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Gujarat gives GST go-ahead

first_imgThe Gujarat Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill at a special one-day session.During the debate on the Bill, Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Nitin Patel said the State with its robust manufacturing base would lose “some tax income after the GST is rolled out nationally.” According to sources in the state finance department, with implementation of GST the State’s finances will be hit but the Centre’s proposal to compensate the States for five years will partially offset the losses.On Tuesday, Leader of the Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela and senior Congress legislator Shaktisinh Gohil demanded changes in the Bill to ensure that revenue income of the State is not affected under GST regime.“Once GST is introduced, all local taxes like VAT, excise, service tax will stand abolished and only one tax will be levied across the country,” Mr. Patel said while introducing the bill.He, however, added that the VAT will continue to be levied on petroleum products such as petrol, diesel, crude oil, natural gas, liquor and aviation turbine fuel.last_img read more

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BJP opens account in Tripura with six MLAs joining party

first_imgFor first time BJP has marked its first presence in Tripura Assembly after six former Trinamool Congress legislators joined the party in Agartala on Monday afternoon. The MLAs who just a year ago defected from Congress to TMC announced that BJP was only party that can ensure end of CPI(M) regime in Tripura in Assembly elections due in February next year.Union Power Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Assam’s Finance Minister and Chairman of NDA affiliate Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA), state BJP president Biplab Kumar Deb and Central observer Sunil Deodhar received the MLAs and handed them over party flag at the joining venue in Agartala.Prelude to joining the MLAs — Ashish Kumar Saha, Sudip Roy Barman, Pranjit Singha Roy, Biswabandhu Sen, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl and Dilip Sarkar led a huge precession in city in an apparent show of strength. BJP’s national General Secretary Ram Madhav could not turn up to grace the occasion due to an urgent engagement elsewhere, party sources said.Ram Madhav and Himanta Biswa Sharma reportedly played a key role in pursuing MLAs to join BJP in a bid to unify major opposition stakeholders to take on CPI(M) which has a strong organisation and support base in Tripura. CPI(M) led left front has been in power in Tripura since 1978 except a break between 1988 and 1993.Mr. Barman, leader of MLA group, said they would ‘stand united in BJP to dislodge CPI(M) in assembly elections’ just seven months away. People of the State desperately wanted a change and their aspirations would be fulfilled, he added.Meanwhile State Congress president Birajit Sinha termed the MLAs ‘opportunist’ and said they don’t have any moral right to hold legislative position since they were elected with Congress symbol. Two prominent former TMC leaders Ratan Chakraborty and Surajit Datta who earlier joined BJP skipped the joining programme of MLAs.last_img read more

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Bhutan opens consulate in Guwahati

first_imgBhutan on Friday became the second country after Bangladesh to open a consulate in Guwahati.Bangladesh had in May last year established a consular office headed by an assistant high commissioner, underlining the city’s growing reputation as a trade and connectivity hub of a region of 45.6 million people.“Bhutan’s diplomatic relationship with Assam precedes that with India, and history refers to cordial relationship between the kings of Bhutan and medieval Assam. It is thus apt for us to set up our second consulate here in Guwahati,” said Bhutan’s Foreign Minister Damcho Dorji, after inaugurating the consulate along with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.Bhutan has had a consulate in Kolkata for years besides a High Commission in New Delhi.“Bhutan’s social, cultural and economic ties with Assam are deep-rooted, and Guwahati has been a prime destination for Bhutanese traders, students and patients referred by our doctors to hospitals in India,” Mr. Dorji said.“Assam has also been a pilgrimage destination for Bhutanese Buddhists, justifying the Himalayan country’s focus on the State 50 years after Delhi and Thimphu established diplomatic ties on January 8, 1968,” he added.New flightThe Bhutanese Foreign Minister announced a Drukair flight between Bhutan and Singapore via Guwahati. Drukair or Royal Bhutan Airlines has been operating a periodic flight between Paro, Bhutan’s only international airport, and Bangkok via Guwahati.Mr. Sonowal hoped Bhutan would exploit the benefits of Delhi’s Act East Policy “just as we would like to increase our Gross National Happiness.”The Bhutan government is guided by the philosophical Gross National Happiness, an index used to measure the collective happiness and well-being of the population in that country.Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, who arrived on Thursday to attend the two-day Global Investors’ Summit from Saturday, had earlier said Bhutan would organise several programmes in India to celebrate the 50 years of friendship between the two countries.last_img read more

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BRO starts clearing snow from Rohtang Pass

first_imgLess precipitation at higher altitudes in Himachal Pradesh this winter has made the Borders Road Organisation start snow clearing operation early in places like Rohtang and some other higher passes in the State. Commencing the operation this week, the BRO authorities said they were hoping to clear the roads to tribal Lahaul-Spiti district much ahead of the normal target timings, usually the month of June. The 13,050-foot-high Rohtang Pass road connecting Manali to Keylong would be cleared by the end of April or the beginning of May, said the BRO.Commanding Officer Col. A.K. Awasthi of 38 Border Road Task Force (BRTF) has revealed that three Army teams have already begun the snow cutting operation at Rahla Falls, Koksar village and Darcha towards the Baralacha Pass. But the success of early operation would also depend on clear and conducive weather in the time to come, he said. Though there is less snowfall this year, yet the temperatures are still sub-zero and the place experiences very high velocity icy winds even during the day. The next step would be to clear a stretch of about 222 km of the Manali-Leh highway ahead of Keylong if the Rohtang Pass gets cleared in time.The State government had also assured assistance to clear these roads in time so as to attract international and domestic tourists. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur in his maiden budget speech had mentioned his government’s efforts to have an all-weather access to these areas to boost the tourism-based economy. The authorities have also made an all-weather tunnel below the Rohtang Pass, but it has not yet been opened for the general public.last_img read more

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STF arrests two for highway bride’s murder

first_imgThe Special Task Force (STF) of Uttar Pradesh has arrested two people in connection with the loot and murder of a bride on the Delhi-Dehradun Highway-58 near Meerut. The gang was allegedly found to be involved in many other cases of loot on the highway, the STF said. A gang of robbers had looted a wedding party and killed 21-year-old bride Mehwish Parveen who was on her way to her in-laws’ place in Muzaffarnagar on April 27. Her murder, without any apparent provocation, had led to extreme anger and outrage among the local residents. With the arrest of two people, the police has also put to rest speculation that Ms. Mehwish was killed allegedly by her jilted lover. “We have cracked the case. It seems the murder happened due to their intention to loot the wedding party. At this stage we can not say more than this,” said Crime Branch ASP Satpal. Four teams of crime branch were constituted to nab the culprits. Mr. Satpal said that the police was trying to nab other accused. The police said the accused — Akshay and Dheeraj, both residents of Modinagar in Ghaziabad — have confessed to looting the wedding party and killing Mehwish. The accused told the police that Mehwish started screaming and in a bid to flee from the scene with cash and car, one of the accused shot her. Alok Priyadarshi, Superintendent of Police, STF Meerut-Agra region, said the gang was found to be involved in another incident of highway loot in February. “These people used to essentially target the commuters on highways, as they did with Mehwish and her family,” he said. One of the accused was getting treatment in a private hospital in Muzaffarnagar as one of his fingers blew off when he shot Mehwish. The police arrested both the accused from Modipuram late Tuesday night and has also recovered the vehicle used in the crime.last_img read more

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Probe ordered into disappearances in J&K

first_imgThe State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Thursday asked its Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) to inquire into 639 cases of disappearance in Jammu and Kashmir and submit a report in three months.Of these cases, 132 are alleged to have occurred in Banihal Tehsil of Ramban district and 507 in Baramulla and Bandipora districts.Tahira Begum, spokesperson of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), said: “The order is a milestone in the struggle of the APDP to find out the truth about the disappeared and to ensure justice for each and every person subject to enforced disappearance.” On December 10, 2011, the APDP submitted a complaint of 132 cases of disappearance in different villages of Banihal Tehsil. However, officials admitted that only 112 persons had gone “missing.” The inquiry would enable the families place on record the circumstances of the disappearance of their loved ones and the government’s refusal to ensure justice, Ms. Begum said. For 24 years, the APDP has been campaigning against enforced or involuntary disappearances in the State.last_img read more

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India-Myanmar border untouched: Manipur CM

first_imgAmid tension brewing in the State over alleged shifting of a border pillar in Manipur’s Tengnoupal district, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Thursday said the India-Myanmar international boundary has remained “untouched and unaffected” since its construction in 1970.At a press meet in the morning, the CM said the border, separating India from Myanmar, was constructed based on an agreement signed between the two countries in 1967.“The government, in view of public apprehension, has written to the Centre to conduct a field visit on July 18 to check if pillar no. 81 at Kwatha Khunou in Tengnoupal district stands at the ‘actual spot’ as per the 1967 agreement in order to convince the stakeholders,” he said.Last month, Tengnoupal Deputy Commissioner Tombikanta, after visiting the border area, claimed that pillar 81 had been shifted 3 km inside the Indian territory. His claim found favour with local people, several social bodies as well as political parties.The Manipur Congress asked the Centre and the State government on Sunday to clarify their stance on the issue.Central clarification The Ministry of External Affairs, taking note of the allegations, had issued a press release on July 8, claiming that the allegation was “baseless and unsubstantiated”.During a recent visit to the site, Manipur Revenue Minister Karam Shyam also said some sections of “political rivals” were portraying a wrong picture.The Chief Minister, during the press meet, said he would lead a delegation to the national capital on Friday to discuss the matter with the Central government authorities.“The State government formed a high-level committee on June 25 to investigate into the allegations raised by the locals of Kwatha Khunou. It found out that the claims made by them were untrue,” he said.Mr. Tombikanta had raised the matter on June 22 following a Central government survey, earlier this year, to weigh the possibilities of constructing subsidiary columns between border pillars 80 and 82.He had claimed that the Central officials had instructed him to sign documents related with the border pillars, but he refused to abide by their orders.Asserting that border disputes exist in almost every State, the Chief Minister said the issue was being “blown out of proportion” to target the BJP government. “Any matter regarding the territory is a sensitive issue in the tiny State and no parties aim to gain political mileage out of it,” he added.last_img read more

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Oral cancer common in Gadchiroli: study

first_imgNearly 40% of all cancer cases in the underdeveloped district of Gadchiroli are tobacco-related. A study of a population-based cancer registry in the region has revealed that the tribals have little access to basic facilities, but the availability of tobacco is easy. The results from the registry were released at Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) on April 17.“The main addiction in the region is kharra, a mixture of betel nut and scented tobacco, nus, a form of powdered tobacco that women use on their teeth and gudakhu, a paste of tobacco commonly used by men. One can find shops selling tobacco every few kilometres,” said Dr. Yogeshwar Kalkonde, a co-investigator of the study. The cancer registry is a collaboration of Society for Education, Action, and Research in Community Health (SEARCH), a non-governmental organisation working in the district and the Tata Memorial Centre. The study was based on the registry data from January 2015 to December 2016.“Mouth was the leading cancer site among men, and the second leading site among women after the cervix and breast,” the study said. Tobacco control thus should be a priority in the district, it said.According to Dr. Kalkonde, most patients opt for treatment at a very late stage due to lack of good healthcare facilities in general as well as cancer-specific facilities. “The villagers have to travel 200 km to Nagpur to access a fully-equipped healthcare facility,” he said. Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck surgeon from TMH, is working to start a basic cancer facility in the district hospital.The study also highlights this. “Gadchiroli district has mostly secondary-level healthcare facilities. There was only one pathologist in the district until recently, now there are two. Due to poor availability of diagnostic and treatment facilities, lack of awareness, high costs of cancer diagnosis and the fatalistic attitude towards cancer, few patients had their diagnosis confirmed by microscopy,” the study said.Dr. Chaturvedi termed the incidence of oral cancer in Gadchiroli as shockingly high. “This is compounded with a high incidence of alcohol use. All three etiologies (causes) have led to this alarming level of oral cancer in Gadchiroli. Poor health care services lead to most patients coming for treatment in advanced stages, and they die within a few months of diagnosis,” he said.last_img read more

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Woman from HP murdered in Goa

first_imgA young woman tourist was found dead with stabbing wounds in a room at a star hotel in Arpora village of North Goa on Saturday.The victim, identified as Alka Saini (25), hails from Himachal Pradesh. She had checked into the hotel on April 20, along with her boyfriend, sources in the police said. The boyfriend was found missing.Local Police Inspector Navlesh Desai told The Hindu that they got the communication about the death from hotel management at around 5 pm.The police found stabbing marks on her neck. Her body was found by hotel maintenance staff after they entered the room for cleaning on Saturday, sources in Anjuna police station said.The body has been sent to the State-run Goa Medical College in Bamobilm near Panaji for post mortem. A case of murder has been registered by Anjuna police. Police sources said that after going through the CCTV cameras, police parties have been dispatched to look for the suspects. All bus stations, railway stations, airport, and border checkpoints have been alerted by the police.last_img read more

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ScienceShot: A Window Into Your Veins

first_imgNow there’s a better way to spy on the blood in your veins. Doctors already have two techniques to monitor obstructions in blood vessels, but they both have limitations. The first, Doppler ultrasound imaging, involves irradiating tissue with ultrasound waves; the waves that reflect off flowing blood acquire a Doppler shift, which can be used to pick out blood and calculate its speed. Doppler can’t distinguish flowing blood from surrounding tissue unless it’s moving quickly, however, which makes minor blood vessels invisible. The second technique, photoacoustic imaging, uses an infrared laser that, when absorbed by blood, heats it. The resulting sudden expansion creates a pressure wave that can be detected outside the body. Photoacoustic imaging picks out blood vessels better, but it can’t see flow in a continuous stream. In a study published today in Physical Review Letters, researchers combined the two techniques, utilizing the fact that ultrasound also has a slight heating effect; pulsed ultrasound creates periodic hot spots in blood vessels. By tracking the movement of these hot spots (shown in yellow above) using photoacoustic imaging, the team could calculate the flow rate of the blood, even when it moved slowly through small vessels like capillaries. The researchers hope their technique may aid functional brain imaging, help cancer screening and treatment monitoring, and let doctors detect atherosclerosis before a patient has a heart attack.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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Gut Parasite May Keep Locusts From Swarming

first_imgBy itself, the migratory locust is about as harmless as a grasshopper. But under the right conditions, it can assemble with billions of its comrades into apocalyptic swarms that destroy thousands of hectares of crops in Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Now, scientists have discovered that a gut parasite may be key to keeping these insects living the single life.Researchers first identified the parasite’s swarm-prevention potential in 2004. A team led by entomologist Wangpeng Shi of China Agricultural University in Beijing noticed that migratory locusts (Locusta migratoria manilensis) infected by a microbe known as Paranosema locustae were less likely to aggregate into swarms than were their healthy counterparts.To uncover how the parasite stemmed the swarms, Shi and colleagues infected healthy locusts with P. locustae. Locusts release chemical signals called pheromones in their scat to notify their neighbors that it’s time to swarm. Healthy locusts placed in chambers containing scat from the infected locusts were significantly less likely to display swarming behavior than were those placed in a chamber with scat from healthy locusts, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. An analysis of the infected locust scat found fewer swarm-inducing pheromones. 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(*)Looking into the insects’ guts, the team discovered why. The parasite acidified the locusts’ lower guts, subduing the growth of bacteria responsible for creating the pheromones. Additionally, the researchers found that infected locusts produced lower levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, which can initiate swarming behavior, and  dopamine, which can sustain the behavior.Although the researchers had finally discovered the mechanisms P. locustae uses to suppress swarming behavior in its host, they were confused about why the parasite would want to prevent swarms at all. P. locustae spreads from one locust to another through fecal matter consumption, cannibalism, and reproduction—all of which occur more frequently when the locusts swarm.Regardless of why the parasites prevent swarming, the team says countries fighting locust infestations could make use of P. locustae’s swarm-stopping tricks in place of existing insecticides. “People would like to use something biological that is environmentally safer than chemical insecticides,” says molecular biologist Raymond St. Leger of the University of Maryland, College Park, who co-authored the paper. “The question now is whether we can create an easy chemical way to block these bacteria from producing pheromones or select for parasites that can keep the bacteria from flourishing in the gut.”Insect pathologist Stefan Jaronski of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Sidney, Montana, who was not involved with the work, hesitates to call the parasite’s mechanisms a surefire way to fight locust swarms. He notes that locusts also signal one another to swarm by physically touching antennas, a process the parasite doesn’t interfere with. “This isn’t a silver bullet, but it is a big step forward,” he says.last_img read more

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Clinical Trial Suggests Way to Fight Peanut Allergy

first_imgFor some children, even trace amounts of peanuts can be deadly. But so far, kids suffering from peanut allergies have no treatment options other than avoiding the legumes completely. The results of a new clinical trial may change that. Scientists have found that feeding allergic children small amounts of peanut protein every day, an approach known as oral immunotherapy, can help them lead a normal life.”This is a very important first step,” says Gideon Lack, a pediatric allergist at King’s College London, who was not involved in the work. “But I don’t think it is ready to go into clinical practice.”About 1% of children in high-income countries like the United States and the United Kingdom suffer from a peanut allergy. Their immune system reacts to proteins found in the nuts and in severe cases that reaction can cut off breathing or lead to a sudden drop in blood pressure, starving the organs of oxygen. The condition puts a lot of stress on families, because even children who have reacted mildly to peanuts in the past can suddenly have a life-threatening incident, says Andrew Clark, a pediatric allergist at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom and one of the researchers involved in the trial. Some studies have shown that exposing children to increasing doses of peanuts can desensitize them, but few big trials have been done. Some studies in the 1990s tried injecting the antigen into the skin. But side effects were severe and in one study a patient died because of a dosing error. “Because of that, people haven’t touched this for 10, 20 years and are only now approaching it again,” Clark says.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(*)Clark and colleagues started with 49 allergic children aged 7 to 16 years. The kids’ meals included a small amount of peanut flour, with the dose slowly increasing from 2 milligrams to 800 milligrams (equivalent to about five peanuts). A control group of 46 children who had a peanut allergy avoided the nuts altogether. After 6 months, 24 out of the 39 children in the treatment group who completed the study could tolerate 1400 mg of peanut protein without showing a reaction, but no one in the control group could, the authors report today in The Lancet. Many children suffered from nausea or vomiting, but in general these side effects were mild and occurred only in the first days after an increase in the dose. “We feel we’ve found a regime that works very well,” says Clark, who hopes to offer the treatment as part of a “named patient program” within a year. Such programs allow doctors to use therapies that are not approved on individual patients if no other treatment exists. “I feel we have an obligation to act on our results,” he says.A group led by Kirsten Beyer, a pediatrician at the Charité University Medicine Berlin, recently finished a similar trial and is analyzing the results. Beyer criticizes the study for not using a placebo treatment in the control group. “But it is a big step in the right direction,” she says. “We urgently need more studies on treating peanut allergy.”Lack also praises the study for being larger and more rigorously conducted than previous trials. But the benefits of the treatment are likely to be short term, he warns. “If you stop eating the peanuts for a few weeks or even a few days and you are reexposed, you may have a severe allergic reaction.” Because of this danger, avoiding peanuts may still be the better option, he argues. But Clark says that participants seemed to tolerate short gaps, and he hopes to change some of the kids who have now been in treatment for 2 years to a weekly dose.Hugh Sampson, an allergy researcher at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, says that more studies are needed to address unanswered questions. For instance, what the optimal dose is, whether there are chemicals that can make the therapy safer, and whether there are long-term adverse consequences of the therapy. “While this study adds to the growing data on the potential utility of oral immunotherapy for treating food allergy,” he writes in an e-mail, “I am not sure that this study brings us closer to the answers.”last_img read more

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U.S. creates more roaming room for Mexican wolves, but green groups say they’ll sue

first_imgMexican wolves, the rarest of all North American gray wolves, will now have legal protections within a much larger swath of Arizona and New Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) today issued a new rule that expands the range within which the animal may legally roam and lists the Mexican wolf as an endangered subspecies under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).The change “provides Mexican wolves the space they need to establish a larger and more genetically diverse population,” said Benjamin Tuggle, FWS’s southwest regional director in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in a press release. An estimated 83 Mexican wolves survive in the Southwest, including just five breeding pairs; the animals are inbred.Conservationists, however, say the moves are inadequate and plan to challenge them in court. “The Mexican gray wolf recovery program has been hamstrung from the start, and this new management rule doesn’t go nearly far enough to fix the problem,” said Michael Robinson, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, Arizona, in a press release.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(*)Once found throughout northern Mexico, New Mexico, Arizona, parts of western Texas, and possibly Colorado and Utah, the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is a subspecies of the gray wolf (C. lupus). Mexican wolves vanished from the wild when the last remaining animals were captured in Mexico between 1977 and 1980. Since then, the U.S. and Mexican governments have worked to rebuild a genetically viable population through captive breeding and reintroducing wolves to the wild. FWS released the first Mexican wolves in 1998, designating the animals as an “experimental population” under the ESA in order to give the agency more legal latitude in managing the animals.But the approach hampered the agency, too. In particular, it allowed FWS to release captive wolves only into a small zone within Arizona’s Blue Range of mountains; the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area covered just 16% of the approximately 90,000-hectare region. Any wolves that moved outside of the zone had to be captured and returned or placed in captivity. The tight regulations constrained FWS’s ability “to release additional wolves from captivity” and “to increase the size of the wild population,” the agency said in a press release today. It also adversely affected the wild wolves’ genetic health, leading to inbreeding problems.To force FWS to address the wolves’ troubles, the Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation organizations sued the agency in 2006 to revise its reintroduction program. That suit led to today’s new rule.It expands the territory of the wolves fourfold from 18,679 square kilometers (the size of the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area in the 1998 regulations) to 398,477 square kilometers. It also increases the area where Mexican wolves raised in captivity can be released from 2986 sq km to 32,393 sq km—a range that extends from the Mexican border through much of Arizona and New Mexico. And it gives the Mexican wolf its own, separate listing under the ESA; previously it was lumped with the gray wolf. (FWS is considering removing the gray wolves from the list.)The new rule also removes the stipulation that only captive-raised wolves can be released into the primary recovery zone of the Blue Range. Now naturally dispersing Mexican wolves can move in, too. And all the wolves can wander much more freely, although the agency will still capture and return wolves to the new designated zones (all of which fall south of U.S. Interstate 40).“We are nervous about the genetic robustness of the population,” Tuggle said in an interview. Allowing the animals “to freely disperse” could lead to inbreeding with gray wolves. (A gray wolf from Wyoming moved into the Grand Canyon over the summer, but may have been killed by a coyote hunter last month in Utah.) “We want to focus on the core population. Once we’ve built that up, we can then let the wolves tell us where they want to be.”Conservationists, however, say the revisions won’t bring the highly endangered animals back from the brink. The Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, and other groups say they are particularly alarmed by the plan’s goal of establishing a population of just 300 to 325 animals, and the provision that blocks the wolves from living north of U.S. Interstate 40. That effectively prevents Mexican wolves from inhabiting the Grand Canyon, northern New Mexico, and southern Colorado, they note.FWS’s Tuggle says the agency is not trying to cap the wolves’ population. It set the 300 to 325 population as a goal that will help them “improve the genetics and management techniques as the population becomes more robust.” If the population exceeds 325, the agency will determine what action to take depending on the animals’ genetics.FWS will issue permits to private individuals, such as ranchers, to kill wolves found preying on their livestock. The agency will also watch the wolves closely to see how many wild ungulates—such as elk, deer, and bighorn sheep—the animals take.last_img read more

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Podcast: Artificial intelligence, dark matter, and growing your baby’s brain

first_imgCan artificial intelligence teach itself how to play video games? Did dark matter kill the dinosaurs? And does a mother’s sounds improve her baby’s brain development? Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science’s Susanne Bard. Plus, Sara Mitchell discusses the coevolution of sexual traits in mosquitoes and their influence on malaria transmission.last_img

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Two Indian-American Traders Agree to Plead Guilty in Over $60 Million Commodities Fraud

first_imgThree former commodities traders of a New York-based financial services firm, two of them Indian-American were charged Oct. 11, for their alleged participation in an over $60 million commodities fraud and spoofing conspiracy that was perpetrated through the U.S. commodities markets.  Two of these traders, Kamaldeep Gandhi and Krishna Mohan, have agreed to plead guilty for their respective roles in the alleged criminal conspiracy, the Justice Department said in a press release.Read it at News India Times Related Itemslast_img

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