Unruly scenes were witnessed in the Rajasthan Assembly on Wednesday where members of the Opposition created an uproar in the Well of the House, forcing the Speaker to call in marshals to push them out of the House.The House was adjourned for an hour after the uproar, which Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria termed as “frustration of the Congress” over its repeated defeats in the elections.During the Question Hour, Speaker Kailash Meghwal did not allow Congress whip Govind Dotasara to ask a supplementary question.Despite the denial, Mr. Dotasara continued asking the supplementary question. When the Speaker did not allow him, the Congress members created an uproar and stormed to the Well.Independent MLA Hamuman Beniwal and BSP MLA Manoj Nyangli also joined the protest.Mr. Kataria, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore, government Chief Whip Kalulal Gurjar, Deputy Chief Whip Madan Rathore and other BJP MLAs criticised the Opposition for its behaviour.Mr. Kataria said the Congress has been facing defeat in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Dholpur by-election and now they are also losing in the Delhi MCD polls.“You are just shouting here in frustration. People of Rajasthan are watching your drama,” he said.Mr. Kataria said the Congress would not be able to win seats in double digit in next Assembly elections in Rajasthan. The Speaker warned the protesting members of stern action against them for “indiscipline.” He said it has become their habit to waste the time of the House.Meanwhile, Mr. Rathore proposed that the Opposition members be pulled out of the House to which the speaker called in marshals and adjourned the House for an hour. The marshals lifted Congress deputy whip Govind Singh Dotasara, Congress MLA Dheeraj Gurjar, Ashok Chandna, BSP MLA Manoj Nyangli and took them out of the House. The other MLAs were also pushed out of the House.
A criminal case was registered on Monday against three persons in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district on charges of allegedly posting a picture of Chief Minister on Facebook and promising a reward of ₹1 crore to anybody who would kill him.The police have constituted two teams for their arrest, a spokesperson for the U.P. Director General of Police said. They were identified as Sushil Yadav, Sunil Kumar Yadav and Sayyad Rehman Ilyas.The three were booked under Sections 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.The FIR, registered at the Kotwali police station in Hathras, also invokes Sections 66 (computer related offences) and 66d (cheating by personation by using computer resource) of the Information Technology Act.Under Section 66 of the IT Act, a person can be punished with imprisonment for a term extending up to three years or with fine which may extend to ₹five lakh or with both.The police took the action based on a complaint by Rajpal Singh Dishawar, an advocate. According to the complaint, Sushil Yadav posted a photo of Mr. Adityanath on social networking site Facebook on June 9. Another person, Sunil Kumar Yadav, allegedly commented on the post using objectionable language and set a reward of ₹1 crore for eliminating the CM, a police spokesperson said.Sunil Kumar Yadav’s comment was “liked” by Sushil Yadav and Sayyad Rehman Ilyas, police said.This is not the first such case in U.P. after the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP formed the government in the State. In March, the Greater Noida police arrested a 22-year-old youth for allegedly posting objectionable content against Mr. Adityanath.The same month, a 25-year-old man from Ghazipur in east U.P. was arrested for uploading an allegedly objectionable picture of the CM. Then in April, a municipal councillor in Ghaziabad was arrested for allegedly posting a defaced photograph of the CM.
NAGPUR: A police sub-inspector was killed and a constable was seriously injured during a gun battle with the Maoists in Rajnandgoan district of Chhattisgarh on Sunday.The encounter took place under Bakarkata police station limits of Rajnandgoan district on Sunday afternoon.“An exchange of fire took place between the Maoists and the DRG (District Reserve Guard) party of Rajnandgoan district police at around 1 p.m. near Bhave village under Bakarkata police station limits today. Sub-inspector Yugalkishor Verma was killed and one constable was injured ( during the gun battle) according to information received from Rajnandgaon District Superintendent of Police,” said a statement issued by the Chhattisgarh police headquarters.According to sources, the injured constable, Krush Kumar Sahu, also succumbed to his injuries when he was being taken to hospital. However, police officers did not confirm the news of his death. The encounter took place when the DRG’s E-30 team was carrying out a search operation in the area surrounding Bhave village. Sources said that the police party involved in the encounter had not returned to its base camp until evening.
Ten coaches of Delhi-bound Kaifiyat Express derailed in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh early on Wednesday, leaving around 100 passengers injured.“A dumper hit the locomotive of the Kaifiyat Express, resulting in derailment of coaches,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said. Railway Ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena said a dumper was trespassing the railway track between the Pata and Achalda stations in Uttar Pradesh when it hit the Kaifiyat Express which was running at a speed of around 100 km per hour at 2.40 am.“An unauthorised dumper crossed the railway fence and hit the locomotive of the Kaifiyat Express. As of now 25 passengers are reported injured,” Mr. Saxena said.Trains cancelledDue to the accident, six trains were cancelled, 35 diverted and two re-scheduled.When the train started to wobble, Manoj, a labourer, travelling to Aligarh for work from Azamgarh, thought it would be the end of his life. Manoj was in one of the general coaches that went off the track. He sustained injuries in the head.Manoj says the impact of the accident created panic among the passengers as they saw smoke rise out of a bogie ahead of them. “Thankfully, we were rescued. We just managed to save our lives,” he says.Mukesh, another passenger, received injuries on the right hand. A regular commuter of the Kafiyat Express, the electrician from Jaunpur, says the train was travelling faster than usual. “I had never seen this train travel so fast,” he said.Mukesh said official help arrived at the site — which was far off from dense population — only after 30 minutes. According to a police spokesperson, around 100 passengers were injured and are receiving treatment in various hospitals and State health centres. However, the Railway Ministry maintained that 42 passengers were injured.Second caseThis is the second case of train derailment in the last five days. On Saturday evening, Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailed at Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, killing 21 people and injuring over 80 passengers. The accident caused due to negligence by the maintenance team working on the track. The Railway Ministry has sent three top officials on leave, suspended four local level officials and transferred another official after finding lapses in the maintenance work that led to the derailment.
Mumbai: Days after parting ways with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetty-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana (SSS) has split into two groups.Former SSS leader Sadabhau Khot, a Minister of State in the Maharashtra government, on Thursday announced the formation of a new farmers’ organisation, which will hold its first rally in Ichalkaranji on September 30 on the occasion of Dussehra.“Ever since I became a minister, I chose the approach of maintaining a dialogue with the government to solve farmers’ problems. But some leaders did not want this to continue as it may have challenged their dominance. Hence, they started disturbing and criticising me,” Mr. Khot said.Thanking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership in the State for standing by him, Mr. Khot hinted that the new organisation may join hands with the BJP in future elections. The minister was recently subjected to an inquiry within the SSS. Mr. Shetty has been vocal against Mr. Khot, alleging that he had sidelined farmers’ interests to protect his ministerial berth. He especially faced criticism during the first farmers’ strike in the State two months ago.A long-time ally of Mr. Shetty, Mr. Khot played a vital role in the Sanghtana’s growth in western Maharashtra’s sugar cane belt. The new organisation, the name of which will be announced on September 21 in Kolhapur, threatens to damage Mr. Shetty.When asked if he will resign as minister since the BJP’s alliance was with the SSS, Mr. Khot said, “He (Mr. Shetty) too fought the election as BJP’s ally. Let him resign as well, and then let people decide,” he said.
Pune: Till two years ago, not a single woman in Waluj village of Mohol Taluka in Solapur district, 400 km from Mumbai, knew what a gram sabha was. Purdah was widely prevalent and women were labourers at home and farms.But just before the onset of summer last year, over 50 women marched to the gram sabha demanding job cards so they could get work under the Employment Guarantee Scheme. The gram panchayat had never seen such collective activism before and gave in immediately: within a month, all 50 protesters received job cards.The ground was prepared months before this. The women formed self help groups (SHGs) under Umed, a State-led initiative under the Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission (SRLM), which in turn is part of National Rural Livelihood Mission. The programme aims to empower women by engaging them in innovative agricultural practices and giving them a steady source of income. Government officials at the village and block level mobilise women to avail of finance for their homes, farms or even small businesses. The NGO partner is Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP).Uma Mote, block coordinator of Waluj for SSP, says a lot has changed since. “Earlier, women had no say in decisions taken at home. Even if they did get elected to the gram sabha, they would simply follow their husbands or in-laws’ orders.”The loan factorMoney was the game-changer; women were not entitled to loans without attending SHG meetings, workshops and training programmes. “With the implementation of SRLM, women started receiving loans of at least a few thousand rupees. Their husbands can not sign on their behalf.”At the meetings, the NGO drew the women out to discuss and understand each other’s problems. The women soon realised they were doormats at home — even if they need to buy slippers worth ₹10 with the money they earned they needed to take their husband or in-laws’ permission. And if they didn’t, they would be physically or verbally abused.Still, it wasn’t easy getting the women to attend regularly. “Women would often disappear. We had to spend a good amount of time and effort convincing them to stay. We also discussed their personal problems so they would open up and then join the group,” says Ms. Mote. Bit by bit, they began to come, to escape problems at home for a while, to make friends or just earn some money. Tabbasum Momin, programme manager, SSP, says women were asked to cultivate everything that could be consumed at home, on just one acre of the family farm. In the remaining land, the men could continue growing cash crops.Women began to cultivate over 20 types of produce, including vegetables, cereals, pulses and fruits. They did not have to invest in buying seeds, fertilisers or pesticides as they were taught how to make them the traditional way using crops like neem. Says Ms. Momin, “The women began to cultivate more than what they needed for the home. And naturally, they began to sell these.”When the women began to bring in an income, their husbands and families became more accepting. Says Ms. Mote, “Women began to earn through this model and men, who were growing cash crops in the way they were habituated to, continued to remain in debt. Naturally they started to respect women, followed in their footsteps and even helped them out.”Shashikala Janardan Mote is an example of the transformation. Her husband once beat her up in front of other women at an SHG meeting for attending it. “My husband believed women get spoilt if they go outside the home. But the cash-crop model consistently failed for him. He also saw how a loan was made available to me through the SHG and how other women were earning an income. He later not only allowed me to join the SHG but also carry out organic farming on our land.”Ms. Mote and 20 other women cultivate okra. Every alternate day, they send nearly 1,000 kg to the market in Pune, 250 km away. Every time Uma Mote met other women at district-level SHG meetings, she began selling them organic seeds. More women now sell biofertilisers, biopesticides, animal products among other things at these meetings.Strength in numbersBeyond their homes and farms, a deeper change was taking root. For years, the women were being short changed as labour on other people’s farms. They needed a job guarantee and fixed wages under the Employment Guarantee Act to be able to work in summer.Last year, two women approached the gram panchayat for the job cards but were turned away. The women did not let the rejection get to them. They got 48 others together, marched to the gram sabha and demanded the cards. Says Ms. Mote, “Men in the gram panchayat were visibly tense. They knew women should be allowed to speak but were not ready to give them the power. They were now cornered.” The women also pressured the gram panchayat to provide filtered water to all the households in the village.Ms. Momin says 50 to 100 women from each of the 500 villages covered under the experiment have benefitted from the model. “We plan to cover 900 villages by the end of 2019.”Komal Kokate, a beneficiary in Hingalajwadi, Osmanabad district, said, “Women have started an information centre at the village where organic farming techniques are taught to everybody who visits it. We now work along with the local gram panchayat, whose members guide farmers to visit theinformation centre to learn about organic farming. They also organise sessions for them.”Nagesh Davane, block manager, Umed, Osmanabad, says many in his villagehave got land transferred in their names following this experiment.Parvati Narkhede, a widow from Masala Khurd village in Tulajapur block of Osmanabad, says, “Following implementation of the model almost five years ago, women started to earn a handsome amount that led men in the village to change their patriarchal mindset. There are at least five families wherein husbands or in-laws have transferred part of the land in the women’s names. This year, 150 of us have registered our own Vijayalaxmi Agriculture Producer Company, and have begun selling seeds to farmers.”More than the financial progress though, the women have understood their strength in numbers.
More than 50 farmers were detained while 10 others were injured when police fired tear gas shells to disperse thousands of farmers gathered to resist Gujarat government’s company to take possession of their lands for a lignite plant in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat.Over 10,000 farmers in a dozen villages have launched a strong protests against the Gujarat Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd (GPCL), which acquired 3,377 acres agriculture lands from 1,250 farmers two decades back. The local head of farmers’ group alleged that the police manhandled the protesters, including women and children, and in the process at least five people were injured on Sunday.According to farmers, though the land was acquired some two decades ago, all these years the land remained in the possession of farmers who were cultivating it. The farmers have now been opposing the company’s bid to take possession of the acquired land.The company had sought police protection for its task to take the possession of the land when the clash erupted.“We detained around 50 people and fired about 50 teargas shells, and also baton-charged the protesters near Badi village,” said a police official from Bhavnagar.Narendrasinh Gohil, a local farmer leader and member of Gujarat Khedut Samaj, a State-wide farmers body to fight for the rights rights, said that the farmers were carrying out a peaceful protest when the company officials accompanied by police came and started beating farmers including women and children.“As we carried out a peaceful protest march against the company’s move to take possession of our land, a large number of policemen were deployed to prevent us. The farmers and their families, including women and children, came out in thousands to protest this,” he said.According to him, farmers don’t want to give up the land they are cultivating because that’s the only source of livelihood they have in this extremely backward region.Among those who were detained included women also. The protesters have demanded the company to initiate fresh proceedings to acquire the contentious land as per the Land Acquisition Act-2013.This was the third time the farmers resisted the company’s move to take possession of the land. The farmers from the affected villages had earlier filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court against the move, saying the company will have to initiate a fresh procedure to acquire the land, as per section 24 (2) of the Land Acquisition Act-2013.As per the new land acquisition act, an agency will have to initiate a new procedure to acquire land if it did not take its possession for more than five years after acquiring it.A leading Gujarat High Court lawyer Anand Yagnik said, “The High Court has completed the hearing but not passed the order, as the Supreme Court recently asked courts not to pass an order until inconsistent judgements in the matter are settled by its constitutional bench”.“No interim relief was granted to us in the matter,” he added.‘Why Land Act not applied?’Reacting to the development senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said: “Why is the Gujarat government refusing to apply Land Act 2013 to the case of protesting farmers in Bhavnagar district? Their land was acquired by a state PSU 20 years ago and never utilised. The detention of farmers for making a legitimate demand is most unfortunate.”
What’s in a name? For the BJP-led government in Uttar Pradesh it’s a lot, as it begun moves to soon change the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj. While the government views it as a tribute to the Sangam city ahead of the 2019 Kumbh Mela, Opposition parties questioned the logic behind it.A proposal to change the name was passed in the Kumbh Mela Margdarshak Mandal meeting held in Allahabad on Saturday. Governor Ram Naik, who presided over the meeting, included several State Cabinet Ministers and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, also gave his consent.‘Consent of all’ Mr. Naik said the proposal “had the consent of all and a proposal for it would be brought up in the next Cabinet meeting,” a government spokesperson said.Briefing media after the meeting, Mr. Adityanath said that his government would take steps to “soon change the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj.” He said the new name was a tribute to the city as the confluence of two major rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna.The government had made its intention clear after the body set up to organise the Kumbh was named the Prayagraj Mela Authority after it came to power last year. Even in its official banners, Allahabad has been replaced by Prayagraj.Sidharthnath Singh, the U.P. Cabinet Minister and government spokesperson who first initiated the move to change the name of Allahabad by writing to the Governor earlier this year said “now the formal procedure would be followed”.MLC’s tauntMeanwhile, the police arrested a Samajwadi Party worker, Shiv Yadav, after he waved black flags at Mr. Adityanath’s cavalcade and shouted slogans against the move to change the name of Allahabad. SP MLC Anand Bhadauria taunted Mr. Adityanath saying he was unparalleled at changing names, be it his own (from Ajay Bisht) or the names of schemes started by the Akhilesh Yadav government to claim them as his own.Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari said that though he did not oppose the change in name, he would prefer that the BJP government “first restore the political, cultural and administrative stature” that Allahabad earned under successive Congress governments.
Jayanti Bhanushali, former Gujarat BJP legislator and vice-president of the party, was found dead in a train he was travelling from Kutch to Ahmedabad. He was shot at multiple times. The body has been taken out of the AC coach and is being taken to Ahmedabad for autopsy. “We have found his bullet ridden body from the train,” a police official said. Lately, Bhanushali made headlines when his name figured in a complaint filed by a Surat based woman who accused him of rape and sexual harassment. Subsequently, he was also accused of running a sex racket in Kutch. Following the complaint of rape, he had resigned as Gujarat BJP vice-president.
Celebrating the birth of a baby with locally-brewed liquor at a tea estate three days ago has so far left 143 people, including 45 women, dead in eastern Assam’s Golaghat and Jorhat districts.Tragedy had first struck the Halmira Tea Estate on Thursday night when plantation workers gathered at the house of a tea plucker to celebrate the birth of a baby. The “poisonous” liquor, which officials said could have been sourced from the same illegal brewer, soon felled people in the adjoining Jugibari and Goronga villages and at the Borhola Tea Estate in the adjoining Jorhat district.“Thankfully, the last death was reported on Sunday morning and fewer people are being admitted. So far, 85 people have died and 31 of them are women while 160 are under treatment,” Golaghat Deputy Commissioner Dhiren Hazarika said.His Jorhat counterpart Roshni Aparanji Korathi said the death toll touched 58 in her district with 15 of the victims being women.Excise officials said more than 100 cases have been registered after a crackdown on bootleggers and illicit brewers across Assam. They have arrested 20 people, 12 of them in Golaghat and Jorhat districts.Two forensic scientists, Abhijit Gogoi and Rupam Lachit, who collected samples of the killer liquor from the sites in the two districts, said they would find the cause of death by Monday evening.Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi visited survivors of the liquor tragedy in Borhola.
Goa Lokayukta Justice (retd.) P.K.Misra is examining the documents submitted by activist lawyer Aires Rodrigues pertaining to the alleged disproportionate assets accumulated by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. The documents could also be taken as a suo motu complaint, sources in the Lokayukta Secretariat confirmed to The Hindu on Wednesday.Mr. Rodrigues on Monday had placed before the Lokayukta a copy of the documents obtained from the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) under the Right to Information (RTI) Act pertaining to the February 20, 2017 complaint filed by Sudip Tamhankar, a local RTI activist against the then member of the Legislative Assembly, Pramod Sawant. The complaint accuses Mr. Sawant, then chairman of the State-owned Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation, of having acquired disproportionate assets, cheating, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy.Sources in the Lokayukta Secretariat said on condition of anonymity that Mr. Rodrigues has not filed a complaint in the appropriate form, but has just forwarded all the documents obtained by Mr. Tamhankar through his RTI application. The Lokayukta is therefore examining the documents to see if it could be taken up as a suo motu case. Mr. Rodrigues, in his letter, said a mere perusal of the noting sheets processing the complaint against Mr. Sawant demonstrates that the ACB, which has been hounding Opposition politicians on the directions of late chief minister Manohar Parrikar, had shielded Mr. Sawant from an investigation.Although Parrikar was ailing, on June 16, 2018, he gave his consent to close the disproportionate assets complaint filed by Mr. Tamhankar against Mr. Sawant, without conducting an investigation. In that complaint, Mr. Sawant was accused of buying properties in the name of a partnership firm, M/s Jay Ganesh Developers and Associates, set up by him in 2014 as a front with Ranjit Rohidas Mangaonkar, Rupesh Narayan Thanekar and Rajesh Manohar Shirodkar as partners.In the complaint, the ACB was given details of 24 sale deeds executed within a span two years by Mr. Sawant’s partnership firm at the office of the sub-registrar in Bicholim in North Goa.Amongst the properties purchased by the firm was 16,480 sq. m of land in Bordem at Bicholim for ₹1,31,84,000 and another 19,989 sq m of land, also at Bordem, for ₹1,23,34,000.The complaint said that in his nomination in the 2012 Assembly elections, Mr. Sawant had stated that his total income for 2010-2011 was only ₹4,51,653 and his savings including fixed deposits were a mere ₹55, 139. The ACB placed the complaint before Parrikar, who directed it first be verified for genuineness through a registered letter to the complainant to ascertain whether he had, in fact, sent the complaint.Accordingly, the ACB wrote to Mr. Tamhankar on May 15, 2017 requesting him to appear on June 5, 2017 and then by another letter on June 6, 2017, he was asked to appear before the ACB on June 14, 2017. As Mr. Tamhankar failed to appear, Parrikar approved closing of the case.
Militants fired a grenade from an under- barrel grenade launcher (UBGL) at a National Conference (NC) leader’s house in Pulwama’s Tral on Tuesday.Preliminary reports suggest the grenade, aimed at the house of NC leader Ashraf Bhat, exploded outside the residence. At the time of attack, a number of NC leaders and activists had assembled for a poll meeting.Initial reports suggest NC candidate Hasnain Masoodi, a retired judge contesting from Anantnag, was also present at the meeting. The police said it is ascertaining the facts at the spot.
A 23-year-old Dalit man died of injuries on Sunday, days after he was allegedly beaten up by some ‘upper caste’ people for eating in front of them at a wedding reception in Uttarakhand’s Tehri district, police said.Jeetendra was thrashed by the ‘upper caste’ men, who lost their temper as they saw him eating in front of them “despite being from a lower caste”, DSP Uttam Singh Jimwal said.The incident took place on April 26 in Shrikot village of the district, he said.Jeetendra was critically injured and died at a hospital in Dehradun after nine days of treatment, the DSP said.Case filedOn the basis of a police complaint filed by Jeetendra’s sister, a case was registered against seven persons — Gajendra Singh, Soban Singh, Kushal Singh, Gabbar Singh, Gambhir Singh, Harbir Singh and Hukum Singh — under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the DSP said.
Yale University microbiologist Jo Handelsman has spent 2 decades trying to help her colleagues become better teachers, and in 2011 she won a presidential mentoring award. But she wants to come to Washington—as associate director for science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)—because she says she has so much to learn.“I think that John Holdren has been enormously effective in his position,” she says about the OSTP director and science adviser to President Barack Obama, who last week nominated Handelsman for the job. “And I’m hoping he’ll teach me to be effective in this one.”Handelsman would succeed Carl Wieman, the physics Nobelist who stepped down in June 2012 for health reasons. Although Wieman’s portfolio covers all the basic sciences as well as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, he concentrated on serving as the administration’s point man on education.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)A Howard Hughes Medical Institute professor since 2002, Handelsman formed the Center for Scientific Teaching when she moved to Yale in 2010 after 30 years at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she also earned her Ph.D. She says that she is equally interested in science and education and hopes to make an impact in both areas.“I’ve wanted to change and improve aspects of science for a long time,” says Handelsman, who is now president of the American Society for Microbiology and chairs the National Research Council’s Board on Life Sciences at the U.S. National Academies. “I’ve worked on national agendas quite a lot, and this is an opportunity to work on those agendas at a pretty high level, and with a team of people who are deeply committed to science. … And who could turn down this president? He loves science.”The 54-year-old Handelsman said that she plans to take a 2-year leave from Yale, where she is a chaired professor in the molecular, cellular, and developmental biology department. “I’m in the middle of my research career and I don’t want to lose that,” she explains. “I think there’s a limit to how long you can have a hiatus.”Handelsman’s nomination is not expected to generate any waves in the U.S. Senate, which must confirm her appointment, although the schedule is uncertain. She would fill one of two vacancies among the three associate directors: On 24 July, Robert Simon was nominated as associate director for energy and environment, to succeed Shere Abbott, who left in 2011.
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An Indian lecturer at Cambridge University has announced she will no longer supervise students from King’s College after taking offence at the behaviour of its white porters whom she accused of behaving in a racist manner.Read it at Telegraph Related Items
In a decision that appeared to catch the White House by surprise, General James Mattis announced last week that he would be resigning as the United States Secretary of Defense. He had been serving in the post since the start of the Trump administration nearly two years ago. The move comes less than a month after he hosted his Indian counterpart, Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in Washington for talks that were hailed by both sides as highly productive.Read it at Forbes Related Items
The resounding thumping the Republican Party received in the recent elections comes as a welcome relief to a long nightmare and renews confidence in the democratic process. The fear tactics the Bush regime so carefully honed after 9/11 and which worked so dramatically for the GOP in 2002 and 2004 were totally repudiated by the U.S. electorate. This election transcended ideology; at its core voters saw through the extraordinary incompetence of the Bush administration as well as the lies, deception and intimidation tactics deployed to mask a reactionary and imperialistic agenda. The election underscores the need in a democratic enterprise for an efficient system of checks and balances, something Republicans in Congress failed abysmally to provide, which exacted a heavy price. We hope Democrats will bring some semblance of oversight on the executive branch, whose incompetence during the past six years has been exceeded only by its arrogance. Tragically, America and the world have paid mightily and some of the wounds inflicted on long established American traditions of civil rights and individual liberties may tragically never heel.Indian Americans need to begin engaging themselves in the national public discourse on the pressing issues of the times. We also need to be astute about the community agenda and strategize on how it is best pursued in the new political realignment. Although the repudiation of Republicans is widely attributed to voter anger over the execution of the Iraq War, a Little India online poll found that the war registered barely a blip in the minds of most Indian Americans. Fewer than 5 percent of Indians in the Little India poll identified the Iraq War as an important political issue. Immigration was by far their most significant concern (45%) followed by relations with India (25%).Indian American policy concerns fall into three broad categories: immigration law, relations with India and catch-all Indian American interests, which are frequently aligned with other minorities. These concerns often play at the margins of the mainstream public discourse and so have to be navigated through the fault lines of the two major political parties.The biggest current issue in India relations revolves around the nuclear agreement with the United States, which could still be torpedoed in Congress as different versions passed by the House and the Senate are reconciled. The agreement negotiated by the Bush administration has stronger Republican than Democratic support on the Hill. Indeed, some of the opposition to the treaty comes from prominent Democrats, and several of them, including Hillary Rodham Clinton D-N.Y., Frank Lautenberg D-N.J., Robert Menendez D-N.J., Barbara Boxer D-Calif., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., supported several stifling amendments, which were ultimately defeated. On the other hand, Democrats tend to be far more sympathetic to immigrants and to minority social concerns. However, even on some aspects of immigration policy, H1 visas for instance, the core Republican constituency of business provides valuable advocacy and support.The point is that Indians have to be smart about pushing the community agenda, which frequently involves cobbling together bipartisan majorities on what for the mainstream frequently are fringe issues.We have to be vigilant in prodding senators and congressmen in our respective constituencies, Republicans and Democrats alike, who frequently take our support and money for granted. Politicians need frequent and regular thumpings to keep them on the straight and narrow. Let’s do our part to nudge them ever so often. Related Items
Some 15 years ago, I had the good fortune of meeting the late, brilliant poet-lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri. Like any fan and admirer of his incandescent work, I piled on and badgered him with a zillion questions about poetry, lyric writing, Bollywood, the works! I remember one distinct response to my pointed question about the difference in the treatment of love — from a lyricist in B-town’s perspective — between his time and the present. Gracious, (as befitting true-blue artists of his era), but with a wicked twinkle in his eye, the great man said “Hamare zamane mein, mashook ko hum Mere Mehboob ya Chaudvin ka Chand kehke zikar karte the. [pause] Aaj Kal, ek bahut hi popular gaana hai Tu cheez badi hai mast, mast! Wah, bahut khoob! Aaap khud hi andaza lagaiye, huzoor.” (In our time, we used to address the person we loved as my beloved, or the full moon. These days, there is a very popular song, you are a big item, cool, cool. Great! You can draw your own conclusion.)While I cracked up, the writer of immortal lyrics like Teri aankhon ke sivan duniya mein rakkha kya hain, allowed himself a mischievous smile. Today, if he — or any of his illustrious contemporaries like Kaifi Azmi, Shakeel Badayuni or Sahir — were around, they could well have had a collective cardiac arrest listening to the quality of lyrics, rocking the scene, darling tere liye.Not everyone agrees. Theater actress Lushin Dubey believes that even back in the fifties and sixties, lyricists like Sahir did switch lanes to adapt and go with the times and mood of the character, no matter how bizarre or un-romantic. “Who can forget his Tel maalish, champi in a heavy dark and dense film like Pyaasa?” Oxford-based author of The Japanese Wife, Kunal Basu, a vitriolic critic of most of what Bollywood stands for, dismisses any element of originality or creativity in the industry. “For me, Bollywood is a mega-budget farce, dedicated to trivializing the Indian way of life, converting it to a pathetic, easily digestible caricature that is easy to consume and digest for the culturally deficient. Any resemblance to anything remotely inventive, innovative or half way experimental, provocative or pushing the envelope is a savage coincidence. Imitative, (read: Hollywood) wildly self-absorbed and self-congratulatory and constantly catering to the lowest common denominator to grab numbers, we get the trash we deserve. So why blame the writers of the Munni-Sheila anthems? They are spot-on in the populist, low-brow, jhatka-matka space that defines most of the Bollywood product and consumers.” Harsh words, but what really is driving this new kind of lyric writing — bold, bindaas, irreverent, catchy, conversational, raunchy — in a segment that was once sacred and the hallowed premise of the sensitive, poetic and artistic?Film Critic Saibal Chatterjee cuts to the chase: “I do firmly believe it has to do with the times we live in, the product being manufactured and the target audience, addressed. While a Gulzar and Javed Akhtar will always have a market following, the crowd that constitute today’s core decision-makers — youngistan between the ages of 15-25 — are of a totally different mindset, honed in a completely different cultural milieu and context. Impulsive, impatient with zero brand-loyalty and constantly looking for new highs and kicks through novelty, not for them the languorous, metaphor and romance-dripping word-magic. This has opened the doors of a new breed of lyricists coming from the world of advertising — sharp, hawk-eyed, creative mavericks who are trained to recognize and march to the beat of the market, transforming a rarified and inspirational calling into a cold-blooded, writing-to-sell exercise. The template is more copy-writing (Ad-style) than lyric writing … and mass-acceptance rather than excellence is the mantra of the hour. In this new game, Munni and Sheila are the chartbusters with the Band Baaja Baaraat lyrics following suit.” 20-something ad-man Abhinav Joshi agrees: “Today communication — not heavy duty language, as in purple prose or imagery-dripping poetry — is what rocks with the masses. This is reflected in books, magazines, movies, TV, everyday conversation, advertising … why on earth should Bollywood films be any different? The three commandments are mota bol, seedha bol, jaldi bol! Surprise and delight me, boss, if you want memorability or top-of-the-mind recall. Item songs help in the marketing of a film vastly in its pre-released stage. They build hype and grab eyeballs. Dabangg and Tees Maar Khan benefited largely from their signature tunes. Mallika Sherawat’s Razia (Gundo mein phaas gayi) in Thank You is the next sizzler on the bloc. Brash n’bindaas is the new cool, man … way to go!”While one of the two great exponents of classy lyrics — Javed Akhtar being the other — Gulzar remains un-amused at the present state of lyric writing, he understands where it is coming from: “It is a time and place thing. In today’s digital-driven, hi-speed world with women multi-tasking as never before, can a Mere Mehboob, Chaudvin ka Chand, Babul Mora, Din dhal jaye, Jane woh kaise ever appear credible? Where’s the context? The intent, emotion and passion is the same, but the mode and method of expression is in sync with the compulsions of the here and now, the techno-driven times. As for the quality of today’s lyrics, I would hesitate to pass sweeping judgement. Besides, songs written to win mass acclaim, have always existed in the industry framework and so, to each his own.” Javed Akhtar agrees: “Catchy and chaalu songs were there in the golden age of Hindi movies too — 1950s and 1960s — but poetry ruled and that’s because the custodians of cinema at that time were people who understood, loved and celebrated great lyrics — be it directors, writers, music directors, singers, even actors. Besides, the lyricists were all quality poets in their own right, who had deflected into films for commercial reasons and enriched it, beyond compare. Lastly, but most importantly, there was a large, eager and enthusiastic constituency who were avid lovers of great lyrics. So it all fitted in beautifully.” Akhtar laments the fact that this entire space is shrinking with alarming speed and puts the blame squarely on the new-age custodians of Bollywood. “Most of the convent-educated, West obsessed players in the industry don’t seem to have either interest or knowledge about quality Urdu lyrics, dedicated as they are to the slang and short-hand jhatka writing that titillates and grabs instant attention. As eminent poet and lyric writer (Umrao Jan) Sharyar stated in a recent interview, today’s ‘Industry doesn’t need lyricists but versifiers!’ I, however, have faith in the masses and genuinely believe that, like alternative cinema, good lyrics too, even today, does have a substantial audience, but provided they are allowed to connect with this endangered genre … the level playing field is disappearing and that is both disappointing and sad.”At the end of the day, lyrics and lyricists don’t function in isolation, but as an integral part of a cinematic narrative. The quality, profile, story-lines and treatment of today’s movies, the guys who are making them and the full-on focus and pitch on the marketing machinery that is unleashed and promotion leveraged, hardly lends itself to a climate conducive to poetic contemplative, soft, gentle, romantic, philosophical musings or verse of the rarified Urdu kind. In the age of instant coffee and fast-food, it seems inevitable that chicken-soup for the soul will be forced to go the way decreed by the sizzling red hot, sexy, drool divas Ms. Munni or Sheila! Related Items