Month: August 2019

Le Petit Prince the Cute Little Gardener Meant for Mars w Video

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first_img Explore further Citation: Le Petit Prince — the Cute Little Gardener Meant for Mars (w/ Video) (2009, September 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-09-le-petit-prince-cute.html Miklica’s design is also intended to be good for morale on silent and desolate Mars, as the robot is cute enough to be treated as a pet or confidante. It is also a great gardener that will grow any plant you need or want.When asked what consumer research Miklica had done for his design he admitted it is difficult to do any since it is designed for Mars, but some of his friends said it was cute “and I consider their feedback sufficient.”The winner of the competition will be selected by a team of international designers on September 24 at 100% Design, a leading design and architecture event in London.More information: www.electroluxdesignlab.com/20 … finalists-announced/© 2009 PhysOrg.com In an interview with Electrolux, the designer of the greenhouse robot, Martin Miklica, a student at the Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic, said he drew inspiration from many sources, but especially The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov, and R2-D2 from the Star Wars movies. The theme of the Electrolux Lab competition this year is “Designs for the next 90 years”. Miklica believes his design is relevant to the theme because over the next four generations, we will have many dreams, but one constant dream is reaching the stars. Mars will be a stepping stone to see if we can live away from Earth. In the future, Miklica believes, we will think of machines as intelligent partners obeying our commands, which may sound sinister, “but it isn’t scarier than the first arrival of trains to the cities.” (PhysOrg.com) — “Le Petit Prince” is a cute one-eyed robot greenhouse designed for use on Mars, and is among the top eight finalists announced last week in the 2009 Electrolux Design Lab competition. The finalists were selected from over 900 entries. center_img Video: Swine flu health tips This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince — after the 1943 story by Antoine de Saint Exupery) is a futuristic device that takes care of a single plant and seeks out the best place for it to thrive. It is designed for use during exploration and human colonization of Mars, and consists of a four-legged pod with a glass greenhouse fixed on top. Inside the greenhouse is a single plant growing in hydroponic solution. The robot can move around with the help of a camera eye, and its sensors detect heat, light, water, and nutrients, to help it determine the optimal location for its single plant to grow. The robot also communicates with the other robots through wireless technology, to enable them to effectively swap notes and teach each other.last_img read more

Roadmap leaks show BlackBerrys comeback try

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first_img(Phys.org) — Beached whales or comeback kids? The company Research in Motion (RIM) has a lineup of new products in the wings that might at least interest the company’s critics and give Blackberry loyalists something to feel good about. Headlining its revelations as “Exclusive Leaked BlackBerry 10 2013 Roadmap,” a BlackBerry blogging site BlackBerryOS.com is telling its readers this week that two kinds of BlackBerry phones will come out after the New Year and to watch out for an impressive tablet entry later that year. The leaked RIM roadmap reveals both a touch-screen and QWERTY keyboard phone coming in 2013, to be followed by a 10-inch BlackBerry tablet. The touchscreen phone will be called BlackBerry London. Europe will be first in line to get the touchscreen phones, around the first week of 2013. North America will get the phone in February. The keyboard phone will be known as Blackberry Nevada. Both the touchscreen and keyboard phones will have the BlackBerry 10 operating system, the OS that had been expected this year but was delayed because of technical issues in trying to integrate some features into the system RIM will launch BlackBerry 10 in Europe three to four weeks ahead of introducing the platform in North America. The map-leaking blog believes this is because European markets as well as European media have been “more receptive.”The delayed BlackBerry 10 is said to be QNX-based. RIM acquired QNX from Harman International in 2010.In tablet news, while RIM is set to launch a 4G version of its PlayBook tablet in the fourth quarter of 2012, the big tablet news will reflect the company’s attempt to promote larger capacity models. RIM will introduce a ten-inch tablet in Q3 of 2013. The tablet will be known as Blackforest 128, referring to its offer of 128 GB of storage.Two other items cited as on the roadmap are Nashville and Naples, coming in 2013. The site had no other details, simply defining each as “Blackberry device.”RIM’s new products may help its recovery in 2013, which would offset hardening views that the company is on its way down and out. RIM’s delay of the BlackBerry 10 operating system shook analyst confidence along with other disappointing news such as employee layoffs and reduced smartphone market share. © 2012 Phys.Org A look at RIM’s much-delayed BlackBerry 10 Explore furthercenter_img Citation: Roadmap leaks show BlackBerry’s comeback try (2012, July 3) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-07-roadmap-leaks-blackberry-comeback.html More information: www.blackberryos.com/content/e … 0-2013-roadmap-3646/ This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Researchers contend increase in Antarctic sea ice due to summer melt

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first_img More information: Important role for ocean warming and increased ice-shelf melt in Antarctic sea-ice expansion, Nature Geoscience (2013) doi:10.1038/ngeo1767AbstractChanges in sea ice significantly modulate climate change because of its high reflective and strong insulating nature. In contrast to Arctic sea ice, sea ice surrounding Antarctica has expanded, with record extent in 2010. This ice expansion has previously been attributed to dynamical atmospheric changes that induce atmospheric cooling3. Here we show that accelerated basal melting of Antarctic ice shelves is likely to have contributed significantly to sea-ice expansion. Specifically, we present observations indicating that melt water from Antarctica’s ice shelves accumulates in a cool and fresh surface layer that shields the surface ocean from the warmer deeper waters that are melting the ice shelves. Simulating these processes in a coupled climate model we find that cool and fresh surface water from ice-shelf melt indeed leads to expanding sea ice in austral autumn and winter. This powerful negative feedback counteracts Southern Hemispheric atmospheric warming. Although changes in atmospheric dynamics most likely govern regional sea-ice trends4, our analyses indicate that the overall sea-ice trend is dominated by increased ice-shelf melt. We suggest that cool sea surface temperatures around Antarctica could offset projected snowfall increases in Antarctica, with implications for estimates of future sea-level rise. Over the past several years, scientists have found something that appears to go against common sense—as the planet undergoes global warming, sea ice expansion around Antarctica has been growing each year instead of contracting as has been the case with sea ice around the Arctic. The reason for this has not been clear and researchers have been offering a variety of possible explanations—last year ocean modelers at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, published a paper suggesting that changes in wind patterns in the area were responsible.In this new effort, the group from the Netherlands suggests it’s more likely due to increased heat in the summer leading to an increase in offshore ocean temperatures. That warmer water, they theorize, causes melting of the ice sheets from below. Then, because the water from the ice that melts has little salt in it, it tends to float, creating a layer of cold water sitting on top of the warmer saltier water below, which easily freezes when cold winter temperatures return. The researchers suggest that the cold layer of water created offshore may also be responsible for lower than average snowfall in Antarctica, as it cools the air above it—cooler air holds less moisture.The researchers came to these conclusions by using existing models that simulate conditions in Antarctica to build new models based on what would likely happen in the sea should the ocean experience warming. Their model, they claim, indicates that increased ice expansion around the continent is most likely due to summer melt, though they acknowledge that some might also be due to changes in wind patterns due to global warming as well. They note also that despite the increase in surface ice expansion each winter, the total mass of ice around Antarctica is continuing to shrink (by about 250 billion metric tons a year) because of the underside melting of the sheet ice. (Phys.org) —A team of researchers from the Netherlands, led by Richard Bintanja, has published a paper in the journal Nature Geoscience, contending that the reason the amount of annual Antarctic sea ice is increasing is because of increased ice sheet melting during the summer months. They suggest that the increased melt creates a cold layer of fresh water on the ocean surface that is easily frozen when the next winter arrives. Explore further © 2013 Phys.org Citation: Researchers contend increase in Antarctic sea ice due to summer melt (2013, April 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-04-contend-antarctic-sea-ice-due.htmlcenter_img Journal information: Nature Geoscience More ice loss through snowfall on Antarctica This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Austral winter half-year (April–September) trends in sea-ice extent (total Southern Hemisphere) and SST (averaged over 50°–90° S). Credit: Nature Geoscience (2013) doi:10.1038/ngeo1767last_img read more

Study shows example of a parasite using a bioweapon to control host

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first_img Citation: Study shows example of a parasite using a bioweapon to control host (2015, February 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-02-parasite-bioweapon-host.html More information: Who is the Puppet Master? Replication of a Parasitic Wasp-associated Virus Correlates with Host Behavior Manipulation, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, rspb.royalsocietypublishing.or … .1098/rspb.2014.2773 Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B Dinocampus coccinellae larva forming cocoon next to paralyzed ladybug. Credit: Neeld Tanksley/Wikipedia. (Phys.org)—Researchers affiliated with several institutions in France have found that a species of parasitic wasp uses a virus as a bioweapon to stun a host ladybug into serving as a guard for its offspring. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the researchers describe several techniques they used to uncover the true nature of the relationship between the wasps and lady bugs. © 2015 Phys.orgcenter_img Nature is rife with examples of parasites causing behavioral changes in their hosts that benefit the parasite—tapeworms that cause their crustacean hosts to swim slower or faster, for example, to discourage or encourage predatory fish. In this new study, the researchers looked at the wasp, Dinocampus coccinellae and the ladybug, Coleomegilla maculate. Prior research has shown that the wasp lays its eggs inside the ladybug—and then somehow causes the ladybug to stand guard over the larvae after they leave the host’s body and later pupate. How they made that happen has been a topic of conjecture.To find out for sure, the researchers used transmission electron microscopy to study the eggs after they had been implanted in a ladybug. In addition to the eggs, the researchers found a virus, which they named D. coccinellae Paralysis Virus (DcPV). Additional research using RNA sequencing, and quantitative PCR showed that the virus was neural and infected the host ladybug, causing it to become nearly paralyzed (it could still move enough to ward off predators that might eat the pupae). The wasp had used a virus to force a ladybug to behave in a way that benefitted the wasp offspring—a form of bioweapon. Indeed it had harbored the virus in its ovaries which was transferred to the host along with the eggs. By the time the larvae were ready to pupate, the ladybug was already too impacted by the virus to do anything but stand still, serving as a guard.In addition to serving as a guard, the ladybug also serves as a food source for larvae before they leave the ladybug’s body and pupate, though the team found, neither the feeding nor the virus were always fatal for the ladybug—in roughly 25 percent of cases, the ladybug survived and went on to live a normal life. A real-life zombie story in the life of bugs Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Recent advances in natural product drug design Chemical fragments and computational methods

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first_img More information: Tiago Rodrigues et al. Counting on natural products for drug design, Nature Chemistry (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2479AbstractNatural products and their molecular frameworks have a long tradition as valuable starting points for medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. Recently, there has been a revitalization of interest in the inclusion of these chemotypes in compound collections for screening and achieving selective target modulation. Here we discuss natural-product-inspired drug discovery with a focus on recent advances in the design of synthetically tractable small molecules that mimic nature’s chemistry. We highlight the potential of innovative computational tools in processing structurally complex natural products to predict their macromolecular targets and attempt to forecast the role that natural-product-derived fragments and fragment-like natural products will play in next-generation drug discovery. Credit: OpenClipartVectors, CC0 Public Domain Drug research enhanced by fragment screening libraries Drug design often involves synthetically mimicking certain biologically active chemicals in naturally-occurring compounds. The process of synthetically making a naturally-occurring compound is time-consuming and expensive because many natural products are too complex to re-construct in a laboratory setting. Furthermore, it is often difficult to know what chemical segments of a natural product scaffold are necessary for efficacy. More recently, high throughput screening libraries have been used to identify pharmacologically active components of natural products that would serve as potential lead compounds.Traditionally, in looking for natural product pharmacological candidates, researchers will identify compounds that meet certain criteria. For example, they will look for compounds that follow Lipinski’s “rule of five.” However, these criteria can be too narrow. For example, studies have shown that about 18% of the natural products in the Directory of Natural Products database violate the “rule of five” in at least two criteria. Medicinal chemists have been exploring other avenues to identify target compounds including fragment-based drug discovery. In contrast to high throughput libraries, fragment-based libraries are low molecular weight (300 Da) and tend to have lower affinities for the target compound. These low molecular weight compounds, however, are often water soluble and easily functionalized to tailor them for drug design.Fragment-based libraries using sophisticated computational methods can assist in drug design by dissecting complex molecular structures and identifying scaffold parts that are biologically active. This process takes a natural product whose structure is too complex to be synthetically feasible, and dissects the compound layer-by-layer to identify potential simple compounds for exploration. However, as molecular simplicity increases, its efficacy can decrease.Because biologically active fragments tend to be less effective compared to their more complex naturally-occurring counterparts, chemists can use software that allows for virtual identification of potential ligands or receptors for drug targets as helpful prediction tools. Software programs such as SPiDER look for chemical properties to match ligands and receptors. The authors of this review used SPiDER to take a “target-centric” approach to predicting which natural product fragments might be potential candidates for drug design. One example, archazolid A, whose structure is atypical for small drugs, was found to target certain proteins involved in the recognition and processing of arachidonic acid. This approach, however, is limited to investigating previously studied targets and remains merely a qualitative tool for drug discovery.Additional computational studies looked at whether natural products are necessarily “better” leads for drug design. As it turns out, natural products tend to have potentially more chemically reactive sites. These compounds may be frequent hitters because they contain chemically reactive components, leading to a false positive for drug design. Therefore, Rodrigues, et al. then studied whether these natural products tend to interact with multiple targets. Even though natural products tend to have more chemically reactive sites, they do not seem to act as ‘promiscuous ligands’, while synthetic compounds tend to interact with multiple targets.There has been a resurgence in investigating natural products for drug design. Advances in technology and computational methods applied to natural-product fragments have led to identification of drug targets as wells as a better understanding of generally which chemical features make natural products good candidates for drug design. Citation: Recent advances in natural product drug design: Chemical fragments and computational methods (2016, May 17) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-05-advances-natural-product-drug-chemical.html (Phys.org)—A review article in Nature Chemistry by Tiago Rodrigues, Daniel Reker, Petra Schneider, and Gisbert Schneider of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology looks at recent advances in medicinal chemistry including how fragment-based libraries and computational studies have furthered the field of natural product discovery.center_img Explore further © 2016 Phys.org Journal information: Nature Chemistry This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Early moon model shows heavy metal atmosphere

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first_img More information: A Model of the Primordial Lunar Atmosphere, arXiv:1706.07501 [astro-ph.EP] arxiv.org/abs/1706.07501AbstractWe create the first quantitative model for the early lunar atmosphere, coupled with a magma ocean crystallization model. Immediately after formation, the moon’s surface was subject to a radiative environment that included contributions from the early Sun, a post-impact Earth that radiated like a mid-type M dwarf star, and a cooling global magma ocean. This radiative environment resulted in a largely Earth-side atmosphere on the Moon, ranging from ∼104 to ∼102 pascals, composed of heavy volatiles (Na and SiO). This atmosphere persisted through lid formation and was additionally characterized by supersonic winds that transported significant quantities of moderate volatiles and likely generated magma ocean waves. The existence of this atmosphere may have influenced the distribution of some moderate volatiles and created temperature asymmetries which influenced ocean flow and cooling. Such asymmetries may characterize young, tidally locked rocky bodies with global magma oceans and subject to intense irradiation. Explore further A consensus of sorts among space scientists holds that an object approximately the size of modern Mars slammed into the Earth billions of years ago, knocking some surface material into space—that material eventually coalesced to become our moon. But what happened between the time the moon formed and now is still rather a mystery. A collision between massive objects would create a lot of heat, which means that if such a collision did lead to the formation of the moon, both would have been extremely hot for a long period of time thereafter. In this new effort, the researchers have used findings from prior efforts, such as examining moon rocks, to build a model that they believe could possibly represent the actual history of the moon not long after it was formed, based on a Mars-type collision.The researchers report that their model shows the moon covered with a thick ocean of melted rock. Under such a scenario, volatile atoms (possibly sodium) would have vaporized, eventually forming an atmosphere. But because only one side of the moon faced the earth, the atmosphere would have been very different on its near and far sides. The model showed much of the atmosphere closest to the Earth vaporizing due to the heat from the nearby planet. It also showed vast differences in temperature between the moon’s far and near sides, a situation that would have given rise to very strong winds—strong enough to cause waves on the hot surface of the ocean.But then the model shows the moon slowly cooling, and as it did so, some rocks bobbled to the surface. More cooling allowed more rocks to float to the surface, eventually forming a crust. Once that happened, the atmosphere dissipated as vaporizing from the ocean ceased and the ocean below solidified.If such a scenario is true, the researchers note, evidence would have been left behind—higher concentrations of sodium, for example, in rocks found in the separation zone between the near and far sides of the moon. Future missions to the moon could study such rocks, they add, and if the concentrations of sodium match the model, it could offer some credence to the scenario that the model depicts. (Phys.org)—A team of researchers working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a model meant to show what the early moon may have looked like. As they note in their paper uploaded to the arXiv preprint server, study of rocks from the area between the near and far side of the moon could bolster their theory—and if it is found likely to be correct, it could impact theories regarding how the moon formed. © 2017 Phys.org Citation: Early moon model shows heavy metal atmosphere (2017, July 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-07-early-moon-heavy-metal-atmosphere.htmlcenter_img Journal information: arXiv This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Credit: CC0 Public Domain Lab experiments suggests water was in moon mix during its formationlast_img read more

Astronomers identify a mega metalpoor dwarf star

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first_img Metal-poor stars are rare objects as only few stars with iron abundances [Fe/H] below –5 have been discovered so far. Currently, SMSS J0313–6708, with metallicity below –7.1, is the most iron-poor star known to date. Astronomers are interested in expanding the still short list of metal-poor stars as such objects have the potential to improve our knowledge of the chemical evolution of the universe.During recent years, a team of astronomers led by David S. Aguado of the Institute of Astrophysics in the Canary Islands, has been searching for extremely metal-poor stars by analyzing low-resolution spectroscopic data provided by various instruments. This search has already resulted in finding a carbon-enhanced metal-poor red giant with iron abundance of -4.7 and a dwarf star with iron abundance below –5.8.Now, Aguado’s team found an extremely metal-poor candidate in the SDSS/BOSS spectroscopic survey. Next, they conducted follow-up observations of this candidate using the Intermediate dispersion Spectrograph and Imaging System (ISIS) on the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope (WHT) and the Optical System for Imaging and low-intermediate-Resolution Integrated Spectroscopy (OSIRIS) at the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC).”We have now identified a new mega metal-poor dwarf with [Fe/H]< −6.6, J0023+0307, from SDSS/BOSS spectra (λ/∆λ ~2, 000). Follow-up spectroscopy with the 10.4m GTC and the 4.2m WHT telescopes confirms the metallicity determination based on SDSS data," the researchers wrote in the paper.As noted in the study, the newly detected metal-poor star, named SDSS J0023+0307, has an iron abundance below –6.6. Moreover, the astronomers found that this star has a carbon abundance below 6.3 and an effective temperature of 6,188 K.Although the scientists were only able to set upper limits for the iron and carbon abundances of SDSS J0023+0307, the results indicate that this object is one of the two most iron-poor stars known, and exhibits less carbon that most of stars with iron abundances below –5."The spectrum of this star does not show the usual enhancement in carbon found in all other stars at [Fe/H]< −5," the paper reads.The authors of the paper noted that given that the iron abundance is only an upper limit, and since carbon does not appear enhanced at the levels found in other hyper metal-poor stars, J0023+0307 could well be the most metal-poor star so far identified. However, more observations at higher resolution and signal-to-noise ratio are required to validate this assumption."Newer observations with higher spectral resolution and very high signal-to-noise ratio are required and can only be obtained with the largest telescopes in the world," the researchers concluded. Researchers discover a chemically primitive dwarf star in the galactic halo Upper panel: ISIS spectrum of J0023+0307 and J1029+1729 (black line) and the best fits obtained with FERRE (red line). The bottom panels show a details of the Ca II H & K region (a) and the G-band (b), respectively. Main stellar parameters are shown. Image credit: Aguado et al., 2018. Citation: Astronomers identify a mega metal-poor dwarf star (2018, February 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-02-astronomers-mega-metal-poor-dwarf-star.html More information: J0023+0307: A MEGA METAL-POOR DWARF STAR FROM SDSS/BOSS, arxiv.org/pdf/1802.06240.pdf Explore further © 2018 Phys.org A group of Spanish astronomers has found a new primitive mega metal-poor star. The object, designated SDSS J0023+0307, is apparently one of the most iron-poor stars known to date. The finding is reported February 17 in a paper published on the arXiv pre-print repository. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Men have a tendency to make false promises

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first_imgDuring college days I had an abortion. I’m having an arranged marriage in January. I’m nervous. Will my husband get to know it?Name withheld, RajasthanI suggest you should be transparent and communicate everything significant about your past to your husband. It’s rare but possible that there can be slight complications with your pregnancy in future. Any problems might dig up your hidden abortion secret. This kind of news, breaking later will lead to permanent breach of trust. It’s your past and someone who is your future partner should ideally have an idea of the roads you have travelled. Be honest and that will go a long way. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’At work I have fallen in love with a married colleague. He claims he’s in love and will soon divorce his wife to settle down with me. I’m very much in love and don’t want any heartbreaks. I’m nervous too! What should I do?Anita Arora, New DelhiDon’t let your life be controlled by so many external factors. You two can marry only when he’s out of his present marriage. I don’t know how serious is he about coming out of that! Men sometimes have a tendency to make false promises too. Be careful about your life. Don’t get too serious until he comes out clean from his current marital status.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixWe have been married for 5 years and now we have want to have a child. My husband doesn’t have any interest in sex. He’s always busy with travel and work. I’m getting depressed. How do I handle this?Ritu, NagpurHold him close the next time he’s around and just tell him what you feel. Talk, cry, fight, sob but communicate what your heart feels. I had a relationship with a Muslim guy in college. Now I’m happily married for a year with another man. I’m not in touch with any other men. Suddenly my ex boyfriend has started texting and mailing me! He says he has some intimate pictures too! What should I do? Name withheldTry to handle this intelligently. Meet him over a cup of coffee and explain him that you don’t need him in your life. If he tries to blackmail you, explain him confidently that you have told your husband everything about your past. I think this will sort things out. If need be, tell your husband everything. That is your past and he will surely understand and be with you.I am a housewife and have got involved sexually with my husband’s friend. I’m guilty and scared. Please advise.D Rai, New DelhiThe body is very demanding. Sometimes much more than the mind. Don’t be nervous. What has happened cannot be undone. Be careful that the fire of your passion doesn’t engulf your family life. Be super alert and handle yourself. Try to accompany your husband on tours and plan vacations together. This will make situations better for sure. Enjoy life but carefully!Have a love or life query you cannot find an answer to? Send your questions to – roopshashotm@gmail.comlast_img read more

SI dead 2 others critically injured

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first_imgKolkata: A Sub-Inspector was killed and three police personnel injured, two of them critically, after the vehicle they were travelling in hit a lorry at Ayushgram in East Burdwan on Monday night. The pilot car was returning to Birbhum after dropping Anubrata Mondol, president of the Trinamool Congress’ Birbhum unit in Kolkata. Mondol’s wife was admitted to a city nursing home and he had come to the city to visit her. In a bid to overtake another vehicle, the driver of the pilot car lost control and hit the lorry coming from the opposite direction. The front portion of the pilot car was completely smashed. Attracted by a loud noise, locals rushed to the spot and took out the police personnel who had been trapped inside the vehicle. The injured policemen were taken to Burdwan Medical College and Hospital where the SI, Dhanapati Saha, was declared brought dead while the three others have been admitted. The condition of two policemen is stated to be critical.last_img read more

Pay some heed

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first_imgIt is befuddling why Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road and Transport, would go against the recommendations of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and  appoint an officer with a highly chequered past to a key post in the ministry with powers to oversee and sanction contracts worth Rs 1,000 crore. The Ministry has overruled a stringent CVC advisory against DO Tawde, and rewarded him with the plum post of Chief Engineer (coordination) in the road branch. This, despite multiple warnings from the CVC, which had recommended hefty penalty for gross irregularities on the part of Tawde in the NH-3 from Vadape to Gonde in Maharashtra. It must be noted here that Tawde has been previously associated with National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), an organisation that has been repeatedly accused of festering corruption. NHAI had issued a no-objection certificate clearing Tawde’s eligibility for crucial joint secretary-level posts. It is obvious that NHAI and the Ministry of Road and Transport are casting a blind eye to the definitive problems within the bodies and are cherry-picking bureaucrats with tainted past in spite of advice to the contrary. However, NHAI is stranger to allegations of corruption, with even a scathing World Bank report that lifted the veil off many a fraudulent practice by private contractors in various national highway projects. Charges of kickbacks, bribes, gifts and money laundering have been flying all around since the reports surfaced three years back, but there is little indication that the government will pay any heed.last_img read more