By: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFTPexels[Girl in Pink shirt by Ramon Ho, March 22, 2015, CC0]After the decision was made about our divorce, my ex-husband and I had the looming task of telling the children. Luckily, our youngest child was only 1, so there was not a whole lot of explaining that needed to take place with him. But, there was still the 5-year-old; a very mature and smart one at that. So, I did what most parents would do in any uncertain situation and diligently searched the internet for tips on approaching this topic with our son. All of my education and career experience went out the window, as I was not entirely confident that I would actually know how to handle this with my own child and with my own divorce. From several different sources, I hand-picked the options that seemed to fit the best for our family and I went for it. He asked a few questions and when he felt informed enough, he ended the conversation and continued with his previous activity.I remember thinking that while it was a painful conversation, it did not appear to be nearly as painful for our son as it was for the two of us. We offered him an ‘open door’, leaving plenty of space for him to come to us anytime he had a question about the divorce. The questions came; they were few and far between and quite a few of them only had to do with his toys and other items that he cared about most. While some of the questions were a bit more difficult to answer than others, I remained confident in my ability to provide what he was looking for at each particular moment. What I was not prepared for was the ‘why’ that came later.There will always be the ‘why’-if there is one thing that I am absolutely sure about, it’s this. Coming up on the two-year mark of our divorce, I naively assumed that the hardest part at the beginning- the news of the divorce followed by the series of Q&A that followed for several months after- had ended. What I did not anticipate was the continuation of questions around our relationship as our children grew older. So, here is my contribution to those looking for answers around divorce and what to say in response to the ‘why’s’ that will inevitably make their appearance throughout your journey as a divorced parent.Development happens in stagesMy biggest mistake was assuming that my sons would no longer need to ask questions around our divorce after everything had settled and our ‘new normal’ had been set into motion. Children develop in stages, especially the ways in which they process and understand things. This means that your children may ask you the same question several times, but in slightly different ways. This is not an attempt to annoy you or trick you into providing a different answer that they like better, but rather a way for them to get a deeper understanding through the lens of the particular development stage they are in at that particular time.Patience is a virtueThose same questions asked in slightly different ways, as mentioned above, can wear on you after a while; especially when you think you have answered the question in a sufficient manner. Try to exercise your patience and understanding with them. This may mean that you tell them that you need to get back with them when you are ready to answer the question they have just asked for the ONE HUNDREDTH time (!!!). But, always remember to go back to the question once you have taken a few deep breaths and obtained your mental clarity. The practice of patience will continue to be your saving grace while raising your children, so welcome the opportunities as they arise and you will thank yourself later!Some things are better left unsaid/Too much detail can be harmfulHas anyone ever told you something about someone very dear to you that changed your feelings about them? Depending on how bad it is, the information you are given can leave you confused, hurt, angry, feeling betrayed, and an array of other negative emotions. Imagine what this would be like for a child if you were to share negative or hurtful information about their (other) parent. If your child is their biological child, they may even feel like you are insulting them, as they carry a part of their DNA.It’s easy for some people to get caught up in the ‘blame game’ with their ex-spouse and inadvertently put their children smack dab in the middle of it! It is not necessary to go into detail about the dynamics of your relationship or point fingers at the other for their mistakes or transgressions. You want to be careful to keep your relationship with your ex (their other parent) separate from your relationship with your children. Divulging too much information can cause confusion and harm to your child. It can also put them in a situation where they feel they have to choose sides.Kids like examples that are relatableChildren need examples. In order for them to understand or relate to concepts, they need a frame of reference. Providing them with examples they can relate to when you are answering complicated questions can be the difference between leaving your child feeling confused and uncomfortable and leaving them feeling confident and relieved. When you are providing examples, make sure that they are relatable to your particular child by using things and/or people that are familiar to them.You may just not know the answer or how to answer… and that’s okayTake this one with you in EVERY aspect of parenting. I promise you that your children WILL ask questions that leave you feeling helpless because of your inability to answer them. This is okay. And, it is also okay to TELL them that you don’t know the answer. This will assist them in seeing your ‘human’ side and provide them with a wonderful example of how to handle a situation that they don’t necessarily know how to navigate.The suggestions shared above are merely pieces of the puzzle that seemed to fit for me through my personal journey. Some of them may fit for you and some may not. The most important thing to do is to consider what fits for you and your family. Tailor the way you handle talking to your children in ways that you think are best for them. After all, you ARE the expert on your life and your children.If there are things that you have found helpful in ways to discuss divorce with your children, please share in the comments below. Or, if you have found resources such as books, articles, videos, etc. that have been helpful, share those as well. We always welcome your wisdom as well!This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The MFLN Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development team on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.
By Molly C. HerndonOn September 25 the Personal Finance team will present a 90 minute webinar on student loans, and specifically the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act, also known as the “Forever GI Bill.” This Act expands educational benefits available to veterans to their family members and survivors. Learn more about this exciting event here.However, this is not the first time our team has covered the complicated topic of student loans and student loan debt. In fact, this is our 5th webinar on the topic. If you have missed these webinars, you can view the recordings by clicking on the links below:Recorded Webinars:Paying for Post-Secondary Education Expenses – Part 1Paying for Educational Expenses and the GI Bill – Part 2 Student Loans: What Financial Partitioners Need to KnowStudent Loans & Service MembersBlog posts and Additional Resources on Student Loans:Resources from Student Loans: What Financial Practitioners Need to Know WebinarHow to Pay Off Student Loans QuicklyMoney Moment Podcast: Talking to Your College-Bound Student About MoneyBe sure to RSVP to attend the September 25 webinar, Paying for College: The Forever GI Bill and Repayment Options.
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Last week at the OutBound Conference, I asked the audience of 400 people how many had emailed me directly. Something like 30 percent of the audience raised their hands. I asked them to raise their hands again if I had emailed them back, and the same hands went up. Then I asked them to leave their hands up if I had emailed them back within 24 hours. All of the hands disappeared, and everyone laughed a sort of uncomfortable laugh.The workshop I was giving was on productivity. I explained that I don’t live in my inbox. I scan it three or four times throughout the day, looking only for email that requires my immediate attention, of which there are few. What isn’t urgent normally get processed on Wednesday or Saturday mornings—when I do reply to every email.Here’s the thing. On your death bed, you are not going to turn and say to the people who love you, “I can die happy now, knowing that I am at Inbox Zero.”An email is mostly a series of commitments that have been made for you without your consent.The first commitment you have had made on your behalf is to read the email to discover what it says. Even if you don’t know the person who sent the email, you have to give it your attention to determine whether or not it requires your time or attention. Even when it doesn’t need your time or attention, it has already commanded your time and attention.The second commitment that has been made for you is the commitment to decide what to do with the email. Does it require you to do something? Does it tell you something you need to know? Look, this is not a massive cognitive load, but it still requires that you do something, and the reasons your inbox has so many unprocessed emails living there now is because deciding what something means or what you have to do with it can be real work.The third commitment is some sort of action. Maybe you can delete a lot of the email that shows up in your inbox. But many of them require a response, and that response takes time and energy—even if only a small amount.I read and respond to every email because people and relationships are important to me. But being productive requires that you do what is most important, not what is most recent, and keeping up with email is a shift of focus from important to recent.If you want to be super-productive, you have to focus on what’s most important first, and let everything that isn’t follow that work.
Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now As business continues to rely more and more heavily on artificial intelligence and technology, some things have come to be perceived as having no commercial value. A few are:Caring: There are people, companies, and business models that believe every commercial relationship can be reduced to a transaction. Caring, as far as some are concerned, adds no additional value.Relationships: Some believe that relationships have no commercial value, believing that there is nothing to be gained by a human relationship as it pertains to results. Some believe the process is what matters, and that humans can be swapped out without losing anything.Redundancy: Most companies are under pressure to perform financially, and eliminating waste is one way to lower costs. In doing so, redundancy is removed to create savings. The performance and outcomes are also recused and diminished, and mediocrity dominates due to a lack of resources.Gratitude: Your clients paid for your solution. You delivered the solution. They paid, and you delivered. For some, the client should be grateful for their help, and they feel no gratitude is necessary.Loyalty: The card and the points are a tactic. Real loyalty would require that your clients buy from you because you have some intimacy, some knowledge of who they are, what they want, and a desire to help them.Presence: Having people spend time with other people is expensive. Showing up, being there, and paying attention to people is a cost that some believe to be unnecessary.As commercial enterprises split into two poles, one group running towards a super-transactional business model and the other towards a super-relational model, the very things that the first group believes have little to no commercial value are the very things that create a competitive advantage for the second group.If you believe that the soft stuff, the human stuff, has no commercial value and is not worth investing in, then you are moving towards super-transactional, and with it, the greater risk of being disintermediated. Unless this is your overall business model and strategy, you need to think carefully about underestimating things that you believe aren’t worth investing in.
Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now There are countless metrics one might look to for help in understanding and improving their results. These metrics aren’t for managers or leaders, even though anyone in that role would be served by using this list to judge their own performance.Effort: Some days you will have more energy than others. There will be days when your energy wanes and days where you will be ill. The metric worth tracking is how much effort you put into your work—based on how you feel. A score of 10 on a day you feel bad might be a 6 on a day when you feel good and have excellent energy. Did you give your best effort?Right Work: You can go to work and not really be working. You can choose to do work that isn’t the right work, or the work that produces the results for which you are responsible. It’s possible to cross a lot of things off your to-do list and still get nothing done. Alternatively, you can give yourself over to the most important work you need to do. Did you do the highest value work available to you?Attitude: A large part of the results you produce are going to have a great deal to do with your attitude. A positive attitude enables positive results. A negative attitude never produces much of anything but complaints and whining and blaming. Did you have a positive, optimistic, future-oriented, and empowered attitude? Were you a force for good?Contribution: You are here to make a difference. The work you do, regardless of the work itself, makes a difference for others. But to make that difference you have to make sure the work serves others. You have try to make it better. Did you make the contribution of which you were capable?These are four simple things that are mostly within your control, and all of them will help you do better work—and enjoy doing it.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad on Wednesday ruled out the resignation of his son Tejaswi Prasad Yadav as Bihar Deputy Chief Minister in the wake of the CBI filing an FIR against him as an accused in the land-for-hotels case.“Has Nitish asked for the resignation of Tejaswi Yadav?” Mr. Prasad asked in reply to questions by scribes on the JD(U)’s insistence that Mr. Yadav should come clean on the accusations in public which are politically being construed as the JD(U)’s demand for his resignation.“Are they [JD(U)] police for us to answer them?” he said to a question that JD(U) spokesmen have been regularly saying that Mr. Yadav has to come clean in the public domain.At its legislature party meeting, the RJD had ruled out the resignation of Mr. Yadav.Mr. Prasad was speaking to reporters after a meeting of the RJD legislature party at the 10 Circular Road residence of former Chief Minister and his wife Rabri Devi.“The RJD legislators will discharge their functions under the leadership of Tejaswi Yadav and Rabri Devi in the State Assembly and legislative council respectively,” he said.The RJD’s decision on the resignation issue comes ahead of the JD(U) legislature party meeting on Wednesday evening to be chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.The RJD legislature party meeting was advanced by a day as Mr. Prasad has to go to Ranchi on Wednesday night and will stay there for the next three days in connection with a fodder scam related case.
Goa’s Roman Catholic Church on Thursday dismissed a charge made by a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson on Wednesday that it tried to polarise the pre-poll atmosphere. The Church asked the government not to make hollow allegations.Fr. Maverick Fernandes, director of Caritas-Goa, a charity wing of the Church, said that the ruling party should come out with a point-by-point rebuttal of a fact-finding report released last week. The report found out that the probe launched by the Goa police into a series of desecration of Christian religious symbols was a sham. Fr. Fernandes said, “Our report has been based on analysis and interviews with people at the grass-root level. Empty statements of polarisation cannot belittle the well-studied report. You have to come out with a straightforward rebuttal of every point that has been made in the report. Empty statements cannot be considered for as a rebuttal.”On Wednesday, BJP spokesperson Nilesh Cabral said, “Attempts were made to polarise the atmosphere before the by-elections. Who gave the fact-finding committee authority? It was wrong to try to polarise the votes.” Mr. Cabral had said at a press conference at the BJP headquarters here that the Church had to “tone-down” the language of the content in its official magazine Renovacao, which linked contemporary India under NDA rule to Nazi-Germany. During the by-elections to the two assembly constituencies of Valpoi and Panaji, where there is a significant presence of Catholic voter, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had steered clear of the controversy over the probe into the desecrations and the article published against the BJP rule.
Despite instructions from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to solve the case at the earliest, the Uttar Pradesh police is yet to find any concrete clues in the murder of Kanpur journalist Naveen Gupta.Mr. Gupta, who contributed to the Hindi daily Hindustan, was shot dead by 2-3 assailants who fired at him when he was coming out of the toilet of his hosiery shop in Bilhaur on November 30.The police have so far been only able to draw a sketch of one of the suspects based on the description of a bystander who was identified through CCTV footage.According to the sketch, the suspect is 28-30 years old and 5 feet 6 inches in height.The police have so far found no evidence that the murder could be motivated by the journalist’s professional work.“It is confirmed that it had nothing to do with journalism. We are exploring several personal aspects. But till we get confirmation, we cannot say anything about the reason for the murder,” Bilhaur Circle Officer Shubodh Kumar Jaiswal told The Hindu.The police is also yet to nab the main suspects in the murder of another journalist, Rajesh Mishra, who was gunned down by unidentified motorbike-borne assailants at his family shop in Karanda in the Ghazipur district on October 21. Apart from being a block-level stringer with the Hindi daily Dainik Jagran, Mr. Mishra was also a worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).His brother, Amitabh Mishra, was also shot at and critically injured in the attack.While Mr. Mishra’s family members and colleagues claimed that the murder could be due to his RSS background or journalistic work, the police investigation so far has hinted at personal enmity.The police found some success in the case on Sunday after three members of the gang suspected of the murder were arrested.Working on a tip-off, police teams from the Karanda and Nandganj police stations and the crime branch intercepted six suspects on motorbikes near the Chakeri crossing in Ghazipur. One of the groups managed to escape after firing at the police team, but the other three were nabbed, a police spokesperson said.The arrested persons were identified as Ajit Yadav and Jhanku Yadav from Bhabua in Bihar, and Suni Yadav from Chandauli, which adjoins Ghazipur.“On questioning, the accused said they had committed the murder on the orders of Raju Yadav, to whose gang they belonged. Raju Yadav had animosity towards the victim and wanted to maintain his terror in the region,” said the Ghazipur Police in a statement.The police said they were on the heels of Raju Yadav and his aides, Gowardhan Yadav and Pawan Yadav, who were allegedly among the shooters.
The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and the Mughal road were closed for traffic for the second consecutive day on Tuesday due to continuous snowfall and rains. The nearly 300-km highway, the only all weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was closed as a precautionary measure in view of heavy rainfall at Banihal, Ramban and Patnitop and snowfall on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel.“The highway is closed for second day today. The highway was closed following heavy snowfall at Jawahar tunnel, Patnitop and Ramban area bedsides landslides triggered at Pathiyal early today”, he said. As per the advisory of traffic police department passengers planning to travel on the highway in coming days should contact traffic control room before leaving for their destinations. Mughal road, connecting the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region with south Kashmir’s Shopian district, has also been closed for the second day today.“There has been heavy snowfall in Pir Ki Gali and other areas en route Mughal road resulting in closure”, he said. The traffic was suspended on Mughal road last evening as a precautionary measure in view of the weather forecast predicting moderate to heavy snowfall in the high altitude areas under the influence of a Western disturbance from December 11 to 14. There was very heavy snowfall in hills of Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Kathua, Rajouri, Reasi and Poonch districts of Jammu region. As result of which some inter-district and inter-state roads have been closed due to snowfall for traffic. Jammu yesterday recorded the lowest day temperature as the mercury nosedived by almost nine notches amid incessant rains to settle nine degrees below normal during this part of the season. The drop in the day temperature was the result of the prevailing weather condition which resulted in rains in the plains and snowfall in high altitude areas.
The chorus to withdraw Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s letter to Karnataka BJP chief B.S. Yeddyurappa on the Mahadayi water sharing controversy grew on Saturday, with activists and NGOs protesting the action.Mr. Parrikar, in the letter, had expressed willingness to hold talks on sharing Mahadayi water with Karnataka.Over 250 people attended a public protest convened by youth activists at Gandhi Chowk in Mapusa on Saturday evening. Police personnel were deployed in large numbers at the venue of the meeting.Mahadayi Aamchi Avay (MAA) youth leader Kapil Korgaonkar demanded that Mr. Parrikar withdraw the letter immediately, failing which the protesters threatened to intensify the agitation. The activists accused Mr. Parrikar of compromising Goa’s side in the water dispute for political benefit of his party in the Karnataka Assembly elections.“We strongly condemn the Chief Minister’s action as people of Goa and activists were not taken into confidence,” said activist Manoj Parab.The MAA plans to hold a series of public meetings in Goa to spread awareness about the issue. MBA to hold Jal YatraLate on Friday, the Mahadayi Bachao Abhiyan (MBA) announced that it will hold a Jal Yatra (water rally) across the six talukas of North Goa to highlight water shortage problems.The MBA, including convener and former Minister Nirmala Sawant, expressed their disappointment over Mr. Parrikar’s letter, stating that “in principle” Goa was not opposed to a reasonable and justified quantum of water meant to be utilised for drinking, but that the Chief Minister had compromised the interests of the State. “We have chalked out an action plan. We are opposed to talks with Karnataka,” Ms. Sawant told The Hindu on Saturday. “The MBA has also decided to conduct a Thirsty Goa programme to force the government to implement a water policy for Goa before January 26,” she said.NGOs to meetMeanwhile, Aamhi Goynkar, a movement that aims to decide the future course of action in the water dispute, has convened a meeting of all non-governmental organisations on Monday, convener Shashikant Joshi told The Hindu. In a press release issued later, Mr. Joshi said sharing water with Karnataka could result in serious shortage of water in Goa.
A former woman assistant professor of IIM-Rohtak has accused the institute’s director, Dheeraj Sharma, of sexually harassing her and seeking sexual favours.A case has been registered against the director at Rohtak’s women police station on charges of assault to outrage the modesty of a woman and making sexually coloured remarks.The 35-year-old complainant told the police that Prof. Sharma began sexually harassing her soon after her appointment to the post of assistant professor on September 1 last year on a probation period of three years. She was dismissed from service on May 10, almost a month after she complained about Prof. Sharma’s behaviour to the institute’s board.She alleged in the FIR that the director would make indecent remarks on her private life, looks and clothes. She further alleged that he would ask her out for evening strolls and even groped her inside her cabin on one occasion.Recalling the incident, the woman said that it left her deeply traumatised and she began to maintain a distance from the director. At this, as per the FIR, the director would insult her and inflict mental agony on her at the slightest opportunity and tried sending her messages through others to resolve the matter. “After the complaint to the board, the director also hurriedly constituted an internal committee headed by a retired Colonel and comprising two women faculty members to hush up the matter. But I again wrote to the board expressing doubts about the credentials of the committee, but there was no response,” the woman maintained. Women’s police station SHO Garima said the FIR in the case was registered on May 29. “Prof. Sharma is yet to join the investigation. But the IIM authorities told us that they had already informed the area police station expressing apprehension that the assistant professor might level false allegations against the faculty after she had been dismissed,” said Ms. Garima.Speaking to The Hindu, the complainant said long before going to the police she had written to the IIM board’s chairman, the HRD Ministry and even the Prime Minister’s Office, but there was no response. She alleged that the director continued to put pressure on her to withdraw the complaint and when all his efforts failed, he sacked her without “assigning any reason”.IIM-Rohtak in an official communication said that the complainant was terminated a month ago and “she is doing this to defame the director and the institute”.
Vasco police in South Goa on Tuesday evening filed a first information report against a crèche operator for injuring a nine-year-old boy.A police complaint by the victim’s mother alleged that the accused, Renu Halpatti, 52, burnt the boy’s hand with red-hot tongs as a punishment and had warned the child not to tell his parents. While the incident occurred four days ago, the victim informed his parents about the injuries only on Tuesday.“We have filed a complaint under section 328 [causing hurt intentionally] and Section 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act,” the police inspector in charge of the Vasco police station, Nolasco Raposo, told the press. The accused has filed for an anticipatory bail.
The Odisha disaster management authorities are gearing up to tackle small and medium-level floods in the State after the rain eased on Monday, abating fears of massive floods in the Mahanadi river system. However, six district administrations have been asked to take precautionary measures by mobilising disaster response teams and stocking relief material at strategic points.“We are apprehending small or medium floods in the Mahanadi river system. It is hoped that the floodwaters will flow down to the sea through different water channels. If any flood situation arises, the district administrations are ready to evacuate people to safer places,” said Bishnupada Sethi, Managing Director of the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority. The authorities are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping for improved weather on Tuesday which would help them to manage the floods at dams and barrages. “We are planning to discharge three lakh cusecs of water downstream of the Mahanadi from the Hirakud dam on Tuesday. We will run the sluice gate operations in such a way that by the time the water reaches the Naraj barrage, the floodwaters received from Tel and other tributaries would already have been discharged into the sea,” said State Water Resources secretary Pradip Jena.
The Supreme Court on Thursday came down heavily on the Uttar Pradesh government for a draft report on the vision document for the protection of the Taj Mahal without consulting the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) tasked with protecting the monument.A Bench of Justices M.B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta expressed shock at the report, which pointed to the presence of over 1,100 polluting industries in the region. “We would not have been in this position, had you done your job,” the Bench said, adding that there was no coordination among the agencies responsible for the protection and preservation of the 17th century monument. “We can’t have 10 different people doing 10 different thing,” the Bench said, as it asked Attorney- General K.K. Venugopal which department of the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh governments was responsible for maintenance of the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ). The TTZ is an area of 10,400 square kilometres spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur in Rajasthan. “What will happen if UNESCO says we will withdraw the world heritage tag from the Taj Mahal,” the Bench asked Mr. Venugopal. The Bench also asked whether the Centre or the authorities concerned submitted the draft management plan for the Taj Mahal to UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre in Paris. It directed the ASI to submit its report on the vision document and spell out the steps to protect the monument.
Two non-local recruits of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were killed in an operation in Kashmir on Thursday, and 11 people, including relatives of militants, were arrested in a major clampdown against militants’ supporters and their families in south Kashmir. Meanwhile, the family and colleagues of a youth, abducted from south Kashmir have sought his immediate release. Arms recoveredA police official said the two militants — Rizwan alias Jindaal and Ali alias Maaz from Pakistan — were killed at Parray Mohalla in Bandipora’s Hajin area after they were trapped in a residential area. “A huge quantity of arms and ammunition including rifles, magazines, pouches etc. and incriminating material was recovered from the site of encounter,” said the police.Families under scannerTwo days after Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Reyaz Naikoo warned against participating in upcoming panchayat polls, his father was among eight persons arrested from his hometown Awantipora in Pulwama on Wednesday.“Assadullah Naikoo (father of the militant) was detained for questioning,” said Superintendent of Police, Awantipora Zahid Malik after the raid late at night.Similarly, kin of active militant Lateef Ahmad alias Tiger, said the police had arrested his father and two brothers in a raid from Pulwama’s Dogripora.In Shopian, the family members of LeT militant Shahjahan Mir alleged their house was set on fire by security forces on Wednesday night. Similar allegations were also levelled by the family members of militant Naveed Shah of Shopian’s Nazneenpora area. Independent MLA Engineer Rasheed has condemned the arrests of Naikoo’s father and son of the United Jehad Council chief Syed Salahuddin. “Arresting Salahuddin’s second son Syed Shakeel and burning houses of militants in south Kashmir is condemnable. Arresting and humiliating families of militants has neither helped in the past nor may help in the future, as political dispute needs a political resolution,” Mr. Rasheed said. Abducted sonFamily members and colleagues of Asif Rather, son of a policeman, Rafiq Ahmad Rather, have repeated their appeal to militants to release him. Asif, who is pursuing a Masters in Sericulture, was abducted by a group of masked gunmen from his residence in Pinglish village of Tral on Wednesday night. In a video appeal online, Hameeda Begum, the victim’s mother, said, “If my son is on the wrong path show him the straight path but kindly release him.”The students of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Kashmir (SKUAST-K) also appealed to the gunmen to release him. “Asif has never indulged in any illegal activity. We request to his abductors to set him free as he is innocent,” said a student.MLA Rasheed also appealed to the militants to release the student. “Both the militants and security forces must respect families of each other and stop promoting infighting,” said the MLA.
Bangladesh-bound coal trucks from Bhutan have been caught in the confusion following the Supreme Court’s January 15 order banning the transportation of extracted coal in Meghalaya.Customs officials at Dawki in Meghalaya’s West Jaintia Hills district have allegedly prevented 28 coal-laden trucks from Bhutan from crossing over into Bangladesh. The trucks have been stranded there since Wednesday.Bhutan exports coal to Bangladesh via India as per the South Asian Preferential Trade Arrangement, an inter-governmental groups formed by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or SAARC.The 28 Bhutanese trucks had been cleared by customs officials for travel through India at Darranga in Assam’s Baksa district. Darranga adjoins Samdrup Jongkhar town in Bhutan.The Darranga-Dawki trip entailed travelling 265 km via Guwahati on highways in Assam and Meghalaya. The Bhutanese trucks reached Dawki on Wednesday, hours after the apex court banned the transportation of coal extracted from the illegal rat-hole mines of Meghalaya.“The officials at the Dawki ICP (integrated check post) said they have ordered not to let any coal truck pass and that the order does not mention whether the coal is from Meghalaya or Bhutan. I tried to convince them in vain that the Supreme Court’s order does not apply to third country exports with transit through India,” Dolly Khonglah, secretary of Meghalaya International Exporters’ Chamber of Commerce, told The Hindu on Thursday.“Each coal truck is sealed, covered by tarpaulin and adheres strictly to the specified weight. Nevertheless, the customs have no right to stop them and can at best check the papers,” she said.Customs officials in Shillong declined to speak while Tining Dkhar, Meghalaya’s Commissioner and Secretary for Mining and Geology, said he has taken up the matter with the authorities concerned. “There is no instruction to stop trucks from Bhutan,” he said.An official of the Bhutanese Consulate in Guwahati said a “confusion” arising out of the ban on coal mined in Meghalaya could have led to the Bhutan trucks being stranded. “We are taking up the matter,” he said.Coal from Bhutan was being exported to Bangladesh from the Meghalaya border since November 2018.‘Freshly-mined coal’The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had banned rat-hole mining in Meghalaya on April 17, 2014 but had allowed transportation of coal that had been extracted till that day. After the ban, extracted coal assessed by government agencies was 2,325,663.54 metric tonnes against the 2,414,878.63 MT declared by the coal miners and traders.The NGT set a timeframe for transporting the coal but kept extending the deadline, acting on pleas from the miners. A three-member committee set up by NGT had in December last year concluded that illegal coal mining was still going on, especially in East Jaintia Hills district.“It seems that there is an attempt to show the freshly-mined coal… as the coal left out from the assessment and remained un-inventorised though mined prior to the said ban. The committee also apprehends that such freshly mined coal may be transported,” the report said.During their field trips, members of the committee saw freshly-extracted coal, temporary tents where labourers were living and machinery including a freshly greased crane.Apart from the NGT report, the Supreme Court went through a report by a Citizen’s Forum that accused the Meghalaya government of “actively colluding in helping miners” to extract coal by blatantly flouting the NGT ban.
Even before midnight, devotees from different walks of life began to pour into Sangam city to take holy dip on Mahashivratri, the great night of Lord Shiva and the last bathing day in the one-and-a-half-month-long Kumbh Mela. Till Monday evening, more than 1 crore devotees had taken a holy dip in the Sangam area, officials said. The bathing ghats brimmed with colour in the morning. Late-night showers in parts of the holy city failed to dampen the spirit of the pilgrims. “Till evening, as many as 1.10 crore devotees have taken a dip in the Sangam area. With Mahashivratri’s snaan, so far more than 24.05 crore devotees have taken a dip during this year’s Kumbh,” Kumbh Mela Adhikari Vijay Kiran Anand said. Till March 3, the number of devotees who had taken the dip during the Kumbh stood at 22.95 crore, an UP government official said.Mahashivratri marks the culmination of the Kumbh and the prominent bathing days. This year, it fell on a Monday, the day dedicated to Lord Shiva, after a long time.” “Also on this day, Lord Shiva got married,” said Gunjan Varshney, who runs the Raam Naam Bank, where devotees deposit booklets after writing the name of Lord Ram. Kumbh is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world. It is held once in every 12 years. This time it began on January 15 on Makar Sankranti. There are six bathing dates. Of these, shahi snaans are held on Makar Sankranti, Mauni Amawasya and Basant Panchami. Parv snaans are held on Paush Poornima and Maghi Poornima. Police and central para-military personnel have been in charge of the movement of people and vehicles and guiding them towards the bathing ghats. As the Kumbh approached its finale, the mega event etched its name into record books creating a hat-trick of world records, which were certified by the Guinness World Records, an UP government spokesperson said. One of the records was most contributions made to a handprint painting in eight hours. The Guinness World Records certificate read, “The most contributions to a handprint painting in eight hours was achieved by Prayagraj Mela Authority, Government of Uttar Pradesh (India) in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh India on March 1, 2019.” Another world record created was the largest parade of buses. “The largest parade of buses was achieved by Prayagraj Mela Authority, Government of Uttar Pradesh (India) in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India on February 28, 2019,” the certificate given by Guinness World Records read. A UP government official said, “The attempt in Prayagraj involving 500 buses covered more than 3.2 kilometres. It was held at NH-19 between Sahson toll plaza and Nawabganj toll plaza. This demonstrates the traffic plan, which worked very well during the mela with 20,000 police personnel being deployed.” On March 2, the most people sweeping the floor (multiple venues) was achieved by Prayagraj Mela Authority, government of Uttar Pradesh, India on 2 March 2019. PTI NAV IND IND 03041848
Ebola vaccines racing forward at record paceOn 2 September, a woman in Bethesda, Maryland, received a new Ebola vaccine never given to humans before. In as little as 2 months, this same vaccine may go into the arms of thousands of health care workers. No experimental vaccine has ever been on a faster track toward widespread use.See all of Science’s coverage of the Ebola outbreak, including Liberia’s worsening problem and the planned U.S. response, how Cuba will help battle the outbreak, and experimental drugs.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(*)Religious or not, we all misbehaveResearchers used smart phones to track the sins and good deeds of more than 1200 people and confirmed what psychologists have long suspected: Religious and nonreligious people are equally prone to immoral acts. The new data are among the first to be gathered on moral behavior outside of the lab.Gut bugs may boost flu shot’s effectsSome people get sick even after they get a flu shot. Why? One reason might be their gut bacteria. A new study reveals that a strong immune response to the flu vaccine relies in part on signals from the bugs inside us.Nature reviewers not persuaded by initial STAP stem cell papersAs two retracted stem cell papers have produced an almost unimaginable fallout—a national hero accused of scientific fraud, the revamping of one of Japan’s major research institutes, and the suicide of a respected cell biologist—researchers have privately and publicly asked how Nature could have published work that, in retrospect, seems so obviously flawed.Giant Spinosaurus is the only known swimming dinosaurSpinosaurus isn’t just the biggest carnivorous dinosaur—it’s also the only known swimmer. Ninety-seven-million-year-old fossils have revealed that the 15-meter-long Spinosaurus (that’s bigger than Tyrannosaurus Rex) was the only dino to make its home in the water, munching on sharks and giant fish.
BRUSSELS—Carlos Moedas, the commissioner-designate for research, has won over European parliamentarians in a public hearing here today. A former secretary of state in Portugal with no research policy background, Moedas came across as competent and well-prepared—but the plans he presented for his possible 5-year term remain vague, observers say.Moedas, an engineer with an MBA from Harvard University, has experience in water management, real estate, and investment banking. He is best known in Portugal for overseeing the country’s bailout program, negotiated with the “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) after the economic crisis.However, he seems to have immersed himself in his new subject in the 2 weeks since his appointment was announced. Today, before members of Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), Moedas displayed a good understanding of science policy trends and of Horizon 2020, the bloc’s 7-year, €80 billion research funding program, which started this year.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(*)In general, he stuck to the European Commission’s usual line, focusing on the need to boost innovation and public-private partnerships, and mentioning the importance of results and “output indicators.” “Europe is [good] at turning euros into knowledge, but then it’s [not good] at turning that knowledge into money, euros, profit,” the former banker said in French. (During the 3-hour hearing, Moedas segued from Portuguese to English, with dabs of French and Spanish thrown in.)Yet Moedas also presented himself as a firm believer in the value of fundamental research, including social sciences and the humanities, a defender of the freedom of scientists, and a “strong supporter” of the European Research Council. “I believe in public investment in research and innovation,” he stated, adding that he would be the “torchbearer” for science in the new commission. Moedas also pledged to be “ferocious” when pushing member states to do their part—in particular to complete the European Research Area (a much-delayed project to allow the free circulation of knowledge and scientists within the union).He pegged himself as an “implementation man” with a focus on “delivery, delivery, and delivery.” That attitude makes good sense at this point in time, says Peter Tindemans, secretary-general of the researchers’ organization Euroscience: With Horizon 2020 now settled and under way, “nothing visionary is expected” of Moedas, at least until the program’s midterm review in 2017.But Moedas remained “quite vague on how to deliver,” said Dan Nica, ITRE’s coordinator for the center-left group of socialists and democrats, in a statement after the hearing. Left-wing members of the European Parliament also challenged Moedas’s ability to act as a research champion, when the bailout program and reforms that he helped roll out at home “asphyxiated” Portuguese science, in the words of Marisa Matias, a left-wing member of Parliament (MEP) and sociologist from Portugal.In a more personal vein, Moedas appeared polite, mild, and cautious; some observers say his apparent eagerness to please all sides lacks a bit of bite. Born in 1970, he is one of the youngest commissioners-designate; he struck a chord with MEPs by describing himself as a true European, having met his wife in Paris while two of his children were born in London. “Erasmus was one of the defining moments in my life,” he said, referring to the European Union’s flagship student exchange program, which allowed him to study in France. Sounding a tad emotional, he added that becoming a commissioner would allow him “to serve and give back to Europe.”Moedas has already convinced ITRE’s coordinators, who gave his candidacy a (still unofficial) green light in a meeting this afternoon. The committee’s official evaluation letter will be issued next week, before the whole chamber votes on the entire slate of proposed commissioners on 22 October.