A taste of Italy up in Shimla hills

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The Himachal Pradesh capital is now offering a platter of authentic taste of Italy — an Italian thin crust, hand-rolled wood-fired pizzas laced with an assortment of organic herbs grown in its kitchen garden.

The pizza will also have Italian tomatoes or pomodoros imported from Italy. Even the cheese is being imported from Italy.

“We are different from others as our thin crust pizza base is one of its kind as it is smoked in the mango wood oven. Others have electrical ovens which don’t give it a smoky flavour,” Meet Singh Malhotra, The Oberoi Group’s Clarkes Hotel’s kitchen executive, told IANS.

“Even its base is hand rolled and for health conscious guests we offer organic whole-wheat pizzas too,” he said.

Herbs like basil, wild rocket and arugula used in the pizza are specially grown by the hotel in its kitchen garden without using pesticides or fertiliser.

Malhotra said the condiments with a pizza are olive oil which is flavoured with thyme, a herb, and balsamic vinegar.

“We use only the finest ingredients, besides traditional recipe and methods, to give typical Italian flavour,” Clarkes’ general manager D.P. Bhatia told IANS.

He said Clarkes has also introduced a new menu which includes Chinese, Mexican, Italian and homemade pastas, besides traditional Himachali cuisines.

He said traditional Himachali food like khoru, patore, babroo, chaa ghosht and murgh anardana, which have been long forgotten, are popular among the guests.

In February this year, The Oberoi Group of hotels in Shimla and in Delhi introduced Himachali cuisine, which is not only offered in traditional style but also cooked by chefs trained by the “botis” or hereditary cooks in copper vessels.

Bhatia said Clarkes would soon add a street food menu.

It will include foods like keema samosa, patile wale matar kulcha, kachaudi with aloo ki sabzi and bichoo ki chat or stinging nettle chat.

The stinging nettle is commonly grown in the wild in the hills and is known to have medicinal values, said Malhotra.

To catch up the pizzeria fever, Clarkes offers unlimited pizza at Rs.550 per person with a complimentary drink from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

UP Board makes 75 per cent attendance mandatory for students appearing in board exams 2018

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Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad has made 75 per cent attendance mandatory for students appearing in class 10 and 12 examinations. All those students whose attendance is below 75 per cent will be debarred from sitting in the exams.

As per a Dainik Jagran’s report, the government has taken this decision to improve education condition in the state. The UP Board has directed all the officials to inspect these schools regularly to check whether teachers and students are attending the class or not. The official has to submit a report to the UP Board.

Moreover, to tighten the schools head who delay online registration for board exams at the last day, the UP Board plans to stop their salary payments. According to a Times of India report, Secretary of UP Board, Neena Srivastava, said the idea is to avoid any last-minute technical snag in the central server.

The procedure for filling online application forms next year’s exams have started for both private and regular students on July 20. The last date to submit the duly filled form is October 10.

The decision is taken keeping in mind last year’s scenario when several principals did not utilise the one-month period and uploaded the details on UP Board’s official website on the last date. Due to this, the central server faced technical issues.

There are 20,945 schools affiliated to UP Board in the state.

Parents, beware. 3 hours of TV daily may up risk of diabetes in your kids

Being glued to television or video games for more than three hours a day may put your children at increased risk of developing diabetes.

Parents, take note! Being glued to television or video games for more than three hours a day may put your children at increased risk of developing diabetes, a study warns. Researchers found that both adiposity, which describes total body fat, and insulin resistance, which occurs when cells fail to respond to insulin, were affected by longer hours of watching television and using computers.

“Our findings suggest that reducing screen time may be beneficial in reducing type 2 diabetes risk factors, in both boys and girls, from an early age,” said Claire Nightingale, research fellow at St George’s, University of London in the UK.

Researchers based their findings on a sample of nearly 4,500 nine to 10-year-old pupils from 200 primary schools in London, Birmingham and Leicester. The children were assessed for a series of metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors, including blood fats, insulin resistance, fasting blood glucose levels, blood pressure and body fat.

Around a third of the children spent less than an hour of screen time a day, but 28% of the children said they clocked up one to two hours; 13% said their tally was two to three hours; and 18% said they spent more than three hours looking at screens every day.

The study noted that there was a trend between levels of screen time and higher levels of leptin, the hormone that controls appetite. (Shutterstock )

Trends emerged between screen time and ponderal index – an indicator of weight in relation to height, and skinfolds thickness and fat mass index – indicators of total body fat. Researchers found that these levels were all higher in children reporting more than three hours of daily screen time than in those who said they spent an hour or less on it.

The team also noted that there was a strong trend between levels of screen time and higher levels of leptin, the hormone that controls appetite, and insulin resistance. The trends remained significant even after taking account of potentially influential factors, including physical activity levels, researchers said.

Delhi University’s special admission drive to fill up vacant reserved seats

Officials said some colleges still have seats in the reserved categories, including SC, ST, OBC, Person with Disability (PwD), Children/Widows of Armed Forces, sports and extracurricular activities (ECA).

Delhi University will conduct a special admission drive for applicants under the reserved categories and bring out two more cutoffs for about 1,500 seats.

Officials said some colleges still have seats in the reserved categories, including SC, ST, OBC, Person with Disability (PwD), Children/Widows of Armed Forces, sports and extracurricular activities (ECA).

“There are some seats left in the reserved categories so we are running a special drive to make sure students are admitted on these seats,” said a university official.

The cutoff list for the special category will be out on August 3 and August 7.

But this opportunity will only be available for applicants who are already registered with the university and filled the online registration forms.

“Under this drive only such candidates would be considered for admission who are registered with the University of Delhi, but are not admitted in any college irrespective of category under any cut-off list. It is to be noted that no fresh registrations shall be allowed in this special drive,” said Tarun Das, DU registrar.

Registered applicants will also be allowed to make corrections related to the category change from unreserved to any other category which they belong to.

“Corrections related to category changes are allowed from UR to SC/ST/OBC /PWD /KM/CW subject to verification of original certificates,” Das said in a statement.

Admission committee chairman M K Pandit said, “The idea is to get those students into the university net who are registered but couldn’t seek admission for minor mistakes/choices they made at the time of filling an application.”

Applicants can make corrections by visiting room number 1 at the conference centre in North Campus with their relevant certificates from Monday till Wednesday.

“The applicants must bring their registration form and original/copies of relevant certificates. No further requests of correction will be accepted after these dates,” an official said.

For sports category applicants not admitted in any college, request for modification in colleges or course in sports or ECA admission will be allowed.

DU started the academic session from July 20 and released the seventh cutoff for all categories on July 26.

This Monsoon Load Up On These 6 Vitamin C Rich Foods to Keep Infections At Bay

The Monsoons are finally here. As the country welcomes its first spell of showers, the season is also bringing with itself wave of infections and diseases commonly associated with the monsoon. The damp weather has already taken its toll on overall immunity of several people making them susceptible to many diseases  like cold and flu, throat infections and stomach problems. So what can you do keep away from infections this monsoon, an increased intake rich vitamin C may come in to be to be handy.

 

According to Shilpa Arora, Macriobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner, “Seasonal veggies and fruits have phytonutrients which are needed to fight bacteria and infections.Jamun, cherries, peaches and guava have abundant vitamin C which can help strengthen the immunity.”

This Monsoon Load Up On These 6 Vitamin C Rich Foods to Keep Infections At Bay

Bangalore based nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood, also backs the idea of going high on Citrus foods this season. “During the monsoon season, your immunity goes down as the microorganisms have sufficient moisture to grow and therefore, you become more susceptible to diseases. To keep them healthy, powerful antioxidants are needed which are rich in vitamin C. Staying hydrated at all times, eating green leafy vegetables and loading up nuts and seeds daily are some preventive measures”

 

The humid weather is making people increasingly vulnerable to infectious diseases, experts are urging children to increase intake of Vitamin C rich food, which can help kill infected cells in the body

 

A recent study by Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Science has also found the molecular mechanism by which Vitamin C impedes and even kills Mycobacterium smegmatis, a non-pathogenic bacterium.Humid weather during monsoon leads to various types of fungal infections of legs, skin and nails.

 

S.K. Mundhra, head of internal medicine at city-based Saroj Super Speciality Hospital, says, “It is advisable to consume at least 500 mg of Vitamin C on a daily basis as it helps in improving immunity, reducing the severity and duration of common cold, flu and infections. But remember to restrict the intake to not cross more than 1,000 mg as excess in anything can lead to side-effects. “

 

Here are some Vitamin C Rich Foods you should start stocking immediately

 

1. Jamun

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The seasonal delight is not only treat to the taste buds, but is also infused with abundant Vitamin C content to give your immunity the much needed boost.

2. Peach

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Have them whole, or use the tarty fruit in your salads, jams, or smoothies, but make sure you load up on this wonder fruit to keep the infections at bay this monsoon.

 

3. Lemon

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Lemons are an important source of Vitamin C. According to National Institute of Nutrition, our body requires 40 mg of Vitamin C every day. Vitamin C is great for immunity and essential for healthy collagen formation-framework of our skin and bones. It also facilitates optimum and efficient absorption of iron. Lemons are the easiest way to meet your daily dose of Vitamin C,” says Consultant Nutritionist, Dr. Rupali Dutta.

4. Amla

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Indian gooseberry or amla is undeniably a powerhouse of nutrients. Amla is an excellent source of Vitamin C, hence it helps boost your immunity, metabolism and prevents viral and bacterial ailments, including cold and cough. According to Ayurveda, amla juice is known to balance all the processes in the body and brings to equilibrium all three doshas – vata, kapha, pitta.

5. Cherries

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This vibrant red fruit is a great blend of sweet flavours with a tingle of sourness and adds the perfect pop of colour to your desserts. Infused with great amounts of vitamin C, Cherries are one of the best bet this season.

6. Litchi

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Rich in vitamin C, lychee also has more than 100% of the daily requirement of ascorbic acid (ABA) in a single serving which works exceptionally well for boosting your immunity. Vitamin C in Litchi stimulates the activity of white blood cells that defend the body against foreign materials.

Here’s another reason to take up yoga. It prevents memory decline in old age

Doing yoga for a long time could change the structure of your brain and protect it against cognitive decline in old age, suggests new research.

When the researchers imaged the brains of elderly female yoga practitioners, they found that the “yoginis” have greater cortical thickness in the left prefrontal cortex, in brain areas associated with cognitive functions like attention and memory.

As we age, the structure and functionality of our brains change and this often leads to cognitive decline, including impaired attention or memory. One such change in the brain involves the cerebral cortex becoming thinner, which scientists have shown is correlated with cognitive decline.

Researchers found greater thickness in the left prefrontal cortex in the yoginis, in brain regions associated with cognitive functions such as attention and memory. (Shutterstock)

So, how can we slow or reverse these changes?

The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, suggest that the answer could lie in contemplative practices like yoga. “In the same way as muscles, the brain develops through training,” explained one of the researchers, Elisa Kozasa of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“Like any contemplative practice, yoga has a cognitive component in which attention and concentration are important,” Kozasa added.

The research team wanted to see if elderly long-term yoga practitioners had any differences in terms of brain structure compared with healthy elderly people who had never practiced yoga.

They recruited a small group of female yoga practitioners who had practised yoga at least twice a week for a minimum of eight years, although the group had an average of nearly 15 years of yoga practice.

As we age, the structure and functionality of our brains change and this often leads to cognitive decline, including impaired attention or memory.

The researchers compared the yoginis with another group of healthy women who had never practiced yoga, meditation or any other contemplative practices, but who were well-matched to the yoginis in terms of their age (all the participants were 60 or over) and levels of physical activity.

The researchers scanned the participants’ brains using magnetic resonance imaging to see if there were any differences in brain structure.

“We found greater thickness in the left prefrontal cortex in the yoginis, in brain regions associated with cognitive functions such as attention and memory,” Rui Afonso from Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo added.

Marijuana may up psychosis risk in teenagers: Study

Daily consumption of marijuana may increase an adolescent’s risk of having recurrent psychotic-like experiences by 159 per cent, according to a new study. The psychotic-like experiences include the experiences of perceptual aberration — for example feeling that something external is part of their body — and thinking that they have been unjustly badly treated.

“Our findings confirm that becoming a more regular marijuana user during adolescence is, indeed, associated with a risk of psychotic symptoms,” said lead author Josiane Bourque, doctoral student at the Universite de Montreal (UdeM) in Canada.

“Although they may be infrequent and thus not problematic for the adolescent, when these experiences are reported continuously, year after year, then there’s an increased risk of a first psychotic episode or another psychiatric condition,” Bourque added.

The findings, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, revealed that individuals who go on from consuming marijuana occasionally to abusing the substance once a week or as often as every day, may be at 159 per cent increased risk of developing psychosis-like experiences.

Marijuana use reduces a person’s ability to resist socially unacceptable behaviour in response to a particular stimulus. An increased risk of depression as a result of frequent marijuana use is thought to be behind psychosis’ onset, the researchers said.

“Our results show that while marijuana use is associated with a number of cognitive and mental health symptoms, only an increase in symptoms of depression — such as negative thoughts and low mood — could explain the relationship between marijuana use and increasing psychotic-like experiences in youth,” Bourque said.

These findings have important clinical implications for prevention programs in youth who report having persistent psychotic-like experiences.

“While preventing adolescent marijuana use should be the aim of all drug strategies, targeted prevention approaches are particularly needed to delay and prevent marijuana use in young people at risk of psychosis,” noted Patricia Conrod, professor at UdeM.

More women join IIM Lucknow this year, 3.4% up from 2016

Lucknow: The new postgraduate programme batch at Lucknow’s Indian Institute of Management (2017-19) has more women than previous years. Some 30.4% students (156) out of the batch of 451 this year, are women as compared to 27% last year.

The batch of 2013-2015 had 38% female candidates, an official said.

IIM believes this will ensure diversity without compromising on merit. “This is a good sign. More participation of women students brings diversity and adds different perspective as well,” said IIM Lucknow director Ajit Prasad while talking to HT.

IIM-L said that the institute was looking at having a class with a broad base in terms of diversity – gender wise, background wise and also in terms of prior work experience. An official said they were happy that to some extent the institute had been successful in this objective, but there were still many steps to be taken to create an ideal diverse environment.

Induction programme at IIM Lucknow.

The average work experience of the newly induced batch has also risen from 11.3 months to 16.6 months, with 74% of the new batch having some work experience.

IIM-Lucknow recently concluded the induction programme for its incoming batch of postgraduate students in management and agri- business management.

Over the last two days, the eager crowd of over 450 students was addressed by the guest of honour, Niraj Seth, executive vice- president, naukri.com (formerly chief marketing officer Intuit and Cleartrip); and noted IIM Lucknow alumnus Lakshmi Narayan, chief endowment officer, Azim Premji Foundation.

What happened when I started throwing my legs up a wall every day

Google throws up a lot of weird things when you search for something online. During one of such searches, I came across the legs-up-a-wall pose that helps relieve lower body stress. It didn’t look tough and what it promised was worth a try!

Game for trying this new technique, I took my yogamat, got my legs up on the wall. While my dog didn’t really fancy the move, sniffing me constantly to figure what was going on, the asana indeed was quite easy to get into.

Different websites suggested differing duration, but I went with the 10-minute one as it didn’t require much time. I played some meditation music I downloaded from iTunes and closed my eyes.

Called Viparita Karani, the legs-up-a-wall pose is said to reverse the stress of sitting all day – a thing that I am extremely guilty of. Wanting to know how it works, I figured that when we lie in this inverted pose, the body drains fluids that are pooling in your legs, causing them to stress out. This waste doesn’t otherwise leave our body easily but the drainage gets easier with this asana. Not only that, it also helps in a positive circular flow to your core.

After doing it for a week, I realised that not only lower body, it helped me relieve stress in the neck and back too.

Eventually I started to enjoy this me-time and tried just to focus on the music, not anything else.

Sitting is the new smoking and we all working professionals need to get this stress out of our bodies. I highly recommend it to all working professionals who are guilty of sitting too much.

Points to remember: Keep your butt as close to the wall and try to form a 90-degree angle. You will feel your hamstrings stretch.

Harvard’s secretive social clubs: Time for them to finally wind up?

A committee is considering a recommendation that could fundamentally change the social fabric of Harvard.

The committee, of faculty and staff members and students, suggested calling for numerous exclusive social clubs — including the secretive “final clubs,” fraternities and sororities — to be “phased out” over the next five years. If enacted, the recommendation would end a centuries-old tradition of rarefied clubs at a university that have been criticised as deeply exclusionary.

A preliminary recommendation circulated to students and faculty members on Wednesday would bar students from joining “final clubs, fraternities or sororities, or other similar private, exclusionary social organisations.” Since Harvard has not recognised the groups for decades, the committee’s suggestion would, if enacted, try to eliminate the clubs by punishing the students who participate in them.

Final clubs, which for much of their history were all-male social organisations that offered an exclusive clubhouse and a tightly knit alumni network, have come under extensive scrutiny in recent years, and this has pushed some to begin admitting women. Some all-female clubs have formed over the years.

If the Ivy League varsity’s famous clubs wind down it would end a centuries-old tradition of rarefied clubs at a university that have been criticised as deeply exclusionary.

An outsize role in campus life

Along with the Greek organisations, the final clubs, so named because they were once the last organisations students were likely to join before they graduated, have played an outsize role in the social life of the campus through parties and other events. A report on sexual assault released by Harvard last year said they came with a sense of “sexual entitlement” and were a “vestige of sexual inequity.”

“The final clubs in particular were products of their time,” the committee’s new report said. “Due to their resistance to change over the decades, they have lapsed into products behind their time.”

A controversial policy announced in the spring last year said students who participated in the single-gender clubs would not be allowed to hold on-campus leadership positions, such as captainships of sports teams, nor could they receive the dean’s endorsements for prestigious fellowships.

“A year has passed since the announcement of renewed action by the university to address the pernicious influence of the organisations, yet it appears many of them wish to wait it out. Some have even responded with an increased zest for exclusion and gender discrimination,” the report said, although it did not elaborate.

The latest proposal, part of a report written by more than two dozen faculty and staff members and students, would go further than last year’s announcement.

Famous members

It would affect all final clubs, including those open to both men and women, as well as another exclusive group called the Hasty Pudding Club, the social organisation that boasted John Adams, Franklin D Roosevelt and John F Kennedy as members. And the recommendation would direct students who violate the policy to the school’s Administrative Board for discipline.

“Time after time,” the report said, “the social organisations have demonstrated behaviour inconsistent with an inclusive campus culture, a disregard for the personhood and safety of fellow students, and an unwillingness to change — even as new students join them over generations.”

The chairman and chairwoman of the committee — Rakesh Khurana, the dean of Harvard College, and Suzannah Clark, a professor of music — said in a letter to faculty members that the committee’s goal was to “diminish the role” of the private social clubs on campus, but cautioned that the recommendations were only a draft. The committee is seeking feedback before it makes a final recommendation to president Drew Gilpin Faust, who has the authority to accept it and make it policy.

Hailstorm of criticism

Still, the 2016 policy brought a hailstorm of criticism from some faculty members and the social clubs themselves, and the new recommendation is sure to do the same.

“This report is fundamentally dishonest in its arguments, void of credible evidence in support of its views and sophomoric in its rhetoric,” said Rick Porteus, the graduate president of the Fly Club, adding that he did not think the recommendation posed a threat to the club. “Bad policies typically fall of their own weight,” he said.

And it left some students in a state of consternation.

“Dean Khurana has clearly abdicated any position of principle with respect to freedom of association,” said Aaron Slipper, a senior who is part of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, which is affiliated with the Hasty Pudding Club and puts on an annual drag show.

“He’s moved the principle under which he can subject membership in organisations to administrative censure from gender exclusivity to exclusivity at all,” Slipper added. “It’s particularly rich coming from one of the most exclusive universities that exists.”

In a dissent to the recommendation, David A. Haig, a member of the committee who is a professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, pointed to survey data that found 1,820 students wanted to repeal the 2016 policy, and 932 wanted to keep it.

“The report,” Haig wrote, “proposes an escalation of the conflict between unrecognised social organisations and Harvard College.”