Scientists Condemn Destruction of Golden Rice Field Trial

first_imgScientists are striking back at activists who destroyed genetically modified (GM) “golden rice” plants in a test field in the Philippines last week. “It is an unconscionable criminal act to destroy a field trial conducted in accordance to international safety norms,” reads an online petition that has garnered nearly 2000 signatures in the past few days.Golden rice carries two foreign genes that together produce beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. Scientists and public health advocates see golden rice helping to alleviate vitamin A deficiency, a scourge of the poor in developing countries that can lead to blindness and other health problems. But critics argue that GM food crops pose poorly understood health and environmental risks, and some have tried to halt research by destroying test plots, such as those in Philippines.  Scientists must respond to such attacks, petition organizers say. “It is important that the community come together and explain there is a scientific consensus on the safety of GM crops,” says geneticist Channapatna Prakash of Tuskegee University in Alabama, who initiated the petition. He says when they reach 5000 signatures they will send the statement to policymakers and politicians in the Philippines and other countries to convince them that “they must move forward with this research.”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(*)last_img read more

Hot @ 30

first_imgThe success stories of puppy fat and pimply romance are gone. It’s the more mature guys who are making the blood rush now.Gone are the days when we used to watch “puppy-love” movies like Bobby, Prem Rog or Love 86 with teenage lead pairs singing and running around the trees. The focus from lead actors in their late teens or early 20s has shifted to more mature looking heroes and heroines in their 30s. And all those Rishi Kapoors and Kumar Gauravs with puppy fat and chubby cheeks have given way to more serious “men” like Hrithik Roshans and Abhishek Bachchan. And even these superstars of the transition period have earned their place in the sun only after crossing their 20s.30s is the age to be hot in Bollywood!In early 2000, when 26-year-old Hrithik Roshan blazed up the Indian screens with Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai, critics and audiences alike felt that a new star was born. But when his subsequent releases fizzled, he was quickly written off as a one-film wonder. The success of Koi…Mil Gaya in 2003 made his detractors say that the light-eyed actor only excels in his dad Rakesh Roshan’s films. But 2006 changed all that. Krissh, Dhoom: 2 and upcoming biggies like Jodha Akbar and Krrish 3 have pushed Hrithik to the Most Wanted League. And he is also now being considered a versatile actor who excels both in positive and negative roles. Critics have somersaulted and now say that it was only Hrithik who could have made “two scriptless films” reach the target of over $25 million in a year. The actor, now all of 33 years, is being christened “the most valuable person in the industry” and “the sexiest man alive.” For Hrithik Roshan, the 30s have obviously been magic.That is also so for Bachchan Junior. Audiences which had rejected Abhishek in his prime 20s in film after flop film, are now embracing his movies. Reportedly, he receives over 300,000 mails a month, which contain kundlis and marriage proposals (of course, that was before he tied the knot with Aishwarya Rai). A movie critic, who once ridiculed him, saying, “Since the time Abhishek Bachchan has started acting, every roadside loafer now thinks he can be a hero,” is now raving about his performances in movies like Bunty Aur Babli, Bluffmaster! and Guru.Saif Ali Khan’s story is another actor who fumbled into the 30s and only then earned his spurs. Even being Sharmila Tagore’s son couldn’t stop people from writing off the Chhote Nawab after a score of flops in a row. For years, the media awaited his announcement to retire, hurt when most of the producers hrefused to sign him for any of their movies. But one Dil Chahta Hai was enough to silence everyone. With his solo act in Hum Tum and the national award for best actor, he further consolidated his position. Now he is considered an able actor and a bankable star with eye-catching performances in Ek Hasina Thi, the English film, Being Cyrus, Ta Ra Rum Pum and the film that got confetti showered on him, Omkara.So what made Saif the Waif a superstar? “Times have changed. Saif has become mature; he gave his first hit when he had just crossed 30. He is now 37 and in the last seven years, he has been an integral part of about 10 films which rocked the box-office,” says a producer on whose door Saif used to religiously knock for a film. “In fact, all the heroes – Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan, John Abraham, Akshaye Khanna, Arjun Rampal, Abhishek Bachchan and even Shiney Ahuja – are considered 30-plus hot commodities. Actually, you learn a lot about the rules of Bollywood, from acting to presentation to marketing, as you get older playing the game here,” he adds.  While the box office and producers are favoring more mature actors, those in their 20s like Shahid Kapur, Kunal Khemu and Zayed Khan are either not offered any leading roles or even if they get any, their movies are washouts. Shahid’s Vivah earned its moolah only in small towns. Kunal’s Kalyug was greeted with mixed responses both by cinegoers and critics. Zayed Khan has not had a hit in ages. Maybe they are awaiting their 30th birthdays more eagerly than any other.Interestingly, this trend was not as visible before 2000. Every other film was either based on the life of college kids or was a love story involving pimply youngsters who couldn’t get married because of their parents blocking their path. Perhaps this genre of films became outdated as the actors who played these characters grew older. They started preferring characters they could fit into properly, rather than being taunted for their younger roles (we are not talking about Dev Anand, of course). Aamir Khan, who was once a teen idol and very much a chocolate boy, started accepting serious films like Akele Hum Akele Tum, Sarfarosh, Mela and Lagaan. His success inspired the other Khans to exit from the boy-next-door image and to experiment with new ideas and stories. Shah Rukh excelled as an actor in Devdas and Salman was appreciated in the runaway hit, Tere Naam.The emergence of the multiplex phenomenon has also played a prominent part in creating a market for mature actors who are acknowledged more (after the initial period of the giggle gaggles munching on their caramel popcorn and cooing over caramel cinestars). Today, if a viewer spends $6 on a movie, he wants value. The audiences now choose movies carefully, or so it seems, at least. The viewers want more than just a teenybopper love story. They don’t have any qualms about accepting “different films like My Brother…Nikhil, Omkara, Rang De Basanti and Guru.”“Basically, with the actors, the audiences have also matured. The liberty that viewers today have was not found in their counterparts who used to go to theatres before this millennium..” says Homi Adajania, director of Being Cyrus, the only Indian English film that grossed more than $5 million. “A common Indian has the option of seeing all kinds of movies, whether masala mainstream, hoary Hollywood or classic European-style movies. Simply put, the audiences are more exposed today to better and diverse cinema. The mature actors are experimenting with their looks and character. In his late 30s, Arshad Warsi has become a bigger star by doing supporting roles than he was by doing lead roles, 10 languishing years ago. Now every director wants him in the movie. Writers are crafting parts exclusively for him. He, like many of his colleagues, only accepts a comic or an offbeat role now,”Does that mean that the era of romancing around trees is over? Film critic Mayank Shekhar differs. “The concept of young romance is not going to die. Sooraj R. Barjatya tried to keep it alive by featuring Shahid Kapur and Amrita Rao together in Vivah. Earlier the competition was not that tough and actors were getting things easily. But now the whole scenario has changed. There are too many cute faces coming in and to get the right one is a tough job. In the 70s and 80s, there was a demand for fresh faces, which has now faded away. Only a few directors are willing to take chances on a newcomer and that occurs only if he or she is a star-son.”“At a macro level it looks perfect, but when observed at a micro level, even this trend has its holes. To get a hit film today, the entire packaging is important; the audience would accept you as a superstar only if you are ‘worth’ it. The Munna-Circuit hit pair of Sunjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi was not enough to save a mundane film like Anthony Kaun Hain? The actors are only accepted if they give good performances in outstanding films. It does not matter if you are Saif or Shahid,” adds Shekhar.Veteran filmmaker Ramesh Sippy concurs: “Maybe the people don’t have good scripts and subjects that can present teenagers in a better way. But there are a few people like Sanjay Leela Bhansali who is making Saawariya with Anil Kapoor’s daughter Sonam and Neetu and Rishi Kapoor’s son Ranbir Kapoor. There are no rules in the game of BO Success. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio were very new and created history after Titanic. To change and adapt is a law of nature and if the audience changes, cinema has to adapt to the changes.”For now, Shahid, Zayed, Kunal and their likes just have to wait a little to grow up and grow big.The beedi lights up only after the jigar gathers more aag.The women are not far behind, either. The ones who are going strong at the moment are also in their 30s (and here, we are not talking about Madhuri Dixit who’s making a comeback after just crossing her 30s, as well as Chirpy Chawla Juhi who has created another niche for herself altogether). The earlier trend of heroines debuting at 16-17 and retiring after marriage or when they hit 30, whichever came first, has been quite reversed. The most promising actress of 2005-2006, Vidya Balan, is rocking at 33 with big hits, and big-budget films in her kitty. In fact, she got her big break Parineeta only after crossing 30. No wonder she is smiling big!Similarly, 33-year-old Aishwarya Rai, arguably the most beautiful woman in the world, is also shining better than ever by flaunting her newly acquired sexy image (post-Dhoom: 2) and her subtle act in Guru. Seems marriage is not going to stop global citizen Ash either as she has blockbuster releases coming up which include Ashutosh Gowariker’s ‘Jodha Akbar and Ram Gopal Verma’s Sarkar 2. Bubbly Preity Zinta, too, is nudging at the peak of her career and has already nudged past 30. Remember, Salaam Namaste and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna? The lady also simply rocks in the promos of Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, which has another lady nearing the 30s, Lara Dutta, keeping her company.  Saif Ali Khan in OmkaraWith them is Preity’s friend or foe (or whatever) Rani Mukerji who is also witnessing a resurgence following a spate of flop movies three or four years ago. Starting her success journey with Chalte Chalte with her mature performance, she is continuing to win laurels in movies like Hum Tum, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, etc, Another mature lady is Bipasha Basu who can still give a run for anyone’s money or fag out a fresh teenager with her beedi. Shipla Shetty’s career has been completely rejuvenated post Big Brother and now in her 30s, she is an international celeb. And there is no stopping Mallika Sherawat who has made it her own way post 30s. She is almost 35 now and has a true blue Hollywood film, Unveiled in her kitty.                                                                                        Tabu and Urmila Matondkar like wise might be in their mid 30s but there is no slowing down as they are rocking with Cheeni Kum and The Namesake as well as the upcoming Mehbooba act Sholay’ respectively.On the other hand, the younger lot (Ayesha Takia, Amrita Rao) are facing tough competition from this older brigade and are finding it tough to hold on to their own. Didn’t Kangana struggle in Metro with her older competitors Shilpa Shetty and Konkona around? Teenager Sneha Ullal is still considered a clone of Ash, but is yet to get anywhere near her in more ways than one. But never mind, gurrls, your days are just some years away!— Sampurn Related Itemslast_img read more

High roller fights in High Court

first_imgGold Coast businessman Harry Kakavas could see some of his $1.5 billion lost at Melbourne Crown Casino as he takes his case to the High Court. The high roller claims Crown knew he was a pathological gambler but lured him back to take advantage of his “special disability”. Between June 2005 and August 2006, Mr Kakavas spent $1.479 billion at Crown, winning and losing vast sums, often on hands of baccarat that took just seconds to play. During May 2006, Mr Kakavas spent a staggering $164 million in just five and a half hours. The case was rejected in the Supreme Court in May last year, and if successful in the High Court, it could set a new precedent. Allan Myers QC, representing Mr Kakavas, said his client had been clinically diagnosed as a pathological gambler with a severely impaired ability to make rational decisions at the betting table. He always played the highest amounts possible, borrowed millions from banks, friends and family and even served a brief jail sentence for stealing $286,000 to keep up his habit. Mr Kakavas also gambled in Las Vegas and once flew a jet on a whim to Macau where he lost as much as US$4 million in just a day, the court heard. “What the evidence demonstrates … (is) that this was a man who did not and could not control his urge to gamble and Crown knew it,” Mr Myers said. Mr Kakavas did seek therapy and had himself barred from casinos in attempt to control his addiction. But Mr Myers said Crown made concessions, allowing the high roller to bet $300,000 per hand on baccarat and driving him to the bank to withdraw more money after he lost $1 million. Mr Kakavas declined to comment outside the courtroom when asked about the case, saying he’d wait until a verdict was handed down. The case continues. Source: The Age. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more