ScienceShot: Largest Genome Ever Sequenced

first_imgA loblolly pine tree on the 17th hole of the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia blocked so many of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s shots that in 1956 he tried to get the tree chopped down. Now, loblolly pines (Pinus taeda) are making a different kind of history: Their genome is the largest of any organism yet sequenced. The tree’s extensive use for research and lumber in the southeastern United States made it an early candidate for genetic sequencing. However, its large genome was too cumbersome for conventional whole-genome shotgun sequencing, which sequences short fragments of the genome and then stitches the results together. In a new study, reported today in Genome Biology and Genetics, researchers bolstered the shotgun approach by preprocessing the individual fragments using genetic cloning, allowing them to more easily assemble the complete genome. Using a single pollinated pine seed, the team assembled the largest genome ever sequenced: 22.18 billion base pairs, more than seven times longer than the human genome. The team found that 82% of the genome was made up of duplicated segments, compared with just 25% in humans. The researchers also identified genes responsible for important traits such as disease resistance, wood formation, and stress response; they did not, however, find any genes for ruining presidential golf games.See more ScienceShots.*Update, 21 March, 11:30 a.m.: This item has been updated. We have added a link to the journal Genetics.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

Cheaper Fuel From Self-Destructing Trees

first_imgWood is great for building and heating homes, but it’s the bane of biofuels. When converting plants to fuels, engineers must remove a key component of wood, known as lignin, to get to the sugary cellulose that’s fermented into alcohols and other energy-rich compounds. That’s costly because it normally requires high temperatures and caustic chemicals. Now, researchers in the United States and Canada have modified the lignin in poplar trees to self-destruct under mild processing conditions—a trick that could slash the cost of turning plant biomass into biofuels.“This work has the potential to fundamentally change the economics of lignin degradation,” says Ronald Sederoff, a plant geneticist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. If researchers can add the same self-destructing lignin to agricultural plants such as corn and energy crops such as switchgrass—an effort already under way—that could open the spigots for cellulosic ethanol, made from plant waste rather than food. The U.S. Department of Energy has backed a number of cellulosic ethanol producers, and in 2007 it forecast that by this year they would be making more than 6 billion liters of cellulosic ethanol. Yet this year’s actual production is expected to be just 1% of that volume.The problem is the lignin. More than two-thirds of plant matter consists of cellulose and hemicellulose fibers, both made up of long chains of glucose and other sugar molecules. Much of the rest is the lignin that wedges between the other fibers and glues them together, providing rigidity and preventing pathogens from lunching on the sugary materials. To remove that glue, engineers typically heat biomass to 170°C for several hours in the presence of sodium hydroxide or other alkaline compounds that break lignin apart. This “pretreatment” accounts for between one-quarter and one-third of the cost of making cellulosic ethanol, says Bruce Dale, a chemical engineer and biomass pretreatment expert at Michigan State University in East Lansing.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(*)Plant biologists have tried for decades to work around their troubles with lignin. One early approach decreased the expression of plants’ lignin-producing genes. But that backfired, as the plants either wound up with stunted growth or keeled over when hit with a gust of wind. “Plants really need lignin,” says John Ralph, a plant biochemist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.Among the strategies for dealing with lignin, numerous teams have tried altering the chemicals that make up lignin. Although the structure of lignin varies from species to species, most plants assemble it from three main building blocks called coniferyl alcohol (CA), sinapyl alcohol (SA), and p-coumaryl alcohol, producing chains abbreviated G lignin, S lignin, and H lignin, respectively. Several teams have manipulated plant genes to change the proportions of building blocks, hoping to create a lignin that degrades more easily. Researchers led by Clint Chapple of Purdue University reported in Nature last month, for example, that plants engineered to produce only H lignin wound up dwarfed, but knocking out certain regulatory genes enabled them to grow to a near-normal size. H lignins give up their sugars with less pretreatment, but the chemical bonds between the remaining lignin molecules are still hard to break.Ralph and his colleagues opted for another path. Instead of altering the proportions of lignin building blocks, they added a new one—ferulic acid (FA)—that pairs up with CA and SA building blocks. These pairs then form bonds with their neighbors that are easier for chemists to break. (A few plants naturally use these FA-contianing pairs in making lignins that serve as plant defense compounds, Ralph says.) They hoped that by introducing paired building blocks throughout the lignin, they could later “unzip” the lignin’s structure during pretreatment.The feat took several years to pull off. Ralph’s team had to isolate the genes for the synthesis of FA-containing building blocks, insert them into plants, show that the plants could make the compounds, send them to the cell walls, and incorporate them into lignins. But online today in Science, Ralph and his colleagues report that they’ve now produced “zip-lignins” in young poplar trees. The plants appear healthy and show every sign of normal growth in the greenhouse. But when ground up and subjected to a mild base at 100°C, the lignins readily fall apart, releasing twice as many sugars as their wild-type kin do under the same conditions. “It’s the most promising method of changing lignin that I’ve seen so far,” Sederoff says.Ralph says his team is already working to insert zip-lignins into corn plants. If the effort succeeds, it could save cellulosic biofuel companies serious cash and may even propel them to profitability, Dale says. It could also spawn a new generation of biorefineries that convert plant cellulose into plastics and other industrial materials. But Dale and others caution that it could take a decade or more. Any newly engineered plants and trees must still be field-tested to show that they grow normally and aren’t more susceptible to pests, among other things. Then researchers must also show that they pass economic muster in pilot-scale and demonstration biorefineries. But if the strategy works, biofuel-makers may finally find a way out of the glue that has trapped them for decades.last_img read more

Top Stories: Mathematical Monkeys, Complex Sex Switches, and the Male Libido

first_img 00:0000:0000:00 Coexisting With Lions, Monkeys Doing Math, and the Importance of the Y Chromosome Y Chromosome Is More Than a Sex SwitchThe male sex chromosome is often shrugged off as doing little more than determining the sex of a developing fetus—but it may actually impact human biology in a big way. Two studies have concluded that the Y chromosome, which shrank millions of years ago, retains the handful of genes that it does not by chance, but because they are key to our survival. The findings may also explain differences in disease susceptibility between men and women.Panel Says U.S. Not Ready for Inevitable Arctic Oil SpillSign 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(*)As eagerness to explore the Arctic’s oil and gas resources grows, the threat of a major Arctic oil spill looms ever larger—and the United States has a lot of work to do to prepare for that inevitability, says a new report from the National Research Council. The report recommends beefing up forecasting systems for ocean and ice conditions, infrastructure for supply chains for people and equipment to respond, field research on the behavior of oil in the Arctic environment, and other strategies to prepare for a significant spill in the harsh conditions of the Arctic.Implant Injects DNA Into Ear, Improves HearingMany people with profound hearing loss have been helped by devices called cochlear implants, but their hearing is still far from normal. Now, researchers have found a clever way of using these implants to deliver new genes right into the ear—a therapy that, in guinea pigs, dramatically improves hearing.Pain No Deterrent for Male LibidoIt takes a lot to deter a male from wanting sex. A new study has found that male mice keep trying to copulate even when they are in pain, whereas females engage in less sex. But when given drugs that target pleasure centers in the human brain, the females again became interested. The findings could shed light on the nature of libido across various animal species.Does the Sky Have a Faulty Filter?Just when scientists thought the ozone layer’s worst days were behind it, it turns out they may have been missing a big threat to its health. Soon-to-be-published findings suggest that a natural mechanism that filters air rising to the top of the sky may not work as well as previously thought. If subsequent studies confirm the findings, the faulty filter could also have big implications for global climate.Monkeys Can Do MathResearchers have shown that rhesus macaques can do basic arithmetic with numbers and symbols. The finding doesn’t just reveal a hidden talent—it also helps show how the values of numbers are encoded in the mammalian brain, including our own.last_img read more

CDC explains mix-up with deadly H5N1 avian flu

first_imgA federal scientist may have accidentally contaminated a relatively benign avian influenza strain with the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus in part because he or she was overworked and rushing to make a lab meeting, according to an internal report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).In the March incident, CDC sent a sample of low-pathogenicity H9N2 bird flu virus that a lab had unknowingly contaminated with H5N1 to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lab, which discovered the mistake when test chickens died. CDC Director Thomas Frieden first disclosed the incident in July at a press conference about other lab accidents. Frieden was especially troubled, he said, because the H5N1 incident was not reported to top CDC leaders for 6 weeks.According to the 16-page report released today, the H9N2 sample probably became contaminated with H5N1 on 17 January when an experienced researcher did not follow proper decontamination or other protocols between inoculating cell cultures with the H9N2 flu strain and H5N1 using the same biosafety cabinet. The worker was “being rushed to attend a laboratory meeting at noon” and was also under a “heavy workload” as his or her team hurried to generate data for a February vaccine meeting at the World Health Organization, the report says.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The CDC flu lab sent USDA an H9N2 sample on 12 March; the USDA lab notified CDC of the contamination on 23 May. The delay in reporting resulted in part from unclear CDC rules for reporting incidents with select agents. Contaminated samples were also sent to another CDC lab, the report says. Workers were unlikely to have been exposed, however, because the samples were handled under enhanced biosafety-level 3 conditions, which includes many safety measures such as workers wearing protective suits and respirators.The report describes new training and operating procedures to prevent future incidents, along with CDC-wide safety reforms already under way including closing the flu lab.In a lengthy USA Today article about the report, CDC official Anne Schuchat called the mistakes “unacceptable” and said: “We just don’t think shortcuts are permissible when working with these kinds of dangerous pathogens.” Among measures that CDC is taking are disciplinary actions, Schuchat said.*Correction, 19 August, 12:05 p.m.: The photo credit was incorrect; it has been fixed.last_img read more

Gombe chimpanzee calls available after 40-year wait

first_imgFrans Plooij was a graduate student at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands in 1971 when he went to the Gombe National Park in Tanzania to study chimpanzee migration with his new wife, Hetty van de Rijt-Plooij. She had hoped to teach in a local school. But upon realizing that there were no settlements nearby, she decided to keep busy by using recording equipment to analyze the vocalizations of chimpanzees.With an outstretched hand holding a directional microphone, she diligently recorded the primates’ grunts, pant-hoots, and hoos, a sound like a whimper. The primates had gathered at a feeding site to eat bananas from a covered trench managed by scientists. Over 2 years, she recorded 28 tapes—more than 10 hours—of infant, juvenile, and adult chimpanzee calls. Now, for the first time, these calls are available to researchers in an article appearing in Scientific Data, a new open-access, online-only journal from Nature.In 1973, Plooij joined ethologist Robert Hinde at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and the couple had neither the time nor the resources to capitalize on their unique collection. After earning his doctoral degree from Groningen in 1980, Plooij spent the next 3 decades working in child development, while van de Rijt-Plooij earned her doctoral degree from Cambridge in physical anthropology and co-wrote with her husband a parenting book called The Wonder Weeks. “Your life moves on,” Plooij says. “We collected far too much, and the sound recordings remained in the attic.”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(*)Shortly before she died in 2003, van de Rijt-Plooij urged her husband to make the collection accessible to other researchers in hopes that the chimp calls might shed some light on the evolution of human language. And this week, Plooij was finally able to honor her wish, as information about the now-digitized recordings and her field notes is now freely available. “This is a unique collection that probably nobody will ever repeat,” he says. “So there was a great need, we felt, to make it available.”In Gombe, female chimpanzees often carry their infants with them into trees, making it very difficult for researchers to get accurate recordings from the ground. Anne Pusey, a behavioral ecologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, who also worked in Gombe, notes that the infants’ grunts are also “quite soft, so it’s difficult to get within range and record them.” However, at Gombe, mother chimpanzees would bring their infants as they checked the trench for bananas, giving van de Rijt-Plooij the chance to note their interactions and record their vocalizations.Apart from the quantity of information, the new collection also includes two elements rarely captured: quiet vocalizations like a chimpanzee’s “hoo” of surprise, and young chimps’ soft grunts. Lorraine McCune, a language researcher at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, analyzes human infants’ grunts and coos to understand the acquisition of language. From infancy to adulthood, chimpanzees come to use grunts for communication, similar to the way humans learn to communicate through grunts like “mm” or “mm-hmm” as they grow. Chimpanzees’ calls are more stereotyped and less complicated than human language, but McCune hopes that comparing chimpanzee infants’ sounds with those of human infants may help reveal what’s unique about human infants’ sounds.“We don’t know how acoustically similar a chimpanzee infant’s grunt would be to a human infant’s grunt,” McCune says. “If [Plooij] has all the vocalizations and the field notes that say what was happening at the time, it would be much easier for me to see how those particular grunts related to what I find in human infants.”The data now reside in Cornell University’s Macaulay Library and the Dryad Digital Repository, another online resource.last_img read more

Australia’s chief scientist unveils science strategy

first_imgOffering a glimmer of hope for Australia’s embattled scientific community, the nation’s chief scientist, Ian Chubb, outlined a national science strategy at a press conference in Canberra today. Among a raft of recommendations, his report calls for creating an Australian Innovation Board to identify priorities that would receive earmarked funding, adding to the rolls of science teachers, adopting a long-term R&D plan, and using science as a tool in Australian diplomacy.Australian science has suffered a number of setbacks in recent months. In September 2013, Prime Minister Tony Abbott abolished the science ministry, handing much of the science portfolio to Industry Minister Ian MacFarlane. And coping with an AU$115 million budget cut to its 2014 to 2015 budget, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation revealed in May that it would shutter eight research facilities.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In an editorial in Science last week titled “Australia needs a strategy,” Chubb, a neuroscientist by training who has served as chief scientist since May 2011, wrote: “It troubles me that Australia remains the only country among the members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) without a science or technology strategy.” Part of the problem is a sense of complacency over Australia’s perceived scientific prowess. “Whilst we claim to ‘punch above our weight’ in research,” he notes in his new report, “we do not out-perform the countries with an embedded scientific culture that we might aspire to match such as the Western European democracies, Scandinavia or the US and Canada. We can and should aim higher.”It’s unclear how much of Chubb’s advice will be heeded. In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Chubb, after expressing disappointment with Australia’s efforts in renewable energy, said: “I’ll make my views known and I don’t know whether it would carry any particular weight or not, but part of my job I think is to make sure that I do express those views when there is a need.” MacFarlane told The Australian that “I don’t think we’re poles apart” and that the government would soon announce initiatives that would “reinforce” some of the ideas in Chubb’s report.*Clarification, 3 September, 12:05 p.m.: This article has been updated to clarify Chubb’s statements in his interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.last_img read more

Physical scientists offer outside-the-box idea for funding U.S. basic research

first_imgSAN ANTONIO, TEXAS—Researchers across the United States are well aware that times are tight. Despite a recent budget proposal from the Obama administration to increase spending on federal R&D by 7% next year, dollars flowing to research have largely been flat in recent years, and declining when inflation is taken into account. The long-term outlook is even worse. Growing federal commitments to Medicare, Medicaid, social security, and interest on the federal debt continue to chew up a greater proportion of the federal budget. The money for “discretionary” items that’s left over—including R&D—is expected to drop to 23% of the federal budget by 2040, down from 67% in 1970 and 36% in 2012. So it’s perhaps no surprise that basic researchers are beginning to look for new sources of support.At the annual March Meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) here this week, a pair of physicists floated one new idea: Congress should create a $100 billion national endowment to help fund basic research. The endowment, which they’re calling the National Research Bank, isn’t an official proposal of APS. Rather, says Michael Lubell, a physicist at the City College of New York who is pushing the idea, “we’re trying to start a conversation.”That conversation began last summer when Lubell got together with a longtime friend, Tom Culligan, then the legislative director for Representative Frank Wolf, a Republican from Virginia who had just announced his decision to retire from Congress. Wolf and Culligan were staunch supporters of federal funding for basic research. So Culligan and Lubell began hashing out ideas for coming up with a new pot of money for supporting research that wouldn’t fall prey to the ever-tightening budget realities of Washington.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(*)They settled on an idea that hinges on proposed Congressional action to rewrite the rules governing U.S. corporate income taxes, an idea that enjoys widespread bipartisan support in Washington. Companies are currently charged a 35% tax on corporate profits earned in the United States, a level that many business leaders argue is excessive. To get around those taxes, multinationals often shift earnings to overseas subsidiaries or parent companies, which face little or no U.S. taxes unless the money is brought back to the United States. According to The Wall Street Journal, U.S. companies have accumulated an estimated $2 trillion in foreign profits. President Barack Obama recently proposed charging companies a 14% tax on those accumulated earnings, and charging them 19% of future overseas profits, in an effort to help pay for infrastructure improvements to the nation’s roads, bridges, and airports. Members of Congress, meanwhile, have proposed dropping the corporate tax rate even further.If any of these proposals come to fruition, the result could bring in hundreds of billions of dollars to the U.S. Treasury. So Lubell and Culligan hatched the idea of the Research Bank, which would take $100 billion of the newly repatriated money. Like a university endowment, Lubell says, the idea would be to invest the funds and use the proceeds to fund research deemed worthy by the Bank’s board of directors. The endowment, Lubell suggests, could be managed as a public-private partnership, so that it couldn’t be tapped by Congress to pay for pressing budgetary needs. At current rates of return, a $100 billion endowment would bring in roughly $7 billion a year. (That’s about equal to the current budget of the National Science Foundation.) About $2 billion of that would be eaten up by inflation, leaving $5 billion to support research.While sizable, that’s still a small sum compared with the $32.7 billion that the U.S. government is expected to spend on basic research this year. Nevertheless, Lubell says it could help pay for research that’s increasingly being squeezed out of the federal system. “It could be used to provide matching funds for agency funding, and look at high-risk projects,” he says.But the idea faces a long road through Congress. Not only would corporate tax reform need to make it through today’s Washington gridlock, but even if it did, other special interests will likely be angling for their cut of the windfall. Another concern is whether a future Congress would be more apt to cut federal support for basic research even further, knowing that the endowment might pick up the slack. But Scott Franklin, a physicist at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York who has been helping Lubell push the Research Bank idea, says he doubts this relatively small fund would change the equation. “Those pressures are already there,” Franklin says.In an effort to get their idea out there, 2 weeks ago Lubell, Franklin, and other researchers went to Capitol Hill and met with staff members of 160 members of Congress. “The visit was very positive,” Franklin says. “They encouraged us to continue the dialogue.” Franklin adds that he and his colleagues plan to do just that in an upcoming presentation to the APS’s policy committee. Convincing them should be the easy part. Then it gets hard. Says Lubell: “It’s a heavy lift.”Meanwhile, physical scientists aren’t the only researchers thinking about creative funding methods. Last week, a coalition of biomedical research advocacy groups and a Washington, D.C.–based think tank released a report outlining a number of strategies for sustaining the more than $30 billion budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which provides about one-half of all U.S. funding for basic research. “[P]olicymakers should consider separating NIH’s budget from the broader” battles over federal spending, urges the report, Healthy Funding: Ensuring a Predictable and Growing Budget for the National Institutes of Health. Among the options: moving to multiyear funding, instead of annual appropriations, and dedicating certain revenue streams to NIH. But Congress would have to approve those changes, too—an unlikely scenario in the short term.last_img read more

Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare to bid for Fortis

first_imgMalaysia healthcare group IHH Healthcare Bhd plans to make an open offer to buy shares in India’s Fortis Healthcare LtdAccording to a report in The Economic Times, IHH is readying $1 billion (approximately Rs6,499 crore) for deal.It has hired investment bank Citi to advise on the deal.Read it at Domain B Related Itemslast_img

Painting of Indian Trumpeters At Risk Of Export From Britain

first_imgBritish Culture Minister Michael Ellis placed an export bar Friday on a unique watercolor painting depicting a traditional musical performance in mid-18th century Northern India.The move will prevent the painting, considered of significant cultural interest, from being sent abroad to enable a British gallery or buyer to match the asking price of 550,000 pounds.Read it at Xinhua Related Itemslast_img

IIT Gandhinagar Hosts Overseas Indian Conclave on Feb. 22-23

first_imgIIT Gandhinagar is hosting an Overseas Indian Conclave on Higher Education on Feb. 22-23, 2019 at IIT Gandhinagar in Gujarat.The Conclave will celebrate IITGN’s overseas supporters and brainstorm on ways to engage more widely and deeply with overseas Indians and global professionals who are keen to advance India’s educational stature on the global stage.Read it at INEN Related Itemslast_img

My Tsunami Journey

first_imgI remember hallucinating about tremors in Ahmedabad long after the Gujarat earthquake had ravaged the state leaving death and destruction in its wake. Having personally felt the anxiety of a near death situation, I wondered why the Tsunami tragedy didn’t chill my spine or bring tears to my eyes. Then a sad realization dawned on me – the electronic age has so numbed us to the tragedies that strike today, that I too have become a casualty. We watch death and devastation on TV over a sumptuous dinner. We read about the anguish and pain of innocent people in the papers while sipping our morning coffee. Our movies create such horrific special effects while portraying human anguish and suffering on celluloid, that the evening news seems almost insipid in comparison. Sensational journalism and entertainment flood our psyche. We have begun to comfortably coexist with the deep horror of human suffering without missing a beat. We sigh, mourn a bit, feel helpless and move on.I began to wonder: what has happened to us? Is our compassion and empathy only for great people like Gandhi and Mandela? Their experiences, the pain they felt and saw brought out the best in them. Why do we shy away from similar experiences that could channel the pain we see around us into making us more sensitive as human beings.All these thoughts were making me very uncomfortable. Was I self absorbed and apathetic because the Tsunami did not directly affect me, instead of thinking of what it did to millions of people who were indeed affected by it? I rationalized my turmoil by telling myself it could be because my mind was preoccupied with other work. On Dec 26, 2004, I was traveling with 45 children and about 20 adults from India and Pakistan as part of “Beyond Boundaries,” a peace initiative. However important and ignored this much needed initiative may be, does it absolve me of the need to “do something for those devastated by the Tsunami”?Questions multiplied within as others posed their own to me. “So what are you doing for the Tsunami?” “How come you are not going to the affected areas?” “How much have you donated?” “Do you know anyone who has been affected?” “Are you going to celebrate the New Year?” etc, etcWell, I don’t really celebrate the New Year. Thankfully I don’t know anybody personally who has been affected. Should I go to the affected area to just uphold the tag of being a social activist that has been thrust upon me?In all honesty, apart from struggling with questions and trying to connect people with funds, I had done nothing at all. Yes, my conscience had begun to bother me.Then an invitation to go to Sri Lanka by a journalist friend and Red Cross staff member was extended to me. I asked myself, what help would I be, that too for just a week? Will I be reduced to being a mouthpiece for the Red Cross? Will I end up being a disaster tourist? When I shared these apprehensions with Bandula, he assured me that I would go there as an independent empathizer, to boost the morale of those who had been working tirelessly to bring order to the chaos.I wanted to believe that I had the capability and the empathy to make the impact they believed I would. As I shared my desire to go to Sri Lanka, with others, I was confronted with the questioning roadblocks of geographic and sectarian myopia, in spite of the fact that this was a disaster that knew no boundaries. Why Sri Lanka? Why not our own country, our own people?Well, what does define my own? I wondered: Are those in Nicobar, Kuddaloor more my own? I don’t speak the language of any of the three, and of all these places, I have only been to Sri Lanka! Strangely, in the United States, in a room full of white people, why does a brown person from Sri Lanka or Pakistan seem like my own, and why sitting at home in Delhi do I have to be apologetic about going to Sri Lanka? The rebel in me rose as I responded, “Why not Sri Lanka”?Why not beyond boundaries!So I went and soon here I was in Galle, in southern Sri Lanka, where more than 4,000 people had died and innumerable others left homeless. Having seen all those TV reports I thought I was prepared for what I would see.But what confronted me was eerie, ghostly and yet very real. I could not switch off the TV. I couldn’t walk away from it all. I was there exactly a month after the tragedy. All bodies had been cleared so that our weak hearts wouldn’t fail us. But the ruined coastline, (stretching more than a kilometer inwards), told its somber, heartrending story. People sat around with haunted, empty unseeing eyes, some tried to pick up the broken blocks of cement, where once stood a house.If only they could pick up the pieces of their lives as easily…Sitting in a café by the seemingly calm and comforting sea, it is difficult to fathom the wrath it spewed. The sea that was once a source of livelihood, its cool breeze serenading the days of summer, a playground for young and old … had so effortlessly turned into a harbinger of death and destruction.I met a child who screams with fear every time she sees water flowing, even in a drain. Many children wake up from the nightmare of the sea choking them and casting away their loved ones.The adults try to be brave and tell us (and themselves), that it surely cannot happen again. But, do they truly believe that? Or is it their way of dealing with fear? I wonder how an island living, breathing, depending on the sea continues as if life is normal again?I thought to myself, it’s not going to be easy for them to befriend the sea again. But this was my logical and conditioned mind assuming that the response to such a tragedy can only be that of anger or a sense of betrayal.But conversations revealed little animosity, and even no fear. The people explained it as an abused sea expressing her anguish. They had understood and they ought to apologize to the sea in all humility.Was this Buddhism speaking or the native wisdom of the islanders, I wondered!When we say we can empathize, I think we over-estimate our sensitivity, understanding and capacity to feel. I don’t think I can ever claim to know what it is to sit in the midst of rubble, with everything destroyed and still have a hope that this too shall pass.I learnt that tragedies are not only about sadness and grief but also about hope and camaraderie. Even as the devastation was overwhelming, so was the undying spirit of the people who had been engaged in relief work round the clock. I saw a wide range of volunteers, from young Sri Lankan students to white bearded American specialists. Their work could entail anything: from clearing cement blocks, pitching tents, distributing relief items to helping little children draw and color and also help out with the much needed psycho-social counseling to make those broken people whole again.The Indian Navy and the Army, trained to fire the canon and navigate big ships like the Taragiri, were seen with brooms and shovels cleaning up the debris. Their years of disciplined alacrity, stood them in good stead in conducting systematic distribution of relief items, reconstruction of broken bridges, running medical camps by their doctors and erecting hundreds of tents.These men from the forces who lead fairly solitary lives on the sea were deeply moved by the gestures of gratitude by the locals. They would often bring them tea and sweetmeats, precious and generous offerings in these troubled times. Wonder why nobody asked the Indian Navy why it was helping a neighbor and not its own people, like I had been!The cynic in me looked at the Red Cross symbols all over with some skepticism. But, then I realized that anything that restores faith in human goodness can only be reassuring and positive. I saw young local volunteers from the Sri Lanka Red Cross distributing cans, kitchen utensils, milk powder, soap, match boxes, sanitary napkins, mosquito coils – basic amenities that we so take for granted.I also saw the warehouse where relief material was coming from Red Cross branches around the world. It had maps, charts, data and a planner on its cloth walls and a couple of laptops on foldable tables. Some people counted the packets and pottered around to make sure it was all going to the right places, while others sat on their small collapsible chairs creaking under their American sizes, to plan the relief operations on their laptops.The next day we went to Heggaduwa. Here Kushil Gunasekara, who started community work 5 and a half years ago and later secured the support of Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralidharan, had succeeded in developing an with help from the local community.The people there told us unbelievable stories of the tragedy and the miraculous escapes from death some of them had experienced. Strangely their community center was the only building that had withstood the power of monstrous waves. I often felt reluctant to ask questions that would bring back the nightmarish memories. So we exchanged warm smiles and looks that said it all.On my way back to Colombo, my eyes were still hrefusing to come to terms withthe calamity as we drove past miles and miles of destruction. Long after you and I will stop thinking about it all, the work will have to carry on. How long would canned fish and milk powder sustain these lost souls? How much longer can they live in those tents? Is there cost effectiveness to the relief operation, or are we all responding arbitrarily to put our conscience at ease? How does one deal with a trauma that has been a life altering experience? Can a tragedy of this magnitude be handled by just relief camps and good intentions?With some questions answered and some still looming before us, we moved on. I was told that nobody in Sri Lanka celebrated the New Year. Not even one fire cracker lit the sky.The last day in the capital, I visit Sarvodaya a widespread grass root organization, launched by Dr. Ariyaratne. It incorporates the Gandhian approach to life and social work. The winner of the Magasasay award and a nominee for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, he is a simple and unassuming man. I looked on in awe as he gave me a tour of his headquarters, which was just one of the many centers from which the relief operation was being carried out.There was much to celebrate about the human response to this tragedy. To be sure, there was the down side too: mismanagement, corruption, looting and even rape have been reported in the devastated areas. I realize that while tragedies bring out the best in us, they also bring out the worst. But to walk the road with faith, optimism and hope is what will take us further, not cynicism and apathy. So I want to capture that positivism, that hope as much as I can.I returned to my own country, older by a whole week and full of emotions I didn’t know I would feel so deeply. I am in a strange position of neither being a relief worker nor a journalist.The only way I can bring a less selfish dimension to the trip would be if I can share some of my thoughts and experiences with you. No words can ever express what I felt, but while we cannot control tidal waves, if we try, we can work towards eliminating the hatred, the violence and the inhumanity we inflict upon each other.If we try we can restore peace and solidarity on this wounded planet. May be then it won’t take a tragedy like the Tsunami, to bring out our humanity and a helping spirit. May be then, we will reach out in a way that would transcend our narrow nationalistic boundaries.   Related Itemslast_img read more

Dark Shadows

first_imgBritish film and theater director Peter Brooks directed a play on The Mahabharata in 1985 (later filmed for TV) that generated widespread criticisms from Indian audiences. Brooks had assembled his actors from several continents, from Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Far East. The five Pandavas in the play looked very diverse, including a Black actor in the role of Bhima. Indian audiences were rattled to see Bhima and Bhishma as dark skinned Africans. Defenders of the play argued, as did some Indians with a better awareness of themselves, that Indians do indeed come in a variety of colors, skin tones and body shapes. Those outside India know little of this diversity and most Indians are like frogs that never venture outside their pond, but imagine the world anyway. Indians live in a starkly conflict-ridden world of race, color and perception. Their mythologies and narratives of identity tell them that they are descendants of blue-skinned gods, while their older traditions praise the “luminous” qualities of dark skin. Their contemporary world, however, burdened with the weight of recent history, claims the superiority of lighter skin. No doubt, gender plays a larger role in this skin color bias, as darkness in women is particularly undesirable from the perspective of social codes. We may still covet the “dark, tall and handsome” man, but “pretty, fair ladies” are all the rage for our liaisons, permanent or otherwise. The culture that emerges out of this color-divide is complex, intriguing and often contradictory. Nevertheless, that ought to be a fertile ground for reading it. Consider that most celebratory of all rituals of Indian life, marriage. When one does not fall in love, an arranged marriage is the preferred option. And when “deals” are made in such marital arrangements, the color of the skin becomes vital in negotiations. The price tag for dowry, for example, is often determined by the color of the woman’s skin. We ought to realize that Indians must be the only people to have figured out a complex system of economic exchange that quantifies the tone of the skin. If the color of the skin of the bride-to-be falls in the darker tone range, or in most cases, is anything less than “acceptable” level of fair, her parents have to shell out more money and goodies to seal the deal. This fine gradation of skin tones that raises and lowers the price of a woman in the “marriage marketplace” is demeaning of course, but it is an ingenuous system of evaluating the value of fair vs. darker skin. The concept of the beauty of women is graded with very clear demarcations. The models in advertisements predominantly have fairer skins, with the Northern Indian concept of beauty overwhelming the “deep South.” This is much the complaint that African Americans have about magazines like Ebony and U.S. advertising culture. The models that pass for the “desirable” conceptions of beauty in commercial culture have not accommodated the wide range of appearances among Blacks. The shape of their bodies, skin tones and hair all dictate that the look-alikes of White Western women are the commanding standard of what is considered beautiful. Take a look at Miss World/Universe/India contests over the years and Northern, fairer women enjoy a commanding lead. On marital web sites such as Shaadi.com and Bharatmatrimony.com the categories for “skin tones” bow to the conventions of dominant skin tones that have held sway in lifelong decisions on marriage. Darker women are immersed in a culture that does not acknowledge them and in real life the obstacles against them are intimidating. The culture of the North is a fairer culture. This is for a whole set of complex reasons, including that fact that most who arrived in India from the North, the Mughals, the Aryans, etc. were fairer looking. The photographic culture, which later developed into cinema and spread with Bollywood, has been dominated by the North. Most films we see and narratives we watch are about Northern culture. It is their rituals, their symbolism, their language, their kinship and clan systems that are pronounced in wildly popular Bollywood films. Most prominent actors who have achieved stardom have come from the North and represent the Northern culture, enforced through the professed superiority of their skin tones. This is not to say that the culture of the South or the “deep South” is absent from Bollywood. But this is about hegemonic relations; the North dominates and passes for the mainstream. This is much like how Western culture and its concept of beauty dominate over “colored” people’s cultures around the World. The rest of the world, when it does come into play, plays the part of the exotic; what is unfamiliar in this case, becomes acceptable only as strange, out-of-this-world and exotic. Anthropology recognizes this widespread problem as “colorism.” There is no running away from it; except to transgress it in our own spheres, to deny the dominance of the codes where we can. It is a pernicious disease, only accentuated to deeper dimensions of cruelty on human dignity. Power thrives on the divides that skin tones offer. Commercial culture offers diversified products to appeal across the skin-divides. We haven’t quite figured out how to combat its power, but it is a shame to succumb to it.   Related Itemslast_img read more

Hafiz Saeed Petitions UN to Remove Him from List of Terrorists

first_imgLashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed wants the United Nations to remove his name from the list of designated terrorists. Saeed’s lawyer also said that he filed for de-listing while he was under house arrest in Pakistan.His lawyer Navid Rasul Mirza of Mirza and Mirza confirmed that Saeed filed for de-listing, the Hindustan Times reported. “I cannot give details of the petition. I don’t have the permission of my client to speak on this,” Navid’s son, Barrister Haider Rasul Mirza, who is representing Saeed in the UN, told the publication.“I have been engaged by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (“the petitioner”), to submit on his behalf this de-listing request for the removal of his name from the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions list being maintained by the United Nations Security Council’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, pursuant to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions…” the petition reads, according to the newspaper.Saeed was put on the list on Dec. 10, 2008 by the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee “as being associated with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Al Qaida for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts of activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of” both entities,” according to Interpol.The UN sanctions list also said that his house is in Mohalla Johar, Lahore, Pakistan. He has been acknowledged as the leader of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba by the Interpol and the UN Security Council.According to Interpol, he “traveled to Afghanistan during the late 1970s or the early 1980s to receive militant training. There he came into contact with Dr. Abdullah Azzam, the mentor of Usama bin Laden and other fighters in Afghanistan. In 2005, Saeed determined where graduates of a LeT camp in Pakistan should be sent to fight, and personally organized the infiltration of LeT militants into Iraq during a trip to Saudi Arabia. In 2006, Saeed oversaw the management of a terrorist camp, including funding of the camp. Saeed also arranged for a LeT operative to be sent to Europe as LeT’s European fundraising coordinator. He established a LeT office in Quetta, Pakistan in June 2006 to assist the Taliban in the conduct of their operations in Afghanistan.”He is considered the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks in November 2008. The three-day attack led to the death of 166 people.For de-listing, an individual has to furnish the following:explanation as to why the designation does not or no longer meets the listing criteria (through countering the reasons for listing as stated in the list entry for that particular individual or entity);the designee’s current occupation and/or activities, and any other relevant information, such as information on assets;any documentation supporting the request can be referred to and/or attached together with the explanation of its relevance, where appropriate.Saeed had been under house arrest since January and was released by a court in Pakistan last week due to lack of evidence. The United States, France and India criticized Pakistan’s decision to set him free.Saeed’s petition also comes in the wake of his political ambitions. A JuD member was reported to have said last week that Saeed could contest elections as the leader of the Milli Muslim League. Related ItemsHafiz SaeedPakistanTerrorismlast_img read more

I’m being unfairly singled out, says Navjot Singh Sidhu

first_imgAt the receiving end of Punjab Chief Minister and Congress leader Amarinder Singh’s criticism after the Lok Sabha poll results, State Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday said he was being unfairly singled out in the name of poor performance of his department. Mr. Sidhu said the Ministry had worked in the most transparent manner. “The department has been able to generate ₹6,000 crore and all its projects are being completed on a war-footing.” There were a few people who didn’t want him in the party, he said. After the elections, Capt. Singh said he would take up with the Congress high command Mr. Sidhu’s “damaging remarks”, which might have led to the defeat in the Bathinda seat. He also said that Mr. Sidhu’s performance should be reviewed. Reacting to the remarks, Mr. Sidhu said the party had never been able to win the seat in the past 40 years. “Capt. Amarinder and his son Raninder Singh also lost from Bathinda,” he said.last_img read more

Meet Makaranda Muduli, the ‘people’s candidate’

first_imgMakaranda Muduli, 46, withstood both the ‘Naveen’ and ‘Modi’ waves to end up becoming the lone Independent to enter the Odisha Assembly.The grassroots-level tribal social worker defeated fancied opponents to win the Rayagada Assembly seat. He was pitted against former State Minister Lal Bihari Himirika of the Biju Janata Dal, Basant Ulaka of the BJP and Apalswami Kadraka of the Congress. Securing 52,752 votes, Mr. Muduli defeated his nearest BJD rival by a margin of 4,839 votes.Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had campaigned for the BJD candidate, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had sought votes for the BJP, but Mr. Muduli’s deep personal connections forged over years of social work helped him overcome the odds.The new Rayagada MLA, according to the affidavit filed by him during nomination, has assets worth only ₹15,000. He owns no agricultural land or a two-wheeler. He claims even the clothes he wears have been bought by friends and well-wishers.A postgraduate and law degree holder, Mr. Muduli says his electoral campaign was financed by former classmates and supporters and paled in comparison to the resources deployed by candidates of the major political parties. Even his borrowed motorcycle’s fuel expenses were borne by his supporters, he says, and villagers themselves put up posters and banners for him.No political noviceMr. Muduli, however, is no political novice. He had unsuccessfully contested the Laxmipur Assembly seat on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket in 2004. In 2008 he joined the Congress and contested the 2014 Assembly election from Rayagada, but lost by a narrow margin. This time, when he was denied the Congress ticket, his supporters urged him to contest as an Independent and promised to take charge of his campaign. Not for nothing does Mr. Muduli call himself the “people’s candidate”.Mr. Muduli’s priority as MLA is to push for Scheduled Tribe status for the Jhodia community of Rayagada district.last_img read more

Sharapova throws shade at Wozniacki: Where is she?

first_imgMaria Sharapova, of Russia, serves to Sofia Kenin, of the United States, during the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, in New York. APNEW YORK—Maria Sharapova hit back at Caroline Wozniacki over a US Open scheduling row on Friday, saying of her bitter Danish rival: “I’m in the 4th round. I don’t know where she is.”Wozniacki was furious that her second round match was played on an outside court while five-time major winner Sharapova was playing all of hers in Arthur Ashe Stadium.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension NBA: Ever improving DeRozan looks to further develop ‘much better’ Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief On Sunday, she will face Latvian 16th seed Anatasija Sevastova for a spot in the quarter-finals.But she will need to cut out the errors that plagued her against 18-year-old Kenin, a fellow America-based player who was born in Russia.She was broken three times and her 38 winners just offset 33 unforced errors.“She had really nice words for me in the locker room, which was really nice,” said Sharapova, older than her opponent by 12 years and regarded as an idol by Kenin.“I wasn’t surprised with the way she came out and competed. She was down I believe a few match points in the previous match.“She’s a grinder. She’ll get many balls back. Despite not having the experience, she’s a tough player.” The Danish woman said it was “unacceptable and questionable” for Sharapova, who is playing her first Grand Slam since the end of a drugs ban, to be given the showpiece court.“With regards to scheduling, as you know, I don’t make the schedule,” said Sharapova after reaching the fourth round with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Sofia Kenin of the United States.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I’m a pretty big competitor. If you put me out in the parking lot of Queens in New York City, I’m happy to play there.“That’s not what matters to me. All that matters to me is I’m in the fourth round. Yeah, I’m not sure where she is.” Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Wozniacki, who has never won a Grand Slam, lost her second-round match to Ekaterina Makarova on Wednesday after being scheduled on Court 5 before getting bumped up to Court 10.“When you look on Center Court, I understand completely the business side of things, but someone who comes back from a drugs sentence — performance enhancing drugs -– and all of a sudden gets to play every single match on Center Court, I think that’s a questionable thing to do,” fumed the Danish former world number one.Sharapova, the champion in New York in 2006, returned from a 15-month doping ban in April but was refused a wildcard for the French Open while injury ruled her out of Wimbledon.Her world ranking of 146 meant she needed a wild card to get into the main draw at the US Open.But she has responded to the decision by the US Tennis Association by knocking out world number two Simona Halep in the first round and recovering from a set down to beat Timea Babos in the second.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES MOST READ View commentslast_img read more

Hamilton wins Japanese GP to move closer to F1 title

first_imgTyphoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain throws his trophy aloft as he celebrates after winning the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017. Second placed Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands, left, and his teammate Daniel Ricciardo of Australia, right, was third. APSUZUKA, Japan — Championship leader Lewis Hamilton won the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday (Monday Manila time), taking a major step toward winning his fourth Formula One title.The Mercedes driver crossed the finish line 1.2 seconds ahead of Malaysia GP winner Max Verstappen to claim his eighth F1 victory of the season and third at the Suzuka circuit. Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo was third.ADVERTISEMENT Vettel’s early retirement put a serious dent in his fading hopes of coming back to win the championship. He also had mechanical issues at Malaysia and started at the back of the grid before working his way to a fourth-place finish.“It is obviously a pity the last two races with the reliability issues,” Vettel said. “But you know, it’s like that sometimes. Of course it hurts, and we’re all disappointed.”Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson also retired early when he ran across the gravel and dived nose-first into the barriers.Carlos Sainz lost control of his Toro Rosso, spinning across the gravel into the wall on the outside and retiring after the second lap.Mercedes also increased its lead in the Constructors’ standings to 145 points over Ferrari. Red Bull is in third place with 303 points.The next race is Oct. 22 in the United States. Read Next View comments BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games NHL-less Olympics gives Europe-based players a shot at glory “The track was fantastic today and the team did an unbelievable job,” Hamilton said. “Max drove an outstanding race. Obviously, it wasn’t easy for us.”Hamilton moved 59 points clear of title rival Sebastian Vettel with four races left. Vettel was forced to retire on the third lap when his Ferrari lost power.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutStarting from pole position next to Vettel, Hamilton held the lead through the first turn.With Vettel out of the race, it quickly became a showdown between Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Hamilton built up a four-second lead over the Red Bull driver through the first 15 laps and made his only pit stop on the 23rd lap. Verstappen pitted a lap earlier than Hamilton, then produced some good laps to cut the lead to 1.7 seconds midway through the race.Verstappen closed to within a second at the start of the final lap but traffic allowed Hamilton to escape once more and seal the narrow win.“I was able to hold him behind me but he got very close,” Hamilton said. “We had a bit of traffic but it was very close at the end.”Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was fourth followed by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. The Force India duo of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez was sixth and seventh, respectively.Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was eighth followed by teammate Romain Grosjean. Williams driver Felipe Massa rounded out the top 10.ADVERTISEMENT LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City LATEST STORIES MOST READlast_img read more

Suarez Navarro credits Henin for old-school fightback

first_imgREAD: Suarez Navarro rallies into Australian Open quarterfinalThe Belgian former number one was renowned for having one of the greatest backhands in the game. FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSuarez Navarro, who reached the Australian Open last eight in 2009 and two years ago, was asked how much of an influence Henin had been.“I think a lot because we don’t have too many players with one-handed backhands,” she said.  John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding The 32nd seed had one more chance to serve for the match at 5-4 in the third, but again collapsed with the finish line in sight.Wozniacki nextAfter despatching French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the third round Kontaveit gave no hint of the meltdown to come, oozing confidence in the early stages.The 22-year-old unleashed the shot of the match — a scarcely believable running forehand pass around the net post — on her way to taking the first set 6-4 in 42 minutes.When a bullet-like backhand gave her a second break of to go 4-1 up in the next it seemed she had one hand in the quarterfinal. Instead it was the old-style one-handed play of Suarez Navarro that fashioned a famous comeback to put her into a third quarter-final at Melbourne, nine years after her first. Her reward is a clash with an old foe — world number two Caroline Wozniacki.The Danish second seed ruthlessly routed Slovakia’s 19th seed Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-0 — taking 11 of the last 12 games in handing out a tennis masterclass.READ: Wozniacki into Aussie Open quarterfinal vs Suarez Navarro“We play a lot of times together,” Suarez Navarro said of Wozniacki. “I know how she plays. I know how tough she is. Will be a really tough match. She’s fighting every ball.” “I saw a lot of matches from her. Yeah, she was one of my favourite players when I grew up.”Two breaks down in the second set, the Spanish former world number six used all her experience, patience and court craft to grind her way back against a nervous Kontaveit who was trying to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final.“Maybe we can open a little bit more the court with the angle,” said Navarro of being one the last of a dying breed of single-handed players.Kontaviet failed to cope with the unusual problems created by Suarez Navarro’s clever shot-making, changes of pace and spin.The Estonian’s power game that had brought 22 winners in a dominant opening set then unravelled in a dramatic second set.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next MOST READ Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH They have faced each other seven times before with Wozniacki leading 5-2. Both of Suarez Navarro’s wins have come on her favourite clay. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencerscenter_img LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:42Police: California school shooting took 16 seconds03:122 dead in California school attack; gunman shoots self01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro celebrates after defeating Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in their fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)Carla Suarez Navarro used the only one-handed backhand left in the women’s draw to mighty effect Sunday as she reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the third time.The Spanish world number 39 came from a set and 4-1 down to register a 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 win over Anett Kontaveit with a delightful display of her old-school tennis she says is inspired by Justine Henin.ADVERTISEMENT Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Spence dominates Peterson to retain IBF welterweight title View comments Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PHlast_img read more

Jaja sees level playing field in 2nd round

first_imgPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netJaja Santiago and her National University Lady Bulldogs are safely perched atop the standings of the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament after an excellent end to their first round.NU ended its first round campaign with a 6-1 record after turning back University of the Philippines 25-23, 25-23, 25-17, the first time in school history that the Lady Bulldogs are atop the standings.ADVERTISEMENT Despite this status, Santiago stayed humble and said the second round will be a level playing field for all the teams.“Everyone will be back to zero,” said Santiago in Filipino Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre. “Of course we’re expecting that all teams would like to get back at us, and everyone will be stronger.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“And of course we’ll be working harder in the second round.”Santiago, who finished with 17 points against the Lady Maroons, said NU won’t rest on the laurels of their earlier success in the first half of the tournament. Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Wilder survives pummeling to stop Ortiz in 10thcenter_img “Maybe there’s pressure but for me I see my team on an upward momentum,” said Santiago. “We have improved drastically… towards the second round, I don’t see my team going down, in fact I see my team going up.” Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Games Read Next LATEST STORIES MOST READ Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH View commentslast_img read more