Pune civic polls: AIMIM poised to snatch minority votes

first_imgPune: Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is poised to snatch the minority community votes, which traditionally went to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, in the Pune civic polls.The party has given tickets to 21 Muslim candidates (including open and backward categories) of the 25 candidates it has placed in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) polls.That strategy is in tune with the party’s focus on the Muslim and Ambedkarite-dominated wards in the city. The AIMIM aims to build up its capability for the 2019 State Assembly elections.Low on minoritiesAmong other contestants, the Congress has given tickets to nine Muslim candidates, while the NCP and the BJP have five Muslim aspirants. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has three minority candidates, while the Shiv Sena has only two. Most are contesting as Independents.The Muslim community constitutes nearly 11% of the city’s population, however, just 90 of the 1,090 aspirants in the polls are representing minority communities. Mr. Owaisi’s strategy is consistent with his minimum candidates and maximum results plan.‘Not Muslim-centric’However, AIMIM leaders said they does not want to project that the party gives preference only to Muslims.Anjum Inamdar, AIMIM’s Western Maharashtra in-charge, said, “We take into consideration all sections, as evinced by our ticket-allocation during the 2015 Aurangabad civic polls, where we emerged as the opposition party.” One such instance of the party’s inclusive philosophy is their Christian aspirant Ashwini Daniel Landge, who is contesting from panel 6. Ms. Landge is well-known for the social work she has done in her ward.According to her husband, other parties were not interested in giving tickets to Christian candidates or did not think their representation to be a decisive vote-swinger.Holistic agendaAshwini, who initially claimed to be indifferent to entering the political arena, said the AIMIM’s holistic agenda made her change her mind. She said, “My panel has more than 3,000 Christian voters. But we aren’t targeting them as a mere vote-bank.”Mr. Inamdar said that a large section of the city’s minority community were angry with the Congress and the NCP for not having taken cognisance of their interests.last_img read more

Now, a Braille guide to Kolkata pandals

first_imgA Braille guide for the visually impaired, alongside a route map, may make Durga Puja much more inclusive this year.Working over a period of time, it has now become possible to make available vivid descriptions of the various pujas in the city while also printing route maps that would enable a visually impaired person or groups of such people to reach certain puja pandals (mandaps).“We had done a pilot project at a pandal last year and we will do it for 10 major pandals this year,” said Debojyoti Roy, secretary of NIP, an NGO which has executed this initiative.He said around 300 pujas had been mapped using the Braille system, charting out the closest railway station, bus routes and metro stops, to enable the visually impaired reach a proximate point. “Usually after that, there is always someone to help them navigate their way through the crowd,” said Mr. Roy.Visually challenged Sumita Roy, associated with the 75-year-old Blind Persons Association, welcomed the initiative, saying that this would enable them to participate in the festival.last_img read more

Woman falls off train while fighting thief in Navi Mumbai

first_imgA 19-year-old woman fell from a train while trying to fight off a thief on board, near Juinagar station in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, a senior GRP official said on Sunday.The victim, identified as Rituja, was travelling in the ladies compartment of a Vashi-bound local train from Panvel late Saturday night, the police said.“As the train was leaving Juinagar station the thief barged into the train around 11.45 p.m. last night. He robbed the woman of jewellery and tried to alight. The woman, having raised an alarm, attempted to stop the robbery but in the process fell down from the train,” the official said.The woman sustained injuries in the incident and was taken to a hospital where she is undergoing treatment, he added.The Railway police said that a case had been registered against an unknown person under Sections 397 (robbery, or dacoity) and 307 (attempt to murder) among others of the IIPC.last_img read more

Christian missionaries a threat to unity: BJP MP

first_imgClaiming that Christian missionaries are a threat to the unity and integrity of the country, BJP MP Bharat Singh has accused the Congress of working on their directives.Also Read  “Christian missionaries control the Congress. Sonia Gandhi, the mother of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, works on the directions of these missionaries. These missionaries are a threat to the unity of the country,” Mr. Singh told reporters here in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday.The Ballia MP also alleged that democracy in the north-eastern States had “weakened” due to “conversion of people into Christianity”. He had earlier alleged that the missionaries were behind the vandalisation of statues of the Dalit icon and key architect of the Constitution, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar. PM Modi asks BJP MPs, MLAs to desist from commenting on every issue last_img read more

Shimla in the throes of a water crisis

first_imgMore than half a dozen districts and Himachal Pradesh’s capital Shimla are facing a severe drinking water crisis these days.Due to deficient precipitation during winter, the major water sources have either gone fully or partially dry. And despite a number of small and big rivers flowing through the State, successive governments have done nothing to lift water from these perennial sources.VVIP areasFacing one of the worst crises, residents of the capital are getting drinking water supply after four to five days in the majority of localities. It is only the VVIP areas that are getting either regular or every alternate day supply from the Bharatiya Janata Party-controlled municipal corporation.But hundreds of city hotels, which are packed to capacity because of the peak summer tourist season, are facing no water scarcity amid allegations of diversion in pipe lines with the connivance of the lower-level municipal staff.Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had also called a meeting with the Irrigation and Public Health staff and the municipal authorities and directed them to send tankers to the main town and its suburbs where there is acute shortage of drinking water. The State government has also released a toll-free number for the general public for registering their complaints.Poor managementThat High Court has also taken cognisance of the drinking water shortage and directed the Assistant Solicitor General to file an affidavit on the status of water augmentation schemes pending with the Centre and steps being taken regarding the delay in implementation. The court observed that there was no scarcity of water in the hill State, but it was poor management that was responsible for the drinking water shortage year after year.The State Committee of CPI (M) has also criticised the “mismanagement” by the incumbent BJP-led municipal corporation in delivering drinking water to the town. Former Mayor of CPI(M) Sanjay Chauhan said the town had never suffered such a situation in the past five years when the municipal corporation was controlled by the Left leaders and water was never diverted to the posh localities or commercial hotels at the cost of ordinary residents of the town.last_img read more

Locals may be banned from Goa casinos

first_imgPanaji: Locals may find themselves unwelcome in playing areas of the casinos from 2019 once the Goa government appoints a gaming commissioner to regulate operations, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday. A casino policy would be unveiled this month, he said in the Assembly on the final day of the monsoon session. He also said that offshore casinos operating in the Mandovi river off Panaji would be relocated to special designated zones which will be notified in the policy. “As a policy, Goans will not be permitted to enter the casino playing areas. Only visiting tourists shall be permitted. A mechanism in this regard will be put in place once the gaming commissioner is appointed and appropriate rules for regulation shall be formulated,” Mr. Parrikar said. “Licences for offshore casinos will be issued provided they grant their willingness, within a year from the date of policy being declared, to shift their operations to notified designated zones,” Mr. Parrikar said, adding that the six operating offshore casinos, would be allowed to complete the relocation process. “Licences for casino operations being granted in the designated zone can be considered for a tenure of 10 to 15 years taking into account the huge investment required for such projects,” Mr. Parrikar said. At present Goa has six offshore casinos operating from the Mandovi river, and nine onshore casinos at five star resorts.last_img read more

Parents held for abetting daughters’ suicide

first_imgA couple from Chheligada in Odisha’s Gajapati district was arrested on Monday for allegedly abetting the suicide of their two daughters in the name of safeguarding the family honour.R. Udayagiri Sub-Divisional Police Officer Anil Kumar Pradhan said initial interrogation of the couple revealed that they compelled their daughters to consume poison and later threw the bodies into a well near their home. The bodies were recovered from the well. The couple was produced in a court on Monday. “We are waiting for the post-mortem report which will confirm whether the sisters committed suicide or it was adouble murder by their parents,” said Mr. Pradhan. Initial investigation revealed that some obscene photographs of the elder sister circulated through the social network had broken up her marriage proposal. Irked by it, her parents had allegedly compelled her and her younger sister to consume poison on September 28 night. “The younger daughter was also targeted as the parents felt she was close to her elder sister and was helping her,” said the SDPO. According to the police, the marriage proposal of the elder sister did not materialise even after the engagement ceremony because of some obscene photographs of the girl sent to the family members of the boy. The police said that the brother-in-law of the deceased had sent the pictures. He has been detained for interrogation.last_img read more

Bat Out of Hell? Egyptian Tomb Bat May Harbor MERS Virus

first_imgScientists say they are one step closer to understanding the origins of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), the deadly viral disease that has been spreading in the Middle East for more than a year. They have found a small fragment of the virus’s genome in an Egyptian tomb bat from Saudi Arabia, suggesting that these bats are a source of the virus—although another animal species may act as the bridge to humans.Since it was first discovered in 2012, MERS has sickened 97 people and killed 47, most of them in Saudi Arabia. The virus has sometimes been transmitted from one patient to the next, but in most cases the source of infection remains unclear. Epidemiologists have speculated that bats, which are host to several related viruses, could be a reservoir. Scientists just reported finding a coronavirus closely resembling MERS in the feces of a South African bat.Columbia University virologist Ian Lipkin, whose team has been collaborating with Saudi Deputy Minister of Health Ziad Memish, is one of the few scientists who have had access to animal samples from the region where MERS occurs. In October 2012, Lipkin and other researchers went to the home of the first known MERS patient in Saudi Arabia, a man who died in June 2012 in Bisha, in the country’s southwest. They collected blood and tissue samples and throat and rectal swabs from 96 bats captured in an abandoned date palm orchard less than 12 kilometers from the man’s home and close to the hardware store where he worked.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(*)Sequencing the nucleic acids isolated from the samples yielded a clue: The fecal pellet of the insect-eating Egyptian tomb bat (Taphozous perforatus) contained a piece of viral RNA identical to that of the virus isolated from the patient in Bisha, the scientists reported online in Emerging Infectious Diseases yesterday.The researchers didn’t isolate the virus itself, and the snippet was only 182 nucleotides long, so the bat may have been infected with another, very closely related virus. The researchers had hoped to find more and longer pieces of the viral genome, but an incident at U.S. customs may have thwarted their efforts. The samples, collected in October 2012, were frozen and transported to Columbia University on dry ice. But customs officers opened the shipment and its contents sat at room temperature for 2 days, thawing all the samples, Lipkin says. “That is probably why we didn’t get more sequences out of this.”Still, the finding is another interesting piece in the MERS puzzle, says Marion Koopmans, an infectious diseases researcher at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, who was not involved in the work. She points out that the fragment is not only short but also comes from one of the least variable parts of the viral genome, so the full genomes of bat and human virus could still differ significantly. Nonetheless, the finding “points at bats as a reservoir for this virus,” Koopmans writes in an e-mail.The researchers made the discovery in December 2012 but decided not to publish it right away because they were hoping to find more compelling evidence. Samples from a second investigation in Saudi Arabia in April 2013 did not yield any further clues, however. Lipkin says that he decided to publish the result after the coronavirus finding in a South African bat was reported. The virus from South Africa was more distantly related to MERS, says Andrew Rambaut, a computational biologist at the University of Edinburgh who is also investigating MERS; it had 12 differences within the same 182-nucleotide stretch of RNA.Lipkin does not think that bats infect humans directly. “There have been so many cases of MERS described in the Middle East where we cannot make a direct link with bats,” he says. “So there is likely to be an intermediate host.” Two weeks ago, a team that included Koopmans reported finding antibodies against MERS in retired racing camels in Oman, a country that has reported no MERS cases but neighbors Saudi Arabia. But Lipkin is skeptical. “Those results are interesting, but I’m not persuaded that camels are implicated,” he says—if only because many MERS patients did not report contact with camels.Lipkin says that scientists should cast a wider net by testing more animal species—especially cats, dogs, and rodents—that might act as an intermediate host. He says he is discussing further studies with Memish and is preparing staff members to fly to Saudi Arabia within a month.last_img read more

Is Evolution Predictable?

first_imgIf the clock rewound, would organisms evolve the same way they did before? Humble stick insects may hold the answer to that long-running question in biology. Through studies of these bugs, whose bodies match the leaves the insects live on, researchers have found that although groups of the bug have evolved similar appearances, they achieved that mostly via different changes in their DNA. “I think it says that repeatability of evolution is very low,” says Andrew Hendry, an evolutionary biologist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who was not involved with the work.A few studies have suggested that, when exposed to the same environmental conditions, organisms evolve in the same way. As glaciers have receded, for example, a tiny marine fish called the stickleback has invaded many lakes and rivers, and in each spot, they became sleeker with less body armor. Other researchers have looked beyond changes in behavior or physical features for “parallel evolution” in the genes, finding, for instance, that different insects alter the same DNA to help them feed on toxic plants. Yet critics have argued that these examples represent the exception and that evolution is not really predictable because too many chance events can knock it off course.So Patrik Nosil, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, turned to a stick insect called Timema cristinae. In many places in California, this species has split into two forms, or ecotypes, on a hillside. One form is wide and lives on a wide-leaf plant; the other is narrow, with a stripe down its back, and lives on a plant with narrow leaves. Nosil and his colleagues sequenced the genomes of dozens of individuals of each ecotype from multiple hillsides to assess the genetic differences that arose to make them specialized for their particular host plant.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(*)They discovered many genetic differences between the ecotypes. Yet to their surprise, they found that, even in stick insects that looked the same but were from different places, only 17% of their DNA had changed in the same way.  That suggests, Nosil and his colleagues report online today in Science, that although some evolution in the genes leading to host specialization is predictable, a lot of the changes are random.In addition, Nosil’s team transplanted hundreds of individual stick insects onto the plant they weren’t adapted to and collected the offspring a year later. They checked the offspring’s DNA to see how the frequency of different versions of their genes shifted compared with those frequencies in the parents. Such shifts represent places where one version provides a better survival advantage than another, enabling the insects with that version to reproduce. Dozens of those shifts coincided with the DNA differences between the ecotypes, signaling that those differences were due to selection, not chance.“They’ve actually been able to dig down into the genome and find out a little bit more about [parallel evolution],” says Tim Coulson, a population biologist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The work, he says, “is really starting to give us some mechanistic understanding of the molecular basis of evolution.”last_img read more

Uncontacted tribe in Brazil ends its isolation

first_imgLast week, Brazilian officials announced that an isolated Amazonian tribe took a momentous and potentially tragic step. Emerging from dense rainforest along the Upper Envira River in the state of Acre, Brazil, the group willingly approached a team of Brazilian government scientists on 29 June and made peaceful contact with the outside world. Officials suspect that the tribe fled illegal logging and drug trafficking in their traditional homelands in Peru. The meeting was Brazil’s first official contact with an isolated Amazonian tribe in 20 years. Anthropologists remain deeply concerned about the tribe’s future as it encounters novel diseases and resource-hungry outsiders. Many previous contacts have ended in tragedy, as diseases such as influenza and whooping cough ravaged tribes.For more, see the full story in this week’s issue of Science.*Correction, 9 July, 1:51 p.m.: The photo caption contained an incorrect date; the photograph was taken in 2010.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

A cure for the plague of frogs?

first_imgOne of the worst scourges of frogs and their kin is Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a deadly fungus that infects nearly half of amphibian species, eats away their skin, and causes heart attacks. Now, a study shows that one kind of frog can learn to avoid the widespread fungus and that two species become resistant with repeated exposures. Although preliminary, the findings suggest that there may be a way to help protect more vulnerable amphibians.“If frogs exposed and cured are therefore ‘vaccinated’ against Bd, then this study has big implications for mitigation of Bd outbreaks in the future and restoration of frog populations that are in captive holding now,” writes biologist Kelly Zamudio of Cornell University, who was not involved in the study, in an e-mail.Amphibians suffer from many threats, including pollution and habitat destruction. It isn’t easy to pin an extinction on Bd, but researchers suspect the fungus is behind the mysterious decline of many species.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(*)To study how well frogs can resist the fungus, Jason Rohr, an ecologist at the University of South Florida, Tampa, and colleagues set up experiments with two species that are easy to catch in Florida, the oak toad (Bufo quercicus) and the Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis).First, they investigated whether oak toads could learn to avoid the fungus. After setting up a small chamber in their laboratory, they added the fungus to one side. When oak toads were first put into the chamber, they spent equal amount of time on either side. Then, Rohr and his colleagues removed the toads and killed the fungus with moderate heat. When the same toads were placed back into the chamber, they were less likely to spend time on the side with the fungus, suggesting that they can learn to avoid it. Rohr has additional experiments under way to determine how the toads detect the fungus, but he suspects that contact is painful as the fungus attacks. “It can’t feel good to have your skin digested by an enzyme.”Other trials with both species showed that with each exposure to the fungus, the toad’s and frog’s immune systems strengthened their response. The animals roughly doubled the number of immune cells by the fourth time they encountered the fungus. And a greater proportion of the amphibians survived: Although only 20% made it through the first exposure, more than half escaped their fourth bout with the fungus, the team reports in this week’s issue of Nature. This finding isn’t relevant to oak toads and Cuban tree frogs in the wild, because the weather is hot enough where they live to usually kill the fungus. But it could help explain how some species in colder environments, such as mountain lakes, have managed to survive.An intriguing finding is that exposure to dead Bd can also increase resistance, which raises the prospect of immunizing highly sensitive species. “That is exciting stuff,” says biologist Karen Lips of the University of Maryland, College Park, although she describes the level of protection as moderate. Rohr hopes to try adding large amounts of dead Bd to ponds to test whether it will help the survival of susceptible frogs.Several important questions remain. It’s not clear whether the resistance is permanent, whether tadpoles can become resistant, or whether it occurs in other species and would be strong enough to save them. And Erica Bree Rosenblum of the University of California, Berkeley, points to logistical challenges of trying to use the discovery, such as through widespread treatment of endangered populations. “I tend to be skeptical about whether it will be easy to translate results from lab studies into direct conservation application.”last_img read more

Laser beams predict apple ripeness

first_imgIn the 1989 movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, a hobby scientist played by Rick Moranis accidentally blows up an apple with the laser in his shrink ray machine. Now, scientists have found a better use for lasers trained on apples: measuring their ripeness. In a technique known as biospeckle, researchers shined a helium-neon laser on the surface of golden apples and then analyzed how the light was reflected (seen above). The laser wasn’t very powerful—just a couple of milliwatts stronger than the average laser pointer—but it picked up tiny imperfections on the apple’s smooth skin, which caused the laser light to bounce irregularly and result in a grainy appearance at small scales. As the fruits ripened, the “grains” in the pattern became smaller and smaller, the team reports this month in Applied Optics. They attribute the shrinking to a rise in an apple’s cellular activity during the ripening process—the study notes that cellular respiration, for instance, is known to increase as fruits ripen. To confirm that the smallest grains occurred during peak ripeness, the team also monitored the apples’ production of ethylene gas—a known byproduct of the ripening process that peaks just as the fruit reaches optimal edibleness. Once the apples were past their prime, ethylene gas production slowed, apple activity decreased, and the size of the reflected grains began to increase. Because traditional methods of assessing ripeness either destroy the fruit or rely on subjective visual cues, the researchers suggest that the technique could eventually help farmers accurately harvest their crops at optimal times and predict how long a fruit can be stored.last_img read more

‘Life of Pi’ star Irrfan Khan reveals struggle with rare illness

first_imgBollywood star Irrfan Khan, known internationally for his roles in blockbusters “Life of Pi” and “Slumdog Millionaire,” shocked fans Friday by revealing he has a rare tumor. In a statement addressing speculation by fans and the media over his health, Khan said he has been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor.Read it at Arab News Related Itemslast_img

Karan Johar Becomes First Indian Director to Get Statue at Madame Tussauds

first_imgBollywood filmmaker, Karan Johar will become the first Indian director to have his wax statue at Madame Tussauds.The filmmaker took to Twitter to show his excitement about his latest venture with a photograph of himself, holding a briefcase in one hand and a wax imprint of his palm in the other hand.Read it at Geo TV Related Itemslast_img

Malaysia’s Flying Singh Killed In Motorbike Accident In India

first_imgHumanitarian aid provider Rishiwant Singh Randhawa was killed in a motorcycle accident in Patalia, Punjab in India Sunday (Nov 25).Rishiwant, who is fondly known as the Flying Singh, was riding a rented motorcycle when the incident happened not too far away from an ashram where he went to spend some time, according to website Asia Samachar.Read it at Asia One Related Itemslast_img

Pune court acquits two for 2012 murder of suspected IM operative

first_imgThe Pune sessions court on Wednesday acquitted gangster Sharad Mohol and his aide Alok Bhalerao in connection with the murder of suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Mohammed Qateel Siddiqui. The court of additional sessions judge S.H. Gwalani acquitted the duo citing “lack of evidence”. Mohol, a dreaded history-sheeter and Bhalerao had allegedly strangled Siddiqui with the cord of the latter’s trousers inside the high-security cell in Pune’s Yerwada jail on June 8, 2012.At the time, the duo was serving time for the murder of gangster Kishore Marne, a member of the Ganesh Marne gang.Siddiqui, who was first arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police in November 2011, was alleged to be involved in the blasts at Chinnaswamy stadium and Jama Masjid in Bengaluru and Delhi respectively and was said to have close links with IM mastermind Yasin Bhatkal.At the time of his custody, Siddiqui, who hailed from Darbhanga in Bihar, was being probed by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad for his alleged role in a conspiracy to plant a bomb outside Pune’s famous Dagdusheth Ganpati temple.Conflicting reports emerged immediately after the murder, some suggesting that the killing was the consequence of a heated altercation between Mohol and Siddiqui. According to others, the gangster killed the terror suspect as the former was an ardent devotee of Lord Ganesha and was allegedly infuriated that Siddiqui was planning to bomb the temple. In November last year, with the case dragging on, six key prosecution witnesses turned hostile.“We have had our doubts in the conduct of this case from the beginning. Both Mohol and Bhalerao are city-based gangsters. Eyewitnesses turned hostile owing to fear of reprisal. Once we get the order, we will be moving Bombay High Court,” said Anjum Inamdar of the Moolnivasi Muslim Manch.In May 2016, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had directed the State government to pay a compensation of ₹5 lakh to Siddiqui’s family on grounds that he was in the custody of the State and his killing constituted violation of human rights.Mr. Inamdar, whose outfit has been fighting for justice for Siddiqui’s kin, also alleged that Mohol had committed the crime to get into the good books of fringe Hindutva outfits.last_img read more

Kiren Rijiju says govt. working on adventure policy

first_imgThe Centre is working on an adventure policy to promote certain destinations as well as activities that make adrenaline surge.India had never had such a policy that could impact sports as well as tourism, Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju said during the launch of a Thailand airline’s flight between Guwahati and Bangkok.“I have asked officials in my Ministry to draft an adventure policy besides revamping the youth and sports policies. The Northeast will become the focal point in the entire approach,” he said on Sunday.Mr. Rijiju said adventure destinations in the Himalayan and sub-Himalayan swathes of the Northeast could benefit from the policy, provided the region was promoted as a combined package and not in isolation by the constituent States.Arunachal Pradesh, Mr. Rijiju’s home State, is geographically the region’s largest offering adventure sports such as mountaineering, mountain biking, paragliding, rock-climbing and white-water rafting. The other States – Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura – too have places ideal for adventure sports.“All State governments in the Northeast must come together for unified tourism policy. Otherwise, the region’s culture and natural assets would remain a potential without being exploited sustainably,” Mr. Rijiju said at the programme to mark the launch of Nok Air’s inaugural flight.Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal flagged off the flight — the first by any foreign airline to and from Guwahati — from the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport early on Sunday. Mr. Rijiju also warned that the region had to first get out of the culture of shutdowns and blockades to cash in on tourism. Years of insurgency had already had a debilitating effect on the Northeast, he said.last_img read more

Construction activity banned, 333 brick kilns shut till November 5 in U.P.’s Muzaffarnagar to control pollution

first_imgThe authorities have banned construction activity and ordered the closure of paper mills and brick kilns in the district till Tuesday following spike in pollution levels. The air quality in the district deteriorated further on Saturday, slipping into the ‘severe plus’ category. Construction activities have been banned and nine paper mills and 333 brick kilns shut till November 5 to combat pollution in the district, officials said. Chief Medical Officer Dr P.S. Mishra said people should take a lot of precautions and wear face masks when venturing out of their homes.last_img read more