Mevani, Kanhaiya detained

first_imgAHMEDABAD: Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani from Gujarat, JNU student-leader Kanhaiya Kumar and other protesters were detained by the Gujarat police in Mehsana on Wednesday for trying to hold a Freedom March without police permission.The march, to demand land for marginalised communities, was planned by Mr. Mevani’s Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch to commemorate one year of the Una Dalit atrocity incident. Patidar leader Reshma Patel also joined the protest.Mr. Mevani slammed the State government for denying them permission to hold the march.last_img read more

Haryana cop suspended in JNU students attack case

first_imgA Sub-Inspector posted at Surajkund police station here was suspended on Friday on charges of dereliction of duty for not registering a FIR in a case pertaining to attack on a group of Jawaharlal Nehru University students earlier this week.The action was initiated after a complaint by students from JNU to Faridabad Commissioner of Police, Hanif Qureshi.Faridabad Police spokesperson said Suresh Kumar was suspended and the investigation into the matter was handed over to Assistant Commissioner of Police, Women, Pooja Dabla. Deputy Commissioner of Police, NIT, Astha Modi would oversee the investigation, said the spokesperson. “The investigation officer would also visit JNU campus to record the statements of the victims,” said the spokesperson.The case pertains to an attack on a female JNU student and her male friends by a mob at Asola Wildlife Sanctuary on August 14. The student and her six male friends were returning from a picnic at Bharadwaj Lake, located inside the sanctuary, when a group of eight-nine men allegedly attacked them. The men even threatened to rape the woman.Later, when the students went to police in Faridabad, the officer at Surajkund police station refused to file complaint and also made remarks at woman’s character.last_img read more

AMU V-C for judicial probe into violence

first_imgAligarh Muslim University Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor on Tuesday endorsed the students’ demand for a judicial inquiry and appealed to the protesting students to maintain calm and to focus on studies.“Under no circumstances, students should let their studies suffer, especially at a time when exams are round the corner. I appeal to all students to maintain calm and focus on studies wholeheartedly and to do well in career,” said Prof. Mansoor.Hundreds of AMU students continue to protest against the Aligarh police administration for its alleged “inaction against the vandalism and violation of law” by the members of Hindu Yuva Vahini, Hindu Jagaran Manch and ABVP. They have been demanding arrest of Hindu Jagaran Manch activists who allegedly forcibly entered the university and vandalised the university and breached the security of former Vice-President Hamid Ansari.“We should not fall into the trap of some forces, which are bent on destroying the image of our alma mater and are playing with your bright future,” the V-C said.last_img read more

‘Will you declare hilsa fish infiltrators?’

first_imgAttacking the BJP-led Central government over exclusion of 40 lakh people in the final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused the ruling party of being “anti-Bengalis”.Taking a swipe at the BJP, the Trinamool Congress chief asked if hilsa fish, Jamdani saree, sandesh and mishti doi, which are originally from Bangladesh, would also be branded as “infiltrators or refugees”.Asserting that these 40 lakh people are “very much Indians”, she questioned the criteria on which they have been excluded.Ms. Banerjee said that even she would not be able to produce the birth certificate of her parents if the government asks for it.“Do not know my parents’ birth dates. I only know the dates of their death. I would not be able to provide any documents for their date of birth but there should be a clear system about such cases… you cannot blame the layman,” she told reporters at her chamber in the State Assembly.Necessary documentsMs. Banerjee has been attacking the BJP government at the Centre over the NRC, which has excluded names of over 40 lakh citizens in the final draft for want of necessary documents in Assam.“What is going on in the country is injustice. The BJP with their extremist ideology is trying to create division among the people. I think they are playing the politics of revenge among the countrymen. We are not for this kind of politics,” she said.She accused the BJP of being “anti-Bengalis” and “anti-West Bengal”.“They (the BJP) must not forget that speaking Bengali is not a crime. It is the fifth most spoken language in the world. What is BJP’s problem with (West) Bengal? Are they scared of the intellect of the Bengalis, their culture? They must not forget that (West) Bengal is the cultural Mecca of the country,” she said.last_img read more

Hindu Mahasabha leader beaten up in Meerut

first_imgThe Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha’s Uttar Pradesh president, Yogendra Verma, was beaten up allegedly by a group of people after he questioned a couple on Saturday in Mawana area in Meerut district of western Uttar Pradesh. Mr. Verma later told the media that while he was travelling with his associates, he spotted a couple in an objectionable position near Mawana. As he and his associates tried to question the couple, the boy allegedly ran away and entered a nearby factory, he added. “We tried to chase him, but were suddenly confronted by a large group who assaulted us. It was an interfaith couple and this is a case of ‘love jihad’,” Mr. Verma claimed.FIR lodgedMr. Verma sustained injuries and reported the matter to the police. The police have lodged an FIR based on the complaint and investigating the case. The case was registered under IPC Sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 147 (rioting).Eyewitnesses told the police that Mr. Verma and his associates insulted the couple, called up the girl’s parents and attacked the boy. Meanwhile, a crowd gathered at the spot and assaulted Mr. Verma. Four arrested Nai Mandi police station in charge Harisharan Sharma told The Hindu that Mr. Verma approached the police after the incident and the accused have been identified. “We have so far arrested four persons while another one is absconding. A team has been formed and raids are being conducted,” he said.last_img read more

Jind byelection records a turnout of over 75%

first_imgThe high-stakes Jind Assembly byelection in Haryana recorded a turnout of more than 75% on Monday. The polling went off peacefully with no major incident of violence.Deputy Commissioner, Jind, Amit Khatri told The Hindu over phone that 75.5% polling were recorded by 7 p.m., while voting was still on at a few booths. The final count could increase marginally, he said. Of the 1.7 lakh electorate, around 1,30,000 had cast their votes when last reports came in, with rural areas witnessing over 80% polling.No violenceJind police spokesperson Pawan Kapoor said there were no reports of violence. Elaborate security arrangements were made for polling at all the 174 booths with the deployment of around 3,000 police personnel and 500 Home Guards, besides a company each of the Central Reserve Police Force and the Rapid Action Force.The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Indian National Lok Dal legislator Hari Chand Middha.Caught in a triangular contest with Krishan Middha of the BJP and Digvijay Singh Chautala of the Jannayak Janata Party, senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said he was confident that the people of Jind would vote for a “new model of development and growth”, adding that the local people now had a new slogan, “Jind Badlenge, Zindagi badlege” (Will change Jind, will change the lives). Mr. Chautala told presspersons that the electorate had seen through the designs of the rival political parties and he was confident of a landslide victory. Krishan Middha, a local candidate, said Jind had witnessed tremendous development over the past four years under the BJP.The counting of votes will be taken up on January 31.last_img read more

Korean Supreme Court Upholds Disgraced Cloner’s Criminal Sentence

first_imgDiscredited stem cell scientist Woo Suk Hwang suffered a setback in his bid to reclaim respectability today when South Korea’s Supreme Court confirmed his conviction on embezzlement and bioethics violations. The court also sent Hwang’s plea to overturn his dismissal from Seoul National University (SNU) back to a lower court for review and upheld previous rulings acquitting him of fraud charges.The ruling comes 2 weeks after Hwang scored a victory of sorts in gaining a U.S. patent for a purportedly cloned human embryonic stem cell line.Hwang claimed to have made several breakthroughs in embryonic stem cell research that proved to be based on fabricated data. In a February 2004 Science paper, Hwang’s team announced the first stem cell line derived from a cloned human embryo. Then in May 2005, they reported the creation of several stem cell lines matched to specific patients. After questions emerged about the results, an SNU investigating panel concluded in December 2005 that there was no evidence to support the second Science paper; in its January 2006 final report, the panel stated that the data and images in the first Science paper too were fabricated. That month, Hwang publicly admitted that both Science papers were bogus, though he laid the blame on junior researchers. Both papers were immediately retracted, and SNU fired him in March. In October 2009, a trial court convicted him of embezzling research funds by using falsified data and of illegally buying human eggs for his research, but cleared him of fraud. The court imposed a 2-year suspended prison sentence. An appeals court upheld that verdict but trimmed the sentence to 18 months. (Hwang did not serve time in prison.) “Manipulating scientific data in papers cannot escape strict punishment,” the high court wrote in today’s decision upholding the appeals court ruling.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(*)Hwang’s dismissal from SNU has proved to be a thornier legal issue. In November 2011, an appeals court found that the decision to fire him was “excessively heavy.” The Supreme Court disagreed, and sent the case back to the appeals court for review in light of Hwang’s now-finalized criminal convictions. SNU did not issue an official statement, but an unnamed university source quoted in a news agency report said that even if the appeals court were to find new grounds for supporting Hwang’s position on his dismissal, his conviction on embezzlement and bioethics charges means that his relationship with SNU “has virtually ended.”Since the scandal, Hwang, 61 and a veterinarian by training, has been working at the Seoul-based Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, concentrating on cloning animals, particularly dogs. One of his genuine accomplishments was being the first to clone a dog. Hwang could not be reached for comment.On 11 February, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded Hwang and his former team a patent for the cloned human embryonic stem cell line of the sort described in the first Science paper. This came as a surprise, as the consensus view in the scientific community is that the stem cell line was not produced through cloning, but rather resulted from an unfertilized egg that started developing into an embryo, a phenomenon known as parthenogenesis. But the patent seemed to raise Hwang’s hopes of rehabilitation. In a rare interview carried in The Dong-A Ilbo newspaper on 24 February, Hwang said he wanted to resume work on human stem cells, telling the paper: “I ask the Seoul government and the Korean people to give me just one more chance.” Today’s ruling dims his chances of resuming work on human cells.last_img read more

Major U.S. Science Agencies Face Flat Prospects

first_imgResearch Lobbyists Voicing Displeasure With Request One Percent Increase for NSF Draws Lackluster Review Congress Will Determine Growth of Manufacturing Innovation Network Plant Biologists Offer Warmer Reaction NIH Faces Flat Funding and a Plan for High-Risk Research On STEM Education Reorganization, Obama Retreats Computing Wins, Fusion Loses in Energy Department’s Science Wing Obama Wants New $5 Billion for Science, but Will It Happen? For Those Seeking Details, a Frustrating Budget Rolloutcenter_img White House Scales Back Ag Research Ambitions NIH Request “Falls Short,” Say Biomedical Advocates NASA Says “See Ya” to SOFIA Astronomy Mission in Flat Budget President Barack Obama on Tuesday released a $3.901 trillion budget request to Congress, including proposals for a host of federal research agencies. The unveiling is just the beginning of the annual budget process; Congress will now chew on the proposal and is likely to ignore many of the White House’s suggestions. Still, the budget request offers insight into the White House’s research priorities and can play an important role in negotiating final spending levels for the 2015 fiscal year, which begins 1 October. ScienceInsider has been combing through the document, and the stories below report some of what we found on the first day. Come back for more stories this week on research spending. Looking Like a Flat Future for Big Science Funders Academia Disgruntled by Budget Numbers How Will U.S. Science Fare in Obama’s 2015 Budget Request to Congress?FIRST DAY COVERAGE: NIH Faces Flat Funding and a Plan for High-Risk ResearchThere is little good news in the 2015 president’s budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which would receive $30.4 billion in 2015, a mere $211 million, or 0.7%, increase. The agency would receive a much bigger, nearly $1 billion boost, however, if the president can get Congress to go along with his Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative (OGSI)—but that is unlikely.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(*)NIH Director Francis Collins told reporters that given the budget agreement reached by Republicans and Democrats in December, which imposes a strict overall limit on discretionary spending, “nobody would have expected … a big bump up for NIH.” He pointed out, however, that the slight increase for NIH was within a larger Department of Health and Human Services budget that went down. “I take that as a good sign,” Collins said, and a “coming back” from last year’s “gruesome year” due to a 5% cut to NIH’s budget from sequestration. And the $970 million that NIH would get if Congress approved OGSI shows that research is a priority for the administration, he said.The small increase for NIH will support 9326 new and competing grants, 329 more than this year. While most of NIH’s institutes and centers would be flat funded, the budget includes boosts for a few programs at certain institutes. NIH wants to spend $100 million, more than twice the $40 million it invested this year, for its share of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, the cross-agency brain-mapping initiative launched last year. The Cures Acceleration Network within the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences would get a $20 million boost to $30 million for speeding the development of “high need cures.”The Common Fund, the pot of money within the NIH director’s office for launching cross-cutting initiatives, would receive a $50 million increase to $583 million. Some $30 million of that would go to cutting-edge projects awarded using a process similar to the Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Like DARPA, NIH would make these awards not through a traditional request for proposals that takes a year or more. Instead, a program manager would identify “a bold, innovative strategy to tackle an important problem,” Collins said. The manager would then handpick teams of academic and industry partners best suited to the project.Collins offered an example of one possible project: a sensor implanted in the body that could record health measurements, such as blood pressure, then send a signal to the peripheral nervous system to modulate blood pressure or, say, the immune system or pain levels. NIH recently held a workshop with DARPA and the drug company GlaxoSmithKline to discuss this so-called “electroceutical,” Collins said.The president’s proposed $56 billion OGSI plan, which includes $5 billion for research, would be funded through tax hikes and other proposed measures that Congress is unlikely to approve (see story below). But if NIH received the extra $970 million from the initiative, the agency would fund 650 additional research grants and put $50 million more into a universal influenza vaccine. Alzheimer’s disease and BRAIN would also receive more funding. Collins summed up the initiative’s unlikely prospects: “In my dreams, it will be a great year,” he said.Biomedical lobbying groups reacted with dismay to the NIH request. “We understand it given the budget environment, but it’s rather disappointing,” says Dave Moore, senior director of government relations for the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, D.C. “Once again we’re not even keeping pace with inflation.”“It doesn’t point us where we need to be in terms of taking advantage of scientific opportunity or helping us climb out of the hole of sequestration,” said Jennifer Zeitzer, director of legislative relations for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in Bethesda, Maryland. “It’s status quo when the last thing we need is status quo.” FASEB believes that NIH needs $32 billion in 2015 as part of “as a first step toward a multi-year program of sustainable growth.” –Jocelyn KaiserCongress Will Determine Growth of Manufacturing Innovation NetworkWith money tight in Washington, federal research programs have been sorted into a pecking order today. Some programs were blessed by inclusion—or even increases—in the main budget, which had to fit under the $492 billion cap for discretionary spending agreed upon with congressional leaders last December. The programs at the bottom of the pecking order, however, were cut or omitted completely. But some fall into a middle tier, including a White House manufacturing initiative, which the Obama administration proposes to fund primarily through a $56 billion Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative (OGSI). But the OGSI, which includes $5 billion for science, faces long odds with budget hawks. (See “Obama Wants New $5 Billion for Science, but Will It Happen?” on this page, below.)The budget proposal blesses advanced manufacturing R&D across various agencies with a proposed $2.2 billion for 2015, a 12% hike over this year. But President Barack Obama’s plans for the proposed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation reside in the budget limbo of that third category, dependent on OGSI for funding. Announced by the president in his State of the Union address last year, the network seeks to connect manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges, and local government officials to pursue innovation in a network of 45 institutes built over a decade.Four such hubs were created last year; Congress has already provided the funds to build five more this year. But none are explicitly funded in the White House’s main 2015 request. Instead, to continue creating the institutes, Congress will have to approve at least part of the OGSI funding, which has an as-of-yet unspecified portion devoted to continuing to build this network. The goal, says a fact sheet, is “Transforming Communities into World-Leading Centers of Advanced Manufacturing.” –Eli KintischAcademia Disgruntled by Budget NumbersThe Association of American Universities, composed of 60 major U.S. research universities, and two in Canada, has joined the ranks of those disgruntled by today’s budget request. An excerpt from their statement:”The President’s FY15 budget does disappointingly little to close the nation’s innovation deficit.  When it comes to research, its modest spending increases in a few key research agencies are not sufficient to put this nation on an investment path that can ensure we remain the world’s innovation leader.  Indeed, basic research funding declines in this budget.”The unrealistic caps on discretionary spending have made the Administration’s job extremely difficult, and we appreciate the effort to fund additional research through a separate initiative, but we strongly believe research investments should receive greater priority under the caps.”We are especially disappointed that the proposed funding of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) still does not achieve the pre-sequestration FY12 level of funding and continues the after-inflation decline of support for NIH that we have seen since 2003.  We are also disappointed that the Defense budget contains a 6.9-percent cut in basic research.  For this nation’s fighting men and women to remain the world’s best equipped, most technically advanced force, we need to sustain the investment in Defense basic research.”This Administration has provided great leadership in pursuit of needed investments in scientific research.  We hope that we can depend on its support as we work with Congress to increase the investments from the levels proposed in this budget.”Computing Wins, Fusion Loses in Energy Department’s Science WingOnce again, there are winners and losers in the proposed budget for 2015 the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science, the single largest funder of the physical sciences in the United States. Overall, the Office of Science budget would creep up by just 0.9% from its current level to $5.111 billion. But whereas some research programs, such as advanced computing, would see double-digit increases, others, such as fusion, would take deep cuts.The Office of Science funds 47% of research in the physical sciences in the United States through it six research programs: Advanced Scientific Computing Research; Basic Energy Sciences (BES), which funds research in materials science, chemistry, and related fields and runs most of DOE’s big scientific user facilities; Biological and Environmental Research (BER), which among other things supports DOE’s efforts in advanced biofuels; Fusion Energy Sciences; High Energy Physics; and Nuclear Physics.In the proposed budget, advanced computing would see its funding soar 13.2% to $541 million. BES, the biggest DOE program, would get a boost of 5.5% to $1.807 billion. BER would get a 3% bump to $628 million, and nuclear physics would enjoy a 4.3% increase to $594 million.In contrast, the fusion program would take a 17.6% cut to $416 million—$88 million less than it’s getting this year. Although far from final, the numbers suggest another big dip for a program that has enjoyed a roller coaster ride in recent years. In its proposed 2013 budget, DOE called for slashing spending on domestic fusion research to help pay for the increasing U.S. contribution to the international fusion experiment, ITER, in Cadarache, France. That budget also called for closing one of three smaller fusion experiments, or tokamaks, in the United States: the Alcator C-Mod at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. But that budget never passed and last December, when Congress finally agreed to a budget for this year, it restored funding for C-Mod and gave the fusion program a handsome boost of nearly $200 million. The new budget request would give some of that increase back and suggests DOE officials see bigger priorities elsewhere.The other big loser in the proposed 2015 budget would be high-energy physics, which studies matter and forces at their most fundamental level. Such research included U.S. participation at the world’s largest atom smasher, Europe’s Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, and experiments at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. The high-energy physics budget would fall 6.6% to $744 million.With the details yet to come, what remains unclear is how the Office of Science will fit everything into its essentially flat budget. According to slides from a briefing by Patricia Dehmer, acting director of the Office of Science, DOE officials intend to keep facilities like the C-Mod running—albeit for just 5 weeks out of the year—and even to start construction on a new accelerator nuclear physics called the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The only user facilities that would shut down would be the Lujan Neutron Scattering Center at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, which is being replaced by the far-bigger National Synchrotron Light Source II at Brookhaven. Obviously, to make it all fit, the budget must include numerous other cuts. –Adrian ChoNASA Says “See Ya” to SOFIA Astronomy Mission in Flat BudgetThe administration has requested $17.5 billion for NASA in fiscal year 2015, including $4.97 billion for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. The request—if granted by Congress—would maintain NASA’s overall funding as well as its science budget line at about the same levels as the current fiscal year. And the James Webb Space Telescope would continue to receive the funding it needs to stay on track for a 2018 launch.However, the proposed budget would not maintain status quo across the board. It would strike a blow to the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA)—an airplane observatory developed through a partnership between NASA and the German Aerospace Center. NASA budget documents indicate that the agency—which has spent the lion’s share of the $1.25 billion SOFIA has cost so far—is proposing to put SOFIA “into storage due to its high operating cost and budget constraints.” NASA requested $87 million for SOFIA in 2014 and spent nearly that much on the project in the last fiscal year.A White House summary of NASA’s budget notes that the savings achieved by reducing funding for SOFIA will enable “continued support for higher priority programs, including lower cost, competitive science missions, and extended operations for the Cassini Saturn mission.” A more detailed presentation of the space agency’s budget proposal, unveiled this afternoon by NASA, says the agency is in talks with its German partner to determine the best path forward for SOFIA.The budget for science—which is just shy of this year’s enacted level of $5.15 billion—includes $607 million for astrophysics—nearly $60 million less than the current level. It also includes $1.8 billion for earth science, maintaining the agency’s robust funding of that directorate over the past few years.Planetary science would get $1.28 billion—a pot that includes funding to continue planning the development of a new Mars rover, as well as money for developing a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa. The administration did not request any money for the Europa mission in last year’s budget proposal, but Congress provided $80 million in funding anyway. This year’s Europa request is “very exciting news,” says Robert Pappalardo, a researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who has been studying a concept for a Europa flyby mission.The proposal also includes $130 million for further development of NASA’s controversial plan to grab and steer a small asteroid into lunar orbit, which has drawn opposition in Congress. –Yudhijit BhattacharjeeOn STEM Education Reorganization, Obama RetreatsLast year, the Obama administration proposed an aggressive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education reorganization plan that would involve a massive reshuffling of the 226 STEM programs run by a dozen departments at a cost of $3 billion a year. But scientific societies, educators, and researchers raised hackles in opposition to the plan, which would have consolidated the programs into the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Education, and the Smithsonian Institution. Congress sided with the community and repeatedly signaled its displeasure.With today’s budget the administration signals a new approach. The new budget mentions instead:“a fresh reorganization of Federal STEM education programs to enable more strategic investment in STEM education and more critical evaluation of outcomes. This proposal reduces fragmentation of STEM education programs across Government, and focuses on efforts around the five key areas identified by the Federal STEM Education 5-Year Strategic Plan: K-12 instruction; undergraduate education; graduate education; broadening participation in STEM education and careers by women and minorities traditionally underrepresented in these fields; and education activities that typically take place outside the classroom.”“We’re not talking about consolidation that would happen across the government,” NSF acting Director Cora Marrett tells ScienceInsider. “No moving people or money across agencies anymore.” An interagency group called CoSTEM has been meeting for the last year to envision how to improve agency cooperation on STEM education. “That will continue,” says Marrett, adding that consolidation will proceed within the agencies. At NSF, for example, bureaucrats have a proposed plan for consolidating its varied undergraduate research programs. More detail may be available next week when the agency releases its full 2015 budget proposal.Meanwhile, Marrett says, a proposed 5% increase in NSF’s education spending—from $847 million this year to $890 million in 2015—would be aimed at increasing the stipend amounts for NSF’s graduate research fellowships, which provide 3-year fellowships with an annual stipend of $32,000, plus an allowance to universities. –Eli KintischWhite House Scales Back Ag Research AmbitionsThe White House has lessened its ambitions for promoting peer-reviewed research in food and agriculture, after 2 years in a row of requesting double-digit increases. Last year, for example, the administration asked Congress for a 44% increase for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) main source of competitive extramural grants, hoping to boost AFRI to a record $383 million. (Appropriators ponied up 17%.) Today, the request for the 2015 budget was a 2.8% increase over the current fiscal year, to $325 million.The office that administers AFRI, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, would see an overall 6.7% increase, including a $75 million proposal for “innovation institutes” run as public-private partnerships. This idea was proposed in a 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Details are scarce, but one institute would invest $1 million in protecting pollinators, says Tom Van Arsdall, who lobbied on behalf of the Pollinator Partnership, a nongovernmental organization in San Francisco, California. Some of the funds for this effort may be coming from USDA’s intramural research arm, which would be trimmed by 2.1% to $1.2 billion. –Erik StokstadFor Those Seeking Details, a Frustrating Budget RolloutOne of the odder aspects of this year’s installment of the annual budget dance is that the White House is actually releasing its request in two stages: the overall numbers this week, and most of the details next week. That can lead to some frustration, as this week’s documents often only hint at what’s to come.For instance, the Department of Commerce, the parent of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, notes that its proposed budget “closes one ocean science laboratory and consolidates another to improve efficiency and reduce costs.” But nobody at the department can offically tell ScienceInsider exactly which laboratories are on the hot seat. Do you know? –David MalakoffNIH Request “Falls Short,” Say Biomedical AdvocatesAnother disappointed review from United for Medical Research, a coalition of universities and scientific societies.“President Obama’s FY 2015 budget proposal for biomedical research falls short of reversing the damage done by a decade of flat funding to the National Institutes of Health and recent cuts from sequestration. Our nation urgently needs a significant and sustained investment in lifesaving research to meet the unmatched need afforded by scientific opportunity and human health and to close the gaping innovation deficit.“The United States once stood firmly at the forefront of the research revolution, but after a decade of budgets that have not kept pace with inflation and last year’s across-the-board sequestration cuts, NIH has seen a more than 20 percent decline in its purchasing power and can only fund one in every seven research grants it receives. As such, the U.S. is slipping in its position as the global leader in the life sciences.“President Obama’s proposed NIH budget won’t meaningfully turn us in the right direction toward restoring hope to millions of patients, advancing scientific innovation and spurring further job growth. We call on the Administration and Congress to make a significant increase in NIH funding a reality.”Plant Biologists Offer Warmer ReactionThe American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) is just out with a somewhat kinder take on the request, saying it demonstrates President Barack Obama’s “commitment to the U.S. innovation enterprise.” It goes on to say:“We appreciate the sustained investments in basic research that are proposed by President Obama’s FY 2015 budget proposal,” said ASPB President Alan M. Jones. “These investments,” Jones continued, “are a good starting point for the congressional consideration of FY 2015 funding levels.” However, the societal needs and scientific opportunities with regard to the provision of food, fuel, fiber, and new pharmaceuticals demand even stronger support if the nation is to maximize its research and development potential.Research Lobbyists Voicing Displeasure With RequestMary Woolley, the CEO and president of Research!America, a high-profile research lobbying organization near the nation’s capital, isn’t happy with the 2015 budget request. Here is her statement, just out:”The president’s budget does not reflect the potential the U.S. has to advance scientific discovery. While welcome, the minor increases for the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration diminish our ability to accelerate the pace of medical innovation, which saves countless lives, helps our nation meet its solemn commitment to wounded warriors, and is a major driver of new businesses and jobs. These funding levels jeopardize our global leadership in science – in effect ceding leadership to other nations as they continue to invest in strong R&D infrastructures that have already begun to attract our best and brightest innovators. We simply cannot sustain our nation’s research ecosystem, combat costly and deadly diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer, and create quality jobs with anemic funding levels that threaten the health and prosperity of Americans. The administration and Congress must work together to boost funding for federal research and health agencies in FY15 and end the sequester in order to truly meet the level of scientific opportunity.”Looking Like a Flat Future for Big Science FundersMatthew Hourihan just tweeted a graph that offers an at-a-glance roundup of the research agency requests in the 2015 budget. Hourihan is a budget analyst with AAAS, which publishes ScienceInsider. The major funders—the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF)—would be essentially flat under the “base budget” scenario, which does not include the funding in the proposed Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative (OGSI). Any new money, including nearly $1 billion proposed for NIH, and for 1000 new grants for NSF, would have to come from the OGSI, which is likely to face a rough road in Congress (see below). –David MalakoffOne Percent Increase for NSF Draws Lackluster ReviewPhysical scientists and others who rely on the basic science funding that comes out of the National Science Foundation (NSF) are bound to be disappointed with the administration request for the agency: $7.3 billion. That’s a scant 1% increase over the 2014 budget of $7.2 billion. “I don’t think anyone’s going to be happy with a budget that doesn’t meet needs and doesn’t cover inflation,” says Michael Lubell of the American Physical Society.Meanwhile, as part of the $56 billion Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, NSF would receive funding for a “thousand additional” grants, but budget documents do not provide further details. But that initiative faces long odds in Congress (see below). “If Congress doesn’t go along with this, it’s an underwhelming request for NSF,” says Matthew Hourihan, a budget analyst with AAAS, which publishes ScienceInsider. –Eli KintischObama Wants New $5 Billion for Science, but Will It Happen?Today’s budget request to Congress appears to contain some very good news for scientists: a proposed $5 billion in new money for an array of research-related programs, including hundreds of new grants for the National Institutes of Health (NIH); a new biosafety research laboratory; and a new high-risk, high-reward funding program for biomedical science modeled on the military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).But don’t get your hopes up: The new money is essentially contingent on Congress making changes to the tax code and spending priorities that aren’t likely to happen this fiscal year.Overall, the Obama administration is proposing to spend $56 billion on a new Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative that includes the research funding. One-half of the $56 billion would come from imposing new taxes on retirement funds owned by the wealthy; the other half from changes to politically sensitive crop insurance, unemployment, telecommunications, and airport security programs. Although many of these ideas have champions in Congress, each would spark major debate if lawmakers pushed them forward. And that is unlikely to happen with elections looming in November, and the broad outlines of a spending agreement already in place for the 2015 fiscal year (the result of last year’s government shutdown and budget face-off).Still, the proposal offers a revealing look at the White House’s research priorities. Here is an excerpt from the budget document that provides a glimpse of the administration’s thinking:Continuing our commitment to world-class sci­ence and research, the Budget provides $135 bil­lion for R&D overall, while targeting resources to those areas most likely to directly contribute to the creation of transformational technologies that can create the businesses and jobs of the fu­ture. The base Budget increases R&D relative to the 2014 enacted levels, with over $5 billion in additional funding in the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative to drive progress in key R&D priorities.Research and Innovation Re-establishing Global Leadership in Basic Research—providing 650 additional new National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants; increasing funding for an NIH Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-like initiative that will invest in breakthrough medical research; and increasing NIH’s contribution to the multiagency BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) that is helping to revolutionize our un­derstanding of the human brain; developing and scaling new manufacturing technologies; investing in a thousand additional National Science Foundation grants to expand knowledge across disciplines and accelerate innovation across industries; and building a new biosafety research laboratory.Advancing Clean Energy Research and Development (R&D)—investing in applied research at the Department of Energy to accelerate the development and deployment of new energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies—such as higher-performing electric drive motors, batteries, and ultra-light materials and composites to enable electric vehicles to be as affordable and con­venient as the gasoline powered vehicles we drive today; and technological advances to make renewable electricity as inexpensive and accessible as fossil-fuel based electricity.Launching a Race to the Top for Energy Efficiency and Grid Modernization—incentivizing States to make progress toward the goal of doubling American energy productivity in 20 years and toward modernizing their electricity grids, resulting in more cost-effective demand response, distributed generation, and improved grid reliability and resilience.Making Other Investments—to maintain U.S. global leadership in basic research and help transition our economy to a clean energy future.Infrastructure and Jobs Developing Climate Resilience—investing in research and unlocking data and information to better understand the projected impacts of climate change and how to better prepare our communities and infrastructure; helping communities plan and prepare for the impacts of cli­mate change and encouraging local measures to reduce future risk; and funding breakthrough technologies and resilient infrastructure that will make us more resilient in the face of a chang­ing climate.Public Health, Safety, and Security Providing for the Public Health—accelerating development of a universal flu vaccine.Leveraging Funds for Global Health—making additional matching funding available for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria to encourage other donors to increase their pledges.Nuclear R&D and Infrastructure The Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative provides additional funding to support the infrastructure and human capital that underpin long-term, effective sustainment of the nucle­ar weapons stockpile and supporting enterprise. For example, the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative allows the National Nuclear Security Administration to begin important facili­ties construction and deferred maintenance projects and to undertake several R&D projects to keep nuclear weapons safe, reliable, and effective.How Will U.S. Science Fare in Obama’s 2015 Budget Request to Congress?In his introduction to the budget, Obama touches on research funding issues several times. “We know that the nation that goes all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow,” he writes. “This is an edge America cannot surrender. That is why the Budget includes investments in cutting-edge research and development, driving scientific and technological breakthroughs that will create jobs, improve lives, and open new opportunities for the American people. The Budget’s Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative will allow us to push our limits even further, supporting additional biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health that will help us fight Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other diseases, climate research to develop climate change-resilient infrastructure, and agricultural research that will help increase agricultural productivity and improve health.”Obama also touches on climate issues, writing that: “Climate change is a fact, and we have to act with more urgency to address it because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought and coastal cities dealing with floods. That is why I directed my Administration to work with States, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air, and why this Budget advances new approaches to address the growing cost and damage from wildfires.”last_img read more

‘Love Hormone’ Has Same Effect on Humans and Dogs

first_imgIf we humans inhale oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone,” we become more trusting, cooperative, and generous. Scientists have shown that it’s the key chemical in the formation of bonds between many mammalian species and their offspring. But does oxytocin play the same role in social relationships that aren’t about reproduction? To find out, scientists in Japan sprayed either oxytocin or a saline spray into the nostrils of 16 pet dogs, all more than 1 year old. The canines then joined their owners, who were seated in another room and didn’t know which treatment their pooch had received. The owners were instructed to ignore any social response from their dogs. But those Fidos that inhaled the oxytocin made it tough for their masters not to break the rule. A statistical analysis showed the canines were more likely to sniff, lick, and paw at their people than were those given the saline solution. The amount of time that the oxytocin-enhanced dogs spent close to their owners, staring at their eyes, was also markedly higher, the scientists report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Getting a whiff of oxytocin also made the dogs friendlier toward their dog pals as determined by the amount of time they spent in close proximity to their buddies. The study supports the idea, the scientists say, that oxytocin isn’t just produced in mammals during reproductive events. It’s also key to forming and maintaining close social relationships—even when those are with unrelated individuals or different species.For more on man’s best friend, see the Science News team’s latest coverage of doggy science.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

Rush Holt, physicist and congressman, to lead AAAS

first_imgRush Holt, a physicist, educator, and eight-term Democratic member of Congress, has been named the new CEO of AAAS (which publishes ScienceInsider). He will succeed Alan Leshner, a neuroscientist who is stepping down this winter after leading AAAS since 2001.Holt, 66, has represented a New Jersey district since 1999, but in February announced he would not seek another term. Although not known for sponsoring legislation, Holt has earned kudos from both Republican and Democrat colleagues for being an effective, behind-the-scenes advocate for additional funding for research and science education. He was part of an unofficial, bipartisan “physics caucus” in Congress that, at its peak, totaled three members who held physics Ph.D.s.Holt has a long political pedigree. His father was a U.S. senator from West Virginia in the 1930s, and his mother was West Virginia’s secretary of state. He was elected to Congress in 1998 after spending a decade at the Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. A former physics teacher at Swarthmore College, he credits the long-running AAAS Science and Technology Fellowship program, which allowed him to spend a year on Capitol Hill, for piquing his interest in politics.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(*)“I will continue to work on trying to bring more scientific thinking to public policy and to American society in general,” he told ScienceInsider after announcing his retirement from Congress. “Those are ongoing interests of mine. I think it’s important to maintain freedom of inquiry and to make sure that we have support not just for research but also for scientific communication.”Holt was a vocal—but often lone—advocate in Congress for reviving the Office of Technology Assessment, a well-regarded in-house think tank for legislators that Congress abolished when Republicans took control in 1995. He admitted that it was an uphill battle, but felt the fight was worth waging. “I would say that most members of Congress value science and respect scientists,” he told ScienceInsider in February. “But I don’t see more scientific thinking evidence-based, critical thinking.”This fall, Holt made an eloquent pitch for the importance of science to society when the American Academy of Arts & Sciences rolled out a report urging the government to commit to steady, long-term increases in research funding. He began by asking Americans “to banish the pessimism that is dominating our public policy on this issue and so many others.” Then he sketched a picture of where the country is and where he thinks it needs to be.“Why hasn’t Congress paid more attention to the critical point we’ve reached? I’m not sure. But it may be because we’ve taken it for granted that America’s leadership will continue as it has for a couple of centuries. The sky seemed to be the limit for what we could do. And after the Apollo flights, we even broke through the sky.“This success has continued in some respects, enough to make some members of Congress complacent But if you look at transportation, energy, and every other sectors, the transformative breakthroughs that we thought we were heading toward 20 or 30 years ago have not materialized.“What we need at this point is a return to America’s traditional optimism. I don’t mean empty, technological optimism that technology will solve all of our social problems. But I do mean optimism that we can increase economic opportunity and personal growth and create jobs and grow, to overcome our short-term problems. That’s what we have always done.”Leshner, who was a senior administrator at the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation before coming to AAAS, said that “Rush Holt is an ideal choice to lead AAAS and Science into the future. His expertise, experience, and commitment to science, and to public service are sure to greatly enhance the association’s impact in all domains.”The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), founded in 1848, is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling.last_img read more

2,000 Stranded Indian Workers Wait for Dues to be Cleared in Kuwait

first_imgAbout 2,000 Indian workers are stranded in Kuwait as they have not received wages from the construction company, Kharafi National, where they have been working for over a year.The misery of the workers seems to only rise with each day, as they are without food and amenities to shield them in winter, the Times of India reported. Their visas have also expired, making their stay illegal as they wait for the company to settle the issue.“I can only think of suicide. I haven’t been paid for the last 10 months and my stay here has become illegal. I have a lot of debts to repay in India,” Naresh Naidu, a worker, said, TOI reported.The workers said that the company informed them it was not in a position to pay salaries as it doesn’t have projects to execute.The workers hail from different parts of India, such as Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.As many as 45 workers are demonstrating in front of the office, carrying placards. They are asking for their dues to be cleared and that they be sent back to India. The company has put them up in a camp, which is 60 km away from office.“We do not have money to travel daily to the office to plead our case. The only thing we can do is sit here, sleep here and wait till our plea is considered. But no one seems to be bothered,” the report quoted 42-year-old Irfan Ahmed as saying.The company has also kept the workers’ passports. They cannot leave Kuwait even if they decide to forego their dues and return to India.Since their visas have expired, they also have to pay a fine for overstaying. “If I have to return home, I will have to pay Rs 75,000 as fine. Where will I get it from? And if police arrest me for overstaying, I won’t ever be able to return to Kuwait for work,” another worker said.The condition of the workers has moved Shayeen Sayeed, a social worker in Kuwait, who has been trying to provide food to them. “We requested a local gurudwara and they have come forward to assist us. There are many workers who have become suicidal and need help. I’ve been counselling them against taking any extreme step,” Sayeed said, the report added.Many sympathizers have taken to the social media to lend a voice to the issue, posting videos of the stranded protesting workers and also trying alert the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.11th Night KN head office Stranded Indian Workers In Kuwait @PMOIndia @SushmaSwaraj @indembkwt @ProtectorGenGOI @vijaypdwivedi @KTRTRS @humanrightindia @Gen_VKSingh @mjakbar @meaMADAD@MEAQuery @MEAIndia @IndianGov @sushilrTOI pic.twitter.com/HL5hkaPczZ— Shaheen Sayyed (@nihahs24) January 3, 2018 Related ItemsEmploymentGulfKuwaitlast_img read more

Jitan Ram Manjhi accuses Tejashwi of showing ‘soft corner’ for NDA

first_imgFormer Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Thursday fired a fresh salvo at Lalu Prasad’s RJD, which heads the opposition Grand Alliance in the State of which his Hindustani Awam Morcha is also a part, charging its leader Tejashwi Yadav with displaying “a soft corner for the NDA”.The HAM president made the startling allegation while defending his decision to announce his party’s candidate from Nathnagar Assembly seat, where bypoll is due next month,ahead of the Grand Alliance’s proposed meeting later this week. He asserted, “we cannot go on back foot after having played on the front foot”.“We had taken the decision to field Ajay Rai from Nathnagar with concurrence of alliance partners, long before the RJD stabbed us in the back by unilaterally, giving tickets to its candidates for four out of five Assembly segments where bypolls are to be held,” Mr. Manjhi told reporters here.Ticket issueThe RJD is yet to go public with the seats it plans to contest and the respective candidates. However, there have been reports that on Tuesday tickets were surreptitiously given to aspirants for all assembly segments, barring Kishanganj which is the sitting seat of the Congress.“The RJD’s treachery had left us with no choice. I was not in a position to show my face to the party cadre. So I had to formally announce the candidature of Rai in Bhagalpur on Wednesday. He will file his nomination papers on September 30. And I hope better sense prevails when all constituents of Grand Alliance meet in Patna on September 28,” he said.Squarely blaming Mr. Tejashwi Yadav, the RJD heir apparent and Leader of the Opposition in the Atate Assembly, for the confusion prevailing in the five-party formation, Mr. Manjhi claimed: “Had we been in the wrong we would not have received support from our allies like the VIP headed by Mukesh Sahni.”“Even RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha, who has chosen to remain quiet so far, is sore over the manner in which Tejashwi has been functioning.” Mr. Manjhi said.last_img read more

Spyware targeted prominent human rights activists in Maharashtra

first_imgWatch | Explained: Pegasus, the spyware that came in via WhatsApp Two activists associated with the Bhima-Koregaon case were among those whom Citizen Lab, University of Toronto’s cyber security group, reached out to informing them that their phone security was compromised by a spyware.Human rights activist and academic Anand Teltumbde, who had been named in the FIR, and Nagpur-based civil liberties lawyer Nihalsing Rathod were were contacted by Citizen Lab early this month. Later, WhatsApp informed them that their video calling feature was exploited to install the malware.“I had mailed them in April informing them about getting video calls from unknown numbers. Typically one number would start the call and another number would join,” said Mr. Rathod, who is representing lawyer Surendra Gadling in the Bhima-Koregaon case.In a telephonic conversation with The Hindu, Mr. Rathod alleged that the incriminatory letters cited as evidence in the Bhima-Koregaon case may have been planted by government agencies using the spyware. “Even Mr. Gadling received such phone calls,” he said.Besides Mr. Gadling, nine prominent activists, lawyers and academics have been arrested and imprisoned for over a year in the Bhima-Koregaon case. They include Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Arun Ferriera, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha. Mr. Teltumbde told The Hindu that he noticed that his phone had been acting up but thought it was a hardware issue. He said, “Nothing can be done now. They [government] can do anything. The state has no morality left.” Mr. Teltumbde said surveillance methods and techniques have reached a level of sophistication that it can only be prevented by a moral state.“Today it was this, tomorrow they can do something else. They can do anything to anyone. It is a statement of absolute power,” he said.center_img Explained | Pegasus, the spyware that came in via WhatsAppVolume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0001:3301:33  last_img read more

Finance firm office sealed, depositors left in the lurch

first_imgA large number of persons who had deposited huge amounts with Salai Finance, a private undertaking based at Naoremthong in Imphal West district, have been left in the lurch after its premises were sealed by the police on Saturday. Salai Finance is one of the undertakings of Salai Holdings, whose chairman Narengbam Samarjit had recently announced in London that Manipur is now “independent”.The police said that the step was taken in the course of investigation. A notification issued by the company said that its office was sealed as required by the law.Salai Holdings vice-president N. Bishorjit said, “Samarjit was removed from the post on October 30 following his contentious announcement. It is also a rumour that he had taken a huge amount with him. Once the investigation is over, people who had deposited money will be able to withdraw it any time.” He added that the company is extending full cooperation to the investigation team. Police sources said that once the preliminary investigation is over, the findings will be handed over to the National Investigation Agency. A large number of people assembled at the Naoremthong office on Saturday and demanded that their deposits be made secure.last_img read more