Pune athlete eyes Ironman Triathlon

first_imgPune: Twenty-nine-year-old Chaitanya Velhal is an exemplary achiever in the field of endurance sports. His strategy? “plan like a scientist, train like a beast, race like a champion.” Presently, his sight is fixed on the Ironman Triathlon, which would be held in South Africa on April 2.“Endurance is my strength,” he tells The Hindu, as he prepares to leave for South Africa. “It is a case of planning your work and working your plan.”Raised in a middle-class Indian milieu, where the stress on excelling in academics is overwhelming, Chaitanya managed to navigate the stormy waters of convention to pursue his passions.His achievements include winning national endurance events like ‘Enduro’ in 2013 and the ‘Enduro Mountain Triathlon’ in 2014.He clocked the Zurich Ironman in July last year in 13 hours and three minutes. This is impressive because the Ironman Triathlon typically consists of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a 26.22-mile (42.20 km) marathon run, all of which is to be completed in a single day.Different ball gameTraining for the triathlon is different than that for ordinary marathons or trekking. Chaitanya says the unique topography of Pune, with its Sahyadri Hills and aquatic bodies, provides the perfect environment for triathlon training.“Around 80% of my training is done outdoors,” he says. “Generally, I swim in the pool on weekdays. On other occasions, I visit the major dams near Pune, like Khadakwasla, Panshet or Mulshi, for a swim. I cycle on the hills and also in the gym. But running is almost always outdoors. The watchwords for the triathlon are strength and flexibility, so I balance my routine outdoors and indoors with a view to achieve both.”The cycling segment of the triathlon has it’s own set of challenges. “No matter how much you train, the vastness of the distance tends to play havoc with your mind. One has to struggle to keep one’s cool; to prevent the scenery and the terrain to de-motivate you.”Chaitanya says he followed a rigorous schedule, with a month’s training planned in advance. “I was training twice a day for three days, and thrice a day for remaining days of the week. An early morning cycling session followed immediately by running. Then some rest time, and swimming in the afternoon followed by strength training and conditioning at my gym.”Early promiseChaitanya excelled in swimming at the age of 10, while he was still a student at the city’s P. Jog high school. Later, at university, he mastered kabaddi and also became a deft football player.When he was 14, he finished first in a five-km mini-marathon. “That was the moment I really tasted the sweet smell of success. I later discovered that if I pushed myself hard enough, I could master [any] sport,” Chaitanya says. He considers cycling as his strongest suit. “I picked up cycling while pursuing a master’s [degree] in microbiology from Australia, and it stuck with me on my return. Back there, it was the cheapest mode of transportation [that could be used] to explore a fascinating country,” He reminisces. He also says that the course he studied aided him immensely in training the body for optimal performance in sports, which provided him an edge over his fellow competitors.Turning pointWithin a year of his return from Australia, he won his first major local race, the ‘Enduro’. This proved as a turning point for Chaitanya, who, after gaining confidence from his win, resigned as an assistant professor and research scientist at the Agriculture College of Pune in 2012 (a decision which startled his family and friends).“I had to brush aside the conventional responses of disappointment and objections from my dear ones. I participated in the ‘Deccan Cliffhanger’ [a 643-km annual ultra-cycling race from Pune to Goa] next and won it,” Chaitanya says. He is presently the co-founder and head coach at the MultiFit Academy of Triathlon and Endurance Sports (MATES).He credits Samir Kapoor, the managing director of Multifit (health chain), for not only encouraging him to take a shot at the ‘Ironman’ contest, but also providing him financial help.Not easy“It is extremely difficult, especially if one is from a middle-class family, to secure the financial backup to step into the arena for the triathlon. There are not many sponsors for athletes and I had to set a national record before sponsors started noticing me.” Chaitanya hasn’t looked back since then. He won Pune and Bangalore bicycle championships in the consecutive years. An even more impressive achievement followed when he became the fastest Indian to qualify for the Race Across America (RAAM) — a 5,000-km transcontinental race, which spans from the west coast to the east coast of the U.S. But one particular incident which gives him immense personal satisfaction is when he trained a group of girls in football at Pune’s Garware College. Chaitanya, just like in underdog sports films The Longest Yard and Chak de! India, coached the ragtag group who went on to the semi-finals of a local league in their second year.So, what keeps his enthusiasm to trump the daunting Ironman Triathlon going?“One has to fall in love with the process of the triathlon, only then can one visualise scaling its challenges,” says Chaitanya.last_img read more

Further probe needed in Chandigarh child rape case, say police

first_imgA day when a report emerged that the DNA of the baby girl, delivered last month by the 10-year-old rape victim here, didn’t match with the accused — who is an uncle of the victim — the Chandigarh Police has said that matter was part of investigation and nothing can be revealed at this moment.Chandigarh police comments came after a section of media reported, claiming that Central Forensic Science Laboratory has in its report stated that the DNA of the baby girl, who was delivered on August 17, at a local government hospital did not match with the accused.“I can not comment on anything related on this issue..Whatever has been reported is now a part of police investigation,” Nilambari Jagadale Senior Superintendent of Police, Chandigarh told, The Hindu on Tuesday.“We will carry out further investigation and only then I’ll be able to comment on the issue,” she added.The 10-year-old victim girl was allegedly raped by her uncle repeatedly. The accused was arrested on July 14 after an FIR was registered against him on the complaint of victim’s mother.Notably, the Supreme Court had on July 28 turned down the abortion plea of the rape victim, who at that time had a 32-week-old pregnancy. The pregnancy of the victim was discovered when she complained of stomach ache in July and was taken to the hospital, where it was found that she was around 30 weeks pregnant.last_img read more

Two bank guards killed in Shopian firing

first_imgTwo bank guards were killed as suspected militants attacked a van carrying cash in Shopian on Monday.Preliminary reports suggest a number of gunmen opened fire on the bank van at Poju Keller on Monday afternoon.”Two guards were injured in the firing. They succumbed to their injuries in the hospital,” said a police official.The bank official could not confirm immediately if any cash was looted by the gunmen.last_img

State must clarify stand on beef: Naik

first_imgThe Congress on Monday criticised the State government, saying that it is caught in a bind over the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) duplicity on the beef issue at the Centre and in the States.Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Shantaram Naik, while speaking at a press conference at the Congress headquarters, said the BJP should clarify its position. “Everyone knows our position. But the BJP has a two-faced policy: one at the national level, and another at the regional level. Therefore, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is caught in a bind,” Mr. Naik said, when asked for comments on the beef shortage in Goa. The former Rajya Sabha MP said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was influencing the State government over the beef shortage in Goa. “The government’s inaction on a hate speech by a Hindutva leader on the issue of beef consumption some months ago was testimony to the BJP-led coalition government’s dislike of beef-eaters,” said Mr. Naik. Beef traders in the State are on strike since Saturday, saying that they are being harassed by vigilante groups and government officials.last_img read more

Congrats to the Science Podcast!

first_imgThe Science podcast has been ranked among the “best reporters, writers, and thinkers on the Internet” by Wired magazine. The show appears in Wired’s “101 Signals,” a guide to the most informative content on the Web. It’s the only podcast on the list. “From what is arguably the preeminent scientific journal on earth,” the editors write, “a well-produced audio podcast reviews the week in, well, science.”Don’t forget to tune in! You can subscribe here.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

Powerful Laser Blinks Out as a Result of U.S. Shutdown

first_imgThe U.S. government shutdown has snuffed out the world’s most powerful laser facility. Researchers yesterday began standing down the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, anticipating a 21 October lab shutdown unless Congress agrees to fund government operations. The lab will wrap up preparations today, because it is giving workers a holiday on Thursday and Friday.“We don’t know how long we’re going to be shut down,” says lab spokesperson Lynda Seaver. Congress could vote as early as today to end the spending impasse and reopen the government, possibly by Friday.Shutdown operations have also begun at DOE’s two other facilities that are primarily focused on nuclear weapons research, the Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories headquartered in New Mexico. “Without a resolution to the budget impasse, Los Alamos will complete the transition to closure as of the end of business on Friday,” wrote Los Alamos Laboratory Director Charles McMillan in a memo to employees. All told, more than 10,000 workers at the three labs, which are run by DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration, could be idled by the shutdown.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(*)Meanwhile, most work continues at the 10 national laboratories run primarily through DOE’s Office of Science. Those labs have said they have enough money left over from the last fiscal year to keep operating for a few more weeks.At Livermore, NIF’s closure will delay work on nuclear weapons research and efforts to understand why the facility has failed to achieve controlled nuclear fusion. The lab also conducts nuclear stockpile safety, high-performance computing, manufacturing, and life sciences research. The facility employs 7000 people; about 450 safety and environmental managers will stay on the job as essential workers if the shutdown continues.California politicians are urging Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to make sure any furloughed workers receive back pay. “Employees of our national labs are worried that they won’t be able to pay their bills next month if the shutdown continues,” said Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA) in a 14 October statement.last_img read more

ScienceShot: Butterfly Study Shows Genomes Change in Bits and Pieces at First

first_imgFor centuries, biologists have compared the looks and behaviors of closely related species to get a sense of their evolutionary history. Now, researchers are tracing that history in their genomes as well. They find that just a few regions of the genome drive the separation of incipient species early on, but that over time, lots of the genome gets involved in distinguishing the two. To study genome evolution, scientists sequenced 10 genomes from each of three species of a colorful tropical butterfly called Heliconius (pictured). They assessed the differences in the bases, the letters that make up DNA, keeping tabs on where those differences appeared in the genome and how many existed among the three species. They found that the two closest relatives, H. cydno—which has a white band on its wings—and H. pachinus—which has yellow bands—had just 12 small regions where they were different, for a total of 165,000 bases. They split apart 450,000 years ago. Eight of those regions coincided with genes important for setting the color pattern, according to a study published today in Cell Reports. The third, H. melpomene, with its red and yellow stripes, is 1 million years older and in that time, hundreds of differences had accumulated, spread across tens of millions of bases. It seems that evolution starts out slowly, with just a few key differences appearing, but then snowballs with differences accumulating at a faster rate over time.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

European Parliament Tightens Privacy Rules

first_imgThe European Parliament has approved stricter rules for the protection of personal data across the European Union, dealing a blow to research organizations that said the changes would undermine public health and medical research.In a vote held today in Strasbourg, France, 621 members of the European Parliament approved the draft regulation, with only 10 voting against and 22 abstentions. The document, which updates 1995 rules, is based on a 2012 proposal by the European Commission.Many research organizations are worried about changes made last fall by Parliament’s civil liberties committee that define conditions under which researchers can use (or reuse) patients’ data without specific consent. One key change allows the obligation to get consent to be lifted only if the research serves a “high public interest … [and] cannot possibly be carried out otherwise.” Supporters say that the changes are reasonable and necessary to ensure privacy, but scientists argue that the new language is too strict, vague, and threatens important health research.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(*)“We are very disappointed that the damaging amendments relating to research have made it into Parliament’s position on the regulation,” Beth Thompson, a policy adviser at the United Kingdom’s Wellcome Trust, tells ScienceInsider in an e-mail.The reform is not sealed, as the Parliament must now negotiate with the Council of Ministers, which represents the bloc’s 28 member states. “We hope that we can still change things, for the good of biomedical research and for the benefit of patients,” says Nathalie Kayadjanian, senior scientific officer for the medical scientific committee of Science Europe, a group of science funders and research organizations.Medical research is only a small part of the larger debate over privacy, and the U.S. spying scandals uncovered last year have prompted citizens and politicians to take a tough stance. “We must bear in mind that in Europe the notion of personal data protection is not a passing trend or a fleeting cause, it is a longstanding fundamental right,” said Monique Goyens, director general of the European Consumer Organisation, BEUC, in a statement after the vote.last_img read more

Dissections banned in Indian universities

first_imgBANGALORE, INDIA—A long campaign to persuade Indian authorities to bar dissections in university classes has achieved a major victory. The University Grants Commission (UGC), a governmental body that sets standards for university education in India, has banned the dissection of animals in zoology and life science university courses. Some educators decry the decision, arguing that classrooms aren’t prepared to offer alternatives to dissections.The animal rights advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has been calling for a ban for several years, arguing that computer models and simulations can effectively replace dissection. In 2011, UGC issued guidelines that exempted students from performing dissections in undergraduate classes and allowed students in postgraduate courses to opt out. In March, the Medical Council of India imposed a ban on animal dissection in undergraduate medical courses as well and is considering extending the ban to postgraduate courses.Most zoology students do not use the knowledge gained from dissections after they graduate, argues Chaitanya Koduri, science policy adviser to PETA India. “When you don’t need to use animals in the first place, why kill them?” According to Koduri, several frog species have become endangered in the past 40 years because zoology students across India have collected them in large numbers for experiments. Dissection indeed is a major pressure on frog populations, says N. A. Aravind, an ecologist who studies mollusks at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment here. He cites the Indian bullfrog, which was slaughtered for its meat and also used widely in dissections until 1991, when it was listed as an endangered species under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act. Although illegal hunting continues, the frog’s populations appear to have stabilized.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(*)Although acknowledging that threatened species shouldn’t be used for dissection, Kambadur Muralidhar, a professor of endocrinology at South Asian University in New Delhi, says that substituting species in dissections—for example, using the common walking catfish instead of endangered Scoliodon fish—would have addressed the issue. Muralidhar, who earlier headed UGC’s curriculum development committee for zoology, says that extensive talks were held with PETA and the Animal Welfare Board of India to arrive at a compromise “under which you don’t dissect unnecessarily. But it looks like UGC hasn’t listened.”Although PETA has suggested the use of computer-simulated dissections, scientists say that simulators are not yet widely available in Indian universities. “Hardly any colleges have them as of now,” says Narendra Saini, secretary general of the Indian Medical Association. He adds that even if simulations are used widely, a limited number of dissections would be indispensable for education in the life sciences.last_img read more

Environmentalists, scientists fret over Republican bills targeting EPA science

first_imgOver objections from the White House and many science and environmental groups, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives this week approved two bills that would change how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) obtains and uses scientific data and advice. The bills aren’t likely to become law this year, but they are fueling an intense political battle that is likely to resurface when the new Congress convenes in January.Proponents of the bills, which the House passed almost entirely with GOP votes, say they would increase transparency in how EPA uses data to justify its regulations and result in better, more balanced scientific advice for the agency. “EPA has an extensive track record of twisting the science to justify their actions,” and so reform is needed, said Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), head of the House science committee, in a statement supporting one of the bills.But opponents say the legislation would do more harm than good. “These bills are the culmination of one of the most anti-science and anti-health campaigns I’ve witnessed in my 22 years as a member of Congress,” said Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX), top Democrat on the House science committee, in a statement.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(*)White House officials say they would recommend that President Barack Obama veto the legislation if it reaches his desk. That’s unlikely in the current Congress, which ends next month, given that Democrats still hold a majority in the Senate. That makes the votes largely symbolic. But observers say they represent another salvo in a long-standing battle over the release of scientific data that underlines key regulations—and a sign of battles to come once Republicans assume control of both chambers of Congress in January.One bill, approved 18 November on a mostly party-line 229 to 191 vote, would overhaul rules regarding the membership and meetings of EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB). That federally chartered body of scientists, economists, and other scholars reviews agency risk assessments and scientific documents and advises the agency on other matters. The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act (H.R. 1422), sponsored by Representative Chris Stewart (R–UT), would require the agency to make SAB’s membership “fairly balanced,” add more public comment opportunities, require more acknowledgment of dissenting panelists’ views, bar panelists from discussing their own research, and limit nonscientific advice from the panel. “Ensuring that the [board] is balanced and transparent will help instill more confidence in the EPA’s decision making process,” Stewart said in a statement.The bill would seek to balance membership by setting a quota for state, local, and tribal government officials on SAB panels and clarify that industry experts aren’t barred from membership as long as their potential conflicts of interest are disclosed.The second bill, the Secret Science Reform Act (H.R. 4012), would require that the data from any study that EPA draws upon to inform its regulations, risk assessments, and guidance documents be “reproducible” and released publicly as long as the law doesn’t forbid it. “If you’re going to make public policy, do it by public data,” said Representative David Schweikert (R–AZ), the bill’s lead sponsor and chair of the House science committee’s environmental subpanel, on the House floor on 19 November. The House approved the measure on a mostly party-line 237 to 190 vote.Trade associations in key industries—from chemicals to oil to natural gas—support the bills, saying that boosting data transparency and changing SAB’s composition would result in more scientifically sound, and thus publicly trusted, regulations.Opponents, however, say the bills are thinly disguised efforts to make EPA’s job more difficult.For instance, the EPA SAB reform act could “turn conflict of interest on its head” by opening the door to more representation from industry scientists, says Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a science and environmental advocacy group, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A White House statement argues that the new membership requirements “could preclude the nomination of scientists with significant expertise in their fields.”Public health groups, scientists, and environmental groups warned in a letter to lawmakers that the bill would grind SAB to a halt by requiring an “endless loop” of public comment and responses from the panel to almost every comment. “At best, the SAB will be reduced to busy work. At worst, the SAB’s assessments will address the concerns of corporations, not the desires of citizens for science-informed regulation that protects public health,” the letter argues.The “secret science” bill could drastically cut the number of studies that EPA would be allowed to use in developing rules, the advocates’ letter argues. By requiring “reproducible” data, the bill “seems to adopt a very narrow view of scientific information solely based on laboratory experiments,” it argues, noting that many studies that EPA traditionally relies on involve modeling or analyzing real-world health data, which can be hard to replicate.H.R. 4012 could also rule out EPA’s use of other studies involving confidential health information, which can be important, critics say. And the bill’s requirements “could be used to prevent EPA from finalizing regulations until legal challenges about the legitimate withholding of certain scientific and technical information are resolved,” a White House statement warns.Rosenberg argues that the real purpose of H.R. 4012 is to enable EPA critics to obtain data and turn it over to their own analysts, in order to pick apart studies they don’t like and produce findings more favorable to their views. “The problem they’re trying to fix is, they don’t like the answer” provided by certain studies, he says.Both bills, or similar versions, are likely to resurface in the new Congress.last_img read more

Delhi, Mumbai to be among world’s 10 biggest cities by 2030

first_imgDelhi and Mumbai would be among the 10 largest cities in the world by 2030, a report released by the United Nations’ World Urbanization Prospects stated.At present, Tokyo is the most populated city in the world with a population of 38 million. New York is also one of the populated cities in the world with its nearly 8.5 million people.Read it at Indian Express Related Itemslast_img

British Woman Police Officer Sacked For Racist Slurs Against Indian Restaurant Staff

first_imgA British woman police officer has been sacked for allegedly hurling racist slurs against the staff of an Indian restaurant in UK, according to media reports. Katie Barratt, 22, of Northumbria Police, used “derogatory” terms against the staff of the ‘Spice of Punjab’ food outlet in Newcastle on December 14 last year, The Independent reported.Read it at Indian Express Related Itemslast_img

Money And Politics

first_imgThe Indian American community is stolidly Democratic, an exit poll finds, debunking developing conventional wisdom in Republican circles.   The media, both Indian and mainstream, lapped up the myth. The Indian community¹s traditional and conservative values, its deeply religious inclinations and its relative affluence made it a logical GOP constituency, the argument went. Then there was of course the wisdom of being attached to the winner. The GOP was on a roll. Except, it just wasn’t true.   In the frenzied pace of the 2004 presidential campaign, one uncontested conventional wisdom seemed to have taken root: the Republican Party was making deep inroads in the traditionally Democratic Indian community.The evidence seemed everywhere. There was cardiologist Zach P. Zachariah, who has pumped millions into George Bush’s political machine, beaming from Vice President Dick Cheney’s box at the Republican National Convention. Bobby Jindal stormed into the U.S. House of Representatives as the Indian American Republican lone ranger from Louisiana, the first Indian elected to Congress since Dilip Singh Saund.The Indian American Republican Council buried the media in a flurry of press releases ballyhooing the promise of an Indian American avalanche for the GOP.The media, both Indian and mainstream, lapped up the myth. The Indian community’s traditional and conservative values, its deeply religious inclinations and its relative affluence made it a logical GOP constituency, the argument went. Then there was ofcourse the wisdom of being attached to the winner. The GOP was on a roll.Indian American Republicans boasted that a third to half of all Indian Americans would switch to Bush-Cheney in the 2004 elections. It was an easy myth to peddle, because mainstream exit polls, don’t segregate their data for individual Asian groups.Except, it wasn’t true.A just released exit poll conducted by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund found that far from shifting to the GOP, South Asians, predominantly Indian Americans, actually solidified in the Democratic column this election cycle. By an 8 to 1 margin, South Asians are registered Democrats. 74% percent identified themselves as Democratic, the highest of any Asian group. Just 9 percent were registered Republicans and another 16 percent listed themselves as independent.South Asians voted for John Kerry by a 10:1 margin: 90 percent for Kerry against only 9 percent for Bush, once again the highest of any Asian group. South Asians, it turns out, are more Democratic than even the strongest Democratic constituency, African Americans, 11 percent of whom voted Bush.Indeed, South Asians across the board were more solidly Democratic and pro Kerry than any group or characteristic surveyed in voter exit polls for any candidate or party, be it age, race, gender, income, union membership, education, evangelicals, church attendance, military service, attitudes toward the war in Iraq, economy, taxes, abortion, you name it.The AALDEF exit poll surveyed almost 11,000 Asian American voters at 87 polling sites in 23 cities in 8 states: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Virginia.Conventional wisdom has been turned on its head and the media were taken for a ride by the hype of political hacks.The poll results are also dramatic evidence of just how far removed the moneybags, who have so dominated the public discourse on Indian American politics, are from the community they profess to represent.Star Indian American Republican fundraisers surely have the right to use their financial muscle to claim disproportionate attention from the Republican Party. That, after all, is the lure and the bane of the American political system. But they have no claim to be speaking for or on behalf of the Indian American community.Where that community really stands is now plain and clear for all to see.  Related Itemslast_img read more

What’s In A Name?

first_imgIs Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, the Indian American Barack Obama, a man who transcended racial boundaries?Bobby Jindal was born Piyush Jindal and received his nickname Bobby in grade school to make it easier, no doubt, on his peers and teachers. He retained Bobby in adulthood and during the campaign, he fashioned a public image that shied away from his roots and focused instead on his message. His official first name Piyush did not appear on his posters, badges, or banners. Hillary Clinton used a similar strategy when she campaigned simply as Hillary during her Senate bid to distance herself from her husband Clinton. To further complicate the issue, Jindal converted from Hinduism to Christianity in high school and later became a Roman Catholic, a spiritual conversion, which, by all accounts, was genuine.I am not seeking to argue that Bobby Jindal is running from his heritage, but he is hardly a mainstream Indian American. In my own personal experience, I can recall only one person who Anglicized his name and converted from Hinduism to Christianity.Now Barack Obama too has taken steps, some calculated, some not, to make himself more appealing to mainstream Americans. But Barack calls himself Barack. He has, to quote the famous line from his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, “the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.”People often underestimate the impact of a name on one’s image. Consider Kalpen Modi, better known as Kal Penn. The Hollywood actor, who played a leading role in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, changed his name after not having much success getting auditions as Kalpen Modi. While Piyush Jindal’s decision to Anglicize his name was largely out of his control — done in grade school by adults — Kalpen Modi made a calculated decision to change his name to improve his career prospects. While Piyush Jindal’s decision to Anglicize his name was largely out of his control – done in grade school by adults – Kalpen Modi made a calculated decision to change his name to improve his career prospects. Penn says he changed his name as a bet with some friends to see if his acting luck would improve. It seemingly did. However, what started out simply as a bet ended up as a lifestyle choice and permanent career move.Kal Penn clearly does not share Barack Obama’s hope. Even after achieving considerable fame, he did not reclaim his Kalpen Modi name in subsequent movie credits, which is particularly ironic in the case of The Namesake.The movie (based on the book by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri) tackles the notions of identity and uses the name as a lens to examine the immigrant experience.In the movie the main character is named Gogol Ganguli by his father after his favorite Russian author. Gogol is intended to be his pet name, one reserved for his family and private life, but it ends up on his birth certificate, because his formal name, Nikhil, sent from Calcutta by his grandmother, does not arrive in time. Despite his parents’ futile wish that he be called by his formal name Nikhil in school, once he goes to school, Gogol becomes his official name. However, as Gogol ages, his attitude toward his name changes and he seeks to legally reclaim the name Nikhil. He asks his father, “How will Gogol look on a resume?” So, Gogol, a non-Indian name, is legally changed to Nikhil, a very Indian one. It seems an ironic choice to cast Kal Penn as the lead in such a movie, as he has done the very opposite – changed his Indian name to Anglican.To be fair, though Penn’s name change was calculated, the selective pressure to do so comes from the world we live in. In this worldview, tolerance is only an ideal that is valued within the scope of what is American – that is capitalism, that is democracy, that is the Western point of view, that is John and not Ahmed. Kal Penn’s upcoming movie, the sequel to White Castle, illustrates this point well – almost as a symbolic acknowledgement of the irony apparent in The Namesake. Tentatively set for release in April, the title itself speaks volumes: Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. I ask you: How does Kumar end up at Guantanamo Bay? Because his name is Kumar. A foreign name like Kumar makes the idea of Guantanamo Bay, an infamous prison holding suspected terrorists, credible. I bet if the movie had been about two men named George and Bill, it would have to be titled differently – maybe George and Bill Escape from a Minimum Security Prison.As Jindal’s and Penn’s careers progress, undoubtedly, with considerable success, the questions of Indian American acceptance in U.S. society will continue to linger. After every new electoral victory by Jindal or acting feat by Penn, people will wonder if Bobby or Kal is our Barack?I would be skeptical. Bobby’s and Kal’s careers do demonstrate that Indian Americans can succeed in the United States in arenas requiring public approval. However, until an Aneesh Kulharya or Nakul Chigurupati wins a seat in Congress or leads a Hollywood feature film, I would be cautious about concluding that Indian Americans have “arrived” or gained universal acceptance in the American consciousness. Related Itemslast_img read more

Congress, NCP workers want no delay in alliance, seat-sharing for Maharashtra Assembly elections

first_imgDays after the drubbing in Lok Sabha elections, the opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra are continuing to take stock, meet and draw up a strategy for Assembly polls due later this year.The local Congress leaders have urged the party bosses to finalise the alliance formula at the earliest. NCP president Sharad Pawar on Thursday initiated a district-wise review of results in Mumbai, Konkan, Thane, Navi Mumbai and adjoining urban areas at a meeting attended by all present and former MPs, MLAs, office bearers, people’s representatives in civic bodies and heads of party’s various cells.“We explained the party’s stand to the leadership and where we stand in Mumbai. We will surely be contesting the Assembly polls with all our strength and the exact numbers will be announced soon,” said Sachin Ahir, Mumbai NCP president, after the meeting. Mr. Pawar will be holding similar meetings with local leaders on Friday, Saturday and then on June 21 and 23. The Congress too continued with its meetings to review the loss in the elections. On Thursday, office-bearers from Mumbai, Konkan and western Maharashtra were called in to voice their opinions. “This exercise will help us understand what went wrong and what should be done to before the Assembly polls,” said a senior Congress leader. According to sources, the local Congress leaders urged the party leadership to finalise the alliance without further delays to help and prepare the party to get in to poll mode. “If the alliance with NCP is final, then announce the seat sharing. If party leadership decides to go with the VBA, then take that decision too. Whatever be the decision, take it at the earliest,” urged the leader.last_img read more

Odisha woman gets alimony after 27-year fight

first_imgTwenty-seven years after filing a case seeking maintenance from her estranged husband, a woman in Bhubaneswar now sees a glimmer of hope of getting regular alimony.In the long court battle, the woman not only had to justify her rightful claim for an allowance, but also had to establish the identity of her husband as the man she was really married to. The curious case of Sabita Chand, now 56, and her estranged husband Ashok Kumar Das alias Ashok Kumar Chand has hopefully come to an end, with a family court in Bhubaneswar directing immediate release of a maintenance fee to her.Ashok Kumar Chand, who worked in the Indian Railways, had married Ms. Chand in 1985 by concealing his identity. In 1992, Ms. Chand filed a case in the court seeking maintenance. Earlier this month, the court directed the bank manager to transfer one-third of his pension to Ms. Chand.last_img read more

Suspended bureaucrat held for graft in Assam

first_imgThe Assam police on Sunday arrested a bureaucrat for his alleged involvement in a land scam associated with a Central government project.Pradip Kumar Talukdar, an Assam Civil Service officer, was taken to southern Assam’s Karimganj district after the police arrested him from his Guwahati residence.He was the Deputy Commissioner of Karimganj district when the alleged incident of graft took place. 20 cases filedMr. Talukdar was facing 20 cases for allegedly siphoning off the money that was meant to compensate local people whose lands were acquired by the Land Ports Authority of India for a border trade project at Sutarkandi. The bureaucrat was transferred to the Cooperative Department where he was serving as a secretary. The government had suspended him on July 19.last_img read more

West Bengal committed to alleviating poverty, Abhijit Banerjee’s theory will help: Mamata

first_imgWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said her government is committed to alleviating poverty and the theory by Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee on it will go a long way in helping the poor. Ms. Banerjee took to Twitter to express her views and posted some photographs of her visit to the residence of the Nobel laureate’s mother Nirmala Banerjee on Wednesday evening in the city. “Yesterday, I spent time with the family of our very own Nobel Prize winning economist, Abhijit Banerjee. His contribution to the experimental theory of poverty alleviation will go a long way in helping people #Bangla is very proud of him!,” Ms. Banerjee tweeted. On the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on Thursday, Ms. Banerjee in a tweet earlier in the day said, “…our Govt [government] in #Bangla is committed to alleviating poverty, reducing unemployment, combating illiteracy and upholding human rights.” The United Nations General Assembly had in 1987 designated October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty to promote awareness about the need to eradicate poverty and destitution. During Wednesday’s meeting with Nirmala Banerjee, who herself is an economist, Ms. Banerjee had briefed her about the pro-poor schemes and projects of the State government. Ms. Banerjee had said the West Bengal government may seek her help in various projects of different departments such as agriculture, health, rural development and woman and child welfare as well as education.last_img read more

Bhopal gas tragedy activist Abdul Jabbar passes away

first_img His illness was in a critical state for three years. “We found he was living on one small diagonal artery that supplied only 10% of the blood,” said Mr. Goenka.On the intervening night of December 2 and 3 in 1984, as methyl isocyanate leaked from a Union Carbide pesticide plant here, Mr. Jabbar, whose house stood just 2 km away, couldn’t save his mother and brother. Yet, he helped evacuate scores of others from neighbouring areas. The tragedy killed more than 25,000, and caused diseases among lakhs, even in subsequent generations.“If the government couldn’t save a crusader, who gave voice to the affected and served his lifetime for them, by providing him adequate care in time, imagine the plight of other survivors,” said Rasheeda Bee, an associate of Mr. Jabbar and president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh. “He was admitted to various hospital for three months, and the government apparently woke up too late. There is a clear case of negligence.”Asserting that survivors would continue to demand justice, she said, the next generation would fight for rights.In 1987, Mr. Jabbar set up the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan, which imparted vocational skills to women, mainly widows, so that they could be self-reliant. In addition, the group demanded sustenance allowance for them.Condoling the death, Chief Minister Kamal Nath said, “He played an important role in ensuring employment and rehabilitation for the gas-affected. He was also conscious about the environment and from time to time worked for its protection. His death has caused irreparable loss.” Social worker Abdul Jabbar, who organised survivors of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy to raise demands for fair compensation, adequate treatment and complete rehabilitation, died at a private hospital here on Thursday night. He was 61.The State government had planned to shift him to a Mumbai hospital for better treatment on Friday. But, Mr. Jabbar, survived by wife and three children, breathed his last at the Chirayu Hospital in Bhopal, said its Chairman Ajay Goenka.Stating that he was admitted to the hospital two days ago, Mr. Goenka said, “He had long-standing diabetes leading to atherosclerosis, which led to triple-vessel disorder in the coronary arteries. And peripheral vascular disease causing gangrene. These were the major causes for his death.”last_img read more