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Home to E.T.: You Have Mail

first_imgAccording to MSNBC News, 138,179 people responded to an offer to beam a message into space.  “Yet another outfit, TalktoAliens.com,” the report continues, “is offering to broadcast your 900-prefix telephone call into space for $3.99 a minute.”Let’s hope E.T. has his spam filter on.  Hey, Nigeria!  Hey, Star Registry!  Look at all these suckers waiting for your services.    Why do you suppose so many for this offer?  Evolutionary indoctrination, perhaps?  Some philanthropist should get the address list and offer these poor folk free copies of Gary Bates’ hot new book Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection.  Throw in the video, too.(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

SETI Uses Design Inference

first_imgSome astronomers are concerned that we may never detect aliens.  If alien civilizations “go digital” within a short time period, as humans have in a century since the invention of radio, the possibility of detecting their radio signals may be much smaller than earlier thought.  Zoe Macintosh wrote for Live Science, “Finding E.T. May Become Harder If Aliens Go Digital.”    Now that our broadcasts have become more focused with digital technology, there’s less radio leakage from Earth.  Duncan Forgan at the University of Edinburgh, who is working on a paper for the International Journal of Astrobiology, factored into the Drake Equation an estimate of how long a civilization would leak its transmissions before becoming “radio quiet.”  He now puts the odds of detection at 1 in 10 million – a much more pessimistic number than Frank Drake, who only considered the lifetime of an advanced civilization, believed.    Knowing what to look for is also crucial to SETI.  Here’s how Macintosh described the target:Scientists continue to use radio waves to search for life because of the scarcity of natural sources of radio waves in the universe, and the fact that they are less easily lost by absorption than other forms of light.    Even the smallest snippet from an alien broadcast could count as evidence of an extraterrestrial intelligence.    “An artificial signal will have patterns in it that usually do not appear in nature, even if distorted,” Forgan said.The rest of the article focused on other means of detection than radio.  But then, maybe aliens would want to use radio even with all its inefficiencies.  Forgan speculated about the alien mind: “On the other hand other civilizations may have a different outlook.  They may be desperate to make communication with other civilizations.”Aren’t aliens natural?  Aren’t humans natural?  Are Macintosh and Forgan telling us that humans and their alien friends are unnatural?  What does “artificial” mean, if not a product of intelligent design?  Didn’t they effectively admit that, using a design inference, they could separate artificial signals from natural radio noise?  Yes, they did; and they said that “even the smallest snippet from an alien broadcast could count as evidence” for making that inference.  Conclusion: SETI researchers are advocates for intelligent design.  The only difference is, they have no evidence for their targets, whereas the leading I.D. thinkers on Earth have plenty, including their own genes, cells, bodies, and minds.  We invite the SETI community to admit the obvious basis of their reasoning, and to become supporters of the Intelligent Design movement.(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

It’s not easy to talk about Madiba – Ahmed Kathrada

first_imgAhmed Kathrada, now 84 years old, was friends with Nelson Mandela for almost seven decades. (Image: Ahmed Kathrada Foundation) • Ahmed Kathrada Ahmed Kathrada Foundation www.kathradafoundation.org • Mandela’s close friends express the world’s grief • Nelson Mandela: the world mourns • Liliesleaf remembered 50 years on • One Young World celebrates MandelaLucille Davie“It’s not easy to talk about Madiba,” Ahmed Kathrada said at the third Mandela Colloquium in Johannesburg this week.And then proceeded to spend almost an hour talking about his affectionate memories of Nelson Mandela, mostly in the present tense – perhaps giving a sense how present Mandela still is in his life, even after his death three months ago.Kathrada spent 26 years in prison with Mandela on Robben Island and in Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town. Although there was an 11-year age gap between the two – Mandela was the elder – they became close friends. They were both accused in the Treason Trial (1956-1961) and in the Rivonia Trial. Eight members of the African National Congress (ANC) were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 in the latter trial.Kathrada, now 84, was released in 1989 and became a member of parliament. He was parliamentary counsellor to Mandela when he was president from 1994 to 1999. He obtained four degrees while in prison, and has written three books since being released. In 1992, he received the Isitwalandwe Award, the ANC’s highest award for sacrifice in the freedom struggle; he has also been awarded four honorary doctorates.He first met Mandela in 1946, when he was a teenager at school, and boasted to his classmates that he knew someone who was at university. But what struck him, even at that age, was how Mandela spoke to everyone as equals. “He made me feel comfortable.”Eagerness to learnRecounting how prison brought out the “strengths of human character”, Kathrada spoke about his friend’s strengths. Mandela was always eager to learn everything; for example, one day they found a chameleon in the prison garden. Then it appeared with six babies and there were immediately questions as to how it reproduced, and Mandela wrote to ask outsiders for the information.This inquisitive quality was combined with a need to be very thorough about everything he tackled. When the ANC decided to take up arms to fight apartheid, for example, Mandela got every book he could to read about armed struggle, recounted Kathrada. Or when he learned to play chess in prison. He ordered books on chess, and when playing, every move was laboriously thought out, requiring extreme patience on the part of his opponent. Tired of waiting so long, one young opponent gave up and allowed Mandela to win. “Every move was calculated,” explained Kathrada.“He doesn’t kill a bee or a snake or any living things.” The cells had ants, which annoyed prisoners, but Mandela wouldn’t kill them. At Pollsmoor, where the two men shared a cell with the late Walter Sisulu, Andrew Mlangeni and the late Raymond Mhlaba, a cricket kept them awake one night with its chirping. No one was prepared to get up and kill it, but eventually Mandela got up, opened the window, and placed the cricket outside. It still chirped and kept everyone awake, but he hadn’t killed it. Once he drove over a snake. He stopped the car and went back to check on the snake. The only time Kathrada saw his friend kill a creature was when he swatted flies to feed the chameleon.He was always slow to anger, Kathrada said, and in all the years in prison, he only witnessed Mandela “with real anger” twice.Overwhelming courageKathrada was overwhelmed by Mandela’s courage. When they were on trial for sedition in the Rivonia Trial, with the death sentence hanging over them, Mandela said that no one was to apologise or ask for mercy; and if it was to be the death sentence, they would not appeal it. He had prepared a few lines if it was to be the gallows, based on his long address to the court before sentence was passed. But of course he never delivered those words before they were sentenced to life imprisonment. “It required courage to conduct the trial in the face of death.”When they got to Robben Island, Kathrada, being Indian, was offered more privileges than Mandela and the others. Kathrada wanted to reject this unequal treatment, but Mandela advised him: “You are making a big mistake – don’t give up what you’ve already got.” And this week, Kathrada said: “Mandela was right – we’ve got to fight for equality.”And Mandela always treated everyone as his equal. When others were ill with flu and unable to leave their cells, he and three new arrivals collected, emptied and washed their toilet buckets, placing them in the sun afterwards. “All his life he struggled for equality and justice.”No preferential treatment for himself was another trait. They worked for 13 years in the island’s quarry, chopping stones mindlessly. Mandela and others had problems with high blood pressure, but refused treatment. At about the same time he was approached by the apartheid government with an offer of release, on condition that he live in the Transkei in isolated circumstances, but he turned it down. Another similar offer came 18 years later; again he turned it down.A democratHe was a democrat, Kathrada said simply. He had a request once from his nephew, chief Kaizer Matanzima of the Transkei, to visit him on Robben Island. “He was keen to see [his nephew] but we rejected the request, and he went along with the majority decision.” The request was turned down because Matanzima was a puppet of the apartheid government – he was the president of Transkei, a Bantustan. These were several areas set aside in South Africa by the government, reserved for black people, in an effort to separate the races. They offered meaningless presidencies.After several years in Pollsmoor Prison, Mandela was taken to a separate house in the prison grounds. “That’s when he took the initiative to speak with the other side,” said Kathrada. “It was a bold decision although it was ANC policy. He didn’t want to consult with others who would have disagreed with him, which would have meant he would have had to obey the majority decision. That was Madiba.”His strength as president was that he always consulted with others, and liked colleagues to be open with him. “I don’t think prison changed us in any way, except that we came out stronger.” In fact, they were protected in prison, because it was their comrades on the outside who were at the cold face of the struggle. “This was one of the things that kept our spirits up.”Love of childrenMandela’s love of children was well-known. It was very difficult for him and others not to see or touch a child for 20 years. “That was our greatest deprivation in prison.”Journalist and writer John Carlin, in his book Knowing Mandela, recounts how Mandela, after 23 years in prison, persuaded one of the warders with whom he had become close friends, to bring his new baby into Mandela’s cell for him to hold. Christo Brand had been offered a promotion but it would have meant leaving Pollsmoor Prison, so he turned it down, to be with Mandela. “One of the sorrows of prison life for Mandela was never having the opportunity of contact with children,” writes Carlin. Brand smuggled his eight-month old child into the prison and into Mandela’s cell. “He took Riaan in his arms and he loved it. I think I saw tears in his eyes,” Carlin quotes Brand as saying.On his release in February 1990, Mandela was whisked away in a car and “got lost” in the suburbs of Cape Town for several hours before he appeared at the Grand Parade for his first post-prison speech. “I learned later that Mandela rolled down his window to greet a mightily surprised young white couple walking in the neighbourhood with their twin babies. Fortunately, they were a liberal-minded pair who happily acceded to Mandela’s request that they pass their children through the car window for him to hug.”The inaugural Mandela Colloquium lecture was delivered by Edna Molewa, the minister of water and environmental affairs. The second, by Gwede Mantashe, the secretary-general of the ANC, was delivered on the night that Mandela died, on 5 December 2013.last_img read more

2016 Ohio FFA Convention photo highlights

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The State Officer Team kicks off the first session in style. Matthew Klopfenstein Chase Cummings from the Waynesfield FFA Chapter singing “That’s what we are about,” an original song, on the talent stage in front of fellow members. Emily Burns, a former Ohio FFA Intern, working the Ohio FFA apparel booth Members from all around the state came and helped package food Thursday for families in need. 96,000 packages were completed. Hillsboro FFA Chapter hanging out before first session Vinton County FFA members having fun before the first session gets underway FFA student reporters rock! Tiana Tozer was the keynote speaker who talked about her life after a devastating car accident. Lyndsey Carmack from the MVCTC Chapter shared her singing talent in the first session. New chapters were recognized Ohio FFA members through Camp Muskingum and chapter donations provided nearly $70,000 to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and nearly $15,000 to CROP/Church World Services. Dave Roever Stars over Ohio Maggie Hovermale, Stoneridge-Pickaway Ross, Star in Agricultural Placement; Shaun Wenrick, Anna, Star in Agribusiness; Nathanael Freeman, Zane Trace, Star in Agriscience; and Clay Gerfen, Ridgemont Star Farmer; were announced. Student reporter Mallary Caudill talks with Dale Minyo. Former national FFA officer Jones Loflin was the keynote speaker. Mary Buehler State vice president The top chapters in Ohio were recognized. Austin Becker, Fairbanks, was the Creed Contest winner Josie Montoney, Amanda-Clearcreek,won the prepared speaking contest. Sydney Sniderlast_img read more

Liberty Union FFA members compete in Creed Speaking, Tractor Troubleshooting

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest On March 3rd, 2017, Creed Speaking and Tractor Trouble Shooting CDE teams competed.Alyse Looney represented the Liberty Union FFA for the Creed Speaking at the state level and received 3rd place in the state. In Tractor Trouble Shooting, Avery Miller and Garret Wiley placed 10th in the state.Overall, both teams placed well and did an excellent job.last_img

Toiling for a toilet

first_imgA pit stop to change attitudes Ramlal Baghel, a resident of Pirda village in Janjgir-Champa district, with his grandson. Interviews with villagers and lower-level government officials across Malkharoda block, where the Baghels and some 1,40,000 people live across 108 villages, revealed a botched rollout of the Swachh Bharat Mission. | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak  But in mid-December, a visit to 28 villages in Janjgir-Champa, considered the district in Chhattisgarh with the most migrant brick labourers, revealed that SBM had become a means to a different end. Interviews with over 100 people and lower level government officials across Malkharoda block, where the Baghels and some 1,40,000 people live across 108 villages, revealed an utterly botched rollout. Systemic coercion had induced rampant debt. No one would take responsibility. This seemingly benevolent sanitation scheme meant to make women safer and prevent diseases had instead perpetuated migratory forced labour.Opening the door to coercionTravelling around Malkharoda, the coercion appears widespread. In every village, the administrators had threatened to revoke the families’ ration cards — their most essential entitlement — if they didn’t build toilets. In all but one village, guards were stationed on the roads at night to shame women who were out to relieve themselves; women said the guards blew whistles, knocked over the water jugs, and one man said they assaulted people. In at least one village, the poorest people were told their mud kutcha houses would be razed if they didn’t comply. And in a handful of villages, fines ranging from ₹50 to ₹1,000 were instated for anyone caught out in the bush.Also Read  In Malkharoda village, the dhaba owner said that the Janpath chief executive officer, Vinay Kumar Soni, beyond threatening to shutter her restaurant if she didn’t get the toilet built, had threatened to take photos of her relieving herself and post them on the Internet. Perhaps this was just an easy, empty threat. But the next day in Runpota village, a young man named Digeshwar Baragi said the village secretary had actually taken his photo while he was out relieving himself and circulated it among other village secretaries on WhatsApp.“I found it very humiliating,” said Baragi, a bandana tied around his forehead. “And I told him ‘I don’t have any money, how do you expect me to get [the toilet] made?’ But he wasn’t bothered and said if I don’t get it built fast, he was going to circulate it on the Internet as well. They’ve done it among my friends too. And the girls.” Baragi had taken out a ₹20,000 loan at 3% interest, and the toilet still wasn’t finished.These coercive tactics, beyond being outright illegal, are all degrading distortions of perhaps the biggest lesson learned from decades of rural sanitation work across the globe: simply building people toilets doesn’t mean they’ll use them. More crucial and challenging is inducing communal behavioural change. Since the 1990s, the prevailing technique that’s been used in India and much of the developing world is called Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS). In short, CLTS advocates introducing the feeling of shame and disgust to a community through a series of “triggering” activities in order to induce the abandonment of open defecation.Under SBM, the Indian government suggests (and earmarks funds so that) each panchayat train an “army of ‘foot soldiers’” under the command of a “motivator” to trigger villages into abandoning open defecation. If you only followed the government’s highly active and curated @swachhbharat Twitter account, triggering across the country looks like a pleasant affair: photos of villagers actively participating in defecation area mapping exercise; smiling women and children leading awareness marches.Also Read On June 15, 2016, just off a train ride 1,000 miles south from a brick kiln in Punjab, Ramlal Baghel, along with his three sons and their wives, arrived home to their village in rural Chhattisgarh, fatigued and disappointed. Five months of gruelling 15-hour days had netted the family just ₹26,000. The earnings would have barely been enough to sustain the family until the kilns reopened in September — let alone chip away at the growing debt.So far it was a familiar story. Now in his 60s, tall and thin, with deep-set eyes and a peppered beard, Ramlal is one of a million-or-so Chhattisgarhis compelled by debt, local unemployment, and interest-free “advances” to migrate to notoriously exploitative kilns across India’s northern rim. But as the Baghels settled in at home for the rainy season, a notice arrived ordering each family in the village to construct a toilet as part of a national government sanitation scheme. Non-compliance would incur huge fines and suspended entitlements.“Whatever I made at the brick kiln, it went towards making the toilet,” said Ramlal. He pointed to the small dirt courtyard at a latrine the size of a small closet. It had a fresh yellow coat of paint, corrugated tin roof, PVC door, and squat pan toilet inside. It was clean, new and deceivingly innocent-looking. Most of rural India still opts for open defecation: NSS report What numbers tell us about Open Defecation in India  And while the majority of triggering likely stays within the ethical bounds of CLTS guidelines, Malkharoda is not the first place where it hasn’t. Coercive techniques have been documented at CLTS programmes in Indonesia and Bangladesh, and in India, at least in the southern State of Karnataka, but likely in other States as well. In an online sourcebook of practical SBM campaign ideas written for administrators, a cautionary note under the sub-header “reflect on ethical issues” admits to a dozen coercive tactics and outright human rights abuses that “have occurred in some campaigns”.Digging into debt bondageNonetheless, the coercion had accomplished its goal in Malkharoda. Everyone seemed to have a toilet. The entire block was officially declared ODF in mid-2016. The problem now was that beyond the ethical implications, everyone was in debt.  In Amlidih, the sarpanch gave out materials initially, but then stopped without explanation. “We were waiting,” said Balash Prasad Chandra, “expecting him to give [materials] to us as well.” Instead, he said the local panchayat held a meeting and told everyone to build the toilets themselves, and fast, or else their ration cards would be cancelled.The timing couldn’t have been worse. Chandra was in the midst of building his family a house and owed a shopkeeper for materials he had taken on credit. Now, to pay for the toilet too, he had to sell off his paddy stocks, pawn his wife’s jewellery, and take out a ₹45,000 loan at 3% interest. “I spent the entire season’s income on this toilet,” he said. “Whatever we make on this year’s harvest, I’m going to have to spend to get her jewellery back.”Still, Chandra had it better than some. He owned some land, and worked as the local confectioner, taking sweets orders for weddings that brought in a few thousand rupees per month — an income that’s kept him away from the kilns. But the vast majority of lower caste people in Janjgir possess little to no land nor specialised skills. Most work as field hands but describe employment as a day-to-day crapshoot. Across the block, people said they had pawned or sold their wives’ jewellery, land if they had any, and taken high interest loans from wealthy landowners which would take years to pay back.But even worse, in Bade Sipat, where about 90% of the 3,300-person village migrates out to kilns, a street vendor named Visham Kurana made it clear that the debt was perpetuating their migration. “Whatever money they had made at the kilns [this past season], they’ve spent to make this toilet,” Kurana said. “So again to run their families, they have taken loans at high interest” — ₹50,000 at 5% on average — “and some have even taken money from the jamadars [middlemen] who take them to the brick kilns, so now they have to work like bonded labourers.”Still, the price tag was confounding. For one, the government and UNICEF consider the ₹12,000 “incentive” allocated per household sufficient to construct a long-lasting toilet. (In Chhattisgarh and other States this “incentive” was in fact a ‘reimbursement’ since it was being disbursed after the entire village or block went ODF.) Gramalaya, an NGO that’s been building toilets in India for decades, claims it can build a child-friendly community bathroom — with 10 latrines, washing stations, and murals — for about ₹30,000.For another, even though the SBM guidelines recommend individual households construct their own toilets to “promote ownership”, many sarpanches had built the toilets in their village; and when they did, each unit had cost around the quoted ₹12,000. Why were poor villagers, many already in significant debt like Ramlal, spending two to three times as much on a toilet they didn’t want in the first place?Blame and stigmaWhen I put this question to a handful of lower level administrators around the block, they offered a few theories to explain the discrepancy, all of which held villagers responsible. The first — expressed by Pirda’s sarpanch and an MNREGA employment assistant officer from Nawapara-D — simply held that villagers were lying about the high construction expense.The second theory — expressed by Shivanti Lakshmibai Johan, the sarpanch of Ghoghri, among others — held that villagers were willingly spending extra. She had constructed toilets in 80% of the village for the allotted ₹12,000 each. But there had been a minority of villagers who had spent extra to make their own toilets “bigger and better”, with tiles, painted walls, and stylised doors. Surely there were villagers who spent more to deck-out their toilets, perhaps some irresponsibly. But predominantly, the toilets constructed by villagers looked pretty much identical to those constructed by the sarpanch, at least outwardly in size and material.In Khurgatti, the de facto sarpanch Kishur Kumar Ajay at first echoed Johan. But upon seeing a photo of a toilet that a villager had spent upwards of ₹30,000 to construct, he conceded it looked almost identical to the toilets he had constructed for ₹12,000. He pivoted to a more technical theory about pit design. In his village, he had used the government-encouraged twin-leach pit technology. Villagers constructing their own toilets were digging one single deep pit, he said, which hiked the raw material and labour cost.According to the SBM guidelines though, “Care shall be taken to ensure that these toilets are not over-designed and over-constructed. I.e. building extra large pits which are not required, to keep them affordable…States have to ensure through effective communication that such tendencies are restricted.” Ajay shook his head upon hearing the passage. “It’s actually totally the villagers’ responsibility what kind of designs they have used. We’ve conducted enough programmes to educate them on how to keep the cost at ₹12,000.” He continued, “Their thought might be that whatever resources they have, they can just pawn for now and make a good toilet instead of re-channelling the pits again and again.”This theory seemed plausible: for a blend of religious, cultural, and habitual reasons, villagers were already apprehensive about placing their waste so close to their homes. Requesting they also manage that waste every couple of years — by clearing the filled pit and rerouting the pipe — seemed like a steep sell. Steeper still by a government many distrusted to begin with. We did come across villagers who had opted for one single deep pit. But we also came across at least an equal number of villagers who had opted for two deep pits, usually seven to eight feet deep. The “technicalities” of waste management didn’t seem to be above the heads of villagers, as Ajay claimed.Furthermore, this third theory rested on the premise that sufficient ‘Information, Education, and Communication Activities’ were conducted prior to construction. But beyond an initial women’s march in June, the opposite was true: the very problem seemed to be the rollout itself. In a number of villages, people said their sarpanch hadn’t provided them with any designs. In no village was a “menu” of design options provided as required by the scheme.And in the villages where the sarpanch had thoroughly explained a design, most people said they had been sceptical it would last.Specifically, everyone was worried about the recommended three-to-four foot pit depth. In Kurda, a group of women resting under an overhang said the sarpanch had told them to dig two pits — three feet by three feet. But when they voiced concern that such shallow pits would fill in a year or two, they were rebuffed and told to build it themselves if they didn’t like the design. Outside an auto parts shop in Devgaon, a migrant brick labourer named Mahesh said that even though his sarpanch had offered to construct a toilet for him, he had taken out a loan to build it himself with a deeper pit. When asked what he would say to someone who criticised such a decision as financially irresponsible, he said: “We thought that if we had to make a toilet and it has to last in our house for such a long time, it’s better to take a loan and make it into something that lasts for 10 to 20 years than to continuously invest in it for many years to come.”People were trying not to get stuck with a toilet they believed either would require perennial maintenance, or be permanently out-of-order within a year or two. They were thinking ahead, trying to anticipate future expenses and protect the sanctity of their homes. The high interest loans were less foolish investments than coerced, practical ones.But why was the government hell bent on such a rapid rollout? A clue exists in a speech Chhattisgarh’s Chief Minister Raman Singh gave on July 2, 2016, at a national SBM conclave in Raipur. According to a press release, he announced that Chhattisgarh will become ODF by the end of 2018 — almost a year ahead of the countrywide target. To hit that early deadline, Mr. Singh said the State government would give “preference” to ODF blocks in other schemes. Similarly, Bathora’s sarpanch said Janjgir’s district collector and other administrators had promised they would get individual projects for his village if it became the first village to go ODF in the district. Yet, almost a year later, he had received no favours. Only after dozens of sarpanches protested had reimbursement funds begun to trickle out. But villagers who constructed their own toilets still hadn’t received anything.In Kurda, a woman named Katra Bai admitted she felt safer going to the bathroom in her house, but that new debt had caused so much stress in her marriage that her husband was beating her now. “They were all over us to get it done as fast as possible and threatening us with bad consequences, and now that it’s made, where is the money?” she said. “Although it’s just [₹]12,000, it’s something, some hope.” On the ground nearby, her children were hunched over homework assignments, scribbling away. She was determined to keep them in school, but without the compensation, the kilns were looming.(Reporting for this piece was facilitated by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, with supplementary funding from the University of Michigan)  While sanitation schemes in India date back to the British Raj, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is the latest and by far most ambitious iteration. Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the end of 2014, the ₹9,000 crore scheme aims to achieve an Open Defecation-Free (ODF) India by constructing 12 million rural household toilets across the country before October 2, 2019 — to coincide with Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.Also Readlast_img read more

Goa to have staff selection commission soon: CM

first_imgGoa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Monday said in the Assembly that his government was in the process of creating a State Staff Selection Commission (SSSC) to bring about more transparency in filling vacancies.Mr. Sawant told the House during Question Hour that Inter Departmental Committee of Officers (IDCO) has been working on finding out the exact number of vacancies in government departments.He said necessary steps were being taken to ensure that the process of filling vacancies in various government departments was transparent in the absence of an SSSC, with written exams being conducted by the Goa University or the Goa Education Development Corporation.“The previous government (under late Manohar Parrikar) had started the process to have SSSC. We will complete it,” he said.Mr. Sawant told the Assembly he had come across instances of people applying for jobs far below their educational qualifications.“I know about a person who had an engineering degree but applied for a peon’s post in a government department. It is not possible to give employment to every one. So the private sector should absorb these youngsters. At present, there are 55,000 government employees, and we can add a maximum of 10,000. Where will the rest go?” he asked.last_img read more

Ruckus in Odisha House over rising crime against minors

first_imgThe Opposition members in the Odisha Assembly on Monday created ruckus demanding resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the issue of a large number of missing children and sexual assault on minor girls in the State.During zero hour, the members drew attention to the fact that 5,028 girl children have gone missing in the State in the past four years. Besides, the incident of an eight-year-old girl being raped and dumped by the roadside in Angul district was also raised.House adjourned Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro adjourned the House several times during the pre- and post-lunch sessions.Leader of the Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik alleged that despite the Patnaik government being in power for five terms, the law and order situation had not improved and minor girls continued to face sexual assaults on a regular basis in the State.“Although there is an increase in crimes against minors, the State government is keeping mum. The government should inform the House about the steps being taken to stop them,” he said.Senior Congress leader Narasingh Mishra said: “The CM had said that the law and order situation was normal and satisfactory. According to information submitted to the Supreme Court, 1,005 minor girls were raped within the first six months of this year.”On Saturday, the Assembly was informed that more than 5,000 girl children have gone missing in the State in the past four years. Furnishing records of the State Crime Branch, Women and Child Development Minister Tukuni Sahu said as many as 5,028 girl children were reported missing between January 2016 and March 2019. Of these, only 2,370 have been traced which means the whereabouts of more than half of them are not known. In 2016, as many as 1,291 girls had gone missing while 1,360 were reported missing in 2017. Last year, the number of missing girls increased to 1,875, registering a 37.86% jump.In the first three months of the current year, 502 girls have already been reported missing. The State police have managed to trace only 79. The average number per month of missing girls has gone up to 167 this year from 125 between 2016 and 2018.Khordha district reported 432 missing girls in four years, followed by 412 and 409 in Cuttack and Mayurbhanj districts respectively. Compared to girl children, missing of 1,551 boys has been reported during the same four year period and 933 have been traced, that constitute 60.15%.last_img read more

LeBron Plays A Little Worse Against His Friends

The 31-year-old’s statistics have been more favorable against fellow friend Dwyane Wade in the two full seasons since James left Miami to return to Cleveland. But even so, there have been challenges: Despite his high usage rates and enormous talent advantages, James has posted just a 2-4 mark against Wade since leaving the Heat in 2014.It’s hard to know exactly why James’s performances are below his standard when he’s playing against his friends — ones he’s so close with that he’s said he’d like to team up with them before they all retire — but there are a couple theories worth considering.One possibility, especially in relation to his showings against the Knicks, is the timing of these games. This season marked the fourth time in five years that the league’s schedule-makers have pitted James against New York during his team’s first five games of the season, meaning he may still be rusty at such meetings.That might partly explain why his shooting — and perhaps even more so his ball handling, as he adjusts to new teammates — might be off against the Knicks compared to other opponents. (LeBron was understandably jittery during the 2014-15 opener — his first game back with the Cavs after a four-year absence — in which he shot 5-for-15 and committed eight turnovers in a losing effort.)Separately, there may be something to the idea that James plays harder, or at least differently, against teams from big markets; if that’s the case, it could affect his statistics against his three closest NBA friends, who happen to play in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, the nation’s three largest cities.James has made no secret of the fact that he most enjoys playing games in major markets, even saying at one point that he’d readily play all 82 games at Madison Square Garden if he could. But that excitement might work against James in some situations.His free-throw percentage splits against the Knicks, Clippers and Lakers — and in the high-profile, nationally televised Christmas Day games each of the past three years — have often been suspiciously low in recent seasons, an indication that he may be overthinking things at the line. (James, a 74.4 percent free-throw shooter for his career, has said in the past that he believes free-throw success is more mental than physical.)2He shot free throws well against the Bulls in four of the last five years, but it will be interesting to see if that changes now that Wade is on the team. To be clear, none of this is to suggest that James shrinks into a random role player when facing certain opponents. While he’s had less statistical success than he’s used to against Anthony and the Knicks in recent years, he’s still generally shown himself to be the best player on the court in those matchups. He posted a breezy triple-double on opening night in a blowout win against New York back in October.And aside from the fact that he owns the third-highest career scoring average at Madison Square Garden (28.5), trailing only Michael Jordan (31.8) and Kobe Bryant (29.9), James and his teams have generally taken care of business (11-3 against Anthony, 6-3 against Paul over the past five-plus years), even if the superstar has been a bit less efficient than usual.It’s also fair to award some credit to the defenses that limit James when he’s playing across from one of his closer friends. The Clippers, who currently boast the top defense in the league and have ranked among the top 10 on that end in three out of the past four seasons, have often been able to force James into somewhat rushed looks, since they have rim protector DeAndre Jordan lurking in the paint.The Knicks, by contrast, have perennially ranked as one of the NBA’s worst defenses in recent years. But Anthony, who’s generally drawn the assignment of covering James, almost always shows more effort than usual when defending his friend.While we’ve gotten a sense of how and why LeBron’s performed a bit less effectively as an individual when playing against his friends in recent seasons, it may be more interesting to analyze how he does when he’s particularly motivated by something or someone.James quickly and historically turned the tide in the last three games of the Finals after Klay Thompson essentially questioned his manhood during a press conference. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be that shocking if on Wednesday James draws motivation from what he felt were inappropriate comments made by Knicks president Phil Jackson about his business partners.With the Knicks playing as well as anyone in the East and the Cavs struggling lately, Wednesday’s game already had enough intrigue on its own. But knowing the history of how James fares against his friend — and seeing if that changes now that he may have lost respect for Jackson — might only heighten the drama.Check out our latest NBA predictions. With his four MVP awards and three NBA championships — the most recent of which capped a come-from-behind story for the ages and earned Cleveland its first major pro sports title in 52 years — LeBron James has set himself apart as the greatest player of his generation.But even as James has cemented his legacy as one of the best ever, one thing has bedeviled him in recent years: He’s often struggled, despite expending more energy than usual, when playing against his friends.Over the previous five seasons, James has shot beneath his lofty standards when squaring off against New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony — his buddy, who he’ll face tonight at Madison Square Garden — and Los Angeles Clippers floor general Chris Paul.In four of the past five seasons — going back to 2011-12, which was Anthony’s first full campaign with the Knicks and Paul’s first season with the Clippers — James has posted worse-than-average (for him) true shooting percentages against the Knicks and Clippers when Anthony and Paul were on the court, according to data from NBA.com. Simultaneously, in four of the past five seasons, his usage rate has been higher — meaning he’s been responsible for a greater-than-average share of Cleveland’s offense, in terms of shot attempts and turnovers — against the Knicks when Anthony has been on the floor. (He’s somehow turned the ball over against the Knicks about 11 percent more than average over that span, despite New York fielding one of the NBA’s worst defenses.)1James’s usage rate was also higher than usual against Paul in Paul’s first two years against the Clippers, but since then it’s been lower. read more

Bahamas Treasury launches national staff verification includes MPs Senators

first_img Related Items:#BahamasTreasurystaffverification, #magneticmedianews, #treasurylaunchesstaffverification Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppBahamas, August 2, 2017 – Nassau – A Government employee, Verification Command Center has been established to confirm the roughly 22,000 government employees across the islands of The Bahamas.   The Treasury Department is for the second straight year conducting a verification process, to record who indeed works for government.The verification notice for Government offices appears to have been leaked to the general public and is dated July 31, 2017 and explains that the process will begin in all islands next week Tuesday August 8  ending by August 31st.    The circular, confirmed as having come from the Treasury wants these weekly and monthly employed Public Officers and Senators and Members of Parliament to show up at the listed centers with their Bahamian passport, Bahamian driver’s license, their National Insurance Smart Card and their voter’s card.Overseas Government staff is not exempt from this head count and failure to comply, explains the notice, will result in a salary interruption.  There are centers established all across the country, with each site dedicated to an area of Government.#MagneticMediaNews#BahamasTreasurystaffverification#treasurylaunchesstaffverificationlast_img read more