Haryana on alert as Dera chief is set to be sentenced

first_imgFear and foreboding in otherwise calm Panchkula Families torn apart in Haryana violence  The Haryana High Court had directed the State administration on Saturday to fly the CBI judge to Rohtak.Deputy Commissioner, Rohtak, Atul Kumar said in a statement that police would not hesitate to shoot if anyone was found indulging in mischief.Mr. Sandhu said 103 deras had been sanitised in Haryana and hundreds of sticks and petrol cans were seized. He said once the sentence was announced, they would storm the Sirsa headquarters as per the directions of the High Court. “Some people want to come out of the Dera headquarters in Sirsa and we are helping them. We will enter the premises on Monday after the sentence is announced. The Army is also on standby in Sirsa but they have not been deployed in Rohtak,” Mr. Sandhu said. He said there were no traffic restrictions in the remaining parts of Haryana but schools and colleges would remain closed.Besides, the government has extended the suspension of mobile internet, SMS and data services till August 29.“We have extended the suspension of mobile Internet services, including 2G, 3G, 4G, CDMA and GPRS, all SMS services and all dongle services provided on mobile networks, except voice calls, in the State till 11.30 a.m. on August 29, 2017,” said Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Ram Niwas.Internet downInternet lease lines on the premises of Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa had been suspended till August 29. Any person found guilty of violation of these orders would be liable for legal action.Also Read  Mohammad Akil, Additional Director General of Police, Haryana said the quantum of sentence would be pronounced by the CBI judge at Sunaria jail in Rohtak, which has been designated as a special court, around 2.30 p.m.“We have monitored the security arrangements in Rohtak and police officials have been given clear directions that they are free to take strong steps if the situation demands,” Mr. Akil said.He said 2,300 Central forces were deployed around the jail where Singh is currently lodged.Special courtroomInspector-General of Police, Rohtak Range, Navdeep Singh Virk said the CBI judge’s copter would land at a helipad near the jail and a special courtroom had been made in the prison.Also Read Police mount vigil in western Uttar Pradesh  “The orders have been taken considering the critical law and order situation in the State, and to prevent any loss of life or further damage to public and private property. It has been reported by IG/CID that the situation is tense and violence may again continue for several days, especially on August 28, when the quantum of punishment will be announced,” he said.“Since the environment is tense, rumours of different kinds may be spread through broadband and Internet lease lines on the premises of the Dera Sacha Sauda,” he added. In neighbouring Chandigarh, schools and colleges will function normally from August 28, according to an official release.The administration in Fatehabad has imposed Section 144 in the district, prohibiting assembly of five or more persons and carrying of firearms and other weapons, till September 18, 2017. It has also warned the people not to gather in Dera Sacha Sauda and ‘naam charcha ghar’ established in the district.In Kaithal, stringent security measures to maintain law and order has been put in place, including deployment of 36 duty magistrates along with videographers and police officers. Section 144 is in force. Curfew has been imposed in Sirsa, where the headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect is located as a CBI court is set to pronounce on Monday the quantum of sentence against godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh convicted on August 25 for raping two women.Haryana DGP B.S. Sandhu said on Sunday that the death toll in the violence that followed Friday’s CBI court verdict had reached 38.Also Readlast_img read more

Farmer dies of suspected pesticide poisoning

first_imgA 55-year-old woman farmer, who complained of uneasiness after spraying pesticide in her agriculture field, died at a hospital here, the police said on Saturday. Kesharbai Laxman Gaikwad, a resident of Musalgaon, had sprayed pesticide in her field on October 17. She complained of uneasiness following which she was admitted to a private hospital.last_img

Rajasthan High Court issues notice to Centre, Rajasthan on pleas against ‘gag’ ordinance

first_imgRajasthan Criminal Law Bill will check motivated complaints: Ravi Shankar Prasad  A Division Bench, headed by Justice Ajay Rastogi, clubbed all the seven petitions for hearing and posted the matter for November 27. The petitioners include Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot and AAP leader Poonam Chand Bhandari.Bill introduced to replace ordinanceThe State government has introduced a bill to replace the ordinance in the Assembly and it has been referred a select committee of the House. However, the ordinance still remains in force. All the petitions have sought quashing of the ordinance, contending that it infringes upon the constitutional rights of citizens and will encourage corruption.The petitions include a public interest litigation (PIL) plea moved by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties. It has contended that the ordinance violated Article 14 (equality before law) and Article 19 (1) (a) (freedom of speech and expression) of the Constitution by curtailing the powers of courts to order investigation into complaints made against public servants, judges and magistrates.Arguing in the court, counsels representing the petitioners took exception to the new provision, with the insertion of Section 228-B in the Indian Penal Code, for punishment for disclosure of public servants’ identity until the sanction for investigation and prosecution is given. They contended that it restricted the freedom of media and amounted to violation of the right to free speech. The Rajasthan High Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre and the State government on a batch of writ petitions challenging the controversial ordinance that has extended protection to public servants against investigation.The court asked the governments to submit their replies by November 27.The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, promulgated on September 6, provides immunity to the serving and retired public servants, judges and magistrates from probe and prosecution on the complaints about their alleged offences without prior sanction. It also bars the media from reporting on such accusations till the sanction is given.Also Readlast_img read more

692 people died in 4,146 accidents in J-K this year till Sept end

first_imgAs many as 692 people have died and 5,154 injured in 4,146 accidents in Jammu and Kashmir this year till September end. Jammu district tops the table with 920 accidents in which 100 people died and 1,017 were injured in nine months this year, traffic police official said. It is followed by Samba district where 65 people died and 280 were injured in 223 accidents, he said. As many as 63 people lost their lives and 239 were injured in 172 accidents in Ramban district, followed by 277 accidents in Kathua district in which 60 people died and 393 were injured, the official said. In Srinagar district, 52 people died and 263 injured in 266 accidents, followed by death of 45 and 44 people in 140 and 363 accidents in Dodo and Dumper districts of the state respectively till end of September. During the same period, 34 people died each in Reasi and Rajouri districts, followed by 25 and 24 people losing their lives in Caramel and Kilohm districts of Kashmir Valley respectively, he said. According to the report, in August the highest 122 people died and 677 were injured in 490 accidents followed by death of 106 people and injuries to 714 people in September and death of 101 people in July this year.last_img read more

Taj Mahal protection: SC gives UP time till Nov 15 for vision document

first_imgThe Supreme Court on Tuesday extended till November 15 the time for Uttar Pradesh government to come out with a vision document on protecting the Taj Mahal, and asked it to consider declaring a portion of the area surrounding the monument as ‘heritage’.A bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur, S. Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta was informed by the State government that Delhi-based School of Planning and Architecture, which is preparing the vision document, has sought an extension of time till November 15 to finalise it. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the State government, told the court that “in-principle” there cannot be any objection in declaring entire Agra as a heritage city but that would have several ramifications. He said it would be difficult to declare the entire city of Agra a heritage city but some portion of it could be brought within its ambit covering sites like Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort.“If it is difficult for entire city of Agra, then some area surrounding the Taj Mahal can be declared as heritage,” the bench told Mr. Mehta. The ASG said the State government has sought the assistance of Ahmedabad-based Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology on this issue and asked it to prepare a report on it. Advocate Aishwarya Bhati, who was also representing the State, told the bench that even in Ahmedabad, the entire city was not declared as heritage. She said an area of around 5.5 km in Ahmedabad was declared as heritage. Besides seeking extension of time for the vision document, Ms. Bhati told the Bench that the School of Planning and Architecture has asked for three additional experts from the field of water resources, air pollution and a hydrologist to prepare the paper. She suggested names of institutes from where these experts could be called to assist the school in the work. The Bench allowed the request and asked the person in-charge of these three institutes to appoint an expert to assist in the process of preparing vision document. The ASG said that a communication would be sent to the Ahmedabad-based institute so that a final decision on declaring portion of Agra city as heritage could be taken soon. The Bench has posted the matter for hearing on November 29. During the hearing, the Bench, while referring to media reports, asked as to whether Chandni Chowk in Delhi would be declared as heritage. The state had earlier told the court that they would come out with vision document by October 15. The Centre had earlier told the court that it had communicated to the Uttar Pradesh government to send a proposal to declare Agra a ‘heritage city’It had also said that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was in the process of preparing a heritage plan for the Taj Mahal which would be filed with the UNESCO in three months. The apex court had earlier asked the authorities to take a larger perspective on issues of pollution and green cover while preparing a vision document, saying that there will be no “second chance” to preserve the Taj Mahal. The top court, while observing that the Taj Mahal would “of course be the centre piece” of the matters to be considered, had said that other issues like vehicular traffic, pollution from the industries operating in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) and the water level of the Yamuna river, should also be looked into while preparing the vision document. The TTZ is an area of about 10,400 sq km spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan. Environmentalist M.C. Mehta, the petitioner in the case relating to the protection of Taj Mahal, had told the court that green cover in the area has reduced and there were encroachments in and outside the Yamuna flood plains there. He had referred to apex court’s 1996 order in the case and said several industries have come up in the area, with many of them operating beyond their capacity. The top court, which has been monitoring development in the TTZ area to protect the Taj, had earlier slammed the Centre, Uttar Pradesh government and TTZ authority for their failure to restore the pristine glory of the Taj Mahal.last_img read more

Chhattisgarh will elect stable government: Modi

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday virtually kicked off the election campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Chhattisgarh by saying that people of the State are mature enough to elect a stable government.Addressing a public rally here, he said the only objective of the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Chhattisgarh was the welfare of the poor and the common people.Overcoming challenges“Despite allegations, rumours and misinformation, the people of Chhattisgarh have been giving stable governments,” he said.Mr. Modi said the State was known for violence by Naxals, explosion and bloodshed, and the BJP government had overcome all these challenges.“Chhattisgarh has created its own place among the States that are on the path to development,” he said.The PM said the Central government will ensure that power connection is given to each home across the country under the Saubhagya Yojana. ‘Changed perception’Mr. Modi also said that Chhattisgarh had changed the perception that smaller States suffered from political instability.He said the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government did not believe in making schemes for the vote bank or to win elections. “Programmes and policies framed by my government are for the benefit of all, not targeted at a particular vote bank,” he said.Mr. Modi also said that the BJP wants to create a new, modern Chhattisgarh and, “We are moving ahead with the mission of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.”The State Assembly election in Chhattisgarh is likely to take place by the end of 2018.last_img read more

Anti-quota party to fight M.P. elections

first_imgAt a time when the Centre has reversed a Supreme Court ruling introducing procedures for the application of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act through a Bill passed by Parliament and has set the ball rolling for a Constitutional Commission for the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes, the Madhya Pradesh elections will see a new political party speaking against reservations field candidates on most seats.Founded by a JNU alumnus and former journalist, the Anaarakshit Samaj Party — meaning Reservation-free Society Party – that has been registered recently will contest a majority of the seats in the Assembly polls on an anti-reservation plank. While its default constituency is the upper castes, the party says it does not believe in the caste system and thus opposes caste-based quotas.Helmet symbolIts election symbol is the helmet, standing for “a defence shield against any force trampling on our rights”.“We want an India free of caste-based reservation. If there is reservation, it should be only on economic grounds. For a beginning, creamy layer should be excluded from the benefits of SC and ST quotas, there should be no reservation in promotion and the amendments to the SC/ST (POA) Act should be dropped,” the party’s founder Lalit Shastri told The Hindu. “We stand with the Supreme Court both on the procedures it laid down for the application of the SC/ST Act and its ruling against SC/ST quota benefits going to the creamy layer among these categories.”He said that the party would contest a majority of the seats in Madhya Pradesh, including those reserved for SC/STs.While blaming both the Congress and the BJP for the reservation policy, he said the BJP was the “most corrupt”, as the Vyapam scam under the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government was “unprecedented.”“In MP, the BJP will suffer immensely. They will face both anti-incumbency and the backlash of the anti-reservation mood,” Mr. Shastri, whose party would want to wean away some upper caste votes from the BJP, said.last_img read more

‘Lahore HC closer than Allahabad High Court’

first_imgHundreds of Ghaziabad lawyers on Thursday staged a demonstration at the residence of local MP and Union Minister V.K. Singh and “locked” its gates, demanding a High Court Bench in western Uttar Pradesh. The agitating lawyers demand setting up of a High Court Bench in any of the western UP cities, including Meerut, Agra or Saharnpur, saying even the Lahore High Court is closer to these cities than the State’s main high court at Allahabad. They said it would be better to put some of the NCR districts of West U.P. under the Delhi High Court’s jurisdiction. ‘Promise not honoured’Ghaziabad Bar Association (GBA) president Anil Pandit said before the 2014 general elections, Mr. Singh had promised to work for the four-decade-old demand, but nothing has come out of it. “That’s why we staged the protest at his Ghziabad residence and symbolically locked its gate,” said Mr. Pandit, ruing that the MP was not at his residence at the time of protest. The protestors raised slogans against Mr. Singh and handed over a memorandum an official at his home, he said. Explaining the need for an HC Bench in western U.P., the GBA’s former president Sudhir Tyagi said the Allahabad High Court is catering to litigants from 72 out of 80 districts in Uttar Pradesh. The Lucknow Bench of the High Court caters to just eight districts around the State capital, he said, adding a High Court Bench anywhere in the western U.P. would serve the litigants from at least 22 districts. “Even the Lahore High Court is closer to Saharanpur than the one at Allahabad,” said Mr. Tyagi. The driving distance from Saharanpur to Allahabad is over 800 km, while Lahore is at around 400 km through Wagah border, he added. It would be better if some of the western UP districts in the National Capital Region, like Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar and Meerut are put under the jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court, he said. UP’s former Home Minister Baleshwer Tyagi in the Kalyan Singh-led BJP government, said the western U.P. people gave a landslide victory to the BJP in Centre and the State and the two governments must heed to the masses. If the demand for a High Court Bench in western UP is not met in time, it may trigger a movement leading to another bifurcation of the state, he warned.last_img read more

Principal booked for beating students

first_imgA case has been filed against principal of a secondary school here Monday for allegedly beating up students for not greeting him with “As-Salaam-Alaikum”. Principal secretary and nodal officer of the district, Dimple Verma on a visit to the Bilhari Secondary School in Tilhar area Sunday was told that principal Chand Mian was demanding that he be greeted with “As-Salaam-Alaikum” and he would beat up those wishing him “good morning”, an official said. Student’s complaint Class VI student Priyanshu, who met the officer along with other locals, told her that since the children were not being able to say “As-Salaam-Alaikum” they were beaten up. He also showed injury marks on his neck to the visiting official, Chief Development Officer Prerna Sharma said. Medical examinationThe student was sent for medical examination and the preliminary inquiry report has been handed over to Basic Shiksha Adikari (BSA) Rakesh Kumar. “Principal Chand Mian has prima facie been found guilty of the charges and suspended…further inquiry is on,” Mr. Kumar said. Meanwhile, Chand Mian has rejected the allegations and said that he was being defamed. Station House Officer of Tilhar, Ashok Pal, said on complaint of Priyanshu’s mother Kamla, an FIR has been lodged. A probe is going on in the matter, he said.last_img read more

Seven killed in 4 separate road accidents in Odisha

first_imgAt least two persons were killed and 15 injured, five of them seriously, when a passenger bus overturned near Choudwar here on Monday evening, the police said. Elsewhere in the State, at least five persons died and several were injured in three separate road accidents due to poor visibility in the morning.The accidents were reported from Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Nayagarh districts. In Kendrapara, four persons died and five sustained critical injuries when an SUV rammed a stationary lorry near Katia on Cuttack-Chandbali road. In Jagatsinghpur, one person died and two were injured when their motorcycle hit a tree by the roadside. Giving details of the Choudwar mishap, Cuttack City Additional DCP Trinath Mishra said the bus on its way to Angul met with an accident at 5 p.m. He said the bus overturned after its right-side wheels went over a mound of sand by the roadside. “The driver was apparently trying to overtake another vehicle and swerved to the extreme right and ran over the mound,” Mr. Mishra said. Two persons died on the spot due to severe head injuries. The bus driver managed to flee, he added.last_img read more

Ola, Uber illegal, says Maharashtra transport minister

first_imgState Transport Minister Diwakar Raote said on Monday that he considered cab aggregators Ola and Uber to be illegal as they did not have the required permissions to operate city taxis. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 30th National Road Safety Week, the minister said, “Ola-Uber is a serious issue and in my personal opinion they are illegal.” He said drivers with tourist permits were operating city taxis on the platforms. In Mumbai alone, around 50,000 vehicles operate on app-based cab aggregator platforms. Mr. Raote said he wanted to implement the City Taxi Rules to regulate cab aggregators, but the matter is in court. “As per the Supreme Court, public transport vehicles in a city should run on CNG [Compressed Natural Gas] … All city taxis in future will be permitted only if they run on CNG,” he said. ‘Follow helmet rule’ The minister also highlighted the need for public awareness to reduce road accidents and fatalities. In 2018, over 30,000 road accidents claimed 13,059 lives in the State. Mr. Raote said two-wheeler users across Maharashtra need to obey the helmet rule. State Transport Commissioner Shekhar Channe said that though the number of accidents had gone down this year by 0.36% as compared to 2017, the number of fatalities had gone up by 4%. “Pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheeler riders make up for 66% of all fatalities. They are mainly in the 25-45 age group,” Mr. Channe said. State Transport Secretary Ashish Kumar Singh said the issue of road safety was not just an enforcement issue. “There is a need to tackle the issue with three ‘Es’: education, engineering and enforcement. Only if we work on all three will we be able to bring about a change,” Mr. Singh said. Amitesh Kumar, joint commissioner of Mumbai police (traffic), said the police had started implementing the ‘one State, one challan’ scheme, and were the first in the country to do so.last_img read more

Earth Day award for Nagaland forest guard

first_imgThe services of Alemba Yimchunger, a forest guard at the Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary in Nagaland’s Kiphire district, have been recognised with Earth Day Network Star, an award by a U.S.-based international environment organisation that engages with green groups in 195 countries.“In his 30 years of service, Mr. Yimchunger has played a major role in protection of forests and wild animals in and around Fakim sanctuary,” said M. Lokeswara Rao, director of the Network’s species protection campaign.last_img read more

‘Our fauji has taken the wind out of BJP’s sails’

first_imgSamajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday said his party had taken the wind out of the BJP’s sails on the issue of terrorism after fielding a ‘fauji’ (soldier) candidate against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat. The Samajwadi Party on Monday announced dismissed BSF constable Tej Bahadur Yadav as its candidate from Varanasi. “The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are talking about terrorism during campaigning. By giving ticket to a ‘fauji’ in Varanasi, we have taken the wind out of the BJP’s sails,” Mr. Akhilesh Yadav said, addressing an election meeting here. “This is a real fauji who has guarded the borders of the country. BJP people claim that the country is safe because of them, but we say the country is safe because of our jawans. The people should not be misled by them,” he said. Stating that the BJP came to power in 2014 on the back of “tall promises”, the SP president asked the people of Banda and Bundelkhand to see for themselves what had been done in the last five years. Referring to Jhansi MP Uma Bharti, who is not in the electoral fray this time, Mr. Yadav said a ministry was made to clean the Ganga and while the river was not cleaned the Minister’s ticket has been wiped clean. ‘Mahaparivartan’ He said the SP-BSP-RLD alliance was one of ‘mahaparivartan’ (great change), responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s jibe of calling the grouping ‘mahamilavat’ (grand adulteration).last_img read more

Low-Protein Diet May Extend Lifespan

first_imgTwo studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and may even help explain why extreme calorie restriction delays aging. But the findings are controversial and underscore the complex interplay between food, health, and aging.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

A 50-year weather forecast for Los Angeles

first_imgFor decades, Los Angeles has guzzled far more of its water from melted snow in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the Colorado River than from local, rain-fed rivers and aquifers. But although climate change threatens to make mountain snow less reliable, new research says southern California’s rain won’t dry up in the future. The analysis—one of the most detailed climate change forecasts for any city to date—predicts that Los Angeles’s average rainfall will probably stay roughly the same in decades ahead, despite the current drought.The city of L.A. commissioned the research 4 years ago as part of a series of studies to help it prepare for the shocks and stresses of climate change. The city couldn’t rely on existing global climate models to churn out the detailed information that, say, a civil engineer or a water utility manager needs. Most global models of climate change place anything the size of L.A. County (less than 150 kilometers wide) into roughly a pixel—meaning one data point and a single prediction for the entire region. But “there’s clearly large variation in L.A. from the coast to the mountains,” says Neil Berg, a climate scientist on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), team that headed the work. Climate change could have different impacts on the many types of terrain that stretch across L.A. “It’s hard to make local policy when you don’t have a clear picture of how various neighborhoods could be hit.”To make a more detailed model of L.A.’s climate future, Berg and his colleagues logged countless hours on UCLA’s on-campus supercomputer. They combined two common methods of small-scale climate modeling—one using statistical calculations, one using simulations of weather—and weaved together information from 36 global climate models. Their new model forecasts the climate in different parts of L.A. County between 2041 and 2060 (a time frame that also lets the city begin making long-term planning decisions) and is so fine-grained that it can predict the average weather in areas as small as 2 kilometers across.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 study, published online today in the Journal of Climate, describes what future rain will look like in a typical year, but doesn’t comment on how often drought might loom over southern California. Moreover, as Berg points out, “everyone who lives here knows that we rarely have an average wet season.” L.A.’s weather can be capricious, seesawing between drier and stormier winters. That won’t change, according to the study, but local rainfall could be more valuable as other water sources become scarcer. L.A.’s rain-fed rivers and aquifers “would be a good source to conserve even more,” Berg says.The UCLA team’s approach to developing this model could prove useful to other scientists working to produce fine-scale forecasts of climate change. “The whole idea of using this hybrid approach is new. … It’s very intriguing,” says Robert Oglesby, an earth and atmospheric scientist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, who wasn’t involved in the new study. But Oglesby cautions that this approach could be harder to pull off elsewhere in the world, such as in Africa and Latin America, where some types of weather records and climate data aren’t as easily available.William Gutowski, a meteorologist at Iowa State University in Ames, praises the authors for creating a model that is both rigorous and also practical, with concrete information about water and weather. “That puts it into a context where people who are using that climate data for, say, planning purposes can understand it,” he says.Berg says he has come to appreciate “how sensitive Los Angeles is to the handful of storms that we get and just how vital those storms are.” He and his colleagues hope the study will be particularly useful for the L.A. region’s local governments, many of which are already trying to collect and use more of the water that falls during local rainstorms and rely less on snow-fed water sources. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently instructed the city to cut its reliance on distant water sources in half by 2024, and the city of Santa Monica plans to use only local water by 2020.The UCLA researchers have also used the same method to make predictions for future heat waves in the region. They are now working on forecasts of the effects climate change will have on snowfall in the mountain ranges that ring L.A., on local rivers, and on water resources in the Sierra Nevada.last_img read more

Congress takes another crack at reforming chemical testing system

first_imgThe latest effort to overhaul widely unpopular U.S. rules governing industrial chemicals got off to a feisty start in Congress this week, as the Senate began debating a bipartisan compromise bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The law—which hasn’t changed much in 40 years—has drawn persistent criticism from both industry and environmentalists for creating a bureaucratic morass. Congress has repeatedly struggled to find a fix acceptable to all parties, but some lawmakers are hoping that the new reform effort will finally bridge the gap.“There has never been a bipartisan effort with this much potential,” said Senator Tom Udall (D–NM) at an 18 March Senate hearing on the new reform bill (S. 697), which has both Democratic and Republican backing. But Udall and his allies are drawing heavy fire from two top Senate Democrats, who argue that the bipartisan bill wouldn’t go far enough to protect health and have offered what they say is a better alternative. The bipartisan bill “is actually worse than the existing statute,” said Senator Barbara Boxer (D–CA), a lead author of the alternative bill and top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.Under TSCA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked with assessing the potential health and environmental risks posed by thousands of substances used in industrial applications and consumer products, and then regulating them. But lawmakers and stakeholders across the spectrum agree that TSCA hasn’t worked; for a variety of reasons, EPA has reviewed just a tiny fraction of the substances already in commerce and has only rarely pulled an existing chemical from the market.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(*)Past congressional attempts to overhaul TSCA, often spearheaded by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D–NJ), failed to garner enough support. Now, the compromise bill, named for Lautenberg and written by Udall and Senator David Vitter (R–LA), aims to set a higher safety bar for industry to introduce new chemicals and seeks to make it easier for EPA to restrict existing chemicals it has judged to be risky.The Udall-Vitter measure has already drawn support from at least 19 senators (Republicans and centrist Democrats), chemical industry groups, and at least one major environmental group (the Environmental Defense Fund). “There were times when negotiations broke down, but we always came back to the table because we shared a fundamental, bipartisan goal to cut through the noise and finally reform this broken law,” Udall said.Now, under TSCA, substances can stay on or enter the market unless EPA shows that they pose an “unreasonable risk” of harm. But EPA has just 90 days to show that a new chemical is an unreasonable risk and thus prevent it from entering the market, even if the agency doesn’t have enough data to make a judgment. Additionally, the burden on EPA to show that a substance poses an “unreasonable risk” has proved difficult for the agency, TSCA critics say, because it must include the costs of restricting or banning a chemical in deciding what is “unreasonable.”Under the Udall-Vitter bill, EPA would determine a substance’s risk based only on scientific evidence of its health impact, not the cost of regulating. The agency would also no longer need to use the “least burdensome” method of regulation. EPA could also require companies to generate additional safety data, and the bill tells EPA to take extra measures to protect pregnant women, infants, and the elderly.For new chemicals, the bill would, in most cases, shift the burden to industry to show that their substances aren’t unreasonably risky. EPA would also have to start assessing—and thus could potentially regulate—existing substances that pose the greatest concern, starting with 25 in the first 7 years. And EPA could use fees collected from industry to pay for up to 25% of the costs of the reviews.Other provisions encourage, but do not explicitly require, EPA to research and pursue the use of alternatives to animal testing. Finally, the bill would clamp down on industry efforts to keep safety data secret by declaring them confidential business information. That change would allow EPA to more easily share chemical information with states, doctors, and first responders.But Udall and Vitter’s approach is too weak, argue Boxer, Senator Ed Markey (D–MA), and a host of environmental and health groups and state officials. “I’ve never seen, in all the years I’ve been here, such opposition to legislation,” Boxer said at the hearing. The opponents are backing a different bill, S. 725, written by Boxer and Markey. It would, among other things, require chemicals to meet the much tougher test of “reasonable certainty of no harm,” immediately ban asbestos, require EPA to review more existing chemicals in a given time period, and allow states to keep issuing regulations as tough, or tougher than, EPA’s.One big problem with the Udall-Vitter bill, the critics argue, is that it would weaken chemical regulation by state governments, which have often developed stronger rules than the federal government. Under the Udall-Vitter bill, existing state regulations—including any substances now regulated under California’s Proposition 65 program—would stay on the books. To satisfy industry’s desire for nationally uniform standards, however, the bill would bar states from taking future actions on a substance if EPA designates it as a “high priority” substance for review—even if the agency hasn’t yet issued a regulation for it.The Udall-Vitter bill also would bar states from “co-enforcement,” or enacting their own regulations that are as tough as EPA’s. That restriction on states would take useful “cops off the beat” and create a “death zone” in which high-priority chemicals would face neither tough state nor federal regulation while EPA reviews them, Boxer and other critics argue. A number of state attorneys general echoed these concerns in a 16 March letter.It’s also unwise to cut states out of chemical regulation while EPA faces continual threats to its budget, testified Ken Cook, president of the Washington, D.C.–based Environmental Working Group, at the hearing. The new approach “would actually weaken [TSCA]—a law so broken that EPA could not even ban asbestos,” Cook argued in his written testimony.Boxer has said that she could potentially support the Udall-Vitter bill if certain changes are made to more closely reflect her measure’s provisions. And the Obama administration, which previously put forth its own general TSCA reform principles, hasn’t taken a stance. But EPA toxics chief James Jones, responding to questions at the 18 March hearing, agreed that the bill seemed to satisfy most of those principles. On the hotly debated issue of state preemption, however, Jones was more coy. He said the administration “consciously did not include a principle on preemption, even though we understood how critical it was ultimately to a bill.”At the hearing, Vitter took a veiled shot at Boxer’s legislation, arguing that only S. 697 has bipartisan support and is thus “the only realistic shot we have at reforming a very broken and dysfunctional system.” Meanwhile, Udall agreed that S. 697 could be further improved; an 18 March editorial in The New York Times offered “good suggestions” for further potential changes, he said. The editorial suggests that lawmakers remove the bill’s language that weakens the states’ powers to regulate and that they require EPA to quickly assess more chemicals than the measure currently would require.It’s not clear whether the Udall-Vitter bill will be able to overcome the acrimony that has sunk previous TSCA reform efforts. But the bill’s backers seem intent on making history. “Let’s not wait another 40 years to finally move forward,” Udall urged his colleagues at the hearing.last_img read more

2 Indian-American Scientists Bag Prestigious MacArthur Fellowship

first_imgTwo Indian-American scientists are among 23 scientists who have won this year’s prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for showing exceptional creativity in their respective fields. Related Itemslast_img

University, employers scramble to protect DACA recipients

first_imgRosa Aramburo sailed into her final year of medical school with stellar test scores and high marks from professors. Her advisers predicted she’d easily land a spot in a coveted residency program.Then President Donald Trump announced the end of the Obama-era program that has issued work permits to Aramburo and nearly 700,000 other undocumented immigrants raised in the United States.“Don’t be surprised if you get zero interviews,” an adviser told her.Read it at News India Times Related Itemslast_img read more