The Senate on Wednesday stripped from the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill language directing the Defense Department to privatize up to five commissaries through a two-year pilot program.Lawmakers also passed a second procedural vote to end debate on the annual policy bill, setting up a final vote for passage which likely will take place Thursday. The 84-14 vote also signaled the Democrats’ decision not to filibuster the authorization bill over its reliance on DOD’s overseas contingency operations account to exceed the Budget Control Act spending caps. Instead, Senate Democrats will resume that fight over the defense spending bill. The party is expected to block a vote, which could come today, to debate the spending measure in the Senate.Before voting to invoke cloture on the underlying bill, the Senate approved language requiring DOD to assess the costs and benefits of privatizing military grocery stores prior to launching a pilot program to evaluate privatization. The amendment was offered by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), but it was modified to include the text of a related amendment from Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), reported CQ.“This amendment puts all efforts to prioritize commissaries on hold, requiring instead an assessment on privatizing before we make significant changes to our service member’s commissary benefits,” Inhofe said in a joint press release. “There are too many unknowns as to whether privatization could directly impact military members’ ability to provide for their families as well as the potential for it to affect retention,” he stated.The House bill does not include language requiring DOD to test privatization.On Tuesday, the Senate rejected an amendment from David Vitter (R-La.) that would have established a floor of 32 Army brigade combat teams (BCTs) in the active and reserve Army components. That is the number of BCTs the Army will have at the end of the current fiscal year when it reaches an end strength of 490,000. Officials shortly are expected to announce further cuts that would shrink the Army by up to 70,000 additional troops and 10 to 12 BCTs. Dan Cohen AUTHOR
Top terror Shahadat HossainHe’s been staying abroad for 12 years, carrying out criminal acts of extortion and intimidating people back in the country over phone from abroad. He even managed to halt the trial process of 16 cases against him by intimidating the plaintiffs and witnesses of the cases from abroad.This is none other than the top terror Shahadat Hossain. The fugitive criminal was awarded with death penalty in two cases while arrest warrants were issued against him in 13 cases. He has more than 200 general diaries (GDs) under his belt.Hiding in India for a long time, Shahadat is controlling the capital’s criminal activities and even giving interviews to the media, said police officials.They added that the government has requested India to arrest Shahadat as Bangladesh handed over a number of Indian criminals to its neighbour.However, Shahadat’s deportation is yet to be decided, they also said.Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner Md Asaduzzaman Mia told Prothom Alo that they are trying to bring Shahadat back through the Interpol.If any family feels insecure or becomes victim of threat, the police will provide security measures, he added.Once vice-president of Bangladesh Chhatra League’s Shah Ali thana unit, Shahadat was a resident of Shinepukur Road in Mirpur’s Shah Ali area.The hardcore criminal used to be an activist of BCL Mirpur unit from 2001 to 2004. He came to talks in 1998 allegedly after killing a person in Gudaraghat area in 1998. Through this, he entered the underworld and murdered one after another as a professional killer. In 2005, he fled away in India after killing Aftab Uddin, a businessman of Mirpur. Since then, he has been living there.On 12 August 2005, a group of miscreants killed Md Shahidullah, 45, owner of Prince Group near his residence in Mirpur. A case was filed then accusing Shahadat as prime suspect. The investigation of the case is yet to be completed even after 12 years.Shahidullah’s family members said Shahadat has been threatening them to withdraw the case.Kazi Belal Hossain, brother of Shahidullah, told Prothom Alo that the main accused is yet to be arrested. The other accused who were arrested are now out of jail on bail.Another businessman of Mirpur, Aftabuddin, was killed by Shahadat in 2005. A case was then lodged with the Mirpur police station in this regard. After an investigation, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)-4 submitted a case statement in 2007, accusing a total of 19 people including Shahadat.Afrozuddin, brother of Aftabuddin and also plaintiff of the case, said that Shahadat has been threatening to withdraw the case by his sidekicks.In the face of frequent threats, he sought security measures from the deputy commissioner of police (Mirpur zone) last week.Moreover, the witnesses are also leaving the area, Afrozuddin alleged.DMP deputy commissioner (Mirpur zone) Masud Ahmed told Prothom Alo that Mirpur police were instructed to provide Afrozuddin’s family security.In the face of Shahadat’s threats, Russell Hossain, son of slain businessman Farhad Hossain, filed a total of four general diaries (GDs).A group of extortionists shot Farhad to death on 14 April 2005. Police submitted a charge sheet accusing Shahadat and his accomplices in the murder case.Russell told Prothom Alo that he received a death threat from Shahadat warning him to give no testimony in court.A group of terrorists shot another Mirpur businessman Ripon Chowdhury to death on 18 June, 2006. Widow of Ripon told Prothom Alo that she has been receiving death threats from Shahadat for carrying the case procedures. Being intimidated, she no longer wants to take care of the case.When contacted, Mirpur police station officer-in-charge Md Nazrul Islam told Prothom Alo top terror Shahadat is now out of the country. “But, he masterminded several killings. We don’t see that much activities of his cohorts now. The plaintiff of a case applied to us seeking his security and we’ve taken necessary measures accordingly.”Allegations are rife that Shahadat threatened the plaintiffs and witnesses of nine murder cases. Prominent among them are BNP leader and ward commissioner Shawkat Ali murder case, satellite TV connection provider Shamsul Haque murder, transport worker Parvez killing and Mirpur businessman Abdur Rahman killing.When approached, Dhaka University law department professor and former chairman of Bangladesh Human Rights Commission Mizanur Rahman said rights activists have long been demanding for the safety and security of the plaintiffs and witnesses.“The state must ensure security for those who will testify in any case,” he added.*The article originally published in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Imam Hossain
Explore further More information: A comprehensive phylogeny of birds (Aves) using targeted next-generation DNA sequencing, Nature (2015) DOI: 10.1038/nature15697AbstractAlthough reconstruction of the phylogeny of living birds has progressed tremendously in the last decade, the evolutionary history of Neoaves—a clade that encompasses nearly all living bird species—remains the greatest unresolved challenge in dinosaur systematics. Here we investigate avian phylogeny with an unprecedented scale of data: >390,000 bases of genomic sequence data from each of 198 species of living birds, representing all major avian lineages, and two crocodilian outgroups. Sequence data were collected using anchored hybrid enrichment, yielding 259 nuclear loci with an average length of 1,523 bases for a total data set of over 7.8 × 107 bases. Bayesian and maximum likelihood analyses yielded highly supported and nearly identical phylogenetic trees for all major avian lineages. Five major clades form successive sister groups to the rest of Neoaves: (1) a clade including nightjars, other caprimulgiforms, swifts, and hummingbirds; (2) a clade uniting cuckoos, bustards, and turacos with pigeons, mesites, and sandgrouse; (3) cranes and their relatives; (4) a comprehensive waterbird clade, including all diving, wading, and shorebirds; and (5) a comprehensive landbird clade with the enigmatic hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin) as the sister group to the rest. Neither of the two main, recently proposed Neoavian clades—Columbea and Passerea1—were supported as monophyletic. The results of our divergence time analyses are congruent with the palaeontological record, supporting a major radiation of crown birds in the wake of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene (K–Pg) mass extinction. Citation: Group builds most comprehensive family tree of birds to date (2015, October 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-10-group-comprehensive-family-tree-birds.html Building a family tree for modern birds has been difficult for scientists because of the dearth of fossil evidence going past 66 million years—the time before the mass extinction that wiped out the other dinosaurs. After the extinction, bird species evolved so rapidly that it has been difficult to use traditional genomic techniques to follow the paths of the evolution of new species, which in turn has made it almost impossible to create an accurate tree. To overcome such problems the researchers with this latest effort used a different type of genomic sequencing technique—it is called anchored hybrid enrichment and allows for sampling parts of the genome that evolved both slowly and more quickly in the flanking regions.In all the team collected and tested samples from 198 bird species (which included 390,000 bases of genomic sequence data) that together represented approximately 90 percent of all known birds—a group known collectively as Neoaves. In looking at the data they retrieved, the team found that virtually all birds (excluding flightless and some chickens and ducks) could be grouped into five sub-groups, i.e. major clads. They also found evidence that suggested that all modern birds likely evolved from a single ancestor, one that lived approximately 75 million years ago, or ten million years before all the other dinosaurs went extinct—birds in general are believed to have evolved from the dinosaur family, developing feathers approximately 150 million years ago.In addition, the researchers claim their results show (and agree with paleontology records) that there was a major radiation event following the mass extinction. Dinosaur family tree gives fresh insight into rapid rise of birds (Phys.org)—A team of researchers from several institutions in the U.S. has created the most comprehensive family tree of birds to date. In their paper published in the journal Nature the team describes the genomic sequencing technique they used and the structure of the tree they created. Gavin Thomas with the University of Sheffield, in the U.K. offers a News & Views piece on the work done by the team in the same issue, highlighting differences in phylogeny between this newer work and that conducted by another team last year. House finchnigel. Credit: Wikimedia Commons © 2015 Phys.org Journal information: Nature 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.