Suspended BJD leader joins BJP

first_imgSuspended Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and former Lok Sabha member from Koraput, Jayaram Pangi, joined the BJP here on Tuesday.Mr. Pangi, who was suspended from BJD after the recent panchayat polls over “anti-party activities”, joined the BJP in the presence of Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and others. Former Congress leader Giridhar Gamang, who had joined the BJP two nearly two years ago, was also present.While Mr. Pradhan said that Mr. Pangi joining the BJP will be a boost to the party in tribal-dominated areas, senior BJD leader from Koraput, Rabi Narayan Nand, said it will not make any difference to his party.Murder caseMr. Pangi’s name had figured in the case relating to the murder of primary school teacher Itishree Pradhan at Tikiri in Rayagada district in 2013. The BJD had denied a party ticket to the tribal leader in 2014 elections Meanwhile, a tweet by Baijayant Panda, BJD MP from Kendrapara, created a flutter in political circles during the day. “One gone yesterday, another today. Yet when I cautioned last week, was contradicted. Now large sections unrepresented, resentment everywhere,” he tweeted. He was referring to BJD leader Amar Nayak joining the BJP in Jajpur district on Monday and Mr. Pangi joining the saffron party on Tuesday.Reacting to Mr. Panda’s tweet, BJD spokesman Pratap Keshari Deb said the MP should have asked the BJP how they accepted Mr. Pangi, whom they had accused of having a role behind the killing of Itishree Pradhan. “The BJP was accusing the BJD of shielding Mr. Pangi in the murder case, but how did they accept him now,” he asked.last_img read more

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West Bengal will not abide by notification on cattle slaughter, says Mamata

first_imgPinarayi writes to CMs on new cattle trade rules West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said her government would not abide by the recent notification of the Union government imposing restrictions on cattle slaughter.“We are not accepting the notification. We will take recourse to law and consult our advocate general,” she said at a press conference at the State SecretariatMs Banerjee described the notification as a “deliberate attempt to encroach upon the State power”, and termed it “unconstitutional.”Also Read  Cattle markets fell under the purview of the State and the Centre was encroaching on the powers of the State when it was imposing restrictions on sale of cattle in such markets, she said, adding, “I would request the Centre to not interfere in State subjects.”Ms Banerjee, who had spoken about the right to one’s food, said that no one had right to decide what one should eat.The Chief Minister also questioned the timing of the notification. She asked as to why it was out before the month of Ramzan.last_img read more

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Goa to be lenient on GST violations initially: Parrikar

first_imgGoa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar reiterated that considering the time needed for GST to stabilise, the Goa government will take a lenient view of any lapses and violations in the implementation of the GST by local traders in the initial 3-4 months and would not consider them as serious offences.Addressing a function of chartered accountants over GST Helpdesk, Mr. Parrikar said on Saturday evening that despite likely teething problems, the GST would make items for daily consumption cheaper for the consumer with a simplified and smooth tax structure for the traders and businesses. He told businessmen and traders not to fear of penalties and fines in the initial months.He exuded confidence that the GST era would have a strong positive economic effect on Goa, especially as it was a high consumption State, with a lot of tourists and the GST being a destination-based consumption tax.“GST regime ultimately will result in reduction of prices of most items and State’s revenue will grow by at least 25-30 % in 2017-18 itself,” he stated.last_img read more

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Punjab and Haryana High Court slams Khattar government for failing to prevent violence

first_imgA day after deadly violence claimed 31 lives and left over 250 injured in Haryana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Saturday came down heavily on the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government, calling its inaction “a political surrender to allure vote bank.”A full Bench of the court, comprising acting Chief Justice S.S. Saron and Justices Avneesh Jhingan and Surya Kant, was hearing a Public Interest Litigation petition filed by a Panchkula resident, raising law and order concerns as a large number of people had reportedly entered the district, despite prohibitory orders.“This was political surrender to allure vote bank, they [the Dera followers] were outsiders, you allowed them to enter and stay,” the court remarked.Asking how the State government had not taken notice of the build-up of Dera supporters in Panchkula, the court — in the backdrop of Mr. Khattar’s alleged statement on Friday that anti-social elements had created the problem — remarked: “If the Chief Minister was aware of the presence of anti-social elements, why the government was not able to prevent their entry for the past seven days?”The court, while remarking on the statement of Additional Solicitor-General Satya Pal Jain (representing the Centre) that Friday’s violence was a matter of the State, said: “The Prime Minister is PM of the country and not of particular party… Is Punjab and Haryana not a part of India?”The court, as an interim measure, directed the Deputy Commissioners in Haryana and Punjab to identify the assets and properties of the Dera Sacha Sauda and submit a list of the same to the court for attachment.“The list should include assets, incomes, bank accounts and properties. However, till then, no properties of the Dera Sacha Sauda shall be sold, transferred, alienated or encumbered in any manner,” said the order.Application for damageThe court said the Deputy Commissioners in Haryana and Punjab shall invite applications for claims for damage caused to public and private properties, which shall be verified and forwarded to the court through the offices of the Advocate-Generals of Punjab and Haryana.“The Bench has taken a serious cognisance of yesterday’s violence and said the loss due to the violence is a loss to the nation and the taxpayer. This loss will be compensated by those responsible for it,” said Punjab Advocate-General Atul Nanda.‘Fly CBI judge to jail’The court also ordered the Haryana administration to make arrangements to take CBI judge Jagdeep Singh and two of his staff members to the Rohtak district jail by air for pronouncing the quantum of sentence against Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who was convicted for rape on Friday.The court notified the jail as a “place of sitting of the CBI court for the purpose of hearing of quantum of sentence.”The Dera chief is lodged in Rohtak jail, and the quantum of sentence will be announced on Monday.An order issued by the Registrar of the Punjab and High Court said: “Suitable accommodation for court room, etc. in the District jail, Rohtak at Sunaria shall be provided and arrangements also be made for the lawyers and parties to have an easy access in court room in the district jail. Further, necessary arrangements for security and safe transport by air of the judicial officer, who has to try the case in the district jail and two of staff members, shall also be made.”Haryana Government suspended Ashok Kumar, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) of Panchkula, and posted Manbir Singh as the new DCP.Tens of thousands of Dera followers went on the rampage in Panchkula on Friday as the news broke that their chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh had been convicted of rape by a CBI special court. The violence spread to other towns in Haryana and parts of Punjab as well. Few incidents of arson were reported in Delhi.last_img read more

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Woman raped near Muzaffarnagar in front of family

first_imgA thirty-year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped in broad daylight by four men in front of her husband and her child in the Bhopa area of Muzaffarnagar on Friday.According to the woman’s complaint, she and her husband, residents of Kakrauli village, were returning on their motorbike after showing their two and half-year-old son to a paediatrician from Baseda village of Chhapar area in Muzaffarnagar. “On our way home, four men who were standing near their car, told us that some repair work had started on the local bridge and suggested another route for us to go home. When we took that route, after a kilometre, they came near us and started beating my husband. They had sharp weapons and they put a sharp knife on my child’s neck and warned that they will kill him if I shouted,” the victim told the media. “The culprits took us to nearby sugarcane field where they tied my husband in the field and put the child on one side. After that they took turns to rape me one by one for over an hour and half. After that they fled and warned us that if I inform the police they will come and kill us,” the woman said. Circle Officer of Bhopa Rizwan Ahmad told The Hindu, “It seems the culprits could be from areas in the vicinity like Bhopa, Jansath and Meerapur. We have activated our network of informers…Soon we will have culprits in our custody.” Meanwhile, in a separate incident, a 26-year-old woman was murdered after being raped and the body was thrown into sugarcane fields of Morna village in the Bhopa police station area.last_img read more

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Ram temple will be built at right time: V.K. Singh

first_imgUnion minister V.K. Singh today said that Ram temple will be built at the right time and as promised in the NDA manifesto. The Union minister for external affairs was here to attend a convocation ceremony of a private university. Speaking about Mumbai terror attack mastermind and banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed’s entry into Pakistan’s politics, Nr, Singh said that it depended on Pakistan if it wanted to become a terrorist nation. We should not be concerned about it and the decision should be left to Pakistan, he said. Mr. Singh, in the event, also said he accidentally entered politics and had never planned it.“I wanted to serve the society after retiring from the army and joined a Anna Hazare’s movement. But, I distanced myself from the movement when it started taking a political shape. Then I accidentally came into politics,” he said.last_img read more

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Netanyahu discusses ways to improve farmers’ lives with Adityanath

first_imgThe visit to the Taj Mahal may have been the highlight of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s short visit to Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday, but he also discussed some important issues with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.At a meeting in Agra, the two leaders discussed collaboration to improve the lives of farmers in India’s most populous state. Among the issues raised were the two centres of excellence for horticulture and food processing coming up in Basti and Kannauj districts with Israel’s support, drinking water management in urban areas and solid waste management, a government spokesperson said.The critical subjects of water conservation, water recharging and drip irrigation were also discussed in context of the depleting water table in the drought-prone Bundelkhand. Mr. Adityanath said the talks were “extremely positive”, and would pave the way for exchange of technical knowledge in future. Exudes confidence“I have faith that through the exchange of technology and in the interests of farmers in mind, the talks will move forward. We will try to bring a smile to the faces of farmers through the use of technology,” he said. The signs of new collaboration between the State government and Israel come months after a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Jal Nigam of Uttar Pradesh and Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources on water utility reforms.last_img read more

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Police encounters won’t stop, says Yogi Adityanath

first_imgAccusing the Opposition of sympathising with criminals, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday declared in the State Legislative Council that police encounters in the State would not stop.Speaking in the House during the Zero Hour, Mr. Adityanath pointed towards the Opposition and said everybody knew who gave patronage to criminals.A total of 40 dreaded criminals have been gunned down in 1,200 encounters, and this will continue, the Chief Minister said.He was replying to Devendra Pratap Singh’s (BJP) question on propriety pertaining to the February 13 directive of Chairman Ramesh Yadav asking the Yogi Adityanath government to get a CBI probe conducted into three cases, including of two police encounters.“It is unfortunate that some people are showing sympathy towards criminals. This is dangerous for democracy. The Noida incident which took place on February 3, in which Jitendra Yadav was hit by a bullet, was not a police encounter, and police do not count it as an encounter. Even the person affected had endorsed it,” he said.The Chief Minister urged the Chair to consider the questions raised by Devendra Pratap Singh.To this, Leader of Opposition Ahmed Hasan (SP) said the Chair had already directed the government to get a CBI probe conducted. “Now it can either recommend a CBI probe or may not do so. What is the relevance of the objection,” Mr. Hasan asked.Later, Chairman Ramesh Yadav said he would reserve his decision on the question of propriety raised by Mr. Singh.last_img read more

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EC launches Braille-enabled Voter IDs

first_imgThe Election Commission on Wednesday launched voter identity cards with Braille label to ensure greater participation of persons with visual impairment in the electoral process.The Commission also unveiled a strategic framework on “Accessible Elections” on conclusion of a two-day national level consultation with representatives of the Central government, political parties, NGOs and experts on disabilities.Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat announced a series of measures for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in the electoral process, which includes printing of photo-identity cards with Braille, accessible communication awareness materials, a mobile phone application to motivate and educate the voters and appointment of Disability Coordinates at the Assembly constituency, district and State level.Free transport facility The EC plans to impart cascaded training on accessibility to poll officials, set up auxiliary polling stations, provide accessible photo voter slips, sign-language window in all the audio visual training and advertisement content material for the convenience of deaf persons and free transport facility to PwDs and their Assistants.A new Accessible Division in the India International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Management will also be set up.Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said: “We should go far beyond the bureaucratic measures to overcome the barriers. Technology has the capability to fill the gaps and it shall be explored to its fullest potential.”last_img read more

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Amit Shah meets seers in Allahabad

first_imgAmid a growing demand of BJP leaders for renaming Allahabad as Prayag, party chief Amit Shah on Friday visited the Sangam city where he interacted with Hindu seers and participated in prayers and rituals. While Mr. Shah did not speak to media during his day-long visit of the city, it is being seen as politically significant as Allahabad is set to host the Kumbh Mela (formerly known as Ardh Kumbh) from January to March 2019, around the time when the campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections is expected to be at its peak.The Yogi Adityanath government plans to make the upcoming Kumbh an even bigger spectacle than the 2013 Maha Kumbh. The State claims that 120 million pilgrims and tourists are expected to visit the Kumbh Mela. The government also aims to attract at least four-five pilgrims from each of the over 6,00,000 villages in the country. NRI delegates who will attend the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas summit in Varanasi (January 21-23) during the same time would also be shown around the Mela.In Allahabad, Mr. Shah laid the foundation of a yoga and meditation centre at the Sangam and offered prayers at the Maujgiri temple of the Juna Akhara. He also inaugurated a ghat for the Maujgiri temple on the banks of the Yamuna, besides performing aarti at the Yamuna ghat, and offered prayers at the famous Bade Hanuman Mandir. Mr. Shah’s visit to Allahabad comes amid a demand by senior BJP leaders and the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the apex governing body of 13 major Hindu akharas in the country, to rename Allahabad as Prayag. U.P. Cabinet Minister Sidharth Nath Singh had recently written to Governor Ram Naik requesting him to rechristen Allahabad. In his letter, Mr. Singh cited the significance of Prayag in “ancient Hindu texts” as a cultural centre. Then on July 22, a delegation of seers led by Swami Narendra Giri, head of the ABAP, met Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya and pressed the same demand.Talking to The Hindu, Swami Narendra Giri said Mr. Shah had assured him that Allahabad would be renamed Prayag soon. “[My] demand has been fulfilled. There will be no hurdles. This proposal is going to be passed by the State Cabinet,” Swami Narendra Giri said.The seer also said Mr. Shah’s interaction with seers during his Allahabad trip, which included a lunch at the Baghambari Gaddi, was focused on the preparations for the Kumbh Mela. He said the Ram Mandir issue was not discussed on the day. ‘Not political’BJP spokesperson Chandramohan said Mr. Shah’s visit should not be linked to politics or the 2019 polls. “It was a spiritual yatra on the day of Guru Purnima,” he said, adding that the visit was focused on reviewing preparations for the Kumbh and also a part of his outreach programme, ‘Sampark for Samarthan’.Mr. Shah’s visit came a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicks off a two-day visit of Lucknow where he will launch 95 projects related to urban housing and infrastructure, and the Smart Cities scheme, and participate in the ground-breaking ceremony of mega projects in U.P. worth a massive ₹60,000 crore that were pledged by investors during the UP Investors Summit 2018 in February.last_img read more

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Five Maoists die in shootout inside Malkangiri forest

first_imgAt least five Maoists, including two women cadres, were killed in an exchange of fire with security personnel inside the Bejingiwada reserve forest near Sanyasiguda village under Kalimela police station of Odisha’s Malkangiri district in the early hours of Monday.The site of the encounter is barely 2 km from East Godavari district in adjoining Andhra Pradesh.Speaking to The Hindu, Malkangiri Superintendent of Police Jagmohan Meena said that based on intelligence reports on the presence of a Maoist camp in the region, two groups of commandos of the Special Operation Group (SOG) launched an operation on Sunday evening.It was believed that Maoist leader Randev alias Deba Madhi, who heads the Kalimela Dalam of the outlawed CPI (Maoist), was present at the spot, along with some key Maoists from Malkangiri district.According to sources, Randev managed to escape from the spot.‘Biggest operation’Odisha Director General of Police R.P. Sharma said this was the biggest operation against Maoists in Odisha in the past three years. He said the bodies of five Maoists and arms and ammunition were recovered from the spot of encounter. All those killed were in Maoist uniforms.According to Mr. Sharma, two self loading rifles (SLR), one INSAS rifle, one .303 rifle, one grenade, ammunition as well as backpacks and other materials were seized from the site of the shootout.last_img read more

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SP, BSP ready to forge alliance in Uttar Pradesh

first_imgCongress should not be left out in U.P., says Salman Khurshid While an official announcement is yet to be made, the formula for an alliance of the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal seems to be ready in Uttar Pradesh, with the parties showing little interest in accommodating the Congress, sources say.SP and BSP leaders said the leadership was less inclined to include the Congress, and at best would leave just the Rae Bareli and Amethi seats for the grand old party. However, they said the seat-sharing arithmetic was “still fluid”, and the final call would be taken by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. “Alliance is confirmed. But the final decision will be taken by the national president,” said a senior SP leader on Sunday on condition of anonymity.The leader said while the exact formula for the 80 seats would be revealed “any time”, the two top leaders of the parties had reached an understanding over the arrangement. The SP would also accommodate its ally, the Nishad Party, while the RLD is expected to get a few seats.Also Read No to Rahul vs ModiSources said that Mr. Yadav met Ms. Mayawati recently to discuss the arrangement and that the two parties were in constant touch. They said the announcement was being delayed till the last minute to give the BJP minimum chance to come up with an alternative narrative. “Who knew till the last moment in Phulpur and Gorakhpur, and then in Kairana about the support by the BSP and then fielding of the RLD candidate,” the SP source said, illustrating his point. The SP believes that the Congress does not bring in any “add-on” votes, and its leadership is apprehensive that giving the Congress space in U.P. would, in turn, make the election about “Rahul Gandhi vs Narendra Modi”.A BSP source also said that the talks between the two parties were “conclusive.” “Everything is finalised, people are waiting for the declaration,” he said.While it is being speculated that Ms. Mayawati will make the announcement on her birthday on January 15, BSP general secretary Satish Mishra last week told reporters outside Parliament that “this is not how birthdays are celebrated”.Sources in the BSP are also apprehensive that an alliance with the Congress would not only reduce the party’s bargaining power but also not ensure any positive transfer of voters. “The 1996 election is a bad experience. The Congress votes did not get transferred to the BSP. Besides, by committing to a pre-poll alliance with the Congress where Dalits have traditionally voted, the BSP would lose its independence as a political force,” said a BSP leader. The alliance with the SP was based on a “natural formula and old experience,” said the leader.According to the BSP leader, the seat-sharing formula would be based on the positions acquired by the parties in 2014, though sources said Ms. Mayawati had been adamant on at least 38 seats. The final difference between the SP and the BSP number will not be much, an SP leader said. While the BSP had scored a zero in 2014, it stood second in 34 seats. The SP won five and came runner-up in 31. The RLD was second in Mathura.The BJP won 71 seats, while its ally, the Apna Dal, added two more. This time around, the BJP also has to accomodate another ally, the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, which is breathing down its neck over the implementation of the sub-categorisation of the OBC quota.R.D. Tripathi, senior journalist from Lucknow, said the SP-BSP alliance would be potent enough on its own. He said the Congress fighting as a separate force will not only help the party but also damage the BJP more. “It is seen that when Congress combines with either the SP or the BSP, the upper caste voters get inclined to vote for the BJP,” said Mr. Tripathi, giving examples of the 2017 Assembly poll and the 1996 election.Mr. Tripathi said that by fighting alone, the Congress can be an alternative for the floating voters and the upper caste voters angry with the BJP but not willing to join the SP-BSP alliance.“Not just arithmetic, the SP-BSP alliance will be about chemistry, as there is rural distress. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s credibility is down and Yogi Adityanath’s governance has been poor,” said Mr. Tripathi.last_img read more

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Kolkata Opposition rally | Live: ‘We have a responsibility of removing BJP from power’, says Sharad Pawar

first_imgTrinamool Congress MPs and various party leaders take the stage during the anti-BJP rally at Brigade Parade ground, Kolkata, January 19, 2019 Trinamool party cadres near Bijan Setu in Ballygunje proceed towards Brigrade Parade Ground in Kolkata for the mega rally, January 19, 2019  Arun Shourie calls demonetization a lunatic decision: “There can be no difference of opinion about removing this government. Rafale scam the biggest ever scam in defence sector. Modi is aware that his grip is loosening. What is happening in Karnataka will happen in Madhya Pradesh. We have to approach it with a sense of sacrifice. One strong candidate of the Opposition against BJP candidate. Mamataji has set an example . Every State should have similar rallies.  So far only Modi was working to unite the Opposition. Now since the Bengal tigress has taken this job I think other parties will follow it.Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi calls this rally a rainbow of 22 parties: “I want to thank Mamataji for this grand attempt. This government has institutionalized politics of revenge. The politics of division is a hallmark of this government. (Refers to the proposed Bengal rath yatra) The Supreme Court has so far supported the State government but BJP will not give up it’s divisive politics. Division of votes should stop. Tne BJP has always been beneficiary of that. I want to ask the Prime Minister when he criticises this alliance that the most immoral alliance was what BJP did in Jammu and Kashmir.”Sharad Yadav refers to The Hindu report on Rafale, says this government has indulged in a “dakaiti” on the issue.12.15 p.m. Lalduhawma, of Zoram Nationalist Party in Mizoram: “I want to give a warning to the Prime Minister that the Citizenship Bill should be withdrawn. If not India will not be a suitable place for people of the northeast. I appeal to all regional parties of northeast to cut all association with the BJP.”Jayant Chowdhury of  Rashtriya Lok Dal: “There are about 19 to 20 parties on the stage. Mamataji has done the impossible bringing all of us together. People of the country have a lot of faith in Mamataji. Country should learn from Bengal. Next government at Centre should be a government of farmers. Modi should apologize for demonetization. Maybe the people of the country will forgive him.”11.45 a.m.’Citizenship Bill is dividing the northeast’Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav and Sharad Pawar arrive. Hardik Patel starts his speech.Jignesh Mewani: “There is an unprecedented crisis in the country. The spirit of the constitution is to be protected.”Hemant Soren from Jharkhand Mukti Morcha: “Communal forces are gaining ground. Atmosphere of fear. Regional parties will come together to fight communal forces. We thank Didi (Mamata) for this platform. Not only will we be able to uproot BJP from the Centre but dislodge it from different States.”Gegong Apang, former Arunachal Pradesh CM, speaks: “Jewels of Indian leadership are present here. We are here to save democratic principles laid in the constitution. In Arunachal Pradesh, democracy is going through its worst stage. Former CM of my State committed suicide. Citizenship Bill is dividing the northeast.”11.30 a.m.TMC Chief Mamata Banerjee and other leaders are yet to arrive. Surojit from Bangla band Bhoomi, Kabir Suman and Nachiketa – all attached to TMC – are performing at the venue.Suvojit Bagchi writes:As the top and entire anti-BJP spectrum leaders meet on Saturday in Kolkata, their messages will be carefully monitored. What is the roadmap that that they provide for the Opposition if at all they provide one? Do they back Mamata Banerjee’s earlier proposed Federal Front and push her formula of “one is to one” or favour putting up one United Opposition candidate against against one of NDA?It would also be interesting to find out if anyone proposed a plan to elect a leader which, though, is unlikely. Particularly critical would be the message of Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress Leader in Lok Sabha, who is there as Rahul Gandhi’s envoy.10.30 a.m. Andhra Pradesh CM N. Chandrababu Naidu extends a warm welcome to Akhilesh Yadav as Karnataka CM H.D. Kumaraswamy looks on during the Opposition rally called by the TMC at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade ground, January 19, 2019  | Photo Credit: Ashoke Nath Dey | Photo Credit: Suvojit Bagchi “There will be so many leaders that it would be difficult to allot more than 10 minutes to each of them,” said a close aide of Ms. Banerjee. Trinamool activists have arrived from all over West Bengal and are housed in various stadiums; food is distributed at various points in the city.Read more People gather at Brigade Parade ground in Kolkata for the Opposition party rally led by Mamata Banerjee, January 19, 2019  | Photo Credit: Ashoke Nath Dey People gather at Brigade Parade ground in Kolkata for the Opposition party rally led by Mamata Banerjee, January 19, 2019  | Photo Credit: Shiv Sahay Singh center_img  Andhra CM N. Chandrababu Naidu: “We want to unite India, BJP wants to divide India. This PM is a publicity PM, we want a performing PM. Earlier the economic growth rate was better. Because of low growth jobs are not being generated. We are warning the Centre if they want to dislodge the government in Karnataka they will pay a heavy price. EVM is a big fraud. No other nation has the EVM so we have to go back to paper ballot. The downfall of BJP has started. In 2019 there will be a new Prime Minister. Extraordinary initiative by Mamata Banerjee.” Mr. Naidu offers a meeting on similar lines in Amaravathi. Mr. Kejriwal too made a similar offer.Sharad Pawar of NCP: “We are hopeful with the gathering that has assembled here. For five years the BJP has been ruling the country. The people feel that they have been cheated. Institutions are being targeted. Industries are closing down, people are losing jobs . We have a responsibility of removing them from power. Many, particularly those from BJP say that all of us on stage will not remain united. I want to assure that we are not here to become Prime Minister. I have been Chief Minister for four terms, been Minister at Centre, I  don’t want anything but to see interest of people are protected.”1.30 p.m.’Our democratic government is headed by anti-democratic leaders’: KumaraswamyKarnataka CM H.D. Kumaraswamy: “Happy to be part of the rally. My father has taught me to be humble like Mamata Banerjee. The leaders gathered here have built strong regional parties. All these leaders have tried to protect interest of the State. India one of the strongest democracies in the world. Our Democratic government is headed by anti-Democratic leaders. Demonetization was like digging up a hill only to find rats. Union government has turned blind to the  interests of the people. Federal system being jeopardised. (Refers to loan waiver in Karnataka, said that banks agreed but later backed out.) Government of Karnataka is waiving the loans but banks are sending notices to farmers. On one hand BJP a makes resolution to fight corruption but it is offering cash to legislators of JDS and Congress. This is a mockery of democracy. Let us show that BJP is a paper tiger. Let us come together and show them our strength.”Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party: “On January 12 an alliance of SP-BSP was sealed. Many believed that alliance can never be forged. They saw that we have number of PM aspirants. We have so many but I want to ask that those who have failed tried to divide society other than one name do you have any other contender? You are allying with CBI and ED but we have faith in people. We have one responsibility that the BJP should draw a blank in every State. This is a historical rally and I thank Mamataji for that.”Instead of promising jobs, demonitisation destroyed jobs, says KejriwalDelhi CM Arvind Kejriwal: “Today is an important and historical day in the country’s politics. Instead of their promise of giving jobs demonitisation destroyed jobs. Insurance companies are reaping profits and farmer distress continues. Muslims are being targeted, lynchings are occurring. In seventy years what Pakistan could not do in five years Modi and Shah have been successful in dividing the people. In they come again in 2019 the country will be divided. They have insidious agenda of changing constitution. What Hitler had done in Germany they want to do the same. 2019 election is not for electing the Prime Minister but to remove Modi-Shah from power. Kuch bhi karna ho 2019 mein inko hatao.”1.00 p.m.EVM a ‘chor’, bring back the ballot, says Farooq AbdullahFarooq Abdullah of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference: “The BJP is responsible for the situation which Jammu and Kashmir is in. We have to love Jammu and Kashmir if we want to progress. Our students study in Bengal. We have to remove BJP and we have to fight election together. This EVM is a ‘chor’ machine. We all need to go to the Election Commission and ensure that ballot is brought back. For many years, Women Reservation Bill is pending in Parliament and they have passed Triple Talak Bill but not women’s reservation. We will decide later on who will be the Prime Minister but first we have to fight the election together.” | Photo Credit: Subham Dutta  All roads leading to Brigade Parade Ground in Central Kolkata are blocked as Trinamool party cadres are either marching towards the venue or traveling in open lorries or buses. The above photograph is near Bijan Setu in Ballygunje. As many as 10,000 security personnel will be deployed in and around the venue of the rally and around 400 police pickets have been set up to ensure foolproof security, the police said. Lakhs of TMC supporters and workers have started arriving in the city from all over the State.  Besides the huge stages, 20 watchtowers have been erected and 1,000 microphones and 30 LED screens put up for the crowd.Janata Dal(S) leader H.D. Deve Gowda, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Gegong Apang, who quit the BJP a few days ago, arrived in Kolkata by Friday evening. Congress leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge, are expected early on Saturday. The city is covered with Trinamool’s flags and billboards featuring Ms. Banerjee and her nephew Abhisekh Banerjee, MP. The city is full of hoardings featuring three Chief Ministers, one former Prime Minister (Mr. Gowda) and leaders representing the entire anti-BJP spectrum. On Saturday, at least two dozen top national leaders participated in a Trinamool Congress-hosted rally at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground. It’s part of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s efforts to bring the anti-BJP parties together on one platform.Congress president Rahul Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi had sent their good wishes for the rally. Leaders who attend the rally: HD Deve Gowda, HD Kumaraswamy,  N Chandrababu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal, MK Stalin, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, Sharad Pawar, Sharad Yadav,  Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah, Satich Chandra Misra, Ajit Singh, Jayanta Chowdhury, Mallikarjun Kharge, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Shatrughan Sinha, Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha, Gegong Apang, Hemant Soren, Babulal Marandi, Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani, Pu Lalduhoma(Inputs from Shiv Sahay Singh, Suvojit Bagchi, PTI)Here are the updates:3.20 p.m.Modi govt has passed its expiry date: Mamata West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee: “Modi government has passed its expiry date. There are 22-23 parties here. Bengal has always shown the way. Taking a cue from Kejriwal’s speech, in 70 years what Pakistan failed to achieve, Modi government has done it in four years. From demonetisation to GST, they have looted the country. He claims that he is only saint, let the government fall, you will realise. Their party offices are like shopping mall. Politics has a courtesy, there is a Lakshman rekha. They have spared none why should we spare them?They are changing everything – history, geography, constitution. There are no jobs and they are promising reservation. This brigade has seen historical rallies. Today’s call from the brigade has come out of a historical necessity. Everybody should come together. Collective leadership is required.They ask who will lead us, there are so many leaders here. We will not think of who will be Prime Minister. We will decide that after the election. Similar rallies will be organised by Chandrababu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal. If Farooq ji does a similar rally in Kashmir, if Tejwashi does it in Bihar, we will go.If people vote to BJP again, they will lose their deposits in banks. I will not allow any rath yatra in Bengal. In Bengal, they have two seats; we will ensure they draw a blank here. People have made up their mind. Whatever BJP can promise to people, their ache din will not return. If you want country to remain united, remove BJP. We will ensure a stable government for five years. Have they given respect to anyone? Have they given respect to Rajnath ji, Sushma ji, Gadkari ji? Now elections are here, so they are talking about collective leadership. Those who cannot take everyone along cannot be leaders. We want those parties which are with BJP to come to us before election. BJP’s beginning of the end has started today.”3.00 p.m.’People ask me why I speak against BJP’: Shatrughan SinhaShatrughan Sinha: “I have not seen a more lively and well attended gathering. We are here to present a new leadership to the country. The mood of the nation is clear. It is ‘change’. People ask me that being with the BJP, why do I speak against the party. I am answerable to the Janata of Bharat and not to the Bharatiya Janata Party. Yashwant Sinha was saying that after today’s rally I will be expelled from the party. In the government of Atal Behari Vajpayee there was democracy now there is tanasahi (dictatorship). Demonetisation and implementation of GST democracy destroyed the country.”On Rafale, intellectualist N. Ram has said costs increased by 41%. We have such a good company like HAL which can built Sukhoi. Why was it not involved? Modi can promise to build a bridge where there is no river. This is the time to be united,” he refers to Mr. Kharge’s speech. “Matbedh ho to ho manbedh Na ho (There can be different of opinion but there is should be no differences in heart).”Tejashwi Yadav: “I got delayed because of the blessing of Amit Shah and Modi ji. My father has been jailed owing to a political controversy. You can be chowkidaar (watchman) but people are thanedar (policemen). Country is in tatters and we are all acting like a needle to sew it with different threads. Mamata ji has always stood by my father.”2.30 p.m.’Even coalition government can do better than BJP’: Deve GowdaCongress leader Mallikarjun Kharge: “In a Rafale scam, you have given ₹30,000 core to Anil Ambani. This has been reported in The Hindu newspaper.” He refers to an article on Rafale deal.Sonia Gandhi’s message: “As crisis looms from farmers to our borders, farmers under crisis, political institutions are being undermined. Upcoming Lok Sabha elections will be not an ordinary one. This rally marks an important attempt fight arrogant Modi government.”Janata Dal (Secular) patriarch H.D. Devegowda: “I know keeping aside differences is not easy. Following the SP BSP alliance, chargesheet was filed against Akhilesh Yadav. I urge all leaders to come together to form a manifesto. It is difficult to come together. There is no senior leader like Jayprakash Narayan or Acharya Kriplani. Modi raises that stable government is necessary for running country. We have to create confidence among the people of the country that we can give stable government. Mamata ji has held the first mahagathbandhan meeting. Even coalition government can do better than what BJP government has done. We have to show coalition government can create a stable government. Small committee should form policy document. Time is very short. There was a doubt whether Congress will come or not. The doubt has been cleared.”2.00 p.m.  DMK president MK Stalin speaks in Bengali and Tamil. An interpreter translates for him: “There is a long relationship between Bengal and Tamil Nadu. The memorial of Swami Vivekananda is in Tamil Nadu. In politics and in other aspects like religion, Bengalis and Tamils are like brothers and sisters. I have come here to participate in the second war of independence on the call of Mamataji. The next general elections are next war of independence. All of us have one goal. to remove BJP and send Modi back to his home. Irrespective of political affiliations we have to be united. If we are united Modi will lose. A few months ago Modi used to say he has no Opposition. Since we have come together he is feeling scared and now he feels that he is facing a sure defeat. Many ask him whether I have personal animosity with Modi. I say no, but his policies are bringing disaster. Before coming to power he promised to bring back black money. Have you got Rs 15 lakh? Can there be a bigger lie? This is not a government for people but a private limited company headed by Narendra Modi.”Stalin continues: “Modi claims there is no allegation of corruption against his govt. Is Rafale deal  not corruption? Vijay Mallya fled the country after meeting Arun Jaitley, is it not corruption? Modi is the centre of all corruption. If Modi returns to power the country will go back by 50 years. I want to thank Mamata ji for the rally. Modi is scared of some people Mamataji is one of them.”Satish Mishra of BSP: “This government at Centre has failed on all counts. They made grand promises and instead of fulfilling those promises their policies have affected the poor and the backward (classes) of the country. On January 12 the announcement of SP and BSP of alliance in Lucknow began the process of dislodging the government. This rally takes the initiative further.”12.30 p.m.’This government fudges data to suit their ends’Yashwant Sinha: “In the past four and half years the government at the Centre has not spared any institution. This is the first government that fudges data to suit their ends. They want to divide society. If you oppose the government you are branded anti-national. I have suggested that the Kashmir issue can be resolved through dialogue and have been branded as an agent of Pakistan. I have only one goal in life, that is to dislodge this government from power. We have to ensure that there should be a joint candidate against BJP in the coming election.”last_img read more

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People with more than two children should not be given voting rights, govt benefits: Ramdev

first_imgYoga guru Baba Ramdev on January 23 called to revoke government benefits to those people who bear more than two children, and that such people should not be eligible to even vote. “Those who have more than 2 children, their voting rights should be taken away & they shouldn’t be allowed to contest elections. Don’t let them use govt schools, hospitals, & don’t give them govt jobs. Population will be controlled automatically,” said Ramdev.last_img

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Sudin Dhavlikar dropped: Biggest dacoity by ‘chowkidars’ on MGP at night, says the Dy. CM

first_imgDeputy Chief Minister and senior leader of Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) Sudin Dhavalikar, who was also Minister for Public Works, was dropped from the Cabinet on Wednesday morning by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. Mr. Dhavalikar was dropped following a split in the three-member MGP, with two of his colleagues merging the split legislative wing into BJP.Speaking to presspersons, Mr. Dhavlikar said, “At night, the ‘chowkidars’, by committing biggest dacoity on MGP, have shocked the people of Goa. People of Goa are watching this. People will decide on the course of action.”One of the two MGP MLAs who joined BJP, Manohar Ajgaonkar, is a Minister in the BJP-led coalition government. The other MLA, Deepak Pauskar, is expected to be sworn in as a Cabinet Minister later in the evening after Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, who is out of station, arrives in Goa, Chief Minister Sawant has confirmed. The political development and rift between the ruling BJP and the MGP is expected to heat up in the campaign of the upcoming general elections for two Lok Sabha seats and three assembly seats. Sources in the MGP have indicated that it will field candidates against the BJP. Dipak Dhavlikar, brother of Mr. Dhavlikar is already in the fray in the Shiroda by-poll and has refused to withdraw from it despite repeated pleas from the BJP to its ally.last_img read more

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Measleslike Virus Likely Culprit in U.S. Dolphin Die-Off

first_imgA measleslike virus appears to be the chief cause of the droves of dead dolphins that have washed ashore along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States this summer, researchers announced yesterday. Since 1 July, 333 bottlenose dolphins have been recovered from beaches between New York and North Carolina—10 times the number usually recovered at this time of year.In early August, the large number of strandings prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to declare an Unusual Mortality Event. The declaration freed up federal funding to assist NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program to retrieve and assess the mammals’ remains. The results of their investigation point to a type of morbillivirus as the cause of the die-off—a group that includes viruses that cause measles in humans and distemper in dogs. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The team’s detective work combined traditional techniques that examined tissues from dead animals’ lungs, brains, and lymph systems with molecular techniques to probe for the presence of the virus. So far, researchers have examined 33 dolphins; 32 have tested positive for morbillivirus. Genetic sequencing has confirmed that 11 carry the type of morbillivirus that infects only dolphins, porpoises, and whales.“Along the Atlantic seaboard this [outbreak] is extraordinary; this is the largest outbreak that we have had since the 1987 die-off,” said Teri Rowles, head of NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, in a teleconference with reporters. Morbillivirus was also responsible for a devastating 1987 die-off which killed more than 700 dolphins.Many wild dolphins exposed during that epidemic probably developed immunity to the virus, Rowles says. But a population’s immunity is slowly eroded over time; animals born since 1987 are probably susceptible, Rowles says.The virus may have taken hold when the dolphin population reached a tipping point, with enough susceptible individuals to sustain its spread, says veterinary epidemiologist Stephanie Venn-Watson of the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego, California. The epidemic will continue until the number of susceptible animals dwindles, researchers predict. There is no feasible way to vaccinate or treat the animals, they add.It is difficult to predict how many bottlenose dolphins will ultimately succumb to the disease, and the documented strandings probably represent just a fraction of the infected animals. It is also not clear whether the virus will spread to other dolphin species. Typically, morbillivirus strains don’t spread beyond closely related species, researchers say.As for any threat to people, “there is no indication that this virus could jump into humans,” says virologist Jerry Saliki of the University of Georgia in Athens. However, morbilliviruses suppress the immune system, so many of the washed-up animals are sick with secondary bacterial infections that are communicable to other mammals. Under some circumstances, rotting carcasses could pose a threat to beachgoers and other mammals. NOAA plans to continue to monitor the spread of the infection and investigate whether marine pollution could be worsening the impact of the outbreak. Rowles explains that high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, known to suppress mammals’ immune systems, have been reported in some areas along the eastern coastline. “We will be monitoring those areas very closely,” she adds.last_img read more

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Copycat papers flag continuing headache in China

first_imgSHANGHAI, CHINA—Two computational biologists searching for trends in journals indexed in the search engine PubMed stumbled across signs that China’s paper-selling companies remain active, 1 year after Science published a detailed undercover investigation describing a highly sophisticated and lucrative industry.Guillaume Filion of the Centre for Genomic Regulation and Lucas Carey from Pompeu Fabra University, both in Barcelona, downloaded all PubMed records for papers published between January 2012 and this past April. Combing over the abstracts for those 2 million papers using a big data technique called natural language processing, they isolated terms that spiked in use in 2014.They hoped to find “new topics about to detonate,” Filion says. Not surprisingly, they found an uptick in papers mentioning cutting-edge topics like CRISPR, a gene-editing technique that was named a runner-up for Science’s 2013 Breakthrough of the Year, and lncRNA, or long non-coding RNA, an unusually long form of RNA that is now a hot topic in genomics. 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 alongside those more predictable trends, one term stuck out: a little-known database run by the Research Council for Complementary Medicine in London called CISCOM, or the Centralised Information Service for Complementary Medicine. Until 2013, the scholars note, the term “CISCOM” appeared in only two to three papers per year. In February, the database began cropping up once a week.Looking more closely, Filion and Carey found a group of 32 papers on varying topics that nonetheless shared some curious characteristics. All were meta-analysis or review papers that analyzed already-published data in CISCOM, along with more commonly used databases like Google Scholar, PubMed, and Web of Science. Moreover, all originated in China, from 28 different research groups spread out across several cities.Filion, who described what he calls the “disturbingly similar” papers in a blog post published on 4 October, set out with Carey to determine what was going on. They downloaded complete versions of the 25 papers to which they had access through various institutional subscriptions or other means. (All but two papers are behind a pay wall.) Running the papers through the plagiarism detection program iThenticate turned up no red flags.But the discussion sections of all the papers contain similar statements, with only minor changes. For example, one paper reads, “Importantly, the inclusion criteria of cases and controls were not well defined in all included studies and thus might have influenced our results.” Another states, “Importantly, the inclusion criteria of cases and controls were not well defined in all included studies, which might also have influenced our results.”Four of the papers include the same grammatical error—the extraneous “had” in “our results had lacked sufficient statistical power.” But in mapping out the relationships among the papers, the duo noticed that the writers seemed to be drawing from multiple templates. That suggests, Filion says, “that the writers actively shuffle the texts”—a method of evading plagiarism detection software known as text laundering.Most of the papers were submitted in late 2013, making it impossible that some authors plagiarized others after publication. Filion and Carey thus hypothesized that the papers might all be the work of a single company. With help from Yao Yu, a geneticist at Fudan University in Shanghai, the scholars identified an outfit whose website advertises tailored meta-analysis papers and contacted the company to inquire about its services. The company reportedly offers meta-analysis papers for journals with an impact factor of 2 or 3 for about $10,000.A 5-month investigation published in Science last year found dozens of similar companies offering an array of services aimed at securing publication in journals indexed in Thomson Reuters’ Science Citation Index, Thomson Reuters’ Social Sciences Citation Index, or Elsevier’s Engineering Index—which at many Chinese institutions are critical to securing promotions. In addition to preparing original papers from scratch with data provided by their clients, China’s paper-selling companies fabricate data, arrange to add scientists’ names to already accepted papers, and sell finished manuscripts.Among the most popular options for finished manuscripts are meta-analyses, perhaps because they require no original data. One legitimate analysis published in PLOS ONE in June 2013 found that from 2003 to 2011, meta-analysis papers from China rose more than 16 times faster than did such papers from the United States. Combing PubMed for other trends might turn up more evidence of malfeasance. But Filion says he and Carey now plan to turn their attention to other topics: “We are not witch-hunters, we are big data analysts.”last_img read more

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Telescope detects galaxy’s oldest known solar system

first_imgAstronomers have spotted the oldest known set of planets in the Milky Way, a quintet of hot and presumably rocky worlds that is more than twice as old as our solar system. Further study of the ancient system may shed light on the early days of planetary formation in the galaxy.The parent star of the planetary system is Kepler-444, a sunlike star about 117 light-years from Earth, says Bill Chaplin, an astrophysicist at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.Chaplin and his colleagues analyzed several years’ worth of data gathered by NASA’s Kepler mission, a space telescope that surveys a region of the galaxy for signs of Earth-size and smaller worlds. In Kepler-444, they seem to have struck a jackpot. In all, five planets pass in front of the star, creating minieclipses that betray the presence and size of the planets as well as how quickly they orbit their parent star. All the planets lie within 12 million kilometers of Kepler-444 and circle it in 10 days or less. (Mercury, at its closest, swings about 46 million km from the sun.)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(*)That’s too close to the star to be in the “Goldilocks zone” of habitability, Chaplin says, so the planets likely don’t host life. Indeed, the orbs have surface temperatures much hotter than Mercury, so any atmospheres or oceans probably have long since been boiled away, leaving nothing but a scorched, rocky surface. The closest planet of the five to Kepler-444 is about the size of Mercury, and the farthest is slightly smaller than Venus or Earth. The other three are about the size of Mars, Chaplin says. “Finding five planets all smaller than Earth in the same distant system, that’s pretty incredible,” says Andrew Vanderburg, an astrophysicist at Harvard University who was not involved with the work.Kepler has previously found multiplanet systems around other stars, Chaplin says. What’s unusual about this new find is Kepler-444’s great age: The star is about 11.2 billion years old, the team reports online today in The Astrophysical Journal. (By comparison, the universe is about 13.8 billion years old, and our own solar system clocks in at about 4.6 billion years of age.)To assess Kepler-444’s age, the team analyzed subtle variations in the star’s brightness, as revealed in data samples taken as often as once every minute for a year. Those variations allow astrophysicists to calculate the speed of sound inside the star, which in turn enables the researchers to infer the ratio of hydrogen and helium inside the star—the key to determining how far along the star is in its evolution. The astronomers assume that, as in our solar system, the planets formed quickly after the star did. “By the time the Earth formed, the planets in this system were already older than our planet is today,” Chaplin says.The immense age of the Kepler-444 system suggests that Earth-class planets could have formed very early in the life of the universe. Spectroscopy of Kepler-444 reveals that the star is iron-poor, so presumably the planets are as well. The planets, Chaplin says, are likely predominantly made of lighter than iron elements such as carbon, nitrogen, silicon, and sulfur.Further analyses of this ancient system, and others like it, will help scientists better model how and when planets formed in our galaxy and throughout the universe, says Natalie Batalha, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.last_img read more

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Years after shutting down, U.S. atom smasher reveals properties of ‘God particle’

first_imgIn a scientific ghost story, a U.S. atom smasher has made an important scientific contribution 3.5 years after it shut down. Scientists are reporting that the Tevatron collider in Batavia, Illinois, has provided new details about the nature of the famed Higgs boson—the particle that’s key to physicists’ explanation of how other fundamental particles get their mass and the piece in a theory called the standard model. The new result bolsters the case that the Higgs, which was discovered at a different atom smasher, exactly fits the standard model predictions.“This is a very interesting and important paper, because it’s a different mechanism” for probing the Higgs’s properties, says John Ellis, a theorist at King’s College London and CERN who was not involved in the work. “This is the swan song” for the Tevatron, he says.The Tevatron, a 7-kilometer-long ring-shaped collider at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, ran from 1983 until September 2011. It saw hints of the Higgs boson but never actually discovered the particle. That honor went to physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 27-kilometer-long atom smasher at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. 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But the particle has other characteristic properties, too. Like all fundamental particles, the Higgs has a fixed and quantized amount of angular momentum or spin. It also has a property of symmetry called parity, which can be either even or odd and which affects, for example, the way the Higgs can decay into other particles. According to the standard model, the Higgs should have zero spin and positive parity. However, it’s conceivable that the observed particle could have zero spin and negative parity or two units of spin and positive parity. Many physicists would be thrilled if the Higgs had such exotic “spin-parity,” as it would point to new phenomena not predicted by the standard model.In fact, experimenters working with the two biggest particle detectors fed by the LHC—massive devices called ATLAS and CMS—have already shown with high certainty that the Higgs boson has zero spin and even parity. To do that, they studied the decay of the Higgs into familiar particles, such as a pair of photons or a pair of massive particles called Z bosons. From the angular distributions of those emerging daughter particles, physicists were able to determine the spin and parity of the parent Higgs.Researchers working with the Tevatron data took a different tack. Instead of studying the decays of the Higgses, they looked for signs of a Higgs produced in tandem with a Z boson or a W boson, particles that convey the weak nuclear force, as they explain in a paper in press at Physical Review Letters. (The Higgs was assumed to decay into a pair of particles known as a bottom quark and an antibottom quark.) From the energies and momenta of the Higgs and its partner, researchers then calculated a quantity called the invariant mass for the pair. Were the Higgs and the partner born from the decay of a single parent particle, this quantity would be the mass of that parent. In actuality, the Higgs and its partner would emerge directly from the chaos of the particle collision, so the parent particle is purely hypothetical.Nevertheless, by calculating the mass of that hypothetical parent particle, researchers were able to test for different combinations of spin and parity by proxy. If the Higgs had “exotic” spin-parity rather than the standard model characteristics, the observed invariant mass would be higher. So researchers working with the two particle detectors fed by the Tevatron—CDF and D0—searched for such high-invariant mass pairs. Finding none, they ruled out even more stringently exotic versions of the Higgs. So even though Tevatron physicists never conclusively observed the Higgs boson, they were able to put limits on its properties.Technically, the new Tevatron limits are slightly stronger than the limits set by the LHC experiments, says Dmitri Denisov, a physicist at Fermilab who works on D0. But CERN’s Ellis says that ATLAS and CMS had already essentially settled the matter.In fact, Tevatron researchers missed an opportunity to scoop their LHC counterparts on the spin and parity of the Higgs, Ellis says. Just weeks after researchers at the LHC had discovered the Higgs, Ellis and colleagues explained in a paper how the Tevatron teams might apply the invariant-mass technique to their archived data to take the “fast track” to testing the Higgs’s spin and parity. For technical reasons, the technique would be more sensitive on Tevatron data than on LHC data, they explained, because the Tevatron collided protons and antiprotons, whereas the LHC collided protons and protons. But in the end, the Tevatron analysis proceeded slowly, as CDF and D0 team members left to work on the LHC. “This result has somewhat of an ‘us too’ character rather than being first as we’d hoped,” Ellis says.Denisov agrees that lack of people impeded progress. He notes that the whole idea could have been tried even before the Higgs was found: “If [Ellis] had come to us a year before we might have been able to determine the spin and parity of the Higgs even before it was discovered.”For Higgs studies at the Tevatron, “this is basically it,” Denisov says. In the meantime, physicists working at the LHC are aiming to probe other properties of the Higgs with higher precision. In particular, they hope to measure to within a few percentage points how quickly the Higgs decays into different combinations of more-familiar particles and compare that with standard model predictions. Researchers say that work should take about 15 years.last_img read more

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