first_imgAs part of the Uttar Pradesh government’s efforts to maintain law and order during Deepavali, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has instructed officials to identify “intruders”, especially Bangladeshi citizens, “living illegally” in the State.Officials have been asked to obtain detailed information about the activities of these foreign nationals.“He [Mr. Adityanath] said that such foreign intruders living illegally are a threat to law and order,” a government spokesperson said here on Monday.The Chief Minister asked officials to keep a close watch on the Naxal-affected districts and those on the State’s boundaries. Keeping in mind the upcoming festivals and municipal elections in the State, officials have been instructed to monitor “anti-social elements” at the local level. Suspect listPolice officers have been told to compile a list of “suspects” in every thana (police station).“The government’s priority is rule of law. No lapse will be tolerated in that regard,” Mr. Adityanath was quoted as saying by the government.The Chief Minister passed the directions in a high-level videoconference with police and administrative officials, including Director-General of Police Sulkhan Singh and Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar, to discuss security measures for Deepavali, Chhath Puja and municipal elections.last_img read more

first_imgPanaji: The sentiment of de-nationalisation was raising its head in Goa once again, said Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in his Goa Liberation Day anniversary speech on Tuesday. Mr. Parrikar also asked people to be cautious against a negative mentality which, he said, was “raising its hood from the erstwhile Portuguese colonial era.” Recalling that some people compared the BJP government in Goa to Nazi rule recently, he said those people should read European history, especially about the World War I and II period and “it would show them the mirror”.Speaking about a few people opposing everything including development, the Chief Minister cautioned that a pre-Portuguese era anti-India sentiment was resurfacing in the state of Goa. “Some people tried to compare this government with Nazis. I advise them to read the history of Europe, including that of the First and Second World War, then they will realise that when you point one finger at someone, then four fingers are pointing at yourself. We need to be careful of such mentality,” Mr. Parrikar said. Mr. Parrikar’s reference was to the run-up to the February Assembly poll, when an article in a magazine run by the influential Roman Catholic Church in Goa had linked the BJP-led coalition government to Nazi rule in Germany. “Some people are extremely negative. We should be careful of such mentality. When Goa was liberated (by Indian Army), many people would say that India had snatched (annexed) Goa. There were many who refused to accept that Goa was a territory of India. That mentality is repeating again,” Mr. Parrikar said. Mr. Parrikar also appealed to the people of Goa to make Goa garbage-free.last_img read more

first_imgThe ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan faces an uphill battle in the byelections to an Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats, with strong resentment prevailing among various caste groups and major sections among farmers and traders. The January 29 bypolls will provide an opportunity to the Congress to turn the scales in its favour.The Alwar and the Ajmer Lok Sabha seats and the Mandalgarh Assembly seat in Bhilwara district were earlier held by the BJP. Ajmer MP Sanwar Lal Jat collapsed at a meeting in Jaipur and died on August 9, while Alwar MP Mahant Chand Nath died on September 17 following a prolonged illness. Mandalgarh MLA Kirti Kumari died of swine flu on August 28. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, for whom the byelections are going to be an acid test, has been touring the three regions over the past two months. However, the ruling party is yet to finalise its candidates.The Congress has announced former MP Karan Singh Yadav as its candidate for Alwar. The Opposition party has been gaining strength in the desert State, especially after its improved performance in the Assembly election in neighbouring Gujarat. The stature of former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who was the Congress’s election in-charge in Gujarat, has increased after the election results.Gujjar agitationAgitated over the State government’s failure to give them 5% reservation, Gujjars have announced that they will invite Patidar leader from Gujarat, Hardik Patel, to campaign in Rajasthan for voting against the BJP.The politically influential Rajput community, which had earlier traditionally supported the BJP, has been angry ever since the encounter death of gangster Anandpal Singh in June. The CBI, which had earlier turned down the State’s request for an investigation into Anandpal’s death, has now agreed to take up the investigation, but the political damage will be beyond repair.The farmers, who launched a prolonged agitation earlier this year with the demand for a crop loan waiver, are mulling over entering the electoral fray. All India Kisan Sabha president Amra Ram has said that farmers would not allow the BJP to divide them on the basis of caste and religion.Amid all these challenges, the BJP seems to be relying on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the “crowd-puller”. Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said here on Saturday that there would be no challenge for the BJP with Mr. Modi “being around”. “Mr. Modi is working hard for the progress of India. God has sent him to take care of our nation,” he said.The BJP government has invited Mr. Modi for laying the foundation stone of the Barmer oil refinery on January 14 despite a strong protest registered by the Congress. Mr. Gehlot pointed said United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi had already laid the foundation stone in 2013 and Mr. Modi’s visit to Barmer just before by-elections would amount to a violation of the model code of conduct.In an indication of dissension within the party, BJP State president Ashok Parnami told reporters here that the party’s election committee had sent the panels of probable candidates for bypolls to the Parliamentary Board and was waiting for its decision.last_img read more

first_imgMany strands of Shujaat Bukhari’s murder in Srinagar on Thursday resemble those of the assassination of People’s Conference leader Abdul Ghani Lone 16 years ago.It is so despite the fact that Bukhari was a journalist and Lone a politician, both high-profile. Both were perceived to be seeking to bridge the mutually clashing political ideologies comprising the complex Kashmir matrix.Retrospectively, it would seem that first Lone and then Bukhari made a fatal miscalculation. Any attempt at crossing the red lines, even with pious intention, amounts to walking into a minefield because elements in Pakistan view it as a hostile act.Extremist factions of Kashmir-oriented armed insurgent groups based in Pakistan are overly suspicious of individuals as well as groups, on both sides of the Line of Control, which are perceived to be propelling any proposition seeking freezing of status quo on Kashmir between India and Pakistan as a way out of the impasse. They would settle for nothing short of whole of Jammu and Kashmir.As it is, almost each and every peace move crashes right at that ideological barrier.Bukhari’s profile did not take long to emerge on the Kashmir scene after he opted for journalism in the 1990s when he joined Ved Bhasin’s Kashmir Times in the thick of insurgency (then spearheaded by pro-Independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front). Bukhari’s shifting to The Hindu a few years later substantially elevated his public profile. He was an instinctive journalist and his wider interests buttressed his public image. Bukhari widened his sphere of influence with the help of his talent and aptitude for Kashmir’s cultural and literal life. He soon became a popular face in the Kashmir media and in the rest of India and Pakistan as he engaged in Track Two activities.His visits to Pakistan, the U.S. and European countries got wide publicity in his own English daily, Rising Kashmir, which he floated after leaving The Hindu. In less than 10 years, his stable expanded with the addition of an Urdu daily, Buland Kashmir, a Kashmiri daily and an Urdu weekly. Bukhari took time off to promote literary and cultural fora floated by his group of publications.There was nothing he or his products — newspapers and literary and cultural fora — did or say that could place him in the hazardous course of confrontation with any of the local militant or secessionist groups.To his credit, he gave sufficient coverage to every thought and idea afloat in the over-crowded Kashmir politics.Bukhari soon became a familiar and popular face in debates on Kashmir on national TV channels. He held his ground against vocal opposition from ultra nationalists, just as he sought to deal with hardcore local armed groups without yielding any ground to them or risking their annoyance.His publications appeared with a distinct anti-establishment edge, but stopped short of crossing the red line of accession.Somehow, Bukhari was not able to maintain harmonious relationship with the local press corps. He recently fell out with the main body and floated a parallel one, though hardly with any big name.Reports from across the LoC published here lately indicated that Bukhari’s venturing into Track Two activities was causing resentment in the pro-establishment militants in Pakistan. They questioned his bona fides in the context of his recent meetings held in the U.S., Turkey and Dubai.Nobody could have guessed the impending tragedy. Bukhari had come to be seen as one of the few effective, reasonable voices of Kashmir. Ironically, its ugly side became the perceived cause of his tragic end.(The writer is a veteran Srinagar-based journalist)last_img read more

first_imgGoa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi next week in a bid to resolve the mining crisis in the the state. The crisis has led to protests by mining-dependent stakeholders after the Supreme Court of India banned mining in all 88 operational mining leases from March this year. “The Chief Minister will hold a joint meeting of all MLAs from mining areas, shortly to arrive at a consensus after which the matter will be taken up with the Centre and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office said on Friday, after Mr. Parrikar met legislators from the coastal state’s mining belt. Resolving the mining imbroglio is one of the first challenges before Mr. Parrikar, who returned to Goa on June 14 after more than three months of absence, during which he was undergoing treatment at a U.S. hospital.Among the legislators who met the Chief Minister were Speaker Pramod Sawant, Pravin Zantye, Rajesh Patnekar (BJP), Prasad Gaonkar (Independent) and Deepak Pauskar (Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party), where the Chief Minister discussed ways and means in which mining can be resumed in Goa. After more deliberations with legislators and a joint meeting with all the legislators, Mr. Parrikar is likely to meet Modi during his visit to the national capital next week. The mining issue has been on the boil in Goa following a Supreme Court order in February this year banning extraction and transportation of iron ore from 88 mining leases from March-end this year. The court has directed the state government to reissue the leases following appropriate process. Mr. Pawaskar, MLA of MGP told presspersons after the meeting with Mr. Parrikar on Thursday evening that the government has three options open, namely, passing an ordinance in Parliament to extend the life of the leases, auctioning the leases, and forming a state-run mining corporation to oversee mining operations. The decision will be taken by the government only after the Chief Minister discusses the issue with Prime Minister, reiterated Mr. Pawaskar.Meanwhile, Goa Pradesh Congress president Girish Chodankar, who called on the representatives of mining dependents, who are sitting on a protest in the city for some time demanding immediate resumption of mining activity in the State after the monsoons. He reiterated his party’s stand at a press conference at the Congress headquarters on Friday that they will support any solution for the mining crisis from the government provided it is within legal framework.last_img read more

first_imgOpposition parties on Wednesday hit out at the Congress-led Punjab government, accusing it of “murdering democracy” by resorting to ‘goondagardi’ (hooliganism) to stop their candidates from participating in the upcoming zila parishad and block samiti polls.The Aam Aadmi Party, Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP questioned the role of the State Election Commission in holding fair and free polls, and alleged that it was working under “pressure” of the State government.They claimed that the candidatures of their nominees at most of the places were rejected on “flimsy grounds with mala fide intention”, reducing the entire poll process to a sham.“Over 200 nominations of our party were rejected on flimsy grounds in the entire State. There had been large-scale rejection of nominations. It is a total murder of democracy,” SAD spokesperson and former Minister Daljit Singh Cheema said.“Earlier, our candidates were forcibly stopped from filing nomination papers at several places. Those who managed to file nominations now faced rejection,” he further said.The Akali Dal is considering to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking probe into the “large-scale” rejection of nomination papers of the opposition parties, said Mr. Cheema. “We will also question the role of the State Election Commission,” he said.Mr. Cheema said the Akali Dal will not to be cowed down by the “gimmicks” of the ruling party.Echoing similar sentiments, the BJP accused the Congress of threatening candidates of the opposition parties with arrest.“In these elections, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is trying to murder the democracy the way West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had done in the panchayat polls,” said BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh.‘Humiliating defeat’“The Congress government knows if free and fair polls take place they will face humiliating defeat and that is why they are trying to crush the voice of the opposition parties by indulging in violence,” Mr. Chugh alleged.AAP MLA Aman Arora also lashed out at the Congress, accusing the State government of denying the right to fight the zila parishad and block samiti polls.“Complete ‘goondagardi’ (hooliganism) is taking place in Punjab during these polls,” claimed Mr. Arora.He pointed out that the nomination of his party candidate in Ubhowal zone in Sangrur was shown as withdrawn even as the candidate had not done so.“The signature of candidate on the withdrawal form was forged by someone in order to elect a Congress candidate,” claimed Mr. Arora.Notably, the body of AAP candidate Harvinder Singh Hinda was found at his home in Jethuke village in Bathinda district.Meanwhile, Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Baja denied all the charges of the opposition parties, claiming that they were levelling allegations out of sheer frustration.“Everything going on in the polls has been free and fair,” said Mr. Bajwa.Elections to zila parishads and panchayat samitis will be held on September 19. The counting of votes will take place on September 22.A total of 354 member of zila parishad and 2,900 members of panchayat samitis will be elected during the polling.last_img read more

first_imgA 19-year-old girl, a high achiever in board exams, was abducted and allegedly gang-raped by three men belonging to her native village here. One of the accused is an army constable, said the family.The incident took place on September 12 when the teenaged girl, a B.Sc (I) student at a government college, went to neighbouring Mahendergarh district with her father for a coaching class.Recalling the incident, the girl’s father, a Physical Training Instructor at a private school, said the trio was following them from their village in a car and two motorcycles and accosted the girl when she got down from the bus at Kinana bus stop around 8 a.m. “The accused inquired her about her coaching and then offered her a drink laced with sedatives. She passed out and the trio then took her to her native village and raped her at a tubewell in the fields,” said the father.He alleged that one of the accused also called his friends who also raped the girl. “The girl identified the three men. There were around 7-8 more boys from the village involved in the crime,” he alleged.One of the trio then took the victim back to the bus stand, where she was abducted, and called her family over phone to inform that she was not well. Her mother and brother then went to pick her up from the bus stand.Besides being good at academics, the girl also played Kabbadi and Baseball at state level, the family claimed.Accusing the police of laxity, the victim’s family alleged that the Rewari Police took around 24 hours to transfer the Zero FIR registered by them to their Mahendergarh counterparts allowing the accused enough time to escape. The police, however, denied the allegations.The father claimed that one of the accused even came to their house on Thursday morning and threatened him. The fellow villagers accompanying the victim’s family alleged that the said accused was earlier involved in 4-5 rape cases in the village, but victims’ belonged to poor families and did not report the matter.Senior Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Rewari, Sudersan Panwar, said the teenager was stable but depressed. He said that her medical condition would be reviewed late at night.Mahendergarh Superintendent of Police, Vinod Kumar said that several teams were constituted to arrest the accused who were on the run.last_img read more

first_imgSenior Congress leader and party’s core committee member Randeep Singh Surjewala on Sunday said that Pakistan had attacked our soldiers and violated the ceasefire 3,000 times in the last 52 months, but the Modi government had failed to it give a befitting reply.Mr. Surjewala was addressing ‘Shaheed Samman Samaroh’, organised by Rao Arjun Singh, the grandson of former Haryana Chief Minister Rao Birender Singh, at Football Ground in Haryana’s Mahendergarh district. The family members of martyrs and freedom fighters of the region were honoured on the occasion.Criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his ‘stoic silence on inhuman mutilation of Indian soldiers’, Mr. Surjewala said first Mandeep, and now Narendra Singh, had been tortured, tormented and murdered by Pakistan but Mr. Modi had not uttered even a word on Pakistan’s inhuman mutilation of Indian soldiers.Paying rich tributes to Rao Tularam, Mr. Surjewala said that he played a key role in the 1857 Revolution and fought for the motherland against the mighty British empire.Mr. Surjwala accused Mr. Modi of not honouring his poll promise of ‘one rank, one pension’. He also attacked the BJP and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and accused them of backstabbing the people of this region.He criticised the BJP for cancelling Jaipur Express Corridor and putting prestigious projects like Defence University, Delhi – Mumbai Industrial Corridor and North-South Corridor projects on the back-burner. Mr. Surjewala also highlighted the State government’s failure to address various local problems like water scarcity, lack of development, educational facilities and basic amenities.The Congress leader also blamed the Central and State BJP Governments for the sky rocketing prices of petrol and diesel.last_img read more

first_imgSrinagar experienced the coldest night of the season on Saturday night as the mercury continued its downward spiral in most parts of the Kashmir valley and Ladakh region. Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius on Saturday night, down from minus 4.2 degrees Celsius the previous night, MET officials said on Sunday. It was the coldest night of the season so far in the city, they said. The night temperature in the city has dropped over five degrees since Thursday as the valley is moving closer to the 40-day harshest winter period, locally known as ‘Chillai Kalan’, which begins on December 21. The officials said Qazigund, Kupwara and Leh also experienced the coldest night of the season on Saturday night along with Srinagar. Qazigund, the gateway town to the Valley, in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius on Saturday night, compared to the previous night’s minus 5 degrees Celsius. Coldest DecemberThe officials said it was the coldest December night in Qazigund in the last four years. The town had recorded a low of minus 5.9 degrees Celsius on December 27, 2014. The nearby Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 5.7 degrees on Saturday night, up from minus 6.6 degrees the previous night. Kupwara in north Kashmir saw the mercury going down from minus 4.5 degrees the previous night to settle at a low of minus 6 degrees Celsius on Saturday, the official said. They said it was the coldest December night in Kupwara in the last five years.last_img read more

first_imgThe Supreme Court ordered the Bihar government to collect a fine of ₹20,000 from the pockets of its officers whose “lethargy” led to a 728-day delay in the filing of an appeal in the apex court.A Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indira Banerjee said State governments should not feel that they can approach courts at will and the judiciary is obliged to take up the case of the State.“We are of the view that a clear signal has to be sent to the government authorities that they cannot approach the court as and when they please, on account of gross incompetence of their officers and that too without taking any action against the officers concerned… No detail of the delay of 728 days have been given as if there is an inherent right to seek condonation of delay by State government,” the Supreme Court observed in its order. The Bihar government said it had taken time to get the sanctions from various departments, receive the affidavit and vakalatnama from the department concerned, and hence the delay in approaching the apex court.But the court said “condonation of delay is no more admissible on the pretext of government working lethargy”.“We strongly deprecate the casual manner,” the apex court said.Noting that the Bihar government should collect the fine from the officers responsible and deposit the amount with the Supreme Court Mediation Centre, the court said it was punishment for “wastage of judicial time”.“The petitioners must pay,” the court ordered.last_img read more

first_imgA strange type of star never before found near the Milky Way’s center is providing new clues about the bizarre behavior of the supermassive black hole lurking at the heart of our galaxy.The black hole, known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* for short), is as massive as 4 million suns and is thought to have played a critical role in shaping the Milky Way. Yet it somehow devours only a tiny fraction of its available food supply—a smorgasbord of gas and dust cast off by nearby stars, notes radio astronomer Heino Falcke of Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. That’s a puzzle astronomers have been trying to solve for years.Observations of an elderly, rapidly rotating star known as a pulsar in the vicinity of Sgr A* have now provided the first sensitive measure of the magnetic field associated with the black hole. The strength of that field may help account for Sgr A*’s poor eating habits, Falcke and his colleagues report online today in Nature.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(*)Pulsars reveal the magnetic field in neighboring reaches of space because they typically emit polarized light—radio waves that vibrate in a particular plane as they travel through space. When the waves pass through a magnetized region, the polarization changes direction in proportion to the strength of the local magnetic field.That’s why Falcke and his colleagues rushed to the Effelsberg radio observatory near Bonn, Germany, last April when two x-ray spacecraft hinted at the presence of a pulsar only a third of a light-year from Sgr A*. “People have been trying to find a pulsar around the galactic center for decades,” Falcke notes.Using Effelsberg and several other radio telescopes to measure the polarization of the pulsar, the team found that the magnetic field near the star is at least 2.6 milligauss. Although that’s only about 2% of the magnetic field at the surface of Earth, it’s still surprisingly large, Falcke says. Moreover, much closer to the black hole, the field could be as great as several hundred gauss, the team estimates.“We always knew the magnetic field was important but we never quite knew how strong to dial it in in our models,” says theoretical astrophysicist Christopher Reynolds of the University of Maryland, College Park, who was not part of the study. Gas and dust pulled close to a black hole resists falling directly into the gravitational maw because it possesses rotational energy, or angular momentum—the same reason that Earth doesn’t fall directly into the sun. Small magnetic fields generate a kind of turbulent friction that robs the gas and dust of some of its angular momentum, facilitating its infall. But according to some models, larger magnetic fields, comparable to that estimated in the new study, may act in the opposite fashion, suppressing the infall of material and potentially placing a black hole on a starvation diet, Reynolds says.Every large galaxy is believed to house a supermassive black hole, and the masses of the galaxy and the central black hole grow in lockstep, numerous observations have shown. Gaining a better understanding of how much mass black holes accrete may therefore provide new insight on how galaxies pack on the pounds, astronomers note.The new magnetic measurement will also need to be taken into account as a slew of telescopes track a gas cloud called G2, which is expected to fall onto Sgr A* sometime next year. The light show that G2’s demise may produce and just how quickly the cloud will accrete “will be very strongly dependent on the magnetic field,” Reynolds says.last_img read more

first_imgZebras’ bold striped patterns have puzzled scientists for nearly 150 years. Researchers have offered a lengthy list of possible explanations, from confusing predators by creating a distracting dazzle when a herd gallops away, to helping the animals avoid biting flies. Support for the dazzler hypothesis comes from computer tests using people, who have trouble tracking striped, moving objects on a computer; while other studies have shown that the flies prefer to land on uniformly colored, not striped, surfaces. Now, a team of scientists reports online today in Nature Communications that it has tested these hypotheses—as well as suggestions that the stripes might cool zebras down or make them more attractive to mates—to see which one makes the most ecological sense. The winner: those pesky, blood-sucking, disease-carrying (such as parasitic trypanosomiasis) biting flies. The team discovered that the ranges of the horse fly and tsetse fly species and the three most distinctively striped zebra species (Equus burchelli, E. zebra, and E. grevyi) overlap to a remarkable degree. They did not find a similar ecological match for any of the other hypotheses, not even those involving predators. Instead, the researchers argue that biting flies are the most likely reason that zebras, such as those shown above grazing in Tanzania’s Katavi National Park, evolved their distinctive ornamentation. The insects, they note, harass the equids almost year-round, and are known to torment domesticated horses in these areas. The zebras’ black-and-white patterns, which others have shown seem to interfere with the flies’ vision, at least give them a bit of a break. Why equids are so susceptible to the flies’ attacks remains mysterious, but, as the researchers found, the zebras’ short coats may make them particularly vulnerable, and the diseases the flies carry are often fatal.See more ScienceShots.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(*)last_img read more

first_imgA damning report on how the University of Minnesota (UM) protects volunteers in its clinical trials concludes that researchers inadequately reviewed research studies across the university and need more training to better protect the most vulnerable subjects. It also found that a “climate of fear” existed in the Department of Psychiatry, where concerns about clinical trials first surfaced.The 97-page report, released 27 February, was prepared by a group of six experts appointed by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs. It comes after years of complaints by some UM faculty members, led by bioethicist Carl Elliott. They charged that the school and its doctors failed to protect 27-year-old Dan Markingson, who died by suicide while enrolled in a psychiatric drug trial in 2004. They also expressed grave concerns about how Markingson’s death was investigated. (More on that case is here and here.)Recently, Elliott’s crusade began having an impact. In December 2013, the UM Faculty Senate called for an independent review of current practices in clinical trials. The administration agreed to open its records to outsiders. Although the review did not look back at history, it nonetheless had plenty to say about how the university handles trials, which bring in millions of dollars from drug companies along with much prestige.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(*)“[T]he external review team believes the University has not taken an appropriately aggressive and informed approach to protecting subjects and regaining lost trust,” the authors write. They examined protocols from 20 active trials as well as minutes from meetings of the institutional review board (IRB). Many IRB members, the panel noted, did not regularly attend meetings from January to July 2014. “[T]here were no individuals on the IRB during this time period with expertise in adult hematology, oncology and transplant, cardiology, surgery, or neurology, although those fields taken together represented over 300 protocols. There was only one psychiatrist on the IRB, despite the fact that the Psychiatry Department submitted 85 protocols for review during the time period examined.” That doctor attended only four of the 26 medical IRB meetings at which new protocols were reviewed. “This departure not only contravenes the University’s own policy of having at least one member with ‘primary professional expertise in a scientific field relevant to the type of research reviewed by that panel,’ but also prompts concern about the quality of review.”Fueling those concerns, the authors noted that the IRB spent an average of 3 to 5 minutes discussing each protocol, and there was “little discussion of the risks and benefits to subjects.” Most of the protocol changes the IRB asked researchers to make addressed administrative issues such as misspellings or adding standard language to a consent form. Requests by researchers running trials to modify who was eligible for a study—“changes that may increase or decrease risks to subjects—were almost always approved without any documentation of related discussion,” the authors write. “The review process, as documented in the minutes, does not reflect a meaningful discussion of the risks and benefits of research protocols and the necessary steps taken to protect human subjects in the face of scientific or ethical concerns.”The outsiders made other observations. Although the university is in the process of enhancing training in basic human subjects protections for researchers, which the authors praised, they remained concerned that beyond basic instruction, “there are currently no human subjects protections training requirements for investigators, including those working with high-risk or vulnerable populations.”Along those lines, the authors touched on some of the central issues raised in the Markingson case: Dan Markingson agreed to enroll in a trial while committed involuntarily to the hospital, raising questions about his ability to consent, and the lead researcher on the trial was also his treating psychiatrist. Although vulnerable individuals like Markingson often participate in clinical trials, the authors of the review worried that Minnesota had not drawn lessons from that case. “We found only a single instance where consideration of the dual and potentially conflicting role of treating psychiatrist/investigator was addressed,” they noted. And, they added, “the external review team found no evidence that the University, Fairview [Hospital], and its investigators have taken steps to ensure a broader understanding of the implications of this very fraught situation” of enrolling patients who have been involuntarily committed into trials.A death during a clinical trial, possibly attributed to it, is every university’s nightmare. Elliott and a widening circle of others were harsh and relentless in their criticism, the reviewers acknowledge. The university’s response, they suggest, has been “assuming a defensive posture. In other words, in the context of nearly continuous negative attention, the University has not persuaded its critics (from within and outside the University) that it is interested in more than protecting its reputation and that it is instead open to feedback, able to acknowledge its errors, and will take responsibility for deficiencies and their consequences.” In the Department of Psychiatry, faculty and staff told the reviewers that they work in “a ‘culture of fear,’ ” and “[t]hey provided stories of intimidation by researchers and fear of retaliation should staff voice opposition to practices that were of concern.”As the report creates ripples across campus, the Faculty Senate is preparing to meet this Friday with University President Eric Kaler and the authors of the report. Kaler released a statement Friday thanking the outside reviewers for their advice. He stressed that they looked at a “small fraction of our clinical research enterprise,” involving individuals with diminished decision-making capacity. “[C]onsistent with our charge to them, the panel’s view and subsequent analysis was limited,” he noted. (The authors described their report as covering protection of human research participants at UM with “special attention” to adults who may lack decision-making capacity.)Kaler expressed hope that with the advice of the authors, UM could enhance its research protections. “The panel has provided us with a clear road map for making our program truly exceptional,” he wrote in his statement. “[T]he University of Minnesota has the opportunity to become a national model against which all other research institutions could be measured.” Senior administrators said in a statement that they hope to develop an “action plan” to respond to the report within 60 days.last_img read more

first_imgHundreds of thousands of immigrants, mainly from India, may never get their green cards. Now some are losing their temporary work visas while waiting.That’s not just bad news for the workers. It also affects employers, mostly in high-tech industries, who say they have demonstrated they need high-skilled foreign workers.Read it at BNA Related Itemslast_img

first_img“The development marks the first actual deployment of ready-to-fire nuclear warheads in South Asia which is a matter of concern not only for the Indian Ocean littoral states but also for the international community at large,” Radio Pakistan quoted Dr Faisal as saying.Read it at Dawn Related Itemslast_img

first_imgA rare 17th century tray produced in Bidar in south India that exemplified Indian superiority in metallurgy at the time – long before England had the expertise – has been blocked from export by the Theresa May government, seeking to retain and preserve it in the United Kingdom.Described by the department of digital, media, culture & sport as “mysterious and unique”, the artwork has been assessed by experts to be at risk of being exported from the UK unless a buyer can be found and retained within the UK.Read it at Hindustan Times Related Itemslast_img read more

first_imgFor the past several decades, conservative groups have sought to undermine affirmative action in college admissions with relentless court challenges. Now the “Whites-first” Trump administration is lending its hefty weight to those efforts, according to the New York Times, with a plan to investigate and sue universities over affirmative action policies “deemed to discriminate against white applicants.”In a cynical ploy, however, the Justice Department is fronting Asian Americans for its “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions” by reviving a claim that 64 Asian American organizations lodged with the Obama administration accusing Harvard University of discriminating against Asian American applicants to the benefit of — get this — white applicants!It is no secret that college admission policies hurt academically high achieving Asian Americans, who are overrepresented on elite U.S. college campuses. Harvard University’s class of 2021 is 22 percent Asian — four times their share in the national population. The proportion would be even higher if Harvard adopted a race-blind policy. In California, which prohibits consideration of race in college admissions, Asian Americans constituted 42 percent of the new freshman class this Fall at the California Institute of Technology (and that is not counting the 9 percent of international and 4 percent of mixed race students, many of whom are Asian as well). At the University of California system, a third of the freshman class this year is Asian American, twice their proportion in the state population. The percentage is even higher at the flagship universities — 43 at UC-Berkeley and 40 at UC-Los Angeles.The problem with affirmative action policies in college admissions is that they have always rested on a very flimsy edifice. In its landmark University of California v. Bakke case in 1978, a splintered Supreme Court ruled that “the use of race as a criterion in admissions decisions in higher education was constitutionally permissible.” Contrary to popular assumption, however, the court rejected as unconstitutional not just quotas, but also race considerations to address historical inequities. Instead, the Court carved out a very narrow exception to consider race as one factor in “a far broader array of qualifications and characteristics” for the laudable objective of encouraging exposure “to the ideas and mores of students as diverse as this Nation of many peoples.” The constitutional prohibition against quotas or to rectify historical wrongs has been repeatedly underscored by the Supreme Court. In 2003 in Grutter v. Bollinger, it affirmed the University of Michigan Law School’s diversity policy, which served, it said, to promote “cross-racial understanding … better prepares students for an increasingly diverse workforce and society … and better prepares them as professionals.” Affirmative action dodged another bullet last year when the admissions policy of the University of Texas at Austin, which considered race as one of several factors, was upheld narrowly by the Court by a 4-to-3 vote. Affirmative action is easily defensible if colleges are willing to be honest about the character of college education and stop attempting to perpetuate a myth of meritocracy rooted around SAT scores and high school grades. Empirical evidence establishes that neither are flawless predictors of either academic performance in college or professional success subsequently in life. Furthermore, most elite colleges have historically given preference to children of alumni and major donors, kids who play obscure sports, such as lacrosse, classical musical instruments, like the cello, or partake in other affluent indulgences. And let us not forget, of course, the non-academic stream for athletes.However loathe Universities may be to admit it, since it undermines their simplistic numerical assessment tools, education and learning are more than about just grades and scores. As Justice Anthony Kennedy pointed out in Fisher v University of Texas last year: “Class rank is a single metric, and like any single metric, it will capture certain types of people and miss others…. A university is in large part defined by those intangible qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness …. Considerable deference is owed to a university in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission.”Ambition, creativity, overcoming adversity, originality, etc. are surely as compelling factors as SAT scores and grades at the altar of which both educational institutions and critics of affirmative action worship. Great universities don’t just churn out — nor do businesses need — robotic nerds who score well on standardized tests. It is doubtful that even the Asian Americans protesting their exclusion would be all that excited about attending a university with majority Asian American students.Let us dare to celebrate merit in all the diverse forms of mind and spirit — grades and SAT scores be damned. Related Itemslast_img read more

first_imgRenault and Nissan have established a joint car factory in Chennai that is expected to manufacture 400,000 vehicles a year by 2015.Production of Nissan’s new sub-compact Micra will start in May 2010, while the manfacture of Renault’s Koleos and Fluence cars for India’s domestic market is planned in 2011.  Related Itemslast_img