India, Bangladesh border guards celebrate Holi together

first_imgThe Border guards of India and Bangladesh on Sunday celebrated Holi together along the International Border.The Border Security Force and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) played Holi at Akhaura, an integrated check-post, and other bordering areas of Tripura and exchanged sweets.Holi, was celebrated in some parts of the country on Sunday and it is being celebrated in other parts on Monday.“The BSF and the BGB are very close and have celebrated various annual carnivals each year. Celebration of each other’s festivities together would bring both the organisations closer,” BSF’s 195 Battalion Commandant Ajit Kurmar P. said at the Akhaura check-post here.last_img

Three killed in BSF firing in Tripura border

first_imgBSF shot dead three tribal villagers, including a woman, at a border location in south Tripura on Friday afternoon. Two villagers sustained injuries in the incident that occurred after residents allegedly attacked a security patrol following seizure of cattle meant for smuggling to Bangladesh.Police said tension was brewing in the tribal-dominated area since March 13 after BSF troops of 31battalion captured seven cattle at Bangamura in Sabroom subdivision. Friday’s incident occurred at Herbatali, near border pillar number 22043RI and 300 meter from Bangladesh border.BSF battalion Commandant T.S. Negi claimed a crowd attacked Assistant Sub Inspector Abhay Singh and Constable Rabi Datta after they foiled another cattle smuggling attempt on Friday afternoon. “Rabi Datta came under attack by people armed with sharp cutting weapons and he fired shots in self defense”, he told The Hindu by phone.He said Rabi Datta was injured in the attack. Mr. Negi said villagers refused to accept medical help from BSF medicos.While Mr. Negi could not give number of casualties, police confirmed death of three villagers. Sur Laxmi Tripura, 35, Min Kumar Tripura, 35 and Pora Kumar Tripura, 35 received bullet shots and died on the spot. Jiban Kumar Tripura and Prem Kumar Tripura were injured.Tension was running high in the area with villagers claiming they were protesting against rape of a tribal woman by BSF personnel before being fired upon. BSF troops were withdrawn from local post in view of current situation.Senior police officials arranged transfer of bodies and injured to a hospital after reaching the incident sport. Tribal political parties condemned the incident and demanded punishment of guilty BSF men.On July 22 last year a BSF trooper shot dead a woman at Tarapukur in Sonamura of Sepahijala district. The assailant allegedly made a rape attempt on young woman before firing.last_img read more

BJP State executive to meet in Pimpri

first_imgPune: The Bharatiya Janata Party will hold a two-day meet of the State executive at Pimpri on Wednesday. This will be the party’s second executive in Pimpri after more than three decades, the first being in the early 1980s.“The venue has been chosen as a symbolic marker of our triumph over the NCP, which had dominated the PCMC [Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation] for so long,” a BJP leader said. The saffron party won unprecedented landslides in polls to both Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad civic bodies, bagging 98 out of 162 seats in the Pune Municipal Corporation and 77 out of 128 seats in the PCMC.The BJP’s top brass from Maharashtra, including Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the party’s State unit chief Raosaheb Danve are expected to be in attendance, along with Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Suresh Prabhu.The sessions will focus on policy-making in Maharashtra and the party’s plans after securing overwhelming victories in most of the civic bodies and local bodies across the State.There are speculations that Congress strongman Narayan Rane might formally enter the BJP’s fold during the meet. However, local party leaders refused to comment on the matter.BJP’s Pimpri-Chinchwad president Laxman Jagtap said the meet will be held at the Ramkrishna More auditorium, and will be attended by more than 500 party leaders.The party virtually had no presence in PCMC, be it the civic or Assembly level, until the 2014 Parliamentary polls.However, its fortunes changed when Mr. Jagtap, who was formerly the NCP’s vital point man in the area, joined the BJP in 2014. This paved the way for the entry of more NCP heavyweights, like Bhosari legislator Mahesh Landge and former PCMC mayor Azam Pansare, into the saffron party.Stormy protests are expected by the Opposition NCP and the Shiv Sena, the BJP’s disgruntled ally, during the meet.The Sena’s Maruti Bhapkar (a former Aam Aadmi Party leader) said a combined Opposition would stage a hunger strike to protest against the failure of the promises made the BJP-led Central and State governments on various issues.last_img read more

Jawan killed as Maoists blast vehicle in Gadchiroli

first_imgOne commando was killed and 18 others were injured when an IED exploded in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra on Wednesday night. The commandos were part of Maharashtra’s elite anti-Naxal Unit C-60. Maoists blew up the commandos’ anti-land mine vehicle with the IED, Inspector-General Shivaji Bodkhe of Maharashtra confirmed.Five of the injured have been airlifted to Nagpur and seven more are on their way. One jawan is said to be in critical condition.last_img

Militant attacks continue in Valley amid shutdown

first_imgJammu cops to donate a day’s salary to martyrs’ kin Tension prevailed in Kashmir Valley for the second consecutive day on Sunday as restrictions continued in parts of Srinagar.Meanwhile, militants opened fire at security forces in three places. In Bijbehara, militants fired at army’s road opening party. “Militants fled immediately after opening a few shots,” said a police spokesman. Militants also opened fire on the Army and CRPF camps in Bijbehara and Budgam on Saturday night.Meanwhile in south Kashmir, where two civilians and three militants died in Friday’s gunfight, a spontaneous shutdown impacted life. There were also sporadic incidents of stone-pelting.Locals alleged security forces barged into their residences following an incident of stone pelting in Astan Pora in Anantnag and “thrashed inmates”.Meanwhile, train services resumed services after halting it for two days. The service on Budgam-Srinagar-Anantnag- Qazigund- Banihal track has been resumed, said an official. Most separatist leaders were also placed under house arrest.A 26-year-old youth, who was injured after unknown gunmen opened fire at him at Pingleena area of Pulwama in south Kashmir on Saturday evening, succumbed to injuries in Srinagar hospital on Saturday night.The victim has been identified as Aijaz Ahmad Malik. He had received two bullets in the abdomen.Also Read  ‘No threat to pilgrims’Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani said on Sunday that there was no terror threat to the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims.“The people of Kashmir have always been friendly and generous to visitors, especially the Amarnath pilgrims. They have treated the Amarnath pilgrims with unique hospitality,” he said.“An adverse propaganda is being launched by the media suggesting that the pilgrims are facing a threat from the people of the State. Terror threat to the Amarnath Yatra is a brazen lie, aimed at maligning the people’s movement,” he said. He said the people of Kashmir “are not against any religion.” “Fanatical forces in India are desperate to give a bad name to the freedom movement and are relying on negative propaganda…”last_img read more

Police warned weeks ago of attack on Amarnath pilgrims, says ‘top secret’ memo

first_imgAs the government on Tuesday blamed separatists for gunning down seven Amarnath pilgrims and wounding 19 more in Kashmir before fleeing into the night, rebel groups in the disputed region condemned the deadly attack on civilians and insisted they had no part in it. An intelligence report that was circulated to Jammu & Kashmir police, military and paramilitary units two weeks ago indicates security officials had been expecting an attack. The intelligence report, marked “top secret,” warned that a “sensational attack by terrorist outfits cannot be ruled out” in the region. The memo, dated June 25, and verified as authentic by The Associated Press, said, “terrorists have been directed to eliminate 100 to 150 pilgrims and about 100 police.” It described circumstances eerily similar to what transpired on Monday night- “The attack may be in the form of standoff fire on yatra convoy, which they (militants) believe will result in flaring of communal tensions throughout the nation.” Also Read  Police were searching for the assailants, who they said were from the Pakistan-based rebel group Lashkar-e-Taiba. “We’re investigating the attack, but we know certainly that the Lashkar has done it. We’ll soon deal with them,” police Inspector General Muneer Ahmed Khan said. Lashkar-e-Taiba denied any involvement in the attack, which they called “reprehensible” and “un-Islamic,” according to a statement sent to local media in Srinagar. “No Kashmiri has ever targeted any pilgrims, and this barbarity and atrocity is the trademark of Indian forces,” the group’s statement said. Omar Abdullah, former Chief Minister of Kashmir, asked the Home Ministry to protect Kashmiri students and workers across the nation. “Possibility of backlash can’t be ignored,” he said in a Twitter message. Most of the pilgrims wounded in the attack were released from hospitals on Tuesday. The bodies of those killed were flown to New Delhi on their way to Gujarat and Maharashtra. The attack sparked outrage across Kashmir and other states. In the Jammu region, hundreds of protesters shouted angry slogans against the militants and burned a faceless effigy meant to represent both terrorism and Pakistan. Many shops and businesses were shut for a protest strike in Jammu. Meanwhile, students in Ahmadabad gathered for a sit-in protest against all religious violence, while peace activists planned a candlelight vigil in New Delhi on Tuesday night. Kashmiri separatist leaders condemn terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims Amarnath Yatra attack: Narendra Modi says India will never be bogged down by evil designs of hate  Police said the attack began with gunmen unleashing a hail of bullets on an armoured police vehicle and, soon after, on a nearby police patrol. They said that a bus carrying 60 pilgrims had been passing through the area when the patrolling police and militants were exchanging fire, and that some bullets struck the bus and its passengers. The police also said that the bus had been travelling at night, despite instructions to avoid the roads after dark. Though security had been increased along the route for the pilgrimage, thousands of deployed soldiers and police do not patrol overnight. Several bus passengers who were wounded gave a different version of events, saying the bus had been targeted from three directions during the attack. They said the driver kept driving the bus as it was being struck with bullets near Anantnag . The annual summer pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine, which began on June 29 under heavy security, has been targeted in the past. On Tuesday, thousands of pilgrims continued the pilgrimage undeterred, as soldiers and police increased security along the Himalayan route for buses carrying pilgrims to the base camps where they start walking the path to the high mountain cave. None of the rebel groups in the region have claimed responsibility for the attack, and the three top separatist leaders in Kashmir condemned it. They demanded an independent investigation into the attack. “This incident goes against the very grain of Kashmiri ethos,” the separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammed Yasin Malik said in a joint statement. Also Readlast_img read more

DD blacked out Tripura CM’s speech, says CPI(M)

first_imgThe CPI(M) said on Tuesday that Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s Independence Day speech was blacked out by Doordarshan and All India Radio. “Doordarshan and All India Radio had recorded his speech… However, they subsequently informed him that the speech could not be carried as it stood and asked him to ‘reshape’ it,” the party said in a statement. The act was reminiscent of the “Emergency days,” it said. “In fact, it goes beyond as it seeks to gag the elected Chief minister of a State. The Centre is trampling upon the autonomy of Doordarshan/AIR and Prasar Bharati by such acts of censorship.” In a series of tweets, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said DD’s and AIR’s behaviour was against “cooperative federalism” that Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about. “Doordarshan is not the private property of the BJP or the RSS. Its refusal to broadcast Tripura CM’s speech is undemocratic and illegal,” he said. The IANS news service quoted Mr. Sarkar as saying in his speech that India was yet to get economic independence. “India got independence 70 years ago. Indians got political freedom, but they have not got economic independence yet,” he said. He claimed that over 70 lakh workers were retrenched in one year and over 1.35 crore youths were jobless despite having professional degrees. “The main political parties are misguiding the people, especially the youth, for their narrow political interests. Divisions are being created among people in the name of religion and other issues,” he said. According to sources, this year, Doordarshan has shifted the speeches of all Chief Ministers from main DD channels to DD Bharti. A former Prasar Bharti official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was a break from the past. “There is no precedent of DD or AIR dictating a Chief Minister’s speech. Usually, it is telecast live on DD’s regional channels and a round-up is shown on DD National,” he said.last_img read more

CBI summons Lalu and Tejashwi again

first_imgThe Central Bureau of Investigation has issued fresh summons to Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and his son Tejashwi Yadav in a case of corruption in the award of maintenance contracts of two Railway hotels to a Patna-based private company.The agency has asked Mr. Prasad to appear before the investigating team on Monday and his son the next day. The agency has registered a case against Mr. Prasad, his wife, Rabri Devi, and son under Sections 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, read with provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Enforcement Directorate has summoned Ms. Devi for Tuesday for recording her statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. It is alleged that during Mr. Prasad’s tenure as Railway Minister, contract conditions were changed to favour Sujata Hotels in awarding the maintenance contracts of Railway hotels in Ranchi and Puri, in lieu of about three acres of commercial property in Patna.last_img read more

Two militants and soldiers killed in Hajin gunfight

first_imgTwo militants and two soldiers were killed in an early morning operation in north Kashmir’s Bandipora area on Wednesday.A police official said security forces, comprising of army and local police, sealed off Rakh (Paribal), Hajin, around 5 a.m. The operation was launched after “follow up of inputs about the presence of a large group of armed militants in the area.”In the initial exchange of firing, two militants were killed. “However, two soldiers also sustained injuries, who succumbed later [sic],” said the official.Both militants are believed to be associated with the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The search operation is on as the firing from both sides have stopped. “It was an intense operation. Two members of the army’s Air Force Garud were killed,” army spokesperson told The Hindu. On September 27, a BSF jawan, who was home on a leave, was killed by militants in Hajin.last_img read more

It’s Lord Ram’s wonder, says Akhilesh

first_imgSamajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday made light of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s visit to the Taj Mahal, saying it is Lord Ram’s “kamaal” (wonder).Mr. Adityanath had to visit the Taj Mahal under “pressure from the Centre”, the SP leader charged. “See how time changes… BJP did not consider it as heritage… and now the CM is cleaning West Gate of the Taj Mahal with a ‘jhadu’ (broom),” Mr. Yadav told reporters here.“He (CM) is wielding broom there. We have nothing to do with it. It is Lord Ram’s ‘kamaal’,” he said.Tourists from all over the world visit the monument, he observed.“I am waiting for him to get clicked on that seat (with the Taj Mahal in the background),” he said.“BJP men had termed the Taj Mahal as Shiva Temple. Some termed it as a blot on Indian culture. ,” he said.Damage controlMr. Yadav had visited the Taj as the U.P. Chief Minister over two years ago on Valentine’s Day and sat on one of the benches in front of the monument along with his wife and Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav.Mr. Adityanath’s visit is seen by many as a damage control exercise after a series of controversies erupted, beginning with a UP tourism department booklet not mentioning the white marble monument in its list of development projects in the state.Last year, Mr. Adityanath had said that the Taj does not represent Indian culture and that visiting dignitaries should be given the Gita rather than Taj replicas.last_img read more

2 Al-Qaeda supporters arrested

first_imgTwo supporters of the Al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind were apprehended by the police in J&K on Saturday, while six other terrorist supporters were counselled to resume normal life. A semblance of normalcy returned in the Valley after six days.A police official said Rafiq Ahmad Dar of Awantipora, a member of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, was apprehended in Pulwama. “One hand grenade, which he was about to lob upon security forces, was also seized,” the official said.According to the police, he helped identify the group’s another supporter, Abid Majeed Shiekh, alias Raj Gada, of Dadsara. In a separate initiative of the police, six youths were handed over to their families after counselling, in south Kashmir.last_img

Man lynched in U.P. over cow slaughter rumours

first_img The family of Sameyddin, a resident of Madapur, told The Hindu that he had gone to get grass for the cattle. He saw someone being beaten after which he got scared and ran. He was cornered and brutally beaten by the mob.Locals alleged that an announcement was made from a local place of worship at Bajhaida Khurd, about smugglers stealing cows and slaughtering them.These allegations are yet to be investigated by the police.As against the claims by the victims’ families and villagers, the local administration presented the case to be that of a road rage.Police have rejected villagers’ allegation of cow slaughter rumours as the basis of the lynching. They have detained five people in connection with the incident.According to Bajhaida Khurd villagers, a mob ran towards a farm following rumours of some people smuggling cows from farm lands for the purpose of cow slaughter.The mob went towards the village in vicinity, Madapur, and found Qasim and Sameyddin working in the farm. It attacked them with sticks. As the news of the lynching spread, officials immediately reached the spot. Circle Officer Pawan Kumar and police station in charge Ashwini Kumar took the injured to a local private hospital where Qasim was declared ‘brought dead’ by doctors.Given the sensitivity of the matter, senior officials from Hapur, including Superintendent of Police Sankalp Sharma, Assistant Superintendent of Police Rammohan Singh and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate Hanuman Prasad reached the police station.Villagers confront each otherAs the news of Qasim’s death spread, residents of Bajhaida Khurd and Madapur confronted each other, leading to communal tension in the area. Police and personnel of the PAC were immediately deployed in the area.The residents of Bajhaida Khurd alleged that Qasim was trying to smuggle the local cows and when they protested, he started attacking the villagers.Sameyddin’s family members alleged that he was cutting grass for his cattle when he was picked up and beaten by local villagers.SP Hapur Sankalp Sharma, however, rejected the allegation that rumours of cow slaughter was the basis of the attack and lynching.“The victim’s family has given us a written complaint, saying that the beating and the fight was triggered after a motorbike hit some people. One person died and another was assaulted,” Mr. Sharma said.“This has nothing to do with cow slaughter rumours. Police are investigating the matter and we will take strict action against the culprits,” he added. A 45-year-old man was beaten to death and another was injured allegedly over rumors of cow slaughter at Pilakhua in Hapur district of western Uttar Pradesh on Monday evening.Qasim, 45, a cattle trader, received a call from someone who claimed to be a seller of cattle, asking him to come to Bajhaida Khurd, said his son Mahtab. The next thing he got to know was that his father was dead.“This looks like a conspiracy. It needs to be investigated,” said Mr. Mahtab, a resident of Siddiqpura village, next to Bajhaida Khurd.Also Read Prominent attacks by cow vigilantes since 2015last_img read more

Rural Maharastra can drink without hassle

first_imgThe new year has brought some good news to alcohol consumers and sellers in rural Maharashtra, as the State government has decided to allow liquor shops under gram panchayats to renew licences, a procedure that was on hold since April 2017. As per a government circular issued on January 1 and a letter sent by the State Excise Commissioner to all district collectors, except for the dry districts of Wardha, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli, the licences can be renewed in any gram panchayat which fulfils at least one of two criteria. The first is that the population under the gram panchayat should be at least 3,000 as per the 2011 census. Alternatively, the area should be located within 3 km of the limits of a municipal corporation or within a kilometre of a municipal council or municipal panchayat. According to a government official, the decision will benefit 1,500 permit rooms, and 400 country liquor and 700 beer shops. As per a Supreme Court decision of December 2016, wine shops and permit rooms within 500 m of highways were stopped from selling alcohol. Later, the move was amended to exclude highways within city limits.“A number of licence holders who still could not get their permits renewed had approached the Bombay High Court through writ petitions. In May 2018, the court directed the State government to hold hearings of these cases. Following the hearing, the government has decided to allow renewal of licences,” an official from the Excise Department said.last_img read more

Unorthodox Study Claims Drug Prolongs Lives of Children With Premature Aging Disease

first_imgIt’s been 7 years since dozens of children with progeria—a devastating disease that causes symptoms resembling premature aging—first began receiving an experimental drug called lonafarnib. That’s an eternity for them and their parents given that most afflicted with the extremely rare condition die by their teenage years. There’s now a hint that this medical gamble has paid off, at least to a small extent. The Progeria Research Foundation (PRF), which funded the initial trial of the drug and an ongoing follow-up involving it and two other drugs, announced this week that the interventions have likely added, on average, about 19 months to the children’s lifespans.  This is “an important first step,” says Leslie Gordon, a physician who, along with her husband, founded PRF after their son was diagnosed with progeria. “Though these medications are not curative, we show for the first time that lifespan may be influenced in children with progeria.” But that conclusion, detailed in a study published online on 2 May in Circulation, has many scientists questioning whether the results are meaningful, because the trials lacked an untreated control group—as is sometimes the case for extremely rare disease treatments.Only about one in 4 million to 8 million newborns have the mutation in a gene called LMNA that causes what is formally known as Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. LMNA normally produces a protein that helps provide a scaffold for a cell’s nucleus. The mutation leads to the buildup of an abnormal version of the protein, which causes misshapen nuclei and other changes within cells. The ultimate result is a collection of symptoms that resembles premature aging of certain tissues: hair and weight loss, thin skin, joint stiffness, and atherosclerosis. The latter leads to heart attacks that cause the majority of deaths from the 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(*)In 2005, a study led by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, showed that a class of drugs called farnesyltransferase inhibitors (FTIs), which block the attachment of a molecule to the faulty protein that allows it to accumulate around the nucleus, restored normal shape to cells from kids with progeria. Several groups working with mice having the same mutation next established that the drug also reduced signs of premature aging in those rodents. Because FTIs had already been tested in children with cancer, with no significant side effects, PRF quickly pushed to start a trial of the FTI lonafarnib in 2007. Gordon, working with a team led by oncologist Mark Kieran of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, initially followed 25 children as they received the drug for at least 2 years. The trial results, published in 2012, showed that many of the patients had small weight gains and reductions in the stiffness of their blood vessels, though some scientists found the results inconclusive and hard to interpret.In the new analysis, Gordon and her colleagues wanted to see whether children treated so far—including those in the first lonafarnib trial and those in an ongoing trial that adds two other drugs to the treatment—survived longer than untreated kids. But because there are so few children with progeria, and the disease is invariably fatal, PRF and the study designers had agreed not to create a group receiving a placebo; all who participated in the study received the drug, including Gordon’s son. For a comparison group, Gordon and her colleagues instead collected data about untreated children from historical records in the foundation’s international registry, previously published case reports, and public databases.That’s what makes some question whether the apparent lifespan extension is real. Studies with historical controls are “notoriously unreliable,” says Donald Berry, a biostatistician at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Because various studies and databases may have different criteria for including a patient, factors outside the efficacy of the drug could contribute to differences in lifespan. Gordon and her colleagues, however, tried to address this issue by matching children in the treatment group with untreated kids of the same age and gender, born on or after the treated subjects. The comparison found that in the 6 years after starting treatment, those receiving the drug survived, on average, 1.6 years longer than their untreated counterparts. Over that period, 21 of 43 children with progeria who hadn’t enrolled in the study died, compared with 5 of the 43 who had received a treatment.The finding “is very gratifying and encouraging,” says physician-geneticist Francis Collins, who is director of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and whose research team has studied the mechanisms of and potential treatments for progeria. Collins acknowledges that the lack of a direct control group enrolled in the trial is “not ideal,” but he notes “there really wasn’t much of an alternative to what was done—namely, to do an open-label trial where all of the kids were given the chance to have access to the drug.”But others, including Berry, have trouble drawing a positive conclusion from the study in light of that limitation. He notes that a more dramatic improvement in lifespan might have overcome his doubts: “Had the patients lived a normal life span then the results would have been compelling. But even an improvement of ‘only’ 10 years (and possibly even 5 years) would have been enough to establish the principle that the treatment was effective.”Beyond the age and gender issues Gordon’s team addressed, there are untold differences between trial participants and the untreated group, notes Howard Worman, a cell biologist and physician at Columbia University, who was the first to characterize the LMNA gene. The children and their parents who enroll in a clinical trial may be more aware of their disease and more proactive with their health than nonparticipants, for example. “Until there’s a matched, concurrent, ideally placebo-controlled group, it’s hard to say if there really is a survival advantage,” he says.Gordon and her colleagues continue to track the children in the study, who are still taking the FTI and the two other medications—more time may make any survival advantage more obvious. Her son, recently the subject of an award-winning documentary, died in January.last_img read more

Doubts Shroud Big Bang Discovery

first_imgTwo months ago, a team of cosmologists reported that it had spotted the first direct evidence that the newborn universe underwent a mind-boggling exponential growth spurt known as inflation. But a new analysis suggests the signal, a subtle pattern in the afterglow of the big bang, or cosmic microwave background, could be an artifact produced by dust within our own galaxy.For the full story, see this week’s issue of Science.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Scientists call for limit on creating dangerous pathogens

first_imgA group of prominent scientists and others are calling for a limit to experiments that modify influenza and other dangerous viruses to make them spread more easily in mammals.Three recent safety lapses in federal labs with smallpox, anthrax, and avian influenza are a reminder of the “fallibility” of even the most secure labs, writes a group calling itself the Cambridge Working Group in a 14 July statement drafted at Harvard University. “Laboratory creation of highly transmissible, novel strains of dangerous viruses, especially but not limited to influenza, poses substantially increased risks” that an accidental infection could lead to a global outbreak, they write.The group urges that experiments that produce potential pandemic strains “should be curtailed until there has been a quantitative, objective and credible assessment” of the risks, potential benefits, and alternatives. They call for a process akin to Asilomar, a 1975 summit that came up with guidelines for recombinant DNA technology.Concerns about “gain-of-function” experiments with influenza erupted in 2011 after two teams genetically tweaked the H5N1 avian flu virus, which has killed some people, to make it more transmissible in mammals. Supporters of such studies say knowing which mutations help the virus spread in humans is useful for surveillance efforts and developing pandemic vaccines. After much debate and a moratorium on the H5N1 studies, a consensus emerged that the experiments could resume with new safeguards.The 18-and-counting signatories include scientists who have stridently opposed the gain-of-function experiments, including virologist Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota and Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch. Others include Nobelist Richard Roberts of New England Biolabs, former Harvard School of Public Health Dean Barry Bloom, and activist Edward Hammond of the Third World Network.Osterholm is one of four signatories who were dismissed this week from the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, a federal panel that advises the government about “dual use” research involving pathogens that could potentially be used as bioweapons. The Cambridge Working Group hopes more scientists will sign their statement.last_img read more

China’s dash to moon a dress rehearsal for sample return

first_imgChina raised the curtain today on the most ambitious act yet of its lunar exploration program. At just about 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the Chang’e-5 Test 1 (CE5-T1) spacecraft lifted off aboard a Long March rocket for an unmanned dash to the moon and back that aims to test technology for a sample return mission planned for 2017 and, a decade from now, possibly landing astronauts on the moon.CE5-T1 marks China’s fourth lunar mission in the Chang’e series, named after a moon goddess in Chinese mythology. Chang’e-1, launched in 2007, spent 16 months in orbit snapping the nation’s first images of the lunar surface. Previous Chang’e probes were left in space. Guiding CE5-T1 back to Earth poses a new challenge; entering the atmosphere at a speed of 11.2 km/s is nearly 50% faster than the return speed of China’s Shenzhou spacecraft, which has carried orbiting astronauts safely back to Earth’s surface.“Earthbound experiments can’t effectively simulate the complexity of the atmospheric environment,” Hao Xifan, deputy chief designer of the CE5-T1 and Chang’e-5 missions, told China’s S&T Daily newspaper shortly before the launch. He says CE5-T1 may be the sole spacecraft launched for engineering testing during China’s unmanned lunar exploration program.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(*)According to Hao, a skip-reentry technology will be used to slow down CE5-T1. Comparing the technology to skipping a stone on a lake, he explained that the spacecraft will first dip into the atmosphere, then jump up, and finally make a gliding reentry toward touchdown. “The jump must be well controlled. If it’s too low, the probe may be burnt. If too high, it won’t be able to land in the targeted area.”CE5-T1 is expected to arrive in lunar orbit on 26 October. It will orbit the dark side of the moon and then head home, with a parachute-assisted landing somewhere in middle Inner Mongolia 8 days after its departure.“Although the upcoming mission is very risky, I have full confidence [in our success],” Liu Jizhong, deputy commander of China’s lunar exploration program, told S&T Daily.Joining CE5-T1 atop the Long March 3C rocket today are two small probes from Europe. One is a radio beacon known as 4M. Developed by LuxSpace in Luxembourg, 4M will start transmitting radio signals back to Earth for amateur space enthusiasts soon after the liftoff. The other microsatellite is PS86X1 from the virtual organization Pocket Spacecraft. They will bid farewell to CE5-T1 on the way to the moon and conduct separate lunar flyby experiments.CE5-T1 is a steppingstone to Chang’e-5, China’s last planned uncrewed mission to the moon. Among many other tasks, Chang’e-5 is slated to collect about 2 kilograms of lunar soil and return to Earth.last_img read more

Wearing Salwar-suits, Indian Mother Takes to International WWE Ring

first_imgWWE fights may be flashy, hard and violent at times but the first Indian woman to get into that ring at the international level has beaten bigger odds at home to reach there.Kavita Devi, who is better known in the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) international circles as “Hard KD”, is currently training and wrestling in Orlando, Florida, in the United States as part of her three-year contract with the WWE.Read it at The Quint Related Itemslast_img

Indians 3rd-largest Group Affected by UK’s Immigration Scandal

first_imgIndians have emerged as the third-largest group affected by the UK’s ‘Windrush’ immigration scandal involving Commonwealth nationals being wrongly denied their citizenship rights in Britain.Read it at Tribune Related Itemslast_img

India Holds First Position in Receiving Remittances Worth $80 Billion Says World Bank

first_imgWorld Bank in a report notified India to remain at the top position as the beneficiary of recieving remittances worth $80 billion from the Indians living abroad.After India, comes China (USD 67 billion), Mexico the Philippines (USD 34 billion each) and Egypt (USD 26 billion), according to the global lender. Read it at Catch News Related Itemslast_img