first_imgProhibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC were imposed and Internet services suspended in many ‘sensitive’ districts of Haryana today in the wake of the Jat body’s plan to ghearo the Parliament on March 20.The section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), prohibiting unlawful assembly, has been imposed in many sensitive districts, including Rohtak, Jhajjar, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri and Hisar, where Internet services have also been suspended for indefinite period, official sources told PTI.Restrictions have been imposed on the movement of tractor-trolleys from one district to another, they said, adding that the Army has been called in to manage the situation.Meanwhile, All-India Jat Aarkashan Sangarsh Samiti (AIJASS), the body spearheading the agitation for reservation, remained firm on laying a siege to the national capital from March 20 as they alleged that their demands had not been met.AIJASS president Yashpal Malik said the Centre should intervene to resolve the issue.“From February last year, we have held talks on six occasions with the Haryana government. But our demands have still not been met,” he said.He also alleged that the Manohar Lal-led state government was “confused and not showing sincerity in resolving the issue”.Reacting on Mr. Khattar’s statement that the Jat body was “frequently shifting the goal posts and that Malik had made unilateral announcements in Panipat that they (Jats) were to have a meeting with the CM in Delhi yesterday”, the AIJASS president said, “Attempts are being made to weaken our agitation. This government looks utterly confused. Their statements are only complicating the situation.” “We wanted the Chief Minister to take a final call on our demands. It was decided that he will meet us in Delhi and discuss all issues with us. But the CM skipped the meeting despite being in Delhi,” he claimed.“Therefore, we have decided to continue with our agitation and we will now move to Delhi on March 20,” he said.On the imposition of prohibitory orders in the state, Mr. Malik said, “We have the right to protest. We have been doing so for the last so many days in a peaceful manner. The law of the land does not prevent us from going to Delhi to raise our point in a democratic manner.” Besides seeking quota, the demands of the Jats include release of those jailed during last year’s agitation, withdrawal of cases slapped during the protest and government jobs for the kin of those killed and injured while taking part in the stir.The Jats have been sitting on dharna in various parts of Haryana since January 29.last_img read more

first_imgJapan is going to build a war museum at the hillock at Maiba Lokpa in Bishnupur district, Manipur, where a Japanese camp was located during World War II. The Japanese ambassador to India, Kenji Hiramatsu, said about 70,000 Japanese soldiers had died in battles from March to June 1944 in Imphal and Kohima. He said that the mortal remains would be located for the last rites and sought the cooperation of the people. Twenty-five persons would be invited to Japan from Nagaland and Manipur. Besides, a seminar would be held in November to help students who want to study in Japan.Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh welcomed the plan to build a museum and promised all assistances to the Japanese government.last_img read more

first_imgRajasthan Police has arrested Indra Bishnoi, who has been evading arrest for the last six years in the sensational Bhanwari Devi murder case, in Madhya Pradesh. The case had grabbed headlines in 2011 after the name of the then Rajasthan minister Mahipal Maderna cropped up in connection with the murder of Bhanwari, an auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM). “A Rajasthan police team with the help of Madhya Pradesh police arrested Indra Bishnoi from Nemawar area last night,” Additional Superintendent of Police (Dewas) Anil Patidar told PTI on Saturday. She reportedly carried a reward of Rs 5 lakh on her head. According to police sources, she was living with a family in Nemawar as a destitute. The CBI has so far filed three charge sheets against 17 accused including Maderna and former Congress MLA Malkhan Singh. Among the accused, 15 were in judicial custody, one was out on bail while Bishnoi was absconding. Bhanwari, posted as auxiliary nurse midwife at a sub- centre in Jaliwada village, around 120 km from Jodhpur, had gone missing on September 1, 2011. She disappeared after a CD allegedly showing Maderna in compromising position with the 36-year-old nurse was aired by some news channels. The CBI had said that Bhanwari was allegedly abducted from Jodhpur’s Bilara area on September 1, 2011 and murdered. Her body was handed over to another gang which burnt it in a limestone quarry and dumped the remains in a canal, it alleged. Maderna (65), who then represented the Osian assembly constituency, was arrested on December 2, 2011 in Jodhpur by the CBI along with Parasram Bishnoi, brother of Malkhan Singh.last_img read more

first_imgThe Economic Survey assumes that other States will follow Uttar Pradesh’s example and waive farm loans, taking the full waiver amount to ₹2.2-2.7 lakh crore, according to the second portion of the survey released on Friday. The Survey’s own calculations find that only a few States have the fiscal space for such waivers, and so most will have to either cut expenditure or increase taxes. The total impact of waivers could be to lower demand by as much as 0.7% of the GDP, it said.“It is assumed that waivers will apply at the loan rather than household level, since it will be administratively difficult to aggregate loans across households,” Volume 2 of the Economic Survey, tabled in Parliament, said. “It is also assumed that other States will follow the U.P. model [of waivers up to ₹1 lakh for all small and marginal farmers]. On this basis, an upper bound of loan waivers at the All-India level would be between ₹2.2 and ₹2.7 lakh crore.”Four effectsThe Survey says the waivers will have four effects on aggregate demand: on private consumption impact via increases in private sector net wealth, public sector impact via changes in government expenditure/taxes, crowding out impact via higher borrowings by State governments, and crowding in impact via higher credit availability as bank NPAs fall.“Loan waivers will increase the net wealth of farm households,” the report said. “Since loan waivers are assumed to increase aggregate income by 28%, consumption is estimated to increase by 7% or about ₹55,000 crore.”The Survey estimated that for States with fiscal space, loan waivers would add about ₹6,350 crore to demand via the additional interest costs and for States without space, waivers could reduce demand by about ₹1.9 lakh crore.The Survey’s calculations show that while Andhra Pradesh, U.P, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh have no fiscal room to waive farm loans, States such as Maharashtra, West Begal, Karnataka and Gujarat have ample space.last_img read more

first_imgPune:The Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has crores to spend on publicity stunts and propaganda campaigns, but no money for farmers, said Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday. Attacking the State government’s ‘Mi Labharthi (I am a beneficiary)’media blitz as part of the Congress and NCP’s ‘Halla Bol’ yatra in Latur district in the arid Marathwada region, Mr. Pawar said, “No one has benefited from any of this [BJP] government’s promises. The much-touted farm loan waiver has come a cropper. Farmers are devoid of even basic amenities like round-the-clock electricity as opposed to states like Telangana which provide 24 hours electricity to their farmers.” Power billsThe NCP leader further alleged that the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Corporation Ltd. (MSEDCL) was forcefully recovering money from the farmers, which in turn was driving them towards suicide. Mr. Pawar visited Shahaji Rathod, a farmer from Ujani village in Latur’s Ausa Taluka at a local hospital and announced ₹1 lakh for his treatment.Mr. Rathod had recently attempting suicide in front of the local MSEDC office by consuming a poisonous substance as he was allegedly unable to pay his electricity bill. “The Rathod family runs a humble flour mill to make ends meet… Shahaji’s case is an example of the BJP government’s apathy towards the State’s farmers. What happened to the government’s ‘solar krishi pump’ scheme, which was scuppered after the distribution of a mere 2,200 pumps,” asked Mr. Pawar.last_img read more

first_imgIn an apparent retort to Rahul Gandhi’s suit-boot ki sarkar jibe, the BJP has claimed the Congress President wore a jacket worth USD 995 at a concert organised by his party in the poll-bound State of Meghalaya while being “indifferent” to the woes of people.In a tweet, the BJP alleged the Congress government in Meghalaya was mired in corruption. It said instead of attending a musical event, Mr. Gandhi should have given a report card of the State government.“So @OfficeOfRG, soot(pun intended!)-boot ki sarkar with ’black’ money fleeced from Meghalayan State exchequer by rampant corruption? Instead of singing away our woes, you could have given a report card of your inefficient govt in Meghalaya! Your indifference mocks us!,” the BJP’s Meghalaya unit tweeted.So @OfficeOfRG , soot(pun intended!)-boot ki sarkar with ‘black’ money fleeced from Meghalayan State exchequer by rampant corruption? Instead of singing away our woes, you could have given a report card of your inefficient govt in Meghalaya! Your indifference mocks us! pic.twitter.com/sRvj5eoyRb— BJP Meghalaya (@BJP4Meghalaya) January 30, 2018  The party’s State unit also tweeted an image of a jacket similar to the one Mr. Gandhi wore having a price tag of USD 995 (little over Rs 63,000).The tweet, suggesting that the jacket worn by Mr. Gandhi was bought with black money, drew a sharp reaction from Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury, who alleged the BJP was leading a “suit-boot ki sarkar” at the Centre, and had no moral authority to question Mr. Gandhi.She said the saffron party was “frustrated” due to Mr. Gandhi’s “rising popularity”.Ms. Chowdhury accused the Modi government of being “idle”, and said it should rather focus on issues such as the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, and rising prices of fuel and vegetables.“Their frustration is directly proportionate to the rising popularity of Rahul Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi connects with the young. So, this idle and suit-boot ki sarkar has no right to talk about it,” she said.“Those who wove own name on suit, do they have any moral authority to question Rahul Gandhi’s jacket? How do they know the rate of the jacket? I will show the jacket can be bought at Rs 700. What will they say then?” she asked.Mr. Gandhi had mocked Prime Minister Modi with his “suit-boot ki sarkar” jibe when he wore a suit with his name finely embroidered on the stripes for a meeting with the then US President Barack Obama. The suit was later auctioned and bought for over ₹4.3 crore by a Surat businessman.Mr. Gandhi is in Meghalaya to campaign for the party for the upcoming Assembly polls.He had attended the concert in Shillong yesterday, apparently to reach out to the young voters.Dressed in blue denim trousers and a black jacket, he urged the youth to love and respect each other to make the country strong.last_img read more

first_imgIn a bid to check the spree of illegal encroachments on the hill slopes of the district’s eco-sensitive Pavana dam area, the Western Bench of the National Green Tribunal has issued notices to the State Environment Department, and 53 other people, including many celebrities.A Bench comprising Justices S.P. Wangdi and Dr. Nagin Nanda was acting on an environment interest litigation (EIL) filed by Sanjay Vishwanath ‘Bala’ Bhegade, a Bharatiya Janata Party legislator from Maval, around 18 km from the city.“The area [in Maval Taluk] under the water catchments of the Pavana Dam, surrounded by hills, has been declared as an ‘eco-sensitive zone’ by the committee formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in 2000 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Pronab Sen,” reads Mr. Bhegade’s petition.However, recently, a number of diamond merchants, cricketers, industrialists and Bollywood personalities have built luxurious villas and farm-houses on the hills, said advocate Asim Sarode, counsel for the petitioner.“The illicit constructions are shearing away the natural contours on the hilltops and hill-slopes, and the rampant felling of trees was causing permanent damage to the environment,” said Mr. Bhegade.Mr. Bhegade also alleged that the constructions had already disrupted water channels, forcing streams and rivers to alter their natural flowing path, posing a serious risk of landslides. “Earlier, some villagers had approached government authorities to apprise them of the situation. But other than sending notices to the owners of the illegal constructions, no action was taken. Hence, I have filed this EIL,” Mr. Bhegade said. Despite the ecological damage and a significant reduction of forest and green cover area, the taluk still retains its importance as a forest area rich in biodiversity, as is noted by the Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan panels on the ecological preservation of the Western Ghats, Mr. Sarode said.The tribunal also reprimanded the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) and the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board for the rise in encroachments in the area. The next hearing is set for August 6.last_img read more

first_imgAt least four alleged cattle smugglers transporting a dead buffalo were assaulted by a mob here in the early hours of Wednesday, the police said.Villagers allegationVillagers alleged that the men were caught in village Nagla Mandhata while they were transporting the buffalo’s carcass in a pick-up van.They were, however, rescued by the police who intervened in time, Hasayan SHO Jitendra Kumar said.‘Animal poisoned’The owner of the buffalo alleged that the animal had been poisoned by the fourcattle smugglers.Tough actionSuperintendent of Police Sushil Ghule said tough action would be initiated if it was found that they were cattle smugglers.The incident, which took place before dawn in Hathras district, about 200 km from Delhi, assumes significance as it came against the backdrop of a backlash over the death of a man attacked by cow vigilantes in Rajasthan.Centre’s advisoryThe Centre had put out an advisory on Tuesday asserting that States need to take measures against such incidents.last_img read more

first_imgWest Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party president Dilip Ghosh’s vehicle was attacked Thursday at Sitalkuchi area of Cooch Behar district by unidentified miscreants.Mr. Ghosh is in the district to take part in the saffron party’s ‘Rathyatra’. He was attacked when he was on his way to Mathabhanga in the district.“TMC leaders attacked my car and shouted slogans demanding that I should go back. Some of my party workers were injured during the violence. The police were watching merely as mute spectators,” he said after the incident at Sitai More in Sitalkuchi.Senior TMC leader Rabindranath Ghosh termed the allegation as baseless and said the attack was a fallout of infighting in BJP.The district police administration said they are looking into the incident.Save Democracy RallyBJP president Amit Shah is scheduled to kickstart the party’s ‘Save Democracy Rally’, comprising three ‘Rath Yatras’, in the state.BJP has claimed that the Rath Yatra would be a “game changer” in West Bengal politics and Shah had set a target of winning 22 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state.Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah, several top BJP leaders and chief ministers such as Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Raman Singh, Yogi Adityanath, Uma Bharati and Giriraj Singh will participate in the campaign.Mr. Modi is likely to attend four rallies to give a thrust to the party’s campaign in the state ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.last_img read more

first_imgThe Chhatra JD(U), student wing of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumars party, won the president’s post in the Patna University Students Union (PUSU) elections, the results of which were declared in the early hours of of Thursday. Putting up its best-ever performance, the student body of JD(U) also won the treasurer’s post while the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of RSS bagged the other key offices of vice president, general secretary and joint secretary. This is only the second time in the history of Chhatra JD(U) when its candidates have won key posts in PUSU elections. Previously, the student body had won the joint secretarys post in 2012. The PUSU polls this year witnessed fierce campus rivalry between the Chhatra JD(U) and the ABVP, with allegations of JD(U) national vice-president Prashant Kishor meddling in the elections putting the partys relations with its ally BJP under strain. Incidentally, both Mr. Kumar and his deputy Sushil Modi a senior BJP leader had been PUSU leaders.Hailing the victory of Mohit Prakash and Kumar Satyam for the posts of president and treasurer respectively, JD(U) spokesman Neeraj Kumar tweeted “poll results have placed a mirror before those who have become synonymous with lumpenisation of politics. Patna University students have voted in favour of politics that is free from corruption and imbued with the virtues of character and good conduct.” For the other top posts, the ABVP winners are Anjana Singh (vice president), Manikant Mani (general secretary) and Raja Ravi (joint secretary). Polling had taken place for the PUSU elections on Wednesday and counting of votes continued through the night.last_img read more

first_imgA day after the Supreme Court indicated that BSP chief Mayawati might have to repay the money spent on erecting statues and memorials in parts of Uttar Pradesh, the senior leader urged media to not “distort” the oral observation of the court.“Sure to get justice in this matter also. Media and BJP leaders please stop kite flying,” Ms. Mayawati said on Saturday.Taking to Twitter, Ms. Mayawati said marvellous memorials and parks “built to honour hitherto ignored great Sants, Gurus and great men born in deprived and oppressed Dalit and OBCs are new grand identity and tourist attraction of Uttar Pradesh which gives regular income to government.”“We are of the tentative view that Mayawati has to deposit the public money spent on her statues and party symbol to the State exchequer,” Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi orally observed on Friday, while hearing a petition alleging that crores worth of public money was spent by then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister on these acts of self-aggrandisement.last_img read more

first_imgTimely flow of intelligence and planned action by security personnel led to the peaceful conduct of polling in the Maoist-affected district of Malkangiri in Odisha on April 11.A month before the first phase of the Lok Sabha election, the district police had reliable information about entry of one military platoon of the outlawed CPI(Maoist) organisation from Chhattisgarh for violent activities during the polling process.Malkangiri Superintendent of Police (SP) Jagmohan Meena said that a week before the polls, intelligence reports hinted at Maoists concentrating in the Dandakaranya region, including areas of Malkangiri and Dantewada in adjoining Chhattisgarh. Death of a BJP MLA and five security men in a landmine blast triggered by the Maoists in Chhattisgarh on April 9 also enhanced caution in Odisha.All sensitive polling stations were sanitised before polling parties reached there. Helicopters were used to transport polling parties and EVMs to the erstwhile cut-off area of Balimela reservoir. There were reliable inputs about Maoists’ plan to ambush polling parties for the Mudulipada area, where six booths had been clubbed for security reason. Two days before the start of polling, Special Operation Group teams reached the area to keep a watch from tactical positions.To reduce vulnerability, polling teams were sent to Mudulipada booths on April 10 night. On April 11, at 2 p.m. while polling was on, Malkangiri SP received information about the Maoists’ plan to ambush and loot EVMs between Mudulipada and Khairaput during the return journey of the polling parties. In this remote hilly jungle terrain vulnerable to IEDs, it is hard to secure road after evening.After discussing with the administration, the Chief Electoral Officer and the police officers, a route map was drawn for safe return of the polling parties on foot, Mr. Meena said. The SOG teams received coordinates of the path through satellite phone. They had to walk this 15 km least treaded hilly jungle path with polling parties and EVMs. The team’s movement was continuously monitored from the district police headquarters. On April 11 late night, the team started its return journey from Mudulipada.As it is hard to walk through the hilly jungle at night, the polling teams took shelter at a safe place. On April 12 early morning, they started walking to the safe region and reached Khairaput at 10 a.m. to be transported to Malkangiri town. During the Lok Sabha and the Assembly elections in Odisha in 2014, Maoists had looted EVMs from 15 polling booths in the district. Due to their threat and abduction of officials, panchayat elections could not be held in remote areas of Chitrakonda block in 2017.last_img read more

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi, which goes to polls on Sunday, continues to have only one air quality monitoring station, despite being ranked as among the top 3 most polluted cities in the world three years ago, a Right to Information request has found.Zero ‘good-air’ daysThe Central Pollution Control Board’s 2015 dataset (made public in 2016) found Varanasi’s air quality to be among the most toxic in the country and that it had only one air quality monitor capable of measuring particulate matter 2.5 and particulate matter 10 levels. Out of 227 days measured in 2015, the city had zero ‘good-air’ days and this was attributed to the heavy levels of industrial pollution. Biomass burning, vehicular emissions, brick kilns and diesel generator sets were also major contributors.  Let Me Breathe, a portal that investigates how people cope with poor air quality, queried the city’s civic officials and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board with Right to Information requests to check what progress the city had made in improving its air quality.While the average air quality for PM 2.5 from 2017-2019 had improved to 104 from 206 in 2016, the maximum PM levels breached continued to be above 200, or in the “very poor” category.‘Most polluted’“Varanasi is one of the most polluted cities on the planet. Still there is only one monitoring station. While in the last few years the government has done amazing work on the beautification of the city and solar, it’s time to make air pollution a serious priority as well,” Tamseel Hussain, Founder, Let Me Breathe, said.While Varanasi’s municipal bodies had taken steps to address road dust and curb road-side burning of garbage, no data was provided on the number of violations and the steps taken to reprimand offenders, the RTI queries revealed.Varanasi is one of the cities that is part of the National Clean Air Campaign, an initiative by the Union Environment Ministry to improve air quality in 100 cities by 20% at least by 2024. One of the commitments under this is to improve air quality monitoring.In February, a study by IIT Kanpur and the Shakti Foundation showed Varanasi suffered from poor air quality for 70% of the days between October and November 2018 with PM 2.5 levels crossing 170 micrograms per cubic metre against the national average of 60 and the WHO average of 25.last_img read more

first_imgYou know the story: Kids leave home to explore the world, eventually settling down in the greenest pastures they can find. But when these restless youngsters are baby fish and coral larvae, how do they choose the best place to make their new home? New research suggests that these creatures smell their way to neighborhoods where the living is good. Scents emitted by certain species of adult corals draw fish and coral larvae to healthy reefs, while the noxious odor of out-of-control seaweed drives them away from damaged ecosystems.“These are fantastic results,” says Jelle Atema, a chemical and behavioral ecologist at Boston University. The findings demonstrate “dramatic differences” in coral or fish behavior, he says, and “how important chemical signals are in regulating the interactions between corals and seaweeds and fishes.”Young fish and coral larvae are cast out into the open ocean after they are born, to swim or float away on currents to new ecosystems. Some eventually return to their spawning grounds—especially if their hometown happens to be in a protected marine habitat—while others settle elsewhere. But these days, many fish and coral larvae are finding themselves with limited options: More and more unprotected reefs have been taken over by seaweed, which smothers coral, disrupts food webs, and perhaps even poisons potential settlers.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(*)Both fish and coral larvae have been observed navigating away from those degraded reefs and toward healthy ecosystems. This behavior is particularly surprising for coral larvae, says Mark Hay, a chemical marine ecologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta. A baby coral is “a bag of snot with some cilia around it. How could it go one place and not another?”Hay and fellow Georgia Tech biologist Danielle Dixson decided to investigate. First, they collected water from marine protected areas with healthy reefs off the coast of Fiji and from nearby unprotected reefs where seaweed had taken over. Back in the lab, they used those samples to infuse the chemical signature of each potential habitat to create areas in a flume tank with currents running through it that “smelled” like each type of ecosystem. Then they gave fish and coral larvae collected from Fijian coastal waters a choice: Would they swim toward an area spiked with the scent of a healthy reef, or toward an area that smelled like seaweed? Would they be able to tell the difference based on smell alone?It turned out they could. Even in the absence of actual adult corals and seaweed, coral larvae were four to five times more likely to swim toward the sweet-smelling “neighborhoods” than the more putrid smelling seaweed-dominated waters from less healthy systems, the team reports online today in Science. Meanwhile, young fish gravitated to the healthy-smelling waters four to eight times more than to the seaweed-scented areas.Similar results were seen in the field, where researchers set up temporary populations of live coral, algae, and seaweed species, a mere 100 meters apart. The young corals in particular studiously avoided the noxious seaweed: “There’s a blanket of stink on the bottom over there and they just won’t go through,” Hay says. The most attractive environment for coral larvae by far proved to be a combination of adult coral and crustal coralline algae; adding the scent of algae to the plates in the field increased settlement rate by 1600% compared with the controls. What’s more, surveys of Fiji’s protected reefs showed five to eight times more new fish recruits than in unprotected reefs nearby.“Any one of those experiments alone would be pretty cool, but the combination is just incredible,” says Nancy Knowlton, a coral reef expert from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the research. Combining lab and field experiments paints a “much more realistic” view of the power of smells in the water, she says. “They [the corals and seaweed] are obviously changing the whole chemical ecology of the water around the reef.”Knowlton says she is pleased to see that the research also points to low-cost tools for restoring reefs. Perhaps parrotfish, which like to munch on seaweed, could be given a reprieve from commercial fishing; their increased population could help control the seaweed and its nasty odor with little help from humans. Fishermen could also plant adult corals from attractive species—or even add a dash of crustose coralline algae—to attract more young fish and coral larvae to degraded areas, something like real estate agents baking cookies before an open house to make a home seem more attractive.Reefs face increasing pollution and ocean acidification, along with rising temperatures in a changing world, and for the past decade researchers have been full of gloom and doom, says Robert Steneck, a coral reef ecologist at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center in Walpole. He, too, is happy to see these results, noting that these suggested management techniques could start a positive trend. As more and more fish and coral settled in these formerly undesirable neighborhoods, the reef would start generating healthy smells on its own, attracting even more species and eventually restoring the damaged reef to its former glory.last_img read more

first_imgHave you ever stared at a map on your phone, utterly confused, as your GPS cryptically directed you to “head east”? It turns out that the entorhinal region of the brain—an area best known for its role in memory formation—may be at least partly to blame for your poor sense of direction. According to a study published online today in Current Biology, this brain region may help humans decide which direction to go to reach a destination. To traverse any environment, a navigator has to have a sense of both the direction they’re currently facing and the direction to the destination. In the study, participants explored a virtual, square room with four unique objects in each corner and different landscapes on each of the four walls. Once they were familiar with the environment, the volunteers had to navigate a series of paths from one corner to another while the researchers monitored their brain activity with functional magnetic resonance imaging. The entorhinal region has long been known to help people identify which direction they’re facing already, but to plan a route, navigators must also imagine the direction of their destination. The study showed that this brain region likely also has a role in decisions about which directions to face next to get where we want to go. And as the participants imagined their way through the virtual room, the researchers found that the strength of the signal from this region was directly related to navigational performance, providing some new insights into why some people never need to stop for directions and others can’t even navigate their way out of a parking garage.last_img read more

first_imgFor 30 years, researchers have struggled to determine which immune responses best foil HIV, information that has guided the design of AIDS vaccines and other prevention approaches. Now, a research team has shown that a lab-made molecule that mimics an antibody from our immune system may have more protective power than anything the body produces, keeping four monkeys free of HIV infection despite injection of large doses of the virus. Intensive hunts are under way for natural HIV antibodies that can stop—or “neutralize”—the many variants of the constantly mutating AIDS virus. Researchers have recently found several dozen broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) that are highly potent and work at low doses. But viral immunologist Michael Farzan of the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida, and 33 co-workers have recently taken a different strategy, building a novel molecule based on our knowledge of how HIV infects cells. HIV infects white blood cells by sequentially attaching to two receptors on their surfaces. First, HIV’s own surface protein, gp120, docks on the cell’s CD4 receptor. This attachment twists gp120 such that it exposes a region on the virus that can attach to the second cellular receptor, CCR5. The new construct combines a piece of CD4 with a smidgen of CCR5 and attaches both receptors to a piece of an antibody. In essence, the AIDS virus locks onto the construct, dubbed eCD4-Ig, as though it were attaching to a cell and thus is neutralized.In test-tube experiments, eCD4-Ig outperformed all known natural HIV antibodies at stopping the virus from infecting cells, Farzan’s team reports in this week’s issue of Nature. To test how it works in animals, they then put a gene for eCD4-Ig into a harmless virus and infected four monkeys; the virus forces the monkey’s cells to mass produce the construct. When they “challenged” these monkeys and four controls with successively higher doses of an AIDS virus for up to 34 weeks, none of the animals that received eCD4-Ig became infected, whereas all of the untreated ones did.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The new study ups the ante on a similar gene therapy approach with natural antibodies that 6 years ago showed promise in monkey experiments, says an accompanying Nature editorial by AIDS vaccine researcher Nancy Haigwood of Oregon Health & Science University in Beaverton. “I am a huge fan of this paper,” Haigwood says. “It’s really very creative and a breakthrough as far as I am concerned.” Pediatrician Philip Johnson of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, whose lab in 2009 showed success with a gene therapy that delivers an HIV bNAb, adds that eCD4-Ig “is a beautiful thing.”Building on work by Johnson’s group, Farzan’s team stitched the gene for eCD4-Ig into an adeno-associated virus (AAV) that is harmless to humans. Those viruses, injected into monkey muscles, continued to produce eCD4-Ig for the 40 weeks of the experiment. “Everyone expects with AAV that this can go on forever,” Farzan says. The animals had no detectable immune response against the eCD4-Ig, presumably because it is so similar to pieces of their own cells.Not everyone is convinced that eCD4-Ig will ultimately work better than natural HIV antibodies. Virologist David Baltimore, a Nobel laureate based at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, is working with a group developing its own AAV gene therapy that delivers an HIV bNAb. He describes the eCD4-Ig chimera and the paper as “impressive” and says he welcomes this new approach. But Baltimore, who like Johnson has already moved into early phase human trials with his gene therapy, notes that the new work offers only test-tube and animal data. “It’s perhaps a better construct than the antibodies we’ve been using, but it’s a matter of how it plays out in human trials,” Baltimore says. “I don’t think it’s easy to tell how that will happen.”Johnson agrees that eCD4-Ig may not work as well as bNAbs in humans, but also says the natural antibodies, even if they have less potency and breadth, may be powerful enough to stop HIV. “How good is good enough?” Johnson asks. “Nobody has a clue about that. The only way you would know really is to do a bake-off in a human trial.”Farzan says in theory at least, it will be harder for the virus to mutate its way around eCD4-Ig than a bNAb, because HIV needs to bind to CD4 and CCR5. Whether any of these gene therapies will prove safe and practical remains to be seen. Farzan, for his part, has more experiments planned before moving into humans. “We need to do a lot more monkey studies to see if there’s anything weird,” he says.last_img read more