The Patna High Court on Thursday pulled up the CBI, which is probing the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case, for its failure to submit its status report. The court asked how information related to the case leaked to the media and why an SP-rank officer, who was part of the probe, was transferred.The Patna High Court is monitoring the case relating to the sexual abuse of 34 girls at the shelter home. It has fixed August 27 as the next date of hearing. A division bench of the court, comprising Chief Justice Mukesh R. Shah and Justice Ravi Ranjan, asked the CBI to submit to the court in a sealed envelope the reason for transferring its Superintendent of Police J.P. Mishra. The officer was transferred on Tuesday evening and posted in the office of DIG, Patna range. Devendra Singh, SP, CBI (Anti-Corruption Bureau, Lucknow) has been given additional charge held by Mishra.It asked the media to refrain from publishing details of the investigation as it could affect the probe. The director of the State Social Welfare Department, Raj Kumar, sent a letter to the Information and Public Relations department asking it to ensure that “no information related to the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case and its investigation is published in the media.”The Muzaffarpur shelter home rape was exposed in a 100-page social audit report of the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS). The State government recommended a CBI probe and later requested the Patna High Court to monitor the case. Out of 11 accused in the case, 10 including Brajesh Thakur whose NGO managed the shelter home, have been sent to jail.
Myanmar army men enter Manipur village
Tension erupted in the border town of Moreh in Tengnoupal district of Manipur on Saturday when some Myanmarese army men entered Haolenphai village and reportedly asked the residents to halt the construction work of some houses.Assam Rifles personnel, along with police and civil officials, rushed to the village and asked the Myanmarese army men to go back.Villagers angryThe Manipur police team asked the villagers of Haolenphai to suspend the construction work. This triggered tension in the area and the villagers threatened to burn down all houses. A scuffle ensued between the police and the villagers in which a woman suffered injuries.Additional Collector of Tengnoupal district M. Bankim said efforts are on to bring the situation under control.Haolenphai village chief Lalkholun Haokip refused to follow the police order saying, “This village is in Indian territory. We will halt the construction work if the Indian government says it is not in India.”Mr. Haokip said some Myanmarese army men had come to Haolenphai some months ago and dismantled a sawmill saying it had encroached upon their land. They carted away machinery and building materials and are yet to return them.Earlier protests There have been protests in the past over allegations of shifting of some boundary pillars within the Indian territory. Haolenphai is located near boundary pillar 76.The Union government had sent senior officials to make spot verifications after which Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju had said there was no dispute relating to boundary pillars.Saturday’s incident affected legalised border trade at Moreh in Manipur and Namphalong in Myanmar. Most of the traders and tourists in Moreh rushed back to Imphal fearing trouble.
Political flip-flop in Ahmednagar
In a move reminiscent of the backstage intrigue between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) prior to 2014 Assembly polls, both parties join hands to snatch the Mayoral post in the Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation (AMC).This saw the BJP’s Babasaheb Wakde being elected Mayor of the 68-seat body, winning 37 votes with the backing of NCP despite the Shiv Sena being the single largest party in the AMC.The Congress and the NCP had jointly contested the recently-concluded Dhule and Ahmednagar civic pollsThe NCP’s volte face in Ahmednagar once again reflected the fragility of the Congress-NCP coalition while bringing into sharp focus the mistrust between the traditional alliance partners.‘Stab in the back’While the Congress leadership in Ahmednagar was incensed at the NCP’s ‘stab in the back’, NCP top brass denied any foreknowledge of a local alliance with the BJP. “We had given explicit instructions to our [NCP] corporators to not vote for BJP or Shiv Sena. We had allied with the Congress to contest the civic polls and defeat the BJP… I have issued show cause notices against those who voted for BJP’s candidate and party is considering disciplinary action,” said NCP State unit president Jayant Patil.Mr. Patil further dismissed speculation that the NCP was the BJP’s ‘B-team’ in AhmednagarIn the results to the AMC poll, the BJP could only secure 14 seats, while the NCP and the Congress bagged 18 seats and five seats respectively.High drama High drama preceded the Mayoral election as senior BJP leader and State Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan, credited with engineering some of the party’s biggest civic poll wins, came to Ahmednagar on Friday morning to supervise the alliance with the NCP.“As no party had a clear majority in Ahmednagar, there were three contenders [Sena, BJP and NCP] for the mayoral post. Our objective, as that of other party corporators, is the development of Ahmednagar city. So, we immediately accepted the invitation from local NCP leaders to form an alliance,” said Mr. Mahajan, rejecting any notion of “political opportunism”.He further said that despite the BJP’s “sincere wish” to ally with the Sena, the latter did not respond to their overtures.Mr. Mahajan, known as the ‘troubleshooter’ in party circles, said there were numerous instances of political parties with rival ideologies forming alliances locally, at the Zilla Parishad and Panchayat levels.The double murder of two Shiv Sena leaders in Ahmednagar in April this year had cast a long shadow on the AMC polls which was dictated largely by clan antagonisms.“The public had voted for the Sena in the AMC poll. But in a bid to protect the murderers of our party workers, the NCP and the BJP came together,” said Sena leader and former MLA Anil Rathod.Even before the poll, the Sena was at daggers drawn with NCP and the BJP as sitting MLAs from the two parties were implicated in the murders of the Sena leaders Sanjay Kotkar and Vasant Thube.In the larger context of the upcoming Parliamentary and Assembly polls, the move recalls the clandestine understanding between the BJP and the NCP before the 2014 general elections that had resulted in the crumbling of the hitherto unbroken polar alliances in Maharashtra, the Sena-BJP (since 1989) and the Congress-NCP (since 1999).Following the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly poll result, the NCP had eagerly offered unsolicited outside support to the then minority BJP government while its traditional saffron ally, the Sena, had dithered.
Opposition boycotts Governor’s address to protest his RSS ties
In a stormy start to the Budget session, Opposition parties on Monday boycotted Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao’s joint address to both Houses of the legislature as a mark protest over his recent remarks praising and expressing pride over his association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Mr. Rao had, earlier this month, termed RSS as one of the most secular and inclusive organisations and expressed pride to be part of the ‘Sanghatan’ and being part of the RSS. Expressing displeasure over the remarks, Opposition members stayed away from his address.“A Governor’s post is constitutional. We had doubts whether his speech was going to be in the interest of the State or the RSS. Hence, we decided to boycott it,” said Leader of Opposition in the Council, Dhananjay Munde.“His remarks from a constitutional post were unwarranted. The Governor supports the RSS. The promises made by the Governor have remained unfulfilled, so we have decided to boycott his speech,” said Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) State unit president Jayant Patil. Both Congress and NCP also staged a protest on the steps of the Vidhan Bhavan.‘Trillion dollar economy’In his address, Mr. Rao emphasised on the State government’s efforts to make Maharashtra a trillion dollar economy. “In order to achieve $1 trillion economy by 2025, my Government is preparing a new Industrial Policy with the objective of creating 60 lakh new employments and attracting an investment to the tune of ₹10 lakh crore,” he said. Mr. Rao claimed that due to several industry-friendly policies over the last four years and — events like Make in India Week and Magnetic Maharashtra Convergence Summit 2018 — the State has attracted ₹3.36 lakh crore Foreign Direct Investment. “Maharashtra continues to be the leading State in attracting FDI in India,” the Governor said. “Consequent to sub-sectoral policies announced by my Government, especially Information Technology Policy, Electronics Policy, Defence and Aerospace Policy, the State is expected to attract ₹14,500 crore investment with 1.15 lakh employment generation,” he said.Recounting the measures taken by the State government for the welfare of farmers, Mr. Rao said that the government is working on schemes to achieve the objective of doubling the farmers’ income. The Governor also announced that land acquisition for the Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi highway has been completed in a year and construction has begun. “This is the single largest project costing ₹55,335 crore that aims to connect the entire State from west to east,” he said.
Ex-DGP files papers for Cuttack seat
Retired IPS officer and former DGP of Odisha and CRPF Prakash Chandra Mishra on Wednesday filed his nomination papers for the prestigious Cuttack Lok Sabha seat as a BJP nominee. Mr. Mishra had joined the BJP last month and was given the ticket to contest from Cuttack, a traditional BJD seat that had reposed faith in editor-turned-politician Bhartruhari Mahatab for the last five terms. The soft-spoken and suave Mr. Mishra will also lock horns with seasoned politician Panchanan Kanungo of the Congress. Besides the segments bifurcated from the Millennium City — Barabati Cuttack, Choudwar Cuttack and Sadar Cuttack — segments like Banki, Badamba and Athgarh of Cuttack district and Khandapada of Khurda district come under the Cuttack LS seat.
Cold Climate Shrinks Mountains
Every year, billions of tons of rock and soil vanish from Earth’s surface, scoured from mountains and plains and swept away by wind, rain, and other elements. The chief driver of this dramatic resurfacing is climate, according to a new study. And when the global temperature falls, erosion kicks into overdrive.Scientists have long debated what drives most of the world’s erosion: Is it predominantly triggered by climate, or is it the result of mountain-building, tectonic activity? Most previous studies of erosion have relied on measuring the amounts of sediment that accumulate somewhere after being carried away from their sources and deposited elsewhere. But such analyses focus on the aftereffects of erosion, not the process itself, says Frédéric Herman, a geophysicist at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. And most research has looked at limited regions of Earth—a particular mountain range, say, and not the planet as a whole.To more directly estimate rates of erosion, researchers use techniques generally known as thermochronometry, or the measure of how a rock’s temperature has changed through time. Many such techniques rely on assessing how the decay of radioactive elements within a rock has affected its minerals. For their new study, Herman and his colleagues used four such techniques. In two of them, the researchers measured how much decay-produced helium had built up in a rock’s minerals. (Once the rock falls below a certain temperature, the helium stops diffusing out of the minerals efficiently.) In the other two, the team tallied the amount of microscopic damage produced by radioactive decay. (Once the rock falls below a certain temperature, the atoms in a crystal aren’t able to shift and heal the damage.) Using these approaches, the researchers could estimate the dates at which the rocks cooled to temperatures between 250°C and 70°C—and therefore track the speed at which the rocks rose toward ground level as the overlying strata eroded away.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(*)Using data they’d gathered themselves, as well as that gleaned from other studies, the scientists compiled almost 18,000 data points from across the globe. During the past 8 million years, rates of erosion have varied from less than 0.01 millimeter per year (in central and western Australia and in central North America, for example) to as much as 10 mm/yr (at sites in the Himalayas, Taiwan, and New Zealand).These regional trends may not be surprising: Australia is relatively flat and dry, and the Himalayas and Taiwan host relatively steep terrain that’s often lashed by monsoons. But the big story, Herman says, lies in the global trends seen as those 8 million years unfolded.About 6 million years ago, as Earth’s climate cooled, erosion rates generally rose at all latitudes but increased most notably in mountainous regions. Then, in the wake of even stronger cooling that helped trigger a series of ice ages and interglacial periods beginning about 2.4 million years ago, erosion rates doubled, the researchers report online today in Nature. Because erosion increased most dramatically in midlatitude mountain ranges—areas most likely to first experience glaciers as climate gradually cooled—Herman and his colleagues blame the acceleration in erosion on glacial scouring.The new findings, and especially their global scale, “confirms for me that [the increases in erosion rates] are a climate signal,” says David Egholm, a geophysicist at Aarhus University in Denmark. In particular, he notes, the latitude-dependent variations in erosion rates “most probably” can be attributed to glaciers.If Earth’s climate continues to cool, as it has over the long term in the past few million years, rates of erosion will likely continue to rise. But if that cooling trend stalls, either due to natural climate variations or warming due to human emissions of greenhouse gases, erosion worldwide will gradually decrease. That’s an effect that might not even be noticed in the short term because it would likely unfold over millions of years, plus it would probably be masked by ever-increasing human-driven changes in the landscape.
ScienceShot: Unusual Larva Becomes New Species of Fish
In the children’s story, the ugly duckling turns out not to be a duck at all, but a swan. Now, fish are telling a similar tale. Researchers have identified an unusual larva (inset) that grows up to be a newly described species, the yellow-spotted golden bass (above). Scientists first took notice of the young fish when they saw its picture in a publication. It seemed like it might be the larva of a sea bass, but it was unique in having seven elongated spines sticking out from its back. These flexible spines may cause potential predators to mistake the 1.4-centimeter animal for a jellyfish, or may simply make it look too big to eat. The larva was collected from shallow water between Florida and Cuba. But a DNA sample didn’t match any known fish, so its identity was a mystery. Until now. A survey of biodiversity down to 300 meters off the Caribbean island Curaçao netted a new species, Liopropoma olneyi, the yellow-spotted golden bass. When researchers entered a piece of the bass’s DNA sequence known as a bar code into their database, the bar code matched that of the larva, researchers report this week in PLOS ONE. Generally, fish eggs float toward the sea surface and the young drift in the surface currents until they mature and swim to the depths where they live out their lives. So, often, the larvae and adults are not found in the same place, and because they look very different, researchers have a hard time figuring out what larvae will grow up to be. However, DNA barcoding is helping solve those mysteries, the researchers say.
Planetary scientists welcome NASA call for Europa concepts
Determining global surface, composition, and chemistry, especially as related to habitability Characterizing the ice shell and any subsurface water, and the nature of surface-ice-ocean exchange Understanding the formation of surface features, including sites of recent or current activity, and identifying and characterizing candidate sites for future detailed exploration Hunter Waite has waited years for the chance to use his planetary science engineering chops on a mission to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. Now, the director of the space and engineering program at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, may finally get that chance.Last week, setting its sights firmly on the outer reaches of our solar system, NASA invited scientists to submit designs for instruments that could ride to Europa on the agency’s proposed Clipper mission. NASA ultimately plans to pick 15 to 20 proposals to receive about $1 million each for further development—making the Clipper competition one of the largest of its kind in 25 years.But Clipper, which NASA hopes to launch in the 2020s, is still a long way from securing the estimated $2 billion to $3 billion it will need to get off the ground.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(*)Still, NASA’s move has sparked excitement among researchers such as Waite, who has spent half of his adult life on projects associated with the jovian moon. “Most people in the community think we’re way overdue for doing this,” he says. “It has been high on [researchers’] recommendation list for many years. It’s time.”An opportunity like this comes once, maybe twice, in a planetary scientist’s lifetime, says Curt Niebur, a NASA program scientist assigned to the Clipper mission. “The last announcement of this scale was for the Cassini spacecraft in 1989,” he notes. Niebur expects the project to attract dozens of applicants.Coincidentally, Waite took part in the Cassini mission. A mass spectrometry instrument he helped design was selected to ride on the spacecraft and has been collecting data on Saturn’s moon Enceladus for several years. Now, Waite is interested in applying mass spectrometry to determine Europa’s surface composition, data that could clarify how the moon’s icy surface interacts with the liquid oceans below.Scientists have until 17 October to submit their instrument designs to NASA for consideration. An outside peer-review committee will then evaluate the proposals. The 15 to 20 winners will receive $1.25 million and will have 7 months to mature their instruments’ design. In late 2015, another peer-review team will reevaluate the designs, and NASA will select approximately eight finalists for further work.In its request for proposals, NASA says the science objectives for the Clipper mission include:Characterizing the extent of the moon’s ocean and its relation to the deeper interior Understanding Europa’s space environment and interaction with the magnetosphereCongress would still need to approve spending for Clipper. But NASA is prepared for potential funding setbacks that may get in Clipper’s way, Niebur says: “It’s all part of the risk and glamour of space exploration.”Previously, NASA proposed a joint mission to Europa with the European Space Agency (ESA). In 2011, however, the agencies shelved that plan, and ESA is now pursuing its own mission to Jupiter’s icy moons.
Indian IT Giant Wipro Acquires American Firm Appirio
Wipro, Indias third largest Information Technology (IT) firm, officially announced its acquisition of Appirio. Related Items
When The Light Got in For Leonard Cohen
Cohen told his biographer that over the space of several visits to Mumbai in the next few years, the clouds in his mind had lifted – by “imperceptible degrees this background of anguish that had been with me my whole life began to dissolve”. Related Items
Indian National Pleads Guilty to Visa Fraud in US
An Indian businessman in the US has pleaded guilty to committing a visa fraud by enrolling foreign nationals at a college and illegally obtaining full-time work authorisations for them without attending classes. Related Items
US President Donald Trump’s New Drug Plan May Hit India
US President Donald Trump on Saturday denounced foreign countries for “extorting unreasonably low prices from US drugmakers” to enable their citizens to pay much less than American consumers for the same drugs. Trump made the comments while unveiling his drug price policy which he said would “end the global freeloading” on US drug-making expertise “once and for all”.Read it at Times of India Related Items
3 Indian-Americans Named In Time Magazine’s Health Care 50 List
Three Indian-Americans have been named in the Time magazine’s 2018 list of the 50 most influential people whose work is transforming healthcare in the US. The three Indian-Americans included in the list are Divya Nag, Dr Raj Panjabi and Atul Gawande.To put together the list, Time’s team of health editors and reporters nominated people who made significant contributions to the state of healthcare in America this year.Read it at NDTV Related Items
How a Botanist’s Discoveries In India Revolutionised The British Garden
One might expect the best part of a mountain hike to be the views, but sometimes it turns out to be the stories told by a knowledgeable guide. And in Sikkim, almost every shrub, grass and tree seems to have something revealing about it: local mugwort is used as a poultice for cuts, the yellow ball-shaped flowers of the majito make a dark blue dye, and lycopodium japonicum can be used against TB – and, oddly, its mossy-looking filaments release a dust once used as a lubricant in colonial rifle barrels.Read it at Telegraph Related Items
Oman Extends 6-Month Visa Ban for Some Professions
As part of efforts to open the job market in Oman to more locals, the Ministry of Manpower has extended the visa ban on non-Omanis for six months in some professions in the private sector.Construction workers and cleaners won’t get a visa for six more months starting December 2017, the Times of Oman reported. The visa ban for construction workers has been in place since November 2013, and is extended every six months.“In 10 years, expatriates will make 60 to 65 per cent of Oman population. No one will accept to be a minority in his country,” Shura Council member Hilal Al Yahyai told Al Bakri, the Minister of Manpower, during a discussion on Omanization in January 2017, according to the report.Al Bakri had responded at the time: “Yes, the rate of expats is higher than what we planned for, 30 per cent of population, but that’s due to development requirements of the country and the need of employees in the construction sector which is unattractive to Omanis.”The minister also told business owners to stop “visual Omanization” by hiring locals to meet the minimum legal requirement. He urged business owners to give Omani people a real chance.The visa ban effects the industry but it won’t have any extenuating implication as it has been there since 2013 already. Industry professionals told the publication that while the ban would affect recruitments it won’t make a big difference.“The ban is there for something. It is to increase the presence of Omanis in the sector, and it should not be a problem for companies really. Instead, it will ensure companies make efforts to look for talented Omanis. There are so many graduates in civil engineering and other related sectors; it is an opportunity for them. It is an opportunity for everyone in the field. I understand this can be a concern for people to get expat experience, but I believe there are enough Omanis to step up,” Maaz Firdous, a consultant at Al Iskaan Engineering, was quoted as saying in the report.Shura member Mohammed Al Junaibi had urged Al Bakri during the January meeting to lift the ban if it had a negative effect. However, the minister said that there are 163,000 Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the country, which employ only 8,000 Omanis compared to 780,000 expatriates.From July 1, carpenters, metallurgists, blacksmiths and brick kiln workers, had not been getting visa. Construction companies, who require these professionals, said that they would have to hire locals at a higher salary because of the ban, according to the report.Last year, the Ministry of Manpower took the decision that expats who quits their job in Oman will not be able to seek another job for two years even if they get a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from their employer. In June, the government’s Implementation Support and Follow-Up Unit on Twitter conducted polls to determine if residents agree with the two-year visa ban if expats cannot obtain NOC and found that a majority of people support the policy.What do you think regarding the NOC?— وحدة دعم التنفيذ والمتابعة (@ISFUOman) June 21, 2017 Related ItemsGulfOmanRecruitment
Indian-Origin Men Part of Gangs Exploiting Women in UK
Ethnic Indian men were among groups of people arrested for sexually assaulting multiple women in exchange of drugs, in according to a report published by the police in Newcastle, United Kingdom. Eighteen people, including one woman, were arrested for being part of grooming gangs in the region that have affected 700 women and girls in northeast England.The report talked about Operation Sanctuary, which was conducted in Newcastle to investigate such grooming gangs that were targeting children and adult women. The perpetrators, who are mostly South Asian and from ethnic minorities, have received a total of 429 years and three months in prison.Retired barrister David Spicer conducted the review of the operation that started in January 2014 for the Newcastle Safeguarding Adults and Children Boards and said it was clear that adults as well as children were being “targeted, groomed and exploited,” the BBC reported.He said: “Vulnerability is not determined by age and it is likely that extensive abuse of vulnerable adults is taking place across the country unrecognized.”In Newcastle, most of the perpetrators were found to be British-born Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Iraqi, Iranian or Turkish people. Spicer added that the government needs to research the “profiles, motivations and cultural and background influences of perpetrators of sexual exploitation.”One of the perpetrators interviewed showed no remorse and “spoke in a derogatory manner about a lack of morals in British girls.”The 18 people convicted were part of one network that gave 22 women and girls aged 13-25 years drinks and drugs before sexually assaulting them between 2011 and 2014. This investigation was called Operation Shelter and was a small part of the Sanctuary project.“Practitioners did feel that early responses had the appearance of blaming the victims for their behavior and allocating them responsibility for making bad choices,” the report said, according to the Guardian. The lack of coordination and information sharing has permitted some of these crimes to be repeated and treated as separate incidents.According to another investigation, 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham over a 16-year period and many of the perpetrators were identified as Asian. The reports by children were not investigated due to “their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist” and in some cases their managers told them not to do so, the Guardian said in another report. Related ItemsNewcastleUnited Kingdomwomen’s rights
Obama Trounces McCain 4 to 1 Among Asian Indians
Barack Obama trounced John McCain 4 to 1 among Indian Americans, the highest proportion among any Asian group, according to an independent survey.The National Asian American Survey (NAAS), led by researchers from three California state universities and Rutgers University in New Jersey, found that 53% of Indian planned to vote for Obama against 13% for McCain. Another 33% said they were undecided.The survey found that Obama led across every Asian group, except Vietnamese Americans. Overall, Obama led McCain among Asian Americans 41% to 24%.The survey also found a lopsided advantage for Democrats in party identification among Indian Americans: 39% identified themselves as Democrat, 21% as Independent and 33% as non partisan. Indian Americans tied with the Chinese for the lowest identification with Republicans among all Asian groups, with only 7% identifying themselves as Republican in both groups.4% of Indian Americans had worked on a political campaign and 13% had made political contributions, according to the survey.The NAAS survey is based on a national sample of 4,394 Asian Americans in 41 states, including 920 Indian Americans and has a margin of error of 3.4 percent for the Asian Indian sample. The survey was conducted between Aug 18-Sept 26.The findings in the survey on party identification are congruent with another national Pew survey, which found that among Hindus, the religion to which a majority of Indian Americans belong, 63% identified themselves as Democrat or lean Democrat, against 13% who identified themselves as Republican or lean Republican.Little India’s online poll also had Obama ahead 4 to 1, with 79% supporting Obama against 21% supporting McCain. Related Items
Tension erupts as Trinamool reclaims party offices
A day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed her party workers to reclaim party offices occupied by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), there was tension in various parts of the State on Saturday as the Trinamool Congress (TMC) leadership sought to reclaim party offices.Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick faced protests by BJP supporters at Kancharpara in the State’s North 24 Parganas. The police resorted to a baton charge to control the situation as BJP supporters surrounded the vehicle of TMC leaders, shouting slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram!’ Mr. Mullick got out of his vehicle and, with folded hands, urged the people to not to support the BJP . Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy’s son and Bijpur MLA Subhrangshu Roy, who recently joined the BJP, said that the party office belongs to the locals in Kancharapara and they will decide which party’s office it will be. In other parts of the State, like Hooghly and Birbhum, tension prevailed over the TMC reclaiming party offices that were occupied by the BJP after May 23.Postcards to MamataThe BJP leadership in the State, however, alleged that the police were trying to beat up people chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram!’ State BJP president Dilip Ghosh alleged that the police were arresting those chanting these slogans. Meanwhile, BJP MP from Barrackpore Arjun Singh said that the party would send 10 lakh ‘Jai Shri Ram!’ postcards to Ms. Banerjee’s residence. These developments come against the backdrop of the CM lost her cool on Thursday and threatened locals chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram!’ in front of her vehicle.
Autorickshaw drivers defer strike
The State-wide autorickshaw strike scheduled to start on Tuesday was taken back at the last moment after the Chief Minister on Monday invited leaders of various auto unions to discuss their issues. The meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, will also be attended by the transport minister and officials from various departments. There are over nine lakh autorickshaw drivers in the State, of whom 2.2 lakh are in Mumbai. Shashank Rao, president of Autorickshaw Chalak Malak Sanghatana Sanyuckta Kruti Samiti (ACMSSKS), a steering committee of unions across the State, said they had sent their demands to the government several times. “The government is not at all interested in solving our issues. The strike is a result of their complete apathy towards our demands,” he said. According to an union official, a fare hike was the need of the hour as the last one had been implemented nearly three years ago. Moreover, CNG prices have been steadily rising over the last year, with the last price hike on July 1. Union officials said they want the government to implement the recommendations of the Hakeem committee report but the State has not even acted upon the recommendations of the Khatua committee, which also recommended increase in the fare of rickshaws and taxis. The ACMSSKS is also demanding a ban on cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber, and has asked the State government to form district-level flying squads to crack down on illegal autorickshaws on the road.One of the demands includes a freeze on the number of autorickshaw permits, owing to the explosion in numbers. “Illegal autorickshaws eat into the business of those who have the requisite permits and permissions. In Mumbai there are at least 30,000 illegal autorickshaws running,” said an union official.A spokesperson from the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport undertaking said they plan to increase the number of buses on the roads, especially on routes with shared rickshaw services, to reduce the impact on commuters.
Article 370: extremist groups call for boycott of Independence Day celebrations
The dilution of Article 370 and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories have made two extremist groups in the northeastern region come together and give a call to boycott the Independence Day celebrations on August 15.The two groups are the Coordination Committee, or CorCom, an umbrella organisation of six Manipur-based extremist outfits, and the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent, which formed the United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia with several non-Manipuri groups in the region four years ago.“The outrageous scrapping of Article 370 of the Indian constitution and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir without the consent of the people of the State show India’s arrogance and blatant disregard for democratic principles,” the two groups said in a statement. “Shutting down of the State machinery and the house arrest of prominent leaders portend the kind of… policies that would be applied to the people of the northeastern region as well. Freedom from India’s colonial yoke is the only way to save ourselves from being swallowed by Hindustan,” the statement said.‘Enhanced Hinduisation’The two groups said the political control of India by the BJP has “enhanced the Hinduisation process rapidly”.The “Modi government is bent upon re-introducing” the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to forcibly “make the northeastern region a part of the Hindutva empire,” they said.