Myntra’s mega ‘The Big Fashion Festival’ announced as India enters festive season


Leading fashion e-commerce platform Myntra on Wednesday announced the arrival of its ‘Big Fashion Festival’ (BFF), marking the commencement of the shopping season with over 100 new fashion, beauty, and lifestyle launches ahead of the mega event. Over 6 million unique customers are set to shop from the festive fashion event, said the company.

The company said that it will be an opportunity for over 6,000 brands from across the globe to offer shoppers a whopping 1.5 million styles, a 50 percent increase from the previous festive edition, including the most in-trend collections across fashion, beauty, and home offerings among others.

Myntra’s festive event will see international and domestic brands giving unprecedented value offers ranging between 50-90 percent and have customer engagement constructs including curtain raiser and deal o’clock.

Customers using Axis Bank debit and credit cards to make payments on their purchases will get 10 percent additional savings, according to the company.

‘Myntra Insiders’, members of Myntra’s popular loyalty program can access the festive offers during the Early Access period before everyone else and enjoy a host of benefits such as free shipping on all orders, Myntra gift cards, vouchers from top brands, OTT subscriptions available for lesser SuperCoins as compared to regular days.

This edition of Big Fashion Festival will witness popular brands like Biba, Levis, H&M, Roadster, Nike, Nautica, Mango, Fossil, Maybelline, Adidas, Anouk, House of Pataudi and Boat showcase their latest offering and festive collections to customers from across the country.

There will be more than 100 new launches to woo shoppers with their fresh and trendy collections.

For the first time, the recently launched heritage saree brand Nalli will be available for saree lovers on any e-commerce platform. Some of the other popular ethnic wear brands that will launch their new collections during the BFF include Manyavar and Aurelia, informed Myntra.

The launch of the teen’s collection from brands like Wrogn and Dressberry, Ruff & Tuff, and Nautica will cater to the trendy fashion needs of teenagers among many others, it added.

The previous edition of Myntra’s Big Fashion Festival recorded an unparalleled reception from shoppers across the country, with over 5.5 million unique shoppers thronging the platform for the festive event.

According to the company, this year’s edition is set to see the biggest of international and domestic brands connecting with millions of consumers to meet their festive fashion needs.

Stalin to meet Pinarayi today, Siruvani water sharing to be discussed

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin will be meeting his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is reaching Kerala to participate in the South Indian Chief Ministers’ conference, also being attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The discussions between the two Chief Ministers will be mainly centred around Siruvani and Mullaperiyar water sharing issues.

Located inside deep forests in Palakkad district of Kerala, the Siruvani dam is a major source of drinking water for the people of Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu.

Notably, after the 2019 floods in Kerala, the state waer resources department has been maintaining water levels below the Full Reservoir Level (FRL). The Kerala irrigation department has been maintaining the water level of Siruvani dam at 44 ft since 2019 instead of 49.5 ft which is the water level agreed between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Lowering of water level by five feet will lead to a shortage of 122.05 mcft (million cubic feet) which is 19 per cent of the storage capacity of the dam.

The Water level in Siruvani dam has gone up following incessant rains in the catchment areas of the dam and on Thursday the water level touched 43.5 ft and Coimbatore receives 101.4 MLD of water from Siruvani. However once the water level touches 44 ft, the water will be discharged.

Sources in the Tamil Nadu Water Resources Department told IANS that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister will take this matter up with his Kerala counterpart and try to convince him of the necessity of maintaining the FRL of Siruvani dam so that drinking water for Coimbatore is not affected.

Mullaperiyar dam issue which is again a contentious one between Kerala and Tamil Nadu will also come for discussion during the meeting between the two Chief Ministers.

President Kovind presents 2021 Padma awards


President Ram Nath Kovind presented four Padma Vibhushans, including to archaeologist B.B. Lal, five Padma Bhushans and 44 Padma Shri on Tuesday.

The awards were presented by the President at the Civil Investiture Ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

In view of the Covid-19 pandemic situation, the presentation of the awards are being held in two parts, the second will take place at 5 p.m.

Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Vice President N. Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Apart from Lal, Padma Vibhushan awards were presented to cardiologist Belle Monappa Hegde (medicine), Narinder Singh Kapany (posthumous, for science and engineering) and sculptor Sudarshan Sahoo (arts).

The second important award, the Padma Bhushan, was presented to former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan (public affairs), top bureaucrat Nripendra Mishra (civil service), and posthumously to former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi (for public affairs), Ram Vilas Paswan (public affairs) and former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel (public affairs).

Honouring the talents across fields, the Padma Shri awards were presented to Sarod & Afghan Rabani player Ustad Gulfam Ahmed (arts), basketball player P Anitha (sports), Assam banker Laxmi Baruah (social work), Rajani Bector (trade and industry), folk artist Gopiram Bargayn Burabhakat (arts), retired principal Sujit Chatterjee a.k.a. Chattopadhyay (literature and education), Ladakh’s Tsultrim Chonjor (social work), painter from Bihar Dulari Devi (arts), dancer Prof Dr Iyu Bhuyan (arts), Gujarati poet and folk singer Dadudan Gadhavi (posthumous, arts), Haryana’s Professor Jai Bhagwan Goyal (literature and education), mountaineer from Arunachal Pradesh, Dr Anshu Jamsenpa (sports), folk singer Purnamasi Jani (arts), author Namdev Chandrabhan Kamble (literature and education) and Dr Rajat Kumar Kar (literature and education).

The other Padma Shri awardees included Punjab’s Prakash Kaur (social work), renowned puppeteer K Kesavasamy (arts), phulkari artist Lajwanti (arts), folk singer Lakha Khan Manganiar (arts), folk singer Dulal Manki (arts), Dr Chandrakant Mehta (literature and education), Kaithapram Damodaran Namboodiri (arts), Dr Chandrakant Sambhaji Pandav (medicine), Dr Jitendra Nath Pandey (posthumous, for medicine), Prof Sundaram Soloman Pappaiah (literature and education – journalism), Jaswantiben Jamnadas Popat (trader and industry), Assam’s Dr Birubala Rabha (social work), Rama Swamy Annavarapu (arts), famous Carnatic singer Bombay Jayashree Ramnath (arts) and Dr Dhananjay Diwakar Sagdeo (medicine).

Further, the Padma Shri awards were also given to Orthopedic Dr Bhupendra Kumar Singh Sanjay (medicine), Prof Chamanlal Sapru (posthumous, for literature and education), Hanjaman Ongbi Radhe (arts), Dr Arjun Singh Shekhawat (literature and education), Prof Ram Yatna Shukla (literature and education), Jitender Singh Shunty (social work), athlete Sudha Singh (sports), former governor Mrudula Sinha (literature and education), West Bengal’s Guru Maa Kamali Soren (social work), P Subramaniam (posthumous, for trade and industry), Dr Thiruvengadam Veeraraghavan (posthumous, for medicine), Dr Kapil Tiwari (literature and education), differently-abled sportsperson K Y Venkatesh (sports) and Bangladesh national Lt Col Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir (social work).

This year, the list of Padma awards consists of seven Padma Vibhushans, 10 Padma Bhushan, and 102 Padma Shri.

Priyanka Gandhi remains under detention in Sitapur, UP

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra remains in detention at the PAC guest house in Sitapur even though other leaders like Akhilesh Yadav have been released.

According to sources, Priyanka has said that as soon as she is allowed to go, she will go to Lakhimpur Kheri to meet the families of the victims of Sunday’s violence.

A senior official said that they were waiting for orders from Lucknow before they allow Priyanka to go.

Another source said that officials were wary of allowing Priyanka to move towards Lakhimpur unless the cremation of all the bodies of the victims is done.

The post mortem of the bodies is presently being done and the cremation is likely to take place on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Congress workers from adjoining districts have started collecting outside the PAC guest house.

Congress workers took out a candle march outside the PAC guest house and shouted slogans in support of Priyanka Gandhi.

Discover a person’s zodiac sign by their dating profile


You are at a bar, drinking, hanging out with your friends, having a nice time and someone comes up to you, makes a quirky one-line joke or delivers a one-liner that sweeps you off your feet…you think,”hmmm…they sound funny but is he/she actually witty in real life? Is the person compatible with your zodiac sign?” It can be difficult to judge somebody’s sign in real life based on just their appearance or opening line.

Dating apps such as QuackQuack can tell you what each zodiac sign looks like on a dating app and what their behaviour is likely to be when you like their profile. Read on to learn how each sign presents itself online:


The very well-known child of the zodiac, Aries exhibits traits that could be considered childlike as well as childish. They will be looking for instant gratification when it comes to their needs. They’ll reply to you instantly but also tell you off if you upset them. Just like children, they are also full of energy and enthusiasm: they will be up for any fun outing or dating activity you throw their way. They are also innocent and are not dictated by worldly ways. Following their heart is what they know best and are often called fools for that but let that not fool you for it’s just the courageous aspect of their personality showing. Keep in mind that if they make a wish and ask you for a gift, you better be a genie and deliver it. If not, be ready to entertain their tantrums.


A Taurean is the kind of person who respects regulations by the government and stays at home with their family during the pandemic. Put on a show, give them their cats to cuddle, their entourage to chill with and they are content. Not to say that they don’t like going out, they enjoy a drink in the club, a shopping spree and a picnic just as much as the next person but what they value more are their relationships. The profile of a Taurus would be full of hobbies that they appreciate in their life. It could be gardening, book reading or anything, they will also make you part of their interests. If you’re looking for some security in your relationship, date a Taurus.


The twins of the zodiac, Gemini is also marked by its bubbly and capricious nature. They can be unpredictable and would leave you thinking about which stage of the relationship you’re at with them or whether you’re even in a relationship. If you are looking for some decisiveness and some equilibrium then Geminis won’t be the right match but if adaptability, versatility and liveliness are for you then go ahead. Don’t let the unstable nature of the sign put you off. Geminis make great conversationalists and will never let you get bored of their stories. Do you wonder which sign it is that links all their social media accounts full of pictures doing a ton of things? Now you know.


Recognized by a crab as their symbol, Cancerians also have a personality mimicking the same. A rough exterior is full of ways to protect their soft side such as hidden information on the profile, unanswered texts asking for their personal information, few pictures online and unlinked social media. You might find it hard to look up their social accounts if you stalk them before a date, say 45 per cent of QuackQuack users. But that is Cancer for you and they do this to protect an extremely intuitive, empathetic and emotional nature. Breaking that hard, cold exterior will give way to a soft interior that belongs to a caregiver and an overly emotional person. They will take a long time to let you in but once you become theirs, they won’t let you go and might even cling on to you.


A lion is known by its majestic nature and so are Leos. Whatever they do in life is grand, fiery and extraordinary. The world really does revolve around them if you ever ask their opinion. They’ll make an amazing impression on you with lavish parties, designer dresses and huge banquets in their photos. Their bio won’t be anything petty either. Nothing they do in life is small. They will set a goal in their work and conquer it. They will see a person in their life and would dress to impress them. They will organize a party and it will be the news headline the next day. With all of this pompousness comes a huge ego too which you better be careful to not hurt. A Leo will always be the first to message you and if bravery is what you’re looking for, swipe right.


The one who is charmed by perfection; precision and processing are part of a Virgo’s innate personality. On a dating app the profile without errors, belongs to Virgos. Not only will they spend hours selecting photos but will choose carefully the words mentioned in the bio too because they are that detail-oriented. They’ll read into your profile, the questions you answered and analyze, analyze, analyze. Plus, they make great, supportive friends too! If you are ever in a difficult situation, talk to a Virgo who will help you organize your thoughts and find a practical solution to it.


Say hello to the most flirtatious sign of all. Again, since it’s an air sign, they are as loyal as Geminis (which is not very). They might be dating other people until they have committed to you and who knows, date somebody else in the evening after a lunch date with you. But unlike Geminis, they strive for balance in all areas of life — may that be relationships, work, friendships or relaxing. They make excellent art critics and connoisseurs too! They aren’t the kind of partners who would put too much of their energy into one area of life and leave the others to sort out for themselves. Striving for balance, they might put equal energy in other relations leaving their partner’s attention deprived.


Scorpios have a bad reputation for being the person who makes a dating profile just for a one night stand. However, they are passionate lovers and intuitive too. Scorpios crave physical, emotional and spiritual intimacy equally. They’ll understand your emotions without you needing to spell them out. They’re mysterious, will keep you guessing but will continue to charm you with their sarcasm and humour. They are natural leaders so they will always be the ones to decide the place to meet and the restaurant to dine in. It’s not easy to make them settle down with a person but once they do, you can bet on their lifelong loyalty.


They tend to be passionate, optimistic, jovial and intellectual. Travelling, travelling, travelling. They seek to know what lies beyond the horizon and explore it, not just visit the place for some photos to be posted later on. Not only that, they are also full of funny stories and look forward to deep, intellectual conversations. This is why they also make great teachers, lecturers and journalists. All these traits also mean that Sags are not bound by material possessions. Want to have a philosophical conversation at any time of the day? Give them a like.


Capricorns are just so career-oriented! They think it is good manners to figure out your aim in life, work for it and then start dating. They won’t appreciate tardiness, lazy attitude, impunctuality and undisciplined behaviour in you too, say hundreds of QuackQuack users. They might start up the conversation about your achievements in life and also expect you to not be late for the date. Some might find it too much but the goat keeps pushing on till it reaches the peak of the mountain (read workaholics) but they will expend their cent per cent in the relationship too. Once you live up to their standards, expect nothing but loyalty.


They are bursting with new ideas and thoughts every minute and entertain all the ideas thrown at them too. They are quirky, they know it and take pride in it. Want to know a weird fact or just recount something bizarre that happened to you today? An Aquarius will want to know! They are rebels and eccentric and want to change the world. The way to their heart is by letting them be themselves and not controlling their quirkiness. Their profile might not be attractive to most people but if you have a taste for something strange and might like the photo of an earthworm as a toothbrush, they are the person for you.


Like the other water signs, Pisces is quite emotional too. They would want to test you and have a good number of conversations before asking you out. They won’t reveal everything in their bio (scaly fish exterior) but take it to the inbox and they’ll draw you in with their profound conversations. They are creative, they are artists. They are governed by the planet Neptune so fantasy and creativity are a part of their personality. After alike, they will definitely start daydreaming about you. Chances are a Pisces is more likely to be a painter, a writer or a musician and that would work on you. Word of caution: Pisces can hold on to grudges and be easily swayed in matters of the heart.


Jacqueline Fernandez’s quirky new post is all about ‘cat yoga’

A cat adds a quirky touch to Jacqueline Fernandez’s latest Instagram post on Saturday, where the actress is seen practicing yoga.

The video captures Jacqueline practices yoga in a medium long-shot frame, even as the cat flits in and out of the frame in the near end of the camera.

“Cat yoga,” wrote Jacqueline, along with the video clip.

The actress currently has her kitty full with films over the next few months. She co-stars with Akshay Kumar in “Ram Setu” and “Bachchan Pandey”, and returns with Salman Khan in “Kick 2”.

“Cirkus” casts her with Ranveer Singh while Jacqueline also features in the horror comedy “Bhoot Police”, with Saif Ali Khan, Arjun Kapoor, and Yami Gautam.

ಸ್ವಾಭಾವಿಕವಾಗಿ ಗರ್ಭಧರಿಸಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವ ಜನರು ಕೋವಿಡ್ ಲಸಿಕೆ ಪಡೆಯಬಹುದೇ?

ಹೈದರಾಬಾದ್, ಮೇ 21 (ತೆಲುಗು ಬುಲೆಟ್) ಫೆರ್ಟಿ 9 ಫಲವತ್ತತೆ ಕೇಂದ್ರದ ಫಲವತ್ತತೆ ತಜ್ಞ ಡಾ.ಸಿ.ಜೋತಿ ಅವರಿಗೆ ಸ್ಪಷ್ಟವಾಗಿ ವಿವರಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ ಸಹಜವಾಗಿ ಗರ್ಭಧರಿಸಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವ ಜನರು ಕೋವಿಡ್ ಲಸಿಕೆ ಪಡೆಯಬಹುದೇ?

ದಯವಿಟ್ಟು ಕೆಳಗಿನ ವೀಡಿಯೊವನ್ನು ನೋಡಿ

ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲೇ ಇರಿ, ಸುರಕ್ಷಿತವಾಗಿರಿ


Admit children who lost parents in pandemic to Navodaya Vidayalaya, Sonia urges PM

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and urged him that those children who have lost parents during the pandemic be admitted to Navodaya Vidayalayas.

“I am writing to request you to consider providing free education at the Navodaya Vidyalayas to children who have lost either both parents or an earning parent on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. I feel that as a nation, we owe it to them to give them hope for a robust future after the unimaginable tragedy that has befallen them,” she wrote.

Gandhi said amid the devastation caused by the pandemic and the heart-wrenching tragedies being faced by affected families, news of young children losing one or both parents to Covid-19 are the most poignant. Children are left with the trauma of loss and no support towards a stable education or future.

She further added that one of her late husband Rajiv Gandhi’s most significant legacies is the network of Navodaya Vidyalayas.

“It was his dream to make high-quality modern education accessible and affordable to talented youth, predominantly from rural areas. There are now, as you know, 661 such schools across the country,” she said.

Cyclone Tauktae: Efforts on to alert TN fishers

Tamil Nadu fisheries department is trying to alert around 2,500 fishers out in the Arabian sea about a depression that may intensify into Cyclone Tauktae.

The Tamil Nadu fisheries department state Commissioner J. Jayakanthan told IANS: “Most of the fishermen are from the western coast of Kanyakumari since the annual fishing ban is in effect on the eastern coast.”

Fishing officials said that while only 84 vessels have gone into the sea from Thengapattanam coast, 150 fishing boats of Kanyakumari have ventured into the sea from the Kerala coast.

The department is trying to contact them over the satellite phones provided to them by the state government as they move in clusters on high sea. Local churches and the coordination centres opened by the government are also helping.

The fisheries officials said that the fishermen have been advised to touch base at the nearest coast and the department has already coordinated with these coastal belts of various state governments to accommodate the fishermen who reach their shores.

The Indian Meteorological Department(IMD) has forecast the depression is likely to intensify into a cyclone about 100 nautical miles (185km) from the North Kerala coast and move northward till Karachi in Pakistan.

The southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu are witnessing heavy rains and thunder storms following a depression in the Arabian Sea.

Protect yourself against the summer sun

Too much balcony time, exposure to the sun and gadgets may increase skin-related problems.

With the temperatures soaring high, sunscreens find their way out of boxes. Follow the advice of a good dermatologist to protect your skin against UV and infrared damage while you stay indoors and continue to apply sunscreen at home.

When it comes to protecting the skin, the choice of the right sunscreen is extremely important. Besides the sun, infrared rays can also come from less obvious places like computer screens, mobiles, hairdryers etc. which then travel deep into the skin releasing free radicals that damage the skin.

Here are three reasons listed by Cetaphil India on why the use of sunscreen is imperative at all times. The newly-launched Cetaphil Bright Healthy Radiance Range also offers a range of daily essentials, curated and formulated to offer complete day and night protection.

Prolonged use of gadgets can be damaging

Regardless of the extended �stay at home’ and limited outdoor gatherings, the radiation from the lights, TVs, cell phone screens, and even lights from different indoor lighting(s) might add to skin problems. Moreover, glass windows, do not filter the harmful rays from reaching you. Daily use of sunscreen will shield your skin from the harm brought by exposure to any kind of harmful UV and infrared rays.

Offering proven protection against harmful UV and infrared rays

Your sunscreen must contain broad-spectrum filters to help protect from the sun’s harmful radiation on your skin. A lightweight sunscreen that is easily absorbed, is hydrating and nourishing, water and sweat resistant, and non-greasy – like the Cetaphil Sun SPF50+ / SPF 30+ Light Gel. It is a dermatologically tested, fragrance free sunscreen that can be used even in sensitive skin.

Results in skin aging and skin worries

The harmful UV and infrared rays not only cause skin tanning but also penetrates the skin causing premature skin aging, pigmentation or dark spots and other skin related problems. Hence choosing a sunscreen that offers proven protection against UV and infrared radiation is important.

if you are planning for Natural Pregnancy take covid vaccine or not

Hyderabad, May 10 (Telugu Bullet) Dr C. Jyothi, Fertility Expert at Ferty9 Fertility Center was explained clearly if you are planning for Natural Pregnancy Can we take Covid-19 Vaccine or not

please watch below video




Decoded: How antibodies neutralise Covid infection

 US researchers have found how antibodies produced in people who effectively fight off SARS-CoV-2 work to neutralise the part of the virus responsible for causing Covid infection.

The team from the University of Texas at Austin analysed blood plasma samples from four people who recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infections. They found that most of the antibodies circulating in the blood — on average, about 84 per cent — target areas of the viral spike protein outside the receptor binding domain (RBD) — the most obvious part of the coronavirus’s spike protein.

Because the RBD is the part of the spike that attaches directly to human cells and enables the virus to infect them, it was previously assumed to be a primary target of the immune system.

“We found these antibodies are painting the entire spike, both the arc and the stalk of the spike protein, which looks a bit like an umbrella,” said Greg Ippolito, Associate Professor in UT’s Department of Molecular Biosciences.

“The immune system sees the entire spike and tries to neutralise it,” Ippolito added.

About 40 per cent of the circulating antibodies target the stalk of the spike protein, called the S2 subunit, which is also a part that the virus does not seem able to change easily, the researchers explained in the paper published in the journal Science.

“That’s an advantage our immune system has. It also means our current vaccines are eliciting antibodies targeting that S2 subunit, which are likely providing another layer of protection against the virus,” Ippolito said.

The finding will also help design vaccine boosters or next-generation vaccines against variants of concern, and even for developing a vaccine that can protect against future pandemics from other strains of the Coronavirus.

“It means we have a strong rationale for developing next-generation SARS-CoV-2 vaccines or even a pan-Coronavirus vaccine that targets every strain,” Ippolito said.

Offline exams in higher institutions postponed across the country

Due to the second wave of Covid, the Union Ministry of Education requested to postpone all offline examinations scheduled in the month of May, 2021.

This decision will be applicable to all central higher educational institutions across the country. Apart from this, such higher educational institutions will also have to postpone offline examinations, which receive financial support from the central government.

In a letter addressed to all heads of centrally funded institutions, Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare has urged these institutes to postpone all offline examinations to be held in the month of May, 2021. Although online examinations may continue.

Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare has also said in his letter that this decision will be reviewed in the first week of June 2021.

Institutions have further been advised to ensure that if anyone in an institution is in need of assistance, it should be provided at the earliest so that it comes out of crisis soon.

All educational institutions must encourage eligible individuals to be vaccinated and ensure that Covid norms are followed properly.

At the same time, Delhi University has also postponed the online open book examination to be held in May. The examination was to be held from May 15. Senior officials of the university have taken this important decision to postpone the examinations with the caretaker vice-chancellor. According to the university administration, now these examinations will be held from June 1.

Covid oral pill could be ready by year-end: Pfizer CEO

US-based pharmaceutical major Pfizer’s Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said that the company’s Covid-19 oral antiviral pill, which is in early-stage trials, could be ready by the end of the year, the media reported.

According to CNBC, the company, which developed the first authorised Covid-19 vaccine in the US with German drugmaker BioNTech, began an early-stage clinical trial for testing a new antiviral therapy for Covid-19 in March.

The drug is part of a class of medicines called protease inhibitors and works by inhibiting an enzyme that the virus needs to replicate in human cells.

“If clinical trials go well and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves it, the drug could be distributed across the US by the end of the year,” Bourla told CNBC.

Protease inhibitors are used to treat other viral pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis C, the report said.

Last month, the pharmaceutical giant asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expand the Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) for its Covid-19 vaccine to include children ages 12 to 15.

The request to expand emergency use comes just days after Pfizer released data demonstrating its vaccine was 100 per cent effective and well-tolerated by the younger group.

Pfizer is also working on its vaccine for 6-month to 11-year-old children.

A recent study, published in the journal Science, showed that a single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines against Covid may boost immunity against the Covid-19 variants, only in people who were previously infected with the deadly virus.

In people who have not previously been infected and have so far only received one dose of vaccine, the immune response to variants of concern may be insufficient, the study indicated.

G7 Ministers to meet for 1st time in 2 yrs

Ministers from the G7 countries will meet in person for the first time in two years on Monday in London, where they will discuss the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, a post-Brexit trade deal, Iran’s nuclear programme and China.

Ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US are due to meet British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, reports dpa news agency.

Members of the European Union will also attend, and representatives from Australia, India, South Korea, South Africa and the chairman of the Association of South-East Asian Nations have been invited as guests.

Raab is expected to meet one-on-one with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi at lunchtime, and with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken later on in the afternoon.

Ahead of the meetings, the UK Foreign Office said the ministers will also discuss plans to boost girls’ education and women’s employment in recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

A $15 billion fund is being set up by the countries that will be administered to developing countries over the next two years.

The nations are also signing up to new global targets that aim to get 40 million more girls into school and 20 million more girls reading by the age of 10 in low- and lower-middle income countries by 2026.

The face-to-face meeting is taking place ahead of a G7 summit planned for June in the English seaside county of Cornwall.

Maldives to ban non-essential travel between islands

The Maldives’ Health Protection Agency (HPA) has banned non-essential travel between islands and atolls in a bid to curb a new surge in Covid-19 infections, local media reported on Monday.

Non-essential travel between islands and atolls will be banned starting Tuesday, according to a circular signed by Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru on Sunday.

The ban does not apply to trips between Male, Villimale, Hulhumale, Thilafushi and Gulhifalhu, reports Xinhua news agency.

Only individuals travelling for essential services such as medical treatment may move between islands.

Meanwhile, local councils have been instructed by the HPA to ensure supplies of essentials such as food and medicine in their respective islands.

Daily average cases in the Maldives have risen to over 400, with infections spreading outside the capital region of Greater Male.

The total number of active cases stands at 5,594, out of which 172 have been hospitalised for treatment.

Retd Kerala prof built houses for 200 underprivileged families

 Dr M S Sunil, a retired zoology professor from Catholic College, Pathanamthitta in Kerala, is known for her compassion in providing shelter to the deprived and underprivileged.

She developed the passion while working as the National Service Scheme (NSS) programme officer at her college. She came to know that a girl doing postgraduation from the same college, along with her grandmother, was living in a makeshift shanty without a proper door. Moved by the plight of the girl, the professor decided to construct a home for the student.

With the support of the students and fellow staff members, she constructed the home at a cost of Rs 1.17 lakh in 2005. Since then, there was no looking back for Sunil. The student, Asha, is now a higher secondary teacher in a government school and is still living in the home constructed by Sunil.

Since 2005, the professor has constructed 200 houses for the deprived and the underprivileged and her 200th house was handed over to two widows, Janaki and Rukmini, at Kavalam in Alappuzha district of Kerala. The land documents are in the name of Janaki (80) while Rukmini is her close relative. The house which was built at a cost of Rs 5 lakh was supported by the Chicago Malayalee Association (CMA).

Union Minister of State for External affairs V Muraleedharan handed over the house to Janaki and Rukmini on April 18, 2021.

Sunil said , “This is the 200th home handed over to a deserving family who were living in a dilapidated tent like accommodation. I really really happy and proud that I could wipe the tears from their eyes.”

President Ram Nath Kovind had conferred on her the Nari Shakti Puraskar for the year 2018 on Women’s Day for her exemplary contribution to the society.

Talking about the selection of beneficiaries, the professor said that the selection is based purely on due diligence on the need and not on the basis of caste, creed or religion.

Sunil has not rested on the laurels she had received from all sections of the society rather from providing homes to the underprivileged she is now also conducting blood donation camps and providing free food kits to 50 families every month.

The retired college professor has constructed 23 homes for those who had lost everything in the floods of 2018 and is now into construction of around eight homes with the 201st home being almost ready.

She said, “Initially, I had to use my own resources to provide homes to the needy but gradually people from all sections of the society started supporting my cause. I think people come forward once they find that you are genuine. I thank God as well as the good Samaritans who had supported me in the cause.”

Interestingly, Sunil has a male name which was a decision taken by her father, late M M Samuel, who was expecting a baby boy and had reserved this name for the child. However, despite the baby being a girl, her father decided to name her Sunil.

“It is an interesting name and people used to ask me all sorts of questions on this name being given to a woman, but I feel that my father’s decision has given me extra mileage in society on this,” Sunil said.

Telling a tale with soil and iron

When politician Yogendra Yadav called him this month to discuss a memorial at Shahjahanpur on the Delhi-Rajasthan border to honour the farmers who had lost their lives during the agitation, it did not take long for Ahmedabad-based artist Lalon, who had been following the protests closely, to jump into worn out car with his friend Shubham Singh and undertake a 14-hour journey to Delhi.

Meanwhile, farmers from across the country were reaching the protest site with soil carried in a ‘kalash’ from their native places.

Although he had conceived something already but owing to paucity of time, it was decided that the pots the farmers were carrying from their native places could be used as part of the installation which has been going viral on the Internet.

Reaching late at night and sleeping in the cold, waking up to see the protesters braving everything with a smile, the NID-pass out recalls remembering Pablo Neruda’s lines… eYou can cut all the flowers, but you cannot stop the spring from arriving.’

Using materials like terracotta and iron — the former being earthen and latter, known to be sturdy, signifying the agriculturist’s close relationship with earth and undying spirit, he says, “If you look at the structure, it might look fragile, but it is actually quite well-built. It resonates with the protesting farmers. They might appear poor, weak and helpless, but we have seen the strength of their resolve,”says the artist about the installation that was completed on April 14.

Considering it had to be wrapped up in less than three days, as many people were expected during the pre-scheduled date, the artist remembers that initially the farmers around could not fathom what he and his junior were doing. However, when they saw them working under the blazing sunlight, some offered them tea, others chaach. Many also started lending a hand. “Just when I was apprehensive about finishing the work on time, some ten farmers and labourers showed up. They helped us build the walls. And when we needed mud, one of them brought it on a tractor. And magically, the entire base was prepared in merely four hours.”

Just next to the installation, there is police barricade. When they would stay up at night, some of the policemen would always offer them tea. Many confessed, “We are on duty because it is a part of our job. Many of us also hail from an agricultural background.”

Lalon remembers that when one day, when he was working with his shoes on, an elderly farmer asked him to take off his shoes, stressing, “It is a memorial.”

“As an artist, this was the biggest compliment.”

While initially he thought of making the art work figurative or realistic so as to ensure that the common man would be able to comprehend the concept, he decided to follow his artistic vision, trusting the intelligence of the onlookers. “The farmers managed to understand it, in their own ways.”

Although there was a debate if concrete should be used in the installation, the artist was completely against it. “When you create a sculpture depicting the farmers, it should not represent ego, but empathy. So, the material used is very simplistic. And instead of using concrete, we let grass grow at the bottom.”

Originally from Bengal, Lalon, currently a Phd scholar at NID scholar feels that while artists must comment on contemporary social and political, the role of social media when it comes to art is sometimes exaggerated. “Traditional art forms like some sculptures and paintings cannot be effectively communicated through social media. If you make a sculpture, it needs a physical dimension. So yes, I do feel that social media is an effective tool for reaching to the target audience, but I still when it comes to subjects like the farmers’ protests or the CAA-NRC protests, it becomes important to visit the site physically not just to get a firsthand experience, but also conceive things originally.”

Even as more and more younger artists — photographers, documentary filmmakers and performance artists are thronging protest sites, Lalon feels that the same not only helps in documentation, but also facilitates their connection with the masses at different levels. “When I visited the farmers’ protest site, I gathered stories and gained experience that will probably help inspire me to do artwork for the rest of my life. It has helped me to depict the society from a unique perspective.”

soil and iron

International Dance Day: Is virtual technology viable for dance?

The Covid-19 pandemic has proven to be hard for the performing arts, especially dance, with its protocols restricting physical pedagogy, performance and collaboration in what is essentially an in-person artform. While an unprecedented reliance on online modes has kept the show running for some creative and cultural organisations, groups and individual dancers, what does the future look like?

Dance stalwarts weight in on dance going the virtual way:

Geeta Chandran, guru, a Padma Shri recipient for Bharatanatyam, and founder-director of Natya Vriksha

In 2020, when the lockdown happened, the dance community went into digital overdrive. Classes moved online, performances too. Everyone was presenting everything they had on digital platforms. But in our enthusiasm, we overlooked that for dancers to survive, the digital media platforms also had to be monetised. No one paid attention to that, and everything was offered free of cost. That experiment was not sustainable in the long-term is what everyone has realised, and this time (in the second wave lockdown) we see much fewer freebies floating around on digital media. In the longer-term, I feel that at least in order to learn/teach dance, it will henceforth be a blended experience and digital tools for teaching/learning will be embraced by both gurus (mentors) and shishyas (disciples).

Swapnokalpa Dasgupta – Head of Dance at the NCPA

When the lockdown started, we all expected this to be over in months. Now it’s been more than a year and as we look back, we discover that Covid-19 had given rise to a new stage for the performing arts. Especially dance. Music had reached our homes long time ago through radio and record players, now we can take dance to every corner of the world. This stage is a new stage. It needs all our attention and support to develop into a platform that would effectively support the art form so as of now I am not judging or evaluating. We are experimenting, all are trying to figure out the best way to make use of this new space. As artistes we have always made choreographies having the physical stage set up in mind. Our generation has just started thinking the Camera way. Let’s give us sometime and in the meantime pat our backs and say that we are unstoppable. And then let’s gather again after a decade and determine whether we are ready to pull audiences etc. For now, let’s try to be more receptive, more sensitive, and more grateful for what we already have.

Ashley Lobo, choreographer, founder and artistic director of the Danceworx Academy of Performing Arts and Navdhara India Dance Theater

Dance is an intimate form of art where learning, teaching and performance are all connected to the tangible, physical presence of others. Connection is what every dancer aspires to but the pandemic has changed everything. How does one engage, connect, teach, learn, dance in the time of social distancing, masks, sanitation protocols and more? That being said, I do believe that the arts are essential especially in these times to remind people that we can find solace and hope together. Digital interpretations of what we can do with movement, how we can reach, and teach more people and most importantly connect, have helped dance professionals all over the world. Like our bodies, our minds are also flexible and we have adapted modules to online classes, reinvented business models, and are still evolving by performing virtually with other professionals across the world.

Within this online module we are challenging students and helping dance grow in India with Choreography Camps and Intensives that feature International experts in their respective genres. This gives Indian talent an experience of international standards of dance. I am currently using this very virtual medium to choreograph a piece highlighting the global issue of climate crisis for Company | E in Washington, DC, from the confines of my home! It is not an ideal way to instruct and learn or perform, but technology has helped us stay afloat. And as long as we can survive, we will find a way to thrive as well.

Bharati Shivaji, guru and a recipient of Padma Shri for Mohiniyattam

The Covid-19 pandemic truly has stretched itself far beyond what was expected, right from 2020 onwards. Dance being a visual art, a physical experience be it, performance or communication with an audience, or teaching in a class room, has now become a very painful and gruesome exercise. Unfortunately, one has to succumb to the present situation for want of a somewhat creative occupation.

NASA’s Apollo 11 mission astronaut Michael Collins passes away

NASA astronaut Michael Collins, who piloted the historic mission of Apollo 11 spacecraft Columbia in 1969, passed away on Wednesday due to cancer. He was 90.

During the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, Collins remained in lunar orbit while fellow crew members Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the moon’s surface in the lunar module.

When Armstrong and Aldrin descended to the moon’s surface on July 20, Collins was orbiting 65 miles above them and was momentarily almost forgotten as the world’s attention focused on his two crewmates below.

“Today the nation lost a true pioneer and lifelong advocate for exploration in astronaut Michael Collins. As pilot of the Apollo 11 command module — some called him ‘the loneliest man in history’ — while his colleagues walked on the Moon for the first time, he helped our nation achieve a defining milestone. He also distinguished himself in the Gemini Program and as an Air Force pilot,” NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk, said in a statement.

“NASA mourns the loss of this accomplished pilot and astronaut, a friend of all who seek to push the envelope of human potential. Whether his work was behind the scenes or on full view, his legacy will always be as one of the leaders who took America’s first steps into the cosmos. And his spirit will go with us as we venture toward farther horizons,” Jurczyk said.

Born on October 31, 1930 in Rome, Italy, Collins graduated from Saint Albans School in Washington, DC, and later from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1952. He was a fighter pilot and from 1959 to 1963 served as a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Collins was also a member of the third group of NASA astronauts, selected in October 1963. His first flight was as pilot of Gemini 10, a three-day mission launched July 18, 1966.

Collins became the third US spacewalker when he retrieved a micrometeorite detection device from the rocket of an Agena target-docking vehicle .Including the Apollo 11 mission, Collins logged 266 hours in space.

He also wrote several books: “Carrying the Fire” in 1974, “Flying to the Moon and Other Strange Places” in 1976, “Liftoff: The Story of America’s Adventure in Space” in 1988 and “Mission to Mars” in 1990.

“We regret to share that our beloved father and grandfather passed away today, after a valiant battle with cancer. He spent his final days peacefully, with his family by his side. Mike always faced the challenges of life with grace and humility, and faced this, his final challenge, in the same way. We will miss him terribly. Yet we also know how lucky Mike felt to have lived the life he did. We will honor his wish for us to celebrate, not mourn, that life,” read a statement from the Collins family.