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Dealing with cancer in the time of corona

Not seeking treatment for an existing ailment due to fear of Covid-19 infection can prove to be risky, a mistake which many have made during the pandemic, says senior oncologist Dr Harit Chaturvedi.

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On most mornings, Delhi-based surgical oncologist Dr Harit Chaturvedi’s workplace keeps bustling with activity. Patients queue up in the day care ward to get their weekly dose of chemotherapy. Some come to meet the doctors at the OPD for a regular check-up and some to get a diagnosis to their ailment. But Covid-19 has temporarily disrupted the treatment cycles of many cancer patients as fear of the pandemic has kept many away from taking their muchneeded medical care. The situation has changed now.

 The two most dreaded Cs in the country till a few days ago were coronavirus and cancer. And not seeking treatment for an existing ailment due to fear of Covid-19 infection can prove to be risky, a mistake which many have made during the pandemic. “The fact is that Covid-19 has 3-4% mortality rate but other diseases may have higher. Cancer, for example, has almost 40-50% mortality rate which needs to be appreciated. There was a big drop in detection of cancer patients and ongoing treatment cycles during the pandemic, which is now getting back to previous levels,” says Dr Harit, chairman of Cancer Care and director & chief consultant, surgical oncology at Max Healthcare.

The doctor feels that Covid fear is justified and adds, “It is already a pandemic. Any pandemic can go out of hand. So, all regulations put in place were very much required. But we should be more cognisant about the needs of patients with cancer, cardiac, nephrology and other problems. It should be communicated to the patients not to drop the ball on these things. While precautions are required, these treatments should go on.” Usually, cancer cases are detected at the level of general physicians when people make a visit. Since cancer symptoms aren’t unique, most patients present to the GP with uncertain symptoms. According to Dr Harit, detection of the disease, as well as treatment even in cases after diagnosis came down during the pandemic.

Senior oncologist Dr Harit Chaturvedi with a patient and others.

The doctor informs that people come to him after having been diagnosed with cancer, something that is treated as a death warrant with little room for home. The biggest reward from his profession is the chance to interact with people. He’s touched by the emotions and support that cancer patients get. He mentions a case wherein a young boy sold his only piece of land to get his mother treated for advanced cancer. “I told him that the cancer has reached an advanced stage and there is very less we can do to save her. Yet, he went ahead and sold the land. He said what value is the land to me without my mother,” says Dr Harit.

 He also remembers a case where 40 people from a joint family pooled Rs 1,000 each per month to support the treatment of their kin.

The other rewarding part about his profession is the continuous pursuit of scientific enquiry and the investigative opportunities cancer offers. “Cancer is complex. There is no time to pause, no time to really think. The moment you crack a theory, there is another new development waiting for you. There is never a dull day,” he adds.

Dr Harit is passionate about his work and feels that his student days played a huge role in shaping his approach to life. Born in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, he says, “I wanted to become a catalyst for social change. That was my purpose in life.” An active participant in campus politics, he became the students’ union president. The leadership streak still continues. He has served the national bodies of Indian Society of Oncology Forum in various capacities and as president for all three bodies. “I enjoyed those ten years at a different level. I used to bring out a newspaper called Charcha. I was influenced by my grandfather and my role model, a popular Hindi writer called Pandit Parashuram Chaturvedi, who also was a researcher and writer on Kabir,” he says.

Oncology became his pursuit after a campus politics incident made him spend most of his masters in surgery at the cancer ward by his then head of the department at college. The tiff, he said, happened in the first year itself. “Out of my three years, two and a half was in cancer ward, burn and plastics and neuro. This was not the domain of general surgeons. The remaining six months were in general surgery. This proved to my advantage. There I was excited by the challenge of cancer treatment. This was 1987-89,” recalls Dr Harit.

 At that time the face of cancer treatment was not what it is today. There were hardly three four chemotherapy drugs and there was limited understanding of cancer biology. An avid reader, he says that he is very much into reading which got a bit slowed down in the past one-and-a-half years.

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‘Black Panther’ director considered quitting filmmaking after Chadwick Boseman’s death

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‘Black Panther’ director Ryan Coogler has revealed that he considered quitting filmmaking after actor Chadwick Boseman’s demise. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Coogler opened up about it.
“I was at a point when I was like, ‘I’m walking away from this business,’” Coogler stated.
“I didn’t know if I could make another movie period [or] another ‘Black Panther’ movie, because it hurt a lot. I was like, ‘Man, how could I open myself up to feeling like this again?’”
Boseman died in August 2020 after a private battle with colon cancer.
Coogler also shared that he spent weeks revisiting footage of himself with Boseman, who he saw as a major creative collaborator and champion of “Black Panther.”
Returning to memories of his own relationship with the actor, the filmmaker began to rediscover his passion for the kingdom of Wakanda and its narrative possibilities.
“I was poring over a lot of conversations that we had, towards what I realised was the end of his life,” Coogler continued. “I decided that it made more sense to keep going.”
Coogler has returned to direct Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which follows characters played by returning cast members Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Winston Duke, as they confront the death of Boseman’s King T’Challa.
On Monday, the second trailer of ‘Wakanda Forever’ was released. The film is scheduled to hit theatres on 11 November 2022, in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.

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A Hindu temple in Muslim heartland of Dubai

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A new Hindu temple constructed in Jebel Ali in Dubai opened on Tuesday, one day ahead of the Dussehra festival.
The Khaleej Times reported that the temple is an extension of the Sindhi Guru Darbar Temple, one of the oldest Hindu temples in the UAE.
The temple’s foundation was laid in February 2020, and the inauguration fulfils a decades-long Indian dream of having a place of worship in the area.
The temple, which will be officially open to the public on October 5—the day of the Dussehra festival, welcomes people of all faiths and has allowed entry to worshippers and other visitors to view the 16 deities and other interior works, reported Gulf News.
Welcoming people from all faiths, the temple has already had its soft opening on 1 September 2022, where thousands of visitors were allowed to get a glimpse of the interiors of the temple built with white marble. It has ornate pillars, Arabic and Hindu geometric designs on the facade, and bells on the ceiling.
The temple’s management activated the QR-code-based appointment booking system via its website on its soft opening.
From day one, the temple has received many visitors, especially over the weekends.
The restricted entry has been regulated through QR-coded appointments for crowd management and to ensure social distancing, the report said.
Most of the deities are installed in the main prayer hall, with a large 3D-printed pink lotus unfurling across the central dome.
According to the official temple website, Dubai’s new Hindu temple will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Meet the man spreading joy on Ferris wheel at Lav Kush Ramlila

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Bustling noises of cheers and laughter echo on the grounds of Lav Kush Ramlila as the annual festivities of Dussehra make their way onto people’s calendars every year. The past two years, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, were a blow to small-scale businesses and vendors. But this year’s Navaratri has brought back the good old charm of festive love and celebrations.
Among many who spread joy is a man who brings smiles to people’s faces with his merry-go-round and giant ferris wheels.
Known to have been one of the best in business for 40 years, Mohammed Aslam gives the magical touch to Lav Kush Ramlila every year with fun amusement rides.
“I have worked with the Lav Kush Ramlila committee since 1992 and plan to keep working with them because I get a lot of respect here,” said Mohammed Aslam as he expressed his gratitude.
Like many business establishments that suffered at the hands of Covid-19, he emphasised how the pandemic played a spoilsport for his business in the past two years as well. “The past two years, in fact, were quite stressful in terms of business. Not just me, my staffers were also distressed due to the lockdown,” he said.
However, a few minutes later, he exuberantly expressed how well the business is picking up and that he was extremely happy to see Ramlila making a comeback this year.
Mohammed Aslam, a resident of Daryaganj in Delhi, conducts many fairs across the Hindi heartland but says he is happiest during Ramlila because of the joy and brotherhood that the festival binds people with.
Every year, the Lav Kush Ramlila is held at the Lal Qila (Red Fort) and thousands of people gather at the place to eagerly watch the pages of the Ramayana come to life.
Not just that, gorging on amazing street food delicacies, taking an adrenaline-pumping fun ride, and just soaking in the festive mood with loved ones, make it an exciting place for people from all walks of life – age, gender, and religion no bar. This year’s speciality, however, lies in the beauty of the backdrop of the Ram Lila – a replica of the famous Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
Talking about the schedule this year, Ramlila began on September 26, and will culminate with a special appearance of ‘Baahubali’ superstar Prabhas on 5 October.

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Kanye West bats for ‘White Lives Matter’

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Kanye West has hit the headlines yet again. After making his ramp debut at the Balenciaga show at Paris Fashion Week, Kanye staged a surprise Yeezy fashion show on Monday to showcase his season 9 collection.
Before the models arrived, West delivered a speech while sporting the same bejewelled flip-flops he wore last week and a ‘White Lives Matter’ T-shirt with the Pope’s face on the front.
According to Page Six, he made numerous allusions, including his ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s 2016 Paris robbery, his former manager Scooter Braun, his difficulties breaking into the fashion industry, his most recent breakup with Gap, and much more.
“I am Ye, and everyone here knows that I am the leader,” he said at one point, referencing his new legal name. “You can’t manage me.”
Page Six reports that Kanye teased the names of famous models who were expected to make an appearance at his show, including Kardashian, ex-girlfriend Irina Shayk, and current flame Candice Swanepoel. He also teased the names of other well-known figures like Beyonce, Rihanna, Angelina Jolie, Lauryn Hill, Naomi Campbell, Emily Ratajkowski, Gisele Bundchen, Bella Hadid, and Amelia Gray Hamlin.
However, it appears that only Shayk, Campbell, and Hamlin made an appearance, with the Russian model standing on the sidelines while the other two walked the runway.
The same shirt with ‘White Lives Matter’ inscribed on the back was also worn by some of the models in the show.
Over the past week, West has been attending fashion shows in Paris and London. On Sunday, he even made his runway debut as a model by introducing the Balenciaga show. The star’s trip down the slick runway was watched by Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and their daughter North West from the front row.

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5 of the strangest things that have fallen from the sky

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What have you seen falling from the sky other than rain or snow? Can you imagine if fish, spiders, or even a strange substance that looked a whole lot like blood started raining down from above? Well, some people around the world certainly can! Here are some of the weirdest things that have ever fallen from the sky.

  1. Fish

Can you imagine fishes falling from the sky? It is going to be a weird sight for sure. But there is an explanation for this. In coastal areas, stormy weather can create a waterspout, a tornado-like phenomenon that can suck marine life out of bodies of water like lakes and oceans. The wind will then carry the fish inland, where they’ll come tumbling to the ground. It’s been documented everywhere from Sri Lanka to Australia to Mexico, and as recently as 2017. Sometimes, if the fish are edible, residents of the affected communities will celebrate the “fish rain” as a boon. 

2. Frogs

Frogs can also become a victim of waterspouts, due to which they fall on the land surprising the people living on the land. Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclides Lembus wrote about instances when so many frogs rained from the sky that “the houses and the roads have been full of them,” and in 2005, residents of Odzaci, Serbia, saw thousands of tiny frogs fall with passing storm clouds. Though sometimes, the lengthy fall will kill the critters, other times, they will hop and amble around their new locality. In Serbia, for instance, villagers reported that the fallen frogs simply hopped away to look for water.

3. Golf Balls

Anyone would be surprised but this has happened in Florida in 1969. Perhaps even weirder, no local golf courses were missing any balls. The reason was never entirely confirmed, but most experts theorized that a waterspout scooped up all of the golf balls that had been hit into the water by errant golfers.

4. Spiders

Creepy spiders falling from the sky can make anyone wants to disappear. It happened in 2015 in Australia, and then even more recently in Brazil in 2019. But, unlike the fish and the frogs, the spiders were not yanked from their homes by violent storms. The spider rains result from a process called “ballooning,” where the spiders produce filaments to launch themselves into the air. They do this in an attempt to catch an air current and travel to a new location, and it’s something they do fairly often. So why aren’t spider rains more common, you ask? That’s because it’s very uncommon for huge amounts of spiders to do this at the same time.

5. Money

The only rain that is pretty is raining money. Raining money has occurred several times throughout history, some of them recently. In 2015, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of United Arab Emirates dirham currency showered over Kuwait City. In Serbia, a plane carrying gold and diamonds spilled some cargo over the airport runway in 2018. Back stateside, Indianapolis experienced a similar phenomenon in 2017 when an electrician noticed around $200 worth of bills blowing off of a roof where he was working. 

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Centre approves amendments to FM radio guidelines

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The “Policy Guidelines on Expansion of FM Radio Broadcasting Services through Private Agencies (Phase-III)”, also known as the “Private FM Phase-III Policy Guidelines,” contained three amendments that the cabinet approved on Tuesday in order to allow radio channels to take advantage of economies of scale and enhance ease of doing business.

“The decision was taken in the last Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” ministry of information and broadcasting said in a statement.

The first change is the removal of the 3-year window period for FM radio authorization restructuring within the same management group during the license’s 15-year term.

The government has also agreed to the radio industry’s long-standing demand that the 15% National Cap on Channel Holding be lifted.

These three amendments together will help private FM radio industry to “fully leverage the economies of scale and pave the way for further expansion of FM radio and entertainment to Tier-III cities in the country”. “This will not only create new employment opportunities but also ensure that music and entertainment over the FTA (Free to Air) radio media is available to the common man in the remotest corners of the country,” the ministry said.

According to the statement, “The move will ensure that existing rules are streamlined and rationalised to make government more efficient and effective so that its benefits reach the ordinary man.

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