OpenAI A 5-year-old can tie their shoelaces, but robot hands aren’t nearly so nimble. A new system, however, has greatly improved their dexterity.Hard-coding a robot to coordinate multiple joints is daunting. So computer scientists have turned to machine learning, a field of artificial intelligence (AI) in which computers build skills on their own. Such learning takes time and repetition, however, and robot hardware is slow and breakable. Some researchers instead train algorithms with virtual robots, but reality is always slightly different from simulation.The new work overcame this “reality gap” by slightly randomizing elements of the simulation during training, such as friction and object size. (Most of the work, in both simulation and reality, was done with a child’s building block with letters on its sides.) They also gave the program short-term memory, so after a few seconds of handling the cube, it got a sense of the block’s exact size and other factors and adjusted for them.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 researchers used the commercial Shadow Dexterous Hand, which resembles a human hand, attached to a wall, along with a digital simulation of the hand for training. In both virtual training and a physical test to see how well the training transferred to the real hand, the hand was instructed to manipulate a cube in a series of new orientations so that, for example, the side with the A on it was facing up and side with the P on it was facing out. No robot hand had ever done something nearly as complicated. Watch a robot hand learn to manipulate objects just like a human hand In the real world, the system “saw” the cube using three cameras placed above the hand. The virtual hand, after the equivalent of 100 years of trial-and-error practice (sped up in simulation), performed an average of 30 consecutive reorientations without getting stuck or dropping the cube. The physical hand completed an average of 15 consecutive reorientations without getting stuck or dropping the cube, the researchers report today. The system, called Dactyl, also discovered common human tricks such as spinning the cube between two fingertips or taking advantage of gravity to shift the block.The advance might improve the assembly of delicate electronics or the ability of health care or domestic robots to help around the house. Omelet, anyone? By Matthew HutsonJul. 30, 2018 , 12:00 PM
Ocean acidification could boost shell growth in snails and sea urchins Jeff Rotman/Science Source The world’s oceans are acidifying rapidly as they soak up massive amounts of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released from burning fossil fuels. That’s bad news for tiny marine critters like coral and sea urchins that make up the base of the ocean food chain: Acidic water not only destroys their shells, but it also makes it harder for them to build new ones. Now, scientists studying sea snails have discovered an unexpected side effect of this acid brew—it can help some of them build thicker, stronger shells by making their food more nutritious.Often called climate change’s “evil twin,” acidification happens when the ocean absorbs atmospheric CO2. As CO2 dissolves, the process releases hydrogen ions, lowering the water’s pH and increasing its acidity. That acidic water also removes many floating carbonate ions that organisms like mussels and clams use to build their sturdy shells. Under these conditions, it takes more energy for these creatures to make shells thick enough to withstand the added stress.But some lab studies suggest more food, such as algae, could help strengthen marine organisms’ shells, and thus offset some of the damage caused by ocean acidification. Scientists predict climate change will do just that, because extra CO2 increases the availability of nutrients, like nitrogen, essential to algal growth.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(*)To find out what is happening in the wild, Sean Connell, an ecologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues traveled to underwater CO2 vents off the coast of New Zealand’s White Island (Whakaari). Water near the vents is about as acidic as most of the ocean is predicted to be by the end of the century. The researchers collected five sea snails (Eatoniella mortoni), along with five samples of turf algae, a staple of the sea snails’ diet.Over 6 years, they compared their samples with sea snails and algae from nearby sites lacking CO2 vents. They measured the thickness and strength of the sea snail shells, and they also measured the protein, carbohydrate, and energy content of the algae, to determine their nutritional quality.The sea snails at the CO2 vents built shells that were twice as thick and more durable than the shells of snails at the control site, Connell and colleagues report this month in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. In addition, the algae were four times as abundant and had 11% more protein and carbohydrates than at the control location, meaning the snails had a bigger and more nutritious supply of food.Connell chalks this up to extra nitrogen availability. The water’s lower pH allows marine plants like algae to absorb more nitrate, a form of nitrogen, enabling the plants to produce more protein. “We recognized that energy governs life,” Connell says. “If these energy connections exist in nature, their discovery could change the way we think about threatened species.”The study was “elegantly” done, says Iris Hendriks, a marine biologist with the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid. However, she adds, “There’s a lot of ‘buts’ here.” For example, Hendriks wonders whether the findings could apply to organisms that aren’t known to survive in acidic water. Further, she notes, it’s hard to predict what will happen in ecosystems, which have complex—and sometimes conflicting—interactions.Marine biologist Ulf Riebesell, who leads the biological oceanography department at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, agrees. “The study is unique in showing one organism that benefits based on one food change,” he says, “but it implies this might be a general phenomenon that can be extrapolated to other marine systems. I would be very careful in doing so.”Despite the idea that some marine organisms can resist the dangers of climate change, Riebesell says biodiversity is still decreasing, especially at CO2 vents, and that could make ecosystems less resilient. “Even if some organisms benefit from warming and acidification, there are still losers,” Riebesell says, “and evolutionary adaptation is not fast enough to compensate for the loss of these losers.” By Katie CameroJul. 23, 2019 , 2:00 PM Shell-building creatures like sea urchins could potentially benefit from acidic ocean waters.
Sanskrit pandits on the lawns of Mysore University: the past is not deadIn forthcoming issues India Today will present special reports on the states providing a broad overview of each state’s political, economic, social and cultural conditions as well as a critical analysis of the strengths and shortcomings of its,Sanskrit pandits on the lawns of Mysore University: the past is not deadIn forthcoming issues India Today will present special reports on the states providing a broad overview of each state’s political, economic, social and cultural conditions as well as a critical analysis of the strengths and shortcomings of its development efforts. We begin this series with Karnataka. Bhabani Sen Gupta undertook an extended tour of the state meeting politicians, farmers, bankers, and writers to produce this survey of a state still firmly rooted in its cultural heritage, at the same time emerging as a development model for the rest of the country. He found that Karnataka is in many respects a success story although its accomplishments are little known and the state has not received the nation-wide recognition it deserves. It is one of the few states that has legislated workable land reforms and sincerely implemented schemes to benefit the rural and urban poor. Its industrial progress centering around Bangalore – especially in the last decade – has been rapid and diversified. Culturally the state has experienced a renaissance in recent years – Kannada filmmakers with their starkly realistic approach have eclipsed the Bengal cinema and Kannada novelists have won world-wide acclaim for powerful depictions of the human condition. The state has also undergone a political awakening in recent years. The political ferment has been heightened by a drastic change of leadership styles as a flashy, publicity-oriented Chief Minister Gundu Rao, replaced the calmly efficient aristocrat, Devaraj Urs. The following four-part survey presents the diversity of today’s Karnataka:This land is of ancient vintage. It bears the footprints of one of the oldest civilisations, the hoofprints of many dynasties who have left their temples and forts, cave murals and figures of gods and goddesses carved out of stone, making it one of the richest treasure houses of archaeology and architecture.advertisementThe varied Kannadigas: traditional gentleman and silk weaverEtymologically, Karnataka means ‘the region of black cotton soil’. The black and yellow rocks that are scattered in the hills of Karnataka are among the oldest in the world, older than the Andes and the Himalayas.The road to Bellary, part of the rockies, is flanked by weird formations of rock as if whimsical giants had kicked huge pebbles or thrown them about at random. These gigantic rocks are now piled precariously one upon the other, at times topped by an arcane fortwall.This land is steeped in history. Kannada country, ruled and nourished by successions of dynasties indigenous and foreign – Satavahanas, Kadambas, Pallavas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas – which wielded political power for more than a thousand years in the Deccan, exerting profound influence in all directions – north, south, east and west. There is music in the names of the rivers: Kaveri, Hemavathi, Yagachi, Krishna, Tunga, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Kalinadi, Bomanahalli.The shortest of the rivers, Sharavati, is 112 km long. The Kalinadi falls from an elevation of 900 m and courses eastward for 65 km till it reaches the dam at Bomanahalli. Here, in the poet Dom Moraes’ words, “it twists away from its previous course towards the south-east, and, eventually, like a brown snake shedding its skin, empties itself into the waters of the Arabian Sea”.Strong and swift, it breaks into “sudden foam on sudden , rocks, a broad river sunk in its gorges between high hills burdened with dense forests, little waterfalls bursting out of their hairy flanks and dropping in stringy slivers to the water beneath”.’Moped’ girlsThe Tungabhadra leaps up, at the damsite, in a “huge curve of pain and terror”. The “long tongues” of the Ghataprabha lick at the dry parched land in rainless Belgaum and Bijapur districts in the rockies.Living Past: Traversing the dry thirsty terrain, author R.K. Narayan halts at the town of Shorapur, on the road to Bellary, and muses on the possibility of a short novel “of a world that looks minor but expands in retrospect as history, and in prospect as a centre of various modern developments; but at the moment, remaining a circumscribed community, with the peasant-class in the surrounding villages, living in the world of their own. In a geographically limited space, life is capable of acquiring great intensity”.The past is not dead: it lives, though buried, in the depths of tradition. Or so is one told. Apparently, Kannada society is still deeply traditional, loud colourful flashes of modernity notwithstanding. “We are the least threatened people in the south,” avows a young university lecturer when asked how the Kannadiga is different from his compatriots in the neighbouring states. “We are deeply rooted to our soil and we still do not generally venture out.” He is a Lingayat. Unlike in Tamil Nadu or Kerala, the Brahmin or other high castes here do not feel threatened and are not migrating in large numbers for jobs to the north.advertisementNor is the Kannadiga more than a peripheral partner of the carpet-bagging culture of Bangalore. “We are a tolerant people. We don’t mind sharing our wealth with others,” says a 32-year-old chartered accountant working for a multinational company.The women of Karnataka: labourers wearing palmleaf caps and (right) a well-to-do matronOf the 34 million people who live in Karnataka, 20 million are Kannada-speaking. Over six million speak Telugu or Tamil or Malayalam or Marathi. Tamil, however, is the language of the bazar, the street and the offices, a leftover from the past when most of the south belonged to the erstwhile Madras province.There are more Hindi-speaking people in Karnataka than Malayalees and almost as many Punjabis as Bengalis. Nearly 11 per cent of the population is Muslim and over 3 per cent Christian. “Our face is turned to the north,” affirms a leading journalist. “This is the land that nourished Sankaracharya, the greatest protagonist of the Brahmanic religion.”Huge Projects: “They are a lazy lot, these Kannadigas,” growls a Tamilian who owns a medium engineering plant on the outskirts of Bangalore. “They just won’t work. They have no ambition. Our workmen are either Keralites or Tamils or Telugus.”Hoarding for a Malayalam porno film in Bangalore: provoking feminist protestsMost of the 75,000 employees of the ‘Five Sisters’ – the five major public sector undertakings located in Karnataka – are non-Kannadigas; in the officer cadres Kannadigas are few and far between. Says a secretary to the state Government: “These huge projects have given Karnataka a lot of prestige, and integrated the state firmly with the rest of the country. But, when you come to think of it, the local people have got very little out of them. They add no more than a mite to the revenue of the state Government. They have helped push the price of land in Bangalore up beyond the reach of the legitimately rich. All the slums you see in Bangalore are inhabited by Tamils or Telugus. The great bulk of ancillary industries is owned by non-Kannadigas. The boys who are coming out of the universities and professional colleges and cannot find jobs have begun to resent this. It will not be long before their resentment takes political colour.”The ‘moped’ girl of Bangalore is a unique feature of the modernizing present; in no other city in India can one see so many young women riding Enfield ‘mini-Bullets’. Few of them, however, are Kannadigas. There is a long tradition in Karnataka of capable women; a Portuguese horse-trader who spent three years in Vijayanagar from 1535 saw women wrestlers, soothsayers, accountants and historians. There is also the long tradition of accomplished female courtesans (suleyars) whose presence “brought sunshine and delight” to society.advertisementThe devadasi tradition is still alive in more than one district. In Chin Chansua village, 20 km from Gulbarga, 50 Harijan women walk naked in broad daylight on an auspicious day in April to the temple of Mahaput Tai, watched by thousands of men including some who travel long distances to witness the “festival of group nakedness”.Graceful Women: The Kannadiga woman is pretty when she is not beautiful; some, when they stand still, look like the statues in the temples. In personality, grace and energy women seem to outshine men in any mixed crowd.Puttappa, Bendre and S. Karanth: the elitist creationA fledgling ‘women’s lib’ movement is trying to make the Kannadiga woman aware of her dignity as a human being. “Don’t Use Our Body to Sell Your Products” scream posters stuck on the walls of Bangalore, which is probably India’s most permissive metropolis.A booming flesh trade draws prostitutes from all over the south and Maharashtra. Prostitutes solicit openly in front of posh hotels. There are several bars in the Residency Road area in whose parking lots cars are double parked every evening, bumper to bumper.Drinks are served to intimate couples in the cars, and nobody minds what goes on in the expensive darkness. Several old movie theatres, gone to seed, show blue films. Sex spoofs made in Kerala mint money in Bangalore.Some of the younger women have risen in protest. Five feminist groups are active; they run a magazine, which is said to be “of women, for women, by women”. Their campaign against obscene film posters has met with some success.”In most Kannada middle class homes, the woman is a docile, domesticated animal whose function is to bed with the husband, rear children and cook,” says Yeshupriya, a 26-year-old activist in the women’s movement.”Young girls are sent to college only to qualify for marriage. Few have a role awareness, or any ambition of their own. My mother is a working woman. There was a time when I was the only other earning member of the family. Yet my mother hardly consulted me about anything but always consulted my brother who was still a student.”Others are less pessimistic because they are less militant. According to Miss Kala, the vivacious public relations officer of the Institute of Management, the women’s movement is already having an impact on the younger generation. “Young girls, are becoming rapidly aware of their importance as human beings; many of them want to be independent and self-supporting.”This is confirmed by a 41-year-old woman working in a government department who got married only three years ago. She is for more rights for women, but is shocked and puzzled by the suicide of a young married woman living near her own house. “She had a love marriage, which is bad for women,” she says, hiding her cavity-prone teeth with her fingers.Dubious Distinction: She betrays no reaction when she is told that Karnataka has the dubious distinction of leading the country in the number of female suicides. Nor is she aware of the high incidence of insanity, nervous breakdowns and psychic disorders among rural women, which has begun lo claim official attention.Population statistics show that the male-female ratio in Karnataka runs very close till the age of 25, after which the gap begins to widen in favour of the male: in the 30-55 age group, there are pronouncedly fewer women than men. Evidently tradition weighs more heavily on women than men in Karnataka as in the rest of the country.Belur sculpture: ancient splendour”I don’t know if I am ambitious, but I day-dream all the time,” says an M.A. student at the quiet sprawling campus of Bangalore University, and adds, without looking at the three other boys who are with him lo idle away a couple of hours in the coffee house, “We all do.”Conversations reveal that they dream of adventures a la Bombay movies -of girls, of living in a foreign country, of making a lot of money. None seems to be close lo his father. “Fathers and sons keep a certain distance in our society,” says one of the youths. “Our mothers are too conventional. We can’t talk to them about anything serious.” The students in Karnataka are among the least politicised in India; the universities are not littered with political graffiti as they are in the north.But young men and women are caught in other tensions. “The biggest tension of young people is the growing asymmetry between their home life and the world out-side,” says a professor at the Institute of Management. “They are caught between two worlds – the world of their parents and grandparents, of tradition and convention, and the merciless cut-throat competitive money-greased world outside.”Elitist Creation: Nowhere in India have the Graces flourished more fabulously than in Karnataka; nor does it lag behind other tales in the tougher arts of soldiery and sport. And yet the social base of the creative arts is still elitist and narrow, with the sole exception of music which has a universality here unmatched anywhere else in the country. The Kannadiga has a penchant for the massive. Among the three Kannadigas who have won the country’s highest literary honour, the Gnanpith award, D. R. Bendre, apart from composing 26 volumes of poetry, translated the Mahabharata into Kannada, and K. V. Putlappa, once vice-chancellor of Mysore University, author of 20 collections of poems, wrote an epic- Ramayana Darshan, which has been translated into Hindi, English and Sanskrit.In Kannada fiction which is about 86 years old, the most famous name is Sivaram Karanth, the third winner of the Gnanpith award, but equally well-known are U. R. Ananda Murthy and T. R. Subba Rao, author of more than 100 novels. In Indo-Anglican writings, Raja Rao, R. K. Narayan and the brilliant young poet A. K. Ramanujan, are known and read the world over.Since the 14th century, south Indian music has been known as the Karnataka School of Music; in Hindustani music too, the Kannadiga has his place of distinction. There is no more authoritative study of Indian music than Sarangdeva’s Sangeetaratnakara, a work more than 600 years old.Benegal and Karnad: avant-gardeBhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hangal and Mallikarjuna Mansoor are among the front-rankers in contemporary Indian music; All India Radio has in its archives in Delhi and Dharwar 70 hours of taped Mansoor music. The richly costumed Yakshagana dance, rescued from its death throes in the ’50s by K. S. Karanth, is now a sturdy rival of Kathakali, taught systematically at the Institute of Performing Arts, Manipal.Splendrous Sculpture: The temple sculptors of old Karnataka had no problems with the sex of angels. For them, all angels were female and each one more beautiful than the other. The cave paintings of Badami; the breathtakingly exquisite female forms at Sravanabelagola, which is better known in the country for the massive monolith of Gomateswara; the wall carvings and friezes of the Hoysalesvara temple at Halebid; the bracket ladies and the Navaranga Pillars of Belur, the Virupaksha temple and the Lotus Mahal at Hampi and coming down to our times, the Maharaja Palace in Mysore are among the finest and the most splendrous that India has in architecture and sculpture.The Kannadiga’s passion for the massive has survived through the centuries. Ranjan Gopal Shenoy, master craftsman and national award winner in sculpture, has just finished carving a 20-metre-high Buddha in 64 pieces to be erected at the Tubosaka Dera temple at Nara, Japan.Returning to the performing arts, M.S. Sathyu, Shyam Benegal. Girish Karnad and B.V. Karanth are among the best known names in Indian cinema and theatre. Fantastic varieties of Kannada culture can be seen at the folklore museum of Mysore, which few tourists care to frequent.There is also an equally neglected literary museum in the city where manuscripts of writers, dead and alive, including their shoes, clothes, and even underwear are reverentially preserved under glass. As regards Karnataka’s contribution to the defence forces, every third male adult in Coorg is a soldier, which is also the home of Generals Cariappa and Thimayya. Karnataka is also the home state of a galaxy of Indian cricket Test stars – Chandrasekhar, Prasanna, Vishwanath, Roger Binny, Brijesh Patel – and India’s outstanding badminton player Prakash Padukone.Unprofitable Business: The stars in the Karnataka cultural firmament, however, do not eliminate the darkness. “We have no market here for Kannada books,” laments one of the five big publishing houses, which do only a modest trade. Only about 15 authors are in some demand; perhaps one or two can live entirely off their royalties.Royalty is paid “periodically”, that is, irregularly, at the rate of 15 per cent of gross sales only to writers who have made a name. A print order is generally of 1,000 copies which take three years to sell. “Publishing is the least profitable of all business in Bangalore,” adds another of the big five.Authors complain that they are cheated by the publishers; an effort to form a writers’ guild hasn’t made much headway because Kannada writers have not learnt to cooperate to promote their own interests as writers in Kerala have.(From left to right) Vishwanath, Chandrasekhar and Padukone: stars who can’t light up the stateSocial purpose fiction does exist, however, Dalit writers expose the tyranny of the high and intermediate castes. A group of intellectual writers create ‘Bamdaya (revolutionary) sahitya’ which does not sell; there is also a “rationalist” school of novelists who fight superstitions and godheads.About 40 women writers manufacture what is known as ‘aadage mane sahitya’ (kitchen literature), spoofs exalting traditional middle class moralities and values. “This is the cultural staple of our women who patronise everything that goes against them,” snarls a young woman college teacher who writes short stories of protest and defiance, and worships Kamala Hemige, the leading protagonist of this avant-garde movement among feminists.The new wave cinema opened refreshing vistas of exposure and protest. A recent new wave movie, Muru Darigalu (Waves of the Sea), praised by the critics and shunned by patrons, flopped at the box-office. Directed by Girish Kasaravalli, it is the story of Neemu, played competently by Sriranga Krishnamurthy on her debut, a wilful, headstrong girl from a rural middle class family who charges against society as the waves of the sea charge against the shore, only to be bewildered by society’s stubborn and stoic refusal to recognise her individuality and lust for freedom.New Wave: “The new wave is on the wane,” moans Lankesh, 46, whose new-wave film, Pallavi (Refrain) once won seven awards including the nation’s highest. Lankesh is now a wiser and richer man who has developed a paunch and smokes Dunhill cigarettes; apart from directing commercial films, he runs a weekly as well as a publishing firm.The economics kill the new wave movie, Lankesh tries to explain. The producer can collect his money only after the distributor and the Government have taken their own. Besides, production costs are rising sharply, while government subsidies of Rs 1 lakh for a black and white movie and Rs 1.5 lakh for a colour movie are “peanuts.” The mood of the Kannadiga film-goer is an enigma: “You never know what he wants and what he will take.” Lankesh’s hit movie People Who Come From Nowhere, which picked up Rs 2 lakh in two weeks, was about a “modern farmer”. Unable to get a city job, an educated man turns to farming without knowing what it’s all about. He hires a labourer whose skill and devotion make the farm a success. But all kinds of conflicts, social, cultural and emotional, break out between members of the farmer’s family and the proletariat which comes from nowhere.Lankesh’s flop movie was about a call-girl. The censors scissored off 1,500 ft of the film and killed its box-office chances. “The Kannadiga has no appetite for sex,” says Lankesh, “whether on the screen or in print. He likes it hush-hush. The crowds you see at the sex films from Kerala have very few Kannadigas among them.”Karnataka, says Lankesh, has about 1,500 cinemas, but only 30-35 Kannada films are produced in a year as against about 100 in Kerala. The non-Kannadiga won’t watch a Kannada movie, but the Kannadiga must watch each and every Tamil film coming to town or village.”The rich traditional music of Dharwar is dying,” lamented Pandit Basavraj to Dom Moraes. “Only four musicians are left in Dharwar. I am one. When we are dead, the tradition will also be dead.” This shocking tiding is confirmed by Mallikarjuna Mansoor.However, Karnataka music is far, far from dead. It is the most alive cultural wave in this land, its most integrating fluid. The Kannadiga, the Tamil, the Telugu and the Malayalee do not mingle socially, except when they assemble in thousands to listen to their musicians. Vast open or canopied spaces become huge lakes of music. People sit for hours waggling their heads in ecstasy. The gods watch with misty eyes.POLITICS: EMERGING POLARISATIONUrsA mist hangs on Karnataka, which can be mistaken for a mystique. It is a political mist. It mixes with thin clouds of social stirrings. The harmonies of Karnataka, for decades the main source of its strength, are no longer a theme for chamber music.It has not lost all of the tender and lyrical scores, but has gathered pungent, even explosive, dissonant tunes. The Kannadigas are still among India’s most gentle, most tolerant and most rooted people. But a deep, painful restlessness rumbles beneath the quiet surface of Karnataka’s social fabric.Karnataka is Indira Gandhi territory if there is any in the republic. From a distance the fortress of Congress(I) still looks erect and secure. Scrutinised closely, its ramparts have cracks that could cleave the edifice to a crumbled imperial ruin.Like Nabokov’s prose, the graffiti scribbled on the social walls of Karnataka conceal more than they reveal. Bangalore stoops with its prodigal, technicolour weight. Its affluence is a glittering enclave increasingly estranged from the humbler rhythms of Kannadiga life. The wheels of this opulent island are lubricated with black money which flows in abundance into its arteries from Bombay, Madras, Hyderabad and Delhi. People say that corruption has become pervasive; from the minister to the peon, nothing moves unless the buck has changed hands. Men and women, used to being governed reasonably well for more than a decade, are appalled as the quality of administration slithers down with alarming speed.But the balance of discontent on which Devaraj Urs had rebuilt Karnataka in seven and a half years of his chief ministership – giving the state a period of quiet seminal change comparable to what Pratap Singh Kairon and Bidhan Chandra Roy had, in earlier times, given to Punjab and Bengal – is splitting, at rural and urban seams. Urs, unkinged in January 1980, now surveys his lost estate with the gloom of Shakespeare’s Richard II, as Bolingbroke, in this case a robust man of 44 named Ramarao Gundu Rao, turns uneasy on the throne, the last remains of a brittle glory trembling on his face. The violets that strew the green lap of Karnataka’s Congress(I) spring – to labour a Shakespearean metaphor – have been drawn, according to Bangalore intellectuals, from the “Sanjay mafia.” Gundu RaoGundu Rao swears his total loyalty to the prime minister as loudly and warmly as Devaraj Urs used to do in the first six years of his chief ministership. “I am a blind follower of Madam. She is the ruler of Karnataka. Bereft of her blessing, nobody is anybody in my state,” affirmed Gundu Rao in an exclusive interview.Irony: There is an element of irony in the fact that to see an imprint of Indira Gandhi’s progressivism one has to go all the way to Karnataka for the greening hasn’t happened in Congress-ruled northern, western or eastern India. Bangalore is Indira Gandhi’s Trafalgar. Here, in the Glass House of Lal Bagh, in the heart of India’s “garden city”, she split the Indian National Congress twice in ten years, in 1969 and 1978.From Congress through Convention Congress to Indira Congress, the transfiguration of the ruling party was watched silently by two ancient mango trees planted by Tipu Sultan. (Also by a tall pine couple named by the local people as Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri). A guide was telling a herd of tourists collected inside the structure: “This glass house has come to be known as the Split House. Don’t hold a marriage party here!”When Indira Gandhi broke with the Syndicate in 1969, Karnataka was “enemy” territory – firmly in the clasp of the high Lingayat caste whose nationally known leader was S. Nijalingappa, a stalwart of the old Congress. In the parliamentary poll of 1971 and the state election of 1972. Indira Gandhi conquered Karnataka along with most of the country and installed in the office of chief minister a little known man of 54, who was not even a member of the legislature.She picked him up from a microscopic caste of a mere 5,000 people scattered in three districts, Mysore, Mandya and Hasan. Thus came Devaraj Urs to the centre of Karnataka politics, breaking 18 years of Lingayat and Vokkaliga rule. With Indira Gandhi’s backing, Urs brought about a silent revolution in Karnataka the like of which the Congress has promised to the whole country but delivered nowhere else.Urs built a broad political coalition of the weaker segments in the higher castes, Harijans and Muslims thereby banishing the two traditional ruling high castes, Lingayats and Vokkaligas, from the centre of political power. He cemented the new caste and class coalition with the only meaningful land reforms carried out under Congress rule anywhere in India, and with several other innovative measures to lift the poor and the deprived.Urs mixed the dynamics of social change with development inputs – generously given by the Centre and boldly mobilised within Karnataka – to create a sustained momentum of development. Karnataka climbed to the top of the statewise development ladder, elbowing down even Punjab, and remained there for five successive years.Said J. D. Sethi, a member of the planning commission during the Janata regime which was not overly friendly towards Devaraj Urs, “Karnataka’s performance is all the more remarkable because it has tried to raise the growth rate with social justice.”It’s a pity that so little of Karnataka’s silent revolution of the 1970s is chronicled and documented. The mass media and the Karnataka Government have joined together to untell the story to the people. Devaraj Urs commissioned two famed writers to compose ecstatic profiles of Karnataka.Agitating farmers: a reflection of the overall political awakening sweeping KarnatakaThe result was Dom Moraes’ The Open Eyes: A Journey Through Karnataka in 1976, followed within a year by R. K. Narayan’s The Emerald Route, embellished with sketches drawn by his brother, R. K. Laxman, the cartoonist.Both volumes shimmer with ripples of crimson prose; Dom Moraes even captures the spasms of pain, terror, beauty and joy residing in the ancient bowels of the Kannada earth which has seen many civilisations and empires go unto the dust. R. K. Narayan has presented Mysore, essentially his own city, to his readers as Malgudi. The Open Eyes has been “withdrawn from circulation”; its offence is that “it does not tell the story of our development”. The official who gives the explanation blushes to hear his own words for the real reason for the banishment of The Open Eyes is the praise Moraes bestows on Devaraj Urs. Gundu Rao has engaged H. Y. Sharda Prasad, information secretary to the prime minister, to write the text of a third prestige publication on Karnataka, which has been lavishly ornamented with photographs by T. S. Satyan, one of the country’s best professional photographers.The Emerald Route studiously skirts around the story of Karnataka’s development and social change as if it is a fearful god better left alone. Sharda Prasad, too, one is told, follows the tracks of R. K. Narayan. It so happens, then, that the story of the only state where a social transformation has been wrought during Indira Gandhi’s national helmsmanship and under the tepid warmth of her brand of socialism, remains untold except in dry, tasteless bureaucratic prose. The social transformation of the ’70s broke for ever the domination of the high Lingayat and Vokkaliga castes, but did not mount an assault on the caste frame of Kannadiga society. Urs advanced the startling theory that in India caste means class and class means caste, thus taking the sociology of M. S. Srinivasan and Andre Beteille to their logical, if unscholarly, conclusion.Gundu Rao, less sophisticated, is more blunt: “We may talk about socialism, but our politics is based only on castes.” He comes of a liberal Brahmin sect in Coorg, and is the first Brahmin chief minister of a southern state in decades. He had been nourishing chief ministerial aspirations since 1975, and was planning a patient long-term strategy to climb to the summit.Being a Brahmin is a built-in disadvantage. Gundu Rao keeps his alert eyes darting in all directions to spot and engage threatening pretenders. Several central ministers from Karnataka have their eyes riveted on the crown that Gundu Rao uneasily wears. In Karnataka politics, a coalition of the weaker castes is not enough to capture and retain power; there must be “marginal” support from either of the two main high castes.Coping: Gundu Rao is not a man bereft of political acumen. Tall and handsome, his scruffy face is furrowed by ambition and resolve. Before becoming chief minister he was a minister in Urs’ cabinets for seven years. He is not intellectually equipped to comprehend the complexities of government, less of development and social change.But he has learnt how to manipulate inner-party tensions and differences, and rivalries and animosities among political personalities. He is also equipped with coping techniques. He has a certain natural charm and his brown eyes betray glints of ruthlessness and adventure, qualities which probably drew him to Sanjay Gandhi.He reduced his first challenger, S. Bangarappa, a flamboyant pretender of 47 years, with relative ease. Bangarappa, a Lohia socialist from Shimoga turned Congressite in 1976, a minister in three cabinets, stabbed Devaraj Urs when the embattled chief minister needed his support and help most. He defected to Congress(I) and Mrs Gandhi put him in charge of Congress(I) in Karnataka.But when it came to the question of choosing a new chief minister, she smiled on Gundu Rao, one of Sanjay’s choices for the highest offices in the newly won states. Bangarappa found that Gundu Rao was not even prepared to take him in the cabinet. “Madam prevailed upon me to join the ministry,” he said in an interview.They did not get on well from the beginning. Bangarappa claimed that he resigned because the chief minister was “corrupt”; not even 10 per cent of the people were pleased with Gundu Rao’s “mafia rule.” After Bangarappa’s resignation from the ministry and his refusal to quit as president of the adhoc KPCC(I), an upsurge of dissident activity bubbled up in several districts, particularly in South Canara, North Canara, Shimoga, Mandya and Hasan. They were no more than bubbles. Bangarappa is now a nervous man of many fears, but still hopes to avenge his ignominious dismissal.If Gundu Rao’s political future is better than his present circumstances, it is because his rivals neutralise one another in the claustrophobic climate of Congress(I) politics in Karnataka. Veerendra Patil, B. Shankaranand, and C. K. Jaffar Sharief are central ministers.They blockade one another and are collectively blockaded by the godfather-like F. M. Khan, a rich coffee planter from Coorg, now an MP, who stands so solidly behind Gundu Rao that in Bangalore living room parlance they are clubbed together as the Gang of Two. K. H. Patil, who had toppled the Urs ministry as PEC president in December 1977, is now a chastened man.B. Basavalingappa, for long a bitter critic of Indira Gandhi, was readmitted to the portals of Congress(I) early this year to take care of the Harijan flank of Gundu Rao’s political support base. But the chief minister is shrewd enough not to lean too visibly on a man who is reputed for corruption, inefficiency and highly personalised anti-Brahmin insolence. To countervail him, Gundu Rao propped up another Harijan leader. K. H. Ranganath, speaker of the Legislative Assembly.Politicians in India are like cats; you can never tell from the sound of them whether they are fighting or making love. Karnataka is no exception. This traditionally Nehru territory has been unusually and confusedly politicised since 1977- two Lok Sabha and two state elections have taken place in four years.There is hardly a political leader who has not defected from one party to another during this time. The massive vote that the Congress(I) got in the parliamentary and state polls of 1980 does not mean that the electorate will vote for it massively next time too. They voted for Indiramma because they had no local leader who deserved their respect and support.”Arasu” – Devaraj Urs – was seen by most voters as a betrayer of Indira Gandhi. Their simple loyalties were ravished when they heard Urs denigrate the one whom he had praised for years. The men who are in power proclaim their loyalty to Indiramma louder than King Lear’s two elder daughters. But something is fatally missing. There is no good government.There is no efficient administration. There is no honesty and integrity in politics. The air reeks with ministerial corruption. Mrs Gandhi probably doesn’t know how much her image has suffered in Karnataka in 20 months.Farmers’ Agitation: Considerable restlessness and some class militancy are visible in this long-placid state. The farmers’ agitation has grown into an organised movement of peasants of all categories; the peasant rally in Bangalore in February was an impressive show, and an indication of the beginning of left mobilisation of the rural poor.Seventy thousand employees of the public sector undertaking in Bangalore struck work this year for 75 days. Forty thousand bidi workers are being organised by the communists who are trying to link up these poor exploited people with the tobacco growers’ movement for better price for the crop. There have been long strikes of teachers and medical students.The peace that had reigned in Karnataka for 25 years is broken. More than 60 people were killed in police firings alone in the 14 months up to April 1981. The police fired on crowds at the rate of almost once a month. Indeed, more people have died from police bullets in Karnataka during Gundu Rao’s regime than in all the other preceding regimes put together.Mrs Gandhi’s estate is not as secure now as it was in January 1980. She needs vigorous surrogates in Bangalore, the cradle of her personalised political leadership. She has none. Urs built Karnataka for her in her image; its present rulers are losing it out, by their incompetence and corruption.If Karnataka passes out of Indira Gandhi’s pale, can Andhra Pradesh remain a Congress(I) fortress for long? The south has been sustaining Mrs Gandhi’s leadership since 1969 together with Maharashtra and Gujarat. If the south slips away from her clasp, her hold on Indian politics will become tenuous.LEGISLATIVE MAKE-UPThe grandiose Vidhan Soudha building in Bangalore: a mixed bagThe Karnataka Legislative Assembly, elected in 1978, is predominantly a house of middle-aged men and women. The majority of them are farmers or lawyers, not highly educated. An average MLA is the parent of 3.6 children.Autobiographical data available of 224 MLAs reveal that 86 of them are farmers and 54 lawyers. Ten are both. Twenty-five MLAs appear to be professional politicians, which shows that politics is still not an all-time occupation for the vast majority of our legislators. Twenty-three describe themselves as businessmen, five are teachers and only three practise medicine.Ninety-three of the MLAs are in their 40s, followed by 60 who are in their 30s. Only 11 are really young, in their 20s, but 39, being in their 30s, are on the right side of middle age. Twenty are in their 60s and only one in his 70s. Of the 224 MLAs, reading is the hobby of 52, social work of 32 and sports of 31.Educationwise, 33 are matriculates, 22 non-matriculates, 10 passed intermediate arts while seven read up to the primary stage. At the other end, 28 are BAs and only one appears to have a postgraduate degree. Six describe themselves as undergraduates. Two have ten children each, 57, six or more. Sixteen are bachelors.POLITICIANS: A STUDY IN CONTRAST Urs and Gundu Rao: implacable foesThere can be no sharper study in political and personality contrasts than of Devaraj Urs, builder of today’s Karnataka, and Gundu Rao, unmaker of the Karnataka of tomorrow. The two face each other from the dividing line in the legislative Assembly, the young chief minister’s bombastic, pugilist style pitted against the elderly opposition leader’s pensive sarcasm and avuncular loftiness.For over an hour last spring Gundu Rao told this reporter what a paper tiger Urs really was, how his personal political ambition, once unbridled from the restraining hands of Madam, drove him inexorably to kamikaze politics.Urs, in a three-hour tour de horizon, spoke about Karnataka’s development saga and left him off at the end. Gundu Rao spoke only about Urs, ‘Madam’ and himself. Urs told the story of the “welfare state of Karnataka”, which also happened to be the story of his life, and the tale of his hubris – Indira Gandhi.Urs lives in a large tree-shaded house in an exclusive neighbourhood in Bangalore. He starts his day at 8 in the morning and retires at 11 in the night. At 66, this tall, stocky, bald man has a princely air about him; the imposing nose on top of firm lips and a resolute jaw indicate determination and courage. The chiseled face is sad from bereavement and political adversity; the brown eyes are wells of loneliness. Urs sees on an average 100 people every day; it used to be 1,000 when he was chief minister. He refuses to believe that he has passed into history.R. Gundu Rao resides in the palatial residence specially renovated to suit his flamboyant tastes. A man of considerable energy, he is physically and mentally restless. Even as he talks, his mind is working out some knotty calculations. He is a man of noise and bluster, of volatile temperament and fiery brash language. Crowds mill about his house from morn to late night.He is at once fascinated and awed by the jostling, ubiquitous favour-seekers and wire-pullers who revolve around him all the time. “How can a man who is always surrounded by 500 people get any time to think?” he wailed at a public function. But he would not reduce the number to 499.Devaraj Urs comes from the subcaste of the Wodeyar maharajas who ruled Mysore under British tutelage for 67 years. He lost his father when he was nine. At the age of 25 he was elected to the Mysore assembly. “I had strong feelings against the caste binds of Indian society even when I was very young,” Urs reminisced. “I love the earth of Karnataka and I stayed in my village rather than shift to Bangalore till I was more than 40 years old.” He had been a minister since 1962, serving under Nijalingappa for whom he has considerable respect. When the Congress split in 1969, his pulse quickened to the throb of Indira Gandhi’s socialism, which fired his own thinking.At the Bangalore session of the Convention Congress, he decided to join the forces of Indiraji. He built the new Congress organisation in Karnataka “almost alone”, he said, adding, “I was happy to get an opportunity to build.” Political socialisation of Karnataka began only in 1972, after the great victory of Mrs Gandhi’s party in the election.Realignment: Installed as chief minister, Urs moved quickly and deftly to effect a fundamental realignment of social forces. Hitherto the legislature was dominated by the high castes, a coalition of the urban and rural rich; Urs was the first among chief ministers to conceive of “backward castes”-the weaker sections of the high castes, and to give them reservation of jobs as well as seats in institutions of higher education including professional colleges.He built a broad based coalition of the backward castes, Harijans, tribals and Muslims and cemented the coalition with liberal distribution of patronage. Armed with this new socio-political power base, he launched land reforms and other welfare measures to reduce economic disparities and yoke the mass of people to the wheels of development.”I did the opposite of what Karpoori Thakur did in Bihar,” mused Urs. “In Karnataka, the proper ambience for major social reforms and the reforms themselves fed one another and strengthened both. In Bihar, the backward class movement only united the Harijans and the higher castes. Bihar’s social fabric was torn to pieces by the tensions and conflicts of the ’70s. In Karnataka, on the other hand, a major social transformation took place with the willing cooperation of all sections of the people.””We had to begin from scratch in the matter of improving the lot of the poor. and exploited castes who also happen to be the poor and exploited classes,” Urs continued. The land reforms, the housing and house sites projects for the poor, old age pensions, the making of higher education free for Harijans and tribals, the schemes to provide off-season work to the rural people, which broke the back of rural unemployment, the massive extension of bank and other institutional credits to the poor, all these and other measures were taken in the relatively short period of seven years, making Karnataka a state where you do not see the kind of bleak and hopeless poverty that stares you in the face in most of the other states. Winds of positive change blew away the clouds of corruption and nepotism from people’s vision.In pacing up development activity. Urs said he laid down two basic guidelines. The first was: “Development must be for people; what does not change people’s life for the better is not development.” The second guideline was that at least 50 per cent of the development resource must be spent in the villages. “I said, no big buildings please.” When his attention was drawn to 182 skyscrapers under construction in Bangalore in 1981, Devaraj Urs smiled sadly. “These things have been happening after my time,” he whispered.He had a lot to say about Indira Gandhi that wasn’t nice to hear, but he said it without malice. “Why couldn’t she get land reforms done anywhere else in her domain? Would there have been land reforms in Karnataka without Devaraj Urs?” He paused, and then remarked somewhat distantly, “Not once when we met would she ask me anything about development or social justice. All her inquiries were about who was or might be up to what mischief against her.”Faithful: “Karnataka has always remained faithful to the Nehru family,” reflected R. Gundu Rao, sitting in his bedroom at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi’s Diplomatic Enclave. “In this, we are in the company of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat rather than Tamil Nadu and Kerala.”In February 1972, Mrs Gandhi’s leadership won for her party a surprise landslide victory. She picked up Devaraj Urs as the first representative of a minority caste to form the Government. “It was Madam who broke the long-standing higher caste hold on political power in Karnataka.”According to Rao the Urs ministry was unstable and it lasted only because Urs enjoyed the backing of Madam. After the 1977 parliamentary election, Urs emerged as an individual in his own right and immediately started harbouring higher political ambitions.When the Janata government appointed the Grover Commission, Urs was visibly afraid that his acts of omission and commission would be exposed, said Rao, charging that Urs then started a hushed dialogue with the Janata leadership. The Grover Commission involved nine ministers, “but not me, they could find nothing against me,” heaved Rao.In the 1978 election, “People used to say Urs was- Madam’s man and I Sanjay’s man; our two constituencies were called the Rae Bareli and Amethi of Karnataka.” Urs, the chief minister said, was not particularly willing to .’see Madam contest from Chikmagalur for the Lok Sabha and when she was expelled from Parliament, Urs decided to leave her.”I opposed him. I told him that we are a major power in Karnataka only because we have her as our leader. In any case I could not think of leaving Madam when she was in distress. I am not a cynic in politics. In politics we must have permanent friends and permanent enemies.” He and Urs divided on the crucial question of whether Indira Gandhi’s days were over. “I told him bluntly that he was committing a breach of trust.”Kalpanath Rai, one of the general secretaries of AICC(I), who was present for the latter half of the interview, intervened to say, “We were nervous about our chances in Karnataka both in 1978 at the time of the state poll and later in January 1980. The one man who was not nervous at all, whose faith in our victory was not shaken a bit, was Gundu Rao.”Gundu Rao said that the fact that Urs’ party came a mere third in the poll and that 75 per cent of its candidates lost their security deposits-even stalwarts like former central minister T. A. Pai did not surprise him. “I knew what was coming.”Most Dedicated: Gundu Rao was leader of the Opposition just for one session during which he moved a motion of no-confidence in the Urs Government and in Urs himself as a defector. Kalpanath Rai said that Gundu Rao was among those few youth leaders who prevailed upon Mrs Gandhi to split the Congress a second time in 1978.Gundu Rao vehemently denied that his government was unstable. “We enjoy a very strong political and administrative position,” he claimed. Little did he anticipate that in a few months’ time his claim would sound hollow. People in Karnataka, said Gundu Rao, judged politicians only by one yardstick: how loyal were they to Indiramma.That loyalty of men “plain and not honest” could embarrass and even hurt Indira Gandhi in Karnataka and elsewhere probably did not cross his mind. He affirmed that there was a little corruption in his state: “Eighty per cent corruption, has been removed.” But soon after he made this assertion, two of his ministers were charged with corruption, and he had to dismiss them, not on his own moral judgment, but on orders from the High Command of the Congress(I).He still keeps in office several ministers whose probity has been seriously questioned. Gundu Rao said that there had not been a “single case of ministerial interference in postings and transfers of government officials-a record in all India.” Yet a “file clearance drive” mounted by his cabinet elicited public ridicule without increasing administrative efficiency.To Indira Gandhi’s jubilant political shores in 1980 thronged many doubtful, hollow-hearted men. Now, in less than two years, one by one they are turning into attorneys pleading for their own doom. Desperately holding on to today’s mantle of power, they await tomorrow’s cold tidings. Antulay in Bombay, Rao in Bangalore. DEVELOPMENT: PROGRESS IN PATCHESPaddy cultivation: more irrigation needed”We have everything to sustain Karnataka’s high rate of growth except capital,” asserts D. N. Nanjundappa, who was the pivotal man in the state’s planning process for nearly 10 years and now vice-chancellor of Karnataka University. “We are rich in human and natural resources, our resource mobilisation effort is one of the best in the country. We have a more or less tension-free society – a middle-middle class state. The only input we lack is capital. We could do much better if we had more capital.” “Has the change of government affected the growth process or the planning process? Do you find yourself as effective with the present regime as you presumably were with the previous one?”Nanjundappa, who was until recently secretary to Karnataka’s department of planning and president of the All-India Economic Conference, takes time looking for an important file; when he speaks, his voice shows its timbre, “The political change hasn’t reversed the momentum of development. In fact, we have added to the momentum.”Karnataka has done well in the last decade, but its development base is still narrow and tenuous. Its economy is overwhelmingly agrarian. Nearly 68 per cent of its workforce is engaged in agriculture and only 32 per cent in other occupations. Half the state is dry. Of the other half only 14 per cent is irrigated. Only 7.8 per cent of the 19-plus million hectares of land sown come within the frontiers of the green revolution-that is, produce high – yielding crops. The great bulk of land holdings is of 13 hectares.Disparities Unchanged: Indeed, disparities in land ownership have not been narrowed by the land reforms. Less than 450,000 holdings add up to some three million hectares while 900,000 holdings-tiny ones-cover only 500,000 hectares. Still Karnataka has a more balanced agrarian pattern than most other Congress-ruled states. It had four million cultivators and three million agricultural workers in 1977-78, and an insignificant number of share-croppers.For nearly a decade, the green revolution has stolen the limelight-there has been a 200 per cent increase in four-wheel tractors since 1966 and almost a 90 per cent decline in the use of power tillers. Well over two lakh electric pumpsets irrigate land that grow high-yielding crops. Only five districts have 20 per cent or more of the sown land assuredly irrigated. The most parched districts are in the north-Gulbarga with a mere 2 per cent rainfall in a year, Dharwar with 6.96 per cent.The 66 major and medium irrigation projects completed or under construction or awaiting approval are far too inadequate to water the vast parched stretches of land on which subsist the Kannadiga poor. In recent years considerable importance has been given to small irrigation schemes-wells and ponds-with agreeable results, provided, of course, the rains do not miserably fail.Prosperous farmers: still a minorityBoth the land reforms and the farmers’ movement have to be seen in the context of Karnataka’s landscape. According to S. Bangarappa, who was revenue minister until he was elbowed out of the Gundu Rao Ministry early 1981, eight lakh applications for new tenancies have been received under the land reform laws.The land tribunals which, it is widely alleged, have lost much of their integrity under the present chief minister (they were not above corruption when Devaraj Urs was in power), have disposed of one-half of the applications. Two lakh tenants have received land as a result of the tribunals’ decisions. This is the net achievement of the most comprehensive and successful land reforms carried out anywhere in India under Congress rule.”The land reforms in Karnataka haven’t changed the exploitive agrarian relationship,” carps Hari Kumar, young left-liberal editor of Deccan Herald. “The reforms haven’t cut down the large estates, plantation land has been kept out of their pale. The new tenants own pitifully tiny plots of land. You know how hungry the Indian peasant is for land-you give him one acre, and he breaks down in joy and cries. But how many of these two lakh tenants can keep their land from the greed of the land-rich who’re ready to buy any land they can lay their hands on? Very little has been done to build an infrastructure to support the small farmer.”Rosy Life: The farmers’ agitation erupted suddenly and spontaneously one summer ago in the little known towns of Nargund and Navalgund in Dharwar district. It was yet another confirmation of the warnings of Daniel Thorner, Wolf Ladejinsky and others that the other side of the green revolution is red. Irrigation pushed up the value of land in the once-thirsty Malaprabha command area.Irrigation also brought down the land ceiling from 21.6 hectares (of semi-arid land) to few hectares (of wet land). Malaprabha farmers invested large sums of money borrowed from the land development banks, cooperative societies and the Government to improve their lands; tractors began to upturn the land that for centuries had submitted only to bullock-pulled ploughs.For a while life was incredibly rosy, the yield was high, “Vralakshmi” cotton fetched fancy prices and no one pressed the farmers to pay back the loans. Difficulties, however, set in rather soon. Production fell because of waterlogging which the planners had not foreseen. Fertiliser prices rocketed to the sky. The banks and the Government asked for repayment of loans and payment of the betterment levy and the water tax.The farmers rose in protest. The agitation soon turned bloody. As many as 18 people died in police firing; three policemen were killed by violent crowds. Never before had violence visited Karnataka on such a big scale. The Government yielded with a series of concessions-no betterment levy, no water tax, no repayment of lakkavi loans by small and marginal farmers.In November 1980 a government White Paper listed measures taken to substantially reduce the disparity between agricultural and industrial products. It conceded that agriculture was a risky enterprise especially in Karnataka where one out of three crops suffered for adverse weather.In February 1981 Gundu Rao strongly pleaded for the farmers’ case for higher prices for agricultural products at a meeting of the National Development Council. By that time a qualitative change had occurred in the farmers’ movement. It became a struggle of the peasantry for a long-denied better deal. The opposition parties including the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) brought an impressively large number of poor, small, middle and (some) rich peasants to Bangalore and held a massive rally at Cubbon Park, near Vidhana Soubha.A state with abundant mineral wealthLarge numbers of peasants walked for days from all districts to the capital; a group traversed 560 km for 22 days from Nargund town in Dharwar. The “Long March” had an ominous message for Congress (I); the peasant was looking elsewhere for political support and had begun to realise the explosive power of his own collective strength.The police firing on tobacco growers of Nipani in April further widened the gap between the peasant and the Government. On April 22 the Government issued an ordinance making the refusal to pay taxes, fees, land revenue, or any act of incitement industrialised in the country. It has about 5,000 registered factories with an industrial workforce of some 350,000.Nearly 2,000 of the factories are in the Bangalore region, employing 1,75,000 workers. A typical core-peripheral relationship exists therefore between Bangalore and the rest of Karnataka. One-third of all small industries and more than half of the medium and large industries are located in Bangalore.The task clearly is to adopt Friedman’s reverse-direction concept-diversion of factories from the core to the periphery. Some activity in this direction is visible. The Karnataka State Finance Corporation (KSFC), for example has advanced Rs 46 crore in loans for industries located in 10 districts and has reduced financial support for enterprises based in Bangalore.The annual survey of industries made by the state Government’s Bureau of Economics and Statistics for the year 1975-76 (the latest available) shows that 4,286 factories had a fixed capital of Rs 677 crore and a working capital of Rs 290 crore. The total output of all these factories was valued at Rs 860 crore.The main industrial products of Karnataka are pig iron, ingot steel, finished steel, varieties of ferro-alloys, cement, paper, silk fabrics, sandalwood, sandalwood oil and soap. Karnataka tops the Indian states, and occupies the fourth place in the world, in the production of silk-a rural-urban enterprise that sustains four lakh families.The state’s long-standing demand for an adult steel plant at Vijaynagar is only now being looked into by the Centre; in the Union budget of 1981 -82 it is given a baby’s lollipop allotment of Rs 60 lakh. A 3-million tonne steel plant will cost Rs 1,580 crore at 1976 prices; the Sixth Plan proposes a pittance of Rs 2 crore towards that end.Karnataka’s prosperity clearly lies in the improvement of its vast semi-arid lands. More than 50 per cent of the current year’s budget outlay is, rightly, for irrigation and power. Agricultural improvement would depend on how competently the state can manage its on-going and new irrigation and watershed schemes.Huge quantities of water flows into the Arabian Sea from the rivers of Karnataka. If these waters can be harnessed to quench the thirst of the dry lands, Karnataka’s agriculture can overtake that of Punjab and Haryana. Irrigation development of the river basins is therefore of the utmost importance. A belated beginning has been made in that direction.The chief ministers of Karnataka and Maharashtra have jointly agreed to set up a Western Ghats Development Corporation with an initial capital of Rs 2 crore. The Karnataka Government has decided not to spread its limited resource too thinly on too many projects, but to concentrate on a limited number in each district.Social Balance: In the past there was an air of contentment in the Kannada country. A poet of Karnataka wrote many centuries ago, “For hunger there is the town’s rice in the begging bowl/For thirst, there are tanks, streams, wells/For sleep, there are the ruins of temples . . ./For soul’s company,I have you, O Lord, white as jasmine.”This placid philosophical contentment did not always conceal the misery of the hungry and the sick. Not far from the Jog Falls handsome women of the Halakki Vogal nomadic tribe still sing in a melancholy refrain, “From morning to evening we work, but we have nothing to eat.” Though half the population of Karnataka are labelled poor they do have food to eat.They are better off than the poor in most of the other states. A conspicuous evidence of change in the poor people’s condition in Karnataka is the Janata houses that dot villages and towns in each district-brick walls, tiled roof, tiny patches of green-houses whose proud owners pay back construction loans at the minute rate of Rs 4 a month. The trappings of Indira Gandhi welfarism have, however, left untouched the enclaves of the affluent and the islands of the rich. The social balance of forces remains intact.But something else has happened too. Millions of common folk who have seen change have begun to change themselves. Not only are they asking for more; they are mobilising their collective strength to snatch away from the jaws of the rich larger slices of the loaves of growth and development. Mobilisation follows caste and class lines or both.The peasant is no longer in mental bondage to any political leadership or party. An urban-rural, rich-poor polarisation is forming in Karnataka, gathering sudden momentum from incidents like Nipani. The poor man’s video-tape of memory is storing images of bullets and blood. The bruises that scruff the once-placid face of the mythical middle-middle class state are but the wounds of development. Change has made the face furfuraceous. The belches of Bangalore are no longer soft sounds of contentment.Deep rumblings of discontent are curling up in the bowels of urban and rural Karnataka. The rulers do not seem to comprehend whence the rumblings come and why. In the emerging polarisation, strength is being matched with strength, power with power. The lines are not clear yet, and, at present, Karnataka holds “for neither, yet for both.” But watch out for 1983, too disconcertingly close to Orwell’s 1984, for the probable passing out parade of another empire in the land of myriad imperial ruins.BANKS: CREDITABLE ROLEMiners of the Kolar gold fieldsBanks have played a crucial role in Karnataka’s development, particularly the Syndicate Bank, creation of the Pais of Manipal, a Kannadiga institution as sturdy and hoary as the Nandi bull of Mysore. Today Karnataka has a network of nearly 2,000 offices of nationalised scheduled commercial banks, some 800 cooperative banks and nearly 200 primary land development banks.The nationalised banks had given advances to farmers in 1975 to the tune of Rs 113 crore. The cooperative banks had disbursed Rs 254 crore in credit and the primary land development banks Rs 23 crore in loans. While,the bulk of this institutional financial back-up has gone to the rural rich, the poor have benefited in Karnataka more conspicuously than in most other Congress-ruled states.Nationalised banks have sponsored a number of rural development complexes. A visit to one of them, at Singanayakanahally, in Bangalore district, can be a rewarding experience. Here, a cluster of 48 villages-inhabited by 3, 600 families, is served by Ryathara Seva Sahakara Sangha Niyamitha (RSSSN) – a rural cooperative society – sponsored by the Syndicate Bank.Eighty per cent of the villages are poor, 10 percent rich, and the remaining 10 per cent not so poor. Forty per cent are farm workers, 35 per cent small or marginal farmers. The society was formed by amalgamating- five rickety rural institutions.This was done at the initiative of the Syndicate Bank which joined its powerful resources to back up the society’s lending kitty, and placed a young officer of infectious enthusiasm as its managing director. He and his staff ensure that loans are used on what they are given for.Successful Society: The society has 4,199 families as members of whom 1, 124 are Harijans or tribals. Family-members have contributed Rs 3.68 lakh of its total share capital of Rs 4.65 lakh, the Government Rs 0.97 lakh. The society has so far disbursed Rs 23.38 lakh in loans, of which the Syndicate Bank’s share is Rs 18.33 lakh.Until June 1980, the society had loaned money to 1,599 persons, of whom 279 were Harijans or tribals. Loans were given for a variety of economic schemes -crops, dairy. sheep rearing, piggery, poultry, grape orchards, gobar gas, wells, bullock-carts and so on.The Syndicate Bank alone runs 13 such rural cooperative societies. Other banks are also in the field, notably the Canara Bank whose contribution to Karnataka’s economic development is next only to the Syndicate’s.”The rich do not come to us,” says the managing director of RSSSN at Singanayakanahally, without hiding his happiness that they don’t. He walks the india today team to a village and introduces Makappa, 52, proud owner of a brand new two-room cement-plastered house which mocks at the 60-year-old mud-and-brick hut his father had built and which is still erect.Chikammtrappa, his father, who is 96, poses for a family picture with Makappa’s wife and petite daughter. “I have two sons,” Makappa says, “One is in high school, the other helps me in the field. Previously no well placed man would take my daughter in marriage to his son. Now I am getting good marriage proposals.” Makappa lives off his three acres of land. “They are entitled bylaw to a number of subsidies.” says the managing director of RSSSN, “they just do not know anything about it. It is part of our business to make them aware of what they can get and help them get it.” He adds, “Makappa has never defaulted in the repayment of his loan. People like him don’t.”The cooperative society has helped a number of farmers grow grapes. One of them is S. K. Naranappa, 42, who owns a 12-acre grape orchard and makes, if the crop is good, Rs 30,000 to Rs 40, 000 a year. He employs six workers every day and pays each of them Rs 3 plus food and clothing: a child worker gets Rs 60 a month and food.Makappa and son: good marriage proposalsThe food the workers eat is rice, dal and dahi-water. Grapevines are costly to cultivate; a one-acre orchard takes an initial investment of Rs 30,000 and an annual keep-fit expense of Rs 15, 000. It is a hazardous enterprise; untimely rain or a shower of hail can ruin a crop and its owner. Yet grapevines now stretch mile after mile in Karnataka, voluptuous with green-gold fruits.Innovative Scheme: To return briefly to the Syndicate Bank. It was started in 1926 by a young doctor, T. M. A. Pai, who wished to create a bank for poor people. He innovated a “pigmy deposit scheme”; collectors went around the villages to pick up pigmy deposits, as wee as two annas a day.The poor villager’s two annas became Rs 350 after seven years-a fortune in those days! The Syndicate Bank moved into the villages long before others did. It was also the first to hire women on its banking staff. It has now more than two dozen branches all over the country manned entirely by women.Over 20 percent or abetment to defer or refuse payment punishable by two years’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 3,000. The ordinance was clearly meant to pre-empt a repeat of the 1980 decision of farmers not to pay taxes, levies or revenues. Thus for the first time in Karnataka. an attritional relationship has developed between the rulers and the peasants.Karnataka is overwhelmingly an agricultural state; not much of its industrial potential has been exploited so far. With the result that, despite five major Central Government enterprises located in the Bangalore area, the state is one of the less the Syndicate Bank’s loans are now for agriculture.The man who married Syndicate Bank to agriculture is the late T. A. Pai, to whom goes the credit of initiating the green revolution in South Canara district in the latter half of the 1960s. A former Union Industry Minister, T. A. Pai was one of the master builders of what Karnataka is today, the sculptor of such catchy slogans as “Every village a school, every home electricity”; and “Every well a pumpset. every home a good cow.”The Pais have transformed Manipal, in Mangalore district, into a major centre of advanced professional and artistic education, T. A. Pai died suddenly of a heart attack in early June, and once remarked: “It socialism will improve the lot of the people, I am for it. If communism will make people work harder and more effectively, I am for it. But I have my doubts about that. I believe in learning from the world’s experience and our own. without any ideological bias.”
AdvertisementAnna Djambuliovna Chakvetadze (born 5 March 1987) is a Russian former professional tennis player who was born to a Georgian father and a Russian mother.On 10 September 2007, she reached her career-high singles ranking of world No. 5.She won eight WTA singles titles including 2006 Kremlin Cup and appeared in the 2007 US Open semifinals.She announced her retirement on 11 September 2013, due to a persisting back injury.She is currently a commentator on Eurosport channel.Chakvetadze began playing tennis at the age of eight after being introduced to the sport by her mother.She hit her peak of world No. 5 in 2007 after a semifinal appearance at the 2007 US Open.Also in that year, she reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and the French Open, both of which were career bests for those events.Four of her eight career singles titles also occurred in 2007.On 18 December 2007, Chakvetadze’s home was robbed.She was tied by six invaders who also beat her father, Djambuli.The six men left with over $306,000 worth of goods and cash. Seven suspects were arrested three months later.Image Courtesy – Anna Chakvetadze (Instagram)Advertisement
UEFA Champions League Messi makes Barcelona Champions League favourites, insists Guardiola Joe Wright 08:25 12/28/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(12) Getty Images UEFA Champions League Barcelona Guardiola Lionel Messi Newcastle United v Manchester City Newcastle United Manchester City Premier League The Premier League leaders have won 18 league games in a row but their manager says that his former club have the edge in Europe Pep Guardiola believes Barcelona are still favourites for the Champions League ahead of Manchester City because of Lionel Messi.City made it 18 Premier League wins in a row with a 1-0 victory away to Newcastle United on Wednesday, a result that puts them 15 points clear at the top of the table.Along with Barca, they are yet to lose a league match this season and breezed into the knockout phase of the Champions League in imperious fashion, with each side winning their group comfortably. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Guardiola, however, says Barca have the edge in Europe due to the Argentina star they possess in attack.Asked if City could be considered top candidates to conquer Europe this term, he replied: “Who does Messi play for? They are the favourites.”Guardiola was speaking after his side totally dominated proceedings at St. James’ Park but only managed to score one goal, courtesy of Raheem Sterling in the 31st minute.Despite his frustration at not killing off the game sooner, he was thrilled with the way his players kept their focus to extend their record-breaking run in England’s top flight.11 – Manchester City have now won 11 consecutive away top-flight matches, equalling the record set by Chelsea in December 2008. Unstoppable. pic.twitter.com/1Qhl00dHN5— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 27, 2017″It’s tough because it’s the Premier League and everyone says it is the toughest [league],” he said.”If you analyse the 90 minutes, we were much, much better. We created enough chances. If you analyse the last 10 minutes, they crossed once and could have scored one goal, so you could say completely different.”To be focused after 17, 18 wins in a row is not easy but we did it.”When we prepare games, we don’t speak about records but about what we have to do to win games.”The only negative for City was the loss of Vincent Kompany, who went off injured after just 11 minutes of the match, and Guardiola says he does not know whether the club captain has picked up another serious problem.”I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said of Kompany, who appeared to hurt his calf. “We’re going to see how long it will take to recover.”
zoom Seafarers sometimes fear port calls because of the increase in workload caused by the many audits and inspections when a ship is in dock, according to the results of the second Seafarers Happiness Index report published by Crewtoo, the online social network for seafarers.This increase in workload at port also caused a drop in satisfaction levels towards shore leave, as the amount of work often eats into the time available for relaxation.In addition, a number of seafarers noted that getting ashore costs them at least USD 100, which presents a major barrier to taking shore leave. Increased stress during port visits and either reduced or non-existent shore leave gives seafarers very few opportunities to relax and unwind away from their vessels.Designed to monitor and benchmark seafarer satisfaction levels via 10 key questions, this second quarterly report shows a seafarer satisfaction level of 6.44 on a scale of 1 to 10, up 0.02 from the inaugural survey published in May this year.This second report of the Crewtoo Seafarers Happiness Index shows several areas where satisfaction improved versus the first report. For example, there was an improvement in crew satisfaction with salary levels and an improvement in their feelings about the standard of food available onboard. The availability of exercising onboard was also viewed more positively, as was the satisfaction derived from crew interaction and team building, which increased from 6.96 to 7.16 and became the highest score in the survey.“The Happiness Index is an important barometer of seafarer satisfaction with life at sea,” said Anneley Pickles, head of Crewtoo business development.“Happy people are loyal, motivated, and embrace challenges. If the industry really acts on the responses to these regularly updated surveys, it will not only reap the rewards with a more motivated, loyal, and hardworking workforce, but it will attract new talent to the industry, something which is sadly lacking at the moment.”Answers to the survey are received from across all ranks and nationalities including seafarers from the Philippines, U.K., Poland, Croatia, Germany, U.S., Canada, India, and Turkey, as well as a number of African nations. The age of survey respondents ranged from 16 to the late 60s. Masters made up the largest proportion of responses by rank; some 11% of respondents stated that they were currently serving in the role of captain. The majority of responses were from seafarers working on bulk carriers and container vessels.
Chennai: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday asserted that removal of special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution will put an end to terrorism and lead to progress of the region.Speaking at the launch of a book on Vice President M Venkiah Naidu’s two years in office here, Shah said he firmly believed Art 370 that gave the special status to Jammu and Kashmir should be removed as it was not beneficial to the country. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”I was firm that Article 370 should be removed…. after (scrapping) Article 370, terrorism in Kashmir will end and it will progress on the path of development,” he said adding there was not an iota of confusion in his mind on what will happen post the path-breaking move. He said the BJP-led government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi “has made this country free from Article 370”. Shah credited Naidu, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, for the deft handling of the situation when he moved the bills related to Jammu and Kashmir in the Upper House, saying he had some ‘apprehensions’ of a repeat of scenes witnessed during the division of Andhra Pradesh. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe BJP president, who is a Lok Sabha member, said as a legislator there was no confusion in his mind whether Article 370 should be scrapped or not. “I firmly believe there was no benefit to the country from it, or for Kashmir. It should have been removed earlier. As a Home Minister, there was not an iota of confusion in my mind on what will happen after Article 370,” he said. The Home Minister said though he firmly believed that terrorism will end and Kashmir will be on the path of development after the scrapping of Article 370, he had some “apprehensions” while piloting the Kashmir Reorganisation Bill in the Rajya Sabha. “While piloting the bill there were apprehensions on how the Rajya Sabha will act when I take it there. Because we don’t have complete majority there… Still I had decided we will take the bill first to Rajya Sabha and after that to the Lok Sabha,” he said. Referring to Indian Badminton coach P Gopichand’s remarks in the book release event recalling the unruly scenes in the Parliament during the issue of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh to create Telangana, Shah said those were still fresh in people’s memory. “I had a small apprehension if I will also become a stakeholder of such ugly scenes,” he said. However, giving credit to the deft handling of the affairs of the House that day (August 5) by Naidu, Shah recalled the bill went up to division from debate, but sans any unruly scenes “that would have made the people of the country think whether ethos of the House have been affected.” “Even today I want to acknowledge his efficiency in handling the affairs of the House,” he said about Naidu. He also recalled Naidu’s student day politics and him espousing the party’s ideology with regard to Kashmir, saying once a Communist professor had questioned the vice-president why he was struggling for the state which he had not seen. “To this Naidu had replied that one eye cannot see the other, but can feel its pain,” Shah said. In a bold move, the Centre has last week revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and announced it would be split it into two union territories – Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir, with the bills in this regard being passed by the Parliament. President Ram Nath Kovind has also given his assent to them.
Abidjan – Ivorian graduates of the Mohammed VI Institute for Training Imams, Murshidins and Murshidates (religious guides) thanked, on Friday in Abidjan, the King for his unwavering efforts in favor of Muslims and for the promotion of Islam’s lofty values.“We welcome HM King Mohammed VI and want to thank him for his unwavering efforts in favor of Muslims and for the promotion of Islam’s lofty values,” graduate Daoud Samassy told the press.“The important training we received in Morocco helped us immensely and we want to thank the sovereign,” he said. On the role of the Mohammed VI Institute for Training of Imams’ graduates in society, Diomande Soualihou underlined the values of Islam as tolerance, adding that his training focused on raising awareness about the values of peace and fraternity among Muslims.The Moroccan monarch inaugurated Mohammed VI Institute for Training Imams in March 2015. The main goal of the Institute is to inculcate to future generations of Muslims the true values of Islam, advocate the values of openness and tolerance and prevent the prevent of the extremist ideology.
WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer prices climbed 0.4% in March, an increase caused mostly by higher costs for gasoline, electricity and shelter.The Labor Department says the consumer price index rose a healthy 1.9% last month from a year ago, a sharp jump from the annual pace of 1.5% in February.Inflation has been relatively modest even as the job market has strengthened over the past several years. But the increase in energy prices in March — which accounted for 60% last month’s increase — ate into recent wage growth. Average hourly wages have increased 1.3% in the past year, down from a gain of 1.9% in February.Excluding the volatile energy and food categories, core prices increased 0.1% in March and 2% from a year ago.Josh Boak, The Associated Press
By Lakhram Bhagirat Candacie SardinaWhat was supposed to be a simple appendicitis surgery for 37-year-old Candacie Sardina turned out to be one of the most horrifying experiences she has ever had, with her still suffering the consequences.Twenty-eight months ago, Sardina of Middle Street, Pouderoyen, West Bank Demerara, underwent surgery at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) for suspected appendicitis; however, following the surgery, doctors told the woman that she had a ruptured bowel, which they “fixed.” Nevertheless, since then the woman has not been able to recover fully. She has to visit the hospital to have dressing done on a daily basis.“About three years before I had the surgery I used to have bad belly pain and vomiting and diarrhoea. I used to go to the doctor steady but them say them nah know what happen to me and in February 2016, them tell me that is my appendix and I have to do a surgery. I do the surgery and then them doctor make a mistake and cut me intestines and them tell me them stitch it up,” she said.“After the surgery, I was still in pain and so and then me condition get bad. Them move me to the HDU (High Dependency Unit) and then the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and then them tell me that I get malnutrition and send me home,” Sardina added.The woman related that after she was discharged from the hospital, her complications began to worsen. She still could not eat and had chronic abdominal pains. In addition, the incision was not healing and became infected, resulting in her returning to the hospital. She further related that the doctors then ignored her for quite some time before corrective surgery was done in September 2016.However, the surgery seemed to cause more damage than it fixed. Sardina explained that now she has to wear a colostomy bag and the incision is still infected.“I can’t bathe properly and when the cut leaking is all thing coming out. Most of the time is my mess (faecal matter) and the pain is worse than making a baby,” the mother of two related.The visibly pale woman related that her youngest child is in Suriname with her husband, who is a Surinamese national. “I can’t travel. People scorn me because of how I does smell sometimes and the doctors nah do nothing. I want to see my son. He is eight years old and I haven’t seen him in so long. His father does work and they don’t have time to come over here. I am a poor woman and I have to work but this situation them doctors put me in here make I can’t work,” Sardina said.She further stated that she has to visit the West Demerara Regional Hospital on a daily basis to dress the wound and after it was reported that it is showing no signs of healing, she was given a referral to the GPHC for yet another operation.According to the referral letter, seen by <<<<
LKAB has decided on a new group structure. The aim of the reorganisation “is to place greater focus on iron ore production and to secure sustainable long-term mining operations.” At the same time, changes are being made to LKAB’s group management. “LKAB faces a new situation. As a consequence of a changed market and falling world-market prices, we must now equip our organisation to face new challenges,” says President and Group CEO, Jan Moström. In the new group structure, operations are divided into three divisions. One unit comprises the mine and process plants in Kiruna, one includes the mines and processing plants in Malmberget and Svappavaara, and a third division consists of LKAB Minerals, which produces and sells industrial minerals, as well as the drilling technology company Wassara.“Now, we are giving clearer responsibility and a clearer mandate to the organisation. LKAB must be a profitable supplier of high-quality, upgraded iron ore products that is sustainable over the long term. We are prioritising the iron ore business to create a simpler, more transparent organisation,” says Jan Moström. “To support the divisions, we are creating group-wide functions in the form of Finance, HR and Sustainability, Operational Support and Business Development, and Market and Logistics. Communications and Urban Transformation will report directly to the President. At the same time, this will lead to changes in LKAB’s group management.”“The challenge we face and the structural change, in and of itself, necessitate a partially new group management. I wish to thank those who are now moving on to new tasks within or outside the company for their contribution to LKAB’s group management,” says Jan Moström. LKAB’s new group structure will take effect as 1 January 2016 and will be implemented throughout the entire group during 2016.
Legendary Austrian NT left wing Konrad Wilczynski (32) has ended his proffesional career a few weeks ago in WEST Wien, where he will stay to work in Management. Classy player, who is one of the symbol of uprising of Austrian handball since 2010 and EHF EURO 2010 in Austria, got standing ovation from the fans before the WCh 2015 Play-Off match between Austria and Norway.Over 4.500 fans celebrated home victory of Patrekur Johannesson’s squad (28:26) and said “Danke Conny” for all what he has done for Austrian NT. Wilczynski has 136 matches and 578 goals in NT t-shirt.He began career in WEST Wien, then Bregenz and Fuchse Berlin, before returning home in 2011… ← Previous Story Filip Jicha about “disaster in Serbia: Disastrous first half decided Next Story → WCH 2017 mistery: Opening match with 30.000 fans at football stadium? AustriaKonrad Wilczynski
Japon : deux brèches de 8 mètres de large sur le réacteur n°4 de FukushimaTrès fragilisée depuis le séisme de magnitude 8,9 et le tsunami survenus vendredi, la centrale nucléaire de Fukushima au Japon menace la population. De la radioactivité s’échapperait du réacteur n°4 de la centrale vers l’extérieur.L’incendie qui a eu lieu cette nuit au niveau du réacteur n°4 a pu être maîtrisé mais ses conséquences restent graves. L’Agence de sûreté nucléaire japonaise évoque deux brèches de 8 mètres de large sur l’enceinte extérieure du réacteur. Toutes les personnes qui résident dans un rayon de 30 kilomètres sont depuis plusieurs heures calfeutrées “à la maison ou au bureau”, en raison du danger. Samedi déjà, 200.000 personnes avaient été évacuées aux alentours.À lire aussiLa fusion nucléaire pourrait bien devenir prochainement une réalitéPar ailleurs, le porte-parole du gouvernement japonais a indiqué ce matin qu’une légère hausse de température avait été mesurée dans les réacteurs 5 et 6 de la centrale nucléaire de Fukushima 1. Ces deux unités, qui étaient arrêtées et en maintenance au moment du séisme, contiennent du combustible usé. Un petit réchauffement qui pourrait être dû à un problème du système de refroidissement, selon les experts.Bonne nouvelle, le niveau de radioactivité a baissé à Tokyo. Il était monté au-dessus de la normale dans la matinée en raison des émanations produites par la centrale nucléaire.Une réunion sur “la situation au Japon” est prévue à 12h30 à Matignon autour de François Fillon, d’après les services du Premier ministre, alors que la ministre de l’Ecologie Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet a affirmé qu’on s’acheminait “vers une catastrophe nucléaire” dans ce pays.Le 15 mars 2011 à 11:47 • Emmanuel Perrin
OLYMPIA — The state’s legal recreational marijuana market is expected to bring in about $636 million in taxes to state coffers through the middle of 2019, according to an economic forecast released Thursday. The forecast by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council showed that a little more than $25 million from a variety of marijuana-related taxes — including excise, sales, and business taxes — is expected to be collected through the middle of next year.An additional $207 million is expected for the next two-year budget that ends mid-2017. And $404 million is expected for the 2017-19 budget biennium. The passage of Initiative 502 in 2012 allowed the sale of marijuana to adults for recreational use at licensed stores, which started opening this summer. So far the state has issued 57 retail marijuana licenses. By early this month, 32 of the shops had opened. The state Liquor Control Board reported this week that total sales of recreational marijuana through Monday totaled just over $14 million, with the state receiving $3.5 million in excise taxes.Steve Lerch, the revenue council’s executive director, noted that the latest forecast changed previous outlooks that assumed sales wouldn’t start until next year because of concerns about local moratoriums, bans on pot sales and general uncertainty about how the system would work.He warned that the market is still developing, and the numbers will continue to change in future forecasts.“There is so much we don’t know about what these sales are going to look like,” he said.The overall updated forecast for Washington state’s current two-year nearly $34 billion budget cycle shows that lawmakers may have about $169 million more available to them through the middle of 2015, and that they’ll have an additional $143 million than additionally projected for the 2015-2017 biennium.
The High Court has ruled that Lloyds Banking Group must equalise its guaranteed minimum pensions (GMP) for men and women, in a landmark judgment that could cost major pension schemes £15 billion.The case relates to GMP schemes that ran between 1990 and 1997 for members who contracted out of the top-up state earnings-related pension scheme (SERP). GMPs were not recalculated to reflect the equalisation of state pension ages in the 1990s due to lack of clarity on how this should be carried out.However, three female members of Lloyds pension schemes took their case to court, claiming discrimination because their GMPs increased at a lower rate than equivalent male schemes.A Lloyds spokesperson said: “The hearing focused on what is a complex and longstanding industry-wide issue. The group welcomes the decision made by the court and the clarity it provides. The group and the pension scheme trustee will be working through the details in order to implement the court’s decision.”The High Court judgment in favour of the women is expected to cost Lloyds Banking Group up to £150 million. On a wider level, the ruling means men and women should have the same benefits from historical pensions, potentially affecting millions of people. Consultants LCP recently estimated that the wider impact of the case could cost major organisations £15 billion.Angela Sharma, professional support lawyer, pensions, at Taylor Wessing, commented: “The decision is clearly a costly outcome for the employers involved, and potentially affected schemes generally. Member expectations and communications will have to be carefully managed following the decision.“The court’s view of the methods which can be applied will need to be examined carefully by affected schemes. That will not be straightforward. In any event, accurate data will be key in what is likely to be a time consuming and in itself costly equalisation process.”The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said it would be offering guidance to pension schemes in the near future following the ruling.Samantha Brown, pensions partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, said: “This judgment provides welcome clarity on a longstanding area of legal debate, and confirms that pension schemes do need to equalise members’ benefits for the effect of guaranteed minimum pensions. Although the inequalities stem from the state pension framework and the legislation itself, the court’s decision was clear that it is an issue that affected schemes will now need to address.“This case highlights the nightmarish complexity of UK pensions legislation. It also illustrates the perils faced by employers who, having complied with the UK’s legislative requirements to the letter, now face a significant additional liability because that legislation and the corresponding state pension benefits treat males and females differently.”
Teachers in the Anchorage School District are working without a contract. That’s how they began the school year and two months of negotiations between the teachers union and the district have failed. There’s a wide gap between the salary increase teachers are asking for and the offer from the district. The parties are in mediation Oct. 18 and 19.Listen nowGenerally, ASD teacher contracts last for three years, but for the past two years, Anchorage teachers have had year-to-year contracts. For Tom Klaameyer, it feels like the negotiations have been never ending. He’s the head of the Alaska Education Association, the teachers union.“Having started the subsequent year with an expired contract, we’ve just been at this for so long, that I think it’s become difficult,” Klaameyer said.The initial request from the AEA was a 10.25 percent increase in a three-year contract. The district’s initial offer was a zero percent increase for the first two years and then a flat $500 increase the third year.Currently, the AEA is requesting a salary increase of 9.5 percent over three years. It would end up being 3 percent for the first two years and then 3.5 percent the third year. The school district is offering a 2.25 percent increase over three years. That would be zero percent the first year, followed by a .75 percent increase the second year and a 1.5 percent increase the third year.The dispute comes during the longest recession in state history. For the past three years, the BSA, or Base Student Allocation, from the Legislature has been flat. That’s the money that the district receives per student from the state. The Legislature did allocate $5.7 million in its last budget, but ASD Chief Financial Officer Jim Anderson says it’s not enough.“Well, you do that for two or three years in a row, it’s really not flat funding, because other costs keep going up,” Anderson said. “Utilities go up, rent goes up, contracts for copiers, paper, all those things keep increasing.”Anderson says teachers already receive raises every year — called step increases — of about 2 percent based on experience and education level.Klaameyer says that the union is frustrated that despite stagnant salaries for teachers, higher-level administrators in the school district received significant raises a year and a half ago.“From the time that the previous superintendent, when Ed Graff was there, and hen when they hired Dr. Bishop — I’d have to look at the numbers again — it was something like from $180,000 to $230,000,” Klaameyer said. “And then next year, she got a 5 percent raise while everybody else was getting zeroes.” (Editor’s Note: The district disputed that the raise for Bishop was as high as 5 percent. In fact, she received a pay cut of 1.25 percent due to furloughs.)Anderson, with the district, defended those raises, noting administrators are exempt from step increases, and that Superintendent Deena Bishop cut administrative positions in order to allow for that funding. Overall, it resulted in about $80,000 less in spending for the fiscal year. Anderson says giving teachers comparable raises isn’t feasible.“Now for us to do that for teachers, we have to lay off 600 to 800 of them,” Anderson said. “Well that’s not possible.”In its contract request, the AEA has also asked for more flexibility for teachers in their lesson plans. Klaameyer says the district implemented curriculum that limits the ways teachers can teach. Anderson says that’s an unfair characterization.The mediation phase of the contract negotiation is the second step in a five-step negotiation process, after the initial offer. If the mediation doesn’t result in an agreement, the next phase would be bringing in an arbitrator to make an offer that both sides could agree to. If that doesn’t work, the two parties are obligated to bargain one last time before teachers could strike. That’s something neither side wants. Jennifer Haldane works in Human Resources for the school district.“At this point we are just working towards reaching an agreement,” Haldane said. “That’s the stage of mind we’re in right now.”Note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the Legislature allocated $5.7 million in additional funds, not $10 million. It’s also been updated to reflect that the Anchorage School District disputes Tom Klaameyer’s assertion that Deena Bishop received a 5 percent raise her second year. She in fact did not get a raise.
Bruce Street is one of many roads in Kachemak City maintained with funding from local road grants. (Photo by Renee Gross/KBBI)It’s easy to complain about potholes and poorly maintained roads. But one community has been taking road repair into its own hands. Kachemak City sits on the southern Kenai Peninsula and it offers grants to residents to fix roads. Some residents say DIY roadwork beats higher taxes. Taz Tally used a run-of-the-mill garden rake to smooth out some ruts on his neighborhood road in Kachemak City this week.Tally has learned quite a lot about road maintenance in recent years.“Well, if someone had ever told me that I’d be a road boss, I would have said you’re crazy,” he said.Tally has been filling potholes and doing other road work on Bruce Street for about 10 years because the alternative is paying the city via taxes.In the past, Kachemak City said it would raise property taxes to do so.“Well some of us sat down and did the math on a mill and a half on a $400,000 house and said, whoa, that’s a lot of money every year, year in and year out, regardless of what’s done to the roads or not,” Tally said. “So we kind of all banded together and defeated the motion, but still the roads needed to be maintained.”The city chose to stick with its road grant system, which has been around in various forms for over 30 years. Now, groups of up to five properties can apply for grants of about $1,400 to help maintain their section of road, but in order to get that money, residents need to have skin in the game. They need to spend about $700 of their own money.Tally said most residents use the grants from the city to hire professional contractors.“We put our heads together to find out what do you think we can do this year and put it out to bid and we get the quotes in and make up the grant request to Kachemak City,” he said.Tally said the program allowed him and his neighbors to pay for everything from sanding and plowing to fixing culverts. But some of the work, Tally said they’ll do on their own.“Like this year, we’re going to have one of the contractors dump a truck load of D1, road-grade high quality gravel, down at the end of our road,” he said. “And then when the potholes form, we shovel a few boxes full of dirt in the back of the pickup truck and go out and tamp it down in the road.”While this blend of private-public partnerships is saving money, the city is only able to give out roughly $50,000 each year. Kachemak City Mayor Bill Overway said that money comes from the state.“We’re given that money to operate the city,” he said. “And each year, its whatever the legislature determines that they’re going to give to various cities, and then at that point we can determine how many grants we can allow for each of the applicants.”Tally is far from the only one applying for these grants.Nick Varney, Kachemak City resident of 36 years, said the grant money has been a godsend. In the past, he would use more of his own money to pay for road maintenance.“We had to do it before,” he said. “I was loading up a pickup with rock and sand and stuff and going out and shoveling in potholes on my old road. But once we could get the financial help and stuff like that, then we just kind of took over the management of getting the contracts done and let professionals do it.”Back at Tally’s house, he said he’s not sure if he’d prefer for Kachemak City to take over the work.“The answer is yes, and no,” he said. “Yes, I’d love for Kachemak City to do it and I wish they do it for the cost that we pay for it, which they can’t of course. And the reason why we’re doing this is not because we love to do our own road maintenance, but the cost differential is enormous.”Besides, Tally says, he and his neighbor, former House Rep. Paul Seaton, are compelled to do it.“Paul and I really can’t help ourselves,” he said. “We walk around the neighborhood with our shovels and our rakes and we do this, that and the other thing.”However, the money that allows these residents to take road maintenance into their own hands comes from the state, and the city says the state’s fiscal crisis could affect the program in the future.This year’s grant applications for road maintenance are due Monday.
MUZAFFARPUR: Union health minister Harsh Vardhan and other senior officers of health ministry reviewed the status of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) cases in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur on Saturday. The death toll due to AES has mounted to 109 in government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH). With this, the number of AES casualties in Bihar rose to 125 on Sunday. Also Read – JNU poll panel cancels Yogi’s nomination Advertise With Us “The central and state teams have finalized the site and design of 100 bedded PICU at Muzaffarpur, which will be supported under a centrally sponsored scheme,” said Harsh Vardhan. The Union Health Minister is reviewing the AES cases on a daily basis with the Health Ministry officials. The Health Minister said that the multi-disciplinary central team has been camping at Muzaffarpur for over a week now. Also Read – Sisodia inaugurates three-day Mehrauli Monsoon Festival Advertise With Us “With the support of state and district administration, efforts of social and behaviour change at the community level and early identification and management at primary health care facilities have been strengthened,” said Vardhan. He added that clinical management of AES is also being supported by the multi-disciplinary central teams and patients are receiving round the clock clinical, diagnostic and drug support. Advertise With Us Shri Manoj Jhalani, Additional Secretary and Mission Director of National Health Mission, along with other senior officers and experts had also visited SKMCH, where the AES patients of Muzaffarpur are admitted, to take stock of the situation. Shri Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary of ministry of health and family welfare, has been stationed at Muzaffarpur and is overseeing and supporting the State government efforts for prevention and management of AES cases.
DengueFive people, including an expectant mother, have died of dengue and 2,065 others have been infected with the mosquito-borne disease afresh across the country, reports UNB.The new deaths were reported in Dhaka and Khulna on Monday while the new infections in 24 hours till Monday morning.Of the deceased, three lost their battle to the fever at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), taking the total number of deaths from dengue at the hospital to 14.Of the new patients, 1,159 were infected in the capital alone and nine of them were suffering from dengue hemorrhagic while two others from dengue shock syndrome.In Dhaka, an expectant mother — Sharmin Akhter Shapla, 32, wife of Nazmul Hasan, deputy director of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department — died at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, while Hasan, 13, at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) early Monday.UNB Joypurhat correspondent reports: Nazmul went to South Korea on Saturday keeping the family members at his father-in-law’s house at Shantinagar in the district town of Joypurhat.Shapla was admitted to Joypurhat Modern Zila Hospital on Saturday with the symptoms of dengue fever where she was referred to Dhaka as her condition deteriorated.“Shapla died around 4:00am at Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital,” said her elder brother Zahurul Islam Ujjal.Thirteen-year-old boy Hasan was admitted to the DMCH on 3 August where he succumbed to dengue, said Nasir Uddin, DMCH assistant director (Admin).Nakul Kumar Das, 45, son of Nil Kantha Das in Shanir Akhra in the capital, died at the one-stop intensive care unit of DMCH in the evening.Hailing from Naogain, Nakul was admitted to the hospital at noon, DMCH assistant director Nasir Uddin.A fourth grader, Othoi Saha, 11, daughter of Kanai Saha of Kamargram in Boalmari upazila in Faridpur, died while undergoing treatment in a private hospital in Dhaka.She was first taken to Faridpur General Hospital from where she was later shifted to the capital, Boalmari Traders’ Association leader Madan Das said quoting the victim’s family members.In Khulna, Khadiza Begum, 40, wife of Dulu Molla of Tafalbari village in Sharankhola upazila of Bagerhat, died in a private hospital in the morning.She was admitted to City Medical Hospital five days back, said civil surgeon ASM Aburd Razzak.With this, a total of four people have so far died and 831 others infected with the mosquito-borne disease in the district, he said.According to the Health Emergency Operations Centre of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), a total of 27,437 people were hospitalised with dengue since 1 January. At least 7,658 patients, including children, are undergoing treatment at hospitals now, while the rest were discharged after treatment. Currently, a total of 4,962 patients were undergoing treatment in different hospitals in Dhaka, it said.During the period, 18 dengue patients died, all in the capital, the DGHS said although the unofficial estimates suggest the death toll is much higher.Meanwhile, health minister Zahid Malik said there is nothing to be worried about dengue as there is no country in the world where there is no dengue.He said the government has taken necessary measures to prevent dengue.“Conspiracies are going on centring dengue. The dengue situation is now under control. New insecticides are being imported which will be helpful to control Adese mosquito,” he said.Deputy commissioners and civil surgeons have already been asked to take steps as dengue may spread further across the country during Eid, he said.According to reports reaching the UNB news desk, a number of people were infected with dengue in many districts.In Cumilla, 29 more dengue patients were admitted to different hospitals and clinics of the district in the last 24 hours till Monday morning.Director of Comilla Medical College Hospital Swapan Kumar Adhikari said they were struggling with the mounting pressure of patients, including that of dengue.At least 86 people diagnosed with dengue are undergoing treatment in different hospitals of the district, he said.In Chapainawabganj, the number of dengue patients is on the rise as 11 patients were hospitalised in the past 24 hours, said civil surgeon Jahid Nazrul Chowdhury. A total of 49 dengue patients were admitted to Sadar Hospital in the last 12 days.In Khagrachhari, six more dengue cases were reported, raising the total number of patients to 28. Of them, 17 were taking treatment at different hospitals while 11 returned home after treatment.In Kurigram, a total of 43 people took treatment for dengue infection at Sadar Hospital and currently 23 are admitted to the hospital.
Stay on target In the latest Shut Up And Take My Money news, Nerd Block is launching a bi-monthly Doctor Who subscription box.Fans can sign up now to receive limited-edition trinkets based on the beloved series, delivered to your door.Every two months, a mini-TARDIS is shipped straight from Gallifrey to Whovians in the US, Canada, and the UK—starting in May.The bigger-on-the-inside box comes chock full of “wibbly wobbly merch, exclusive wearables, and collectible items just for you,” according to the product page.Choose from three bi-monthly payment plans: one block for $49.99, three blocks for $47.99, or six blocks for $45.99. All subscriptions automatically renew.“Doctor Who is one of the BBC’s most successful and longest-running TV shows, with a huge global fan base that continues to grow every year,” Nerd block CEO Russ Montague said in a statement.Nerd Block“For over 50 years, sci-fi lovers have remained enthralled and excited by the adventures of the Doctor,” he continued. “And Nerd Block is honored to partner with BBC Worldwide North America to offer unique and exclusive items to fans of the series.”Essentially a personal shopper for your snacking/beauty/cooking/stationary/reading/fitness needs, the subscription box is much like the Doctor himself: mysterious and highly anticipated.While Loot Crate popularized the concept among geeks and gamers, Nerd Block takes it a step further with themed packages for gamers, horror fanatics, sci-fi lovers, comic book readers, and kids—from $19.99 a month.The occasional Dalek or sonic screwdriver may have slipped into a sci-fan block in the past. But the BBC Doctor Who official block promises something for every Whovian.“With the new season upon us, we’re excited to partner with Nerd Block to offer these special collector’s items and enhance the overall Doctor Who experience for devoted fans of the series,” Carla Peyton, senior vice president of licensed consumer products at BBC Worldwide North America, said.Tune in for Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi’s final adventures starting April 15 at 9 p.m. on BBC America. HBO Max Scores Exclusive ‘Doctor Who’ Streaming RightsJo Tro Do Plo Plo No: ‘Doctor Who’ Welcomes Back Familiar Monster