Month: December 2019

Free Film Commission List for Film and Video Productions

first_imgGet some local help on your next production with this free film commission list.Film commissions can be an incredibly valuable resource for filmmakers trying to find important information about their next shooting location. If you’re not already familiar, a film commission is a quasi-governmental organization that serves as a liaison between filmmakers and the community. Film commissions can help filmmakers in a number of different ways, including:Finding crewFinding locationsHousingEquipment discountsPermits and releasesIn short, film commissions can save you a ton of time in the pre-production process. So if you’re looking to shoot in a new location, you should definitely call the local film commission in the early stages of pre-production.Film commissions come in a variety of sizes depending on your location. For example, in Texas there is a State Film Commission and a Dallas Film Commission. Depending on the size and scale of your production, you will need to contact the appropriate office. To help you along your filmmaking journey, we’ve compiled the contact information for the film commissions of all 50 states and Washington D.C.Film commissions aren’t just limited to helping out those interested in shooting a feature film. A film commission is also a fantastic resource for VFX work, short films, commercial shoots, and documentary production. A lot of times a film commission will have a public job board with filmmaking jobs in their area of coverage.A film commission can also be a good resource to use after production, as most film commissions have an active role in hosting film festivals and conferences. If your film paints their state in a good light, they might even give you a grant to shoot!Using the Free Film Commission ListThis form is meant to be saved and used for future reference. On the form, you will find the phone numbers, mailing addresses, and websites of the film commissions from all 50 states. The information is accurate as of spring of 2015.DOWNLOAD FREE FILM COMMISSION LISTWant to learn more about working with film commissions? Check out a few of the following resources:Film Commission Locations – AFCIHow to Work with a Commission – AFCIFilm Commissions – Directors Guild of AmericaHave any experience working with Film Commissions? Tell us everything you know in the comments below.last_img read more


December 12, 2019 0

Lenses Every Cinematographer Should Own

first_imgAs a cinematographer, the lens choices you make are incredibly important. Let’s take a look at some lenses every cinematographer should own.Top image: behind the scenes of Birdman via Fox SearchlightOn most major film sets, the cinematographer will have a wide range of options when it comes to lenses, but this is only because he or she has the budget to do so. When you’re a documentary or indie filmmaker, your budget is much smaller — and lens options become quite limited. Because of this many indie-cinematographers will elect to stick to three go-to lenses.Spending the majority of my time in documentary film has forced me to consistently operate with as few as two lenses. I usually found myself working with a 50mm prime and a zoom lens, preferably a Canon 70-200mm. That all changed when I returned to my narrative roots by adding reenactments into my documentary work. This is when I was introduced to working exclusively with prime lenses.For traditional documentaries a zoom lens is still a necessity. With all of this in mind, let’s look at two lenses you should always use regardless of genre. For the third, we’ll look at an option for documentary film work and an option for indie film work.Two Must-Have PrimesImage via Zeiss Optical28mm PrimeNo matter your project, you’re going to need a wide-angle lens, and the 28mm prime is a good wide-angle option. While I prefer to use the 21mm for most of my work, the 28mm is a happy medium between the 21mm and the 35mm. It’s not too wide and not too narrow. It’s just right. Plus, it’s a great lens to use on a Steadicam or shoulder rig.Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 – $510Zeiss Prime 28mm f/2.0 – $1283Zeiss CP.2 28mm T2.1 – $3990Schneider PC-TS 28mm f/4.5 – $679950mm PrimeImage via PetapixelIt bears repeating: the nifty fifty is one lens everyone should own or use on each production. It simulates the human eye better than any other lens, and it’s been the go-to lens for filmmakers from every genre for a century. The technology behind the glass is incredibly impressive, and a high-quality 50mm lens won’t kill your budget.Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 – $349Rokinon Cine DS 50mm T1.5 – $549Zeiss Prime 50mm f/1.4 ZE – $725Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L – $1349Zeiss Compact Prime 50mm T2.1 – $3999Options for Your Third LensImage via Wikimedia CommonsDocumentary: 70-200mm ZoomEvery traditional documentary production I’ve ever been a part of utilized a Canon 70-200mm telephoto lens. This was ingrained in me early on as being the definitive zoom lens for filmmakers needing to run and gun while capturing observational footage. There are three versions of this telephoto lens, which have three different price points. I’ve personally used all three options and I’ll state the obvious: the f/4.0 is obviously not as fast as the f/2.8 versions, and the difference between the f/2.8L and the f/2.8 ISII is minimal.Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II – $1999Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L – $1249Canon 70-200mm f/4.0L – $599Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 – $769Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 – $1149Indie: 85mm PrimeYou won’t need to run and gun when working on a narrative project. Your scenes will be scripted, which will allow you to keep the camera on the sticks. Plus, while the image quality of a really good telephoto zoom lens can be amazing, it’s rarely ever going to match or surpass the image quality of a prime lens.Ziess Telephoto 85mm f/1.8 – $1283Ziess Compact Prime 85mm T2.1 – $1999Rokinon Cine 85mm T1.5 – $399Don’t Own Lenses? No Problem!Image via Will StraussIs your budget stretched thin? Do you not have the cash to purchase any of these previously mentioned lenses? Well, don’t worry. You’re not really operating at a disadvantage.Many filmmakers elect to simply rent their lenses for every project. Now, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t buy equipment. Sometimes producers and directors will be looking to save money by hiring cinematographers who have that equipment available.It really all comes down to your ability to frame an image. If you can do this successfully and consistently, then you should have no problem finding work whether you have your own equipment or not.Are your go-to lenses different than those above? Do you own your lenses or rent them? Give us your feedback in the comments below.last_img read more


December 12, 2019 0

10 Reasons I Don’t Believe 57% Matters

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now I don’t believe that most buyers have a linear process. Just like your sales process isn’t linear, and just like you might go over the same ground a few times, your buyer’s process isn’t a straight line from point A to point B, even if we sometimes illustrate it that way to teach some point. If your buyer does have a linear process, it doesn’t benefit you, and probably doesn’t benefit them as much as they believe it does.There is no way to determine how far a complex organization is into their buying process. I don’t believe suggesting that buyers are 57%, 65%, or 117% into their journey matters very much. The general idea that buyers are more informed is a fact. But every company has a different process, and especially when consensus is needed, it’s messy. The number 57% is no better than the 75% number you use in your sales force automation software to forecast a deal after you make your presentation (you don’t win 75% of those deals).Except for professional buyers, I don’t believe that most stakeholders are spending a lot of time on the Internet researching whatever it is you sell. They’re busy doing their work, and they’re doing so under greater pressure and with fewer resources. If you are professional enough to call and schedule an appointment, it’s likely that they haven’t seen your website. I believe Google’s ZMOT (Zero Moment Of Truth) is more applicable to consumer sales than complex business-to-business sales.Buyers don’t need to work very hard to find help buying what they need. You aren’t likely lucky enough to work in a market where you have few competitors. It’s more likely you work in a crowded market where a lot of good people and good companies sell what you sell. Do you ever feel that you are being commoditized? Your buyer need only wait fifteen minutes and she will receive a call from one of your many competitors.Information is only part of what a buyer needs when they explore change. When decisions are large, expensive, complex, and risky, the human aspects of a deal are more important than information, especially information that can be shared on the Internet. Things like trust, caring, other-orientation, collaboration, likeability, and cultural fit matter more than information.Most business-to-business sales organizations withhold their insights and share information. Buyers can find a lot of information. But go and look at a large business-to-business sales organization’s website and see how well they fare when it comes to sharing their special insight, the insights and ideas that differentiate them from their competitors. You are far more likely to hear your dream client ask you, “What makes you different?” than “I looked at your website and couldn’t believe how different you are from your competitors.”Even in situations when the buying organization has a process being led a professional buyer, the buying organization still wants to meet with the people they may be working with. Anecdotally, I have twice in as many months seen the buying organization extend a one-hour meeting to something greater than two and half hours because they had so many questions and the sales team they were speaking with was creating so much value.In my experience (and it’s not only my experience), I don’t see any sales organizations that suffer from being understaffed and unable to handle the number of dream clients beating a path to their door. But I almost invariably see sales organizations that need more opportunities in order to reach their goals. If buyers are doing research, discovering their own needs on their own, developing their own options, and resolving their own concerns, then why aren’t more phones ringing.If buyers no longer need salespeople, then there is no reason for the popularity of methodologies like the Challenger Sales, insight, business acumen, or situational knowledge. Instead, they should be disrupting themselves. Their first step onto the buying journey would be recognizing that the status quo isn’t good enough, understanding what new results are already available to them, and searching for potential partners. No doubt this is sometimes true. But in your experience, how easy is for you to weaken the status quo when you have the knowledge and resources to do so? How good is your company at initiating major change initiatives? Why isn’t every company you call on already aware of what they might be doing different to produce better results?The greatest reason your buyer knows so much about what you sell is that they have purchased what you sell enough times to know that they want and how they need you to deliver it to them. They’re sophisticated buyers because this isn’t their first rodeo. They’re looking for new ideas, and they’re looking for someone who can deliver better results.This is not say that data isn’t important or that it isn’t useful. It’s not to say that there isn’t some seriously valuable lesson to be learned from research and surveys. Undoubtedly there is some truth to the ideas that the people who buy whatever it is you sell now have access to more information.I wouldn’t take these data points to mean anything other than you should urgently nurture your dream client so as to become known as someone who can create value, rush to pick up the phone and call and schedule appointments to meet with the stakeholders who care about what you sell, and spend as much time as you can developing the chops to become your dream client’s trusted advisor.Oh, and you might want to do these things if you believe your dream client is 37%, 47%, 57%, 65%, or 111% through their buying process.last_img read more


December 9, 2019 0

How to Stop Drifting

first_imgThe person who discovered the 10,000-hour rule, the one you likely learned from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, is K. Anders Ericsson, a psychologist and professor at Florida State. When asked about the ability to become an expert in 10,000 hours, Ericsson said, “I have been walking for 48 years, but I don’t believe I am getting any better at it,” making the point that it is deliberate practice, practice focused on improvement which is necessary for expertise.It’s the “deliberate” part that concerns us here, something that Napoleon Hill described as “a definite aim.”Groundhog DayIt is possible that you are having the same year over again. You could be repeating the same patterns, built on the same actions, and guided by the same beliefs. Without changing the patterns, you eliminate the possibility of changing your results.I am writing this to you a few days before the end of the Q1 of 2019, at the end of three rounds of a twelve round fight. For many, this year so much resembles last year that it would be impossible to tell them apart. They have the best of intentions, but those intentions are not enough to keep them from the drift.The DriftLet me help you image The Drift. Picture a large piece of wood being carried down a river by the current (or a paper boat). This piece of driftwood is a passenger, lacking the volition to swim against the current or remove itself from the stream altogether. Whatever happens to the driftwood is outside of its control or influence.Many people drift. They allow circumstances to push them this way and that, carrying them in a direction they don’t want to travel, and toward unpleasant outcomes instead of toward that which they profess to want.Here’s how to stop drifting.Identity: If who you are now was enough, you wouldn’t need to change. Those who stop drifting, leading a life of their own design and producing the results they want, spend time and money, investing in becoming the person who can accomplish these things. They are driven to become the best version of themselves. Who are you becoming?Goals: You can never hit a target you can’t see. Without goals, you are releasing yourself to the current. You have to know what you want and why you want it, and you need to focus on your goals, reviewing and committing to them each day. What do you want?Modifications: Stopping the drift requires you to change what you are doing, how you are doing it, how much you do, and when you do it, or some combination thereof. If you are not where you want to be or headed swiftly in that direction, you need to modify what you are doing. Maybe you need a 180-degree turn, meaning you have everything all wrong, but perhaps you only need a 35-degree turn to start moving toward what you want and away from the drift. What needs to change?Disciplines: The way you beat the drift is with disciplines, the routines you run over and over, the things you do habitually, without delay, and without fail. Your current disciplines (or lack thereof), for good or for ill, is what led you to where you are now. New disciplines, the modifications above, are what is necessary to pull you out of the drift and power you toward your goals. What are you willing to commit to doing?As far as I have been able to discern, first you have to be more, then you can do more, then you can have more, and then you can contribute more, always in that order. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more


December 9, 2019 0

David Allen on the GTD Summit – Episode #129

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now Podcast: Play in new window | Download (63.3MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | RSSlast_img read more


December 9, 2019 0

Doctor freed in Bilaspur sterilisation deaths case

first_imgTwo years after 13 women died and 65 were impaired in a botched sterilisation camp, Dr. R.K. Gupta was acquitted by the Chhattisgarh High Court on technical grounds last week. The surgeon — accused of using the same gloves, syringes and sutures on all the 83 women, and causing life-threatening infections — was acquitted after the prosecution argued that the investigators did not have the State government’s sanction, necessary to prosecute a public servant.On November 8, 2014, Dr. Gupta, a surgeon at the Bilaspur District Hospital, conducted laparoscopic tubectomies on 83 women, within 90 minutes in an abandoned, unsterile building. Police investigation revealed that Dr. Gupta had spent approximately 3 minutes per patient, and not followed infection control protocols. Dr. Gupta was arrested and released on bail 27 days after the incident.Deaths at the Takhatpur sterilization camp were one the darkest chapters of India’s family planning programme since the policy achieved notoriety during the Emergency years (1975-77) when a compulsory sterilisation programme to limit population growth was introduced by the Indira Gandhi government.In a 16-page verdict, the court reasoned that, “the petitioner’s services were terminated on 13.11.2014 in respect of the offence which had occurred on 08.11.2014 and though the cognizance of which was taken later, it would still require sanction from the Govt. before the petitioner is prosecuted for those offences which clearly falls within the ambit of discharge of official duties. In the absence of obtaining prior sanction, the entire prosecution case becomes ab initio, void and becomes unsustainable.”The decision is likely to be challenged, said Colin Gonsalves, lawyer appearing in the case. “Sanction should have been granted by the state government for prosecution. Withholding sanction, simply, means the stategovernment is supporting the doctor. Sanction can be granted even now and the prosecution can be started again.If the state foes not grant sanction, then any of the affected women can go to the high court and file a petition to get the order of sanction. It is shocking that the state government is supporting the doctor in this case,” added Colin.A situational assessment report ordered by the State government that month established that the premises where the tubectomies were conducted had not been disinfected properly: “A sweeper had mopped the walls. None of the surgical staff changed their hand gloves. The same injection, needle and suture were used for all the women. Neither were they sterilised nor new needles taken for each case.” It further added that Dr. Gupta used only one laparoscope, without disinfecting it after each use. A laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery where a thin surgical instrument is inserted into the abdomen. The report was authored by experts from PFI, Family Planning Association of India, and Parivar Sewa Sanstha. Investigations by The Hindu revealed that viscera reports — from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Ramanthapur, Hyderabad, and from the Central Drugs Laboratory, Kolkata, and from the State Forensic Science Laboratory in Raipur had indicated medical negligence by the doctor and his surgical staff. Even though 15 drugs and 18 medical devices were used during the surgery, only two drugs – Ciprocin and Ibuprofen- were tested for contamination. However, viscera reports from the State Forensic Science Laboratory in Raipur of all 13 women established categorically stating that no “raasaynic vish” (chemical poison) was detected from the two drugs.“I am stunned by the verdict. Every woman who died that day was a mother. She left a child motherless. It is disheartening that there will be no justice for these women. The message it sends out to the medical community is that these doctors- in government or private sector- can break rules and not be held accountable,” said Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director of the Population Foundation of India. In a double whammy, the State government has since discontinued all family planning services, leaving women with the choice of unaffordable private hospitals.The Hindu found that months before the deaths at Takhatpur camp, every district in Chhattisgarh was given a sterilisation target to meet, in violation of Union Health Ministry norms. Doctors in Bilaspur had an ‘ELA’ (Expected Level of Achievement) of 3,000 sterilisations and 3,000 Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD) insertions within a fortnight. For Takhatpur Nagar Panchayat, the doctors had to sterilise 300 women or risk losing the budget for the next year.When asked about targets, Dr. Gupta had told The Hindu last year: “If I am wrong, all my senior officials are also in the wrong. They gave me these targets. They knew exactly what was happening.”While Dr Gupta was suspended after the deaths, he continues to practice- and operate on patients- at a private clinic is a post area of the city.last_img read more


December 3, 2019 0

Rajasthan farmers stop supplies

first_imgFarmers restricted milk, grain and vegetable supplies in several districts of Rajasthan on Sunday as part of a bandh called by the ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’ in support of their counterparts in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.The Rajasthan farmers also pressed their demands for better remuneration for their produce with the State authorities.“Several meetings were held to condole the deaths of farmers killed in police firing in Mandsaur. The farmers also stopped the supply of essential items,” said president of Kisan Mahapanchayat, Rampal Jat.Meanwhile the All India Kisan Sabha annoucned a ‘Rasta Roko Andolan’ on June 16 in Sikar, Nagaur and Jhunjhunu districts.last_img read more


December 3, 2019 0

Gorakhpur encephalitis deaths: Myriad factors plague communities

first_imgIn villages racked by encephalitis in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur, children play barefoot in mud, with dirty water collecting all around and garbage piled up, ignorant of the fact that their surroundings could lead them to contract the disease.After three decades of high incidence of encephalitis cases and deaths, the Gorakhpur division of U.P. is still struggling to contain the disease that is linked to insanitary conditions and is particularly spread by mosquitoes via pigs and drinking dirty water.Padmavati Devi, who lost her grandson Alok to encephalitis last week, says she does not know what happened to him or how he got the disease.Speaking outside her home in Gorakhpur’s Belipar on what would have been Alok’s 14th birthday, she says: “We are poor and uneducated, what do we know about the disease? All we know is that he had a fever.”Alok was among the children admitted to Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College, where 60 children died in a span of five days starting August 7. | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan Just outside his home, children play in the rainwater that has collected. When asked if they know how encephalitis spreads, neighbours say they did not. “Children are children, they will play,” says one neighbour.In Bichhiya in Gorakhpur, the home of a family that lost a five-year-old child to encephalitis on August 11 is surrounded by filth — dirty drains, faeces of goats, and chicken and trash. The grandfather of the child, Ilahi, says the family tries to keep the house clean, but the condition of the neighbourhood has always been bad. “The administration should have made roads and drains. We have no option but to dump the garbage outside,” he says, adding that he does not know how encephalitis spreads.Lack of awarenessThe lack of awareness spreads to other parts of the region as well. Shamsul Ansari from Gamharia in Bihar says he does not know what had happened to his three-year-old son, except that it was “serious”. After three days of high fever that medicines prescribed by local doctors could not control, he says he brought his son to Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College, where the child is in the ICU. He says has not heard of encephalitis, or mastikshk jwar, or of the news on the medical college.  Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, the president of the Indian Medical Association, said that most cases of encephalitis can be controlled with better sanitation and medicine.“About 10% of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) cases are Japanese encephalitis, which is spread by mosquitoes. This is preventable as culex mosquitoes breed in dirty water,” he said.He added that scrub typhus, another cause of AES that is linked to lice, mites and fleas on the ground, can be “100 % managed” with antibiotics if caught in time. Another type of AES, caused by enterovirus, is linked to lack of sanitation, which can also be addressed. A child undergoing treatment at the BRD Medical College Hospital in Gorakpur.last_img read more


December 3, 2019 0

All you need to know about Assam floods

first_imgVillagers wade through flood waters to their marooned house to bring valuables in Morigaon district of Assam on August 13, 2017.  | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar What could be the cost of all this damage?The Water Resource Department in Assam submitted a flood memorandum to the Centre in 2016 following the flood seeking an ₹5038.00 crore for repairing embankments, flood control structures and repairing of damages to river banks, the department said to The Hindu.This year, the State government has allocated ₹2,723.34 crore to the water resource department.What could be a long-term solution?According to Himanshu Thakkar, an IIT graduate and water activist who is a coordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, it is “not possible to flood-proof the whole of Assam.” However, here are a few measures that can be followed:I) Rejuvenation of wetlands,II) Reconstruction of embankments,III) Decentralised weather forecast. Floods wreak havoc in Assam every year, and this year has been no different. This year, floods caused by three long and heavy spells of rain since March have claimed 157 lives so far. Although the situation in the State has improved over the last week, the damage to life and property has been enormous. There are thousands of people who, having lost their homes, are still living in relief camps. Here are some questions and explanations on why Assam faces this problem every year, and what could be done about itWas the rainfall in Assam above normal this year?No. According to the India Meteorological Department, Assam’s rainfall this year has been in the normal zone.Why does Assam get flooded every year?Topography plays a major role. Because most of the rivers flow downstream in the State, they do so with so much force, especially during incessant rainfall, that breaches in embankments are all too common. There are also human-induced problems like destruction of wetlands, deforestation, and encroachments on river banks. Most cities and towns suffer due to poor planning.Both Brahmaputra and Barak, along with their tributaries, were flowing above danger levels at some point during the monsoon season. Dhansiri, Jia Bharali and Kushiyara, a Barak tributary, continue to flow above danger level.Rainfall in upstream also contributes to flooding, as the water flow increases downstream. China shares water flow information of the Brahmaputra and Sutlej rivers with India during monsoon as a part of bilateral ties. The hydrological data helps understanding water level downstream. However, this year India did not receive any information from China, said MEA. Medical officials of the Jhargaon Public Health Centre (PHC) on their way to conduct medical camp in the flood affected Morigaon district of Assam on August 18, 2017.  | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwarcenter_img What does the State do to tackle this?Rivers in Assam, including the Brahmaputra, are embanked in places. During the monsoon, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) and NGOs identify dry lands in upper regions and organise shelter for people living in low-lying areas. Those affected often take shelter in schools, which remain shut till the situation improves.According to ASDMA, it has run 954 relief camps providing shelter to a total of 4,51,846 people this year.However, many people have to help themselves during flood and find a safe place to live during the floods.Do floods claim many lives every year?In the past five years, only in 2013, no death was reported due to floods. It’s noteworthy that an organised system of flood-related data logging is fairly new in the State. Also, the State Disaster Management came into being only in 2010.How many animals died?398 animals died in Kaziranga Natioanl Park this year. Following are the numbers of animal affected (not dead) and washed away.Animals affectedBigSmallPoultry15,99,65710,98,51928,87,612Animals washed awayBigSmallPoultry111109228Which are the most flood-affected areas?Thirty-one of the 33 districts of the State were affected by the floods. In 26 districts, a total of about 61,923 people were evacuated to safety, according ASDMA. The only two districts not to see flooding were Karbi Anglong West and Dimaha Sao, both hilly regions.As of September 4, a report of the ASDMA says that 44,618 people continue to be affected by floods in Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Chirang, Morigaon, Nagaon, Jorhat, and Cachar districts.How has agriculture been affected?Over 3,90,000 hectares of agricultural lands, growing paddy and vegetables, were inundated by the floods.Are people still in relief camps?According to data as of September 4, there are still 6,580 people are living in relief camps. Flood affected children collect medicines from medical officials of the Jhargaon Public Health Centre on August 18, 2017.  | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwarlast_img read more


December 3, 2019 0

Five religious leaders get MoS status in M.P.

first_imgAhead of the Assembly elections due later this year, the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesdayy accorded the Minister of State (MoS) status to five Hindu religious leaders, a move which was slammed by the opposition Congress. As per the order of General Administration Department’s Additional Secretary K. K. Katiya, the MoS status has been accorded to Narmadanand Maharaj, Hariharanand Maharaj, Computer Baba, Bhayyu Maharaj and Pandit Yogendra Mahant. On March 31, these five religious leaders were appointed to a committee set up for the conservation of the Narmada. As members of the committee, they have been given the MoS status, a GAD official said. The Assembly elections are due in the State this year, and the main opposition Congress dubbed the decision as an attempt by the BJP to exploit the respect these religious leaders enjoy in society. “It’s a gimmick to score political points. This is also an effort by the Chief Minister [Shivraj Singh Chouhan] to wash off his sins. He ignored conservation of the Narmada.“These saints should inspect where the State government has planted six crore saplings [along the river banks] as claimed by the CM,” said Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi. State BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal said the Opposition party dislikes anything related to saints. “Saints and seers were accorded the MoS status to make their work of environment and river conservation easy. The saints were roped in for the Narmada conservation work to ensure public participation,” Mr. Agrawal said.last_img read more


December 3, 2019 0

CBI asked to probe Nagaland High Court construction scam

first_imgThe Gauhati High Court has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe an alleged scam in the construction of the Nagaland High Court building in Kohima since 2007 and submit a report within three months. The basic structure of the site is yet to be completed, but the Nagaland government allegedly withdrew ₹44.24 crore against electrification and water supply for the project site besides another ₹22.42 crore for construction of bungalows for the judges, area for which has not been earmarked.“Beyond belief” The Nagaland government also paid ₹1.3 crore as consultancy fee for the construction, which the Gauhati HC termed as “beyond belief” while hearing a set of petitions by the Nagaland Tribes Council and some Nagaland-based social and RTI activists.Hearing the petition on Wednesday, the Gauhati HC asked the CBI to conduct a preliminary investigation into charges of misappropriation of public money in the construction of the Nagaland HC complex. According to the petitioners, only 35% of the work has been completed in 11 years since construction began with an estimated budget of ₹43 crore. Work on the HC complexes in Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura had started around the same time.Between March 2009 and March 2017, Nagaland’s Justice and Law Department made 18 withdrawals from the State exchequer while the project cost was increased to ₹52.63 crore. The department also took a loan of ₹12.46 crore from the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO).last_img read more


December 3, 2019 0

CM moots plan to up education spend

first_imgPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh mooted a proposal on Wednesday to cut down the budget of all other departments by 5% each, in order to arrange additional revenue for education, which he described as “critical for the State’s development and progress”. The initiative, the Chief Minister said, would help raise an additional ₹887 crore for education, whose budgetary allocation currently stands at 14% of the total outlay at ₹2,916 crore. The additional budget for education would raise the total to ₹,3803 crore, making it 21% of the overall outlay. “Education is the most vital engine of the State’s growth and the Congress government in Punjab would take all possible steps to improve the education system, including 5% reduction in the budgetary allocation for other departments, if needed, to raise its investment in education,” Mr. Singh said. The Chief Minister was speaking at the Agri Conclave 18, hosted by a private TV channel here, an official release said. Speaking at the event, he reiterated his stand on water sharing, saying Punjab did not have sufficient water to share with other States, given the criticality of the groundwater levels. Major water crisisDescribing the declining water levels and the cropping pattern in the State as “critical issues”, Mr. Singh said Punjab was grappling with a major water crisis. Recalling that he had given water to Rajasthan during drought period in his previous tenure, he pointed out that situation had changed drastically since then, with melting glaciers adding to Punjab’s water woes.last_img read more


December 3, 2019 0

Maharashtra’s helping hand for inter-caste marriages

first_imgThe Maharashtra government will give ₹2.5 lakh as incentive to couples entering inter-caste marriages, but with a caveat that either the groom or bride must be from the Scheduled Caste category and the marriage must be performed at a mass wedding ceremony organised by the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Samata Pratishthan (DBASP), an autonomous company working under the State government’s Social Justice Department (SJD). Incentive increased Inter-caste couples currently receive ₹50,000 from the State. In 2017, the Centre had announced a scheme with an incentive of ₹2.5 lakh. Maharashtra Social Justice Minister Rajkumar Badole said that an inter-caste marriage is one of the most effective ways to break the shackles of caste hierarchy. “We will be extending this financial incentive to the couples as we consider them the leaders of the anti-caste movement which will create a society without caste,” said Mr. Badole. The Samata Pratishthan will be organising a mass-wedding ceremony in February. Couples getting married then will be given the incentive.“The company [DBASP] is autonomous and though it works under the Social Justice Department, we have no control over its finances,” said an official from the SJD, when asked about financial allocation for the scheme. Maharashtra is also coming up with a law to protect and promote inter-caste marriages, the draft of which is yet to be submitted to the State. The new law will have special clauses extending protection from honour killing, social boycott.last_img read more


December 3, 2019 0

CRPF jawan shoots self after firing at colleagues in Srinagar

first_imgA CRPF jawan shot himself dead after firing at two of his colleagues inside a camp here, police said on Sunday.The incident took place late on Saturday night and the slain jawan has been identified as Mukesh Bhawuk, a police official said. He said Bhawuk got into a verbal duel with one of his colleagues over some issue at the Pantha Chowk camp of 29 Battalion of CRPF, following which he opened fire using his service rifle. Two jawans were injured in the firing, the official said.Later, Bhawuk shot himself dead with his service rifle, he said. The injured jawans are stated to be stable. The police official said the CRPF has ordered a departmental inquiry to find out the cause of the incident.last_img read more


December 3, 2019 0

ScienceShot: Elephant Seals Are Packed With ‘Toxic’ Carbon Monoxide

first_imgUrban air pollution. Secondhand smoke. Slow suffocation. These are terms typically associated with carbon monoxide. Yet a new study finds that northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris, pictured) love the stuff. Researchers discovered exorbitant blood levels of the gas in seals that rival those in people who smoke 40 cigarettes per day. The tubby mammals aren’t sneaking Marlboros while on shore, but merely protecting their organs from the consequences of deep-sea diving, according to a study published online today in The Journal of Experimental Biology. When hunting at sea, elephant seals take a deep breath at the surface and then plunge to depths between 300 and 800 meters. To conserve oxygen, the animals shut down blood flow to less critical organs, like the kidneys and liver. Cutting blood supply to a body region—known as ischemia—is usually harmful in animals. On the flip side, sudden restoration of oxygen flow—known as reperfusion—can damage organs, too. Research over the last decade, however, has revealed that low levels of carbon monoxide ward off internal injuries caused by such stress, and the team argues that’s why elephant seals produce large amounts of the gas.last_img read more


December 3, 2019 0

Spider spins electrically charged silk

first_imgIn their quest to make ultrastrong yet ultrasmall fibers, the polymer industry may soon take a lesson from Uloborus spiders. Uloborids (pictured) are cribellate spiders, meaning that instead of spinning wet, sticky webs to catch their prey, they produce a fluffy, charged, wool-like silk. A paper published online today in Biology Letters details the process for the first time. It all starts with the silk-producing cribellar gland. At 60 micrometers, it is among the smallest silk glands ever observed and is covered in microscopic spigots that produce a low-viscosity liquid silk. In contrast with other spiders, whose silk comes out of the gland intact, scientists were surprised to discover that uloborids’ silk is in a liquid state when it surfaces. As the spider yanks the silk from the duct, it solidifies into nanoscale filaments. This “violent hackling” has the effect of stretching and freezing the fibers into shape. It may even be responsible for increasing their strength, because filaments on the nanoscale become stronger as they are stretched. In order to endow the fibers with an electrostatic charge, the spider pulls them over a comblike plate located on its hind legs. (This also gives the thread its wool-like appearance.) The technique is not unlike the so-called hackling of flax stems over a metal brush in order to soften and prepare them for thread-spinning, but in the spider’s case it also gives them a charge. The electrostatic fibers are thought to attract prey to the web in the same way a towel pulled from the dryer is able to attract stray socks. Next, researchers plan to test the silk for strength, as natural silks offer advantages over synthetics in terms of toughness, processing efficiency, and environmental issues.last_img read more


December 3, 2019 0

Localisation paying off in US: Wipro

first_imgWiproBSE -2.33 %, India’s third largest software exporter, said it has started seeing results of localisation in the US. The Bengaluru headquartered company, which claims more than half of its staff in different locations in the US is local, has bagged more contracts, being close to the firms there.Companies such as Wipro, InfosysBSE 0.62 % and Tata Consultancy Services (TCSBSE 5.36 %) have traditionally brought work back to India (popularly called offshoring) and sent software engineers on H-1B visa to offer technology services at cheaper cost to clients for decades.  Read it at Economic Times Related Itemslast_img read more


December 2, 2019 0

USCIS Releases New Data Showing H-4 Visa Holders With Work Authorization Are Overwhelmingly Women from India

first_imgU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released new data May 11 confirming anecdotal evidence that H-4 visa holders with work authorization are overwhelmingly women from India.The data was released in response to a congressional query and reports numbers from when H-4 EAD was first implemented in 2015 – by the Obama administration – to the first quarter of fiscal year 2018, which began Oct. 1, 2017 and ended Dec. 25, 2017. In total, almost 85,000 women and 6,000 men currently have H-4 EAD. More than 33,000 women and 2,000 men have successfully applied for extensions.Read it at India West Related Itemslast_img read more


December 2, 2019 0

Indian Movies Attract Millions Around The World — And That Number Looks Set to Grow

first_imgVasu Pawar was happy to drive about 70 miles to watch her favorite 2017 Indian movie — even if it was the second time she was seeing it.The first time she watched “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” — an Indian blockbuster that raked in over $14 million overseas — she fell in love with it. The movie brought back memories of Mumbai from which she emigrated to the U.S. in 1976.Read it at CNBC Related Itemslast_img


December 2, 2019 0