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SC moots special schools and teachers for special children

2 days Ago, December 3, 2019

Marriages fixed on FB bound to fail: Gujarat

2 days Ago, December 3, 2019

December 3, 2019

SC moots special schools and teachers for special children

first_imgThe Supreme Court has questioned the lack of separate schools and distinctly trained teachers for students who suffer from autism, blindness and deafness.The apex court observed that it is “impossible to think” that children, who are disabled or suffer from any kind of disability or are mentally challenged, can be imparted education in mainstream schools along with normal children.A Bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, said that access to education has now been regarded as a fundamental right under Article 21A and there was a statutory obligation on the States to provide education under the Rights of Children to Free and Compulsary Education Act, 2009.Treat them as special“We are of the prima facie view that the children with special needs have to be imparted education not only by special teachers but there have to be special schools for them,” the Bench said.It asked the Uttar Pradesh government to file an affidavit keeping its observation in mind in four weeks and specify when the State is going to meet the obligation. It listed the matter for further hearing on November 27.“When we say ‘disability’, we do not mean ‘disability’ as has been defined in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 includes certain physical disabilities which may not be a warrant for getting admission in special schools,” the bench said.Emphasising the need for a separate system, the court said: “The students who suffer from blindness, deafness and autism or such types of disorder may be required to have separate schools with distinctly trained teachers.”The Bench was hearing a plea filed by Rajneesh Kumar Pandey through advocate Prashant Shukla, claiming lack of sufficient number of special educators in Uttar Pradesh and other States to teach the children with special needs.‘UP already on it’Additional Advocate General Aishwarya Bhati appearing for Uttar Pradesh said the State was committed to imparting education to the children with special needs.She said the State had already commenced the procedure for engaging 12,000 teachers, of whom some would be teachers for such special children.Counsel for Centre said that under the new integrated education scheme, special children were being taught along with normal children.The Ministry of Human Resource Development and the UP government claimed that children with special needs were being taught under the integrated scheme to ensure they do not get demoralised or feel alienated.As a confidence-boosting stepIt was contended that teaching such children along with the normal kids without disability would boost the confidence of those disabled and stop their isolation from the normal environment in schools.The petition, filed by 17 teachers who claim to have undertaken the training required to teach special children, has contended that to make Right to Education a success, it is necessary that qualified special educators are there in each school so that disabled kids can be prepared to face the challenges of life.The Punjab government was also faced with the same query from the Bench in a similar matter in the apex court.last_img read more

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Marriages fixed on FB bound to fail: Gujarat

first_imgModern day marriages fixed on social media platforms like Facebook are bound to fail, remarked Justice J.B. Pardiwala of Gujarat High Court while dealing with a petition on domestic violence and dowry demand. The court disposed of the case of domestic violence and advised the couple to dissolve their marriage and think about future avenues in life. Justice Pardiwala was hearing the petition filed by Anitaben Shah, whose son Jaideep had married to one Fansi Shah after they first met in virtual world Facebook and subsequently met in person and got married in 2015.The petition was filed to quash charges of domestic violence and dowry demand levelled by Fansi Shah against her husband, in-laws and brother -in law. In the judgement delivered on January 24, Justice Pardiwala observed that within two months of their marriage, serious problems cropped up between the couple. “They got married and within two months thereafter problems cropped up in their marital life. I should make note of one fact that the parties did try to settle the matter, however, the settlement could not be arrived at,” the judge observed.“This is one of the those modern marriages fixed on Facebook, therefore, bound to fail,” Pardiwala noted, asking the couple to mutually divorce and start a new chapter in life. The court quashed the FIR filed by Fansi against her in-laws while allowing investigation against Jaideep, her husband. The court held that primarily, the respondent number 2 (Fansi) had problems with her husband and yet her in-laws were arraigned as accused in her FIR that she filed in Rajkot after she left her husband’s house. “I am still of the view that the parties should explore the possibility of settlement and put an end to the marriage with consent. Both the sides are young. Once the marriage is dissolved, they can think about their future avenues in life”, the court noted in its order.last_img read more

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20 killed in Bihar bus accident

first_imgAt least 20 people were feared killed on Thursday when a bus fell into a roadside ditch at Motihari in Bihar’s East Champaran district and caught fire.The State Disaster Management Department has confirmed the death of 20 passengers in the accident. The bus was on its way to Delhi from Muzaffarpur in north Bihar when it overturned into a ditch along National Highway-28 near Bagra village under the Kotwa police station and caught fire. According to sources, there were at least 32 passengers in the bus, while 17 others were to board it from Gopalgunj district.“About five people have been rescued in the accident. The injured have been sent to local government hospitals in Motihari and Muzaffarpur. “The total number of deaths is yet to be confirmed,” said East Champaran District Magistrate Raman Kumar.Kotwa police inspector Vijay Sinha said that the villagers told him that the accident took place while the bus driver attempted to save a two-wheeler. “The bus went off the road and turned turtle and before anyone could react the it burst into flames…only five passengers could be rescued,” said the officer. State reliefChief Minister Nitish Kumar directed officials to provide free medical facilities to those injured in the accident and financial help to the family members of the victims from the Chief Minister’s relief fund. Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav and State deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi also expressed their grief over the incident.last_img read more

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Rain brings respite to Kolkata

first_imgRains on Wednesday afternoon gave respite to the people in Kolkata grappling with sweltering heat and power trips over past several days.Weathermen at the Alipore Meteorological office said the rains were result of the scorching heat and added that the progress of monsoons in the city will restart by the weekend.On Tuesday, the maximum temperature was around 39.6 degrees Celsius about six degrees above normal. Over the past few days, power cuts in several areas in the city late in the evening and even in the wee hours of morning have left the residents furious. The CESC authorities described the power cuts as localised faults and attributed the situation to high usage of air-conditioning till the wee hours of morning due to ongoing football World Cup.“Usually the power consumption drops after 12 in the night. But with everyone being glued to television and ACs working there have been localised faults in different areas of the city,” a senior CESC official told The Hindu. The CESC officials ruled out any ‘load shedding’. On the weather front, the relative humidity recorded in the last 24 hours was 64% in the morning and 73% in the evening.With the discomfort continuing, the State government has decided to extended the summer vacations till June 30.last_img read more

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Modi’s U.P. visit to focus on urban development

first_imgAfter interacting with farmers and launching major road and irrigation projects in Uttar Pradesh over the past month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s next visit to the politically significant State will focus on urban development and investment.Mr. Modi is scheduled for a two-day trip to Lucknow on July 28-29.On the first day of his visit, the PM will launch 95 projects related to urban housing and infrastructure, and the Smart City scheme. Of these 57 projects will be related to the AMRUT Yojana, 27 for the Smart Cities scheme and 11 for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, said a govt. spokesperson.On July 29, Mr. Modi will launch the ground-breaking ceremony of projects in U.P. worth a massive Rs.60,000 crore that was pledged by investors during the UP Investors Summit 2018 in February. The Yogi Adityanath government had claimed during the summit it had signed 1,045 MOUs with a total worth of Rs.4.28 lakh crore, a sum nearly equalling the State’s 2018-19 budget.During his session in Lucknow, Mr. Modi will also interact directly with beneficiaries of the urban housing schemes of five districts through videoconferencing.As the State prepares to host the mega event, Mr. Adityanath reviewed security and infrastructural preparedness on Sunday. “The CM said the event will give a new direction to the development of U.P.,” said a government spokesperson.The government has already started a beautification and cleanliness drive in the State capital. The Lok Sabha election may have many months to go, but Mr. Modi’s heightened activity in the State indicates the BJP is already in election mode in face of a uniting Opposition.last_img read more

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69 killed in rain-related incidents in UP in four days

first_imgAs many as 69 have died and 86 others injured in rain-related incidents in Uttar Pradesh since Thursday as heavy rains pounded different parts of the state, a senior official said on Sunday.The maximum of 11 deaths were reported from Saharanpur, followed by other places.“69 persons have been killed and 86 injured in the rain-related incidents in the state since Thursday,” Relief Commissioner Sanjay Prasad told PTI here.Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed senior officials of all districts to alert people and asked them to undertake extensive tours in the affected areas and identify dilapidated buildings and get them vacated, a government spokesperson said here.Mr. Adityanath has directed the officials to give financial assistance to those who have been severely affected by rains and also medical treatment to the needy.last_img read more

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2 Manipur rebel leaders held in Meghalaya

first_imgThe police in Meghalaya have arrested two top leaders of the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF), an extremist group based in Manipur.The outfit’s chairman Raitu Chawang, 66, and information secretary Gengchung Pou Namthuiyang, 43, were caught on Monday from a bus while travelling from Assam’s Silchar to Guwahati via Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills.“Our team acted on intelligence inputs to catch them during checking. The two admitted they are ZUF leaders and were on their way to Guwahati,” West Jaintia Hills district superintendent of police Vivek Syiem said. Four mobile phones were seized from the duo.Mr. Syiem said the duo was produced before a local court for judicial remand, as they are wanted in Manipur for five cases under the Arms Act. His counterpart in Tamenglong district of Manipur is sending a team to take custody of the two ZUF leaders.Operating mostly in Tamenglong district and adjoining areas of Nagaland, the ZUF was formed in 2011. It has had run-downs with other Manipur-based outfits such as the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland.last_img read more

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Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Ravan to be released from jail

first_imgIn a major decision, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday decided the early release from jail of Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Ravan, who is behind bars on NSA charges after last year’s Saharanpur caste violence. He was to be released on November 1.Mr. Chandrashekhar was booked for his alleged role in last year’s caste violence in Saharanpur district, involving Dalits and upper caste Thakurs.The UP department, which is under CM Adityanath himself, in a statement said the decision was taken on sympathetic grounds taking into consideration the representations by Mr. Chandrashekhar’s mother and the “current situation.”However, the details are yet to be confirmed. The Bhim Army founder had challenged his detention under the NSA in the Supreme Court after which the apex court recently issued a notice to the state government.Two other persons, Sonu and Shivkumar, who were in jail over the Shabbirpur violence, will also be released early. They were to be in jail till October 14.The government had booked six persons under the NSA last year.last_img read more

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Deven Bharti named new Maharashtra ATS chief

first_imgThe Maharashtra government on Wednesday named a new head for the State Anti Terrorism Squad in a reshuffle of 28 officers of the ranks of Deputy Inspector General of Police and above. Joint Commissioner of Police (Economic Offences Wing) Deven Bharti, has been promoted to Additional Director General of Police rank and will head the State ATS.In another key transfer, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ashutosh Dumbare has been promoted to ADG and will move to the State Anti Corruption Bureau. Santosh Rastogi, Joint Commissioner of Police (Administration), will replace Mr. Dumbare, while Rajvardhan Sinha, Special Inspector General of Police, Prisons, will replace Mr. Bharti. Mr. Sinha is currently on election duty in Punjab and will take charge of the new posting on his return on May 22, sources said. In other changes at the ADG level, current ATS chief Atulchandra Kulkarni will move to Crime Investigation Department as ADG, while Special IG Vineet Agrawal will taking over as ADG, Maharashtra State Security Corporation. Sunil Ramanand, Special IG with MSSC, will replace Mr. Sinha. Meanwhile, Special IG Krishna Prakash, VIP Security, has been transferred as Special IG, Administration, while Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Amitesh Kumar, Mumbai has been transferred to the State Intelligence Department in Mumbai.last_img read more

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Quantum Computers Check Each Other’s Work

first_imgQuantum computers can solve problems far too complex for normal computers, at least in theory. That’s why research teams around the globe have strived to build them for decades. But this extraordinary power raises a troubling question: How will we know whether a quantum computer’s results are true if there is no way to check them? The answer, scientists now reveal, is that a simple quantum computer—whose results humans can verify—can in turn check the results of other dramatically more powerful quantum machines.Quantum computers rely on odd behavior of quantum mechanics in which atoms and other particles can seemingly exist in two or more places at once, or become “entangled” with partners, meaning they can instantaneously influence each other regardless of distance. Whereas classical computers symbolize data as bits—a series of ones and zeroes that they express by flicking switchlike transistors either on or off—quantum computers use quantum bits (qubits) that can essentially be on and off at the same time, or in any on/off combination, such as 32% on and 68% off.Because each qubit can embody so many different states, quantum computers could compute certain classes of problems dramatically faster than regular computers by running through every combination of possibilities at once. For instance, a quantum computer with 300 qubits could perform more calculations in an instant than there are atoms in the universe.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(*)Currently, all quantum computers involve only a few qubits “and thus can be easily verified by a classical computer, or on a piece of paper,” says quantum physicist Philip Walther of the University of Vienna. But their capabilities could outstrip conventional computers “in the not-so-far future,” he warns, which raises the verification problem.Scientists have suggested a few ways out of this conundrum that would involve computers with large numbers of qubits or two entangled quantum computers. But these still lie outside the reach of present technology.Now, quantum physicist Stefanie Barz at the University of Vienna, along with Walther and their colleagues, has a new strategy for verification. It relies on a technique known as blind quantum computing, an idea which they first demonstrated in a 2012 Science paper. A quantum computer receives qubits and completes a task with them, but it remains blind to what the input and output were, and even what computation it performed.To test a machine’s accuracy, the researchers peppered a computing task with “traps”—short intermediate calculations to which the user knows the result in advance. “In case the quantum computer does not do its job properly, the trap delivers a result that differs from the expected one,” Walther explains. These traps allow the user to recognize when the quantum computer is inaccurate, the researchers report online today in Nature Physics. The results show experimentally that one quantum computer can verify the results of another, and that theoretically any size of quantum computer can verify any other, Walther says.The existence of undetectable errors will depend on the particular quantum computer and the computation it carries out. Still, the more traps users build into the tasks, the better they can ensure the quantum computer they test is computing accurately. “The test is designed in such a way that the quantum computer cannot distinguish the trap from its normal tasks,” Walther says.The researchers used a 4-qubit quantum computer as the verifier, but any size will do, and the more qubits the better, Walther notes. The technique is scalable, so it could be used even on computers with hundreds of qubits, he says, and it can be applied to any of the many existing quantum computing platforms.”Like almost all current quantum computing experiments, this currently has the status of a fun demonstration proof of concept, rather than anything that’s directly useful yet,” says theoretical computer scientist Scott Aaronson at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. But that doesn’t detract from the importance of these demonstrations, he adds. “I’m very happy that they’re done, as they’re necessary first steps if we’re ever going to have useful quantum computers.”last_img read more

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Video: Robot Jellyfish Takes to the Air

first_imgWhen humans dream of flight, they don’t often imagine jellyfish. But a new flying machine mimics the umbrellalike flapping of an ocean jelly. The prototype has a motor-powered crankshaft that alternately flaps opposing pairs of petal-shaped wings. Though its Mylar film and carbon fiber body weighs less than one-tenth of an ounce, its stability stems from its bottom-heavy design, which lets it wobble, but not flip over. Indeed, its designers argue that the flying jelly is more stable than robots based on insects or birds, which require a tail, sails, or a feedback system to stay upright. Researchers can adjust the speed and size of the flapping to make it hover or change directions. Though the current prototype must be plugged in, future models will be battery-powered, the team reports online today in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Such minidrones could do military surveillance or monitor traffic or air quality. Considering the advantages of jellyfishlike flight, the scientists question why no land animals have evolved to fly this way.last_img read more

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U.N. Scientific Advisory Board Inaugurated in Berlin

first_imgBERLIN—What do Malaysia’s chief science adviser, Abdul Hamid Zakri; Barbadian historian Hilary Beckles; and Italian nuclear physicist Fabiola Gianotti have in common? They all serve on the United Nations’ new Scientific Advisory Board, which was inaugurated this morning at the German Federal Foreign Office in the presence of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.The board, first announced in October, consists of 26 scientists from around the globe. “This Board represents some of the world’s best scientific competence,” Ban said at the ceremony. “It will provide indispensable advice on the interface between science and policy for sustainable development.” What exactly the output of the board will be is still unclear, however. “This is what we are going to discuss starting this afternoon,” Gianotti 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(*)The panel will discuss its agenda for the coming 2 years today and tomorrow. One good idea, Zakri says, is to come up with a list of goals for sustainable development that the United Nations can focus on after the so-called Millennium Development Goals, agreed on in 2000, which run out in 2015. “We need early wins to prove that we are relevant,” Zakri says. Gianotti agrees that it is important “that the panel puts out a number of very clearly spelled recommendations.”Anne Glover, who became chief science adviser to the president of the European Commission in 2012, says she’s “delighted” that the United Nations gets its own science advisory panel. “More and more governments and organizations are recognizing the value of systematic integration of science advice into their decision making and, given the quality of the members, this board will have a lot to contribute,” Glover says.Others are cautious about the board’s relevance. “I have seen many committees and they do not always end up delivering anything concrete,” says Israeli chemistry Nobel laureate Ada Yonath, also a member of the new board. A first short meeting on Wednesday evening showed how diverse the group was and lowered Yonath’s hopes for reaching a concrete result. “But I am skeptical by nature.”last_img read more

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ScienceShot: Extinct Porpoise Had Massive Underbite

first_imgA new species of extinct porpoise kept a stiff bottom lip, fossils reveal. Though closely related to living porpoises, Semirostrum ceruttii (artist’s illustration above), named for its finder, Richard Cerutti of the San Diego Natural History Museum, has a mandible shape never before seen in mammals. Its bottom jaw protruded 18 cm beyond the top one, making up 40% of the beak. Researchers found the specimen (inset) in rock formations along the California coast estimated to be between 1.6 million and 5 million years old. A CT scan of the fossil revealed canals where nerves likely ran along the jaw, making it extra sensitive, researchers report online today in Current Biology. The shape and canals look similar to the mandible in skimmers—birds that glide their lower jaw along the ocean’s surface to pick up small fish. The fossil also hints that the porpoise had poor eyesight, and its teeth showed signs of wear from sand particles. Researchers suspect that the animal used its sensitive lower jaw, combined with echolocation, to skim for prey along the dark sea floor.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

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December 2, 2019

Patanjali Biggest Disruptive Force In FMCG Space

first_imgPatanjali Ayurved, the FMCG venture promoted by yoga guru Ramdev, was the biggest disruptive force in India’s fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) market. Related Itemslast_img

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The quiet revolutionaries of Indian fashion: Abraham & Thakore

first_imgRead it at Live Mint Related Itemslast_img

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Row Over U.K.-India Meet Postponement

first_imgA controversy has erupted over British Defence Minister Gavin Williamson’s decision to turn down a date for a bilateral meeting with Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, that would have coincided with a week-long summit on bilateral relations after Brexit.Read it at The Hindu Related Itemslast_img

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Indian Diplomat Exits SAARC Meet Over Presence Of PoK Minister: Report

first_imgAn official of the Indian High Commission in Pakistan staged a walkout of a SAARC meeting over the presence of a ‘minister’ from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) at the event, news agency PTI said, quoting a source. Diplomat Shubham Singh, left the meeting to register India’s protest over the presence of PoK ‘minister’ Chaudhary Muhammad Saeed at the SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry meeting on the SAARC Charter Day in Islamabad on Sunday.Read it at NDTV Related Itemslast_img

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Divided States of America

first_imgThe 2012 presidential election has reaffirmed what political analysts have been arguing for some years: the country has almost irreversibly frozen into Democratic (blue) states and Republican (red) states. With the exception of just 15 swing states, — Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Missouri and Indiana — Pres. Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney were separated by a margin of more than 10 percent in every other state. The gap ranged from a high of 84% in Washington, D.C., 43% in Hawaii and 36% in Vermont in favor of Obama to 48% in Utah, 41% in Wyoming and 34% in Oklahoma in favor of Romney.As the accompanying U.S. map shows, the West Coast, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states are solidly Democratic while the South and large swaths of the Midwest are solidly Republican. As a result, presidential elections are now fought in just 15 states.American politics has assumed many of the unhealthy characteristics of its Indian counterpart, such as communal vote banks divided along religious and caste lines — reflected by Southern evangelist and white voters on the Republican side, arrayed against minority and women voters on the Democratic side. The political logjam the Republican minority has created in the U.S. Senate, where it has exploited filibuster rules to grind the chamber to a virtual halt, is indistinguishible from the paralysis of the Indian Parliament by the opposition.Compromise and pragmatism that defined the American political experiment for two centuries has during the past two decades devolved into crass opportunism and obstructionism by the defeated Republicans on Captiol Hill. In the states that Republicans dominate, they have gerrymandered Congressional and legislative districts to their political advantage and raised voting barriers in a calculated bid to discourage and disenfranchise minorities and the poor, who typically don’t vote for them. As the demographic headwinds — a decline in the White population and exploding growth among Hispanics and Asian Americans — shift perceptibly against their political interests, expect Republicans to become ever more intransigent and Machiavellian in response.Ironically, the Republican-leaning red states, which are defined by their virulent opposition to taxes and government programs, contribute significantly lower tax revenues and receive substantially higher federal aid than Democratic-leaning red ones. It should be politically palatable for both sides to give Republicans what they ask for by allowing states to opt out of or weaken federal programs they oppose, such as healthcare, Medicaid, food stamps, etc. It is a good bet that Republicans will not like their own medicine. And if they do, the state programs would be an excellent laboratory for exploring alternative and cost-effective solutions that may be worthy of national emulation.We are deeply divided. Let’s live and let live our red and blue differences. Related Itemslast_img read more

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Half of Indians looking for a change

first_imgOne in two Indian employees are considering changing their jobs, according to a survey by human resource consulting firm Mercer.The survey of 2,000 workers in India, found that 54% are seriously considering leaving the organization they presently work for, twice as many as was reported in a similar survey in 2004.Around two-third of workers under the age of 24 are seriously considering leaving their current job, the survey found.“As the economy improves further and new job opportunities emerge, employers risk losing valued talent and also face productivity and morale issues among workers who continue to be with the organization,” Mercer Consulting India Managing Director Nishchae Suri said.  Related Itemslast_img

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Blockchain: Hope or Hype

first_imgCryptocurrencies such as bitcoin may have captured the public’s fancy – and also engendered a healthy dose of skepticism — but it is their underlying technology that is proving to be of practical benefit to organizations: the blockchain. Many industries are exploring its benefits and testing its limitations, with financial services leading the way as firms eye potential windfalls in the blockchain’s ability to improve efficiency in such things as the trading and settlement of securities. The real estate industry also sees potential in the blockchain to make homes — even portions of homes — and other illiquid assets trade and transfer more easily. The blockchain is seen as disrupting global supply chains as well, by boosting transaction speed across borders and improving transparency.These uses are merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg for a nascent technology whose development stage has been compared to the early years of the internet. “We’re very early in the game,” said Brad Bailey, research director of capital markets at Celent, at a recent Blockchain Opportunity Summit in New York. He likened the blockchain’s current status to the web of the early 1990s, heralding a coming wave of new ideas and uses. “This will impact the world.”The blockchain technology came about initially as a way to verify bitcoin transactions online and to enable two parties to transact business without having to know or trust each other. It was designed without a central authority in mind, such as a bank or government, to oversee transactions. Essentially, the blockchain is a shared virtual public ledger where encrypted transactions are confirmed by outside parties. In the bitcoin world, these outside parties are called “miners” — computers that solve complex mathematical problems to confirm transactions and earn fees. Confirmed transactions are placed in a “block” and added to the chain. Since the ledger is shared by everyone on the network, it is thought to be nearly impossible to remove or change the data – a premise that turned out to be false in some cases.Today, the concept of the blockchain has expanded beyond its use by cryptocurrencies. Instead, the benefits of the shared ledger and its seemingly immutable record of transactions accessible to multiple parties are being explored by a variety of industries. Experts said there won’t be a “mother blockchain,” but multiple ledgers with different purposes. Varying versions of blockchains have popped up, too: While the original bitcoin blockchain was open to anyone, some companies’ blockchains are private and “permissioned” — they restrict access to approved parties. The latter approach is preferred by companies fearful of being hit with government fines and lawsuits if they get hacked, said summit participant Sarab Sokhey, chief technology leader of new product innovations at Verizon Wireless. They’ll stay private until the technology matures and industry standards are set. While the blockchain’s business applications are clear, it has social implications as well. For instance, it can create identities for individuals apart from those sanctioned by governments and not limited by geographic boundaries. The blockchain also allows less-technologically advanced nations to participate in global transactions more easily. “Blockchains are exciting, undoubtedly,” said Saikat Chaudhuri, executive director of the Mack Institute for Innovation Management, which was an official partner for the summit. “It’s much more than about transaction efficiency or flexibility. It’s really beyond that. It could provide an identity to those who don’t have it, or promote financial inclusion. Therein lies the power of this whole thing.”‘Nervous’ Financial InstitutionsAccording to a survey by the IBM Institute for Business Value and the Economist Intelligence Unit, one in seven companies it calls “trailblazers” expect to have blockchains in production and at commercial scale in 2017. Respondents were interested in taking advantage of the blockchain’s multiple benefits, which include cost reduction, immutability of records, transparency of transactions and the potential to create new business models. For example, the blockchain would eliminate the need for keeping multiple records at banks and other parties doing currency trades. The survey tracked responses of 200 global financial markets institutions.The survey also said “trailblazers” were focusing their efforts on the following business areas: clearing and settlements, wholesale payments, equity and debt issuance and reference data. The report added that in recent years, financial institutions have “swarmed to blockchain pilots and proofs of concept” — opening innovation labs, holding hackathons, partnering with financial technology startups, joining consortia and collaborating with regulatorsTo be sure, banks have a vested interest in participating. “Banks provide essentially escrow services for the transfer of value, and here comes a technology that threatens to eliminate that service,” said Chris Ballinger, global chief officer of strategic innovation at Toyota Financial Services. “So they are nervous about that, because it’s a huge revenue stream” that could be taken away. How? “With the blockchain, you can run a network that transfers value among untrusted nodes, and therefore you can eliminate the middle man and you can eliminate all the costs associated with the middle man,” he said. “You’re essentially turning assets into something like cash that you can hand to somebody and they will accept. That makes the transfer of assets extremely efficient.”Another unique benefit of the blockchain is that it separates someone’s identity from the transaction they’re making. In general, a blockchain uses a digital signature – not real names and other personal information – that is activated by a private key or secret code held by the one doing the transaction. Compare that to current credit card or bank transactions, which tie one’s personal information such as a name and address to purchases and other financial activities. This separation improves the security of one’s data. “Today, the payments information and identity are [bound] together. The combined is a tempting honey pot for hackers,” Ballinger said. “By separating the financial information from the identity, there’s no honey pot, no central place to hack, no incentive to go after.”In December 2015, Nasdaq executed its first trade on a blockchain, through its Linq ledger. The exchange said the blockchain promises to expedite trade clearing and settlement – all the steps needed to transfer the asset from seller to buyer including recording the transaction — from three days to as little as 10 minutes. That’s because the trades remove many manual processes and bypass third parties. As such, “settlement risk exposure can be reduced by over 99%, dramatically lowering capital costs and systemic risk,” according to Nasdaq. Other stock exchanges tinkering with the blockchain include ones in Australia, Myanmar, Germany, Japan, Korea, London and Toronto.Overstock.com is on the cusp of issuing its first security using the blockchain. “We are in the process of proving out the first public trading of a blockchain security,” said Ralph Daiuto, Jr., general counsel of tØ, a subsidiary of the e-commerce retailer. While the company has kept its clearing firm, it is using digital wallets for the actual transfer of assets in settlement of the trade. “The goal is to shorten the settlement cycle and [avoid] all the ills that can go wrong with that cycle.” He added that the company can cut its equity trading costs by 70% using the blockchain.Overstock got regulatory approval for its blockchain trade by taking “incremental steps in proving out the technology in use cases and demonstrating we have real-world application for this blockchain technology,” Daiuto said. “It literally has been a monthly, if not a weekly, education process with our core regulators.” It has taken nearly two years of laying the groundwork for Overstock to get to this point.Real Estate and Smart ContractsAn area of particular promise for the blockchain is the real estate market. “The blockchain solves pretty much every problem in real estate that we have” in terms of fraud, middleman fees and friction, opaque due diligence, slow price discovery, complex transaction process and other ills, said Ragnar Lifthrasir, president of the International Blockchain Real Estate Association. “In many ways, our technology is still in the 17th century – notaries still use seals.” The blockchain promises to simplify and speed up the process while adding transparency to the records.For example, in selling a house, people still sign paper deeds over to the new owner. It has to be entered into the public record, which means someone physically has to go to the local government office. “It’s a paper-based system that is ripe for fraud,” Lifthrasir said. The blockchain solution is fairly straightforward, using digital deeds. “When I want to transfer the property, I simply transfer it from my wallet to the buyer’s wallet.”As for putting the property ownership on the public record, he said the list is already on the blockchain so recording it won’t be hard. Lifthrasir added that validation of ownership would be strengthened. “It’s very difficult to deny who owns the property when it’s on a public network.” His startup, Velox, is working with Cook County in Chicago to use the blockchain for transferring and recording property titles. It is also working on a way to show liens on titles on the blockchain.Within a blockchain, so-called “smart” contracts could be revolutionary. “They programmatically represent a contract,” said Mark Smith, CEO of Symbiont and co-chair of the Smart Contract Council. For example, a smart contract on an auto loan could be linked in real time to payments made by the car buyer. If he misses payments, the contract gets wind of the violation and starts the repossession process. In Delaware, Smith’s company is working with the state to create “smart” records of its public archives to do such things as being able to sunset themselves.EEY’s Australian operations piloted a real estate blockchain ecosystem that is now being used in the market to trade full, and even fractional, ownership of properties. Real estate and financial institutions approved by EY all liked the idea of using a blockchain, but when it came to actual implementation, “fear and uncertainty crept in,” said James Roberts, partner and Australian blockchain leader. EY had to essentially guarantee verification of participants and transactions to build trust. “We decided we would solve the identity problem [of people and institutions]. We would build trust into the system and prove recordkeeping is true and accurate and can be used to transact financial instruments like property or debt.”EY’s blockchain ecosystem goes through several stages. First, individuals using the blockchain have to be validated using identity checks and even biometrics. They create records on the blockchain using randomly generated unique keys that let EY do further checking against various databases from the government and elsewhere. Next, the transaction is traded on a blockchain exchange. The assets being traded are verified. The entire ecosystem is private and permissioned. Also, EY stores individuals’ unique keys offline for security. Moreover, EY built back-system administrative functions – despite the premise of the blockchain as not having a central authority – to make participants more comfortable in using the system. But to be a viable ecosystem, it needs to scale. “We need millions and millions of people in our system, and that’s going to take a lot of effort,” Roberts saiChallenges and RisksSecurity is still the biggest challenge confronting the blockchain. “The truth is, once you give someone access to a network, many times, more often than not, they can end up very easily getting blanket access to that network,” said Joe Ventura, CEO of AlphaPoint. “This is a huge security problem.” However, if one ends up building many protections to prevent hacks, then it bogs down the blockchain and defeats its purpose in the first place. “Basically, you have to jump through so many hoops simply to pass the message from some party to another party.”And while blockchain records theoretically can’t be changed, there are ways around that. Smith cited a recent controversial decision by the Ethereum Foundation – the organization behind the open-source cryptocurrency Ethereum – after a hacker exploited a software flaw and took funds. The foundation decided to roll back the clock to give people their money back and created two versions of the ledger. “Imagine if you’re a business and they roll back a day,” Ventura said. “That’s completely unacceptable.” Moreover, by creating two versions, some people were able to exploit it. “People were able to double their money,” Smith said.As for compliance, at least regulators could have a node on the blockchain itself in which companies define their access to data, said Sandeep Kumar, managing director of Synechron. As such, regulators wouldn’t have to wait days for a bank to hand over documents for compliance. “They can see it as it is happening.”In the end, each company has to figure out whether a blockchain is suitable. “Is it a blockchain use case or is it a database use case?” said Tyler Mulvihill, director of Consensys. “If you are a company that has a lot of information internally and you don’t transact like a lot of vendors, and not a lot of people need to use your information or do business with you, a database can be fine for a lot of things. It’s when you have a lot of parties that need trust, need access to certain information and need to be audited – that’s where I see the biggest use cases.” Related Itemslast_img read more

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