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Decoding the brain Scientists redefine and measure singleneuron signaltonoise ratio

first_img Fig. 2. Stimulus and history component estimates from the PP-GLM analyses of the spiking activity in Fig. 1. (A) Guinea pig primary auditory cortex neuron. (B) Rat thalamic neuron. (C) Monkey hippocampal neuron. (D) Human subthalamic nucleus neuron. The stimulus component (Upper) is the estimated stimulus-induced effect on the spike rate in A, C, and D and the impulse response function of the stimulus in B. The history components (Lower) show the modulation constant of the spike firing rate. Credit: Czanner G, Sarma SV, Ba D, Eden UT, Wu W, Eskandar E, Lim HH, Temereanca S, Suzuki WA, Brown EN (2015) Measuring the signal-to-noise ratio of a neuron. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(23):7141-7146. Fig. 1. Raster plots of neural spiking activity. (A) Forty trials of spiking activity recorded from a neuron in the primary auditory cortex of an anesthetized guinea pig in response to a 200 μs/phase biphasic electrical pulse applied in the inferior colliculus at time 0. (B) Fifty trials of spiking activity from a rat thalamic neuron recorded in response to a 50 mm/s whisker deflection repeated eight times per second. (C) Twenty-five trials of spiking activity from a monkey hippocampal neuron recorded while executing a location scene association task. (D) Forty trials of spiking activity recorded from a subthalamic nucleus neuron in a Parkinson’s disease patient before and after a hand movement in each of four directions (dir.): up (dir. U), right (dir. R), down (dir. D), and left (dir. L). Credit: Czanner G, Sarma SV, Ba D, Eden UT, Wu W, Eskandar E, Lim HH, Temereanca S, Suzuki WA, Brown EN (2015) Measuring the signal-to-noise ratio of a neuron. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(23):7141-7146. Recently, scientists at the University of Liverpool and Massachusetts Institute of Technology refined the signal-to-noise ratio as an estimate of a ratio of expected prediction errors, and moreover extended the standard definition to one appropriate for single neurons using point process generalized linear models (PP-GLM) – a flexible generalization of ordinary linear regression that allows for response variables that have error distribution models other than a normal distribution. The researchers conclude that their study provides a straightforward method for determining the signal-to-noise ration of single neurons – and by generalizing the standard SNR metric, they were able to explicitly characterize the acknowledged fact that individual neurons are noisy transmitters of information. The scientists state that their new approach allows SNR computation on the same decibel scale for neurons and man-made systems, and moreover applies to any analysis in which a generalized linear model can be used as a statistical model – including clinical trials, observational studies, and the optimization and evaluation of neural prostheses. Dr. Gabriela Czanner and Prof. Emery N. Brown discussed the paper that they and their colleagues published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As might well be imagined, the scientists faced a number of challenges in conducting their study. “Neurons communicate through spiking activity in two ways – spike intensity modulation or spike timing patterns,” Czanner tells Phys.org. “In our work, in which the fundamental challenge was to differentiate signal from noise in neuronal spiking, we focused on spike intensity. This required identifying the components that cause neurons to spike – or as Rieke and his colleagues wrote1, ‘To make meaningful estimates of information transmission we need to understand something about the structure of the neural code.'” Taking their lead from this quote, the scientists realized that in the case of single neurons, the factors that modulate the spiking activity are the stimulus, biophysical properties of the neuron, thermal noise, and activity of neighboring neurons. They then employed statistics to show that the signal regularity in the data that can be explained by stimulus and the neuron’s biophysical properties, while noise comprises the remaining neural spiking dynamics not captured by the stimulus and biophysical components. Explore further © 2015 Phys.org Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Hubble sees the remains of a star gone supernova That said, Czanner points out, previous formulations of neural SNR – for example, information theory adapted to derive Gaussian upper bounds on individual neuron SNR, and coefficients-of-variation and Fano factors (two measures of dispersion of a probability distribution or frequency distribution) based on spike counts – fail to consider the point process nature of neural spiking activity. (A Gaussian distribution is a continuous probability distribution used to represent real-valued random variables whose distributions are not known.) Moreover, these measures and the Gaussian approximations are less accurate for neurons with low spike intensity modulation or when information is contained in precise spike timing patterns.Brown notes that while the standard SNR definition assumes that a system’s measurements have a Gaussian distribution and that the noise is added to the signal, neural systems produce binary observations in short time intervals – that is, a distribution summarizing the number of events in a short time interval, and when the probability of number of observations depend on the number of observations in previous time intervals. These observations are more accurately modeled as a point process, and therefore differ significantly from Gaussian distributions and from standard Binomial distributions. “Moreover,” he adds, “these observations are affected by both the signal and the noise in the neural system – so the relationship is not additive.”Relatedly, he adds, it was vital to show that the neuronal signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) estimates a ratio of expected prediction errors rather than the standard SNR definition of signal amplitude squared and divided by the noise variance. “Neurons emit binary electrical discharges, called spikes, which are believed to be elementary unit of neural communication,” Brown tells Phys.org. “Hence, it’s important to find out precisely how much information and noise there is in the spikes.”Another challenge was determining that single neuron SNRs range from −29 to −3 decibels (dB), which meant selecting appropriate approximating models of the spiking activity. “The model has to be tailored to each neuron,” Czanner stresses, “thus reflecting neurons’ own specific electrophysiology and the type of the stimulation, which was either explicit or implicit. To achieve this we analyzed the SNR metric from the perspective of statistical concepts.” She says that showing that traditional SNR is a random quantity that estimates a ratio of expected prediction errors allowed them to extend the SNR standard definition to one appropriate for single neurons by representing neural spiking activity using a point process generalized linear model (PP-GLM).”We estimate prediction errors using residual deviances from PP-GLM fits,” she continues. “Because the deviance is an approximate chi-squared random variable whose expected value is the number of degrees of freedom, we compute a bias-corrected SNR estimate appropriate for single neuron analysis and use the bootstrap to assess its uncertainty.” In analyzing four neuroscience systems experiments, the researchers were thereby able to show that the SNRs of individual neurons have – as Brown says they expected – these very low decibel values. “In other words, by generalizing the standard SNR metric we make explicit the well-known fact that individual neurons are highly noisy information transmitters – and at the same time, our framework expresses this SNR ratio for neurons in the same units as that used for more standard Gaussian additive noise systems.” More information: Measuring the signal-to-noise ratio of a neuron, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, (2015) 112:23 7141-7145, doi:10.1073/pnas.1505545112Related:1Spikes: Exploring the Neural Code, Fred Rieke and David Warland, A Bradford Book – Reprint edition (June 25, 1999), ISBN-13: 978-0262681087 Interestingly, by calculating spiking history SNR (as is allowed by their generalized SNR definition), the scientists demonstrated that taking into account the neuron’s biophysical processes – such as absolute and relative refractory periods (the periods after the action potential, when the neuron cannot spike again or can spike with low probability, respectively), bursting propensity (the period of a neuron’s rapid action potentials ), local network dynamics, and, in this case, spiking history – is often a more informative predictor of spiking propensity than the signal or stimulus activating the neuron. An important step in their investigation was to acknowledge that SNR is an estimator or a statistic, meaning that it has statistical properties that need to be evaluated. “The values of the SNR estimate are random, and so change if an experiment is repeated,” Czanner says. “We therefore had to identify these properties in order to be certain that the estimate is constructed in a principled way.” She notes that a key property of the SNR estimator is that it is biased, because by definition it always gives a positive value even when there is no signal. “To this end, we proposed a simple bias adjustment that worked well in simulation studies.”In reviewing their research, Czanner and Brown identified the key innovations the team developed used to address these myriad challenges: ● Determining that the quantity being estimated by the SNR is a ratio of prediction errors● Employing the PP-GLM framework to estimate deviances as a generalization of sums of squares (is a mathematical approach to determining the dispersion of data points) so that the concept of the SNR can be extended to neurons and agrees with the concept used for Gaussian systems● Defining a way to take account of non-signal yet relevant covariates that also affect the spiking propensity of the neuron, which we accomplished using the linear terms from the Volterra series approximation to the log of the conditional intensity function expanded in terms of the stimulus and the spiking history● Determining that the numerator and denominator are both approximate chi-squared random variables whose means give approximations to the appropriate bias corrections, allowing the team to compute the approximate bias correction to the biased SNR estimate● Reporting the SNR for implicit and explicit neural stimuli (those attended to or not, respectively)● Being able to compute the SNR on the same decibel scale for neurons and man-made systems by using appropriate GLM models for eachIn their paper, the researchers state that their redefined SNR is extensible to any generalized linear model in which the factors modulating the response can be expressed as separate components of a likelihood function (a function of the parameters of a statistical model). “Our SNR metric is applicable to any system whose measurements can be described via a generalized linear model,” Czanner tells Phys.org. “The idea is to fit the model to the data, which effectively estimates the signal and the noise. (The model needs to be validated via, for example, standard goodness-of-fit criteria and autocorrelation tests) The new SNR can then be calculated by using deviances that generalize the concept of error sum of squares (a mathematical determination of the dispersion of data points) to generalized linear models. This means that the SNR is defined for all generalized linear models where the signal and non-signal components can be separated and hence estimated as different parts of a generalized linear model – and in fact, one of the key ideas in our work was to define the approximating model as the logarithm of conditional intensity, which allowed us to separate the signal or stimulus from the neuron’s own biophysical properties.”In terms of next steps, the scientists are planning to extend the SNR definition to analyze the SNR of neuronal ensembles, in which several neurons communicate with each other. “This is a so-called multivariate case where several neurons are considered at the same time,” Brown says, “and we’d like to know how ensemble SNR represents a relevant signal or stimulus.”The scientists say that the areas of research that might benefit from their new SNR concept are limitless. “Our definition applies readily to any situation in which a generalized linear model can be used as a statistical model, such as areas of research where measurements do not follow a Gaussian distribution n and/or when the noise is not additive and/or correlated,” Czanner tells Phys.org. For example,” she illustrates, “we are considering developing SNR metrics for evaluation of strength of surrogate biomarkers in clinical trials and observational studies, in which the surrogate biomarkers can be electrophysiological measurements from a human diabetic retina with the signal being the stage of diabetic retinopathy, or surrogate markers of retinal damage in malarial retina where the signal is the extend of brain swelling.”Brown also sees their SNR approach being used to accurately evaluate neuronal signal information. “We therefore envision that in the future this will reinforce the search for neurons that carry maximal information for the purpose of neural prostheses – and in this scenario, neural SNR may also be used to evaluate the performance of neural prostheses devices.” (Phys.org)—The signal-to-noise ratio, or SNR, is a well-known metric typically expressed in decibels and defined as a measure of signal strength relative to background noise – and in statistical terms as the ratio of the squared amplitude or variance of a signal relative to the variance of the noise. However, this definition – while commonly used to measure fidelity in physical systems – is not applicable to neural systems, because neural spiking activity (in which electrical pulses called action potentials travel down nerve fiber as voltage spikes, the pattern of which encodes and transmits information) is more accurately represented using point processes (random collections of points, each representing the time and/or location of an event). Citation: Decoding the brain: Scientists redefine and measure single-neuron signal-to-noise ratio (2015, July 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-07-decoding-brain-scientists-redefine-single-neuron.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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Delhi gets a pat on the back

first_imgNew Delhi has been awarded as the best destination for food and drink by Lonely Planet Magazine India Travel Awards 2013 at a glittering ceremony held at ITC Grand Central, Mumbai last weekend.Manish Chatrath, Chairman, Delhi Tourism along with Sudhir Sobti, Chief Manager (PR), DTTDC received the award from Lonely Planet.The best destination for food & drink award is an extremely prestigious award for Delhi and is a step forward towards making Delhi a preferred tourist destination. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The Lonely Planet Magazine India Travel Awards is widely acknowledged as the most prestigious award in the travel industry. The magazine invited the country’s elite travelers to choose their favorite destinations and most favored travel experiences. The awards were shortlisted by a panel of travel experts and professionals.A poll was also conducted for the magazine’s readers both online and in the magazine. The readers have voted in large numbers, across 40 categories, to celebrate the best in travel. The  travel awards reaffirm the commitment in pointing Indian travelers  to the best experiences they can find.The award ceremony was attended by who’s who of the national travel industry, several international invitees and celebrities.last_img read more

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Three artists showcase Kerala

first_imgMyths, folklore, everyday life, flora, fauna and people of Kerala have been depicted in paintings, murals and drawings by three artists from the state who are showcasing their works here.Works by artists – Murali Nagapuzha, Sajeev Visweshwaran and Suresh Muthukulam – who follow different styles of painting have been brought here by Bangalore-based Gallery Dravidam in a show titled Following Parasurama – native memories. Murali Nagapuzha, a self taught artist has created picture postcard views capturing the lush green landscape of Kerala. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Profuse with variegated vegetation, the fauna of the land is broken only by guest appearances of children or wildlife.“Murali has been quoted as saying that his work is a collage of his childhood memories, his imagination, a collection of photographs and even his dreams. Indeed, stepping into Murali’s world is a journey through a magical wonderland,” the gallery said in a statement about the exhibition. Sajeev Visweshwaran, a Baroda based artist who has adopted drawing as his visual narrative, has in a series of black and white drawings brought familiar home scenes of his native village and home in Kerala in minimalistic, fine, unbroken lines conveying an obvious longing for memories of another day. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix“Visweshwaran who worked as a printmaker and also explores new ways of creating installations with his drawings has been a part of group and solo shows in India and abroad,” says the gallerists.The third artist Suresh Muthukulam who trained in the Kerala mural tradition under Guru Mammiyoor Krishnakutty Nair, merges myth with everyday images from the coastal state.“Muthukulam’s works reflect the rare talent of being able to merge a training and background in the Kerala mural art tradition with a contemporary style which is unmistakably his signature style,” says Jaya Mani, owner, Dravidam Gallery.Muthukulam’s spectacular 70 foot mural is featured on one of the walls at the T 2 terminal of Mumbai’s new international airport.Gallery Dravidam organises an exhibition of South Indian artists every year.last_img read more

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Tales from bygone times

first_imgArth, experimentation with physical theatre, embedded into a periodical story was performed by students of Shri Ram Centre of Performing Arts on March 24 at Shri Ram Centre. The Hindi play leaves an imprint in Indian theatre with an innovative perspective to a periodical story.Written and directed by Niloy Roy, the play’s two consecutive shows challenged human limitations along with parameters of story-telling capability in an unconventional way.  It has hardly been seen in India that a periodical story is being told in this format where actors are more than real, yet maintaining a well directed aesthetic sense of performance. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Their physical capability matched the rhythms of nagara and taal that was well assisted by well thought classical vocal ragas.  The breakup of scenes into elegant use of colours, choreographed movements and the usage of stage kept the audience spellbound. Though the language had been essentially Hindi in its pristine form, today’s generation as well as audience from this metro city, were captivated by the visual accomplishment. The story does not take us to any specific personality in the history, rather depicting the larger global issue of economic imbalance and political interference that can be easily equated with contemporary economical situation. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixArth, the substance or the financial value as it might be connoted, is a periodical play that is set in 320 BC. The play reveals intricacies of values in life and society, when even Mauryan empire falls prey to internal conflicts of a human being. Though non-specific to any particular historical character, Arth brings the essence of economical dominance marred by political lineages.Chanakya, Bindusara and their lives are catalysts to the changes in pages of history but the play revolves around the dilemmas of common man and their rebellious disposition to create their own liberated thought process, embalmed by the advent of political and religious change. The political conflict between Takshshila and Mauryan Empire is the symbolic expression of dominance and veiled manipulation of financial axis to control the livelihood and resources.last_img read more

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NJAC Act violates basic structure of Constitution Apex Court told

first_imgA day after Chief Justice of India H L Dattu refused to attend meeting to select two members to the NJAC panel, various Bar bodies on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the validity of new law on appointment of judges cannot be sustained as it violates “basic structure” of the Constitution.”Basic Structure is violated because the body (National Judicial Appointments Commission-NJAC) sought to be created, does not have the salient features of the body (collegium) substituted,” senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA), told a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar. SCAORA, Bar Association of India (BAI) and few others are challenging validity of the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 and enabling Constitution (99th amendment) Act 2014.last_img read more

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Delhi debut for Chigirie

first_imgThe works of Chigiri-e is basically an art form created by joining torn pieces of paper in collage style, transforming the myriad pieces into majestic paintings. As per popular lore, this art style came into being when the sense of melancholy and hollowness among the Japanese people, following World War II, gave birth to a type of art where an artist unified some assorted and fragmented bits of paper to depict hope. Chigiri-e evoked people to retrieve their lost hopes by knitting the broken threads of their lives together. Rajeev Lochan, Director, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) said, ‘given the present situation of mankind’s overuse and abuse of nature’s bounty, these works provoke a certain yearning for peaceful balance and co-existence.’  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Traditionally, however, Chigiri-é aesthetics are said to have originated during the Heian period (794-1185 CE) in conjunction with calligraphy. The exhibition showcases the artist’s expression of hope manifested through the ‘flight to freedom’ as well as displays many moods of love, myriad facets of nature and inter-play between human life and nature. Rajeev Lochan added, ‘The compositions emphasize on the harmonious relationship between mankind and nature which depicts engagement and interaction between the two entities.’last_img read more

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Majerhat 5 PWD engineers 3 Finance Dept officials at fault

first_imgKolkata: The high-power committee in its preliminary report has found negligence on the part of five engineers of the state Public Works Department (PWD) and three officials of the state Finance department for the caving-in of the Majerhat bridge on September 4 in which three people died.”The five engineers belong to three divisions of the PWD and one of them is the Engineer-in-Chief of the department. The five along with three officials of the state Finance department have been found responsible for the delay in clearing files (for the repairing work of the bridge). If they had acted in the right manner, then we could have taken precautionary measures to avert the incident. They came to know about the weak condition of the bridge in 2016 but kept the concerned minister in the dark,” a senior official of Nabanna said on condition of anonymity. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAccording to sources, the five PWD engineers who had been found to be involved in dereliction of duty are Assistant Engineer and Executive Engineer II of Alipore division, Superintendent Engineer Nabanna, Chief Engineer South Zone and also Engineer-in-Chief of the PWD department. The high-power committee, headed by state Chief Secretary Malay De, has recommended strong action against the negligent officials in the report that was submitted to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday. The committee is also awaiting the report of the Kolkata Police and will be submitting a final report to the Chief Minister within a month. The state government that has decided to bring down the entire bridge, including the damaged part, and construct a new one within a year will write to the Railways next week seeking its permission to demolish the structure. The state has set a target of completing the construction of the bridge in a year and wants to begin work within a month. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedBanerjee, along with De, held a press conference on Friday and said some officials of the PWD department were negligent about their duties that led to the cave-in.”No one will be spared if found guilty in the probe and the government will take steps as per the law,” Banerjee had said. The government has also sought permission from the Railways for setting up two level crossings to facilitate the movement of light vehicles. “We have received the letter and are considering the same,” a senior official of Eastern Railway said.last_img read more

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Filmmakers publishers bridging the gap

first_imgTranslating literature into cinema is not new for the Hindi film industry. Now with the emergence of digital platforms and a shift in audience tastes, publishers and content providers are increasingly looking to chart a more streamlined roadmap to bring compelling narratives to screen. “This idea of adapting a book to a movie is becoming more commonplace as compared to five years ago,” Anish Chandy, who heads business development and sales at Juggernaut Books, told during an interview. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”Around five years ago, there was no demand…. So we were on a zero base. But now, there’s a significant demand, where people are getting in touch with us and asking what else is there,” said Chandy, who describes over-the-top (OTT) platforms Amazon Prime Video and Netflix as “rich uncles” who have given a boost to the word-to-screen format.Netflix has already commissioned “Sacred Games”, based on author Vikram Chandra’s book, and “Selection Day”, based on the book by author Aravind Adiga, for the Indian market. These apart, there are a string of books being made into films or web series. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveActor Sonam Kapoor, who has confirmed that she is featuring in a screen adaptation of Anuja Chauhan’s 2008 novel “The Zoya Factor”, said at the gala: “Books were my respite when I was growing up and then films became my profession. I think the marriage of both is very important, especially because for a consumer who can’t consume books as well, it’s easier to consume films.”Filmmaker Kanu Behl said: “Books seem to be disappearing off desks and the hard copy versions of books are going out of people’s minds. So in today’s time, it’s even more important that books are talked about.” While the filmmaking world has become more receptive to the idea of adapting from books, publishers and authors are trying to decode the ‘right pitch’ apart from looking for the red flags while dealing with content producers.Chandy says 20 per cent queries from content providers turn into deals, and according to him “that’s huge for now. We are hoping for it to increase on a rapid pace,” he said. Arpita Das of Yoda Press said: “The writers are back in the centre. The writer had been relinquished or sidelined for sometime, and I think the next step would be to look towards literature and the stories that it has because that’s a better source.”Smriti Kiran, Creative Director, Jio MAMI is trying to put in place a skeletal system that can help filmmakers, publishers and authors in recognizing the best content and in striking the right deals. Commenting on the same, she says, “This broken, sporadic relationship that the film industry and literature share in this country needs fixing. Cinema needs stories and literature has plenty to offer. We are trying to enable these two worlds to forge friendships, collaborations and find these untapped narratives.”last_img read more

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One dead 40 shops gutted in New Town marketplace fire

first_imgKolkata: A shop owner was killed and a firefighter was injured after a devastating fire broke out at a temporary marketplace near the Shapoorji Housing Complex on Thursday morning. The impact of the fire was massive as multiple LPG cylinders blasted. According to local residents, around 3:30 am on Thursday, people heard sound of blasts from outside of Shapoorji Housing Complex. They found that the market was on fire. Within minutes the fire started spreading as multiple LPG cylinders started blasting one by one. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseThe New Town police station and Bidhannagar fire station were immediately informed. Two fire tenders were pressed into action. While dousing the fire, one firefighter hurt his leg and was admitted to the Bidhannagar Sub-Divisional Hospital. Despite repeated order by the police and firefighters to stay out of the danger area, some shopkeepers went near their shops to save their belongings. Md. Insaan was trying to save his shop when all of a sudden a LPG cylinder blasted leaving him injured. He was immediately rushed to a private hospital in New Town and later shifted to another private hospital near Vivekannada Yuva Bharti Kriranggan where he succumbed to his injuries. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataAs the impact of the fire intensified three more fire tenders were sent to the spot. Approximately after one hour the fire was controlled. Till then around 40 temporary shops had turned into ashes. It is alleged to obtain electricity the shop owners hooked wires to electric lines. It is suspected a short circuit in the electrical wire due to hooking might have triggered the fire. As there were several LPG cylinders and inflammable items at the site, the fire spread fast. In another fire incident, fire broke out at a spa on the 10th floor of the Park Hotel behind the Convention Centre in New Town today. The floor was immediately evacuated and the fire was doused using the firefighting system of the hotel. No causality was reported.last_img read more

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SA promises visa to Indians in 7 days direct airline services on

first_imgKolkata: South African tourism inaugurated the last leg of their annual road show in the city on Thursday with an objective to double the number of Indian visitors to South Africa.Speaking on the recent initiative taken by the department to simplify and reform the visa application process, Neliswa Nkani, the hub head of South African tourism, said: “In an effort to ease visa procedures, the department is working in collaboration with the Consulate of South Africa to fast-track visa applications and ensure a quick turnaround time of 5-7 days. We are taking less time than some of our competitors who take almost 30 days.” Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseThe decision came after Kolkata became the Indian city with the lowest turnout in terms of Indian visitors who visited the country last year. While Mumbai contributed to 45 percent to the overall Indian arrivals to South Africa, Delhi was at 17.4 percent, Chennai at 7.7 percent and Kolkata at 1.6 percent. Last month, on his visit to India, South African tourism minister Derek Hanekom said the ministry was planning on rolling out an e-visa process to boost tourism. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataSpeaking on the issue, Neliswa Nkani said: “The tourism ministry is waiting for a signatory process between the governments of the two countries and so it is going to take a bit of time. But the South African government is working hard to facilitate the process of visa simplification.” The tourism board is also in talks with the Indian government to start a direct airline service from Mumbai or Delhi. “You can imagine surge in tourist number when direct flights are started. Preparatory talks are on to roll out the plan,” Neliswa Nkani said. The tourism board plans to promote new regions apart from iconic cities such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban and introduce new adventure activities such as Long Tom Toboggan rides, fatbike tours, and mountain boarding.last_img read more

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