Teletherapy, therapy using a web-based platform, is being used across the country and internationally to help address the therapy shortage. Parents and schools are using teletherapy to access skilled therapists in their schools or homes by just a click of a link.DotCom Therapy® is one of the companies that is working to address the shortage and the needs of military schools and families around the country. DotCom Therapy was founded by two Speech-Language Pathologists two years ago and has recently expanded from only providing skilled speech therapy services to also providing occupational therapy and mental health services in schools and homes nationwide. We interviewed Emily Olsen, Licensed Clinical Social Worker for DotCom Therapy, to gain insight on this innovative therapy modality.Describe your current role.I provide individual and group counseling along with mental health services to elementary through high school students in a school district that has a large military family population, and has one of their schools on the army base. What’s your favorite part of your current job? I LOVE working with students. It is so fun to work with a first grader and use my imagination and help her navigate through some of the tough emotions she deals with and then work with a high school student who needs help managing and expressing his anger in a healthy way. It is a special time during their day to step away from their peers and teachers, and just spend time talking and working things out. It is so rewarding!Tell us about experiences you have had working with military families.I often interact with families who have moved a lot, which has helped them to be adaptable, resilient and disciplined. These students often are very self aware, understand the importance of family, and have a strong community network to rely on. How did you come to work with military families?I had my first interaction with military families about 12 years ago when a relative of mine was serving in the Army. I learned during that time how strong these families are. I then went to work professionally with military families in my role as a Social Worker for Dotcom Therapy. It seems that military families have their biological families and then also their extended families of circumstance (being bonded by their involvement with the military). I believe that the support network for military families is unmatched.From your experience, how are military families similar and different from other types of families? How do you change your practice between families? I know that when I see a student who comes from a military family there will be additional challenges that this student will have most likely faced at their young age (i.e., deployment of a loved one, frequent moves to new posts/schools/churches, and uncertainty of their future). I also know that these students will have many strengths including: adaptability, resilience, strong community support, self-awareness, and advanced maturity in some cases. When working with all families, military or civilian, it is important to remember to not enter into the therapeutic relationship with preconceived notions; it is my job to let these families and students teach me about themselves. They have their own unique story, struggles and strengths, and that is where I need to start. As providers, how can we support military parents who are deployed or away frequently due to trainings/school? From my standpoint in my role, I like to communicate with family members however is easiest and works best for them. I am flexible in knowing that communication may not always be easy or consistent due to the work they do, but it does not mean that family members do not want to know how their child is doing. Sometimes you have to think outside the box to keep those communication lines open. The executive Director of DotCom Therapy, Elise Mitchell, a certified speech-language pathologist says this about the use of teletherapy with military schools and families: “By using this remote, encrypted-platform, we are able to efficiently get to these students and pair them with a specialist because location is no longer a barrier. We are able to ensure that military students and families have access to an autism specialist, a bilingual therapist, a therapist who also has a husband in the military and understands that community etc….essentially whatever the school or family needs in their skilled therapist. It is very rewarding to meet the therapy needs of these families who are doing so much for our country.”To learn more about DotCom Therapy, visit www.dotcomtherapy.comThis post was edited by Robyn DiPietro-Wells & Michaelene Ostrosky, PhD, members of the MFLN FD Early Intervention team, which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. thethe
Create a stunning 5.1 surround sound mix in Adobe Premiere. Check out the tips and tricks in the following video tutorial.Audio is paramount to translating a the emotions of a film to its audience, but is often the most overlooked aspect of video production and filmmaking. If you edit in Adobe Premiere, save time by creating your 5.1 surround sound mix in Premiere. Follow the step-by-step example below or jump to the end for the video tutorial.1. Create a new 5.1 SequencePremiere defaults to a stereo sequence, meaning your audio will only be in two channels, left and right. To change this, navigate to New Item>Sequence and a window will pop up.2. Create TracksIn the New Sequence window, click on the ‘Tracks” tab near the top. In the Tracks tab click on the box next to Master and select 5.1.3 tracks will appear below. Hit the “+” button to add 3 more tracks. All of the tracks should have the “Standard” setting selected. Hit “OK” to create your sequence.3. Pan all Channels AccordinglyOrganize and name all 5.1 audio tracks in the audio track mixer tab: Left Front, Middle Front, Right Front, Left Rear, Right Rear and Sub. If you can’t see the audio track mixer in your workspace navigate to Window>Audio Track Mixer. Use the cursor to drag the black dot to the correct speaker. Pan new tracks in-between…experiment! Now you can customize the surround field according to the visuals on film. Dedicating core tracks to each speaker, in addition to multiple automations, will sonically bring life to your film.In the following video tutorial Andrew Devis demonstrates 5.1 surround sound in Adobe Premiere:Want to learn more about 5.1 Surround Mixing with other platforms? Check out these great resources below:5.1 Audio Mixing in AvidSurround Sound Mixing in FCPXHow do you mix 5.1 Surround Sound? Share in the comments below.
These 8 tools are a great way to give your footage digital distortion in After Effects.Adding distortion to your footage is a quick way to make your videos look awesome. In days past, motion designers had to create digital distortion in After Effects by hand, but now there are many helpful tools that we can use to create distortion and each has its own unique advantages. In the following post we’ll breakdown eight ways to create digital distortion in After Effects.1. Digital Distortion Free After Effects TemplateCreated By: RocketStockPrice: FreeYou can create free digital distortion in After Effects using this template from RocketStock. Essentially the template uses a series of compositions to add distortion using only native effects, so you don’t need to install anything. Simply open the free template and drop your footage into the ‘Drop Footage Here’ Composition and your distorted footage will be outputted into a final composition. The free After Effects template can be customized using a series of sliders that adjust various effects like turbulence, color bars, and noise.Here’s a quick demo of the various features in the free AE Template:DOWNLOAD FREE AFTER EFFECTS TEMPLATE2. Dojo Glitch ScriptCreated By: CreativeDojoPrice: Pay what you likeThe CreativeDojo is not only a great place to learn the basics of After Effects, but you can also find a big selection of useful tools that VinhSon has created himself. With this awesome Glitch Script for After Effects, users can easily create customizable glitch effects by simply pressing a button. Simply select your composition and click ‘Generate Glitch’ and AE will create a composition with a control layer which can be adjusted in a similar way to the free RocketStock template. This template is great for creating RGB chromatic aberrations.DOWNLOAD FREE AFTER EFFECTS SCRIPT(Quick Note: While VinhSon is happy to give his glitch script away for free, why not donate a few bucks to help him out?)3. Fractal Noise TechniqueCreated By: Aharon Rabinowitz of Red GiantPrice: FreeThis technique pioneered by Aharon Rabinowitz of Red Giant shows us how to create a distorted glitch box effect using native tools in After Effects. The technique is essentially a combination of the fractal noise effect mixed with a displacement map. It’s a pretty ingenious way to create distortion quickly. The tutorial also features a Red Giant tool called Holomatrix, but we’ll discus more about that below. If you know of any ways to take this distortion technique to the next level please share in the comments below. The following tutorial shows us how this distortion technique is accomplished. 5. TwitchCreated By: Video CopilotPrice: $49When it comes to glitch plugins in After Effects, Twitch is where it all began. Created by Andrew Kramer of Video Copilot, Twitch allows users to create glitch effects with a simple plugin. The glitch effects that you get with Twitch would be categorized as more organic than the others found on this list, but the end result is impressive nonetheless. 4. Stock Footage + Displacement MapTechnique By: GeorgiiouPrice: VariesSometimes it can be easier create a distortion effect in After Effects be simply integrating digital distortion video with your composition. While this technique isn’t super customizable, it is incredibly easy to do. In a similar approach to the previous technique, you could integrate stock footage of a digital distortion with your composition. There are a lot of places to find such footage, like this example video from ShutterStock. Having a wide variety of footage is important if you decide to go that route.This tutorial by Georgiiou shows us how to use this technique to quickly create distorted footage. 6. Holomatrix via Red Giant UniverseCreated By: Red GiantPrice: $99 a YearHolomatrix is a plugin developed by Red Giant used to simulate a hologram-like effect in After Effects. The style created by Holomatrix is more like a futuristic style distortion, but it should do in most circumstances. The cool thing about Holomatrix is it can be simply dragged and dropped onto your layers! No extra steps! Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, this effect can’t be purchased without a subscription to the Red Giant Universe which includes dozens of other great tools and plugins as well. 8. TV Distortion BundleCreated By: RowbytePrice: $149.99The TV Distortion Bundle is another good option if you are looking to create a distorted TV effect in After Effects. The bundle includes Data Glitch, Bad TV, Separate RGB, Dot Pixels, and TV Pixels — all plugin’s that can be easily applied to your footage. The cool thing about the TV Distortion Bundle is the fact that these distortions can work in both After Effects and Premiere. Don’t let the high price-point scare you — these effects are great! Want to learn more about creating distortion effects in After Effects? Check out a few of the following resource:Digital TV ‘Cliff Effect’ Distortion – via Creative CowCool After Effects Tutorial: Distorted Type & Data Glitch – via PremiumBeatFree After Effects Template: Digital Distortion – via RocketStockKnow of any other great distortion tools in After Effects? Share in the comments below. 7. Glitch via Red Giant UniverseCreated By: Red GiantPrice: $99 a YearFor a more TV style glitch, you can use the Glitch plugin developed like Red Giant. Glitch has very similar effect controllers to that of the RocketStock template. However, Red Giant’s Glitch is a plugin that can be used with any layer without opening or importing a separate project. Glitch focuses on colored bar distortion rather than sharp distortions. So if you are looking to get a good ‘signal’ distortion this plugin might be for you. Red Giant offers a free trial of their Universe subscription so you can try these tools before you buy.
From The Man in the High Castle to Happy!, cinematographer Gonzalo Amat shares the who, what, and why behind the production’s creative choices.The Man in the High Castle. Photo by Liane-Hentscher (© Amazon-Studios).PremiumBeat: The Man in the High Castle treads the line between history and fantasy. How did a revisionist view of world events affect the choices you made in lighting, composition, and the desaturated color palette?Gonzalo Amat: It determined those choices one-hundred percent. We were constantly trying to convey the bleakness of an authoritarian world through all those visual choices. As the seasons progressed, we played more with counterpoint, where within the same palette, we made it more of a classic Norman Rockwell world. Sometimes, this would relate to the audience as seeing a version of their ideal past, but with our alternate history.PB: The show debuted prior to the 2016 U.S. election. You could say, thematically, what’s being explored are the values of a fascist society. Has the current political climate affected the creative choices you’ve made behind the lens?GA: As the current political climate has evolved, it has made the show more relevant, and there has been more responsibility behind the choices and how we convey the world in the series. Our deep story has always been about hope and human nature seeking freedom, so those themes gained a lot of strength with all the emerging authoritarian regimes and extreme politics around the world. I would say that the present situation has shaped the visuals of this project, as we see images of victims of these political landscapes that end up affecting how we see the world. On a personal level, I have used those images to try to echo the current situation to the visuals in our story in The Man in the High Castle.The Man in the High Castle. Photo by Liane-Hentscher (© Amazon-Studios).PB: You’re nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (one hour) and an ASC Award for the episode “Jahr Null.” What do you think it was about that particular episode that inspired the nominations?GA: I think it might have to do with the variety of atmospheres that we were able to play with, from a simple scene with two characters saying goodbye because they can’t be together (which was emotional), all the way to a depiction of a dimension travel portal, and how we visualized it through light. I think maybe that range of visual storytelling was, in part, what earned it nominations. From the original script, I knew it would be a great episode because of the variety and the strong emotional content, which is always great to illustrate visually. I also think it’s because on the main set piece of the episode, the audience has been waiting to see what this travel is, and through those scenes we were able to convey something that matched their expectations.Happy! Photo by Syfy (© 2017 Syfy Media LLC).PB: Happy! is a delirious, quirky, noirish action comedy. How did you approach shooting something so totally unique and outrageous?GA: On Happy!, there was the original graphic novel to work off of. So, in a way, there was some guide of what the basic visuals were. But Brian Taylor and Grant Morrison, who wrote the book, wanted to experiment with a lot more color and grittiness than the original novel, so that was the base for our visuals. From there, we looked at a lot of classic night New York movies. With me being from there and frequently exploring the night with my stills camera, it felt very familiar, immediately. Then, there is the delirious element (like you mentioned), which was a lot of fun to illustrate the main character’s state of mind, almost hallucinatory, when Happy! appears.Then, through a mix of gritty realism, and some hyper-stylized camera movement and lighting, the final look emerged. It was fun to experiment with a different style, even though the main concept of both was being visually expressionistic.Carrie Pilby (via The Orchard).PB: Susan Johnson directed the indie comedy, Carrie Pilby. The film was written by Kara Holden and Caren Lissner and produced by a majority of women. That’s pretty unusual to have most of the creative stakeholders be female. Did you find any differences in the working environment or the way you collaborated on the material?GA: Not really. I have worked with a lot of female directors, and I would say that the main difference is that they tend to be more prepared than the male counterparts, being that they are more under scrutiny than male directors. I haven’t found any difference in working with female directors, I think it’s more about the personality of the person and level of experience. That film was very special, and what we achieved — with very little — is great.Gonzalo Amat. (Photo by Lucas-Guardia.)PB: Any advice you’d offer a young cinematographer — creatively and professionally — that you wished you’d known when you first pursued a career?GA: All of this: be patient. This is like a marathon without a finish line. You never really “make it,” so make it more about the process than the result. Talent is not really the determining factor in getting jobs. I know a lot of talented filmmakers that don’t get breaks, so always make the best out of the opportunities that come up. Reputation builds up more than you would think, so make sure you project the image you want to project. Be a team player. A film or TV or commercial project is not about you, it’s about the story or the subject, so make sure you don’t make it about you. Listen to your crew and team; most likely they have been on more sets than you and have seen solutions to common problems. Learn to listen carefully to the director and actors, and ask questions. If you make it about the story, you can’t go wrong. Be grateful and be nice, you get more from people like that.Looking for more industry interviews? Check these out.CGI, 3D Scans and Live Action with the Image Creators at Saddington BaynesGotham Chopra on Following Stephen Curry for Facebook WatchIndustry Interview: DJ Stipsen, DP of “What We Do in the Shadows”Industry Interview: “Whiplash” Production Designer Melanie JonesComposer David Schwartz on VEEP, The Good Place and Arrested Development
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 You can find sales problems by looking into your funnel (or pipeline, if you prefer).Top of the FunnelTop of the funnel problems are easy to identify.If you look at the value of your pipeline and the number doesn’t change from week to week, you are staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.If you test these opportunities by walking through whatever method you use to qualify only to find they fail your tests, you are looking at a very bleak future. Middle of the FunnelIf the middle of the funnel is empty, you really have a top of the funnel problem. You aren’t qualifying real opportunities, or you aren’t gaining the right commitments.Mostly middle of the funnel problems show up as stalled opportunities. If you skip stages of the sales process you can wind up with stalled deals. Almost always what is skipped over is a difficult-to-gain commitment, one that if it had been gained would have moved the opportunity forward.Deals also die in the middle of the funnel when you try to forgo the necessary consensus-building. That’s one way to run a good opportunity right into a ditch. Without consensus, the status quo wins.Bottom of the Funnel ProblemsDeals get stuck here when you are missing consensus, when you haven’t created enough value, when you haven’t effectively addressed risk, when new stakeholders (like purchasing and legal) enter the process, and when you fail to outline and gain agreement on what steps will be taken next.Without a compelling reason to change, deals get stuck at the bottom. Without resolving your dream client’s fears, the risk can keep them from moving forward. A lot of salespeople worry about asking to engage with purchasing or legal, but the sooner you deal with that reality, the sooner you move your deal forward (and the sooner your client gets the benefit of your solution).Your sales funnel reveals the areas of your sales game that you need to improve.QuestionsWhat does your funnel look like? Draw it.What does the shape reveal about how you sell?What problems are common amongst the clustered deals in your pipeline?What needs to change to get things moving?
The very first cold call I ever made, the lucky recipient accused me of reading from a script before hanging up in my face. I was 19 years old. I was reading from a script, and a damn good one. It was the delivery that killed me. But I called him right back and told him that I didn’t need the script to ask him for an appointment, and my audacity won him over (he might have been my first client).A few years later, my territory was the entire city of Los Angeles. I decided to target Century City because there were great targets there. One was Carnival Cruise Lines, but that story is one for another day.The big building where President Ronald Reagan kept his post-Presidency office was there, but the security was pretty tight. I fell in with a group of guys coming back into the building after lunch and pretended I was with them. I skated right past security. Then I started cold calling offices within the building. Apparently that wasn’t allowed. The security guards that received complaints about my sales efforts didn’t have a great sense of humor about me cold calling in the building and told me I was lucky I didn’t get to Reagan’s floor. I am certain the Secret Service would have been even more humorless.As a sales manager, I’ve had prospects call me to tell me to stop my salespeople from calling on them. I would get one or two calls a year when an overzealous rep rubbed a sensitive prospect the wrong way.Here’s the thing, if you’re not rubbing a person the wrong way occasionally, you’re not prospecting. It’s not that you have to be super aggressive or pushy or intolerable when you are prospecting (even though you do have to push for appointments). You aren’t intentionally trying to make people unhappy or damage relationships. It’s that you’re not running into people who are sensitive or not calling the same people frequently enough to get a single complaint. You’re not trying hard enough.If you’ve got the chops to defuse the occasional unhappy recipient of your unexpected call, then it isn’t a problem. If you do happen to rub someone the wrong way, apologize, shrug it off, and make the next call. 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
Youth elopes with girl, relative beaten to death A day after 60-year-old Ghulam Ahmed was beaten to death in Bulandshahr for allegedly helping a relative elope with a girl from a different community, the police on Wednesday arrested three persons in connection with the incident.Those arrested are Hunny Raghav, Pulkit and Lalit but the main accused, Gavender, is still at large.The victim’s son, Vakeel Ahmad, had alleged that members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini were involved, but the police said no link to the Hindu outfit could be established during the interrogation of the arrested men. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP)-Bulandshahr Muniraj G. said 15 teams had been formed and a manhunt launched to nab the other culprits. The police also conducted raids to trace the girl.Also Read According to the police, 19-year-old Yusuf of Sohi village allegedly eloped with a Hindu girl of Fazalpur on April 27.The girl’s family lodged a kidnapping case against Yusuf at the Pahasu police station.Demanding to know the whereabouts of Yusuf and the girl, the assailants dragged Mr. Ahmed from his mango orchard to a secluded spot on Tuesday afternoon and beat him to death.More than 24 hours after he was lynched, tension still prevailed in the area and a huge posse of police personnel has been deployed in and around the village.Fearing further attacks, Mr Ahmed’s family is planning to leave the village for an undisclosed location. “He was killed in broad daylight. We have been receiving threats. We have decided to leave the village to a safer location,” said Mr Ahmed’s daughter-in-law Shakeela.
A year after the West Bengal Assembly passed a resolution to change the name of the State, the Mamata Banerjee government was on Friday compelled to have one name for the State after the Centre rejected the earlier proposal of having three names in three different languages. On August 29, 2016, the Assembly had passed a resolution changing the name of West Bengal to Bengal in English, Bangla in Bengali and Bangal in Hindi.State’s Education Minister and senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Partha Chaterjee told journalists that the issue of change of name was lying with the Centre, which had raised objections about having different names in different languages.“At the Cabinet meeting held today, it was decided that that the name will be Bangla in all the languages,” Mr. Chatterjee said.While the resolution was being debated in the State Assembly in August 2016, certain members of the Opposition, including Leader of the Left Front Legislature Party Sujan Chakraborty, had said that a State cannot have different names for different languages.
Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel has put forward a set of demands before the Congress, including an assurance about reservation for the Patidars in government jobs and educational institutions, as a condition for supporting the party in the Gujarat Assembly polls. Sources in the Congress party said Patel sought a maximum number of tickets for Patidar candidates in constituencies where the community has dominant presence.The 24-year-old spearhead of ‘Patidar Anamat Andolan’, during his talks with Congress’ in-charge for Gujarat Ashok Gehlot on Monday sought greater representation in the party’s organisational set up for politically influential Patels, who hitherto backed the BJP, they said.Mr. Patel, sources said, termed the representation of Patels in the Congress’ organisational structure in Gujarat as “minimal”.The Patidar community leader pitched for constitutional protection to the provision of reservation for them so as to preclude a judicial review. “Had a good meeting with Hardik Patel and his colleagues,” Mr. Gehlot tweeted last night.Mr. Patel, who is not eligible to contest either an Assembly or Lok Sabha election as the minimum age for it is 25 years, also told mediapersons that he had gone to a hotel here to meet Mr. Gehlot, a former Rajasthan chief minister, and present his demands before the Congress party.Alpesh Thakor, a prominent backward class leader and ’Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena convenor’, had joined the Congress in the presence of its vice president Rahul Gandhi on Monday. Roping in Patel’s organisation may further bolster the Congress’ efforts to retake Gujarat from the BJP, which has ruled the State without a break for over 22 years now. Speculation was rife on Monday that Mr. Patel had also met Rahul Gandhi, who was present inside the hotel when he was holding talks with Mr. Gehlot.Mr. Patel, who had denied having met Mr. Gandhi, said on Tuesday that he would meet the Congress leader during his next tour of the State. TV channels aired CCTV footage from outside the 5 star hotel which showed Mr. Patel entering and leaving the hotel. Soon after the footage was released, Mr. Gehlot tweeted that Mr. Patel had come to meet him, and in a series of posts on the microblogging website accused the BJP government of snooping on them.“The rooms which hv been booked in my name are being checked. We are openly saying, we have met them n will keep meeting them in future too,” he said.“Why CCTV footage was taken by IB n police from Hotel? Is the right to privacy, sole proprietorship of JayAmitShah?” Mr. Gehlot said in another tweet.Hardik alleged in a tweet: “BJP is expert in snooping. They used to snoop on Sanjay Joshi (BJP leader) and now they are snooping on me.” The BJP has been calling Mr. Patel an “agent” of the Congress who was trying to “mislead” people of his community. Congress spokesman Manish Doshi said Hardik Patel was told that, if voted to power, a survey would be conducted to provide reservation to the community without touching the 49% quotas for the Scheduled Castes, Schedule Tribes and Other Backward Classes. He said Mr. Patel was also assured that action would be taken against police officials who committed “atrocities” against Patidars during their quota stir in August 2015. Mr. Doshi said an assurance was also made to him that the kin of those who were killed during the agitation will be adequately compensated. Ten people had been killed in police action when the quota stir turned violent.
The Centre’s special envoy on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, on Friday visited Jagti area here, the largest township of displaced Kashmiri Pandits, and met people to understand their problems. He visited several households in the area where people apprised him of their problems, officials said. Mr. Sharma, who visited Srinagar and Jammu earlier this month, will be in the State for the next four days. The officials said that he would also meet people who came from West Pakistan immediately after Partition in 1947 and settled in Jammu. There are nearly three lakh such people. Besides, he will visit camps housing those displaced from their homes in border villages to understand their plight and ensure that they are properly rehabilitated. Mr. Sharma, a former Intelligence Bureau chief, was appointed the Centre’s interlocutor on October 23 to hold talks with all stakeholders in an effort to find lasting peace in parts of Kashmir. Around 60,000 Kashmiri Pandit families migrated in 1990 after the onset of militancy. Of these, 39,000 families based themselves in various camps in Jammu. Mr. Sharma will also visit the “ground zero” of unrest in south Kashmir’s Pulwama and Anantnag districts, they said. The high point of his visit will be his interactions with youths and students in the two districts.
The Congress on Saturday appointed Shillong MP Vincent Pala as working president of the Meghalaya unit in an effort to contain the crisis sparked by the resignation of five party MLAs who joined the BJP ally, the National People’s Party (NPP), ahead of the Assembly elections early next year. On Friday, eight MLAs of the Meghalaya Assembly, including those from the Congress, quit as lawmakers and joined the NPP, a party founded by the former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A. Sangma. The Congress’s strength in the 60-member House has now come down to 24, but the government will survive with the help of nine Independent MLAs.Congress president Rahul Gandhi effected a complete revamp of the Meghalaya unit in less than 24 hours and formed a 13-member election committee. Incumbent Congress chief and former Chief Minister D.D. Lapang was made an adviser and Celestine Lynghdoh was made State Congress chief.But the appointment of Mr. Pala as working president is significant as the Lok Sabha member is known to be a critic of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and the move is seen as an attempt to achieve a balance of power within the Congress. Mr. Sangma’s detractors point out that in a State where Chief Ministers usually change every two years, he completed a full five-year term. And that has made him powerful within the Congress. “The Chief Minister’s brother is a senior Cabinet Minister, his wife is an MLA. Even his son-in-law is a contender for the Lok Sabha ticket,” says one of the detractors who didn’t wish to be quoted.Soon after the Congress MLAs joined the NPP, party chief Conrad Sangma said the move implied the failure of Mr. Mukul Sangma.“There may be personal differences or even differences among tribes. Mr. Mukul Sangma is from the Garo tribe and that may not to the liking of some Khasi leaders. But he is the most progressive leader,” said a Congress functionary who supports the Chief Minister.The term of the Assembly ends in March 2018 and the State is expected to go to the polls along with Tripura and Nagaland. All three are focus States for the BJP, which has ousted the Congress from its strongholds of Assam and Manipur. Congress rebel-turned-BJP leader and Assam’s Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has been made in charge of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) to achieve what the BJP calls a Congress-free northeast. Aware of the BJP’s aggressive plan, the Congress on Saturday announced an election committee and a campaign committee for Nagaland.
Sikkim, one of the cleanest and greenest north-eastern States is keen to not just preserve its forest cover but also forge amity between people and trees.Recently the Government of Sikkim came up with a unique way of preserving trees by encouraging people to forge a relationship of brotherhood or sisterhood with trees through a practice locally known as Mith/Mit or Mitini.A recent notification by the Forests, Environment & Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim titled Sikkim Forest Tree (Amity & Reverence) Rules 2017 states that the “State government shall allow any person to associate with trees standing on his or her private land or on any public land by entering into a Mith/Mit or Mitini relationship.” ‘Own child’The notification also states that a person can also adopt a tree “as if it was his or her own child in which case the tree shall be called an adopted tree.” A third way to forge a relationship with a tree is by “preserving a tree in remembrance of a departed relative in which case the tree shall be called a smriti tree.”In case an individual wants to forge a relationship with a tree which does not stand on his or her land but another’s, the person concerned shall execute an agreement with the owner and compensate him or her in terms of the market value of the timber or the wood contained in the tree.In the second scenario if the person desires to enter into a relationship with a tree located on public land then permission from the said department or agency needs to be taken. Specific formsFor every clause, the Sikkim Forest Department has issued specific forms which a person will have to fill up and submit to the forest authorities. The notification states that after verification the Assistant Conservator of Forests will register the tree in the name of the person concerned.Thomas Chandy, Principal Secretary and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, told The Hindu that the idea behind the notification came from Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling. He said the notification is in consonance with the age-old tradition of promoting amity between man and nature, particularly trees.“Soon after the notification the State went for panchayat polls. We will take up the issue in a major way at the upcoming Paryavaran Mahotsav organised by the Sikkim government,” Mr. Chandy said.As per the Forest Survey of India, 2015 the forest cover of Sikkim is 47.80 % of the State’s total geographical area. Over the past few years the State government has also started an initiative of identifying heritage trees where 21 trees of 25-ft. girth and above and 32 trees of 20-25 ft. girth have been demarcated as heritage trees. The Sikkim Forest Tree (Amity & Reverence) Rules also prohibit felling or damage to any tree registered as Mith/Mit or Mitini, adopted or smriti and points out that any such violation shall be treated as a forest offence.
A day after a 21-year-old Dalit man was reportedly killed for keeping and riding a horse in a village in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat, local police have detained three persons in connection with the murder.However, a senior police official from Bhavnagar said on Saturday, “It is not yet established that the deceased was killed for keeping a horse. There might have been other reasons also. Only after the arrest of those involved and their interrogation can we say what led to his murder.”Pradeep Rathod was killed on Thursday night. His family has alleged that some people from the upper castes had not liked him keeping a horse in the house and had threatened to kill him several times in the past.
Girls outscored boys yet again in the results to the Maharashtra Secondary School Certificate (SSC) or Class 10 announced by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) on Friday.As in the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) or Class 12 results, girls came out on top of boys in the SSC results as well, notching an impressive pass percentage figure of 91.97 and leaving the boys’ group in the shade. The latter category posted a cumulative pass percentage figure of 87.27.This year, the cumulative SSC pass percentage figure of 89.41 was higher than the cumulative pass figure of 88. 47% recorded in 2017.As many as 17,51,353 students had appeared for the three-week long exam process this year, which commenced on March 1 and ended on March 24. It was conducted across nine divisions and 4,657 centers in the State.The Konkan division recorded the ‘highest’ pass percentage in the State among the nine SSC divisions, clocking 96%, while the Nagpur division made it to the last spot with 85.97% of the total number of students managing to pass.The two most populous divisions, Mumbai and Pune, recorded robust pass percentages with Mumbai chalking 90.41% and Pune registering a pass percentage figure of 92.08.The results this time were declared almost a week earlier than the 2017 SSC results, which were out on June 13 last year.Given below are the pass percentages for the nine divisions: Name of DivisionPass%Konkan96Kolhapur93.88Pune 92.08Mumbai90.41Aurangabad88.81Nashik87.42Amravati86.49Latur86.30Nagpur85.97Cumulative pass89.41
Ahead of the Assembly elections in the State, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan governmenthas rolled out its biggest-ever waiver for the poor and labourers.Under the Chief Minister’s Power Bill Surcharge Waiver Scheme, outstanding electricity bill worth ₹5,179 crore would be waived off in July and August and cases of electricity theft registered against defaulters would be withdrawn by the government.“People were not able to get electricity during the tenure of the previous government. We have made arrangements for sufficient electricity supply. The poor suffered from electricity bill arrears more than the monthly bills. The State government has decided that the arrears would be waived off during camps in July and August and they would be given certificates of zero electricity dues,” Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said while presenting such certificates to some beneficiaries at an event held here on Tuesday.According to an official, so far, 16 lakh beneficiaries have been registered for electricity bill waiver scheme. Energy Minister Paras Jain said, “Outstanding bill of ₹5,200 crore is being waived off in the zero electricity bill scheme.” About 81 lakh families will benefit from the scheme, he added.A day ahead of the launch of the scheme, Mr. Chouhan through videoconferencing told his Cabinet members, administrative officials, MLAs and public representatives that under the Saral Bijli Yojana, registered labourers will be given electricity bill at a flat rate of ₹200 per month. Opposition attackQuestioning the timing of the launch of the scheme, ahead of the Assembly polls, the Opposition Congress has asked the Election Commission to look into the matter. “Over 1.8 crore residents have been registered as poor under the Mukhya Mantri Jan Kalyan (Sambal) scheme. The beneficiaries would be given a smart card with the picture of Chouhan (Chief Minister) on it, having a validity of five years even though a new government will be place in a few months. We have requested the EC to order that the cards would not be printed and distributed as it will be another publicity campaign for the Chouhan government and a waste of public money,” Manak Agrawal, media coordinator of the Congress, said.The scheme is seen as a counter to the Congress’s loan-waiver promise to the farmers announced by party president Rahul Gandhi at a rally in Mandsaur in June.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Tuesday said ducks help recycle water and increase oxygen levels in water bodies besides boosting the rural economy.Addressing an inaugural event of a traditional boat race at Rudrasagar, an artificial lake about 50 km from State capital Agartala, he announced that he would distribute 50,000 ducklings of local species to fishermen who live nearby and other villagers across Tripura.“When 50,000 white ducks swim in water, they will look beautiful and increase oxygen levels in the water bodies,” Mr. Deb said. This, he added, will help the fish get more oxygen. He also said droppings of the ducks would make the fish grow faster organically.However experts in Tripura said there is no scientific evidence to attribute the aeration job to swimming ducks, although they agree that movement does aerate water bodies.Mr. Deb also criticised the previous Left Front government for damaging old village culture of rearing ducks and poultry. The CPI(M) quickly reacted and commented that it was expected of Mr. Deb to make outlandish observations. Mr. Deb has been stirring controversies since he became the Chief Minister of the first BJP-led government in Tripura in March. He had a couple of months ago said Indians had access to the internet and artificial satellites during the time of Mahabharata. He had also claimed the Buddha walked over the sea to Japan and Diana Hayden did not deserve her Miss World crown.
The very severe cyclonic storm (Titli) caused heavy to very heavy rainfall in Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri districts of Odisha but no casualties or major damage were reported.As per IMD report, ‘Titli’ crossed north Andhra Pradesh and south coast near Palasa in Srikakulam district to the southwest of Gopalpur in Odisha between 4.30AM to 5.30AM at wee hours of Thursday. Gopalpur experienced wind of 126 kilometers per hour at 4.30AM. At 5.30 AM the wind speed went down to 102 kilometer per hour.This cyclonic storm sustained wind speed of 140-150 kilometers per hour with gusting wind of 165 kilometers per hour during landfall near Palasa.According Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) of Odisha, Bishnupad Sethi, Titli cyclone affected Ganjam, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Gajapati, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore districts of the State. It caused heavy to very heavy rainfall in Ganjam, Gajapati and Puri districts.Some thatched or asbestos houses, street lights as well as road blockage because of falling trees was reported from parts of Ganjam district. But no injury to humans was reported till 9AM. Minor damage to power and communication has been reported from some parts of Ganjam district, official sources said.Around three lakh people were evacuated to safe places in coastal districts of Odisha for the ‘Titli’ cyclone. Around two lakh of them were of vulnerable areas of Ganjam district. One thousand one hundred and twelve relief camps were opened to shelter evacuees. They were also sheltered at 879 multipurpose cyclone shelters. In Ganjam district, 108 pregnant women were shifted to hospitals. In Jagatsinghpur district number of shifted pregnant women was 18.Odisha was well prepared to face the cyclone. As per Mr Sethi, 30 district emergency operation centers were activated to respond to untoward incidents. Three hundred power boats were kept ready with crew. All schools, colleges and anganwadi kendras in the State will remain closed till October 12.Thirteen NDRF teams were deployed in Ganjam (2 teams), Gajapati, Puri (2 teams), Kendrapada, Nayagarh, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Balasore, Jajpur, Khurda and Sambalpur districts. ODRAF teams were deployed in nine districts, Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Cuttack, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Boudh, Kalahandi. Fire services teams were in high alert throughout the State.The situation is being closely monitored at different levels, said Mr Sethi.
An SP, heading the Nagpur unit of Anti-Corruption Bureau, has been booked for sexually harassing a woman constable. According to a police officer, P.R. Patil has been booked for outraging a woman’s modesty, sexual harassment, stalking and criminal intimidation. Officers said the victim approached the Vishakha Committee, a committee for addressing sexual harassment at workplaces based on the Supreme Court’s 1997 judgement, earlier this month. “We verified the statements made by the victim, and after finding substance in them, got an FIR registered with the Nagpur police,” Director General, ACB Sanjay Barve said. The victim in her statement said that Mr. Patil first gave her his private cell phone numbers and then started making voice calls and WhatsApp and video calls to her. “Matters escalated when he started asking her to send him videos of herself while bathing and soon, he would call the victim to his cabin several times a day and try to get close to her. The sustained harassment took its toll on the victim, who confided in her immediate reporting head, a Police Inspector. The PI asked her to lodge a formal complaint, but the victim chose to stay silent at the time fearing adverse repercussions,” an officer said.Mr. Patil meanwhile, allegedly learned about the PI’s suggestion and threatened to take action against both of them. In October this year, Mr. Patil issued an order transferring the victim back to her previous posting on the grounds that she had personal relations with her reporting head. He, however, later revoked the order but used it to further threaten the victim into submission till she and her reporting head ultimately approached the ACB top brass. Based on the ACB’s recommendation, the police registered an FIR against Mr. Patil on Tuesday. The victim also submitted a pen drive containing screenshots of WhatsApp conversations with Mr. Patil. Joint Commissioner of Police (Nagpur) Ravindra Kadam said, “We are verifying the material evidence and the facts in the FIR, after which we will call Mr. Patil for inquries. No arrest has been made so far.”Mr. Barve added that a report has been sent to the State government, and, as the accused is an SP, further action will be decided by the Home Department, .
A Dalit bridegroom visited a Ram temple at a village in Indore district of Madhya Pradesh under police protection on Thursday in the face of an unwritten ‘ban’. Members of upper castes allegedly do not allow the Balais, a Dalit community, to enter the Ram temple at Aurangpura village. The marriage procession of Ajay Malviya (22) was taken out under police protection on Thursday, and security was also provided when he visited the temple, a police officer said. Sub-Divisional Officer of Police Ram Kumar Rai said, “We had made adequate security arrangements for the marriage procession and his temple visit.” There was no untoward incident, he said.Plea to police The Akhil Bhartiya Balai Mahasabha had submitted an application to the Betma police station on Wednesday, alleging that Dalits were not allowed to enter the Ram temple at Aurangpura. It also alleged that caste-based discrimination was prevalent in the village. Alleging that there had been trouble during the marriage procession of another Dalit man in the past, the organisation demanded security for Mr. Malviya’s wedding procession. Dharmendra Malviya (32), the groom’s elder brother, said, “I have not seen in my entire life any person belonging to my community entering the Ram temple. So this time we decided that my younger brother must visit the temple.” He also said that when he rode a horse during his marriage procession in 2009, stones were pelted at them.
The Meghalaya government on Thursday approved setting up of a commission to look into the problems faced by farmers.The State Cabinet approved the proposal made by the Agriculture Department to set up a Farmers’ Commission, in line with the resolution passed at the ‘farmers’ parliament’, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said.The ‘farmers’ parliament’, the first of its kind in the country, was organised here last December and attended by scientists, bureaucrats, apart from farmers, to discuss issues related to the agriculture situation in the State.Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma had then announced setting up a commission to address the concerns of the farming community.Mr. Tynsong also said that the government was planning to observe 2020 as the year of farmers.The State Cabinet also approved a draft policy on persons with disabilities. The policy is based on the national policy for empowerment of persons with disabilities, Mr. Tynsong said, adding that it is about their right to reservations in education and jobs. Talking to reporters, Mr. Tysong also said that Mr. Sangma will meet Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in June to discuss development projects along the inter-State border and find a resolution to the border dispute between the two States. The last meeting between the Chief Ministers of the two States was held on April 1, 2017.