Sukma, where Maoist insurgency and ancient myths dominate

first_imgOn the southernmost part of Chhattisgarh sliced by both river Shabari and National Highway 30, Sukma borders Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Sukma, part of the Dandakaranya region, was given the status of a district in January 2012.This tribal-dominated district is where ancient myths, modern state, several tribes and security forces and a violent ideology are all trying, and often fighting, to shape its future.What happened?On April 24, at noon, a group of CRPF jawans, who were settling down for lunch, came under attack from about 300 Maoists for almost three hours. All together, 25 CRPF personnel and an unidentified number of Maoists were killed in the latest violence to rock this central Indian remote region.According to survivors, the attack began around 12.40 pm in Burkapal village of south Sukma in Chattisgarh. About 35 CRPF personnel, in two groups, were beginning their lunch when the attack began.That Monday morning a company of the 74th battalion of Central Reserve Police Force was deployed in two different groups to provide protection for a road construction work underway in Sukma. The road under construction is to be a major highway into the backward region. Maoists used AK-47 and other weapons during the attack.The automatic weapons used had been snatched from security forces on March 11 when they mounted the last big attack on CRPF, in which a dozen men were killed in the same district.Why was it targeted?Bastar region has been the hotbed of Maoist insurgency for various reasons. These range from inefficient and corrupt state apparatus to grievances of locals. Among the key factors feeding Maoist activity in the region could also be the fact that a large number of the present Maoist leaders come from nearby regions, especially the state of TelanganaIs a fightback possible?Officially, the Centre maintains that the attack was a show of “frustration” by Maoists because of the successful fightback by security forces in recent months. The Centre claimed 2016 has been the most successful year in anti-Maoist operations. Compared to an average of 30 Maoits killed in a year, 135 insurgents were neutralised in 2016. Even in 2017, the Centre claimed, 32 Maoists have been killed so far. The Centre claims that its “policy has been very helpful and has substantially brought down the violence figures in the State. There has been 7% decline in overall violence incidents since 2013.”However, the fact remains that Maoists have been successful in mounting repeated attacks. The CRPF has repeatedly failed to ensure safety of its troops with innovative SOPs and effective intelligence. The local police are almost absent in most parts of the district, letting Maoists have a free run.What happens to the villagers?Sukma is a tribal district, where members of Gond, Muriya, Dorla, Halba and Mahara communities dominate the population. The ordinary villagers are caught between the two armed entities: The security forces of the State and the Maoists. Both sides unleash various tactics, and often end up violating the human rights of ordinary residents. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that many local tribals have joined the Maoist movement, but majority of them are hapless victims of this endless violence.According to some locals, before the April 24 attack, residents of Burkapal were forced to vacate their village and the Maoists launched an attack from within the village too.What next?There is no indication that the attacks would cease anytime in the immediate future. Many experts have pointed out that the CRPF and the State police are not good enough for a fightback against Maoists. They also point out that the Modi government has a poor track record in handling internal security issues in central India. For peace to return to the heart of India, a determined political initiative is the only way out.last_img read more

Man called cattle thief, thrashed in Delhi

first_imgA young man, working as a mechanical assistant at a metro construction site, was allegedly tied up and thrashed by a mob accusing him to be a cattle thief in Sarai Kale Khan area of South East Delhi on Friday. The incident happened hours before six men were thrashed for allegedly transporting buffalo calves in another part of the capital. While the police are yet to register an FIR, Iftikhar Alam (22), in his complaint filed on Sunday said that upon revealing his name he was called a Pakistani by the mob who kicked, punched and abused him. Deputy Commissioner of Police (South East) Romil Baaniya said they were in the process of registration of a case against the mob.Wrong accusationThe attackers themselves made a PCR call accusing Alam of cattle theft, and later changed the allegations to diesel theft, but police said there was nothing to link him to either. Residents of the area where he was taken to admitted to thrashing him but denied his claims of being innocent. The police, meanwhile, refused to come on record but said both sides had reached a compromise, which Alam denied.Alam has been admitted to a hospital with several injuries and bruises.Alam said that on the day of the incident, he was returning from work.last_img read more

Sharad Yadav fails to get JD(U) symbol

first_imgThe Election Commission has refused to take cognisance of a petition moved last month by the Sharad Yadav faction of the Janata Dal (United), staking a claim to the party symbol, due to lack of supporting documents.In response to Mr. Yadav’s memorandum, the EC on Tuesday said his faction had not submitted any documents to support the claim and therefore, his petition had been disposed of. Countering the claim, another JD (U) delegation — in support of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar — had filed a petition to the Election Commission last week. The delegation submitted affidavits of 71 party MLAs, 30 members in the Bihar Legislative Council, two Lok Sabha and seven Rajya Sabha members, in support of Mr. Kumar.Mr. Kumar’s supporters also pointed out to the EC that Mr. Yadav had not furnished any documentary proof to back his claim and that he was only trying to buy some time as the party had requested the Rajya Sabha Chairman to disqualify him.last_img read more

UP recommends capital punishment for hooch death convicts

first_imgThe Uttar Pradesh government has recommended capital punishment for those found guilty of causing deaths due to consumption of illicit liquor.The BJP-ruled State Cabinet approved changes to the existing laws to incorporate the extreme punishment in cases of hooch deaths.Cabinet approvalIn a meeting headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the UP Cabinet approved changes to the UP Excise Act, 1910 and incorporated the harsher punishment, a government spokesperson said on Wednesday.With the addition of Section 60A into the Act, those guilty of causing death or permanent disability due to illicit liquor could face a life sentence, a fine of Rs 10 lakh or both, or death sentence.The BJP government said since the provisions of the UP Excise Act, 1910, were old, it felt that if it brought in harsher punitive clauses, there can be “effective control” on trafficking and manufacturing of illicit liquor.The government argued the prevalence of illicit liquor not only caused harm to life but also dented the State’s excise revenue.The government has been failing to meet its target revenue over recent years and a major reason for it was the trafficking of illegal liquor from neighbouring states, in particular Haryana, a spokesperson said.In 2016-17 UP earned a revenue of Rs 14, 272 crore from excise.The measure would act as a deterrent, UP Excise Minister Jai Pratap Singh said.After Delhi and Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh will become the third state where bootleggers may be sent to the gallows if consumption of spurious liquor leads to loss of life.“Since the state legislature is not in session, an ordinance will be brought and when the House meets, a bill can be passed,” Mr Singh said.Through ordinanceHe explained that to curb the manufacture of spurious liquor, provisions of life imprisonment and death penalty will be incorporated in the existing law through the ordinance.The death penalty provision will be applied depending upon the intensity of the case, he said.The minister also said a new state excise policy was on the drawing board and would be ready in the next six months.Incidentally, on Wednesday, the state police apprehended a truck in Etah district and seized 350 cartons of liquor supplied from outside UP. The liquor was worth Rs 12 lakh.A 315 bore country pistol and two live cartridges were recovered from the truck driver, identified as Kalyan Singh, a police spokesperson said.Hooch tragedies take a heavy toll every year in Uttar Pradesh.In July, 17 people died in Azamgarh after they consumed spurious liquor. Earlier 28 people died in a similar tragedy in the Malihabad area of Lucknow in 2015.The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had taken cognisance of hooch deaths in Etah and Farrukhabad districts last year and issued notices to the State chief secretary and the director general of police.The NHRC intervened after over 30 people lost their lives in hooch tragedies in the districts.last_img read more

‘Janta curfew’ in halls if ‘Padmaavat’ is screened: Karni Sena

first_imgAhead of the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat on January 25, leaders of the Rajput outfit Karni Sena, met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday and demanded a ban on the film in the state.“I met the UP chief minister today and demanded a ban on the film Padmaavat,” Karni Sena patron Lokendra Singh Kalvi told reporters after his 20-minute meeting with the CM here. People will impose “janta curfew” in cinema halls in Uttar Pradesh if the movie is screened, he said.Mr. Kalvi, who listed nearly 40 different objections with regard to the movie, demanded that films on the lives of Maharana Pratap, Shivaji and other eminent personalities be made.“We urge the Prime Minister to ban the film and we are hopeful that he will meet our request. We ask the public as to whether it is on the side of Padmavati or Alauddin Khilji,” he asked. “The Supreme Court does not say that only Bhansali enjoys the right to freedom of expression. We also have the right to protest. We are committed to ensuring that the movie is not screened in the country. With janta curfew, every cinema hall owner will not screen the film, and every member of the public will refuse to watch the film,” he said.Asked to comment on the outcome of the meeting with Adityanath, he said, “Yogi Adityanath is bound by the Supreme Court directive (restraining states from banning the screening of the movie), but in-principle and emotionally, he is with us.” “We are not bothered about their personal rapport, but, we will certainly not allow this (intimate scenes) to happen between Alauddin and Padmavati,” the Karni Sena leader added referring to a comment made by the film’s actor Ranveer Singh on July 28, 2016, where the actor said that he would accept any role which has two “intimate scenes” with Deepika Padukone.last_img read more

Veteran Socialist leader and former Maharashtra minister Bhai Vaidya passes away

first_imgPune: Veteran socialist leader and former Maharashtra minister Bhai Vaidya passed away on Monday evening after prolonged illness. He was 89 and had been admitted to Poona Hospital for treatment for pancreatic cancer.Born on June 22, 1928, in Dapode village in Pune’s Velhe Tehsil, Vaidya was among the last in the fading constellation of socialist leaders. renowned for probity in public life. He was a staunch adherent of socialist values and ideals and was president of the revamped Socialist Party of India in 2011. He was mayor of Pune in 1974-75 and Minister of state for home in Sharad Pawar’s cabinet between 1978-80.Swept in the flush and enthusiasm of the 1942 Quit India movement, Vaidya had his first brush with political activism before he turned 15. In an age of corruption and compromised political ideals, he stood above the squalor of petty realpolitik, maintaining his dignity through his rectitude and near-legendary honesty.He endured prison several times during his political career of more than six decades, most notably while serving as Pune’s Mayor in the mid-1970s when he defied Emergency and staged a massive protest march.last_img read more

Section 144 in Assam district after clash over building toilet

first_imgSection 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was promulgated in southern Assam’s Hailakandi district after a clash over the construction of a pay-and-use toilet.Section 144 restricts unlawful assembly of people.Flash pointTrouble started on Wednesday when members of the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) clashed near the toilet’s construction site – a garden outside the government-run district hospital in Hailakandi town, about 310 km south of Guwahati.The toilet was being constructed by the State’s Public Health Engineering (PHE) department.The district hospital was named after former Congress MLA Santosh Kumar Roy. The Congress and the BJP were opposed to the toilet as it is very close to a statue of Roy.But AIUDF legislator Anwar Hussain Laskar, who wanted the toilet there started helping the labourers engaged in the construction work. This resulted in a clash between supporters of the Congress and the BJP.“I wanted the toilet built beside the bus stand but people wanted it near the hospital. The hospital authorities approved and work started four days ago. But Congress opposed it saying the site is close to the statue. Congress and BJP are not bothered about amenities to the people,” Mr. Laskar told The Hindu on Thursday.last_img read more

1 killed, 2 hurt in clash between two groups in W.B.

first_imgOne person was killed and two others were injured in North Dinajpur district on Sunday after a clash broke out allegedly between supporters of two political parties, the police said.The incident happened at Kamalgach village under the jurisdiction of the Chopra police station, the police said.While Ashok Roy, Congress’ Chopra block president, claimed that the deceased person was a supporter of the party and alleged that Trinamool Congress workers had attacked him, the Trinamool Congress MLA of Chopra, Hamidul Rahman, said workers of his party were not involved in the incident.The deceased has been identified as Md Samiruddin (42), a local resident, a police officer said, adding that both the injured were taken to a primary health centre in Dalua.They were later shifted to Uttarbanga Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri and Islampur sub-divisional hospital in Islampur respectively, the police officer said.An investigation has been initiated, the police officer said, adding a suo motu case has been registered.last_img read more

Rajasthan BJP expels 11 rebel leaders

first_imgThe Rajasthan BJP has expelled 11 rebel leaders, including four ministers, for their decision to contest elections against party candidates, a party spokesperson said Friday. Ministers Surendra Goyal (Jaitaran), Hem Singh Bhadana (Thanagaji), Rajkumar Rinwa (Ratangarh) and Dhan Singh Rawat (Banswara) are contesting as Independent candidates. Besides, sitting MLAs Anita Katara (Sagwara) and Kishnaram Nai (Sridungargarh), former MLAs Radheshyam Ganganagar, Laxminarayan and 3 other leaders were also expelled late on Thursday night after they did not withdraw nomination papers on the last day yesterday, the spokesperson said. Polling in the state will take place on December 7.last_img read more

Nod to place amendments to Haryana Police Act-2007 in Assembly

first_imgThe Haryana Cabinet on Friday approved a proposal to place amendments to the Haryana Police Act, 2007, for consideration and deliberation in the State Assembly. The decision was taken at a meeting held here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.“The amendments are related to selection of Director General of Police and procedures related to removal of the DGP. A committee is proposed to be constituted under the Chief Secretary with the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) and Director General of Police, Haryana, as its members and Special Secretary (Home) as its Member Secretary,” said an official statement.The Cabinet also decided to constitute the State Social Security Board for the socio-economic development of unorganised workers in the State, which would be constituted under the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008.“The Board will recommend to the State government suitable schemes for unorganised sector workers and monitor such social welfare schemes. Besides, it would review and monitor the functions performed at the district level as well as the progress of registration and issue of cards to unorganised sector workers,” said the statement.last_img read more

Anyone who has picked up gun will be eliminated, says Kashmir Corps Commander

first_imgSecurity forces eliminated Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) leadership in Jammu and Kashmir in less than 100 hours of the February 14 Pulwama car bomb blast, Lt. Gen. Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, Commander of the Army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps, claimed on Tuesday The 15 Corps, also called the Chinar Corps, mans the Line of Control (LoC).“We have eliminated the JeM leadership in the Valley, which was being handled by JeM from Pakistan. The type of car bomb attack that took place in Pulwama on February 14 happened after a long time in Kashmir. We will keep all options open to deal with these kind of attacks,” he said.He was speaking at a joint press conference with Inspector General of Police S.P. Pani and IG CRPF Zulfikar Hasan in Srinagar. The General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Corps said the Army had leads on the type of explosives used in the Pulwama attack but refused to share the details “as investigation is under way”.Referring to the Pulwama encounter on February 18 that left five security personnel dead, Lt. Gen. Dhillon said Brigadier Hardeep Singh, who was on leave due to injury, cut short his leave voluntarily and came to the operation site and stayed there to lead his men from the front. Brigadier Singh was also wounded in the encounter.Lt. Gen. Dhillon asked the mothers of Kashmiri youth to request their sons who’ve joined terrorism to surrender and get back to mainstream. “Anyone who has picked up gun will be killed and eliminated, unless he surrenders. Our focus is clear on counter-terrorism operations. We are very clear that anyone who enters the Kashmir Valley will not go back alive,” he said.Mr. Pani said there was a significant dip in recruitment in the last three months. “The families are playing a huge role in this. We would like to urge the families and the community in curtailing recruitment.” Mr. Hasan said helpline-14411 had been helping Kashmiris across the country in wake of this attack. “A lot of Kashmiri students have approached this helpline for assistance all over the country. All Kashmiri children studying outside have been taken care of by security forces,” he said.Two non-local Jaish terrorists were killed in Pulwama on Monday and they were identified as Kamran alias Fahad and Rashid alias Gazi alias Lukaman, both from Pakistan. A local militant, Hilal Ahmad, was also killed. The Army on Tuesday said they were involved in the February 14 attack on CRPF convoy at Lethpora.last_img read more

H.P. avalanche: another soldier’s body recovered

first_imgThe body of one more Army jawan, who had gone missing last month following an avalanche in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district, was recovered on Saturday, an official said.Nitin Rana (27) and five other jawans of the 7 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles were buried under the avalanche at Shipki La near the Indo-China border on February 20. Rana’s body was recovered on Saturday, while his mobile phone was recovered a few days ago, a district official said. His body was taken to Pooh from where it would be sent to his native place at Rit village in Jaisinghpur tehsil of Kangra district, he said. Earlier, bodies of three jawans were recovered, whereas two are still missing. Havaldar Rakesh Kumar’s body was recovered on the day of the avalanche, whereas bodies of Rifleman Rajesh Rishi and Rifleman Govind Bahadur Chhetri were recovered on March 2 and 4 respectively. About 400 personnel and several residents of Khab village are involved in the search operation.last_img read more

A Possible Cure for Baldness, in 3D

first_imgScientists have successfully grown new hair follicles from the skin cells of balding men. While the research team hasn’t yet shown whether the structures, which produce strands of hair on our bodies, are fully functional and usable for transplants onto a scalp, experts say the discovery is a significant step toward finding new treatments for hair loss.“Their work is very elegant and extremely rigorous,” says Radhika Atit, a skin biologist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, who was not involved in the new study. “This is a big technical advance.”Balding occurs when hair follicles stop producing new strands of hair in any area of the body. Now, taking drugs that prevent or slow the hair loss or transplanting hair follicles from one area of the body to another are the only viable treatments. Producing new hair follicles in the lab has not been an option—at least for human patients. In mice, researchers have shown that if they isolate dermal papilla cells, which surround hair follicles in the skin, grow them in petri dishes to produce new cells, and then put the cells back in the mouse, new hair follicles will develop. But when dermal papilla cells from humans are put into dishes in the lab, they lose their ability to induce the formation of new follicles.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(*)Angela Christiano, a skin researcher at Columbia University who has discovered genes related to hair loss, recently brainstormed potential solutions to the problem with her colleagues. They noticed that while the dermal papilla cells from mice naturally formed large clumps in culture, the human cells didn’t. “We began thinking that maybe if we could get the human cells to aggregate like the mouse cells, that might be a step toward getting them to form new follicles,” Christiano says.Her team decided to try a cell-growing approach, called 3D cultures, that’s been successful for other types of cells that need to form complex structures as they grow. The researchers collected dermal papilla cells from seven volunteers who had been diagnosed with male-pattern baldness. Rather than stick the isolated cells on a flat culture dish, they mixed the cells with liquid, then let the mixture hang in tiny droplets from a plastic lid, like condensation on the roof of a container. Because the cells inside the droplets are free-floating, the technique allows them to contact each other in every direction, as they would in the human body, rather than only touch side to side as they do in a flat dish. In the droplets, the cells behaved differently; as they divided to form new cells, they clumped into what the researchers call “spheroids”—balls of about 3000 cells.To test whether the new spheroids were a better mimic for functional dermal papilla cells than those that had been grown in typical dishes, Christiano and her team determined what genes were turned on and off in different sets of dermal papilla cells. In cells grown on flat culture dishes, the expression of thousands of genes didn’t match up with their normal patterns, explaining why the cells from those dishes had been unable to generate new hair follicles. But in the 3D cultures, 22% of those genes had been restored to their correct on or off state.The researchers then took 10 to 15 of the spheroids that had formed from each donor and sandwiched them between two layers of human skin that were grafted onto mice. Six weeks later, spheroids from five of the seven donors had coaxed the skin cells around them to start rearranging, forming the telltale shape of a hair follicle, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In two cases, hairs were even seen beginning to extend from the follicles, though the researchers didn’t continue the initial experiment for long enough to test whether the hairs were fully normal in terms of their ability to regrow.Using one’s own cells to generate new follicles is useful because hair color and thickness will match perfectly with the rest of someone’s head of hair, Christiano notes. And with the new tissue culture technique, clinicians would be able to take just a few dermal papilla cells from a balding patient and expand the number of hair follicles available for transplant, rather than only be able to move follicles around. “Using this technique could change the number of people who would be eligible for hair transplants,” Christiano says.The success of the approach is exciting, but the real breakthrough for other researchers in the field is the new data on gene expression in dermal papilla cells, says George Cotsarelis, a dermatologist at the University of Pennsylvania. The full readout of what genes are on and off in dermal papilla cells has never been collected before, so researchers now have a new list of thousands of genes to study further that may play key roles in hair follicle development. “It could have implications for not just hair, but treating wounds and scarring,” he says.The spheroids capable of producing hair follicles could also be used as a new way to test drugs for their ability to restore follicle function, Atit says. “This is a better model system to use for drug testing than a two-dimensional plate.”last_img read more

Wild cats need to count calories, too

first_imgVideo credit: T. M. Williams and L. WolfeThe pumas spend about 2 hours a day looking for food. Some wander around quite a bit—and it takes a fair amount of energy for them to traverse the rugged terrain, Williams and her colleagues report online today in Science. Others just sit and wait. Of that time, the actual kill—a powerful pounce that can take down animals larger than the puma itself—takes just seconds in a high energy burst. And the pumas moderate the power of the bounce depending on the size of the prey, the researchers discovered.”Ultimately the animals are using strategy to keep the [energy] cost as low as possible,” Williams says. However, their results indicate that she and others have underestimated by 2.5 times what it costs these animals to make a kill. And wildlife managers should take heed. “If we’re going to have carnivores in a system we’ve got to provide what they need to live,” she adds.Those provisions should include not just enough prey, but the right landscape for capturing that prey, Laundré says. In that terrain, predators will expend less energy. “The better they are able to balance their energy needs, the better they will do.” A sleek cheetah races with legs outstretched, leaping with a great burst of energy to bring down a fast-moving antelope. That iconic image of this African wild cat needs a footnote. The world’s fastest runner actually spends very little time and energy at full speed, a new study finds. Instead, its most strenuous activity is simply walking around in the hot sun, looking for potential prey. It’s much the same story for the cheetah’s American cousin, the puma, which spends more than twice as much energy locating prey than researchers had predicted.Scientists have long wanted to know how large carnivores spend their days and how many calories they need to survive. Until now, researchers have had only rough estimates of the animals’ total daily energy expenditure. Yet this information is key to managing wildlife, says Terrie Williams, a wildlife physiologist at the University of California (UC), Santa Cruz. “For these animals, the bottom line is do you have enough calories to live and to reproduce? That’s been a missing piece of information.”Her group and another independent research team have taken some innovative steps to quantify energy use in wild cats. Williams and her colleagues developed a collar that monitors the movement and activity of pumas living in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, and they calibrated the collar by testing captive pumas on a treadmill. A different team spent weeks tracking cheetahs from dawn to dusk, analyzing the animals’ feces to determine energy use. As a result, “they were able to more finely divide up the day in terms of the different types of activity the animals were engaged in,” says John Laundré, a large carnivore ecologist at UC Riverside, who was not involved in either study.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(*)Cheetah populations have plummeted in the last century, from about 100,000 in 1900 to about 10,000 today. Some researchers think lions and hyena are in part to blame for the decline. They are able to steal dead prey from the cheetahs, forcing them to spend what seems like an inordinate amount of energy in high-speed chases after more food.To figure out if food theft was really a big problem, Michael Scantlebury, a conservation physiologist at Queen’s University Belfast in the United Kingdom, and colleagues studied 19 cheetahs in two South African reserves. His team put radio collars on the animals, injected them with water with heavy hydrogen and oxygen atoms so these elements could be traced, recorded the animals’ behaviors, and collected their feces to check for how fast those atoms were used, an indicator of metabolic rate. “We knew exactly where they were, what they were doing, and what they were eating,” he says.The cheetahs spent about 3 hours a day walking around—which uses up about 42% of their energy budget. They chase prey less than twice a day, about 38 seconds per sprint, Scantlebury and colleagues report online today in Science. “That [time for] energy expenditure is really short,” Laundré says. “Either they catch them or they give up.” And the cheetahs are successful catching prey about half the time.Only four out of 43 times did the cheetahs lose their catch to hyenas or lions—not enough to put a strain on the cheetahs, Scantlebury says. He calculates that even if 25% of the prey were stolen, the cheetahs could compensate by just adding about an hour to the time they spent wandering around.He worries, however, that in an effort to please tourists, game managers will increase the numbers of large predators in reserves, putting the cheetahs at greater risk of having their meals stolen out from under them. He found that cheetahs don’t hunt when lions are nearby, or they move away—which could be energetically costly. Also, the data indicate that life would be tough on these animals if prey were scarce or inaccessible because of boundary fences that break up the landscape, forcing the cheetahs to spend a lot more time searching.Williams and UC Santa Cruz ecologist and co-author Christopher Wilmers had long wanted to study the energetics of the local pumas. Unlike cheetahs, which hunt by day in very open landscapes, pumas are active at night in rugged territory and so are hard to watch. To monitor the movements of the cats, Williams and their colleagues developed collars equipped with GPS and devices that measure changes in acceleration and magnetic fields. By analyzing collar data for captive pumas walking or running on a treadmill, pouncing on dead prey, and going through their daily routines in a fenced yard, the researchers learned how to use the collar to figure out an animal’s activity as well as its location. “It gives you information about a very secretive animal,” Scantlebury says.last_img read more

Dark matter: Out with the WIMPs, in with the SIMPs?

first_imgLike cops tracking the wrong person, physicists seeking to identify dark matter—the mysterious stuff whose gravity appears to bind the galaxies—may have been stalking the wrong particle. In fact, a particle with some properties opposite to those of physicists’ current favorite dark matter candidate—the weakly interacting massive particle, or WIMP—would do just as good a job at explaining the stuff, a quartet of theorists says. Hypothetical strongly interacting massive particles—or SIMPs—would also better account for some astrophysical observations, they argue.”We’ve been searching for WIMPs for quite some time, but we haven’t found them yet, so I think it’s important to think outside the box,” says Yonit Hochberg, a theorist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California (UC), Berkeley, and an author of the new paper.Theorists dreamed up WIMPs 30 years ago to help explain why galaxies don’t just fly apart. The particles would have a mass between one and 1000 times that of a proton and, in addition to gravity, would interact with one another and with ordinary matter through only the weak nuclear force, one of two forces of nature that normally exert themselves only in the atomic nucleus.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The infant universe would have produced a huge number of WIMPs as subatomic particles crashed into one another. Some of those WIMPs would then disappear when two of them collided and annihilated each other to produce two ordinary particles. As the universe expanded, such collisions would become ever rarer and, given the strength of the weak force, just enough WIMPs would survive to provide the right amount of dark matter today—about five times that of ordinary matter. That coincidence, or “WIMP miracle,” has made WIMPs a favorite of theorists, even if experimenters have yet to spot them floating about.However, Hochberg and colleagues argue that dark matter could also consist of lighter particles that have a mass somewhere around one-tenth that of the proton and interact with one another—but not ordinary matter—very strongly. Such SIMPs would pull on one another almost as strongly as the quarks in a proton, which cling to each other so fiercely that it’s impossible to isolate a quark.SIMPs can also provide just the right amount of dark matter, assuming the theorists add a couple of wrinkles. The SIMPs must disappear primarily through collisions in which three SIMPs go in and only two SIMPs come out. These events must be more common than ones in which two SIMPs annihilate each other to produce two ordinary particles. Moreover, the theorists argue, SIMPs must interact with ordinary matter, although much more weakly than WIMPs. That’s because the three-to-two collisions would heat up the SIMPs if they could not interact and share heat with ordinary matter.That may seem like a lot to ask, but those conditions are easy to meet so long as the SIMPs aren’t too heavy, Hochberg says. So the WIMP miracle could easily be replaced with a SIMP miracle, as the team reports this month in Physical Review Letters.Moreover, the fact that SIMPs must interact with ordinary matter guarantees that, in principle, they should be detectable in some way, Hochberg says. Whereas physicists are now searching for signs of WIMPs colliding with massive atomic nuclei, researchers would probably have to look for SIMPs smacking into lighter electrons because the bantamweight particles would not pack enough punch to send a nucleus flying.Compared with WIMPy dark matter, SIMPy dark matter would also have another desirable property. As the universe evolved, dark matter coalesced into clumps, or halos, in which the galaxies then formed. But computer simulations suggest that dark matter that doesn’t interact with itself would form myriad little clumps that are very dense in the center. And little “dwarf galaxies” aren’t as abundant and the centers of galaxies aren’t as dense as the simulations suggest. But strongly interacting dark matter would smooth out the distribution of dark matter and solve those problems, Hochberg says. “This isn’t some independent thing that we’ve just forced into the model,” she says. “It just naturally happens.”The new analysis “has the flavor of the WIMP miracle, which is nice,” says Jonathan Feng, a theorist at UC Irvine who was not involved in the work. Feng says he’s been working on similar ideas and that the ability to reconcile the differences between dark matter simulations and the observed properties of galaxies makes strongly interacting dark matter attractive conceptually.However, he cautions, it may be possible that, feeble as they may be, the interactions between dark and ordinary matter might smooth out the dark matter distribution on their own. And Feng says he has some doubts about the claim that SIMPs must interact with ordinary matter strongly enough to be detected. So the SIMP probably won’t knock WIMP off its perch as the best guess for the dark matter particle just yet, Feng says: “At the moment, it’s not as well motivated as the WIMP, but it’s definitely worth exploring.”last_img read more

Feds Relax Rules For Immigrant Applicants With Disabilities

first_imgImmigration Minister Ahmed Hussen made a much-anticipated announcement that will be embraced by some and criticized by others. Going forward it will be easier for persons with disabilities and their family members to immigrate to Canada.Known as “medical inadmissibility” due to excessive demand, for the past 40 years, the law allowed the government to deny people residency in Canada because they or an immediate family member have a disability or medical condition that could place “excessive demand” on publicly-funded health and social service programs. Those often hit were parents of children with disabilities who were denied residency.Read it at CanIndia Related Itemslast_img read more

Why the Indian-American Diaspora is a Vital Resource for India

first_imgOver 31 million people of Indian birth or descent are part of the Indian diaspora spread around the world. Of them, 3.1 million, or 10 per cent, are Indian-Americans living in the US. The Indian-American diaspora has proven to be a vital resource contributing to the economic, political and social development of India.Read it at Financial Express Related Itemslast_img

PM Modi Calls Upon Hotel Motel Patel Wallas in US to Promote Incredible India

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi today said the Gujarati Patel community in the US popular as “hotel motel Patel wallas” can help promote India as a tourist destination among their guests by putting slides about the country on their hotel TVs.Addressing Saurashtra Patel Cultural Samaj of the US via video-conference, Modi urged each NRI to inspire five foreign families to visit India to give a boost to tourism. Read it at Economic Times Related Itemslast_img

More than 1 lakh pilgrims visit Amarnath cave in the first week

first_imgThe number of pilgrims visiting the Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir in the first week crossed the one-lakh mark on Monday.According to a Shri Amarnath Shrine Board official, 1.11 lakh pilgrims have paid obeisance at the holy cave.“Around 15,732 pilgrims visited the shrine on Monday,” the official said.The yatra started from the twin routes of Baltal and Pahalgam in central and south Kashmir on July 1 and will conclude on August 15.Meanwhile, Governor Satya Pal Malik, also chairman of the SASB, has urged locals to “bear with the inconvenience caused due to the traffic regulation for pilgrims”. He has suggested that the traffic restrictions for civilians should be reduced to two hours from six hours a day, where vehicles carrying pilgrims would be allowed.Mr. Malik has directed all officers to ensure that every pilgrim is provided the required assistance. “The pilgrimage is conducted with the support of the local people of Kashmir and their role is praiseworthy in ensuring the smooth conduct of the yatra,” the Governor said.last_img read more

Jitan Ram Manjhi says party will go it alone in 2020 election

first_imgFormer Bihar Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) president Jitan Ram Manjhi said here on Friday that the party would contest the next Assembly election on its own. Mr. Manjhi alleged that the NDA and the grand alliance had let down his party during the previous elections. The next Assembly election in Bihar is due in November 2020.“Both the NDA and the grand alliance had cheated us in elections… so my party men have suggested that we contest the next Assembly polls in the State on our own,” Mr. Manjhi told presspersons soon after launching the party’s membership drive in Patna. “Whatever seats we win would be our own and on our strength,” he said. Out of the State’s 40 Lok Sabha seats, Mr. Manjhi’s party contested three — as a member of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) — and drawn a blank. “My party was given three seats in last parliamentary elections but only I, from Gaya (reserved) seat, was contesting as our party candidate as the other two seats had Congress and RJD candidates,” Mr. Manjhi said. “This decision had angered my party leaders and workers.” “Now, they [party leaders and workers] have suggested to contest the Assembly poll in 2020 on our own strength.”“Mr. Manjhi had not said that his party would come out of Mahagathbandhan… he has only said that his party would contest the next Assembly poll on its own,” an RJD leader said, declining to be identified.However, a leader of the ruling JD(U) took a dig at Mr. Manjhi’s statement. “RJD-led Mahagathbandhan is a sinking ship and it’s natural that its constituent parties would like to abandon this ship in next Assembly poll,” the leader asserted, speaking on condition of anonymity.last_img read more