5 killed, 9 missing in Arunachal landslide

first_imgFive persons were killed and nine went missing as a massive landslide triggered by incessant rains hit eight dwellings in Arunachal Pradesh’s Papum Pare district today, officials said.According to Sagalee Additional Deputy Commissioner Jalash Pertin, the landslide around 3.30 pm buried the houses at Laptap village.Rescue operation is on, he said adding there are dim chances of any survivor.The district has been receiving incessant rains since the past four days.Officials said five bodies have been retrieved so far from the debris.Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu expressed deep shock and grief over the incident and ordered urgent rescue operation to evacuate any survivor.He announced ex-gratia of Rs. 4 lakh each to the next of kins of those killed.He also asked the administration to provide all necessary assistance like food and medicine to the affected people and shift them to safer locations.A 35-member NDRF team has already reached the spot and carrying out rescue operations along with volunteers and villagers.Khandu appealed to people to remain alert and shift from vulnerable places.He said Arunachal Pradesh has been at the receiving end of nature’s fury every year and the best people can do is avoid vulnerable places and stop rampant air cutting and deforestation.last_img read more

ATS clean chit for 5 students

first_imgThe Anti-Terror Squad of Uttar Pradesh gave a clean chit to the five students of Islamic seminaries in Saharanpur and Shamli who were picked up for interrogation after the arrest of an alleged Bangladeshi terrorist Abdullah from Deoband. They were taken away on Sunday morning as their numbers were found in the mobile phone of the suspected terrorist. Of the five, four originally belong to Jammu and Kashmir and one hails from Bhagalpur district of Bihar.The Bangladeshi terror suspect Abdullah-Al-Mamon was arrested from Kutesara village in Muzaffarnagar. Abdullah, who reportedly belongs to the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), a terror outfit active in Bangladesh, was brought to Lucknow on Tuesday for interrogation by the ATS. Three of the students were picked up from Deoband and two were taken away from Jamia Madrasa Miftahul Uloom, a seminary in Jalalabad, Shamli district.last_img read more

Union Minister Anant Geete injured in car accident

first_imgShiv Sena leader and Union Minister, Anant Geete was injured in a car accident near Pali in Raigad district on Friday noon.While Mr. Geete suffered minor injuries on his head, he was out of harm’s way.Mr. Geete, who is the Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Sector Enterprises and the lone Sena leader in the Union cabinet, had set out to cover the 40-odd km to Pali from Khopoli (in Raigad) when the mishap occurred.According to sources, the driver of the advance pilot vehicle in the Minister’s convoy braked rapidly to avert ramming into a two-wheeler which appeared suddenly in his field of vision.This led to a cascade of mishaps in the convoy as Mr. Geete’s car, unable to brake in time, crashed into the advance pilot vehicle while the rear pilot car which was trailing the Minister’s vehicle, rammed into the latter. “The Minister is fine and will resume his journey shortly. I have spoken to him and his injuries are fortunately not serious. He is presently at the government Rest House till new vehicles are arranged,” said Anil Parasakar, Superintendent of Police, Raigad district.last_img read more

Clash mars bicentenary of Bhima-Koregaon battle

first_imgThe bicentenary celebrations of the 1818 battle of Bhima-Koregaon were marred by a clash between two groups on Monday. The incident occurred at 11.30 a.m. when people were heading towards Koregaon Ranstambh (victory pillar) in the village.The police said altercations over some hoardings resulted in pelting of stones and torching of over 10 vehicles. “The situation was immediately brought under control. Measures have been taken to prevent the spread of rumours on social media, and a number of villages like Sanawadi, Vadhu-Budruk and Shikrapur along the highway have been sealed,” said a police officer.The police blocked the traffic on the Pune-Ahmbednagar highway for sometime after the incident and it was resumed in the evening. “More police personnel, including companies of the SRPF, have been deployed to avoid any untoward incident,” the officer said.Some members of Bhima-Koregaon Shauryadin Prerana Abhiyan, a committee that conducted an Elgaar Parishad on Sunday, in which Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani and Radhika Vemula participated, alleged that the clash was provoked by right wing outfits.“The successful conclusion of Elgaar Parishad at Shaniwar Wada Fort irked several Hindutva outfits. We have strong reasons to believe that almost 3,000 right wing activists were behind the clash to disrupt the Koregaon-Bhima celebrations,” alleged Santosh Shinde of Sambhaji Brigade, one of the members.Lakhs from the Dalit community visited Koregaon Ranstambh (victory pillar) in the village on Monday. The memorial is dedicated to the battle of January 1, 1818, where 500 soldiers of the untouchable Mahar community fought alongside the English to defeat the 28,000-strong army of Peshwa Bajirao II, thus ending the Peshwai domination.(With inputs from PTI)last_img read more

Don’t deprive States of resources: Mamata

first_imgStates should not be deprived of the “rightful resources” that they deserve from the Centre, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, objecting to the use of the 2011 census figures for devolution of funds by the 15th Finance Commission instead of the 1971 census as used by all the previous commissions.Ms. Banerjee joins the chorus against the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission which many have called an assault on the federal structure of the country. The southern states have been protesting saying the terms are inherently biased against the progressive States that have controlled population. The Kerala government hosted the first meeting of State Finance Ministers on April 10. Second meeting On Monday, a second round of meeting was hosted by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu in Amravati. West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra too attended the conference.Ms. Banerjee in her letter dated April 20, has said that the terms were fixed without consulting the States, which is against the “the spirit of federal structure of the nation”.“The overall approach to use the 1971 population census of all the earlier Finance Commissions was based on a very sound and rational footing. It incentivised those States which have effectively implemented socio-economic programmes and family welfare programmes,” she said.She said that the State stands to lose ₹22,000 crore to ₹35,000 crore from 2020-2025 only due to the use of the 2011 census population.“We strongly urge the Central government to immediately modify the TOR of the 15th Finance Commission,” she said.last_img read more

BJP rath yatra stalled in Bengal

first_imgThe West Bengal government on Saturday denied permission to the BJP for its proposed Statewide rath yatra.“It an attempt by the administration deny any political any space to the BJP in the State,” Pratap Banerjee senior State BJP leader told The Hindu. Mr Banerjee said the State administration has asked the BJP to submit fresh applications for holding public rallies to concerned local authorities.The BJP leadership said that decision by the State government is “politically motivated”.“It is not a rath yatra but a yatra for political purposes in the State and we are calling it Gantantra Bachao Yatra ( Save democracy yatra),” Mr Banerjee said. He accused the administration of dubbing the yatra as “rath yatra” when the BJP leadership, nowhere in their communication to the State called the political programme a ‘rath yatra’.The State BJP leadership said they would consult the party’s central leadership on the matter and the yatra will be held in the State. “The large convoy of yatra will create a chaotic situation,” the communication by the State government said. The State government also pointed out that it will require a large number of police forces for “religious festival” scheduled in next few days. The State government also added said that VHP and Bajrang Dal with “ overtly communal agenda” will join the yatra.BJP president Amit Shah was scheduled to launch the yatra in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district on December 7 but the State government denied permission to the yatra. Three yatras were supposed to be held through the State touching all 42 Parliament constituencies. The BJP leadership approached the High Court, which directed the State government and BJP leadership to discuss the matter on December 12, and the State government was to make its stand clear to the BJP by December 15.last_img read more

The ‘tiger’ has finally ‘bowed down’, says Opposition

first_imgThe ‘tiger’ has finally ‘bowed down’, the opposition parties said on Monday soon after the announcement of alliance between Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). They also called it an opportunistic, unholy and unethical alliance made out of fear of losing the Lok Sabha polls. “Uddhav Thackeray has himself swallowed his pride by joining hands with a party whom he labelled with many names. It is the unethical alliance of a corrupt and a despondent. I stand with the honest Sena workers who stand firmly for the good of the country and the State. I am confident that these honest Sena workers will vote against Modi in coming elections,” said Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Ashok Chavan.Changing coloursMr. Chavan said that both the parties, while fighting against each other, destroyed the State in the last four years. “Even a chameleon would feel ashamed in front of Uddhav Thackeray over his ability to change colors,” taunted Mr. Chavan.The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said it was the Sena which claimed that support won’t be given before temple is built in Ayodhya. They had also called chowkidar (Prime Minister) a thief. “The people have seen through the reality of these two parties. They both will be taught a lesson just like in 1998 when Congress-led front won 38 seats in Maharashtra,” said NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik.Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said that the BJP threatened Sena with the wrath of Enforcement Directorate and forced it to accept the alliance. “By forming an alliance with the BJP, Sena has once again showed that it has known nothing but dalali. BJP on the other hand too has lost its self-esteem as it had to bow down in front of the party which has been criticising it severely,” said Mr. Vikhe-Patil.last_img read more

Arunachal Pradesh MLA, son among 11 killed in ambush

first_imgSuspected members of a Naga extremist group on Tuesday gunned down 11 people, including a legislator and candidate of the National People’s Party (NPP), in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh.The assailants, allegedly belonging to the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, targeted a convoy of four vehicles near Bogapani, about 20 km from the district headquarters Khonsa, around 11.30 a.m. Among the dead were Tirong Aboh, the MLA representing the Khonsa West constituency, his 20-year-old son Loggem Aboh and party general secretary Wangngoi Hakhun.“As per information, armed men stopped the vehicles and fired upon the occupants, killing 11 people, including the MLA, and injuring two others. An operation by Army units has been launched for catching the perpetrators,” a police spokesperson said from Itanagar. Seeking re-election The 42-year-old Aboh had won the Khonsa West Assembly seat in 2014 as a candidate of the People’s Party of Arunachal. He was seeking re-election as an NPP candidate. “I’m shocked and saddened by the brutal attac. Strongest possible action will be taken against those responsible,” Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said in a tweet. Chief Minister Pema Khandu said no effort would be spared to catch the culprits.The elections to the 60 Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats in the State, held on April 11, were marked by violence that claimed the life of an NPP supporter on March 29. The man, identified as Jaley Anna, was also allegedly killed by an NSCN faction in Tirap district.Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, also the president of the NPP, condemned the “brutal attack” and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to act against those responsible. A defence spokesperson said it was not possible for the armed forces to be in all places in a mountainous territory despite “area domination by the Army and the Assam Rifles.”The attack, officials said, is likely to put the focus on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act that the Centre had partially withdrawn from three of Arunachal Pradesh’s nine districts where it was in force.In an order on April 2, the Ministry of Home Affairs had announced the partial withdrawal of AFSPA from the Frontier State 32 years after it was imposed. The Act was withdrawn from areas under four police stations — Balemu and Bhalukpong in West Kameng district, Balijan in Papum Pare district (under which Itanagar falls) and Seijosa in East Kameng district. It is applicable in areas bordering Myanmar where that country’s Army has stepped up the offensive against the NSCN (Khaplang) and other northeast Indian extremist groups.last_img read more

Modifying DNA May Wipe Away Old Memories

first_imgA clean slate—that’s what people suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) crave most with their memories. Psychotherapy is more effective at muting more recent traumatic events than those from long ago, but a new study in mice shows that modifying the molecules that attach to our DNA may offer a route to quashing painful memories in both cases.  One of the most effective treatments for PTSD is exposure psychotherapy. A behavioral psychologist asks a patient to recall and confront a traumatic event; each time the traumatic memory is revisited, it becomes susceptible to editing through a phenomenon known as memory reconsolidation. As the person relives, for example, a car crash, the details of the event—such as the color and make of the vehicle—gradually uncouple from the anxiety, reducing the likelihood of a panic attack the next time the patient sees, say, a red Mazda. Repeated therapy sessions can also lead to memory extinction, in which the fears tied to an event fade away as old memories are replaced with new ones.Yet this therapy works only for recent memories. If too much time passes before intervention, the haunting visions become stalwart, refusing to budge from the crevices of the mind. This persistence raises the question of how the brain tells the age of a memory in the first place.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led by neurobiologist Li-Huei Tsai, have now uncovered a chemical modification of DNA that regulates gene activity and dictates whether a memory is too old for reconsolidation in mice. A drug that tweaks these “memory wrinkles” gives old memories a face-lift, allowing them to be edited by reconsolidation and resulting in fear extinction during behavior therapy.In the new study, published online this week in Cell, the researchers instilled traumatic memories in mice by placing them in an unfamiliar cage and immediately giving them an electrical shock to their feet. The rodents quickly became terrified of the cage, and when returned to the setting, they instantly froze in anticipation of a shock.Once the researchers had instilled the fear memory, they repeatedly returned the mice to the cage without the shock, either 24 hours or 30 days later. Rodents given this behavior therapy 24 hours after the jolts eventually stopped freezing, suggesting that reconsolidation and memory extinction were erasing the anxiety connected with the cage. But if the researchers returned the animals to the cage after 30 days, the mice remained afraid, indicating that older or “remote” memories were less forgettable.Prior work on rodents has shown that the reconsolidation update stage—the point when a recalled memory is most vulnerable to change—parallels an increase in so-called histone acetylation to DNA. DNA spools around proteins known as histones like yarn, and gene activity shuts down in the tightly wrapped regions. Acetylation, or the addition of an acetate molecule to the histone, loosens the DNA, turning these genes back on. (Such chemical modifications to DNA are known as epigenetic modifications, and they have been linked to everything from obesity to Alzheimer’s disease.) To keep the genetic material tightly bundled, a family of enzymes—called HDACs—surfs the DNA, preventing histone acetylation.The new study reveals that one of these enzymes—HDAC2—patrols genes in the mouse hippocampus, a brain region responsible for learning and memory. However, the researchers found that HDAC2 performs this job only when older memories are being reconsolidated, not when recent memories are facing a similar update. The key difference was a biochemical change to HDAC2 called nitrosylation. HDAC2 was nitrosylated within 30 minutes of recalling recent memories, but not with remote recollections. Thus, nitrosylation appears to serve as an on-and-off switch that denotes the age of a memory.Many studies have shown that epigenetic changes are fundamental to learning, but Tsai’s work goes a step beyond this, says Jelena Radulovic, a psychiatrist and molecular pharmacologist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, who was not involved with the current research. “Specific nitrosylation of HDAC2 obviously affects several genes important for reconsolidation updates—apparently as memories age, this mechanism fails.”When Tsai’s team switched off HDAC2 with a drug, reconsolidation of remote fear memories occurred after behavior therapy. Thus, anxiety resulting from older traumas was wiped away akin to more recent memories. These findings paralleled an enhancement of neuroplasticity—genetic and structural changes in neurons—within the hippocampus, which are indicative of memory reshaping. Glucose metabolism in the hippocampus, a broad estimate of learning capacity, was also boosted in this series of experiments.This is the first study to attenuate remote—older—fear memories in an animal model, according to the authors.If the findings apply to humans, the potential uses of HDAC inhibitors would extend far beyond the realm of PTSD, says Kerry Ressler, a psychiatrist at Emory University in Atlanta, who was not involved with the study. “The basic idea of exposure therapy holds across a number of anxiety and fear-related disorders, including PTSD, panic disorder, and phobias like fear of heights, where fear memories are often more remote,” Ressler says. Combining psychotherapy with a drug that augments memory retrieval could access these deeply buried fear memories, while also reducing the number of sessions a patient needs to eliminate their anxiety, he says.last_img read more

New U.S. ‘Climate Hubs’ to Provide Data to Farmers

first_imgThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants to provide more useful data on climate to farmers, ranchers, and others affected by climate change. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday that he is designating seven so-called Climate Hubs at federal agriculture laboratories across the country that will seek to create more useful climate data and disseminate it more broadly.USDA already dedicates about $120 million to climate research, Vilsack told reporters at a press briefing. The new effort “will add on top of that,” he said. But initially the addition will most likely involve reassignment of USDA research personnel and funding, officials say, not new money. The shifted resources will be used to build websites, convene groups of stakeholders, and possibly create new forecasts, databases, and other tools. The hope is that the work will better inform scientists within USDA and other departments on what farmers, ranchers, and foresters need to know to prepare and adapt to a shifting reality.The nation must “be able to adapt and mitigate, because if we don’t, our economy is going to be impacted,” Vilsack said at the White House yesterday. “Those 16 million people that are depending upon agriculture and forestry, they want to make sure that they continue to have a job because we’re continuing to produce and create new products.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“USDA hasn’t really prioritized getting this information to stakeholders before,” says agricultural meteorologist Eugene Takle of Iowa State University in Ames.Among those with new marching orders is research meteorologist Jeanne Schneider of USDA’s Grazinglands Research Laboratory in El Reno, Oklahoma. Of late she’s been publishing research on the usefulness of federal forecast data for agricultural decisions, but the announcement that her lab will host one of the new hubs switches her from a research to an outreach role. As leader of the hub, she’ll be able to call on tech assistance, secretarial time, and portions of her colleagues’ time to launch a website and new databases on relevant projects, experts, and data sources. “We hope to be a convening force, which should help people within the farming, ranching, and research communities know what others are doing,” she says. Such collaborations also will hopefully strengthen applications for other federal research funding, she adds.Such relationships have been a staple of the extension system which has linked USDA, local farmers, and universities since the 19th century. But agriculture data and outreach specialist Al Sutherland of Oklahoma State University (OSU) says a deeper role for the feds could be beneficial for farmers. For example, hubs could help visualize data in ways that make it more useful to the public (such as in the case of this graph of precipitation data).Researchers have long had access to such data, but it hasn’t “been put into this kind of picture that people could readily understand,” says Sutherland, who works at OSU’s Mesonet, which creates forecasts and other “data products” using weather stations and federal climatological data. (The precipitation and temperature data are updated yearly here.)For example, in the case of the precipitation data—which was first publicized in 2004—both scientists and farmers had been thinking in terms of widely available 30-year averages, which can be misleading.  In contrast, the new 100-year perspective showed a local wheat breeder, for example, that the cultivars he had been developing over the previous decades were biased toward conditions wetter than the average over the previous century. Oklahoma’s historical fluctuations into drought conditions were suddenly apparent. The wheat breeder “immediately added a drought assessment of the wheat strains to his tasks,” Sutherland says.That move now seems prescient, because parts of Oklahoma have subsequently fallen into serious drought. By the same token, farmers and ranchers realized that their management practices and the varieties of crops they grew had been developed during an extended wet spell.Federally provided temperature data stretching back to 1895 has also provided important context for farmers thinking about future climate change, Sutherland says. The data give farmers a sense of the natural range of temperature—it shows that the coolest year was 14°C (57°F) on average and the warmest year 17°C (63°F). Over the next century, climate model scenarios predict the state’s average temperatures could increase by about 1.6° to 5°C (3° to 9°F). That means that future years could be warmer than the warmest years experienced in the temperature record.   Similar insights from the new hubs could help farmers and scientists together plan for impacts on cattle, grasslands, and so-called farm ponds, which provide water to cattle on open ranges and can dry out during drought conditions. Sutherland says that it is “a good thing that the USDA is formalizing and hopefully expanding its efforts in these areas.”Matthew Stepp, an analyst at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank, liked the move but in a statement said the United States also needs “to invest more in global Earth observation programs and monitoring systems that can provide the macro-level data necessary to prepare for rapid changes in the global environment and reduce associated impacts.”last_img read more

Unusual climate gave Polynesian explorers a boost

first_imgPolynesian seafarers colonized Pacific islands stretching from Samoa and New Zealand to Easter Island and Hawaii centuries before Europeans discovered that ocean. But the details of when and how the Polynesians managed to traverse such vast stretches of open water are little understood. Now, a new archaeological find illuminates the construction of Polynesian canoes, while a study of ancient climate patterns bears on a long-standing debate about when Polynesians acquired the capability to sail into the wind.The first piece of the puzzle is a fragment of a wooden canoe found in 2012 near the Anaweka River on the northwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The 6-meter-long plank is likely part of a hull of a canoe that was originally up to 20 meters long and either had two hulls connected by and supporting a deck or had an outrigger—a sort of minihull connected to the canoe by arms—that provided stability. Radiocarbon dating indicates the canoe made its last voyage around 1400, and researchers believe it was built in New Zealand because it was constructed with wood from trees native to the islands. But two features suggest a strong tie to Polynesia. The plank has ribs carved into the inside face that suggest the craft’s structure resembled a similar-aged canoe from the Society Islands, more than 4000 kilometers to the northeast, the authors report in a paper published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The plank also has a relief carving of a sea turtle that would have been toward the rear of the craft just above the water line. Such turtles are common artistic motifs among the Polynesians but rarely appear in art native to New Zealand.The second paper addresses a debate over whether Polynesian craft could have fought the winds to travel east. Now, winds in the tropical and subtropical Pacific are easterlies—that is, blowing from east to west; further south, westerlies prevail. Some scholars have taken these wind patterns to mean that Polynesians must have been capable of sailing into the wind to have traveled east from Samoa and the Central Pacific islands southwest to New Zealand. But canoes with that capability apparently only appeared centuries after the Polynesian colonization of those islands. So how did the first explorers get there? In the new study, a group led by Ian Goodwin, a climatologist at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, has concluded that Polynesian sailors might not have had to deal with the challenge of easterlies after all. Because of shifting climate conditions, there were several decades-long windows of opportunity in which Polynesian seafarers could have sailed with the wind at their backs to travel east and other times when winds favored travel between the Central Pacific islands and New Zealand. “Our reconstructed sailing conditions during the period of East Polynesian colonization would have enabled all of the known colonizing routes, and others,” to have been successfully navigated by canoes that couldn’t sail into the wind, the authors report online today, also in PNAS. And those favorable winds prevailed during precisely the periods when archaeological evidence indicates Polynesian colonization occurred. The wind reconstructions, based on new data about past climate, also suggest that Polynesian long-distance voyaging declined after 1300 because the winds shifted to their current patterns.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The canoe paper “is very exciting,” says Andrew Lorrey, a paleoclimate specialist at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in Auckland. The study enriches the “prewritten history of [New Zealand] and Pacific archaeology in general,” he adds. And the paper on wind patterns presents “a very important result and has implications not only for when settlement might have occurred, but also for return voyaging [of explorers] to tropical Polynesia,” says Bruce McFadgen, an archaeologist at Victoria University of Wellington.They both caution that questions remain. For one thing, the wind patterns paper claims the climate window for sea voyaging to and from New Zealand closed well before 1300, though the canoe is dated to 1400. “There is a timing discrepancy,” says Dilys Johns, an archaeologist at the University of Auckland, who is first author on the canoe paper. She says there is a possibility that the New Zealand canoe builders used traditional techniques passed down through generations long after they lost contact with Polynesia. Lorrey also notes that there could be uncertainties in the radiocarbon dating.Still, the papers don’t settle the question of whether the Polynesians of that age could sail into the wind. Answering that question, McFadgen says, “will test the ingenuity of future archaeological research.”last_img read more

A famous Ebola patient who remained anonymous for 20 years

first_imgFor Ebola patients who end up in Western hospitals, it’s hard to remain anonymous. As a story in this week’s special issue on privacy shows, public health fears often trample privacy concerns during disease outbreaks, and the media’s curiosity is relentless.But one Ebola patient who had a brush with fame has held on to her anonymity. The only Ebola case ever recorded in West Africa before the current outbreak, she is simply described in four scientific papers as a 34-year-old woman who contracted the disease in 1994 while working as a chimpanzee researcher in the Taï National Park in Ivory Coast. She was evacuated to Switzerland for treatment.The researcher has never before spoken to the press, but she agreed to discuss her thoughts with ScienceInsider about the importance of privacy and why, to this day, she does not want her name publicly known in relation to Ebola. “I don’t want it to be my claim to fame,” she says. “It seems wrong.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The woman’s case did receive substantial media attention. Not only were the circumstances of her infection dramatic and somewhat bizarre, but her case also provided the first strong evidence that the Ebola virus naturally infected chimpanzees and suggested that the virus might be devastating both chimp and gorilla populations. Some stories also questioned the risks her Swiss medical team took by caring for her.The researcher, an ethologist, worked in the forest studying a community of chimpanzees that her adviser, Christophe Boesch of the University of Basel in Switzerland, had followed since 1976. Although the chimps had been “habituated” to humans, the researchers made a point of staying at least 3 meters away. They knew the histories and habits of individuals, and when a 4-year-old female lost her mother and became lethargic, the team took notice. “That was the only time I broke into tears when I was in the forest,” says the ethologist, who thought the chimp was depressed. “It wasn’t clear to me that she was ill.”Two days later, the researchers found the chimp’s dead body and carted it back to their field station to conduct a necropsy.The woman was one of three people who dissected the chimp on 16 November 1994. She wore “household” gloves while the other two had gloves made of latex. No one donned masks or gowns, and it never crossed their minds that the animal might have died from Ebola. “We were more worried that we had introduced an illness into the chimpanzee community,” she says.Eight days later, she developed a fever and began losing her appetite; a colleague finished her dinner. She suspected she had malaria, but antimalaria drugs did nothing. After 3 days had passed, she was driven to a hospital 600 kilometers away in Abidjan, where a friend stayed in her room to keep her company. Her condition continued to deteriorate with classic Ebola symptoms kicking in: diarrhea, vomiting, rash, and confusion. But she was not hemorrhaging, which then was the telltale sign of the disease.No one at the hospital suggested testing for Ebola. “Nobody suspected it,” she says. “They immediately thought I had malaria. At one point my temperature went down and they said, ‘See, we told you.’ ”Her boyfriend phoned from Europe and asked if he should fly over. “I said, ‘It would be nice to see each other one more time,’ ” she recalls.Instead, a Swiss Air Ambulance jet transported her to Basel, where she received treatment in a negative pressure isolation room at the University Hospital Basel. Her caregivers wore gowns, gloves, and masks, but not the type of personal protective gear now used in Ebola treatment units. Fifteen days after she fell ill, the hospital discharged her, and a month later, she returned to Ivory Coast to continue her research. “I felt like I had abandoned my colleagues and I went back as quickly as I could,” she says.She did not learn what had caused her illness until February 1995—and it was detected somewhat by happenstance. During the fall that she became ill, eight of the 43 chimpanzees her team had been following died, and four others disappeared. Boesch enlisted the help of virologists in France to study blood taken from three living chimpanzees (they tranquilized them with darts), as well as tissue from the animal she necropsied and one other that had died. The lab also analyzed the blood from the researchers who conducted the necropsies, which led to the isolation of Ebola virus from her sample. “I had no idea about Ebola,” she says. “I became aware by reading a few articles that we could have really been the origin of something big.”In the wake of her belated diagnosis, 74 people she had come in contact with during her illness received Ebola antibody tests. None, including the two workers she did the necropsy with, had a positive result. “Imagine if I had been contagious,” she says. “No, don’t imagine.”Even though she was in a remote locale with no telephone, journalists soon started contacting her. “A lab person leaked my name,” she says. “I got the strangest of letters in the Taï Forest.” Media requests intensified that May when a large outbreak of Ebola surfaced in Kikwit, in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and European journalists who covered it wanted to make a stop in Ivory Coast to meet with her. “I thought it was ridiculous that people wanted to come and interview me on the way home from the Congo,” she says. A German TV station even offered to fly her in for the taping of a show. “I was kind of disgusted by the whole thing.”Although a few journalists knew her name, she is grateful that none ever made it public—now more so than ever given the mini–celebrity status heaped upon Kent Brantly, Nina Pham, Craig Spencer, Thomas Duncan, Nancy Writebol, William Pooley, and others during the recent West African epidemic. “I find it shocking the way the press put people out there right away and you’re practically in bed with them,” she says. “I’m not sure what that does for you, but I suspect it’s not very good. They’re victims in a sense.”Aside from the personal toll it may have taken had her name become public, stories like hers, she says, distort reality. “People are getting all this media attention because they caught a virus,” she says. “I was ill for 2 weeks—and I was really ill—but there are so many people who suffer so much more and one would not think to write about them.”For more on privacy and to take a quiz on your own privacy IQ, see “The end of privacy” special section in this week’s issue of  Science.*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicinehave made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.last_img read more

Indian-Origin Entrepreneur Under Probe for Alleged Securities Fraud

first_imgThe U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating an Indian-origin entrepreneur for an alleged securities fraud with his company Longfin Corp, a cryptocurrency company. Venkat Meenavalli is Longfin’s founding CEO and a controlling shareholder.The SEC on April 6 froze more than $27 million in trading proceeds from alleged illegal distributions and sales of restricted shares of Longfin Corp., stock which involved the company, its CEO, and three other affiliated people, the SEC said in a statement.The SEC claims that soon after Longfin began trading on Nasdaq and announced the acquisition of a cryptocurrency business, its stock prices rose dramatically. The market capitalization of the company exceeded $3 billion. The company has now been suspended from trading on the Nasdaq Stock exchange.According to the complaint, a trio — Amro Izzelden “Andy” Altahawi, Dorababu Penumarthi, and Suresh Tammineedi — illegally sold large blocks of their restricted Longfin shares to the public while the stock price was highly elevated. Through their sales, Altahawi, Penumarthi, and Tammineedi collectively gained a profit of more than $27 million.Meenavalli is said to have made the company issue more than two million unregistered, restricted shares to Altahawi, who was the corporate secretary and a director of Longfin. The SEC has charged Longfin, Meenavalli, Altahawi, Penumarthi, and Tammineedi for violating a section of the Securities Act, the statement said.Many of the restricted shares were issued to two of his associates — Penumarthi and Tammineedi — who were allegedly acting as nominees for Meenavalli. “The successive sales of those restricted shares violated federal securities laws that restrict trading in unregistered shares distributed to company affiliates.“We acted quickly to prevent more than $27 million in alleged illicit trading profits from being transferred out of the country,” Robert Cohen, the chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, said. “Preventing defendants from transferring this money offshore will ensure that these funds remain available as the case continues.”Meenavalli had earlier said that short sellers were pulling down the price of the company, CNBC reported. “I’m going to write to SEC and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) because of the shorts,” Meenavalli was quoted as saying by CNBC. “We got information, we have a special investigation. According to us there are 28 billion shares shorted of $1.4 billion dollars bet against me,” he added.The sale of securities that are not owned by the sellers or securities borrowed by the sellers is known as short selling. They try to make profit by believing that the price of a security will decline and that will enable it to be bought back at a lower price so they can make a profit.Meenavalli said that that the trading of the shares of Longfin Corp was stopped because of a delay in filing its Form-10-Q — a company’s performance report to be submitted quarterly by all public companies to the SEC — for the third quarter. “There were no criminal charges slapped on the company and that the SEC is put a temporary freeze on assets as a civil case,” Meenavalli said, ET Tech reported. Related ItemsFinanceUnited Stateslast_img read more

NRC-excluded spent crores on hearings: Study

first_imgA Delhi-based rights group has estimated that people excluded from Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) had to shell out more than an estimated ₹7,500 crore for hearings related to the citizenship document.The Rights and Risks Analysis Group’s report titled ‘The Economic Cost of Draft NRC: Poor Made Extremely Poor’said many such people have been “so economically crippled” that might not be able to challenge their exclusion before the Foreigners’ Tribunals.More than a week ago, the Centre had said that the government would provide legal aid to the NRC-excluded, besides extending the time for them to appeal in the Foreigners’ Tribunals against exclusion from 60 to 120 days.Average spendingThe rights group had conducted a survey in the Baksa, Goalpara and Kamrup districts of Assam from July 17-20. The 62 respondents of the survey claimed to have spent a total of ₹11,82,000 or an average ₹19,065 per person on attending hearings before the NRC authorities. “This works out to ₹7,836 crore spent by 41,10,169 people excluded from the draft NRC,” the group’s director Suhas Chakma said. The figure, however, was arrived at by including 395,688 people who did not re-apply after their exclusion on July 30, 2018.The average spending on the NRC hearing effectively reduced the excluded people’s per capita income to ₹48,555 from the ₹67,620, as per the Ministry of Finance’s estimation for Assam in 2018, he said. The 41,10,169 excluded people constitute about 13% of Assam’s total population of 31 million. Most of the excluded are below the poverty line, the study said.Many had to mortgage agricultural lands, sell their cattle/livestock, agricultural products and other income-generating assets, besides taking loans to meet the expenses for the NRC hearings, the study said.Multiple hearingsThe expenses for every person excluded from the NRC increased manifold because multiple hearings at NRC centres, at times very far away, entailed moving with the entire family, even along with blood relatives otherwise included in the draft list, the study said. “A majority of those who shall be excluded from the final NRC to be published on August 31 have already been so economically crippled that might not be able to afford ₹10,00,00-₹15,00,00 to challenge the exclusion before the Foreigners’ Tribunals, which are quasi-judicial bodies and require representation by lawyers,” Mr. Chakma said.“If they do not have the resources to pursue their cases in the FTs, the question of challenging before the High Court and the Supreme Court does not arise,” he added.last_img read more

Grand alliance unfazed, says Tejashwi

first_imgAmid disagreements over seat sharing within the Bihar grand alliance for the byelections, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday said the elections in the State would not have any impact on the health of the secular coalition.Mr. Yadav also described Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as a “chameleon-like” character, and ruled out any possibility in the future of him returning to the secular alliance fold.The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader hit out at the BJP-JD(U) government’s response to the flood situation in Bihar, saying the entire State had helplessly watched the “insensitivity” of the Nitish Kumar dispensation and would speak out at the polling booth.“Floods, water logging, acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) deaths and Muzaffarpur shelter home case are not natural calamities but government-created disasters due to corruption,” the former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister said.Asked about the disagreements over seat sharing among grand alliance constituents, Mr. Yadav said: “Let us understand this in perspective. These bypolls are for only five Assembly segments and the age of this Assembly is hardly ten more months.” Disagreements among grand alliance constituents came to the fore when Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) fielded its candidate against the RJD in Nathnagar, while the Vikassheel Insan Party led by Mukesh Sahni named its candidate for the Simri Bakhtiyarpur seat.Polling will take place on October 21 for the Samastipur Lok Sabha seat necessitated by the death of the LJP MP, as also for Daraunda, Nathnagar, Simari Bakhtiarpur, Kishanganj and Belhar Assembly seats with JD(U) MLAs and a Congress MLA elected to the Lok Sabha.last_img read more

‘Silent protest’ held at AMU

first_imgAround 50 students of Aligarh Muslim University held a silent protest at the university canteen over the situation in Jammu & Kashmir. A statement by the students said that they wanted to show solidarity with the “politically disempowered” people of Kashmir who have been held under stringent restrictions for over two months. “We approached the Proctor on October 12 for permission to organise an art exhibition on October 15 as in the past show-cause notice was issued to four students for holding protest without permission. We were shocked when we were denied permission and decided to hold a silent protest,” said Mohd. Nihad, a BA student who participated in the protest. Hailing from Kerala, Mr. Nihad said students from different States on the campus came together for the protest. “We demand that the Kashmir issue be resolved peacefully and democratically as per the will of the people.”Bilal Majid, a PhD scholar from Kashmir, said it was heartening to see non-Kashmiri students giving a call for a peaceful protest on the issue. “The situation is still far from normal in the Valley. Of course, postpaid mobiles have started working but the move is going to help government officials more than the common citizens. There is still widespread resentment and it could swell after the apple harvesting season gets over,” Mr. Majid said.AMU Proctor Afifullah Khan confirmed that he had denied permission for the exhibition as it seemed like a “political move” that could have led to a “law and order problem”. However, he added that he was not aware of any protest on campus on Tuesday.last_img read more

If BJP-Sena fail, NCP will have to think of alternative: Patil

first_img‘Sena will split if Fadnavis forms government without its support’  “We will be forced to think seriously about an alternative if the BJP and the Shiv Sena fail to give a solution,” he told a news channel.Mr. Patil also said there was no question of supporting the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance for the NCP.He also said the party does not have numbers to put up a candidate for the Assembly Speaker’s post.Also Read Amid deadlock, Raut calls on Governor The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will be forced to think about an alternative if the BJP-Shiv Sena combine fails to form the government in Maharashtra, the Opposition party’s leader Jayant Patil said on Tuesday.Mr. Patil, who is the NCP’s Maharashtra unit chief, also said there was no need to impose President’s rule in the State as people will not tolerate it.Also Read  Meanwhile, NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said a joint delegation of his party and the Congress will call on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Tuesday evening to raise the issue of crop losses due to untimely rains in parts of Maharashtra.“We will raise the concerns of the farmers during the meeting…This will be an apolitical meeting,” Mr. Malik said.In the recently held State polls, the BJP won 105 seats and the Shiv Sena 56 seats, giving the saffron alliance a combined seat strength of 161, way past the 145 majority mark in the 288-member House.Besides, the Opposition NCP won 54 seats while the Congress bagged 44 seats.The BJP and Shiv Sena have been bickering over sharing the Chief Minister’s post. The Uddhav Thackeray-led wants it to be shared for two-and-half years on a rotational basis, but the BJP has rejected such an arrangement.BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar recently said the State may see President’s rule if there was no government in place by November 7.last_img read more

Thousands of migratory birds die mysteriously in Rajasthan’s Sambhar Lake

first_imgCivic workers prepare to bury birds which were found dead at the Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. Thousands of migratory birds of about ten species were found dead around Sambhar Lake, the country’s largest inland saltwater lake near Jaipur, sending shock waves among locals and authorities.Officials said they suspect water contamination as one of the reasons for the deaths but were awaiting viscera test reports. Though the official toll was 1,500, locals claimed the number of dead birds could be as high as 5,000.“We have never seen anything like that. Over 5,000 birds died mysteriously all over the place,” 25-year-old Abhinav Vaishnav, a local bird-watcher, told PTI.When Vaishanav went on a stroll along the edge of the lake on Sunday, he took the hundreds of dark lumps strewn across the marshy land for cow dung. But it didn’t take him and his fellow bird watchers Kishan Meena and Pavan Modi to realise the lumps were bodies of hundreds of lifeless migratory birds.Case of bird flu?Carcasses of hundreds of dead birds including plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet were scattered on the edge of 12-13 km of the catchment area of the lake, leading to a possible number of over 5,000, they said. | Photo Credit: PTI  Forest ranger Rajendra Jakhar said a possible reason could be the hailstorm that hit the area a few days back. Botulism kills migratory birds at Sambhar lakeVolume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0001:1401:14   “We estimate about 1,500 birds of about 10 species have died. We are also looking at other possibilities like toxicity of the water, bacterial or viral infection,” he said. A medical team from Jaipur has collected a few carcasses and water samples are being sent to Bhopal for further examination.Ashok Rao, a veterinary doctor and part of the team, said that while the exact reason for the deaths was uncertain, he ruled out the possibility of bird flu.“At initial examination we did not find any sort of secretion from the birds, which is a giveaway in the cases of bird flu,” he said. R G Ujjwal, nodal officer, animal husbandry department, joined Rao and listed possible reasons behind the mysterious calamity. “Their could be some sort of contamination in the water. The increased salinity of the water could also be another reason, as it increases salt concentration in the blood, which can further lead to slow blood flow and the internal organs like the brain may stop working,” Ujjwal said.The lake is also a favourite of flamingos, stilts, stints, garganey, gulls and a number of other species of birds.Lack of a sensible explanationJakhar informed that the lake every year hosts approximately 2-3 lakh birds, which include about 50,000 flamingos and 1,00,000 waders. The strange episode has left villagers and people of the forest department baffled for the lack of a sensible explanation.“I have never seen such a thing in 40 years of my service in the forest department. First I thought it could be because of the hail, but that occurs every year. There is no chemical waste in this water either,” said Ramesh Chandra Daroga, a local working with the forest department.Ashok Sharma, joint director, State Disease Diagnostic Centre, said that once the reason was ascertained further steps will be taken. “We don’t think it is a case of infection, but if it turns out to be the case we will take further steps to make sure it doesn’t spread,” he assured.Meanwhile, the carcasses were collected in a tractor-trolley and buried in a ditch. A total of 669 dead birds were buried while hundreds lay strewn around as the forest staff hesitated to venture into the slippery muddy areas.This is the second such incident in the state within a week. Last Thursday, 37 demoiselle cranes were found dead in Jodhpur’s Khinchan area. Their viscera too have been sent for investigation and reports are awaited. Watch | Botulism kills migratory birds at Sambhar lakelast_img read more

Kerr ‘not well enough’ to coach yet for Finals Game 1

first_imgEvery 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes Rio Olympian Ian Lariba diagnosed with leukemia Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ FILE – In this Monday, Nov. 28, 2016 file photo, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr directs his team during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks in Oakland, Calif. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is not yet ready to return to the bench as the franchise prepares for its third straight trip to the NBA Finals.OAKLAND, California — Steve Kerr expects to decide soon whether he will coach the Golden State Warriors at all in the NBA Finals, saying Monday he is not yet ready but hasn’t ruled himself out for Game 1.“As of right now I would not coach Thursday night. It’s still up in the air. Still waiting for ‘Ahhhhhh!’” Kerr said, reaching his hands to the sky as if to receive some miracle healing. “It’s coming, it’s coming. … I think once we get to Game 1, that might be a good time to make a decision one way or the other.”ADVERTISEMENT Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds LATEST STORIES Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Gamescenter_img Golden State, unbeaten this postseason at 12-0 with sweeps of Houston, Utah and San Antonio, hosts the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers in Games 1 and 2 on Thursday and Sunday.The reigning NBA Coach of the Year is still not feeling well after a May 5 procedure at Duke University to repair a spinal fluid leak stemming from back surgery complications nearly two years ago. He filled in addressing the media Monday when acting coach Mike Brown was out with the flu.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting“I told the team the good news is the team is really healthy, the bad news is the coaching staff is dropping like flies,” Kerr joked.Brown has been coaching the Warriors since Game 3 of the first-round playoff series at Portland, with Kerr assisting at practice and from the locker room before and during games. Brown was expected back Tuesday. View comments Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast MOST READ BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “Mike’s been amazing. It’s an awkward situation, again this is so unique,” Kerr said. “I’m not sure it’s ever happened. … It’s just weird because on the one hand Mike has to coach the team as he sees fit. I’m taking part in practices, helping with the messaging, taking part in coaching meetings, but I’m not on the sidelines during games. And so he has to make those decisions as if it’s his team, but he’s also taking my advice and counsel behind the scenes. So it’s not easy, but he’s obviously doing a good job. There seems to be a theme when I’m out, I think the team is like 108-2.”Brown is set to go up against LeBron James and a Cleveland team he coached in two separate stints.Brown wasn’t around during the past two Finals when the Warriors faced the Cavaliers, so he has watched some of last year’s Finals. Kerr recently reviewed all seven games from 2016, when Golden State squandered a 3-1 lead and missed a repeat championship.Everything he can do to help Golden State get prepared, Kerr is doing — until he feels he might be fine to return to the bench.“I’m not well enough to coach a game and I know that (because) I coached all 82 games and I did OK. I was uncomfortable and in a lot of pain but I did fine, I could make it through,” he said. “The first two games of the Portland series, whatever happened, things got worse. You saw me in the fourth quarter of Game 2, I could not sit still in my chair, it was that much pain. I would say I’ve gotten a little bit better, that’s why I’m here talking to you right now, but you can probably tell I’m not sitting here happy-go-lucky.”ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more