This festive season, spruce up your home with right decor

 Spruce up your home with right decor

Diwali preparations have kick-started in full swing. This is the time when we pay our most of the attention to the house decor. Most importantly, if you are planning to play host to Diwali parties this year, then add glamour and festive vibes to your little cosy abode with these tips.

* A splash of colour: While loud colours make a traditional impact, pastel shades or ice-cream colours as they are also known, are trending festive tones this year. Choose your preferred palate in advance so that you can choose the right accessories to match. Break the pastels shades with strong hues like navy, olive, fuchsia, saffron or crimson to bring your space to life.

* The Diwali supper: Table setting is a must if you’re looking to make a lasting impression on your guests. Add a simple floral arrangement on the centre of your dining table and take a few moments to set the right cutlery. Floating candles into glass bowls filled with water make for a unique table centrepiece.

* Statement furniture: Get your living room into the right mood for endless hours of conversation and fun happy moments shared between your loved ones. Rearrange a few furniture pieces, add a few poufs, a coffee table and playful rug to add a little festive delight. Knitted throw pillows add a fun texturized element to your couches while aroma diffusers with a scent of sandalwood can add an aura of vibrant calm.

If you are investing in a new sofa set, go in for something that is multi-functional giving you the freedom of living, dynamic and can be easily placed in a variety of formats bringing a cosy touch to your living room ecosystem.

* Debonair decor: This festive season reminisce the golden era with vintage themed décor that will leave your guests enthralled. Start off by opting for carefully crafted antique gramophones and oversized model telephones influenced by ethnic art. Uplift this look further with Rajasthani Jharokas as well as silken upholstery woven together in fine threads of gold and voila.

* Spiffy luminance: Lights are a festive essential that enrich the fervour further. For a modish theme in the living room, pendant lighting is an ideal fitment whereas in the bedroom, one can add vibrant table lamps in perky hues to give the space a tinge of chic. Illuminate the nooks and corners of your home with floral scented candles and add intricately carved metallic diyas.


Smartphones with color and style that you can buy in India


With increasing choice of colors, finish and material used in smartphones, consumers have all the more options to choose from. It is true that some prefer cases, and then there are those who want their smartphone to be outright good looking.

It’s not just the Chinese manufacturers who have opted for brighter or gradient colors in their smartphones, even big companies such as Apple and Samsung also followed the trend with latest devices. Here’s a list of colorful devices that you can purchase in India right now.

Apple iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR compared to the iPhone XS and XS Max comes in variety of color options. The device is available in six different color finishes of White, Black, Blue, Yellow, Coral and (Product)RED. It is the first time after the iPhone 5c when Apple has offered a wide variety of color options.

Apple iPhone XR is basically a toned down version of iPhone XS with LCD display. The smartphone comes with single rear camera and lower storage option. It comes in three storage variants with the base model offering 64GB for Rs 76,900. The iPhone XR with 128GB storage and 256GB storage are priced at Rs 81,900 and Rs 91,900 respectively. The smartphone is available online from Flipkart and via other Apple authorized retailers.

OnePlus 6T Thunder Purple

OnePlus 6T Thunder Purple is company’s latest addition to the existing lineup. OnePlus has not changed the pricing of the Thunder Purple variant and it will be available for Rs 41,999. Other color variants including the Midnight Black and Mirror Black will continue to be available at the same price in the market.

Image Credit: Rehan Hooda

Talking about the specifications of the device, the device will only be available in 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage option. Other hardware specifications for the Thunder Purple variant will be similar to the regular variants of OnePlus 6T.

Samsung Galaxy S9+ Burgundy Red

Samsung’s current flagship Galaxy S9 looks quite stylish already, and recently Samsung India brought vibrant ‘Burgundy Red’ color option to India as well. The variant was first unveiled back in May, for both the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ models.

After the new addition, Samsung Galaxy S9+ is now available in five color options in India. Other color variants include Coral Blue, Lilac Purple, Midnight Black and Sunrise Gold. The Burgundy Red is now available via select offline stores, online portals, and the Samsung Shop only.


Sharp Aquos R2 Compact With Dual Notch Display Launched: Price, Specifications

Sharp Aquos R2 Compact With Dual Notch Display Launched: Price, Specifications

Sharp Aquos R2 Compact smartphone has been launched in Japan. The handset tries to keep up with the trend of display notches, and goes one step further, by incorporating two notches -one waterdrop-shaped notch is on top of the display housing the camera sensor, while a slightly wider notch sits at the bottom, housing the fingerprint scanner. The Aquos R2 Compact packs the latest Snapdragon 845 SoC, offers 5.2-inch of display, 64GB of inbuilt storage, and is waterproof and dustproof as well.

Sharp Aquos R2 Compact price, design

Sharp hasn’t revealed what the pricing of the Aquos R2 Compact is going to be. The smartphone is going to be available through SoftBank in Japan from mid-January. As mentioned, the phone comes with two notches, unlike its predecessor which had a large chin at the bottom to house the fingerprint scanner. The smartphones sports an aluminium frame, power and volume buttons are situated on the right edge, and there’s a single camera setup at the front and back of the smartphone.

Sharp Aquos R2 Compact specifications

As for specifications, the Sharp Aquos R2 Compact features a 5.2-inch full-HD+ (1080×2280 pixels) display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and 2.5D tempered glass protection. It is powered by the Snapdragon 845 SoC paired with 4GB of RAM. Internal storage is at 64GB with microSD slot support for further expansion of up to 512GB.

Optics include a 22.6-megapixel rear with sensor with high speed autofocus, f/1.9 aperture, OIS, and electronic hand shake correction as well. At the front, there is an 8-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture. The smartphone packs a 2,500mAh battery, and connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, GPS, GLONASS, Bluetooth v5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, and USB Type-C port. The Sharp Aquos R2 Compact dimensions are at 131x64x9.3mm, and the smartphone weighs 135 grams. The smartphone supports both face unlock and fingerprint scanning.


Paytm Money now comes with Siri integration, can check your portfolio and status of SIPs

Paytm, Paytm Money, Paytm Money Siri, Paytm Siri, Paytm iOS, Paytm Money iOS, Paytm app, Paytm Money app, Invest on Paytm Money

Consumers will now be able to control the app by simply using voice commands.

Paytm has integrated Apple’s digital assistant Siri support within its investment and wealth management focused app, Paytm Money. Now iOS users will now be able to view their portfolio value and status upcoming SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans) of mutual fund investments via voice commands. Consumers will be able to get this new feature by updating the app via the app store.

Consumers will now be able to control the app by simply using voice commands such as “(Hey Siri) Show my portfolio”, “(Hey Siri) Show my SIPs” or “View my upcoming investments”. These phrases are completely customisable and can be changed according to user preferences by going into Settings > General > Accessibility > Siri > Type to Siri.

Paytm Money recently added a few features into its iOS app to make it easy for consumers to invest their money. These features include Smart App Shortcuts, Search Indexing, 3D Touch, Portfolio Widget and much more to manage & track investments.

Also Read: Google tweaks privacy policy for Indian payment app after Paytm complaint

Paytm Money is an investment and wealth management app launched back in September by One97 Communications. Consumers can download the Paytm Money app from their operating systems respective app stores.

They will then be required to complete the paperless KYC process, after which they can start investing their money into funds. People can choose between two modes of investment – SIPs or via One-time payments that start from Rs 100 depending on their preference.


Feds charge Lincoln teen with cyberstalking in social media threats case

FBI agents have accused a 19-year-old Lincoln man of using social media accounts to harass, threaten and stalk three women he knows, according to a criminal complaint.

Alec R. Eiland appeared in a federal courtroom Wednesday in Lincoln, and prosecutors apprised of him the cyberstalking and transmitting threatening communications charges against him.

Eiland, according to FBI investigators, created different social media accounts and then used those accounts to threaten these women with bodily harm, including rape.

Posts on Facebook and Instagram by these accounts showed pictures of the women and invited solicitations for sex, an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit.

One Facebook message described in the affidavit asked one of the women if she liked her flat tires, called it a “start” and threatened to attach a bomb to the engine.

“You better kill yourself before its (sic) too late,” the post said.

One of the women alerted the FBI on Nov. 6, prompting the investigation.

Eiland was charged with the felonies three days later.

On Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Zwart said he still posed a safety risk to the public and ordered Eiland to remain in detention at the Saline County jail in Wilber.

If convicted, Eiland faces up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

His attorney didn’t respond to a request for comment Wednesday.


‘Incompatible With Life’, TB Patients Struggle with Modi Government’s Policy on Nutrition

'Incompatible With Life', TB Patients Struggle with Modi Government's Policy on Nutrition

‘Incompatible with life’. That’s a death sentence, backed by medical science and given by doctors to thousands of Tuberculosis patients around India.

And 25-year-old Rani, a tribal woman who is a Tuberculosis patient at the Jan Swasthya Sahyog hospital in Chhattisgarh, is tottering on the brink of this sentence.

When Rani arrived at this hospital three months ago, she had a body mass index (BMI) of nine. Any BMI less than 13 is medically classified as ‘incompatible with life’.

Rani is an adult woman but could easily be mistaken for a child. TB has devastated her body, and she is all bones. “I’m getting hiccups,” she said faintly, and her mother had to help her drink water.

The approach to tackling TB the world over has been bacteriological: medical science and public policy have focused on the TB bacteria – Mycobacterium tuberculosis – as being the cause for TB. Strictly speaking, it is the cause for TB. Yet the bacteria itself remains present, latently, in thousands of people, especially in TB-heavy countries like India. But TB doesn’t manifest in all people who carry the bacteria. How does this happen?

This is because the mere presence of the bacteria may not itself trigger TB. But the bacteria accompanied by other bad influences, ‘risk factors’ and ‘co-morbidities’ can flare the latent bacteria to manifest itself as TB.

Rani, a TB patient whose body mass index has fallen to levels considered ‘incompatible with life’. Credit: Anoo Bhuyan

Rani in Chhattisgarh has the odds stacked against her, and she is one of India’s thousands of TB patients. According to the Global TB Report 2017, India saw 28 lakh new TB cases and 4.2 lakh deaths of patients with TB.

But the ‘germ theory’ approach to TB has meant that medical science and government intervention do not focus on links such as the “jugalbandi between undernutrition and TB,” says Dr Yogesh Jain at the JSS hospital.

The global goal to eliminate TB has been set at 2030. The Modi government has committed to achieving this by 2025. India has the highest number of TB cases in the world.

“Unacceptably high” health statistics in tribal areas

According to Tribal Health in India, a government of India report submitted in 2017, malnutrition in tribal areas is a “paradox.” Malnutrition, which is considered as stunting in children and low body mass index in adults, is “unacceptably high” and is far more than among non-tribal populations.

The status of pulmonary TB in tribal areas is also significantly higher than the rest of the country: tribal areas see 703 cases as against 256 per one lakh.

The likes of Rani, living in tribal parts of Chhattisgarh, are living these statistics out themselves.

Also read: Debate: India’s TB Patients Need Bedaquiline Now, Never Mind the Critics

But yet policy makers in India do not act upon these linkages.

“Undernutrition is the most widely prevalent risk factor for TB in the Indian population, and it is also the most widely prevalent comorbidity in patients with TB in India. But this is a correctable and modifiable risk factor,” says Dr Anurag Bhargava, a TB researcher and currently a professor at Yenepoya Medical College.

Jain agrees: “While there is a lot of talk of drug resistance in TB, in these depressed parts of the country, this is not the most important issue. The biggest issue we see with our TB patients is, actually, undernutrition.”

Radical shift in TB control

India started recognising the nutritional support aspect of TB control in 2017. The National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis currently has a budget of Rs 5527 crore for India’s projected nine million TB patients. Of this, Rs 1,200 crore is for nutritional and social support for patients.

Nutritional support means a ‘sustenance’ of Rs 500 per month (USD 8) during the treatment of TB via a direct benefit transfer to the patients.

But the government is still only looking at nutritional support to help TB patients strengthen themselves during ‘treatment’ of TB. Doctors like Bhargava and Jain are saying that the government should be looking at fixing India’s nutrition problem to ‘prevent’ TB and not just treat it.

This would be a radical shift in India’s approach to TB control.

India also contributes the largest burden of TB patients globally.

India struggles with keeping its people nourished. According to the latest Global Hunger Index, India ranks 100 out of 119 countries. In Asia, only Pakistan and Afghanistan rank lower than India. India contributes a third to the global burden of undernutrition. India also contributes the largest burden of TB patients globally.

It is not that the Indian government does not know this. In the national TB plan, the union health ministry explains that these links are “bidirectional”: “Under-nutrition is a risk factor for tuberculosis which in turn worsens the nutritional status, generating a vicious cycle which can lead to adverse outcomes (during and following therapy) for patients with active tuberculosis including those with multi-drug resistant TB. This interaction is particularly important in the Indian context where food insecurity and under-nutrition coexist with a large burden of tuberculosis.”

As a solution, the government has announced a support scheme of Rs 500 per patient per month to help them buy better food and nutrition. Patients receive the money through bank transfer, and they would all need to be linked by Aadhaar to the government’s transfer system, ‘Nikshay’.

‘Direct benefit transfer’ hinders treatment

“The feedback we have from the ground is that the DBT scheme has numerous challenges. First, access is an issue, there is little awareness. Moreover, the amount is too little and many patients think it’s pointless to apply,” says Chapal Mehra, a volunteer with Survivors for TB.

Mehra says that despite the government clarifying on Aadhaar cards not being necessary for treatment, there is still confusion among health workers and patients on the ground.

A TB patient at the JSS hospital in Chhattisgarh who says he doesn’t know his bank details to access the government’s cash transfer. Credit: Anoo Bhuyan

For Rani in Chhattisgarh, accessing nutrition through the government’s plan is not an option. She is so weak that she cannot sit up in bed. She is hypothermic, covered with blankets and a heater on next to her. She is connected to a giant oxygen cylinder. She has been vomiting all day. Her husband has abandoned her because she “cannot work anymore.” She asks her mother to help her sit up to drink water, then immediately says, “Hold me, I’m going to fall.”

For Rani to access the government’s ‘nutritional support’, she would have to go to give her biometrics at a government centre, wait for the Aadhaar card to be delivered to her address, then withdraw the monthly money and then go and buy her ration herself.

Another TB patient at the hospital is sipping water with his wife wearing a mask beside him. “Have you eaten today?” his doctor asks him. He and his wife are both agricultural labourers and they say they don’t know about the government’s plan to give Rs 500 to TB patients. “Rs 500 is not going to help us. For my treatment, we have to pay for food, transport, accommodation. A bus ticket itself costs Rs 90. I don’t remember my bank account number either.”


Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ Get Android Pie Beta-Based One UI, Free Themes Come With a 14-Day Usage Limit

Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ Get Android Pie Beta-Based One UI, Free Themes Come With a 14-Day Usage Limit

Samsung’s Galaxy S9 ₹ 44,690 and Galaxy S9+ ₹ 51,900 have finally started receiving the latest Android 9.0 Pie beta software update in South Korea and the US. Android Pie beta arrives as part of the latest One UI update, which Samsung announced as a successor to its Samsung Experience UI that would be optimised for one-handed operation. The latest software brings plenty of changes including a design overhaul. Apart from that, reports coming in suggest that Samsung’s One UI will now allow free themes to be applied on your handset for only 14 days after which they will be automatically removed.

Tipster Ice Universe took to Twitter on Thursday to reveal the changelog of the Android 9.0 Pie beta-based One UI update rolling out to Galaxy S9 units in South Korea. This was soon followed by the same update rolling out to customers in the US, as reported by Sammobile. The changelog reveals a file size of about 1.9GB and an update to the latest November 2018 Android security patch.

The beta update is reportedly available for T-Mobile, Sprint, and unlocked Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ users in the US. To register, open the Samsung+ app and click on the link with “One UI with Android 9.0 on Galaxy S9/S9+” text mentioned, on the home page. The beta update can then be downloaded by going into Settings > Software update > Download updates manually.

One UI brings a lot of new features such as a redesigned interface, redesigned notifications with the ability to reply directly from the notification panel, new Unicode 11.0 emojis, adaptive themes, Device Care and power saving features, new clock styles for the Always On display, improved Bixby search, redesigned Phone app, and more. You will be able to use Samsung DeX with supported HDMI adapters, without the need for a DeX station.

To recall, Samsung had previously confirmed that the stable Android Pie-based One UI update will roll out to the Galaxy S9 lineup sometime in January. The open beta is expected to soon go live in other markets of Europe and Asia as well.

While this update brings a lot of functionality and new features to the Galaxy S9 range, it also has a frustrating time limit for free themes. Android Pie, with One UI on top, restricts the usage of free themes on your Galaxy S9 to just 14 days, reports Sammobile. After this time limit, the theme will forcefully automatically reset to the stock theme.

A notice is reportedly being sent by Samsung to users on the latest update. Samsung clarifies the change by saying that it has “changed the policy in order to help our designers continue to create high quality products and also to provide stable and satisfactory services for you.” Samsung will notify users 10 minutes before the theme reverts to the original one. It is not known yet as to whether the previously applied theme will be rendered unusable or can be used again at a later stage


Elevate Your Home With These Holiday Decor Trends

Dreaming of a chic Christmas.

The holiday season isn’t just a time for gifts. It’s also a time for re-decorating. In recent years, traditional holiday decor has stayed in storage and been replaced with more contemporary styles. While social media has influenced this trend, it’s not the only reason. Laurence Carr who is the CEO and Founder of Laurence Carr Design explains why. “The traditional holiday style has not kept pace with modern lives and families living far away from each other. People are looking for a feeling of comfort and warmth with personalized holiday decor, such as unique, simple touches or small takeaways like candles. They are also embracing simplicity as a way of distressing from this hectic time of the year.”

It’s time to say goodbye to green and white and consider these holiday decorating ideas instead.

Santa Claus Isn’t Real And Your Tree Doesn’t Have To Be Either

A faux tree is a real gift to yourself.Getty

To end the debate once and for all, creating the perfect holiday ambiance does not require a real Christmas tree. The holiday season is stressful enough, so why create additional hassle? Would it make sense to transport any other large, cumbersome item by tying it down to the roof of a car? Does anyone have time to constantly clean an endless mess of falling needles? Real trees can also create safety concerns for pets and trigger allergies. Artificial trees are less problematic, more cost-efficient and eco-friendly. They also look full year after year.

Miss the real tree smell? A Nest Holiday or Birchwood Pine reed diffuser on your mantle is the next best thing.


White Christmas Is Just A Movie

Black is the new black.

Black is the new black.Wayfair

Artificial trees also allow for experimentation with color. While white trees trended in 2017, according to Wayfair, the number of site searches for black trees has increased this year. It’s easy to understand why. A black tree is a true statement piece. The contrast of color against the ornaments makes them pop. For extra wow factor, keep the lights and ornaments monochromic. If black isn’t bold enough, consider a millennial pink or even a red tree this year.

Take A Hint From Chip And Joanna Gaines

The modern farmhouse look perfected.

The modern farmhouse look perfected.Brittany Avila

Popular with bloggers and influencers like Brittany Avila of Southernly Bliss, the modern farmhouse look has been a major interior design trend for several years. In fact, starter homes renovated in this style have proven to garner higher sales numbers.

But, Carr doesn’t think the attraction to a modern farmhouse look is about being trendy. “Modern Farmhouse holiday decor simultaneously reflects warmth and a rustic mood. Its popularity stems from the inherently cozy feel of the scheme.”

She suggests pairing farmhouse styles with vintage holiday decor like those heirloom ornaments passed down from generation to generation. Mixing raw textures and hard finishes like rough wood and hammered metal is another way to make farmhouse chic blend with a more contemporary style home..