As Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh remained on the boil two days after five farmers were killed in police firing, Punjab farmers have announced a protest for June 12 to highlight their plight.Seven farmers’ unions met at Moga on Thursday and took the decision.The demands of the unions included immediate farm loan waiver and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s report, which recommended that the minimum support prices for crops be fixed at 50% more than the weighted average cost of production. The meeting also condemned the “unprovoked” police firing on the agitating farmers in Madhya Pradesh and demanded action against the accused. “The Congress party came to power in Punjab by promising farmers loan waiver. The party should keep its word. Farmer suicides are rising in the State, so the government should act fast. We want all loans, whether private or government, taken by farmers and labourers waived immediately,” Surjit Singh, president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari), told The Hindu.“We will stage a demonstration in all district headquarters on June 12 and submit a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioners,” Mr. Singh said. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said while his government was committed to farm loan waiver, the Centre should come up with a holistic policy to address the problem.
The special trial court, conducting the trial in the Naroda Gamm massacre case during the 2002 riots, has asked former Gujarat minister and key accused Maya Kodnani to get BJP President Amit Shah to testify in her favour as defence witness by next Tuesday.While asking the accused to ensure that the witness testifies by September 12, the court said there will be no further adjournment of the case.In her application on Friday, Ms. Kodnani said since Mr. Shah is not “reachable” due to his busy schedule and constant mobility, “It is difficult to decide as to which address the summons be served to him.”Ms. Kodnani, who was convicted in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre case, in which 97 persons belonging to the minority community were killed, is a key accused in the Naroda Gaam massacre case, involving the brutal murder of 11 persons, also during the 2002 riots.Also read: 28 years for Maya Kodnani, Bajrangi to spend entire life in prisonShe had sought time till September 12, 2017 while Special judge P.B. Desai had granted time till September 8 for her to bring Mr. Shah to testify as defence witness.During the hearing, Ms. Kodnani urged the court to allow her to bring Mr Shah and 13 others as her witnesses to testify that she was not present at the site when the massacre was carried out.Among the 14 persons she listed as witnesses, 12 including her husband have already testified in her favour. Mr Shah is the last listed defence witness in her trial; all others have been cross-examined by the court.Verdict deferredIn a separate case, the Gujarat High Court has again deferred its verdict on Zakia Jafri’s challenge to an SIT court granting a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others in a criminal conspiracy related to the 2002 riots.
The ban imposed on ‘bajri’ (riverbed sand) mining in Rajasthan took an ugly turn with the sand mafia allegedly beating a 50-year-old sarpanch to death in Sawai Madhopur district on Thursday. Raghuveer Singh Meena, sarpanch of Hathdoli village, was killed when he went to the Bouli area to check loading of sand illegally dug out of the Banas river.His body was cremated in his native village on Friday. Police registered a case of murder against 21 persons, including nine accused. People involved in illegal sand mining, armed with sticks and stones, attacked Mr. Meena, who was accompanied by a team of Mining Department and a few policemen. The accused hurled stones on the officials when they entered the land in Hindpura village and forced them to retreat. ‘Bled to death’In the melee, Mr. Meena was injured by a stone and fell on the ground. The assailants fled and a profusely bleeding Sarpanch was rushed to a hospital in Sawai Madhopur. He was later referred to Jaipur, but he succumbed to his injuries.
Women in Jammu and Kashmir have welcomed the decision by the State government to approve zero percent stamp duty on the purchase of property by them.“It’s a welcome step. The move will help women scale up the social ladder in J&K,” said Nazia Ashraf, a businesswoman.The Cabinet on Friday approved to levy a stamp duty of 5% for buyers in urban areas and 3% in rural areas. “However, it is zero percent if the property in both urban as well as rural areas is registered in the name of a female member of the family,” reads the Cabinet decision, approved by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday evening.Earlier, the stamp duty was at seven percent.Ms. Mufti claimed women in J&K, as of now, owned bare minimum immovable assets even after contributing the maximum to the society. “This incentive will encourage families to register their properties in the name of their sisters, daughters, wives and mothers,” said Ms. Mufti.Former finance minister and MLA Rajpora Hasseb Drabu described the government move as a creative way of empowerment by market incentives. “It will help gender balancing of social power relations,” said Mr. Drabu.According to the 2011 census, there are 859 females per 1000 males in J&K and female literacy rate stands at 58.01 percent.
Four labourers, repairing a tunnel in Rajasthan’s Sirohi district, died after being buried alive under debris, the police said on Saturday.The victims were trapped under the debris on Friday which fell due to vibrations generated by a poclain machine at the site on Beawar-Pindwara national highway, they said.The family members of the deceased, identified as Devi Singh, 32, Uttam Kumar, 23, Mahendra Kumar Meena, 27, and Mahendra Hiragar, 30, have refused to accept the bodies till they are provided compensation by the private firm which was carrying out the repair work, Sirohi collector Babu Lal Meena said.The bodies have been kept at a mortuary. The State government has announced ex-gratia for the kin of the deceased. A case has been registered against the company and the driver of the poclain machine, the police said.
Seat sharing talks with the Janata Dal (U) will figure high on the agenda during BJP chief Amit Shah’s visit to Patna on Thursday. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is scheduled to join Mr Shah for both breakfast and dinner during the visit. Top sources in the BJP have confirmed that while Mr Shah will be largely busy with organisational meetings, two one-on-one meetings have been scheduled with Mr. Kumar.“Adhyakshaji (BJP president Amit Shah) will be having breakfast with the Chief Minister (Nitish Kumar) at the State guest house where he will be staying. After addressing organisational meetings like the social media volunteers meet, a meeting of vistaraks, core committee and Shakti Kendra meetings, he will have dinner with Nitish Kumar at the latter’s residence,” said a source. State BJP president Nityanand Rai confirmed the two meetings. “Seat sharing talks are on the anvil, and a formula that will be good for all stakeholders will be formulated,” added the source. No other details were shared as party men and allies like the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) are holding their peace.Electoral equation“We won 22 seats in 2014 on our own; some of them were seats where JD(U) used to win as part of the NDA. Therefore, the seat adjustment is not just about absolute numbers but particular seats and this will have implications for some sitting BJP MPs too,” added the source. Meanwhile, a political observer in Bihar told The Hindu, “I don’t see any electoral dividend for the BJP to take JD(U) along with it in Lok Sabha poll…for the BJP, a triangular contest will always benefit as both RJD and JD(U) would cut each other’s backward caste vote while the BJP’s vote bank will be intact in the name of PM Narendra Modi”.“Though, it will be a different ball game if JD(U) compromises with 9-10 seats with the BJP promising it a lion share in the State Assembly poll in 2020,” said political analyst Ajay Kumar.
A six-year-old student was allegedly molested by a teacher at a government-aided girls’ school in south Kolkata. The incident led to a major protest by parents of students outside the school on Tuesday. The protesters threw stones at the police team which reached the spot for investigation, forcing the police to resort to baton charge to disperse them. The accused teacher was arrested and four persons were taken into custody for throwing stones at the police. The school authorities could not be reached for comments.Two separate casesJoint Commissioner of Kolkata Police (Headquarters) Supratim Sarkar said two separate cases were lodged regarding the alleged molestation and assault on police. “We have lodged a case against the accused teacher under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act,” he said.A brawl broke out in front of the school between the police and the guardians when the latter tried to break open the school gate. Both sides allegedly traded blows and a section of the protesters tried to pull off the helmets of the police personnel who retaliated with baton charge. Several guardians and police personnel were injured in the clash. “Eight police personnel, including two officers incharge, were injured,” said Mr. Sarkar. He denied allegations that there was not adequate deployment of women police personnel to deal with the situation.A section of guardians eventually broke open the main gate of the school and ransacked several rooms inside the premises. They also allegedly heckled other teachers when they tried to leave the premises. The situation was such that some of the teachers had to be taken out of the area in police vehicles.West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson said that the commission will monitor the probe and seek the CCTV footages of the school from the police if required.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday ordered a Crime Branch probe into the electrocution of seven elephants in Dhenkanal district. Expressing concerns over the incident, Mr. Patnaik directed that appropriate action be taken in case of any criminal negligence.Subsequently, a team of the Crime Branch visited Kamalanga village in Dhenkanal where seven elephants had died after coming in contact with sagging live 11 kV electric wire on Saturday.“We have already constituted a probe team under the leadership of CID Superintendent of Police Madhkar Sandeep Sampat. He would personally supervise the case. The probe would detect lapses that led to such a tragic incident,” said Santosh Kumar Upadhyay, Additional Director General (Crime Branch).Meanwhile, the State Forest and Environment department on Sunday filed a complaint against five executives of CESU, the power distribution company, at the Kantabania police station under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Naresh Patnaik, the CESU’s circle manager of Dhenkanal, Nihar Panigrahi, executive engineer, and Artatran Nayak, assistant engineer, have been named in the complaint.CESU blamed State’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Sandeep Tripathy had squarely blamed the CESU for the death of the elephants.“Due to non-rectification of sagging electric lines and non-cabling of transmission lines, the accident has occurred, claiming the lives of seven elephants in Meramundali section of the Dhenkanal forest division,” he said.The Divisional Forest Officer of Dhenkanal in November last year had written to the executive engineer of CESU to rectify sagging overhead transmission line of 11 kV from Kamalanga to Kalitalia of Meramundali section. But it was not rectified. As a result, the live wire were found sagging at a height of seven to eight feet.According to Ranjit Patnaik, a wildlife researcher, Indian Electricity Rules, 1955, mandates testing of all apparatus, cables and supply lines periodically. The same was decided at a number of coordination meetings between forest and energy departments. However, RTI information about inspection of power lines for the period from April 1, 2011 to December 15, 2016 (nearly six years) revealed no inspections, said Mr. Patnaik.
Shedding its initial hesitation, the Odisha government on Thursday decided to be a part of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme and extend all support for its implementation in the State, a senior official said. The announcement was made on a day when a leading farmers’ body — Navnirman Krushak Sangathan — called for dawn-to-dusk strike against the State government’s “lack of concern” towards its demands.Chief Secretary A.P. Padhi said the Central scheme (PM-Kisan), which promises to provide ₹6,000 per annum to small and marginal farmers having cultivable land up to two hectares (about five acres), will be launched in Odisha on February 24, along with the other States.Earlier, after receiving a formal communication from the Centre about the mega farmers’ welfare scheme, the Odisha government had not shown any interest and dubbed it inferior to its own Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA), also meant for providing financial assistance to farmers.Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said that the State was not implementing the Centre’s scheme for farmers over fears that all credit would go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had on Wednesday attacked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for depriving the farming community from taking advantage of the central scheme.Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Secretary Saurabh Garg said a list of around 12.45 lakh first-phase beneficiaries of the State government’s KALIA scheme will be given to the Centre for inclusion in PM-Kisan.According to PM-Kisan, the first tranche of ₹2,000 will be directly transferred to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts on February 24. The Centre will fund this initiative completely.Peaceful protestNormal life across Odisha was affected on Thursday due to the farmers’ strike. Though the protest — backed by the Congress as well as the BJP — continued peacefully, the police picked up about 200 protesters from different parts of the State, including 70 from Bhubaneswar.Holding placards and raising anti-government slogans, agitating farmers blocked roads in the city as well on national highways, prompting the police to undertake preventive arrest of the farmers.“We have made elaborate security arrangements to maintain law and order in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack,” Commissioner of Police Satyajit Mohanty told reporters.Mr. Mohanty claimed normal life in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack remained largely unaffected by the strike. Government offices continued to function with adequate attendance, but educational institutions, major shops and business establishments remained closed and public transport vehicles were off the roads.Situation in Ganjam, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kandhamal and Koraput districts remained by and large peaceful.NNKS leader Akshya Kumar alleged that the State government did not pay any heed to their demands for fair price, pension and prestige to cultivators, forcing them to call the strike.Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Niranjan Patnaik, in a Twitter post, said, “Our ‘annadatas’ (providers of food) have suffered a lot due to the anti-farmer policies of the BJD and the BJP. Odisha Congress supports the bandh called by the farmers.” Odisha Agriculture and Finance Minister S.B. Behera termed the agitation “unfortunate”. “The timing is very wrong as it is being observed a day before the annual high school examinations… The strike has put mental pressure on students. It’s even more saddening that two national political parties have extended their support to the bandh,” Mr. Behera said.Authorities at Utkal University and Shree Jagannath Sanskrit University said they have postponed examinations scheduled for Thursday.
The constituents of the Left Front are going to turn on the heat on the Communist Party of India (Marxist) during a meeting scheduled on Friday to decide on its alliance with the Congress. Senior leaders of three major constituents of the Left Front — All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), Revolutionary Socialist Party ( RSP) and Communist Party of India (CPI) — told The Hindu that they are going to raise strong objections on the ongoing talks on electoral understanding with Congress. “We will not have any alliance with the Congress. The AIFB will contest three Lok Sabha seats and on the remaining seats with support CPI(M) and other allies,” Naren Chatterjee, State secretary of AIFB, said. RSP general secretary Kshiti Goswami said: “The CPI(M) has no right to force the alliance with the Congress on the Left Front. We have all seen the result when the Left and Congress came together in the 2016 Assembly polls.”
A Manipur Police constable, suspended in connection with the escape of an extremist leader, has allegedly died in custody during questioning.Constable S.M. Manjur Ahmed was one of 10 police and medical personnel suspended after Thokchom Nando Singh of the outlawed Kangleipak Communist Party escaped while undergoing treatment at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal on March 25.Singh was arrested more than a decade ago for the kidnapping and murder of Lungnila Elizabeth, the eight-year-old daughter of former Minister Francis Ngajokpa in November 2003. “The constable was found dead in custody,” a police officer said, adding that they were trying to ascertain the reason for his death.
The police have arrested a Group D staffer of the Tripura Raj Bhavan on the charge of raping a minor girl. An officer of the West Agartala women police station said they had arrested Dilip Kumar Das, 50, on the basis of a complaint lodged by a woman, who alleged that Das had raped her 8-year-old daughter.
The race to develop Ebola vaccines will soon enter a new phase that may bring answers to the most important question: Do they actually work? In as little as 4 weeks, tests could begin in West Africa in people at risk of contracting Ebola with one of two vaccines that have moved forward at an unprecedented pace, said Marie-Paule Kieny, an assistant director-general at the World Health Organization (WHO), at a press conference today in Geneva, Switzerland.But a new issue is complicating the studies. The number of new Ebola cases has declined unexpectedly fast in recent months, especially in Liberia. That’s great news, but it will make it harder to show that a vaccine works, because the studies need a minimum number of new infections to prove that it offers protection from the disease.So far, so-called phase I tests have given experimental Ebola vaccines to healthy volunteers not at risk for Ebola, assessing safety and immune responses. Last year, a WHO panel decided that given the huge threat, it would be ethical to jump straight from these small studies to phase III trials, which test for efficacy. Phase II studies—which evaluate safety and immune responses in a larger number of people—will start simultaneously.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(*)At a WHO meeting held yesterday on Ebola vaccines, an international group of experts discussed the latest developments, which Kieny outlined at the press conference:A vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)—which contains a chimp adenovirus laced with a gene that codes for the Ebola surface protein—has enrolled all the volunteers in its phase I trial; the company is now analyzing the data in order to decide the best dose for the phase III study and whether to give it once or twice. That analysis should take no more than 4 weeks, and phase III trials could begin soon after. The company could have “a few million doses” of the vaccine produced by mid-2015, Kieny added, although that number will depend on the required dose. Sierra Leone will do a so-called stepped-wedge design, in which some groups receive the vaccine earlier than others, and efficacy is shown if the former group has fewer infections than the latter. (This design takes longer to produce statistically significant answers, but is deemed more ethical by some because all participants eventually receive the vaccine.) Kieny said the study will enroll some 6000 front-line Ebola workers and will probably test the vaccine that triggers the most robust immune responses in the phase I studies. A vaccine initially made by NewLink Genetics but now manufactured by Merck still needs to enroll more volunteers in its phase I studies. This vaccine uses a livestock virus called VSV, rather than the chimp virus, as the vector to carry the Ebola gene. One study was halted after some participants developed arthritislike symptoms, but it later resumed. The company can produce tens of millions of doses in 2015, Kieny said.Kieny also discussed the trial designs adopted for each of the three countries hardest hit by Ebola. The methodology and the ethics of the vaccine studies have been debated extensively, and in the end, the three countries will each use distinct designs:Liberia will do a randomized, controlled trial—the gold standard in drug and vaccine testing—with three arms, each including about 9000 people. One will receive the GSK vaccine, the second the Merck vaccine, and the third will form a control group that receives neither. Although the original plan was to target front-line Ebola workers such as doctors, nurses, and ambulance drivers, researchers now plan to recruit among the Liberian population at large. (Very few health care workers have become infected with Ebola recently.) Guinea will test ring vaccination—a strategy used to help eradicate smallpox— in which a group of people around an Ebola patient is vaccinated. This variation on the stepped-wedge design will have two arms, each with some 90 “rings,” with an average of 50 vaccinees per ring, meaning a total of 9000 trial participants. In one arm, the vaccine will be given early, whereas the rings in the other arm would receive the vaccine later. In addition, front-line workers will receive the vaccine in a so-called observational study that has no control group.On Tuesday, a third company, Johnson & Johnson, announced the launch of its own Ebola vaccine trial. The phase I trial, conducted by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, tests two shots in what’s called a prime-boost strategy. The first shot, developed by Crucell in the Netherlands, uses a human adenovirus vector. The boost, which participants will receive 1 or 2 months later, is produced by Bavarian Nordic in Denmark and uses a modified version of the old smallpox vaccine, MVA, as the vector. The company has begun scouting for phase III test sites in the affected countries, Kieny said.A third candidate is welcome, she added. Based on results so far, Johnson & Johnson’s two-pronged vaccine would take longer to trigger robust immunity, but the protection might last longer; that might make it suitable for vaccinating people likely to become exposed to Ebola in the future, such as health care workers. Faster acting vaccines might be of more use in stanching outbreaks, where long-lasting protection isn’t as important.Whereas the other two vaccines need to be deep-frozen, Johnson & Johnson’s products will keep at temperatures between 2°C and 8°C, she said, a major advantage in remote areas. Tens of millions of doses of each of the vaccine’s two components can be produced in 2015, Kieny said.First results for the phase III studies can be expected after 6 months or so. Independent data and safety monitoring boards will keep a close watch on the trials and review the blinded data as they come in; aside from side effects, a board can stop a study early if significant success surfaces or it becomes clear that the trial doesn’t have the statistical power to provide a clear answer.But the dramatic drop in cases in Liberia, although reason to celebrate, could throw a spanner in the works, because it’s harder to demonstrate that a vaccine protects people when fewer people are at risk. If other efforts to rein in the virus make significant headway, it could further compromise the study’s power. Kieny acknowledged that risk and said Liberia—where new cases have slowed down to a trickle—has decided to recruit more participants to increase the odds that the trial will end with a firm conclusion.*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicinehave made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.
NASA has decided to pluck a small boulder off an asteroid and bring it back to the vicinity of Earth, rather than bag up an entire asteroid, agency officials in charge of the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) announced today.The $1.25 billion mission, which is planned to launch in December 2020, would send a robotic spacecraft for a rendezvous with an asteroid in 2022. After touching down on the asteroid’s surface, the spacecraft would snatch a boulder several meters across. The spacecraft would then orbit the asteroid for up to 400 days, testing out an idea for defending Earth from a catastrophic asteroid impact: using the spacecraft’s own gravitational field to subtly alter the asteroid’s orbit. Next, the spacecraft would bring the snatched rock back to Earth’s vicinity in 2025. Finally, as part of preparations for a possible mission to Mars, astronauts would visit and examine the rock for some 25 days, using the planned Orion spacecraft to make the trip.The boulder-snatch concept is expected to cost $100 million more than the bagging concept, but it would be better for developing technologies that would have greater value for exploring Mars, explained Robert Lightfoot, NASA’s associate administrator, during a teleconference today. Moreover, he says, whereas a bagging mission might get only one chance to snare its target, a boulder-snatching spacecraft will have a chance to survey the asteroid ahead of time before picking a target, and it could make several attempts at grabbing a boulder. “I’m going to have multiple targets when I get there, is what it boils down to,” he says. “That was the better value, in my opinion, for what we’re trying to do.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The leading target for ARM now is a 0.45-kilometer-wide carbonaceous C-type asteroid called 2008 EV5, Lightfoot says. The two other candidates are asteroids called Bennu and Itokawa, and ongoing searches are expected to yield one or two more candidates each year leading up to mission launch.Scientists say that there is intrinsic interest in C-type asteroids, which have never been visited by a spacecraft. They are darker than many asteroids because of all the primitive carbonaceous material they hold. Some may contain hydrated minerals, or even water ice, says Tim Swindle, director of the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson. “They definitely have the potential of being a dirtier version of a comet.”But scientists have been skeptical about the mission, mostly because of concerns that its costs could end up threatening science missions, even though ARM is primarily designed to demonstrate capabilities for NASA’s human spaceflight program. Already, two science missions are planning on visiting a C-type asteroid. In December 2014, Japan’s space agency launched Hayabusa 2, which aims to return a few grams of asteroidal material to Earth in 2020. And in 2016, NASA plans to launch OSIRIS-REx, which aims to return at least 60 grams of material by 2023. “A lot of the wariness was that [ARM] would be funded out of science, and that the science return after going to other carbonaceous asteroids would not be that great,” Swindle says. “Everyone is going to remain wary until the mission has flown and the cost hasn’t come out of science one way or another.”ARM has also drawn skepticism from lawmakers in Congress, who will make the ultimate decision on whether to fund it.
In his resignation letter, the left-leaning MP from Stoke-on-Trent in England’s West Midlands region lamented the “swing away” from mainstream social democratic and socialist parties in countries like India. Related Items
For anyone who has grown up in Bengaluru, before the mushrooming of various bakery chains and outlets, the iconic Iyengar bakeries, found around every street corner, were go-to spots for the softest sponge cakes, fresh buns and crispy puffs. The heady aroma of bread being brought out of the oven would envelop the entire locality, a smell that takes many back to carefree childhood days.Over the years, people have moved on to fancier bakeries, but those loyal to Iyengar bakeries, some of which have crossed the 100-year mark, continue to be customers, sometimes traveling far off to their favourite one, or waking up in the wee hours to get a fresh batch of buns.Read it at New Indian Express Related Items
Leaving behind big city life to start making classic New Zealand pies halfway around the world might seem like a bold choice, but for Rajeev Bajwa and his family, it’s one they’ve never regretted.After 17 years in New Zealand, and several of those in Rotorua, Bajwa, 47, became a New Zealand citizen this week.His wife, Seema, 42, is also planning to become a citizen this year.The pair, originally from India, moved to New Zealand in 2001, while Seema was seven months pregnant with their first child.Read it at NZ Herald Related Items
A naturalized American citizen of Indian origin is the first person to be stripped of his citizenship under the Donald Trump administration that is on a mission to deport illegal immigrants. The Indian man, Baljinder Singh, received citizenship fraudulently, according to the authorities.Singh, a 43-year-old resident of Carteret, New Jersey, had married a U.S. citizen and received citizenship in 2006. His status has now been reverted to be a green card holder and that makes him open to deportation based on the Department of Homeland Security’s discretion, the Justice Department said.According to the petition filed by the Department of Justice in September 2017, Singh had concealed prior orders of exclusion and his deportation that were passed against him, and assumed a different identity that was used for naturalization in his citizenship application.“Singh’s denaturalization is the first arising out of a growing body of cases referred to the Department of Justice by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as part of Operation Janus,” the Department of Justice said in a statement.“The defendant exploited our immigration system and unlawfully secured the ultimate immigration benefit of naturalization, which undermines both the nation’s security and our lawful immigration system,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Justice Department will continue to use every tool to protect the integrity of our nation’s immigration system, including the use of civil denaturalization.”Singh had come to San Francisco in 1991 without travel documents or proof of identity. He said his name was Davinder Singh. He was ordered to be deported in January 1992 after he missed exclusion proceedings. In February 1992, he filed for asylum under the name of Baljinder Singh, which he then abandoned after getting married. He had said that he entered the United States without inspection.Two cases of individuals from Pakistan were also brought to the court under Operation Janus, which was launched to investigate cases where citizenship was obtained despite faulty documentation. “A Department of Homeland Security initiative, Operation Janus identified about 315,000 cases where some fingerprint data was missing from the centralized digital fingerprint repository. Among those cases, some may have sought to circumvent criminal record and other background checks in the naturalization process. These cases are the result of an ongoing collaboration between the two departments to investigate and seek denaturalization proceedings against those who obtained citizenship unlawfully,” the Justice Department statement said. Related ItemsGreen CardIndian AmericanUnited States