BSF jawans in row over death of 3 tribals in Tripura

first_imgAn inquiry was on Saturday ordered by the BSF after its personnel were caught in a row with locals in Tripura over killing of three civilians who had protested alleged molestation bid by some paramilitary personnel.The BSF said that the three civilians, including a woman, were engaged in cattle smuggling and had attacked the jawans who opened fire in “self—defence”, a claim rejected by the local people, who alleged that the paramilitary jawans were trying to molest a tribal woman at Bhangamura in South Tripura.Stepping in, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has sought a detailed report from the BSF Chief K K Sharma on the incident, officials said in New Delhi.In a statement, the Border Security Force (BSF) claimed that its personnel posted along the Indo—Bangladesh border in Tripura Frontier on Friday had observed 30—40 smugglers including men and women, trying to smuggle cattle from India to Bangladesh through unfenced gap near BOP Bhangamura. The local police has however denied it.The BSF claimed that its personnel challenged the group and fired two warning shots in the air to disperse the smugglers, who instead encircled the paramilitary party and “attacked them with ‘dah’ and ‘lathis’“.“Sensing their life in danger, the BSF party fired in self-defence, in which three smugglers died. Firing was the last resort available to troopers.” The statement “regretted” the loss and said “every human life is valued by BSF” and claimed that 10 cattle were recovered after the scuffle in which its personnel also sustained injuries.However, Superintendent of Police in the control room Bhanupada Chakraborty quoted an FIR lodged by villagers in which it was alleged that three BSF jawans attempted to molest a young woman at Chitabari when she was on her way back home last evening after working in a rubber plantation.When she raised an alarm, villagers rushed to the spot. A clash ensued and the BSF jawans opened fire, killing the woman and two other villagers on the spot besides injuring two others, the FIR said.Normal life was paralysed in Sabroom subdivision of South Tripura district after a dawn—to—dusk bandh was called by the ruling CPI(M) over the death of the three tribals.Inspector General of Police K V Srijesh and Superintendent of Police Tapan Kumar Debbarma were camping in the area with a huge contingent of forces.Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar discussed the matter with DGP K Nagraj and Chief Secretary Sanjib Ranjan immediately after the incident and asked them to collect all relevant information pertaining to it.The ruling CPI (M) has condemned the incident as “heinous and barbaric” and said it was “a clear attempt to molest the poor tribal woman“.Normal life was paralysed in Sabroom subdivision of South Tripura district following a dawn-to-dusk bandh called by the CPI(M) over the incident.last_img read more

Battling depression through films

first_imgPune: Satara-based Parivartan Trust, known for its work in the field of mental health, will contribute to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global campaign against depression by releasing two Hindi short films on the theme on Friday, the World Health Day. The films, Mann ki Aankhe and Jagruti, are directed by Sumitra Bhave. They deal with depression, and the social stigma and the problems faced by people in coping with the disorder. The screening will be held at the National Film Archive of India (NFAI).Ms. Bhave, along with her co-director Sunil Sukhtankar, is known for her complex psychological study of human nature in films like Astu (2015), which dealt with Alzheimer’s disease, and Devrai (2004), which was about schizophrenia.Dr. Sudipto Chatterjee, psychiatrist, Parivartan Trust, said, “We hope these films encourage people afflicted by depression to discuss it with their families or ASHA workers. Putting the focus on depression catalyses public opinion and impels people to demand more from health services, which will take it out of the shadows.”The Parivartan Trust has been implementing the ‘Jan Man Swasthya Programme’ (JMSP) at six different sites across the country for the past three years. As part of the programme, the trust provides treatments for mental disorders at affordable prices. It has been particularly active in Pune and Satara districts.Activist Dr. Hamid Dabholkar of the Parivartan Trust, said, “In India, the recent National Mental Health Survey indicated that one in 20 people suffer from depression of sufficient severity to warrant immediate treatment. The most important objective of this programme is to enhance the recognition of this affliction and prioritise its treatment.”last_img read more

Lunkaransar quiet after farmer protests

first_imgThe situation eased on Saturday at Lunkaransar in the Bikaner district, where several persons were injured in a clash between the police and farmers during the latter’s protest against paucity of water in the Indira Gandhi Canal’s distributory outlets for irrigation. Farmers withdrew their agitation after talks with the government authorities.The farmers of the region had staged a dharna for 11 days at the Lunkaransar sub-divisional headquarters in protest against the reduction of the width of about 60 water outlets falling under the Kanwar Sain lift project. On Friday, about 500 farmers and livestock rearers reached the tehsil office along with stray animals and let the cattle loose on the Bikaner-Suratgarh highway.When the police asked the protesters to clear the highway, they allegedly started pelting stones. Police resorted to lathicharge and lobbed teargas shells to disperse the farmers.last_img read more

Blow to Akhilesh as another MLC quits

first_imgOn a day when Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav started a political campaign against the BJP with a rally in symbolically important Faizabad, he suffered a fresh setback as another senior MLC quit the SP on Wednesday.Ashok Bajpai resigned from his post, expressing disappointment with the current leadership under Mr. Akhilesh for ‘sidelining’ Mulayam Singh, the SP founder, while ‘giving prominence’ to those who bore “no connection to the Samajwadi movement or ideology.”“Mulayam Singh Yadavji is sidelined in the party he built, facing neglect and insult,” Mr. Bajpai said.Fourth to quitIncidentally, Mr. Bajpai’s tenure was to end in 2021. He became the fourth SP MLC to resign from his post in the past two weeks, following in the steps of Bukkal Nawab, Yashwant Singh and Sarojini Agarwal.Mr. Nawab, Mr. Singh and Mr. Agarwal later joined the BJP, and speculation is rife that Mr. Bajpai may follow suit. Former BSP MLC Thakur Jaiveer Singh, who quit his party along with Mr. Nawab and Mr. Singh, also joined the BJP.The rumour mills got activated further as senior BSP leader Ambika Chaudhary also reached the Vidhan Parishad to offer his resignation. Though he resigned from his MLC post, Mr. Chaudhary said he was only resigning for technical reasons and was working with the BSP with ‘honour’ and had ‘no complaints’.last_img read more

Parties trade jibes over Punjab schools merger

first_imgFacing criticism from Opposition parties for his government’s decision to close some State-run primary schools, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday accused theOpposition parties, including the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), of misguiding the public. “The fact was that the government had merely decided to merge 800 government schools with less than 20 students with adjoining schools situated within a one kilometre radius,” he said. Punjab’s Education Department had announced the decision to merge the schools on Saturday. The department maintained that the merger would be in the interest of both students and teachers as it would lead to a better educational atmosphere in the schools.Criticising the move, AAP’s co-State president Aman Arora said that if less than 20 students attended some schools it was not the fault of parents or wards and instead, “the responsibility of successive governments who have failed to provide proper infrastructure and the policies suitable for the success of the primary schools.”last_img read more

Congress, BJP kick-start process to pick contestants for Gujarat battle

first_imgAlso Read  On Wednesday, the Election Commission of India announced that the polls will be held on December 9 and 14 and counting will be on December 18 along with Himachal Pradesh Assembly poll  results.The Aam Aadmi Party had announced candidates for 11 seats and it willl announce the remaining candidates in the next few weeks. Former Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela’s Jan Vikalp Party will field candidates in all the seats. In the Congress, its screening committee has been meeting in Delhi to discuss the names of potential candidates. “The screening committee meeting was held in Delhi. We have finalised names for more than 50 seats but the final announcement will be made only in November second week,” a Congress leader part of the deliberations said.Senior Congress leader and in charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot and other screening committee members and State party chief Bharatsinh Solanki were present in the meeting in New Delhi.Also Read Gujarat is spotlit but it’s Karnataka on BJP’s mind Court cancels arrest warrant issued against Hardik Patel in vandalism case With the announcement of election schedule for Gujarat Assembly polls, both the BJP and the Congress have begun an elaborate exercise of candidate selection. The BJP’s State parliamentary board has been holding meetings in Ahmedabad to discuss potential candidates. It will make a panel of two candidates for each seat and then the final decision will be taken by the national parliamentary board. “The State parliamentary board will continue to meet till October 27,” a party leader said. Party president Amit Shah is also attending all meetings of the State parliamentary board.Also Read Patidar leader heats up poll scene with tape on bribery last_img read more

Temple hosts first navjote of kids with non-Parsi father

first_imgThe newly opened fire temple in Kondhwa in Pune, which welcomes people of all religions and gender, hosted a navjote ceremony of two children born to a Zoroastrian mother and her Australian husband. Clad in traditional attire, men and women gathered at Asha Vahishta Zoroastrian Centre, as priests carried out the rituals for 10-year-old Cyrus Hoffmann and his 7-year-old sister, Sanaya, to welcome them into the fold of the Zoroastrian religion. The children’s mother, Shireen Hoffmann was born a Parsi, and married Cameron, an Australian. The couple have lived in Brisbane for the last 24 years. “I am a Zoroastrian. My husband, too, has interest in my religion, and he has done a lot of research on it. We have raised our children as Zoroastrians,” said Ms. Hoffmann, 43, an interior designer.The family had planned a private navjote ceremony for their children in Mumbai, but when they read about the new fire temple that would welcome children of Parsi women who had married outside the community, they decided to change the venue to Pune. “We didn’t even know that we were going to be the first family there to have the ceremony. But we are so glad we did,” Ms. Hoffmann said.She said getting rid of the discrimination was extremely important, and she is glad that the centre is acting as a torch-bearer. Children of women who marry outside the community are not welcome in fire temples. However, children of Parsi men who have married non-Parsi women don’t face such discrimination. “Navjote ceremonies of children born to non-Parsi fathers have been carried out earlier too, in residences, open lawns, Parsi baugs and even hotels. But holding the ceremony in a religious place definitely adds value to it,” said Vispy Wadia, founder member of the Association for Revival of Zoroastrianism, under which the centre has been built. For Ms. Hoffmann, having the ceremony in a fire temple where her entire family felt welcome, was extremely satisfying. She said, “It was a beautiful feeling.”last_img read more

Gurugram businessman accused of raping his daughter’s friend

first_imgA 43-year-old businessman has been arrested for allegedly raping the teenage friend of his daughter inside his flat in DLF Phase-V here in the early hours of Friday.According to the police, the victim, a resident of Gurugram, had gone to visit the businessman’s daughter, who had come to India for holidays, to her flat when the incident took place. The businessman’s daughter studies abroad and had invited the victim to her flat for a sleepover.The accused, Mangesh, allegedly took the girls to Cyber Hub for dinner and drinks late on Thursday night, the police said. The businessman allegedly walked into the room where the two girls were sleeping around 4 a.m. and called the victim out to talk. He then allegedly pulled her into his room and raped her. He also threatened her not to share the incident with anyone.“The victim confided in her mother about the incident during the day. A case was registered in this connection and the medical examination of the victim was done. The accused was later arrested,” said Gurugram Police spokesperson Subhash Boken. The case has been registered on charges of rape and criminal intimidation at Women’s Police Station.The victim had been visiting her friend’s house since school days. The two had studied together at a prominent private school in the city.last_img read more

‘No farmer will be left out of loan waiver’

first_imgCooperative Minister Subhash Deshmukh said on Tuesday that the State government will make every effort to provide loan waiver benefits to farmers.Replying to NCP leader Dhananjay Munde during the question hour in the Legislative Council, who alleged that only 37.78 lakh farmers had been given the benefits, Mr. Deshmukh said, “The claims that applications of thousands of farmers are being rejected in Solapur are untrue. There could be cases where a mismatch in names may have caused confusion but no farmer will be left out.”Mr. Deskhmukh expressed his willingness to set up a helpline for farmers in cases where their names are in the beneficiaries’ list, but banks tell them they are not eligible.last_img read more

Cyclone Titli live updates | No loss of life reported in Odisha

first_img Complete darkness in early hours of Thursday, moderate rain and heavy gales with a speed of 120 kmph caused tension among the people and made them to stay indoors. Minister for Transport K. Atchannaidu and Collector K. Dhananjaya Reddy directed the education department to declare holiday for schools and colleges to prevent untoward incidents. Vehicular movement in all routes is very thin. APSRTC buses are moving with little occupancy rate with passengers postponing their travel plan even in Dasara season. Cyclone Titli hit Srikakulam Coast, Andhra PradeshCyclone Titli which caused tension among the Andhra Pradesh administration and people of North Andhra region had caused a little damage in Srikakulam district although IMD and officials anticipated devastation.The cyclone which hovered between Gopalpur of Odisha and Kalingapatnam of Andhra Pradesh for the last two days hit the coast near Gollapadu-Pallesarathi villages of Santabommali mandal, 60 km away from district headquarters at around 3.35 a.m. on Thursday. During the landfall, the gales which moved with a speed of 120 kmph caused losses to the coconut, paddy and other crops.Read more   Eye of the stormThe process of landfall of the very severe cyclone Titli started early on Thursday with surface wind reaching speeds of 126 kmph at Gopalpur in Odisha’s Ganjam district, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.“The process of landfall has started and it will completely cross the Odisha coast in one or two hours. The system will pass close to Gopalpur,” H.R. Biswas, Director of Metereological Centre, Bhubaneswar, said.The IMD said, “The forward sector of the eye of the storm has been entering into the land mass.”While Gopalpur in Odisha reported surface winds at 126 kmph, Kalingapatanam in Andhra Pradesh recorded wind speed of 56 kmph.  As the landfall process started, at least five districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Khurda and Jagatsinghpur are receiving good amount of rainfall coupled with high speed winds under the impact of Titli.Mr. Biswas said the very severe cyclonic storm (VSCS), ‘Titli’, is being monitored by the coastal Doppler Weather Radars at Visakhapatnam, Gopalpur and Paradip.Also Read  The IMD had predicted heavy rainfall in Odisha and upper Srikakulam.The trains on Vizianagaram and Khurda route were cancelled.  Four NDRF team rushed to Kalingapatnam area of Andhra PradeshOdishaCyclone Titli landfall: No casualty, damages reportedNo casualty or major damages were reported till 8 a.m. while ‘very severe cyclonic storm Titli’ made its landfall near Palasa of Andhra Pradesh to the southwest of Gopalpur in Odisha’s Ganjam district at around 5.30 a.m. on Thursday morning.Gopalpur experienced wind with velocity of 102 kmph during the landfall. According to local fire services officials, branches of trees were broken at several places and at some places few trees were uprooted. As per Ganjam district administration, till now no incident of major damage had been reported from any part of the district.Read more Bhubaneswar – The ‘very severe cyclonic storm Titli’ made its landfall by crossing north Andhra Pradesh-south Odisha coast (near Palasa, Srikakulam district) to the southwest of Gopalpur early morning on Thursday, with wind speed touching close to 149 kmph.Five coastal districts such as Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda and Kendrapara have been evacuated, with residents moved to safer zones. About 3 lakh people have been evacuated.As per Met officials the landfall will continue for the next 3 to 4 hours and then the system will re-curve towards Gangetic West Bengal along the Odisha coast to weaken.Odisha government has declared a two-day holiday from Thursday.Apart from setting-up control rooms and shelter homes, NDRF and ODRF teams have already been deployed at all key districts and officials are on alert mode to mitigate any eventualities.Multiple trains, buses and flights have been cancelled. Trees and electric poles have been uprooted in the coastal region between Kalingapatanam in Andhra Pradesh and Gopalpur.Here are the updates: No casualty in OdishaAlthough no casualty from Odisha has been reported due to ‘very severe cyclone Titli’ till 2 p.m. on Thursday, news about damages caused by the cyclone is trickling in from south Odisha districts like Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the situation and administrative measures to face aftermath of Titli, at State secretariat in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. Read more Cyclone Titli intensifies into severe storm; around 3 lakh people evacuated in Odisha Cyclone Titli made a landfall at the Gopalpur on the Bay of Bengal’s eastern coast beach in Odisha on October 11, 2018.  | Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout center_img  More trains cancelledSome more trains, in addition to the ones announced on Wednesday, have been cancelled on Thursday in view of the severe cyclonic storm Titli in the west central Bay of Bengal, according to a statement issued by the Waltair Division of East Coast Railway (ECoR) on Thursday afternoon.The trains cancelled are: Train no. 22838 Ernakulam- Hatia express, leaving Hatia on October 11, is cancelled, 12864 Yesvantpur-Howrah Express, leaving Yesvantpur on October 10, is cancelled, 12509 Bengaluru-Guwahati express, leaving Bengaluru on October 10, is cancelled, 15227 Yesvantpur-Muzaffarpur express, leaving Yesvantpur on October 10, is cancelled and  58526 Visakhapatnam -Palasa Passenger, leaving Visakhapatnam on October 11, is cancelled.The trains to be short terminated are: 58506 Visakhapatnam-Gunupur  passenger,  leaving Visakhapatnam on October 11, will run up to Vizianagaram and return to Visakhapatnam.Train no. 67294 Visakhapatnam-New Palasa, leaving Visakhapatnam on October 11, will be short terminated at Vizianagaram and return from Vizianagaram to Visakhapatnam. Damage was lessCompared to previous cyclones Phailin and Hud Hud, the damage was very less with the impact of Titli which hit the coast on Thursday morning.The senior official heaved a sigh of relief with the damage was confining to Uddanam coconut region and Tekkali division. Srikakulam Collector sent a detailed report to Chief Minister’s office and said there was no need for panic as the situation was under control even after landfall.Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is expected to come to Tekkali division for the ground level assessment of crop and property damage. Coconut and banana farmers were the worst victims of Titli, according to senior agriculture officials. Fortunately, there would not be floods to Nagavali, Vamsadhara and other rivers as rains were limited to Tekkali division. Rainfall is below 2 cm in Srikakulam, Palakonda divisions.However,  normal life was thrown out of gear with power cut and lack of transport facility to other places from Srikakulam. RTC withdrew many services due to cyclone. Many people were stranded in several areas including Tekkali, Subhadrapuram and other places with lack of bus facility. Heavy rains lash SrikakulamHeavy rains continue to lash Srikakulam district and rain and gales are expected to continue till the evening.There is no rain in Visakhapatnam, except for a drizzle, on Wednesday. Except for occasional power disruptions at some places in the city due to strong winds, there are no reports of any major disruption in Visakhapatnam.Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is likely to visit Srikakulam district on Thursday afternoon. “We are yet to get an official communication on the time of his arrival,” Deputy Director of the Information and Public Relations (I & PR) Department said.The CM is reviewing the situation in Srikakulam district via teleconference from Amaravati. He directed the Revenue, Police, NDRF and other departments to undertake relief measures.There is no power in Srikakulam district with the falling of electricity poles and disruption of power lines. NDRF and other relief teams are on the job of clearing the fallen trees with power saws. Lower all danger signals, says CWCIndiGo has cancelled three scheduled flights from Vizag to Bengaluru and Hyderabad on Thursday as a precautionary measure.“No other airline has cancelled its flights. A couple of flights are delayed but there is no other problem at Vizag Airport,” Airport Director G. Prakash Reddy told The Hindu.East Coast Railway (ECoR) has already announced cancellation of some trains, diversion and short-termination of trains between Vizianagaram and Khurda Road (in Odisha).The Cyclone Warning Centre (CWC), Visakhapatnam has asked the ports to lower the danger signals. It said that the great danger signal no. 10 hoisted at Kalingapatnam could be replaced with local cautionary signal number three (LC-III) and the great danger signal no. 8 hoisted at Visakhapatnam and Gangavaram Ports be replaced with local cautionary signal number three (LC-III). The Bheemunipatnam and Kakinada Ports have also been asked to lower all the danger signals. Exams postponedDr. B. R. Ambedkar University postponed the scheduled examinations due to cyclone Titli, according to Vice-Chancellor Ramjee.OdishaVery severe category to turn to cycloneVery severe category cyclone likely to turn to cyclone by Thursday evening and into Deep Depression by Friday morning. It is expected that maximum impact will be during next 3 to 4 hours.Helpline numbersThe helpline numbers are: 0674-2301625 and 0674-2301525OdishaIMD predicts heavy rainfall in OdishaFifteen NDRF and ODRF teams were deployed in Titli-hit coastal districts of Odisha. The relief officers toll free number is 1070.  Now the wind speed had reached 165 kmph.The authorities have stopped the trucks and vehicles at Berhampur, Khurda and Balasore due to heavy rain and surface wind speed of 140 to 150 kmph. Five districts in Odisha were on red alert.  (With inputs from PTI, IANS, Sib Kumar Das, Andhra Pradesh Bureau)  Meanwhile, the Odisha government has geared up its machinery to tackle the situation. The state government has already evacuated over 3 lakh people living in low lying areas and kuchha houses ahead of the landfall in five coastal districts. People evacuatedThe people have been evacuated from vulnerable areas in Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Khordha districts.Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the preparedness at Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) office as cyclone Titli races towards Odisha-Andhra coast.“Till now 3 lakh people have been evacuated,” said a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office.The Chief Minister also reviewed the position of the reservoir and asked the authorities to closely monitor the situation.SRC Bishnupada Sethi has asked collectors of affected districts to ensure that 836 numbers of multi-purpose shelters are kept ready to accommodate maximum people.13 NDRF and 9 ODRAF teams have been deployed in Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Kendrapada, Nayagarh, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Khordha, Cuttack, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Kalahandi, Boudh and Sambalpur districts. Twin cyclones may benefit Tamil naduThe rare phenomenon of twin cyclones — Luban and Titli — occurring at the same time, over the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal respectively, is happening after nearly 40 years.The north Indian Ocean has witnessed similar weather phenomena on 23 occasions since 1891, according to a study. While it is generally feared that twin cyclones adversely influence rainfall during the northeast monsoon, the State has recorded good rainfall during most of the years when two weather disturbances developed simultaneously, notes a study by weather blogging site Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikalam, based on the India Meteorological Department’s data.Read more  The latest observations indicate that ‘Titli’, over west-central Bay of Bengal moved north-northwestwards with a speed of about 19 kmph during the past six hours.After the landfall, the system is very likely to re-curve gradually northeastwards, move towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha and weaken gradually. Odisha gears up machineryReports of trees, electric poles getting uprooted and damages to kuchha houses were reported, officials said, adding that road communication in some places, including Gopalpur and Berhampur, was snapped.  Andhra PradeshCurfew like situation in SrikakulamCurfew like situation is prevailing in Srikakulam district, particularly in the district headquarters on Thursday morning with people confining themselves to houses with the impact of cyclone Titli which hit the coast near Gollapadu, Pallesaradhi villages of Santabommali mandal of the district. With bitter experiences during Phailin and Hud Hud cyclones, the people feared about natural calamity this time too.Read morelast_img read more

Eight killed as bus rams truck in Ahmednagar

first_imgAt least eight persons were killed and 13 more injured after a luxury bus collided with a truck along the Pune-Ahmednagar highway on Monday, October 22, 2018.The accident occurred at around 5.30 a.m. in the district’s Parner taluk, said police.“It appears that the bus, which was heading from Aurangabad towards Pune, attempted to overtake the truck at a high speed today morning. The truck was carrying iron rods that protruded outwards. As the bus driver lost control, it rammed into the carrier truck,” said an official from the Supa police station.He said that the intensity of the crash caused the bus to overturn and the truck to be derailed off the road. The front of the bus was mangled beyond recognition.The crash was further aggravated owing to the iron rods being carried by the truck. Eight of the passengers died on the spot, while the injured, trapped awhile inside the bus, were rescued by relief teams. They are undergoing treatment at a hospital nearby.Some of them are believed to be critical. The crash caused traffic to be held up for a few hours along the highway before cranes arrived and cleared away the debris.last_img read more

Woman killed for objecting to smoking

first_imgA pregnant woman was allegedly strangled to death on a train for objecting to a co-passenger smoking, a senior GRP official said. On Friday night, Chinat Devi (45) was travelling with her family on the Punjab-Bihar Jallianwala Express when she objected to a co-passenger, identified as Sonu Yadav, smoking, the GRP said. After a heated argument, Yadav attacked the woman and strangled her, it said.last_img

Diamond trader’s murder: two sent to police custody

first_imgThe Opposition on Sunday targeted Housing Minister Prakash Mehta, after his former personal assistant and ex-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office-bearer Sachin Pawar was arrested on Saturday in connection with the murder of diamond trader Rajeshwar Udani. Sachin and another accused, Dinesh Pawar, were sent to police custody till December 14 on Sunday. Actor Devoleena Bhattacharjee, who recorded her statement with the Mumbai Police, issued a statement through her lawyer Falguni Brahmbhatt saying she is cooperating with the investigation. The statement said, “Some media houses have published a false story that in the said case my client has been arrested, without verifying the facts … which has not only tarnished [Ms. Bhattacharjee’s] image and caused humiliation to her, but has caused a hindrance and prejudice in the case.” “You are therefore called upon to refrain yourselves from publishing such articles without verifying the facts. If you fail to do so and in case any such articles get published henceforth, my client will be compelled to take appropriate legal action against those who do so,” it said. The Opposition, meanwhile, sought an investigation into whether Sachin Pawar has support from Mr. Mehta. “He was with the BJP and was a personal assistant of Prakash Mehta. There has to be a thorough inquiry into every aspect of the case,” State Congress president Ashok Chavan said.Mr. Mehta had issued a statement on Saturday saying Mr. Pawar does not work with him any more and had been removed from the BJP. “I have no connection with him. The BJP doesn’t support criminals. The law will take its course,” he said.last_img read more

21 Bangladeshi nationals deported from Assam

first_imgThe border police in southern Assam’s Karimganj district on Saturday deported 21 Bangladeshis who had been detained for illegally entering India.Officials in Karimganj district said the 21, including two women, were sent back from the Sutarkandi border check post after approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs. They were handed over to Bangladesh authorities who had confirmed they were from Syllhet and Kishoreganj districts of the country.“They were detained for violation of the Passport Act over the past few months and kept at the detention camp in Silchar Central Jail. Six of them were held in Cachar district and 11 in Karimganj,” a police officer who handled the deportation process said.In July last year, 52 Bangladeshi nationals were deported from the Mankachar sector of the Assam-Bangladesh border. They were ‘convicted foreigners’, arrested for not possessing valid travel documents or for cross-border crimes.last_img read more

17 killed as fire breaks out in Karol Bagh hotel

first_imgIn a massive fire that broke out at the four-storey Hotel Arpit Palace in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh in the early hours of Tuesday, 17 people were killed, including three Myanmar nationals, and three sustained injuries. The fire started around 2.30 a.m. but the fire service was alerted two hours later. About 25 fire tenders were pressed into service as soon as the call was received, and 35 people were rescued.While 15 of the dead, including three members of a family from Kerala, have been identified, the identity of two could not be ascertained till evening.The fire is suspected to have started from the first floor and spread to the upper floors, mostly affecting the third and fourth floors and the rooftop where a restaurant was in operation. An eyewitness who resides behind the hotel said that he saw people jumping from the windows to save themselves. Deputy Chief Fire Officer Sunil Chawdhary said: “We rescued about 35 people using the hydraulic lift after breaking the windows. The operation went on for nearly five hours,” he said.All those pulled out were rushed to different hospitals including Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College, B.L. Kapoor Hospital and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. Doctors said most deaths were due to suffocation.The dead identified are: Vidyasagar, 60, Nalini Amma, 84, and Jayashree, 53, from Kerala; Nanda Kumar, 35, and Arvind Sukumaran, 50, from Tamil Nadu; Pranav Kumar Bhaskar of Bihar, 32, EVS Chalapathi Rao, 52, — Andhra Pradesh, Dawlma May, 67, Tun Hla Sein, 32, and Mya Mya Htwe, 45, — Myanmar; Rabia Menon, 50, — Surat; Tara Ram, 42, — Uttarakhand; and Suresh Kumar, 42, — Panchkula, besides Dr. Santosh Mahadev, 35, and Dr. Shankar Narayan Sheshadri, 52. Three persons, Saumya Shrestha, 4, Beena, 50, and Chan Mya Mya Nyein sustained injuries. Sources said the owners of the hotel, which was running since the early 90s, were in possession of a No Objection Certificate which was taken in December 2017 and was valid till December 2020. A North Delhi Municipal Corporation official said the building was erected illegally in the early 90s. “However, the entire structure is under protection up to 2020,” the official said.Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Mandeep Singh Randhawa said a case under sections 304 (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 308 (Attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the IPC has been registered. “Manager Rajendra and general manager Vikas have been arrested. Owner Shubhendu Goyal is absconding,” he said. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced compensation of ₹5 lakh to families of the 17 victims and ordered a magisterial probe into the cause of fire and alleged building bye-law violations.last_img read more

Invasion of the Nostril Ticks

first_imgTony Goldberg had been back from Uganda for only about a day when he felt a distressingly familiar itch in his nose. A veterinary epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he had just spent a few weeks in Kibale National Park studying chimpanzees and how the diseases they carry might make the jump to humans. Now, he realized, he might have brought one of their parasites home with him.There was only one way to be sure. Goldberg quickly gathered the necessary supplies—a pair of forceps, a flashlight, and a mirror—and steeled his resolve. Using the mirror to steer his hand, he poked the instrument into his irritated nostril, latched onto a suspicious lump, and quickly yanked it out, careful not to snag any nose hairs in the process. There it was: an adolescent tick. At that point, Goldberg knew, it had likely been living in his nostril for several days.This was not Goldberg’s first nostril tick, and it’s unlikely to be his last. (On the whole, he says, the experience is “not pleasant but not as bad as you might think.”) He’s seen lots of chimpanzees with nostril ticks during his time in the field, so he’s not surprised a few of the parasites have taken advantage of his presence to burrow into the nose of a closely related primate. This particular tick, however, presented a unique opportunity. Because he found it when he was already back in his lab, Goldberg says, “I was in a position to preserve it for DNA analysis. It was just lucky that the timing was right.”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 nostril tick belonged to the genus Amblyomma, species of which are known to carry diseases that can infect mammals ranging from cows to people. But for now, that’s all Goldberg knows. “Its genetic sequence didn’t match anything in any known databases. So it could be a known species of tick that hasn’t been genetically characterized yet, or a completely new species,” he says. Goldberg reports his analysis in the latest issue of The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. “It’s fun to welcome Tony to that small, elite club of publishers on ticks in the nose,” says Gary Aronsen, an anthropologist at Yale University who is one of the few other scientists to have written about a close encounter with a nostril tick. (He sneezed his out during a layover in Amsterdam and brought it home with him in a chewing gum wrapper, though he wasn’t able to sequence its DNA.) Picking up parasites like these is “part of the glory and glamour of fieldwork.”Although researchers know very little about nostril ticks, including which other species they infest and if they carry any diseases, Goldberg speculates that his might be adapted to live in noses of chimpanzees. Chimps are fastidious groomers, so any parasite that wants to hang around for a while needs to fly under the radar. “I can’t think of a better way to do that than hide in an anatomic site that is difficult to access with the fingers,” Goldberg says. “There are several of those—some of which we won’t discuss—but the nostril certainly counts.” (In case you’re wondering, yes, chimps do pick their noses, but it doesn’t seem to dislodge the ticks.)Because most ticks need to feed on at least three different hosts in their lifetimes, they are exceptionally good at transmitting disease. Species-jumping nostril ticks are “yet another example of how nature provides opportunities for pathogen spillover,” says tick biologist Thomas Mather of the University of Rhode Island, Kingston. Still, the thought of nostril ticks spreading throughout North America isn’t keeping him up at night. “I’m not looking at this as a likely pathway for the introduction of exotic ticks. How many ticks are going to be in a person or two’s nose?”Nearly a year and a half after removing his own nostril tick, Goldberg hasn’t suffered any ill effects. But the parasite remains a mysterious creature, and for now, the only thing to do is wait for more specimens to turn up. He hopes his paper will raise awareness among his fellow field scientists. Soon, he suspects, “somebody somewhere will come up with another nose tick and will advance the field to the next level.”last_img read more

When Cats Became Comrades

first_imgCats have been part of human society for nearly 10,000 years, but they weren’t always string-chasers and lap-sitters. Ancient felines hunted crop-destroying rats and mice for early farmers, and in return we provided food and protection. At least that’s what scientists have long speculated. Now, they can back it up. Cat bones unearthed in a 5000-year-old Chinese farming village indicate that the animals consumed rodents and that some may have been cared for by humans. The findings provide the earliest hard evidence of this mutually beneficial relationship between man and cat.The book of cat domestication is missing a few pages. The oldest record of cats entering human society comes from an early farming village known as Shillourokambos, located on the southern coast of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. In 2001, researchers led by Jean-Denis Vigne, now director of research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris, discovered the shared grave of a human and feline underneath an ancient home. The skeleton of the animal—dated to 9500 years ago—was surrounded by carved seashells, indicating that cats held a special status in this society. Indeed, Vigne and others have argued that felines were important to the survival of such villages, whose large surpluses of grain attracted armies of rodents; the tamest cats, meanwhile, cozied up to humans, self-domesticating themselves over the course of thousands of years. Yet, there was no solid evidence for this hypothesis, and cats largely vanished from the historical record until about 4000 years ago, when they began to appear on the tomb paintings of ancient Egypt.The new study fills in some of that missing history. A team of archaeologists excavating an ancient settlement known as Quanhucun in central China has found eight cat bones—a pelvis, a mandible, and other pieces, all dating to about 5300 years ago—scattered among other animal bones, pottery fragments, and stone tools in garbage pits around the site. The villagers, perhaps a thousand strong, were successful millet farmers—and they clearly had a pest problem. The researchers unearthed rodent burrows tunneled into grain storage pits and v-shaped ceramic vessels the size of giant flower vases, likely designed to keep stored grain out of the mouths of scavengers. The inhabitants’ best weapon against these rodents, however, may have been cats.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(*)When the team analyzed the bones of the felines, it discovered forms—or isotopes—of carbon and nitrogen that indicated that the cats ate small animals, which themselves had eaten grain. Based on other bones found at the site, those animals were likely rodents, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The species of the cats is unclear. But the size and shape of the remains indicates they may belong to the genus Felis, which encompasses several species of small felines, including the Near Eastern wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica), believed to be the ancestor of today’s housecat.While these animals were protecting crops, villagers may have returned the favor. One of the cats had an unusually high level of grain in its diet. “That’s unexpected because cats are obligate carnivores,” says team member Fiona Marshall, a zooarchaeologist at Washington University in St. Louis. “It suggests that this cat was eating human food.”Another cat was an older individual, perhaps about 6 years old based on the wear of its teeth, Marshall says. “For a wildcat, it’s very rare to have teeth so worn, so old,” says Vigne, who was not involved in the study. “The most acceptable interpretation is that this cat was taken care of by people. I’m convinced that there was a tight connection between humans and cats at this time in China.”“Scientists have long suspected that cats were drawn to early farming settlements because of rodents and human refuse, but there’s never been actual evidence to test this hypothesis,” Marshall says. “That’s what’s exciting about these new data. We’re finally seeing the mechanisms behind feline domestication.”“This is a super-interesting opening chapter,” says Carlos Driscoll, whose genetic sequencing of hundreds of wild and domestic cats in 2007 pegged Felis silvestris lybica as the ancestor of today’s housecats. “But it’s just the beginning of the conversation.” For one thing, he notes that the Quanhucun cats were found in the trash, rather than buried with pomp like the Cyprus cat was. “That raises the possibility that these animals weren’t pets at all. They may have been eaten or used for their fur.”The species also makes a big difference, says Driscoll, the WWF chair in conservation genetics at the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun. If the Quanhucun cats are lybica, they made it from the Near East to China thousands of years earlier than thought, possibly along ancient trade routes. But that also means that the cats were already tame, and that the Chinese farmers played little role in their domestication. It’s also possible, he says, that the Quanhucun cats were a different species of feline—perhaps jungle cats (Felis chaus) or leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis)—that were domesticated independently in China. Because the DNA of these creatures is different from that found in modern housecats, however, these animals either died out or were overtaken by domestic cats from the Near East.Vigne is now working with the Chinese team to sequence the DNA of the cat bones. If the animals were wildcats, he says, it means that farming was critical to the domestication of the cat, and that this turn of events may have happened more than once. “In different places in the world, you have this same process going on. It strengthens our view of what led to this more intense relationship between humans and cats.” It also means something more fundamental: The rise of human civilization was destined to give rise to the housecat.last_img read more

Hollywood hopes to make engineers cool

first_imgTV fans of a certain age may fondly remember MacGyver, a brilliant secret agent who defeated bad guys armed with only a Swiss army knife, a roll of duct tape, and a paper clip or two.His astonishing knowledge of practical science made MacGyver (which aired from 1985 to 1992) into an engineering icon. Now Hollywood wants to find a new star engineer—this time, a woman—to take over the airwaves. The “Next MacGyver” competition, sponsored by the United Engineering Foundation, also hopes to inspire young women to become engineers. The contest was announced last month by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the University of Southern California’s (USC’s) Viterbi School of Engineering, in collaboration with The MacGyver Foundation. The five winners will each receive $5000—and will be paired with an established Hollywood producer to help shepherd the idea into a complete script for a TV pilot. The application deadline is 17 April.Crowdsourcing a Hollywood TV show is the latest example of using the power of the mass media to shape career choices.  In the early 1990s, Norman Augustine, the former CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp., suggested in an interview with IEEE that a show called L.A. Engineer could do for engineers what L.A. Law did for lawyers. And then there’s CSI, which made lab-based crime-solving dramatic and sexy—and caused a spike in the number of aspiring forensic scientists.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(*)To learn more, Science chatted with three of the producers who will mentor the winning candidates: MacGyver creator Lee Zlotoff, CSI creator Anthony Zuiker, and Lori McCreary, CEO and founder (with actor Morgan Freeman) of Revelations Entertainment. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.Q: Why cast a net for pitches beyond Hollywood?A.Z.: It starts with President [Barack] Obama. He has lots of passion for this subject of engineering; he’s been quoted as saying it’d be great to do CSI for science or engineering. We’re crowdsourcing with the hope that we’re able to find a specific take or perspective [that can] motivate the endgame, which is to inspire engineers to help our country.L.Z.: We want to create a show that can provide models for women to consider a career in sciences, in the way that MacGyver inspired a lot of people and CSI inspired people to go into forensic sciences. [But] we all know that getting an intelligent show on the air is akin to a successful landing on Mars. Networks are always hesitating when there’s anything too earnest behind a piece of entertainment—but if it comes from a groundswell of popular interest, that can change the equation. So to really share the concept, and the idea of young people—particularly women—going into the sciences, we said, “Why don’t we reach out to the global population at large?” … [ask] people, “What does it mean to be an engineer?” That has as much value as presumably any show we might be able to get on the air.L.M: Lee [Zlotoff] and the guys at USC and the National Academy of Engineering … made a compelling argument [about] the CSI effect in television. [Revelations Entertainment produces] this show called Madam Secretary, and one of the reasons it’s so appealing is [that it says to viewers], “Wow, wouldn’t it be great to have a great role model of a diplomat who does things the way I’d want to, or the way my friends and I would if we were in politics?” And maybe that would inspire people to move into government or public service.Q: What happens once the winners are chosen? L.M.: The winners are paired with one of five mentors. Morgan and I will have access to one of these projects and we will help develop it into a pitch.A.Z.: The first step is to get the top five; the second is, “Can this individual write?” And then we have to construct a pitch palatable for TV. There are a lot of “ifs” going forward. Can we actually write a script? Once we have a green light to shoot the episode, do we have the legs or team to support it?Q: What sort of engineer will make a good central character? L.Z.:  A lot of people have thought that what we’re looking for is a woman who’s going to be the next MacGyver. That’s not it. We’re looking for an entirely new TV show based around a female character that embodies the characteristics of an engineer. If I had to guess—and this is by no means a direction—the character will probably have several disciplines under their belt. That allows you to go in lots of different directions. What I would encourage people to do, for starters, is go online and look up types of engineers and what they do. When you say engineering to most people, they think of a guy with a striped hat who’s driving a train. People don’t think about engineers as significant elements of civilization and society.L.M.: I’d love to read something that hits at the soul of who an engineer is: a creator, a problem-solver, someone who thinks outside the box. Along with that main character, we need a really great world, something somewhat familiar to us so that we want to watch every week, but that also has enough corners to explore. When you’re developing the idea, the first thing I’d do is look around. Who’s the most interesting person you know? Find out more about that real person, what would make an interesting story inspired by that person, and then for a couple of weeks invite that person over to dinner. Sit around and tell them the story and have them tell you if it’s interesting or not.A.Z.: Engineering is a fascinating space. It’s all about ingenuity, innovation—those are the two main things about making the world a better place. CSI was very clear: Investigators are proficient in forensics, and piece together an investigation when the body can’t speak for itself while putting away the bad guy. [But] engineering is that times 500. There are so many ways to skin the engineering cat, if you will. [It could be] anything from robotics, or DARPA [the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency], to developing game apps—there are a lot of different ways to be an engineer.Q: Why are you specifically looking for a female character?L.M.: The fact that we’re looking for a female engineer is of interest, but I wouldn’t make that the primary issue. I’m doing a show about a female secretary of state. It informs the character but it’s not about that. Madam Secretary is about a female in a man’s world, but that’s not what people would take away after they see it. I would try not to fall into that trap. We’ve seen those fish-out-of-water characters before. Make sure there’s enough going on around [her] that this doesn’t become the primary reason for conflict.L.Z.: The goal of a show like this is entertainment, not sermonizing. Some really important core values came out of MacGyver. But I didn’t sit down and say, “I’m going to plug those values in and hope they take hold”; I said, “I’m going to create a piece of entertainment.” MacGyver didn’t not use a gun because I had a moral imperative about guns. He didn’t use a gun because, when you take the gun away, all of a sudden it’s like, “How’s he going to solve the problem? How do you turn what you have into what you need?” That is a core value of MacGyver—resourcefulness—and he always had a sense of humor and humility. Those are essential characteristics to solve problems.last_img read more

Non-resident claims on India up $26.3-bn as foreign investments hit $1,037.3 bn in Dec

first_imgNet claims of non-residents on India increased by $26.3 billion as of end-December 2017 compared to the previous quarter, Reserve Bank data on India’s international investment position (IIP) released today showed.Foreign-owned assets in India surged by $38.6 billion from $998.7 billion to $1,037.3 billion during the quarter, with broad-based contribution from foreign direct investment (FDI), portfolio investment, currency and deposits as well as trade credit. Outstanding commercial loans, however, declined marginally during the quarter.Read it at Domain B Related Itemslast_img read more