Bats and Dolphins Evolved Echolocation in Same Way

first_imgDolphins and bats don’t have much in common, but they share a superpower: Both hunt their prey by emitting high-pitched sounds and listening for the echoes. Now, a study shows that this ability arose independently in each group of mammals from the same genetic mutations. The work suggests that evolution sometimes arrives at new traits through the same sequence of steps, even in very different animals. The research also implies that this convergent evolution is common—and hidden—within genomes, potentially complicating the task of deciphering some evolutionary relationships between organisms. Nature is full of examples of convergent evolution, wherein very distantly related organisms wind up looking alike or having similar skills and traits: Birds, bats, and insects all have wings, for example. Biologists have assumed that these novelties were devised, on a genetic level, in fundamentally different ways. That was also the case for two kinds of bats and toothed whales, a group that includes dolphins and certain whales, that have converged on a specialized hunting strategy called echolocation. Until recently, biologists had thought that different genes drove each instance of echolocation and that the relevant proteins could change in innumerable ways to take on new functions.But in 2010, Stephen Rossiter, an evolutionary biologist at Queen Mary, University of London, and his colleagues determined that both types of echolocating bats, as well as dolphins, had the same mutations in a particular protein called prestin, which affects the sensitivity of hearing. Looking at other genes known to be involved in hearing, they and other researchers found several others whose proteins were similarly changed in these mammals.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(*)Now, Rossiter’s team has expanded the search for this so-called molecular convergence to the entire genome. They sequenced the genomes of four species from various branches of the bat family tree, two that use echolocation and two that don’t. They added in the existing genome sequences of the large flying fox and the little brown bat, another echolocator. Evolutionary biologist Joe Parker, also at Queen Mary, University of London, compared the bat genetic sequences to those from more than a dozen other mammals, including the bottlenose dolphin. He focused on the 2300 genes that exist in single copies in all the bats, the dolphin, and at least five other mammals. He evaluated how similar each gene was to its counterparts in various bats and the dolphin. The analysis revealed that 200 genes had independently changed in the same ways, Parker, Rossiter and their colleagues report today in Nature. Several of the genes are involved in hearing, but the others have no clear link to echolocation so far; some genes with shared changes are important for vision, but most have functions that are unknown. “The biggest surprise,” says Frédéric Delsuc, a molecular phylogeneticist at Montpellier University in France, “is probably the extent to which convergent molecular evolution seems to be widespread in the genome.”Genomicist Todd Castoe from the University of Texas, Arlington, is also impressed: “I’m pretty convinced they are finding something real, and it’s really exciting [and] pretty important.” However, he is critical about the way the analysis was done, suggesting that the approach found only indirect evidence of molecular convergence.The discovery that molecular convergence can be widespread in a genome is “bittersweet,” Castoe adds. Biologists building family trees are likely being misled into suggesting that some organisms are closely related because genes and proteins are similar due to convergence, and not because the organisms had a recent common ancestor. No family trees are entirely safe from these misleading effects, Castoe says. “And we currently have no way to deal with this.”last_img read more

Space solar observatory will look for ripples on sun’s surface

first_imgSuborbital spacecraft such as Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipOne aren’t just for super-rich space tourists. At the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco next week, researchers will be showing off a new miniature solar observatory for use during the 5 minutes in space of a suborbital flight. Designed by researchers at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas, the SwRI Solar Instrument Pointing Platform is initially pointed toward the sun by the spacecraft pilot and then locks on automatically. Its first experiments will look for ripples of ultrasound on the sun’s surface and it will be carried aloft by XCOR’s Lynx spacecraft (pictured), which begins flight testing next year. Such experiments used to be carried out using sounding rockets—one-shot missiles designed to take instruments to the edge of the atmosphere—but instruments got a rough ride and often took months or years to recondition. SwRI researchers calculate that suborbital flights will be 30 times cheaper and can be carried out many times per week.last_img read more

Estonia Reaches Out to Indian Startups with e-Residency Program

first_imgWith its flagship e-residency program, Estonia is now looking for more budding Indian entrepreneurs to avail its benefits. The Baltic country wants enrollments from 200 Indian startups this year, and is looking to reach out to the Indian startup community with a series of seminars and road shows over the coming year.The plan was announced at a seminar held earlier this month in Mumbai, which was attended by Estonia’s Entrepreneurship and IT Minister Urvi Palo, the Economic Times reported. The program would enable access of Indian entrepreneurs to a government-issued digital ID, and they would have access to the entire European Union while working from India. Currently over 1,200 Indian citizens are e-residents of Estonia. The program means “Make in India and Sell in Europe,” it said in a statement.Estonian officials have been meeting their Indian government counterparts for signing a memorandum of understanding between the local government and Estonia’s IT academy to provide knowledge on e-governance so that services can be paperless and easily available, Palo told“We are lacking information and communication technology (ICT) people in Estonia, and we would like to get them from outside. So far, we have ICT talent coming in from Turkey, Ukraine, Russia. But we see that India could be a possible country because it has a lot of ICT talent. These people could come to Estonia to work immediately or to study first,” she was quoted as saying by the online publication.It takes 15 minutes to establish a company online and three minutes to do the taxes in Estonia, according to YourStory. The country is often listed as the most entrepreneurial country as per the World Economic Forum.While Palo noted that the country has strict migration policy, she added that there are no limitations to those entering with a startup visa. “We are overall very strict. Just five percent of the population can be made of people from other countries who enter Estonia for work. It is more than 1,000 per year now. But the people who are coming to work in the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) sector or those who come with a startup visa are the not included in this. So, there is no limit at all for the applicants.”The startup visa gives free reign to non-EU entrepreneurs to establish new startups or to relocate their existing startups to Estonia. They can also extend the visa and ask for a temporary residence permit once it is established.The e-residency program was established in December 2014. It has over 30,000 e-residents from 154 countries, with a majority coming from the United States, Russia and Finland. Related Itemse-Residency programestoniaStartuplast_img read more

BJD’s Rita Sahu secures impressive victory in Bijepur bypoll

first_imgBiju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate Rita Sahu registered an impressive victory in the Bijepur Assembly constituency in western Odisha when results of the bypoll were declared on Thursday. She defeated Sanat Gartia of the Bharatiya Janata Party by a record margin of 97,990 votes.Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik, who had campaigned for two days for the bypoll, congratulated Ms. Sahu for her “huge historic win, breaking all records in Odisha’s electoral history”.While Ms. Sahu polled 1,35,957 votes, Mr. Gartia secured 37,967 votes. Congress nominee Dillip Panda put up a dismal performance by bagging only 5,873 votes.CM vacates seatThe bypoll was necessitated after Mr. Patnaik, who contested from two Assembly seats for the first time in the elections held earlier this year, vacated Bijepur and retained Hinjili seat in his home district Ganjam in south Odisha.In fact, Mr. Patnaik was elected from Bijepur by defeating Mr. Gartia by 57,122 votes. He had bagged 1,10,604 votes, while Mr. Gartia had secured 53,482 votes and Congress nominee Ripunath Seth had got 14,344 votes.In the previous bypoll in Bijepur that was held in February 2018 following death of Ms. Sahu’s husband and then Congress MLA Subal Sahu, she had won as a BJD candidate by a margin of over 41,000 votes.The Congress, which had won the Bijepur seat in the three elections held before the February 2018 bypoll, has been gradually losing its vote share in the seat in the last three elections, primarily due to its weak leadership at the State level.Vote share upBut what came as a surprise for many this time was the drastic decrease in the BJP’s vote share within a short span of time. The party’s decline from 53,482 votes in the elections held earlier this year to 37,967 votes in the current bypoll has left many leaders of the party dumbfounded. The bonhomie between the party and the BJD in the aftermath of the general election was said to have been the contributing factor.While the Chief Minister led the BJD’s campaign, the BJP’s effort was led by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who campaigned for two days. The campaign for the Congress was led by the party’s State unit president Niranjan Patnaik.last_img read more

2G scam: SC judges recuse from hearing Kanimozhi case

first_imgTwo Supreme Court judges, who were scheduled to hear the bail plea of 2G scam-tainted DMK MP Kanimozhi on Monday, recused themselves from the hearing on Friday.According to sources, justices P. Sathasivam and A. K. Patnaik conveyed their decision to recuse to Chief Justice of India S. H. Kapadia.Instead, Justice G. S. Singhvi, whose bench has been monitoring the case, will hold a special hearing on Monday with Justice B. S. Chauhan to decide the bail applications of Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar.Earlier in the day, the CBI filed an affidavit in the apex court opposing the bail pleas of Kanimozhi and Kumar on the ground that if released, they could tamper with evidence and influence witnesses.The CBI contended that Kanimozhi and Kumar were key conspirators and the Rs 200 crore transferred to Kalaignar TV were part of a bribe and not a loan as claimed by the accused. It said that since investigation into the 2G spectrum case is at an advanced stage, it will not be proper for the apex court to grant bail to the accused.The apex court had on June 13 asked the CBI to explain where the Rs 200 crore, allegedly diverted to DMK-owned Kalaignar TV in the 2G scam, went and also to file a response on their bail pleas in a week’s time.A bench of justices B. S. Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar had also asked the CBI to come up with a status report on the loss to the state exchequer because of the award of 13 licences to one of the telecom operators and trial proceedings in the CBI special court.advertisementKanimozhi and Kumar had moved the apex court seeking bail on June 10, challenging the Delhi High Court verdict rejecting their bail on the ground that they have strong political connections.Named as accused in the second chargesheet for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 200 crore, the two were arrested on May 20 after the special court dismissed their bail pleas.Both Kanimozhi and Kumar have 20 per cent stake each in Kalaignar TV, which allegedly received Rs 200 crore through a circuitous route from DB Realty.DMK chief Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal, who has been left out of the list of accused, owns the remaining 60 per cent shares in the channel.- With PTI inputsFor more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more

India’s economic rise coincided with career of Sachin: London daily

first_imgNoting that India has just hosted a superb World Cup, a leading London daily on Monday said India’s economic rise has coincided almost exactly with the career of batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar.”India’s victory in the World Cup was not just a story about cricket. It was an economic success story as much as a cricketing one,” Ed Smith wrote in The Times on Monday.”It is true that India have won the World Cup before, in 1983. But that was an underdog victory that did not reflect the real cricketing balance of power. In 1983, England still shaped and administered the game,” the report said.”Now, 28 years on, India haven’t just won the World Cup, they lead the world in every department of the game.”India has the most lucrative and influential tournament, the Indian Premier League, that dictates terms to the rest of the world. It has the biggest market and the most iconic players.”And it has now hosted a superb World Cup, dominated on the pitch and achieved both with the assured touch of a nation at ease with its supremacy,” the report added.India’s position at the summit of the cricketing world is inconceivable without its parallel economic journey. In 1989, when Tendulkar made his Test debut as a 16-year-old, “you couldn’t buy a Coca-Cola in India.” Only in 1993 were Coke and Pepsi allowed into the Indian market. Now these two have a different battle; not to get on the shelves, but to land the biggest endorsements.When Pepsi secured M.S. Dhoni, the match-winning Indian captain, on a huge deal, Coke responded by signing up Tendulkar as an “ambassador”.advertisement”In fact, Tendulkar’s career coincides almost exactly with the Indian economic revolution that began in 1991 with Manmohan Singh’s liberalisation reforms – and the newly rich Indian middle classes have seen Tendulkar as the embodiment of their aspirations,” the report said. The report also said, “Tendulkar once looked to England to complete his sporting education and to earn a living. “When Tendulkar played for Yorkshire as their overseas professional in 1992, it must have felt like playing for Manchester United.”Yorkshire was the most famous team in what was then the world’s most prestigious and lucrative domestic league.”Now, in the age of the IPL, for an Indian star to play at a windswept county ground in front of a handful of fans would require an act of charity rather than economic self-interest.”For a cricketer to get rich these days he has to crack the Indian market; anything else is minor league. Dhoni’s annual income is estimated at $10 million,” the report said.– With inputs from PTIlast_img read more



Here Are The Announcers For The Michigan vs. Notre Dame Game

first_imgC.J. Prosise running the ball for Notre DameANN ARBOR, MI – SEPTEMBER 07: C.J. Prosise #20 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs the ball against the Michigan Wolverines during the game at Michigan Stadium on September 7, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)Michigan-Notre Dame is without question one of the most anticipated games of the college football season, let alone opening weekend.Both teams are ranked in the top 15, and it is their first meeting since 2014. Two traditional programs with a long-standing rivalry and big expectations playing in prime time?Yes please.The day before the day before. 2️⃣ DAYS! #GoBlue— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) August 30, 20182️⃣ days! @SwedishBlackGuy and @dexterw_22 you ready?#GoIrish ☘️ #BeatMichigan— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) August 30, 2018Kickoff for this game is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC.Here is who will be broadcasting the contest:Play-by-play: Mike TiricoGame analyst: Doug FlutieSideline reporter: Kathryn TappenNotre Dame is a two-point favorite in this game. Expect this one to go down to the wire.last_img read more

Appeal Court blasts judge for failures to give reasons quashes verdict

first_imgTORONTO – Ontario’s top court sharply rebuked a prominent judge on Thursday for repeatedly failing to explain why she had acquitted a man accused of beating and sexually assaulting a woman.In setting aside the acquittal and ordering the man face a new trial, the Appeal Court expressed dismay at the conduct displayed by Superior Court Justice Susanne Goodman.“Our order directing a new trial is a terrible result for everyone involved in this proceeding,” Justice David Doherty wrote for the court. “The trial judge’s failure to give reasons, despite her repeated promises to do so, has frustrated the proper administration of justice.”In a post-script to the decision, the Appeal Court said the judge had displayed similar behaviour in the past.“Nor is this the first time that this trial judge’s failure to provide reasons has required this court to order a new trial,” the Appeal Court said. “It must be the last time.”Roslyn Levine, a spokeswoman for Superior Court Chief Justice Forster Smith, told The Canadian Press that it would not be appropriate to contact the Toronto-based judge directly.“As this matter is now before the Canadian Judicial Council, it would be inappropriate for Chief Justice Smith to comment on it,” Levine said.The new issue arose after Goodman dismissed all charges against Stanislaw Sliwka in March last year. He was charged after a distressed woman, who can only be identified as A.C., called 911 from an apartment in March 2014.Police were “horrified” to find A.C. had been badly beaten and needed immediate medical assistance, court records show. Her injuries included severe bruising, swelling, numerous cuts, and bleeding to her face and head.During a nine-day trial, A.C. accused Sliwka of repeatedly physically and sexually assaulting her over many months when she lived with him. He denied the assaults. Instead, he called her a drunk who sometimes hurt herself when she fell. He also blamed her injuries on an unknown intruder that had broken into the apartment. His evidence contradicted police testimony.At the end of the trial, Goodman acquitted him, saying she had carefully considered the matter. She said she did not intend the acquittal to be taken as sign she totally believed him or totally disbelieved A.C., but said that on the whole, she was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt of his guilt.“My detailed written reasons will be released on Monday, March 14, 2016,” Goodman said.However, Goodman, who has sat on the court since 2000, failed to release her reasons as promised. Over the following six months, prosecution lawyers repeatedly asked for them, only to be told by Goodman’s assistant that they would be forthcoming on a particular date. It never happened.When the prosecution wrote directly to Goodman last September to say the Crown would argue the appeal should go ahead on the basis that there were no written reasons for the acquittal, the judge simply didn’t respond.At an appeal hearing this month, the prosecution argued the brief comments Goodman made at trial weren’t intended to explain her decision and didn’t count as reasons. As such, they said, the not-guilty verdict had to be overturned.Sliwka argued in response that Goodman’s brief comments were adequate, and that her decision was properly based on trial evidence. The Appeal Court disagreed.“There is no way of knowing how the trial judge arrived at her verdicts,” Doherty wrote.In 2011, the Appeal Court ordered a new trial for a man charged with a weapons offence because Goodman took 25 months to deliver her ruling. In February, the court ordered a new hearing for woman challenging her detention order because Goodman had failed to deliver reasons for keeping her behind bars.last_img read more

Judge rejects Washington state game farm dismissal request

TACOMA, Wash. — A federal judge has denied a motion to dismiss an animal mistreatment lawsuit against a Washington state wildlife farm, giving an initial victory to animal rights activists.Peninsula Daily News reported Tuesday that the Animal Legal Defence Fund sued Olympic Game Farm in December, saying the Sequim-area business is in violation of the Endangered Species Act.The lawsuit asks the court to require the drive-thru wildlife exhibit 95 miles (153 kilometres) northwest of Tacoma to give its endangered or threatened species to a sanctuary.The decision allows the lawsuit to move forward.The Game Farm filed the motion in March to dismiss state public nuisance and animal cruelty claims.The judge says the farm already acknowledged violating state law by possessing Roosevelt elk.___Information from: Peninsula Daily News, http://www.peninsuladailynews.comThe Associated Press read more

US lumber industry expected to heat up ongoing softwood lumber dispute

OTTAWA – A spokesman for International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland says the U.S. Lumber Coalition is expected to submit petitions to the Department of Commerce on Friday, requesting an investigation in the ongoing softwood lumber dispute.Softwood lumber is excluded from the continental trade agreement and lumber producers in both countries continually bicker over whether Canadian companies have cheap access to public forests and whether that constitutes an illegal subsidy.Freeland’s press secretary, Alex Lawrence, says Canada is prepared for any situation, and the government will “vigorously defend” the interests of Canadian workers and producers.At the APEC summit in Peru last weekend, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed the dispute with U.S. President Barack Obama and Freeland met with U.S. trade representative Michael Froman.The U.S. industry must sign on to any softwood lumber agreement, as it must agree to suspend its legal rights to petition for trade remedy relief for the duration of the agreement.Canada’s share of the U.S. market has oscillated between 26 per cent and 35 per cent since 2000 and was estimated at 31 per cent earlier this year.“Our softwood lumber producers and workers have never been found in the wrong,” Lawrence said in an email Thursday. “International bodies have always sided with our industry in the past.”At the same time, he notes the protectionist climate in the U.S. complicates any trade negotiation, including this one.The 2006 softwood lumber agreement expired a year ago but a one-year standstill period kicked in to allow an attempt at resolution. It imposed export taxes of zero to 15 per cent on Canadian lumber, growing with market prices and export volumes.The U.S. Lumber Coalition now wants across-the-board quotas — which is rejected by Western Canadian producers.Note to readers: This stories clarifies a point. An earlier story did not make clear that both the U.S. and Canada bicker over whether Canadian companies have cheap access to public forests. U.S. lumber industry expected to heat up ongoing softwood lumber dispute by The Canadian Press Posted Nov 25, 2016 6:46 am MDT Last Updated Nov 25, 2016 at 1:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

South Sudan Ban Security Council strongly condemn deadly attack on UN base

The civilians and the two peacekeepers from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) lost their lives when an estimated 2,000 heavily armed youth believed to be of Lour Nuer ethnicity surrounded the UN base in Akobo, and opened fire on the Dinka ethnic civilians seeking refuge inside. After the deadly attack, the assailants fled with arms, ammunition and other supplies.The deadly fighting escalated in the two-year-old country over the weekend, according to media reports, following what President Salva Kiir’s Government has claimed was an attempted coup by soldiers loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, who was dismissed in July.The Secretary-General, in a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York, reiterated his call for all parties to exercise restraint, and to cease hostilities. “He also strongly calls on the top leaders of the SPLM [Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement] to demonstrate compromise and leadership on behalf of the Southern Sudanese people and to resolve their personal differences through dialogue immediately,” said the statement, which expressed the UN chief’s condolences to the families of the fallen peacekeepers and to the families of the civilians killed yesterday.Following earlier closed-door talks with Assistant Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations, Edmund Mulet, Ambassador Gerard Araud of France, which holds the 15-member body’s rotating presidency this month, told reporters that the Council called on both President Kiir and Mr. Machar “to demonstrate leadership in bringing a swift and peaceful resolution to this crisis by calling for a cessation of hostilities and immediately commencing a dialogue.” “The members of the Security Council called on all relevant States and organizations to use their influence with South Sudan’s political leaders to bring about an end to the violence and initiate reconciliation,” he said in a press statement, adding the Council strongly urged parties in South Sudan to cooperate with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Ministerial Group’s swift initiative to open a dialogue and mediate between key leaders in the country.Council members in their statement also condemned reported human rights violations and abuses “by all parties, including armed groups and national security forces” and emphasized that those responsible for any violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law must be held accountable.They commended the active steps taken by UNMISS to implement its mandate, and other humanitarian agencies that have given refuge in their premises and other forms of assistance to the civilians caught in the fighting. They encouraged UNMISS to continue to implement fully its mandate, in particular the protection of civilians, and called on South Sudanese authorities to provide their full support and assistance in this regard. After reading the statement Ambassador Araud said a few thousand armed youths are gathering around the UN camp in Bor. “The situation is very, very unstable,” he added. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the country and UNMISS chief, Hilde Johnson and UN Special Envoy Haile Menkerios are working with the IGAD delegation, counterparts from the African Union and all partners, according to UN spokesperson Farhan Haq, who also expressed the organization’s deep concern about the situation elsewhere in Jonglei State, including in Bor town. The security situation is worsening in a number of areas – of particular concern are the situations in Juba, Jonglei, Unity, Upper Nile and lakes States. He said that UNMISS is engaged in protecting civilians sheltering in its bases and extracting people in vulnerable spots. “Right now, between 35,000 and 40,000 civilians are seeking refuge in UN bases across the country. In Juba, the Mission has strengthened troop presence, including with patrolling,” he added. Earlier today, UNMISS confirmed that at least 20 civilians seeking refuge at its base in Jonglei State were killed in an attack yesterday, in which also two peacekeepers died and a third one is reported to be in stable condition. “While trying to open negotiations with the assailants, UNMISS peacekeepers stationed inside the compound came under sustained attack,” the Mission said releasing details of what happened at the base in Akobo Town.The bodies of the two peacekeepers, from the Mission’s Indian battalion, have been transported today to the capital of Juba. The third soldier from the battalion continues to receive medical aid for a chest wound at the UNMISS facility in Malakal.Ms. Johnson deplored the attack as “unjustified and unwarranted” stressing that the peacekeepers killed were in Akobo to protect civilians and serve the people of South Sudan: “It is a criminal act for which the responsible must be held accountable. Such attacks will not deter us from continuing to discharge our mandate.”The UN has sent aircraft early this morning to evacuate its remaining personnel from the base along with seven South Sudanese civilians and a dozen staff members from non-governmental organizations. The base is now under the protection and control of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) who helped to squelch the takeover, after assailants seized weapons, ammunition and other supplies from the UN. The Mission today stressed that it would support all efforts to bring the perpetrators of “this heinous crime” to justice. It has also said that it is doing everything it can, within its means and in a very fluid situation, to protect civilians, as well as UN and international personnel on the ground.Meanwhile, operations are underway to evacuate 40 UNMISS peacekeepers from a base in Yuai, also in Jonglei.In in the Juba area, the UN humanitarian arm announced that it had carried out rapid humanitarian needs assessments in eight locations around the town, focusing on protection of civilians. Some areas of Juba are deserted, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, but there are concentrations of displaced people.The main priorities for the people gathered at the UNMISS bases – believed to number at least 34,000 – are emergency latrines, hygiene, water purification, emergency food, primary health facilities and nutrition screening.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Juba Teaching Hospital had received 440 patients since Sunday, half of them with severe injuries.Children, who make up half of South Sudan’s population, are extremely vulnerable, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today said, announcing that the UN agency is starting to deliver aid to the children in the UN camps.Children and women are being prioritized for emergency food supplies, the UN World Food Programme said. The UN agency is working with humanitarian partners and peacekeepers to organize distribution in the coming days.Some 75 aid workers – a mixture of South Sudanese and international staff – were flown from Bor to Juba yesterday after seeking shelter from the fighting. read more

MovieBob Reviews Suicide Squad

first_imgSuicide Squad sucks.That needs to be said right upfront on top of everything else, because this is one of those peculiar bad movies where what’s gone wrong with it is actually pretty damn fascinating and parts of it are so profoundly wrongheaded that seeing them play out can be said to be unintentionally entertaining or compelling in its own right – which some folks will inevitably take as an “endorsement” of some kind. So let me be completely, unequivocally clear right here and right now:Suicide Squad is a fucking garbage fire. It is excrement. It is a flailing, obnoxious, pointless, ugly, dreary disaster that swings wildly back and forth between incoherent and boring and most of the time looks like it was shot through a solid wall of rot-clouded urine – which is actually fairly appropriate for a feature that manages the neat trick of feeling all at once like an irritating wallow in the paint-huffing waste of skin teenage version of anarchic excess and the infuriatingly fake, phony, corporate, mass-market co-opting of the paint-huffing waste of skin teenager version of anarchic excess. It’s the radio-edit version of a Kid Rock cover of an Iggy Pop track, the feature adaptation of a blonde mullet-sporting 10 year-old shouting “WORLDSTAR!!!” from the Chuck-E-Cheese ball pit on Snapchat.And in case you’re wondering: No, it’s not as bad as Batman v Superman; but mainly by virtue of not really trying as hard, so it can only fall so far. But make no mistake: It is now utterly undeniable what with the same things going hugely wrong with every successive terrible film that the DC Cinematic Universe is fundamentally broken.Now look, folks – I was looking forward to this one as much as anyone. Unlike Dawn of Justice (which was loudly announcing that it was going to be awful over a year in advance), Suicide Squad was looking like a good time. Director David Ayer knows his way around nasty, dirty, angry “dudes on a mission” movies, the cast was interesting, and the premise seemed like a perfect palate-cleanser for another superhero-saturated Summer: A gritty little action procedural about a bunch of C and D-list DC Comics bad guys being forced to operate as a covert government black ops team? It’s frankly bizarre somebody didn’t do this idea already; and I’m even still (hypothetically) onboard with the idea of letting a gonzo ragecase like Ayer put his own sleazeball spin on the DCU aesthetic – theoretically, these are all good ideas.Unfortunately, whatever virus already took down Man of Steel and Batman v Superman has clearly spread through the entirety of Warner Bros ill-conceived “Extended Universe” experiment; as once again we have a movie that not only lands onscreen stumbling around with its balls having been very clearly hacked-off in the editing room but also with just enough of what one presumes was the original vision remaining intact for you to tell it probably wasn’t going to be very good even before the suits took the scissors to it.Aesthetically, tonally, and quality-wise, the film Suicide Squad resembles more than anything else is Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (to the extent that it could conceivably inherit that infamous failure’s cult-item statue somewhere down the road), and not just because of the terrible 90s-style CGI used to create one of the main villains. The whole thing is a mess from top to bottom: There’s almost no logic to the way scenes are arranged and play out, some characters get introduced multiple times while others barely warrant having their names said out loud (which, hilariously, includes that aforementioned poorly rendered main bad guy), everyone seems to have two different personalities, five different motivations and at least three backstories.The only reason any of this nonsense feels like something that might’ve worked under different circumstances is that Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Viola Davis are compelling enough as onscreen personalities to make even this sort of scattershot bullshit almost seem cohesive… at least until that scene where Deadshot (Smith, looking glum with his array of guns like it’s only now dawning on him that he really did say “no” to Django Unchained) flips out because he found a “Top Secret” file and the big surprise inside that the whole film stops to absorb… turns out just be shit we already saw happen. Twice.The whole film plays out like that; and you don’t need to have been following the now-ubiquitous deluge of gossip to know immediately that Suicide Squad was drastically reworked from whatever it was originally going to be. It’s obvious from how no one’s story-arcs follow through in a coherent fashion, the way plot threads appear and vanish out of fucking nowhere, and how developments that were clearly meant to be major plot twists land with a resounding “Oh, okay.”Case in point: For what it’s worth, the actual plot is that first round Squad draftee “The Enchantress” (Cara Delevingne) goes rogue pretty much the moment they decide to “make” Task Force X (the Squad’s “real” moniker) and revives her evil brother Incubus so they can take over the world. So the Suicide Squad’s big mission is to stop something that only happened because of Suicide Squad… and no one seems to bring this up as something worth mentioning! It’s as though the film is almost on the cusp of being a clever riff on the actual problems of covert paramilitary dealings… but it never comes up, and by the end it’s just “good job, guys!” and you just get the sense a bunch of the movie went missing… or maybe the Incubus business was supposed to come in later – maybe both?To use just the most prominent example: There’s no reason whatsoever for Jared Leto’s Joker to even be in the damn movie. Seriously – after all that hype about what a “weirdo” he was during the production and how everyone on set was freaked out by his forced-quirkiness; The Joker is only in the movie for about 10 minutes and he doesn’t actually share the screen or interact with anyone in the main cast except for Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn; and even then it’s only for one scene outside of Quinn’s tedious origin-story flashbacks.Incidentally: Yes, Jared Leto is the worst incarnation of The Joker ever by an exceptional margin. I’m not talking about the look – I actually like the idea of taking Joker away from being a serial-killer back to being more of a gangster but a “modern” skeevy, blinged-out, druggie gangster (he shakes a pimp-cane in his rivals’ faces, appears to operate a strip club where Harley performs, and tools around Gotham in a purple customized Infiniti G35) – but Leto plainly sucks at selling it. Granted, following Heath Ledger’s turn in the role was going to be a heavy lift for any actor; but this new Joker isn’t interesting, nor believably scary, charismatic or even all that bizarre… he’s just boring and shitty and (assuming Warner Bros still intends to make DC Comics movies come Monday morning) they need to recast this part right away.But yeah, he’s barely in the movie and his role could’ve been excised with almost no real effect. Oh, he’s talked about a lot, since the movie uses the idea that Joker is coming to “rescue” Harley as a ticking-clock for most of Act 2. But once he shows up and they have their one brief scene, he’s gone again having had zero tangible impact on anything else going on in the film. Not even Harley’s character arc, which doesn’t really “exist” (and wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t so clearly meant to be there at one time.)Maybe it has something to do with how Deadshot randomly turns all sensitive and nurturing to her in Act 3 when they’ve had NO real interaction before that because his whole storyline had previously been a weird buddy-cop bromance with Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman, whom you don’t remember from the Robocop remake)… Ugh! This isn’t just bad, it’s actively frustrating! And even more so because you just know a certain toxic variety of internet fanboy (the same ones currently harassing Squad-panning critics and lobbing Marvel/Disney conspiracy theories in the direction of Rotten Tomatoes) are gonna be pointing to all the random, scatterbrained bullshit that simply doesn’t make sense and calling it “edgy” and “different” and “visionary” when it’s really just bad filmmaking with a flashy chip on its shoulder.But that’s the problem with the whole fucking enterprise: It aspires to culty genre-trash but can’t cash the check. It rattles off visual references to alterna-geek bullet points like Takeshi Miike and Troma to the usual more direct lifts from John Carpenter and Joe Dante, but always in a soulless, calculated, “Coming Soon To Your Local Hot Topic!” kind of way. It reeks of a cynical attempt to manufacture a dirty, dangerous, “edgy” punk-rock vibe without any real commitment or depth; like those “street teams” contracted by marketing firm to plaster your local suburban strip mall with what looks like some an of touch executive’s idea of “gang tags” but turn out to just be a fucking Mountain Dew promotion.That’s Suicide Squad in a nutshell: The movie equivalent of stenciled graffiti. It’s a bag of Breaking Bad-branded rock candy. It’s a vaping pen shaped like a crack pipe hawked on QVC by Flavor Flav. It’s a gentrified neighborhood still trying to look “street” by commissioning a Boondocks mural next to Panera Bread… and it’s not even the good version of that.1 1/2 STARS (out of 4)last_img read more

Local experts address childhood obesity

first_imgIn the past three decades, childhood obesity rates have tripled.Yet only 47 percent of Americans perceive childhood obesity as a serious problem.In 2008, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.Yet 78 percent of Americans believe society has gone too far by banning chips and sweets in the classroom.The misconception that the obesity epidemic is exaggerated was one of several misconceptions explained during Washington State University Vancouver’s 2011 Chancellor’s Seminar Series lecture Friday afternoon.Jane Lanigan, an assistant professor in human development at WSUV, and Dr. Ed Guillery, a pediatrician with Legacy Health, offered their insights and advice at the “Barriers to Raising Healthy-Weight Children” lecture.Share family meals as often as possible.Emphasize healthful foods.Do your best to find time to prepare meals.Eat breakfast every day.Stop multitasking.Exercise every day.Limit or eliminate snacks.Give kids control over some lifestyle choices.Do your best to model good behaviors.Give yourself a break.— Provided byDr. Ed Guillery,pediatricianLanigan recently completed a three-year research project that involved 43 child care and early-learning settings. Her research revealed the misconception about the obesity epidemic being exaggerated.When Lanigan spoke about the misconception, and shared Centers for Disease Control and Prevention obesity statistics, many of the several dozen lecture attendees were surprised by the extent of the problem, particularly by the rapid increase in prevalence.last_img read more

Medical marijuana amendment takes effect in Florida

first_img(WSVN) – More people in Florida now have access to medical marijuana after Amendment 2 went into effect, Tuesday.Hundreds of doctors have already completed the training required to see patients regarding medical marijuana.Under the new law, doctors and state health officials have up to six months to create a plan for distributing the drug.Some conditions that may qualify a patient for the drug include cancer, seizures, muscle spasms, AIDS, glaucoma and Parkinson’s disease.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img

Optional headlights deliver IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus to 2019 BMW X5

first_imgBMW now has four vehicles that have captured an award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2019.The 2019 BMW X5 has earned the IIHS’ best award, Top Safety Pick Plus, the safety organization announced Thursday. In order to achieve this award, a vehicle has to beat a battery of crash tests with flying colors, in addition to scoring well on evaluations of its headlight and crash-avoidance systems. There’s a lot of moving parts to the equation, and the IIHS occasionally adds new tests to keep automakers in a state of constant improvement.This year’s new test is the passenger-side small-overlap crash test, and BMW took to it like a fish to water, earning the top rating of Good. It also achieved the same rating in every other crash test, whether it was roof strength, side collisions or the small-overlap test on the driver side. More about 2019 BMW X5 0 Preview • 2019 BMW X5: The Trojan horse of tech Share your voice 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63 review: Loud and proud, and absolutely divine SUVs Luxury cars Car Industry 2020 Lotus Evora GT first drive: A reminder to drive On the evaluation front, the 2019 X5 did well, but it wasn’t perfect. It achieved a top rating of Superior for its crash-prevention tech, which is standard on all trims, and more advanced options earned the same rating. Things were a bit different for the headlight evaluation, though. While the optional Laser Light LED headlights earned a Good rating, the standard LED headlights lacked sufficient high-beam illumination to the side, and the low beams created too much glare, resulting in a Poor rating, the lowest the IIHS gives out.But thanks to its Laser Light headlights, the all-new X5 earned itself a Top Safety Pick Plus commendation. It’s the third TSP Plus for BMW this year, following the 5 Series and X3. The smaller X2 did well, but not as well, picking up the second-best Top Safety Pick award. 2019 BMW X5 looks good without looking too differentcenter_img 2019 Maserati Levante GTS: Heart of gold 55 Photos BMW Post a comment BMW Tags Review • 2019 BMW X5 review: The O.G. dog gets new tricks More From Roadshowlast_img read more

National Great Blacks in Wax Museum Screens Black Panther Film

first_imgOn Feb. 17 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is hosting a screening of the documentary, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of The Revolution. The film is the first feature-length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. The screening will be followed by a discussion with a guest speaker. RSVP via Eventbrite at . The museum is located at 1601 East North Avenue, Baltimore, Md.last_img

Fill up your tanks as the petrol price is set to increase

first_imgSad news to share this morning… Ladysmith motorists should fill up their tanks as soon as possible, as the fuel price will increase with effect from midnight tonight (October 31).The price of all grades of petrol will increase by four cents a litre, with diesel rising from 23c/l to 27c/l, the energy department said in a statement on Saturday.The department said the main reasons for the fuel price adjustments were the rand/US dollar exchange rate and the prices of petroleum products in the international markets. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite Click to receive news links via WhatsApp. Or for the latest news, visit our webpage or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Join us there!last_img