Insight Selling: What Sales Winners Do Differently with Mike Schultz – Episode #35

first_imgFill out this form to receive your special bonusesSubscribe toIn the ArenaApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsAndroidby EmailRSSOr subscribe with your favorite app by using the address below Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 32:03 — 29.4MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | RSSYou see those sales champions out there, the ones who make record sales and lead the company in breaking sales records. It’s clear they are doing things that others aren’t doing, but what are those things? Today’s guest, Mike Schultz has released a book that dives into the research behind the successful sales pros and has formulated his observations into some clear key points that he calls “Insight Selling.” Be sure to listen to this episode to get Mike’s insights into insight selling and learn how you can up your game.What #Sales winners do differently: Insight #Selling with Mike SchultzClick To TweetValue propositions are not what you thought.Most salespeople think of their value proposition as the key things their product or service does for their clients or customers. But Mike Schultz says that the things that make up your true value proposition have to do with the true value that you are able to provide to THAT particular customer, and it takes time to get to know what those needs are. Insight selling helps you move into the client’s world and discover the things that make your company of greatest value to them. Find out how to go about the insight selling process, on this episode of In The Arena.The best way to help sales prospects deal with their fear and risk.Many salespeople believe that if they bring up the risk or fear related to a purchase, they will lose the sale. But Mike’s research shows that the people who lose the sale are the ones who do NOT bring up the risks and fears the customer faces. Ignoring the real issues the customer is dealing with leaves doubt in their minds as to whether you’re truly interested in helping them, or just getting the sale. Learn how to use the reality of risk to make even more sales, on this episode of In The Arena.The 4 things to get your #buyer to believe in to minimize their #risk, on this episodeClick To TweetHonesty about the risk of a purchase can result in repeat sales.When a salesperson addresses the risks of the customer’s potential purpose head on, trust is built. And when trust is built, a good feeling results in the soul of the customer about the salesperson and the company they represent. The customer feels cared for, that their problems matter to the salesperson, not just the sale. Those are the customers that come back and express loyalty because they appreciate the concern the salesperson has shown for their situation. Learn how to build that kind of trust, on this episode.The trend toward dismissing the personal relationship in sales is a mistake.The personal relationships that occur during the sales process are STILL the most powerful component that salespeople need to take care of. It’s those relationships that build things like trust, repeat business, loyalty, and the other things that every sales professional wants. But ironically many sales books and philosophies recently have said that relationships are no longer as important. Find out why those mentalities are completely false and how you can recapture the relationships that will grow your sales portfolio.What are other ways we could help our clients be more #successful in their business?Click To TweetOutline of this great episode Anthony’s introduction of Mike Schultz, today’s guest. What are the underlying foundations for sales organizations? What high performers do differently when it comes to value propositions. Internal and external value discoveries that make sales happen. How can salespeople help prospects deal with fear of risk? Why bringing up the fears of prospects is a good idea. Repeat business through honesty about the difficulties in the sale. A great cause the sales of Mike’s books support. What happens when you dismiss the personal relationships in sales. What does it really mean to understand the buyer’s needs? How you can connect with Mike Schultz.Resources & Links mentioned in this episodewww.RainSalesTraining.com1118875354The theme song “Into the Arena” is written and produced by Chris Sernel. You can find it on SoundcloudConnect with AnthonyWebsite: www.TheSalesBlog.comYoutube: www.Youtube.com/IannarinoFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/iannarinoTwitter: https://twitter.com/iannarinoGoogle Plus: https://plus.google.com/+SAnthonyIannarinoLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iannarinoTweets you can use to share this episodePeople don’t buy #ValuePropositions, they buy for their own reasons ~ Mike SchultzClick To TweetHow to get your #sales prospects to give you the things you can do to help themClick To Tweetlast_img read more

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Win More by Serving Your Buyers Where They Are

first_imgIs how you sell in line with serving your prospective clients at each stage of their decision-making process?Do you know where your prospective client is in this process before you begin to sell? This post was originally a Sunday newsletter. If you ever want to know what that newsletter is like, here is a sample.This is a long and critically important piece of content. You may want to spend some time with it this week.Selling well begins with understanding where your prospective client is in their decision-making. By knowing where they are in their process, you can better serve them, and you can also create a preference for you and your solution.A Problem Worth SolvingYou will find your prospective clients in one of three states.The first state in which you might find them is the easiest and least likely. That is where they have a problem worth solving and they are compelled to solve it.The second state you might find your prospective client in is one where they don’t know that they have a problem, and so they aren’t compelled to change. This is more likely where most of your clients are when you find them. You can see that they should be producing better results, but they don’t understand how those results are possible.You might also find a prospective client who knows that they have a problem but are not compelled to solve it.The more your approach serves the prospect where they are, the better your results. If they know they have a problem and are compelled to change, you help them do so. If they don’t know that they could be producing better results and that they should be compelled to change, you teach them what their problems are and how you can help solve them.What about the third group, the group that knows they have a problem and won’t change. Some people actually have to experience the heart attack before they change their diet and start exercising.Is this change worth pursuing?Identification of Root Cause and Compelling VisionSometimes your prospective clients need help understanding the root cause of their problems or challenges. They need help identifying a compelling vision of what their future should look like.Good salespeople help their prospective clients solve the presenting problem or challenge they uncovered during their discovery. Great salespeople help their prospective clients find the root cause of those problems or challenges.Good salespeople do an excellent job selling their solution. Great salespeople build a compelling vision of the future state, recognizing that the solution is valuable only as it relates to bringing that vision to life.We think of discovery as coming to understand our prospective clients’ needs. But it’s more than that. They are also discovering the root cause of their challenge and a vision of a better future. This is what we do when we are at our best.What needs to change?Why should I change now?How will it be better?Exploration of Alternatives and OptionsYou can sell much better when you understand what your prospective client is accomplishing during this stage. A limited view of an exploration of alternatives and options can cause you to sell poorly and lose opportunities.And, in our sometimes limited view, we think that we are competing only with our direct competitors. But our first competitor is the alternative of doing nothing. The status quo tends to have a lot of supporters, and when change is difficult, this option often looks very good.There are other alternatives that include doing something completely different than what you or your competitors may recommend. Some companies may outsource a whole segment of their business rather than bring in a supplier to help them do it themselves, for example.One mistake we sometimes make in this stage is to show our prospective client a single solution rather than giving them choices and collaborating with them on the right ideas.It’s true that in competitive situations we focus on how we compete and win against good companies with good people and good solutions, some better than ours. Good salespeople present solutions. Great salespeople present ideas, options, and a chance to collaborate on the solution and the outcomes.What are my choices?What are the trade-offs?What fits me the best?Evaluation of Risks and Addressing of FearsIf there is a cardinal sin in selling it is believing that your role as a salesperson ends after you present your solution. Your prospective client still needs your help.It’s normal and natural to have concerns before making a purchase. But the bigger the problem is, the more strategic the solution, the more compelling the vision, the more concerns your prospect will have about their risk. Your prospective client fears that the changes can be more difficult than they imagined, that they may fail, that they may not get the outcomes they need, that they may be embarrassed, and that things will be worse having tried and failed. Some or all of these may be true.Good salespeople provide proof as a way to help their prospective clients evaluate the risk and address their fears. Great salespeople provide the counsel of a trusted advisor.Instead of leaving their prospective client alone to think through the risks and fears, great salespeople schedule meetings and spend time helping them to make good decisions, to plan for unforeseen circumstances, and to mitigate any risks. 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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If You Want Opportunities, Go Get Them

first_imgNo one woke up this morning and thought to themselves, “I really need this product or service or outcome. I hope some salesperson calls me today to help me buy what I need to generate the results I am after.” No one thinks to themselves, “Please let someone interrupt me today with the answers to my challenges-especially the systemic challenges that have gone unaddressed for years!”If your dream client was online researching their options, a couple of things would be true. First, you will have already missed your chance to create an opportunity in a way that serves you and your dream client, having been too fearful to call and interrupt them before they reached the point where they decided to take action. Second, if their research was going to cause them to reach out to you, they would have done so.You never show up to your office to find a line of people waiting to buy from you, do you? Your phone isn’t ringing off the hook with dream clients calling to ask you for your help, is it?If you are in sales, your role requires you to achieve outcomes. The first outcome is opportunity creation. This requires that you proactively reach out to your dream clients to ask them for their time. It means you need to be able to create so much value in an initial call that you open up the possibility to explore change. More still, you have to interrupt people in order to help them.The second thing you need to do is to capture those opportunities. You must create so much value through the process that you create a preference to work with you. You cannot do this work if you are not there to do it. If you aren’t engaged with the client around change, then there is nothing for you to capture. This means you must prospect with intention, instead of sitting back passively waiting and reacting.If you want opportunities, you have to go get them. 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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Haryana violence death toll goes up to 36 with two more casualties in Sirsa

first_img Centre takes note of Haryana promise to maintain law and orderA Union Home Ministry release at 3.30 p.m. said the situation in Haryana was assessed at a review meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and was found to be under control at present, though it was being carefully monitored. The Minister took note of the promise of the DGP of Haryana that the law and order situation would be kept in control, the release added.Army in talks with Dera followers to evacuate themThe Army has no plans to enter the Dera as of now, our correspondent Ashok Kumar quotes Hisar Range GoC Rajpal Punia as saying at a press briefing at 2.30 p.m. “They’ve come here to take stock of the situation. Very satisfied with the co-ordination between administration, paramilitary and the Army. Joint operation room has been set up for coordination, satisfied with the way the things have gone so far,” he said.The city is still shut down and the Army is in talks with people inside the Dera headquarters for their peaceful evacuation.  Dera centres to be searchedThe Haryana government has ordered a search of all “congregation centres” of the Dera Sacha Sauda, according to State Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Ram Niwas.”We have ordered a search of all ‘naam charcha ghars’ (congregation centres) of the Dera Sacha Sauda wherever they are located in Haryana,” Mr. Niwas told PTI at 1.30 pm“We have asked security personnel to conduct searches at all Dera centres thoroughly and seize any weapons found,” he added.The Haryana Chief Secretary said Ram Rahim Singh’s ‘Z plus’ security was withdrawn after his conviction.High Court raps State and Central governmentsA special bench of the Haryana and Punjab High Court comes down sharply on the State and Central governments for the violence, reports our correspondent Vikas Vasudeva from Panchkula at 12.30 pm. The court calls their response to the situation a “political surrender” and asks how the governments had not taken notice of the buildup of Dera supporters. Situation tense but under controlThe situation in most parts of Haryana is tense but under control as of 6 am on Saturday, a statement from K. S. Dhatwalia, Director General of the Press Information Bureau, said.“As per Panchkula Control Room, Haryana, the situation in most of the part of Haryana is tensed (sic) but under control. Situation in Panchkula and Sirsa is very tense but under control. There are reports of approx. 31 Nos (29 deaths in Panchkula and 2 deaths in Sirsa) casualities and many injured as of now,” the statement read.No reports of violenceThere have been no reports of violence since Friday night in Sirsa, police told PTI, asserting that the situation was under control in the district.“The law and order situation is under control as there has been no report of violence since last night,” said a senior police officer.Close watch in Delhi | Photo Credit: PTI According to the Army, 24 columns of around 80 soldiers each have been deployed in Haryana. While 12 columns were deployed in Panchkula, eight have been sent to Sirsa. Two columns each have been sent to Mansa and Mankot.Centre says situation under controlThe Central government refuses to blame the Haryana government. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi says it is an ongoing situation. “DGP Haryana has assured that the situation is under control,”said Mr. Mehrishi as he emerged from a meeting at Mr. Rajnath Singh’s residence. The Chaupta area of Sirsa is deserted on August 26, 2017, a day after the violence that claimed at least 30 lives.  | Photo Credit: Sushil kumar Verma Flag marchThe Army carried out a flag march in the area on Friday night to maintain law and order. Life has come to a standstill due to curfew-like restrictions imposed by the authorities to prevent any untoward incident.Two companies of the Army and 10 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed. Police personnel asked the locals to stay indoors.In Panchkula on Friday, CBI judge Jagdeep Singh held Ram Rahim, the 50-year-old flamboyant chief of the Dera, guilty of rape in a case that was registered on the basis of an anonymous written complaint in 2002 that he had sexually exploited two female followers.On the basis of the report, a case was registered against him in December 2002 by the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.The quantum of sentence against Ram Rahim will be pronounced on August 28.(With inputs from PTI, Vijaita Singh, Vikas Vasudeva and Ashok Kumar) Residents gather in front of a government building vandalised by Dera Sacha Sauda followers a day before, in Panchkula on August 26, 2017.  Rajnath reviews security situationUnion Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviews the security situation in north India, particularly Haryana, at noon. Top officials, including Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and Intelligence Bureau chief Rajiv Jain, gave detailed presentations about the situation in Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and chiefs of paramilitary personnel were also present at the meeting.While Panchkula and Sirsa were “very tense”, the situation in the rest of Haryana was “tense but under control”, the Minister is believed to have been told.Sirsa completely shut downLife in Sirsa has come to a standstill as curfew-like restrictions were imposed. Milk supply has been affected in several areas as the agitated followers set a milk plant on fire, located near the sect headquarters. Hotels too are facing the brunt as they are running out of supply of essential items, reports PTI.Schools, colleges, cinema halls, petrol pumps have been shut as a precautionary measure, while people have been asked to stay indoors.Bid to evacuate supportersAt 11.30 am, the Army is near the Dera headquarters in Sirsa, reports our correspondent Ashok Kumar. It is trying to establish contact with the people inside in a bid to evacuate them. The Army has clarified that they have not entered the premises.Followers of the Dera chief have stayed put on the Dera headquarters despite appeals by the Army and the authorities to vacate the premises, reports PTI.The Army, which along with police had put up barricades at entry points of the premises following the Friday violence, is mulling its options, said a senior official, who did not wish to be named.The sprawling Dera campus, which is spread over nearly 1,000 acres, is a township on its own, with schools, sports village, hospital and cinema hall.The Deputy Commissioner of Police in Panchkula, Ashok Kumar, has been suspended.Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has been summoned to Delhi. Locals welcome judgmentWhile hoping for the situation to turn better, the locals welcomed the judgement and blamed the State government for going soft on the Dera followers and not making adequate security arrangements.Read more Sirsa/Panchkula – In the mayhem that followed the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief  Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for rape by a CBI special court on August 25, 36 people were killed and over 250 injured in Panchkula and Sirsa, even as violence rocked other parts of Haryana as the sect supporters went on the rampage. Twenty-eight people were killed in Panchkula, the epicentre of the violence, and four in Sirsa.Court seeks list of Dera Sacha Sauda’s assetsThe Punjab and Haryana High Court, directed the deputy commissioners in Haryana and Punjab to identify the assets and properties of Dera Sacha Sauda and submit a list before it, as an interim measure. The list should include assets, incomes, bank accounts, and properties.However, till then no properties of Dera Sacha Sauda shall be sold, transferred, alienated or encumbered in any manner, the court ordered.Haryana government report on violenceBaldev Raj Mahajan, Haryana’s Advocate General, made the following submission before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the post-verdict violence.32 casualties in Haryana, out of which 28 in Panchkula. Out of 28 dead, only one person identified so far.524 arrests have been made; 24 vehicles seized; five pistols with 79 rounds, two rifles with 52 rounds have been recovered.Iron rods, dandas (sticks), hockey sticks and 10 petrol bombs also recoveredEight FIRs registered in Panchkuala alone.The High Court has asked the State government to submit “reports of interception of the messages given by the Dera Sacha Sauda inciting violence.”Judge to be flown to jailThe CBI judge will be be flown to jail in Rohtak, where Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is lodged, to pronounce quantum of sentence in rape case against the Dera chief.The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Saturday ordered the Haryana administration to make arrangements to take CBI judge Jagdeep Singh and two of his staff members to the district jail by air. The sentencing will be pronounced on August 28.Read more Army personnel conduct a flag march after their deployment near Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa on August 25, 2017, a day after violence triggered by the conviction of sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a rape case. | Photo Credit: AP Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, a file photo  Meanwhile, Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed in 11 of the 13 police districts in Delhi barring north and central Delhi, said Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma.The Delhi Police on Friday night said that they had no plans to seal the city borders, but they are keeping a close watch on the area in the outskirts following sporadic violence in different parts of the Capital after the verdict.“We have no plans to restrict passenger movement, but extra deployments have been made at the border areaa and we will keep an eye on those entering the city to see if they are planning to organise and assemble, which won’t be allowed because of prohibitory orders in place,” said Mr. Verma.Read more | Photo Credit: Akhilesh Kumar last_img read more

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Two Maoists gunned down in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district

first_imgTwo alleged members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) were killed in an encounter with the security forces in Sukma district of south Chhattisgarh on Saturday.“The troops of 201 CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) were carrying out a search and area domination operation under the Chintalnar police station limits of Sukma when an encounter occurred with the Maoists near Bukameta village. After the encounter, the security forces recovered two bodies in Maoist uniform — one male and one female — along with two weapons,” a CRPF official  said.The security forces also recovered some detonators and other material from the encounter site.In a separate incident, four suspected Maoists attacked a police constable in Nakulnar town of Dantewada district in south Chhattisgarh.The constable, Divykant Markam, had been working as a personal security guard of Chhattisgarh Congress leader Avdhesh Gautam. Mr. Markam was attacked when he had gone to the local market along with other security guards of Mr. Gautam. The Maoists also snatched his AK-47 rifle and fled from the spot. The Congress leader was not present in Nakulnar when the incident took place.last_img read more

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Parrikar trolled for ‘girls drinking beer’ comment

first_imgGoa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s comment on Friday about girls drinking beer got Twitterati trolling him throughout the day on Saturday with the hashtag #GirlsWhoDrinkBeer.Many women posted comments and photographs on the social media using the hashtag, making it the top trending issue on Twitter.Appeals were made by some like Nishtha Gautam @TedhiLakeer: “Photos, ladies photos! Scan your phones and share #GirlsWhoDrinkBeer.”CMD of Biocon @kiranshaw tweeted: “I didn’t expect such a gender biased comment from @manoharparrikar. If they are of a drinking age and do it responsibly, what has gender got to do [with it]?”“Cheers all,” tweeted senior journalist Harinder Baweja displaying a mug of beer.Coming as it did within days of Prime Minister Modi himself triggering a Twitterati war after his sarcastic comment over a guffaw in the Rajya Sabha by Ms. Renuka Chaudhary of the Congress during his speech, some were quick to see a trend. Journalist @waglenikhil tweeted, “Women can’t laugh loudly and drink beer in Modi Rashtra!,” responding to a tweet by journalist Nidhi Rajdhan @Nidhi “Imagine a woman who drinks beer AND laughs loudly!”Mr. Parrikar had made the comment at the inaugural of the first edition of the State Youth Parliament organised by the Legislature Secretariat on Friday. “I have begun to fear now, because even girls have started drinking beer,” he had said. “Today’s youngsters are crossing tolerance limits.”Mr. Parrikar went on to say that the State government had launched a crackdown on drugs trade in the State. But he did not believe the narcotics menace had proliferated to a great degree in educational institutions. Mr. Parrikar, an IIT-Bombay alumnus, said use of drugs in educational institutions was not a new phenomenon. “When I went to IIT, there was a small group which was involved in this ganja. So it is not today’s phenomenon. Even back then, there was a small group which was involved in these unwanted activities,” Mr. Parrikar said.last_img read more

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Khadse seeks action over false charges against him

first_imgSenior BJP leader Eknath Khadse, who resigned as the Revenue Minister following allegations of irregularities over a land deal involving his family, on Tuesday said even when such allegations are proved to be false, the damage is done.“When allegations are made, political leaders are made to feel like a criminal. But when the allegations turn out to be false, no action is taken against those levelling them,” Mr. Khadse said in the Assembly. The former revenue minister said though nothing has come out of the inquiries against him, his image has been damaged and he has been labelled a thief. “Will the government take action against those who have levelled these charges?”Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis agreed that such baseless allegations defame political leaders, jeopardising their career. “If some people deliberately make false allegations against elected representatives, a legislature committee should be formed to take a decision on what to do in such cases,” the CM said. Earlier, Vasai MLA Hitendra Thakur gave an explanation after his name was mentioned in a discussion about a controversial audio clip. The clip allegedly has two individuals discuss paying money to stop questions being asked in the House.Mr. Khadse had to resign following allegations of irregularities in buying a plot at Bhosri MIDC near Pune by flouting norms and using his post. The Chief Minister had to appoint a one-member judicial committee to probe the charges, and in the last winter session at Nagpur, he had also announced an inquiry by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). This is not the first time that Mr. Khadse has lost his cool in the House. The BJP leader has never missed a chance to raise the issue of allegations against him as an example of ‘injustice’ meted out to him. “There was an allegation that my PA took a bribe of ₹30 crore,” Mr. Khadse said, referring to another controversy.“But the allegation could not be proved. For the last two years, I have been facing inquiries by the CID, ACB, and the Lokayukta. But nothing adverse has been found against me,” the BJP leader claimed. (With PTI inputs)last_img read more

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Patient’s severed leg put under his head as pillow at govt hospital in UP

first_imgA man’s leg, which got severed in a bus accident, was allegedly used as a pillow to prop him up at the state-run Maharani Laxmibai Medical College here, prompting the Uttar Pradesh government to suspend four staff and order a departmental probe into it.Ghanshyam (28) claimed that the hospital staff put the severed leg under his head as a pillow. He had lost the leg in the accident on Saturday and was brought to the hospital in a critical condition.However, the medical college’s principal, Sadhna Kaushik, said a four-member committee has been formed to find out who put the severed leg under the patient’s head.Taking cognisance of the alleged incident, state medical education minister Ashutosh Tandon, late last night, directed suspension of two doctors and two nurses with immediate effect on the ground of laxity in discharging their duty.As the video of the man lying on a stretcher in the hospital with the severed leg under his head went viral on social and electronic media, Kaushik said strict action would be taken against those found guilty.“He [the patient] was given immediate medical aid. The doctor looked for something to raise his head. The patient’s attendant used the leg for the same. We’ve set up a committee. Strict action will be taken if our staff is found to be at fault,” she said, adding it appears to be a case of mischief.“Head of department of surgery Dr. Rajeev Sinha will head the committee and it will give its report in 48 hours. Action will be based on the findings of the report,” she said.Jhansi is 300 km from state capital Lucknow, and the Maharani Laxmibai Medical College is affiliated to the Bundelkhand University, Jhansi. It serves many districts in Uttar Pradesh’s backward Bundelkhand region.A government spokesperson said, the staff who have been suspended are Dr Alok Agarwal (senior resident – orthopaedics), Dr Mahendra Pal Singh (emergency medical officer), sister in-charge Deepa Narang and Shashi Srivastava, a nurse.Instructions have been issued to initiate departmental action against Dr Praveen Saraogi, an assistant professor in the orthopaedics department, the spokesperson said.According to the medical college authorities, the CCTV footage would be reviewed to find out who was responsible for placing the severed leg as a pillow. Chief medical superintendent Harish Chandra Arya said stringent action will be taken against the guilty after the inquiry.Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said the state government will take action once the full information about the incident is available.Mr. Ghanshyam was a cleaner of the school bus which, on its way to the institute, overturned in Mauranipur, 65 km from Jhansi, as the driver tried to avoid a collision with a tractor-trolley. Nearly a dozen children were injured in the accident, the police said.He lost his leg in the accident and was sent to the medical college after preliminary treatment at a local health centre.The incident at the Maharani Laxmibai Jhansi Medical College is the latest in the list of several controversies to have hit Uttar Pradesh’s healthcare, including the death of several children at a Gorakhpur hospital last year allegedly due to oxygen shortage.last_img read more

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CBI registers FIRs in illegaladmissions case

first_imgThe Central Bureau of Investigation has registered three cases against the then office-bearers of Rajasthan-based private medical institutions, the State’s university of health sciences and unknown Medical Council of India (MCI) officials for alleged illegal admission of students. The FIRs have been filed on the directive of the Rajasthan High Court. The agency has named the then registrar of the Pacific University, principal of the Pacific Institute of Medical Sciences (Udaipur), former principal of the NIMS Medical College and Hospital (Jaipur), coordinator of the Private Colleges Pre Medical Test-2015, registrar of the Rajasthan University of Health Sciences and then chairman of Rajasthan UG (Medical and Dental) Admission Board. The CBI will probe the allegations that the private colleges inducted ineligible candidates in MBBS and BDS courses. Some had scored less than the required marks in the entrance test.last_img read more

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Migrants flee amidst violence in north Gujarat

first_imgMore than 5,000 migrant people working in factories as casual labourers and daily wage earners have fled fearing violent attacks on them amidst unabated incidents of violence targeting migrants in north Gujarat districts. The rape of a toddler by a migrant worker in a village in Sabarkantha district triggered the violent attacks on migrants working in factories and construction sites. Accused arrested The incident occurred on September 28, when a 14-month-old child was allegedly raped by a migrant worker who hailed from Bihar. Subsequently, the accused was arrested by the police, but this sparked off protests and violence against non-Gujarati-speaking migrants. Over the last few days, violence has broken out in six districts, in which many migrant labourers were targeted, the police said. As the migrants started fleeing, police launched a crackdown on miscreants and provided security in industrial units where migrants work. “We have detained 342 people and filed about 42 cases,” Gujarat’s DGP Shivanand Jha told a gathering of journalists, adding that extra police force had been deployed in sensitive areas to maintain the law and order situation.last_img read more

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Parrikar to return to Goa from AIIMS today

first_imgGoa’s ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is presently being treated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, is expected to return to Goa on October 14. “Chief Minister will be flying to Goa in a special flight on Sunday afternoon,” a Goa BJP leader close to Mr. Parrikar told The Hindu late on October 13 on condition of anonymity. Mr. Parrikar was admitted to the AIIMS in September. He has been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, the U.S. and now Delhi for the past seven months. On October 12, Mr. Parrikar held a meeting of some of his Cabinet Ministers and senior BJP State executive committee members at the AIIMS. The Congress in a press conference held in New Delhi on October 13 morning reiterated its demand that Mr. Parrikar must resign on moral grounds and take rest and get well, as the State’s governance was suffering on account of his prolonged illness.last_img read more

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Bengal’s archives trace colonial footprints

first_imgBoundaries a worryThe demarcation of boundaries was as tough for the colonial powers as were military expeditions to these areas, according to Sarmistha De, the archivist who has worked on the compilation of the publication.“Paucity of geographical knowledge of this region and poor communication with local population compelled the rulers to live under perpetual insecurity and nervousness,” Ms. De said, adding that in spite of the survey and boundary-drawing, the region remained out of their grip for almost 50 years from 1826 to 1873. A document quoting Colonel H. Hopkins, the agent to the Governor General of the North East Province, establishes this hardship: “I should myself be disposed to trace the origin of boundary difficulties of Assam to be haphazard, accidental character of our position in, and occupation of the province after we had driven Burmese out of it. For some time, it was doubtful whether we should remain in it or abandon it altogether.” These letters, often written from expedition camps, tea gardens or from remote administrative offices, provide great insight into the military and political conquests of the “areas inhabited by the indigenous tribes”. Of taxes and penalties There are mentions of imposition of fines and the collection of tributes from Garo villages; imposition of house tax on the Jaintia tribes who then rose in revolt, and members of Lushia tribes being upset over the clearing of large tracts of forests for tea plantation; and the serious resistance which the members of the Naga tribe posed to colonial expeditions. One letter by Colonel Hopkins in 1866 expresses the futility of a military posting in the Naga region. According to officials of the State Archives, the volume has been largely prepared with the scanned copies of the original documents; they left out a few that were handwritten and could be illegible for readers. With the vast amount of documents at its disposal, the Department plans to come up with another volume on the subject. In 1833, Purandhar Singh, an aspirant to the throne of the Ahom (Assam) was placed in charge of upper Assam even as lower Assam continued to be under the direct control of the British. In 1836, he sought permission from the colonial government to mint coins in his own name to perform a royal ritual. The permission was given for only a few days “intended merely to commemorate his accession”, but Purandhar Singh defaulted and the British pensioned him off and annexed his territory in 1839.The British also played a paternal role to the royal family of Manipur. After the death of Gambhir Singh, who along with the British had defended Manipur against the Burmese invasion, his infant son Chandrakirti ascended the throne. Captain Gordon, who was appointed the first political agent of Manipur, took the responsibility of the education of the young king. “A Hindoo youth brought up at the Hindoo College at Calcutta will shortly be sent to Muneepoor (Manipur) to act under Lieutenant Gordon as Tutor of the Rajah on a salary of 100 rupees,” records a communication.These little known stories about colonial footprints in northeast India have remained hidden among thousands of pieces of correspondence and records of British India, until the State Archives of West Bengal, which is the inheritor of all these documents, published its first volume titled North East (1830-1873) Select Documents (Part-1) earlier this year.“While such snippets of information might provide fodder for imaginative fiction, the publication of documents of the North East is more likely to serve another purpose. No standard textbook on the history of modern India incorporates any account of British presence in the northeast and its consequences,” said Simonti Sen, Director of the State Archives.Interactions with tribesThe 300-page publication not only deals with boundary formation and survey operations carried out by the colonial rulers but also talks about their ties with the indigenous population. There are records pertaining to colonial interaction with tribes like Abor, Mishmee, Dufflas and others. The attire and weapons used by the different tribes were objects of curiosity. Another interesting story in the published documents is about the abduction of a child of an European planter in February 1872. “The child appears to have been taken great care of by the Howlongs, and is in capital health and spirits. I am informed that the grief she showed at parting with her captors was fully reciprocated by them, and the young and old joined in a sort of a general lament,” a document states, referring to the reunion of the child with her family.A lack of knowledge of the region and poor communication with local population compelled the rulers to live under perpetual insecurity and nervousness: Sarmistha De, ArchivistDocuments compiled in this volume also refer to the murder in 1855 of two French missionaries by members of the Mishmee tribe in what is now Arunachal Pradesh. This was followed by a military expedition, leading to the arrest of the Mishmee chief. Correspondence pertaining to that incident suggest that the French Catholic missionaries did not want the death penalty for the murderer; they wanted him to be detained as a hostage so that it could serve a strong guarantee for the security of the lives of future travellers for missionary work in the region.The archivists who have compiled the publication said that it contains one of the first maps to have ever emerged from the region. This includes a sketch map of the Garo Hills (1872); a survey boundary between the British Territory and Monipur [Manipur] (1872-73); Khasia [Khasi] and Garrow [Garo] Hills Topographical Survey Map (1871), a Sketch of Angamee Naga Hills (1850-51) and a map of Central Assam, comprising zillas of Durrng and Nowgong (year illegible).last_img read more

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BJP set for Rath Yatra in Bengal

first_imgNearly the entire top brass of the BJP, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah, will spend several days in West Bengal as the State BJP is set to launch its month-long grand Rath Yatra, titled the ‘Save Democracy Rally’, from next Sunday. The yatra will “activate a wave of support for the BJP in Bengal” in the run-up to the election, claimed BJP’s State president Dilip Ghosh.A route plan indicates that the rally will be inaugurated by Mr. Shah in Cooch Behar in north Bengal on December 7. Mr. Shah will also inaugurate two more legs of the rally from south Bengal on December 9 and 14, while the Prime Minister is expected to join the rally “as per his convenience,” said Mr. Ghosh. “We sent a list to Delhi suggesting four places [as] the Prime Minister wanted to participate in four places. We are yet to get confirmation about the dates but he will surely join the rally.” “There will be thousands of people in the rally. The Trinamool Congress knows that it will backfire if they try to stop us,” Mr. Ghosh said.‘Banking on Muslims’BJP expects “substantial Muslim participation” in both the rally and the 2019 election. “If the Muslims do not join the BJP in Bengal how would the votes increase?” asked Mr. Ghosh.“We have joined politics to win elections. In a State where Muslims are 30% of the population and in pockets [where] they are as big as 60-90%, we have to include them. We can’t do politics in West Bengal dropping Muslims,” he said. He did not think it would “dilute” the ideology of Hindutva. The three-page yatra leaflet, however, has focused on the demand for launching the NRC in Bengal and passage of the Citizenship Bill, 2016, interpreted as anti-Muslim.Star campaigners such as Yogi Adityanath, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Giriraj Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman, Prakash Javadekar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Uma Bharati and Hema Malini will join the rally at various points. “They will all come but the scheduled dates may change,” Mr. Ghosh said.However, a section of leaders have argued that the party should have focused on issues like “recent liquor poisoning or dengue-driven deaths” rather than organising a State-wide rally. Such observations underscored the simmering factionalism in Bengal BJP, which the State chief did not deny.“Some of the leaders thought, to come to the party office, to have tea and go back is doing politics. We have changed the model and said that they have to go to the field and literally fight…that is how we have grown over the last years [and they] are not liking it.” The police officials said they are worried about the rally as many outfits of the RSS — like Hindu Jargan Manch, ABVP or VHP — have plans to take out separate rallies other than the main ones. Mr. Ghosh expected the rally to remain ‘peaceful.’last_img read more

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Woman corporator assaults lady doctor in Pune

first_imgPUNE A lady corporator from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been booked by the Pune police for allegedly assaulting a female doctor at the city’s Sassoon General Hospital in the wee hours of Wednesday. Arti Kondhare, the BJP corporator has been booked based on a complaint from the doctor at the Bund Garden police station.Ms. Kondhare reportedly stormed into the hospital’s emergency care unit and demanded the doctor on duty that a patient she had brought with her receive priority treatment.Dr. Snehal Khandagale (26), who was on duty, told Ms. Kondhare to first get a CT scan done of the patient, who reportedly suffered a head injury as she turned to attend to other patients.Feeling insulted at this, the BJP leader allegedly threatened to report her to the dean of Sassoon Hospital and other higher authorities.Ms. Kondhare then attempted to record the incident on her mobile phone camera.When Dr. Khandagale attempted to stop this, the corporator slapped her and left in a huff after verbally abusing the doctor.The shaken doctor later lodged a complaint at the Bund Garden police station.“A heated exchange took place between the lady doctor and the corporator after the former told Ms. Kondhare that certain procedures would have to be adhered to before the patient she had brought in could be treated. The complainant has said that the corporator, after assaulting her physically and verbally, threatened to report her to her superiors as she ‘delayed’ in treating her [Ms. Kondhare’s] patient,” said Senior Police Inspector M.M. Mujawar, speaking to The Hindu.Mr. Mujawar informed that a case under sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 351(assault) among other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) had been lodged against the BJP leader and that further investigations were on.last_img read more

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Dates, prayer mats turn pricey in J&K following LoC trade ban

first_imgSuspension of cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade has led to spike in prices of essentials such as dates, prayer mats, miswak (a teeth cleaning twig) and fruits this Ramzan, the month of fasting for Muslims, in Jammu and Kashmir. According to official figures, the Union Home Ministry’s decision to stop the cross-LoC trade on April 18 has resulted in a shortfall of dates worth ₹6.24 crore this year. Against 233 trucks carrying 1.99 lakh kg of dates in 2017-18, this year (2018-19) due to the trade blockade from March, only 173 trucks were allowed to ferry dates worth ₹6 crore, according to the data from the Trade Facilitation Centre in Kashmir. Branded quality dates cost ₹450 to ₹1,500 a kg this year compared to ₹250 to ₹800 last year.Similarly, the official data suggest prayer mats around 6,897 Nag (one Nag contains 150 mats) worth ₹9.32 crore were used in 2017-18 but only 5,883 Nag worth ₹7.45 crore reached Kashmir this year. Miswak too saw a major drop in its import. Only 54 trucks worth ₹3.34 crore made it to the Kashmir market against 66 trucks worth ₹6.61 crore in 2017-18. Fruit arrivals also saw a drop.Samiullah Bhat, vice-president of the Cross-LoC Traders Association, said the trade was a game changer to regulate prices of essentials during Ramzan. The Ministry of Home Affairs suspended the -LoC trade citing “funnelling of illegal weapons, funding to militant outfits, narcotics and fake currency”.last_img read more

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Fire Ant Meets Its Match in Texas

first_imgFor 60 years, imported red fire ants have terrorized people, livestock, and other ants as they spread across the southeastern United States, aggressively stinging those who got in their way and proving nearly invincible. But in Texas, these invasive pests have met their match—there, the tawny crazy ant is taking over. New research has revealed this newcomer’s secret weapon: a built-in antidote to the fire ant’s deadly venom.Like the fire ant, the tawny crazy ant hails from South America. Pest controller Tom Rasberry first spotted it in the United States in Houston, Texas, in 2002, and entomologists soon determined the same species was also invading Florida. They dubbed it “crazy” because of the ant’s erratic movements. Like the fire ant, the tawny crazy ant builds nests with lots of queens, so “it reaches really astronomical densities in the environments it invades,” says Edward LeBrun, an ecologist at the University of Texas, Austin.Unlike the fire ant, however, which stays outdoors, the tawny crazy ant is a “tramp” ant willing to take up residence almost anywhere—under logs, inside walls, and in circuit boxes, where they become so numerous they can short out electronic and electrical equipment. “From a societal perspective, it’s a real nuisance,” LeBrun says. Outdoors, tawny crazy ants decimate the populations of other invertebrates and have even been known to take over fire ant nests.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(*)LeBrun wondered how these upstart invaders were able to beat the fire ants, whose sting emits a toxin more potent than the insecticide DDT. To study how the two species duke it out, he ventured into the field and placed a dead cricket at the boundary between fire ant and tawny crazy ant territories. He noticed that after a fire ant swipes its opponent with its venom-filled stinger, the tawny crazy ant walks off, brings the tip of its abdomen up to its head, and squirts a drop of liquid onto its mouthparts. Then the ant runs its legs across its mouth and uses them to spread the liquid along its body.Suspecting an antidote to the fire ant venom, LeBrun tested the compounds secreted by the two glands at the tip of the tawny crazy ant’s abdomen. He took each compound and wiped it on a similar-sized ant that was subjected to the fire ant’s sting. When it came to neutralizing the fire ant venom, the key compound appeared to be the formic acid in the tawny crazy ant’s own less powerful venom, which it usually sprays out of a pore during battle, LeBrun and his colleagues report online today in Science. Synthetic formic acid also has the same protective effect.Fire ant venom contains not just toxic compounds but also proteins that help get those compounds inside cells. LeBrun suspects the formic acid destroys these proteins, so the toxins can’t reach their targets. A few other animals are known to counter the effects of the toxins of their competitors, predators, or prey, but they do so by preventing the toxin from binding to their target molecules, not by chemically breaking down the poison, says Ashlee Rowe, an evolutionary neurobiologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing who was not involved in the work. “I think this example is unique.”LeBrun suspects that this detoxification behavior evolved in the tawny crazy ant in South America, where the two ants have been in close contact for a long time. Jules Silverman, an entomologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, who was not involved in the work, isn’t so sure. “It’s possible that this same mechanism that these researchers observe in the U.S. occurs in the native range, but maybe not. Maybe it’s new.”One study did show, however, that while the fire ant usually dominates its native landscapes, it can still be laid low by the tawny crazy ant, suggesting that their detoxification defense is used there as well. “It would be fascinating to go back to South America and watch these interactions more carefully,” says Michael Kaspari, an entomologist at the University of Oklahoma, Norman. Meanwhile, it looks like “this 60-year dynasty of the fire ants [in the United States] is coming to a close, and it’s coming to a close in a fairly unusual way.”last_img read more

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First Farmers Were Also Sailors

first_imgWhen hunter-gatherers in the Middle East began to settle down and cultivate crops about 10,500 years ago, they became the world’s first farmers. But two new papers suggest that they were at home on both the land and the sea: Studies of ancient and modern human DNA, including the first reported ancient DNA from early Middle Eastern farmers, indicate that agriculture spread to Europe via a coastal route, probably by farmers using boats to island hop across the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.Archaeologists have long known that farming arose in the Middle East and then spread to Europe, because radiocarbon dating of hundreds of early sites shows a clear time gradient from east to west. But that is only a rough guide, and in recent years geneticists have been filling in the details of that picture by sequencing the DNA of both modern and ancient populations. While the relatively cool conditions at many European sites have helped preserve the DNA of ancient skeletons, researchers had not succeeded in sequencing DNA from the many skeletons found at very early Middle Eastern sites, due to their very hot and dry environments. That has left a big gap in their understanding of the very earliest steps in the spread of farming from the Middle East to Europe, which began at least 8000 years ago.Since the early 1990s, a Spanish team has been excavating at three ancient farming sites in Syria, whose earliest dates range from 10,500 to 10,000 years ago—the very beginning of the agricultural revolution. Last week, in PLOS Genetics, the team reported having partially sequenced DNA from the mitochondria (the energy units of the living cell) of 15 skeletons from two of the sites, Tell Ramad and Tell Halula (see photo above). This is the first report of ancient DNA from early Middle Eastern farmers.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(*)“It is clearly great that [genetic] data has become available” from these ancient groups, says Marie-France Deguilloux, a paleogeneticist from the University of Bordeaux in France, who adds that having such DNA sequences is “crucial” to tracing the spread of farming to Europe.The paper’s lead author, anthropologist Eva Fernández of Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom, attributes the team’s success to two main factors: First, the bodies at the Syrian farming villages were buried in pits under the floors of the houses and then sealed with thick mud, which probably protected the skeletons from the temperature extremes of Syrian summers; and second, the skeletons were put in cold storage immediately after being removed from the pits, which also preserved DNA from further degradation.The mitochondrial DNA sequences from the Syrian skeletons showed what the team calls “strong affinities” with ancient DNA recently recovered from roughly 7000-year-old farming villages in both Germany and Spain, confirming that populations in the Middle East were indeed the source of later farming populations in Europe. Even more important, Fernández and her colleagues say, is what the team found when it compared the Middle Eastern DNA with a database of 60 modern populations in the Middle East and Europe. That analysis revealed very close genetic affinities with people living today in Cyprus and Crete, suggesting that farmers had first migrated from the Middle East to Greece and its islands by boat, before moving on to the mainland. The alternative, more northern route, overland to Europe via modern-day Turkey, was not supported by the data, because modern populations in Turkey did not show close genetic relationships to the Syrian skeletons.Fernández says that this scenario is also bolstered by archaeological findings of the past couple of decades. Very early farming sites have been excavated on Cyprus, but researchers were not sure whether they represented a small population pushed off the mainland—perhaps by population pressure or competition with other farmers—or the beginnings of a major migration across the sea to Europe. “This implies that the first farmers were undoubtedly in possession of advanced enough navigation capabilities,” as well as adequate boats, to make the 60 kilometers sea voyage from the mainland, Fernández says.More evidence that Middle Eastern farmers were also sailors comes from a paper published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A team led by George Stamatoyannopoulos, a geneticist at the University of Washington, Seattle, looked at 75,000 genetic markers across the genomes of 964 people from 32 different modern populations, including Greece and the Greek islands, Turkey, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Using statistical techniques that allow researchers to trace the origins of populations based on the differences between them today, these researchers also found that farming had spread to Europe by a sea route, via Crete, the Greek islands, and the northern Mediterranean coast.The two teams did differ on one question, however: whether Middle Eastern farmers first spread from the Levantine coast (modern day Israel, Lebanon, and Syria), the conclusion of the Fernández group; or from the southern coast of modern-day Turkey, as found by the Proceedings authors. Fernández says that while “both studies support each other” in pointing to a sea route, the differences between them could be due to the genetic profiles of Middle Easterners having changed since ancient times. In her view, the ancient DNA results from Syria would be a more reliable indicator of the genetics of early farmers.However, outside researchers raise caution flags about the new ancient DNA findings. The sample of 15 skeletons from Syria is too small to represent all of the early Middle Eastern farming populations, says Guido Brandt, a paleogeneticist at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in  Germany. “It is questionable whether the genetic diversity of a melting pot like the [Middle] East can be sufficiently explored” by such a small number of partial mitochondrial DNA sequences, he contends.Deguilloux agrees. Despite the strong evidence for a maritime spread of farming, she says, the current data cannot rule out the possibility that the spread of agriculture to Europe had “multiple origins,” including overland routes.last_img read more

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White House orders biosafety review at federal labs

first_imgThe White House is asking federally funded labs studying infectious agents to take “immediate action” to inventory samples and review safety and security procedures in the wake of several high-profile accidents earlier this year.The directive, a memo sent to federal agencies on 19 August but only posted online today, allays fears in the academic community that nongovernment microbiologists might be ordered to stop work for 24 hours and conduct an inventory. Although the memo from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) uses the term “stand-down,” it says explicitly that the review should not disrupt ongoing work. And none of the steps are mandatory for extramural labs with federal funding. The memo is a response to “three recent U.S. biosafety and biosecurity incidents” that have been widely publicized: the mistaken shipment of live anthrax samples by a biodefense lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta; the discovery of 60-year-old vials of smallpox on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in suburban Maryland; and the accidental contamination at CDC of benign poultry flu samples with the deadly H5N1 bird flu. CDC has already announced sweeping changes to improve safety, and the OSTP memo aims to “maximize the positive effect of lessons learned” across the U.S. government.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(*)Within 30 days, all federal labs that ship or work with animal or plant infectious agents or toxins are “urged to perform a ‘Safety Stand-Down.’ ” During that time, leaders will review practices and protocols and develop plans for “sustained inventory monitoring.” But “stand-down” apparently does not mean a work stoppage: The review may take several days so that research and clinical work “are not adversely affected.” Labs should also do an “immediate sweep” specifically for select agents—infectious agents and toxins that could potentially be used to cause harm—and make sure samples are registered or destroyed. (A source close to the matter says officials originally discussed a daylong pause to allow lab staff to focus on safety procedures, but decided the activities could be spread over a month so that research would not have to stop.)Extramural labs that work with infectious agents are merely “encouraged to hold similar events.” In a notice yesterday, NIH suggested that its grantee institutions review their procedures and inventory specimens in September as part of a new “National Biosafety Stewardship Month.”The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is “supportive of efforts to ensure” biosafety, the group said in a comment to ScienceInsider. On 25 August, ASM asked its members to check what’s in their freezers. Thomas Inglesby, a biosecurity expert at the UPMC Center for Health Security in Baltimore, Maryland, calls the OSTP memo “a welcome development … the memo should prompt a lot of activity that can improve safety” at both government and extramural labs.But molecular biologist Richard Ebright of Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, calls the memo “very thin gruel.” A longtime critic of biodefense labs, Ebright notes that most select agent work takes place at academic or other nonfederal labs. He says that the OSTP memo is unlikely to affect their activities because the actions are recommendations, not requirements. The memo also outlines longer term plans to tighten oversight of pathogen research. An existing interagency committee will review gaps in biosecurity and biosafety procedures government-wide and “identify an approach to determine the appropriate number of high-containment U.S. laboratories” working with select agents. Another committee will conduct a broad public review of the impact that select agent regulations have had on research and security.The call for a review of the number of high-containment labs “is a positive sign that OSTP has reversed its previous position and now agrees that a needs-assessment is desirable. But much depends on the details,” Ebright says.The recent lab mishaps have heightened concerns about the risks of so-called gain-of-function experiments that modify dangerous influenza strains to spread more easily in mammals. The memo does not mention any plans to review these controversial experiments. But the source familiar with the OSTP memo says the federal government is looking at ways to address any questions they raise.last_img read more

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Malware and search engines: Lamar Smith goes far afield in his latest hit list of NSF grants

first_imgRepresentative Lamar Smith (R–TX) has drawn a lot of attention for publicly chastising the National Science Foundation (NSF) for funding research on, say, China’s milk supply or ancient Icelandic textiles. But in criticizing government-funded research on seemingly obscure topics, or in far-away countries, Smith was simply joining a long line of politicians who over the years have claimed to be protecting U.S. taxpayers by questioning how research agencies spend money.But last week the chair of the science committee in the U.S. House of Representatives may have crossed into uncharted territory with his new list of 13 “questionable” NSF grants. The letter, sent to NSF on 10 February, means that Smith has now asked NSF for detailed information on more than 60 grants. Most relate to climate, environmental, and social science, but the new request appears to reflect a much more ambiguous filter: For the first time, it contains several awards in the physical sciences, including one that has led to patented software to detect whether a computer has been taken over by malicious software and another that explores a long-standing mathematical puzzle.Scientists are scratching their heads and asking themselves how anyone could consider such research to be an example of wasteful government spending. “I can’t figure out which bucket this fell into: silly, obvious, or low priority,” says one university administrator whose institution is a recipient of one of the grants. “Ah, well, we’ll soldier on.”Detecting malware As chair of the science committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, which oversees NSF and several other federal research agencies, Smith has spent the past 2 years demanding that NSF explain why it funded some research projects. He and NSF have reached a temporary agreement that allows his staff to review all relevant materials in a secure room at NSF’s headquarters in northern Virginia, with one caveat: The names of the reviewers have been deleted. Smith has said the committee is simply doing due diligence on NSF’s system of merit review, which relies on comments from thousands of volunteer experts to help it decide which proposals to fund.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(*)NSF’s selection process is based on the project’s scientific merit and broader impacts, a catchall phrase that can include the potential economic, educational, and societal implications of the research. Smith and other legislators have taken issue with the foundation’s broad definition of that second criterion, saying that it has led to research that they believe is of lesser importance and, thus, not in the national interest.The debate is more than academic. In December, Congress passed a 2015 spending bill that required NSF to apply a small overall budget increase to only four of its six research directorates. The social sciences and the geosciences were excluded, presumably on the grounds that the research they support is less critical to the nation’s well-being.The new list contains some additional examples of research that seems related to Smith’s past concerns, such as studying atmospheric chemistry to improve climate change models. But it also breaks new ground by covering work in seemingly less controversial disciplines, including the growing threat from global cyberattacks. One grant Smith has singled out for scrutiny, for example, went in 2010 to Daphne Yao, an associate professor of computer science at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg.“Say it’s in the middle of the night, and all of a sudden a computer starts sending e-mails and accessing data,” says Yao, describing her work on detecting malware, or malicious software. “If the keyboard has input and the mouse is moving, then it’s probably OK [because the user is operating the computer]. But it also might be because of malicious software.”Detecting human input is only one piece of the puzzle, Yao explains. Her software also tracks what the computer is actually doing. “If the malware is not making any external connections to its bot master or sending out attack messages, it’s not a big problem,” she says. “So we focus on outbound traffic and how to contain it.”Last year was a banner year for Yao: She received a patent for the malware detection system, earned tenure at Virginia Tech, and gave a talk at the prestigious Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference, which attracts thousands of scientists from academia, industry, and government. After her talk, she was mobbed by women who wanted to apply her system to secure their workplaces. “The user action seemed very appealing to females,” she noted. Richard Benson, dean of engineering at Virginia Tech, calls Yao “one of our emerging stars, and one of the best faculty hires we have ever made.”Yao’s work would also appear to be a poster child for what Smith has repeatedly described as the goal of his inquiries: making sure that NSF is funding “the highest priority research that is in the national interest.” But Yao thinks that his metrics may be flawed. “The way the House committee is treating the research,” she says, “it is really hindering national security.”Ironically, Yao also holds a grant from the U.S. Army Research Office to model the behavior of computer programs. “But it’s more traditional,” she explains. “It has nothing to do with user action.” In contrast, she says, “the NSF award gave me a chance to take risks. And cybersecurity requires a lot of out-of-the-box approach. It’s an arms race in which you’re always trying to stay one step ahead of the attackers.”Why was I singled out?The committee’s investigation is also taking a toll on her morale. Yao cites her 5-year, $562,000 award, entitled “CAREER: Human-Behavior Driven Malware Detection,” as an example. “Because it comes from a panel of established experts in the community, receiving the CAREER award really gave me this big boost in confidence,” she says. “It was a career-defining moment. And then to have members of the committee, with no technology background, judge the value of the research based solely on its title, is very disheartening.”Smith declined to answer specific questions about how the latest grants were chosen. Instead, a committee aide provided ScienceInsider with a statement identical to one given last month to another reporter who had asked about a different set of targeted grants.“The committee plans to eventually look at a broad cross-section of grants from all directorates and sub-directorates,” the statement reads in part. “Some grants for which the committee has requested information have previously attracted constituent, Member, or press questions. Others have been selected because the subject matter seems interesting. Still others are selected randomly to assure the cross-section alluded to above. Reviewing the project jackets for some complex projects in the physical sciences will help the committee to understand the potential difficulty of composing non-technical summaries that convey a project’s underlying scientific merit and national interest.”Scientists with a grant on the most recent list are struggling to figure out which category applies to their grant. “Either they made a completely random decision, or some of their staff made a decision based on superficial details which I don’t know (which is more or less random but in a different sense),” says Alexander Teplyaev, a mathematician at the University of Connecticut (UConn), Storrs, who in 2011 received a 3-year, $355,000 award from NSF. “In any case, I don’t see how I could cause this, and see even less what I can do now.”Teplyaev is trying to extend a basic tool of calculus, the partial differential equation, so that it can describe not only phenomena in ordinary continuous space, but also in a space that is a fractal—essentially a lacework filled with an infinity of ever smaller holes. He and colleagues deal mainly with abstract problems: They’ve calculated the behavior of a viscous fluid when the fluid is confined to a spongelike fractal. But the mathematical methods they’re developing could have myriad real-world applications.It may be hard for a layperson to understand his research, Teplyaev admits. But the benefits of investing in mathematical research are obvious, he says: Just think about the economic and societal payoff from the ranking algorithm used by Google in its search engine. “That work was started by Markov more than a century ago,” he says, referring to the Russian mathematician A. A. Markov. “My own research continues the work of Markov, Kolmogorov, and others.”UConn students have also figured out that math isn’t just an ivory-tower exercise. Since 2000, the share of math majors within the college of arts and sciences has doubled, Teplyaev points out, and the number of students taking math courses has grown much faster than overall enrollment. Almost half of his NSF grant goes to support research by undergraduate and graduate students, he adds.Smith has every right to question how NSF is spending tax dollars, Teplyaev says. And although he’s keeping an open mind on the committee’s latest inquiry, Teplyaev says the bottom line is clear: “If they increase funding for research, I’ll be glad. If they cut our funding, they can be criticized based on details of their decision.”last_img read more

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