As both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC) raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in meetings with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, he said on Monday that the Centre wouldl not go against people’s sentiments on Article 35A, which grants special rights to locals on property and jobs.“There are no issues left, which is why such issues are being raised,” he told a conference here.Article 35A has been challenged through three petitions in the Supreme Court, which will again hear them in November.‘Ready for talks with all’“The Centre is ready to hold talks with anyone. I am inviting everyone willing to help us in resolving the problems of Kashmir. We have never opposed talks. All stakeholders are welcome,” he said.The National Investigation Agency, which has detained a number of separatist leaders since June, “was acting according to the law of the land.” “This should not deter those who want to talk to the government.” Referring to a “permanent solution of Kashmir,” he said five Cs — compassion, communication, coexistence, confidence-building, and consistency — would be its basis.The situation in Kashmir was “improving but not completely normal. What I have seen during the last two, three days has convinced me that the trees of peace have not dried up. I can see green buds of peace on these trees…If I have to come 50 times to bring peace to J&K, I will do that.”Mr. Singh, who met around 55 delegations, asked the security agencies to ensure “no excesses are committed during operations” and “not to treat minors as criminals.”“Minors must be dealt with under the juvenile justice system and not be put in jails. They must be properly counselled,” he said.In Jammu, the Union Minister visited the BSF campus at Naushera and took stock of operational preparedness on the Line of Control and International Boundary.Mr. Singh said fewer people were injured in crowd control this year.“We introduced the PAVA gun to replace the pellet gun, but I was told it is not very effective,” he said. The Minister asked Pakistan “to stop infiltrating terrorists into J&K”.He appealed to tourists and tourist organisations to visit Kashmir. “The people of Kashmir are ready to welcome you. They want to turn it into heaven again,” he said.Former Chief Minister and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah welcomed Mr. Singh’s stand on Article 35A, while Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani called for a “final settlement.”“This is a very important statement from the Union Home Minister. His assurance will go a long way towards silencing the noises against 35A. The Union government must now file a counter-affidavit in the Supreme Court to defend 35A. That is the way to carry this assurance forward,” Mr. Abdullah said.Mr. Geelani called for “a peaceful resolution to Kashmir through the Indian Independence Act of 1947.”
Panaji: As many as 85.77 lakh self-help groups across the country with aggregate savings of ₹16,114 crore have been linked as part of the bank linkage programme of the National Bank for Agricultural And Rural Development (NABARD). S.T. Kannan, General Manager of the Reserve Bank of India’s Goa regional office, said at an event on Thursday that over 48 lakh SHGs have aggregate credit outstanding of ₹61,581 crore with various banks. Although poverty levels in Goa are low, it has over 7,400 SHGs with aggregate loan outstanding of ₹29.80 crore, he said.
The CBI has handed over DVDs, instead of hard copies, of its chargesheet to 491 accused in the case related to the Madhya Pradesh Pre-Medical Test (PMT) 2013, a part of the Vyapam admission and recruitment scam.“We have handed over chargesheets in DVDs, each containing around 39,500 pages, including enclosures, to the accused or their advocates in the special CBI court,” special prosecutor Satish Dinkar said on Thursday. The CBI filed the chargesheet in the court on October 31, 2017, but the judge asked the agency to provide a copy to every accused.39,500 pagesIf hard copies were to be distributed to the accused, it would have needed a truck for delivery, Mr. Dinkar said.The Vyapam scam came to light in 2011. It is alleged that touts, in connivance with officials, helped students crack the professional course entrance tests using experts who wrote the tests instead of the students.
With the killing of two criminals in police encounters this year, the total number of such deaths under the Yogi Adityanath government rose to 30 since last March. While a “wanted criminal” carrying a bounty of Rs. 1 lakh was killed in Shamli on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday, another alleged criminal was shot dead by police 24 hours later in Bulandshahr, officials said.A police constable, Ankit Tomar, also succumbed to bullet injuries a day after he was shot at during the encounter in Shamli. Satyaveer alias Satthe Ahediya, who was carrying a bounty of Rs. 50,000, was allegedly killed in an encounter with police in Bulandshahr’s Kotwalinagar area early on Thursday.A resident of Aligarh, he along with his gang members were wanted in nine criminal cases including dacoity and attempt to murder in his home district as well as in Bulandshahr. According to UP police spokesperson Rahul Srivastava, Satyaveer sustained bullet injuries in exchange of fire with police and was immediately shifted to a hospital where he was declared dead.According to police, the criminals first shot at the police team but three senior officers including Meerut Range Inspector General Ram Kumar were saved by their bullet-proof vests. Police said Satyaveer was shot by the police team who fired in “self-defence,” while his aide, who was unidentified, made use of the fog and darkness to escape.A 9mm pistol, one 315 bore country-made pistol and a motorcycle were recovered from Satyaveer. The incident came barely 24 hours after another wanted criminal Sabir, with a massive bounty of Rs 1 lakh on him, was killed in an encounter in Kairana, Shamli. Working on a tip-off that the alleged criminal was hiding in gram Jandedi in Kairana, police raided the place on the intervening night of January 2 and 3. When he found himself surrounded, Sabir opened fire on the police team, in which station in-charge Bhagwant Singh was shot in the foot while constable Tomar was severely injured, a police spokesperson said. Police said Sabir, an alleged member of the Mukim Kala gang, was injured in retaliatory firing and died later in hospital. His aide, however, managed to escape, they added. Tomar, a native of Baghpat, died in a hospital in Delhi late last night after being declared brain dead a few hours earlier. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath while expressing grief announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the kin of Tomar. “We could not save him inspite of best treatment being provided to him at Fortis Noida,” said Mr. Srivastava. A carbine gun, a 9mm pistol, one 30 bore pistol and more than 60 live cartridges were recovered from Sabir, police said. Sabir faced 20 criminal cases for murder, loot and dacoity in police stations in Shamli, Saharanpur, Barabanki (all in UP) and Haryana. On May 5, Sabir had escaped from police custody from a Dhaba near a toll plaza in Barabanki district while he was being taken to Haryana for a court hearing from Siddharthnagar jail. On December 29, police shot dead Sonu, who carried a bounty of Rs 50,000, in Bulandshahr, while a day later, Shamim, who had a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his name, was killed in an alleged encounter in Muzaffarnagar’s Janseth area.Another alleged criminal Haseen alias Mota was killed in Meerut on Saturday night. Twenty-eight persons were killed and close to 200 were injured in police encounters in UP in 2016 since the BJP came to power in the state, with a major chunk taking place in Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Noida, Saharanpur, Azamgarh, Aligarh and Bulandshahr districts.More than 200 policemen were also injured during these encounters last year while three died in the line of duty. Of the total 30 encounters, 21 have been recorded in Meerut zone alone, with three each in Varanasi and Agra zones. The remaining three were in Allahabad, Kanpur and Lucknow zones.Criminal, two cops injured in Sambhal encounterIn another alleged encounter in UP, police on Thursday evening shot a wanted criminal named Faizal in Baniyather area of Sambhal.Apart from him, a sub-inspector and a constable have also received injuries in the incident, a police spokesperson said.All three are receiving treatment in a hospital in Chandausi.Faizal has a bounty of Rs. 15,000 on him and was wanted in 10 criminal cases, including dacoity, loot and gangster activities. A 315 bore country pistol was recovered from him, even as two of his aides managed to escape.Barabanki encounterIn another late night alleged encounter, police in Barabanki shot at a group of wanted criminals, in which one accused as well as three constables were injured. The injured accused was identified as Rais, a native of Azamgarh. He carries a bounty of Rs. 25,000 and has more than a dozen cases of loot, dacoity and murder against him. “Rais sustained bullet injuries. Injured criminal and constables have been sent to hospital for medical aid,” said Rahul Srivastava, UP police spokesperson. A .32 bore pistol and motorbike were recovered from the accused. According to police, two suspects were spotted on motorbikes near a checking point under Jaitpur police station. “When they were asked to stop by the police party they opened fire on the party, in self-defense police also fired,” said Mr. Srivastava.
Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) chief Ajit Jogi called on Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati in New Delhi on Wednesday fuelling speculation over possible political realignments. “The meeting lasted about one-and-half hours during which both the leaders discussed many issues concerning the State and the country,” Mr. Jogi’s son and Chhattisgarh MLA Amit Jogi informed. Assembly elections are due in Chhattisgarh in October-November this year.State BJP president Dharamlal Koushik termed the meeting “inconsequential.” “Both are jobless now. Even if they decide to form an alliance, there won’t be any danger to the BJP,” he said.
An Uttarakhand Roadways bus rolled down a 250-metre deep gorge around 15 kilometre from Chamba in Tehri district early on Thursday killing 14 persons, including two women, and injuring seventeen others, officials said.The ill-fated bus was on its way to Haridwar from Bhatwari when it met with the accident, the second such tragedy in the hill state this month.The accident occurred near Kirgani on the Chamba-Uttarkashi highway at around 8.20 am today when the bus plunged into a 250-metre deep gorge, killing 13 persons on the spot and and leaving 18 injured, Tehri District Magistrate Sonika said.One of the injured died in hospital during treatment, she added.There were 31 passengers, mostly locals, in the bus when the accident took place, she said.Seventeen of the injured were under treatment at different hospitals, officials said.Eleven people who sustained serious injuries, were flown in choppers to AIIMS, Rishikesh, while the rest were under treatment at district hospital in Baurari and Masihi hospital, Chamba, they said.Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat expressed deep grief at the loss of lives in the accident and announced a compensation of ₹2 lakh for the next of kin of those killed and ₹50,000 for those injured.Police and SDRF teams along with senior officials were rushed to the spot to conduct rescue operations.
The Odisha government on Sunday handed over an ex-gratia payment of ₹5 lakh to the family members of the Class X student of Malkangiri district who committed suicide on August 2 following sexual exploitation by the headmaster of her school.The victim was student of a residential school for SC & ST girls at Sikhpalli. Headmaster Biswajit Sarkar was arrested by the police on Saturday. Through a handwritten suicide note, the victim had alleged that the headmaster had been sexually exploiting her. Following the arrest of the headmaster, another girl of the school also alleged that she had also faced sexual harassment at hands of the headmaster.Meanwhile, Malkangiri district administration has put four staff of the school under suspension. They included the headmaster, in charge headmaster Biswanath Lenka, hostel superintendent Renubala Mallick and junior matron Sephali Kirtania. Watchman of the school Pradeep Suna was removed from his job.
The credit goes to the Shia community of Kashmir for keeping alive papier mache art — colourful, exquisite, highly decorative and delicate — in the Valley since the 14th century. “This wealth has been handed down to me by my father who inherited it from my grandfather and so on. The colours and the shapes we carve from paper is what adds meaning to our lives,” says Zahid Rizvi, 40, a papier-mache artisan at Zadibal in Srinagar.Over the centuries, the Shia community, now forming about 14% of the Valley’s population, has been perfecting the art. Historians believe that papier mache became popular as an art in the 15th century. Legend has it that a Kashmiri prince was sent to a jail in Samarkand in Central Asia, where he acquired the fine art, which is often equated with patience and endurance. The Muslim rulers of India, particularly Mughal kings, were fond of this art and were its patrons.The process begins with soaking waste paper in water for days till it disintegrates and then mixing it with cloth, paddy straw and copper sulphate to form pulp. The pulp is put into moulds and given shape and form. Once it dries, the shape is cut away from the mould into two halves and then glued together. It is polished smooth with stone or baked clay and pasted with layers of tissue paper. Now, it is completely the baby of an artisan. After applying a base colour, the artisan draws a design. The object is then sandpapered or burnished and is finally painted with several coats of lacquer. The art got a major boost from the government in 2016, when the Nawakadal girls’ college in Srinagar introduced it in the craft curriculum. Saleem Beg, who heads the Kashmir chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, believes the future of papier mache lies in elaborate murals.(Text by Peerzada Ashiq and photos by Nissar Ahmad)
Ebola, HIV, influenza, MERS. Plenty of animal viruses cause devastating diseases in humans. But nature might have many more in store. In a new study, U.S. researchers estimate that there are more than 320,000 unknown viruses lurking in mammals alone. One of them could touch off the next pandemic if it jumps to humans, says Nathan Wolfe, a virologist who was not involved in the work and founder and CEO of Metabiota, a company that contracts with governments and health agencies to track disease outbreaks. “This paper gives an idea of what’s actually out there.”Scientists estimate that almost two-thirds of emerging infectious diseases originate in wild animals, such as birds, bats, primates, and rodents. Bats in particular have been in the spotlight recently as they are suspected to be the reservoir for many deadly viruses such as Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Nipah. Some scientists argue that bats’ immune systems may make them more likely to pass pathogens to humans.To estimate how many viruses might be lurking in in wild mammals, researchers from Columbia University and EcoHealth Alliance, a conservation organization in New York City, studied flying foxes in Bangladesh. From 2006 to 2010, they caught hundreds of the big bats and collected urine and fecal samples as well as throat swabs before releasing them. They then fished out all the viral sequences they could find belonging to nine virus families, including the coronaviruses, herpesviruses, and influenza A viruses. Each family was chosen because it is already known to include human pathogens and because good tests are available for finding new viruses in the family, says Simon Anthony, a virologist at Columbia University and one of the authors on the paper. They found 55 viruses in all, 50 of which had never been seen before, including 10 in the same family as the Nipah virus that has caused numerous outbreaks in South Asia since surfacing in 1999.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 estimate how many viruses the sampling might have missed, the team turned to statistical methods developed by ecologists to estimate tiger populations, which relate the effort put into a search to the number of animals likely to be overlooked. In flying foxes, three viruses were likely to have been missed, putting the total number of viruses harbored in these bats at 58. If the other 5486 known mammalian species each carry a similar number of viruses, and assuming each species’ set of viruses is unique, that would mean about 320,000 viruses altogether, the scientists report in mBio. “That is actually far fewer than I thought it was going to be,” says Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance, one of the authors of the paper. “To discover all these viruses is a big task, but something we can probably achieve in the next 20 years.”Wolfe cautions that there are likely to be many more viruses than the paper estimates. “There are certainly more viral families that will be interesting to look at and also still unknown viral families,” he says. But he praises the paper for using models taken from ecology, “because fundamentally these are ecological problems.” “I think it represents a new period we are entering in terms of these viral discovery studies,” he says. Identifying all the viruses in mammals would be a huge boon to scientists and epidemiologists, Daszak says. If an animal virus begins spreading to humans, they could use the new sequences to quickly pinpoint its source. In the lab, they could study the newfound viruses to see which are most likely to jump to humans and then prepare vaccines or drugs, he says. “It would be the beginning of the end for pandemics.”Fabian Leendertz, an epidemiologist at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, is more skeptical. He calls the findings “very exciting” but says that even if all the viruses were found, most of the work would still remain to be done. “Just describing a number of sequences alone does not tell us whether one among them will be the next killer,” he says.A complete viral inventory would also carry a hefty price tag: about $6.3 billion, the authors estimate. “But you have to put that into perspective,” says Daszak, pointing to the 2003 SARS outbreak. That pandemic alone is estimated to have cost between $15 billion and $50 billion in economic losses.
A new report from the Royal Society on improving U.K. science and mathematics education contains a lengthy wish list: Upper-level students should take a lot more science and math; more college graduates with science degrees should go into teaching; current teachers should continually upgrade their skills and have a larger voice in the educational process; and the government should de-emphasize the high-stakes tests used to measure student achievement. But the authors of the report, released today, also realize that wishes don’t always come true.“There will be pushback from the politicians because we are asking them to relinquish some of their meddling powers,” says Julia Higgins, a professor emeritus of chemical engineering at Imperial College London and former foreign secretary of the society. “Education is a political football. So we’re saying we need a Manhattan Project, a man on the moon, or something that will get the political parties to stop batting the thing back and forth. And they won’t like that. But we are doing our best to talk to them, and we have hopes.”The report, called a “vision” for 2030, includes a timetable with short- and long-range goals. It comes out just as England is implementing a law that extends compulsory education from age 16 to 18. The change creates an opportunity to raise what the report labels the “low levels of post-16 participation in science and mathematics” by encouraging students to continue their studies even if they are not planning to major in those subjects at college or attend university at all. Right now, post-16 students take only three or four courses, known as A-levels, so a high proportion will study no science or mathematics. Only 30% of all students take one or more A-levels in those subjects.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(*)More students enrolled in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses will require more science and math teachers, of course. And the United Kingdom already faces a shortage of them, especially in physics. The short-term answer is to shift teachers from related subjects into STEM courses. But that step risks degrading the quality of instruction. That’s why high-quality, continuing professional development is so important, Higgins says.Unfortunately, the current version of professional development is universally seen as insufficient for raising teacher skills to the desired level. “It’s patchy,” Higgins admits. “A lot of the training has more to do with classroom management than with how to introduce and transmit new science. So we’re also calling for much more, and higher quality, subject-specific training.”The United Kingdom’s heavy reliance on external, high-stakes tests is another big obstacle to improved STEM instruction, experts say. “This government simply doesn’t trust teachers to assess students properly,” asserts Tina Isaacs, a program leader at the Institute of Education in London, who was not involved in the report. “What the Royal Society is proposing is antithetical to them.”The current system wastes valuable class time, Higgins says, by forcing teachers to spend months preparing students for a test. Using a single test score as the sole measure of achievement instead of a student’s yearlong performance in class leads to what Isaacs and others have labeled “perverse incentives,” including disregarding whether students can actually apply what they have learned.The remedy, according to the report, would be to give teachers more responsibility to assess student learning. That change, Higgins says, would also make the profession more attractive to high-quality students and improve retention rates once they enter the classroom.The report also backs replacing the A-level system with a wider-ranging “baccalaureate-style” approach. The idea is to broaden the pool of upper-level students taking STEM courses beyond those who are planning STEM-related careers. A 2011 Royal Society report made a similar suggestion and generated much discussion, but no action.Such a change addresses a problem facing all industrialized nations, says Martin Storksdieck, who stepped down this month as director of the U.S. National Academies’ Board on Science Education to lead the Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning at Oregon State University, Corvallis. “The A-level system leaves out a lot of people,” he says, not just students pursuing non-STEM degrees but also the larger public.Jonathan Osborne, a professor at Stanford University in California and a former head of the education department at King’s College London, gives the report high marks for arguing that most students need more math and science to function in today’s world. But he’s disappointed that the authors rely on what he calls a questionable economic argument—in this case, that the United Kingdom needs 1 million additional STEM-trained professionals by 2020—and ignore another important reason.“I understand why all these reports push that button, because it is what policymakers want to hear,” Osborne says about the labor force rationale. “But it downplays the cultural value of learning about science,” he says. “It also sends a strong message that you only study science and math if you want a STEM job—and a lot of kids aren’t interested in becoming a scientist.”Storksdieck thinks the authors were wise to include a timeline with important milestones along the journey. “In the first 5 years they are really taking baby steps,” he says. “That way, nobody feels threatened. So the good news is that you have a lot of time to get things done.” Then he adds a caveat. “The bad news is that people may ignore it, because the changes needed seem so far away.”Higgins, who will be leading the society’s effort to implement the report’s recommendations, is counting on what she calls “the growing pressure and desire from a lot of directions” to instill in policymakers a sense of urgency. But she says the authors made a conscious decision to avoid putting a price tag on what needs to be done.“This report lays out the key principles that should be followed in improving science and math education,” she says. “But until you have the operational details, it’s very hard to know the real cost. We thought it would be misleading and distracting to politicians to have cost figures floating around.”
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Lockheed Martin sees a potential export market of more than $20 billion for its F-16 fighter aircraft from an assembly line in India it has offered to set up in order to win a large Indian military order, a top executive said. Read it at Economic Times Related Items
A gas station and a convenience store owned by an Indian American Sikh man at Kentucky were vandalized recently by a miscreant wearing a ski mask. The culprit spray-painted “white power,” swastikas and other racial slurs as well as crude markings that said “leave.”“I’m just really shocked that somebody is doing that,” Gary Singh told WSAZ, about the incident that took place around 11.30 pm on Jan. 31. The report said that he got a call from an employee called Alley on morning of Feb.1. The employee told the Daily Independent that their regular customers won’t vandalize the place. “I’ve been here a year and I’ve never seen anything like this,” she told the Daily Independent.This is not the first time that the store was vandalized. In 2014, former employees were caught by Singh vandalizing and stealing items, according to Daily Independent.“I was really nervous about that. It happened to me for the first time in this store in four years time. I’ve never done wrong to the community here. I try to help the community all the time,” Singh told WSAZ.The customers said that they were disturbed by the messages that were spray-painted.“It’s sad that in America in this day and age we’re still doing this. It should not be happening,” Barb Glockner, a frequent customer told WSAZ. “He’s a wonderful member of our community, and no one deserves this. Especially not Gary,” Glockner added.“I think if they put themselves in Gary’s place, would you want somebody doing that to you? We live by the golden rule. We do unto others and evidently they do not live by that rule,” Glockner told WSAZ.Singh said that he could forgive the vandals, and hopes that it doesn’t happen again. “Please don’t do it to anybody else. Don’t hurt anybody’s feelings. Let them work and enjoy their life,” Singh told WSAZ.No suspect has been identified yet. Kentucky State Police is investigating the case as criminal mischief but are not pursuing a hate crime charge.A number of high profile hate crimes against Indians took place in 2017, including the death of an Indian engineer, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, in Kansas. According to FBI data, there was a 4.6 per cent increase in hate crimes against all communities in 2016. Related ItemsIndian AmericanKentuckyracism
With supplementary demands worth ₹24,777 crore in the last session of the State legislature before the Assembly polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government has presented total supplementary demands worth ₹2,05,475 crore in its five-year term.The percentage of cumulative amount of supplementary demands to the total budget stands at 12.95%, the highest ever. It is also well above the suggested range of 5% to 10% suggested by the guidelines of former bureaucrat Madhav Godbole. A supplementary demand is an additional grant to meet government expenditure, outside the annual budget. The supplementary demands presented by the government in the monsoon session of the legislature is focused mainly on the Cooperation, Marketing and Textile Department with allotment worth ₹3,808.71 crore, followed by ₹3,651.13 crore for Industries, Power and Labour department. With respect to grants proposed for Municipal Councils and Zilla Parishads, the Urban Development Department and Rural Development Department were allotted funds worth ₹2,205.57 crore and ₹2,340.42 crore respectively.Among the issue-wise allotments, ₹2,500 crore were allotted for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Scheme (2017), the farm loan waiver scheme. With focus on farmers, ₹387.3 crore provision is made as an assistance to onion producing farmers while ₹320.07 crore is the provision for the ancillary expenditure for purchase of farmers’ produce through Maharashtra State Cooperative Marketing Federation Ltd.According to Samarthan, an organisation which specialises in analysis of the State budget and provision of supplementary demands, neither the present government nor the previous one has managed to keep the percentage of supplementary demands within the limit of 5% to 10%.
: Ahead of Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra later this year, election authorities in the States would revise the electoral rolls from July 15 in order to give those eligible another opportunity to enrol.The Election Commission of India on Thursday wrote to the Chief Electoral Officers of the States on the schedule of the second special summary revision, saying the draft rolls would be published on July 15 and claims and objections could be filed from that date till July 30. After two special camps over the next two weekends (July 20-21 and July 27-28), the claims would be disposed off by August 13, ahead of publication of the final rolls on August 18.
After Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s promise to file an appeal against the acquittals in the Pehlu Khan lynching case, civil rights groups in Rajasthan have urged the State government to register cases of criminal negligence against the police officials, including the Investigating Officers, whose “faulty investigation” had led to the court acquitting the six accused for lack of evidence.People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Rajasthan president Kavita Srivastava said the Home Department, besides filing an appeal in the High Court, should ensure a court-monitored reinvestigation and retrial in the case. “This judgement will only end up emboldening those who take law in their hands, like the so-called cow vigilantes, who will now carry out targeted attacks on Muslims with impunity,” said Prem Krishna Sharma, a High Court lawyer and PUCL member.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday lashed out at the Narendra Modi government at the Centre for creating an atmosphere of “hatred and suspicion” and said the Congress-led governments had made an immense contribution in the past for infrastructure development, giving the country the pride of place in the 21st century.Addressing the State-level Independence Day function after hoisting the national flag at Sawai Man Singh Stadium here, Mr. Gehlot said though the national economy was in a bad shape because of the Modi government’s faulty policies, an impression was being created that every development in the country had happened only after 2014 when Prime Minister Mr. Modi was elected to power.“The atmosphere of peace, brotherhood and social harmony was built up through democratic traditions laid down by visionary leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. In contrast, the country is today facing serious challenges of terrorism, communalism, separatism and Naxalism,” Mr. Gehlot said.He said all the State governments were worried about the declining economy which would affect the development projects and lead to deterioration in the quality of life of their citizens.‘RTI Act diluted’ It was the UPA government which had given the right to food security, education, information and employment to the people by enacting legislations, while the Modi government had diluted the RTI Act, he said.Mr. Gehlot also cited the example of Pakistan, where democracy had been murdered several times by the imposition of martial law. He said democracy in India had taken strong roots after Independence because of the selfless work of leaders like Nehru, B.R. Ambedkar, Vallabhbhai Patel and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.