World
Monster snowstorm sweeps across US East Coast
Washington : A monster snowstorm that could bury the American capital under more than two and a half feet of snow swept across the US EastCoast with 85 million residents in its path, bringing the region to a virtual standstill.
 
Governors in at least 10 states -- Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky -- declared states of emergency Friday as the snowstorm began.
 
With the weatherman warning that the epic storm dubbed "Snowmageddon 2016" 
would last for 36 hours until early hours of Sunday, travel was disrupted in at least five major airport hubs, with over 7,600 flights cancelled on Friday and Saturday.
 
The ripple effect extended to Los Angeles International Airport, with 86 cancelled arriving and departing flights, according to CNN.
 
By Friday evening over 130,000 people had lost power as Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York faced blizzard conditions with winds of up to 50 miles an hour.
 
Cities from Nashville in Tennessee to New York started emergency operations to respond to what the National Weather Service deemed a "potentially crippling winter storm."
 
The Washington region's mass transit system took what officials called an "exceedingly rare" step of shutting down for the weekend.
 
"We have a forecast that we haven't had in 90 years," said Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser.
 
"It has life and death implications, and (people) should treat it that way,"
 
she said warning residents to "hunker down, shelter in place and stay off the roads."
 
President Barack Obama put off a White House ceremony where he was to award medals to scientists and technology innovators, including an Indian-American scientist.
 
The winter storm forced postponement of hundreds of events -- including the National Basketball Association games in Philadelphia and Washington.
 
"The real teeth" of the storm will be after midnight through Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service tweeted. "Heavy snow, increasing winds, lightning threat."
 
The storm could approach the 28 inches in January 1922 that ranks as Washington's snowiest storm and is likely to easily surpass the highest recent snowfall, 17.8 inches that fell in February 2010.
 
As night fell, most streets in Washington region that is home to 6 million people were deserted, restaurants were dark, and downtown streets normally busy with rush-hour traffic were eerily quiet.
 
Virtually all institutions and attractions in and around the capital region - including the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo - said they would be closed through the weekend.
 
The US national railway service Amtrak said it hoped to operate on a reduced schedule along the Northeast Corridor line.
 
In New York, where blizzard conditions are expected to hit early Saturday and bring 12 to 18 inches of snow, Mayor Bill de Blasio urged residents to use mass transit and to stay home as much as possible.
 
"Unless it is urgent, stay off the roads," he said. "It's as simple as that."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Why no alien is calling us from space
Sydney : If the search for an alien life has not yielded any conclusive results in the last 50 years, it is probably because life on other planets was brief and has gone extinct soon after its origin owing to runaway heating or cooling on their planets, say astrobiologists led by an Indian-origin scientist.
 
“The universe is probably filled with habitable planets, so many scientists think it should be teeming with aliens,” said Aditya Chopra from Australian National University (ANU).
 
“Early life is fragile so we believe it rarely evolves quickly enough to survive,” he added in a paper published in the journal Astrobiology.
 
“Most early planetary environments are unstable. To produce a habitable planet, life forms need to regulate greenhouse gases such as water and carbon dioxide to keep surface temperatures stable,” Dr Chopra continued.
 
About four billion years ago the Earth, Venus and Mars may have all been habitable. However, a billion years or so after formation, Venus turned into a hothouse and Mars froze into an icebox.
 
“Early microbial life on Venus and Mars, if there was any, failed to stabilise the rapidly changing environment,” said co-author associate professor Charley Lineweaver.
 
“Life on Earth probably played a leading role in stabilising the planet's climate," he noted.
 
According to Dr Chopra, their theory has solved a puzzle.
 
“The mystery of why we haven't yet found signs of aliens may have less to do with the likelihood of the origin of life or intelligence and have more to do with the rarity of the rapid emergence of biological regulation of feedback cycles on planetary surfaces,” he explained.
 
Wet and rocky planets, with the ingredients and energy sources required for life seem to be ubiquitous. However, as physicist Enrico Fermi pointed out in 1950, no signs of surviving extra-terrestrial life have been found.
 
A solution to Fermi's paradox, say the researchers, is near universal early extinction which they have named the “Gaian Bottleneck”.
 
"One intriguing prediction of the 'Gaian Bottleneck' model is that the vast majority of fossils in the universe will be from extinct microbial life, not from multicellular species such as dinosaurs or humanoids that take billions of years to evolve," Lineweaver pointed out.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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IRDAI to come out with final regulations for reinsurance sector
Mumbai : The insurance regulator will soon come out with final regulations governing the reinsurance sector, a top official said on Friday.
 
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an insurance conference held by Ficci here, T.S. Vijayan, chairman of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), said the regulations will soon come out and the draft norms governing the setting up of the British insurer Lloyds in India have to be finalised.
 
Queried about capping of management expenses, Vijayan said IRDAI was looking at the participating and non-participating policies sold by life insurance sector and whether they were costed properly.
 
He added that insurers should have the ability to pay commissions and also there is a level playing field.
 
Vijayan said IRDAI was monitoring the settlement of claims lodged due to floods in Chennai.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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