Centre expects cooperation from Mamata government: Rajnath


first_imgWhile maintaining that that there is no scope for “confrontation in a healthy democracy”, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said that the Centre is expecting cooperation from the West Bengal government.During his visit to Kolkata, Mr. Singh, who interacted with party workers and journalists, was careful to avoid any direct criticism of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her government.Asked to comment on the law and order situation in the State as highlighted by several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, Mr. Singh said that law and order is a State subject.“The Centre will extend all help to control any kind of violence but it is for the State government to ensure that law and order is maintained,” Mr. Singh said.last_img read more

Slight intensity quake shakes Uttarakhand


first_imgA slight intensity earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale shook parts of Uttarakhand on December 28 evening.Epicentred in the hilly Chamoli district, the earthquake, the second this month, was felt in various parts of the state around 4.45 p.m., Met Office Director Vikram Singh said. It had a depth of 33 km which eliminates any possibility of damage to life and property, he said.An earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale had shaken the whole of Uttarakhand on the night of December 6.The last one had its epicentre in Rudraprayag, another hilly district neighbouring Chamoli.last_img read more

Odisha gangrape victim kills herself


first_imgThe class IX girl allegedly gang-raped by four security personnel in combat attire near Kunduli of Odisha’s Koraput district on Oct 10 last year, committed suicide in her home at Musaguda village on Monday afternoon.At around 2.30 pm, her family members, who had returned after some work found her hanging inside the house locked from inside. She was seen hanging on her dupatta. The family members broke open the door and took her to the Kunduli Community Health Centre (CHC). According to Sunabeda Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Narahari Nayak, the victim was declared ‘brought d dead’ by the CHC doctors. Angry villagers at Kunduli CHC refused to allow the police to remove the body for post mortem till evening. Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, who had returned to Bhubaneswar on Monday after being conferred with ‘ideal Chief Minister’ award at the eighth Indian students’ parliament at World Peace University, Pune, on Sunday condoled the girls death BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan criticised the BJD government for the girl’s suicide.State president of Mahila Morcha of Odisha BJP, Prabhati Parida said that they would holddemonstrations throughout the State for two days against the handling of the incident. Congress hads decided to hold ademonstration on the issue, at Kunduli on Tuesday. Congress leader and former Congress MP, Pradeep Majhi said leaders of Odisha Congress would reach Kunduli by Tuesday morning. “The victim committed suicide due to mental stress and frustration as she was unable to get justice from any source,” Mr Majhi said.The victim had alleged that on Oct 10, 2017 she had been gang-raped near Kunduli under Pottangi police station by four persons in combat attire On Oct 16, four persons from her village had been taken into custody for interrogation .last_img read more

Kashmir Valley witnesses shutdown on Afzal Guru death anniversary


first_imgKashmir valley witnessed a shutdown on the fifth death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on Friday.Security was tightened and restrictions imposed in Guru’s home town, Sopore. The movement of vehicles was also restricted in parts of Srinagar.The authorities disallowed prayers at the Jamia Masjid. Several separatist leaders were detained. Meanwhile, most shops and offices remained shut, as separatists had called for a strike.last_img

Probe into Rajasthan human clinical trial


first_imgThe Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has sent a three-member team to Jaipur to inquire into an alleged unethical human clinical trial conducted by a pharma company at a private hospital in the Rajasthan capital, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) said on Saturday.State panel Rajasthan Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf also constituted a three-member panel to probe into the alleged incident. According to State officials, nearly two dozen people hailing from Rajasthan’s Churu and Bharatpur districts were allegedly subjected to the unethical human clinical trial for an osteo-ortho drug at the hospital. DCGI Dr. S. Eswara Reddy, in Delhi, said, “We have sent a team of three officials to Jaipur to inquire into the matter along with the State drug controller.” Mr. Saraf said a three-member panel, headed by an additional director-level officer has been constituted to probe the matter. “Action will be taken, if lapses are found, the Health Minister said. Hospital visitedThe panel on Saturday visited the hospital located in Vishwakarma Industrial Area to initiate the probe. “Principal investigator and patients enrolled in the clinical trial were not available at the site. We have asked the hospital staff to provide necessary documents related to the trial,” Dr. Ravi Prakash Sharma, the head of the three-member probe panel constituted by the State government, said.last_img read more

Five of a family saved from mob in Nashik


first_imgHours after five persons were bludgeoned to death in Dhule district by a mob that suspected them to be child-lifters, a family of five narrowly escaped a similar fate in Nashik district late on Sunday night.The police said a huge mob, fed on social media rumours about a child lifting gang, came looking for the victims in the Azad Nagar locality of Malegaon. The victims Gajanan Sahebrao Gire, his wife Sindhubai, their two-year-old child, Sindhubai’s sister Anusaya and another relative Yogesh — all hailing from Parbhani district — were apparently asking for money along Malegaon’s Ali Akbar Road area to pay for their return back home.“Around 11 p.m. , we got a call about some persons being assaulted by a mob on suspicion of being child lifters. The police rushed to the scene and managed to pacify the restive mob,” said Harssh Poddar, IGP, Nashik Range. However, when the police attempted to take some of them into custody, the crowd turned violent. The mob, which had swelled by then, began hurling stones on the security personnel. “One police vehicle was overturned and the windscreens of some vans were smashed. A reserve team was rushed to the spot and only then did we manage to quell the violence,” said Sub-Inspector Milind Navgire.He said the police took the family, which had taken shelter in a building along Ali Akbar road, safely to a nearby police station.Another official from the Malegaon police station said a case under sections 143, 147, 149 and 323 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) had been lodged against unidentified persons at the Azad Nagar police station. No arrests had yet been made.last_img read more

Don’t romance with litigation, says CJI Misra


first_imgChief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra, who is retiring next month, on Sunday suggested to litigants to make an effort to see if the litigation can be solved otherwise. “You are welcome to litigate. But do not romance with litigation,” the Chief Justice said. “I do not suggest for a moment that you should not fight for a cause. But when the cause is small and can be solved otherwise, then solve it. Because that also serves the purpose of access to justice,” CJI Misra said while speaking after laying the foundation stone for a permanent building of theOdisha State Legal Services Authority and e-inauguration of legal assistance establishment, “Nyaya Sanjog”, in all the 30 districts of the State.last_img read more

Safety inspection of Violet Line section on Friday


first_imgThe Delhi Metro on Tuesday announced that the Commissioner For Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) will inspect the Escorts Mujesar-Raja Nahar Singh (Ballabgarh) section of the Violet Line on Friday.“The Commissioner For Metro Rail Safety, S. K. Pathak, will inspect the Escorts Mujesar-Raja Nahar Singh (Ballabgarh) section of the Delhi Metro’s Violet Line on Friday,” said a Delhi Metro spokesperson.This section is an extension of the Kashmere Gate-Escorts Mujesar Violet Line, and is likely to be inaugurated later this month.The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said in a statement that the 3.2-km elevated section comprises two elevated stations — Sant Surdas (Sihi) and Raja Nahar Singh. After the section is inaugurated, the corridor will become 46.6-km-long and the total length of Delhi Metro network will become 317 km.last_img read more

Over 60% voting in Haryana municipal corporation polls


first_imgAround 62% voters exercised their franchise in the elections to Haryana’s five municipal corporations of Hisar, Rohtak, Panipat, Karnal and Yamunanagar on Sunday. The elections to two municipal committees were also held in the State. The counting of votes will be taken up on December 19.Yamunanagar recorded the highest 65.2% turnout followed by Hisar (62.7), Rohtak (62.4), Panipat (62) and Karnal (61.8) as per the State Election Commission website. The municipal committees of Jakhal Mandi (Fatehabad) and Pundri (Kaithal) recorded 89.5% and 82.1% turnout respectively.The keenly fought corporation polls for direct election to the positions of Mayors for the first time in Haryana hold great significance for the regional and State politics and could be the reflection of the electorate’s mood in the State in the run-up to the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections due next year.Though the Congress has officially stayed out of the contest for the municipal bodies as a policy matter, the Independent Mayoral candidates supported by the local Congress leaders are locked in an intense direct electoral battle with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party candidates in all the five corporations. Fought on the home turfs of incumbent Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and two-time former Congress Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the contests for the positions of Mayors in Karnal and Rohtak respectively have turned into prestige battle for the two parties. In Rohtak, BJP’s Manmohan Goyal, a former Congressman, is involved in a direct contest with Congress-supported Sita Ram Sachdeva, a Punjabi. However, former AIDWA general-secretary and Bhim Awardee Jagmati Sangwan, the CPI (M) candidate supported by the Left parties, the Aam Aadmi Party and several social organisations, could emerge as a dark horse for the coveted post. The INLD-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance candidate Sanchit Nandal is the State’s youngest candidate for the position of Mayor from Rohtak.In Karnal, BJP candidate Renu Bala Gupta, a Baniya, is pitted against united Opposition with Congress leaders supporting the INLD-BSP’s alliance candidate Asha Wadhwa, a Punjabi, in a contest where caste seems to have taken precedence over the local issues.In Hisar, Rekha Aren, supported by former Congress Minister Savitri Jindal and Kuldeep Bishnoi, is engaged in a direct contest with BJP’s Gautam Sardana. Similarly, BJP’s Madan Chauhan is giving a tough fight to the Congressbacked Rakesh Sharma in a triangular fight involving INLD’s Sandeep Goyal in Yamunanagar.last_img read more

Amend outdated tourism Act, demand Goa hotel owners


first_imgThe Goa Small and Medium Hoteliers Association of Goa has said that unchecked online room aggregator services, mushrooming illegal guest houses and wholesale liquor shops doing unchecked retail business were the bane of Goa’s tourism. At a press conference here on Monday, president of the association, Serafino Cotta, demanded that the Goa Tourism Trade Act be amended to check and regulate most of these ills. He also blamed lopsided regulation and a unresponsive State Tourism Ministry being busy selling “refrigerators to Eskimos”.The medium and small hoteliers held poor management of the tourism industry responsible for declining footfalls. “There is a sharp drop in arrivals. Instead of looking to arrest this fall, the Tourism Ministry is going to travel marts in countries which hardly have any interest in Goa. They are visiting international markets where the officials have a good holiday,” alleged Mr. Cotta. Mr. Cotta said the biggest problem encountered by them was unregulated accommodation, which he said accounted for nearly 85% of all accommodation in the State. “Illegal conversion of second homes into boutique hotels and bed and breakfast ventures is bleeding the genuine hotel industry. These outfits get liberal licences under an antiquated Tourism Trade Act , do not pay adequate taxes, tariffs as per hospitality structure and thus deny a level playing field for medium and small hotels, and eventually cause a loss of revenue to the State,” said Santanio D’Souza, secretary of the association. “Online room aggregators with their aggressive pricing have also driven the room prices down making it difficult for small and medium hotels to survive. At the same time the low prices has promoted ‘cheap tourism’,” said joint- secretary Pifran Fernandes. Mr. Cotta also demanded a ban on wholesalers of alcohol being given retail liquor licences, which he said, had triggered an unhealthy trend of tourists drinking in public places leading to nuisance. “People buy drinks from wholesale liquor stores, which are cheap and start drinking on the streets and just litter the surroundings and beaches. Goa is projected as a destination where alcohol can be purchased even in a supermarket,” Mr. Cotta said.last_img read more

Fusion “Breakthrough” at NIF? Uh, Not Really …


first_imgOne unintended effect of the U.S. federal shutdown is that helpful press officers at government labs are not available to provide a reality check to some of the wilder stories that can catch fire on the Internet. They would have come in handy this week, when a number of outlets jumped on a report on the BBC News website. The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, it reported, had passed a “nuclear fusion milestone.” NIF uses the world’s highest energy laser system to crush tiny pellets containing a form of hydrogen fuel to enormous temperature and pressure. The aim is to get the hydrogen nuclei to fuse together into helium atoms, releasing energy.The BBC story reported that during one experiment last month, “the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel – the first time this had been achieved at any fusion facility in the world.” This prompted a rush of even more effusive headlines proclaiming the “fusion breakthrough.” As no doubt NIF’s press officers would have told reporters, the experiment in question certainly shows important progress, but it is not the breakthrough everyone is hoping for.A memo sent out on 29 September to collaborating labs from NIF Director Ed Moses—which has been seen by Science—describes a fusion shot that took place at 5:15 a.m. on 28 September. It produced 5×1015 neutrons, 75% more than any previous shot. Neutrons are a product of fusion reactions, so they are used as a measure of success.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(*)For fusion experiments, NIF directs 192 laser beams from all directions at the fusion target in a pulse that carries 1.8 million joules (MJ) of energy. The outer part of the target is a tiny metal can the size of a pencil eraser, called a hohlraum, at the center of which sits a plastic sphere smaller than a peppercorn containing frozen fusion fuel—a mixture of the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium, known as DT. The ultraviolet beams are fired into the hohlraum through holes at each end but not directly at the fuel capsule. Instead they hit the inner walls of the hohlraum, heating it so much that it emits a pulse of x-rays. The x-rays cause the plastic capsule to explode, driving the fuel inward toward its center.If all goes according to plan, the fuel—compressed to 100 times the density of lead—will ignite a fusion reaction, but the laser-driven implosion does not provide enough energy to burn all the DT fuel. Some energy from the fusion reactions is needed to keep the burn going. DT fusion reactions produce two products: helium nuclei (aka alpha particles), which carry 20% of the reaction energy as kinetic energy; and neutrons, which carry the rest. For fusion to work as an energy source, the alpha particles must efficiently heat up the fuel to keep the reaction running.To achieve this, NIF researchers have been experimenting with the shape of the laser pulse to make it deliver more power near the beginning. In his 29 September memo, Moses says these improvements had led to alpha-particle heating that doubled the energy yield—”a clear demonstration of the mechanism that is needed to achieve ignition,” he wrote. Ignition is the goal of a self-sustaining, alpha-heated fusion burn producing more energy than the laser put in. Moses also says the energy yield (carried by the neutrons and estimated at 14 kilojoules) was more than the x-ray energy absorbed to implode the capsule, a milestone he refers to as “scientific breakeven.”“It is a good experiment,” says Michael Campbell, a former director of NIF who now works for Logos Technologies in Fairfax, Virginia. “From a science standpoint, the target worked well enough for alpha particles to heat some of the fuel.” But Campbell is concerned about overhyping each step in what is bound to be a long haul toward fusion as an energy source. The energy yield in last month’s experiment is still a very long way from ignition, the goal—enshrined in NIF’s name—that the facility was expected to reach a year ago. NIF is now partway through a 3-year campaign to nail down why it is struggling to reach that goal. “It’s a science-based program now. They are trying to identify some of the obstacles to getting to ignition,” Campbell says.One requirement for ignition is that energy output should exceed the energy input from the laser, i.e., that gain (output divided by input) should be greater than 1. NIF’s laser input of 1.8 MJ is roughly the same as the kinetic energy of a 2-tonne truck traveling at 160 km/h (100 miles/h). The output of the reaction—14 kJ—is equivalent to the kinetic energy of a baseball traveling at half that speed. Numerically speaking, the gain is 0.0077. The experiment “is a good and necessary step, but there is a long way to go before you have energy for mankind,” Campbell says.last_img read more

Dried Meat ‘Resurrects’ Lost Species of Whale


first_imgA gift of dried whale meat—and some clever genetic sleuthing across almost 16,000 kilometers of equatorial waters—has helped scientists identify a long-forgotten animal as a new species of beaked whale. The “resurrection” raises new questions about beaked whales, the most elusive and mysterious of cetaceans.“Literally nothing is known about most species of beaked whales; they are probably the least known family of large mammals,” says Robin Baird, a cetacean biologist at Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia. “So it’s exciting to have this study.”The species, Mesoplodon hotaula, is a dark blue, Volkswagen-van-sized cetacean with the prominent snout that gives beaked whales their common name. It first came to scientists’ attention in 1963 when a single adult female stranded on the coast of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. The director of the National Museums of Ceylon, P. E. P. Deraniyagala, decided that it was different from the other Mesoplodon species known at that time, and assigned it the name hotaula, meaning “pointed beak” in the local Sinhala language. But only 2 years later, M. hotaula was eliminated as a species when other researchers decided that it was identical to M. ginkgodens (another beaked whale which scientists know only from stranded carcasses and have never seen alive in the sea).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(*)Forty years later, locals on an atoll in the Gilbert Islands, part of the Republic of Kiribati in the west Pacific, gave a visiting marine biologist dried strips of whale meat left over from a recent festival. The sample was turned over to cetacean geneticists at the University of Auckland in New Zealand who had assembled a database of the DNA of all known beaked whales. “It was a surprise, because the genetic sequences from the meat didn’t match any of the known species,” says Scott Baker, a cetacean geneticist now at Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute in Newport, and one of the authors of the study. “We thought we had a new species.”Then, in 2005, other co-authors collected some whale bone and teeth on Palmyra Atoll, which lies southeast of the Hawaiian Islands and 2600 kilometers northeast of the Gilbert Islands. The genetic sequences extracted from these specimens matched those of the dried meat. “We knew then we were on to something,” Baker says. Finally, in 2009, the body of a beaked whale was found in the Seychelles, in the western part of the Indian Ocean; its DNA also matched that of the dried meat sample, even though this whale lived tens of thousands of kilometers away from the Gilbert Islands.That was the clue the researchers needed. “We immediately wondered, ‘Could it be Deraniyagala’s beaked whale?’ ” Baker says. It was. The team reports its resurrection of the forgotten M. hotaula today in Marine Mammal Science. Counting M. hotaula, there are now 15 known species in this genus, making it by far the most species-rich genus of cetaceans.Overall, the saga of M. hotaula shows “that there are probably even more species of beaked whales that we don’t know about,” says Phil Clapham, a marine mammalogist at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, Washington. “We don’t see them because they’re very deep-diving and live far from land.” They also live in a poorly surveyed part of the ocean, Baker says, where very few people dwell on remote atolls.      Intriguingly, it is the islanders who seem to know the most about M. hotaula and some other beaked whales. The Gilbert Islands residents who provided the original gift of dried meat reported that it came from one of seven whales they had driven onto the beach and killed. “That was something we didn’t know: that these beaked whales live in groups,” Baker says. “We thought they were solitary” because of the single, stranded individuals that are occasionally found. The scientists also believe that males of M. hotaula fight each other, because this behavior is known in other species of beaked whales, and because the teeth of two adult male specimens were broken. “Other than that, and knowing that Deraniyagala was right, M. hotaula is still pretty mysterious,” says Baker, who hopes to launch an expedition to learn more about them.last_img read more

Warming world could make it harder for planes to take off


first_imgAir travel is about to become even more frustrating. Warmer global temperatures will make it tougher for planes to take off, tightening restrictions on just how much luggage or how many people can come aboard, a new study suggests. Higher temperatures make air less dense, reducing the lift force on planes’ wings. Because heavier planes are harder to speed up, they’ll need more runway distance to reach their minimum takeoff speed in warmer weather. But when runways aren’t long enough, those flights will need to reduce their loads. To estimate how much of a problem this could be, researchers used a climate model to project future summer temperatures at four major U.S. airports, assuming minimal action to cut global warming emissions. The scientists compared the findings with the temperature thresholds that prompt various weight restrictions at those airports for a Boeing 737-800 commercial plane. All four airports would have 50% to 200% more days with weight restrictions by the 2050s to 2070s than they do now, the team concludes online this month in Weather, Climate, and Society. Phoenix’s airport would go from almost no days to 20 or more per year. Meanwhile, airports in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Denver that now do have a few dozen weight-restriction days every year could each have a few dozen more per year in the future, the researchers report. To compensate, airlines will have to reduce passengers or cargo, the team says, unless the aviation industry lengthens runways or designs more aerodynamic planes.last_img read more

Silicon Valley University, A Suspected ‘Visa Mill’ for Indian Students, Abruptly Shut Down by Feds


first_imgSilicon Valley University, one of the most popular institutions in California for foreign students from South India, was abruptly shut down April 5, amid rumors that it was a “visa mill.”The move came after Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter March 22 to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, complaining about the lax oversight of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which allows students from foreign countries to enroll at accredited U.S. universities. In his letter, Grassley stated that several universities with large bodies of primarily foreign students were in fact “visa mills.”Read it at India West Related Itemslast_img read more

Tech Cities Reinforce India as a Relocation Hub


first_imgJust last month, the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook projected India’s growth at an annual rate of 7.4 per cent for 2018/19 and 7.8 per cent in 2019/20.India’s industrial strategy has been full throttle over the last four years under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with ambitious plans for driving technology, infrastructure, financial centres, the automotive sector and healthcare.Read it at Relocate Related Itemslast_img

Australian Group Pushes For Safety of Sikhs in Afghanistan


first_imgIn the wake of the recent killings of 19 members of the Sikh and Hindu minorities in Jalalabad, the National Sikh Council of Australia held a prayer meeting in the presence of Afghanistan Ambassador H.E. Wahidullah Waissi at the Sikh Mission Centre in Sydney on Wednesday.Read it at SBS Related Itemslast_img

25% Lesser Wages For Indians: Oracle Accused Of Discrimination


first_imgThe US Department of Labor has accused US-based Oracle of discrimination against Indian, Asian and African Americans employees by paying lower wages of as much as 25% for comparable positions than white or non Asians in the company. Read it at Economic Times Related Itemslast_img

We’re All Terrorists Now


first_imgIn this day and age, we are now all terror suspects, all the time, everywhere. Get used to walking with your hands up in the air.The initial British response to the subway bombings was measured. Unlike George Bush, who brought a cocky Texas swagger in his public response to 9/11, revving up public anger, Prime Minister Tony Blair was remarkably restrained in the aftermath of 7/7.  The 56 people killed in the four coordinated bombings on July 7 in London’s Underground are only a tiny fraction of the almost 2,700 victims of the incendiary terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center twin towers in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. But the impact of the London blasts could be more far reaching for immigrants living in the West.The initial British response to the subway bombings was measured. Unlike George Bush, who brought a cocky Texas swagger in his public response to 9/11, revving up public anger, Prime Minister Tony Blair was remarkably restrained in the aftermath of 7/7. He, expressed bewliderment that the terrorists were homegrown British – not British Muslims, just British. Londoners responded stoically, going about their daily business the following day. In marked contrast to the United States, the broad public consensus held firm that the country should resist surrendering its cherished civil liberties at the altar of security.But that public sentiment changed dramatically after a second series of failed bombing attempts on the subway two weeks later on July 21. Riders are increasingly wary and the police added to their anxiety the following day when they fatally shot an innocent man five times in the head as he crouched terrified on the train floor.The London police have since expressed “deep regrets” and accepted “full responsibility” for the killing, although they have pointedly hrefused to apologize. Indeed the city’s police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, is preparing Londoners for future mistakes under the new shoot-to-kill policy aimed at deterring potential suicide bombers: “It wasn’t just a random event, and the most important thing to realize is that it is still happening out there. Somebody else could be shot.”The police shooting is puzzling. The victim, a Brazilian national, Jean Carles de Menezes, apparently aroused police suspicions after he emerged from a building under surveillance. Those suspicions were hightened because Menezes was wearing a bulk jacket in the steamy summer weather. When they surrounded him near a subway station, Menezes panicked, jumped a turnstile and fled into a train. His relatives suspect that Menezes fled because he had been accosted by skinheads once or that he might have been working illegally in London. Equally baffling is why the police failed to recognize that a building they had under surveillance had multiple apartments and why they unloaded a full round into a man as he trembled on the floor.Whatever the explanations, a whole new world has arrived for immigrants in the West. We may have gotten used to our repeated “random” selection for intrusive body searches at airports. Annoying as that has been, it has been limited to airline travel, a relatively infrequent activity. Now we raise suspicion anytime and anywhere and can stir alarm in the most innocent of actions.In New York, one the city’s busiest train stations was briefly evacuated July 24 after a seemingly drugged and irritated passenger taunted a ticket agent that he had a bomb in his bag. A few hours earlier, police handcuffed and lined up five South Asian passengers on a tourist bus on their knees on a public sidewalk after a supervisor with the bus company reported that they were carrying “suspicious backpacks” and had “stuffed pockets.”Police cordoned off traffic for 90 minutes near Times Square, one of the New York’s leading tourist attractions, and ordered all 60 passengers off the bus with their hands raised. The five innocent “suspects” were determined not to have any backpacks after all and released. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has publicly apologized for the incident and rebuked the bus company for overreacting, urging New Yorkers, “Please don’t embellish what the facts are.”His warning is likely to follow on deaf ears, however. In this day and age we are now all terror suspects, all the time, everywhere.Get used to walking with your hands up in the air. Related Itemslast_img read more