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Eating lots of rice may advance start of menopause

ADVERTISEMENT

Eating lots of refined carbohydrates, particularly white pasta and rice, may advance the start of menopause by about one-and-a-half years, warns a study.

The findings, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, showed that high intake of healthy foods, such as oily fish and fresh legumes, such as peas and green beans, was associated with a later onset of menopause.

"There are a number of causes that have been considered for the relationship between age and start of menopause, such as genetic factors or behavioural and environmental exposures. But there are fewer studies that look at the impact of diet," said study lead author Yashvee Dunneram, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leeds in Britain.

The study used data from more than 14,150 women living in Britain. Along with a detailed diet questionnaire, an initial survey collected information on reproductive history and health.

When a follow-up survey and questionnaire were conducted four years later, the researchers were able to assess the diets of the women who had experienced the onset of a natural menopause in the interim.

The average age at the start of the menopause for women in Britain is 51 years.

More than 900 women between the ages of 40 and 65 had experienced a natural start of their menopause at the time of the follow-up survey, meaning they had not had menstrual periods for at least 12 consecutive months and menopause had not been brought on by such things as cancer, surgery or pharmaceutical treatments.

Analysis of their diet showed that high intakes of oily fish were associated with a delayed start of menopause by nearly three years.

A diet with lots of refined pasta and rice showed that menopause was more likely to occur one-and-a-half years earlier than average.

"The age at which menopause begins can have serious health implications for some women," study co-author Janet Cade, Professor at the University of Leeds, said.

Previous studies have suggested that earlier onset of menopause is associated with lower bone density, osteoporosis and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, while later menopause has been associated with a higher risk for breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers.

Even though the new study is observational and cannot prove any cause, the researchers offer some possible explanations behind their findings, according to a BBC report on Tuesday.

For example, legumes contain antioxidants, which may preserve menstruation for longer.

Similarly, omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, also stimulate antioxidant capacity in the body.

On the other hand, refined carbs increase the risk of insulin resistance, which can interfere with sex hormone activity and raise oestrogen levels.

This might increase the number of menstrual cycles leading to the egg supply running out faster, the BBC report said.

IANS

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Harimau Shakti, first ever joint Army exercise on Malaysian soil begins

ADVERTISEMENT
Exercise Harimau Shakti 2018, Indian Army’s first ever joint exercise with the Malaysian Army commenced here yesterday at Wardieburn Camp, with a brief and impressive handing over of troops ceremony.
 
Lt Col Irwan Ibrahim, commanding officer of the 1st Royal Ranger Regiment of Malaysian Army, welcomed the Indian contingent and extended his good wishes to the Indian and Malaysian troops for a successful and mutually beneficial joint exercise.         
 
The first phase of the two-week-long joint military exercise began with the formal handing over of the Regimental Flag to the Malaysian Army signifying merging of the two contingents under one Commander. 
 
The first day also saw briefings to the joint contingent on Malaysian country brief, exercise settings and security aspects. The day ended with a keenly contested friendly volleyball match, in which the visitors emerged victorious after a stiff competition.
 
Both armies stand to hone their tactical and technical skills in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations under the UN mandate. Due emphasis will be laid on increasing interoperability between forces which is crucial to the success of any joint operation.         
 
Exercise Harimau Shakti is a positive step in the bilateral relations between the two nations. The conduct of such exercises in future will enable mutual capacity enhancement and assist in building strong bonds of friendship and cooperation between India and Malaysia.
 
NNN
 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Indian-descent woman killed in New York fire

ADVERTISEMENT
A heroic Indian-descent woman has died here along with her parents while trying to save others in a burning house.
 
Police identified the woman as Harleen Kaur, 32, and her parents as Pyara Kainth, 87, and Ragvir Kaur Kainth, 82.
 
Eight others, including her two children whom the woman first saved, were injured in the blaze that started around midnight on Saturday. The injured were hospitalised on Sunday.
 
Harleen Kaur's brother Param Singh told ABC Channel 7 TV that she had managed to come out of the burning house with her two children but ran back inside to help save others.
 
The eight hospitalised persons included an eight-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy.
 
Officials said that three of the injured were in critical condition.
 
The fire in the Queens Village neighbourhood of the city, which has a large immigrant population, took 138 firefighters and over 90 minutes to put out, officials said.
 
The cause of the blaze was being investigated but Fire Department Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala told reporters there was no immediate indication of anything suspicious.
 
Singh told CBS Channel 2 TV that 11 members of the extended family had gathered in the house to celebrate an upcoming wedding.
 
"It was my parents, grandparents, uncle, my aunt, my brother-in-law, my sister, my nephew, my niece" who were in the house, he told the TV station.
 
IANS
 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Report says Twitter sold users' data to CA researcher, company denies

ADVERTISEMENT
After the massive Facebook data scandal, a report in The Sunday Telegraph claimed that micro-blogging platform Twitter had also sold users' data to a Cambridge Analytica (CA) researcher who collected the data of 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge -- a charge that Twitter denied on Monday.
 
According to the report, Twitter sold public data access "for one day" in 2015 to Aleksandr Kogan, then a psychology researcher with University of Cambridge, and his company Global Science Research (GSR).
 
"GSR paid for one day of access in 2015, Twitter said, and scooped up a 'random sample' of public tweets covering a period between December 2014 and April 2015. Twitter added that it 'did not find any access' to private information," the report noted.
 
In a statement given to IANS, Twitter said that based on the recent reports, they conducted their own internal review and did not find any access to private data about people who use Twitter. 
 
"Unlike many other services, Twitter is public by its nature. People come to Twitter to speak publicly, and public Tweets are viewable and searchable by anyone," a Twitter spokesperson told IANS. 
 
"In 2015, GSR did have one-time API access to a random sample of public Tweets from a five-month period from December 2014 to April 2015," he added. 
 
The API access was for one day to pull a random sample from five months of "public" Tweets. According to sources, this is an important distinction from the way CA used other platforms like Facebook to improperly share users' data, including that of its CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
 
According to The Sunday Telegraph report, Kogan said the Twitter data had only been used to create "brand reports" and "survey extender tools" and that he had not violated Twitter's policies.
 
However, "the most immediate concern is that GSR could theoretically have correlated Facebook and Twitter data. Still, this shows just how comprehensive the data collection was," technology portal Engadget reported.
 
The quiz app "thisisyourdigitallife" developed by Kogan and his firm GSR, collected data from millions of Facebook users without their consent in 2014-2015 which was later shared with the British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.
 
The leaked data was said to be inappropriately used by Cambridge Analytica in activities connected with US President Donald Trump's election campaign in 2016.
 
Twitter said it had banned GSR and Cambridge Analytica from buying data or running adverts on the website and that no private data had been accessed.
 
"Twitter has also made the policy decision to off-board advertising from all accounts owned and operated by Cambridge Analytica.
 
"This decision is based on our determination that Cambridge Analytica operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices," The Telegraph reported, citing a Twitter spokesperson.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
In his first interview after the Facebook data scandal broke out, Kogan told CBS News earlier this month that he was not sure whether he ever read Facebook's developers' policy.
 
"The idea that we stole the data, I think, is technically incorrect. I mean, they created these great tools for developers to collect the data.
 
"And they made it very easy. I mean, this was not a hack. This was, 'Here's the door. It's open. We're giving away the groceries. Please collect them'," Kogan told the TV show host.
 
Kogan said he believes his assumptions were misguided and that what he did in 2014 "was not right and was not wise".
 
Twitter reported a revenue of $665 million -- an increase of 21 per cent year-over-year (yoy) -- in the first quarter of 2018. The micro-blogging platform now has 336 million average monthly active users (MAUs).
 
As the deadline for European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) inches closer, Twitter has also updated its "Terms and Privacy Policy" to give its users more transparency over their data.
 
Twitter is giving users more control over how it shares certain non-public data. The updates will take effect on May 25, when the GDPR comes into force, and will apply globally.
 
IANS
 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

How renewables are powering, empowering Germany's rural economy

ADVERTISEMENT

Tobias Huster is a young grape cultivator and winemaker in Ingelheim in the countryside of this town who wants to expand his family business beyond 200,000 wine bottles annually.

But with farm earnings falling owing to frequent bad weather, growers like him in the predominantly rural federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, known for picturesque towns and fascinating castles, are reaping the benefits of tapping renewable sources too.

"There is up to 30% less harvest in extreme years, mainly owing to frost and drought. Changes in climatic conditions are noticeable and re-occurring frequently," Huster, 38, told this visiting IANS correspondent.

"This April one can feel the pinch of the sun. It's bad for my vineyards, but not for my solar panels," he said, pointing to the rooftops of farm buildings carpeted with photovoltaic panels.

Solar and wind energy have now become irreplaceable sources of electricity in this area of western Germany, between the Mosel and the Rhine rivers, a hub for agriculture and wineries dotted with small mountain ranges.

The Huster winery has a rooftop 80KW photovoltaic plant set up with an outlay of 90,000 euros. The family cashes in on selling surplus renewable power to the regional grid.

The Husters are one of the thousands of beneficiaries of the citizen-owned, highly-decentralised energy system across Germany named "Energiewende", which aims to phase out nuclear power by 2022 with the development of renewable energy with the financial help of local banks and regional soft-loan programmes.

Rhineland-Palatinate is a front-runner state in citizen's involvement and in setting up ambitious renewable targets. Its Rhein-Hunsruck district, with about 102,000 inhabitants, generated from local renewable sources approximately three times the amount of electricity it consumed.

Through the citizen energy cooperatives, which banks on the self-help concept of "money of the village for the village" evolved by cooperative pioneer Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen, 268 wind power stations with a capacity of 748MW are generating more than one billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year in Rhein-Hunsruck alone.

"The income from wind farms has helped us to realise sustainable village development concepts for our citizens," an elated Volker Wichter, Mayor of the Neuerkirch municipality in the region, told IANS.

Most of the municipalities receive seven million euros of annual leasing income for the duration of 20-25 years. This income is used for securing public services of general interest, explained Rhein-Hunsruck's former chief executive, Bertram Fleck.

"Twenty years ago we had practically no energy generation in our region. Twenty years on, renewable energy investments worked like a jackpot for local businesses," he said.

"We have laid focus on energy efficiency in old and new buildings. More than 3,000 rooftops have been equipped with photovoltaic installations. Local communities have leased out their land for installing wind power plants and they are annually getting hundreds of thousands of euros," Fleck added.

Through income from leasing local land to wind park operators, the Neuerkirch municipality has commissioned the largest district heating network using solar thermal and biomass energy for 150 households, abandoning the old fossil fuel system.

To be fair, the clamour against wind parks and new power lines is also growing louder across Germany, where a third of the electricity used comes from renewable sources. Citizens and green activists question the impact of wind turbines on human health, wildlife and the environment.

"Government policies have enabled fast-paced development of wind power at the expense of birds, especially the threatened species like the red kite," Cosima Lindemann, a senior expert with Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, told IANS.

Bjorn Peters, who heads an anti-wind power citizen alliance with a support of 9,000-plus members, favoured a "controlled and moderate energy transition" in Rhineland-Palatinate and the neighbouring Saarland state.

"We are demanding that a minimum distance of 2 km be set between the wind turbines and nearby residential buildings. Moreover, nature reserves and the bird migration corridors should be excluded from wind power expansion," he said.

The bright side of the energy revolution is that by 2015 around 100 million euros had been infused into the local economy of Rhineland-Palatinate for the construction of renewable energy plants, which now creates a regional value of more than 40 million euros per year.

Built in 2015, the 360m-long and 100m above ground Geierlay bridge between the towns of Morsdorf and Sosberg is a harbinger of local prosperity. A profitable location for wind power, Morsdorf is home to 11 wind turbines.

With the help of additional income of around 200,000 euros per year, the municipality built one of the longest rope suspension bridges in Germany that attracted more than 570,000 visitors in its first two years.

IANS

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Follow these 5 healthy habits and live longer

ADVERTISEMENT

Maintaining five healthy habits -- eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping a healthy body weight, not drinking too much alcohol and not smoking may extend your life expectancy by over 10 years, says a study.

The researchers from the Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston found that women and men who maintained the healthiest lifestyles were 82% and 65% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and cancer, respectively.

"This study underscores the importance of following healthy lifestyle habits for improving longevity," said Frank Hu, Chair of the Department of Nutrition at the varsity.

For the study, the team analysed 78,865 women and 44,354 men.

Overall, those who followed all the five healthy lifestyle habits were 74% less likely to die.

The life expectancy for women who adopted all five factors was projected to be 43.1 years at age 50, as compared to only 29 years, for those who did not adhere to the healthy habits.

While men who adopted the low-risk lifestyle factors, life expectancy at age 50 was 37.6 years, for those who did not follow it, it was 25.5 years.

In other words, women who maintained all five healthy habits gained, on average, 14 years of life, and men who did so gained 12 years, compared with those who did not maintain healthy habits, the researchers revealed in the paper published in the journal Circulation.

Since adherence to healthy lifestyle habits is very low, "public policies should put more emphasis on creating healthy food and social environments to support and promote healthy diet and lifestyles", Hu added.

Moreover, there was also a dose-response relationship between each individual healthy lifestyle behaviour and a reduced risk of early death, the researchers noted.

IANS

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

40 killed in Afghanistan suicide bombings

 
Three blasts claim 40 lives in Afghanistan
 
 
At least 29 people, including eight journalists, were killed as two suicide bombers exploded themselves in quick succession in the Afghan capital on Monday. Hours later, another suicide attack killed 11 madrassa students in Kandahar province.
 
The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the Kabul bombings where French news agency AFP's chief photographer Shah Marai was among the journalists killed. There was no claim of responsibility for the Kanhahar bloodbath. 
 
A militant on a motorbike carried out the first explosion at 8 a.m. in Kabul's Shashdarak area in Police District 9 which houses the offices of Afghanistan's intelligence service, Defence Ministry, NATO and many embassies, prompting journalists to rush to the scene.
 
Another bombing occurred about 20 minutes later when an attacker, posing as a cameraman, detonated explosives as journalists gathered at the site of the first blast. Eight media persons, including a woman, died in the second blast.
 
The Islamic State claimed the twin blasts through its news agency Amaq and said the intelligence services headquarters was the target. 
 
AFP said the death of its "treasured colleague" Shah Marai, who had written of the dangers of reporting in the Afghan capital, was "a devastating blow". 
 
Tolo News cameraman Yar Mohammad Tokhi and Afghanistan's 1TV reporter Ghazi Rasooli as well as cameraman Nowroz Ali Rajabi were among the victims. Four police officers were also killed, Tolo News reported.
 
Forty-nine people were injured and taken to hospitals, the Interior Ministry said.
 
Hours later, 11 students of a madrassa were killed and 17 people, including five Romanian soldiers, were injured in a suicide attack aimed at a NATO convoy in Kandahar province. 
 
The suicide bomber detonated a vehicle full of explosives in Haji Abdullah Khan village of Daman district at about 11 a.m., killing the children at a nearby madrassa. According to officials, the target were Romanian troops patrolling the area.
 
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the Kabul blasts. "Attacks targeting innocent civilians, worshippers inside the mosques, national and democratic processes, reporters and freedom of speech all are war crimes." 
 
CEO Abdullah Abdullah said: "Attack on the media is attack on democracy and an effort to silence the voice of voiceless."
 
US Ambassador John Bass tweeted: "I condemn today's terrible Kabul attack (and) reaffirm our commitment (to) stand with the Afghan people in their fight for peace (and) security across Afghanistan. We mourn for those murdered, including the brave journalists who stand for truth in the face of violence." 
 
Afghanistan has seen a spate of attacks this year. Last week, six people, including two Afghan soldiers, were killed in a car bombing in Helmand province.
 
On April 22, an Islamic State suicide bomber attacked a voter registration centre in Kabul, killing 60 people. 
 
In March, 31 people were killed during the Persian new year celebrations in an Islamic State attack near a Shia shrine in Kabul.
 
IANS

Higher aerobic fitness can boost language skills in elderly: Study

ADVERTISEMENT

While aerobic exercises, such as walking, running, cycling, are known to confer various health benefits, for the first time researchers have shown that aerobic fitness may also be linked with increased linguistic skills in the elderly.

Older adults frequently have word finding difficulties and they experience these as particularly irritating and embarrassing. It also hinders in maintaining social relationships and independence in old age.

According to the study, published in journal Scientific Reports, older adults' aerobic fitness levels are directly related to the incidence of age-related language failures such as "tip-of-the-tongue" states.

People in a tip-of-the-tongue state have a strong conviction that they know a word but are unable to produce it, and this phenomenon occurs more frequently as we grow older.

"There are a lot of findings already on the benefits of aerobic fitness and regular exercise, and our research demonstrates another side of the benefits, namely a relationship between fitness and language skills," said lead author Katrien Segaert from the University of Birmingham.

Significantly, the degree of decline was found to be related to one's aerobic fitness. In other words, the higher the older adults' aerobic fitness level, the lower the probability of experiencing a tip-of-the-tongue state, Segaert added.

The team analysed a small group of healthy adults, with the average age of 70 and 67, on a "tip-of-the-tongue" language test, memory test and fitness test (cycling).

While some elderly worry that tip-of-the-tongue condition indicates serious memory problems, the results showed it is "a misconception".

"The tip-of-the-tongue states are not associated with memory loss...instead, it occurs when the meaning of a word is available in our memory, but the sound form of the word can temporarily not be accessed," Segaert said.

She hoped that the findings would add gravitas to the public health message that regular exercise is important to ensure healthy ageing.

IANS

Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

11 students killed as third blast rocks Afghanistan

ADVERTISEMENT
At least 11 students of a madrassa were killed in a car bombing in Afghanistan's Kandahar province on Monday, officials said.
 
A suicide bomber detonated a vehicle full of explosives in Haji Abdullah Khan village of Daman district at about 11 a.m., killing 11 children at a nearby madrassa. However, the target were Romanian troops patrolling the area, officials were cited as saying by Tolo News.
 
At least 16 people were injured in the blast.
 
It was the third suicide bombing in Afghanistan on Monday. Earlier, twin blasts in Kabul by the Islamic State terror group killed 25 people including eight journalists. AFP chief photographer Shah Marai was among the dead in the Kabul attack.
 
IANS
 
 
 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Sajid Javid named UK Home Secretary

ADVERTISEMENT
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday named Sajid Javid, the son of a Pakistani bus driver, the new Home Secretary following Amber Rudd's resignation for "inadvertently misleading" MPs over targets for removing illegal immigrants.
 
Javid, whose family came to the UK in the 1960s, is currently Communities, Local Government and Housing Secretary, reports the BBC. He is also the first member of an ethnic minority to hold the position.
 
The 48-year-old former investment banker and MP for Bromsgrove had also served as the Business and Culture Secretaries.
 
"The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Sajid Javid MP as Secretary of State for the Home Department," 10, Downing Street said.
 
Rudd handed her resignation papers to May on Sunday night. Her exit followed weeks of revelations about the treatment of "Windrush generation" of Caribbean immigrants, who settled legally in post-war Britain but whose right to remain has been questioned, and controversy over the government's "hostile environment" immigration policy.
 
Following Javid's promotion, Downing Street also announced that former Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire will return to the cabinet as Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary.
 
Javid, who first entered Parliament in 2010 and supported remaining in the European Union despite being regarded as a Eurosceptic, led the government's response to last year's Grenfell fire disaster.
 
Over the weekend, he told the Sunday Telegraph the Windrush scandal felt "very personal".
 
ADVERTISEMENT
"I'm a second-generation migrant. My parents came to this country from Pakistan just like the Windrush generation.
 
"They came to this country after the Second World War to help rebuild it... My dad worked in a cotton mill, he worked as a bus driver.
 
"When I heard about the Windrush issue, I thought that could've been my mum, dad, uncle or me." 
 
Rudd's resignation after the Guardian revealed that in a leaked 2017 letter to May, Rudd had told the Prime Minister of her intention to increase deportations by 10 per cent, seemingly at odds with her denials that she was aware of deportation targets.
 
She was due to appear in the House of Commons on Monday to explain the revelation. 
 
Speculation about her future had swirled on April 27, as the Home Office and Downing Street failed to respond to claims that she was aware of targets for removing illegal migrants from Britain.
 
On April 26, May had apologised to the UK's black community in a letter she sent to the national Afro-Caribbean daily, The Voice, saying: "We have let you down and I am deeply sorry. But apologies alone are not good enough. We must urgently right this historic wrong."
 
IANS
 
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 

Not just Facebook, Twitter also sold data to Cambridge Analytica researcher

ADVERTISEMENT
After the massive Facebook data scandal, it has now come to notice that Twitter had also sold users' data to a Cambridge Analytica researcher who collected the data of nearly 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge and permission, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
 
According to the report, Twitter sold public data access "for one day" in 2015 to Aleksandr Kogan, then a psychology researcher with University of Cambridge, and his company Global Science Research (GSR).
 
"GSR paid for one day of access in 2015, Twitter said, and scooped up a 'random sample' of public tweets covering a period between December 2014 and April 2015. Twitter added that it 'did not find any access' to private information," the report noted.
 
Kogan reportedly said the Twitter data had only been used to create "brand reports" and "survey extender tools" and that he had not violated Twitter's policies.
 
However, "the most immediate concern is that GSR could theoretically have correlated Facebook and Twitter data. Still, this shows just how comprehensive the data collection was," technology portal Engadget reported.
 
The quiz app "thisisyourdigitallife" developed by Kogan and his firm GSR, collected data from millions of Facebook users without their consent in 2014-2015 which was later shared with the British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.
 
The leaked data was said to be inappropriately used by Cambridge Analytica in activities connected with US President Donald Trump's election campaign in 2016.
 
Twitter, however, said it had banned GSR and Cambridge Analytica from buying data or running adverts on the website and that no private data had been accessed.
 
"Twitter has also made the policy decision to off-board advertising from all accounts owned and operated by Cambridge Analytica.
 
"This decision is based on our determination that Cambridge Analytica operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices," The Telegraph reported, citing a Twitter spokesperson.
 
In a first interview after the Facebook data scandal broke out, Kogan told CBS News earlier this month that he was not sure whether he ever read Facebook's developers' policy.
 
"The idea that we stole the data, I think, is technically incorrect. I mean, they created these great tools for developers to collect the data.
 
"And they made it very easy. I mean, this was not a hack. This was, 'Here's the door. It's open. We're giving away the groceries. Please collect them'," Kogan told the TV show host.
 
Kogan said he believes his assumptions were misguided and that what he did in 2014 "was not right and was not wise".
 
Meanwhile, Twitter reported a revenue of $665 million -- an increase of 21 per cent year-over-year (yoy) -- in the first quarter of 2018. The micro-blogging platform now has 336 million average monthly active users (MAUs).
 
As the deadline for European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) inches closer, Twitter has also updated its "Terms and Privacy Policy" to give its users more transparency over their data.
 
Twitter is giving users more control over how it shares certain non-public data. The updates will take effect on May 25, when the GDPR comes into force, and will apply globally.
 
IANS
Did you like this story? Make a donation and help us to serve you better.
ADVERTISEMENT
 
Syndicate content
© Copyright 2012 NetIndian. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of NetIndian content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of NetIndian Media Corporation. Write to info[AT]netindian[DOT]in for permission to use content. Read detailed Terms of Use.