Helping Military Parents Set the Stage for a Great Homecoming

first_imgEncourage parents to maintain as “normal” a child care schedule as possible for their younger children in the days surrounding the homecoming. Young children will be comforted and reassured by the predictability of the familiar child care environment.Expect to see changes in children’s behavior at child care and offer them predictability, support and extra attention and affection. Keep communication with the parents open while their children cope with the changes and excitement of homecoming.Beyond the Photo OpThe reuniting of a family after deployment is one of those moments – like Christmas or a wedding – that we all want to be picture perfect! But reintroducing young children to a parent whom they’ve not been with for a long time is a process, not just a moment captured on camera. You can do a LOT to help military parents plan a homecoming that takes into account the needs of their youngest children and, as a result, will be memorable in all the best ways! If you like watching videos of military homecomings, you are going to love this fall!! With thousands of troops scheduled to return from Afghanistan in the coming weeks and months, families with young children will want to capture on video that magic moment when Mom or Dad reunites with the children they’ve missed so much.  The hugs, the kisses, the tears of joy, the smiles…and there will be many new videos that show just that.But the truth is the magical moment doesn’t always work out quite that way, especially with very young children. There will be plenty of unshared videos – not to mention feelings of hurt and disappointment – because a child’s reaction was caution or fear, crying instead of smiles, and nothing at all like parents had expected.As a child care provider for military families, you can help prepare parents to have realistic expectations for those first moments when the returning parent is together again with his or her children.Ready or….NOT!!So what can you share with parents that will help them have realistic expectations for a reunion with a parent who has been absent for an extended period of time?This homemade homecoming video from YouTube is a great illustration of how children’s ages significantly affect their response to seeing a parent who has been gone for many months. Notice the different reactions of the three children (it’s a bit easier to focus with the sound off). There’s quite a difference between what appear to be a 7-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a toddler!  And while some of that difference in responses might reflect differences in the kids’ temperaments, it mostly reflects developmental differences. With age comes:More in-person experiences with their parent in the pastA better understanding of the difference between the mom or dad on a computer screen and “real life.”A greater emotional understanding of what it means to miss someone who is far away.Did you notice how cautious the toddler was? If we can grasp just how much she doesn’t understand about what’s going on, then we can appreciate why her response is to stand back, watch and listen.It’s important to remember that very young children understand their world through their senses and through physical experiences with their environment, including people. Although video communication technologies have helped to fill in the very large gap in physical experiences created when a parent is deployed, seeing and hearing Daddy on a small, flat computer screen is a VERY different experience than in the presence of the full-size, 3-D version of Daddy!Big Emotions: Contagious & ConfusingAnother element that can throw very young children for a loop is everyone else’s excitement and eager anticipation. While infants and toddlers don’t have the mental understanding to grasp what’s going on, they are like sponges when it comes to the emotional atmosphere of the people around them. They definitely know that everyone’s acting strange. But feeling the high emotional current, without understanding the situation, is confusing for most little ones, and downright frightening for others!The Element of SurpriseAnd then there’s the element of surprise. The oldest child in the video LOVED the surprise! The two younger children…not so much. There is definitely a direct relationship between enjoying a surprise and understanding what’s going on! A basic rule of thumb: the older the child, the more he or she will enjoy being surprised.Thankfully, the dad in the video is very patient and respectful of the time his young daughter and, to a lesser degree, the younger of his sons, need to grasp what’s going on before they are comfortable approaching him and giving him affection. If he or one of the other adults would have pushed either child into hugging Daddy, it might have resulted in tears or screams – definitely NOT the response anyone would want!5 Ways that You Can Help Reuniting FamiliesWhat can child care providers do to help make homecomings a joy for parents AND children?Talk with parents ahead of time about their children’s possible response. You know their children very well and will be able to provide helpful insight as they think through their homecoming event.Share tips for making it an enjoyable experience for everyone, including the youngest. For example, make sure a very young child has someone (Grandma or Auntie) who will be their security base from which he or she can observe while Mom, Dad and older children greet each other. Another suggestion is for the returning parent to get down on the floor at the child’s level and hold out a favorite toy (toys are toddlers’ favorite way of connecting with others!). Very concrete tactics such as these will be easy for parents to remember and use in the flurry of the moment.Share printed resources so that the parents can talk over them together. You might also encourage parents to share the resources with grandparents and others who may be pushing for a big, exciting homecoming production. Some of our favorite resources are:“Homecoming: Reconnecting After Separations”– from Zero To Three, specifically related to reconnecting with infants and toddlers.“Returning from the War Zone: A Guide for Families,” in both video and print formats, from the National Center for PTSD and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. (This guide also provides lots of information and tips for the long process of adjusting to family life with the service member home.)center_img This blog post was written by Kathy Reschke, Child Care Leader at Military Families Learning Network.Source URL: /?p=1810last_img read more

Money Monday

first_imgThis post was published on the Military Families Learning Network Blog on April 22, 2013. Browse more military personal finance webinars and blog posts by experts.Follow Dr. O’Neill on Twitter! By Dr. Barbara O’NeillA service member is using Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to pay for college. How much housing allowance will be received monthly?A military veteran who is enrolled in college full time can expect to receive a monthly housing allowance equal to an E5 with dependents for the ZIP code in which the college is located. In July 2011, the national average for this housing stipend was $1,350 per month, although it was as high as $2,700 in some locations. Service members should stay up-to-date on current program rules for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This is still a relatively new program, and therefore some of the rules and regulations are still being tested and refined. According to, Congress is currently working on legislation that will pay the housing stipend only during the weeks school is actually in session. That means that if a veteran is attending a university on a semester system and the term ends May 10, he/she will receive a housing stipend only for the first 10 days of May. The stipend will begin again when classes start again. Veteran students will be responsible for covering their rent during the time between receiving GI Bill payments. If they are attending a 100% online school, starting Oct. 1, 2011, they will receive half the national average Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) for an E5 with dependents, or around $637.50 per month.For additional information and updates, refer to the website listed above or at more information on the GI Bill, make plans to attend our web conference, “Paying for Educational Expenses and the GI Bill” on May 23, 2013.last_img read more

Anchored Podcast Series: Year in Review 2018

first_imgEpisode 12| Ready, Set, THRIVE! A Supportive Approach to ParentingHighlighting the goals of the THRIVE Initiative, this episode focuses on their mission designed to empower parents as they raise and nurture their children. Episode 16| Walking the PATHH: Exploring the Journey of Posttraumatic GrowthJosh Goldberg, Executive Director of Boulder Crest Institute for Posttraumatic Growth, discusses the phenomenon known as posttraumatic growth and the impact that trauma can have that offers opportunities for growth from struggle. Episode 13| Handle with Care: Helping Children Cope with Parental LossThis episode discusses the effects of grief on children and how to effectively intervene in order to help them process the loss of a parent through illness, injury, or death. MFLN Family Development Anchored Series Podcasts. Canva. Template created by Ben MacNeil, eXtension. Return to article. Long DescriptionHey there, Anchored podcast listeners! Anchored is a professional development series brought to you by MFLN Family Development. We developed this series to support and inspire those connected to military families. Each episode highlights real-life struggles that many families encounter and practical solutions to promote resilience. Click here to go to our Anchored podcast series page!2018 has been a great year for our Anchored podcast series! We’ve covered some really unique and varied topics that are great resources for professionals working with military families. Below is a snapshot of each episode from this past year and the link to their respective recording. And as always, “We invite you to sit back, relax and get Anchored with us!” Episode 11| Books Over Boots: Experiences of College Students in Military FamiliesA look at Dr. Meagan Arrastia-Chisholm’s research initiative on factors surrounding dependents in military families who are currently attending college. Episode 15| Bridging the Gaps: Helping Wounded Warriors Heal at HomeA peek inside the Wounded Warrior Project’s Independence Program, which focuses on assisting military families/caregivers with military service members/veterans who have traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, or other neurological conditions. Episode 14| Double Duties: Exploring Single Parenthood in the MilitaryA look at two military parents who share their personal experiences navigating being active duty military personnel with being single parenthood.last_img read more

4 Quick, Helpful Fixes for Stimulating a Compelling Interview

first_imgWhen staging an interview, there are obstacles for both the interviewer and interviewee. Here are a few tricks that can make your interview shine.Problem: The subject uses lots of jargon, is hard to follow, or gives lifeless, canned answers.Solution: Reset the conversation.There’s a stellar trick NPR reporters use when interviewing experts. If the subject veers off track from the question, or is otherwise unclear, use this line:Pretend I’m a bright high-schooler who has trouble paying attention.This really works to encourage clarity, which helps them stay present in the discussion.Maybe the answers are making sense, but your subject sounds coached. Don’t be afraid to show you’re actively listening, and ask, earnestly “Can you explain that again for me?” or “What does that mission statement mean to you?” This can help engage founders, entrepreneurs, and marketing-oriented people who are used to giving the same lines over and over.In The Punk Singer, Kim Gordon talks about the reluctance she and others felt to address the riot grrrl movement in the mainstream press.Problem: You’re interviewing multiple people at an event, junket-style, in the same space.Solution: Use setups and objects, while staging, that showcase individual personalities and help tell the story.For The Punk Singer, Sini Anderson needed to hear from the many musicians who’d been influenced by riot grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna. There was a tribute show coming up that featured many of the artists she wanted to interview for the documentary. So Anderson parked a van outside the show and did interviews inside it, one by one, sometimes in groups, if a full band was present.There was a colorful blanket on the bench seat. Each person fidgeted with it in different ways, suggesting vulnerability, the sensitivity of a particular memory, or their level of relief at remembering the world they made together as riot grrrl comrades. The interviews in this space were all distinct and memorable. Many of the musicians were talking about times on the road, so the visual served the tone perfectly.Problem: You’re filming in an office and want to make sure there’s energy in the footage.Solution: Use a second camera to capture abstractions and B-roll in the room.A subject’s belongings, jewelry, notes, or shoes could help convey their personality when the viewer tires of seeing them talk. Even if archival footage or other B-roll isn’t possible, the feel of the room itself could be helpful when spliced with images of the subject. Establishing shots of the location, the subject getting settled in their chair, or a wide shot of the set could be a simple answer to interview fatigue in short-form videos. Problem: There’s more context needed to supplement the subject’s story than you have time for.Solution: Use title transitions to summarize history, timelines, or provide a segue.Titles can provide a helpful shortcut to information viewers need. When dealing with politics, immigration, or complex personal stories, text can be a more effective way of keeping audiences on track with you. Nora Mandray‘s Dancing With Le Pen (for Field of Vision) has a stellar example of pithy title transitions that explain decades of French politics. In an interview subject’s voice, these facts would seem long-winded, wonky, or even lost altogether to the viewer.Cover image via Scarc.Looking for more interview tips and tricks? Check out these articles.Tips for Framing and Focus in Your Video Interview SetupsWhy (and How) You Should Take Notes During InterviewsMake Your Documentaries Matter with Awe-Inspiring Materiallast_img read more

Ideas Are Worthless. Execution Is Priceless.

first_img Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Now Some time ago I offered a program that I created to the people who receive my newsletter. A lot of people signed up. Some sent me notes explaining why they couldn’t sign up at that time. But I found one email in particular to be most interesting. The person that wrote the email explained that he wouldn’t be paying for the program because it would be just another program full of excellent, actionable ideas and information that he would fail to use.This past week I spoke to a group of sales people at an event sponsored by ThinkSales magazine in Johannesburg. South Africa. At the end of the event one sales manager asked me an excellent question. He said that all of the ideas were great, but he wanted to know how to get his team to execute on the ideas.Ideas are worthless. The value is in the execution.In the first little vignette above, the person resisting my offer was right to decline the offer. He wasn’t going to use the program I was selling, so regardless of its cost, it is worth nothing to him. In his email he acknowledged having bought programs containing valuable information without ever acting on them. I don’t know why he couldn’t bring himself to act, but he knew the ideas, regardless of the value they might produce, were worthless in his hands.In the second little vignette, the sales manager gets it. The ideas by themselves aren’t enough. The workbook I provided this group was all about the actions necessary to bring the ideas to life, to make them valuable. In the right hands, the ideas are worth millions in sales. In the wrong hands, they’re worthless. This sales manager wanted help executing with his team. Why? Because that would increase the value of the ideas exponentially. It made the ideas more valuable.Have you ever paid for ideas only to fail to execute on them? Have you ever attended a training or a seminar and been overwhelmed with concrete, actionable ideas and insights only to go back to business as usual the following day?Each week you come across countless ideas that would improve your results, improve your relationships, and improve the quality of your life. You’re surrounded by them. If you ever feel that you’re not, just walk into any book store. For $25 and 6 hours of your time you can fill a legal pad with executable ideas.So why don’t you execute? Because it’s difficult. Because it means you have to change. Because it takes energy. Because it takes commitment. Because you aren’t good at new things until you have some experience. Because you may fail. These are all reasons, but they’re not good reasons.Play with these questions.QuestionsStart with just one idea, just one improvement. Then decide what actions you need to take to execute on that one idea. Got the big idea? Okay, then grab your calendar. Choose three blocks of time this week to work on the execution of that one idea—and only that one idea.Write the action plan for implementing that idea. Identify the goal. What will change? How will improve what you’re doing? You need a big “why.” You need a compelling reason to execute to motivate you and keep you on course.Identify the resources you need? Whose help do you need? Who is going to resist your plans? What else do you need?last_img read more

The Voices In Your Head – Episode #116

first_imgPodcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 7:23 — 6.0MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | RSSYou have both the voice of an Inner Critic and an Inner Coach inside you. Which one you listen to will determine the quality of your results–and your life.This episode of In the Arena is sponsored by Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Nowlast_img read more

Keeping Score of What You Are Getting Right

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Business is not difficult for you. Business is difficult for everyone. There are systemic challenges in every industry that challenge the best of people in the best of companies without ever being fully resolved. These systemic challenged treat all companies the same, the airlines being the best example, as none of them are free from delays caused weather, unexpected maintenance, or poor dining experiences. Your business has it’s own set of challenges, and it’s easy to believe you are not doing as well as others.You are getting an A. Maybe a B.Even though there are problems every day, you are probably not broken. It’s more likely you are an A or a B. Maybe 97% of what you do every day works perfectly fine, with 3% of what you are doing being woefully inadequate or failing completely. A 92% is still an A. An 85% is a B, which leaves plenty of room for improvement, but isn’t a failing grade.Businesses that get a failing grade don’t tend to last long because there are far too many choices available to customers and clients. That low of a grade will cause people to walk across the street.Leaders Deal with ProblemsThe reason so many leaders and managers and supervisors tend to see things worse than they are is because their days are consumed with the 3% or 8% or 12% of the things that are problems. They don’t have to work on what’s going well because it doesn’t require their attention. In some cases, that makes successes something close to invisible; you don’t see them, so they don’t capture your attention.If you are going to keep score, you need to do so in a way that is fair and honest and not something that is going to make you or others negative or cynical. Take credit for what’s working well and remember that every business has some percentage of their work that is subject to error, much of it due to the systemic challenges in their business—just like you.last_img read more

Negative Friction and Positive Friction

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now In the past, I have written about what I believe to be the two strategies for business that are pulling in opposite directions. The first strategy I call super-transactional, as it seeks to eliminate friction, making it easier for customers to transact (think, Uber, AirB2B, etc.). The second strategy we might call super-relational, leveraging trust, personal care, and some form of customization.There are two categories of friction when it comes to clients and customers, negative friction and positive friction. It is a mistake to confuse them or apply one to the other.Negative FrictionFriction is the idea that you are difficult to do business with, that you make it difficult to transact, that more is required than should be necessary, and that the experience isn’t good. The worse your experience, the less likely you are to continue to buy from companies that create enough friction to drive you to seek other options.I’ve been writing about the difference between transactional and complex sales, describing the complex as low frequency-high significance decisions, and transactional as high frequency-low significance. When you buy something repeatedly with little importance and no real risk, removing the friction creates a better experience and preference to buy from you.Technology has enabled the reduction—or in some cases, the elimination—of friction (The number of physical books in my library and on my Kindle attests to this fact). Because the model is effective, many in business have conflated all friction to the negative, believing they should eliminate friction. This decision ignores the value of positive friction.No more pushy sales tactics. The Lost Art of Closing shows you how to proactively lead your customer and close your sales. Positive FrictionIn a super-relational, strategic relationship where human beings need to work closely to solve problems and generate results together, friction is positive. Meetings are friction, which is why much is written about the amount of time wasted in poor meetings. Perhaps it because of the Digital Age in which we find ourselves, little is written about how face-to-face meetings and a physical presence creates positive friction, the deepening of relationships and the engendering of trust.Conversations to understand what clients need, especially the conversations that include multiple stakeholders with different or competing perspectives, are another form of friction. The friction created by competing perspectives and working through to some reasonable consensus is the benefit of that friction.Would it be easier to send a survey to see how you are doing? Would an email accomplish the same goal without interrupting your busy client? While these choices might end a bit of friction, the positive friction that comes from a phone call is that it proves caring and high touch. The lower friction suggests transaction.It is a mistake to try to reduce friction when it is positive, just as it is a mistake not to remove it when it is negative.last_img read more

Say Yes

first_imgYou call your dream client to ask them for a meeting. After you pitch them on the value of a meeting, they say: “Can you email me some information?” You tell them you can’t send anything, rejecting their very first request, and ensuring they feel it is more important that you get what you want than helping them get what they want.Emailing information and having a meeting are not mutually exclusive, and as much as your dream client wants the information without the meeting, you can say, “Yes. I’ll send you some information. But it isn’t going to be as valuable as a conversation, especially because it doesn’t let me learn anything about you and your company and your goals. I promise I am not going to waste one minute of your time.” (Insert your request for a meeting here) The real concern is you wasting their time, and you still have to ask again whether you say yes or no. Say yes.Your dream client asks you about your pricing while you are on a phone call, and you haven’t even met with them. They say: “Tell me how much this costs.” You believe it is way too early to share pricing, and you worry that you haven’t created enough value to justify your pricing. You tell them you’ll need a discovery meeting to give them pricing, ensuring you get what you want, and projecting that you are sensitive about your price, hiding it until you absolutely must share it.If you have a higher price, you use to differentiate your offering. If sharing your price disqualifies the prospect, it’s better to know now than to learn that after you both have invested time in a deal that was never possible. You can share enough about your price to satisfy your prospect and still put a meeting on the books. You say, “The price is going to be between X and Y. At the end of a meeting, I’ll be able to dial that in for you and give a better idea of what you might have to invest.” (Insert your request for a meeting here)You can say yes and do what is right—for you and your prospective client. If you continually say no, you are projecting that you and your company are challenging to work with. By saying yes and continuing to ask for the commitment you need, you are giving your prospect the experience of what it might be like to have you as a partner.last_img read more

Tripura chit fund director held

first_imgThe Tripura Police has arrested a top functionary of a chit fund company who was on the run after a case was registered against him 2013. In another development, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the State CID which is probing the Rose Valley chit fund scam is preparing to bring its owner Gautam Kundu from Kolkata this month for interrogation.The SIT had earlier failed to get Kundu’s custody after his lawyers stalled two sanctions of transit remand citing his ailment. Rose Valley held at least 80 per cent of deposits in non banking financial companies in Tripura, cheating thousands of people.Police arrested Tanoy Das, local director of Rubistar, a chit fund company, in connection with a case registered with east Agartala police station in 2013. He went into hiding after filling of the case.Rose Valley casesKundu is wanted in the State in reference to another case lodged in west Agartala police station in the same year. Besides Tripura, he is facing forgery and criminal conspiracy charges in West Bengal, Assam and Odisha where the CBI is conducting probe.‘BJP-CPI(M) nexus’Absence of CBI in ponzi scam investigations in Tripura is a big political issue with opposition Trinamool Congress alleging a ‘CPI(M)- BJP’ nexus to keep the central agency at bay. “CBI is completely silent in Tripura where chit fund companies collected hundreds of crores by cheating people with high interest rate and return”, TMC leader Sudip Roy Barman said.“Undoubtedly there is a connection between CPI(M) and BJP…they have nexus”, Mr Barman told The Hindu on Saturday. His party had earlier held street protests over the issue.SIT was constituted by the State government to enquire into financial scams committed by over one hundred chit fund companies. It has taken up probe into complaints registered with police under IPC Sections 420, 406, 34 and Section 3 of Tripura Protection of Interest of Depositors Act 2000.SEBI noticesSecurities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) earlier issued notices against two ponzi fund companies – Charka Infrastructure Limited and the Suncity Infracon Corporation Limited which raised fund in Tripura. Entities in the notices are named as Bijoy Das and Apu Saha and were summoned to its office in Kolkata, but they failed to turn up.last_img read more

Congress seeks to repeat Punjab model in upcoming State polls

first_imgThe success of the Congress’ Dalit outreach plan in the Punjab Assembly elections earlier this year has encouraged the party to attempt a repeat in the upcoming State polls in Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, K. Raju, who heads the party’s SC Cell said.In Punjab, of the 34 seats reserved for SCs, the Congress won 22, as well as a general seat for which it had fielded a Dalit candidate. In the 2012 elections, the party won just 10 reserved seats.SP alliance fiascoThe strategy however, failed in Uttar Pradesh, where, again the Congress’ SC Cell had carried out an extensive campaign specifically targeting Dalits. Party sources told The Hindu that while the failure was still being analysed, two things were apparent: one that the Congress’ alliance with the Samajwadi Party had failed completely, and two, the success of such an experiment would be determined by the general health of the party in that State.There is also a sense that the presence of a powerful Dalit party in Uttar Pradesh, combined with the natural antagonism between Dalits and Yadavs — represented by the Samajwadi Party — and the eventual Hindu-Muslim polarisation would have come in the way.As one party source stressed, “We can’t work in isolation from the party not having the potential to win. It has to be part of a broader campaign and involve the Dalit leadership.”One-on-one contactIn the case of the six States now chosen, the Congress is in power in two, Karnataka and Himachal, and is the second party in the four other largely bipolar States.“We will activate the main Congress in every constituency, and conduct a silent ground level campaign. We will choose six to 10 Dalit youth in every village to make person-to-person contact,” party sources said.In Punjab, where Dalits account for almost 32%, the Congress had kicked off with a convention for them in Amritsar in September last year.They had declared that 33% of chairmanships in the State would be exclusively reserved for Dalits. Additionally, the party had promised 300 units of free power would be provided to dalit households.In U.P., the party had conducted a Dalit Yatra through the State.The campaigns were centred round three issues critical to Dalits — shiksha or education, suraksha or security and swabhiman or self respect.last_img read more

Ahmed Patel now eyes Gujarat Assembly polls

first_imgCongress stalwart Ahmed Patel, who retained his Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat in a humdinger of a contest, on Wednesday said his victory has come as a boost to the party workers and set an aim of 125 seats in the Assembly polls due later this year.“This was the toughest election that I have fought in my life. I thank my party leaders and my MLAs,” Mr. Patel, political secretary to party president Sonia Gandhi said.last_img

‘Crazy Vikas’ drives BJP bonkers in Gujarat

first_imgThe much vaunted ‘Gujarat model of development’, once the poster-child of economists, has “gone crazy”, according to the top trending hashtag on social media. With State elections barely two months away, the ruling BJP is worried.Over the past two weeks, witty posts, satirical memes, and audio-visual capsules — all with the Gujarati hashtag, ‘vikas gando thayo chhe’ (‘Development has gone crazy’) — have gone viral on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. Mostly shared by youngsters, it has turned into a trending social media campaign that has put the ruling BJP on the defensive.The campaign began spontaneously after the monsoon rains that left potholes in roads across the State, including in cities such as Ahmedabad, and the government’s claims about smart cities and world class infrastructure took a beating. Soon, people started sharing photographs or video clips of caved-in roads, decrepit State transport buses, roadside garbage dumps, flooded streets, and figures of swine flu-related deaths, all tagged with the catchy ‘vikas’ punch line.Sensing an opportunity, the Congress party’s social media teams latched on to the campaign. As the phenomenon became a talking point across age groups, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani responded by blaming the Congress. “Those who are saying ‘vikas gando thayo chhe’ have themselves gone crazy,” he said. Recently, party president Amit Shah felt compelled to ask the State’s youth not to “fall prey to anti-BJP social media campaigns.”However, many BJP leaders admit that they are unable to counter the forceful social media posts on fuel price hikes, high GST rates, and job losses.“This campaign is a huge success. Even BJP supporters are forwarding these posts,” said Saral Patel, a Congress social media volunteer.Though the Congress social media team has taken credit, the phrase “Vikas gando thayo chhe” is attributed to 20-year-old Sagar Savalia, a civil engineering student and member of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti which leads the Patidar quota agitation.“On August 23, I received some photographs of a dilapidated State transport bus. I forwarded them with the line, ‘Stay Away! Vikas has gone crazy in Gujarat’, and it went viral,” Mr. Savalia told The Hindu.last_img read more

Bhangar agitators warn Trinamool of ‘fitting reply’

first_imgBhangar turns violent again, vehicles torched, bombs hurled  Blaming the TMC for repeated violence in Bhangar, the agitators alleged that the ruling party in the State was “intentionally fuelling violence” as it is losing public support in the area. “Bhangar once again witnessed violence because the TMC is intentionally fuelling violence as it is afraid that it will be wiped out — in Bhangar — in the Panchayat polls,” said Ms. Chowdhury. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held a meeting with TMC leaders of the district to discuss Thursday’s violence.The agitators further alleged that the despite their repeated appeal the State government refused to sit for a discussion to resolve the issue peacefully and was “covertly supporting miscreants” to break the movement.TMC reactsDenying the allegations, local TMC leader Kaizar Ahmed accused the protesters of “trying to create bloodshed” to continue the agitation. “We were never involved in any kind of violence here. It is the protesters along with outsiders who are trying to create trouble in Bhangar,” he said.Meanwhile, a day after violence erupted in Bhangar, the area remained tense. There was heavy police deployment in the area to prevent any untoward incident. In the afternoon, villagers took out a protest march in the area against the attack. Warning the Trinamool Congress (TMC) of a “fitting reply” if it continues to suppress the Bhangar land agitation, protesters said that they may field candidates in the coming Panchayat elections in the State. The Panchayat poll in West Bengal is expected in the first half of the year.The development comes a day after a procession was taken out by protesters agitating against the setting up a power grid in Bhangar was allegedly attacked by TMC cadres. About five villagers were injured. The TMC leadership has denied the allegation. Bhangar, located in the South 24 Paraganas district, has witnessed several rounds of violence over the last few years.“We will definitely intervene in the Panchayat polls in Bhangar either by fielding candidates or in some other way. But we will not allow the TMC to loot votes and muzzle the people’s voice,” Sarmistha Chowdhury, a prominent leader of the Bhangar movement told journalists on Friday. Ms. Chowdhury is also a central committee member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist-Red Star (CPI-ML-Red Star), which is playing a key role in the movement.Also Readlast_img read more

Bitcoin fraud unearthed in Pune, 8 held

first_imgPune: The cyber cell of the city police on Wednesday evening busted a major bitcoin fraud and arrested eight people for running a Ponzi scheme. The arrests followed complaints lodged at the Dattawadi and Nigdi police stations.All the accused were associated with GainBitcoin and its CEO, cryptocurrency operative Amit Bhardwaj, who is in the eye of a storm for multi-level market (MLM) schemes offering unreal gains to investors.“GainBitcoin, through their new and phoney cryptocurrency investment scheme called ‘GB21’, duped investors by guaranteeing 10% monthly returns. Bhardwaj and his associates used to hold workshops to lure investors. We suspect around 8,000 investors in the city to have been swindled,” said Rashmi Shukla, Commissioner of Police, Pune, adding that several more persons were under the police radar.The complainants said they had invested in contracts worth 1 Bitcoins (BTC) each and valid for an 18-month period.On activation of the contract, the owner was to be paid around 10% of the contract value every month as mining income, equal to 0.1 BTC. At the end of 18 months, they were to have accumulated 1.8 BTC.“The accused had lured gullible investors by enticing them with phoney claims of massive returns. Instead of real Bitcoins, investors were doled out worthless crypto tokens issued by GainBitcoin called ‘MCAP’,” said Pankaj Ghode, a consultant and cyber expert with the Pune police.Till date, 25 people had lodged complaints, incurring losses totalling ₹ 2.25 crore, police sources said. The police has registered the offences under the sections of the prize chits and money circulation schemes (Banning) Act, IT Act and the MPID Act.last_img read more

Yavatmal farmers pen their woes

first_imgFarmers in Yavatmal have started a month-long campaign to write over two lakh letters to the Maharashtra Governor and the President of India highlighting the apathy of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards their demands.The first letter was written and posted on April 14 by Jayashri Chayare, the eldest daughter of Shankar Chayare who killed himself by consuming poison on April 10 in Rajurwadi village in Yavatmal. In his suicide note, Chayare blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his death. For three days, his family members refused to accept his body and demanded that the Chief Minister visit them and hand over adequate compensation.Shetkari Nyay Hakka Samiti (Farmers’ Committee for Justice), headed by Congress leader Dewanand Pawar, is spearheading the campaign. Mr. Pawar said, “This is not the first case of a farmer in Yavatmal blaming the Prime Minister’s for his death in the suicide note. However, the government remains insensitive to the problems farmers are grappling with.” Mr. Pawar said the campaign was started after the Chief Minister refused to meet the bereaved family when he visited Yavatmal. He said, “We are sending letters to the Governor and the President to draw their attention to the woes of farmers and highlight the insensitive attitude of the Chief Minister and PM Modi.” Mr. Pawar said the family members of all farmers who had committed suicide in the district in the past few years were participating in the campaign. Jayashri, who wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, said, “My father took his life owing to rising debt burden and continued crop failure in the last few seasons. He was worried about my wedding and the education of my brother and sisters.” Jayashri said her father in his suicide note had clearly mentioned the ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the Modi government had forced him to commit suicide. She said, “I demand that an FIR be registered against the Modi government under Sections 306 (abetment to suicide) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the Indian Penal Code. I condemn the Modi government for being responsible for my father’s death.”last_img read more

‘Dead’ ex-Army man reunited with family after 11 long years

first_imgA retired Army man from Kerala feared dead for over a decade was reunited with his family members after being found in a ragged state on the streets of Madhya Pradesh’s Mandla district last week.The 40-year-old man, who appeared to be mentally unstable, was identified after some locals got suspicious about his activities and alerted the police on July 3.Arms knowledge“He was shouting that he had knowledge about arms and ammunition, including their technical details. This alarmed the residents as movements of Maoists are often reported in Mandla,” said a police officer. Soon, a team from Tilgam police station reached the spot and detained the “suspect”. At the police station, the man once again muttered “I know all about arms and ammunition” in broken Hindi mixed with some Malayalam words. This made the police decide to take the help of a person from Kerala.They approached Sister Mercy of Motinala church and she volunteered to help the police trace the whereabouts of the man. As luck would have it, the vagabond talking to invisible others was identified as Santosh Kumar, an Army man from Signal Corps, last posted in Sikkim in 2006. “In 2007, Santosh’s left eye was injured and he reportedly became mentally ill. He opted for retirement and decided to go back to his home State. However, instead of reaching Kurawein Purple House in Alappuzha district of Kerala, Santosh reached Mandla after wandering the country by train for the last 11 years,” Rakesh Kumar Singh, Superintendent of Police, Mandla, said over the phone.Once Mr. Santosh’s identity was established, the Tilgam police made arrangements to tidy up the man who had slept rough for over a decade. New lookIn new clothes and shoes his photos were clicked and exchanged with the Kerala police, which in turn got in touch with Mr. Santosh’s family members who had even conducted his last rites.On July 7, the younger brothers of Mr. Santosh reached Mandla and were elated to see him alive. The ex-Army man recognised his brothers but was unable to remember how he reached Mandla, Mr. Rakesh Singh said, adding that they left for Kerala the same day.Asked if Mr. Santosh remembered his village, Satheesh Kumar, his younger brother, said: “Despite returning to the village after 14 years, Santosh easily recognised our ancestral house. He recognised every family member who came in front of him. Sometimes, we are unable to understand some of his activities. Soon we will consult a doctor about his mental state.”last_img read more

2 militants killed in Shopian encounter in Kashmir

first_imgTwo militants are believed killed in an ongoing encounter between security forces and a group of militants in south Kashmir’s Shopian on Sunday.An official said encounter broke out during a predawn operation of security forces at Hend Satioora village.”Militants opened fire when security forces zeroed in on their hiding place. Two to three militants were hiding in the area. We believe two militants were killed but the bodies are yet to be recovered,” said the official.Preliminary reports suggest the militants believed to be trapped included Basharat Ahmad of Nikloora and Tariq Ahmad of Khasipora. Both belonged to the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Ahmad was a special police officer before joining militancy on April 26 when he decamped with the service rifle.However, the police have not divulged any details about the identity of the trapped militants so far.Meanwhile, internet service has been stopped in the area as a precautionary measure.last_img read more

Two hundred and nineteen million stars, and counting

first_imgA 10-year survey of our home galaxy has yielded an extraordinarily detailed celestial catalog that includes at least 219 million stars. The researchers used a 2.5-meter telescope in the Canary Islands to take more than 7600 images within a 10°-by-185° swath of sky that includes the edge-on view of the Milky Way. In the regions not blocked by interstellar dust (dark areas in the image above, which depicts only a small part of the Milky Way visible from Earth), the researchers could spot individual stars as dim as magnitude 20, about one-millionth as bright as the dimmest star that can be seen with the human eye. Toward the center of the galaxy, the most densely populated part of the team’s star images, the team tallied about 300,000 stars for each square degree of sky. The new catalog contains more than 99 bits of data for each of the 219 million objects surveyed so far, including information about each star’s position, shape, and brightness in various wavelengths, the researchers report online this week in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Unfortunately, about 8% of the target area couldn’t be suitably observed during this survey, usually because of bad weather in winter months. Since November 2012, when the decadelong survey ended, researchers have filled in about half of the gaps. Future efforts, they say, will look at the same broad swath of sky in different wavelength bands in order to collect even more data about the stars.last_img read more