Google for Veterans was developed by and for veterans, as well as the families of veterans and friends who work at Google. There are tools for reconnecting, restarting and transitioning to civilian life.Veterans Education and Transition Services or “VETS” incorporates academics, institutional access, student involvement and research, not only to support the success of enrolled student veterans, but to understand their experiences more authentically and maintain a program that is effective and dynamic. Reunion, Reintegration, ResilienceSoldier Returning from ServiceToday there are nearly two million children who have a parent in the military. More than 900,000 military children have had a parent deploy multiple times. In addition to the military-related stressors of multiple moves and schools, children also have had to deal with long-term, multiple deployments and separations from one, or both, parents.But now with the drawdown of our military forces and fewer deployments, many of these service member parents are coming home. Coming home. What does “coming home” mean to these children? What does coming home mean to the daily rhythms of family life? How does family resilience plan a role in reintegration?There’s been months of anticipation and counting the days. Birthdays have come and gone, holidays have been celebrated and missed and all of the normal, day-to-day ups and downs in a family’s daily routine have somehow managed to take place while mom or dad was deployed. But now the service member is coming home. What does that mean for the family?Reintegration means that families need to take time and take stock of what it means to be a family. Mom, dad and the kids need to tap into the programs available to them that will help them gain a renewed sense of their roles, develop a sense of belonging to a new family unit, and nurture their own resilience.In her recent web conference on the Military Families Learning Network, Balancing Work and Family: Building Military Family Resilience, Angela Wiley, Associate Professor of Applied Family Studies and Extension Specialist, University of Illinois, defined resilience as “a dynamic process encompassing positive adaptation within the context of significant adversity.” She said that families can benefit from, as well as contribute to, a network of relationships and resources in their communities. Dr. Wiley pointed to the importance of developing new routines, new traditions, new celebrations and expanded social support systems.Resources for returning veterans and their familiesAs veterans and their families re-start their lives, finding new jobs and starting new careers plays a critically important role in reintegration.Hire a SoldierJoining Forces is one of former President Obama’s initiatives to encourage the public to give service members and their families the support and opportunities they need and have earned through their service to our country. Whether this re-start means creating new routines and developing new family traditions, or is complicated by finding ways to adjust to permanent injuries or other hardships, Joining Forces has created resources specifically designed to help veterans translate their military skills into the civilian workforce. The Obama Administration has intentionally partnered with corporations and businesses to make it easier for veterans to connect with companies that are ready to hire them and help them re-start their lives. Soldier with Yellow RibbonBeyond the Yellow Ribbon is a comprehensive program that creates awareness for the purpose of connecting service members and their families with community support, training, services and resources.RecruitMilitary is a veteran-owned firm dedicated to helping you achieve your dreams: education, veteran jobs and civilian careers, new business and franchise ownership, training, and much more.Vet Jobs Why hire veterans? Quite simply, veterans make the best employees! The U.S. military is the world’s largest technical training school with over 220 occupational specialties. Veterans represent the most highly trained, technically capable, verifiable, diverse and teamwork oriented work force in the world. At VetJobs, veterans can find employment assistance, post a resume and search open positions—over 44,00 open jobs are listed!Now it’s your turn. Tell us your story in the comments section below. Are you a returning veteran or have you worked with a returning veteran? Do you have any tips or advice you would like to share?
31 free and 19 paid plug-ins help the Red Giant Universe make a splash in the post-production community.Red Giant Universe has officially been released to the public and if you are in the field of VFX, motion graphic design, or video editing, this is big news! The Red Giant Universe is Red Giant’s first shot at a subscription based plug-in service and we are extremely eager to see if it is well received. If consumers like the Universe than we will probably see many more subscription based effects in the future. But for now we have the Universe and with a version that’s completely free, it’s not a bad deal.What is Red Giant Universe?Members of the Red Giant Universe have access to dozens of plug-in’s for use in Adobe After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut X, and Apple Motion. The Universe was designed to be a community where users can not only download and use plug-in’s but also suggest new plug-in’s to be developed. Previous plug-in’s like Retrograde, Knoll Light Factory EZ and Toonit are available inside the Universe.Pricing and AvailabilityThere is a version of the Red Giant Universe which is completely free to those who sign up. Members with a free membership will have access to 31 free plug ins. However, Premium members will have access to 19 more exclusive plug-ins. Membership comes in 3 levels: Monthly at $10 a month, Yearly at $99 a year and a lifetime membership for $399.Even if you don’t want to be a paid member it is totally worth signing up to get access to the free plug-ins and effects. To download, go to the Universe’s website and begin using today!Now that the beta is complete, what do you think of the Red Giant Universe? Share in the comments below.
No more tracing by hand! Here’s an easy step-by-step guide to converting text to masks in After Effects.The ability to transform alpha channels into masked layers is an incredibly helpful feature built into After Effects. By converting your text layers into masks, you can create accurate masks without having to trace text and alpha layers by hand.The following steps outline the process of converting text to masks in After Effects.1. Select Text LayerCreate a text layer in your scene. The best way to optimize your text for the auto-tracing process is to choose a bold sans-serif font. However, you aren’t limited to just text. This effect will work with any layer.2. Select Auto-TraceWith your text layer selected go to Navigate>Auto-Trace.3. Adjust Settings As-NeededUnder “Options” you will be given the option to select a channel. Make sure it is set to “Alpha”. The default settings are usually good for most circumstances, but you might need to adjust as needed.4. Click “OK”After you click “OK” After Effects will create a new layer with your masks applied. If you want to add the mask to a new layer, simply select select the mask and copy using Command+C. Then select your desired layer and hit Command+V to paste.Your auto-traced layer will look something like this.Want to learn even more quick tips in After Effects? Check out these 10 After Effects quick tips found exclusively here on PremiumBeat:Prepping Vector Files for After EffectsMinimizing Pixelation and ArtifactsHow to Change the Render SoundCreating VariablesLayer Styles in After EffectsLinking Layers to CheckboxesChanging Label ColorsExporting with Alpha Channels in After Effects3 Ways to Fix Banding in After EffectsSaving Presets in After EffectsHave any other tips for using the auto-trace feature in After Effects? Share in the comments below.
Harness the power of modifier keys with this new After Effects keyboard.Cover image via Logickeyboard.Logickeyboard has released their new After Effects keyboard, and it’s a drastic improvement over the previous model. The design relies on an entirely new color system, focusing more on modifier keys such as ALT, SHIFT and CONTROL. This fresh look puts forty-four additional shortcuts at your fingertips, making your After Effects workflow that much smoother. Let’s take a closer look. If you’ve ever worked with keyboard shortcuts, then you know how important modifier keys are. Using just one or two opens up a number of options. That’s exactly why Logickeyboard has paid more attention to these keys and their shortcuts. Modifier keys are color-coded in pink, blue and purple, so you can match these colors with shortcut keys to quickly reference all of the corresponding shortcuts available for that particular key.Eight colors group keyboard shortcuts into the following categories:Layers and navigationMarkersOpenTime navigationActivate toolsProperties in timelineMultiTimeline and workarea If the color-coded system isn’t enough for you, check out the new After Effects cheat sheet available online at Logickeyboard’s website. Use this reference tool to search shortcuts by color or keyword and quickly find what you’re looking for.Pick one of these up for $124.90 at the website.Have you used Logickeyboard’s latest shortcut keyboard? Let us know in the comments.
Quality = Investment + Time + EffortQuality requires a greater investment. Quality costs more to produce. If you start with cheap, poor quality inputs, you automatically end up with poor quality outputs. It costs a good bit more to begin with higher quality inputs, but the result is something worth more on the other end.What investments do you make in inputs?Quality takes more time. If you want to produce excellent work, a craftsman’s quality work, you have to put in the hours. In a world where we expect everything we want immediately delivered to our doorstep–even if it requires a drone–the focus on quality is in retreat. Taking your time, measuring twice, and making the necessary adjustments improves quality. If your goal is this quarter’s results, you might decide to go faster. If your goal is a lasting relationship, speed kills.Are you putting in the time necessary to produce something of a higher quality?Quality is more difficult to produce. It takes more effort and more energy to produce something of a higher quality. For most of us, after time, this where we have the greatest control when it comes to quality. It takes more energy to give yourself over to the task in front of you. It take more effort to produce bigger results. But the resulting improvement in quality is worth paying for (at least for your dream clients, those who perceive the value).Are you pouring your effort and energy into producing something of a higher quality?You might think this is about your product, your service, or your solution. It’s more than that.
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 Entrepreneurs suffer from a curse. Or maybe it’s a disease. It prevents them from producing the results that they want to produce with their business.That curse entrepreneurs suffer from is believing that everyone who works for them should think exactly like they think, behave exactly like they would behave, and do what they would do in any given situation. Because entrepreneurs are afflicted with this curse, they spend most of their time frustrated instead of doing what is necessary to scale their business.They Aren’t YouIf the people who worked for you were made of the exact same stuff you were made of they would be doing what you are doing.They don’t have the same entrepreneurial urges or desires that you have. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, if they did have the same entrepreneurial desires that you have, they wouldn’t be working for you.It’s also a good thing that they don’t think like you think. The last thing you need is a bunch of people working for you who don’t have anything to offer in the way of ideas to grow your business. Entrepreneurial leaders don’t build followers; they build another generation of leaders. That’s the only way to scale.But it isn’t easy to get there.The Real Work Of ScalingThe real work that the entrepreneur needs to do to scale a business is to build.The entrepreneur needs to build leaders. These are the people who are going to help her grow her business and who can take on responsibilities and duties in some area. Without leaders, the entrepreneur can’t grow.The entrepreneur also needs to build processes and systems. These processes and systems are the platforms on which the entrepreneur can scale the business. Without these processes, you count on everyone knowing what you know and behaving as you would behave. And that isn’t going to happen without process and systems.The entrepreneur needs to build culture. If you want people to think as you think, then you have to instill in them a set of values. Values are what culture is made of. Culture is what people do when there is no leader around. It’s what they lean on to make decisions.If you want to spend years and years being frustrated, then don’t accept that it’s your curse to believe that everyone is just like you. Not very many people are like you. But the people who have succeeded in doing what you are trying to do, have learned to do the real work of scaling a business.
A reader of this blog emailed me to ask me about applying The Lost Art of Closing (TLAC) as it pertains to the one call close. The reader recognized that the book is primarily aimed at B2B salespeople and sales organizations. He recognized that the approach is extremely consultative, and that is by design. I wrote the book with a consultative salesperson in mind, and one who is involved in a long-cycle, complex deal which is likely to be a competitive displacement (which means one in which the salesperson is eating another’s lunch).That said, everything I write tends to be principles-based. And TLAC is a book based on certain principles about selling and commitment gaining. Those principles will serve you no matter what market you sell to, and no matter what vertical.If you sell at all, it is necessary to gain the Commitment for Time. Unless you gain this commitment, you will not be having a conversation with your prospective client at all. When you are sitting in front of your prospective client, you are asking them to make the Commitment to Explore Change. If it makes sense, the next commitment will be the Commitment to Change. This is the commitment that many salespeople miss completely, and it’s why they hand over a proposal only to find out their prospect has decided to do nothing.You have to ask the question, “Does it make sense for you to do this now, and are we going to be able to get the time and resources necessary to put this in place? Or do we need to be working on something else for you?” The reason salespeople don’t like to ask this question is because they don’t want to hear “no.”All of these commitments are necessary in a B2C sale, but the rest of the commitments are also necessary. It is necessary for you to gain the Commitment to Collaborate, where you work with your prospect to understand their needs and to put together a solution that makes sense for them. Even when you’re selling to a consumer, their input is helpful in allowing you to provide a solution they can say yes to when you propose it. In many sales, if the consumer has a spouse or a significant other, you still need the Commitment to Build Consensus. Which brings us to one of the fundamental principles in the book: controlling the process.In a sale to a consumer, leaving out one of the parties can sink your deal. It can also sink your deal by giving your prospect the ability to use the other party as a way to avoid deciding during a call.The other commitments are also important. It’s important that you gain the Commitment to Invest, and I would argue that the more expensive or higher priced your solution, the earlier you should have this conversation. You also need the Commitment to Review, where you make sure your solution is exactly right, as well as the Commitment to Resolve Concerns. In a one sale close, this is where the client says, “I need to think about it.” This is an indication that they are not confident in moving forward, and you need to discover what their concerns are, so you can successfully address them.Finally, we get to the Commitment to Decide. This is where you ask for the business. In a more complex sale, you have a final commitment called the Commitment to Execute. In a less complex sale, that execution may just be signing a check. But if the client has to do something else in order to get the benefit of what you sell, you may still need that commitment. For example, if you sell a gym membership, the execution is the consumer showing up at the gym to gain the benefits of the membership you sold them.There are differences between business to consumer sales and business-to-business sales. But there are also principles that cross the boundaries between the approaches one needs when selling to a consumer and selling to a business. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now
One of the reasons you might lose a deal is because your dream client doesn’t agree to the process. They decide they want to do things that don’t serve them or not to do what they need to do to make a good decision. One of the ways you avoid losing is by selling your prospect the process.Once you are sitting in front of a contact (or contacts), you need them to commit to exploring change. There really is no other reason for you to be sitting across from them or them you. When they ask you to share information about your company and your solutions, your compliance means you are allowing them to do their discovery instead of your helping them to discover something about themselves and their business. Neither of you are near the point where you should by sharing why you are the right partner, and allowing them to drive you pitching proves you may not be.It’s not uncommon for some people to decide they want to see a presentation or a proposal without doing some of the things they need to do before you reach that point. They skip discovery and the collaboration that helps you to provide a solution you are confident will work for them. If that’s not bad enough, they often try to move forward without inviting the people who are going to be working with to participate in the process. Your contacts believe they are acting in their own best interest, speeding up the process and eliminating the resistance they are certain to encounter from some of their peers.For as long as most people can remember, the idea of closing has pertained only to the final ask, the commitment to decide and sign your contract. Of all the many commitments you need to gain, the final ask is one of the easiest to obtain. It’s all the commitments that come before that ask that makes it easy to gain—or the most difficult, spending on how well you have sold the process.The ten commitments that help you create value for your client while creating a preference to work with you are what helps you ensure that you provide your client with your best help in making the right decision. Before you sell anything else, sell the process.
When Kashmiri teenager Shabnam Bashir first took up classical Sufi music three years ago, she had to practise singing in secret because all the men in her family opposed her new passion.Now the 14-year-old is a proud member of what her teacher Mohammad Yaqoob Sheikh says is the first mixed Sufi singing ensemble in Jammu and Kashmir, where the music has for generations been a male preserve.“It took me two months to convince them all,” said Ms. Bashir as she joins four other girls — and one 13-year-old boy — for singing practice. “My father finally gave me permission on condition that it did not affect my regular studies.” Thousands of people in the Muslim-majority region follow Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam whose adherents seek spiritual communion through music and dance at the shrines of their saints.The songs, which use the lyrics of old Kashmiri- and Persian-language devotional poetry, date back to the 15th century. But they have evolved as a uniquely male tradition, sung by men and handed down through the male line of the family.Exception to the ruleMr. Sheikh is an exception — he learned the art from his maternal grandfather, Ghulam Mohammad Qaleenbaf, one of the region’s best known Sufi singers.“The earlier masters wouldn’t even pass it on to sons of their daughters, only sons or sons of sons,” he said. Mr. Sheikh began teaching young Kashmiris in a bid to preserve the Sufi musical tradition of the picturesque Himalayan region.He said young Kashmiris were turning away from classical music and towards protest rap songs inspired by the tense politics of the heavily militarised region, where dozens of protesters were killed last year in clashes with government forces.Facing oppositionWhen he first started teaching girls, Mr. Sheikh faced opposition from both neighbours and soldiers, and had to move the classes to a new location four times.“It looked like everything was going up in flames. I wanted to do something to save Sufiyana,” he said.Now he has trained nearly 50 Kashmiri women — although only a small minority continue to perform after marriage.Among his current students are teenagers Rehana Yousuf and her sister, who sit in a circle with their fellow musicians, heads covered in bright colourful scarves.Ms. Yousuf plays the Santoor, a 100-stringed instrument that accompanies Sufi singing, and says she was inspired to learn when she first saw Mr. Sheikh perform on television. “When I heard he teaches girls too, I developed a strong urge to learn,” she said.On the Pakistan side of the border, Sufi music is thriving thanks to a hybrid form known as Sufi Rock, in which the original lyrics are sung to electric guitar tracks and traditional tabla beats.The form has seen a recent revival with the advent of Coke Studio, a television show which features live music performances. Female performers are among its biggest stars.
Militants on Wednesday looted two branches of the Ellaquai Dehati Bank (EDB) within a span of two hours in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. In another incident on Tuesday night in Shopian district, also in south Kashmir, five service rifles were snatched from court guards.Around noon, three armed militants barged into a branch of the EDB, at remote Wahibugh in Pulwama district, 30 km from capital Srinagar. “Apparently ₹4.92 lakh is missing. The final estimation of the looted amount is still being ascertained,” a senior police official told The Hindu.Within two hours of the first robbery, armed militants again struck in Pulwama’s Nihama and robbed another EDB branch of ₹1.60 lakh. It was the third such incident in 24 hours. Around ₹65,000 was looted from another EDB branch located in Kader village, Shopian district, on Tuesday, according to the police. Five service rifles, including four INSAS and one AK-47, were snatched from five policemen guarding the District Court Complex, Shopian, on Tuesday night. The policemen have been suspended. The incident took place just 700 metres from the nearest police station. On Monday, militants took away five service rifles after killing five policemen, guarding a cash van, in Kulgam. VulnerableA top counter-insurgency police officer told The Hindu that the EDB branches remain easy targets for militants given their locations in the interiors of the districts. The police have already categorised many of these branches in south Kashmir as “hyper sensitive.”“The growing incidents of looting of banks and weapons only point to the swelling militant ranks in south Kashmir. There is shortage of cash to meet the daily expenses of the groups, with around 30 members each,” said the police officer. According to the police data, Pulwama, out of four districts in south Kashmir, has the presence of more than 70 militants, including 12 foreigners, the highest ever in the past two decades. “We suspect that the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Hizbul Mujahideen are working in tandem in south Kashmir,” said the officer.In 2016, both the Hizb and the LeT militants looted ₹30 lakh from three banks in south and central Kashmir.Arms and cash crunch, due to depleting couriers between fresh recruits and the handlers in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), is forcing the locally trained and recruited militants to swoop on the soft targets.
Pune: Shiv Sena leader and Union Minister Anant Geete was injured in a car accident near Pali in Raigad district on Friday afternoon.While Mr. Geete suffered minor injuries on his head he is said to be safe.Mr. Geete, who is Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Sector Enterprises and the lone Sena leader in the Union cabinet, was on his way to Pali from Khopoli (in Raigad) when the accident occurred.According to sources, the driver of the advance pilot vehicle in the minister’s convoy braked rapidly to avert ramming into a two-wheeler which appeared suddenly in his field of vision.Mr. Geete’s car was right behind and the driver, unable to apply brakes in time, crashed into the pilot vehicle while the rear pilot car, rammed into the Minister’s car. “The Minister is fine and will resume his journey shortly. He is at the government rest house,” said Anil Parasakar, Superintendent of Police, Raigad district. Mr. Geete left for Pali after resting for a while.
As Rahul Gandhi arrived in Uttar Pradesh on his first visit to the State after becoming the Congress president, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday advised him to shun “negative politics” and instead focus on development.The Congress leader arrived in the State on a two-day visit to galvanise party workers for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The party saw its worst-ever performance in the 2017 Assembly elections, getting only seven seats in the 403-member House.“The Congress president should give up doing negative politics,” Mr. Adityanath told reporters even as Rahul Gandhi arrived in Lucknow en route Raebareli and Amethi — the party bastions.Asked as to how he viewed his first visit to the State after donning the mantle of party head, the chief minister said, “My advise to Rahul is that he should focus more on politics of development.” Adityanath said that had the Congress laid more emphasis on development, Amethi would not have languished. “See the plight of his Lok Sabha constituency — Amethi — nursed by four generations of Nehru-Gandhi family,” the chief minister told reporters on the sidelines of an event at Gorakhnath temple, of which he is the head priest, on the occasion of Makarsankranti.Mr. Adityanath also attacked former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, saying he should ask his supporters to behave. “They (SP workers) killed innocent villagers in Azamgarh with spurious liquor and were also caught in Hardoi for making spurious liquor. They tried to disturb the environment in Lucknow which is not good,” he charged. In Lucknow, two persons, including a Samajwadi Party worker, were arrested last week for allegedly hurling potatoes near the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly and some other places in the VVIP zone to highlight the plight of farmers.Meanwhile, Mr. Adityanath greeted BSP supremo Mayawati on her birthday on Monday.
The spectre of fluoride contamination has come to haunt schoolchildren in Odisha’s Nuapada district with potable water sources in as many as 54 schools and anganwadi premises testing for fluoride presence beyond permissible limits.Prolonged consumption of fluoride-contaminated water leads to dental and skeletal fluorosis. Commonly, mottled teeth and crippled backbone and limbs are manifestation of the disease.Health hazardConsumption of water having fluoride content above 1.5 mg per litre is considered dangerous to health.An alarming level of fluoride presence has been found in Bharuamunda High School in Sinapali block of Nuapada. Laboratory tests certified by the National Rural Drinking Water Programme under the Union Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry found 5.25 mg per litre fluoride content in water sourced from a tube well in the school. Water of another tube well dug recently on the school premises has not been tested.As many as 232 students, including 65 hostel boarders, of the school have little option for safe drinking water as water samples from 15 sources in Bharuamunda village sent for laboratory tests confirmed fluoride contamination in 2018-19.“It is very important to make immediate alternative arrangement for safe drinking water for students. Adverse impact of fluoride contamination is very high on children. Bones in children are in formation stage while fluoride tends to damage bones,” said Bimal Pandia, an expert on water.Mr. Pandia said the State government should make fresh health assessment of all students consuming fluoride-laced water and try to find out if they have developed dental fluorosis. “Once their backbone and limbs are affected subsequent to dental fluorosis, it will be difficult to cure the disease,” he pointed out.Drinking water sources in 45 schools and nine anganwadi centres of the district have been found to have fluoride content beyond permissible levels. The number of affected schools could be more as drinking water sources were randomly chosen for testing.Government estimate says Nuapada has a total of 2,784 habitation. Fluoride content was found beyond permissible level of 1.5 gram per litre in 905 habitations. The fluoride content in water varies from 0.14 – 7.2 gram per litre in Nuapada.“We have long been struggling to find a solution to fluoride contamination in our region. Now, we are pushing our next generation into a health mess. The State government must come out with alternative arrangement to keep students safe,” said Priya Ranjan Meher, a Zilla Parishad member in Nuapada.Nuapada is not a lone case where drinking water has fluoride presence. In 2018-19, drinking water sources in eight schools in Nayagarh, seven in Balangir and eight in Kalahandi districts were found to be fluoride contaminated.In 2017-18, as many as 1,341 drinking water sources in Odisha were fluoride contaminated. Nuapada with 707 contaminated sources led the table.
The BJP in Tripura will write to the Union Home Ministry, seeking more security for Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, who, the party says, is facing a threat to his life from drug cartels because of his drive against opium and cannabis growers.On Thursday, BJP MLA Ratan Chakraborty said the Centre was aware of the need to tighten Mr. Deb’s security following a report that drug-lords in Myanmar had hatched a plot to kill him. Myanmar is a major producer of narcotic drugs.“We are drafting a note for the MHA, requesting that the Chief Minister’s security be enhanced to the Z category from the current Y category… We have also asked party workers to be on their toes as the Chief Minister often breaks security cordon to meet people,” Mr. Chakraborty said.After its formation in March, the BJP-led coalition declared war on drugs. The police and other security agencies have so far seized more than 50,000 kg of cannabis or ganja and destroyed plants on large areas across the State. Police officers say the drug corridor from Myanmar to Bangladesh, through Tripura, has been choked, with drug-lords in Myanmar turning restive. The BJP accused the previous Left Front government of patronising the drug cartels over two decades.
Fourteen persons were killed and as many injured on Sunday when the bus in which they were travelling fell into a 150-metre-deep gorge in Uttarkashi district, an official said. The private bus was on its way to Vikas Nagar from Jankichatti, near the Himalayan shrine of Yamunotri, when it fell into the gorge near Damta, District Magistrate Ashish Chauhan said. Twelve people died on the spot and two succumbed at a hospital, he said. A search and rescue operation by the police with the help of locals is under way, Mr. Chauhan said, adding that some bodies could be stuck in the bushes. Six seriously injured people were flown in a chopper to AIIMS, Rishikesh, and Jolly Grant Hospital in Dehradun for treatment, Mr. Chauhan said. Eight others were also brought to Dehradun, he added.Landed near Yamuna The bus, after plunging into the gorge, landed a few metres away from the Yamuna river, he said. The number of fatalities could have been higher had the bus fallen into the river, he said. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat expressed grief at the loss of lives in the accident and asked the district administration to make all arrangements for the treatment of the injured.
Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh could find himself in a dilemma of choosing between son Akhilesh and brother Shivpal, both of whom will be celebrating his 80th birthday separately on Thursday and seek his “blessings” ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The uncle and nephew parted ways in 2016 after Akhilesh removed Shivpal as the SP’s State president and last year, a national convention nominated the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister as party head replacing Mulayam. Shivpal Yadav’s Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSPL) has planned State-wide celebrations, including events at the party’s office at 6, Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg, here and Saifai, the native place of the Yadav clan, in Etawah. The Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP), which has also planned to celebrate Mulayam’s birthday across the State, will have an event at its office in the Uttar Pradesh capital. The PSPL has decided to celebrate his birthday as “Dharm Nirpekshta Diwas” and organise a ‘dangal’ (wrestling event) in Saifai as Mulayam was a wrestler once and known for his skills in the ring. “We will be celebrating the day as Dharm Nirpekshta Diwas (secularism day) as ‘netaji’ (as Mulayam is fondly called) is the one who stood against communal forces with full force. “The objective of the day will be to strengthen social amity and ideology of secularism,” Shivpal’s son and PSPL general secretary Aditya Yadav said.The Samajwadi Party is not far behind as it has also announced State-wide celebrations like those of previous years and asked its district officials and workers to organise events. “The SP has asked its district and city cadre to celebrate Mulayam Singh Yadav’s birthday. We have been organising his birthday earlier also. He is not only our party’s founder but also a samajwadi icon,” SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said.
Buoyed by successful trial of cargo movement to Bangladesh via the inland waterways protocol route, India is now preparing to exploit the path for the purpose of tourism, an official said. A trans-boundary river cruise operation is expected to commence from Kolkata in March next year through Sunderbans to Bangladesh and then to connect the northeastern destinations by private operators, a senior official said. “Bilateral secretary-level meetings between India and Bangladesh were held in October. It has been decided that one of the river cruise operators would be starting operations from March, 2019 from Kolkata through Sunderbans via the protocol route to Bangladesh and then to northeast,” Member, Inland Waterways Authority of India, S.V.K. Reddy said. Mr. Reddy was in the city to participate in a transport seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) recently. Bangladesh shipping secretary Abdus Samsah had earlier said that private players will be allowed to operate river cruise between the two countries, which will cover about 1,539 km. Both sides also agreed to allow private operators to run cruise to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Mr. Reddy said night navigation facility has been installed up to the Indian border while Bangladesh is expected to do the same. He said India has agreed to fund up to 80% of the dredging cost in some identified stretches within Bangladesh in the Indo-Bangla protocol route to make it navigable. Regularly, 15-20 barges carrying fly ash are now heading to Bangladesh and navigation up to the Indian border is smooth, he said.
A day ahead of the 201st anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon, the Bombay High Court on Monday denied permission to the Uttar Pradesh-based Bhim Army to hold a public meeting in Pune on Tuesday. The court, however, imposed no restriction on Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ from visiting the village of Bhima-Koregaon, 30 km from Pune city, on January 1, the battle’s anniversary.Security shieldOfficials from the Pune police, who were present in the court, submitted that they were not detaining Mr. Azad in Pune, despite a significant security shield outside Sagar Plaza Hotel in the city where he is staying.Mr. Azad was to address the Bhima-Koregaon Sangharsh Mahasabha in Pune’s SSPMS grounds.“It is surprising that the court’s refusal to grant permission for our rally rested on technicalities like obtaining ‘clearance’ from the SSPMS ground authorities. The court never mentioned any possible ‘untoward situation’ arising out of Mr. Azad’s presence – as has been hinted to us by authorities since he entered Maharashtra on December 28,” said Datta Pol, Bhim Army’s Pune district president.Mr. Pol, told The Hindu that Mr. Azad’s planned interaction with Ambedkarite students at the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), has also been cancelled.‘Tension in campus’Both events, to be held on December 30, had to be cancelled after the SSPMS ground authorities denied permission for a public meeting, and the SPPU authorities refused Mr. Azad permission to interact with students saying his presence “would create tension” in the campus.The same day, advocate Nitin Satpute moved the High Court seeking “urgent relief” for Bhim Army to hold its proposed public meeting in Pune and demanding action against the State government for allegedly violating Article 19 (freedom of speech and expression) of the Constitution.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee today announced a plan to pare up to 475 positions from its staff of 4500 researchers, technicians, and support personnel. Officials at the Department of Energy (DOE) lab hope to meet the target through voluntary buyouts, and there are no immediate plans for layoffs. The staff reduction is the second in 3 years and would leave the lab with nearly 1000 fewer workers than it had in 2010.Oak Ridge is one of 10 national labs run by DOE’s Office of Science, which this year took a 5% hit, to $4.632 billion, as part of the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. The reduction, required by the failure of policymakers to abide by the terms of a 2011 law designed to reduce the federal deficit over the next decade, reduced the lab’s budget this year by $100 million, to $1.5 billion. The voluntary buyouts are intended to prepare the lab for a second round of automatic cuts that will occur in 2014 unless Congress agrees on another approach to reducing federal spending, say Oak Ridge Director Thom Mason.Oak Ridge is a multipurpose lab with strengths in materials science, advance scientific computing, biofuels, and nuclear engineering. It hosts the $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron Source and the High-Flux Isotope Reactor, also a neutron source, which are used to study materials. It is home to the Titan supercomputer, which can be used to simulate systems as diverse as the climate and the core of a nuclear reactor. Oak Ridge also serves as the main office for the U.S. team working on the international fusion project ITER, which is under construction in Cadarache, France.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Mason says that earlier staff cuts have made the lab more efficient and allowed it to lower the fees charged researchers from universities and industry to use its facilities. But they have also reduced the amount of research the lab can perform, a disturbing trend that Mason says will accelerate if DOE levies additional cuts. “We’ve reached the point,” Mason says, “where people are telling me, ‘I can’t cut anymore because I’ve only got one expert in each of these different areas.’ ”The buyouts at Oak Ridge may be a sign of things to come across the DOE laboratory system. Directors of other DOE labs tell ScienceInsider that they are also considering reducing staff levels but have not reached a final decision.*Clarification, 26 September, 11:48 a.m.: The story has been revised to reflect the fact that Oak Ridge officials hope the number of staff reductions will turn out to be smaller than 475.
When two groups of scientists decided to sequence a snake genome, both figured they might as well pick one of the most extreme species. One group chose the king cobra, the largest venomous snake in the world and one of the most deadly ones. The other went for the Burmese python, a species that lacks venom but has remarkable eating habits: It strangles its prey to death and can survive on just three to five meals a year.Now, both groups have published their analysis of the genomes, and their findings reveal the molecular basis behind these snakes’ remarkable traits. The Burmese python’s genome allows it to rev up its metabolism to 40 times its usual rate after it eats, during which organs like the kidney, liver, and gut can double in size in less than 3 days. In the cobra’s genome, entire gene families were repurposed to help produce a sophisticated, highly toxic mix of proteins and peptides that kept changing as prey evolved mechanisms to elude it. Both papers, published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that snakes have evolved very rapidly.These are only the first two snake genomes ever sequenced; snake scientists have studied snakes around the world, but were late to join the revolution in molecular biology, says Nicholas Casewell, a snake scientist at Bangor University in the United Kingdom and a co-author on the king cobra paper.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The team that sequenced the python genome, led by Todd Castoe of the University of Texas, Arlington, zoomed in on the changes that happen in the Burmese python—which lives in Southeast Asia and recently invaded the Florida Everglades—after it eats. The researchers checked the activity of genes in the heart, kidney, small intestine, and liver before a meal and again 1 and 4 days after eating. “The magnitude of the gene expression response really floored us,” Castoe says. Half the python’s genes changed their activity significantly within 48 hours, the team reports in its paper.With the study in hand, “people are going to have a ton of new targets for looking at the genomics” of how snakes adapt physiologically, predicts Harvard University evolutionary biologist Scott Edwards.The team also compared the 7442 genes found as single copies in both the cobra and the python with the same genes in all other land vertebrates sequenced so far. The bottom line: Snake genomes have changed a lot—and they have changed very fast to meet the demands of their unusual lifestyles.The scientists who sequenced the king cobra—which occurs in India, China, and Southeast Asia—focused on its venom, a very toxic mix of 73 peptides and proteins. They measured gene activity in the venom gland and in the so-called accessory gland, a poorly understood structure through which the venom passes before it leaves the cobra’s mouth.In the paper, the researchers report that the two glands have very different gene activity patterns. The accessory gland doesn’t produce toxins but makes many different lectins, a group of proteins that bind carbohydrates. In some other snake venoms, toxic lectins are part of the mix, but in the cobra, lectins are never released into the venom. The accessory gland’s role may be to activate the venom somehow, but “we really don’t know” what lectins do exactly, Casewell says.The venom gland itself relies on 20 gene families for its toxins. The scientists found that the genes for each toxin family were also used in other parts of the body in the snake’s evolutionary past and even today. “These dangerous proteins are co-opted from elsewhere in the body and [are] turned into weapons and diversified,” says Frank Burbrink, an evolutionary biologist at the City University of New York. Often, a gene was copied more than once, allowing each copy to mutate in different ways, yielding an ever more sophisticated mix.That gives the snake an advantage in an evolutionary arms race. The cobra’s prey evolve constantly as well, developing ways to resist being immobilized or killed by the toxins. For snakes, this genetic competition can be deadly, because ineffective venom can enable potential prey to turn on the snake and kill it.The paper is “a stunning piece of work, just amazing,” says Jimmy McGuire, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Vonk, Castoe, and their colleagues stress that they have only just begun to milk their data. And another 10 snake genomes or so are likely to come out within the next couple of years, Casewell says.Check out the 6 December print issue of Science for a news package on snakes, including more on the genomes, a story about efforts to develop drugs from venom, and a report about the fight against the invasive brown tree snake in Guam.