Ban cow slaughter, says Congress MLA

first_img The Bill, which was passed by the Assembly in the absence of opposition members, who were suspended from the House on the last day of the Budget session, has also made cow slaughter and transportation of cow or beef and beef products cognisable and non-bailable offences.“I support the ban on cow slaughter and my demand is that the ban should be extended nationally. But I also want to stress that in Gujarat, the BJP government has handed over vast areas of grazing lands to industries and, as a result, cows are roaming in the streets and forced to eat plastic bags,” Mr. Shaikh said.According to him, some anti-social elements in the State, in a nexus with the police and anti-social elements from other States, are involved in cow smuggling and transportation, which must be reigned in by the authorities.“Let there be very strict punishment for cow smuggling carried out by anti-social elements from Gujarat and outside. The police are also involved but, at the same time, those running the slaughter houses legally should not be harassed,” Mr. Shaikh and other community leaders said.In Gujarat, cow vigilantes have become a major force, creating law and order problems for the State authorities. Last year, a group of vigilantes had publicly thrashed Dalits in a village near Una in the Saurashtra region for skinning a dead cow and filming the atrocity.The issue became a national controversy after a video showing Dalits tied to a vehicle paraded and thrashed went viral on social media platforms.Top leaders, including Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the victims, slamming the State administration for the plight of Dalits engaged in skinning dead animals in the State. A senior Congress lawmaker in Gujarat, Gyasuddin Shaikh, has demanded that the cow should be declared the “national animal” and has requested all slaughterhouse owners and operators in Ahmedabad and Gujarat to ensure that the cow or its progeny is not slaughtered anywhere in the State.Mr. Shaikh, along with a group of Muslim community leaders, appealed to those engaged in running slaughter houses after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Gujarat amended the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act on March 31 to make cow slaughter punishable with life imprisonment, a first in the country. “Muslims, and particularly those involved in the meat business, must respect religious sentiments in order to maintain communal harmony in the State,” said Mr. Shaikh, a legislator representing the Dariapur Assembly segment in Ahmedabad city.Also Read Declare cow as national animal, ban slaughter of all bovine animals: Ajmer Dargah Deewanlast_img read more

Parched Shekhawati region in Rajasthan to get Yamuna water

first_imgThe Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, largely comprising Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Churu districts, will get the Yamuna water through a carrier system from Tajewala headworks following the resolution of a 24-year-old dispute with Haryana over water sharing. The Centre will provide financial assistance for laying pipelines from Tajewala to major towns in the region.Full shareThe Upper Yamuna Review Committee had decided last month that 1,917 cusecs of water would be released from Tajewala headworks to the Shekhawati region for drinking and irrigation. With this, Rajasthan will get its full share of 1.119 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water in the Yamuna river.Public Works Department Minister Yunus Khan said here on Friday that the pipelines would be laid at an estimated expenditure of ₹20,000 crore. In addition to the Centre’s assistance, the help of external financial institutions may also be sought for the project’s execution.Detailed project reportMr. Khan said a detailed project report for the work would be prepared within the next four months.“The project’s foundation stone will be laid by this year-end. The water supplied through the project will be utilised for drinking and irrigation in an area measuring 1 lakh hectares,” he said.As per an agreement signed between the Chief Ministers of five States in 1994, Rajasthan was allocated 9% share in the Yamuna waters. However, the desert State was not getting its share even when the excess water was available in the river between July and October every year.Rajasthan will now be getting its full share from both Tajewala and Okhla headworks on thr Yamuna river. The State’s share in Yamuna waters will be reserved even after the construction of Lakhwar, Kishau and Renuka dams on the river.Mr. Khan said the availability of water would permanently resolve the issue of shortage of drinking and irrigation water in the three districts of Shekhawati region. “The entire region, situated at the edge of Thar desert, has been facing water scarcity since long. The supply of water will provide much-needed succour to the villagers and farmers,” he said.last_img read more

At least 22 dead as high-intensity squall hits parts of Rajasthan

first_imgAt least 22 persons were killed and over 100 injured in different parts of Rajasthan as a high-speed dust storm followed by thundershowers wreaked havoc on Wednesday night, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Trees and electricity poles were uprooted and houses collapsed in the high-intensity squall.According to preliminary figures released by the State Disaster Management and Relief Department, 11 people died in Bharatpur district, 4 in Alwar, 5 in Dholpur and one each in Jhunjhunu and Bikaner.Relief and rescue teams have been pressed into service amid fears that the death toll may rise. The power discoms launched action on a war-footing to restore electricity supply in the affected areas, while the administration ordered survey for damaged properties.Major destruction was reported from Alwar district, where trees were uprooted and power cables snapped. The entire district plunged into darkness due to disconnection of power supply.Vasundhara expresses griefChief Minister Vasundhara Raje expressed grief over the calamity and directed the Ministers and officers concerned to begin the relief work immediately and restore utilities. Ms. Raje said the government was working with the local authorities to mitigate the situation.Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot cancelled his birthday celebrations on Thursday in view of the disaster, saying he was extremely grieved at the loss of lives and expressed solidarity with the victims.Mr. Gehlot said blood donation camps and other public interest programmes marking his birthday would, however, continue.last_img read more

U.P. seeks ₹839 crore in agri relief

first_imgThe Uttar Pradesh government has sought assistance of more than ₹839 crore for damage to crops, property and human life due to the drought and recent violent hailstorms.The government on Thursday submitted memorandums to the Centre seeking assistance of ₹678.98 crore for losses under drought in the rabi season and ₹153.43 crore for damage due to hailstorm from February to April.Drought was declared in select tehsils of the five districts of Mahoba Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Jhansi and Lalitpur. Over five lakh farmers were affected due to drought in 2,307 villages, State Revenue and Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar has written to the Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Ministry.The State has demanded aid of ₹321crore for damages to crop over five lakh hectares and ₹86.42 crore for losses incurred due to no sowing because of lack of moisture over 1.27 lakh hectare land. The State has also sought ₹147 crore for antodyaya families affected by the drought.Hailstorm and unseasonal rains in February, March and April also caused damage to crops, animals and humans in 36 districts.Arguing that the hailstorm had caused farmers to be in a “condition of helplessness and suffering,” the State in a letter on Thursday requested the Centre for ₹153 crore to compensate losses.According to the state government, an area of 1.85 lakh hectare was affected due to the hailstorm and unseasonal rsins, causing 58 human deaths and 542 dead animals.Over 1.68 lakh hectares of land recorded more than 33% crop loss. Farmers with less than 2 hectares land suffered losses amounting to ₹110.88 crore while those with land over 2 hectares suffered losses worth ₹39.37 crore, according to the state’s hailstorm memorandum 2018.The districts affected by hailstorm include Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi, Jalaun and Lalitpur in Bundelkhand; Varanasi, Azamgarh, Ballia, Jaunpur and Mirzapur in Purvanchal; Aligarh, Bijnore, Bulandshahr, Sambhal, Hapur in the West and Lucknow, Unnao, Kanpur, Faizabad, Gonda, Hardoi, Sitapur, Etawah and Kannauj in central U.P.last_img read more

On Women’s Day, Rahul promises to push reservation Bill in House

first_imgCongress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday promised a series of offerings for women if his party came to power in Odisha.Interacting with women on the occasion of Women’s Day during his visit to Jeypore in Odisha’s Koraput district, he promised to get the women’s reservation Bill passed in Parliament and adopt a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ for atrocities against women. He said all women would be provided free education of their choice, be it in engineering, medicine or any other field. He also promised financial assistance for the marriage of poor women and enhancement of widows’ pension to ₹2,000 a month. Assembly elections will be held in Odisha along with the Lok Sabha polls.The Congress chief promised to help women self-help groups through more bank loans and said the party will appoint special officers for women in every panchayat. Rafale dealLater in the day, addressing a public meeting at Jeypore, around 30 km from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited plant at Sunabeda, Mr. Gandhi came down sharply on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sidelining the public sector undertaking in the Rafale fighter jet deal. Inclusion of HAL in the deal would have provided employment opportunity to youths, but now it only benefited Anil Ambani, he alleged.Mr. Gandhi promised loan waiver to farmers and enhancement of support price for paddy to ₹2,500 within 10 days if the Congress came to power in Odisha. He reiterated the promise of minimum income guarantee for the poor in the State.He ended his speech with sarcasm aimed at Mr. Modi. “We want to provide a government that hears your ‘mann ki baat’ instead of making you hear ‘mann ki baat,’ he said.last_img read more

Manipur boat capsize: 14-member Navy team joins search operation

first_imgA 14-member Indian Navy team on Wednesday joined the search operations to trace three people, including a girl, who were reported missing after their boat capsized in the Eco Park Lake in Ukhrul district of Manipur.The Navy team, including 12 divers and two hydrographers (survey sailors), were airlifted from Visakhapatnam by an IAF aircraft to Imphal on Tuesday evening.They started the search on Wednesday morning but had to halt the operation due to inclement weather triggered by rain, poor visibility and strong winds. The officers said they would resume the search on Thursday morning.Chief Minister N. Biren Singh thanked Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for sending the team of deep water diving experts. A total of 12 tourists were travelling on the boat in the Eco Park Lake near the Maphou dam on Sunday afternoon when a sudden storm upturned it in the middle of the lake. Rani, Rajiv and Romen of the same family went missing in the incident while the others survived. Teams of NDRF, SDRF and fire service initiated the rescue operation.Following the incident, the Chief Minister announced that only boats manufactured by government-approved companies will be allowed in all the lakes and waterbodies in Manipur. The government has already issued a notification in this regard.However, the tribal villagers around the Eco Park, who use the makeshift boats for transporting items and visiting each other in different villages, said that they will not be able to afford the costly mechanised boats.District Collector Kenju Yuringla said, “Rescue operations is being carried out in full swing. There is inordinate delay as the lake is deep.”Congress MLA Govindas Konthoujam, who is a relative of the three missing persons, drew the attention of the government to lack of safety measures. Ms. Yuringla said if safety measures like life jackets were enforced, the three persons would not have gone missing. (With PTI inputs)last_img read more

Ex-MLA, brother get jail term in murder case

first_imgA Delhi court on Tuesday awarded life imprisonment to a former Rashtriya Lok Dal MLA and his brother in a 22-year-old murder case in Meerut.The court also gave ₹10 lakh compensation to the victim’s son.Rejecting the prosecution’s plea that it was among the rarest of rare cases, Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora sentenced accused and former MLA Satyendra Solanki and and his brother Harendra Solanki for murder and attempt to murder.Mr. Arora also imposed fines of ₹40,000 each on the two accused. They were also asked to pay ₹5 lakh each for a total compensation of ₹10 lakh for the victim’s son. Ten years after the incident, Solanki had been elected an MLA on an RLD ticket.last_img

Modi a boxer who punched his coach Advani, says Rahul

first_imgCongress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday used the analogy of boxing to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an election rally in Haryana’s Bhiwani, known for producing world-class boxers.Mr. Gandhi, while campaigning for party candidate Shruti Choudhry, said the people of the country placed “boxer Modi”, who boasted of a 56-inch chest, in the ring in the last Lok Sabha election thinking he could fight unemployment and corruption.“Instead, he [Mr. Modi] ended up punching his own guru [coach] Lal Krishna Advani and then went after his colleagues Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari,” said Mr. Gandhi, adding that the Prime Minister then hit the common people with “demonetisation and Gabbar Singh Tax”.“Now people are saying that they do not want this boxer. He does not even know who to fight. Mr. Prime Minister, you were not supposed to fight the people of India and not even the Opposition. You were supposed to fight poverty, unemployment and problems of the farmers. You have cheated this country over the past five years,” said the Congress president.NYAY promise Mr. Gandhi alleged that Mr. Modi had deposited “thousands of crores of rupees” in the accounts of businessmen Anil Ambani, Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi, but the Congress in its manifesto has promised to transfer ₹72,000 per year into the bank accounts of 20% of the most poor people in the country through the minimum income scheme — NYAY. “This money will go straight into the accounts of women. They can take better care of the money. Their budgeting is better,” said Mr. Gandhi, amid applause.last_img read more

Business Gains Drive Higher R&D Spending in U.S.

first_imgThe U.S. research ship is righting itself after going through some stormy seas, according to data from the National Science Foundation (NSF). But the latest picture of overall R&D spending in the United States shows two divergent trends: High-tech companies are steaming ahead after rebounding from the 2008 recession, while the end of the massive stimulus spending begun in 2009 has left academic researchers facing increasingly choppy waters.The new NSF report released in late December, which updates a report from January 2013, documents a 5% boost in overall spending in 2011, to $428 billion. Preliminary data suggest 2012 will be even better: a jump of 5.7%, to $452 billion. Those annual increases are well ahead of the 4% growth in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in each of those years. They also mark a significant turnaround from 2009 and 2010, when both R&D and GDP struggled to stay above water.The good news, says NSF program analyst Mark Boroush, is that the numbers suggest a return to historical patterns in which the country’s total R&D investment grew at a faster rate than GDP. That was the case in 6 of the 8 years before the 2008 recession, he notes. Boroush says that metric is a good indicator of the health of a country’s overall research enterprise.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(*)U.S. industry performs roughly 70% of the country’s R&D. (It funds a similar percentage.) So its behavior drives the overall U.S. research enterprise. The federal government provides most of the rest of the money, although the dollars are distributed almost equally between scientists at federal facilities and those working in academia.“We saw a pullback in 2009 and 2010 in industrial R&D,” he says, with spending tumbling in both years. “But it appears we have a rebirth going on, with 2012 as the most solid year” for high-tech companies since 2007.Spending patterns for the academic sector are a mirror image of those in the industrial sector. Robust increases in 2009 and 2010 were fueled by the Obama administration’s stimulus package, and the line continued to tick upward in 2011. But NSF preliminary data suggest no growth in 2012, and Boroush expects the toll from the budget cuts known as sequestration, which took effect last March, to show up in NSF’s next report. “I think we may be back to a very sober picture in 2013,” he says.[wysiwyg_field wf_deltas=”3″ wf_field=”field_assets” wf_formatter=”styles_file_original” wf_settings-field_delimiter=”” wf_settings-field_multiple_limit=”-1″ wf_settings-field_multiple_limit_offset=”0″ contenteditable=”false” wf_cache=”1389880879″ wf_entity_id=”111406″ wf_entity_type=”node”] When adjusted for inflation, the data for R&D spending at colleges and universities are even more dismal. Annual growth rates of 4.6% in 2009 and 2010 shrunk to 1.3% in 2010 and 2011, according to the NSF data. And the rate is expected to go negative, by 1.3%, in 2012.The latest report added $14 billion to the 2011 U.S. total reported a year ago, which had represented an anemic growth of 1.8%. The new figures, Boroush says, clarify what had been a murky picture of the country’s recovery from the recession. They “reversed the dynamics for 2011,” he notes. In combination with the preliminary 2012 data, it also adds a second year of robust growth.Most of the plus-up comes from an additional $10.3 billion in industry spending. NSF revamped its survey of business R&D in 2008, and Boroush says that each year the foundation gets better at interpreting the answers to a key question about what companies expect to spend on R&D in the coming year.“The look ahead is a preliminary estimate,” he says, “not a forecast. And we’re reasonably confident that it will hold up.” The final answer comes later this year, when NSF’s next report on national R&D spending patterns tallies up the 2012 numbers—and takes its first shot at describing 2013.last_img read more

Video: Bird Flocks Shatter on Impact

first_imgA flock of birds flows like a liquid, but in one respect it acts more like a solid, according to a new computer simulation (above). Flocking birds can fly together as an impressive fluidlike mass, and a team of physicists wanted to know whether a flock possesses a cohesion similar to surface tension in a real liquid. So they used a computer simulation to fire into a wall a flock of virtual birds, each programmed with a bird brain that keys off the direction and speed of its neighbors much as an actual bird would. In the simulation, the left panel shows a side view of the blue birds as they impact the red wall, whereas the right side displays a top-down perspective. As the flock smacked against the wall, it shattered into uneven clusters as a brittle solid would, rather than splashing into equal-sized drops as a liquid would, the team reported this month in Physical Review E. The result suggests that, like a solid, a bird flock has no apparent surface tension even though interactions between the birds promote the overall cohesion of the flock. The work could help scientists decipher the dynamics of animal herds and other “materials” made up of active agents.(Video credit: Pearson Miller and Nicholas Ouellette)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

U.S. Senate bill would give NIH 2% raise in 2015

first_imgA U.S. Senate spending panel today approved a draft bill that would raise the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) budget by $605.7 million, to $30.5 billion, in the 2015 fiscal year that begins 1 October. That modest 2% increase is good news for the agency; President Barack Obama’s budget proposal had requested a smaller $211 million increase.The panel also approved the president’s request for a total of $100 million, a $60 million boost, for NIH’s share of the president’s brain-mapping initiative. It would also increase the National Institute on Aging’s budget by $100 million, which is enough to double spending on Alzheimer’s disease research for worthy research proposals, said the panel’s chair, Senator Tom Harkin (D–IA).The bill also restores sequester cuts to Institutional Development Awards, a program for states that have difficulty competing for NIH grants, said Harkin, who was presiding over his last markup of the massive annual spending bill that funds the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The senator, who has served as chair or ranking member of the spending panel for the past 25 years, is retiring next year.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’re very pleased. Given the overall fiscal environment, a $600 million increase is good news,” said David Moore, senior director of government relations for the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, D.C. Jennifer Zeitzer, director of legislative relations for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in Bethesda, Maryland, said her group is hoping the increase is “the beginning of a conversation moving forward about real growth in the NIH budget” in fiscal year 2016 and beyond.The bill moves to the full Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday. It will later need to be approved by the full Senate and reconciled with the corresponding bill from the House Appropriations Committee. That panel has not announced a schedule for marking up its bill, and final spending decisions are not expected until after the November elections.last_img read more

Pythons wipe out rabbits—and probably much more—in Everglades

first_imgEverglades National Park, a world-renowned wetland in southern Florida, once abounded with rabbits, raccoons, muskrats, and other small mammals. But roughly 15 years ago, these species started to become scarce. About the same time, biologists noticed a boom in the population of a predator that had invaded the 64,238-hectare park: the Burmese python. Now, an experiment adds to the evidence that the pythons, which grow up to 5 meters long, are to blame for the collapse of the mammals’ populations.“There’s no question that this is an environmental disaster,” says J. D. Willson of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, who was not involved in the study.The pythons are native to Southeast Asia and may have been released into the Everglades decades ago by people who kept them as exotic pets. From studying the stomach contents of dead snakes, biologists knew that they eat a variety of animals—even large alligators. But mammals account for 75% of their diet. The snakes’ voracious appetite has apparently had a big impact. Between 2003 and 2011, sightings of raccoons and opossums in the Everglades dropped by 99%, according to paper published in 2012 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). In addition, these and other mammal species were more common in parts of the Everglades where pythons had arrived only recently.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(*)Some scientists were skeptical that a single species of predator could have such a dramatic impact, especially in an ecosystem that already contained other kinds of snakes. So two of the authors of the PNAS paper teamed up with Robert McCleery, a conservation biologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, to undertake a field experiment. The team members spent 6 months capturing 95 adult marsh rabbits, which are native to the southeastern United States and were once quite common in the park. “It was a lot of sweat,” McCleery says.After outfitting the rabbits with collars that carried radio transmitters, the researchers released some of them into two parts of Everglades National Park. For comparison, other rabbits were let go inside a wildlife refuge about 100 kilometers northeast of the park, where pythons have not been reported. The collars had sensors that signal if a rabbit has not moved recently and might be dead. Once researchers located a rabbit’s carcass, they could look for bite marks and other evidence that reveals whether it had been killed by a bird or a mammal. Predation by pythons or alligators was easy to identify—they would still have the entire rabbit and its transmitter in their stomachs. After a few months, the rabbits were reproducing at both sites, but they also fell victim to various predators. In the snake-free refuge, coyotes and bobcats killed most of the rabbits, as the scientists expected. In Everglades National Park, pythons were responsible for 77% of rabbit deaths, with only one killed by a mammal, the researchers report online this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.The difference between the two sites grew alarming. The risk of predation in the Everglades exceeded that in the refuge, likely because pythons increased their activity as the weather warmed up, wiping out all the rabbits. “This is very strong, convincing evidence that pythons are the cause of the mammal declines,” says herpetologist and conservation ecologist Michael Dorcas of Davidson College in North Carolina, who was not involved in the study.It’s not clear why pythons have a larger impact than coyotes or bobcats. The snakes might be more abundant, or the rabbits may lack defensive strategies for dealing with them, such as staying away from the water’s edge where the pythons lurk. Whatever the reason for the mammals’ vulnerability, the pythons pose an “enormous threat to ecological functioning of the entire Everglades system,” McCleery and his co-authors conclude. Willson agrees, noting that small mammals likely influence key aspects of the Everglades environment, such as the flow of nutrients and patterns of plant growth.At the moment, there are no solutions to the python problem. The snakes are elusive, so hunting has proven ineffective. Researchers don’t know how to measure the size of the population, or how they might effectively lure them into traps. In the meantime, one hope is that the small mammals—some of which are quite adaptable—will learn how to survive their new predators.last_img read more

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Footloose Indian in London

first_imgOn a recent visit to London, it struck me how easy it is for Indians educated in English to relate to Britannia. Right from its celebrated buildings and landmarks, childhood memories unzip easily in this vibrant multi-cultural capital. Somewhere between commutes and late night bashes, I pause and ponder on its strong historical and cultural linkages with my own roots and “Indianness.”Nostalgic Throwback There she was in flesh and blood, Queen Anne Boleyn arisen from her execution in 1536.Sitting in that most enduring of London icons, a red double-decker bus, as it cruised past the houses of parliament, the mind did a back flip to Peter Pan, “the little boy who doesn’t grow up,” merrily flying into the starry sky with Wendy and brothers in tow. A beginning of a thrilling journey made dramatic with the gang silhouetted against the yellow glow of the giant Big Ben.At Harley Street, fact and fiction collide. Outside Baker Street station, an individual wearing a deerstalker cap, pulling on a calabash pipe, hailed passers-by. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s illustrious and uncannily gifted sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, was inviting people to his celebrated apartment turned handsome museum. A nominal entrance fee gave you a chance to snoop at a literary heritage.At the National Portrait Gallery, a twinkling Jerome K Jerome hurled me back in time to happy school days and his cheery, lightweight classic Three Men in a Boat and the priceless high jinks of George, Harris, the narrator, and the dog, Montmorency, on their famous Thames boating holiday. During my visit, every time I happened by the river, my mind kept returning to the picnic and the antics of the impossible Uncle Podger and his attempts at hanging a picture. Hyde Park forms the backdrop for many Bollywood scenes.Gold Paved StreetsWho can go to London, see a cobblestone pathway and not think of Dick Whittington? He was in my very first English textbook. Now at Highgate Hill, the pauper turned four-time mayor of London was standing before me darkly, stonily gazing out, his legendary black cat by his side. London’s streets are indeed paved with gold for many enterprising Indians. The list of successful, wealthy individuals, many of whom started from scratch, is legendary. The city boasts over 10,000 Indian businesses. Apparently many Indians peered over Whittington’s shoulders and were dazzled no end by the golden opportunities that greeted them and set to work. No cricket fan’s visit is complete without a pilgrimage to Lord’s, the mecca of cricket.There’s the steel mogul Lakshmi Mittal; the four Hinduja brothers with an impressive presence in global finance, telecommunications, film, transportation and oil businesses; airline tycoon Naresh Goyal; commodities trader hot-shot Anil Agarwal, to cite random names from a Who’s Who in the UK. The Indian Diaspora thrives in several important areas of British life – business, law, media, medicine, engineering, IT, you name it. At the macro-level, Corporate India is presently engaged in what seems like a “reverse colonization” – rapidly gobbling up English firms and well on the way to becoming the Numero Uno foreign investor in the UK.Indians feel at home in London thanks to the hundreds of curry-houses and exquisite restaurants that dish out practically every type of desi khana and a thriving Indian community. A visit sets many rich Indians thinking about a second home. London realtors have their phones buzzing. Homes costing St Paul’s: Flaunting a recently introduced Bollywood Movie Map, Indian movie aficionados are busy playing spotting games: “Yaar, guess which Shah Rukh Khan movie had this location?”£500,000 to £1 million are in great demand. Corporate bigwigs with ideas for guesthouses look in Central London. In Belgravia, Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Oxford Street, Marble Arch, St. John’s Wood, Kensington and similar exclusive areas, homes top $10 million. That hasn’t stopped Indian buyers. Even many parents and young corporate climbers see a house in London as a good long-term investment.“Indians flourish in London, not just because of hard work and commitment to education,” says long time resident and economis, Ratnakar Kini, “But because colonial India and its aftermath has prepared them to be ‘propah’ and ‘ready’ for Britannia’s ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity.”Mecca of CricketMoving from the world of commerce to the world of cricket. Indian cricket fans invariably make a pilgrimage to that Mecca of cricket, Marylebone Cricket Club, better known throughout the cricketing world as MCC or Lord’s. The whirlwind tour offers up rushes of sepia-tinted images of shorts, rubber balls, endless hours of cricket, Albert Memorialand summer holidays in bungalows. The tour of Lord’s begins, appropriately, at cricket legend W.G. Grace’s statue. Nearby, the museum and the stadium are stocked with images and icons of several Indian cricket greats, such as Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and CK Naidu. My old scrapbooks had precious pictures, press clippings and autographs of such British cricketing icons as Fred Trueman and Colin Cowdrey.I watched a local match on the hallowed turf from the stands. Somewhere in the distance, there was roar and thunder of another day – a time in 1971 when the spin quartet of Bedi, Chandersekar, Venkataraghavan and Prasanna beguiled their opponents with 197 out of 244 wickets and propelled India to a historic series win.  It is easy for Indians educated in English to relate to Britannia. From its celebrated buildings and landmarks, childhood memories unzip easily in this vibrant multi-cultural capitalFace to face with English history On a windy chilly morning at the Tower of London, English history came alive most unexpectedly. There she was in flesh and blood, Queen Anne Boleyn arisen from her execution in 1536. Buxom, rosy cheeked, attired in 1500s modest gear, she caught many a tourist’s eye. Speaking in modern idiom and mixing with commoners, including a woman in hijab, she detailed her dilemma, her heart-touching plight. “I am not a witch,” she cried, anguish writ large on her pretty face, “My sin, if it is a sin, good people, is not producing a male heir. Am I to be tried for treason for that?”Bollywood ChaloThe city has served as the backdrop in countless film scenes and plots. Footloose movie-aficionados invariably get that strange feeling of having been there before as they pass Portobello Road, Bedale Street, King’s Cross Station, St Pancras Chambers, Hampstead Heath, Penzance Place, Portland Road, Borough Market, Holland Park, etc. Many of these places have been immortalized in popular cinema, such as Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001), National History Museum to the Future.Shakespeare in Love (1998), Elizabeth (1998), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Notting Hill (1999), Blow-up (1966), A Hard Day’s Night (1964), The Italian Job (1969) and French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981).Not to be outdone by their western counterparts, Indian moviemakers are showing up in droves. An endless stream of Indian moviemakers with their colorful stars and crew keeps flooding the city. In 2006, more than 40 Hindi movies were shot in London. Notable blockbusters, such as Cheeni Kum (2007), Kabhi Khushie Kabhie Ghum (2001), Dilwale Dulhaniya le Jayenge (1995), all had London as their inspirational setting, a potpourri of the traditional, modern, diverse and exciting. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s illustrious and uncannily gifted sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, invites people to his celebrated apartment turned handsome museum.As you go around London, you’re likely to bump into nattily clad Hindi movie-buffs lost in the pursuit of making instant connections with reel and real London. Flaunting a recently introduced Bollywood Movie Map, they, gorgeous babes included, are out in force at Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square, Natural History Museum, Tower Bridge, the Royal Albert Hall, Millennium Dome, the houses of parliament, Nelson’s Column, and the London Eye playing spotting games: “Yaar, guess which Shah Rukh Khan movie had this location?”Postcolonial Miasma Movie-crazed, young upwardly mobile desis are “doing” not just Singapore or Dubai, but venturing further to London. Wide-eyed and camera-snappy, like sleuths in a mystery drama, they make tracks to the very locales made popular in umpteen super fillums. Meanwhile the local Indian population is beginning to assert its identity, upbeat, as it cozies up to its hip country-cousins, sampling from a lavish spread after spread of the richness of India’s culture and tradition, joyfully dancing, celebrating everything from prenuptial bashes to big, fat Punjabi wedding galas. The intrepid British tourism department is rolling out the red carpet, showcasing India-themed programs and festivals from Deepavali and Baisakhi to Durga Pooja and Bharata Natyam to Hindu epics on stage, neatly packaging and selling the country to a new generation of wealthy Indians who it seems don’t tire easily and keep returning for more. That keeps the British cash register jingling merrily in this postcolonial miasma. Related Itemslast_img read more

Obama for President

first_imgLittle India has decided to break from its tradition of staying out of the primary selections by endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic Party nomination for president. We take this unusual step as we have come to share his inspiring message and his call for the “fierce urgency of now.”We value the Clintons’ long association with the Indian American community and with India, so the decision to endorse her opponent has not been easy. But there is something magical and transcendental in this moment about Sen. Obama both for the country and the Indian American community. His life story is in so many ways ours. In his political pursuits, he has defied both traditional paths pursued by minority politicians: identity politics built on narrow affiliations, typical of most ethnic leaders, as well as that of right wing politicians (like our own Bobby Jindal in Louisiana) who run from their history and identity. Obama, by contrast, has transcended boundaries. The Obama phenomenon, even if it does not get him the ultimate prize, offers something unique and it is important that we embrace this moment, for, as the Nobel Prize writer Toni Morrison wrote in her endorsement of Obama, “this is one of those singular moments that nations ignore at their peril.”We reject the proposition that Sen. Hillary Clinton’s experience trumps the promise that Obama has to offer. As Sen. Obama has retorted: “One of my opponents says a vote for me would be a gamble. But the real gamble would be to do the same old things with the same old people over and over again and hope that the next time the results will somehow be different.”In the wake of the disastrous Bush presidency, Democrats are wistful about the Clinton era. In actual fact, the Clinton presidency was a period of political gridlock and public venom. Besides, Sen. Clinton already had an opportunity to shape public policy during Pres. Bill Clinton’s term. We are likely to see a return of the stalemate and the tiresome and virulent conflicts of the 1990s if Clinton were the Democratic nominee. Indeed, the Clintons’ subtle race-baiting tactics during the South Carolina primaries offer a preview of their divisive and ultimately futile scorched earth politics. Their reprehensible, win-at-all-costs, racially-laced attacks against Sen. Obama, even at the price of undermining their personal and historic commitments to racial justice, proved a tipping point for us, as they did for many other progressives in this country.A Clinton supporter, Gloria Steinem, dubiously asserted that the gender barrier in politics is higher than the racial one, wondering: “Why is the sex barrier not taken as seriously as the racial one?”But Sen. Clinton fails even by that measure, because her candidacy only underscores the painful stereotype that women’s advancement begins at the altar. As Kerry Howley has tellingly pointed out, the first three women to serve in the Senate succeeded their husbands; six of the first 14 women elected to Congress were widows of incumbents and three others were daughters. Even Steinem would acknowledge that the gender barrier is better broken by a woman who wasn’t riding her husband’s coattails.Sen. Obama, the son of an immigrant, offers an exciting opportunity to take Americans, men and women, of all races and affiliations, to an exciting new place and time. As Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., so eloquently said in his endorsement: “In Barack Obama, I see not just the audacity, but the possibility of hope for the America that is yet to be.” Related Itemslast_img read more

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee calls defectors ‘greedy and corrupt’

first_imgWest Bengal Chief Minister and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday came down heavily on TMC leaders who joined the BJP post the Lok Sabha elections. She called them “greedy and corrupt” and said the saffron party was “collecting garbage”.The TMC chief also said she would be replacing the “traitors” with “dedicated members” and asked those “undecided about joining the BJP” to leave her Party at the earliest.Ms. Banerjee’s remarks came against the backdrop of three MLAs and a majority of councillors from five municipalities in the State defecting to the BJP from the TMC since the declaration of general election results last month.“We are not bothered about a few corrupt and greedy leaders who are switching to some other Party. They joined the BJP as they were afraid they might face consequences for their activities,” the Chief Minister said. She said her administration is contemplating action against those involved in corruption.“We are throwing out our garbage and the BJP is collecting it. But joining some other Party won’t save anyone from corruption probe,” Ms. Banerjee said at an internal meeting of Party councillors from across the State. The TMC president said she would want to restructure her Party ahead of the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections, while insisting that those who were in two minds about switching to the BJP should leave immediately.“I would like to urge those traitors who are still undecided on whether to join the BJP or stay in the TMC to leave the Party. We don’t want such leaders and workers,” Ms. Banerjee said.“One person will leave and 500 more will be inducted in his or her place. We want to restructure our Party and replace corrupt and greedy workers with dedicated cadres,” she added.Admitting that her Party’s leadership made a few mistakes while dealing with old-timers and loyalists, the Chief Minister assured that the lapses would be taken care of. Referring to legislator Sunil Singh, who joined the BJP on Monday, Ms. Banerjee said it was a misjudgement on the part of the TMC to have given him a ticket for Noapara Assembly bypoll last year, overlooking the candidature of Manju Basu, wife of slain TMC leader Bikash Basu. She also instructed her Party leaders and workers to increase their outreach activities.Ms. Banerjee warned Party members against infighting as it “affects the implementation of government schemes”.“Work hard and work honestly to reach out to the masses. Don’t fall into the BJP’s trap. People are looking at us. Do remember that councillors play a very important role, they are the face of the Party in their respective wards,” she said.last_img read more

Payal Tadvi suicide: Bombay HC to film bail plea hearing of 3 accused

first_imgThe Bombay High Court on Thursday directed its registry department to make arrangements to film the hearing of the bail pleas of three resident doctors, arrested for allegedly abetting the suicide of their junior at a civic-run hospital in the city, on July 30.Justice D.S. Naidu was hearing bail pleas filed by Dr. Hema Ahuja, Dr. Bhakti Mehare and Dr. Ankita Khandelwal, who were arrested on May 29 for making casteist slurs against their junior Dr. Payal Tadvi, leading to her suicide.Tadvi (26), a second-year postgraduate medical student attached to BYL Nair Hospital, committed suicide in her hostel room on May 22.Justice Naidu on Thursday noted that Section 15 (a) (10) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) mandates that all proceedings under the act have to be video recorded by the court concerned. The provision was pointed out to the court by advocate Gunaratan Sadavarte, who appeared for the victim’s mother.While special public prosecutor Raja Thakare said it was a policy matter, advocate Aabad Ponda, appearing for the accused, said the provision is only for trial proceedings and not bail hearings. Justice Naidu, however, said that it would be implied for all judicial proceedings.“I cannot ignore the statutory provisions. While I am sympathetic towards the fact that this would mean a delay in hearing of the bail pleas, but it is also imperative that the provisions of the act are followed,” the judge said.The court then directed the high court’s registry department to make necessary arrangements for video-recording and posted the bail pleas for further hearing on July 30.Justice Naidu said as a judge, he was known for recording court proceedings that he uses his mobile phone to record audios of arguments of lawyers in important cases. Mr. Ponda, while seeking bail, argued that the accused are educated persons and not criminals.“We are not criminals. We know that something unfortunate has happened and a woman has lost her life. But life has to go on. We will face the trial,” Ponda said.The accused have been suspended from the Nair hospital, he said, adding they just want to complete their education and propose to stay out of Mumbai.Mr. Ponda further pointed out that the chargesheet filed by the prosecution places reliance on the purported suicide note, the photos of which were recovered from Tadvi’s mobile.“The suicide note speaks about harassment meted out with regard to work. There is no whisper about caste or that the accused persons made remarks about the victim’s caste,” Mr. Ponda argued.The three doctors have been booked under IPC sections for abetment of suicide and destruction of evidence, and provisions of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Ragging Act and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities).They are presently in judicial custody.Tadvi’s family alleged that three of her seniors – Ahuja, Meher and Khandelwal – ragged her and hurled casteist abuses at her, forcing Tadvi to take her life. Mumbai police’s Crime Branch on Tuesday filed a chargesheet against the three accused. The over 1,800-page charge sheet, filed before a special court here, contains a copy of the three-page suicide note allegedly written by Tadvi before hanging herself in her hostel room.last_img read more