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There is no halfway deal in Security. Management of security works on the principle of completeness. You cannot feel satisfied if your house is half secure or if only a part of it is fully secure. The house as an integral unit is either fully secure or is insecure. The framework of security must provide for an ongoing protection of the three assets of the safeguarded entity — physical, human and information-related. Since security by definition is protection against a ‘covert’ threat — from an ‘invisible’ enemy — information on that must come in time to allow for preventive action.
As the threat scenario is never static, security is not a ‘one time event’ — the flow of information called intelligence, must keep up. There should be no gap between ‘information’ and ‘response’. In a large country like India, there are multiple agencies producing intelligence — internal, external and technical and the system must ensure that there is flow of the total information to a point at the national apex where it will be examined for determining the course of a comprehensive action.
Several wings of the government would be involved in sharing the response. A coordinated timely action to follow up on the complete assessment of threat becomes pivotal for the success of security. This coordination must flow from the top. There has been a welcome evolution of the organisational and procedural aspects of the national security set up since the creation of the position of National Security Advisor who presided over the National Security Council Secretariat and worked directly under the Prime Minister. However, there are complexities involved particularly when security, on account of the mounting threat of terrorism, compels our defence forces and the para-military to work in consonance with the civil administration to conduct counter-terror operations on our own soil. In such a situation every bit of learning from experience to improve the system becomes important.
It is in this background that the reported address of NSA at the recent conference of Anti-Terror Task Forces organised by NIA, in which he dwelt on the areas of needed improvement, deserves notice. Ajit Doval emphasised the need for neutralising the chief weapon of terrorists — their ideological appeal — and reiterated the importance of the world community isolating Pakistan as a country that used terrorism as an instrument of state policy. He praised the success of NIA in Kashmir and rightly held the sanctions of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as the most effective deterrent for Pak-instigated terrorism at the global level. The NIA conference clearly brought out the strategy of Pak ISI to further activate cross-border terrorism against India by exploring its turf in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka and bringing to the front militant groups like Jamaat-ul- Mujahideen Bangladesh(JMB) and National Tawheed Jamaat of Sri Lanka besides, making a fresh attempt to revive militancy in Punjab through Khalistan Liberation Force.
Notwithstanding the rebuff it is getting at world forums on the issue of terrorism, Pakistan will continue to find good use for the low cost ‘proxy war’ it can keep up against India. It has a core of support from within the Muslim world as the faith-based cause it is able to put forth had its takers there and the firmness of Sino-Pak military alliance gives it an underlying confidence against India. Invoking Jehad in Kashmir and churning out Mujahideen for attacking India are the concerns basically for this country and we have to find a way of countering this menace at the micro-levels in various parts of the country. Pak agencies know of the domestic situation in India and the opportunities it can create for it for sending in potential militants for a drawn out strategy of causing internal disruptions.
The NIA conference hopefully will work for greater spread of our capabilities for producing ‘Intelligence from below’ and pushing the action taking job of ATTFs closer to the ground. The Indian scene demands a centralised policy drive on terrorism on the one hand and, on the other, a spread out machinery in the states to identify and neutralise ‘sleeper’ elements being created by the hostile agencies on our soil. The national grid against terrorism has to exist totally above politics, which is not going to be easy to achieve judging from the domestic reactions to the abrogation of Art 370 and 35A relating to Kashmir.
Pakistan is likely to continue fiddling with the affairs of the Muslim minority in India in the hope of creating disaffection that could turn a few minds towards radicalisation. Carrying intelligence to where people lived would facilitate a friendly outreach to families that had become vulnerable — this would be done best by the local administration without publicity or even bringing in the police. The Ulema and the communal elite trying to play vote bank politics are stepping up propaganda on such nebulous points as ‘majoritarianism’, ‘inclusive politics’ and ‘denial of freedom to criticise the government’ — mostly to stir up Muslim antagonism. It is time to enforce laws against communal speeches and anti-national exhortations firmly as otherwise an environ will be created in which Pak agencies will find it easier to instigate militancy out of communal schism — the rise of the Indian Mujahideen is a serving illustration of this danger. Terrorism rooted in notions of faith is particularly sinister in an India- specific way and requires to be handled in both military and socio-political spheres. (IANS)
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)
The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.
Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.
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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.
"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.
It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.
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This applies to less intense situations too. Dating, for example, can be tricky — especially when it's online or via digital apps, as it often is now.
The study also found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
In celebration of World Emoji Day on Saturday, Adobe's '2021 Global Emoji Trend Report' surveyed 7,000 people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. (IANS/KB)
Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.
Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.
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After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin
Sirisha flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University.IANS
Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk, and other passengers are set to liftoff from west Texas and travel just beyond the edge of space on July 20. Blue Origin announced this week that Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old high school graduate from the Netherlands, would join the crew.
Oliver is the son of millionaire Joe Daemen, Founder, and CEO of the Dutch investment company Somerset Capital Partners. Blue Origin, however, did not reveal how much Daemen paid for his son's trip to space. Bezos chose July 20 as the launch date to honor the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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The launch site for Blue Origin's first human flight will be in a remote location north of Van Horn, Texas, from where the firm had launched New Shepard for previous flights. Blue Origin has received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space.
On July 12, Bandla touched the edge of space with three others, including Virgin Galactic's billionaire CEO Richard Branson. Bandla vaulted into space onboard VSS Unity 22. After the successful spaceflight, Branson carried the Indian-American on his shoulders while celebrating their flight to space, at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (IANS/KB)