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Scientists successfully grow plants in soil from the Moon

The soil was bought in the Apollo program

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Scientists successfully grow plants in soil from the Moon
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Florida: That’s one small pot of soil, one giant leap for man’s knowledge of space agriculture: scientists have for the first time grown plants in lunar soil brought back by astronauts in the Apollo program.

The ground-breaking experiment, detailed in the journal Communications Biology on Thursday, has given researchers hope that it may be possible to one day grow plants directly on the Moon.

That would save future space missions much hassle and expense, facilitating longer and farther trips.

However, according to the study’s University of Florida authors, much remains to be studied on the topic, and they intend to leave no stone unturned.

“This research is critical to NASA’s long-term human exploration goals,” said Bill Nelson, the head of the US space agency. “We’ll need to use resources found on the Moon and Mars to develop food sources for future astronauts living and operating in deep space.”

For their experiment, the researchers used just 12 grams (a few teaspoons) of lunar soil collected from various spots on the Moon during the Apollo 11, 12, and 17 missions.

In tiny thimble-sized pots, they placed about a gram of soil (called “regolith”) and added water, then the seeds. They also fed the plants a nutrient solution every day.

The researchers chose to plant arabidopsis thaliana, a relative of mustard greens, because it grows easily and, most importantly, has been studied extensively. Its genetic code and responses to hostile environments — even in space — are well known.

As a control group, seeds were also planted in soil from Earth as well as samples imitating lunar and Martian soil.

The result: after two days, everything sprouted, including the lunar samples.

“Every plant — whether in a lunar sample or in a control — looked the same up until about day six,” Anna-Lisa Paul, lead author of the paper, said in a statement.

But after that, differences started to appear: the plants in the lunar samples grew more slowly and had stunted roots.

After 20 days, the scientists harvested all the plants and ran studies on their DNA.

Their analysis showed that the lunar plants had reacted similarly to those grown in hostile environments, such as soil with too much salt, or heavy metals.

In the future, scientists want to understand how this environment could be made more hospitable.

NASA is preparing to return to the Moon as part of the Artemis program, with a long-term goal of establishing a lasting human presence on its surface.

SOURCE: AFP

Siddra Sumreen

Syeda Siddra has been working as a web journalist for over the past seven years. She earned her M.Phil degree in Mass Communication from the Lahore Leads University. Ms. Siddra has previously worked with other renowned channels and is now associated with GNN as Senior Content Writer.

Pakistan

Marriyum rules out NRO, talks with Imran Khan until he changes attitude

The information minister says the election date would be announced by the PML-N and its allies after the completion of their government's constitutional term

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Marriyum rules out NRO, talks with Imran Khan until he changes attitude

Islamabad: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Saturday ruled out any NRO-like concession for PTI Chairman Imran Khan over misuse of authority during his four-year rule, which was marred by corruption, nepotism, loot and plunder.  

“Imran Khan Sahib, you will not get an NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance] today,” she said while rejecting his negotiation offer based on dictations and threats to the government. 

Addressing a news conference, the minister said talks with Imran Khan would be  meaningless until he changed his attitude and abstained from using abusive language.

“Imran Khan stated that he would hold dialogue if the date of fresh election were given in June. I am giving you the date of election today, i.e., of August 2023,” she said, asking the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Inasf (PTI) chief to keep “that date” in his mind.    

Marriyum reiterated that the election date would be announced by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and its allies after the completion of their government's constitutional term. 

“Nobody will be influenced by your dictations, threats, bullying and abuses,” she said, asking Imran Khan to wait for a date in 2023 when the general election would be held in the country.

“Stay at home if you want the dialogue on this issue [general election], and if you come out with arms, bullets, batons and announcement of a bloody march then there will be consequences…,” she observed.

The minister urged the PTI Chairman to abstain from further polarizing the society, and creating unrest, chaos and anarchy. However, “being in a critical mental condition, he  
should better stay at his Bani Gala residence and take rest by taking a tranquilizer, and let the government serve the people, who want peace, development, progress, end of corruption, jobs and relief from the inflation left by his (Imran's) government at the highest level," she remarked.

“I also advise him to refrain from appearing on the TV screens in such a mental condition,” Marriyum said. He should better introspect as to why he had failed to deliver in the last four years when he had all the power and government offices at his disposal through which maximum relief could have been given to the masses. 

Now his mourning of the bad performance would not make any difference as the people had rejected him and his politics of unrest, vandalism and arson, she added. 

The minister asked Imran as to why he wanted to come into the power again after failing to fulfill all the promises he had made with the people, including ten million jobs, end of corruption, and transformation of the country into a Madina like state.

“Why do the people trust him again when he could not construct a road and build hospitals, schools and universities while in power?” she questioned.

Reacting to Imran’s statement of returning to the power with a two-third majority,  the minister said the people would never give incompetent, corrupt, cartels and mafias the responsibility of running the state affairs again.  

Those who were given the responsibility of running state affairs must have the credibility and track-record of performance, she added. 

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), she said, had all the qualities, as it was its leader Nawaz Sharif, who had made the country’s defence invincible on May 28, 1998. 

“Today is the Youm-e-Takbeer and on this date India was given a befitting response by Nawaz Sharif conducting nuclear tests. He made it clear to India that there would be no compromise on the national security,” she added.

She also mentioned other milestones achieved by the PML-N governments in the past, including construction of motorways, road infrastructure, hospitals, public transport, power projects and many others. 

The PML-N, she added, still had the capability to ensure development and progress of the country. Now, the country had Shehbaz Sharif as its prime minister who was working day and night to steer it out of the crises inherited from the PTI’s government.

Reacting to Imran’s statement on the Model Town incident, she said the matter had been decided. “If he had any reservation on it then why he did not pursue the matter while being into the power for four years?” she questioned.

Commenting on Imran’s claim of peaceful march towards Islamabad lately, she said Imran could not be trusted as the "massive brutalities of his party’s 2014 sit-in" were on the record.  

The nation witnessed as to how "his party goons" had attacked the Parliament and PTV buildings, inflicted head injuries to policemen, and incited people for civil disobedience, she recalled.  

“How can the people forget that the graves were dug at D-Chowk, announcements were made to kill the political opponents.” 

Now again the people could not forget that it was Imran Khan, who announced a bloody march towards Islamabad after he was voted out of the Prime Minister House, she said. "It was Imran who had made preparations for vandalism, arson, and inflicting injuries to the policemen."

After the apex court’s decision, she said, the PTI workers set the metro station on fire, besides burning trees and tyres at D-Chowk. Whether setting metro stations, official buildings and trees on fire, and giving call for a "bloody march" after amassing weapons and batons was a democratic right, she asked. 

Ironically, she said, the leader was airborne, when he called his workers to reach D-Chowk and use brute force against the policemen. After descending from the helicopter, he (Imran) went into the container and remained on it till next day, but did not go to the D-Chowk, abandoning his workers abruptly. 

He could not gather even 35,000 people despite dolling out Rs 3.5 million to every PTI member of the National and provincial assemblies by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for making arrangements of the long march, she added.

Marriyum said Imran Khan’s claim of hurdles created by the government was not based on reality. His convoy faced no blockade all the way from the Attock Bridge to F-8 as he had to make over half a dozen stops to wait for the arrival of supporters, but no one turned up, she added

The minister said his show was a total failure as he could not even hold a small public gathering at H-9 Park despite the permission of the apex court.

Recalling the political activities of Pakistan Democratic Movement during the tenure of PTI government, she said the country had witnessed as to how rallies and public gatherings were held in a peaceful way.

She asked Imran to name a single incident of baton charge on the police by the workers of PDM whose leadership faced “stinking accountability” under the Imran led government.

The minister said the PDM, Pakistan Peoples Party, PML-N and the party of Maulana Fazlur Rehman had held the collective as well as separate rallies and public gatherings, but nobody could point out a single episode in which the policemen were attacked and public properties vandalized.

She also lashed out at Imran for threatening the courts and institutions and said the court had already given a decision against the unconstitutional steps of the Imran-led government.

The court opened midnight to stop Imran from violating the constitution and reversed the ruling of the then deputy speaker over the vote on the no-confidence motion.

Marriyum said the current government was representing 90 per cent people of the country. Imran was ousted from the government in a constitutional way. 

To a query, she said strict action would be taken against the PTI if it launched a smear campaign  against the Law Enforcement Agencies on the social media.

SOURCE: APP

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Government is trying best to provide maximum relief to poor: Miftah Ismail 

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a relief program for the nation on Friday.

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Government is trying best to provide maximum relief to poor: Miftah Ismail 

Islamabad: Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Saturday said that government would try its best to provide maximum relief to the poor of the country, adding that deserving families can avail the subsidies on petrol and diesel under the relief program announced by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

While sharing the details of Rs28 billion relief package, announced by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Minister for Finance and Revenue, Miftah Ismail said that the staff level agreement with International Monetary Fund would be signed next month (June).

The minister said that the funds under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) would be released after final approval by the IMF board. The minister was flanked by Minister of State for Finance, Ayesha Ghous Pasha.

Miftah said that the fund, which had to provide $3 billion, has been requested to extend the program by one year and provide additional $2 billion, adding accordingly the country expects around $5 billion from the fund.

He said, that the programme with IMF was not important just because the country gets money from the fund rather, it is important because it opens ways for getting funds from other multilateral organization like Word Bank and Asian Development Bank.

He said, once unlocked by IMF, Pakistan would get money from multilateral organization adding that around $8.9 billion were already in pipeline from World Bank.

The minister justified increase in petrol prices, saying that no doubt it would increase inflation but if the increase had not been done, it would lead to more inflation as the burden would fall on the government and resultantly more devaluation of rupee.

He said, after increasing the prices of petrol, not only rupee was strengthened against Dollar by around 2.5 but stock market also moved positively adding that it would also have positive impact on banks, Kibor would also reduce and mitigate the liquidity pressure faced by government.

The minister said, the government intended to provide relief to the poor against the inflationary pressure which was created due to inability of the previous government.

He said the government would try its best to provide maximum relief to the poor of the country.

Giving details about the PM relief package, the minister said ‘Sasta Petrol and Sasta Diesel’ scheme would benefit around one third population of the country by providing cash to 14 million households (84,000,000 people).

Disbursement of Rs2,000 to each household would start from June, bringing the total relief amount to Rs28 billion in June.

He said around 7.3 million recipients were already registered with Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) and if these are excluded there are 6.7 poor households having below 37 poverty score.

He said, the BISP participants would be provided immediate relief or Rs2, 000 whereas women head of those households who are not registered should send their CNIC on phone number 786 for registration for the program. Accordingly, all the people having income less than 40,000 would be eligible for the relief.

He said, the relief scheme would be incorporated in the federal budget for the fiscal year 2022-23.

To a question on privatization, the minister said, there was no talk on privatization with IMF this time. However, he added, the country needed to privatize certain entities including Discos and power companies for its own interest to reduce burden on national exchequer.

He said that Saudi Arabia has already announced extension of its $3 billion deposits to Pakistan and hinted that some more support was expected from that country the details of which would be shared in July.

To a question on import ban, the minister said that ban was imposed on import of chocolates and perform in bulk, however personally anyone can get it for personal use

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Pakistan

Punjab Govt banned public gatherings at Greater Iqbal Park

“Using a historic park for the public rallies is inappropriate”

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Punjab Govt banned public gatherings at Greater Iqbal Park

Lahore: Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shahbaz has imposed a ban on public gatherings in Greater Iqbal Park.

According to details, Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz chaired an important meeting in which he approved a ban on public gatherings in Greater Iqbal Park. The Chief Minister said that it was not appropriate to use the historical Pak for meetings as holding frequent rallies here damaged plantations at the park.

It was briefed that the plantation at the Greater Iqbal Park was damaged after a public rally of the PTI, resulting in losses of Rs5 million to the provincial exchequer.

“Using a historic park for the public rallies is inappropriate,” Hamza Shahbaz said while imposing a ban on any sort of public gatherings at the Minar-e-Pakistan.

Moreover, the chief minister of Punjab rejected a proposal to charge an entry fee from people coming to the Greater Iqbal Park and said that it was a park for people from all walks of life and he would not allow any entry fee.

“Such an item should not be even brought before the meeting,” he said.

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