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first_imgBy Jennifer Rea“Babe, I’m thinking about applying to Officer Candidate School (OCS)…”My heart sank in my chest and my head ran to every negative connotation of my husband being in the military AGAIN—deployments at least 7 months long, everything falling apart, my anxiety and fear of being alone at night and the painful move as I left my family and friends for the first time.“Well, I don’t do life as just OK. I’m not the kind of person that does the 9 to 5 job and is happy with it… I need something more.”To provide you with a little background… my husband (JR) and I met in 6th grade for the very first time when he moved from private school to public school. In 6th grade, JR and I dated for a week, but broke up because one of my close friends wanted to date him… strange how things work out! We actually reconnected, at a more mature level, in our 10th grade Algebra class.It’s funny to me to look back on the first day of that Algebra class and remember that JR’s pick up line (via MSN Messenger) was “Hey, you looked beautiful today in math class! We should hang out sometime.” His courage and confidence anchored me in and I was hooked.My high school sweetheart became my husband on June 16, 2012—after 5 years and 8 months of dating (finally!). At that time, my husband had already been in the Marine Corps for two years and was stationed in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Much of our relationship at the time was long distance with emails, snail mail, Skype, Facebook, and MSN Messenger to help us stay connected while 1,300 miles apart—I thank God for technology!Two short days after we got married, JR and I spent our “honeymoon” packing up a U-Haul and my two-door Civic, driving cross country (from Minnesota to North Carolina) in separate vehicles…a perfect way to spend your honeymoon, right?We were both very excited as we had never lived together before and were finally together in the same house let alone in the same community for the first time in two years! With the happiness, there also came struggles and challenges for both of us. Learning to live together was one thing, but having to adapt to the military lifestyle and culture was another.I had never grown up with anyone that was close to me that was in the military besides my grandfathers, however they had been retired for several years so, I had never known what “military life” was like. I now believe that knowing what the military lifestyle can only be understood by the military family themselves. I say this not to offend anyone, but to point out that I personally have seen several differences between “military” and “civilian” life. The first, as a military family I conceptualize the absence of my husband being gone quite differently than I would have not being a military spouse. Although it is difficult when he is gone—I am very proud of my Marine for serving our country and having such dedication to his work.A second piece is that the military is a “culture”—it has its own language, way to act, and attire. I recognized this difference when I went on the military base for the first time. It was obvious who was not a service member based on the haircut and the attire and I definitely felt as if I stood out like a sore thumb!Another piece was trying to learn the language and all the acronyms! Many of the get-togethers we had at our house involved the gathering of service members that my husband worked with (his friends) and their spouses. When it was just me and the “guys” I had no idea what they were talking about and felt left out of the conversation several times due to their acronyms and work lingo—I was very thankful for the military spouses I had met, which brings me to my next item—a military family.As I had previously mentioned, the military is a culture and part of this culture involves several military families—this is the piece I loved the most! While not all military spouses get along, there are many military spouses that I could confide in and know that they would have my back no matter what. The part where you’re able to connect with someone going through the same situation as you and being in the “military spouse club” are things I really valued and enjoyed.I had never been that far away from my parents, my family and my friends so the whole transition was very difficult for me. I think JR struggled too, with looking for a way to help me, when really there wasn’t much he could do. I just needed to adjust so time and patience were key factors for me.The biggest thing that helped me adapt in the transition was being open and willing to meet new people, which I know was difficult at the time, even for me, as a social butterfly. Secondly, I got a job and I kept busy. I was actually enrolled in North Carolina State at the time to receive my M.S. in Family Life and Youth Development. I ran across a really great job—so, all of these things really helped me adjust. I also tried to continue the hobbies that I was used to doing in Minnesota, such as running, going to the gym, workout classes and crafting. I really enjoyed exploring the town and the Carolinas—of course, I can’t forget about the beach.So, fast-forward to the transition we are in now… honestly, I kind of saw it coming. JR had a really hard time “leaving the military” and transitioning to “civilian life”. The beginning of our drive home to Minnesota was very emotional for him—it was like he was leaving his family. I felt really bad for him and felt guilty that I “made” him decide to move back home. We struggled during this transition too, as change is hard for both of us. JR wasn’t happy with his civilian job and I honestly hate when he’s unhappy—I feel helpless.Watching JR in the “civilian world” was challenging. He hasn’t had anyone to really connect with unless he called his other service member buddies on the phone and man, those phone calls made his day! Again, it was almost as if he lost his family. The military had been part of his life for 5 years and he was used to the strict schedule, a consistent and reliable career with benefits, and was challenged with every day routines. I believe that the most difficult piece for JR was looking for a job—sending out resumes and going to interviews—this is something JR hadn’t done in 5 years! The second was financial. I know there were many times we talked about how we were going to pay our bills, and wondered if his job would be able to support us. It was stressful, but we were both on the same page on budgeting and managing our finances, so I think that helped a lot! And then JR found a job that was more stable than working construction, which helped with the financial piece and the benefits. For more “excitement” and to challenge his skills, JR applied to college and this really seemed to bring up his spirits. Many times he would come home from school and tell me all about class; what they talked about, how it relates to being in the military, and everything he had been learning. It was exciting and encouraging to know that he was “satisfied” with at least one piece in his life.So, the conversation came up several times, and I think we both really needed to soak it in. I was angry, sad and anxious at the thought of him being in the military again. I felt like it was his decision and he hadn’t even thought about “us.” Throughout the process, he kept saying, “I’m sorry… I don’t want to do this to you again.” And I just thought, “Well, don’t then.” I asked myself, “Can I do this again? What are the benefits and do they outweigh the downfalls?” I appreciated his sympathy and concern in the matter, but I struggled in understanding why he wanted to join again…I ended up reassuring myself that this was inevitably JR’s decision, however he had made the decision for us—for our future and our future family. I didn’t realize this until actually two weeks before he left for OCS. We had just been driving home after getting ice cream as I was stressed with finals and thinking about JR leaving. We had just pulled into the garage and I had asked him, “So, really, why do you want to join OCS?” And he looked at me and replied, “I want to do this for our family. I struggled growing up—not having the finances to be able to go to college, barely being able to pay the bills and all the other financial aspects— it really stresses me out and I don’t want that for our family. I want us to be able to travel, to take off and fly wherever we want, whenever we want. I also want our kids to be able to go to college and I want to financially support them. I love the thrill of being in the military, it’s fast pace and motivating, but also I enjoy the fact that it is simple for me—there are set hours, pay and benefits, but also opportunities for challenges and goals to achieve. I hate that I have to leave you again and miss you every time I’m gone—this is the worst part for me, and the reason why we got out in the first place. But the way I see it now, there are many more opportunities for us in the military then just saying here.” Amazed—is the word that I describe how I felt in this moment—JR always seems to amaze me and surprise me with what he believes, his opinions, and his drive—all the reasons why I wouldn’t want to be without him. So, we decided if he goes, I go.No one really understands why individuals want to join the military or better yet why someone would want to “follow” and go with them! But from my experience, I recognized that the individuals that do are amazingly selfless and humble people who want to make a difference in not only their lives, but a majority of their focus is to make a significant impact in the lives of others. This in itself motivated and encouraged me to “allow” or accept JR’s desire to re-enlist and apply to Officer Candidates School. I was also reassured by God’s love and knowing that he has BIG plans for JR and I—much greater than we would’ve ever thought! Oddly enough, I feel so incredibly blessed and thank God every day for JR. He is the most intelligent, caring, loving, selfless, and supportive man I have ever met! Together, we make a great team and a military family.Looking toward the future… I definitely see my future differently than I did when we had moved home to Minnesota last August. The biggest difference is knowing that I won’t be living in Minnesota for the rest of my life—this piece hurts, A LOT because it’s home—its where my family is, my friends, my memories, everything. The second item is my career. I am currently going to the University of Minnesota to receive my PhD in Family Social Science and I hope to teach in a university someday, however knowing that my husband is now becoming a Marine officer—it’s a slightly different story. For one, JR will be active duty again so, this means that there will be at least one year where we will have to manage long distance again, which sucks, but I want to finish my schooling here in Minnesota before moving from place-to-place. Secondly, there are not many universities near military bases, especially Marine Corps bases. So, currently, I’m envisioning that I will either teach at a community college, which could be fun or find a career working for the DoD or a military base – teaching, researching, or program design and evaluation. So, we’ll see! And the third is our future family. When we came home, I was thinking about having our first child when I was like 25, but now with my graduate program and JR going active duty again, we both have decided that children will have to wait a little bit longer—at least until JR gets somewhat permanently stationed and I finished my degree—sorry, Mom and Dad! So, the first major milestones, while we did purchase our first house in December, it looks like we’ll only be able to keep it for 3 years and then move to somewhere else, where I’m assuming we will probably have to rent/live on base. And then children probably a little later in life, around 27 years old—all of which can have its benefits and limitations.So, today… I haven’t seen JR in a month, not the longest we’ve been apart, but the most time we haven’t been able to talk since his first boot camp. For the first 3 weeks of OCS training, the only communication that we had with each other was snail mail! It’s been difficult not being able to come home and eat dinner with JR, go on walks, enjoy the summer weather, or simply share how our days went. Fortunately, after the third week, JR was able to call me and we Skyped for a while too so, that was really nice. It is hard for me to see him and talk to him, and then he has to leave and our communication gets completely cut off for a week—major bummer! During this time however I’ve been working at school, doing research, and working on a paper that is due later on in my program. As I had mentioned earlier, it is easier for me to deal with the transition and time apart if I stay busy and continue to send my brain messages that “it will be okay. He will be home soon!” I also make lots of plans to hang out with people because sometimes I really don’t feel like doing anything and if I stay home, I just get more sad and lonely. So, forcing myself to go out and spend time with good family and friends has been really helpful for me to get through this summer being away from JR.last_img read more

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first_imgThe One Minute Question: What is Narrative Therapy? Some Working Answers by Eric SweenSween, E. The One Minute Question: What is Narrative Therapy? Some Working AnswersErik Sween discusses a  concise response to the question, ‘What is narrative therapy?’ He provides working answers to questions regarding the application of narrative therapy in the therapy room. You won’t want to miss out of this informative read! This post was written by Christina Herron, MS, a member of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn. Down Under and Up Over: Travels with Narrative Therapy by David EpstonEpston, D. Down Under and Up Over: Travels with narrative TherapyFREE BOOK AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD! Part one, ‘Down under’, contains previously published work from different periods of David Epston’s writing career. As always, each chapter reflects David’s creativity, and at times those of his co-writers. Part two, ‘Up over’, contains six examples of David Epston’s current work, all of which are printed here for the first time, including inventive approaches to chronic bed-wetting, relationships between children and their estranged fathers, court reports, stealing, and sibling conflicts, as well as a long chapter on Anti-Anorexia, a subject close to David Epston’s heart.center_img By Christina Herron, MSAre you seeking new information and resources on Narrative Therapy? The Narrative Therapy Library offers free downloadable articles and materials to assist you. This website is based off of the work of Michael White and David Epston, known Narrative Therapists in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy.Heins, T. & Ritchie, K. Beating Sneaky Poo: Ideas for Faecal Soiling.Beating Sneaky Poo by Terry Heins and Karen RitchieFaecal soiling is perhaps one of the most distressing problems that parents can face – and it is just as frustrating for children! This problem can cause family members and friends despair and irritation as they try to get it under control. This article has assisted many families in minimizing the effects of such a problem. Terry Heins and Karen Ritichie have succeeded in making useful knowledge about externalising conversations available in an easy to understand and light-hearted publication. The illustrations by Geoff Pryor and Quantum make the ideas come alive for children. The foreword is by Michael White.last_img read more

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first_imgBy Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFTFlickr [American by Kevin Cortopassi, August 15, 2015, CC BY-ND 2.0]Before I had much interaction with military service members and their families on a personal level and as a clinician, I always imagined homecoming as a most magical time. I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the happily-ever-afters and the glamour of it all. But after having true interactions and conversations, I quickly realized that those images I had created in my head were simply not real.Yes, it’s a wonderful thing for families to be reunited from deployments. It’s thrilling, exciting, and heartwarming! But, it can also be stressful, frustrating, confusing, and heartbreaking. I have noticed two common themes in my conversations and limited research on homecomings: The person that left for deployment is not the same person that returns and neither are the families left behind. And, it is extremely difficult getting back in to a routine after deployments.Our service members are being sent to places they have never been to fight for our country and for people they have never even met. They are seeing things, hearing things, and feeling things that they never imagined in even their wildest dreams. They experience the unspeakable. They lose friends, they lose parts of their body. They see children die. They are on high alert at all times. They come in contact with people who appear to have no souls.The spouses and family members are left stateside to care for the children and tend to the homes. The bills still have to be paid, the children still have homework and ball practice, and there are still flat tires, medical emergencies, and really bad days. Jobs still want their employees to show up and schools expect children to be on time. Adjustments have to be made for new routines without their spouse.And then, the service members return home. Sure, the first few days are blissful; filled with welcome home signs, hugs, kisses, barbecues and celebrations. But then, reality hits. It’s time to get back to life; the bills are still there, obligations to jobs and families remain.How are our service members and their families supposed to slip right back in to life as it was before deployment? And, is it even possible to do that? We are all shaped by the experiences we have in our lives. While service members are shaped by the sights, sounds, and feelings they have had overseas, so too are the family members who have been at home trying to maintain their normalcy and create routines and structure.I asked two friends to share their experiences of transitioning back from deployment and here is what they told me:“It is always exciting when you begin the countdown to your spouse returning home from deployment and then that final day is finally here. But when you have kids involved in the countdown, you always do a type of countdown where you can add a few days without them really knowing a difference.  The return date usually changes. There is a feeling of joy and love that your family is finally complete again after so many months apart.  It can also be a frustrating time, as you have to learn one another again and get into a new routine…especially when you have kiddos involved.  Deployment is hard!  After so many months apart, things just don’t go back to the way they were before my spouse left.  Everyone has grown, physically and emotionally, especially the kids.  After many deployments, my husband still hears, “we don’t do it like that anymore daddy”.  Something I have learned about life after deployment is that it takes time.  Nothing is “normal” and we all have to learn each other and how to live with each other again.  Communication is always key.”“Life after deployment can be challenging because as the mothers who stay back and hold down the fort, so to speak, and take on both duties of mom and dad, we learn to get into our own routine. When dads return, it can often feel like they are getting in the way and messing up the flow of what we have been doing for so long. It’s basically a control thing for us women, I found out. Also, we establish these friendships that we like to call “sister wives” where we help each other out by cooking for each other, cleaning, watching each other’s kids, etc… so when the spouse returns, that is also something that is difficult to balance because we want to have these friendships and relationships stay strong for the next time we face deployment, but then our husband’s want our undivided attention since they have been away from us for so long. It’s a balancing act that we have to work on when they return home and realize that we are going to screw up, have frustrations and step on each other’s toes. But we need to communicate these feelings in the moment and not let them fester. It took some time to figure this out, but once we prepared for those challenges before he stepped off the plane, the easier it was.”Are we doing enough to help our military families to transition back to their lives after deployment? Do we have enough resources for them? I think we need to be talking about how we can help protect those who sacrifice so very much to protect us. It’s certainly a conversation worth having.A special thank you to Erin Schnoes and Tara Brown for sharing their experiences as Air Force spouses.This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the social media and webinar coordination specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development team on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.last_img read more

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first_imgA computer application creates seamless transitions and tells you when to cut.  Will this technology shape the video editing future?What if a computer editing application could tell you where to make your video cuts?  A new application being developed by researchers at UC Berkely and Adobe Systems aims to do just that…helping editors identify the best spot to make a cut based off of audio and visual features of raw footage.  The program can auto generate seamless transitions to make the cuts visually smooth and undetectable.In recent years, audio transcription technology has advanced (for instance, the speech transcription tools in Adobe Premiere Pro and Audition CS6 software).  This seamless video editing technology is an extension of what we’re seeing in those speech recognition tools, as it pairs the transcription back to the video image and analyzes it to find areas for optimal cutting.  From the project’s research paper:“We present a hierarchical, graph-based algorithm for efficiently generating hidden transitions that considers visual features specific to interview footage. We also describe a new data-driven technique for setting the timing of the hidden transition.”In layman’s terms: Spots of the video where there is little audio or on-screen movement are given priority as ideal spots to cut, and are plotted on a “cut suitability” timeline.  If necessary the application will insert natural looking pauses to bridge two cuts together.   From the product demo (embedded below) it appears that editors can simply delete text from the transcript view and the application will go to work creating a seamless transition.  An additional features allows for one-click removal of “ums” and repeated words.This tech seems useful for working with on-camera interviews (with only one subject), but in it’s current state it doesn’t seem like it would be effective at tackling more complex shooting situations.The project is in current development and will be presented at SIGGRAPH 2012.  One of the leads on the project is a research scientist in the Creative Technologies Lab at Adobe, which begs the question… Is this technology in development for inclusion in future versions of Adobe video editing applications?Get more details and all the technical specs at Floraine.orgWhat do you think of this new technology? Let us know in the comments!last_img read more

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first_imgThe close-up shot is a director’s secret weapon, but it requires technical know-how and narrative timing. Here’s what you need to know.Cover image via REDPIXEL.PL.There is a scene in Five Easy Pieces wherein Bobby Dupea (Jack Nicholson) wheels his ailing father (William Challee) outside in the cold to view the sunset, confess, expose, and apologize for his estrangement from the family. It’s a powerful sequence and a raw and emotional disclosure for our main character.The scene requires intimacy, and Bob Rafelson knew that it required a close-up — but one that served the story and the character. These men have had a turbulent, cold, and distant relationship. The sequence begins reflecting the past with a long shot of Nicholson and Challee against a dramatic sunset. They are both small and insignificant against the majestic sky.Image via Columbia Pictures.They stop dead center in the frame, and at this camera distance, Nicholson fixes the blanket on the old man’s lap and utters “You cold” to someone too sick for words. It’s the first step at connection, and on action, as Nicholson bends down to his level, Rafelson cuts to a medium two-shot. He sustains this shot for about 40 seconds, until Nicholson earns his close up — until the character is ready to reveal something. And even then, Rafelson frames the shot below his shoulders to not be too intrusive. He allows his actor to determine the frame.Rafelson doesn’t rein in the performance — if Nicholson needed to drop his head, the camera moved with him. When Nicholson leans and nearly leaves the frame, Rafelson cuts quickly to a reaction shot of Challee then returns to Nicholson swinging back in. It’s at that exact moment when Nicholson loses it emotionally, and he becomes his most vulnerable. All of this is by design, not luck or spontaneity. The people in the editing room chose these moments precisely to reflect the director’s vision for the emotional result of the scene.The PayoffImage via Paramount.Just like the source material, the close-up (by design) is the payoff shot. A line like “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” in Gone With the Wind only has power because of the nearly four hours we’ve spent watching Rhett Butler pursue, sacrifice for, and ache over Scarlett O’Hara. When he says that line, it’s a release for the character and the end of his story.The same principle applies to shooting. The close-up shot is a window into the character. It can reveal the character’s growth moment (John McClane’s confession to Powell that he never told his wife he’s sorry in Die Hard); it can depict a character discovering something important (Gene Hackman unraveling the truth in The Conversation) or create tension between characters (the standoff in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). It can be all this and much more. It is a tool the director uses to let the audience know that a particular moment is important.If you overuse it, you run the risk of fatiguing the viewer and undermining the truly important moments. If you avoid it completely, you may be missing opportunities to reveal character and risk emotionally alienating the story.Technical ConsiderationsImage via United Artists.You’ll want to use a longer lens (70mm-100mm) for a close-up. A longer lens makes the depth of field shallower and throws the background out of focus. A wider lens tends to distort faces, making them look abnormal. Longer lenses reduce that effect. If you were to use a 24mm lens, you would have to move the camera very close to your subject to frame the actor for a close-up and  contend with a lot more background than you would using a 70 or 85mm lens.In terms of storytelling, overusing the close-up might undermine the artistic vision. If you highlight every scene as special, then nothing is particularly special. In addition, overusing the close-up can disorient the viewer. If there are no establishing shots or master or medium shots that show the viewer where they are in the context of the events in the film, you can create a frustrating experience that won’t serve the story.Continuity is also an important consideration. You may be so focused on the depth of field that subtle aspects of continuity could get lost. For example, if you were shooting outside, was there a breeze in the establishing or wide shot that later, when you are shooting the close-up, is missing? Has the natural light dramatically changed, and will you need to artificially match it to the master? The temperature? If so, pay attention so the actor doesn’t appear cold in the master but comfortable in the close-up.Up Close and PersonalImage via Artisan Entertainment.The close-up is a powerful design tool for the director. It should spring from the screenplay, giving the viewer clues and insight into story and character.Try to imagine Ellen Burstyn’s powerful story about wearing the red dress in Requiem for a Dream from across the room. And see what the director (Aronofsky) conveys by getting out of the close-up as soon as Jared Leto’s character begins to lie. He stands, moves away, and ends up framed at the very edge. He is so far removed from the previous intimacy that he is practically out of frame. That is filmmaking that serves the story and resonates with the audience.Looking for more cinematography breakdowns? Check out these articles.ESCAPE ROOM (Short Film) — How To Composite Your Own StuntsFilmmaking Lessons from Oscar-Nominated DirectorsOn Fading to Black: The Hows, The Whens, and The WhysThe Cameras and Lenses Behind 2018 Oscar-Nominated FilmsBezier Curves: What Are They and How Do You Use Them?last_img read more

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first_imgRobin Starr gave a speech at Toastmasters. She said that there are only seven responses to any question. Let’s look at them through the lens that is professional selling.YesThe perfect answer. The one, most hoped for, and best of all responses. What do you want to hear when you ask for an appointment? What do you want to hear when you ask for information? And most of all, what do you want to hear when you ask for the business? There is simply no sound sweeter.NoIt couldn’t be worse, could it? The word “no” is the most revolting and disappointing sound imaginable, isn’t it? But, look on the bright side; you know where you stand. It doesn’t mean you have to give up and go home. You just have to persevere and try again. You didn’t think this was going to be easy anyway.MaybeSquishy answer. Indecisive. It’s a hedge. But there’s hope. Your client may need help making a decision. They may need more information. They may need you to create more value, help them make the case, or help them build consensus. From “maybe” a “no” is possible, but so is a “yes.”I Don’t KnowThe answer “I don’t know” can be a wonderful answer for a salesperson, cant’t it? You believe that your client knows their business. And at some level they do. But they don’t know what they don’t know. They believe that you create value as a salesperson when you ask a question that helps them see through new eyes. When you push them to recognize they lack some new knowledge or new idea, you are creating opportunities.I Don’t CareWorse than a “no” answer. If your prospective client doesn’t care about the better results you can deliver, then there isn’t anything here to talk about. You say, “I can do better, but it will cost 15% more and produce a return of 30% more.” Your prospect says, “I don’t care,” and you’re done. Unless and until you can help them care.I Don’t Want to Talk About ItThere is a problem. It’s painful for your dream client. It means they have to change. The status quo will die, and it will be replaced with something that is different. It doesn’t matter what that different is; different is bad no matter what. They need to talk about it–whether or not they want to. You help them by getting it out on the table and dealing with it.I Don’t Want You to Talk About ItOne group of stakeholders hates your proposal. They know another group is going to love your big, value creating idea. So they work to shut you down, to block you. They threaten you with the loss of your relationship if you dare to cross out of their silo. The last thing they need is you going and changing things without them being able to control it. They don’t want you to talk about it, but being a value creator means creating the right value—even when it’s difficult. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

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first_imgAmid the raging debate over triple talaq, a woman uttered the three words to “divorce” her husband and free herself from dowry harassment. Amreen Bano said ‘talaq’ thrice at the Inspector General of Police’s office in the presence of media. However, chief Qazi of Meerut, Jenur Rashideen, said there was no such provision for women to divorce husbands in Islam. PTIlast_img

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first_imgSixteen months after the brutal rape-murder of a minor girl in Ahmednagar’s remote Kopardi village sent shockwaves across the State, a special court on Wednesday pronounced a death sentence for the three accused in the crime.The proceedings began at around 11.25 a.m. as the district and State awaited the quantum of sentence with bated breath. A massive crowd of onlookers gathered outside the court, keenly anticipating the final judgement amid a massive security shield.The tension was palpable in the courtroom as the three accused — Jitendra Shinde (25), Santosh Bhaval (36) and Nitin Bhailume (26) — were produced. All three stood with impassive faces as Judge Kevale awarded the death sentence to each of them.Following the pronouncement of the Additional Special Judge Suvarna Kevale, a roar of acclamation was heard outside the courtroom.“I had full confidence in the court and knew that justice would be served…we have waited every single day for nearly one-and-a-half years for this judgement,” said the victim’s father . Speaking after the judgement, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said that all three accused were sentenced to death for the rape and murder of the minor, and hatching a conspiracy for the crime.All three convicts can appeal the judgement before the Bombay High Court.Earlier, a high security alert was pronounced by district administration before the commencement of the proceedings, with flying squads of police personnel stationed at every possible pocket in Kopardi as well as in various parts of the Ahmednagar district. Nearly 1,000 policemen were deployed with entry restricted to the courtroom. During the concluding arguments on the verdict on Wednesday last week, Advocate Nikam, representing the State, had urged the Special Court to award maximum punishment to the three offenders, given the particularly brutal nature of the crime, which occurred on July 13 last year.Advocate Nikam, who had earlier dubbed the murder as “extremely cold-blooded”, touched upon 13 points in the crime to argue that the accused deserved capital punishment. He had further argued that the convicted trio “remained unrepentant of their crime” before and after the tragedy, showing no contrition, while stating that a criminal conspiracy was hatched by the trio to rape and murder the victim between July 11 and 13. Advocate Nikam had further urged for the capital penalty, remarking that “society would get a wrong message if the death sentence was not awarded in so gory a case”.The defence counsels for the accused trio, while pleading for mitigation of their sentences, had said that a death sentence judgement could intensify social tensions between communities.The victim as well as the three accused hail from the same area.The case, which has been closely tracked by political parties and social outfits, had acquired a peculiar urgency owing to the potentially explosive nature of the crime in creating acute social divisions.The incident has been likened to the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case in the extent of its brutality, with medical reports suggesting that violence of a particularly feral nature was wreaked on the minor victim.last_img read more

3 12 19

first_imgA Class 10 girl was gang-raped allegedly by fellow students at a boarding school in Sahaspur in Dehradun district and the matter was kept under wraps by the school authorities for over two weeks, according to the police.Nine persons — four students accused of perpetrating the crime and five members of the school staff, including its director, principal and administrative officer — have been arrested, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Ashok Kumar said on Tuesday.The matter came to light on Monday, over a month after it took place on August 14, he said. The survivor first confided her ordeal to her elder sister when she realised that she might be pregnant.Threat to throw victim, sister out of schoolHer elder sister, who studies in the same school, drew the attention of the school authorities to the incident but instead of reporting the matter to the police, they tried to hush it up, Mr. Kumar said. They threatened to throw the two girls out of the school if they disclosed it to anyone. The school authorities are even accused of trying to abort her pregnancy, the police officer added.However, the elder sister later shared ithe information with a relative who informed the police about it. The arrested school staff are its director Lata Gupta, Principal Jitendra Sharma, administrative officer Deepak Malhotra, his wife Tanu Malhotra, and a maid named Manju.Police said that on August 14, the victim was taken to the backyard of the hostel by a classmate on the pretext that a teacher was calling her. When she reached there she found another classmate and two seniors waiting for her. They forcibly took her behind the bushes and raped her, the police said.last_img read more

3 12 19

first_imgKeeping the window open for government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, Governor Satya Pal Malik has said he will not dissolve the Assembly in December.“There is no issue with the Assembly. I don’t want to unnecessarily tinker with it. There is a reason for it. The elected people are still members of legislative assembly. They have been provided with funds to serve the people. So, even though there is not an elected government in place, the political process is going on, as the process includes political activity as well. Keeping this in mind, the Assembly will not be dissolved,” Mr. Malik told a local newspaper, Greater Kashmir, in an interview on Friday.This assumes significance after Bharatiya Janata Party State secretary Ashok Koul said his party was ready to form the government “if the required number of 19 MLAs come to us.”The Governor’s rule will complete six months in Kashmir in the third week of December. Suspended animationGovernor Malik could have dissolved the Assembly, which was put in a suspended animation as per the constitutional requirement by then Governor N.N. Vohra. The BJP decided to pull out of the ruling alliance with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on June 19, paving the way for Governor’s rule in the troubled State.With the Centre failing to hold elections within the stipulated six months, Mr. Malik said, “Yes, of course, J&K is heading towards President’s rule. It is a normal legal procedure according to the Constitution.”The Governor said both the regional parties, the National Conference and the PDP boycotted “but a lot of their people did contest the elections.” He invited the regional parties to participate in the panchayat polls.last_img read more

3 12 19

first_imgPlaying the soft-Hindutva card, the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh has decided to create a separate department to woo Hindu voters, who are traditionally seen as the vote bank of the BJP, ahead of the crucial general election in 2019. The new Spiritual Department will be created by merging the Religious Trusts and Endowments Department and the Happiness Department, the two popular departments of the previous BJP government led by Shivraj Singh Chouhan that ruled the State for 15 years.The Directorate of Religious Trusts and Endowments, Pilgrimage and Fair Authority; Directorate of Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Yojana and the Rajya Anand Sansthan will also be included in the new department, an official said on Monday.Official sources said the main objective of the formation of the Spiritual Department is to strengthen inter-communal harmony in the State.The other objectives of the proposed department include proper conservation and development of religious places; scientific evaluation of places of worship; encourage religious tourism in coordination with the Tourism Department; arrangement of honorarium to priests; formation of welfare schemes, and revival of temple gardens in collaboration with the Department of Horticulture and temple tanks in collaboration with the Rural Development Department.‘Nothing wrong’Meanwhile, Union Minister and BJP leader Uma Bharti has said that there was nothing wrong in the Congress government forming the Spiritual Department, saying it was the prerogative of the incumbent government to take certain decisions.last_img read more

3 12 19

first_imgKolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar on Monday told the Supreme Court that the CBI tried to forcefully enter his residence on February 3 without valid papers.In separate affidavits, West Bengal Chief secretary Malay Kumar De, DGP Virendera Kumar and Mr. Kumar refuted the allegations levelled at them by the CBI of obstructing the apex court-ordered probe into ponzi scams including the mutli-crore Saradha chit fund case.However, in case the court prima facie felt that their action was contemptuous as alleged by the CBI, the three officials said they were tendering an “unconditional and unambiguous apology.” The officials from West Bengal also accused the CBI of levelling vague allegations against them without cogent evidence to back them up. For instance, they submitted that no police officer was part of the protests organised by the Trinamool Congress Party and led by State Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee.The CBI, represented by Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, had argued before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that uniformed police officers had participated in the protest.Mr. Kumar said “his presence, adjacent to the site of dharna” was to “discharge his duties”. He said both the Director General of Police and Inspector General of Police, West Bengal, had come to the protest site, which had also served as a makeshift secretariat/camp office of the Chief Minister.The police official said he had been at the location to ensure that no unforeseen situation arose in a ‘volatile and evolving situation’, adding that 76 cases had been lodged in connection with the chit fund scam.Mr. Kumar is walking a tightrope as the apex court had on February 4 said that “if the police commissioner is even remotely trying to destroy evidence, we will come down so heavily on him that he will regret.” Mr. Kumar was also questioned by the CBI in Shillong on the apex court’s orders.In his affidavit, Mr. Kumar denied having acted in any manner so as to protect the ruling party’s leaders involved in the scam. He said he did not possess exclusively any evidence against them. Nor had he done anything to subvert the orders of the apex court.“Materials have either been in the exclusive custody of the various Investigating Officers as part of the investigative units under their supervisory officers across the State and/or the appropriate courts in accordance with applicable law,” Mr. Kumar submitted.On his role as part of West Bengal’s Special Investigation Team (SIT), which had probed the ponzi scams before it was transferred to the CBI by the apex court, Mr. Kumar said he was only acting as an “administrative and logistic coordinator” in the team.Mr. Kumar said there were Assistant Commissioner of Police, Deputy Commissioner of Police and Joint Commissioner of Police rank officers for closer and direct supervision of the investigation of cases in Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate, where the deponent was posted as Commissioner of Police.Mr. Kumar also asserted that it was “very intriguing” as to why the CBI chose the last working day of then interim CBI Director M. Nageswara Rao to question him.“It seems very intriguing as to why such a major decision could not wait even for a single day for the new Director CBI to join, especially when the last notice was issued to the answering respondent, after a gap of more than a year,” he said in the affidavit.Mr. Kumar contended that the CBI’s bid to question him was against the Calcutta High Court’s order of abeyance.The apex court is scheduled to hear the case on February 20.last_img read more

3 12 19

first_imgNuclear physicists in the United States are one step closer to building their next dream machine. But numerous obstacles remain.On 1 August, the Department of Energy (DOE) approved the “baseline” cost and schedule for construction of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), a straight-shot linear accelerator in the works at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The accelerator would be used to generate rare, highly unstable nuclei not now seen outside of stellar explosions for a wide variety of nuclear physics experiments. The DOE review fixes the cost of the experiment at $730 million, $94.5 million of which will be provided by Michigan State, and the completion date for construction at 2022.“It’s a step forward and an important one,” says Thomas Glasmacher, a nuclear physicist at Michigan State and leader of the FRIB project. “Especially given the federal budget situation we’re just happy to be going forward.”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 DOE decision doesn’t quite give researchers the green light to start construction. Rather, the DOE directive allows them to start buying materials such as high-purity niobium, which will be needed to make the high-tech guts of the accelerator. But workers won’t be allowed to start the “civil construction” of digging the 150-meter basement in which the accelerator will lie until Congress passes a budget for fiscal year 2014, which starts 1 October. And researchers must pass another major review before they get permission to start building the accelerator itself—the hard part of the project.However, with Washington mired in partisan bickering, many observers doubt that Congress will pass a budget this year. Instead, they expect that legislators will simply extend the current budget through next year in a “continuing resolution”—just as they did this year. If that happens, researchers won’t be able start civil construction for another full year, Glasmacher says. Still, physicists will cope, he says: “We’re going to manage whatever the constraints.”Meanwhile, it’s not clear that DOE’s nuclear physics program, which has an annual budget of $520 million, can afford to follow through on the project. In January 2012, then-Secretary of Energy Steven Chu warned that it might not be able to. A year later, an advisory panel begrudgingly told DOE officials that if they cannot afford to both build FRIB and continue to run a 14-year-old atom smasher known as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory, which does a different type of nuclear physics, then they should build FRIB. But some observers say that issue may eventually involve Congressional politics. For the moment, though, FRIB continues to move forward.last_img read more

3 12 19

first_imgLooking a bit like a dolphin, but with a long slim snout filled with pointy teeth, one species of ichthyosaur was practically invisible in the murky depths of Jurassic seas, thanks to dark pigmentation that covered its entire body. That’s one conclusion of a new study that provides an unprecedented peek at the coloration of sea creatures alive during or soon after the dinosaur era.The new findings “are marvelous, so cool,” says Anne Schulp, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands, who wasn’t involved in the research. “This is paleontology well beyond the bones, and [the team’s] arguments make perfect sense.”Soft tissues aren’t often preserved in the fossil record. As a result, figuring out what ancient creatures looked like—and particularly what colors they might have been—was by necessity speculative. But in recent years, scientists have developed high-tech methods to map the chemical traces of soft tissues in the rocks surrounding fossils, which in turn have helped them visualize the remains of pigments—almost literally bringing prehistoric colors back to life. Most previous efforts have focused on fossil birds and preserved remnants of their feathers, says Johan Lindgren, a vertebrate paleontologist at Lund University in Sweden. Now, he and his colleagues have used those techniques to analyze the fossils of ancient marine reptiles.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(*)For their study, the researchers looked at three sets of fossils (now housed in museums in Denmark, England, and Texas) of widely disparate creatures from different eras: a leatherback turtle that lived about 55 million years ago, a large predator called a mosasaur that lived about 86 million years ago, and an ichthyosaur that swam the seas between 190 million and 196 million years ago. (The ancestors of each of these creatures had once lived on land, so all three were air-breathers.) In all three fossils, outlines of soft tissue were preserved in the surrounding rock as dull black material. Paleontologists have long presumed such films to merely be carbon-rich remnants of tissues, Lindgren says. But a look at those materials with a scanning electron microscope revealed dense layers of tiny, rugby ball–shaped structures ranging between 0.5 and 0.8 micrometers long. These tiny bits are the same size and shape as the pigment-bearing structures (called melanosomes) found in the skin and scales of modern-day lizards and in the feathers of birds. Their ovoid shape suggests the pigments were black; melanosomes that lend a red or yellow color are typically spherical, Lindgren notes.When the team bombarded the fossils with charged particles and then analyzed the particles that were knocked from the surface (a technique called time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry), they chemically identified the remnants of eumelanin, a pigment that typically lends a black or brown color to skin or feathers. The rocks surrounding the preserved tissues didn’t contain the carbon-rich compounds, further suggesting the chemical remnants stem from preserved soft tissues and not ancient sediments, the team reports online today in Nature. Considering the concentrations of melanosomes the researchers found, even if the animals had other pigments that weren’t ultimately preserved, the pigment-bearing areas would likely have been dark gray or black.The overall pigment patterns in the fossils are very similar to those of modern-day sea creatures, the researchers note. In the leatherback turtle and the mosasaur, the pigments were concentrated on the upper surfaces of the animals’ bodies. Studies suggest that this dark-above-and-light-below color scheme, known as countershading, helps provide camouflage, Lindgren says. When lit from above (as it would be when the animal was swimming in a normal posture) and seen from the side, the lighter underside would be in shadow, helping the creature blend into the background, he notes. Because these creatures are air-breathers, they would have spent a substantial amount of time at the surface or in the shallow, well-lit portions of the seas.But the ichthyosaur appears to have had dark pigments all over its body. That’s unusual but not unknown among modern sea creatures, Lindgren says. The sperm whale is also dark all over—a color scheme that may help the fearsome predator hide in the gloomy depths where it typically forages.The pigments may have served other purposes as well. Dark upper surfaces, in particular, help modern-day marine reptiles such as leatherback turtles absorb sunlight while they bask at the surface. That boosts the creatures’ body temperatures, allowing them to grow faster and to forage for longer periods in cold waters.The team’s research “is very interesting, and it’s not trivial,” says Mike Benton, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. “Several years ago, people would have said we’d never be able to tell what colors ancient creatures were,” he notes. “But here we are.”last_img read more

3 12 19

first_imgCan elephants understand human? Is spoiled fruit waging war on us? And what really drove the evolution of lighter skin? Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science’s Sarah Crespi.Listen to the full Science podcast.Hear more podcasts.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

3 12 19

first_imgIn a 226 to 179 vote, the House adopted a proposal from Representative Mark Meadows (R–NC) to bar the United States from entering international trade agreements to cut climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. An amendment from Representative Scott Perry (R–PA), adopted on a voice vote, would bar spending money on a number of government climate assessments and reports, including the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s National Climate Assessment (NCA). The president has used the most recent NCA, released last month, to bolster his Climate Action Plan to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.Several other amendments offered by Democrats to bolster funding for ocean acidification and climate research failed on voice votes.Advocates for strong action on climate change are hoping the Senate will hold firm against the climate-related funding restrictions and strip out the “poison pills,” says Michael Halpern of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The White House has also indicated its opposition to climate research limits.One ocean advocate, meanwhile, calls the House bill a “mixed bag. … We’re not thrilled but not devastated,” says Jeff Watters, acting director of government relations at the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C. “It certainly doesn’t meet our expectation of what needs to happen.”Overall, the bill would keep top-line funding numbers for the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) roughly equal to current spending. But it would cut NOAA’s climate-related research funding by $37.5 million, or 24%, from 2014. It also rejects a NOAA request to spend $15 million on a package of three space-based instruments including the Total Solar Irradiance Sensor, and a $9 million boost, to $15 million, for NOAA’s ocean acidification research and monitoring programs.In a report that accompanies the bill, the House also moved to block the White House’s controversial proposed closure of NOAA’s historic research lab near Beaufort, North Carolina. Some ocean and climate researchers are suffering a bit of heartburn from amendments that lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives last week added to a major spending bill.In a 321 to 87 vote, the Republican-controlled House on 30 May approved a $51 billion spending bill that would fund the departments of Commerce and Justice, and an array of other agencies including the National Science Foundation (NSF), in the 2015 fiscal year that begins 1 October. During 2 days of debate on the bill, House members offered scores of amendments, many proposing to shift funding between programs or cut spending. NSF survived the free-for-all largely unscathed.But lawmakers adopted several amendments that targeted marine research and climate science programs. The U.S. Senate, which this week begins work on its version of the spending bill, would have to agree to the amendments in order for them to become law (and in the past has stripped similar provisions from the legislation). For now, however, these amendments remain in the mix: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(*)center_img Representative Bill Flores (R–TX) successfully added language barring the president from enforcing his National Ocean Policy, which has been a partisan football in recent years. The amendment, which is similar to past amendments adopted by the House but later stripped from final measures, was approved on a voice vote.last_img read more

3 12 19

first_imgSAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA—This past Wednesday, at a discussion titled “Stopping the Deadly Ebola Outbreak” held at the Scripps Research Institute here, a local TV reporter repeatedly prodded one of the star panelists, Kevin Whaley, the CEO of Mapp Biopharmaceutical of San Diego.After Whaley explained that he had no idea whether ZMapp, his company’s now famous experimental antibody cocktail used to treat Ebola victims, really worked, the journalist continued to press. “From what you’ve seen in your research—and what your heart says—what do you say?”The audience of 100 people or so broke into nervous giggles.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(*)“I’m not willing to speculate on that,” Whaley replied.The dogged reporter gave it one more try, referring to two American health workers who were infected with Ebola in Liberia, returned to the United States and received ZMapp, and lived to tell about it. “How happy were you to see the two missionaries walk out of the hospital?”“That was certainly very satisfying, and hopefully ZMapp played some role in that,” Whaley said. “But that remains to be seen.”The exchange highlights the growing hope that some biomedical intervention—such as a treatment like ZMapp—will allow more people to survive Ebola infections. Time and time again, however, hope and hype have become knotted together.Today, that knot is sure to grow tighter with the publication online in Nature of an encouraging monkey experiment with ZMapp, in which 100% of the infected monkeys survived. It is sure to further raise expectations of a cure—and further confuse the public about just how near a cure might be. Even the authors of the new study caution that extending the monkey results to humans could be a long and difficult task.The experiments, led by Gary Kobinger of the Public Health Agency of Canada in Winnipeg, first tested combinations of Ebola antibodies made by his lab and Mapp Bio to find a cocktail that worked best in guinea pigs and then monkeys. They selected the concoction now called ZMapp and gave it to three groups of six monkeys; all received intramuscular injections of high doses of Ebola virus. A control group of three monkeys were given dummy drugs.The treated monkeys each received a total of three doses of ZMapp, one every 3 days. Treatment began at 3 days postinfection for one group, at 4 days for another, and at 5 for a third. All 18 of the monkeys had evidence of infection, many became ill, and two nearly died.In the end, 100% of the treated monkeys survived, and 100% of the control animals quickly died. Although the experiment used an older Ebola virus that differs from the strain now in West Africa, the researchers showed in a test-tube study that ZMapp also worked against the more recently isolated virus.The results are “a monumental achievement,” wrote virologist Thomas Geisbert, who studies Ebola virus at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, in a Nature editorial accompanying the study.“It’s a great study,” Geisbert tells ScienceInsider. “I’ve got shelves and shelves and shelves of things that inhibit Ebola in cell culture and a small percent inhibit it in guinea pigs or mice. And I’ve got shelves and shelves of things that work in guinea pigs and mice but not in monkeys. If you save 100% of monkeys up to 5 days after infecting them, that’s a huge bar to clear.”In a teleconference held by Nature today, Kobinger said it was “quite remarkable” that they could rescue infected animals that had advanced disease, which he called “a very important step forward in the fight against Ebola virus.” But Kobinger also stressed that many unknowns remain about the differences between this monkey model and human infection.To begin with, most humans are infected by exposure to bodily fluids from people with Ebola, not by syringes that hold a huge bolus of virus injected into their muscles. This kills monkeys on average in 8 days, while it typically takes 3 to 21 days for humans to develop symptoms. “It’s very hard to translate” the disease progression in this monkey model to humans, Kobinger said. But a monkey infected by this route and left untreated for 5 days is 3 days away from death he said, which indicates that ZMapp worked well into the disease.The monkeys received three doses of ZMapp, and it sometimes required a second one before the level of Ebola virus in their blood—the viral load—dropped. With the seven treated humans, one person who died received only a single dose, and no one has yet reported how many doses the others received. Kobinger said he “would not expect” a single dose to work. “What the antibody is really doing is buying time,” said Kobinger, stressing the importance of proper medical care on survival.Kobinger said he had no idea whether the antibodies had any effect on viral load in these patients, as they were given the experimental ZMapp on a “compassionate use” basis. “When each of the clinicians or clinical teams that have been using ZMapp release their data, we’ll get a better sense of maybe the efficacy, but even then, it’s hard because it’s not really a designed study,” Kobinger said. “Unfortunately, it may be limited what we’re really going to learn from those seven patients.”In preliminary experiments not reported in the Nature paper, Korbinger said he has in vivo evidence that ZMapp works against the strain now circulating in West Africa. He said future experiments will analyze the impact of providing infected monkeys with effective intensive care. His group also wants to see how low of a dose of ZMapp they can give infected monkeys and still rescue them. “One of the things that is very urgent for us to do is a dose de-escalation study so that we can see what the minimum amount of antibody is so maybe with the same amount of material we could do more,” he said.The availability of ZMapp is a critical issue for the growing number of people who want access to it on a compassionate use basis. Mapp Bio says it now has no more ZMapp on hand. Kentucky BioProcessing in Owensboro grows the ZMapp antibodies in tobacco plants. In a 2012 press release, that company’s chief operating officer, Barry Bratcher, said it had a fully automated production system “that operates in accordance with good manufacturing practices” and could “generate a new antibody lot in two weeks to rapidly address new threats and new outbreaks.” Bratcher did not reply to an e-mail from ScienceInsider to discuss that prediction.At the Scripps panel talk, Whaley told ScienceInsider that they were still trying to sort out production issues. “Clearly we misstated [the production time needed],” Whaley said. “That clearly was not our intention.”Questions also have been raised about how it was decided to give ZMapp to the seven people who have received ZMapp so far, two of whom were from Europe and two from the United States. Whaley said the company responds to requests that come through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and has no say in who ultimately had received the product.Two of the seven ZMapp patients have died. Their outcomes ultimately say nothing about the treatment: The people received the drug at different stages of disease, and four were evacuated to wealthy countries for top-notch care—likely the most important determinant of survival. No information has become public about the effect the antibodies had on their levels of virus. What’s more, it’s an experiment without a control. “These people did not have an identical twin who was infected the same day and didn’t get treated,” said Scripps structural biologist Erica Ollmann Saphire, who was a panelist at the event there and helped Mapp Bio select antibodies. “That’s why we need to do the human clinical trial.”Human studies of ZMapp are scheduled to begin in early 2015.Meanwhile, Ebola cases continue to rise. The World Health Organization as of yesterday reported 3069 cases and 1552 deaths, a case fatality rate of 52%. Senegal today reported its first case.*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicine have made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.last_img read more

3 12 19

first_imgHong Kong’s academics are being drawn into a long-running debate over local election procedures as student activists organize a boycott of classes to protest what they argue are undemocratic restrictions proposed by Beijing. More than 500 professors and staff members at 20 of the city’s colleges and universities have signed a statement supporting the students. And at least a few worry that Beijing’s attempts to micromanage local affairs could eventually crimp academic freedom.A statement of support titled “Don’t let the striking students stand alone” is posted in Chinese and English on the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union’s website. “As teachers and as citizens, we are pained and outraged to see the advancement of democracy in Hong Kong stifled and suppressed,” the statement begins before strongly endorsing student activism: “When we look back at history, both in China and overseas, we see that student movements have been an important force in pushing for social progress. Our hope in Hong Kong’s future lies in the passion and spirit shown by our young people and their willingness to take up the mantle in the fight for democracy and social justice.”    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(*)Universal suffrage in elections for Hong Kong’s chief executive by 2017 was a key principle underlying agreements to transfer Hong Kong from British to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. But the details were never spelled out. On 31 August, a committee of China’s National People’s Congress announced that only two or three people should be eligible to run for Hong Kong’s top political post and that all candidates should be selected by a nominating committee widely seen as favoring Beijing.Hong Kong’s pro-democracy advocates believe these conditions ensure that only pro-Beijing candidates will appear on the ballot. The announcement touched off demonstrations partly aimed at persuading Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, where a two-thirds vote is needed for approval, to reject the proposal. An “Occupy Central” movement plans to disrupt activity in the city’s business district early next month. And student activists are organizing a class boycott that could start the week of 22 September.The faculty support statement calls on teachers to be lenient in dealing with student absences, avoid scheduling important tests during the boycott, help student strikers keep up with class work, and wear yellow ribbons to show solidarity.”We have support from 20 local tertiary institutions with 520 signatories as of 13 September across most academic disciplines,” says Chor-yung Cheung, a political scientist at the City University of Hong Kong.If there is a student strike, “it will be business as usual,” at the University of Hong Kong, says Sun Kwok, an astronomer and the school’s dean of science. “Classes will continue to be held for students.”In response to a query from ScienceInsider, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) issued a statement saying the school “values freedom of speech, academic freedom and also rule of law.” But teaching and operations will go on normally, the statement reads.”The boycott will not be too disruptive, though with some good mobilization, the student leaders may be able to get lots of students to join,” says David Zweig, a social scientist at HKUST. He adds, “Most academics will simply tape their classes and ask the students to watch them. That is what I plan to do.”Kwok does not foresee the political controversy affecting higher education. “We are continuing to expand and improve and I am quite positive and optimistic about our future,” he says. He adds that political uncertainty has not affected recruiting. “At the faculty of science, we are continuing to advertise internationally for our open professorial positions and have received good responses. A number of colleagues from overseas have recently joined our faculty,” he says.Others worry that Beijing’s meddling could spread from the political arena to academia. Wai-Kwok Benson Wong, a political scientist at Hong Kong Baptist University, worries that, if Beijing gains more political influence, mainland scholars might be favored over locals, visas could be denied to academics with controversial opinions, and Hong Kong academics will hesitate to study or teach politically sensitive topics. The election rules decision “undermines people’s confidence in [Beijing’s] commitment to the policy of one country, two systems, which underpins Hong Kong’s academic freedom and other rights and liberties,” Cheung says.last_img read more

3 12 19

first_imgFilthy, smelly, repulsive. There are a lot of ways to describe cockroaches, but “full of personality” usually isn’t one of them. Yet a team of scientists has not only found evidence that the scuttling insects have personalities, but also discovered that when cockroaches get together, they create a group personality. The group personalities of cockroaches vary, too.“A lot of studies show personality in other invertebrates,” says Isaac Planas-Sitjà, a behavioral ecologist at the Free University of Brussels and the lead author of the study. “But no one had looked at the American cockroach.”Over the last 2 decades, scientists have documented personalities—that is, consistent behaviors, such as boldness, shyness, sociability, or aggressiveness—in a range of invertebrate species, from octopuses to water striders to social spiders. Planas-Sitjà was drawn to cockroaches not out of fondness, but because they don’t live in societies with leaders and followers—social castes that can make it difficult to spot an individual’s personality. “They are all independent, even though they are gregarious,” he 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 find out if the cockroaches had personalities, Planas-Sitjà and his colleagues glued tiny radio frequency identification chips to the thoraxes of 304 roaches so that they could track each insect after it was placed in a new environment. The scientists divided the animals into 19 groups of 16 individuals (all males about 4 months of age, because an animal’s age and gender can affect its behavior, making it more difficult to tease out its personality type). Three times a week, the team placed each group in the middle of a brightly lit, plastic circular arena that was surrounded by an electric fence so that the roaches could not escape. Two identical Plexiglas disks covered with red filters hovered just above the arena, creating red circles that the light-phobic insects perceived as shelters. Each shelter was large enough for all 16 cockroaches to gather beneath.Over a 3-hour period, the scientists measured the amount of time individual cockroaches spent inside a shelter and how much time each took to pay its first visit. To see if the insects reached a consensus about where to gather (an indicator of group personality), they tallied how many insects were beneath each disk at the end of the experiment. Their analysis showed that like other species, from spiders to lions, these cockroaches had shy and bold individuals. The shy roaches ran for cover as soon as they entered the arena, whereas bold individuals spent more time exploring, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. And the roaches consistently behaved in these same ways in each test.Despite these individual personality differences, by the end of each experiment the groups always ended up crowded together beneath the same shelter. “There is a collective dynamic—a social influence—that dilutes the individual personality differences,” Planas-Sitjà says. “So in the group, you end up with a similar behavior in everyone.” This conformity happens even though the researchers know, based on previous experiments, that some cockroaches when left alone in the arena never dash to a shelter, whereas others spend only a short amount of time beneath one. Yet they change their behaviors as soon as they’re in a group. “Then they all run to the shelter,” says Planas-Sitjà, who hopes to tease out why and how this happens with further experiments.The team’s discovery that “the collective outcome [the group personality] is different from the sum of the personalities is very cool,” says Noa Pinter-Wollman, an animal behaviorist at the University of California, San Diego, who was not involved in the study. “It implies that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Social spiders, bees, and ants are also known to have group or colony personalities.“To be able to show group personality as they have done is very exciting and intriguing,” adds Odile Petit, an ethologist at the French national research agency CNRS in Strasbourg. “And they’ve shown that individuals and their personalities matter even in simple animals.” Yes, even in cockroaches.last_img read more

3 12 19

first_imgIn 1670, a Carthusian monk named Père Dom Anthelme discovered a “new star,” or nova, near the constellation Cygnus, pointing out to his fellow monks a star that did not appear on maps of the sky. Now, as astronomers report online today in Nature, this nova, CK Vulpeculae, had an unusual cause: The explosion probably occurred when two stars orbiting each other spiraled together and merged into one. New observations reveal molecules in the gas surrounding the merged star (white and yellow show the brightest glow at visible wavelengths; green contours indicate carbon monoxide gas). The molecules contain lots of isotopes that arise during nuclear reactions, so they likely spilled out of the stellar interiors when the stars joined together. Astronomers have recently discovered that rare “red novae”—named for their color—result when stars merge; now the aftermath of the 17th century nova indicates what such stellar mergers look like centuries later.last_img read more