Odourless cocaine

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Last weekend, I saw “Ayyan” movie and was astonished seeing different ways people use for illegal smuggling of drugs. Specifically, I was shocked knowing about illegal smuggling of “odorless cocaine”, cocaine that is undetectable by taste or smell. I never knew such kind of cocaine exists! I heard that sometimes this odorless cocaine is mistaken as coffee sweetener.

The movie mentions about the reaction of cocaine (benzoylmethyl ecgonine) with plaster of Paris to form “odourless cocaine”. In order to transport cocaine abroad, the villain uses Ganeshji idols formed using cocaine and plaster of Paris. This will be identified when these idols will be dipped in some solvent. I do not remember what it was! After dipping these idols in that solvent, a white powder will be obtained. Essentially, it is cocaine appearing in powder form is a salt, typically cocaine hydrochloride (CAS 53-21-4). Cocaine in its purest form is a white, pearly product.

Using the body as container is one of the methods of smuggling heroin and cocaine using drug mules. It is often done by swallowing latex balloons (often condoms, or fingers of latex gloves) or special pellets filled with the goods, and recovering them from the feces later (such a smuggler is called a swallower or internal carrier; the practice is also called body packing or body stuffing). It is a common, but medically dangerous way of smuggling small amounts of drugs: a mule can die if a packet bursts or leaks before exiting the body. And, in “Ayyan” movie they have shown this! A person carrying heroin inside his body by swallowing heroin filled in fingers of latex gloves faces this situation in the movie, where in a packet bursts or leaks before exiting the body. People are sometimes X-rayed at airports etc. to check for drug pellets but not always.

Unlike cocaine, heroin is often smuggled by people who swallow large numbers of small capsules (50-90), allowing them to transport up to 1.5 kilograms of heroin per courier. However, elsewhere cocaine is smuggled this way. World annual cocaine consumption currently stands at around 600 metric tons, with the United States consuming around 300 metric tons, 50% of the total, Europe about 150 metric tons, 25% of the total, and the rest of the world the remaining 150 metric tons or 25%. Organized criminal gangs operating on a large scale dominate the cocaine trade. Most cocaine is grown and processed in South America, particularly in Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and smuggled into the United States and Europe, the United States being the worlds largest consumer of Cocaine, where it is sold at huge markups; usually in the US at $50–$75 for 1 gram (or a “fitty rock”), and $125–200 for 3.5 grams (1/8th of an ounce, or an “eight ball”).

Source: Wikipedia

Hats off to the greenest firm in India!

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Currently, Wipro Infotech is top green firm in India. The firm has been rated as the No. 1 green brand in our country as per the latest edition of Greenpeace’s ‘Guide to greener electronics’ ranking. Also, Wipro Infotech is one among the list of top five global green brands in the world. With this, Wipro has not only reasserted its top position among Indian IT brands, but has also marked a place in the league of top-five global green brands. Wipro could acieve this mainly due to its efforts its efforts in energy efficiency and for managing e-wastes effectively.

Controversies whirling around company-sponsored search results that appear on Internet search engines

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According to the U.S. FDA, company-sponsored search results that appear on Internet search engines should not contain therapeutic claims if they also contain drug names. FDA suggested this in a cluster of letters to 14 firms citing 48 products. Among products cited in the spate of letters was Biogen Idec’s multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri. Biogen said, “Unlike the other products flagged, Tysabri has a disciplined risk management program in place and no patient in the U.S. can gain access to the drug without formal enrollment in the REMS TOUCH program, so the risks are all clearly explained by the physician before prescribing.”

Biogen Idec and GlaxoSmithKline are among 14 companies that have received warning letters from the FDA cautioning the companies about their Internet advertising. Jennifer Neiman, a spokeswoman for Biogen, said the FDA letter dated March 26 questioned the use of sponsored links to promote Biogen’s multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri. Neiman points out that patients can gain access to Tysabri only after formally enrolling in Biogen’s risk management program under a physician’s supervision. “We’ve been highly transparent,” said Neiman.

Brian Orelli commented on Fool.com that the FDA brought out the paddywagon last week, issuing 14 warning letters all circling around the same theme: It is still an ad, even if you have to click on it. Brian said that avoiding “sponsored links” will change the way drugmakers advertise, but he is not convinced it would be a major problem for sales. Brian added, “I imagine that most of the advertisements were effective for increasing brand recognition — or convincing patients to switch from, say, Pfizer’s Rebif to Biogen Idec and Elan’s Tysabri — rather than convincing patients to start treating a medical issue that they wouldn’t have treated without the advertisements. It’s one less tool in the arsenal, but all the companies are on a level playing field, and cumulative sales shouldn’t be hurt that much.”

Brain says,One has to wonder why the FDA picked now to issue the warnings, since the drugmakers have been advertising like this for quite a while. If the new administration has decided to be generally tougher on pharmaceutical companies, that’s certainly bad news for the industry, and a trend worth watching for investors.”

Sources: The Pinksheet, BizJournals & Motley Fool

The voice of silence…

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Why is that sometimes one can understand the feelings unspoken but can’t understand words spoken! I really wonder and it is so very strange. Unspoken feelings when understood by our loved ones make us immensely happy. It is a real blessing to find someone who can respond to your unspoken feelings. Sometimes the communication that two hearts have in silence is more beautiful than the words shared….it reminds me of a song…one of my most favorites…“When you say nothing at all”.

Its amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word, you can light up the dark
Try as I may I could never explain
What I hear when you dont say a thing

The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
Theres a truth in your eyes saying youll never leave me
The touch of your hand says youll catch me when ever I fall
You say it best..when you say nothing at all

All day long I can hear people talking out loud
But when you hold me near, you drown out the crowd (the crowd)
Try as they may they can never define
Whats been said between your heart and mine

The smile on your face
The truth in your eyes
The touch of your hand
Lets me know that you need me..

(you say it best when you say nothing at all
You say it best when you say nothing at all..)

WWF Earth Hour: Join in…

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Citizens from across 85 countries in over 800 cities around the world are switching their lights off on March 28, 2009 for one hour, from 8.30PM to 9.30PM, to raise their voice against climate change. It’s now happening in India for the first time. Tell your family, friends and colleagues about WWF Earth Hour and ask them to join in and switch off for a healthy planet.

This year Earth Hour (Vasundhara Ghatika) has been transformed into the world’s first ‘global election’, pitting earth against global warming. For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch to vote; switching off your lights is a vote for earth, while leaving them on is a vote for global warming.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008, the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with over five crore people switching off their lights. The Social Forestry Department (SFD) has appealed to all its 9,000 eco-clubs and four lakh student-members to observe the Earth Hour on March 28. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to vote for earth during the Earth Hour, and this number is growing everyday, officials said.

What will you be doing at 8.30pm on Saturday March 28th? We’re keen to know what you have planned for Earth Hour 2009. If you’d like to share your plans with us, then please email us at 80feetroad@gmail.com. describing the details of what you have planned for Earth Hour 2009.

Greed for money makes a father ruthless!

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As I started my day at office, I read this news which horrified me and left me in painful silence. The Mumbai police have arrested a 60-year-old man from Mira Road area for allegedly raping his elder daughter for the last 9 years. The ordeal began in 2000 when his elder daughter was 11-year-old. The elder daughter, now 21, was allegedly raped for 10 years. The businessman started raping his second daughter – a 15-year-old – just a few months ago. The mother of the two girls has also been arrested for abetment. How disgusting is that! The man apparently acted on the advice of a self-proclaimed tantric friend who advised him to establish physical relations with his daughter to improve his financial condition. Along with him, the mother of those two girls and the tantric have also been arrested for abetting the incest.

One side we talk of globalization, rationalization, fighting blind beliefs all that and the other side such horrible acts happen! I was just thinking of those two girls, who were exploited for the prosperity of family and to obtain financial stability! How much painful it will be for those two girls, usually if any problem comes in the childhood or teenage, we go to our parents, share with them and feel so happy sharing every little thing…let it be a bigger or smaller thing. But, where will such girls go, if parents themselves push them into such a living hell!!! How painful it is and what will happen to those poor little girls…how badly their hearts must be wounded along with the physical abuse!!! Thank God atleast the elder daughter revealed about this insane act! She confided in her maternal grandmother when she saw her younger sister being targeted just as she had been by her father. The girls further disclosed that the tantric had raped the younger sister, who is now 15-year-old. For now, the girls are staying with their maternal grandmother and uncle.

Sources: Hindustan Times & IBN Live

Kiss therapy for women with low sex hormone levels!

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Kisses can be therapies helping to promote fertility in women! When women were administered Kisspeptin, which is a hormone produced by the “KISS-1” gene, ovulation and fertility was restored in a few. This can be a very good news for women with low sex hormone levels. Animals and humans lacking this kisspeptin hormone do not go through puberty and remain sexually immature, and this is in favour of this new research finding. Kisspeptin is basically the product of the KISS-1 gene and it is a G-protein coupled receptor ligand for GPR54. KISS-1 gene was originally identified as a gene that has the ability to suppress melanoma and breast cancer metastasis. However, several studies have made it clear that kisspeptin-GPR54 signaling has a significant role in initiating secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (also called as luteinizing-hormone) at puberty. Kisspeptin hormone activates the release of sex hormones, which are responsible for controlling the menstrual cycle. Well, this field has several ongoing research studies.

One thing that is very interesting about this KISS-1 gene is the history behind its naming! The naming of the KISS-1 gene and Kisspeptin, was made by a team of researchers, who discovered the gene in Hershey, Pennsylvania, famous for its chocolate “Hershey’s Kisses” (bite-sized pieces of chocolate manufactured by The Hershey Company).

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