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15 women among 32 dead in Assam hooch tragedy

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At least 32 persons, including 15 women, have died and over 40 others taken ill after consuming spurious liquor in two separate incidents in Assam’s Golaghat and Jorhat districts, the police said on Friday.

While one incident took place on Thursday night at Salmora Tea Estate in Golaghat, 300 km from here, the other incident occurred in two remote villages under Titabor sub-division of Jorhat district.

“Twenty-five persons, including 15 women, have died in Golaghat. While 18 persons died at the Golaghat Civil Hospital, the rest breathed their last at the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital,” said Rathin Bordoloi, Joint Director of Health, Golaghat district.
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He said the deceased were taken to the hospitals with complaints of severe vomiting and chest pain. “We tried our best, but it was too late.”

“A total of 55 persons had been referred to the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital for treatment. Seven of them have died, while 48 others are still undergoing treatment,” said the doctors at the hospital.

In the Jorhat incident, 12 people were taken ill after consuming spurious liquor, of whom seven died at the local hospital. The rest four are undergoing treatment, the police said.

The locals said many consumed liquor at the tea estate on Thursday night after procuring the stock from a particular seller. Several of them took ill immediately and were rushed to the hospital.
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The locals complained about a nexus between the police and illegal liquor sellers.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has expressed grief over the incident and sent a team to the district to take stock of the situation.

State Excise Minister Parimal Shuklabaidya has ordered a probe.

“The state government has suspended two excise officials after holding them responsible for the tragedy. We have also asked a four-member team, led by Additional Commissioner of Excise Department Sanjib Medhi, to probe the incident,” said Shuklabaidya.

The probe committee has been asked to submit its report within three days.

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Microsoft to discontinue Cortana for Android and iOS in some countries

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Microsoft is pulling the plug on Cortana iOS and Android apps. Support for the app will be dropped from 31 January 2020 in several countries, including India.

The company announced the change in a support document for affected markets. Microsoft says it is integrating Cortana into Microsoft 365 apps and as part of that shift it’s ending support for the Cortana app on iOS and Android.

After January 31, 2020, the Cortana mobile app on your phone will no longer be supported and there will be an updated version of Microsoft Launcher with Cortana removed,” it states. To make Cortana as helpful as possible, we’re integrating Cortana deeper into your Microsoft 365 productivity apps, and part of this evolution involves ending support for the Cortana mobile app on Android and iOS,” the statement added.

The app will no longer be available on the App Store in India, the UK, Australia, Germany, Mexico, China, Spain and Canada from January 31, 2020. The US, however, is not on that list, with a company spokesperson telling the blog that the app will continue to be available in the country as of now.

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