Posts for December 2019

NGT raps Punjab, Haryana over their action plan on pollution

first_imgThe National Green Tribunal today slammed Punjab and Haryana governments for filing generalised action plans to combat air pollution and directed them to refer to its previous judgements on the issue. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also summoned the environment secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan asking them to give a “workable solution” for combating the problem of pollution. The tribunal took exception that Punjab and Haryana were following the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority’s (EPCA’s) comprehensive action plan and not applying their own mind. During the proceedings, both the states told the green panel that a slew of measures including stopping construction work, burning waste, shutting schools and monitoring of industries causing emissions will be taken whenever pollution is beyond prescribed limits continuously for 48 hours.“What is the logic of waiting for 48 hours? There is nothing great about the action plan which you have prepared. It is your basic function which you have to do all the time.” “Why have you referred to the EPCA’s plan? Why don’t you apply your own brains? In this country, it is a dream to have prescribed norms of air quality,” the bench observed.When the bench asked the Delhi government its stand on the odd-even scheme, the counsel appearing for it said the government wants to implement it with exceptions and has also filed a review plea in this regard which will be heard tomorrow. The tribunal had yesterday slammed the Delhi government and the neighbouring states over their action plan on ways to deal with severe air pollution in the city and directed them to file a detailed document to tackle with the problem. It had observed that air pollution was never at the “normal level” in the national capital and directed the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan to file the action plan afresh. The counsel for the Delhi government had filed the plan which recommended implementation of odd-even plan, entry of trucks in the city, ban on construction works and disallowing children from playing outside when air quality turns severe. The counsel for petitioner Vardhaman Kaushik, who had filed plea against worsening air quality in Delhi, had said the action plans submitted by the states were merely “an eye- wash” and they have only “copy-pasted” the recommendations of the Supreme Court appointed EPCA. Earlier, the NGT had directed the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and every state pollution control board to file ambient air quality analysis before the tribunal on monthly basis and also put up on their websites to enable the concerned authority to take effective steps to control air pollution.last_img read more

Had warned AAP about ‘flirting’ with Khalistanis: Gul Panag

first_imgActor and one-time Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate and campaigner Gul Panag on Saturday said she had warned the party against associating with Khalistan separatists during the Punjab Assembly elections in 2017. Ms. Panag was replying to a tweet that alleged that the AAP was “clearly seen romanticising Khalistanis” when she came out against the “flirtation”.“Poorly calculated flirtation that was. One I warned against. Repeatedly. It’s because they didn’t ‘get’ or ‘understand’ Punjab. Thought the K gang had electoral weightage. All of us from Punjab, knew better. But alas!,” she tweeted. Another Twitter user then asked her if the underlying message of her statement was that if Khalistanis had electoral weight, then it would have been acceptable. “No, the message is – no one in Punjab cares about Khalistan. Not even the ‘fringe’,” she replied. Requests for comment from several AAP functionaries, including AAP national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and spokesperson Ashutosh, yielded no response.last_img read more

Odisha bureaucrats protest against Minister’s remarks

first_imgThe IAS Officers’ Association of Odisha has taken strong exception to the remarks made by Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan against a senior IAS officer of the State at a function here on Monday.In a memorandum submitted to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the Association said that Mr. Pradhan, during the inauguration of the National Data Centre of the National Informatics Centre, had “personally targeted” State IT Secretary Ashok Meena, who was attending the function on invitation.While addressing the gathering, Mr. Pradhan had remarked that senior IAS officers were unable to take decisions independently, and for every mundane issue they were seeking approval from “higher-ups”, in an apparent reference to the CMO.Others who were present at the function included Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union IT Secretary Ajay Sawhney and State Revenue Secretary Chandra Shekhar Kumar.Demoralised officialsStating that several such incidents had been reported by field functionaries, the Association said, “This has vitiated the working atmosphere and has a demoralising effect on the officers and employees of the State government.”“The IAS Association of Odisha strongly condemns such incidents and stands by all State government employees facing such situations,” Association secretary Vishal Dev said in the memorandum.The Association requested the Mr. Patnaik to take up the matter at the appropriate level. The OAS Officers’ Association representatives also met the Chief Minister at the State Secretariat and demanded action in the matter.last_img read more

Amarinder assures Sushma of action

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has assured Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj of action against the travel agent responsible for trafficking 39 Indians to Iraq, where they were abducted and killed. “Will personally look into the matter @SushmaSwaraj ji and ensure the most stringent action against the agents responsible for the heinous crime. Will keep you updated,” Capt. Amarinder said in a tweet on Sunday. On Friday, Ms. Swaraj had said the agent responsible for trafficking 39 Indians to Iraq was still operating his business in Punjab and sending people abroad. She had requested Capt. Amarinder to take stringent action against such illegal travel agents operating in the State. Ms. Swaraj had told Parliament in March that the 39 Indians, who were abducted by the ISIS terror outfit in Mosul in Iraq three years ago, were dead.Illegal network Addressing a national conference of the State women commissions in Delhi two days ago, Ms. Swaraj had urged them to crack down on the illegal network of agents operating across the country.Ms. Swaraj had said the commissions need to identify these illegal agents and give their names to the Chief Minister of their respective States for action.last_img read more

Two aides of prime accused remanded in CBI custody

first_imgTwo close aides of Brajesh Thakur, the prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case in which the girl inmates of the home were sexually abused, were remanded in a five-day CBI custody by a court here on Wednesday. The special court hearing cases filed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act passed the order, declining the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) request for a seven-day custody of Madhu and Ashwani Kumar – who allegedly posed as a doctor – and posted the matter to November 26 for further hearing. Madhu, who was grilled by the police on Tuesday afternoon, was arrested on Wednesday morning and made to undergo medical tests at the Sadar hospital, before being produced before the court, along with Ashwani, who was arrested the previous night. Madhu, who handled many businesses of Thakur, had told reporters that she was not hiding but did not appear before the probe agency as she was never named as an accused nor was a warrant issued against her.‘Privy to no secrets’ She had also claimed that she knew nothing about the goings on at the Balika Grih (shelter home for girls), was “privy to no secrets” and refuted the media reports that she used to liaison with influential people to promote Thakur’s NGOs, newspapers and other businesses. Kumar, who was arrested from his in-laws place in Fatehpur village under the Kurhani police station in the district, did not have any medical background. He learnt how to administer injections while sitting in the clinic of his father, a doctor, at Kurhani, about 30 km from Muzaffarpur town. He was associated with Thakur’s NGO “Sewa Sankalp Aur Vikas Samiti” and allegedly used to administer injections laced with sedatives to the shelter home inmates before they were subjected to sexual abuse, sources close to Kumar said. A number of people have so far been arrested in connection with the high-profile scandal, which came to light following a social audit of Bihar shelter homes by Tata Institute of Social Sciences.last_img read more

Yogi orders probe after bribe sting

first_imgThe Yogi Adityanath government on Thursday ordered a probe by a Special Investigation Team after private secretaries of three State ministers were caught on camera allegedly seeking bribes inside the secretariat building.The SIT, headed by ADG Lucknow Zone Rajiv Krishnan, will submit its report in 10 days.Taking cognizance of the ‘sting operation’ by Hindi news channel ABP News, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered the immediate suspension of the accused officials and that an FIR be lodged against them.In the ‘sting operation,’ the secretaries — Santosh Awasthi, Om Prakash Kashyap and S.P. Tripathi — were allegedly caught on camera seeking money in exchange for work done in their departments. The officers belonged to the departments of State Minister for Education Sandeep Singh, Backward Classes Welfare Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar and Mining Minister Archana Pandey respectively.Uneasy allyMr. Rajbhar, president of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, an ally of the BJP in U.P., has had a rocky relationship with the regime. Speaking to the media, he questioned the intention of the sting operation. Ms. Pandey said she would assist the probe fully and help in ensuring that the guilty were punished.last_img read more

Row in Legislative Council over ruling on motion seeking expulsion of BJP MLC

first_imgLegislative Council chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar’s decision to allow party group leaders to decide the fate of controversial BJP legislator Prashant Paricharak caused a stir on Thursday. The Council was adjourned after Shiv Sena legislators marched to the well when the Chairman — without passing a ruling — announced the motion to expel Mr. Paricharak moved by the Shiv Sena was not sustainable and a decision would be taken only by party group leaders later.This led to sloganeering and shouting by Sena legislators, who called the decision an insult to the armed forces on a day the country was praising their role in the India-Pakistan tensions. The controversial BJP-backed independent legislator was suspended for one-and-a half years for his controversial remarks on the wives of Army personnel in 2017. When the period of suspension ended, it was revoked by the Council last year. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MLC Anil Parab moved a proposal seeking expulsion of Mr. Paricharak for his controversial remarks. This proposal came up for ruling on Thursday, when Mr. Nimbalkar said that in his opinion the proposal could not be accepted until group leaders have adjudicated on it. “During the last session the decision was taken to allow group leaders to adjudicate on this matter and whether he [Paricharak] should be allowed in the house,” he said. Mr. Nimbalkar later told The Hindu that he was merely expressing his opinion as the motion was not sustainable on technical grounds. “I am bound by technicalities and not emotions. The ultimate decision will be by group leaders. I merely expressed a point of view,” he said. The Sena legislators trooped into the well and called the apparent decision an insult to the armed forces. “it is a grave insult to allow him (Paricharak) in the house when the armed forces are fighting a decisive battle,” Sena leader Diwakar Raote said. Mr. Parab later clarified that members had misread chairman’s words when he was only referring to the motion being adjudicated by the group leaders. Leader of the Opposition in the Council Dhananjay Munde alleged that the chairman was under pressure from the BJP, at a time when the country was dealing with a crisis on the border. “We must be discussing farmers and drought, instead the chairman decided to take up this motion when it was not even listed in the morning on the agenda,” he said adding it was a wrong time to take up the motion for adjudication.last_img read more

Cong.’s last call to CPI(M) on seat sharing

first_imgMiffed with the CPI(M), the West Bengal Congress on Wednesday said there will be no seat sharing with the CPI(M) by compromising party’s dignity and gave an ultimatum to the Left Front to take a call on the tie-up by this Sunday. The Congress convened a meeting of its State election committee, which was chaired by Congress in-charge of Bengal Gaurav Gogoi, to decide on election strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. State Congress sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it has been decided that chairman of the State co-ordination committee Pradip Bhattacharya and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Abdul Mannan will speak to CPI(M) on the issue of the seat sharing and the matter should be sorted out by March 3.last_img read more

Ethnic equation matters most in Assam’s Kokrajhar

first_imgUrkhao Gwra Brahma, a former Rajya Sabha member and the United People’s Party (Liberal) candidate for the Kokrajhar Lok Sabha constituency in western Assam, says the story of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) is 5% development and 95% unemployment.But lack of development and jobs have seldom mattered in Kokrajhar, straddling 10 Assembly segments within BTC and beyond, that has suffered decades of extremism, a statehood movement, and communal violence.The electoral battle has thus often boiled down to a contest between the Bodos and non-Bodos, more intensely since the 2014 Lok Sabha election when a conglomerate of 19 non-Bodo organisations propelled Independent candidate Naba Kumar Sarania to Parliament.Non-Bodo winnerMr. Sarania, a former leader of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom, won the Kokrajhar seat in 2014 by a margin of 3,55,779 votes over Mr. Brahma. He is the first non-Bodo to have won the seat since 1957 and hopes to retain it with a similar margin “because the oppressed non-Bodos” are behind him.Though Bodos are the single largest community in Kokrajhar, the non-Bodos, including migrant Bengali-speaking Muslims —the second largest group — account for more than 70% of the population.“I will deliver a knockout punch to my rivals this time. My supporters, who are neglected in the BTC, know Assam would have been fragmented had I not been in the picture,” said Mr. Sarania, referring to the Bodoland statehood movement which has its genesis in the “divide Assam 50-50” call in the 1960s. But more than Mr. Brahma, Mr. Sarania has trained his guns on the State’s Social Welfare Minister and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) candidate Pramila Rani Brahma. The BPF, headed by Hagrama Mohilary, has been ruling the BTC since its creation in 2003 and is part of the Sarbananda Sonowal-led BJP government in Assam.The 69-year-old Ms. Brahma and Mr. Mohilary are former extremists like Mr. Sarania. Their outfit, Bodo Liberation Tigers, was disbanded soon after the BTC was born. “Our focus is on development and ensuring peaceful co-existence among all the communities that enrich BTC and other areas under Kokrajhar,” said Ms. Brahma, confident of succeeding where her predecessor — fellow Minister in the Assam government Chandan Brahma, also a former extremist — failed to by finishing third in 2014.But the non-Bodos are wary of her controversial statement after the 2014 election that led to the killing of 32 Muslims, mostly women and children in BTC areas. She had allegedly accused the Muslims of not voting for the candidate of her party that year. The BTC areas were witness to ethnic violence earlier too. More than 500 people were killed between 1993 and 2012 in communal attacks that claimed the lives of Muslims and Adivasis, besides Bodos. The 2012 violence displaced more than 1,00,000 Muslims most of whom did not return. “Whether it is a Bodo or a non-Bodo who wins, all we want is an end to living in fear,” said Hareswar Nath, a farmer in the constituency’s Sorbhog area.Altogether 12 candidates are vying for the Kokrajhar seat that goes to polls on April 23.last_img read more

ScienceShot: A 20-Million-Year Orbit

first_imgLocated 25 light-years from Earth and shining by its lonesome in the southern sky on October evenings, Fomalhaut is sometimes called “the solitary one.” It’s a white A-type star, somewhat hotter than the sun, and the 18th brightest star in the night; it harbors a dusty disk (main image) and a planet whose existence is controversial. Now, astronomers report that a little red star (inset, circled), discovered decades ago 5.67° northwest of Fomalhaut, shares the same distance and motion through space. Thus, as the scientists will announce in a future issue of The Astronomical Journal, the dim red sun probably revolves around the bright white star, even though the two are separated by a whopping 2.5 light-years of space, which is more than half the distance between the sun and Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to our own. The astronomers calculate that completing a single orbit takes the red dwarf roughly 20 million years. Fomalhaut possesses another distant companion, an orange dwarf named Fomalhaut B, so the discovery means this famous star is a triple system with two of the farthest-flung stellar companions ever seen. And that suggests that widely spaced star systems are more common than astronomers previously thought. Meanwhile, the little red star, which bears the prosaic name LP 876-10, is in for an upgrade: The researchers recommend it be rechristened Fomalhaut C.See more ScienceShots.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

ScienceShot: Don’t Blame a Hyena for Its Stink

first_imgTo a hyena, a grass stalk like this is an olfactory Facebook. He can tell from a sniff which other hyenas are in the area: male or female, young or old, pregnant or lactating. All of these characteristics are recognizable from the scent pastes that their owners rub onto such stalks from a gland under their tails. Many mammals communicate by scent, and scientists have long suspected that the chemicals responsible for this language of signature stinks are not made by the animals themselves, but by symbiotic bacteria that live in scent glands. Researchers tested this idea with a study of pastes scooped from the glands of anesthetized hyenas in Kenya. They took a survey of the bacterial DNA in each paste, and of volatile fatty acids, a family of pungent chemicals that are largely responsible for the smell. The bacterial and chemical signatures matched each other, suggesting the microbes are producing the odors: Individuals with similar chemicals also had similar profiles of bacteria. What’s more, the bacterial and chemical signatures also corresponded to key pieces of information hyenas detect from smell: the family or clan they come from, their sex, and their reproductive status, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The next steps will include cultivating the microbes they found in the lab to confirm exactly what chemicals they produce and solidifying the theory that it’s animals’ bacteria, not the animals themselves, that make such a big stink.See more ScienceShots.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

Judge returns Great Lakes wolves to endangered species list

first_imgGray wolves in the western Great Lakes region are once again protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), following a federal court ruling. The decision ends wolf hunting and trapping in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In Michigan, which does not allow wolf hunting, voters recently rejected an effort to establish a wolf season.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) removed federal protections for the wolves (Canis lupus) in 2012. The agency concluded that the canids had fully recovered from near-extinction and turned their management over to the three states’ wildlife departments. But in her 19 December ruling, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell called the decision “arbitrary and capricious.”At the time of the wolves’ delisting, federal wildlife biologists estimated the animals’ population in the region at 4400. That number dropped to 3748 this year as a result of hunting and trapping, and state plans called for an even greater decline. For instance, Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources was aiming for a statewide wolf population of just 350 animals (from a high of 800).Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In response, the Humane Society of the United States, representing a coalition of animal rights and conservation organizations, filed suit against the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2013. They argued that the decision to remove federal protections was premature and threatened the wolves’ survival.Howell agreed, finding that FWS had incorrectly interpreted the ESA by not assessing the species as a whole. The agency’s delisting decision was “fatally flawed,” she wrote, because it was tied to “a scientific finding that turned out to be, at best, premature, or, at worst, erroneous.”FWS spokesman Gavin Shire disagreed, saying that the “science clearly shows that wolves are recovered in the Great Lakes Region, and we believe the Great Lakes states have clearly demonstrated their ability to effectively manage their wolf populations.” FWS has not yet decided if it will appeal the ruling.last_img read more

Magnetic ‘rust’ controls brain activity

first_imgDeep brain stimulation, which now involves surgically inserting electrodes several inches into a person’s brain and connecting them to a power source outside the skull, can be an extremely effective treatment for disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, obsessive compulsive disorder, and depression. The expensive, invasive procedure doesn’t always work, however, and can be risky.Now, a study in mice points to a less invasive way to massage neuronal activity, by injecting metal nanoparticles into the brain and controlling them with magnetic fields. Major technical challenges must be overcome before the approach can be tested in humans, but the technique could eventually provide a wireless, nonsurgical alternative to traditional deep brain stimulation surgery, researchers say.”The approach is very innovative and clever,” says Antonio Sastre, a program director in the Division of Applied Science & Technology at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering in Bethesda, Maryland. The new work provides “a proof of principle.”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 inspiration to use magnets to control brain activity in mice first struck materials scientist Polina Anikeeva while working in the lab of neuroscientist-engineer Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. At the time, Deisseroth and colleagues were refining optogenetics, a tool that can switch specific ensembles of neurons on and off in animals with beams of light.Optogenetics has revolutionized how neuroscientists study the brain by allowing them to directly manipulate specific neural circuits. But it isn’t practical for human deep brain stimulation. The technique requires that animals be genetically modified so that their neurons respond to light. Light also scatters in brain tissue. So rodents in optogenetics experiments must remain tethered to a surgically implanted, fiber optic cable that delivers laser beams directly to the brain region of interest. Unlike light, low-frequency magnetic fields pass straight through brain tissue as if it were “transparent,” Anikeeva says. That makes those types of magnetic fields an ideal vehicle for delivering energy into the brain without damaging it. Clinicians have long tried to do just that by placing magnetic field coils near a patient’s head. This so-called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) triggers the flow of small electrical currents in neural circuits beneath the coils. But the magnetic fields used in TMS affect only brain tissue near the brain’s surface. Anikeeva, who is now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, decided to see if she could use magnetic nanoparticles to go deeper.Previous cancer studies had shown that by injecting tumors with magnetic nanoparticles made of iron oxide—“essentially rust, with well-tuned magnetic properties,” Anikeeva says—then exposing them to rapidly alternating magnetic fields, excited nanoparticles can be used to heat and destroy cancer tumors while leaving surrounding, healthy tissue intact. Anikeeva wondered if a similar method could be used to merely stimulate select groups of neurons deep within the brain. To find out, she and her MIT colleagues targeted a class of proteins called TRPV1 channels, which are found in neurons that respond to heat and certain chemicals in food. Every time you touch a hot iron or eat a spicy pepper, TRPV1-containing neurons fire. Anikeeva and her colleagues injected custom-made, 20-nanometer iron oxide particles into a region of the rodents’ brains called the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a well-studied deep brain structure essential to the experience of reward, which plays a central role in disorders such as addiction and depression in people.TRPV1-containing neurons are abundant in this region in humans, but sparse in mice. So the team also injected the rodents with a virus that increased cell expression of the channel just within that brain area. Such an approach would not be feasible in people, but made the experiment easier to evaluate, Anikeeva says.A few days later, the team put the mice underneath a custom-built, 6.35-centimeter-diameter coil that emits magnetic waves alternating between 10 hertz and 10 millihertz. Hours after the team applied the magnetic fields, they sacrificed the animals and examined their brain tissue under a microscope. The mice were a strain previously engineered to produce a bright green fluorescent marker in any active neurons. A large network of neurons connected to the VTA glowed green, suggesting that the magnetic fields had effectively stimulated the circuit, the team reports online today in Science. Anikeeva and colleagues found similar results when they waited a month before applying the magnetic stimulation, suggesting that the nanoparticles endured in place.To make the approach feasible in humans, researchers need to design nanoparticles that are “very, very selective” in their ability to target specific brain structures and neurons, Sastre says. TRPV1 channels are widely distributed throughout the human brain, so another major challenge is figuring out how to deliver stimulation only to the cells researchers want to target, he adds.In a “perfect, futuristic picture,” Anikeeva says, people suffering from depression or other neurologic or psychiatric disorders could come in for a simple intravenous injection of finely tuned, targeted nanoparticles that reach the region of the brain needing stimulation. In theory, such stimulation could take place every time patients go to sleep, if the magnetic coil were installed in their bed or a specialized pillow, she suggests. For now, however, the technique is most promising as a potential method of studying brain activity in animals that allows them to roam their enclosures without being tethered to wires, she says. “We’re not necessarily thinking of a clinical perspective yet,” Anikeeva emphasizes.(Video credit: Ritchie Chen and Polina Anikeeva)last_img read more

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