DOD Spending Bills Stall in Senate for Third Time

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked the fiscal 2017 defense spending bill and the conference agreement for the military construction-veterans affairs spending bill from advancing, the latest signal that all facets of defense operations will need to rely on a continuing resolution (CR) when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1. Each of the failed procedural votes represented the chamber’s third attempt to advance the legislation.In the case of the defense spending measure, Democratic opposition is part of a strategy to ensure any increase in DOD spending does not come at the expense of domestic programs, reported CQ. The Senate version of the defense spending bill adheres to the spending cap, but the House measure sidesteps the cap by using $15.7 billion from the overseas contingency operations account to pay for weapons and equipment, and higher end strength levels that the administration did not request.The vote to block the milcon-veterans affairs conference agreement reflects Democrats’ opposition to the $1.1 billion funding package addressing the Zika virus included in the measure. Democrats have criticized the anti-Zika component over the spending offsets Republicans rely on and language related to contraception services.After that vote, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), chairman of the Military Construction-VA Subcommittee, said the House should drop language opposed by Democrats.“Americans have waited too long for Washington to pass the $74.4 billion funding bill for veterans and $1.1 billion to stop the spread of Zika. The House should drop the poison pill language so we can pass a clean bill immediately,” Kirk said in a statement.One possible response is that congressional leaders include Zika aid in any CR that is passed to keep the government running past Sept. 30, according to the story.last_img read more

RCom meltdown Anil Ambanis pain is Mukesh Ambanis gain

first_imgThe crisis-hit firm said it was moving for bankruptcy protection after its attempts to pare Rs 42,000 crore debt failed despite attempts over the last 18 months to sell assets and negotiate with the lenders.While RCom investors saw the share price tanking, other Reliance companies also faced heavy selling pressure. Reliance Capital dropped 20 percent, Reliance Power plunged 35 percent and Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd. fell 15 percent on Monday. Airtel vs Reliance Jio: Which network is faster in India? File photo of Chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd Mukesh Ambani speaking as his brother Anil Ambani watches in 2004. A dispute between the siblings over dues to Department of Telecommunications has stalled a spectrum deal between the companies of the siblings.ReutersReliance Communications (RCom) shares came crashing like nine pins on Monday after the Anil Ambani-led company filed for bankruptcy in the face of inability to resolve mounting debt. And it’s clear that Anil Ambani’s pain is brother Mukesh Ambani’s gain, in many ways.The fierce tariff war launched by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio was one of the reasons behind the unravelling of Reliance Communications, an earlier entrant to the telecom sector than Reliance Jio.RCom, which was racing against time to settle debt amounting to more than Rs 42,000 crore, was banking on a potential spectrum sale to Jio. The company finally took the bankruptcy route after legal wrangles prevented a timely conclusion of the sale process.Now that RCom has initiated bankruptcy proceedings, the plan to sell spectrum and towers to Mukeh Ambani-led Reliance Jio would stand cancelled.However, when the debt resolution process restarts under the interim resolution professionals, Reliance Jio would be able to bid for RCom assets again, at a cheaper price. Thus it turns out that RCom’s spectacular undoing is a straightway gain for Reliance Jio.For debt-laden RCom, which decided to wind up its wireless business in December 2017, the sale of spectrum to Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Jio was crucial for survival. The Supreme Court had approved the sale on 30 November subject to conditions. However, protracted legal wrangles delayed the deal, effectively leading the failed firm to choke up finally.Group companies take hitThe spectrum sale to Jio, which would have brought nearly Rs 18,000-crore to the debt laden company, floundered after RCom’s creditors demanded payment ahead of the sale.Now, Mukesh Ambani can bid for RCom assets as the supreme court relaxed rules in January, allowing family members to bid for assets of a company going through insolvency. Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani with his son Anmol Ambani during Reliance Capital’s annual general meeting (AGM) in Mumbai, on Sept 26, 2016.IANSAnd, with the fortunes of RCom dwindling, the assets would come at a cheaper price. “The value of RCom if it goes into liquidation will be destroyed and with this sword hanging, the bidders may negotiate harder in the insolvency process with creditors and bring down prices,” Apurva Jayant, a partner at law firm L&L Partners, told Bloomberg.Shares of Reliance Communications Ltd, which was once India’s No. 2 wireless carrier, plumbed the depths on Monday, crashing at one point more than 50 percent on the National Stock Exchange.center_img Closelast_img read more

8 injured in French mosque shooting

first_imgA view of Arrahma Mosque where a shooting incident occured, in this still image from video, in Avignon. ReutersEight people including a girl were lightly wounded late Sunday in a shooting in front of a mosque in the southeast French city of Avignon, the prosecutor’s office said, ruling out terrorism.According to initial accounts taken on the spot, at least two men got out of a car around 10:30 pm near the mosque and opened fire, including with a shotgun, the prosecutor’s office said.None of the wounded had life-threatening injuries, it said.”From what we know this evening, the mosque was not targeted. The fact that it happened in the street of the religious establishment was unconnected with it,” the prosecutor said, ruling out terrorism.Witness accounts mentioned four men in the car, all hooded.The criminal investigation department has taken charge of the case.The shooting comes a few days after a man on Thursday attempted to drive his car into worshippers outside the Creteil mosque in southeast Paris.The driver, a 43-year-old Armenian who suffered from schizophrenia, hit barriers and pillars outside the mosque with his 4×4 without causing any injuries before crashing into a traffic island.According to a source close to the investigation, the suspect had made “confused remarks in relation” to a string of jihadist attacks that have struck France, killing 239 people since 2015.Following a van attack against worshippers leaving Finsbury Park Mosque in London on June 19 which left one dead and 11 injured, France’s Muslim community has also felt threatened.Some Muslim officials have described the Paris incident as an attack and called on the authorities to “strengthen protection of places of worship”.The Paris police commissioner reiterated his orders for vigilance in protecting Muslim places of worship.last_img read more

Bright bills in mallards helps duck semen fight bacteria

first_img Explore further 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. Citation: Bright bills in mallards helps duck semen fight bacteria (2011, April 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-04-bright-bills-mallards-duck-semen.html More information: Sexual ornamentation reflects antibacterial activity of ejaculates in mallards, Biol. Lett. Published online before print April 13, 2011, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0276 Too much sperm may kill the queen Dr Melissah Rowe of the University of Oslo collected semen samples from 11 captive mallard ducks with bills of varying degrees of brightness to test them for antibacterial properties. She reasoned that since human sperm can be damaged by bacteria, this might be an issue in ducks as well, and protections for sperm might have evolved.Collecting semen samples from mallard ducks is not a simple matter, since the penis is corkscrew shaped and withdrawn into the body until the male is aroused. The researchers injected lymphatic fluid into the penis and massaged the cloaca area to persuade the penis to emerge and ejaculate semen for collection.Tests of the samples revealed that they inhibited the growth of bacteria, but this effect was more pronounced in the males with the most colorful bills, at least for one type of bacteria, Escherichia coli. In selecting males with the most colorful bills, females are therefore selecting semen that is less likely to carry E. coli bacteria. The semen was also able to kill Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, but there was no association with bill color. The experiments are the first to demonstrate antibacterial properties of semen in birds.It has previously been shown that sperm of the most colorful males is of higher quality and speed. Dr Rowe said that in preferring males with more colorful bills females were gaining some fitness benefit, or the trait would not have evolved. Sexually selected traits have been shown by other researchers to be associated with sperm quality, overall health, and with parenting ability.In the paper, published in Biology Letters, Dr Rowe cautioned that the effect of E. coli on duck sperm is not yet known, but it is known to have a detrimental effect on human sperm in its quality and viability. It is also not known whether an E. coli infection can be sexually transmitted in ducks. The next stage of the research is to identify the semen component that gives it its antibacterial properties. (PhysOrg.com) — The male Mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) is known for its colorful neck and a bill that ranges in color from dull green to bright yellow, depending on the amount of carotenoid pigment it contains. Females favor the males with the most colorful bills, and now new research in Norway has shown that these males produce semen with better antibacterial properties. © 2010 PhysOrg.com Mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos)last_img read more