U.P. govt. wants Muzaffarnagar riot cases withdrawn

first_imgRaj Singh, Special Secretary in the Department of Justice of the Yogi Adityanath government, has written to the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Muzaffarnagar on January 5 on withdrawing, in “public interest”, riot-related cases filed in Muzaffarnagar against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.Some of the BJP leaders booked on charges of provoking the riots include former Union Minister and party MP from Muzaffarnagar Sanjiv Balyan, Bijnor MP Bhartendu Singh, Thana Bhawan MLA and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Sugar-cane Development, Sugar Mills, Industrial Development Suresh Rana, Budhana MLA Umesh Malik, and party leader Sadhvi Prachi. The letter sought information from the two senior officials on 13 points. The names of the leaders are not mentioned but the file numbers related to the riot cases against them are stated. Hate speechesThe BJP leaders were booked for inciting violence through their speeches in a mahapanchayat (public meeting) at Nagla Mandaur on August 30, 2013, ahead of riots that took place in the first week of September 2013. They were charged under Sections 188 (violating prohibitory orders), 354 (assault or criminal force to deter public servants from discharging their duty) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code. Nearly 60 people were killed and 40,000 displaced in communal clashes that took place in the aftermath of retaliatory ‘mahapanchayats’ held in the area in August 2013. The BJP leaders have termed the hate-speech cases “politically motivated” and “vendetta politics” of the then government led by the Samajwadi Party (SP) .last_img read more

Jignesh Mevani stopped from addressing Rajasthan rally

first_imgDalit leader and Independent MLA from Gujarat Jignesh Mevani was stopped at the Sanganer international airport here on Sunday and prevented from travelling to Nagaur district. Mr. Mevani was scheduled to address a Dalit rally as part of the B.R. Ambedkar birth anniversary celebrations.While the Nagaur district administration restricted Mr. Mevani’s visit, the Jaipur police stopped him at the airport to inform him of the order, and asked him not to address any public meeting in the State capital as well till April 30, in view of the prohibitory orders in force here.Mr. Mevani termed his detention “absolutely unconstitutional” and violative of his fundamental rights. Questions Raje rule“If they can do this with an elected representative, what would be the condition of ordinary citizens and Dalits in the Vasundhara Raje rule?” he asked in a statement.The activist-turned-politician, who had flown in from Ahmedabad, went to the house of a local activist and member of his “Team Rajasthan” in the city, where the police force was deployed to keep a watch on his movements. However, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Jaipur East) Kunwar Rashtradeep said Mr. Mevani had “neither been detained nor arrested”.The Dalit leader warned Chief Minister Ms. Raje of an electoral setback and tweeted: “Vasundhara Ji, hamara bhi vada raha. Chunav me maza ayega [I promise you, Ms. Raje, you will face the music in elections].”last_img read more

Threatened by Naxals: Fadnavis

first_imgMaharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Friday that he had received a letter from a Maoist group threatening to kill him. “I have received this letter and I have forwarded it to the police. An investigation is under way,” said Mr. Fadnavis. He, however, refused to divulge the details of the letter. According to sources, two letters on May 13 and 18 targeting Mr. Fadnavis, his family and police officers who were part of an anti-naxal operation in Gadchiroli were sent to Mantralaya. One of the letters is from the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the other from Dandkaranya special zonal committee, sources said. The letters were handed over to senior police officials. “The case has been handed over to the State intelligence department for investigation and the CM’s security has been beefed up,” said a senior Mumbai Police officer. Mr. Fadnavis told media persons that the police during investigations had found internal communication pertaining to an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Narendra Modi along the lines of the Rajiv Gandhi killing. “We have got a lot of evidence from their internal documents. Naxalism is no longer limited to the jungles. It is also present in urban areas,” said Mr. Fadnavis. The Chief Minister said that there were naxal operatives in cities who were misleading the people.last_img read more

Bihar, where state-run girl shelters are under the scanner

first_img How many such homes are there?Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma, whose husband too was accused of visiting the Muzaffarpur shelter home frequently, says there are 110 such shelter and short-stay homes in the State for girls and women, “but we’ve reports of irregularities at only five of them, while the rest are doing well.” However, the 100-page TISS report said officials had pointed out several discrepancies at over a dozen shelter and short-stay homes, including at Motihari, Chhapra, Sasaram, Bhabhua, Vaishali and other places.Will they be probed as well?Department Principal Secretary Atul Prasad said that in view of the TISS report, investigations were going on at all shelter and short-stay homes and suitable action would be taken, if discrepancies were found. If need be, girls and women would be shifted from there and the NGOs given the contract to run the homes would be blacklisted, he said. The Muzaffarpur home has already been sealed and girls have been shifted to shelter homes at Patna, Mokama and Madhubani. The NGO had also been blacklisted, he said.What happens next?The government has recommended a CBI inquiry into the Muzaffarpur case and the names of several bigwigs are expected to surface in the investigation. Mr. Prasad admitted that the TISS social audit report was an eye-opener and said the Department would consider a number of measures to prevent such incidents occurring again. Among some of the suggestions are installation of CCTV cameras and deputing transgenders as security guards at such shelter and short-stay homes. What happened?A social audit report prepared by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) found that at a State-run shelter home, Balika Grih, in Muzaffarpur, a north Bihar district, 34 of the 44 girls had been sexually exploited. Following the report of “physical and sexual violence” against girls at the home, the Opposition parties sought a High Court-monitored CBI probe. On Thursday, the State government recommended a CBI inquiry.How did it come about?In June 2017, the Social Welfare Department, which looks after shelter and short-stay homes in the State, asked the TISS to prepare a report on their condition. The report, submitted to the Department on April 26 this year, made startling revelations about “physical and sexual violations of girls,” especially at the Muzaffarpur home. On May 31, the Department filed an FIR at the women’s police station in Muzaffarpur, seeking “suitable action” on the plight of girls as mentioned on page 52 of the TISS report under the caption ‘Grave Concern.’ On June 2, the Muzaffarpur police arrested Brajesh Thakur, the man who was managing the NGO, Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, to which the Department had given a contract to run the home. Subsequently, nine other persons, seven of them women employees at the home, were arrested and sent to jail. A chargesheet was filed on July 26. One accused, Dilip Verma, is absconding.Why does it matter?The Muzaffarpur case has come as a huge embarrassment to the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government as Opposition leaders not only raised the issue strongly in and outside the State legislature but also accused the government of protecting Thakur. A local politician, Thakur is believed to have close relations with several BJP and JD(U) leaders. He had contested the Assembly election in 1995 and 2000 from Kudhani in Muzaffarpur as a candidate of the Bihar People’s Party, then an NDA ally, but lost. He also runs a vernacular newspaper Pratah Kamal from the same building in which the shelter home is located, and was in the State press accreditation committee too. His newspaper, despite having a very low circulation, was empanelled by the government’s Public Relations Department and has been the beneficiary of government advertisements worth crores of rupees.last_img read more

Navjot Singh Sidhu accepts invite for Imran Khan’s swearing-in ceremony as Pakistan PM

first_imgPunjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has said that he would be attending the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as Pakistan’s Prime Minister, slated for August 11Terming the invite by Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf as a great honour for him, Mr. Sidhu said that he will accept the invitation.“It’s an honour and I accept the invitation. Men of genius are admired, men of power are feared, but men of character are trusted. Khan Sahab is a man of character and can be trusted,” Mr. Sidhu said in a statement.Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party had on Wednesday said it will send formal invitations to former Indian cricketers Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Bollywood actor Aamir Khan for the ceremony.last_img read more

LPG agency worker beaten to death in Rajasthan

first_imgA group of villagers and relatives of a woman allegedly thrashed a man to death suspecting his motives when he entered a house at Lavera Kalan in the Bhopalgarh area of Jodhpur district’s ;ate on Tuesday night. The victim, Rampal Jat, 30, was stated to be an employee of a gas agency.The police have arrested five persons, two of them women. While Rampal’s father, Koja Ram Jat, said in his complaint to the police that his son had gone to the village to attend to a complaint of gas leak, villagers doubted his intentions because there was no one except a woman in the house when he had come.Lavera Kalan village is predominantly inhabited by the nomadic tribal Bawari community. The villagers allegedly attacked Rampal with sticks and other objects and left him to die on the spot. When the police reached the site, he had died.The police have launched an investigation after arresting the five accused — Shravan Ram, Kamal Kishore, Ramprakash, Vimla and Chayati Devi — identified in the FIR. Rampal’s body was handed over to his family after a post-mortem in Mathura Das Mathur Government Hospital in Jodhpur.Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot expressed anguish over the incident, which occurred shortly after the alleged lynching of dairy farmer, Rakbar Khan, in Alwar district. “It has once again proved [that] there is no law and order in Rajasthan, as people are taking the law in their hands almost everyday,” he tweeted.last_img read more

Officer who probed Sohrabuddin case seeks voluntary retirement

first_imgGujarat-cadre IPS officer Rajnish Rai, who had probed the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case and arrested three senior police officers — Rajkumar Pandian, D.G. Vanjara and Dinesh M.N. in 2007 — has reportedly sought voluntary retirement from service.The 1992-batch IPS officer is currently on central deputation and is posted in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, at the Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism School of the CRPF. According to sources, Mr. Rai has written to the Gujarat government seeking premature retirement from service. The State government has received his application but is yet to forward it to the Centre.He is the second IPS officer to opt for retirement after Rahul Sharma, who had probed the 2002 Gujarat riots cases. Both these officers were at loggerheads with the State BJP government owing to their investigations into the Sohrabuddin case and 2002 riots cases.Transferred frequentlyIn 2014, Mr. Rai was sent on central deputation as Chief Vigilance Officer to Uranium Corporation of India at Jaduguda, Jharkhand, where he had exposed alleged corruption and financial irregularities. He was then transferred to Assam as IG, CRPF. There also he had in a report alleged that two operatives of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (S) were gunned down in a staged shooting by the Army, the Assam Police, the Sashastra Seema Bal and the CRPF in Chirang district. Following his report, the Home Ministry had set up a panel to probe the allegations of extrajudicial killings.last_img read more

Pune woman challenges BJP MLA Ram Kadam

first_imgAfter Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Ram Kadam’s remarks, allegedly offering to “kidnap girls for spurned suitors”, a young woman from Pune issued “an open challenge” to the MLA, daring him to so much as touch her. Minakshi Ganesh Dimble-Patil, in her early 20s, who works with a finance consultancy in the city, posted a video on her Facebook account condemning Mr. Kadam’s remarks. “Mr. Ram Kadam, I challenge you. You call me to Mumbai, or I will come there… Just try and so much as touch me and then see what happens next. Your statement [about kidnapping girls for spurned suitors] is scandalous, crass and shameful… We live in Maharashtra which is the home of Shivraya [warrior King Shivaji]. In this State, a woman is respected as a goddess. So there is no place for your statements, which are in extremely poor taste,” said Ms. Dimble-Patil in her video, which is in Marathi. She further dared the BJP legislator for a face-to- face meeting with her.last_img read more

SAD plans protest against distortion of history

first_imgShiromani Akali Dal president (SAD) Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday said the party would start a “struggle”’ against the ruling Congress government for allegedly distorting history related to the Sikh faith and Sikh gurus by misrepresenting facts through the newly released chapters of the Class XII history book of the Punjab School Education Board.“We would start the struggle to force the Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh and the Congress government in the State to apologise to the ‘Khalsa Panth’ for repeatedly and deliberately insulting the Sikh Guru Sahiban,” he said.Mr. Badal said a 48-hour long protest “”=dharna” would commence in Amritsar on November 1. “I will sit for the first 24 hours and then the SGPC chief Jathedar Gobind Singh Longowal would sit for the next 24 hours,” said Mr.Badal.He said the next phase of the “’struggle”’ would be announced at the conclusion of the “dharna” in case the Congress government did not apologise.Mr. Badal asked for exemplary punishment to all those responsible for casting insults against the great Gurus through blasphemous versions of history. “Mere withdrawal of the repeatedly sacrilegious text-books was not enough to atone for the grave sin of casting insults against the great Gurus,” he added.last_img read more

BJP, Congress finalise list of star campaigners for Tripura

first_imgThe Bhratiya Janata Party and the Congress have finalised their lists of star campaigners to woo voters in the two Lok Sabha constituencies in Tripura. The lists include top leaders of the parties and celebrities who will throw their weight behind the candidates during campaigning.BJP president Amit Shah is scheduled to arrive in the State tomorrow (Thursday) to campaign for his party candidates. He is expected to host a road show in Agartala.“We are finalising the programme for the road show which will be joined by party supporters,” said a local BJP leader.Preparations are also in full swing for the election rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 6 at Udaipur, headquarters of Gomati district in south Tripura. Mr. Modi might tag a few other northeastern States during the visit.The Congress announced a list of 18 star campaigners for Tripura. The list includes names like Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, Navjot Singh Siddhu, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Mukul Sangma and cinestar-turned-politician Nagma.Congress president Rahul Gandhi had already held a public rally at Khumulwng, near Agartala, on March 18. The schedule for the visit of star campaigners will be announced soon, PCC general secretary Baptu Chakraborty said on Wednesday. Tripura will have two-phased Lok Sabha election. The West Tripura constituency will go to the poll on April 11 and East Tripura (ST) constituency on April 18.Both the constituencies are witnessing multi-cornered contest. All major parties are in the fray.last_img read more

Organic Farmer Sues GM Farming Neighbor

first_imgSYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—In a landmark case, an organic farmer in Western Australia state is suing his neighbor for allegedly contaminating his crop with a genetically modified organism (GMO), GM canola. This is the first claim anywhere in the world by a “non-GMO farmer against a GMO farmer,” says Joe Lederman of the specialist law firm FoodLegal in Melbourne.Australia lifted a nationwide moratorium on GM crops in 2009. Only the state of South Australia prohibits planting of GM crops, a ban expected to hold until at least 2019. Because it is legal to sow GM crops in Western Australia, the case now being heard in the Western Australia Supreme Court in Perth turns on whether the GM farmer was negligent in the sense of not taking strict enough measures to contain GM material on his property, says University of Western Australia legal expert Michael Blakeney, an adviser to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.In court documents, Steve Marsh states that his organic farm, southeast of Perth, was contaminated in 2010 by GM canola, which he claims came from Michael Baxter’s farm. As a result, that year Marsh lost his National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA) organic certification for approximately 70% of his property, on which he grows oats and rye and keeps sheep. Marsh is seeking damages of $85,000 for lost income and a permanent injunction preventing Baxter from planting GMOs within 1 kilometer of his farm.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(*)Baxter’s lawyers contend that he maintained the required 500-meter buffer zone around his crop and say there was no justification for removing Marsh’s certification. They argue that Marsh should sue NASAA for imposing unrealistic standards. The association has zero tolerance for GM material of any sort. In contrast, the United States allows products with up to 5% GM material to be labeled “organic.” Even the European Union, where public perception of GM crops is generally negative, allows up to 0.9% GM material. “Zero tolerance is not realistic for crops growing in the vicinity of GM crops,” says plant scientist Graham King of Southern Cross University in Lismore.The case does not question the science or safety of GM crops that have Australian regulatory approval. The outcome, however, might impact labeling and product information of both GM and non-GM foods, says bioethicist Rachel Ankeny with the University of Adelaide. She claims that such information is “currently inadequate in Australia.”The case not only pits neighbor against neighbor; it’s also shaping up as what some see as a David versus Goliath battle. According to the Australian Associated Press, Marsh’s legal costs are being partly funded from a crowdsourced Internet appeal, while the biotechnology giant Monsanto is backing Baxter. The case is expected to run at least another week.last_img read more

‘Swiss cheese’ galaxy resembles those that changed the youthful universe

first_imgAstronomers have identified a galaxy 2.9 billion light-years away that’s vigorously pumping out ultraviolet radiation and resembles the ones that transformed the entire universe shortly after its birth. The finding could help scientists deepen their understanding of how, a few hundred million years after the big bang, similar galaxies busted up hydrogen atoms throughout intergalactic space.The universe was born hot. It started off as a mix of electrons and positively charged protons and helium nuclei. But as the universe expanded, it cooled so much that, about 380,000 years after the big bang, the electrons and protons paired up, creating neutral hydrogen atoms. All that free-floating hydrogen would have soaked up the extreme ultraviolet light from the earliest stars. Then, a few hundred million years later, this radiation from those multiplying stars and galaxies ripped the electrons from the protons, “reionizing” the hydrogen gas. But no one knows exactly how that happened.Only extreme ultraviolet photons, whose wavelengths are shorter than 912 angstroms (91.2 nanometers), pack enough energy to rip apart hydrogen atoms. Hot young stars emit this radiation, but neutral hydrogen gas absorbs it, preventing the ionizing radiation from escaping into intergalactic space. For the typical galaxy today, dust blocks most extreme ultraviolet light, and neutral hydrogen gas soaks up all but 1% of the rest. A 1% escape fraction is not enough to reionize the universe.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But astronomer Sanchayeeta Borthakur of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and her colleagues have used the Hubble Space Telescope to examine an unusual galaxy called SDSS J0921+4509 in the constellation Ursa Major that’s pumping out large amounts of extreme ultraviolet light. By comparing how much radiation this galaxy emits above and below a wavelength of 912 angstroms, the researchers found that the galaxy has an escape fraction of 21%, as they report online today in Science.”That’s quite high,” says astronomer Brian Siana of the University of California, Riverside, who was not involved in the work. “This is roughly the fraction that we think all galaxies in the early universe had to have in order to ionize the hydrogen in the intergalactic medium.” Michael Rauch, an astronomer at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California, agrees that the observation “is what people were hoping for.”So what’s the secret to how the galaxy pumps out so much extreme ultraviolet light? “Swiss cheese,” Borthakur says. The galaxy is a starburst, containing a compact region less than 1000 light-years wide that spawns lots of hot stars whose light and “winds”—souped-up versions of the solar wind—punch holes in the haze of neutral hydrogen gas, giving it the structure of Swiss cheese. “The [extreme ultraviolet] photons escape through the holes,” Borthakur says. The discovery suggests the galaxies that reionized the universe were also starbursts, although most were smaller. But those early galaxies had an advantage over this one: They had little light-blocking dust, because dust consists of heavy elements that stars make, and few stars had yet arisen at that early time.Several years ago, the researchers had used the galaxy’s spectrum to predict the large escape fraction they have now observed. “This is the first case where they’ve actually proven that this works,” Rauch says. That’s important, he says, because future telescopes will be able to obtain spectra of galaxies that existed during the epoch of reionization but will never detect their extreme ultraviolet light, because neutral hydrogen between them and us blocks it.Curiously, if the galaxy were one of our nearest neighbors, the project would have failed. Astronomers don’t detect the light at the wavelength that it was emitted but rather at the longer wavelength the light has been stretched to by the expansion of the universe. Had the Swiss-cheese galaxy been close by, that stretching would have been so small that neutral hydrogen gas in the Milky Way would absorb the galaxy’s extreme ultraviolet light. However, the galaxy is so distant that its radiation has been stretched by 23.5%, enough to glide through the Milky Way’s hydrogen unimpeded, making the measurement possible.last_img read more

Physicist who inspired Interstellar spills the backstory—and the scene that makes him cringe

first_imgInterstellar, which opens this week, looks set to be one of the most talked-about films of 2014, not just because of its compelling storyline and dazzling special effects, but also for the fact that it sticks pretty close to established science and any speculation remains in the realm of plausibility. The man who inspired the film and kept a close eye on its scientific fidelity is Kip Thorne, a renowned theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and one of the world’s leading experts in the astrophysical predictions of general relativity.In 2006, Thorne and Lynda Obst, a longtime friend and film producer, wrote an eight-page treatment for a film that sprang from the astrophysics of black holes, wormholes, and time dilation. Steven Spielberg was soon on board to direct. Jonathan Nolan, who wrote films such as The Prestige and The Dark Knight Rises with his director brother Christopher, was working on the screenplay. Six years later, however, Spielberg had to drop out but was replaced by Christopher Nolan, director of the three Dark Knight movies and Inception.The movie is set in a not-too-distant future, when various blights on crops have driven humanity to the brink of starvation and against science. A secret effort is under way to make a last-ditch attempt to find another planet that humans could colonize. Thorne has written about his experiences working with Hollywood and the scientific concepts addressed in the film in a book, The Science of Interstellar, to be published on 7 November. He spoke with ScienceInsider about the experience earlier this week. This interview has 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: How much of your original treatment remains in the final film?A: We wrote an original treatment, but it has changed so much that it’s not recognizable as the same movie except for the scientific vision and the venue, what I like to call the warped side of the universe—black holes, wormholes, higher dimensions, and so forth.The story is essentially completely changed, except in the broadest brush sense that we had explorers leaving the Earth, traveling out to a wormhole in the outer parts of the solar system and through the wormhole, and visiting planets. Beyond that the story is truly the Nolans’ story. The thing that was preserved was the vision—the thing that was most important to Lynda and me—the vision of a movie in which real science, ranging from truth to speculation, is embedded deep into the movie’s fabric from the outset.Also preserved were the guidelines we laid down from the outset. First, that nothing would violate established physical laws. Second, that all the wild speculations, and there certainly are some here, would spring from science and not from the fertile mind of a screenwriter. When I discussed those guidelines with Christopher Nolan at our first meeting in 2013, he said he liked them, to the extent that [they didn’t] get in the way of making a great movie. I do like what he did with the science. I’m very pleased with how it came out.Q: Is there anywhere the moviemakers strayed outside your guidelines? A: Not seriously. The one place where I am the least comfortable is on [a] planet where they have these ice clouds. These structures go beyond what I think the material strength of ice would be able to support. But I’d say if that’s the most egregious violation of physical law, they’ve done very, very well. There’s some artistic license there. Every time I watch the movie, that’s the one place where I cringe. I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody that.Q: In your book, you say that Christopher Nolan introduced science elements of his own to the script. What did he bring?A: The one that has the biggest impact, and that I really like, is the tesseract [the 4D analog of a cube]. When he told me in our first meeting that he was thinking of using a tesseract, he didn’t go into any detail. But I was very pleased because when I was 13 years old I read a book, One Two Three … Infinity by George Gamow, in which George drew a picture of a tesseract. It looks like two cubes, one inside another, and I spent hours staring at that, trying to come to grips with it. I found it so fascinating that it was one of the more significant influences on me to become a theoretical physicist.So when he told me he wanted to use a tesseract, I thought that was great. I immediately saw and discussed with him how this was an ideal way to take his hero and carry him into the fifth dimension, and rapidly travel from one region of our universe to another, because distances in the [fifth dimension] will be much less than they are in our brane [our 4D slice of reality]. The tesseract that he created for the film is far more complex than any tesseract one has seen before. It’s fascinating; it’s beautifully designed.Q: Where did the idea of blight-plaguing Earth come from?A: This was due to [Jonathan Nolan]. When he introduced the idea, he and I and Lynda decided we really needed to find what was known about blight and other kinds of biological catastrophes, if they are to be responsible for diminishing the Earth to the degree you see in the film. We set up a “blight dinner” with biologists who were experts and we discussed this at length, trying to identify what things could go wrong with the biology of the Earth.Q: You worked with the visual effects team at the company Double Negative in London, providing them with equations, which they then worked into their code. What was it like seeing those equations turned into the visual representation of a black hole?A: It was wonderful to see the resolution they got. In practice I always did an implementation of the equation myself in Mathematica. I’m a real klutz computationally so Mathematica is just ideal for me. So I knew roughly what they were going to come up with, but it was just awe-inspiring to get back film clips from [Double Negative] and see this fabulous resolution and fabulous dynamics they were able to achieve.Q: You’ve said that you learned something new from their simulations?A: We learned [that] when you have a fast-spinning black hole, without any accretion disk, and let it just lens the distant sky—a star field—we saw a fantastically beautiful structure that is sort of like a fingerprint, but much more complex. We’ve long known that you’ll get multiple images of each star [around a black hole], due to [the combination of] light rays that come pretty much directly to the camera, [and] rays that go in and circle around the black hole once and come to the camera. But what we found was that on the side of the spinning black hole where space is moving towards us, [you see this beautiful structure].It was completely unexpected with huge amounts of internal structure in it, regions where the star field appears to be quiescent and other regions where the stars seem to be whirling around in little vortices. To me it’s a lovely kind of discovery in the sense that it is really very beautiful and it arises from a collaboration between a scientist and a group of computer artists. We are submitting a paper about this and about the particular method that Double Negative uses to the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.last_img read more

Recharge your Fitbit while you run

first_imgIt sure would be nice to go for a run and never worry about your Fitbit dying. Researchers have previously come up with several strategies for harvesting the energy in our footfalls. Now, scientists have invented two lightweight devices that are small enough to actually fit in a shoe sole and still generate enough electricity power for wireless data transmissions while you walk, they report online today in Smart Materials and Structures. Both devices make use of the voltage induced in a stationary coil when a moving magnet’s magnetic field passes through it. The device shown in the above picture, known as the swing harvester, pushes a stack of 14 magnets through a set of coils when your legs shift during a stroll. The other, called the shock harvester, consists of a spring-loaded magnetic circuit that vibrates in the heel of a shoe when it strikes the ground. As of now, the devices can generate enough current during a fast walk to power a temperature sensor in a shoe that wirelessly transmits its readings over 10 meters. With further research, the scientists hope to boost the power output to recharge other wearable electronics.last_img read more

Two Awaiting Sentencing for 2015 Murder of Indian American Store Clerk in Connecticut

first_imgTwo men are awaiting sentencing for the April 6, 2015 murder of Indian American store clerk Sanjay Patel, who was repeatedly shot by gunmen as he stood behind the counter of the Pay Rite Food/Citgo gas station in New Haven, Connecticut.A jury deliberated for less than four hours Feb. 7 before finding Dwayne Sayles guilty of felony murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, criminal possession of a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit. Sayles’ trial ended Feb. 5, and the jury began deliberations, but had to stop when one juror claimed she saw the defendant while visiting her husband in the same jail where Sayles was being held on $2 million bail. The juror said Sayles recognized her and waved to her, which caused her to fear for her safety, reported the New Haven Register.Read it at India West Related Itemslast_img read more