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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Literates - a new class of terrorists

The recently busted ten accused of banned SIMI-members (Students Islamic Movement of India) in their alleged involvement in Ahmedabad blasts has once again raised a question as what lays the literate people to resort to heinous terror strike. Some of the arrested SIMI members are highly qualified.
One of the ten suspects, Usman Agarbatiwala, who is in the custody of the Gujarat crime branch for their alleged role in the Ahmedabad serial blasts, holds a diploma in Human Rights from the MS University in Vadodara.

The alleged mastermind behind the blasts, Mufti Abdul Bashar Kasmi alias Shaukeer is an editor, tutor and preacher.
Is there any fault in our education system? Do they get different education which preaches them violence? It is certainly not. No education imparts terror. Many people receive the same education, but very few get involved with such type of unlawful activities. They must be feeble-minded people who come under easy influence to insurgents.
Education makes people capable of wise thinking and helps them in making differentiation-what is right and what is wrong. If these so educated people become puppet at the hand of handful of terror elements, what would be of those illiterate ones, whose minds are so plain to be imprinted anything easily.
For few years, many highly qualified people are found involved in terrorist activities. It seems when many students choose engineering, medical, civil services as career, some prefer to pursue career in terrorism. Many of them belong to wealthy class and are well qualified. So the age-old notion that economic deprivation and the inadequate education are the only cause of these people’s involvement in terrorists activities do not hold much ground now. However, these can be a mere speculation, but the recent years’ findings involving qualified, young student in spreading terrorism leads us to think in this way.
Ahmedabad blasts (2008) – alleged mastermind is a teacher, Jaipur blasts (2008) – alleged hands of a medical student, Bangalore blasts (2005) – mastermind is an engineer and alike unearthed after investigations that highly qualified persons have been involved in terror strikes. Why? It is still difficult to answer.
Is the Indian government knowingly or unknowingly nurturing hate among the minority community? Are the policies of government unwittingly developing a thought in them that they belong to second-class? It is absolutely not. India is a country of multi lingua, multi religio-culture and people here from the ancient periods have been involved in adopting every new culture and religion. If Ram is our God, Rahim too. Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Irfan Khan, Dr. Kalam are our national heroes. They rule our heart; they are not bound by any religion.
Despite that, one percent throws light on such discrimination, when people like Shabana Azmi, a well-known face and renowned actor says, being a Muslim, she had to face difficulty in purchasing a house in Mumbai.
For a while if we believe there is truth in it, no religion allows anyone merciless killing of innocent people. Resorting to violent means of terror strikes can not justify such discrimination at any cost. On the other hand, if any such type of discrimination exists in our enduring society, government should need to take the issue at the earliest.
Terrorism is not an issue of our country only. It has spread its tentacles across the globe. It needs to be uprooted with collective hands- not bound by boundary. Stringent laws must be made to deal with such people who don’t understand any language other than gun.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blackmailer kids - a mental torture to parents

Emotional blackmail is a powerful form of manipulation in which people close to us threaten, either directly or indirectly to punish us if we don't do what they want. At the heart of any kind of blackmail is one basic threat, which can be expressed in many different ways: "If you don't behave the way I want you to, you will suffer."
But I am not talking about those blackmailers who do it with all their senses in control. Shockingly, it is about school going kids, all under 13, who are turning into emotional blackmailers. Psychiatrists are treating such cases in large numbers every month. The number has gradually shot up from 5 a week to 5 a day now which is relatively high.
When 10-year-old Sasanka was denied an icecream, he blackmailed his mom Maitreyi saying, "if you don't buy me an icecream, my dead promise".
Shocked Maitreyi, couldn't speak a word. Little school going kids have adopted this nature of emotionally blackmailing their parents or kith or kin to fulfill their wants and desires.

Case studies :
A 11-year-old girl child who is from a middle class family was brought to the psychiatrist by her parents in a later stage after she did not attend school for an year just because she was denied an electronic item that she asked her parents to buy for her. Later, when she was put in a hostel, she stopped eating food and the parents were informed by the hostel authorities that they better take their child away. Depressed parents finally brought in the kid to the psychiatrist but in a final stage.
Shockingly, a 7-year-old boy child who is from a well-to-do family had to be brought to a psychiatrist after he threatened his parents by hiding himself in the cellar of their apartments for one full day. The parents were literally in tears and shock and the boy cooly says, " If you don't buy me what I want, I will repeat this."
In another case, peculiarly, the parents actually told their 8-year-old girl child, "If you do well in your unit test, I will buy gold ornmaments for you." Used to this kind of a behaviour, the kid actually started saying "here is my lit of wants, buy them for me first only then I would attend my exams."
Certains kids are scary as they hold their breathe for a few minutes and they turn blue by causing panic in parents just because their wants are not being fulfilled.
"My four-year-old daughter bangs her head to the wall and rolls on the floor and cries badly if I don't buy her what she asks for," said Yashoda Mithra, a media professional.
"My 11-year-old son acts weird and he starves when I ask him to study and he demands me to buy him a gift for him to study. But I schedule things with him. I tell him "when I am cooking, you should complete your work. Then we can both sit together and watch Tv", says Kavitha Reddy, a designer in the city.
"My sister's seven-year-old son broke the television screen just because he was denied an ice cream when he was running temperature. Later he starved for a day and we were all shocked of his weird behaviour," says T Anusha, a BSC graduate.

Psychologists say that the most casual conversations between parents is influencing their kids in a negative way. Such things have been happening in large numbers these days just because of the choice that has evolved in the list of haves and havenots, need for an academic excellence and finally parents are able to afford and so children are taking an advantage of it.
A case study where a father of a 9-year-old boy came back home and told his wife, "I had a salary hike today just because I blackmailed my boss saying that I would resign." The kid who listened to all this conversation, adopted the same way of blackmailing his parents by saying, "If you don't buy me Reebok shoes, I will not go to school."
"The tendency of kids blackmailing their parents is increasingly going up when compared to the past. Parents want to compensate their kids from getting less attention from them with gifts which is making kids more used to that kind of a behaviour and one "NO" is not taken as a final answer by the kid", opined Dr MS Reddy, MD, Asha Hospital.

Identifying such behaviour:
Such behaviour can be identified in a very young age. At this stage, parents can identify children making unreasonable demands.
"For example, a kid need not be gifted with something to write a unit test." Blackmailing techniques the kids have adopted: "They start demanding for things when they are in public and not at home just because at home, they would get a tight slap", explains Purnima Nagaraja, a psychiatrist.
First thing kids say is, "I don't want to attend school." They cry and roll on the floor and act realistically just for the parents to get scared of their behaviour.
An eight-year-old kid starts banging his head to a wall or the floor or he destroys dad's cellphone or any valuable thing at home if his desires are not fulfilled by the parents.
A 9-year-old boy, a resident of Maredpally, Secunderabad, ran away from home and reached Durgam Cheruvu near Jubilee hills and slept there for one whole night just because his parents denied an i-pod to him.
Sadly, such kids are being brought to the notice of psychiatrists only in the final stage.

Possible therapy :
Purnima Nagaraja, a psychiatrist explains a possible therapy to treat such kids.
1. First of all, parents of the blackmailer kid are to be councelled. Parents and their kid have to be explained an acceptable mode of behaviour.
2. Family conflicts or parental misunderstandings, if any are to be solved.
3. Talking to the child and understanding his/ her mentality. For example, is the kid attention seeking or has he had needs that are not fulfilled or he/ she is behaving so just out of ego that her fellow students' possession of costly items.
4. Parents should be re-taught and re-trained to say "no"
5. Behavioral contact should be made clear to the parents i.e; they should be able tell their kid, " If you need something, earn it with your good behaviour or by studying well. When you behave well, you will automatically get what you want."
6. Such kids are to be taught of regular and moral value systems.
7. Finally, the therapy that is used to treat such kids is known as play therapy. This therapy is dealt in a one-hour session where kids are narrated a story and are asked to tell what the moral of the story is. In about 3 to 4 sessions, the kids can be brought back to normal.
Sometimes it seems as if nothing works with this kind of blackmailer kid, and sometimes nothing does. But psychiatrists say, parents be successfull if you stick to the principles of non defensive communication and stay conscious of the following do's and don'ts.

In dealing blackmailer kids, DON'T:
Expect them to take the first step towards resolving the conflict. Plead with them to tell you what's wrong.
Keep after them for a response (which will only make them withdraw more).
Criticize, analyze or interpret their motives, character or inability to be direct.
Willingly accept blame for whatever they're upset about to get them into a better mood.
Allow them to change the Subject.
Get intimidated by the tension and anger in the air.
Let your frustration cause you to make threats you really don't mean (e.g., "If you don't tell me what's wrong, I'll never speak to you again").
Assume that if they ultimately apologize, it will be followed by any significant change in their behavior.
Expect major personality changes, even if they recognize what they're doing and are willing to work on it. Remember: Behavior can change. Personality styles usually don't.

Do use the following techniques:
Remember that you are dealing with people who feel inadequate and powerless and who are afraid of your ability to hurt or abandon them.
Confront them when they're more able to hear what you have to say.
Consider writing a letter. It may feel less threatening to them.
Reassure them that they can tell you what they're angry about and you will hear them out without retaliating.
Use tact and diplomacy. This will reassure them that you won't exploit their vulnerabilities and bludgeon them with recriminations.
Say reassuring things like "I know you're angry right now, and I'll be willing to discuss this with you as soon as you're ready to talk about it," Then leave them alone. You'll only make them withdraw more if you don't.
Don't be afraid to tell them that their behavior is upsetting to you, but begin by expressing appreciation.
For example: "Son, I really care about you, and I think you're one of the smartest people I know, but it really bothers me when you clam up every time we disagree about something and just walk away is hurting our relationship, and I wonder if you would talk to me about that."
Stay focused on the issue you're upset about.
Expect to be attacked when you express a grievance, because they experience your assertion as an attack on them as an attack on them.
Let them know that you know they're angry and what you're willing to do about it.
Accept the fact that you will have to make the first move most, if not all of the time.
Let some things slide Generally emotional blackmailers hate to lose. They take the old adage "It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game", and turn it on its head to read "It doesn't matter how you play the game as long as you do not lose."
Psychiatrists explain some specific ways to answer the most common types of responses. It can't emphasize too strongly how important it is to practice saying these statements until they feel natural to you.

*When they say : If you don't take care of me, I'll wind up in the hospital/on the street/unable to work.
Then you say : That's your choice.
* When they say : You'll never see your kids again.
Then you say : I hope you won't do that, but I've made my decision.
* When they say : You'll de stroy this family.
Then you say : I know you're very angry right now.
* When they say: You're not my parent anymore.
Then you say: When you've had a chance to think about this, maybe you'll change your mind.
* When they say: I'm cutting you out of my will.
Then you say: Why don't we talk about this again when you're less upset
* When they say: I'll get sick. I'll make you suffer.
Then you say: Threats/suffering/tears aren't going to work anymore.
* When they say : You'll be sorry.
Then you say: I'm sorry you're upset.

Friday, August 22, 2008

For New Parents and their friends...


Hey if you are New Mommy n Papa, Congratulations!

If you are their friend, then wish them Happy Parenting and advise them with tips you gather from "SMILING FACES" .

Click on and gather important information on how to take care of new born babies..

Your opinions and advices are valuable to me.

Happy Time!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Emergency services strengthened to save more lives

Implementation of emergency services seems to have failed in serving the purpose of saving lives of people, as not just the services provided by ambulances can save lives. Lack of proper infrastructure in the state-run hospitals is taking away the lives of many people at the time of emergency. Focusing on this aspect, in order to save more lives, Emergency Management Research Institute has initiated a new orientation training programme in accident and emergency care exclusively for doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff working with government hospitals under Andhra Pradesh Vaidhya Vidhana Parishad (APVVP).
Started as a public-private organisation, the government has initiated to meet the maximum amount of the annual budget of the Emergency Management & Research Institute (EMRI) and Health Management & Research Institute (HMRI).
EMRI and HMRI have been started to provide 24-hour emergency medicare to people through 450 ambulances and through an advice-on-phone service, Health Information Helpline, in public-private partnership. Initiated two months back, this programme is designed to enhance the knowledge and skills pertaining to emergency and trauma presentations at the casualty rooms.
Apart from handling the day- to-day emergencies (medical, police and fire), EMRI has made progress in Emergency, Research & Training and is offering a 2 year full time residential Postgraduate Program in Emergency Care (EMT-A).
"This program is the first of its kind in India that is expected to deliver the highest quality education and comprehensive training in the field of emergency care services. The training program also intends to enable them to identify the emergencies and appropriate interventions required, perform the required skills and emergency interventions according to the recent guidelines and bring about a change in their attitude and approach to emergency presentations in their practice," explains Dr Ramana Rao, learning programme trainer, EMRI. EMRI officials said that all the faculty members are certified instructors from EMRI.
Apart from that there are instructors on behalf of American Heart Association and American College of Emergency Physicians who are also accommodated in the faculty members. The program is being designed with separate modules for doctors, nurses and paramedical Staff.
Besides Basic Life Support, advanced Life Support, Advanced Airway Management and Periarrest arrhythmia management, doctors will also be trained in General Approach to a medically ill patient, Clinical Care Protocols, Patient work up, Interpretation of important lab interventions and Referral management of a medically ill patient. Training on approach to a trauma patient, Management of Head, Neck and Spinal trauma, Management of abdominal and extremities, Referral management protocols for a trauma are also a part of the orientation programme for doctors. Nurses will also be given training on Crash cart Orientation on Use and maintenance of equipment.
The Arogyasri scheme combines emergency services, medical consultancy and medical insurance in a single package. This scheme was launched by Ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam during his visit to Hyderabad. The three schemes were being implemented independently till now. While Arogyasri was a government scheme, EMRI and HMRI facilities are being run with the support of Satyam Foundation.
The other organisations and individuals involved with the initiative include the Indian School of Business, Public Health Foundation of India and few others. "The only objective of EMRI is to provide an organised, integrated, accessible '108 Emergency Response Service' to an individual at the time of emergency, be it medical, police, fire in a timely manner," added Dr Ramana Rao.
"108 ambulance drops the patient in the hospital on time. At the same time we donot want any delays at the hospital's emergency room. That is the reason we are also training the class IV employees with reagard to lifting the patient and attending carefully," said Dr PV Rao, Commissioner APVVP.
Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) is dedicated to saving lives, with a single objective : providing an organized, integrated, accessible '108 Emergency Response Service' to an individual in need of emergency, be it medical, police, fire in a timely manner.
State-of-the-art infrastructure, the best of people and technology have contributed to providing world class emergency services under one roof.
Having launched the 108 Emergency Response Service on August 15, 2005, in Hyderabad EMRI presently provides services in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttarakhand with over 650 ambulances and over 4,500 people. EMRI is currently saving over 4,500 lives per month and has so far saved over 30,000 lives - with technical support provided by Satyam computers among its other associates and partners.
In a Public Private Partnership mode EMRI plans to extend the 108 Emergency Response Service throughout India by 2010 and save a million lives per annum.
Already, EMRI has also signed up with the Governments of Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan to launch the 108 Emergency Response Service in these states. Apart from handling the day- to-day emergencies (medical, police and fire), EMRI has made progress in Emergency Research & Training and offers a 2 year full time residential Postgraduate Program in Emergency Care (EMT-A). This program is the first of its kind in India that will deliver the highest quality education and comprehensive training in the field of emergency care services.
Another toll free emergency number is the HMRI's 104 which is the sister organisation of EMRI. Health Management Research Institute's 104 mobile service unit will visit a specified habitation of 1500 habitation population once a month to cater to the needs of pregnant women, infants and victims of chronic illnesses through diagnosis, advice and distribution of medicines for specific ailments.
Under the scheme, ‘village hospital patients’ will be connected to centrally located pool of doctors. The mobile unit will have hospital information, including patient records, critical services equipment and physicians. Catergorised under Rajiv Arogyasri scheme along with 108, the HMRI's 104 has been running a Health Information Help Line in Public-Private Partnership with the state government which is already addressing over 50,000 calls a day and proving successful in its way.
HMRI currently has 3500 call takers, 130 doctors, 500 software engineers and 50 management personnel who work round the clock to cater to the needs of poor who reside at the farthest places. The Arogyasri scheme combines emergency services, medical consultancy and medical insurance in a single package. This scheme was launched by Ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam during his visit to Hyderabad. The three schemes were being implemented independently till now. While Arogyasri is a government scheme, EMRI and HMRI facilities are being run with the support of Satyam Foundation.
The other organisations and individuals involved with the initiative include the Indian School of Business, Public Health Foundation of India and few others.
Quick Facts
* EMRI presently provides services in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttarakhand
* It has over 650 ambulances, 15 Prime Responder Vehicles and over 4,500 people.
* EMRI is currently saving over 4,500 lives per month and has so far saved over 30,000 lives.
* Most of the cases dealt are critical cases of Medical- Emergencies in which the percentage of Trauma Vehicular are 18 per cent, Maternal Complications are 22 per cent, Suicidal attempts are 6 per cent, Cardiac are 4 per cent.
* Ambulance reaches within 14 minutes in urban areas and within 22 minutes rural areas.
* HMRI's 104 is already addressing over 50,000 calls a day

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Child suicides on rise ..

Thirteen-year-old Vishwas was a ninth standard student who had neverfailed anexam in his life, but on one fine day, he came back from school wentupstairs andhanged himself.In a suicide note, Vishwas had written that he could not bear theharassment hefaced in his school everyday.

In fact statistics reveal that suicide rate among young teens haveincreased byalmost 300 per cent.

Supporting this statement Purnima Nagaraja, a psychiatrist in the city,explains afew of those little kids who met her for a possible solution for theirdepression.

"A 12-year-old girl who is from a well-to-do family was brought to me by herparents when she attempted suicide by consuming harpic as she was teasedby herclassmates for she din't mature then. Her classmates passed dirty jokes andcomments on her saying that she had been having sex with boys and so she waspregnant and so she din't have periods. The little girl when told herparents, theyjust asked her to ignore them. The girl din't get proper answers for thequestionsshe asked her mom about sex. Depressed she, attempted suicide.

"Another case where an 8-year-old girl attempted suicide for she was teasedby herfellow students for not being able to speak good English. "The little girl attempted suicide by consuming 2 strips of pain killer tablets that her mom uses. The little girlwas then convinced and sent to school. Later, as she din't want to attend that school at all, she again attempted suicide by consuming phenol.

"One more sad case is where a 9-year-old boy was brought to Purnima by hisparentsfor a possible solution for his depression. "The little boy was very leanand that wasthe reason why he had become a laughing stock in his school. He wasdisheartenedand started disliking all the things he was fond of earlier. The boyturned out to be alast ranker from a topper", Purnima explains.

A research says that suicide is the sixth leading cause of death among sixto 14-year-olds and the third leading cause for 15 to 25 year olds.

The study by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciencessays over a1,000 young teens committed suicides in Hyderabad and Bangalore in 2007.But what really goes on in the adolescent mind before it decides to takethat finalplunge?

Experts find out that it is never an impulsive decision, butrather a wellthought out process.

Increased incidents of childhood depression and decreased family supportadd to it.Coping is basically a learned behaviour the way we function under stressis more alearned behaviour for example one child under stress may perform verygreat at thesame time the other child may find it very difficult to cope with itdepending onchild's growth and the way he has learned to cope with it. It determines in the adolescent how he would cope up with those problems.

But, how do we know if a child is edging towards self harm?

Prof C Beena, HOD Psychology department OU says,"the child starts behaving very differentlyall of asudden. He may start sitting and mourning in his own room, sittingisolated fromhis friends. He may give away lot of things that he has been very fond ofand maybehave in a way as if life is very cool now onwards or if he was disturbedsometimeback, then may become very cheerful."

A leading psychiatrist of the International Institute of Mental Health in aspeech said, "girls attempt suicide more often but more boys end up dying as their attempts are successful."

Exam time is a very stressful period specially if your child is preparingfor boardsso keep an eye on how your child is reacting to all the stress and if heis not taking ittoo well then help him relax and deal with it.

"My child always threatens me of committing suicide whenever I be littlerude toher for getting less marks in mathematics. Kids these days feel that theyhave a good", explained Lakshmi Sindhu, mother of a 10th class student.

"I see many little kids who sit in the back benches depressed and sad just because they can't speak good english. Such kids should be councelled and taken more care of", says Vani Thakur, a teacher in Foster School.

Once the parents or peer group are aware of a child's tendency of self harm they need to, start communicating with him and tune in to his or her world afterreturning from work.You need to listen and talk it out, but don't be judgemental. And ifpossible don'tleave the child alone. If you feel you need, seek help from a professional, psychology experts say.

Communicable diseases playing havoc with people's lives

After a two day period of incessant rainfall in the city,
communicable diseases have at last found the suitable climate to erupt and
play havoc with people’s lives. The city is now a hub of various virus and bacteria that
are good at spelling doom for public health.
In this four days after the incessant rainfall, a total number of 511 health camps were conducted by the government in various slums in the Hyderabad district, the number of cases identified are 30,051.
Out of this figure, 2014 were of various viral fevers, 35 were of diahorreah and others were of minor ailments. Apart from this, 21 cases of diahorrea have been reported to Fever Hospital on Monday and the OP strength was 450 which included a few typhoid and viral fever cases.
Various water-borne and communicable diseases such as malaria,
viral fever, typhoid and diarrhoea and also conjunctivitis have spread in
and around the city. At the moment the susceptibility to these diseases is
not high but it is always lurks around the corner.
In the absence of basic facilities such as safe drinking water and sanitation, slums are becoming highly vulnerable to water-borne diseases. Untidy surroundings in certain deprived places of the city like Ramakrishnapuram, Malkajgiri, Ameerpet, Film nagar which have water stangnant there for days together are serving as effective breeding ground for mosquitoes.
"We are facing many problems and our children are falling sick every now and then due to untidy surroundings. No body is reponding to our complaints," said Y Raju, a daily wage labourer who resides at slums near film nagar in Jubilee Hills.
There is a steady increase in the number of patients visiting the fever hospital that takes up cases of water-borne and communicable diseases.
With no visible trace of precautionary measures by the municipal authorities in cleaning the drainage lines that are overflowing, people are totally left to the mercy of doctors in hospitals.
"Whenever it rains heavily, the drainage water overflows causing inconvienience to all the residents here," explained P Ramakrishna, a resident of Shantinagar in Lalaguda.
Nakkala Manga, a maid servant who resides at Neredmet says, "I have three children and two of them have been running high temperature for three days now. I don't have enough money to buy medicines for them."
PP Prasad, superintendent of Government Fever Hospital, Nallakunta, while confirming a marginal increase in the cases of malaria and viral fever, said that it is a "normal occurrence" in the season.
"With all the measures that were taken, we could succesfully prevent outbreak of any epidemic," opined Jaya Kumari, the District Health and Medical Officer.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Steganography - communicating devastating message

Downloading or forwarding picture messages in the internet may land you in trouble now. Terrorists are playing hookie by increasingly adopting a technique called steganography for communicating devastating message in codes with their fellow-devastaters, say cyber law experts.
Steganography involves hiding a message which could contain text, images or maps inside a picture, music file or video on a web page or by e-mail. These messages are harder to find than encrypted ones, or scrambled e-mails, because they can be hidden among billions of innocuous-looking web pages.
Hidden messages may be contained in a picture of an actor, a pornography site or elsewhere, and can only be found by someone who knows where to look, say experts. "Steganography is a kind of programming where a picture can be developed through code system just like C and Java programming. Here in this, the picture is only readable and it doesn't accept any comments," explained Ravi Kumar Reddy, Inspector Cyber Crime.
There is every scope for the terrorists for having used this method in previous high- profile cases like the 13 December 2001 Parliament attack and the 11 September attack on World Trade Centre.
Speaking about the technique, a cyber law expert said, ‘terrorists use a high-tech version of invisible ink, or hidden messages on the internet, to coordinate and accomplish their plan’. They can easily hide vital and sensitive communication by mixing it with large amounts of public data. Seemingly normal files can have embedded secret message data that will appear usual to an innocent observer.
An example is hiding messages within the noise of a digital image, in which some bits that make up the image are used to encode a secret message without altering the image significantly. So it is advisable not to forward any message sent by unknown persons.
Though expensive tools are available to detect such messages, it can be done and identified only by experts, he says.
There are millions of images on the internet that you would have to develop a list of suspicious websites and scan them on a regular basis, he adds. A cyber crime official on condition of anonymity says the attackers consider steganography as a wise tool as a phone call (used for communicating their plan) can be traced within minutes, while it is difficult in the case of this method.
Shockingly, there are over 50 sites which give the information for making RDX bombs, experts say.

Hyderabad - Hub for fake drug marketing

Combiflam replicated and sold as Comiflam
Hyderabad is gradually turning into a hub for fake drug marketing.
The Enforcers of Intellectual Property along with the Hayathnagar police have recovered several look-alike tablets on August 3 in the city.
An official of EIPR said, "the manufacturing is done in the northern states and marketing is done in various metropolitan cities like Hyderabad."
For instance, EIPR along with Hayathnagar police, conducted a raid at GENPAK and Vaibhav Drugs Pvt Ltd at Peddamberpet and seized look-alike tablets of Combiflam Company. The drug was named as COMIFLAM instead of COMBIFLAM.
An FIR has been lodged against the accused under section 63 IPC 420.
4 lakh aluminium rolls to manufacture the tablets and more than 5,000 empty outer packing boxes were seized. The accused is still absconding. All the samples are sent to Forensic Science Laboratories (FSL) for analysis.
Not just COMBIFLAM is replicated but other drugs like Saridon are also done. The look alike tablets of Saridon were sold in the name of silidon and solidan.
Shockingly, pain balms are found to be replicated. Amrutanjan has been replicated as Amrutanzan.
A patient at the Osmania General Hospital, was given an anaesthesia shot just before an operation. He was supposed to be in an unconscious state for two hours, but he regained consciousness within half-an-hour as the drug’s effect wore off. The hospital’s department of anaesthesia has complained to the APHMHIDC managing director that six anaesthetic drugs supplied to them, including Xylocaine jelly and Thiopentone, were ineffective. "As they are ineffective, we had to give three times more than normal dose. For instance, instead of one mg, we had to give three mg dose to make patients unconscious,’’ an anaesthetist told."We cannot take a chance with a patient’s life,’’ another OGH doctor said. After receiving the complaint, drugs were replaced by APHMHIDC.
Later the APHMHIDC collected samples of the ineffective drugs from three depots with the help of Drugs Control Administration and sent them for tests and the officials told that they would initiate action based on the report.The APHMHIDC supplies about 250 varieties of drugs worth Rs 150 crore to all hospitals in the state, including major hospitals like Osmania General Hospital and Gandhi Hospital in the city. Officials claim not maintaining a cold chain could also lead to ineffectiveness of a drug. To avoid any chain-related loss, the APHMHIDC is planning to set up one more central storage point in the city. As of now, there is only one central drug store at King Koti, which supplies drugs for Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts. "Not just in government hospitals, drug replication is also happening in well-established medical stores in the city", opined an official of the EIPR.
EIPR is an investigation agency specialising in anti-counterfeiting solutions.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Buying a fancy phone? - A word of caution here..

If you are planning to buy a fancy smart phone, here is a word of caution. 'Internet-enabled phones have gaping security weaknesses waiting to be exploited', warn cyber security experts. Any smart phone including Blackberry, Windows Mobile, iPhone and Symbian phones can be hacked by a nerd with a little bit of code and some cunning.
Hackers, who are already wrecking websites and e-mails, are now targeting cell phones as well. Hackers are intruding mobile phones using hacking tools like spyware and spoofing.
Spyware is a tool which manipulates SMS' and allows it to be read by others, while spoofing, replaces mobile number of sender’s message. Explaining the functions of spyware, a cyber expert said, "a hacker sends an SMS to the targeted person. The person opens the message, installing spyware onto the device. The spyware, unknown to the victim, takes the SMS and forwards it to the hacker."
Once installed, the hacker can monitor the ‘compromised’ phone call details and can even listen to the calls made or received by the user. However, it’s very difficult for the user to find out whether his/her phone has been hacked.
Besides spyware, SMS spoofing is another tool which hackers are widely using, cyber experts say. Spoofing is used for changing the identity of source of SMS either with text or any desired number.
For example, the Asian School of Cyber Law on its website stated an incident "a young lady received an SMS from her husband’s cell phone informing her that he had an accident and was at the hospital and urgently needed money. On receiving the SMS, she rushed out of the house with the money. She was attacked and robbed by the person, who had sent her the spoofed SMS."
"Yes there are such instances happening and it is called mobile spoofing. There is another kind called phishing. Phishing enables the hacker to make calls from one's mobile without his/her knowledge and at the end the mobile owner is surprised looking at the bill", explains Ravi Kumar Reddy, Inspector, Cyber Crime.
However the other version is that all this only applies to the first generation models of cell phones that use the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM). Another requirement is that the hacker must have physical access to the cell phone for at least three minutes - which is a real good reason not to let it out of your sight. Currently, although the problem has been remedied (at least for now) in the second and third generation phones, it seems that about 70 per cent of existing cell phones fall within the first generation category. "I don't know sometimes I see unknown numbers in my dialled list on the phone bills," said Suvarna, a Btech graduate who resides at Sainikpuri.
The cops say that the punishment for hacking would be imprisonment up to three years or imposition of fine which may extend upto Rs 2 Lakh or both.
It is now time for the alarm bells to ring as the Cell phone hackers have apparently found a glitch in the way the chips are manufactured.

Either Quit smoking or living... No other go...

The younger you are at the time you start smoking, the larger are the chances of your getting addicted to it. A recent research says that addiction to smoking at a younger age is responsible for making it a long lasting habit proving extremely dangerous for health. As a result it becomes far too difficult for them to quit smoking.
The smoking rate among Indians especially among youth is increasing at a very high speed and it is time for the alarm bells to ring. India is losing 90,00,000 jobs in a year due to dying smokers. This is destroying not only the environment but also the economy of the nation.
As per WHO statistics, five million people die each year from tobacco use. If current trends continue, this figure will reach 10 million per year by 2030, with 70 per cent of those deaths occurring in developing countries like India.
Elaborating the uses of tobacco, 'cigarette'’ is not only the serious problem in India. About 40 per cent of overall tobacco has been used in smokeless tobacco products while another 40 per cent in ‘beedis’ and only about 20 per cent of tobacco has been consumed in cigarettes, according to a latest report supported by World Health Organisation (WHO) and Indian government. The report also says, at least one million people are going to suffer smoking related deaths by 2010 in India.
With an estimated total of around 120 million (12 crore) in India the average age of smokers vary from 30-69 including a one-third of men and about 5 per cent of women. The study also reveals that one of every five male deaths and one out of every 20 female deaths are come about due to smoking related diseases.
In a study conducted by New England Journal of Medicine found that in India, 61% of men smokers will die at age 30-69 as compared to 41% non smokers. While 62% women smokers will die at age 30-69 as compared to 38% non smokers.
Quoting the examples of Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan and Shahrukh Khan for their promise to quit smoking, Dr. Srinath Reddy, President of Public Health Foundation of India said, "There is a salutary message in this. One hopes we do not have to hear similar news about Mr. Shah Rukh Khan. Tobacco strikes suddenly . Smokers really need the will power to give up smoking." Despite of their repeated attempts to quit smoking, they are unable to do so.
The report was conducted upon 390 Montreal teens who were asked to fill a questionnaire every three months for five years. The study by researches of public health, stated that the teen smokers wished and tried to quit smoking but were unable to do so. The report was fragmented into various stages marking the teens’ attempt to give up the disastrous habit.
At stage 1, the teens confidently declared that they are soon going to quit smoking which was just two-three months after they had first tried the cigarette. At Stage 2, they exhibited a conscious desire to quit. Stage 3, which was after about two years after they started smoking, marked a considerable loss in self-confidence in their ability to quit smoking. While at stage 4, teens had started smoking daily admitting it was very hard to quit. By the final stage, the teens had been completely addicted to smoking and had completely adhered to tobacco, smoking daily for at least two years.
The report appealed to the government to mandate strict legislation where it is difficult for teenagers to buy cigarettes at a cheaper rate. It also stated that there is an urgent need to make measures against the increasing smoking habits among the teens.
Interestingly, doctors favour Social Networking sites for quitting smoking. The anti-campaigner of smoking believes that ‘social networking sites’ could be an influential tool to make aware the public about the hazards of smoking. The ill-effects of smoking in the pictorial form can be presented in Orkut by creating a small community to motivate people for quitting smoki as informed Dr Prakash C. Gupta, the director of Healis Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health who was delivering a speech.
"Asia has been in the forefront of issuing pictorial warnings and there has not been any public opposition so government of India need not be worry," said Dr Judith Mackay of World Lung Foundation while delivering his speech.
And this is a good news for smokers who deliberately want to quit smoking. US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc launched Varenicline drug in India that help smokers to kick off smoking under the brand name Champix.
After the drug spell a huge success story in the US and Europe it is expected to repeat the same here in India. So, now chain-smokers have another option to try for with an intense desire to quit smoking.
The new drug, a non-nicotine smoking cessation is considered as superior to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Varenicline helps the smoker by diminishing the pleasurable effects of a fag and thinning the craving for the same unlike the other available drugs. The drug has to be taken for 12 weeks and will be available first in major cities across India with a cost of Rs 9,500.
During the launch of the drug, Kewal Handa, the Managing Director of Pfizer India, said, "Pfizer's Champix is the most innovative and effective oral smoking cessation product to be approved by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the last 10 years." "It has benefited over 5.7 million people since its worldwide launch in mid-2006. We are confident that Champix will provide the same level of benefits to smokers in India and contribute to a healthier world," he added.
The drug is designed to provide the necessary physiological and psychological support to the smokers and research shows that Champix has scored far better on chances of quitting smoking than other drugs. Champix is the first non-nicotine drug and sure to help smokers if they want to say good bye to this habit.
Smoking related deaths have become a major concern but are also preventable. Many addicted to smoking find it very difficult even if they decided to kick it as nicotine in cigarette acts a stimulant and is mainly responsible for dependence forming properties of tobacco smoking.
American Heart Association defines Nicotine addiction as one of the hardest addictions to break. Indian government has also been tightening the laws by banning smoking in public places to restrain the growing tobacco addiction among young men and women. The recent laws imposed by health ministry have banned direct and indirect ban of tobacco products.
Hence, Champix holds a promise for millions who realise strongly that smoking is not only dangerous as it invites many diseases but also proves to be fatal.
On the other side of the coin, a report in says, "The drug varenicline is marketed as Chantix in the United States and as Champix in the rest of the world. Never in history has any quitting product produced such horrific side-effects stories as are being played out among Chantix users."

Hoax calls - A fun game for people and a serious game for cops

Hoax calls to all the emergency services in the city are incurring a heavy drain on finances. Most of the hoax calls received are made by children for fun. The city cops say that, since the twin bomb blasts at Gokul Chat and Lumbini Park last year, hoax calls have became a routine.
Calls made by terror outfits always demand dealing with sincerity, as they rarely send messages in advance. But, what about those calls made by children considering as harmless fun?
Recently, the Secunderabad police have received a hoax call on July 15 saying that there were bombs placed at the railway station, passport office and also at a tiffin centre, Swati.
Similarly, the Nampally criminal court has received more than half- a-dozen hoax calls in a two-month-period and it is common that the bus and railway stations often receive hoax calls on bomb scare.
"We immediately placed metal detectors and a do's and don'ts sheet was put up at the entrance for visitors", said Umender, Inspector of police, Nampally.
The cops finally succeeded in preventing the demonstrators from taking out a protest march by promising to bring the pranksters to book.
Another similar hoax call in March had reportedly been made to a top police official also.
While on the other hand, the officials of the emergency services say that, just a phone call is enough to save a life in danger but a fake or mismanaged call can cost a life too. On this note, the Emergency Management Research Institute (EMRI), the institution behind the 108 phenomena, is on a mission to make the public aware on how to make a call to 108 after they received around 10 hoax calls in a two-month- period this year.
"We are often troubled with hoax calls and some calls even request us to provide power connections or water supply. But the serious part is that while we attend these hoax calls, some other genuine call will be put on hold. It is a big hurdle for us to extend the assistance in the right time," said a trainer with the EMRI.
Unfortunately the Fire and Rescue Services receive the maximum number of hoax calls. "The majority of these calls are from children although we do receive a lot of hoax calls from adults too", says Ram Babu, a Fire Service personnel. Making a hoax call is a mere waste of time for fire-fighters and control operators who have to investigate the call and can be very dangerous for the public. Whilst a fire appliance from a local fire station is investigating a hoax call, there might be a real emergency. In such cases we will need to send a fire engine from another fire station which will be further away and consequently it will take longer to reach the place", he adds.
Though there is a possibility to trace calls, the cops are proving unsuccessful in their attempt, as most of the calls traced in the past were from public telephone booths.
Time is vital and fires do not wait. They get out of control and people's lives could be put in danger because of a Hoax Call. Caller-ID phones should be the first criteria, the city cops suggest