ASIA/HOLY LAND – Third day of raids on Gaza. Caritas Jerusalem: security is not achieved by killing innocent children

Gaza – According to local medical sources, the third day of the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip began with 14 deaths including 7 women and 4 children. In one night between Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 July, the Israeli air force carried out more than 300 raids in a few hours. Several concordant testimonies confirm that, unlike previous military campaigns – where the bombing targets were mainly police stations and government buildings in the hands of the Islamists of Hamas – this time civilian houses and building are hit, along with refugee camp areas. Eight victims were reached by a rocket while attending the semi-finals of the World Cup football match Argentina-Netherlands in a bar of a village in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Egypt opened the Rafah crossing to allow wounded Palestinians to be assisted in the health facilities in the north of Sinai.
Faced with a growing number of victims – already more than seventy – and injured, Caritas Jerusalem warns of looming humanitarian emergency on the people of Gaza. The organization supports many projects and activities in the Strip, including a mobile clinic and a health center for psychological assistance for children with artificial limbs because of amputation due to previous Israeli military operations. All activities have been suspended since the start of the raid. Caritas workers present in Gaza are preparing for emergency interventions that will only be carried out when Israeli air strikes end.
In a statement sent to Fides Agency, Caritas Jerusalem condemns “the violence and killing of innocent people, especially those against women and children”. “The people of Gaza – stresses the statement – already lives a tragic situation for the embargo to which it has been subjected for 12 years and has suffered three conflicts in eight years”. The text released by Caritas Jerusalem reaffirms “the right of Israel to live in peace and the Israelis to live in security”, and states that this right can never be guaranteed “by war and aggression against innocent people”. The only way to achieve peace and security is “justice and a resolution of the conflict”, which can make its way only by recognizing the Palestinian people the right to live in freedom in their own land and allowing Gaza to open to the world.

AFRICA/MADAGASCAR – Catholic priest taken hostage by bandits has been released

Antananarivo – A Catholic priest was taken hostage by bandits engaged in rustling in the Central Highlands of Madagascar. The incident occurred on July 8, when some armed thugs attacked the village of Morarano, whose territory is part of the Diocese of Antsirabé, killing three people and looting several homes. Among the buildings targeted there was also the local parish. The parish priest, Fr. Romuald Romyzafy, denounced that the bandits had kidnapped Fr. Ferdinand and three apprentices of the agricultural education center.
The hostages have been released” confirms today Fr. Luca Treglia, Director of Radio Don Bosco in Madagascar to Fides Agency. “The problem of banditry in rural areas is strongly felt in Madagascar, although the area where the incident happened, the Central Highlands, is not the most affected. The hot-spot is the south, where in these days security forces are engaged in an operation to dismantle the network of bandits who plunder the villages and prey on livestock”, concluded Fr. Luca.

AMERICA/COLOMBIA – The new President of the Episcopate reiterates that peace is the great challenge of the country

Bogota – The Archbishop of Tunja, His Exc. Mgr. Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, IMC, has been elected President of the Colombian Episcopal Conference . The new President met with representatives of the media and wanted to express his commitment for peace in Colombia, the great challenge of the country.
“Guerrillas should ask for forgiveness, but true forgiveness”, said Mgr. Castro Quiroga, according to the note sent to Fides by the CEC, pointing out that the guerrillas “have to respond to justice” for their actions. The new President of the Episcopal Conference also considers peace talks underway in Havana positive. In this context, he called on the FARC and ELN to translate the desire for dialogue in concrete commitment.

AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN – 3 children die every day; 50 thousand at risk for malnutrition, diseases and ethnic conflicts

Yuba – An average of three children die per day, and one in seven before the age of five, due to the severe humanitarian crisis in the Country. Three years after the independence of South Sudan, the population lives in desperate conditions. Since the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013, 1.5 million southern Sudanese have fled their homes, of these, 400 thousand have fled to Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. In the absence of an immediate increase of humanitarian aid, 50 thousand children could die because of malnutrition. Currently there are over 7 million people who live in a state of food insecurity.
This is what was reported by the Spanish NGO Acción Contra el Hambre . In 2013 alone, ACH took care of 27 000 children due to acute malnutrition. UNICEF has declared that the deaths among children under five years of age have increased from 18 to 24 per week in Bentiu, a camp of the United Nations Mission , whose health services have deteriorated because of the continuous waves of displaced persons. ACH is providing a treatment program, in collaboration with other organizations, to assist the displaced and provide drinking water to 46 000 South Sudanese in the camp in Bentiu, and sanitation to 189 million people, as well as offering support to more than 80 thousand people.
With regard to education, 9 out of 10 children do not complete primary school, and 84% of women cannot read or write. Only 40% have access to medical services and 32% do not have drinking water. In the month of May an epidemic of cholera was declared in the capital Yuba . The alarm has already extended to 9 of 10 states and the total cases, on July 2, had surpassed 2,600, with 54 deaths. The results of the survey conducted by ACH in Leer, Unity State, highlight an acute malnutrition rate of 34%. The emergency threshold set by WHO is 15%.

AFRICA/CONGO DR – Appeal of Caritas: "Help us bring home more than 2,400 people expelled from Brazzaville"

Kinshasa – Caritas of the Democratic Republic of Congo has launched an appeal to help the Congolese expelled from the Republic of Congo who find themselves in precarious conditions in a refugee camp in Maluku on the eastern outskirts of Kinshasa. It is estimated that at least 2,400 people, of whom thousands are children, have been living in the camp since May, when the expulsion of illegal Congolese from Brazzaville started.
These people come from other areas of the DRC and do not have the means to return home. “There are many who were expelled who need to return to their provinces. If there are people who think they have the means to make them return home, this would help them to leave the precarious conditions in which they live”, said Gratien Mundia, coordinator of emergency operations and social protection of Caritas DRC.
Caritas has organized the collection and distribution of basic necessities in the camp of Maluku, some of which are provided by MONUSCO .

ASIA/INDIA – Appointment of Auxiliary Bishop of Ranchi

Vatican City – On July 9, 2014 the Holy Father appointed Fr. Theodore Mascarenhas, S.F.X., as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Ranchi .
The Bishop-elect was born on November 9, 1960, in Camurlim, Archdiocese of Goa. He studied Philosophy at St. Charles Seminary, in Nagpur, Maharashtra, and Theology at the All India Mission Seminary, of the Society of Pilar, Goa. He holds a Master of Arts in political science from the Nagpur University, and a licentiate and doctorate in sacred scripture form the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome. He was ordained a priest on April 24, 1988.
After his ordination he has held a number of pastoral roles: 1988-1993: Pastoral work in Punjab, North India, in parishes and in two schools as Vice-Principal and Principal; 1994-2001: Studies for the Licentiate and Doctorate at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome; 1998-2004: Coordinator of the works of the Society of Pilar in Rome; 2005: superior delegate for the Society of the Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier in Europe; 2006: Official of the Pontifical Council for Culture; since 2010: procurator general of the Society of St. Francis Xavier, member of the Pontifical Committee for the International Eucharistic Congresses and lecturer in sacred scripture at the Pontifical Gregorian University and at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas , Rome.

Chi l’ha visto ultima puntata 9 luglio 2014

La scomparsa di Denise Pipitone e il processo d’appello per il suo rapimento al centro dell’ultima puntata della stagione.

chi-lha-visto-620x314

Chi l’ha visto: Aurelio Ceralti cerca sua madre

Aurelio Ceralti cerca ancora sua madre. Una lettera arrivata in redazione dà indicazioni precise per trovarla.

Chi l’ha visto: Pietro Sarchiè ucciso

PROSEGUI LA LETTURA

Chi l'ha visto ultima puntata 9 luglio 2014 é stato pubblicato su crimeblog alle 23:20 di mercoledì 09 luglio 2014.




Vigorous Dynamics Underlie a Stable Population of the Endangered Snow Leopard Panthera uncia in Tost Mountains, South Gobi, Mongolia

by Koustubh Sharma, Rana Bayrakcismith, Lkhagvasumberel Tumursukh, Orjan Johansson, Purevsuren Sevger, Tom McCarthy, Charudutt Mishra

Population monitoring programmes and estimation of vital rates are key to understanding the mechanisms of population growth, decline or stability, and are important for effective conservation action. We report, for the first time, the population trends and vital rates of the endangered snow leopard based on camera trapping over four years in the Tost Mountains, South Gobi, Mongolia. We used robust design multi-season mark-recapture analysis to estimate the trends in abundance, sex ratio, survival probability and the probability of temporary emigration and immigration for adult and young snow leopards. The snow leopard population remained constant over most of the study period, with no apparent growth (λ = 1.08+−0.25). Comparison of model results with the “known population” of radio-collared snow leopards suggested high accuracy in our estimates. Although seemingly stable, vigorous underlying dynamics were evident in this population, with the adult sex ratio shifting from being male-biased to female-biased (1.67 to 0.38 males per female) during the study. Adult survival probability was 0.82 (SE+−0.08) and that of young was 0.83 (SE+−0.15) and 0.77 (SE +−0.2) respectively, before and after the age of 2 years. Young snow leopards showed a high probability of temporary emigration and immigration (0.6, SE +−0.19 and 0.68, SE +−0.32 before and after the age of 2 years) though not the adults (0.02 SE+−0.07). While the current female-bias in the population and the number of cubs born each year seemingly render the study population safe, the vigorous dynamics suggests that the situation can change quickly. The reduction in the proportion of male snow leopards may be indicative of continuing anthropogenic pressures. Our work reiterates the importance of monitoring both the abundance and population dynamics of species for effective conservation.

Atomic Force Microscopy of Photosystem II and Its Unit Cell Clustering Quantitatively Delineate the Mesoscale Variability in Arabidopsis Thylakoids

by Bibiana Onoa, Anna R. Schneider, Matthew D. Brooks, Patricia Grob, Eva Nogales, Phillip L. Geissler, Krishna K. Niyogi, Carlos Bustamante

Photoautotrophic organisms efficiently regulate absorption of light energy to sustain photochemistry while promoting photoprotection. Photoprotection is achieved in part by triggering a series of dissipative processes termed non-photochemical quenching (NPQ), which depend on the re-organization of photosystem (PS) II supercomplexes in thylakoid membranes. Using atomic force microscopy, we characterized the structural attributes of grana thylakoids from Arabidopsis thaliana to correlate differences in PSII organization with the role of SOQ1, a recently discovered thylakoid protein that prevents formation of a slowly reversible NPQ state. We developed a statistical image analysis suite to discriminate disordered from crystalline particles and classify crystalline arrays according to their unit cell properties. Through detailed analysis of the local organization of PSII supercomplexes in ordered and disordered phases, we found evidence that interactions among light-harvesting antenna complexes are weakened in the absence of SOQ1, inducing protein rearrangements that favor larger separations between PSII complexes in the majority (disordered) phase and reshaping the PSII crystallization landscape. The features we observe are distinct from known protein rearrangements associated with NPQ, providing further support for a role of SOQ1 in a novel NPQ pathway. The particle clustering and unit cell methodology developed here is generalizable to multiple types of microscopy and will enable unbiased analysis and comparison of large data sets.

Harnessing Gene Expression Networks to Prioritize Candidate Epileptic Encephalopathy Genes

by Karen L. Oliver, Vesna Lukic, Natalie P. Thorne, Samuel F. Berkovic, Ingrid E. Scheffer, Melanie Bahlo

We apply a novel gene expression network analysis to a cohort of 182 recently reported candidate Epileptic Encephalopathy genes to identify those most likely to be true Epileptic Encephalopathy genes. These candidate genes were identified as having single variants of likely pathogenic significance discovered in a large-scale massively parallel sequencing study. Candidate Epileptic Encephalopathy genes were prioritized according to their co-expression with 29 known Epileptic Encephalopathy genes. We utilized developing brain and adult brain gene expression data from the Allen Human Brain Atlas (AHBA) and compared this to data from Celsius: a large, heterogeneous gene expression data warehouse. We show replicable prioritization results using these three independent gene expression resources, two of which are brain-specific, with small sample size, and the third derived from a heterogeneous collection of tissues with large sample size. Of the nineteen genes that we predicted with the highest likelihood to be true Epileptic Encephalopathy genes, two (GNAO1 and GRIN2B) have recently been independently reported and confirmed. We compare our results to those produced by an established in silico prioritization approach called Endeavour, and finally present gene expression networks for the known and candidate Epileptic Encephalopathy genes. This highlights sub-networks of gene expression, particularly in the network derived from the adult AHBA gene expression dataset. These networks give clues to the likely biological interactions between Epileptic Encephalopathy genes, potentially highlighting underlying mechanisms and avenues for therapeutic targets.

Polar Bears from Space: Assessing Satellite Imagery as a Tool to Track Arctic Wildlife

by Seth Stapleton, Michelle LaRue, Nicolas Lecomte, Stephen Atkinson, David Garshelis, Claire Porter, Todd Atwood

Development of efficient techniques for monitoring wildlife is a priority in the Arctic, where the impacts of climate change are acute and remoteness and logistical constraints hinder access. We evaluated high resolution satellite imagery as a tool to track the distribution and abundance of polar bears. We examined satellite images of a small island in Foxe Basin, Canada, occupied by a high density of bears during the summer ice-free season. Bears were distinguished from other light-colored spots by comparing images collected on different dates. A sample of ground-truthed points demonstrated that we accurately classified bears. Independent observers reviewed images and a population estimate was obtained using mark–recapture models. This estimate (: 94; 95% Confidence Interval: 92–105) was remarkably similar to an abundance estimate derived from a line transect aerial survey conducted a few days earlier (: 102; 95% CI: 69–152). Our findings suggest that satellite imagery is a promising tool for monitoring polar bears on land, with implications for use with other Arctic wildlife. Large scale applications may require development of automated detection processes to expedite review and analysis. Future research should assess the utility of multi-spectral imagery and examine sites with different environmental characteristics.

Clock Genes and Behavioral Responses to Light Are Altered in a Mouse Model of Diabetic Retinopathy

by Hasna Lahouaoui, Christine Coutanson, Howard M. Cooper, Mohamed Bennis, Ouria Dkhissi-Benyahya

There is increasing evidence that melanopsin-expressing ganglion cells (ipRGCs) are altered in retinal pathologies. Using a streptozotocin-induced (STZ) model of diabetes, we investigated the impact of diabetic retinopathy on non-visual functions by analyzing ipRGCs morphology and light-induced c-Fos and Period 1–2 clock genes in the central clock (SCN). The ability of STZ-diabetic mice to entrain to light was challenged by exposure animals to 1) successive light/dark (LD) cycle of decreasing or increasing light intensities during the light phase and 2) 6-h advance of the LD cycle. Our results show that diabetes induces morphological changes of ipRGCs, including soma swelling and dendritic varicosities, with no reduction in their total number, associated with decreased c-Fos and clock genes induction by light in the SCN at 12 weeks post-onset of diabetes. In addition, STZ-diabetic mice exhibited a reduction of overall locomotor activity, a decrease of circadian sensitivity to light at low intensities, and a delay in the time to re-entrain after a phase advance of the LD cycle. These novel findings demonstrate that diabetes alters clock genes and behavioral responses of the circadian timing system to light and suggest that diabetic patients may show an increased propensity for circadian disturbances, in particular when they are exposed to chronobiological challenges.