Month: December 2019

‘Most missing girls had love affairs’

first_imgOver 3,000 girls went missing from Bihar in 2016, and in over half the cases — 1,587 to be exact — “love affairs” are said to be the reason. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 3,037 girls went missing from different parts of Bihar, which occupies the eleventh position among States in crimes committed against women.According to the police, 168 children have gone missing in the past year from just four districts in the border areas. Katihar district alone reported 81 missing cases of children — 30 boys and 51 girls — followed by Kishanganj with 32, Purnia (29) and Araria (26).A non-government organisation report said 2,674 missing cases of children were registered in Bihar from January 2013 to January 2014.On Monday in the State Assembly, senior BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav asked the government how 656 children had gone missing from Patna alone last year. He wanted to know what steps the government had taken to tackle this. Of those who went missing “443 were later found”, Minister in-charge of Home department, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, informed the Assembly. The Minister assured the Assembly that all necessary action was being taken. “A nodal officer has been deputed in all police stations to act swiftly as soon as information about a missing child is received … a special campaign will also be launched soon.” In many cases, Mr. Yadav added, the missing children had grown up and were capable of raising an alarm if they were forcibly taken away. “It shows that they may have disappeared for personal reasons.”However, several activists and academics working to prevent human trafficking told The Hindu that “organised crime” could also be a factor behind the problem. Lured by traffickers“Bihar is a poor State and the border districts are among the poorest of all… children, mostly girls, go missing from these districts, lured by promises of marriages by those involved in human trafficking,” Shilpi Singh, who runs the non-profit organisation, ‘Bhoomika Vihar’ at Katihar, told The Hindu. She also disagreed with the police’s theory of “love affair.” “If most of the girls elope due to love affairs, they should come back after marriage or their whereabouts will be known. But that hardly happens.”last_img read more

Sena to launch drive to make farmers debt-free

first_imgMumbai: Launching the ‘Shiv Sampark Abhiyan’ from Aurangabad, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday announced a campaign called ‘mee karjamukt honar (I will be debt-free)’ for farmers across Maharashtra. Mr. Thackeray’s visit to inspect the party’s organisational condition in the Marathwada region of the State has raised eyebrows in political circles, as it is seen as Sena’s preparations for mid-term Assembly polls.“We demand a farm loan waiver for farmers of Maharashtra. We have always said this, and continue on our position. We are launching our campaign to make farmers debt-free. The concept and execution will be disclosed in a party meeting in Mumbai within a few days,” said Mr Thackeray.When asked whether his visit and the organisational reshuffle were signs of possible mid-term polls in Maharashtra, Mr. Thackeray said he always prefer to keep his “army of Shiv Sainiks” ready. “Organisation building is a continuous exercise,” he said. During his visit, Mr. Thackeray held meetings with leaders from Marathwada, a region where the party is dominant. The Sena chief reportedly sought names of new faces from the region who are leading from the front, giving rise to the speculations.Commenting on the ongoing Tur procurement crisis in the State, Mr. Thackeray asked the government to change the rules, if necessary, to ensure all Tur is purchased. “The CM had said that the last grain of Tur would be purchased. It is now time to live up to that promise,” he said.last_img read more

Catholic cemetery in south Goa desecrated

first_imgNearly 40 crosses and plaques at the Guardian Angel Catholic cemetery in Curchorem village in South Goa were desecrated early morning on Monday, police said.This is the fourth such incident in the last one month involving desecration of Christian crosses and Hindu idols.A senior police official said that a CCTV camera installed at the cemetery was damaged before the vandals went around desecrating crosses and plaques fixed atop graves. Deputy Inspector General of Police Rupinder Kumar told The Hindu on Monday that he was onsite to take stock of the situation.”We are at the site right now, I am talking to people” Mr. Kumar said. He said no arrests have been made so far.”Police personnel were posted outside the cemetery. When they heard sounds from inside, they went to check and found several Catholic crosses, granite stone plaques and grave stones damaged.” he said.Initially, officials at the Curchorem police station had estimated the number of damaged crosses, gravestones and plaques at nearly 100.  “We are working on some leads”, he said.The Goa Police has already formed a special team to investigate such events, which Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said is being carried out by vested interests to disturb communal harmony in the State. Mr. Parrikar is presently away in U.S. on a week-long private visit. Goa Pradesh Congress president Shantaram Naik has demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the series of such incidents in the State. “Goa Director-General of Police Muktesh Chander briefed me about the incident. I have demanded a CBI probe to look into the such continuing events,” Mr. Naik told The Hindu on Monday afternoon. He said that the Parrikar-led government in the State had failed to reign in such incidents.”This  looks like a sinister attempt by some elements to disturb communal harmony in Goa,” Mr. Naik said, but declined to name the forces.He blamed Mr. Parrikar for not giving charge to any of his Cabinet colleagues while he was leaving for US, despite knowing the present situation.last_img read more

Be sensitive while reporting suicides, says Goa child panel chief

first_imgPanaji: The Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (GSCPCR) on Wednesday issued a comprehensive set of guidelines for the media to follow while reporting suicides, particularly by children and adolescents.Dr. Sushma Kirtani, chairperson of GSCPCR, in a covering letter attached to the guidelines, said the Commission had taken suo motu note of some recent suicides cases by students which were inappropriately reported in some sections of media. Referring, in particular, to the reportage of a suicide by a student in Bicholim in North Goa on Wednesday, Dr. Kirtani said, “We are very disturbed by such reporting.” The GSCPCR chairperson cautioned that “as per the WHO guidelines, the media is not supposed to report in details such information as it is very detrimental to children reading it. It also can lead to “copy cat suicides” or threatening or blackmailing parents when they try to instil discipline.”Dr. Kirtani who has also been formulating a comprehensive State policy on mental health for children and adolescents with inputs from her own colleagues and from experts, urged the media to do “responsible and sensitive reporting”.last_img read more

VHP leader Pravin Togadia goes “missing”, says Ahmedabad police

first_imgVHP leader Dr Pravin Togadia has gone “missing” and Ahmedabad police have formed four teams to locate his whereabouts, said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ahmedabad J.K. Bhatt, while denying that he has not been arrested either by Gujarat or Rajasthan police as was being speculated by VHP workers and followers.“We are trying to find his location. He left in an auto around 10:45 this morning from VHP office in the city,” Mr Bhatt told media persons in a briefing amidst speculations of Dr Togadia’s detention or arrest by Rajasthan police in a decade old case.Mr Bhatt said that Dr Togadia enjoys Z plus security cover but on Monday; he did not take any security guard with him while leaving from the VHP office in an auto along with a bearded man.“Rajasthan police team came to Ahmedabad after an arrest warrant was issued against VHP leader. Our police extended help Rajasthan cops to visit Dr Togadia’s residence and also VHP office but we could not find him in either location,” Mr Bhatt said.He added that the Ahmedabad police are in constant touch with VHP leaders to trace Dr Togadia’s location.As soon as the news of his alleged detention spread, hundreds of VHP workers gathered at Sola police station and threatened to launch a nationwide protests of Dr Togadia was not released immediately.Some local leaders even expressed fear of his encounter by cops from Rajasthan and Gujarat. “Pravinbhai is missing, his mobile is switched off and his location is not traceable,” Gujarat VHP leader Ranchhodbhai Bharwad told media.Also read: Togadia found unconscious, hospitalised | I may be ‘eliminated,’ says Togadialast_img read more

CRPF commando killed, policeman injured in Jharkhand encounter with Naxalites

first_imgA member of the CRPF’s CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) was killed and a policeman injured in an encounter with Naxalites in Saraikela area of Jharkhand on Thursday, officials said.A gunfight began early morning in the Dalbhaga-Arki area of the Saraikela-Kharsawan district at 7 a.m. when a joint team of the 209th battalion of the CoBRA and the Jharkhand police was out for operation.The encounter took place in Saraikela, the administrative headquarters of Saraikela Kharsawan district, which is about 135-km from the State capitalHeavy firing wasl on.last_img read more

In managing water, Surat takes lead

first_imgIndia’s ‘Diamond City’ offers a lesson for the country’s ever-expanding cities on water management and the optimal use of water, which is rapidly becoming a scarce resource. Surat’s civic body is setting up state-of-the-art sewage treatment plants (STPs) to ensure every drop of waste water is treated and reused for purposes other than drinking.From March 2019, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) will be supplying 115 MLD (million litres per day) treated water to industries located within the city, in order to meet the entire industrial requirement of water through treated or recycled water.The entire quantum of water will be treated from domestic sewerage water in tertiary treatment plants at the Bamroli and Dindoli areas for supplying to mainly textile factories in the Pandesara and Sachin industrial clusters housing over 400 dying and printing units.“At present, we are supplying 40 MLD treated water to industries in Pandesara in the city. This is the largest capacity of tertiary water treatment in the country. In fact, Surat was the first city in the country to start selling recycled water to industries in 2014. Now, we are expanding the capacity to take it up to 115 MLD by March 2019,” Surat Municipal Commissioner M. Thennarasan told The Hindu.Surat’s cost effective water management system is most advantageous for its contribution towards reducing the dependency on conventional resources of water, and thus optimal use of the resource.So far, the SMC has invested ₹ 280 crore in creating tertiary water treatment facilities in the city. “By March next year, the corporation will save 115 MLD fresh water by supplying recycled water to industries,” Mr. Thennasaran said, adding, “The SMC charges industrial units ₹ 23 per 1,000 litres of water.”Recycling technologyThe civic body’s efforts to create infrastructure for water management is in line with the State government’s policy of promoting the use of recycled water for non-drinking purposes, and reducing dependence on ground water.“Gujarat is a water scarce State, so we have to be innovative in managing our water resources in the most efficient manner,” Gujarat’s Chief Secretary Dr. J. N. Singh said.Mr. Thennarasan added that the civic body intends to go further and supply recycled water to industrial clusters like Hazira, outside the city. “In future, we want to cover industrial estates not located in the municipal area in our network as per the State government’s policy,” he said.Fact checkIndia is facing its worst water shortage in history, according to a new report prepared by the Niti Aayog. Nearly 600 million Indians faced high to extreme water stress and about 2,00,000 people die every year in the country because of inadequate access to safe water.last_img read more

Gong that keeps this Odisha village going

first_imgAt a time when technology decides the way we communicate with others, a remote village in Odisha is using a makeshift gong to communicate important information to the villagers.Paasa, a small village in Tajungia panchayat, is located on a hilltop at distance of around 35 km from Daringbadi in Kandhamal district. One has to walk up 3 km to reach this village as it is not connected by a proper road. It is out of reach of mobile phone networks as well. For more than five months now this village has been functioning without electricity supply as the defunct transformer has not been replaced.In such a situation, the sound of the gong continues to be a means of communication for around 35 tribal families living in the village. They have made the gong with a piece of metal left behind during the electrification work in the village. It is fixed to a pole.Sound ideaAccording to the village community leader, Kumar Sunamajhi, in case of an emergency like need to carry a patient or a pregnant woman to a hospital, the gong is beaten eight to 10 times. It is beaten once when someone dies at the village. To call the villagers to attend the funeral, the gong is beaten twice. For a call for village meeting, the gong is beaten five times. If the gong is beaten thrice, it is a call to the villagers to attend a mass prayer at their small church.Nagara Majhi, a resident of Paasa village, said the gong has united the residents of the village as they immediately come to know about important events and emergencies due its sound.last_img read more

Crisis in Odisha Cong. deepens

first_imgThe ongoing crisis in the Odisha Congress that erupted with the resignation of one of its working president Naba Kishore Das a few days ago has further deepened with the expulsion of former Union Minister Srikant Jena and former legislator Krushna Chandra Sagaria from the primary membership of the party late on Saturday night.Sundargarh legislator Jogesh Singh had resigned from the Congress on Friday, following his suspension from the party for alleged anti-party activities on Thursday.Mr. Singh’s suspension came just two days after the working president quit the party stating that the people of Jharsuguda constituency wanted him to contest the coming polls as a nominee of the ruling Biju Janata Dal for the development of their area.Meanwhile, Mr. Jena and Mr. Sagaria, who were expelled for their alleged anti-party activities, reacted to their expulsion in different ways on Sunday. While Mr. Jena strongly questioned his expulsion, Mr. Sagaria said the Congress had been unfair to him as he was never involved in anti-party activities.The aggrieved former Union Minister went on to allege that there is Mahagathbandhan between Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik.He announced that he will campaign in the State to justify his allegations and “expose their secrets”. He said that he will reveal more facts on January 25 which could prove to be embarrassing for the Congress leadership. Mr. Gandhi is scheduled to visit Bhubaneswar on the same day.Mr. Jena further alleged that Mr. Gandhi wants that “Odisha should continue to be ruled by the Patnaiks”. He was referring to Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik, whose younger brother Soumya Ranjan Patnaik is a Rajya Sabha Member of the BJD.Reacting to Mr. Jena’s statements, the OPCC president said that there was no place for indisciplined members in their party. No prominent leader in the State Congress, however, came out to criticise Mr. Jena’s expulsion. ‘Allegation justified’On the other hand, the BJP Justified Mr. Jena’s allegations saying both Congress and BJD were hand in glove with the mining mafia. Since it emerged as the number two party in the panchayat elections in the State in early 2017, the BJP has been striving hard to perform better than the Congress in the coming simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.According to analysts, the Congress is still struggling to put house in order as there is rumour of more of its leaders quitting the party in the run up to the polls.last_img read more

Man sets house afire over brother getting govt. job

first_imgAngry over his younger brother securing a government job on compassionate grounds, a 30-year-old man allegedly set two rooms of their house on fire, killing four members of the family and injuring four others in West Bengal’s Malda district, police said on Monday. Accused Makhan Mondal allegedly poured petrol in the hut on Sunday night. His younger brother Gobinda, elder brother Bikash, and Gobinda’s two minor daughters were charred to death, the police said. Bikash’s wife, son and daughter, and Gobinda’s wife were admitted to a hospital in a serious condition, the police said. Their mother escaped unhurt, they said. Their father Gedu Mondal had died before retirement and Gobinda got the job, leaving Makhan angry, said the police.last_img read more

‘Death warrant’ against teacher for rape

first_imgA trial court in Madhya Pradesh has issued a ‘death warrant’ against a school teacher who has been convicted of raping a four-year-old girl. The trial court in Satna district has sent the death warrant of Mahendra Singh Gond (28) to the Central Jail in Jabalpur, a prison official said on Monday. The rape convict’s death warrant has been received from the trial court and he (Gond) is in the process of challenging his death penalty in the Supreme Court, Jabalpur Central Jail’s law officer Ashok Singh said. The trial court sent the death warrant through an e-mail to the Central Jail and Gond’s execution date has been fixed for March 2, 2019, he said. The convict has other remedies also as he can file a mercy petition before the President of India, he said. “The death warrant will be executed only after all the available legal remedies are exhausted,” Mr. Singh said.HC confirmation The High Court had on January 25 confirmed the death sentence awarded by the trial court to Gond. According to the prosecution, Gond was convicted for raping a four-year-old girl in Satna district of the State.last_img read more

Intensive Day Care May Improve Long-Term Health of Poor Children

first_imgIt’s a grim fact of life in the United States: Children born into poor families are sicker and die earlier than their well-off counterparts, particularly from obesity-related diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Now, new data from a famous North Carolina study of early childhood education suggest that such disparities are not carved in stone. Children who grew up poor but participated in an intensive, 5-year day care program are significantly healthier in their mid-30s than similarly impoverished children who did not receive the same care, researchers report. The study provides rare experimental evidence that such programs can give poor children a better shot at living longer, healthier lives.Launched in 1972 at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, the Carolina Abecedarian Project is one of the longest running studies on the benefits of early childhood education for low-income children. The original goal of the research was to see if it was possible to enhance IQ and school readiness among poor children at high risk of falling behind as they transitioned into grade school, says UNC Chapel Hill psychologist Frances Campbell, who joined the study decades ago as an evaluator. “No one could see anything wrong” with these infants, she says, “but then they’d get to school and fall flat.”By posting notices in social service offices and low-income health clinics around Chapel Hill, researchers recruited families with 2-month-old babies for the study. The majority of the more than 100 infants that participated were African-American, mostly born to low-income mothers who had not graduated from high school. Many of the mothers had nowhere to send their children during the day while they worked, Campbell says.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)All infants received nutritional supplements, basic social services, and access to health care. Half, however, were randomly assigned to attend a day care program near the Frank Porter Graham Elementary School, part of a child development research institute at UNC Chapel Hill. There, they received nearly constant attention from trained caregivers for 6 to 8 hours per day, 5 days per week. In addition to carefully supervised nutrition and medical care, the children were constantly picked up, played with, and talked to, Campbell says. Being one of the caretakers, she says, was “the best job you can imagine.”The project was expensive: With a starting teacher-child ratio of about 1-to-3 in the nursery and 1-to-6 in the final year of instruction, the intervention ultimately cost about $70,000 a head over 5 years. Over time, however, the study began to yield encouraging results that led many to say the expense was justified. Once they reached school age, the children who had received the intervention consistently performed in reading and math about one grade level higher than the control group. By age 21, the education gap between the groups had widened further, affecting income status: The treated group was four times more likely to have graduated from college by age 21, for example, and roughly 30% more likely to be employed in a skilled job.The success of the Abecedarian Project and several other similar experiments made most people think of early childhood education as an academic, rather than a health, intervention, says James Heckman of the University of Chicago in Illinois, a Nobel Prize-winning economist. Although there is “strong evidence” that education later in life promotes health, the link between health and education prior to age 4 to 5, when most children enter preschool, had not been widely explored, he notes. “Never does anybody say that such interventions are going to have a huge effect on the health care budget.”For the new study, Campbell, Heckman, and colleagues hired a physician to examine all of the participants still left in the North Carolina trial, taking blood pressure and other measurements when they were in their mid-30s. (The physician was blind to whether the participants had been in the day care or not.) Because a large number of participants had dropped out of the study by that time, the team devised a series of stringent statistical tests to “kick the tires” and ensure their results were robust, he says.Striking health differences emerged from the data, the team reports online today in Science. Most dramatic, in Heckman’s view, were differences in systolic and diastolic blood pressure among 12 men who had received the intense care and the 20 men who hadn’t. On average, the control group had stage 1 hypertension, which significantly increases risk of heart attack and stroke. In contrast, the average blood pressure for men who had been in the day care program as children was in the normal range.In addition to high blood pressure, roughly a quarter of men in the control group also had “metabolic syndrome,” a constellation of symptoms including excess abdominal fat and high blood sugar, says health economist Gabriella Conti of University College London, who also contributed to the study. In contrast, “no one” in the treatment group had metabolic syndrome, she says.The new study is “extremely solid,” and suggests that it is possible to prevent conditions such as obesity and heart disease in the poor, a population that has long been thought “impossible to reach,” says David Rehkopf, a social epidemiologist at Stanford University in California. That could have profound economic implications, Heckman says. Although it isn’t yet complete, Seong Moon, an economist at the University of Chicago, is conducting a cost-benefit analysis based on the new results that looks “quite promising,” Heckman notes.The major unknown remains: why those who received the extra attention enjoy better health, says Heather Royer, an economist at the University of California (UC), Santa Barbara. Was it better nutrition and medical care, or simply that participants who went through the day care program make more money and enjoy better health care, for example? The researchers couldn’t tease out a clear reason because the day care program included so many components and involved such a small number of participants, Heckman says.“We all sense that what happens in early childhood really matters for adult health,” but the challenge of conducting randomized, controlled studies to illustrate that makes evidence like this rare, says Nancy Adler, a psychiatrist at UC San Francisco and an expert on how socioeconomic status influences health. Despite spending more on health care than other countries, the United States has poorer health outcomes than other nations that spend less, she says. One reason for that may be that the United States underinvests in social services, especially during early childhood, and that we’re “paying the price later on” in consumption of health care services, she says. The new results from the Abecedarian Project do “argue for policy interventions in early childhood,” she says.Still, although he considers the findings “amazing,” Bruce Link, an epidemiologist at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, cautions that there’s no guarantee that the relatively small study will translate seamlessly into good policy. “Just knowing that this has a causal effect on health in this study doesn’t mean it would work out on a population level.”last_img read more

How pandas survive on their bamboo-only diet

first_imgPandas are one of the world’s most fascinating vegetarians. Their digestive systems evolved to process meat, yet they eat nothing but bamboo—all day, every day. A new study reveals how these animals survive on a diet that should kill them.Giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are a type of bear, and they still retain a meat eater’s digestive system, with a simple stomach and a short small intestine. They don’t have a four-chambered stomach like a cow to digest plants efficiently, and a pure bamboo diet contains hardly any protein and a lot of indigestible fiber.To understand how pandas subsist on such a diet, researchers radio-collared three male and three female pandas in the Qinling Mountains of China and observed what they ate in their natural habitats for 6 years. The team also analyzed the panda diet in depth by measuring the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous, and calcium—the three most essential nutrients for mammals—in the plants they ate.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(*)“There is strong evidence that animals try to forage as effectively as possible to meet their nutritional needs, mixing dietary items to provide a full complement of nutrients,” writes primatologist Jessica Rothman of the City University Of New York’s Hunter College, who was not involved in the study, in an e-mail. “In areas with only one edible plant, animals may try to consume different parts of the same food.”That’s exactly what the pandas seem to be doing. The two bamboo species in Qinling, wood bamboo and arrow bamboo, grow at different elevations and sprout new shoots and leaves at different times of the year. The tracking collars revealed that during mating season in the spring, pandas fed on young wood bamboo shoots, which are rich in nitrogen and phosphorous. In June, the wood bamboo shoots had matured and contained fewer nutrients, so pandas migrated to higher elevations and started eating young arrow bamboo shoots. However, both species’ shoots had low calcium levels, which pushed pandas toward the next dietary shift in mid-July: young arrow bamboo leaves, which are rich in calcium.This dietary juggling act appears to affect panda reproduction, the team reports online this month in Functional Ecology. Although the animals mate in the spring, they undergo “delayed implantation”—the embryo remains in a state of arrested development in the mother’s uterus until it attaches and resumes growth. The authors speculate that panda embryos continue development only after there is sufficient calcium in the diet.In August, females return to the lower elevations and deliver tiny, pink panda babies. The adult mothers start eating young wood bamboo leaves, which have sufficient nutrients, including the calcium necessary for lactation. Pandas have the shortest gestation period among bears, about 2 to 3 months compared with 6 months in other species. They also have the smallest offspring—newborns weigh just 90 to 130 grams, whereas other bear cubs are a more brawny 300 to 400 grams. Their small size could be due to the nutrient limitations of their habitat, the authors say.But even nutritional juggling may not allow pandas to survive the winter. Wood bamboo leaves age over this season, and their nutrient levels drop, causing high mortality among pandas. In fact, records from Qinling show that among 25 cases of dead or ill pandas over the past 37 years, more than half occurred in March and April, right after the hardships of winter.The study helps explain how pandas survive on such a limited diet, says wildlife biologist Dajun Wang of Peking University in Beijing, who has worked on pandas in Qinling. But he says the animals may be getting nutrients from other places as well. “I have seen them scavenge from time to time,” he writes in an e-mail. “They may also get calcium and other nutrients from licking rocks.”last_img read more

Dance Your Ph.D. winner announced

first_imgWhen she isn’t out in the forest gathering data for her Ph.D. in plant biology at the University of Georgia, Athens, Uma Nagendra spends a good deal of her time hanging upside down from a trapeze doing circus aerials. “It turns out that there are a lot of scientists doing it,” she says. To combine the two halves of her life, she teamed up with her fellow aerialists to create the midair dance based on her scientific research. Nagendra’s circus extravaganza (see video above) is the overall winner of this year’s “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest.This is the 7th year of the contest—sponsored by Science, AAAS (publisher of Science), and HighWire Press—which challenges scientists around the world to explain their Ph.D. research in the most jargon-free medium of all: dance. Nagendra was one of four Ph.D. dances chosen by an expert panel of scientists and artists from this year’s 12 finalists.Nagendra’s own home city of New Orleans, Louisiana, was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As the human residents put their lives back together, she became curious about how the natural world recovers from disasters. After she became a biology Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia in 2011, she realized that she could answer this question herself by gathering data out in the field. But destructive events like Hurricane Katrina are rare on the timescale of a Ph.D. So Nagendra focused on a natural disaster that occurs far more frequently and does more localized damage: tornadoes.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(*)Tornadoes are destructive events, ripping up the surface of Earth, crushing buildings, and tossing automobiles in their paths. And based on some models of climate change, they are likely to become more frequent and damaging. But according to a study of forest soil ecology, tornadoes also do some good—for trees, that is. It turns out that tree seedlings get a respite from certain parasitic fungi in a tornado’s aftermath, allowing them to flourish.For winning the BIOLOGY category and the overall prize, Nagendra receives $1000 and a free trip to Stanford University in May 2015, where her video will be screened.The winners of the other three categories—PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY, and SOCIAL SCIENCE—cover a wide range of both scholarship and dance. Hans Rinderknecht filmed a live performance of his Ph.D. dance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, which explained how he uses light to trigger nuclear fusion. To explain the chemistry of emulsions like mayonnaise, a group led by Saioa Alvarez of the University of the Basque Country in Leioa, Spain, even wrote their own song. (And lipids have never looked so sexy.) Costumes were key for another Spanish team, David Manzano Cosano of the Complutense University of Madrid, who danced about the history of technology and colonialism in the Pacific.Each category winner receives $500. We congratulate them all!Winner, BIOLOGY and overall:Uma NagendraUniversity of Georgia, USAfor her dance about tornadoesWinner, CHEMISTRY:Saioa AlvarezUniversity of the Basque Country, Spainfor his Ph.D. dance about mayonnaiseWinner, PHYSICS:Hans RinderknechtMassachusetts Institute of Technology, USAfor his dance about nuclear fusionWinner, SOCIAL SCIENCE:David Manzano CosanoComplutense University of Madrid, Spainfor his dance about colonialismWinner, online audience vote:Venanzio CichellaUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USAfor his dance of the dronesThis year’s judges:Janet Echelman, independent artistDavid Feldman, independent engineerSuzanne Walsh, Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationAllan Adams, MITRebecca Saxe, MITPaula Hammond, MITMarc Abrahams, Improbable ResearchRobin Abrahams, Boston GlobeJustin Werfel, Harvard UniversityMatt Kent, associate artistic director, PilobolusEmily Kent, education coordinator, PilobolusRenee Jaworski, associate artistic director, PilobolusAnd the winners of the previous 6 years of the Dance Your Ph.D. contest.last_img read more

Priyanka Chopra is 1st Indian on Forbes Highest-paid TV Stars List

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PNB Fraud: CBI Examines Three Officials of Foreign Branches of Indian Banks

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