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Kashmir to observe 2017 as the ‘Year of Apple’

first_imgChief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday declared 2017 as ‘Year of Apple’ in a major bid to promote the famed Kashmiri apples in domestic and foreign markets.The Chief Minister launched the High Density Apple Plantation Scheme in Srinagar. These high-density plants will be routed through J&K Bank along with the subsidy.“Fifty per cent subsidy would be provided by the government to the farmers under the scheme,” said Ms. Mufti. The high density plants have a yield of 50-70 metric tonnes per hectare against 10-12 tonnes in case of conventional plants. The government is setting up mega mandies and high-tech cold storage to promote apple industry. “These facilities would be be set up at Jablipora in Anantnag and Aglar in Pulwama in first stage, besides establishment of e-markets for the online sale of the produce,” said Ms. Mufti.Direct interface“The government has launched a Market Intervention Scheme to stabilise the rates of apple produce and benefit growers. A network of mandies is being laid to maximise direct interface between growers and buyers,” said Ms. Mufti, while asking the J&K Bank authorities to slash down interest rates on the credit to be given to farmers under the scheme. Jammu and Kashmir is the largest apple producing State in India at 11.2 metric tonnes, which accounts for 71% of national production, according to official figures.“Horticulture could be a game changer. It can generate employment. It can change the socio-economic profile of the State,” said Ms. Mufti.She warned the companies against marketing spurious and sub-standard pesticides. “I have asked the police to impose Public Safety Act against those indulging in malpractices in the pesticide industry,” she added.last_img read more

In Odisha district, women offer sarees at shrine to shut out evil eye

first_imgBlinded by superstition, thousands of mothers, whose firstborn is a boy, are rushing to Tara Tarini hill shrine in Ganjam district of Odisha on Tuesdays.These women are offering new sarees among other things to the deity, praying for the well-being of their eldest sons. The reason behind this superstition is a rumour that in the coming months some great harm, maybe death, is going to happen to eldest male child of any family and through this special puja at Tara Tarini temple with new saree on Tuesday this ill fate can be averted.16 weeks and countingIt’s been 16 weeks since the rumour started in the rural areas of Ganjam, and now it has spread to the slums of Berhampur city and other urban centres of the district. As a result, thousands of mothers are thronging the temple ofTuesdays with a new saree and food material to be offered as ‘chhancha’ (offering) to the temple.Interestingly, the cost of the saree and the offerings has to be borne by the parents of the women, according to the rumour which has now become a belief among the people. After offering the saree to the deity, the mothers have to wear it at the shrine and then return home.Crowd managementOn last Tuesday (February 21) around 25,000 visitors reached this famous hill shrine of south Odisha and most of them were married women with children, said the secretary of Tara Tarini Development Board (TTDB), Pramod Panda.On the Tuesday before that (February 14), the number of visitors had gone above 50,000, he added. According to Mr. Panda, February 21 was the 16th Tuesday and the number of visitors on all Tuesdays have been as high as the crowd seen at the temple on the four Tuesdays of the Hindu month of Chaitra (between March and April), when the major festivals of the shrine are held.The majority of the women who have fallen prey to this rumour are from the economically backward families. As most of them are uneducated or semi-literate, they do not use their logic and easily believe these stories, said J. Suresh, an activist with Humanist and Rationalist Organisation (HRO). Such superstition spreads through word of mouth among the downtrodden, who fail to use their analytical skill to know the truth behind it, he added.last_img read more

Body of an Irish woman found after Holi in Goa

first_imgThe nude body of a 25-year-old Irish woman was found at an isolated open place in South Goa, police said on Wednesday.Police has started investigating the alleged rape and murder of the Irish tourist, who had arrived at Canacona sub-district, known for its popular beaches like Palolem and Agonda, from Arambol in North Goa.According to the police, the deceased had come with a friend and celebrated Holi, before being found dead on Tuesday.“We are investigating people with whom she was playing Holi during a party here. Her friend has also given us some leads and we are questioning some suspects,” a police officer familiar with the probe told IANS on condition of anonymity.Police, who are suspecting rape, have sent the body to the Goa Medical College near Panaji for a post mortem.“The body was lying in a pool of blood without clothes and there were injuries on the head and face,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Sammy Tavares said.last_img read more

No takers for Tunday’s kebabs without beef

first_imgFor more than a century, Tunday Kababi, Lucknow’s iconic kebab shop, has satisfied connoisseurs with its delicious galawati kebabs made from buffalo meat. On any given day, the restaurant in the heart of old Lucknow’s Chowk locality bustles with customers, who do not mind waiting in long queues for a bite of their favourite kebabs.But all that had changed on Thursday with only a couple of tables occupied and most waiters sitting idle. There was an unusual calm at the place, a far cry from its daily business.“Aap khud hi dekh sakte hai, kaisa sannata hai. Aaram se baithe hai hum, aam dino mein baithne ki fursat nahi hoti. (You can see for yourself how deserted the place is. Under normal conditions, we would not have a moment to rest),” says Tunday’s caretaker Mohammad Farooq.The iconic restaurant has been hit hard by a shortage of buffalo meat following the State government’s crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses. As buffalo meat is no longer available, Tunday Kababi’s Chowk outlet was forced to shut down on Wednesday. It reopened on Thursday but with the USP of its menu missing. For the first time since its inception, the restaurant served mutton and chicken kebabs, instead of its mainstay, beef. Stickers pasted on the walls of the outlet informed customers of the change.“This is for the first time in my 62 years of life that this joint is selling chicken kebabs. We have always sold beef. The customers come here especially for bade ka kabab (beef kebabs) and do not care much about other meat,” says Mr. Farooq.Customers unhappyAs their favourite items go missing from the menu, the flow of customers has also dipped. Mohammad Tauqeer, a retired government official, arrived at the outlet to purchase his favourite beef kebabs and paranthe but was disappointed. Would he try the chicken or mutton kebabs? “I am not interested [in mutton and chicken]. I just don’t get the same taste,” Mr. Tauqeer said, as he walked off empty-handed.Abbas (29), arrived to encounter the same dilemma. He, was, however, ready to give the new items a try. “I am a foodie. It is difficult to replace the taste [of beef kebabs]. It is not the same,” he said.In its election manifesto, the BJP promised to shut down all mechanised abattoirs and illegal slaughterhouses in U.P. Within a couple of days after coming to power, the Adityanath government swung into action, sealing slaughterhouses allegedly running without licence. “We welcome the move to shut illegal slaughterhouses. We request the government to ensure that those slaughterhouses with licence be allowed to run,” said Mr. Farooq.last_img read more

Fadnavis ends Pune garbage stalemate

first_imgPune: The impasse over the disposal of Pune’s garbage was finally broken on Sunday after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met with the residents of Uruli Devachi and Phursungi villages and persuaded them to withdraw their agitation.The Chief Minister, who met the villagers in the presence of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule, gave them a number of assurances, promising that “a comprehensive and permanent solution to the problem would be ironed out within a month”.“The concerns of the citizens of Uruli Devachi and Phursungi will be accorded top priority … We will consider capping the landfill site soon, while investing in newer and more efficient waste-processing plants,” Mr. Fadnavis said.The protest erupted three weeks ago, after a fire broke out at the garbage depot at Uruli Devachi. Villagers stopped the Pune Municipal Corporation from dumping garbage in the villages.“We are also mulling on how to recompense afflicted villagers,” Mr. Fadnavis said.last_img read more

I forgive those who criticised me for political gains: Sidhu

first_imgPunjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday said God has always helped him in difficult times to sail through and that his life was dedicated to Punjab. He was reacting to the Supreme Court’s verdict sparing him jail term in the 1988 road rage case.“I am thankful to all the people who supported me and stood by my side. Also I forgive all those who criticised me only for petty political gains. When you are on the side of truth there’s no need to worry,” he said here.“My life is dedicated to Punjab. I live Punjab, I dream Punjab and I would continue to work towards the welfare of my State until it achieves the best,” he added.Celebrations broke out at Mr. Sidhu’s house on the outskirts of Amritsar at Holy City colony soon after the Supreme Court reprieve. His wife, daughter, friends and relatives offered sweets to each other and danced to the beating of drums.“Justice has been done,” Mr. Sidhu’s daughter Rabia said.Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh hailed the verdict. “I welcome SC judgement in the road rage case against @sherryontopp. His acquittal on culpable homicide charges shows justice has prevailed. I’d always maintained that there was nothing wilful in his act, and the judges have also upheld the same. Law has duly taken its course,” Capt. Singh tweeted.On April 12, the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in the Supreme Court had favoured the High Court’s judgment convicting and awarding a three-year jail term to Mr. Sidhu.At that time, the Chief Minister had maintained that his government had taken the only legally tenable stand in the apex court.Punjab Sports Minister Gurmit Singh Sodhi also said the law has taken its own course and justice has been done, describing the verdict as a victory for the people of Punjab.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more

Tejpal to get a copy of the WhatsApp messages between him and survivor

first_imgA trial court hearing the Tarun Tejpal rape case in Mapusa in North Goa, on Wednesday, directed the prosecution to facilitate a sequential record of WhatsApp messages exchanged between former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal and the rape survivor in the case, to the former. A cloned copy of the messages, which will be provided to Tejpal via the Goa State Forensic department, are part of the evidence submitted by the prosecution to the Court. Tejpal has been accused of sexually assaulting and raping his junior female colleague in the elevator of a North Goa coastal resort during an event of the Tehelka magazine in November, 2013. The next date of hearing has been scheduled for July 16 by Mapusa Additional District and Sessions Judge Vijaya Pol. An in-camera trial is presently being held in the case before this judge.last_img read more

Eight injured after two-storey building collapses in Pune

first_imgEight persons, including two minors, were injured when a two-storey building caved in at Pune’s Mundhwa area on Saturday.All the injured were safely evacuated from the debris and are being treated at the city’s Sassoon General Hospital, police sources said.The mishap occurred at Mundhwa’s Keshavnagar area between 12 p.m. and 12.30 p.m., when the house, belonging to Kailash Subhash Bhandwalkar, suddenly collapsed.Mr. Bhandwalkar, his wife, Aruna, and two daughters were living on the first floor, while the ground floor was inhabited by tenants.“While fire brigade officials rushed to the spot, passers-by immediately alerted the 108 ambulance service, which promptly dispatched three vehicles to transport those trapped to hospitals within an hour of the mishap. A police team, too, joined the rescue operations. All injured are out of danger,” said senior police inspector Anil Patrudkar of the Mundhwa police station. A five-year-old child was safely brought out from the debris.“A notice issued by the Pune Municipal Corporation to evacuate the building was apparently ignored by the inhabitants, ” Mr. Patrudkar said.last_img read more

Pop singer Remo acquitted of verbal abuse charges

first_imgA Goa court on Thursday acquitted pop singer-musician Remo Fernandes of charges of verbally abusing a minor girl in 2015. Mr. Remo’s lawyer Rajeev Gomes said Mr. Fernandes had been acquitted of the charges framed under Section 8 r/w 2 (m) of the Goa Children’s Act.Mr. Fernandes had been charged with verbally abusing the minor girl from Maharashtra’s Malvan region, who was walking to the Old Goa Church complex in North Goa as part of an annual pilgrimage, when a car allegedly driven by Mr. Fernandes’s son knocked her down on December 15, 2015. The victim’s complaint had stated that after she was admitted to the Goa Medical College Hospital at Bambolim near here, Mr. Fernandes visied her at the hospital and after an argument, he verbally abused her.last_img read more

Man beaten to death in Bihar

first_imgA man was beaten to death by a mob which suspected him to be a thief at Labarpura village in Nawada, Bihar, on Monday night. The police said the women of the village were engaged in a ceremony when the victim, Rupan Manjhi, reached there. “They raised an alarm and the villagers caught him suspecting him to be a thief. They beat him brutally…he died while undergoing treatment,” said Rajdeo Sao, Hisua police station in -charge.last_img

Two held for murder of MBA student in Odisha village

first_imgAn anonymous letter and guilty conscience of one of the two accused led the police solve a murder case of a 24-year-old MBA student who was missing from Bhogara village in Odisha’s Ganjam district since August 28.The police have arrested Pravanjan Tripathy, the business partner of the victim, Jitendra Pradhan, and Bansidhar Gouda, who allegedly assisted Tripathy in disposing of Pradhan’s body and motorbike.The arrests were made following the discovery of the body and the motorbike earlier this week. The Bhanjanagar Sub-Divisional Police Officer received an anonymous letter hinting at the murder and the names of the persons allegedly involved in the crime. A police team searched for the body and the bike based of the hints given in the letter and found the charred remains of the vehicle buried inside Kiriamba forest on September 17. A day later, the decomposed body of Pradhan was unearthed from a waterbody meant for wild elephants inside the same jungle. On Wednesday, the police arrested the two accused and during interrogation, Gouda allegedly confessed to helping Tripathy in disposing of the body.According to sources, Gouda had earlier confessed about the murder and the disposal of the body before some inhabitants of Bhogara. It is suspected that he only sent the anonymous letter to the police.Dispute over money Financial dispute between the deceased and Tripathy is suspected to be the reason behind the murder. The two had started a poultry farm together at Bhogara. According to sources, As Pradhan was studying in Bhubaneswar, Tripathy used to manage the farm. The victim is said to have invested ₹2 lakh in the farm. Pradhan had come to Bhogara on August 26 and was scheduled to return to Bhubaneswar on August 28. On the day he went missing he had told his mother that he would return home after collecting money from Tripathy. According to the police investigation, Tripathy and Pradhan allegedly consumed liquor inside Kiriamba jungle on August 28. When the victim got too drunk, Tripathy allegedly hacked him to death. On August 29, Tripathy, with help of Gouda, allegedly disposed of the body and the bike.last_img read more

Five policemen suspended for violence in Puri

first_imgFive police personnel were placed under suspension for alleged dereliction of duty during vandalising of public property in Puri on October 3.Five police personnel, including four constables and one havildar, reportedly failed to control a group of people that attacked the house of Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Maheswar Mohanty, who is the local MLA.Violence had erupted in the coastal town during the bandh called by Jagannath Sena protesting against the ‘dhadi darshan’ (queue system for entering the temple) introduced by the Shree Jagannath Temple administration on the recommendation of the Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium.Protesters had also attacked the house of Puri Superintendent of Police Sarthak Sarangi.The police arrested 15 more protesters on Sunday taking the total number of arrests to 38. The district police had rounded up a total of 47 protesters who, as per CCTV footage, were reportedly found participating in violence The Supreme Court is monitoring reforms being undertaken in the 12th-century temple where devotees have long been alleging ill-treatment in the hand of servitors.last_img read more

6 militants killed in Kashmir

first_imgThe security forces on Thursday killed six militants in twin operations in south and north Kashmir, as the death toll for October crossed 50 in the Valley.A police spokesman said two militants were killed in the Authoora village of Baramulla’s Kreeri in a pre-dawn operation. “The police made all efforts to make the hiding militants surrender. Instead, they fired on the search party. In the ensuing encounter, two militants were neutralised in Kreeri. The identity of the terrorists is being ascertained,” said the spokesman. Initial investigations suggested they belonged to the Lashkar-e-Taiba.In another operation in Anantnag’s Arwani, four militants were killed.last_img read more

Activists intercept nine trucks transporting river sand, stones

first_imgActivists of Thoubal River Conservation Committee on Saturday morning intercepted nine trucks transporting sand and stones scooped from the riverbed in Thoubal district of Manipur and forced the drivers to dump the same on the premises of a youth club.The activists have been urging passengers to halt and see how polluted the river water has become. They said the nine trucks were transporting sand and stones ignoring the campaign to save the dying river.S. Binoy, an activist, said the Thoubal river meanders through several Assembly segments in Manipur. The sand mafia is so powerful that even elected representatives and government officials are not able to take any action against them. “In the past people used to scoop sand and pebbles using spades and baskets. However, a few years ago, they started using heavy machinery. Some people also are bringing muddy sand from nearby areas to wash in the river,” said Mr. Binoy.Polluted water People of Thoubal have been urging the BJP-led State government to ban the scooping of sand and stones from the riverbed. A resident, Biren Akoijam, said: “For generations people have been dependent on the Thoubal river for drinking and domestic requirements. But now the river water has become polluted and muddy and people can no longer use it.”The government has assured several times that the illegal scooping of sand from the river will be stopped but no concrete steps have been taken so far.Prices of sand and pebbles in Manipur have soared on the pretext that the same cannot be scooped from the Thoubal river. Questioning the silence of the government over the issue, the activists said that they will launch an agitation if the sand scooping is not stopped immediately.Recently, one policeman was suspended when he was caught on camera extorting money from some drivers transporting sand.last_img read more

Divide over Bill permeates cricket field

first_imgA perceived divide between the Assamese-dominated Brahmaputra Valley and the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, appears to have penetrated cricket in Assam.Four cricketers from the Barak Valley were allegedly abused and assaulted in Guwahati at an Under-16 trial camp, conducted under the School Sports Promotion Foundation, from January 22-24. The camp was meant to select the U-16 Assam team for the School India Cricket Tournament under SSPF. Newspapers from the Barak Valley reported that the boys were threatened against playing for Assam. SSPF’s State coordinator Gautam Hazarika however, said, “Nothing of this sort happened, and one of the boys from Barak Valley got selected for the State team.”Most indigenous groups in Brahmaputra Valley are opposed to the controversial Bill while a majority in Barak Valley want it to be made a law, fast-tracking the process of Indian citizenship for non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who fled religious persecution till December 31, 2014.last_img read more

Congress slams M.P. Governor

first_imgThe ruling Congress in Madhya Pradesh lashed out at Governor Anandiben Patel on Sunday after a video where she is purportedly seen telling a group of people to keep Prime Minister Narendra Modi in mind went viral. Ms. Patel, a former Gujarat Chief Minister, was acting as if she was still a worker of the Bharatiya Janata Party and not a Governor, the Congress alleged.Rewa visit The video was apparently shot during Ms. Patel’s visit to a solar power plant at Gudh in Rewa district on Saturday. During an informal chat with a group of local people, the Governor was heard saying, “This is an excellent project. It will benefit you all.” When a person said they were happy to meet her face-to-face, Ms. Patel said, “Aisa (mauka) kai (baar) aayega. Modi sahab par dhyan rakho.” (Such occasions will come often. Keep paying attention to Modi sahab.) After the video circulated on social media, State Congress’ media cell head Shobha Oza alleged that Ms. Patel was behaving as if she was still a BJP worker. “If she wanted to work like a BJP worker, she should resign and fight Lok Sabha elections,” Ms. Oza said. “Earlier too she was seen advising BJP workers at Satna airport about how to win votes. During her address in the Assembly, she did not read the point about farm loan waiver (announced by the newly elected Congress government) and read a BJP slogan which was not part of the written speech. She should resign immediately,” Ms. Oza demanded. The BJP defended Ms. Patel. “The Governor told people to keep paying attention to Modi. What is wrong with that? Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of the country. He is PM to every citizen. She meant to say help implement and reap benefits of schemes launched by Modi like Clean India, Ujjwala, Ayushman Bharat, etc,” said Bhopal MP and BJP leader Alok Sanjar.‘Political gimmick’ “Such accusations (by the Congress) are just a political gimmick,” he added. “The BJP never disrespected the Governor appointed during the UPA government. The Congress should also learn to respect the Governor,” he added.last_img read more

J&K on alert after IAF strikes, NIA raids separatists’ houses

first_imgThe J&K government appealed for calm on Tuesday as many departments in the State were put on a general alert in the wake of the Indian Air Force’s pre-dawn cross-border strikes at a training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Balakot in Pakistan.Separately, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted searches at the residences of seven separatist leaders in Srinagar.The NIA’s searches, which commenced early on Tuesday morning, were simultaneously conducted at the homes of Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, JKLF chief Yasin Malik, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leader Ashraf Sehrai, Shabir Shah, Masarat Aalam Butt, Syed Naseem Geelani (son of Syed Ali Shah Geelani) and Zaffar Akbar Bhat.“The NIA teams recovered incriminating documents, including property papers, financial transactions receipts and bank account details,” the NIA said in a statement. “Electronic devices including laptops, e-tablets, mobile phones, pen drives, communication systems and DVRs were also seized during the searches,” it added.The NIA said letterheads of different terrorist organisations as well as documents relating to recommendations for visas for admission in Pakistani educational institutions were also found. “A high-tech Internet communication set-up was also recovered from the residence of Mirwaiz Umar,” it added.In a statement, the umbrella Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising the Mirwaiz, Mr. Malik and Mr. Geelani, termed the NIA searches as “an act of vengeance”.“The clampdown and threats to tinker with Article 35A were aimed to break the nerves of people,” the JRL said in the statement. “Kashmir will observe a complete shutdown on February 27-28 against it. Our lives, families, existence, resistance and everything is in danger,” they added.Meanwhile, an eerie calm prevailed in the Kashmir Valley as people stocked up on essentials in the wake of the Indian strikes. Offices and markets, however, remained open and traffic plied normally.Ceasefire violationsThe Army on Tuesday said Pakistan’s Army had violated the ceasefire agreement on the Line of Control (LoC) in the Pir Panjal valley’s Rajouri and Poonch districts and in Jammu’s Akhnoor.The ceasefire violations by Pakistan had been reported along the LoC in Akhnoor, Nowshera and Krishna Ghati sectors, a Jammu-based Army spokesman said in a statement.“Around 5:30 p.m., Pakistan initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation by heavy shelling with mortars and firing of small arms along the LoC,” the Army said. “Indian Army is retaliating strongly and effectively.”The LoC stretches for 700 km in J&K.Earlier in the day, the director of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura, the valley’s main hospital, cancelled leave and the second half of the scheduled winter vacation holidays for all its staff.With the government issuing a general alert across J&K, the State’s chief secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam urged people to remain calm and not to believe rumours.“It is necessary that people remain stress free and go about their normal activities. In case there is anything to be communicated regarding people’s safety and security, the government will do so directly through media,” he said.Cross-LoC trade continuesThe escalation between India and Pakistan on Tuesday did not impact the cross-LoC trade.“The exchange of goods was not affected. Thirty-five trucks crossed from this side and an equal number from that into Kashmir,” said Hilal Turki, president, Cross-LoC Traders Union.last_img read more

In Punjab’s Anandpur Sahib, tussle over ‘outsider’ tag

first_imgAs campaigning picks up pace for the Lok Sabha poll in Punjab’s Anandpur Sahib, sitting Shiromani Akali Dal MP Prem Singh Chandumajra and Congress candidate Manish Tewari are engaged in a fierce battle of words, tagging each other as “outsider”.The electoral battle in one of the holiest places of the Sikhs has turned into a multi-cornered contest with candidates of the Congress, the SAD, the Aam Aadmi Party and the breakaway faction of Akali Dal — the Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali) — and others in the fray.With the Congress fielding Mr. Tewari, the SAD has been attacking him for being an “outsider” to the Lok Sabha seat.“These elections are going to be a referendum on the non-performance of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. Several villages in the constituency are boycotting Mr. Chandumajra and he has realised that given the anger against him, due to his non-performance, he is going to lose badly in the election. Fearing an apparent defeat, Mr. Chandumajra and his party are calling me an ‘outsider’, which is absurd,” Mr. Tiwari told The Hindu.“I was born and brought up in Chandigarh, which is surrounded by the Anandpur Sahib parliamentary constituency from three sides, so how come I am an outsider?. In fact, Mr. Chandumajra is an outsider as he belongs to Patiala,” added Mr. Tewari.Mr. Chandumajra has been hitting out at the Congress for fielding an “outsider”, saying that it reflects that the Congress has dearth of leaders in Anandpur Sahib. Among the other candidates in the fray for the May 19 election are AAP’s Narinder Shergill and Bir Davinder Singh of the SAD (Taksali).last_img read more

MIT grad brings new refrigeration system to rural India

first_imgEvery year in India, millions of gallons of milk gathered by rural farmers from their small herds spoil on their way to market. Last week, the co-founder of a U.S. startup company that is trying to solve that supply chain problem was named one of seven “invention ambassadors” in a new program that highlights the value of technology-driven solutions to global problems.When Sorin Grama graduated with a master’s degree in engineering and management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007 and started Promethean Power Systems with entrepreneur Sam White, their goal was to sell solar power concentrators to generate electricity in clinics and schools in villages without a dependable source of electricity. But the villages couldn’t find a use for the expensive technology, so Grama and White turned their attention to the country’s dairy industry, which is dominated by farmers with a few cows and who depend on rickshas, bikes, or their own feet to transport the warm milk on the first leg of its long journey from farm to local village collection center to the dairy plant. “[Milk] really is like liquid cash to them, because milk is something you harvest and sell daily,” says Grama, an electrical engineer who invented a refrigeration system to help these villagers keep their milk fresh longer.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(*)On 1 July, the Lemelson Foundation announced that Grama and six other inventor-entrepreneurs had been named invention ambassadors. The event, co-sponsored by AAAS (which publishes ScienceInsider), marks the start of a 3-year effort to engage inventors with the public through talks with everyone from high school students to policymakers.Grama’s invention is called the rapid milk chiller, a dome-shaped machine that couples to a thermal energy battery to cool milk from 35°C to 4°C. The rapid milk chiller cools the milk by means of a heat exchange with cold fluid inside the dome. When electrical power is not available, the rapid milk chiller can cool up to 500 liters of milk using only the thermal energy stored in the battery.Dairy plants install the chiller-battery pairs in village collection centers. Now, villagers can keep their milk fresh for up to 2 days. Dairy trucks don’t have to make daily rounds and no longer have to transport milk from a village collection center to a separate chilling center. The dairy plants can also extend their reach to more isolated villages with rapid milk chillers.Promethean Power has sold 60 chiller-battery pairs to dairy processing facilities since the first one was installed 3 years ago. The company plans to produce more chiller-battery pairs as demand rises, and Grama and White hope to apply their technology to cool vegetables and other perishable food items.last_img read more

Patent or perish? Jeers greet proposal to tie Australia’s academic science funding to patents

first_imgA senior minister’s suggestion that the Australian government may consider tying science funding for universities to the number of patents they generate is drawing a sharp reaction from the nation’s academic research community and some opposition politicians.“I think tying grants to patents is simply the wrong way to go,” Les Field, the secretary for science policy at the Australian Academy of Science and a deputy vice chancellor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, told reporter David Mark of “The World Today,” a radio program produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).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(*)Field was reacting to a speech given on 6 August by Ian Macfarlane, a former peanut farmer who last fall was named minister for industry by the conservative government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott. (The new government has drawn fierce criticism from some researchers as a result of budget cuts and other decisions.) According to an ABC transcript, during the presentation at the Queensland Media Club in Brisbane, Macfarlane said:  “I am freelancing a bit here, but I’m just painting a picture. We may think about realigning block grants to commercial outcomes, and rewarding them to universities not on the basis of how many papers they’ve had published, but actually on the basis of how many patents they’ve had registered. Look this is not rocket science. I hate to tell you, but just about every other country in the world is doing it. We need to do it here in Australia, so watch this space.”Macfarlane also said that government grants are now linked to a researcher’s productivity in publishing technical papers, “which are great if you’re into producing papers, but I’m into producing jobs, and I’m into producing products that are commercialised from the IP [intellectual property] that that scientist or researcher may have developed. So I think that we need to ensure that commercialisation of IP and the registration of patents is part of the process of giving taxpayers’ money to researchers generally, not just universities.”Macfarlane was referring to Australia’s system of distributing about AU$1.7 million annually to universities in the form of so-called block grants, which are linked to a variety of metrics, including publications rates and research funding.Political opponents and researchers, however, quickly decried the idea of putting more emphasis on patents, saying it could shift funding away from basic research, particularly in areas with no obvious short-term potential for commercialization.“In Macfarlane’s world, whole branches of discovery would never have been funded,” wrote Kim Carr, a member of the Labor Party and the opposition’s shadow minister for higher education, research, innovation, and industry, today in The Guardian. “And as for the suggestion that this is what ‘every other country in the world is doing’, this is simply not the case.” The minister, he added, had “waded into waters where he was completely out of his depth,” with “very little idea of the implications of what he was proposing.”A focus on patents could create “perverse incentives,” Aidan Byrne, chief of the Australian Research Council, told Andrew Trounson of The Australian newspaper. “I have emphasised many times, it is important that one indicator, such as patents, is not considered in isolation to other indicators.”On “The World Today,” Field struck a similar tone. “One really has to recognise quality research and research excellence,” he said, according to a transcript. “[T]here may well be a commercial outcome to this and you need to facilitate that or make it as easy as possible, but some of the best developments in fact probably will come from the research which at the moment is what I call ‘blue sky’. It’s looking into the unknown, trying to tackle problems that perhaps we haven’t even identified yet.”Although Macfarlane has generated attention with his remarks, several commentators note that his ministry would have a limited role in developing or implementing any change in university research funding policy, which is primarily the responsibility of the Australia’s education ministry.last_img read more