Banking Fees Add Up

first_imgLately there’s a lot in the news about checking accounts and debit card fees. So, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at checking account features.A recent survey by The New York Times found that the average bounced check fee is now $30.83, which is a record. In addition, many banks are abandoning their free checking account option, but may offer accounts that allow customers to avoid fees by maintaining a certain balance or by electing for direct deposit. When shopping for a checking account, watch for account features that should raise “red flags,” such as the inability to link the account with a savings account or overdraft fees on debit card transactions. To help service members avoid excessive fees, encourage clients to ask about the specific features of an account before moving their business to a new bank. The Center for Responsible Lending offers banking and lending resources.However, this guide doesn’t address the recent trend in debit card usage fees. What are you hearing about debit card fees? Bank of America has taken a lot of flack for their $5 debit card fees, but many other banks have already instituted fees or are considering implementing fees in the future.Military-affiliated credit unions often charge fewer fees than standard banks.Fortunately, service members and other consumers have other options. Opening an account with a credit union and smaller community bank is often the first step toward avoiding or reducing banking fees. Regardless of the advantage of avoiding fees, research has shown consumers are often hesitant to change banks because they have become accustomed to how a bank operates, even if they don’t care for the fees associated with services. As more users move to online banking, the thought of switching over all their online accounts may seem like more trouble than it’s worth. However, a closer look at how quickly these fees add up might make it worth the annoyance; like the 3,200 people who decided to become new customers at Navy Federal Credit Union. Earlier this month, the Navy Federal Credit Union reported 3,200 new accounts opened in just one weekend. Many new customers had left behind banks that now charging debit card fees.Are your clients paying these fees or changing financial institutions to avoid fees?Beyond debit card fees, what are the features we need to look for when shopping for a transaction account?What are the features likely to get an account holder into trouble?last_img read more

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Farming Lessons for 21st Century Professionals

first_imgThis is part of the “Hi, AleX” series — advice to AleX NetLit about enhancing her levels of network literacy through day-to-day personal and professional social networking. AleX Netlit is a fictional persona created by Network Literacy Community of Practice to serve as a guide to Military Families Service professionals, Cooperative Extension educators and others seeking to learn more about using online networks in their work.More about Alex NetLit Hi, AleX:In several previous communications, we have used real-life examples to illustrate how online media are changing the workplace.As far back as three decades ago, futurists such as Alvin Toffler warned of the challenges people would face wading through and making sense of all the data being generated by computers and other technological devices.Many professions already are at the front line of these challenges. In fact, a sector of the economy that many people would seldom associate with fast-paced technological change — farming — is undergoing sweeping change. This wrenching change is not only affecting farmers but also a group of professionals long associated with farming — Cooperative Extension agents and other educators.The data generated by technologies such as precision farming is challenging farmers in a way they never expected. There are lessons here for all 21st century professionals.Within the last generation, farmers have increasingly begun to rely on highly sophisticated technological devises, such as yield monitors and light bars — devices attached to their tractors, sprayers and other equipment — to make pinpoint applications of things like fertilizer, insecticides, and herbicides.Why are these pinpoint applications so important? Because these enhanced levels of accuracy not only save farmers money but enable them to become more effective stewards of the land by reducing chemical applications required to grow their crops.But farmers have discovered something else. These technologies generate data, lots and lots of data, much of which they have not even begun to assimilate.Like a growing number of other professions, farming increasingly is about data management, not only collecting and managing the immense amount of data associated with every facet of farming but also determining how all of this interrelates.“Basically, it all boils down to this: How do we take all this agronomic data and process it and, by gaining knowledge from it, make informed farming decisions,” asks Dr. John Fulton, a precision farming expert and Alabama Cooperative Extension System professional who has been on the frontline of efforts to help farmers cope without this new data challenge.“Right now, data management is the challenge — about the biggest challenge we face,” he adds.This pretty much expresses the challenge for Extension professionals.In the past, Extension work was mostly about quickly responding to their farmers’ needs. But this new data issue is challenging them to reassess the ways they interact with their farmers.They’re learning that while quick response is as important as ever, so is the need to help farmers to see the bigger picture— to understand farming not only as a system of interrelated parts but also to anticipate trends before they morph into full-grown crises.This has challenged Extension professionals to become more multidisciplinary in their thinking. Increasingly, their in-service training explores the linkages among all facets of farming, such as insect and weed control and plant and soil science.They’re also developing a keen appreciation for how their work is best served through building strong social media presences among their clients.There is a lesson here for you, AleX, and for legions of other professionals. The flattened knowledge landscape that forms the basis of professional life in the 21st century has also created a special set of opportunities for those professionals astute and enterprising enough to sieze on them.To put it another way, this new information order is crying out for professionals with a special set of skills: people capable of drawing big, overarching pictures of their professions and showing the people they work with and serve how to make sense of all of it.It underscores the value of two skills we’ve discussed on earlier occasions, AleX: aggregation and curation, namely learning how to gather and organize information in ways that your audiences can derive practical use from it.But remember, AleX, this involves more than simply aggregating and curating information.As many Cooperative Extension professionals are learning through experience, the most effective 21st century professionals will be those who learn how to use social media to focus and refine online discussion and, when the need arises, to help correct faulty information. Author: Jim LangcusterThis article was originally published Wednesday July 10, 2013 on the Military Families Learning Network blog.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.last_img read more

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3 Crew Members That Will Maximize Your Production Value

first_imgMany filmmakers assume that achieving high production value is as simple as shooting on the right camera. In reality, it’s got a lot more to do with surrounding yourself with the right team.Top image from B9 Film and MediaWe’ve all seen films that were shot on great cinema cameras (like the RED DRAGON or ARRI ALEXA) but clearly still didn’t have much production value to them. At the same time, there have been films shot on DSLRs or consumer level cameras that have had a tremendous amount of production value simply as a result of the efforts of the crew members. In my opinion, your crew is the greatest factor to consider for increasing production value. These three team members arguably matter most when it comes down to translating your vision to the screen:1. Production DesignerImage from Anya KordeckiToo many indie films don’t hire a production designer because of their limited budgets, and it shows big time. I’ve seen countless productions opt to rent an ALEXA over hiring the necessary crew for their shoot, and it’s the film that suffers most in the end.A great production designer can make your film look and feel like a million bucks, no matter what format you’re shooting on. By leveraging their understanding of color, wardrobe, locations, and countless other elements – they can increase your production value immensely without necessarily breaking your budget.This short from PBS Digital, The Importance of Production Design, takes a look at a few films from Wes Anderson and Danny Boyle. 2. Director of PhotographyImage from IMDbSimply put: I’d rather have an experienced DP shoot my film on a DSLR, than have an inexperienced DP shoot my film on an ALEXA. While the camera choice doesn’t matter, a DP’s experience definitely does.In a best case scenario, you’ve got both a high-end cinema camera and a talented DP on your crew. But if the budget only permits for one of the two, go with the DP every time. The great lighting, composition, and camera movement that a solid DP brings to the table will come across far better on camera than an extra stop of dynamic range or some added resolution.3. Location AudioImage from Location CrewWe’ve all heard it a thousand times – audio is 50% of your finished film, yet so many of us remain stingy in this department.Never underestimate the complexity of capturing great location audio, as poor audio is something that your audience (and potential distributors) will never see past or forgive. Whatever it takes, find a place in your budget to hire the best location audio recordist you can afford. That way, throughout production, your mind will be at ease knowing you’re in good hands.Here are a few tips for nailing great audio from Film Riot’s Ryan Connolly.How do you flesh out your crew? Who are the unsung heroes that you can’t live without? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!last_img read more

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Using Minecraft for Pre-Visualization

first_imgThe director of Free Fire used the mega-popular Minecraft to pre-visualize his ’70s-throwback, shoot-em-up classic.Top image via Wired.Ben Wheatley knows how to work with an extremely tight schedule and budget. And he knows how to take advantage of tools like Minecraft to do it. His recent film Free Fire takes place entirely in one location: a warehouse. The film is basically one long gun fight that needed extensive planning, staging, and rehearsals for the actors and the camera crew. With an estimated 10 million dollar budget that had to cover heavy stunt work, special effects, and the stacked A-list cast, Wheatley had to get creative with his filmmaking resources to deliver upon his unique pitch.Using MinecraftGiven the nature of the film, Wheatley needed to know the exact dimensions of the set in relation to the characters in a more detailed manner than he did on other films. So, instead of using some of the more expensive programs available like Cinema 4D or FrameForge, or hiring trained pre-viz artists, Wheatley went to the world of Minecraft, a cheap and ingenious solution to the problem.In an interview with Birth.Movies.Death., Wheatley detailed how the game not only helped his understanding of the environment but also gave the producers and the DP a sense of what he was going for.You can just build a crude version of what you want to see using the pillars and mapping functions. You can build it quite quickly and then just walk around inside of this manufactured space to get a feel for it. I shared that with a few other crew members – [cinematographer] Laurie Rose and [Production Designer] Paki Smith – so that they can see what we were trying to build.Image via A24.Wheatley realized the significance not only of the spatial whereabouts of his characters but also of the timing and hyper-specific pacing his screenplay required.This film more than any other film is really dependent on making sure the proportions of the set are right. Because if you do it wrong then suddenly halfway through the movie the characters are too close to each other and then the film doesn’t work anymore.This filmmaking prowess is not only admirable but also practical, given the single location of the shoot. As far as pre-production goes in general, storyboarding can only tell you so much before you see the ins and outs of the set in an easy-to-use, three-dimensional approach such as this. Here’s what the pre-viz ended up looking like in Minecraft.Image via WiredNew to Minecraft? Not sure where to start? Here’s a tutorial on building a house in the vast world-building game.Even films as large as Star Wars make use of existing products to plan and map out their shots. For example, Rogue One allowed some of the VFX team to view the shots prior to filming (with a little help from ILM) that was essentially an iPad with a Vive controller stuck on the back.Pre-production is a variable process based on the size of your production and requires more planning and money the bigger your film gets. However, Wheatley’s Free Fire is a living example of how budgetary limitations should never stop you from fully planning out and realizing your vision.What are some pre-visualization tricks you’ve used in the past? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

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Why the Negative Connotation Around Sales Is No Longer True?

first_imgFor reasons I don’t understand, the word “sales” still carries a lot of baggage. When I taught at Capital University, I would ask the students to describe salespeople. We would fill up a whiteboard with words like: “pushy,” “selfish,” “aggressive,” persuasive,” “slimy,” and “slick.” They always came up with more words than this sampling, but it’s enough for you to get the picture that they didn’t have a very positive view of sales—or salespeople.Once we had enough words on the board, I would ask the students to raise their hand if they had a parent in sales, particularly their mother. There were always three or four students with a parent in sales, and one or two were a student’s Mother. Then I asked them why their Mother was all of these terrible things and how they could possibly live with such a monster. The students would laugh and argue that their Mom was the exact opposite of the words on the whiteboard.There are few things worth noting here as it pertains to the word “sales” and the stereotypical salesperson that point to the disconnect of how sales is perceived and how different salespeople are from the stereotype.Salespeople are paid for winning. They do not get paid for losing. This is unlike any other role in business, where one is paid no matter what. All of the roles in business are important and necessary, but salespeople have more skin in the game. Losing is expensive. You give up time and energy without getting anything for your effort. Which leads us to the reason salespeople are no longer the wicked brutes of yesteryear.Because variable compensation structures allow a company to offer higher compensation to people who produce a greater result, the words that describe the stereotype would cause a salesperson to lose deals now. No one has to buy from a pushy, aggressive, high pressure, slick salesperson. These behaviors would almost invariably produce a loss in B2B sales, making them ineffective as a choice one might make were they trying to create a preference to buy from them.There are very few salespeople who have been taught high-pressure sales tactics over the last few decades, even if there are still some who behave badly. But they are the exception, not the rule. In the future, the negative connotation will not be that a salesperson used high-pressure tactics to try to win a sale, but that they didn’t know anything and wasted their prospective client’s time. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

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Union Minister accused of ‘insulting’ Tripura

first_imgThe Trinamool Congress (TMC) has accused Minister of State in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, of insulting the people of Tripura by cancelling an appointment with its MLAs in New Delhi.The meeting was slated for March 17 after the party repeatedly approached the PMO to complain to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about alleged chit fund scams and rampant corruption in government circles of the State.Six TMC MLAs, led by State president Ashis Kumar Saha, flew to the national capital on March 16 and hanged around for four days waiting for a response from the office of the MoS. “We spent money and time on the meeting only after we received an invitation from the office of Jitendra Singh,” Mr. Saha told newsmen on Tuesday.‘Chit fund scams’He said the appointment had been fixed to brief Mr. Modi about “about huge scams of chit fund companies and corruption let loose by CPI(M)-led government”. “We wanted to submit evidence to the Prime Minister about the chit fund menace and relentless corruption in the State. We now realise that the BJP is reluctant to hear voices of dissent, owing to a nexus with the CPI(M),” Mr. Saha said.The party also blamed the BJP for keeping the Centre out of Tripura. “The acts of the BJP are very suspicious as the party never took up agitation programmes on corruption issues,” Mr Saha said.last_img read more

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Governor asks Panjab univ to review fee hike

first_imgAn indefinite hunger strike against fee hike at Panjab University, by members of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), entered the 11th day here on Friday. NSUI leader Manoj Lubana said they would soon meet Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh and Governor V.P.Singh Badnore over the issue. “We want the university to immediately withdraw the fee hike order. We will meet Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh and Governor V. P. Singh Badnore to chalk out a solution and to seek proper funding for the university.”(According to PTI, Mr. Badnore on Friday asked Panjab University (PU) to review in a “holistic manner” all issues including the fee hike, over which students had clashed with the police on the campus)The NSUI has also broken away from the Joint Student Action Committee (JSAC), which was formed by the students’ unions on the campus to press for a rollback of the decision.“The NSUI has separated from the JSAC owing to its modus operandi which borders on a political gimmick,” said Mr. Lubana.The JSAC now includes members of the Panjab University Students’ Union, Students’ Front, and Students’ Organisation of India. Other students’ body at the university, including Students For Society and Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad, did not join the committee.On Tuesday, a protest organised on the campus against fee hike turned violent after the students and the police clashed. Twenty-two policemen were injured, while 52 students were arrested on charges of rioting and damage to public property.Renewed stirThe Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC), meanwhile, intends to resume its agitation if the fee hike order is not withdrawn.last_img read more

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Punjab education board chairman asked to quit after poor exam results

first_imgPinning responsibility for the “shockingly poor” Class X board exam results on the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday ordered its department chairman to resign.This will pave way for a major overhaul of the school education system in the state, an official spokesman said.The chief minister’s directive was communicated to PSEB chairman Balbir Singh Dhol by Education Minister Aruna Chaudhry, who obtained the resignation which was immediately accepted, he said.The interim charge of the PSEB has been handed over to additional chief secretary (ACS, school education) and a search committee has been ordered to be set up to find a new chairperson in the next 30 days, he added.The shake-up in PSEB came two days after the Chief Minister sought a report from the Education Minister on the atrociously poor Class X results in the State.Pointing out that Mr. Singh had taken serious view of the poor Class X Board exam results, the spokesman said the Chief Minister has made it clear that he would not tolerate any further laxity in the matter of improving and upgrading the school education system.last_img read more

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Final solution to ULFA demands very soon: Rijiju

first_imgUnion minister Kiren Rijiju said on Saturday most of the demands of the pro-talk faction of the ULFA are “worth considering” and a final solution is expected “very soon“.“The peace talk with the Arabinda Rajkhowa faction of the ULFA is going on very well and with confidence. We genuinely feel that maximum demands by the pro-talk Arabinda Rajkhowa faction are worth considering,” the minister of state for home affairs told reporters here.He, however declined to comment on details, but said “I can only say that we are giving a serious consideration to their demands for a final solution very soon“.When asked about when the solution can be expected, he said “we cannot give any time line.Asked specifically whether the ULFA’s prime demand for sovereignty of Assam is negotiated during the talks, Rijiju said “there is no question of sovereignty at all. If sovereignty, there cannot be any talk. The talk is within the framework of the Indian Constitution“.“I am not even mandated to speak anything which is beyond the Indian Constitution,” he said.last_img read more

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Darjeeling shutdown to continue as ‘all-party’ meeting rejects State government’s talks offer

first_imgMamata asks concerned parties to attend all-party meeting An “all-party” meeting held in Darjeeling on Tuesday to discuss the Gorkhaland issue failed to offer any relief to the crisis in the hills. It was decided to continue with the indefinite shutdown, which has forced almost all the tourists to leave the town in West Bengal.The Hindu correspondent Vijaita Singh reports from New Delhi that even as the Gorkha parties’ meeting was on, the State government told the Centre that several cases had been registered against the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) for instigating violence in Darjeeling.The “all-party” meeting put the onus of restoration of normality on the State government. It said that none of the participant parties would take part in talks scheduled by the government for June 22 in Siliguri.They also unanimously decided that the GJM would withdraw from the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, an elected body for the Darjeeling hills formed after the 2011 tripartite agreement. To take forward Gorkhaland demand, the meeting decided to form an all-India forum, details of which will be decided at their next meeting on June 24.   The meeting at the Darjeeling Gymkhana Club was attended by 14 representatives of various political parties and social organisations, including the GJM, Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists, Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha and the Gorkha Rashtriya Nirman Mancha. BJP MP absentThe GJM and other political parties in the hills have described the absence of Darjeeling BJP MP S.S. Ahluwalia at the time of the ongoing crisis as “unfortunate”.“On both occasions, the BJP has given its assurance that the party will sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long-standing demand of the people of Darjeeling Terai and Dooars,” Mr. Chettri said.Representatives of the GNLF and the JAP said it was time the BJP made its stand clear on the Gorkhaland issue. Security personnel patrol a road during GJM strike in Darjeeling  | Photo Credit: PTI  The hills witnessed a near total shutdown on June 19 due to the indefinite strike.’Setback to economy’Former GJM MLA and president of the Jan Andolan party (JAP) Harka Bahadur Chettri said, “The demand for Gorkhaland is a democratic demand and the movement for it has to be democratic. By enforcing shutdown, we are crippling the economy of the hills.”West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who left for the Netherlands during the day, called for peace in the hills. “Instead of playing with fire, try to safeguard peace. Solutions through meetings and dialogues can happen only if peace is maintained,” she said.GJM president Bimal Guru, who attended the funeral of the deceased in Saturday’s firing, said the movement in the hills would intensify. He blamed the Chief Minister for the violence.Also Readlast_img read more

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Two soldiers injured as Pak. violates ceasefire

first_imgTwo soldiers were on Sunday injured as Pakistan opened fire at forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Balakote sector of Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army said.Troops guarding the border retaliated and the exchange of fire between the two sides lasted for nearly 30 minutes.A defence spokesman told PTI that Pakistani troops opened fire and shelled forward posts along the LoC in Bhimber Gali area of Balakote sector around 0300 hours, resulting in splinter injuries to two jawans.Hundreds of border dwellers have been forced to flee their homes due to the Pakistani firing and shelling and take shelter at camps set up by the government.Incidents of ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops have increased sharply this year.Till August 1, there have been 285 such violations by the Pakistan Army, while in 2016, the number was significantly less at 228 for the entire year, according to figures by the Indian Army.last_img read more

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Sundarbans mangroves struggle to find new ground

first_imgThe India State of Forest Report (SFR) 2017 published recently has revealed that the mangrove cover in the country has increased by 181 sq km. But the Indian Sunderbans that comprise almost 43% of total mangrove cover have shown only a marginal rise of 8 sq km, at 2,114 sq km from 2,106 sq km in the 2015 SFR report.This is in spite of large scale planting of mangroves by the State Forest department and NGOs over many years. The latest figures raise the question of whether enhanced human pressures on the only mangrove forest that harbours a healthy tiger population is affecting the ecosystem.Unlike the rest of the country, large areas of mangrove forest in the Indian Sunderbans fall under Sunderban Tiger Reserve where human activities are prohibited. The Indian part of Sunderbans covers 4,263 sq km out of which 2,584 sq km is core and buffer area of the tiger reserve.  The species diversity of halophytes of Indian Sunderbans is recorded as 71 mangrove associates, 30 back mangroves, six species of epiphytes and parasites, 23 grass and sedges, four ferns and 12 herbaceous plants.Mangroves are classified as plants having salt tolerance mechanisms like salt glands, aerial roots in the form of pneumatophores and viviparous germination (germinating before detaching from parent).They grow mostly in the inter-tidal spaces and are dispersed by water buyout propagules (seeds or spores).There are several prominent mangrove specis.Heritiera fomes or Sundari trees from which the Sundarbans draws its name, has a very restricted distribution in South Asia and is classified as Endangered in the IUCN Red list.The publication lists five species of mangroves whose status, as per the IUCN Red List, ranges from Near Threatened to Critically Endangered. Sonneratia griffithii, one of the tallest trees of the Sunderbans referred to as Keora by locals is critically endangered while Ceriops decandra (Goran) is Near Threatened. C. decandra and Avicennia (locally known as Bain) are gathered in violation of law for supplementing fuel wood requirements by the residents.Species like Xylocarpus granatum, which has a traditional medicinal use in treatment of cholera, diarrhoea and fever is also one of the species which faces threat due to illegal felling.Among the many associates of mangrove, which grow as climbers and shrubs, some are used for firewood. The other category of flora, back mangroves, are not found in inter-tidal areas colonised by true mangroves. Excoecaria agallocha, commonly called Goria found towards the mainland along the small canal is one common example.Among the salt marshes of Sunderbans, Sesuvium portulacastrum, with thick, fleshy leaves borne on succulent, reddish-green stems is a pioneer species. Salt marshes are found hosting the mangrove fern Acrostichum aureum.Orchids disappearThe WWF publication points that among the twelve orchid species reported in the past from Sunderbans, most can no longer to found.Climate change is being attributed to the decline of mangrove species worldwide and the authors emphasise the importance of involving the local population in conservation, keeping in mind the limited livelihood options and the extreme climate events that they have to grapple with.The population density of the Indian Sunderbans outside the Tiger Reserve area is 1,000 people per sq km, and there is high malnourishment reported from here.Ajanta Dey, joint secretary of Nature Environment and Wildlife Society, an NGOworking for mangrove conservation, said that over the past few years 4,000 hectares of mangroves were planted by the organisation in the Sunderbans.Cleared for fisheriesMs. Dey said illegal clearing of forests for fisheries has turned out to be a major issue over the past few years.She said that large areas in North 24 Parganas have been cleared for fisheries, and as per the report, only 26 sq km of mangroves remain there. South 24 Parganas district which has the highest mangrove area of 2,084 sq km has only shown an increase of 7 sq km.Nationally, the SFR 2017 report estimates the maximum increase of mangrove cover from three States, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.While the maximum increase of 82 sq km has been recorded in Maharashtra, where Thane district alone has witnessed an increase of 31 sq km, Raigarh has 29 sq km and Mumbai Suburban, 16 sq km.Andhra Pradesh has seen a rise of 37 sq km in the SFR survey, done every two years, with districts like Guntur and Krishna contributing the most.Gujarat’s tally rose by 33 sq km in Bhavnagar, Junagarh, Kutch and Jamnagar districts.In all three states, the increase has been attributed to plantation and regeneration.Tamil Nadu found an increase of 2 sq km of mangroves, taking the extent of such forests to 49 sq km, as recorded in the FSR report.Among the striking features of Tamil Nadu’s efforts is that Nagapattinam district recorded a decrease of 16 sq km while Tiruvarur district posted a rise of 16 sq km.Districts like Cuddalore, Pudukkottai and Thoothukudi also have recorded a small increase of 1 sq km of mangrove cover each, compared to 2015.Ramanathapuram district found its cover decreasing by one sq km. Ceriops. Sesuvium portulucastrum  A detailed understanding of the threat to the mangroves of Indian Sunderbans has been highlighted in a ‘State of Art Report on Biodiversity in Indian Sundarbans’ published by World Wide Fund for Nature, India (WWF).The publication reveals that along with climate change, the mangroves are threatened by habitat degradation due to industrial pollution and human disturbance, fuel-wood collection and lack of any high elevation spaces for the mangrove species to regenerate and thrive.The report states that it is a matter of concern that if the present rates of change prevail, the Sundarbans mangroves could disappear as the sea level rises. This is because the forest’s natural response to retreat further inland is blocked by geographical features and man-made obstructions.Experts like former director of Sundarban Tiger Reserve and a specialist in mangrove conservation, Subrat Mukherjee, and botanists like P. Venu, Neera Sen Sarkar and Anirban Saha who have authored the chapter on Mangroves & Associated Flora put the number of mangrove and associated flora species in the region at 180.  New mangrove areasThe authors have suggested a “rehabilitation of former mangrove areas and creation of new mangrove habitations through intensified afforestation programmes.”Ratul Saha of the WWF, one of the authors of the publication, pointed out that the threat to each mangrove species varies in magnitude and it is important to fill these knowledge gaps through more research.Of the 180 mangrove and associated species or halophytes (plants adapted to growing in saline conditions), 34 are true mangroves, of which 19 are major mangroves and 15, minor mangroves. Heritiera fomeslast_img read more

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Sena blames it on BJP

first_imgThe Shiv Sena on Wednesday accused the BJP of being solely responsible for the current political crisis in Goa.In an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamana, the Sena alleged that the BJP’s ruling allies — Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Goa Forward Party (GFP) — were trying to destabilise the government by vying for top posts in the State. It said that Mr. Parrikar could have retired with dignity, but the BJP did not have a clean leader in Goa now.last_img

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Yechury condemns RNI cancelling registration of CPI(M) mouthpiece in Tripura

first_imgFor the first time since it became a daily in 1979, the Daily Desher Katha — the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the second largest circulated daily in Tripura — was off the stands on Tuesday.Reason: hours after the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) issued the certificate of registration for the daily, it was withdrawn at 10 p.m. on Monday based on inputs from the State administration.The RNI order, signed by Additional Press Registrar K. Satish Nambudiripad, said the certificate was withdrawn after the sub-divisional magistrate of Sadar West, Tripura, cancelled the “authentication as recorded by him over the declaration made in Form 1.”Change in ownershipShyamal Debnath, an RTI activist, had in May complained to District Magistrate Sandeep Mahatme saying that the daily had changed its ownership without informing the RNI. He said that the print line used to read ‘Published by Tripura State Committee of CPI(M)’. But in March, before the Assembly election result, the print line changed to ‘Published by Daily Desher Katha Trust’ from its office in Agartala’s Melarmath locality.CPI(M) central committee member and former Editor of the daily Gautam Das, however, claimed that the administration had been informed about changes in ownership at every stage.’Highly condemnable’“This is highly commendable and autocratic decision of BJP-led Tripura government. This is suppression of democracy,” CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury told The Hindu.The CPI(M) will be holding a protest against this decision.The party has been consistently flagging the violence inflicted on its cadres allegedly by right wing activists in Tripura. In a recent Polit Bureau meeting held on September 26 too, the party had raised the issue.last_img read more

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M.P. govt. rolls out 100-day job guarantee scheme for youth

first_imgThe Congress government in Madhya Pradesh on Friday rolled out its flagship ‘Mukhyamantri Yuva Swabhiman Yojana’ that guarantees 100 days of employment every year to urban youth from economically weaker sections. The scheme, as part of which youth would be imparted skill development training, was launched by Chief Minister Kamal Nath here.‘New road map’ “We are preparing a new road map for development for better future of the State, under which steps will be taken to ensure development of agriculture and employment to youths,” he said after the launch. In less than two months after coming to power, the new government has waived loans of farmers for strengthening agriculture. For providing employment to youths, the Mukhyamantri Yuva Swabhiman Yojana has been launched, Mr. Nath said. “The major challenge before us is to initiate wider reforms in the agriculture sector as we have an agrarian economy. If we are unable to give adequate price to farmers for their produce, then our economy will not improve,” he said. The Chief Minister added that if the purchasing power of farmers does not increase, it will have a negative impact on the commercial activities and ultimately the State will suffer in terms of overall development. “In order to strengthen the farmers, we are initiating the process of waiving their loans by handing over relevant documents to them from today.‘Major challenge’ “Another major challenge is providing employment to youths. Under the new scheme, they will get ₹4,000 stipend per month during 100 days of period. During this period, they would be given skill development training, so that they become independent,” Mr. Nath said. An official said, each youth enrolled under the scheme will get total ₹13,500 for the 100 days period.last_img read more

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SBSP to take call on alliance with BJP tomorrow

first_imgThe Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party will hold a meeting on Monday to decide whether to continue its alliance with the BJP for the general election. “An important meeting of party workers has been convened in Lucknow on April 1 in which the strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha election and continuation in the government will be finalised,” SBSP general secretary Arun Rajbhar said on Saturday. Suggestions of the party workers will be taken on these important issues, after which a final decision will be taken, said Mr. Rajbhar, who is the son of Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Minister Om Prakash Rajbhar.Mr. Rajbhar said that the BJP was ‘overconfident’ about returning to power at the Centre, adding that it would get a reality check after the election results were out.People’s support The SBSP leader claimed that the popularity and people’s support to the SBSP was much more than the Nishad Party, citing the votes polled by the two parties in the previous elections. Earlier, the SBSP had said it was making preparations to contest 53 Lok Sabha seats on its own.last_img read more

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ScienceShot: Massive Undersea Volcano Is World’s Largest

first_imgA broad, 4-kilometer-tall feature on the seafloor about 1500 kilometers east of Japan is the world’s largest volcano, a new analysis suggests. At its tallest point, Tamu Massif (at lower left and center in main image; oblique view in inset) lies more than 2 km below the ocean’s surface. Unlike most volcanic seamounts, which are steep and typically no more than a few tens of kilometers across, the gently sloping Tamu Massif covers 310,000 square kilometers—about the same as the British Isles, or the base of Mars’s Olympus Mons, the solar system’s largest known volcano. (Its base is shown in dark purple at lower right, for comparison.) The massif’s slopes are exceptionally shallow, often less than 1°, thanks to lava that flowed freely before hardening. Researchers think the Tamu Massif is a single volcano because rock samples (labeled dots) have similar chemistry, and seismic surveys show that broad layers of rock emanate from the center of the feature. Today, Tamu Massif sits far from the edge of the Pacific tectonic plate and is presumed dead, but 145 million years ago the caldera plumbed the intersection of three tectonic plates, the researchers note today in Nature Geoscience. They haven’t finished dating rock samples drilled from the peak, but it’s possible that the entire seamount could have been formed in a million years or less.See more ScienceShots.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(*)last_img read more

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ScienceShot: New Stem Cells a Genetic Match for Adults

first_imgReplacement tissue that avoids rejection by a patient’s immune system is a step closer to the clinic, as researchers have created human embryonic stem cells carrying the DNA of specific adults. Theoretically, such stem cells can form any of the body’s cell types and could be used in new treatments for Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cardiac disease, and spinal cord injuries. Researchers reported creating the stem cells using skin cells from one 35-year-old male and one 75-year-old male online yesterday in Cell Stem Cell. The scientists built on the work of a team led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Mitalipov’s group removed the DNA-containing nucleus from human eggs and replaced it with skin cells from infants and fetuses, a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). SCNT was used to clone Dolly the sheep in 1996. Rather than clone humans, researchers take the early stage embryos that result from SCNT and then derive stem cells (pictured above, fluorescently tagged red). The Mitalipov group was the first to get SCNT to work in humans, as they reported in Cell in 2013. But they used donor cells from fetuses and infants. The new study’s team showed that with minor tweaks, the technique works for adults.See more ScienceShots.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(*)last_img read more

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Euroskeptic Surge Rocks E.U. Elections

first_imgLast week’s European elections have seen an unprecedented surge of parties that want to cut back on the union’s powers—prompting fears that pan-European research policies could be slowed down.According to the latest official estimates today, the biggest winners of the elections are extremist parties with an anti-immigration, anti-E.U. stance. This includes the U.K. Independence Party, which has pledged to pull the country out of the European bloc, and France’s far-right National Front, which scooped 25% of the country’s votes, relegating the ruling socialist party to third place.These parties will remain a minority in the European Parliament, however. The center-right European People’s Party (EPP) won 28.36% of the Parliament’s seats, down from 35.77% in the outgoing chamber. Despite this drop, it remains the largest political group in the Parliament ahead of the social-democrats (S&D, who appear stable with about 25% of seats), followed by pro-European liberals, and greens.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(*)While E.U. research funding programs make up an ever-growing part of the bloc’s budget, R&D policy largely remains the turf of individual governments—and Eurocritics will certainly prefer to keep it that way. Efforts to make the union’s research policies more cohesive, for example through joint science programs where several countries share funding pots and priorities, have remained noncompulsory, complex, and slow to pick up steam.“A greater number of Europhobic members … in the European Parliament would certainly have negative consequences on the idea to turn scientific research and innovation into a great European policy, as we have done for agriculture,” says Jean-Pierre Audy, an EPP parliamentarian from France who lost his seat in this election.A political adviser in the Parliament specializing in research issues, who prefers not to be named, agrees with Audy. “For a while we’ve been promised [legally-binding measures] to complete the European Research Area. These things may be even more difficult to push forward” in the future, she says.On a more positive note, observers say the threat to science policies is limited. In the Parliament, decisions are reached through a consensus among parties, and research is an area where members of Parliament (MEPs) are remarkably united across the political spectrum. (For the sake of science, even the National Front makes exceptions to its plea to curb immigration: On its website, the party pledges to “attract the best foreign researchers [to France] through an ultra-selective immigration policy.”)“The groups have different political objectives about what we should fund and how, but they are united” to defend research funds during budget negotiations with the member states, the adviser says. However, that’s often not enough to protect the science budget entirely from cost-conscious member states, and the European Union’s R&D funds could be squeezed in political “horse trading,” says a research lobbyist in Belgium.Audy says the most important research files on the MEPs’ desks will be the midterm review of Horizon 2020, the bloc’s 7-year research program, in 2017, and the review of the European Union’s budget for 2014 to 2020, scheduled for 2016. Both processes are unlikely to cause big changes, write the leaders of Euroscience, a grassroots association of researchers, in a statement released on 16 May. But this doesn’t mean parliamentarians should sit back for the next 5 years, they add: The Parliament should challenge the European Commission to push governments to invest more in research and innovation, in particular in southern and Eastern European countries that have suffered most from the economic crisis.The exact balance of power in the incoming Parliament is still uncertain. Before the chamber’s first plenary session in July, MEPs from different countries will form groups according to their political affinities. (At the time of writing, 64 MEPs were not affiliated to any of the existing groups in the outgoing Parliament.)In mid-July, the Parliament will first get to flex its political muscles when it votes to elect the next president of the European Commission, who is put forward by the European Union’s heads of state and government. The member states, in agreement with the president-elect, will then allocate portfolios to the 28 commissioners (one from each country, including the next research and innovation chief); these candidates will appear before MEPs in September or October.last_img read more

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