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Scientists find common ocean algae to help cool Earth’s climate

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New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) An international team of researchers has found a common type of ocean algae that plays a significant role in producing a massively abundant compound to help cool the Earth’s climate.

The team from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Ocean University of China (OUC) identified the bloom-forming Pelagophyceae algae as potentially abundant and important producers of a compound called dimethylsulfoniopropionate, or DMSP.

While “the Pelagophyceae are amongst the most abundant algae on Earth, they were not previously known as important producers of DMSP,” said Professor Jonathan Todd, from UEA’s School of Biological Sciences.

Calling the “discovery is exciting”, the Professor explained that “DMSP is an abundant antistress compound, food source for other microorganisms and a major source of climate-cooling gases”.

The team said that DMSP is the main source of a climate active gas called dimethylsulfide (DMS) — known as the smell of the seaside.

The study, published in the journal Nature Microbiology, suggests that DMSP production, and consequently DMS release, is likely higher than previously predicted and emphasises the key role of microbes in regulating global climate.

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DMS also acts as a signalling molecule, guiding marine organisms to their food and deterring predators.

When DMS is released into the atmosphere, DMS oxidation products help form clouds which reflect sunlight away from the Earth, effectively cooling the planet.

This natural process is essential for regulating the Earth’s climate and is also hugely important for the global sulphur cycle, representing the main route by which sulphur from the oceans is returned to land, the team said.

–IANS

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Civic bodies poll in Nagaland after 20 years, 2.76 lakh voters to decide fate of 523 candidates

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Kohima, June 20 (IANS) Over 2.76 lakh voters would decide the fate of 523 candidates in the June 26 elections to three municipal councils and 36 town councils in Nagaland in civic polls being held after a gap of 20 years, officials said on Thursday.

State Election Commissioner (SEC) T. John Longkumer said that 670 nominations were submitted and subsequently 79 candidatures were withdrawn while 64 candidates were elected unopposed.

Four nomination papers were rejected during scrutiny.

He said that no candidate is contesting in the town councils in eastern Nagaland, where Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) gave a vote boycott call in support of their statehood demand for ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory’.

Longkumer, a former Director General of Police of Nagaland, said that a total of 2,76,229 voters, including 1,40,167 women, are eligible to exercise their franchise in the urban bodies poll.

Of the total of 418 wards in the urban civic bodies, 142 wards are reserved for women.

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The SEC said that many national and local parties are contesting the elections. These include the BJP, the Congress, the Janata Dal-United, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), the Naga People’s Front (NPF), the Rising People’s Party, the Republican Party of India-Athawale, and the Lok Janshakti Party-Ram Vilas.

The SEC earlier served a show cause notice to the ENPO, the apex body of seven backward Naga tribes in eastern Nagaland who urged the people to abstain from participating in the civic polls to press for its statehood demand. People in the six districts, which have over four lakh voters, remained indoors on April 19 in polling to the state’s sole Lok Sabha constituency, responding to its call.

SEC officials said that 108 companies of state security forces would be deployed to maintain security while 8,100 personnel would be posted to conduct the civic polls.

–IANS

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Railways conduct trial run on world's highest rail bridge in J&K

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Srinagar, June 20 (IANS) Indian Railways on Thursday conducted a successful trial run of an eight-coach MEMU train on the newly electrified 46-km section between Sangaldan and Reasi in Jammu and Kashmir passing through the world’s highest Chenab Rail Bridge.

Sharing the news, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in a post on X said: “Successful trial run of MEMU train between Sangaldan-Reasi section of USBRL project. Jammu & Kashmir.”

The trial run was conducted at a speed of 40 km per hour. The MEMU train started at 12:35 p.m. from Sangaldan and reached Reasi at 2:05 PM, passing through nine tunnels with a combined length of 40.78 km.

The USBRL project was inaugurated in multiple phases, starting with the 118-km Qazigund-Baramulla section in October 2009, followed by the 18-km Banihal-Qazigund section in June 2013, and the 25-kilometer Udhampur-Katra section in July 2014.

The latest phase, including the 48.1-km Banihal-Sangaldan section, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 20, 2024.

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The successful trial run signifies the nearing of the completion of the USBRL project. This project after completion is expected to enhance social integration, facilitate easier movement of people and goods, and boost economic activities such as tourism and trade in the region.

–IANS

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Goa Forward Party ready to combat BJP in upcoming Assembly session

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Panaji, June 20 (IANS) Expecting the BJP government with its brute majority in Goa to try to bulldoze the opposition during the forthcoming Assembly session, Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai said on Thursday that in a democracy, people are always in the majority.

“In a democracy, the people are always in the majority. A brute majority in the Assembly means nothing. I will force the government to focus on issues pertaining to the state,” Sardesai said after meeting people from various constituencies to discuss different issues.

In the 40-member Goa Assembly, BJP has 28 MLAs besides having the support of five other legislators.

“Many people came to meet me and discussed their issues. They are all victims of the brute majority of the BJP. I will raise their issues in the Assembly and try to draw the attention of the government to address them,” Sardesai said.

“As a regional political force, we are committed to raising issues that directly concern Goa, and this time too, we will hold the government accountable to the people of Goa. I have personally heard the grievances of people from across the state, and I will raise them in the House,” he added.

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The Monsoon Session of the Goa Assembly will have 18 sittings from July 15 to August 7.

–IANS

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Chidambaram calls on Mamata Banerjee at Bengal Secretariat, holds closed-door meeting

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Kolkata, June 20 (IANS) In an interesting development, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram dropped in at the West Bengal Secretariat ‘Nabanna’ on Thursday evening and had a 40-minute-long closed-door meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Although neither the Chief Minister nor the Congress leader spoke to media persons about the subjects of discussion at the meeting, Trinamool Congress insiders said that the two leaders probably discussed the strategy to be adopted by the opposition INDIA bloc in the forthcoming session of the Parliament.

Political observers feel that the meeting is significant in the way that it hints about the top leadership of the two parties coming closer again leaving behind the bitterness over the Lok Sabha elections between the state unit of Congress and the ruling Trinamool.

Now with the state Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who had always been known for his hardcore anti-Trinamool stand, having himself lost in the polls from Baharampur, the road has become smoother for both Congress and Trinamool for future floor coordination in the Lok Sabha.

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In fact, in the past too, the personal equation between Banerjee and Chidambaram had been extremely cordial, with the latter often holding the brief of the state government in important court cases both at the Supreme Court and the Calcutta High Court. Often, Chidambaram and his fellow Congressman and senior advocate Abhsihek Manu Singhvi had earned the ire of the state Congress leadership for holding briefs on behalf of the state government and a number of Trinamool leaders but remained unfazed.

–IANS

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Excise policy case: Delhi court grants bail to CM Kejriwal, rejects ED's plea (Ld)

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) A Delhi court on Thursday granted bail to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in connection with a money laundering case related to the alleged excise policy scam.

Vacation Judge Niyay Bindu of the Rouse Avenue Court had earlier in the day reserved the order on CM Kejriwal’s bail plea.

Notably, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sought a 48-hour deferral in signing the bail bond following the court’s pronouncement of the order. The ED’s request aimed to allow sufficient time to challenge the order before the appellate court.

However, the presiding judge firmly denied the ED’s plea for a stay on the order. The trial court said the bail bond must be presented before the duty judge on Friday as per the court’s directive.

The judge also heard CM Kejriwal’s application to allow his wife Sunita Kejriwal to be present during his medical examination.

While the court had on Wednesday said that it won’t reserve the order, it had also extended CM Kejriwal’s judicial custody in the excise policy case after hearing arguments at length on his regular bail plea.

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“I will not reserve the order. Everyone knows it is a high-profile matter. I will pass the order after hearing it,” Judge Niyay Bindu had said as she posted the continuation of the hearing for Thursday.

On Wednesday, the court heard arguments from CM Kejriwal’s counsel, while the ED also presented its case but could not complete it.

The judge had deferred the hearing to Thursday, stating: “I have to pass some orders (in other cases) and give ‘dasti’ (service of notice in person) copies.”

The judge had also heard CM Kejriwal’s application to allow his wife Sunita Kejriwal to be present during his medical examination, with the court awaiting a report from Tihar Jail on the matter.

The judge had clarified that the central agency had no role in CM Kejriwal’s request for treatment inside the jail.

During the bail arguments, senior advocate Vikram Chaudhary, representing CM Kejriwal, had contended that the case against him relied on statements from individuals who were allegedly promised bail for supporting the ED’s case.

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He had also questioned the credibility of these witnesses and suggested their statements were made under duress after failing to obtain bail.

Chaudhary also cited the timing of CM Kejriwal’s arrest before the Lok Sabha elections, suggesting it was politically motivated.

He argued that there was no material evidence or money trail against CM Kejriwal, describing the investigation as “the biggest instrument of oppression”.

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, representing the ED, had argued that CM Kejriwal had not been summoned as an accused but was now facing charges after the special court took cognisance of the money laundering offence.

He had said that the credibility of the statements could only be assessed during the trial, not at the bail stage while adding that inducements given to the approvers were lawful and necessary for obtaining evidence.

He argued that CM Kejriwal was liable not only in his personal capacity, but also as the head of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), alleging he had demanded a bribe of Rs 100 crore.

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–IANS

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