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Low-fat curd intake in pregnancy could trigger asthma in children

NEW DELHI MONDAY 19 | SEPTEMBER 2011

SCIENCE+HEALTH

Drug eluting balloon technology is a new way to treat heart blockages

50 YEARS AGO IN DECCAN CHRONICLE

UN CHIEF DIES IN PLANE ACCIDENT Ndola (North Rhodesia), Sept. 18: Dag Hammarskjoeld was killed when his plane crashed seen and a half miles from Ndola today. The U.N. Secretary-General’s body was among the six found in the wreckage. Another person who was not immediately identified was found seriously injured. Mr Hammarskjoeld’s plane a DC6 airliner, crashed in the bush seven and a half miles from Ndola. The wreckage was spotted by a Royal Rhodesian Air Force provost aircraft. A Northern Rhodesia Government spokesman confirmed that the wreckage found was that of Mr Hammarskjoeld’s plane. He also confirmed that Mr Hammarskjoeld’s body had been identified. The spokesman said the wreckage was first seen by an African charcoal burner and then later spotted by a provost aircraft of the Royal Rhodesian Air Force. The spokesman said that when a search party reached the wreckage at 3.15 pm today it was still smoldering. Six bodies, including that of Mr Hammarskjoeld, were found near the aircraft. The spokesman said that it appeared that the aircraft had struck the ground at speed and with considerable force.

odds

DINO-KILLING ASTEROID WIPED OUT BIRDS: STUDY Washington: The catastrophic meteor strike that killed dinosaurs on earth some 65 million years ago may also have wiped out ancient birds, scientists say. Palaeontologists who examined fossils of ancient birds found that many of the archaic birds died off at the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. According to the researchers, nearly all the modern bird groups, from owls to penguins and so on, began to emerge within 15 million years after all the dinosaurs went extinct. These birds are subtly but significantly different from many of the ancient lineages that existed before a cosmic impact that wreaked havoc around the globe at the end of the Cretaceous period about 65 million years ago, they said. “These archaic birds superficially looked very similar to modern birds, but underneath their feathers they were completely different,” study researcher Nicholas Longrich, said. — PTI

NEW WAY TO KILL CANCER CELLS DISCOVERED Washington: Scientists have figured out a new way to kill cancer cells by disabling a protein known as fortilin, which promotes their unbridled growth. Fortilin does so by neutering (removing) protein p53, which actually suppresses cancer. This finding potentially paves the way for treating a range of tumours and atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries, with plaque buildup), which p53 also helps prevent. “The p53 protein is a critical defence against cancer because it activates genes that induce apoptosis, or the death of cells,” said Ken Fujise, director cardiology division, University of Texas Medical Branch, who led the study. Fujise and his team used animal models to demonstrate that fortilin inhibits p53 from activating genes, such as BAX and Noxa, that facilitate cell death. Thus, cells that would be killed are allowed to proliferate, the Journal of Biological Chemistry reports. “When normal cells become cancer cells, our bodies’ natural biological response is to activate p53, which eliminates the hopelessly damaged cells,” said Fujise, according to a Texas statement. — IANS

A search for relief

through Arnica Bee-Shyuan Chang

■ Derived from a flower, arnica is used to promote many kinds of healing. It is available in pellets, topical gels, creams and even massage oil

B

Aashima Dogra

diary

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Dr Macrene AlexiadesArmenakas, a Manhattan dermatologist and an assistant clinical professor at Yale, said that, “taken orally, arnica has been reported to cause irritation and toxicity for both the gastrointestinal system and the kidneys”. Still, even before the style set took it up, sports figures were showing interest in the substance. Pierre Barrieu, a former head fitness coach for the United States Men’s National Soccer Team, had been treating players with arnica pellets and topical formulations since 2002. “Basically, it was to relieve the effects of blows and bruises (i.e., prevent swelling and bleeding) when applied in a timely manner,” he wrote in an email. “It’s best to apply as early as possible after the traumatic event. We also used it to accelerate the recovery, because arnica decreases the inflammation. And finally, it was used to prevent cramps.” Orthopaedic surgeons have also “prescribed” arnica, which is sold in places like Duane Reade and Whole Foods, as a pre- and postoperative measure. And some dermatologists have recommended it after plastic surgery and injectables like Botox and Restylane. When the fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg was injured in a ski accident in January, she tweeted during recovery: “Arnica gel is the best thing you can do for bruises... I cannot say it enough...,” prompting rumours that the accident was a foil for plastic surgery (which she quickly batted away). In the hands of natural-beauty buffs, arnica has recently become something of a medicine-cabinet and vanity catch-all. According to Sprayology, a company featured on Teen Vogue’s website that sells vitamin and homeopathic mouth sprays, arnica treats confusion and feelings of vertigo. That’s the claim, anyway, for including the herb in its “Brain Power” formulation. On online forums, especially of the ayurvedic and homeopathic variety, arnica oil has been touted

Wende Zomnir of Urban Decay uses arnica to prevent soreness. — NYT as a remedy for alopecia, or hair loss. Ms Zomnir of Urban Decay used it for pain and soreness after natural delivery. “My midwife gave me arnica after the births of my boys,” she said. “I had them both at home, so no drugs available. Arnica did the trick.” Still others say it clears up acne and other skin inflammations. Nelsons Pure and Clear Acne Gel lists arnica as one of four active ingredients. In an Elle magazine interview, the model Gisele Bundchen touted Nelson’s gel as a gentle way to clear up blemishes.

Derived from a yellow mountain daisy that grows in Europe and is also known as leopard’s bane, arnica has traditionally been used to treat bruising

And at the Upper East Side Kiehl’s flagship and spa, which opened on July 19, jars of arnica flowers line the treatment rooms so aestheticians can customise services on the spot. It’s visually attractive from a naturist’s standpoint, but not the most contemporary method. “Arnica has evolved,” said Dr Alexiades-Armenakas. “Even though it has a long history, it’s never been terribly effective. Fast forward to the present, and we’ve had a good amount of labs analyse the active ingredients in arnica. They’ve identified a number of ingredients that account for antibruising, and among them are caffeine derivatives.” Dr Alexiades-Armenakas has included these derivatives along with cacao extract in her 37 Extreme Actives facial cream, sold at Neiman Marcus for $295 for a 1.7-ounce pot. “The idea is to combat puffiness because caffeine has a constrictive ability on blood vessels and lymphatic vessels,” she said. Dr Charles Passler, a Manhattan chiropractor and nutritionist who has worked with the Estée Lauder model Carolyn Murphy and with Dylan Lauren, recommends both oral and topical forms of arnica, mainly for bruising and inflammation. “As far as using arnica as a tool for changing body composition, I’m not aware of it,” he said. For temporary de-bloating, though, Dr Passler conceded, “It will help decrease any puffiness in the body caused by inflammation.” Despite her use of arnica in a topical product, Dr AlexiadesArmenakas remains concerned about long-term oral use. “I would be OK if they did it for a few days for a photo shoot once a month,” she said of the fashionable pillpoppers. “But if they’re having a photo shoot every week, and they’re regularly on it, I would be very worried. Especially for models, they’re very thin, and it’s easier to get toxicity.” By arrangement with the New York Times

In diamonds’ flaws, finding clues to earth’s carbon cycle Nicholas Wade

meanwhile ■ Gemstones that once lay more than 435 miles beneath the earth’s surface and that include chemical signatures of the extinct ocean floor are shedding light on the planet’s carbon cycle

x New trends make a splash at UK fest

focus

efore the CFDA Fashion Awards in June, the New York-based fashion designer Phillip Lim, who’d been travelling frequently and working hard, was feeling a bit puffy. “I heard of models and other designers taking arnica before big events or photo shoots, so I thought I’d try it out,” he said recently, referring to the homeopathic supplement arnica montana. “It’s supposed to slim you down because it flushes you out. And it clears up your skin.” Mr Lim tried a three-day oral regimen of arnica before walking the red carpet, and was pleased with the results. “I did feel like my skin glowed afterwards,” he said. Available in pellets, topical gels, creams and even massage oil, arnica is the latest of many herbal remedies to invigorate, if not intoxicate, the fashion crowd. Linda Fargo, the fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman, counts the pellet form as one of her fashion week survival must-haves, and the stylist Isabel Dupré has long been a fan. “I know it for its healing quality,” Ms Dupre said. “It’s an old family remedy.” Wende Zomnir, the executive creative director of Urban Decay cosmetics, who uses arnica in several forms instead of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, said: “I think it’s amazing. I take it myself, give it to my kids and hand it out at the Crossfit gym I work out at. I use it after a tough workout to prevent muscle soreness, if myself or my kids have gotten bumped around and might be bruised, or if I’ve strained a muscle.” Derived from a yellow mountain daisy that grows in Europe and is also known as leopard’s bane, arnica has traditionally been used to treat bruising. It reputedly increases circulation by stimulating white blood cell activity, thereby decreasing the amount of healing time and reducing inflammation. If taken internally, it must be diluted with water; arnica contains the toxin helenalin and is poisonous if consumed in large quantities.

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iamonds that once lay more than 435 miles beneath the earth’s surface have provided researchers with an unexpected window into the planet’s history. The diamonds, during their formation, captured evidence that slabs of the ocean floors descend deep beneath the earth’s surface, recycling carbon between the oceans and the earth’s mantle, the shell of rock, about 1,800 miles thick, that lies directly beneath the earth’s surface. Understanding the fate of the slabs will help scientists better understand the earth’s carbon cycle and all the processes that depend on it, from the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to the carbon compounds in living organisms and the formation of hydrocarbons in oil and gas. Objects that resemble ocean slabs can be seen in seismic recordings, but they lie far too deep for any drill to sample. Impurities in the dia-

monds contain chemical signatures of the extinct ocean floor, evidence that the slabs have been cycled deep into the earth’s mantle, says a research team led by Michael J. Walter of the University of Bristol in England. These microscopic impurities, derived from rock and from organic material in creatures that once lived on an ancient ocean floor, have undergone an amazing journey. The ocean floor rock, basalt, along with the sediment that built up on top of it, was drawn down at the edge of an ocean as part of the conveyor-belt mechanism that moves the continents. When the slab of ocean floor had plunged 435 miles beneath the surface, minerals from the basalt were encapsulated inside the diamonds that formed at these depths. The diamonds continued to descend with the slab of ocean floor until they experienced two elevator rides back to the

surface. A rising mass of solid rock known as a mantle plume carried them slowly back toward the upper mantle, and the heat of the plume then propelled to the surface an explosive jet of molten kimberlite, a volcanic rock that preserves diamonds. Eons later, the diamonds were mined by the Rio Tinto Group from Juina in Brazil. The company allowed members of the research team to sift through stones not deemed to be of gem quality. After examining thou-

Superdeeps will emerge in 10 years as some of the strongest evidence for deep movements in earth’s mantle –– Steven B. Shirey Carnegie Institution

sands of diamonds, the researchers found just six that seemed to be of superdeep origin. Despite their deep origin, the Juina diamonds are comparatively young as diamonds go. They were formed only 100 million years ago. Most gemquality diamonds are 1 billion to 3.5 billion years old, and originate at shallower depths, in the keels beneath the cratons, the ancient blocks of rock that form the hearts of the earth’s continental masses. The impurities that make the superdeep diamonds useless to the jeweller are invaluable to the scientist. From the inclusions in the six Juina diamonds, Dr Walter’s team was able to infer the existence of two minerals that form only in conditions that exist 435 miles or

ew scientific trends are hardly unfounded at the British Science festival. It is here that the term “scientist” was coined and the word “dinosaur” was first used. Brand new research showcased at this years festival:

letes can be directly attributed to use of technology in sporting events. Prof. Steve Haake of Sheffield Hallam University warned sportgoverning authorities of stagnation in world sport records as a result of banning new technology. His work reveals the lack of any new records since the ban on the hydrodynamic swimsuits after the Beijing Olympics. If the ban persists and records are not re-set, these records could remain “untouched for decades”.

POPULAR COSMOLOGY MODEL NEEDS REVISION

The outcome of the overmilitarised reaction after 9/11 has been radically different than expected. Prof. Paul Rogers from Bradford University presented results of his study on post-9/11 events. “The analysis of the first ten years of the ‘war on terror’ after 9/11 examines the expected outcomes of the war, including a defeated Al Qaeda movement, stable and pro-western states in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a diminished Iran. It contrasts these with the actual outcomes, including over 2000,000 people killed, over seven million refugees, and an unstable Iraq, a more influential Iran and a war in Afghanistan about to enter its second decade.” He suggested 9/11 should have been treated as an event of “transnational criminality” and dealt with action by a stronger Interpol and a decisive international justice system.

WAR ON TERROR WAS A MISTAKE

Our view of the cosmos might need correction. Four per cent of our universe is formed of matter, 21 per cent is dark-matter and the rest is dark energy. All experiments looking for direct evidence of dark matter are based on the standard model of cosmology. This model doesn’t stick in the simulation of dwarf galaxy formation (believed to be made up of dark matter) created by Durham scientists. Announcing the results of their study, Prof. Carlos Frenk expressed his concern over inconsistency of the standard model and indicated it needed revision before any dark matter was to be found. RARE ELEMENTS GROWING SPARSE Rare earth elements used in manufacture of mobile gadgets will soon be in short supply. To meet future demands these elements will need to be mined at undiscovered locations or recycled from electronic waste. China supplies 97 per cent of the world’s rare earth elements. TECHNOLOGY NEEDS SPORT The gradual fall in performance times of athdeeper below the earth’s surface. The composition of the two minerals matched the basalt of which the ocean floor is made, showing that slabs of ocean floor had reached this depth, the researchers reported online on Thursday in the journal Science. In another test, they showed that the carbon in the impurities contained less than usual of the isotope known as carbon 13, a signature of organic carbon at the surface of the earth that has been processed by living organisms. Researchers are delighted that so much information about major geological processes can be gleaned from the microscopic impurities in the superdeep diamonds. “The superdeeps will probably emerge in the next 10 years as some of the strongest evidence for deep movements and pathways in the earth’s mantle,” said Steven B. Shirey of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, a member of Dr Walter’s team. Thomas Stachel, an expert on diamond geochemistry at the University of Alberta in Canada, said, “Here you have a beautiful demonstration that the oceanic plate cycle is not relatively shallow, as many peo-

ple assume, but that the subducted plate makes it down to the deep mantle and is brought back to the surface by a mantle plume.” In Dr Walter’s laboratory, the superdeep diamonds are polished with a jeweller’s polishing wheel until the precious impurities within them are exposed. With a variety of spectroscopic tests, the researchers then measure the composition of the minerals within the impurities. The discovery that carbon from the ocean floor can be mixed so deep within the mantle raises the larger question of how much of the ocean floor and sediments are carried to the deep mantle. Given the importance of carbon to life, scientists seek to understand the major reservoirs of carbon in the earth and the exchanges between them, both in space and in time. “The mantle is the biggest reservoir of carbon, and we know very little about it,” Dr Walter said. “This won’t affect climate tomorrow, but what our results tell you is that carbon from the surface can go all the way into the lower mantle, which may be a long-term sink for carbon.” By arrangement with the New York Times


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AGE THE

New Delhi ● Tuesday ● 19 July 2011 Gbagbo loyalists no longer threat in I. Coast, says UN

Tunisia PM Caid Essebsi says unrest aims to derail polls

Peru Prez-elect Ollanta Humala arrives in Cuba at Castro’s invitation

International Brooks to attend House hearing despite arrest

TODAY in

HISTORY

Today is Tuesday, July 19, the 200th day of 2011. There are 165 days left in the year. HIGHLIGHTS IN HISTORY ON THIS DATE

1333 Battle of Halidon Hill: The English win a decisive victory over the Scots. 1545 The Tudor warship, Mary Rose, sinks off Portsmouth. 1553 Lady Jane Grey is replaced by Mary I of England as Queen of England after only nine days of reign. 1692 Salem witch trials: Five women are hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. 1701 Representatives of the Iroquois Confederacy sign the Nanfan Treaty, ceding a large territory north of the Ohio River to England. 1843 Brunel’s steamship, the SS Great Britain, is launched, becoming the first oceangoing craft with an iron hull or screw propeller and also becoming the largest vessel afloat in the world. 1870 France declares war on Prussia. 1912 A meteorite with an estimated mass of 190 kg explodes over the town of Holbrook in Navajo County, Arizona causing approximately 16,000 pieces of debris to rain down on the town. 1916 Battle of Fromelles: British and Australian troops attack German trenches in a prelude to the Battle of the Somme. 1919 Following Peace Day celebrations marking the end of World War I, exservicemen riot and burn down Luton Town Hall. 1940 Italian light cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni sinks, with 121 casualties. 1947 The Prime Minister of the shadow Burmese government, Bogyoke Aun San, and 6 of his Cabinet and two non-Cabinet members are assassinated by Galon U Saw. 1963 Joe Walker flies a North American X15 to a record altitude of 106,010 metres on X-15 Flight 90.

Wall Street slams News Corp. critics

AGE CORRESPONDENT LONDON

South African President Jacob Zuma (left) welcomes British Prime Minister David Cameron in Pretoria on Monday. Mr Cameron said he and Mr Zuma reaffirmed commitment to double bilateral trade by 2015 and repeated his support for a pan-African free trade area currently under negotiation. PHOTO: AFP

Murdoch son faces probe on BSkyB role AGE CORRESPONDENT LONDON

July 18: Pressure in building on News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch’s son James Murdoch, who is chairman of BSkyB, to be questioned by the Met Police after News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was arrested by the police on Sunday. The pressure on James

James Murdoch

Murdoch, who is chairman of News International, is growing as Britain’s Serious

Fraud Office confirmed on Monday that it will give “full consideration” to Labour MP Tom Watson’s letter urging the watchdog to investigate News Corp. Mr Watson, in his letter, had urged SFO to investigate out-of-court settlements made with victims of News of the World phone hacking by News International. “The SFO can confirm that it has today

received a letter from Tom Watson MP calling upon the SFO to investigate certain allegations relating to News Corp. SFO director Richard Alderman will give full consideration to Mr Watson’s letter. The SFO is aware that the Metropolitan Police Service is conducting an investigation into alleged improper payments to police officers,” the anti-fraud office said.

July 18: Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks will attend the hearing of the House of Commons select committee on Tuesday afternoon, her lawyer confirmed on Monday. Kingsley Napley criminal litigation head Stephen Parkinson, who was appointed to advise Ms Brooks after her arrest on Sunday, made it clear that his client was not guilty. “The position of Rebekah Brooks can be simply stated. She is not guilty of any criminal offence,” he said on Monday, in a statement. The Met police decision to arrest Ms Brooks, who is also former editor of the News of the World weekly tabloid, damaged her reputation, her lawyer claimed. “The position of the Metropolitan police is less easy to understand. Despite arresting her yesterday and conducting an interview process lasting nine hours, they put no allegations to her, and showed her no documents connecting her with any crime,” Mr Parkinson said. “They will in due course have to give an account of their actions, and in particular their decision to arrest her, with the enormous reputational damage that this has involved.” Ms Brooks was released

Rebekah Brooks

on bail on Sunday night, 12 hours after she was arrested by the police investigating allegations of phone-hacking and illegal payments to police officers. She was bailed to return to a London police station on a date in late October. Ms Brooks would definitely attend the hearing of the select committee on culture, media and sport, headed by Tory MP John Whittingdale. She will appear before the MPs in the committee from 3.30 pm on Tuesday, after the 2.30 pm appearance of News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch before the committee. “In the meantime, Mrs Brooks has an appointment with the culture, media and sport select committee tomorrow. She remains willing to attend and to answer questions. It is a matter for Parliament to decide what issues to put to her and whether her appointment should take place at a later date,” Mr Parkinson said.

German unions want UK: PIO’s extradition trial begins a lunchtime siesta AGE CORRESPONDENT

LONDON

London, July 18: In a bid to be more skilful in work, German unions have called for a return to official siestas as part of the working day. The DGB confederation of trade unions has argued that a short, lunchtime power nap makes sense for health and performance reasons. “Even though the siesta is something that isn’t a given anymore in the southern European countries, it is still a good idea for health reasons,” the Guardian quoted Annelie Buntenbach, a DGB executive board member, as telling Tageszeitung in an interview. “A short afternoon nap reduces the risk of, for example, a heart attack, and provides an energy boost,” she added. Even studies have supported this. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical School in Greece have found that Greek workers who took regular siestas had 37 per cent lower mortality rates

The DGB confederation of trade unions has argued that a short, lunchtime power nap makes sense for health and performance reasons from coronary illnesses than their napless counterparts. The idea has caught on in Germany, where big German companies such as BASF, Opel, Hornsbach and Lufthansa provide special rooms for their workers, and employers say they benefit from the increased productivity of well-rested employees. —ANI

XUK set to ban animal testing

July 18: Indian-origin British businessman Shrien Dewani, who is accused of allegedly ordering the murder of his newly-wedded wife Anni during their honeymoon in Cape Town, was on Monday allowed to miss the four-day extradition trial at Belmarsh magistrates’ court sitting at Woolwich crown court in southeast London. The 31-year-old, who is on

wife’s murder

Shrien Dewani

a £250,000 bail, has been accused by the South African police of ordering Anni’s murder during honeymoon

in Cape Town. Mr Dewani, from Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol, faces charges of conspiracy to murder, murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravated circumstances and obstruction of the administration of justice. Twenty-eight-year-old Anni, a Swedish citizen, was shot dead when the taxi she and her husband were travelling in was hijacked in the Gugulethu township on the outskirts of Cape Town on November 13 last year. Mr Dewani was implicated by

taxi driver Zola Tongo who claimed that the British businessman had paid him 15,000 rands to hire two hit men to shoot Anni. Mr Dewani, who denies all allegations made against him by the South African police, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and is being held at Fromeside Clinic in Bristol. Mr Dewani was excused by judge Howard Riddle so that he could leave the court and return to the clinic where he is being treated.

Cats go next door to mark territory? London, July 18: You may have wondered why your pet cat often prefers the neighbour’s garden as a convenience? Well, felines foul neighbouring gardens intentionally to mark the edge of their “territory”, says a new study. The feline behavioural traits were revealed when GPS trackers and tiny cameras — nicknamed “cat navs” — were fitted to nine pets over a period of eight days. The findings were

drawn from 150 hours of camera footage, 768 hours of GPS tracking and a sur-

vey of 3,000 owners. Animal behaviourist Roger Tabor, who led the study, said that “territorial marking” could be a serious source of dispute between neighbours. “If you are not careful it can lead to falling out and even people moving. If you have a tiny garden and if you don’t want to fall out with your neighbours, it’s important to leave an area of loose soil at the end of the garden which you can clean when

needed,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying. The study also suggests town cats are more stressed than their rural cousins because their territory is smaller and they have to spend much of their time protecting it against numerous rivals. In the experiment, city cats crossed the paths of at least 10 other felines a day, and half of them had to deal with rivals entering their homes to steal food. —PTI

AROUND THE WORLD

AASHIMA DOGRA LONDON

June 18: Britons will decide how severely they want to cut down on product testing on animals and their use in scientific research. The UK government has released proposals to ban animal testing while replacing it with alternative techniques.

These statements are now subjected to stakeholder review along with a public consultation exercise. Recent statistics from the home office show a three per cent rise in animal testing and one per cent in animal experimentation. Experts have attributed this rise to the predominance of GMOs in research labs

South Sudan launches new currency, tension simmers Juba, July 18: South Sudan started rolling out its new currency on Monday — the South Sudan Pound — escalating a point of simmering disagreement with Khartoum after the country split away from the north on July 9. South Sudan became the world’s newest nation after seceding from Sudan under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war,

but the two sides have yet to agree on how to manage the oil industry, split national debt and other issues. The new nation’s announcement last week that it would launch its own currency earlier than expected added urgency to a dispute over what to do with the 1.5 to 2 billion of old Sudanese pounds in circulation in the South. —Reuters

across UK. It is to be noted that use of fishes has gone up by over twenty per cent, which denotes a fall in use of other species including primates. At the moment, the alternative to vivisection of animals in labs can only be found in use of cell culture along with biochemistry experimentation. Hungarian Nazi war crime suspect Sandor Kepiro sits in a wheelchair and listens to the verdict of his trial as he is cleared of charges at Budapest municipal court on Monday. The court ruled on May 19 that Kepiro’s trial could continue after physical and mental health checks showed the 97year-old was fit, even if very frail. PHOTO: AFP

Spain busts ‘biggest’ EU drugs network Madrid, July 18: The Spanish police on Monday announced the seizure of 25 million euros ($35 million) in cash and the arrest of 20 people in an operation against “the biggest moneylaundering and drug-trafficking network in Europe.” A total of 16 people were detained in Spain and four in the United States, said the police, who worked in cooperation with the FBI and judicial authorities in Miami. It was “the biggest quantity of cash seized at one time,” they said in a statement. It said authorities seized 21 properties in Spain and four in the United States worth a total of 75 million euros, as well as 60 cars. “One of the moneylaundering methods was to buy and sell luxury cars,” the statement said. —AFP

New York, July 18: The News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal blasted critics Monday fora double standards and insisted that the phone-tapping scandal in Britain should not tarnish all of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. The powerful Journal, the flagship of Murdoch’s US print operations, also warned that pressure to investigate News Corp. Under US laws against bribing foreign officials could backfire on the entire media. “Do our media brethren really want to invite Congress and prosecutors to regulate how journalists gather the news?” the country’s leading financial newspaper asked in an editorial. The newspaper, owned by Dow Jones & Co, taken over by News Corp. four years ago, accused politicians and competitors of “using the phone-hacking years ago at a British corner of News Corp. To assail the Journal, and perhaps injure press freedom as well.” The editorial pushed blame for the scandal onto British police, British politicians who curried media favour. —AFP

House of Lords

Meghnad Desai

Lord Desai loses election for Speaker AGE CORRESPONDENT LONDON

July 18: Indian-born Labour peer Lord Meghnad Desai, who was one of the candidates for the post of the Speaker of the House of Lords, did not win the election. Instead, Baroness Frances D’Souza, a crossbench peer, has been elected by the members of the House of Lords to replace current Lord Speaker, Baroness Hayman. A total of 770 members of the House of Lords were eligible to vote and 644 valid votes, including 125 postal votes, were cast on the day of the election on July 13. There were two spoilt or invalid ballot papers. The political parties do not have candidates in the election, which aims to be non-partisan. Lord Desai was in running for the post along with Tory peers Lord Colwyn and Lord Alastair Goodlad, cross-bench peer Baroness D’Souza, and LibDem peers Baroness Angela Harris of Richmond and Lord Redesdale. Sixty-seven-year-old cross-bench peer, Baroness D’Souza, a trained scientist, with 296 votes under the alternate voting system after four transfers of votes. Her nearest rival was Lord Colwyn with 285 votes. Lord Desai got 78 first preference votes compared to 186 first preference votes for Baroness D’Souza. The result of the election, held on July 13, was reported to the House of the Lords at the start of business on Monday afternoon. Baroness Hayman, who was elected as the first Lord Speaker in July 2006, did not seek re-election.



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