U.P. police charge Minister for poll code violation

first_imgThe Uttar Pradesh police have filed a charge sheet against Suresh Rana, a Minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, for alleged violation of the model codel of conduct during the elections. Rana, an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riot case, is Minister for Cane Developments and Sugar Mills (Independent Charge). He is accused of having said at a public meeting at Hatthikaroda village in Thana Bhawan in January that curfew would be imposed in Kairana, Deoband and Moradabad if he won the elections but there would be celebrations in these places if he lost. He later backtracked saying his comments were taken out of context.last_img

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Case filed against Gurung, wife for Darjeeling violence

first_imgDarjeeling A case has been lodged against Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) supremo Bimal Gurung and his wife Asha for their alleged involvement in violence, arson and killing of one person during clashes in Darjeeling hills on the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state.“We have lodged a case (against Gurung and his wife) and the investigation is on. There were allegation that they were involved in the violence, arson and killing of one person during clashes on Saturday,” a senior police official said.Reacting to the police case against Gurung and his wife, a senior GJM leader charged that the police were implicating them in false cases.“Three of our supporters were killed and they are filing cases against us. Cases should be lodged against the police and state administration for violating human rights and killing,” the GJM leader said.GJM, which was spearheading an agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state and observing an indefinite bandh in Darjeeling hills, claimed that three of its supporters were killed during clashes with police on Saturday. However, the police confirmed only one death.last_img read more

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School boy beaten by seniors

first_imgA group of Class 12 students have ruthlessly beaten up a Class 9 student and damaged his right ear drum at the Navodaya Vidyalaya in Tudipaju of Kandhamal district in Odisha.After being referred by the district headquarters hospital, the injured child was shifted to MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur on Wednesday night. Parents of the victim alleged that it may be a case of ragging.On Thursday, a team of Kandhamal district administration that included Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Pradipta Kumar Sahani, sub-collector Nimai Charan Sutar and District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) Rashmita Karan, reached the Navodaya Vidyalaya to enquire about the incident. After enquiry, they directed the principal of the institution to take strict action against the erring Class 12 students. “The students who were involved in this attack will be initially expelled from school for 15 days,” said Ms Karan. The principal has been directed to formulate a proper system through which all information related to happenings in the hostel could reach authorities as early as possible.As per findings of the team, the incident had occurred in the hostel on August 11 during lunch hour. A student of Class 12 had alleged that Rs. 2000 belonging to him had been stolen by the Class 9 student. A group of Class 12 students then physically tortured the boy to make him confess his involvement in the alleged theft. As per the rules, no student of the school is allowed to possess cash on the hostel premises, but some students secretly keep money with them.last_img read more

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Lucknow municipal polls: Malfunctioning EVMs, missing voter names

first_imgVoting for the second phase of urban body polls in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday was marked by complaints of malfunctioning Electronic Voter Machines (EVM) and missing names in voter lists across the State, especially in Lucknow.Officials, while admitting to lapses, however, said the turnout in the 25 districts that went to poll had increased from 43% in 2012 to 48.65% this time.Voting was held in six municipal corporations, including Varanasi and Allahabad, which were among the 189 local bodies that went to the polls in the second phase. While voting in the Allahabad, Varanasi and Aligarh municipal corporations increased significantly, the turnout fell slightly in Lucknow from 34.3% to 34.2%.It was also in Lucknow that numerous cases of missing names from voter lists and EVM malfunctions were reported. In some wards, locals alleged that entire localities and families had their names struck off the list or shifted to other wards or booths without any notice.Sayyad Ashraf Warsi, who runs a food store in Qaiserbagh, was, left puzzled after he could not find his name on the list despite a carrying an election card, and having voted in the Assembly elections from the same booth in Tikrahouse.“I don’t know what happened today. The officials at the booth went through the entire list but I could not find my name,” said Mr. Warsi.Not just ordinary citizens, even politicians and well-known personalities had to suffer a similar fate. Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kalraj Mishra and U.P. Cabinet Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi found their names missing, too, while Dauji Gupta, former three-time Mayor of Lucknow, also missed out along with his family members, at the Naka Hindola ward.Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav raised the issue in a tweet.“Media reports that a lot of voters names are missing from the voting list of today’s election. This type of digital India cannot take us forward,” he said.State Election Commissioner S. K. Agarwal admitted their were lapses that led to some names missing from the voter lists, mainly due to negligence of booth level officers (BLO) who had failed to update voter slips after the delimitation of wards. “In such a large State, some names are bound to be missing. No voter list can be perfect. Yes, there was laxity in making voter lists, especially in Lucknow. Action will be taken against such BLOs,” Mr. Agarwal said.The official, however, also blamed voters for duplication in rural and urban area voter lists. “Some people live in both cities and villages. Those who had already voted in the Panchayat elections had their names struck off this time,” said Mr. Agarwal.Mr. Agarwal said voting was largely peaceful, barring minor scuffles in Aligarh. Persons trying to vote with fake Aadhaar cards were arrested in Varanasi and Badohi.Mr. Agarwal said that technical flaws and malfunctioning in EVMs were a part of the democratic process, adding that the election was not disrupted despite them. “The [malfunctioning] EVMs were replaced within 20-30 minutes,” he said.last_img read more

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We do not pay attention to Shiv Sena’s criticism of PM: Fadnavis

first_imgMaharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said his party does not pay attention to Shiv Sena’s criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We do not pay attention to criticism from the Sena. People of this country know about their Prime Minister. He is the kind of leader who spends every minute of his life for this country and people. He has been serving the nation selflessly,” said Mr. Fadnavis said at a press conference here. He was replying to a question about Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray reiterating Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s allegation of ‘chowkidar hi chor hai’ (watchman is a thief). Asked whether the Bharatiya Janata Party wants to take the Sena along in the 2019 elections, Mr. Fadnavis said his party will be contesting against Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and would want Sena to be with them. “I will reply at right time and right place to such comments,” he said. Mr. Fadnavis’ reply comes on a day when Sena mouthpiece Saamna in its editorial slammed the BJP yet again, for joining hands with the NCP in Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation. The editorial said, “It was the same NCP which had given unconditional support to BJP in 2014 to form the government. It means both these parties indulged in adultery but deny it in public. Now they both stand naked and entire Maharashtra is laughing at them.”The editorial even taunted NCP president Sharad Pawar who on Sunday had said that he will be taking action against all party corporators who sided with the BJP. “This is all cover-up. It is now said that Sharad Pawar and other state leaders of the NCP had no clue about the affair between NCP and BJP. Only he knows the truth of it, but this democracy can soon turn in to anarchy,” the editorial said. Replying to Sena’s criticism, Mr. Fadnavis said he had instructed his party leaders to tie-up with Shiv Sena if the party came forward with such a proposal or request. “We waited till the last minute but Sena did not make any request to us. And we did not ask for NCP’s support, they gave it on their own. Therefore questions should be asked to NCP and not us,” he said.last_img read more

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Shelter home case: order on framing of charges on March 25

first_imgA Delhi court on Monday said it will decide on framing of charges in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case on March 25. Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha posted the matter for the next date after hearing arguments of the CBI, which has chargesheeted 21 people. During the arguments the accused denied the allegations levelled against them. Several girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused at an NGO-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. The incidents came to light following a report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). An FIR was lodged in the case on May 31, 2018. During the arguments, the accused told the court that there was lack of evidence against them to put them on trial. “There were several contradictions in the agency’s case. At one place they say something else, the medical report produced by them says something else,” said Advocate Dheeraj Kumar Singh, who appeared for the prime accused Brajesh Thakur and others. Rape, POCSO chargesCBI had earlier claimed in the court that several girls were sexually assaulted in the shelter home and charges for the offences under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including Section 375 (rape) and POCSO Act were made out against the accused. On February 7, the Supreme Court had ordered transfer of case from Bihar to a court for Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) in Saket District Court complex in Delhi.last_img read more

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Former MP and freedom fighter passes away

first_imgFormer Congress MP and freedom fighter Paripooranand Painuli died at his residence in the Vasant Vihar area here on Saturday.Mr. Painuli was 94. He is survived by four daughters. His wife died last year. His last rites will be performed on Sunday in Haridwar, his son-in-law Manoj Gairola said.Mr. Painuli had participated in the Quit India Movement at 17.last_img

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Of Conflicts and Clinical Trials: Researchers Report New Results

first_imgCHICAGO, ILLINOIS—This week, the International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication here drew researchers from around the world to discuss ways to “improve the quality and credibility of scientific peer review and publication.” ScienceInsider attended and covered some of the more intriguing presentations. Today: a look at studies of problems in how researchers report the results of clinical trials and potential conflicts of interest.Published Trial Results Often Differ From Those Initially Posted Deborah Zarin, director of the database ClinicalTrials.gov at the National Library of Medicine, likes to say that her website is “a window into the sausage factory”—a view that we usually don’t get of how clinical trials work and how they don’t. 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(*)Six years ago, ClinicalTrials.gov was tasked by Congress to embark on a new experiment: In addition to trial registrations, many trial sponsors were required to deposit their results in the public database for anyone to access. At the congress, a group from Yale University School of Medicine explored how well the results posted on ClinicalTrials.gov match up with what’s published. What they found was not particularly encouraging.Jessica Becker, a medical student, described how she and her Yale colleagues—Harlan Krumholz, Gal Ben-Josef, and Joseph Ross—identified 96 trials published between July 2010 and June 2011, all of them with a ClinicalTrials.gov identification number. They focused on studies that appeared in high-profile journals. Almost three-quarters of the trials analyzed were funded by industry.All but one trial had at least one discrepancy in how trial details, results, or side effects were reported.One big question was whether the same primary endpoints and secondary endpoints appeared in both the final publication and the ClinicalTrials.gov results database. A primary endpoint represents the main goal of a study and the question or questions it was designed to answer. Secondary endpoints are often added to squeeze as much information as possible out of what’s collected, but statistically they can be weaker because the trial wasn’t created with them in mind. Primary endpoints in 14 trials appeared only on ClinicalTrials.gov, while primary endpoints from 10 others were only in the publication. The results described were also different in some cases: For 21% of the primary endpoints, what appeared in the journal wasn’t exactly the outcome described on ClinicalTrials.gov, and in 6%, the Yale group suggested that this difference influenced how the results would be interpreted.For secondary endpoints, the difference was even more dramatic: Of more than 2000 secondary endpoints listed across the trials, just 16% appeared the same way in both the public database and the published article along with the same results. Results for dozens of secondary endpoints were inconsistent. “Our findings raise concerns about the accuracy of information in both places, leading us to wonder which to believe,” Becker said.The group hasn’t probed why this is happening: There could be innocent errors on ClinicalTrials.gov or typos in publications. Or authors may promote “more favorable stuff” in what’s printed, she speculated.“There are many, many microdecisions” that come with writing up a publication, Zarin says. The uncomfortable results presented by Becker are “part of what motivates the desire” for anonymized information on individual patients, Zarin suggests—exposing that might be the only way to reconcile the discrepancies. Zarin also speculates that researchers might add positive secondary endpoints after the study is completed—a big no-no in the trials world—to give it a rosier hue, and thus they don’t appear on ClinicalTrials.gov when the study is first registered. Zarin is conducting her own analysis of the ClinicalTrials.gov results database, which now includes results from almost 10,000 trials. (150,000 trials are registered on the site.) She says she’s reaching similar outcomes as the Yale group.One question that the Yale team didn’t explore was whether researchers had inputted their results on the site before submitting their paper—something that would allow journal editors or reviewers to play detective and see whether the document they have matches up with what’s in the database.Potential Conflicts Still Going UnreportedClinical trial authors still aren’t reporting their conflicts of interest, despite years of conversations and new policies encouraging them to do so. That’s the bottom line of a study presented here at the International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication, where Kristine Rasmussen from the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen presented a new study tackling this question.In most countries, it might be tough to determine whether authors who don’t disclose conflicts actually have them. But Denmark is unusual, because all Danish physicians are required by law to fill out forms if they collaborate with industry, and those forms are publicly available. (The United States is beginning to implement a similar rule as part of the Affordable Care Act.) The Danish system made it straightforward for Rasmussen and her Cochrane colleagues—Jeppe Schroll, Peter Gøtzsche, and Andreas Lundh—to compare disclosures of industry associations in published papers with the forms filed by doctors.They looked at journals that follow recommendations from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) and searched for trials that had at least one Danish physician author who did not work at a company. They selected 100 recent studies. About half the doctors had some financial conflict of interest with a drug company, though not necessarily the company sponsoring the published research, they found.Although most of the doctors disclosed relationships they had with the firm funding the published research, fewer than half shared relationships they had with industry competitors. And despite all the talk in recent years about conflicts, 16% who had a financial tie to a sponsor or drug manufacturer leading the study didn’t report it. One example cited by Rasmussen: a physician who was an advisory board member and speaker for AstraZeneca, maker of the drug being covered by the paper, who declared he or she had no conflicts.“I was actually very disappointed” by this, says Vivienne Bachelet, editor-in-chief of the journal Medwave in Santiago, who was not involved in the study. In her country, she says, the “level of awareness is just nil” about conflicts of interest. Medical societies in particular get substantial funding from drug companies but almost no one—the societies themselves, drug regulators, or the individual doctors—see this as something that should be disclosed, Bachelet says. “If they’re not disclosing over there,” in Denmark, “what’s to be expected in Chile?”Rasmussen noted that one issue might be vagueness in the ICMJE conflict of interest form: While it’s specific about the expansive nature of conflicts that might arise, such as travel paid by a company or fees for expert testimony, it suggests that authors disclose only those that are “relevant.” Says Rasmussen, “authors are left to decide” what falls into that category.last_img read more

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DARPA Carves Out New Division to Entice Biotech Talent

first_imgThe U.S. Department of Defense’s research arm is making a concerted grasp at biotechnology. On 1 April, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced a new division that will consolidate biology research scattered across its existing six divisions and possibly expand the arsenal of projects. “Researchers should see this move as a recognition of the enormous potential of biological technologies,” Alicia Jackson, deputy director of the new Biological Technologies Office (BTO), told ScienceInsider in an e-mail. Whether the agency will devote a larger chunk of the roughly $2.9 billion in its requested 2015 budget to biotech programs is not yet clear.DARPA has been applying its high-risk, high-reward funding model to projects in the life sciences for years. In 1997, it announced the first big push into research on fighting biological hazards. More recently, it launched the Living Foundries program to use cells as molecular factories for making new materials. And its Defense Sciences Office (DSO) has aligned with President Barack Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative, calling for grant applications on projects to design therapeutic devices for neurological disorders and to repair brain damage in military service members. A key player in those brain-focused programs, former DSO deputy director and neurologist Geoffrey Ling, will direct the new division.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But those disparate biology projects “percolating throughout DARPA” have now reached “critical mass,” Jackson wrote. The agency has transplanted 23 in-progress programs from other divisions to seed the BTO, and it could decide to fund new biotech effort as others age out. “We start and end(!) programs as technological opportunities arise,” she wrote.DARPA’s biology research may be more centralized now, but its interests are still far-flung. The three broad “focus areas” laid out in this week’s announcement include technology to support service members (including prosthetics and neurological therapies) and synthetic biology research such as the Living Foundries program. There’s also a more recent foray into the study of complex biological systems, from the population-wide dynamics of a disease outbreak to the way human bodies align their functions to a biological clock.The restructuring is also meant to send a message to researchers in biotech who may not have considered working with DARPA. Jackson wants to focus on recruiting new program managers—who normally serve 3- to 5-year stints—and reach out to “young researchers and start-ups who may have little idea of how to interact with DARPA or that DARPA exists at all.”last_img read more

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Citizen Scientists Hope to Revive Old NASA Probe

first_imgA group of crowd-funded amateurs, students, and NASA retirees are on the cusp of resurrecting—and possibly taking control of—a disused NASA spacecraft that has been coasting around the solar system since the days of disco.On 21 May, NASA said it would allow the group to contact the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3 (ISEE-3), which studied space weather after its launch in 1978 and went on to study two comets. NASA stopped operating the spacecraft in 1997, but through the years the plucky probe has kept broadcasting a carrier signal.The group, called the ISEE-3 Reboot Project, is installing a radio amplifier at the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico. Sometime in the next few days, some of its members will use the powerful radio dish to try and exchange “tones” with the spacecraft. That handshake would be a first step toward regaining control of the spacecraft. In the subsequent weeks, the group would check the spacecraft’s vital signs and attempt to move it into a new orbit.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(*)Mission control would be from an abandoned McDonald’s at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, says Keith Cowing, a co-director of the project and the editor of the website NASA Watch. Cowing says that the project shows how there can still be value left in projects that NASA deems worthy of discarding. “They left gas in the gas tank and the keys in the ignition,” he says. NASA is not paying for any part of the project, and the group has crowd-funded its effort. By 23 May, the project had raised more than $150,000. Cowing says that the money pays for radio transmission equipment, rental time on radio telescope networks to track the spacecraft, and travel for team members.If it all works, it will be a vindication for Robert Farquhar, the 81-year-old who was the mission’s original flight director. He has been advocating to revive ISEE-3 for years and notes that it still has plenty of fuel left. He believes that most of the spacecraft’s 13 instruments should still be working. Farquhar wants to use the remaining fuel, along with a lunar swing-by in August, to redirect the spacecraft to an encounter with comet 46P/Wirtanen in 2018. “I think there’s definite value,” he says.Cowing says that even if the spacecraft has a hard time providing useful data, the spacecraft itself could provide useful information on how various components degrade over time in space. Regardless, Cowing cites the educational value of the project and says that the model could be applied to other NASA missions that are too expensive for the agency to operate. For instance, this month NASA said it would not extend the Spitzer Space Telescope mission, which has been making infrared observations since 2003. Cowing wonders if the volunteer approach could wring value from the telescope for less than the $16.5 million that it costs to operate Spitzer this year. “Let’s save one spacecraft at a time,” he says.last_img read more

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Tensions surround release of new Rosetta comet data

first_imgDARMSTADT, GERMANY—The comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which the Rosetta spacecraft is now orbiting, is by all accounts a fascinating chunk of dust and ice. This week, scientists using the spacecraft’s high-resolution camera presented some staggering images of the duck-shaped comet at a planetary science conference in Tucson, Arizona. They showed the first color images of the comet. They showed dust grains being ejected from the surface, arcs that could be traced back, presumably, to geysers of sublimating ice. And they showed brightness variations less than 10 centimeters apart—which could indicate that they have found sparkling bits of ice peeking through a black crust of dust.But Rosetta’s operator, the European Space Agency (ESA), has released none of these images to the public. Nor have any of these images been presented in Darmstadt, Germany, where scientists at ESA’s mission control are preparing to drop the Philae lander to the comet surface on Wednesday. Project scientist Matt Taylor was reduced to learning about the new results at the Arizona conference by thumbing through Twitter feeds on his phone.For the Rosetta mission, there is an explicit tension between satisfying the public with new discoveries and allowing scientists first crack at publishing papers based on their own hard-won data. “There is a tightrope there,” says Taylor, who’s based at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. But some ESA officials are worried that the principal investigators for the spacecraft’s 11 instruments are not releasing enough information. In particular, the camera team, led by principal investigator Holger Sierks, has come under special criticism for what some say is a stingy release policy. “It’s a family that’s fighting, and Holger is in the middle of it, because he holds the crown jewels,” says Mark McCaughrean, an ESA senior science adviser at ESTEC.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(*)Allowing scientists to withhold data for some period is not uncommon in planetary science. At NASA, a 6-month period is typical for principal investigator–led spacecraft, such as the MESSENGER mission to Mercury, says James Green, the director of NASA’s planetary science division in Washington, D.C. However, Green says, NASA headquarters can insist that the principal investigator release data for key media events. For larger strategic, or “flagship,” missions, NASA has tried to release data even faster. The Mars rovers, such as Curiosity, have put out images almost as immediately as they are gathered.ESA has a different structure from NASA’s. It relies much more on contributions from member-states, whereas NASA pays for most instrument development directly. On Rosetta, for example, ESA hasn’t paid for very much of the €100 million camera, called OSIRIS, and therefore has less control over how its data is disseminated. “It’s easier for [NASA] to negotiate [data release] because we’re paying the bills,” Green says, whereas ESA has to do it “by influence.”Prior to Rosetta’s launch in 2004, an embargo of 6 months was set for all the instrument teams. McCaughrean points out that mission documents also stipulate that instrument teams provide “adequate support” to ESA management in its communication efforts—but that term has been debated by the camera team. “I believe that [the OSIRIS camera team’s support] has by no means been adequate, and they believe it has,” McCaughrean says. “But they hold the images, and it’s a completely asymmetric relationship.”So far, OSIRIS has not released any images from its closest orbits at 10 kilometers above the comet. The vast majority of publicly released images have come from navigation cameras, engineering instruments that ESA management has more control over. OSIRIS has about five times better resolution than the navigation cameras.Sierks, of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen, Germany, feels that the OSIRIS team has already been providing a fair amount of data to the public—about one image every week. Each image his team puts out is better than anything that has ever been seen before in comet research, he says. Furthermore, he says other researchers, unaffiliated with the Rosetta team, have submitted papers based on these released images, while his team has been consumed with the daily task of planning the mission. After working on OSIRIS since 1997, Sierks feels that his team should get the first shot at using the data.“Let’s give us a chance of a half a year or so,” he says. He also feels that his team has been pressured to release more data than other instruments. “Of course there is more of a focus on our instrument,” which he calls “the eyes of the mission.”Another reason why Rosetta instrument teams have been slow to release information is that some of them have submitted papers to Science, which, upon acceptance, carries an embargo that forbids public discussion of specific results in the papers. But some ESA officials think that team members have become too fearful about disclosing everyday discoveries. Because of concerns over embargoes, the team has only reluctantly disclosed the dimensions and volume of the comet, for instance, and it has yet to publicly describe the comet’s albedo, or reflectivity.At a press briefing on Tuesday in Darmstadt, a reporter asked Fred Jansen, the project manager, if the Wednesday landing event would include any new images from Sierks’s OSIRIS camera. “We definitely intend to squeeze these out of him,” Jansen said. “There is an agreement that we’ll get pictures tomorrow.”To read more Rosetta coverage, visit our Rosetta collection page.last_img read more

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Max Planck Society unveils €50 million support plan for young scientists

first_imgThe Max Planck Society (MPG), Germany’s flagship organization for basic research, will improve its support for junior scientists and do away with a stipend system used mostly for foreign Ph.D. students and postdocs that many had decried as unfair because it doesn’t include basic social security benefits. The new scheme will cost the society up to €50 million annually.The measure, officially announced yesterday (English version here), was welcomed by PhDnet, an organization of Ph.D. students at MPG that had been lobbying for change for over a decade. “This step brings young researchers one step closer to the living, social, and work contract standards of Germany,” writes PhDnet spokesman Prateek Mahalwar in an e-mail.With a €1.6 billion annual budget and 83 institutes spanning the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, MPG employs more than 3400 Ph.D. researchers, 54% of whom are non-German nationals. About one-third of them have a so-called support contract, anchored in a collective wage agreement for Germany’s civil servants, that offers many social and legal protections, including public health insurance and child benefits. The remaining two-thirds are on a stipend, which tends to offer more freedom in research and working conditions, but generally comes with less money and fewer benefits.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 distinction has triggered protests, especially because most German Ph.D. students have a contract, while most foreigners work for a stipend. PhDnet began sounding the alarm and lobbying for change in 2003, and in 2012, a group of young researchers launched a petition calling for fair pay. Although MPG has taken small steps to make the system fairer, the inequality became increasingly unacceptable, acknowledges Martin Stratmann, who became president of MPG last year.Starting on 1 July, MPG wants to give all of its Ph.D. students a support contract—although individual institutes can still “opt out” and offer all of their Ph.D. students a stipend instead. (The society doesn’t expect institutes to do so.)Postdocs will also benefit; an estimated two-thirds of them will be offered an employment contract. The rest are expected to stay for a short period of time only and will receive Max Planck Fellowships as scientific guests. MPG anticipates that it will have to reduce the number of Ph.D. students by 15% and postdocs by 10% as a result of the changes, while the cost of hiring junior researchers goes up by 40%. That money comes from the Pact for Research and Innovation II, a program funded by the federal government and the Länder, or states, which has helped increase MPG’s overall budget by 5% annually between 2011 and 2015.The changes are going in the “right direction,” because they will narrow the gap between Ph.D. students within MPG and also between them and students at German universities, says Horst Hippler, president of the German Rectors’ Conference.MPG also issued more detailed guidelines yesterday for the supervision of Ph.D. students that aim to set common standards across disciplines and institutes. Funding for Ph.D. students will be guaranteed for 3 to 4 years, and they will sign an agreement with their supervisor stating the rights and duties of both sides. Students will also be given a second Ph.D. adviser and access to a third, independent person to help in case of conflict. “We aim for the really great students,” Stratmann says—and he hopes the new measures will help lure them to Germany.last_img read more

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Kovind announces Indian embassy, investment for Equatorial Guinea

first_imgPresident of India Ram Nath Kovind heads to Swaziland on Monday, following a weekend visit with President Teodoro Obiang Nguema in Equatorial Guinea.The two met at the Presidential Palace in Malabo to discuss economic development and investment, as well as security. Kovind said India is eager to assist the small but resource-wealthy West African nation in project development, in keeping with credit extensions of USD$10 billion over five years for African countries first announced at the India-Africa Forum Summit of 2015.Read it at Africa TImes Related Itemslast_img

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US Abruptly Scraps Talks With India Amid Growing Differences

first_imgThe United States on Wednesday abruptly scrapped much-anticipated high-level talks with India amid growing differences between the two countries, partly stemming from a chaotic administration in Washington where New Delhi is clearly not a priority country anymore.Read it at Times of India Related Itemslast_img

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The Rise of Indian Characters in Hollywood

first_imgIf you are to see any American or British film that is over thirty years old, you will find that Indians in these films are portrayed based on the colonial image that the English speaking parts of the western world had of us. The image of the typical Indian in those films would be one of either extreme opulence or of exaggerated poverty. One thing common among both classes, however would be the bushy beard and the turban wrapped head.Read it at MIG Related Itemslast_img

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India’s Kom Wins Record Sixth World Boxing Gold

first_imgIndia’s Mary Kom on Saturday became the most successful female boxer in world championships history after clinching her sixth gold medal in New Delhi.The 35 year-old beat Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota 5-0 in the final of the 48kg category contest in front of an electric home crowd.Read it at NST Related Itemslast_img

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