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Ancient practice sans theory

first_imgMove over, Archimedes. A researcher at Harvard University is finding that ancient Greek craftsmen were able to engineer sophisticated machines without necessarily understanding the mathematical theory behind their construction.Recent analysis of technical treatises and literary sources dating back to the fifth century B.C. reveals that technology flourished among practitioners with limited theoretical knowledge.“Craftsmen had their own kind of knowledge that didn’t have to be based on theory,” explains Mark Schiefsky, professor of the classics in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “They didn’t all go to Plato’s Academy to learn geometry, and yet they were able to construct precisely calibrated devices.”The balance, used to measure weight throughout the ancient world, best illustrates Schiefsky’s findings on the distinction between theoretical and practitioner’s knowledge. Working with a group led by Jürgen Renn, director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Schiefsky has found that the steelyard — a balance with unequal arms — was in use as early as the fourth and fifth centuries B.C., before Archimedes and other thinkers of the Hellenistic era gave a mathematical demonstration of its theoretical foundations.“People assume that Archimedes was the first to use the steelyard because they suppose you can’t create one without knowing the law of the lever. In fact, you can — and people did. Craftsmen had their own set of rules for making the scale and calibrating the device,” says Schiefsky.Practical needs, as well as trial and error, led to the development of technologies such as the steelyard.“If someone brings a 100-pound slab of meat to the agora, how do you weigh it?” Schiefsky asks. “It would be nice to have a 10-pound counterweight instead of a 100-pound counterweight, but to do so you need to change the balance point and ostensibly understand the principle of proportionality between weight and distance from the fulcrum. Yet, these craftsmen were able to use and calibrate these devices without understanding the law of the lever.”Craftsmen learned to improve these machines through productive use over the course of their careers, Schiefsky says.With the rise of mathematical knowledge in the Hellenistic era, theory came to exert a greater influence on the development of ancient technologies. The catapult, developed in the third century B.C., provides evidence of the ways in which engineering became systematized.With the help of literary sources and data from archaeological excavations, “We can actually trace when the ancients started to use mathematical methods to construct the catapult,” notes Schiefsky. “The machines were built and calibrated precisely.”Alexandrian kings developed and patronized an active research program to further refine the catapult. Through experimentation and the application of mathematical methods, such as those developed by Archimedes, craftsmen were able to construct highly powerful machines. Twisted animal sinews helped to increase the power of the launching arm, which could hurl stones weighing 50 pounds or more.The catapult had a large impact on the politics of the ancient world.“You could suddenly attack a city that had previously been impenetrable,” Schiefsky explains. “These machines changed the course of history.”According to Schiefsky, the interplay between theoretical knowledge and practical know-how is crucial to the history of Western science.“It’s important to explore what the craftsmen did and didn’t know,” Schiefsky says, “so that we can better understand how their work fits into the arc of scientific development.”Schiefsky’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.last_img read more

Brewster brings in the fans but comes up empty in debut

first_imgRedshirt freshman quarterback Adam Weber experienced similar emotions as Brewster coming into this game, as it was his first start for the Gophers.“Coming out, we just didn’t bring the right intensity,” Weber said after the game. “It was disappointing for everyone, especially for coach Brewster. As a team, it was embarrassing for us.”Wide receiver Eric Decker said he knows that this painful loss will not stop Brewster and the Gophers from being as prepared as possible for next week’s game against Miami (Ohio).“It’s the first game,” Decker said calmly. “You’ve got to learn from it, and go watch film to see where your mistakes are.”Brewster said the film from the game will show some discouraging signs but also some things to instill hope.“There are a lot of things to build on,” Brewster said. “We are going to study (the game film). We’re going to study it real hard.”But one striking difference in Saturday’s game compared to nonconference games in past seasons was the fan support. Brewster lived up to his word about building up a strong fan base that filled much of the Metrodome, with an attendance of 49,253 for the opener.“This was an exciting environment,” Brewster said. “I hope our fans feel good about the way the team played and laid it on the line.”And with the strong second-half comeback in front of that embracing crowd, Brewster said he looks for even more improvement in the coming weeks.“This is a long race,” he said. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Brewster brings in the fans but comes up empty in debutBrewster’s debut attracted 49,253 people to witness the Gophers’ overtime loss.September 4, 2007Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintOn Jan. 17, a new coach came in to the Minnesota football team promising to drastically change the attitude surrounding his new squad.That coach was Tim Brewster, who this spring used motivational tactics on the Gophers such as bringing in a piece of sod from the Rose Bowl, implementing new terms such as “Gopher Nation,” and showing his credibility by having Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan address the team.As the days drew closer to his first game, Brewster’s passion and work ethic were apparent in the intensity of two-a-day practices in August and his everyday attempts to sell this program to anyone willing to buy.But the enthusiasm and swagger that Brewster and the Gophers brought into their first game was stopped at a dead halt in his first official half as coach, as Bowling Green jumped out to a 21-0 lead early in the contest.“I really challenged the team, we needed to show heart and resolve,” Brewster said about his halftime speech. “I was really proud of the way they responded. Obviously, I would have liked to have a better start, but once we settled down, I really felt good about how we played the rest of the way.”The passion and intensity that Brewster has brought to this program was evident in a second-half comeback which brought the team to a three-point lead with only a few minutes remaining. But the lack of experienceand depth ultimately was the downfall that allowed Bowling Green to come away with the overtime win.“My initial statement is to congratulate Bowling Green,” said Brewster after the stunning loss. “I thought those guys did a nice job. They came in prepared and jumped on us early.”Although Brewster said he was extremely proud of how his team battled back, the loss was admittedly still a tough way to start his coaching tenure.“I am bitterly disappointed that we lost,” Brewster said. “I was looking forward to singing the ‘(Minnesota) Rouser’ in the locker room. These kids fought their guts out, and I give them credit for that.”last_img read more

Zimbabwe to start paying white farmers compensation after April

first_imgZimbabwe President and candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa stands after casting his ballot at Sherwood Primary School in Kwekwe on July 30 2018, during Zimbabwe’s 2018 general elections to elect the president and members of Parliament. (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP) Zimbabwe is to start paying compensation this year to thousands of white farmers who lost land under former president Robert Mugabe’s land reform nearly two decades ago, the government said, as it seeks to bring closure to a highly divisive issue.Two decades ago Mugabe’s government carried out at times violent evictions of 4,500 white farmers and redistributed the land to around 300,000 black families, arguing it was redressing imbalances from the colonial era.But land reform still divides public opinion as opponents see it as a partisan process that left the country struggling to feed itself.President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government sees the paying of compensation to white farmers as key to mend ties with the West, and set aside $17.5 million in this year’s budget to that end. The initial payments will target those in financial distress, while full compensation will be paid later.“The registration process and list of farmers should be completed by the end of April 2019, after which the interim advance payments will be paid directly to former farm owners,” Zimbabwe’s ministries of finance and agriculture said in a joint statement on Monday.They said the process to identify and register farmers for compensation was being undertaken the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) and a committee representing the farmers.A committee comprising government officials and former farm owners is currently valuing improvements made on the farms. That process should end next month and will determine the full amount due to the farmers.The government, which maintains it will only pay compensation for infrastructure and improvements on farms and not for the land, is talking to international financial institutions on options to raise the full amount to pay farmers.Colonialists seized some of the best agricultural land and much of it remained in the hands of white farmers after independence in 1980, while many blacks were landless.Related Zimbabwe considers compensation tribunal for former white farmers Zimbabwe’s government plans to compensate white farmers Zimbabwe’s white farmers optimistic about land compensation pledgelast_img read more

Gold is Money vs Tiger Bay should be a gem

first_imgDEFENDING champions West Front Road ‘Gold is Money’ will take on Tiger Bay in the feature game of tonight’s final stanza in Round-of-16 action in the GT Beer/Keep Your Five Alive’ Indoor Competition which is being played at the National Gymnasium.  The reigning title holders have looked a bit shaky in defence of their crown and tonight’s clash against a strong Tiger Bay unit will definitely provide a stern test and possibly give the best indication as to what shape they are in.Tiger Bay, who had been plagued by defections over the past year, have witnessed many of their marquee players’ return to the fold and could be at full strength for the all-important engagement against the champs, especially with a quarter-final spot up for grabs.In the opening encounter, Linden’s Silver Bullets square off against the experienced Back Circle side and this matchup should provide the perfect start for the night which is anticipated to be packed with exciting action.This game will be followed by Ol Skool Ballers versus Future Stars and this is a clash between two young teams that will be looking to produce the next star in the shorter format.The next game has all the makings of a scorcher when Albouystown, another team with players returning to the fold, take on North East La Penitence.This could be the most entertaining game of the night as the latter have always shown the potential to be a top contender, but discipline has been their Achilles heel and once they can curb their instincts fans are assured of a riveting contest.Albouystown are known for their consistency and have been knocking on the door for a title and maybe this tournament is the one they get over the line.A number of exhibition matches are planned, but what is certain is that the battle for quarter-final spots will provide fireworks. Other sponsors on board are: 94.1 Boom FM, Star Party Rentals, Fireside Grill N Chill, Ravi Investments and Colours Boutique.last_img read more

WCU chancellor, wife pledge $1.23 million in gifts for student scholarships

first_imgWestern Carolina University Chancellor David O. Belcher and wife Susan Brummell Belcher have pledged $1.23 million in gifts for the university’s ongoing efforts to provide increasing scholarship support to help deserving students in their pursuit of higher education.The honor of announcing the pledge, which takes the form of a blend of cash donations and an estate gift, fell to Claire Lemke, a senior from Gastonia majoring in music who is among the recipients of WCU scholarships established by the Belchers. The announcement comes as the university is on the verge of rolling out the public phase of its Lead the Way comprehensive fundraising campaign, which will focus on scholarships.“While I was one of the first recipients of a scholarship supported by the Belchers, I will be only one of hundreds to come,” said Lemke, speaking Thursday, Oct. 12, at an annual luncheon to recognize donors to WCU scholarship funds.“Today, Chancellor David O. Belcher and his wife, Susan Brummell Belcher, are announcing a $1.23 million commitment in cash and estate gifts to WCU’s Lead the Way campaign. Yes, you heard that right – our chancellor and Mrs. Belcher are committing $1.23 million to Western Carolina University. This is the kind of transformational gift that will have lasting impact for generations to come,” said Lemke, the inaugural recipient of the Susan Brummell Belcher College of Fine and Performing Arts Endowed Scholarship.Chancellor Belcher said that he and his wife decided to direct their philanthropic gifts toward scholarships because students represent their shared passion. “Susan and I are here because of students. Students were why Susan and I took the leap to join Western Carolina University six-and-a-half years ago to change lives. They are our reason for being. They are our joy,” he said.“This is worthy work, and our students deserve no less,” he told the nearly 200 donors and scholarship recipients gathered for the event in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center. “Western Carolina University is in the business of changing lives. And with your dedication, and your passion, and your commitment to our university, and your financial support for our students, there is no telling what we will do.”Susan Belcher echoed the chancellor’s comments, noting that she and her husband frequently discuss the need to support the university’s students.“These are not just David’s sentiments he articulates in speeches. These are our core values. We talk about the fact that higher education is the stuff of the American Dream. We talk about the fact that cost is a barrier for too many qualified students,” she said. “This is simply unacceptable, and we must address it. It is imperative for the success of our students and our communities.”During his installation address in March 2012, Belcher announced that increasing the number of endowed scholarships would be the No. 1 philanthropic priority of his administration. More than 200 new endowed scholarships have been established since then, he said, calling the response “gratifying and inspiring,” but characterizing it as “only a good start, a good beginning.”The Belchers said that is why they decided to share with the crowd their personal financial commitment to the Lead the Way campaign.“We share this with you, not to put ourselves in the spotlight, but to lead by example. And, we are looking for partners to join us – partners who are willing to make gifts that will make a real difference to our students, partners who will dare to make gifts that will inspire others to give, partners who will join us and Lead the Way in helping our students to achieve the American Dream, partners like you,” she said.Lemke thanked the donors in attendance for making it a priority to support student scholarships at WCU. “I am sure that the many students in the room will agree that being a recipient of your generosity is both inspiring and humbling. It gives us a sense of pride in what we’ve accomplished and confirms for us that we are on the right path,” she said. “At the same time, students, if you are like me, you feel an incredible sense of responsibility and renewed motivation to do your absolute best.”Also during the event, Haywood County native Kenny Messer, a 1986 graduate of WCU and member of the university’s Board of Trustees, shared his story of the transformative power of higher education and how a young boy who grew up plowing tobacco fields with a mule became the president of a leading global chemical product supplier, thanks in part to scholarship assistance he received.“This institution isn’t just in the business of educating young men and women, but Western Carolina University is in the business of changing lives. Western was committed to my success – a first-generation college student who had to depend on the generosity of people just like you in the room today for scholarships,” Messer said. “I not only owe this university, but I have an obligation to ensure future generations have the same opportunity.”In addition to the scholarship for students in the College of Fine and Performing Arts, the Belchers have established a scholarship for Honors College students. Jordan Parker, recipient of the David O. and Susan B. Belcher Scholarship, also attended her benefactors’ gift announcement.WCU is in the preliminary “leadership” stage of its Lead the Way fundraising campaign. Organizers of the campaign from the university’s Division of Advancement will reveal more details about the public phase of the effort in early 2018. For information, visit the website give.wcu.edu.last_img read more

The Great Whaling Debate

first_imgA humpbacked whale frolicking in thewaters off Hermanus in the Western Cape.(Image: South African Tourism) Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu caststhe first vote in the Great Whaling Debate.(Image: Jennifer Stern) The counter registers Tutu’s vote.(Image: Jennifer Stern) Tutu admires the Sacred Ocean sculpturewhile sculptor Noel Ashton looks on.(Image: Jennifer Stern)Jennifer SternThe number of petitions that cross your inbox is an indication of how the internet has changed the way we live. We have instant access to information from around the globe and, more importantly, we can react to it by adding our names to petitions with the mere touch of a keyboard.But what does a petition really tell you? That x-thousand people took the trouble to complain about or campaign for something or other.What about the so-called “silent majority” out there? Perhaps they want to continue persecuting Baha’is in Iran, spewing carbon into the atmosphere, or manufacturing nuclear weapons.  Obviously many people do want to continue these things or they would have been stopped, surely?That’s why the Great Whaling Debate and the complementary Sacred Ocean Campaign – a partnership between Noel and Belinda Ashton, the Two Oceans Aquarium and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – is so clever.Launched in late November, the debate was initially going to be a petition-type campaign encouraging people to add their names to a list of concerned individuals who are opposed to whaling. Same old story, though. There’s no petition for people who think whaling is a good idea, so the numbers don’t really mean much.When last did you get an email asking you to sign a petition for the International Whaling Commission to lift the moratorium on commercial whaling?But this way everyone gets a voice. The Great Whaling Debate is a campaign aimed at ending all whaling but, instead of merely adding one’s voice to the already clamorous cry to end the slaughter of whales in our oceans, the campaign offers people the opportunity to vote.If you believe whaling should continue, you can have your say and add your voice to those who head out in big ships with explosive harpoons and long flensing knives to “harvest” – or take “scientific samples” from – the world’s whale populations. You may need to learn to speak Japanese, Norwegian or Icelandic if you want to be heard, though.A long history of whalingThe hunting of whales has been a part of life for coastal communities for centuries, possibly millennia. But it would initially have been a subsistence industry with whole communities working together to kill a whale or two to see the village through the winter. With the advent of the industrial revolution, though, whaling changed in nature and in scale.From about the 17th century onwards, American, British and European whalers gradually expanded their areas of operation until, by the 19th century, whales were hunted in every corner of every ocean of the world. They were killed mostly for their oil, which was used for illumination, and later for margarine, cosmetic and other specialised industrial applications. Some whalers used the meat, and some did not – it was pretty much a cultural choice.One thing was certain, though. In the days before refrigeration, it was impossible to utilise all the meat from the slaughtered whales, so only the more valuable parts of the animals, including oil and baleen, were kept. The rest was dumped back into the ocean.Since whale oil is now no longer in demand, and plastic is the material of choice for the few people who still like to squeeze themselves into tightly laced corsets, whales are now hunted mostly for their meat.South Africa’s progressive protection legislationDespite the abundance of southern right and humpbacked whales in its waters, South Africa has some of the most progressive protective legislation for whales and other cetaceans, and stopped commercial whaling in 1975.The International Whaling Commission, which was founded by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) in 1946, voted to enforce a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986.Norway lodged a formal complaint at the time, so it continues to hunt whales legally, and Japan utilises a handy loophole, killing more than a thousand whales every year for “scientific research”. As whale meat is freely available in Japanese food markets and restaurants, cynical observers may be justified in saying that the research consists mostly of finding new and better recipes for whale meat.A few coastal communities continue what they call “traditional hunting,” which is usually on a small scale. Of course, countries that are not signatories to the ICRW are not bound by the moratorium, and it’s also almost certain that a number of opportunistic whalers operate totally outside of the law.The good news and the bad news is that whale populations have increased dramatically since the inception of the moratorium. It’s good news for obvious reasons. It’s almost certain that, but for the moratorium and strong legislation like that in South African waters, many species of whale would now be extinct.But it’s also bad news for the whales, as those member nations that want to continue or resume commercial whaling cite these figures as an indication that whaling can now be sustainable.The Sacred Ocean sculptureThe Sacred Ocean Campaign was launched on 27 November 2008 at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, along with the unveiling of a sculpture of the same name by renowned cetacean artist, Noel Ashton.Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, before unveiling the sculpture, said how shocked he was at the brutality of whaling. Describing how whales are killed over a period of a couple of hours he exclaimed, referring to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai that were dominating the news that day: “Are we surprised that we can gun down innocent people in hotels, and bomb innocent children, when we can behave so barbarically towards God’s creatures?”The sculpture, which stands 3.4m high in its entirety, is a fusion of three distinct elements.  The supporting plinth consists of small relief sculptures of the world’s major whale species, with a short description of each, while the main section consists of a small bronze humpback whale and calf floating in space, surrounded by over-arching whale ribs.Describing his intentions, sculptor Noel Ashton speaks of imagination. “Imagination,” he says, “is an important and central aspect of being human.”He explains how he intended the work to inspire those who view it. “I would hope that the symbol of the suspended mother and calf would encourage our imaginations to lead us into the water with the whales, with beams of blue light highlighting their form as they gracefully glide by in the ocean stillness – a moment of deep connection with an extraordinary mammal.”But his lyricism has a darker side. “May the arched bones point the imagination to seeing the terrible brutality of a harpoon being fired from a fast-moving whale catcher, the explosive head detonating on impact and the thrashing in the water as the whale slowly and painfully dies, the barbs ripping its flesh and the blue waters turning red.”After admiring the sculpture, Tutu cast the first vote in IFAW’s Great Whaling Debate. A permanent internet kiosk dedicated to the debate stands behind the sculpture.  Pat Garret, CEO of the Two Oceans Aquarium, said he was delighted with the campaign and the internet voting station, saying that it would “give us a powerful tool to gauge public sentiment regarding whaling.”He also expressed his delight at having Ashton’s “beautiful sculpture, and James Bond [Pierce Brosnan] on screen in the foyer telling us it’s time to fight for the whales.”In a reciprocal compliment, Ashton said how thrilled he was to have his sculpture in the Two Oceans Aquarium. “I hope that, by being situated here in the foyer, the Sacred Ocean sculpture will encourage people to pause awhile, and consider that the bones represent the past and the 2.5-million whales killed in the last 70 years of commercial whaling; that the humpbacks represent the present, and the calf a hope for the future, as each new birth brings the whales back from the very edge of extinction.“I see Sacred Ocean as the symbol of unity of purpose, and with the power of many, to voice their feelings about the ongoing cruelty of whaling. We also need to realise that this crisis for whales actually reflects a profound crisis for humanity in allowing this and other atrocities to take place.”Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected] articlesBig fests for big beastsSA manta a star in AtlantaSaving the albatross, on sea and land Saving our vulnerable sharks Useful linksStop Whaling NowInternational Fund for Animal Welfare South AfricaInternational Whaling CommissionOceans of AfricaTwo Oceans AquariumSea Shepherdlast_img read more

Internet promotes African freedom

first_img. Malou Mangahas of the Philippines, Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Uganda and Brenda Burrell of Zimbabwe accepted the Breaking Borders award on behalf of their organisations in Santiago, Chile. MEDIA CONTACTS • Global Voices Founder: Ethan Zuckerman [email protected] Founder: Rebecca MacKinnon [email protected] Executive director: Ivan Sigal [email protected] MD: Georgia Popplewell [email protected] • Bosco Uganda Fr. Joseph Okumu 0772 613517 [email protected] • Bosco USA Gus Zuehlke 1 (574) 255 1437 [email protected] [email protected] • Kubatana.net +263 4 776008/746448 [email protected] RELATED ARTICLES • Google’s SMS internet for Uganda• Eassy to go live soon• Chile on top of Chile quake data• African reality TV fights HIV• Talk 11 languages on your phoneTwo African organisations are among the three winners of the inaugural Breaking Borders awards, given by Google and alternative media group Global Voices to those fighting for free expression via the internet and other technology platforms.The winners are Kubatana.net from Zimbabwe in the advocacy category, Uganda’s Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach (Bosco) for technology, and the Philippines Center for Investigative Journalism for policy.Supported by Thomson Reuters, the awards honour groups who use the internet to give voice to those once silenced, make the activities of governments more transparent, and standing up for the rights of dissidents.Global Voices is a community of more than 300 bloggers and translators around the world who work together to bring you reports from blogs and citizen media everywhere, with emphasis on voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media.The winners were announced in Santiago on 6 May at the Global Voices Summit, a gathering of internet activists from 60 countries have gathered. The awards were launched on 3 November 2009, when Google and others marked the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, with the aim of celebrating how the internet has become a vital ally in worldwide efforts to advance freedom and political change.“This is particularly true at a time when dissidents, journalists and bloggers remain under severe pressure in the online and offline worlds,” Bob Boorstin, Google’s director of public policy, said in a statement.An international jury of experts reviewed nominations from around the world and chose the awardees in three categories: advocacy, technology and policy. Each group wins a US$10 000 (R75 000) grant to further their work.The winners are:Kubatana.net – Zimbabwe (advocacy)An online community for Zimbabwean activists, Kubatana uses the internet, email, SMS, blogs and print materials to broadcast information to the public. Cited for its extraordinary contributions while operating under in a tense and dangerous political atmosphere, Kubatana’s contributions also include an online library of more than 16 000 human rights and civic reports together with a directory listing over 240 NGOs.Beyond its significance as a resource for information on Zimbabwe, Kubatana has also developed Freedom Fone, innovative software that marries the mobile phone to audio voice menus and SMS to give citizens new ways to communicate.Bosco – Uganda (technology)Bosco was cited for its tremendously effective and creative use of long-existing technology to foster social and economic development and peace building in rural communities of northern Uganda.Launched in April 2007 as Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach, Bosco began as a solar-powered, long-range wireless computer network covering locations in camps for internally displaced people across the Gulu and Amuru districts. Low-power computers and VoIP phones were installed in schools, health centres and parish offices, bringing internet, phone and intranet connectivity to remote areas.Bosco’s long-term vision is to build collaborative, web-based networks. Today it focuses on Web 2.0 training, online digital ethnography and collaborative online communication mediums between internet sites.The Philippines Centre for Investigative Journalism – Philippines (policy)An independent, not-for-profit media agency, the PCIJ was founded by nine Filipino journalists in 1989 – with borrowed office space, an old-DOS-based computer, a second-hand electric typewriter, and office furniture bought from a thrift shop – to promote the values of investigative reporting in fostering good governance, freedom of expression, and the people’s right to know.In 20 years, the PCIJ has produced 500 investigative reports, two dozen books on journalism and governance, five full-length films and dozens of video documentaries. It has conducted a hundred training seminars for journalists in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, and won over 120 national and international awards.The PCIJ maintains a multimedia website, an institutional blog, a database site on politics and governance, and institutional accounts on Twitter and YouTube.last_img read more

Kangana preparing for Thalaivi

first_imgLos Angeles: Prepping to play late politician Jayalalithaa in her upcoming multi-lingual film Thalaivi, actor Kangana Ranaut recently underwent prosthetic measurements for the role in the US. Posting on Twitter pictures in which the actor is seen covered in prosthetic glue, Kangana’s sister Rangoli wrote, “This is how measurements for prosthetics are taken, it’s not easy to be an actor. Kangana so calm in something, which is so suffocating for us to even watch.” Hollywood-based prosthetics expert Jason Collins, renowned for films such as Captain Marvel and “Blade Runner 2049”, is working on Kangana’s look. The film is being directed by A L Vijay, and produced by Vishnu Vardhan Induri and Shaailesh R.last_img read more

Saradha chit fund case Alipore court rejects Rajeev Kumars anticipatory bail plea

first_imgKolkata: The Alipore court on Saturday rejected the anticipatory bail plea filed by former Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection to the Saradha chit fund scam probe. The CBI had strongly opposed to Kumar’s plea and addressed him as an “absconder”.In its submission, the CBI had said it was unable to establish any contact with Kumar, who had been accused of suppressing evidence crucial for the investigation. The court then sought a list of dates when Kumar had been summoned but failed to appear before the CBI. After CBI submitted the list, the court rejected his anticipatory bail plea. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja Meanwhile, the CBI failed to track down the location of Kumar despite continued search operations for the fourth day on Saturday. A five-member team paid a surprise visit to Bhawani Bhawan, CID headquarters, where Kumar is posted as the Additional Director General. According to sources, CBI officials spent nearly 40 minutes inside the CID office. They handed over letters to CID officials, who were part of the Special Investigation Team that was headed by Rajeev Kumar, and was probing several chit fund scams earlier. CBI officials were told that Kumar was on leave and would not attend office till September 25, sources said. However, a CID official said, “The CBI officials were here for some formality and nothing else.” Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway CBI officials visited Kumar’s official residence in Park Street and also spoke to his wife, who is an IRS official. They are keeping an eye on Kumar’s personal staff. They suspect that he was accompanied by his staff wherever he was. On Thursday, the CBI had moved the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) at the Alipore court, seeking an arrest warrant against Kumar. The court disposed of CBI’s application saying the agency did not need its arrest warrant as the Supreme Court and the Calcutta High Court had already lifted the bar on his arrest in the Saradha chit fund case. The ACJM said the CBI may proceed against Kumar, who is currently the additional director general of West Bengal CID, in accordance with the law. Following the court’s verdict, the CBI had issued fresh summons to Rajeev Kumar to appear before the agency on Friday. Meanwhile, Kumar on Friday had filed an anticipatory bail plea, which was taken up for hearing by the Alipore district and sessions court, on Saturday. “We strongly opposed the anticipatory bail application considering the social ramifications and importance of the investigation of the case. We have opposed the application considering free and fare investigation as directed by Honorable Supreme Court,” said CBI Counsel Kali Charan Mishra. Earlier, Kumar had appealed to the Barasat sessions court for anticipatory bail plea that was disposed of.(With inputs from Indian Express)last_img read more

Managing Durga Puja smoothly and efficiently is a

first_imgManaging Durga Puja smoothly and efficiently is a major task for Kolkata Police, Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA). More than a crore people from the neighbouring districts flock to Kolkata, unwilling to miss the grand Durga Puja celebrations. And in the past few years, Kolkata Police’s efficiency in managing traffic has received immense recognition from across corners. These days, officers in Kolkata Police are busy analysing previous years’ traffic arrangements, hoping to locate flaws which need rectification before arrangements are chalked out for this year’s celebrations. Also Read – Celebrations aboundDeputy Commissioner, Traffic, Pandey Santosh, has himself met Officers-in-Charge (OCs) of all traffic guards and discussed specific problems. DC, Traffic, informed that they are also scrutinising last year’s police arrangements during the time of the festival in order to locate the areas which need more attention. Santosh further informed that mindful of last year’s footfall in the prime Pujas across the city, the number of traffic police personnel in those areas may be increased. Approximately two months ago, the police met a number of such Puja committees to discuss their plans and gather information to enhance traffic management. Also Read – Bengal’s Carnival of JoySources have said that special focus is being given to those Pujas where footfall was high last year. Also, a contingency plan will be chalked out in case of any emergency. Santosh also stated that during the coordination meeting between the police and the Puja committees at Rabindra Sadan recently, several concerns were raised by the committees. One of the most important issues that came up during the meeting was related to parking. Regarding this, Santosh said: “Most Puja committees have told us about parking issues and we are looking into the matter. Few Puja committees have also complained about illegal parking that creates congestion. This year, we will depute special teams to supervise parking.” According to sources, apart from illegal parking, several Puja committees also pointed that last year they were not allowed to park cars in the vicinity of their pandals. DC, Traffic, has assured them that this year arrangements will be made for parking spaces. During the coordination meeting, few Puja committees complained about the height bar of Aurobinda Setu which prevents them from bringing in idols with ease and also poses a problem during immersion. Santosh said: “For this, we need to talk to KMDA, which we will do.” Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s prime task is to ensure that the immersion takes places smoothly and the idols do not pollute River Hooghly. Also, in the past two years, civic authorities have laid immense emphasis on civic drives to prevent vector-borne diseases. Debashis Kumar, Member, Mayor-in-Council (Parks and Squares) said that several rounds of talks have been held between civic officials and their counterparts in Kolkata Police in meetings chaired by him. The civic and police officials have visited the ghats to ensure that immersion is conducted smoothly and peacefully. Kumar said that all 12 ghats where the immersion will take place will be brightly illuminated. KMC is going to engage more than 100 conservancy workers to clean up the ghats. Over 15 heavy-duty cranes will be deployed to remove the wooden structures that are used to make idols. They will be dumped on the trucks and taken to the trenching ground. All senior officials of the Conservancy and Solid Waste Management (SWM) department will be present at the ghats and Kumar will be there to personally oversee arrangements. Earlier, club members would take idols to Hooghly and immerse them. The artisans who made the idols used to engage people who picked up the bamboo structures which were again used by artists in the next year. There were frequent clashes between the workers who helped immerse the idols and members of the clubs. The garlands and the other decorations made of thermocol used to float on the river causing massive pollution. Now, the club members are not allowed to immerse the idol. Once they reach the ghats, civic workers remove the garlands and decorations, they immerse the idol and then heavy-duty cranes remove the structures. It takes five to six minutes for the idols to get submerged. The conservancy trucks take the garlands, flowers and the thermocol decorations to the trenching ground. “It would have been excellent if the artisans used natural colours and not chemical-based ones to paint the idols. But natural colours are costly and they fail to meet the huge demand of artisans. But things are changing fast and people are becoming aware of environmental issues,” said Kumar. He also added: “Anyone visiting the ghats the following morning after the immersion will find everything in order and they can even take a holy dip if they desire.” Civic authorities have placed maximum stress on cleanliness and ban of single-use plastic. The clubs taking special measures to keep the areas surrounding their pandals clean and those launching awareness campaigns against the spread of vector-borne diseases will be awarded by KMC with cash prizes. KMC has given posters and banners to the clubs that will be displayed during the Pujas. The state government’s slogan is ‘Save Green and Stay Clean’, and KMC will deploy more workers to sweep the roads surrounding important community Pujas. The civic body will also supply additional drinking water during all four days of Puja. The food stalls that will be set up in several mandaps have been asked to keep sufficient bins to discard the waste which will be removed by conservancy workers the next morning. Red Road Carnival Durga Puja celebration these days is incomplete without the Red Road Carnival. The massive rally to bid farewell to the goddess that began in 2016 is touted to be second only to the Rio Carnival and has become integral in marking a grand conclusion to Kolkata’s Durga Puja celebrations. Large make-shift galleries are set up along with giant screens and separate enclosures for foreign guests. They add a new dimension to the Carnival as the city’s most popular, award-winning idols drive down Red Road in full glory. With folk artistes performing, bauls and percussionists adding to the beats, the experience is truly awe-inspiring. As the giant screens flash images of the idols, specifically made to cater to the enthusiasts seated far away, nobody feels isolated and there is an instant connect. A brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Red Road Carnival has inspired organisers to gradually transform their Pujas into a grand affair with diverse themes and larger-than-life installations. Not only do they compete with each other with respect to individual theme-based Pujas, but they also strive hard to make a lasting impression during the Carnival. Since 2016, the initiative by Banerjee to organise the Carnival has upped the pomp and grandeur associated with the Puja by several notches. As devotees bid a tearful adieu to their beloved Durga, the Carnival provides one last chance for a final glimpse before the farewell takes place, until Ashche bochor abar hobe (see you next year). (With inputs from Tarun Goswami)last_img read more