Rich countries fall short in sciences gender equality: UNESCO

Women still face a massive gender bias in science careers worldwide, UNESCO reported on Wednesday, with several rich western nations way behind poorer ones in terms of gender equality.

Despite a shortage of skills in most fields of the current technology revolution, women account for only 28 percent of engineering graduates and 40 percent of graduates in computer science and informatics, according to advance excerpts from the organisation’s Science Report to be fully published in April.

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UNESCO is the United Nations’ educational, scientific and cultural organisation.

The track record for members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) — which groups mostly rich countries — came in lower than the global average in terms of the share of women among engineering graduates, the report found.

In France it was 26.1 percent and Australia 23.2 percent, slipping to 20.4 percent in the United States, 20.1 percent in South Korea, 16.1 percent in Switzerland and 14 percent in Japan.

UNESCO found no distinct regional pattern, but noted that some of the highest proportions of female engineering graduates were found in Arab states, with Algeria at 48.5 percent, Morocco at 42.2, Oman at 43.2, Syria at 43.9 and Tunisia at 44.2 percent.

Latin America also did well, with female engineering graduates representing 41.7 percent in Cuba, 47.5 in Peru and 45.9 in Uruguay.

“Overall, female researchers tend to have shorter, less well-paid careers,” said UNESCO, which said it had published the excerpts to coincide with the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, held at the United Nations on Thursday.

“Their work is underrepresented in high-profile journals and they are often passed over for promotion,” it said, adding that women were also typically given smaller research grants than their male colleagues.

“Even today, in the 21st century, women and girls are being sidelined in science-related fields due to their gender,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in the statement.

“Women need to know that they have a place in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and that they have a right to share in scientific progress,” she said.

UNESCO said that women needed to be fully represented in the digital economy to prevent the current drive towards increased automation — dubbed Industry 4.0 — from perpetuating traditional gender biases.

“As the impact of artificial intelligence on societal priorities continues to grow, the underrepresentation of women’s contribution to research and development means that their needs and perspectives are likely to be overlooked in the design of products that impact our daily lives, such as smartphone applications,” it said.


Elon Musk to offer $100m prize for ‘best’ tech to capture carbon dioxide emissions

Tesla Inc chief and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk on Thursday took to Twitter to promise a $100 million prize for development of the “best” technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions.

Capturing planet-warming emissions is becoming a critical part of many plans to keep climate change in check, but very little progress has been made on the technology to date, with efforts focused on cutting emissions rather than taking carbon out of the air.

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The International Energy Agency said late last year that a sharp rise in the deployment of carbon capture technology was needed if countries are to meet net-zero emissions targets.

“Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” Musk wrote in a tweet, followed by a second tweet that promised “Details next week.”

Tesla officials did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.

Musk, who co-founded and sold Internet payments company PayPal Holdings Inc, now leads some of the most futuristic companies in the world.

Besides Tesla, he heads rocket company SpaceX and Neuralink, a startup that is developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect the human brain to computers.

Newly-sworn-in US President Joe Biden has pledged to accelerate the development of carbon capture technology as part of his sweeping plan to tackle climate change. On Thursday, he named Jennifer Wilcox, an expert in carbon removal technologies, as the principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy at the US Department of Energy.


Bangladesh to get its first space observatory in Faridpur

The government is all set to build the “Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Space Observatory Centre”, the first of its kind in the country, at Bhanga Upazila of Faridpur. The centre is being set up with all modern facilities for observing the space with telescopes at a cost of Tk 213 crores. The project is expected to get approval from the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on January 19.

Eminent writer Professor Zafar Iqbal first brought the idea of setting up a space observatory centre at Bhanga of Faridpur to public attention. He explained that the Equator, the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricon – three imaginary lines that encircle the Earth from East to West – has an intersection point with the four longitudinal lines that encircle the Earth from North to South at Bhanga Upazila of Faridpur, making the spot an ideal location to set up a space observatory. 

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Following his suggestion, the Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Science and Technology to start preparing the project. 

According to the project proposal, the centre will be built on 10 acres of land and will have a 5-storey circular building that will house reflector telescopes. The height of the observatory tower will be kept at 100 metres to commemorate the birth centenary of the father of the nation. 

The project proposal also allots Tk 1 crore 10 lacs for the travel and training of 11 officials abroad. 

The project is scheduled for completion by June 2023.


Bangladesh-born scientist M Zahid Hasan to receive US Department of Energy award

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will confer the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award on Bangladesh-born scientist M Zahid Hasan.

He is also Princeton University’s Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics.

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The Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award was established in 1959 and honours mid-career US scientists and engineers for exceptional contributions in research and development in support of DOE’s mission to advance the national, economic and energy security of the nation.

M Zahid Hasan is known for his pioneering research on quantum matter exhibiting topological and emergent properties.

The Office of Communications of Princeton University issued a press release in this regard on January 13.

“I am quite honoured and humbled to receive this award, as EO Lawrence was one of my scientific heroes,” Hasan said.

“Lawrence’s invention of the cyclotron led to modern high-energy accelerator technology that I use in my research to explore topological states of quantum matter. I am also very grateful to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory for supporting my research leading to this award.”

Hasan was honoured in the area of condensed matter and materials sciences for “experiments using advanced spin-angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy which led to seminal discoveries of new phases of matter and new fermionic quasiparticles,” according to Princeton University’s press release.


Thai researcher deems chicken feathers rich protein source

When Sorawut Kittibanthorn was looking for new types of waste to recycle, the then London-based student was drawn to the millions of tons of chicken feathers being discarded each year. 

Now back in his homeland of Thailand, the 30-year-old is seeking funding to continue his research into how best to convert the nutrient component found in the feathers into a powder that can be transformed into a lean, protein-rich source of edible food. 

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“Chicken feather contains protein and if we are able to serve this protein to others in the world, the demand from everyone… will help reduce waste,” Sorawut told Reuters. 

Indeed the potential appears huge, given that Sorawut reckons about 2.3 million tons of feathers are being dumped in Europe alone each year. 

And with generally higher poultry consumption in Asia, he believes there could be up to 30 percent more feather waste that could be exploited in the region. 

Sorawut, who studied for a Masters of Material Futures in London, said the idea still needs to go through other research and development phases. 

But prototypes including his take on chicken nuggets and a steak substitute have received positive reviews from some. 

“You know the texture is very complex and advanced. It’s something you wouldn’t imagine that chicken feathers will be able to improvise into this kind of dish,” said food blogger. 

Cholrapee Asvinvichit, after tucking into “steak” served with gravy, mashed potatoes and a salad. “I really could imagine this (being served) to me in some like, Michelin star (restaurant), or some fine dining experience.” 

Hathairat Rimkeeree, a food sciences professor at Kasesart University, was also pleasantly surprised by the results. 

“I think it does have the potential to become an alternative food source in the future.” 

Plant-based substitutes for meat have been gaining popularity as more people shift towards vegan or vegetarian diets, amid growing concerns about health risks from eating meat, animal welfare and the environmental hazards of intensive animal farming. 

While feather-based foods could not be categorised as vegan or vegetarian, Sorawut feels they should be considered ethical dining. 

“I plan to approach the zero-waste restaurants first because even though these dishes are made from poultry waste, it is still a by-product from animals (we normally consume).”


Line brawl erupts in opening seconds of Capitals’ win over Rangers

It didn’t take long for the New York Rangers to retaliate to Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson’s antics. A line brawl featuring all six forwards erupted on the ice in the opening seconds of the game Wednesday after Wilson injured Rangers leading scorer Artemi Panarin in Monday’s contest.

A line brawl erupts off opening puck drop during a game between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers on Wednesday. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It didn’t take long for the New York Rangers to retaliate to Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson’s antics.

A line brawl featuring all six forwards erupted on the ice in the opening seconds of the game Wednesday after Wilson injured Rangers leading scorer Artemi Panarin in Monday’s contest.

WATCH | Line brawl to start Rangers-Capitals game:

All 6 starting forwards fight to open up the Capitals/Rangers gameAt puck drop of the Capitals/Rangers game, the starting forwards for both teams drop their gloves and fight. This is the first time the teams have faced each other since Monday’s incident involving Washington forward Tom Wilson. 1:40

The Rangers organization took exception to the NHL opting not to suspend Wilson and instead levying a $5,000 US fine, the maximum allowable under the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

The Capitals wound up beating the Rangers 4-2, with T.J. Oshie collecting a hat trick in his first game following the death of his father.

“We are trying to be there for him and take care of him and he ends up taking care of us,” Nic Dowd said of Oshie who was surrounded in a giant group hug from teammates at the Capitals bench.

The opening three fights were only a sign of things to come, as three more broke out in the first period alone, including Wilson taking on Rangers defenceman Brendan Smith. Smith received an extra two-penalty for instigating the fight with Wilson, who was booed loudly every time he skated on the ice.

WATCH | Wilson fights Smith:

As soon as Washington forward Tom Wilson steps on the ice for his 1st shift of the game, New York defenceman Brendan Smith instigates a fight with Wilson. 1:22

“I think it was good. We were just trying to stick up for our teammate,” Smith said. “It was a good response for sure.”

In the second period, Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich was handed a game misconduct and five-minute major for cross-checking Capitals forward Anthony Mantha.

Wilson later left the game with an upper-body injury after piling up 14 penalty minutes. It was unclear when the injury occurred.

The penalty boxes were overflowing for both teams. At one point, there were six Capitals crammed into the visiting box.

The on-ice actions may not have been the only repercussions of Wilson’s post-whistle takedown of a helmetless Panarin and punch to the back of Buchnevich’s head.

WATCH | Buchnevich tossed for cross-checking Mantha:

New York forward Pavel Buchnevich received a major penalty and a game misconduct for cross-checking Washington forward Anthony Mantha. 0:41

The Rangers fired president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton on Wednesday, reportedly due to dissent over whether to release a team statement Tuesday targeting NHL senior vice-president of player safety George Parros for his inaction against Wilson.

“It’s obviously a crazy day. You add in the anxiety or anticipation all day from our group, and then waking up from a pregame nap with the whole set of news,” Rangers forward Ryan Strome said. “It’s never easy, I think, in pro sports. It’s a tough business.”

The Rangers’ statement called Wilson’s behaviour a “horrifying act of violence.”


“Wilson is a repeat offender with a long history of these type of acts and we find it shocking that the NHL and their Department of Player Safety failed to take the appropriate action and suspend him indefinitely,” the Rangers said.

“Wilson’s dangerous and reckless actions caused an injury to Artemi Panarin that will prevent him from playing again this season. We view this as a dereliction of duty by NHL Head of Player Safety, George Parros, and believe he is unfit to continue in his current role.”

Wilson was given a double-minor penalty for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. The fine represents 0.12 per cent of Wilson’s $4.1 million salary for this season.

WATCH | Oshie emotional after recording hat trick:

In his first game since the death of his father, Washington’s T.J. Oshie scores a hat trick in a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers. 1:38


Orioles starter John Means spins 3rd no-hitter of MLB season to beat Mariners

John Means threw the major leagues’ third no-hitter this season and came within a wild pitch on a third strike of a perfect game, pitching the Baltimore Orioles over the Seattle Mariners 6-0 Wednesday.

Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Means, left, celebrates with teammates after recording the final out of his no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners during a 6-0 win on Wednesday. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The clubhouse celebration that awaited John Means was more than 50 years in the making for the Baltimore Orioles and more like a playoff berth being clinched rather than a Wednesday in May.

Only a wild pitch in the dirt kept the Orioles from celebration perfection. That’s how dominant Means was in throwing the major leagues’ third no-hitter of the season in Baltimore’s 6-0 win over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday.

A franchise still in the midst of a rebuild and little to celebrate in recent seasons was happy to put the spotlight on its tall lefty who overmatched the Mariners with an array of unhittable fastballs, breaking pitches and a deadly changeup.

No, it wasn’t perfection. But it was about as close as it comes.

“I never really thought I’d be here. I’d always write MLB player when I was a kid on the on the sheet when asked you when you what you wanted to do when you’re older, but I never thought it was a reality,” Means said. “And now that it is, and now I’m able to throw this, it’s crazy and I don’t even know how to describe it.”

John Means. No hitter! 🍾🍾


This wasn’t a fluke performance — Means has been one of the best pitchers in the American League to start this season. This was domination.

Means (4-0) struck out 12 and walked none. Seattle’s only baserunner was Sam Haggerty after he raced to first swinging on a curveball in the dirt for strike three with one outs in the third inning. The 1-2 bounced away from catcher Pedro Severino and ended up being the only blemish that separated Means from a perfect game.

Haggerty wasn’t on base long, getting thrown out attempting to steal second.

“I could care less that it wasn’t perfect game,” Means said following his first complete game in 44 career big league starts.

Means pitched the first non-perfect no-hitter in which the opposing team did not reached on a walk, hit by pitch or error, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Means threw 79 strikes among 113 pitches, including first-pitch strikes to 26 of 27 batters. When Seattle did make contact against the 28-year-old left-hander, it was weak and there were no threats to fall in for a hit.

‘It’s such a crazy feeling’

Means lowered his ERA to 1.37 and became the first individual Orioles pitcher to toss a no-hitter since Jim Palmer against Oakland on Aug. 13, 1969. It was the 10th no-hitter in franchise history, including six as Baltimore after four as the St. Louis Browns.

“It’s such a crazy feeling. It’s such a whirlwind of an experience. I don’t think I’ve been able to process it yet,” Means said. “But to be in the same breath as Palmer, I don’t think that it gets much better than that.”

In a season in which batters are on track to hit a record-low .234, Means joined a no-hit club that includes gems by San Diego right-hander Joe Musgrove at Texas on April 9 and by Chicago White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon against Cleveland on April 14.

In addition, Arizona left-hander Madison Bumgarner pitched a seven-inning no-hitter against Atlanta on April 25, but that is not recognized as an official no-hitter by Major League Baseball because the game did not go at least nine innings, shortened under pandemic rules in effect for a second straight season.

It’s the first time since 1969 there have been three complete game no-hitters this early in the season.

The closest Seattle came to a hit through six innings was J.P. Crawford’s short fly ball in the sixth that centre fielder Cedric Mullins caught with a slide. Kyle Lewis provided a threat with a drive leading off the eighth that Austin Hays caught on the left-field warning track.

Means got a popout from Dylan Moore, struck out Haggerty swinging and induced a soft liner from Crawford to end it, setting off a wild celebration with his teammates on the mound and a standing ovation from the crowd.

“He was good. He was really good,” Seattle’s Kyle Seager said. “He was in control. I don’t think we had hardly any balls that were close to being hits.”

Baltimore’s previous no-hitter came on July 13, 1991, when Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson combined for a 2-0 victory at Oakland,

Means had never pitched beyond seven innings in a big league start.

“When I started the [ninth] I got a little bit of the Jell-O legs, just a little bit, started to kind of feel a little wobbly,” Means said. “But once I did get that first pitch I was able to lock in again.”

D.J. Stewart and Ramon Urias had third-inning RBI singles against Yusei Kikuchi. Pat Valaika hit a solo homer off Kikuchi (1-2) in the sixth and Trey Mancini provided a three-run shot off Aaron Fletcher in the eighth, Mancini’s sixth homer in a season that marked his return from colon cancer surgery.

“To watch our guys celebrate that’s a cool moment, because this is tough game,” Hyde said. “To watch one of your teammates, your brothers do something really special is pretty cool.”


Chelsea fends off Real Madrid to secure Champions League final date with Man City

Chelsea will end a turbulent season by playing in the Champions League final after making the competition’s most successful team look ordinary.

Chelsea players celebrate a goal during the team’s 2-0 win over Real Madrid on Wednesday. The English club eliminated the reigning Spanish champions by an aggregate score of 3-1. (Alastair Grant/The Associated Press)

Chelsea’s decision to fire a club legend suddenly doesn’t seem so callous after all.

While Frank Lampard’s name has hardly been forgotten by the Chelsea fans — who were chanting it outside Stamford Bridge before kickoff on Wednesday — new manager Thomas Tuchel is quickly creating his own legacy after leading the London club into the Champions League final.

Chelsea even made record 13-time European Cup champion Real Madrid look ordinary as goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount sealed a 2-0 victory that ousted Madrid 3-1 on aggregate.

Perhaps the stragglers leaving the bars near Stamford Bridge could hear the roar Tuchel let out on the field inside the empty stadium long after his players had departed the field. It will certainly have been heard in the Chelsea boardroom by the directors whose decision to dismiss Lampard in January and hire Tuchel instead now looks vindicated.

“I am very grateful and thankful to have this opportunity,” said Tuchel, who in turn was dismissed by Paris Saint-Germain in December despite leading the French club to last year’s Champions League final. “You can never be ahead of plan as a manager and as a player — it does not exist.”




Just like when owner Roman Abramovich made mid-season managerial changes in the 2007-08 and 2011-12 seasons, Chelsea will end the campaign by contesting the biggest game in European football. And by the end of the month two Champions League trophies could be at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea the first club to reach the men’s and women’s finals in the same season.

Even though the men’s showpiece will be an all-English encounter with Manchester City on May 29, the Premier League rivals will have to fly four hours to play the UEFA showpiece in Istanbul, which is currently in a coronavirus lockdown.

“It’s going to be a stunning game,” Mount said.

But unlike last season’s final — when Tuchel’s PSG lost to Bayern Munich — fans are set to be allowed in. Chelsea supporters have yet to see Tuchel managing their team in the flesh due to England’s ongoing coronavirus restrictions. But they can’t deny the impact he has made.

Chelsea was five points outside the four Champions League qualification places when he was hired, but heads into the final four games of the Premier League season in fourth place with a three-point cushion. There’s a chance to pick up a trophy before the trip to Turkey, too, with an FA Cup final against Leicester on May 15.

Chelsea are the first team ever to have a men’s and women’s team make the Champions League final in the same season 💙


Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is left to focus on trying on wiping out Atletico Madrid’s two-point lead in Spain to win La Liga, rather than adding to the three Champions League titles he won from 2016 to 2018.

After conceding a costly away goal last week, Madrid lacked the attacking nous or threat to turn this semifinal around.

Karim Benzema was denied by the first in a series of fine saves by Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy before Werner’s opener but the visitors were sluggish, lacking a creative spark from Eden Hazard on an ineffective return to his former home.

Even in a debut season of misfortune, not even Werner could miss in the 28th minute when presented with an unguarded net to head into from close range after Kai Havertz had lobbed former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and hit the crossbar.

For all Chelsea’s threat, Madrid only needed to score once to force the second leg into extra time. When the second half opened with Havertz heading against the crossbar and having a low shot saved it looked like the misses could prove costly.

“Keep on pushing guys,” Tuchel urged from the sideline.

Mount also lifted a shot over Courtois but he did turn in a shot in the 85th minute after substitute Christian Pulisic and N’Golo Kante combined. After being taken off by Tuchel, Mount got to savour the closing minutes from the stands while being hugged by teammates already celebrating a shot at adding to Chelsea’s lone Champions League title from 2012.

“We were dangerous on counter attacks,” Tuchel said, “but never lost the desire or hunger to defend.”

In fact, it was Chelsea’s 18th clean sheet in 24 games under Tuchel.


Einarson’s 4th straight win puts playoffs in sight for Canada at women’s world curling

Team Canada defeated Estonia on Wednesday to put the foursome right back in the playoff picture at the women’s world curling championship.

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson and her Manitoba foursome have a shot at the playoffs after beginning the women’s world curling championship 1-5. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

It wasn’t all that long ago the Canadian curling team was on the ropes at the women’s world curling championship in Calgary, desperate for a victory and any kind of momentum. 

Having lost five of their first six games, Kerri Einarson and her Gimli, Man., foursome looked overwhelmed by the pressure of wearing the maple leaf. The bubble fatigue, having played four events over the previous two months, seemed to be weighing the team down. 

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After their fourth loss, a 7-6 defeat to the United States on Sunday, an emotional Einarson told the media “it’s not easy being out there. 

“Definitely missing my family a lot more,” she said. “It’s a long haul to be away. I miss my girls and my husband and my parents. When you’re struggling like I am, you want those hugs.”

But the four Canadian curlers, alongside coach Heather Nedohin, never panicked. Their losses had come against the top teams and they were close to winning each one.

What a difference a couple of days make.

Canada evens record

Canada has now won four straight games and has evened its record at 5-5. The latest victory, a 10-4 win over Estonia on Wednesday, puts the Canadians right back in the playoff picture. The top six teams at the event earn a direct spot into the 2022 Olympics.

“We never give up and keep fighting,” Einarson said after the win. “It’s a gruelling long week. We’ve been in the bubble for a long time but I’m thankful for my teammates and everyone supporting us.”

WATCH | Devin Heroux on 7 crew members testing positive for COVID-19: 

CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux joined CBC Morning Live host Heather Hiscox to discuss the COVID-19 cases among the broadcast crew that has shutdown television broadcasts of the women’s world curling championship in Calgary through until at least Wednesday. 3:44

Lead Briane Meilleur said the team has shown poise throughout the competition and never stopped believing it could get back to this position. 

“We never give up. We think we can win every game. I knew we’d bring that for the rest of the event,” she said. “I think we’re capable of winning them all.”

Just a night earlier against Scotland the Canadians picked up their biggest win of the event against a quality Scottish side. Down 3-2 in the eighth end, Einarson’s team stole three points on their way to a 6-5 win in extras.

They have their confidence back. And the Canadians are surging now. 

The Canadians sit tied for seventh after Wednesday’s evening draw. They next play Denmark and Japan on Thursday before finishing against China on Friday in games that could decide a playoff spot.

Following evening play, Russia led the standings at 9-1 ahead of Switzerland (8-1), Sweden (7-2) and the United States (7-4).

Scotland was in fifth place at 6-4 while Denmark was sixth at 5-4. Following Canada and Germany at 5-5, China was next at 4-5.

Broadcasts delayed further

Broadcasts for the event have been on hold since Sunday after seven members of the crew tested positive for COVID-19 and remain in isolation.

The World Curling Federation now says they are once again delaying broadcasts to until at least Friday afternoon. However, the WCF has put forward a return competition proposal to Alberta Health, with the hopes of being able to broadcast playoff games over the weekend.

It’s expected Alberta Health will make its decision on Thursday morning.

Sunday morning’s draw was postponed due to the initial broadcast crew positive tests. WCF now says that the draw will be played Friday night, pushing both quarter-finals to Saturday morning.


Antigonish’s green dreams include net-zero carbon emissions

Antigonish Town Hall

The Town of Antigonish, N.S., is looking to become the first net-zero emissions community in Canada. About 63 per cent of the town’s energy comes from green sources, which includes power from its own wind farm.