first_imgThe overall flood situation in Assam continued to be grim on Thursday with major rivers in both the Brahmaputra and the Barak Valley maintaining a rising trend and affecting a population of more than 1.38 lakh in nine districts of the state.The Brahmaputra was maintaining a rising trend in Sonitpur, Guwahati and Goalpara while its tributaries Dhansiri and Jiabharali were flowing above the danger mark, according to a bulletin issued by the Central Water Commission.The tribuatries Ranganadi, Subansiri, Dikhow, Kopili, Manas, Beki and Sankosh were also maintaining a rising trend.In the Barak Valley, rivers Barak, Katakhal and Kushiyara were flowing above the danger mark in Cachar and Karimganj district.Karimganj district was the worst affected district in the current wave of flood with more than 1.30 lakh people affected with both river Kushiyara and Katakhal flowing above the danger mark at several places, according to a report of the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA).The districts affected by the current wave of flood are Lakhimpur, Sivasagar, Golaghat, Karbi Anglong, Jorhat, Sonitpur, Hojai, Karimganj and Cachar, according to the official flood bulletin.Altogether 16 relief camps have been opened where 4,239 people have taken shelter while 75 relief distribution points have been set up to distribute materials to the flood affected population.The overflowing rivers and their tributaries have breached embankments in Cachar, Barpeta Jorhat and Sonitpur districts, submerged roads in Karimganj and Sibsagar districts and severe erosion was reported from Udalguri district.last_img read more

first_imgCutting across party lines and regional divides, widespread condemnation and protests poured out in J&K on Tuesday against the attack on Amarnath pilgrims. “It’s an attack on the soul and spirit of Kashmir. Islam teaches us to protect and safeguard the lives of our guests. The attack is an assault on our religion and our identity as Kashmiris,” said National Conference president and Member of Parliament Dr. Farooq Abdullah.Socio-religious group Jamaat-e-Islami termed the attack as a “cowardly act.” “This beastly incident needs an impartial probe by some international agency to bring forth the truth. Some unknown elements have vicious designs to defame Kashmiri Muslims,” said a Jamaat spokesman. Separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, in a joint statement said, “This incident goes against the very grain of Kashmiri ethos”.Valley-based traders’ bodies, including Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, joined the condemnation. “It’s noted with concern that such incidents have generally been taking place on specific occasions, which tend to send a wrong signal throughout the country about the situation in Kashmir,” said KCCI spokesman, as the traders demanded “a time-bound probe by a Supreme Court judge”.Traders and rights groups also held street protests in Srinagar. A rights group, J&K Coalition of Civil Society, also held a sit-in in Srinagar. “We want to show unambiguously and emphatically our solidarity to the victims. We demand a credible investigation into this incident and other crimes committed in J&K,” said JKCCS coordinator Khurram Pervez.Meanwhile, a shutdown was observed in Jammu, the Pir Panchal valley and the Chenab Valley. A shutdown call was issued by Panthers Party, National Conference, Congress, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Jammu High Court Bar Association.last_img read more

first_imgFour security personnel were injured on Monday afternoon when militants lobbed a grenade in central Kashmir’s Budgam.A police official said militants lobbed grenade on security forces at Kanihama, in which three CRPF personal and one policeman have been injured.Reinforcements were rushed to the area to nab the attackers.last_img

first_imgTrinamool Congress MP and the president of party’s youth wing Abhishek Banerjee on Monday sent a legal notice to the party’s former leader Mukul Roy for making “malicious and defamatory” statements against him, and demanded an unconditional apology within 48 hours.Mr. Roy who joined the BJP earlier this month, alleged at a public rally last week that ‘Biswa Bangla’, a brand which the West Bengal government uses to promote cultural and sports activities, was a company owned by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee. ‘Cease and desist’The notice demanded that Mr. Roy “forthwith cease and desist from making or circulating any defamatory comments, statement and/or causing publication of the same in any media” against Abhishek Banerjee and threatened to initiate civil and criminal proceedings against Mr. Roy.Senior officials of the West Bengal government have already refuted Mr. Roy’s allegations by stating that ‘Biswa Bangla’ was wholly owned by the State government. In connection with reports of multiple applications for trademark registration of the ‘Biswa Bangla’ logo, State Additional Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha said CJ Associates, on behalf of Abhishek Banerjee, had withdrawn its application and this had been accepted by the Registrar of Trade Marks.Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress organised a rally on Monday at Rani Rashmoni Avenue, the same venue where Mr. Roy had made these allegations. Several senior party members, including Ministers, were present at the rally and targeted Mr. Roy and the BJP government at the Centre.last_img read more

first_imgPanaji: Three Uzbek female nationals and two Indian women were rescued after a raid by the Calangute police in North coastal Goa on Monday. Two pimps were also arrested. The raid was conducted at a guest house in Candolim village in North Goa, Police Inspector in-charge of Calangute police station Jivba Dalvi told presspersons on Monday. He said this was part of continued action by the police to tackle trafficking of women for sex-trade. “The men have been identified as Dhananjay Kumar Mohanty(22) and Chandan Kumar Patra(27), both natives of Odisha. They have been arrested and will be produced before a court for remand. The victims, three from Uzbekistan and one each from Maharashtra and Hyderabad have been sent to a care home,” Mr. Dalvi said, adding that the guest house has been sealed. The accused have been booked under Sections 370, 370(3) r/w 34 Indian Penal Code and sections 3, 4, 5 & 7 of Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, Mr. Dalvi said.last_img read more

first_imgAfter his conviction in a rape case in Rajasthan, all eyes are set on another rape case against Asaram Bapu in Gujarat. He is accused of raping a woman in Ahmedabad, and the case is being tried by a local court in Gandhinagar. Also Read  In Gujarat, Asaram and his son Narayan Sai, who is lodged in a jail in Surat, are facing rape and sexual assault cases in Ahmedabad and Surat respectively.Two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son, accusing them of rape and illegal confinement, among other charges. The elder sister had accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 2001 and 2006 when she was staying at his ashram near Ahmedabad.Recently, the Supreme Court had pulled up the Gujarat police for the delay in completion of recording of evidence, and had directed it to conclude the process within five weeks. Asaram to be in jail until death for raping minorlast_img read more

first_imgOn March 4, 2009, Azad Khan, a 12-year-old Class VI student in Thoubal district, was reading a newspaper at his home with a friend when police commandos surrounded them. One commando beat up the friend asking him why he was getting mixed up with a “militant.”Then he whipped out a handgun which he claimed to have recovered from Azad. The police beat Azad, frogmarched him to a nearby paddy field even as his mother and some other villagers were held back at gunpoint. Then Azad was shot right in front of his stunned mother and several villagers.His mother, Garamjan Bibi, said: “When I lodged a complaint with the police, I was warned to withdraw it if I wanted to save my life.” Despite the threat, she went ahead with it.No closureShe later gave a graphic account of the killing to human rights groups, which took up the case. Director of Human Rights Law Network Manipur Meihoubam Rakesh said: “It was one of the six stray cases the Supreme Court examined out of 1,528 victims of fake encounters in Manipur, victims whose relatives are waiting for closure. Most of the victims were breadwinners. Their family members are fending for themselves by earning daily wages.”Some families were given solatium by courts as interim relief. But the final verdict is still awaited. Family members of “missing persons” and victims of fake encounters want to see justice delivered.Former Supreme court judge N. Santosh Hegde, who was a member of the three-member committee set up by the Supreme Court, said: “How can a 12-year-old boy be a terrorist?” The report was submitted to the Supreme Court on July 8, 2016, which said there was no encounter with Azad Khan and he was not an extremist and had no criminal record.Taking note of the results of judicial inquiries and the findings of the Gauhati High Court, the Supreme Court Bench has posted the Manipur encounters PIL for hearing on May 11. It also wanted the names of officers and personnel involved to be included in the FIRs.In another case, Ravina, who was at an advanced stage of pregnancy, was walking on B.T. Road in Imphal on July 23, 2009, with her three-year-old son for a medical checkup when a bullet hit her in the forehead and she slumped to the ground. A few minutes later, Chungkham Sanjit, a former insurgent who came to buy medicines for an ailing member of his family, was accosted by some police commandos, pushed inside a pharmacy nearby, and then after a few minutes his lifeless body was dragged out. The police claimed that it was a “militant” who killed Ravina, and he was killed in police action. Sanjit had been staying home and he was unarmed, according to witnesses.Commando’s confessionThe saga of ‘encounters’ took a decisive turn with head constable T. Herojit, a police commando, turning whistle blower and confessing two years ago to the media that he had killed Sanjit inside the pharmacy “on the orders of higher-ups”.What was unknown to the police at that time was that a lensman had been secretly taking photos of the killing. These tell-tale photographs were published in the magazine Tehelka, and established that Sanjit was unarmed and killed in cold blood. The photos showed a smiling, unarmed Sanjit being surrounded by policemen and then being pushed inside the pharmacy and later his body dragged out and taken away together with that of Ravina in a station wagon to the mortuary.Herojit, under suspension, had publicly confessed to having killed several people “on the orders of the higher-ups”. He confirmed there had been no exchange of fire when Sanjit was killed. As he was denied a judicial confession in a court — judges had second thoughts due to legal tangles since it is the first of its kind in India — Herojit submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court in January 2018, saying that he could assist in a probe into the fake encounter killings since he was present in most of the incidents.Human rights activists are of the view that Herojit was at hand when over 100 persons were similarly killed over 15 years, and he had urged the apex court to recover his four diaries from the CBI, in which he claims to have recorded the chilling details of the “executions”. He said the CBI sleuths seem to be “completely disinterested in the matter”.On January 16, 2018, the SC reprimanded the CBI for not registering all cases and directed it to register 30 more cases by January 31, which the CBI did. Earlier on July 14, 2017, the SC directed the CBI to set up a SIT (Special Investigation Team) comprising five officers to probe the allegations of fake encounters, by December 31. The SIT should investigate the 98 cases of alleged fake encounters, a Division Bench of the SC comprising Justices Madan Lokur and Uday Umesh Lalit said.Advocate Bashantakumar Wareppam, counsel for Human Rights Alert and Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association, which had filed the PIL plea, told The Hindu that though the number of victims is 98, there were 42 cases in the period 1984 to 2012. There was more than one victim in several cases.The first case was the massacre of 13 civilians and injury to 65 others on March 11, 1984 at Heirangoithong in Imphal west district by CRPF personnel.A game and a massacreAn absorbing volleyball match was in progress near a bridge and patrolling CRPF personnel were also watching it. Insurgents killed three personnel, injured some others and fled. With reinforcements from the nearby camp, the CRPF personnel retaliated by allegedly mowing down helpless spectators.Under public pressure, a judicial inquiry commission was set up. During the hearings, the CRPF counsel maintained that there was an exchange of fire with the militants and the civilians were caught in the crossfire. On the prayer of the victims, the Commission visited the spot. Later, A. Nilamani, counsel for the victims asked the commission why there was not a single bullet mark on the bridge in general and baluster in particular if there was an exchange of fire between CRPF and militants. The CRPF counsel was speechless. There was no further hearing by the Commission, which was later wrapped up.On March 12 this year, the SC provided a four-point blueprint to the CBI’s SIT and directed it to expedite the probe into the alleged extra judicial killings and fake encounters by the Army, Assam Rifles and police in Manipur which had come under the scanner of the National Human Rights Commission, Guwahati High Court and some Commissions of Inquiry.The directive was given by a division bench comprising Justices Madan B. Lokur and U.U. Lalit. The SIT was directed to first complete the ongoing probe in 13 cases of the NHRC followed by matters relating to judicial inquiries, and those on which the High Court had given findings.last_img read more

first_imgThe Gujarat High Court on Friday upheld the conviction of 19 of the 23 persons who were found guilty and convicted by the SIT (Special Investigation Team) trial court in the Ode massacre case of the 2002 riots, in which 23 persons belonging to the minority community were killed by rioters in Anand district, central Gujarat.The High Court also upheld the acquittal of 23 others by the trial court.Maintains sentencesActing on a set of appeals filed against the trial court’s order, a High Court Bench of Justices Akil Kureshi and B. N. Karia upheld the life sentence of 14 convicts, as well as the seven-year jail terms given to five others. The court also ordered the release of those who have completed their seven-year jail term.The High Court acquitted three persons — Dilip Patel, Lalji Patel and Natubhai Patel— who were earlier convicted by the trial court in 2012, while one person, Harish Patel, who was convicted earlier, died during the pendency of his appeal in the HC. All four were sentenced to life imprisonment by the trial court.The brutal killings of 23 persons, including nine women and as many children of the minority community, by members of the majority community of Patidars in Ode village was one of the nine cases handed over to the SIT headed by the former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Dr. R.K. Raghavan for re-investigation.The incident occurred on March 1, 2002, when a mob gathered at Pirwali Bhagol, a minority locality, and burnt a house in which people had taken shelter fearing attacks by the rioting mob.In the High Court, the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which probed the case, along with the State prosecution and the victims sought death penalty for the convicts given life imprisonment and enhanced sentences to those awarded seven-year jail terms. They also sought conviction of the 23 people who were acquitted by the trial court.last_img read more

first_imgAn 11-year-old girl was raped and killed allegedly by a labourer in the Sahaspur area of the city, the police said on Monday.Jay Prakash Tiwari (32), a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad district, allegedly lured the girl who was playing with two boys by offering her money to buy sweets on Saturday. He sent back the boys after giving them money to buy candies and made the girl stay back by offering to give her more. He raped and killed her when she began shouting for help, Sahaspur Station House Officer Narendra Rathore said, adding, the victim also belonged to a family of labourers from Madhya Pradesh. The matter came to light when the girl’s parents lodged a complaint with the police about her disappearance. During search operation, Tiwari was arrested while trying to flee, Mr. Rathore said, adding that he later confessed to the crime. He hid the girl’s body in his shanty and had plans to dispose it of later in the night, the police said.last_img read more

first_imgThe Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) 2018, a multidisciplinary arts event, will present Football – A beautiful life, a six-day film programme, from November 22-27 at Children’s Park in the city.This is an official collateral event of the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which will begin here on November 20. Curated by Jan Tilman Schwab, Football – A beautiful life will showcase a range of exceptional features films and documentaries from around the world in which human and social stories are told through football. The festival will feature films in more than six different languages, representing a diverse range of stories from Spain, Lebanon, Brazil, Germany, Iceland and India.‘Laugh and weep’“I am honoured to be invited to curate this unique and free public programme. Football and films have a lot in common: both require team effort, both depend basically on motion, both have non-verbal languages that can be understood everywhere in the world… The films chosen represent almost all continents, and include short and feature films, documentaries, fiction, and comedies that tell stories of triumph and setbacks. The audience will get opportunities to laugh and weep,” Mr. Schwab said. The film screening programme is part of a series of multidisciplinary arts activations in the lead up to SAF, 2018. “Initiatives like these are an integral part of the Foundation’s mission of making the arts accessible, and developing arts audiences both in numbers and in diversity,” said a spokesperson of the SAF, adding, “Like in the previous two editions, the SAF’s current year’s programming continues to honour the culture and the arts of the festival’s host city redefining heritage sites and architectural icons through creative and community-focused projects”.This year, the festival will be held across 10 venues in Goa and involve over 1,300 artists. It will have multiple exhibitions, performances and immersive arts experiences.last_img read more

first_imgOn January 9, Shah Faesal stunned the nation with his announcement that he was quitting as managing director of the Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation. The 35-year-old had topped the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) examination in 2010. Why did he take such a step?He termed his decision a “small defiance and protest against unabated killings in Kashmir, lack of reach-out and marginalisation of around 200 million Indian Muslims at the hands of Hindutva forces by reducing them to second-class citizens.” Did he court controversies?Mr. Faesal’s frequent brushes with controversy has constantly pushed him to the centre of discourse. As Deputy Commissioner, Bandipora, he ordered a magisterial inquiry into the killing of a civilian, Farhat Ahmad Dar, in firing by security forces on protesters within his jurisdiction in 2014. He followed up the inquiry by writing to the General Administration Department, seeking an amendment to the rules to bring appraisals of officers of the rank of superintendent of police under a Deputy Commissioner’s purview “to reduce human rights violations.” His letter attracted a reprimand from the Chief Secretary, who called it “crossing of the red line.” Subsequently, his tweets and write-ups on the Kashmir problem landed him in a major row. Many BJP leaders, including Union Minister Jitendra Singh, were critical of his views. In July 2018, the Department of Personnel and Training pointed to a tweet of Mr. Faesal and said its contents were “prima facie in contravention of the provision of the All India Service (Conduct Rules), 1968, and All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969.” An inquiry is pending against him for his tweets. Where did he grow up?Mr. Faesal hails from the far-flung village of Sogam in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, where militancy raged in the 1990s since the area is close to the Line of Control (LoC) and was a major route for youth ex-filtrating the Valley into Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir for arms training. His father, a teacher, was killed by militants in 2002 in the village. The decision of Mr. Faesal, an MBBS with a Masters degree in Urdu, came nine years after he topped the IAS examination. In 2010, he described his feat as “breaking of the myth” of discrimination. In fact, he did motivate hundreds of local aspirants to compete in the Union Public Service Commission examinations, an effort that resulted in a quantum jump in the number of students appearing from the Kashmir valley. With his speeches and interviews, widely televised on Doordarshan, he emerged as a poster boy from the troubled Valley. Mr. Faesal’s story of success became a counter-narrative to the discourse of alienation that was driving youth to militancy and street protests.What next?Mr. Faesal, who returned to the State recently from Harvard University after completing a course in public policy, has since announced that he is going to join politics. However, he remained non-committal on joining any ideological platform. He described his stint in politics as “an addition and not an alternative” and made it clear that “he has no aim to divide the J&K electorate further,” a hint that he may join some regional party. In the face of an unprecedented feedback, especially from the youth on social media platforms, Mr. Faesal was swayed against joining a current mainstream party immediately. He said his politics would be “a politics of disruption.” The mainstream parties, which had failed to represent the sentiments of the people, should reinvent themselves and find a new vocabulary, Mr. Faesal said. He has decided to go back to the grassroots and meet people for the next six months before taking a call.last_img read more

first_imgScienceInsider has been tracking the partial U.S. government shutdown since it began 11 days ago.  Member of Congress and President Barack Obama are now discussing a way out of the impasse.For some scientists, it’s too little, too late. Their research has already been disrupted. For others, however, the crisis has yet to hit home.So who’s still working—and who’s been hit the hardest?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(*)Hits:Immediate EffectsThe day after the shutdown, grantmaking at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) ground to a halt. Essential scientists still on the job included a D.C. bird identification expert, physicists maintaining the cesium fountain clock that keeps official U.S. time, and an immunologist tending 14,000 mice at the National Cancer Institute.Antarctic Research Winding DownAlthough most NSF activities were immediately suspended after the shutdown began, certain programs (including Antarctic research) had some leeway to continue operating using leftover funds from 2013. But now the clock is winding down, and NSF will have to close its research programs in Antarctica if the U.S. government shutdown continues beyond 14 October. Also on the chopping block are several major NSF-funded construction projects, including a solar telescope, a gravity wave observatory, and ecological and ocean-observing networks.Ecologists Face Long-Term EffectsFor Long Term Ecological Research projects, missing even a single field season can create unfillable gaps. Shutdown casualties include a 23-year Antarctic study tracking the effect of sea ice on the polar biota and a New Mexico climate variability project that has been active since 1988.U.S. Radio Telescopes Go DarkAll the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s (NRAO’s) U.S. telescopes were turned off on 4 October. A fourth telescope in Chile, run in partnership with three other countries, has enough money to limp along for a few weeks.NIH Denied Exemption From ShutdownLast week, Senate Democrats blocked a House of Representatives plan to restore current funding levels for NIH through 15 December, saying House Republicans shouldn’t be allowed to pick and choose which federal agencies they’d like to reopen. One representative likened the discussion on the House floor to “a new episode of The Hunger Games.”Shutdown Throws Wrench in Scientific MeetingsWith 800,000 workers furloughed, meetings have had to be postponed or canceled. An NIH researcher traveled to Perth in Western Australia—a 30-hour trip from Washington, D.C.—only to learn by e-mail from NIH that he could not present at the meeting.Misses:MAVEN Mission Is a Go After AllNASA officials ruled on 3 October that work on MAVEN, which is scheduled for launch between 18 November and 7 December, can continue after all. The spacecraft is designed to study the martian atmosphere, in part to figure out how its climate apparently became inhospitable for life. NASA has essentially shuttered the rest of its space science operations.Many Marine Researchers Still AfloatDespite initial reports from the American Geophysical Union that government research vessels would have to return to port if the shutdown lasted more than 24 hours, many U.S. research vessels are still on the water and have enough money to stay there until December. None of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System’s 19 vessels have been recalled, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s primary research ship will continue working. The U.S. Navy’s research ships also remain active.ClinicalTrials.gov Gets ExemptionNIH may have been denied a shutdown exemption, but the website ClinicalTrials.gov was granted a reprieve and is now operating during the shutdown to enable clinical trials to move forward.Collateral Damage:One astronomer says the NRAO closures have rendered about $500,000 and one year’s worth of data useless. The Antarctic research halt spelled disaster for at least one graduate student, who arrived at Palmer Station along with several pallets of his Ph.D. research equipment and was told to turn around and go home. Cell biologists aren’t happy either: There’s no one at customs to approve shipments of research fruit flies, and grant reviews are on hold. Other scientists shared their frustrations on Twitter. Share your stories with us @ScienceNews.last_img read more

first_imgMarine mammals, sharks and rays, polar bears, and some birds are among the 31 species that will get greater protection under a deal reached earlier this week by more than 100 countries at a meeting of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), a U.N. body. The new initiatives were approved during tense negotiations at CMS’s annual conference, held in Quito from 3 to 9 November.All 31 species have at least one thing in common: They migrate, crossing international borders, skies, and seas. Their need to move often puts them at risk, as they may travel outside of protected areas. By adding the animals to the list of species protected under the CMS, nations agree to devise plans to protect the animals while they are within their borders.Conserving migratory species takes “global cooperation,” explains Achim Steiner, U.N. under-secretary-general and executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme, which oversees CMS. “The CMS sets global policies to ensure animals can move freely … and establishes rules and guidelines to reduce threats” from illegal fishing, hunting, trapping, poisoning, and capture.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(*)One issue addressed at the meeting was the capture of marine mammals, such as killer whales and porpoises, for display in zoos and marine parks. The delegates approved an initiative calling on member countries to pass laws banning the live capture of whales and dolphins for commercial purposes—the first time that an international body has demanded that this practice cease.Delegates also approved adding 21 species of sharks and rays to the convention’s list of protected species. All are threatened primarily by overharvesting—sharks for their fins, and devil and manta rays for their gill rakers, which are used in Asian medicine. Because manta and devil rays typically have only one pup every few years, they are “exceptionally vulnerable to overexploitation and depletion,” says Ian Campbell of the WWF in Suva, who was a member of the Fiji delegation. No other international body has previously provided protection for devil rays.The rarely seen Cuvier’s beaked whale, which is able to dive some 3 kilometers below the surface of the ocean, was tapped for listing on Appendix I, the convention’s top level of protection. And the remaining 20,000 to 25,000 remaining polar bears in the world were added to Appendix II, which affords less protection, despite some objections from Canada. Melting ice, oil exploration, and hunting all threaten the bears. An Appendix I listing would have required stricter conservation measures, including bans on killing.The meeting also approved a resolution calling for phasing out lead shot—commonly used in shotgun shells for bird hunting—over the next 3 years. Another called for eliminating the veterinary drug diclofenac, which kills vultures and other birds, as well as rodenticides, insecticides, and poison bait. Delegates also adopted guidelines on how to better deploy renewable energy technologies, such as wind turbines, solar panels, and dams, so that they do not harm wildlife.In a surprising and innovative move, the delegates also agreed that scientific findings from animal behavior research—including the concept that some cetacean species have cultures—should be considered in conservation decisions and strategies for these marine mammals.last_img read more

first_imgOnce upon a time, not long ago, stars dazzled bright only in the skies and our B-town stars only on the silver screen. They were our gods and goddesses, luminous deities who mesmerized, transfixed and transported us to a never-never land of happy-ever-after! In the troubled, busy and confusing times we live in, these stars, with their spectacular and larger-than-life glamor and feel-good quotient, showed us the light, inspired hope and, in their own filmy way, demonstrated virtue’s victory over evil and generally distracted, entertained and gifted us an alternative reality that engaged, enchanted and even empowered. In India, entertainment is Bollywood and Bollywood is stars; creatures who are elusive, whom you see but can’t touch or connect with; dudes and dolls you read about, gossip about, fantasize about .… Their charm lay in the fact that they were out-of-bounds, inaccessible, off-limits to the howling mobs. Suddenly this concept has taken a U-turn! The big, sexy, glamorous, unattainable movie-star defined by magic and mystique now come to entertain you, every night, free of charge, on … the idiot box! From Big B, SRK, Salman Khan to Akshay, Ajay Devgun & Kajol, Preiti Zinta, Rani Mukherjee, Urmila Mataonkar, Raveena Tandon, Shushmita Sen, Sonali Bendre, Malaika Arora, Rakhi Sawant, they are all hitting TV screens in droves! Why? In Hollywood (a place the complex-ridden Bollywood is constantly yakking about), neither TV endorsements, TV anchoring or “special” insanely lucrative appearances at product launches, event openings, concerts or big-ticket weddings happen. So what’s going on? Why this desperate sell-out? Aren’t they scared that this insane and all-pervasive exposure will hurt their brand equity as stars?Long time film-tracker, Ashish Paul scoffs at these concerns. “Film stars of yesteryears — 50’s, 60’s, even 70’s — resided in a different world. Commercialism, consumerism and media-driven activities didn’t exist. It was a sweet, cozy, protected space with very high comfort levels. The advent of TV, but more critically the opening up of markets post-91, changed all that. This coincided with Bollywood getting bigger and more powerful as an undisputable pan-India — even global — brand. Very soon, along with cricket, it became the new religion, the great leveler, a seductive common factor that despite caste, creed, language, color, religion, region, culture, even country, bound all. It’s natural, hence, that today’s star-kids, (smart n’ savvy that they are), will participate, even drive this new revenue-generation stream. As for compromising on their ‘exclusive’ tag, I don’t think they give a damn! The amount of money they earn in these shows against the time spent, makes it a delectable fast-buck option.”Victor (Passage to India) Banerjee partially disagrees. He believes that, traditionally, there has always been a distinct divide between TV stars and movie stars, each ruling their own defined space. “Hollywood still maintains it and apart from the odd exception, doesn’t dream of indulging in any of the crazy trade-offs that blitz the scene, here. For a very long time I resisted TV work. It’s only when nothing worthwhile was coming my way in the movies, that I started doing TV serials. Ads, anchoring or special appearances remain, mostly a no-no. There’s a limit to commodification! Everything in my life is not up for sale.” Big Brands like the Amitabh Bachchan (reportedly $300,000 per episode for anchoring Big Boss 3) or Shah Rukh Khan (alleged to have taken home a whopping $8 million for anchoring Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hai?) are likely to brush away Banerjee’s diffidence. So are stars like Salman Khan, who is reported to receive $18 million for Season 1 of Dus Ka Dum or Ajay-Kajol, who are said to receive $2 million combined for judging Rocky&Roll Family. Even forgotten actress Urmila Matondkar scooped up a cool $1.5 million for judging Waar Parivar. On the anvil are out-of-work star Preity Zinta, reportedly offered a cool $2 million for a show entitled The Preity Zinta Show, where she will interview/chat with her celeb, B-town friends. Also, the red-hot Bipasha Basu was allegedly signed by SRK’s Red Chillies to anchor a show on the lines of America’s Next Top Model. Payout? $130,000 per episode. Wait, there is more! In these insanely glamour-driven times where everything Bollywood-specific is hugely in demand, stars drive everything. It’s only natural, hence, that stars leverage their marketability across every conceivable revenue-generating avenue. So, enter concerts, weddings and special appearances! King Khan, demanding — and getting — anything between $300,000 to $600,000 depending on what you want him to do. Whether it’s high-ticket affairs like Lakshmi Mittal’s daughter’s or real estate hot-shot Kanti Govani’s weddings, SRK is a must. If he is required to grace his presence right through, covering all the functions, the payout is said to be a gigantic $2.4 million. Next in line are Salman Khan ($200,000) Katrina Kaif ($160,000), Govinda ($140,000) and Lara Dutta ($60,000). Saif, Ranbir, Deepika, Imraan and Asin are also said to be in the $100,000 bracket for special appearances. And now small-timers too are leaping onto this bandwagon. Malaika Arora, Celina Jaitley, Dia Mirza, Rakhi Sawant and Isha Koppikar also stand to pick up a cool $20,000 for an item jig. Can’t afford that? Not to worry. The likes of Koena Mitra, Priti Jhangiani, Sanobar Kabir, Payal Rohatgi and gang come between $10,000 to $14,000. The moolah is there, all the way. The gorgeous Kat Kaif was offered $200,000 to perform in a Mumbai 5-star hotel last year. This year, reportedly due to her No.1 status, she’s been offered double the amount for a 10-minute jig! She was also said to have been paid a cool $160,000 — you’re not gonna believe it, guys — wave at the crowd at a recent concert in Dubai! A $140,000 paycheck also came her way for a 30-minute performance at a farmhouse in Delhi. The other sizzler, Bips Basu, was said to have been offered a sexy $200,000 to greet last year’s New Year at a Mumbai 5-star hotel, but she refused because of 26/11. This year she is supposed to have been offered and even larger fee, to which she has agreed. Neha Dhupia, Udita Goswami, Tanusree Dutta all pick up anything between $10,000 to $40,000 to do a routine number. Oh, how can one forget the deadly Mallika Sherawat? She reportedly took home the big one — $600,000 to $1 million for a jig.TV appearances, ad endorsements, weddings, concerts, special appearances. Big and even small stars are flooded with revenue-generating opportunities from a Related Itemslast_img read more

first_imgA second teenager pleaded guilty to murdering an Indian man in New Zealand after meeting him with an intent to rob him last year. Rosie Page Lewis admitted to killing Sandeep Dhiman in the High Court at Napier on June 29.Lewis, who was 17 when the crime was committed, also pleaded guilty to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm to Dhiman with intent to rob him of his car and cellphone, nzherald.co.nz reported. The two had first met on the dating app Tinder, and then arranged to meet in person.Lewis was remanded in custody by Justice Rebecca Ellis. Her sentencing is scheduled for July 22. The judge also lifted an earlier order that disallowed disclosure of Lewis’ name and identity, the report added.Dhiman was found stabbed to death at Matahorua Road near Tutira on Dec. 18, 2017. The 30-year-old IT professional, who hailed from Punjab, moved to New Zealand on a student visa in June 2015, and worked as a fiber technician in a leading company in the country. He was planning to visit India in January 2018 where he was supposed to get married.Two mobile phones and Dhiman’s car were found with the two accused. The other accused teenager, 17-year-old Shaun Liam Karauria, was charged with murder in December 2017. He also pleaded guilty and was sentenced last month to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole term of 12 years.Karauria had plotted with Lewis to steal Dhiman’s car, a gold-colored Toyota Passo, following which the latter arranged the meeting with the victim on the isolated country road. Karauria stabbed Dhiman nine times in the back, heart, throat and chest, and left him in a ditch beside Matahorua Rd, inland from Titira on State Highway 2. As the teenagers were driving away after the attack, Karauria saw that Dhiman was still moving, and so he returned and attacked him further, the report said.Karauria tried to sell a car online for $1,500 the next day, while Dhiman’s mobile phone was traced to Lewis’ home, the Daily Mail reported.Dhiman’s body was found 12 hours after the killing by a passing tanker driver. His parents, who were visiting his brother in Australia at the time of the incident, later took the body home to Kharar for cremation. Related ItemsNew Zealandlast_img read more