first_imgViolent protests against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat in Gujarat and Rajasthan, a day before the film’s release on Thursday, forced the Multiplex Association of India to decide against screening the period drama in the two States.Incidents of violence were also reported from towns and cities in Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Jammu where protesters torched buses, blocked highways and created a ruckus outside theatres.The Gujarat Multiplex Owners’ Association announced that it would not run the controversial film in any theatre in the State in “view of the prevailing law and order situation.”“We have taken the decision for the safety of our customers as well as to save our property,” said association president Manubhai Patel.50 arrestedThe Ahmedabad police have arrested 50 people and filed three separate FIRs in connection with the violence witnessed at three malls in the city on Tuesday night.Hitting out at the State government, Patidar leader Hardik Patel sought to know if Chief Minister Vijay Rupani would resign in view of the situation.Protesters from Shri Rajput Karni Sena and other outfits went on the rampage in different parts of Rajasthan on Wednesday.The Jaipur-Delhi National Highway was blocked at several places.Protesters damaged two State roadways buses in Sikar district. No one was injured in the violence.Multiplex Association of India president Deepak Asher said its members will not screen Padmaavat in Rajasthan. The association has decided not to screen it in two other States — Goa and Madhya Pradesh — in view of the law and order situation.The historic Chittorgarh Fort, where Queen Padmini is believed to have lived in the 13th century, was closed for a day after women members of Karni Sena tried to break in for a protest.Karni Sena founder Lokendra Singh Kalvi said at a press conference in Jaipur that a “self-imposed curfew” would be enforced by the people to boycott the film.A tight security net was thrown around Diggi Palace in the State capital, where the Jaipur Literature Festival is starting on Thursday, in view of Karni Sena’s warning of a protest against the presence of Central Board of Film Certification chief Prasoon Joshi at the event.Members of Karni Sena targeted movie halls in Meerut, Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar districts of Uttar Pradesh and blocked the Delhi-Saharanpur highway in protest against the screening of Padmaavat.last_img read more

first_imgFour District Reserve Guard (DRG) police constables were injured in an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) explosion triggered by the Maoists in Sukma district of south Chhattisgarh on Saturday.“The IED explosion took place in Sirsitti area under Fulagondi police station limits of Sukma. The injured constables have been airlifted to Raipur for treatment,” D. Ravishankar, the Superintendent of Police (SP) posted in Chhattisgarh police’s Anti-Naxal Operation (ANO) unit said.The incident took place when the DRG team was returning after carrying out a search operation in the area.In a separate incident, the Maoists killed a former Maoist in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.“The Maoists killed Talwarshingh Madavi at Darachi village in Dhanora division of Gadchiroli last night. Talwarsingh was sleeping at his home when 20 to 25 armed Maoists entered his home and forcibly took him along with them. His dead body was found on Sindhesur road today morning,” Gadchiroli district police said in a press statement.Mr. Madavi, a resident of Nadekal village in Korchi division of the district, had surrendered to the police in 2013 after working in the Maoist movement for some years.“Until 2015, he stayed in Gadchiroli district headquarters. In 2015, he shifted to Darachi village along with his family and was living a peaceful life. But the Maoists could not tolerate it and killed him brutally,” the police statement added.In another incident, five inmates managed to escape from the district jail in Maoist-insurgency hit Dantewada district of South Chhattisgarh on Saturday morning. The police managed to nab four of them, however, the fifth inmate could not be tracked down until Saturday evening.last_img read more

first_imgA police officer in Uttar Pradesh has been suspended after he was allegedly caught on an audio tape sharing details of a planned fake encounter with a suspected criminal and advising him on ways of surviving it.An enquiry has also been initiated against the officer, Suneet Kumar Singh, SHO of Mauranipur in Jhansi.Mr. Singh came under the scanner after an audio clip of him talking to a suspected criminal, identified as Lekhraj Yadav, on the telephone was widely circulated on social media. The veracity of the clip could not be confirmed. Lekhraj Yadav is a former block pramukh.In the lengthy conversation, Mr. Singh is heard advising Yadav to “manage” two BJP leaders Sanjay Dubey (BJP district president) and Rajiv Singh Paricha (MLA from Babina) if he wanted to survive a police encounter.‘Current govt. stricter’The police officer tells him that the current government under the BJP is stricter against criminals than the previous Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party governments and that he would have to “change with the times.”“You have 60 cases against you. You are the fittest case for encounter in UP. And this is a BJP government. Now who will help you, you figure out,” the officer says.Most of the audio is dominated by the officer’s voice and Yadav is mostly heard pleading to bail him out or inquiring about possible police action.“Madad karo yaar. Madad karo (Help, me friend. Help!),” Yadav says. Several times he is also heard claiming that false cases were lodged against him.The officer responds by saying that it is not in his control as a policy of encounters was on under the BJP rule.BJP MLA Paricha, who is named in the audio clip, said he was ready for any probe but added that if the contents of the audio were true, it raised a huge question on the role of the police officer.“That he speaks openly to a gangster and reveals police plan and gives him clues, is a matter of worry,” Mr. Paricha said.The audio clip has surfaced at a time the U.P. Police have eliminated more than 45 suspected criminals in alleged encounters since the Yogi Adityanath government took over. The Opposition parties have accused the government of engineering fake encounters and even the NHRC has sought explanations from it regarding specific cases. Samajwadi Party MLC Sunil Singh Saajan said the audio tape case had exposed the BJP government’s theory behind the encounters. “It has proven that the police is not deciding who is to be targetted in encounters, but BJP MLAs and district presidents are. They are targetting people on the basis of caste and religion, not crime,” Mr. Saajan said.last_img read more

first_imgThe Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Saturday took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking undue credit for the Purvanchal Expressway and using it for political mileage. Mr Modi laid the foundation stone for the six-lane expressway, expected to cost over ₹23,000 crore, earlier in the day.SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said not only was the project conceived by his government, the alignments of the 314 km expressway were also approved under him and most of the land was already acquired. He added that the BJP government had sacrificed the quality of construction to deceive people.BSP chief Mayawati said the BJP was following its “old tradition” of launching projects just before elections with the purpose of deceiving people. “It’s an old project. Had PM Modi implemented it at the right time, soon after 2014, he would have been inaugurating it today and not laying its foundation,” Ms. Mayawati said.U.P. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath shot back at the SP, saying the Akhilesh Yadav government did not deserve any credit for the project. Mr. Adityanath said only 20% of land had been acquired by the SP government and no work had started. Nor were environmental and forest clearances acquired. He said the BJP government had managed to save ₹1,514 crore on the project cost in comparison to the bidding by the Akhilesh Yadav government in 2016.Once completed, the expressway would reduce travel time from Purvanchal to Delhi via the Lucknow-Agra Expressway and the Yamuna Expressway. The State plans to connect it with Varanasi, Ayodhya, Allahabad and Gorakhpur.In Varanasi, Mr. Modi laid the foundation stone and inaugurated projects worth over ₹900 crore.last_img read more

first_imgHigh on rhetoric: on Punjab’s drug menace  Adds Shaminder: “Manpreet had two names, one for use in public life, and another one by which she was well known among drug dealers.” “Everyone in Kapurthala’s drug circle knew her. After treatment, she is doing fine now. She told me recently that she is getting married soon and trying to move on with her life.”Alarming levels of dependenceA recent study, titled “Epidemiology of substance use and dependence in the state of Punjab, India: Results of a household survey on a statewide representative sample” — by the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, and published in March 2018 in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry — says that in Punjab, almost 4.1 million people have been found to have used a substance (licit or illicit) at least once in their lifetime. Among the lifetime users, four million were men and around 0.1 million women. The number of people dependent on a substance in their lifetime was 3.2 million (3.1 million men and 0.1 million women). Licit substances consist of alcohol and tobacco, while illicit substances include opioids, cannabinoids, inhalants, stimulants, and sedatives.Opioids (heroin, smack, crude opium, poppy husk) were by far the most commonly used illicit drugs in the State. In the study, there were around 2,02,817 males and 10,658 females who displayed “lifetime dependence” on opioids as per World Health Organisation criteria. Interestingly, while 1,56,942 males were “currently dependent” on opioids, the corresponding figure for females remained the same (at 10,658), which experts find alarming.“It is alarming because while the number of men who are ‘currently dependent’ on opioids is substantially less when compared to the number for ‘lifetime dependence’, in the case of women, the figures for the two categories are the same. That ‘current dependence’ among men is less when compared to ‘lifetime dependence’ suggesting that a large number of those who use and become dependent on opioids eventually break out of the drug habit. That is why a smaller proportion is currently dependent. With women, on the other hand, those using opioids become dependent on them, and will not or cannot stop using them. They continue using it in a dependent pattern, which is deeply worrying,” says Dr. Subodh B.N. from the Department of Psychiatry at the PGIMER.Also Read Key decisions taken at Amarinder’s first Cabinet meet  As the daily dose of the drug — a fraction of a gram — helped Jasmeet to keep up her energy levels, she found it to be a support in helping her cope with her workload. At the time, she was earning ₹6,000-7,000 a month.“I liked the drug as it made me feel agile while working,” recalls Jasmeet. Sourcing it was not a problem either as my daughter would get it from her friends. Later, I got myself introduced to drug suppliers and began to buy it directly from them. Over the years, the destructive side of the drug addiction started. I began to spend my entire earnings on drugs. As my dependence on heroin increased, I started selling my personal belongings to pay for it. The first thing I sold was my gold earrings.”She adds, as she waits with her husband at the clinic centre: “My husband is a truck driver. He would be away from home for months at a time. So I had a free run. And he too was addicted to heroin. All three of us in the family had fallen prey to the drug. It was when my husband and I started selling jewellery that we started having quarrels, which also led our secrets [our drug habits] spilling into the open.” “Most of the addicts at the centre have similar tales of how they got hooked on drugs — they all blame their friends.”  Despite four years of methadone maintenance treatment [a comprehensive treatment programme using methadone], Jasmeet has so far been unable to kick the habit as her rehabilitation has been disrupted by relapses. Their daughter had visited the same clinic for her routine dose earlier in the day as she had to take care of her 18-month-old baby.“I came to know that my daughter was also addicted to heroin the day she fainted. We took her to the hospital, where it became clear that she had been on drugs. My husband was in jail at the time on charges of drug trafficking. My daughter and I nearly starved to death before a worker from a local non-governmental organisation came to our rescue and took us for treatment,” Jasmeet remembers.Says her husband, Amandeep, 45: “I spent nearly three years in jail before I was acquitted of the charges. It was a really bad phase in our lives. We kept quarrelling whenever I was at home. We neglected our daughter. We were on the verge of getting divorced. Altogether I wasted nearly ₹4 lakh, first on drugs and then on court fees. We sold almost all our belongings, except for a small house that we somehow managed to retain. It is not as if the local police are unaware of what is going on but no one is bothered.” He emphasises the point that the availability of drugs needs to be curtailed if the drug epidemic in the State is to be ended.The road to ruinThe latest front to have emerged in Punjab’s war on drugs is the growing number of women addicts. However, data on the number of women addicts are not available — or on the number of de-addiction centres for women. Punjab has 31 government-run de-addiction centres but only one exclusively for women. This is in Kapurthala, which it came up in July last year.Also Read Punjab set to take on drug menace with dope test for all government employees  Around three years ago, Tara, 25, from Jalandhar, began having heroin in the company of her friends for “enjoyment and relaxation”. What followed was a descent into addiction and misery that eventually led her to becoming a drug peddler.“Tara was brought to our centre for treatment about seven months ago by the police,” says Dr. Sandeep Bhola, who is in charge of the Kapurthala centre. “They had arrested her in connection with a drug smuggling case. She was not interested in treatment. But two weeks later she came back with her family and signed up here. She is well educated and was working as a teacher in a government school. But her colleagues and friends got her hooked on heroin.”Describing her ordeal, Dr. Bhola observes that the desire to show that she belonged to an “upmarket and open” culture drew her to drugs. “Once she got addicted, she entered the drugs business herself in a bid to earn more money and fund her addiction.”Dr. Bhola points out that while the problem of drug abuse among women is on the rise, not many seek help. Two factors hold them back: social stigma, and the lack of exclusive treatment centres for women. “Establishing exclusive treatment facilities for women and large-scale awareness, besides a crackdown on availability are necessary to address the problem,” he says.Sangeeta, 28, who works as a daily wager with food service units in Kapurthala, echoes his sentiments: “My friends lured me into it. Initially, they offered me heroin for free. Once I was addicted, they began to demand money. I ended up spending my entire day’s wage of ₹400-500 on drugs.” She is currently under treatment. Dr. Sandeep Bhola, psychiatrist at the ‘Navjeevan Kendra’ a drug de-addiction centre treating men and women at Civil Hospital in Kapurthala. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar  He points out most women do not come forward for treatment fearing social stigma, which means that the actual number of women addicts is likely to be higher. “Exclusive treatment centres for women will definitely help,” he says.For Nimmi, 32, it was not easy to overcome her fears and step out of her house for treatment. “The fear of being judged by society is what initially kept me from seeking treatment. It took almost a year of persuasion by my sister-in-law before I could get myself to visit the de-addiction centre,” she says. Since 2015, she has been regularly making the 30 km trip from her village to Kapurthala for treatment.“Taking treatment meant that everyone would get to know that I am a drug addict,” she says. “It is not easy to live a normal life once you are addicted. In my village, most people know each other. While few are there to support you, there are too many who taunt for you for being an addict. My entire life has been ruined. My husband and I are separated. He is an alcoholic. I have three children. My third child is only 11 months old. To live with an alcoholic husband and such a young baby was also getting to be very difficult. I can’t feed the child because I have relapsed several times during the treatment. For a mother, not being able to breast feed is painful.”Nimmi is now wiser for her decision to seek help: “What is most important is that once you get addicted to drugs, you admit that fact to yourself. If you continue to remain in denial, then by the time the consequences begin to hit you, it is often too late.” “Treatment for women and also children should be made available in exclusive centres across the State. Only then will Punjab stand a chance of winning a battle that it has been waging for so long.”The names of the patients have been changed to protect their identities Drug peddlers: Punjab wants capital punishment | Photo Credit: AKHILESH KUMAR  “I started taking heroin, inhaling it through foil. Later, I began injecting it. In about four days I was addicted. My day started with a dose of heroin as it helped me to keep working without feeling tired. When I was left with no money, I would have sex with peddlers in exchange for the drug,” says Sangeeta, whose husband is also a truck driver.Under treatment at the Kapurthala centre since 2016, she remembers her past with horror: “It was a terrible time that I want to completely forget. I didn’t even have money to feed my four children. No savings, nothing left for their health and education.”Shaminder, a counsellor at the clinic, says that drug abuse among women is increasing: “Until a few years ago there were hardly any female patients. But in the last couple of years their numbers have been rising. The women who visit us are from across a wide cross-section of society — rich, poor, educated, uneducated. But it is mostly the lower- and the middle-class patients who take regular treatment from us. There is a high percentage of female sex workers among our patients. The upper middle class prefer to visit private de-addiction centres as the social stigma associated with a woman drug addict is the biggest source of anxiety for them and their families.”At the Kapurthala centre, over 60 female patients have undergone treatment since 2012. While 35 were treated through the outpatient department (OPD), the remainder got admitted at the indoor patient facility.“These patients have been treated for substance (drug) abuse and dependence. Most of them are here for a month or two and discharged after treatment,” says Shaminder. The centre has a 15-bed facility where, at present, three indoor patients have been admitted while 10 are undergoing treatment through the OPD.Lured by ‘friends’Most of the addicts at the centre have similar tales of how they got hooked on drugs — they all blame their friends. Rajni, 35, from Kapurthala, had been on heroin for nearly five years, until 2017, when she decided to seek treatment. “My friends introduced me to heroin,” she says. “My husband died 10 years ago. I had four school-going children to look after. I was finding it difficult to manage. One day my friend offered me heroin to ‘relax’ and that was it. I took to it. I used to earn ₹200-300 a day cleaning utensils in houses. I began to spend everything I earned on drugs.”Also Read | Photo Credit: AKHILESH KUMAR High on atmospherics: dealing with Punjab’s drug problem She got hooked on drugs seven years ago. Her school-going, teenage daughter had introduced her to a drug. “Within three days,” says Jasmeet, 42, “I had become an addict.”Jasmeet works as a domestic help in Jalandhar. She has been a regular visitor at a drug de-addiction centre in Kapurthala since 2014. Along with her, her husband and their only daughter are also undergoing treatment for heroin addiction. Cases of whole families being compulsive consumers of drugs are not uncommon in today’s Punjab.Describing her descent into drug addiction, Jasmeet says, “After working all day, I would feel anxious and exhausted. One day my daughter came to me and said she had a medicine that would make me relax. I agreed to try it. She then injected the medicine, which turned out to be heroin. Initially I felt a heaviness in my head. But in a few hours I felt quite relaxed. I took the drug for two days. On the fourth day, when I skipped a dose, it felt as if my body was crumbling.”Also Read  Rajni is at the centre along with Rimpi, her teenage niece, who is also under treatment for heroin addiction. She says her addiction to drugs caused her niece also to fall into the same trap. “When I ran out of money, I started offering my place to peddlers. They would come to my home and use it as a safe haven to do drugs. Then I started to have sex with them in exchange for heroin. While I remained ‘high’, my children and niece suffered. Things got so bad that it didn’t even register that my children hadn’t been fed for three to four days. My neighbours found them crying and extended help,” she says.Rimpi says her drug habit completely ruined her family life. “My addiction to heroin was the reason my husband and I got separated. Raising my two-year-old as a single mother has been very difficult.”Shaminder, who has been at the de-addiction centre since 2013, says she has seen addicts from across the community, all ages, occupations, and class categories. Sharing details about Manpreet, a college student, she says, “This young girl, from a financially well-off family, came to us for treatment in 2014. She had been on heroin for more than four years. Her boyfriend had introduced her to heroin on the pretext that it would improve her concentration and keep her relaxed while preparing for her examinations. After she broke up with him, she began to source drugs from female sex workers. She told us that on several occasions she had had sex with different men in exchange for drugs. She dropped out of college and stayed at home for more than a year. All through this her parents remained clueless about her drug habit. Accessing heroin was never a problem for her as she had developed an efficient system of suppliers. Whenever she needed a ‘dose’, she would ‘give a missed call’ to the agent’s cell phone number, and would have it delivered home. She had identified a spot near the main gate of her house where the agent would hide the package and take the money left for him there.”Also Readlast_img read more

first_imgBabus and bhangra rap are an incongruity. Beating this stereotype, a woman IAS officer in Punjab’s Mohali district has come out with a rap song, asking voters to exercise their right to vote to realise their aspirations and not to be lured by money and liquor. Her inspiration? The recent Bollywood movie Gully Boy.Sakshi Sawhney, Mohali’s Additional Deputy Commissioner, who has written the song in Hindi with a local Punjabi touch, focuses on creating awareness among voters to value their vote and exercise their right to bring the change they desire.The lyrical video starts with “Aa raha yeh chunav hai, Hamara bhi to koi adhikaar hai, vote nahin karega to kya wajood bhadas ki? Paisa daaru vote ke liye kya wajood hai aas ki?..”. Translated, it means “Election time is here, We have some rights too, if you don’t vote then what’s the point of your anger? If you trade your vote for money-liquor then what’s the point of having hope.”Sung by a babuThe song has been sung by Hiten Kapila, the block development and panchayat officer at Majri village. It also asks the youth to get themselves registered as voters by filling the Form 6, urging them to caste vote instead of regretting later.Ms. Sawhney said the purpose of the song is to persuade the youth to get themselves registered as voters besides urging people to vote on moral grounds. The lyrics also convey a message to the voter that with voter verifiable paper audit trail in the Electronic Voting Machines, his/her vote is safe.‘Lyrical video’ “It’s a lyrical video, which is already available on the social media. Besides the song is being played by the local FM to create awareness,” said Ms. Sawhney, adding that the administration is now planning to play the song in Mohali cinema halls soon. “We are in talks with cinema hall owners in Mohali, where the song would be played before the start of the movie. The rap song is already being played during the matches of the Indian Premier League being held in Mohali,” she said.Further, the local administration has been working on electorate awareness building with basic knowledge of the electoral process through mobile vans. “We have a mobile van going around villages with election related information. The rap song would also be now a part of it,” said Ms. Sawhney.last_img read more

first_imgIt was one heck of a roller coaster ride for astronomers tracking comet ISON as it swung in for its close passage by the sun. A week out, it brightened in an outburst that some took to be its death throes as the blistering heat of the sun ate into the ice and dust of its kilometer-wide nucleus, which appears to be more of a loose, dirty snowdrift than a firmly packed iceball. But it steadied, continued to brighten, only to start fading. The end? No, it recovered, resumed brightening only to be lost from view by the orbiting solar telescopes. They were able to gaze directly at the sun (here seen in time-lapse images, the center white circle representing the sun) just as the comet drew near its closest approach to the sun on 28 November. Most astronomers thought ISON was a goner, the victim of the searing heat and the sun’s wrenching gravitational tides. But then, out the other side, came ISON, or something that had been ISON. There might be a much-diminished nucleus or just a swarm of icy debris. Whatever it is, however, it is spewing the gas and dust that, if ISON can keep it up, could make for a pretty sight in the predawn of the early days of December. Knowing ISON as they do, astronomers are calling that a huge if.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

first_imgHas the Institut Pasteur been shut down? Mais non! Stories in the press today suggesting that the venerable Parisian institution has been “closed” or ordered to halt its research have been greatly exaggerated, Pasteur Director-General Christian Bréchot tells ScienceInsider. “The institute is fully working,” he says.But Pasteur is struggling with a public relations fiasco after the discovery, made earlier this year, that it can’t account for 2349 vials containing samples from the SARS outbreak in 2003. An independent panel has concluded that the risk for public health is zero, and Pasteur has suspended research in only one of its 18 biosafety level 3 facilities, Bréchot says. But the issue has led to three investigations and has raised questions in the media about the institute’s safety procedures.Today, the website Mediapart published fragments from a leaked letter written by two French Cabinet ministers who listed a series of apparent problems at the lab. “High likelihood of [sample] destruction not ordered by managers and without traceability, two-month delay in reporting the information to responsible authorities, lists of authorized persons not initially available, freezers not secured, absence of video surveillance, archives not available during weekend,” wrote research and education minister Benoît Hamon and Marisol Touraine, minister of social affairs, in a letter that Mediapart says was addressed to two government inspectors charged with investigating the issue.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(*)Pasteur staff discovered that the vials were missing during a regular inventory of dangerous pathogens in January, Bréchot says. The matter was reported to the National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety (ANSM), which inspected the lab between 8 and 12 April. On 12 April, Pasteur first announced the loss of the vials to the public in a short statement. Bréchot also reported the matter to the police, which is conducting its own investigation, and the two ministers have sent in their own inspection team. (The Institut Pasteur is a private foundation but the French government provides almost 30% of its annual budget.)Bréchot says the vials contained patient material collected during the brief worldwide SARS outbreak, including nasal, trachea, and plasma samples. An extensive investigation among staffers and students to find out what happened to the samples was fruitless. Security measures would make it very difficult for someone to take them outside the lab, says Bréchot, who thinks the most likely explanation is that the samples were accidentally destroyed. “But we don’t know how it happened,” Bréchot says, “and that is clearly unacceptable.”Even if the specimens had left the lab, they would be harmless, Bréchot says. In the past, all attempts to isolate the SARS virus from the samples had failed; what’s more, the vials had previously thawed for several days when the freezer in which they were stored broke down, reducing the chances of any virus surviving, he says. A panel of independent experts that examined the risks concluded that the “infectious potential” was “zero,” according to the institute’s statement.Bréchot says the institute is now working with ANSM to completely review and improve the way it handles dangerous agents. “My job as president is to make sure this never happens again,” he says.last_img read more

first_imgWolverines are not threatened by climate change and don’t need protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced yesterday. After more than a year of analysis, the agency is citing scientific uncertainty in withdrawing its controversial proposal to list the snow-dwelling carnivores as threatened. But some conservation scientists are concerned that the agency’s reversal sets a precedent that will restrict using models of future climate in listing decisions.Wolverine listing isn’t about whether USFWS believes that climate is changing, said the agency’s director, Dan Ashe, during a teleconference with reporters. The question is how well scientists can predict fine-scale warming impacts on the snow caves wolverines use to rear their young. “We know too little about the ecology of wolverines, and the climate models that we have available to us today don’t provide the specificity of information about the potential effect of climate changes on the specific type of habitat that wolverines seem to prefer to use for denning,” he said. “So we can’t make a reasonable prediction that wolverines will be likely endangered in the foreseeable future.”USFWS did not have those concerns in February 2013 when it first proposed protecting wolverines (Gulo gulo luscus) as threatened under the ESA. Populations of the predator were hit hard by trapping and poisoning in the early 20th century but have rebounded somewhat in recent decades. Researchers estimate approximately 300 “mountain devils” now live in the continental United States, found mostly in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. But modeling studies suggest that the persistent spring snowpack wolverines use for denning will decline 31% by 2045 and 63% by 2085.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(*)However, two wolverine biologists from USFWS’s seven-person peer-review panel strongly critiqued a listing based on those models. They were particularly concerned that biologists haven’t described the mechanism explaining why wolverine dens are associated with deep spring snowpack. In April 2014, a new panel reviewed the science, leading USFWS staff overseeing the process to recommend listing wolverines.But last month, a leaked memo from a USFWS regional director reversed that recommendation, calling the conclusions based on available models “speculative.” The Society for Conservation Biology, the American Society of Mammalogists, and 56 ecologists and biologists wrote letters asking USFWS to reconsider the reversal.Yesterday’s announcement dashed those hopes—and raised concerns that the agency will have difficulty listing any species as a result of concerns about future climate change. “I think the [agency] is asking for such a burden of proof tying climate change to species persistence that it would be practically impractical to meet for most species,” said Carlos Carroll, a conservation biologist with the Klamath Center for Conservation Research in Orleans, California, and the president of the Society for Conservation Biology’s North America section. “Effectively it’s a way of sort of ignoring climate change as a threat because you can say, well, it’s uncertain.”Ashe responded to that concern by saying the agency is open to reconsidering listing if presented with more evidence of climate impacts on wolverines, such as the correlations they saw between declining polar bear populations, lower polar bear body fat, and declining sea ice. “We definitely see the climatic effects, temperature and precipitation change—particularly of snowfall—across the range of the wolverine,” he said. “But what we’re missing is that more detailed, refined information. “The wolverine would have been the first animal in the lower 48 states to receive federal protection primarily due to climate threats, joining polar bears and ringed and bearded seals in Alaska. The three states with the largest wolverine populations had opposed the listing, in part because they are wary of additional federal oversight on the public lands where most wolverines live.Conservation groups say they are planning to go to court in a bid to reverse today’s decision. “In dealing with uncertainty in ESA listing decisions there is no law that says you have to give the species the benefit of the doubt,” said Melanie Rowland, a retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration attorney and ESA expert who was not involved in the listing decision. “But certainly the agency has every right to say that the scientists are not certain, but they are confident enough that we think that the drafters of the ESA would want the species to be protected.”last_img read more

first_imgWe may think we’re a culture that ditches our worn technology at the first sight of something shiny and new, but a new study reveals that we keep using our old gadgets well after they go out of style. That’s bad news for the environment—and our wallets—as these outdated devices suck up much more energy than their newer counterparts.“There are a lot of products in U.S. households that do the same thing, but we still own 20 of them,” says Callie Babbitt, an environmental engineer at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and co-author on the new study.To figure out how much power these devices are collectively sucking up, she and colleagues borrowed cues from industrial ecology, wherein every home was treated as an ecosystem of electronic “organisms.” Babbitt’s team tracked the environmental costs for each product across its life span—from when its minerals are mined to when we stop using the gadget. This tactic provided a readout for how home energy use has evolved since the early 1990s.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)To estimate the early stages of a product’s life, the researchers turned to the Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment database. Developed by Nobel Prize–winning economist Wassily Leontief, the data estimate the environmental emissions and energy consumed while making individual products. Next, they headed to libraries to dig up old consumer reports and surveys that described ownership—“My house has a TV in the basement and one in the den”—and usage—“At night, I use my laptop and my TV at the same time.”Babbitt’s team estimated the environmental impacts of common household electronics manufactured, bought, and used between 1992 and 2007. Devices were grouped by generation. Desktop computers, basic mobile phones, laptops, and box-set TVs defined 1992. Digital cameras and digital camcorders arrived on the scene in 1997. And MP3 players, smart phones, DVD players, and liquid-crystal display (LCD) TVs entered homes in 2002, before Blu-ray, plasma screens, tablets, and e-readers showed up in 2007.As we accumulated more devices, however, we didn’t throw out our old ones. The average number of electronic gadgets rose from four per household in 1992 to 13 in 2007, largely because we hoarded our outdated electronics, Babbitt’s team reports online ahead of print in Environmental Science & Technology. We’re not just hoarding these old devices—we continue to use them, based on consumer surveys. According to her team’s analysis, old desktop monitors and box TVs with cathode ray tubes are the biggest legacy perpetrators, with their energy consumption and contribution to greenhouse gas emissions more than doubling during the 1992 to 2007 window.  We’re also spending more time glued to our electronics, going from less than 700 hours of use per year in 1992 to more than 1400 hours in 2007.“The paper shows a lot of the gadgets aren’t replaced; they’re downgraded,” says energy engineer Edgar Hertwich of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, who wasn’t involved in the research. “The living room television is replaced and gets planted in the kids’ room, and suddenly one day, you have a TV in every room of the house.”Together, downgrading plus increased use equals a spike in household electronics’ energy consumption, Babbitt found. New policies and manufacturing trends have made individual gadgets more energy efficient—more standby modes or energy-saving LCD screens—but they can’t do anything about the outdated electronics we continue to plug in and turn on. As a whole home ecosystem, personal gadgets sap more energy than ever—nearly 30% of what a car burned in 2007, the study says.So what’s the solution? The team’s data only went up to 2007, but the researchers also explored what would happen if consumers replaced legacy products with hybrid electronics that serve more than one function, such as a tablet for word processing and TV viewing. For instance, they found that more on-demand entertainment viewing on laptops and tablets versus TVs and desktop computers could cut energy consumption by 44%.Another important aspect is improving design, Babbitt says. Next-generation “smart devices” could automatically e-mail or send text alerts when a device is left on for too long or send information on the best place to recycle electronics when gadgets get too old. Hertwich agrees: “There might be solutions on the horizon as multifunctional devices replace swaths of older devices that we have today.”last_img read more

first_imgIndian shares edged lower on Tuesday tracking global peers, with gains in state-run lenders such as State Bank of India being capped by losses in tech stocks such as Wipro.Investor sentiment was subdued as renewed fears of a trade war between the United States and China and a slump in tech shares such as Amazon.com triggered a global selloff.Read it at Reuters Related Itemslast_img

first_imgIndian internet service providers (ISPs) have installed the highest number of Internet filtering systems and blocked the maximum number of web pages, an investigation covering 10 countries by University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab, along with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and The Indian Express in India, has found.Read it at Indian Express Related Itemslast_img

first_imgThere has been a sharp increase in crimes in trains and railway premises, data has revealed. In the year 2017, 1,058 cases of robbery were reported across the 16 Railway zones of the country, which increased to 1,472 in 2018. Similarly, the number of rape cases reported in 2017 were 55, which increased to 69 in 2018. Drugging casesThe figures were tabled in the Lok Sabha by the Ministry of Railways last week in response to questions by seven MPs. The number of cases of drugging has remained the same, 257 for both 2017 and 2018.A closer analysis of the data points out huge variations in crimes as far as Railway zones are concerned. For instance the Central Railway has recorded the highest incidents of robbery (723) in 2018, followed by Western Railway which recorded 377 cases. North East Frontier Railway, South East Central and South Eastern Railway have recorded the least number of cases of robbery with four, four and nine respectively in 2018. In terms of cases of rape, three railway zones, West Central and Central Railway with 14 cases each and Northern Railway with 11 cases, amount to 56% of all rape cases recorded in all the zonal railways in 2018. Southern and South Central Railway recorded no incident of rape in 2018. In terms of incidents of drugging, Central Railway and North Central Railway recorded 61 cases each, followed by 31 in North Central and 18 in North East Frontier Railway.What is interesting about these figures is that the data has been brought into the public domain for the first time. The National Crime Record Bureau, which has a chapter on Crime in Railways, was last released in 2017 containing statistics recorded in 2016. Retired IPS officer and former Executive Director of the Railway Protection Force Nazrul Islam furthered explained these figures. ‘Proactive officers’“If more cases are recorded in some zonal railways that does not necessarily mean that the zone is more crime prone. It can be that officers there are more proactive in recording cases and thereby victims have higher chance of getting justice,” Mr Islam said.last_img read more