Helping Children Deal with Disappointment

first_imgKara was very excited! Mom was finally coming home after an 8-month deployment, which to 4-year-old Kara seemed like forever.  She and her dad had made a paper chain to count down the days until Mom came home. Every morning after breakfast she would tear off another link and count how many days were left. It was always the first thing she would tell her child care provider, Deanne, when she walked in the door.Today when Kara came in, Deanne immediately noticed that something was wrong. Kara clearly had been crying and she clung to her dad’s leg. When Deanne gave Dad a questioning look, he quietly said, “Kara’s mom’s homecoming has been delayed. With only six days left, her orders have changed – it’s going to be another three weeks. Kara is devastated….well, we both are.” Deanne’s heart sank. How was she going to help this precious little girl through such a huge disappointment?Events don’t always turn out the way we expect them to…not in life and certainly not in military life! Dealing with disappointments is hard enough for adults, but for young children who don’t have the reasoning skills, emotional maturity, or past experience that we adults do, it’s especially hard. They need all the support we can give them to not only weather the disappointment but to develop resilience skills that will serve them the next time disappointment comes – which it inevitably will!Here are three steps that you can take with the young children in your care when a disappointment throws them for a loop. These steps will help, whether they are facing the small disappointments that part of everyday life or one as large and upsetting as Kara’s.Acknowledge FeelingsThe first step in helping a child bounce back from disappointment is to listen to the emotion she is expressing (either directly, in the words she says, or indirectly, through her behavior) and let her know you hear and understand. Sometimes adults want to rush too quickly through the unhappiness, trying to distract children or minimize the emotions (“Don’t cry…it’s okay.”). While this might make us feel better, it sends the unintentional message to kids that they can’t be sad around us or that they shouldn’t feel sad or angry. We don’t need to dwell on it overly long, but we do need to acknowledge their emotions: “That’s so disappointing, Kara. You and your dad are both sad, aren’t you? I would be sad, too, if I were expecting my mom to come and she couldn’t.” It’s amazing how simply listening and empathizing can help children (and adults!) feel ready to move beyond their hurt.Reframe Once we’ve addressed the emotions of the situation, then it’s time to turn the focus to the child’s thinking. Now the best way to help is to turn her thinking from the negative aspects of the situation that she can’t change to thinking about positive aspects of the future, a resiliency strategy sometimes called “reframing.” In Kara’s situation, Deanne might help her focus her thoughts on when her mom does come home, even though it will be later than expected. Deanne can tap into Kara’s imagination and talk with her about what that will feel like when she sees her mom and what she would like to do with her once her mom is home. Focusing on positive events in the future helps Kara feel hopeful, and hope is key to dealing with disappointment. It reinforces the message that, although this feels bad now, it’s temporary – we’ll get through it.Prompt ActionA final step that we can take to support a disappointed child is to encourage her to think about something that she can do. There are many things about military children’s lives that they have no control over. But that doesn’t mean they have to feel completely helpless. Another key characteristic of resilient people is that, once they have focused on a positive future (reframing), they take action to get there. What might that mean for Kara? There are lots of things that Deanne could suggest to Kara. Action could be as simple as encouraging Kara to draw a picture for her mom to help her mom feel better. Or it could be something as engaging as asking Kara to help plan a special “Welcome Home” party at child care for when her mom is home. The goal is to think about the kinds of things that the individual child enjoys doing and suggest ways that he or she could put those abilities and interests into action. We all feel better when we can do something postive in the face of a difficult situation, and children are certainly no different!As much as parents and other caring adults may want to protect children from ever experiencing disappointment, we can’t. So instead we help children learn and practice the attitudes and skills of bouncing back from disappointment. That is a gift that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.If you are interested in digging more deeply into what research says about developing resiliency in children, check out “Resiliency: What We Have Learned,” by Bonnie Benard (2004, published by WestEd)._____________________________This blog post was written by Kathy Reschke, Child Care Leader at Military Families Learning Network.last_img read more

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The Many Disguises of Consumer Fraud

first_imgBy Dr. Martie GillenOften times, the public is not fully aware of the pervasiveness of fraud, because news media focus primarily on major scams, such as Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. There are many types of frauds and scams. Below is a discussion of several types of frauds and scams.Identity theft. Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), identify theft is the most common form of consumer fraud and that holds true for military families. Military personnel and families can learn more about how to protect themselves from identify theft by reviewing the FTC’s publication What to Know, What to Do.Photo by Jeff TurnerTax identify theft. The FTC received almost 110,000 complaints about tax identify theft in 2014 accounting from about 33% of the overall complaints about identify theft. Tax identity theft typically happens when a scammer files a fraudulent tax return using a consumer’s Social Security number in order to receive a refund.IRS impostor scams. This scam has increased drastically from over 2,500 in 2013 to almost 55,000 in 2014 and often consists of an individual contacting a consumer by phone, claiming that they are an IRS agent and that the consumer owes the IRS money. The impostor suggests to the consumer that they should pay immediately by wiring money or loading money on a pre-paid debit card if not, they are threatened with arrest or legal action. The calls may even appear to come from the Washington, D.C. area and impostors may even know the consumer’s full or partial Social Security number.Phishing. A common cyber-avenue for fraud in which a scammer sends a mass email proposing a sham investment. If even a small percentage of recipients bite, the sender can bring in big dollars. Scammers may use social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn to target potential victims.Investment fraud. A wide variety of investment frauds all have one thing in common: they sell something – a company, product, or security – that either does not exist or will not live up to the financial return being promised. Common red flags indicating investments may be fraudulent include: if they look too good to be true; offer a very high or “guaranteed” return at “no risk” to the investor; require an urgent response or cash payment; charge a steep upfront fee in return for making more money on an unspecified date; suggest recipients do not tell family members or friends about the offer; lure prospective investors with a “free lunch”; come unsolicited over the Internet, are of unknown origin, or come from overseas; instill fear that a failure to act would be very costly; cannot be questioned, inspected, or checked out further; and are so complex that they are difficult or impossible to understand.Pump and dump scams. This scam occurs when fraudsters send out inflated and inaccurate information about a company’s stock they already own. Sham reports hyping the company’s profits or business prospects encourage naive investors to rush in and buy stock. When they do, the fraudster sells his shares for a large gain, depressing the price and leaving those who were defrauded with losses on their shares.Advance fee fraud. Money is paid but the service or product is not delivered. The outcome never varies for the countless advance-fee scams. Debt-settlement scams that purport to help struggling consumers pay off debt become more pervasive during periods of recessions or slow growth. This type of fraud spiked during the recent recession.Insurance fraud. Insurance fraud against individuals occurs when unscrupulous insurance agents or brokers sell health, auto, home or life insurance and divert premium payments to their personal bank accounts. Fabricated policy documents give victims the impression that the coverage is in effect, so they continue paying their premiums.Many resources are available to help consumers becoming victims of fraud. A list of resources shared during the recent Predatory Lending Practices & How to Avoid Them webinar are available here.This post was written by Dr. Martie Gillen, co-PI for the Personal Finance Concentration Area of the MFLN. Connect with her and the rest of the Personal Finance Team on Facebook and Twitter.last_img read more

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Total Force Fitness and Military Families Learning Network: Network Literacy

first_imgIn this week’s Friday Field Notes, we will continue our exploration of the resources and programming that Military Families Learning Network provides to support Total Force Fitness with our Network Literacy team.Network Literacy and Total Force FitnessNetwork Literacy’s work directly supports social and psychological fitness in their efforts to increase resilience through relationships and networks. Through their programming, Network Literacy helps individuals build the skills they need to grow and maintain their own supportive network. Supportive networks are a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to maintaining social and psychological fitness.The Resilience Series, a collaboration between Network Literacy, Family Development, and Family Transitions, is a three-part series that examines factors promoting individual, family, and community resilience. The series begins next week, on Tuesday, August 20th, at 11am Eastern Time, with Nurturing Individual Resilience from a Multi-System Developmental Perspective.As a part of the Building Networks for Resilience learning experience, Network Literacy produced a five-part Working Out Loud for Resilience podcast. In addition to providing more information on Working Out Loud and ways to improve one’s own resilience, in each podcast, listeners are given specific strategies they can incorporate into their daily lives to improve their networks and build resilience.Finally, keep an eye out this fall for an exciting new podcast series produced by Network Literacy. The podcast will focus on themes that tie together the work of military family service providers across disciplines. It will be a catalyst for conversations that connect us, help us collaborate, and lead to greater impacts for the people we serve.Additional Resources from Network LiteracyNetwork Literacy provides programming aimed at increasing relationship building, personal growth, and shared work to help individuals build resilience. Network Literacy provides webinars, podcasts, and timely blog posts as a part of their programming. And make sure to keep up with Network Literacy on twitter!last_img read more

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How to Calibrate the DJI Inspire 1 Drone

first_imgFrom bugs to calibration, here are some helpful ways to optimize your quadcopter drone.BugsAs with any new technology, there are always some kinks to work out. You may have heard plenty of horror stories about drone crashes and lost connections. In reality, many times these come down to pilot error. However, there are times when bugs in the system can cause problems, including crash landings.DJI has been constantly updating their firmware since releasing the Inspire 1. It’s necessary to update your drone as soon as updates are available. If not, you risk being grounded until you do update. You can grab the latest updates from the DJI Download page.If you have not yet performed an update, here is a handy tutorial video from DJI. Prepare to hear some beeping. A whole lot of beeping.  Why do you need to calibrate the Inspire 1?Users have noted that their DJI Inspire 1 tends to yaw to the left of right while holding the control stick straight forward. A YAW is the motion to the left or right on the drone’s vertical axis. It changes the direction the drone faces.Imagine a car’s alignment. If the tires are straight and the car is aligned – the car will move in a straight line. If the alignment is off – the car will drift to the left or right, even though the tires are pointed straight ahead. This is the same concept.If you notice that the DJI Inspire 1 is not accurately responding to the controller, you will need to calibrate the Compass and IMU.Calibrating the CompassFor the best performance, you should be calibrating the compass every time you move to a new flight location. It’s in your best interest to make this a habit. Calibrating the compass is just as important as attaching the propellers. You shouldn’t fly without this step.Find an open space to perform the calibration. You want to avoid any possible magnetic interference, such as parking structures, keys, cell phones, or any massive metal objects.Turn on the DJI Inspire 1 and Master Controller.In the DJI Pilot App, go to the Camera and tap the Aircraft Status menu. Select Calibrate Compass.The DJI Inspire 1 should now be flashing a Yellow indication light. Hold and rotate the DJI Inspire 1 horizontally 360 degrees counter clockwise. Keep spinning until the light turns solid Green.Now point the nose straight down. The indicator light will return to Yellow. Spin another 360 degrees counter clockwise.If the indicator light is now a solid Green, the compass is calibrated. If the light flashes Red and Yellow, move over a few feet to another spot and repeat the compass calibration.Calibrating the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)As DJI puts it, “The IMU incorporates both a 6-axis gyroscope and an accelerometer to monitor minuscule changes in tilt and movement. This allows the aircraft to compensate and adjust immediately, holding its position at all times.” As your mind recovers from reading that sentence, let’s break it down.The inertial measurement unit (IMU) is an electronic device that measures velocity, orientation, and gravitational forces. It’s responsible for speed and direction of motion, staying upright, and maintaining any position.The IMU is the brain. It is responsible for knowing if the drone is up in the air and level.As complicated as all of that sounds, calibrating the IMU is actually incredibly easy. You should also make note to perform and IMU Calibration after every firmware update. Turn on the DJI Inspire 1 and Master Controller. DO NOT FLY THE DRONE.IMU calibrations require the drone to be in a “cold” state. Performing an IMU calibration after a flight can lead to this error message:The system has overheated. Power off and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then re-start Calibration.Place the Inspire 1 on a firm level surface away from any magnets or electronics.In the DJI Pilot App, go to the Camera and tap the Mode menu. The MC Settings menu will pop up, then select Sensors.The bottom of the Sensors menu will list Check IMU and IMU Calibration.Make sure the Inspire 1 is on the ground in a stationary and horizontal position. Then select IMU Calibration.The process should take 5-10 minutes.Resume FlightNow that the Inspire 1 has been updated and calibrated, you are ready to take to the sky.Be Smart, Fly Safe!Want to see more about drones? Check out these posts: Flying the DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter with Adam Savage – Tested15 Videos That Prove Drone Piloting Isn’t EasyPhantom 3: DJI’s Latest Drone Takes FlightDid you finally cave and buy a drone? Did you buy a DJI Inspire 1 or Phantom 3? Did you go with another type of drone? Let us know in the comments below.last_img read more

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3 Filmmaking Takeaways from the Web Series Moon Shot

first_imgMoon Shot, from executive producer JJ Abrams, is an exercise in compelling web content.The documentary web series Moon Shot covers the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a $30 million-dollar race to land a robot on the moon. Once there, the robot must travel 500 meters and send back HD video. All teams must launch before the end of 2017. Easy right?The clear mission and the suspense of whether or not the teams will overcome the challenge of this race makes for a great story.That’s the focus of the nine-part documentary series, executive produced by JJ Abrams and directed by Orlando Von Einsiedel. This duo creates captivating portraits of some of the interesting people trying to win the race to the moon. It also offers filmmakers some great insights on what it takes to make compelling documentary content that works on the web.Here are three takeaways I thought were particularly noteworthy.1. You Need a Humanizing ThemeWhat could be bigger than trying to make it to the moon?That’s the hook that gets you interested in the series, but it’s not enough on its own to sustain your attention through nine unique episodes.That’s why you need a second story or theme to help your viewers relate to the people at the heart of each film. You need to include something to help us connect with the central characters and understand their motivations.For example, in the first episode about the team from Pittsburgh Astrobotic, the humanizing story is surrogate fatherhood. In the episode about the team from India, the humanizing story is a young woman’s quest to overcome poverty and sexism. For the team from Israel, it’s about creating a more peaceful future for the next generation.In rural areas [of India] girls don’t have equal opportunities … but I was fascinated about math from a very young age … I’ve always wanted to use my learnings about mathematics to work in aerospace and space science. — Deepana GandhiThe bigger the obstacle, the greater the drama, and as screenwriter Aaron Sorkin likes to say in his masterclass on Story,We’re going to talk about Intention and Obstacle. Which is the most important thing in drama. Without that you’re screwed blue. Without strong, clear intention and a formidable obstacle you don’t have drama.So whatever the main theme of your documentary is, you also need to a humanizing theme to help ground the documentary in the audience’s hearts and minds.If you watch all nine of the short films in the series, you’ll see the effectiveness of drawing out personal drama against the backdrop of your larger theme.2. Make Us CareThe second takeaway is related to the first, but it’s more about the execution.If we’re going to engage with the human drama of the moon race story, we need to connect with and care about those people. It’s here that an expert interviewer can really draw out the most authentic answers from an interviewee.That answer can be as simple as one line:I found love a little late in life. No children of my own.Perhaps, it’s the relationship between a crazy father and a supportive son:He’s finally going for his dream. I’m very proud … just don’t show that to him.To create engaging stories, not only do you have to properly detail the obstacle, you must also connect your audience to the emotions that underpin the conflict. When this doesn’t happen, your documentary just becomes light and noise.In practice, this means that it’s vital that you gain the trust of your characters when shooting. Ask them emotional questions and let them sit with their answers.In the edit, it means looking for those little segments that add connection — such as lingering on an answer, sometimes for a beat longer than you normally would, to make the audience really feel it.3. Character-Driven CreativityOne of the most striking elements of the series is how the creativity behind each installment matches the personality or context of the characters. While this may seem obvious, I think the reverse is usually true. The director or the camera person has a cool idea or style in mind that they’d like to try, and they foist it onto the film.If you look at the opening shots of the film about the team from Canada (Episode 4, above), you can see that the top-down framing and quirky composition is unusual, just like the main character.In the installment about the team from India (Episode 3, above), the slow-motion close-ups, quick cuts, and sound design all draw us into the hustle and bustle of India and give us context for Deepana’s experience.For this reason, it’s often best if you can record your main interviews first and then film the illustrative footage and cutaways later on, once you’ve gotten to know both the central character and your story.Final Thought on Creating Web ContentOne of the best things about creating content for the web is that it can be any length you need it to be. Whereas the world of broadcast television or cinema distribution is much more constrained by duration, you are at liberty to make each and every film just as long as it needs to be.It’s crazy how often a film’s duration depends on some arbitrary number (often from a client) rather than the constraints of the story. Sometimes that structure can be helpful, but on the web, it simply doesn’t exist.That said, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Frontline documentary editor Steve Audette ACE:The mind cannot absorb what the butt cannot endure.You can learn more about the Google Lunar XPRIZE on the official site and watch the whole nine-part film series here.What are your thoughts on creating compelling web content? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

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Pull Your Weeds

first_imgIf you leave a plot of land alone, over time it will become overrun with all sorts of plant life. Most of the plant life will be of a hearty variety, and weeds will be chief among them. Weeds tend to grow wherever the soil is left untended; they require no care and thrive under almost any condition. Once they’re firmly established, weeds crowd out more beneficial plants by growing faster and using up all the resources, like nutrients and water, depriving other life of the opportunity to grow.Negative beliefs and thoughts operate very much like weeds. Neglected space is always fertile ground for cynicism, pessimism, skepticism, and negativity. If one does not tend to their beliefs and their thoughts, negativity will grow until it dominates, leaving little space for what is positive. Just like weeds, the negativity uses up so much of the resources to the point that nothing else has a chance to live, thrive, or survive.To change your negative mindset, you first must start cleaning up and pulling the weeds. To do so, you must first be aware of the negative thoughts you have, of which it is said to make up about 80 percent of all of your tens of thousands of thoughts each day. Once you recognize those negative thoughts, you must begin to examine them to determine whether they serve you.Do your thoughts and beliefs move you closer to your goals, or do they provide you with the ability to blame someone or something for your current situation? Do they empower you, helping you to become the person that comes after the person you are now, helping you be more, do more, have more, and contribute more? Or do they disempower and discourage you?When your thoughts and beliefs don’t serve you, they are like weeds, and you have to pull them up by the roots and plant something better in their place. What you plant in place of your weeds is going to require continuous care and feeding. And it is going to require the routine maintenance of removing weeds and anything else that might harm you. 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 Nowlast_img read more

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Minor rape victim’s premature baby dies

first_imgThe baby boy who was prematurely delivered following the Supreme Court’s order to terminate the pregnancy of a 13-year-old rape victim, succumbed on Sunday at the State-run JJ Hospital. The baby was delivered on September 8 at 32 weeks and weighed 1.8 kg. While he was stable for a few hours after being shifted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), he developed breathing difficulties on Saturday, after which he was placed on ventilator support. Given the premature birth, his lungs, like other organs, had not fully developed. “The baby passed away at 10 a.m. on Sunday,” confirmed a doctor from the hospital. Medical experts said that premature babies can develop complications but with good NICU care, babies as small as 700 grams in weight have survived. Exceptional casesWhile the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971, allows termination only up to 20 weeks, Section 5 of the Act provides an exception to the doctor in good faith, only if immediate termination is the only way to save the mother’s life. Kandivali-based gynaecologist Dr. Kartik Bhagat, who first detected the girl’s pregnancy, said that this is “not as easy as it sounds”. “Legally, termination of pregnancies is allowed only up to 20 weeks. If I had to apply the Section 5 of MTP Act in this case, the mother’s life was not in immediate danger for me to carry out a termination,” said Dr. Bhagat, who immediately referred the case to another gynaecologist, Dr. Nikhil Datar, for the legal procedures. By the time all the necessary procedures, including the filing of the FIR, medical examination, the submission of a petition in the Supreme Court and that of a medical report by team of doctors was completed, the girl was in the 31st week of her pregnancy. On September 6, the SC allowed the termination of the pregnancy, which was to be carried out two days later. But on September 8, the doctors delivered a baby boy.last_img read more

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Two arrested in Bengal with 12 kg of ivory

first_imgOfficials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence Kolkata Zonal Unit have arrested two persons with several pieces of elephant tusk from Mallaguri area near Siliguri in north Bengal.About 12.4 kilogram of elephant tusk was seized from Saiful Islam, a resident of Lakhimpur in Assam and Santosh Pradhan, resident of Siliguri. On putting together the pieces, having a girth size 0.36 metres, it was found that they were part of a single trunk about 2.86 feet long. “Preliminary investigations indicate that the elephant was poached in the forests of Arunachal Pradesh or Assam five to six months ago and the tusk was being taken to Nepal ,” a statement issued by the DRI said.The development comes weeks after six persons were arrested in Jaldapara in north Bengal for having killed a rhino.last_img read more

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Jinnah portrait at AMU sparks row

first_imgA BJP MP has asked Aligarh Muslim University to explain why it displays a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, triggering a row days after a student sought permission to hold an RSS shakha on the university premises.In a letter written to Vice-Chancellor Tariq Mansoor yesterday, Aligarh MP Satish Gautam objected to the Pakistan founder’s picture on the walls of the AMU student union office.AMU spokesman Shafey Kidwai on Tuesday defended the portrait, which has apparently been hanging there for decades, saying that Jinnah was a founder member of the university court and granted life membership of the student union. Traditionally, photographs of all life members are placed on the walls of the student union, he told PTI.“Jinnah was also accorded life membership of the AMUSU in 1938. He was the founder member of the University Court in 1920 and also a donor, the spokesman said. “He was granted membership before the demand of Pakistan had been raised by the Muslim League,” he said.The spokesman said no national leader had raised any objection to the photo even after Independence. These included Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Azad, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, C Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad and Jawaharlal Nehru.Mr. Shafey said AMU student union has a long tradition of granting life membership to prominent people in politics, social and educational fields. Their photographs were a part of the rich heritage of undivided India and no one ever thought of raising this issue before, he said.The first recorded life membership by the student union was the one granted to Mahatma Gandhi on October 29, 1920, he said. This was followed by a long list of luminaries including Rajagopalachari, Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, C V Raman and British writer E M Forster, he said.Last week, the AMU Vice-Chancellor received a letter from an “RSS activist” Amir Rasheed seeking his permission to organise a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh `shakha’ on the campus. Mr. Kidwai said, “The University is not considering any proposal for allowing any camp or shakha organised by any political party.”“We have a tradition of not allowing political parties to put up their candidates either for contesting the Students’ Union polls or the Teachers’ Association elections,” he said. He said AMU had “no intention” of allowing any “direct intervention” of political parties inside the campus.AMU was not under any sort of pressure from any government agency, he added.He said the student union enjoyed a certain autonomy within the legal framework of the University’s constitution as enshrined by an Act of Parliament.“No Vice-Chancellor or governing body has ever tried to infringe upon such rights and hence, while we may have different views from the student union on many matters, the AMU authorities have always tried to avoid directly intervening in their matters,” he added.last_img
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Demolition drive sparks a row in Tripura

first_imgA row broke out in Tripura on Monday after officials started a drive to demolish party and trade union offices built on public land. In a pre-dawn action, the west Tripura district administration dismantled at least nine structures in Agartala.The Congress and the CPI(M), both in opposition, criticised the action, but admitted that the buildings were on government land. The ruling BJP called the drive “impartial.” Congress workers, led by PCC president Birajit Sinha, staged a sit-in in front of the office of the District Magistrate to condemn what they called unethical demolition of offices of the transport unions owing allegiance to the party. The police took them into preventive custody.The Transport Minister in the Left Front government and CITU leader, Manik Dey, and west Tripura MP Shankar Prasad Datta visited the Old Motorstand area where the structures were dismantled. They alleged that the demolition was done without notice. “I can recall the days of Emergency. The BJP government in the State is showing disrespect to democratic values,” Mr. Dey told journalists. CPI(M) leaders said the trade union offices served as a place for transport workers and passengers to rest. They warned the government of an agitation if it pressed ahead with the drive.Hundreds of paramilitary troops and armed policemen were deployed at midnight before the demolition began. A prohibitory order under Section 144 was imposed in the city.West Tripura District Magistrate Milind Ramteke and Superintendent of Police Ajit Pratap Singh supervised the demolition of concrete structures with the help of bulldozers and a few hundred workers. Several roads were barricaded.Mr. Ramteke said notice was served on the occupants a week ago and was advertised in newspapers. He said the government had identified 104 political and trade union structures built on government land in west Tripura alone. Officials have put the number at 400 across the State and said all of them will be razed.Police officers said the situation in Agartala remained peaceful, but deployment would continue in some parts of the city to maintain law and order.last_img read more

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Dalit farmer set on fire in Bhopal

first_imgA Dalit farmer was burnt alive allegedly by four men in Bhopal district when he opposed their attempt to encroach on his land, a police officer said on Friday. The incident took place at Parsoria Ghatkhedi in Berasia tehsil on Thursday. Kishorilal Jatav (70) succumbed to injuries before reaching the hospital, the officer said.Accused arrested “We have arrested all the four accused and booked them for murder. A special investigation team headed by Additional Superintendent of Police Sanjay Shau will probe the incident,” Deputy Inspector General of Police (Bhopal) Dharmendra Choudhary said. The accused were identified as Teeran Yadav, Prakash Yadav, Sanju Yadav and Balvir Yadav. Jatav protested when the four men tried to encroach on a piece of land leased by him, following which the accused allegedly set him on fire after pouring petrol on him, the DIG said. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan condemned the incident and said the culprits would not be spared.last_img read more

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3 Jharkhand firms under ED scanner

first_imgThe Enforcement Directorate has issued summons to three firms operating in Jharkhand in connection with the transfer of more than ₹9 crore to the accounts of a construction company suspected to be controlled by alleged Naxal leader Binod Kumar Ganju.While one company is mainly into mining and transportation of minerals, the second is in the business of thermal power generation and the third is into construction.₹9.4 crore transferredThe ED probe has revealed that Ganju, against whom the agency is carrying out money laundering investigations, had the construction firm set up to launder the money extorted from businessmen and industrialists. The company’s records showed that ₹9.4 crore was transferred between July and December last year from the three firms in question. The ED has issued summonses to determine the reasons for the transfers. The ED is also examining the construction company’s records to find out if it was indeed into any business activity.As part of its drive against Naxal operatives, the ED has registered a case against Ganju under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.last_img read more

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Illegal electric fence kills forest guard in Assam

first_imgAn illegal electric fence put up by encroachers in the Nameri National Park to keep elephants away has claimed the life of a forest guard in northcentral Assam’s Sonitpur district.The 200 sq km Nameri is a tiger reserve. Park officials said Biren Chandra Deka was electrocuted on Sunday night when he, along with another guard, was proceeding to the Nameri anti-poaching camp from the range office. “The route is through an encroached area in the buffer zone of Nameri National Park near 12th Mile of Bhalukpong (on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border,” said P. Sivakumar, Chief Conservator of Forests of the Northern Assam Circle. Mr. Deka did not notice the fence in the dark. He was killed on the spot.“We lodged an FIR and identified the people who erected the fence,” he said.last_img read more

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Migratory birds at Chilika face avian flu threat

first_imgLakhs of migratory birds which have congregated at the Chilika lake are facing a threat to their lives following the detection of avian influenza virus barely a few kilometres away from the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary.Some crows and chickens were found dead inside poultry farms in Krushnaprasad block last week. Subsequently, samples were sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, for testing.The State government informed that the samples have tested positive for H5N1 virus and a massive culling operation would be undertaken from Friday inside private poultry farms in the affected villages, including Sana Sahi, Maluda and Patharganj.The Puri district administration would cull birds within one km radius of the place where the carcasses were found. Besides, officers of animal husbandry department have been asked to intensify surveillance in 10 km-radius area.As a precautionary measure, the State government has withdrawn eggs from the menu of midday meals being served in Puri district. Transportation of birds from affected areas has also been prohibited. Sale of eggs and chicken has also been banned in the district.“There is threat to migratory birds as avian flu was detected barely 5 km from the sanctuary limit. Bar-headed goose birds are most susceptible to H5N1 virus, which is very contagious,” said Susanta Nanda, Chief Executive of Chilika Development Authority.“No preventive action can be taken as it is difficult to sanitise such a large area of the Nalabana Bird Sanctuary. The Chilika Wildlife Division is prepared to face any emergency situation,” he added.“There is an existing guideline how to dispose of affected birds. The dead birds have to be buried deep beneath the soil. One needs to send whole sample for testing without opening it,” he elaborated.According to Mr. Nanda, more than seven lakh migratory birds have arrived at the Chilika lake this year.last_img read more

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Jean Dreze, activists protest in Bihar

first_imgNoted economist and activist Jean Dreze and Right to Information activist Nikhil Dey, along with thousands of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) activists, on Friday protested against the “harassment and intimidation” of those who have raised questions of corruption related to the MGNREGA scheme in the Muzaffarpur district of north Bihar.The protest march led by Mr. Dreze, Mr. Dey, Rajendran Narayanan and Sanjay Sahni began at the local Jubba Sahni park in Muzaffarpur and ended at the District Collectorate. Later, they submitted a letter to District Magistrate Mohd. Sohail and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sunil Kumar, demanding a fair and transparent probe into the allegations. They also urged officials to ensure that whistleblowers are protected. “We also put our demand for work under the MGNREGA be met within the stipulated 15 days time, and a bi-monthly dialogue with officials be organised to address grievances,” Mr. Narayanan told The Hindu over phone.‘Fabricated cases’Earlier, several allegedly false and fabricated cases against MGNREGA activist Sanjay Sahni and some members of his group, the Samaj Parivartan Shakti Sanghthan (SPSS), were lodged at different police stations in Muzaffarpur, for raising questions over corruption in implementation of the MGNREGA scheme. The activists had submitted a fact-finding report to the Bihar Director General of Police (DGP) in June 2017.“But more false cases were lodged against them. More recently, an FIR was lodged against them on September 6 at the Maniyari police station this year,” said Mr. Narayanan. Another petition titled, ‘Bogus FIR against Sanjay Sahni (MGNREGA watch) in Muzaffarpur’, signed by Mr. Dreze, Mr. Narayanan, Mr. Dey, and Aruna Roy, of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan (MKSS), was submitted to DGP K. S. Dwivedi, demanding “appropriate action” and “protection of Sanjay Sahni from further harassment” on September 12, 2018. “But, nothing has happened so far,” added Mr. Narayanan, an MGNREGA activist and assistant professor at the Azim Premji University.“The implementation of social security schemes in Muzaffarpur has seen a distressing downward trend as nearly ₹636 crore due payments are to be made by the State government towards wage and material costs,” said Mr. Narayanan. In Muzaffarpur district, only 94 households have been able to avail their legal entitlement of a 100 days of work in the year, he added.last_img read more

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Efforts to trace, deport illegal foreigners in Assam have been poor, unsatisfactory: State Chief Secretary tells SC

first_imgAssam Chief Secretary Alok Kumar admitted to the Supreme Court on Tuesday that the “performance” of the State government and its task force to trace illegal foreigners and deport them had been “poor” and “not satisfactory” over the past five years.“Put that on record,” Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, leading a three-judge Bench, told Mr. Kumar.Mr. Kumar’s admission was in response to Chief Justice Gogoi’s queries about how the State had managed to deport only four out of 46,000 illegal foreigners identified in Assam between 2015 and 2018.“Out of 46,000, you could only find 2,000; of this, you could deport only four?” Justice Gogoi asked Mr. Kumar.When Mr. Kumar tried to explain, Justice Gogoi interjected and asked, “Is your government being run in accordance with the Constitution?”“Performance [to trace illegal foreigners in the State] in the last five years has been poor,” Mr. Kumar acknowledged.“Put that on record,” the Chief Justice said.“The performance of the task force to identify them is also not satisfactory,” Mr. Kumar added.“Put that also on record,” Justice Gogoi reacted.The CJI then referred to how 38 lakh of the 40 lakh people excluded from the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam have filed citizenship claims.“If they fail in their claims, they will immediately file complaints with the Foreigners Tribunals in Assam. Do you know how many tribunals would be required to deal with such a large number of complaints?” Justice Gogoi asked.Observing that a 1,000 more tribunals would be required to deal with the tide, Mr. Kumar said the State had already proposed a ₹900-crore budget for setting up these tribunals.The Chief Justice, however, said he was sceptical about how the State would find another 1,000 judges, that too, for a tenure appointment of just three years.“Which good advocate would leave his practice and come for a three-year term as a tribunal judge?” Justice Gogoi wondered.The court further directed the Chief Secretary to file an affidavit before April 25 suggesting measures for release of detenuees languishing in Assam’s detention centres for years.“They cannot be released like how domestic criminals are released,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted.“These (detention centres) are not places anyone would like to be. There are about 915 detainees, how long will they continue to be in custody?” CJI asked.The court however did not find it necessary to send an advocate as amicus curiae to check on the living conditions of the detainees. “We know their living conditions are bad,” Chief Justice Gogoi said.In the previous hearing, Mr. Mehta had briefed the court that the “push-back” policy was dropped in 2013 and nowadays diplomatic channels were employed to determine the nationality of an illegal foreigner and to deport the person. A Ministry of Home Affairs affidavit had said how the Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh visited detention centres to talk to detainees. If their information is proved correct, they are expeditiously issued travel documents.The court is hearing a petition filed by activist Harsh Mander about the dismal living conditions within the four walls of the detention centres in the State. The court noticed that many detainees continue to be lodged inside these centres even after the expiry of their term of im​prisonment for illegally entering the country.last_img read more

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Five labourers killed in Pune saree godown fire

first_imgFive labourers were killed in a fire that broke out early on Thursday in a saree godown at Uruli Devachi, about 20 km from the Pune city, the authorities said.The incident occurred a little after 4 a. m., said fire brigade officials. They ascribed the cause of the blaze to a short circuit.Four of the deceased hailed from Rajasthan, while one was from Maharashtra’s Latur district, said the police.All of them were in their 20s. They have been identified as Rakesh Riyad (22), Rakesh Meghwal, Dharmaram Vadiyasar and Suraj Sharma, all aged 25 and belonging to Rajasthan, and Dheeraj Chandak (aged 23) from Latur.“The labourers died due to asphyxiation within minutes of the blaze. They were sleeping inside the 6,000 sq. ft. godown, which was locked from outside by the owners to preclude any theft. When we retrieved their bodies, some of them had been burnt,” said a police official.Fire brigade officials said five fire tenders were sent to the spot to combat the conflagration.“We received a call at the control room at 4.15 a. m., following which five fire tenders were immediately rushed to the spot. In addition, eight to ten water tankers too were sent,” said a fire brigade official. The intensity of the blaze was such that it could be brought under control only after more than four hours of firefighting. The rescue team had to break into the godown through the rear windows, he said.December 2016 blaze In a similar incident in late December 2016, six sleeping labourers were charred to death at the ‘Bakes n Cakes’ bakery in Pune’s upmarket Kondhwa area.In that case too, the bakery was locked from outside, as a result of which the employees could not rush out when the fire broke out.last_img read more

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A Reprieve From Warming, Thanks to the Pacific

first_imgEven as greenhouse gas emissions ratchet steadily upward, for 15 years global mean temperatures have mysteriously failed to keep pace. They haven’t stopped climbing, but the rate of global warming has slowed. Now, researchers have identified a possible culprit: a cooling trend in tropical Pacific sea-surface temperatures. That trend, the authors note, is just part of a natural cycle, so the reprieve is only temporary.On average, our atmosphere warmed by about 0.17⁰ C per decade from 1970 to 1998, but by about 0.04⁰ C per decade from 1998 to 2012. Some scientists have suggested that the slowdown may be due to a buildup of aerosols in the atmosphere, to volcanic eruptions, or to a pronounced lull in solar activity in 2008 and 2009. The ocean also plays a part; a study published in Nature Climate Change in 2011 noted that the deep ocean stores much of the “missing heat.” Scientists have wondered whether ocean surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific—part of a decade-scale cycle of changes in rainfall, temperature, and atmosphere circulation known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)—also play a significant role.To find out, climatologist Yu Kosaka of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, and climatologist Shang-Ping Xie, also at Scripps, took a closer look at how naturally varying sea-surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific might affect global atmospheric temperatures. They turned to a system of models known as POGA (Pacific Ocean-Global Atmosphere), previously used to study links between Pacific Ocean surface temperatures, ENSO, and global atmosphere.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(*)Kosaka and Xie ran three different sets of experiments to try to tease out this impact. In one, they ran a model that incorporated only atmospheric changes, such as the observed increased greenhouse gas concentrations. In a second, they included the sea-surface temperatures but held greenhouse gas concentrations steady at 1990 levels. And in the third set, known as POGA-H, they included changes in both ocean temperatures and greenhouse gases.When the researchers compared the results of the models with observed temperature trends from 2002 to 2012, POGA-H gave the best match. By comparing the temperatures from that model with temperatures from the model that included only atmospheric changes, the researchers were able to suss out the effect of the ocean temperatures. They found that recent cooling in the tropical Pacific—which covers only about 8.2% of Earth’s surface—was responsible for lowering global mean temperatures by 0.15⁰ C, relative to the 1990s, the team reports online today in Nature. In the Northern Hemisphere that hiatus was most pronounced in winter, when ENSO has the greatest impact on the transfer of heat from the tropics to the poles.“Our study does not tell us when the climate will go out from the hiatus,” Kosaka says, “but now we know that in the timescale of several decades, the climate will continue to warm due to increase in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.” Indeed, noted meteorologist Richard Allan of the University of Reading in the United Kingdom in a statement to the U.K. Science Media Centre, these findings highlight that the braking is “likely to be a temporary respite.”Kosaka and Xie present a convincing case that tropical eastern Pacific cooling is behind the recent hiatus, says climatologist Nat Johnson of the University of Hawaii, Manoa. The study also highlights that focusing on short-term trends of global-mean temperatures can be “a bit misleading”, he says. Not only can natural variability mask the true trend in global temperatures, but regional trends may also differ sharply from global trends. For example, during the hiatus, northwest North America  has experienced less warming, but the southern United States got no such break. So a combination of greenhouse-gas warming and cooling in the eastern Pacific can lead to rapid short-term warming in some regions “even as global mean temperatures temporarily flatten.”last_img read more

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High-Fiber Diet May Ward Off Asthma

first_imgThe fiber consumed in fruits and vegetables seems to help quiet the overzealous immune system activity that leads to such conditions as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and possibly even colon cancer. Now it appears that a diet rich in fiber may also fend off asthma, an inflammatory condition that constricts the airways of the lung, by changing the way some immune cells are produced in the bone marrow.When we eat plentiful fruits and vegetables, the bacteria that occur naturally in our intestines help us digest the fiber. The microbes take “soluble” fiber such as pectin—found in apples, pears, berries, citrus fruits, and onions—and ferment it into specific types of fatty acids that interact with immune cells, helping keep inflammation in check. Whether this anti-inflammatory effect extends beyond the digestive tract is less clear. But the fatty acids in question are able to circulate through the bloodstream, perhaps hooking up with immune cells throughout the body.That could mean that dietary fiber influences other inflammatory diseases, such as asthma. It’s known that asthma has increased in westernized countries since the 1960s, during which time the amount of fiber consumed has also declined. Moreover, asthma is not as common in less well-developed areas, such as Africa, where fruits and vegetables form a bigger part of the diet.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(*)To test a possible link, immunologist Benjamin Marsland of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and colleagues put a group of mice on a low-fiber diet. After 2 weeks, the researchers had the animals sniff an allergen derived from dust mites (a key trigger of human allergy and asthma). These mice showed exaggerated asthmatic responses, including inflammatory compounds in the lungs and the constricted airways that cause the wheezing and shortness of breath so familiar to asthmatic patients.On the other hand, mice that ate a diet rich in pectin for 2 weeks before getting the dust mite extract showed a reduced inflammatory response. Levels of the immune cells known as eosinophils, and of the antibody immunoglobulin E—both usually increased in allergies and asthma—were almost halved, and the mice showed less constriction of their airways.To see if the gut bacteria were responsible for the fiber-mediated benefits, the scientists analyzed the feces of mice on normal, low-, and high-fiber diets. In the animals given pectin, the kinds of bacteria best able to produce the anti-inflammatory fatty acids were about twice as prevalent as those of other bacteria more common in a low-fiber diet. On closer examination, the researchers found proportionally higher amounts of the fatty acids not only in the stool of the pectin-eating mice, but also in their blood.Were the fatty acids in the bloodstream telling the immune system to back off, and was this message enough to call off an asthma attack? To find out, the researchers injected the mice with propionate, one of those fatty acids. After 2 weeks, the rodents again showed reduced inflammatory markers and less constriction of the airways in response to the dust mite treatment, the team reports online today in Nature Medicine. What’s more, key immune cells called dendritic cells behaved differently. Dendritic cells can either scale down immune system activity or ramp up the response, depending on the signals they send to other types of immune cells. In mice on a high-fiber diet, the dendritic cells were less able to turn on the so-called effector cells, which are key players in allergic asthma in mice and humans.In the final phase of the experiment, the researchers found that the mice given propionate were actually producing more of the immature “precursor” cells that develop into the dendritic cells that protected against asthma. “Our study is the first to show that diet can influence the production of immune cells in the bone marrow, which could have major implications given that immune cell precursors leave the bone marrow and spread to tissues throughout the body, including the lung,” Marsland says.According to Gary Huffnagle, an immunologist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, researchers had expected that if compounds produced by bacteria did influence asthma, they would do so in lung tissue. The chain of events connecting dietary changes, altered metabolism of gut bacteria, a shift in immune cell production in the bone marrow, and relief of asthmatic inflammation is an exciting development, he says. “No one has ever put that all together before. The study is a beautiful convergence of observations.”Rigorous scientific work needs to be done, Marsland believes, to test whether dietary supplements including purified propionate, or some similar fatty acid, might be beneficial for people with asthma or for those who don’t have access to fruits and vegetables. In the meantime, he says, a balanced diet rich in fiber is the best way to get the anti-inflammatory benefit.last_img read more

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ScienceShot: Mysterious Underwater Circles Explained

first_imgThe truth behind the mysterious underwater circles that periodically appear off the coast of Denmark has been discovered, and sadly it doesn’t involve aliens, fairies, or the fabled lost city of Atlantis. In 2008, a tourist snapped photos of several large dark rings that appeared near the white cliffs of Denmark’s island of Møn in the Baltic Sea. The circles, several as large as a tennis courts, sparked numerous theories of their origin—some more outlandish than others. In 2011, when the formations reappeared, scientists discovered they were actually round bands of marine eelgrass, similar to rings of mushrooms known as fairy rings. Because eelgrass usually grows as continuous underwater meadows, scientists were still baffled by the rims of lush eelgrass with barren cores. Now, researchers say they at last know the rings’ true cause. The scientists found large amounts of toxic sulfide built up in the muds where the eelgrass grows. The sulfide forms when nutrients from agricultural runoff cause bacteria to flourish. Eelgrass grows radially outward, with older plants in the middle and younger seedlings on the outer rim. Because only the middle ring of mature plants can endure the poisonous sulfide, a near-perfect ring of seagrass forms, the researchers report in the February issue of Marine Biology. While the eelgrass circles make for a remarkable sight and a catalyst for kooky conspiracy theories, the researchers say sulfide from agricultural runoff has become a major problem for seagrass ecosystems worldwide.For more stories on mysterious formations in nature, see our collections page.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

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