The seat of Sajjadanashin (spiritual head) at the historic dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer witnessed an acrimonious battle on Wednesday with the younger brother of Syed Zainul Abedin, the present Dewan, staking claim to the prestigious post. Mr. Abedin summarily rejected his claim.Remarks on Triple talaqThe controversy had its genesis in the recent remarks by Mr. Abedin at the conclusion of 805th Urs at the dargah. Mr. Abedin had stated that triple talaq, which did not enjoy sanction in the Quran and Shariah, had no relevance in modern times and called for a complete ban on slaughter of bovines.Mr. Abedin’s brother, Alauddin Alimi, who is a lawyer by profession, declared himself the new Dewan while affirming that Mr. Abedin had ceased to be a Hanafi Muslim after his remarks.“Since Mr. Abedin is not a Muslim any more, he cannot occupy the seat of Sajjadanashin,” Mr. Alimi toldThe Hindu.Mr. Alimi said he had consulted some Muftis about the status of his brother and would soon get a formal fatwa (opinion) from a good number of Muftis, which would clarify his position. “My position is clear. Since Mr. Abedin’s remarks are not in keeping with the Islamic faith, the hereditary seat of Sajjadanashin has been devolved to me,” he said.‘Rightful head’Mr. Alimi proclaimed himself as the new Dewan on the dargah premises when Mr. Abedin had gone to the tomb for the Kul (completion) rituals.He announced Mr. Abedin’s “removal” in the presence of pilgrims and hereditary staff and stated that henceforth he would be the rightful spiritual head of the 13th Century shrine.An angry Mr. Abedin rejected the claim of his younger brother. He said at a press conference later in the day that Mr. Alimi’s move had no legal sanctity under the Dargah Khwaja Saheb Act, 1955, and he continues to occupy the highest seat at the dargah.Son named successorWhile affirming that the seat of Sajjadanashin was hereditary, Mr. Abedin declared his son, Naseeruddin Chishti, as his successor. He said he was being targeted by “extremist elements” because of his views which were in national interest.“No one has the right to remove the dargah Dewan,” said Mr. Abedin, adding that he would seek legal opinion in the matter. He reiterated his views about the ban on beef and said Muslims should not consume beef and stay away from slaughtering bovines in order to promote communal harmony.Since Mr. Abedin’s remarks are not in keeping with the Islamic faith, the hereditary seat of Sajjadanashin has devolved to meAlauddin AlimiBrother of Syed Zainul Abedin
Pankaj Gupta, Aam Aadmi Party’s national secretary and Goa in-charge, said on Monday that the party did not get enough time to build a strong organisation.In a newsletter issued by the AAP for Goa, Mr. Gupta said the party’s journey would not end with one election. Mr. Gupta’s statement comes over two months after the Assembly polls. The AAP failed to win a single seat and a majority of its candidates lost their deposit.Mr. Gupta said, “We brought many people together in a short span of time but lacked adequate time to build a strong organisation. We need to do that now by focussing on building a robust organisation across the State with the ability to engage all people who want to support this cause in a meaningful way.” He said in the newsletter, “We are in the process of nation building by fighting the current system. This change will not happen in a day and this fight will have to continue.”
Congress national president Sonia Gandhi arrived in Goa on a private visit on Wednesday afternoon.Sources in the Congress here said that Ms. Gandhi arrived in Goa by a private aircraft and checked into a five-star resort at South Goa’s Mobor beach.She is likely to leave for Delhi on Thursday, after spending a day at a beach-front resort where she stays during her private visits to Goa. Goa Mahila Congress president Pratima Coutinho said that it is a matter of pride that the president of the Congress chooses to visit Goa on private visits.“It is something to be proud that our national president comes to Goa to relax. She comes because Goa is pollution-free and gifted with scenic beauty and beautiful beaches,” Ms. Coutinho said.All India Congress Committee Secretary Girish Chodankar and Ms. Coutinho told The Hindu separately on Wednesday that when Ms. Gandhi comes on a private visit, it is obvious that no one should disturb her. They ruled out any of the Congress leaders meeting Ms. Gandhi.Ms. Gandhi last visited Goa for a holiday in November last year along with daughter Priyanka Vadra. Next she returned to the same five-star hotel at Mobor beach to celebrate New Year.
Gujarat’s Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Saturday issued ultimatum to Congress party to clear its stand on the Patidar community’s demand for quota by November 3 or else face the consequences.“Congress must clarify how it proposes to give reservations constitutionally by November 3, 2017. If it does not make its stand clear, an episode similar to Amit Shah could repeat in Surat,” Mr Patel tweeted. November 3 is when Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will be in Gujarat to campaign for the party. Mr Patel maintained that if the Congress supports their demand and grant the quota in constitutionally acceptable way, then he and the Patidar community will support the party in the Assembly polls.By referring to the Amit Shah episode, the 24-year-old leader spearheading the quota agitation, meant that Mr Shah was forced to curtail his speech within minutes in Patidar-dominated Surat in September 2016 when the community members disrupted the event and tossed the chairs, forcing the organisers to wind up the event in 30 minutes.Dinesh Bambhaniya, a PAAS convener, said the organisation and the community it represented would take a call on whether to support the Congress in the Assembly polls only after the opposition party made its stand clear on the issue.“First, let the Congress party makes its stand clear on the issue and then will reveal our strategy,” Mr Bambhania said.It may be noted that the Congress has maintained that once voted to power in Gujarat, its government would bring a Bill in the Assembly granting 20 % quota benefits to economically backwards among the upper castes from the general category quota.The Gujarat Assembly polls are scheduled to be held in two phases — on December 9 and December 14.
Suspected militants shot dead two policemen, one of them the guard of Hurriyat leader Fazul Haq Qureshi, in Kashmir on Sunday. Their service weapons were also snatched.A police official said Farooq Ahmad was “grievously injured” when unknown gunmen fired upon him “as he was performing the duties of guarding Qureshi” in Bilal Colony at Soura of Srinagar on Sunday evening. “The injured policeman was shifted in a critical condition to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,” said a police official.Earlier, a policeman guarding the Chrar-e-Sharief shrine in Budgam was fired upon by militants. Constable Kultair Singh, who is from Samba, died in hospital.
Haryana Environment Minister Vipul Goel on Tuesday said that the government, in an attempt to curb pollution, has directed local officials to report instances of stubble burning within 30 minutes. Gram sachivs and patwaris have been directed to bring such violations during the harvesting season to the notice of concerned Deputy Commissioners immediately.“In case they fail to do so without sufficient cause, it will be treated as dereliction of duty,” said Mr. Goel, while replying to a question during the ongoing budget session here. The Minister also informed that the Haryana State Pollution Control Board has engaged the Haryana Space Application Centre to monitor crop residue burning activities through satellite imagery on a daily basis.“Also SMS alerts regarding incidents of stubble burning are sent to the Deputy Commissioners, the agriculture department and HSPCB officers. Regular monitoring and review meetings are held at the government level to review the situation,” he said, adding that the regional officers of the HSPCB are submitting daily reports on the number of such incidents detected and the amount of penalty imposed and collected.
GUWAHATI: Assam is scheduled to launch a cancer care foundation, the first for any State government in India, on Monday for making treatment of the disease more affordable and ensuring care for patients till survival.The Indian Council for Medical Research had in 2016 reported 31,825 new cancer cases in Assam. But health officials in the State said the actual number of cancer cases could be twice that number since most of those who are detected with the disease leave the State in order to access better cancer care.“A recent study found that more than 70% of the cost incurred by patients getting treated is due to peripheral expenses such as stay, travel and food. This was the reason our government initiated the non-profit Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF), a pioneering model for making cancer care more affordable and address all aspects from awareness to end-of-life care,” Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam Health Minister, said.ACCF is in partnership with Tata Trusts, which has committed to providing Rs 830 crore for the programme while the State government will provide ₹1,080 crore, Mr. Sarma said.The cancer care project has been designed to address three aspects of cancer care – service, education and research – with the objective of shifting care closer to patients’ homes. Accordingly, five district hospitals would be providing diagnostics and day care follow-up. These hospitals are in Darrang, Dima Hasao, Goalpara, Golaghat and Sivasagar districts. Cancer centres adjacent to four existing and eight upcoming medical colleges across Assam will also provide comprehensive treatment and education, Mr. Sarma said.Cancer centres at two major medical college hospitals – Guwahati and Dibrugarh – have been tasked with advance and complex care along with cancer research.“The facilities will provide treatment at rates on par with or below the Central government health scheme rates. It is expected that a large number of patients will receive cashless treatment at these facilities through Atal Amrit Abhiyan and Ayushman Bharat schemes,” a health officer said on Sunday after Mr. Sarma and industrialist Ratan Tata inaugurated a digital information nerve centre at Guwahati Medical College Hospital.
Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has reminded the Sarbananda Sonowal government of the commitment to clarify its stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, “now that the updated draft of the National Register of Citizens has been published”.Also Read Now clarify stand on Citizenship Bill: Tarun Gogoi
A mob beat up a local trader to death in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district on Monday on suspicion that he is a thief. Superintendent of Police, Cooch Behar, Bholanath Pandey, said two persons were beaten up by a mob of about 300 suspecting that they are cycle thieves. The incident occurred under the Kotwali police station in the heart of the district in north Bengal..“Abu Sahaj, 55, succumbed to his injuries and the other person has been admitted to hospital in a serious condition,” Mr. Pandey said.Both were spotted by locals at Chilkirhat Natun Bazar on Monday and were beaten with bamboo sticks and rods.
Seven elephants were killed after coming in contact with sagging live electric wire in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district late Friday night.The incident took place near Kamalanga village in Dhenkanal. “We have received information about the death of seven elephants due to electrocution. Field officials are rushing to the spot to ascertain the circumstances under which the tragic incident had occurred,” Sudarshan Panda, Additional Principal Conservator of Forest, told The Hindu over phone, on Saturday.Forest department sources said a herd of 13 elephants were passing through the area. While seven succumbed to injuries, six elephants escaped.As per preliminary reports reaching here, the power line was being set up as part of laying of a new railway line. Bodies of seven elephants were lying scattered near a small water channel passing through vast stretches of agricultural land.Elephant movements in Dhenkanal are widespread. In the past, several electrocution deaths of elephant have been reported from the district. The district has also been identified as a critical area as far as man-elephant conflict is concerned.
Kashmir witnessed fresh snowfall as the minimum temperature rose several notches high, the MeT department said Wednesday. Moderate snowfall in plains and heavy precipitation in the higher reaches of the Valley has been going on since early hours, it said. The weatherman said the precipitation brought major respite to residents and the minimum temperature increased several degrees across all weather stations.Drass, the second coldest inhabited place in the world, saw the mercury rise by more than 12 degrees from minus 30.4 degrees Celsius to settle at minus 18.0 degrees Celsius. In Leh district, the mercury settled at a low of minus 7.8 degrees Celsius compared to previous night’s minus 17.4 degrees Celsius, he said. The minimum temperature in Srinagar Tuesday night settled at minus 0.3 degree Celsius — four degrees up from the previous night, the official said. The MeT said Qazigund — the gateway town to the Valley — in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 2 degrees Celsius, while nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 3.4 degrees Celsius Tuesday night. The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at minus 2.2 degrees Celsius compared to Tuesday night’s low of minus 7.8 degrees Celsius. Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 7.5 degrees Celsius Tuesday night, rising significantly from the previous night’s minus 12.2 degrees Celsius, while Pahalgam tourist resort, in South Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 3.3 degrees Celsius — 10-degree rise over previous night, the official said. The MeT has forecast rain or snow at most places across the state over the next five days. Kashmir is currently under the grip of Chillai-Kalan — the 40-day harshest period of winter when chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably. Chillai-Kalan will end Wednesday night, but the cold wave is expected to continue in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by 20-day long Chillai-Khurd (small cold) and 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold).
The Maharashtra Sugar Commissioner on Wednesday served revenue recovery certificates (RRCs) to 39 errant sugar factory operators for failing to pay the fair and remunerative price (FRP) arrears to sugarcane farmers.The move comes days after Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) chief and Hatkanangale MP Raju Shetti, along with the Swaraj Party’s Yogendra Yadav, staged an agitation in front of the Sugar Commissionerate here on Monday, demanding action against 180-odd sugar mill operators who have not paid the FRP amount to farmers.While Mr. Shetti called off his proposed indefinite fast, which was to be held on Wednesday, he has warned that unless RRCs are issued to other defaulting sugar factory owners, the SSS would resume its agitation next month. Around 20 of the factories that have been served RRCs are located in the ‘sugar heartland’ districts of Sangli, Kolhapur, Satara and Solapur, while the rest are in Marathwada. The respective district collectors can now authorise seizure of sugar stock in the godowns of these defaulting factories, preventing them from selling it.Speaking to The Hindu from New Delhi, Mr. Shetti said the SSS would file a caveat in the Bombay High Court if the defaulting factory owners attempted to put pressure on Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad by urging the State Cooperation Minister not to withdraw further RRCs.He said that most of the sugar factories are in the hands of members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “Despite the tall promises given by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the sugar conclave in Kolhapur in October last year, there has been no communication from him on this issue for the last three months. There was one meeting between the Chief Minister and the mill owners, where it agreed that only 80% of the FRP amount would be paid to farmers and that factory owners would not be investigated,” he claimed. SSS spokesman Anil Pawar said that only nine of the 190 sugar mills in the State had paid the full FRP to farmers. “Of the 180-odd defaulting factories, 77 are owned by BJP leaders, 53 belong to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders, 43 are owned by Congress members, and the others belong to Shiv Sena leaders,” Mr. Pawar said.Mr. Shetti said that of the FRP arrears of ₹5,320 crore, a total ₹1,505 crore was owed to farmers by factories belonging to BJP leaders, while ₹1,502 crore was due from those run by NCP leaders. The factories owned by Congress leaders had pending dues of ₹1,341 crore, he said.“The question is, whom do farmers turn to for justice when ruling party leaders are the biggest defaulters? Cooperation Minister Subhash Deshmukh’s sugar factory has pending FRP arrears amounting to ₹104 crore, while Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde’s factory has a backlog of ₹64 crore,” Mr. Shetti said.However, bigwigs in the Opposition parties were even bigger defaulters, with factories controlled by NCP leader Ajit Pawar yet to pay ₹245 crore to farmers. Similarly, factories controlled by senior Congress leader Harshawardhan Patil owe a whopping ₹141 crore, while those run by Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, owe ₹68 crore to farmers.Mr. Shetti’s agitation just before the general election is expected to strengthen Mr. Shetti’s hand in the sugar belt districts in western Maharashtra. A former ally of the NDA, the two-time MP is now being backed by the NCP as part of the Congress-NCP’s ‘grand alliance’ strategy to oust the BJP.Projecting itself as the mascot of sugarcane and dairy farmers, the Swabhimani Paksha, the political arm of the SSS, is hoping to expand its presence in the State. “While we are confident Mr. Shetti will resoundingly win from Hatkanangale, we hope to field [Swabhimani Paksha State president] Ravikant Tupkar from the Buldhana constituency this time. Our aim is to win at least two seats in the Lok Sabha election and 12 in the Assembly election,” Mr. Pawar said.
The Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura, an ally of the ruling BJP in Tripura, said on Tuesday it would go it alone in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Mangal Debbarma, the spokesperson of the party, said the decision to field candidates in the two Lok Sabha seats in the State was taken on March 3, following the IPFT central committee meeting here. “When BJP national president Amit Shah visited Agartala on January 5, we submitted a memorandum to him, demanding that the IPFT be allowed to field a candidate in East Tripura constituency, reserved for Scheduled Tribes. He told us that he would get back to us on the matter, but never did,” Mr. Debbarma, who is also the assistant general secretary of the party, told reporters.
Thirty Dalit families in Odisha’s Khordha district, who have been allegedly facing social boycott by members of the upper castes in their village for over six months, have threatened not to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha election.Upper castes have allegedly ostracised the families by barring them from shops, not giving them job opportunities and stopping other essential services for them in Chhanagiri village, about 60km from Bhubaneswar.Members of the upper castes had allegedly ganged up to impose a social boycott on these families after one of them lodged a police complaint for caste discrimination in October last year.Denied glass of water“In October, my six-year-old granddaughter was denied a glass of water in a hotel run by an upper caste family. Nobody in the village paid heed to us when we raised the issue of discrimination. Subsequently, we approached the police,” said 60-year-old Shantanu Nayak.“Members of the upper castes felt offended as we sought police help. They decided not to cooperate with us on any issue. Since then, we have been deprived of basic services in the village. Despite our appeal in different fora, the social boycott continues,” said Mr. Nayak.Earlier this week, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) intervened in the matter and directed the Khordha district administration to visit the affected families and take action in accordance with the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and provide protection to the Dalit families. The commission also issued a stern warning to government officials to ensure that the issue is sorted out in a time-bound manner.“The social boycott is a blot on our society in this era. I have worked in the Indian Army and served the nation. After retirement, I am now subjected to this discriminatory treatment. It appears that we have ceased to be citizens of the country. It is better that we stay away from voting,” said Subhash Nayak, a resident of Chhanagiri village.“This is a case in which the fundamental right to life, liberty, equality and dignity has been violated,” said Biswapriya Kanungo, a human rights lawyer who took up the issue with the OHRC.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday conducted an aerial survey of Puri and Khurdha districts to get first hand information about the devastation caused by extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani.Expressing shock over the magnitude of damage during a review at Biju Patnaik International Airport, Mr. Modi offered all possible helps to the State to tide over the crisis and wanted the Odisha government to share its disaster management skills so that other States could be apprised on this.Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Petroleum and Natural Gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan were present at the meeting. Odisha government sought immediate release of ₹1,000 crore as adhoc assistance. A detail memorandum will be submitted after assessment of the damage. Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at Biju Patnaik airport in Bhubaneswar on Monday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement Seeking central assistance for building disaster resilient infrastructure, Mr. Patnaik laid emphasis on power sector. The coastal Odisha need a fund amounting ₹10,000 crore for disaster resilient infrastructure, he said.Similarly, provision of five lakh disaster resilient affordable houses which would require ₹7,000 crore was sought on behalf of the State government at the review meeting. Odisha government demanded special allotment under Prime Minister Awas Yojna with 90:10 funding ratio.Special interventions such as permission for FCRA clearance for contribution to Chief Minister Relief Fund and contribution of corporates to CMRF should be recognized as corporate social responsibility as allowed in case of PMNRF were sought in the meeting.Taking this opportunity, Mr. Patnaik said the State deserved special category status for being the most disaster prone State in the country. Since 2013, the State government has witnessed disaster of different kinds almost every year.In 2013, the State was hit by cyclone Phailin which was followed by flood, next year in 2014 cyclone Hudhud had caused extensive damage and in 2015, 2016 and 2017, droughts and heavy rain had triggered massive damage. Cyclone Titli in 2018 and Fani this year have impacted the State’s economy badly.Meanwhile, the death toll due to Fani rose 35. Puri is worst affected district leading the table with 21 deaths, according to Special Relief Commissioners office. “The extent of damage could be gauged from the fact that 5030 km of 33 kv lines, 38613 km of 11 kv lines and 11077 number of distribution transformers and 79485 km of low tension lines were damaged,” said Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi.
Saving Darwin’s finches could be as simple as arming them with an insecticide. When researchers left pesticide-soaked cotton balls in the birds’ habitats, the finches added bits of the treated cotton to their nests and nearly eliminated one of their chief enemies: parasitic flies.“This is one of the most incredibly clever bits of practical conservation I’ve seen in my entire career,” says conservation ecologist Stuart Pimm of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, who was not involved in the new study.The parasitic nest fly (Philornis downsi), which looks similar to a typical house fly, lays its eggs in the nests of Darwin’s finches—the 15 species of bird on the Galápagos that helped inspire the famed biologist to formulate his ideas about natural selection. When the flies’ eggs hatch, the larvae—each about the size of a grain of rice—suck blood from newborn finch nestlings, often killing them. The parasite has been prevalent on the South American mainland throughout history, where birds have adapted to survive even in its presence. But it wasn’t noticed in nests in the Galápagos until the 1990s, and over the decades since, it has increased in prevalence and has gradually had a larger negative impact on finches.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(*)“Some years, we’ve seen no nestlings at all in an area survive,” says evolutionary biologist Dale Clayton of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, senior author of the new work. “And some species are getting absolutely hammered by this fly.” The mangrove finch (Camarhynchus heliobates) population, for example, has declined to less than a hundred birds, making it critically endangered. Scientists have tried to fight the parasite by spraying the insecticide permethrin—also used in flea collars for dogs and in lice shampoos—onto nests. But many of the finches’ nests are hard to find, or high in trees and difficult to reach.While working in the Galápagos, Sarah Knutie—a graduate student in Clayton’s lab—saw finches pulling bits of fiber off a clothing line for their nests. She wondered whether the birds would collect permethrin-treated fibers and carry the pesticide into their nests themselves. To test the idea, Knutie and Clayton set up 30 cotton dispensers, half untreated and half with permethrin-soaked balls, near 26 finch nests. At the end of the nesting and breeding season, 22 of the nests contained cotton, and the birds were just as likely to have collected the permethrin-treated fibers as the untreated ones. Among all nests with the soaked fibers, parasite numbers were lower, and in seven of eight nests that had at least a gram of treated cotton, not a single parasite was found, the team reports today in Current Biology.“This approach is way easier and just as effective as spraying nests,” Clayton says. “I don’t necessarily think that it’s a long-term permanent solution, but we think of it as a stopgap measure to slow the population declines of finches.” The method is creative and could make a crucial difference for the finches, adds Jeff Podos, a biologist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who has studied the bird populations of the Galápagos. “This parasite is a pretty formidable opponent.”But to protect bird populations throughout the Galápagos, Podos says, someone will have to step up to install and manage the cotton dispensers, which would have to be installed within 20 meters of every nest on the 18 islands of the Galápagos. Getting full coverage of Isabela Island—where the most endangered species of finch lives—would take about 60 cotton dispensers. “These cotton stations have to be spread all over the place,” he says. “What I’m curious about is whether there will be anyone who follows through on the recommendations of this paper.”
A flock of starlings flies as one, a spectacular display in which each bird flits about as if in a well-choreographed dance. Everyone seems to know exactly when and where to turn. Now, for the first time, researchers have measured how that knowledge moves through the flock—a behavior that mirrors certain quantum phenomena of liquid helium.”This is one of the first studies that gets to the details of how groups move in unison,” says David Sumpter of Uppsala University in Sweden, who was not part of the study.The remarkable accord with which starling flocks fly has long puzzled researchers and bird watchers alike. In the 1930s, the ornithologist Edmund Selous even suggested that the birds cooperate via telepathy. Researchers have since turned to more scientifically sound ideas, using mathematical models.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In the 1990s, physicist Tamás Vicsek of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest came up with one of the more successful models, which is based on the principle that each bird flies in the same direction as its neighbors. If a bird angles right, the ones next to it will turn to stay aligned. Although this model reproduces many features well—how a flock swiftly aligns itself from a random arrangement, for example—a team of researchers from Italy and Argentina has now discovered that it doesn’t accurately describe in detail how flocks turn.In their new study, the team, led by physicists Andrea Cavagna and Asja Jelic of the Institute for Complex Systems in Rome, used high-speed cameras to film starlings—which are common in Rome and form spectacular flocks—flying near a local train station. Using tracking software on the recorded video, the team could pinpoint when and where individuals decide to turn, information that enabled them to follow how the decision sweeps through the flock. The tracking data showed that the message to turn started from a handful of birds and swept through the flock at a constant speed between 20 and 40 meters per second. That means that for a group of 400 birds, it takes just a little more than a half-second for the whole flock to turn.”It’s a real tour de force of measurement,” says Sriram Ramaswamy of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences in Hyderabad, India, who wasn’t part of the research.The fact that the information telling each bird to turn moves at a constant speed contradicts the Vicsek model, Cavagna says. That model predicts that the information dissipates, he explains. If it were correct, not all the birds would get the message to turn in time, and the flock wouldn’t be able to fly as one.The team proposes that instead of copying the direction in which a neighbor flies, a bird copies how sharply a neighbor turns. The researchers derived a mathematical description of how a turn moves through the flock. They assumed each bird had a property called spin, similar to the spins of elementary particles in physics. By matching one another’s spin, the birds conserved the total spin of the flock. As a result of that conservation, the equations showed that the information telling birds to change direction travels through the flock at a constant speed—exactly as the researchers observed. It’s this constant speed that enables everyone to turn in near-unison, the team reports online today in Nature Physics.The new model also predicts that information travels faster if the flock is well aligned—something else the team observed, Cavagna says. Other models don’t predict or explain that relationship. “This could be the evolutionary drive to have an ordered flock,” he says, because the birds would be able to maneuver more rapidly and elude potential predators, among other things.Interestingly, Cavagna adds, the new model is mathematically identical to the equations that describe superfluid helium. When helium is cooled close to absolute zero, it becomes a liquid with no viscosity at all, as dictated by the laws of quantum physics. Every atom in the superfluid is in the same quantum state, exhibiting a cohesion that’s mathematically similar to a starling flock.The similarities are an example of how deep principles in physics and math apply to many physical systems, Cavagna says. Indeed, the theory could apply to other types of group behavior, such as fish schools or assemblages of moving cells, Sumpter says.Other models, such as the Vicsek model or others that treat the flock as a sort of fluid, probably still describe flock behavior over longer time and length scales, Ramaswamy says. But it’s notable that the new model, which is still based on relatively simple principles, can accurately reproduce behavior at shorter scales. “I think that’s cool,” he says. “That’s an achievement, really.”Sumpter agrees. “It’s kind of reassuring we don’t need to think about the telepathic explanation,” he says.
EASING RESEARCH REGULATION FUSION SCIENCE R&D TAX CREDIT This story is the first in ScienceInsider’s After Election 2014 series. Through Election Day on 4 November, we will periodically examine research issues that will face U.S. lawmakers when they return to Washington, D.C., for a lame-duck session and when a new Congress convenes in January. Click here to see all the stories published so far; click here for a list of published and planned stories.Today, a look at a perennial concern: funding for biomedical science.Biomedical lobbyists are hoping that Congress will soon give the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a big budget increase, despite tight caps that lawmakers have placed on overall federal spending. But even if that campaign succeeds—and the odds are very long—victory could come with some undesirable side effects.Before digging into the details, it’s worth noting that trying to predict funding trends can be a fool’s errand. Numerous factors, from domestic politics to foreign crises, affect how Congress divvies up the federal budget pie in any given year.The disintegration of the regular appropriations process, with now-routine extensions beyond the 1 October start of the next fiscal year, makes prognostication even harder. This year, for example, Congress has frozen spending at existing levels until at least mid-December, in part because of uncertainty about whether Republicans will win back the Senate in next month’s election and, with it, control of both houses of Congress come January. And in February, the White House will weigh in when President Barack Obama releases his proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year (even if there’s been no agreement on the final 2015 budget numbers).Should NIH be exempt?Against that backdrop, a major topic of discussion on all sides will be how to deal with the spending caps mandated under the 2011 Budget Control Act. That law requires annual spending reductions of $110 billion through 2021, which are automatically apportioned across all defense and civilian programs unless Congress acts otherwise. In the spring of 2013, these automatic cuts, known as the sequester, hit some research budgets hard: NIH saw a 5% cut to its $30 billion budget. After a major political showdown, Congress and the White House agreed last December to suspend the sequester for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years. But it will come roaring back in FY 2016 (which begins on 1 October 2015).That prospect has research leaders worried—especially about NIH, which accounts for about one-half of all U.S. civilian science spending. They argue that such automatic cuts will only exacerbate what they have dubbed the innovation deficit. That phrase refers to an alleged shortfall in realizing the full potential of scientific advances because of anemic spending on research. In a particularly dramatic example of this line of argument—which some have questioned—NIH Director Francis Collins has said that progress on an Ebola vaccine has been hindered by flat budgets.Similar arguments have gotten a friendly hearing from some members of Congress. A few Democratic legislators, for instance, have suggested exempting NIH from the 2011 law on the grounds that biomedical research is too important to be the victim of arbitrary reductions. Senator Tom Harkin (D–IA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D–CT) have sponsored identical bills that would designate NIH as “emergency spending” and boost its authorized budget by 10% annually in 2015 and 2016 and by 5% for each of the next 5 years. “This bill will put a plan in place for the Appropriations Committee to reverse the 10-year retrenchment in biomedical research funding over the remaining years of the Budget Control Act,” Harkin said in July when he introduced the legislation, called the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act.In March, Senator Richard Durbin (D–IL) proposed reaching a similar goal through a different funding mechanism. His American Cures Act calls for a 5% annual increase after inflation for NIH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and several military biomedical research programs. The money would be drawn from a newly created trust fund, although the bill doesn’t specify how the fund would be financed.The bills stand almost no chance of becoming law this year. But Harkin’s mechanism is potentially attractive to legislators, because it offers them a free lunch—that is, a chance to support NIH without having to take money from another federal agency. Specifically, the bill would eliminate the often fierce competition for money between NIH and other agencies overseen by the appropriations subcommittee that funds health, education, and welfare programs, as well as between that panel and the 11 other subcommittees that make up the overall federal budget pie.Harkin is retiring in December after 40 years in Congress. But biomedical lobbyists hope that he will use his clout as chair of both the Senate spending panel that controls NIH’s budget and the authorizing committee that sets policy for the agency to make things happen when the lame-duck Congress returns after the fall election. One veteran advocate who asked to remain unnamed estimates that Harkin’s approach has a one-in-five chance of being folded into an omnibus spending bill that covers the rest of the 2015 fiscal year if Democrats maintain control of the Senate. Of course, that would be only a 1-year fix, because Congress appropriates on an annual basis.Those odds grow longer, however, if Republicans take charge of the Senate. Under that scenario, pundits say, the election would be seen as a vote for continued fiscal restraint. In addition, spending decisions would likely be delayed until after the new Congress is seated.Has steady funding ever existed?Regardless of which party ends up controlling the Senate, the research community is unlikely to abandon its embrace of the innovation deficit as a persuasive tool in funding battles. (A coalition of scientific societies, including AAAS, publisher of ScienceInsider, has even created a website for the concept.) More money for research is only part of the pitch, however; groups are also using the phrase to highlight the importance of steady, predictable growth in the research enterprise.In applauding Harkin’s bill, for example, the Association of American Medical Colleges touches on both ideas. Its leaders cite the need “not only to restore the purchasing power the NIH has lost to inflation over the past decade, but also to provide the sustained, long-term predictable funding growth essential to catalyze scientific momentum and address current and emerging health challenges.”But is there really such a thing as steady, sustained growth? An analysis of federal spending over the past 20 years for what amounts to basic research suggests that the answer is no (see graph, below). In the case of NIH, for example, the 2 recent decades include two sharp rises—a 5-year doubling between 1998 to 2003 and a one-time bolus of money in 2009 that increased NIH’s budget by roughly one-third. Those peaks are interspersed with stretches of essentially flat budgets and punctuated with a dip from the 2013 sequester. ADVANCED MANUFACTURING STEM EDUCATION STREAM AND WETLAND PROTECTION NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION POLICY Matthew Hourihan, AAASThat history poses a potential dilemma for policy wonks concerned about U.S. research funding. On one hand, for instance, legislation such as Harkin’s bill would bring much desired additional funding to NIH. At the same time, however, it would trigger yet another dramatic upward budget swing. Research leaders have long argued that such sudden swings are quite disruptive and make long-range planning nearly impossible. In addition, a sudden upturn can send a false message of hope to aspiring scientists that the good times will last into the foreseeable future.Biomedical advocates readily acknowledge the dilemma. But it isn’t stopping them from pushing for Harkin’s bill. Jennifer Zeitzer, a lobbyist for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in Bethesda, Maryland, says the decision to embrace Harkin’s bill was easy. “We support anything that helps NIH. It’s our No. 1 priority,” she explains.Other biomedical lobbyists say they try to cast a big net when talking with legislators about the importance of more research funding, but that NIH is a logical place to start. “We’re advocating for the bill because of the need to get NIH back on track,” says Jennifer Poulakidas of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in Washington, D.C. “If there’s the possibility of expanding that approach to all federally funded research, then we’d be in favor of that, too. But the key is to take that first step. And you can make a special case for NIH because of the importance of finding cures and better treatments for a host of deadly diseases.”Lobbyists outside of the biomedical field say the community’s fervent support for the Harkin bill is understandable, even if its prospects may be slim. “Biomedical advocates are so beaten down by a decade of flat funding that they will grab for anything they can get,” says Joel Widder of Federal Science Partners, a boutique government relations firm in Washington, D.C.An end to the sequester?The effort to exempt NIH from the Budget Control Act assumes that the law will remain in place. But one major player in the budget game, President Obama, appears to be preparing a major push to unplug the automatic sequestration mechanism that enforces it. Last week, Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told reporters that “we’ve cut too much” and that the White House is looking to strike a “larger agreement [with Congress] around relieving sequester.” The carrot for Republicans, he said, would be cuts in some mandatory spending programs.Administration officials argue that the 2011 law has done its job: Last week, OMB announced that the budget deficit for 2014 was $483 billion, the lowest since 2008; at 2.8% of GDP, it’s below the average for the past 40 years. Instead of levying further cuts, they add, it’s time to make the sort of investments—in research, education, and infrastructure—that will produce long-term economic growth.How large an investment Obama will propose is hard to predict—as is whether Congress would be willing to go along. But given the president’s plummeting popularity and the likely Republican gains in next month’s election, some observers say, the White House may find itself on the sidelines as a Republican Congress tackles federal spending over the next 2 years.ScienceInsider’s After Election 2014 series will look at a range of issues that will be on policymakers’ agenda once the voters have spoken on 4 November. Look for stories on:BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH FUNDING 21ST CENTURY CURES
The amount of clinical data that drug companies must share with the public could soon vastly expand under a U.S. regulation proposed today. Trial sponsors would need to report summary results for drugs and devices that are never approved—and not just for products that reach the market—under the proposal.The goal of the plan, released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is to ensure that summary results for drugs that fail in trials, or are dropped for other reasons, still make it into a public database: ClinicalTrials.gov. Sharing these results should not only be useful for researchers, but also “helps fulfill society’s ethical responsibility” to people who volunteer for trials, said National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins during a press teleconference. “We owe to our patients, to our participants in these trials, the explanation of what happened.” Sharing the data may also help researchers avoid duplicating failed trials, officials say.Launched at Congress’s request in 2000, NIH’s ClinicalTrials.gov now contains registration data for more than 178,000 trials; all sponsors of trials regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are supposed to register. As a result of a 2007 law, within 1 year of the completion of a trial, drug companies must also submit summary results that include information such as the number of participants, their age and gender, outcomes, and adverse events. These results have been submitted for more than 15,000 trials.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 summary results requirement only applies to drugs and devices approved by FDA. Under the new rule proposed by HHS, companies will also need to report results for unapproved products. That should add another 100 to 150 reports to the 100 summaries the database now receives each week, said Deborah Zarin, director of ClinicalTrials.gov.Trial sponsors can ask for an extension of up to 3 years if they are still seeking approval for a product. And results still won’t be required for early trials, known as phase I, which test a product’s safety.NIH also plans to require that results for all clinical trials that it funds, no matter how early or small, be submitted to ClinicalTrials.gov. At the moment, only investigators conducting trials of products regulated by FDA must register the trial and report results. A draft policy released today will mean that results for another 650 trials per year will be added, NIH officials say.Both the NIH and HHS draft rules also clarify such details as who should submit data and when it must come in; trials must be registered within 21 days of enrolling the first patient, for example. This will make it easier to enforce compliance with the rules, for example by withholding funding for NIH grantees or imposing fines on companies regulated by FDA, said Kathy Hudson, NIH’s deputy director for science, outreach, and policy. The public may eventually be able to check the database to see if researchers have met the deadlines, providing a “wall of shame,” NIH officials joked.One advocate of clinical data sharing, Peter Doshi of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore, says he welcomes the new requirements. Some NIH-funded trials “are not published for years and years,” he notes. And often negative results never appear in a journal. “That’s not good from an evidence perspective and it’s embarrassing from a policy perspective. There’s an interest in trying to close these gaps.”Requiring that trial results for unapproved drugs be shared is also a positive step, Doshi says. “You’re reducing the chance that somebody will redo experiments that were already done and put people in harm’s way because the research wasn’t shared,” he says.However, the summary results in ClinicalTrials.gov can be confusing—they sometimes conflict with results reported in journals—and they lack details that could help researchers understand the data, Doshi notes. By contrast, the European Medicines Agency plans to make detailed clinical data reports publicly available and to provide data on individual patients to researchers—albeit only for approved drugs.“The white elephant in the room is that FDA sits on more data, across more drugs, across more therapeutic indications than anybody else on the planet,” Doshi says. “And their attitude is, ‘Great idea [to make the data public], let somebody else take care of this.’ ” Doshi is an associate editor of The BMJ, which is part of a group called AllTrials that is pushing for release of detailed clinical trial data.NIH’s Hudson said the agency is looking at whether to require access to data on individual patients without compromising privacy. The proposal also asks for input on whether trial sponsors should be required to submit their protocol to help the public understand the results.NIH and HHS are taking public comment on the two proposed policies until 19 February.*Correction, 20 November, 7:56 a.m.: The number of additional weekly submissions the new rule is expected to generate has been corrected. The correct numbers are 100 to 150 addtional submissions, not 200 to 250.
India is the second leading country of origin among international students in the US, according to Open Doors Report 2016 on international educational exchange. Related Items