Nayana Pujari rape-murder case: Pune court sentences three accused to death

first_imgA city trial court on Tuesday awarded death penalty to the three accused in the 2009 rape and murder of software professional Nayana Pujari in one of the most anticipated judgments in the State in recent times. The protracted seven-year trial concluded with the sentencing of Yogesh Raut (32), Mahesh Thakur (31) and Vishwas Kadam (34) by Special Judge L.L. Yenkar, who said that the crime could be counted among the rarest of the rare cases. However, the acquittal of the fourth accused Rajesh Chaudhari (30), who later turned approver, has courted controversy.“Judge Yenkar has acquitted Chaudhari of all charges in the case while holding three other accomplices guilty. Despite Chaudhari playing an equal role in the crime, why was he let off the hook?” asked Defence lawyer B.A. Aloor. He said the judgment could set a dangerous precedent by which an accused could absolve his role in a serious crime by turning approver.The prosecution during the course of the trial had taken a stand that Chaudhari was told that the victim was a sex worker and this prompted him to be part of the gangrape.At first, the Yerwada police had arrested all the four accused and slapped similar charges, including kidnapping and murder, against them. However, after the charge-sheet was filed, Chaudhari filed an application to turn approver. No charges were framed against him since then.‘Nirbhaya’ case invokedEarlier in the day, Special Public Prosecutor Harshad Nimbalkar argued for the death penalty and compared the case with the ‘Nirbhaya’ gangrape case in Delhi. “The accused have shown no remorse for the crime they’ve committed to this day,” said Mr. Nimbalkar.Ms. Pujari, 28, an engineer with Synechron Technologies in the city’s Kharadi area, was abducted near the Kharadi bypass on October 7, 2009 while awaiting her transport back home. According to investigators, Raut, along with Thakur, Kadam and Chaudhari, who worked as a security guard with the firm, kidnapped the victim and raped her in the car. They withdrew Rs. 61,000 using her ATM card and killed her. The body was recovered two days later from Khed Taluk, 50 km from the city.“The victim was murdered in cold blood and the criminals showed no mercy. One can only imagine her plight and helplessness while she was gangraped in the car. After strangulating her, the killers attempted to wipe out traces of her identity by attempting to disfigure her,” said Mr. Nimbalkar.The accused were brought to the courtroom at 11 a.m. to hear their final statements. Raut, the cab driver who was responsible for planning the abduction of Ms. Pujari, pleaded innocence by stating that the vehicle used in the crime was not with him on that fateful day. Raut said he had been “wrongly accused” by the approver, Chadhuri. Likewise, Thakur and Kadam told the judge that if they were to be sentenced, then Chaudhuri, too, must share the punishment.On Monday, Judge Yenkar, the fourth to hear the case since the trial commenced in 2011, had pronounced Thakur, Raut and Kadam guilty under Sections 376 (rape), 302 (murder), 120B (criminal conspiracy) 361 (kidnapping) and other Sections of the Indian Penal Code. The victim’s husband, Abhijit Pujari, and Nayana’s sisters, Manisha and Madhura, were present in the courtroom. Mr. Pujari said justice had finally been served with this sentence.last_img read more

Article 35(A) was never part of Indian constitution: J&K advocate general

first_imgJammu and Kashmir Advocate General Jehangir Iqbal Ganai on Friday said Article 35A, which is being contested in the Supreme Court (SC) through a number of petitions, “is not a part of the Indian Constitution.”Also read: What is Article 35A?“There is an argument projected that the President has no powers to amend the Constitution. The fact of the matter is Article 35 (A) is not part of the Constitution of India. It’s a part of the Constitution only applicable to J&K. There is a difference. So there was no requirement of Parliament amending it,” Mr. Ganai told The Hindu in an interview.He said Parliament as such had no powers to add any article of the Constitution to J&K’s Constitution except to Article 370. “Every Article has been made applicable to J&K through Article 370. In Article 370, the President has been given powers to amend, alter or modify any article viz-a-viz J&K, with exceptions and modifications,” he added.Referring to 1954’s presidential order on Article 35(A), which grants special rights to citizens of J&K over property, jobs, Mr. Ganai said the Article related to fundamental rights was in “desirable” and “not essential list.”“The Constituent Assembly of J&K has been of the opinion, as per the recorded debates, to have own Articles over fundamental rights. However, after the Delhi agreement of 1952 under Clause 6, the Centre appreciated the need to have special rights for J&K. And in fact acknowledges these special rights. Then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru issued a statement in Parliament over deliberations held between the State and Centre over special rights,” he said.He said Mr. Nehru recognised two issues in Parliament — one regarding the citizenship and special rights, while making reference to the special rights then existing since 1927 of Maharaja Hari Singh’s J&K.“Thus, the issue of special rights was put before Parliament and debated and accepted there,” said the Advocate General.In the follow-up of Parliament debates of 1954, the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly formed two committees, one on basic constitutional structure and another on fundamental rights.“Subsequently, the Constituent Assembly adopted a resolution on Article 35 (A). The annexure was sent to the Centre for concurrence and not for any approval from the President. In fact, all presidential orders require concurrence of State Assembly equally,” he said.Claiming J&K is in a strong position to defend Article 35 (A) in the SC, he said, “The issue also brings to the fore the matter of trust reposed by the State and the Centre in each other then. One cannot negate the trust agreed upon in the past now. We believe the court is there to do justice. We hope the SC will decide the matter in accordance with law. The Constitution must stay supreme,” said Mr. Ganai.The SC recently listed the petitions regarding Article 35(A) for the last week of February next year after the Centre filed a petition for postponement in the wake of the appointment of special representative Dineshwar Sharma on Jammu and Kashmir to hold talks with stakeholders.last_img read more

Cold conditions prevail in Punjab, Haryana

first_imgCold conditions continued to prevail in Punjab and Haryana even as minimum temperatures stayed few notches above normal in most parts of both the states. Fog enveloped several parts of the region, causing inconvenience to the commuters. Some places including Ambala, Karnal, Ludhiana and Patiala in both states engulfed under dense fog as visibility at these places reduced to even less than 50 meters, said an official of the MeT department here.Bathinda in Punjab was the coldest place with 5.6 degrees Celsius, official said. Among other places in Punjab, the minimum temperatures in Amritsar and Patiala were 7.9 and 10.8 degrees Celsius respectively, up to four notches above normal. Adampur, Ludhiana, Halwara, Gurdaspur and Pathankot braved cold weather at 6.4, 7.5, 7.8, 9.6 and 10.2 degrees Celsius respectively. In neighbouring state Haryana, Ambala recorded minimum at 11.6 degrees Celsius, five notches above normal while minimum of Hisar and Karnal was 7.7 and 10.5 degrees Celsius, up to three degrees above normal. Narnaul, Rohtak, Bhiwani and Sirsa experienced cold conditions at 10, 10.2, 8 and 8.3 degrees Celsius respectably, up to four notches above normal levels. Union territory Chandigarh, joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, witnessed minimum at 10.8 degrees Celsius, four notches above normal.last_img read more

Solution to Shimla water crisis soon: CM

first_imgHimachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Thursday said the State government would soon come out with a permanent solution to deal with Shimla’s water crisis and that a long-term project has been formulated.The Chief Minister said a proposal was submitted to the Prime Minister, who immediately sent a Central Water Commission team to the hill State. “I also requested the Minister of State (independent charge) for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, to sanction ₹200 crore for the water project in Shimla,” he said.The CM said the government would spend ₹80 crore to bring at least 10 million litres per day (MLD) of extra drinking water from Chabba, a water source, within a short period.He said a water harvesting project for Shimla town amounting to ₹ 4,700 crore has also been sent for the Centre’s approval. He said the State government would also explore the possibility of expediting work on lifting water to Shimla from the Kol dam.last_img read more

Kathua rape accused not a ‘minor’

first_imgAn accused in the Kathua rape and murder case who had claimed to be a juvenile is aged above 20, according to a medical report that was submitted before the District and Sessions court here on Monday.The court had directed the police to conduct a bone test to ascertain the age. The final arguments will be concluded on Tuesday after which the judge will pronounce his verdict, special public prosecutor J.K.Chopra said.last_img

Minor girl abducted, gang raped in Odisha

first_imgA minor girl accompanied by her physically challenged father was abducted and gang raped allegedly by two teenagers near Partamaha in Odisha’s Kandhamal district on Sunday. The victim has not been able to identify her assailants. According to the complaint filed by the victim and her father at the Daringbadi police station, the incident took place when they were returning to their village after applying for a tribal caste certificate at the Daringbadi tehsil office.They had to walk to their remote village a few kilometres down a jungle path from Partamaha. Her father had fallen behind. Finding her alone, the accused abducted her, she said in her statement.Tusharkant Mohapatra, inspector in-charge at the Daringbadi Police Station, said the investigation was underway.last_img read more

Landslides kill two Amarnath pilgrims, one critical

first_imgTwo Amarnath pilgrims have died and one is critical following major landslides triggered by rain on Tuesday evening in central Kashmir’s Sonamarg area, which hosts the Baltal route to the cave shrive. “Two bodies of the pilgrims have been brought to the Baltal base hospital. Of four others injured, one is critical,” said a police spokesman.At least five Amarnath pilgrims were hit by flash floods and landslides apparently caused by cloudbursts near Baltal area in the evening. The incident took place between Brari Marg and Rail Pathri stretch, said an official.A major rescue operation was launched in the area by several teams of the police, ITBP, Army, CRPF and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF).The injured were shifted to Srinagar hospitals for “specialised treatment”.Earlier in the day, three pilgrims died at the Baltal and Pahalgam camps. Two died of cardiac arrest and one had slipped off the slope and succumbed to his injuries.Eight people have died on the twin routes since the yatra started on June 28.Around 18,467 pilgrims paid obeisance at the shrine on Tuesday. Till date, 54,833 yatris have visited the shrine, said the official spokesman.last_img read more

45 people stranded at waterfall in Madhya Pradesh rescued

first_imgAll 45 people stranded at the Sultangarh waterfall in Madhya Pradesh’s Shivpuri district were rescued early this morning, an official said.Five of them, who were stranded on a rock downstream, were rescued by a helicopter, Superintendent of Police (SP) Rajesh Hingankar said. At least eight people were swept away on Wednesday while bathing in the waterfall and 45 others stranded following a sudden surge in water due to heavy rain upstream, he said. The waterfall is connected to the Parvati river. “Police teams, with the help of locals, rescued all the 45 people,” Hingankar told PTI. He said family members of six people filed missing complaints as their kin, who went to the waterfall for a picnic on the occasion of Independence Day yesterday, were yet to be found. A search operation was on to trace the missing persons, the SP said. Eyewitnesses had earlier claimed that more than 10 people, bathing in the waterfall, were swept away.Early on Thursday, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, in a tweet, said those stranded in the waterfall were rescued with the help of the Border Security Force, State Disaster Response Force, Home Guards, and the local police and residents.Mr. Chouhan thanked Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for extending support to deal with the situation. State minister Yashodhara Raje Scindia, who is an MLA from Shivpuri, thanked the Indian Air Force and other rescuers, including three villagers – Ramsevak Prajapati, Nizam and Ballu, for their help. The waterfall is located near Mohana village, 55 km from the district headquarters, in an area bordering Gwalior district. Tourists had thronged the place on August 15 to celebrate Independence Day holiday. There was a sudden surge in water around 4.30 pm, possibly due to heavy rain upstream, catching those bathing in the waterfall unawares, police said quoting the locals. Union Minister and Gwalior MP Narendra Singh Tomar reached the spot last evening and supervised the rescue operation till late night. Senior Congress leader and Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia spoke to senior officials over phone about the rescue operation.last_img read more

With LED TVs, U.P. prisoners can escape from boredom

first_imgThe Uttar Pradesh government has decided to bring some ‘entertainment’ to prison cells in the State.Jail inmates will soon be able to watch ‘informative and useful’ programmes on LED screens right in their barracks. As part of the plan, around 900 LED television sets will be installed across jails. The Prisons Department wants to provide one LED screen to each barrack. A budget of ₹3.5 crore has been allocated for this, Chandra Prakash, Additional Director-General (Prisons), said on Sunday.The purchase would be completed over the next couple of weeks. “We are in the process of procurement. We will supply the sets to all the jails,” Mr. Prakash said. “Jails are also reform centres. Of course, when they are inside jails, inmates need entertainment. But that is not the sole objective. We want to push programmes for their reformation,” he said. A retired IPS officer and social activist, S.R. Darapuri, welcomed the move and said television would help prisoners cope with the “drudgery” of life in isolation.“They should improve the quality of libraries in jails,” he said. Uttar Pradesh faces an acute shortage of staff in overcrowded prisons — about 9,000 warders are needed, but the State has 4,000. Also, it has twice the number of inmates over the sanctioned strength in its 70 jails. As on July 31, there were 1,02,580 inmates, and jails record a high number of “unnatural deaths.”As per the 2015 NCRB report on jails, UP recorded 21 “unnatural deaths” in jails in the year, the highest in the country. Nine of them were cases of suicide.last_img read more

Postage stamp on Bengal’s Rosogolla

first_imgA postage stamp and special cover were released here on Friday to mark 150 years of the invention of ‘Bengal’s Rossogolla’ by Nabin Chandra Das.Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) Firhad Hakim, who released them along with J. Charukeshi, Post Master General, Kolkata Region, referred to the long dispute between Odisha and West Bengal over Rosogolla. After years of contesting claims, the Geographical Identification tag for “Bengal Rosogolla” was given to West Bengal in November 2017. Earlier this year, the State government observed November 14 as Rosogolla Day to mark one year of obtaining the GI tag.last_img read more

Booth-level workers BJP’s strength, says Amit Shah

first_imgBJP president Amit Shah addressed a booth-level workers’ rally at the Parade Ground here on Saturday. Praising the party workers, he said that they are the BJP’s real strength and can steer it to a thumping victory. Mr. Shah added that a Ram temple should be built in Ayodhya at the earliest and dared the Congress to spell out its stand on the issue. The Kumbh Mela is on and it is only natural that the demand for a Ram temple is being raised, he said, virtually launching the BJP’s campaign in Uttarakhand for the Lok Sabha polls.The BJP national president also hit out at the Opposition for the attempts to forge a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ for the parliamentary elections just months away.‘Desperate attempt’He called the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ a desperate coming together of political forces opposed to each other as they cannot think of taking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi alone. “Who is going to listen to a Chandrababu Naidu at a public meeting in Haldwani or a Deve Gowda in Dehradun? They are leaders of regional parties with a limited appeal,” Mr. Shah said. “Their only aim is ‘Modi Hatao’ (Remove Modi) whereas Modi wants to remove poverty, corruption and disease,” he added.‘PM’s priority’ The BJP national president urged the people to ensure that the party wins all the five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand, as it did in 2014. “Uttarakhand is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s priority,” he said and referred to the makeover of Kedarnath after the 2013 floods.Mr. Shah also praised the interim Budget presented on Friday, saying that it took care of all sections of society, particularly farmers, women, the poor and the marginalised. He also credited the Modi government with implementing the ‘One Rank, One Pension’ scheme for military veterans, saying successive Congress governments had failed to achieve this.Mr. Shah said coming to address the meeting reminded him of his initial days in the party. “This is possible only in a party like the BJP, which is governed by democratic principles. A small party worker like me who pasted party posters on poles rose to become its president and a tea seller’s son the country’s Prime Minister,” he said.last_img read more

BJP to assess winnability of candidates

first_imgThe West Bengal unit of the BJP, which has set a target of winning over 23 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the State, is carrying out a survey to assess the winnability of its candidates. With more than 60-70 aspirants for one seat, especially in the northern and southern part of the State, the party is facing dissent over ticket distribution. Several factions, including the ones led by leaders who switched to the BJP from the TMC, are staking claims to the same seat, forcing the State unit to seek an assessment of its candidates to meet its 23-seat target, set by party national president Amit Shah.“It is unprecedented that we have been receiving such a huge number of applications for some seats. Ten years ago, we used to have a tough time convincing people to contest on our ticket,” a BJP State unit leader said. He added that a section of leaders has appealed to the central leadership to ensure that old timers don’t feel sidelined. The State unit, in consultation with the central leaders, has roped in an external agency to assess its prospects in the Lok Sabha constituencies, he said. BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said that a list will be prepared based on inputs by the external agency and party’s senior leaders.last_img read more

Pathologist lends signature to several labs, suspended

first_imgThe Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) has suspended a Nashik-based pathologist for signing reports at multiple laboratories despite being a full-time faculty at a dental college. The MMC said that Dr. Sanjay Shinde was attached to multiple laboratories within a 3s0 to 160 km radius.MMC president Dr. Shivkumar Utture said pathologists are supposed to supervise the tests as well as the reports personally before signing them. “In this case, the pathologist has neither supervised or interpreted the findings in reports on which his signatures were present”, said Dr. Utture.Dr. Parsad Kulkarni, executive member of the Maharashtra Association of Practicing Pathologists and Microbiologists (MAPPM), said this was a clear case of a pathologist renting his signature to numerous labs. “We found that Dr. Shinde was attached to nearly 25 laboratories. This is extremely dangerous as the course of treatment for patients depends on the laboratory reports”, said Dr. Kulkarni adding this is the fifth suspension of a pathologist in similar cases since 2016. “There are at least four more similar complaints filed by us which are pending with the MMC now”, he said.last_img read more

Does Money Inspire Us to Cooperate?

first_imgMoney is often called the root of all evil, but it may deserve some credit for making us cooperative—at least when we are in big groups. A study of how a monetary system can change behavior finds that filthy lucre may have been crucial for the evolution of large human populations.Ask most economists what money is good for and they may throw out the word “fungibility,” which means the quality of being exchangeable. Unlike traditional barter systems, where people trade one useful thing for another, a monetary system uses symbolic tokens that can be traded for anything. That opens the possibility of exchanging goods—say, a cow for a year’s supply of bread—for which a fair swap would otherwise be too complex to figure out.But beyond its basic utility, money could have other benefits to society. One theory holds that money makes cooperation possible in large groups of strangers, where trust is in short supply. For example, if you give your cow to a stranger in exchange for money, you don’t have to trust that person to keep your bread supply coming all year; you can use the money to buy bread from anyone. For this reason, monetary systems may have been crucial for human urbanization.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)To test this idea experimentally, a team led by economist Gabriele Camera of Chapman University in Orange, California, brought 200 people into a room full of computers and asked them to play two different games, both based on the goal of earning points called “units.” Everyone started out with eight of these units, and players were divided into groups of two, four, eight, or 32 people for a series of rounds. In each round, the computer made random pairs within the group. Players knew how many people were in their group, but they didn’t know which of those people was their current partner.In the first game, one of the players in the pair had the option of spending 6 units to help the other get 12 units. That’s an expensive choice, but if someone returned the favor in a future round, it would double the investment. Of course, if no one pitched in 6 units to help out later on, this player was out of luck. The computer stopped the game after a random number of rounds. At the end, everyone’s scores were tallied up and converted into real cash that the participants took home.As Camera and his colleagues expected, trust broke down as the group size increased. When just two people played the game, they could count on their gifts being returned when their roles were reversed. And indeed, the pairs of people helped each other out 71% of the time. But in larger groups, the chances of being paired with the same person plummeted—below 5% in the case of groups of 32. And that translated to a breakdown of trust. The frequency of cooperation in the 32-person groups fell to 28%.The second experiment was exactly like the first but included a virtual form of money called “tokens.” Each player started out with two of them. Players had the additional option to use a token to “buy” help from their partner, instead of just receiving assistance as a unilateral gift. Unlike units, tokens had no intrinsic value and could not be redeemed for anything at the end of the game. Using them was voluntary; the game could be played exactly as before without them.Nonetheless, the participants adopted this monetary system immediately instead of helping each other through gift-giving. In the two-person groups, using tokens eroded trust, and cooperation dropped by 19%. But with more players, tokens had the opposite effect. In the largest groups, people cooperated nearly twice as often when using the symbolic monetary system, and everyone reaped larger rewards, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Camera theorizes that money makes cooperation possible when people cannot rely on reputation or kinship. He speculates that money drives cultures toward money-based economies by helping to support larger populations.The study is convincing evidence that money promotes cooperation among Camera’s research subjects, says Paul Rubin, an economist at Emory University in Atlanta. But he points out that they “were undergraduates, meaning they have lived in a money economy all their lives.” The cooperation-boosting power of money may not hold for people with no exposure to modern monetary systems, he says.Camera agrees that this is a limitation of the study. “We have given some thought to the possibility of running the same experiment with subject pools that are ‘nonstandard,’ ” he says, such as isolated Amazonian tribes. Despite some “nontrivial logistical issues”—such as importing a version of this computer-based game into the jungle—Camera hopes to test the cooperation-inducing effect in groups who live more like our hunter-gatherer ancestors.last_img read more

Former U.S. Research Fraud Chief Speaks Out on Resignation, ‘Frustrations’

first_img Rebecca C. Henry Last month, David Wright, the director of the federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI), which keeps watch on fraud in federally funded biomedical research, quit in frustration after 2 years. His resignation letter was a scathing critique of what he called the “dysfunctional” bureaucracy at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH). After it was obtained and published by ScienceInsider, it drew national attention to an office that often labors in obscurity. Wright, 68, has since returned to Michigan, where he is a professor emeritus at Michigan State University in East Lansing. He spoke with ScienceInsider earlier this week about his reasons for leaving. The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.Q: Did something trigger your decision in February?D.W.: It was the accumulation of frustrations with the bureaucracy and trying to operate a regulatory office which requires precision, transparency, procedural rigor in an organization that values none of those things.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(*)While the ORI director has a lot of creative capacity and leadership capacity when he or she faces outward to the research community helping institutions better handle allegations or promote the responsible conduct of research, for example, inside the director is essentially treated like a flunky in a kind of backwater bureaucracy.Q: Did your departure have anything to do with the recent letter from Senator Charles Grassley (R–IA) to ORI asking why it didn’t impose harsher penalties on an Iowa State University AIDS researcher found to have engaged in misconduct?D.W.: It had nothing to do with the Grassley letter.Q: How is ORI doing with case management? Are they understaffed?D.W.: I wouldn’t say we were understaffed in the investigative division. But the number of allegations per year doubled between 2012 and 2013. And that may turn out to be a statistical blip. But previously, allegations came to ORI from a research institution or from complainants that usually had some connection to the research. Now, because of all the online publishing—including high-quality images and the ability of anybody in the world to analyze those using Photoshop-like analytical tools—ORI now gets allegations from people all over the world.I’d say that ORI is holding its own right now, but if this trend continues, of course it will need more resources. But the problem is in closing the cases.Q: What is the problem there?D.W.: ORI has two mechanisms through which it can close cases. One [is] called voluntary settlement exclusion agreements, in which ORI directly negotiates with the respondent and their lawyer. Or if they refuse or it’s a more serious case, ORI asks the HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] Office of General Counsel (OGC) to prepare a formal charge letter, which entitles the respondent to a hearing before an administrative law judge.Whereas ORI has closed 36 cases through settlement agreements in the last 3 years, OGC has only issued three charge letters in that same period of time [out of 11 cases transmitted by ORI since 2009]. Cases languish at OGC for up to 5 or 6 years. OGC argues that the cases that ORI sends it are inadequately prepared, but were that the case, ORI couldn’t negotiate the voluntary agreements that it does.I think where all of this is going is that ORI really needs to be an independent agency at HHS. If the ORI director had control of his budget and could hire adequate legal talent, if the director could contract with lawyers directly to generate a charge letter, you’d have one done in a couple months, not years.Q: Should ORI have more power to investigate on its own instead of relying on institutions’ investigations?D.W.: There was a time when ORI could conduct its own investigations. That was removed in some of the political to-and-fro-ing into the late 1990s and into the 2000s. I believe that things would work better if ORI had that authority restored. I don’t think it has the resources to conduct its own investigations very often, but I think it would be helpful to have it.The other thing is that the [education] division that’s supposed to promote the responsible conduct of research is vastly understaffed right now. They have finally hired a new director. That office needs to be staffed up. It has only four people right now and should have eight or 10.Q: Should the current scientific misconduct definition of FFP (fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism) be expanded? D.W.: I don’t have a position on that. I brought it up at an April 2012 meeting before a large audience. The Canadians have a much broader definition. They made an argument for why they found it useful. But the American participants in that meeting demonstrated almost no enthusiasm for broadening the definition. It would mean many more cases.Many universities have a definition that’s broader than FFP. A few institutions have retained the “serious deviation” clause from the old regulation. But lots and lots of people, including me, didn’t like that because it was so broad and ill defined.Q: Is misconduct increasing? Does it explain the rise in retractions? D.W.: I don’t think anybody knows. One argument is, it’s not increasing in terms of absolute rate, it’s just easier to detect because of changes in technology and online publishing.The opposite argument is that as funding rates at NIH [the National Institutes of Health] and other agencies are at or close to all-time lows, and the pressure in the academy to produce to get tenure and that sort of thing increases, there is increasingly pressure to cheat and maybe more people are.Eventually there will be more research on why people commit misconduct, and there will be some good longitudinal studies at universities that have really good policies and training versus those that don’t to see what the comparative rate of misconduct allegations is. And we may be able to draw some more conclusions.Q: What were you able to get done at ORI?D.W.: In 2 years I did everything that I promised to do. We continued to develop the boot camps, which are programs of training for research integrity officers. We started a number of international initiatives; we began working with our Canadian counterparts and talking more to the Europeans.We had a meeting of leaders in both research misconduct and the protection of human participants in research to talk about how to handle allegations of misconduct in clinical settings and the disharmonies between the two sets of regulations. I wanted to do something about that.All of those things didn’t require any support or assistance from OASH except to release funds for meetings, which was like pulling hen’s teeth.Q: Will anybody want to be ORI director now? D.W.: I don’t know. As I said in my letter, and it was absolutely sincere, the 35% of my time that I got to do what I thought was the whole job when I came there was just wonderful. The rest of it was a nightmare.There are lots of talented people around and maybe there are people with a higher tolerance for bureaucratic inertia and frustration than I have. There was speculation after I left that they would just find somebody inside, a federal “grinder” as they say, who would do the job, who didn’t necessarily have any experience with the research community or with handling allegations so it would get off the front pages. That would be a disaster. David Wrightlast_img read more

‘Bad fat’ may be good for cancer patients

first_imgObesity researchers have been studying ways to turn the body’s energy-storing “bad fat” into energy-burning “good fat.” Now, scientists are reporting that the flip side of that approach could address a huge killer of cancer patients—the muscle wasting, emaciation, and frailty known as cachexia, which kills 30% to 80% of people in the advanced stages of cancer.”This exciting new [work] … offers potential answers to some of the great unsolved biomedical questions of our times,” writes endocrinologist Matthias Tschöp, research director of the Helmholtz Diabetes Center near Munich, Germany, in an e-mail.Brown fat is typically considered good because it burns calories, which may help people shed pounds. White fat, in contrast, accumulates in unhealthy locales like the waistline and buttocks, promoting obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.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(*)But the tables are turned in people who suffer from the wasting syndrome cachexia, which develops in about half of all cancer patients as well as in the end stages of infectious diseases like AIDS and in chronic conditions like congestive heart failure. Scientists don’t know what causes cachexia, but it has been linked to higher metabolism in brown fat. The body burns off energy despite high-protein nutritional supplements and lack of exercise, and there is no effective treatment. The condition is often what disqualifies cancer patients from further treatment or clinical trials, says Michele Petruzzelli, a cancer biologist at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) in Madrid.White fat can turn into brown fat, and animal studies have found that one stimulus for this so-called browning is prolonged cold exposure, but researchers don’t know how browning occurs. “The same type of fat cell conversion that is good in heart disease and diabetes is bad in cancer,” Petruzzelli says.Although many labs search for therapies against diseases of obesity by looking for ways to activate browning, Petruzzelli and colleagues viewed the same process as a potential villain in cancer patients. By analyzing metabolic pathways in numerous mouse models of cancer and in human cancer samples transplanted into mice, the team found that the browning of white fat “was consistent in all of these models and led irreversibly to cachexia,” says study co-author Erwin Wagner, a cancer biologist at CNIO. “This process is likely happening in these patients. It is using energy available in the body to instead kill the body, killing the patient.”In the mouse models, the researchers were able to link the process to the systemic inflammation that’s often seen in cancer patients. They implicated interleukin-6 (IL-6), a cell signaling protein involved in stimulating the body’s immune response to inflammation. They then showed that anti-inflammatory drugs may prevent the white fat browning that precedes cancer cachexia and the wasting syndrome itself, the team reports online this week in Cell Metabolism.Bruce Spiegelman, a cell biologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, recently reached a very similar conclusion in his own lab and published the result in Nature. Both papers, he says, “end any question that activation of fat browning is definitely part of cancer cachexia, at least in terms of animal models, and are pretty suggestive in people with cancer.”Spiegelman’s lab used a different mouse model of cancer cachexia and searched for genetic changes in tumor cell function, homing in on a distinct molecular factor, tumor-derived parathyroid-hormone-related protein (PTHrP). When his group neutralized this protein in mice, “muscle wasting and cachexia were alleviated but not stopped,” Spiegelman says. He says that means other factors are likely involved, possibly IL-6.Both studies suggest there may be possible treatments for cachexia, as well as better ways to diagnose it. Indeed, Wagner’s group found that browning begins very early, before muscle atrophy is observed, but that it may be detectable by imaging or biomarkers.“Up to now, there has been no use for inhibitors of brown fat,” Petruzzelli says. “This could be a different approach to tackling cancer as a disease,” Wagner says, “because chemotherapies can make you weaker … but we want to strengthen the body’s response by preventing cachexia.”The researchers say that comparatively nontoxic treatments like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or specifically designed antibodies could change the way cancer is treated and benefit vast numbers of people who die from cachexia due to heart failure, HIV/AIDS, and diseases of aging.last_img read more

Swiss scientists regain access to some E.U. grants through 2016

first_imgBRUSSELS—Starting today, scientists in Switzerland will again be able to apply for some research funds from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program—including coveted grants from the European Research Council (ERC). Both sides reached a short-term deal undoing restrictions imposed on Swiss scientists after a referendum to curb mass immigration back in February.Scientists were the first to feel the cooling of the relationships between the European Union and the affluent country it surrounds after the referendum. The union expects Switzerland to include Croatia, which entered the union last year, in its agreement on the free movement of persons. But following the vote, Switzerland said it couldn’t sign the Croatian deal. As a result, Switzerland lost its privileged status as an associated country to Horizon 2020, the bloc’s research funding program.After several months of negotiations, the commission has now agreed to give Switzerland its associated country status back for the so-called first pillar of Horizon 2020, worth €24.4 billion for 7 years. This includes individual grants from ERC and the Marie Curie fellowships for science training, staff exchanges and mobility, as well as the Future and Emerging Technologies scheme, which is showering two 10-year projects with up to €1 billion each. (One of them, a controversial plan to model the human brain, is the brainchild of Henry Markram, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.)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(*)But Swiss researchers will still be considered third-country applicants for most of Horizon 2020, including its €29.7 billion third pillar, which funds collaborative research projects to solve “societal challenges.” The deal doesn’t affect restrictions on the education program Erasmus+ either.Researchers in Switzerland heaved a cautious sigh of relief at the news. But Dominique Arlettaz, vice president of the Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities, pointed out that the deal is only partial and temporary. “We don’t know at all what will happen after [2016]. You know that research is done with a long-term vision so it’s difficult not to know what will happen from 2017 on,” Arlettaz told the French-speaking public radio station La 1ère on Saturday.The temporary solution is beneficial for both sides, a commission representative tells ScienceInsider. “We have an interest in having the best participants in the program, and Swiss participants are certainly world-class,” he says. But in the long run, the immigration issue remains a flash point: If it doesn’t ratify the Croatia protocol before 9 February 2017—3 years after the immigration referendum—Switzerland will lose its associated status again. If it does sign the protocol, however, it will regain its associated country status for the whole of Horizon 2020.The agreement will be signed formally in December, but will apply retroactively from today onward. According to an E.U. source, “all member states stand behind this deal, including Croatia.”last_img read more