Key bypolls in Rajasthan, West Bengal to prove decisive for major parties

first_img The TMC is confident of retaining the Uluberia Lok Sabha seat, which it has been winning since 2009. It also wants to wrest the Noapara Assembly constituency from the Congress. The BJP, however, is confident of increasing its vote share in both seats to keep up its momentum from the Sabang Assembly by-polls, where it increased its vote share by nearly 15% compared to the 2016 Assembly polls.However, the BJP suffered a major embarrassment recently in Noapara when, soon after the party announced the name of former TMC MLA Manju Basu as its candidate, she denied having any association with the BJP. The party’s candidate Sandip Banerjee claimed that that the incident will have no effect on its electoral prospects.The Uluberia bypoll is expected to be a litmus test for the BJP as it not only has to face the organisational clout of the ruling TMC but also deal with substantial minority votes in the constituency. The BJP is the only party to have fielded a Hindu candidate in the constituency. In the last Lok Sabha elections in Uluberia, the TMC secured 48.08% votes while the BJP could only get 11.55% vote share. The results will be declared on February 1. The stakes are high for major political parties as by-polls are held in West Bengal and Rajasthan on Monday.In Rajasthan, elections will be held for the Lok Sabha constituencies of Alwar and Ajmer, and the Mandalgarh Assembly seat in the Bhilwara district, which were with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP faces an uphill battle because a miffed Rajput community has announced its support for the Congress in all the three seats.While an unnerved BJP has been trying to control the anti-incumbency factor, caste equations are set to play a major role in the by-polls. The presence of two Yadav stalwarts as candidates in Alwar and the fielding of Jat and Brahmin candidates in Ajmer and Mandalgarh, respectively, indicate the caste preferences of the two major parties, even though the winners will have only about a year in the seat of power.Ajmer MP Sanwar Lal Jat collapsed at a meeting in Jaipur and died on August 9, while Alwar MP Mahant Chand Nath died on September 17 following a prolonged illness. The BJP’s Mandalgarh MLA Kirti Kumari died of swine flu on August 28.Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot have campaigned extensively in Ajmer in view of the constituency’s role in strengthening their own position within their respective partiesTMC confidentBy-polls in Bengal’s Uluberia Lok Sabha and Noapara Assembly constituencies will be held amid heavy security. The Uluberia Lok Sabha seat in Howrah district fell vacant after the death of Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Sultan Ahmed in September last year. The Noapara Assembly seat in North 24 Paraganas fell vacant after the death of Congress MLA Madhusudhan Ghosh in April last year.Also Read Direct fight between TMC, BJP likely in Bengal bypolls last_img read more

Maharashtra orders probe into alleged strip search incident at Pune school

first_imgEven as the administration of a noted Pune school denied allegations that its staff had strip-searched several female students on suspicion of copying during the ongoing HSC exams, State Education Minister Vinod Tawde on Monday ordered a thorough probe into the incident.The Education Minister met with Pune legislators Neelam Gorhe (Shiv Sena) and Medha Kulkarni (Bharatiya Janata Party), both of whom submitted memorandums demanding stern action against the administration of the Maharashtra Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Vishwashanti Gurukul in Pune’s Loni Kalbhor area, an HSC exam centre where the incident reportedly occurred.“Safeguarding the modesty of our students is always a priority… the culprits behind the appalling incident at MIT, Loni centre will be dealt with the strictest of force by the law,” Mr. Tawde tweeted.The school, run by the MIT educational establishment, is in the eye of a storm following complaints from several students last week who alleged that the female security staff forced them to remove their clothes in washrooms to make sure they were not carrying chits or notes which could be used for copying during exams.Earlier in the day, members of the Sambhaji Brigade met with the Deputy Director of Education and demanded that the licence of MIT Vishwashanti Gurukul be revoked.“This sort of overzealous vigilance is shocking… several students were reportedly strip-searched in this manner on suspicion of cheating. This not only resulted in loss of valuable time during the exams, but also caused them unimaginable trauma,” said Santosh Shinde of the Sambhaji Brigade.Around 250 students are giving their HSC exams at the Vishwashanti Gurukul – which is an exam centre for the first time.Following complaints by some students, two female security personnel were booked under sections 354 (sexual harassment) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) by the Loni Kalbhor police on Saturday last week.However, the school Principal, Virendra Bawaskar, categorically denied the charges made by the complainants, alleging that the complainant students and their parents were doing this to “get back” at his staff for not “permitting cheating” to take place at the examination centre.Mr. Bawaskar further claimed that one of the complainants was in possession of chits and that the search was conducted in presence of a female constable.last_img read more

Narendra Modi to unveil Sardar Patel statue on October 31: Vijay Rupani

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate a statue of Sardar Patel, described by the Gujarat government as “the world’s tallest”, on the birth anniversary of India’s first Home Minister on October 31, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on Sunday. Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the BJP’s national executive meeting, he said the statue with a height of 182m will be a symbol of the country’s unity and integrity. Mr. Rupani said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had collected iron, soil and water from across the country to use them to build the statue, a decision announced by Mr. Modi in 2013 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. In an apparent reference to the issue of Naxalism following the arrest of some activists for allegedly collaborating with Left ultras, Mr. Rupani said the statue will highlight Patel’s works for the country’s unity. He said that the Opposition had termed it “empty talk” when Mr. Modi announced that his government would build the world’s tallest statue to commemorate Patel. Mr. Rupani said while the Congress had sidelined Patel, Mr. Modi brought him and his works in front of the world. Patel, a Congress leader, has become a revered figure for the BJP, which has sought to project an ideological connect between its espousal of nationalism and his efforts at national integration.last_img read more

Rajasthan HC lays down guidelines for accident claim awards

first_imgThe Rajasthan High Court has laid downs guidelines for Motor Accident Claims Tribunals in the State to ensure that the awards passed in favour of the victims and claimants genuinely reach them and do not fall into the hands of unscrupulous elements. The directions came last week on a writ petition moved by a private insurance company.Justice Sandeep Mehta at the High Court’s principal seat in Jodhpur divided the guidelines into two segments of the procedure before and after passing the award. The Court said that the Claims Tribunals would take on record the bank account details of all the claimants and ensure that all details of tax deduction and addition of new claimants were available.After an award is passed, the Claims Tribunals will direct the insurance companies or transport corporations to deposit the awarded amount in the bank account by online transaction, according to the guidelines. The bank will receive the deposited sum and furnish a statement of account on a daily basis to the Registry of the Claims Tribunal.The Court said the Claims Tribunals would keep tab on the deposits made and correlate them with the awards on the basis of the letters received from insurance companies. “It is a fundamental need for a smooth implementation of this well-intentioned scheme [of giving compensation]”, stated the seven-page judgment.The Claims Tribunals will ensure that the details of bank account are incorporated in the awarditself, for compliance by those required to satisfy the award. The tribunals would also ensure that the same procedure was followed in case of compromise recorded in the Lok Adalat proceedings.The Court noted that some exhaustive guidelines on the subject were laid down by the Madras High Court in 2016. While issuing the directions for the Claims Tribunals, the Court said it had made certain amendments in the Chennai guidelines which had become necessary with the passage of time and directed them to be implemented in Rajasthan.last_img read more

3 teachers killed as bus falls into gorge

first_imgThree teachers were killed and ten others injured when a school bus met with an accident on the Jharigaon-Chandahandi ghat road in Odisha’s Nabarangpur district on Sunday. According to police sources, the bus driver lost control of the vehicle which skidded off the road and fell into a gorge. The bus was carrying students, teachers and staff of the Aurobindo Integral Education Centre schools from Raighar, Nabarangpur, Umerkote and Jharigaon to Chandahandi. They were travelling to Chandahandi to attend a district-level seminar.The deceased were identified as a retired teacher Lalit Mohan Patnaik as well as two serving teachers, Niranjan Nayak and Rina Nayak.According to sources, the bus was carrying 35 passengers. According to Subhakant Mishra, a passenger who sustained minor injuries, the driver lost control while trying to save a biker coming from the opposite direction.The injured were rescued by personnel of the fire brigade from Jharigaon and admitted to the Jharigaon Community Health Centre and Nabarangpur district headquarter hospital.last_img read more

Language no bar — the Tagore-Rolland friendship forged via letters

first_img“When my mind was steeped in the gloom of the thought that the lesson of late war has been lost… your letter came and cheered me up with the message of hope.”Thus wrote poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, completely devastated by the Jalianwala Bagh massacre, to fellow Laureate, French writer, dramatist and biographer Romain Rolland on June 24, 1919.Tagore’s reply to Rolland’s letter of April 1919, which urged him to sign the Declaration of Independence of the Mind, was the beginning of a fruitful and historically significant exchange between the two great minds of the East and the West.Documented in a recent publication — Bridging East & West: Rabindranath Tagore and Romain Rolland Correspondence (1919-1940) — are 46 such exchanges in the form of letters and telegrams, along with three conversations between the two men on various occasions.Professor of English at Calcutta University and well-known French scholar Chinmoy Guha, who compiled the correspondence, said the publication is the first in English.Prof. Guha has dedicated the book to Rolland’s sister Madeleine, as it was through her that the French novelist, playwright, biographer and musicologist was introduced to India, its thought and culture. In the correspondence, Rolland’s letters were written in French, while Rabindranath Tagore wrote in English, Prof. Guha said. It was Madeleine who translated Tagore’s letters into French. And in Santiniketan, it was Fernand Benoit and historian Kalidas Nag who translated Rolland’s letters into English for Tagore.Deep friendshipThrough the correspondence, Prof. Guha said, a profound friendship developed between the two men, evident in Tagore’s address of Rolland as ‘My Very Dear Friend’.In a letter from April 1921, Tagore writes, “You speak of the barrier of language. It is there, no doubt, but what is most precious in us does find its way through it. The cloud hides the sun but cannot extinguish the day.”“What triggered dialogue between Rolland and Tagore was Rabindranath’s lectures on nationalism at Tokyo’s Imperial University almost 101 years ago. And in faraway France and Switzerland, Rolland jotted down Tagore lines,” observed Prof. Guha, a Rolland scholar for several years. Rolland wrote in his diary that Tagore’s lectures were a “turning point in the history of mankind” and described the poet/philosopher as a “burning flame of joy, which is always shrouded in a fog of melancholy in the West”.Three meetingsTagore and Rolland met thrice. The first time in 1921 and then in June – July of 1926 when Tagore went to stay at Villeneuve, Switzerland, for a couple of weeks. The publication also brings to fore “the differences of opinion and misunderstandings between the two outstanding humanists of contemporary history”, Prof. Guha said, referring to the Tagore-Mussolini controversy. Rolland took it upon himself to “to reveal to Tagore the real face of fascism”, Prof. Guha said.In the post script, Prof. Guha refers to a letter from Rolland to Kalidas Nag where he shares how the Mussolini episode rocked their friendship. According to him, the Tagore and Rolland correspondence should be read as a companion volume to the correspondence between Rolland and Nag, compiled by Prof. Guha in The Tower and the Sea: Romain Rolland-Kalidas Nag Correspondence (1922-1938), consisting of 136 letters. The volume also describes the efforts of Rolland for several years to set up a World Publication House and his desire to publish Tagore’s Gora and Chaturanga as the part of the project.While the 72-page introduction to the correspondence between the two has numerous references to the crucial question about Rolland and Tagore’s relationship with Mahatma Gandhi, the appendices contain Tagore’s letter to the Manchester Guardian and other exclusive correspondence, including Rolland’s correspondence with Tagore’s radical nephew, Saumyendranath Tagore.Prof. Guha said the two men continued their friendship till the very end of their lives. Rolland, who learnt of Tagore’s death in 1941 from a news broadcast on radio, wrote in his diary that the world was engulfed by darkness, he recalled.last_img read more

Nation’s mood revealed, says Naveen Patnaik

first_imgOdisha Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday said that the Assembly election results in the five States “shows the mood of the nation”.“All the States that have gone for elections are predominantly agrarian States. The Central government has done very little for the farmers as regards MSP and implementation of M. S. Swaminathan Committee recommendations,” said Mr. Patnaik.The Chief Minister congratulated the Congress, the TRS and the MNF for their electoral victory.Asked whether the elections outcome States would have any impact on the simultaneous Lok Sabha Assembly elections in Odisha next year, Mr. Patnaik said “this is the mood of the nation and Odisha is very much a part of the nation”.In response to a query about the party’s position in a changing political scenario , Mr. Patnaik reiterated that the BJD would maintain equal distance from the Congress and the BJP. “There is no formal Mahagathbandhan at the moment, let’s see to the future,” he said about the Mahagathbandhan initiative by some parties.Mr. Patnaik expressed hope that after the change of government in Chhattisgarh, the Mahanadi water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh would be resolved soon.last_img read more

Probe ordered into Pune lathicharge

first_imgThe government on Tuesday announced a probe into the alleged police excesses on specially-abled students in Pune on Monday. At least 35 students were injured when the police resorted to lathi-charge nearly 11,000 protesters gathered outside the Collector’s office. Announcing a probe in the Council, Minister for Revenue, PWD (Excluding Undertakings), Relief and Rehabilitation, Agriculture, Chandrakant Patil expressed “regret” over the police action on the students and promised to look into the alleged highhandedness of the cops, Earlier, proceedings in the Council were disrupted after sloganeering from Opposition, who demanded immediate suspension of police personnel involved in the incident. The Shiv Sena went a step further demanding a judicial probe from a retired justice to look into the police excesses. Raising the issue, Leader of the Opposition Dhananjay Munde said the students were demanding rights to quality education, and protesting against distribution of fraudulent certificates (disability) in the Government offices. “If their demands were met at the district level they would not have felt the need to stage a protest in the first place,” said Mr. Munde. Mr. Patil assured members of the House that Minister for Social Justice Dilip Kamble would be deputed by the government to negotiate demands presented by students. “The demands are being considered and we are hopeful of a resolution at the earliest. Meanwhile, we assure action against those who are responsible for the lattice charge,” Mr. Patil said. The Shiv Sena demanded the roll back of the transfer orders issued for the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities. Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe said the government will only suspend a few officers who will resume duty after challenging the order in an administrative tribunal. “The least State must do is to set up a judicial probe,” she said. Senior leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said Chief Minister must tender an unconditional apology to the students. “Why make police a scapegoat. It is the CM who must answer for this action since he is also the home minister,” said senior NCP legislator Vidya Chavan.In the Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister and Pune guardian minister Girish Bapat assured members that the incident would be probed and action taken against the guilty.Mr. Bapat said that the state government has accepted the demands and the protesters will be given priority in jobs.Social Justice Minister Rajkumar Badole said demands of the students have been discussed at the government level and meetings held with Chief Minister. “Currently, there is one higher secondary school in each of five divisions in the state. Directives have been issued to start more schools in Nashik and Latur divisions. Representatives of the differently-abled sections would be taken into confidence while appointing a competent authority to manage such schools. Two representatives of the organisations of the differently-abled students will be inducted into the expert committee for creation of posts in schools,” said Mr. Badole. He also promised to appoint sign language experts in Industrial Training Institutes (ITI).“They would also be given driving license after being checked by competent medical officers. A meeting with their representatives and the Chief Minister would be organised before the end of current session,” said Mr. Badole.Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil demanded strict action against police officials for ordering lathicharge. He demanded that officials concerned be suspended immediately.last_img read more

EC notice to Minister on ‘Modi Air Force’ remark

first_imgThe Election Commission has served a notice on Goa’s Panchayati Raj Minister Mauvin Godinho for his “Modi’s Air Force” comment. He has been asked to respond by 5 p.m. on May 6. The Congress had lodged a complaint alleging that Mr. Godinho violated the Model Code of Conduct at a public rally in Goa on April 10 by his remark and politicising the defence forces to obtain vote. The Commission sought a report from the State Chief Electoral Officer and after examining the speech’s transcript, decided to issue a notice against him.last_img read more

The Secret of Antiaging Is Worth Looking For

first_imgHumans have been looking for a way to slow aging likely since the first person got wrinkles. A new study shows that the quest could be worthwhile. Scientists have found that even a moderate decrease in aging would boost our lifespans by more than 2 years and stave off ill health in many elderly folks. But the advance could also send the costs of Social Security and Medicare soaring.Slowing aging is no fantasy. Researchers can delay how rapidly lab animals such as mice and roundworms grow old with a variety of measures, from genetic tinkering to extremely low-calorie diets. So far, however, nobody has shown that any drug or diet can postpone human senescence.But some scientists, including demographer S. Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois, Chicago, argue that we now know enough about aging to start an intensive, multiyear search for ways to delay it in people—a sort-of Manhattan Project for longevity. “Aging is the underlying risk factor for most of the things that go wrong with us” as we grow older, he says. That means slowing the process would not just add years to our lives, but it would also postpone illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease that primarily strike the elderly. In the new study, Olshansky and colleagues attempted to estimate the payoffs and pitfalls, including financial costs, of delayed aging.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(*)Using a simulation called the Future Elderly Model, the researchers asked what would happen if some sort of elixir were available for the whole U.S. population between 2010 and 2030 that cut the death rate from age-related causes by 20%. In this scenario, people would still perish from heart disease, cancer, and other illnesses, but they’d be older when they became sick. “We think of this as broad-based prevention,” says lead author Dana Goldman, a health economist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.The results of the simulation suggest that slowing aging would lengthen life expectancy by 2.2 years over the status quo, the researchers report online this week in Health Affairs. Under current projections, for example, a person who is 51 years old in 2030 will likely live to about age 87. But under the slowed-aging model, that person would likely survive to 89. Moreover, delaying aging provided a bigger boost than did progress against individual diseases. Cutting the risk of developing cancer or heart disease by 25% would add only a year to that 51-year-old’s life, the researchers conclude.An extra couple of years might not be very attractive if you’re going to be sick and decrepit. But slowing aging would also allow about 5% more seniors to avoid infirmity between 2030 and 2060 than would reductions in cancer or heart disease alone. “To my friends who want to live forever, I say it makes for great science fiction,” Olshansky says. “Our goal is to extend healthy life, not necessarily life itself.”But as Olshansky notes, “there is a price to be paid for producing more healthy older people.” The model revealed that under the delayed aging scenario, Medicare and Medicaid would require $300 billion more in 2060 than under the status quo. Overall, the increase in longevity would translate into a budget shortfall for entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security of $420 billion in 2060.These fiscal woes are obstacles—but not insurmountable ones, Goldman says. “The social and fiscal challenges are easily manageable with rational public policy.” For instance, the team calculated that it could eliminate the funding gap with a gradual, 3-year increase in the Medicare eligibility age and a 1-year increase in the Social Security eligibility age.Although researchers had a general idea of the consequences of slowing aging, “it’s nice to have numbers,” says biogerontologist Steven Austad of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. “The impact in terms of overall quality of life is quite substantial,” says geriatric oncologist Harvey Cohen of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, who wasn’t involved with the research. And by exploring the effects of reduced aging on social programs, the study uncovers “a reality that has to be dealt with,” he says.Olshansky belongs to the Longevity Dividend Initiative (LDI), a group of researchers and organizations that has been talking up the payoffs of postponing human aging. “The question we addressed here—it’s absolutely critical we have an answer to it before we move on,” Olshansky says. Now, he and his colleagues are ready to take the next step, he says. In 2014, the LDI plans to start raising money, mainly from nongovernmental organizations and private individuals, to fund research to develop age-fighting measures, Olshansky says. Although researchers are already studying many potential options, the LDI’s goal is to usher them into human studies and possible use.What these measures will be is a mystery—though almost every researcher has his or her favorite that works in lab animals. As for the timing, scientists caution that we’ll probably have to wait decades for the fruits of this work to reach the public.last_img read more

Top Stories: Slimming Down Fat Cells, the Energy of the Future, and More

first_imgMuscle Molecule Spurs Fat Cells to Slim DownJust in time for all those New Year’s resolutions, scientists have a better idea of the exact link between exercise and weight loss. They’ve discovered that exertion stimulates muscles to release a molecule that modifies fat cells, turning them into calorie-burning machines. The find could one day lead to drugs that fight obesity and diabetes.Animal Rights Fliers Shock Italian ResearchersSign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The battle over animal experimentation in Italy took a nasty turn this week when anonymous activists posted fliers showing photos, home addresses, and telephone numbers of scientists involved in animal research at the University of Milan and labeled them as “murderers.” The leaflets triggered widespread condemnation in academic and political circles.The Only Thing Constant About Friendship May Be the Number of Your FriendsFriends come and go, but the number of close friends you have may remain surprisingly constant, according to a new study. The research also suggests that people have distinct social “signatures,” or patterns of intimacy with others, which they tend to maintain over time.’Rhubarb’ Battery Could Store Energy of FutureA molecule nearly identical to one in rhubarb may hold the key to the future of renewable energy. Researchers have used the compound to create a high-performance “flow” battery, a leading contender for storing renewable power in the electric utility grid. If the battery prototype can be scaled up, it could help utilities deliver renewable energy when the wind is calm and the sun isn’t shining.The True Color of Ancient Sea CreaturesSoft tissues aren’t often preserved in the fossil record. As a result, figuring out what ancient creatures looked like—and particularly what colors they might have been—has been mostly speculative. Now, scientists have utilized new high-tech methods to provide an unprecedented peek at the coloration of sea creatures alive during or soon after the dinosaur era.last_img read more

Monarch Numbers in Mexico Fall to Record Low

first_imgMEXICO CITY—In winter, central Mexico’s highland forests should be pulsing with orange and black. Not this year. Monarch butterfly colonies now cover less than a single hectare of forest, the smallest swath of land since data collection began in 1993, scientists reported at a press conference here today. The paltry figure highlights the uncertain fate of a natural wonder: the monarch’s 4000-kilometer migration between North and Central America.Each autumn, monarchs fly from their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada to Mexico, clustering by the thousands in pine and oyamel fir trees in Michoacán and Mexico states. Scientists had been bracing for bad news about this year’s colonies since last spring, when few monarchs were tallied returning to their northern breeding grounds. A cold spring also pushed back the 2013 migration, interfering with the timing of monarch breeding, says Chip Taylor, an ecologist at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and the director of Monarch Watch, which monitors U.S. populations.The figure announced today—0.67 hectares—means that the population wintering in Mexico is down nearly 44% from last year’s previous record low of 1.19 hectares. Monarch experts lay much of the blame on the decline of milkweed plants in North America. Adult monarchs lay their eggs on milkweeds, which the caterpillars consume before spinning their cocoons. Milkweed—and the monarchs that depend on it—once sprang up widely between rows of corn or soybeans in the U.S. Midwest. But with more and more farmers planting herbicide-resistant versions of these two crops, they are able to spray their fields with powerful herbicides, killing off milkweed.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(*)“We’ve lost about 100 million acres of monarch habitat in corn and soybean fields” since 2000, with millions more acres lost to development in the Midwest, Taylor says. “We’re replacing what used to be good monarch habitat with crops and lawns,” adds Karen Oberhauser, a conservation biologist at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.For many years, illegal logging in Mexico was the main threat to the monarch migration. Facing harsh criticism from environmentalists on both sides of the border, the Mexican government beginning in 2007 stepped up its enforcement efforts by deploying troops to protect winter habitat and expanding programs to provide economic alternatives to nearby communities. After peaking in 2007, large-scale illegal logging in the region now appears to have ceased, says Omar Vidal, director general of WWF Mexico, which administers the winter colony count. “The Mexican government and the Mexican people have done what needed to be done [to protect the butterflies], at great cost. But all those things aren’t going to ensure the survival of the migration,” he says.Vidal and others say it’s the U.S. government’s turn to take action. Mexico must “energetically demand” that the United States reform its agricultural policy with an eye toward preserving milkweed, Vidal says. In the meantime, watching fewer and fewer monarchs arrive in Mexico each winter “is like water escaping from our hands without a way to stop it,” says Alfonso Alonso, a conservation biologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., who studied the monarchs as a graduate student.Some scientists suspect that misguided attempts to help the monarch in the United States may be accelerating the end of the migration. U.S. scientists have been encouraging midwesterners and Texans to plant milkweed, but many people have been planting the wrong variety: Asclepias curassavica, a species that usually grows in the tropics. Tropical milkweed does not die back in the winter, providing monarchs with a year-round food source that may eliminate their need to migrate, Oberhauser says.Staying in one place for many generations makes the butterflies more susceptible to the deadly Ophryocystis elektroscirrha parasite. According to Lincoln Brower, a biologist at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, the “insidious disease” spreads when infected butterflies scatter spores on milkweed plants, which are then ingested by the next generation of caterpillars. If fewer butterflies migrate to Mexico, he says, the proportion of infected monarchs across North America may increase, imperiling the whole population.Although the monarch lives all over the world and is not at risk of extinction, an end to the North American migration would likely endanger central Mexico’s pine and oyamel fir forests. The butterfly provides an economic incentive to protect the unique alpine ecosystem, Alonso says. If the migration stops, “people are not going to benefit from the tourism and the forest is not going to be protected.”The monarch may also be the first sign that food webs in the U.S. Midwest are being irrevocably disrupted as a side effect of widespread planting of herbicide-tolerant crops, Brower says. Monarchs, he says, are “the canary in the cornfield.”last_img read more

One more question, Dr. Frieden: Eleven things we’d like to know about the new Ebola case

first_imgQ: Should all future patients be moved to one of the four Ebola-specialized treatment centers in the United States if their condition allows it? Q: What Ebola-specific training is provided now at Texas Presbyterian and at other hospitals around the country? A second health care worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for the Ebola virus. Today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that its investigations “increasingly suggest” that she and a colleague diagnosed with Ebola on 14 October were at highest risk of infection between 28 and 30 September, when Thomas Eric Duncan had been admitted to the hospital but had yet to receive confirmation that he was infected.“These two health care workers both worked on those days, and both had extensive contact with the patient when the patient had extensive production of body fluids because of vomiting and diarrhea,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden at a press conference today.The second health care worker flew from Cleveland, Ohio, to Dallas on 13 October, the day before she developed symptoms, leading CDC to try to contact the 132 passengers and the crew on that flight. (The woman had an “elevated” temperature of 99.5°F, or 37.5°C; that’s below the threshold for a fever, which is at 100.4°F, or 38.0°C.) Frieden said the woman, whose job he did not specify, “should not have traveled on a commercial airline” but stressed she did not vomit and was not bleeding during the trip. “The level of risk of people around her would be extremely low,” he said.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(*)Frieden vowed that this lapse would not happen again. “We will ensure from this moment forward that no other individual who is being monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement,” he said, which can include chartered planes or cars but puts restrictions on the use of public transport. The new patient will be transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which has a specialized unit to provide Ebola care, later today.From now on, CDC will send a rapid response “go” team to any health care facility that has an Ebola patient. CDC has also sent staff to Dallas and two Ebola-experienced nurses from Emory will provide training and supervision of the Texas Presbyterian health care workers.As often happens with major breaking news stories, CDC could not answer all the questions of the reporters who attended the press conference or joined by telephone. ScienceInsider had two reporters on the call who were not selected. They were left with the following questions.Q: You said that the two health care workers may have been particularly vulnerable between 28 September, when Duncan was admitted to the hospital and isolated, and 30 September, when he received his diagnosis. Was infection control inadequate during those days—and how so? Why is it less likely that they became infected after his diagnosis? Q: You said that about 50 health care workers entered Duncan’s room and that you want to limit the number of people exposed to Ebola patients. How do you do this? What is the minimum number needed for a single patient? Q: At CDC’s Ebola training course in Anniston, Alabama, health care workers are told to strictly limit shifts in Ebola treatment units, starting with 1-hour rotations. Is Texas Presbyterian using a similar strategy? Are Emory and the other dedicated centers? Q: You have repeatedly assured the United States that we know how to stop Ebola. Are you concerned about the impact the two cases have on your credibility? Q: In West Africa, some health care workers have been afraid to care for Ebola patients, and some have not shown up for work or even left their homes. Has anyone at Texas Presbyterian refused to take care of Ebola patients?center_img Q: Do you think the media are paying too much attention to the U.S. outbreak and too little to the epidemic in West Africa?*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicine have made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public. Q: Nurses at the Dallas hospital have specified shortcomings in the way their hospital has handled Duncan’s case. Has your investigation confirmed these mistakes? Q: Why is the second case being moved to Emory? Are you concerned about the level of care at Texas Presbyterian, further infections, or both? Q: What training, specifically, did health care workers receive prior to treating Mr. Duncan? Who provided the training and how long did it last? Q: Are people taking care of Ebola patients allowed to help other patients?last_img read more

Shattered chromosome cures woman of immune disease

first_imgCall it a scientific oddity—or a medical miracle. A girl who grew up with a serious genetic immune disease was apparently cured in her 30s by one of her chromosomes shattering into pieces and reassembling. Scientists traced the woman’s improvement to the removal of a harmful gene through this scrambling of DNA in one of her blood stem cells—a recently identified phenomenon that until now had only been linked to cancer.The woman, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, suffered from recurring bacterial infections as a child. Back then, doctors found that she had abnormally low levels of certain white blood cells needed to fight invading microbes. The 9-year-old’s illness, described in two reports in 1964 in The New England Journal of Medicine, was the first known case of what is now called WHIM (warts, hypogammaglobulinemia, infections, and myelokathexis) syndrome. In this extremely rare disease—only about 60 cases are known worldwide—patients live into adulthood, but they can develop lung scarring, hearing loss, and other health problems from the frequent infections. Those with WHIM are also highly susceptible to the human papillomavirus, which causes warts on their skin and genital areas that sometimes turn cancerous.In 2003, researchers linked WHIM to a gene called CXCR4, which codes for a cell surface protein that immune cells use to recognize chemical messengers called chemokines. In WHIM, patients have one normal copy of CXCR4 and a defective copy that causes the receptor to be overactive—it doesn’t shut off when it’s supposed to. This somehow causes white blood cells to “get stuck” in the bone marrow instead of entering the bloodstream, says Philip Murphy, an immunologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland.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(*)Murphy and colleagues have studied WHIM patients at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) Clinical Center to better understand the disease and develop a possible treatment with a drug that inhibits CXCR4. Two years ago, they heard from a woman who said she wanted to bring in her two daughters for evaluation because they had inherited the disease.The woman was that first WHIM patient, now 59 years old. Her two daughters in their early 20s did indeed have classic symptoms of WHIM, such as warts on their hands, and their blood cells carried the mutation in CXCR4 that usually causes it. But as for their mother, “When we asked a very simple question—‘How was she doing?’—she said she was fine,” Murphy recalls. She had not had warts or serious infections since her late 30s. “At this point we got very, very interested,” he says.The NIH team began sleuthing. To its surprise, the woman’s white blood cells no longer had the faulty CXCR4 mutation, although other cell types still carried it. Examining the chromosomes in her apparently normal white blood cells, they found an anomaly: One copy of chromosome 2 was about 15% shorter than the other copy. Whole-genome sequencing revealed that it had become scrambled and lost a chunk that included the defective CXCR4 and 163 other normal genes.The explanation seems to be chromothripsis, a phenomenon discovered only 4 years ago in a leukemia patient and occasionally seen in other cancers. A chromosome somehow shatters during cell replication, then reassembles with the pieces in a different order. Presumably, the cells typically die as a result of this damage, Murphy says. If the cell survives, the scrambled genes may contribute to cancer.In this case, however, the chromosome shattering seems to have occurred in a blood stem cell, which then replicated to give her a supply of normal white blood cells. The missing copy of CXCR4 also appears to explain why the cells now constitute all of her white blood cells, the NIH researchers say. They showed that transplants of stem cells lacking one copy of CXCR4 engraft better in mice than stem cells with two normal copies or a normal copy and the WHIM version, they report online today in Cell.Murphy says the woman’s case shows that chromothripsis can be curative, and it’s worth checking for it in patients with other rare diseases who spontaneously get better. It also suggests that disabling one copy of CXCR4 could improve efforts to treat diseases such as sickle cell anemia by editing a genetic defect in blood stem cells and returning the cells to the patient. Deleting one copy of CXCR4 while repairing the broken gene could make the transplant engraft more readily, Murphy says.“Very interesting,” says clinical geneticist George Diaz of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who identified CXCR4 mutations as the cause of WHIM. He says the woman’s recovery reminds him of the story of the Berlin patient, an HIV-positive man who developed leukemia, then became virus-free after receiving a bone marrow transplant from a donor lacking a chemokine receptor that HIV needs to enter cells. The improved engraftment in mice lacking one copy of CXCR4, Diaz adds, “could definitely have clinical applications downstream.”last_img read more

New Zealander launches ‘India Survival Guide’ for expats, in shuddh Hindi

first_imgKarl Rock, an expat from New Zealand currently living in Delhi has won many Indian hearts with his fluent Hindi generally and with his video ‘Foreigner Surprising Indians with Hindi’ specifically.On his website ‘India Survival Guide’ Karl identifies as someone who is “…experienced and passionate about Indian life and culture and has travelled extensively throughout India and surrounding countries.”Read it at Asian Age Related Itemslast_img

Dreams & Nightmares

first_imgPerhaps religion’s strongest appeal for most people lies in the answers, or at least some semblance of answers, it provides to two of life’s most intractable mysteries: what happens after death and how are people rewarded or punished for their performance in this life? Religion may well be an evolutionary response to human self-consciousness. It may not be entirely satisfying and it certainly has not provided any definitive explanations for the profound injustices in this world that privilege some people with enormous advantages and riches and condemn far many more to poverty and desperation. The best religion can offer believers is the faith that God works in mysterious ways and that the good bookkeeper in the sky is keeping tally and will settle all accounts in the afterlife. For millennia that basic doctrine powering various religions has provided relief enough. The universe is surely mysterious; human existence could be wrapped in its riddle too. The other alternative — accepting that it all ends here and that the terrible unfairness and injustice surrounding us will remain unsettled — is far too painful and disheartening to contemplate. Even so, in truth, the vast majority of even the most fervent believers live their life with precisely that creed. Religion is a palliative or a side bet, just in case…. But what if death were really not the end and there were indeed alternative outcomes and histories for the events occurring around us. Imagine a world in which every injustice has been righted. Imagine a world in which every winner is a loser and every loser a winner. Imagine worlds where every one of your dreams or nightmares is realized. Imagine worlds where the dead are alive and the alive dead. Imagine what you have ever imagined and then imagine some more. Imagine that it is all real. And real now, at this very instant. How beautiful is that? That potentially is the world of the multiverse. One of the hottest ideas in contemporary cosmology and physics, multiverse theorists postulate that our infinite universe, which is populated by infinite galaxies is just one among infinite universes. Infinite not just as in very large, but truly infinite, as in never ending. In this infinite universe, these theorists contend, there are an infinite number of identical copies of our own universe acting out every conceivable probability. Many worlds in which Barack Obama is president and others in which John McCain is, or even, horror of horrors, Sarah Palin is. More excitingly, worlds where you, dear reader, is president of the United States, or better yet, I am.In laboratories and observatories around the world, physicists and cosmologists are toying with other theories of parallel universes separated by the minutest membranes present right here, right now in your living room. They are exploring theories of additional dimensions that shape and condition the three spatial dimensions and time that our senses and instruments perceive and even universes sequenced in time like beads on a string. Some day theories of the multiverse may yield satisfying secular answers to our most enduring existential questions on life, justice and afterlife. It may well turn out that we exist in perpetuity in other worlds or dimensions living every combination of circumstances that we can contemplate.What a wonderful possibility! Or, if you really think about it, is it really?   Related Itemslast_img read more

Indian Airline Faces Complaint For Refusing To Accept Payment in Rupees

first_imgA businessman from New Delhi has lodged a complaint against the IndiGo airline for not accepting Indian currency when he wanted to buy breakfast during a flight from Bengaluru to Dubai. Pramod Kumar Jain, in his complaint submitted to Sarojini Nagar Police Station, said that the private budget carrier “dishonored” the national currency with their refusal.In his complaint that detailed the incident, Jain said that he boarded the IndiGo flight 6E95 at 7:20 am on the morning of Oct. 10. The IndiGo inflight menu, which has prices for food items mentioned in US dollars, had a last page mentioning that the airline accepts US dollars as well as the local currency of the country of origin and the destination of flight. A copy of the inflight menu was also submitted to the police.Jain added that the crew had received directions to accept only foreign currency and that another passenger in the flight faced a similar situation.In response, IndiGo released a statement saying no law was broken in their refusal to accept Indian currency. According to them, it is clearly mentioned in the onboard sales menu and the policy is in line with the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). They went on to say that they have asked the Reserve Bank of India to allow higher onboard sales in rupees (above Rs. 25,000).IndiGo officials emphasized that the refusal to accept Indian currency for onboard sales is in line with FEMA regulation 3, Business Today reported. “We have filed a request for carrying onboard sales in INR (above 25,000) with Reserve Bank of India on February 26 2014 and June 05, 2014,” the report quoted an official as saying.The letter written by IndiGo to the RBI stated that in order to carry on their onboard sales, the airline would need to import currency in amounts higher than the amount mentioned in FEMA regulations i.e Rs 25,000, the publication added. The letter also said that the use of the term “person” as per the regulations includes a “company” and that there is a lack of clarity whether the prescribed limit of import and export of Indian currency would apply “per flight” of IndiGo.The airline had requested the bank to increase the limit of import of Indian currency to Rs 1,50,000. Originally, according to FEMA regulations, the limit for import of Indian currency was Rs 10,000. The limit was amended to Rs 25,000.AirAsia and SpiceJet officials, however, said that Indian currency is accepted on their international flights, the report added. Related ItemsForeign ExchangeRupeelast_img read more