Bullet trains from Guangzhou city to Beijing are suspended. Winds were strong enough near Shanwei to blow cars off the road as Typhoon Usagi, the world’s most powerful storm this year, hit China
Typhoon Usagi has killed at least 25 people after crashing ashore in southern China, throwing the region’s transport systems into chaos and leaving tens of thousands of airline passengers stranded in Hong Kong.
Schools and businesses were shut as activity in the normally teeming financial hub slowed to a crawl after Usagi punched a long swathe of Chinese coast with torrential rain and winds of up to 165km (103 miles) per hour during the night.
The deaths were reported by Chinese state media after Usagi, which meteorologists say was the world’s most powerful storm this year, made landfall in Guangdong province northeast of Hong Kong yesterday evening, prompting the highest level of alert from the National Meteorological Centre.
The reports by Xinhua news agency and CCTV did not say how the 25 people were killed but said all the deaths were in Guangdong after the typhoon brought down trees and damaged roads.
Bullet trains from Guangzhou city to Beijing were suspended and Xinhua said that winds were strong enough near Shanwei to blow cars off the road. More than 47,000 fishing boats were in harbour and schools were closed in 14 coastal cities.
Usagi had previously killed two people in the Philippines and unleashed landslides and power outages across southern Taiwan at the weekend as it ploughed through the Luzon Strait with ferocious winds and heavy downpours.
Monsoon rains exacerbated by Usagi brought flooding on today to the Philippines capital Manila and nearby provinces.
As the typhoon bore down on Hong Kong, operators shut down one of the world’s busiest sea ports and nearly 450 flights were either cancelled or delayed as Cathay Pacific and other airlines imposed pre-emptive suspensions.
The Observatory said it was the strongest typhoon to brush Hong Kong since 1979. Tens of thousands of people had their travel plans upended with ferries and trains also disrupted, while Cathay said it expected flights to start resuming only from noon (0400 GMT) on today.
Many passengers were milling around Hong Kong airport hoping to rebook their flights, but hand-written signs in Chinese and English warned them that there was little chance of getting standby seats on flights out today and to check back later.
Officials in Hong Kong, which is well versed in typhoon preparations, said that 13 people were injured during the storm, while more than 60 trees had fallen.
Major thoroughfares were empty and signboards swayed in the wind early today, but some residents ignored official warnings and headed out to the coastline in raincoats to brave the wind.
Last week, Usagi killed three people in Vietnam.
The centre and state governments must not insist on Aadhaar from citizens before providing essential services, the apex court ruled
In a significant development, the Supreme Court on Monday has ruled that Aadhaar or the unique identification (UID) number, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)'s ambitious scheme, is not mandatory to avail essential services from the government.
Various state governments have been insisting on making Aadhaar compulsory for a range of formalities, including marriage registration, disbursal of salaries and provident fund among other public services.
While hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by retired Karnataka High Court judge Justice KS Puttaswamy and advocate Parvesh Khanna questioning the legal sanctity of Aadhaar, the apex court said, "The centre and state governments must not insist on Aadhaar from citizens before providing them essential services."
A Bench of Justices BS Chauhan and SA Bobde also directed central and the state governments not to issue the Aadhaar to illegal immigrants.
While trashing the Centre's claim of Rs50,000 crore expenses on the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) project, the Bench said that Aadhaar number is not necessary for important services.
In the petition, Justice Puttaswamy had sought an immediate stay on the implementation of the UID scheme. He said, "The scheme is complete infraction of Fundamental Rights under Articles 14 (right to equality) and 21 (right to life and liberty). The government claims that the scheme is voluntary but it is not so. Aadhaar is being made mandatory for purposes like registration of marriages and others. Maharashtra government has recently said no marriage will be registered if parties don't have Aadhaar cards."
The petitioner asserted that the issue required a meticulous judicial examination by the Bench since it raised questions not only over the government's authority to implement the scheme, but also highlighted the perils of the manner of its implementation.
The Bench accepted his arguments and agreed to hear his contentions on the interim stay as well on while asking the centre and state governments to file their replies.
In its reply, the Centre had earlier claimed that for an Aadhaar card, consent of an individual was indispensable and hence it was a voluntary project, with an objective to promote inclusion and benefits of the marginalised sections of the society that has no formal identity proof.
In July, replying to an un-starred question in the Lok Sabha on 8 May 2013, Rajiv Shukla, minister of state for parliamentary affairs and planning said, "Aadhaar card is not mandatory to avail subsidized facilities being offered by the Government like LPG cylinders, admission in private aided schools, opening a savings account etc."
Earlier in February, Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) had said that looking at the difficulties in enrolment, it has decided not to make the UID or Aadhaar number mandatory for its over five crore members.
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Fear, anxiety and mental overload are causes for obesity in human beings. How should one lead a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent obesity and bulimia?
Obesity, increase in bodyweight disproportionate to the height with excess fatty deposits under the skin, has become a menace to society, especially in the affluent West. It has reached its zenith in the US, where almost every person seems to be obese. It has become a good money-spinner for the pharmaceutical, technology and the food industries. Most of the quick-fix methods if not all are only tall claims. Some of them are downright risky and has the potential to kill. The fear of obesity and the mad rush to slim down has resulted in many Western girls developing a new disease, bulimia.
The low carbohydrate (low-carb) diet seems to be the latest fad. It is estimated by The Times magazine that nearly 1,558 low-carb products have been introduced in the US alone, in the last two years, with estimated sales of more than $30 billion a year. There are hundreds of other low fat, high-protein, diets that not only ruin one’s health but also increase anxiety levels. It is not what one eats that kills but one’s negative thoughts, the very heavy mental flab that kills. The overwhelming evidence points to the primacy of the mind in the causation of all killer diseases. Obesity is no exception.
Many of us overeat when we are depressed and/ or not happy. Similarly, many people lose weight and find it difficult to eat when they are troubled by extreme anxiety and guilt. While modern medical science says: “you are what you eat,” the science of spirituality says: “you are what you think.” This wisdom is the essence of Ayurveda that has existed for centuries. The bija mantra, the foundation of Ayurveda, is: “Prasanna aathma indriya manaha, swastha ithyabhideeyathe.” As long as the mind is free from all the dangerous negative thoughts and is filled with universal love, good health will be guaranteed. Patanjali’s Yoga Shastra, with its advocacy of the sattvic diet and chitta vritti nirodhah (control over ones greedy desires), would be the ideal recipe for an ideal body weight and good health.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote a treatise Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures wherein she quotes extensively from the Bible. In Luke's Gospel, Jesus says, "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes." This counsel about food anxiety sounds extraordinarily contemporary. The Bible talks about the inner hunger for spiritual satisfaction that might be at the root of either overeating or self-starvation. It is the mental obesity that manifests as physical obesity. The holistic approach to obesity starts with spiritual management. That, when coupled with a sensible simple diet, would cure obesity permanently.
“Feast on giving. Happiness consists in being and in doing good….only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can," writes Mary Baker Eddy. “We can dine on the reality that we are God’s own children,” wrote the Christian Science Monitor. Inquest Foundation, Bangalore is spreading the message of obesity management through spiritual means without the crazy diets and weight-reducing gadgets.
The message in Verse 96, in Sura V, of the Holy Quran is that food is less important for human health than righteousness.
In short, all the scriptures proclaim that it is the man’s mind with his awareness of his higher duties to God’s creations that determines one’s happiness or ill health. If one unloads the mind of all destructive negative thoughts and makes sensible changes in life style, then one quickly realises that not only obesity but all other physical illnesses will get corrected. While there is no pill for every ill, every pill has an ill following its prolonged use.
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London.)