You can share your tweets with the broader network literacy learning network by including the hashtag #netlit.Authors: Bob Bertsch (@ndbob), Peg Boyles (@ethnobot), Jim Langcuster, and Stephen Judd (@sjudd) This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Many people who participate in online social networks know how conducive social networking can be to learning. But those who are just getting involved in online networks haven’t had a chance to build the connections that will help them learn. Now, there’s at least one connection to help professionals new to social networking get their bearings.Alex NetLit is a fictional persona created by the Network Literacy Community of Practice. Alex was created to serve as a guide to Military Families Service Professionals, Cooperative Extension professionals and others seeking to learn more about using online networks in their work. Think of Alex as a device — an imaginary character developed to help us focus on the millions of people striving to become comfortable with and fluent in the skills and tools that define communicating in the 21st century.Alex is a 30-year-old divorced mother of two who works as a federal-agency professional providing educational information and other types of self-help to her clients. We hope she will give voice to the excitement and skepticism, as well as the delight and frustration, many of us experience when engaging in online networks.AleX NetLitAlex’s SkepticismProfessionally speaking, Alex has always been wary of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. She uses both applications to keep up with her daughters and with the classmates and friends she collected in the course of her childhood on both sides of the Atlantic, moving from one military base to another with her father, a career Army NCO.In that respect, she’s grown comfortable with social media. She’s even come to value these online tools for the ways they’ve enabled her to communicate with her daughters and long- separated friends. However, on the subject of using social media in the workplace, Alex takes her cues from the Missouri “show me” school.Despite her skepticism, Alex is beginning to understand that, like it or not, social media will become an essential part of her future. That’s why she’s jumping in. She’s created a Twitter account hoping to connect with other professionals interested in using online networks in their work. She wants to share and reflect on her experiences, offering whatever social-media tips and encouragement she can. More than that, she wants to connect with and learn from other professionals facing the same challenges she faces in a rapidly changing world.
By Jerry Buchko, MA, AFC®As a profession, it seems we spend a lot of time talking and writing about the technical fundamentals of personal finance how-tos, like the mechanics of budgeting, debt management, credit, etc. And why not? These are important topics that help lay the foundation for financial literacy and efficacy, and there always seems to be a steady stream of people who are new to the topic and benefit from learning it. And there are even new and interesting twists in these areas over time, like new budgeting tools, as well as changes in the credit, lending and debt landscape, etc. The thing is, after a few years of practice, I think most of us usually master these technical fundamentals and they can, on their own, lose much of their ability to hold our fascination and to continue serving as rich ground for nurturing further professional growth.Photo by Alan LevineIn my own case, much of my interest these days has shifted towards more closely exploring and studying the “soft” side of our craft. And for me, what’s ultimately kept these foundational topics and tools interesting and meaningful has been about how clients come to learn them, and with a bit of goal setting and the application of some basic math, can use them to transform their financial lives.And the benefit in exploring these living aspects of the work, like cognition, learning, decision making, and behavior isn’t just in expanding my understanding of how my clients learn and make sense of the world; I expand my understanding of these aspects of myself as a practitioner at the very same time. Continuing to learn about learning and about how I also make sense of the world around me is a piece of continuing to evolve and grow in my work.So how do you feel about this? Is it important to continue to grow meaningfully as a practitioner? Why? And how are you going about it, if you are? What part do other practitioners and professional colleagues play in this process of growth?
In this post we look at three reasons why creative professionals might take on unpaid work. Does it ever pay to work for free?Normally I would be the first to argue that creatives should be paid and paid well for their work – just as anyone should be rewarded for a job well done. However, there may be some times when it may actually pay off to work for free.If you’re a freelancer (video editor, producer, graphic designer, photographer, etc) you’ll certainly have some off-days when you’re time rich. Invest that time as best you can in one of the three following ways…PURPOSE – Projects You Believe InI’m a firm believer that there is an irrefutable law woven into the fabric of the universe that generosity is rewarding. Give something and you’ll feel good about it for days, get something and you’ll probably have forgotten about it sooner than that. So the first reason you should work for free is on projects with purpose. Call up your small local charity or good cause – the one that you actually really care about – and ask them how you can help by offering your creative services for free.Normally you might think twice about giving away hundreds or thousands of dollars of your hard earned cash, but its easier to give away the same value in your time, skills and expertise. And who knows, off the back of your generosity they might get back 10 times more. Your free fundraiser video, design or photography which might normally have cost $3000 could help raise $30,000 more! Isn’t that time well spent?As an example here is a free video I made for one of my favourite charities – Refugee Support Network, which helps unaccompanied teenagers who arrive in London seeking Asylum:PASSION – Projects You Have To DoThe most obvious reason to do something for free is because you want to. Passion projects are vital to help keep your creativity and love for what you do alive, especially if you’re cutting wedding videos or corporate snores 40 hours a week. Ji Lee, then Creative Director at Google Labs, now Creative Director at Facebook, shared some inspiring stories of how his own hobby projects led to getting hired by the big players.In a less grand example, my mate Jeremy made this 1 minute love letter of a film about his toaster, sent it to the manufacturer, who in response hired him to make more videos for them. One thing really does lead to another.The one minute video:The final commissioned project:Progress – Projects To Get AheadFinally the third reason why you should work for free is simply because you’re just starting out and you’ve got nothing else to showcase your budding talent and creativity. Doing free work at the beginning is a good way to build your reel or portfolio and sometimes you just have to take what you can get. But you should only do this for a short time and then make sure you do the real work of getting as many people as possible to see it, so that it can lead to paying gigs. Send it to people who might want to do something similar, or who can see the potential for what they do, in what you’ve created.The flip-side of this is that once you’re established in your field then the only other time to invest yourself in free work is when you’re trying to move into a new area and you don’t get have an example of it. Characteristically directors/producers want to see a music video if you want to cut music videos, or broadcast credits, or long form work if you want to do more of the same. They say you should ”Dress for the job you want.” – to look as if you’ve already got it. In the same vein shoot and edit (for free) the projects you want to get paid for.So those are my thoughts, what are yours? Hit the comments section below and share your experiences.
If you’re in a creative slump or just need some assistance with keyframe timing, these free animation reference libraries have you covered.Animation reference footage is real live-action footage used by animators to help with timing the subtle movements that are required to make animation realistic. No need to shoot this footage yourself – the following online animation libraries cover a wide range of subject matter.1. Reference! Reference! Reference! Reference! is an animation library that features dozens of videos for your animation referencing pleasure. All of the videos feature numbered frames to help you get perfect timing. While you’re there check out the Animals in Motion link where you can find dozens of animal reference videos as well.2. Ani Ref Vimeo Group Ani Ref is a curated Vimeo group with an impressive collection of animation reference clips. With over 500 videos in the group they cover tons of different content types – everything from soliders to monkeys. Use the search feature to track down what you’re looking for. 3. Endless Reference Endless Reference is my favorite place to find reference footage on the internet. You can find Endless Reference footage on their YouTube channel and website. All of their videos are professionally made and feature a model on a plain white background. Some videos also feature a grid overlay, as well as numbered frames, to make the whole animation process much easier. If you want to download the video files you can get the entire library from Endless Reference for $25.4. Mixamo Mixamo is so much more than a collection of videos. Sure, you’ll find plenty of reference footage here, but the functionality goes far beyond video. On Mixamo you can customize your characters to get the exact motion you want to replicate. Once you have your desired movement you can download the project files for direct use in your favorite 3D program. No more keyframing by hand. You can watch any of the reference footage for free on Mixamo, but if you want to download the project files it may cost you (depending on the clip). Know of any other places to find reference footage? Share in the comments below.
Discover RocketStock, a curated collection of After Effects templates from top motion designers. Finally, AE templates that are visually stunning, clearly organized and easy to use!Traditionally, if you needed motion graphics for your video project you had two options: Pay an expensive designer to create graphics or painfully dig through messy After Effects templates. Who’s got time for that?!Now there’s a better way.Today we’re ecstatic to announce the launch of RocketStock, a curated collection of After Effects templates from world-class designers, brought to you by the folks behind PremiumBeat. We’re building RocketStock with the belief that high-quality motion graphics should be simple to purchase, available at affordable pricing and have world-class customer service to back them up.Handpicked After Effects TemplatesWe’re taking the same approach with RocketStock as we have with PremiumBeat: Each After Effects template undergoes a rigorous evaluation, insuring only those that are technically and artistically strong are included on the site. Your time is important, so spend less time searching!RocketStock’s AE template library is constantly expanding in volume and breadth, covering everything from film tiles and logo reveals to slideshows and product promos. You won’t find these templates anywhere else.Simple to UseEverything about RocketStock was done with ‘ease’ as a top priority. The checkout process is simple and straightforward, but that’s really just the beginning.Every After Effects template is organized in a systematic way, making customization a breeze. The heavy lifting is done in the background, with many of the effects controlled by a simple effects panel. Effortlessly drag and drop media, modify text or change colors.After Effects Freebies!Once a month RocketStock will release a free After Effects template file or motion graphics asset – no purchase necessary. Sign up for the newsletter to be notified when each freebie is released. Download this month’s freebie: Animated Circle BurstsWorld-Class Support and Customer ServiceAfter Effects templates are only as good as the support behind them. That’s why each RocketStock template comes with thorough photo documentation, demonstrating tips and workflow for modifying projects. Have more questions? Additional support is available via email.Straightforward LicenseOne license to rule them all. No matter where you’re distributing your project, the RocketStock Unlimited License has you covered. Each template purchase allows for usage in an unlimited number of projects, for an unlimited number of clients, forever.Give RocketStock a visit. Do you have feedback on the site? Ideas for future templates? Interested in submitting your own motion design work? Shoot over an email to get in touch.
Abrams on Star Wars. Spielberg on Bridge of Spies. Tarantino on The Hateful Eight. Top Hollywood directors sound off in this collection of compelling interviews.Welcome to film school. Top Hollywood directors and writers interviewing top Hollywood directors about their latest blockbuster projects, courtesy of the Directors Guild of America. Included with each interview, the trailer for each film. Enjoy.1. Lawernce Kasdan Interviews JJ Abrams on The Force AwakensIn this thirty-minute interview, Star Wars The Force Awakens screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan chats with J.J. Abrams (who uses some colorful language, just FYI) on the unbelievable pleasure of bringing the film to life. Here’s a quote from Abrams on his approach to honoring the VFX legacy of the original trilogy in a modern VFX era:For me, a great approach was to say “OK we can do anything – we have the technology to do so, but what should we do? And what would they have done?” And to approach almost everything from a point of a view of what’s the most down and dirty way of doing it, and then how can we use technology as necessary, because of course there are more visual effects shots in this movie, more than any Star Wars movie prior, and amazing visual effects work, but a lot of the CG was to remove things, to remove puppeteers and wires and so on. 4. Michael Mann Interviews Alejandro González Iñárritu on The RevenantThe making of The Revenant would probably make for a decent film in itself, given what the cast and crew endured to bring it to the screen. In this thirty-minute conversation between two very accomplished directors, you get a real sense of Iñárritu’s slightly chaotic and experimental production process that obviously captured some kind of creative magic, alongside Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki’s amazing camera work.When we were shooting, it was terrifying to know that it was a clock-watching precision kind of thing. But to be doing one or two takes a day because it was at the end of the day. The adrenaline was so real, that every day was terrifying knowing that we have rehearsed so much and that was the only hour to get all that we have done. — Iñárritu 9. Wash Westmoreland Interviews Todd Haynes on CarolIn this conversation between Wash Westmoreland and Carol director Todd Haynes, you can hear quite a bit about the tone and texture of the film, its subject matter, and how a tax break in Ohio helped the filmmakers achieve their period film on a budget. Here’s Haynes on why he chose to cast Rooney Mara as Therese.Well, I’d been an admirer of Rooney’s work as early as I can remember, and I was interested in how she can underplay even every big characters, like in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and do something unexpected with those roles. And I just thought, wow, she could do something so interesting with this very simple story and very accessible character, a sort of universal character.” 3. Martin Scorsese Interviews Steven Spielberg on Bridge of SpiesIn this hour-long conversation between two of the biggest names in Hollywood, Martin Scorsese chats with Steven Spielberg on the process of making his latest film, Bridge of Spies, starring Spielberg’s favorite actor, Tom Hanks. It’s a rare opportunity to hear these two giants of cinema discussing their craft, and this interview is packed with fascinating inside stories from each of their careers.That’s the great thing about directing, you can have tremendous respect for the written word, and I do… the written word is everything you, can’t do anything without something on paper. But where you insinuate the camera and where you can sneak the cinema in, on a word-heavy film is a real challenge. — Spielberg 5. Alexander Payne Interviews David O. Russell on JoyDavid O. Russell’s family drama, Joy, is his most recent film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper — who also starred in Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle.Joy is the semi-autobiographical tale of Joy Mangano, who became a self-made millionaire after inventing the Miracle Mop. In this conversation with director Alexander Payne, they talk quite a bit about Russell’s working relationship with Lawrence and the overarching themes of his work. What are your favorite takeaways from these interviews? Let us know in the comments below. 2. Christopher Nolan Interviews Quentin Tarantino on The Hateful EightI’m not sure you could get two more different directors, as far as their creative output, but in this thirty-minute discussion between directors Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino, you get a sense of just how much they both love cinema in its purest form, and why they both insist on shooting on film, and for Tarantino, in 70mm. As always, Tarantino is energetic and Nolan insightful.We used a crane the way you would use a zoom, we used a crane the way you would use a dolly, we used a crane the way you would use Steadicam, and once you took out the back wall, and you could have the ass of the crane do everything, we did everything on the crane… because why not, it’s so magnificent! — Tarantino 6. Bob Balaban Interviews Adam McKay on The Big ShortActor and Director Bob Balaban chats with director Adam McKay on the process of bringing the complex subject matter of The Big Short to the big screen. It’s a lively discussion with plenty of great anecdotes, including how Christian Bale learned to play drums in just four weeks and with a blown-out knee.What I responded to with the book was the characters. Once I saw those characters and I was so engaged in them, I knew that was the life blood of the movie. The only drag was having to cut out so many great sequences from the book… there were so many great examples of the twisted hubris of the big banks that I just loved. But I knew from the beginning it had to be about the characters. — McKay 8. Marc Levin Interviews Angelina Jolie Pitt on By The SeaDirector Marc Levin interviews writer/director Angelina Jolie Pitt on her process of writing and directing By The Sea, which stars her husband, Brad Pitt. In this quote from Jolie Pitt, you hear why she chose to cast her husband in the film. Throughout the course of the interview, Levin does a great job of teasing out insights on Angelina’s creative process.At a certain point as artists, we all get to that place where we want to do the crazy one [it would be crazy to do this script], and we want to not feel safe, and to just play, and maybe we make a mess, but we want to remember what it is to be free. And so we were feeling that, and we wanted to just go out and be together, and work together, and try something, and succeed or fail, we wanted to do something together. 7. Jonathan Levine Interviews Tom McCarthy on SpotlightDirector Tom McCarthy’s procedural Spotlight looks at the Boston Globe’s uncovering of the Catholic Church’s cover up of child abuse by parish priests. In this thirty-minute Q&A with director Jonathan Levine, you can hear about the entire production process — researching the story’s background, recreating the investigation, and turning it into a script over an extended period. Here’s McCarthy on getting the script together from a wealth of information.Early on I was committed to this idea of the ensemble, and not conflating the characters… and following the investigation through the team, so we wouldn’t just be following one or two protagonists, but six. And once we made that decision, it unleashed Josh to go and accumulate more information, and we just kept shaping and shaping until we had a really strong outline, and then the writing happened very quickly. We were very aggressive with that, because we felt like all the pieces were in place. Now keep in mind, we re-wrote for another year and a half once we had a draft. But once we cracked the back of the investigation and what we felt the main themes were, we kind of got over the hump, so to speak.
Have a video clip with audio, but the audio track doesn’t show up in the timeline? Here’s the quick fix.Top image via Shutterstock.I ran into this infuriating issue that has an embarrassingly simple fix. I was trying to drag a clip into my timeline, but the audio was not showing up in any of the audio lanes. I scrolled from A1 all the way to the bottom and there was no audio to be found.I’m sure there are plenty others out there running into this problem, so here is the one-click fix.If your clip doesn’t show the accompanying audio, go ahead and delete the clip from the timeline. Now, in the timeline — hover over the first A1 on the left side. Click on A1 to enable it (it will turn blue).Now drag your video clip into the sequence, and voilà! Missing audio has instantly appeared.Note that this fix only works if the original clip actually has audio attached to it. Hope this helps.Are you aware of other bugs that need a quick fix? Share your ideas in the comments.
Devante writes to ask me how he should be accountable to his clients for the outcomes he promised–without stepping on the toes of his account managers.
A kanwad yatra pilgrim died and nine others were seriously injured on Friday after the tractor trolley they were travelling in came in touch with a high tension wire in Kushinagar district, adjoining Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh.The deceased has been identified as 15-year-old Anita, a resident of Padrauna.According to the police, the accident occurred near Saraiya village when a pipe installed by the pilgrims on top of the trolley came in contact with a 11,000 volt wire. The Kanwariyas had “attached a DJ system on the trolley through a high pipe,” a police spokesperson said.The trolley, carrying 14 Kanwariyas, was moving towards the Kubersthan Shiv Mandir after filling water at the Gandak river for rituals when the incident occurred.The injured were admitted to the nearest hospital where they are undergoing treatment. Those who were in critical condition have been referred to Gorakhpur hospital.The incident occurred even as the UP government led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had issued the Kanwariyas strict directions to not use DJ systems during the yatra. The yatris had also been adviced to stay away from rumours and provocations.It came a day after another set of Kanwad yatris vandalised police property and held up traffic for hours near Allahabad following rumours that one of the pilgrims had died in a road accident.A Kanwariya, who was crossing the road with his earphones on, was hit by a truck in Handia near Allahabad.”Somebody spread a rumour that he died and upon hearing this, angry Kanwariyas held a road jam near police chowki Baraut and vandalised the furniture in the station. They also set on fire the car belonging to the police chowki in-charge,” a police spokesperson said.The injured Kanwariya, who was admitted to the SRN hospital, was identified as Mukesh (23), a resident of Jaunpur.The matter is under investigation. No arrests have been made.Another instance of violence involving the DJ system during the yatra was reported from the Aliganj area of Bareilly on Friday.The Kanwariyas clashed with members of a particular community while passing through village Khemal after locals objected to them playing the DJ, the police said.More than two dozen persons were injured in the stone-pelting, including police personnel and ITBP jawans, who had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd.R. Vikram Singh, District Magistrate, Bareilly, said the Kanwariyas “did not have permission” to pass through the route, which fell under pockets of Muslim population.Action with be taken against those who instigated the clashes, the police said.
Goa Tourism will complete the first phase of the Coastal Circuit Development Plan, covering beaches of North Goa, within six months. It also proposes to complete projects under the second phase covering beaches in South Goa within a year.Tourism Minister Manohar A. Ajgaonkar, who chaired a high-level meeting of the Department of Tourism on Monday, said it was unanimously resolved to complete all tourism-related infrastructure development projects under Swadesh Darshan within a year.Mr. Ajgaonkar said, “Goa Tourism has received ₹200 crore from the Centre under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme for setting up tourism infrastructure. It is important that we utilise the money and complete the projects expeditiously.”Areas that will get a fillip under Phase I include Morjim-Keri, Anjuna-Vagator, and Sinquerim–Baga in North Goa. Areas under Phase II include Miramar, Dona Paula (in North Goa) and Baina, Colva, Agonda, Palolem,Benaulim, Cavelossim, Mobor and some others in South Goa.
The bodies of eleven people, including a beacon officer, were retrieved on Saturday from the parts of the Sadhna Top in Kupwara, where three avalanches swept away three vehicles on Friday afternoon.The police said eight bodies were recovered after a night-long search operation, in which locals also joined the administration in sub-zero temperature. Two bodies were recovered on Friday night. One more was recovered late on Saturday.Seven passengers were on board and three pedestrians were on the way when avalanches hit the Sadhna Top Karnah.“Two among 12 trapped passengers were rescued from the spot, including a 10-year-old boy. Both have been shifted to the hospital,” said an official.One Beacon officer also died in the incident. The avalanches hit Khoni Nallah.Officials said two rescue teams, comprising the army, police and State Disaster Response Force, started rescue operation immediately and scanned the area throughout the night.The authorities have directed that the movement of traffic “should be restricted on vulnerable roads in the event of adverse weather predictions.”The incident sparked protests with locals demanding a tunnel, connecting the Karnah with Kupwara.J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed grief and sorrow over the incident, an official spokesman said. The CM conveyed her sympathies to the bereaved families, he said.The government sanctioned ₹4 lakh as ex gratia relief for those deceased in the avalanches and a compensation of ₹12,600 each to the injured.(With PTI inputs)
Potato farmers in Uttar Pradesh have a twin crisis on their hands — they brought in a record production of the crop but that has led to a slump in rates.What happened?On January 6, several quintals of potatoes were found strewn outside the Uttar Pradesh Assembly as well as near the Chief Minister’s residence, in what appeared to be a mark of protest by distressed farmers. The BJP government dismissed the incident as a politically motivated conspiracy and filed an FIR against unknown persons. It also suspended five policemen for negligence. A few days later, the police arrested two persons linked to the Samajwadi Party from Kannauj on charges of conspiracy. However, the entire fiasco brought the much-needed focus on the dilemma faced by potato farmers.Why have prices fallen?Uttar Pradesh is the largest producer of potatoes in the country and in the 2016-17 season, it broke the previous records, growing 155 lakh metric tonnes. A record 120 lakh tonnes was also stored in the 1,708 cold storages in the State. But rather than bringing cheer, the bumper crop led to a fall in prices. The newly elected Yogi Adityanath government stepped in to launch a market intervention scheme in April, under which one lakh tonnes of potatoes would be purchased from growers at the minimum support price of ₹487 a quintal. However, farmers are not satisfied.What are the problems?The grievances of farmers revolve around high input costs and low and unpredictable rates.First, farmers say the minimum support rate set by the government is too low; the cost of growing a quintal of potato, including expenditure on transport and cold storage rent, comes up to ₹800-900. They are demanding that the minimum support price be increased to ₹1,000. Second, farmers claim the government did not actively purchase their produce as promised. Even in cases where the State purchased the potatoes, the farmers complained that the purpose was counter-productive due to the grading system, under which only the best quality was selected by government agencies. The bulk of average-poor quality potatoes was left with the farmers, who had the option of selling it in the market and dumping the rest in cold storages. Horticulture Department Director S.K. Joshi, however, says the State purchased 12,937 tonnes from farmers during April-May, causing the market price to increase by ₹100 a quintal.Where to store the excess?The new produce from 2017 is already in the market even as cold storages are still flush with last year’s yield. Already bearing the loss of the input costs, farmers are faced with the dilemma of letting their produce rot in the storages or attempt to sell the old produce at throwaway prices in markets, while competing with the new potato. Many farmers chose to let their produce rot in the cold storages or threw them in their fields for cattle to eat, as the costs of transporting them to the market to sell at low prices was unfeasible. As farmers are unable to repay the cold storage rents, they too face losses as they have to incur operational costs.Authorities, however, say the potatoes being dumped by farmers are the rotting old stock, which would have been cleared from the cold storages sooner or later.What happens next?The State has sent a proposal to the Centre for purchasing 2 lakh tonnes from farmers under the market intervention scheme for the new season. Once the Centre approves the rates proposed by the State, the Horticulture Department will start buying potatoes from farmers in districts where rates are lower than the minimum support price. Last year, purchasing was done in 41 districts. Potatoes for the new season are still being dug out and the situation will be clear by February-end.
Former State Congress chief Ashok Choudhary and three other MLCs who quit the party on Wednesday formally joined the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) on Thursday in the presence of Chief Minister and party president Nitish Kumar. The Congress leaders said more Congress legislators would join the JD(U) in the days to comeMeanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) claimed that over two dozen NDA MLAs were in regular touch with the party to switch over at an “appropriate time”.The four Congress MLCs Ashok Choudhary, Dilip Choudhary, Tanvir Akhtar and Ramchandra Bharti reached the official residence of Mr. Nitish Kumar, and formally joined the party. State JD(U) chief Basistha Narayan Singh, senior party leader and Rajya Sabha MP RCP Singh and other party leaders o were present. It was said that Mr. Nitish Kumar would soon expand his Cabinet and Mr. Choudhary could be included as a Minister. Power and positionMr. Choudhary was the education minister in the earlier grand alliance government but had to resign after Nitish Kumar dumped the grand alliance to join hands with BJP.“Whatever responsibility given by the Chief Minister, I’ll try my best to fulfil it…but everything is not being done in politics for power and position”, Mr Choudhary told journalists after coming out of the CM’s house. He said despite contributing a lot for the Congress, he was humiliated by party leaders.Mr Choudhary, also said that more Congress legislators would join JD(U) in the coming days. State Congress leader Chandan Yadav on Thursday said, “Mr. Ashok Choudhary had betrayed the trust of Congress leadership and party workers …in fact, what he is today is only because of the Congress”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate on Saturday a hydroelectric power plant in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, prompting protest from neighbour Pakistan that says the project on a river flowing into Pakistan will disrupt water supplies.The 330-megawatt Kishanganga hydropower station, work on which started in 2009, is one of the projects that India has fast-tracked in the volatile State under Mr. Modi amid frosty ties between the nuclear-armed countries.Pakistan has opposed some of these projects, saying they violate a World Bank-mediated treaty on the sharing of the Indus river and its tributaries upon which 80 per cent of its irrigated agriculture depends.‘Violation of Indus Waters Treaty’“Pakistan is seriously concerned about the inauguration [of the Kishanganga plant],” its Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday. “Pakistan believes that the inauguration of the project without the resolution of the dispute is tantamount to violation of the Indus Waters Treaty [IWT].”The Kishanganga project was delayed for several years as Pakistan dragged India to the International Court of Arbitration, which ruled in India’s favour in 2013.These are “run-of-the-river” schemes: IndiaIndia has said the hydropower projects under way in Jammu and Kashmir are “run-of-the-river” schemes that use the river’s flow and elevation to generate electricity rather than large reservoirs, and do not contravene the treaty.A day before Mr. Modi’s trip to the northern State, at least nine people were killed on both sides of the border due to firing by each other’s security forces, officials said.The two countries have fought three wars, two over Kashmir that they rule in part but claim in full.India accuses Pakistan of promoting militancy in Kashmir, a charge that Islamabad denies.Safe passage during RamadanThe federal Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday that it would suspend all operations against militants in the region during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.More than 130 people have been killed this year in militant violence in the Kashmir Valley.Mr. Modi, who is on a day-long visit to the State, will also flag off the construction of the 14 kilometre-long Zojila tunnel to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh cities.The government said it would be the longest road tunnel in India and Asia’s longest bidirectional tunnel, to be constructed at a cost of $1 billion. ($1 = 67.9850 Indian rupees)
The name of Assam’s lone woman Chief Minister Syeda Anowara Taimur, who is residing in Australia, is missing from the National Register of Citizens, and she plans to return home to initiate the process of enlisting herself and her family in the register of citizens of the State.“It is sad that my name is not there in the list. I will return to Assam in the last week of August and then initiate the process to get mine and my family’s name enlisted in the National Register of Citizens (NRC),” the octogenarian told a television channel. Ms. Taimur headed the State government from December 6, 1980 to June 30, 1981. She has been ailing for some years and is living with her son in Australia.The former Assam Chief Minister said she had “requested a relative to submit the application for the family’s inclusion in the NRC, but maybe it could not be done due to some reasons”.The NRC authorities in Guwahati, however, said there was no legacy data of the former Chief Minister available with them and as such it was not possible for them to ascertain whether she and her family members had applied for inclusion of their names in the draft NRC.Ms. Taimur had served as a Rajya Sabha member in 1988. She was elected as a member of the State Assembly in 1972, 1978, 1983 and 1991. She left the Congress to join the AIUDF in 2011.AIUDF general secretary Aminul Islam on told PTI on August 3 that they, too, had heard from media reports about her name not being in the list. “We have come to know from media reports that our party member and Assam’s first woman Chief Minister’s name does not figure in the list. There are others like former President Fakhruddin Ali’s nephew whose names do not figure in the NRC. This is a serious matter,” he said.“The NRC is full of errors and we will soon meet NRC State coordinator Prateek Hajela and then chalk out our future course of action,” he said.Meanwhile, Ms. Taimur’s Guwahati residence near the Rajdhani Masjid in Dispur is lying vacant. The complete draft of the NRC released on July 30 included the names of 2.89 crore people, out of the 3.29 applicants, with the names of over 40 lakh people excluded.
At least 15 pilgrims were injured in a stampede at Muzaffarpur in North Bihar early on Monday morning.All the injured have been admitted to the local government hospital for medical attention. No report of any casualty has come so far.Officials said that a large number of pilgrims had congregated in the town to offer prayer at the local Shiva temple Baba Garibnath. In the month of Shravan Shiva devotees come from far off places to offer prayer at the temple.As the crowd swelled, pilgrims broke the barricade and a stampede took place in which at least 15 were injured, said officials.The number of injured could also go up, officials added.Every year district administration makes elaborate arrangements for pilgrims in the town by deploying large number of security personnel.
A WhatsApp photograph of a head flashed on Vijay Kumar’s phone screen at 3 am Saturday, confirming his worst fears — his 18-year-old son Manish was one of the revellers mowed down by a train while they were watching Ravan’s effigy burnt the evening before. His younger son, Ashish, returned safely from the festivities, said Kumar, but the frantic search for Manish ended with that ‘ping’ on his phone. He has since been roaming from hospital to hospital looking for the remains of his elder son. It was a night of unspeakable horrors, said the father, aware that his son was decapitated when the train hurtled through the tracks, killing 61 people and injuring more than 70. A leg was found and one hand, but they are not Manish’s. “My son was wearing blue jeans. This one is not wearing blue jeans. I have lost my world,” an inconsolable Kumar said outside the Guru Nanak Hospital, attached to the Government Medical College, where most of the 70 who were injured on Friday evening have been taken. Stunned into silenceAs people milled around the hospital compound, some stunned into silence by the enormity of the tragedy that felled their loved one and others holding back tears, the injured were inside, grappling with their wounds and trying to piece together what had happened. Among them was Sapna, who was on a WhatsApp call with her husband Satender to relay the ‘Ravan Dahan’ event live to him, when the accident took place. The 30-year-old, who suffered head injuries, said she saw body parts scattered around the tracks and a severed head. “When the effigy was set afire, people started moving away from the stage and towards the tracks,” she said, recalling the minutes before tragedy struck.Stampede-like situation As a train approached the area, people tried to clear the tracks and move towards another line, leading to a stampede-like situation. Moments later, another train came from the opposite direction at a high speed and ran over the crowds. She said they could not hear sound of the horn due to the sound of the bursting crackers. “The train driver should have noticed the crowd as there was light and people were holding their mobile phones up to record the event,” Sapna said. Sapna lost her cousin and her one-year-old niece, who she said were not killed crushed by the train but in the stampede that ensued. The baby was flung on the stones and the mother was probably trampled to death by the crowds trying to flee. Jagunandan, a 40-year-old wage labourer from Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh who has suffered injuries in the head and leg, said he was not standing near the tracks but was pushed as people started running away from the main stage after the Ravan effigy was set afire. The father of four was brought to hospital by a relative, who accompanied him to the event. Seven-year-old girl Khushi, who accompanied her mother Paramjit Kaur for the festivities, remains in a state of shock on her hospital bed. Khushi, who also fell close to the tracks, was brought to the hospital in an unconscious state. She lies wordless in her hospital bed. She, too, fell close to the tracks. Recounting the horror momentsRecounting the minutes before the disaster, most of the injured said they could not hear the horn of the approaching train. They said another train had passed moments earlier. The sound of the firecrackers as the effigy came down, the train heading at a high speed led to commotion, triggering a stampede like situation, they said. Motilal, a 35-year-old daily wager from Bihar’s Gopalganj district who is undergoing treatment for chest injuries at the civil hospital, said, “I was standing on one side of the tracks. Suddenly, people started running and I fell down. Everything happened in a fraction of a second, giving very little time to people to react.” Sandeep, a 23-year-old resident of Amritsar, suffered serious head injuries and was admitted to the civil hospital. Her husband, Jitendra, a daily wager, said his wife, their two children and father-in-law had gone to watch ‘Ravaan dahan’ “The train came at the speed of light and it led to a stampede-like situation as there was a large crowd present on the spot,” he said, adding his six-year-old daughter, three-year-old son and father-in-law died in the rush. Dr. Rakesh Sharma, professor in-charge at the Gurunanak Hospital’s surgery unit, said 20 people were brought dead there. Most of the injured people suffered injuries in the head and legs. Dr Mayank said, “Most of the injured belong to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. 80-90 doctors have been put on emergency duty and they are working round-the-clock.” “Some of the injured have been admitted to private hospitals and PGI, Chandigarh,” he said. Mayank said the Gurunanak Hospital is facing a shortage of ventilators in the ICU.
Don-turned-MLA Anant Singh, who on Thursday said he would contest the Lok Sabha election from Munger, had also declared, in an apparent change of heart, that there was no leader bigger than Lalu Prasad in Bihar. On Friday, however, Mr. Yadav’s son and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav snubbed the MLA, saying “bad elements are not welcome in the party”. The Independent MLA from Mokama has had close ties with the ruling JD(U) for the last several years.
Kalyani Devi, scion of the erstwhile royal family of Paralakhemundi in Gajapati district of Odisha, joined the ruling Biju Janata Dal on Tuesday. She was inducted into the party at the residence of Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar.Her joining the BJD will strengthen the party in Gajapati district and Berhampur parliamentary constituency, said sources. The BJD might consider fielding her as its candidate from Paralakhemundi Assembly seat or Berhampur parliamentary constituency, the sources said.Ms. Devi’s family had been politically active from before Independence. She is the daughter of former Congress MP from Berhampur, Gopinath Gajapati, who was a member of the ninth and 10th Lok Sabha. He later joined the BJD in 2009.Her grandfather Krushna Chandra Gajapati (1892-1974)played a key role in the formation of Odisha State on linguistic basis and is revered throughout the State. He was the first prime minister of Odisha before Independence and a member of the Constituent Assembly of India. The present day Gajapati district, carved out of Ganjam district, is named after him.“The family of Ms. Devi is well-known for its tradition of social service and her induction will surely strengthen the party organisation,” said BJD’s Gajapati district president Pradeep Nayak. Ms. Devi expressed her gratitude towards Mr. Patnaik for her induction into the BJD and the support extended towards the treatment of her ailing father.
Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq failed to appear before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Delhi on Monday, citing “hostility and a threat to his life”.“Under the prevailing conditions of hostility and threat to the Mirwaiz, it becomes unwise for him to travel to Delhi,” said Aijaz Ahmad Dar, the Mirwaiz’s lawyer, in a written reply to the NIA.The NIA had issued a summons to the Mirwaiz last week. “You [the Mirwaiz] are acquainted with the circumstances of a case under investigation… You are required to report before the NIA at 10.30 a.m. on March 11 for examination,” the NIA notice reads.In its response, the Mirwaiz’s lawyer on Monday said, “The Mirwaiz was willing to cooperate with the NIA in Srinagar…”“Unsubstantiated attempts are being made to link the Mirwaiz in false and fabricated ‘terror funding’ cases. It’s aimed at silencing him through intimidation and harassment. He is being victimised for his political views to see a resolution of the Kashmir issue through peaceful means,” reads the letter to the NIA.The NIA summons had sparked street protests and a shutdown in Srinagar. J&K’s two main regional parties, Peoples Democratic Party and National Conference, also accused the Centre of “arm twisting of the religious figure” and “attacking the religious identity of the State by summoning the Mirwaiz”.