Hair-raising technique detects drugs, explosives on human body

first_imgThat metal ball that makes your hair stand on end at science museums may have a powerful new use. Scientists have found a way to combine these Van de Graaff generators with a common laboratory instrument to detect drugs, explosives, and other illicit materials on the human body.The laboratory instrument in question is a mass spectrometer. These machines ionize samples of liquids, solids, or gases, imparting an electrical charge that can be used to identify them. That’s tricky for detecting substances on humans, says Kwan-Ming Ng, a chemist at the University of Hong Kong. “The major obstacle is safely depositing a sufficient amount of energy on the human body to induce ionization of chemicals on their skin.”Ng had the idea of coupling a Van de Graaff generator, a powerful but safe way to electrostatically charge the skin’s surface, with a mass spectrometer. Touching the Van de Graaff generator for only 2 seconds charges a person’s body to 400,000 volts, which ionizes compounds on the surface of the body. Then, the person would point the part of their body to be tested, such as a finger, toward the inlet of a mass spectrometer, and ions from their body would enter the machine. Also, chemicals in the breath would become ionized as the person exhaled and the chemicals passed through their electrostatically charged lips.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(*)Ng and his co-workers tested the new method, which they call Megavolt Electrostatic Ionization Mass Spectrometry, on a volunteer, who handled different substances such as explosives, flammable solvents, cocaine, and acetaminophen. Then, the person placed one hand on a Van de Graaff generator and moved his other hand in front of the inlet to a mass spectrometer. The mass spectrometer correctly identified each of the tested substances, the team will report in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.The method could also detect compounds in the breath of four healthy volunteers who exhaled through a straw into the mass spectrometer inlet while touching the Van de Graaff generator, Ng says. After a person chewed mint-flavored gum or drank red wine, the mass spectrometer detected chemicals from the gum and wine in their breath. Therefore, the method might help diagnose diseases characterized by certain chemicals in the breath, such as diabetes, or detect drugs or alcohol on the breath of suspects.The technique is fast, providing a readout within seconds. And according to Ng, the Van de Graaff generator does not produce an electric shock, although people may experience an itchy “ion wind,” and their hair will stand on end during the short period of time that the generator is turned on. He stresses that despite the high voltage generated, the metal ball is safe, as it has been demonstrated in countless science displays at schools and museums.The new method may be useful for security checkpoints at airports or other public places, where officers could quickly and easily determine whether a person has recently handled explosives or illicit drugs. However, existing mass spectrometers will need to be modified to withstand the high electrostatic charges and other rigors of repetitive on-site testing, Ng says.For security screening, Ng envisions that the technology will take the form of a chamber connected to a Van de Graaff generator. People would enter the chamber, and ions from all over their bodies would be channeled into a mass spectrometer. This setup would be more sensitive and less invasive than current ways to detect trace explosives or drugs on a person’s body, such as specially trained dogs.John Yates III, a chemist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, is surprised by Ng’s findings. “I never would have thought to try this experiment, nor would I have thought that ions could be produced off someone’s skin or breath using a Van de Graff generator,” he says. Further work must be done to establish the sensitivity and safety of the method, Yates says. For example, touching a Van de Graaff generator is generally not recommended for people with a pacemaker or other electronic medical device.“This study is cute, clever, and interesting,” says Joseph Loo, a chemist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It highlights how mass spectrometry could be used in everyday life in the future.”However, Loo notes that obtaining approval from federal agencies to use Van de Graff generators for human subjects may be difficult, given the hurdles the U.S. Transportation Security Administration had to overcome to implement new scanners in airports after 9/11. “And you can imagine the reaction that some people might have by being told to touch this surface and, ‘No need to worry; it’s only 400,000 volts.’ ”last_img read more

Home sweat home

first_imgTalk about sweating it out in the lap of luxury.Before fitness became a megafad and zero the most desirable body size, a basic treadmill or Exercycle in one corner of the bedroom was considered a home gym. And the equipment, more often than not, ended up as a dumb valet,Talk about sweating it out in the lap of luxury.Before fitness became a megafad and zero the most desirable body size, a basic treadmill or Exercycle in one corner of the bedroom was considered a home gym. And the equipment, more often than not, ended up as a dumb valet for towels and clothes. Not any more. With the increased emphasis on staying healthy and getting a hot bod, even if there’s less time to do something about it, more and more people are culling out spaces within their homes to set up personal gyms. They range from basic spaces, such as a spare bedroom that’s used as an exercise room to extravagant workout zones that fill the basement or terrace and are fitted with the best equipment that money can buy. From treadmills with LCD screens to state-of-the-art cross trainers and all manner of weight training gear, it’s easy now for fitness freaks to get health club quality machines at home.But do remember, a gym is more than just an accumulation of equipment-it must be the product of a well-conceived design that’s as functional as it is motivating. “To begin with, figure out the number of people who will use the gym at the same time,” advises Aparna Kaushik, architect and director of Delhi-based Design Forum. “Each extra user will add to the cost,” she says. Your routine dictates the design and layout. If you are a serious practitioner of aerobics or yoga, you need to set aside extra leg room for that.The type and number of equipment, too, require careful planning. “To judge the space required for dumbbells stretch your arms, see if you are hitting any other equipment. Then, take a step back without bumping into anything. Next, move into the push-up position to get an idea of the approximate length required,” says Vesna Pericevic Jacob, fitness consultant and director of Delhibased Vesna’s Wellness Clinic. A treadmill, on the other hand, requires only three to five feet of space behind it. “This will ensure that you don’t hit anything if you slip,” says Jacob. Even the smallest multi-station gym, to be used properly, requires at least two to three feet of space around it. As Kaushik explains, free weights require 20 to 50 sq ft space; treadmills need 30 sq ft; and a multi-station gym requires 50 to 200 sq ft. A rectangular area is best for a gym, as odd-shaped rooms result in a lot of wasted space, she adds.While choosing the equipment, do ensure that you buy the best quality and have it installed by professionals. Heavy equipment falling apart while you exercise can cause you grievous harm. “As for lighting, ensure that it is not as strong as the bathroom and not as dim as the bedroom,” says Kaushik. Basements, rooftops and rooms that offer great views, especially of a pool or a garden, work well. Locating your gym on the lowest floor is a good idea as it will reduce noise transmission from the exercise equipment.Mira Gulati, principal designer and founder of Mirari Jewels, has a 600-sq-ft home gym in Delhi’s Westend Greens that overlooks the swimming pool. She’s used rubberised matting on the gym floor to prevent slipping and resist shocks. The gym has a treadmill, a spot cycle, a multi-gym, weights and a massage chair. The special add-on feature here is the sauna room.To help you plan the best possible layout, we have divided gyms into three categories-basic, mid-level and high-end.Basic gym: The minimum size of dedicated gym space, says Kaushik, should be 10 ft by 15 ft. This is enough for two people to use simultaneously. “A vibrant and active layout is a must, whatever the gym’s size,” she adds. It’s a good idea to go with bright colours for the walls, wooden panelling to make the space feel warm in the midst of all that metal, and mirror cladding to monitor your body and check your posture. Avoid vitrified tiles or marble as they are much too hard and can cause injury in the event of a fall. Laminated flooring is a better option. Make sure the room has as many windows as possible. Windows help circulate air and provide natural light. If your budget allows it, do install an air-conditioner. The equipment required in a basic gym is a treadmill, an exercise cycle, weights and a yoga mat (if space permits). Equipment estimate: Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh.Mid-level: “An area of 20 ft by 20 ft or even 20 ft by 15 ft works well for three to four people,” says Kaushik. When designing, install big windows to provide ample light and ventilation. Vinyl, which provides extra cushioning, is a good choice for flooring. Mirrors and mood lighting with dimmers add to the sense of space. Good air conditioning such as ductable splits, especially in summers, makes working out easier. A mid-level gym can also be equipped with entertainment options like a music system and TV. Also, go for dehumidifiers, an air freshener machine and a small fridge for energy drinks. The equipment that you will need here is a treadmill, a cross trainer, an abs bench, weights and a yoga mat. Equipment estimate: Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh.High-end: “A high-end gym can be as small as 500 sq ft or as big as 2,000 sq ft,” says Kaushik. And it can be as luxurious and as whimsical as you want. If money is not a consideration, you can go all out and get the best quality fittings and fixtures available in the market. Clad the walls with bevelled mirror panels and use rubberised vinyl for the floor as it has good insulation and cushioning properties. If the gym overlooks a pool or a lush green lawn, consider using toughened glass walls. Likewise for a rooftop gym, because a great view only makes the experience better.Cooling can be done through ductable splits and equipment that pulls fresh air into the gym mechanically. The layout should be neat and the equipment should be placed along the walls, leaving the central area empty. Since most high-end gym owners typically have a personal trainer coming in, ensure that there’s enough room for both people to move around.This homeowner has turned his large basement into a soundproof gym. A mirrored wall, an LCD TV, synthetic carpeting and topquality lighting work together to create a cheerful and comfortable workout zone. Incidentally, don’t miss the colourcoordinated equipment.As for equipment, the sky is the limit. Opt for treadmills fitted with a touch-screen LCD TV that has iPod compatibility, a multi-gym, a high-tech cross trainer, a chest and leg press machine and an abdominal crunch. Since you have the space, you can also demarcate a section for weights, yoga, pillates or aerobics. Add-ons like a powder room, a jacuzzi or even a spa and sauna can take working out to the next level. The latest trend, says the architect, is to create recreational zones within the gym. A bar area with comfy couches, massage chairs and pool tables are some popular choices. Equipment estimate: Rs 10 lakh onwards.Deciding what sort of gym you want boils down to two things: how important is your health to you and how much can you afford to spend? As any fitness fiend will tell you, working out is an investment that yields great results. If you have the space, don’t think twice about getting a home gym. Never again will you waste time commuting to and from the gym. Nor will you have to wait for your favourite equipment to get free or look for corners that are free of undesirable smells and sounds. Just hop on and enjoy the ride. Fabulous fourThe awesome foursome no gym can do without Multi-gym, called Unica, with 25 different exercise modules from Technogym. Price on request.Reebok’s Cross trainer 5.1 version comes with 16 levels of resistance. Price: Rs 48,000.Technogym’s Recline Bike shows progress based on time, distance and calories. Price: Rs 3 lakh onwards.This treadmill from Proline Fitness has a 15-inch touch screen display. Price: Rs 10 lakh onwardsBuyer’s guideReebok: www.reebok.comLodhi Sports: 7 Main Market, Lodhi Colony, Delhi. Tel: 011-24635947.Ace Sporting & Fitness: E-363A GK-I, New Delhi. Tel: 011-46572693.Technogym: No 553 Phase 5, Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon. Tel: 0124-4234491.Jerai Fitness Pvt. Ltd: 2A Suyog Apt, New Link Road, Borivali (W), Mumbai. Tel: 022-28337737.Proline Fitness: Cravatex Limited, 6 Sahas, 4th Floor, 414/2 Veer Savarkar Marg, Prabhadevi, Mumbai. Tel: 022-66667474.Afton Health and Fitness Equipment: 55 Montieth Road, Egmore, Chennai. Tel: 044-28553881.Olympic, The Sport Shop: 29 9th B Main, 1st Block, Banaswadi, Bangalore. Tel: 080-42084338.advertisementadvertisementadvertisementlast_img read more

FIFA U-17 World Cup: ‘Long way to go’ for ticket sales in Delhi, says LOC project director

first_imgFIFA Under-17 World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC) project director Joy Bhattacharjya said ticket sales in Delhi have picked up but there is still a long way to go before the FIFA U-17 World Cup begins on October 6.”Ticket sales in Delhi have picked up. But still, there is a long way to go,” Bhattacharjya told reporters during a media briefing and workshop.India will be playing their Group A matches in the capital along with Ghana, US and Colombia. India play their first match against US on October 6.Asked about the physical ticket sales in Goa, Bhattacharjya said since connectivity is a problem in the state, the LOC wants to ensure that no one misses out on the action. Goa will be hosting heavyweights Brazil, Germany among others.”Goa is a special case. If you go to Goa, there is huge connectivity issue. So want to ensure that no one misses out on the World Cup and there will be big teams playing in Goa like Brazil,” he said.The ‘trophy experience’ will start from August 17 in New Delhi. Kolkata, which will host the final on October 28, will get a glimpse of the silverware between August 31 and September 5.”There are some other exciting matches for which tickets are left. The quarter-final could be fantastic if you look at the draw carefully. Brazil, Spain could be playing. There are still tickets available for the group matches as well. There have been brilliant tickets sales so far,” Bhattacharjya said.”This (trophy) would not be a replica. This would be the first time a real trophy is coming. We have three opportunities to see the trophy in Kolkata. We would bring maybe the sports minister on the first day to come and receive the trophy. Eminent footballers from Kolkata and top footballers from India would be there with the trophy,” Bhattacharjya said.advertisement”Two other people we want to bring are children. On September 2, we will have a big Mission XI programme where school children will have an opportunity to be with the trophy. On September 3, we will keep the trophy at Eco Park where the general public can take a picture with the Trophy,” Bhattacharjya added.The trophy might be on show at the Netaji Indoor Stadium as the Salt Lake Stadium, which is being renovated for the youth showpiece, still has a work to be done.On the national sponsors, three of the six slots for whom have already been filled, Bhattacharjya said: “We are looking at three more or possibly four sponsors. There has been great traction so far for a junior tournament. Being a sponsor of a FIFA tournament is not cheap.””It’s different to be sponsoring say an ISL event. One needs to understand that being associated with a FIFA World Cup happening for the first time in India is huge,” he added.Asked if this would be the most hugely attended U-17 World Cup, Bhattacharjya said only Mexico 2011 would come close.”The only tournament that would come close is Mexico 2011. Nobody else would be close. The response has been fantastic so far,” he said.last_img read more

Lambert ‘honoured’ to be at Stoke

first_imgStoke City Lambert ‘never thought’ he would return to Premier League Harry West 03:03 1/17/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) PaulLambert-Cropped Getty Images Stoke City Premier League He last held a Premier League job three years ago – now the new Potters boss admitted he had doubts over whether he would be back After taking the reins at Stoke City, Paul Lambert conceded he was unsure whether he would ever secure a return to Premier League management.Lambert was appointed on a two-and-a-half-year deal on Monday as the Potters confirmed their replacement for Mark Hughes, who paid the price for a run of eight defeats in 11 games, including a loss to League Two Coventry City in the FA Cup third round. A Champions League winner as a player with Borussia Dortmund, Lambert has not held a Premier League role since parting company with Aston Villa in February 2015. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player He has since managed in the Championship with Blackburn Rovers and Wolves, and was thrilled at the opportunity to return to the top tier with Stoke, who sit third from bottom after 23 games.”I never thought I would get the chance to get back to this level unless I took a team up,” said Lambert, whose first game in charge will see Huddersfield Town visit the bet365 Stadium this weekend after he watched from the stands as Stoke went down 3-0 at Manchester United on Monday. Paul Lambert was asked what he thought about supporters chanting his name last night…PL: “I started it!”#SCFC— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) January 16, 2018″I’m honoured and privileged to be here and can’t wait to get started. I just got a call really late at the weekend. I was asked if I’d meet the owners. I had no hesitation coming down.”Everybody knows it’s a really stable club – only two managers in 12 years.”Stoke were reportedly interested in Derby County’s Gary Rowett, Espanyol boss Quique Sanchez Flores and Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, but Lambert says he gives no thought to the possibility he may not have been the club’s top candidate for the job.”Whether names like that were mentioned, I never second guessed it. Never thought whether I was first choice,” he said.last_img read more

Florida State 4-Star Freshman Reportedly Considering Major Transfer

first_imgA general view of a Florida State game.TALLAHASSEE, FL – NOVEMBER 29: A general view of Doak Campbell Stadium during a game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Florida Gators on November 29, 2014 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)Florida State’s Xavier Peters, a former four-star recruit, is looking at the possibility of a transfer according to a new report.According to Kentucky Sports Radio, Peters has entered his name into the NCAA’s new “transfer portal,” which allows players to officially explore the option of heading elsewhere.Peters committed to Kentucky during his recruitment, before flipping to Florida State.According to KSR, Kentucky and two unnamed Big Ten programs are in good shape to land Xavier Peters if he leaves Florida State.The Seminoles defensive end played in two games this season, recording a tackle and a pass break-up.Per the new NCAA rule that allows players to retain a year of eligibility if they play in four or fewer games, he should retain his fourth year after the season, if he chooses to remain in Tallahassee.Per 247Sports, he was the No. 174 player in the country, and the No. 6 player in Ohio.From KSR’s report:“KSR has learned that former 4 star Linebacker/Defensive End and ESPN Top 150 recruit Xavier Peters has put his name into the College Football transfer portal. You may remember that Peters is from Ohio and picked Florida State over Kentucky last year. KSR has learned he is now seeking a transfer and Kentucky, along with two Big Ten schools, are his top choices.“I suspect Kentucky has a VERY good chance of getting Peters, and for those of you who listen to KSR, he was my #2 transfer possibility I have been talking about for the past 2 weeks.”Alabama, Cincinnati, Florida, Georgia, Penn State, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and USC were among the other teams involved in his recruitment.Local power Ohio State Buckeyes did not offer while he was in high school, but it is possible that they are involved in this second go-around as one of the two Big Ten programs. Penn State was the only B1G school in his top 10 as of the summer of 2017.[Kentucky Sports Radio]last_img read more

Kolkata spa sex racket busted 3 rescued

first_imgKolkata: A sex racket being run at a salon and spa in Kolkata has been busted, five persons have been arrested and three sex workers, including two Thai nationals rescued, police said on Thursday. Based on prior information, officers on Wednesday raided The Thai Retreat at 56 Sarat Bose Road to unearth a sex racket operating in the disguise of a salon-cum-spa. “Three sex workers, including two Thailand nationals were rescued. Two customers namely Dhiraj Lal Gandhi, 76, and Komal Behati, 55, have been arrested along with the manager Payel Banerjee, her assistant Chandrani Mondel and a pimp Afsar Hussein,” a senior Kolkata Police officer said.last_img

After Samjhauta uncertainty looms over Thar Express service

first_imgJodhpur: After the disruption of the Samjhauta Express service at Wagah border, there was apprehension on Friday that Thar Express which links India and Pakistan across the Rajasthan border could be suspended. The train has been running between Jodhpur’s Bhagat ki Kothi station to Karachi every Friday night since services resumed on February 18, 2006 after a 41-year suspension. Though there was no official word to North Western Railway’s Jodhpur division on any cancellation, uncertainty loomed during the day. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details There were reports that Pakistan has suspended the Thar Express service following its decision to downgrade bilateral ties after India revoked the special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. We have not received any communication or information from any side till now regarding Thar Express. As per the current information, it will depart as scheduled today, Jodhpur division spokesperson Gopal Sharma said. On Thursday, Pakistan’s Federal Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told the media in Islamabad that Samjhauta Express train has been suspended. But Indian Railway officials said they had no information on it from the neighbouring country on it. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Samjhauta Express was held up at Wagah on Thursday for some time by Pakistan authorities, citing security concerns. An Indian locomotive then brought the train to its side of the border. Since its resumption, Thar Express too has been popular with people visiting families across the border, and for Pakistani Hindus who plan to migrate to India. According to one estimate, over four lakh passengers have taken the train in the past 13 years. Though Samjhauta Express was briefly suspended after the Indian Air Force struck a terror base in Pakistan’s Balakot in February, Thar Express continued unaffected. Hindu Singh Sodha, president of the Seemant Lok Sangthan, said it would be unfortunate if the train falls victim to the recent turn of events. The train has been an important medium of transportation for the people from the border areas of both nations for maintaining their relations since Partition, he said.last_img read more

Saving Goas canopy

first_imgWith the end of the monsoon came a delightful explosion of butterflies. “Someone must have forgotten to weed their garden,” observed a naturalist. Actually, the neighbouring forest undergrowth was not set on fire last summer, allowing much of the wild ground cover to return and nourish biodiversity. This wild unruly growth protected in summer by tree canopies is what rejuvenates life and preserves the water table. As people, we have imbibed the early colonial distaste for tropical wilderness, cementing driveways to be neat, sweeping every leaf away for burning instead of leaving it to decompose and cutting down local ‘junglee’ trees for beautification. Also Read – A special kind of bondIn the microcosm of Goa, official permissions continue to clear large swathes of land, architects continue to design buildings that obliterate natural features, and our politicians squander away green areas through myopic policies. Ecotourism promotion and ad hoc change of land use under the Investment Promotion Board are but a few of these. So lazy is the policymaking that only those with private profit incentive get priority while real issues are left to languish. Also Read – Insider threat managementGoa is in a unique position where private forest ownership amounts to a substantial percentage of land cover, unlike other states in India. Loosely called ‘orchard’ in the techno-legal documents of the Town and Country Planning Department, these are still due to be demarcated by the Forest Department and shrink every day as land-use status gets changed without reference to a larger picture. There is a distinct triad of criteria that need to be fulfilled before an area is identified as forest, related to canopy cover, species and area contiguity. Unless this is verified, an area cannot be officially identified as forest. In a theatre of the absurd, some villagers have been urging others to fell trees in their forested plots in response to false rumours of ‘losing lands’ once identified. What is lost is the fact that those who keep their lands as forests will be at an advantage tomorrow as water tables dry up in denuded areas and rich forest land becomes sought after for water and food security. If global warming was fashion-speak until recently, it’s making itself felt with extreme weather conditions now. The only hope is to come to the defence of existing forests as carbon sinks and for water security. In the 1990s, the Supreme Court responded to a petition, which sought to protect the fast-disappearing natural cover of India. The ensuing order was for all states to identify their forest cover, with the underlying logic to quantify and manage the same through suitable policy. Constant fear-mongering and real estate interests created pushback and have made it so that even 20 years later the job is not complete. Goals ahead More than 146 countries have submitted what, post-2020 climate actions or intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs), they pledge to undertake after the United Nations Conference of the Parties since Paris (COP21). India has made sustainable promises of enhancing forest and tree cover to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonne carbon dioxide equivalent as one of the key highlights of the INDCs. Clearly, there is going to be a profit motive in keeping forested land as it is, and the advantages will make themselves felt very soon. Rather than trying to de-notify the Western Ghats as a global hotspot and, as in some misguided cases in Goa, to cut trees for ease of real estate development, it would be wise to push for compensatory regulations, using India’s commitment at COP21 as a basis. Forests must be treated as important bio-infrastructure. Goa is a unique state, where settlements sit cheek by jowl with large forested patches, acting as water and carbon sinks that serve both people and wildlife. This landscape offers opportunities for infrastructure tax collection on urban housing next to identified forests. Just as a window seat on an aircraft comes at a premium, living quarters near a forest should pay more for the benefit of green views, accessible walking areas, water security and fresh air. The moment private forests are identified and demarcated, it becomes easier for effective compensatory policies to be realised, and private forest owners can get their due from a documented system of givers and takers. It is an urgent need that people hold on to their forested lands with such incentives rather than sell them. Such policies have worked with heritage zones in cities, with the concept of TDR (transfer of development rights). Individually too, each one can make a difference by continuing the discussion with an extended peer circle on the topic of protection of local landscape as a method of sustainability. One can promote sensitive architects that retain terrain and trees as part of their architecture or choose homes from developers that respect and keep natural features on-site. Goa will be better off remembered as a beacon for sustainable living rather than as a place where its people decimated the environment. (Reboni Saha heads the industrial design section at Mozaic and is the general secretary of Goa Bachao Abhiyan. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Yukon activist claims brutally attacked by RCMP

first_imgAPTN National NewsA Yukon activist says she was sent to a Vancouver hospital for treatment after an incident involving an RCMP officer.The Whitehorse RCMP is now seeking an outside police agency to conduct an investigation into the allegation.APTN National News reporter Shirley McLean has this story.last_img

North facing increased hunger

first_imgAPTN National NewsMore people in the North are using food banks than ever before and local organizations in the three territories can’t always keep up with demand.As APTN National News reporter Cullen Crozier finds that the North is once again falling behind the rest of the country when it comes to food security.last_img

Human rights complaint seeks Ontario school ban on clothing depicting Indigenous stereotypes

first_img(Lynne Courchene and Jean-Paul Allard are behind an Ontario human rights complaint. Photo courtesy of the family)Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsOntario’s Ministry of Education is battling an Ottawa family before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal who filed a complaint aimed at banning the use of clothing depicting Indigenous stereotypes in schools across the province.The complaint was filed this past December by Jean-Paul Allard on behalf of his eight year-old daughter Isabela Courchene. The case is headed for mediation on September 7. The complaint alleges the Ministry of Education is discriminating against Indigenous students by allowing the use of clothing that stereotypes their culture or displays racial slurs.Allard, an educational assistant with the Catholic School Board in Ottawa whose wife Lynne Courchene is from Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, said allowing the use of clothing depicting Indigenous stereotypes or slurs contravenes the province’s Safe Schools Act, which guarantees a safe learning environment for all students.“What is there to mediate? There is Bill 81, the Safe Schools Act, which clearly states that all members of the school community are supposed to be treated with respect and dignity,” said Allard. “I don’t see how allowing students to wear clothing that has the stereotypical images of First Nations or a slur on it like ‘Redmen’ or ‘Redskins’ is in line with that policy…. Either you are offering First Nations students equal protection under these laws or you’re not.”Ontario has asked the tribunal to dismiss the complaint arguing it is up to individual school boards to set policies around clothing.“The ministry is not liable for the operational decisions of individual school boards or schools. School boards, not the ministry, are responsible for ensuring their own compliance with the (Human Rights Code),” said Ontario’s submission before the tribunal. “Including imposing any limits on wearing clothing displaying Indigenous themed team mascots, logos or names in their schools that are required to comply with the Code.”Ontario’s submission also stated Education Minister Mitzie Hunter wrote the chairs of Ontario’s school boards on Jan. 18 requesting they review potentially offensive team logos and mascots with local Indigenous “partners.” That same day, the ministry’s deputy minister wrote the province’s directors of education to do the same, according to the submission filed in March.Courchene said it is up to the provincial ministry to set the standard and the issue is one of fundamental human rights.“We want to be treated equally as any other minority group. Our kids deserve that and they deserve to go to a school where there is no disrespect and they’ll feel welcomed going in,” said Courchene. “We want a ruling that…says we are going to ban all the clothing accessories and the names of teams that are offensive to people…. The only way that actual reconciliation can truly happen is through children and teaching them from a young age that it is not acceptable.”(Isabela Courchene, 8. Photo courtesy of the family.)Courchene said she decided to act on the issue in November 2015 when she was out shopping with three of her four children in an Ottawa suburb and crossed paths with a children’s hockey team from Sudbury, Ont. The players were all wearing their red team tracksuits with a TD Bank trademark, a logo resembling the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks along with their team name: Copper Cliff Redmen.“It was so normal, so ingrained in people that no one took a second glance at what was said on their shirts. It is so ingrained in society that there is nothing wrong with this,” said Courchene. “There is no problem with Aboriginal people being used a mascot or a stereotype and that sort of proves it right there.”Courchene said she has written support from several First Nations in Ontario, but is waiting for permission to release their names.The band council from the Iroquois community of Six Nations, which has the largest population of any reserve in Canada, passed a motion last September supporting the human rights complaint.Courchene said she is still working on building more support.“We want to raise enough awareness so (Ontario) can’t turn around at mediation and say it’s only us,” she said. “We are trying to overwhelmingly show them that this is not the case. If we are armed with other First Nations saying that they don’t agree with this and they don’t think that it is okay and they want this to be changed, then we are hoping when (Ontario gets) there they will see that and they won’t be able to wiggle out of it.” read more

Chief urges Manitoba Hydro to scrap challenge against electricity rate freeze for

first_imgAPTN NewsThe Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) is calling on Manitoba Hydro to roll back its challenge against an order to freeze electricity rates for First Nations communities in the province.A month ago the Public Utilities Board (PUB) ruled Hydro must create an “On Reserve First Nations” customer class with no rate increase for the coming year to deal with what it calls energy poverty.Now the Crown corporation is challenging the order, a move Grand Chief Arlen Dumas calls “unfortunate.”“The Public Utilities Board’s decision to create a new First Nations on-reserve rate was an important step towards alleviating energy poverty,” he said. “At a time when Manitoba Hydro and governments are constantly talking about reconciliation, it’s unfortunate that they would try to overturn this important decision.“AMC is calling on Hydro to withdraw its application to stay the PUBs order, and is considering all of its legal options to protect the order.”Hydro argues the utilities board does not have the legal authority to make this kind of ruling.According to the Manitoba Hydro Act, the rates charged for power supplied to a class of grid customers “shall be the same throughout the province.”Scott Powell, director of corporate communications for Manitoba Hydro, said the PUB is possibly ordering the Crown corporation to do something illegal.“We understand the case for energy poverty. We understand it’s an issue. But that isn’t the issue for us in this particular case,” he said, adding it’s a jurisdictional and legal issue.“I don’t think any one of our customers would expect us to operate outside the law.”A panel will now be put in place to resolve the dispute.If Hydro is unsuccessful it can go to court.The board’s ruling from May 1 increased rates by 3.6 per cent on average, less than the 7.9 per cent requested by Hydro.At the time, Hydro said it’s projecting debt levels of up to $27 billion.-With files from The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Honda says it is recalling 437K vehicles for fuelpump issue

TORRANCE, Calif. — Honda says it is recalling 437,000 vehicles in the U.S. to fix a fuel-pump issue.The recall covers model-year 2016-2018 Acura MDXs, 2015-2019 Acura TLX V6s and 2015-2017 Honda Accord V6s.The automaker says the vehicles’ software needs to be updated, and in some cases, have their fuel pumps replaced.That’s because sodium particulates in some U.S. gasoline can stick to internal components in the fuel pumps, reducing the pumps’ performance. In hot weather, this could limit the vehicle’s acceleration or cause its engine to stall, increasing the risk of a crash.Honda says it has received no reports of crashes or injuries because of the issue.Owners will be notified by letter in late March, after which they are advised to take the vehicles to authorized dealers.The Associated Press read more

World Health Day UN urges countries to prioritize combat against vectorborne diseases

“Every year, more than 1 million people die from diseases carried by mosquitoes, flies and other insects, such as triatomine bugs. These vector-borne diseases – which include malaria, dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis – cause chronic illness and immense suffering for hundreds of millions more,” says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for the Day, which is observed every year on 7 April to mark the founding in 1948 of the UN World Health Organization (WHO). Mr. Ban says that climate change, altered habitats and increased international trade and travel are exposing more people to the vectors that transmit these diseases. They present a risk in all regions, including countries where the threat had formerly been eradicated, but the most affected are the world’s poorest people, especially those who live in remote rural communities far from health services or in urban shanty towns. “By profoundly affecting people’s health, vector-borne diseases are a serious impediment to poverty reduction and sustainable development,” he said, stressing that work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and define a post-2015 development agenda must recognize that investing in vector control and disease prevention is both wise and necessary. While stressing that sustained political commitment can save millions of lives and yield substantial social and economic returns, he said that it is also important to recognize that vector control goes beyond the health sector. “Poorly planned development initiatives such as forest clearance, dam construction or irrigation to boost food production may increase the disease burden,” he explains. By tackling such issues through an integrated, coherent and united effort across many sectors, including environment, agriculture, water and sanitation, urban planning and education, this serious but eminently preventable threat could be effectively controlled. “On this World Health Day, I urge countries and development partners to make vector control a priority,” declared the Secretary-General. For its part, WHO is highlighting the serious and increasing threat of vector-borne diseases, with the slogan: “Small bite, big threat” . The agency’s newly published global brief on vector-borne diseases outlines steps that governments, community groups and families can all take to protect people from infection.“A global health agenda that gives higher priority to vector control could save many lives and avert much suffering. Simple, cost-effective interventions like insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor spraying have already saved millions of lives,” says Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “No one in the 21st century should die from the bite of a mosquito, a sandfly, a blackfly or a tick.”Echoing the Secretary-General’s concerns, WHO stresses that environmental changes, a massive increase in international travel and trade, changes in agricultural practices and rapid unplanned urbanization are causing an increase in the number and spread of many vectors worldwide and making new groups of people, notably tourists and business travellers, vulnerable.Mosquito-borne dengue, for example, is now found in 100 countries, putting more than 2.5 billion people – over 40 per cent of the world’s population – at risk. Dengue has recently been reported in China, Portugal and the state of Florida, in the United States, WHO says. With these concerns in mind, Dr. Jacob Kumaresan, Executive Director of WHO’s New York Office, offers some simple steps than can protect people, their families and the environment – get vaccinated, use insect repellent, sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and trousers, install window screens and get rid of stagnant water from places where mosquitoes breed, such as old containers, flower pots and used tires. “Vector control remains the most important tool in preventing outbreaks of vector-borne diseases,” says Dr. Lorenzo Savioli, Director of WHO’s Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases. “Increased funds and political commitment are needed to sustain existing vector-control tools, as well as medicines and diagnostic tools – and to conduct urgently needed research.”Picking up that thread, John Ashe, President of the UN General Assembly, said in his message: “Sustained political commitment and financial backing aimed at amplifying the global effort would save millions of more lives and protect over a billion people against needless suffering.” He reminded UN Member States, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders that everyone needs to act against this threat to human health and development. “Let us work together to make vector control and disease prevention a priority in the global health agenda.” read more

UK car manufacturing falls in July but YTD performance relatively steady

UK car production declined -11.0% in July, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 121,051 units left production lines as a raft of factors, including model changes, seasonal and operational adjustments and preparation for the introduction of the tough new emissions standards, affected output.Production for export in the month fell -4.2%, while -35.0% fewer cars were built for the UK market. However, the declines follow a particularly strong July in 2017 when the launch of several new models boosted output by almost 10,000 units and resulted in a substantial 17.7% rise in British demand for the month.In the year to date, the sector remains broadly on track to meet 2018 expectations, with 955,453 cars built in the first seven months. While production for the UK is currently down -16.0% compared with the same period last year, exports remain strong, dipping by a more moderate -1.2% and accounting for 81.3% of all output.Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,While the industry is undoubtedly feeling the effects of recent uncertainty in the domestic market, drawing long term conclusions from monthly snapshots requires a health warning.The bigger picture is complex and month by month fluctuations are inevitable as manufacturers manage product cycles, operational changes and the delicate balance of supply and demand from market to market.To ensure future growth, we need political and economic clarity at home, and the continuation of beneficial trading arrangements with the EU and other key markets.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) UK car output declines -11.0% in July, with 121,051 units produced.Production for home market falls -35.0%, with more moderate -4.2% dip in exports.YTD performance in line with forecasts, with almost 1m cars leaving production lines – 81.3% for export. read more

Football Binjimen Victor takes his turn in the spotlight

Ohio State junior wide receiver Binjimen Victor (9) runs the ball in for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game against Penn State on Sept. 29. Ohio State won 27-26. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorWith a 26-14 deficit to overcome with eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Ohio State wide receivers knew they had a job to do. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins had trouble getting the ball downfield against the Penn State secondary, completing 15 of 29 pass attempts for 132 yards with a touchdown and an interception through the first three quarters of the game. With a veteran group, the receivers did what their goal has been with the first-time quarterback all season: to have his back. With a 12-point deficit and no momentum, it was not a matter of when it would happen. As a group, they said they knew it would happen. It was a matter of who. That’s when Binjimen Victor came into the picture. Haskins trotted onto the field for the second drive of the second quarter, quickly recorded completions to two wide receivers, senior C.J. Saunders and junior Austin Mack. After an incompletion to Mack, Haskins saw something in the Penn State defense he had been preparing for. “I look back and if we got a certain pressure, which we did get that pressure, we were going to change the play and I look back and Coach [Ryan] Day said ‘Run it,’” Haskins said. “I see it coming and I don’t know what to do, so I snap the ball, I see it coming, I pulled up and I see Ben and I was like, ‘I have to make a play.’” Victor said he was running through the middle on a dig route and was not even the primary receiver on the play. The junior receiver had to look back to him to see if a play could be made. However, as the ball came to him, Victor felt as though his time had come. “I just had to make a play for my team,” Victor said. “I just felt I had to put it on my back.” Victor caught the overthrown ball in the air with a defender draped on his leg, trying to bring him down, The receiver shook him off and, according to Victor, all he saw was green grass, and took off. However, it wasn’t all green grass for Victor. With defenders coming after him in the open field, redshirt senior wide receivers Johnnie Dixon and Parris Campbell each picked a man and kept him away from their teammate. For Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, the combination of the catch and the block brought life back into the Ohio State sideline. “It gave the whole sideline hope,” Meyer said. “Defense gets the ball back to the offense, even though it’s way down deep in there and then one of the great drives in Ohio State history.”Victor scored on the 47-yard play, bringing Ohio State within one score halfway through the fourth quarter.The Buckeyes would eventually beat the No. 9 Nittany Lions 27-26, with Victor’s play standing out as the key moment in the comeback. Meyer said it was nothing new. The head coach called Victor a very good practice player, saying the junior has never really lived up to his potential, never really had his turn in the spotlight. For Haskins, these are the kinds of catches he and Victor practice on a daily basis. “He’s a freaky athlete,” Haskins said. “Every Sunday, we work on 2-minute drills and situations like that. He makes those catches every day, so this is the time to do it in the game and it really came up big.” Victor knew someone had to make a play. It came with many parts, but instead of him making the blocks, leading the way for another receiver’s highlight, it was his chance. “You know, when I got a chance, you only get a couple,” Victor said. “You just have to make it pay.” For Meyer, that play is not only game-altering, keeping Ohio State on the path it was initially scheduled to be on. He thinks Victor’s catch could be career changing. “That’s the biggest play of anybody’s career, that one,” Meyer said. read more

Cats are nice and enjoy spending time with humans study finds

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The researchers took 50 cats from shelters and peoples homes and deprived them of food, human contact, scent and toys for a few hours.They then introduced them to stimuli within these four categories to see what they chose.Most cats chose human socialisation over any of the other categories.The authors of the study wrote: “While it has been suggested that cat sociality exists on a continuum, perhaps skewed toward independency, we have found that 50% of cats tested preferred interaction with the social stimulus even though they had a direct choice between social interaction with a human and their other most preferred stimuli from the three other stimulus categories.” Dog lovers always tell cat lovers that while the latter animal smells less, doesn’t need walking and is arguably more intelligent, they don’t like humans and are fundamentally selfish.Cataholics have been vindicated, however, by a new study which relays the cheering news that cats don’t just enjoy human company – they pick it over food.New research from Oregon State University, published on Friday in Behavioural Processes, concludes that cats enjoy human contact more than eating.Dispelling the rumour that cats are antisocial and the only love they show is cupboard love, they subjected cats to a series of tests to prove what they choose in different situations.last_img read more

Police investigating Puruni Landing murder of porknocker

Police are currently investigating the death of a porknocker who resides at  Waramuri Mission, Moruca River, North West District who was allegedly murdered on Sunday at Puruni Landing, Region 7, Cuyuni-Mazaruni.Dead is 24-year-old Xavier Boyal.He was reportedly killed by a 26-year-old resident of Charlestown who has since been identified by investigators as Deion Evans, called ‘Rasta Beans’.Boyal who was working with a dredge owner at Rock Creek, Puruni River died sometime around 03:00 and 03:45 at Puruni Landing.According to information received, at about 21:00hrs on the date in question Boyal left the camp in company of his coworker to a pub at Puruni Landing where it is alleged that the coworker had an altercation with an unknown male when Boyal intervened and pushed the unknown male away.Thereafter both of them decided to walk back to camp along the Puruni Road.It was reported that the suspect, Evans caught up with the men in a vehicle driven by another and pulled out a black handgun from his pants waist, pointed it towards the direction of Boyal and opened fire, causing him to fall to the ground.This publication understands that the suspect then exited the vehicle and discharged another round at Boyal and made good his escape.Boyal’s body bore three gunshot wounds, one above the abdomen, one under the right arm and another to the right upper back.A warhead was found about 15 feet from where the body was.The shooter is yet to be apprehended. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPolice ranks arrested for murder of Brazilian minerAugust 12, 2018In “Crime”Miner stabbed to death during scuffle at Puruni LandingJuly 9, 2019In “Crime”Teen miner fatally stabbed by drunk employerMarch 23, 2019In “Crime” read more

Sony leaps into virtual reality by announcing Playstation 4 headset

first_imgSONY HAS UNVEILED a new prototype for a virtual reality headset for its Playstation 4 console;Project Morpheus, which was revealed at the Game Developers Conference 2014 (GDC), is a head-mounted display with 1080p resolution and a 90 degree field of view.It has both an accelerometer and gyroscope sensor as well as Playstation Camera built into the unit to help track movement.The device also includes 3D audio technology which recreates stereoscopic sound in all directions so when the player moves their head, the virtual world rotates with them.The president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, said the company had been working on the technology for three years. I have long dreamed about VR and the possibilities it brings in regards to game development. This new technology will deliver a sense of presence, where you as the player actually feel like you’re inside the game and your emotions feel that much more real.The prototype will be used as the first development kit for Playstation 4 developers who wish to incorporate the technology into their upcoming games.No commercial release date was given for the device, but those at GDC 2014 will be able to play a number of demos using the headset such as the reboot of Thief, Eve Valkyrie, a multiplayer space dogfighting game, The Castle, a medieval combat game and The Deep, which sees players descending into a diving cage where they encounter deadly creatures.While it’s designed specifically for the Playstation 4, Project Morpheus isn’t the only virtual reality headset. The Oculus Rift has been steadily gaining traction since it raised just under $2.5 million on Kickstarter back in 2012 and is expected to be released in late 2014/early 2015.Read: Play Skyrim? The developer is hiring 250 customer support jobs in Galway >Read: Xbox One launching in 26 more countries in September >last_img read more

Viable device found in Co Antrim housing estate

first_imgARMY TECHNICAL OFFICERS have declared the suspicious object that was found in Mallusk Gardens in Co Antrim to be a viable device.A security alert was issued in the area when the object was being examined. This has now ended and residents have been allowed to return to their homes.Police would ask anyone who may have any information about this incident to contact them at Antrim Police Station on 0044 845 600 8000.Alternatively, the independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0044 800 555 111.Read: Armagh man arrested over dissident republican activity >last_img