5 held in connection with killing, gang rape off Yamuna Expressway

first_img The police came to know through media reports that the woman suspected the role of neighbours and detained the men late on Thursday night, said Jewar Police Station in charge Rajpal Tomar.According to the police, the woman later clarified that she named the neighbour(s) out of sheer anger. With this set of neighbours, the police have figured out a property related dispute between the two families.On the progress of the probe thus far, the police said the gangs active on the Yamuna Expressway and adjoining areas remained the prime suspects for them.“We will get a final statement recorded before the magistrate on Saturday,” added Mr. Tomar.Several teams are probing the incident that took place in a field alongside the road linking Jewar to Bulandhahr, barely 1.2 km off the Yamuna Expressway. A scrap dealer was shot dead and the four women were gang-raped by a group of six men. They also allegedly took away cash and jewelleryThe special task force officers were not available for comments. ‘They pulled the trigger and silenced him’ A special task force of the police on Friday afternoon picked up five men for questioning in connection with the gunning down of a man, gang rape of four women and alleged robbery in a field off the Yamuna Expressway in Uttar Pradesh in the early hours of Thursday. Police had detained the five for questioning on Thursday night, but let them off later.  Initially, police said, the five were questioned because one of the women told media that she had identified three of the six assailants as her neighbours. She, however, retracted the statement a day later.The FIR that was registered on the statement of one of the men in the vehicle in which seven others, including the women, were travelling said the suspects were stranger to them and the women could recognise them.Also Readlast_img read more

Over 15,000 people relocated in Gujarat

first_imgAfter Saurashtra, its now the turn of the North Gujarat region to bear the brunt of incessant rainfall. Heavy flooding in several areas has forced the State authorities to shift people out of low lying areas. Several hundred stranded people have been rescued.On Monday, the authorities relocated more than 15000 people in North Gujarat districts, mostly in Banaskantha, to safer areas. The NDRF, Air Force, BSF and the Army were joined by other agencies in the rescue of more than 500 stranded people.The State continues to be on high alert as the meteorological department has forecast more rains. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani conducted two aerial surveys and held meetings with officials. He also briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation. He asked the district administration to accord top priority to rescuing people stranded in flood waters and shifting those in low lying areas.Meanwhile, the continuing rainfall affected the rescue work of the Indian Air Force. Many of its choppers could not take off and those that did were forced to return to the base.A Defence aircraft loaded with relief material and food packets had to return due to heavy rains in the target areas in Banaskantha district. The district administration has sounded a high alert and advised people not to venture out. Schools and colleges have been asked to to remain closed on Tuesday.Seven persons have died in ran related incidents since July 20, while the death toll since the beginning of monsoon has touched 72.Trains cancelledThe Ahmedabad-Delhi Rajdhani Express has been cancelled due to the break-down of tracks in Palanpur. The Agra Express has also been cancelled.last_img read more

Parties plan big for Gujarat

first_imgCongress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will launch the party campaign for the Assembly elecions in Gujarat on September 4. Subsequently, he will start a two-day yatra from Dwarka in Saurashtra to north, central and south Gujarat from September 22.“We are launching the campaign with the theme Congress Aave Chhe (‘Congress is coming’) with Rahulji’s dialogues with party workers, businessmen, traders and NGO representatives,” State party president Bharatsinh Solanki told presspersons here on Saturday.The party would focus on issues concerning farmers, unemployment, expensive education due to privatisation, and the collapse of the health sector, he said.Mr. Solanki added that his party was engaging with traders and businessmen on their issues because demonetisation and high GST rates have severely impacted businesses in the State.The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is also set to launch its high-profile campaign from September 10 with national president Amit Shah’s town hall event in which one lakh youth workers will participate.Banking on social mediaMr. Shah will address them and take their questions using social media platforms like WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook. “Our national president will hold the event with the theme Adikham Gujarat (‘Resolute Gujarat’). After that, the campaign will formally be rolled out across the State,” said Bhupendra Yadav, BJP general secretary in charge of Gujarat.last_img read more

4 policemen suspended as boy dies in crossfire

first_imgFour policemen including two sub-inspectors were suspended on Thursday after an eight-year-old nursery student Madhav Bhardwaj was shot dead in an encounter with robbers at Mohanpura village, in Mathura on Wednesday. The suspensions came after a probe was conducted into the death of the child with the villagers alleging that the child was hit by police bullet. ₹5 lakh compensationInspector General of Police, Agra range, Raja Shrivastava suspended the sub-inspectors Virendra Singh and Saurabbh Sharma and two policemen Udham Singh and Subhash for their prime facie failure to attend to the boy immediately after he was hit by the bullet while playing in the nearby park. Mr. Shrivastava also announced a magisterial probe into the incident and announced a compensation of ₹5 lakh to the boy’s family. According to Vinay Chauhan, Circle Officer Mathura, a team of policemen had reached Mohanpura village after getting information that Manoj, an accused in a recent loot case, was seen in the village.“Manoj and his group fired at the police. The police retaliated. In the crossfire, a bullet which was fired from the gang’s side, hit Madhav on his head. Though he was rushed to the local hospital, he succumbed to the injuries,” said Mr. Chauhan who also denied police shooting in the episode.An FIR was being registered on the basis of a complaint filed by the villagers, the police said. Shiv Shankar, Madhav’s grandfather told The Hindu: “The tragedy happened in no time. The last time I saw Madhav, he was playing in the park. After that I saw some policemen who started firing. Madhav, who was playing in the park, got hit.”last_img read more

Kolkata’s iconic Fairlawn hotel begins a new chapter

first_imgAn 18th Century building, cradling a 19th Century hotel, and walls of colourful history are the stuff Fairlawn is made up of. The last heritage leisure property of early colonial era, and until late last evening owned by a Calcutta-born British lady Jennifer Ann Fowler, checked in its new owner, Diamond Oberoi, an Indian hotelier, on Tuesday morning.The 235-year-old building and nearly a century old hotel, that housed Nobel laureate Gunter Grass to French Novelist Dominique Lappiere, where Sashi Kapoor met theatre actor Jennifer Kendal in the 1950s and an umpteen number of writers, filmmakers, journalists and poets still throng its garden restaurant officially changed hand last night.Before leaving for the county town of Taunton in Somersett with her daughter Cathryn, Jennifer Fowler spent a quiet evening after a weeklong paper chase. After the deal, over a glass of beer, 6-feet and 70-year-old British American lady told The Hindu that she and her parents “found their life partners here in Calcutta.” The receptions had taken place in Fairlawn.Her mother managed the hotel till her death at 94 in 2014. Her Armenian grandparents Rosie and Minas fled Aremenia after Turkish invasion in 1915 and landed up in Calcutta. They bought over the hotel in 1936.Just a few steps down the road besides Indian Museum in Kolkata, this quaint little nest for many a legend, changed hands over a get together of sorts between the two “Calcutta families”. Jennifer, Managing Director of Fairlawn Hotel Pvt. Ltd. was in tears and smiles through the evening.The ‘other’ OberoiSixty-two-year old Oberoi, the Managing Director Elgin Hotel and Resorts, who is the iconic hotelier of a chain of restored heritage properties in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and royal buildings in Gangtok and Peling at the foothills of Himalayas, said a two-year restoration work for Fairlawn asset begins from Tuesday.  “This would be done without changing the core character of the operational hotel,” promised the hotelier, fondly known as the ‘other’ Oberoi, nephew of Mohan Singh Oberoi, the founder of Oberoi Group of Hotels. Trained at Oberoi School of Hotel Management, Diamond Oberoi bought out only heritage leisure properties and made a star out them. He felt Fairlawn was the last authentic “British” hotel in independent India. The ambiance, the grandeur, the unique experience of 19th century relaxation and the goodwill of the hotel is still intact.A modern touch“We will make it more comfortable. Rooms will have modern facilities but done up in the same old style,” Mr Oberoi said. Since Oberoi took over a small hotel ran by a Scottish lady on a property of Maharaja of Coochbehar in Darjeeling in 1965, it did not look for another furrow.In 1976, the ‘other’ Oberoi bought the Royal Guest House of King of. Sikkim in Gangtok and the Royal Retreat at Peling in 2007. “We restored all, improved and expanded the heritage properties”, he mentioned.When Jennifer’s Fowler’s mother Violet Smith, who passed away recently at 93, discontinued the practice of accepting only foreign currencies and started taking Indian currency. That was the beginning of the ‘Indianness’ of Fairlawn. On Tuesday, the new legal entity and the brand — Elgin Fairlawn – has turned purely Indian.last_img read more

India, Bangladesh ocean scientists to work together

first_imgOcean research scientists of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) would get an opportunity to work together with Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute (BORI) in areas where work has not been started in that country’s Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ), said Director of NIO Sunil Kumar Singh here on Monday.He was addressing presspersons in the presence of a visiting delegation from Bangladesh led by Ashok Kumar Biswas, Director General, (BORI). The delegation was on a two-day visit to CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula.Mr. Singh said that the visit was in connection with the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR), in Dhaka, towards a mutual co-operation between both the countries.The delegation visited CSIR-NIO to chalk out programme and plan towards training the manpower from Bangladesh for oceanographic research. “BORI is a new institute established three months back. They are going to start their research activity very soon. India has committed to help CHOGAM countries, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) countries and all Indian ocean countries,” said Mr. Singh.“We are going to help the new institute in all the aspects. Scientists from BORI will be visiting NIO on short and long-term duration to have training in oceanographic research and to have understanding of the subject. Similarly, NIO scientists will be visiting BORI to impart training in various fields of oceanography. It will not be limited to training, but we will be doing joint oceanographic research,” he said.“Bangladesh has got support since 1971 from Indian Government and have been getting full support from India since then. We feel that without India we will not be developed,’’ said Mr. Biswas.The delegation will also visit National Institute of Ocean Technology in Chennai.last_img read more

Bihar takes new route for Swachh Bharat catch-up

first_imgFour years into the Swachh Bharat programme, Bihar has finally given up on a model of only allowing community-based incentives for toilet construction. Two weeks ago, the State switched to allowing individual household-based incentives, according to Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary of the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation. His department is responsible for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan-Grameen, which aims to end the practice of open defecation in rural India. With just over a year to go for the October 2, 2019, deadline to become open defecation free (ODF), Bihar is the second worst performing State, lagging behind with almost 66% coverage. Only Odisha, with 62.5% coverage, fares worse.“Earlier, in Bihar, the whole village needed to be declared ODF. Only then was the compensation given,” explained Mr. Iyer on the sidelines of a press briefing on Thursday. “Now, whenever you build your own toilet, you get paid.”Under the Swachh Bharat programme, States were given freedom to tweak the way the scheme was implemented. Every household building a toilet was eligible for an incentive of ₹12,000. Some States paid the incentive only when the construction was over, while others paid it in parts during various stages of construction. Several States also used neighbourhood peer pressure to increase the speed of toilet construction, by declaring that no one would get paid until the entire village was declared ODF.“It worked in Haryana,” pointed out Mr. Iyer.However, different economic realities in Bihar resulted in frustrated villagers waiting for their neighbours to construct toilets before payment was sanctioned. The change in strategy could now help Bihar catch-up, said Mr. Iyer.last_img read more

IFFI 2018: ‘Institutionalise Q&A session with the audience after every movie screening’

first_imgQuoting Alfred Hitchcock, Mr. Veit Helmer, Director of the German film ‘The Bra’ said on Saturday that cinema should be about visual storytelling and that dialogue spoils the visual elements in that narration. The directors of the films in the World Panorama section of 49th IFFI-2018 — The Bra, A Sacred Gaucho, Phoenix, Autsajder and Nervous Translation were talking to the media at the media centre on Saturday. “There is no need to think how one can talk to a universal audience. If you talk about something very personal, then everybody in the world will understand”, Mr. Helmer further said, adding,The communication with the audience is very important and it would be great to institutionalise a Q&A session with the audience after every movie screening”.He also enquired about the possibilities of films from diverse places like Latin America and Europe getting commercially released in India.Mr. Joaquin Pedretti, Director of ‘A Sacred Gaucho’(Argentina-Spanish film), said that his film is based on a popular hero who represents the poor people. He elaborated that the film has been given its particular structure based on its narrative. “It is so important for us to have the world premiere in IFFI because it is based on the symbolic tradition of India and Argentina, as we have the same type of archetypes”, he said.Narrating the characteristics of her film, Camilla Strom Henriksen, Norwegian director of “Phoenix”, said that it is a dark quiet film for grownups, children being the film’s main characters. It is about children who are forced to assume the responsibility as adults because the parents fail to do so. She pointed out that the theme of the film would resonate with many people even though the circumstances can be very different. Replying to a question on how to make a film that can connect to each and every person, she said that if the filmmaker is specific about what she does, she will reach the audience she is meant to reach.Adam Sikora, Director of Autsajder(Poland) said that his movie is about a very difficult time in Poland. It’s the story of a young man in 1980s and how he faces these problems. Ms. Dennese Victoria, Cinematographer of ‘Nervous translation’ said that it takes a while for the audience to adjust to a film’s language to understand what the film offers to you.last_img read more

Congress, NCP reach deal on Maharashtra seats

first_imgThe Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are likely to conclude the seat-sharing talks for the Lok Sabha election on Sunday. Senior leaders said a consensus had been reached on 40 seats and a final meeting would take place at the residence of Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil later in the evening.“We are hoping to resolve the issue by tomorrow or at the earliest and are also talking with other splinter groups to join the grand alliance,” said former Maharashtra Finance Minister and senior NCP leader Jayant Patil. Sources said NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress president Rahul Gandhi had asked their State units to resolve disagreements over the remaining seats of Ahmednagar, Pune, Ratnagiri Sindhudurg, Nandurbar, Yavatmal, Aurangabad, Raver and Kolhapur. The NCP on Saturday held a party meeting to resolve issues regarding seat-sharing and candidate list. The party discussed demands from the Congress for the Ahmednagar seat, where Mr. Vikhe Patil’s son is keen to contest. The Congress has additionally expressed interest in the Pune and the Raver seats while the NCP is keen on the remaining eight seats, party leaders said.The NCP likely to field prominent public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who had helped State prosecute suspects in the 1993 Bombay bombings, and most notably 2008 Mumbai attacks, party sources said. “He is a bright lawyer and is capable to work in politics and so if he joins it will be good,” NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal said reacting to the development. The two parties had parted ways in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls but have decided to join hands against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Several rounds of talks have already taken place but no official announcement on the alliance has been made. Sources said the two are likely to contest an equal number of seats out of the 48 in the State. A grand alliance will be formed by including other splinter groups, said party leaders.last_img read more

Rahul to campaign in Northeast from today

first_imgCongress president Rahul Gandhi would arrive here on Tuesday to kick-start the election campaign in the north-eastern States. Of the 25 MPs to be elected by the north-eastern States, two would be from Manipur.Mr. Gandhi will arrive in Arunachal Pradesh and then reach Imphal where he would stay for the night. The next day he will leave for Tripura. He is likely to announce the names of the two Congress candidates during his stay in Imphal. He would also address a public meeting at Hafta Kangjeibung on Wednesday.The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee issued a statement welcoming Mr. Gandhi. ‘Failed promises’ The party accused the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in the State of taking the tribals for a ride by promising to implement certain measures which they could never do. The promise that the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission would be implemented was a cruel joke, the party said.The Congress also attacked the State government for the midnight raids carried out at students’ hostels and residences of professors of Manipur University for demanding the removal of the vice-chancellor.The BJP and the Congress, which are the major players in the Lok Sabha polls in Manipur, are yet to announce their candidates. Both are waiting for the other to blink first to assess the party’s strength.last_img read more

Charles Vest, Prominent U.S. Science Policy Leader, Dies

first_imgCharles M. Vest, a prominent player in U.S. science policy and a former leader of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), has died. Vest died last night of pancreatic cancer at his home in Washington, D.C., according to a story posted on the MIT website. He was 72 years old.Vest served as MIT’s 15th president, from 1990 to 2004. He led NAE from 2007 until this past June.“Chuck” Vest was a regular visitor to Capitol Hill and the White House and was often called upon to serve on blue-ribbon advisory panels, where he was known for offering sometimes droll counsel. While serving on a 2005 Department of Education panel, for instance, he schooled his colleagues on how to say the name of another prominent science policy maven, Vannever Bush, a White House adviser considered the father of the National Science Foundation. “Now you can all be insiders and say Vuh-NEE-ver,” he told the panel, correcting their pronunciation.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(*)“Chuck’s wise counsel was sought by the nation at the highest levels from government to industry to universities and the non-profit sector, all of which he served selflessly with distinction,” said C. D. Dan Mote Jr., NAE’s current president, in a statement.last_img read more

European Parliament Approves Bill to Increase Clinical Trial Transparency

first_imgBRUSSELS—Researchers who do clinical trials in the European Union will have to make the results public under a bill approved by the European Parliament yesterday. In a sweeping vote held here yesterday, 594 members of the Parliament voted in favor of the plan, while only 17 voted against and 13 abstained.The vote, which confirms an informal deal reached in December between Parliament and the European Union’s 28 member states, is a victory for activist groups who want trials data out in the open. “This is fantastic,” said Sile Lane from Sense About Science, one of the organizations behind the AllTrials campaign in the United Kingdom, in a statement after the vote. “It will mean that researchers will in future know about trials as they are happening and will be able to scrutinize results soon after their end.”Under the draft reform, trials carried out in the European Union must be registered in a central database, and a summary of results—positive or negative—must be uploaded within 1 year after the end of the trial. In addition, researchers must release a full clinical study report—which contains detailed information about the trial design and analysis, including patient-level data sets—if the medicine is submitted for marketing authorization, irrespective of that application’s success. Academic researchers and companies would be fined if they don’t comply.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(*)Glenis Willmott, the British Labour parliamentarian who authored the Parliament’s position, said that the reform will “set the global gold standard in clinical trial transparency.” In a statement published before the vote, Willmott said the change can aid a similar push for greater disclosure of results at the European Medicines Agency, to “help ensure that data from old trials is also published.”The transparency push is only one part of a wider effort to improve the current rules, expedite procedures, and make Europe a more attractive location for clinical trials. While the commission’s initial proposal avoided the sensitive issue of ethics committees, which vary widely across Europe, Willmott tried to clarify their role in authorization procedures.The reform’s practical execution will run into problems, predicts Adam Cohen, a professor of clinical pharmacology at Leiden University Medical Center and former member of the regulatory body for clinical trials in the Netherlands. In many European countries, national authorities and research ethics committees both examine the same trial applications, leading to “unnecessary bureaucracy” and “unclear accountability,” and giving too much leeway to ethics committees, Cohen wrote in The Lancet in 2012.The new legislation does not address that but perpetuates a flawed system, Cohen tells ScienceInsider. “Do not fix the roof if the foundations are shaky,” he says. Cohen suggests the Dutch system, where a central body is responsible for accrediting and overseeing research ethics committees, would have been the model to follow.The regulation now has to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers, which represents member states, and is expected to come into force in 2016 at the earliest.last_img read more

ScienceShot: Genetic ‘App’ Tells You Where You’re From

first_imgWhere are you from? Naming a childhood town is an easy reply for many, but for an adopted child or young refugees separated from their parents, the answer may never come. Now, a new app could help those who are unaware of their ancestral home. Using only DNA sequences, the program can trace how far away a person lives from the land of their forebears, according to a study published today in Nature Communications. The system relies on admixture—a genetic principle that argues that when a family migrates across a geographic barrier into a new location, they start mating with the locals; new traits start blending into their gene pool, and this genetic diversity provides a ruler for gauging the distance from home. The researchers started with a genome database of people from 54 worldwide regions (dots in map above). The subjects had historic ties to their regions dating back centuries. Using this info, the team built an admixture algorithm, dubbed Geographic Population Structure (GPS), which they tested with the genetic info from 600 DNA samples composed of 98 global subpopulations, such as Romanians or the Punjabis of northern India. Based solely on genetic markers, GPS could place individuals within their country of origin 83% of the time. Half of the subjects were pinpointed within 87 km of their reported point of origin. For instance, all female subjects from the mountain commune of San Basilio, Sardinia, were placed in their original village (inset). But the biggest claim made by the study is that humans are a highly mixed species with no evidence for races.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

Half of Earth’s water formed before the sun was born

first_imgGood news for hunters of extraterrestrial life: Water may be more widespread in planetary systems than previously thought. A team of researchers studying the origin of the water in our solar system has concluded that up to half of it formed before the sun itself was born—that is, in the cloud of dust and gas that was the progenitor of our solar system. If water can form in abundance in such clouds, then it may be found everywhere.Our solar system is awash with water. Apart from Earth, water is found on the moon, Mars, Mercury, comets, and the icy moons of the giant planets. But where did it come from? Water is known to form in the clouds of gas and dust of the interstellar medium (ISM) from which planetary systems coalesce, but is it destroyed when the newly formed sun starts pumping out heat and light, only to be formed again later? Or does that primordial water survive star formation and remain around us today?To answer that question, a team led by astronomer L. Ilsedore Cleeves of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, focused on deuterium, a heavy form of hydrogen that was created in the big bang along with normal hydrogen. There are about 26 deuterium atoms for every million hydrogen atoms across the universe, but it is six times as prevalent in the water on Earth and in other solar system bodies. Scientists conclude that when the water formed, the reaction creating deuterium-rich “heavy water” was slightly faster than the one creating normal water, so the proportion of deuterium in water increased.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(*)But that enrichment of deuterium happens only under certain conditions: It has to be very cold (only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero), plus you need oxygen and some sort of ionizing radiation to get the reaction going. All of those things are available in the ISM. The ionizing radiation there is cosmic rays, particles from distant sources that zip through space at high speed. And astronomers have observed water in the ISM that is highly enriched in deuterium, so that could be source of the solar system’s water.Still, there’s a question mark over whether this interstellar water could survive the violence of the sun’s birth. To find out, Cleeves and her colleagues sought to determine whether the same water-forming reactions could have occurred after the sun’s formation, in the protoplanetary disk of gas and dust from which planets form. Such a disk would offer low temperatures and an oxygen supply just as the ISM does, but would there be enough ionizing radiation?The team constructed a detailed model of the chemical processes creating water in a protoplanetary disk. Much of the cosmic rays are fended off by the young star’s magnetic field and particles streaming out from the star, but there are other sources of radiation: x-rays from the star and short-lived radionuclides in the disk. As the researchers report online today in Science, those sources of radiation just don’t produce heavy water fast enough. “We found that heavy water didn’t form in any abundance over a million years,” Cleeves says.In fact, the team estimates that as much as 50% of the water now on Earth may have existed since before the birth of the sun 4.5 billion years ago. And that’s good news for other planetary systems. The conditions in the ISM are far more uniform across space than those in protoplanetary disks, so it’s likely that there is water everywhere waiting for planets to form. “As the number of confirmed planetary systems increases, it’s reassuring that … water is available,” Cleeves says.“This is a very interesting result. We’ve been debating this for years, whether or not the ices have an interstellar heritage,” says astrophysicist Karen Willacy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. She says that other groups have tried to model the collapse of clouds in the ISM into planetary systems to see if ice would survive, but “with various results, that don’t always agree,” Willacy says. “This is much more simple approach, just using the chemistry which is well understood.”last_img read more

Mitochondrial gene therapy passes final U.K. vote

first_imgThe United Kingdom’s House of Lords has approved legislation to allow a new type of in vitro fertilization (IVF) that would replace faulty DNA, preventing certain types of genetic diseases. The vote follows the House of Commons approval of the measure on 3 February, making the United Kingdom the first country to explicitly allow the procedure, which would combine DNA from two biological parents and an egg donor.The technique will be allowed under fairly tight regulation: Researchers who wish to offer the service to couples still must apply for and receive a license from the country’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.The technique, called mitochondrial DNA replacement therapy, would allow women who have mutations in the DNA of their mitochondria, the organelles that provide chemical energy for cells, to have genetically related children who don’t carry the mutations. It is controversial, however, because it would modify the DNA of an embryo in a way that could be passed on to future generations.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(*)People who have faulty mitochondria can experience a variety of symptoms, including heart problems, seizures, and blindness. The symptoms are variable, however, and the condition can be difficult to diagnose. Some babies born with defective mitochondria die within months. Other people don’t show any symptoms until much later in life.Mitochondria are passed on through the egg cell, so the diseases are inherited through the mother. Researchers have developed ways to transfer the genetic material from an egg cell that carries faulty mitochondria into a donor egg that has healthy mitochondria. And after that egg has been artificially inseminated with sperm, the resulting embryo carries nuclear DNA from the mother and father and mitochondrial DNA from the egg donor.The United Kingdom has conducted several scientific and ethical studies on the issue since 2011, all of which concluded that the technique was potentially safe and ethical. But some researchers have argued that not enough is known about potential side effects of the technique.After several hours of debate, the Lords defeated a proposed amendment to the legislation that would have established a committee to further study the possible risks of the technique. They then quickly approved the proposed regulations.Opponents of the IVF method expressed their dismay afterward. “Unlike experimental gene therapies where risks are taken on by consenting individuals, these techniques turn children into our biological experiments and forever alter the human germline in unknowable ways. There is no precedent for this,” said Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, which has argued against approval of the technique. “We call on those who have supported moving forward with these techniques to make it clear that other kinds of inheritable genetic changes remain off-limits.”In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has asked the Institute of Medicine to study the ethical and scientific issues involved in the technique and issue a consensus report. The expert committee’s next meeting is scheduled for 31 March.last_img read more

Slideshow: Is the warming Arctic behind winter storms?

first_img NASA/Kathryn Hansen Europe was again hit hard in January and February 2012. Here, a woman walks on snow-covered roads in the village of Llopushnik in southern Kosovo, in January 2012. In New York, the December 2010 blizzard dumped up to 74 centimeters of snow. Slideshow: Is the warming Arctic behind winter storms? The actual atmospheric link between Arctic amplification and the waviness of the jet stream may be disputed, but it is known that a wavier jet stream can enhance the likelihood of frigid winter storms such as the powerful nor’easter in December 2009 that © Rick Friedman/Corbis Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean—including in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas—has dwindled by more than 11% per decade since 1979, due to global warming. The new expanses of open water absorb the sun’s energy rather than reflecting it back into space, further en © Adrian Bradshaw/epa/Corbis © Valdrin Xhemaj/epa/Corbis Winter storms have also blasted eastern Asia, such as this snowstorm that hit Beijing in November 2009. © Gary Hershorn/Reuters/Corbis Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean—including in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas—has dwindled by more than 11% per decade since 1979, due to global warming. The new expanses of open water absorb the sun’s energy rather than reflecting it back into space, further en NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response/Wikimedia © Tyrone Turner/National Geographic Creative/Corbis center_img NASA/Kathryn Hansen “Snowmageddon” and other powerful winter storms have blasted the United States, Europe, and Asia in recent years. Some scientists have suggested that such extreme weather events—such as those seen in this slideshow—are linked with rapid climate change in the Arctic, including dwindling sea ice. As more sea ice melts and Arctic amplification proceeds, it creates a smaller temperature gradient between the warmer Arctic and lower latitudes. That, in turn, slows down the jet stream, they argue, causing it to become more “wavy” and allowing colder air to penetrate farther south. But other researchers urge caution, questioning whether the data support this linkage, as Science reports today. They note we still have a lot to learn about the Arctic’s impact on the atmosphere.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(*) © Ian Langsdon/epa/Corbis Another blizzard struck the northeastern United States in December 2010; homes and streets in Scituate, Massachusetts, were also flooded due to extreme high tides. The 2009 to 2010 winter was particularly memorable in the northeastern United States. In February 2010, so much snow fell in the mid-Atlantic area that the media dubbed the event “Snowmageddon.” By Carolyn GramlingFeb. 19, 2015 , 2:00 PM ‹› The same nor’easter cloaked the Chesapeake Bay area in white in December 2009. dbking/Wikimedia © Valdrin Xhemaj/epa/Corbis Europe was again hit hard in January and February 2012. Here, a woman walks on snow-covered roads in the village of Llopushnik in southern Kosovo, in January 2012. The heavy snowfall hasn’t just occurred in the northeastern United States; Europe has been blanketed as well. Snow covered the city of Paris in December 2009. last_img read more

The Shopper Of Tomorrow Trading Down

first_imgAttention Shoppers: We no longer have the following items — “a sense of entitlement,” “conspicuous consumption” and “a golden period of luxury.”While shoppers typically pull back during the downward phase of any economic cycle, the severity and uncertainty of today’s crisis is likely to have longer-lasting effects on their attitudes than most slumps. Consumers, experts suggest, will eventually start spending again, but without the vigor enabled by easy credit in the Roaring 2000s. “The Great Depression certainly changed consumer behavior and attitudes for a generation,” says University of Pennsylavnia Wharton School marketing professor Wesley Hutchinson. “It’s not obvious that we will have that psychological scar, but there is precedent for a very large shift.”Over the next 18 months, Hutchinson predicts, consumers will learn to become more frugal and are likely to carry those skills over once the economy recovers. “At some level, everybody has now been schooled about financial markets and overextending one’s credit — something American consumers have been notoriously bad at. We had a habit of not paying a lot of attention to the cost of using borrowed money.”Wharton marketing professor Stephen Hoch sees consumers as embracing a new logic. “Until recently, there has been a theme of entitlement that people really latched onto,” he says. It was built on the belief that consumers worked hard and were entitled to splurge on rewards to compensate for the time and energy devoted to making money. Luxury goods marketers promoted the “entitlement” theme heavily, although they have now backed away almost entirely from this pitch.Consumers who had learned to trade up when times were flush are now learning to trade down, Hoch adds. They realize they were wasting money on higher-priced goods and services when less expensive alternatives were available with little real trade-off in quality or satisfaction. Indeed, many consumers regret what they used to spend; they are finding a new sense of well-being in becoming more discerning shoppers. “There will be more of a premium placed on seeking value,” Hoch says. “People will realize that’s being smart.”$1,200 ShoesErin Armendinger, managing director of Wharton’s Jay H. Baker Retailing Initiative, suggests that people “are definitely changed by what has happened. I don’t think they will go back to spending like they did, at least not anytime soon.” Consumers, she notes, have cut back sharply, not by choice, but because credit card companies and other lenders pulled their support for the consumption binge that fed into the current financial collapse. The halt in credit expansion is a “hard stop” for consumers who have been forced to retrench and reevaluate their attitudes toward spending.In the future, shoppers will learn to focus on the value of goods and services, she predicts, citing designer shoes as an example of the new consumer economics. Five years ago, shoes with high-end names sold for $300 to $500. Leading into the economic meltdown, shoe-minded shoppers — buoyed by easy credit and a sense of newfound wealth based on elevated stock and real estate values — were paying $800 to $1,200 for shoes. “Was there a 100% increase in the value proposition? The answer is probably ‘No,’” says Armendinger. “Everybody got caught in a cycle of conspicuous consumption. Everybody had to have the newest, the latest, the best.”Now, she says, that “crazy mindset” is over and shoppers are only willing to pay for what they absolutely need or items that present extraordinary value. “We are back to simpler times, but the pendulum will settle somewhere in the middle. We are a country that historically has bought more than we need and we will swing back at some point to buying more than we are now.” As for the pre-meltdown “go-go times, we will never go back to that, at least not anytime soon.”According to consumer consultant Paco Underhill, author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, the psychological reaction to the financial meltdown is segmented somewhat by age and income, although overall the mood of consumers is clearly downbeat. “The level of depression is pervasive. This is a very dark period. I hope it provokes some serious introspection.”Underhill describes what he says are three consumer segments now, divided not by income levels, but by income security. One group is made up of those who have lost their jobs and are downwardly mobile. For the wife of a Wall Street banker, that could result in the elimination of weekly hair and nail appointments, while a General Motors worker whose benefits have been cut may struggle to pay the mortgage. “For them, this is traumatic and it cuts across economic classes,” says Underhill.Those in the second group are not at immediate risk of losing their jobs, but they have friends or family who are out of work. These consumers, he says, are cutting back as a cautionary measure. They are still spending, but find a new sense of pride in comparison shopping for the best deals.A third group is relatively untouched by the downturn. The individuals in this group have paid off their mortgages and, while their investment portfolios may be down sharply, they still have an adequate cushion. Nonetheless this group is also cutting back because engaging in conspicuous consumption seems like bad manners when so many other people are suffering. However, he says, people in this group are still traveling to places where they can be reasonably confident no one they know will see what they are spending.The changing consumer psychology also cuts across age cohorts, Underhill suggests. “For Generation Y [those born after 1978], the crisis has hit harder than September 11. This is the first financial trauma of their lives, and they have been led to believe that access to capital and spending is limitless. Many of them are just completely over their heads. They have no idea of budgeting.” It will be interesting to see how this generation responds, Underhill adds, noting that Generation Y could remain in denial for some time, or they could face the crisis with a rich new set of consumer options, such as so-called “disposable fashion” available at Zara and other retailers. In addition, he says, this generation’s parents seem willing to take them back home to regroup if they stumble financially.For Generation X — those born between 1965 and 1977 — the decline in housing values is the challenge. Those who bought homes around 1995 with a long-term mortgage probably still have equity in their homes. “But if you bought a house in 2005 or traded up, you are in bad shape,” says Underhill. Baby boomers, too, are caught off guard by the collapse in housing values. “They forgot to save, and thought their houses were doing the saving for them.” For this generation, the idea of retirement will be downscaled from a golden period of luxury to a more modest lifestyle similar to that of their working years.The way to cope psychologically with these changes is with better education and financial literacy, according to Underhill. “It’s important that people know there is no acquisition in life that is transformative — not a lipstick, not an iPhone, not a new Chevy. Nothing changes you into somebody you weren’t before that purchase happened.”Wharton marketing professor Leonard Lodish says Americans may have a reputation for materialistic values, but are probably not any more inherently consumer-driven than human beings around the world. The French, he notes, coined the term “prestige” while the Japanese, and now the Chinese, have both exhibited explosive levels of post-industrial consumerism.Marketers, he says, do not ignite consumerism, but respond to the urge which comes from within. “It’s very hard to create an innate need. That comes from the interplay of society and the values and norms of the culture.”Loading up on KetchupArmendinger points to another impact on shopping patterns — having enough space to store all one’s purchases. U.S. shoppers do seem to lead the world in consumerism, in part because they have enough land to build huge homes and storage units to house all their belongings. “In a nutshell, we have too much stuff,” she says. In Europe and emerging economies such as India, the desire to consume is there, but falls short of American-style hoarding. “You don’t see the Costco mentality of stockpiling toilet paper or huge vats of ketchup, simply because [people] physically don’t have the space.”Carl Steidtmann, chief economist and director of Deloitte Research — Consumer Business, emphasizes that the Great Depression, combined with World War II, amounted to a 15-year period of consumer constraint, first because of the economic contraction and then because of rationing for the war effort. He predicts that the current downturn, which began in December 2007, will start to abate by the end of this year, and is not likely to have as great a long-term impact on consumers as the Great Depression.He also suggests that the most lasting impact of the current downturn may be on homeowners who are severely stressed by mortgage debt. Going forward, he expects more of a “renter mentality” in the housing market, with less emphasis on homeownership as an investment vehicle. Still, don’t expect to see modern-day nomads piling Pottery Barn furnishings into their SUVs as they abandon their McMansions. “In every recession, there’s the hypothesis that the consumer is chastened and that we will come out living the simple life of monks,” says Steidtmann. “It hasn’t happened yet.”He recalls a Time magazine cover story that ran in June 2001 as the economy was slowing, titled “The Simple Life: Goodbye to having it all.” The article read, in part: “After a 10-year bender of gaudy dreams and godless consumerism, Americans are starting to trade down. They want to reduce their attachments to status symbols, fast-track careers and great expectations of Having It All. Upscale is out; downscale is in. Yuppies are an ancient civilization. Flaunting money is considered gauche: If you’ve got it, please keep it to yourself — or give some away!”Sound familiar?Wharton marketing professor David Reibstein says the current angst about consumer spending reminds him of the periods of recession in 2001 and 1991. At both extremes of any economic cycle — the highs and the lows — conventional wisdom holds that during the highs, everyone feels the status quo will continue, while during the lows, everyone feels that life as we know it has forever changed. “While we’re in the midst of it, there’s always that concern,” he says. “What’s amazing to me is how resilient we are.”Reibstein points to the weeks and months following the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, when it seemed no one would ever have the courage to board an aircraft again. By the time the current financial crisis reduced demand, air travel volume had recovered. “It’s going to take a long time for us to get through this because of the severity and depth of this cycle,” says Reibstein, “but once we do, it will be amazing how quickly people do rebound.”Gradually, he adds, as the recent shocks to the economy are absorbed, people will begin to reinvest and cautiously step up purchases. Confidence will improve even more as job losses stabilize and hiring begins again, he says. “It’s only going to take time.” Related Itemslast_img read more

$25 Million Judgment

first_imgThe U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has won a $24.6 million default judgment against Deep Shah, a fugitive in the Galleon insider trading case.Shah, an ex-analyst at Moody’s, was charged with providing insider tips to Intel’s Roomy Khan, who in turn passed them onto Galleon founder Raj Rajaratnam, who was recently convicted of insider trading.Lawyers for the SEC said Shah had been traced to Mumbai, where a bailiff delivered a complaint at his residence in Juhu in March 2010. He did not respond to the complaint and the judge issued a default judgment.  Related Itemslast_img read more

Huge margins show shift towards BJP

first_imgThe huge margins with which most of the BJP candidates have won in the Lok Sabha election in Rajasthan depict a decisive shift in the voters’ preference for the party barely five months after the State Assembly elections. However, the factors which combined with the “national mood” varied in different regions of the State.The Congress was elected to power in the 2018 Assembly elections on the basis of people’s verdict that was perceived to be against the rule of then Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. However, the BJP seems to have regained lost ground by recording a bigger victory than in 2014, increasing its overall vote share as well as its margin in 19 of the 25 seats which it has won.With a vote share of 58%, against 55.61% in 2014, the BJP candidates won with a margin of more than 4 lakh votes in nine LS constituencies. There were only two seats — Dausa and Karauli-Dholpur — where the margin was less than 1 lakh, probably because the candidates could not get sufficient time to campaign due to late decision on their names.Subhash Chandra Baheria won with the biggest margin of 6.12 lakh votes in Bhilwara, followed by Chandra Prakash Joshi in Chittorgarh (5.76 lakh votes) and Diya Kumari in Rajsamand (5.51 lakh votes). The 19 seats where the BJP has increased its margin include Pali, Barmer, Ajmer, Udaipur, Banswara, Alwar, Bharatpur, Jhunjhunu, Sikar and Jhalawar-Baran.Only two of the Ministers, who were given responsibility to mobilise the voters in favour of the Congress candidates, were able to ensure the party’s lead over the BJP in their Assembly constituencies. The Congress candidates got more votes at Sapotra, represented by Food & Civil Supplies Minister Ramesh Meena, and Sikrai, represented by Women & Child Development Minister Mamta Bhupesh.The vote share of the Congress, which had received 39.3% of the total votes in the 2018 Assembly elections, reduced to 34.2% in the Lok Sabha election and it could not win even a single seat in the State. While the caste combinations relied upon by the Congress did not succeed with major sections among Jats, Gujjars and Dalits apparently turning to the BJP, a number of factors helped the latter in scoring a landslide victory in different regions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Churu after the Balakot air strike on February 26 immensely helped the party in the Shekhawati region, from where a large number of youth are recruited in the armed forces every year.In the Marwar region, the alliance with the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party helped the BJP in mobilising Jats in its favour, as RLP chief Hanuman Beniwal wields considerable influence in Nagaur, Jodhpur and Barmer districts. The emergence of the Bharatiya Tribal Party in the Mewar region adversely affected the prospects of the Congress in Udaipur and Banswara, while the BJP depended on the influence of outfits like the Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad and the Bajrang Dal.Gujjars in eastern Rajasthan extended their support to the BJP after the community leader, Kirori Singh Bainsla, joined the party.last_img read more

10 injured as militants trigger IED blast again in Pulwama

first_imgEight Army personnel and two civilians were injured when militants triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) fitted in a vehicle near an Army patrol in the militancy-hit Pulwama district of south Kashmir on Monday, officials said.They said the multi-vehicle patrol of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles was moving on the Arihal-Pulwama road when the IED was detonated, injuring the personnel travelling in a bullet-and-mine-proof Casper vehicle.The site of the IED blast is 27 km from the area where a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a suicide bomber on February 14 in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.Major killedIn another incident, an Army officer and a militant were killed during an encounter in Anantnag.A Srinagar-based police spokesman said Major Ketan Sharma, 32, from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, was injured when a search party of the security forces encircled hiding militants and came under “heavy fire” at Badoora village in Anantnag’s Achabal area in the morning.“Sharma was evacuated to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries,” said the police.Two other Army officials, including Major Rahul Verma, suffered injuries in the day-long exchange of fire between the militants and the security forces in Anantnag. “One militant was killed in the ongoing operation. His body was retrieved and his identity and affiliation are being ascertained,” said the police.Referring to the IED blast, Army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said it was “a failed attempt” to attack the mobile vehicle patrol of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles. “Alertness of the patrol party helped to minimise the damage,” said the spokesman.The police spokesman confirmed that six soldiers were injured in the IED blast, which inflicted severe damage on the Army vehicle.The attack on the Army vehicle comes days after Pakistan intelligence agencies reportedly shared information on the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind’s plans to carry out a major attack using a vehicle to “avenge” its chief Zakir Musa in Pulwama on May 24.(With inputs from PTI)last_img read more