Assembly bypolls across six States mostly peaceful

first_imgBy elections were held in nine Assembly constituencies in six States on Sunday. Barring Ater in Madhya Pradesh, where incidents of firing were reported from two places, polling was by and large peaceful.Polling took place in two Assembly constituencies each in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh and one each in West Bengal, Assam, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.Eighty-two per cent votes were polled in the Kanthi Dakshin Assembly by-election in Purba Medinipur district of West Bengal. “The number is likely increase once the final figure arrives tomorrow (Monday),” a senior Election Commission official told The Hindu.Lower turnoutA moderate polling of around 63% was reported from the Bhoranj assembly segment of Hamirpur district in Himachal Pradesh. Faulty EVMs caused some delay in a few booths in the morning. But the machines were quickly replaced. Polling was around 4% less than what was seen in the 2012 polls.Former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal claimed that his party would win the seat with a record margin. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who was in Nahan, said the people would vote for his good work and his party’s fine performance in the past four years. 46.23% in RajouriThe by-poll in west Delhi’s Rajouri Garden constituency witnessed a low voter turnout. The State Election Commission recorded 46.23 per cent when the voting closed at 6 pm. Last time, the turnout was 72%Polling was slow in stations across the 166 polling booths in the constituency. It, however, picked up from 21.73% at 1 pm to touch 42.89% by 5 pm.Delhi Congress leader Ajay Maken, who is a resident of the area, cast his vote early in the day. “This by-election will be a referendum on [Chief Minister Arvind] Kejriwal’s two years’ work,” he told the media.74% in DholpurIn Dholpur Assembly constituency in Rajasthan, where the BJP is in power, 74 per cent polling was recorded till 5 pm.Dhemaji seat in Assam had a turnout of 66.97 per cent, while it was 65 per cent in Bandhavgarh and 60 per cent in Ater in MP. Polling percentages in Gundlupet and Nanajanagud Assembly seats in Karnataka, where Congress is in power, was 78 per cent and 76 per cent respectively till 5 pm.last_img read more

Maharaja Express may soon traverse the western coast

first_imgUnion Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is planning to extend the Maharaja Express to the western coast by September.Mr. Prabhu discussed the proposal with Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar during his Goa visit this week. According to a senior official in the State government, Mr. Parrikar favoured the idea as it will help upgrade the tourism transport network.Mr. Prabhu told Mr. Parrikar that the Maharaja Express with its variety of high-end travel packages would be an ideal travel option for foreign tourists. The Maharaja Express traverses through Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Aurangabad in Maharashtra. The plan is extend the service to the Konkan railway route connecting Konkan, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. Mr. Prabhu is expected to moot the proposal to the Chief Ministers of the southern States.Chairman and Managing Director of Konkan Railway Sanjay Gupta said on Friday that the issues discussed included doubling the railway track of the South Central Railway between Vasco to Londa, extending services of RailTel Corporation in Goa to enhance telecom infrastructure and resolving issues related to the construction of flyovers on the route.last_img read more

Delhi’s flip-flop continues: Mirwaiz

first_imgA day after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressed readiness to talk to “right minded people” in Kashmir, Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said New Delhi’s Kashmir policy was “full of flip-flops.”“We are not seeing any change of heart, but a change of strategy forced upon them by the change in circumstances. The policy of extreme repression was pursued as a state policy since the BJP came to power in New Delhi four years ago, which was a complete departure from the ways of the previous BJP regime led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” said the Mirwaiz in his Friday sermon.He alleged that the present regime had indulged in an all-out assault. “The assaults were carried out militarily, through the judiciary, economically or based on demography,” he said.‘Witch hunt’The Mirwaiz said the detention of [the separatist] leadership and the NIA harassment was nothing “but witch hunt.” “It is due to the failure of the harsh policy and international pressure, that today we see the ‘softening’ in their stand,” he said.The Hurriyat leader said the separatists would be happy if good sense prevailed upon the Government of India “about the futility of using force on the people in this David vs Goliath battle.” “Our leadership is in no hurry to respond to Delhi’s assertions over dialogue and will discuss the matter in the coming days,” said the Mirwaiz.He said if the GoI really cared for J&K’s children and young it should resolve the Kashmir dispute in the wider context of humanity and justice.Yasin Malik’s chargeJKLF chairman Yasin Malik, who addressed a congregation at Chrar-e-Sharief in Budgam, said Union Home Minster Rajnath Singh “has no right to sermonise on saving the new Kashmiri generation as the Centre had killed and blinded youth in the past four years.”Meanwhile, Hurryat faction chairman Syed Ali Geelani was barred by the authorities from offering Friday prayers at the Hazratbal Shrine in Srinagar.last_img read more

Assam acts over ‘security lapse’ during CJI visit

first_imgThe Assam government on Saturday suspended two officers for a “security lapse” during Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi’s visit to the Kamakhya temple here on October 17.The two officers are Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Bhanwar Lal Meena and Additional Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (Metro), Prasanta Pratim Kathkotiya.An order signed by Home Secretary Deepak Mazumdar said lapse in security arrangements had caused inconvenience to Chief Justice Gogoi. The decision to suspend Mr. Meena was taken after Governor Jagdish Mukhi took a serious note of the lapse.The order pointed out that the itinerary of the CJI had been intimated to the Assam government department concerned on October 11.The government issued another order suspending Mr. Kathkotiya. “Action was taken against him for lack of coordination during the CJI’s visit,” Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (Metro), Virendra Mittal said.A senior police officer said the “security lapse” had to do more with a “situation” arising out of “a rush of VIP movements” at Kamakhya on that day. The CJI’s visit had almost coincided with that of Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah.According to news portal insidene.com and a couple of vernacular dailies, Chief Justice Gogoi was made to wait for at least 30 minutes as Mr. Shah had visited the temple at the same time along with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and other senior BJP leaders.“The temple that day was open for about 180 minutes because of Durga Puja. Everyone, including devotees, had to be accommodated during that period and the situation got complicated because of lack of coordination among the officials,” a temple priest was quoted as saying. “The suspension was a face-saving measure by the BJP government, which gave more importance to the security of Amit Shah than the Chief Justice of India,” Debabrata Saikia, CLP leader said on Sunday.last_img read more

NC hints at contesting Assembly poll

first_imgNational Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah on Wednesday hinted that his party may not boycott Assembly election in J&K, hours after BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav questioned the regional parties, the NC and the Peoples Democratic Party’s demand to dissolve the Assembly. “You (BJP) got the control of a handful of towns and cities because the NC and the PDP stayed away (and the Congress did such a poor job of putting up a fight). Do you really think we will give you a walkover in the Assembly poll?” said the former Chief Minister Abdullah.The remarks came after Mr. Madhav questioned the regional parties’ boycott politics.last_img read more

Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan waives farm loans up to ₹2 lakh

first_imgTwo days after being sworn in, the Congress government in Rajasthan on Wednesday announced loan waiver for farmers up to ₹2 lakh each, resulting in the burden of an estimated ₹18,000 crore on the Exchequer. There will be no monetary ceiling on the short-term agricultural loans obtained from the cooperative banks.Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said after a marathon meeting in the Secretariat, where the modalities for waiver were worked out, that the agricultural loans of defaulters up to ₹2 lakh each with the nationalised, commercial and rural banks would be waived with the cut-off date of November 30. “There will be no monetary ceiling for the cooperative loans, though the cut-off date will be applicable to them [as well],” he said.Mr. Gehlot said the previous BJP regime, which had announced waiver of farmers’ loans up to ₹50,000 each, had paid only ₹2,000 crore and left a burden of ₹6,000 crore on his government. The Congress government’s decision is set to benefit over 30 lakh farmers in the State.Congress president Rahul Gandhi had promised during his poll campaign that the farmers’ loans would be waived within 10 days of coming to power in the election-bound States. Of the three States where the Congress has won, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have already announced the waiver of short-term loans.“We also included this promise in our manifesto for the Rajasthan Assembly election. It was all the more needed in our State, where debt-ridden farmers were committing suicide because of the flawed policies of the previous government,” Mr. Gehlot said, emerging from the meeting that lasted several hours.Chief Secretary D.B. Gupta and senior officers of the Finance, Agriculture and Cooperative Departments were involved in the discussions on the loan waiver scheme. The Vasundhara Raje government had waived farm loans up to ₹50,000 each obtained from the cooperative banks. The State government had provided a guarantee to the State Apex Cooperative Bank to take a loan from the National Cooperative Development Corporation for funding the scheme.last_img read more

Leopard enters residential area in Pune, injures seven

first_imgSeven persons, including a child and an elderly lady, were injured after a stray leopard entered an under construction building in Pune’s Mundhwa area on Monday morning in search of food.Those injured are said to be out of danger while the feline, who was caught and tranquilized after a long and tense struggle, was sent to the city’s Katraj Wild Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre.According to sources, the leopard entered the work-in-progress 14-floor building of the ‘Vertical Infra’ society in Mundhwa’s Keshavnagar area sometime after 6 a.m. The densely-populated area has a number of unfinished housing projects as well as completed residential colonies.As per reports, the beast allegedly attacked a seven-year-old child and injured three other labourers who rushed to rescue the minor. Frightened labourers raised an alarm and police and forest department authorities as well as personnel from the fire services reached the spot.The feline, who panicked on seeing a large throng gathered in the area, then fell into a duct and was trapped. Officials finally managed to tranquilize the restive animal after more than two hours of struggle, while having a hard time quelling the equally restive mob gathered in large numbers to witness the spectacle. “A policeman, a forest guard and a member of the Katraj Wild Animal rescue center suffered minor injuries while trying to nab the creature,” said a forest department official.The Pune incident is an eerie replay of a similar one which occurred in a crowded locality in Nashik city a little over a week ago, when a leopard had injured four persons, including two media persons and a Shiv Sena corporator before being caught by forest authorities.last_img read more

Spurious liquor death toll rises to 155

first_imgThe death toll in the Assam hooch tragedy touched 155 on Monday as preliminary investigation identified methanol and jaggery as the killer combination.The disaster struck some villages around two tea estates in as many eastern Assam districts on Thursday night. According to data provided by the government in the Assembly on Monday, 95 and 60 people have so far died in Golaghat and Jorhat districts. Of the deceased, 45 are women. The administrative heads of the districts said a total of 268 people were undergoing treatment.16 serious “The condition of 16 patients continues to be serious,” Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Roshni Aparanji Korathi said. Her Golaghat counterpart Dhiren Hazarika said the rush of new patients had come down.Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said preliminary investigation had pointed to faulty distillation with a lethal mix of liquid jaggery and methyl alcohol. “We have sent samples of liquor as well as viscera of the deceased for forensic test,” he said.Doctors at the Jorhat Medical College Hospital, where most of the patients are undergoing treatment, said it was difficult to save people once methyl alcohol or methanol enters the bloodstream.Crackdown on densExcise officials said 34 illegal brewers and vendors have been arrested in the two affected districts in crackdowns on liquor dens since Friday. Police and excise personnel have so far registered more than 100 cases apart from destroying 76,000 litres of spurious liquor in the two districts alone.Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Congress MLA Ajanta Neog said uneducated tea plantation workers had been paying the price of an “unholy nexus” between liquor traders and excise officials.The tea estates where the plantation workers have died after consuming spurious liquor fall within the Assembly constituencies of Mr. Gogoi (Titabor) and Ms. Neog (Golaghat).last_img read more

European Commission Dampens Climate Ambitions

first_imgBRUSSELS—Toning down its environmental zeal of years past, the European Commission has proposed today to ax binding, national targets for the share of renewable sources in each member state’s energy mix after 2020. The move is part of the commission’s new energy and climate plans for 2030, which also include a 40% cut in carbon emissions compared with 1990 levels—much less than what environmental groups had lobbied for.The plan is a follow-up to the so-called 20-20-20 package, a set of bold measures for 2020 presented in 2007 that made the European Union a leader in the fight against global warming. Seven years and an economic crisis later, the commission hopes its 2030 plans will again shape the next global climate talks. But this time, environmental groups slammed the proposals as too weak to curb global warming and lead policy change worldwide.“This is essentially business-as-usual and a far cry from the halcyon days of the EU’s self-heralded climate change leadership,” said Bas Eickhout, a Green member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands, in a statement today.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But the commission defended its proposals as a sound compromise between environmental and economic concerns. Climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard, who presented the plans today alongside European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Energy Commissioner Günther Öttinger, sounded a positive note. “If other big economies followed our example […], the world would be a better place,” Hedegaard said.Industry is mostly enthusiastic as well. “This package puts us on the right path to delivering a competitive, low-carbon future,” said Katja Hall, chief policy director at the United Kingdom’s business lobby CBI, in a statement. “An emissions reduction target of 40% is ambitious and credible, and reflects what we have been calling for.”Eickhout says the commission’s proposals reflect deep divisions among the European Union’s 28 member states on energy policy. For example, Germany has pledged to abandon nuclear energy and to push renewables, while the United Kingdom and Poland are rooting for fossil fuels. The commission “has been working towards the lowest common denominator” to earn member states’ approval, Eickhout tells ScienceInsider.Under its 2030 proposal, the commission proposes that 27% of the European Union’s total energy consumption should come from renewable sources, up from the current 20% target for 2020—but it stops short of making that target binding for individual countries. This would leave some “flexibility for Member States to transform the energy system in a way that is adapted to national preferences and circumstances,” the commission said in a statement. The commission will monitor efforts to improve energy systems, including research spending.But it remains unclear how the E.U.-wide target will be enforced and who will be accountable. Environmental groups are concerned that if left to their own devices, cash-strapped member states won’t do much to boost the deployment of renewable energy technology and lower their dependence on fossil fuels. Mahi Sideridou, managing director of Greenpeace EU—which had called for a 45% target, binding on member states—said in a statement today that the commission’s plan “would knock the wind out of a booming renewables industry.”In parallel to the renewables target, the commission proposes to cut Europe’s carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels, up from the existing 20% reduction goal for 2020. According to the commission’s own impact assessment, the union is on track to meet the current target: Under a “business-as-usual” scenario, total greenhouse gas emissions are already expected to drop by 24% in 2020 and 32% in 2030 compared with 1990 levels.Again, green groups and scientists have criticized the commission’s 40% proposal as insufficient to limit global warming to a temperature increase of 2ºC—which is widely considered as the threshold above which climate change would cause severe effects; Greenpeace, for instance, had hoped for a 55% reduction. “The 40% target is the death knell of 2ºC,” says Kevin Anderson, deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the United Kingdom.In another controversial move, the commission shied away from issuing binding legislation on shale gas. Instead, it proposed “minimum principles”—nonbinding environmental guidelines for member states that want to explore and exploit shale gas reserves using hydraulic fracking methods. Some E.U. countries, including the United Kingdom, are eager to tap into the new resource to catch up with other nations such as the United States. Others are more guarded: France, for example, has banned fracking, citing concerns for human health and the environment.The commission’s proposals will now be discussed with member states and the European Parliament. The commission hopes to have a final plan ready ahead of the United Nations climate talks, to be held in Paris in December 2015.last_img read more

Fresh Misconduct Charges Hit Dutch Social Psychology

first_imgBased on a statistical analysis of a published paper, a national research integrity panel in the Netherlands has found evidence of data manipulation in the work of Jens Förster, a social psychologist at the University of Amsterdam. It is the third affair in Dutch social psychology since 2011. Förster, who enjoys an excellent reputation in the field, denies the charges and says he feels “like the victim of an incredible witch hunt.”For the full story, see this week’s issue of Science.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Japanese stem cell debacle could bring down center

first_imgTOKYO—Shutting down the research center at the heart of an unfolding scientific scandal may be necessary to prevent a recurrence of research misconduct, according to a report released at a press conference here today. A committee reviewing conduct at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe, Japan, found lax oversight and a failure on the part of senior authors of two papers in Nature outlining a surprisingly simple way of reprogramming mature cells into stem cells. The committee surmised that a drive to produce groundbreaking results led to publishing results prematurely.RIKEN, which oversees a network of nationally funded research institutes from its headquarters in Wako near Tokyo, set up the reform committee in April after an investigative committee found that the two stem cell papers, from a team based primarily at CDB, were riddled with image and data manipulation and plagiarism. The investigative committee later concluded that two problems with the papers constituted research misconduct. So far, no one has reported being able to replicate the reprogramming method—called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency, or STAP—which involves exposing cells to various kinds of stress.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The reform committee, chaired by Teruo Kishi, a materials scientist and professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, noted that the investigating committee laid primary responsibility for the papers’ shortcomings on lead author Haruko Obokata of CDB. But the reform committee’s report also blames Yoshiki Sasai, a senior co-author and deputy CDB director, and Teruhiko Wakayama, a former CDB researcher now at the University of Yamanashi, Kofu, for accepting Obokata’s primary data without scrutiny or confirmation. A lack of proper oversight, the reform panel found, extends up the chain of command through CDB Director Masatoshi Takeichi to officials at RIKEN headquarters. The committee called for anyone found to bear responsibility, including Takeichi, to face “severe disciplinary measures.”During the press conference, Kishi noted that decisions on disciplinary measures should wait until ongoing investigations are finished. A third RIKEN-appointed committee is charged with determining what punitive measures should be imposed on Obokata and others. But the rot may extend to CDB itself. “It seems that RIKEN CDB had a strong desire to produce major breakthrough results that would surpass iPS cell research,” the report concludes, referring to another type of pluripotent stem cell. “One of our conclusions is that the CDB organization is part of the problem,” Kishi said. His committee recommends a complete overhaul of CDB, including perhaps restructuring it into a new institute. “This has to be more than just changing the nameplate,” he said. Last week, RIKEN confirmed that Obokata and the other RIKEN co-authors have agreed to retract both papers. Kishi was also critical of the fact that after months of internal investigations, RIKEN had not yet been able to tell the world “whether STAP cells exist or not.”At a separate press conference later this evening, Takeichi said, “I will seriously think about what should be done, but I would like to take time to consider the recommendations.”last_img read more

Polio pioneer tapped to breathe life into India’s science ministry

first_imgNEW DELHI—Science now has a more potent voice in India’s government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday appointed physician Harsh Vardhan as minister for science and technology and earth sciences and elevated him to full Cabinet rank.Vardhan, 59, is known for his pioneering role in the eradication of polio from India, which earlier this year was declared free of wild poliovirus. A seasoned politician and outspoken critic of tobacco use, Vardhan had served as India’s health minister since Modi formed his government in May. One of his main tasks during in his stint at the health ministry was to promote Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine; just last week he presided over a world conference on Ayurveda here.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Vardhan’s most pressing task may be to revitalize the science ministry, which languished in the last few years of the previous government. Speaking with the media today, Vardhan pledged “to consolidate the bridge between science and society.” Among his first priorities, he said, are strengthening the science of monsoon forecasting and more effectively deploying biotechnology in the health sector.He will be assisted by a newly appointed junior minister, Y. S. Choudhary, an industrialist who made a fortune selling home appliances.last_img read more

U.S. to build two new world-class supercomputers

first_imgThe U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today two major efforts to push supercomputing power well beyond where it is today. DOE will spend $325 million on two extreme-scale computers to be built at national labs in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Livermore, California. The agency will spend another $100 million on FastForward 2, a program designed to improve software and applications that will run on the new machines. Though the specifications for the new machines are still in flux, they’re expected to run at top speeds of between 100 and 300 petaflops. (Each petaflop is equal to 1015 floating-point operations per second.) That’s considered a key milestone toward the goal of creating the first exascale (1018 flops) supercomputer, the next major landmark in high-performance computing.“It’s great,” says Jack Dongarra, a supercomputing expert at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “[These machines] are one step away from exascale. This is the jumping point to get there,” Dongarra says. It also suggests that if the current pace of improvement in high-performance computing continues, the first exascale machine could come online somewhere around 2022 to 2023, Dongarra says.   The Oak Ridge supercomputer, called Summit, will be open to the scientific community and is expected to run at up to 300 petaflops. Sierra, the Livermore machine, is expected to top out somewhere around 200 petaflops and will be used by the National Nuclear Security Administration to test the safety and security of U.S. nuclear weapons. Both the Summit and Sierra machines are expected to be delivered in 2017 and become operational in 2018.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The speed of the both machines is expected to easily outpace the United States’ current speed champ, Titan at Oak Ridge, which tops out at 27 petaflops. They will also be faster than the current world record–holder, Tianhe-2, which reaches top speeds of almost 35 petaflops at China’s National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou. Although, Dongarra says that engineers are already working to boost the speed of Tianhe-2 to about 100 petaflops, and may do even more later.The design of the new machines is expected to continue a recent trend in revamping the way top supercomputers are built. Engineers previously boosted supercomputing power by adding additional central processing units (CPUs) that serve as the brains of the machine. But these chips are power-hungry. So simply adding more and more isn’t a viable way to get to exascale. Instead, these new machines will increase the use of graphics processing units (GPUs) that accelerate certain calculations, as well as add new high-speed interconnections between GPUs and CPUs. As a result, even though Summit is expected to have five to 10 times higher performance than Titan, it will use only 10% more power. The components for the new machine will be built by IBM, NVIDIA, and Mellanox.The new computers are expected to enable discoveries in fields ranging from materials science and biofuels development to combustion research and nuclear weapons engineering. “High-performance computing is an essential component of the science and technology portfolio required to maintain U.S. competitiveness and ensure our economic and national security,” said DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz in a statement.last_img read more

‘Positive’ results for Ebola drug upsets plans for trials

first_imgEven the researchers whose trial of a potential drug for Ebola made headlines last week worked hard to downplay the glimmer of efficacy it showed. “It is a weak signal in a nonrandomized trial,” Yves Levy, director of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Paris told Science about the data, which INSERM has not released. Weak or not, the report in The New York Times that favipiravir, a Japanese flu drug, had halved mortality in one group of Ebola patients in Guinea was one more piece of good news that is complicating prospects for trials of other Ebola drugs.The Guinean government has already announced it wants to make favipiravir available to more people, and if the results hold up to greater scrutiny, they could force a change in the design of other clinical trials going forward. Meanwhile, the decline in new cases has investigators revamping or even canceling trials at a time when manufacturers finally have enough supplies to test some of the most promising experimental drugs. The toll of the outbreak ticked up last week, as Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone—the three most affected countries—counted 124 confirmed cases, up from 99 cases the week before. As the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Bruce Aylward said at a press conference on 5 February: “The virus has told us this week, loud and clear, ‘I am not going to go away the way you’re expecting me to.’ ” Yet the numbers represent a sharp drop from the height of the epidemic in September when there were more than 700 cases reported in a single week in West Africa. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Just last week, the Wellcome Trust, a charity in the United Kingdom that is funding several Ebola trials, announced that the Liberian trial of brincidofovir, an antiviral developed by Chimerix of Durham, North Carolina, would be canceled because the company withdrew support. “It was rather a surprise to us and a bit of a mystery,” says Peter Horby, an investigator at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom who headed the study. Chimerix said it made the decision after discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), noting that the trial was also having trouble recruiting patients.  Horby says his group was planning to open a second trial site in Sierra Leone, where the numbers are far higher. FDA’s Luciana Borio says Chimerix also refused the agency’s request to make public its correspondence with the company. Chimerix said it was concentrating on completing trials of the drug to treat other infections: cytomegalovirus and adenovirus.Although one trial is canceled, others are about to go forward. Horby says his group hopes to start evaluating an RNA inhibitor called TKM-Ebola soon. The drug, made by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals of Burnaby, Canada, worked well in monkeys but has been in short supply.Testing is also about to begin on the antibody cocktail ZMapp. Seen by many researchers as the best shot at treating Ebola because of promising monkey studies, ZMapp was used on nine patients last summer before the company behind it, Mapp Biopharmaceutical of San Diego, California, announced it had no more supplies. Now, the company says, it has enough doses to start a clinical trial in Liberia as early as this week. But there may be too few patients in that country for the experimental drug to prove its worth, says Clifford Lane, head of clinical research at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is launching the study in Monrovia with the Liberian Ministry of Health & Social Welfare.So far, Guinea and Sierra Leone, where Ebola is still infecting dozens of people a week, have refused invitations to join the study. Their main stumbling block is trial design. ZMapp will be the first Ebola treatment that will be tested in a randomized, controlled study. “I think that’s the only way to tell whether these drugs are safe and effective,” Lane says.The governments of Guinea and Sierra Leone, as well as Doctors Without Borders, which runs Ebola centers in those countries, have for ethical reasons been reluctant to participate in treatment trials that use a randomized, controlled design. Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust, also objects to the randomized, controlled trial design for Ebola drugs, given the high mortality rate of the disease. “Given the data we have from animals and individual patients, I would not feel comfortable being randomized,” he says. Lane notes that the trial may not need many participants: If the drug is 100% effective and Ebola kills 50% of the people it infects, he says, as few as 30 people will need to receive ZMapp to determine whether it works. And even if there are not enough patients to provide a clear answer on efficacy, Lane says scientists might still get valuable data by looking at parameters like the blood levels of Ebola virus in those treated with the drug and those in the control arm.The favipiravir study in Guinea illustrates the complexity of discerning clear answers without a robust control and the difficulties of communicating them. The trial data are reviewed every 20 patients by an independent monitoring board. On 26 January they evaluated the data from 80 patients. Because they detected a signal of efficacy, they asked the researchers to share the information with regulatory agencies in Guinea and France, Levy says. The INSERM researchers won’t make their data public until 25 February, at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, Washington. “It is important to have a scientific debate about what these results really mean,” says Levy, noting that the meeting organizers insisted the data be embargoed. A researcher who had seen the data and asked not to be identified told Science that favipiravir did not help all of the patients treated with it at two trial sites in Guinea. In a subset of trial participants who had low levels of Ebola virus in the blood, however, the mortality was just 15%. In similar patients who entered the centers earlier and did not receive favipiravir, mortality was 30%. Marie-Paule Kieny, an assistant director-general at WHO, says it is difficult to make sense of the data at this point. “You can say it doesn’t mean anything or you can say it is promising. More research is needed to find out what really happened.”Meanwhile, the study in Guinea is continuing and has now enrolled more than 100 patients. “The final result may still be different,” Levy says. But the preliminary data have already led Guinean authorities to expand the numbers of sites where favipiravir is to be used.Other trials could prove harder to organize and interpret if favipiravir is distributed widely. A study testing the use of convalescent serum started in Guinea this week. “If there is a decision now to use favipiravir everywhere, what happens with that trial?” Kieny asks. The ZMapp trial may also be affected. That trial is designed to compare ZMapp with the standard of care. “If the standard of care changes, so does the control used in the trial,” Lane says. But he has not seen any results, he says. “The only data I have seen from that study are what was in The New York Times.”*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicinehave made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.*Correction, 13 February, 11:05 a.m.: This story incorrectly referred to a trial of ZMapp, an Ebola antibody cocktail, as being a placebo-controlled trial. As the story reports, ZMapp will be tested in a trial that, for the first time, uses a randomized, control group. But the control group will not receive a placebo. People in the control arm will receive the current standard of care, which includes providing intravenous fluids, balancing electrolytes, maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure, and treating other infections if they occur.last_img read more

Green card wait affects Northwest Arkansas residents

first_imgVanshika Chintakunta dreams of going to college, becoming a doctor and opening a medical office in the United States.But she’s different from many immigrant dreamers: She came to America legally. Still, her immigration status diminishes her hope of achieving those goals.Vanshika, a ninth-grader at Bentonville High School, moved to the United States from India when she was 3 through her father’s work visa. Her sister, Trishika, was 5 months old.Read it at NWA Online Related Itemslast_img read more

12% Rise in Number of Indian Students Granted Visa For Studying in US

first_imgAhead of celebrating student visa day for those heading to the US for higher education, the US consulate said that the number of Indian students qualifying for visas has been on the rise during recent years.Read it at Times of India Related Itemslast_img

Fugitive Businessman Mehul Choksi, In Antigua, Surrenders Indian Passport

first_imgFugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi has given up his Indian citizenship and surrendered his passport to Antigua. The move is seen as an attempt to avoid extradition to India, where he is wanted by multiple agencies for loan fraud. Mehul Choksi, 59, also submitted 177 dollars with his passport (Z-3396732 ) to the Indian High Commission in Antigua. Officials say he has given his new address as Jolly Harbour Marks, Antigua.Read it at NDTV Related Itemslast_img

Singapore’s DBS Bank to Turn Indian

first_imgThe Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), which has estimated assets of US$355 billion, is set to start operations as a local bank in India. With the Reserve Bank of India approving DBS to open branches across the country as a local subsidiary, the bank will become the 5th largest foreign-owned bank in the Indian sub-continent.With this approval, DBS is planning to expand its reach from 12 existing branches to 75 in India within the next few years.Interacting with the reporters from International Investment, Piyush Gupta, CEO DBS Group, confirmed the final approval from RBI. He further added that DBS has a mid-term plan of expanding to 75 branches and a long-term plan of opening 90 branches. The bank expects to boost its net investment. which is presently around US$1bn.Gupta said, “Physical points of presence will help us get into new businesses like supply chain financing, SME lending, transaction banking and consumer finance which require points of presence across the country.”DBS has been operating as a local subsidiary in countries like China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and is very optimistic about its growth potential in India, according to Gupta. Related Itemslast_img read more