Dissent in Pune BJP ranks over choice of co-opted corporators

first_imgTrouble is brewing within the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ranks following the election of its co-opted corporators to the civic body. The rift comes months after the party beat Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to seize control of the crucial Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC). Party loyalists allege that the co-opted corporators — Babu Nair and Mauli Thorat — worked against the party in the civic polls held in February this year. ‘Sidelined’ Last week, senior BJP leaders smeared black paint on the posters of MP Amar Sable and leader Sachin Patwardhan for allegedly aiding the two corporators in being elected. They claimed that party loyalists were being sidelined. Co-opted corporators are typically those who are not given a ticket to contest the civic polls and are specially chosen by parties to enter as corporators in the civic body. The row threatens to break the party’s unity in the PCMC and the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). The civic body comprises many NCP leaders turned renegades. Mr. Sable, whose effigy was burnt by disgruntled BJP workers, said, “Their nominations were approved by State party chief Raosaheb Danve and the Chief Minister.” BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap, a former NCP leader, was a key figure in BJP’s stunning victory. The defection of former NCP heavyweights like Mahesh Landge, Azam Pansare and Yashwant Bhosale helped the BJP score a massive win in the PCMC, bagging 77 of the 128 seats. The party won just three seats in the 2012 polls.To approach CMMr. Jagtap and Mr. Landge are upset over the choice of co-opted candidates. Sources hint that Mr. Landge may approach Chief Minister Davendra Fadnavis to caution him about the discord brewing within the party. Last month, followers of Ganesh Ghosh, president of the city’s BJP youth wing, clashed with the followers of senior leader Ganesh Bidkar leading to vandalism and extensive damage to the party’s office in the PMC. Mr. Ghosh and his followers had alleged that Mr. Bidkar secured his nomination as co-opted corporator by paying bribes.last_img read more

Mamata Banerjee holds talks with Gorkhaland agitators

first_imgAlmost 11 weeks into the Darjeeling shutdown, three major political parties in the hills held talks with the West Bengal government at the State Secretariat ‘Nabanna’ building here on Tuesday, reviving fresh hopes that the deadlock may be resolved.Representatives of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) and the Jan Andolan Party (JAP) held discussions with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, where all stakeholders underlined the need for peace and normality in the hills. Darjeeling and Kalimpong have been shut down since June 15 over the demand for a separate State for the Gorkhas. ‘Talks fruitful’“The discussions were fruitful, constructive and positive. Peace and normalcy should be restored. We requested them (the hill parties) for withdrawal of the bandh. Let us give them some time,” the Chief Minister said. Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Ms. Banerjee said: “They raised the issue of Gorkhaland. We did not agree to it. They are within their rights to raise it but the State government has certain constitutional limitations.” GJM assistant general Benoy Tamang who raised the issue of Gorkhaland at the meeting also underlined the need for peace. “Peace and normalcy are essential. We are going to Darjeeling, the epicentre of the bandh, where we will hold discussions within our party and Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee. A decision on the withdrawal of the strike will be taken,” Mr. Tamang said. The GJM submitted a memorandum which among others demanded compensation for those killed in the three-month bandh, a probe by the National Investigation Agency into the recent blast, withdrawal of cases against protesters and a guarantee against political victimisation of the hill leaders.Eight Gorkhaland supporters have been killed in the violence over the statehood stir in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts which started on June 15. Schools and other academic institutions are closed in the hills and normal life, including the region’s economy based on tea and tourism, has been severely affected due to the shutdown. JAP leader Harka Bahadur Chettri, who was present at the meeting, urged the need for tripartite talks involving the Centre. Further talks will be held on September 12 at Uttar Kanya in north Bengal.last_img read more

Killer tigress that was to be shot electrocuted

first_imgA tigress in Maharashtra’s Bor sanctuary for which shoot orders were issued by the Forest Department after it killed people and domestic animals died of electrocution early on Saturday.“The tigress was found electrocuted on the boundary wire installed by a farmer to protect his crop from animals,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forest A.K. Misra said.Also read: Activists vs. people who get eatenThe incident came to the notice of the Forest Department officials at 7 a.m. as the tigress, which was being regularly monitored via its radio collar, displayed a fixed location since 3.30 a.m., he said, adding that the carcass was disposed of as per the rules.last_img read more

Salahuddin’s son under suspension

first_imgHizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s son Syed Shahid Yusuf, an employee of the Jammu and Kashmir government, was placed under suspension in the wake of his detention by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in an illegal funding case, according to State government sources.Officials said the services of Mr. Yousuf, an employee with the State’s agriculture department, “stood suspended as per the government rules for any employee who spends more than 48 hours in jail.”Mr. Yousuf was arrested in New Delhi on October 24 in a 2011 case where he allegedly received money through wire services from abroad.last_img read more

Phagwara clash: Internet ban in four Punjab districts till April 16

first_imgIn the wake of a violent clash between two communities in Phagwara, the Punjab government has extended the temporary suspension of mobile internet services in four districts till April 16. An official spokesperson on Sunday said that mobile internet services, SMS services, as well as all dongle services in the territorial jurisdiction of Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and SBS Nagar districts will be temporarily suspended.Two groups on Friday night had clashed over an attempt to install a flex-banner with B.R.Ambedkar’s picture on it at the town’s ‘Goal Chowk’ [square].last_img read more

Kathua rape and murder: Bar Council of India team did not approach us: J&K DGP

first_imgThe Jammu and Kashmir police said on Thursday that the Supreme Court-designated team of the Bar Council of India (BCI), headed by former BCI chief Tarun Agarwal, “did not meet officials of the Crime Branch or the J&K police” while probing the misconduct of lawyers in the Kathua rape-and-murder of a minor Bakerwal girl in Jammu. “The five-member team did not approach the police or seek any appointment…,” Director-General of Police S.P. Vaid told The Hindu.The BCI team’s decision not to meet any official organ comes despite the fact that an FIR (No. 131/2018) was filed under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 147 (rioting) of the IPC after the alleged “intense protests by the lawyers” on April 9, when a Crime Branch team tried to produce the challan against seven accused in Hiranagar. The apex court on April 19 directed the BCI to submit a report within three days on the conduct of lawyers in J&K.last_img read more

Eight killed in bus accident in Himachal

first_imgAt least eight people died and 11 others were injured, some of them seriously, when a private bus veered off Solan-Pulwahal road at Nei-Neti village in Sirmaur district in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday. According to some eyewitnesses, the axle broke, a tyre of the bus came off and it rolled down into a deep gorge. 26 passengersA large number of local villagers gathered at the spot and took out six bodies with the help of earth moving machines. The injured have been admitted to the Solan district hospital. A woman and a child died on the way to the hospital. There were around 26 passengers in the bus, said SHO Balwant Singh.In another accident on Sunday forenoon, all six occupants of a car lost their lives in Kholgali on Theog-Chaila road when it skidded off the road in anterior Shimla district. The victims, including two women, belonged to Sunni tehsil in rural Shimla. Accident-prone areaThe site of the mishap is an accident-prone area, according to locals. The bodies were taken out of the mangled remains of the car. The cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained, the police said.Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has expressed grief and conveyed his condolences over the deaths in the accidents and has assured all help to the injured. He also expressed grief over the death of Gulab Singh, a PWD employee who was injured in the recent Kasauli fire incident during a demolition drive. He died on Sunday morning at PGI, Chandigarh. The Chief Minister had gone to see him in the hospital a few days ago.last_img read more

Monk held in Bodhgaya for ‘sexually abusing’ 15 students

first_imgAt a time when sexual exploitation of minor girls at shelter homes in Bihar has grabbed headlines, a Buddhist monk running a meditation centre at Bodhgaya was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing 15 child monks. The accused monk, Bhante Shanghpriya, was remanded in 14-day judicial custody on Thursday and the statement of the victims was recorded before a judicial magistrate. A Special Investigation Team headed by the Bodhgaya DSP has been formed to probe the case, said Gaya SP Rajeev Mishra. The International Buddhist Council (IBC) has strongly condemned the incident and demanded a probe into the matter. “We demand a thorough probe… the organisation running the monastery was not registered with the IBC,” said the council’s general secretary, Pragya Deep, after an emergency meeting at Bodhgaya. Unregistered centresSources told The Hindu that of the 160 monasteries running in Bodhgaya, only 55 are registered with the IBC. “The police are investigating details of the trust running the monastery and if any fraud is found, an FIR will be lodged against all members of the trust,” said Mr. Mishra. The school-cum-meditation centre is managed by Prajana Social Welfare Trust. On Wednesday, all 15 child monks, aged seven to 12, and their parents had complained to the Bodhgaya police about alleged sexual abuse by Sanghpriya. The police swung into action and arrested the accused monk. Later, an FIR was lodged with the Bodh Gaya police under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. “The child monks complained about their physical and sexual abuse by their head monk. They also informed us that they were thrashed, mistreated in the school. We are investigating the matter now,” DSP Rajkumar Shah said. A board of doctors has been set up to examine the victims.All the child monks are from Karbi Anglong district of Assam. The incident came to light when one child rang up a former teacher who was in Mumbai and narrated their ordeal. The teacher from Assam knew the parents of the victims and informed them about their trauma. The parents reached Bodhgaya and took them to the police station.last_img read more

Minor abducted, gang-raped by thieves

first_imgThree men allegedly abducted a nine-year-old girl and gang-raped her after committing theft at her home at Dahikana village in Odisha’s Ganjam district on Wednesday night. The victim, a student of Class IV, was admitted to MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur with grievous injuries.According to the complaint, the girl told her parents that she woke up to find a man carrying her on his shoulders. Two other men were accompanying him.They threatened to slit her throat if she raised her voice. She was allegedly taken to a nearby field and gang-raped by the three men. The father of the victim said he woke up around 3 a.m. to find the front door of his house open and his daughter missing. The thieves had also taken away ₹20,000 cash, a pair of gold earrings, the father alleged. He raised an alarm following which the accused fled, leaving the girl behind. His neighbours located the girl crying in the field around 200 metres away from the house, the father said.Additional SP, Ganjam, P.K. Mohapatra said two special police teams have been formed to nab the culprits. One platoon of police force has been deployed at the village to check possibility of escalation of tension because of the gruesome act. Ganjam Superintendent of Police Brijesh Kumar Rai also rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.last_img read more

Maharashtra rushes to green flag projects before model code of conduct for LS polls

first_imgIn a rush to clear projects before the model code of conduct for LS polls kicks in, the State government seems to have set aside the rule book for issuing government resolutions (GRs). Traditionally GRs are published after the cabinet has cleared a proposal, and minutes of the meeting are tabled and approved in subsequent sittings. Government sources said 27 proposals were cleared by the cabinet in its meeting on Tuesday. Another 70-odd GRs for various works were issued before the minutes of meetings were approved by cabinet, officials confirmed. “The GRs for cabinet decisions were issued ‘subject to’ approval of the minutes. This is a clear departure from tradition — cabinet first clears a proposal, its minutes tabled in the next meeting. The GR is issued once this process is complete,” said an official. Among the decisions taken this week include in-principle approval for two 660 MW coal-based supercritical units at Koradi Thermal Power Station, a 29-km internal Metro line for Thane, and a special purpose vehicle for the proposed Purandar international airport in Pune.Senior ministers however clarified that cabinet is following all procedures and it was a State prerogative to issue GRs subject to approval of the minutes. “While it is true the cabinet must approve the minutes before the GR is issued, it is not technically incorrect to issue GRs without it,” said senior cabinet minster and Shiv Sena leader Diwakar Raote. At the cabinet meeting scheduled for Friday, 87 proposals await approval, mostly related to the Urban Development Department, including a proposal for transit-oriented development of Pune, and unified regional plan for the rest of Maharashtra excluding MMR region.last_img read more

A Flat-Out Major Advance for an Emerging Solar Cell Technology

first_imgA promising solar cell material can be manufactured using the same method as the cheapest silicon devices, without sacrificing energy-production efficiency. The advance boosts the chances that the cheap material could be adopted by existing industry.A solar cell converts sunlight into electricity. A typical cell contains layers of materials known as semiconductors—most often silicon. When a particle of light, or photon, strikes an atom in one of these semiconductors, it knocks free a negative electron that can scoot through the material and leaves behind a positively charged “hole” that can also move about. The electrons and holes travel in opposite directions, through layers of semiconductors with different properties, to create a flow of current.It sounds easy enough, yet most solar cells, which are based on cheaply manufactured silicon, cannot convert much more than 10% of sunlight into electricity. Although other semiconductors such as gallium arsenide can reach efficiencies above 30%, they are prohibitively expensive for all but the most demanding applications, such as powering satellites.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(*)A cheaper alternative might be materials known as perovskites, compounds such as calcium titanium oxide in which the atoms arrange themselves in a particular mix of cube and diamond shapes. Perovskites can be easily tuned to absorb sunlight. In fact, perovskite’s first role in a solar cell in 2009 was to absorb photons and no more. Adjacent semiconductors separated the liberated electrons and holes.That’s because physicists assumed that the electrons and holes liberated within perovskite would not travel very far. In fact, to make sure these charges made it to the adjacent semiconductors, the physicists mixed up all the components into a complex nanostructure—in which tiny, interconnected bubbles of semiconductor were coated with a thin layer of perovskite and then a thicker layer of more semiconductor.Last year saw a breakthrough for perovskite cells, however, when physicist Henry Snaith at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and colleagues discovered that the devices actually worked better if they replaced the semiconducting bubbles with an insulating scaffold. The perovskite, as it turned out, was a pretty good semiconductor, and could shift electrons efficiently by itself.Now, Snaith and colleagues have delivered another surprise: The bubblelike nanostructure is completely irrelevant. The Oxford team has demonstrated that perovskite cells are just as efficient if they are constructed in the same flat design, and using the same method—known as vapor deposition—as cheap thin-film silicon cells. “Having started with a complicated nanostructure, we’ve reduced it to a thin film,” Snaith says. “It’s amusing, I agree!”What’s more, the simple layered cell converts more than 15% of sunlight to electricity—equal to the record for perovskite cells, set just 2 months ago for a nanostructured device—as the researchers report today in Nature. Had physicists known perovskite was a good semiconductor, they probably would have started off with a regular, thin-film cell, Snaith says. Perovskite cells now have a greater chance of hitting the mainstream market—possibly for as little as $0.15 per watt, or one-quarter the price of thin-film silicon devices, Snaith says.“Henry’s paper is certainly an important piece of work,” says Michael Grätzel, a physicist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and a member of the team who set the record for efficiency in perovskite. However, David Carroll, a physicist at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, notes that some perovskites have been shown to degrade on continued exposure to ultraviolet sunlight. Also, the materials need to be demonstrated as nontoxic when industrially processed, he says. Still, Carroll says, “this will propel many research groups to begin looking more carefully at [perovskite] systems.”last_img read more

Blockbuster Big Bang Result May Fizzle, Rumor Suggests

first_imgThe biggest discovery in cosmology in a decade could turn out to be an experimental artifact—at least according to an Internet rumor. The team that reported the discovery is sticking by its work, however.Eight weeks ago, researchers working with a specialized telescope at the South Pole reported the observation of pinwheel-like swirls in the polarization of the afterglow of the big bang, or cosmic microwave background (CMB). Those swirls are traces of gravitational waves rippling through the fabric of spacetime a sliver of a second after the big bang, argue researchers working with the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization 2 (BICEP2) telescope. Such waves fulfilled a prediction of a wild theory called inflation, which says that in the first 10-32 seconds, the universe underwent a mind-boggling exponential growth spurt. Many scientists hailed the result as a “smoking gun” for inflation.However, scientists cautioned that the result would have to be scrutinized thoroughly. And now a potential problem with the BICEP analysis has emerged, says Adam Falkowski, a theoretical particle physicist at the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics of Orsay in France and author of the Résonaances blog. The BICEP researchers mapped the polarization of the CMB across a patch of sky measuring 15° by 60°. To study the CMB signal, however, they first had to subtract the “foreground” of microwaves generated by dust within our galaxy, and the BICEP team may have done that incorrectly, Falkowski reports on his blog today.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 subtract the galactic foreground, BICEP researchers relied on a particular map of it generated by the European Space Agency’s spacecraft Planck, which mapped the CMB across the entire sky from 2009 until last year. However, the BICEP team apparently interpreted the map as showing only the galactic emissions. In reality, it may also contain the largely unpolarized hazy glow from other galaxies, which has the effect of making the galactic microwaves coming from any particular point of the sky look less thoroughly polarized than they actually are. So using the map to strip out the galactic foreground may actually leave some of that foreground in the data where it could produce a spurious signal, Falkowski explains. “Apparently, there is something that needs to be corrected, so at this point the BICEP result cannot be taken at face value,” he tells Science.BICEP researchers are not ready to concede the point, however. Clement Pryke, a cosmologist at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a co-principal investigator for the BICEP team, acknowledges that the foreground map is an important and thorny issue. Part of the problem is that the Planck team has not made the raw foreground data available, he says. Instead, BICEP researchers had to do the best they could with a PDF file of that map that the Planck team presented at a conference. Moreover, Pryke says, conversations with members of the Planck team leave it uncertain exactly what is in the key plot. “It is unclear what that plot shows,” he says.As for Falkowski’s suggestion in his blog that the BICEP has admitted to making a mistake, Pryke says that “is totally false.” The BICEP team will not be revising or retracting its work, which it posted to the arXiv preprint server, Pryke says: “We stand by our paper.”In the end, the issue may change the path forward only slightly. Many researchers had been awaiting Planck’s own mapping of the polarization of the CMB, which the Planck team intends to release in October, to see if it reproduces the BICEP result. Now, however, they may be waiting as anxiously to see Planck’s final map of the galactic foreground, due out at the same time, as it could make the BICEP signal go away.last_img read more

Space rock impacts not random

first_imgWhen it comes to small space rocks blowing up in Earth’s atmosphere, not all days are created equal. Scientists have found that, contrary to what they thought, such events are not random, and these explosions may occur more frequently on certain days. Large objects can survive a trip through Earth’s atmosphere relatively intact, but many smaller bodies break up at high altitude, sometimes in an immense burst of energy. Researchers used data from sensors designed to detect clandestine nuclear tests, among other sources, to identify airbursts with an energy equivalent to or larger than that released by 1 kiloton of exploding TNT. Between 2000 and 2013, they identified 33 such events (including the meteoroid that blazed into the atmosphere and detonated over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February 2013, see image; the large blip in the meteor trail at right denotes where the 500-kiloton airburst occurred). Of those events, there were nine pairs of explosions—or airbursts—that occurred within one calendar day of each other, the researchers will report in January in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. There’s a less than 2% chance of finding nine such pairs in a random sample, the researchers note. The data set also sports 16 pairs of events with three or fewer calendar days’ difference, which for a random sample could be statistically expected only about 2.2% of the time—a number of coincidences that is simply too high to be the result of chance alone, the researchers contend. Rather than random occurrences, many large airbursts might result from collisions between Earth and streams of debris associated with small asteroids or comets. The new findings may help astronomers narrow their search for objects in orbits that threaten Earth, the researchers suggest.last_img read more

Ten new Rosetta images that reveal comet 67P in all its glory

first_imgESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDABecause of the comet’s lopsided shape and weak gravity, boulders and dust appear to move in strange ways. In this image, red regions show unstable slopes that sit at more than 45° angles to the local gravity field.5. Where the action is OSIRISMission scientists have assigned ancient Egyptian names to the different surface regions of the duck-shaped comet. Two regions on the “wings” of the duck—Aten and Anubis—are smooth and contain depressions that may mark sites where the comet shed large chunks of material in the geologically recent past.2. Active pits ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDANobody knows. Oddly, calculations show that the neck region receives the least sunlight (top) of any part of the comet. Even when reflections and reradiation of this heat is accounted for (bottom), the neck is still colder than the rest of the comet.7. Crick in the neck OSIRISOSIRIS has also discovered a pit that seems to have belched out a fluid material—a sign that gas pressures can build up in the subsurface and create complex, fluid mixtures of gas and dust.10. Windlike features (ripples and tails behind boulders) ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDAOne of the most surprising features discovered by OSIRIS is nodules, a few meters across, that the team is calling “dinosaur eggs” or “goosebumps.” Seen in pits and cliff faces, the nodules could represent the fundamental building blocks of the comet.9. Comet vomit ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDAIn any case, 67P might not keep its ducklike shape for long. Cracks around the neck suggest that the comet’s “head” and “body” flex there. Someday the two lobes could rupture and go their separate ways.8. Goosebumps In August 2014, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft arrived at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Once in orbit, it swooped as low as 10 kilometers to get unprecedented data from the comet (and to drop off its short-lived Philae lander). Today, Science is publishing a suite of new papers detailing some of the mission’s first findings, including discoveries from Rosetta’s main science camera, OSIRIS (Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System). Images like these reveal 67P to be a far more diverse place than anyone expected.1. Crazy quilt, with a history ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDAStill far from the sun, 67P’s activity levels have been subdued. So far, most of the jetting has been seen around the neck.6. Why the neck? ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDASign 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 comet spews material into space from the pits that dot the surface. Some are inactive and are partly filled with dust. Others appear to be turning on again: As 67P approaches the sun, subsurface ice deposits heat up and create jets of gas and dust.3. Erosion from cliff faces OSIRISThe comet also erodes from cliff faces. As ice sublimes, chunks of material drop to 67P’s surface, exposing the next layer of the cliff face to erosion. (In pits, dust can fall back and stanch jetting activity by blocking the sun.)4. Which way is down? OSIRISThe gases don’t only shoot up; they may also work sideways, creating ripples and other windlike features that look out of place on a body without an atmosphere.last_img read more

Reality President

first_imgBritain’s Plain English Campaign recently awarded U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld its annual “Foot in the Mouth” Award for these confounding remarks on the U.S. Iraq policy: “Reports that say something hasn’t happened are interesting to me, because as we know, there are known unknowns; there are things we know we know.”“We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” In recognizing Rumsfeld for the award, the organization observed wryly, “We think we know what he means. But we don’t know if we really know.”A TV series airing on Fox in December is instructive and indeed symptomatic of both the Bush administration’s politics and contemporary American culture. Two rich girls from California are asked to live on an Arkansas farm and we witness their stupidity (“What does generic mean?”) as much as the subtle humiliation of the farmer family. The show, This Simple Life, is expected to be a ratings hit for Fox. Some months ago, popular culture was abuzz with the troubles of Jessica Simpson, a young Pop singer (in the Britney mode) on a show called Newlyweds. Her stupidity is the stuff of legend (“Don’t the buffalo wings come from buffalos?) and the show proved a ratings bonanza for MTV. There is a settled wisdom in popular culture. The tone of the culture is set by the character and the persona of the president. Think of films like The Conversation (1974) about Richard Nixon (on lying and spying); Rambo (1986) modeled after Ronald Reagan (one man machismo to end everything against us) and The American President (1995) about Bill Clinton (the president who dates and is virile).That explains it, doesn’t it!We have been wondering why these dumb shows are spectacularly successful. Now we know. It has something to do with our president and people like Rumsfeld who he inflicts upon us. Perhaps observing this president is like watching a rich kid trying to make a living in the White House? Or, maybe it is like observing someone mangle the syntax and show how helplessly his mind works?Slate magazine (slate.com) keeps an extensive log of Bushisms, the idiotic pronouncements of this president. By the time we are done with the next election, we are going to get deeper into his adventures in simple syntactical structures and challenges to logical thinking. Try this one: “The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the – the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice.”For all we know, we are watching a reality show. Maybe the president declared war on Iraq just so his rich friends could watch an awesome fireworks display. We showed up for the party too. Dropping in for a couple of hours in Baghdad to serve thanksgiving dinner to the troops was surely a clever idea. What a turkey!Perhaps it was equally cute that a simpleton from Texas visiting Washington D.C. was mistaken by the U.S. Supreme Court for president. Here is a clever idea for the next reality show this presidential election season: Whoever constructs simple, logical statements gets to be president of the country.Maybe that might work. Or maybe it won’t. Wonder if that is a known unknown or an unknown unknown in Rumsfeld’s book.   Related Itemslast_img read more

BJD plans to form bloc with JD(U) and YSR Congress to push its demand for ‘special category State’ status

first_imgTo push its demand for special category status for Odisha, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is planning to join hands with the YSR Congress and the JD(U) in Parliament and raise their voice together. The Chief Ministers of Odisha, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh – Naveen Patnaik of BJD, Nitish Kumar of JD(U) and Y S Jaganmohan Reddy of YSR Congress – have been demanding special category status for their respective State. The BJD, JD(U) and the YSR Congress have substantial presence in Lok Sabha with 12, 16 and 22 members respectively. While the JD(U) is part of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the BJD and the YSR Congress are not aligned with any bloc. “Though the idea is in nascent stage, we are in favour of making a move with other Parties in order to make an impact in the Parliament,” BJD Parliamentary Party leader and Puri MP Pinaki Mishra told PTI. Mr. Mishra said it is better to raise the demand in a big way in the Parliament along with the MPs of both YSR Congress and JD(U). “All together, the three regional Parties have 50 MPs in the Lok Sabha and a good number in Rajya Sabha. If we are fighting for a common demand, what is wrong in joining hands and making our voice louder in the Parliament,” Mr. Mishra asked. Replying to a question on whether his Party has started any move to unite the two other like-minded Parties in the struggle for the special category status, Mr. Mishra said, “Not so far. But there is no harm in making an effort. Let the first session of the Parliament begin. We will make a move taking other Parties into confidence.” Mr. Mishra also appealed to all MPs from Odisha, irrespective of their Party affiliation, to join hands and demand special category status for Odisha, which has been frequently hit by natural calamities. Earlier this week, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged him to include natural calamity as an indicator for getting special category status. Since then, Mr. Patnaik urged Mr. Modi to consider ‘Special Focus State’ status to the calamity-hit States and allow them to get the benefits being availed by the States categorised as the special category States. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been raising the demand for special category status for the State for a long time. He had organised public meetings in support of the demand in Patna and New Delhi too in the past. The YSR Congress is also seeking special category status for Andhra Pradesh.last_img read more

High Court serves notice on M.P. govt. over Wildlife Board

first_imgThe Madhya Pradesh High Court has served a notice on the State government over the constitution of the Wildlife Board after an animal rights activist filed a public interest litigation petition claiming that law has been violated by nominating persons with “special interest in wildlife” to the Board. 30 membersOn August 3, the State government, under Section 6 (1) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, reconstituted the Board by nominating 30 members, with Chief Minister Kamal Nath as its Chairman and Forest Minister Umang Singhar as Vice-Chairman. Under the Section ‘experts in the fields of environmentalism/protection’, the government has nominated four out of eight persons to the Board for their “special interest in wildlife.” The PIL plea, filed by Bhopal-based Ajay Dubey, claimed that while resorting to “nepotism, corruption and favouritism” to nominate such members, thereby violating the Act, the government had “diluted” the word ‘eminent conservationist’, as mentioned in the Act. 10 nominationsAccording to Section 6 (e) of the Act, the State governments could nominate 10 persons to the Board from “amongst eminent conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists including at least two representatives of the Scheduled Tribes.”The PIL further claimed that not even a single Scheduled Tribes member had been nominated to the Board. ‘No rules’ And Moreover, it said, “As per Section 64 of the Act, the State government has to make rules for carrying out the provisions of the Act, but strangely the Government of Madhya Pradesh till date has not made any rules whatsoever”.However, Chapter 2 of The Wildlife (Protection) (Madhya Pradesh) Rules, 1974, provides for the constitution of a Wildlife Advisory Board. Permanent invitee It says that if “the Chairman considers an eminent biologist or any other person interested or, concerned with wildlife conservation..he may call such a person as a permanent invitee who like any other regular member will take part in all meetings and deliberations of the Board. Such permanent invitee will have the first claim on membership of the Board whenever a vacancy occurs.”Amended many times Aditya Sanghi, counsel for Mr. Dubey, said, “The Act has been amended several times. And with each amendment, the government must lay down new rules.”The notices were sent to the Chief Minister and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, among others, who have been asked to respond within four weeks.last_img read more

Meghalaya seeks ₹80 cr from Centre for flood damage

first_imgThe Meghalaya government has sought ₹80 crore from the Centre for damage caused by floods in West and South West Garo Hills districts, officials said. The demand for ₹80 crore was put forward to a central team that visited the State on Saturday, they said. “Revenue and Disaster department officials sought ₹78.65 crore for damage caused by the flood in Selsella, Demdema and Tikrikilla blocks in West Garo Hills district,” an official told PTI. He said the South West Garo Hills deputy commissioner sought ₹1.71 crore for damage caused by the deluge in Zikzak and Betasing blocks in the district. Both the districts experienced the worst floods in the past 25 years, according to the district officials. The central team headed by Ministry of Home Affairs Joint Secretary K.B. Singh visited the affected areas in the two districts on Saturday and met the officials of the district administrations and the Revenue and Disaster Management department.last_img read more

FIR against Pune restaurant staffer for installing camera in women’s washroom

first_imgThe Pune Police late on Tuesday booked a housekeeping staffer of a plush restaurant in Hinjewadi IT Park for allegedly installing a camera in the women’s washroom.A woman who discovered the hidden mobile camera on Sunday had narrated her ordeal on social media. A Twitter user spread the word, leading to a groundswell of support for the woman, with more than 3,000 retweets. According to the Twitter user, the restaurant manager did not address the complaints of the woman.The accused, Ram Deb Nath (24), was an employee of a housekeeping company hired by the restaurant. A case under Section 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 72 of the Information Technology Act has been registered at the Hinjewadi police station.“We received a complaint from the owner on Tuesday and a case has been lodged. More sections will be added if any victim comes forward,” said a police official, adding that the camera is now with the police.last_img read more

Phoenix Suns guard Knight to miss season after knee op

first_imgTrending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC The 25-year-old holds career averages of 15.2 points and 4.3 assists in 382 career games with the Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks and Suns.Confirmation that Knight would miss the entire season came on the same day that the Suns said rookie guard Davon Reed underwent meniscus surgery on his left knee and would be sidelined for four to six months.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutReed, 22, was selected by the Suns with the 32nd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He averaged 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals while appearing in all six of the Suns’ games at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief MOST READ UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Los Angeles, California — Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight had surgery to repair a torn left knee ligament on Friday and will miss all of the 2017-18 NBA season, the Suns said.Knight, who was hurt last month in a charity game, averaged 11.0 points and 2.4 assists in 54 games last season.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next Mayweather, McGregor ticket prices dropping View comments WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding LATEST STORIESlast_img read more