The much-awaited Lucknow Metro is likely to be thrown open to commuters by June-end.Officials of the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) said the services will start with the ‘priority corridor’ on the North-South line (Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport to Munshipulia), which is also Phase-1A of the project. The estimated expenditure for the priority corridor is ₹2,000 crore. While the infrastructural ground work for the 8.5-km-long corridor, from Transport Nagar to Charbagh, is complete, officials are waiting for the last of the four trains needed to put the system in operation. “The fourth train is expected to arrive by May 22,” said Amit Kumar Srivastava, chief spokesperson of the LMRC, on Tuesday.Missed deadlineThe trial run on the priority corridor was conducted on December 1, 2016, and services were slated to start on March 26. The target, however, could not be met, with the new government criticising the previous regime for doing things “hastily”. The inaugural ride was piloted by two women, Pratibha and Prachi Sharma, who were also awarded the Rani Laxmi Bai Bravery Award. ‘Metro-man’ E Sreedharan is the principal advisor of the Lucknow Metro.The second phase of the project is the 11-km-long East-West corridor, stretching from the Charbagh railway station to Vasantkunj. The corridor will have 12 stations. The project, however, is yet to get approval.According to the Detailed Project Report, the daily expected ridership on the North-South corridor will be 6.44 lakh (year 2020), while for the East-West line it will be 2.43 lakh. The capacity of each six-coach train will be 1,574 passengers.The 22.9 km-long North-South corridor will have 21 stations, including eight elevated ones. The line is expected to be completed by 2019.“The Lucknow Metro project has achieved the distinction of being the fastest ever Metro project constructed in India,” said Mr. Srivastava.The estimated cost of Phase-1A is ₹6,928 crore, a joint venture of the State and Central governments. The trains will feature the culture of Lucknow, such as the Roomi Gate, Bara-Imambara and Asifi Masjid. The exterior of the trains will showcase Chikankari craftsmanship.
From demonetisation to Bahubali, female foeticide, and in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), an eclectic range of themes are on display in this year’s Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata.Organisers of a comparatively less known Durga Puja, Mitra Sanghati, in the Beliaghata area of eastern Kolkata have picked demonetisation as the theme. The dimly-lit pandal, constructed in the shape of an old house with a ‘money-tree’ in the middle, has nearly 30,000 replicas of the demonetised ₹500 and ₹1000 notes hanging from the tree’s branches. Demonetisation’s impact on the common man is presented through six statues of people from various walks of life, who are shown entangled in vines garnished with old notes. “After demonetisation, people were rendered penniless despite having money,” said Prasenjit Haldar, the artist who designed the pandal.On the northern fringes of the city, Sree Bhumi Sporting Club has erected a 100-ft pandal resembling the imposing palace of the ancient kingdom of Mahismati as depicted in the Bahubaali movies. “We picked it as our theme to attract visitors,” said D.K. Goswmi, general secretary of Sree Bhumi Sporting Club.The evil of female foeticide is the theme of the Durga Puja organised by the Ichapur Shivaji Sangha in the Dumurjola area of Howrah district. In southern Kolkata, IVF and test tube babies are the theme of a Durga Puja called Purbalok Sarbojonin. “Our aim is to create awareness and clear misconceptions about IVF,” said Kuntal Chowdhury, the spokesperson of the puja committee.
The Rajasthan police have registered a first information report against six senior students of a reputed public boarding school in Ajmer on charges of sexually abusing a Class XI student. The victim was allegedly drugged and sodomised multiple times last month in the school’s hostel.The case was registered on Tuesday under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Section 377 (unnatural offences) of Indian Penal Code on the complaint of the victim’s father. The student, a newcomer to the school, reportedly fled from the hostel on July 26 and narrated his ordeal to his family members.“Each time they (seniors) sexually abused my son, they forced him to take drugs. They threatened him with dire consequences if he told anyone about the incident,” the victim’s father stated in his complaint lodged with the police. No action yetWhile the police have launched investigation, the school has refused to comment on the alleged incident. No action has been initiated so far against the students accused of having committed the crime.
The Jammu and Kashmir Governor’s office took strong exception to the detention of the father of Hizbul Mujahideen ‘commander’ Riyaz Naikoo by the local police, which led to a spate of abductions of relatives of policemen in the Kashmir Valley last week.It was on the intervention of senior officials in Governor Satya Pal Malik’s office that Naikoo’s father Asadullah was released and the impasse over the abduction of 11 relatives of policemen in south Kashmir on August 31 was brought to an end, a top source told The Hindu.A senior government official said that 32 J&K policemen had been killed this year, and most were targeted killings.He said there should be no “over-reaction” to these kinds of threats as it would trigger more panic, and the government did not want a repeat of the 1990s when Kashmiri Pandits were forced to flee their homes.Jammu and Kashmir has been under Governor’s rule since June 20 after the BJP pulled out of an alliance with the PDP.“The lower ranks of the police are aware of the practical aspects; they have tremendous advantage of language, location and habitation. We cannot isolate and segregate them. This happened in the case of Kashmiri Pandits. After Pandits were attacked, there was panic and most migrated to Jammu and other parts of the country,” he said.The official said Naikoo, now heading the Hizbul, suffered a blow when his deputy and field commander, Altaf Ahmed Dar alias Altaf Kachroo, one of the oldest surviving militants, was killed in an encounter with security forces in Anantnag on August 29.“Naikoo was under a lot of pressure by the Hizbul leadership to show results. In the meantime the number two Altaf was killed. Naikoo is a nominal head, the real operative was Altaf. It was Altaf who planned the abductions and put out messages to throw acid on people taking part in the panchayat elections, but he was killed the same day. In a vacuum, they require heroes. Naikoo was standing on the shoulders of Altaf. He is badly bruised now,” he said. After Altaf was killed, 11 relatives of policemen were abducted.“Some elements in the security forces believed that Naikoo’s father need not have been picked up. Or if he was detained, he could have been interrogated and released. His father being kept in police custody was another irritant and this led to a series of abductions,” said the official.Another official said militants were feeling the heat as J&K police are at the forefront of the counter-insurgency operations.“Police reacted in a professional way; there was sufficient pressure on the militants. If they had harmed the relatives, there were other levers working…they knew it was not a good bargain. They are riled that J&K police are upfront in operations,” said the official.K. Vijay Kumar, Adviser to the J&K Governor told The Hindu that J&K policemen understood the challenges.“I myself had the feedback of several ranks of police including the constabulary. All of them are standing firm and strong. The professionalism has not come down,” Mr. Kumar said.He said the government was working on an improved package for the policemen.“Home Minister Rajnath Singh has suggested to the Governor to declare more compensation and better accommodation facilities to boost the morale of the policemen. This is being worked on,” he said.
There has been widespread speculation in Odisha that the leaders who had been ousted from the ruling BJD over the past 18 years are planning to form a new political outfit before the coming elections. But going by the mood, it may remain a distant dream.The speculation about formation of an outfit had gained momentum after senior BJD legislator from Paradip Damodar Rout was expelled from the party on Wednesday last.Mr. Rout was expelled in the wake of his allegations of irregularities in various State government departments and schemes which had evoked strong criticism from party workers.Lok Sabha MP from the Kendrapara constituency Baijayant Panda, who had resigned from the BJD in May this year, had met Mr. Rout at his residence a day after his expulsion from the party.Panda-Rout meetingMr. Panda’s meeting with Mr. Rout added to the speculation that all those who had been ousted from the ruling party may get-together in their efforts to take on the Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik.The Kendrapara MP had been suspended from the primary membership of the BJD for “anti-party” activities in January. Although an impression had been created that he may join the BJP soon, he has not done so till date.Mr. Rout, who had been sacked from the Ministry by Mr. Patnaik in December last year in the wake of his derogatory remarks against the Brahmin community, has been crying foul over his dismissal alleging that the BJD president was getting rid of his father Biju Patnaik’s loyalists one by one.He has said that he will join the Biju loyalists who were outside the BJD, including former Minister Bijoy Mohapatra, BJP legislator Dilip Ray and Mr. Panda, if they form a new political party.Mr. Patnaik, however, sees no threat from the ousted leaders. “Mr. Rout has always been making irresponsible statements and his allegations are ridiculous.”“If they are to form a political party, that’s their business. It will not have any impact in the State,” Mr. Patnaik has said.Political analysts are also sceptical about the proposed party. They feel that formation of a new party in the name of Biju Patnaik, as Mr. Rout suggests, may not be possible.
Six school children and a driver were killed while 11 others were injured when a bus collided with a school van at Birsinghpur in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, a police official said. Five children were among those injured and two of them are in a critical condition, police said. Police had earlier claimed that eight persons, including seven school children, were killed in the accident. “Six children- four boys and two girls- aged between 10 and 15-years, travelling in the school van and its driver were killed on the spot when they were on their way to school,” Satna district Superintendent of Police (SP) Santosh Singh Gaur said. The accident took place around 8.30 a.m., he said adding the school van was completely damaged in the collision. The deceased children were students of Lucky Convent School in Birsinghpur, about 40-km from the district headquarters, Mr. Gaur said. According to the officer, due to the impact of the collision, both the vehicles turned turtle. The bus was going to Chitrakoot from Rewa. The SP said that a magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the accident.
A Trinamool Congress party office was ransacked and vehicles ferrying BJP workers were set on fire in clashes that broke out following a rally by BJP chief Amit Shah at Kanthi in East Midnapore district of West Bengal on Tuesday, the parties claimed.Sources in the two parties said three persons were injured in the clashes. No confirmation was available from the police.‘Buses attacked’The BJP alleged that buses in which party workers were returning from Mr. Shah’s rally were ransacked and set on fire allegedly by TMC activists.The Trinamool Congress on the other hand claimed that BJP workers had attacked a local TMC party office in Kanthi and vandalised it.Irked TMC supporters then retaliated and clashes broke out, they said.“When our supporters were returning from Amit Shah’s rally they were attacked by TMC activists. This is a shame. We condemn it,” BJP State president Dilip Ghosh said.Senior TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari claimed that the BJP is trying to disturb peace and stability in the district.“BJP workers attacked our party offices and this led to retaliation by our workers. If our party office is attacked, are we going to offer sweets?” he said.Mr. Shah, addressing the rally, launched a scathing attack on the TMC government and vowed to uproot it.
A day after the Congress alleged that the accommodation and security cover of its leaders in Jammu and Kashmir were withdrawn, the State Chief Electoral Officer said he has informed the Election Commission about the issue and will also write to the State administration. “We are writing to (the State) government to take their view on this (withdrawal of security and accommodation to Congress leaders and its chief in Jammu and Kashmir),” Shailendra Kumar, the CEO, said on Wednesday. Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee chief Gulam Ahmed Mir on Tuesday accused the State administration of withdrawing the security cover of several party leaders to “hamper” their poll campaign, especially in the militancy-hit south Kashmir region. The Jammu and Kashmir administration has to seek the approval of the CEO with regard to withdrawal of security and accommodation to political leaders during the elections as the model code of conduct is in place. Mr. Mir had alleged that the Governor’s administration has deliberately withdrawn the security cover.
Researchers looking for a better way to clean up oil spills are taking a cue from the humble cactus. A new study shows that synthetic needles based on those of the desert plant can take up oil droplets from the ocean much as the cactus takes up water from the air.Cactus needles have a curious effect on water. When tiny water droplets in the air land on them, the needles’ conical shape distorts them, nudging them into a clamlike shape. Because water droplets like to be circular, the clam-shaped beads tend to have surface tension (known as Laplace pressure) that forces them back into the circular shape. This tension pushes the droplets from the tip of the needle toward the cactus plant at the base of the needle, where the needle’s surface is less curved. The cactus plant typically has pores at the base of the needle to take up the liquid.Oil spills also produce tiny droplets. When petroleum leaks from a ship or a deep-water drilling operation, “it tends to break up into tiny droplets that don’t all end up on the surface of the ocean,” says Thomas Azwell, an environmental scientist at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, who was not involved in the work. That’s because seawater chemically transforms the oil into a denser type of oil, which disperses into micrometer-sized droplets that are too heavy to float. Current cleanup technologies—such as mechanical skimmers or membrane filters, which are maneuvered with boats and oil tankers—mainly remove oil from the surface but miss those denser droplets, Azwell says.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(*)To tackle the problem, Lei Jiang and his colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing created an array of conical copper and synthetic needles similar in shape to cactus needles of up to 0.5 millimeters in length. They then submerged them in a mixture of silicone oil and water that they blasted with ultrasonic sound waves to generate micrometer-sized oil droplets. Using microscopic video recordings, the team showed that underwater oil droplets flowed continuously along the needles at a rate of 2 millimeters per second, similarly to the way water moves along cactus needles, the team reports online today in Nature Communications.Azwell praises the advance as a cheap and easy alternative to current oil cleanup methods. He envisions that arrays of the needles could be submerged several meters underwater to collect oil droplets, which could then be sucked up by a tanker. But he says it’s unclear how changes in oil consistency might impact the needles’ effectiveness in a real spill.Igor Mezić, a professor of mechanical engineering and oil spill expert at UC Santa Barbara, further cautions that the technology might not be seaworthy. He estimates that a 0.3-by-0.3 meter array of oil-attracting needles could clean 1 liter of oil-contaminated ocean water per second—too little, he says, to feasibly clean up large areas of the ocean.
Tim Blais, 23, had an unusual personal project last year while he worked on his master’s thesis in physics at McGill University in Montreal: making a capella exploration of string theory on YouTube. “Bohemian Gravity,” as he calls it, is sung to the tune of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and has gone viral online, racking up more than 867,000 views on YouTube since being posted on 16 September. Impeccably arranged and edited, the parody shows Blais singing in harmony with himself, featuring lyrics like “Space is a pure void / Why should it be stringy? / Because it’s quantum not classical / Nonrenormalizable.” Blais, who sings and plays several instruments, says now that he’s graduated he wants to pursue life as a musician, though he’s considering other science themed videos in the future. Among the hundreds of online mentions of the video he’s most proud of one from astrophysicist Brian May, the Queen guitarist, who linked to it on his blog.See more ScienceShots.
That gooey substance that clings to an eggshell after it’s been cracked—called an eggshell membrane—may be too valuable to just toss in the trash. Instead, it can be used for a variety of industrial and medical applications, according to a study published in the September issue of Acta Biomaterialia. Under the lens of a scanning electron microscope, the membrane’s network of more than 62 types of proteins is visible (as in photo above). These proteins can be used to precipitate gold from a solution, craft aluminum nanowires to form semiconductors, or soak up dyes or heavy metals from contaminated water, according to researchers. By attaching compounds to the eggshell membrane, researchers have created biosensors that can detect glucose, dopamine, or urea concentrations in human blood. The membranes can also be ground into a powder that a Missouri company markets to treat joint disorders. Eggshell membranes are a hip research topic, too: Since 2011, more than 30 papers have been published each year. The sticky substance does have a few drawbacks. Membranes are tough to separate from the shell, and they are thin—only about the width of a human hair—so hundreds or thousands of eggs are needed for most applications.
A parasite that bit into an ant’s head and rode its host to a sticky doom millions of years ago has been preserved in a dime-sized piece of amber. The fossil, reported online today in Biology Letters, is the first of a mite from a group whose species commonly plague today’s ants, bees, and wasps. Purchased from a collector who unearthed the gem somewhere in the Baltics, the tiny chunk of amber is probably somewhere between 44 million and 49 million years old. The mite (the large, tick-shaped blob at upper right, above the ant’s head) is one of only 14 known fossils from a group known as Laelapidae, whose modern relatives often live among fallen leaves on the forest floor and parasitize ants. (They’re rare in the fossil record because they’re typically preserved only when they hitch a ride into the trees on a host unfortunate enough to become trapped in oozing resin.) Further study of this gruesome specimen—and others possibly sitting undiscovered in museum drawers worldwide, the researchers say—might provide more information about the origin and evolution of such parasitic mites. That’s of interest because one of this group’s closest modern relatives is the varroa mite, a devastating parasite that afflicts honey bees worldwide.
Massive merger: Two giant blue stars are about to meldAstronomers have discovered that the brightest object in a nearby star cluster is actually two massive blue stars in the process of merging. We don’t know what will happen when the merging is complete: Some models predict the explosive release of a massive amount of energy, but others hint at a less violent outcome.Three-in-one drug cuts body weight by a thirdSign 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(*)Gut surgery is often the only option for life-threatening obesity and diabetes, but what if doctors could cut the pounds without using a knife? Scientists have engineered an antiobesity drug that rivals the dramatic benefits seen with surgery, dropping excess body weight by a third.Study of massive preprint archive hints at the geography of plagiarismNew analyses of the hundreds of thousands of technical manuscripts submitted to arXiv, the repository of digital preprint articles, are offering some intriguing insights into the consequences—and geography—of scientific plagiarism. It appears that copying text from other papers is more common in some nations than others, but the outcome is generally the same for authors who copy extensively: Their papers don’t get cited much.NASA gets 2% boost to science budgetFor an agency regularly called “adrift” without a mission, NASA will at least float through next year with a boatload of money for its science programs. Yesterday Congress reached agreement on a spending deal for fiscal year 2015 that boosts the budget of the agency’s science mission by nearly 2% to $5.24 billion.Mars Curiosity rover finds evidence of ancient lakes in Gale craterNASA’s Curiosity rover has found evidence that Mars’s Gale crater was once filled with water over the course of millions of years—maybe even longer. That’s good news for scientists who hope that the Red Planet was habitable for a sustained period of time.
Kolkata has around 200 of them. Related Items
By their own admission, they are a couple of “smart asses” – so you are never reeeally sure when they’re being funny and when they are deadly serious. They are the Badmash guys, the creators of perhaps the first Indian American comic strip on the web, which turns every crisis and concern of the South Asian community into funny fodder. Indians generally don’t like to laugh at themselves, but the threesome from California is trying to change that.Badmash, of course, means scoundrel or a naughty child in Hindi, and this comic strip too stirs things up, poking sacred cows and taking on just about every desi peeve from culture shock to spelling bees and pushy parents to Bobby Jindal to racism. On their website, they trumpet the virtues of Badmash, as if it were yoga or ayurveda: Sanjay Shah“Thousands of years of profound introspection have led us to the understanding of this higher plane of existence.” And they even flash an endorsement from a Badmash practitioner, Jebediah McCallister: “Using the techniques you taught me, in just a few short weeks I feel more comfortable around brown people of all ethnicities.”Indeed, Badmash wears the color brown like a badge of honor. Their comic strip goes into your inbox if 1. You are a brown person. 2. You are a friend of a brown person. 3. You are an individual who has spoken to someone who is brown. And that just about covers the globe!The three writers behind the comic strip are all in their 20’s and were born in California although their parents trekked to the United States from different parts of India. Sanjay Shah’s parents came from Kachchh in the 60’s for school: “They met each other at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Poughkeepsie, New York,” he says. Sandeep Sood says his father came to study at Stanford and be a hippie. Nimesh Patel’s parents immigrated in the 60’s to Texas where his father did his masters in engineering and later moved into the franchise business. Not surprisingly the offspring of these immigrants all got roped into higher education. Sanjay did his undergrad at Berkeley in economics and also graduate work in public policy; Sandeep did economics at Berkeley and Nimesh graduated from Wharton Business School, and a BS in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.So how did these brainy people get into writing a comic strip?“I first became interested in writing simple statements in preschool,” says Sanjay. ” As my grammar and word choice improved, writing sentences, paragraphs, and comic strips began to come naturally.”Sandeep says, “I wanted to write a movie script, but that seemed like it would take a long time. Comics bring instant gratification.” Nimesh started writing verses for rap songs and poems. Slowly, the whole thing coalesced and being funny became serious business. Nimesh PatelIs the strip strictly for laughs or do they try to make some kind of a statement with Badmash? Says Sanjay, “My parole officer thought it would be good for me to do this strip. It also waives my community service requirements.” Sandeep adds, “It is not strictly for laughs. People think this stuff is funny?”Nimesh, however, sums it up, “Both definitely – laughing is healthy. It just feels like there’s way too much complexity in life these days, so we hope that Badmash gives people a 30 second escape from their daily grind.”While the three writers have used several artists to create the strip, the most constant has been Kevin Hsieh, who’s Chinese-American. He says, “I found Badmash through an online posting and I was very interested in cartooning. The Asian subject matter also piqued my interest.”Asked about his experiences sketching the lives of brown people, Kevin says, “It’s hard drawing brown people or any character that is supposed to be a specific nationality. You have to balance between having enough characteristic to portray the race, but also not so much that it becomes stereotypical.”Yes, there might be a whole barrel of issues facing the Indian community from racism to culture shock, but the Badmash gang treats everything like a big joke. Sanjay says their aim is to tell America that South Asians are not their New Age mascots. Sandeep adds, “There is a lack of intelligent humor in South Asian media. Our strip does nothing to address that. I believe that Nimesh and Sanjay finding suitable wives is the biggest issue affecting the South Asian community.” The guys may fool around all they want, but there is a method to their madness. “I think the Badmash strip is a must, because there’s no current methodology for us as South Asians to discuss social/political commentary to the masses, via an entertaining medium, based on current events.” says Nimesh. ” For example it takes such along time and is such a lengthy process before a documentary or a feature, a music album or a book can reach the masses and discuss topics relevant to our people.” Sandeep SoodWhere do they place Badmash – hobby or business? They say it’s both since they have been contacted to do contract animation work and political propaganda pieces and are also syndicated to several ethnic magazines. They have also started a parent company called Mahoot Media (www.mahootmedia.com) to do films and ads.Making money may be a fine thing, but the foursome want to continue sending the comic strip out free to people on a weekly basis, to be forwarded on and live forever in cyberspace, making people laugh wherever it ends up. Is this a fulltime venture or do all of these smart alecks have day jobs? Says Sanjay, “I have a few other jobs in addition to Badmash. I don’t rest much. I figure there will be plenty of time for sleep when I die.”Sandeep, however, says, “This is a half-time venture. The other half of the time is spent procuring rent money.” Nimesh adds, “We all have other things we’re doing, but none of us are doing a traditional 9-5. Badmash is a constant part of our daily routine.” Any backlash or protests from the Indian-American community about their sometimes outrageous strips? Says Sanjay, “Only from Bobby Jindal’s baby’s mama!” Kevin HseihNimesh adds, “After the Jindal strip, one Jindal supporter said, ‘I used to enjoy and read you guys every week but after this strip, I have unsubscribed myself from your list.’ Fortunately, he was the only one. Everyone else emailed or called to thank us for saying what was on their minds. Still, we’ve learned through other strips that you can’t please everyon,e because someone’s always determined to be offended.” What satisfaction do they get from creating the strip? Sandeep has just one word to describe the satisfaction: “Sexual.” Nimesh says, “The creation of a brand is something that I find particularly interesting, especially given that this ‘brand’ embodies each of our personalities.” And Sanjay probably defines the feelings of all second generationers when he says, “I’m just relieved that I’m not instead wearing a white coat pushing pills onto people!” Related Items
The United States is mired in two wars and staring at a double dip recession. Millions of Americans are unemployed and countless hundreds of thousands are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. But the country is obsessed with the faux outrage over the construction of a Muslim cultural center two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center.If anything captures the dysfunctional character of American politics, surely this must be it. Sane voices in the Republican Party have been drowned out by the drumbeats of Tea Party Neanderthals and right wing kooks like Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Republican Party obstructionism and Democratic Party timidity have brought governing to a screeching halt. The Democrats are nominally in charge, but arcane Senate rules require a minimum of 60 senators, not just a majority 50, to advance any legislation, allowing Republicans to gummy up the federal government.There are only two realistic paths out of the economic ditch that eight years of Republican mismanagement drove this country into: government-led economic stimulus plans, such as those promoted by the Obama administration, or severe financial belt tightening, which the Republicans propose, and the path the United Kingdom is pursuing under its new Prime Minister David Cameron. We have no way of knowing which, if either one of these paths, is better. Only time will tell. But what we do know is that a muddled standoff between the two competing theories, the rut in which the United States finds itself, is the worst possible alternative. The government has already spent almost a trillion dollars, but its economic leverage has been squandered as private businesses remain spooked by the political gridlock.The upcoming Congressional elections will only make a bad situation worse. By all accounts, the Democrats are in for a drumming and will likely lose the House and possibly even the Senate. At the very minimum, their strong majorities in both chambers will be severely trimmed. We will then be looking at continuing political paralysis for another two years until the 2012 elections as both parties jockey for political leverage.What is especially ironic about right wing obstructionism is that for long the Right has accused the Left of lacking patriotism and of undermining American interests, presidential legitimacy and constitutional order. But the Right’s crass disdain for Pres. Barack Obama and for religious freedom by not just expressing their opposition to the Muslim cultural center — which is their right — but by seeking to use governmental instruments and roadblocks to subvert the project, has laid bare the political opportunism and selfishness that drive these “America First” hucksters.Policy analysts recognize that these are perilous times for America’s leadership in the world. The foreign policy analyst Fareed Zakaria gave us a window to the emerging new world order in his 2008 book The Post American World. Many of the tectonic shifts, such as the economic ascendancy of India and China, are outside America’s control. But many other wounds are self-inflicted, such as the country’s military adventurism in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the political infighting, which is stalling its economic recovery.For centuries now, historians have argued over the reasons behind the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th Century. In 1984 a German professor even published a compilation of 210 theories behind the empire’s decline, which occurred over a period of nearly three centuries. America’s decline will likely be spread over decades, not centuries. When the final history of that decline is written, we know well that George W Bush, preemptive wars and the global economic crisis of 2008 will all be significant early markers. But the trivial pursuits by Christian right wing zealots of Muslim cultural centers and mosques while the country burned will not have been inconsequential. Related Items
A special CBI court on Thursday sentenced three brothers to life in prison for killing a 17-year-old girl five years ago. Special Judge Vinayak Singh also imposed a fine of ₹1.30 lakh each on the convicts – Rohtash, Sunil and Lalit – after holding them guilty under Sections 302 (punishment for murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). They were directed to pay ₹1.50 lakh and ₹50,000 to the girl’s parents Suresh Pal and Anita, respectively. Public prosecutor Darshan Singh said due to a land dispute, the assailants barged into the girl’s house in Muthber village under the Bhorakala police station and attacked her parents in March 2014. As the assailants fired upon her parents, the girl came in between and sustained gunshot injuries. Later, she succumbed to her injuries, said Singh. Initially, Rohtash, who was also allegedly involved in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, had managed to evade arrest. Another suspect, Praveen, was given a clean chit during the investigation.
11.30 amAirports to remain shutGujarat’s Rajkot, Porbandar and Bhuj airports will remain shut on Wednesday, June 12.“No flights have landed at the airport since 9.50 p.m.,” a Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd. spokesperson said on June 10. A United Air flight from Newark scheduled to land in Mumbai was diverted to Delhi.All other incoming flights were put on a holding pattern and were circling Mumbai. Landings resumed at 10.45 p.m. with an Indigo flight from Hyderabad being the first to touch down. A Thai Airways flight hit a guard light and sign board, while vacating the runway. The runway remained closed for clearing of debris, adding to the delays.As per the information received from ATC, 22 flights (six international and 16 domestic) were diverted to Delhi, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad airports on June 10.11.15 amVayu brings temperatures downThere was heavy rain accompanied by thundershowers and lightning in Andheri, Malad, Thane, Mulund, Navi Mumbai, Borivali, Kandivali, Sion, Kurla, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar and Dadar on June 11.The eastern and western suburbs, especially, reported heavy rainfall between 10pm and 11pm. Malvani recorded 50 mm of rainfall, followed by Malad (44), Kandivali (49), Andheri (West) (41), Goregaon (37) and Mulund (31).11.00 am The WR has also planned to run a special train each from Gandhidham, Bhavnagar Para, Porbandar, Veraval and Okha to evacuate people from those areas.Special trains with six to 10 coaches each will also be kept ready at the nearest safe location to be moved in emergency conditions, the WR said.The coaches currently available at depots and station yards located in coastal areas were being shifted to safer places, it said.“Arrangements have been made for round-the-clock manning of the railway emergency control offices,” it said.All rail authorities concerned have been instructed to keep adequate manpower, and machinery like JCBs, tree-cutters, water tanks, tractors and generators on standby for any assistance required, the WR said.8.15 p.m.Signal 9 warning at Saurashtra portsAll ports in Saurashtra have hoisted signal 9, a danger warning, which means the cyclone is now severe or very severe and is expected to move keeping the port to its right.8.10 p.m.Flights suspended in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and KandlaAirports Authority of India (AAI), in a statement, has decided to suspend flight operations at AAI airports in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and Kandla from 12 midnight IST on June 12 to 12 midnight June 13.”Equipment and heavy machinery has been moved to safety at respective airports and the Airport Directors of AAI’s Bhuj and Jamnagar Airports have been asked to write to the Indian Air Force to suspend operations of civil flights from these two airports also. A decision in respect of suspending operations at AAI’s Surat Airport will be taken after analysing the weather,” the statement read.7:15 pmArmy, IAF teams on standbyAs the very severe cyclonic storm ‘Vayu’ is inching closer to Gujarat coast and expected to make a landfall on June 13, the Army, the Indian Air Force (IAF), and the NDRF teams are deployed and put on standby for rescue and relief operations along the coastal districts.The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has also deployed ships and aircraft to enable search and rescue post the landfall of the cyclonic storm.A total of ten columns of the Army each having a strength of about 70 persons — have been deployed in Jamnagar, Gir, Dwarka, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Somnath, Morbi, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Amreli, while another 24 columns have been put on standby to carry out rescue and relief operations, a defence release said on June 11.Read more A fisherman looks at the giant waves lashing the shore at Worli village on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Cyclone Vayu is set to make landfall on June 13. Read more | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini Giant waves crash on the famous Donapaula jetty in Goa, on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. The jetty is now closed for the tourists after being declared unsafe by the government. Parts of Gujarat are bracing for impact from strengthening Cyclone Vayu, which is expected to slam into the State on June 13, even as authorities shifted more than 2 lakh people on the coast to safer places. People from low-lying areas of Saurashtra and Kutch regions have been evacuated.Operations at ports and airports in these regions have been suspended as precautionary measure, officials said. Railways has cancelled 40 trains, and short-terminated 28 others.Cyclone Vayu, which has turned into a very severe cyclonic storm, is expected hit Gujarat coast anywhere between Veraval in the south and Dwarka in the west in the afternoon of June 13.Here are the latest updates:11 pm400 flights affected in Mumbai as cyclone Vayu approaches GujaratAir passengers to and from Mumbai had a tough time on June 12 as nearly 400 flights were affected due to bad weather caused by the cycle Vayu which hit the neighbouring Gujarat coast, according to an airport official.The city airport is one of the busiest in the country handling over 900 aircraft movements daily.The official said as many as 194 departing flights and 192 arrivals were delayed in the wake of the bad weather due to the cyclone Vayu.At least two flights were diverted from the city, the official said.10 pmChinese boats provided shelter at Ratnagiri portIndia has granted special permission to 10 Chinese boats to enter its waters and dock at Ratnagiri port with Cyclone Vayu expected to make landfall on the western coast on Thursday. The Coast Guard followed protocol and provided shelter to the boats. A Coast Guard official said, Coast Guard Inspector General K.R. Suresh said it is common practice for vessels to seek shelter at ports in nearby countries during a calamity.Police officials said the boats were brought in under a security cordon. The Maharashtra police, the Maharashtra Maritime Board and the Customs are monitoring the vessels in co-ordination with Indian Coast Guard. Most of the vessels are fishing boats. The District Collectorate said throughout Wednesday huge sea waves lashed Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts.The Maharashtra Maritime Board, which is authorised to issue permission to boat operators and fishing vessels, suspended services on June 12 after the India Meteorological Department issued Signal 3 cautionary advisory. Wind speeds of 40 knots or 70 kmph were reported while waves were above three metres.The Mumbai Port Trust and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust have been directed to send reports every six hours to the Director General of Shipping. “We will be on watch on Thursday before taking a decision on resuming normal operations,” port officials said. — reports Aditya Anand from Mumbai8.35 pmWestern Railway cancels 40 trains to coastal GujaratThe Western Railway has decided to short-terminate or cancel some of its trains passing through areas of Gujarat that are likely to be affected by cyclone Vayu. All WR passenger and mail trains to Veraval, Okha, Porbandar, Bhavnagar, Bhuj and Gandhidham stations will be short-terminated or cancelled from 6 p.m. on June 12 till June 14 morning, said WR chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar.The WR has decided to cancel operation of 40 mainline trains while 28 similar trains will be short-terminated with partial cancellation as a precautionary measure. | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji The MHA also said that though cyclones generally weaken after landfall, Cyclone Vayu is expected to retain its strength even after 24 hours. ” It is expected to make the landfall tomorrow from 8am-12 am,” the Ministry said. – Vijaita Singh3.00 pmCyclone Vayu is moving northerly at a speed of 18 kmph, the Coast Guard has said, citing the IMD and ISRO model of tracking.Inspector General Rakesh Pal of the Coast Guard Region (NW) said that the cyclone was around 300 km south of Veraval. – Mahesh Langa2.30 pmOdisha offers help to GujaratOdisha government has offered all help to Gujarat in the wake of Cyclone Vayu.Gujarat Chief Secretary J.N. Singh called up his Odisha counterpart A.P. Padhi and sought Odisha’s advice on how to tackle the cyclonic storm on a war-footing, officials said on Wednesday.“Gujarat chief secretary had called me up and discussed the measures to be taken ahead of the landfall. We have offered all kind of help to Gujarat. However, the Gujarat chief secretary has said that they will seek further help if required keeping in view the situation,” Mr. Padhi told reporters here.The Gujarat government is in constant touch with Odisha in view of the eastern state’s successful handing of similar calamities like cyclone ‘Fani’ in May this year and cyclone ‘Titli’ last year, officials said.Read more Fishing boats being evacuated at Veraval Port in Gujarat on Wednesday June 12, 2019, with Cyclone Vayu expected to hit landfall the following day 1.45 pmTrains from coastal Gujarat cancelled, short terminatedWestern Railways has cancelled and short terminated trains from coastal Gujarat destinations like Veraval, Okha, Porbandar, Bhavnagar, Bhuj and Gandhidham from 6 pm in the evening on June 12 till the morning of June 14 in the wake of Cyclone Vayu.Bus services to pilgrim and tourist places, civil air connectivity to airports and operations at coastal ports have been suspended in the Saurashtra area, said Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.”So far 1.2 lakh people already shifted to safer locations from vulnerable places,” he added.Twelve more NDRF teams are set to be airlifted from INS Rajali (Tamil Nadu) and Patna (Bihar) to Gujarat and Diu before, during and in the aftermath of Cyclone Vayu, he said. This is the first time that a total of 47 teams are arriving, said the Chief Minister. – Mahesh Langa1.15 pmMumbai experiences strong windsWith Cyclone Vayu being 280km away from Mumbai, the city has been experiencing strong winds since early morning on June 12.Mumbaikars have been advised to stay away from coastal areas.According to a bulletin issued by India Meteorological Department (IMD) early on the morning of June 12, Cyclone Vayu is about 280km South-west of Mumbai. Wind speeds are expected to be around 70kmph throughout the day on the Maharashtra coast. Mumbaikars have been experiencing strong, gusty winds, and sea conditions were rough along and off Maharashtra coast.Fishermen have already been advised not to venture into the sea.“In view of #CycloneVayu heading towards Gujarat coast, Mumbai is likely to experience very windy conditions from afternoon,” the Mumbai police commissioner’s Twitter handle tweeted.Read more An alert has been sounded in 10 districts of Gujarat, after Cyclone Vayu was re-classified as ‘very severe’ and its impact expected to remain strong for 24 hours even after its landfall on Thursday, officials said.As many as 52 teams of the National Disaster Management Relief Force (NDRF), comprising around 45 rescuers each, have been moved to the State, while 10 columns of the Indian Army have been kept on stand-by.Warships and aircraft of the Indian Navy have been kept on standby as well.Meanwhile, Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) where preparation for relief and rescue operations were discussed threadbare.The NCMC meeting took stock of the precautionary measures taken by the Gujarat government and Diu UT administration with a view to ensure that no human life is lost, damage to vital infrastructure is minimised and to ensure early recovery of all essential services post-cyclone landfall.Diving and rescue teams and relief materials have been kept on standby for rendering assistance to civil authorities, as required, another official said.Medical teams and facilities at Indian Naval hospital in Mumbai are on standby to handle medical emergencies. – PTI4.00 pmSpecial trainsIn view of Cyclone Vayu, dirst evacuation special train will run from Okha at 5.45 p.m. today (12/06/19) for Rajkot. The second evacuation special train will run from Okha at 8.05 p.m. today (12/6/19) for Ahmedabad with 21 coaches. – Ajeet Mahale3.30 pmNDRF, other agencies working round the clock: PM ModiPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday tweeted saying the Central Government was closely monitoring the situation in Gujarat and other parts of India.”I have been constantly in touch with State Governments. NDRF and other agencies are working round the clock to provide all possible assistance,” he tweeted.”Praying for the safety and wellbeing of all those affected by Cyclone Vayu. The Government and local agencies are providing real-team information, which I urge those in affected areas to closely follow,” he further tweeted.3.10 pmVayu expected to make the landfall tomorrow from 8am-12 am: MHAThe Ministry of Home Affairs on June 12 said that the “severe” cyclonic storm has sturned into “very severe” and that wind speeds are expected to increase to a gusting of 155-170 kmph, becoming deadly.”Home secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a meeting of National Crisis Management Committee, Gujarat chief secretary J.N Singh joined through video conferencing,” the MHA added. Waves crash against the jetty at a fishing harbour ahead of the expected landfall of Cyclone Vayu at Veraval in Gujarat on June 12, 2019. | Photo Credit: Reuters Fishermen pull their boats out of the sea at Worli village on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Cyclone Vayu is set to make landfall on June 13. 5.30 pmAlert sounded in 10 Gujarat districts | Photo Credit: Atish Pomburfekar 6.30 pmLandfall likely to be delayedLandfall of cyclone Vayu is expected to be delayed. It’s likely to hit around noon on June 13 between Veraval and Dwarka, according to IMD. Earlier, it was expected to hit the coast early morning on Thursday.46 NDRF teams, 11 SDRF teams, 13 SRP companies, 11 columns of Army, 2 BSF company, and 300 Marine Commandos have been deployed so far in Gujarat.6.15 pmOver 2.15 lakh people shiftedThe Gujarat government has said that more than 2.15 lakh people have been shifted to safer places having proper facilities. Evacuation continues. | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini 10.30 amSpeed at 17 km per hourThe IMD has said the speed of “Vayu” had increased to 17 km per hour and was located in the Arabian Sea, about 350 km west-northwest of Goa, 410 km south-southwest of Mumbai and 530 km nearly south of Veraval (Gujarat).“It is very likely to move nearly northwards and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva around Veraval and the Diu region as a severe cyclonic storm, with a wind speed of 110-120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph during early morning of June 13,” the IMD said.The cyclone will make a landfall near Veraval in Gir Somnath district on June 13 but it will be preceded by heavy rainfall in isolated places.Read more 10.00 amSchools, colleges and anganwadis in coastal districts to remain shut“June 13 and 14 are crucial for us. We have roped in the Army, the NDRF, the Coast Guard and other agencies for rescue and relief work. We will start shifting people living in coastal areas to safer locations,” Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told media persons on Tuesday.After a review meet with District Collectors and officials, Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) Pankaj Kumar said schools, colleges and anganwadis in coastal districts would remain shut on June 12 and 13.“In all, 36 NDRF teams will be deployed for rescue operations. We have also roped in Army, Navy, Coast Guard and BSF units. If needed, we will also take the help of the Air Force. We have ordered schools, colleges and anganwadis in the districts which are likely to be hit by the cyclone to remain shut on June 12 and 13,” Mr. Kumar said. 12.30 pmRahul Gandhi urges party workers to helpCongress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday prayed for the safety of people in Gujarat ahead of cyclone Vayu and appealed the Congress workers to be ready to help.“Cyclone Vayu is about to reach Gujarat coast. I appeal to all Gujarat Congress workers to be ready to help in all the areas that come in the way. I pray for the safety and well—being of all the people in the areas affected by the cyclone,” he tweeted. – IANS12 noonWind speeds at 145-155 kmph gusting to 170 kmphThe very severe cyclone Vayu is now 340 kms south of Veraval, the Gujarat Information Department has said.According to a statement, the cyclone is likely to move nearly northward and cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva, around Veraval and Diu.”Wind speeds are at 145-155 kmph gusting to 170 kmph around morning on June 13, 2019,” the statement said.11.40 amEvacuation beginsState authorities have begun evacuation of people from low lying or vulnerable areas in the coastal districts.Around 3 lakh people from Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu will be shifted to the more than 700 shelters set up by the authorities.“Evacuation of people from low lying/vulnerable areas in the coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch to safe shelters is going on since early morning. Urging people to cooperate with administration,” said Pankaj Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) in Gujarat.Read more
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s appeal to the Left parties and Congress to come together with her Trinamool Congress to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party has generated lukewarm response from them.At the same time, Trinamool Congress MLA and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Tapas Roy raised a point of information during proceedings of the State Assembly on Thursday and said that the unity call of the Chief Minister was distorted by a section of media. Leader of the Left legislature party Sujan Chakraborty objected to it and said that point of information cannot be raised on a matter which has been reported in media. Mr. Chakraborty demanded that he be allowed to speak and later walked out of the House along with Congress MLAs. Speaking to reporters in the State Assembly, Mr. Roy said the essence of Chief Minister’s address in the House on Wednesday was in the context of the situation in the country and in West Bengal and not in terms of electoral alliances. “We cant say about the Congress but the CPI(M) is under no compulsion of saving @Mamataofficial’s career. She has lost moral right of giving this call of fighting the BJP in Bengal. The TMC does not have any credibility to fight fascism,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) politburo member Mohd. Salim tweeted. Leaders of the Congress and Left parties in the Assembly, Abdul Mannan and Sujan Chakraborty, blamed the Chief Minister for the rise of the BJP in West Bengal. While Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the upset in the parliamentary polls must have made Mamata Banerjee realise the worth of the Congress, party MP in Rajya Sabha Pradip Bhattacharya said that discussions (on a possible unity) can start only after the 17 MLAs poached by the Trinamool returned to the Congress. Allies of the CPI(M), like the All India Forward Bloc, also rejected the Chief Minister’s offer. Naren Chatterjee, State Secretary of AIFB, said that Ms. Banerjee has to first realise how she destroyed the Left parties by putting false cases on their leaders, taking over their party offices and poaching their MLAs.The BJP leadership in the State claimed that the coming together of the TMC, Congress and Left will not be a challenge but an opportunity for the saffron party. “If a CPI(M) worker or Congress supporter is asked to go with the Trinamool, which has been attacking them and taking over their party offices, he will defy the leadership and join us,” BJP leader Mukul Roy said.
The Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) has arrested a 19-year-old boy from Assam for allegedly sending an email threatening to attack, and kill, members of the Indian cricket team. According to ATS officers, the mail was received on the official email of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on August 16. The email was brought to the attention of senior officials in the Union Home Ministry, after which security was beefed up for the team which was at the time in West Indies.The BCCI informed the Mumbai Police and the ATS, and a case was registered against unknown persons on August 19. The ATS, using the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the sender, traced the email to Shantipur in Morigaon district of Assam. “We sent a team to Shantipur on Monday, and as soon as we confirmed the location and worked in collaboration with the local police traced the suspect, identified as Braja Mohan Das (19). We visited his residence and examined his laptop, after which we confirmed that the email had been sent from the same laptop,” an ATS officer said. Mr. Das was arrested on Tuesday and produced before a local court, which granted transit custody to the ATS. He was brought to Mumbai and produced in a city court which remanded him to police custody till August 26. “Mr. Das has not been very forthcoming about the motive behind his actions, and we are interrogating him further. We have seized his laptop computer as evidence and sent it for forensic analysis,” the officer added.