Father calls Saifullah killed in Lucknow encounter a traitor, refuses to accept body

first_imgSelf-radicalised persons planted bomb on Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train, says U.P. ATS chief Several hours have passed since he made a bold statement about not accepting his youngest son and alleged terrorist Saifullah’s body. Sartaj Khan makes it clear that it was not an angry or a spontaneous reaction. But even as he stands by his decision, he demands that the allegations made by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad be proved, for he had never imagined that this day would come.According to a PTI report, Mr. Sartaj said: “A traitor cannot be my son, straight and simple.” He refused to take Saifullah’s body, saying, “A traitor cannot be related to me, let alone be my son.”Saifullah, he says, was indeed the black sheep in the family, despite being the only one among his three sons (Khalid and Mujahid are the other two) to enter college. But the tannery supervisor’s reason to complain was nowhere close to the narrative provided by the police.“His reluctance to support the family by taking up a job was why I was miffed. I can say with surety that there was nothing in his behaviour that suggested he could be a terrorist or even an outlaw,” says Mr. Sartaj. Also Read | Photo Credit: PTI Items recovered after suspected terrorist Saifullah was killed in a 12-hour operation on the outskirts of Lucknow on Wednesday.center_img  Religious his brother may have been, but Mr. Khalid never saw signs of radicalisation. “He enjoyed music and a lot of other things that hardliners may not approve of,” he says. Their mother died in an accident in 2014, but the family does not believe that brought about any change in Saifullah.As the conversations with Mr. Sartaj and Mr. Khalid is on, the other members of the family are in the next room. The door is closed and the only sound that can be heard is from the television of people lauding the father’s statement.Mr. Sartaj’s remarkable composure is missing in Mr. Khalid’s response to the tragedy. He says they won’t accept the body because “our father has made the decision and we stand by it.” The narrative too has changed a bit since the encounter in Lucknow. Investigators are now non-committal about the arrested persons being part of the Islamic State. Among other things, the family also wants a probe into the “seizure” of a huge cache of arms from the house where Saifullah was gunned down.The family’s theory is that even in the event of the allegations being true, it was more because of bad influence of others around him, rather than Saifullah’s own inclination towards radicalisation.This is where the focus shifts to the cousins Danish, Faisal and Imran, who were also arrested and are believed to have tipped off the police about Safiullah’s location.“They were welcome here like cousins anywhere else are. If there was anything beyond this, it’s for the police to find out,” says Mr. Sartaj. College dropoutThe strained relations between the father and son persisted for a long time. In between, Saifullah dropped out of Manohar Lal Mahavidyalaya after finishing second year, tried his hand at learning computer accounting and even assisted a lawyer in preparing sales tax cases. But for one reason or the other, stable employment eluded him and, with the passage of time, his father’s impatience only grew.Sitting in the courtyard of their single-storey house next to a mosque in Maqdoom Nagar, Mr. Sartaj recalls that fateful evening when he forced Saifullah to leave. “A couple of months ago we had a huge argument. I slapped him and asked him to leave the house. We never heard from him again,” he says.His eldest son and the only other accessible member of the family Mr. Khalid adds that Saifullah told them before leaving that he would look for opportunities in Mumbai and try to travel to Saudi Arabia for work. It is a rather curious coincidence that Danish, one of Saifullah’s three cousins arrested for allegedly being a part of the same module, left home after a similar argument with his father Naseem, Mr. Sartaj’s elder brother. last_img read more

Manipur blockade: Timeline

first_imgIndefinite curfew was imposed in Manipur’s Imphal East and West districts. Here’s all you need to know about the Manipur blockade.November 1, 2016: United Naga Council (UNC) calls for an indefinite economic blockade, cutting off normal movement of trucks on National Highways 2 and 37 — lifelines that pass through Naga villages — or along the 100-km Imphal-Moreh Road on the Trans Asian Highway No 1.November 15, 2016: The State government backs out of a meeting between the Centre, the Manipur government and the UNC. Home Ministry officials meet representatives of the UNC as planned but fail to break the impasse.November 25, 2016: A total shutdown is called for by the UNC and other Naga organisations. Two top leaders of UNC, president Gaidon Kamei and information secretary Stephen Lamkang, arrested. On the other hand, ruling on a public interest litigation petition, the High Court of Manipur directes the State to provide adequate security to vehicles plying along the two national highways. Two other directives call for the deployment of paramilitary forces to ensure the free movement of the trucks.December 8, 2016: The State Cabinet finalises the creation of seven new districts, with the nomenclature of Sadar Hills changed to Kangpokpi. Chief MinisterOkram Ibobi says this has been done for administrative convenience, and that creating a district is the prerogative of the government.December 9, 2016: The State government issues a gazette notification stating the creation of seven new districts, taking the total number of districts to 16. The decision generates sharp reactions from the UNC; the other two communities living in the state – Meiteis and Kukis – accept the move.December 15, 2016: Three police personnel killed and nine others seriously injured in two ambushes. The personnel killed were on their way to provide security for the inaugural function of the newly-formed Tengnoupal district.December 20, 2016: The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) imposes total blockade on all Manipur-bound vehicles and passengers in all Naga inhabited areas.December 23, 2016: Home Minister Rajnath Singh asks Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang to ensure that there is no disturbance in movement of vehicles passing through the state following reports of NSF’s blockade.December 27, 2016: The NSF temporarily suspends its eight-day-long total blockade of all Manipur-bound vehicles with immediate effect, taking into consideration the assurance of the Manipur government and at the Centre’s request.December 31, 2016: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh makes an assurance that his government will not go back on its decision to create seven new districts.January 1, 2017: Internet and messaging service were partly restored.January 18, 2017: Take steps to remove blockade, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. The blockade of National Highway-2 caused severe difficulties to the people of Manipur, especially with regard to availability of essential commodities.February 7, 2017: Tripartite talks to end the over three-month-long economic blockade of a crucial highway in Manipur failed to make any headway.March 19, 2017: Tripartite talks among the Centre, Manipur government and the United Nagar Council (UNC) leaders ended on a positive note bringing the 139-day Manipur blockade over the creation of new districts to an end.last_img read more

Mehbooba calls for restraint by forces

first_imgJammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday asked the security forces “to exercise maximum restraint while operating in provocative situations”, as a shutdown and street violence continued to disrupt life in the Valley.“The security forces should exercise maximum restraint and follow strictly the standard operating procedure,” said Ms. Mufti, while condemning the killing of PDP worker Bashir Ahmad.The shutdown call by separatists against the killing of a civilian in BSF firing on Sunday brought life to a standstill in the Valley. According to the police spokesman, a mob assembled in Shopian’s Heff village as the security forces were launching a cordon and search operation. “The militants fired at the security forces. Later, they took advantage of the mob and escaped,” said the spokesman.On Sunday evening, a petrol bomb was hurled at a security forces’ patrol in Srinagar’s Rainawari area. However, no casualty was reported.College closedThe authorities on Sunday decided that the Pulwama Degree College, will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, where over 50 students were injured in clashes with security forces on Saturday.In another incident, one person was killed and another injured after unidentified men opened fire on them in Pulwama district last night, police said.Gunmen kill one The gunmen entered the house of Bashir Ahmad Dar on Saturday night and fired at him and his cousin Altaf Ahmad Dar, leaving them injured, a police official said. Bashir was declared brought dead at a hospital.last_img read more

Panjab varsity students start shoe-polishing protest

first_imgRelentless in their demand for roll-back of the fee increase, students of Panjab University started a novel protest on Monday. Members of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), who have been protesting against the fee increase for the 2017-18 academic year through a relay fast, sat outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office, polishing the shoes of bystanders and fellow students to collect money that they said would be sent to the university to help it tide over the financial crisis. “We are on the 21st day of the fast, but our demand has been ignored; today, we are polishing shoes to wake up the university administration,” said Nikhil Rampal, a student of the Economics Department. “By polishing the people’s shoes, we will send across the message that if the administration has no other means of generating funds, we will go to any extent,” he said. Surjeet Bharmouri, who is in charge of the NSUI’s Chandigarh unit, said the protest was meant to get across the message to the Central government that it should consider the students’ demand. “If it cannot do it, we are willing to polish the people’s shoes and give the sum thus earned to our university. We have collected ₹190 and will send it to the Vice-Chancellor’s office,” he said. On April 11, a clash broke out on the campus between the students and the police. The university has justified the 12.5% increase in fees, citing its finances. It is expecting a deficit of ₹244 crore for 2017-18.last_img read more

SIT to probe Saharanpur violence

first_imgThe Uttar Pradesh government has constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the Thakur-Dalit caste violence in Saharanpur.The SIT will consist of 10 police inspectors and will be headed by the Superintendent of Police (Crime), Saharanpur, according to a press statement from the office of U.P. Director General of Police. It will probe all the 40 FIRs filed from May 5 to May 23.State Home Secretary Mani Prasad Mishra told The Hindu on Friday that many confidence-building measures had to be taken as there was an impression that innocent people had been arrested for the violence. “The police will probe all the cases. If there is no evidence against those arrested in the last two weeks, then they will be released,” Mr. Mishra had said.One person died, over a dozen seriously injured and sixty houses of Dalits were burnt down when violence erupted between Thakurs and Dalits in Shabbirpur in May. The clash started when Dalits objected to the “loud music” during a Maharana Pratap memorial procession taken out by the local Thakur community allegedly without police permission. Violence erupted again in the area on May 9 and May 23. Hearing tomorrowThe formation of the SIT comes a day after a public interest litigation (PIL) petition was filed in the Allahabad High Court demanding a judicial probe. The PIL filed by Ramendra Nath sought compensation for the affected Dalits. The Bench of Chief Justice Dilip Babsaheb Bhosale and Justice M.K. Gupta fixed May 30 as the date for the next hearing.last_img read more

Sedition charge against 15 in M.P. for celebrating Pakistan cricket win dropped

first_imgThe Madhya Pradesh police on Thursday dropped sedition charges against 15 persons for allegedly celebrating the victory of Pakistan in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy.The 15 people of Mohad village in Burhanpur district of Madhya Pradesh had been booked under Sections 124-A of the Indian Penal Code, among other charges on Tuesday.Burhanpur Superintendent of Police Rajaram Singh Parihar told The Hindu that they had dropped the sedition charges against the villagers as they were unable to find enough evidence and the complaint had been misinterpreted.Fresh chargeThe 15 persons have now been charged with Section 153 A of the IPC for allegedly disturbing communal harmony, the police said.“We have dropped 124 A (sedition charges) of the IPC against the 15 villagers. However, they have been charged under Section 153 A of the IPC,” Mr. Parihar told this correspondent.According to eyewitnesses, most of the villagers arrested were youngsters and daily wagers with no criminal record.Move NHRCAfter the police booked the villagers, the families of the accused approached the President of India, National and State Human Rights Commissions, National and State Minority Commissions stating that their relatives were innocent and that they did not celebrate Pakistan’s victory.The case was registered in the Shahpur police station of the district. The police have sent the accused to Khandwa jail.last_img read more

Luxury car catches fire in Sirsa, triggers panic

first_imgA luxury car caught fire on Monday in Phulkan village which claimed to have witnessed zero violence through the day before and after the quantum of sentence for Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was pronounced in Rohtak. The incident triggered panic among locals. Around 2.45 p.m., a passer-by alerted the Ding police who reached the spot and doused the fire. “We have taken samples for forensic tests. It doesn’t seem connected to any activities of violence,” said Inspector-General Amitabh Dhillon. An eyewitness, Manjeet Singh, told The Hindu that he saw two cars passing by. “We don’t know what happened but suddenly the car was up in flames. It seems the man driving the car sat in the other car and fled,” he said.last_img

Khaira warned against trespass bid: Amarinder

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday condemned Sukhpal Singh Khaira for trying to force his way into former Cabinet Minister Rana Gurjit Singh’s factory in Batala and warned that any attempt by the Aam Aadmi Party leader to take the law in his hands would be dealt with as per law.“Mr. Khaira was indulging in cheap street politics to grab media and public attention ahead of Monday’s Shahkot bypoll,” said Capt. Amarinder, adding that Mr. Khaira’s trespass bid amounted to sheer violation of the law, with the potential to trigger violence.“Despite being warned about the serious trouble it could lead to, considering the fact that the move could have provoked the mill workers and staff into retaliation, Mr. Khaira did not desist from moving towards the premises,” said the Chief Minister. He termed it an attempt on the AAP leader’s part to divert public attention on the eve of polling.Capt. Amarinder said the AAP had a history of resorting to theatrics in the run-up to any election and Mr. Khaira’s act had exposed the party’s desperation in the face of their imminent wipe-out in the Shahkot by-election.Meanwhile, Mr. Khaira said he was in Buttar Siviato to inspect the villages adjacent to the sugar factory including Dhardion, Buttar, Gagarbhana, where the villagers had told him about their problems due to pollution caused by the factory.“I had not gone to Buttar Sivia to fight with anybody but to listen to the problems of the people as a public representative so that they could be raised in the Vidhan Sabha,” said Mr. Khaira. He added that he was forcefully stopped outside the factory from examining the ‘drain’ where pollutants from the factory were being thrown. “The police acted as a mute spectator and instead of taking any action against the ‘goons’, they pressurised me to cancel the programme,” said Mr. Khaira.Rana Sugars Private Limited, however, refuted the charges and accused Mr. Khaira of running a malicious campaign against it.“It is so characteristic of Mr. Khaira to resort to theatrics and create a hype and eventually beat a hasty retreat taking one excuse or the other,” Rana Veer Partap Singh, one of the directors of the company and son of Rana Gurjeet Singh, said.Mr. Singh added that the company was running strictly according to the norms of the Environment Ministry and the pollution control board and had obtained all mandatory clearances, which were renewed from time to time after proper scrutiny and examination.last_img read more

‘Digital boards will change the face of classrooms, education’

first_imgThe launching of ‘Operation Digital Board’ across 15 lakh classrooms in the country in the next four years will change the face of education in the country, said Union Human Resource Minister Prakash Javadekar.Speaking at the third edition of Excellence in Education conclave organised by The Hindu group in association with Blue Star here on Thursday, Mr. Javadekar said, “We get valuable inputs from such events to raise the educational standards in the country. The media is not just a loudspeaker but has to critically examine government programmes and come up with new suggestions so that the country is benefitted and enriched.” In his special message delivered via video link, Mr. Javadekar mentioned the initiatives undertaken by the NDA government to harness the digital revolution. “Our government has taken benefit of the digital revolution to educate 15 lakh teachers and making education available online and offline. Education policy today is based on accessibility, accountability, affordability and equity,” he said.He said that the HRD Ministry had unveiled initiatives like SWAYAM and the National Digital Library (NLD) to revolutionise the structure of education in the country.He further said that the granting of complete autonomy to IIMs was a major step towards ensuring excellence in education. The concept of research parks and Atal innovation centres was a major step towards fostering entrepreneurship, he added.State Education Minister Vinod Tawde said The Hindu conclave was “a breakthrough” for thinking about the education system not only in Maharashtra, but in the entire country.“Our educational system still languishes in the industrial revolution era. The conclave will help in providing inputs on how the curriculum can be adapted to today’s digital educational epoch,” Mr. Tawde said.He further remarked on the need to mull about the emotional and spiritual quotients and not merely the intelligence quotient in education.In his keynote address, Maharashtra Education Commissioner Vishal Solanki noted that the three critical issues were digitalisation in 21st century schools, excellence in education and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit.“While phrases like ‘Technology is a great leveller’ sounds good to the ears, in reality, a lot needs to be done towards improving digital connectivity in the State’s — and India’s — rural hinterland,” Mr. Solanki said.Observing that while education offered by some establishments was expensive, he questioned whether an ‘Ivy League’ education truly guaranteed quality education or imbibed the right values in moulding children’s characters.“It is necessary to introspect in this digital age if a wealthy education is the sole guarantor of quality? For there is an amazing hunger for education among children in the rural areas as opposed to their privileged urban counterparts. We also have to ask hard questions as to how effective is the vocational training being imparted to students in institutes across the State,” he said.Fondly recalling his eager wait for The Hindu during his days as a civil services aspirant, Mr. Solanki said Pune was an apt place to host the conclave as it had a number of excellent institutions with a 200-year academic pedigree.Commenting on the yeoman service rendered by The Hindu in upholding journalistic values and maintaining literary standards, B. Thiagarajan, Joint Managing-Director, Blue Star, said the conclave symbolised a marriage of two iconic brands in fostering education and an entrepreneurial spirit through knowledge.“For educationists as well as the student fraternity, The Hindu is indelibly associated with high-quality English writing and a judicious choice of informative articles. Likewise, a commitment to providing quality vocational training constitutes a significant part of Blue Star’s CSR initiatives,” said Mr. Thiagarajan.last_img read more

Navi Mumbai gets special police teams to handle mob violence

first_imgTwo special police teams headed by the deputy commissioner of police, Zone I and Zone II respectively, have been formed to look into mob lynching and violence in Navi Mumbai under a Supreme Court order.The State government issued a Government Resolution (GR) to form a special squad exclusively to handle mob violence. “The main intention is to mainatin peace, law and order in the city. The team will conduct meetings at the most sensitive areas of the zone like villages in Uran, Nhava Sheva and Panvel taluka, and be in touch with the police patil in these areas. They will spread awareness on maintaining law and order and impart knowledge of sections that could land those involved in mob lynching or violence behind bars,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone II, Ashok Dudhe said.The eight-member team will keep a watch on various organisations in the areas in their jurisdiction. “The team will first look into any untoward incident. Anyone found inciting violence or hatred which could lead to mob violence will also be booked as per the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code,” Sudhakar Pathare, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone II, said. Each team will have an assistant commissioner of police, one police inspector, two assistant police inspectors and four staff. “They will book anyone found spreading rumours or fake news that could incite a mob,” Mr. Dudhe said.Police are hopeful that mobs will be controlled better during a protest. On July 25, during the Maratha morcha, a huge rasta roko staged at Kalamboli on Sion-Panvel highway had blocked the Mumbai-Pune Expressway for close to six hours. The Sion Panvel highway too was blocked at various places from Vashi to Kalamboli. At Koparkhairane, around 100 vehicles were damaged, a police chowky and seven vehicles were burnt and a 19-year-old protestor was killed. “In the event of such protests, this team will play a major role in conducting meetings beforehand and educating people that violence will lead to severe action against them,” Mr. Pathare said. The team will also inform people that when an accused is caught, he should be handed over to police, instead of mobs taking the law into their hands.last_img read more

Expelled Akali leaders to float new party

first_imgAs the three expelled leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Sunday announced that they will float a “new Akali Dal” soon, the SAD accused them of playing into the hands of the Congress party.In Amritsar, expelled MP Ranjit Singh Brahmpura accused SAD president Sukhbir Badal of causing “irreparable damage” to the party. “We will launch a new party keeping intact the original values and ideology of the Akali Dal,” said Mr. Brahmpura, accompanied by the other expelled leaders — Sewa Singh Sekhwan and Rattan Singh Ajnala.“We will announce the name of the party on December 14,” the leaders added.Senior SAD leaders Nirmal Singh Kahlon and Gulzar Singh Ranike said the announcement by the expelled leaders that they will reach out to Sukhpal Khaira was proof that the new outfit was destined to be a Congress front.“By joining hands with Mr. Khaira [the suspended Aam Aadmi Party leader was formerly with the Congress], the expelled leaders have proved themselves to be Congress yes-man who are ready to do what their new political masters order,” alleged Mr. Kahlon and Mr. Ranike.“These expelled leaders believe that they are bigger than the SAD and will deliver the party to the Congress. However, people have seen through the opportunism of these discredited leaders and stand exposed before them,” said the leaders.last_img read more

Odisha farmers suffer extensive crop damage

first_imgFarmers in western and northern Odisha districts bore the brunt of unseasonal rain triggered by cyclone Phethai. Agricultural fields were filled with water leaving little scope for a normal harvest.Except Jajpur, Puri, Balasore, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Bhadrak, all other districts in the State received rainfall in the last 24 hours, ending on Tuesday morning. “Highest average rainfall of 75.3 mm was received in Jharsuguda district while neighbouring Sambalpur recorded average 73.5 mm rain. Estimated 71.5 mm rainfall was recorded in Bargarh, while Deogarh (68.3 mm) and Subarnapur (67.7 mm) also received significant precipitation,” said Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi. Gajapati, Boudh, Rayagada and Angul received average rainfall of above 50 mm.“Farmers were warned about possible rain. We don’t expect paddy which was stored in market yards and threshing floor after harvest to be badly damaged in the rain. We are waiting for reports from collectors about crop damage,” he said. According to the SRC, the government would announce compensation after analysing the crop damage.last_img read more

Congress, JD(U) plan rallies in Bihar to showcase strength

first_imgBoth the Congress and the ruling Janata Dal (United) are gearing up to organise rallies in Patna to showcase their strength, ahead of the Lok Sabha election. The Congress will be organising its ‘Jan Akanksha Rally’ on February 3 on its own after a gap of several years, while the JD(U) too will hold a rally to share the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a gap of nine years.The roads, bridges and electric poles here have been adorned with posters and billboards of Congress leaders inviting people for the scheduled rally. Congress president Rahul Gandhi will be attending the rally, along with other Grand Alliance leaders. This will be Rahul Gandhi’s first visit to Bihar after assuming charge as Congress president. Chalo chale, Rahul ko sune (let’s go to hear Rahul Gandhi); Takht badal do, taj badal do, Chor-chaukidar ka raj badal do (change the podium, change the crown, change the regime of protector who himself is a thief) are some of the slogans written on these posters with pictures of State Congress leaders. The State Congress leaders, including president Madan Mohan Jha, State in-charge of the party Shaktisinh Gohil, have been visiting different districts to mobilise people for the proposed rally. “It will be a historic rally which will herald the end of NDA rule in the country”, said Bihar Pradesh Campaign Committee (BPCC) chief and party’s Rajya Sabha MP Akhilesh Singh.RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) supremo Upendra Kushwaha and others are also expected to participate in the Congress rally. However, there have also been talks of murmuring between Congress party and RJD over numbers of seats to contest in the state in upcoming Lok Sabha poll. Apparently enthused with the recent assembly poll results in three Hindi-heartland states, the Congress party is said to have been demanding 16 seats while, the RJD has offered them 10 seats. In last 2014 LS poll, Congress had won just two seats of Kishanganj and Supaul. “All the allies in Grand Alliance have to be taken care…everyone has to sacrifice from their quotas in the larger interest to defeat BJP”, said senior RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari. However, party leader and younger son of Lalu Prasad, Tejaswi Yadav recently had said “there was no confusion over seat sharing in GA in Bihar…let the time come and everything will be declared”. The state Congress leaders too said “the confusion over sear sharing among GA alliance partners is only in media…but, yes after the assembly result of three states our position has gained strength and moreover, we’re the national party”, said a state Congress leader. “What happened in Uttar Pradesh will not be repeated here in Bihar”, he assured further.Similarly, the JD(U) too has been gearing up for a counter rally to be held either on February 24 or March 4. The date has not been finalised yet but “Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the rally is almost final,” said a party leader. “The moment everything will be finalized we’ll let it know to media”, CM Nitish Kumar said recently. It will be after a gap of nine years that PM Modi and Mr Kumar would be sharing the stage for an election rally in Patna. The last time the two leaders shared stage for an election rally was in 2010 in Punjab. Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan too will participate in the proposed rally.last_img read more

Polling peaceful in six LS, 42 Assembly seats in Odisha

first_imgPolling passed off peacefully in six Lok Sabha and 42 Assembly constituencies of Odisha in the third phase of simultaneous elections on Tuesday.An average of 61% voting was recorded till 5 p.m., and it was likely to increase since voting was in progress, according to the Chief Electoral Officer, Odisha. The Lok Sabha seats where polling was conducted during the day are Puri, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Sambalpur and Keonjhar. The 42 Assembly segments came under these six Parliamentary constituencies.EVMs malfunctioningReports of malfunctioning of EVMs were received from some booths in the morning hours, but polling was resumed after replacing those machines. Polling was postponed in a booth under Sambalpur following error and wrong pairing of VVPAT.In another incident, a polling official passed away while on duty in Dhenkanal district. The official, Nabakishore Nayak, who collapsed inside the booth, was declared dead by doctors at Kamakhyanagar hospital.Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik was among the prominent leaders to cast their votes in the morning hours. After casting his vote, Mr. Patnaik exuded confidence that the BJD would perform well in the elections in the State.The prominent candidates who were in the fray for Tuesday’s elections include former IAS officer Aparajita Sarangi, former Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik, former Director General of Police Prakash Mishra and BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra.4th phase on April 29 Polling is already over in nine Lok Sabha and 63 Assembly constituencies in Odisha in the previous two phases – April 11 and 18. The fourth and last phase polling in the remaining six Lok Sabha and 42 Assembly constituencies, for which campaigning is still going on, is scheduled to be held on April 29.On the other hand, Mr. Patnaik campaigned for party nominees in areas under the Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituencies later in the day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also addressed two public meetings at Balasore and Kendrapara during the day.last_img read more

ScienceShot: Is Social Media Souring Americans on Animal Research?

first_imgCHICAGO, ILLINOIS—Support for medical testing on animals has declined 12% since 2001 in the United States, and the Internet may be responsible, according to an analysis presented here today at the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science. The study, conducted by researchers at the advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Western Governors University, an online school based in Salt Lake City, looked at Gallup survey data from the past 12 years. After weighting the data to ensure they were nationally representative, the researchers found that 41% of American adults considered animal testing “morally wrong” in 2013, up from 29% in 2001. Opposition to such testing has risen among all demographic groups, but the biggest jump has been among people aged 18 to 29; 54% of them found animal testing morally wrong in 2013, versus just 31% in 2001. The team says the surge in Internet use during this period may explain the trend. Animal rights and animal welfare organizations have a much stronger presence on social media than do pro-animal testing groups—PETA has more than 2 million followers on Facebook and nearly a half million on Twitter, for example, versus 130,000 and 1700, respectively, for the Foundation for Biomedical Research. As a result, the researchers speculate, these organizations may getting their message out more effectively, especially among young people.See more of our coverage from AAAS 2014.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

One hundred and one monarch genomes reveal surprising history of this long-distant migrant

first_imgEach fall, when the first migrating monarch butterflies fluttered past his 11th-floor window in Washington, D.C., Science’s recently retired earth science writer, Dick Kerr, would call us other writers and editors in to watch these harbingers of the coming cold wing their way southward. He’ll appreciate this advance. By sequencing 101 monarch genomes, biologists have rewritten the evolutionary history of the species, discovering what makes the monarch’s wings orange and its muscles well suited for the long flight to boot.”It is a wonderfully complete application of genomics to elucidating a well-known puzzle of natural history,” says Lawrence Gilbert, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of Texas, Austin. “It explains the pattern of migratory and sedentary populations on the globe and probably refines hypotheses on many aspects of monarch biology.”The fall journey takes the monarch, Danaus plexippus, thousands of kilometers south to the mountains of Mexico for the winter. Come spring, the butterflies begin their trek northward, following the blooming of the caterpillar’s host plant, milkweed. Adults stop and reproduce when they encounter the plant; then the next generation heads north as the season progresses to find more milkweed, so it can take several generations for the insects to make it back to Washington, D.C., and beyond to Canada. Females lay eggs on milkweed and their caterpillars feed on this plant, acquiring compounds that make the butterflies toxic to potential predators, as they warn with the striking orange and black pattern on their wings.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(*)Many of the monarch’s close relatives call the tropics home and don’t migrate, so evolutionary biologists had proposed that the North American migrants descended from nonmigratory South or Central American ancestors, much as temperate songbirds originated in the tropics, spreading northward to find food but forced to return south each winter because of the cold weather. Not so, says Marcus Kronforst, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois. “The data said a totally different thing.”Kronforst and his colleagues had previously studied another butterfly, Heliconius, and found the key gene involved in determining the color patterns of the various species in this group. So when the monarch genome was first sequenced 2 years ago, he wondered whether there might be a single gene largely responsible for migration behavior in the monarchs.Joining forces with monarch experts, Kronforst obtained DNA from 92 monarchs and nine other closely related butterflies. The samples came from different parts of North America, from places in South and Central America where the local monarchs stayed put all year round, and from elsewhere around the world. Shuai Zhan, now at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences in China, sequenced all of these genomes. He and his colleagues grouped the genomes by how similar they were to build a family tree. That tree revealed that, contrary to expectations, all the monarchs arose from a population in the southern United States or northern Mexico. The species expanded in three waves, one south into South and Central America, one east across the Atlantic, and a third west across the Pacific. Butterflies in those waves settled down and ceased migrating. Kronforst, Zhan, and their colleagues matched up the DNA from migratory and nonmigratory populations. About 500 genes were different, many of them subtly so. But one muscle gene, called collagen IV alpha-1, stood out sharply. Many other creatures share the gene. Fruit flies with mutations in it have atrophied muscles, and in people, similar mutations lead to frequent muscle cramps. The researchers expected that to make their long trips North American monarchs would need a lot more collagen than their South American counterparts and that the gene would therefore be more active. Instead, the gene was less active in the migrants, they report online today in Nature. Somehow, less collagen in the migrants’ flight muscles made them more efficient.”It’s the first genetic change that’s been shown to be associated with migration,” says Richard Ffrench-Constant, an entomologist at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, who was not involved with the work. But the study is “just a first step,” he adds. These are the sorts of genes “that equip [the monarchs] to migrate, but not the genes that make them fly.” He hopes that next the researchers will find genes involved in turning on the migration behavior.Kronforst and Zahn’s team also sequenced genomes from Hawaiian monarchs, which come in white and orange forms. From breeding experiments, other researchers learned that a single gene was responsible for the color loss. Zahn and Kronforst expected that this gene would be involved in pigment-generating pathways. But instead, their analysis shows it was a gene that codes for myosin, a protein essential for muscle contraction. The butterfly myosin gene resembles a myosin gene that is mutated in a mouse strain that has light instead of dark fur. In the mouse, this myosin helps transport pigments into the hair, so Kronforst thinks the white morph’s myosin may fail to transport orange pigment into the wing scales.Ffrench-Constant says the data are compelling. But he wonders how well the new evolutionary scenario will hold up once more monarch relatives—many of them tropical and nonmigratory—are sequenced. The addition of those genomes to the monarch extended family tree may lead to another revision of this butterfly’s history. Nevertheless, the genetic analysis should reinforce interest in conserving migrating monarchs, whose numbers have dwindled in recent years. “Based on the paper’s findings,” Gilbert says, “sedentary populations cannot easily restore migrating monarchs once the latter are lost.”last_img read more

‘Dark magma’ could explain mystery volcanoes

first_imgThe magma fueling the volcanoes of Hawaii and Yellowstone National Park pipes up from deep inside the planet. Scientists have struggled to understand why there are hot spots there, so far from the grinding tectonic plate boundaries at which volcanoes normally appear. New research chalks the mystery up to “dark magma”: deep underground pockets of red-hot molten rock that siphon energy from Earth’s core.“It’s a very provocative paper … a bit speculative,” says Thomas Duffy, a geoscientist at Princeton University who was not involved with the study. “But it’s taking us in an important step on the road to understanding the deep Earth.”Most volcanoes form because tectonic plates, vast sections of Earth’s crust, smash against or slide underneath each other. The pushing and melting there feed the volcanoes in the infamous Ring of Fire around the Pacific Ocean. But hot spot–spawned volcanoes like Hawaii’s are a different breed. They are nowhere near tectonic plate edges, and yet millions of years ago they spewed out so much lava that they nearly blanketed whole continents with molten rock or covered the globe with soot. Geologists believe the source of this magma is coming from just above Earth’s outer core, but they’re not exactly sure how.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(*)Alexander Goncharov, a geophysicist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., and colleagues think that there are patches of magma—remnants from an early molten stage of our planet’s history—quilted around the outer core. Because the bottom of Earth’s mantle is nearly 3000 kilometers below the surface—about a 3-day journey if you could drive there by car—temperatures and pressures reach such hellish extremes that the atomic structures of these magmas are different from those they would have at lesser pressures. Duffy says that “can really change physical properties a lot,” including the way the material looks and absorbs heat.To test how magma might behave near the core, Goncharov and his colleagues squeezed a sliver of a dark, opaque glass, made from iron and silicate to mimic the composition of deep Earth magmas, between two diamonds to simulate pressures near the core. The team then shined an infrared light through the glass and measured how much light passed through. As the pressure increased, so did the amount of light the glass absorbed, and the team saw a change in the atomic structure of the glass, the researchers report online today in Nature Communications.Goncharov says that means magmas at high pressures in the lower mantle must be sponging up heat emanating from the core. As these patches of magma around the core get hotter, they start to act as a door for heat to pass into the mantle by convection. The heated mantle rocks then move up through the planet in a massive plume until they erupt on the surface, creating large volcanoes in strange places like Hawaii, Yellowstone, Easter Island, and Mount Etna, and some of the most violent eruptions.If the team is right, its work could illuminate a key part of Earth’s geology. Duffy says these plumes are “one of the most important things to understand,” because the movement of heat powers many processes on the planet. For one, Earth’s magnetic field depends on how the core spins and flows inside the planet. As a result, Duffy says, “the way heat flows from the core to the mantle could potentially affect the way Earth’s magnetic field evolves over time.”Not everybody is ready to get behind Goncharov and his colleagues’ new hypothesis. “There are two fundamental limitations of the paper,” Duffy says. “First that they’re studying a glass and not [melted rock], and there’s the fact that [the experiment] is at room temperature and not high temperature.” Until scientists perform the experiment with molten rock heated to about 3200°C, Duffy says, they can’t be sure how the magma really behaves.And geologists still contest whether the pockets of magma around Earth’s outer core actually exist. To probe Earth’s interior, scientists rely on seismic waves from large earthquakes that have to travel through 3000 kilometers of rock. At that depth, the measurements become “a little bit ambiguous,” Duffy says. “And there’s a question as to why the liquid wouldn’t just all drain [away].” Because these dark magma pockets float above the core, it’s a bit like imagining an ocean rising tens of kilometers above sea level. “It’s not impossible,” he says, “but the idea that there’s melt in the deep mantle is controversial.”last_img read more

Indian-American announces plans to run for US Congress

first_imgAn Indian-American investment banker has announced his plan to run for the US House of Representatives from a Congressional seat in Connecticut.Harry Arora, 48, seeks to oust Democratic incumbent Jim Himes, who has represented the 4th Congressional District since January 2009.Arora wants to have a Republican voice in the so called ‘Samosa Caucus’ — the informal group of Indian-Americans in the US House of Representatives.Currently four Indian-Americans in the US House of Representatives — Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Pramila Jayapal — are from Democratic party.Read it at Economic Times Related Itemslast_img

India, Sweden to Sign Security Pact to Enable Transfer of Swedish Defence Tech

first_imgIndia and Sweden are set to sign a security agreement when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Stockholm next week, people familiar with the developments said, a move that will facilitate transfer of technology if Swedish defence major Saab is chosen to build fighter jets here. Read it at Economic Times Related Itemslast_img