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How to Grow a New Head

first_imgCut most species of flatworm in half, and you end up with two flatworms. The front half will grow a new tail and, more impressively, the back half will grow a new head—complete with a fully functioning brain. But a few species of these worms mysteriously lack this ability, at least when it comes to regrowing a head. Now, three teams of researchers have not only zeroed in on the biological reason for this limitation, they’ve also managed to restore the worms’ full regenerative abilities by manipulating a single genetic pathway.The worms in question are known as planarians. Usually about a centimeter long, they live under rocks in freshwater ecosystems such as streams and ponds. Why some planarians can so easily regenerate a head but others can’t is a question that has long puzzled scientists. “This is really just a classic problem in the field,” says Phillip Newmark, a biologist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Hoping to study possible molecular mechanisms behind the difference, he dispatched his postdoc James Sikes into the field to search for specimens of Procotyla fluviatilis, the only North American species of planarian that can’t regenerate its head. “He thought it would be easy!” remembers Sikes, who now runs his own lab at the University of San Francisco in California. After months of scouring the country for the tiny freshwater creatures, he finally tracked down a colony in southern Illinois. From there, he moved the worms to the lab and began chopping them to bits.The first step was to pinpoint where exactly P. fluviatilis’s head regeneration process went awry. Sikes and Newmark confirmed that the worms’ wounds healed properly after being cut in two and that the cells in their tail fragments were still able to divide. “What seemed to be not working was the decision that says, ‘make a head’ versus ‘make a new tail,’ ” Newmark says. That fundamental choice is governed by a molecular process known as Wnt signaling. By directing the activity of a protein called β-catenin, Wnt signaling tells developing cells what they should be when they grow up. If an amputated worm dials up Wnt signaling and produces a lot of β-catenin, it will regrow a tail. If it dials back Wnt signaling and β-catenin levels, however, it ends up growing a new head. Newmark and Sikes’s P. fluviatilis tail fragments couldn’t seem to activate this genetic switch either way.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(*)This discovery “led to a really simple experiment,” Newmark says. If he and Sikes knocked down the amount of β-catenin in a P. fluviatilis tail fragment, maybe they could trick it into regrowing a head. And to their amazement, that’s exactly what happened. By disrupting the one gene responsible for β-catenin production, they were able to restore P. fluviatilis’s ability to regenerate a lost head. “I didn’t believe it when I saw it,” Sikes admits. “Basically you’re reversing a million years of evolution.”As it turned out, Sikes and Newmark weren’t the only scientists interested in figuring out the secrets of flatworm regeneration. At the same time that they were conducting their experiments on P. fluviatilis in Illinois, a team of scientists in Europe was manipulating Wnt signaling and rescuing head regeneration in an entirely different species of planarian called Dendrocoelum lacteum. And on the other side of the world, Japanese scientists were reaching similar conclusions about β-catenin’s role in preventing head regeneration in Phagocata kawakatsui, a distant cousin of the European and North American planarians. The results of all three experiments are published today in Nature.”There’s a European species, there’s an American species, and there’s a Japanese species. This is as broadly geographic a sample as you can possibly define, and all three laboratories independently reached the same conclusion,” says Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, a planarian biologist at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Missouri, who was not involved in any of the studies. The teams’ complementary results show that a defect in Wnt signaling “seems to be a very easy way to lose head regeneration,” agrees Elly Tanaka, a biologist at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden in Germany who studies limb regeneration in vertebrates like salamanders.The next step, scientists from all the teams agree, is to figure out why these three species lost the ability to grow new heads. “Because of ‘survival of the fittest,’ one might assume that actually everything out there should be regenerating,” says Jochen Rink, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden who led the European team. Newmark concurs, “Why would you lose this ability, which seems like it would be so useful?”Reproductive differences between planarians that can regenerate their heads and those that can’t may offer some clues, Sikes suggests. When head-regenerating planarians are cut in half, their sex organs melt away and are reabsorbed into their bodies. Freed of the pressure to continually produce eggs and sperm, the flatworms likely have more energy to direct toward regeneration. Besides, they’ll have plenty of chances to reproduce once all their parts grow back.Planarians that can’t regenerate their heads, however, typically reproduce only once in their lives. “You don’t want to miss that shot,” even if you’ve just been cut in half, Sikes says. It’s possible, he speculates, that the molecular signal that directs planarians like P. fluviatilis to keep their sexual organs around after their heads are amputated may also interfere with regeneration. “It’s kind of a tradeoff between, do I want to regenerate or do I want to hang around and reproduce?” Sikes says.However these differences evolved, the Nature papers all support the idea that regeneration isn’t something that a few species independently evolved. Rather, it may be something that the rest of us have lost. The capacity crops up in nearly every phyla of life of Earth, suggesting to scientists that our common ancestor may have had regenerative abilities. Even humans can do it under the right circumstances; for example, Sikes says, children under the age of 2 can regenerate missing fingertips. So now that scientists can restore flatworms’ vanished regenerative abilities, might they be able to do the same for other kinds of animals, such as humans? “It’s a fanciful idea, but it’s now one that’s somewhat supported by the evidence in these three papers,” Sánchez says.Sikes is more cautious. “Will humans regenerate as well as the planarians? Never.” Still, he says, the new studies show that “even though an animal can’t regenerate, the underlying ability is latent. It’s in there, potentially. … It’s just a matter of figuring out how to unlock it.”last_img read more

ALMA Strike Ends

first_imgThe strike at Chile’s Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the world’s largest radio telescope, has ended 17 days after it began. The 195-member worker’s union agreed to end the strike after a meeting with ALMA Director Pierre Cox this weekend. The management has agreed to give a 4% pay raise to workers who make less than $1500 a month, reduce their workweek from 45 to 40 hours starting next year, and provide a $5-per-hour bonus to those who work at the observatory’s high site—5000 meters above sea level, where all of ALMA’s antennas are located. The strike had paralyzed most observations at the observatory, which researchers use to study an array of questions, including how the first planets and galaxies formed.last_img read more

Presence of Opposite Sex Can Shorten Life Span

first_imgIn the 1970s pop hit “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” famed rocker Meat Loaf wails to his tired old lover: “[I]f I gotta spend another minute with you I don’t think that I can really survive.” Turns out that interactions with the opposite sex really do control life span, at least if you’re an insect or a worm. Sexually frustrated fruit flies perish prematurely, a study has just found. And another experiment reveals that in nematodes—nearly microscopic roundworms—males kill members of the opposite sex by spurring what resembles premature aging.An animal’s environment shapes its longevity, sometimes in surprising ways. For example, placing lab animals on a meager diet that replicates food scarcity in the wild extends survival in many species. And, oddly enough, dulling nematodes’ and flies’ sense of smell or taste stretches their life span. An animal’s environment also includes the other members of its species that it interacts with, such as potential mates and rivals. Researchers have identified some impacts of these interactions on life span. For example, because a male fruit fly’s seminal fluid contains toxins, mating can be fatal for females.Now, Scott Pletcher, a geneticist at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and colleagues have shown that sexually unsatisfied fruit flies give up the ghost faster that usual. The researchers played a dirty trick on some male fruit flies, housing them with other males that had been genetically altered to exude female pheromones, or scent molecules. Normal males woo these she-males but can’t mate with them. Pletcher and colleagues report online today in Science that the sexually thwarted males pined away. Their stored fat dwindled, their ability to endure stress declined, and their life span shrank by more than 10%. The researchers also measured a reduction in female flies’ longevity if they hobnobbed with macho females that released male pheromones.  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(*)Male flies detect the faux females not with their sense of smell, but with their sense of taste, using cells on their forelegs, the researchers found. The team also pinpointed neurons in the male fly brain that were necessary for the truncated life span. These cells produce the protein neuropeptide F, which might enable the animals to respond to rewards, or beneficial stimuli such as mating. “The simplest way to think about it is that the flies are frustrated,” Pletcher says. “The imbalance between mating reward and mating expectation” may trigger physiological responses that spur the animals to waste away, he suggests.In the other study, Anne Brunet, a geneticist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and colleagues found that in nematodes, the mere trace of one sex also seems to reduce the survival of the other. The nematode species that scientists typically study in the lab has two sexes—males, which constitute less than 1% of the population, and hermaphrodites, which produce sperm and eggs. Previous studies reported that hermaphrodites die sooner in the presence of male nematodes, and researchers suggested that hermaphrodites mate so much in this situation that they suffer injuries and expire.To test that idea, Brunet and colleagues placed males in culture dishes for 2 days, and then removed them and added hermaphrodites. Despite the absence of males, hermaphrodites still died before their time, the researchers reveal online today in Science. “Males are inducing a premature deterioration of the opposite sex,” Brunet says. This decline resembles premature aging—the worms slow down or become paralyzed, and their muscles and internal organs begin to degenerate. Like flies, male worms exert their life-shortening influence at least partly through pheromones, the researchers found. Mutant hermaphrodites that can’t sense pheromones show a normal life span in the presence of males.The finding poses an evolutionary puzzle. Hermaphrodites fertilize their own eggs, but males can sire offspring only by mating with hermaphrodites. So why do males kill the mothers of their babies? One possible reason, Brunet says, is competition among males. A male might trigger the demise of his mate to prevent other males from mating with her. However, Patrick Phillips, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Oregon in Eugene, says he doubts that nematode males are manipulating hermaphrodites, because the hermaphrodites still live long enough to produce a normal number of offspring.Nevertheless, Phillips says the papers break new ground. “We’ve known for a long time that mating can be harmful,” he says. But these papers show that “you can have the effects without direct physical contact.” Sean Curran, a biogerontologist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, predicts the animals’ ability to influence life span “is going to be a hot topic for discussion for quite a while.”Whether one sex shortens the lives of people or other vertebrates remains uncertain, and finding out will be tricky, Curran cautions: “It’s a far more complicated question in a mammal.” Indeed, in his angst-laden song, Meat Loaf lives on, reduced to merely “praying for the end of time so I can end my time with you.”last_img read more

Cabinet clears decks for National Surrogacy Board

first_imgTwo years after the proposed amendments to the Surrogacy Bill, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod to the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, paving way for the regulation of surrogacy by setting up National Surrogacy Board at the centre.The proposed legislation comes at a time when India has emerged as a surrogacy hub with reports of unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy and rackets of intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes.Read it at Indian Express Related Itemslast_img read more

Displacement

first_imgAt 10 pm local time, June 28, 2008 my parents boarded a Jet Airways aircraft at Bahrain International Airport for what would be their final journey back to India. After 37 years of expatriate living, they were finally returning home.In the preceding weeks, I had sunken deeper and deeper into a nostalgic melancholia as I contemplated this momentous change. I felt guilty and helpless as I could offer little assistance from afar. And I was amazed that, through all my personal turmoil concerning their Big Move, my parents seemed to be exceptionally well adjusted.But when I talked with my Mum a few hours before their flight, she related how she had awoken suddenly at night feeling a deep queasiness, and had vomited. It had finally hit her – she was leaving the place she had called home for most of her adult life. My parents had made a good life for themselves in the Middle East. Lured by an easy tax-free life, they had arrived there at the height of the oil boom. My Mum embarked on a teaching career that would earn her the respect and adulation of thousands of students. My Dad would arise to the post of Chief of Communicable Diseases in the Public Health Division of the Ministry of Health.  Over the years, they had developed a network of friends, as well as connections in high places. My Mum related how, on the eve of their departure, the sister of the late Emir had called them personally to wish them well. Thanks to my Dad’s prior job as Port Health Officer, my parents would pay economy and often get upgraded to business. “You don’t realize what you have till you are about to lose it,” my Mum said in a moment of post-emetic clarity.But their decision to leave India in the early 1970s had unforeseen consequences for all of us. As a result of that decision, I would be separated from them and head back to India at age 12 to pursue a better education. It was because of that decision that my sister would never ever live in India (she left the Middle East at age 16 for the UK, US and Canada). It was because my Dad lived and worked away from India that he would persuade me to do the same. I left India at age 26 after completing medical school, to complete my Residency and Fellowship in the United States.And now, at almost 60 and almost 70 respectively, my Mum and Dad would return to a City that was not Bombay, but Mumbai, hoping to reconnect with old friends and family. Soon, they would have to travel again to visit their two children in San Francisco and Vancouver.I wonder about the sense of displacement they must feel in the context of my own sense of rootless-ness. I hated Bombay initially, but over the years it would endear itself to me. However, as an Indian Christian minority who grew up in the Middle East, I never really felt like I fit in. After 10 years of living in the U.S., I don’t identify as American either and simultaneously feel distanced from the culture I left behindThe notion of the global nomad is often romanticized, but the reality of a peripatetic existence carries its share of angst along with the enrichment it affords. I wonder what it must be like for my parents to consider setting up roots in a completely alien culture with no social network (my sister and I hope that they will eventually settle in North America). I wonder if things would be different if my parents never left India to begin with. Perhaps my sister and I would not have had the multicultural exposure that has made us into tolerant, world-wise, artsy intellectuals, but would we have a stronger sense of belonging? Would things have been easier for my parents without the need to relocate after their retirement?In June 1971, a skinny newly-wed boarded a plane for the first time along with her physician husband. They would make a short flight across the Arabian Sea to the island State of Bahrain. It was a small step for that couple, but it would forever change history as I know it. Related Itemslast_img read more

Dutch Tourist Dies After Jumping Off Train in Rajasthan

first_imgA Dutch tourist died on Jan. 2 at Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan when he jumped off a moving train.Erik Johannes, 54, and his friend from the United Kingdom had boarded the New Delhi-bound Jan Shatabdi Express when they had to take a train headed to Agra. They were going to see the Taj Mahal. Realizing their mistake, the duo decided to jump off the moving train but Johannes suffered head trauma. His friend escaped without any major injuries.“The incident took place this morning at the main railway station in Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur district when Johannes and his friend boarded a wrong train that was headed to the Indian capital instead of Agra on the opposite direction,” local police official Giga Ram said, according to Xinhua. “Both realized their mistake when the train started moving and jumped off. They fell down on the platform. While Johannes died on the spot after sustaining fatal head injuries, his friend escaped unhurt. He was rushed to a hospital but was declared brought dead,” he added.A case was registered and the Netherlands embassy in New Delhi was informed about the death of Johannes.“We have kept the body in a local mortuary for his family members to arrive in this country,” another official told Xinhua.The two tourists had gone to Sawai Madhopur on Jan. 1 and were headed to Agra the next day.A Dutch tourist dead, a UK tourist injured after they allegedly jumped from a moving train in #Rajasthan‘s Sawai Madhopur. Police begin investigation— ANI (@ANI) January 2, 2018Last month, an Australian tourist was killed in a road accident due to a vehicle pile-up in Uttar Pradesh when he was headed to Agra. A series of vehicles collided due to limited visibility on Dec. 21, 2017 on the Yamuna Expressway.Suniti Singh, the Superintendent of Police, Rural, Gautam Budh Nagar district, said that a roadways bus collided with a truck, which hit a bullet bike on which Australian tourist Mathew, and his friends Ian Bog and Cowalt were going to Agra. He received head injury and was declared dead at the Kailash Hospital in Noida.The Delhi-Jaipur-Agra route is popular among tourists as they come to visit the palaces and forts of Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal in Agra and historical monuments in Delhi. The foreign tourist arrivals until June 2017 for the year 2017 was 8.80 million, a growth of 9.7 per cent, according to Indian tourism department statistics. Related ItemsAgraRajasthanTourismlast_img read more

Kayem Mayhem

first_imgAn Indian drug company, criticized by activist groups opposed to the death penalty, has pledged to stop selling chemicals used for lethal injections to American correctional facilities. Kayem Pharmaceuticals, which sold thiopental sodium to correctional facilities in Nebraska and South Dakota, announced: “In view of the sensitivity involved with sale of our Thiopental Sodium to various Jails/Prisons in USA and as alleged to be used for the purpose of Lethal Injection, we voluntary declare that we as Indian Pharma Dealer who cherish the Ethos of Hinduism ( A believer even in non-livings as the creation of God) refrain ourselves in selling this drug where the purpose is purely for Lethal Injection and its misuse.”Kayem was targeted by the London-based Reprieve, which fights the death penalty. A death row inmate in Nebraska has also filed a motion challenging the state’s use of Kayem’s drug, as it is not registered with the Food and Drug Administration. Correctional officials in U.S. states that administer the death penalty are reportedly facing difficulty in securing the drug, after its U.S. manufacturer halted production this year  Related Itemslast_img read more

The Vanity Deal

first_imgIt took Mumbai-born, London-based entrepreneur Sanjiv Mehta five years to buy the East India Company (EIC), a 400-year old brand and possibly the world’s first multinational trading giant. The United Kingdom-based EIC, which was founded around the year 1600, is believed to have laid the foundation of British rule in the Indian subcontinent. In 2003, when the management of the EIC first approached Mehta, a 49-year old diamond dealer-turned beverage distributor and manufacturer of oral care products, it was to ask him to supply pre-packaged tea under the EIC brand. Two years later, Mehta bought EIC’s branded tea business. He went on to purchase all of EIC’s intellectual property rights (which had been dormant for over a century) from private investors for an undisclosed sum. He then invested around $33 million to turn EIC into a luxury brand and in August 2010, launched its flagship luxury food shop in the Mayfair district of London.According to Mehta, EIC’s storied lineage creates a significant connection between the brand and consumers. Mehta is hoping EIC, which has a range of products including tea, coffee, spices, chocolates, furniture, leather goods, fabrics and housewares, can compete against global luxury establishments like Louis Vuitton, Pinault-Printemps-Redoute and Richemont. “We could be the fourth luxury group and the first from the East to be truly global,” he says. Mehta’s next move is to launch a line of gold biscuits and coins in partnership with the Royal Mint of England.Meanwhile, in January, Anand Mahindra, vice-chairman and managing director of Mumbai-based auto to IT conglomerate the Mahindra Group, acquired a minority stake in EIC. Mahindra is believed to have invested more than £20 million (approximately $30 million) for his stake in the company. According to Mehta, the Mahindra Group, which entered the retail sector in 2009 with Mom&Me, an infant and mother-care line, will help roll out the EIC brand in furniture, real estate, health and hospitality, and other businesses in India and globally.The moves by Mehta and Mahindra reflect a growing trend among Indian companies for making major acquisitions that in many cases have little connection with their existing operations. The purchases are often a way for the buyer to gain a presence in the global arena. And in that sense, Indian companies are only playing catch-up with counterparts in countries including China and Japan, who have been making such acquisitions for years. But experts warn that, when considering such purchases, firms must be careful to choose “trophy” buys that will enhance shareholder value.Another prominent recent acquisition was when Pune-based poultry company Venkateshwara Hatcheries (better known as Venky’s) about a year ago acquired the Blackburn Rovers, an English Premier League (EPL) soccer club for £43 million pounds (around $69 million). Venky’s became the first Indian company to own an EPL team. Following the announcement of the purchase, Venky’s chairperson Anuradha Desai said her firm planned to “focus on leveraging the global influence in establishing Blackburn Rovers as a truly global brand.” Since then, Venky’s (which has also made forays into filmmaking) has been trying to get Rovers to play in India. It is also on a search to discover the league’s first Indian player.Other companies, too, have considered investments in soccer. Two years ago, EPL team Manchester United approached the Sahara India group, which has business interests in diverse areas including real estate, finance, media and retail, for a sponsorship. The deal did not materialize, but it whetted the appetite of Subrato Roy, managing worker and chairman of the group. When the Liverpool team was looking for new investors last year, Sahara India was one of the initial contenders (the firm later pulled out.) Also rumored to have been in the race, though he denied it, was Reliance Industries’ Mukesh Ambani. Earlier, Mukesh’s younger brother, Anil Ambani, who heads the Reliance ADA group that operates in sectors ranging from power and entertainment to telecom and finance, was also rumored to have eyed a possible £260 million takeover of the Newcastle United soccer club.Hotels are another favorite with Indian companies. Earlier this year, the Sahara India group made its first foreign hospitality acquisition with Grosvenor House in London’s Mayfair district. “London will be the gateway for Sahara to introduce some of its new business ventures internationally,” Roy said in a statement soon afterward. Smaller firms are making similar moves. The hospitality arm of New Delhi-based aviation company the Bird Group, for example, has snapped up the 48-room Royal Park luxury hotel in London.A Buyer’s MarketUnlike in earlier times, when M&A activities were fueled by a booming stock market and readily available financing, the current round of acquisitions are a byproduct of business affordability, a natural fallout of the global economic downturn. For instance, three years ago, Grosvenor House, then owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, was valued at more than $1.5 billion. Sahara bought the property at half that price — $726 million.“Bottom fishing is where the value is, and a turnaround is possible,” says Krishnamurthy Subramanian, a professor of finance at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. Sanjeev Krishnan, executive director heading the M&A practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in India adds that rather than going in for top-dollar deals, many companies are making purchases that “create significant impact and bring quick rewards.”The wealth of opportunities for Indian companies in the overall M&A market is reflected in the numbers. According to consulting firm Ernst & Young, in the past year, 263 outbound deals with an aggregate value of $32.4 billion catapulted the outbound share in the total India M&A pie to 47%, a 9% increase over the previous year. There was a sprinkling of vanity deals, too. But Ashok Wadhwa, CEO of Ambit Holdings, a Mumbai-based investment banking and portfolio management company, says, “There are no trophy deals, only game changers.” Wadhwa refers to the Venky’s soccer deal as “following their passion.”Passion, symbolism or otherwise, there are a host of reasons why companies covet particular assets. Most often, the deals are strategic and in sync with the firms’ core businesses. Even so, the market reaction can still be adverse. Take the case of Tata Motors acquiring iconic brands Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) for $2.3 billion in 2008; Tata Steel’s buy-out of Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus for $12 billion or Mumbai-based aluminum and copper company Hindalco Industries’ acquisition of Atlanta-based aluminum sheet-maker Novelis for $6 billion. All of those deals were considered “trophy” buys initially, but concerns about the high acquisition price and profitability adversely affected the share prices of the Indian companies.It’s a different story today. Riding on improved performance and a good product mix, JLR helped Tata Motors’ consolidated profits increase four-fold to $2 billion in the fiscal year that ended in March. The robust performance of Corus’s European operations saw a turnaround in Tata Steel’s bottom line, with a $2 billion profit after tax in the same period. The Novelis turnaround in fourth quarter earnings in May lifted Hindalco shares. Even so, Ambit’s Wadhwa says that Tata’s and Hindalco’s initial struggles have made other Indian companies cautious about similar buys.The ‘Olympic Syndrome’With abundant cash on hand, companies are faced with two options: Reward the shareholders, or look for opportunities to invest. “Many managers believe that they are better off investing the extra cash instead of giving it back to the shareholders, as managers never, ever want to shrink companies,” notes ISB’s Subramanian. According to S. Rajeev, a professor of corporate strategy and policy at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, investing in vanity buys is one way companies hedge their bets. “In an environment where currencies are plunging and the rupee is strong, companies tend to … buy overseas assets instead of [holding onto their] cash and getting hit by inflation,” he says. “It’s … an Olympic syndrome where companies acquire to announce that they’ve arrived, or a late entrant into a category may want to make a splash.”Anil Ambani’s Reliance Big Entertainment is a prime example. A late entrant into the entertainment industry, Reliance Big Entertainment made global headlines in 2008 when it entered into a joint venture with Hollywood director Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios. Ambani paid $325 million for a 50% stake in DreamWorks and the exclusive distribution rights for India. Since then, the studio has had four international releases and three more are in queue. At the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, Reliance announced deals with the production companies of eight Hollywood actors, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.Vijay Mallya, whose businesses range from liquor to airlines, has also made such purchases. In addition to strategic acquisitions in his core businesses, Mallya has invested in fancy boats, thoroughbred horses, a game lodge in South Africa, and small newspapers in the San Francisco Bay area.Not all acquisitions have to be strategic, notes Sanjay Bhandarkar, managing director of investment bank Rothschild. “Indian promoters are classic entrepreneurs, more like private equity players. They may like a particular idea or a business, which has its own glamour and benefits,” he says. Adman Prahlad Kakkar agrees that acquisitions are not always purely about business. Talking to a news channel about Mukesh Ambani’s reported interest in Liverpool, Kakkar said: “It is not just a business deal. It is also a branding exercise. Mr. Ambani is very well known in the [Indian] subcontinent. Some people know him internationally. But everyone from Russia to Timbuktu knows Liverpool. Suddenly, if the ownership of the club changes hands to an Indian, then the Indian becomes center stage. He becomes a world personality.”Global ambitions are clearly key drivers in these trophy acquisitions. When Anand Mahindra bought a stake in EIC, he noted on his group’s website that EIC’s stature reflected his organization’s goals. Mahindra wrote, “EIC had a profound impact on the development of international trade. This immense vision and scope finds a parallel with our own global aspirations to think beyond its size.” Venky’s Desai had a similar logic for the Blackburn Rovers buy: “As the VH Group globalizes, sets up feed plants and hatcheries around the world, the Venky’s brand will get an immediate recognition.”Creating Shareholder ValueWhen it comes to scale and intent in global acquisitions, Indian businessmen are way behind their Japanese and Chinese counterparts. In the 1980s — well before India even started on its liberalization journey — affluent Japanese individuals rushed to buy key pieces of the American landscape like New York’s Rockefeller Center and Pebble Beach Golf Links in California. China’s hunger for global resources has resulted in Beijing — both government and private firms — investing across continents, with technology and consumer markets as focus areas. According to Hong Kong-based deal tracker Dealogic, China has spent $122 billion for outbound M&A deals since 2009 and Japan spent $118 billion. India, on the other hand spent just $38 billion. “In comparison to others, Indian companies have been more restrained,” notes H.V. Harish, a partner at global accounting and consulting firm Grant Thornton.One big challenge is funding. “If a [business owner] is funding a deal with his own personal wealth, then it is nobody’s business,” PwC’s Krishnan points out. “If not, the shareholders will hound him.” Koushik Chatterjee, group chief financial officer of Tata Steel adds, “Nobody can do trophy deals, because at the end of the day you have to create shareholder value.”That can be a challenge because, in many cases, companies don’t have much experience in the industry where they made the acquisition. “Sports is a good business to be in, but the question is do these companies have the capabilities to pull it off?” ISB’s Subramanian asks.IIMB’s Rajeev offers different perspective: “People experiment. If it’s rational, it’s a bet worth taking.” Related Itemslast_img read more

Indian Consumer Goods Firms Go Shopping

first_imgTo most Indians, the 116-year old Godrej brand is a household name, fulfilling several daily needs ranging from hair color and soap to mosquito repellant and laundry detergent. But what is perhaps less known is that Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) has been selling several of its products to consumers across the world. In the past seven years, foreign acquisitions have helped GCPL transition from an Indian enterprise to a global conglomerate.“In our consumer products business, we work on negative working capital,” says Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group. “So we generate increasing amounts of cash every year. Earlier, we used to give out very high dividends and did buybacks. Then we found that it would be more shareholder-friendly if we used the resources for acquisitions outside of the country. Establishing a brand … in a new country [is] a long, drawn-out process. Acquiring an established business is a much quicker way of growth and we can add a lot of value.”Godrej’s target for GCPL as well as for the Godrej Group is to grow by 10 times in 10 years, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 26%. He expects about 15% to 20% of that growth to accrue organically and the rest to come through acquisitions. In line with this, GCPL has developed a “three-by-three strategy” to expand in three areas — household care, hair care and personal washing products — across three continents — Asia, Africa and South America. In the past seven years, GCPL has spent an estimated $600 million on around 10 acquisitions, including Indonesia-based Megasari Makmur Group for $250 million, the Darling Group in Africa for $100 million, as well as companies in the United Kingdom, Chile, Argentina and the Middle East.Several other large Indian fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies have also chosen the inorganic route to growth. Beauty and wellness company Marico generates 24% of its business from overseas customers, largely through acquisitions. In 2009, Marico purchased Egypt’s Hair Code; the following year, it bought Malaysian hair care brand Code 10, South African health care brand Ingwe, and Derma Rx, a Singapore-based skin care company, for an undisclosed amount. Marico also picked up 85% stake in International Consumer Products Corporation of Vietnam.Personal care and food products company Dabur acquired Turkish personal care products company Hobi Kozmetik Group in 2010 for $69 million and U.S.-based personal care firm Namaste Group in 2011 for $100 million.Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting Group (WCCLG) purchased Unza, a Singapore-based personal care company for $300 million in 2007. In 2009, it acquired personal care brand Yardley’s businesses in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Australia for $42 million. Last year, the firm bought Yardley’s Europe and U.K. arms as well. It also acquired Singapore-based personal and health care company LD Waxson for $144 million and is rumored to be eyeing an acquisition in the Philippines. WCCLG has spent over $500 million on acquisitions and of its $830 million revenues in fiscal 2013, 50% was from international markets.In a recent interview with Indian daily, The Times of India, Vineet Agrawal, president of WCCLG said he sees no reason not to pursue future acquisitions. “We can be large in countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and China,” he told the newspaper.On the Right TrackAccording to Viswanath Pingali, assistant professor of economics at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA), foreign acquisitions are a good move for Indian consumer goods companies at present. “The world is shrinking and there is a large degree of consolidation going on in the industry,” he notes. “Acquisitions expose companies to practices world over, and help them leverage best practices. Moreover, instead of gathering entirely new sales, marketing, and administrative teams in a new country, it helps a lot if firms acquire a local partner and leverage their connections. A reverse argument is, as the economy grows there is clamor for foreign goods [not available in India], and to cater to such demand, acquisition makes sense.”Narsimhan Nagarajan, senior director at CRISIL Ratings, estimates that there have been about 15 small to medium-sized foreign acquisitions by Indian fast-moving consumer goods companies in the last three years totaling $1.5 billion. Nagarajan says that while the numbers might be modest, the shopping spree suggests a strategic shift. “The domestic market has been extremely competitive,” he points out. “Given the increase in input costs, [increased] competition [and] the incremental advertising spend, there is [increased] pressure on profitability.” Nagarajan adds that acquiring other domestic firms is tough because of high valuations. “There [is] competition for the same assets from global FMCG players who have domestic operations. Given this scenario and the urge to grow, most of these entities have looked outside of India for options.”The emerging economies have been a key focus area for Indian FMCGs looking for foreign acquisitions. As opposed to developed markets, these nations tend to be under-penetrated, have higher growth rates and reasonable acquisition costs.According to a Crisil Ratings article on the topic, the contribution of international business to total revenue is becoming increasingly larger for prominent FMCG players in India, with much higher growth rates than domestic operations. “The contribution of the international business to the total revenues of key India-based FMCG companies increased to 23% in 2010-2011 from about 18% in 2009-2010,” the Crisil article said. “Over the past five financial years, the international businesses of these companies have registered a CAGR of over 40% — double the CAGR for their domestic businesses (these growth numbers are significantly influenced by the overseas acquisitions undertaken by GCPL in 2010-2011).”Beyond the NumbersRevenues aside, other considerations come into play when companies undertake overseas acquisitions. “We are not merely interested in [adding to] the topline,” notes Anubhav Rastogi, who handles mergers and acquisitions for Marico. “Our strength is in branding. So we look at whether we can add value to the local brands in terms of their overall consumer inciting processes, even though they may have more know-how on local consumers than us.”Distribution is another area of Marico’s expertise. India has a unique distribution network with several sales points and distributors. “Most of the geographies in Asia and Africa that we are targeting have a similar kind of distribution network,” Rastogi says. “As in India, the modern retail percentage to the total trade [traditional retail] is very low. We know how to manage the complex distribution environment and how to leverage information technology to drive sales.”Another critical synergy for successful acquisitions is cross-leveraging of products. Without the ability to successfully market Indian products abroad and sell foreign goods to Indian consumers, “you don’t really get synergy,” accord to Rachna Nath, executive director and leader of retail and consumer issues at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). For instance, Marico has brought its successful Parachute brand of hair cream from the Middle East into India. But there are limitations to those efforts, Rastogi points out. “The portfolio of products from South Africa can never come to India and the other way around because the hair type [of consumers in the two countries] is so different. However, we can leverage the learnings in terms of category management, supply chain management and so on. And we can take the products from South Africa to sub-Saharan Africa.”Godrej offers another perspective. “While cross-leveraging is very important, we don’t bring brands in or take brands out. We use the local brands,” he notes. “But we exchange a lot of product knowledge, technical know-how and business processes.” For example, GCPL is the largest manufacturer of powder hair colors in the world. But the firm’s African operations had no powder hair color technology prior to the acquisition, creating an opportunity to transfer that process from India to the African market. Likewise, GCPL brought its unique technology for crème hair colorants in sachets from Argentina into India.IIMA’s Pingali adds that in order to leverage the acquired firm’s expertise in the home country, the acquiring company should also have some novel products. “I think at this stage, most major Indian FMCG companies have such products that could be of interest to people outside India. However, if an acquisition were to work, then it is mandatory that the company is confident about the quality of manufacturing processes. It should be in a position to have some manufacturing units that meet international standards or should be in a position to set up some within reasonable expenditure.”The People ChallengeFinancial, operational and product integration challenges are obvious items on the acquisition checklist for any company. But PwC’s Nath warns that something that many companies overlook is cultural integration.To best facilitate a cultural fit, GCPL retains much of the original staff of the companies it acquires. Marico’s Rastogi notes that cultural integration varies from market to market. Marico considers three criteria when tackling this issue after an acquisition — the quality of management at the acquired firm, the quality of its second line of command and retaining continuity within the team as much as possible. “Theoretically it is not possible to [re]-culturize the entire operation because people in different countries have been brought up differently,” Rastogi says. “An Indian will be Indian and a South African will be South African. It’s unreasonable to expect otherwise. To the extent possible, we like to continue an association with the seller or the management team. We get into a partnership only with like-minded people.”One of the hidden challenges of foreign acquisitions is skill enhancement of the workforce. How can a company train its entire workforce, in India and abroad, to think and act globally? According to PwC’s Nath, “You must be able to put the skill-set of Indian companies that are making global acquisitions at par with a Coke or a Pepsi, which [already have a presence] all over the world. So far, Indian companies have let their acquisitions be. Over a period of time, I’m sure there will be a shuffle in terms of people going from India to those companies in management positions.”Crisil’s Nagarajan adds: “The ability to understand newer markets in a short period of time is critical. While a lot of it can be done through systems and processes and technology, at the end of the day, the market knowledge and the nuances that you need to get are essential. [That information] can come through people [and] through institutionalization of that knowledge…. That is what I think is the differentiator.”Another challenge of acquisitions is a firm’s credit capability and financial risk profile. “Given that we believe that most of these acquisitions were reasonably valued, and the fact that most of them had fairly strong financial risk profiles in terms of capital structure [and] cash accruals … the accruals for those acquired entities … would have helped service some of that debt,” Nagarajan notes. “So putting all of that together, we have seen that the credit quality of most of these entities post-acquisition also has remained stable.”Godrej emphasizes the importance of maintaining a reasonable debt-equity ratio. GCPL’s debt-equity ratio, despite the number of recent acquisitions made, is about 0.5 to 1 because it has raised equity as well. The company’s debt to market cap ratio is less than 0.1, making it very low-risk. “We would like to be very clear that we are not overly leveraged,” Godrej says. “By and large in most of our acquisitions, we have had accretive profits after taking the cost of the acquisition into account, more or less from day one. Our Indonesian acquisition has gone up in value four-fold in three years. Some investment bankers recently approached us to list the company in Indonesia at a market cap of one billion dollars.”All of Marico’s acquisitions are also profitable, says Rastogi. But he concedes that sometimes they may take a few years to break even. Rastogi points out that higher advertising spends for newly-acquired businesses sometimes eat into initial profits and result in lower operating margins for their international business — 11% as opposed to 18% domestically. “But we take a longer-term view because we believe we can add a lot of value going forward and we’re going to be there for the long term. Our internal thought is that we can increase the margins of our international business in the next three years by 200 to 250 basis points.”The analysts, however, remain cautious. “It is very early days to tell whether these acquisitions are a success or not,” PwC’s Nath notes. Adds Crisil’s Nagarajan: “Many of these acquisitions are quite recent and it takes time for any acquisition to settle in before you can start saying it is a success or a failure. We believe they are reasonably valued from a financial point of view and other operational synergies, so I think they should play out. But one has to wait and watch.” Related Itemslast_img read more

IBM Employs More People in India than in the U.S.

first_imgIBM employs about 130,000 people in India, which is about one third of its total workforce, thus proving to be an example of the globalization trend that the Donald Trump administration has come down heavily upon. Since 2007, IBM’s employment in India has nearly doubled. Its American workforce is well under 100,000.“IBM India, in the truest sense, is a microcosm of the IBM company,” Vanitha Narayanan, the chairman of the company’s Indian operations, said in an interview to The New York Times.This has not gone unnoticed by the U.S. president, who singled the company out in a campaign rally at Minnesota, where he accused the firm of laying off 500 Minnesotans and moving their jobs to India and other countries. IBM denied the charge. However, after Trump won the election, IBM’s chief executive Ginni Rometty promised to create 25,000 new American jobs. The company has committed $1 billion to training programs and opening new offices, according to the New York Times.Trump signed an executive order, which puts more restrictions on granting of H-1B visa for tech workers — most of whom are Indians. According to federal data, IBM was the sixth largest recipient of these visas in 2016.The firm’s India division has helped the company operate in a cost effective manner. Indian employees get paid one one-half or one-fifth of their American counterparts, according to data posted by recruitment research firm Glassdoor.IBM opened its first offices in India in Mumbai and Delhi in 1951. The company left the country in 1978 over a tiff with the Indian government about foreign ownership rules. Through a joint venture with Tata in 1993, it reentered India and eventually took full control of the venture. As of today, the company has offices in Bengaluru, Pune, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai as well.Indian employees are engaged in IBM’s core business: helping companies like AT&T and Airbus manage the technical sides of their operations, consulting services, write software, monitor cloud-based computer systems for many of the world’s banks, phone companies and governments. Related ItemsDonald Trump IBMGina RomettyH-1B visaIBM employeesIBM IndiaIBM USLittle IndiaVanitha Narayananlast_img read more

Tiwari killing: 2 held from Gujarat-Rajasthan border

first_imgThe Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad on Tuesday claimed to have arrested the two main suspects who allegedly committed the murder of Hindu Samaj Party leader Kamlesh Tiwari in Lucknow on October 18.The two were nabbed from Shamlaji near the Gujarat-Rajasthan border, the police said, adding that they were on their way to Gujarat after having reached Shahjahanpur from Nepal.The duo were identified as Ashfaqhussain Jakirhussain Shaikh, 34, and Moinuddin Khurshid Pathan, 27. Both are residents of Surat, the Gujarat ATS said. While Shaikh is a medical representative, Pathan is a food delivery boy, the police said.The ATS said that the two were apprehended on the basis of technical and physical surveillance mounted on their family members and acquaintances. The two had approached their family members and acquaintances for “further finances” after they ran out of money, the police said.The primary investigation of the accused persons revealed that they had committed the crime “in retribution to purported statements by the deceased”, the ATS said. In 2015, Tiwari had shot into the limelight after he made controversial remarks about Prophet Mohammad following which several Muslim groups held protests demanding action against him. Six persons, including two Muslim clerics from Bijnor in western U.P., have already been detained in the case.last_img read more

J&K to shift political detenues during winter

first_imgAs the winter sets in, the Jammu and Kashmir administration is looking for another accommodation to lodge 34 political detenues, currently in the Centaur Hotel in Srinagar, as it lacks proper heating arrangements, officials said.Also read: Fear, cold and lack of work prod migrant workers to leave KashmirThe winter chill has already started taking a toll on the health of the detenues that include National Conference, People’s Democratic Party and People’s Conference leaders and prominent social activists, as well as the security personnel guarding them.They have been lodged at the hotel on the bank of the Dal Lake since August 5 when the Central government announced its decision to dilute Article 370 of the Constitution and split the State into two Union Territories.Also Read Kashmir Valley: Three months after the decision on Article 370Volume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0002:1102:11  According to the officials privy to the development, Centaur Hotel, owned by the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), has submitted a bill of ₹2.65 crore to the Home Department for 90 days of boarding and lodging of the detenues.The administration has, however, rejected the claims of Centaur Hotel, and argued that the facility was converted into a subsidiary jail on August 5 and therefore, only the government rates would be paid.The rates sanctioned by the administration would be around ₹800 per day as against ₹5,000 charged by the hotel, the officials said.During the winter, temperature in Srinagar dips below the freezing point.The seat of administration in the newly created Union territory has moved from Srinagar to Jammu for the winter months.The officials said steps would be taken soon to shift the detenues.The MLA hostel on Residency Road in the heart of the city could have been an alternative accommodation, but it is now occupied by former MLAs hailing from Jammu and newly elected councillors.Unwilling to dislodge the former MLAs and councillors, the administration has started looking for a state-run or private hotel for shifting the detenues, they said.They said talks are on with a private hotel in the high-security cantonment area, where some detenues, including Sajjad Lone of People’s Conference (PC), Ali Mohammad Sagar of National Conference (NC), Naem Akhtar of the PDP and former IAS officer Shah Faesal, could be accommodated. Watch | Kashmir Valley: Train services remain suspended months after dilution of Art.370 New Indian map shows UTs of J&K, Ladakhlast_img read more

Federer passes five-set test to advance at US Open

first_imgTiafoe was disappointed he could not stay atop Federer after breaking in the opening game.“He won by the skin of his teeth,” Tiafoe said. “I felt like when I was playing well, I was controlling most of the rallies. When I was hitting the ball big, he wasn’t really doing much except staying steady with me.”But that was enough. Federer has not made a first-round exit in a Grand Slam since the 2003 French Open and has never lost an opener on the New York hardcourts. But Tiafoe tested him.“It was more than a test,” Federer said. “It was exciting. It’s why I came to New York as well, to go through these emotions.”It also was Federer’s first match under the $150 million Arthur Ashe Stadium roof that became operational last year.“To see the new addition of the sliding roof, it’s wonderful,” Federer said. “I’m the lucky guy who got to play through the rain so I’m very happy about the roof.”Asked about the noise level with the roof closed, an issue that drew complaints from top-ranked rival Rafael Nadal, Federer said, “When you guys get going it’s even a better atmosphere than we used to have.”“I expected worse because I heard comments like this. I didn’t think it was that bad and when the crowd got into it, it was really cool… I felt like the energy was back in the building again. It was a lot of fun playing in that atmosphere.”Nadal and Federer have never faced each other at the US Open but could meet in this year’s semi-finals.And Federer is the only player who can dethrone Nadal as world number one at the US Open. WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Third seed Federer will next meet either Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny, who is 0-16 against him, or Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic, 0-1 against Federer, as the Swiss chases a record sixth US Open crown.The 36-year-old Swiss, who won this year’s Wimbledon and Australian Open crowns, took the US Open titles from 2004-2008.The intense match came after limited preparation due to his back issues.“I always knew I was going to come in rusty or not great. I was hoping to start better,” Federer said. “I was being too cautious with my movement. In the second set it all started to come together.“I enjoyed myself even though I was maybe tired and nervous at the end. It was cool to be part of that match. I’m really excited I won.”ADVERTISEMENT NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 29: Frances Tiafoe congratulates Roger Federer of Switzerland after their match on Day Two of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFPRoger Federer made a narrow escape in a tense five-set thriller Tuesday, sorting out worries about a back injury and poor preparation to reach the second round of the US Open.The 19-time Grand Slam champion outlasted 70th-ranked US 19-year-old Frances Tiafoe 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 in a shockingly tough battle that boosted his hopes of a deep run on the New York hardcourts.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Australia proves fertile talent pool for NBA LATEST STORIES UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief “I think this is going to give me a lot of confidence,” Federer said. “It’s important to go through all of these emotional roller coasters early. That pressure is not fun but it’s what you have to go through.”The match was Federer’s first since losing the Montreal final to Alexander Zverev nearly three weeks ago. He withdrew from Cincinnati with a sore back the following week.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I was worried in the beginning from my back issue from a couple weeks ago but I loosened up,” Federer said, calling his back “extremely well” and adding “it’s only going to get better from here.”“To get through a five-set match you’ve got to be healthy. I believe this is going to give me great confidence in my game and my body.” Read Next Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games MOST READ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games View commentslast_img read more

Blackwater secures last playoff spot, beats GlobalPort

first_imgKammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Read Next LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary PBA IMAGESBlackwater took the last quarterfinals spot in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup after turning back Globalport, 118-107, Sunday at Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.The Elite remained at the eighth spot with a 5-5 record to clinch the last playoff seat while the Batang Pier dipped to 3-7.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games MOST READ Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  Golovkin and Alvarez deliver classic middleweight fight Blackwater had a 21-point lead, 90-69, at the 3:07 mark of the third quarter after Mac Belo converted on a jumper and that was essentially the Elite’s foundation until the final buzzer.Henry Walker finished with a five-by-five to lead the Elite with 19 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, five steals, and five blocks.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAllein Maliksi had 22 points and Roi Sumang put up 21 points to provide the scoring punch for Blackwater.Murphy Holloway had a 20-20 game with 28 points and 23 rebounds to lead the Batang Pier. View comments BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fightlast_img read more

Roberts nets brace as Global Cebu earns draw vs Hougang United

first_imgFrontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC But Global hit back five minutes later with Roberts latching onto a through ball from Paolo Salenga before firing home at Khairulhin Khalid’s near post.Global spurned the last chance of the match when Dennis Villanueva fired off target after a fine ball from Paul Mulders in stoppage time. Team Philippines takes home tale of triumph from Turkmenistan Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary MOST READ BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong Citycenter_img But Global conceded five minutes from time as Fabian Kwok beat Patrick Deyto with a well-struck shot from just outside the box, leaving it all to play for heading into the second leg on Saturday at Hougang Stadium.“I’m not happy with the result,” said Global coach Akbar Nawas, who missed injured stars Misagh Bahadoran and Amani Aguinaldo.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“We had the chances to bring a better lead into the second leg, but we didn’t. We only had 13 players available, but I didn’t want to make excuses.”The S-League side took the lead in the 28th minute when Delwinder Singh headed home a corner at the far post. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Daryl Roberts scored twice as Philippines Football League side Global Cebu earned a 2-2 draw against Hougang United in the first leg of the RHB Singapore Cup semifinals on Wednesday night at Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.Looking to become the first Filipino club to reach the finals of the tournament, Global took a 2-1 lead in the 68th minute when Roberts, a former Trinidad and Tobago international, grabbed his second from close range.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president LATEST STORIES Read Next View commentslast_img read more

UST claims 5th UAAP beach volleyball title

first_imgBernadeth Pons’ final attempt turned out to be UST’s winning point as the ball careened off the line as Cherry Rondina and Caitlyn Viray celebrated the school’s fifth beach volleyball plum.Cherry Rondina won her third MVP award to go with her third sand court trophy.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Golden Tigresses completed a nine-game sweep of the season. In Game 1, UST also pounced on FEU’s late errors for the a 21-16, 22-20 victory. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Read Next Durham admits Bolts came out ‘lazy’ in Game 1 loss Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  LATEST STORIES Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City MOST READ University of Santo Tomas retained its position atop the sand courts after humbling Far Eastern University in the finals of the UAAP Season 80 beach volleyball tournament Saturday at SM Sands by the Bay.The Tigresses completed their dominance over the Lady Tamaraws with 25-15, 25-19 win in Game 2.ADVERTISEMENT Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST PLAY LIST 01:00Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View commentslast_img read more