Armed rally ends peacefully

first_imgIn a huge armed rally in Chandannagar, a former French colony on the west bank of Hooghly river, many were seen brandishing swords, falchions and a plethora of weapons on Sunday evening. The rally, organised by a Vishwa Hindu Parishad affiliate, Hindu Jagran Manch, was a follow-up of last week’s Ram Navami. The organisers told the participants to carry a weapon each and thus the local blacksmiths did brisk business.“I got this made last year, but more among us made their weapons this year,” said a local businessman, Niraj Prajapati, showing his sword.The swords about four to five kg heavy with irregular edges injured half a dozen men as they were engaged in mock-fights. Teenagers were seen swirling the weapons above their heads and slicing the air at knee-height, while many women danced their way to the river Hooghly. Foreigners, predominantly followers of Lord Krishna, could also be seen rendering kirtan, devotional songs, in the rally. Organisers said they had assembled men from various parts of the districts for Sunday’s programme.Realising that the post-Ram Navami march, even if it was organised by their rivals, was a public relations opportunity as thousands took part, Trinamool Congress made its presence felt. TMC’s Hooghly MP Ratna De Nag and Mayor of the city corporation, Ram Chakravarty were seen greeting the participants, many of whom were carrying swords and saffron flags. A local leader said that the MP and the Mayor were “monitoring the situation as it was volatile.”Pat for policeThe day, however, passed off peacefully. From last Wednesday, when the rallies took off, there have been reports of incidents of communal tension in some urban pockets. But in none of the incidents, the situation spiralled out of control. A former Chief Secretary told The Hindu that the police did “a commendable job” in defusing tension. “I’m aware how explosive the situation was two days back. Many rumours were spreading but the police worked silently and skilfullyto defuse tension across the State,” the senior bureaucrat said.Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Anuj Sharma told The Hindu that the situation remained largely peaceful. “ Action has been taken against trouble-makers. Some people have been arrested. The situation is peaceful,” Mr. Sharma said.last_img read more

Left’s vote is moving to right: Mamata

first_imgA 22 % surge in the vote share of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Assembly by-poll in Purba Medinipur district and a 24 % drop in the share of the Left has perturbed the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief, Mamata Banerjee. She has acknowledged that a “transfer (of) votes” is taking place from the Left to the BJP. While the TMC has won the by-election in Kanthi Dakshin (South) by a margin of over 42,000 votes, the BJP’s share has gone up from a little over 15,000 votes in the 2016 Assembly elections to nearly 53,000. Following the announcement of the result, the Chief Minister has acknowledged that there indeed is a transfer of vote from the Left to the right.“I do not think about all these – when ‘Ram’ (BJP) will become ‘Baam’ (Left) and ‘Baam’ will be ‘Ram’. I have said earlier, the BJP and the CPI(M) have an understanding. They transfer votes among each other. The Congress, the CPI(M) and the BJP – they all do that…We do not indulge in such politics,” Ms. Banerjee said on Thursday. Ms. Banerjee, who has an outstanding ability to interpret Bengal’s electoral politics – far better than the analysts – has never indicated so clearly that votes are moving in Bengal from the left to the right.In the 2016 Assembly polls, the Congress and the Left were in an alliance and bagged the second spot with about 60,000 votes (34.21 %) in Kanthi. It has come down to 10.21 % in 2017, while the BJP’s share surged, which has disturbed the Chief Minister. The TMC’s share has also gone up marginally from 53.71% to 55.89%, which also is “formidable” in a four-cornered fight, the analysts said. Interpreting the nature of the forthcoming challenge from the BJP, Ms. Banerjee appealed to her cadres to “be polite” and to work closely with the people.last_img read more

Shahabuddin named accused in scribe’s murder

first_imgA special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Friday named former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP and Siwan strongman Mohammad Shahabuddin as an accused in the murder case of journalist Rajdeo Ranjan. The CBI is also likely to file a charge-sheet against him.Facing trial in more than 45 criminal cases, the four-time RJD MP from Siwan was shifted to the Tihar Jail in February this year following a Supreme Court order on the pleas by Chandrakeshwar Prasad, whose three young sons were allegedly killed by Shahabuddin’s henchmen in separate incidents, and Asha Ranjan, wife of slain journalist Rajdeo Ranjan.Shahabuddin was produced on Friday in the court of CBI special judge Anupam Kumari in Muzaffarpur through video conferencing facility. The jailed RJD leader has been named as the tenth accused in the journalist Rajdeo Ranjan murder case. The court fixed June 9 as the next date of hearing.The CBI, sources said, has submitted a 51-page investigation report detailing Shahabuddin’s involvement in the murder of Siwan journalist Rajdeo Ranjan to the special court. The investigating agency has already filed a charge-sheet against seven accused in the case, while two others — Mohammad Javed and Mohammad Kaif — have been granted bail by the court as the CBI had failed to file a formal charge-sheet against them within 90 days.Rajdeo Ranjan, in his early forties, was district bureau chief of a Hindi daily in Siwan for over two decades. He was gunned down on May 13 last year near the Siwan Railway Station when he was returning home from office. His wife Asha Ranjan, a school teacher, had accused Shahabuddin in the killing of her husband and demanded a CBI inquiry into the murder case.last_img read more

27 vehicles set ablaze in Pune

first_imgPune: There was yet another incident arson in the city in the early hours of Sunday, after a 25-year-old man set ablaze 26 two-wheelers and one four-wheeler in the Parvati area.The police nabbed the culprit, Nilesh Patil, in the afternoon. According to the police, Patil was inebriated at the time of the crime. The vehicles were parked in an open field next to the Parvati police station. Patil set fire to one of the two-wheelers, and the blaze soon engulfed all the two-wheelers and a tempo parked nearby.Fire brigade personnel reached the spot and prevented the fire from spreading further. According to the fire department, this is the eighth major arson incident in Pune in a little over two years.Last year in May, seven two-wheelers were gutted in the Uttam Nagar locality in Katraj. In April last year, the police had arrested a transport dealer responsible for torching 16 vehicles, including three four-wheelers, in Katraj. His actions had threatened the lives of 20-odd families in a residential society, who were evacuated safely. In June 2015, a lone arsonist had set ablaze 92 vehicles in five housing societies in less than an hour. In March that year, four two-wheelers at Sinhagad Road were torched, while a couple of days later, 11 vehicles in Erandawane were set ablaze.last_img read more

Expelled Cong. MLAs to join BJP

first_imgCongress legislators who were expelled by the party for cross-voting in favour of the BJP candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls are set to join the BJP. Except Shankersinh Vaghela, other legislators including Mr. Vaghela’s son Mahendrasinh will join the party.All seven legislators had a meeting with BJP President Amit Shah on Wednesday to discuss their entry into the saffron fold. “We had a meeting with Amitbhai and we told him that we all will join the party,” Mr. Mahendrasinh Vaghela told media persons in Gandhinagar on Thursday.Meanwhile, Mr. Shankersinh Vaghela slammed the Congress and said a large number of leaders had left the party because they were ignored by the high command.Mr. Vaghela ruled out that he would join the BJP but stressed that other leaders including his son would switch over to the ruling party very soon.last_img read more

Naroda Gaam massacre case: Amit Shah summoned as defence witness on September 18

first_imgThe special designated court conducting trial in the Naroda Gaam massacre case of 2002 riots in which former BJP minister Maya Kodnani is a key accused, has summoned BJP president Amit Shah to depose before the court as defence witness on September 18th.The trial court judge PB Desai issued summon to Mr Shah at his residence in Ahmedabad, asking him to appear before the court on September 18th. However, the court said the summons will not be reissued if Mr Shah does not depose on the due date as per the court’s instruction.Earlier, the court had asked the key accused Dr Kodnani to bring Mr Shah as defence witness latest by September 12. During the argument, Dr Kodnani contended that since Mr Shah was travelling extensively, she was not in position to deliver the court’s notice for deposition.On Tuesday, advocate Amit Patel appearing for Dr Kodnani submitted residential address of Mr Shah in Ahmedabad following which the court issued the summons.Dr Kodnani had sought examination of 14 people, including Mr. Shah, to prove her alibi that on February 28, 2002, the day riots broke out in Naroda Gaam, a locality in North Ahmedabad, she was not at the scene of the crime as is being accused by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which is prosecuting agency in the case.Among those 14 persons she listed as witnesses, 12 including her husband have already testified in her favour and endorsed her contention that she was not present when the offence happened. Mr Shah is the last listed defence witness in her trial; all others have been cross-examined by the court.last_img read more

Padmaavat not screened in Aligarh after threats to theatres

first_imgTheatre owners here did not screen the film Padmaavat following threats by a local organisation and the recent protests against its release in several States, including Uttar Pradesh. The Sanjay Leela Bansali-directed period drama starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh was released across the country on Thursday amid tight security. “This is a voluntary decision taken by theatre owners. We had strengthened security outside cinema halls where the film was to be screened. However, they did not ask us for any additional security,” Senior Superintendent of Police Rajesh Pandey told PTI. The move by cinema halls came after Kshatriya Mahasabha, district coordinator, Santosh Kumar Singh, warned owners here to refrain from screening the film. “We have been patrolling different cinema theatres since the past two days. We conveyed our message to all cinema halls that if they chose to ignore our diktat then this would be entirely at their own risk,” Mr. Singh said. Posters of the film at cinema halls were also removed. A theatre owner, on the condition of anonymity, told PTI that they were watching the situation. “We will decide the future course of action in the next two to three days,” he said. He said that owners were not willing to risk any loss of life or property for the sake of a film despite the police assuring adequate security.last_img read more

Punjab farmers to receive loan waiver by Nov.

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said on Friday that the State was committed to implementing the farm debt waiver scheme and that each of the 10.25 lakh farmers covered under the scheme would receive the benefit by November. “I appeal to the farmers not to resort to suicide since the government is committed to full implementation of the scheme by November,” he said, after unfurling the national flag at the Republic Day parade in Patiala.last_img

Mamata bats for Darjeeling peace

first_imgDuring an all-party meeting in Darjeeling on Thursday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said an industry meet would be held in March.Ms. Banerjee said Darjeeling has the potential for industry in software, tourism and horticulture and she would ask industrialists to attend the meet. “Let us forget what happened [in the past]. The political parties and their ideology will remain but let us come together for the development of the hills,” Ms. Banerjee said. The Chief Minister’s visit to Darjeeling hills, which comes after eight months and the first since the hills braved a 104-day shutdown, assumes a lot of political significance.On her first day, Ms. Banerjee inaugurated a road in the name of Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) founder Subhas Ghising. Ghising, who spearheaded the movement for a separate State of Gorkhaland for decades, was sent into political oblivion by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung in 2007.last_img read more

NGT directs Haryana Chief Secy. to review policy, submit report

first_imgThe National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday directed Haryana Chief Secretary to review the inspection policy of industries in the State. Further, he was directed to submit a report on the same within one month.A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also noted that the current policy is not in consonance with the mandate of the principles of the precautionary and sustainable development of environment laws. According to the principles, the highly polluting industries, as defined by the Central Pollution Control Board, are to be inspected once in three years.Directing the State pollution control board to revise the policy in consultation with the CPCB, the Bench said, “Constitution of the State pollution control board without effective functioning amounts to failure of law enacted for protection of the environment.”Dissatisfaction Further, the green panel expressed dissatisfaction over a report submitted by a committee comprising of representatives from the CPCB, Haryana Pollution Control Board, Central Ground Water Authority and the district administration on pollution caused by industries in Sonipat and Panipat.“The report can hardly be held to be satisfactory. The gaps in the report be revisited under the supervision of the Member Secretary, CPCB, by a team of two senior officers nominated by him. The committee may also assess the illegal withdrawal of water,” the Bench said.The directions came when the green panel was hearing a plea by Delhi resident that sought directions to close industrial units which are operating without requisite consent under relevant rules.“It is submitted that even though action has been initiated by CPCB on the ground level there is no compliance and even out of the units which have been directed to be closed, some are still working in the same manner,” the plea had said.last_img read more

Gehlot ‘sonrise’ in the offing?

first_imgWith the Congress about to announce its first list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, speculation about electoral debut of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot is gaining ground. Vaibhav Gehlot, currently a State unit general secretary, is likely to be fielded from his home turf Jodhpur or Jalore-Sirohi Lok Sabha constituency as the respective district Congress committees have received proposals supporting his candidature, party insiders said.Favourable seat Another favourable seat could be the Tonk-Swai Madhopur parliamentary constituency from where Vaibhav Gehlot’s name was floated during the 2009 Lok Sabha election. If Ashok Gehlot’s statement made at a recent public meeting in Sirohi is anything to go by, Vaibhav can be fielded from Jalore-Sirohi seat. During his visit to Sirohi, the Chief Minister had said, “I know that Vaibhav’s name is doing the rounds. It was my wish five years ago that he contests from Jalore-Sirohi. But he could not get a ticket due to some reason… We had campaigned and I had also come to Jalore.” However, he went on to clarify that the final decision on ticket distribution would be taken by the Congress high command. “We are loyal soldiers of the Congress. If Rahul Gandhi picks some other candidate, then you see Vaibhav Gehlot in him,” he had said. Later, at a press conference, Mr. Gehlot said if it was in his hands, he would have given Vaibhav Gehlot the opportunity to contest elections 10 years ago.Pilot’s ‘support’At one time, even Rajasthan Congress chief and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot appeared to support Vaibhav Gehlot’s candidature. Earlier in January, Mr. Pilot had said, “Vaibhav Gehlot is active in the party for a long time. He may not have got the opportunity (to contest elections) due to some reasons in the past. But it will be our endeavour that candidates like him get a chance to come forward.” However, on March 5, he said the Congress was of the opinion that it would be better to find candidates other than sitting MPs, MLAs, those who lost elections in the past and family members of party leaders.last_img read more

Waiting for turn, woman delivers at NRC centre

first_imgA woman delivered a boy while waiting for her turn to submit citizenship papers outside a National Register of Citizens seva kendra, or NSK, at South Salmara in western Assam.The woman, identified as Mafida Khatoon of the district’s Chapar area, had visited the NSK for a scheduled hearing on Thursday. She went into labour while waiting for her turn to submit the documents to prove her citizenship. A group of women helped her deliver the baby in a room at the NSK, reports said.“We have appealed to the NRC authorities to re-schedule the hearing date for her family,” the South Salmara unit of the All-Assam Students’ Union said in a statement.last_img read more

Duke Physician-Scientist to Lead U.S. Institute of Medicine

first_imgThe next president of the U.S. National Academies’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) will be Victor Dzau, a physician-scientist who is now chancellor of health affairs at Duke University. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) today announced Dzau’s appointment to the 6-year post. He will join IOM on 1 July, when current IOM President Harvey Fineberg steps down after 12 years.Dzau, 67, will bring a wealth of experience in the lab and running a major university health system to the nation’s most prominent advisory body on medical and public health issues. Born in Shanghai and educated in Canada and the United States, Dzau has studied the genetics of cardiovascular disease and gene therapy and stem cell treatments. As president and CEO for Duke University Health System for nearly 10 years, he created new institutes focusing on translational medicine, global health, and health innovation. He led the founding of a joint medical school with the National University of Singapore and has been active in in global health through the World Economic Forum. He was elected to IOM in 1998.As the medical branch of the congressionally chartered NAS, IOM advises the government on topics ranging from the rise in obesity to veterans’ health. In a statement, NAS President Ralph Cicerone called Dzau “an internationally acclaimed leader and scientist whose work has improved health care in the United States and globally. Under his direction, the Institute of Medicine will continue to advance research and improve health by providing objective, evidence-based guidance on critical issues.”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(*)Dzau says he’s looking forward to applying his experiences broadly through IOM. He plans to bring together IOM members and other experts to identify five areas in which the organization could make a bigger impact nationally and globally. “If you look at the breakthroughs in research, the advancement of the Affordable Care Act and many global innovations, I think this is clearly a time to ask, ‘What are the most pressing issues that are ahead of us and how do we make a difference in those areas?’ ”To help explore these issues, he will continue a campaign to raise $10 million to pay for studies commissioned by IOM itself. “We’d love to perhaps use newer media and methods for dissemination and communication so that we can have even greater impact across the entire country and society,” he notes.Darrell Kirch, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, sees Dzau’s “impeccable” scientific credentials and experience with bringing innovation to a large university health system as an ideal match for IOM. “He understands the broad changes that need to occur in the U.S. health care system” as it struggles to control costs while improving outcomes, Kirch says. “I can think of no one better suited to head the Institute of Medicine at this time.”last_img read more

Invisibility Cloaking Goes Film Noir

first_imgImagine a scene from a 1940s crime movie. Backlit by a streetlamp, a shadowy figure lurks within a luminous fog. A new invisibility cloak could render that person even more mysterious by making him disappear. The new, simpler cloak overcomes many of its predecessors’ limitations, researchers say. But it works only in foggy conditions, and some researchers question whether the technique should count as cloaking at all.”It’s a very ingenious idea,” says Shuang Zhang, a physicist at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom who was not involved with the new work. “It solves a lot of the major problems” with traditional cloaks.Cloaking jumped from science fiction to science in 2006, when theorists predicted that light could be funneled around an object to make it undetectable. They imagined placing the object in a cylindrical or spherical shell of “metamaterial”—an assemblage of tiny rods and rings with tunable electric and magnetic properties. The shell would gently guide incoming light waves around the object within its center, rather than allowing them to hit it. Instead of seeing the object, an observer would see what was behind it. Within months, researchers had made a cloak that worked for microwaves.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(*)Since then, physicists have made a variety of cloaks, all of them limited in some way. The original cloak can hide an object from light coming from any direction, but it works only for light of a single wavelength. In contrast, a “carpet cloak” works over a wider range of wavelengths but can hide only an object sitting on a surface, so that it cannot be viewed from all angles. In 2011, a team of researchers developed a particularly simple carpet cloak made of two crystals that could hide centimeter-sized objects, but it worked only for light polarized in one direction. In general, physicists have struggled to develop a cloak that is broadband, omnidirectional, and big enough to hide a macroscopic object.Now, Robert Schittny, Martin Wegener, and colleagues at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany have developed a cloak that has all of those properties—although it works only in foggy or “diffusive” conditions. Ordinarily, light zips along in straight rays. In a medium such as fog or milk, however, photons ping randomly off myriad objects within the medium—water droplets in fog, milk solids in milk. That scattering makes the light diffuse more slowly, just as heat diffuses through your cold fingers or a scent diffuses through air.Under those conditions, designing a cloak becomes easier. In the original circular cloak, the light detouring around the object must speed up to catch the light that passes by the cloak altogether. To avoid violating the rule from relativity that neither energy nor information can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum, that hurrying along can work at only one frequency. In contrast, in a diffusive medium, light travels much more slowly to begin with. So the cloak need only be made of a material through which light diffuses faster than it does through the surroundings.That’s how the new cloak, described online today in Science, works. It consists of a metal tube 3.21 centimeters in diameter and painted white. Researchers coated the core with 3.85 millimeters of a polymer doped with light-scattering particles. They placed the cloak in a tank of water tainted with enough white paint to make light diffuse through it more slowly than through the polymer. Finally, they backlit the tank with white light. Without the rubbery polymer layer, the cylinder blocks some of the light diffusing through the liquid and casts a shadow. But with it, the shadow disappears, rendering the cylinder undetectable. The researchers created a similar spherical cloak, too.”It’s imaginative,” says John Pendry, a theoretical physicist at Imperial College London and one of the inventors of the original cloaking idea. The diffusive approach could have various applications, perhaps to backlight displays, Pendry says. But it won’t be much help for cops and crooks. “I can’t imagine why you would want to cloak somebody already cloaked in fog,” he says.Indeed, Xiang Zhang, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, questions whether the technique really counts as cloaking, as it works only if the fog is already thick enough to obscure the details of an object and everything behind it. “Probably we shouldn’t call it a cloak, or call it a poor man’s cloak,” he says. He notes that diffusive cloaking was demonstrated earlier this year by physicists in Singapore who developed cloaks for heat.The new technique may underscore the fact that in cloaking, it’s not possible to achieve everything at once, says Birmingham’s Shuang Zhang: “It seems like there’s a fundamental barrier there.” And that reality is proving hard to hide.last_img read more

Arthritis rediagnosis in Egyptian pharaohs

first_imgFour ancient Egyptian pharaohs, thought to have suffered from a disabling form of arthritis, may have been misdiagnosed. In a paper published online today in Arthritis & Rheumatology, researchers propose that Amenhotep III (portrayed in an ancient relief above) and three other pharaohs had an often asymptomatic form of arthritis known as diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH), rather than the more debilitating ankylosing spondylitis (AS) originally deduced from x-rays taken of their mummies in 1980. The new findings are based on an examination of more detailed CT scans of the mummies of 13 Egyptian pharaohs and queens who lived between 1492 and 1153 B.C.E. In today’s study, the researchers spotted no sign of the erosion of the sacroiliac joints or fused facet joints, which are hallmarks of AS. Instead, in the mummies of Amenhotep III and three other pharaohs, they detected all the standard criteria for DISH, including a distinctive pattern of ossification along the vertebral bodies. The average age at death of these four rulers was a relatively old 63 by ancient Egyptian standards, making a DISH diagnosis especially plausible: The disease is most common among people over the age of 40 and afflicts twice as many men as women. The symptoms of AS, by contrast, generally begin in early adulthood. Amenhotep III, who died at age 50, was likely little-bothered by DISH. He had no signs of spinal deformity or involvement of the disease in his cervical spine, suggesting that he was either asymptomatic or experienced only mild back stiffness when he got up in the morning.last_img read more

After Election 2014: ADVANCED MANUFACTURING

first_imgNATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION POLICY R&D TAX CREDIT FUSION SCIENCE ADVANCED MANUFACTURING STREAM AND WETLAND PROTECTION This story is the second in ScienceInsider’s After Election 2014 series. Through Election Day on 4 November, we will periodically examine research issues that will face U.S. lawmakers when they return to Washington, D.C., for a lame-duck session and when a new Congress convenes in January. Click here to see all the stories published so far; click here for a list of published and planned stories.Today, a look at an issue that both Democrats and Republicans can embrace: advanced manufacturing.Conventional wisdom holds that today’s hyperpartisan environment in Washington, D.C., has poisoned any chance of political compromise. If so, then advanced manufacturing may be the antidote.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(*)Lawmakers from both parties have embraced the idea of a national network of centers aimed at developing better manufacturing technologies, materials, and processes, an idea originally put forth by President Barack Obama. And Congress is well on the way toward turning that idea into reality.Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill (H.R. 2996) that would allow the government to create such a manufacturing network. The legislation contains many elements found in Obama’s 2012 proposal for a $1 billion, 15-node National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). Even before Congress authorizes such a network, the White House has funneled money to an initial cluster of six centers. The centers cover a range of topics; the first is focusing on 3D printing, for example, while the most recent will target integrated photonics.That kind of unilateral White House action typically makes many congressional Republicans apoplectic. Not this time. Although much of the administration’s legislative agenda—in health care, energy, climate, and immigration, to cite just a few examples—has been blocked by partisan fights, advanced manufacturing has become an issue that everyone can rally around. Its promise of generating lots of well-paying jobs is especially appealing to politicians anxious about a still-precarious economic recovery. “This bill is an opportunity for the United States to bring jobs back to our shores, so we can make it here and sell it there,” proclaims Representative Tom Reed (R–NY), the House bill’s lead Republican sponsor.For such a bipartisan coalition to exist, Republicans like Reed have had to abandon what party leaders a generation ago would have dismissed as unnecessary “industrial policy” and an inappropriate government intrusion into the private sector. For their part, Democrats have had to dial back their preference for launching a program by growing the federal budget. In this instance, that has meant acquiescing to fiscally conservative Republicans in putting more resources into advanced manufacturing without an overall increase in spending. In the case of the House-passed bill, the money would come from an existing program within the Department of Energy that fosters energy-saving and green manufacturing technologies.The Senate has so far failed to act on a companion bill (S. 1468) that is similar to the House bill. But advocates say it’s still possible that Congress will return after the election and take the final steps needed to both authorize the network and adopt related policies aimed at strengthening U.S. manufacturing.A national networkWhat exactly is advanced manufacturing? And why has it become a front-burner issue?Advanced manufacturing is not simply having companies find more efficient ways to make better widgets. It also requires training technically savvy workers, revising tax and regulatory policies, and supporting fundamental research that will lead to the breakthrough technologies needed to keep U.S. companies ahead of their global competitors.All manner of high-ranking advisory bodies have weighed in on the subject in recent years, and Obama has mentioned it in his last two State of the Union addresses as well as on several other occasions. A January 2014 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service does an excellent job of summarizing the history of the idea, including the work of an interagency panel, and the challenges that lie ahead. Last month, for example, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology adopted an Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Strategy 2.0 that builds upon a 2012 report describing what changes are needed.Some ascribe near-mythic powers to advanced manufacturing. The Republican floor manager for the recently passed House bill, Representative Larry Bucshon (R–IN), extolled the sector’s ability to “create good-paying, family-supporting, community-sustaining jobs.” And sports metaphors abound when politicians talk about the subject. “This is the kind of approach that … will keep America in the manufacturing game,” Obama said in March 2012 as he rolled out his vision during a visit to a Petersburg, Virginia, plant making disks for jet engines.For researchers, the payoff is a bit more tangible. On 3 October, Obama flew to southern Indiana to announce that the Department of Defense (DOD) has committed $100 million to the winner of an upcoming competition for a national center on integrated photonics manufacturing.“This is a major addition of funding for optics and photonics,” says Eric Van Stryland of the University of Central Florida, Orlando, about a technology to produce silicon-based integrated circuits and communications equipment using light instead of electronics. “Anytime you dump $200 million into a field, it had better have a big impact.” (Stryland’s $200 million figure refers to the fact that the winner of the competition must at least match DOD’s contribution with funding from dozens of industrial, academic, and nonfederal public partners.)The photonics center would be the sixth node in the emerging network. DOD has already pledged $70 million apiece to support two other existing Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation (IMIs)—one on digital manufacturing and design innovation led by the University of Illinois and based in Chicago, and the second on lightweight and modern metals manufacturing innovation based in Detroit. The Department of Energy is investing $70 million in an IMI on next-generation power electronics manufacturing based at North Carolina State University and will soon announce the winner of a center on composite materials. The first IMI, a pilot focused on 3D printing and based in Youngstown, Ohio, was launched less than 6 months after Obama’s Virginia speech by several agencies, with the largest contribution—$30 million over 3 years—coming from DOD. And DOD plans to follow up its choice of an integrated photonics center with a second center focused on another topic chosen from a list of six candidate fields.In addition to assembling top talent in a particular field, each institute is expected to drive regional economic development. The idea that hosting an IMI will help their state or district become a leading center of manufacturing innovation in a particular field is a powerful lure for politicians.That promise is why Bucshon, normally a fierce critic of the administration’s social and economic policies, joined Mike Pence, the state’s Republican governor, on an airport tarmac in southern Indiana to greet the president when he flew in to tout the new DOD-backed center on integrated photonics. It’s also why Representative Mike Honda (D–CA), who represents part of Silicon Valley, felt free to mark last month’s positive House vote by noting, “Hopefully, once this bill is enacted, we can win one of these centers.”Striking a compromiseWhile the IMIs created by the White House represent a real financial commitment, the pending legislation is at most an expression of congressional intent. It would authorize the government to spend money on the centers, leaving the final decision to appropriators. That two-step process makes passage of the bill a slightly lower priority for lobbyists like Tom Hausken, a senior adviser at the Optical Society in Washington, D.C., which pushed hard for the creation of the integrated photonics IMI.“We certainly support the RAMI legislation,” he says, using the acronym for the bills’ title, Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act. But the Pentagon’s recent announcement means “we have a bird in the hand,” says Hausken, who praises Obama for “doing [IMIs] within the existing budgetary authority.”  Still, the legislation could lead to additional centers in related fields. Both the House and Senate bills would give the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) the authority to spend $300 million over 10 years to stand up four or more centers for manufacturing innovation. Both also would create a $10 million program to support regional innovation clusters and require outside experts to conduct a quadrennial assessment of the nation’s progress in meeting its goals to improve U.S. manufacturing.Appropriators have signaled their support with language in the 2014 omnibus bill that funded NIST and every other federal agency. The only reason the bill did not include money for NNMI, the lawmakers wrote earlier this year, was because the proposal had not yet “been considered or approved by the Congress.”That language was an implicit acknowledgement that House and Senate lawmakers must first reconcile their differences on how to fund the network. The House bill would shift $250 million from an existing program within the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) that supports advanced manufacturing technologies aimed at lowering energy costs and promoting renewables. (The remaining $50 million, to operate a program office and conduct relevant studies like the quadrennial review, would come from an existing NIST account that provides technical support to industry.) In contrast, the Senate bill would create a $300 million fund for NIST, to be offset by taking money from some unspecified federal account.The choice of moving money from EERE by House Republicans is deliberate. Its programs are a perennial target for opponents of the administration’s climate and energy policies. The shift would potentially drain the EERE program: Its current budget includes $81 million for the type of facilities represented by the IMIs. (The White House’s 2015 budget for the program asks for $190 million.)The shift in funds also allows Republicans to keep their pledge to fund new activities only by tapping programs deemed a lower priority. “The NMI [Network for Manufacturing Innovation] will not increase spending,” asserted Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), chair of the House science committee with oversight of both agencies, during the 15 September House debate on Reed’s bill.That requirement was a hard pill for House Democrats to swallow. “The shifting of funds was the price that had to be paid for winning GOP support,” explains Ken Scudder, Honda’s communications director. “Fortunately, the offset is spread out over 9 years, and the secretary of energy would have the discretion to decide how much to transfer. The secretary is unlikely to act in a way that would decimate the department’s programs.”The provisions in the bill on where the money would come from could create a problem down the line, warned Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX), the science panel’s ranking Democrat. In general, appropriators view such language as an infringement on their ability to allocate federal dollars. In the floor debate, Johnson called it “an unnecessary obstacle … that could make it difficult to stand up and sustain this program.”In the end, however, she and her fellow Democrats decided that the bill was too good an opportunity to pass up. “I strongly support this legislation, and I urge all of my colleagues to do the same,” Johnson declared. Minutes later, on a voice vote, they did.Three days after the House acted, participants in the four regional centers already operating came to Washington to tout their accomplishments and build momentum for NNMI and RAMI. In welcoming them to the Capitol Hill event, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker described the bipartisan legislation as an essential piece of the administration’s plans for advanced manufacturing. “These institutes present a clear reminder that making this bill the law of the land would spur more innovation, continue the comeback of American manufacturers, and send an unmistakable message to our competitors around the world—that America is open for business,” Pritzker told attendees. “That is why [passing] the RAMI Act is so critical.”    With everybody on the bandwagon, advanced manufacturing seems well-positioned to deliver a rare win-win for both parties.ScienceInsider’s After Election 2014 series will look at a range of issues that will be on policymakers’ agenda once the voters have spoken on 4 November. Look for stories on:BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH FUNDING EASING RESEARCH REGULATION 21ST CENTURY CURES STEM EDUCATIONlast_img read more

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