Circe's Curse Returns
In Greek mythology, Circe was a goddess who could turn men into swine. While that has not happened yet, deadly viruses have surfaced that humans can catch from pigs and pass on to other humans. The disease that results is swine flu. The commonest of the viruses that causes it is called H1N1. There has been a fresh outbreak of swine flu this year, with over 309 cases, including 23 deaths, being reported so far.
Symptoms: Swine flu is a respiratory disease and typical symptoms include fever, sore throat, breathing difficulties, fatigue, etc. However, only a blood test can confirm the virus's presence. It is highly contagious, and if not treated promptly, fatal. Cure: The generic name of the drug that treats the disease is Tamiflu. History: Periodic outbreaks of swine flu have been recorded from the early 20th century. However, India was badly hit for the first time only in 2009. Travellers to the United States and Mexico - where it broke out first - brought it back into the country. It persisted for months, spreading rapidly, affecting over 10,000 people and killing 1,833.
Current situation: Pune is worst hit, with 10 deaths and 126 cases reported. Other parts of Maharashtra, as well as Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have also reported swine flu cases so far.
Baubles of Change
Curious additions can be seen to the campaign-related paraphernalia being given away by political parties contesting the Delhi civic polls, to be held on April 15. It is not just flags, badges and banners any more, but also trinkets, lipsticks and bottles of nail polish branded with a party symbol. Women voters have clearly begun to matter much more than before.
Want to flaunt your super-rich status? Get your dog a diamond collar. A US-based company called I Love Dogs Inc has created, along with master jewellers in New York, a range of diamond-studded dog collars called 'La Collection de Bijoux'. Prices range from $150,000 to 3.2 million - the latter featuring 1,600 diamonds in three rows.
Indians are eating less than before, shows a survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation, casting a shadow over claims of economic progress. Average daily consumption stood at 2,020 kilocalories in rural areas and 1,946 kcal in urban in 2009/10, down from 2,153 kcal and 2,071 kcal, respectively, in 1993/94.
Compiled by Basudha Das