A Best Friend of Humanity The African Giant Pouched Rat

first_img Explore further Giant Pouched Rat – Via Britannica Encyclopedia 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. (PhysOrg.com) — The African Giant Pouched Rats, Cricetomys gambianus have been trained to methodically sniff out land mines in war-torn regions of Africa. Apopo International based in Antwerp, Belgium is a non-profit organization that trains and puts into action the raccoon size bomb sniffers. The Giant Pouched Rat is not a member of the rat subfamily Murinae, but is in fact a uniquely African radiation of muroid rodents. Citation: A Best Friend of Humanity: The African Giant Pouched Rat (2008, November 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-11-friend-humanity-african-giant-pouched.html The Giant Pouched Rat can weigh up to 9-pounds and in appearance resembles a hamster. Noted for large pouches located in their cheeks, the nocturnal Giant Pouched Rats are found in the wilds of Africa feasting on berries, nuts, insects and prefer palm fruit. A land mine clearing project in Mozambique using Apopo trained Pouched Rats has been operational for two-years and to date cleared 270 square miles of land in Southern Mozambique. Families dislocated from their land since the 1980s have been allowed to return to their villages and farms. According to a spokesman trainer from Apopo the training is currently being done at Tanzania´s Sokoine University School of Agriculture. The training takes approximately 8 to 10 months at a cost of $3,000 to $5,000 per Pouched Rat. Canines have been trained to do the same work, however the cost for training can run up to $40,000. The additional advantage of using the Pouched Rats is their overall remarkable resistance to certain tropical disease and their weight does not trip land mines. Tests to standardize the trained Pouched Rats were conducted by Sokoine University under the supervision of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian De-Mining. The trained rats are now officially licensed by the National De-Mining Institute of Mozambique. Numerous other African nations are joining in the effort to utilize the trained rats to clear land mine fields. Land mines are present on other continents as well. The Giant Pouched Rats are indigenous to the lower parts of the Ulugura Mountains and known by natives as ´epanya bukui´. A distinct feature of the breed is its relatively long life-span that extends up to eight-years. Thus, the training, care and cost factors are greatly reduced as compared to rat sub-family breeds which is generally two to three years. The Apopo trained Pouched Rats work in early morning shifts before the Sun´s heat becomes unbearable. The Pouched Rats are able to sniff out plastic and metal mines. A Pouched Rat scratches the surface of a mine sight to signal to their handlers that a mine has been found. The handler then bestows a favorite treat to the mine sniffing victor. The keen sense of smell possessed by the Giant Pouched Rats is being tapped to detect disease in sputum samples. Currently, trained Pouched Rats have detected more than 300 cases of tuberculosis in sputum samples that had not been diagnosed by the medical staff. Their extraordinary olfactory capabilities is currently under study for extending their usefulness to a myriad of circumstances. Described as the “Hero Rat” by trainers and scientists, the Giant Pouched Rat does have some critics. Apparently, some private individuals have chosen to obtain the Pouched Rat as an exotic pet and then abandoned the pet in the wilds of the Florida Keys. The Pouched Rat is listed as an invasive species in Florida with a concern the rodent will impact the ecological balance of the Everglades. In 2003, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a ban on importing the Pouched Rat due to concerns of outbreaks of monkey-pox. The African breed is believed to be a carrier of monkey-pox. Nevertheless, the keen sniffing, generally affable Giant Pouched Rat remains a hero to nations faced with the onerous tasks of ridding villages and farm land of mines. The Apopo trained Giant Pouched Rat is rigorously monitored by scientists and obviously cared for to the umph degree and poses no health concerns. © 2008 PhysOrg.com You are what you eat: How the pursuit of carbs changed mammals’ genes and salivalast_img read more

How fruit flies taste water

first_img(PhysOrg.com) — The ability to detect water and regulate water intake is essential for all animals because if cells have too little or too much water the consequences for the animal can be disastrous. It is unclear whether humans and other animals actually taste the water or just impurities within it, but studies have shown that insects can taste water. © 2010 PhysOrg.com More information: The molecular basis for water taste in Drosophila, Nature advance online publication 4 April 2010, doi:10.1038/nature09011 Explore further It has been known, for example, that the fruit fly (Drosophila) can taste water, but until now none of the molecular details of how the detection is achieved have been known. Now, scientists have discovered how the nerve cells in the feeding tube of Drosophila sense water and transit the information to the brain. This may lead to other discoveries about how cells sense and control their water content.The scientists found a newly discovered protein called PPK28 forms a channel spanning the membrane of a water-sensing nerve cell in Drosophila’s feeding tube. It is one of a family of ion channel proteins, but none of these proteins had previously been thought to be involved in regulating water flow. The research aiming to identify the water taste receptor in Drosophila was carried out by student Peter Cameron as a PhD thesis project, under the guidance of Kristin Scott, Professor of Genetics at the University of California, Berkeley. The researchers compared normal fruit flies to a mutant group lacking the channel. They showed the mutant flies with no active taste neurons drank for only around three seconds, while normal flies drank for about 10 seconds. Cameron and colleagues then compared the genes of the two fly groups and identified a gene called pickpocket 28 (ppk28) that expresses the protein PPK28 in the taste neurons. They then marked the protein with a fluorescent tag and compared its responses to various solutions. When the flies were given water, the protein lit up, indicating it was sending a signal to their brains. The researchers found that when the ppk28 gene was missing, the flies did not respond to water, but when it was present they did. They also discovered the neurons responded more to plain water than to solutions containing salts, acids, sugars, or bitter compounds. When Cameron activated ppk28 genes in nerves usually involved in sensing bitterness, the nerves began to respond to water. Cameron said PPK28 is the only known water taste receptor ever found in Drosophila, but it is possible that other mechanisms may be at work.Cameron said the results may provide a framework for investigating water taste in other animals. The findings are reported in the journal Nature. a, b, ppk28-Gal4 drives GFP in gustatory neurons (a) and their axons (b) in the suboesophageal ganglion (SOG). PPK28 was previously reported in larval tracheae. c, d, PPK28 neurons (magenta) do not contain markers for sugar neurons (GR5A, green) (c) or bitter neurons (GR66A, green)(d). Image credit: Nature, doi:10.1038/nature09011 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: How fruit flies taste water (2010, April 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-04-fruit-flies.html Picky-eater Flies Losing Smell Geneslast_img read more

UK telecoms regulator studies possibility of 5G

first_img Britain to get superfast 4G Internet by year-end Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, said: ‘Within the coming months we will hold the UK’s largest-ever auction of mobile spectrum for 4G. However, that may not be enough to meet consumers’ future data demands, which is why we are already making significant efforts to prepare to go beyond 4G.”Ofcom reckoned that, by 2030, demand for mobile data could be 80 times higher than today. An estimated 20 million Gigabytes of data is consumed per month over mobile networks in the UK, which is over twice (nine million Gigabytes ) the monthly consumption rate last year.The BBC said the rise could be traced to “users’ love of video, TV and films while on the move.” Ofcom, meanwhile, said half of all data transmitted in the UK is consumed by a “hungry hardcore of surfers” who account for only 10 percent of Internet users. (Ofcom also revealed that Northern Ireland is leading the way in superfast broadband, with higher takeup (11.4%) and coverage (95%) than any other part of the UK.)So where will the spectrum come from? The 700MHz frequency band, currently used by digital terrestrial television (DTT), is in the plan. This band for digital DTT could be moved to a new set of frequencies, Ofcom said, freeing up the 700 MHz band. In other words, alternative frequencies will need to be provided for DTT. Ofcom said the spectrum drawn from this band would support 5G services without requiring any switchover, as with 4G; Richards, called the change “a migration.” In most cases it would only require a re-tune of existing TV equipment. The UK’s first 4G network has only just got under way—with the October announcement that the UK’s first 4G mobile service launched in 11 cities by EE. Ofcom anticipates the next generation of mobile tech will be introduced towards the end of the decade; the spectrum plan would not happen before 2018.Ofcom pointed to another reason, alongside consumer data demands, for looking into future spectrum plans. Drawing on the 700 MHz band would align with future harmonized spectrum planning across Europe. Ofcom said that harmonizing spectrum frequencies used for mobile broadband with other countries could “create economies of scale and widen the availability of handsets, which should in turn reduce prices for consumers.”Ofcom suggested there is also an “untapped opportunity” for public Wi-Fi to meet consumer data demands. About 25 times more data is currently downloaded over mobile networks than Wi-Fi hotspots, but Wi-Fi could play a bigger role in meeting future data demands and avoiding a mobile network capacity crunch. UK has presently 16,000 Wi-Fi hotspots.Ofcom is an independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries. Ofcom operates under the Communications Act 2003, an Act of Parliament. Accountable to Parliament, Ofcom is funded by fees from industry for regulating broadcasting and communications networks, and grant-in-aid from the government. A cell phone tower. Credit: Wikipedia (Phys.org)—Minding the need for more and more mobile spectrum in a post-4G environment, Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, announced on Friday that it is preparing to support the release of spectrum for future mobile services, possibly 5G, when the spectrum becomes available. It’s all about needed support for future mobile network capacity needs. Ofcom said it is looking into a way to avert the risk of a capacity crunch in mobile data as people consume more bandwidth on mobile devices, making sure that the mobile infrastructure in the UK can continue to support the growth in consumer demand. Explore furthercenter_img © 2012 Phys.org Citation: UK telecoms regulator studies possibility of 5G (2012, November 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-11-uk-telecoms-possibility-5g.html 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.last_img read more

Pursuing his own line and pace

first_imgLooked at from one angle, the six months of Narendra Modi’s tenure may be a cause of disappointment for some. For the corporate sector, for instance, the absence of ‘big ticket’ reforms is bound to detract from the prime minister’s go-getter image. The business houses may not have said anything as yet about their dissatisfaction, but it is clear by now that Modi is not an ideologically-driven right-winger like Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher.?? Also Read – Gateway of criminal justiceInstead, he evidently likes to pursue his own line and at his own pace. He will not be hustled, therefore, into drafting a hire-and-fire labour reforms policy which is favoured by industrialists, nor into a return to land acquisition laws reminiscent of the 1894 rules which have now been scrapped.??What is more likely is that he will tweak these laws, including those on environment, and not opt for drastic changes. In this respect, Modi is a reformer, not a radical.??Any expectation, therefore, that his party’s majority in the Lok Sabha will make him ride roughshod over the existing rules and regulations will not be fulfilled.?? Also Read – Turning a blind eyeOne reason why such dramatic changes have been expected since Modi appeared on the scene like a ‘rock star’, as even the foreign media describe him, is the pent-up frustration in the last years of the previous government among both businessmen and ordinary people caused by the stalled reforms and policy paralysis. It was hoped, therefore, that Modi’s changes would be in the nature of a no-holds-barred recourses to a fast-growth path.??Since this hasn’t been the case, the belief is that he is as much of a pragmatist as any other politician who will not like to unnecessarily overturn the apple cart.??As a result, while avoiding major changes, the prime minister is currently focussing on what can be deemed small things, such as toilets, cleanliness, e-governance, encouraging the underprivileged to open bank accounts and the celebrities as well as the MPs to ‘adopt’ villages. The last venture has even persuaded a well-known Communist economist to mock the projects as being aimed at turning the people into ‘mendicants’.?? There is also another kind of disappointment for some people with Modi. It is the result of the fact that there hasn’t yet been what Mani Shankar Aiyar called the ‘Godhra moment’. According to the former Congress MP, Modi is waiting for such an outbreak of communal violence to reveal his real self just as Hitler used the Reichstag fire to impose one-party rule on Germany.??Although the recent riots in Trilokpuri and the communal tension in Bawana on the outskirts of Delhi have been seen as examples of the local foot-soldiers of the saffron brigade fishing in troubled waters, especially with next year’s elections to the Delhi assembly in mind, there haven’t, mercifully, been any major incident.??What is more, the likes of Yogi Adityanath and Sakshi Maharaj have not only fallen silent, they have desisted – or have been prevented – from carrying on their earlier vicious propaganda on ‘love jihad’ in Maharashtra on the eve of the polls as their followers had threatened to do. It is not impossible that Modi is more serious about his proposed 10-year moratorium on sectarian animosity than what his hotheaded followers had assumed.??It is noteworthy that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief, Mohan Bhagwat, did not mention the phrase, ‘love jehad’, in his customary Vijaya Dashami speech as he did on earlier occasions. Nor did he set any deadline for the construction of the Ram temple, or say that all Indians are Hindus.??Interestingly, the BJP has indicated that it will go soft on the question of scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution which confers a special status on Jammu and Kashmir.Evidently, the hopes which the party entertains of scoring an unlikely victory in the impending assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir have persuaded it to dilute one of the key items on its pro-Hindu agenda. Not only that, the BJP has even said that ‘Islam will prosper’ under its rule, a claim which is likely to baffle both Hindus and Muslims, especially the bigoted among them.??There is little doubt, therefore, that Modi has decided to follow a path of moderation which cannot but have a calming effect on the saffron brotherhood. From the standpoint of at least curbing, if not ridding society of any innate communal poison, this evidence of sobriety can be considered to be one of the major features of his first six months in office. Its value is much higher than any achievement, or lack of it, in the economic field.??That the country is advancing even in the economic sector is however evident from the projection of a 6.3 percent growth rate next year by Morgan Stanley. If the trend continues, then Modi can further consolidate his position at the national level even if there are setbacks like the possibility that the BJP may flounder in Maharashtra because of its failure to get a majority in the state legislature.??One reason why Modi’s first six months in office have been relatively trouble free is that the Congress not only continues to remain in the doldrums but also that its ‘internal tensions’, as Rahul Gandhi once said, have not subsided, as was evident from the virtual boycott of the party’s observance of  Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary by party stalwarts like A.K. Antony, P. Chidambaram, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Kamal Nath, Ghulam Nabi Azad. IANSlast_img read more

Wealth and wellbeing not necessarily at logger heads

first_imgEnterprise of the Soul, a book written by R P Singh, Chairman Board of Governor, IIT-Guwahati and former CMD of Power grid Corporation of India Ltd., was launched yesterday in the Capital at the India International Centre by Suresh P Prabhu, Union Minister of Railways. Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for Railways was the Guest of Honour present at the occasion.  Deliberating the wisdom of wealth and the piety of prosperity, Singh has embarked on the exploration of the philosophical roots of Indian business in this book. It is a well researched study of the Indian conceptualisation of wealth and well being, of social implications of enterprise and of spreading of prosperity as opposed to the mere making of profits.  The book suggests that happiness of sharing is far greater than the happiness of accumulating wealth and that creation of wealth and spirituality are compatible and not opposed to each other. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Addressing the gathering, Prabhu praised the book and the writer for his attempt to dwell upon on a unique subject of interlinking soul to the mind.  He said that while wealth is being created by the enterprises, the soul in the form of sharing the benefit with the stakeholders is yet to take root.  The book has come up at an appropriate time and raises some fundamental issues of wealth creation and its utilization. It is also a timely reminder for solving the problem of income disparities and unrest prevailing around the globe. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixPrabhu said that we should draw more from the power of the soul than that of mind. He also stated that the book has raised many questions with answers; he expressed the hope that it will raise many more questions and more answers shall emerge.The book also mentions the numerous scams and scandals of the past decade which have led to the distrust of business organisations among the populace and suggests that it is important for the corporations to introspect and take steps to regain trust of the society by migrating from conventional philosophy of profit for stockholders to the philosophy of catering to the interest of the stakeholders.   The book draws heavily from the wisdom contained in scriptures of different religions to emphasize upon the point of view of sharing. Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for Railways in his brief address spoke about the excellent work done by the author, R P Singh in his stint as CMD of Power grid in building the National Grid which led to stability of the grid due to which there was no incidence of grid failure for a number of years since 2002.  He agreed with the view expressed by the author in the book that wealth and spirituality are both compatible.Padamshree Pritam Singh, former Director, IIM Lucknow also spoke extensively on the contents of the book and the need for balanced growth of the mind and soul.  Over the past, the strength of mind has grown manifold at the cost of the soul, shifting the focus of the enterprise to only wealth creation. The book has been published by the Penguin Enterprise and is priced at Rs. 399.last_img read more

Brave ITS officer takes on molesters gets shot at

first_imgGoons opened fire on an Indian Telecom Servers (ITS) officer, who tried to save the girls they were harassing and molesting on the road side on Saturday night in Noida’s Sector 62. The officer posted in Delhi, was travelling with his family in a car, when he saw two girls being molested by three men. He intervened to save them.The molesters fired around half a dozen of bullets, most of which hit his car, save one that gashed his cheek. The official sustained injuries and was admitted to the Fortis hospital, while his wife and son, who were also in the car when the incident took place, escaped unhurt. The police have registered a case, but no one has been arrested yet. Also Read – Company director arrested for swindling Rs 345 croreThe incident was reported late in the evening on Saturday, when DGM Sushil Kumar, with his son, Kunal and wife, were on the way from their Telephone Exchange’s residence to Shipra mall in Ghazaiabad in a Swift Dzire car. When their vehicle was somewhere between NRI and the Model town police post, Kumar saw two girls being molested by three youths. He stopped his car and warned them to let go of the girls. On being opposed, the molesters fired shots with the motive of killing them. Also Read – Man who cheated 20 women on matrimonial websites arrestedKumar suffered an injury on his face as one of the bullets hit him. Four other bullets hit the car door before they escaped from the spot. The passers-by made a PCR call, after which Kumar was admitted to the hospital. “They tried to kill us for trying to stop them from molesting women! Although we chased the assailants, they managed to flee,” said Kunal. The girls also preferred to go home after witnessing scuffle and firing.The police immediately cordoned off the area, but failed to catch the accused persons. A case has been registered against the unidentified youths under various Sections of the IPC at the Sector 58 police station. “We have been scanning the CCTV footages of the area so as to identify the accused persons. We are also taking the help of surveillance to carry forward our investigation. Although the girls did not register a complaint, we have slapped molestation charges on them,” said Anoop Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Noida).last_img read more

Delightful kebab

first_imgDilliwallas most cherished food fantasy comes alive as Paatra -The Indian cuisine restaurant at Jaypee Sidharth as it announces special Kebab and scotch promotion from April 24 to May 23. Spike up your summer evenings with Scotch served with succulent and mouthwatering kebab dishes, at Paatra. Relish unlimited quantities of six vegetarian and six non vegetarian kebabs along with Saundha gosht, dal, breads and desserts accompanied by scotch at just Rs 2199 plus taxes . Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The fare is a culinary delight for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. A selection of delicious Dakshini tali macchli, Shammi kebab , Ambi mahi tikka  Shikampuri, Tawa marua macchli, Tofu ke pasandey, Jaitooni paneer tikka , Haaq ki shaami, Aloo aur akhrot ki seekh etc combined with sparkling scotch. Come cheer your favourite teams during the IPL matches with your family and friends while enjoying this gastronomic feast. Where: Paatra, Jaypee Siddharth, When: April 24 to May 3, Price: RS 1499 onwardslast_img read more

Battling odds 6 tribal girls crack Madhyamik examination with flying colours

first_imgKolkata: What does Preeti and Kichku, Sefali Desra, Seema Marandi and Kakkhimoni and Purnima Tudu have in common?These tribal girls are the first generation learners and they have all successfully passed the Madhyamik examination whose result was announced on Wednesday.Madarpur village under Rajnagar block in Birbhum district is around 40 km from Suri and is a tribal-dominated village. Along with poverty, the illiteracy rate is also very high.Festivities began early in the village when news of the girls clearing the Madhyamik examination poured in on Wednesday afternoon. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe girls were given coaching by Bulaki and Sushmita Chakraborty, two members of Shreeja India.Taparada Mardy, a local youth and a WBCS aspirant gave them coaching in Mathematics. Chakraborty taught them other subjects like English, History, Geography and Physical Science too. Chanda Marandi, a local of the village, gave two rooms of her house for their coaching classes. Chakraborty stayed in the village for four days to coach the girls. Shreeja got immense cooperation from local teachers who allowed the girls to attend the coaching classes on Mondays and Tuesdays without attending school on these two days. When Tapan Roy, Shreeja coordinator, approached the school authorities with the request to send the girls to coaching on school days, the teachers accepted it as all wanted them to clear the first public examination. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedShreeja India has been set up by Shib Shankar Dasgupta, an engineer from Jadavpur University now settled in the United States. Shreeja’s purpose is to make girls self-reliant and encourage them to devote their spare time in playing games like football. In Birbhum, a football coaching centre was set up in 2017.The girls come and play football and within a few months, the game became very popular among the girls in the villages.”The game helps them to improve their physical fitness and at the same time their sense of cooperation went up fast,” Dasgupta said.It may be mentioned that the Kolkata Police in collaboration with Shreeja have introduced Damini, a project where football coaching is provided to the girls with a view to make them self-reliant.Two football coaching centres have been set up in Park Circus and the other one in North Kolkata. The girls who come to play football will be given coaching in studies later.last_img read more

Bengal govt to come up with more predelivery huts in remote areas

first_imgKolkata: Bengal government aims to set up more ‘pre-delivery huts’ in the far-flung areas, to provide better health care facilities to pregnant women free of cost.The scheme was started by the state government, which was later announced as a model project by the Centre. After seeing the success of the scheme, the state Health department is planning to set up more pre-delivery huts in remote areas.Otherwise known as ‘waiting huts’, these pre-delivery huts have turned out to be extremely beneficial for the pregnant women who often face difficulties in reaching the district hospitals, as they stay in far-off areas. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe project was started by the state Health department in the rural areas, following instruction from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who laid enormous emphasis on institutional deliveries in remote areas.It is the Chief Minister’s relentless efforts, that have brought about significant changes in this field. The project was initiated so that expectant mothers from South 24-Parganas and particularly areas surrounded by various rivers, do not face any difficulties in giving birth to their babies. It is not always possible to transport the patients from the farthest corners to the city. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe main purpose of setting up the ‘waiting huts’ was to reduce infant mortality rate and also the death of mothers before or after delivery. It has often been seen that it becomes difficult for women to travel long distances to reach a health centre for an institutional delivery, as their families fail to pay for vehicles. Even health check-up of expectant mothers belonging to remote areas is not done.Earlier, it was seen that many expectant mothers would die along with their babies, while being transported to a hospital from their native place, due to lack of transportation infrastructure. People had to depend on mechanised boats to ferry a patient to the block primary health centres.Keeping this in mind, the state government is keen on constructing more such huts in the remotest areas. These huts are equipped to keep pregnant women for observation and total care for 7-10 days prior to the expected dates of delivery.The patients in these huts are kept under constant monitoring and are provided with good quality food free of cost.It may be mentioned that the parliamentary committee on the empowerment of women at the Centre has also showed interest in the project. It has been learnt that the Centre has proposed to consider it to be a model project.last_img read more

PWD takes up repair work of Diamond Harbour Road after rain subsides

first_imgKolkata: The state Public Works department (PWD) has taken up the repairing work of the stretches on Diamond Harbour Road that got badly damaged due to heavy downpour.The department has started repairing the roads adjoining Taratala Flyover. Braving rains, the engineers of PWD worked throughout the night on Tuesday to complete the work.Engineers feel the Mastic Asphalt coating that has been used to repair will keep the roads protected for the next six to seven months. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe road was heavily damaged due to the incessant rainfall. The top surface of the road got washed away, resulting in potholes and craters.The potholes pose a serious threat to the two-wheeler and auto rickshaw drivers as they often fail to gauge the depth of the crators. Recently, two autos overturned near Taratala intersection causing injuries to the passengers. PWD has also started covering up the potholes near Behala Chowrasta and once the sunny spell starts, through repairs will be carried out. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe engineers said the entire stretch of Diamond Harbour Road upto Joka has been damaged due to construction of BBD Joka Metro railway. The drains have been clogged resulting in waterlogging.Meanwhile, Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) has started filling up the potholes on eastern Metropolitan Bypass as it has slowed down traffic movement from Monday and many airport-bound passengers have missed their flights.Nabadiganta Industrial Township Authority (NDITA) has begun repairing roads in Sector V that got damaged due to rainfall. High-level meeting has been held between senior NDITA officials and police to chalk out the plan.In sector V and its adjoining areas, the construction of East-West Metro has resulted in waterlogging. People can now lodge complaints in respect of damaged roads, bridges, culverts and buildings belonging to PWD for early repair on Whatsapp — ‘9073362000’.last_img read more

Nigerian Minister claims Boko Haram largely defeated

first_imgNigeria’s information minister on Tuesday insisted that Boko Haram was “largely defeated” despite two days of bombings blamed on the jihadist group that left dozens dead in the volatile northeast.Lai Mohammed maintained the Nigerian government had greatly reduced the group’s capacity to attack and was on its last week.“Boko Haram has been largely defeated. They (Boko Haram) know they are on their way out,” Mohammed said in Lagos.“They lack the capacity to launch horrendous attacks they used to do in the past. We have succeeded in dislodging them,” he said. Also Read – Nine hurt in accident at fireworks show in French resort“Our problem now is how to resettle the internally displaced people.” In the final days before his self-imposed deadline to stamp out the group on December 31 expires, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said that Boko Haram was “technically” defeated.In an expected show of defiance, Boko Haram attacked a series of towns in the north of Africa’s most populous nation and biggest oil producer, calling into question Buhari’s claim that the militants weren’t capable of “conventional” attacks. Also Read – Pakistan Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesmanOn Sunday evening, there was a spate of suicide bombings in the key city of Maiduguri, killing 21 people and injuring scores of others.In the neighbouring state of Adamawa, 30 people were killed on Monday morning after two young women detonated explosives in a crowded market.Over 17,000 people have been killed in Boko Haram’s six- year quest to create an independent Islamic state in Nigeria.Boko Haram “has become the most deadly terrorist group in the world”.While Nigeria’s military has won back swathes of territory from the jihadists in recent months, Boko Haram has expanded its network in neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger. The group has increasingly relied on children as weapons, often deploying young girls strapped with explosives into crowded marketplaces and mosques.last_img read more

Mind reading can foster better teamwork at workplaces

first_imgAccording to an interesting study, such “observing” people are high in mind-reading motivation (MRM) which can lead to many social benefits, including better teamwork.MRM is a newly coined term for the practice of observing and interpreting bits of social information. It is the tendency to engage with the mental states and perspectives of others. “We’re not talking about the psychic phenomenon or anything like that but simply using cues from other people’s behaviour, their non-verbal signals, to try to figure out what they’re thinking,” said Melanie Green, associate professor in University at Buffalo. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Individuals high in MRM enjoy speculating on others’ thoughts based on the potentially hundreds of social cues they might receive. Those low in MRM dislike or have no interest in doing so. MRM is about the motivation to engage with other minds, and is distinct from the ability to accurately interpret others’ cues. “We didn’t measure ability directly in our study of teamwork but the research suggests that just the motivation to understand others, and presumably the behaviours that go along with that motivation, appear to lead to benefits,” Green added. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixIn addition to facilitating cooperation and better teamwork, people high in MRM also consider people in great detail and have a nuanced understanding of those around them. “High MRM people are more drawn to and pay more attention to messages with an identifiable source – a spokesperson or an ad focusing on company values – that is, someone whose perspective they can try to understand,” Green noted.On the other hand, low MRM people seem to pay more attention to ads that are more impersonal.last_img read more

Elephant – the most exploited animal

first_imgDespite elephant-headed Ganesha being widely worshipped across India, at least 100 elephants die every year in the country, with many poached for ivory and many more captured and sold to traffickers. Years of exploitation have made the Asian elephant an endangered species, while their African counterparts too have become vulnerable. “It takes about six months of consistent torture to break an elephant calf’s strength and courage in order to domesticate it – thereby making it fit for sale,” said Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of animal conservation organisation Wildlife SOS.  Also Read – Add new books to your shelfFor a juvenile elephant the degree of the torture is three times more in order to “break it”.After this “orientation”– which involves starvation, piercing of the ears with hot iron rods and pulling a rope through the pierced holes to restrict its movement, these animals are sold to circuses, temples, the timber-lifting trade or safaris for further training and service. According to elephant biologists, without the methods of torture it may take up to six years for a calf to become submissive.“They are being trafficked and poached from everywhere.” said Shekhar Kumar Niraj, Head TRAFFIC, WWF-India. Animal experts say that by the time elephants are rescued, they develop psychological disorders and are unfit to be released in the wild due to the extensive damage done to them. In India, less than 100 elephant corridors remain in the wild, with many dysfunctional and all shrinking.last_img read more

Those WHO Swear More honest

first_imgAre you offended by people who use profanities? They may be more honest than others, say scientists who found that those who frequently swear are less likely to be associated with lying and deception. Profanity is obscene language which, in some social settings is considered inappropriate and unacceptable.It often refers to language that contains sexual references, blasphemy or other vulgar terms. It is usually related to the expression of emotions such as anger, frustration or surprise. However, profanity can also be used to entertain and win over audiences. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAs dishonesty and profanity are both considered deviant they are often viewed as evidence of low moral standards. On the other hand, profanity can be positively associated with honesty, researchers said. It is often used to express unfiltered feelings and sincerity. “The relationship between profanity and dishonesty is a tricky one. Swearing is often inappropriate but it can also be evidence that someone is telling you their honest opinion,” said David Stillwell, from the University of Cambridge in the UK. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”Just as they aren’t filtering their language to be more palatable, they’re also not filtering their views,” Stillwell said. Researchers set out to gauge people’s views about this sort of language in a series of questionnaires which included interactions with social media users.In the first questionnaire 276 participants were asked to list their most commonly used and favourite swear words. They were also asked to rate their reasons for using these words and then took part in a lie test to determine whether they were being truthful or simply responding in the way they thought was socially acceptable. Those who wrote down a higher number of curse words were less likely to be lying.A second survey involved collecting data from 75,000 Facebook users to measure their use of swear words in their online social interactions.The research found that those who used more profanity were also more likely to use language patterns that have been shown in previous research to be related to honesty, such as using pronouns like “I” and “me”.The study was published inthe journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.last_img read more

Kolkata South Bengal to experience rain from Monday

first_imgKolkata: The Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore on Saturday predicted rainfall in all the South Bengal districts including the city for three days from Monday.According to a senior MeT official, rain will be accompanied with a strong breeze measuring around 45-50 km per hour. There is also a prediction of heavy thundershowers in various North Bengal districts. The city may witness intermittent rains for the next three days from Monday onwards. The districts which are expected to receive maximum rainfall are North 24-Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseFor the past few days, the city’s temperature climbed up by a few notches and a spell of dry weather is prevailing. “Some North Bengal districts may receive heavy downpour, accompanied by lightning and thunderstorms on Monday. The situation may intensify on Tuesday and Wednesday resulting in more rain. There is also a possibility of hailstorms in North Bengal. People in the city and other South Bengal districts may witness moderate spells of rain three days from Monday,” a senior official of the MeT office said. The official also said the situation will improve from Wednesday evening. It may also be mentioned that the spells of rain early this week led to a drop of temperature by a few notches.last_img read more

EC seeks report from DM on Nashkars controversial remarks

first_imgKolkata: Election Commission has sought a report from the District Magistrate of East Midnapore on the derogatory statement of BJP candidate from Tamluk, Siddhartha Nashkar.During an election campaign in Tamluk, Nashkar allegedly made some derogatory remarks on Friday and allegedly urged the BJP workers to beat up other party activists. Following the incident, various political parties moved to the Commission demanding action against the BJP candidate from Tamluk. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) in the state sought a detailed report from the DM and also the video of the election rally. The Election Commission will examine the video footages of the BJP candidate. They will take a decision after going through the video. It may be mentioned that many BJP candidates have courted controversy in the recent past for their derogatory remarks and it seems to continue unabated. BJP’s Basirhat candidate Sayantan Basu, Dilip Ghosh contesting the elections from Midnapore, Babul Supriyo contesting from Asansol had been under the scanner of the Election Commission for triggering controversies. It may also be mentioned here that some polling personnel from Birbhum have urged the Election Commission to keep an eye on Anubrata Mondal, Trinamool Congress president of the district, on the day of elections as they fear that Mondal may try to intimidate voters.last_img read more

Victims kin lock up doctors in hospital

first_imgKolkata: Tension ran high at Digha State General Hospital on Sunday morning following the death of a patient whose family members staged a demonstration alleging medical negligence on the part of the hospital authorities.The victim’s family members locked up some doctors inside the hospital and put up a sit-in demonstration demanding action against the doctors who were allegedly responsible for the patient’s death. The incident sparked panic among other patients undergoing treatment at the hospital. The incident also disrupted health services at the hospital before the police finally reached and dispersed the mob. Police said the victim, Nirmal Routh, a resident of Digha coastal police station area, received injuries after falling from his motorcycle. He was returning home on his motorcycle on Saturday night when the accident took place. He was immediately taken to the hospital by local residents. The family members of the victim alleged that after primary check up the doctors suggested that CT scan should be conducted on the patient to ascertain the nature of the injuries. As advised by the doctors, victim’s relatives took the patient for CT scan on late Saturday night. When they turned up with CT scan report no doctors were available at the ward. The patient remained unattended till Sunday morning despite his critical injuries. In the morning, a doctor checked him and said that the patient had been suffering from mere acidity. No treatment was provided for his head injuries as a result of which the patient succumbed to his injuries. After the patient’s death, his family members began congregating on the hospital premises. They started an agitation demanding punishment for doctors responsible for his death. After being informed a huge contingent of police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control.last_img read more

Noted plays to enthrall Delhi

first_imgA 21-day-long theatre festival in Delhi is treating the capital’s theatre enthusiasts with a vibrant palette of productions, including those by Harold Pinter, Rhishikesh Vaidya, and others. If you are in Delhi, keep your day free and enjoy some fabulous performances. Here is a list of plays that will be held on February 9:SAPTAPARNEE Shri Ram Centre 4.00pm Playwright: Sadhana Ahmed Director: Sohag Sen and others Also Read – Add new books to your shelfGroup: Rangakarmee, Kolkata Language: Hindi & Bengali Duration: 1 hr 30 mins THE DUMB WAITER LTG 5.30 pm Playwright: Harold Pinter Director: Thawai Thiyam Group: Chorus Repertory Theatre, Imphal Language: Manipuri Duration: 1 hr 13 mins MORPHOSIS Kamani 7.00 pm Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsivePlaywright: Rhishikesh Vaidya Director: Bapi Bose Group: Circle Theatre Company, Delhi Language: Hindi Duration: 2 hrs 30 mins AN ILIAD Abhimanch 8.30 pm Playwrights: Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare Directors: Guy Roberts and Rebecca Greene Udden Group: Prague Shakespeare Company, Czeh Republic Language: English Duration: 1 hr 45 minslast_img read more

Climate change is making animals smaller

first_imgClimate change is shrinking the body size of animals, according to the evidence collected by researchers over a 23-year-period between 1976 and 1999. Researchers studied changes in the weight of mountain wagtails, a type of bird, along the Palmiet River in Westville, South Africa. Climate change is having profound effects on Earth and its ecosystems, and during the past 100 years, global temperatures have increased by close to one degree Celsius. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfFrom the fossil record, it is known that during past periods of global warming, both marine and land-based animals have become smaller. Scientists have proposed that contemporary warming could lead to smaller animals, but so far, evidence supporting this has been scarce. “All else being equal, larger animals can tolerate cold conditions better than smaller animals, so one could expect that a warming climate is relatively more advantageous for smaller animals,” said Professor Res Altwegg from UCT. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”A lot of other factors also affect body size, though, so we weren’t expecting to find clear temperature effects over a quarter of a century. “Yet, the results clearly supported the idea that climate change was the reason why these birds became smaller over time,” he added. Body size is an important indicator of an animal’s fertility, lifespan and ability to survive times of stress, such as food shortages or drought, researchers said. Body size also affects how much food an animal needs, how vulnerable it is to predators and what type of food it can eat, they said. Mountain wagtails are slender black, gray and white birds so named because of the up-and-down pumping motion they do with their tails. They live near small fast-flowing rivers across sub-Saharan Africa. Based on data from a local weather station near the Palmiet River, the researchers knew that temperatures in the area had increased by 0.18 degrees Celsius. Their results, published in the journal Oecologia, showed that as temperature increased along the Palmiet River, the mountain wagtails living there had become lighter. Specifically, they found lighter individuals were replacing heavier ones in the population and that they survived better under high temperatures. This indicated that an evolutionary pressure was acting on the birds to become lighter. “But, they generally didn’t have the detailed data to show that temperature actually affected the animals directly by changing their ability to survive,” he said. The results support the idea that shrinking body size is a response to climate change, researchers said. Scientists have already shown that climate change is affecting where animals live, how they interact and their seasonal behaviour.last_img read more

Mystery over death of bar employee

first_imgKolkata: Mystery surrounds the death of an employee of a bar-cum-restaurant at Chandni Chowk on Tuesday night.Two of his colleagues took his body to the deceased’s home in Baranagar area and tried to hand it over to his family and leave. However, locals detained both of them and handed them over to the police. According to sources, on Tuesday a singer of the bar identified as Debasish Das (48), was found lying unconscious inside the washroom. As per the claim of his colleagues, they took Das to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata(CMCH), where he was declared dead. However, questions arose over the fact that if Das was declared brought dead, the police outpost of CMCH was supposed to be informed and his body would have been sent for autopsy examination. How his colleagues were able to take his body to his home in Baranagar was not clear either. The family members of Das stated that on Tuesday night, two of his colleagues took his body to Baranagar and told his family that he had died. But they did not tell them how it had happened. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateWhen his family members questioned them about what had happened, they reportedly tried to flee. But hearing the family members shout for help, locals detained the duo. On Tuesday night, Baranagar police station was informed and later police recovered the body and sent it for autopsy examination. His family members lodged a complaint at the police station but no murder case has been initiated till Wednesday. “An Unnatural Death (UD) case has been started. Probe is on,” said Ananda Roy, Deputy Commissioner (DC), Zone II, Belgharia, Barrackpore City Police. Sources informed that Barrackpore police station has got in touch with Bowbazar police station for obtaining information regarding the incident. However, DC, Central of Kolkata Police Nilakantam Sudheer Kumar said: “No case lodged here. We are not probing the case.” No one has been arrested in the case till Wednesday and police are waiting for the autopsy report to identify the exact cause of death. According to police, as per primary opinion of the autopsy surgeon, food particles were found inside his trachea. It is suspected that he died due to choking from the same.last_img read more