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The Johnsons discuss 529 Plans

first_imgThe Johnson family first joined us during Dr. Michael Gutter’s April 15 Financial Statements and Record Keeping web conference. Here, they discuss opening a 529 plan for their 2-year old son, Sam. Watch as Brittany and Brett discuss the advantages of this education savings option, and save the date of May 21 for Dr. Barbara O’Neill’s Paying for Post-Secondary Education Expenses web conference.last_img

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Understanding Respite Care for Military Family Caregivers

first_imgRespite could be an answer for you, the military caregiver, so you can rejuvenate your body, spirit and mind as you take time for yourself. Respite comes in different forms ranging from having friends spend time with your service member, placing him or her in a respite program that provides activities or in a care facility for a short time period. The article, Understanding Respite Care for Military Family Caregivers describes the different types of respite programs, additional challenges for rural military caregivers, and resources to help select a respite program.This post is part of a series of Military Family Caregiving posts published on the Military Families Learning Network blog.last_img

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Using EDEN as a preparedness resource

first_imgThe Northeast is seeing severe winter weather.  Extreme cold, ice storms, and heavy snow have put many at risk, both humans and animals, and has caused property damage. Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) provides support across the nation, reducing the impact of disaster and enhancing resilience through education.Click each state to view preparedness resources that EDEN provides in the 7 pilot states:Florida Indiana Maryland Minnesota Mississippi New MexicoOklahomaWant to learn how to  enhance resilience and reduce the impact of disasters when they strike in your state? See how EDEN can help you: https://eden.lsu.edu/engage/last_img

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Animate Your Logo with this After Effects Ripple Effect

first_imgWant to add punch to your logo animation? Check out this After Effects tutorial showing you how to create a cool ripple effect!In the following Digital Sandwich video tutorial by Jason Hadley, you’ll learn how to simulate a ripple effect using the tools within Adobe After Effects. In the tutorial, Hadley applies this technique to a logo animation to give the impression that the flying logo causes the background to create ripples — much like what would happen if you tossed something into a pool of water. By using AE’s bump map and Wave World settings, the effect creates a realistic simulation.The video tutorial clearly lays out the steps needed to create this effect — but obviously familiarity with After Effects is a big plus, as he breezes quickly through each step.Be sure to check out the PremiumBeat After Effects archive for plenty of AE tips, tricks, and techniques. While you’re at it, visit our friends at RocketStock. They have plenty of great motion design resources — including a few totally free downloadable assets!What other After Effects techniques would you like to see tutorials for? Let us know in the comments below!last_img read more

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How Strategy Drives Pricing

first_imgI was fortunate enough to attend Harvard Business School’s Owner/President/Management Executive Education program. Professor Cynthia Montgomery taught the classes on strategy. Professor Montgomery was Michael Porter’s protégé. Michael Porter, for all intents and purposes, invented strategy as far as US businesses are concerned. His Five Forces analysis is still widely used.The central outcome of the strategy class was creating a sustainable competitive advantage – some combination of differentiators that would allow you to capture and grow market share and build a company that could last. Strategy is about how you compete and win, and Sales is where the rubber meets the road.There’s a little book called The Disciplines of Market Leaders. This short book can teach you a good deal of what you need to know about competitive strategy rather quickly. Essentially, you compete by having the lowest price, by having the best product, or by having the greatest customer intimacy, which means the best overall combination of products, services, and solutions. Most of us are competing on customer intimacy.Porter’s work, as well as The Disciplines, are both decades old. There are great and immutable laws that exist in their work. Strategy is not only what you decide to do to compete, but it is also what you decide not to do. The “not to do” can be more important than the “to do.”A Choice of Two StrategiesWhat is emerging now is a choice of two strategies, with a decision to play in the muddy middle making competition tough because you are neither fish nor fowl.Those two strategies are “caring” or “transactional.”Some companies have decided that their strategy is to compete by having a high touch, high caring, high value-creation approach to competition. They are occupying the higher end of the continuum when it comes to caring. Because they have this approach, they need to capture enough profit to deliver what their clients expect from them.Other companies have decided to be transactional, eliminating the high touch, high caring, high value-creation, and instead competing by reducing friction, mostly by using technology and disintermediating existing industries. The best example I can give you is Amazon.com (where I spend lots of money).The Muddy MiddleThe challenge is trying to occupy a space between caring and transactional. The buyers who want you to be transactional believe your price is too high. The buyers who want you to be high touch, high value, high caring, don’t recognize that in your offering.The problem with occupying the middle is that you believe you are competing against a lower price when your strategy is not designed to provide you with a competitive advantage there.By occupying the middle, you are not differentiated enough to compete with competitors that have chosen that strategy. Your middle price doesn’t provide the profit to deliver the high touch and high caring.The middle is a tougher and tougher space to occupy, even though there are companies who have figured out how to do so by being “the next best thing.”What We Are LearningThe lesson we are being taught is that if you intend to create value you need to capture some of that value to maintain and execute that strategy.And if you plan to compete by being transactional, you need to go all in on that strategy reducing your costs dramatically and finding a way to improve your efficiencies to a level that allows you to make that a competitive advantage.There may no longer be a sustainable competitive advantage. Because the economy and technology are providing us more and more disruptive change, the strategic advantage may be temporary. Innovation and reinvention may be the best hope for a sustainable competitive advantage, if there is still such a thing.What strategy have you chosen in order to create a competitive advantage?Are you staying true to that strategy by pricing your offering accordingly and saying no to business that is outside of your real capabilities?last_img read more

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America Is Great. Not Perfect.

first_img Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Now What makes America great isn’t that it was, has, or ever will be perfect.What makes America great is that the ideals on which the nation was founded still command us to right what’s wrong, to struggle to live up to our ideals, that all men are created equal, that we are endowed by our creator with the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.What makes America great is that despite our imperfections we are still struggling towards the perfection of these ideals. Even though we may disagree with each other on how best to live by those ideals and how best to govern ourselves, there isn’t any real disagreement as to what those ideals are. There is no disagreement that our ideals are good, and true, and beautiful.Perfection isn’t what makes America great. What makes America great is the fact that we continue to try to perfect ourselves against our ideals. This struggle is long and arduous. But we progress, sometimes too slowly, but mostly in the right direction.That the Revolution continues unabated after 240 years is what makes America great.last_img read more

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How to Create a Preference for You and Your Solution

first_img Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Now A reminder: Sales is a competition. It is a zero sum game. One salesperson wins, another one loses. In some contests, a number of other salespeople lose. Because this is true, selling well requires that you create a preference for you, your solution, and your company. It is your job to discover what you need to do to create that preference and do it.One of the ways you create a preference for you as the salesperson your dream client is going to buy from-and work with to produce better results-is to help them compete.Better Business – Are You Strategic?What do you know that can help your dream client produce better results than they are producing now?What you know can create a preference for you and position you as someone with ideas that will help improve your dream client’s business. If you can translate what you sell to your dream client’s most strategic initiatives, you elevate your status and increase your preference.If what you know ends at your company and your product, creating a preference will be very difficult. Vendors are not a strategic advantage; they’re commodities.Better Fit – Are You Someone I Want to Do Business With?Napoleon Hill wrote a book called Think and Grow Rich. In that book he suggested that successful people have a pleasing personality. Read: Likable.This idea isn’t popular in the age of insight, but popular or not, people still want to do business with people they know and like. It very much matters the container in which the insights and ideas are delivered.If this strikes you as “relationship selling,” then you should know that economic value and relationships are not mutually exclusive. You can possess deep business acumen and serious chops and still have excellent commercial relationships.Your job is to create a preference, and you are increasingly a bigger part of that value proposition.Better Salesmanship – Are You Creating Value for Me?Your sales process doesn’t mention the word “preference.” Neither do any of the methodologies you might have bolted on to your sales process. Regardless of the absence of the word, the intention needs to be there.You have to ensure that the intention to create value exists during every interaction you have with your dream client. The more valuable they find the time they spend with you, the greater the preference you create. The more you help them understand their world, develop a compelling case for change and a vision of the future, identify possibilities and understand trade-offs, and resolve their concerns, the more you look like the right partner.How you sell will determine whether or not you are a vendor or a strategic partner. Being a better salesperson helps you create a greater preference.last_img read more

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How To Sell Something New

first_img 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 Now Some of the companies you call on want to be on the very bleeding edge of change. They will want first mover advantage, and their default position will be to explore what is new, discover whether they believe it will work for them, and then deploy what they believe will produce some competitive advantage.They don’t want the “new” new thing because they chase fads. They want the “new” new things because they want to be the future. These companies aren’t afraid to fail; they’re afraid of missing an opportunity. They accept that some bets don’t pan out, and the few times they win is enough to make this approach pay off.Right behind these companies are a larger group that will follow closely on the heels of the leading edge. They’ll adopt what’s new when they see it being used and when they confirm that the new thing produces results. The people in these companies want proof that something works, and they fear using their limited time, money, and resources for what might be nothing more than a shiny object.They not super cautious, but they may not go first.Many of the companies you call on will only adopt something after it becomes more widely accepted. Imagine a bunch of people sitting together, watching each other to see if anyone else is going to do something before they decide to it. They’re waiting to see that enough other people have adopted something before they adopt it. Sometimes this group wants to believe that they are brave pioneers by going before the rest of the big, middle part of the bell curve, even though they aren’t close to first.A good many of the companies and people you call on are laggards. They aren’t going to adopt anything until they absolutely must. These companies are still using spreadsheets to manage their sales opportunities. The only way they’ll upgrade their software is if the company that makes it discontinues support and makes it obsolete. They will make do with what they have, and they have no problem falling far behind the market, risking their own survival. They are wholly uninterested in changing, and they won’t do so until they are forced to.When what you sell is change, there are people and companies who will step willingly into the unknown, exploring new ideas confidently, always seeking what’s next. It’s their culture.Other companies will be interested, but will need a lot more proof that the change you sell will actually produce the results you promise. They will need a little more time, a lot more information, and some proof before they move forward.The last two categories, those who will adopt when something is already widely accepted and the group who only change when forced to, are not a good place to start with something new—even if it would benefit them greatly, and even if it would prevent existential threats.If what you sell is transformational, you want to start with the people and companies who embrace that level of change.last_img read more

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Amid buzz of early polls, amit Shah to visit Gujarat

first_imgAmidst the buzz of early elections in Gujarat, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah, during his two-day visit to the State next week, will address booth workers of the party and hold a series of crucial meetings with the top leaders, including Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.On March 29, Mr. Shah will address a convention of the party’s booth workers at Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad. Mr. Shah is also likely to attend the Assembly proceedings on March 30 as a BJP MLA.Dr. Harshad Patel, Gujarat BJP media cell convener, said, “Around one lakh booth workers from across the State are expected to be present in the convention.”This will be Mr. Shah’s first visit to his home State after the BJP’s landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand Assembly elections.According to sources in the government, Mr. Shah is expected to have a long meeting with Mr. Rupani and other Ministers, and, subsequently, a large scale bureaucratic reshuffle is likely to be effected in order to gear up the State administration for the Assembly polls.A senior government official said, “There will likely be transfers of district collectors, district development officers (DDOs) and district superintendent of police (SP) in the beginning of April, besides a few changes in the senior bureaucracy as there are many vacancies to be filled in.”Meanwhile, the main Opposition party, the Congress, has launched State-wide preparations assuming that the election will be held in May or June.The party has appointed observers to prepare a panel for each of the 182 Assembly segments in the State.On March 20, the Congress had organised a meeting of ticket aspirants, in which more than 1,500 party leaders showed their inclination to contest the polls.last_img read more

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Life’s a struggle for acquitted Maruti workers

first_imgBrijesh Kumar earned over ₹20,000 per month four years ago at Maruti’s Manesar plant. These days, the 30-year-old works as a cashier. Earning just a few thousand rupees per month, he struggles to make ends meet. His life was never the same after he was arrested along with 147 workers in July 2012 in the Maruti violence case. Acquitted by a trial court along with 116 other accused earlier this month, Brijesh, who belongs to Dausa in Rajasthan, doesn’t know who to blame for his misery. “I was working at the plant about 500 m from the spot where violence broke out, but I was still arrested on charges of murder. I was forced to spend 28 months behind bars. Now that the court has acquitted me, who should I blame for my hardships? I sweated blood for the company for seven years and even got four to five certificates from the management appreciating my dedication. But I lost all in one stroke,” he said. He tried to get a job in Jaipur after being granted bail, but his past always managed to catch up. Brijesh is not alone. Most of those acquitted by the court have similar stories to tell — of stigma and financial hardships.Having failed to find a job, Anil now rears buffaloes for a living. Acquitted by the court, he developed asthma during his stay in jail. However, the court refused bail on medical grounds. Meagre earningAnil now ends up spending a huge chunk of his meagre earnings on medicines. “While my former colleagues are earning handsome wages, I’m struggling to arrange two square meals for my family. Sometimes I end up borrowing money to pay my children’s school fee,” said Anil, who belongs to Sonipat in Haryana.Sumit Nain opened a cloth shop at Garhi Harsaru in Gurugram after he failed to find a job following his release on bail after a four-year jail stint.last_img read more

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Mehbooba advises restraint in Valley

first_imgChief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday asked the security forces to “avoid collateral damage” during anti-militancy operations in J&K. She also urged the security forces to hold special counselling sessions for the youth in the State to “allay their apprehensions and misgivings about the system.”Chairing a meeting of Unified Headquarters, a body represented by all security wings active in the State, in Srinagar’s SKICC, Ms. Mufti called for “improving the public-security force interface”. Bettering tiesMs. Mufti’s thrust to improve public-security forces’ relations come in the wake of viral videos showing security personnel involved in rights violations against students and civilians in Kashmir, especially during the bypolls in Srinagar.She said counselling sessions “will help in allaying apprehensions and misgivings about the system among youth… It would also give the security agencies a chance to reach out to people through community policing,” she added.Back in Srinagar after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Monday, the Chief Minister also directed the security agencies “to exercise restraint while dealing with provocative situations and avoid as well as minimize all collateral damage while conducting operations” against militants.“Wherever restraint was exercised, it helped in maintaining peace and order. The youth unfortunately is caught in the cycle of misinformation. They ought to be won over with a healing touch,” said Ms. Mufti.She said that parents of youth be taken into confidence in case of any complaint. On the spate of cow vigilantism in Jammu, Ms. Mufti asked the security agencies to ensure that inter-community harmony among various sections of society.“Culprits be brought to justice if found spreading hatred against a section of society,” she said.The J&K government on Tuesday decided to suspend the classes work at Government Girls Higher Secondary School (HSS), Kothi Bagh and Sri Pratap Higher Secondary School, near here, on April 26.last_img read more

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Kashmiri youth bowled over by cricket

first_imgIn volatile districts of Kashmir, there is a new buzz word besides ‘growing militancy’ these days: Twenty20 cricket.In its mega effort to reach out to the young population in Kashmir, the State Cricket Academy (SCA) has roped in 3,300 players in 10 districts of the Valley, including militancy-dominated south Kashmir.Engaging the youthAcross the Valley, the SCA, which was set up at the cost of ₹1 crore in May this year under the ‘Khelo India’ programme, has started a major push to engage the youth in cricket in the past two months.“It’s the most popular game here. In the past, there were events organised by the police and the Army but not on this scale. This event is just aimed at institutionalising the game and take it to a new level. We have deliberately kept politics away from it. It’s a reach out also,” Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra Waheed Para, secretary of the Sports Council, told The Hindu.In all 10 districts of the Valley, 22 teams with 15 players each are competing at the district level, and commentary of the matches are broadcast live on social media.“From 22 teams in a particular district, we will identify players who will finally represent these districts. The skill of talented players will further be honed by SCA,” said Mr. Para.The Academy takes pride in roping in “youth form the volatile districts of Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama and Anantnag equally”, where around 200 local militants are still active and making it difficult for the mainstream parties to make any inroads into the youth, who constitutie 60% of the population.“Sports may be a normalising factor. But this attempt is at institutionalising the game to open the way for talented cricketers to play at the much higher professional level,” said Mr. Parra.‘A massive success’Mubashir Hassan, director the SCA, said the Twenty20 tournament has “emerged as a massive success”. “We roped in BCCI-qualified umpires and former Ranji players as coaches. We see cricket talent shifting to a new plane in the next few years,” said Mr. Hassan.For the players, the tournament is a platform to display their talent for the first time in a professional way. “I think sports should be conflict-neutral. For sportsmen, their game is like second religion. One plays a game irrespective of ideology. This is a meeting ground and a space to keep youth saner at times,” said a player in Pulwama.last_img read more

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Congress suffers a jolt in Meghalaya

first_imgEight MLAs in Meghalaya, including five of the ruling Congress, resigned from the Assembly on Friday to join the NDA constituent, National People’s Party. Those who put in their papers are former Deputy Chief Minister Rowell Lyngdoh, Sniawbhalang Dhar, Comingone Ymbon, Prestone Tynsong, and Ngaitlang Dhar of the Congress, Remington Pyngrope of the United Democratic Party and Independents Stephanson Mukhim and Hopeful Bamon, Assembly Principal Secretary Andrew Simons said. With these resignations, the strength of the Congress which comes days after another MLA, PN Syiem, quit the Congress, the number of party MLAs in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly has come down to 24 from 30. However, there is no immediate threat to the Congress government as it is backed by nine Independents, which takes its tally to 33. The term of the current House expires on March 6. The five Congress legislators had earlier rebelled against Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and the party leadership. Four of the five Congress MLAs were part of the State Cabinet and were sacked by the CM for “incompetence.”Mr. Rowell, a veteran Congress leader, later announced that all the eight MLAs, would join the NPP, also an alliance partner of the BJP in the Manipur government, at a rally next week. The NPP, led by Conrad K. Sangma, son of former LS Speaker P.A. Sangma, has two MLAs in Meghalaya at present. With these resignations, the strength of the Congress which comes days after another MLA, PN Syiem, quit the Congress, the number of party MLAs in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly has come down to 24 from 30. However, there is no immediate threat to the Congress government as it has support of nine Independents which takes its tally to 33. The term of the current House expires on March 6.Elections in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura are due early next year. An elated Conrad Sangma said the decision of the five Congress MLAs to resign and join the NPP next week was a big boost for the party.“It is a big boost for the NPP ahead of the elections in the state … We will felicitate their joining the party next week. We welcome their decision and we are confident to form the next government in Meghalaya,” Conrad Sangma told PTI. He said their leaving the Congress and joining the NPP indicates that the party was the only alternative available to the people in the state. The NPP chief said: “More than 10 per cent of the Congress MLAs have resigned. This implies that the leadership under Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has failed.”last_img read more

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Maratha activists vandalise 5-star hotel in Pune

first_imgMaratha activists vandalised the five-star Hyatt hotel in Pune’s Kalyani Nagar area and allegedly assaulted some guests attending a business meet. Incensed that the hotel had allegedly refused to down its shutters during the agitation, a group of 15 to 20 protestors ravaged the conference room on the ground floor and abused guests who were in the midst of lunch after a business meet, Yerwada police said. “We are in the process of registering a complaint,” said police inspector Rajkumar Wagchaure of the Yerwada Police Station. “A group shouting slogans started beating me. They snatched my mobile phone and destroyed it. Initially, the hotel management refused to take my complaint. It was only later when the police arrived to take stock of the situation that the staff acted on my complaint,” said R.K. Mohapatra, a chartered accountant based in Navi Mumbai. “The mob overturned tables where food items were kept and smashed cutlery,” said Arvind Jati, a sales manager with a Belapur-based company, who was present during the incident.Another guest, requesting anonymity, blamed the hotel management and security staff for not taking adequate precautions during the agitation. Hotel authorities, however, said that there was no delay in action on their part, pointing out that the police were immediately notified and that complaints had been promptly acted upon.last_img read more

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11 more Bru families return home

first_imgEfforts to repatriate displaced Brus from camps in Tripura received a boost on Wednesday with 11 families returning home in Mizoram after 21 years.Officials in the two States said more families are expected to accept the rehabilitation package by September 30, the date fixed by the Ministry of Home Affairs.“Our efforts to convince the refugees bore fruit with 11 families, comprising 67 people, leaving the Khakchangpara relief camp at 1 p.m. The Mizoram government provided four buses and a truck to take them back to Mamit district,” said R. Darlong, the magistrate of Panisagar subdivision in North Tripura district.Khakchangpara is one of three camps in Panisagar after ethnic violence forced more than 40,000 Brus – also called Reangs – out of Mizoram. Half the refugees were accommodated in three more camps in North Tripura’s Kanchanpur subdivision.“We are expecting more families to come forward,” Ms. Darlong said.Now the total number of families that have returned to Mizoram is 42. But families supporting the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Coordination Committee have refused to go unless New Delhi improves the rehabilitation package. Their demands include five hectares of land to each refugee family, settlement in a cluster comprising 500 families, ₹4 lakh compensation to each family before repatriation, revision of electoral rolls and identification of 1,000 refugee families allegedly not counted by the State governments involved.last_img read more

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Statement on air strike twisted by media, says Sharad Pawar

first_imgNationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Monday claimed that his statement on destruction of terror camps in Pak Occupied Kashmir using air strike was misconstrued by the media. He also denied having said this.“I did not advise in the all-party meeting, instead all party leaders, including me, had supported the Centre’s position on this issue,” Mr. Pawar said in a statement issued on Monday. As per reports in several Marathi newspapers, Mr. Pawar had said that it was his advise to conduct air strike in Pakistan after Pulwama terror attacks. He said this, according to the reports, while addressing an election campaign rally in Chakan on Sunday. “The central government had called an all-party meeting after the Pulwama terror attack. The meeting unanimously passed a resolution supporting Indian armed forces. I was a part of it,” Mr. Pawar said. The NCP chief added that the entire world knows the strength of Indian armed forces. “Our power was visible for all to see in Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971 and later in the Kargil war. Therefore I am not in favor of discussing how many terrorists were killed in the air strike on terror camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir,” he said, adding that he feels politics should not be played over defence-related issues.“Neither the Prime Minister nor the Defence Minister was present at the meeting. We got to know that the PM was in Maharashtra and campaigning for his party’s candidates,” Mr. Pawar said in Chakan.He said, “On the one hand, Mr. Modi boasts he is the chowkidar (guardian), the country’s security is safe in his hands, and that he has a 56-inch chest. Then, what was he doing in Yavatmal, issuing these statements in the aftermath of the terror strike?”last_img read more

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All polling booths in West Bengal to have central forces from fifth phase

first_imgThe Election Commission of India has decided to deploy Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in all the polling booths during the remaining three phases of elections in West Bengal.In the fifth phase of polls, which is scheduled on May 6, the Commission has decided to deploy highest — 578 company — of central forces for only seven Lok Sabha constituencies in the State. The seven Lok Sabha seats going to polls are Bongaon, Barrackpore, Howrah, Uluberia, Hooghly, Arambagh and Sreerampore.Special police observer for West Bengal Vivek Dubey said that along with bringing 100 % percent polling booths under the cover of CAPF, the commission has limited the role of State police areas outside the polling booths.From putting central forces in 50 % polling booths in the first phase to 100% in the fifth phase, the deployed of CAPF in the polls in West Bengal is a story in itself. Officials involved in the holding elections in the State, said that the only state that can match such a high deployment of central forces is Jammu and Kashmir. The number of polling booths where central forces were deployed increased from 50 % in the first phase to 76 % in the second phase and 92 % in the third phase. In the fourth phases of polls which were held in south Bengal deployment was increased to 98%. In the fifth phase the cover of central forces will be increased to 100 %. Despite the high deployment of forces, stray incidents of violence have been reported in all of the first four phases. There has been no major incident of violence so far, except one in phase three where one person voter died on April 23. Another strategy which was adopted by the Commission was deploy central forces in remote areas while state police was deployed in cities and towns. Not only the political parties in the Opposition, but a section of polling personnel have also demanded that central forces should be deployed in the polling booths of the State. The leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have met officials of ECI both in Kolkata and in Delhi several times demanding central forces in all the polling booths.The Trinamool Congress leadership, including Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been alleging that central forces have been trying to influence voters. “They are asking people to votes for BJP,” she said in the earlier phases.last_img read more

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Baal Sabhas reducing dropout rate in Rajasthan schools

first_imgBaal Sabhas of government schools, which are being organised regularly at public places in the villages across Rajasthan, have turned out to be a successful experiment for raising academic standards and reducing dropout rate of students. The parents’ participation has especially made these events interactive.The latest round of Baal Sabhas was held in the State on Thursday. At the Baal Sabha in Government Higher Secondary School at Sanganer, near Jaipur, Chief Secretary D.B. Gupta said the society at large should play a meaningful role in ensuring qualitative improvement of school education.Mr. Gupta pointed out that the choice of public places for holding Baal Sabhas was aimed at bringing transparency to the drive for improving standard of education and connecting the students with extra-curricular activities. The textbooks should be used for motivating young students to explore more about their subjects, he said.While pointing out that about 86.70 lakh students were studying in 65,000 schools in the State, Mr. Gupta said the Baal Sabhas were giving them opportunities for public speaking and enhancing their confidence level. “The schools should pay attention to retention of students in addition to the increase in enrolments,” he said.Rajasthan School Education Council’s Commissioner Pradeek Kumar Borad said the Baal Sabhas had not only led to an effective participation of local communities in the management of schools, but had also helped improve creativity of students.The results of annual examinations of VI, VII, IX and XI classes were announced at the end of Baal Sabhas across the State and information about the Rajiv Gandhi career portal, launched recently, was provided on the occasion. The health check-up and immunisation camps for students were also organised at several places.last_img read more

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U.S. aging researchers prepare for loss of hungry mouse colony

first_imgThe National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, revealed earlier this month that it will be phasing out its colony of calorie-restricted rodents. Although most researchers who study aging won’t be affected by the decision, some scientists will have to pay substantially more for experimental mice, and some may be priced out of the field.In the 1930s, researchers first noticed that a very low-cal diet prolongs the life of some animals. This regimen, known as calorie restriction (CR), also delays age-related maladies such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. For nearly 20 years, NIA has sponsored a colony of calorie-restricted rodents, which are available only to its grantees. The price was right: Until this year, researchers paid $6 per month of the animal’s age plus shipping. And because of a rule change that went into effect in January 2014, the rodents are now free.Despite the low prices, there isn’t much appetite for the CR mice. Just eight to 10 researchers request animals from the colony each year, says NIA’s Nancy Nadon, chief of the Biological Resources Branch. On 11 June, NIA announced it would not renew the contract with the company that houses the rodents, Charles River Laboratories in Wilmington, Massachusetts. “The way the usage has changed over the last few years,” Nadon says, “it wasn’t the best way to go about using NIA funds.” (She had no estimate of what maintaining the colony costs.)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(*)The decision won’t immediately foreclose researchers’ access to CR mice. New rodents will enter the colony until 2018, so older mice should be available into 2020. And NIA will continue to maintain a separate colony of aged rodents. If NIA-funded researchers desperately need CR animals, Nadon says it might be possible to shift some of those mice to a reduced diet.Few researchers are likely to miss the colony. Most scientists who rely on CR rodents raise them at their own institutions, so “for the majority of researchers, this shutdown will not have any effect,” writes gerontological researcher Valter Longo of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in an e-mail to ScienceInsider. In addition, the colony didn’t produce enough strong science, says Roger McDonald, a physiologist and cell biologist who is about to retire from the University of California, Davis.Still, some researchers will be sad to see the colony go, although they understand NIA’s financial constraints. “I think it’s a valuable and unique resource, and I hate to see it lost,” says physiologist Arlan Richardson of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.Hardest hit will be researchers who can’t raise their own CR animals, or “who are early in their careers or are just starting out in CR research,” says Richard Weindruch, a gerontologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.Vascular physiologist Anthony Donato of the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City agrees. “They are closing down the ability of some young investigators to pursue calorie restriction research,” he says. In large part, that’s because of the often higher cost of raising CR mice yourself. He notes that the NIA animals, which were about 30 months old, cost him about $120 to $130 apiece. But raising them at his university, which Donato now plans to do, will run about $1 per day—and the mice will have to stay on the severe diet for more than 2 years. He can afford the higher cost, but other researchers can’t.Another user of the NIA’s CR colony, nutritional immunologist Elizabeth Gardner of Michigan State University in East Lansing, is also rethinking plans and budgets. She has received the NIA mice since the late 1990s, using them for three or four projects, including for a 2011 paper that showed calorie restriction reduced the animals’ ability to recover from flu shots. Now, Gardner says, she intends to obtain mice from NIA’s aged animal colony and calorically restrict them herself, “but it will be more expensive.”Gerontologist Richard Miller of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, worries that the CR colony shutdown presages shortages at NIA’s colony of aged rodents, which more scientists depend on. Because NIA can no longer charge for the animals, it can’t recoup any of the cost of providing them. “I don’t see how they [NIA] can afford to give away mice that they used to sell,” he says. He’s concerned that NIA will also eventually have to slash the number of aged animals it furnishes.last_img read more

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