Regular exercise could prevent type 2 diabetes: Study

Washington [US], March 6 (ANI): Exercising regularly is known to have many health benefits and now another advantage of regular physical activity has come to light.

According to a new study regular physical activity is a safe diabetes prevention strategy for people, especially those residing in relatively polluted regions. The findings of the study were published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).

The study, which is the first to investigate the combined effects of physical activity and pollution exposure on type 2 diabetes risk, was led by Dr Cui Guo and Professor Lao Xiang Qian, Faculty of Medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China, and Dr Hsiao Ting Yang, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands, and colleagues.

An increasing body of evidence has shown that air pollution is a novel risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. Physical activity increases the inhalation of air pollutants, which may exacerbate the adverse health effects of air pollution. There is limited information on the combined associations of air pollution and habitual physical activity with the development of type 2 diabetes.

Thus, the risk-benefit relationship between air pollution and physical activity has become an important public concern as almost all (over 91 per cent) of the world’s population lives in a place where air quality does not meet the WHO guidelines. Health guidelines are urgently needed, especially in regions with significant air pollution, to inform people whether they can benefit from regular physical activity.

In this study, the authors investigated the combined associations of regular physical activity and chronic exposure to ambient particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 mm (so-called PM2.5 particles) with the incidence of type 2 diabetes in 156,314 adults who had undergone a total of 422,831 medical examinations in Taiwan, where the annual PM2.5 concentration is around 2.6 times higher than the WHO recommended limit.

Diabetes diagnoses were identified from medical examinations, while two-year mean PM2.5 exposure was estimated at each participant’s address using a satellite-based model. Information on physical activity and a wide range of other variables was collected using a standard self-administered questionnaire.

Compared with high physical activity, moderate (by 31 per cent) and inactive/low physical activity (by 56 per cent) were associated with a higher risk of diabetes. Participants with moderate (by 31 per cent) and high (by 94 per cent) PM2.5 had a higher risk of type 2 diabetes than the participants exposed to low PM2.5. The participants with high physical activity and low PM2.5 had a 64 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those with inactive/low physical activity and high PM2.5.

The authors said, “We found that high levels of habitual physical activity combined with low levels of chronic PM2.5 exposure were associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, whereas low levels of habitual physical activity combined with high levels of chronic PM2.5 exposure were associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”They further emphasized that “the benefits of habitual physical activity on type 2 diabetes remained stable in participants with different levels of PM2.5 exposure.” Additional analysis showed that the effect on diabetes risk seemed to be more pronounced for higher levels of pollution than it was for lower levels of physical activity.

Regarding potential mechanisms, the authors said the metabolic improvements caused by physical activity, that prevent the development of diabetes, have been extensively discussed. Pollution could exert its effect by causing system-wide inflammation, including in the lungs, blood vessels, and central nervous system.

A previous study also showed that pollutants inhaled during exercise are only a small fraction of those inhaled overall by a person, which could explain why the effect of physical activity on diabetes risk is similar even in different levels of pollution.

The authors concluded, “Our findings suggest that habitual physical activity is a safe strategy for diabetes prevention for people who reside in relatively polluted areas and should be promoted. Our study reinforces the importance of air pollution mitigation for diabetes prevention.” (ANI)

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As more states lift mandates, most major retailers still require face masks

While Alabama, Mississippi and Texas will soon join more than a dozen other U.S. states without statewide mask requirements, many major retailers and employers aren’t ready to nix mandatory face-covering amid a pandemic that killed more than 1,900 Americans on Thursday alone.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is the latest to signal masks will soon be optional in her state. Kay on Thursday extended the state’s mask requirement until April 9, at which point she’ll let it lapse and leave the decision up to individuals. 

The Republican state leader’s announcement came two days after the governors of Texas and Mississippi said they would be dispensing with mask mandates and allowing businesses to operate at full capacity.  

In decisions slammed as “Neanderthal thinking” by President Joe Biden, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared, “We are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny.” Meantime Mississippi’s Governor Tate Reeves said he was “getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do” in lifting mask mandates in the state.

Despite their states policies, residents of Alabama, Texas and Mississippi will still need to wear face masks if they want to step inside many — but not all — supermarkets and other large retail chains. Those retailers, which include Kroger, Target and Walgreens, cited guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in continuing to require masks and take other measures to protect workers and consumers from the virus. 

Albertsons Companies, one of the nation’s biggest supermarket and pharmacy chains, initially said it would drop its requirements that customers wear face masks in its stores and that only its 325,000 workers would still need to cover their faces. But the company revised its plans on Friday.

“Our front-line associates have not had full access to the vaccine. Subsequently, our stores and facilities in Texas will continue to require masks for associates, vendors and customers regardless of the mask mandate being lifted,” a spokesperson for the company said in an emailed statement, referencing the governor’s order in Texas, which takes effect on Wednesday, March 10.

Albertsons operates stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs. The company also runs more than 1,700 pharmacies in its grocery stores, and is among the 21 national chains and independent networks participating in a federal program to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines across the U.S.

Other participants in the federal effort are not ready to let customers enter their stores and pharmacies without masks. 

The Magnolia Pharmacy in Magnolia, Texas, will continue to require masks “for the comfort of my staff and patients,” explained owner Steven Hoffart, who noted the nature of the business means sick people frequently walk in. “It’s not really about COVID, it’s for the stomach bug, flu, any illness, the cough, a cold — if I can keep it from spreading to my staff, that’s the biggest reason we ask patients to wear masks,” Hoffart said. 

A member of AmerisourceBergen’s Good Neighbor Pharmacy Network, Hoffart’s pharmacy is currently immunizing between 100 to 150 people a day with COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government and the state, a wearying but joyful operation that he describes as akin to running a second business.

Walgreens to continue gentle reminders

“There is no change at this time to the company mask mandate policy or any current safety protocols that are in place in our stores or any work locations to protect our customers and team members. We are following current CDC and OSHA guidelines regarding safety protocols,” a spokesperson for Walgreens said in an email. 

The drugstore chain’s policy all along has been to “gently remind customers who are shopping without masks about the requirement, but out of concern for our employees’ safety, we do not stop these customers from shopping,” a spokesperson added, referring to the hostile reactions store employees sometimes face when attempting to enforce mask rules with customers.  

Another major pharmacy, CVS Health, will also keep its face-covering policy in place at stores nationwide, with a CVS Health spokesperson citing the “strong scientific evidence that masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

“If a customer is not wearing a mask or face covering, we will refer them to our signage and ask that they help protect themselves and those around them by listening to the experts and heeding the call to wear a face covering,” the spokesperson added. “For safety reasons, our employees are directed to avoid escalated confrontations with noncompliant customers and to instead help them complete their purchases as quickly as possible.”

Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, “will continue to require everyone in our stores across the country to wear masks until all our frontline grocery associates can receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” a spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch in an email. The company last month said it would give each of its 500,000 workers in 35 states $100 to get immunized against COVID-19.

Target is also sticking with its requirement that customers and workers wear masks, including those who have been vaccinated for the coronavirus, “in line with current CDC guidance,” a spokesperson for the retailer said in an email. The retailer makes an exception for those with underlying medical conditions and young children. 

Patrons who prefer not to wear masks can shop through Target’s no-contact options, such as shopping online, the retailer added.

Grocery union demands vaccines and hazard pay…


Aldi said it would stick with its nationwide policy requiring its workers and customers to wear masks in its more than 2,000 grocery stores in 36 states. 

“We are aware of the mask mandate lifts in both Texas and Mississippi where we have store locations. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic we have been following CDC guidelines, and we do not plan to make any adjustments to our safety measures at this time,” a spokesperson for Aldi said in an email. 

A spokesperson for Home Depot said the retailer “requires associates and customers to wear masks while in our stores or any Home Depot facility nationwide. We’ll continue to follow CDC guidelines, as we’ve done all along.”

Costco, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Whole Foods did not respond to requests for comment.

The National Retail Federation issued a statement reiterating that retail stores are private entities that can refuse entry or service to those that refuse to adhere to their policies. Further, “It is within their right to implement and enforce policies that protect the health and the safety of their employees and their customers,” a spokesperson for the trade group said in a statement.

San Antonio, Texas-based H-E-B did not respond to a request for comment. But the grocery chain, which employs more than 135,000 people at more than 400 stores in Texas and Mexico, seemed to take a softer stance in talking to a local media outlet.

“Although there is no longer a statewide mask order, H-E-B believes it is important that masks be worn in public spaces until more Texans and our partners have access to the Covid-19 vaccine,” an H-E-B spokesperson told a Fox News affiliate. “H-E-B will still require all our partners and vendors to wear masks while at work, and we urge all customers to please wear a mask when in our stores.”

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Jammu and Kashmir Schools to Re-open for Elementary Classes From March 8

The J&K government is preparing to open all the schools for elementary classes from March 8 onwards. After remaining closed for around a year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the students will be attending classes physically from Monday, March 8. Director, School Education, J & K in a press release stated that the Government educational institutions, as well as private schools of the state, will start the academic activities physically for Class 6 to 8 from Monday onwardswhile schools from pre-nursery to class 5 will be started from Mach 15 onwards.

The state has already re-opened schools for higher secondary classes on March 1. The students from class 9 to 12 has attended physical classes for the first time since March 9, 2020. The school authority has allowed only those students to attend the school who had written permission of their parents. According to a report published by NDTV, more than 60 % of attendance was recorded in most of the schools. Private schools have recorded more number of attendance compare to government-aided institutions. A class 10 student was quoted by the portal as saying, “Our class has a strength of 40 but today there were only 20 students in the room in view of the social distancing necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The schools have been following the covid-19 safety guidelines strictly inside thecampus. The classes have been bifurcated and students are following the social distancing norms. The schools have also asked for no-objection certificates from parents as well as medical fitness certificates on the first day of school.

According to reports, a team of government officials had visited the schools across the state and took pictures of classrooms to ensure the safety of students. They also discussed the opening of schools arrangements to be made in the schools with teachers and management.

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London crime: £1.6m worth of cocaine and cash found in South London flat as two men charged

Two men have been arrested following 20kg and £25k in cash being found in a flat in Rotherhithe, South East London.

The flat in Helena Square was raided on Thursday 4 March by investigators from the Organised Crime Partnership – a National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service joint unit.

They found the suspected criminal cash and drugs hidden in various places in one of the bedrooms of the flat, which was then seized.

The cocaine would be worth an estimated £1.6m if sold on the streets of London.

The drugs and cash were seized in a flat in Helena Square, Rotherhithe

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Vidiol Muratas and Fatjon Nakaj, who are both Albanian nationals aged 43 and 31, were arrested at the property and have since been charged with possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

They appeared at Croydon Magistrates Court yesterday and were remanded in custody.

Matt McMillan from the Organised Crime Partnership said:

“We take the threat from the criminal networks involved in class A drug supply extremely seriously.

“Under the Organised Crime Partnership, the NCA and Met Police are particularly focused on disrupting the flow of illegal drugs through London and the serious violence associated with this criminality.”

Want more news? Head to the MyLondon homepage.

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Surat Court Acquits 122 Persons Accused of Being SIMI Members

A court in Gujarat’s Surat on Saturday acquitted 122 persons arrested under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for participating in a meeting organised here in December 2001 as members of the banned outfit Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate A N Dave acquitted 122 persons arrested for being members of the banned outfit SIMI, giving them the benefit of doubt.

Five other accused had died during the pendency of trial. In its order, the court said that the prosecution failed to produce “cogent, reliable and satisfactory” evidence to establish that the accused persons belonged to the SIMI and had gathered to promote the activities of the banned outfit.

The court said the accused persons cannot be held guilty under the UAPA. As many as 127 persons were arrested by Surat’s Athwalines police on December 28, 2001 under various sections of the UAPA for allegedly being members of the banned outfit SIMI and organising a meeting at a hall in city’s Sagrampura to promote and expand the organisation’s activities.

The central government had through its notification dated September 27, 2001 banned SIMI. The accused belonged to different parts of Gujarat as well as from Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

In their defence, they said they did not belong to the SIMI and had gathered there to participate in a seminar organised under the banner of All India Minority Education Board. They said they were in the city for religious and educational purposes to take part in a seminar in a peaceful manner.

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Ravi Shastri spills the beans about Rishabh Pant’s success

Ravi Shastri, head coach of the Indian cricket team, said it took the team two and-a-half years of hard work to reach this level.
Image Credit: AP

Kolkata: The rising graph in Rishabh Pant’s performance over the last few months, both in front of the stumps as well as behind it, had been one of the major talking points in the last two Test series – and head coach Ravi Shastri spilled out the secret behind it.

‘‘We were hard on him, for nothing comes easy. There were never any doubts about his talent but he was told to give little more respect to the game and shed a few kilos of weight. He worked like a maniac in the last three to four months and the results are now showing,’’ said Shastri, who had been a mastermind behind the team’s outstanding performance in the new season.

Speaking to the official broadcasters after the hosts wrapped up the series 3-1 to seal a berth in World Test Championship (WTC) final, the former Indian allrounder was ecstatic about Pant’s century on Friday. ‘‘His yesterday’s innings was perhaps the best counter-attacking innings I have seen by an Indian in India. His innings had two phases, the first part was also difficult as he was playing against his grains and the pitch was spicy. Same with Washington Sundar – the way these youngsters have come through the ranks have been unreal,’’ he said.

Summing up the two back-to-back series wins against Australia on their soil and then England, Shastri said the best attribute about this bunch was that they refused to give up under any circumstances.

‘‘If you look at this side in the last last eight Tests, they have been under all kinds of situations. They had been at the top, they had been at a corner and they were at the dumps. They refused to give up under any circumstances,’’ he observed.

The self belief, according to him, did not come overnight. ‘‘To be on top of the table, it took two and-a-half years work and to reach there was another six years prior to that. The boys took one series at a time and were not really bothered about making the WTC final. We were heading the table at one stage and then suddenly this percentage rule came when we were not even playing. We have achieved our target with 520 points,’’ he said.

The margin of victory, according to Shastri, was not really a true reflection of the nature of the contest. ‘‘The result does not say how close the series was. In the first Test at Chennai, the boys were like zombies after the Australian tour but it was a magnificent performance from England. There were no crowds, everything was flat and so was the performance. A kick on the backside sometimes helps,’’ said Shastri, who does not believe in holding back any punches.

Finally, he credited the teamwork behind the success. Asked how they made it work, he said on a lighter note: ‘‘It was the bubble which brought us together. The boys have been together since the IPL and as professionals, the way they have responded to the challenge have been magnificent.’’

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India’s Road to the World Test Championship Final

India vs England: India's Road to the World Test Championship Final

India beat England by a massive innings and 25 runs in the fourth and final Test in Ahmedabad to secure a 3-1 win in the series and with it book a place alongside New Zealand in the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) at Lord’s in June this year. While the match was set-up by a brilliant century stand by Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar, the spin wizards R Ashwin and Axar Patel returned with a fifer each to rout England for 135 – their sixth below-200 score in eight innings in the series – to hand India a big series win.

India vs England: Virat Kohli’s Team Wins By Inns & 25 Runs; Clinches Series 3-1; To Face NZ In WTC Final

It has been a long and challenging journey for India and despite all the hurdles and problems with respect to Covid-19 and bio-bubbles, restructuring of the points system and injuries on an arduous tour Down Under, the team has come out on top and finished as the number one ranked team in the ICC WTC Points Table.

India have ended with 520 points and 72.2% PCT (Percentage of Points) from 6 series and 17 matches just ahead of New Zealand who ended with 420 points and 70% PCT in 5 series and 11 matches. India won 5 of these 6 series and 12 of the 17 matches.

Their journey started with a 2-0 sweep against the West Indies in the Caribbean in 2019. Ajinkya Rahane (81 and 102) produced two top knocks under pressure to seal a massive 318-run win at North Sound while Hanuma Vihari, with 111, was their star in the 257-run victory at Kingston.

India then hammered South Africa 3-0 at home with three huge wins – two by an innings and the third by 203 runs. The series gave rise to a new avatar of Rohit Sharma – as opener in Test cricket for India. He scored a hundred in each innings at Visakhapatnam in his first Test as opener for India and followed that with a double hundred at Ranchi.

India vs England: ‘Man-of-the-Series’ Ravichandran Ashwin Wins the Numbers’ Game

India continued their home domination with a 2-0 sweep against Bangladesh at home late in 2019. They thrashed the visitors by an innings in both the Tests which included the Day and Night Pink Ball encounter at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata – India’s first Test match under lights. Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav with 12 wickets each were the standout performers for India with the ball in the series.

The 2-0 loss in New Zealand early in 2020 was India’s only blemish in a near perfect campaign in the inaugural edition of the WTC. However, they came back strongly with a stunning 2-1 win in the four-Test Border Gavaskar Trophy in December 2020 – which was their first Test series after nearly a ten-month break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Against all odds, without their captain and with injuries to several top players including their pace quartet, controversies on and off the field and tough bio-bubble protocols, India went on to record one of the greatest victories in their Test cricket history against a full strength Australian unit in their own backyard. After being routed for 36 – their lowest score in a Test innings in the Pink Ball Test in Adelaide, they came back to level the series at the MCG led by an inspirational hundred from stand-in-captain, Ajinkya Rahane.

India kept discovering new heroes throughout the series while some old ones showcased their class time and again. Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin defied the Australian attack and produced the save of the century helping India draw the third Test at the SCG. Washington Sundar, on debut and Shardul Thakur then changed the match on its head with their partnership in the decider in Brisbane before Shubman Gill, Pant and Pujara gunned down 328 in the fourth innings in one of the greatest chases in Test history!

A change in the points system had made India’s task of making it to the WTC final stiffer and more challenging. To make matters worse, they lost the series opener against England in Chennai. But this Indian team, under the inspiring leadership of Virat Kohli and watchful eyes of Ravi Shastri had not learnt the meaning of the words ‘Give Up’!

Rohit Sharma produced one of the finest hundreds registered by an Indian batsman at home and was the difference between the two teams in the second Test at the same venue. Ashwin returned with 8 wickets in the match while Axar Patel, on debut, bagged 7. Patel was India’s hero at his home state and returned with 11 wickets in the match as England were bowled out for 112 and 81 in the two innings in the Day and Night Test in Ahmedabad – the first time they had been dismissed for an aggregate of less than 200 in India.

India still needed to secure a draw in the final Test at Motera and were in trouble in the first innings having lost six wickets with not even 150 on the board. India’s new generation – Pant and Sundar combined and registered a match-changing 113-run stand for the seventh wicket. Ashwin and Patel then bagged a fifer each to hand India another innings victory and more significantly with it a win in the series and a place at Lord’s in June – a place they thoroughly deserved!

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WATCH: Lonergan nails 55-metre match-winning kick for Brumbies

Ryan Lonergan celebrates his winning kick for Brumbies
Image Credit: World Rugby Twitter

Canberra: Ryan Lonergan nailed a sensational 55-metre penalty in extra-time as a dogged ACT Brumbies battled past the Melbourne Rebels 27-24 to maintain their unbeaten start to the Super Rugby AU this season Saturday.

It was an 18th victory from their last 19 at GIO Stadium in Canberra to put them top of the five-team ladder on 14 points after three games of the 10-round competition, five ahead of the Queensland Reds who have a game in hand.

But they did it the hard way against an impressive Rebels, whose skipper Matt To’omua booted eight from eight penalties.

They were locked at 24-24 on the full-time siren when the Brumbies won a penalty inside their own half, with Lonergan stepping up to attempt a kick at an angle and in a swirling breeze, mobbed by his teammates after it dipped over the bar.

“That’s unreal, we’ve used our get out of jail card there,” said Brumbies captain Nic White.

“But not surprised with Lonergan, he does that in training all the time and awesome to see him get one on the game and nudge it for us.”

The Rebels, who narrowly lost to the Reds in their only other game so far, were physical and defended well to blunt the Brumbies’ natural setpiece game, but it was still not enough.

“It feels a little bit shallow,” admitted To’omua.

“I thought we were probably in control of our game for most parts, but to be honest I think we were the victim of our own ill discipline. Just some silly uncharacteristic errors.”

To’omua drilled a penalty in only the second minute to get the Rebels off to a flyer, only for the Brumbies’ Noah Lolesio to match the feat before To’omua struck again.

The Rebels enjoyed the early possession and To’omua booted his third to put them 9-3 in front.

But the Brumbies stuck to their game plan which culminated in Len Ikitau dotting down after a beautifully weighted grubber kick from Lolesio.

They asserted control but suffered a blow when Alan Alaalatoa was red-carded on half-time for a dangerous tackle. Under new rules a sent off player can be replaced after 20 minutes.

To’omua converted the resulting penalty to give the Rebels a 12-10 lead at the break.

But in a massive play after the restart, the Brumbies were awarded a seven-point penalty try and the Rebels’ James Hansen was sin-binned for collapsing the maul.

Two more To’omua penalties reclaimed the Rebels’ lead before a Tom Banks try with nine minutes left swung the momentum back to the Brumbies.

Yet another To’omua penalty made it 24-24 before Lonergan’s late heroics.

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