It’s not easy to resolve Kashmir issue: Parrikar

first_imgPanaji: The Goa Chief Minister and former Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, on Friday said the “Kashmir issue” is not easy to resolve and advocated a “long-term policy” for it.Mr. Parrikar was speaking at a State government-organised function on Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s 126th birth anniversary on Friday. ‘Discussions are spoilers’ He also said discussions on sensitive issues should be minimal. “There are some things on which discussions should be minimal. These things need to be made to happen instead. Discussions can be spoilers. The media asked me about some issues today morning. I asked them: do you want this thing to happen, or do you want it to become news?”Open discussions, according to Mr. Parrikar, bring multiple opinions to the fore and may become a hindrance in decision-making: “If you want something to happen, don’t discuss it too much in the news. When there is a discussion, one person says one thing, while someone else says something else.”He also said he wasn’t accustomed to New Delhi and there was “a lot of pressure” on him there.‘Shivaji is my guru’Mr. Parrikar also said Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is his political guru. However, he said worshipping icons is not enough. “I imbibe [Shivaji’s] qualities only as much as I can. I have to learn from his qualities. There is no point merely worshipping.” He added, “It is important to imbibe at least some of [Dr. B.R.] Ambedkar’s qualities. We cannot imbibe everything. If you did, you would become Babasaheb [Ambedkar] yourself.”last_img read more

Will uproot Modi govt. before it completes term, says Lalu

first_imgStung by a series of scam charges and Income Tax raids against his family members, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad on Friday declared that he would uproot the Narendra Modi government at the Centre “before it completes its five-year term.” He also accused the BJP of conspiring to tarnish his image through I-T raids and making “frivolous allegations” against his sons and daughter.“Listen, BJP/RSS people, Lalu will drag you off your seat in Delhi, whatever be my situation… Get this straight… don’t you dare threaten me,” tweeted Lalu Prasad. ‘Where’s the proof?’ On the recent Income Tax raids against his family members and others in connection with several “dubious” land deals, Mr. Prasad’s second tweet asked: “Chapa…Chapa…Chapa…Chapa…kiska Chapa? Kisko Chapa? Chapa to hum marenge 2019 mein…Main dusron ka hausla digata hun, mera kaun digayega (Raid…Raid… Raid… whose raid? Who is being raided? … I’ll do a raid in 2019…I make others nervous, who will make me nervous?). Mr. Prasad asked the media to name the 22 places where Income Tax officials had conducted raids. “How did they [the media] report without any verification or evidence,” he asked. Speaking to a select group of journalists in Patna, the RJD chief said the Modi government had completed three years. “But it’s not going to complete its full five-year term… The BJP has been conspiring to tarnish Lalu’s reputation… How can my family and I become super rich and others remain paupers .. It’s all part of a political conspiracy.” Mr. Prasad said he, his wife and two sons had been filing I-T returns and had also submitted affidavits on their assets to the Election Commission. “It’s all in the public domain.” Mr. Prasad said Mr. Modi was trying to divide the country. “But we won’t let him divide the country … I’m standing rock solid in their path.” Pan-India campaignThe RJD chief said he had called a “BJP bhagao, Desh bachao” rally in Patna on August 27. “I have invited top leaders of all non-BJP parties to my grand rally…leaders like Congress president Sonia Gandhi, H.D. Deve Gowda, Arvind Kejriwal, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee and Karunanidhi will attend the rally from where we will launch a pan-India campaign to uproot them [BJP] from the Centre,” Mr. Prasad said.He also raised the issues of beef ban and the volatile situation in Jammu and Kashmir. “Modi talks about beef ban, but in the last three years India has been the largest exporter of beef… In Kashmir, bodies of soldiers are being mutilated every day…Are these the real achievements of the Modi government?”last_img read more

ED arrests Moin Qureshi in money laundering case

first_imgThe Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested meat exporter Moin Akhtar Qureshi, a childhood friend of former CBI Director A.P. Singh, on money-laundering charges in a case registered against them by the Central Bureau of Investigation.The CBI has accused Qureshi of accepting money from several people for getting them favours from public servants and politicians holding key posts in the government.“During investigation, certain facts have emerged which constitute omission and commission on the part of certain public servants holding high positions in collusion with Qureshi. Huge amount of illegal money was found to have been transacted,” said the ED.Qureshi extorted crores from a Hyderabad businessman for the help provided. He was also found involved in ‘hawala’ transactions through Delhi-based operators for money transfers to Dubai and then to Paris, London, the U.S., Hong Kong, Italy and Switzerland.Messages collected from the Income Tax Department revealed that Qureshi had taken a huge amount of money from different persons for obtaining undue favours. The messages were exchanged between him, the accused in other criminal cases, and also the persons who wanted to seek undue favours from the other investigating agencies, the ED alleged. “This way, he obtained huge amount of money in the name of government servants and political persons holding public office. The said public servants illegally got the money for themselves or through their kin,” it said.An analysis of the messages retrieved from the mobile phones of Qureshi and his associates revealed that ‘hawala’ operators were allegedly used to transfer bribe money to different foreign locations, like France and the United Kingdom.The agency said that from the premises of another ‘hawala’ operator in South Delhi, huge amounts of unaccounted cash were seized in the same case.The ED is also probing the alleged foreign exchange rule violations by Qureshi, whom it has questioned multiple times in the past. In all, two cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act have been registered against him. He is already being investigated by the Income Tax Department under the new Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act.PTI adds..Mr. Qureshi has been questioned multiple times in the past by the agency, after it registered two FIRs under the PMLA. In the latest FIR against him this year, Mr. Singh has also been named.The earlier PMLA case against Mr. Qureshi was booked by the ED in 2015, based on an Income Tax prosecution complaint.The meat exporter is also facing probes by the I-T department and the CBI for alleged tax evasion, money laundering and corruption among others.The I-T Department is probing Mr. Qureshi under the new Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 as probe led it to few foreign assets owned or held by the meat exporter and his family in an alleged illegal manner as they were not declared or reported to Indian tax authorities.The case emerged after the tax department first carried out searches against Mr. Qureshi and his firm in February 2014.last_img read more

Controversial Rajasthan bill sent to Assembly select committee

first_imgRajasthan tables Criminal Laws Amendment Bill amid uproar  The move has been severely criticised by the Congress and the National People’s Party (NPP) and senior BJP MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari. The Editors Guild of India too opposed the “harmful ordinance” and demanded its withdrawal.On Tuesday, Mr. Tiwari protested when he was not allowed to raise a point of order. He objected to Speaker Kailash Meghwal giving permission to the Home Minister for giving his statement during Question Hour.  At the beginning of Question Hour on Tuesday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore said Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje held a meeting of Ministers on Monday night to discuss the Bill and that the Home Minister would apprise the House of the development.The Home Minister said that prior approval of the President was sought before introducing the ordinance in September.On Monday, Independent MLA Manik Chand Surana raised the point that no approval of the President was attached with the Bill. As the Opposition MLAs rushed into the well of the House demanding withdrawal of the Bill, Mr. Kataria said the government would consider the suggestions put forward by the members. He then moved a proposal to refer it to the select committee. The proposal was passed by the Assembly. The select committee was asked to submit a report in the next session.The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, seeks to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the State from being investigated for on-duty action, without government sanction. It also bars the media from reporting on such accusations till the sanction to proceed with the probe is given by the government.Also Read Rajasthan Criminal Law Bill will check motivated complaints: Prasad Facing flak from various quarters, the Rajasthan government on Tuesday referred a controversial bill that seeks to protect public servants and judges from prosecution without its prior sanction to a select committee of the Assembly.Amid an uproar from the Opposition Congress, the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill was tabled in the Assembly by Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria on Monday to replace an ordinance promulgated on September 7.Also Readlast_img read more

Drug peddlers: Punjab wants capital punishment

first_imgFacing severe criticism from several quarters over its failure to tackle the drug menace bedevilling the State, the Punjab government on Monday decided to recommend death penalty for drug peddlers and smugglers to the Centre. The Opposition parties, however, continued to lay the blame for dire drugs scenario squarely at the door of the Congress government.The Punjab Cabinet in its meeting held here, chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, resolved to send a formal recommendation of death penalty for drug smugglers and peddlers to the Union government soon.An official statement said that State would also constitute a special working group under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary (Home) N.S. Kalsi to review and monitor, on a day-to-day basis, the action being taken to check drug abuse.The Cabinet also took stock of the cases of deaths resulting from drug overdose, which Special Task Force chief H.S. Sidhu admitted to be a matter of concern. Mr. Sidhu suggested registration of all such cases to enable the identification and mitigation of risk factors, such as supply of spurious drugs and mixing of drugs with other death-causing substances.Leaders and workers of the Aam Aadmi Party held a sit-in demonstration in Chandigarh on the issue of rising drug menace in the State. AAP leaders Bhagwant Mann, Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Balbir Singh marched towards the residence of the Chief Minister but were stopped by the police. The protesters then staged a “dharna” and raised slogans against the government.“The Congress has failed to stop the drug menace in the State. A few influential police officers are part of the drug trade,” alleged Mr. Khaira, adding that a high court-monitored CBI inquiry is must in the case. He also demanded that the Chief Minister immediately call an all-party meeting. “Also a special session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on the issue of drugs should be convened,” he said.The Shiromani Akali Dal said that all Punjabis, rising above political affiliations, must fight the common enemy of drugs.last_img read more

Tripura pilgrim dies in Mecca

first_imgA 58-year-old Hajj pilgrim from Tripura’s Sipahijala district passed away at Mecca on Friday due to a cardiac arrest, a family member said. Abdul Saiyad, a resident of Srimantapur village in Sipahijala, had left for the pilgrimage on July 26 along with 150 others from the State. His son, Kamal Hussain, said Saiyad was taken to the hospital on Thursday night in Mecca after he complained of chest pain and uneasiness. He passed away on Friday at 5.45 a.m.He added that Saiyad was buried at a cemetery in Mecca. When contacted, Tripura Haj Committee chairman Md. Jasim Uddin said he will be visiting the house of Saiyad on Saturday. “We are deeply saddened by the death of Abdul Saiyad. I hope his family gets strength to cope with the loss.”last_img read more

Meghalaya Congress stays off shutdown

first_imgThe Congress in Meghalaya, which had pushed for legal action against shutdowns during its rule five years ago, has abstained from nationwide Bharat bandh against fuel price hike.AICC’s Meghalaya in-charge Luzinho Faleiro said the party has not enforced the shutdown in the State in view of the Meghalaya High Court’s ruling against bandhs in 2013. The Gauhati High Court, too, had given a similar ruling.The Congress, though, has appealed to the civil society to support the bandh against fuel price hike by other parties including the Left. Congress leaders would be carrying out a protest march in State capital Shillong in the afternoon.The media in Meghalaya too did not carry news on bandh calls. This follows a high court ruling in May 2015 restraining the media from publicising the statement of organisations calling bandh, strike, hartal, road blockade and holding of rallies in State.“In case of violation of this order, the court may not only proceed under the Contempt of Courts Act, but it is also directed that the State government shall register criminal cases under appropriate provisions of the law,” the court had said.The court had later approved former chief minister Mukul Sangma’s plea to set up special courts to try cases related to shutdown calls. He had also pushed for compensation to be paid by organisations calling shutdowns.Elsewhere in the Northeast, the bandh evoked mixed response while it had no impact in Nagaland. There were no reports of violence during the first couple of hours of the shutdown.last_img read more

Policeman killed in stone-pelting after PM’s rally in Ghazipur

first_imgA police constable was on Saturday killed and several others injured in Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh in stone-pelting after clashes broke out during a protest by members of the Nishad Party. Eleven persons were arrrested and several have been detained for questioning. There are over 90 persons named in the FIR, including 30 named as accused.Constable Suresh Vats was returning from his duty at the rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the incident took place under the Nonhara area of the Purvanchal district. Yesh Veer Singh, SP Ghazipur, said the constable was killed when the protestors started pelting stones as the police were “trying to clear the roadblock” created by them. The protestors had blocked roads at four places near the venue, he said. The constable succumbed to his injuries.Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took cognizance of the matter and announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 40 lakh to the family of the constable.  He also directed the district magistrate and SSP to “take strict action against the unruly elements and immediate arrest and legal action against them,”  a government statement said. Sanjay Nishad, president of the Nishad Party, demanded a detailed  police investigation into the incident. “The BJP is trying to defame us with wrong allegations,” he said.Praveen Nishad, MP of Gorakhpur, and leader of the Nishad Party while talking to The Hindu said Nishad Party had no role in the violence. He claimed activists of the party were staging a peaceful dharna when members of the BJP who were returning from the rally in vehicles started chasing and attacking the Nishad activists.”Due to the attack, local villagers came to the support of our workers and this led to an altercation. The incident regarding the constable (stone-pelting) took place through the BJP workers,” said Mr. Nishad.The Nishads were demanding issuing of SC certificates for their caste under the name Majwar and implementation of a 2016 notifcation brought under  the Akhilesh Yadav government, said Mr. Nishad. “The present government is not giving us the certificates even though it is still valid,” said the MP. Nishads are among the 17 most-backward castes in UP who have been over the years struggling for SC status.last_img read more

Ajay Yadav confident of winning Gurugram

first_imgCongress’ Gurugram Lok Sabha candidate and former Haryana Finance Minister Capt. Ajay Yadav has expressed confidence that he would emerge the winner, saying that the people had seen through the empty promises of the BJP and the Modi wave has also ebbed. The Congress had on Saturday announced the name of six Lok Sabha candidates for Haryana, including Capt. Yadav.Of the nine Assembly constituencies in the Gurugram Lok Sabha constituency, six are held by the BJP and none by the Congress, but Mr. Yadav said his party always had a strong presence and a dedicated vote bank in South Haryana. He said the election in 2014 was an exception as the people were swept away by the Modi wave, which he said has ebbed now.Capt. Yadav is pitted against BJP leader and Union Minister of State for Planning (Independent Charge) Rao Inderjit Singh, a former Congressman. The Aam Aadmi Party-Jannayak Janata Party alliance, announced two days ago, is yet to name its Gurugram candidate.Of the 27 Assembly constituencies in South Haryana, comprising Faridabad, Gurugram and Bhiwani-Mahendergarh Lok Sabha seats, the BJP holds 15 and Congress just four.Chosen over former Transport Minister Aftab Ahmed and ex-Chief Parliamentary Secretary Rao Dhan Singh — the other two candidates in fray seeking tickets from Gurugram — Capt. Yadav, the party’s most senior Ahirwal leader in the region, said Gurugram recently earning the dubious distinction of being the most polluted city in the world was the biggest “achievement” of the National Democratic Alliance government.‘No varsity campus’ “Under the BJP rule, Gurugram has ceased to be the most sought after IT hub. In five years, the BJP could not construct the campus for the State-run Gurugram University. It is still running from a college building as a stop-gap arrangement. We laid the foundation stone of the Defence University in Binola village, but it has not been completed. The announcement for AIIMS at Manethi in Rewari appears to be yet another empty promise,” said Mr. Yadav.last_img read more

‘Space Vikings’ Spark NASA Inquiry

first_imgFor Ved Chirayath, an aeronautics and astronautics graduate student and amateur fashion photographer, a photo project that involved NASA researchers dressed as Vikings was just a creative way to promote space science. “I started this project hoping maybe one day some kid will look at it and say, ‘I want to work for NASA,’ ” says Chirayath, a student at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who also works nearby at NASA’s Ames Research Center (ARC).He never suspected that his fanciful image would put him in the crosshairs of a government waste investigation triggered by a senior U.S. senator.Earlier this month, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, wrote to NASA chief Charles Bolden, asking him to investigate whether Chirayath’s photos involved the possible misuse of ARC funds and staff time. An “interested observer” had brought the photos to Grassley’s attention, Jill Gerber, the senator’s communications manager, tells ScienceInsider. In his 10 July letter, Grassley raised concerns about NASA spending on “non-mission critical activities” and asked Bolden to help him “better understand the participation of NASA employees and resources in this for-profit photography exhibit.”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(*)Soon, agency investigators were asking questions—much to Chirayath’s surprise. “They made contact with just about every person who took part in the shoot,” he says. But there’s no smoking gun, he adds. His effort was strictly not-for-profit and didn’t involve ARC funds.It all started in 2011, when Chirayath—a photo enthusiast whose subjects have included astronomical objects, marine and natural subjects, and nonprofit work he did in Kenya—was looking for ways to combine his love of fashion photography, laboratory-grade optical effects, and scientific topics. He applied for and won two Stanford University grants—totaling $4400—to create Physics in Vogue, an exhibition featuring 10 images that explore “profound contemporary physics discoveries.”Last year, Chirayath began working at ARC, where he helps develop small, compact research satellites known as “CubeSats.” The technology, developed in part at Stanford, reminded him of Viking explorers who, from the eighth through 11th centuries, “travelled farther and saw more in much smaller ships than had been used before their time.” That connection inspired his Space Vikings photos, which led to a shoot this past December at a Palo Alto park on a weekday afternoon.To stage the scene, Chirayath partnered with the Vikings of Bjornstad, a living history group that likes to dress up. He also recruited ARC Director Simon Worden, Chief of Staff Karen Bradford, and executive secretary Carolina Rudisel to slip into costume. The satellite mock-ups were on loan from Pumpkin Inc., run by a Stanford engineering professor.After he posted the pictures online, Chirayath heard rumblings from co-workers that a blogger took issue with the executive staff’s appearance. He thought little of it until investigators started asking questions.In the past, Grassley and other lawmakers have taken issue with ARC’s use of money, including whether it improperly housed aircraft owned by Google at NASA facilities. In this case, all Grassley wants is “a simple explanation” of the photos, Gerber says. “And that’s what he’s hoping to receive from NASA.” NASA News Chief Allard Beutel says that although the agency has yet to send an official reply, it has concluded that “there were no taxpayer funds used” for Space Vikings. “The employees were on their time, not on work time.”  The flap has left Chirayath perplexed. “NASA can’t afford to promote their missions in this way and this is partly why I started this project,” he says. And that’s ironic, he adds, because “more was probably spent in taxpayer employee man-hours investigating me, my exhibition, and those involved than it might have cost” to produce the photos professionally.*Correction, 26 July, 11:25 a.m.: Ved Chirayath is an aeronautics and astronautics graduate student, not an astrophysics graduate student, as previously reported. This has been corrected.last_img read more

Fight the Flu, Hurt Society?

first_imgWhen you’ve got the flu, it can’t hurt to take an aspirin or an ibuprofen to control the fever and make you feel better, right? Wrong, some scientists say. Lowering your body temperature may make the virus replicate faster and increase the risk that you transmit it to others. A new study claims that there are at least 700 extra influenza deaths in the United States every year because people suppress their fever.As a result, if you have the flu and you’re taking medication “it may actually be more important that you stay at home because you could be a greater risk to others,” says David Earn, a mathematician at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and one of the authors of the paper. Some scientists call that claim premature, however.The debate about whether treating fever is good or bad for patients has been simmering for decades. Humans have reduced fevers for thousands of years; Hippocrates recommended extracts of the willow tree bark, which was later found to contain salicylic acid, better known as aspirin; Romans, Chinese, and Native Americans used other plants containing similar compounds. But some research conducted in the 1970s suggested that fever may actually be beneficial when you’re sick—perhaps because it makes it more difficult for pathogens to multiply—and that cooling your body can have negative consequences.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(*)A 1975 paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association, for instance, showed that people infected with a common cold virus called the rhinovirus shed more virus particles if they were treated with aspirin than untreated patients. Another study found more virus in the noses of ferrets infected with flu if they had been shaved—which reduces their body temperature—or treated with antipyretics, fever-lowering drugs.The new paper does not add experimental evidence; instead, the authors have for the first time tried to model what fever suppression could mean for an entire population. They estimated how much more virus flu patients shed when they suppress their fever and how much more infectious that makes them; then they combined these numbers with data about the use of antipyretic drugs by parents, patients, and nurses. They conclude that current antipyretic use in the United States leads to at least 1% more flu cases, resulting in 700 extra deaths. The size of the effect depends on how easily the particular strain of the flu is transmitted, however. If the virus is harder to transmit, suppressing fevers could lead to as much as 5% more cases and 2000 more deaths, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.”The conclusion is not unreasonable,” says Philip Mackowiak of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, who has researched fever for decades. But he cautions that the model “involves a tremendous number of assumptions that are only loosely supported by medical literature.” For instance, the conjecture that treating fever increases shedding of influenza virus rests solely on the ferret study. “Ferrets may be the best model for influenza, but ferrets in cages treated with antipyretics are very different from human populations,” he says. And shedding more virus does not necessarily mean people are more infectious, adds Gérard Krause, an epidemiologist at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Germany. “It’s plausible but by no means proven.””Based on this paper you cannot conclude that treating people with fever-lowering medications is a bad idea,” adds Walter Haas, an epidemiologist at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin. The assumption that suppressing fever increases infectivity is built into the model, he says, “so it’s no surprise that that is what they come up with at the end.”Earn says he and his colleagues considered the various uncertainties and took care to be as conservative as possible in their estimates; they didn’t even include the effect that after an aspirin, people may be more likely to go out and meet people, increasing chances of spreading disease. The main message, he says, is that the effects of suppressing fever need to be studied much more carefully.That’s something everybody can agree on. “It’s shocking that we don’t know more about the benefits versus the adverse effects of fever on higher animals,” Mackowiak says. And Krause finds the paper “inspiring” because it takes the debate about fever suppression from the individual to the population level, which he hadn’t given much thought so far himself.But what does all of this mean for you when you come down with flu this winter? The decision on whether to take antipyretics is up to you, Earn says. Just be aware that your decision may affect other people as well.last_img read more

Colorful corals protect the algae inside

first_imgEcologists have long wondered how two coral reefs—sitting right next to each other in the ocean—can be drastically different shades of color. The answer, according to a new study, has to do with some intriguing genetics. By sequencing three colonies of Acropora millepora, a branching stony coral obtained from the waters of Fiji, scientists have discovered that instead of having one gene that controls pigment production, these corals harbor multiple copies of the same gene. The more genes the corals activate, the greater their strength of color, researchers report online this month in Molecular Ecology. The same pigments that are essential for the corals’ color are also important for protecting the algae that live inside the corals, the team reports. Algae require some sunlight to survive, but too much light kills them. To protect the algae, which provide them with essential nutrients, the corals that are exposed to the most sunlight invest the sun’s energy into producing more pigment and thus appear brighter; this prevents too much sunlight from reaching the algae.last_img read more

Found: Two sophisticated mammals that thrived during the age of the dinosaurs

first_imgResearchers have discovered what may have been the world’s first burrowing and tree-climbing mammals—two shrew-sized critters that lived in what is today China during the age of the dinosaurs. The fossils add to the growing evidence that, far from cowering in the dinosaurs’ shadow, early mammals were highly successful, specialized animals in their own right.The new finds “give us a very different view of mammal life during the age of dinosaurs,” says John Wible, an expert in mammalian evolution at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the work.Dinosaurs first appear in the fossil record about 230 million years ago, and paleontologists have recently discovered fossil mammals dated to just 20 million years later. Yet scientists had long assumed that the earliest mammals were mostly nocturnal, staying out of sight and living largely on insects and other food that dinosaurs were not interested in. That picture has begun to change, however, with the discovery of a number of early mammals that were well adapted to a variety of ecological niches, including eating plants that huge vegetarian dinosaurs also munched on.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(*)Among these small but versatile creatures were the docodonts, shrew-sized mammals that looked somewhat like a cross between a rat and a squirrel, bearing sharp-edged molars good for shearing, crushing, and grinding plants and other food. In 2006, for example, a team led by paleontologist Zhe-Xi Luo, now of the University of Chicago, reported the discovery in China of a 164-million-year-old docodont named Castorocauda lutrasimilis, which apparently not only swam but might also have eaten fish—adaptations not previously known among such early mammals.In two papers in this week’s issue of Science, a team led by Luo and paleontologist Qing-Jin Meng of the Beijing Museum of Natural History reports the discovery of two new, shrew-sized docodonts that boost this picture of early mammalian diversity. The team claims that one of them, a 165-million-year-old creature named Agilodocodon scansorius, is the earliest known tree-climbing mammal, possibly eating tree sap with its specialized teeth; the other, 160-million-year-old Docofossor brachydactylus, had shortened, shovel-like paws and may be the earliest known burrowing mammal.The two fossils were found over the past several years by farmers in the fossil-rich shale outcrops called the Tiaojishan Formation in northeast China and acquired by the Beijing Museum of Natural History in the form of shale slabs in which the delicate bones were embedded. Mindful of numerous controversies concerning the authenticity of fossils found in China, the team verified that the fossils really did come from the Tiaojishan Formation, matching both the geology of the slabs as well as Jurassic invertebrates also found in them. The researchers then prepared the fragile fossils for study, using CT scanning—the same CT scanning doctors use to diagnose human bone and soft tissue ailments—to reveal the details of their tiny skulls and teeth (as shown in the video below). Agilodocodon scansorius (meaning “agile docodon” with a scansorial, or climbing, adaptation) was about 13 centimeters from head to tail and weighed about 27 grams, roughly the size of a house mouse. It looked like a squirrel with a long snout instead of a short one, the team reports, with curved, horny claws and flexible ankle and wrist joints typical of modern climbing mammals like squirrels and monkeys. Moreover, its front teeth were shaped like spades, leading the researchers to conclude that it could gnaw tree bark and feed on gum or sap.Docofossor brachydactylus (“Doco” for docodont; “fossor” for fossorial, or digging, adaptations; and “brachydactylus” for short, broad fingers) had a striking resemblance to the modern African golden mole, a burrowing mammal that lives underground. It was about 7 centimeters long and weighed about 16 grams, the size of a small shrew, and had a wide stance typical of burrowing animals. Like the golden mole, Docofossor had shovel-like fingers ideal for digging. Moreover, unlike most mammals, Docofossor had only two phalanges (bone segments) in most of its fingers instead of the usual three, which led to shortened but wider digits.The researchers note that in modern mammals the number of segments is largely controlled during development by two specific genes (called BMP and GDF-5), and they suggest that natural selection was operating on the same genes as early as 160 million years ago. If so, Luo says, it would imply that the evolutionary groundwork for this surprising diversity and adaptiveness among early mammals was laid down much earlier than researchers suspected. “With each new discovery it becomes increasingly clear that the [earliest] mammals had the same evolutionary mechanisms as modern mammals,” he says.These adaptations may have played an important role in the later success of modern mammals once the dinosaurs went extinct about 66 million years ago, says Richard Cifelli, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, who was not involved with the work.Still, Frietson Galis, an evolutionary developmental biologist at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands, questions whether Agilodocodon really gnawed bark and ate tree sap. She says its teeth “are quite different” from the modern sap-eating monkeys that the team compared it with, and the long, thin lower jaw seems to her too weak for chomping on tree bark. She and Wible also question whether the reduction in finger digits in Docofossor really employed the same genes as in modern mammals.Luo himself cautions against “overstretching” the conclusions about the versatility of early mammals. Although the new discoveries are an antidote to “stereotypical thinking” about cowering, timid mammals, he says, it is still true that our distant ancestors stayed pretty small until the monstrous dinosaurs were safely out of the way.(Video credit: April I. Neander, University of Chicago)last_img read more

South Indian families fret as crucial Gulf cash dries up

first_imgEvery evening, three generations of worried Angatt family women meet outside a half-built bungalow in this village in India’s southern Kerala state.Nearly six months after the house’s foundation was laid and its two floors raised, construction has slowed to a near halt. The reason is never discussed out loud – only whispered cautiously.Read it at Daily Sabah Related Itemslast_img

Political Frontier

first_imgThe Republican tsunami in November wiped out the Congressional ambitions of five Indian Americans running for the U.S. House of Representatives, but it swept into office an Indian governor — Nikki Haley (Nimrata Randhawa Haley) of South Carolina. Haley, 38, becomes the second Indian governor in the United States, after Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a truly remarkable feat, not just because Indian Americans constitute under 1 percent of the U.S. population, but also because both are Republicans and won in the South, a party and region considered the least hospitable to minorities and immigrants.Haley and Jindal positioned themselves in the extreme right wing of the Republican Party; Haley was even a Tea Party favorite and secured the endorsement of former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin early on in the GOP primaries — an endorsement that was considered crucial to her primary victory in a heavily Republican state. Both Jindal and Haley also converted to Christianity before their political debuts. Jindal is Catholic, while Haley converted at the age of 24 and worships at the Mount Horeb Methodist Church in Lexington.  After her religious beliefs became an issue during the campaign, Haley reaffirmed her Christian allegiance on her website: “My faith in Christ has a profound impact on my daily life and I look to Him for guidance with every decision I make. God has blessed my family in so many ways and my faith in the Lord gives me great strength on a daily basis. Being a Christian is not about words, but about living for Christ every day.” Nevertheless, unlike Jindal, Haley did not hide from her ethnicity and her family, including her Sikh father Ajit Randhawa, were visible on the campaign trail.The next biggest statewide prize won by an Indian American was Democrat Kamala Harris’ narrow victory over her Republican opponent for attorney general of California, the largest state in the country. In Maryland, three Indian Americans — Sam Arora, Aruna Miller and Kumar Barve — won state legislative races from Montgomery County, creating the largest Indian American legislative delegation in any state in the country. Two other South Asians were elected as state legislators in the 2010 elections: Dr Janak Joshi from the 14th district in Colorado and Sen. Hansen Clark, whose father was born in the Sylhet region of pre-partition India (now Bangladesh), who won from Michigan’s 13th District.This year a record five Indian Americans ran for the U.S. Congress on the Democratic ticket and atleast two — Dr Manan Trivedi of Pennsylvania’s 6th district and Dr Ami Bera of California’s 3rd district — were credited with having solid shots at prevailing. However, the Republican Congressional landslide, which crushed 60 Democratic incumbents, saw Trivedi go down 43% to 57% and Bera 43% to 51%. The other three were trounced even more humiliatingly — Rajiv Goyle in Kansas’ 4th district by 36% to 59%; Ravi Sangisetty, in Louisiana’s 3rd district by 36% to 64% and Surya Yalamanchili, in Ohio’s 2nd district by 34% to 59%.By all accounts, after taking stock of the number of Indian Americans who threw their hats into the ring, tallying their wins and losses, the 2010 elections were a watershed moment for the community. Clearly, American politics is the next Indian American frontier. Boot up! Related Itemslast_img read more

Indian-Origin Youth Arrested in Orlando for Trying to Steal Aircraft

first_imgAn Indian-origin youth was arrested and charged with criminal attempt to steal a plane on Sept. 20 after he entered the cockpit of an aircraft at Orlando Melbourne International Airport.Nishal Sankat, 22, who is originally from Trinidad and Tobago, was seized from the cockpit of an American Airlines Airbus plane that was parked on the tarmac for maintenance, according to reports.Sankat reportedly came near the airport in his car at 2 a.m. on Sept. 20. He jumped over the barbed wire fence and reached the aircraft under maintenance. To avoid any suspicion, he kept his car ignition on. He was arrested after flight maintenance workers challenged him and summoned the airport police who immediately arrested him. Police are trying to ascertain what he wanted to do with the aircraft.“The individual was confronted as soon as he was on the aircraft. The employee who was on the aircraft took appropriate action and escorted him off the aircraft,” CBS quoted Melbourne Police Chief David Gillespie as saying. But after he was dragged from the plane, Sankat broke free, running back toward the jet. Soon after police took him into custody, CBS said.Sankat, a part-time student of aviation management at the Florida Institute of Technology, received a commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration eight months ago. He was not qualified to fly this type of plane.He was charged with grand theft, burglary and trespassing and was being held in the Brevard County Jail without bail, Floridatoday.com reported.He is the son of Clement Sankat, the president of the University of Belize and former president of University of West Indies.After this incident, Prof. Sankat issued a statement to the Trinidad Express Newspaper, calling it an extremely difficult period.Referring to the family, the statement said: “At this time, they have not yet been able to speak with their son, and since they have limited information, are still trying to ascertain all the facts surrounding the incident, and his well-being. As expected, their focus right now is on providing all the legal, mental, emotional and parental support possible. What has occurred acutely underscores to the family the need to be aware of the challenges young students face, especially those living away from home and family.”Police told CBS that they searched Sankat’s home and confiscated his electronics, but at this time there is no evidence to indicate a connection to terrorism. Related ItemsCaribbeanfloridaTrinidad and Tobagolast_img read more

BJP sounds poll bugle, CM to begin rath yatra in August

first_imgThe Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sounded the poll bugle for the Assembly polls by announcing a rath yatra across the State.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will ride the rath, with slogans such as ‘Abki Bar 220 ke Par’ and ‘Ek Bar Fir Shiv Shahi Sarkar’ on it, the party announced on Saturday. The journey will begin in August, covering all the constituencies before winding up in Mumbai. The elections to the 288 seats of the Assembly are due in October, and both Shiv Sena and the BJP are likely to fight it together. The journey, in parts, will be completed by the Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and former party president Amit Shah, BJP leader Chandrakant Patil said on Saturday.The CM post“The three leaders will decide which party will get to have its chief minister,” said Mr. Patil when asked if the Sena would have one of its candidates as the chief minister this time. The BJP held a marathon meeting of its core committee on Saturday and discussed the possibility of government formations late this year. Senior leaders said the committee is of the opinion the chief minister should belong to the BJP under all circumstances. “But the focus of both the parties would be to win maximum number of seats. The rath yatra will also be used to highlight the works done by the BJP-Sena government in the last five years. The elections are likely to be held between October 15 and 20 and a code of conduct would come into place a month earlier, BJP leaders said. The party is looking to induct new members and has set a target of 25 lakh members. The BJP said three years ago it had achieved the target of adding 1.11 crore new members and believes it can easily achieve the latest target before the polls in the State. “Nearly 20,000 volunteers have been assigned the work,’ Mr. Patil said.last_img read more

No new taxes in Rajasthan budget, sops for farmers

first_imgNo new taxes were levied in the budget for 2019-20 presented by Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the State Assembly here on Wednesday, while tax relief worth ₹301 crore was extended to people of the State through various exemptions and amnesty schemes. Mr. Gehlot termed it a “people’s budget”, which had incorporated the aspirations and suggestions of the common people.Modified budgetMr. Gehlot, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented the modified budget for the current fiscal after the Assembly passed the vote-on-account of ₹86,906 crore in February this year in view of the Lok Sabha election. The modified budget’s estimates for total expenditure were ₹2,32,944.01 crore and those for revenue receipts were ₹1,64,004.64 crore.Taking a major step for “ease of doing farming”, Mr. Gehlot proposed the establishment of a ₹1,000 crore fund for farmers’ welfare, which would be utilised for getting remunerative prices for agricultural produces. Natural farming will also be promoted to reduce input costs and encourage traditional methods with an expenditure of ₹10 crore.Various schemesThe budget proposed various schemes in irrigation, renewable energy, water, transport, animal husbandry and health sectors and gave tax relief through new provisions for exemption in stamp duty and registration fee, electricity duty, motor vehicle tax and irrigation tax and amnesty schemes in mining, commercial taxes and industry sectors.Mr. Gehlot announced a policy for new and renewable energy projects and set a target for disbursement of short-term crop loans worth ₹16,000 crore from cooperative banks. He said his government had given “complete benefit” of loan waiver to farmers by paying on its own the dues of ₹6,000 crore left over by the previous BJP regime.The Chief Minister also announced ₹927 crore for State highways, Janata Clinics on the lines of Mohalla Clinics in Delhi, new policy for electric vehicles and exemption to micro, small and medium enterprises from obtaining various permissions for the first three years of their operations.Government jobsAs many as 75,000 vacancies in various government departments will be filled to provide jobs to the youths, while 104 types of new medicines will be included in the State government’s free medicine scheme. Loans worth ₹1 lakh each will be sanctioned to youths under the Chief Minister’s Yuva Rozgar Yojana.last_img read more