IN the wake of malware WannaCry infecting hundreds of thousands of computers using a stolen NSA hacking tool, Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft has blamed the nation-states in pursuit of cyber weapons, as a major danger to the people.
LAST week, the world woke up to the largest cyber security threat ever, with a ransomware wannacry originating from NSA's cache of cyber weapons, infecting hundreds of thousands of computers. Computers in more than 150 countries have been infected by the ransomware, with the users locked out of their vital files and data. The criminal group behind wannacry want $300 in bitcoin as ransom, for releasing the files back to their users. The ransom note, displayed on the hacked machines, also say that the ransom will double if the victims do not pay up within three days.
THE RSS linked Arogya Bharati has been running programmes for producing “fair, tall babies” with “high intelligence”; even if the parents are dark, short and with low intelligence. All this according to Arogya Bharati “experts” can be done by following Garbhasanskar, claimed to be ancient Indian wisdom. They have even set up Garbhavigyan Anusandhan Kendra, a so-called research centre in Jamnagar, Gujrat. Garbhavigyan Anusandhan Kendra not only promises the parents of “getting the best progeny”, but also the “desired sex of offspring”.
THE US has been positioning its aircraft carrier strike force Carl Vinson and USS Michigan, an Ohio class nuclear submarine, off the coast of the Korean peninsula. Trump has threatened that if China does not intervene, the US will “solve the problem” of a nuclear Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) “all by itself”; presumably through military strikes.
EARTH Day, commemorated on April 22 each year, has always seen marches and demonstrations highlighting dangers to life on the planet and mobilising people for the defence of the environment from wanton exploitation and profiteering. Earth Day this year was different. It saw rallies in cities round the world, especially in the US, under the banner March for Science. This year Earth Day was not about saving the planet, but about saving science and the institutions that engage in studying and propagating it. Who would have thought such a thing would happen?
IN a recent public meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government would take steps to reduce costs incurred on purchase of medicines by making it mandatory for doctors to prescribe medicines in generic name. In itself such a step by the government would be welcome. Unfortunately past experience shows that such pronouncements are mere empty promises that have no relation to the situation on the ground.
WITH Westinghouse announcing its bankruptcy, India's pledge to buy at least 10,000 MW as a part of the India US Nuclear Deal and reiterated by Modi last year, should be given a decent burial. Any agreement with Westinghouse now means that India would be bailing out Westinghouse and the US nuclear industry with Indian peoples' money.
THERE is a new buzz in the country at the prospect of an ultra-modern, even futuristic, transportation system making a debut in India, among the first few countries to host this much-touted system. If it becomes reality, it would be yet another instance of India leading the march of highly developed tech-led countries, the dream being actively promoted among the “aspirational classes” in this country, not satisfied with just a bullet train but looking to leapfrog to the next generation transport.
THE government has finally approved the National Health Policy-2017, bringing to an end a two year long process. A draft of the policy was available since mid-2015 but it is believed that the government, at the Niti Ayog’s behest had been unhappy with some specific parts of the earlier draft that was critical of the private sector.
AN international team of scientists have discovered a set of seven, near earth-sized exoplanets circling a nearby star, named Trappist-1. They have reported this discovery recently in Nature. What is exciting about these exoplanets is that all of them may have water, with three falling in what is called the habitable zone. In the habitable zone, planets may have water in liquid form on their surface, and therefore the possibility of life.