Nagpur gears up for polls

first_imgNagpur: Around 5,000 policemen have been deployed across various parts of the city for the civic polls on Tuesday.According to NMC commissioner Srawan Hardikar, the voting will take place at 2,783 polling booths, out which 54 have been identified as “sensitive booths”. Armed security personnel will be deployed at 162 polling booths across the city. The election is for 151 seats across 38 wards. An NMC press release said, “Nine Deputy Commissioner of Police, 12 Assistant Commissioner of Police, 32 police inspectors, 125 police sub-inspectors and ten platoons of the ‘striking force’ State Reserve Police force will be involved in the security arrangements.” Four Riot Control teams of police and one company of SRPF have been kept as “reserve.”The police have confiscated 124 weapons and asked the owners of 195 weapons to submit them to the police.The vehicle of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari was surrounded by some angry protestors in East Nagpur area on Monday evening. The protestors reportedly belonged to Halba community, which is unhappy with the BJP for not keeping its promise of providing caste certificates. The Minister was escorted to his home safely.last_img read more

M.P. shifts fiscal year

first_imgMadhya Pradesh will be the first State to switch to the January-December financial year from the present April-March cycle.The change will mean the financial year will coincide with the calendar year. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet held at Mantralaya here on Tuesday. “The next budget session will start in January. Now, the financial year will start in January and end in December,” CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said. The decision was announced to the press by Public Relations Minister Narrotam Mishra.On April 23, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the proposal at the third governing council meeting of the NITI Aayog in New Delhi. Mr. Modi said the switch could have a significant impact on the economy.last_img read more

J&K school renamed after slain soldier

first_imgThe Army on Saturday renamed the Army Goodwill School, Behibagh, as ‘Shaheed Lt. Ummer Fayaz Goodwill School’ as a mark of tribute to the deceased soldier abducted and killed by militants on May 10.An Army spokesman said Major General B.S. Raju, the General Officer Commanding of the Victor Force along with the deputy commissioner and Superintendent of Police, Kulgam, visited the house of Fayaz to attend the ‘Chahrrum’.Grants solatiumMaj. Gen. Raju met the family and presented a cheque of ₹75 lakh on behalf of the Army.“To honour the martyr, it has been decided to rename the Army Goodwill School Behibagh as ‘Shaheed Lt. Ummer Fayaz Goodwill School’,” said the spokesman.The deputy commissioner also presented a cheque of ex-gratia and announced a government job to the family members.Condemning this dastardly act, Maj. Gen. Raju called upon all sections of the society “to join hands in putting an end to the bloodshed in Kashmir”. He also urged the elders to sensitise the “misguided youth” to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream and contribute towards the nation building.Fayaz, 22, who belonged to 2 Rajput Rifles, was killed as he had come on a vacation to native district of Kulgam. He was picked up by gunmen from a wedding function in nearby Shopian district on Tuesday. His bullet-ridden body was found from a road on Wednesday.He was a brilliant young man who performed in a spectacular manner in the Indian Army, the GOC said after meeting his family here.“His death will not go in vain. Strict actions will be taken over this militant attack. We want to ensure that our operation will not affect the civil population,” he asserted.Family inconsolableMeanwhile, Fayaz’s family remains inconsolable as they continue to mourn the loss of their son. “We have lost everything. He was a good human being,” Fayaz’s father Faiz Ahmed said.(With ANI inputs)last_img read more

Attempted sexual assault in school

first_imgAn unidentified man tried to sexually assault a Class IV girl student in the toilet of a private school in Panipat, a senior police official said on Thursday. A case has been registered under various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act against the accused, after the girl’s father reported the matter to the police on Wednesday. “The girl was found crying in the school by her teachers. She insisted on meeting her parents. Her parents were immediately called and she left with them. At home, she narrated her ordeal,” Station House Officer (SHO) Sub Inspector (SI) Kavita of the Women Police Station in Panipat said.last_img read more

Ahmed Patel writes to Rajnath, seeks fair probe

first_imgAs the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stepped up pressure on Congress leader Ahmed Patel over the arrest of an alleged Islamic State (IS) operative, Kasim Stimberwala, who worked in a hospital that was reportedly associated with the Congress leader, Mr. Patel has written to the Union Home Minister seeking an impartial probe into the matter.In a letter dated October 28 to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Mr. Patel wrote, “As an MP, who has taken oath to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, I call upon you to take cognizance of the matter and as the Home Minister of India instruct the relevant law enforcement agencies to take this investigation to its logical end in an impartial and objective manner.”On Friday, the Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani sought Mr. Patel’s resignation. Both the Congress and Mr. Patel have denied any wrongdoing.last_img read more

Two sons of BJP lawmaker in Bihar booked for molestation

first_imgTwo sons of a Bhartiya Janata Party lawmaker Awadhesh Narayan Singh have been booked allegedly for molesting a 24-year old woman, who works as a cabin crew member with a private airline in Mumbai.The woman has filed an FIR at the women’s police station in Patna against the two brothers — Sushant Ranjan and Prashant Ranjan — for allegedly holding her captive in a room and beating her up with the intention of sexually assaulting her.The incident reportedly took place on May 16 in Patna at the official residence of the BJP MLC Awadhesh Narayan Singh.Both the sons of the lawmaker run a franchise of a private travel agency.“The police have lodged an FIR based on the woman’s complaint and we’re verifying the charges…if found true, necessary action will be taken”, said D. Amarkesh, Patna Superintendent of Police (Central).Meanwhile, Mr. Singh, who is also a former chairman of the Bihar Legislative Council, said that he was not in Patna on May 16 but was ready for any investigation.Meanwhile, the opposition RJD has taken a dig at the BJP over the incident. “This is a Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao of BJP?”, said RJD MLA and spokesperson Shakti Yadav while adding that, “such incidents bring disrepute to the State”.last_img read more

Assam raises jobseekers’ age limit

first_imgThe BJP-led coalition government in the State has raised the job application age limit in the general category by six years to 44 years, the maximum in the Northeast.The new age limit literally goes one-up on the former Congress government’s decision in 2016 to raise the cap from 38 years to 43 years, but for two years. The upper age limit was back to 38 years after the two-year period ended in March this year. “We have increased the upper age limit to 44 years for Grade III and IV jobs, and it is for an indefinite period,” Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam Finance and Health Minister, said on Monday.The Grade III and IV job applicants have also been exempted from paying the application fee. The fee for Grade I and II is ₹250.last_img read more

Naveen questions Centre’s silence

first_imgAhead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the State, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday questioned the Centre’s silence over the Mahanadi water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.“It is sad that the BJP-led government at the Centre is silent over the sensitive Mahanadi water dispute,” said Mr. Patnaik while addressing a public meeting organised at the end of the ruling Biju Janata Dal’s ‘Save Mahanadi Campaign’ in Paradip.The Centre has been supporting the Chhattisgarh government over its ‘illegal’ construction of barrages over the Mahanadi, which is drying up slowly in Odisha, Mr. Patnaik said.Mr. Modi is slated to address a public meeting in Cuttack on Saturday to mark the completion of four years of his government at the Centre.Reiterating that the BJD is committed to saving the Mahanadi, Mr. Patnaik alleged that State BJP leaders were supporting the unilateral constructions by the Chhattisgarh government.‘Apolitical programme’Observing that the campaign to save the Mahanadi was an apolitical programme and had taken the shape of a people’s movement, Mr. Patnaik said the people of Odisha have understood the ‘double standards’ of the BJP leaders. The BJP leaders should oppose the constructions over the river by the Chhattisgarh government if they have any regard for Odisha’s interest, he said.The Chief Minister said it was due to the Odisha government’s efforts that the Centre had constituted a tribunal to resolve the water dispute as per the Supreme Court’s orders.Several senior BJD leaders at the meeting said that they would intensify the campaign if construction of barrages was not stopped.The campaign, which Mr. Patnaik had launched in Jharsuguda district on May 16, covered 500 km involving people from as many as 15 districts of the State.last_img read more

Odisha to ban plastic in phases starting from Gandhi Jayanti

first_imgThe Odisha government on Tuesday ordered a ban on the use of plastic bags, polythene and single-use plastic in the State starting from Gandhi Jayanti in October.The ban will come into force in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Rourkela and Puri from October 2 and in the entire State in phases over the next two years.Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik made the announcement to ban plastic in the State while talking about environmental awareness in the newly started “Ama Mukhyamantri, Ama Katha” (Our Chief Minister, our issues) programme.Three departments of the State government will be assigned responsibilities to make the ban effective and control plastic pollution.While the Housing and Urban Development Department will enforce the ban in the Municipal Corporations and urban local bodies, the Panchayati Raj Department will enforce it in rural areas of the State.The Forest and Environment Department will oversee the plastic pollution- control measures in the entire State.Talking about the need to check environmental pollution, Mr. Patnaik said that the use of plastic has posed a grave danger to the environment as well as the heath of children and future of human race.Speaking about the urgent need to plant trees to save the environment, Mr. Patnaik urged the people to plant one sapling each during the ongoing monsoon season and care for those plants as their family members.last_img read more

Refugees in J&K await citizenship

first_imgThe release of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam has once again turned the spotlight on the refugee problem in Jammu and Kashmir, with many representatives of displaced people seeking a one-time settlement in the State.Labha Ram Gandhi, president of the West Pakistan Refugees Action Committee, told The Hindu that abrogation of Article 35A, which defined State subject laws and granted special privileges in matters of property and jobs, was the shortest route to access the pending citizenship rights in India.Long fight“If Article 35A goes on August 6 [the day the Supreme Court will hear multiple petitions filed against it], we will get citizenship rights, including the right to vote for the Assembly. We are fighting for our rights since 1947. We are Indians and not Bangladeshis, who need to be thrown out. It’s because of the local governments, a puppet of Pakistan, we failed to get citizenship rights. This government [the Centre] will deliver us justice,” Mr. Gandhi said.The BJP in J&K has been campaigning for full citizenship rights for West Pakistan refugees.These refugees are mainly Hindus, with 80% of them belonging to the Scheduled Castes, who migrated during Partition from Sialkot to J&K. By an assessment, their population of these refugees is estimated at between 2.5 lakh and 3 lakh.Rajiv Chuni, president of SOS International, an NGO fighting for the cause of displaced citizens of erstwhile J&K who shifted into this part during the 1948, 1965 and 1971 wars, said the case of displaced population should be “looked through the humanitarian prism”.“I doubt the sincerity of purpose in Assam. It’s taking a Hindu-Muslim colour. In J&K, I am held back in a territory that is not mine. I am from Mirpur [in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir] and wants the right to vote from there,” Mr. Chuni said.Independent MLA Engineer Rashid, while accusing the Centre of “dislodging Muslims in Assam”, said: “If the Centre wants foreigners to be identified and deported it must start with the West Pakistani refugees in J&K.”last_img read more

Former Gujarat Chief Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela set to join NCP

first_imgFormer Gujarat Chief Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela is set to join the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the state unit of the Sharad Pawar-led party said on Thursday. The 78-year-old Kshatriya strongman had left the Congress before the 2017 Gujarat assembly elections. He had then helped the BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls. “Former Chief Minister of Gujarat Shankarsinh Vaghela will join NCP in presence of party president Sharad Pawar and senior leader Praful Patel,” Gujarat NCP president Jayant Patel alias Boski said. “Vaghela ji is a dynamic leader who knows the pulse of state and the country. I welcome his entry into the NCP and it will give a boost to the party in the state,” he said. The former Union Minister is likely to join the NCP on January 29, the party sources said. However, Mr. Vaghela has so far neither confirmed nor denied that he will join the NCP. Mr. Vaghela’s entry into the NCP can lead to a three-way fight on a few Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat if the Congress fails to enter into a pre-poll alliance with Mr. Pawar’s party. The State has 26 Lok Sabha seats and all of them were won by the BJP in the 2014 general elections.Mr. Vaghela had left the Congress before the 2017 state assembly polls, after he and a few MLAs supporting him voted against Congress candidate for the Rajya Sabha, Ahmed Patel and backed BJP nominee Balwantsinh Rajput.Mr. Vaghela, however, did not join the ruling BJP and put up independent candidates in the state assembly elections held in December 2017. All his candidates had lost polls. Recently, Mr. Vaghela had toured various places, including Delhi, and declared that he will fight for removal of the BJP-led government at the Centre in 2019. In 2017, the Congress and the NCP had fought assembly elections separately. The NCP was able to win just one seat in the 182-member assembly. If in 2019, both the parties fail to reach a seat- sharing agreement, then it will be a three-way fight on some Lok Sabha seats where Vaghela and his supporters will contest as NCP candidates, the party sources said.Mr. Vaghela is a prominent OBC leader, who started his political career with the BJP. After the BJP came to power in 1995 in Gujarat and chose to make Keshubhai Patel Cheif Minister instead of him, Mr. Vaghela engineered a split in the saffron outfit and became the Chief Minister in 1996 with outside support of the Congress. Later, he joined the Congress and served as Textile Minister in the Manmohan Singh government. While in the Congress, he also served as its State unit president and Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat assembly.last_img read more

Top Stories: Shutdown Science, Stormy Sex, and Snooty Books

first_imgScience and the ShutdownThe U.S. government ground to a halt on Tuesday after Congress failed to pass a spending bill to finance the government for the 2014 fiscal year. The only agencies and staff members still working are those deemed essential for public safety and national security. Follow our continuing coverage to find out how the shutdown is affecting science and research; which researchers, agencies, and projects have been hit; and how scientists are reacting.Want to Read Minds? Read Good BooksSign 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(*)Fifty Shades of Grey may be a fun read, but it’s not going to help you probe the minds of others the way War and Peace might. That’s the conclusion of a new study, which finds that, compared with mainstream fiction, highbrow literary works do more to improve our ability to understand the thoughts, emotions, and motivations of those around us.Quantum Computers Check Each Other’s WorkQuantum computers can solve incredibly complex problems in a fraction of the time it would take a normal computer. But how can we be sure that they’re getting the answers right? Scientists have come up with a neat solution: Use a simpler quantum computer—whose results humans can actually check—to verify the results of other dramatically more powerful quantum machines.Sex Before the StormThere’s lots to do before a storm rolls in—close the windows, bring the washing in, batten down the hatches. Cucurbit beetles have a different priority: sex. When the bugs sense the change in air pressure that usually precedes bad weather, they forgo their usual courtship rituals and go in for a quickie.Invasion of the Nostril TicksA scientist who inadvertently brought a tick home from Uganda—in his nose—may have discovered a new species of parasite that preys on primates. The “nostril tick” belongs to the genus Amblyomma, which is known to carry diseases that can infect mammals ranging from cows to people. This particular individual may have evolved to live in the noses of chimpanzees, and hopped to the researcher when he got too close.last_img read more

Cost Skyrockets for United States’ Share of ITER Fusion Project

first_imgITER, the international fusion experiment under construction in Cadarache, France, aims to prove that nuclear fusion is a viable power source by creating a “burning plasma” that produces more energy than the machine itself consumes. Although that goal is at least 20 years away, ITER is already burning through money at a prodigious pace. The United States is only a minor partner in the project, which began construction in 2008. But the U.S. contribution to ITER will total $3.9 billion—roughly four times as much as originally estimated—according to a new cost estimate released yesterday. That is about $1.4 billion higher than a 2011 cost estimate, and the numbers are likely to intensify doubts among some members of Congress about continuing the U.S. involvement in the project.The United States and ITER share a complicated history. The project was first proposed in 1985 as a joint venture with the Soviet Union and Japan. The United States backed out of that effort in 1998, citing concerns over cost and feasibility—only to jump in again in 2003. At the time, ITER was envisioned to cost roughly $5 billion. That estimate had grown to $12 billion by 2006, when the European Union, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and United States signed a formal agreement to build the device. The United States agreed, essentially, to build 9% of the parts for the reactor, at whatever price was necessary.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(*)ITER was supposed to start running by 2016. Since then, however, the project has been plagued by delays, cost increases, and management problem. ITER is now expected to cost at least $21 billion and won’t turn on until 2020 at the earliest. And a recent review slammed ITER’s management.The cost of the U.S. contribution has increased, too, although by how much has been unclear. Officials with U.S. ITER had not released an updated cost profile for several years, until Ned Sauthoff, project manager for U.S. ITER at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, did so yesterday. Speaking to a meeting of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee in Rockville, Maryland, Sauthoff reported that the total cost of the U.S. contribution would be $3.9 billion by the time the project is done in 2034. The schedule assumes that ITER won’t start running until 2024 or 2025. In comparison, an April 2011 funding profile pegged the cost of U.S. ITER at $2.5 billion.The reason for the difference lies mainly in the timing. The 2011 cost profile would have seen spending on U.S. ITER plateau at $350 million per year from 2014 through 2016. However, in 2013, DOE officials decided (as part of their budget request for the following year) to cap spending on ITER at $225 million per year to prevent the project from consuming the entire budget of DOE’s fusion energy sciences program. Stretching out the budget invariably increases costs, researchers say. This year, the fusion program has a total budget of $505 million, including the $200 million Congress ultimately decided to spend on ITER. Sauthoff stresses that ITER researchers are making concrete progress in construction. “There is very strong progress in the fabrication of components around the world,” he said in an e-mail after the meeting. “US components needed for the construction sequence are being completed for delivery in 2014 and 2015.”The new numbers appear to be giving some members of Congress heartburn. In a separate hearing yesterday on the proposed 2015 budget for DOE, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the chair of Energy and Water Development Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, said that a review by DOE officials suggested that the cost of U.S. ITER could rise as high as $6 billion—more, if the concerns over ITER management are not addressed. “I’m really beginning to believe that our involvement in ITER is not practical, that we will not gain what we hope to gain from it, and instead this money could be much better be spent elsewhere,” Feinstein said.Could the United States really back out of ITER? The Obama administration conceives of the U.S. commitment to ITER as being on a par with a treaty agreement, one Washington insider says, so the administration simply cannot walk away from that commitment. But one Senate staffer who works for the Democratic majority says that’s only the administration’s position. In fact, the staffer says, the administration seems to be split, with officials at the State Department arguing that the U.S. commitment to ITER is inviolable and officials at DOE indicating that they’d be just as happy without the project on their hands. The staffer suggests that the conflict explains why the administration requested only $150 million for ITER next year instead of the supposed maximum of $225 million it had set earlier.The Senate staffer suggests that if administration officials can’t make up their minds about ITER, Congress could do it for them in the next several months, as they write annual spending bills. “Our intention is make a decision for ourselves in our markup [of the 2015] budget,” the staffer says. “They won’t have a choice.”last_img read more

Data check: U.S. producing more STEM graduates even without proposed initiatives

first_imgThe United States appears to be on pace to meet the Obama administration’s goal of churning out more college graduates in the so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.That conclusion, based on an analysis by ScienceInsider of recent education statistics, may surprise many people. And it is unlikely to cause scientific organizations to hold a ticker tape parade or the White House to issue a self-congratulatory press release.That’s because the growth has occurred despite the failure of Congress to approve most of the new programs and hefty federal investments recommended by high-profile panels and requested by the White House. The news also comes with a caveat: The goal has been a moving target, and the total includes those with a 2-year degree. So some may take issue with the analysis that follows.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(*)U.S. academic and business leaders have long argued that the country needs a larger tech-savvy workforce to maximize economic growth. The current campaign began in earnest in 2005 when a coalition of pro-research organizations issued a report titled Tapping America’s Potential (TAP). It called for a doubling, by 2015, of the number of STEM bachelor’s degrees awarded annually by U.S. institutions.The doubling would mean an increase from 200,000 a year to 400,000, the report explains. Curiously, it chose 2001 as its baseline year—meaning the decadal doubling would actually occur over 14 years (remedial math, anyone?). If the number rose at a steady pace, by 2015 there would be 1.1 million more STEM graduates than would have been the case under previous production levels.Six months later, a prestigious panel assembled by the National Academies warned Congress that retaining U.S. global competitiveness would require more and better STEM teachers. Its report, called Rising Above the Gathering Storm (RAGS), resulted in a 2007 law that promised to augment STEM teacher training (as well as double research funding in the physical sciences). Congress didn’t keep its promise, however. And RAGS didn’t address whether additional STEM-trained workers were needed, although it said that the 10,000 additional elementary and secondary school STEM teachers that would be trained would touch “10 million minds.”The Obama administration saw a link, however, and its President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) issued two related reports that, together, recommended increasing both the number of STEM teachers and the number of STEM graduates. In particular, its 2012 report, Engage to Excel, called for producing “one million additional college graduates with bachelor or associate degrees in STEM fields” over the next decade.For PCAST, the clock started in 2010, when the number of such graduates stood at 300,000. President Barack Obama has cited the reports frequently in lobbying Congress for increasing federal investments in STEM education, including a mention in his 2011 State of the Union address of the need for more STEM teachers.Neither the PCAST report nor the TAP report explains how or why it chose a particular number of additional STEM graduates as a goal. And both reports are supply-driven rather than demand-driven; that is, they address the production of STEM graduates but not the likelihood of their finding good jobs. That’s a sore point for those who argue that the nation is actually producing too many graduates in many STEM fields, which keeps wages low and creates underemployment.Leaving aside those points, however, an analysis of data compiled by the National Science Foundation (NSF) shows strong evidence of the desired growth despite the general lack of action on the reports. Specifically, the number of degrees awarded annually in the natural sciences and engineering—NSF’s equivalent of what is normally defined as a STEM field—grew from 241,000 in 2000 to 355,000 in 2012 (see graph). In absolute terms, the 2012 figure is 114,000 more than the 2000 figure. Even if that number grows no larger for the rest of the decade—an extremely conservative estimate, most would say—the additional number of STEM graduates in the overall workforce would exceed the 1 million goal set explicitly by the PCAST report and implicitly by TAP.(Those who think the augmented number of graduates should be based on a strict 10-year span may want to start with the 263,000 STEM graduates produced in 2002. Using that base year, the size of the expanded pool falls just shy of the 100,000-a-year level needed to add 1 million over a decade.)To be sure, these totals use PCAST’s definition of a college degree, which encompasses both the bachelor’s and associate level. The split is roughly six or seven to one: In 2012, for example, there were 53,000 associate degrees in STEM fields out of the total of 355,000 graduates. (Four-fifths of the 2-year STEM degrees awarded were in computer science.)The PCAST report does not suggest what rate of growth is preferred. In particular, it doesn’t opine on whether spikes and troughs matter. However, front-loading the increase makes it much easier to achieve the overall goal.For example, a surge of 100,000 graduates in the first few years—say, an extra 40,000 the first year, and then an additional 60,000 in the second year—would then require only miniscule increases in subsequent years to achieve the target. In contrast, flat production for the first several years would require a huge leap in output in the latter years of the decade.It turns out that the steady rise in actual production over the past decade may also get you where you want to go. Based on the NSF data, that seems like a reasonable bet—even if it runs counter to the conventional narrative. For whatever reason, it appears, U.S. students are finding their own way to a STEM degree.last_img read more

Misfit marmots save the day

first_imgA peaceful community of yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventris) should be grateful for its outcasts. When they notice a slinking coyote or circling hawk, loners are most likely to sound the alarm and alert the colony, according to a new study of marmot social networks. Each summer since 2002, researchers have tracked the alarm calls and social behavior of tagged marmots from six colonies near the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado. They jotted down each friendly encounter—nose rubs, cuddles, and playful tussles—to reconstruct the social network linking 142 of the cat-sized mountain squirrels. The researchers rated each marmot for qualities such as social influence and vulnerability based on the number and strength of its relationships. They suspected that the most socially adept animals would be first to alert their cliques to danger, but in fact, unpopular marmots whistled alarm calls most frequently, the team reports online this month in Behavioral Ecology. Socially vulnerable marmots may call out predators because they can’t rely on strong social networks for protection, the researchers speculate. But standing guard could also be a way to gain access to the in crowd.last_img read more

India begins talks with Russia for Rs 39,000 cr Triumf missile shield deal

first_imgIndia has now begun final contract negotiations with Russia for the Rs 39,000 crore (over $5.5 billion) acquisition of five advanced S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems+ , which can detect, track and destroy hostile strategic bombers, stealth fighters, spy planes, missiles and drones at a range of up to 400 km and altitude of 30 km.India wants to conclude the major deal in the 2018-19 financial year, with the first S-400 surface-to-air (SAM) missile system, with its associated battle-management system of command post and launchers, acquisition and engagement radars, and all-terrain transporter-erector-launcher vehicles, slated for delivery two years after the contract is inked.“All the five S-400 systems, which can even take on medium-range ballistic missiles, apart from cruise missiles, will be delivered in 54 months. The force-multiplier will change the dynamics of air defence in the region,” a defence ministry source said.Read it at Times of India Related Itemslast_img read more

Indian Students Refuse The Lure of US Education; Admissions Drop by 28%

first_imgIt seems that the great American Dream is crumbling, and the US no longer is the #1 destination for young students, seeking quality education.As per latest data revealed, it has been found that US Student visa for Indians has dropped by 28% in 2017 as compared to 2016.And not just India, student visa for from other countries have also dropped.Read it at Trak Related Itemslast_img

Miniso Planning to Source Indian Products to Australia, US

first_imgJapanese retail brand Miniso plans to source India-made products for its stores in the US and Australia, said a top company official.Miniso India is also investing to set up its own warehouses in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru to cater to its expanding network. Read it at Economic TImes Related Itemslast_img