Mamata, Shah exchange barbs

first_imgIn two back-to-back programmes on Tuesday in Cooch Behar district in north Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged people not to join the BJP “under any circumstances”. In Darjeeling district, however, BJP president Amit Shah said that his party workers “shall not rest” till the party came to power in Bengal.“None of you should join the BJP. They indulge in divisive politics and incite riots,” said Ms. Banerjee at a government programme in Cooch Behar town.Accusing the BJP of “maligning the image of Hinduism”, Ms. Banerjee questioned its notion of Hindutva. “BJP’s Hindutva is one of divisiveness and riots. The Hindu religion never divides people but BJP does; we will never accept it,” she said.Condemning the Centre’s plan to issue “Aadhaar cards” for cows, Ms Banerjee said, “Now, they [the Centre] are saying they will issue Aadhaar cards for cows. What kind of card they will ask from a child who needs milk?”At another rally in Chakchaka near the Cooch Behar town, Ms. Banerjee not only urged the crowd “not to support” BJP but also questioned the party’s knowledge of Hinduism. Wondering whether BJP had “any clue” about the Vedas, Ms. Banerjee wanted to know “are we not from Hindu families?” She urged the crowd to “foil any attempts to create divisions in society”.Lotus will bloom: ShahMr. Shah cautioned the Trinamool Congress that it could not intimidate BJP workers in Bengal. “The Trinamool seems to have the misconception that it can intimidate BJP workers with their terror tactics. Listen Mamata Banerjee, this is the BJP of Syama Prasad Mookerjee. The more you inflict violence on us, the more the lotus will bloom in Bengal,” he said at a party rally in Siliguri in North Bengal.Alleging that the Trinamool regime was “even worst than the Left rule”, he said: “Earlier one used to hear the tunes of Rabindra Sangeet in Bengal, but now only the sound of bomb blasts can be heard.”last_img read more

Srinagar youth in militant ranks

first_imgTwo Army men killed in ambush by Pak troops on LoC The encounter in Budgam, in which three militants were killed on Wednesday, began around 8 p.m. on Tuesday. The three were trapped in a house during a cordon operation in the Redbugh area. “They were engaged in a gunfight till morning. The house was blasted with improvised explosive devices. All the three bodies were recovered from the debris,” said a police official.One self-loading rifle (SLR) and a pistol were recovered from the encounter site. The police are verifying if the SLR was a snatched service rifle.The slain militants were Aaqib Gul, a resident of Srinagar’s Goripora area, Sajid Ahmad Gilkar of Srinagar’s Malaratta, and Javaid Ahmad Sheikh from Budgam’s Beerwah.Ground realityIt was in 2005 that two militants from Srinagar, Ibrahim Dar and Ishfaq Ahmad Rather, were killed in an encounter on the city outskirts. Since then, Srinagar was declared a militancy-free zone with no local armed militant figuring in terror activity. In the past one year, the police figures suggest that 11 youths from Srinagar have turned to militancy.A resident of the old city, Gilkar, who was a known protester and booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) on several occasions, had joined militancy just 10 days ago.Also Read  Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in the city to keep protesters at bay. Major clashes broke out when the militant’s body reached Nowahatta.Locals alleged that security forces used pellet shotguns on the mourners. Scores of protesters were injured.Earlier in the day, several areas witnessed spontaneous shutdown and stone-throwing.Four rounds of funeral prayers were held for Sheikh in Budgam. Protesters were seen marching on the city roads at Hyderpora and performed the funeral of Gul on the roadside. Demonstrators’ attempt to go to Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani’s residence was disallowed by the security forces.Youths were seen unfurling the banners of Hizb commander Burhan Wani and split faction head Zakir Mussa during these funerals.last_img read more

Petrol outlet owned by Lalu’s son sealed

first_imgA petrol outlet owned by Bihar Health Minister Tej Pratap Yadav in Patna was sealed on Friday by the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), allegedly for “irregularities in acquiring land for the pump”. The opposition BJP has demanded that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar immediately sack the Minister from the Cabinet.On May 29, BPCL had served a show cause notice to the Minister following allegations by senior State BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi that Mr. Yadav had furnished false information in his application to acquire the petrol pump in the Beur area of Patna district. The BJP leader had charged that Mr. Yadav had falsely declared that the land was in his name.Though Mr. Yadav had applied for the license for the petrol pump in 2012, on February 27 this year, the retail outlet was commissioned to M/S Lara Automobiles, represented by him as proprietor. ‘Lara’ is an abbreviation for Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi, Mr. Yadav’s parents. Court vacates stayThe sealing of the outlet comes a day after the BPCL terminated its license. Earlier on Wednesday, a local court in Patna lifted the stay on BPCL’s termination order. In April this year, Mr. Sushil Kumar Modi had alleged that Mr. Tej Pratap, who is also the Bihar Minister for Environment and Forests, had ‘bought soil’ for beautification of Patna zoo from an under construction shopping mall, owned by his younger brother and State’s Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav. Officials of the Environment and Forest department later denied that there was any “wrongdoing” in the soil dug from the mall being transported to the zoo.last_img read more

How could jail officials judge Sanjay Dutt’s good conduct in two months, HC asks Maharashtra

first_imgThe Bombay High Court on Thursday asked the Maharashtra government how actor Sanjay Dutt was granted parole and furlough in quick succession and within two months of surrendering to serve his five-year sentence in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.The court also sought to know how is the good conduct and behaviour of a convict ascertained, and on what basis and criteria the actor was granted early remission.A Division Bench of Justices R M Savant and Sadhana Jadhav noted that Dutt surrendered in May 2013 and in July he filed applications seeking his release on furlough and parole.“On July 8, 2013, he [Dutt] filed for furlough and then on July 25 he sought to be released on parole. Both the applications were allowed and that too concurrently,” Justice Jadhav said.“How did the jail authorities ascertain good behaviour and conduct within two months of the convict surrendering? Normally the superintendent of jail would not even forward the applications. The authorities would throw out the application,” Justice Jadhav said.Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbakoni told the court that Dutt was not given any preferential treatment, but if the court feels and comes to the conclusion that the State government had erred in granting him early remission, it can direct Dutt to go back to jail.“We do not want to set the clock back in time. We are not for a moment suggesting that he [Dutt] go back to jail. But we only want such issues to be streamlined so that in future no questions are raised,” Justice Savant said.“We only want to know on what basis and criteria he [Dutt] was granted early remission on good conduct? How is this good conduct and behaviour ascertained? Our conscience has to be satisfied that all this was done in accordance with law,” the judge said.The court said it had observed that in several cases furlough and parole were not given even when the mother or father of the convict was on death bed.“Dutt got furlough first for his wife’s illness, then parole on grounds of his daughter’s illness. We have seen cases where the convict’s mother is ill and on her death bed but still parole or furlough is not given,” Justice Jadhav said.The Bench has directed the Maharashtra government to file a detailed affidavit within two weeks.The court was hearing a public interest litigation petition filed by Mumbai resident Pradeep Bhalekar, questioning the regular paroles and furloughs granted to Dutt when he was serving his sentence.In his petition, Bhalekar alleged Dutt was given undue favour by the prisons department by granting him remission.The government, earlier this month, submitted a report to the court, saying no special treatment was meted to the actor.The government had said Dutt was granted remission on account of his “good behaviour, discipline and participation in various institutional activities such as physical training, educational programmes and for performing the allotted work.” “The Maharashtra Prisons [Remission System] Rules provide for remission of up to three days per month for good behaviour, discipline and so on. In the present matter at hand, as per the rules, the accused [Dutt] is entitled for 256 days remission which comes to eight months and 16 days,” the report said.During the investigation and the marathon trial, Dutt spent 18 months in jail.On July 31, 2007 the TADA court in Mumbai sentenced him to six years rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000.In 2013, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling but reduced the sentence to five years following which he surrendered to serve the remainder of his sentence.During his imprisonment, he was granted parole of 90 days in December 2013 and again for 30 days later.last_img read more

Over 140 animals found dead in flood-hit Kaziranga National Park in Assam

first_imgThe second wave of floods in Assam has inundated 80 per cent of the 481 sq km area of the famed Kaziranga National Park (KNP) and claimed the lives of over 140 animals, including seven rhinos.Since August 10, seven rhinos, 122 swamp deer, two elephants, three wild boars, two hog deer, three sambhar deer, one buffalo and one porcupine died, KNP Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Rohini Ballav Saikia said here on Thursday. “Carcasses are being recovered daily,” he said.Out of the seven rhinos, six drowned while the other died of natural causes. Water of the Brahmaputra entered the KNP, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, through river Difloo on August 10, the DFO said.Also Read Floods continue to wreak havoc  Intensified water patrolling was on by the park guards, task force, protection force along with those from NGOs, Wildlife Trust of India and forest department employees for rescuing, recovering and making assessment of the species trapped or dead in the KNP, Mr. Sakia said.At present, animals in the KNP are moving in search of food available on both sides of the NH-37 and the adjacent tea gardens towards the higher altitudes of Karbi Anglong district, the official said.Forest department and security personnel are fixing hoardings, posters, banners to restrict speed limit of vehicles on the NH-37 passing through the park between 20 to 40 km per hour, the DFO said.last_img read more

CRPF jawan killed in Maoist encounter

first_imgA Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan was killed and two others were injured during two back-to-back encounters with the Maoists in Gadchiroli district on Sunday evening.The encounters took place in Padiyalmetta forest under Gyarapatti police station limits of Gadchiroli, when the 113th battalion of the CRPF was carrying out a joint anti-Maoist operation along with the Maharashtra police.“The first encounter took place at around 6 p.m. on Sunday. When the security forces retaliated to the firing n self-defence, the Maoists ifled from the spot taking advantage of thick forest,” the Gadchiroli police said in a statement.However, a large group of Maoists fired at the security forces at around 7.50 p.m. in the same forest. “The troops retaliated effectively and reportedly inflicted heavy casualties on the Maoists, but the number of casualties of the Maoists could not be ascertained,” said a CRPF official.Three CRPF men — Deepak Sharma, Lokesh Kumar and Manjunath Shivaligappa — sustained serious injuries during the second encounter and Shivaligappa succumbed to his injuries during efforts to evacuate the three men for treatment.The 31-year-old CRPF jawan hailed from Managundi town in Dharwad, Karnataka.This was the second encounter between the security forces and the Maoists in Gadchiroli district in the last four days. One policeman was killed and two others were wounded in an encounter with the rebels on November 24.last_img read more

Mehbooba Mufti’s brother takes oath as Cabinet Minister

first_imgTassaduq Hussain Mufti, brother of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, and Chadoora MLA Javaid Mustafa Mir took oath as ministers in the Jammu and Kashmir cabinet.Governor N. N. Vohra administered the oath of office and secrecy to the legislators at Raj Bhavan A noted cinematographer, Tassaduq Mufti joined the PDP at a function organized to commemorate his father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s first death anniversary on January 7.He was nominated by the Governor as a member of the State Legislative C ouncil on December 22 to fill up a vacancy created by the resignation of Vikramaditya Singh who resigned from the basic membership of the PDP on October 22.On December 22 itself, Minister of State for Haj and Auquaf, Syed Farooq Andrabi, had also resigned from the council of ministers, citing “personal reasons“.Andrabi submitted his resignation to his niece Mehbooba Mufti and it was forwarded to the Governor who accepted it.Earlier on December 15, Tassaduq Mufti resigned as coordinator of the CM’s Grievance Cell, setting the stage for his nomination to the Legislative Council and induction into the State cabinet.last_img read more

Sex ratio at birth dips in 17 large states, Gujarat tops list

first_imgThe sex ratio at birth (SRB) saw a decline in 17 out of 21 large states of the country, with Gujarat recording an alarming dip of 53 points, a report released by the Niti Aayog stated and stressed on the need to check sex-selective abortion. According to the report, among the 17 states which recorded substantial drop of 10 points or more, in Gujarat the SRB fell to 854 females from 907 females per 1,000 males born registering a drop of 53 points from 2014-15 (base year) to 2015-16 (reference year) in this indicator.Gujarat is followed by Haryana, which registered a drop of 35 points, Rajasthan (32 points), Uttarakhand (27 points), Maharashtra (18 points), Himachal Pradesh (14 points), Chhattisgarh (drop of 12 points), and Karnataka (11 points), the Healthy States, Progressive India report states. “There is a clear need for states to effectively implement the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 and take measures to promote the value of the girl child,” the report stated.According to the report, improvement in SRB was witnessed in Punjab, which registered a rise of 19 points, followed by Uttar Pradesh (10 points) and Bihar (9 points).“Sex ratio at birth is an important indicator and reflects the extent to which there is reduction in number of girl children born by sex-selective abortions,” the report added.last_img read more

11 get life for death of Jharkhand meat trader

first_imgA Special Fast Track court in Ramgarh, Jharkhand, on Wednesday awarded life imprisonment to 11 of the 12 accused persons in a case involving the lynching of a trader from minority community for allegedly transporting meat in his vehicle in June last year. The court deferred its decision on 12th convict, said to be a juvenile.Earlier on March 16, the court of the additional district judge-II of Ramgarh Om Prakash had held all the accused persons guilty under various sections of Indian Penal Code, including 302 (murder). They were accused of lynching a meat trader Alimuddin Ansari alias Asgar Ali at Bazartand locality in Ramgarh on June 29, 2017.The 11 accused persons were identified as Santosh Singh, Deepak Mishra, Vicky Saw, Sikandar Ram, Uttam Ram, Vikram Prasad, Raju Kumar, Rohit Thakur, Chottu Verma, Kapil Thakur and a local BJP leader Nityanand Mahto.The State government had requested the Jharkhand High Court to constitute a special fast track court for a speedy trial of the case. The district police had filed the charge sheet in September last year and the trial was completed in less than six months.“Besides, sentencing them for life term the court has also slapped a fine of ₹2,000 on each the accused,” said additional public prosecutor Sushil Kumar Shukla.Compensation for kinThe court also directed the district services legal authority (DLSA) to initiate proceedings for ensuring adequate compensation to the victim’s family.Speaking to journalists, Mr Shukla said this was the first case of cow vigilantism in the country where the accused persons have been convicted and punished.The accused persons said they would appeal the verdict in a higher court.Alimuddin Ansari, 55, who was transporting meat in his van from Chitarpur area of Ramgarh was attacked by alleged followers of a gau raksha samiti (cow vigilante outfit) on June 29 last year. The group intercepted him near a gas agency at Bazartand area under Ramgarh Police Station area and set his van on fire before lynching him in full public view. A video of the incident later went viral on social media and private news channels.Reacting to the sentencing of 11 accused persons in the case, Mariam Khatun, widow of Alimuddin Ansari told journalists that, though, death of her husband was an irreparable loss for her family “but I do not want more bloodshed….want to live in peace with family and society”.last_img read more

Police file complaint against Goa Mahila Congress chief

first_imgA local women’s rights group on Monday filed a police complaint against Goa State Women Congress president Pratima Coutinho for allegedly revealing the identity of a 17-year-old victim of molestation by a construction site worker from Jharkhand in Netravali in South Goa recently. Ms. Tara Kerkar, founder of NGO Savera in her complaint filed at the women’s police station on Monday has stated that by revealing the name of the victim in the molestation case, Ms. Coutinho had slandered the minor’s reputation. “Pratima Coutinho is herself a lawyer, but for the second time she has revealed the name of a victim of sexual assault on social media. This damages the reputation of a minor girl and is also an offence by law,” After filing the complaint, Ms. Kerkar told press persons that the complaint has been filed under various sections of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Indian Penal Code. Confirming the filing of the complaint, a woman police officer here said, “We are verifying the contents of the complaint.” Ms. Coutinho, however, denied the charge and said she is being harassed for raising issues related to the safety of women in Goa and alleged that some senior police officers had been calling her since Monday morning and “threatening” her with a FIR.Ms. Coutinho, whose Facebook account can no longer be seen, said she has not mentioned the victim’s name in any post and that there was a campaign to harass her because of her aggressive stance on crimes against women. “The sexual assault happened at a resort being built by one of the most powerful politicians in Goa. The government and the police is therefore trying to harass me for raising my voice against sexual predators, and offences against women in Goa,” Ms. Coutinho said. The Mahila Congress president said she had visited the victim’s home after the sexual assault on the invitation of her parents last month, but denied that she had put the name of the victim in the public domain. On June 29 this year, the Sanguem police registered the case of a 17-year-old gir, who was allegedly molested by one Ramesh alias Gaddu Chohan, a native of Jharkhand at Netravali village in South Goa. The accused was arrested is at present in judicial custody, Sanguem police told The Hindu on Monday.Meanwhile, the BJP Mahila Morcha, Goa, president Sulakshana Sawant in a press release issued here on Monday condemned Ms. Coutinho and called her “publicity crazy”. She also demanded an immediate apology from her.last_img read more

Assam to get its first transgender judge on July 14

first_imgAssam’s first transgender judge will begin work at the Lok Adalat here from Saturday, making the northeastern state the third one in the country, after West Bengal and Maharashtra to have one such. Swati Bidhan Roy said on Friday that she will begin her stint in court number 25 in the Kamrup district and sessions court on after being appointed to the post by the Kamrup(metro) district legal services. “My appointment as a judge in the Lok Adalat is a very positive message for the society and will help create awareness on discrimination against transgenders,” she told reporters here.“The capacity and capability of transgenders must be recognised and they must be provided with ample oppourtunities to ensure that they can lead a dignified life. I hope that I am able to maintain the principle of natural justice as a judge as lok adalats deal with settlement outside the court through arbitration, conciliation and mediation,” she added. Speaking about the problems faced by transgenders in Assam, she said their current issue was getting their names registered in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as most of them were disowned by their families during childhood and do not possess any document to prove their citizenship.“We have documented the list of transgenders in the state and will soon appeal to the Supreme Court to ensure that they are included in the NRC and not labelled as foreigners”, she said. There are also several unresolved cases against transgenders in the courts which she hoped will be resolved soon. Ms. Roy said she has plans to initiate mass sensitisation to end discrimination against transgenders and ensure that they get proper oppurtunities to lead a life of dignity.Joyita Mondal of North Dinajpur in West Bengal is the country’s first transgender judge and Vidya Kamble from Nagpur in Maharashtra the second. Mondal assumed office in July last year and Kamble in February this year.last_img read more

Three killed in Kolkata building collapse

first_imgThree persons were killed and two others grievously injured when a portion of the first floor of a two-storey building collapsed in Kolkata’s Sealdah area on Monday morning. The building located on 15/16 Baithakkhana Road was over 100 years old and occupied by tenants, mostly shopkeepers. At 2 a.m., the roof of the first floor came crashing down, killing Gopal Naskar and Manik Jana, who were sleeping inside the building. Locals said both were shopkeepers. The third victim has not been identified so far. Two others who sustained serious injuries were shifted to N.R.S. Medical College and Hospital. Kolkata Police and Disaster Management Group personnel removed the debris by Monday evening.According to the rescue personnel, overnight rains may have resulted in the collapse of the dilapidated building. Locals also said that the house had been declared dangerous by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. Normal life was disrupted in several parts of the city on Monday due to heavy overnight rain. Waterlogging was reported in several areas of Kolkata and adjoining districts. In the 24 hours between 5.30 p.m. on Sunday evening and Monday evening, Kolkata recorded 73.8 mm rainfall.Weather officials said depression over Jharkhand and its neighbouring areas was the cause behind the heavy rainfall in Kolkata. “A monsoon trough over some districts of south Bengal will continue to cause light to moderate rainfall before moving north-east towards the Bay of Bengal. Fishermen should not venture out into the seas when the wind speed in coastlines exceeds 45 kmph,” said G.K. Das, director of Regional Meteorological Centre, Kolkata.last_img read more

Lalu Prasad suffers from depression, say doctors

first_imgIncarcerated Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, who has been admitted to a government hospital in Ranchi, has slipped into depression.“The RJD chief’s behaviour has been abnormal since last Saturday. Doctors examined him and found symptoms of depression … he is not speaking much to anyone … we will seek psychiatric help from experts on Monday,” said R.K. Srivastava, director of the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences.After Mr. Prasad surrendered before a special CBI court in Ranchi on August 30, with the Jharkhand High Court refusing to extend his provisional bail, he was admitted to the RIMS.Hospital psychiatrist Ashok Prasad will begin treatment on Monday.‘Worried for sons’On Wednesday Mr. Prasad was shifted to the pay ward of the hospital after he complained that barking dogs on the premises kept him awake all night and the bathroom was not clean.Meanwhile, RJD sources told The Hindu that Mr. Prasad had been worrying much about the political ambitions of his two sons.“Yes, I met him when he was in Patna in the last week of August and found him worrying much about his family facing charges of corruption…and, his two sons engaged in political oneupmanship against each other,” said an RJD leader, pointing to Mr. Prasad’s elder son Tej Pratap’s proposed padyatra (foot march) on Tuesday from Patna to Sitab Diara, the birthplace of veteran socialist leader Jai Prakash Narayan.“This padyatra is to counter younger brother Tejashwi’s bicycle yatra from Bodh Gaya to Patna in July,” said a senior RJD leader.last_img read more

Genes of famed tiger Machhli to be mapped

first_imgA team of geneticists, conservation biologists and wildlife officials are in the process of preparing a genetic map — that is, tracing out the sequence of genes — from Machhli’s DNA, which was extracted at the time of her death. “Machhli is an iconic individual, has lived long, has sired a large number of cubs and, because the tigers at Ranthambore are highly inbred, she would serve as an excellent example of the species. Plus, we were lucky to get permits and ideal tissue samples at the right time,” said Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan, at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, who is leading Machhli’s genome analysis.Once the complete genome map is prepared, and this could take six months more, it could serve as a template, or ‘reference genome’, for comparing the genes of tigers anywhere, Dr. Ramakrishnan told The Hindu on the sidelines of the NextGen Genomics, Biology, Bioinformatics and Technologies (NGBT) Conference. Credited with reviving the tiger population at the Ranthambore National Park, Machhli, also known as T16, earned that name due to fish-like marks on her face. The 20-year-old tigress sired 11 cubs and was estimated to have brought in about ₹65 crore a year as tourism revenue to the National Park between 2006 and 2016.So far, the reference genome that’s used to study tiger genetics is that of the Amur, the Siberian tiger that was sequenced in 2013. Earlier this year, the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) claimed to have sequenced, for the first time, the whole genome of a Royal Bengal Tiger. This scientific report, however, is yet to be peer-reviewed. Rakesh Mishra, Director, CCMB, said that, ideally, a ‘reference genome’ ought to be one made from a composite of individuals. “Like how the human genome was sequenced from taking genetic signatures from a small group of individuals, a reference genome of a species ideally ought to be from a group of individuals [of that species],” he told The Hindu in a phone conversation.Dr. Ramakrishnan said that she and her group, over the years, had sequenced, at varying degrees of resolution, genomes from several tigers. However, Machhli’s would be at an unprecedented level of detail and accuracy because multiple genome-reading technologies were being employed. Various traits of tigers, such as their sense of smell, strength and metabolism have been enriched in the species due to specific genes. “Once we have the reference, we can better understand functionality — where these genes are, [they exist in] which populations, how they are different,” she added.India has the maximum number of tigers in the world. Since 2006, the Wildlife Institute of India (WTI), an Environment Ministry-funded body, has been tasked with coordinating the tiger estimation exercise. The once-in-four-years exercise estimated, in 2006, that India had only 1,411 tigers. This rose to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014 in later editions, on the back of improved conservation measures and new estimation methods. The survey, divided into four phases, began last winter. The findings are expected to be revealed in early 2019.last_img read more

Horse lovers throng Chetak Festival

first_imgThe third edition of Sarangkheda Chetak Festival 2018-19, one the oldest horse fairs in the country, kicked off amid the presence of national and international tourists, political leaders and horse breeders and traders in Nandurbar district. During his visit to the festival, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, said on Wednesday, “I am glad to see the festival become an international success. I hope that in the next few years the festival gains more limelight.” Organised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) in association with the Sarangkheda Committee, the festival this year has also attracted horse traders from various parts of the country. The Chetak Festival is a 300-year-old horse fair held on the banks of the Tapi. The festival hosts more than 2,500 horses and people from all over the State come in large numbers to witness world-class equestrian spectacle.Speaking on the occasion, Jaykumar Rawal, Minister of Tourism, Maharashtra, said, “Sarangkheda Festival is a platform to attract tourists nationally as well as internationally. I am happy to be a part of this festival celebrating the rich culture and heritage.”Mr. Rawal said that Nandurbar district has immense scope to boost tourism. “The government will see to it that the district gets maximum footfall through this festival. It is going to be grand in its own way. We are constantly trying to innovate and identify newer ways to enhance tourism in the State, which has immense potential to lure large number of travellers. I am confident that the district will become a holiday destination. We also have plans to construct a horse museum that will attract more tourists.”Work on the horse museum, which will have pictures and sculptures of different horses, is expected to be completed in a year-and-a-half.last_img read more

Rajesh Kalia new Mayor of Chandigarh

first_imgRajesh Kalia of the BJP was on Friday elected as the new Mayor of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation after he defeated the party’s rebel candidate Satish Kainth.While the elections to the corporation are held every five years, the election to the post of Mayor is held every year.This year’s election had caught attention due to infighting within the party. Out of the total 27 votes, Mr. Kalia secured 16 votes to win the post of Mayor. Mr. Kainth, the rebel candidate, got 11 votes. Ahead of the election, the Congress candidate, Sheela Devi, had withdrawn her name from the mayoral race.The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has 26 elected councillors and nine nominated members. Out of the elected members, 20 are from the BJP, which has majority in the corporation. The Congress has four councillors while the one councillor is from the Akali Dal and the other one an Independent. The nominated members do not vote in a mayoral election. MP Kirron Kher also has a vote being an ex officio member of the House.last_img read more

Punjab Cong. to shortlist names for LS polls

first_imgThe Punjab Congress will send a list of candidates shortlisted for the 13 Lok Sabha seats to Congress president Rahul Gandhi for final selection. This was decided here in a meeting of the election committee of the State unit of the party for the coming Lok Sabha polls. “The decision, which marks a new openness and stronger democratic systems in the party under the dynamic leadership of Rahul, Gandhi comes in response to the party president’s suggestion that the State unit should send in the names of proposed candidates instead of merely authorising the high command to take a decision,” a party release said. Referring to the suggestion, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar mooted a proposal at the meeting to accept the same and move forward accordingly. The objective is to ensure Congress’ victory in the polls and the party forming the government at the Centre, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said, urging all party members to rise above personal relations and concerns to select only winnable candidates. According to the release, Capt. Amarinder made it clear that he was not in favour of any alliance, suggesting that only Congress members/workers should be fielded in the polls. He claimed that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were in disarray and the situation was clearly balanced in favour of the Congress. AICC secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs Asha Kumari said a total of 180 applications had been received for 13 Lok Sabha seats from Punjab. She said Rahul Gandhi wanted names of the shortlisted candidates, as per the procedure adopted by the party in Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.Ms. Kumari suggested that the list of applicants be circulated to all members, who can tick their choices and also add their own suggestions on possible candidates. Given the criticality of these elections for the Congress and the country, it was important for the party to win all the 13 seats in Punjab, she said. The meeting accepted the suggestion and decided that the names of the applicants be circulated among members of the election committee, from where the shortlisted names would go to the screening committee, which would send the same to the central election committee. The members would be allowed to give preferential numbering also, as decided in the meeting. No bar on sitting MLAsDuring the meeting, it was decided that there would be no bar on sitting MLAs from contesting these polls, though it was clarified that the same should be considered only as an exceptional case. Other members of the election committee present at the meeting included Pratap Singh Bajwa, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Rana Gurmit Sodhi, Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, and heads of all frontal organisations of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.last_img read more

Canada’s World-Renowned Freshwater Research Facility Saved by New Management

first_imgThe Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), Canada’s flagship environmental research center that has been under threat of closure for 2 years, has found a savior. The ELA will leave government hands and will now be managed by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), a Winnipeg-based think tank. The 1 April announcement guarantees that the 46-year-old field site in northwestern Ontario will survive, at least for another 5 years, and will expand its research focus beyond that of the Canadian government’s mandate.The deal will hopefully bring the ELA some “stability,” says Diane Orihel, a freshwater ecologist who since mid-2012 has led a campaign to save the facility. The campaign began after the Canadian government pulled the project’s funding and handed pink slips to its team of 16 scientists and technicians. Last year, the lab, which conducts experiments in a system of 58 lakes, was saved from the bulldozers by a stopgap payment of $2 million from the provincial government of Ontario. Now, IISD has a chance to rebuild the ELA after years of neglect by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Orihel says.The ELA, the world’s only facility where researchers can intentionally poison whole lakes to monitor ecosystem effects, has an impressive research record: Its scientists were the first to find evidence for acid rain, and to fully diagnose the effects of pollutants such as mercury, phosphate, and synthetic hormones on aquatic life. IISD President Scott Vaughan tells ScienceInsider that he intends to build upon this past research, while looking to expand the scope of the facility’s science to investigate the effects of micropollutants and climate change on aquatic systems.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The takeover deal relies on agreements between Ontario and IISD, between Canada and IISD, and a third trilateral Canada-Ontario-IISD pact to ensure that all long-term data and physical samples from the facility are available to future researchers. Access to these freshwater data sets—some of the longest and most thorough in the world—will keep scientists coming back to ELA, backers say.But the fresh management brings new challenges. The provincial government of Ontario has pledged $2 million a year for 5 years to cover operating costs and long-term monitoring. These funds will be topped up by Manitoba and Canada, which have promised $900,000 over 6 years and $250,000 per year for 4 years, respectively. But the provincial and federal moneys will not fund scientific experiments, which were previously funded through government grants. ELA scientists will now need to partner with universities to apply for those national grants. And beyond the next 5 years, the IISD will need to embark on a major fundraising campaign to keep the ELA open. “That’s an ambitious amount of money to raise,” Orihel says.The next challenge will be to staff the facility. Vaughan says his goal is to invite back the scientists who previously worked at the ELA and offer them a job with IISD. That will be difficult, Orihel says: “The science team has been withering away for a number of years; as people retire they haven’t been replaced … some scientists got frustrated and took other positions.” She adds that the ELA is not just buildings and lakes, it is people, and the government should have done more to transition that previous team to a new operator.If a new team can be found in time, the takeover comes just in time for experiments at the facility to resume in the spring. And this summer, after consultations with interested university-based scientists, the new research plan will be announced.Brokering the deal has been a long haul, Vaughan says. IISD members are “incredibly grateful” to the scientists, including Orihel, who worked to save the ELA before IISD stepped in. He adds: “They are an impressive group of committed scientists.”last_img read more

Cows with human chromosomes enlisted to fight hantavirus

first_imgHumans have been using antibody therapies to treat infectious disease for more than 100 years. Blood plasma from influenza survivors administered to sick patients in 1912 may have contributed to their dramatic turnaround. In the years since, immune proteins from survivors have been administered to infected individuals in an attempt to combat diseases like Lassa fever, SARS, and even Ebola. It’s hard, however, to find survivors who can donate plasma containing these lifesaving immune proteins. Now, a team led by researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Frederick, Maryland, has used genetically engineered cows to produce large amounts of human antibodies against hantavirus, an often deadly disease mainly transmitted from rodents to people. In animal models, at least, these antibodies provided robust protection against the virus, opening the door to therapies to treat and prevent hantavirus, for which there is no cure. The bioproduction technique also holds promise for generating antibodies against other infectious agents.  The work is preliminary and needs to be tested in people, but the team calls it a “proof-of-concept” that human antibodies can be grown in animals and retain their activity against disease.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“I’m personally very excited about it. I think that this offers potential for treatment of patients with hantavirus infection,” says Greg Mertz, an infectious disease specialist at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, who was not involved in the research. “If you extrapolate this to other diseases, there are some where this approach might be promising.”The USAMRIID researchers, led by virologist Jay Hooper, teamed up with SAB Biotherapeutics in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to use genetically engineered cows that, when presented with an antigen, could produce fully human polyclonal antibodies against both the Sin Nombre hantavirus strain, first isolated from the Four Corners region of the southwestern United Sates, and the Andes hantavirus strain, which is prevalent in Chile. There, it infects an average of 55 people annually and kills about a third of them. After a lengthy incubation period and a few days of fever and muscle aches, the virus attacks the lungs and often causes acute respiratory failure leading to death. There is no cure, and the experimental vaccines would be logistically challenging to use even if they passed clinical trials.Creating human antibodies in an animal model is no small feat. Scientists combined parts of human chromosome 14 and human chromosome 2—the bits that are needed to produce antibodies—into an artificial chromosome and implanted it in cows. The genes responsible for producing cow antibodies were silenced. As a result, the bovines produced immune cells that spit out human antibodies.Scientists then administered experimental hantavirus DNA vaccines, against the Andes and Sin Nombre strains, to the “transchromosomal” cows. Within a month, the animals were producing liters of high-concentration human antibodies against both strains. The scientists then extracted the immune proteins and used them to treat hamsters that had been lethally infected with hantavirus. The treatment increased the hamsters’ chances of survival dramatically, saving seven out of eight infected with the Chilean hantavirus strain, while all eight controls died, the team reports online today in Science Translational Medicine. Five of the eight hamsters infected with the Sin Nombre strain were rescued.Animal models don’t always translate to humans, but in this case the research team is optimistic. Nonhuman antibodies from, for instance, birds and primates, have been safely administered to people in the past, so human antibodies are expected to prove safe in phase 1 clinical trials, says reproductive physiologist Eddie Sullivan of SAB Biotherapeutics, who headed the project to develop the transchromosomal cows. Nor does he suspect that the antibodies would cease to function in humans. If anything, they may work better because they’ll be able to communicate with human immune cells more fluently, he says. “We expect that the antibodies will likely be very well tolerated in humans and will respond similarly,” Sullivan says.Of course, nothing is certain. In very rare instances, some previous antibody therapies have actually helped viruses reproduce in cells by serving as a bridge to host cells. “In order to really finish the proof-of-concept, clinical studies in humans showing safety need to be performed,” Hooper says. “If this material turns out to be as easy to produce as it seems, and it’s safe, I think it’s a great, great way to move forward.”The USAMRIID scientists are also investigating cutting out the bovine middleman and simply giving their hantavirus vaccines straight to people. But antibody therapies are actually more practical in some respects. In diseases like hantavirus, where so few people are infected every year, a large-scale vaccination program might not make much sense, especially from an economic standpoint, Hooper says. Having a few doses of antibodies on hand to treat the unlucky few infected people could solve the problem without the need to vaccinate huge swaths of the population. Furthermore, Sullivan notes, a single cow can produce antibodies against multiple strains of the virus in copious amounts, up to 1000 human doses per month.A huge challenge for any potential treatment for hantaviruses is finding a way to diagnose the disease in time. The infection is difficult to recognize before it moves to the lungs, at which point it’s often too late. Having an available supply of hantavirus antibodies on hand could allow health workers to administer treatment to people who’ve come in contact with an index case, Mertz says.Again, the potential benefits still hinge on clinical trials that show safety and efficacy; the team is optimistic they could begin as early as next year for hantavirus, and maybe even sooner for other diseases. “We’re working on Ebola and also MERS-CoV,” Sullivan says.last_img read more

Survey asks: How much personal cash do you spend on your science?

first_imgAlthough academic research is predominantly funded by grants, scientists—like teachers and people in many other professions—sometimes dip into their own wallets to cover job-related expenses, such as conference travel or open-access publishing fees. Just how much personal finance pours into professional science isn’t clear, but two scientists are now trying to tally some numbers.The #SciSpends survey came about after marine sociologist Edward Hind, an independent researcher in Manchester, U.K., realized that he had spent more than $1000 of his own money—5% of his income—on work-related expenses over a year. Frustrated by a feeling that he had to spend his own money to advance his career, this past February Hind took to Twitter, using the hashtag #SciSpends to ask other scientists to share how much they’d spent. As the conversation grew, Hind realized that he was a lightweight when it came to personal spending, as some researchers reported shelling out thousands of dollars to keep their work going. And he wondered: Were many other scientists also reaching into their pockets? Was success in science becoming dependent on being affluent enough to pay your own way?Ultimately, Hind teamed up with marine ecologist Brett Favaro of the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada to conduct the more rigorous #SciSpends survey, which they formally launched 30 March. The two researchers discussed the project—and what they hope to get out of it—in e-mail interviews with ScienceInsider. The exchanges have been edited for clarity and brevity.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Q: Why are you doing this survey?E.H.: We saw that this debate raised a number of questions that we could investigate and that we wanted to investigate. … We really want to quantify [personal spending]. What are the different costs of being a postdoc in North America and Europe? [Does personal spending] increase or decrease as a scientific career advances? Are there differences between biology, chemistry, physics, and the social sciences? Are the entry costs to science greater if you are female?B.F.: As someone only a year into my first faculty job, it struck me that I didn’t know what I should and shouldn’t be expected to cover for my first group of graduate students. In talking to my peers, it seemed that every student was treated on a case-by-case basis, and sometimes even students in the same lab would have different things covered. While there will always be some inequity in science, it seems like there should be some list of things that we, as supervisors, should be expected to cover for students. Aside from universities usually having a recommended minimum stipend, that list doesn’t seem to exist. We’re hoping this survey can act as a first step in the conversation.Q: How’s the response?B.F.: At this point we have received just over 500 responses. We’re hoping this will end up going into the thousands.E.H.: It’s been the most dynamic Twitter exchange I’ve been involved in and I can’t stop myself from scrolling through the data that we have already collected. The initial findings look to be eye-opening. We’re both in the ecological or biological field, and the response from that community has been humbling. What we really want to see now is responses from different branches of science. I’m fascinated to know whether astronomers too have to pay their way to conferences and whether a chemist’s lab costs are similar to how much I paid for my dive gear [for doing marine research].Q: What is the most that you’ve spent out of pocket?B.F.: I have always been fortunate with scholarships and funding, so I’ve never had to spend a large amount of personal money on science.E.H.: As a marine scientist, the biggest chunk I spent was on scuba diving gear. Even though my former employer got us some great reduced rates, it still cost well over $600. Then it has to be serviced every year and that isn’t cheap.Q: What costs do you most frequently have to cover on your own dime?E.H.: The biggest regular hits are conference fees and professional memberships. Conference fees are typically $100 to $500 and can be three or four times a year. I’m lucky if I get more than one fully covered.Q: What barriers do you face in getting money to cover out-of-pocket expenses?B.F.: One is time to reimbursement. We are asking about this on the survey because I recall times in grad school when it would be weeks or months before I would be reimbursed for a given expense.E.H.: Credit card interest is a research expense that is always out of pocket.Q: What would happen if you didn’t use personal funds to cover some of your costs? E.H.: I am pretty sure I would have to think about giving up on my dream of being an impactful scientist, or at least compromising on it. I’m 110% committed to being a scientist … [but] 110% effort may not be enough if I can’t afford to get to the conferences where I may meet somebody that gives me the job that I don’t currently have. It also might not be enough if I can’t afford to publish in the high impact factor open-access journals where my work is most likely to be seen.Q: How do you decide how much of your own money to spend?E.H.: I spend what I can afford on science, and sometimes more. If I hadn’t overextended last year, a symposium I was [leading] would have fallen through. That wouldn’t just have harmed my science, but that of others. I’ll emphasize, too, that it’s not just a decision for me; it’s for my family as well. I can’t spend money on science if that means my family can’t get by from month to month. I know from the #SciSpends chat on Twitter that I am not alone in this situation. Both my wife and I are researchers, and we both spend personal money on conference attendance. But we will veto a conference if we think it means we won’t be able to go on holiday. Scientists need holidays or vacation and, despite what many of us say, conferences are not holidays.last_img read more