Pune Deputy Mayor Navnath Kamble dies after massive heart attack

first_imgNewly elected city Deputy Mayor and senior Republican Party of India (Athawale) leader, Navnath Kamble succumbed to a massive heart seizure on Tuesday morning.According to preliminary reports, Mr. Kamble was out for a morning stroll when he suffered a heart attack at around 8 a.m.He was rushed to the Ruby Hall clinic for treatment where he passed away.Mr. Kamble, who began his political career with the Dalit Panthers movement, was a mainstay of his party’s unit in Pune, winning as a corporator for the first time in 1997.He also served as the RPI (A)’s Pune unit president for a while.Mr. Kamble was elected as deputy Mayor in March this year following the Bharatiya Janata Party’s unprecedented win in the Pune Municipal Corporation civic poll. The saffron party snared 98 of the 162 seats in the civic body. Ramdas Athawale’s RPI (A) had supported the BJP in the crucial PMC poll, contesting on the BJP’s party symbol. For their support, the BJP had conceded the deputy mayor’s post to their smaller constituent in the NDA fold.last_img read more

Vinay Tendulkar wins Goa RS seat

first_imgPANAJI: Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar on Friday won the Rajya Sabha seat from the State by defeating Congress MP Shantaram Naik.Mr. Tendulkar received 21 votes from the BJP and ruling alliance members and the lone NCP legislator, Churchill Alemao, while Mr. Naik got 16 votes from the Congress.All 38 MLAs of the truncated 40-member State Legislative Assembly earlier in the day cast their vote for the Rajya Sabha seat, which falls vacant on July 28. Speaking to reporters, BJP Minister Francis D’Souza said “There may be cross-voting here too, if cross-voting has happened (in the presidential polls).” However, the results did not show any cross voting in the Rajya Sabha election. Mr. Tendulkar later thanked Mr. Alemao for voting for him. He said the win was expected. “Now we have won across all levels in Goa — in panchayats, zilla parishads, Assembly and now Parliamentary elections,” he told reporters. ‘Didn’t get secular votes’Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar said the Congress had failed to attract secular votes from the BJP allies, which led to the loss. “We had appealed to MLAs with secular credentials to come out and vote for our candidate, but there was no response, if one goes by the votes,” he said. Mr. Kavlekar, however, seemed relieved that after the cross-voting in the Presidential election earlier this week, the Congress managed to keep all its votes intact.last_img read more

15 encounter deaths in Yogi’s U.P.

first_imgAs many as 15 persons had been gunned down in police encounters in Uttar Pradesh since the BJP government came to power in the State earlier this year, marking an aggressive stance against criminals.Nine of the 15 alleged criminals were killed in Western U.P.’s Meerut zone alone. The highest number was in the sensitive district of Shamli with four, followed by three in Azamgarh and two each in Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur. The remaining were in Chitrakoot, Lucknow, Mathura and Hapur.The data, released by the police, was collected from March 20 — a day after the Yogi Adityanath government took oath — till September 14.The latest encounter took place in Azamgarh on Thursday when police gunned down one Ramji Pasi, in the busy Ramganj Bazar area. Pasi, wanted in many crimes, had a reward of ₹15,000 on his head. According to police, the accused on being surrounded, shot at the police team, injuring one constable.“Pasi was injured in retaliatory firing and died in hospital. His aide Rakesh Pasi escaped,” a police spokesperson said.A .30 bore pistol was recovered from Pasi.Anand Kumar, ADG Law and Order, said the police action has rattled criminals.The encounters were conducted in the interest of society as per the “desires of the government, expectations of public and according to the constitutional and legal power accorded to the police,” he said.Maurya’s statementIn an interview to The Hindu in June, Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya had indicated strong action against criminals. “Today criminals are terrified with the thought that either they will have to give up crime or leave U.P., or maybe even leave this world,” Mr. Maurya had said when asked about the BJP government’s strategy to deal with cases of crime.The BJP government’s approach is reminiscent of the tough stand against criminals showcased by former CM Kalyan Singh.The encounters left 84 injured with the highest being in Meerut (40), followed by Bareilly (18) and Agra (11) besides 88 policemen. Two were killed in shootouts, the most recent one in Chitrakoot.In total, 420 encounters were recorded with the highest 193 in Meerut zone, 84 in Agra, 60 in Bareilly, 44 in Kanpur, 19 in Allahabad, 11 in Varanasi, 7 in Lucknow and the lowest two in Gorakhpur zone, which includes the home turf of Mr. Adityanath.Since March 20, 1,106 accused had been arrested, including 868 ‘rewarded criminals’ or those with a bounty.The police also invoked the National Security Act 54 times and the Gangsters Act 69 times since March 20.last_img read more

Over 10k citizenship cases of Pak Hindu migrants pending: Rajasthan HC told

first_imgOver 10,000 applications of migrants from Pakistan’s Hindu community seeking long-term visas (LTV) are pending, the Rajasthan High Court was informed. Taking serious note of the deficiencies and disposal of the applications, the high court on Thursday ordered removal of all deficiencies in the LTV applications within two weeks from the date of the order and submit a report in the court before the next hearing on January 19. The court, which, on December 14, asked the state government to file a report on pending citizenship cases of the Pakistani Hindu migrants, also directed the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) to upload the notification on the concerned web-portal. The FRRO was also asked to hold camps at appropriate places and remove all the deficiencies in the forms in the presence of the applicants, amicus curiae and the divisional- level committee constituted by the state. Out of the pending applications, 2,716 applications have already been forwarded to the Union Home ministry, whereas 4,912 pleas are pending before the state government. The applications pending at the FRRO level in the state are as 2,418. On September 22, the court had issued the directions that the applications submitted offline for grant of LTV or citizenship by migrants from Pakistan belonging to minority communities shall be positively considered as far as possible within a period of 60 days from the date of order. But, amicus curiae Kamal Joshi told the court that neither the corrections were done nor the applicants and the divisional-level committee were informed about the deficiencies in the forms.last_img read more

BJP a party of traitors: Arvind Kejriwal

first_imgIn a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party, Delhi Chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party national convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Friday called it a party of “traitors, backstabbers and riot instigators”.Addressing a public meeting in Sindhkhed Raja town in Buldhana district, the birthplace of Maharashtra’s revered warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji’s mother Jijabai, the Delhi CM also came down heavily on the Devendra Fadnavis government.‘Triggering riots’“Shivaji and (social reformer Jyotiba) Phule worked towards unification of all castes and religions. They gave a message of unity. But in Bhima-Koregaon ( recently) the RSS-BJP attacked the Dalits. The BJP is a party of riot instigators. They make one caste fight against another, one religious group fight against another. The BJP has only one religion and it is to trigger riots to continue its rule,” Mr. Kejriwal alleged.Recollecting a recent conversation with a BJP leader, Mr. Kejriwal said, “I asked the BJP man about his party’s work. He man replied that they don’t need work. He told me that his party will instigate riots before 2019 elections and win the elections.”“It is their (RSS-BJP) formula. The British could rule our country by using the divide and rule strategy and Pakistan also wanted to see India a divided nation. For 70 years, Pakistan could not succeed in its plans to divide India but the BJP has achieved it in only three years,” he said.He then asked the people to decide what they want. “If you want riots, the vote for BJP but if you want schools, hospitals, employment and other developments then throw these parties away,” he added.Criticising the government for the closure of state-run schools, the Delhi CM said, “It is sad that in the land where the first school for women and Dalits came up, over 1000 government-run schools are being closed. [Devendra] Fadnavis government says it can’t run these schools and wants to give it to private players. How can a party, which can’t run schools, run a government? We have revolutionised government-run schools in Delhi. Our budget it only ₹40,000 crore. Maharashtra has a budget of ₹3,00,000 crore. Where did all the money go? The money went in scams. Everywhere you see in Maharashtra, you witness a scam.” He accused the Chief Minister of rampant corruption and demanded his resignation.last_img read more

Eyes to the island: Car Nicobar’s victory over hyperendemic trachoma

first_img The Andaman and Nicobar Islands endure severe inadequacies in intra-island transport, telecom, electricity, potable water and garbage disposal. Healthcare infrastructure is far from perfect. Nevertheless, a measure of confidence is inspired by the bustling sprawl of the G.B. Pant Medical College and Hospital in Port Blair, the referral medical institution for all the islands. This is where Dr. Shah is Deputy Director-Ophthalmology. The airy and clean B.J.R. Hospital in Car Nicobar, which she visits regularly, is one of two such district-level facilities.Dr. Shah had to tenaciously follow up for over two years to mobilise support for the ‘Trachoma Rapid Assessment (TRA) in Nicobar 2010’ survey by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ (AIIMS), Dr. R. P. Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences (RPCOS), New Delhi, and the Directorate of Health Services (DHS), Port Blair, with backing from the NPCB, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. “Islands are easily forgotten,” she says matter-of-factly.In a far cornerThe Nicobar archipelago is separated from the Andaman cluster by the Ten Degree Channel, a minor international shipping route named so for its latitude north of the equator. The Indian Ocean tsunami arrived here at 7 a.m., roughly 40 minutes after the earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, and two hours before it reached the subcontinent’s southeastern coast. Car Nicobar, part of the Nicobar and Andaman Tribal Reserve Area and ringed by 51 km of silvery beaches, is approximately 1,450 km from mainland India.In Car Nicobar, the disused iron bridge in Kimious stands as forlorn evidence of the devastation. As a percentage of the total population, in India, the Nicobar Islands lost the most lives in the tsunami. The villages of Malaka and Kakana had the highest casualties. Mus was cut off by a subsidence of land and the pooling of backwater in several places. Tribespeople from Sawai, Arong and Teatop were pushed into the forests at the centre of the island, where they survived for a week without food or water before evacuation. They were moved out of overcrowded relief camps in Port Blair and elsewhere in the islands and resettled in Car Nicobar nearly two years after the tsunami. Dr. Shah’s surgical outreach began after their return.Two teams investigated Dr. Shah’s concerns by examining 7,277 inhabitants of 10 clusters selected for the highest risk of developing trachoma. The TRA found a very active trachoma infection rate of 50.8% in children aged 1-9 years, with the proportion of infected children in the surveyed villages ranging from 37.5% to 73%.“We were shocked and surprised by the magnitude of the trachoma burden in Car Nicobar,” says Dr. Praveen Vashist, Professor and Head, Community Ophthalmology Department, RPCOS, AIIMS, who made four trips to the island over the course of the project. “I did not realise that the location was so difficult to reach. An MDA covering an entire tribal population in a remote location was a first for India. It was a different experience for us. Active trachoma infections in children occur without any symptoms. If they are not treated, they lead to irreversible blindness in adulthood. We found that, due to the tsunami, there were no children under the age of six in Kimious village.”Trachoma occurs upon repeated infections from the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It thrives in congested living conditions among populations that have limited access to water and healthcare. It is transmitted by flies, and aided by poor personal hygiene and fomites (shared objects such as towels, utensils and bedding, which are likely to carry the infection). The 2010 TRA also notes, “Co-habitation of Nicobari people with animals like pigs, hens, goats, dogs, cats etc. could be a contributory risk factor.”Going the distanceDoctors travelled for the MDA by helicopters with few seats. Services were often called off in uncertain weather. There is no scheduled ferry to Car Nicobar and administrative personnel posted here face frequent shortages in the supply of basic groceries, including vegetables, which come from Port Blair. Dosage had to be measured individually (20 mg per kilo of body weight). Dispersed neighbourhoods were covered simultaneously to prevent the recurrence of infections. It was tedious and tiring work.Dr. Vashist says: “The local team led by Dr. Shah was exceptional. Our work was made easier by the friendly Nicobarese people. We only had to explain to the chiefs, and the villagers would follow the instructions.” Each of the 15 villages in Car Nicobar, distributed over 127 sq. km, elects a ‘Captain’ for a five-year term. Blair is the head of their council for his lifetime. The operation to treat trachoma is quick and is performed under local anaesthesia as a day-case procedure. Patients can get back to work very quickly (a point emphasised before surgery, since lost working time is a major concern for them). The risk of wound infection is relatively low because of the good blood supply of the eyelid and therefore surgery can be performed in patients’ own villages.The medical team set up slide shows on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) SAFE (Surgery for trichiasis, Antibiotics for infections, Facial cleanliness, and Environmental improvement) guidelines in schools and community halls, and at venues near churches, such as the rebuilt chapel in Mus, a pilgrimage site that has the grave of Bishop John Richardson, after whom the district hospital in Car Nicobar is named.The late Padma Bhushan awardee was the first Nicobarese to be ordained an Anglican priest. He’s credited with establishing the village councils and authoring a primer on the Car language, into which he also translated the Bible. Blair has Bishop Richardson’s laminated photo in his living room.“Public health initiatives cannot succeed without the support of local communities,” says Dr. Promila Gupta, Deputy Director General, NPCB, adding that blindness comes with considerable economic costs in terms of livelihoods lost.Blind curveWell over half a century ago, from 1959 to 1963, trachoma was a major public health problem in three States — Punjab (79.1% occurrence), Rajasthan (74.2%) and Uttar Pradesh (68.1%) — show data from NPCB. The National Programme for Control of Blindness was launched in 1976. The flagship Central government initiative emanated from what was originally the Trachoma Control Programme of 1963. It no longer lists the disease as among the leading causes of blindness in India, which today are cataract (62.6%) and refractive error (19.70%). The trachoma outbreak in Car Nicobar has been the only recent exception.“On the days we had asked everyone in a village to be present, we would sometimes work till 9 in the night,” says Yashumeri, 34, a cheerful staff nurse at the B.J.R. Hospital. Team members recall being welcomed with sweet tender coconut water everywhere they went. The Nicobarese call themselves holchu (friend), although the term can be used pejoratively by the islands’ settlers.Yashumeri’s familiarity with the area came in handy when refrigerators had to be commandeered to maintain the tricky cold chain for liquid azithromycin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic that had to be transported from mainland India to Car Nicobar. A tablet substitute was eventually found for the second round of the MDA programme in 2011.Meticulously maintained registers list absentee and sick residents (for follow-ups), pregnant women (who were not included), and deaths. “If someone missed a dosage, we would return to make sure they took it,” says John James, 44, the first Nicobarese ophthalmic assistant on the island.“I was so nervous when a prevalence survey was conducted in 2013, after the third round of MDA,” admits Dr. Shah, who was hugely relieved to find that the active trachoma infection in children was down to 6.8% from the 50.8% that it was in 2010. This was, however, still above the 5% allowed by the WHO. Meanwhile, patients who had got their vision back and were free from pain began asking for eye drops. They took delight in how big their eyes suddenly appeared. ICE (information, communication, education) outreach and eyelid correction surgeries continue even now.Trachoma is “hyperendemic in many of the poorest and most rural areas of 41 countries of Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East,” says the WHO, which has been pushing the GET 2020 (Global Elimination of Trachoma by 2020) alliance since 1996. India is a partner. When Car Nicobar was again assessed in February 2017, trachoma prevalence was down to 1.6%.India moved to apply for ‘trachoma-free’ status over a meeting with WHO officials on January 11, 2018, after the release of the National Trachoma Prevalence Survey 2014-17 by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J. P. Nadda in Delhi on December 8, 2017. The survey covered 10 districts from seven States and Union Territories, among them East Delhi, Bikaner, Banaskantha and Car Nicobar. It shows that the overall prevalence of active infection among children below nine years is only 0.7%. “We expect to meet the 2020 target,” Dr. Vashist says.Eye on the futureTime moves differently on Car Nicobar. The roar of the ocean is audible as a small group of men and women work silently. They are preparing the soil outside an (also prefabricated) elpanam or ‘death house’, next to a modest cemetery with a handful of crosses on cement platforms. The community gets involved in funerary tasks as it does with wedding festivities and shared parenting, the latter a custom known as haruk, which ensures that no child is orphaned. Access to Car Nicobar is highly restricted under the Andaman and Nicobar (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956, and provides some protection to indigenous ways of life.The 2004 tsunami was not the first to devastate the islands: patchy records exist for major earthquakes in 1847, 1881 and 1941, and another tsunami that originated in Sumatra in 1861. But the last one has altered life here.The Central government adopted a one-size-fits-all rehabilitation policy to build nearly 10,000 twin (instead of freestanding) homes across 11 islands. Reinforced cement concrete, aero-con blocks and corrugated galvanised iron sheets imported by large contractors from mainland India at an average cost of ₹10 lakh per unit replaced locally sourced, natural building materials. Not enough thought was given to subsistence-specific locations, gender-sensitive land rights, natural ventilation suited to the tropical weather, and the ability to effect repairs with local materials.On the white-sands Malaka beach, named for the strategic strait near Aceh in Indonesia, a lush jungle has already claimed what used to be, before the tsunami, beachfront residential quarters for Indian Air Force officers. The island is no longer a family station for them. Nicobarese leader Edward Kutchat, it is said, granted land for this airbase in exchange for the coat that Jawaharlal Nehru was wearing when they met sometime in the early 1960s.The sun rises as early as quarter past five even on a January morning, and lights up the pristine coastline. The scattered debris of plastic garbage washed up by the waves is not immediately obvious, quite like its environmental implications. Even the twinkle in Aberdeen Blair’s eyes will only hint at them. Dr. Shah, who appreciates his gentle way of speaking, never fails to visit the elder on her trips to the island.Blair’s ‘Prototype twin unit designed and constructed by Central Public Works Department’ is one of the 3,941 ‘permanent shelters’ allotted to Car Nicobar in 2006. Rendered frail by age, Blair is mostly confined indoors these days. He credits the doctors at B.J.R. Hospital with treating a fracture of the tibia and saving his life when he had a stroke, some years after his close call with trachoma and blindness. “Oh, I am very lucky,” he adds, his hand making a sweeping gesture that included his sofa, TV, Nicobarese Bible, and polite grandson serving tea in ceramic cups. “At least I have a place to live, you see?” The first woman ophthalmologist in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dr. Anita Shah, led a Mass Drug Administration project in Car Nicobar following the discovery of trachoma on the island.  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement center_img A narrow road winds past dense vegetation, idyllic beaches and rain-soaked villages glistening in sunshine. Along the way, profusely blooming pinwheelflowers frame prefab homes built on stilts in a likeness of their lost predecessors, the prized patis, which were handwoven with palm leaves, rattan and lalang grass.Goats bleat, pigs grunt and hens squawk around the dwellings that were once closer to the shore but were flattened, like nearly everything else here, on December 26, 2004. Local memory divides Car Nicobar’s long and sometimes violent history more simply now: before and after the tsunami.Aberdeen Blair (89), chief of the Car Nicobar Tribal Council, remembers more. “When I was small, we had no money, sugar or rice. We only had coconuts. My parents did not wear clothes like this,” he says, pointing to his lungi and T-shirt. Blair smiles as easily and often as he shifts between Nicobari, Hindi and English, and goes on to add, “I have jeans, too. Everything has changed.” The laminated certificates and photographs on the wall behind him document the highlights of such a lifetime.Nicobar is India’s southernmost district. Car Nicobar is its northernmost island and headquarters. The Nicobarese are the largest (numbering 27,186 in the 2011 Census), most urbanised, and most influential among the six better-known tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Their indigenous peers survive tenuously in the hundreds (Jarawas and Shompen) and tens (Great Andamanese, Onge and Sentinelese).Preventable blindnessOther numbers appear in fading paint on the walls of the houses here. ‘MDA’, it says, followed by a date, for three consecutive years — 2010, 2011 and 2012. Mass Drug Administration is the medical response to a public health concern that entails treating the entire population of a specified area with a prescribed dosage of pharmaceuticals.The first woman ophthalmologist in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dr. Anita Shah (55), led such a project in Car Nicobar following the discovery of a hyperendemic and active infection of trachoma on the island. Trachoma is a contagious and preventable cause of blindness, rarely seen in India since the 1950s and 1960s. Blair and his 21-member tu-het (extended matrilineal family units of up to 100 people) were among the over 1,500 recipients of the MDA programme in the village of Sawai (Öt-ka-sip in Nicobarese), west of the island.“When I held eye camps in 2008, I noticed a steady stream of trachomatous trichiasis [sight-threatening conjunctival scarring, for which Blair was later treated] cases in Car Nicobar. My generation of ophthalmologists has hardly ever seen trachoma, let alone treat it. Yet I kept meeting young people in their twenties who had their lashes growing inward and eyelids fused. They lived in great pain, in darkened homes because they couldn’t bear sunlight. I am a surgeon, not a community medicine specialist, but I knew a survey had to be taken up immediately,” says Dr. Shah, Joint Secretary in the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) since 2008. She is a diminutive woman in the habit of providing precise instructions to her team, essential given the problems her location poses.last_img read more

Ambedkar statue vandalised in U.P., no arrests so far

first_imgIn a fresh incident, a statue of Bhimrao Ambedkar was found damaged on Thursday in Firozabad district of Uttar Pradesh.This comes despite strict instructions by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to district magistrates and district police chiefs to step up vigilance regarding the security of statues of popular icons and ensure communal harmony.The latest incident was reported from Nagla Nande village in Sirsaganj. The upper right portion of the standing statue and right shoulder were found disfigured.Police forces led by senior district officers rushed to the village located on the outskirts and calmed angry locals. The damaged statue was replaced with a fresh one by the police. An FIR was lodged in the case against unknown miscreants under Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class).‘Politically motivated’Station House Officer, Sirsaganj, R. K. Dubey said that while no arrests had been made yet, he suspected the incident to be politically motivated. “There was no such atmosphere in the village. It seems like an act of mischief either by somebody who was drunk or by a person trying to vitiate the atmosphere in the current scenario to mobilise their people,” Mr. Dubey told The Hindu.The police have formed peace committees at the local level under the village pradhan to ensure security for the new statue.This the the third such incident in U.P. in a week and fifth since the Tripura Assembly election results when the razing of a statue of Lenin triggered a streak of attacks on other ideological icons.A statue of Ambedkar was found decapacitated in Allahabad while another had its right arm and nose cut off in Siddharthnagar last Friday. In March, Ambedkar statues were found vandalised in Meerut, Aligarh and Azamgarh districts.last_img read more

Rape, murder of minor in Kathua an unimaginable brutality, says Rahul Gandhi

first_imgCharge sheet reveals Kathua horror Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday described the rape and killing of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua in January last as “unimaginable brutality” that cannot go unpunished, and wondered how anybody can seek to protect the culprits.On January 10, the minor, who belonged to the nomadic Bakerwal Muslim community, disappeared from a spot near her house close to Rasana village in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir. A week later, her body was found in the same area.Also Read A special investigation team formed to probe the incident arrested eight people, including two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a head constable, who was charged with destroying evidence.Jammu has been on tenterhooks since the rape and murder. The city’s bar association has opposed action against the accused and alleged that minority Dogras were being targeted. While the local local bar association held a bandh, the Valley saw protests demanding justice for the victim.Mr. Gandhi alleged that politics was being played over the crime. “How can anyone protect the culprits of such evil,” he asked, adding that the violence against the child was a crime against humanity. “It cannot go unpunished,” he said on Twitter. “What have we become if we allow politics to interfere with such unimaginable brutality perpetrated on an innocent child,” he said.last_img read more

West Bengal State Election Commission reviews panchayat poll security

first_imgWest Bengal State Election Commission (SEC) on Saturday held a meeting with 10 political parties of West Bengal on the subject of security arrangements for the upcoming Panchayat polls in the State. Representatives of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Congress, and other political parties, met State Election Commissioner A.K. Singh. While representatives of the ruling Trinamool Congress refused to comment on the matter, BJP and CPI(M) leaders who attended the meeting expressed concern. “Armed forces are needed in every polling booth,” Jayprakash Majumder, State BJP vice president, who was part of the BJP delegation meeting the SEC, said. The West Bengal government, which has sought additional forces from other States, has assured that adequate forces will be available for holding the polls on a single day on May 14.last_img read more

Berhampur University students’ protest continues

first_imgStudents continue to protest against alleged errors and irregularities in the published results of +3 second semester examinations conducted by Odisha’s Berhampur University.Activists of the All-India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO) held a protest march in Berhampur on Tuesday. They also held a demonstration in front of the office of the Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Southern Division, and handed over a memorandum addressed to the State Minister for Higher Education.AIDSO State vice-president Somanath Behera said although the results for this semester examination were declared almost a year after the examinations, they were full of errors. As per the organisation, Berhampur University has not yet declared the results of third and fourth semester examinations of these students of its +3 degree courses.“Students of final year are now preparing for their fifth semester examinations and they will have to appear for the sixth semester examinations at the end of the current academic year. Delayed and erroneous results will add to the woes of students who will have to clear back papers of previous semesters together,” said Mr. Behera.AIDSO activists said it was ironic that results of the second semester, which was part of first year of the degree course, were declared while the students had reached third year of their course. They also accused the university authorities of callousness.Agitating student leaders demanded that the correct results be published by August 2 with online display of corrected answer sheets. They also wanted results of all semester examinations of degree courses of the university to be declared within two months after the end of the examinations. Earlier this month, students of five affiliated colleges in Berhampur and its outskirts had resorted to demonstrations and dharna at their respective colleges. Agitating students had demanded re-publication of results. They had alleged that due to errors and irregularities, around 50% of students had failed in +3 second semester examinations and 80% of failed students had secured 0 to 10 marks.Activists of Biju Chhatra Janata Dal and ABVP have also extended support to the agitating students.last_img read more

More trouble for Meerut Police: Goons thrash Muslim man in policeman’s presence

first_imgAfter beating and shaming a Hindu medical student in Meerut for being friends with a Muslim boy, the Uttar Pradesh police is once again under the scanner as a new video has emerged showing a group of men thrashing the Muslim youth in the presence of a policeman.In the video clip, which has gone viral on the social media, the Muslim youth is seen being cornered by a group of unidentified youth while a policeman questions him about his background. The alleged right-wing group members then kick and punch him. They are also heard threatening him with dire consequences.“Padhai kar raha hai ya love jihad kar raha hai…? Chun-chun ke marenge abhi…. [Are you here to study or for love jihad? We will eliminate you one by one],” says one of the men while others film the incident on their phones.DGP O.P Singh said it was “an act of gross imprudence” by few errant policemen. “Irresponsible and insensitive behaviour by U.P. cops will not be tolerated. A job of a policeman is to maintain the highest standards of probity which must be upheld at all times. Corrective action is being taken,” he said in a statement. Student manhandledThe female medical student has said she and the boy were at his house studying on Sunday when members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad barged in and locked them in. They asked the girl to show her identity card and upon confirming that she was a Hindu, asked her how she expected to marry a Muslim boy, she said.In a video that surfaced on Tuesday, four constables were seen on camera beating the female medical student and making offensive communal remarks after the VHP activists handed her over to them. Case registeredThe erring constables, including a woman personnel, were suspended. Meerut Police said on Thursday said that a case had been registered at the Medical police station against 18 known and 25 unknown persons.last_img read more

Two Hizb militants killed in Shopian encounter

first_imgTwo Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants were killed in an overnight encounter with security forces in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said on Sunday.The security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Khudpora area on Saturday evening following information about presence of the militants there, a police official said.He said the search operation turned into an encounter after the militants opened fire towards the security forces, who retaliated.Two militants were killed in the encounter while two others managed to escape, he added.“A couple of terrorists managed to escape from the site as blood trails have been seen there,” he added.The slain militants have been identified as Mohammad Irfan Bhat and Shahid Mir. While Bhat had joined militant ranks last year, Mir was part of an arms case from 2004, a police spokesperosn said.“Incriminating material, including arms and ammunition, have been recovered from the encounter site. Police have registered a case and started investigations,” he said.last_img read more

Mayawati backs Akhilesh in illegal mining case

first_imgBahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Monday came out in support of Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav in an alleged illegal mining case in which the CBI has said it would question him. She said Mr. Yadav was being targeted to “defame and oppress” the SP-BSP alliance. Ms. Mayawati said the CBI’s “threat” to question Mr. Yadav “under the guise of a probe” in the illegal mining case was an act of “election greed” issued with “feelings of political malice”.She said she spoke to Mr. Yadav on the phone on Sunday and reminded him of her own alleged persecution in the Taj Corridor case after she refused to “give in to the BJP’s demands for 60 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats as part of an alliance”. “It’s an old hathkanda (machination) about which the people know too well,” she said in a statement.“The BJP’s disgusting politics and election conspiracy is nothing new,” Ms. Mayawati said, warning that the party should be prepared to pay its price in the upcoming Lok Sabha election. “If this was not a political conspiracy, the CBI would have been allowed to hold an enquiry into the case earlier,” she said while questioning the “unnecessary” and “preposterous” statements made by BJP leaders regarding the case. “Since when did the BJP leaders become spokespersons for the CBI,” Ms. Mayawati asked.”Like the Congress, the BJP has also been an expert in implicating its opponents in false cases through misuse of government machinery, and the BSP movement has been a victim of this,” she said.The BSP chief’s statement came a day after Mr. Yadav questioned the timing and intention behind the CBI linking his name to the illegal mining probe.last_img read more

Restrictions in Srinagar as trade bodies call for strike against NIA summon to Mirwaiz

first_imgSrinagar – The authorities on Sunday imposed restrictions in parts of the city as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of a strike called by various trade bodies against the NIA summon to moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.Restrictions under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) were imposed in five police station areas in the downtown area, also known as the old city, officials said. They said the curbs were imposed in the police station areas of Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, MR Gunj and Safakadal.Various trade bodies in the city on Saturday had called for a two-day shutdown in downtown Srinagar from Sunday after the NIA issued summons to Mirwaiz and Naseem Geelani, son of hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, for questioning in Delhi in a terror financing case.Shops and other business establishments in the area remained shut, the officials added.last_img read more

BJP offered ₹10 crore each to 7 MLAs to quit party: AAP

first_imgThe Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday alleged that seven of its MLAs were approached with an offer of ₹10 crore each by the BJP to leave the party before the Lok Sabha election. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia claimed that the BJP was talking to more AAP MLAs, but insisted that its mission would not be successful. “People from the BJP contacted seven AAP MLAs and said that if they leave the party before the [Lok Sabha] election, they will give them ₹10 crore each. They are talking to more, but the seven have told us,” he said. “I want to tell the BJP, [party president] Amit Shah and [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi ji, don’t try to buy AAP MLAs and fight election; if you have courage, fight election on issues. You will try to buy them and they will tell us [about it]. You can’t buy AAP MLAs,” he asserted. Mr. Sisodia said Mr. Modi should be “ashamed”, referring to the latter’s earlier comment that 40 Trinamool Congress MLAs in West Bengal were in touch with him. “Is it right for the Prime Minister to say that? He is saying it openly that to weaken democracy he is going to buy 40 MLAs. He should be ashamed. There [West Bengal] he wants to buy TMC MLAs, in Delhi, the BJP wants to buy AAP MLAs,” the AAP leader said. He said the BJP has no issues to fight the election in Delhi. “They were able to get one of our MLAs from Bawana before the MCD elections, but people taught the BJP a lesson. If you have any agenda to change the country, then fight the election on it,” Mr. Sisodia said. “Modi ji, if you have done anything for the people in the last five years, then fight the election on it,” he added. AAP leader Gopal Rai said the alleged attempt to buy legislators showed that the BJP’s seven candidates in Delhi are going to lose. “The BJP’s actions show that it does not believe in democracy. Delhiites will reply like they did in Bawana [bypoll which AAP won by a huge margin],” he said. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who took out his first election roadshow in Delhi on Wednesday, said, “In the last three days seven of our MLAs have said that BJP people have contacted them and offered ₹10 crore to break them. This is not becoming of a Prime Minister.” When asked whether AAP had any proof, Mr. Kejriwal said, “Will give all proof on time.”Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari dismissed AAP’s claim as a “joke”. “Are they the same seven [AAP MLAs] who beat up Kejriwal a week ago,” he said, denying any such attempt by the BJP to poach seven AAP legislators.last_img read more

ScienceShot: The Saddest Spot in New York

first_imgIf you could look down from space and see the emotional state of every person in a city, what would it look like? We don’t have that technology yet, but Twitter is providing the next best thing. In a new study, researchers harvested every tweet that was geographically tagged to Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs during a 2-week period in April 2012. That was the easy part. The trick was deciphering the emotional content of those 604,000 utterances. Luckily, a large portion of tweets come with emoticons—for example, 🙂 and 🙁 for a smile or frown. By using these tweets as a training set, the team taught a computer to distinguish negative, positive, and neutral emotions. After projecting those emotions as colors on a map of New York City (pictured)—blue for positive, red for negative—the city’s mood landscape was suddenly revealed. Some of the patterns are no surprise. For example, people tended to be happiest near green areas such as Central Park and unhappiest around transportation hubs such as Penn Station and the entrance to the Midtown Tunnel. But the fine-grained details are striking. The closer people were to Times Square, the happier they got. And the city’s mood had a daily rhythm, mirroring that of the individuals who live and work there. People’s feelings—both positive and negative—were muted in the morning and peaked around midnight. The happiest place in Manhattan was Fort Tryon Park; the location is way uptown and thus takes effort to get to—the kind of effort people make when they’re enjoying a day off. The saddest? Hunter College High School. No surprise there. The data were collected the week students returned from vacation.last_img read more

Syria Stockpiled 1000 Tons of Chemicals for Weapons

first_img As new details emerge about Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, work has begun in earnest to destroy its ability to use the arsenal in the ongoing civil war.Syria’s military is thought to hold about 1000 tons of chemicals, now known to be mostly precursors for sarin and mustard gas, said Paul Walker, a chemical weapons expert at Green Cross International, at a forum held yesterday at AAAS, the publisher of ScienceInsider. That amount is comparable to the stockpiles that India and South Korea once held before renouncing and eliminating their chemical weapons.Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are now on the ground in Syria. They are assessing sites and overseeing the demolition of equipment and facilities used to produce the chemical precursors of sarin and mustard, mix the precursors, and pour the finished nerve agents into munitions. There’s a lot of “sledgehammer and bulldozer work,” Walker says. Inspectors have visited 18 of 23 weapons sites that Syria has disclosed to date, OPCW media officer Michael Luhan stated at a press conference today in The Hague. The operation, he says, is to ensure that Syria “will no longer have the capability to produce any more chemical weapons.” OPCW expects this work to be completed by 1 November, Luhan 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(*)That ambitious target is part of an agreement imposed on Syria last month after the United States threatened a military strike in response to a chemical weapons attack—almost certainly sarin—in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus that killed hundreds of civilians in August. Under terms negotiated by Russia and the United States that compelled Syria to sign and ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) last month, Syria must grant OPCW inspectors “unfettered access” to sites and individuals associated with its chemical weapons program. On 27 October, Syria must deliver a final and complete declaration to OPCW, and its entire arsenal must be eliminated by 1 July 2014.OPCW faces some stiff challenges. The operation is “historic and precedent-setting” because “it’s the first time WMD destruction has been undertaken in a hostile environment,” says Michael Moodie, a senior specialist at the Congressional Research Service and co-founder of the Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute. He notes that Syria’s foreign minister recently claimed that one-third of the chemical weapons sites are in contested zones. And while experts hail Syrian authorities for their cooperation thus far, Moodie says it’s an open question “whether that will continue” if the rebels make gains in the civil war.Another question is whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad might attempt to hide part of his chemical weapons arsenal like his now-ousted counterparts in Iraq and Libya did. “Saddam and Qaddafi stashed some of their stock for a rainy day,” notes Chen Kane, manager of Middle East projects at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, D.C. A more likely concern, Moodie says, is incomplete record-keeping. “Maybe they don’t know where it all is,” he says. Albania and Libya are cases in point: Long after destroying their known stockpile, Albanian authorities discovered a stash in the mountains that they didn’t know about, Walker says. And inspectors never found Qaddafi’s hidden stash—it came to light by chance, he says. “Nobody went looking for it.”One big break in Syria is the nature of its stockpile. Unlike the United States and Russia, whose stockpiles are mostly weaponized—the agents are in the munitions—experts believe Syria’s “is almost all precursors,” Walker says. That means much of the chemicals can be shipped out of Syria for disposal, making it more realistic to meet the goal of chemically disarming Syria by mid-2014. Most countries approached by OPCW have refused to accept shipments; Walker says the four “that haven’t said no” are Albania, Belgium, France, and Norway. It’s unclear where inspectors will draw the line between chemical weapons precursors and chemicals for peaceful uses. Dual-use chemicals include isopropyl alcohol—a precursor of sarin—and ethylene, a precursor of mustard agent. That’s why the initial priority is “getting rid of the weapons themselves and the mixing facilities,” Walker says.OPCW will have to raise “well over $100 million” to get the job done, Walker says. “I’m optimistic it will go well,” he says. If the operation succeeds, that would leave three countries not party to the CWC presumed to hold chemical weapons: Egypt, Israel, and North Korea. Seven countries that have declared chemical weapons, apart from Syria, have largely destroyed their stockpiles. Albania and Iraq, like India and South Korea, are now chemical weapons-free. Libya, Russia, and the United States have destroyed much of their arsenals.Defanging Syria could have regional consequences. Pressure will rise on Egypt and Israel to come clean, Kane notes. “There’s no reason for them to remain outside the treaty,” Walker says. And if they do, that would leave one known hot spot for chemical weapons. “We know North Korea has a very large stockpile,” Walker says. That will be one tough nut to crack. On the job. Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (logo, above) are making progress in destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stocks. OPCW last_img read more

Do Earthquakes Spread Like Wildfire?

first_imgA simple model of forest fires could help explain the distribution of the sizes of earthquakes and their aftershocks, a theoretical physicist says. Geoscientists say they have reservations about the accuracy of the bare-bones model, but they welcome the effort to account for aftershocks.”The basic approach has merit,” says Donald Turcotte, a geophysicist at the University of California, Davis. “I’m not aware of anybody else who has done aftershocks.”Earthquakes show a striking statistical regularity. Larger ones occur less often than smaller ones do, and for more than half a century scientists have known that earthquakes of magnitude 2 occur roughly one-tenth as often as those of magnitude 1; those of magnitude 3 occur at one-tenth the rate of those of magnitude 2; and so on. That Gutenberg-Richter relation can be mathematically recast to show that the frequency of earthquakes decreases with increasing size or seismic moment—a different quantity from their magnitude—in proportion to that size raised to an exponent or power. Data show that that exponent is between -1.8 and -1.5.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(*)But where does that number come from? Earlier statistical models of earthquake faults couldn’t explain it, says Eduardo Jagla, a theorist with Argentina’s National Atomic Energy Commission in Bariloche. Instead, researchers adjusted parameters to get the right exponent, he says. Moreover, those models left out the aftershocks that follow a big jolt—a major omission, he says.Now, Jagla says he can both incorporate aftershocks and explain the value of the exponent by tweaking a model of how forest fires spread. In the so-called Drössel-Schwabl model, trees sprout at random on a square grid like a vast checkerboard. Once the forest gets dense enough, lightning sets a random tree on fire, and fire spreads instantaneously among trees that occupy adjacent squares. The conflagration continues until there are no more neighbors to jump to. Then, the process starts all over again.In Jagla’s model, the “forest” is the plane of a fault cutting through Earth’s crust, divided into a 10,000-by-10,000 grid. Sprouting trees correspond to the buildup of stress along the fault; burning areas, to the part of the fault that moves during a quake.In this basic model, the size of the fires obeys a power law with the exponent -1.2—significantly higher than the number for real earthquakes. But then Jagla puts in a twist, as he reports in a paper published on 3 December in Physical Review Letters. He assumes that the trees come in two types: more common “A trees” that burn instantly and much rarer “B trees” that burn slowly and light their neighbors only after a delay. In the forest-fire model, the fire pauses when it has to pass through a single B tree.The result is that the forest fire breaks into a “cluster” of smaller fires slightly separated in time, reducing the frequency of really big fires. Now, the size distribution of individual fires has an exponent of -1.8, just as in the observed distribution of earthquake sizes. “What would have been a single earthquake is now fragmented into a lot of smaller earthquakes that give the correct exponent,” Jagla says. The fragments can be interpreted as aftershocks and the B trees as their epicenters on the fault, he says.The key point, Jagla says, is that merely introducing an internal timescale—the delay in the B trees—drives the system to the correct exponent. As long as the delay is much longer than it takes the A trees to burn but much shorter than the time between lightning strikes, the exponent will be the same, because the B trees’ effect is to break up the fire spatially, he says. In terms of earthquakes, the aftershocks must come slowly compared with the duration of each shock but quickly compared with the buildup of stress.”I like the intuitive simplicity and clarity of his approach, and I admire that he is borrowing from the fire community to provide insights into ours,” says Ross Stein, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. “But,” he cautions, “many phenomena can explain the Gutenberg-Richter power-law … so it’s difficult to be sure that the slow-fire hypothesis is a key element.” Turcotte says that many other researchers also claim to have explained the value of the exponent in the relation.In his paper, Jagla suggests a way to test his scheme. In his model, the exponent for the main shocks and their first few aftershocks should start out relatively high—closer to the -1.2 of the original fire model with only one kind of tree. Then its value should decrease as more and more aftershocks occur. Jagla says data taken in southern California over 20 years shows that main quakes and aftershocks that occur within 30 minutes show an exponent of -1.35, whereas those for aftershocks coming 30 to 90 minutes after the main shock have an exponent of -1.7—just as predicted.But both Stein and Turcotte note that the catalog of aftershocks in the first 30 minutes after a big quake is notoriously incomplete. So whether this is an earth-shaking advance remains to be seen.last_img read more

Podcast: Black Death, Voter Myopia, and an Alternative to Schizophrenia Meds

first_imgWhat impact did the Black Death have on the human genome? How does voter myopia skew elections? And is it time to throw away the antipsychotic meds? Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science’s Sarah Crespi.Listen to the full Science podcast.Hear more podcasts.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more