The return of a handful of big banner films from Bollywood to Kashmir Valley’s picturesque locales for shooting has renewed the hopes of the tourism industry here, which has been hit by street unrest and growing militancy.Actors Abhishek Bachchan and Tapsee Pannu were in snow-laden Gulmarg in April for a shoot. Ms. Pannu uploaded videos of Gulmarg on several social media platforms, attracting interest online.Actors Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez are camped in Sonamarg, another tourist hotspot, for the film Race 3. They attracted large crowds of locals to the shoot.Producer-director Mahesh Bhatt has expressed interest in shooting his forthcoming Jalebi in Kashmir. The Telugu serial Muddamandaram has been given permission to shoot in Srinagar, Gulmarg and Sonamarg, as have the shooting of songs for some Tamil films.The Tourism department has launched a single-window clearance for shooting in Kashmir. “We are doing our bit to attract filmmakers to Kashmir,” said Mahmood A. Shah, director, Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Department.
At least two persons lost their lives and more than 35, including several police personnel, were seriously injured after violent clashes between two groups in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district on Friday night.The district administration has clamped Section 144 and suspended Internet services in the city to prevent further violence.The deceased have been identified as 62-year-old Jaganlal Bansile of the Shahaganj area and Abdul Kadri,17, who allegedly died from a gunshot wound in police firing. Mr. Bansile’s shop was among those torched by the rioters and he could not escape as he was disabled.The rioting started in the Moti Karanja area around 10 p.m. and spread to Gandhi Nagar, Raja Bazaar, Shah Ganj and Sarafa areas, forcing police to fire in the air and lob teargas shells, an official said.Corporation crackdownTensions escalated after the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation cracked down on illegal water connections in the Moti Karanja area. In the drive, a tap at a shrine belonging to a community was removed. In retaliation, members of the community destroyed the water connection at the shrine of another community.The incident resulted in clashes across the city through the night with several shops and vehicles, including police vans, being set ablaze by rioters. At least 10 policemen were injured, including Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Govardhan Kolekar and in-charge of Kranti Chowk Police Station, Inspector Shrikant Paropkari, police sources said.The condition of ACP Kolekar, who was admitted to hospital after sustaining serious injuries in the stone-pelting, is said to be serious.Speaking in Pune, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis promised stern action against those responsible for instigating the clashes while lauding police authorities for bringing a potentially explosive situation under quick control.“16-17 persons have been detained by the police in connection with the riots. We are scrutinising the footage obtained from different points in the city. The clashes were engineered by certain anti-social elements and we appeal to residents not to believe in rumours doing the rounds on Whatsapp and other social media,” said Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil.Additional forces“The clashes soon snowballed and spread to several other areas in Aurangabad city like Shahaganj and Chelipara. There were losses on both sides, with shops of the minority as well as Hindu communities being ravaged by rioters. However, everything is under control now,” said the acting Aurangabad Commissioner of Police Milind Bharambe on Saturday.Mr. Bharambe said police units had been brought in from adjoining districts.“The riots erupted over a banal issue. I urge the city’s residents not to place faith in rumours,” Aurangabad Mayor, Nandkumar Ghodele said.
Angry over registration of cases against farmers for flouting the State government’s advisory against transplanting paddy saplings before June 20, farmer outfits in Punjab have threatened to launch an agitation against the authorities.“The government should immediately withdraw the cases registered against the farmers… The farming community is already facing economic distress and in such a scenario filing cases against them would only add to their miseries,” said Harinder Singh, general secretary of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal).With an aim to preserve water and check the fast depleting groundwater table in the State, the Punjab government had this year asked farmers to start paddy transplantation after June 20 instead of June 15.“The government needs to understand that delay in transplanting paddy would cost the farmers dear. Delay in sowing means a delay in harvest… Paddy harvest usually takes place in October. At that time moisture starts setting in and if the harvest is delayed, the farmers would face difficulty in selling the crop due to high moisture content,” he said.Cultivation costMembers of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Krantikari) on Wednesday staged a protest in Bathinda district against the police action against farmers transplanting paddy saplings.“We are demanding immediate withdrawal of cases against the farmers besides uninterrupted supply of at least eight-ten hours of power. Due to insufficient power supply, the farmers are forced to use generators to irrigate their fields which has increased the cost of cultivation,” said Surjit Singh, president of BKU (Krantikari).“If the government wants to implement the decision of delayed paddy sowing then it should relax the condition of 17% moisture content during the sale of crops. The moisture content limit should be increased to at least 24%,” said Mr. Singh, adding that if the government does not heed to their demands, the farmers would be forced to launch an agitation against the government.Opposition attackThe Shiromani Akali Dal has condemned the registration of cases against at least five farmers in Ferozepur for transplanting paddy before the June 20 deadline fixed by the Congress government.Former Minister and SAD leader Bikram Majithia said the government should talk to the farmers, listen to their problems and develop consensus on such issues instead of threatening them with police cases.
About 400 people would be travelling to Thailand to retrace their cultural roots and also promote trade and tourism, at a first of its kind event in Bangkok on February 9 and 10.The initiative, aimed at bridging ties between India’s northeastern region and Southeast Asia, is based on historic links snapped by political boundaries. Many communities in the northeast, such as the Ahoms and the Shyams in Assam, had migrated from the Thailand-South China-Myanmar region, centuries ago. “Apart from meetings on trade and investment, the focus is on cultural exchanges. Top scholars from the northeastern States will interact with about 20 Thai historians and academicians,” said Shyamkanu Mahanta, chief organiser of the event.
Amid reports of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena reaching a consensus over seat sharing in the coming Lok Sabha elections, the Sena has said that no such agreement has been reached. “Uddhavji’s first public rally will be announced within two days and he will be speaking on the issue of an alliance there. Till then, no news about any alliance should be trusted,” said a senior Sena leader. He said that nobody other than Mr. Thackeray is allowed to speak on the issue.A senior BJP minister in the State government claimed that the real issue between two parties is no longer about the number of seats. “After the way in which the Sena has attacked the BJP, it is necessary to find a valid reason to join hands again. Until that is found, there will be no alliance as it will send wrong signals to the cadre,” he said. At present, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is patching things up between BJP president Amit Shah and Mr. Thackeray and later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be seen sharing the stage with the Sena chief, the minister said. “Seat sharing formula is not really the major concern. How to make voters accept the BJP and Sena on the same platform again, is one concern that we are working on,” he said. The Sena, on the other hand, has begun preparations for the polls and is also holding party workers’ programmes in the seats presently held by the BJP. Last week, the Sena held one such programme in Vile Parle, which falls in the Mumbai north west constituency, held presently by the BJP’s Poonam Mahajan. Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray too is on a drought tour in the interiors of Maharashtra. Mr. Uddhav Thackeray is likely to address a rally at Pachora in Jalgaon on Friday.
The State government will soon put in place a new policy on compensation for victims of hit-and-run accidents. Following recommendations from the Centre, the compensation could go up to as much as ₹2 lakh from the existing ₹25,000, which is given as solatium on the death of any person due to a hit-and-run motor accident. The sum of ₹12,500, currently given for grievous injury to a person from a hit-and-run motor accident, shall also increase proportionately or to about ₹50,000, senior officials from the State Transport Department have said. The Supreme Court had directed the State government on February 13 to consult all stakeholders and formulate a new scheme for payment of compensation in hit-and-run cases. A recent report of the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety had said, “The committee notes that the compensation payable to hit-and-run victims is very low and that the issue of making appropriate compensation … is engaging the attention of the State government. The State must formulate a scheme to make payment of adequate compensation.” The SC accepted the committee’s recommendation on February 26. A senior official said, “Maharashtra will now have to amend the Motor Vehicles Act to make these changes. However, the new compensation by way of the policy would be given out from the day the policy is announced and later synchronised as the law changes.” Of the 1.6 lakh road fatalities reported in the country in 2016, nearly 20,000 were hit-and-run victims. According to the Road Accidents in India-2017 report prepared by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, four cities from the State — Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Nagpur — feature in the top 50. In Mumbai, 3,160 accidents occurred in 2017, of which 467 were fatal and 2,603 were injury accidents. As many as 490 people died in these accidents, while 3,287 were injured. In Pune, of the 1,508 accidents, 360 were fatal and 966 were injury accidents. The high fatal count has already prompted the State to introduce a new policy to reduce deaths resulting from road accidents. The new Road Safety Policy was introduced last month as part of the Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety of the World Health Organisation, which has tasked Maharashtra with bringing road fatalities down to 25% of the current 13,000 deaths reported annually, said officials.
Putting all speculation to rest over Mulayam Singh’s political future, the Samajwadi Party has fielded its founder-patron from the Mainpuri seat for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.Mr. Singh had won the seat in 2014 only to vacate it as he decided to stay MP from Azamgarh, which he also won. The SP gave a list of nine candidates on Friday, including three women and three Dalits.In a bit of a surprise, the SP has fielded Dimple Yadav from Kannauj. There was speculation that Ms. Yadav, the sitting MP from the seat, would not contest this year and be replaced by her husband, SP president Akhilesh Yadav, as the party candidate from the constituency known for its perfumes and potatoes.Speculation is rife about the seat from which Mr. Akhilesh is himself likely to contest. Sources said a section of MLAs from Purvanchal were appealing to him to contest from Azamgarh.Along with Ms. Yadav, the names of two other women candidates were announced: Purvi Verma from Kheri and Usha Verma from Hardoi (reserved) seat.Sharing a picture of the three women on Twitter, Mr. Yadav said: “On the occasion of #InternationalWomensDay the Samajwadi Party reaffirms its commitment to equality for all and is proud to announce some of its women candidates for the #2019Election.”The SP is contesting 37 out of 80 seats in UP as part of the alliance with the BSP and the RLD. The BSP gets 38 while the RLD has three, all in West UP. Mr. Akhilesh’s cousin Dharmendra Yadav (sitting MP) will contest again from Baduan. Akshay Yadav, the son of Ram Gopal Yadav, SP general-secretary, will defend his seat Firozabad, which is also located in the bastion of the Yadav clan. The other candidates are Kamlesh Katharia from Etawah, Bhailal Kol from Robertsganj in Sonbhadra and Shabbir Valmiki from Bahraich; all three are reserved seats.Bahraich MP Savitri Bai Phule recently joined the Congress months after she quit the BJP and failed to join the SP.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that it is treating or monitoring 75 of its Atlanta-based staff members for possible anthrax exposure. The exposure may have occurred earlier this month because “established safety practices were not followed,” the agency said in a press statement released today.“Out of an abundance of caution, CDC is taking aggressive steps to protect the health of all involved, including providing protective courses of antibiotics for potentially exposed staff,” the agency stated. “Based on most of the potential exposure scenarios, the risk of infection is very low.” Anthrax can be deadly if inhaled, with symptoms usually appearing within a few days or weeks, but widely available antibiotics can prevent illness.Some of the CDC workers were involved in “inactivating”—or rendering harmless—live samples of Bacillus anthracis bacteria in a biosafety level 3 (BSL3) laboratory for shipment to other CDC laboratories with lower biosafety levels, according to CDC. The samples were intended for studies aimed at developing new ways of detecting anthrax in environmental samples. “However, the lab used a procedure that did not adequately inactivate the samples,” according to the statement.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 potentially infectious samples were then used by three laboratories at CDC’s Roybal campus that were not equipped to handle live anthrax. And between 6 and 13 June, lab workers used procedures that may have “aerosolized” the dangerous spores, making them easier to breathe in, investigators found. “Workers, believing the samples were inactivated, were not wearing adequate personal protective equipment while handling the material,” the agency said.The unintentional exposure was discovered on 13 June when researchers noticed live anthrax colonies growing on plates used to store and transport the samples. CDC officials then moved to decontaminate potentially contaminated areas and notify workers who had handled the plates. Investigations are continuing, and the “laboratories will be re-opened when safe to operate,” according to the statement. “Given that CDC expert protocols were not followed, disciplinary action(s) will be taken as necessary.”The incident will bring further scrutiny to CDC and other institutions that work with anthrax and other so-called select agents—dangerous toxins and organisms that are specially regulated by the federal government because of the threat they pose if engineered into a bioweapon, or accidentally escape from a laboratory. Internal whistleblowers have cited a range of problems at CDC’s secure laboratories, and in 2011 the National Academies’ National Research Council reported that select agent laboratories in the United States had 395 events between 2003 and 2009 that could have resulted in exposure to or release of an agent (but they reported just seven infections). Critics of the current select agent system have called for more stringent regulation and a reduction in the number of laboratories handling dangerous agents.BSL3 laboratories have the second strongest containment and safety features, including special air-handling systems, “glove boxes” that keep samples separate from researchers, and secured laboratories. The most stringent labs, BSL4 laboratories, also often require researchers to wear specialized “moon suits” and breathing gear that prevent potential exposures.
India-born Preet Bharara, the powerful US attorney who has facilitated many high-profile insider trading convictions, has agreed to remain in the position after meeting President-elect Donald Trump. Related Items
It all began in the 60s with Raj Kapoor’s Sangam, which was perhaps the first mainstream film to be shot in Switzerland. This was followed by a series of destination films such as An Evening in Paris (1967) and Love in Tokyo (1966). Popularised by Bollywood, many picturesque locations across the globe became a part of the tourism radar for Indians. India Inc now wants to use the medium to promote Indian locales.Read it at Money Control Related Items
Even though the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was depending on the Interpol to know the whereabouts about Nirav Modi after revoking his passport, the fugitive billionaire jeweller kept travelling fearlessly on the same passport from one country to another. When the reports of his movement came to light, the CBI swiftly shifted blame to the member countries of Interpol for not informing them about Nirav Modi’s whereabouts, who is now believed to be in Brussels, Belgium.Read it at DNA Related Items
Seven members of a UK-based Indian-origin family were involved in a freak accident in Iceland when their SUV crashed off a bridge on Thursday, killing two women and a child. Four others, including two British Indian brothers and two young children, remain in critical condition after being airlifted to a hospital in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik.Read it at Times Now Related Items
The New Year is unlikely to ring in festive cheer for the 10 Indian crew members of M V Azraqmoiah, who have been stranded at sea, five miles from Dubai port, after the United Arab Emirates owner of the vessel abandoned them without paying their salaries. The 10 crew members, including three from Tamil Nadu, are living on hope with minimal provisions and without passports, which were taken by the UAE Coast Guard after the vessel was detained by an Ajman court.Read it at New Indian Express Related Items
In the 18th century, British colonists shipped poor peasants from India across the globe to work on sugar plantations in the Caribbean. One laborer in Trinidad decided to build a place of worship for Hindus. He ended up creating an extraordinary monument to the tenacity of the human spirit. Visitors come from far and wide to pay homage to his memory in a lovely white temple located a quarter of a mile into the Caribbean Sea.The first time I saw it, in 1986, the temple was a group of murky ruins that stuck out of the ocean like the broken teeth of a vagrant. The original structure had been buffeted by tides, breezes and neglect for half a century and seemed about to dissolve into the past. On the shore, royal palms and green fields marked the site of a sugar plantation set up by the British colonists who had ruled Trinidad till 1962.I had heard something about this temple and wanted to know more. I wandered over to the closest village, a strip of low-built, green-doored cottages where former laborers on the sugar estate lived. It was called (fittingly) Waterloo. When I started making enquiries, a middle-aged Muslim man called Ibrahim Khan seized upon me. “A man went to jail for that temple!” he spluttered. Then the story emerged.The temple was built, he related, in the late 1930s, by his Hindu neighbor, Siewdath Sadhu, a poor laborer on the sugar estate. Sadhu was born in India in 1901 in the city of Benares on the holy river Ganges.“Sadhu was not a talker,” Khan recalled. “If you and he stayed together for hours you would hardly hear him talk. You had to do all the talking. He neither smoked nor drank.”The one thing that made Sadhu noticeable was that he saved his meager wages and went back to India every few years to worship at the holy shrines there.“I once asked him why he went back so often,” said Khan. “He said he had made a promise to Bhagwan (God) to return.”But as the years passed, the cost of the trip rose. It became difficult for a laborer working for around 20 Trinidadian dollars a month to keep up this regular pilgrimage. So he decided to create a holy place in Trinidad instead, close to the shore of the calm Gulf of Paria.“I believe the sea here was like the Ganges to him,” another villager piped in.Sadhu chose a piece of unused swampland and began construction. It continued month after month.“Seven days a week he used to pass my house on his bicycle,” Khan recalled. “I used to call out to him, ‘Salaam, salaam!’ and he used to reply with a Hindu greeting, ‘Ram, Ram.’ He wasn’t the kind of man to stop and chat, you know.”When Sadhu finished his temple, it was a place of renowned beauty.“You know that flower, gaandar kapoor (marigolds)?” Khan asked me. “He planted so much of it that you could smell the temple from a distance. He planted eleven kinds of flowers, and vegetables too. And that garden used to be full of the most beautiful butterflies. All kinds of butterflies that you don’t see anywhere else. You didn’t have to be one of the Hindu faith to feel the beauty of the place.”Sadhu had finally created a place of pilgrimage for Hindus in Trinidad.“Especially for Kartik (the festival of the sea), we used to have crowds of people here,” another villager remembered. “They used to have three day-festivals. People used to come and stay and cook and sing … But the management of the sugar company, which owned all the land in the area, noticed that a building had been constructed on their property. Though the swampy ground had no commercial or agricultural value, they demanded that Sadhu demolish the temple.That was asking him to commit a sin. No matter what threats they used, all he would say was, “I cannot break down that.”They took the matter to court. Sadhu was fined $500, more than two years’ wages, and was sentenced to 14 days in prison for trespassing. He had to pay the fine in instalments.“He went to jail!” Khan suddenly burst into tears. “Sadhu was such a soft man, and he made an honorable jail rather than break the temple.”The sugar company was granted a court order to demolish the temple. But since they could not persuade any local person to undertake this task, a British overseer named Gunn, “a large red-faced man,” according to Mr Khan, drove the bulldozer that finally wiped Sadhu’s creation from the face of the earth. Some villagers said that Sadhu warned Gunn, “Just as you break that temple with that bulldozer, so you too will be broken.” Others said he just pleaded quietly with the overseer. Whatever the truth, within a month, Gunn was dead. As he was bulldozing a tree some distance away, fell on him and broke his back.In addition, according to Ramnarine Binda, a former local government councillor and sugar company official I later interviewed, the Englishman who had given the order for the demolition died suddenly of disease soon afterwards.As soon as Sadhu was released from prison, said the villagers, he was back at the site of his former temple. He looked dejected, but not broken. He set about purchasing a truck. Then he began to collect damaged bricks from a nearby brick factory. He dumped them on the shore, day after day, load after load, in a straight line out to sea. Flattening them down by hand, he inched his way into the ocean with the truck. After several weeks, he had created an extended walkway into the water.Visitors were intrigued.I used to have two fishing trawlers,” Khan said, “and I used to be at the same spot in the evening waiting for them to come in. I used to watch Sadhu working for three-four hours out there in the sea. He got oil drums from a Unilever factory, filled them up with concrete and tied them together with steel. That was how he made the foundation of the temple.”One day, the tide came up while Sadhu was still working. His truck was trapped in the water and couldn’t be moved until the next morning. It was so badly damaged it couldn’t be repaired.“You would have thought that would stop Sadhu,” said Khan, raising his eyebrows. “But no. He just continued working. He would put two buckets onto the handlebars of his bicycle. In one, he would have cement, in the other, sand. And he would wheel those buckets out along the walkway he had made, day after day. That is how he built that temple. I am talking about one man, not six men. He did that for more than a year.“Sadhu was building, not just a temple, but an entire prayer complex, with three shrines, a kitchen, a dining room, a restroom and another room. Around the whole thing ran a verandah.”Added Binda: “We used to say the sea will wash away everything. Sometimes I used to pass and see him up to his waist in water, building. We all laughed at him, myself included.”But once the project was completed, it became the focus of admiration for visitors from far and wide. Hundreds of people came for days and weeks at a time, especially at Kartik and other important Hindu occasions. The sea rang with music and prayer.“I used to go out to sea with my trawlers,” said Khan. “And from miles away I could see Sadhu’s kootiah, white and beautiful in the distance. You could use it as a guide to go home.”Sadhu, too, finally went home, for his last pilgrimage in India. He died in 1970 of a heart attack. But before that, villagers say, he spent many happy hours in his temple. The fruit of his faith was then left in the hands of the sea, a fact that grieved Waterloo villagers of all faiths and races. Not only Hindus felt strongly about it.“I am a Muslim,” thundered Mr Khan on my visit, “and this is a Hindu business! But it is hurting me to see the destruction. A man made an honorable jail for that temple! You mean to say we can’t keep it up?”Author’s note:Khan got his wish. After I wrote an article on the temple for a local publication, the temple was restored. It is now a major visitors’ site in Trinidad and Sadhu’s memory is cherished by all Trinidadians. Related Items
Jet Airways India Ltd. will offer direct flights from Mumbai to Manchester from November this year. The Manchester service aims to target the 500,000 people of Indian origin residing in the northern part of the United Kingdom, Jet Airways said in a statement on May 18.Initially, the carrier will connect Mumbai and Manchester four times a week — on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The airline will use 254-seat Airbus SE A330-200s for this service.“Jet Airways will launch its first non-stop service between Mumbai and Manchester, thus further strengthening its connect to the United Kingdom (UK). This new service is the first nonstop service connecting India, via its economic capital with Manchester,” Jet Airways said.The airline currently serves London three times a day from Mumbai and once a day from Delhi. The launch of the new service will provide seamless connectivity to several domestic destinations to and from India, including cities like Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Bengaluru, and Kolkata, through the airline’s hub, Mumbai.“The new service will bring Manchester into our global network, reinforcing our footprint as well as expanding the choice of connectivity to and from the United Kingdom for our guests with the four days per week, non-stop service,” Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube said in a statement.The airline will have over 8,000 seats on offer every week, making it convenient for both business as well as leisure passengers travelling between India and the United Kingdom, Dube added.If the Mumbai-Manchester route is successful, a service to Delhi could also be introduced, Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal said. Also, operations to other cities, including Amritsar, can be a possibility, Bloomberg reported.“Securing a direct service to one of India’s major cities is the product of a lot of hard work over a long period of time to forge closer ties between Manchester and this globally significant economy. We have worked, along with a range of partners, to create a compelling case for why our city – and the wider North – is a great place to visit, invest in and do business with,” Manchester Airport CEO Andrew Cowan said in a statement.The new service between Mumbai and Manchester is expected to be of special significance for business travelers and also for a significant diaspora of people, including a growing Indian community residing in and around Manchester, the statement added.With the introduction of this new flight, which is the carrier’s fifth non-stop service to and from the United Kingdom, Manchester will become the 21st international addition to the Jet Airways network.On May 16, Iceland’s transatlantic airline Wow Air announced the launch of its services from Delhi to multiple destinations in North America and Europe via the country’s capital Reykjavik from December 2018. Related ItemsJet AirwaysmanchesterMumbai
India will face skilled labor surplus of 245 million workers by 2030, according to a recent study on global talent crunch. The surplus will primarily be due to the vast supply of working age citizens in the country, the study conducted by organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry said.India is the only country in the study expected to have a surplus, owing mainly to its vast supply of working-age citizens and government programs to boost workers’ skills.“Industries where the talent surplus will be the most visible in India include the financial services with a surplus of 1.1 million, technology, media, telecommunications (TMT) at 1.3 million and manufacturing at 2.44 million of extra manpower in 12 years,” the study, titled “The Global Talent Crunch,” said.Governments and organizations must make talent strategy a key priority and take steps now to educate, train, and upskill their existing workforces, it added.“By 2030, we can expect a talent deficit of 85.2 million workers across the economies analyzed — greater than the current population of Germany. The shortfall of Level A, Highly skilled workers could equal 21 per cent of the highly skilled workforce of the 20 countries in our study,” the study said.In the technology, media, and telecommunications sectors, India stood out as the only country expected to have a skilled-labor surplus — expected to reach 1.3 million workers by 2030, creating opportunities for the country to further develop its importance as a technology center. Barring India, all nations would be gripped by telecommunications talent deficit by 2030.The United States, currently the world’s leading technology market, can expect to lose out on $162.25 billion by 2030 due to sector skills shortages. These talent deficits may imperil America’s status as the global tech center, the study said.This global skills shortage could result in $8.452 trillion in unrealized annual revenue by 2030. “The top five financial centers in our study — the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France — could fail to generate $870.47 billion by 2030, with the United States accounting for half of this — equivalent to 1.5 per cent of the projected 2030 U.S. economy,” according to the report.The study assessed the talent-supply gap in 20 developed and developing economies across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa and Asia Pacific. Japan, the world’s sixth biggest financial center, could fail to generate $113.62 billion in 2030, equivalent to more than 18 per cent of the sector’s potential value in 2030, it said.“Global financial services players are already experiencing skilled-talent shortages and are set to face the greatest talent gap of any industry sector in the next decade. Financial services leaders need to act now or they will forfeit substantial growth opportunity,” Michael Franzino, president, Global Financial Services, Korn Ferry, said. Related ItemsEconomyEmployment
Never in the annals of political advertising in India has such heat and dust been generated as in Election 2014( All three players, especially traditional rivals Congress and the BJP, pulled out all the stops to turn on the heat, blitzing all conceivable traditional and new-age channels, including social media, to offer a 360 degrees whammo, like there was no tomorrow.Yup. The NaMo-RaGa slowdowns were show-stoppers all the way, but as the results rolled in, the Congress blamed its advertising agency Dentsu for its poll debacle. No doubt, the inside track of the blame-game will undoubtedly take on a life of its own — losers are always bad news — and clearly the strategy to position Rahul Gandhi as a young and dynamic leader out to empower the common man, didn’t work.The BJP campaign was brilliantly structured, strategically sound and totally clear.The BJP recruited two of the biggest and finest ad practitioners in the business, Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, South Asia, and Prasoon Joshi, chairman and chief, South Asia, at Ogilvy and Mather. They both come with a dazzling track record and a proven connect through their insightful understanding of the mitti of the land.Joshi explains that the BJP communication demanded two kinds of messaging: Tactical, embracing the here and now. Conceptual, playing out the party’s philosophy. For the latter, the multi-faceted ad-man (who is also a celebrated Bollywood lyricist and a fine, published poet in his own right) created an anthem called Saugandh, to which the prime minister designate gave his voice. Joshi’s deep understanding of the party’s brand values helped him pen the lines, which formed an intrinsic part of the overall communication, used in digital and TV film, as well as audio-track to enthuse, motivate and inspire party workers.Regarding the now famous tag line Ab ki baar, Joshi confides that his preference was Desh ki pukaar, Modi sarkar to emphasize the disappointment, disillusionment, frustration and the feeling of being let down by the general public, but Team BJP over-ruled it, going with Ab Ki baar, Modi sarkar, because Ab ki baari, Atal Bihari had worked brilliantly in the past. Joshi had no hesitation in admitting that they struck target because their version was direct and simpler.Both Joshi and Pandey were clear from day one to not confuse political campaign with regular brand-building campaign. Joshi lays it on the line when he explains that a product has no personal voice. Political parties, however, are live, throbbing, vital entities, consumed by their constituencies, all the time. They communicate to their target audience across a wide variety of forums, with rallies, interviews, speeches, press conferences, debates, etc. on an overdrive. Most of these today are telecast and on the net, so they work like ads. Secondly, unlike a product, where you interact only with the product’s marketing and brand managers, here, tons of party workers are on your radar and their suggestions — many brilliant — need to be considered and sometimes executed, because they are the foot soldiers, umbilically connected with the flotsam and jetsam of the public mood. Egos and arrogance — major issues in adland, especially with creative mavericks — also need to be under a tight leash, because this is a different ball game and the insights of non-expert party functionaries are likely to carry more weight than conventional advertising wisdom. It also needs to be understood therefore that this brand of communication is a collaborative venture, where chest-thumping by a single genius plays no role.Congress Party’s ad campaign was as listless as the man it was peojecting.Pandey says there is a popular misconception that political parties are usually clueless about the art and science of advertising, the perception and positioning aspects, which direction the communication will pursue, why and when to garner what kind of specific result. He was startled by the detailed homework the BJP team had done in terms of research, locating and understanding their target group’s mindset, what to say, whom to say, including tone-of-voice. The brief — the best he has come across in his entire career — was simple: Prepare a message around the sad state of affairs the country faced during the UPA regime and communicate it simply, but engagingly, across the country.It was all brilliantly structured, strategically sound and totally clear. The BJP core team leveraged the creative talent available from the right creative teams, comprising writers and musicians, picked their partners judiciously and divided and compartmentalized responsibilities in amazing fashion.Regarding social media, Pandey explains that despite the ridicule and mockery from some sections of the Congress Party regarding being a conservative, old-fashioned lot, ignorant of new-age digital communication, fact is, Team BJP was there well before the basic brief was culled and ad agencies selected. Why? To understand the critical issues and problems plaguing the common man before addressing them with passion and purpose in their quest for vote support. Ultimately however, both Joshi and Pandey agree that the product advertised needed to be solid and credible with a brand promise that rung true and a credible solution. A bad product is killed faster with good advertising, because it generates excitement and curiosity that belies the performance slot — an unforgivable marketing sin.Compared to the brilliant strategic and tactical ad campaign of BJP, the Congress campaign was listless, tepid, boring, uninspiring and lacking credibility. Sans style, substance, form, content, the Rahul Gandhi-specific campaign (Har haath shakti, har haath tarakki) was a giant leap in the wrong direction. Unlike the BJP narrative, it had no new, urgent story to tell, churning out a tired combination of old slogans about empowering the have-nots and new fantasies about the young. No wonder people fell, in large numbers, at seductive slogans like Achche din aanewala hain and Ab ki baar …When you goof up on the four basic principles of effective advertising — Attention, Interest, Desire, Action — then your achche din turns into a nightmare. Perhaps, agli baar? Related Items
Heavy rains have led to flash floods in Vadodara, and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel were deployed to rescue stranded civilians. People are facing several problems due to the heavy rainfall. Meanwhile, the Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani held a high-level meeting on Wednesday to review torrential rain situation in the city. He deputed two Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers to provide guidance to the local administration.