Gujarat Deputy CM’s son barred from Qatar Airways flight for being ‘heavily drunk’

first_imgThe son of Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel was on Monday stopped by authorities from boarding a Qatar Airways flight to Greece after he arrived in a “heavily drunken” state and argued with airlines staff, officials said.Jaimin Patel, his wife Jhalak and their daughter Vaishvi were stopped from boarding the Qatar Airways flight, which was to take off at 4 a.m.When he reached Ahmedabad International Airport, he was unable to walk due to his inebriated state. He went through the immigration and other checks in a wheelchair due to his drunken state, airport officials told IANS.“Jaimin Patel was prevented from boarding the flight. He also had an argument with the staff of the airways,” the official added.last_img

Panchayat polls in J&K in February

first_imgAs the Jammu and Kashmir government announced dates for panchayat elections in the State, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday hoped that “people will chose ballots over bullets again”.“I’m very pleased to announce that the long-overdue panchayat elections in J&K will be held from February 15, 2018. People of the State have always chosen ballots over bullets and will continue to do so,” she said.The State has not held the local body polls in the past two years due to uncertain situations. According to an official, the elections will be held on a non-party basis as in 2011.The Congress welcomed the news.“Any announcement to strengthen the democracy at the grassroots is a welcome measure.The party is ready to jump into the fray with full confidence,” said State Congress chief G.A. Mir.“Earlier, due to the worsening security scenario the parliament by-polls couldn’t be held in Anantnag. How come the government would be able to hold the panchayat polls?” asked Mir.last_img read more

Congress, Opposition AAP in war of words in Punjab

first_imgThe ruling Congress and the principal Opposition, the Aaam Aadmi Party, were involved in a war of words after allegations were levelled against Cabinet Minister Charanjeet Singh Channi for his alleged involvement in illegal sand mining. As the Leader of the Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Monday alleged that Mr. Channi was involved in illegal sand mining through his nephew – the Cabinet Minister was quick to refute the charges, challenging Mr. Khaira to prove his accusation.“Punjab Chief Minister had recently tweeted about the illegal mining being carried out in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar… I have now provided the facts about it as one of the mine in district Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar has been allotted to a person, who is the business partner and close associate of Mr. Channi’s nephew. It’s now the turn of the Chief Minister to take action against people responsible for it,” said Mr. Khaira.“The government should order an inquiry into the case by a commission under a sitting or retired judge of the High Court,” he said, adding that being Leader of the Opposition in Punjuab Vidhan Sabha, he will continue to raise the voice of people inside and outside the Assembly.Mr. Channi denied the charges levelled against him, saying neither he nor any his family members have any link or stake in the mining business. “The allegation levelled by Mr. Khaira are baseless and false. A few days ago, Mr. Khaira had alleged that my relatives were indulging in illegal mining and later backtracked…now he is alleging that some people known to my relatives are involved in illegal mining…Mr. Khaira is in the habit of coming up with false stories,” said Mr. Channi.‘Prove allegation’Mr. Channi dared the Leader of the Opposition to prove his allegation otherwise be ready to face a legal suite. “Mr. Khaira should stop such baseless charges and instead focus on playing the role of Leader of the Opposition in a constructive manner,” he added.last_img read more

HC directive to media in Kathua case

first_imgThe Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed media organisations to pull down online news items disclosing the identity of an eight-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in J&K’s Kathua district.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar gave the direction after it was apprised that despite the court’s order, some of the news organisation were still displaying news which disclosed the identity of the victim. The bench has sought the name of the organisations who had not complied with the court’s order yet.last_img

No news of clash in 12 hours, life limping back to normal in Shillong: Top official

first_imgThe situation in the violence-hit Meghalaya capital has “improved” with no fresh clash reported from any part of the city over the past 12 hours, a top district official said. Barring the 14 “vulnerable” localities, where the 24-hour curfew continued to remain in force, life was limping back to normal in other parts of Shillong, he said. “Over 90 per cent shops in Police Bazaar, and parts of Bara Bazaar opened this morning. People were seen buying supplies at the two marts. Taxis were also plying on thoroughfares, but buses still remained off roads,” he added.East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner P.S. Dkhar said the home department was yet to take a call on restoring internet and messaging services in the state capital. “There was no report of any untoward incident in the past 12 hours, but curfew would be imposed on the entire city from 4 p.m. to 5 a.m., just like yesterday (Monday),” he said.The hill town has been in the grip of violence since Thursday following a fight between the Sikh residents in Shillong’s Punjabi Lane area, also known as sweeper colony, and the Khasi drivers of state-run buses. Over 10 people, including policemen and CRPF personnel, were injured in the clashes. Altogether 15 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed at various locations in Shillong to handle the situation. The Army also conducted a flag march in the city for the second day on Monday.The BJP-backed Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government has formed a high-level committee, headed by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, to find a permanent solution to the issue of relocation of the sweeper colony, inhabited by the Punjabis.Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma had said on Monday that the urban affairs department has been asked to submit a detailed report on the Punjabi Lane area to the committee, including its history, legal aspects and concerns of the people living there.last_img read more

CBI takes over probe into sexual abuse at Muzaffarpur shelter home

first_imgThe Central Bureau of Investigation has taken over the probe into alleged mental, physical and sexual exploitation of minor girls at a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur.Among the accused persons are officials of the shelter home. The case has been registered on the request of the State government. Relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act have been invoked.The investigation pertains to an FIR registered by the Bihar Police in May alleging sexual exploitation of the girls at the Balika Grih located on Sahu Road in Muzaffarpur.It is alleged that officials of the shelter home run by Seva Sankalp Evam Vikash Samiti were involved in the crime.The Muzaffarpur police have arrested 10 accused persons, including District Child Protection officer Ravi Kumar Roshan, Caretaker Brajesh Thakur and Child Welfare Committee member Vikas Kumarlast_img read more

Anand Teltumbde seeks Maharashtra govt. nod to file defamation suit against police officer

first_imgCivil rights activist and academic Anand Teltumbde has written to the Maharashtra government seeking sanction to file a defamation suit against Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) Param Bir Singh. The police officer had addressed a press conference in Mumbai on August 31 and mentioned Mr. Teltumbde name in connection with the arrest of activists for alleged links to banned Maoist organisations. The Pune police had raided the homes of several civil rights activists on August 28, including Mr. Teltumbde’s residence in Goa.In his letter to the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr. Teltumbde has said that allegations made by Mr. Singh at the press conference were “palpably false”. The letter refuted several claims by Mr. Singh including letters written to Mr. Teltumbde and, more specifically, him being involved in organising a conference in Paris. Mr. Teltumbde in his letter has said that the entire exercise had sullied his reputation before his students, academic colleagues, corporate clients and public at large. “My reputation has been irreparably damaged due to which I am also suffering professionally. Since the injury caused to me has been a direct result of Mr. Param Bir Singh’s malafide and motivated actions, and since Mr. Param Bir Singh has publicised falsehoods against me knowing them to be untrue. Therefore, I am desirous of filing a criminal defamation proceeding against him ,” the letter stated.last_img read more

In Uttar Pradesh, Muslim family converts to Hinduism to ‘spur police into action’

first_imgUpset over police treating his son’s ‘unnatural death’ as suicide rather than a murder, a Muslim man has embraced Hinduism along with 12 of his family members, according to officials here.Akhtar, a resident of Badarkha village under Chhaprauli police station area, has submitted an affidavit to the sub-divisional magistrate, testifying to voluntary change of religion, officials said.Mr. Akhtar later told reporters that he felt the change might spur police to “properly investigate his son’s murder”.Baghpat District Magistrate Rishirendra Kumar confirmed that the family members said they had changed their religion as they were not satisfied with the police probe into the death of Mr. Akhtar’s son.The family changed their religion amid requisite religious rituals, including a ‘hawan’, said Yuva Hindu Vahini (Bharat) state chief Shaukendra Khokhar on Tuesday.SP Shailesh Kumar Pandey said he received information about some members of the Muslim community changing their religion. “The matter is being looked into,” he said.last_img read more

BJP MLA from Pune booked for extortion

first_imgA BJP legislator from Pune district was booked along with two others by the city police on Friday for allegedly attempting to extort money from the director of a private firm. An FIR was lodged Yogesh Tilekar, MLA from Hadapsar, his brother Chetan Tilekar and another person for threatening and demanding ₹50 lakh as extortion money from Rahul Gangote, director of Evisions Teleinfra Pvt. Ltd. – a company engaged in laying fibre optic cable for a number of government and private establishments across the city.The MLA allegedly demanded the money for permission to laying fibre optic cable in his constituency.The Kondhwa police, acting on a complaint filed by a company official, lodged a case against Mr.Yogesh under Sections 379 (theft), 384 (extortion), 427 (damage to property) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) .According to the police, the incident took place in August when an accomplice of the MLA stopped the company’s employees from laying cable network in the Katraj-Kondhwa area.His henchman further told the employees to inform Mr. Gangote that the latter had to allegedly cough up ₹50 lakh a month if the firm wanted to finish laying the cables.The complaint said the MLA’s henchmen stole fibre optic cable worth ₹40,000 when the company ignored his threats. This is not the first time that the MLA, a history-sheeter, has courted controversy. In March this year, he was booked for threatening and assaulting a man and his family.last_img read more

Congress to bank on citizenship Bill to stop BJP in Northeast

first_imgThe Congress would be banking on the sentiment against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to stop the BJP from winning the 25 Lok Sabha seats across the eight States in the Northeast.On February 17, less than a week after the Congress claimed to have stalled the Bill from being tabled in the Rajya Sabha, BJP president Amit Shah said that his party would bring it again if voted to power in the upcoming parliamentary polls.“Only through manipulation can the BJP hope to win 21 out of 25 seats in the region. The Congress is the only hope for the people of the Northeast against the BJP’s plan that will be disastrous for their culture, identity and tradition,” Luizinho Faleiro, Congress general secretary in-charge of Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, told media persons on Wednesday.Unemployment crisisApart from the Bill, the Congress would also focus on the unemployment crisis in the region as well as the rest of the country. Mr. Faleiro ribbed the regional parties that are partners of BJP in the North East Democratic Platform, an anti-Congress forum otherwise labelled as a platform for developmental issues.“The NEDA members cannot fool the people of the Northeast with their opportunist politics. If they had any values left and if they were truly concerned about the cause of the people of the region, they would have resigned the very day Amit Shah announced that the BJP would bring back the Citizenship Bill if voted to power,” Mr. Faleiro said.NEDA members such as National People’s Party had threatened to pull out of the forum as well as sever political ties with the BJP if it went ahead with the citizenship Bill. The Congress has eight Lok Sabha members form the Northeast, three from Assam which has a total 14 constituencies. The BJP too has eight seats while its NEDA partners have three. The other seats are held by All India United Democratic Front, the CPI(M) and an Independent.last_img read more

Mizoram to increase maize yield despite pest outbreak

first_imgThe Mizoram Agriculture Department is taking steps to increase maize production despite an outbreak of the fall armyworm, which has left a trail of destruction in the fields across the State, officials said on Friday. The production of maize in the State was 8,911 metric tonnes in 5,779 hectares in 2016-17, while it was 9,470.6 MT in 5,979.2 hectares in 2017-18, the officials added. The officials said they expect an increase in the cultivation area and production due to the department’s concentration on maize cultivation in the low-lying areas of central Mizoram’s Serchhip district under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. Additional seeds have been distributed for rabi and kharif crops, though the FAW “has been a big blow”, they said.last_img

Podcast: Mice Sprout Tumors From Stem Cells, Szechuan Peppers Vibrate the Senses, and More

first_imgHow did scientists reprogram cells in living mice? What do spicy Szechuan peppers do to our nerves? And will a twist on liquid crystal displays make for speedy new technology? Science’s News Staff Writer Adrian Cho chats about these stories and more with Science’s Sarah Crespi.Listen to the full Science podcast.Read the transcript.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(*)Hear more podcasts.last_img read more

Ancient Desert Glyphs Pointed Way to Fairgrounds

first_imgSeen from above, the jagged rocks strewn about the Chincha Valley desert in Peru seem inconspicuous. But stand in the desert itself and these rocks form lines that stretch toward the horizon. Researchers have found that these lines were probably ancient signposts for the Paracas culture more than 2000 years ago, guiding people across the desert to gathering places for the winter solstice.The Paracas people lived in what is now southern Peru from 800 to 100 B.C.E. They immediately preceded another culture called the Nazca, which is famous for making massive line drawings out of earth and stone, including enormous works of art depicting everything from birds to monkeys. Archaeologists call such lines “geoglyphs,” whether they are meant to be artistic or serve a practical purpose.The Paracas also made geoglyphs, and the Chincha Valley contains two kinds, explains Charles Stanish, an archaeologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. By sweeping the darker desert soil off the bright limestone underneath, ancient peoples created white lines that are easily visible at great distances. “They would be unmistakable” to people traveling down to the desert from the surrounding hills, Stanish explains. Then, as these travelers arrived at certain spots on the desert floor, the second type of geoglyph would become obvious. What previously looked like nothing more than scattered rocks would suddenly take on a definite shape and appear to form new lines stretching off into the horizon.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 understand the purpose of the geoglyphs, Stanish and his team first had to confirm that the lines were made by the Paracas people. Scientists have a horribly difficult time pinning down when any geoglyphs were made because they include no remains from dead plants for carbon dating. However, the Chincha Valley also contains ruins of five settlements with small pyramids built by the Paracas that contain artifacts from daily life, such as pots and baskets. There are also three large mounds in the desert that contain the remains of maize and sugarcane that definitely came from 400 to 100 B.C.E., when the Paracas people dominated the region.So the researchers played a 30-square-kilometer game of connect the dots. They used GPS technology to plot the desert’s settlements, mounds, and 71 geoglyphs for the first time. What they saw was unmistakable. Certain groups of geoglyphs clearly led directly to particular mounds or settlements, suggesting that they served as paths for Paracas people seeking to trade goods or gather for other activities, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Because each group of geoglyphs pointed the way to a different settlement, Stanish believes the settlements were likely controlled by distinct political or ethnic groups. Each group probably built its own set of geoglyphs in order to draw followers throughout the desert to its own trade fairs and other social events, he says. This discovery not only provides a glimpse of what life was like before the Nazca, he adds, but it also shows the roots of how society developed when the dominant culture had no real government. “They’re converting this landscape into a big theater, and the ultimate goal is to bring people together to market, exchange goods, manufacture goods, exchange marriage partners, gossip, do all the things people like doing. And then they’re competing with each other to bring in the most supporters,” Stanish says.But that wasn’t all the researchers found. It appears that the three large mounds had a ceremonial purpose, because each was connected to separate pairs of geoglyphs that point directly to the spot where the sun sets on the winter solstice in June. There’s no evidence that people lived around the mounds, so Stanish suspects the Paracas used them as gathering places for yearly festivities tied specifically to the solstice. “When you stand behind the mounds and you’re facing the sunset—and we were there for the solstice—the sun sets right on the mound. And if you’re a human being standing there, the sun melts right on your head. It’s pretty impressive.”The new research is “very sound,” says archaeoastronomer Anthony Aveni of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, who was not involved in the study. He added that the findings hint at how astronomical awareness grew over the centuries in the region, beginning with recognition that the sun slowly travels back and forth, north and south, over the course of the year. “Here we have the more basic earlier observations being used, just simply following one of the extremes of the pendulumlike movement of the sun.”Hendrik Van Gijseghem, a Nazca archaeologist at the University of Montreal in Canada, who was also not involved in the study, called the new work “tremendously interesting.” He says Stanish and his team’s effort to date the glyphs by connecting them with the Paracas mounds and settlements is convincing. “They can actually make a good case that there is a consistent association between well-dated settlements, these geoglyphs that are notoriously hard to date, and astronomical phenomenon.”Now that the mounds’ ceremonial purpose is clear, the next step for Stanish’s team is to figure out the exact nature of the social events at the Paracas settlements. He plans to further excavate the settlements to look for objects such as beads, copper, shells, and the bones of llamas and alpacas. “There’s all sorts of things we can look for to see what kinds of activities were going on.”last_img read more

Ancient bird had wingspan longer than a stretch limousine

first_imgFossils unearthed at a construction project in South Carolina belong to a bird with the largest wingspan ever known, according to a new study. The animal measured 6.4 meters from wingtip to wingtip, about the length of a 10-passenger limousine and approaching twice the size of the wandering albatross, today’s wingspan record-holder. Like modern-day albatrosses, the newly described species would have been a soaring champ.Fragmentary fossils of the new species—bones from a fairly complete skull, as well as some from one wing and leg—were discovered in 1983, when excavations began for a new terminal at Charleston International Airport. The fossils had been entombed in rocks laid down as seafloor sediments sometime between 25 million and 28 million years ago, says Daniel Ksepka, a vertebrate paleontologist who is now at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut. Ksepka was invited to check out the specimen, part of the collection at the Charleston Museum, when he worked at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. (The 3-decade delay in describing the species stems, in part, from the time needed to tease the delicate fossils from the rock.)The largest bone of the bunch was an 81-centimeter-long fragment of humerus, which in humans stretches from shoulder to elbow. Ksepka’s analyses hint that the bone, if complete, would have been about 94 cm long. He extrapolated, based on the skeletal proportions of this species’ close relatives, that each wing would have measured almost 2.5 meters. Add wingtip feathers and the width of the body, and the bird’s total wingspan was likely 6.4 m but possibly larger, Ksepka reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In comparison, the largest wild-caught specimens of today’s wandering albatross, Diomedea exulans, have a wingspan of only 3.5 m.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 new species, dubbed Pelagornis sandersi, is one of a handful within the genus Pelagornis—which means “bird of the open sea” in ancient Greek. These giant seabirds—all of them extinct and all the size of today’s albatrosses or larger—ranged worldwide, because their fossils have been found on all continents. Previously, scientists had suggested that pelagornithids, as the birds are known, were related to pelicans and albatrosses, but recent studies hint that the group is more closely related to ducks, geese, and swans.Proportions of the weight-bearing bones in P. sandersi’s hind limbs suggest that the bird weighed between about 22 and 40 kilograms. That range, combined with the probable range of wingspans for P. sandersi, allowed Ksepka to estimate the gliding performance of the bird. For most combinations of body weight and wing proportions that he analyzed, P. sandersi outperformed a frigatebird and a vulture (two types of bird known for their soaring ability) and typically bested the gray-headed albatross, Diomedea chrysostoma. On average, Ksepka says, for every 1 meter the bird dropped while gliding, it could have moved forward 22 m.Ksepka’s new analysis is “a solid piece of work,” says Mark Witton, a paleobiologist at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. It shows that P. sandersi “was a superalbatross,” he adds. The bird’s flight performance “is pretty much what you’d expect for a creature with that wingspan,” he notes.Using the broad range of size and wingspan estimates to assess flight performance, rather than a single combination, “is a refreshing change from the speculations that sometimes characterize sensational finds of fossils representing truly gigantic extinct animals,” says Adam Smith, an evolutionary biologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.P. sandersi’s body plan was well adapted to long-range flight, says Michael Habib, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. If its winding flight paths were straightened out and then measured, “it would have been a [distance] champion,” he suggests. Habib explains that it would have been able to cross broad stretches of ocean by taking advantage of thermals (rising columns of air created over warmer-than-normal patches of ocean) to gain altitude, then gliding until it reached the next thermal.The ability to soar long distances and forage for food with a minimum of effort might help explain how P. sandersi and its close relatives—which lived from 55 million years ago until about 3 million years ago—thrived worldwide. More mysterious, Ksepka says, is why members of this group died out. Possible causes of their demise include changes in climate that affected wind speeds over the seas, a change in the availability of preferred foods, or some combination of the two.last_img read more

First measurement of the ancient solar system’s magnetic field

first_imgEarth and its planetary neighbors arose in a magnetic field strong enough to sculpt the disk of gas and dust that spawned our solar system and set the stage for a planet capable of developing life. That’s the implication of new work that uses a meteorite to deduce the strength of the magnetic field around the young sun.Planets arise in so-called protoplanetary disks, which orbit young stars but disperse after a few million years as material from the disk both falls into the star and gets pushed away. What causes this transfer of mass? Some researchers suspect magnetic forces do the job, but no one has ever measured a protoplanetary disk’s magnetic intensity.Now, planetary scientists Roger Fu and Benjamin Weiss of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and their colleagues are the first to do so, for a protoplanetary disk that no longer exists—the one that gave birth to the worlds orbiting the sun. The scientists studied the magnetic properties of a meteorite named Semarkona, which hit India in 1940. “Only a few meteorites in our entire collection can work for a study like this,” Fu says. Meteorites come from asteroids, where in most cases the magnetic information is erased by heat and moisture; sometimes meteorite hunters hold magnets up to rocks to test whether they are indeed meteorites, but that also destroys information. “Most meteorites are kind of like eight-track tapes,” Weiss says. “This one is like a DVD.” Semarkona’s minerals indicate that it has stayed relatively cool and dry, and some of those minerals have preserved magnetic records for billions of years.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(*)Fu’s team studied eight chondrules—small pellets of rock—in the meteorite, focusing on dusty olivine grains that contain metal, which, like compasses, aligned with the nascent solar system’s magnetic field. As the researchers report online today in Science, the chondrules formed in a magnetic field that was about half a gauss strong, comparable to the value at Earth’s surface today. Depending on how the chondrules arose, the result means the sun’s protoplanetary disk had a magnetic field intensity between 0.05 and 0.5 gauss. The field may have owed its strength to the slightly magnetized interstellar cloud that collapsed to form the solar system, because the collapse would have intensified the field; the orbital motion of ionized gas in the disk may have also produced or amplified the field. “The magnetic field that we measure [in the chondrules] is extremely strong—10,000 times stronger than what’s in interplanetary space today,” Weiss says. “It’s hard to imagine it didn’t play a major role in mass and angular momentum transfer.”David Wilner, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge who was not involved with the study, calls the result amazing. “It’s really quite a remarkable measurement,” he says. “It’s notoriously difficult to measure anything about magnetic fields in protoplanetary disks.”Was the ancient magnetic field just the right strength to mold the sun’s protoplanetary disk into a solar system containing a world of the right size at the right orbital distance to develop life? “I don’t think we understand the processes well enough to really make that connection directly,” Wilner says, “but it surely wouldn’t surprise me if there were differences” in the properties of the sun’s planets had the magnetic field been stronger or weaker.last_img read more

H-1B visa, H-4 visa holders’ dilemma when it comes to matrimony

first_imgLately, stories on H4 visa holders’ quandary has been making headlines in various newspapers in the U.S. and in India, as the Trump Administration shows spouses of H-1B visa holders the sign to “next exit”, take away their Employment Authorization Document (EAD), work permit.The H4 spouses who got work authorizations (and converted their H4 status into H-1B in matrimony and now working) under President Obama’s Administration Executive Order (and their husbands’) lives are imperiled with an “uncertain” future.Read it at News India Times Related Itemslast_img

Indian doctors question new global norms for diabetes

first_imgA new set of global guidelines on managing diabetes that aim to replace those followed for over three decades, has stirred up a controversy within the medical community. Medical practitioners here in India feel the guidelines which recommend relaxing blood sugar targets will, not only lead to serious complications in diabetics, but also confusion in treatment protocol, advising that these should be ignored for Indians.Read it at Times of India Related Itemslast_img

India’s First Consignment of Alphanso to US Begins Journey

first_imgThe first consignment of Alphanso mangoes from the country has left for the US market from Vashi in Mumbai after getting approvals from American quarantine officials. The first consignment of 16 tonnes has been done through KB Exports, Rambo International and Kaushal Continental. Sunil Pawar, MD, Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) said around 1,500 tonnes are likely to be exported to the US, 4,000 tonnes to Europe, 20,000 tonnes to UAE and 12,000 tonnes to other nations.Read it at Financial Express Related Itemslast_img