Scientists discover how the flu virus resets its trap

first_imgJun 29 2018For the first time, scientists have directly visualized in real-time structural changes in the surface protein of the influenza virus that may help the virus to fuse with and enter target cells before hijacking their functions. Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine found that single molecules of the protein hemagglutinin (HA) that reside on the surface of the virus unfold to stretch toward target cells, then refold and try again 5 to 10 times per second. The discovery shows the flu virus to be more dynamic than previously thought and may help efforts to develop more effective vaccines and better understand other viruses such as Ebola, HIV, and SARS. The research appears in the journal Cell online June 28 and in print August 9.For decades, influenza has served as the study model for a large class of viruses that enter cells by a common mechanism: An envelope protein on the surface of these viruses must attach the virus to the cell membrane, and then fuse the virus and the cell. Fusion allows release of the virus contents into the cell, so it can take over the cell’s internal functions and replicate. Influenza’s envelope protein, HA, has long been a template for fusion mechanisms in other viruses.”Envelope proteins have been described as old-fashioned mousetraps, set in a static, spring-loaded state, waiting to be triggered by interaction with a target cell,” said the study’s senior author, James Munro, PhD., assistant professor of molecular biology and microbiology at Tufts School of Medicine who also teaches at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts. “Once triggered, they undergo a dramatic change in their three-dimensional structure, enabling fusion and entry into the target. However, despite some hints in previous research, this process hadn’t been directly observed, and it was widely thought that each protein molecule on the surface of the virus had only one chance to spring its trap.”Related StoriesVirus employs powerful strategy to inhibit natural killer cell functionAntibiotics can wipe out early flu resistance, study finds$3.1 million NIH funding awarded to develop universal flu vaccineUsing an advanced imaging technology-;single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer, or smFRET, which measures nanoscale distances within single molecules labeled with fluorescent dyes-;and then performing significant computational analyses of the data, the Tufts researchers generated the first real-time visualization of the changing shape of individual HA molecules seeking cellular targets. To facilitate the experiments, the HA molecules were imaged while on the surface of an unrelated virus.What they discovered was a versatile and dynamic mousetrap that was far from the one and done model previously assumed. “The fact that this viral molecule can reconfigure itself, then reverse that configuration and rapidly repeat that sequence multiple times changes the way we think about virus entry,” said Munro.Reversibility may potentially benefit the virus in several ways, including preventing early activation in the absence of an appropriate target, enabling virus molecules to synchronize their efforts to increase efficiency, and confusing a cell’s protective antibodies, which must recognize the shape of a virus in order to defend against it.”Surface proteins are the only part of the virus that the immune system ‘sees.’ As a result, nearly all known antibodies that inhibit virus replication target these proteins,” noted Munro. “We are asking ‘What structures does the immune system need to recognize to make more effective antibodies?’.”Research is still needed to prove repeatability and reversibility of these protein dynamics in viruses other than flu, and visualization experiments using inert, non-infectious Ebola particles are underway in Munro’s lab. Munro is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award to support use of single-molecule imaging to investigate how viruses such as Ebola enter host cells.Source: http://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/how-flu-virus-builds-better-mousetraplast_img read more

Risky pregnancies in older women and those with many children are seldom

first_imgJul 4 2018Harmful gender, religious and cultural norms contribute to risky pregnancies in older women and women who already have five or more children, endangering the lives of these women and their babies, suggests new research from the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs. CCP is based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.In many low- and middle-income African countries – including Niger and Togo, which the CCP team studied – these risky pregnancies are rarely discussed in family planning and reproductive health programs. The findings are published in the June issue of the journal Global Health: Science and Practice.”In many settings, it is all but impossible to discuss the taboo concept of spacing childbirths or to even bring up the increased risks to mother and child associated with having too many children or having children after the age of 35,” says study co-author Erin Portillo, MPH, a family planning program officer for CCP and its Breakthrough ACTION project. “We heard one story about a provider who discussed these risks and then clients no longer wanted to see her because there was a perception that she was wishing ill will on them. Long-held social norms are keeping women from understanding the dangers associated with these types of pregnancies.”Niger has the highest fertility rate in the world, with 7.6 children born per woman – a figure that has actually increased in recent years. Women in Niger, in a 2012 survey, on average, said the ideal number of children in a family is more than 9. Men said more than 12. Niger is a conservative Muslim country where discussions of limiting pregnancies are largely forbidden, though the government has committed to increase the rate of contraceptive use to 50 percent by 2020 (from 10.8 percent in 2012).Togo’s fertility rate is 4.8 children, though it has been decreasing, as have perceptions of the ideal family size.The researchers conducted focus groups and in-depth discussions between January and March 2015 at one urban site and two rural locations each in Niger and Togo to understand how perceptions and attitudes influence choices about reproduction for older women and those who already have many children.They learned that in Niger participants saw pregnancy itself as a perilous situation for women but did not think that age or family size compounded the risk. Participants there said that Islam forbids any interference with reproduction and that large families were a benefit, which added to a family’s wealth and provided security in old age.They also found that, in Niger, women in polygamous situations feared less attention from their husbands, fewer resources and eventual losses in social status and inheritance if they had too few children – a fear that some men confirmed.Related StoriesPuzzling paralysis affecting healthy children warns CDCWhy Mattresses Could be a Health Threat to Sleeping ChildrenGuidelines to help children develop healthy habits early in life”Really, it’s not good to limit births to three, four or five children,” one man in urban Niger told interviewers. “It’s not our culture.”After conducting the research, the CCP-led Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) project created the Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy Implementation Kit (I-Kit), focused exclusively on addressing pregnancy risks among women 35 and older and those with five or more children. The I-Kit includes context and information on such pregnancy risks, key messages and calls to action for specific audiences, and explains how to integrate such information into existing programs using social and behavior change communication. It also includes a collection of ready-to-use or adaptable health communication tools such as brochures, posters and guides for working with community-based groups and journalists to help them report on the issues and bring them to a wider audience.Organizations in Niger and Togo adapted and piloted the I-Kit. In Niger, the program reached nearly 13,000 women; in Togo, it reached more than 3,300. The organizations applying the I-Kit have integrated some of the messages into their daily work and found that “discussing the risks led women to share with others their personal experiences with pregnancy or birth complications, realizing for the first time that age or parity [number of children] may have played a role.”While the researchers did not have the opportunity to collect specific data to measure behavior change among these audiences, there were lessons learned and recommendations made about how others could adapt the I-Kit moving forward. Among the lessons was that materials should be adapted to large groups in order to make it easier to convert the counseling guides into a less personal, group discussion format.They also learned that, particularly in more conservative settings, the emphasis should be on managing and planning to reduce the risks of bearing children once a woman reaches age 35 or when a woman already has five children, rather than on solely avoiding pregnancy among those women. “Participants in Niger especially questioned that five children were too many, and participants in both countries had difficulty accepting age 35 as an age to slow or stop childbearing,” the researchers report.The researchers also suggested that tailoring materials to younger women and to men could help them learn to avoid the risks of multiple births for older women and that the materials could be used on a broader scale in other low- and middle-income countries.​Source: https://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2018/dangers-of-pregnancy-among-older-women-and-those-with-many-children-rarely-discussed.htmllast_img read more

Women associate money with love men link it to freedom

first_imgHumans aren’t the most reasonable bunch when it comes to cash. Psychologists think a heavy bankroll (or lack thereof) makes us favor our irrational side—think extravagant retail therapy or high-stakes poker tables. Although men and women both seem to succumb to the madness, money tends to seduce genders in different ways, according to a study published in the September issue of Social Indicators Research. Researchers surveyed more than 100,000 individuals in the United Kingdom about their feelings when it comes to the big bucks. Some questions asked if participants buy things when they feel anxious, bored, or upset, whereas others revolved around guilt, pride, or power in regard to money. There are four main categories that we associate with the content of our bank accounts, the researchers say: security, power, love, and freedom. After analyzing the survey results, psychologists split the difference, showing that females, on average, were about twice as likely to associate cash flow with love and emotion, whereas men were about twice as likely to see money as a sign of power and freedom, though the feelings were not mutually exclusive. The researchers say it’s hard to keep a healthy emotional detachment from the dollars in our pockets, but they hope spotlighting the gender specifics in our infatuation with money will help men and women get a grip on their financial feelings.last_img read more

Plasma transfusions cant combat Ebola

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email During the darkest months of the West African Ebola epidemic in 2014, scientists were almost empty-handed. Hundreds of patients were dying every week; drugs and vaccines weren’t ready for testing. There was another strategy they could try, however: taking blood from people who had already survived Ebola and giving it to those who were sick. Blood from survivors is laden with antibodies against the virus that might just help new victims overcome Ebola as well. But a new study suggests the approach doesn’t work, and some scientists say it’s time to bury the idea and move on.Passive immunotherapy, as the strategy is called, has proven its merit with other diseases, including influenza and diphtheria, but whether it worked with Ebola was unknown. A study during the 1995 Ebola outbreak in Kikwit, in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, showed that seven out of eight patients who received blood from survivors survived, but a later analysis showed that most of them received the transfusions late in their disease, when they were unlikely to die anyway. A 2007 study in which monkeys received convalescent blood showed no benefit. “Given these discouraging results and the risks of transmitting infection, whole-blood transfusions, even under desperate epidemic conditions, seem unwarranted,” the authors of that paper warned.When Ebola exploded in West Africa in 2014, and patients were dying in large numbers, the World Health Organization said it was worth trying anyway—especially because candidate drugs were in short supply.center_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The new study, led by researchers at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and Guinea’s National Blood Transfusion Center, didn’t use blood but plasma—essentially blood minus the red blood cells. (The cells are given back to the donors.) The logistics were daunting: A huge blue bus chockful of equipment to obtain and process blood was shipped in from abroad. Survivors were mobilized and convinced to donate plasma—not an easy task in West Africa, where blood is a symbol of strength.The researchers hoped to recruit 130 patients; because the epidemic was already on the retreat when their study started, they managed to administer plasma to only 99 people, 15 of whom were excluded from the analysis for various reasons. (Guinea had its last Ebola case in October.) Because withholding a potential treatment was unacceptable to regulators and the local population, there was no placebo group, says lead author Johan van Griensven; instead, the control group was formed by 418 patients treated at the same center in the five previous months.Of the 84 patients eventually included in the plasma group, 31% died, compared with 38% in the control group—a difference of 7%. When the researchers adjusted the data to correct for patient age and virus levels in their blood, the difference shrunk to 3%, and it was no longer statistically significant, the team reports today in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).The researchers haven’t entirely given up on the idea that plasma might work, however. They didn’t determine the antibody levels in the plasma that they administered; those measurements are now being done at a high-level biosafety lab in France. It’s still possible that plasma from some donors with high levels of antibody—or particularly powerful antibodies—was effective, Van Griensven says. “This is not the end of the convalescent plasma story,” says Calum Semple, a clinical virologist at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom and a co-author on the study. (The fact that administering plasma was possible in the midst of an outbreak, and that the treatment was safe and acceptable to donors and patients, is an important feat in itself, he says.)The trial’s disappointing outcome is “not very surprising,” says virologist Thomas Geisbert of the University of Texas Medical Center in Galveston, one of the authors of the 2007 monkey study. He says doing the study didn’t make much sense in the first place, and now it’s time to let go of the idea altogether.Geisbert’s hopes are on treatments that did do well in animal studies, including a lab-made cocktail of antibodies called ZMapp that protected monkeys from Ebola. A field trial of ZMapp that has enrolled around 70 patients in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and the United States is ongoing; whether that cohort is large enough to produce definitive results is still unclear.A second study published in NEJM today provides hints, but no solid evidence, about another strategy that might work against Ebola. The paper is based on a natural experiment: In August 2014, an Ebola treatment center in the Foya, in northern Liberia, ran out of the first-line malaria therapy, a combination called arthemeter-lumefantrin, that was given to all Ebola patients admitted to the center. For 12 days, until new supplies arrived, the center relied on another drug combo named artesunate-amodiaquine.As it happens, a screening published in 2013 showed that amodiaquine has anti-Ebola activity in the test tube. So researchers set out to see whether patients on the new malaria drugs had a higher chance of survival. They did: In the NEJM paper, the team shows that 51% of the patients died during the 12-day interval, compared to 64% of those in the periods before and after the stock-out.It’s not clear that amodiaquine saved patients from Ebola, however, the researchers write. One possibility is that the drug doesn’t do anything, but that arthemeter-lumefrantrine increases the risk of death instead. It’s also possible that the patients in the 12-day interval somehow differed from those who came earlier or later. Still, if malaria treatment is a standard component of Ebola care, artesenate-amodiaquine may be the better choice, the team writes. “It’s definitely an interesting finding,” says Robert Garry of Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana—but more work is needed on the anti-Ebola effects of amodiaquine, he says.last_img read more

Ten questions for Rick Perry Trumps pick for energy secretary

first_imgFormer Texas Governor Rick Perry goes before the U.S. Senate tomorrow to explain how he would run the Department of Energy (DOE), which manages the nation’s nuclear arsenal, a network of 17 national laboratories, and a vast array of basic and applied energy research programs. Scientists are eager to hear whether the two-time failed Republican presidential candidate has a vision for the $30-billion-a-year agency, which he once famously said should be eliminated, and where energy fits into the overall agenda of the man who nominated him, President-elect Donald Trump.Members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources have their own concerns to raise with Perry. Democrats will no doubt press him on whether he believes reducing carbon emissions is important, whereas Republicans will likely invite him to discuss how continued drilling for fossil fuels will help the country achieve energy independence. Senators may also ask him about the international agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear weapons program, which Trump has labeled one of the worst deals in history.But many issues will probably not be broached. Here are 10 questions that scientists might want to ask Perry if they were sitting in the hearing room, along with a brief explanation of each topic. An early indication of priorities may be Perry’s choice of a successor to physicist Cherry Murray to manage the office’s six research programs. The Obama administration emphasized advanced computing and materials for energy in the basic energy sciences’ program, and biofuels in the environmental research program; House of Representatives Republicans have tried repeatedly to cut climate research within that program. For many researchers, Trump’s first budget request, for the 2018 fiscal year beginning next fall, will be a key indicator of which way the wind is blowing.How will you decide whether the United States should remain in the ITER fusion energy project?ITER is a multinational project to prove that generating energy by fusing hydrogen isotopes together at temperatures exceeding those in the center of the sun is scientifically feasible. But the project, currently under construction in southern France, is at least a decade behind schedule and could cost three times original estimates.If a U.S. domestic project were similarly so far out of control, Congress or the White House likely would have killed it long ago. But the United States has only a 9% stake in ITER—matched by China, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea—whereas the European Union, as host, is footing 45% of the bill and is determined to see it through.Attitudes in Congress range from enthusiastic flag waving to vocal opposition. The Senate has repeatedly put forward budgets that zero out ITER, while the House continues the back it. The annual compromise has been to provide only just enough money to remain a partner; but that has squeezed domestic fusion programs to the point of near-extinction. What path will Perry take?Does the United States need to resume testing of nuclear weapons, and what reforms are needed to ensure the safety and reliability of the nuclear stockpile?The last U.S. nuclear test occurred in 1992. Since then, DOE’s three weapons labs have used supercomputer simulations to ensure the safety and reliability of the stockpile, along with replacing components—such as heavy water in thermonuclear bombs—that decay or degrade. The Obama administration has lowered the number of nuclear warhead types to 12, from 23 in 1990, and there are plans to take another 50% cut over the next decade. A Trump tweet that the United States “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes” was later clarified to be a reference to modernization, which has been a pillar of Obama’s nuclear strategy. But it is unclear whether that modernization will require a resumption of testing. The United States signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty 20 years ago but has not ratified it.What is DOE’s role in fostering exascale computing?The United States has dominated the field of high-performance computing for decades, which has helped the nation maintain its leadership in science and technology. But China now has the world’s two fastest supercomputers, and three countries (China, Japan, France) have promised by 2020 to unveil an exascale machine—one that can perform a billion billion operations per second, more than 10 times more powerful than today’s leader. Those announcements forced DOE to shorten its timeline from 2022 to 2021, but the agency has struggled to obtain the desired funding from Congress. Supercomputing advances push the boundaries of technology development. That allows the companies and countries setting the pace to reap the commercial rewards of their sizeable investments in chips and software.Is ARPA-E working, and should its funding be increased?The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) was created in 2007 and funded its first projects in 2009. Modeled after the Department of Defense’s ARPA, ARPA-E aims to turn basic research into budding energy technologies that private industry will then develop. Republicans once saw that role as unnecessary government intervention in the free market, so one concern from scientists is whether Perry may rekindle that debate. As with so much in Washington, D.C., money may provide the answer; specifically, whether the Trump administration requests more or less than ARPA-E’s current $291 million budget.Will you rebuild nuclear cooperation with China and resuscitate agreements with Russia?In recent years, scientists in U.S. nuclear labs have had very little interaction with their peers in those two countries. A 1999 report by a House committee detailed allegations that China had stolen design information on advanced U.S. thermonuclear weapons, and that Chinese agents had penetrated U.S. labs for decades. Although China denied the allegations, the charges poisoned the well of collaboration. Joint projects with Russian nuclear scientists began to ebb soon after President Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000, and reached a nadir last October when Russia suspended an agreement with the United States on nuclear R&D cooperation and terminated another on retooling Russian research reactors to no longer run on weapons-grade uranium fuel.U.S. nuclear scientists are working with their Chinese and Russian counterparts to implement the Iranian nuclear deal, which faces an uncertain future. The political predilections of Trump and his Cabinet augur continued improvement of scientific ties with Russia. And science could also become a counterweight to diplomatic battles with China over trade if the new administration wants to find common ground with the Asian power.What role should DOE play in fostering a greener U.S. transportation system?Car magazines are filled with articles about driverless cars, battery-powered vehicles, and climate-friendly fuels made from corn or algae. But the reality is that nearly all of the more than 250 million cars and trucks on the road today guzzle gasoline refined from oil, and don’t do it very efficiently.The Obama administration made a concerted effort to transform the U.S. transportation system with battery startups, regulations that ramp up the use of cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels, and a near doubling of fuel efficiency requirements for light-duty cars and trucks. The impact of those policies is just beginning to be felt, although the more than half a million all-electric and gas-electric hybrids on U.S. roads is a good start. However, the continued greening of U.S. transportation will likely require scientific advancements in engine technology, lighter cars, and rules requiring their use. Trump has yet to signal whether his administration plans to continue driving in this direction.Should the government reopen Yucca Mountain, or do you favor the current consent-based approach to finding a long-term storage site for high-level nuclear waste?Congress decided in 1987 that the nation’s high-level nuclear waste from commercial reactors and other sources should be buried deep beneath Yucca Mountain in Nevada. But efforts to build and open the repository have run afoul of political opposition and technical obstacles. A presidential commission formed by the Obama administration concluded that Yucca was doomed, and that the nation needed a new siting process—involving a wide range of stakeholders, including state governments and advocacy and industry groups—to forge a workable deal. That process has yet to get off the ground. But supporters are hoping the retirement of one of the project’s most powerful adversaries—Senator Harry Reid (D–NV)—and Republican control of the White House will breathe new life into the project.Should DOE spend more to help companies improve existing technology to extract and burn fossil fuels?Environmental groups, climate activists, and some Democrats in Congress have long complained that federal agencies, and DOE in particular, have spent too much money supporting the fossil fuel industry, even as it racked up decades of impressive profits. But fossil fuel advocates note that DOE support has been critical to industry advances, including developing the technology behind fracking, offshore drilling, and cleaner-burning coal and natural gas power plants. The Obama administration, as part of its all-of-the-above energy strategy, increased DOE’s support for nonfossil fuels, but Congress made sure the agency also stayed in the fossil fuel game. Will Perry and the Trump administration shift the balance back again, or argue that the fossil fuel industry is mature enough to pay its own way?Adrian Cho, Daniel Clery, Warren Cornwall, David Malakoff, Jeffrey Mervis, Robert Service, and Richard Stone contributed to this story, which was edited by Jeffrey Mervis. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email What is the role of science at DOE?Recent presidents from both parties have used science as a way to connect DOE’s myriad activities, both administratively and by appointing Cabinet secretaries with advanced science and engineering degrees. Perry doesn’t have that kind of training. But if confirmed he will play a role in picking the people who run DOE’s research programs. One key decision: finding a successor to Franklin Orr, the outgoing undersecretary for science and energy.What areas do you plan to emphasize within DOE’s Office of Science?The agency’s $5.1 billion Office of Science is the single largest funder of basic research in the physical sciences in the federal government. It is also the nation’s leading builder of large scientific facilities; the 10 labs funded by the office host x-ray synchrotrons, neutron sources, atom smashers, and other user facilities. These machines serve thousands of scientists from universities, industry, and other federal research agencies in fields ranging from particle physics to structural biology. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! 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Winners and losers in Indias science budget

first_img Radiokukka/iStockphoto By Sanjay KumarFeb. 3, 2017 , 4:45 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Winners and losers in India’s science budget “We have a great opportunity to embark on many initiatives,” says Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan, secretary of the Department of Biotechnology here, which is getting a 16% boost. Meanwhile, a 23.5% jump in health spending includes an 11.54% rise for research that will help ambitious plans to eradicate four diseases from India: kala azar, a fatal form of leishmaniasis, slated for elimination by the end of this year; leprosy in 2018; measles in 2020; and tuberculosis in 2025.India’s nuclear program didn’t get the raise it was hoping for. Its 5.51% increase “is small and inadequate,” says Anil Kakodkar, a member of the Atomic Energy Commission, headquartered in Mumbai, India. He expects that nuclear power expansion plans will stay intact, but that nuclear research “may get a hit.”At the annual Science Congress last month, Modi exhorted Indian scientists to help the nation become one of the world’s top three science powers by 2030. The “lackluster” 2017 science budget won’t propel India far along that road, says Dinesh Abrol, a science policy expert at Jawaharlal Nehru University here. “India is nowhere close to China in terms of investment, capacity, or achievements.” Whereas China is rapidly gaining on the United States, he says, India has been “stuck for years with 0.9% of GDP spending on S&T, which is far less than 2% spent by China.” NEW DELHI—For scientists in India, 2017 is becoming a year of feast or famine. India’s annual budget, unveiled this week, doles out lavish increases for space, biotechnology, and renewable energy. Programs vying for scraps, on the other hand, include nuclear research, spending on which won’t keep pace with inflation.The budget rollout comes on the heels of an economic crisis sparked last November, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government took higher denomination rupee banknotes out of circulation. The surprise move triggered massive queues at banks as people struggled to deposit old notes and withdraw scarce new ones. Independent estimates peg that the crisis eroded gross domestic product growth by as much as 2%. (GDP growth in 2016 was 7.6%.)The Indian government hopes the new budget will help get the economy back on track. Most boats will rise in science and technology, slated for $8.05 billion in the budget year that starts on 1 April. That’s an 11.5% increase over last year, a robust growth in spending even after accounting for India’s projected inflation rate of 5.16% in 2017. The Indian government hopes the 2017 budget, including a hefty boost for science, will help get the nation’s economy back on track. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) VijayRaghavan is more bullish on India’s prospects. “Our approach is to get more for less and be more creative,” he says. “We will work to collaborate nationally and globally, and get more bang for the buck.”last_img read more

Departure of US Census director threatens 2020 count

first_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email John Thompson will leave the Census Bureau on 30 June. John Thompson is stepping down next month as director of the U.S. Census Bureau. His announcement today comes less than 1 week after a congressional spending panel grilled him about mounting problems facing the agency in preparing for the 2020 decennial census. And Thompson’s pending retirement is weighing heavily on the U.S. statistical community.Thompson is leaving halfway through a 1-year extension of a term that expired last December. His departure will create what a 2012 law was expressly designed to avoid—a leadership vacuum during a crucial time in the 10-year life cycle of the census, the nation’s largest civilian undertaking. The immediate concern is who the Trump administration will appoint, and how soon it will act.“The key is to act expeditiously,” says Phil Sparks, co-director of The Census Project, a Washington, D.C.–based advocacy organization. “The normal length of time to fill a vacancy [with a nomination] is 6 months, but the Census Bureau doesn’t have the luxury of time.” Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img Departure of U.S. Census director threatens 2020 count By Jeffrey MervisMay. 9, 2017 , 6:15 PM U.S. Census Bureau Ken Prewitt, who led the agency from 1998 to 2001, worries that a long delay in naming a well-qualified replacement for Thompson could be the first step of a long, steep decline in the quality of the federal statistic system, which spans 13 agencies. “That system is fragile, and it wouldn’t take much to damage it severely,” says Prewitt, a professor of social affairs at Columbia University. “My real fear is that they don’t care enough to do a good job with the 2020 census. And then after doing a bad job, they decide to let the private sector take over.”A more modern censusA former 27-year veteran of the agency, Thompson returned as director in August 2013 after leading NORC, a public opinion research firm based in Chicago, Illinois. He immediately drew up plans to modernize the 2020 census in a way that would also allow it to meet a congressional mandate to hold the 2020 census to no more than the $12.5 billion cost of the 2010 enumeration.Thompson has said repeatedly those changes will save an estimated $5 billion. But that estimate has begun to look shaky for reasons within and outside his control.The cost of a new tracking system being developed for the next census is almost twice its initial half-a-billion-dollar budget, Thompson said last week before the commerce, justice, and science appropriations subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives. And that was just the first of several pieces of bad news at the 3 May hearing. Officials from the Government Accountability Office, a congressional watchdog agency, told legislators they feared a billion-dollar overrun in the agency’s overall IT programs, an essential element in mounting a successful census. Even more disconcerting, they said, were the agency’s repeated delays in updating cost estimates made in 2015.Thompson’s rare appearance before the House spending panel underscored the agency’s tenuous budget situation. The Census Bureau’s budget historically spikes in the 2 to 3 years before the next census. But its prospects of getting such a large hike this time around are bleak. A final spending bill enacted last week provided less than half its requested $263 million increase for 2017. And President Donald Trump has said he’ll ask for essentially a flat budget in 2018.Without a financial rampup, however, census officials won’t be able to vet all the new systems planned for 2020. And any stumbles will likely cost the government a lot more money to fix down the road.Who’s next?Thompson says he timed his departure to give his boss, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and the White House “sufficient time to put in the proper leadership to guide the Census Bureau through the 2017 Economic Census, the 2020 Census and beyond.” But media reports say Ross was unhappy with Thompson’s performance at last week’s hearing and shared his displeasure with the director.Prewitt speculates that a Trump appointee might have an easier time convincing a Republican-led Congress to allocate the additional money needed to ensure that the 2020 census is successful. “If you see your budget cut in 2017 and think you’re not going to do any better in 2018,” Prewitt says, “you might decide that the Bureau would be better off with somebody new.”The Census director has traditionally been a longtime agency official or a well-respected academic. Census watchers don’t think an insider will get the job. “Right now they don’t have a strong bench,” says Smith, noting that the agency’s deputy director, Nancy Potok, was recently named chief statistician at the White House Office of Management and Budget and that her position is vacant.That leaves someone from the community as the most likely choice. “It’s a large organization, but it’s fundamentally a scientific agency,” says Ronald Wasserstein, executive director of the American Statistical Association based in Alexandria, Virginia. “So the new director needs to be someone with strong management and scientific skills.”The new director also needs to command respect, says Terri Ann Lowenthal, a former House staffer director for the census panel and now a census consultant in Connecticut. “Maintaining public confidence in the integrity of the process will determine, to a large degree, faith in the results,” she says. “It is vital that the next director not be viewed as partisan or lacking an appreciation for the value of objective, reliable statistics to inform decision-making.”last_img read more

Crashing the boards Neuroscientist Maureen Condic brings a different voice to NSF

first_img Charlie Ehlert, University of Utah Health By Jeffrey MervisNov. 26, 2018 , 6:00 AM On Wednesday, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will welcome the first cohort of members appointed by President Donald Trump to its oversight body, the National Science Board. Most of the seven fit the mold of senior academic leaders, prominent scientists, and corporate research managers who typically sit on the 24-member board. But Maureen Condic is somewhat different.An associate professor of neurobiology at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Condic works in spinal cord regeneration, a field NSF does not fund. Bioethics is a passion of hers, and she has weighed in publicly on highly partisan debates in Congress over the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortions and embryonic stem cells in research—issues on which the science board defers to other federal agencies. She also believes scientists should stick to their expertise in advising the government and has chastised researchers for claiming to have a better understanding than nonscientists about how new technologies and techniques should be used.“I’m very much an advocate for broader public input on science policy, and less reliance on the opinions of scientists who have a vested interest in the outcome,” Condic told ScienceInsider in an interview shortly after her appointment was announced. “We tend to take the attitude that what scientists say is good for their enterprise is good for society. But that may not be true.” Maureen Condic Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwecenter_img “I think that scientists feel they are not always listened to,” she adds. “But often it’s because they believe their own expertise should determine what the government should do, and that if we can do something, we should do it. They will tell policymakers that the technology is safe, that there are no ethical problems with it, and that the public will support it.”A career shiftCondic is a product of the research enterprise whose behavior she has questioned. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in Illinois, her Ph.D. in neurobiology from the University of California, Berkeley, and did a postdoc at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis before joining the Utah faculty in 1997, where she is an associate professor at the university’s medical school. In 2001, she published a single-author paper in her field’s leading journal reporting that alterations in a single gene could help adult neurons regenerate.That paper, along with two grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), established her in the field. But it also led to some soul searching that would take her career in a new direction.She says she was careful to describe her 2001 paper as basic research involving rats, without immediate relevance to clinical medicine. Yet Utah’s press release declared that the work might open the door to “new approaches for treating brain and spinal cord injury.” Reacting to those words, people suffering from such injuries and desperate for a cure started to contact her, she says. And a heart-wrenching conversation with one member of that community compelled her to rethink her role as a scientist.“I saw the need for more public education,” she says, “and for more accurate dissemination of what we know, even if the message isn’t easy or encouraging. That was a long time ago, but it started me down the road as a bioethicist. And it’s become a bigger job than I thought it would be.”Over the next decade, Condic also shifted the focus of her research away from neural development—in part, she says, because of rude behavior by colleagues.“It’s an enormously complex problem that would benefit from a team-oriented approach to research,” she says about cortical regeneration. “But oddly enough, the involvement of [actor] Christopher Reeve [who suffered a serious spinal injury in a horse riding accident] and other celebrities attracted a group of scientists who took a less collaborative approach. They wanted to be the ones in the limelight for finding a cure. People stopped sharing—after 20 emails and five phone calls, people still wouldn’t send you an antibody—and it got really frustrating.”She says that “sour atmosphere” caused her to seek out colleagues in the medical school working on a completely different problem—how to treat those with congenital heart defects. Her role, she says, has been to study the characteristics of stem cells taken from amniotic fluid with the hope that someday they might become a readily available source of healthy cardiac cells for patients.“It’s a field that wasn’t quite so much in the news,” she says. “It provides an opportunity to help patients without all the drama.” Although some of the work is supported by NIH, Condic is no longer an independent investigator. “My work in science policy and bioethics has taken me away from active funding for my lab,” she says.In the policy arenaCondic’s first major appearance on the policy stage came in 2013, when she testified at a U.S. House of Representatives hearing in favor of a proposed nationwide ban on abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization. (The Supreme Court has upheld the right to an abortion through the second trimester, or 24 weeks after conception.) A key premise of the bill, which twice passed the Republican-led House but was never taken up by the Senate, is that a fetus can feel pain at as early as 8 weeks.Appearing before the House Judiciary Committee’s civil justice panel, Condic asserted that an 8-week-old fetus can experience pain, a claim many fetal development experts dispute. But Condic appeared to deliver a contradictory message in the course of her testimony.“There is universal agreement that pain is detected by the fetus in the first trimester,” she told lawmakers midway through her opening statement. “The debate concerns how pain is experienced, that is, whether a fetus has the same pain experience a newborn or an adult would have.” In her closing comments, however, she asserted, “It is entirely uncontested that a fetus experiences pain in some capacity from as early as 8 weeks.”Many neuroscientists would draw a distinction between how spinal cord cells react to a pain stimulus in an 8-week-old fetus, as Condic initially described, and the point at which there’s a cognitive reaction to pain (which was the rationale for the legislation). Asked about the difference, Condic says she was a last-minute substitute for another witness and “maybe I wrote [her testimony] wrong.”She says her main goal in testifying was to knock down an argument made by abortion rights advocates that “later arising cortical structures are required for a conscious awareness of the experience of pain. And I believe that view is not supported.”Condic’s next foray into biopolicymaking came in 2016, when she provided scientific advice to an investigation launched by House Republicans opposed to the use in biomedical research of human fetal tissue from elective abortions that would otherwise be discarded. That use is legal under a 1993 law. A special House investigative panel, led by then-Representative (now Senator-elect) Marsha Blackburn (R–TN), was looking into media allegations that Planned Parenthood had illegally profited in obtaining fetal tissue from legal abortions for medical research.The January 2017 report from the Special Panel on Infant Lives recommended ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood and barring NIH funding for research using human fetal tissue from elective abortions. The 470-page report also asserted there is no need for human fetal tissue in biomedical research, suggesting it had played no role in treating patients, preventing disease, and improving human health.More than a dozen investigations launched by state and federal agencies found no evidence of illegal activity by Planned Parenthood. And experts have refuted many of the claims in the report. But Cordic says she feels the report “did a good job of presenting the scientific evidence” and that the criticism it received “doesn’t reflect an accurate understanding of what the report said.”Advice to scientistsA recurring theme in Condic’s writing and statements is the need for scientists to stick to their field of expertise when they weigh into policy debates. In a 2003 paper co-authored with her brother, Samuel Condic, then a graduate student in philosophy, she condemns the so-called Nobel syndrome, in which Nobel laureates feel qualified to take positions on topics that are both outside their discipline and beyond the scope of scientific inquiry. That’s wrong, she says, and policymakers shouldn’t succumb to that pressure.Scientific groups can display a condescending attitude that only makes the problem worse, she writes. “The sentiment underlying many of the advocacy positions taken by scientific societies appears to be: Leave us alone to do as we see fit, you who cannot understand or evaluate what we are about.” The paper suggests several reasons for giving the views of scientists less weight in policy debates, including their inherent bias for “what may be possible” and their “substantial disregard” for “the broader interests of society.”In her interview with ScienceInsider, Condic ticked off three areas in which she feels scientists have run roughshod over public opinion. “I would say CRISPR genome editing, human embryonic stem cell research, and human-animal chimeras are three good examples of where the science is having a disproportionately large impact on the development of public policy without adequately accounting for the concerns of the public—ignorant, informed, or otherwise.” She says the December 2015 International Summit on Human Gene Editing—which was convened by the leading national scientific academies in the United States, China, and the United Kingdom and featured scientists, physicians, and bioethicists from around the world—was the latest example of that hubris.“I mean, we live in a society,” she says. “And if people have concerns, it’s not OK to simply ignore them. And sometimes when you engage in a conversation, you come to appreciate their different views. In the field of stem cell research, for example, I haven’t heard a lot of sympathy expressed for the concerns of people opposed to human embryonic stem cell research.”Condic knows both what it’s like to be part of the in-crowd and how it feels to be excluded. In Utah, officials of the Catholic Church cited the “sacrifices” Condic has made in praising her 2015 appointment to the Pontifical Academy for Life, a group of bioethicists and medical scientists that advises the Vatican on issues regarding the sanctity of life.“As a diocese, we’re very proud of her, of the work she has done as a Catholic, as a committed woman, and as a scientist,” the Most Rev. John Wester, bishop of Salt Lake City, said in a statement after the Vatican announced her appointment. “She’s really been an advocate for a pro-life message and she has done this at great personal sacrifice. It has not always been easy for her; she has suffered in her profession because of the very strong stance she has taken in defending life, and yet she has not wavered.”Condic serves on a Pontifical Academy committee that is looking into human gene editing. “We are trying to take an objective view of what is being done, the pros and cons,” she says. One major issue, she says, is whether the technology will be applied “equitably” in the developing world. She and her brother have also just published a book offering scientific and philosophical arguments for the idea that human life begins at the moment of fertilization.A secret admirerCondic says she has no idea how she was picked to sit on the science board, whose mandate is to “recommend and encourage the pursuit of national policies for the promotion of research and education in science and engineering.” Appointees sometimes acknowledge their benefactors, who may be sitting members of Congress. But, Condic says, “I’m a pretty apolitical person. So, I was somewhat surprised to be nominated.”Members are chosen through a confidential process in which names are forwarded to the White House. The science board also weighs in, although there have been times when its slate of candidates has been completely ignored. Eight members are named every 2 years to replace those who have rotated off the board, although members can also be reappointed to a second, 6-year term.“The White House Office of Presidential Personnel has a list of people who have been supportive of the president and who want to be helpful,” explains Neal Lane, a former NSF director and science adviser to former President Bill Clinton who is now at Rice University in Houston, Texas. “There are a lot more [presidentially appointed] committee slots than there are Cabinet positions or ambassadorships,” he notes, “so it’s more likely that a scientist would wind up on one of those advisory committees.”Condic’s first chance to share her thoughts with her new colleagues comes when the board convenes this week at NSF headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. If her paperwork has cleared—a 2012 law removed the need for the Senate to confirm science board members—she’ll get to vote as well as participate in the 2 days of discussions. Among the agenda items is one that should resonate with Condic: an update on a contest NSF launched this fall to solicit public input on the agency’s funding priorities for 2026. Crashing the boards: Neuroscientist Maureen Condic brings a different voice to NSF oversight body Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img read more

US Senate confirms Kelvin Droegemeier to lead White House science office

first_imgKelvin Droegemeier Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) U.S. Senate confirms Kelvin Droegemeier to lead White House science office Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The U.S. Senate confirmed Kelvin Droegemeier as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) last night. But this morning, the meteorologist remains at home in Norman, Oklahoma, weathering a winter storm and hoping to learn more about his status from his political bosses.An emeritus professor and former vice president for research at the University of Oklahoma, Droegemeier was nominated by President Donald Trump on 31 July 2018 to lead OSTP, which coordinates science policy across the federal government. A Senate panel approved Droegemeier over the summer, and his nomination was one of several that the full Senate took up in the waning hours of the 115th Congress. His appointment was approved by voice vote. By Jeffrey MervisJan. 3, 2019 , 9:50 AM Droegemeier is a former vice chair of the National Science Board, the oversight body of the National Science Foundation, and has long been active on national research policy. U.S. academic leaders are hopeful that he will provide them with the type of access to White House science policymaking that has been absent since Trump took office. Email OSTP is one of several federal agencies affected by the current partial government shutdown; it has only a handful of essential employees on board. Droegemeier has been spending time at OSTP as an adviser since the Senate committee voted on his nomination in early September 2018. But he returned to Oklahoma for the holidays before the shutdown began on 22 December 2018, and he’s awaiting word about when he can officially begin work.last_img read more

Third Black Trans Woman Dies In Five Days

first_imgClaire Legato another trans woman of color was shot in the head on April 15th. Died from the injuries May 14th https://t.co/yxAAi570bV— Dime (@TreyIndica420) May 21, 2019On May 14, the Human Rights Campaign reported 21-year-old Claire Legato was shot and killed in Cleveland. On April 15, she was allegedly shot in the head by a 61-year-old named John Booth due to argument he was having with her mother over a tax check. She would pass away at a hospital a month later. Gay Star News reports, Booth was charged with felonious assault in connection with the shooting and local issued a warrant for his arrest.A report from the Human Rights Campaign said that 2018 was the second consecutive year that more than two-dozen members of the transgender community were known to have been killed. At least 26 transgender people were killed in 2018, the majority of them Black transgender women. Since 2013, there have been 128 killings of transgender people, of whom 80 percent were people of color. LGBTQ , Michelle Washington , Transgender Michelle Simone is the third trans woman of colour to be killed in the US this week.https://t.co/3aFtPuYOS4 pic.twitter.com/yH35PSE3NR— GAY TIMES (@gaytimesmag) May 21, 2019Amber Hikes, Philadelphia’s Director of LGBTQ Affairs for the City, wrote on Facebook, “We must also work together to identify information about this crime and bring Tamika’s murderer to justice. At this time, police have no evidence that Tamika was targeted because of her gender identity. So I ask anyone with information about this incident to please come forward. If you are not comfortable talking with police alone or at a station, contact my office (215-686-0330). We will arrange for you to speak with someone either at our office or another location of your choosing. We need your help to get justice for Tamika.”As reported yesterday, Muhlaysia Booker was found dead shortly before 7 a.m. on Saturday. According to the Dallas News, she was found “lying facedown in the street, deceased from homicidal violence.” D.L. Hughley Calls Transgender Actress A ‘P**sy’ For Comments About Kevin Hart AOL Build Speaker Series - D.L. Hughley, 'Black Man, White House: An Oral History of the Obama Years' Another Black transgender woman has been found dead. Her name is Michelle Washington (also known as Michelle Simone and Tameka) and she was found shot to death in North Philadelphia on Sunday morning.SEE ALSO: Muhlaysia Booker Incident Comes As Violence Against Black Trans Women Is SoaringPhiladelphia Gay News reports that police arrived to the scene at approximately 5:07 a.m. She “suffered gunshot wounds to the head, body and buttock, according to police. She was transported to Temple University Hospital and pronounced dead at 5:33 a.m.” PGHLesbian.com reports her age to be 40 and that she lived in California, Nevada and studied at the Community College of Philadelphia. Meghan McCain Whines That She Can’t Attack llhan Omar Because Trump Is Too Racist More By NewsOne Staff A$AP Rocky Being In A Swedish Prison Will Not Stop Her From Going To The Country That Showed Her ‘So Much Love’ JUSTICE FORMuhlaysia Booker pic.twitter.com/Mrti86XIej— Busby’s Fine Foods & Sweet Treats 2019 (@BusbyLawanda) April 13, 2019 SEE ALSO:Meet Jogger Joe, The Man Who Took Racist Cue From BBQ Becky In Tossing Homeless Man’s ClothesMom Of Woman Reportedly Killed By Pastor Begs For Transgender People To Be Seen As HumanMorehouse Makes History With New Transgender Policy Back on April 13, she accidentally backed into another car while driving in the Royal Crest Apartments parking lot. She claimed a gun was pointed at her and was not allowed to leave unless she paid for the damage to the car. A crowd gathered and an unknown person allegedly offered $200 to Thomas to assault Booker. It was unclear whether Thomas accepted the money. Her graphic assault was captured on video and she was nearly killed but survived — only to be killed a little over a month later. Gov. Cuomo Slams Mayor Bill De Blasio For The Eric Garner Case But He Also Failed The Familylast_img read more

Podcast Weve got breakthroughs breakdowns and top online stories from 2018

first_imgNASA Scientific Visualization Studio First, we hear Online News Editor David Grimm and host Sarah Crespi discuss audience favorites and staff picks from this year’s online stories, from mysterious pelvises to quantum engines.Megan Cantwell talks with News Editor Tim Appenzeller about the 2018 Breakthrough of the Year, a few of the runners-up, and some breakdowns. See the whole breakthrough package here, including all the runners-up and breakdowns.And in her final segment for the Science Podcast, host Jen Golbeck talks with Science books editor Valerie Thompson about the year in books. Both also suggest some last-minute additions to your holiday shopping list.This week’s episode was edited by Podigy.Download the transcript (PDF)Listen to previous podcasts.About the Science Podcast[Image: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio; Music: Jeffrey Cook]last_img read more

Val Cuffy calls for name change to city streets

first_imgShareTweetSharePinFormer executive Director of the World Creole Music Festivals Val Cuffy has issued a call for Dominicans to “fully support Dominica’s Lady of Song Ophelia Maria who celebrates 40 years this year as an artist.(l-r) Val Cuffy), McCarthy Marie (Ophelia’s husband) and OpheliaA two day event to be held on the weekend of Mother’s Day dubbed “Mama Creole” will bring together local artists Swinging Stars and First Serenade and Cool Sessions out of the USVI in musical concert in honour of Ophelia.Cuffy called on the government and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to change the names of streets in recognition of local artists.“We really have to celebrate our icons, and I want to challenge the Ministry of Tourism & Culture, the government of Dominica. It is time to change Kennedy Avenue, Virgin Lane and all the names that don’t belong to us,” he said.He continued, “We have 90 years of music of Gordon Henderson, Ophelia (Maria) the late Jeff Joe (Jeff Joseph). We walk to Guadeloupe, Martinique, Paris and these people are living legends. If the French had to come to fix the grave of the late Jeff Joe in Dominica, we can do better than that.”Cuffy, who is a music promoter, stated, “We must stop talking and saying what we are going to do and do it. We can build an international airport; we can build a hospital but the only therapy you will hear at the airport and the hospital – what the nurses are listening to – is music.”He said music “is the greatest therapy that you can have and we have to give that support to our artists. We are happy for this event and look forward to celebrating Gordon Henderson, Chubby and Halibut in the same way.”Cuffy said that forty years in the music industry is a milestone which cannot be left unnoticed.“I want Dominican to come out in large numbers if we have to shut down the country so be it. You have to be there to support Ophelia and others and we need a Mama and Papa creole every year.”last_img read more

Shamlaat land auction Day after clash sarpanch among 11 booked

first_imgWritten by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | Published: July 3, 2019 11:41:01 am Advertising Advertising Out in the cold, Sidhu says have quit Punjab ministry Mukesh Malaud, president of ZPSC and Gurmukh Singh, another member of the outfit, met SP Manjeet Singh Brar over and asked the police to book Lal Singh and his supporters too. Gurmukh said, ”Sarpanch is an SC and he got a resolution of 33 years lease at Rs 500 per acre passed and hence he is being targeted. Along with him, others who have been booked are Jagseer Singh, Jagmel Singh, Harbans Singh, Kalu Singh, Ranjit Singh, Jeet Singh, Bhinder Singh, Maya Devi, Kiran Kaur, Sandeep Kaur and Rimpy. Maya Devi is a senior citizen, she was beaten up mercilessly by those men. Her arm has been fractured and even she got 17 stitches in her head. Despite that, only Dalits have been booked and not the ones who instigated the matter.”Those named in the FIR have been booked for creating hurdles in government work, creating law and order problem. No arrests have been made so far as many of those named are in hospital.Mukesh added, “Government is making people fight each other… It has been learnt that few Dalits are willing to go for annual auction of shamlaat land while many others want it for 33 years lease as per the Gram Sabha resolution.” Punjab: Rainfall surge makes up for early deficit, but water logging dogs urban centers Punjab: At 41%, combined storage of 3 dams up significantly against 17% last year shamlaat land, shamlaat land auction, shamlaat clash, zpsc, village Thandiwal, punjab news, sangrur news, casteism, caste politics, india news, indian express During the clash. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)A day after a clash in Sangrur village over the auction of shamlaat land for Dalits, police lodged an FIR against 11 Dalits, including village sarpanch Beant Singh. Two groups of Dalits had clashed with each other Monday, but members of Zamin Prapati Sangrash Committee (ZPSC) had stated that landlord Lal Singh Chaudhary and his men were the reason behind the clash. Chaudhary, the ZPSC claims, is a Congress leader and panchayat department consults him for everything rather than talking to village sarpanch Beant Singh. Fearing a clash in village Thandiwal, auction of shamlaat land meant for Dalits for agriculture was postponed despite being scheduled for Tuesday. Panchayat department officials never turned up for the auction despite large police presence in the village.The ZPSC has now given a call to Dalit organisations across the state to join a mega rally in Sangrur on July 12 to demand of land for Dalits for agriculture on a lease of 33 years and at a price of Rs 500 per acre. Related News Post Comment(s)last_img read more

Nirmala Sitharaman to address RBI board on Monday

first_imgThe Reserve Bank of India has been made regulator of housing finance firms as well, replacing the National Housing Bank.With regard to surplus transfer from the RBI, the Budget envisages Rs 90,000 crore as dividend from the central bank in the current fiscal.This will be 32 per cent higher from the previous fiscal, when the central bank paid Rs 68,000 crore to the government, including Rs 28,000 crore as interim dividend.This was the highest receipt from the Reserve Bank in a single financial year, exceeding the Rs 65,896 crore received in 2015-16 and Rs 40,659 crore in 2017-18.The Reserve Bank follows July-June financial year and usually distributes the dividend in August after annual accounts are finalised. LiveKarnataka floor test: Will Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old govt survive? Banks’ bad loans down at 9.34 lakh crore at FY19-end Related News The great dollar gamble Advertising nirmala sitharaman, finance minister nirmala sitharaman, finance minister, rbi, reserve bank of india, rbi board meet, reserve bank of india board meet, india news, Indian Express The government in the interim Budget in February had projected a fiscal deficit of 3.4 per cent of the GDP for the current fiscal. (File)Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is scheduled to address the post-budget meeting of the RBI’s central board on Monday and highlight the key points of the Budget, including the fiscal consolidation roadmap. Public and private By PTI |New Delhi | Published: July 7, 2019 2:50:43 pmcenter_img Advertising Primary deficit refers to the deficit left after subtracting interest payments from the fiscal deficit.The Finance Minister would also apprise the board of various other announcements made in the Budget to spur growth by touching almost all sectors of the economy with the objective of achieving a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024-25, said an official.The Budget announced further opening up of aviation, insurance and media sectors to foreign investment while throwing a lifeline to the struggling shadow banks (NBFCs) to boost investment and lending in the economy.It has also proposed measures to improve NBFCs access to funding by providing a limited backstop for the purchase of their assets. The government will provide a partial guarantee to state banks for the acquisition of up to Rs 1 lakh crore of highly-rated assets from non-bank finance companies. The government has lowered the fiscal deficit target to 3.3 per cent of the GDP as it is expecting net additional revenue of Rs 6,000 crore over the interim Budget estimates.The government in the interim Budget in February had projected a fiscal deficit of 3.4 per cent of the GDP for the current fiscal.The Centre also came out with a roadmap to reduce the fiscal deficit — the gap between total expenditure and revenue — to 3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020-21, and eliminate the primary deficit. Best Of Express Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Post Comment(s)last_img read more

7 yrs to life in jail UP panel drafts tough law on

first_img After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan Two days after he was beaten up, Nadia man dies; BJP MP blames ‘TMC goons’ Gehlot: Will bring law against mob lynching, honour killing Mob lynching, up mob lynching, uttar pradesh mob lynching, Adityanath, law against mob lynching, up mob lynching panel, India News, Indian Express A report has been submitted to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Express/FileRecommending jail terms ranging from seven years to life imprisonment for assailants and up to three years for dereliction of duty by a police officer or district magistrate, the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission has drawn up a stringent law to deal with rising incidents of mob lynching. Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow | Updated: July 12, 2019 12:40:21 pm Surat: Police open fire as clash breaks out with people protesting against mob lynching Advertising * Imprisonment of six months for contributing or enforcing a hostile environment.The draft Bill not only defines “lynching”, “mob”, “victim” and “offensive material” but also “hostile environment” created against the victim or family, including boycott of trade, public humiliation, depriving fundamental rights, and forcing a person to leave home etc.Sapna Tripathi, Secretary of the State Law Commission, told The Indian Express: “The commission realised that mob lynching is a global problem faced even by US, countries in Africa etc for long. Thus, the commission thought of undertaking a suo motu study in this regard about six months ago. We also took into account directions of the Supreme Court and High Courts in different cases.”“The commission only recommends and proposes to state government, it is up to the state government to accept it or take it forward.” She said the commission’s next study is on “anti-conversion laws” related to conversion of religion for the purpose of marriage. Virat Kohli won’t have a say in choosing new coach center_img 28 Comment(s) Best Of Express Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield Related News In a report that contains the draft Uttar Pradesh Combating of Mob Lynching Bill, 2019 — it has been submitted to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath by commission chairman Justice (retd) Aditya Nath Mittal — the state law panel, while taking suo motu cognizance of incidents of mob lynching, has said the existing law is not sufficient and there is need to not just punish the wrongdoers but also hold authorities responsible for dereliction of duty if such incidents take place under their watch.Underlining that mob lynching be made a separate offence to inculcate fear among miscreants, the commission’s draft law recommends stringent punishment:* Imprisonment up to 7 years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh if the victim is injured. * Imprisonment up to 10 years and fine up to Rs 3 lakh if victim suffers serious injuries.* Rigorous imprisonment for life and fine up to Rs 5 lakh if the victim dies.* Those involved in conspiracy, abetment be punished like those actually involved in lynching.* In case of dereliction of duty by police officer or district magistrate, imprisonment of one year, which may be extended to three years and fine up to Rs 5000. Advertisinglast_img read more

Goa Three Congress MLAs who defected to BJP sworn in as ministers

first_img Best Of Express Karnataka trust vote today: Speaker’s call on resignations, says SC, but gives rebel MLAs a shield An unusual press meet: Ministers dropped from cabinet Goa Forward, Independent Rohan Khaunte call press to Manohar Parrikar Samadhi, Miramar. ⁦@IndianExpress⁩ pic.twitter.com/6wbEP8bPAc— Smita Nair (@smitagnair) July 13, 2019Rift in BJP-GFP allianceStrengthened by newly found support, the BJP is moving ahead as it dropped the GFP MLAs from Cabinet who had been key in the formation of the government. On Friday, the Chief Minister had asked three GFP MLAs and Independent lawmaker Rohan Khaunte to resign from his ministry as he would be inducting four new ministers. Advertising Goa: Congress MLA who defected to BJP to be new Dy CM Former Leader of the Opposition in the House, Chandrakant Kavlekar, will be the new deputy CM, Sawant confirmed, replacing Vijai Sardesai of the GFP. Meanwhile, Sardesai whose party no longer holds any cabinet post told The Indian Express: “We will now be the opposition!”Will weaponise the state if domicile status diluted: Goa Deputy Chief Minister Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai has been asked to resign by Goa CM Pramod Sawant. (File photo)Speaking to The Indian Express, Sardesai had said, “I am at sea with regards to what this exercise fulfils and I fail to understand what was the insecurity behind this decision.” The first impact of the development will be felt during the monsoon session of the Assembly, which is slated to begin on July 15, Sardesai added. “We were told Michael Lobo (deputy Speaker) wanted to be made a minister. The name of a newly elected MLA was also given. I was asked to drop my cadre. I called (BJP president) Amit Shah as he knows the ground realities and the sacrifices we made in 2017,” he said.The chief minister has clarified that the decision to drop the GFP members from the cabinet was taken on the direction of the saffron party’s central leadership. It is to be noted that the MLAs after formally joining the BJP had met acting president Amit Shah. Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo resigns from Cabinet.Who are the new Cabinet entrants?Chandrakant Kavlekar, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Atanasio Monserratte, who had joined the BJP on Wednesday and Michael Lobo, who resigned as deputy speaker, were sworn in as ministers at Raj Bhavan in the afternoon. By Express Web Desk |New Delhi | Updated: July 13, 2019 5:30:13 pm In rejig, Goa CM gets three ex-Cong MLAs in ministry Cabinet asks finance panel to consider securing funds for defence 10 Comment(s)center_img After Masood Azhar blacklisting, more isolation for Pakistan The latest move comes a day after Chief Minister Pramod Sawant asked three Goa Forward Party (GFP) leaders and an Independent lawmaker to resign.Apart from Lobo, Chandrakant Kavlekar, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Jennifer Monserratte, who had quit the Congress and joined the BJP Wednesday, were sworn in as ministers at Raj Bhavan at 3 pm.With Congress struggling to stay afloat in Karnataka after the resignation of 16 coalition MLAs, a ripple effect took place in Goa, with 10 MLAs of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) merging with the BJP. The fresh move has increased the strength of the saffron party to 27 in the 40-member House. Congress is now reduced to just five. This is the second cabinet reshuffle by Sawant since he took over as the Chief Minister three months ago. In his first cabinet reshuffle, Sawant had inducted MGP’s breakaway MLA Deepak Pauskar after dropping then deputy chief minister Sudin Dhavalikar.congress mlas resign, goa congress mlas resign, goa congress crisis, goa bjp, indian express The former Congress MLAs joined BJP in front of working president J P Nadda. (Express photo)Congress registers protestMeanwhile, the Congress which is facing a leadership crisis ever since Rahul Gandhi forwarded his resignation is already facing an uphill task in maintaining allies across the country. The party is planning to file a petition before the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and also move the court seeking disqualification of the 10 MLAs.On Friday, Gandhi had said that the saffron party uses  “money power” and “intimidation” to topple governments. “BJP uses money power or threat to topple governments wherever it can. You saw this first in Goa, in the Northeast, and now are trying to do the same in Karnataka. It is their way of functioning. They have money, power, and they use it. This is the reality,” Gandhi said. Goa to have staff selection commission soon: CM Pramod Sawant Advertising And the final order:allies dropped. BJP now is the single largest party with 27 MLAs in the assembly. ⁦@IndianExpress⁩ pic.twitter.com/z5ldznYSFE— Smita Nair (@smitagnair) July 13, 2019The portfolios likely to be given to the defecting Congress MLAs include Town and Country Planning — held by Sardesai — along with Revenue, and Information Technology, River Navigation and Water Resources, Housing, and Agriculture. Goa Cabinet reshuffle, Goa BJP, Pramod Sawant, Goa Forward Party leaders, Goa deputy CM resign, Vijay Sardesai sacked, Pramod Sawant, Goa government, Goa leaders resignation, Chandrakant Kavelekar, India news, Goa news, Indian Express Pramod Sawant at Goa State Assembly on Wednesday. (PTI)Three former Congress MLAs who switched sides to BJP were sworn in as ministers in the Goa Cabinet on Saturday.  Michael Lobo, who stepped down as deputy Speaker of the Assembly earlier in the day, was also sworn in as the minister. Related News last_img read more

Ammonia a poorly understood smog ingredient could be key to limiting deadly

first_img 40 Regulators also want to be sure that potentially costly controls on farms or other ammonia sources will produce a benefit, which means cracking the chemical makeup of the smog. In the United States, for example, existing air pollution regulations have sharply reduced atmospheric concentrations of nitrogen oxides, meaning fewer molecules of those compounds are available to combine with ammonia and form particulates. So, reducing ammonia emissions might not make much of a difference in areas where other smog ingredients are already in short supply. In other areas, however, choking off ammonia plumes could be key to reducing particulates. “We’re still not in a place,” says Murphy, “where we can even say that difficult measures are going to [have] an impact.”The situation is very different in Europe, where environmental regulators have long put a spotlight on ammonia, in part because of concerns about its impact on ecosystems. (Ammonia can leach into streams and rivers, for instance, where it can be toxic to aquatic organisms.) The Economic Commission for Europe, a United Nations offshoot, set ammonia limits in 2012, and European countries have used a variety of strategies to reduce overall agriculture emissions by 24% since 1990. Germany, for example, placed per-hectare limits on the use of certain kinds of fertilizers, and the Netherlands created financial incentives for more efficient fertilizer use.Earlier this year, the United Kingdom unveiled a sweeping air quality plan that includes plans to cut the nation’s ammonia emissions from agriculture by 16% by 2030. The move came in the wake of a U.K. Environment Agency finding that ammonia was the nation’s only major air pollutant to increase since 2013, and that emissions from farms would continue to rise without “urgent action.” That trend threatened the government’s bid to halve, by 2025, the number of people breathing air with PM2.5 levels deemed unsafe by the World Health Organization (WHO). (The WHO particulate standard is 10 micrograms [µg] of PM2.5 per cubic meter of air, averaged over a year; the U.S. annual standard is 12 µg/m3.)To achieve the ammonia cut, the government plans to require farmers to limit fertilizer applications and cover manure piles, and it will impose stricter controls on dairy operations. The agriculture industry, which was consulted on the plan, has been largely receptive. Farmers have already voluntarily taken similar steps, industry officials noted, and they welcomed government plans to help fund the deployment of ammonia-control technologies. 20 The broad strokes of what they found came as little surprise. The haze was mostly composed of tiny particles, less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5), which can lodge in the lungs and contribute to premature death. Some of the particles were dust, smoke, or soot, but about three-quarters were made up of ammonium nitrate. It forms when nitrogen oxides produced by vehicles, furnaces, and industrial equipment combine with ammonia, which typically wafts from farms that use ammonia-based liquid fertilizers or produce heaps of animal manure.The researchers were startled, however, by the levels of pure ammonia they measured, given that Utah’s farms are mostly idle in winter. “We don’t typically think of the winter months as being big months for ammonia,” says chemist Jennifer Murphy of the University of Toronto in Canada, who participated in the study. Researchers and regulators are now trying to nail down exactly why those levels were so high, and whether cutting those emissions could help clear the air over what some residents have come to call “Smog Lake City.”Despite its abundance, the role of the colorless, sharp-smelling, and eye-watering gas in deadly air pollution is poorly understood. In part, that’s because it is notoriously difficult to track. Ammonia molecules are “sticky” and eagerly combine with other compounds, making it difficult for monitoring instruments to capture them. And the gas can have a very short life span—sometimes just a few days. “Ammonia is awful,” says environmental engineer Mark Zondlo of Princeton University. “It’s truly one of the worst gases to measure in the atmosphere.”Around the world, new ground-, air-, and space-based sensors are helping bring the sources, movements, and fate of ammonia into clearer focus. The improved monitoring comes as some nations, including the United Kingdom, are moving to slash ammonia emissions. But others, including the United States, have not made limiting ammonia a priority, in part because of uncertainty surrounding sources, as well as concerns that costly controls might do little to improve air quality. Instead, regulators have often opted to target other key smog ingredients, including oxides of nitrogen and sulfur created by combustion.But the focus on ammonia is likely to intensify. Global emissions of the gas have doubled over the past 70 years and are forecast to continue to rise, in large part because of growing demand for chemical fertilizers. That has put pressure on researchers and regulators to better understand the implications for air quality. 60 2 Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Agricultural sources, including ammonia (NH3)-based fertilizers and animal manure, are responsible for an estimated 80% to 95% of the emissions of ammonia in developed nations. Wildfires, cars, and industrial processes also contribute. Once a loft, ammonia combines with other compounds tocreate tiny particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter that can threaten human health. Smog fills a downtown street in Salt Lake City in December 2017. Weather canaffect how muchammonia isemitted andwhere it travels. 3 0 1946Ground-level NH3 from April to September 2013Fertile market 2016 1 2.5-micrometer(μm) particle 8 80 SALT LAKE CITY—Winters can be toxic here. For days or even weeks, a thick haze settles over this city of skiers and hikers, as polluted air becomes trapped in a basin ringed by mountains. It can be hard to see the next car on the road. Hospital visits for pneumonia and asthma spike, schools suspend outdoor recess, and even healthy residents complain of scratchy throats and coughing fits.Meteorologists say the phenomenon, known as an inversion, is easy to explain: A high-pressure system traps cold air in the basin, placing a lid over the pollution. But the smog’s specific ingredients, and how they interact in the atmosphere, have been something of a mystery. And there is growing pressure to solve it: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has judged the city to be in “serious” violation of clean air standards for part of each year, obligating state officials to come up with a plan for reducing the threat—something they’ve so far been unable to do.Last year, in an effort to help develop that plan, researchers from six universities and several state and federal agencies launched an unprecedented effort to better understand the precise chemical makeup and sources of the pollution. During two inversions that lasted a total of 17 days, they gathered data from aircraft, balloons, and ground stations. This summer, atmospheric scientist Jeff Collett of Colorado State University in Fort Collins stood in a clearing in Rocky Mountain National Park surrounded by instruments that highlighted just how challenging it is to track ammonia. Other air pollutants, such as ozone and carbon monoxide, are generally monitored by networks of automated instruments that collect and relay data in real time. But to track ammonia, Collett’s team must make an hourlong trip from campus to the field several times a week to manually collect samples from their instruments.One is a simple bucket that collects rainwater, which researchers analyze to see how much ammonia has become trapped in water vapor. Another relies on a sponge coated with an acid to absorb the gas. (Ammonia, a base, eagerly reacts with acids.) There is also an acid-coated glass spiral, which strips the sticky ammonia molecules out of air samples before separating out other components of particulate matter.It’s a finicky process, but the samples are vital to Collett’s effort to document how ammonia drifts from farms about 80 kilometers away in Greeley, Colorado, into the park, where the nutrient can damage sensitive ecosystems, and into Denver, where it contributes to smog. The work, underway since 2011, has helped sharpen the picture of the region’s ammonia sources and movements. For example, when Colorado farm groups argued that golf courses were playing an outsize role in ammonia emissions because of their liberal fertilizer use, Collett stuck a monitor near a local golf course and showed that wasn’t correct; farms were the bigger source. The monitoring has also enabled the state to establish a system that warns farmers when weather conditions are predicted to push ammonia toward Denver, encouraging them to voluntarily limit fertilizer applications and cover manure piles. 6 N. DESAI AND A. CUADRA/SCIENCE Parts per billion by volume 1992 Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Ammonia, a poorly understood smog ingredient, could be key to limiting deadly pollution 4 7 2004center_img Elsewhere, other monitoring efforts—including a 66-site national network run by EPA that reports readings every 2 weeks—have painted a bigger, continent-wide picture, including how ammonia emissions can vary by weather and season. Advances in mobile monitoring have made it possible to more quickly collect measurements like Collett’s. And since 2008, NASA satellites have provided a global look at ammonia’s signature in the atmosphere. Such tools are helping scientists assemble a more complete picture of ammonia sources, including wildfires, which are estimated to produce 10% of global ammonia emissions by releasing the compound from plants.”A decade ago, we had maybe a dozen long-term measurements around the country, and only one or two aircraft measurements ever,” says atmospheric chemist Daven Henze of the University of Colorado in Boulder. “Now, we’re able to regularly get information about timing, magnitude, variability, and sources.”Few efforts to inventory ammonia, however, have been as thorough as the one undertaken in the Salt Lake City region in the winter of 2017. The two inversion events documented by the ground and air campaign each lasted more than a week, and the researchers were able to gather observations in each of the area’s three major valleys: Salt Lake, Cache, and Utah.Existing tallies of Utah’s ammonia sources suggested ammonia levels would be similar in each of the three valleys. In fact, the researchers found that levels varied by geography—and that the readings were higher than they expected.Now, Murphy and allied researchers are working to understand that variation and figure out where the ammonia is coming from. The team is using a network of ground monitors, combined with aerial measurements, to map ammonia concentrations within the city. They are examining wind patterns to see how ammonia might drift in from nearby agricultural areas. And they are looking for sources that may have been overlooked.Cars in urban areas, for example, may be contributing more ammonia than previously understood. In one recent study, Zondlo deployed mobile instruments that use lasers to measure ammonia plumes released by vehicles in cities in the United States and China. He found that vehicles—which produce ammonia as a byproduct of their emissions-cleaning catalytic converters—were emitting about twice as much ammonia as assumed. “In the grand scheme of things, vehicles were a fairly small source,” he notes. Still, the emissions could play an important role in particulate pollution in cities, he says, because the ammonia is being produced in close proximity to other combustion compounds that fuel the creation of PM2.5.In Utah, state regulators hope a better understanding of Salt Lake City’s ammonia sources will help them build improved computer simulations of air pollution events, which can be key to identifying solutions. For example, if it turns out that ammonia is drifting into the city from farms in neighboring valleys, the state could try to curb those sources—perhaps by asking farmers to limit fertilizer use—when the weather is ripe for inversions. But that strategy might not make sense if urban ammonia sources like cars turn out to be playing a bigger role in driving the chemistry that produces smog. “With so many factors, we need to understand the full picture,” Murphy says. 8-μm red blood cell 5 1980 George Frey/REUTERS A recipe for a smoggy sky Million metric tons of nitrogen Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Particles can lodge in the lungs and bloodstream, contributing to disease and premature death. production to rise dramatically. (GRAPHIC) N. DESAI/SCIENCE; (DATA) S. K. KHAROL ET AL., GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS 45, 1157 (2018); U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Fresh off the farm Agricultural regions can be major sources of ammonia (NH3, dark areas), especially during the growing season when use of liquid fertilizers is high. Wildfires (some yellow areas near top of map) can also produce plumes of the compound. Ammonia 140 1956 Growing demand for chemical fertilizers has caused global NH 3 1968 NH 3 EDWIN REMSBERG/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO By Jason PlautzSep. 13, 2018 , 1:30 PM 120 Othercompounds 160 Ammonia reacts with other compounds, including oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, formingparticles that create smog. Managing ammonia sources on farms, such as this heap of chicken manure in Maryland, could be key to limiting emissions. 100 Other nations with hefty ammonia emissions aren’t yet ready to follow the United Kingdom’s lead. China, which is known to be a global ammonia emissions hot spot but doesn’t have a reliable inventory of sources, does not regulate the compound. Neither does the United States, although EPA does consider ammonia to be a precursor to PM2.5.One big issue facing U.S. regulators is a lack of comprehensive data on ammonia sources. “It’s hard to regulate something if you’re not measuring it,” Collett says. U.S. farm groups have, to date, rebuffed efforts to require farmers to report ammonia emissions, arguing the effort would be needlessly burdensome. In 2013, EPA did launch a 2-year ammonia monitoring study, in concert with the pork, dairy, and poultry industries, involving 24 sites in nine states. But the project was halted after agency science advisers criticized the quality of data that were being collected.If EPA did pursue ammonia regulations, politics would likely pose a stumbling block. Farm groups have argued that, because the gas has many sources and can drift long distances, any controls would have to be carefully designed; a fix would not be as straightforward as, for instance, installing a chemical scrubber on a power plant. They also note farmers have already taken voluntary steps to limit emissions, such as reducing the amount of ammonia precursors used in animal feed and changing manure management practices.Still, U.S. regulators could face pressure to act if studies from Salt Lake City and elsewhere provide evidence that ammonia has become an important driver of particulate pollution. And at least one scientist believes answers could come sooner than later—in “years, not decades,” predicts Henze, who sits on the EPA advisory panel considering the issue. “EPA has not been willing to push the ball forward because of the uncertainty” surrounding ammonia, he says. “Now we’re pushing past the uncertainty.”last_img read more

Seventy years ago humans unleashed a killer virus on rabbits Heres how

first_img Email The bones of a European rabbit collected by Charles Darwin were among the museum specimens whose DNA was analyzed in the new study. ROB SUISTED/NATURE’S PIC IMAGES Seventy years ago, humans unleashed a killer virus on rabbits. Here’s how they beat it Trustees of the Natural History Museum Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country One allele shift affected the rabbits’ interferon, a protein released by immune cells that sounds the alarm about a viral attack and helps trigger an immune response. Compared with preinfection rabbits, modern rabbits make an interferon that is better at responding to the biocontrol virus, the researchers found when they added different versions of the protein to rabbit cell lines.The virus has not stood still. In 2017, Holmes and his colleagues reported that in the 1970s the virus developed a greater ability to suppress the rabbit’s immune responses. That change, as well as the natural emergence of another rabbit-killing virus, has caused populations to decline again. But in contrast to the parallel evolution in rabbits, myxoma viruses in the various locations took different genetic paths to regaining potency.Andrew Read, an evolutionary microbiologist at Pennsylvania State University in State College, suggests the viral counterattack “is a cautionary tale” for researchers aiming to take charge of the evolutionary arms race by introducing biocontrol agents or making crops or livestock more resistant to disease. “One should be careful about evolution and counterevolution,” he says. “The rabbit hasn’t won.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The European rabbit devastated crops and pastures in Australia and elsewhere. By Elizabeth PennisiFeb. 14, 2019 , 2:00 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Researchers have written another chapter in the textbook case of an arms race between a host and its pathogen. The main characters in this 70-year seesaw drama are the voracious European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and a virus deliberately released in France and Australia to kill off the rabbits and protect fields and pastures. Working with museum specimens collected decades ago, a team has discovered that rabbits on two continents evolved the same genetic changes to beat back the virus—before the virus itself changed and regained the upper hand.The find is a striking example of how evolution sometimes repeats itself, and it may hold clues to how human immune systems respond—or don’t—to pathogens. The rabbit work, published online today in Science, “provides key new information on one of the greatest stories in evolution,” says Edward Holmes, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Sydney in Australia who studies the biocontrol virus.In Australia, a few dozen European rabbits introduced in the mid-1800s for hunters did what the animals famously do. They multiplied until hundreds of millions were chowing down on crops. So, in 1950, after a smallpoxlike virus found in South American rabbits turned out to kill the European relative, Australian authorities released the virus into the wild, cutting the rabbit population by 99%. A few years later, the virus, called myxoma, was released in France and eventually spread to the United Kingdom. The result was “an opportunity to trace host-pathogen arms races right in front of our eyes,” says Jia Liu, a biologist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. Within a decade, rabbit numbers were on the rise again as some evolved resistance to this deadly infection and the virus itself became less deadly.To understand the rabbit’s adaptations, Joel Alves, now an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, evolutionary geneticist Francis Jiggins at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues tracked down specimens of U.K., Australian, and French O. cuniculus collected by museums prior to the virus’s introduction. They sequenced all the genes and other DNA that might influence the body’s immune defenses and compared the results with sequences from modern rabbits living in the same places. The comparisons revealed changes in many genes, usually a shift in the frequency of particular versions, or alleles, of a gene. Strikingly, half of the changes were shared by the rabbits in all three countries—evidence of parallel evolution.last_img read more

Bangladeshs former military dictator Hussain Muhammad Ershad passes away

first_img 5 killed, over 100 injured after train derails in Bangladesh Ershad, the Jatiya Party chief and also the leader of the opposition in Parliament, was admitted to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) on June 22 after his condition deteriorated.The former president breathed his last at 7:45 am on Sunday at the intensive care unit of the facility where he was kept in life support for the last nine days after his organs gradually stopped functioning, the Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) said.“Previously, he used to try to respond through his eyes, but on Saturday he could not even blink his eyes,” Ershad’s younger brother and Jatiya Party leader G M Quader told reporters here yesterday. Advertising By PTI |Dhaka | Published: July 14, 2019 5:57:42 pm Best Of Express Explained: Kulbhushan Jadhav case file Advertising Ershad studied in Carmichael College in Rangpur, and later graduated from the Dhaka University in 1950. He joined the Pakistani army in 1952, when Bangladesh was part of Pakistan. Karnataka: Supreme Court to rule today, says Speaker’s powers need relook More Explained Post Comment(s) Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina signs nine agreements with China President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chiudhuy mourned Ershad’s death and prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul.Ershad’s namaz-e-janaza (funeral prayers) was held at the Army Central Mosque after Zuhr prayers, Jatiya Party secretary general Moshiur Rahman Ranga told reporters here.Three more funeral prayers have been planned for the former president.His second namaz-e-janaza will be held at South Plaza of the parliament building at 10 am on Monday. The body would then be taken to the party’s central office located at Kakrail road for partymen and common people to pay their tributes. NRC deadline approaching, families stranded in Assam floods stay home Ershad, who was also a prolific poet, was considered to be a soft hearted person in private life though he faced with iron hand the opposition street campaigns to topple him during his nearly a decade of rule, first as a dictator and then as an elected president.His rule was marked by a controversial move to make Islam the state religion of the officially secular Bangladesh.Ershad was born in 1930 in Dinhata, a subdivision of Coochbehar district of present-day India’s West Bengal to Mokbul Hossain and Mazida Khatun. His parents migrated from Dinhata to Bangladesh (the then East Pakistan) in 1948 a year after the the India-Pakistan partition.He was one of the nine siblings. Advertising On Tuesday, Ershad will be flown to his ancestral home district in Rangpur, from where he will be brought back to Dhaka on the same day for burial at the Banani army graveyard.A former army chief, Ershad took over the state power in a bloodless coup in 1982 and subsequently ran the country for eight years until he was forced to quit in a pro-democracy mass upsurge in 1990.Despite being imprisoned subsequently on several charges, Ershad emerged as one of the most powerful political leaders in the 1990s after his Jatiya Party became the country’s third biggest political outfit.He was elected to parliament several times, once contesting from the prison even. In undecided Congress, first open call for Priyanka: She should be party chief Related News Bangladesh, bangladesh former military dictator dead, Hussain Muhammad Ershad passes away, Hussain Muhammad Ershad dead, Hussain Muhammad Ershad dies, world news Hussain Muhammad Ershad. (Source: WikimediaCommons)Bangladesh’s former military dictator Hussain Muhammad Ershad died on Sunday due to complications from old age at a hospital in Dhaka, officials said here. He was 91 and is survived by his wife Raushan Ershad, a teenage son from his now severed second marriage and two other adopted children. As India builds houses, Myanmar to reach out to Rohingya in Bangladesh last_img read more

GWU report summarizes key challenges and opportunities for kidney health workforce

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Oct 1 2018The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) released a new analysis of the kidney health workforce that identifies practice setting as a key factor for nephrologists starting their careers. Authored by researchers from the George Washington University-Health Workforce Institute (GW-HWI), Early Career Nephrologists: Results of a 2017 Survey is available online at http://www.asn-online.org/workforce.”The survey revealed significant differences between nephrologists working in group practices compared to those in academic positions,” said GW-HWI principal investigator Edward Salsberg, MPA. “After reviewing other factors–including gender, location/type of education (US medical graduate [USMG] vs. international medical graduate [IMG]), and length of time since graduation–practice setting is a major factor influencing educational pathways, current practice characteristics, and satisfaction.”Related StoriesMetabolomics may be key to identifying diabetes-related kidney diseaseResearchers investigate whether hypertension poses health risk to older kidney donorsArtificial intelligence can help accurately predict acute kidney injury in burn patientsThe report is the latest in a series ASN has produced in collaboration with GW-HWI.”Both group practice and academic nephrologists were satisfied or very satisfied with the intellectual challenges (92.6% and 93.3% respectively) and with their relationships with patients (91% and 94.5% respectively),” said Salsberg. “On the other hand, income and lifestyle were challenging for many nephrologists.”Among the report’s key findings: In addition to the Early Career Nephrologists report, GW’s report on the annual ASN Nephrology Fellows Survey will be released in advance of ASN Kidney Week 2018, the world’s largest meeting of kidney health professionals being held October 23-28 in San Diego CA. Nephrology workforce research is one part of ASN’s commitment to empower current and future members of the nephrology workforce and advance their professional goals and success.Source: https://www.asn-online.org/ In general, women and male USMGs were more likely to practice in academic settings, while IMGs were more likely to practice in group practices. Nephrologists in group practices were more likely to work longer hours as well as weekends and evenings but they also made more money. Nephrologists in academic settings are more satisfied with their positions and may trade off work hours and income for lifestyle considerations.last_img read more