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Report: Lychee fruit triggered illness in Bihar village for decades

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A fruit vendor offers lychees to customers from his roadside stall in Amritsar, India.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Every year since 1995, a mysterious illness has swept across and plagued the little town of Muzaffarpur in Bihar, India.

Around May and June each year, scores of young children would begin showing signs of a fever. They’d have seizures and convulsions, before ultimately slipping in and out of consciousness.

Then in 2014, hundreds of children were brought to hospitals, exhibiting symptoms of an illness, branded locally as “chamki ki bimari,” or “tinsel disease.” Of the 390 children admitted for treatment, 122 died. Teams of researchers and medical experts worked exhaustively to find the cause, but had no such luck.

Until now.

According to a new report, which was published in The Lancet Global Health medical journal on Tuesday, claims to have discovered what’s been causing the deadly disease: Lychee.

Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and India’s National Centre for Disease Control compared test results of children who had developed the mysterious illness, and children who had not. Analysis of blood and spinal fluid samples showed no signs of infection or exposure to chemicals and insecticides.

However, the majority of children who had fallen ill had eaten lychee fruit recently. Those same children were also six times more likely to visit a fruit orchard within 24 hours of falling ill, the study said.

Muzaffarpur, conveniently, happens to be India’s largest lychee farming region.

According to the report, parents said children that lived in infected villages spent most of their days eating from lychee trees, and would return home “uninterested in eating a meal.” The report said that children that fell ill were twice as likely to have skipped dinner, which, according to the researchers probably resulted in “night-time hypoglycaemia.”

The Indian government issued a statement Wednesday advising children to henceforth “minimize litchi fruit consumption” in affected areas, and eat an evening meal during the “outbreak period.”

But researchers say there are still questions about the mystery that remain unanswered. For example, while orchards surround a multitude of India’s villages, typically only one child from each village develops an illness from eating lychee. Therefore, the report said, the equation could also include a child’s individual genetics.

“The synergistic combination of litchi consumption, a missed evening meal, and other potential factors such as poor nutritional status, eating a greater number of litchis, and as yet unidentified genetic differences might be needed to produce this illness,” the study said.

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Indian Independence day celebrated amidst Kashmir controversy

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Indian Independence Day celebrated amidst Kashmir controversy

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — Indians around the world are marking the 72nd anniversary of India’s freedom from British rule with a series of ceremonies, the largest of which took place in New Delhi at a celebration featuring Indian Prime Minister Modi. Over the course of 90 minutes, Mr. Modi spoke about his government’s accomplishments during his term and the pressing matter that is of interest globally, Kashmir. Watch his full remarks in primetime tonight on Diya TV. Coverage begins at 6 pm.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services made their controversial public charge rule official. It will deny green cards to immigrants who have received federal aid and benefits, impacting one million immigrants annually who have received public aid. Aging parents are also likely to be disqualified.

And the Philadelphia community is in mourning over the loss of three members of the Khurana family, who died when their small aircraft crashed shortly after take-off on a flight heading for Columbus, Ohio. The victims, 60 year old Jasvir Khurana and his wife, 54 year old Divya, were respected physician-researchers teaching at Temple and Drexel respectively. Their 19 year old daughter, Kiran, graduated from high school last year. The Khuranas were on their way to visit their other daughter in California. The FAA and NTSB ruled the crash was an accident.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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EXCLUSIVE: Fremont PD and FOG confirm Independence Day Parade cancelled over security, permitting

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FREMONT, Calif. (Diya TV) — Fremont Police Department and FOG organizers confirm the annual Indian Independence Day parade, scheduled for this Sunday, is cancelled due to permitting and security concerns. FOG will still take place this weekend, minus the parade. Here’s our initial report on FOG security from earlier this week.

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Trump takes aim at India and China over tariffs

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Trump takes aim at India and China over Tariffs

MONACA, Penn. (Diya TV) — President Trump levied more criticism at India and China at a Pennsylvania rally, saying the two were no longer developing nations and were taking advantage of that status given by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Trump added India and China had grown and the US will not let that continue. Trump’s latest comments come as Indian trade minister Piyush Goyal is set to visit Washington next month.

Meanwhile, controlling the narrative on Kashmir has become job one for both India and Pakistan. Indian Ambassador Harsh Shringla said to FOX News that President Trump’s offer to mediate between India and Pakistan is not on the table, as the U.S. State Department and bilateral agreements between the rivals made clear. Shringla added integrating Indian-administered Kashmir with the rest of the nation was necessary to ensure the region will prosper and stay secure.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had a more stark assessment to his Parliament, saying he wants to internationalize the dispute and aim to be the regions voice, adding Pakistan will ‘teach India a lesson’ should they attack Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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