Death of children in Gorakhpur hospital: file response to plea, High Court tells UP government

first_imgThe Allahabad High Court on Friday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to explain and present before it the findings of its probe into the death of children in BRD medical college in Gorakhpur,While it is alleged that the 30 children died due to disruption of oxygen supply in the hospital on August 10 and 11, the government has dismissed the claim.Hearing a bunch of five PILs seeking high-level probes into the Gorakhpur hospital incident, a division bench of Chief Justice D. B. Bhosale and Justice Yashwant Varma directed the U.P. government to file a counter affidavit stating what it had done and found in the matter so far.  The court fixed the next hearing for August 28.In a related development, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court also directed the Yogi Adityanath-led state government and the Director General of Medical Education, UP, to file a counter-affidavit within six weeks to a PIL filed by Lucknow-bases social activist Nutan Thakur. A Division Bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Daya Shankar Tiwari passed the order after hearing Ms. Thakur, UP Advocate General Raghavendra Singh and Medical Education counsel Sanjay Bhasin. The advocate general opposed the petition saying that the State government had taken every possible measure in the matter and shall take all possible actions as per the report submitted by the Chief Secretary.In her plea, Ms. Thakur sought a judicial inquiry into the deaths of the children arguing that the chief secretary-level probe ordered by the Yogi Adityanath government would be an “eyewash,” as “the Chief Minister and various Ministers have already formulated their opinion about the matter to be enquired and have made it public in clear terms.”Saksham Srivastava, one of the petitioners in the Allahahad High Court, had prayed for a court-monitored time-bound CBI probe into the deaths of the children. The court said it would wait for a “satisfactory” answer from the State before considering the demands for higher-level probes, said Mr. Srivastava.Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav alleged that that “corruption” was the reason behind the shortage of oxygen supply in the BRD hospital and demanded a probe by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court.Mr. Yadav also suggested that along with the other probes, the Central Bureau of Investigation also probe the matter. “This government has a lot of attachment with the CBI. The CBI is also under them. Along with other investigations, there should also be CBI probe into this matter,” the former chief minister told reporters here.last_img read more

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Several farmers in UP begin 10-day strike as part of nationwide protest

first_imgSeveral farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Sambhal district on Friday stopped the supply of vegetables, milk and other items as part of the 10-day nationwide protest to press for their demands, including waiver of loans and the right price for crops.“The farmers will not be selling milk, vegetables and grains in the urban areas from June 1 to June 10 as milk and tomato are being sold at very low rates,” Sanjiv Tyagi from the Bharatiya Kisan Union said while addressing a panchayat in Bhadraula village.“They are also not getting proper price for sugarcane. We also demand that the farmers should get 50% profit on the cost incurred on crops by them,” he said. Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Kisan Manch (a farmers’ outfit) has distanced itself from the bandh call. “There was no response of the bandh call in Lucknow and adjoining districts. We are of the view that there is no point in telling the farmers to throw their agriculture produce on the streets, as they had put in their labour and hard work to produce the crops,” Shekhar Dixit, the president of the Rashtriya Kisan Manch told PTI.“If the the farmers’ condition are to be improved, then I would urge the farmers not to sow seeds of any grain or crop. This will also help the farmers in avoiding losses, and also registering their protests,” he added.last_img read more

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17 killed in dust storm in Uttar Pradesh

first_imgUttar Pradesh was hit by another deadly dust storm that claimed 17 lives and left 11 persons injured on Friday evening.A U.P. government spokesperson on Saturday said that most of the deaths were caused due to falling of trees and house collapse.Moradabad bore the maximum brunt of the storm, with as many as seven deaths reported from the district, followed by three deaths from Sambhal, the State government spokesperson said.Two deaths were reported each from Badaun, Muzaffarnagar and Meerut, while one death was reported from Amroha, he said.Five persons were injured in Amroha, three in Moradabad, two in Muzaffarnagar and one in Badaun.The State government has directed all district magistrates to distribute relief within 24 hours.The State was swept by three major dust storms last month that left over 130 people dead.On May 13, 39 people died in various districts including Bareilly, Barabanki, Bulandshahr and Lakhimpur Khiri districts.On May 9, a severe storm left 18 dead and 27 others injured. Five people died in Etawah district, three each in Mathura, Aligarh and Agra, two in Firozabad and one each in Hathras and Kanpur Dehat.Thunderstorms and lightning on May 2-3 left 80 dead in the State, most of them in Agra district in the western part of the State.last_img read more

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AAP reaches out to Chhotepur

first_imgThe AAP, as part of its efforts to make peace with “rebels” and “former leaders”, has reached out to ex-Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur, two years after he was sacked on charges of taking bribe for allotting party tickets. On the directions of the Aam Aadmi Party’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal, emissaries from its Punjab unit met Mr. Chhotepur at his residence on Sunday night to persuade him to come back to the party. The emissaries included Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Harpal Singh Cheema, AAP’s State unit co-president Balbir Singh and MLAs Baljinder Kaur and Meet Hayer. “We have met Chhotepurji and we want him to come back in the party,” Mr. Cheema said here on Monday. “The discussion centred on coming together for the future of Punjab. The AAP is people’s choice as the SAD has been rejected by voters,” he added. Mr. Cheema said he was very positive about the meeting and discussion. However, Mr. Chhotepur said he could not forget what the party had done to him. “I asked them why they want me to return to the party which caused me immense pain…I was insulted. I cannot forget what the party did to me,” he said, without mincing words, in Delhi. “I talked to them openly about the party’s functioning, like unnecessary interference (by the national leadership) in the State unit. I told them the talks cannot go ahead if they cannot take the corrective steps I suggested,” he added. Mr. Chhotepur claimed he was not after any position. “No talks were held about (me) returning to the party. After 2016, it was for the first time that AAP leaders met me,” he said.last_img read more

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‘Regional alliances will determine LS results’

first_imgDescribing State-level alliances “an important factor” for the Lok Sabha elections, National Conference president and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday said Governor’s rule “is an autocratic rule and there is no substitute to a popular elected government”. “An elected government would be able to deliver in a better way. The Governor’s or President’s Rule should come to an end and elections be held as soon as possible,” said Dr. Abdullah. He said States will hold the key in alliance formations in the (Lok Sabha) elections. “Alliances will be mostly in the States and they will produce results for Parliament. And that will make the difference. At some places there will be stronger alliance and at others there will be mix alliances, but the States will be important factor,” he said.Two PDP leaders join NCIn a major boost to NC’s electoral prospectus, two senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders, Peer Muhammad Hussain and Syed Basharat Bukhari, joined the party formally at Dr. Abdullah’s residence after weeks of negotiations. “Mehbooba Mufti [PDP president] has grown in politics and it’s difficult to match her flight of imagination. As a mark of respect, I quit the party. I have stood for J&K’s interests and would continue to do so,” said two-time PDP MLA Mr. Bukhari, who served as Law and Revenue Minister during the recent PDP-BJP rule. Mr. Hussain, vice-chairman of the J&K Waqf Board, said: “The PDP didn’t respect the mandate of the people by aligning itself with the BJP. We had sought votes to keep the BJP away”.last_img read more

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J&K parties condemn attack on Kashmiri traders in U.P.

first_img “You humiliate and assault Kashmiris. Make them feel like criminals and that they don’t belong to this country. Why are you surprised then when young pliable men are taken under the wings of terror groups & indoctrinated? The culprits here were clad in saffron kurtas and are from Vishwa Hindu Dal. They have no fear and in fact uploaded the video online,” said former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti.She alleged that the Government of India’s conspicuous silence was actually a political tactic to encourage such elements and communalise the atmosphere until polls.National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah stressed on the speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rajasthan denouncing violence against Kashmiris. “The speech has seen no realization on the ground. Targeted violence against Kashmiris is not seeing an end in absence of a full throated condemnation from BJP leadership,” said Mr. Abdullah.”Nothing will do more damage to the idea of India in J&K than videos like these. Keep thrashing Kashmiris like this on the streets at the hands of RSS, Bajrang Dal goons and then try to sell the idea of ‘atoot ang’, it simply wont fly,” said Mr. Abdullah.Separatists amalgam, Joint Resistance Leadership, comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, in a joint statement terming the attacks on Kashmiris “condemnable”. “Fascist goons attack on Kashmiri traders, employees, labourer and students have not receded but are increasing at an alarming pace,” they said. Mainstream as well as separatist parties on Thursday condemned the attack on a Kashmiri trader in Uttar Pradesh, a video of which went viral on social media.Also Read Four arrested for assault on two Kashmiri street vendors in Lucknowlast_img read more

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ScienceShot: Stressed-Out Snails Become Forgetful

first_imgSnails get stressed out, too—and it’s not good for them either. Scientists have found that multiple sources of stress can impair the memories of the slimy gastropods. A team placed pond snails (Lymnaea stagnalis, like the one above) in water-filled beakers that varied in stressfulness: Some were overcrowded, some contained water low in calcium (stressful, for a snail), and some were both overcrowded and low in calcium; the beakers varied inconsequentially in oxygen levels. Then, the team placed the snails in an uncrowded beaker containing water with a normal level of calcium and trained the snails to not come up for air—no big deal for pond snails, who can also get oxygen by absorbing it underwater through their skin. Each time a snail popped its breathing hole out from under its shell and above water, it received a gentle poke. After the lesson, the snails were put to a test: Could they remember to take in oxygen just underwater? The team reports today in PLOS ONE that whereas snails trained after spending time in an environment with just one stressor were able to remember the training for minutes or even hours, snails that were exposed to the multistressor environment were not able to form a memory of it at all; they came up for air despite their training. Because snail brains experience stress in a similar way to mammal brains, the findings are potentially analogous to higher-stakes, human-scale scenarios—like trying to absorb important information after hanging out in a crowded conference room, while hungry and tired.See more ScienceShots. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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ScienceShot: What’s That? Climate Change Could Stifle Bat Chirps

first_imgAs the planet warms, some bats will find it harder to locate and track their airborne prey, a new study suggests. The distance that sound travels before it becomes too weak to hear depends on a number of factors, including its frequency and the temperature and humidity of the air: In general, higher frequencies are more quickly stifled in warmer air. Researchers estimate that if air temperature rises 4°C—an increase within the range estimated by some climate models during the 21st century—the volume of space in which tropical bats can effectively find and track prey may decrease as much as 10%. For echolocating bats living in temperate ecosystems, prey detection volume might shrink as much as 21%, the researchers report online today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. To compensate for these losses, bats could either chirp louder, chirp at a lower frequency, or forage for longer periods each day—changes in behavior that would likely impose substantial costs. But temperature isn’t the only climatic factor affecting the attenuation of sound, the researchers note. A complex interaction of call frequency, temperature, and humidity determines how far the sound waves travel before they’re squelched. So while many bats will find life more difficult in a warmer world, some—those that echolocate at frequencies below 35 kilohertz in temperate ecosystems and below 95 kHz in the tropics—will find they can locate and home in on prey across a larger volume of space. With some of the winged predators being winners in the climate change lottery and others ending up losers, the balance of bat species in some ecosystems could shift significantly. See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Middle Eastern Virus More Widespread Than Thought

first_imgIt’s called Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, after the region where almost all the patients have been reported. But the name may turn out to be a misnomer. A new study has found the virus in camels from Sudan and Ethiopia, suggesting that Africa, too, harbors the pathogen. That means MERS may sicken more humans than previously thought—and perhaps be more likely to trigger a pandemic.MERS has sickened 183 people and killed 80, most of them in Saudi Arabia. A couple of cases have occurred in countries outside the region, such as France and the United Kingdom, but those clusters all started with a patient who had traveled to the Middle East before falling ill.Scientists have uncovered more and more evidence implicating camels in the spread of the disease. They found that a large percentage of camels in the Middle East have antibodies against MERS in their blood, while other animals, such as goats and sheep, do not. Researchers have also isolated MERS virus RNA from nose swabs of camels in Qatar, and earlier this week, they showed that the virus has circulated in Saudi Arabian camels for at least 2 decades.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(*)Malik Peiris, an infectious disease researcher at the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues expanded the search to Africa. In a paper published last year, they showed that camels in Egypt carried antibodies against MERS. For the new study, they took samples from four abattoirs around Egypt; again they found antibodies against MERS in the blood of 48 out of 52 camels they tested. But the most interesting results came from taking nose swabs from 110 camels: They found MERS RNA in four animals that had been shipped in from Sudan and Ethiopia.Peiris cautions that it is unclear whether the infected camels picked up the virus in Sudan and Ethiopia or on their final journey in Egypt. Abattoirs could help spread MERS just like live poultry markets do for influenza, he says. “You cannot point the finger exactly at where those viruses came from,” he says. “But I would be very surprised if you do not find the virus in large parts of Africa.”If so, that changes the picture of MERS considerably. No human MERS cases have been reported from Egypt or anywhere else in Africa, but if camels are infected, they may well occur, says Marion Koopmans, an infectious disease researcher at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. “It would be important to look systematically into that,” she writes in an e-mail. “Health authorities really need to test patients with severe pneumonia all across Africa for MERS,” Peiris says.The researchers were able to sequence the virus of one of the camels almost completely, and it is more than 99% identical with viruses found in people. “I would be very surprised if this virus cannot infect humans,” says Christian Drosten, a virologist at the University of Bonn in Germany. But the virus also shows a few intriguing differences from known camel samples, he says. “We have to analyze this carefully in the next few days, but it looks like this sequence broadens the viral repertoire found in camels,” he says. If the viruses found in camels show more genetic variation than those isolated from humans, that is further strong evidence that camels are infecting humans and not the other way around.Anthony Mounts, the point person for MERS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, says that it is very likely that human MERS cases occur in Africa. “Wherever we find [infected] camels, there is a good chance we’ll find [human] cases if we look closely,” he says. And humans may be exposed to camels in Africa much more often than in the Middle East: There were about 260,000 camels in Saudi Arabia in 2012, but almost a million in Ethiopia and 4.8 million in Sudan, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. The more human cases there are, the higher the risk that the virus will one day learn how to become easily transmissible between people, which could set off a pandemic.The researchers also looked at the blood of 179 people working at the camel abattoirs for antibodies against MERS virus, but found none. That shows that the virus is only rarely successful in infecting human beings, Peiris says. “What we need to find out now is the reason for these rare transmissions.”last_img read more

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The origin of bright-colored birds

first_imgFrom the brilliant red cardinal to the bright pink flamingo (pictured above), birds can sport a rainbow of colors. These vibrant patterns are due to pigments called carotenoids. Now, researchers have traced the first appearance of these pigments to a theoretical ancestor of perching birds (Passeriformes) that probably lived 56 million years ago, more than 100 million years after brown and black birds owned the skies. The researchers collected and chemically analyzed feathers from nearly 10,000 extant bird species and found that 40% of all bird species’ plumage contains the carotenoid pigment—25% more than previously predicted. After sorting all the birds into carotenoid-present or carotenoid-absent categories, the researchers constructed a family tree to predict the origins of the pigment. The research, published online this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggests that birds have become steadily more colorful as time has gone on.last_img read more

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Bangalore Has Third Highest Number of Startups Globally

first_imgAfter Silicon Valley and London, Bangalore has the third highest number of startups in the world, according to a report by trade body Nasscom released Oct. 25 and India’s startup ecosystem is the world’s third largest, the report said.Between 2013-2018, India saw between 7200-7700 startups starting, and the overall base is growing at 12-15 percent, the report said. The Indian startup ecosystem created 40,000 direct jobs in 2018 alone taking the total employment in the segment to 1.6-1.7 lakh, Times of India said in its report adding another 4-5 lakh people are estimated to be employed indirectly.In 2018 alone, over 1200 startups started across India and eight startups became unicorn in the year, the highest in any single year, Nasscom said.Between January and September 2018, Indian startups received $4.3 billion funds, which is more than 100 percent year on year growth which means each deal had an average of $9.4 million funding per deal, an increase of 144 percent over 2017. In the current year, seed stage funding went down 21 percent.The year 2018 was also good for mergers and acquisitions as there were over 70 such activities which is a 15 percent rise over 2017, Nasscom said.As far as startup ecosystem enablers are concerned, India has over 210 active accelerators/ incubators, which is a 11 percent increase when compared to 2017. In the last three years, over 35 corporate accelerators/incubators have been started by corporate firms in India. There are also over 14 international startup exchange missions active in India as of 2018.According to Nasscom, 50 percent of all startups in India comprise of Enterprise Software, FinTech, and HealthTech leading verticals, while Advanced Tech startups grew over 50 percent in the last year alone. Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and IoT startups are witnessing fastest adoption across industry verticals, Nasscom said in its report. Related Itemslast_img read more

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Flipkart Billionaire’s Exit Puts Corporate India On Notice

first_imgThe surprise resignation of an Indian tech billionaire has pulled corporate India deeper into the #MeToo firestorm that’s been sweeping through the American business community for more than a year.Walmart announced Tuesday that Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal was leaving the company after an independent probe into allegations of sexual assault. While Bansal denies any wrongdoing and the investigators didn’t find evidence of assault, the process revealed “lapses in judgment” that troubled the parent company’s leadership.By buying Flipkart, Walmart made Bansal a billionaire and a national icon. By forcing his resignation, the company turned him into an example of the kind of zero-tolerance corporate policy that’s come to be expected in the U.S., where the #MeToo movement has brought consequences for dozens of CEOs and senior leaders in business and finance.Many have been fired, resigned or otherwise sidelined. American companies have been called on to articulate and, in many cases, strengthen their sexual harassment policies. Investors have begun to consider sexual harassment risk when allocating capital.India’s own #MeToo movement exploded this fall, and it’s still gathering momentum. A handful of prominent men in entertainment and in government — executives at local units of Dentsu Aegis and Fox Star Studios; a minister, M.J. Akbar — have faced professional consequences. But corporate leaders have remained largely untouched.Walmart’s dismissal of Bansal is significant, said Zoe Kinias, a Singapore-based professor at INSEAD business school, because it sends a clear signal to the country’s top executives: “There are consequences for these sort of actions.”“I’m not sure that global businesses handle these situations perfectly but they have processes in place,” she added.Many Flipkart employees and other observers found Walmart’s action confusing. Bansal denied any sexual assault, and the company’s internal investigation agreed. But the executives in Bentonville thought the angry accuser represented a business risk, and they wanted to know why Bansal hadn’t disclosed it. At Flipkart, that information would have been considered personal.Culture clash is inevitable when one company buys another. But as multinational companies increasingly look to grow in India — often by acquiring or buying stakes in local companies like Walmart did – it may put additional pressure on corporate India to strengthen its own policies and practices with respect to sexual harassment, in and outside of the office.Many Indian businesses will have a steep learning curve ahead, said Kannan Ramaswamy, a professor at Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management. He specializes in management strategy in India. “We don’t have the mechanisms in place to really drive this problem out with the haste that it has to be done,” he said. “The awareness is not there, the legal infrastructure is not supported and you’re fighting against the weight of tradition and culture.”A former Flipkart employee contacted Walmart executives in late July and accused Bansal of sexual assault, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who requested anonymity because details aren’t public. Investigators concluded Bansal and the woman had a consensual affair, the people said.Walmart completed its $16 billion purchase of a majority stake in the Indian e-retailer in August, a transaction that lifted Bansal’s net worth to $1 billion. “While the investigation did not find evidence to corroborate the complainant’s assertions against Binny, it did reveal other lapses in judgment, particularly a lack of transparency, related to how Binny responded to the situation,” Walmart said in a statement, without detailing the nature of the allegations.Walmart’s reaction reflected not only the influence of #MeToo in the U.S. but the company’s own desire to shore up the squeaky-clean image it cultivates. So far, it’s avoided public accusations of sexist behavior in its senior leadership, though store workers over the years have alleged harassment by line managers. But with few women in senior leadership roles and its treatment of rank-and-file workers, Walmart also has been a target of criticism for labor unions and activists over the years.Lately it’s tried to burnish its reputation, investing millions to raise wages, expand benefits and create more opportunities for women and minorities, and hiring public-relations chiefs who have worked in the Clinton and George W. Bush presidential administrations.The company has also strengthened its ethics and compliance department in the wake of a globe-spanning investigation into allegations of corruption at the retail giant. For six years, U.S. authorities have probed whether Walmart bribed government officials in countries including Mexico, India and China over the course of a decade in order to fast-track store openings.Bloomberg’s Saritha Rai and Matthew Boyle contributed to this report.(c) 2018, Bloomberg Related Itemslast_img read more

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In India, People Are Buying Gold For As Little As One Cent

first_imgIndians are buying gold for as little as one rupee (1 cent) as retailers offer online sales in bite-sized portions to prop up shrinking demand in the world’s second-biggest consumer.Demand for gold is falling, partly as a result of government measures, higher local prices and the metal’s fading appeal among more youthful customers. That’s forcing jewelers to adapt online purchases to appeal to a more internet-savvy, younger population.“A lot of people have been buying at one rupee,” according to Gaurav Mathur, managing director of digital platform SafeGold, which has partnered with payments apps such as Flipkart Online Services Pvt.’s PhonePe to sell gold starting at that price. “It’s a low-risk way to try the product.”Buyers only get physical delivery of the metal once they have paid enough for one gram of gold, currently about 3,200 rupees. The low barrier of entry, compared with a minimum purchase of 1 gram in the traditional market, and faster transactions, which can be done on a phone in about 40 seconds, are the biggest lures for the product, Mathur said.Since its launch last year, about 3 million people have already transacted on the platform and the company, which counts the World Gold Council as one of its investors, is targeting to raise this to 15 million by next year, he said. India’s most popular digital payments service, Paytm, said it has sold more than 2.2 tons of gold online to 19 million customers since introducing the service in April 2017.Mobile wallet service provider One Mobikwik Systems Pvt., which started selling gold on its platform in October, also gives customers the option to convert the digital metal to jewelry. The company has a target of selling about 1 ton of gold in the financial year starting March, it said in a statement.The market is still small compared with the country’s overall consumption of gold, which stood at 524 tons in the nine months ended September.India’s consumption of gold, almost all of which is imported, has been declining because of the government’s efforts to curb its trade deficit and combat so-called black money by discouraging investors who used the metal to evade taxes. Demand for the yellow metal last year fell by about 23 percent from a peak of 1,002 tons in 2010. Meanwhile, benchmark gold futures in Mumbai are set to post a third year of annual gains in 2018 aided by a weaker rupee, which fell to a record low earlier this year.Changing PreferencesPlatforms offered by SafeGold, Augmont Gold and Paytm, backed by China’s Alibaba as well as Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, are trying to make inroads into a market dominated by traditional retail stores and chains such as Titan Co., the country’s top maker of branded jewelry, and Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri Ltd.Augmont sells gold and silver coins and bars with quantities as low as 100 milligrams to make bullion affordable for the public, according to its website. With gold available in lower quantities at a more reasonable price compared with the retail outlets, the preference of people has gradually shifted to the digital gold buying method, it said in an emailed statement. Young buyers now prefer shopping for gold on e-commerce sites and apps rather than going to the store, thus saving time, it said.Over half a billion Indians will come online in the next wave of internet users and shoppers, according to a report released jointly by Bain & Co., Google and Omidyar Network in August. Only over a third of India’s current 390 million users transact online, the report said, suggesting a massive untapped opportunity.“With the way the e-commerce market was shaping, we realized that digital technology will soon be the future of gold buying,” Sachin Kothari, director at Augmont, said in the statement.(c) 2018, Bloomberg Related Itemslast_img read more

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War of words between Congress, Akali leaders

first_imgWith the campaigning for the bypolls to four Assembly seats in Punjab coming to an end, the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal leaders on Saturday exchanged sharp words as parties made their last-ditch efforts to woo the voters.In Punjab, bypolls in Phagwara, Jalalabad, Dakha and Mukerian Assembly constituencies will be held on October 21. The results will be declared on October 24.Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who was in Mukerian to campaign for the Congress candidate, hit out at the SAD saying that people have rejected the Akali Dal and its leadership was a spent force. Akali chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said Capt. Amarinder’s admission that by-elections’ result would not be a referendum on his government was a clear indication that he has admitted defeat.Trashing Mr. Badal’s charge of no development in Punjab under the current regime, Capt. Amarinder also ridiculed his statement that he (Capt. Amarinder) was not accessible to the people.last_img read more

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Maharashtra | Governor’s decision followed NCP’s letter

first_imgThe Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday morning sought an extension of the 24-hour deadline set by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to present proof of its ability to form the next government in the State. Mr. Koshyari had invited the party late on Monday.A day after Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the government and present evidence of its ability to do so within 24 hours, show the willingness and ability to form the government, the party sought another 48 hours to provide adequate papers leading to governor on Tuesday morning.However, the NCP’s letter seeking a 48-hour extension, led to the Governor’s Office recommending President’s Rule in the State, which was subsequently accepted by the Union Cabinet late in the afternoon.NCP’s ally, the Congress, and the Shiv Sena, which has sought support from the party to form the government, were kept in dark about the letter submitted to the Governor.Addressing a joint press conference with Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjun Kharge and K.C. Veugopal, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said there was no reason to inform the Congress and Shiv Sena about the request for extra time.“We fought the election with the Congress. The Governor had asked the NCP to show our willingness and ability to form the government. I do not think it was necessary to inform others about asking for more time,” he said.On formation of a government with the Shiv Sena, Mr Pawar said the two parties would discuss and evolve a consensus on what should be the policies and programmes if the Sena was to be supported.The NCP maintained silence throughout the day about its demand which allegedly led the Governor’s Office to believe that the party would not be able to assemble the numbers. The Governor on Monday had also denied extra time to Shiv Sena delegation led by Aaditya Thackeray.“We had only sought extra time. We had not expressed our inability to gather 145 MLAs to form the government. However the Governor chose to recommend President’s Rule. That’s his decision, but now we have got ample time to attain the required number,” said NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik.Congress leader Ahmed Patel insisted no final decision could be taken without formulation of a common minimum programme by the three parties.He also condemned the imposition of President’s rule and said the Congress was not given an opportunity to form government.last_img read more

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Maharashtra | BJP decides to keep doors open for Sena

first_imgFollowing Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s recommendation to impose President’s Rule in Maharashtra, the BJP’s core committee held an urgent meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the way forward. While the party’s head offices at Nariman Point bore a deserted look, a senior BJP leader said the party was keeping open the option of talks with the Shiv Sena in case the latter wanted to continue with the grand alliance.“The doors for talks between the BJP and the Shiv Sena are never closed, though one of their Ministers have resigned at the Centre. As far we are concerned, the door for talks are open,” a senior BJP Minister said. Former Chief Minister and BJP’s legislative head in the State Devendra Fadnavis said it was unfortunate that despite a clear mandate for the alliance, a government could not be formed in the State. “It is unfortunate that the Governor had to impose President’s Rule. We hope the State gets a stable government very soon,” he said.Senior BJP leader Ashish Shelar later visited Sena leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut at Lilavati Hospital where he is recovering from a surgery. However, BJP leaders denied speculation that the visit had anything to do with government formation. “The BJP leaders were visiting Raut to only check on his health. We all know him (Raut) on a personal level and so were wishing him speedy recovery,” said a senior BJP leader.BJP leader Narayan Rane said the party was hopeful of forming a government.“We do not think the Shiv Sena can go in alliance with the Congress and the NCP in the long run. We are still making all efforts to have our government installed in the future,” Mr. Rane said. “This will have an impact on the poor of the State as we go through tough times ahead,” he saidlast_img read more

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NBA Finals hangover? Steve Kerr says it can be very real

first_imgMOST READ Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors instructs his team against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half in Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 12, 2017 in Oakland, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFPThere’s still no reason to think that a fourth consecutive NBA Finals matchup between Golden State and Cleveland cannot happen, even though both teams have been often less than razor-sharp to start this season.Warriors coach Steve Kerr, frankly, isn’t surprised by some early struggles.ADVERTISEMENT Westbrook claims bragging rights in marquee matchup Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday PLAY LIST 03:12Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday01:43Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals?02:25Raptors or Warriors? PBA players take their pick of NBA champ01:37Protesters 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 Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Read Next Parity, anyone?For the first time since 1968-69, no team started 6-1 or 7-0. The best seven-game start in the NBA this season was 5-2.The last time that happened, the league’s 14 teams included ones in Cincinnati, Baltimore, San Diego and Seattle — and Bill Russell was busy leading the Boston Celtics to their 11th championship in 13 years.So while plans of going 82-0 went out the window early this season, so did fears of going 0-82: For the first time since 2010-11, no team started 0-7.LEBRON MILESTONESLeBron James is coming up on a pair of milestone moments.The Cleveland star is 41 points away from 29,000 in his career going into Wednesday night’s home game against Indiana. He’ll be the seventh NBA player to score that many, and — as he’s been for countless other milestones in his career — he’s on pace to be the youngest to reach that mark.And Friday could be the night where he records his 800th consecutive regular-season game of scoring at least 10 points. The last time James didn’t score 10 in a regular-season game was Jan. 5, 2007 in Milwaukee, where he scored only eight on 3-for-13 shooting.He has been held to single-digits in the postseason during that span, most recently when he scored seven at Indiana on May 28, 2014.THE WEEK AHEAD Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPAcenter_img QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Golden State has had uncharacteristic issues with turnovers and defense to start this season — though the Warriors started to look like themselves again in a 141-113 romp past the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. Cleveland has dealt with defensive lapses as well, and the Cavaliers went into LeBron James’ annual Halloween party this week on a three-game losing streak.Kerr has seen this before. He played for the Chicago Bulls in 1997-98, part of a team that was coming off two straight titles but started just 8-7.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 shutout“Everybody was fried,” Kerr said.Those Bulls figured things out, eventually finishing off a repeat threepeat by getting their sixth title in eight seasons. And Kerr has no doubt that whatever’s been plaguing the Warriors and Cavaliers in October will be long forgotten when the playoffs start in April. Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “It’s not easy,” Kerr said. “I think that’s the hardest thing probably for people to understand, fans, media, whoever — whomever, my mom would want me to say — is the fatigue, the emotional and spiritual fatigue that sets in when you’ve been going to The Finals. That’s why LeBron going to The Finals seven years in a row, to me, is one of the most amazing accomplishments ever for a player in this league.”For all the talent in the Warriors’ lineup, players still take their cues from Kerr.And since he wasn’t panicking after a 4-3 start to this season, neither were they. Scoring 141 points on the Clippers’ home floor Monday night was the clear reminder that the Warriors are still the Warriors.“Not to sound arrogant, but we knew it was coming,” two-time MVP Stephen Curry said of the breakout night by the reigning champions.ODD STARTADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding A look at some of the games to keep an eye on in the coming days:— Orlando at Memphis, Wednesday: Two of the best surprise stories in the NBA so far.— Golden State at San Antonio, Thursday: Until proven otherwise, the standards in West.— Brooklyn at L.A. Lakers, Friday: Brook Lopez goes against the Nets for the first time.— Oklahoma City at Portland, Sunday: Last time they played, Russell Westbrook scored 58.— Milwaukee at Cleveland, Tuesday: Giannis Antetokounmpo faces off with LeBron James.STAT LINE OF THE WEEKDeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans: He had 41 points, 23 rebounds and six assists in his return to Sacramento on Oct. 26. It was the first time any NBA player finished a game with that many points, rebounds and assists since Joe Barry Carroll in 1987. View commentslast_img read more

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