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Maharashtra urges banks to help farmers

first_imgOn Tuesday, the Maharashtra government asked district central co-operative banks (DCCBs) and nationalised banks to help farmers who have defaulted on farm loans by giving them loans of ₹10,000 so that they can begin sowing their Kharif crop.The State government will act as a guarantee for these loans, said Subhash Deshmukh, Minister for Co-operation, Marketing and Textiles.Lighting a small flame of hope for DCCBs — struggling post-demonetisation after the Centre ruled that old currency notes their customers had deposited would not be exchanged by the RBI, effectively freezing much of their assets — Mr. Deshmukh said that nationalised banks have been asked to adopt each of the 13 DCCBs in the State. “We have also written to RBI to not only provide new notes to these banks but also to pay interest for the delay.”Affidavits for waiverMeanwhile, to help ensure that “real farmers should benefit from this waiver”, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said, “There will be strict conditions which will ensure that this happens. In addition, an affidavit will be taken from farmers who avail of the waiver, stating they fulfil the conditions.”The conditions will be set by a joint panel of farmers and government officials. On Tuesday, farmers’ representatives submitted to Mr. Patil a list of names of people who will participate in the discussions. Don’t want waiver: MLAThe government has also appealed to those who can pay their loans to voluntarily come forward and forgo the waiver. Rahul Kul, MLA from Daund, and former NCP MLA Sahebrao Patil have already declared that they will not avail the waiver.“I am a farmer and have been periodically repaying the instalments of money borrowed by me. I will continue to do so in future as well. I, thus, request you to exempt me from the loan waiver scheme,” Mr. Kul said.(With inputs from PTI)last_img read more

Gujarat Rajya Sabha poll: HC issues notice to EC, Ahmed Patel

first_imgThe Gujarat High Court on Mondya issued notices to the Election Commission and others including the winning candidate Ahmed Patel, acting in a petition filed by Balwantsinh Rajput, who lost the poll, challenging the EC’s decision of invalidating two votes. The notices are returnable on September 21. The court is yet to admit the petition that contends that the EC had no powers to invalidate any vote as that’s only a Returning Officer (RO) can do it. Justice Bela Trivedi issued notices to the Election Commission, Congress leader Ahmed Patel and also the two other candidates – BJP president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani.last_img

CPI(M) cadres attacked in Tripura rally

first_imgScores of CPI(M) supporters on their way to a tribal rally in Agartala on Tuesday were wounded in sporadic attacks allegedly by activists of the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), which is striving for a separate tribal state. The ruling party alleged that at least 120 of its supporters sustained injuries at different places while police said 15 of their personnel were hurt in one restive area.District administrations clamped prohibitory order in several places in view of the prevailing tension. “Section 144 has been imposed in seven police station jurisdictions,” an official said.The rally, called by Gana Mukti Parishad (GMP) was addressed by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar. Thousands of GMP workers and supporters braved rains to attend the rally.last_img

We want BHU campus to be a home away from home for girl students, says newly-appointed Chief Proctor Royana Singh

first_imgThe newly-appointed Chief Proctor of Banaras Hindu University Royana Singh says her priority will be the stationing of more security guards, particularly females, for the safety of girl students.What is your plan for the security of girl students as the new Chief Proctor of BHU?The security of girl students is our priority. It was our founder Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya’s dream to ensure safety and justice for students here. We want the campus to be a home away from home for girl students. For this, our vision is safe hostels and the presence of more guards, particularly women guards. The recruitment of women guards began under my predecessor but we plan to step up the process and recruit and station more female guards.One hears of a women’s curfew after 8 pm there, meaning they cannot go out of their hostels after that. How do you look at this?No, girls can come and go any time. However, they have to inform that they need to go out and also tell us where they are going. Their parents have sent them here with faith in us and this rule helps us ensure their safety better.But do you think such a rule is good? And would you want to either relax the time or extend this rule even before 8 pm?The 8 pm rule is good. Varanasi gets a bit secluded after that. It is not a big city like Delhi. Girls stay in the library, too, till late, once they have informed the warden. Guards are stationed near the library and often one guard is told to escort them to somewhere near their hostel.It is said that girls are not provided non-vegetarian food in their hostels, while boys’ hostels serve non-vegetarian food. Why is it so?Most girls in the hostels are vegetarian. They are uncomfortable with the idea of non-vegetarian food in the hostel and there have been such complaints. So, we have not kept it in the menu. But if a group of non-vegetarian girls tells the mess staff they want to eat it, it is arranged for them from outside.We also hear that wi-fi facility was extended to the girls’ hostels very recently, while it has been there in boys’ hostels for longer…No, it was there. But the wires got cut because of the construction of a boundary wall. Wi-fi facility has been brought back now.Is it true that sexual harassment cases in BHU have been on the rise in recent times?I am in charge of the women’s grievance cell. So, I can say it with certainty that under the present Vice-Chancellor such cases have come down.Police was called into the campus and videos show girl students were lathi-charged by male policemen. How do you explain that? Do you think it was a case of excesses being committed on students, particularly girl students?I was out of town and have just returned. I am not aware of the details and will have to find out.last_img read more

Tawde orders probe into strip search

first_imgState Education Minister Vinod Tawde on Monday ordered a thorough probe into allegations that employees of a school in Pune strip-searched female students on suspicion of cheating during the ongoing HSC exams. The school administration has denied the allegations.On Monday, Mr. Tawde met with Pune legislators Neelam Gorhe of the Shiv Sena and Medha Kulkarni of the BJP, who demanded stern action against the administration of the Maharashtra Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Vishwashanti Gurukul in Loni Kalbhor, the exam centre where the incident reportedly occurred. Mr. Tawde tweeted on Monday, “Safeguarding the modesty of our students is always a priority. Accepting the memorandum presented by MLA @Medha_kulkarni ji and MLC @neelamgorhe, assured that the culprits behind the appalling incident at MIT, Loni #HSC centre will be dealt with the strictest of force by the law.”Several students of the school alleged last week that the women security staff forced them to remove their clothes in bathrooms to make sure they were not carrying chits or notes which could be used for copying during exams.Action soughtEarlier in the day, members of Sambhaji Brigade met the Deputy Director of Education and demanded that MIT Vishwashanti Gurukul’s licence be revoked. “This sort of overzealous vigilance is shocking … It resulted in loss of valuable time during the exams, and also caused the students unimaginable trauma,” said Santosh Shinde of the Sambhaji Brigade.Around 250 students are appearing for the HSC exams at Vishwashanti Gurukul, which is an exam centre for the first time. Following complaints, two women security personnel were booked under Sections 354 (sexual harassment) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act by the Loni Kalbhor police last week.Ms. Gorhe has demanded that the staffers responsible be suspended and that the institute be banned from holding the HSC exam.Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and NCP leader Ajit Pawar have also sought action against the school administration and the guards. School’s sayHowever, Virendra Bawaskar, principal, MIT Vishwashanti Gurukul, has denied the charges, alleging that the students and their parents were doing this to “get back” at his staff for not “permitting cheating” at the examination centre. Mr. Bawaskar said one of the complainants had chits with her, and that the search was conducted in presence of a woman constable.MSCW seeks reportMeanwhile, the Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) has asked the Superintendent of Police, Pune Rural, to file a detailed report about the incident. MSCW member secretary Manjusha Molavane said, “We have asked for a detailed report, as we learned about the matter through news reports. It will only be fair to have the police report before we take any steps.” Kapalini Sinkar, the public relations officer of the commission, said it seemed like the security officials were at fault. “However, we are waiting for the police report so that we have reliable and valid basis to take any action, and avoid allegations of taking extreme steps based on news reports,” she said.MSCW chairperson Vijaya Rahtakar said, “The commission keeps a vigilant eye on such cases, and it is extremely heartbreaking to know about this case. A security check is mandatory before entering the examination hall, but reaching such levels is simply disappointing. The MSCW will adhere to a strict course of action, but it will be decided after the police submit their report.”With PTI inputslast_img read more

BJP MP demands release of Bhim Army chief

first_imgBJP Member of Lok Sabha Udit Raj on Friday demanded a slew of measures for Dalit outreach, including the release of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ and for providingreservation in the lateral entry of joint secretaries that the Centre hadjust proposed.“The leader of the Bhim Army Chandrashekhar Azad should be released. He has been adequately punished. We demand his release,” he told reporters.“There should be SC, ST and OBC reservation in the 10 joint secretary posts that are being opened for lateral entry.” Mr. Raj said adding that he would meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press for thedemand.He also demanded that reservation be extended to the private sector.However, he said that he was saying this not in his capacity as a BJP member or a Lok Sabha MP but as a citizen and a social activist whose organisation hd been working for Dalit causes for long.Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Raj condemned the attack on a minor Dalit boy in Gujarat for wearing the Mojdi, a traditional type of shoe.Expressing concern over the “dilution” of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by the Supreme Court, he claimed attacks on Dalits had increased after that.Mr. Raj also demanded that cases slapped on Dalits after the Bharat Bandh to protest the introduction of procedures for the application of the SC/ST Act should be withdrawn.last_img read more

Four including a woman injured in Guwahati Pan Bazar explosion

first_imgAt least four people were injured in an explosion in the Sukleswar ghat area in Guwahati on Saturday, police said. The explosion took place at a construction material dump in the Pan Bazar area when the four passersby, including a woman, were injured around 11.45 am, the sources said. “We don’t suspect it to be a bomb explosion as there were no splinters found and the injuries were due to stones hitting them,” said DCP Ranjan Bhuyan who is at the site. “We don’t suspect it to be a sabotage or terrorist activity from the nature of the blast. It happened in a dump of sand kept for roadside drain construction. It may have had an unexploded shell which went off today,” the DCP said. An expert bomb squad would be arriving soon, he added. The four injured suffered minor wounds and they were being provided medical care at the MMC Civil Hospital nearby, the police official said.last_img read more

Who is Agnes Kharshiing?

first_imgOn November 8, Meghalaya’s Agnes Kharshiing and her associate Amita Sangma became the latest among 18 Right to Information activists in the northeastern region to have been either killed or assaulted or harassed. They were — as the police said — assaulted by a group of criminals at Tuber Sohshrieh in the coal- and limestone-rich East Jaintia Hills district. The spot where they were waylaid is not far from where another RTI activist Poipynhun Majaw, 38, was killed in March for exposing a nexus between the local tribal council and cement companies that were allegedly allowed to mine limestone without permission.Who is she?Ms. Kharshiing, 58, is one of the most well-known activists in the State. She belongs to a political family: her elder brother Robert Kharshiing represented the Nationalist Congress Party in the Rajya Sabha and her younger brother John F. Kharshiing is a Congress leader. But she has been avowedly apolitical and a long-time crusader against domestic violence, child and sexual abuse and deprivation of beneficiary schemes in rural areas. She formed the Civil Society Women’s Organisation to take her fight against corruption to the grassroots and educate rural women on RTI. Her organisation took on village chieftains and local councils for ostracising RTI activists. But her activism took an adventurous and risky turn when she began sniffing out illegal coal trade after the National Green Tribunal in 2014 banned unscientific rat-hole mining and restricted coal transport. Armed with a camera, she began documenting illegal mines and trucks carrying coal by travelling across the the State. What ails Meghalaya’s coal belt?Meghalaya has a coal reserve of 640 million tonnes, most of which is mined indiscriminately by private and community landowners. Besides the adverse effect of mining on rivers, activists found that miners employed children to crawl into rat-holes for extracting coal. If that were not enough, coal was being exported to Bangladesh and sent to other States on overloaded trucks, depriving the government of ₹300 crore in revenue a year. Complaints finally made the NGT ban coal mining and order sealing of coal pits. It, however, allowed transport of 3.4 million tonnes of extracted coal. Ms. Kharshiing documented illegal mining and transport of coal over the last four years, thus earning the wrath of the coal mafia.Why was she attacked?Ms. Kharshiing and Ms. Sangma were on a surveillance trip to East Jaintia Hills when a woman stopped their vehicle near a wooded patch. About 40 people swooped down from nowhere and began raining blows on them with blunt weapons. The two activists were dragged into the woods, but Ms. Sangma managed to crawl out and call for help. The police found Ms. Kharshiing unconscious and had them both shifted to a super-speciality hospital in capital Shillong. The police caught two suspects they referred to as criminals, but the rights group Achik Indigenous Justice Initiative Forum said the attackers were without a doubt associated with the illegal coal trade. It asked Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma to let either the Central Bureau of Investigation or the National Investigation Agency probe the case. This was ironical since Ms. Kharshiing had taken up the case of sub-inspector P.J. Marbaniang, who was killed in January 2015, hours after detailing 32 coal-laden trucks close to the police outpost he was in charge of.Why has it created a flutter?The attack on Ms. Kharshiing, stable but not out of danger, has attracted the attention of activists and rights groups across the globe. The Meghalaya High Court has asked the government to ensure her security and bear the expenditure of her treatment. The Congress, which was at the receiving end of her activism until losing power in March, has thrown its weight behind her. The present BJP-backed government is feeling the heat since the attack has undermined its effort to reopen the coal mines that have allegedly funded politicians and elections in Meghalaya.last_img read more

Statue of Unity: Crocodiles to be relocated for tourist safety

first_imgCrocodiles from two ponds near the Statue of Unity in Gujarat’s Narmada district are being relocated for the safety of tourists visiting the Sardar Patel memorial, officials said on Sunday while dismissing reports that the move is linked to the seaplane service. As many 20 cages have been set up along the banks of the two ponds, officially known as Dyke 3 and 4, to trap the crocodiles, an official informed. These dykes are artificial water bodies created to stabilise the water released from the Sardar Sarovar Dam before it reaches the entry point of the main Narmada canal, the official explained. Aradhana Sahu, Conservator of Forests, (Vadodara Wildlife Circle) said that 12 crocodiles have been caught so far, though she added there was no specific target for the number of these reptiles that need to be captured.“The area around the Statue of Unity near Kevadiya village is attracting huge number of tourists. Since there are crocodiles in these ponds, there exists a threat to the tourists. We have begun the process of relocating the reptiles elsewhere,” Ms. Sahu said.“We have not set any specific target of the number of crocodiles to be caught and relocated. Till now, we have shifted 12 crocodiles. They were caught from Dyke 3 and Dyke 4, which are close to the Tent City. As per a rough estimate, there will be around 300 crocodiles in that area,” she said. A field officer overseeing the operation said 20 cages, with meat and fish as bait, have been installed near the two ponds.“As soon as the crocodile comes out to eat the food kept in the cage, they get caught inside. We have kept all the captured crocodiles in our rescue centre. They will be released in the main reservoir of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in the near future,” said Idrish Topiya, Assistant Conservator of Forests. However, both Ms. Sahu and Mr. Topiya denied reports that the crocodiles were being removed from the dykes to make way for a proposed seaplane service to cater to SoU tourists.“I want to make it clear that we have not made any plan yet to shift all the crocodiles of that area. The seaplane service is not in the picture yet. We have not received any intimation about it. We are doing this just for the safety of tourists,” Ms. Sahu emphasised.“We are relocating these crocodiles just for the safety of tourists. There is no specific instruction to us about any seaplane service,” Mr. Topiya added. Earlier on January 23, state Civil Aviation minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama had announced that a seaplane service connecting Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad to the Statue of Unity would commence soon. When contacted, SJ Haider, Principal Secretary, Gujarat Civil Aviation department, said a location for a water aerodrome near the Sardar Patel memorial had not been decided yet. He, however, said the location of the water aerodrome will “most likely” be Dyke 3 or 4.“The location of the water aerodrome at the Statue of Unity will be decided in consultation with DGCA (aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation). It would most likely be Dyke 3 or Dyke4,” Mr. Haider said. Recently, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had said over 10,000 tourists were visiting the memorial every day since the 182-metre statue, the world’s tallest such structure, was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October last year.last_img read more

Punjab Opposition targets Congress

first_imgIn the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, the politics surrounding allegations of embezzlement of crores of rupees recovered by the Punjab police from a Christian priest and his associates has gained impetus with the Opposition parties alleging that it has been done in connivance with the ruling Congress and that the money could be used to influence voters.A day after the police ordered an inquiry into the allegations levelled by Anthony Madassery, a priest at a church in Jalandhar’s Partappura village, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal have expressed concern over the allegations against the police and demanded an independent probe.Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Harpal Singh Cheema said given the fact that the allegation of embezzlement has been levelled against the police, the State government should immediately hand over the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation.CBI probe sought“How can we expect a fair probe by the police against its own personnel? The probe should be handed over to the CBI. With Lok Sabha election round the corner, we fear that this embezzled amount could be used to influence voters,” Mr. Cheema said.The Khanna police had last week said it had seized ₹9.66 crore in “black money” from six persons, including the priest, during checking of vehicles at a checkpoint on G.T. Road at Doraha. However, the next day the priest accused the police of showing only ₹9.66 crore, instead of the ₹16.65 crore seized, and claimed the cash was accounted for.Meanwhile, SAD has urged the Chief Election Commissioner to order an independent probe into the misappropriation, alleging that “it seemed to have happened with the connivance of the Congress and could be used to influence voters”.CEC action soughtSenior SAD leader and former Education Minister Daljit Singh Cheema said the party has submitted a memorandum to the Punjab CEO Karuna Raju, urging that the matter be forwarded to the CEC for action. “Father Anthony Madassery’s statement that ₹16.32 crore was seized by the Khanna police but only ₹9.66 crore was shown as recovery has raised serious questions over the functioning of the police. We have reasons to believe that the remaining amount has been misappropriated at the instance of the ruling Congress party and would be used to influence voters,” said Mr. Cheema.last_img read more

AAP, Cong. candidates file papers for Panaji

first_imgThe Congress and Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) candidates filed their nominations for upcoming Panaji Assembly by-polls, on Friday.Meanwhile, sources in the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP), said their recommendation of a candidate is before the Parliamentary board in New Delhi. Two names — Utpal Parrikar, elder son of late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Siddarth Kuncolienkar, former MLA and a aide of the late Parrikar — have been forwarded.Former Education Minister Atanasio Monserrate from the Congress, who has been in several parties and accused of raping a minor, and AAP leader and city businessman Valmiki Naik filed their nominations on Friday.Mr. Monserrate, after filing his nomination papers with the District Returning Officer in the city said he would be focussing on a youth-centric programme in his campaign with stress on employment. “The youth are the future. My focus will be on how to generate employment for them,” he said.Mr. Naik, who had contested and lost the bypolls in 2015 said that his party would focus on working towards creating better civic amenities for the residents of Panaji.last_img read more

ScienceShot: Glacial Speed Record

first_img“Glacial speed” may seem like an oxymoron—but consider the recent record-breaking pace of Jakobshavn Isbræ, one of Greenland’s largest glaciers. By analyzing satellite images taken every 11 days from early 2009 through spring of 2013, researchers found that the ice stream’s average speed in the summer of 2012 peaked at a whopping 46 meters (half the length of a football field) per day, the researchers report today in The Cryosphere. That flow speed, between 30% and 50% faster than the peak rates seen in previous summers, is the fastest ever recorded for an ice stream in Greenland or Antarctica, the researchers say. Jakobshavn Isbræ, widely believed to have spawned the iceberg that sank the Titanic, sheds ice into a deep fjord along Greenland’s southwestern coast (image; the glacier lies over the horizon in the far background). Although Jakobshavn Isbræ’s summer surges are short-lived, the glacier’s average annual speed for the last couple of years is almost three times that measured in the 1990s. Between 2005 and 2010, Greenland’s glaciers dumped enough ice into the sea to raise sea level an average of about 0.7 millimeters per year, with Jakobshavn Isbræ contributing about one-seventh of that total. While for now the speediest, Jakobshavn Isbræ isn’t alone: Previous studies have shown that Greenland’s 200 largest glaciers have sped up, on average, about 30% in the last decade.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

ScienceShot: Please Don’t Eat the Artwork

first_imgCHICAGO, ILLINOIS—Daguerreotypes may seem frozen in time, but their surfaces are living landscapes. Popular in the middle of the 19th century, daguerreotypes were a precursor to photography created by layering silver on a copper plate and exposing it to light and various chemicals, often including gold. Although daguerreotypes like the one above on the left are famous for capturing vivid portraits of their subjects, many have been damaged in the 150 years since they were made. The images can become fuzzy or faded, or even be wiped away by overzealous cleaners. Hoping to gain some insight into how to restore these delicate objects, a team of researchers used a scanning electron microscope to zoom in on the surface of daguerreotypes—and discovered life. It turns out daguerreotypes have parasites, the team reported here today at the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science. The growths—one of which is pictured above on the right—appear to be mostly fungi, though some of the life forms remain unidentified. As they eat and digest the metals of a daguerreotype, they excrete gold and silver nanoparticles that can disfigure the image. But it’s not all bad news—the precise mixture of life forms growing on unattributed daguerreotypes may serve as a kind of signature, offering clues to where they were made. Plus, the researchers say, the metal-munching parasites may teach scientists new ways to manufacture nanoparticles through biological processes.See more of our coverage from AAAS 2014.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

For $1 million: Will an ocean science quiz program survive tough times?

first_imgOcean scientists are working to keep afloat a 16-year-old U.S. competition aimed at encouraging young people to appreciate marine research and join their field. Since 1998, the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) has been giving high school students a chance to test their knowledge of all things marine. But federal budget cuts are putting a squeeze on the effort, forcing organizers to cancel some bowls and scramble to find alternative support for others.“We’re facing some serious funding challenges,” says Kristen Yarincik of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington, D.C., which created and oversees NOSB, which is scheduled to begin its next season in February. “There [have] been a lot of cuts to our key funding agencies.”In particular, the automatic 2013 budget cuts known as the sequester slashed education funding at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOSB’s main financial supporter. “In years past we were able to fund it up to $1 million a year,” says Christos Michalopoulos, NOAA’s deputy director of K–12 and informal education. But in 2013, the total dropped to zero, and in 2014 it rebounded to about $125,000. In 2015, “our hope is that we can give a little bit more.” (Congress will resume work on the budget for fiscal year 2015, which began on 1 October, after the November elections.)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(*)The cuts forced NOSB, which covers 34 states and Washington D.C., to reduce funding for its regional bowls, whose winners go on to a national competition. Some, like the Great Lakes Bowl in Michigan, have received money from other programs, such as the state-federal Sea Grant program, and lowered costs by replacing paid staff with volunteers. Others have simply canceled competitions. This year, for instance, the Aloha Bowl in Hawaii could not afford to bring contestants to the island of Oahu for the contest, according to Yarincik, so organizers decided to host the bowl every other year in the future.Overall, “we expect to have 25 bowls in 2015,” Yarincik says. But she doubts federal funding will fully rebound anytime soon, so “the risk of regions dropping out is going to be there for the next few years.”Some NOSB fans worry that its financial problems will make it harder to recruit students into the marine sciences or build public support for the field. They note that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 16% rise in demand for geoscientists, including ocean scientists, between 2012 and 2022, faster than the national average for all occupations. A 2007 survey of NOSB participants found that although only 17% pursued college majors in marine science, 68% said NOSB inspired them to “develop ocean-related hobbies or to participate in conservation related community service.”One former contestant, Brian Kennedy, 28, says NOSB was instrumental in putting him on the path to his current job as expedition coordinator for NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Kennedy says he was fascinated with marine biology by the age of 5, but his family lived in Athens, Georgia, and made the 5-hour trek to the coast just once or twice a year. He came across NOSB in high school and ended up competing for three years.“The experience was a great opportunity to meet and network,” Kennedy says. “It provides the opportunity for landlocked students who are interested in ocean science to meet practicing ocean scientists. … I certainly wouldn’t have ended up in the line of work I’m doing right now if it weren’t for Leslie [Sautter, a marine scientist at the College of Charleston in South Carolina].”Kennedy ended up studying marine science at Charleston and still volunteers with the bowl every year. “I feel I owe the organization something,” he says, “for all it provided me.”last_img read more

The Beatles in India

first_imgFifty years ago, between 16 and 19 February 1968, the four Beatles and their partners flew to India to learn about meditation from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Their journey, both physical and spiritual, is being celebrated in an exhibition as part of The Beatles Story at the Albert Dock in their hometown of Liverpool. Enter the space and smell the sandalwood incense! Experience the vibrant colours of the compound! Walk in the living quarters where the Beatles wrote their songs! See Donovan’s guitar and Ravi Shankar’s sitar!Read it at Independent Related Itemslast_img

Indian American Texan Dies Hours After Being Convicted of Multimillion Dollar Fraud

first_imgHours after being convicted in a multimillion dollar fraud case, Indian American Suresh Mitta, of Richardson, Texas, died while in the custody of U.S. Marshals.Mitta was convicted by a federal jury of taking part in an elaborate fraud scheme that involved selling bogus MRI equipment to a North Texas hospital, according to news reports.Read it at India West Related Itemslast_img

Chuck de Yadain!

first_imgSometimes history has such a sweet touch of irony, it is hard not to chuckle.The headlines buzzed recently: “India Lose to Britain in Olympic Hockey Qualifier.”The lord taketh what the lord giveth! Or at least some of it.We used to wonder why our fathers liked British habits so much. The tea, the clothes, the language, and yes, the sports. For years, we grew up with an aura of champions of hockey (we are talking field hockey for the uninitiated). We ruled the world in that sport. It was our only saving grace in the Olympic Games, always the gold; occasionally, when we slipped, the silver or at least the bronze. It was our sport and we had the oomph to win the world! We had what it took, the team spirit, the graceful dexterity and the skills to cut down opponents in thriller after thriller. Hockey wins helped erased the drubbing by China in the war of 1962, the miserable wheat shortage and the slow pace of the socialist revolution.We were world champions! Alas, Shah Rukh Khan’s Chak de India could not move things in the real world. My, how the world has changed. It is now cricket that rules India. We are the unofficial, and occasionally the official, world champions in cricket, from ODIs to plain old style test matches.We have mimicked another one of our colonial heritages and mastered it beyond the masters. Now we trade players like slaves, and give the process lofty names. Call it professional sports, but it is organized gambling and slave trading. Long gone is the spirit of Lagaan. We strive for the money first, the national glory is an afterthought. India is beloved by the cricket world, because it generates more revenue than any country thanks to the massive crowds, a burgeoning middle class, a booming economy, etc.. etc.Hockey does not have that luster. It never did. The medals were the result of great fitness, remarkable agility and team discipline. That is all gone.So is the bag of memories it brought us.We cannot go home again, not if you want to capture what you left behind. It is a changed world. It is damning that we had to lose to Britain to bring this chapter to a close. Funny thing is, the BBC sports page did not even list the trauma on its front page.  Indian Hockey at the Olympics2008BeijingFailed to qualify2004AthensSeventh2000SydneySeventh1996AtlantaEighth1992BarcelonaSeventh1988SeoulSixth1984Los AngelesFifth1980MoscowGold1976MontrealSeventh1972MunichBronze1968Mexico CityBronze1964TokyoGold1960RomeSilver1956MelbourneGold1952HelsinkiGold1948LondonGold1936BerlinGold1932Los AngelesGold1928AmsterdamGold Related Itemslast_img read more

New Delhi’s Pollution Problem Prompts Diplomats to Pack Their Bags

first_imgIt’s a life that many envy: plush salaries, international schools for the children and wine-soaked parties on weekends. But for New Delhi’s diplomatic corps, the sweet life is missing one key ingredient: clean, breathable air.Pollution levels in India this month are so bad that diplomats are fretting about whether to stay or leave. Some, like Costa Rica’s ambassador, have already left the city after developing respiratory problems. Others are calling in sick to work or worrying about their children’s health. Some missions, according to the Indian Express, have even moved nonessential staff to nearby countries such as Singapore.Prime Minister Narendra Modi has traveled extensively to boost India’s international image and attract foreign investment, including a recent trip to Manila, where he met leaders at the summit for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. But his efforts may be getting scuppered on home ground, as diplomats gasping for air report home about the debilitating pollution crisis.“I’m a living proof that our planet is dying today, coughing as i write with my indian bronchitis,” wrote Mariela Cruz Alvarez, Costa Rican ambassador to India, in a blog post.Pollution levels in Delhi peaked in November. Levels of carcinogenic PM 2.5 particles in the air were 70 times over the safe limit as prescribed by the World Health Organization, and the air quality index reached 999 micrograms per cubic meter, the highest instruments can measure. A number of factors contributed to the spike, including crop burning in surrounding states, construction and vehicles in the city, and a lack of wind to blow the dust away.A recent study in the British medical journal Lancet linked 2.5 million deaths in India in 2015 to pollution.Responsibility for curbing the pollution quickly descended into a finger-pointing match, with state and central government ministers blaming each other for the crisis. Modi’s environment minister, Harsh Vardhan, in a television interview underplayed the impact of pollution, saying that it could not be directly linked to deaths. “No death certificate has the cause of death as pollution,” he said.In the end, little has been done and the main remedy still appears to be waiting for the wind to blow it away – a response that no doubt has also made it into the diplomatic dispatches home.By Thursday, the government had already rolled back several measures introduced over the weekend to curb the smog, as the haze lifted and air quality readings slightly improved. Trucks were allowed to reenter the city and construction was allowed to resume.Many among the diplomatic community remained concerned about their health as readings continued to show unhealthy levels of pollutants in the air.Although shielded from the smog that most Delhi residents live in by air purifiers and gas masks, diplomats said pollution hampered work. “You cannot sit inside a room and conduct diplomacy. . . you have to go out and meet people,” an unnamed French official told the Express.Thai ambassador Chutintorn Gongsakdi formally wrote to Bangkok requesting that Delhi be made a “hardship” posting, usually reserved for conflict zones, which would allow Thai diplomats posted here more perks, including air purifiers and medical checkups as well as trips back home and extra days off as compensation for having to live in smog.One unnamed diplomat told the Express that the length of postings to Delhi had been shortened by a year. Others said they were considering cutting short their stints. “I fought hard to come to India,” an unnamed European diplomat said. “After a year and a half, I don’t think I’m ready for any more. I will try to go to another place next summer, after I finish two years here.”In diplomatic schools, air purifiers are whirring at full speed. The Lycée Français reportedly has 65 air purifiers. The American school may introduce covered outdoor play areas for physical activity, the Express reported.© Washington Post Related Itemslast_img read more