Learning from natures design of mosquito to create painless microneedles

first_imgJun 26 2018A mosquito can insert a needle-like probe into your skin and draw blood for several minutes without you even noticing.Researchers at The Ohio State University believe we can learn from nature’s design of the mosquito to create a painless microneedle for medical purposes.”Mosquitoes must be doing something right if they can pierce our skin and draw blood without causing pain,” said Bharat Bhushan, Ohio Eminent Scholar and Howard D. Winbigler Professor of mechanical engineering at Ohio State.”We can use what we have learned from mosquitoes as a starting point to create a better microneedle.”In a recently published paper, Bhushan and his colleagues reported on their detailed analysis of the mosquito’s proboscis – the part that feeds on us. They identified four keys to how the insects pierce us without pain: use of a numbing agent; a serrated design to the “needle”; vibration during the piercing; and a combination of soft and hard parts on the proboscis.”We can incorporate all of these elements into a microneedle design,” Bhushan said. “Right now, needles are very simple. There hasn’t been much innovation and we think there’s a way to try something different.”The study was jointly led by Bhushan and Navin Kumar, a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar. Ohio State doctoral student Dev Guerra is also a co-author. Their results are published online in the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials.Bhushan has long used nature as a guide to creating better products, including high-tech surfaces inspired by butterfly wings and better fake leather and waterproof coatings inspired by plants.For this study, the researchers extensively reviewed work already done by entomologists about mosquitoes, but with a particular focus.”We used our engineering background to characterize the parts of the mosquito to figure out how they may contribute to painless piercing,” he said.In addition, the researchers analyzed the outer cover of the proboscis, called the labrum, on female Aedes vexan mosquitoes, which is the most common mosquito in North America.Related StoriesNitrogen-rich diet reduces mosquitoes’ ability to transmit ZikaLoose double-stranded RNA molecules spur skin rejuvenationMathematical model helps quantify metastatic cell behaviorThey used a technique called nanoindentation to probe how hard and stiff the tip of the labrum was in seven different places. They found that the labrum was softest near the tip and edges and became stiffer and harder farther in and up the labrum.”This is important because a softer and more compliant tip may cause less pain when it pierces the skin because it deforms the skin less,” Bhushan said.That was one of the four keys to painless piercing, according to the researchers. They identified the other three through their analysis of existing studies.Another key is the fact that the part of the proboscis that actually draws blood – called the fascicle – has a serrated design, like a saw. That may sound painful, but it is helpful because it makes for easier insertion. The fascicle also vibrates as it is inserted, which also helps lessen the force needed to pierce skin.Other research has shown that mosquitoes use an insertion force that is three times lower than the lowest reported insertion force for an artificial needle, which could be the result of the vibration and serrated design, Bhushan said.The final key to pain-free piercing is the mosquito’s use of a numbing agent. Once the proboscis is inserted, the insect releases saliva, which contains a protein that lessens pain.Based on these findings, Bhushan envisions a microneedle with two needles inside. One would immediately inject a numbing agent. The second needle would draw the blood or inject the drug. This second needle, like the fascicle of the mosquito, would have a serrated design and be most flexible and softer at the tip and sides. It would also vibrate as it is inserted.Bhushan said that a microneedle like this would be more expensive than a traditional needle and probably could not be used for such needs as pumping intravenous fluids or drawing a large amount of blood.But it could be useful for children or adults who are particularly phobic about the use of needles.”We have the materials and knowledge to create a microneedle like this,” Bhushan said. “The next step is to find the funding support to create and test such a device.”Source: https://news.osu.edu/news/2018/06/25/painless-microneedle/last_img read more

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Functional Family Therapy may not be effective in tackling behavioral problems in

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 11 2018A long-established treatment used around the world to help troubled young people and their families tackle behavioral problems may not be as effective as its practitioners claim – a new study reveals.Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is a short-term, evidence-based intervention provided at over 270 sites worldwide – mostly within the US, but also in Belgium, Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the UK.Researchers at the University of Birmingham recommend that greater examination of FFT is needed, after evaluating 31 existing reviews of research on the treatment’s effectiveness in treating young people, aged 10 to 18.They found that the quality of evidence in reviews was mixed and adversely affected by small sample sizes, no critical appraisal methods and a failure to examine evidence for risk of bias.Paul Montgomery, Professor of Social Intervention in the University of Birmingham’s School of Social Policy, said: “Our overview of FFT illuminates some real areas of concern around this treatment. It appears that in nearly 40 years of existence, there remain a number of unanswered questions about the effectiveness and implementation of FFT.Related StoriesOlympus Europe and Cytosurge join hands to accelerate drug development, single cell researchSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchAXT enhances cellular research product portfolio with solutions from StemBioSys”FFT is intensive and costly. It may not be advisable to continue using the therapy without re-examining and testing its effects. Many reviews currently available are written by people developing and delivering FFT, demonstrating the need for independent and robust trials.”The study, published in Research on Social Work Practice, reveals that median rates of reoffending with FFT were 28 per cent; as opposed to 57 per cent for usual care. Impact on substance abuse was modest and reducing rates of out-of-home placements was not reported, despite being considered a main outcome of FFT.Juvenile delinquency represents a major cost in many countries, with the US spending over $5.7 billion annually on incarcerating minors. In the UK, over 42 per cent of minors typically re-offend, up from ten years ago.Family and youth dysfunction may lead to higher rates of abandonment, higher rates of alcohol and substance use, untreated mental health issues and other negative behaviors. These issues contribute to behavioral disorders resulting in higher likelihood of school drop-out, imprisonment, unemployment and anti-social activities.FFT is designed to treat the behaviors and acting-out activities that take a toll on youth, families and communities. Additionally, FFT may be used as a re-entry programme for young people being released from institutional settings or at risk for removal from the home.​Source: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/last_img read more

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New clinical trial initiated on experimental vaccine to stop the spread of

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Sep 14 2018Rush University Medical Center is part of a new clinical trial testing whether an experimental vaccine can help patients’ immune systems stop the spread of glioblastoma — an aggressive form of brain cancer with very few current treatment options.Led by neuro-oncologist Clement Pillainayagam, MD, the phase II clinical trial is testing an investigational vaccine that will be given in conjunction with bevacizumab, an FDA-approved drug that targets the proteins glioblastoma cells need to grow blood vessels. Rush is one of only a few Midwest locations for this international trial, Drug Treatment Study for Recurrent or Progressive Glioblastoma.Glioblastomas are malignant tumors that begin in the glial, or supportive, tissue of the brain and spread rapidly because they are supported by a large network of blood vessels. There is no known cure for glioblastoma tumors, and median survival is just four months without treatment and 15 to 19 months with treatment. In a stark reminder of the need for better treatments, U.S. Sen. John McCain died from glioblastoma on Aug. 25, one of more than 15,000 people in the United States who succumb to brain cancer each year, according to the National Cancer Institute.Current standard treatments typically involve surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Immunotherapies like those being tested in this trial, which engage the body’s immune system to attack tumors, increasingly are becoming part of treatment plans.”Our immune system would typically put a stop to cancer cells growing, but glioblastoma cells suppress this process.” Pillainayagam explains.”Bevacizumab has been shown to help the immune system starve tumors of their blood supply as well as decrease the immunosuppressed state around the tumor. But that just isn’t enough,” he said.Starving the tumor and revving up the immune systemHalf of the study participants chosen at random will receive bevacizumab, and the other half will be treated with bevacizumab plus the experimental vaccine. The vaccine (DSP-788-201G) is derived from peptides (short chains of amino acids) produced by the WT1gene that is found in many types of cancer cells, including glioblastomas.The vaccine is used by the HLA (human leukocyte antigen) system, cell surface proteins that help regulate the immune system. “While the bevacizumab helps starve the tumor by blocking formation of blood vessels inside it, we hope the vaccine revs up the immune response by helping the body recognize that these cancer cells are a threat,” Pillainayagam said.Related StoriesScripps CHAVD wins $129 million NIH grant to advance new HIV vaccine approachNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedThough the development in recent years of therapies that help people’s own immune system target cancer cells has meant new options for many types of cancers, very few immunotherapies for cancers in the brain have shown promise. “The brain has different types of immune cells that work in unique combinations. Thus, trying to understand how to unleash our own immune systems is a challenge,” Pillainayagam says.One challenge is actually a barrier: The human body evolved a layer of specialized cells, called the blood-brain barrier, that line the blood vessels in the brain, providing extra security from threats such as viruses and bacteria that circulate in the rest of the bloodstream. That extra layer of protection also prevents many cancer-fighting drugs from working. By some estimates, 98 percent of current FDA-approved drugs do not enter the brain because of the blood-brain barrier.Brain cancers affect what make people who they areAlong with Joo Yeon Nam, MD, Pillainayagam leads Rush’s Section of Neuro-oncology, which works in conjunction with specialists across Rush’s Department of Neurological Sciences to treat patients with primary cancers of the brain and spine.”The brain is sensitive and exquisite real estate. Everything we do and even who we are depends on the brain functioning well, thus even a tiny growth can have an enormous impact” Pillainayagam says.He adds that dual training in oncology and neurology usually comes into play several times during a single appointment. “As an oncologist, my focus is typically at the cellular level, focusing on the chemotherapy, radiation and other tools that keep cancer cells in check. But as a neurologist, I am addressing the neurological impact the cancers have on people’s movements, thinking and even personality.”Nam says that the dual training in oncology and neurology is especially necessary because brain cancers have such deep impact on the quality of life of patients and their families. In addition to causing neurological problems such as weakness, seizures and impaired speech, “brain cancers like glioblastomas affect the part of the body that makes people who they are,” she says. Source:https://www.rush.edu/news/press-releases/rush-testing-new-brain-cancer-vaccinelast_img read more

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Greenland Is Getting Darker

Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Email Greenland’s white snow is getting darker. Scientists have generally attributed that darkening to larger, slightly less white snow grains caused by warmer temperatures. But researchers have found a new source of darkening taking hold: impurities in the snow.“It can increase the speed of melting,” says Marie Dumont, a remote sensing scientist at Météo France in Grenoble, who publishes today with her colleagues in Nature Geoscience.Scientists have known for years that Greenland’s snow is getting darker, based on satellite observations that have revealed lower albedos, or reflectivity. That’s a problem because the darker the snow is, the more sunlight it absorbs, and the faster it melts. Greenland’s melting ice sheets are already predicted to raise sea levels by 20 centimeters by 2100. But Dumont and her colleagues have found that, since 2009, there has been a darkening that cannot be explained by larger snow grain size alone. Using satellite observations, they found lower albedos at elevations and at times of the year that are too cold for larger snow grains to form.The researchers instead propose that impurities in the snow—dust, soot, and microorganisms—are responsible. Using satellite observations, they found higher levels of impurities in the snow and atmosphere between 2009 and 2013—a time in which impurity levels over Antarctica stayed constant. They suggest that dust could be arriving from snow-free land areas in Greenland and nearby in the Arctic that are experiencing earlier melting of seasonal snow cover due to climate change. Volcanic eruptions in Iceland in 2010 and 2011 are also important sources of material, they say.Using a model, the researchers found that impurities could be responsible for melting 27 billion tonnes of ice a year—roughly 10% of the average annual mass loss over the last decade.The new model is the first to document and quantify this new feedback—one that is not accounted for in climate models, says Jason Box, an ice scientist at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland in Copenhagen, who has documented rising impurities at a local scale during field campaigns. Dumont says the new darkening effect could easily add 2 centimeters to the projections of sea level rise by 2100—and perhaps more if impurity levels grow with time. read more

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Ostrich dinosaur had long snout and humped back

first_imgScientists have fleshed out yet another little-known dinosaur: a giant ornithomimosaur, Deinocheirus mirificus. This species had previously been identified just from fossilized forelimbs found in Mongolia’s Gobi desert in the 1960s. Recently, also in the Gobi, a team found fossils making up nearly complete skeletons of two additional specimens. They also retrieved the skull, a hand, and the feet of one specimen from a private collector who had bought it on the black market. The fossils indicate the beast had a long snout with a deep jaw, a humped back, and a heavy pelvis supporting relatively short hind limbs with broad feet (pictured above in an artist’s reconstruction). A composite reconstruction, reported online today in Nature, suggests the beast was 11 meters long and weighed 6358 kilograms, making it the largest type of ornithomimosaur ever found. Ornithomimosaurs, which translates as “bird-mimic lizards,” are sometimes called ostrich dinosaurs for their faint resemblance to those modern birds. Fish and plant remains found within the ribs indicate Deinocheirus was omnivorous. Its diet and physical characteristics likely made it a natural for thriving along the braided rivers that crossed the Gobi millions of years ago.last_img read more

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QA First US statebystate analysis of hepatitis C cases

first_img In the infectious disease world, the liver-damaging hepatitis C virus (HCV) long has lived in the shadows of killers such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. But curative—and expensive—HCV drugs that have come to market over the past 5 years have focused new attention on the deadly disease.Now, for the first time, researchers have mapped its U.S. prevalence state-by-state. They hope their model ultimately will help improve targeting of efforts to screen for the virus and treat the more than 3 million people in the country who are living with the infection.The new study finds that the highest levels of HCV infection in 2010 were in the western United States. At the same time, eight states—California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Ohio, and Washington—account for more than half the cases. HCV is spread primarily when people who inject drugs share their needles and syringes. Per capita number of people, by state, who had hepatitis C antibodies in the United States in 2010. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe HepVu.org Q&A: First U.S. state-by-state analysis of hepatitis C cases Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img By Jon CohenApr. 26, 2017 , 12:00 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email The work, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases today, was conducted by researchers from Emory University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both in Atlanta. The findings weave together population data from what’s known as the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and death records and numbers from the U.S. Census.A new, interactive map created by the group, HepVu, shows the geographic distribution. But the researchers say it underestimates actual HCV prevalence. That’s in part because the study looks only at the noninstitutionalized population, which means it does not include people in prison or those living on the streets. It also does not capture sharp, recent spikes in viral spread because of the country’s opioid epidemic: Reported cases of “acute” HCV infections—which indicate recent transmission—jumped 158% between 2010 and 2014.Emory epidemiologist Patrick Sullivan, whose team earlier created a popular interactive map called AIDSVu, discussed the new work with ScienceInsider. The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.Q: Why are you turning to HCV now?A: It’s especially timely to take a deeper look at hepatitis C, which since 2012 has led to more deaths in the U.S. than the combined number from 20 other diseases in the country, including HIV and pneumococcal pneumonia. There’s also been an update to the national Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, which spells out the challenges to improving our national response. We need more information about geographic distribution of viral hepatitis. One of the underlying issues is that the surveillance systems for hepatitis C are not as robust as they are for diseases like HIV, which are nationally reportable case by case.Q: Why does your report focus on the presence of antibody to the virus? A global hepatitis report issued by the World Health Organization just last week shifted to measures of actual viral levels of HCV rather than antibody, in part because some people with antibody have spontaneously cleared their infections.A: From a public health perspective, antibody indicates the scope of people who need to be engaged. The 10% to 20% of people who have antibody but are not currently infected still need that initial screening.Q: You estimate that at most 3.9 million people in the United States have HCV antibodies. How many of those people do you think actually are infected and need treatment?A: Some 2.7 million are estimated to be living with chronic hepatitis C infection. However, the NHANES estimates of antibody prevalence and chronic infection do not include people who are institutionalized or homeless. Studies that are more inclusive of other populations suggest there are 3.5 million people in the United States who are currently infected.Q: How do you think this information will help target responses? A: As we find with AIDSVu, part of this is helping people understand the epidemic where they live. There’s low awareness among health care providers in some places. It may also lead some people to realize that hepatitis C is a problem in their state, and then seek testing or accept screening if it’s offered. It also gives states a benchmark of the public health challenge they are facing.Q: What places were you surprised to find had high levels of hepatitis C? A: Tennessee, Oregon, and Oklahoma. They’re also not states that have had the most robust data.Q: Some states and locales make it more difficult for drug users to obtain clean needles. Have you done an overlay of a map that combines this information with your own data?A: We have not, but that’s exactly the kind of question we hope our map will lead people to ask. When you start mapping things, people start having ideas about what they’d like to see mashed up with it. We hope people begin to interrogate the data and ask what’s related.last_img read more

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Animal fat on ancient pottery reveals a nearly catastrophic period of human

first_img Firdes Sayilan/shutterstock.com By Michael PriceAug. 13, 2018 , 3:05 PM Email The Çatalhöyük site in Turkey A bit more than 8000 years ago, the world suddenly cooled, leading to much drier summers for much of the Northern Hemisphere. The impact on early farmers must have been extreme, yet archaeologists know little about how they endured. Now, the remains of animal fat on broken pottery from one of the world’s oldest and most unusual protocities—known as Çatalhöyük—is finally giving scientists a window into these ancient peoples’ close call with catastrophe.“I think the authors have done an excellent job,” says John Marston, an environmental archaeologist at Boston University who wasn’t involved in the current study. “It shows the people of Çatalhöyük were incredibly resilient.”Today, Çatalhöyük is just a series of dusty, sun-baked ruins in central Turkey. But thousands of years ago it was a bustling prehistoric metropolis. From about 7500 B.C.E to 5700 B.C.E., early farmers grew wheat, barley, and peas, and raised sheep, goats, and cattle. At its height, some 10,000 people lived there. Among its more noteworthy features, Çatalhöyük’s inhabitants were obsessed with plaster, lining their walls with it, using it as a canvas for artwork, and even coating the skulls of their dead to recreate the lifelike countenances of their loved ones. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Animal fat on ancient pottery reveals a nearly catastrophic period of human prehistory Around 6200 B.C.E., climates cooled across the globe. Massive glacial lakes in North America emptied into the Atlantic Ocean, scientists believe, altering sea currents and weather patterns and triggering what’s known simply as the 8.2-kiloyear event (referring to its occurrence 8200 years ago).A team of researchers led by biochemists Mélanie Roffet-Salque and Richard Evershed of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom and archaeologist Arkadiusz Marciniak at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, wondered whether Çatalhöyük’s farmers left behind any trace of the climate shift. Over the past few years, Marciniak had been digging up fragments of clay pottery (or potsherds) left buried in ancient trash piles, dating from about 8300 to 7900 years ago.These clay pots were used to store meat, and researchers found relatively well preserved animal fat residue soaked into the porous, unglazed sherds. Extreme drought brought on by the 8.2-kiloyear event would have frizzled feed crops and grazing lands, and cooler winters would have increased animals’ food requirements. The combined effect would have been leaner, thirstier livestock, and their fat may have recorded chemical echoes of that dietary stress, the researchers reasoned.The team used a technique known as gas chromatography–mass spectrometry to identify elemental variants known as isotopes. When the researchers looked at the fat deposits’ hydrogen isotopes, something interesting jumped out: In sherds dating to about 8200 years ago—and only those sherds—the ratio of the isotope deuterium, or heavy hydrogen, rose by about 9% in relation to other hydrogen isotopes from the samples. Previous research on the region’s climate and plant chemistry has shown that lower precipitation rates correlate with higher ratios of heavy hydrogen, which the livestock would have consumed as they grazed during the drought.The isotopic signature was thus likely caused by the 8.2-kiloyear event, the researchers report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the first direct archaeological evidence of this phenomenon. By analyzing other fat-soaked pot sherds from sites around the world, the team adds, scientists will for the first time be able to accurately recreate climate conditions for other ancient societies.“I think this could be a very useful tool indeed,” says David Orton, a zooarchaeologist at the University of York in the United Kingdom. “[It’s a] a big step forward.”Additional finds from Çatalhöyük reveal how the farmers adapted to the cooler, drier conditions. Animal bones from that time have a relatively high number of cut marks, suggesting they were butchering for every last edible bit. Cattle herds shrunk while goat herds rose, the authors note, perhaps because goats could better handle drought. Çatalhöyük’s architecture changed, as well, with the site’s iconic, large, communal dwellings giving way to smaller houses for individual families, reflecting a shift toward independent, self-sufficient households.Although these changes underscore humans’ historical resilience in the face of capricious conditions, they also show how even relatively minor climate shifts can fundamentally alter a society, Evershed says.Yet Orton cautions that Çatalhöyük’s architecture had been gradually evolving for hundreds of years before the 8.2-kiloyear event, making it difficult to say how much of that was related to changing climate. “It seems that Çatalhöyük was already in a period of fairly rapid change well before the 8.2 event. So while the climatic shift probably fed into and perhaps accelerated these changes, it’s certainly not the whole story.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img read more

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Trump once again requests deep cuts in US science spending

first_img The OSTP statement cites artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information science, wireless 5G communications, and advanced manufacturing as administration priorities. It says the request would allocate $850 million for AI development and $430 million for quantum science across several agencies. But it’s impossible to tell whether that level of investment is higher or lower than current spending. What is clear, however, is that those investments would be part of a diminished federal research enterprise. The OSTP statement says the president’s 2020 request represents an overall federal investment of $134 billion in R&D. That figure, if enacted, would be 11% lower than the estimated $151.5 billion being spent this year on R&D.Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS (which publishes ScienceInsider) in Washington, D.C., says a reduction of that magnitude “would derail our nation’s science enterprise.” The president’s 2020 budget doesn’t match the administration’s rhetoric on the importance of research in preserving a healthy U.S. economy, says Holt, who calls on Congress to reverse the cuts, as it has done since Trump took office.Here are some highlights from the request:NIHThe request would slash NIH’s budget by $5 billion to $34.4 billion, a 13% cut.A new pediatric cancer initiative at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) would receive $50 million for drug discovery, studying the biology of pediatric cancers, and pooling data from cancer cases and existing data sets to “create a comprehensive, shared resource to support childhood cancer in all its forms.” The funding would begin a $500 million, decadelong pediatric cancer research effort that Trump proposed in his State of the Union address.But some researchers have expressed concern about focusing the initiative too heavily on data sharing. The advocacy community worries it will come at the expense of other pediatric cancer research and the overall NCI budget, which would fall 15% to $5.2 billion in the request.NIH’s Centers for AIDS Research would receive $6 million as part of Trump’s plan, announced in his State of the Union address, to reduce HIV infections by 90% over the next decade. The proposal would maintain this year’s level of $500 million for NIH’s 1-year-old Helping to End Addiction Long-Term Initiative to combat opioid addiction.Trump also wants to fold the stand-alone Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) into a new addition to NIH’s current 27 institutes, the National Institute for Research on Safety and Quality, which would receive $256 million. Congress has rejected past efforts by Trump to transfer AHRQ to NIH.Advocacy groups were disappointed by the proposed cut to NIH. The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Rockville, Maryland, warned that “the proposal threatens the progress of biomedical research.”NASANASA has the moon on its mind. Fresh from Congress largely supporting its plans to return to the moon, the White House’s request calls for delaying the heavier-lift version of its long-delayed rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), repurposing that money to support its development of a small lunar-orbiting space station, now called the Lunar Gateway, and commercially developed landers.Overall, the agency’s proposed budget would drop 2.2% from this year’s enacted levels, with a more than 8% drop in its science portfolio. The request proposes canceling the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, as well as earth science missions, including the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem satellite and the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory Pathfinder. Congress has blocked these proposed cuts in past budgets and seems likely to do so again.The budget would start work on the agency’s next mission to Mars, which would return samples collected by the Mars 2020 rover, launching next year. However, the proposal did not detail the dollars committed to such sample return. The budget also continues to fully fund the troubled James Webb Space Telescope, now set for a March 2021 launch. And, notably, the administration has given up trying to kill two earth science missions: the Earth-facing cameras on the Deep Space Climate Observatory and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3, set for launch to the International Space Station next month.As it did last year, the White House has called for launching the Europa Clipper, its next flagship-level science mission, with a commercial rocket in 2023, rather than the SLS, as Congress has mandated. Launching on the SLS would knock nearly a half-decade off the trip to Jupiter, but would cost $700 million more, money that could be spent elsewhere. Similarly, the agency would slow development of the SLS’s planned upgrades, known as “Block 1B,” to instead support its lunar investments, including small commercial landers within the next few years and, by 2022, the launch of the Gateway’s first elements.Although Congress has supported the administration’s past moon plans, it remains to be seen how lawmakers, who have fended off many past budgetary attacks to the SLS, will react to the proposed delays.Other agenciesThe document the White House released today provides relatively few details about many agencies, and the administration has said it will issue the bulk of its spending plan on 18 March. Even then, it could be several additional weeks until the full scope of the administration’s proposal for specific agencies becomes clear.Today’s document, however, does include these nuggets: For the third year in a row, President Donald Trump’s administration has unveiled a budget request to Congress that calls for deep spending cuts at many federal science agencies, including a 13% cut for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a 12% cut for the National Science Foundation (NSF), while providing hefty increases for the military.But the $4.7 trillion request for the 2020 fiscal year that begins 1 October, released today, is already drawing bipartisan pushback from lawmakers in Congress and—as with past Trump administration requests—many of the cuts are unlikely to be enacted into law.The president’s science adviser, Kelvin Droegemeier, calls the request “an important down payment on America’s future.” A statement from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which he leads, says the president’s budget “promotes responsible spending [by] prioritizing high-impact programs that have been shown to be effective.” By Science News StaffMar. 11, 2019 , 12:15 PM Trump once again requests deep cuts in U.S. science spending Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe There are a few modest bright spots. For example, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) flagship competitive grants program, would get an $85 million increase, or 20%, to $500 million. Overall, however, USDA’s budget would be cut 15%, including an apparent 8% cut, to $1.2 billion, for the department’s Agricultural Research Service.Overall, White House officials say their goal is to cut spending on domestic and foreign aid programs by about 5% below this year’s levels while increasing military spending. At the same time, the administration says it wants to generally abide by a 2011 law that calls for reducing nondefense spending by 9% and defense spending by 11% in 2020, compared with this year’s spending.To meet those objectives while increasing defense spending, today’s request employs a number of accounting gimmicks that are likely to be rejected by Congress, setting the stage for another fight over revising the spending caps. Three similar battles in recent years have resulted in Congress and the White House increasing the caps, in some cases enabling substantial spending increases for many agencies that fund or conduct research.This year’s battle will begin in earnest this week, as spending panels in both the Senate and the House of Representatives are scheduled to begin to review the president’s request.center_img NSF would face a cut of roughly $1 billion, to $7.1 billion, a 12% reduction. At the Department of Energy, the Office of Science’s budget would shrink by roughly 17%, to $5.5 billion. The department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would shrink by 86%, from $2.379 billion to $343 million. And the administration has again proposed eliminating the $366 million Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy. Congress has rejected similar requests in the past. At the Environmental Protection Agency, the administration is again proposing to take an ax to climate and research programs. Overall, the agency’s budget would shrink by nearly one-third, from about $8.8 billion to $6.1 billion. Its science and technology programs would be funded at about $440 million, nearly 40% below the current level of $718 million. The budget line for air and energy research, which includes climate change science, would drop by more than $60 million, from about $95 million to $32 million. Congress has repeatedly rejected such proposed cuts. The National Institute of Standards and Technology would receive $688 million, down 30% from this year’s appropriation of $986 million. However, the administration once again wants to eliminate the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program popular with Congress, which this year received $140 million to bolster commercial activities. The Census Bureau would get $7.2 billion to complete the run-up to the decennial census in April 2020. That amount is in line with earlier outyear projections of what the bureau would need in the last year of its 10-year cycle, and slightly lower than a $7.4 billion figure issued by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in October 2017 that includes a 10% contingency fund. Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) President Donald Trump Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Emaillast_img read more

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CRISPR bombshell Chinese researcher claims to have created geneedited twins

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Dennis NormileNov. 26, 2018 , 1:10 PM CRISPR bombshell: Chinese researcher claims to have created gene-edited twins He told The Associated Press (AP) that he altered embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting thus far. In each case, the father was infected with HIV; the mothers were HIV-negative. He’s goal was to introduce a rare, natural genetic variation that makes it more difficult for HIV to infect its favorite target, white blood cells. Specifically, He deleted a region of a receptor on the surface of white blood cells known as CCR5 using the revolutionary genome-editing technique called CRISPR-Cas9.According to the AP report, He was not trying to prevent transmission of HIV from the father’s sperm to the embryo, a highly unlikely event. The risk of transmission drops even lower when the sperm is washed before insemination through in vitro fertilization, as occurred here. Rather, He said he wanted to protect the babies from infection later in life.The International Summit on Human Genome Editing begins here on Tuesday and many researchers, ethicists, and policymakers attending the meeting first learned of He’s claim through media reports. Organizers of the conference told reporters at a pre-event briefing they were awaiting further details.Scientists are investigating the use of CRISPR-Cas9 as a treatment for many genetic diseases, such as muscular dystrophy and sickle cell anemia. One long-running study in HIV-infected adults has crippled CCR5 with another genome-editing technology, and a similar study is underway in China with CRISPR. But these cases involved gene editing of so-called somatic cells that are not passed on to the patient’s children. He reportedly went a step further, altering the genome in early stage embryos, which would affect sperm and eggs—the germ line—and make the change heritable. Such work is effectively barred in the United States and many other countries. Whether it fits within China’s regulatory environment is not clear.He is scheduled to speak at the summit on gene editing on Wednesday, but organizers were unsure whether he planned to discuss his experiment. He put a series of videos on YouTube to justify the experiment and explain how it was done. He also invited viewers to send comments to his lab and to the two babies, named Lula and Nana.Yet many scientists say the experiment was premature and the potential benefits not worth the risk. “The underlying purpose of doing the experiment was obviously to show that they could do gene editing on an embryo, but the purpose for the party involved does not make any sense,” says Anthony Fauci, an HIV/AIDS researcher who heads the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland. “There are so many ways to adequately, efficiently, and definitively protect yourself against HIV that the thought of editing the genes of an embryo to get to an effect that you could easily do in so many other ways in my mind is unethical.”Pablo Tebas, a clinical researcher at the University of Pennsylvania who led a small study that crippled CCR5 in HIV-infected adults using what’s known as zinc finger technology, similarly denounced the embryo alteration. “The experiment is not medically justified,” said Tebas, who noted that CCR5 mutants are not benign as people are more susceptible to serious consequences from West Nile infections. “Hopefully these kids will not have any health problems,” he says.“Gene editing itself is experimental and is still associated with off-target mutations, capable of causing genetic problems early and later in life, including the development of cancer,” Julian Savulescu, an ethicist at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, said in a statement released today by the U.K. Science Media Centre. “This experiment exposes healthy normal children to risks of gene editing for no real necessary benefit,” he says. Sarah Chan, a bioethicist at the University of Edinburgh, worries that the premature use of gene editing prior to consideration of social aspects of the work “threatens to jeopardize the relationship between science and society … and might potentially set the global development of valuable therapies back by years.”CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, notes that the work has not been published and urged caution in a statement released today. However, “Assuming that independent analysis confirms today’s news, this work reinforces the urgent need to confine the use of gene editing in human embryos to settings where a clear unmet medical need exists, and where no other medical approach is a viable option, as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences,” Doudna wrote.Apparently anticipating the criticism, He boldly proclaimed in one of this videos that his group has reflected deeply on how to help families facing risks of genetic diseases. “We believe ethics are on our side of history,” says He, who calls the term “designer babies” an epithet.Richard Hynes, a cancer researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge who co-chaired the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report that Doudna referred to, says it laid out “stringent conditions” that should be met before undertaking genome editing: There had to be a serious, unmet medical need; the effort should be well-monitored and with sufficient follow-up; and there had to be informed consent of the parents.He adds that the United Kingdom’s Nuffield Council on Bioethics’s report on human genome editing, released in July, reached similar conclusions. “All these questions need to be looked into when we hear what he’s actually done,” Hynes says. Alta Charo, a bioethicist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, notes that the National Academies report does mention CCR5 as a potential target of gene editing. Whether the current experiment is justified “comes down to a risk-benefit analysis,” she says.With reporting by Jon Cohen. Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo center_img HONG KONG, CHINA—On the eve of an international summit here on genome editing, a Chinese researcher has shocked many by claiming to have altered the genomes of twin baby girls born this month in a way that will pass the modification on to future generations. The alteration is intended to make the children’s cells resistant to infection by HIV, says the scientist, He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China.The claim—yet to be reported in a scientific paper—initiated a firestorm of criticism today, with some scientists and bioethicists calling the work “premature,” “ethically problematic,” and even “monstrous.” The Chinese Society for Cell Biology issued a statement calling the research “a serious violation of the Chinese government’s laws and regulations and the consensus of the Chinese scientific community.” And He’s university issued a statement saying it has launched an investigation into the research, which it says may “seriously violate academic ethics and academic norms.”Other scientists, meanwhile, asked to see details of the experiment and its justification before passing judgment. Email He Jankui told The Associated Press that he carried out his experiment to protect the twin sisters from HIV infection later in life. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more

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Disorder left ancient human relative with teeth pocked like golf balls

first_img By Michael PriceMar. 7, 2019 , 9:40 AM Ian Towle Add this to your list of nightmare jobs: prehistoric dentist. Had the profession existed 1.8 million years ago, it would have encountered an ancient human relative with a disconcertingly common dental disorder: weakened, pockmarked teeth resembling the surface of a golf ball.The patient in question is Paranthropus robustus, a massive-jawed, thick-molared creature that looked a bit like a gorilla and feasted on tropical grasses, hard seeds and nuts, and fibrous fruits in southern Africa. Scientists have long suspected P. robustus’s tough, gritty diet contributed to the overall poor condition of the species’s fossil teeth found over the years.Hoping to learn more, paleontologists compared hundreds of fossilized P. robustus teeth, pictured above, with those of other southern African hominins such as Australopithecus sediba and A. africanus that lived at roughly the same time, as well as with more recent hominins and living apes. The golf ball–like pitting was a common feature of P. robustus teeth, showing up in 47% of baby teeth and 14% of permanent teeth of the species, whereas it occurred only in about 7% and 4%, respectively, of the baby and permanent teeth of the other ancient hominins combined. These pits in the teeth enamel would have made them wear down quickly and break easily. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Disorder left ancient human relative with teeth pocked like golf balls Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) However, these defects probably didn’t come from P. robustus’s diet. The condition closely resembles a somewhat rare modern genetic disorder called amelogenesis imperfecta that affects about one in 1000 people worldwide, the researchers report this week in the Journal of Human Evolution. The disorder causes a breakdown in enamel-producing cells, leading to scattered pits and grooves in the teeth.How did P. robustus develop this condition? In modern humans, the genes responsible also contribute to thick, dense enamel. It’s possible, the researchers suggest, that the defect was a side effect of evolving thicker, denser teeth to cope with the species’s rough diet.last_img read more

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Yogi Adityanath offers golden crown weighing 25 kg to Lord Hanuman

first_img Uttar Pradesh to allow microbreweries, hike old-age pension to Rs 500 Yogi Adityanath: Congress gave biryani to terrorists, we feed bullets and bombs Advertising By PTI |Muzzaffarnagar | Published: July 15, 2019 11:58:02 am Related News UP govt gives nod to 10% quota law for poor among upper castes 26 Comment(s) A 75-feet-tall statue of Lord Hanuman is located in Shukratal, which is on the banks of river Ganga.Adityanath also laid foundation stones of several development schemes worth Rs 10 crore in the area.Last year, the chief minister had stirred up a row by calling Lord Hanuman a Dalit during an election rally ahead of the state polls in Rajasthan. “Lord Hanuman was a forest dweller, deprived and a Dalit. Bajrang Bali worked to connect all Indian communities together, from north to south and east to west,” he had said in Malakheda area of Alwar district. Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh Chief minister, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Lord Hanuman, Yogi Adityanath lord Hanuman, Uttar Pradesh news, Indian Express news The Chief Minister was visiting the holy site on Sunday to attend an event to mark the death anniversary of Swami Kalyan Dev in Sukratal of Muzzafarnagar district. (File Photo)Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has offered a golden crown weighing 2.5 kg to Lord Hanuman during his visit to Shukratal in the district. He was visiting the holy site on Sunday to attend an event to mark the death anniversary of Swami Kalyan Dev.last_img read more

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Scientists help artificial intelligence outsmart hackers

first_imgAn artificial intelligence (AI) trained on the photos of a dog, crab, and duck (top) would be vulnerable to deception because these photos contain subtle features that could be manipulated. The images on the bottom row don’t contain these subtle features, and are thus better for training secure AI. Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Ilyas, Santurkar, Tsipras, Engstrom, Tran, Madry Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA—A hacked message in a streamed song makes Alexa send money to a foreign entity. A self-driving car crashes after a prankster strategically places stickers on a stop sign so the car misinterprets it as a speed limit sign. Fortunately these haven’t happened yet, but hacks like this, sometimes called adversarial attacks, could become commonplace—unless artificial intelligence (AI) finds a way to outsmart them. Now, researchers have found a new way to give AI a defensive edge, they reported here last week at the International Conference on Learning Representations.The work could not only protect the public. It also helps reveal why AI, notoriously difficult to understand, falls victim to such attacks in the first place, says Zico Kolter, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the research. Because some AIs are too smart for their own good, spotting patterns in images that humans can’t, they are vulnerable to those patterns and need to be trained with that in mind, the research suggests.To identify this vulnerability, researchers created a special set of training data: images that look to us like one thing, but look to AI like another—a picture of a dog, for example, that, on close examination by a computer, has catlike fur. Then the team mislabeled the pictures—calling the dog picture an image of a cat, for example—and trained an algorithm to learn the labels. Once the AI had learned to see dogs with subtle cat features as cats, they tested it by asking it to recognize fresh, unmodified images. Even though the AI had been trained in this odd way, it could correctly identify actual dogs, cats, and so on nearly half the time. In essence, it had learned to match the subtle features with labels, whatever the obvious features.center_img Scientists help artificial intelligence outsmart hackers By Matthew HutsonMay. 14, 2019 , 12:45 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) The training experiment suggests AIs use two types of features: obvious, macro ones like ears and tails that people recognize, and micro ones that we can only guess at. It further suggests adversarial attacks aren’t just confusing an AI with meaningless tweaks to an image. In those tweaks, the AI is smartly seeing traces of something else. An AI might see a stop sign as a speed limit sign, for example, because something about the stickers actually makes it subtly resemble a speed limit sign in a way that humans are too oblivious to comprehend.Some in the AI field suspected this was the case, but it’s good to have a research paper showing it, Kolter says. Bo Li, a computer scientist at the University of Illinois in Champaign who was not involved in the work, says distinguishing apparent from hidden features is a “useful and good research direction,” but that “there is still a long way” to doing so efficiently.So now that researchers have a better idea of why AI makes such mistakes, can that be used to help them outsmart adversarial attacks? Andrew Ilyas, a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, and one of the paper’s authors, says engineers could change the way they train AI. Current methods of securing an algorithm against attacks are slow and difficult. But if you modify the training data to have only human-obvious features, any algorithm trained on it won’t recognize—and be fooled by—additional, perhaps subtler, features.And, indeed, when the team trained an algorithm on images without the subtle features, their image recognition software was fooled by adversarial attacks only 50% of the time, the researchers reported at the conference and in a preprint paper posted online last week. That compares with a 95% rate of vulnerability when the AI was trained on images with both obvious and subtle patterns.Overall, the findings suggest an AI’s vulnerabilities lie in its training data, not its programming, says Dimitris Tsipras of MIT, a co-author. According to Kolter, “One of the things this paper does really nicely is it drives that point home with very clear examples”—like the demonstration that apparently mislabeled training data can still make for successful training—“that make this connection very visceral.”last_img read more

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Facebook says Portal device not for snooping

first_img Portal will be hitting store shelves Thursday.Facebook’s recent issues with foreign interference and hacking (some 30 million accounts were broken into in the fall) and issues with a rogue app developer taking Facebook users’ personal information and selling it to third parties have produced much soul searching at Facebook, whose top execs have said it would take at least a year, if not longer, to fix these issues.”The timing of the launch is a challenge, in terms of the brand and trust, and we’re committed to improving on it,” says Facebook vice-president Andrew Bosworth. “But this is the product you want. It’s exclusively focused on connecting you with the people you care about the most. This is dedicated to having you stay close to them.”The $199 Portal, basically like an Amazon Echo speaker but with a 10-inch video screen, competes with the recently released Google Home Hub ($149, 7-inch screen) and the redesigned Amazon Echo Show ($229), which also has a 10-inch screen.A larger edition, Portal +, with a 15-inch screen, sells for $349. The units will be available from Amazon, Facebook’s Portal store and Best Buy retail and online. The Portal was originally scheduled for Nov. 15 delivery, according to the Facebook website.Unlike the other devices, while you can use Portal for trivia and having questions answered, the primary focus is as a tool to make video calls. Portal has a built-in camera that can follow you around the room, allowing you to move freely and fit more members of the family in the video chat. It uses Facebook’s Messenger platform, which boasts of over 1 billion members. Here’s where the controversy comes in.Facebook freely admits that it tracks the frequency and length of calls and that “some of this information may be used for advertising purposes. For example, we may use the fact that you make lots of video calls to inform some of the ads you see.”Additionally, Facebook admits that it monitors how often you logged into your account and how often you used Portal, and that “may be used to inform the ads you see across Facebook.”Facebook insists that users won’t see ads on the display screen of Portal, but that if you listen to music from partners Pandora, iHeartRadio or Spotify, you might see ads from those companies.Asked why Facebook needs this information, Bosworth says it’s primarily to help improve the network. “Understanding how long or frequent calls are helps us improve the service.” As for the ad element, Boswell says, Facebook could target you as a frequent video caller and, thus, serve up ads targeting video services on other Facebook platforms.Facebook, like Amazon and Google, records every query you make to the speaker—to learn how to answer correctly—and stores the audio of the requests. Bosworth says users will be able to find them in Facebook settings and delete the audio copies, if needed.Bosworth says the unit is a “game changer” that helps people feel closer to families by making better group video calls. So how’s that different from Apple FaceTime, Google’s Hangouts, Skype or any of the other video chat tools?Being hands-free and not tying you up with holding a phone or computer in your hand, Bosworth says. “It’s surprising how much power people have when they go hands-free,” he says. “It’s a different experience.” This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. ©2018 USA Today Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Portal, Facebook’s talking speaker, is not a snooping device—that’s a message the social network says has gotten lost in the coverage leading up to the device’s launch. Facebook does, indeed, want to track your calls on devicecenter_img Explore further Citation: Facebook says Portal device not for snooping (2018, November 9) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-facebook-portal-device-snooping.html Credit: CC0 Public Domainlast_img read more

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Team programs a humanoid robot to communicate in sign language

first_img More information: Jennifer J. Gago et al. Sign Language Representation by TEO Humanoid Robot: End-User Interest, Comprehension and Satisfaction, Electronics (2019). DOI: 10.3390/electronics8010057 Explore further The first thing the scientists did as part of their research was to indicate, through a simulation, the specific position of each phalanx in order to depict particular signs from Spanish Sign Language. They then attempted to reproduce this position with the robotic hand, trying to make the movements similar to those a human hand could make. “The objective is for them to be similar and, above all, natural. Various types of neural networks were tested to model this adaptation, and this allowed us to choose the one that could perform the gestures in a way that is comprehensible to people who communicate with sign language,” the researchers explain.Finally, the scientists verified that the system worked by interacting with potential end-users. “The deaf people who have been in contact with the robot have reported 80 percent satisfaction, so the response has been very positive,” says another of the researchers from the Robotics Lab, Jennifer J. Gago. The experiments were carried out with TEO (Task Environment Operator), a humanoid robot for home use developed in the Robotics Lab of the UC3M.To date, TEO has mastered the fingerspelling alphabet of sign language, as well as a very basic vocabulary related to household tasks, this researcher explains. One of the challenges the scientists now face in order to continue developing this system is “the rendering of more complex gestures, using complete sentences”, says another member of the Robotics Lab team, Bartek Lukawski. The robot could then be used by the approximately 13,300 people in Spain who use sign language to communicate.The broader objective is for robots of this type to become household assistants that are able to help with ironing (TEO also does this), folding clothes, serving food, and interacting with users in domestic environments. In addition, “these robotic hands could be implemented in other humanoids and they could be used in other environments and circumstances,” says Jennifer J. Gago. “The really important thing is that all of these technologies, all of these developments that we contribute to, are geared towards including all members of society. It is a way of envisaging technology as an aid to inclusion, both of minorities and of majorities, within a democracy,” Juan Víctores emphasises. Scientists from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have published a paper featuring the results of research into interactions between robots and deaf people, in which they were able to programme a humanoid – called TEO – to communicate in sign language. Credit: UC3M For a robot to be able to “learn” sign language, it is necessary to combine different areas of engineering such as artificial intelligence, neural networks and artificial vision, as well as underactuated robotic hands. “One of the main new developments of this research is that we united two major areas of Robotics: complex systems (such as robotic hands) and social interaction and communication,” explains Juan Víctores, one of the researchers from the Robotics Lab in the Department of Systems Engineering and Automation of the UC3M. Shared control allows a robot to use two hands working together to complete tasks Provided by Carlos III University of Madrid This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Team programs a humanoid robot to communicate in sign language (2019, July 8) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-team-humanoid-robot-language.htmllast_img read more

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Shiv Sena to back Modi govt in tomorrows notrust vote

first_imgThe Shiv Sena and the BJP have been in an uneasy relationship despite being in Centre and State alliances   –  THE HINDU COMMENTS COMMENT Shiv Sena will vote in favour of the BJP-led government during the opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha tomorrow, a source close to party chief Uddhav Thackeray said.“We will support the BJP. A formal announcement may be made by this evening,” the source told PTI here today.The motion will be the first since the BJP-led NDA government came to power four years ago. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s decision to accept the motion moved by former BJP ally TDP and others came on the first day of the Monsoon session. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu had sought the support of other parties for the motion, citing the NDA government’s “non-fulfilment of the promise” to grant special status to his state. Meanwhile, Sena leader Sanjay Raut today said his party will disclose its stand on the floor of the House. “A decision has been taken. We will let it be known inside the House,” he said. July 19, 2018 Modi govt to face its first no-trust motion on Fridaycenter_img SHARE SHARE EMAIL RELATED Published on SHARElast_img read more

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Call for more ESG investment opportunities

first_img Corporate News 10 Jul 2019 Maybank IB adjudged AsiaPac’s best Islamic investment bank, Sukuk adviser {{category}} {{time}} {{title}} Corporate News 11 Jul 2019 Govt to call for more large-scale solar power tenders Related News Tags / Keywords: Investment , ESG Nation 09 Jul 2019 Fu: Investment opportunities aplenty along BRI routes In Malaysia, the ESG trend has started to take place with the country’s large asset owners, namely the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), the Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP), Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Corston-Smith Asset Management Sdn Bhd.These companies are the signatories to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), which demonstrated their commitment to responsible investments to advocate a more sustainable financial system.Bursa Malaysia CEO Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift said more public-listed companies and agencies in the country were taking strong interests in ESG investing and reporting, adding that “they are making voluntary announcements and disclosure of information beyond what is mandated under the rules.”He pointed out that “we reviewed the first batch of sustainability disclosures issued by public-listed companies with market cap of RM2bil and above and we saw an overall average compliance level of 91% among the same companies.” Meanwhile, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin, who officiated the conference, said the government would be announcing more bids for large-scale solar (LSS) power projects worth RM2bil by the end of 2020. “There will be some changes on how we will tender the LSS project. “It all be more innovative and hopefully it would be able to drive the cost even lower compared to what we are seeing now,” added Yeo.However, she did not reveal the specific details on the tenders. Earlier this year, the Pakatan Harapan government had called for bids for projects worth RM2bil under the under the third round of the large-scale solar (LSS3) scheme to increase electricity generation from renewable energy.Yeo noted that LSS3 would be commercialised in the next two to three years. “Next year, we are also opening for more LSS,” she said. Given that 719 companies have participated in the tender, she said it would be “a very fierce competition” among players. The submission for proposals will be closed mid-August this year. Besides that, Yeo reiterated that the government would be replacing the Environmental Quality Act 1974 with a new Act, which would be known as Pollution Control Act, pushing for stiffer punishments for those who pollute the environment.On whether the new Act may add costs to businesses, she noted that it would not have a big impact for businesses, saying that the government would present the cost figures during a town hall meeting for the new Act next month. In early March this year, around 6,000 Pasir Gudang residents were affected when the illegal dumping of chemical substances into Sungai Kim Kim released toxic fumes in the area. KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia should create more environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment opportunities, similar to those which have been done successfully in line with the growth of the Islamic finance market, says Maybank Investment Bank Bhd chief executive officer Fad’l Mohamed.“We have already embarked on the ship sailing towards a more sustainable future. “It is not a zero-sum game – indeed, sustainable investing has and continues to prove its significance to business decision makers and shareholders alike,” Fad’l said at the The Evolution of ESG Investing Conference hosted by Maybank and Bursa Malaysia Bhd here yesterday.To date, about US$31 trillion of assets under management are invested using sustainable strategies – an increase of 35% in just two years. Related News Fad’l: It is not a zero-sum game – indeed, sustainable investing has and continues to prove its significance to business decision makers and shareholders alike.last_img read more

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Madarsa in Aligarh to have both temple and mosque Salma Ansari

first_img Asian News International AligarhJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 16:51 IST The Madarsa houses thousands of students including both Hindus and Muslims. (Photo: ANI)Setting an example of Hindu-Muslim unity and religious tolerance, Salma Ansari wife of former Vice-President Hamid Ansari, has decided to build both a temple and a mosque inside the “Chacha Nehru Madarsa” run by her here. She asserts that this will also ensure the safety and security of students studying here.”The security of the students who reside in the Hostel here is our responsibility. When they go outside the madarsa for visiting a temple or mosque and some untoward incident happened then it will be our responsibility. Realising it, we have decided that both mosque and temple would be constructed within the premises so that the security and safety of our children is ensured,” she said.”I want that in building Hindustan everyone should have a say. Here I am concerned only with the safety of our children,” said Ansari.”The death penalty for mob lynching is a good deterrent. Such crimes are a blot on society. While running a Madarsa we must look at its every aspect,” she said.The Madarsa houses thousands of students including both Hindus and Muslims.Also Read | West Bengal govt to construct dining rooms in Muslim-dominated schools, BJP says it’s minority appeasementAlso Watch | 44th anniversary of Emergency: Mamata attacks Modi, says super Emergency for last 5 yearsFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byShifa Naseer Tags :Follow HinduFollow MuslimFollow Madrasa Next Madarsa in Aligarh to have both temple and mosque: Salma AnsariFormer Vice President Hamid Ansari’s wife Salma Ansari has decided to build both a temple and a mosque inside the “Chacha Nehru Madarsa” run by her in Aligarh. She asserts that this will also ensure the safety and security of students.advertisementlast_img read more

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The grass fires wer

”The grass fires were reportedly at the Sheep Creek Recreation Area and along rural roads off state highways 21 and 49. ABC and CBS news shows for 11 weekdays straight.

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Jerusalem must rem

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