Gadkari announces plan for cruises from Mumbai

first_imgUnion Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday unveiled plans for holiday cruises from Mumbai to Bali, Indonesia, via Kochi and Andaman and Nicobar. He also said that norms for sea plane operations would be finalised shortly.The minister, speaking to the press on the side lines of a government function in the city, said that Indian tourists visit Singapore, Bangkok, Bali, and that a lakh of Indian tourists travel to Singapore to take cruise holidays; instead they could take a cruise there. “This will become a big tourism attraction. Our effort is to develop cruise tourism here.”On the seaplane tourism initiative, Mr. Gadkari said, “All rules have been formalised by Air Traffic Control authorities. It will be finalised this month.” He also said that a convention of travel and tourism operators was being organised in Mumbai to discuss development of the holiday cruise industry along the Western coast.last_img read more

NRC must for Bengal: BJP leader

first_imgA exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be conducted in West Bengal if the BJP comes to power in the State, party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said here on Saturday. “The NRC will definitely be conducted in Bengal if the BJP comes to power here as it is also facing severe infiltration issues,” Mr. Vijayvargiya told presspersons at the BJP State headquarters. He said the exercise was required not only in West Bengal but also in all metro cities in the country.‘Backing infiltrators’He criticised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for opposing the NRC update in Assam, and accused her of “siding with infiltrators” for the sake of votes.“I want to ask Mamata Banerjee why she is siding with infiltrators. Unfortunately some people are more concerned about indulging in appeasement policies and vote bank politics than the progress of the nation. The prime example of such mentality is Ms. Banerjee,” Mr. Vijayvargiya said.He accused the Chief Minister of double standards on the infiltration issue. As an MP, she flung papers at the Speaker’s podium after an adjournment motion over Bangladeshi infiltration into West Bengal was rejected in the Lok Sabha on August 5, 2005.“What happened in the past 13 years that you [Ms. Banerjee] have made a u-turn and is siding with the infiltrators,” he asked.BJP State president Dilip Ghosh told The Hindu that an NRC exercise was “necessary” in West Bengal as more than one crore infiltrators resided in the State. “Earlier the Communist Party of India(Marxist) used the infiltrators [for political mileage] and now Mamata Banerjee is using them,” he said. TMC protestsThe Trinamool Congress organised a State-wide protest against the detention and alleged assault of a delegation of party MPs and MLAs at the Silchar airport by the Assam police. Senior party leaders led marches against the Centre. Minister Subrata Mukherjee said the protests would continue on Sunday.last_img read more

Protester killed in Kashmir firing

first_imgA youth was killed and another injured after security forces allegedly fired on protesters during clashes in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday.The forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in over a dozen villages in Pulwama in the morning, following information about the presence of militants in the area, a police official said.At the time of the operation, a group of youth started pelting stones on the forces in some places. Two persons were injured in firing by the forces during clashes in Gusoo village, the official said.The two were taken to a hospital, from where, one of them, Fayaz Ahmad Wani, was referred to the SMHS Hospital here. Wani was, however, declared dead at the hospital, he said.Clashes between the protesters and security forces were going on when last reports came in. The search operation is in progress, he added.Separatists in Kashmir on Monday called for a boycott of the panchayat and urban local body polls scheduled to be held from next month.A statement in this regard was issued after a meeting of the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising separatists Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik at Mr. Geelani’s residence in Hyderpora. It alleged that the Centre wants to thrust panchayat and municipal elections upon the people of Kashmir and that “New Delhi has never believed in empowering the people of J&K or the institutions here.” Elections have “only been a means to further strengthen New Delhi’s hold on J&K”, the statement alleged.Despite similar calls for boycott by separatists, Jammu and Kashmir registered its highest voter turn-out in the last 25 years during the 2014 Assembly election, with an estimated 65% of electorate casting their votes. The last panchayat election in the State were held in April-May 2011, with a record voter turnout of 80%. The panchayat elections were scheduled to be held in 2016 but were put off due to unrest in the Valley.last_img read more

Congress expels Lalzirliana in Mizoram

first_imgMizoram’s ruling Congress party on Monday expelled R. Lalzirliana, three days after the veteran politician resigned as the poll-bound State’s Home Minister.Mr. Lalzirliana, a vice president of the party’s State unit, was regarded as the most influential Congress leader in Mizoram after Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, who would be completing his second successive term when elections to the 40-member assembly are held by the year end.“We had to issue the expulsion order for the larger interest of the party and under the present circumstances,” C. Lalpianthanga, chairman of the disciplinary action committee of the Congress’s Mizoram State unit said in a statement, explaining the rationale behind the party’s decision. Mr. Lalpianthanga added that the party had tried to avoid expelling Mr. Lalzirliana, 69, who had been a “pillar of strength” and a “guiding force”.The Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) had on September 14 served a show-cause notice to Mr. Lalzirliana — hours before he announced his resignation from the State Cabinet — asking him to clarify several statements reportedly made by him to the local media that could ‘affect the integrity’ of the party.There has been speculation in the local media in recent days that Mr. Lalzirliana may be set to join a rival party, with the most widely talked about possibility being the Mizo National Front (MNF). The MNF is a member of the North East Development Alliance of regional parties helmed by the Bharatiya Janata Party.While MNF president and former chief minister Zoramthanga has indicated Mr. Lalzirliana could join his party, speculation of a possible move to the National People’s Party also gathered momentum after Meghalaya’s Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong called on him at his residence in Aizawl last week.Mr. Lalzirliana, who is yet to spell out his plans, has, however, insisted that the recent chain of events had been triggered by his unwillingness to compromise over his demand for declaring Saitual and the area it administers a full-fledged district.“The Chief Minister had promised to upgrade Saitual into a district but failed to do so,” he said.Saitual is the major town of Tawi constituency that Mr. Lalzirliana has represented for four terms.Separately, the portfolios handled by the expelled leader including the crucial Home, Excise and Power ministries were put under the direct charge of Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, according to a notification from the State government.last_img read more

Show-cause notice to 3 LU students

first_imgOver a week after they showed black flags to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani during his visit to the city, three students of Lucknow University may face administrative action. The university administration has served show-cause notice on them, saying their action “not only affected the peace and order but also tarnished the university’s image.”The three students were among the seven arrested after they showed black flag as Mr. Rupani’s convoy passed on October 15. They were protesting against the violence unleashed on migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in Gujarat.‘Fear and terror’ The university said the act showed the students were out to create an “atmosphere of fear and terror” on the campus and in the city. The students are Amar Yadav, B.A. first year; Anurag Pal, M.A. first year; and Mahendra Yadav, M.A. first year. They are also members of the Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha, the students wing of the Samajwadi Party.Mahendra accused the university of being vindictive as the administration had taken action against the protesters. Moreover, the protest was staged 200 metres away from the university, near Hanuman Setu. “We were raising our voice against the violence faced by migrant workers in Gujarat,” he said. Mahendra was among the eight who spent almost a month in jail last year for showing the black flag to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. While the notice does not specify the quantum of punishment, it says their admission will be cancelled if they fail to respond to the notice.LU spokesperson N.K. Pandey said the university would decide on the punishment on the basis of their explanations. He admitted that the incident did not take place on the campus, but the university’s disciplinary rules applied to them as they were still students.”If you are doing it (waving black flags), being a student and in front of the university, it does reflect on the image of the university on what we are doing academically. Are we producing these kinds of students,” Mr. Pandey asked.last_img read more

Pilots shut off wrong engine after bird hit: DGCA report

first_imgThe final investigation report of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on a bird hit suffered by a Delhi-Mumbai GoAir flight on June 21, 2017, has revealed that the pilots turned off the wrong engine and flew the plane on the engine that had ingested the bird. The report, made public on Tuesday, stated that after about three minutes the crew realised the mistake and tried to restart the other engine mid-air. They then declared an emergency and returned to Delhi, managing to land on a single engine on the second attempt. There were 156 passengers on board at the time of the incident. “The incident was caused by incorrect identification of engine affected with high vibration followed by non-adherence to recommended procedures, lack of situational awareness, poor Cockpit Resource Management and poor handling of aircraft during emergency subsequent to bird strike,” the report prepared by the office of Director of Air Safety (Western Region) said. Mid-air scareAccording to the findings, during take-off roll at around 115 knots, the aircraft — an A320 — encountered a bird strike on engine number 2. “Both crew noticed abnormal sound and vibrations but the pilot in command decided to continue the take-off probably wanting to investigate the problem after getting airborne. After the take-off, the situation was incorrectly assessed and engine number 1 (unaffected engine) was shut down. The aircraft was climbing with the single engine — engine 2 (affected engine), for over three minutes,” the report said. It pinned the blame of the “incorrect assessment” on the First Officer. As the aircraft stopped climbing at around 3,330 feet altitude, the crew realised their mistake and attempted to start engine number 1 but encountered start valve fault. The investigation also revealed that another pilot flying as Staff On Duty entered the cockpit after pressing the cockpit buzzer several times. The pilot in command submitted that he allowed the SOD inside the cockpit because the buzzer was distracting. “The SOD was heard asking information on the problem to cockpit crew while they were performing their duties in-flight and after landing as well,” the report said. As per the pilot in command, there was no information by Air Traffic Control about bird activity but the Air Traffic Information Services reported bird activity in its broadcast. The report also mentioned that after the incident, while taxiing to the allocated stand for parking, the crew took a wrong turn and parked the aircraft in an incorrect orientation.last_img read more

Separatists call for strike to mark Afzal Guru’s sixth death anniversary

first_imgNormal life in Kashmir was affected on Saturday due to a strike called by separatists to mark the sixth death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged on this day in 2013.Shops and other business establishments remained closed while public transport was off the roads due to the shutdown called by the separatists, officials said.Separatists Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), consisting of both factions of Hurriyat Conference and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), called for a shutdown to press for their demand that Afzal Guru’s mortal remains be returned for burial in Kashmir.Authorities have placed Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and several other separatist leaders under house arrest to prevent them from holding any protest marches, the officials said. Security personnel have been deployed in strength at vulnerable places across the valley for maintaining law and order, they said.Afzal Guru was hanged and buried inside New Delhi’s Tihar jail on February 9, 2013.last_img read more

Now, BJP wants Mamata’s sit-in spot

first_imgThe BJP’s West Bengal unit has sought permission from the Kolkata police to conduct a dharna later this month at the same spot in the city where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had organised a sit-in demonstration last week. The party has already sent a letter to the city police seeking permission for the dharna at the Metro Channel in the heart of the city between February 21 and 23, BJP State general secretary Sayantan Basu said on Monday. An e-mail would also be sent to the police in the matter, he said. The “Save Democracy” dharna will raise demand of “restoring democracy in the State”, he said. Mr. Basu said, “Whenever in the past we had asked for permission to organise a sit-in demonstration at the Metro Channel, the police denied us permission citing traffic rules. But if the Trinamool Congress was allowed to organise a dharna there, why can’t we do it?” Ms. Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress chief, was on dharna from February 3 to 5 at the Metro Channel in Esplanade area to “Save the Constitution” after the CBI’s failed bid to question Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with the chit fund cases. “We hope that we will also get the permission. We will not use loudspeakers as it is examination time,” the BJP leader said. When contacted, Kolkata Police officers said they were yet to receive any such application from the BJP. “If we receive it, we will take a call,” said an officer. The Metro Channel is also the same spot where Ms. Banerjee had held a 26-day fast against the acquisition of farm land for the Tata Motors’ small car unit at Singur in 2006.last_img read more

Mortal remains of CRPF men to be flown to their homes today

first_imgThe mortal remains of the CRPF personnel killed in an audacious terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, will be sent to their homes across the country this afternoon, officials said on Friday. While a majority of the 37 bodies have been identified, some of them have been mangled beyond recognition. A home ministry official said arrangements have been made to hand over the bodies to the families. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is visiting Jammu and Kashmir to take stock of the situation in the wake of the terror attack, Governor Satya Pal Malik, DG of CRPF R R Bhatnagar will pay their last respect to the departed souls in Srinagar before the bodies are flown out of the state. At least 37 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama on Thursday. More than 2,500 Central Reserve Police Force personnel, many of them returning from leave to rejoin duty in the Valley, were travelling in the convoy of 78 vehicles when they were ambushed on the Srinagar-Jammu highway at Latoomode in Awantipora in south Kashmir around 3.15 pm. The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack that took place about 20 km from Srinagar, officials said.last_img read more

ScienceShot: ‘Lion Avengers’ Accused of Trickery

first_imgWhen a lion kills a person or livestock in East Africa, the locals often kill one of the felines in revenge. That’s been the custom among the Sukuma people, farmers in western Tanzania. Traditionally, Sukuma men who’ve dispatched lions perform celebratory dances in villagers’ homes while wearing a costume made from their prey’s pelt (photo). Homeowners then reward these avengers with one or more cows. But the increasing number of tourists allowed to hunt lions and the Sukuma’s retaliatory killing have taken a toll on the animal’s population in the area—which used to be one of the remaining strongholds for the big cats. (Lion numbers have declined by 60% across Africa since the mid-1990s; only 30,000 to 40,000 remain.) As a result, the number of lion depredations has also dropped dramatically, scientists report online this week in Biological Conservation. Yet the lion dancers persist—only now, these men are no longer avengers, but hunters, the researchers say, because they’re adorned with the teeth and claws of felines they’ve killed in nearby Katavi National Park instead of cats found lurking near the family corral. Villagers, however, take a dim view of these “wa-feki,” a Swahili-English word which roughly translates to “fakers,” and do not condone the killing of lions in the park. After interviewing 129 heads of households, the researchers discovered that 72% know that the dancers have hunted the lions solely for the money, and not to protect the villagers and their animals. Some have begun refusing to reward the dancers. That shift in social attitudes is already helping protect the park’s remaining lions, which number around 200, the scientists say. They’re now working with villagers on a lion conservation campaign, targeting local bylaws and customs that could lead to new conservation approaches elsewhere.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

Clues to animal extinctions found on the walls of Egyptian tombs

first_imgSix thousand years ago, Egyptian lions hunted wildebeests and zebras in a landscape that resembled the Serengeti more than the Sahara. Since then, the number of large mammal species has decreased from 37 to eight, says quantitative ecologist Justin Yeakel of the Santa Fe Institute. New research using ancient animal depictions tracks the collapse of Egypt’s ecological networks one extinction at a time, offering a glimpse into how climate change and human impacts have altered the structure and stability of ecosystems over millennia.People in Egypt have been observing the natural world since long before they built the pyramids. Prehistoric rock drawings depict hippopotamuses, giraffes, elephants, hartebeests, and foxes. Ostrich and ibex are carved into a 5000-year-old ceremonial palette. Later, hunting scenes on ancient Egyptian tombs teemed with wildlife. Yeakel created a timeline based on existing records from paleontology, archaeology, and art, which picks up about where the fossils leave off and zooms in on a much shorter time scale. He used it to find out which species died out when and how their loss affected the rest of the ecological network.As Yeakel and co-authors report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the most dramatic shifts in climate and land use accompanied the most dramatic shifts in the number of predators relative to the number of prey species. Three of the five shifts happened at the same time as sudden dryings of the Nile Valley that may also have catalyzed the rise and fall of dynasties. A fourth shift occurred with population growth and industrialization in modern Egypt.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The researchers explored whether some of the ecological networks were more vulnerable than others. For each mammal community of the last 6000 years, they assembled possible predator-prey networks based on the body size of the animals (a cheetah is more likely to hunt a hedgehog than vice versa)—a system that correctly predicts who eats whom up to 74% of the time in modern African systems. Then they modeled the stability of each ecological network: How likely is a small change to cause a complete collapse?The most ancient and species-rich ecosystems were resilient. But the networks became less and less stable through time. With each extinction, the mammals that depended on that species become more vulnerable to collapse themselves. The loss of the wild boar, the white antelope, and the leopard in the last 150 years caused the most precipitous drop in stability yet. “As you lose diversity, you lose redundancy in the system, and the importance of each organism becomes magnified,” Yeakel says.As a result, the remaining eight large mammal species in Egypt—including striped hyenas, golden jackals, and the Egyptian fox—are now more vulnerable than they’ve been in more than 12,000 years, Yeakel says. Some of the most important of those eight are already in trouble. By calculating the stability of the modern Egyptian predator-prey network with and without each species, the team found a few whose presence stabilizes the whole system—primarily small herbivores eaten by many predators, including gazelles, ibex, and Barbary sheep. One gazelle species is now critically endangered, and Barbary sheep are less common in the Western Desert than they were even 30 years ago, says Egyptologist Salima Ikram of American University in Cairo, who was not involved in the work.The researchers also used their model to predict extinction risk, a measure that’s important for conservation planning but hard to observe. The artistic record offers an unusual chance to test these predictions on extant species at shorter timescales. Looking back in history, the researchers found that the theoretically more sensitive species did in fact disappear from Egypt sooner.Still, this window on the past is less than perfect, warns Linda Evans, an environmental historian at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, who studies representations of animals in ancient Egyptian art. Just because an animal appears on a tomb doesn’t necessarily mean it existed at the time, as artists in later periods copied older tombs. Ancient Egyptians “didn’t just depict what they saw,” Evans says. “Egyptian art has a grammar to it. You have to be really careful and guarded about the conclusions you draw.”Ikram agrees that ancient Egyptian artists had more on their minds than what they saw in the real world. But while Yeakel’s timeline may not be perfect, it is probably “a good mapping of what was present when and where, and how the different species affected one another.”last_img read more

Smart phones could be used to detect earthquakes

first_imgThe cellphone in your pocket could soon save you from an earthquake. Researchers have shown that it is possible to use GPS data from smart phones to detect tremors, potentially providing an early warning system to those who have not yet been hit.”What’s really nice about this work is they are using sensors that people carry around anyway,” says geophysicist Kristine Larson of the University of Colorado, Boulder. “It could be very, very useful.”In the moments before an earthquake, a few extra seconds can mean the difference between life and death. With a little bit of warning, people can take shelter, nuclear power plants can take last-minute precautions, and natural gas utilities can shut down pipelines. Japan has an early warning system that relies on more than 1000 seismometers throughout the country, which saved lives during the magnitude-9 Tohoku earthquake that hit in 2011. A similar system exists in Mexico, and another is under study in California. But such systems are expensive and time-consuming to install and maintain, making cellphones an attractive alternative, especially for earthquake-prone countries in the developing world.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(*)Previous studies of crowdsourcing earthquake early warning systems have relied on phones’ accelerometers, which estimate the phone’s movement, rather than GPS tracking, which locates the absolute position of the phone using satellites. Scientific GPS stations have already been used to detect earthquakes, but the new study found that even consumer devices with GPS could be useful for crowdsourcing warnings. And as more and more of our devices integrate GPS navigation, including vehicles, increasing amounts of data could boost the sensitivity of such efforts.To understand whether smart phones and other consumer devices could detect quakes with GPS at all, researchers tested the sensitivity of such devices. Cell phones typically use a coarser method of positioning than do the most sensitive scientific instruments, which take advantage of more information encoded in the GPS signal. The scientists studied the accuracy of cellphone GPS by shaking a phone and comparing its recorded displacements with a more accurate scientific device. And by monitoring the phone for movement while holding it stationary, they measured the chance for false alarms. The researchers determined that consumer GPS devices could detect earthquakes of magnitude 7 and above, allowing possible warnings for people located away from the epicenter of the most destructive quakes, they report today in Science Advances.Next, the researchers tested the concept using a computer simulation of a magnitude-7 earthquake near Oakland, California, on the Hayward fault, a likely spot for future tremors that runs through the San Francisco Bay Area. By simulating the typical response of cellphones to shaking, they estimated the signals in cellphones near the epicenter. In the researchers’ system, a quake “triggers” a phone if it and four neighboring devices all record simultaneous movements greater than 5 centimeters. To weed out coincidences, the system only issues an alert if more than 100 devices see such triggers. Assuming data from 0.2% of the population—less than 5000 people—the system was able to detect the simulated earthquake within 5 seconds, a speed that would have allowed a few seconds of warning before the strongest shaking began in San Francisco and 10 seconds before it began in San Jose, providing time for children to get under their desks and for trains to put on the breaks.The researchers then tested their system with real data from the Tohoku quake. The team used an array of 462 GPS stations spread across Japan to approximate the data that would come from cellphones. Although these scientific instruments are more precise than cellphones, they record lower quality data as well, which is similar to data from consumer devices. In this scenario, the researchers set the bar for detection so that the chances of a false alarm would be about one in 2 million. The system would have detected the earthquake 77 seconds after it began, which would have allowed a warning of about 10 seconds before the earthquake reached Tokyo. What’s more, it would have allowed several minutes’ warning before the accompanying tsunami. Although scientific detection systems might provide even faster warnings, these systems might be useful in places without warning systems.As technology advances and more devices integrate GPS tracking, the system will become more useful, says study author Benjamin Brooks, an earthquake scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. “It’s not really just about smart phones, it’s about all sorts of Internet-connected devices that have positioning associated with them. … We think the numbers are going to be so large that you could be very liberal with your criteria for using a specific device.” Detection with cellphones is difficult because users are constantly moving them around, but with enough data, the system could rely on devices that weren’t in motion before the quake, improving warning capabilities.However, computational earthquake seismologist Jesse Lawrence of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, points out a few challenges to the approach. Using GPS drains phone batteries, so data collection might need to be restricted to times when phones are recharging, meaning that few phones will be operating during the day. And the software has to deal with phones behaving unpredictably during an earthquake, such as falling from a table onto the floor. Because of that, Lawrence says, “the way that they’ve done the simulations, I would argue, doesn’t really match real world.” But he is optimistic about the possibilities for this technology in the future. “It’s great research, and this is the first step.”last_img read more

Increase In Indian Asylum Seekers Crossing Into US From Mexico: Report

first_imgThe number of Indians crossing into the US from Mexico and seeking asylum has been increasing in the recent years, a media report has claimed.Indian citizens are among thousands of migrants from Haiti, Africa and Asia who are trekking across Latin America through travel routes forged by Latino immigrants, The Los Angeles Times reported.Read it at NDTV Related Itemslast_img

10 Indian Men Arrested In Thailand For Falsifying Marriage Documents

first_imgTen Indian men and 24 Thai women have been arrested in Thailand on charges of forging documents and filing falsified papers to authorities about their marriages, media reports said on Wednesday. Twenty Indian suspects are still at large, Thai police said.Read it at NDTV Related Itemslast_img

Indian-Origin Man Among Three Sentenced for Cybercrime in U.S.

first_imgThree people, including an Indian-origin man, were  sentenced for their roles in creating and operating two botnets that targeted Internet of Things (IoT) devices and brought down thousands of computers two years ago in the United States and Europe.After an extensive investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) found Paras Jha, 22, of Fanwood, New Jersey; Josiah White, 21, of Washington, Pennsylvania; and Dalton Norman, 22, of Metairie, Louisiana, guilty of staging cybercrime. The three were sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess on Sept. 18.The FBI said the trio created Mirai botnet that took control of thousands of IoT devices and caused many websites across the United States and Europe to go down in September 2016. After cooperating with the FBI, Jha, White, and Norman were each sentenced to a five-year probation, 2,500 hours of community service, and were ordered to pay restitution of $127,000. They have voluntarily abandoned significant amounts of cryptocurrency seized during the course of the investigation, according to a statement by the FBI.As part of their sentences, they will have to cooperate with the FBI on cybercrime and cybersecurity matters, as well as give continued assistance to law enforcement and the broader research community.  According to court documents, the defendants provided assistance that contributed to complex cybercrime investigations as well as the broader defensive effort by law enforcement and the cybersecurity research community.The three pleaded guilty in December 2017 in the District of Alaska to conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act in operating the Mirai botnet.  Jha and Norman also pleaded guilty to two counts each of the same charge, one in relation to the Mirai botnet and the other in relation to the Clickfraud botnet.The involvement of the three men with the original Mirai variant ended in September 2016, when Jha posted the source code for Mirai on a criminal forum. Since then, other criminal actors have used Mirai variants in other attacks.From December 2016 to February 2017, Jha, Brown, and Norman successfully infected over 100,000 computing devices, mainly U.S.-based, such as home Internet routers, with a malware that hijacked the devices to form a powerful botnet. These devices were then used primarily in advertising fraud, including “clickfraud,” a type of Internet-based scheme that makes it appear that a real user has “clicked” on an advertisement for the purpose of artificially generating revenue.“Cybercrime is a worldwide epidemic that reaches many Alaskans,” U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder said in a statement.  “The perpetrators count on being technologically one step ahead of law enforcement officials.” Related ItemsCybersecurityMalwarelast_img read more

Relief for Marathwada as Jayakwadi gates opened

first_imgBringing some relief to the parched Marathwada region, eight sluice gates of the Jayakwadi dam have been opened to discharge water thanks to heavy rain in north Maharashtra.The current discharge of around 4,500 cusecs from the dam has been prompted due to incessant showers in Nashik district and other parts of north Maharashtra, causing the Godavari river to swell and fill up the dams there. The release of water from these upstream dams has in turn led to the accumulation of more than 2 lakh cusecs in Jayakwadi’s Nath Sagar reservoir.Authorities said the discharge from Jayakwadi was prompted after the dam filled up to 92% of its live storage capacity. At the same time last year, the dam had barely 28% of its live storage capacity.While Nashik and Nandurbar in the north and Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur and Pune in western Maharashtra have been reeling under the onslaught of excess rain, the eight districts of Marathwada continue to remain arid despite two months of the monsoon season drawing to a close.Jayakwadi dam is the chief water source for industries in Marathwada, mainly in Aurangabad. The water discharge is expected to benefit areas in at least four districts in the region — Aurangabad, Beed, Jalna and Parbhani — and help resolve the water situation in talukas near the Godavari river bank.This is the first time in two years that the dam’s storage capacity has exceeded 90%.Till Thursday, authorities were releasing 1,200 cusecs of water from the Paithan left bank canal, 900 cusecs from the right bank canal, and 1,589 cusecs from the hydropower project towards the Apegaon and Hiradpuri barrages.The eight districts of Marathwada have collectively received over 75% of the average rainfall till now, with the region as a whole facing a rainfall deficit of more than 20%. Acute potable water scarcity still prevails in several villages, which continue to be supplied by tankers.last_img read more

Flood situation improves in Odisha districts

first_imgThe flood situation in Odisha has shown signs of improvement as rain has stopped in almost all districts. Except for Malkangiri and Kalahandi, there was hardly any rain in any other district on Thursday. The floodwater flowing towards the delta region in the Mahanadi river was not likely to pose any major threat as its level was decreasing. People in low-lying areas close to the coast are, however, worried about possible overflowing of floodwater before discharge into the sea. At Naraj, the water level was gradually dropping. The water discharge at Kharimal into the Mahanadi was measured at 3.35 lakh cusecs and at Barmul, it was 5.88 lakh cusecs. In most major rivers, the water level has been found either falling or steady.Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi said 64,354 people were evacuated and sheltered in 173 relief camps. Of them, 83 camps with 23,383 evacuees were operating on Thursday. An estimated 2.96 lakh people in 11 districts were hit by the floods. Balangir has so far been the worst-hit district where 2 lakh people have been affected.last_img read more

Punjab sees increase in farm fires this month

first_imgFarmers continue to burn stubble despite banVolume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0001:1501:15  There has been a spike in agricultural fires — a phenomenon that’s known to worsen air pollution — in Punjab in September, significantly more than in the same month last year.Krunesh Garg, member-secretary, Punjab Pollution Control Board, said there were 107 fires from September 24-26. In 2018 there were only 11 fires during the same period. However, in 2016 and 2017 there were 106 and 150 fires respectively from September 27-30.Mr. Garg said last year’s numbers were unusually low because paddy harvesting was delayed due to the persistence of the monsoon. “Last year, the onset of monsoon was late and it persisted well into October. This year, harvesting of basmati varieties of rice has already begun, hence the apparent rise in September,” he said.Agricultural fires, in which farmers set fire to their fields after harvesting paddy, tend to begin around late September and peak around the last week of October by which time farmers have harvested most of their paddy. There were 80,879 fire incidents detected during the paddy harvesting season in 2016, 43,660 in 2017 and about 40,000 in 2018. “There was a 10% reduction last year from 2017 and we expect around the same reduction this year,” Mr. Garg said. Watch | Farmers continue to burn stubble despite bancenter_img Punjab’s fires tend to worsen Delhi’s pollution as particulate matter floats into the city, affecting the already polluted winter air.The Centre and Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh had — over several meetings last year — declared a “zero tolerance” policy on stubble burning by farmers which, according to various studies, contributes anywhere from 17% to 78% to the particulate matter emission load in Delhi during winter.Last year, the Union Agriculture Ministry earmarked ₹591 crore for disbursal to Punjab, Haryana and U.P. to help farmers access machines that collect or plough the stubble back into the soil.A senior official in the Union Agriculture Ministry said in spite of subsidies, the implements were “expensive” for the farmers and thus it was cheaper for them to set chaff ablaze.(With inputs fromPriscilla Jebaraj)last_img read more

Honda workers protest ‘forced long leaves’

first_imgMore than 2,000 contractual workers of Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India (HMSI) Private Limited sat on a dharna inside its Manesar plant in Sector 3 here on Tuesday — a day after 200 workers were told to proceed on a three-month leave citing economic slowdown.Around 150 police personnel were deployed inside the plant premises to prevent any law and order situation, said DCP (Manesar) Rajesh Kumar.HMSI employees’ union chief Suresh Gaur said that talks were on with the labour department and the management officials to work out a solution. “The company’s management has been illegally sacking contractual workers, asking them to go on leave for 3-4 months using slowdown as an excuse. The workers have families to support, they cannot survive without work for so long. If the management fails to find a solution, the permanent works will also join them in the protest,” said Mr. Gaur.The affected workers also staged simultaneous protest outside the plant. They claimed that around 2,000 employees had been told to go on leave over the past few months, and none of them were recalled.“It is a conspiracy to relieve the contract workers with higher wages and hire workers at lower wages. The three other plants of the company in Bangalore, Gujarat and Rajasthan are running smoothly, how come only the Manesar plant has been hit by the slowdown?,” Gulvinder, a protesting worker., demanded to know.Another worker Ajay Kumar said the workers should be suitably compensated if the company wanted to relieve them. “We must be paid one lakh rupees for each year of service offered in the company. It is difficult to get a new job at this age. Most of the workers are in their late 30s,” said Mr. Kumar.The protesters claimed that the contractual workers were given a 15-day service break every year, but this time they were being told to go on a long leave and were not being recalled. Most of the workers told to go on leave were employed for 5-10 years and worked on frame assembly.A delegation of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, led by its Haryana president Satbir Singh, met the workers and extended support to them.In a press statement, the company said that 200 contractual members, whose term had completed, were relieved based on demand fluctuations and production adjustment. It further said that necessary recruitment would be considered on the basis of future market requirements.Additional Labour Commissioner (NCR) Manish Kumar said talks were on till late in the evening and the contractual workers were still holding a peaceful dharna inside the company premises. He said the talks were held with the plant’s head through video conferencing since he was in Switzerland, but no conclusion could be reached.last_img read more