Mamata defends Minister’s red beacon

first_imgHours after a controversy broke out when Trinamool Congress (TMC) Minister Arup Biswas used a red beacon on his vehicle, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday that he had “not done anything wrong” as the State government is yet to pass any law in this regard.Earlier in the day, Mr. Biswas was seen using a red beacon on his vehicle in the Darjeeling district. The Centre from May 1 has banned the use of a red beacon on any vehicle.“Arup Biswas has not done anything wrong. We are yet to pass any law [regarding the use of a red beacon],” Ms. Banerjee told journalists at Nabanna, the State secretariat. She further accused the Centre of “imposing” restrictions on the use of a red beacon, which comes under the Concurrent List. “We have written to the Centre in this regard but are yet to receive any response,” said Ms. Banerjee.Pointing out that she does not use a red beacon on her vehicle in Kolkata and adjoining areas, Ms. Banerjee argued that the State’s ministers and bureaucrats have to use the red beacon while travelling on National Highways because of security reasons. “Earlier, it sufficed to have a red beacon but now, as a result of the Centre’s decision, an escort vehicle along with security personnel will be required. This will increase the government’s expenditure,” the Chief Minister said.‘No consultation’She further criticised the Centre for neither discussing the matter with State governments nor giving them any time to figure out an alternative to the red beacon. “The order [banning the red beacon] was passed without any hearing [consultation with State governments],” said Ms. Banerjee.Earlier in the day, Mr. Biswas said that the “State government has not banned it [red beacon on vehicles].”In April, the Centre announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had decided to scrap a rule that allowed the Central and State governments to select dignitaries who would be allowed to use a red beacon to on their vehicles. The authority of the State governments to decide who could use flashing blue lights on their vehicles was also taken away.last_img read more

A drought on U.P.’s doorstep

first_imgUttar Pradesh is staring at a drought, the senior-most official in the State has said.Noting that the State received low rainfall during the monsoon, Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar has instructed divisional commissioners and district magistrates to brace for a “potential drought”.Mr. Kumar has instructed officials to coordinate with all departments and take “necessary steps on a priority basis”.The Chief Secretary has issued a three-page order containing a set of instructions to various departments of the government, including those of Farm, Irrigation, Energy, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Animal Husbandry, Food and Civil Supplies and Water Resources. A government spokesperson said officials had been instructed to publicise ways of preserving moisture in the soil, to ensure that government tube-wells are operational, and fill ponds with water.Alternative crops“He also said that apart from food and seeds, adequate availability of alternative crops must be ensured,” the spokesperson said. Officials have also been told to get non-functional transformers changed within 24 hours, get hand-pumps activated and mobilise water tankers to supply water to households.There must also be sufficient feed for cattle and medicine in veterinary clinics, the order said. Wells must be deepened and farmers employed under the rural employment guarantee programme to meet the risk of famine. Mr. Kumar has instructed senior state and divisional officials to hold meetings at the district level with officials of all related departments and as per the parameters of the drought manual of 2016 examine the ground situation in their districts.If the districts expect to be affected by drought, the local officials have been I asked a to provide the government with a specific proposal recommendation by October 25.From October 30 to January, 2018, official will also have to produce weekly updates of the situation.Last year, the state government had declared 50 districts in UP as drought-affected.last_img read more

5 Cong. MLAs join NPP in Meghalaya

first_imgEight MLAs, including five from the Congress, on Thursday joined the BJP ally at the Centre, National People’s Party (NPP), in poll-bound Meghalaya.All eight MLAs, who recently resigned from the Assembly, joined the NPP at a rally here.NPP spokesperson James K. Sangma said along with them, 10 members of the tribal autonomous district councils have also formally joined the party. The NPP is headed by Mr. James K. Sangma’s brother Conrad K. Sangma. Both are sons of former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma.The eight MLAs had resigned from the State Assembly on December 29 last year and announced that they would be joining the NPP.last_img

M.P. police selection drive in another row

first_imgIn a shocking incident, medical tests of female and male candidates appearing for the ongoing recruitment drive in the Madhya Pradesh Police were allegedly conducted in the same room at the Bhind District Hospital on Tuesday.The matter came to light after a video of male applicants stripped to their undergarments standing in front of a female candidate surfaced on social media. The video showed two male doctors sitting in front of a table, two male applicants, wearing underwear, standing close to one of the doctors to get height and chest measured, a male constable watching the procedure of the medical test and a female applicant allegedly waiting for her turn to undergo the test in the hospital room. No women doctors or nurses are seen in the footage.Dr. Ajit Mishra, civil surgeon of Bhind District Hospital, said: “We have ordered an inquiry into the incident and have issued warning letters to all the team members of the examination committee.”“Today, we have deputed one lady doctor and one nurse for the medical tests,” he added.last_img read more

Rajasthan Cabinet clears loan guarantee to farmers

first_imgIn a populist move ahead of the State Assembly elections, the Rajasthan Cabinet has decided to provide a guarantee to the State Apex Cooperative Bank to take a loan worth ₹ 5,000 crore from the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) for funding the State government’s crop loan waiver scheme for farmers. The Cabinet has also relaxed the two-child norm for government employees.In its meeting held here on Wednesday, the State Cabinet extended the time for organising camps to give loan waiver certificates to farmers till August 15, and approved 13 proposals for investments in different sectors. The waiving of loans to the tune of ₹ 5,077 crore in the cooperative sector is set to benefit over 16.5 lakh farmers.Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje presided over the Cabinet meeting. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore said the clause in the government employees’ service rules for compulsory retirement on the birth of a third child would be deleted, thereby relaxing the two-child norm introduced in 2002.Thirteen proposals for investments worth ₹ 6,000 crore in different sectors across the State were approved, said Mr. Rathore, while claiming that the projects would create thousands of jobs. The investments would be made in the sectors such as cement, mining, textiles, agro-processing, plastic manufacturing, business process outsourcing, distilleries and beverages, and auto parts.Moreover, additional benefits will be extended to individuals and institutions investing money in the State’s backward regions. Among other decisions, land was allotted to six community-based organisations for housing schemes, a proposal for giving houses to the families of martyrs in the Armed Forces was cleared, and a committee was appointed for recruitment to the Home Guards.last_img read more

Berhampur launches drive to ‘cure’ trees

first_imgUsing the knowledge of senior botanists, nature lovers initiated an experimental effort in Odisha’s Berhampur on Sunday to cure trees affected by human activities by using traditional ingredients. Berhampur Development Authority (BDA) chairperson Subash Moharana, Forest Department officials, city MLA Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik, Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Ashis Behera, environmental activists and several botanists took part in the initiative started by Sabuja Bahini, Anchalika Vikash Parishad and other organisations.For the past one week, efforts are on to remove metal nails, wires and publicity materials from the trunk of the trees in and around Berhampur as they are the reason behind the slow death of trees. Posters on tree trunks“It was seen that toxic metallic oxides produced through corrosion had started to damage the internal parts of these trees. Fungal infection caused by posters nailed on tree trunks was a major problem. So, it was decided to take up some measures to heal the wounds,” said Mr. Behera.Traditional methodsSenior botanists — Prof. Sachidananda Padhi and Prof. Brahmabihari Panda — were consulted to provide remedial measures. “As plants have great self-healing power, we decided to provide natural remedies to them which would help them heal the wounds by themselves,” said Prof. Padhi. “So, we decided to experiment with a concoction comprising turmeric, neem leaves, gobar [cattle dung] and clay collected from ponds,” said Prof. Panda. No chemical ingredients like modern pesticides or fungicides were used in the mixture.In the concoction, turmeric and neem serve as disinfectants for the wounds and fungal infections while gobar and clay help the plant cells to regenerate. On Sunday morning, environmental activists along with the DFO, local MLA, BeDA chairman and botanists filled up the wounds found on the tree trunks with the concoction.Sibaram Panigrahy of Sabuja Bahini said that as the process involved no costly materials, the general public should start saving the trees in their area through this process in future.Chyau Patnaik, a physician, said he got involved in the medical treatment of plants for the first time.Dr. Patnaik said in the coming Assembly session, he will try to bring a private member Bill to save trees in urban areas from getting damaged by human interventions.The Super Cyclone of 1999, Phailin of 2013 and the Hudhud in 2014 had uprooted several big trees in Berhampur. Efforts are on to save the trees and provide them longevity, said Mr. Moharana.last_img read more

Militants kill four policemen in J&K

first_imgFour policemen were killed and four service rifles were snatched on Tuesday when a group of militants attacked a security picket in south Kashmir’s Shopian.“Militants in the afternoon fired upon the guard post deployed at Shopian’s Zainapora,” said a Srinagar-based police spokesman. “The militants fired indiscriminately as they approached the post. Three policemen manning the picket died on the spot and the fourth injured policeman died later in a hospital.”The Zainapora area houses a ‘minority’ colony and is guarded round the clock.Breaks lullThe shooting at the picket is the first major attack in the past more than one month and breaks a lull that had been created by the security forces’ ongoing offensive against militant outfits in south Kashmir. The stepped up operations in November, which left 37 militants dead, had deterred attacks on the security forces.Authorities identified the deceased policemen as Abdul Majeed Ganaie, Mehraj-ud-din Dar, Anees Ahmad Mir and Hameed-ul-lah Ganaie, all locals.In a statement issued in Srinagar to local news agencies, the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) outfit claimed responsibility for the attack.“I strongly condemn the attack on the police post in Shopian and condole the deaths of police personnel in the line of duty,” said National Conference vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah. “I pray for their souls.”Condemning the attack, Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti said, “It bears repetition, violence achieves nothing but destruction. I express my solidarity with the families of jawans. I am relieved that no harm was caused to any civilians in the minority pocket they guarded.”last_img read more

‘Revise Bru voters’ list after they return to Mizoram’

first_imgA conglomerate of major civil societies and student bodies on Friday demanded that revision of voters’ list among the Bru refugees living in Tripura be conducted only after they return to Mizoram, the State they originally belong to. Leaders of the NGO Coordination Committee placed the demand at a meeting with the Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer Ashish Kundra here. “Our stance is clear. Revision of voters’ list for Mizoram should be conducted only inside the State, and for the Brus, only after their return to Mizoram,” NGO Coordination Committee chairman Vanlalruata said after the meeting. He said the CEO informed them about instructions from the Election Commission to conduct revision of the electoral rolls in the Bru relief camps in North Tripura district. Mr. Vanlalruata said the Committee would hold a meeting about the EC’s instruction. “We discussed the modalities of Bru voters for parliamentary elections,” the CEO said, adding that the meeting was held in a spirit of mutual understanding. The meeting was held after an umbrella organisation of the Bru refugees living in six relief camps in Tripura urged CEC Sunil Arora to direct the Mizoram election department to revise rolls in the relief camps.last_img read more

‘Expedite implementation of Forest Rights Act’

first_imgThe Odisha State Food Commission has again asked the State government to expedite implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, that would help ensure food and nutritional security to the vulnerable section of society.In a letter addressed to all Collectors, OSFC chairperson Ranglal Jamuda pointed out that “out of 4,25,563 IFR titles distributed till December 2018, demarcation of land has been completed in respect of 2,99,471 titles representing 70.37% of the total titles.”“It is a matter of serious concern that in seven important districts (where more than 5,000 titles have been distributed) the performance on demarcation of titles is significantly below the State average,” said Mr. Jamuda.Demarcation of titlesKeonjhar has completed demarcation of titles in case of only 34.37% while Nabarangpur achieved 34.4%, Koraput (33.68%), Sundargarh (52.96%), Deogarh (48.12%), Nuapada (35.80%) and Ganjam (51.94%).“In all these seven districts the Collectors should undertake special drive for demarcation of land. The amins posted in other tehsils may be re-deployed in tehsils having more number of pending cases for demarcation,” Mr. Jamuda directed.Mr. Jamuda, a retired IAS officer, said the government should take the services of retired revenue inspectors and amins to expedite implementation.Demarcation of land regularised under Individual Forest Right and correction of preparation of record of rights have been completed only in case of Bhadrak district.Similarly, in case of correction of RoRs, cumulative achievement has so far been 1,78,039 titles, only representing 41.83% of the titles distributed.“Despite a series of instructions, the extent of land developed utilising Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme funds till December 2018 is only 56,340.53 acres. In five districts there was no activity in this regard,” said Mr. Jamuda.last_img read more

CBI files FIR on mills sale

first_imgThe Central Bureau of Investigation has registered an FIR to probe alleged irregularities in the sale of 21 State-owned sugar mills during the tenure of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati in 2010-11, resulting in a loss of ₹1,179 crore to the exchequer.The case, in which seven persons have been named as accused for using forged documents while purchasing the mills from the U.P. State Sugar Corporation Limited, has been lodged on a reference from the Yogi Adityanath government. Six preliminary enquiries have also been initiated into the allegations.Probe soughtThe State government had sought a CBI probe into the sale of 21 mills and alleged graft in the purchase of seven closed mills in Deoria, Bareilly, Laxmi Ganj, Hardoi, Ramkola, Chittauni and Barabanki. It was also being pursued by the Lucknow Police.last_img read more

The World’s Forests at Your Fingertips

first_imgA new electronic tool called Global Forest Watch (GFW) offers the public, policymakers, and scientists near-real-time data on Earth’s forests through an interactive website. Launched last week by the World Resources Institute, the tool allows users to track deforestation over time, find recently clear-cut areas and current fires, and receive alerts when there are changes to specific tracts of interest.A coalition of governments, scientists, and environmental groups worked on the interactive map for 2 years. The target audience is everyone from activists to wildlife biologists to companies interested in the origin of the products they buy from forested areas. “If you’re trying to monitor deforestation in near real time for law enforcement, for supply chain management, we think this will be a very helpful new tool,” says Nigel Sizer, an ecologist who leads the forest team at WRI, a nonpartisan environmental think tank in Washington, D.C.Scientists have loaded GFW with a variety of data sets and tools. Satellite data from Landsat, MODIS, and other remote sources are tapped. Users can view political boundaries, protected areas, and commercial areas for logging, mining, or palm oil production. Maps are accompanied with sliding time bars to allow users to scroll backward and forward. The data sets underpinning the website are linked in a single place, helping scientists new to the geographical data navigate the information. Citizen scientists are encouraged to post stories linked to particular forests.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(*)Most of the voluminous data accessible with GFW was already publicly available before last week’s rollout. But few outside universities or a handful of government agencies or specialized nonprofits could use it to track deforestation reliably, says geographer Christopher Justice of the University of Maryland, College Park. Scientists at his institution helped provide to WRI analyzed Landsat data showing changes in forest cover. Another group, which joined WRI 2 years ago, created a data product that includes alerts of new deforestation every 16 days. The partners in the collaboration include Google, which helps analyze and visualize the data.“Before, if you were lucky you could analyze one, two, maybe three chimpanzee sites for deforestation,” says Lilian Pintea, a conservation biologist with the Jane Goodall Institute in Vienna, Virginia. That group’s efforts to compare conditions at different chimp habitats was limited by an arduous process that required researchers to download raw satellite data, process the images to remove noise and clouds, and then analyze them for changes. “Now, for the first time, we can compare how the chimpanzee habitats are changing at the scale of their entire range,” Pintea says. His group is using the deforestation alerts tool to send rangers to investigate possible new deforestation events. WRI plans to spend up to $3 million over the next few years for small grants to encourage developing country scientists to conduct research with their tool.GFW is the latest step in democratizing forest data in hopes of stemming deforestation around the world, says Steve Schwartzman, who heads the tropical forest program at the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, D.C. In 1999, WRI began monitoring forests with printed reports and maps. In 2002, Brazil began making its satellite data on forests public. Six years later, the U.S. Geological Survey opened up its archive of Landsat satellite data.A paper based on that treasure trove, High-Resolution Global Maps of 21st-Century Forest Cover Change, wowed researchers with its detailed analysis. Aided by the cloud computing power of Google’s Earth Engine, the paper analyzed 12 years of forest change at a resolution of 30 meters. Now, processed data will be available for anyone with an Internet connection to build off that work.Schwartzman says transparency is “one of the elements that has contributed to the big drop in Brazil’s deforestation,” helping spur greater protection of indigenous territories and certain endangered forests and a crackdown on illegal deforestation. “In itself, more transparency doesn’t lead to stopping deforestation. But this is a terrific step.”last_img read more

Glimpse of the Universe’s First Split Second Boosts Inflation Theory

first_imgIf imagining the big bang makes your head ache, what happened an instant later might make it explode. Cosmologists think the just-born universe—a hot, dense soup of matter and energy—went through a burst of expansion faster than the speed of light. Like a magical balloon, the cosmos doubled its size 60 times in a span of 10-32 seconds. This phase, known as inflation, ended well before the universe was even a second old.Now, 13.7 billion years later, cosmologists have detected what they say is the first direct evidence of this inflation—one of the biggest discoveries in the field in 20 years. From studying the cosmic microwave background (CMB)—the leftover radiation from the big bang—they have spotted traces of gravitational waves—undulations in the fabric of space and time—that rippled through the universe in that infinitesimally short epoch following its birth. The imprint of these gravitational waves upon the CMB matches what theorists had predicted for decades. The findings, announced this morning at a scientific presentation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, also show that gravity—at the smallest scale—follows the rules of quantum mechanics, similar to other forces such as electromagnetism.“This is an astounding result,” says Alan Guth, a cosmologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and one of the original proponents of inflation. Guth—who was not involved in the work being highlighted today—says the researchers showed him a draft paper a week ago, after swearing him to secrecy. “The observations are at a very high level of significance,” he says. Andrei Linde, a cosmologist at Stanford University in California who developed one of the most theoretically successful models of inflation, agrees: “If these results are right, inflationary theory has passed its most difficult test ever.”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 discovery comes from observations by a small but sophisticated telescope at the South Pole dedicated to a project known as the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP). Just like visible light and other kinds of electromagnetic radiation, a cosmic microwave’s electric and magnetic fields could be oscillating along any of an infinite number of orientations. The telescope used by the BICEP researchers is designed to map the orientation—or polarization—of the CMB as it varies in different parts of the sky. In data taken from a small patch of the sky between January 2010 and December 2012, the researchers found a random pattern of faint pinwheel-like swirls in the CMB. Such swirls, called B modes, are the hallmark of gravitational waves in the primordial universe and—many cosmologists say—are the smoking gun for inflation.“We believe that gravitational waves could be the only way to introduce this B-mode pattern,” says John Kovac, a cosmologist at Harvard and one of the four principal investigators of BICEP.According to the standard model of cosmology, when the universe sprang into existence, it contained a quantum field similar to an electric field that was roiled with quantum fluctuations. Inflation magnified those infinitesimal fluctuations to enormous size, seeding differences in density, energy, and matter that ultimately led to the cosmic structure we see today, with galaxies and other features. The fluctuations also created variations in temperature of the CMB across the sky, from which cosmologists have determined the content of the universe in terms of ordinary matter, mysterious dark matter whose gravity binds the galaxies, and weird space-stretching dark energy.But, thanks to quantum mechanics, not only did the quantum field created in the big bang fluctuate—so did spacetime itself. Inflation stretched that spacetime jittering into gravitational waves billions of light-years in wavelength. The waves left their own imprint on the CMB, scattering CMB photons in a way that created the polarization pattern that Kovac and his colleagues observed.BICEP scooped a gaggle of other experiments, including the European Space Agency’s Planck spacecraft. Suzanne Staggs, a cosmologist at Princeton University who works on the Atacama B-mode Search in Chile, says she was shocked when she heard the news. “The more I think about this, the more excited I am because the signal is so big,” she says.Kovac says the experiment’s success was due in large part to advances in the technology for measuring CMB polarization. The detectors for the telescope used to make the observations were made by the same group—led by Jamie Bock at the California Institute of Technology—that developed detectors for Planck. Whereas Planck was launched in 2007, “we have been able to go down to our telescope every year and upgrade the detectors,” Kovac says. Also, Planck was surveying the entire sky while BICEP’s telescope was focused on a small region. “We are now eagerly awaiting Planck’s polarization results,” Kovac says.The discovery of B modes is just the beginning, researchers say. The strength of the current signal tells theorists the energy density during inflation. By studying the statistical distribution of larger and smaller swirls on the sky, they may be able to piece together a detailed picture of the energy and density distribution in the primordial universe. That would help in nailing down a precise model of inflation.“For us, it’s huge, as big as it gets,” says Marc Kamionkowski, a cosmologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, of the results. “It’s not every day that you wake up and find out what happened one trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the big bang.”last_img read more

A geomagnetic storm is coming—should I worry?

first_imgThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) is forecasting a moderate to strong geomagnetic storm to occur sometime later today or tonight, U.S. Eastern time. What does that mean? Will it knock out power grids? Will there be a lot of radiation? Your questions, answered.Q: What causes a geomagnetic storm?A: The sun is now just about at the peak of its 11-year solar cycle, meaning that there are a significant number of sunspots visible. Sunspots look like dark freckles on the sun, but they’re actually regions of intense magnetic activity. Clusters of these sunspots can be sources of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), sudden bursts of energized particles that swiftly stream out from the surface of the sun. The largest type of these is called an X-class flare. If an X-class flare is powerful enough and aimed directly at Earth, it can cause radiation storms in Earth’s ionosphere and wreak havoc with radio communications.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(*)Q: So what’s happening today?A: According to Thomas Berger, the director of SWPC in Boulder, Colorado, there were two back-to-back CMEs from the sun earlier this week, the second of which produced an X-class flare yesterday at about 1:45 p.m. It’s expected to reach Earth later this morning or early afternoon.Berger noted yesterday at a NOAA press conference that this X-class flare is not expected to produce a particularly large event, as these things go; there are perhaps 100 to 200 of this size of geomagnetic storm in a given solar cycle. (This one’s rated a G3, on a scale of 1 to 5.) “It’s expected to be manageable and not cause any major interruptions to power transmission,” he said. But he added that space weather scientists are paying closer attention to this event than might otherwise be warranted because two back-to-back CME events, both directed at Earth, is a bit more unusual, and because it’s possible that the two could interact on their way to Earth. The second, more powerful event is also traveling faster than the first and could overtake it (although current models suggest it won’t).Q: Should people flying in planes today worry about radiation?A: No. There are different types of space weather—geomagnetic storms, which affect communications, and solar radiation storms. Although this is expected to be a G3-level geomagnetic storm, it’ll only be an S1 solar radiation storm. Airlines (and astronauts) have procedures in place for storms level S3 and above. Q: What about aurorae? Will we see pretty lights?A: Maybe! You need clear skies, but it’s possible that if you’re far north enough you’ll see aurorae tonight. For example, in the United States, Berger said, for a storm this size, it could be visible at night along the northern tier states bordering Canada, but it’s unlikely to be visible farther south.last_img read more

Hoax-detecting software spots fake papers

first_imgIt all started as a prank in 2005. Three computer science Ph.D. students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—Jeremy Stribling, Max Krohn, and Dan Aguayo—created a program to generate nonsensical computer science research papers. The goal, says Stribling, now a software engineer in Palo Alto, California, was “to expose the lack of peer review at low-quality conferences that essentially scam researchers with publication and conference fees.”The program—dubbed SCIgen—soon found users across the globe, and before long its automatically generated creations were being accepted by scientific conferences and published in purportedly peer-reviewed journals. But SCIgen may have finally met its match. Academic publisher Springer this week is releasing SciDetect, an open-source program to automatically detect automatically generated papers.SCIgen uses a “context-free grammar” to create word salad that looks like reasonable text from a distance but is easily spotted as nonsense by a human reader. For example:Cyberneticists agree that semantic modalities are an interesting new topic in the field of programming languages, and theorists concur. This is a direct result of the development of web browsers. After years of compelling research into access points, we confirm the visualization of kernels. Amphibious approaches are particularly theoretical when it comes to the refinement of massive multiplayer online role-playing games.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(*)SCIgen also generates impressive-looking but meaningless data plots, flow charts, and citations. The trio named SCIgen in honor of the World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics, and Informatics (WMSCI), an annual event that they suspected was fraudulently claiming to use human peer reviewers to vet submissions. Indeed, two of their nonsense papers were accepted by WMSCI.The trio then put SCIgen online as a free service, encouraging researchers to “auto-generate submissions to conferences that you suspect might have very low submission standards.” And submit they did. Over the past decade, researchers have pulled numerous pranks on journals and conferences that claim to use human peer reviewers. Variations on SCIgen have appeared for other fields, from mathematics to postmodern theory. (This author continued the tradition, but using a different fake paper-generating method.)The pranks were tolerated by publishers until 2013, when 85 SCIgen papers were discovered in the published proceedings of 24 different computer science conferences between 2008 and 2011. More were soon discovered, and 122 nonsense conference papers were ultimately retracted by Springer, the academic publishing giant based in Heidelberg, Germany, and by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, based in New York City.Rather than being created as pranks, it seems that many of the fake papers were coming from China where they were “bought by academics and students” to pad their publication records, says the lead researcher behind the investigation, Cyril Labbé, a computer scientist at Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France. Later that year, an investigation by Science uncovered an underground market for fake academic credentials, in which some peddlers may have used SCIgen to save themselves the effort of writing “authentic” fake papers by hand.In the wake of that public relations nightmare, Springer approached Labbé for help. His method for finding the nonsense papers was sophisticated, requiring a statistical technique similar to spam e-mail detection, but based on grammatical patterns rather than on keywords like “Viagra.” He agreed, for a price.The outcome of that deal was revealed in Springer’s 23 March press release. It announces the public release of SciDetect, a program created by Labbé’s research group to automatically detect papers created with SCIgen and similar programs. Its purpose, according to Springer, is to “ensure that unfair methods and quick cheats do not go unnoticed.” When asked how much money Springer paid Labbé’s team, a representative replied that “unfortunately we cannot provide you with financial figures,” but noted that it was enough to fund a 3-year Ph.D. student in Labbé’s lab.But some see SciDetect as a tool for avoiding embarrassment rather than catching fraudsters. “As someone who used SCIgen to expose the lack of editorial and peer review of a suspect journal, anyone with a modicum of English language proficiency should be able to detect a paper written by SCIgen or similar software,” says Philip Davis, an independent researcher who consults for the publishing industry. “To me, this appears to be a move by a publisher to protect itself against the unwillingness of journal editors to weed out these fraudulent papers themselves.” Or as Paul Ginsparg, the founder of arXiv and an already freely available algorithm for detecting gibberish, says, “It’s wonderful that Springer has moved to eliminate articles generated by software that intentionally produces nonsense, but what about unintentionally nonsensical articles produced by human authors?”In an e-mail exchange with Science, the Springer representative wrote, “We agree with what Cyril Labbé says in his quote [in the press release]:  ‘Software cannot replace peer reviews and academic evaluation, but SciDetect lends publishers an additional hand in the fight against fraud and fake papers.’ ” She added that no SCIgen gibberish articles have been submitted to Springer conferences or journals since the 2013 retractions.As for the pranksters, they will just have to work harder, says Stribling, the SCIgen creator. “I’m willing to bet if someone wanted to declare an arms race, they could come up with another way to generate papers that would fool [SciDetect] again for a while.”last_img read more

A bit of hot water can prevent the spread of invasive species

first_imgWhen it comes to invasive species in the United Kingdom, a few ounces of hot water may be worth nearly £2 billion in annual management costs, according to a new study. Hardy enough on their own, invasive, aquatic species like the killer shrimp and zebra mussel have also had help spreading into various watersheds from the country’s anglers and canoeists, hitchhiking along on their nets, waders, and other water equipment. Now, new research, published in Biological Invasions, has found that dunking that equipment after use in hot water for 15 minutes could help prevent the invaders from catching a lift. Researchers placed four species of nonnative plants—curly water thyme, New Zealand pigmyweed, floating pennywort, and parrot’s feather—and three species of nonnative animals—zebra mussels, killer shrimp, and bloody red mysid—in angling nets. They then tested the effectiveness of four treatments on mortality rates: hot water (about 45°C) only, hot water and drying, drying only, and a control group. Hot water baths, they found, were extremely effective in dealing with the unwanted species. In fact, all plant and animal species were dead within 1 hour of treatment, except for the New Zealand pigmyweed, which had 90% mortality for the same conditions. The hot water and drying method showed similar results. It took about 7 days, however, for the air-dried nets to reach comparable mortality rates, and in the control group, where the nets remained damp, all the species except for the bloody red mysid survived for a little more than 2 weeks. Previous research has shown that about 64% of anglers and nearly 80% of canoeists visit more than one watershed in a 2-week period. Only a fraction of them clean their equipment in between, leaving plenty of opportunity for accidental transfers, scientists say.last_img read more

The Fusion Of Flamenco Natyam

first_imgA skirt’s ruffle swirls in a smoky bar’s haze. Percussive feet punctuate the sound of melancholy guitars. The scene is commonplace sight in Madrid’s many flamenco bars, but tonight’s show is some 5,000 miles away from Spain, in one of Delhi’s swankier hotels. At first blush, this Spanish dance seems alien to its Delhi audience. But tonight’s dancers are performing in a city that, unbeknownst to many, is close to flamenco’s original Indian roots. Omarya AmayaFlamenco is commonly associated with the sultry landscape of southern Spain. But the songs that are the roots of flamenco are believed to come from the arid plains of northern India. Although there is little consensus among historians on the origins of flamenco, many trace it to a group that migrated from north India across Europe some 1,000 years ago. This nomadic group called itself the Roma, although they are often dubbed “gypsies” in Spain, where some Roma eventually settled. The Roma had few material possessions, but one unique tradition survived the journey from India: their song and dance. Inevitably these songs mixed with local folk traditions. The result is modern flamenco, whose link to India is apparent in the rhythms and movements.The connection between flamenco and classical Indian dance was nonetheless unexplored by dancers until recently. Flamenco flourished in Spain during the late 19th century in tablaos, or cafes. But a wane in its popularity coincided with a politically authoritarian regime in Spain under which the arts, including flamenco, languished. Only after democracy was restored did flamenco reemerge. Flamenco has only recently begun to interact with other dance forms and experiment with new movements as it evolves from traditional dance into high art. Now as part of today’s cutting-edge global dance trends, preeminent Spanish and Indian dancers are exploring their little-known, but shared history in fusion dance performances across the world. Rajlika Puri and La Conja New York based flamenco dancer and singer La Conja has always had an attraction to flamenco’s eastern roots after noticing similarities while performing across the world, and because of her Egyptian background. Knowledgeable about flamenco’s history, she approached musician Pedro Cortes about a collaboration exploring flamenco’s India history.La Conja did not, however, want to merely add an Indian instrument or don an exotic costume. Instead, she sought to create a production that would fuse both the music and dance of flamenco and Indian Carnatic styles. She hoped to create pieces that highlighted the similarities of both dance and singing forms through intertwining duets.She approached Rajika Puri, an accomplished Bharat Natyam and Odissi dancer, who had become a flamenco afiocionada after falling in love with it over 40 years ago. Because both dancers had intermittently studied each other’s styles of dance throughout their respective dance careers, La Conja and Rajika had the solid foundation of dance knowledge to produce the show.The result of their collaboration in 1997 was the productionPani, which translates to “water” in both Hindi and Calo, the language of the Roma. The production was a duet performance set to flamenco guitar and sitar. Pedro Cortes served as musical director for the production. During performance, he was able to create an entirely new flamenco sound by building unusual harmonies and working on intricate rhythms for his guitar that are usually the foundation of sitar music. Omarya Amaya The dancers used the performance as a way to explore the similarities of flamenco and Bharat Natyam, a traditional south Indian dance. Hand gestures, footwork, rhythm and melodies were all intertwined so that the link between flamenco and Bharat Natyam would be clearly communicated to the audience. For example, flamenco and Bharat Natyam both use foot and arm work to communicate different emotions. La Conja and Rajika wove their movements so that they sometimes performed the same sequence, but in their respective styles portraying similar emotions. They both also incorporated another common element of flamenco and Bharat Natyam: improvisation. Dancers and musicians in both styles are almost always playing to each other without rigid choreographies, utilizing rhythmic cues to guide each other. Consequently, each performance is truly unique.The rousing success of this innovative production led to an invitation to the ensemble to perform their production titled “Flameno-Natyam” in January 1998 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, followed by a two-month tour across India. After the tour, La Conja and Rajika continued to pursue their interest in “fusion” dance art. In 2000, Rajika presented “Sacred River,” featuring south Indian singer Aruna Nairam, guitarist David Serva, and dancer Clara Mora. More recently, she was invited to prepare a new solo in 2005 titled “TauroMagica Suite,” or “Bull Magic Suite,” which she debuted at the Kala Ghoda Festival in Mumbai. La Conja, too, has continued to perform various “Flamenco-Natyam” pieces while expanding her fusion repertoire to include elements of other eastern traditions. Her latest project is the development of an entirely new dance style she calls “Natajara Flamenco,” which blends the two styles of Bharat Natyam and Flamenco with a unique set of movements.The success of these performances in India has both astounded and inspired other fusion artists. “Flamenco is not a dance routinely performed in India and you never know how audiences will respond, particularly since Bharat Natyam is in essence a sacred art,” Rajika says when discussing the preparation for the “Flamenco-Natyam” tour in India. “But the audiences were excited to see the something entirely new performance and they are becoming more open to experimentation with tradition.” The Indian Council for Cultural Relations sponsored the filming of a fusion flamenco and Kathak show in Delhi performed by renowned artists Omayra Amaya and Shovana Narayan in 2003. Omayra, grandniece of legendary flamenco artist Carmen Amaya, has always been attracted to exploring new dimensions to flamenco dance and is known for her innovative style that routinely draws from modern and jazz movement. She was immediately attracted to the idea of creating a collaborative work in India when Shovana approached her about the production.“It was a challenge to work quickly and try to blend two styles that are both so rich and complex in terms of their rhythms and expression,” Omayra says, “but it is gratifying to push flamenco forward in this way.” As a Kathak dancer, Shovana, too, is inspired to push Kathak in new directions by often creating collaborations with other world-renowned artists.Fusion performances are particularly appealing to younger audiences, who are increasingly exposed to so many dance styles and indeed have come to expect creativity in performance. In India, they have grown accustomed to Bollywood dance sequences that borrow widely from hip-hop, modern, salsa and other dance styles. For many Indian Americans, fusion performances are a hreflection of their own hybrid cultural background where American, Indian and other cultures routinely mix. And even for audiences without any direct connection to India or Spain, the fusion performances represent a trend of cultural experimentation that offers excitement and a hrefreshing twist on traditional styles.When asked what motivated her to pursue various flamenco fusion works during the past 10 years, Rajika responds that she is inspired by how seemingly diverse audiences nevertheless all relate to the themes present in Bharat Natyam and flamenco, like love, loss and devotion. To her, the form of dance is less important, whether modern, fusion, or traditional, than the communication of pure emotion with the audience.“Flamenco-Natyam gives the audience the chance to experience not just one, but two art forms with rich traditions,” Rajika says, “so my hope is that they can draw twice the emotional experience from immersion in these two great forms.”   Related Itemslast_img read more

Deutsche Bank Outsourcing Jacksonville Jobs To Mumbai

first_imgDeutsche Bank was at the forefront as Wall Street began “nearshoring” staff to cheaper cities across the U.S. Now, the German lender is moving some of those jobs to India.The bank is offshoring about 60 accounting positions to Mumbai from its campus in Jacksonville, Florida, as it seeks to trim costs, people with knowledge of the matter said. It’s part of a larger shift, with management intending to move more jobs from the U.S. to India this year, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the plans are private.“We regularly review our footprint and look for ways to raise operational efficiencies that enhance client experience and improve shareholder returns,” Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Kerrie McHugh said in an email. “Our presence in Jacksonville is an essential part of our regional footprint in the Americas, and we place great value in our Jacksonville operations.”Big banks have been shifting workers from New York City to places like Jacksonville and Salt Lake City, where offices are cheaper and employees typically earn less, but enjoy a lower cost of living. The pressure to go further is acute at Deutsche Bank, where Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing is shrinking U.S. operations and making the firm leaner after years of scandals and lackluster performance.In May, the bank told staff it was closing its Houston office and moving its New York City headquarters from Wall Street to Midtown, slashing its footprint in the city by 30 percent. In July, people briefed on the matter said Deutsche Bank would also cut dozens of employees in Chicago.Front-office employees have made up about 5 percent to 10 percent of the broader Jacksonville operation. Overall, the outpost had continued to grow, with the bank saying in 2016 that it planned to add 350 additional workers to the 1,800 already in place. That compares with fewer than 100 employees in 2008.(c) 2019, Bloomberg Related Itemsfeaturedlast_img read more