Month: December 2019

Anyone who aspires to form a government will have to clarify their position on Patidar reservation: Hardik Patel

first_imgAs the campaigns of the various political parties hots up for the assembly elections in Gujarat, a non-political player, Hardik Patel, and his demand for reservation for the Patidar community, is giving the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party sleepless nights. Smita Gupta talks to him on the campaign trail in Bhavnagar district, en route to a public meeting in Umrada.You and your movement appear to have shaken Mr Modi and the BJP. This is an agitation by the people of Gujarat, this is a battle being fought by six crore Gujaratis. Who will get shaken and who won’t, only time will tell. We only want to create an environment that will compel all future governments to work in the interest of the people.Is the demand for reservation for the Patidars the topmost priority of your movement? Yes, definitely: this is a social issue. Anyone who aspires to form a government will have to clarify their position on this. Educational institutions in Gujarat have become corrupt, and there are no jobs. This is a matter of great sorrow. All governments will have to focus on these issues. If we get the opportunity to get a decent education, there will be less chance of youth going astray. If they get proper jobs after that, they will be able to lead honourable lives and won’t be forced to do anything wrong.You are representing the interests of the Patidars who want to be included in the OBC quota to avail of reservation, Alpesh Thakore’s movement began by challenging this demand and Jignesh Mewani represents the Dalits. There are social contradictions between the three, and yet you are on a common platform now.We haven’t come together on a common platform, but on issues that concern all of us. We are talking of oppression, they are talking of prohibition, we are talking of reservation and securing jobs, they are saying its important to get good the education. Where is the contradiction? On the question of the OBC quota, whichever government is there, there are many ways in which our demand for reservation can be accommodated, perhaps even through a constitutional amendment. Whatever the results of these elections, do you think the friendship between you, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mewani can continue?When were we enemies? That is our responsibility.Who will your supporters vote for?They will vote against the BJP, they will vote for their honour, their rights, and will vote so that there will be a prosperous and happy Gujarat.Apart from your demand for reservation, you have been also talking of the demands of the farming community.We want their loans to be waived. For some years we have been saying this is the land of the Green Revolution, this is a land of plenty, this is the land of farmers, and yet in Gujarat even today, many farmers are committing suicide, and they are oppressed by the burden of loans. We want farmers to be given a fair price for their produce.You appeared in the court in Visnagar: do you think the more it appears that the current Gujarat government is trying to act against you, your support will grow. Today you have been delayed, because your return from Mehsana has got converted into a spontaneous road show.People trust me, they agree with my demands. These battles are fought on the basis of issues. We have issues, and whatever legal battles there are, one has to fight them legally. I was to hold my meeting at 4, it is already six because people were there for much of the route. Most people think I won’t be able to make it, but I am told 25,000 people are waiting at Umrada..At the ground level, people from neighbouring villages have come for the meeting to support our issues. What we need are smart villages, not smart cities. If the village is happy, then the cities will automatically become happy places.I have heard you were a social activist, who was handling the social media for the Sardar Patel Group before you started this agitation?At the age of 18, I joined the Sardar Patel Group, and was involved with social issues such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao. But at the age of 22, on July 6, 2015, I launched the current agitation. The story of my life and my involvement with social causes would take too long to recount now.If there is a change in government, do you think it will be followed by social changes.In society two kinds of changes take place, social changes and political changes. The social changes are already taking place — people are coming out on the streets and raising their voices. This will be followed by political changes.Will you eventually form a political party?No, no, I won’t do that. I am a social worker.Do you want the Congress to give the Patidars many tickets for the elections?They do that in every election.Are you hoping that the Patidars who get elected will raise your demands inside the government? If the people are strong, then their voices will be raised inside. If the people are strong, what use is to have our representatives inside? We have to become conscious first, not our politicians. It is only when we become conscious, sensible and united, then we will get our demands. The BJP has made a big issue of your meeting with Congress politicians in a hotel. What’s wrong with a social worker meeting politicians? The BJP has become nervous, it has no issues left: it can’t talk about development anymore. It’s my democratic right to meet anyone — I was not meeting terrorists, was I? Are you meeting Rahul Gandhi next week? Yes, absolutely.What issues will you raise? We have already presented our demands: it’s for them to respond. Do you want people from your outfit to contest elections? No, not at all. People are saying that BJP president Amit Shah is nervous about making a public appearance in Gujarat…. I won’t say too much about that: all I can say is that there is an informal Section 144 in 5000 to 6000 villages in Gujarat for the BJP.last_img read more

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Social media storm uproots selfie notice

first_imgA small banner announcing strict action against taking photos and selfies on the Kalidas Marg, where the residences of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh are located, was removed on Thursday after much criticism on social media.“In this VIP area taking photos and selfies are punishable crime. Those caught will have to face strict action,” the banner put up on Wednesday at the gate of Kalidas Marg proclaimed. However, as the photo of the banner went viral on social media and drew criticism for the Yogi Adityanath government, it was quickly removed. Former Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav also criticised the State government. “Gift to people on New Year by the State government. Taking selifie can invite UPCOCA,” he tweeted.The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday tabled stringent Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime (UPCOC) Bill, 2017, which was severely criticised by the Opposition. Officials were tight-lipped on the matter. Principal Secretary, Information, Awanish Awasthi also did not reply when asked about it.last_img read more

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Will kill cow smugglers, says BJP’s Gyan Dev Ahuja

first_imgRajasthan’s ruling BJP MLA, Gyan Dev Ahuja, has warned that if anyone indulges in cow smuggling or slaughter, he will be killed.Mr. Ahuja’s threat came in response to an alleged cow smuggling incident in Alwar district on Saturday.“Mera to sidha sidha kehna hai ki gau taskari karoge ya gau kashi karoge to yun hi maare jaoge (I say this clearly: if you smuggle or slaughter cows, you will be killed),” he told presspersons.No stranger to controversy, Mr. Ahuja had previously claimed that the premier Jawaharlal Nehru University was a “hub of sex and drugs, where 3,000 used condoms and 2,000 liquor bottles were found daily”.In Alwar, an alleged cow smuggler was caught and beaten by local residents in Ramgarh area, which often sees violence by cow vigilante groups. However, Mr. Ahuja claimed the accused was injured after his vehicle overturned. “Three men were smuggling cows. When the police chased them, they tried to escape through narrow lanes of a village and the vehicle overturned, injuring one of the smugglers. Two others managed to escape,” the Ramgarh legislator claimed when contacted.He said people resented cow smuggling and slaughter. “There is anger among people against cow smugglers because they smuggle cows, because they open fire at the police when the police try to prevent them. They also take roads through villages in Alwar to escape to Haryana and throw stones at the villagers,” he said.‘Alarming increase’Mr. Ahuja said there had been a sudden spurt in cow smuggling of late. “More than 100 incidents have occurred in the past few days, which is alarming and unusually high. The police are also doing their job to check such incidents,” he said.Circle Officer Alwar South Anil Kumar said a man — later identified as Zakir — was arrested for smuggling cows on Saturday. He was beaten by villagers before the police took him in custody. “A police party tried to stop the mini-truck but the accused fled after opening fire at the police. There were 8-10 bovine animals in the truck,” Mr. Kumar said.last_img read more

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‘SIT report on farmer deaths an eyewash’

first_imgThe Shetakari Nyay Hakk Samiti has termed the Special Investigation Team report into the death of farmers in Yavatmal district last year an “eyewash and an attempt to save the real culprits”.The outfit floated by Congress leader from Yavatmal, Dewanand Pawar, had brought focus on the spate of farmers’ deaths in the district owing to pesticide poisoning between August and November last year.Mr. Pawar said, “When the SIT was constituted, we had told the public that it was formed to save the real culprits behind the death of farmers. The SIT was a part of a game-plan of the government to save the multinational seed firms and pesticide companies. The report is absolutely irresponsible and baseless. He said, “The report blames the farmers for the deaths. The government should not be complacent and think the SIT report will save them. The government and the firms are the real killers of the farmers in our district. We will not allow them to go scot-free.”Mr. Pawar also accused the State government of running away from instituting an independent inquiry into the deaths by a high court judge. He said, “Even the demand for a CBI probe was an attempt to divert the attention of the people.”Kishor Tiwari, head of Maharashtra government’s task force on farmers’ distress, slammed the SIT for blaming farmers and farm labourers for the deaths. He said, “The recommendations made in the SIT report are unfair to farmers. By putting all the blame on farmers, the officials are trying to defame the government. The multinational companies are the real killers of the farmers in Yavatmal.”last_img read more

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NDA principal booked for malpractice

first_imgThe CBI on Wednesday raided the premises of the National Defence Academy (NDA) in Khadakwasla for alleged irregularities in the selection and appointment of teaching staff for training military recruits, said authorities.The agency has booked 13 senior faculty members, including principal Om Prakash Shukla, under various Sections of the IPC and relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI said that during t2006-15, the accused got selected by furnishing false information and certificates in connivance with Union Public Service Commission authorities and officials at the HQ-Integrated Defence Staff (HQ-IDF), Ministry of Defence.last_img read more

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PDP and BJP: A Bollywood style break-up, says Omar Abdullah

first_imgNational Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Thursday termed the break-up of the PDP-BJP alliance “a brilliant fixed match” , saying the two parties “crafted their divorce and scripted it to perfection after taking their cue from Bollywood.“The PDP & BJP have been watching Bollywood movies for political strategy. This is how they have crafted their ‘divorce’ Brilliant fixed match, scripted to perfection except the audience aren’t fools & neither are the rest of us, Mr. Abdullah wrote on Twitter as he shared a clip from the 1977 political satire movie Kissa Kursi Ka.The former Chief Minister called for immediate dissolution of the Assembly, saying keeping it in suspended animation encourages ‘dalals’ (brokers).“Then why not dissolve the assembly? If @rammadhavbjp is true to his word that there is no question of horse trading & clearly no new alliances are being formed then the assembly should be dissolved. Keeping it suspended has encouraged dalals,” Mr. Abdullah tweeted.He was responding to BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav’s reported comments that there was no question of horse-trading.last_img read more

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U.P. police to set up ‘Digital Armies’

first_imgTo curb incidents of lynching and violence due to fake news on social media, the Uttar Pradesh police will set up ‘Digital Armies’ of prominent residents to keep a vigil on inflammatory posts and rumour-mongering. As part of the initiative, all the 1,469 police stations in the State will have a WhatsApp group consisting 250 members including ex-servicemen, teachers, doctors, advocates and journalists among others, U.P. Director General of Police O.P. Singh said. These ‘digital volunteers’ will inform their local police station if they come across fake news on the social media and at the same time, disseminate correct information among the locals to curb the spread of rumours, he added. “The group members will share with the police various information, rumours, photographs and videos of their respective area,” Mr. Singh said. “Each of the 1,469 police station will be having the digital volunteers linked through WhatsApp. The group operating at the police station level will be linked to the district WhatsApp group, which would be linked to the U.P. DGP,” he added. On one hand, social media has ushered in communication revolution, while on the other, anti-social elements misuse it to spread rumours by spreading fake news, photographs and videos, Mr. Singh noted. The move comes in the wake of the Central government’s directions to take effective steps to stop the spread of the rumours and fake news, he said. According to the State police, the application forms to become a digital volunteer are available on their website uppolice.gov.in. A district level committee under the SP will select the volunteers and at least two of them will be selected from each ward, locality and village.last_img read more

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Criminal held after encounter

first_imgA hardened criminal was injured and arrested following an exchange of fire with police in Kodala police station area of Odisha’s Ganjam district on Wednesday.Police sources said Dillip Das (24), of Banapur area in Khurda district, has over 20 criminal cases pending against him in police stations of Ganjam, Nayagarh and Khurda districts as well as Bhubaneswar and Cuttack cities.Das, who sustained a bullet injury in his right leg, was admitted to MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur. A pistol, two rounds of live ammunition, a bike and ₹14,000 cash was seized from his possession, said the inspector in charge of Kodala police station, Susant Kumar Sethi. Acting on a tip-off, at 5 a.m., a special team of Ganjam police tracked him down near Pustapur under Kodala police station limits. Das fired at the police team, and the cops fired at him.last_img read more

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Five Odisha migrants rescued from Andhra Pradesh brick kiln

first_imgFive migrant labourers from Odisha’s Sundargarh district returned to their village on Saturday after Andhra Pradesh police rescued them from confinement in a brick kiln in Vizianagaram.Odisha had requested Andhra Pradesh government to help rescue five migrant workers who were reportedly kept hostage by a brick kiln operator in Vizianagaram. Concerns were raised over the fate of the workers as another five workers, who had earlier escaped from the brick kiln, narrated the tale of how they were subjected to extreme torture.The Sundargarh district labour office on Saturday recorded statement of workers in presence of executive magistrate. Five workers including three female reached Burta village under Hemgiri block of Sundargarh. They were rescued on Friday evening.“The allegation of finger of a worker being chopped off was found to be untrue. The brick kiln owner had spread rumour of cutting of finger in order to get back the wage paid to these workers. A case has been registered against the Bargarh-based labour contractor who had hired migrant labourers without possessing a valid license,” said Pranab Kumar Patra, Sundargarh district labour officer.Ten villagers from Burta were hired by the labour contractor in September this year. At the time of recruitment, these workers were promised of a payment of Rs. 700 per making of 1000 bricks in Andhra Pradesh. Ten members of three families agreed and went to Vizianagaram. Two of the three families were given Rs. 60,000 as an advance while one family got Rs. 10000.The migrant labourers had left their village on October 25 by train to Vizianagaram. There, they had worked up to December 12 and made 150000 bricks. When workers demanded outstanding wage, the owner forced them to work in the kiln. Even acid was thrown on face of one Jayadev Chandania. Now, he is undergoing treatment.Mr. Patra said the Andhra Pradesh government is expected to initiate criminal proceedings against the brick kiln owner in Vizianagaram.last_img read more

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PDP expels leader for bid to split party

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BJP launches 25 poll‘raths’ in Rajasthan

first_imgThe BJP on Wednesday flagged off a fleet of 25 ‘raths’ for its ‘Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat, Modi Ke Saath’ campaign in Rajasthan to seek suggestions from the public for the party’s Lok Sabha election manifesto. However, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot termed the campaign as “politics of jumla”. The BJP ‘raths’ carrying suggestion boxes will travel across all the 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State. Union MoS for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore launched the 25 specially designed vehicles. “The raths will travel across all the Lok Sabha constituencies. The public will be able to drop their suggestions for the party manifesto in the boxes in the ‘raths’. The suggestions will be forwarded to senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh in New Delhi for inclusion in the manifesto,” Mr. Rathore said.‘Two-way contact’ “India has a large young population and we are inviting the youth and every citizen of the country for giving their suggestions. The government has always maintained a two-way communication with the public, be it for policy-making or any other programme,” he said.last_img read more

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SC upset at the plight of illegal migrants in Assam

first_imgIllegal immigrants should not languish for long in detention centres in Assam, instead they should be repatriated or deported expeditiously, the Supreme Court and the Centre agreed on Tuesday.The Centre assured the court that it would hold consultations with the Assam government on a scheme to expedite the process of deportation or repatriation of illegal foreigners and report back to the Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on March 13.The court is hearing a petition filed by activist Harsh Mander about the dismal living conditions within the four walls of the detention centres in the State. The court noticed that many detainees continue to be lodged inside these centres even after the expiry of their term of imprisonment for illegally entering the country. “The petition says the conditions are pathetic, even inhuman. The detention should only be for a minimum time… For all these years, these centres were virtual jails,” Chief Justice Gogoi orally observed in the hearing.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that detention centres have a variety of recreational activities, including chess, carrom and T.V. programmes. Mr. Mehta said he has visited.“With advance notice… they would have rolled out the red carpet,” Chief Justice responded dryly.The Bench referred to the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) list for Assam, which had exempted 40 lakh people. On the other hand, the Foreigner Tribunals have only been able to identify 52,000 illegal foreigners. “How do you expect people to have confidence in the government when you have acted like this for the past 50 years… you have not done anything,” the Chief Justice addressed Mr. Mehta.Referring to statistics that about 29,000 illegal immigrants have been “pushed back”, the CJI asked the government whether “pushing back was an effective way of deportation.”“Of 52,000, how many have you actually deported?” the CJI asked the government at one point.Mr. Mehta repeatedly assured that steps would be taken to expedite the process for deportation or repatriation of illegal immigrants rather than have them spend years in detention centres.Mr. Mander had compared the situation of families languishing in Assam’s detention centres with the family separation policy imposed on illegal immigrants in the U.S. by the Trump administration.The Bench had sought responses from the Centre and Assam government on the plight of families, who languish in the State’s six detention centres as “declared foreigners”, separated from each other and their children.The petition, whose contents was inspired from a report submitted by Mr. Mander as Minorities Monitor for the National Human Rights Commission, primarily conveyed the helplessness of children who were just over six years old, separated from their parents who are held inside these detention centres.last_img read more

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Odisha set to introspect post-disaster communication

first_imgCyclone Fani: Proposal to train self-help groups Puri remained cut-off for 48 hours after cyclone Fani made landfall in the district on May 3 and the State control room was not able to establish regular communication with the district headquarters, resulting in utter confusion in relief and rescue operations.Experts now blame it on breakdown of post-disaster communication while the State disaster managers are all set to introspect how it failed for the first time since Super Cyclone in 1999.Two teams of HAM radio operators from Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal came to the rescue of the State which takes a lot of pride for its pioneering efforts in disaster management. HAM radio was the chief mode of communication for the first several hours.Expert opinion“When disaster comes, communication becomes the first casualty. Communications are of two types – terrestrial and satellite-based. Telephone, FAX, HAM radio and VHF are part of terrestrial communication which requires infrastructure – tower for mobile phones, cable for land phones and antenna for VHF or HAM radios. For satellite communications, handheld phone is enough as it does not depend on terrestrial facilities such as power, tower and antenna,” said an expert.Also Read  For a brief period, the State control room was able to talk to Suresh Mohapatra, State Forest and Environment Secretary, who was stationed in Puri, over satellite phone. But the communication could not be carried on. A messenger had to be sent physically on May 5 to Puri to find out the status. Even the Odisha State Wide Area Network (OSWAN), which was set up to connect the State with 30 district headquarters and 284 block headquarters and 61 horizontal offices through data, video and voice communications also failed.The VHF communication being used by the police administration had very limited reach during the disaster.The expert emphasised that the disaster communication should have been multi-layered – if one fails, there should be an alternative channel to fall back upon.“The State did not have any problem with pre-disaster communications. But, when it came to post-disaster communication, it faltered especially after Fani struck the State,” he said.Asked about the failure of communication, State Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi admitted “there was temporary failure in establishing communication with the Puri district administration.”“We have to think of having fail-safe communication after the disaster.”last_img read more

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China Promises to Ante Up Nuclear-Monitoring Data

first_imgAfter North Korea announced that it had conducted its third nuclear test in February, few doubted the regime had pulled it off: Seismic signals registered around the world clearly showed that a massive explosion had occurred. In the hours after the blast, the U.S. military and others scrambled to catch whiffs of radioxenon leaking from the test site that might indicate whether North Korea had detonated a plutonium bomb or a uranium bomb. Identifying the fissile material would help intelligence agencies size up North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. To the frustration of the United States and its allies, however, too few radioxenon atoms were detected to make that determination.Next time may be a different story. Yesterday, the world’s main nuclear weapons monitoring organization announced that China has agreed to begin sharing data from 10 stations on its territory. Seven stations register seismic waves and infrasound waves; three stations in Beijing, Lanzhou, and Guangzhou detect radionuclides.  Data from the stations would be fed into the International Data Centre (IDC) maintained by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna. The additional information “will help us further refine our analysis” of events around the world, says CTBTO spokesperson Thomas Mützelburg. China’s radionuclide data, he says, will be especially valuable and “most welcome.” To date, 85% of CTBTO’s 337 planned monitoring stations around the world are operational.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 breakthrough came during a visit to Beijing this week by Lassina Zerbo, the new executive secretary of CTBTO’s preparatory commission. China is one of eight CTBT signatories whose ratification would bring the treaty into force; other holdouts include the United States and North Korea. (So far, 159 countries have ratified the treaty.) Analysts don’t expect China to ratify before the United States, and few are optimistic that the United States will move on the treaty any time soon, despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to do so in 2009.Observers applaud China for opening the spigot on data that would stream into the IDC. Because the CTBT has not entered into force, China, like other signatories, “has no legal obligation to provide data to anybody,” says one analyst who formerly worked in CTBTO and asked to remain anonymous. Over the past decade, as China built up its monitoring stations, it was especially leery of providing radionuclide data. “They’ve come around,” says the analyst. CTBTO now must certify the Chinese stations. “Their data would be the first step in the necessary testing and evaluation,” says Mützelburg, a process that he expects will begin “in the next couple weeks.”last_img read more

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ScienceShot: Bringing Up Brains

first_imgThis cluster of neural cells—that’s a rudimentary eye on the left—is no bigger than an apple seed. Yet it could provide the best model yet of the developing human brain. The clusters, grown from embryonic stem cells, contain a surprising number of structures that resemble early human brains, including retinal tissue, the cerebral cortex (the brain’s outermost layer), and the choroid plexus (the cavity that produces cerebrospinal fluid). A group of scientists is using these structures to study microcephaly, a disorder in which the head and brain are abnormally small. They reprogrammed cells from a person with the disorder into so-called induced pluripotent stem cells and used them to grow organoids. The patient-derived cells produced a shrunken organoid, the group reports online today in Nature. Certain precursor cells matured earlier than normal, bringing tissue growth to a halt prematurely. The resemblance to a real brain only goes so far, however. The organoids do not have any blood vessels, so cells at their core die off. They reach their maximum size—about 3 millimeters in diameter—after 2 to 3 months, and after 4 months they don’t develop any new cell types. For that reason, the organoids are not yet useful for studying more complex neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism or schizophrenia. The researchers are working on ways to grow larger organoids, but they say that technical hurdles make it very unlikely these mini-brains will ever be capable of higher-level brain function. See tomorrow’s issue of Science online for more on the new technology.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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If Chosen Wisely, Existing Drugs Fight Resistant Bugs

first_imgMedical experts have been powerless to stop the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and are increasingly desperate to develop novel drugs. But a new study finds that smarter use of current antibiotics could offer a solution. Researchers were able to keep resistant bacteria from thriving by alternating antibiotics to specifically exploit the vulnerabilities that come along with resistance—a strategy that could extend the lifespan of existing drugs to continue fighting even the most persistent pathogens.The prevailing theory on how resistance develops posits that reckless antibiotic-prescribing practices drive the evolution of resistant microbes. Because bacterial genes mutate at high frequencies, any bacterial population will have many individual microbes carrying different mutations. By chance, one or several may fight off an antibiotic, and those resistant variants will survive to proliferate.Based on this notion, doctors have long tried to alternate antibiotic drugs to prevent resistance. By limiting exposure to any one drug, they hope to reduce the chance that a single type of resistant bacteria predominates. Once the antibiotic is removed, they expect the nonresistant bacteria to multiply and outcompete the resistant variants, which then naturally die out. This practice assumes, however, that resistant bacteria are less “fit” than other bacteria. In practice, the results of alternating drugs have been mixed, and resistant bacteria often survive.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(*)In the new research, systems biologists Lejla Imamovic and Morten Sommer of the Technical University of Denmark in Lyngby used Escherichia coli to explore how bacteria change when they become resistant to a drug. They found that when E. coli gains resistance to one antibiotic, it also becomes more sensitive others—a phenomenon they call “collateral sensitivity.”For example, bacteria often become resistant to the antibiotic tetracycline by gaining an efflux pump—a membrane protein that pumps antibiotics and other compounds out of the cell. But the pump also enables compounds to flow in, making the bacteria more sensitive to other antibiotics. Using this knowledge, one could introduce a second antibiotic that flows in via these efflux pumps to kill the resistant variants.By applying what the authors dub “collateral sensitivity cycling,” doctors could kill resistant bacteria by switching to an antibiotic they have become more vulnerable to because of their resistance to the first drug, Sommer explains. The idea of cycling antibiotics dates back to the 1950s, he says, but fell out of favor after the boom in drug development.To test the approach, Imamovic and Sommer exposed a lab strain of E. coli to increasing doses of an antibiotic until resistant variants emerged. They then exposed the variants to 23 different antibiotics and profiled their responses: Did they become more or less resistant to each of the 23 drugs? The researchers repeated the experiment with two E.coli strains taken from infected patients. Then they plugged this data into a computer program and identified more than 200 possible drug combinations that doctors could use to achieve collateral sensitivity and wipe out resistant variants. These drugs could be prescribed in cycles as either double, triple, or quadruple treatments, the authors report online today in Science Translational Medicine.The idea seems so simple, Sommer says, that one reviewer of the paper remarked, “I can’t believe that no-one has done this before.” But Sommer had spent hours searching the literature but had turned up nothing—not a single study that used the idea of collateral sensitivity to choose antibiotics. “Many people have advocated switching drugs,” says Robert Beardmore, a bioscience mathematician at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. “But this shows that you can’t just make any old switches. You can take a path of choices to form something like an entire treatment that selects against resistance.”There is one bit of caution: The researchers have done the tests only in vitro and used only E. coli, Beardmore says. “The acid test will be when these ideas are implemented in vivo.”last_img read more

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Gold in Trees May Hint at Buried Treasure

first_imgMoney may not grow on trees, but gold does—or at least it accumulates inside of them. Scientists have found that trees growing over deeply buried deposits of gold ore sport leaves with higher-than-normal concentrations of the glittering element. The finding provides an inexpensive, excavation-free way to narrow the search for ore deposits.Scientists have long had clues that trees and other vegetation pulled gold from the soil and transported it to their leaves, but the evidence wasn’t clear. The gold particles could have stuck to the leaves after being blown there as dust, for example. To bolster the case that the gold came from soil beneath the trees, researchers conducted a series of field studies and lab tests.At one site in Western Australia, the scientists gathered leaves, twigs, and bark from eucalyptus trees growing above a known gold deposit. The deposit is about the size of a football field and lies 30 meters or more below ground, but at today’s gold prices it’s too small and sparse to be worth excavating. The team gathered the same parts from trees growing 200 meters away from the ore. Although background concentrations of gold in vegetation are typically less than 2 parts per billion (ppb), dried leaves from the trees growing above the ore deposit—but not those 200 meters away—had gold levels up to 80 ppb, says team member Mel Lintern, a geochemist at CSIRO’s Earth Science and Resource Engineering division in Kensington, Australia. (CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency.)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(*)Likewise, field tests by Lintern’s group at a site in southern Australia showed that eucalyptus trees growing above a deposit lying 35 meters underground had 20 times more gold in the gummy substances coating their leaves than did trees that grew 800 meters away. Previous studies had noted anomalous concentrations of gold in the leaf-coating substances, Lintern says, but researchers couldn’t discount the possibility that the tiny particles of the metal had stuck to the leaves after being carried there by winds.That’s where the team’s new study gleams. By growing seedlings in greenhouses insulated from airborne dust and watering them with gold-laced solutions, the researchers demonstrated that trees actually pick up the metal from soil and deposit it within their leaves. The scientists report their findings today in Nature Communications.The new research provides “a conclusive set of evidence … from a very nicely constructed set of experiments,” says Clifford Stanley, a geochemist at Acadia University in Wolfville, Canada. “The tree is a conveyor belt bringing gold to the surface,” he notes. Like other such elements in the earth, gold gets sucked up by the plant as it absorbs nutrients in the soil. Then, as a dissolved mineral, it gets transported throughout the tree, although the highest concentrations are typically found in leaves. “When you see the particles of gold inside the plants,” Stanley says, “all doubt goes away.”Don’t think about mining trees, however. Average concentrations of gold in the leaves are much higher than normal, but individual particles of the metal are still very small, few, and far between. Even the largest particles—which Lintern and his team have jokingly dubbed “phytonuggets”—were no more than 8 micrometers across, about half the diameter of the finest human hair. The trees don’t have a biological need for the element, Lintern says; indeed, it may be toxic to them. “To the trees, gold may be just another heavy metal to be got rid of.”Though the phytonuggets are too small to be collected and mined, they can serve as a sign that gold deposits may lie within the reach of a tree’s roots. Eucalyptus trees, which can grow lengthy taproots to reach deep ground water in arid areas, may stretch down 40 meters.Developing and using new techniques to find gold is becoming increasingly important, Lintern says. Worldwide, new discoveries of the metal are down 45% over the past decade. “All the easy gold has been found already,” he notes. By analyzing leaves and twigs, prospectors would waste no money on digging and cause no environmental damage. All that’s required is a field trip to gather large samples of leaves and then some chemical and x-ray analyses of the material back in the lab. “It’s a relatively inexpensive first pass at prospecting,” he says. “The trees are doing the work for you.”last_img read more

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The Grand Canyon as Frankenstein

first_imgIt’s a debate that has vexed scientists for decades: Is the Grand Canyon young or old, geologically speaking? Both, a new study declares. A group of scientists reports that the famed formation is a hybrid of five different gorges of various ages that the Colorado River only tied into a single continuous canyon and deepened since 5 million or 6 million years ago.The debate over the age of the Grand Canyon has been so drawn out largely because nature leaves so few clues as to the shape of the land tens of millions of years ago. Water must flow downhill to create canyons, but which way was down ages ago? Over the past 100 million years—since before the death of the dinosaurs—the incessant jostling of plate tectonics has repeatedly reshaped the landscape of the U.S. Southwest. The Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau rose to the east of the present-day canyon, the Sierra Nevada grew to the west, the Basin and Range of Nevada and Utah stretched the crust to the north, and the Gulf of California split the crust to the south.So, to figure out which way the land was sloping at a given time, geologist Karl Karlstrom of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and 10 colleagues pulled together the relevant published data and added some of their own. Geologists have long recorded where sand, gravel, and cobbles have ended up as a sign of how, when, and where running water had been cutting into the rock. More recently, geochemists have been gauging when river erosion removed most of the crust overlying a particular rock now exposed at the surface. That is possible because the deeper a bit of rock is in the crust, the hotter it is. So as a river removes overlying rock to form a canyon, that once-deep bit of rock cools as it slowly nears the surface. Geochemists can now date when a rock cooled to a certain temperature—and therefore when the overlying rock was removed and a canyon formed—using three semi-independent techniques, each involving the decay of a different element.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(*)As they report today in Nature Geoscience, Karlstrom and colleagues conclude that two of the present Grand Canyon’s five segments formed early on and two are relatively young. They found that two of the three middle segments formed long ago—between 70 million and 50 million years ago and between 25 million and 15 million years ago. (The third middle segment lacked sufficient data.) But the two end segments were carved in the past 5 million to 6 million years, since the Colorado River first began flowing down the length of the present canyon and into the Gulf of California. “There will be battles yet,” Karlstrom says, but “I think this really is the solution to the 140-year debate.”The paper is getting a warm if not quite as categorical reception. “It doesn’t try to say the entire Grand Canyon is all very old or all very young, which is probably more realistic,” says geochemist Peter Reiners of the University of Arizona in Tucson. “Most in the geological community will consider this to be the more plausible scenario. The reception will be very positive.”But battles there will be. They would be shorter and more productive, Reiners says, if the geochemical methods for determining the timing of ancient erosion and canyon formation were improved. Karlstrom would settle for researchers’ applying all three of the current methods to the same rocks so that interpretations would be more likely to converge. That will likely take more collegiality than seen to date.last_img read more

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Western U.S. states using up ground water at an alarming rate

first_imgFor the past 14 years, drought has afflicted the Colorado River Basin, and one of the most visible signs has been the white bathtub rings around the red rocks of Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the two biggest dammed lakes on the river. But there is also an invisible bathtub being emptied, belowground. A new study shows that ground water in the basin is being depleted six times faster than surface water. The groundwater losses, which take thousands of years to be recharged naturally, point to the unsustainability of exploding population centers and water-intensive agriculture in the basin, which includes most of Arizona and parts of Colorado, California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Wyoming.The study is the first to identify groundwater depletion across the entire Colorado River Basin, and it brings attention to a neglected issue, says Leonard Konikow, a hydrogeologist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, Virginia, who was not involved with the work. Because ground water feeds many of the streams and rivers in the area, Konikow predicts that more of them will run dry. He says water pumping costs will rise as farmers—who are the biggest users of ground water—have to drill deeper and deeper into aquifers. “It’s disconcerting,” Konikow says. “Boy, water managers gotta do something about this, because this can’t go on forever.”To document the groundwater depletion, James Famiglietti, a hydrologist at the University of California, Irvine, and his colleagues relied on a pair of NASA satellites called the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). The instruments are sensitive to tiny variations in Earth’s gravity. They can be used to observe groundwater extraction, because when the mass of that water disappears, gravity in that area also drops.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(*)In the 9 years from December 2004 to November 2013, ground water was lost at a rate of 5.6 cubic kilometers a year, the team reports online today in Geophysical Research Letters. That’s compared with a decline of 0.9 cubic kilometers per year from Lake Powell and Lake Mead, which contain 85% of the surface water in the basin.Famiglietti says it makes sense that cities and farmers turn from surface water to ground water during drought. But he is surprised by the magnitude of the loss. The groundwater depletion rate is twice that in California’s Central Valley, another place famous for heavy groundwater use.Regulation and monitoring of groundwater extraction are rare. The basin’s surface water is apportioned precisely under the Colorado River Compact, a 1922 agreement among seven states. In contrast, groundwater extraction is often the local right of the landowner. “If you own the property, you can drill a well and pump as much as you want,” Famiglietti says. “That’s just the way it is.”A few states in the western United States are changing their approach. In 1980, Arizona passed the Groundwater Management Act, which created five tightly regulated basins and limits groundwater pumping. The law was progressive for its time, says Rita Maguire, a lawyer in Phoenix specializing in water law and the former director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources. In California, a state with little oversight of groundwater use, change is also afoot. Governor Jerry Brown has called for a crackdown on excessive withdrawals, and legislators have proposed bills that would give the state more authority to monitor and regulate groundwater withdrawal. But with so many livelihoods depending on unfettered access to ground water, change will come slowly, Maguire says. “It’s like turning the Queen Mary,” she says. “It’s a big deal and it takes a long time.”last_img read more

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