Potential sign of alien life detected on inhospitable Venus
WASHINGTON: Scientists said on Monday (Sep 14) they have detected in the harshly acidic clouds of Ve..
WASHINGTON: Scientists said on Monday (Sep 14) they have detected in the harshly acidic clouds of Venus a gas called phosphine that indicates microbes may inhabit Earth's inhospitable neighbour, a tantalising sign of potential life beyond Earth.
The researchers did not discover actual life forms, but noted that on Earth phosphine is produced by bacteria thriving in oxygen-starved environments. The international scientific team first spotted the phosphine using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii and confirmed it using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope in Chile.
"I was very surprised – stunned, in fact," said astronomer Jane Greaves of Cardiff University in Wales, lead author of the research published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
The existence of extraterrestrial life long has been one of the paramount questions of science. Scientists have used probes and telescopes to seek "biosignatures" – indirect signs of life – on other planets and moons in our solar system and beyond.
"With what we currently know of Venus, the most plausible explanation for phosphine, as fantastical as it might sound, is life," said Massachusetts Institute of Technology molecular astrophysicist and study co-author Clara Sousa-Silva.
"I should emphasise that life, as an explanation for our discovery, should be, as always, the last resort," Sousa-Silva added. "This is important because, if it is phosphine, and if it is life, it means that we are not alone. It also means that life itself must be very common, and there must be many other inhabited planets throughout our galaxy."
Phosphine – a phosphorus atom with three hydrogen atoms attached – is highly toxic to people.
Earth-based telescopes like those used in this research help scientists study the chemistry and other characteristics of celestial objects.
Phosphine was seen at 20 parts-per-billion in the Venusian atmosphere, a trace concentration. Greaves said the researchers examined potential non-biological sources such as volcanism, meteorites, lightning and various types of chemical reactions, but none appeared viable. The research continues to either confirm the presence of life or find an alternative explanation.
Venus is Earth's closest planetary neighbour. Similar in structure but slightly smaller than Earth, it is the second planet from the sun. Earth is the third. Venus is wrapped in a thick, toxic atmosphere that traps in heat. Surface temperatures reach a scorching 880 degrees Fahrenheit (471 degrees Celsius), hot enough to melt lead.
"I can only speculate on what life might survive on Venus, if indeed it is there. No life would be able to survive on the surface of Venus, because it is completely inhospitable, even for biochemistries completely different from ours," Sousa-Silva said. "But a long time ago, Venus could have had life on its surface, before a runaway greenhouse effect left the majority of the planet completely uninhabitable."
THE ACID TEST
Some scientists have suspected that the Venusian high clouds, with mild temperatures around 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius), could harbour aerial microbes that could endure extreme acidity. These clouds are around 90% sulphuric acid. Earth microbes could not survive that acidity.
"If it's microorganisms, they would have access to some sunlight and water, and maybe live in liquid droplets to stop themselves dehydrating, but they would need some unknown mechanism to protect against corrosion Read More – Source
Qatar’s Ali bin Samikh Al Marri to preside over the 111th ILO conference
Qatar’s Minister of Labour, Ali bin Samikh Al Marri, will take center stage as he chairs the 111th session of the International Labour Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva from 5 to 16 June 2023. This prestigious conference brings together delegates from 187 Member States to address pressing issues, such as sustainable economies, quality apprenticeships, and worker protection. Qatar’s commitment to these objectives makes it a fitting host for this significant gathering.
Recognizing Qatar’s Reforms:
According to observers, Qatar’s notable progress in the field of workers’ rights and the improvement of its laws and regulations over the years have placed it in the fore and instilled trust in its ability to lead the world’s most important labour conference. Minister Al Marri’s assumption of the conference presidency is a testament to Qatar’s remarkable efforts in the field of workers’ rights. He has been actively involved in numerous human rights committees and initiatives, including the National Human Rights Committee and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions. Al Marri’s leadership has played a crucial role in Qatar’s accession to various human rights conventions, protocols, and covenants, elevating its standing on the global stage.
Promoting Workers’ Welfare:
Al Marri’s tenure as the Qatari Minister of Labour has been marked by an unwavering dedication to improving the working and living conditions of migrant workers, particularly in the construction industry. Al Marri is a global human rights figure who garners universal respect, as evidenced by his active participation in international conferences. He also has extensive experience in international work related to the protection and promotion of human rights at local and international levels. During his tenure as Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee, he was instrumental in Qatar’s accession to several human rights conventions, protocols, and covenants. Al Marri was responsible for numerous beneficial initiatives, including the establishment of the Arab Network of National Human Rights Institutions, which enriched the Arab human rights field, and the establishment of the West Asia office of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions. Given his accomplishments, Al Marri faced defamation and incitement campaigns, including during the attack on Qatar during its hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He did, however, continue to gain international respect, eventually reaching the presidency of the International Labour Conference at its next session. His efforts have focused on enhancing transparency, accountability, and addressing issues of labor exploitation. Under his leadership, reforms have been implemented to protect workers, ensuring their social and legal well-being.
Collaboration with ILO:
The partnership between Minister Al Marri and the ILO has been instrumental in driving labor reforms. Together, they have worked on initiatives related to occupational safety and health, combating forced labor and human trafficking, and supporting companies in aligning their policies with new legislation.
“Recent labour reforms by the State of Qatar have brought positive results. I thank Minister Al Marri for their commitment to pursue these reforms and their implementation, in line with Qatar’s vision 2030. The ILO is ready to continue supporting the State of Qatar, to bring further improvements that benefit all workers,” Director-General Houngbo
In May 2021, a new Ministerial Decision was introduced to protect workers during the hottest months of the year (From 1 June to 15 September) particularly outdoor workers who are exposed to the heat, humidity and the sun, must work between 10 am and 3:30 pm. On 3 November 2022, Ali bin Samikh Al Marri had a meeting with the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Gilbert F. Houngbo, in Geneva, and during the meeting, the progress was noticed in the continuous technical cooperation program between the ILO and Qatar. Their continuous technical cooperation program has yielded positive results, gaining international recognition for Qatar’s commitment to improving workers’ rights.
Global Recognition and Respect:
Al Marri’s contributions to human rights and his international engagement have garnered him universal respect. His active participation in international conferences and extensive experience in the protection and promotion of human rights at various levels have solidified his position as a global champion. Despite facing defamation and incitement campaigns, Al Marri’s accomplishments have prevailed, leading him to assume the presidency of the International Labour Conference—an esteemed position that further underscores his dedication to advancing workers’ rights.
Cultural Influences on Marketing Strategies
Culture plays a significant role in consumer behavior. It influences everything from how people consume products to the way they look. Creating marketing campaigns that take into account these differences will help your business to succeed.
To begin with, different cultures have their own unique customs and rituals. This includes everything from the number 7 being good luck in the Czech Republic to eating dinner at the end of the day in Ireland.
Another important example is the way language is used to communicate. People in countries like Italy and France tend to eat a lot more packaged pasta and chocolate bars than their American counterparts.
Similarly, different languages can also lead to different marketing messages and branding issues. For example, an American company might create a slogan promoting its latest product. However, if this slogan is translated into a different language, it can lose its original meaning.
Some other aspects that can affect a marketer’s message include business norms, color, and aesthetics. The most important thing to remember when marketing to a foreign country is to understand their culture.
Other cultural differences include religion. Different religions have different beliefs and attitudes about marketing and business. Therefore, it is important to understand how religion impacts how a marketer communicates.
Similarly, different cultures have different attitudes about clothing. Women in many Middle Eastern and Muslim nations are required to wear modest clothing. Likewise, an evening meal in the United States is called dinner, while a similar dinner in Ireland is called tea.
Pakistan floods: Desperation and displacement in Sindh province
The Prime Minister of Pakistan has said the “magnitude of the calamity” is bigger than expected, after visiting flood-hit areas.
Shehbaz Sharif was speaking from Sindh province – which has had nearly eight times its average August rainfall.
The floods have killed nearly 1,000 people across Pakistan since June, while thousands have been displaced – and millions more affected.
As the BBC drove through Sindh, there were displaced people in every village.
The full scale of the devastation in the province is yet to be fully understood – but the people described it as the worst disaster they’ve survived.
Floods are not uncommon in Pakistan, but people here said these rains were different – more than anything that’s ever been seen. One local official called them “floods of biblical proportions”.
Near the city of Larkana, thousands of mud homes have sunk under water. For miles all that’s visible is treetops. Where the water level is slightly lower, thatched roofs creep out from underneath the water.
In one village, the people are desperate for food. In another, many children have developed waterborne diseases.
When a mobile truck pulled over, scores of people immediately ran towards it. Children carrying other children made their way to the long queue.
One 12-year-old girl said she and her baby sister had not eaten for a day.
“No food has come here, but my sister is sick, she has been vomiting,” the girl said. “I hope they can help.”
The desperation was evident in every community. People ran towards car windows to ask for help – anything.
On one of the main streets out of the city of Sukkur, hundreds of people have settled.
Many of them walked from remote villages, and were told that help is easier to get in the urban areas. But there’s not much difference here.
On Friday, PM Sharif said 33 million people had been hit by the floods – about 15% of the country’s population.
He said the losses caused by floods this season were comparable to those during the floods of 2010-11, said to be the worst on record. The country has appealed for more international aid.
In Sindh, it’s not that local authorities are not trying, but they admit that they are out of their depth.
The provincial government says this is a “climate change catastrophe” and that the people of Pakistan, especially in the poorer communities, have been the worst affected.
The solutions will not be quick – acres of land are waterlogged and the water is not receding fast enough for any rebuilding to take place here.
There’s not much to do for the people but to wait – wait for the rains to stop, wait for the water to go down, wait for more resources to be allocated to these kinds of communities.
In the meantime, life continues to be difficult.
Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-62699886
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