State units backing Nitish, says Tyagi

first_imgA day after the Sharad Yadav faction of the Janata Dal (United) claimed it was the “real” party, with “14 JD(U) State units” supporting it, party general secretary K.C. Tyagi said that four out of the five recognised State units were with Nitish Kumar.“Mr. Nitish Kumar was made party president in the Patna special session of April 23, 2016. Only five State units have recognition in the party: Bihar, Jharkhand, Kerala, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Jammu and Kashmir. The others had not completed the membership process and thus are not recognised State units,” he said.“Four of these five recognised State units are with Mr. Kumar. Mr. M.P. Veerendra Kumar of Kerala State unit came to the Rajya Sabha through the UPA. He has become independent now and may join the LDF there. He is also not with Sharad Yadav.”Mr. Tyagi added, “Except Arun Shrivastava and Varghese George, all general secretaries and secretaries of the party are with Nitish Kumar,” Mr. Tyagi added. “The treasurer of the party is also with him. Nine MPs are with Nitish Kumar and only one MP two — including Sharad Yadav — are is with Mr. Yadav. Mr. Veerendra Kumar is with none of the two.”“We respect the Sharad Yadav of yesteryears, who resigned from the Lok Sabha. He is not corrupt. But, unfortunately, he has decided to go with those who are with dynasty and corruption.”Mr. Tyagi claimed that going by the trends of the 2014 results, the NDA would get 38 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar with the coming together of the BJP and JD (U).last_img read more

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Odisha intellectuals join rasogolla battle

first_imgOdisha is not ready to give up on the rasogolla war yet. Quoting from the State’s folklore and history, prominent intellectuals of Bhubaneswar argued that the Odisha rasogolla is not by any means a copy of Bengal’s, but rather a variant of the sweet delicacy.Citing ancient texts and folklore, they backed the State government’s decision to apply for a GI tag for Odisha’s own version of rasogolla. The GI tag is a process of geographically identifying a place as the origin of a particular product.The West Bengal Department of Food Processing Industries and Horticulture applied for the GI tag for the rasogolla in September 2015, stating that it was invented in Kolkata. However, Odisha made a counter claim, stating that the rasogolla originated in Puri in the 13th century.West Bengal was granted the GI tag for the ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ last Tuesday.Renowned Odia writer and Sahitya Akademi award winner Asit Mohanty told The Hindu, “In Jagmohan Ramayan, also known as the Dandi Ramayan, [Odia] poet Balaram Das has written about rasagolla in the late 15th century. It shows that there is 500 years of documented history of the rasogolla in Odisha.” Mr. Mohanty also pointed out that there is no “legal obstruction” for Odisha to apply for its own brand of rasogolla. Another commentator on Odia culture and history, Kedar Mishra, also pointed to the long history of the sweet in the State, adding, “Rasogolla is prepared not only in coastal parts of the State but also in the western and southern areas.”Mr. Mishra refuted the argument by a section of Bengali civil society that chhna — made by boiling milk and then curdling it with lemon — was never offered to Lord Jagannath at the temple in Puri. Chhna is the key ingredient for making Rasogolla. “There is an interesting folk lore that Lord Jagannath, while returning to the temple during the Ratha Yatra (the annual chariot festival) offered rasogolla to an angry goddess Lakshmi,” he said.The decision to apply for the GI tag for ‘Odishara rasogolla’ was taken at a meeting of the Odisha government last Wednesday. In a media release, the Odisha government argued that the GI tag awarded to West Bengal was only for “Banglar Rasogolla, specific to West Bengal”.“Registration for GI for Banglar rasogolla in no way affects the claim for GI registration of Odisha’s rasogolla. The Bengal and Odisha variants are different in colour, texture, taste, juice content and method of manufacturing,” an Odisha government statement said. It also said that the Odisha rasogolla is “softer and light brown” whereas the one prepared in Bengal is “white and cream in colour”.It indicates that the State is planning to approach GI Registry and Intellectual Property office with a fresh set of demand to extend approval to Odisha’s Rasogollah.The decision is perhaps driven by the fact that a lot of scholarly articles citing history and folklore is being written on the issue here [Odisha], Mr Mishra said. With plenty of debates and writings on the subject in both Bhubaneswar and Kolkata, it seems that the battle of Rasogollah will now continue. And perhaps it would be fought using ancient texts and local history.However, Mr. Mishra said, “Let us not turn the fight bitter over what is ultimately a sweet.”last_img read more

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Dalit pushed into Holi bonfire in M.P.

first_imgA Dalit man was allegedly pushed into a Holi bonfire by an upper caste couple at Futera village in Madhya Pradesh’s Sagar district on March 1, the police said on Sunday. According to the police, the couple got angry fearing the bonfire lit by the victim and others would engulf their house. The victim, identified as Balram Ahirwar, survived with 15% burn injuries, an official said, adding that the police arrested one Raje Rajput (38) in the incident on Thursday night while efforts are on to trace his wife. The incident occurred during the Holika ‘dahan’ (burning) ceremony in the village, said Rahatgarh police station inspector Anil Singh. He said Mr. Rajput and his wife got angry after Mr. Ahirwar and others lit the bonfire, which they feared would engulf their house. In a fit of rage, they caught hold of Mr. Ahirwar and pushed him into the bonfire, Mr. Singh said.Mr. Ahirwar was rescued by others and taken to a hospital. When contacted, district SP S. Shukla said that Mr. Ahirwar also accused the Rajput couple of passing casteist remarks during an argument with him.Mr. Singh said the accused have been booked under relevant sections of the IPC and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.last_img read more

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Ramzan ceasefire a beginning, join talks, Mehbooba tells separatists

first_imgJammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said the “Ramzan ceasefire” was the beginning of engagement with all stakeholders, and asked the Hurriyat for “a positive response.”“With this [ceasefire] we have made a beginning. Now the onus lies on all other political parties to contribute positively towards this peace project. I appeal to Hurriyat to step forward and start talking if they want to save Kashmir from this morass,” said Ms. Mufti at the Peoples Democratic Party’s convention in Srinagar.Describing Kashmir “as a political problem,” Ms. Mufti said, “The solution to the problem cannot be achieved through military means. Only a peaceful engagement can usher in peace, reconciliation and resolution of issues. The whole country looks up to the leadership in Kashmir to rise to the occasion and take benefit of the opportunity offered by this historic decision of the Centre”.On the spate of grenade attacks, she said, “Gun or grenade attacks achieve nothing. Despite the unilateral ceasefire, there are grenade attacks. They do not see that civilians are getting killed, they do not see that Army or CRPF jawans have come from far-flung areas for their bread and butter, what will this achieve?”She promised to open up more historic routes of Kashmir to the outside world if “peace is maintained here.”Referring to fresh ceasefire violations on the International Border in Jammu, the Chief Minister said Indo-Pak friendship was in the best interests of the State.“Even the arch rivals North Korea and South Korea are now meeting to sort out issues, why can’t we?” she added.last_img read more

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Mushrooms worth ₹10 cost tribal women dear in Madhya Pradesh

first_imgMushrooms worth ₹10-12 cost two tribal women their freedom and pride in Madhya Pradesh’s Kanha National Park last week.The duo from the Baiga tribe were arrested and produced before a magistrate court last Friday for collecting edible mushrooms from Sarai trees inside the park.Prohibited area According to forest officials, Herma Bai and Sukhwanti Bai, residents of Sijhora village located on the Mukki range of the park, were collecting putpura, edible mushrooms, from a prohibited area in the forest. They were arrested by a team of officials patrolling the park and taken to the Mukki range office.“The forest officials of Mukki range arrested the two women for venturing into the park area. The two were later produced before the court where they were granted bail. The two women were found in an area where movements of a tigress and her cubs had been reported in the last few days,” said Sanjay Shukla, field director, Kanha National Park.Herma and Sukhwanti were taken to magistrate Madhusudan Jungle’s court in Baihar in Balaghat district. While granting bail to the two, the court told the forest officials to issue warning before registering such cases.When asked if the officials issued any warning to the women or if the two were aware that they had ventured into a prohibited area, S.K. Khare, sub-divisional officer of Mukki range, said over telephone: “The two women have been released. I suggest you speak to the senior authorities of the park.”Sharp criticismThe action of the forest officials has drawn sharp criticism from wildlife experts. “The forest officials recovered putpuraworth ₹10-12 in the local market from the two women. The two were made to sit at the range office for nearly six hours before being produced in the local court on Friday. The officials could have warned them instead of dragging them to court,” said Ajay Dubey, a wildlife activist.Facing eviction”The tribals have co-existed with the tigers for thousands of years, but now they are facing eviction in the name of their protection. The eyes and ears which can detect and deter poachers are being evicted from the forest,” Mr. Dubey added.last_img read more

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Rafale deal: Rahul Gandhi attacks Narendra Modi

first_imgCongress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “corruption in the Rafale deal”, saying the NDA government had agreed to pay ₹1,600 crore an aircraft against the ₹540 crore in the now-abrogated deal with Dassault of France reached by the UPA regime.Addressing a meeting of Congress workers here, Mr. Gandhi said Mr. Modi had taken “his friend” — Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani — with him to France despite the latter having no experience in the defence sector. “Mr. Ambani’s company was formed just a week before the deal, while the price of the Rafale aircraft was increased by three times,” he said.“Mr. Modi has clearly indulged in corruption and theft. The entire country will see this in the near future,” Mr. Gandhi said. AICC general secretaries Ashok Gehlot and Avinash Pande, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot and thousands of party workers were present. Mr. Gandhi said that when he raised the issue of Rafale deal and corruption in Parliament, Mr. Modi did not spare even a minute to answer the questions in his long speech. On jobs for youthWhile the original plan to let the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. assemble 108 aircraft would have got jobs for the youth, Mr. Modi had snatched the opportunity from them through the renewed deal, he said.He launched the Congress campaign for the Assembly election by staging a 12-km roadshow from the Sanganer airport to the Ramlila Maidan to address party workers. From the meeting, he went to the famous Govind Dev temple in the Walled City here.Mr. Gandhi travelled in a modified bus and greeted the people, as rose petals were showered on him. RoadshowHe alighted from the bus several times to meet party workers, while cars, buses, SUVs and even elephants followed him on his way to the meeting venue. Outside the airport, a group of Kalbeliya folk dancers welcomed him.In his address, Mr. Gandhi said the Prime Minister, who had promised 2 crore jobs, ₹15 lakh in every bank account and measures for women’s safety, had failed on all fronts. “Why were the debts of ₹2,30,000 crore of 15 to 20 rich industrialists written off as as bad loans? On the other hand, the government cannot help the debt-ridden farmers who are committing suicide,” he said.Mr. Gandhi accused Mr. Modi of remaining silent on the atrocities against Dalits, minorities and tribal people, and asserted that his party would form the government in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh going to the polls this year.last_img read more

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Shillong night curfew lifted after 80 days

first_imgThe East Khasi Hills district administration on Monday lifted night curfew from Meghalaya capital Shillong in view of improvement in the law and order situation.The curfew was imposed 80 days ago on June 1, a day after a quarrel over the parking of a bus in Punjabi Lane or Harijan Colony snowballed into a communal stand-off between the Dalit Sikhs of the area and local tribal people.“The night curfew has been completely lifted. We wanted to continue the night curfew till August 15, but waited for clearance from the police before issuing an official notification today (Monday),” East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner P.S. Dkhar told The Hindu.Harijan Colony and 13 surrounding localities had been under total curfew since June 1. The daytime curfew in these localities was gradually reduced before being lifted a month later. Senior police officers in Shillong, however, said security personnel will continue to guard vulnerable areas. This follows intelligence inputs that miscreants might target Harijan Colony, a prime area in the heart of the city, again.Developers and local politicians have allegedly been eyeing the colony to set up a shopping complex. There have been attempts to evict the Dalit Sikhs who the British had brought from Punjab as sanitation workers in the 1850s.last_img read more

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Inquiry finds merit in BJP leaders’ bid to ‘bribe’ Leh scribes

first_imgAn inquiry instituted into the bribe charges, levelled by local scribes of Leh against two top BJP leaders, has found “prima facie merit” in the allegations of attempt to pay money to “swing votes” in the Lok Sabha elections held on May 6.“We approached the district court on Tuesday through the police and sought directions for registration of an FIR in the matter,” Leh District Election Officer (DEO) and Deputy Commissioner Avny Lavasa said.She said the court is likely to club all three complaints, one from the DEO’s office and two others made by the Press Club Leh (PCL).Several journalists of the PCL in a written complaint against BJP’s state president Ravinder Raina and MLC Vikram Randhawa alleged these leaders tried to “offer bribe in envelops to swing votes”. The incident is also caught on a camera.“After a press conference on May 2, these two leaders tried to bribe the media persons by offering money in envelops in a bid to use our platform to influence the outcome of the elections,” seven journalists of the PCL wrote in the complaint addressed to the Station House Officer (SHO).Seeking First Information Report (FIR) against the BJP leader, the journalists said, “We showed our anguish at their attempt. The press fraternity of Ladakh strongly condemns the violation of the Model Code of Conduct.”The BJP said it will look into such allegations. “Our party has no such tradition. The party will look into it,” BJP state general secretary Ashok Kaul told The Hindu.last_img read more

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Warning Sign on the Colorado River

first_imgIn an ominous precedent, dam operators on the Colorado River will cut the amount of water released over next year from Lake Powell, a massive reservoir in the Western United States. The river flows through the Grand Canyon, eventually supplying millions of homes in Las Vegas and large farms in Arizona and California.The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced today it will reduce the flow out of Glen Canyon Dam by 9% starting in October. Homeowners and farmers will still get the same amount as they do now, but the decision highlights the likelihood of future shortages. “I view this as another serious warning to users of the Colorado River that we’re headed for big trouble,” says water and climate specialist Peter Gleick of the Pacific Water Institute in Oakland, California.Historically, the untamed Colorado River flooded after the snow melted in the Rocky Mountains and then water levels dropped during the summer. Two massive dams changed that behavior, regulating the river throughout the year and also generating billions of kilowatts of electricity. Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona created the vast Lake Powell in 1966. And more than 575 kilometers downstream, Hoover Dam, completed in 1936, heads up a reservoir called Lake Mead near Las Vegas, Nevada.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(*)According to a 2007 agreement between the seven states that use the water from the Colorado River, the Bureau must keep a certain amount of water in the reservoirs. Both reservoirs, the two largest in the country, are now about half full—or empty, depending on how you look at it. “This is the worst 14-year drought period in the last hundred years,” the Bureau’s Upper Colorado Regional Director Larry Walkoviak said in a statement.As a result of the drought, less water has been flowing from the watershed into the upper Colorado River and into Lake Powell. Flows in July were just 13% of normal, so Powell has continued to drain. Over the next operational year, which begins 1 October, the Bureau will release just 9.23 cubic kilometers of water into the river, compared to the usual 10.15 cubic kilometers.And with a smaller river flowing downstream, levels in Lake Mead will drop by an additional 2.4 meters. The reservoir will nevertheless remain high enough for the same amount of water to be released from Hoover Dam as this year. Looking ahead to 2015, however, there is a 2% chance that Hoover dam will have to cut back, according to the Bureau’s 2-year forecast of river conditions and dam operations. Those odds go up to 50% in 2016.  If Hoover Dam tightens the tap, some users of the Colorado River would get less water than before, as specified in the 2007 agreement.Even though today’s announced cut doesn’t immediately affect users, “it portends worse coming down the line,” says Tim Barnett, a climate modeler at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, who has predicted frequent shortages in the Colorado River water deliveries over the coming decades due to climate change. “It’s pretty scary when you look at the economic ramifications.” Both he and Gleick note a fundamental problem: More water has been promised to 27 million users than can be supplied by the river.last_img read more

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ScienceShot: Sex, Drugs, but Not Rock ‘n’ Roll

first_imgIf music is a universal language, it doesn’t speak to everyone. Psychologists asked more than 1000 college students what they found rewarding. Of those surveyed, the team selected 10 students who ranked music significantly less pleasurable than other choices provided, such as sex, exercise, and food. The researchers discovered that the students weren’t tone deaf or incapable of grasping the emotional meaning of a song—their brains simply didn’t find listening to music rewarding. To prove this point, the scientists gave the students two tests. In the first, the students were asked to listen to popular music and rate how pleasurable they considered each song. In the second, the students were given money for quickly pressing a target. A music-loving control group responded positively to both tests, whereas the 10 musically indifferent students enjoyed only the money reward test. While some psychiatric disorders are associated with the loss of the ability to feel pleasure, called anhedonia, the students represent the first evidence for not feeling pleasure from only one specific pleasing stimulant, the researchers report online today in Current Biology. The team suspects that between 1% and 3% of people suffer from the condition, called music-specific anhedonia. This musically apathetic group could help scientists better understand the neuroscience of the reward system, the team says. Curious where you fall on the music reward spectrum? The researchers have an online quiz.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Sea polluted by paint dust

first_imgEven when the sea looks clean, its surface can be flecked with tiny fragments of paint and fiberglass. That’s the finding from a study that looked for plastic pollution in the uppermost millimeter of ocean. The microscopic fragments come from the decks and hulls of boats, and they could pose a threat to tiny creatures called zooplankton, which are an important part of the marine food web.The discovery is “continuing to open our eyes to how many small synthetic particles are in the environment,” says Kara Law, an oceanographer who studies plastic pollution at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and wasn’t involved in the study.The millimeter-thick skin of the ocean, called the sea surface microlayer, differs from the underlying water. Surface tension and sticky secretions from microbes keep tiny particles within this layer. Previously, scientists scanning the ocean for plastic pollution hadn’t looked specifically at this layer. Instead, they’d take bulk samples from the surface microlayer and below. Earlier studies also tended to use coarser nets that don’t capture the tiniest particles. 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(*)Researchers led by Won Joon Shim, an environmental chemist at the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology in Geoje-shi, South Korea, focused on the microlayer itself. They collected water samples along the southern coast of Korea, up to 16 kilometers offshore. When they gently touched a sieve with 2-millimeter-wide holes to the surface, water from the microlayer gloms on. Examining the samples in the lab, the researchers found well-known kinds of plastics: polyethylene, polypropylene, and expanded polystyrene. But, to their surprise, these made up just 4% of the particles.Eighty-one percent of the synthetic particles in the microlayer consisted of alkyds, a binder in paints, the team reported online ahead of print in Environmental Science & Technology. Another 11% were polyester resins used in paint and fiberglass. On average, a liter of water from the microlayer contained 195 particles—this concentration is 10 to 100 times higher than microplastic particles in water collected by other methods. Shim’s group has found similar abundances of paint particles along another part of the Korean coast. There will probably be fewer paint particles in the open ocean and coastal regions with less shipping and fishing, Shim says.The paint and fiberglass particles are coming from the more than 17,000 small fishing boats that ply these waters, the researchers determined. Under the microscope, the fragments were dark green and dark blue, typical colors for the boats. In addition, a laboratory test using infrared spectroscopy matched the particles with paint chips that the researchers collected from local shipyards. Alkyd paints are used above water, so these coatings (and the fiberglass) end up in the water after being abraded by nets, ropes, or anchors, or when the boats are scraped and repainted.Fortunately, the group did not find particles of antifouling paint, which is used on hulls and contains toxic chemicals. These chips are dense and likely sink; previous studies have found them in bottom sediments in maintenance areas. It’s not clear how much danger the floating alkyd particles could be to marine life, Shim tells Science in an e-mail. Some kinds of alkyd paints contain heavy metals; in addition, they and fiberglass resin particles can absorb other toxic chemicals. Furthermore, they are smaller and more abundant than plastics, so small creatures, such as zooplankton, might eat them in the surface microlayer, Law says.Shim and his colleagues now plan to study the metals and organic chemicals on the paint particles and determine whether they can harm marine life.last_img read more

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U.S. lawmakers looking to intensify DOE’s low-dose radiation research

first_imgExposure to very low levels of ionizing radiation is common—medical procedures, air travel, and industrial processes expose people to such radiation every day. But the health implications of these very low doses are not well understood. A bipartisan bill passed 7 January by the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to alter that landscape by revitalizing an existing Department of Energy (DOE) low-dose radiation research program.The bill—motivated in part by concerns raised by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan—calls for a study by the National Academies and would require DOE to produce a 5-year research plan. But it doesn’t provide any new funding, and so far the bill doesn’t have a champion in the Senate, which will also to have to pass the legislation in order for it to become law.Still, supporters of the DOE program, which has seen its funding and visibility decline since it was first created in the late 1990s, are pleased by the House move. “Unfortunately, this program has not been a priority at DOE over recent years and has seen systematic de-emphasis,” said Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), the chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, in statement before the House’s voice vote on the bill. It will, he said, ensure “the continuance and enhancement of this important research program.”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 nuclear energy industry also welcomed the move. “Given the pervasiveness of nuclear technologies in our modern world … it just makes sense that we better understand the health effects of low doses of radiation,” said the Washington, D.C.–based Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s main trade group, in a statement.The human health effects of low-dose radiation have long been a puzzle. “We know that high doses of radiation cause cancer,” says biophysicist David Brenner, director of Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research, “but as you go down lower and lower in dose it becomes less and less clear what’s happening.” Detecting slight increases in cancer risk, for instance, is difficult. Some scientists have proposed that there is a threshold level, below which exposure to radiation is not dangerous, but there is no consensus on whether such a threshold exists, or what the safe exposure level would be, Brenner says.Radiobiologist William Morgan, director of radiation biology and biophysics at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, says that researchers are split between multiple theories about low-dose radiation—some say it is good for you, others say it has no effect, and the rest think it’s terrible for you. “Herein lies the confusion in the low-dose radiation field,” he says.Congress aimed to help answer such questions in creating DOE’s low-dose radiation research program in 1999. In particular, researchers and policymakers say solid science is necessary to set appropriate exposure regulations for radiation workers, nuclear power infrastructure, and evacuation plans in the event of a nuclear accident or terrorist attack. But the program’s funding has generally declined over the years; low-dose research sits within a larger DOE funding pool that has gone from a high of some $28 million in the mid-2000s to less than $16 million in recent years.The 2011 Fukushima accident helped revive low-dose concerns, however, and in 2013 eight prominent researchers in the field, including Brenner and Morgan, wrote to White House science adviser John Holdren asking for a National Academies report on the issue. They also gave presentations to the House Energy Committee. The efforts, Brenner says, were inspired in part by a 2009 road map for systematic low-dose radiation research produced by the European Commission and experts from Europe’s low-dose radiation research community.The result was the Low-Dose Radiation Research Act of 2015 (H.R. 35), backed by both Democrats and Republicans. It initially passed the House last year, but the Senate took no action, meaning the legislation died in December at the end of the 113th Congress. (The leading sponsor of that version was Representative Paul Broun [R–GA], who is no longer in office after losing in a U.S. Senate primary.)Last week, voting on the noncontroversial bill was one of the first bits of business conducted by the newly seated 114th Congress. This time, the lead sponsor was Representative Randy Hultgren (R–IL), a member of the science committee who represents a district that includes DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. It again passed on a voice vote.“While there is little doubt that there is a threshold above which humans should avoid exposure to radiation, this legislation will ensure that the Department of Energy’s Office of Science prioritizes the research necessary to understand what that level actually is,” Hultgren said in a speech made on the House floor before the vote.The bill defines a low radiation dose as an exposure of less than 100 millisieverts. For comparison, a person living in the United States receives an average annual dose of about 6 millisieverts, half of which comes from natural background sources. A chest x-ray contributes a dose of about 0.1 millisieverts, and a full-body CT scan about 10 millisieverts.The National Academies report required by the bill would follow in the footsteps of the 2009 European Commission report. Lawmakers want it to outline the current status of research, address remaining challenges and scientific goals, and recommend a long-term research agenda. The bill says the report should consider the cost-benefit effectiveness of the proposed research. DOE would then produce a 5-year research plan that responds to the findings of the study. The bill does not authorize any additional funding for DOE, meaning the agency would have to use existing funds unless congressional appropriators say otherwise.The House bill’s supporters are now looking for senators willing to take up the cause. “We are optimistic” about getting the bill approved by the Senate, a Hultgren press aide wrote ScienceInsider in an e-mail. The White House has taken no position on the bill.Correction, 11:33am, 1/12/2015: The article misstated the designations of the current and past Congress. Those numbers have been corrected.last_img read more

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Distant galaxy forged 315 sun-sized stars per year

first_imgDespite its small size, a galaxy 11.5 billion light-years from Earth was once a powerhouse of star formation, a new study suggests. The distant galaxy, known as SDP.81, forged the equivalent of 315 of our suns each year in an era when star formation was at its maximum in the universe. This compares with just three new sun-sized stars per year in today’s Milky Way, the diameter of which is about 15 to 20 times that of SDP.81. Researchers estimated the rate of star formation by measuring far-infrared wavelengths of light emanating from the distant galaxy. Through a process called “gravitational lensing,” the image of the distant galaxy, which appears as a smudged ring of light, is magnified about 17 times the size it would normally appear from Earth. A massive galaxy that lies in between SDP.81 and Earth is what creates the lensing effect, but it doesn’t appear in the image because it isn’t bright in far-infrared wavelengths. Researchers then used computer software to unwarp SPD.81’s smudge and, for the first time for such a distant galaxy, discern small areas of intense star formation, some less than 150 light-years across. SPD.81 contains three regions of enhanced star formation (depicted in red and orange), according to researchers, who will present their findings in an upcoming article in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. SPD.81 may be a rotating disk of stars seen edge on, the team suggests, or it could be the result of the merger of two smaller galaxies.(Credit for linked PDF: Rybak et al., MNRAS [2015])Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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India’s Trade Deficit With China up Two-fold in a Decade

first_imgIndia’s trade deficit with China increased more than two-fold (219 percent) from $16 billion in 2007-08 to $51 billion in 2016-17, according to commerce ministry data. India’s imports ($61 billion) from China were six times its exports ($10 billion) in 2016-17, making rising trade imbalance a major concern.“Increasing trade deficit with China can be attributed primarily to the fact that Chinese exports to India rely strongly on manufactured items to meet the demand of fast expanding sectors like telecom and power, while India’s exports to China are characterised by primary and intermediate products,” CR Chaudhary, minister of state in the commerce ministry, said in a reply to the Lok Sabha (Parliament’s Lower House) on 18 December, 2017. Related Itemslast_img

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How Reliant Is The NHS On Foreign Doctors

first_imgTheresa May is on the verge of lifting an immigration cap that prevents doctors and nurses coming to Britain to work in the NHS, according to reports.The prime minister has faced pressure from within her Cabinet to act, amid concerns that strict immigration quotas are stopping vacancies in the health service being filled.Read it at Independent Related Itemslast_img

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Bipartisan Combat

first_imgAt long last, the Democrats have passed the health care reform bill after a tortuous journey during which the Republicans tried to gummy up the works at every turn. For months Pres. Barack Obama and the Congressional Democrats attempted unsuccessfully to forge a bipartisan consensus with Republicans on health care reform. In the end, the Democrats used their huge majorities in the House and Senate to muscle through the most far-reaching social legislation in four decades.The Democratic attempt at bipartisanship is laudable and it was part of Pres. Obama’s appeal during the presidential elections. But the obdurate obstructionism of the Republican Party renders it foolhardy. Bipartisanship has a chance when both parties have a genuine interest in achieving a desired goal. The Republicans have plainly calculated that their political fortunes and, to a lesser degree, ideological belief in limited government, are best served by tying up the government in knots.Whipped up by angry Tea Party mobs and right wing provocateurs, like Glen Beck and Sean Hannity posturing as talk show hosts on Fox News, as well as polemical radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, spewing all manners of half truths and canards, Republicans have chanced upon a political lifeline just a year after being cast into the political wilderness following eight disastrous years of the George W. Bush presidency. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden react as the House passes the health care reform bill, March 21, 2010 Now that the Republican posturing on bipartisanship has been exposed as a sham and a trick, it’s time for Pres. Obama and the Democrats to wise up and call the Republican bluff by getting on with the business of the country with or without their support. To be sure, it is advantageous if political goals and legislative solutions are broadly shared, but bipartisanship for its own sake has no intrinsic value. Political compromise can even be downrightly harmful if it undermines public policy, or worse, simply guts it, which appears to be the opposition’s agenda. Republicans have a fundamentally different view of the role of government and an individual’s relationship with the state than Democrats. If they had their druthers, some of them would love to see the government eviscerated, which the more extremist Tea Party fanatics seem prepared to accomplish violently. The reductionist view of government is a valid — even if naive — political philosophy and Republicans have had their opportunity to exercise that worldview, both during Bush’s eight catastrophic years and earlier, more successfully, with their guiding light, Pres. Ronald Reagan. Under Obama though, Republicans have stoked public anger to intimidate opponents and deployed every possible parliamentary trick, such as the filibuster and legislative holds in the Senate, to ground government to a halt. Regrettably, they have been aided in their quest by Pres. Obama’s misplaced propensity to cultivate bipartisanship, even as they perversely denounce the Democrats for using parliamentary tricks to advance legislation to counter their reckless and politically calculated obstructionism.It is time the Democrats abandoned the hand-to-hand combat of bipartisanship with the Republicans, reported back to their desks and left the opponents to their preferred task of baying at the moon and the endless apocalyptic nightmares the most fanatical extremists among them constantly conjure up.   Related Itemslast_img read more

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Tuning In to Tune Out

first_imgI often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music,” Albert Einstein once said. And many of our Bollywood stars, who wake up to a tune and sleep to one, would agree.Music is the essential stressbuster for many Bollywood stars, trying to cope with erratic shooting schedules, hectic travel and long hours under the arclights, not to mention the unrelenting paparazzi gaze.The tastes are eclectic. If Amitabh Bachchan’s tastes range from classical to the more contemporary Coke Studio, son Abhishek likes Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan; Bipasha Basu loves it all, soft rock and Sufi both; Priyanka Chopra loves old Hindi film music as does Sonu Sood; and Shahid Kapoor favours progressive house music.And it stays with them — in the gym, in the car or during a make-up session.As Bipasha put it, “music has to be a part of an actor’s life because it’s too taxing a profession.”“If I am stressed, I tell my manager, ‘Give me 30 minutes. I’ll just go and work out and listen to my favorite music.’ When I take a massage and listen to some soothing music, I get very energetic,” Bipasha said.“From the time I wake up, music stays with me. My alarm is always my favorite song, and then right from the time I start brushing my teeth, I hear all kinds of music according to my mood.Priyanka Chopra who recently returned from the US after working on her debut music album love tuning into house, hip hop and pop music.“My driver, my spot boys get fed up of my music. Right from the vanity van to my car to my house to my terrace, music follows me,” said the 33-year-old, who especially loves soft rock, Irish bands and Sufi songs.At 69, veteran star Amitabh enjoys listening to classical and instrumental music.He often mentions on his blog his love for traditional music and how he likes tuning into evergreen melodies before he slips into bed. But he also enjoys new age, fusion music from Pakistan’s Coke Studio during his make-up sessions.Son Abhishek listens international musicians like Tom Petty, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Hendrix and David Guetta while driving — and he listens to it all at top volume.Former beauty queen Neha Dhupia admits music either makes or breaks her mood each day.“Music defines my day. The first song that I listen to at the start of the day sets the mood for me. It defines my night and helps me decide if I want to go out,” said Neha, who listens to a lot of rock bands, contemporary pop as much as Bollywood music and old classics.Bollywood’s new kid on the block Parineeti Chopra is a trained singer like her cousin Priyanka.“Music is my stressbuster. I enjoy listening to music, but there is no specific kind of music that makes my mood. I listen to all kinds of music. I am a trained singer; so music certainly keeps me going,” said Parineeti.“Music is a part of my life… I can’t do without that. Music keeps us all going.”Priyanka, who recently returned from the US after working on her debut music album, loves tuning into house, hip-hop and pop music. She gets her dose of Bollywood music as well and wakes up many mornings to evergreen numbers by Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.Priyanka’s rumored former beau and now her Teri Meri Kahaani co-star Shahid Kapoor is as much a music fanatic.“Music is a part of my life… I can’t do without that. Music keeps us all going,” Shahid, who prefers progressive house music, said.Actor Sonu Sood is reserved in his choice.“I am a great fan of R.D. Burman; so I still listen to his songs; I love the melodies he gave in films like Ijaazat, Masoom and Yaadon Ki Baraat,” he said. Related Itemslast_img read more

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Global Economy Cools, Still Short of a Full Recovery for Millions

first_imgOnly a few months ago, the world’s fortunes appeared increasingly robust. For the first time since the wealth-destroying agony of the global financial crisis, every major economy was growing in unison.So much for all that.The global economy is now palpably weakening, even as most countries are still grappling with the damage from that last downturn. Many nations are mired in stagnation or sliding that way. Oil prices are falling and factory orders are diminishing, reflecting slackening demand for goods. Companies are warning of disappointing profits, sending stock markets into a frenetic bout of selling that reinforces the slowdown.Germany and Japan have both contracted in recent months. China is slowing more than experts anticipated. Even the United States, the world’s largest economy, and oft-trumpeted standout performer, is expected to decelerate next year as the stimulative effects of President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut wear off, leaving huge public debts.The reasons for this turn run from rising interest rates delivered by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to the unfolding trade war unleashed by the Trump administration. The likelihood that Britain’s torturous exit from the European Union will damage trade across the English Channel has discouraged investment.None of this amounts to a screaming emergency, or even a pronounced drop in commercial activity. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — a think tank run by the world’s most advanced nations — recently concluded that the global economy would expand by 3.5 percent next year, down from 3.7 percent this year.Yet in declaring that “the global expansion has peaked,” the brains at the OECD effectively concluded that the current situation is as good as it gets before the next pause or downturn. If this is indeed the high-water mark of global prosperity, that is likely to come as a shock to the tens of millions of people who have yet to recover from the devastation of the Great Recession.Though the slowdown appears mild, it also holds the potential to intensify the widespread sense of grievance roiling many societies, contributing to the embrace of populists with autocratic impulses. In an age of lamentation over economic injustice, and with political movements on the march decrying immigrants as threats, weaker growth is likely to spur more conflict. Slower growth is not going to make anyone feel more secure about the prospect of robots replacing human hands, or jobs shifting to lower-wage lands.“It’s just going to exacerbate the tensions that have led to the socioeconomic and political problems we have seen in the United States and parts of Europe,” said Thomas A. Bernes, an economist at the Center for International Governance Innovation, a Canadian research institution. “Inequality is going to become even more pronounced.”In Greece, Spain and Italy, the youth unemployment rate is stuck above 30 percent. In Britain, the typical worker has not seen a pay raise in more than a decade, after accounting for inflation. South Africa’s economy is smaller today than it was in 2010, and now the country is ensnared in recession.In the United States, the unemployment rate has plunged to 3.7 percent, its lowest level since 1969. Yet so many people have given up looking for work that less than two-thirds of the working age population was employed as of October, according to the Labor Department. That was a lower share than before the 2008 financial crisis.“We see a lost generation,” said Swati Dhingra, an economist at the London School of Economics. “There was already wage stagnation and productivity stagnation. The trade war has exacerbated all of that.”The biggest risk to global growth appears to be that the trade war is, at least in part, working as designed.Trump has excoriated China as a mortal threat to American livelihoods, accusing Beijing of subsidizing exports and stealing intellectual property. He has affixed tariffs on some $250 billion in Chinese exports in an effort to pressure Beijing to change its ways.This has produced little change in China’s economic practices. It has actually increased the U.S. trade deficit with China, contrary to Trump’s stated aim.But it has thrown sand in the gears of China’s industrial juggernaut. As of September, China’s rail freight usage, bank lending and electrical consumption had increased about 9 percent compared with the previous year, down from a pace of more than 11 percent in January.China’s growth was already slowing as its leaders seek to transition from an economy powered by prodigious exports, in enterprises that have spewed pollution, toward a cleaner future propelled by domestic consumption. But the U.S. tariffs have prompted multinational companies to shift orders from Chinese factories to plants in other lands, from Vietnam to Mexico. Uncertainty over the future has postponed some business.“There’s now potential for bad news on the trade front to trigger shifts in equity markets and a pullback on investment,” said Steven J. Davis, an international business expert at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.Given that China is the world’s second largest economy, the consequences of its slowing ripple out widely, helping explain a pronounced drop in factory orders in Germany. American farmers have suffered lost sales as China has responded to tariffs by slapping duties on imports from the United States, not least on soybeans. Stock markets and oil prices have plunged in part on fears that China will buy fewer goods.Much of the dip in U.S. share prices reflects the increasingly embattled state of major technology companies like Facebook, which has drawn public ire for failing to prevent its platform from serving as a primary conduit for hate speech and misinformation. But technology shares have also plunged because many companies, Apple among them, now depend on China for enormous volumes of sales — sales now at risk in the face of the trade war.A glance at Trump’s Twitter feed reveals that share prices are one of the data points he cares about deeply. As the markets recoil, the Trump administration has flashed signals that it may be prepared to entertain a cease-fire with China to limit economic damage.But the conflict goes far beyond trade, with hawks inside the Trump administration seeking to inflict harm on China to impede its continued ascent as a global superpower. If that is the mission, Trump may be willing to absorb economic costs as the price of containment.That take appears consistent with Trump’s growing fixation on the Federal Reserve, which the president just branded “a much bigger problem than China,” in an interview with The Washington Post.In lifting interest rates, the U.S. central bank has been acting under the accepted wisdom that too much easy money sloshing around for too long tends to produce trouble, from higher prices to financial mischief. Yet the effect of raising rates is to limit U.S. economic growth, hence Trump’s unhappiness.The Fed’s action has also visited distress on emerging markets. Higher U.S. interest rates have prompted investors to abandon developing economies in favor of safer, more-rewarding opportunities in the United States. The changing of the tide has contributed to crises in Turkey and Argentina, while denting the value of currencies and slowing growth prospects from India to South Africa.The European Central Bank has also been withdrawing the cheap money it unleashed to attack the crisis, phasing out purchases of bonds. This has made credit more expensive across the continent, depriving businesses of capital needed to finance expansions. And that has muted once-hopeful talk that Europe had finally transcended the torpor of the last decade.A populist government in Italy is engaged in a standoff with European authorities over its spending plans, which breach the union’s limits on deficit spending. That has prompted investors to demand higher returns for Italian debt, further squeezing credit. Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum also appear to be cooling growth in Europe. Ditto, Britain’s exit.Only last year, Spain had emerged from a veritable depression to become a leading example of Europe regaining vigor. But Spain is expected to expand by only 2.2 percent next year, down from nearly 2.6 percent in 2018, according to the OECD. The rest of the 19 countries that share the euro currency are expected to dip from an already weak 1.9 percent rate of expansion to 1.8 percent.“It’s a bit like watching a heavily overweight bird try to take off,” said Peter Dixon, a global financial economist at Commerzbank AG in London. “It staggers to the end of the runway and starts to take off but never really soars.”The global economy is clearly far removed from the terrifying days of the financial crisis. Yet it never really got its groove back enough to generate impressive numbers of jobs, or put meaningful pay increases in the pockets of ordinary people.And now, despite all that, leaner times are unfolding.c.2018 New York Times News Service Related Itemslast_img read more

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Vijay Mallya Arrested, Released on Bail For Second Time in UK

first_imgLiquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, who had been out on bail since his arrest in April, was arrested for the second time and released on bail once again in London on Oct. 3. Mallya’s arrest took place in connection with the second money laundering case filed by India’s Enforcement Directorate, according to a statement by UK’s Crown Prosecution Service.Mallya will appear before the Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London on Oct. 3. The Crown Prosecution Service will argue on behalf of the Indian government. India had made an extradition request in February to the UK to make Mallya face trial in the country. The request was followed with a 2,000 page dossier as evidence against him. Mallya was arrested for the first time on April 18 by the Scotland Yard, but got bail within three hours.Mallya submitted an elaborate response to India’s request last month. The extradition case will now be taken up on Dec. 4. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which handles financial crimes, are clubbing their cases against him to strengthen the case for extradition. Mallya has at least half a dozen warrants against him in India.The 61-year-old businessman, who has been living in the United Kingdom for more than a year now, is accused of foreign exchange violation, debt recovery and embezzlement in India. His now defunct Kingfisher Airlines allegedly owes over Rs 9,000 crore to a consortium of 17 Indian banks.Mallya was earlier this year fired from the board of United Breweries, the firm which was at the core of his business empire.The businessman has dismissed the charges leveled against him, saying in interviews to media that cancelling his passport “won’t help them bring their money back” and that he was getting familiar with “witch hunts coming from all directions with no legal basis”. He has made numerous public appearances at sporting events, especially for the Formula One races as he owns a team. Related ItemsKingfisher AirlinesLittle IndiaMallya arrestMallya extradition caseMallya UKVijay Mallyalast_img read more

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