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

first_imgA Panama-flag merchant ship with 22 Indian crew members, including two from Kerala, went missing from Benin Coast of West Africa on Thursday+ . The owners of tanker ship MT Marine Express, which was loaded with gas oil, have sought the help of the directorate general of shipping in Mumbai to get in touch with their counterparts in Nigeria and Benin to carry out search operations for the merchant ship.Read it at Times of India Related Itemslast_img

first_imgAn Indian-origin woman and her ex-lover have been jailed for more than 20 years by an Australian court here for fatally poisoning her husband with cyanide-laced orange juice.Sofia Sam, 34, and Arun Kamalasanan, 36, both from Kerala, were in February found guilty of murdering Sofia’s husband Sam Abraham at his home in Epping in Melbourne in October 2015, Australian news agency AAP reported.Read it at The Hans Related Itemslast_img

first_imgJaskanwar Singh Gill told BBC Punjabi that he “refused” to remove his turban since it was made of cloth and would not hurt his opponent during a match.Any head gear that can harm an opponent is not allowed in the ring, according to international wrestling rules.Read it at BBC Related Itemslast_img

first_imgThree Indian American attorneys: Preeta Bansal of New York’s Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meager & From; Sri Srinivasan of O-Melveny & Myers (Washington DC) and Prakash Mehta of Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feld (Washington, DC) made the National Law Journal’s list of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America.The list includes such high powered names as presidential troubleshooter Vernon Jordan and American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero.  Related Itemslast_img read more

first_imgThe last date of applying for the EB-5 visa to the United States has been extended by over two months. People seeking the visa, which carries a current minimum investment requirement of $500,000, can now apply till Dec.7. The investment limit is expected to be increased in the next session.U.S. President Donald Trump signed a “Spending Bill” on Sept. 28, which carries the provision of the deadline extension for the EB-5 visa, the Times of India reported. The visa scheme, which was already under extension, was slated to expire on Sept. 30. But the U.S. government has extended it after the mid-term elections in the country.The EB-5 visa is an employment-based fifth preference category visa. It can help high net-worth individuals (HNIs) to obtain the green card for permanent residency in the United States for themselves and their immediate family through a one-time minimum investment of $500,000 into a new business that creates 10 or more jobs for Americans.This visa category was started in 1990 to attract capital investment in the country, and also create jobs in the United States. The minimum investment limit for visa applicants has been half a million dollars since then.However, last month American Congressman Aaron Schock, who is the chief sponsor of EB-5 Reauthorization Bill 2012, said that this minimum investment limit can be increased between $1 million and $1.3 million, as per an earlier report of PTI.The government is looking at introducing the changes but they may come only after December 2018, Schock had said at the time.Investor services firms fear that the increase in the minimum limit would reduce the number of Indians applying for this visa.Under the EB-5 visa program, the U.S. government allocates up to 10,000 visas annually to foreign nationals, with a per country cap of seven percent. If the quota for a country remains unfulfilled, the unused visas can be allotted to other countries. India is the third highest filer under this program, superseded only by China and Vietnam. Related ItemsEB 5 visaUnited Stateslast_img read more

first_imgU.S. federal agents have filed an extradition request for a former professor from India, who is accused of falsifying documents, and committing immigration fraud, among other charges, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.Anoop Shankar, a former West Virginia University and Virginia Commonwealth University medical professor, allegedly provided false information to immigration authorities, forged signatures of professors in fake recommendation letters, used fake credentials to claim the university job, and misused his university purchasing card.Shankar taught at WVU from 2008 to 2014, and left the school to travel to Virginia Commonwealth. Though fraud charges were filed against him by federal prosecutors in West Virginia in 2015, he did not return to the country, the report said, adding that the case remains under seal.The whereabouts of the former professor remain unknown. Federal agents believe that he left the United States in 2014 and started living in the United Arab Emirates, while interpol recently said that he traveled to India, the publication reported, citing an extradition affidavit.The investigation began in 2015 when Homeland Security Investigations Pittsburgh and authorities in West Virginia initiated investigations against him on suspicion of defrauding WVU of about $617,000 in salary paid to him. They also started probing the accusations of purchasing fraud through submission of false travel expenses, and the use of forged letters of professors in America and abroad submitted by him. He allegedly submitted false expenses of travels, took false ownership of various medical articles, and lied about his medical degrees.The detectives said that Shankar lied about possessing a doctorate degree in epidemiology and medical statistics from Mahatma Gandhi University and that he had undertaken medical residency at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the publication reported.He made false claims about owning memberships in several top organizations, and authorship of various medical articles.Shankar was living in Singapore when he applied at WVU in 2007 , according to the report.Before 2015, the university had no knowledge of his alleged fake credentials, and filed a petition for a non-immigrant worker on his behalf with the U.S. immigration authorities. In 2010, another form was issued by the institution in an appeal to make him a permanent resident, which was backed by various recommendation letters of professors, later found to be fake.Shankar’s alleged lies were discovered in 2012 while considering him for a newly created epidemiology position, the report said, adding that the fake documents and publications were discovered by Ian R.H. Rockett, a WVU professor and chair of the promotion and tenure committee.In March 2014, the professor left for a new position in Virginia Commonwealth by using some of the fake credentials that he used for WVU.“It is believed that Shankar departed based upon the pending investigation of his credentials,” wrote Scott Fell, an HSI agent, Pittsburgh Post Gazette said. Related ItemsUnited Statesvirginialast_img read more

first_imgTwo New York-based men have been convicted for defrauding Mumbai diamond merchants of more than $12 million in loose diamonds.Sholom Muratov, 36 and Menachem Abramov, 32, were convicted on Oct. 24 after a seven day trial in a Manhattan Federal Court on charges of conspiring to defraud diamond sellers.According to an official statement, ten other defendants have reportedly pleaded guilty in connection with this scam.United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman said, “These defendants engaged in a brazen, multimillion-dollar fraud scheme extending from New York to Mumbai.”Further, Muratov and Abramov have been found guilty of conspiring to commit mail fraud which carries a maximum jail sentence of up to 20 years. Muratov will be sentenced on Mar. 26, 2019, and Abramov will be sentenced two days later by Judge Lorna G. Schofield, who presided over the trial.The statement reveals that the duo was a part of a well-coordinated and wide-ranging conspiracy to con a group of diamond wholesalers in Mumbai out of millions of dollars in loose diamonds known as “melee” diamonds. The sham included several false representations of numbers to the victim merchants.They deceived the victims by showing their corporate affiliations, longevity, and track records of those corporations. They also deceived the Indian merchants by convincing that the defendants were not affiliated with one another, and most significantly they implied to agree to payment terms proposed by the Indian merchants to induce them to release diamonds without having received full payment.By these successful fraudulent misrepresentations, the defendants managed to convince the Indian merchants to provide them loose diamonds worth over $12 million, for which Muratov, Abramov, and their co-conspirators provided no payment.  These diamonds were later sold in Manhattan’s Diamond District.In May, two Indian-origin men were among three men charged in the U.S. for allegedly orchestrating a huge multi-million dollar investment scam. The three were accused of defrauding investors to the tune of $300 million in connection with funding of a merger transaction designed to convert their company into a private entity. Earlier this year, New York-based Anilesh Ahuja who served as the founder, CEO, and Chief Investment Officer of Premium Point Investments LLP, that looked into hedge funds focused on structured credits products, was arrested based on his alleged “participation in securities fraud and wire fraud which related to mismarking of certain securities held in hedge funds that the firm looked into, thereby fraudulently inflating the net asset value of those funds as reported to investors and potential investors from 2014 to 2016.” Related Itemslast_img read more

first_imgThe Gujarat government on Monday canceled all permissions granted to the bankrupt Sterling group promoted by the absconding Sandesara brothers to develop an all-weather port in Dahej.The absconding promoters of the Sterling group – Nitin and Chetan Sandesara – are alleged to have defrauded over ₹ 14,500 crore of public money. Two of their flagships–Sterling Biotech and Sterling SEZ are in bankruptcy tribunals now.Both the brothers are absconding since their names came up in the bank loan scam and money laundering activities and federal agencies began probing them.“Chief minister Vijay Rupani today decided to cancel all the permissions given for building an all-weather berthing port at Dahej to Sterling Ports of Nitin Sandesara,” the chief minister’s office said in a statement on Monday.“Rupani has also directed the Gujarat Maritime Board to recover the amount that the company had to pay as bank guarantees and also to take re-possession of the 84.95 hectares given to the company for developing the port,” the statement added.The Gujarat Maritime Board and a consortium led by Sterling Biotech had entered into an agreement to develop the Dahej port as an all-weather direct berthing port in 2009.Following this, the board had handed over 84.95 hectares to the group in 2010.The Sterling consortium had formed a new company – Sterling Port – to develop the port and had also signed a concession agreement in 2014 with the board.As per the agreement, the company was to invest ₹ 2,500 crore in the first phase and had to deposit 1.5 percent of the equity along with another ₹ 5 crore as performance guarantee with the maritime board.But the company is yet to start any work on the port, government officials said, adding it even failed to deposit ₹ 37.50 crore which it had to pay as bank guarantee to the government.Earlier in the day, the board of directors of the maritime board met and recommended to cancel the contract, they said, adding following this, the Chief Minister ordered cancellation of all the agreements and permissions given to the Sandesara group.The Sandesaras brothers are alleged to have committed bank frauds to the tune of ₹ 14,500 crore of the one by Sterling Biotech alone is around ₹8,100 crore, according to the Enforcement Directorate. The brothers have been absconding since the federal agency CBI registered a bank fraud case against them in 2017.last_img read more

first_imgThe Uttar Pradesh government on Sunday shunted out the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police of Sonbhadra, besides ordering action against 13 other officials after they were indicted in an inquiry into the killing of 10 Gond tribals last month over a land dispute.‘FIRs against guilty’ Addressing a press conference at his residence, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said FIRs will be registered against several police and administration officials for alleged irregularities and members of the Adarsh Krishi Sahkari Samiti, Umbha, on charges of land grabbing. The disputed land in Umbha and Saphi villages will also be transferred back and registered in the name of the gram sabha, he said, while announcing that a Special Investigation Team will look into the matter. Mr. Adityanath said departmental proceedings have been initiated against Sonbhadra District Magistrate Ankit Kumar Agrawal and Superintendent of Police Salman Taj Patil for taking “one-sided decision” against the villagers. Directives have been issued to attach Mr. Agrawal and Mr. Patil to the Personnel Department and the DGP Headquarters, respectively, he said. S. Ramalingam has been made the new District Magistrate of Sonbhadra, while Prabhakar Chaudhary is the new Superintendent of Police, officials said. “The entire matter will be probed by an SIT. The SIT will be headed by DIG SIT J. Ravindra Gaud and will have Additional SP Amrita Mishra along with three inspectors. DG SIT R.P. Singh will be monitoring the work of the SIT,” the Chief Minister said. He said another team will be set up under Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) Renuka Kumar to look into the issue of land grabbing by “fake” societies in the last 60-70 years in Mirzapur and Sonbhadra.‘No action on report’ “Fake societies in Sonbhadra and Mirzapur have grabbed more than one lakh acre of land. In 1972, the then Chief Minister Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna had constituted a probe committee under Mangaldev Visharad. However, no action was taken as a number of Congress leaders were involved,” Mr. Adityanath said.last_img read more

first_imgA drive for good nutrition among pregnant women and children in a southern Assam district has been given a gooseberry candy twist. This follows a report that the targeted groups find the prescribed iron-folic acid tablets repulsive.According to the 2015 National Family Health Survey, 47.2% of the women of reproductive age in Hailakandi were anaemic. The district, thus, has the most anaemic children below 5 years, adolescents and women of reproductive age in Assam.But mothers, pregnant women and children in the district, data reveal, consume only 24.3% of the total iron-folic acid tablets that the district receives and distributes. “The tablets given to these groups are often not consumed as they feel nauseated or have constipation issues. There are also myths that these tablets will kill them or make them incapable of conceiving,” District Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli told The Hindu. Amla, jaggery comboTo get around the problem while launching Poshan Maah, or nutrition month, a few days ago, the district administration decided to produce roundish amla-gur candies with a dose of salt. Nutritionists involved in the campaign said amla, or gooseberry, is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, while gur, or jaggery, is rich in iron, vital vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system.“The gooseberry candy is a home-made recipe, and is provided alongside iron-folic acid tablets as behavioural change in nutritious eating is a slow process. If women and children avoid the tablet, they can get the required vitamin and mineral inputs through the improvised delicacy of which ingredients are available locally,” Ms. Jalli said. The candy is cost-effective too, she said. Anganwadi workers, supervisors and mothers have been engaged to prepare and distribute the ‘laddoos’ with the ingredients given by the district authorities.“This is a novel initiative that should go a long way in checking anaemia that increases the risk during pregnancy and at childbirth, besides resulting in low birth weight and malnourished children,” Anganwadi worker Labiba Begum Barlaskar said.About 32.5% of the children aged below five in Hailakandi are underweight. The average figure for Assam is 30%.last_img read more

first_imgTwo children died in a stampede during ‘Chhath puja’ (offering to the sun god) late on Saturday in Bihar’s Aurangabad district.The incident happened near the Sun temple in Deo area of the district where a large number of devotees had gathered to perform the puja to the setting sun.The district officials said the incident happened when the devotees were returning after observing the religious ritual.Sun temple at Deo in Aurangabad district is famous for ‘Chhath puja’ congregation.The deceased children have been identified as Prince Kumar, 4, and a seven-year-old girl from Bihta of Patna district.District Magistrate Rahul Ranjan Mahiwal and Superintendent of Police Deepak Barnwal said the incident happened as an unexpected number of devotees had gathered at the temple and this led to a stampede.The officials met the family members of the children and said an ex gratia amount would be given to them.The four-day ‘Chhath puja’ ended on Sunday morning after devotees offered obeisance to the rising sun.last_img read more

first_imgTyphoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Dillinger missed the finals against Ginebra due to a hamstring injury.The Bolts won the two teams’ lone duel in the elimination round, 93-78, in a game where the Gin Kings blew a double-digit lead in the first half.Game 1 of their best-of-7 series is on Friday at Quezon Convention Center in Lucena.“It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be rough,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.“You all better believe that this is going to be war. We’re just excited at this point. I’m not sleeping. I woke up at 3 a.m. and I’m ready to go,” Dillinger said. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH05:38San Miguel, Ginebra expect long, gruelling PBA Finals series01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  LATEST STORIES BPC award the least of concerns for Slaughter, Newsome Read Next “As much as we want to have a short series, two tough teams will battle and I think it’s going to be a long one,” Ginebra playmaker LA Tenorio told reporters during the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals press conference Tuesday.“Two great teams, two great coaches. It’s going to be a long, hard-fought series,” said Ginebra import Justin Brownlee, whose buzzer-beating triple won the last season’s title for the Gin Kings in Game 6.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Bolts and Kings are loaded with firepower but they are also known for being two of the best defensive teams in the league.And Meralco head coach Norman Black thinks the game will be won on the defensive end. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary “I know they’re capable of scoring 100 points and we are too, but I expect this to be a defensive struggle for how many games it will go,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black.Meralco is No. 1 in points allowed with an average of 88.8 points per game while Ginebra is in fifth at 96.7.The finals is a sequel, but a lot has changed since.Ginebra now has Greg Slaughter, who just returned from a knee injury at the start of the conference, and rookie Kevin Ferrer.Meralco also had a major upgrade in adding veteran forward Ranidel de Ocampo, rookie Mike Tolomia and guard Garvo Lanete via trades while also welcoming back key player Jared Dillinger.ADVERTISEMENT BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight PBA IMAGESIn a Finals series pitting two evenly-matched teams, Games 5, 6 and 7 will be necessary.At least that’s the consensus among players and coaches from both Barangay Ginebra and Meralco ahead of their championship rematch.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ View commentslast_img read more

first_imgMILO executives during the announcement of the Philippine team for the FC Barcelona training on Wednesday. Photo by Bong LozadaThirteen kids are set to go on a trip of a lifetime as they head to  Spain this October to experience the brand of football of the La Liga giant FC Barcelona.The selected youngsters, who were chosen after two-day camp conducted by MILO and FCB Escola Youth Academy, will be in Barcelona from October 15 to 23 for a series of trainings and other activities including watching a live La Liga match between Barcelona and Malaga at Camp Nou.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  View comments LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary LATEST STORIES But Willy De Ocampo, the Vice President and Business Unit Manager of MILO Philippines, said they are “committed to bringing everybody to Barcelona.”“Rest assured there won’t be anyone left behind, everyone will fly either on Saturday or Thursday,” said De Ocampo. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fightcenter_img Tamaraws come up short against the Green Archers anew From 150 participants, Lien Dale Manuel, Lara Angela Amante, Liam Arc Villaran, Kevin Hadap, Heaven Andrei Teodosio, Lorenzo Miguel Castillo Plaza, Alexis Caitlin Tan, Joseph Kyne Garces, Marcus Lucas Arias, Lorenz Albert Tortona, Enzo Gacutan Courbet, Boris Malcolm Uy, and Ethan Jacob Roxas impressed coaches the most during the camp held last September 2 to 3.“We believe that we have a really good team of kids who exemplify the right mix of values and skills that both MILO and FC Barcelona advocate,” said the brand’s sports executive Robbie De Vera Wednesday during the press conference in Taguig.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutFormer Barcelona defender Eric Abidal will also join the young footballers in the training camp where they will also undergo classroom sessions at FCB Escola and technical skills development on the pitch.Unfortunately, there were hiccups when it came to processing of visa with a some of the kids with only a few days left before the trip. Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf PLAY LIST 01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

first_imgHouston Rockets’ Chris Paul, right, steps over Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) after losing the ball out of bounds during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Houston guard Chris Paul is out for the Rockets’ game in Sacramento on Wednesday night because of a bruised left knee and coach Mike D’Antoni isn’t counting on him Saturday for the home opener against Dallas.“It’s not a concern, it’s just nagging,” D’Antoni said before the game against the Kings. “We’ll sit him until the training staff thinks he’s ready to go and try to get over it totally.”ADVERTISEMENT View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong Citycenter_img Kin of Misamis Oriental hero cop to get death benefits, award — PNP Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Tuesday’s game was the first since March 9, 2015, that Paul was held to four or fewer points.D’Antoni isn’t concerned about Paul falling behind integrating and getting comfortable alongside JamesHarden in one of the Western Conference’s newest backcourt dynamic duos.“I don’t think it’s a challenge, you’ve got two great players that play very well on the ball and off the ball,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t see a problem. He wasn’t healthy yesterday so he was going half speed and we’re playing Golden State, so that was the challenge yesterday. They’ve looked good in practice. I think they’ll keep figuring things out a little bit better and make it easier on each other. But we’re looking forward to just getting him back healthy.”ADVERTISEMENT Hayward from hospital: It’s hurting me that I can’t be there Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Eric Gordon was to start in place of Paul, who still could be ready by Saturday but D’Antoni said, “I think he’s still in play but I think it’s hard.”Paul had four points and shot 2 for 9 in the Rockets’ season-opening 122-121 win at Golden State on Tuesday night but was limited by soreness in the knee. He led the Rockets with 11 assists and also grabbed eight rebounds, while playing 33 minutes in his regular-season debut with Houston after being traded away by the Los Angeles Clippers during the offseason.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Man, I got through it,” Paul told reporters after the game in Oakland. “It was cool. Tough game, but it’s all about getting the win.”Paul was hampered at the end of the preseason by the knee pain which continued flaring Tuesday, and D’Antoni said the perennial All-Star “is playing on one leg right now.” LATEST STORIES Read Nextlast_img read more

first_imgBrace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “Have been very, very tough conditions yesterday and today,” said the top-ranked Nadal, who played at night on Friday after the temperatures had dropped. “It’s not nice to see players suffering that much on court.”The tournament’s extreme heat policy calls for the roofs to be closed on the main show courts and play to be suspended on outer courts when the temperature reaches 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT), which takes into account humidity and wind speed, reaches 32.5 Celsius (90.5 Fahrenheit).FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe high temperature Friday marginally topped 40 Celsius, but the WBGT remained below the threshold, so play was not halted.Cornet said she began feeling dizzy at the beginning of the second set against Belgium’s Elise Mertens and, at one point, fell to her back on the court in obvious distress. She received a medical timeout so a trainer could check her pulse and blood pressure and wrap her in an ice vest before she returned to the court. Cornet was able to finish the match, losing 7-5, 6-4. But she later said it was “dangerous” to play in that kind of heat.“The (official) limit of not playing the match is really high. I think this limit should be a little bit lower because playing in this condition is not nice for anyone,” she said. “I would never give up because of (the heat), that’s for sure. But you push your body so hard, you almost feel like you’re on the edge.”Tournament director Craig Tiley defended the response of officials to the extreme heat on both Thursday and Friday, saying “we start the event with this set of rules and policies in place, and in the interest of fairness, can’t change them halfway through.”“Protecting our players and the fairness of the competition is paramount in these conditions, which we acknowledge can be challenging,” he said, adding the extreme heat policy would be reviewed after the tournament to see if adjustments need to be made.Petra Martic, who won a two-hour, third-round match against Luksika Kumkhum during the hottest part of the day on Friday, said she got blisters on her feet from the sizzling court and had to take painkillers after the second set.ADVERTISEMENT France’s Alize Cornet is attended to by a trainer and tournament staff after suffering from the heat during her third round match against Belgium’s Elise Mertens at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)MELBOURNE, Australia — French player Alize Cornet has called for the extreme heat policy at the Australian Open to be re-evaluated after she said she nearly fainted in the broiling temperatures during her third-round match Friday at Melbourne Park.Other players echoed her concerns, with Rafael Nadal saying playing in such extreme heat can be “a little bit dangerous for the health.”ADVERTISEMENT Asian shares slide on weak Japan data; US markets closed 8th Top Leaders Forum assessed the progress of public-private efforts in building climate and disaster resilient communities Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments DOST-Pagasa 11 A.M. weather update, November 22, 2019 PLAY LIST 05:08DOST-Pagasa 11 A.M. weather update, November 22, 201900:50Trending Articles04:04‘Quiel’ now a severe tropical storm – Pagasa01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Defense wins games for GlobalPort in streak Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa “It’s really tough on your feet to play in these conditions,” she said. “I was hoping they would close (the roof), but the temperature was not high enough. … So unfortunately it stayed this way.”French player Gael Monfils staggered through part of his second-round loss to Novak Djokovic on Thursday, saying he “had a small heat stroke for 40 minutes,” and likewise described the conditions as a risk to players.Roger Federer, who requested to play at night to avoid the blistering heat on Thursday, said he believed the officials were doing the best they could under the circumstances.“What do you do … stop all matches? The lucky guys on the big courts, they get to play under the roof. The other guys get postponed till the next day? Is that great?” he said. “Is everybody going to finish at 3 in the morning, like a rainy day in New York. I’ve had that, too. Is that better? I’m not sure, honestly.”Click here for more weather related news.” Read Next MOST READ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LATEST STORIES Do not bring these items in SEA Games venues BI on alert for illegally deployed OFWs to Iraqlast_img read more