Mr. Mullet parked his Honda Goldwing and walked in the back door of the banquet center. He was a big, burly man, with a leather jacket and big beard. It was a little before noon on a weekday, and I was washing dishes. I was a sophomore at Northland High School, and I was once again absent from class. Mr. Mullet was there to take me back to school.I had signed up for a program called Occupational Work Experience (OWE). It was for kids who didn’t particularly care for school and weren’t likely to go to college. I met all the criteria for the program, which allowed me to take the core required classes and then go to work. I took math, science, English, and history classes. Because I was required to have a gym credit, the whole OWE class went bowling every Friday morning. Most of my peers were smoking while earning their credit for gym.At 14 years old and I was making $3.35 an hour for washing dishes. My single mother who was raising four kids by herself wasn’t making much more than I was. If she was, it wasn’t substantially more. Plus, my employer fed me prime rib, lasagna, salad, and chocolate mousse every day. They had trouble finding dishwashers for mornings and lunch, so instead of going to school, I went to wash dishes.Work was important to me. School was not. Work paid me. In fact, I worked weekends straight through from 9:00 AM to 2:00 AM much of the time, and my checks were hundreds of dollars. When you have no bills, that’s a lot of money. School didn’t pay me anything. In fact, it kept me from making money. Washing dishes was a more attractive option than school.Mr. Mullet tried to explain to me that even though I might be able to make a little money now, education would help make a lot more money later. But I didn’t need money later; I needed money now. He reminded me that, as part of the program, I only had to go to school for a little more than half the time other students were required to go, so I could still work.His advice fell on deaf ears, so he used leverage. He told me that if I didn’t show up for class, I’d be removed from the program and that I would be required to be in school all day. Grudgingly, I showed up and took my core classes. Then I washed dishes.What if work isn’t something that you have to do, and is instead something that you get to do?What if instead of dreading work, or talking about hating the grind, or hating Mondays, or thanking God it’s Friday, you gave yourself over to your work?What if instead of complaining about work you focused on making a greater contribution? What if you worked for the people who were counting on you to help them?People say they want to make money doing what they love. But most of the people who make money decide to love what they do. They give themselves over to something, often something they never set out to do. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now
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A group of Adivasis, mostly women, some with babies in their arms, sit together in a small, dark room, looking at a big white screen mounted on a wall. The screen is lit by a projector. A young man, a teenager really, clicks a key on a laptop and a video begins playing. The letters on screen are in English, which most of the people in the room cannot read.The young man— his name is Ketan — relays the contents of the video to the audience in Marathi. The video is about how to pay electricity bills online. “Click on mahadiscom.in,” Mr. Ketan says.“You can do this if you use the internet,” he says, a little later. And then, still later, “A debit card is the same as an ATM card.” The video plays twice, but the audience still looks bemused.Another young man, Jayesh More, takes over, and he projects more confidence, more authority, but he’s roughly the same age as Ketan. “People here are afraid,” he tells the audience. “Take the first step forward. Ask whatever you want, we are here to help you.” Silence. He tries humour: “Why travel to the taluka to pay your bill, spend money on travel and food? Each of you consumes at least two vada pavs on every trip, right?” This elicits a giggle; a few women begin asking questions.As the session ends, there is noticeably more lightness and camaraderie. Samiksha Gharat, whose family grows paddy in the village, says it will take her a while to figure out how to pay bills online. “My eight-year-old son knows how to check Google,” she adds.Ramesh Ghangde, a 60-year-old farmer who was glued to the presentation, is more confident. “I’ve used their help to get myself an Aadhaar card. I will definitely take their help again,” he says.But perhaps the most interesting transformation in the room is that of the ‘senior’ presenter, though it wasn’t as quick. Mr. Jayesh is just 19, a Class XII Arts student at the Sonopant Dandekar College in Palghar. He looked reticent, lacked confidence and feared the spotlight. But that is not how he is known in his village, Khadkoli. “They used to call me a ‘mastikhor’ [prankster]. Now, they look at me with respect. I never imagined I’d come this far,” he says.Mr. Jayesh and his friends are ‘e-sevaks’, who are leading an information revolution in 19 villages of Palghar, part of a two-year-old initiative, led by the NGO PUKAR. Designed to increase financial inclusion, the campaign has now expanded to create awareness about the importance of e-governance.Along the way, the NGO has also empowered its foot soldiers, the e-sevaks, to participate in decision-making at the local level.Unleashing potentialFor the e-sevaks, it’s been as much a discovery of their hidden strengths as of external influence.“I was never too interested in studies, but always had a social conscience,” says Uttarsha Patil, 22, who is in her final year of Software Engineering at a Vasai institute. “Those of us who were doing the door-to-door campaigns have gained enough confidence to speak at gram sabhas, or directly to the sarpanch.”Shweta Gaikwad, 19, who is in her first year of an accounting course at a Virar college, has found her voice in a conservative society.“Out here, it’s an unspoken rule: women have to be home by 7 p.m. At times, our meetings end at 9 p.m.; I’m the only girl in the neighbourhood to stay out so late. When my neighbours ask me where I’ve been, I just shrug it off. It’s their job to ask.”Nakul Patil, 29, travels over 110 km each way to the Mazagaon Docks in Mumbai, where he works as a technician. But more than his day job, it is his work as an e-sevak that has given him satisfaction. “People would ask us, ‘Why are you doing all this?’ Those were days when even for a photocopy, they had to travel to another village. Now, they approach us on their own. The feedback they give us is, ‘Every other NGO simply puts up posters. You are the only ones who do door-to-door awareness.’”Training for the e-sevaks’ — PUKAR now has 36 of them — involved familiarising them with the use of computers, understanding nearly 50 government schemes, teaching them about research ethics, instruments and communication, and activity-based workshops on issues like caste, gender and the environment. PUKAR trained them for about three months at the Sonopant Dandekar College, which made its computer laboratory available to them.“The e-sevak model is also about personality development,” says Shrutika Shitole, programme facilitator at PUKAR. “They gain internet knowledge, learn how to see problems and handle political issues. As e-sevaks, they have to thoroughly understand government modules.” Dr. Anita Patil-Deshmukh, director of PUKAR, says the programme has created a leadership base there. An important part of creating leaders, she says, involves practising soft skills.“I have always emphasised to them that just because they have the power, it does not mean they can be disrespectful. These are [dealing with people who are] underprivileged, and don’t have information.”To contest pollsPerhaps the most heartening development for PUKAR is that the e-sevaks will stand for the next Gram Panchayat elections, due in December this year in three villages, and in 2021 in some others.“We’re hoping at least 10 of the 36 will be elected. They are best placed to lead, as they understand the issues villagers face, and people know what they can do,” says Ms. Shitole.All these years, the sarpanch would be elected by default in a reserved seat, and his deputy would wield the power but this time, she says, those equations will be shaken. Dr. Patil-Deshmukh agrees that this is a logical step: “That’s the only way they [the e-sevaks] will change governance; in fact, it’s a very powerful way to bring about change.”
Even as the BJP government has assured Gujjars and four other communities that the benefits of Other Backward Classes (OBC) category would be restored to them, Gujjar leaders here on Friday decided to go ahead with a ‘Mahapanchayat’ planned in Sikandra on Saturday to raise the issue of reservation.A Cabinet sub-committee headed by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Arun Chaturvedi, which met Gujjars on Thursday, said the State government would re-include five communities in the OBC list from December 9, 2016, when the Rajasthan High Court had scrapped quota for them under the newly created Special Backward Class (SBC).Mr. Chaturvedi said the State government had also appointed a committee to examine how the 1% SBC quota, along with the OBC benefit, given in 2010 could be restored to Gujjars and others till the matter is settled by the Supreme Court, which is hearing the State government’s special leave petition against the High Court’s judgment.The High Court had earlier this month passed an order in a matter of one Nepal Singh allowing the extension of OBC benefits from the date the SBC quota was struck down.However, Gujjar leader Himmat Singh said a massive public meeting would be organised as scheduled at Sikandra in Dausa district, 70 km from here, on Saturday to launch an agitation for getting 5% separate quota within the 50% cap on reservation imposed by the Supreme Court.“The State government has deceived us every time we opened a dialogue with them. The Sikandra Mahapanchayat will mark a new phase in our agitation for reservation,” said Mr. Singh.
The Union Home Ministry is examining the proposed specifications for providing data connectivity services through mobile towers installed in the Left Wing Extremism-affected areas across 10 States, in view of the possible security implications.In coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Department of Telecommunications has already got towers installed in over 2,000 sites during Phase-I of the mobile connectivity scheme in Naxal-affected districts. The Ministry, in consultation with the States, has recommended more than 2,700 other sites to be covered and about 150 more locations have been identified for tower installation.Even as assessment of the connectivity provided during the Phase-I is under way, earlier this year, States like Madhya Pradesh have felt the need to upgrade the output of existing towers to overcome poor area coverage and network congestion.Issues related to installation of towers and improved road and air connectivity were taken up during a review meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on May 8. It was attended by the Chief Ministers of six States, apart from Intelligence and security officials.The government, at the meeting, decided that the Phase-II of installation of mobile towers would soon be initiated after incorporating the “experiences and problems” faced during the Phase-I of implementation.The States like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, particularly for the Bastar region that is considered to be one of the hotbeds of Naxal activities, have also sought an upgrade of mobile communications, introduction of data services and providing high-speed connectivity for purposes of operational efficiency.Based on the suggestions received from various States, it is learnt that a dedicated team in the Department of Telecommunications is to soon finalise the specifications for data connectivity during Phase-II and in this regard, the MHA’s response has been sought.While mobile connectivity plays a key role in the maintenance of law and order, experts feel that data connectivity in sensitive areas often works as a double-edged sword.Jiten Jain, co-founder of cyber threat intelligence company Voyager Infosec, said it was likely that extremists would were likely to use it for propaganda and other illegal activities.“It will throw a security challenge to the forces. Therefore, if required, limited access to certain public utilities, like that of railways and news portals, may only be provided during the initial phase, as a pilot. The situation can then be reviewed, may be in six months, and on the basis of the findings, more services can be included. This is technically achievable,” said Mr. Jain.
The sessions court in Nashik on Thursday reserved judgement in the 2013 Sonai killings till January 20.Earlier this week, the court convicted six of the seven men of murdering three Dalit men, Sachin Gharu (24), Sandeep Thanvar (25) and Rahul Kandare (20), in Sonai village in Ahmednagar. They victims’ mutilated body parts had been scattered in a septic tank and a dried-up well.Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, presenting his concluding arguments, urged the court to award the death penalty to the six convicts — Ramesh Vishwanath Darandale (43), Prakash Vishwanath Darandale (38), Ragunath Vishwanath Darandale alias Popat (52), Ganesh alias Praveen Darandale (23), Sandeep Kurhe (37) and Ashok Phalke (44). Ramesh, Prakash and Popat are brothers — considering the gory nature of the murders.Speaking outside the courtroom, Mr. Nikam said, “The murders are a blot on humanity and a cruel reminder of caste prejudices. A conspiracy was hatched by the Darandales [who belong to the Maratha community] and the plan was carried out with incredible brutality just because a boy from ‘backward’ caste fell in love with a girl from a ‘higher’ caste and the couple were set to marry.” Such violent incidents only serve to perpetuate and exacerbate caste tensions, he said. All three victims were the sole breadwinners in their families and belonged to the Mehtar (Bhangi) community. They were hacked to death by the Darandales on January 1, 2013. Sachin Gharu had reportedly fallen in love with the daughter of one of the Darandales. Sachin’s mother, Kalabai, said, “My son, my sole support in old age, was cruelly snatched away from me just because he fell in love with a girl from a different caste. Nothing but death by hanging will do for the murderers.”According to the FIR, Gharu and the other two worked as sweepers the Trimurti Pavan Pratishthan School and College in Ahmednagar’s Nevasa Phata, around 30 km from Sonai village. The girl studied at the same place.
Sanjeev Baliyan, BJP MP and an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots cases, said on Sunday that he had written to the Yogi Adityanath government requesting withdrawal of the cases registered against BJP leaders. His claim comes a day after the government said it had written to the District Magistrate and Senior Superintendent of Police, Muzaffarnagar, asking for their opinion on withdrawing the cases in “public interest.” “The Samajwadi Party booked many innocent people during the riots. That is why I wrote to the State Law Minister Brijesh Pathak. I told him that all these cases were fake. I requested a fresh probe because there was hardly any solid evidence in many cases and people were booked as part of a political vendetta,” Mr. Baliyan said on Sunday. “I requested the Law Minister that if the fresh investigation reveals trumped up charges, then all the cases should be withdrawn,” he said. Mr. Baliyan himself is an accused in two cases of inflammatory speeches and was charged with provoking the violence that killed more than 60 people in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli in August 2013.Among the leaders booked in the riots cases are Bijnor MP Bhartendu Singh; Cane Development Minister in the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet Suresh Rana; Budhana MLA Umesh Malik; and party leader Sadhvi Prachi. Jats’ demandMeanwhile, the Jat community and its various khaps too have demanded that the riot cases against its members be withdrawn. “The riots were orchestrated to mobilise and communally polarise voters. The announcement that the Yogi government would withdraw riot cases against its party leaders shows the double standards of the present government. Our demand is that if the government plans to rescue its party leaders, then hundreds of Jat youths who are in jail too must get that relief,” said Naresh Tikait, chief of the politically influential farmers’ body Bharatiya Kisan Union.
No fresh violence was reported since Wednesday night in Kasganj, which now looks like an impregnable fortress due to the heavy deployment of security personnel.The police headquarters in Lucknow said combing operations had been intensified to nab Naseem and Waseem, brothers of Saleem, the prime accused in the killing of Chandan Gupta.Saleem and his brothers are accused of killing the 22-year-old college student, the police said. According to an FIR and statements by some of the witnesses, Saleem had opened fire from the roof or balcony of his house. At least three shops, two buses and a car were torched after Gupta died.After communal clashes broke out on January 26 during a Tiranga Yatra, authorities deployed around 400 jawans of the RAF and the PAC, and rushed eight ASPs, 14 COs and 25 SHOs to bring the situation under control, Superintendent of Police Piyush Srivastava said.Political hueThe issue acquired a political hue as leaders of various parties sought to score a point and the U.P. government came under fire.In Shahjahanpur, three people were injured on Wednesday after volunteers clashed among themselves during a ‘Tiranga’ rally taken out by some Hindu organisations, the police said. Two persons were arrested following the incident.
Pune: Under fire from the Opposition over import of sugar from Pakistan, the State government on Wednesday categorically denied any knowledge of the affair.Speaking in Solapur district, Maharashtra Cooperation Minister Subhash Deshmukh said it was possible that some traders had illicitly imported sugar from Pakistan.“To the best of my knowledge, no sugar has been imported from Pakistan as the Centre has doubled import duty on it. The State government will initiate a crack down against traders indulging in malpractice by importing the commodity at cheaper rates,” Mr. Deshmukh said.Earlier this week, opposition parties including the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the Congress and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) attacked the government over the issue.Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan hit out at the Central and State governments for importing sugar from Pakistan at a time when production in the State was at a record high, with stocks lying unsold and farmers having a tough time to sell their produce in the market.Decline in sugar pricesAcknowledging that a bumper harvest had brought about a host of problems brought on sugarcane farmers and other workers in the sugar sector, Mr. Deshmukh observed the inability of sugar mills to pay a decent FRP to farmers was due to the steep devaluation in sugar prices. “This year, owing to record production and consequent supply glut, the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) is going at barely ₹2,500 per tonne against a demand ₹3,500 per tonne,” he said.Insufficient subsidy He further stated that the Cabinet’s approval for a subsidy of ₹55 on every tonne of sugarcane sold to the mills was not enough to bring relief to farmers.“A delegation under the Chief Minister will be meeting Prime Minister Modi in Delhi regarding the impasse over sugar prices. We are hopeful that some resolution on the matter will be made in a week’s time,” informed Mr. Deshmukh.The Centre’s move was aimed at providing some form of financial succour to the farmers and the sugar industry wrestling with falling prices.In Maharashtra, of the 180-odd mills that had taken to sugarcane crushing, less than half had fully cleared their dues with farmers, with more than ₹2,000 crore yet to be paid by the mills to the farmers.Last month, the sugar commissioner had issued notices to more than 40 of these mills for defaulting on their dues.
The Odisha government on Monday approved damage assistance to the tune of ₹2,770 crore for districts hit by Cyclone Titli and subsequent floods earlier this month. “A sum of ₹375 crore has been earmarked for worst-affected Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada districts,” said Special Relief Commissioner B.P. Sethi. He said the District Collectors have already been given ₹102 crore for provision of first instalment of Gratuitous Relief. The remaining amount will be transferred to the bank accounts of the affected persons. The State government has sanctioned ₹27 crore for the Energy Department to undertake restoration activities, and ₹20 crore to the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department towards relief materials. An amount of ₹624 crore has been earmarked for the Panchayati Raj Department, Mr. Sethi said. He said the BJD government will also focus on the four adjoining districts — Boudh, Nayagarh, Dhenkanal and Kandhamal — hit by the cyclone and flood.
Unrest in Assam over the Centre’s move to clear the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, appears to have reinvigorated the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent that was seen as a spent force a few months ago.A few subversive attacks – the last one was a bomb blast that killed two Hindi-speakers at Demow in Sivasagar district on November 22 – and several youths volunteering to join the ULFA-I on social media have fuelled the theory that the popularity of the outfit has been increasing.‘Nothing unusual’But security agencies say this is nothing unusual. There has always been some “misguided” youth joining the ULFA before and after it split into the pro-talks group led by its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and the anti-talks faction (ULFA-I) led by military chief Paresh Baruah.“A section of the media has been glorifying the ULFA and saying it is regrouping. Young boys and girls joining the outfit are being hailed as heroes. It is similar to 1992 when there was a design to motivate the youth to join the ULFA, whose existence cannot be for the good of the nation,” Assam’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Sunday.“You can vote our or wipe out the BJP (for pursuing the Citizenship Bill) but this does not mean an outfit responsible for brainwashing 9,000 youth and getting them killed should be glorified,” he said.Police and intelligence agencies say at least 10 youth have joined the ULFA-I this year though some reports have put the number between 30 and 100. This happened quietly expect in the case of Pankaj Pratim Dutta, a leader of the influential All Assam Students’ Union and Karishma Mech, a 16-year-old schoolgirl who went missing. Both took to social media to say they have joined the ULFA-I to “protect the Assamese people” from being outnumbered by “Bangladeshis who would be encouraged by the Citizenship Bill to settle in Assam”.“We have no evidence that they joined the ULFA-I. Claiming to have joined an outlawed group via Facebook could be a fad. But even if they have chosen to go underground, they are not the first and possibly won’t be the last,” a senior police officer, declining to be quoted, said.Women leadersThe ULFA had a few women leaders during its heydays. They included its cultural secretary Pranati Deka, who spent years in Bangladesh before being arrested while trying to sneak into India a decade ago. In 2003, the police had arrested a 20-year-old Dwipamani Kalita, who was behind all major mortar attacks by the outfit.The ULFA-I, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for the Demow bomb blast but denied carrying out the massacre of five Bengali-speaking villagers in Tinsukia district’s Dhola on November 1.
With an extended winter and spell of rain at regular intervals during the ongoing Rabi season, the key grain growing States of Punjab and Haryana are expected to reap a bumper harvest of wheat at nearly 300 lakh tonnes. However, harvesting of the crop may be delayed by at least a week as more showers and gusty winds are expected in the region during the next 2-3 days, experts and officials told The Hindu on Sunday. Wheat, the main rabi (winter) crop is sown between late October till December while the harvesting of the crop starts from April onwards. Meteorological Department’s forecast of a fresh western disturbance, likely to affect the region from March 25, could bring more rain. This, experts say, could delay the harvesting of crop due to increased moisture content. Western disturbance“We are expecting a fresh western disturbance to affect the region between March 25 and 27. This could bring more rain accompanied by winds in some parts of Punjab and Haryana,” said Surinder Pal, director at the IMD, Chandigarh. P.S. Rangi, an agriculture expert and former Punjab State Farmers Commission adviser, said while the crop condition currently looks good but if overcast condition prevail and it rains in coming days then the wheat crop will absorb moisture, which will delay harvesting and would be a cause of worry for farmers. “If the weather prediction stands true then the harvesting of wheat could be delayed by 7-10 days,” he said. Punjab is expecting about 180 lakh tonnes of wheat production this season against 175 lakh tonnes in 2018. In neighbouring Haryana the agriculture department is expecting to reap 120 lakh tonnes of wheat, close to what the State produced last year. Punjab Agricultural University’s director of research Navtej Singh Bains said that impact of western disturbances so far has fortunately been mild with partially cloudy skies and isolated light showers. “The temperature conditions in last one month have been favourable and the rain by and large beneficial. Early sown wheat is expected to escape terminal heat stress. The productivity of late sown wheat can be impacted by sudden rise in temperature. Overall, if turbulent weather conditions leading to lodging of wheat crop do not occur in the coming 3 to 4 weeks, bumper harvest can be expected,” he said.
Hundreds of residents of Binova Nagar slum staged a protest at Talabania in Puri, blocking vehicles. As a result, trucks with relief materials were stranded for hours. Lathi-wielding policemen dispersed the protestors.“We know this is not the way to register our grievance. But what can one do when small children remain starving? The food material stocked by us was damaged in the cyclone and rain. Despite informing the district administration many times, nobody came to our rescue,” said Nilakatha Nayak, a resident of Binova Nagar. The residents of the locality protested twice on Tuesday.The District Collector’s official premises witnessed similar scenes. Over 30 women picketed the main gate. “Our Jagannath Basti is just four kilometres away from the Collector’s office, but relief material is yet to reach us. What can one do with 260 grams of flattened rice and 100 grams of jaggery for a five-member family,” Sudasta Behera, a resident of Jagannath Basti, said.Also Read Cyclone Fani: Many families from Odisha flee to Visakhapatnam to escape havoc Odisha’s wildlife sanctuaries ravaged by Fani NGOs including UK-based Khalsa Aid were distributing food to affected people at different locations.Balwant Singh, who took charge of the district collector of Puri on Tuesday, admitted the magnitude of damage was massive. He was appointed district collector of Puri as mobilization for relief and restoration could not pick the pace as was expected.“My focus would be to streamline relief operation. Restoration works would be taken up simultaneously, said Mr. Singh. There was visible anger on the streets of Puri on Tuesday with thousands of cyclone-affected people struggling to get food and water four days after cyclone Fani hit the district.Although the Odisha government had said that cooked food was being provided to those who took shelter in different buildings including multi-purpose cyclone shelters, community kitchens opened at most slum areas only on Tuesday.Also Read The residents were also protesting the government’s move to provide additional 50 kg rice and ₹2,000 only to families covered by the food security programme in Puri and Khurdha districts.“The State government is aloof. It is as if Fani has not affected people who do not have ration cards,” said Hemant Chandra Mohanty of Jagannath Basti.Stranded at homeDaily wagers were out of cash as they were confined to their houses, taking care of families. If the government provides food for a week, I could go out and arrange to rebuild my thatched house,” said Shankar Swain, a resident of Dhobakhol in Talabania area.Also Read Cyclone Fani: clamour for food grows in Odisha
Before humans settled the vast wetland that would one day become Mexico City, the axolotl was an unassuming, if peculiar, species. Unlike most amphibians, the mud-colored salamander retained its tadpole form into adulthood, breathed through feathery gills jutting out of the sides of its head, and lived only in a handful of lakes in central Mexico. Then the Aztecs arrived and decided to turn the axolotl’s home into a city. These newcomers quickly built a maze of artificial islands, slicing up the lakes into a sophisticated network of canals. Axolotls, which thrived along muddy, vegetation-rich banks, saw their habitat increase exponentially. Soon, the strange salamanders were everywhere. An axolotl-shaped god even joined the Aztec pantheon.Six hundred years later, Mexico City’s canals are nearly gone, taking the wild axolotl with them. The remaining canals, located in the southern district of Xochimilco, are polluted and overrun with invasive carp and tilapia, which eat axolotl eggs and devour aquatic plants, destroying the banks where the salamanders once thrived. For the past 3 months, scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have scoured the canals in search of wild axolotls. A similar survey in 1998 counted 6000 axolotls per square kilometer. This year, the scientists captured only one and spotted just six more. Science joined them for a day on the axolotl’s trail.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(*)
When scientists slap an acoustic tag on a fish, they may be inadvertently helping seals find their next meal. The tags, rods a few centimeters long that give off a ping that can be detected from up to a kilometer away, are often used to follow fish for studies on their migration, hunting, or survival rates. Researchers working with 10 gray seals (Halichoerus grypus) who were captive for a year have now reported that the animals—including the female seal pictured above, named Janice—can learn to associate the pings with food. The researchers let seals swim in a pool with 20 large metal enclosures containing, behind a flap, either a bucket of tagged fish, untagged fish, or nothing. After only a few days, the seals began to visit the pinging boxes more frequently than the other boxes. Even when all the boxes were empty—so not releasing any scents of food—the seals were more than twice as likely to swim to boxes that contained tags, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. If the findings hold true in the wild, the authors warn, they could skew the results of studies trying to analyze fish survival rates or predation.
A federal investigation into the release of a dangerous bacterium from the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana has found serious problems with biosafety procedures, including workers who improperly used or even eschewed protective clothing.Concerns arose at the center in Covington, Louisiana, after two rhesus macaques became ill in late November with melioidosis, a disease caused by the tropical bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. In January, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Agriculture investigators traced the strain infecting the primates to a vaccine research lab working with mice. Last month, as the investigation continued, CDC suspended the primate center’s 10 or so research projects involving B. pseudomallei and other select agents (a list of dangerous bacteria, viruses, and toxins that are tightly regulated). Meanwhile, a report in USA Today suggested the bacterium might have contaminated the center’s soil or water.In a press release today, CDC concludes that investigators could not pin down “the specific transmission event” that led to the monkeys’ infections but that “plausible mechanisms were uncovered.” Inspectors found “lapses” in the use of outerwear, “which could have led to the bacteria clinging to inner garments and getting carried out of the select agent lab where research was being conducted with the bacteria on mice.” Those workers might have transferred B. pseudomallei to the center’s primate breeding colony or to a clinic where the monkeys are given medical care, the release says.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In addition, workers “frequently entered the select agent lab without appropriate protective clothing,” the release says. No center staff has shown signs of illness. On 12 March, however, Tulane announced that blood tests have found that one worker has low levels of antibodies to the bacterium, suggesting possible exposure at the center, according to ABC News. CDC also said it “has found no evidence to date to suggest the organism was released into the surrounding environment.” Still, select agent research will remain on hold until Tulane demonstrates it is following proper biosafety procedures.In a statement, a Tulane University representative said the center is working to implement “the recommended corrective actions” and has called in an expert in select agent research for advice. “We apologize for any anxiety, discomfort or inconvenience this incident has caused,” the statement says.The Tulane lapses came months after several accidents at federal high-containment labs prompted federal officials to temporarily halt funding for about a dozen projects that involve tweaking dangerous viruses in ways that make them riskier to humans.UPDATE: This item has been updated with information about the possible exposure of one worker to Burkholderia pseudomallei.
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The air route between the Mumbai and Delhi is the third busiest domestic route in the world, with an average on-time performance of 59.14 per cent and a total of 47,462 flights operating between the two cities.The list was topped by South Korea’s Jeju-Seoul Gimpo route, with a frequency of 64,991 flights, followed by the Melbourne-Sydney air route that had a frequency of 54,519 flights, according to data released by OAG Aviation Worldwide Limited, a global provider of digital flight information. The OAG punctuality league 2018 was based on a full year data of 2017.Asia dominated the list, with air travel growing rapidly in many countries. Among the top 20 busiest international routes, the Hong Kong-Taipei route emerged at the top, with a frequency of 29,494 flights, according to the report. It was followed by Kuala Lumpur-Singapore and Jakarta-Singapore routes, respectively.The Mumbai-Delhi air route left behind Japan’s Fukuoka-Tokyo Haneda route that has a frequency of 42,835 flights, as well as the Rio de Janerio-Sao Paulo Congonhas air route, which has a frequency of 39,325 flights. The Los Angeles-San Francisco air route had a frequency of 34,897 flights while and the Brisbane-Sydney route had a total of 33,765 flights flying between them, the report said.Among the top 20 mega airlines by their on-time performance, IndiGo, the Indian domestic air carrier, was ranked number four, with 81.22 per cent OTP. Japan Airlines was ranked first, followed by All Nippon Airways and Delta Air Lines, respectively. IndiGo left behind airlines like Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa and Air France.“Average on-time performance(OTP) in 2017 among the top 20 medium airports is 83.9 per cent and OAG’s flight status data coverage for these 20 airports averaged 94.4 per cent. Despite a slight fall in OTP compared to last year, Birmingham (BHX) holds onto top spot with an OTP of 89.52 per cent,” said the report.Panama City was ranked second in the top 20 medium airports by OTP, with 88.26 per cent OTP, while Cologne Bonn is third with OTP of 86.66 per cent. In the top 20 airports in the large airports category, Chennai was ranked 11, with 81.79 per cent OTP while Hyderabad was ranked 17 with an OTP of 80.46 per cent. Osaka was ranked first in this category, with 88.45 per cent OTP.“Osaka moves into first place in this category this year, having moved up from the Medium airport category last year. OAG welcomes Sapporo and Hyderabad following improvements in flight status coverage,” the report stated. Hyderabad has a flight status coverage of 93.6 per cent while Chennai has a coverage of 89.3 per cent. Related ItemsAviation
Sakshi Misra, the daughter of a BJP legislator who had claimed a threat from him to her life because of marrying a Dalit man, moved a petition in Allahabad High Court on Thursday seeking protection. The 23-year-old, whose father Rajesh Misra is the MLA from Bithari Chainpur in Bareilly district, had uploaded a video on social media on Wednesday declaring her marriage with Ajitesh Kumar, 29. In another video, she appealed to her father to stop opposing her love marriage and call back associates he had allegedly set upon them.In the petition filed in court, the couple repeated the allegation and sought security. The petition claimed that Mr. Misra is unhappy as he is a Brahmin and his son-in-law a Dalit. The judge posted the next hearing for July 15 since the couple was not present in court.Stung by the embarrassment, Mr. Misra told reporters on Thursday that the allegations against him were “false”. He said his daughter was an adult and “has the right to decide for herself”.“I have not threatened to kill anybody, neither have any of my men or family. Nobody faces any threat from me,” the MLA said, adding that he was busy with the membership drive of his party.Bareilly Senior Superintendent of Police Muniraj G. said the police came to know of the matter through social media and assured the couple of protection if they wrote seeking security. “We have put Ajitesh’s house under round-the-clock security. We are trying to trace the couple and assure them regarding their safety,” said the SSP.Family leaves homeHarish Kumar, Mr. Ajitesh’s father, alleged that his family is getting threats from people close to the BJP MLA. The family left their house on July 5 for an undisclosed place. “I have approached the local police, media and the BJP MLA and apprised them of the situation and also shown them the marriage certificate. The issue is between two families and we can sort it out,” said Mr. Harish.In short videos shared on social media, Ms. Sakshi said her family led by her father and his aides were after the life of her husband and her.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti, while speaking during the 20th foundation day of the party, warned the Centre against tinkering with Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. ”Any attempt of tinkering with Article 35A (which deals with State subject laws) is akin to setting explosives on fire. Not only the hand that will light it will get damaged but the whole body,” said the former chief minister to hundreds of the party workers assembled in Srinagar on the occasion. She said her party “will fight till death against any move to tinker with the State’s special status”. “Any such attempt will have disastrous consequences that nobody would be able to control.” Also Read What is Article 35A? Ms. Mufti said she was ready to go to jail while protecting the same. “Many of my party workers were harassed. New Delhi knew the PDP will be the only party that stands like a wall (to protect special status),” she said. Ms. Mufti criticised National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah for his remarks that the court order on Article 35A will be acceptable to them.”No tampering with the special status is acceptable to us,” she said.