With Gonda named dirtiest city, Aditynath wields broom for cleaner U.P.

first_imgUttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday picked up a broom to convey his seriousness towards making Uttar Pradesh clean. This was a day after he expressed regret over the State’s poor rating in the cleanliness survey.Accompanied by his ministerial colleague Suresh Khanna and other officials, he arrived at the congested Baloo Addar locality in the heart of Lucknow in Ram Mohan ward and began sweeping the streets.Only one city of the state, Varanasi, had figured in the list of 100 clean cities in the government’s ‘Swachh Survekshan-2017’. Nine others were among the 15 dirtiest districts in the country with Gonda turning out to be the dirtiest city in India.“Although this survey was taken up before we took over, our government has decided to work in this area and by December 2017 we aim to declare 30 districts and by October 2018 the entire state open defecation-free,” he said in the press conference on FridayAfter interacting with the residents, he instructed municipal staff present to maintain cleanliness and said it was among the top priorities of the government.“Why is the State capital so dirty? It is a matter of concern as to why Lucknow does not figure in the list of 100 clean cities… make all preparations before the onset of monsoon to clean the drains so that they do not overflow on the streets…“All wards should be given instructions on cleanliness…people should be made aware of not littering on the roads and use of dustbins” he told the municipal department officials.last_img read more

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Doc shifted for demanding bribe

first_imgA couple from the primitive Bonda tribal community has alleged that a gynaecologist posted at the Malkangiri district hospital had demanded bribe for a caesarean. Malkangiri Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Uday Shankar Mishra on Tuesday removed the doctor concerned from duty and attached him to the CDMO office. “I have ordered the ADMO to make a detailed inquiry into the allegation and file a report,” he said.Twins bornAccording to sources, four days ago the pregnant wife of a tribal from the remote Dantepada village of Khairaput block was admitted to the hospital. She gave birth to twins through a caesarean operation. Later the couple and their relatives alleged that the doctor who conducted the operation had demanded ₹ 5,000 from them and they paid ₹ 2,000 to the doctor. The woman’s husband said that he had arranged Rs.2,000 with difficulty and had promised to pay up ₹3,000 later. Later the husband submitted a written complaint to the ADMO and CDMO of Malkangiri district. For his part, the concerned doctor has denied the allegations.last_img read more

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Low-key Eid celebrations in Darjeeling

first_imgThe Darjeeling Hills on Monday witnessed low-key celebrations amidst the 12-hour window given to the Muslim community to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr on the twelfth day of the indefinite shutdown.People offered prayers at local mosques and most of them did not use vehicles to visit relatives and friends and travelled by foot instead, as a sign of solidarity to the cause of Gorkhaland.The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) had on Sunday decided to give a 12-hour relaxation for Muslims to celebrate the festival during which they could use vehicles to go to the plains and meet their relatives.Police and security forces patrolled the streets. Shops and markets remained closed. Pharmacies, hospitals and private nursing homes were open.last_img read more

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‘Revival of small and medium industries vital’

first_imgNAGPUR: 45Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Dr. Subramanian Swamy on Friday called for the revival of small- and medium-scale industries to increase the economic growth of India and to reduce unemployment and poverty.Delivering a lecture here on ‘Can India become an economic super?’, Mr. Swamy said, “We need to encourage small- and medium-scale industries to reduce unemployment, which in turn will reduce poverty. India, being a country with a huge labour force, also needs to discourage use of machinery in industries.”He blamed former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan for the “destruction of small- and medium-scale industries” and asked the government to desist from employing “parachuted experts” from abroad who have no ground knowledge. “Had Rajan been a nationalist, he would have stayed in India and joined an IIT, but he ran away. Even our economic advisor is running away to USA.”Blaming Jawaharlal Nehru for “the destruction of agriculture by imposing Soviet communist economic system” on India after Independence, the BJP leader said the country’s agrarian potential was yet to be completely utilised.“We need 10% GDP growth for 20 years to get rid of unemployment and poverty. We don’t lack resources to make this country an economic superpower. We just need to sort out our priorities and formulate policies for achieving our aims,” he said.He assured the gathering that a Ram temple would be built in Ayodhya soon, and said that former finance minister P. Chidambaram’s son would soon be made a “special guest” in Tihar jail.Crediting former prime minister Narasimha Rao with economic reforms, Mr. Swamy announced that his party would make sure that Mr. Rao be given a Bharat Ratna soon.He also called for the abolition of income tax. “I have asked [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi to abolish income tax, but he has not acted on it as yet. Income tax is a major reason behind black money. There is no need of income tax. It’s a poison for our country,” he said.He also called for connecting all the rivers in the country. Mr. Swamy said India would surpass China in growth by 2025.last_img read more

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Committee headed by UP Chief Secretary to probe BHU incident, says Governor

first_imgUttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik on Monday said a committee headed by the Chief Secretary has been constituted to go into the protest in the Banaras Hindu University campus over an alleged eve-teasing incident.A number of students, including women, and two journalists were injured in a baton—charge by the police in the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) where a protest on Saturday night against an alleged eve-teasing incident turned violent.“A committee has been constituted under the chief secretary. Necessary action will be taken on the basis of its report. The committee will see as to how the police had behaved and examine other aspects,” he said.Mr. Naik was responding to queries from mediapersons here about the incident.The governor described the incident as sad. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has already ordered a probe into the incident.In the wake of the violence, the university has advanced the puja holidays from tomorrow till October 2. Earlier, the holidays were to have started from September 28.Violence erupted after some students, protesting against the alleged eve-teasing incident of Thursday, wanted to meet the Vice Chancellor at his residence on Saturday night, according to police and university sources.A BHU spokesperson said some students wanted to “forcibly” enter the VC’s residence but they were stopped by the security guards of the university.Subsequently, there was stone pelting by “outsiders” who had joined the students.Police then used batons to control the situation.last_img read more

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Sufi singer Pyarelal Wadali passes away

first_imgNoted Sufi and Punjabi folk singer Pyarelal Wadali (75), the younger of the ‘Wadali Brothers’ duo, died of cardiac arrest on Friday in Amritsar.He was earlier admitted at a private hospital on Monday after complaining of chest pain. His condition, however, deteriorated even as he was put on ventilator. He is survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters.Mourning his death, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh directed the local administration to ensure ceremonial honour for his cremation.“A sad moment for the Sufi music world and a personal loss. Have many fond memories of Pyarelal Wadali, the younger of the Wadali Brothers fame. His sudden demise has left us all aggrieved. I’ve asked the administration to ensure ceremonial honour for his cremation,” tweeted Capt. Amarinder.Punjab Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu also expressed shock over the demise.Mr. Sidhu said Pyarelal Wadali was an exceptional singer devoted to his mother tongue, Punjabi, and his sad demise has left a deep void in the Punjabi Sufi singing arena. The Minister prayed also extended his sympathies to the bereaved family.Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal also condoled the singer’s death. “I’m deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Sh. Pyare Lal Wadali of Wadali Brothers — the epitome of Sufi music. It is an unbearable loss to the music world. I pray to almighty to grant eternal peace to the departed soul,” he wrote on Twitter.Pyarelal and his elder brother Puran Chand Wadali scaled the pinnacle of Sufi and traditional Punjabi singing. Honoured with several State and national-level awards, the Wadali Brothers also sang popular hits such as ‘Tu maane yaa na maane’ and ‘Rangrez mere’ from the Bollywood filmTanu Weds Manu.Chairman of the Punjab Kala Parishad Dr. Surjit Patar also condoled the demise of Pyarelal Wadali, terming it as a big loss to Sufi singing and the fields of art and culture.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more

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Trinamool Congress welcomes SC verdict on Bengal panchayat polls

first_imgThe ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict on the uncontested seats in the panchayat polls in West Bengal and described it as a “historic victory” for the party.The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the pleas by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seeking a re-poll in 20,698(35.26 %) seats in the three-tier panchayats of the State, for which the Opposition parties could not file nomination.“It’s a historic victory. In a nutshell the CPI-M, Congress and BJP received a tight slap from the Supreme Court. We will start training for the elected members of (the uncontested seats) within a week,” said the State’s panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee.The Minister also said that the Opposition parties should apologise to the people for making such “baseless allegations” against the TMC government.The verdict generated mixed reactions from the Opposition parties. While the BJP leadership said that they “accept” the verdict, the CPI-M leadership described it as “surprising”.“We accept the Supreme Court’s verdict and will continue to fight against the TMC democratically in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” said BJP State President Dilip Ghosh.The CPI-M State leadership expressed its reservations about the verdict.“We cannot find any similarity between the Supreme Court’s observation during the hearing and this verdict. Can anyone deny that 34% of the voters (in Panchayat areas) were denied from exercising their franchise? It is a surprising verdict,” said. Rabin Deb, senior member of the CPI-M State secretariat, the highest decision-making body of the party in the State. Earlier the Supreme Court expressed its reservations about the uncontested seats.Pointing out that the Congress never approached the Supreme Court seeking re-poll in the uncontested panchayat seat, State Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said “not only 34% of the seats in Panchayat polls but polling even in the rest of seats was marred with terror and violence and democracy was murdered.”last_img read more

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Srijan scam: I-T searches at residence of Bihar deputy CM’s relative

first_imgThe Income Tax department on Thursday started search operations at eight places in the state, including the residence of Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi’s cousin sister, in connection with the multi-crore Srijan scam.The I-T officials raided Rekha Modi’s residence at S P Verma road in Patna as part of the Srijan scam related to the illegal siphoning of government funds through an NGO in Bhagalpur. The department also searched several business establishments in Patna, Purnia and Bhagalpur. The Srijan Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti Limited, a non-government organization, is accused of pilfering government funds from the Bhagalpur district administration’s accounts for various welfare schemes in connivance with district officials, bankers and its staff.After much hue and cry made over the scam the state government had recommended a CBI inquiry into it. Rekha Modi’s name was figured as one of the beneficiaries of the scam. Rekha Modi, a social activist, was identified as a beneficiary by the owner of a jewellery shop in Patna whom the investigators had earlier approached for details. It has been alleged that a large amount of government funds were fraudulently transferred into accounts of the NGO between 2004 and 2014. The NGO used to provide vocational training to women in Bhagalpur and its office is located in Sabour block of the district.The state’s Deputy chief minister and senior state BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi had, earlier, said that he has nothing to do with Rekha Modi and the investigators should investigate the case to unearth the Srijan scam. However, the Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal had been attacking Mr Modi after Rekha Modi’s name figured in the Srijan Scam. “Sushil Modi is real culprit in Srijan scam and it is to save him residence of his sister has been raided today”, tweeted Tejaswi Yadav on Thursday.last_img read more

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Guwahati school ‘expels’ girl for being a “slow” learner

first_imgA missionary school in Guwahati has allegedly expelled a 7-year-old girl student for being a “slow” learner and failing to secure better grades in her class.The father of the girl has sought a written apology from the authorities of Holy Child School, which called him for further discussion toward readmitting his daughter.The incident came to light weeks after the school reportedly violated the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, and child rights activist Miguel Das Queah posted about it on Facebook. Mr. Queah, who is the executive director of NGO Utsah, said the school expelled the girl for “being too slow in studies”.Section 16 of the Act states, “No child admitted in the school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education.”School Principal Lissy Rose said the child was not expelled and the authorities had only mentioned its possibility to her parents. “We usually updated the parents about how a child is performing academically. The parents, in this case, got upset and went to file a case. We are ready to take the child back and have called her father for a meeting,” she said.The father, unwilling to put his child back in the school, said he took up the matter with the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights in March besides approaching Utsah. “The school authorities failed to turn up for a hearing by the commission on three occasions. They also did not respond when the commission asked the school to readmit my daughter. It was only after the Facebook post that they stirred,” he said.He also accused the school authorities of having behaved rudely with him.last_img read more

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To protest desecration of Vidyasagar statue, Mamata changes Twitter DP with his photo

first_imgWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and several top Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders have changed their Facebook and Twitter display picture (DP) with photo of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar on Wednesday to protest the desecration of the bust of the noted reformer and key figure of the Bengal Renaissance.Trinamool Congress’s official profile on Twitter and Facebook was also changed with a picture of Vidyasagar. Ms. Banerjee is scheduled to take out a protest rally on Wednesday to protest the smashing of the bust of the social reformer in north Kolkata on Tuesday. Launching a scathing attack on BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday, Ms. Banerjee had said, “What does Amit Shah think of himself? Is he above everything? Is he God that no one can protest against him?”Ms. Banerjee said this after supporters of the BJP and the TMC fought pitched battles on the streets of Kolkata during a roadshow by Mr. Shah. A college named after Iswarchandra Vidyasagar, a key figure in the Bengal Renaissance, was ransacked and a bust of the 19th century social reformer shattered during the clashes. The TMC and BJP blame each other for the vandalism. Addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday, Mr. Shah accused “the TMC goons” of vandalising the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar inside a college, saying it was done to gain “sympathy” as Ms. Banerjee-led party has realised its “reverse count” has begun. The CPI(M) has also called for protest rallies against the incident. The intellectuals of the city will take out a protest march from College street on Wednesday evening.last_img read more

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Famous HeLa Cells Get Genetic Close-Up, and New Data-Sharing Rules

first_imgFive months after it was hastily removed from the Internet in the face of harsh criticism, the genome of the widely used HeLa cell line is back online today. Not only that, but it is also now sequenced at the highest level of resolution yet for a cancer research cell line. But scientists who want to use those data must now ask for permission from a committee that includes descendants of the woman whose cells were taken—without her consent—62 years ago.The HeLa cell line is named after Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose aggressive cervical cancer killed her in 1951. Researchers used cells sampled from that tumor to create the HeLa cell line, the first and now by far the most commonly used in cell biology laboratories. Lacks herself was all but forgotten until science journalist Rebecca Skloot published a book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, that revealed how insensitively biomedical researchers have treated the family over the decades.The HeLa genome fracas began on 11 March when researchers based at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, published the first HeLa genome sequence and an analysis of its content. Skloot contacted the family and confirmed on her blog that EMBL had never contacted Lack’s relatives. Online social networks erupted with criticism, particularly from scientists. In response, the EMBL team took the genomic data offline just hours later.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(*)Soon after, Skloot spoke with Francis Collins and Kathy Hudson, director and a deputy director, respectively, of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). “They offered to meet with the Lacks family,” she told ScienceInsider by phone. “This is exactly what the Lacks family has always wished for.” The family asked Skloot to help set up a face-to-face meeting.That happened in early April at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, with representatives of the Lacks family talking with Collins, Hudson, and a few other scientists and physicians. The family learned about genome science, the risks and benefits, and the possible options for protecting privacy and consent. “It was a beautiful thing,” says Skloot who, at the family’s request, sat in on the meeting by speaker phone. It proved to be the first of several meetings through the summer between the family and NIH representatives. Together, they crafted a new set of guidelines for how HeLa data can be accessed while respecting the wishes of the family.HeLa genome data will now be kept in the NIH’s database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP). To gain access to those data, researchers must apply for permission. Among the criteria for access, any resulting research paper must include an acknowledgment to the Lacks family, and all future HeLa genome data must be deposited in dbGaP. Applications for access will be vetted by a committee of that includes two members of the Lacks family. This process will be required of all NIH-funded researchers, Collins says, and other scientists will be “strongly urged to do the same.”The first researchers to use the new system are on a team led by Jay Shendure, a geneticist at the University of Washington, Seattle. Their genomic study of HeLa cells, published online today in Nature, not only provides high enough resolution to reveal the cells’ full repeat-rich sequence—which has hampered previous efforts—but it includes sequencing of multiple lines of HeLa cells.The first surprise is that the HeLa genome has been “remarkably stable,” Collins says, in spite of evolving for 6 decades in different laboratories around the world. The second is the discovery of a human papillomavirus inserted within the HeLa DNA just upstream of Myc, a regulatory gene known to cause cancer when its expression runs out of control. This could be not only the reason for the aggressiveness of the cancer that killed Henrietta Lacks, but also the genetic trait that makes HeLa such a robust, self-perpetuating cell line.“Some will surely say that our solution [for sharing the data] is too little too late,” NIH’s Hudson says. “We are aware that any lab with the right equipment can sequence the genome without permission.” But Collins is confident that scientists will follow the new policy, even if not bound by funding contracts with NIH. “The [EMBL] investigators have agreed to follow exactly the path we’re describing here,” he says. “That’s a good indication that the scientific community intends to take this with great seriousness.”last_img read more

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Pesticide Study Sparks Backlash

first_imgWhen Ralf Reski read the latest paper from controversial French biologist Gilles-Eric Séralini, he quickly decided he wanted nothing to do with it. Séralini’s report in BioMed Research International describes how pesticides kill cultured human cells, with the hair-raising conclusion that pesticides may be vastly more toxic than assumed by regulatory authorities. Some scientists are criticizing the findings as neither surprising nor significant—but they have touched off a firestorm, with environmental groups calling for changes in how pesticides are regulated. That was too much for Reski. Within hours of reading the paper last week, the plant scientist at the University of Freiburg in Germany resigned as an editor of the journal and asked for his name to be removed from its website. “I do not want to be connected to a journal that provides [Séralini] a forum for such kind of agitation,” he wrote in his resignation e-mail to the publisher, Hindawi Publishing Corporation.To many backers of genetically modified (GM) foods, Séralini is already a bête noire. The scientist at the University of Caen in France made headlines in 2012 with a paper in Food and Chemical Toxicology purporting to show that rats fed a maize variety engineered to resist the herbicide glyphosate were more likely to develop cancer than rats fed non-GM maize. The paper has been widely touted by GM opponents as evidence that GM crops are dangerous. But it hasn’t held up to scrutiny. Scientists slammed the report and in a November 2012 review, the European Food Safety Authority called it “inadequately designed, analysed and reported.” The journal retracted the paper a year later, stating that “the results presented (while not incorrect) are inconclusive” due to the type of lab animal and small number used. Séralini counters that those reasons “are unscientific and stupid” and contends that the journal bowed to industry pressure. Some researchers have criticized the decision to retract a paper because it is inconclusive.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(*)In the new work in BioMed Research International, Séralini and three co-authors affiliated with the University of Caen and a private organization founded by Séralini, the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering, examine the effects of nine pesticides on three human cell lines. Eight of the nine “were several hundred times more toxic than their active principle,” the authors write. For example, they found that the herbicide Roundup was 125 times more toxic to cells than its principle active ingredient, glyphosate. “Our results challenge the relevance of the Acceptable Daily Intake for pesticides because this norm is calculated from the toxicity of the active principle alone,” the authors write.  Toxicologists have reservations about the study. “There are issues in terms of its design and execution, as well as its overall tone,” writes Michael Coleman, a toxicologist at Aston University in Birmingham, U.K., in an e-mail to ScienceInsider. “Anything is toxic in high concentration, the question is whether the toxicity is relevant to the levels of the agents we are ingesting. This paper does not seem to address this issue at all.” Martin van den Berg, a toxicologist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, says the paper deserved to be reviewed. But he, too, questions the experimental design. “The endpoints observed are so general that we could probably find the same kind of toxicity with lemon juice or grapefruit extract,” he says. “It’s not new or shocking. It is what I would have expected at the level he is giving this to the cells.” Séralini dismisses the criticisms as biased. “I recognize the remarks of industry in that,” he tells ScienceInsider.Reski says that while he cannot judge the new paper’s scientific merits, he argues that any article by Séralini should be vetted with extra care and that the timing alone was enough to make him suspicious. “It took just 6 weeks for this paper to be accepted, and I think that’s inadequate,” he says. Paul Peters, chief strategy officer at Hindawi, says the review time was within the normal range for the journal and that the paper “underwent the normal peer review process, which included external review by three independent peer reviewers.”Some say that while they view Séralini’s study as flawed, the central questions it addresses are important. How adjuvants, the compounds mixed with the main pesticide, affect a formulation’s toxicity “is a justifiable angle to explore,” Coleman writes. “I do welcome research in this area.” Roland Solecki, a toxicologist at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Berlin, agrees that there is a knowledge gap. It’s standard to test acute toxicity of adjuvants used in pesticides in combination with the principle active ingredient, he says. But if there is no indication of an elevated risk, he says, the effects of exposing animals to such a combination repeatedly are not studied, in part to reduce the numbers of animals used in testing. Solecki says that his institute is taking Séralini’s study “very seriously” and is assessing it “carefully.”last_img read more

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New Avian Flu Virus Ravages Poultry in Korea

first_imgA dangerous new strain of bird flu that emerged in South Korea on 17 January has spread nationwide despite efforts to clamp down on the virus. Authorities have culled 2.8 million domestic chickens and ducks since the outbreak began, and the strain has also killed dozens of Baikal teal and other migratory birds. As yet, there are no reports of human infections. Scientists are puzzling over where the H5N8 strain, never before seen in a highly pathogenic form, originated. And researchers are scrambling to keep the virus out of the country’s premier poultry research center. Intensive surveillance of commercial poultry and wild birds had never before detected the H5N8 strain in Korea, says Jae-Hong Kim, a veterinary microbiologist at Seoul National University. Last year, a Chinese group reported having isolated it from apparently healthy ducks at a live poultry market in China. Based on H5N8’s sudden appearance in Korea and the genetic similarity of isolates from poultry and migratory birds, a governmental investigative committee has “tentatively concluded that [the virus] was likely to have been introduced by migratory birds,” Kim says.Conservationists are scoffing at that conclusion. “If birds are sick with the flu they are not going to fly thousands of kilometers,” says Judit Szabo, science officer for the Seoul-based East Asian–Australasian Flyway Partnership, a group representing 15 Asia-Pacific nations and nongovernmental organizations. Szabo, a bird conservation biologist, speculates that migratory birds may have carried a mild form of the virus to Korea, where it spread into commercial poultry farms that provide “perfect conditions for a virus to get pathogenic really quickly.” She says that on the first infected farms the virus caused only a drop-off in egg production, but then it mutated into a deadly strain as it spread. Wild birds then picked up the highly pathogenic form of H5N8 from farm wastewater, Szabo says. In a statement on its website, the partnership calls wild birds the victims of bird flu, not the perpetrators.  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(*)As scientists spar over H5N8’s origins, the virus has reached the doorstep of the National Institute of Animal Science (NIAS). A wild goose infected with the virus was found dead on 1 February just 10 kilometers from the institute’s Suwon campus near Seoul. The facility houses more than 13,000 hens and nearly 5000 ducks for research on breed improvement and animal husbandry. “If the virus infects the facility, we would cull all of the poultry,” says Yong-sup Song, who heads the NIAS contingency team. That would put a serious dent in the center’s genetic resources and set back ongoing research programs.”We are nervous, fighting against the possibility of infection,” Song says. To keep H5N8 at bay, all of the center’s 263 staff members have been on round-the-clock duty since 2 February, disinfecting facilities, chasing migratory birds away, and controlling human and vehicle traffic.If those efforts fail, all is not lost. NIAS keeps an equal number of poultry at another campus 50 kilometers away. “We believe there is little chance of the virus simultaneously infecting both facilities,” Song says.With reporting by Mi-Young Ahn.last_img read more

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How Sheep Became Livestock

first_imgThe domestication of plants and animals was one of the most important events in human history, but rarely have archaeologists been able to catch the process in the act. Now, research at an 11,000-year-old settlement in Turkey shows that some early farmers kept wild sheep penned up in the middle of their village—thus setting the stage for the dramatic changes that led to today’s domesticated animals.Archaeologists studying the origins of farming have hundreds of sites to choose from across the Middle East, but few of them tell the full story. That requires a spot that spans the transition between a hunting and gathering lifestyle and a farming lifestyle, a period from about 10,500 to 9500 years ago. Researchers have long had their eyes on just such a site: Aşıklı Höyük, located on the banks of the Melendiz River in central Turkey—a land of idyllic streams and dramatic volcanic formations popular with tourists.Earlier work had suggested that Aşıklı Höyük might be a center of the earliest stages of animal domestication. The new study, led by zooarchaeologist Mary Stiner of the University of Arizona in Tucson, confirms this. The team looked at an archaeological layer radiocarbon dated to between 10,400 and 10,100 years ago. The botanical remains from this level show intensive cultivation of cereals, lentils, and nuts, meaning that crop farming was already under way; but the spectrum of animal bones in the earliest parts of this layer reflects the hunting of a wide variety of wild animals including hares, tortoises, and fish, along with larger animals such as goats, wild cattle, deer, and sheep. The most abundant large animal was sheep, although they represented less than half of the total animals.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(*)Moreover, the sheep bones from these early levels were clearly those of wild animals, which can be distinguished from domesticated animals by their larger size and the distribution of ages and sexes: Wild herds, left alone by humans, tend to include more older animals and a roughly equal number of males and females.Beginning about 10,200 years ago, however, the proportions of wild animals in this layer began to change, as the team reports online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The hunting of smaller animals appears to fall off to insignificant numbers, while the percentage of sheep—which outnumber goats by three to one—steadily increases. By about 9500 years ago, sheep represented nearly 90% of all animals at the site. Moreover, the researchers say that the age and sex pattern of the bones indicate active management, or herding, of the sheep: Only about 11% of the females died before the age of 6 to 7 months, whereas 58% of the males did, a typical pattern that reflects farmers’ desire to preserve females for breeding.So where were these herded-yet-still-wild sheep kept? The archaeological smoking gun for animal herding is dung deposits in or near a village, and the team found ancient dung in bountiful quantities between the closely packed houses of the settlement. Moreover, under the microscope, Stiner and her colleagues were able to confirm that the dung—rich with traces of grasses, sedges, rushes, and other things that sheep like to eat—came straight out of the animals, rather than being mixed with other ingredients to make mudbricks, mortar, or fuel for fires. That means the dung was the result of stabling rather than reuse by humans for other purposes.The team concludes that the sheep were kept captive in the village itself, even though the animals were still “morphologically wild”—that is, they had not yet undergone the reduction in size typical of domestic animals. They probably remained “behaviorally wild” as well; that is, they had yet to become the docile, sheeplike animals we know today—although the team suggests that some animals might have been introduced into the village while still very young, as pets for children.So why did the villagers need to pen up sheep when they were already successfully hunting them? Stiner and her co-workers suggest that Aşıklı Höyük’s location by the Melendiz River, in a region with fertile soils ideal for crop farming, tempted early farmers to settle down and establish a permanent village. The downside of settlement would have been less time for roaming farther away to hunt the meat they still needed in their diet. That “scheduling conflict” between hunting and farming was best solved by bringing the sheep to the village rather than villagers going out to find the sheep, the team says. Thus, the findings provide a new glimpse into the ways that early farmers might have inadvertently begun to domesticate animals, possibly by choosing to stable less aggressive animals and thus favoring genetic variants that eventually led to domesticated varieties.“It is wonderful to see these data starting to come out,” says Nerissa Russell, a zooarchaeologist at Cornell University. Jean-Denis Vigne, a zooarchaeologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, agrees. “We have long suspected a kind of early [animal] management at Aşıklı, and we were waiting for new data to support this perspective.”But Melinda Zeder, a zooarchaeologist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., questions some details of the study, including whether the team was able to accurately determine the sex of the sheep—which was done by examining their pelvis bones—especially in young animals. Zeder also disagrees with the team’s contention that the herding of sheep was a response to a scheduling conflict once the people at Aşıklı settled down; rather than facing a conflict, Zeder says, they may have found a new way to take fuller advantage of both the rich plant and animal resources available in the region around Aşıklı Höyük.And although Russell agrees that “scheduling conflicts would have been a major issue in the transition to agriculture,” she questions to what extent herding sheep would have helped solve them. “Herding would have required new kinds of labor and posed its own scheduling and labor allocation issues,” she says.last_img read more

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Crowdsourcing project predicts progression of neurodegenerative disease

first_imgUsing data from old clinical trials, two groups of researchers have found a better way to predict how amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) progresses in different patients. The winning algorithms—designed by non-ALS experts—outperformed the judgments of a group of ALS clinicians given the same data. The advances could make it easier to test whether new drugs can slow the fatal neurodegenerative disease.The new work was inspired by the so-called ALS Prediction Prize, a joint effort by the ALS-focused nonprofit Prize4Life and Dialogue for Reverse Engineering Assessments and Methods (DREAM), a computational biology project whose sponsors include IBM and Columbia University. Announced in 2012, the $50,000 award was designed to bring in experts from outside the ALS field to tackle the notoriously unpredictable illness.Liuxia Wang, a data analyst at the marketing company Sentrana in Washington, D.C., was used to helping companies make business decisions based on big data sets, such as information about consumer choices, but says she “didn’t know too much about this life science thing” until she got an unusual query from a client. One of the senior managers she worked with revealed that her son had just been diagnosed with ALS and wondered if Sentrana’s analytics could apply to patient data, too. When Wang set out to investigate, she found the ALS Prediction Prize. The next step, she said, was to learn something about ALS.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 disease destroys the neurons that control muscle movement, causing gradual paralysis and eventually killing about half of patients within 3 years of diagnosis. But the speed of its progression varies widely. About 10% of patients live a decade or more after being diagnosed. That makes it hard for doctors to answer patients’ questions about the future, and it’s a big problem for testing new ALS treatments. To measure if a drug is working, a clinical trial has to compare disease progression in people receiving a new treatment with their likely rate of decline if they hadn’t received it—often represented by a control group. A disease as variable as ALS requires costly clinical trials to make this comparison using a large control group.To crowdsource a better predictive tool, Prize4Life first assembled a patient database from completed clinical trials. Now freely available for investigators, the PRO-ACT database contains information such as age, medical history, vital signs, and other lab tests from 17 clinical trials including more than 8000 patients. For the competition, participants were given just a slice of this data set, collected over 3 months, and asked to design an algorithm to predict how patients would fare in the subsequent 9 months, according to a standard functional scale that measures their ability to move and care for themselves.The challenge received 37 submissions, most from people who knew nothing about ALS, says Neta Zach, Prize4Life’s scientific director in Tel Aviv, Israel, and an author on the new paper, published online on 2 November in Nature Biotechnology. “It was really like a merger of two groups that had never met before,” she says. Among the participants was the Sentrana team, which tied for first place with a pair of researchers from Stanford University—a lawyer and a statistics professor. The two groups each won $20,000, and a runner-up received $10,000.When predictions from the two winning algorithms were combined, they outperformed estimates solicited from a dozen ALS clinicians who pored over the same data, the authors report. They estimate that using these algorithms to predict outcomes could allow a drug sponsor to reduce the size of the trial by at least 20% and save as much as $6 million in a large phase III trial.The paper also breaks down the clinical features that seemed to predict faster or slower decline. Of the 15 features that at least two of the teams identified in their top 30 predictors, several have been reported before. Age, time since onset, amount of weight lost, and forced vital capacity (a measure of lung function) are all thought to be related to disease progression. Other measurements now being investigated, such as levels of the compound creatinine in the blood, got new support from the challenge results. And the algorithms identified a few previously unidentified predictors. Higher blood pressure and heart rate, for example, seem to accompany a faster progression in some patients.“This is just fascinating,” says neurologist Hiroshi Mitsumoto of Columbia University about the results. The new predictive features that emerged may give researchers new clues about the mechanisms of the disease, he says. “This kind of information never comes unless we have a large number of patients.” He also points out that for a rare disease like ALS, where patient populations are often limited, reducing the number of participants in one clinical trial frees up participants to test another drug.Predictive algorithms have been developed for other diseases, notes Dan Moore, a biostatistician at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, but the crowdsourcing approach yielded some very sophisticated statistical solutions. He says that the clinical trial strategy the authors propose—comparing treated patients against predictions—is “a great idea,” although it has yet to win the blessing of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As for the strength of the algorithms themselves, Moore is more cautious with his praise. “You’d be able to do better than just throwing darts,” he says of the individual predictions in the paper. The improvement in accuracy could prove very powerful in a large clinical trial, he says, but it’s not reliable enough to provide a prognosis for a single patient.Meanwhile, Wang says several pharmaceutical companies have expressed interest in the new tool, and Sentrana has formed a spinoff company called Origent Data Sciences to continue the project. The original algorithm is now freely available upon request, but Origent hopes to market programs that can be tailored to specific clinical trial designs or even used to help doctors make more personalized predictions for their patients.Prize4Life is planning another challenge, this time to seek new ways to classify patients according to disease characteristics, such as genetic features that may correlate with cognitive deficits. The ALS Stratification Prize, supported by a crowdfunding campaign, will launch in the spring of 2015.*Correction, 5 November, 11:48 a.m.: The New York Academy of Sciences is no longer a sponsor of DREAM and did not sponsor this challenge.last_img read more

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Why Indian food doesn’t get its due in the U.S.

first_imgAn adventurous cook navigating the aisles of a typical supermarket in Middle America sails past shelf after shelf of Latin American ingredients, an array of Chinese sauces, Thai noodles and a continent of European cheeses in a sea of Italian olive oils. The necessities of Indian home cooking are mostly not there.The culinary gap extends to restaurants and take-out.Read it at India Abroad Related Itemslast_img

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Bright Side Of Desire

first_imgHe has an MBA and started his career as a media planner in an agency, until the media director looked at his chiseled looks and suggested he move to the other side of the business and model instead of planning ads. The prestigious Gladrags Manhunt contest was around the corner; John Abraham filled a crumpled form lying nearby and entered on a lark. Not only did he win, he went on to stand second in the worldwide international finals. A successful modeling stint followed abroad before Abraham returned home to make his mark in India, and once he starred in a bunch of music videos, offers to star in films poured in. John signed Aitbaar with Amitabh Bachchan and the hot and happening Bipasha Basu. That movie is still to see the light of day, but John finally made his debut in the much hyped, blockbuster Jism:The Dark Side of Desire with Bipasha as his co-star.Jism was being touted as Bipasha’s movie, a woman oriented film where the heroine is a ruthless manipulative woman who stops at nothing to get what she wants. It was John Abraham, however, who turned out to be the surprise package of the movie, a fact that even Bipasha who is his lady both in reel and real life today, acknowledges.Today he is hot property, and in real life, John Abraham is perhaps even better looking, but what comes across is his humility and warmth, and the fact that he is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. In an exclusive interview with Little India, he talks of his journey so far and what he values most in life.Tell me about your growing years.Well my dad is an architect and a Malyalee Christian. My mom is Iranian and played basketball for the country and that is how they met. There was a lot of drama when they decided to marry. In fact, they eloped and my aunt threw a stone at my dad when they were running away. That was a Hindi film right there in the making, but ofcourse after I was born everyone reconciled. My father is probably the most honest person I know. We lived modestly and I learnt not to waste. I am still the same person, very casual, and unmaterialistic. In fact, I just bought my very first car, a land cruiser and it is such a big deal!You won the Gladrags Manhunt contest, modeled abroad and then came back.Yes, I did sign up with an agency abroad and a lot of time I would be mistaken for Spanish or Italian and did fairly well, but I came back home to let people know what John Abraham was all about and with God’s grace I did well here too. Modeling abroad is very professional. The modeling agencies really take care of everything. You are their baby and if you have signed up to shoot only until say 6 p.m., and the clients want you to go over even by 5 minutes, they have to take permission from your agent. In India, you are pretty much left to your own devices, running around with your portfolio, fending for you self and struggling on your own. Luckily for me, since I had won the Gladrags contest, I started getting work without having to run around, but professionally I think India still has to do a lot of catching up to do.You were a media planner, and handled the media campaigns of other models, so what did you learn from the other side of the fence?Good question. I learn not to pick any and every campaign or product that came along because once you end up over-exposing yourself, as I saw some people do, you lose appeal very quickly. The same applies to films. I could have signed 20 films post Jism, but I have not. You may be the handsomest, most talented guy in the world, but if you star in 10 movies in a year, the audience will get sick and tired of you. I am quite happy with earning enough to eat three square meals a day, choose good scripts and do fewer films than sign anything and everything just to rake in the moolah.Let us come to Jism. It was touted as Bipasha’s film, but you turned out to be the surprise package in the film with your sensitive performance and if it was not for you, the various nuances and subtleties of both the characters could not have been brought out so beautifully.Well, I think low-key approach worked in my favor. I hardly fit the filmi profile. I am not a trained actor, I am not a Khan or a Kapoor and on top of that, I am a model, and models are considered non-actors who are not supposed to know how to emote! Therefore, the only thing known about me was that I was a model who was doing a film called Jism. In reality, Mahesh Bhatt said to me that I am very lucky to be making my debut in a role that actors, if they are fortunate get to do in their 15th or 20th film.There was a scene where you realize that the woman you love so passionately has used you all along and you break down. I read somewhere that you drew upon a broken relationship and its painful aftermath, during your MBA days.That is correct. I drew upon the memories of those moments when my relationship was going through this rough patch. When the story was initially related to me, it was a woman’s story and how she falls in love with this lawyer, but as it developed, I am glad the camera was put on my shoulder and it became a story about a man who falls hopelessly in love with this woman and the consequences of that obsessive love.There is a scene where he realizes how he has been used and breaks down. I had gone through that pain and I can relate to someone who is emotionally disturbed, because I know how that feels. I remember doing that scene and reliving that pain and I could not stop crying even after the scene was over. Mahesh Bhatt said the last time he saw such emotional reaction and someone getting in to the skin of things was from Shabana Azmi.It was an unconventional debut. In fact, after the first trial, every one said to me you are the first hero who is coming on the scene, out of a car crying and half dead. Is this how you want to start your career, do you have a better option? I was very sure of the film and said that is just the way I want to do it.I really thank the audience for their overwhelmingly positive response and it has really brought home the fact that the audience is non-judgmental, hard work pays off and the time for realistic cinema and fresh themes is right now!I also got a lot of industry support. I had heard a lot of stories about people here being unscrupulous, and I did not see that, but then I guess if you are good people want you, in any sphere of life, and if you are not, you are out.Aitbaar was the first film you signed and it is still not finished.Yes, it ran into production problems, but it is a movie to watch out for in terms of my performance. It has Amitabh Bachchan in it playing Bipasha’s possessive father and Iam her lover. Mr. Bachchan is a legend, but so professional and such a thorough gentleman. It was a pleasure working and learning from just watching him emote. Mr. Bachchan and the directors have taught me what it means to be natural and not be selfish. Many actors just want to hog the limelight and be in front of the camera all the time.I believe you are an expert in martial arts.It is something I do not talk about, but yes I have trained with the police and though Aitbaar has scenes with me performing martial arts, I was well versed in it even before I signed the movie. It is something that has taught me discipline, tolerance and to smile when people around me are being negative. I have never hurt anyone – on the contrary, martial arts has given me an inner serenity, and an appreciation of the strength and beauty of the human form.You too are not doing too many multistarrers, which have become the norm in Bollywood?Yes, even though I am only a couple of films old and it is indeed difficult to get scripts that have only one hero. I know Iam not Shahrukh Khan and maybe it is unrealistic of me to ask for films that revolve only around me at this early stage of my career, but I am confident and have no qualms in saying that I am capable of shouldering the burden and carrying it off with ease if given the opportunity. Jism and Saaya were both solo hero films, though Aitbaar is with Mr. Bachchan and I am doing Ahmed Khan’s multi-starrer with Sunny Deol, Sunil Shetty, Sohail Khan and Vikram Bhatt’s film with Arjun Rampal and Rahul Khanna. I am also excited about Pooja Bhatt’s first directorial venture Paap. It will be an outstanding movie.If there was a movie, you would give an arm and a leg for which one would it be?There is indeed one and I am going to do it one day even if I have to produce it myself. It is the Sean Penn starrer, I am Sam. I want to play Sean Penn’s role of the mentally challenged father raising his daughter.In the past year with all the stupendous success, what is it about yourself that has surprised you?That I have come this far. I still tell people that luck and timing are definitely important but nothing succeeds like hard work, and nothing is more important than being honest, sincere and a clean person. I came to the industry with no expectations, I do my work without shortchanging or undercutting any body, the credit if I succeed or the blame if I fail, is all mine, but wherever I end up I want to be remembered as a decent human being above anything else.   Related Itemslast_img read more

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Outsourcers Rebound

first_imgNet profits at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., India’s largest outsourcing company, grew 29 percent to almost $1.45 billion in the fiscal year ending March 2010. The company’s revenues grew to $6.34 billion, up by 5.38 percent year-to-year.TCS chief executive officer N. Chandrasekran, said, “Our volumes have grown and our margins are at near historic highs.” The company’s fourth quarter net profit surged by 60 percent to $420 million over the previous year.Meanwhile, Infosys Technologies reported that quarterly profits rose 8.7 percent to $349 million on revenues of $1.3 billion, which rose 15.6 percent from last year. The company expects revenues to grow 16 to 18 percent to $5.6 billion to $5.7 billion this financial year.Quarterly profits rose 78 percent from last year at HCL Technologies. Net income for the January to March quarter rose to $76.6 million from $43.0 million in 2009. The company’s revenues rose 21 percent from last year to $685 million.At the height of the outsourcing boom, companies such as Wipro, Infosys and HCL experienced 30 percent annual growth  Related Itemslast_img read more

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Ragging complaints against 10 students at Cooper: RTI

first_imgAs many as 10 students have been under the scanner of the anti-ragging committee of HBT Medical College attached to the civic-run Cooper Hospital in Vile Parle in 2016 and 2018, but no complaint has been reported to the police, a Right to Information query has revealed.The hospital’s newly-appointed dean, Dr. Pinakin Gujjar, said there have been no complaints since he took over. “I am not aware of complaints in the past,” he said, adding he was strictly against any kind of workplace harassment and ragging. “Any complaint during my tenure will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly,” he said.Of the 10 students, eight had faced suspension from the hostel but there was no dismissal or penalty. There is no clarity on the number of cases these students were involved in. The RTI also revealed that the hospital’s anti-ragging committee held 11 meetings during this period.The suicide of Dr. Payal Tadvi, a second-year resident doctor from Nair Hospital, has put in sharp focus complaints of ragging in medical colleges and the way the authorities have handled them. “The RTI response I have received shows the authorities have been ignorant,” said RTI activist Shakeel Shaikh, who has sent similar queries to all medical colleges. His earlier RTI query revealed that Nair Hospital had received four ragging complaints before Dr. Tadvi’s death, in which at least eight students faced suspension from the hostel. “However, in these cases too, the police was not informed,” he said.The Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999 calls for investigation of complaints at the institution level. The report of the inquiry is sent to the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, which appoints a committee to look into the report and decide the course of action and punishment. The University Grants Commission guidelines, however, make it mandatory to file a first information report in all ragging complaints.last_img read more

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