Kolkata: The police are suspecting that a gang comprising some Nigerian nationals was behind the unauthorised withdrawal of money from various bank accounts, after skimming of debit cards to get details.The modus operandi of the crime made the police suspect that there could be a “Nigerian” gang behind the entire operation. Preliminary investigation has revealed that the cash was withdrawn using the debit card details from certain places in Delhi. In most of the previous such cases in which money was withdrawn from Delhi, involvement of a “Nigerian gang” was found. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe police have gone through the video footages of surveillance cameras installed in three ATM counters at Mallick Bazar, Golpark and Elgin Road. In these three counters, skimming machines were found fitted at the slot of the ATM machines, where one needs to swipe cards to withdraw money. The video footages have shown a person entering the ATM counter to fit the skimming machine. He had his face covered.Police suspect that the same person had installed skimming machines in all the three ATM counters. In one of the video footages he was found covering his face with a handkerchief. In another he was wearing a cap and in the third ATM counter, he was seen wearing sunglasses. As a result, the police have not got a clear picture of the person and so are preparing his portrait parle. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedPraveen Tripathi, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), said: “We are taking all necessary steps to crack the case as early as possible.”It may be mentioned that till yesterday, the police had received as many as 76 such cases and on Thursday, two more such cases have been recorded. Police suspect that the number of cases could go up.Some bank officials, including an assistant general manager of a nationalised bank, have also fallen victim to it. Around Rs 40,000 was withdrawn from the bank account of the assistant general manager. He was earlier the manager of the Golpark Branch of the bank. In another case, Rs 50,000 was withdrawn from the bank account of RJ Nilanjana. She has lodged a complaint with Alipore police station. The police are also keeping a watch at the online shopping sites to get information if skimming machines are being sold without necessary permissions.
Social media and internet reports can be used to reliably forecast infectious disease outbreaks, especially when data is scarce, a new study has found.”Our study offers proof of concept that publicly available online reports released in real-time by ministries of health, local surveillance systems, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and authoritative media outlets are useful to identify key information on exposure and transmission patterns during epidemic emergencies,” researchers said. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”Our Internet-based findings on exposure patterns are in good agreement with those derived from traditional epidemiological surveillance data, which can be available after considerable delays,” they said.Mathematical models forecasting disease transmission are often used to guide public health control strategies, but they can be difficult to formulate during the early stages of an outbreak when accurate data are scarce, according to the researchers from the Georgia State University in the US. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”In the absence of detailed epidemiological information rapidly available from traditional surveillance systems, alternative data streams are worth exploring to gain a reliable understanding of disease dynamics in the early stages of an outbreak,” they said.To test the reliability of alternative data streams, researchers tracked and analysed reports from public health authorities and reputable media outlets posted via social media or their websites during the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the 2015 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in South Korea. Researchers used the reports to collect data on the viruses’ exposure patterns and transmission chains.They also noted the West African Ebola outbreak was a particularly interesting case study because early data were limited to basic weekly case counts at the country level.They were able to use internet reports describing Ebola cases in the three hardest hit countries – Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – to glean detailed stories about cases arising in clusters within families or through funerals or hospital exposure.”Our analysis of the temporal variation in exposure patterns provides useful information to assess the impact of control measures and behaviour changes during epidemics,” they said.The findings are published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Children who face adversities – such as parental separation – are more likely to suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms which may lead to mental health issues in later life, a study has found. The study, published in the journal Development and Psychopathology, found that gastrointestinal symptoms in children may have an impact on the brain and behaviour as they grow to maturity. “One common reason children show up at doctors’ offices is intestinal complaints,” said Nim Tottenham, a professor at Columbia University in the US. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”Our findings indicate that gastrointestinal symptoms in young children could be a red flag to primary care physicians for future emotional health problems,” said Tottenham. Scientists have long noted the strong connection between the gut and brain. Previous research has demonstrated that a history of trauma or abuse has been reported in up to half of adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), at a prevalence twice that of patients without IBS. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”The role of trauma in increasing vulnerability to both gastrointestinal and mental health symptoms is well established in adults but rarely studied in childhood,” said Bridget Callaghan, a post-doctoral research fellow at Columbia. Animal studies have demonstrated that adversity-induced changes in the gut microbiome influence neurological development, but no human studies have done so. “Our study is among the first to link disruption of a child’s gastrointestinal microbiome triggered by early-life adversity with brain activity in regions associated with emotional health.” The researchers focused on development in children who experienced extreme psychosocial deprivation due to institutional care before international adoption. Separation of a child from a parent is known to be a powerful predictor of mental health issues in humans. That experience, when modelled in rodents, induces fear and anxiety, hinders neurodevelopment and alters microbial communities across the lifespan. The researchers drew upon data from 115 children adopted from orphanages or foster care on or before approximately they were two years old, and from 229 children raised by a biological caregiver. The children with past caregiving disruptions showed higher levels of symptoms that included stomach aches, constipation, vomiting and nausea. From that sample of adoptees, the researchers then selected eight participants, ages seven to 13, from the adversity exposed group and another eight who’d been in the group raised by their biological parents. The children with a history of early caregiving disruptions had distinctly different gut microbiomes from those raised with biological caregivers from birth. Brain scans of all the children also showed that brain activity patterns were correlated with certain bacteria. “It is too early to say anything conclusive, but our study indicates that adversity-associated changes in the gut microbiome are related to brain function, including differences in the regions of the brain associated with emotional processing,” said Tottenham.