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Child rights panel to frame mental health policy for Goa

first_imgPANAJI: Armed with a mandate from the Central Commission for Protection of Child Rights(CCPCR), the Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (GSCPCR) has embarked on a serious exercise to draft a mental health policy for children in the State.The groundwork began earlier this week at the initiative of the GSCPCR, which got key stakeholders to discuss various aspects of the proposed policy. Sources close to GSCPCR chairperson Sushma Kirtani said the policy is expected to be completed in two years.According to representatives of the Commission, child abuse as well as mental problems related to child abuse, tobacco consumption, substance consumption, suicidal tendencies, and schizophrenia have been on the rise in Goa as reported from time to time by various child rights groups.The policy would seek to put a mechanism in place to identify the problems faced by children in educational institutions, special schools, and children identified as out of school (in 2016-17, the State had identified 463 out-of-school children, most of whom were children of migrant workers coming from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha and Bihar, according to an exercise done under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan).The policy will cover all children facing mental disorders, including those with substance abuse, disability-related mental disorders, disorders related to physical or sexual violence, and children in prisons rehabilitated in State children’s homes.The strategy would be to formulate guidelines forimplementation as well.The stakeholders discussed under-reporting of cases due to the stigma attached, especially in case of the girl child, as a factor that needs course correction through education and awareness. The role of media as a stakeholder in education and awareness generation, and in prevention of suicides, would be part of what could be the first such policy in a State.last_img read more

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Odisha villagers in panic after wolves kill sheep

first_imgThe killing of dozens of sheep possibly by a pack of wolves in Niali and adjacent areas of Odisha’s Cuttack district has triggered panic among villagers, who have been spending sleepless nights for over two weeks now.Despite the Forest department personnel attributing these deaths to attack by wild animals, villagers suspect that a ‘mysterious creature’ is behind the killings. The Cuttack Rural Police have asked villagers to form defence committees comprising volunteers and police personnel to check such attacks.The Animal Disease Research Institute, Odisha, has collected samples of sheep carcasses for study. In most of the carcasses, intestines had bulged out while the liver was not in place, indicating attacks by wild animals. Fisheries and Animal Resource Development Minister Damodar Rout said there were reports of 150 sheep being killed by wild animals. “Wolves are present near the Vanaragarh forest patch close to Niali. Sheep has no defence mechanism. Wolves are devouring its liver because it is soft,” said Prasanta Kumar Mishra, Divisional Forest Officer of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar city division.Two traps set“To dispel doubts, we have set up two traps. From the pug marks, we have identified the animals to be wolves,” said Mr. Mishra. The forest department is now considering installing cameras.“We have advised villagers to keep the sheep in well protected sheds. As the sheep are left in the open, it becomes easy for the wolves to attack them,” the City Division DFO said.last_img read more

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NGT to take up stubble burning case on October 30

first_imgThe National Green Tribunal on Tuesday said it would consider later this month the steps taken by the Centre and Punjab and Haryana governments to check burning of crop residue by farmers to curb air pollution. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar deferred the matter for hearing on October 30 after lawyers appearing for both the parties sought adjournment of the case.The green panel had earlier said “we expect no individual, body, department, panchayat, associations to directly or indirectly recommend or promote burning of crop residues in Punjab, UP and Haryana.” On the last date of hearing, the green panel had said the “serious” issue of stubble burning by farmers was still going on and had sought the response of the Centre as well as the Punjab and Haryana governments on the issue. It had earlier asked for names and details of all power houses and biomass-based energy plants that can use crop residue for power generation and had directed Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab governments to provide a detailed strategy of how happy seeders (machines to sow wheat without burning of paddy crop residue) or balers can be given to farmers. The tribunal had also sought a reply from the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) as to why it cannot take the stubble from the farmers under its corporate social responsibility programme for the “general cause of environment”.The NGT had on October 11 directed Punjab to produce the farmers after the State said it had provided assistance to some of them to encourage them not to burn crop residue.The tribunal had taken exception to the fact that even after more than two years, nothing substantial has been done with regard to stubble burning. The Punjab government had earlier said it had taken Kalar Majri village in Nabha Tehsil of Patiala district as a model project for implementing the directions of the NGT and to sensitise the farmers. Earlier, the NGT had also asked Punjab to look into the problems faced by the farmers and directed its counsel to seek instructions on whether compensation could be provided to them for disposing their agricultural residue while giving them liberty to engage any agency of their choice. It had warned the governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan that it would stop the payment of salaries of government officials if they failed to come up with an action plan to prevent stubble burning, which triggers heavy pollution in Delhi-NCR.last_img read more

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Chandu Chavan hasn’t been court-martialled: minister

first_imgPune: Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre on Sunday denied that Sepoy Chandu Babulal Chavan, who strayed over the LoC during the surgical strikes last year, had been court-martialled, saying instead that “disciplinary action” had been initiated against the soldier.“One must understand that there has been no court martial in the first place … There is nothing wrong with him (Mr. Chavan) as a soldier … he is a good lad. But he committed three mistakes. I will not reveal in what condition he crossed the LoC as it would not be fair to the Army or to Chavan,” the Minister said, speaking in Dhule district.Mr. Chavan’s first mistake, said Dr. Bhamre, was that he left camp without informing superiors. “His second mistake was that he took his weapons with him, and his third was to cross the LoC.”Mr. Bhamre said the punishment following a court-martial cannot be a mere two-three months in jail, but is much more severe than that. He said media reports had distorted events of the proceedings against Mr. Chavan.“Furthermore, his job in the Army is secure and he has not been thrown in any jail,” the minister said, stressing again that the Indian Armed Forces had merely taken disciplinary action against him.Mr. Chavan, who hails from Dhule district’s Borvihir village, was handed over by Pakistan in January as a ‘goodwill gesture’. The Pakistan armed forces’ media wing had claimed that Mr. Chavan had wilfully crossed the LoC on September 29, 2016, and surrendered himself to the Pakistan army.Last week, the Indian Army court sentenced Mr. Chavan, serving with the 37 Rashtriya Rifles, to two months’ imprisonment and forfeiture of two years’ pension as penalty, after the soldier pleaded guilty of deserting his post without permission.Mr. Chavan’s grandmother had suffered cardiac arrest and had passed away after hearing that he was in the captivity of Pakistan’s armed forces. His family has said that he has already suffered enough during his time in Pakistan.last_img read more

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Causes behind Brahmaputra turning black could be natural: Union minister

first_img He added that according to the preliminary findings, the path of the river was temporarily obstructed after an earthquake in Tibet on November 17.“There is a strong possibility that the colour (of the river’s water) has changed due to natural reasons,” the minister said.Congress MP Ninong Ering, representing the Arunachal East constituency in Parliament, had recently written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard, noting that the water of the river changing its colour was an unusual phenomenon in the winter months.In his letter, Mr. Ering had also pointed out that there were reports of China constructing a 600-km tunnel in its Yunnan province to divert the Siang water to the Taklamakan desert through the Xinjiang province, even though the neighbouriong country had denied any such development.He had mentioned in the letter that the reports of the Tsangpo (Siang or Brahmaputra) being diverted had appeared a few months back. Although China had denied it, the matter remained an area of concern for India, the Congress MP had mentioned in his letter to the Prime Minister.“After these reports appeared, the water of the river Siang has turned muddy and slushy. It has been two months since the Siang turned black and contaminated. It is an unusual phenomenon. The reason for the river getting dirty is unknown. I have already put up questions for discussions in Parliament under rule 377. But since the House is not in session, I am requesting you to use your good office to seek the reason for the river turning muddy in this season, when the water is usually crystal clear,” Mr. Ering had written in his letter to Mr. Modi.He had also pointed out that there could be no reason for the river getting contaminated in the month of November other than a possible heavy land excavation on the Chinese side, adding that it had to be verified by an international team.Certain reports claim that the water of the river have become unusable and that a number of fish had died in the river in the recent past. Understanding the Brahmaputra and the annual flooding in Assam A preliminary study has found that the water of the Siang river, which originates in southern Tibet and becomes the Brahmaputra upon entering Assam through Arunachal Pradesh, is turning black due to a recent earthquake in the region, Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal has said.“We have been getting reports of pollution in the river and its water turning black. The Central Water Commission (CWC) has started looking into the matter recently and people have been sent to the internal areas,” the Union minister of state for water resources said here on Sunday.Also Readlast_img read more

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Five soldiers trapped under snow in Kashmir

first_imgFive soldiers swept away in heavy snowfall near the frontier posts in Kupwara and Bandipora remained untraced after more than 24 hours on Tuesday, while an Army porter’s body was recovered.“Two soldiers slipped down the slope in the Naugam sector of Kupwara. Three soldiers went missing from a forward post in the Kanzalwan sub-sector of Gurez in Bandipora,” a Srinagar-based Army spokesman, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, told The Hindu.An Army official said an 11-member patrol team of 36 Rashtriya Rifles was on an inter-post movement around 8.30 p.m. on Monday when three jawans slipped into a ravine. The posts are close to the Line of Control in the Bakhtor area, more than 200 km from here, of Gurez.“A specialist team from the High Altitude Warfare School reached the site and started rescue operations, which are still on,” the official said.Two soldiers of a patrol team of an officer and 10 troopers of 20 Dogra fell into a ravine at Naugam around 5 p.m. on Monday. The specialist team was unable to reach the site on Tuesday because of heavy snowfall, officials said. Preliminary reports suggest heavy snowfall, which started on Monday, caused these accidents. Over four feet of snow has accumulated in these areas. Ghulam Qadir Khan, an Army porter from Kilshey village of Tulail, fell to death during snowfall. The body has been recovered.Deputy Commissioner, Bandipora, Sajjad Hussain on Tuesday asked people in the Gurez and Tulail areas not to venture out in avalanche-prone areas till the weather improved.Snow in the plainsThe plains of Kashmir Valley also witnessed the season’s first snow spell in the past 24 hours, badly affecting road connectivity. The national highways connecting Srinagar to Jammu, Leh and Poonch, besides the Mughal-Sinthan Top, Jammu-Doda and Arnas-Mahore highways are closed.“Men with machinery are busy clearing snow for vehicular movement,” said Colonel Awadhesh Singh, Director, Works, Project Beacon, Border Roads Organisation. Sonum Lotus, Director, Meteorological Department, said Kashmir would witness “a gradual improvement in the weather conditions from Wednesday”.last_img read more

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Nagaland CMO files FIR against fake exit letter

first_imgThe Nagaland Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) has filed an FIR against the circulation of a fake and forged resignation letter of Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang and his Cabinet colleagues on social media. The FIR was lodged at the Kohima police station on Wednesday by the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Chief Minister, the police said. According to the FIR, the letter head of the Chief Minister of Nagaland has been forged and a fake letter number has been given. The signature of the Chief Minister has also been forged and the fake resignation letter is being circulated on the social media. The FIR stated that the forgery was very serious and amounted to cyber crime as also spreading rumours with an objective to create confusion and unrest in society. The Kohima police said thy has registered a case and the investigation is in progress.last_img read more

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ULFA says it can check illegal migration from Bangladesh

first_imgThe United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) wants to do what the Border Security Force has allegedly failed to — check illegal migration to Assam through the Bangladesh border.Eight leaders of the outfit, who met the Centre’s interlocutor A.B. Mathur along with Home Ministry and Central intelligence officials in New Delhi on Monday, proposed the raising of an unarmed battalion comprising ULFA cadres to form a second line of defence along the border.The ULFA claims to have about 2,000 members in ceasefire mode.“There are reports that BSF personnel take money from Bangladeshi people to allow them in illegally. We told the Centre only indigenous people, passionate about protecting their homeland, can do the job of checking infiltration sincerely,” ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia told reporters after the discussion towards a formal peace accord. “We have proposed the creation of an unarmed battalion comprising our boys as a second line of defence to stop people who slip through BSF’s vigil. This will also provide rehabilitation for our cadres,” he said.Mr. Chetia said the peace talks that began in 2010 would lead to the disbanding of the ULFA after a few issues are sorted out. These include withdrawal of cases registered against the outfit’s members ever since it was formed in 1979 to fight for Assam’s sovereignty, Scheduled Tribe status for six ethnic communities and ensuring land rights for Assam’s indigenous people.The outfit had in 2011 submitted demands to the Centre seeking amendment to the Constitution for protecting the rights and identity of the indigenous people. The demand has gained currency after protests over the Centre’s bid to push the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2016. The peace deal with ULFA is expected to be sealed before the 2019 polls but Centre is reportedly keen on inking it soon to isolate the Paresh Baruah-led ULFA (Independent).last_img read more

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Assam man arrested after woman dies of burns

first_imgThe police in eastern Assam’s Bokakhat town have arrested a man on the basis of a woman’s dying declaration that he had sexually assaulted her before setting her on fire.Minutes before the woman died at the Jorhat Medical College Hospital on Wednesday night, she accused one Tirtha Sarma of setting her on fire. She also said the man, a resident of Bokhkhat, had sexually exploited her.Suicide claim But the police on Thursday said that evidence pointed to the woman having committed suicide. “There is nothing in the CCTV footage to suggest the man set her on fire. But he has been arrested on the basis of her dying declaration. We are awaiting the autopsy report,” Manabendra Deb Roy, Golaghat district superintendent of police, said.The woman, an Adivasi in her early 20s, was a domestic help at the residence of Badan Sarma, the father of the accused, for three years. She was dismissed a year ago, the police said.last_img read more

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Civil society group to form task force to address poverty in Goa

first_imgOver 20 experts, who were part of a round table organised by an NGO on Thursday, decided to form a task force to prepare a roadmap for the State government and create an enabling environment to address issues of livelihood and poverty. Charudutta Panigrahi, mentor at Forum for Integrated Development and Research, said, “This round table brings together the intelligentsia, policy makers, implementers, experts from business, governments and development practitioners to explore the dynamics in livelihood and economic growth of Goa.”The experts included former MLA and Goa EDC chairman Sidharth Kucolinkar, MAIT president Nitin Kukolikar, Advocate Yatish Naik, senior journalist Shashwat Gupta Ray, Sangita Naik of Goa IT Professionals, Soter D’suza of the local self governance movement, Monoj Parab of Revolutionary Goa, and president of DRAG Avelino de Sa.Issues addressed at the round table included data gaps and institutional capacities to make livelihood the central theme of development for future generations. The focus of the meet was to strengthen analytical and institutional capacities to design and implement pro-poor State development strategies. It was also decided to bring about policies in line with sustainable development goals, encouraging gender empowerment and equity in distribution of benefits of growth.The experts felt that in the wake of stagnating and decelerating growth in significant sectors like tourism and mining, there is a need to design interventions to help communities access alternative sources of livelihoods such as IT without compromising the inherent skills and resources of the State’s youth.Mr. Panigrahi said, “The group was concerned about the issue of people migrating in search of a better life, which has been rising steadily in Goa. Some of the ideas shared included initiatives to reduce the rapid migration from rural areas, develop employment strategies and build local capacities.” Siddhartha Behera, director, FIDR, emphasised on the need for a ‘one stop shop forum’ for the State to take forward the livelihood discourse with due representation from the communities.last_img read more

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New roadblock for Manipur varsity

first_imgTribal students’ bodies have given a highway blockade twist to the Manipur University crisis.Three organisations have threatened to impose a five-day economic blockade on all national highways connecting State capital Imphal if the authorities concerned cannot let normal classes and other academic activities in Manipur University resume by October 8.Separate university These organisations have also demanded a separate Hill Central University to ensure that the tribal students have an alternative to the disruption-prone university in the non-tribal dominated Imphal Valley.The All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur, the Kuki Students’ Organisation-General Headquarters and the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur, had on October 2 served a seven-day ultimatum to the University authorities to resume classes. The decision to go for a highway blockade was taken at their meeting on Thursday.Manipur depends on two arterial highways – one via Nagaland capital Kohima and the other via Jiribam on the Assam-Manipur border – for supply of essential commodities. A third highway through Mizoram is relatively less used.These highways pass through areas dominated by the Nagas and the Kuki-Zomi tribes, and blocking them has been a popular mode of protest against the allegedly partisan Manipur government.At their meeting on Thursday, the ATSUM, KSO-GHQ and ANSAM said they were “anguished by the premeditated holding of the career of students to ransom because of the agenda of a few individuals with vested interests in Manipur University”.‘Facing hardships’The three organisations said that tribal students face hardship every year. “We want a Hill Central University so that all the colleges in the hill districts can be affiliated to it and be assured of ideal academic atmosphere,” a joint statement said.The tribal students have stayed away from the agitation by organisations of Manipur University’s students, teachers and staff since July against alleged financial and administrative irregularities by Vice-Chancellor Adya Prasad Pandey. The Ministry of Human Resources Development had made him go on leave till a two-member probe committee submits a report on the allegations against him, but the university continues to burn. On September 20 midnight, police and paramilitary forces raided the campus and rounded up 89 students and six teachers for allegedly manhandling Pro-Vice-Chancellor K. Yugindro. Based on his FIR that the students and teachers had tried to kill him, the police arrested nine students and six teachers.last_img read more

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Myriad Wins First Round in Cancer Gene Testing Battle

first_imgAfter the U.S. Supreme Court last year invalidated human gene patents held by Utah-based Myriad Genetics, the firm’s competitors launched an array of products aimed at cracking Myriad’s stranglehold on the breast cancer gene testing market. Myriad, however, promptly filed a bevy of lawsuits against its challengers, arguing that the high court decision didn’t apply to related patents it held on testing for the BRCA gene mutations linked to cancer risk.Now, Myriad has won the first round of that fight. Last week, a Houston, Texas, company called Gene by Gene (GBG) retreated from its Myriad challenge, agreeing to stop selling test kits in North America. In return, Myriad and its allies have dropped a lawsuit against GBG that accused the upstart of violating patent law.Myriad announced the agreement on 7 February on behalf of all involved, including partners who own shares of the BRCA genetic discoveries. These allies include the University of Utah Research Foundation, HSC Research and Development Limited Partnership, Endorecherche Inc., and the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. The settlement remains in force until 12 February 2016 or when the last BRCA testing patent expires—whichever comes first.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 interim, GBG still has plenty of running room; it will continue to sell BRCA testing outside North America because the patents don’t apply there. In addition, according to GBG’s Chief Scientific Officer David Mittelman, GBG will continue to offer North American clients other genetic information such as personal exome sequencing results that contain data on any BRCA mutations. GBG will do so without providing clients direct access to an interpretation of such results; clients will have to consult a medical professional for that, in compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules. GBG is one of many companies entangled in BRCA-related lawsuits with Myriad; the other cases remain unresolved. The companies include: Ambry Genetics of Aliso Viejo, California; Counsyl Inc. of South San Francisco, California; GeneDx of Gaithersburg, Maryland; Invitae of San Francisco, California; LabCorp of Burlington, North Carolina; and Quest Diagnostics of Madison, New Jersey.last_img read more

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Harry Truman Agreed With Me, Says Chairman of House Science Panel

first_imgIn the latest salvo in a yearlong battle, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) has suggested that a long-dead Democratic president would have backed his legislative proposal to change the grantsmaking process at the National Science Foundation (NSF). But President Harry Truman didn’t address the issue that Smith is raising when he vetoed a bill to create the foundation, says the agency’s historian.Yesterday, presidential science adviser John Holdren publicly criticized Smith’s proposals, which the lawmaker argues would “ensure transparency and accountability” at the $7 billion agency. “I don’t think we should be trying to fix something that isn’t broken,” Holdren said.Today, Smith responded to Holdren’s remarks in a statement. “What is broken is NSF’s refusal to provide Congress and American taxpayers with basic information about how NSF-funded grants are in the national interest,” Smith stated, referencing language in his Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act. It would require the NSF director to certify that every grant had the promise of fostering economic growth, improving public health, or safeguarding the nation.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(*)Smith then stated: “President Harry Truman vetoed the first NSF-enabling legislation because he concluded it didn’t protect taxpayers’ right to know about how the agency would spend their money.”Smith is referring to Truman’s 1947 veto of a bill establishing NSF. (In 1950, Truman signed a reworked bill that was more to his liking.)But Truman’s veto message was based on another principle entirely, says NSF historian Marc Rothenberg. “I have seen no evidence that President Truman had ever raised the issue of the taxpayers’ right to know in his discussions with scientists or members of Congress regarding NSF legislation,” according to Rothenberg. “His concern was the authority the proposed legislation would give the National Science Board to name the director.”The vetoed bill, Rothenberg notes, gave that hiring authority to an executive committee of a part-time NSF board, comprised of eminent scientists and academic leaders selected by the White House. Truman objected to that setup, saying in his August 1947 veto message that it would prevent the president from “discharging his constitutional responsibility” to manage the government. That power, Truman explained, would instead be handed over to “a group of individuals who would be essentially private citizens.” In his memoirs, Truman wrote that “[s]ometimes the Congress makes an effort to rob the President of his appointive powers, I would never stand for it.” But Smith takes away a different message from Truman’s veto. “President Truman’s veto statement echoed the need for public accountability at NSF,” explained a Smith aide in a follow-up comment to ScienceInsider.None of Smith’s critics disagree with the importance of transparency and accountability. But NSF officials say they have already taken several administrative steps to address his concerns. And NSF’s oversight board said last week that the FIRST Act “would significantly impede NSF’s flexibility to deploy its funds” by imposing limits on the types of research that could be funded, as well as by tinkering with the process by which those grants are awarded.Holdren cited those concerns in his comments yesterday, but Smith remains unconvinced. “It’s unfortunate that the President’s Science Advisor would rather provide NSF with a blank check than set basic standards of transparency,” Smith stated. “The NSF’s cornerstone remains solid, but its boarded up windows are what need repair.”last_img read more

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Smoking mothers may alter the DNA of their children

first_imgPregnant women who smoke don’t just harm the health of their baby—they may actually impair their child’s DNA, according to new research. The finding may explain why the children of smokers continue to suffer health complications later in life.Babies born to smoking mothers tend to be smaller, have impaired lung function, and have a higher incidence of birth defects. Even as adults, these individuals exhibit health and behavioral problems, with those born to smokers being more likely to suffer from asthma, nicotine addiction, and substance abuse. “We have a limited understanding of the biological mechanisms for such effects,” write genetic epidemiologist Christina Markunas and perinatal epidemiologist Allen Wilcox of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, in a joint e-mail to Science. One possibility is so-called epigenetic changes. Various environmental triggers—ranging from stress to diet—can chemically modify DNA, turning certain genes on or off.The new study is one of the largest of its kind to investigate whether maternal smoking can cause such changes. Researchers analyzed blood collected from 889 infants shortly after delivery; approximately one-third of which were born to mothers who self-reported smoking during the first trimester. The team looked for chemical tags called methyl groups—just one of several types of epigenetic modifications to DNA.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 results of the study were startling. Children born to smokers showed epigenetic changes to their DNA that were not present in the children of nonsmokers, the group reported online ahead of print in Environmental Health Perspectives. Compared with infants of nonsmoking mothers, babies born to smokers had alterations in more than 100 gene regions. Among the affected genes were those linked to fetal development, nicotine addiction, and the ability to quit smoking.The work provides some of the strongest evidence to date that maternal behaviors can modulate fetal DNA during pregnancy. Moreover, the findings are supported by previous research indicating maternal smoking may alter the newborn’s DNA, says Andrea Baccarelli, director of Harvard University’s environmental epigenetics lab. The results of this large-scale investigation are consistent with the findings of previous, smaller studies, as well as research directly examining the effects of cigarette chemicals on cells, he notes. “It is a wonderful example of convergence between [lab-based] toxicology studies and human studies.”Still, several questions remain. For one, the epigenetic changes detected in newborns may not stick around. “There is no way to tell whether these epigenetic modifications are fleeting and part of regular cell development or more permanent and truly a result of smoke exposure,” says behavioral geneticist Valerie Knopik of Rhode Island Hospital in Providence and Brown University’s Alpert Medical School.Although more research is needed to understand the full implications of the DNA changes observed in infants, the findings open the door to other questions regarding children’s health. “If maternal smoking can alter the DNA methylation profile of newborns, other environmental exposures to chemicals, such as those found in the air, our homes and food, during pregnancy may also have epigenetic effects,” Markunas and Wilcox write. “We have only scratched the surface of how exposures during pregnancy might affect the baby.”last_img read more

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Geneticists decry book on race and evolution

first_imgA best-seller by former New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade about recent human evolution and its potential effects on human cultures has drawn critical reviews since its spring publication. Now, nearly 140 senior human population geneticists around the world, many of whose work was cited in the book, have signed a letter to The New York Times Book Review stating that Wade has misinterpreted their work. The letter criticizes “Wade’s misappropriation of research from our field to support arguments about differences among human societies,” and is slated to appear in the 10 August issue of the Book Review. It’s available online today.The book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, contends that human races are a biological reality and that recent human evolution has led to racial differences in economic and social behavior.  In the book, Wade suggests that such genetic differences may help explain why some people live in tribal societies and some in advanced civilizations, why African-Americans are allegedly more violent than whites, and why the Chinese may be good at business.The book has received some blistering reviews from both scientists and science writers, including one by David Dobbs in The New York Times Book Review, and some scientists weighed in with blogs as well. Now, geneticists have crafted a joint response, concluding that “there is no support from the field of population genetics for Wade’s conjectures.” The list of signatories reads like a who’s who of researchers in the field and includes such well-known geneticists as Evan Eichler of the University of Washington, Seattle; David Goldstein of Duke University; and Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona.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 letter was spearheaded by five population geneticists who had informally discussed the book at conferences, says co-organizer Rasmus Nielsen of the University of California, Berkeley. “There was a feeling that our research had been hijacked by Wade to promote his ideological agenda,” Nielsen says. “The outrage … was palpable.” Molly Przeworski of Columbia University, another organizer, says the group “tried to contact population geneticists whose work had been cited by Wade.” They had no trouble getting signatures, racking up 100 within the first week, she says.The letter organizers and the editors of the Book Review kept the letter under embargo until its publication today and declined to make it available to Wade for an immediate response. But in previous ripostes to the book’s critics, most notably in a 19 June Huffington Post article titled “Five Critics Say You Shouldn’t Read This ‘Dangerous’ Book,” Wade charged that his critics were “indoctrinated in the social-science creed that prohibits any role for evolution in human affairs” and contended that the book’s central argument “has not been challenged by any serious scientist.”Letter organizers say they hope to demonstrate that the opposite is true. For example, Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania says she signed the letter because “[m]y own research was used as scientific proof of concepts such as there being between three and five races.” Tishkoff says that her work on the genetics of diverse African populations does not support this claim. Adds David Reich of Harvard University: “Our findings do not even provide a hint of support in favor of Wade’s guesswork.”*Update, 9 August, 6:05 a.m.:  Nicholas Wade has issued a statement in response to the letter. He writes:This letter is driven by politics, not science. I am confident that most of the signatories have not read my book and are responding to a slanted summary devised by the organizers.As no reader of the letter could possibly guess, “A Troublesome Inheritance” argues that opposition to racism should be based on principle, not on the anti-evolutionary myth that there is no biological basis to race.Unfortunately many social scientists have long denied that there is a biological basis to race. This creed, prominent throughout the academic world, increasingly impedes research.  Biologists risk damaging their careers if they write explicitly about race. Needless to say, this makes it hard to explore the different evolutionary paths that human populations have taken through history since the dispersal from the African homeland 50,000 years ago.“A Troublesome Inheritance” seeks to explain how race can be understood without racism. … I hope that readers will see through the lack of specifics in their charges and judge my book for themselves.Perhaps I could point out an error in one of the few specific statements in their letter. They charge me with saying that “recent natural selection has led to worldwide differences in I.Q. test results.”   I say no such thing. What I do say (p. 193) is that “It may be hazardous to compare the IQ scores of different races if allowance is not made for differences in wealth, nutrition and other factors that influence IQ.”  …I would urge all the geneticists who signed the letter, several of whom I count as friends, to now read my book and judge to what extent, if any, their condemnation was justified.last_img read more

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Astronomers identify mysterious object at heart of Milky Way

first_imgA mysterious astronomical object known simply as G2 has intrigued and confounded researchers ever since it was found to be on a near-collision course with the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. When it failed to produce the predicted celestial fireworks over the past few months, astronomers were left scratching their heads. Now, one team thinks it has figured out why nothing happened: G2 is not a gas cloud but a strange, more stable object formed from a pair of recently merged stars.Clouds of gas and dust near the center of our Milky Way galaxy make it extremely difficult to observe things there. When astronomers calculated G2’s trajectory in 2012, they thought it was a cloud of gas in an orbit that would take it very close to the Milky Way’s central black hole, known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*). Researchers predicted that, as G2 neared the center, the black hole’s intense gravity would tear the object apart and drag it toward the hole’s surface, producing a shower of radiation that could reveal much about the environment close to Sgr A*. But as G2 passed by this summer, the galactic center was conspicuously quiet.A team led by Andrea Ghez of the University of California, Los Angeles, used the twin 10-meter Keck telescopes in Hawaii to observe G2 between March and August—spanning its expected closest approach and the months that followed. Viewing at the infrared wavelength of 3 micrometers, which can penetrate the fog around Sgr A*, the team found that G2 “continues to survive in orbit—it has not changed,” Ghez says. A gas cloud alone could not have survived a pass so close to the black hole, she says; she concludes that G2 must have a star at its heart, surrounded by a shell of dust. “It’s an unusual star, large, calculated from its brightness,” she says. The star is twice the mass of our sun but 100 times its size, the team reports this week in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.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(*)Ghez thinks her group has caught a pair of binary stars in the act of merging. Binary systems are common throughout the galaxy, she says; near the center, the black hole’s gravity encourages them to spiral together. The result is a new star so hot that it swells up like a freshly ignited young protostar. Studying how such objects form might help scientists solve mysteries surrounding Sgr A*’s close neighborhood, such as why it contains many more young-looking stars than expected but almost no older giant stars.Not all researchers agree on the nature of G2. A team led by Stefan Gillessen of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, which originally identified G2’s trajectory in 2012, observed it in spring 2014 using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile and published the results in July. They said their observations showed that G2 was behaving just as a cloud of gas should: stretching out before the close approach and pulling together again after it.The lack of fireworks was no problem, they said, because any gas stripped off G2 during the flyby might take months or years to fall onto the surface. “So far there are no fireworks, but the gas is doing what was expected,” Gillessen told Science in August. “It’s fun to see how it is unfolding in front of our eyes.” His team noticed that another apparent gas cloud, dubbed G1, had followed a similar path 13 years ago and suggested that both clouds could be individual “knots” of denser material in a continuous gas streamer in orbit around Sgr A*.Theorist Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is amused by the differing interpretations, because he published two theoretical papers providing possible explanations for the source of G2: one, that it surrounded a star that was shedding gas; and the other, that a giant star situated elsewhere shed its outer layer producing a stream of gas with clumps in it. Both are plausible, he says, “but I don’t think we have enough data to decide.” He doesn’t think it will take long to settle it: If it’s the latter scenario then the giant star should be easy to find.last_img read more

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U.K. Not to Deport Skilled Migrants

first_imgCampaigners have welcomed a decision by the British Home Office to suspend the use of rules designed to prevent the settlement of criminals and terrorists against highly skilled workers, including many Indians, on the basis of changes (often minor) they have made to their tax submissions.Read it at The Hindu Related Itemslast_img

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