New species of Pleistocene stork found on hobbit island

first_img Explore further More information: A new species of giant marabou stork (Aves: Ciconiiformes) from the Pleistocene of Liang Bua, Flores (Indonesia), Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 160, 707–724. DOI:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2010.00616.x The fragments of fossilized bones were found by Dr. Hanneke Meijer of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC and her colleague Rokus Due of the National Center for Archaeology in Jakarta, Indonesia. Dr. Meijer is a paleontologist specializing in fossils of birds found on islands. The giant stork fossils were located in sediments dated at 20-50,000 years old in the Liang Bua cave in which H.floresiensis was found in 2004.Dr. Meijer said bird fossils are distributed throughout the sediments found in the cave and and provide a unique opportunity to study how birds evolved in an insular environment, including their increasing size and loss of flight. Fossils of other giant species have also been found, including giant rats and lizards, but the island was also home to pygmy elephants as well as the hobbits. Citation: New species of Pleistocene stork found on ‘hobbit’ island (2010, December 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-12-species-pleistocene-stork-hobbit-island.html In this undated sketch by Inge van Noortwijk and released by John Wiley & Sons, a six-foot (180 centimeters)-tall giant stork stands next to a dwarf Homo floresiensis that had lived on the remote island of Flores in Indonesia. According to the December 2010 issue of the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, fossils of the giant stork, which lived 20,000 to 50,000 years ago, have been discovered on the far-flung Indonesian island that has been home to many extreme-sized creatures, from tiny human-like “hobbits” and dwarf elephants to the world’s largest-known rats and lizards. Picture: John Wiley & Sons, Inge van Noortwijk Hippo’s island life helps explain dwarf hobbit (w/Video) (PhysOrg.com) — Fossils of a giant Pleistocene stork found on Flores island, Indonesia, belong to a new species according to scientists. The now extinct bird was probably flightless, and lived on the same island as Homo floresiensis, a small hominin species that has come to be nicknamed the “hobbit”. The extinct marabou stork, Leptoptilos robustus, was around 1.8 meters long and weighed about 16 kg, which makes it larger than modern stork species. It was probably capable of preying on juvenile hobbits, since the adult hobbits were only about one meter tall, but there is no evidence that it did. Modern marabou storks feed mostly on carrion meat but they also eat small mammals, birds, fish and frogs.Dr. Meijer said it is not unusual to find large birds on islands, especially if prey species are plentiful and mammalian predator species are scarce, but she said she had not expected to find a giant marabou stork on Flores. The size and weight of the bones suggest the stork was probably too heavy to fly, but it probably evolved from ancestors that flew to the isolated island and colonized it.Dr. Meijer said the island has always been isolated from other islands in the region and has never been connected to the mainland. She said the isolation had played an important role in shaping the evolution of the fauna on the island.It is not known why the giant and dwarf species on the island became extinct, but Dr. Meijer said all the fossils of the giant stork, the pygmy elephants and hobbits were found in sediments beneath a layer of volcanic ash, which suggests a volcanic eruption may have caused a major extinction in the region. The findings, published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, help explain how wildlife in the Pleistocene adapted to island life. Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) in the Oregon Zoo. Image: Wikipedia. © 2010 PhysOrg.com This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

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Magnetic sensors can measure distances between vehicles

first_img Citation: Magnetic sensors can measure distances between vehicles (2011, October 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-10-magnetic-sensors-distances-vehicles.html By determining a clear inverse relationship between a vehicle’s magnetic field and its distance (obtained from a sonar sensor), scientists can estimate the distance between two vehicles at close spacing with a simple, inexpensive sensor. Image credit: S. Taghvaeeyan and R. Rajamani. ©2011 American Institute of Physics Explore further More information: S. Taghvaeeyan and R. Rajamani. “Use of vehicle magnetic signatures for position estimation.” Applied Physics Letters 99, 134101 (2011). DOI:10.1063/1.3639274 Magnetic Sensor That Brooks No Interference Copyright 2011 PhysOrg.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. S. Taghvaeeyan and R. Rajamani of the University of Minnesota have published their study on using vehicles’ magnetic signatures for position estimation in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters.“The main sources of magnetic fields are the magnetized steel belts in the tires, the ignition, the alternator, air conditioning system, speakers, etc.,” Rajamani told PhysOrg.com. “The significant metal in the engine block, transmission, driveline, etc., can also be magnetized.”To measure a vehicle’s magnetic field, the researchers used anisotropic magnetoresistive (AMR) sensors on the vehicle that’s doing the measuring, while the other vehicles do not need to be equipped with any kind of device. The AMR sensors, which contain silicon chips with a thick coating of piezoresistive nickel-iron, can detect a change in the ambient magnetic field induced by a passing vehicle. The change in magnetic field causes a change in the resistance of the nickel-iron layer in the AMR sensors. While measuring a vehicle’s magnetism has previously been used to measure traffic flow rates on a road, it’s never been applied to estimating the distance between two vehicles.In their study, the researchers performed a theoretical analysis and experimental measurements with different vehicle types to determine exactly how the magnetism relates to distance. They found a clear non-linear relationship between the measured magnetic field and distance below about 6 meters. “In general, the magnetic field for a magnetized body varies with the powers of the inverse of the distance,” Rajamani said. “In the case of cars, we were able to show in this paper that cars have a magnetic field and that the variation could be described by a first order inverse relationship with distance.”However, the researchers also found that this relationship depends on the type and size of a vehicle, and also changes from one location to another. To estimate a vehicle’s position without knowing these variables, the researchers found they could use two AMR sensors separated by a certain distance along with an adaptive estimation algorithm. As long as an approaching vehicle is close enough to affect both AMR sensors, the two sensors can accurately estimate its position, regardless of the vehicle type, vehicle size, or general location.The magnetic field technique is not the first attempt at measuring inter-vehicle distances. Currently, some luxury vehicles use radar or laser sensors to measure distances to other vehicles. However, these sensors have two drawbacks: they cannot measure distances of less than 1 meter, and a typical radar distance measuring unit can cost over $1000. In comparison, the AMR sensors can measure distances of less than a meter and cost less than $10.By further improving these sensors and tailoring them for commercial use, the researchers envision that the sensors could be applied all around a vehicle’s body, where they could detect nearby vehicles in all directions.“The sensors will be useful for detecting an imminent collision,” Rajamani said. “The sensors will provide information on the relative velocity and position of the impending crash on the vehicle. This could be used to pre-tighten seat belts, inflate airbags and deploy other active structural enhancement measures that can protect the occupants in the car during the crash.” (PhysOrg.com) — Every vehicle has a magnetic field, and researchers have now found that a vehicle’s magnetic field has an inverse relationship with distance at small distances. The relationship provides a way to estimate a vehicle’s position using its magnetic field when the vehicle is less than a few meters away, which could be useful for detecting imminent collisions just before they occur.last_img read more

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Research duo suggest possible explanation for rapid growth of seed black holes

first_img More information: Rapid growth of seed black holes in the early universe by supra-exponential accretion, Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1251053ABSTRACTMass accretion by black holes (BHs) is typically capped at the Eddington rate, when radiation’s push balances gravity’s pull. However, even exponential growth at the Eddington-limited e-folding time tE ~ few×0.01 Gyr, is too slow to grow stellar-mass BH seeds into the supermassive luminous quasars that are observed when the universe is 1 Gyr old. We propose a dynamical mechanism that can trigger supra-exponential accretion in the early universe, when a BH seed is trapped in a star cluster fed by the ubiquitous dense cold gas flows. The high gas opacity traps the accretion radiation, while the low-mass BH’s random motions suppress the formation of a slowly draining accretion disk. Supra-exponential growth can thus explain the puzzling emergence of supermassive BHs that power luminous quasars so soon after the Big Bang.Press release © 2014 Phys.org Journal information: Science This graphic shows the center of a newly formed star cluster (stars are in yellow), within which the seed black hole gets its super boost of gas (shown in blue). Explore further Citation: Research duo suggest possible explanation for rapid growth of seed black holes in early universe (2014, August 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-08-duo-explanation-rapid-growth-seed.htmlcenter_img Black hole that doesn’t emit x-rays discovered near massive star (Phys.org) —A pair of researchers, Tal Alexander of the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Israel and Priyamvada Natarajan with Yale University in the U.S. has come up with a possible explanation for the rapid growth of black holes believed to have existed in the early universe. In their paper published in the journal Science, the two propose that early black holes could have grown much more rapidly than those observed today due to dense gases that existed at the time that allowed for rapid growth in the absence of an accretion disk. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Black holes are thought to exist at the center of most if not all galaxies—but contrary to popular science fiction, they don’t simply suck in everything around them like a vacuum cleaner—if that were the case planet Earth would have been sucked into the black hole at the center of the Milky Way long ago. Materials are pulled into a black hole, but are slowed by the buildup of an accretion disk. That disk means that materials can only be pulled in along the plane of the disk. There is also the problem of materials colliding as they are pulled closer, generating enough energetic radiation to push other material away from the black hole. While this all makes sense in the modern era, it causes problems for space scientists seeking to figure out how everything got to where it is now—most theories point to super-massive black holes forming shortly after the Big Bang. But, how did they grow so big so fast?Alexander and Natarajan think they may have the answer—they note that shortly after the Big Bang, the universe was of course, much smaller and denser. Cold dense gas, they suggest, in the vicinity of a black hole would not have been susceptible to causing heat creation due to collisions. But perhaps more importantly, the gravity pull from other nearby stars could have caused black holes to move around in odd, erratic fashion, preventing the creation of an accretion disk. That in turn would mean material could be pulled into the black hole from every direction, greatly increasing the speed at which it would build in mass.A model the two built based on their ideas, suggests such a scenario could lead to a black hole starting with ten times the mass of our modern sun, growing to something ten billion times as big in just a billion years.last_img read more

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Bacteria samples collected in Antarctica a century ago nearly identical to present

first_img Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Captain Scott’s century-old collections suggests marine life is capturing more carbon Explore further Captain Robert Falcon Scott was an officer with the British Royal Navy with an inclination for exploration. He led two expeditions in the Antarctic: The first was called the Discovery Expedition, the second was the Terra Nova Expedition. Falcon died during his return from the second expedition, but his efforts led to the discovery that Antarctica was once covered by forest—they also provided plant specimens for study by scientists back in England. One specimen was the cynobacterial mat—the main kind of vegetation covering the area where Falcon had based his camp. Once studied, the mats were pressed between sheets of paper and stored at the Natural History Museum. In this new effort, the researchers conducted a DNA analysis of the bacteria in the mats. Then they arranged to have researchers currently carrying out science experiments in nearly the same area in Antarctica collect new samples for study. After conducting a DNA analysis on the new samples, the results were compared with those from over a century ago. The researchers report that they found very little difference between the two.The sameness of the bacteria samples came as a surprise to the researchers, because they believed that it was likely that bacteria in Antarctica evolved as temperatures rose, or new species would have invaded. That neither has happened has caused the researchers to suggest that some organisms in Antarctica might be more resilient than expected. They also note that these findings do not contradict the belief that change is likely coming soon as temperatures continue to rise. It is possible, they also note, that the type of bacteria that live in Antarctica are unable to change and that is why they have not evolved. That would mean they will likely die once temperatures reach a certain point. © 2017 Phys.orgcenter_img More information: Using Captain Scott’s Discovery specimens to unlock the past: has Antarctic cyanobacterial diversity changed over the last 100 years? Proceedings of the Royal Society B (2017). rspb.royalsocietypublishing.or … .1098/rspb.2017.0833AbstractEvidence of climate-driven environmental change is increasing in Antarctica, and with it comes concern that this will propagate to impacts on biological communities. Recognition and prediction of change needs to incorporate the extent and timescales over which communities vary under extant conditions. However, few observations of Antarctic microbial communities, which dominate inland habitats, allow this. We therefore carried out the first molecular comparison of Cyanobacteria in historic herbarium microbial mats from freshwater ecosystems on Ross Island and the McMurdo Ice Shelf, collected by Captain R.F. Scott’s ‘Discovery’ Expedition (1902–1903), with modern samples from those areas. Using 16S rRNA gene surveys, we found that modern and historic cyanobacteria assemblages showed some variation in community structure but were dominated by the same genotypes. Modern communities had a higher richness, including genotypes not found in historic samples, but they had the highest similarity to other cyanobacteria sequences from Antarctica. The results imply slow cyanobacterial 16S rRNA gene genotype turnover and considerable community stability within Antarctic microbial mats. We suggest that this relates to Antarctic freshwater ‘organisms requiring a capacity to withstand diverse stresses, and that this could also provide a degree of resistance and resilience to future climatic-driven environmental change in Antarctica. A satellite image of Antarctica. Credit: USGS, via Wikipedia, Public Domain Citation: Bacteria samples collected in Antarctica a century ago nearly identical to present day samples (2017, June 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-06-bacteria-samples-antarctica-century-identical.html (Phys.org)—A pair of researchers with the Natural History Museum of London and the University of Waikato have found that bacteria living in a part of Antarctica have not changed much over the past century. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Anne Jungblut and Ian Hawes describe how they compared the DNA of cynobacterial mats collected during Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Discovery Expedition from 1901 to 1904 with modern specimens and what they found.last_img read more

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Phulkari takes me back to my childhood Gursharan

first_imgThe accomplishment of a Punjabi bride, her mother and the affluence of the family were traditionally judged by the number of ‘phulkari’ and ‘bagh’ textiles – two ancient thread crafts of Punjab and what is now Haryana – they made. Gursharan Kaur, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s wife, said Tuesday phulkari took her back to her childhood.‘We had a trunk of phulkari. It was a tradition to give the bride a phulkari at the time of marriage. My grandmother, whom we called ‘beiji’ said girls could embroider phulkari’ in the moonlight. We accepted her explanation. But then I saw girls embroidering phulkari in the moonlight,’ Gursharan Kaur recalls. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Inaugurating an exhibition, ‘Phulkari – From the Realm of Women’s Creativity’ at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) Tuesday, she she remembered her grandmother applying ‘surma’ till the last days of her life. ‘She would stand in front of the looking glass and put surma around her eyes and I think that was the secret of her good eyesight’. ‘Every household had a spinning wheel and then would spin cotton,’ Kaur said, adding that ‘phulkari and bagh were not just special from the point of view of handicrafts but also for its social, emotional and cultural values which were rare’. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe exhibition, which is on till 3 May, is an effort to promote traditional Indian and culture, is celebrating the legacy of the craft and the problems it has been facing in the last 20 years with workshops, seminars and demonstrations of the craft. It is one of the silver jubilee initiatives of the centre, which turned 25 last years. The collection of colourful hand-spun textiles embroidered with phulkari and bagh in rich colours of red, blue, yellow, white and gold has been curated from the archives of IGNCA . The centre purchased the collection of more than 50 woven textiles dating from the 19th century to the early 20th century from a trader in 1994. The embroidery traditions of Punjab and and what is now Haryana date to more than 500 years and have been battling to survive in the face of resource constraints, exploitation by middlemen in villages and competitions from synthetic fabric and designer wear. Embroidered with silk thread, phulkari is a shawl made by the mother for her young daughter and daughter in-law. Phulkari literary means floral work and is sometimes known as ‘bagh’, which means a garden. They are known for their geometric and figurative iconography.last_img read more

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Living in the moment

first_imgHer latest exhibition titled Time and Moments is based on this simple question.Time is an essential dimension of the universe and it is an essential component of life. We don’t see time but still everything moves around the intangible time. Moments are experience of life in present. It has nothing to do with time. For example, in the night when we see stars in open sky we feel them as real. But the fact is quite different. The star we saw as twinkling might have died ages back and what we see is just the light of star that is still travelling. So the experience of our moment have no connection with time. Moments are here and now. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The artist explains, ‘Living in time dimension and living in moments can make the life entirely different. In the time dimension comes, past, present and future and this is how we know to live. But in moments all these dimensions of time goes off and only experience remains. The pure experience of the present.’ Time helps us manage and organize the living in much better way. But at the same time, time driven life gets dull and monotonous. Its unfortunate that as we grow and move away from childlike lifestyle our life starts revolving only around time and living the life as it comes in moments, slowly fades away. Time is more about improving standard of living and moments are more about quality of life experience. When we remember good or bad time of the past, we mainly remember those moments only that made the experience eternal for us.She further explains,  ‘The modern man is living longer life, more advanced, having more knowledge of world around us but unfortunately this modern man is less lively and devoid of self-knowledge.The stress and frustration is increasing and time is becoming precious commodity. In securing better and better tomorrow the modern man is losing every moment, which is full of life.’last_img read more

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Aam for the aadmi

first_imgAs the heat spreads uneasiness all over, here comes a drink that can give you a little respite from the scorching heat. Head to Tapas, the lounge bar to relish the authentic delicacy made from mango and melon.  One of the best ways to beat the heat is by indulging in seasonal fruits and the most awaited fruits for the summer are undoubtedly mango and melon which will help you soothe and create a utopia.  From cocktails like Mangotini , Watermelon Summer Slush, Melon Blast, Mango Freeze, Green Freeze to Mocktails like Mango Mint Sparklers, Mango Royal Punch, Iced Melon Cooler, Mango/Melon Lassi, Summer Breeze etc. Tapas is fully loaded with Mango and Melon beverages to make you feel the chill effect this summer.  Where: Tapas, at Jaypee SiddharthWhen: On till 14 June.PRICE: Ala-Cartelast_img read more

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Alipore Zoo takes up protective measures to keep animals healthy in heat

first_imgKolkata: The Alipore Zoo authorities have undertaken several measures to protect the animals from the unbearable heat wave across the city. With predictions of increase in temperatures, the zoo staff have put up water sprinklers inside the enclosures that keep the animals. Regular baths are provided to the elephants, tigers, chimpanzees, emus, and tortoises to keep their body temperatures normal. The birds are given a shed to protect them bright sunlight. The authorities have also provided fans inside the sheds of tigers, chimpanzees, lions and the reptiles. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsProper food items are provided to the animals to maintain a balanced diet and keep them healthy in this sweltering heat. Juicy fruits like cucumber and watermelon are fed to the monkeys, birds and chimpanzees. Along with healthy food, 250 to 300 ml lassi is given to the Chimpanzees. According to the staff, the beast enjoys drinking it and is in a much better health than before. Proper medication with a regular dehydration check is ensured by the authorities for the animals. They are also given ORS and required vitamins from time to time as a method of precaution against severe health this summer. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe carnivores are given 1.5 kg to 2 kg less meat than usual as meat is heat producing. Kangaroos are given special care as they are most affected by hot weather. The shed they reside in has a layer of straw, tin and plywood to protect them from the scorching sunlight. Water is sprinkled inside the enclosure at regular intervals to keep the temperature low. The door is modified with a grass screen which stores the water that is sprinkled over it, which in turn cools down the temperature. Asis Kumar Samantha, Director of Alipore Zoo, has ensured that there is nothing to worry as far as the health of the wild animals is concerned in this summer. The staff are working specifically towards the above mentioned methods and careful ensuring of it is looked after by the higher authorities. So, this summer, the wild are under the protective shield of the zoo authorities and are in, for a safe and comfortable summer.last_img read more

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Ben Stokes Joe Root lead England fight back against Kiwis

first_imgNew Zealand-born Ben Stokes took charge of England’s recovery before falling agonisingly short of a hundred on the first day of the first Test at Lord’s. At tea, England were 219 for five.They had been 30 for four when Durham all-rounder Stokes came in but his dashing 92 helped revive their fortunes during a stand of 161 with Joe Root (80 not out).Jos Buttler was unbeaten on 13 at tea.After celebrated former umpire Dickie Bird rang the five-minute bell, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum saw his decision to field first vindicated with the fall of four early wickets, including two for debutant fast bowler Matt Henry. Also Read – Khel Ratna for Deepa and Bajrang, Arjuna for JadejaAll three of New Zealand’s frontline quicks, plus McCullum himself, had only arrived in England just days before this match after stints in the Indian Premier League. But there were few signs of rustiness as they made the most of a green-tinged pitch, albeit the skies above Lord’s were largely sunny and blue.Instead debutant England opener Adam Lyth, selected after Jonathan Trott retired following a run of low scores during the disappointing 1-1 series draw in the West Indies, was caught behind off Tim Southee for seven. Also Read – Endeavour is to facilitate smooth transition: ShastriThe 100th Test between England and New Zealand then saw the hosts three wickets for five runs in 15 balls.Trent Boult had Gary Ballance caught at third slip for one before England captain Alastair Cook, who had made 16, fell when, beaten for pace by 23-year-old Canterbury quick Henry, he top-edged an attempted hook through to wicket-keeper BJ Watling.Henry then produced another classic fast bowler’s delivery to dismiss Ian Bell for one, a full-length ball pitching on off stump and holding its line. Root, recently installed as England’s vice-captain, had a nervy moment on 36 when he was struck on the back leg after missing a sweep against off-spinner Mark Craig but survived New Zealand’s lbw review. At lunch, England were 113 for four with Root 49 not out and left-hander Stokes unbeaten 36.After the interval, Root completed a 53-ball fifty. But it was Stokes — the son of former New Zealand rugby league international Ged Stokes but brought up in England — who really took the attack to the tourists. He went from 64 to 89 in just 11 balls, including a pulled six off Henry an a couple of superbly-timed clips for four through midwicket off Boult.New Zealand, with Tom Latham replacing the injured Watling behind the stumps, struggled to check the flow of runs. However, Stokes — eyeing what would have been just his second Test hundred following his brilliant 120 against Australia at Perth in December 2013 — then played a key role in his own downfall.  The 23-year-old left a delivery from Craig only to see the ball come down the Lord’s slope and clatter into his stumps.A disbelieving Stokes walked off slowly, having faced just 94 balls, including 15 fours and a six, in a bold, counter-attacking stand with Root that had taken England to 191 for five.last_img read more

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Gujarat EC postpones local body elections

first_imgGujarat State Election Commission has announced postponement of polls to various local bodies in the state, citing law and order situation as a reason. The announcement was made thorough a notification issued by the commission.Though the notification does not mention the exact reasons affecting the law and order situation, it is believed that the the commission is concerned about the current scene prevailing in the state due to the Patel quota stir. As per the notification issued by the Secretary in the state Election Commission Mahesh Joshi, the decision to hold the election to the local bodies, including municipalities and district panchayats, will be taken within three months time after examining the situation. Also Read – Punjab on alert after release of excess water from Bhakra damThe notification stated that elections to six municipal corporations, 56 municipalities, 230 taluka panchayats and 31 district panchayats were expected to be held between October and November this year as the term of these bodies is expiring in the period.“Keeping in mind the necessity to hold elections in free, fair and peaceful environment, the commission has evaluated the present law and order situation across the state. After such evaluation, we have decided not to hold elections at present,” the release stated. Also Read – Union Min doubts ‘vote count’ in Bareilly, seeks probe“The commission will take a decision to hold elections in next three months after re-examining the situation in the state,” the notification, signed by Joshi, said. The announcement came hours after the Gujarat Governor O P Kohli issued an ordinance to bring uniformity in the law about the situations where local body elections are deferred. The Supreme Court has recently stayed the elections to municipalities and municipal corporations, after a plea by advocate Anirudh Sharma.last_img read more

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