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first_imgTargetting the urban and semi-urban population of the State, the government on Wednesday presented supplementary demands worth ₹11,445 crore, with focus on metro projects in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.With this the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena government’s total supplementary demands — additional grant to meet government expenditure — have now touched ₹1,47,351 crore since December 2014. The Urban Development Department (UDD) under Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is one of the biggest beneficiaries of these supplementary demands with ₹1,686.10 crore allocation. With focus on metro projects in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur the government has made an allocation of ₹660.73 crore which include subordinate debt, state government equity in the project. A sum of ₹189.26 crore was allocated for Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) II, while₹250 crore is the proposed state capital in the special purpose vehicle formed for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train.Focusing on Municipal Corporations and municipal councils, the government has allocated ₹190 crore and ₹546.47 crore respectively. For corporations the money is meant to improve the basic amenities in their respective areas while for councils it is to provide funds for distinctive works in their areas.Rural infrastructureSensing the need to make money available for rural areas for developmental works in villages, including improving infrastructure, the government has made an allocation of ₹1,000 crore of which ₹100 crore has been allocated for road repairs in rural areas. It has also been decided to provide ₹220.31 crore under MLA/ MLC local development program. Boosting one of its much-publicised afforestation programme, the government has allocated ₹274.60 crores and an additional ₹30 crore for publicity of the same. The government will also be buying two new helicopters at a cost of ₹159.63 crore. It has also been proposed to make a provision of ₹6.63 crore for rehabilitation of families involved in the business of horse-drawn carriages in Mumbai city as per a Bombay High Court order. The State’s cooperation department is the biggest beneficiary of supplementary demands with ₹1,853.52 crore of which ₹1,528 crore will used to repay the loan taken from nationalised banks on government guarantee by the Maharashtra State Cooperative Marketing Federation for the purchase of tur dal. The government has also made an allocation of ₹769.02 crore in Public Health Department for Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojna.Following the strike called by state anganwadi workers demanding hike in moratorium which was accepted by the government, it has now made an allocation of ₹493.64 crore in supplementary demands. A sum of ₹500 crore has been allocated for Integrated Child Development Services Scheme.Pension schemeMaharashtra government also announced a ₹15 crore pension fund for senior journalists who have worked in the field for at least 20 years and completed 60 years of age.The other significant demands include ₹5 crore for the development and recarpetting of airstrips of Karad and Chandrapur airports.It has been decided to provide additional funds of ₹159.63 crore for the purchase of two helicopters for the air travel of very very important persons (VVIPs).last_img read more

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first_imgThe flip-flop of West Bengal State Election Commission in first extending the deadline for filing of nominations for the panchayat polls and taking the decision back the next very day, came under the scanner of the Supreme Court which on Wednesday questioned the rationale behind such a retreat.The top court also said it would pass an order on the issue on August 6 after hearing the matter when the State poll panel urged it to allow declaration of the results of the elections held in phases in May.The State poll panel on the night of April 9 had taken note of several complaints that many intending candidates could not file their nomination papers as either they or their proposers were “obstructed” from submitting them and extended the deadline till 3 p.m. next day. However, it cancelled the order the next morning.“Why did you (State poll panel) first extend the deadline for filing the nomination papers and later take back the decision,” a Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud asked.The Bench said the deadline was extended after poll panel received complaints regarding obstructions in filing of nomination papers and asked whether it had conducted any inquiry before cancelling the decision on extension of time.“Did you (poll panel) make an enquiry about the situation at the ground level before taking back the decision (extending time to file nomination papers),” the Bench asked.Senior advocates Rakesh Dwivedi and Amrendra Sharan, appearing for the State poll panel, urged the court to consider allowing it to declare the results on seats of panchayat polls which were duly contested. To this, the Bench said it would pass order after hearing the matter on August 6. The apex court had earlier expressed shock at the fact that “thousands and thousands” of seats in the recent polls had remained uncontested, observing that these figures showed that grassroots-level democracy was not working.last_img read more

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first_imgThe three-month-old baby of deceased Abid Hussain Lone, 25, was placed on the stretcher of her father as his family bid him a final farewell. The air was filled with loud wails from both men and women outside a two-storey cemented house at Kareemabad in Pulwama, on Saturday afternoon. Seven civilians were left dead in clashes with security forces in Pulwama on Saturday.“Lone was married to an Indonesian woman. They returned home last year from Indonesia. He had bullet wounds on his chest. Do you think this is indication that the Army opened fire to scare him away from the spot?” asked a relative of Lone, who was an MBA.Lone’s father is a retired government teacher. His younger brother is also pursuing an MBA degree. “When he [Lone] left home in the morning, he said he is going to buy milk for the baby. But he returned in a white shroud,” said a neighbour.Medical Superintendent, Pulwama District Hospital, Dr. Abdul Rashid Para said an unidentified body with bullet wounds had been lying in the hospital corridor. A curious onlooker visited the hospital to assess the situation. To his shock, the body that of his son, Aqib Bashir, a Class 8 student from Pulwama’s Prichoo area. “He is my son,” shouted the man as he fainted, eyewitnesses said. The student was known to be a social media buff and a selfie lover.The hospital treated 32 civilians, hit either by bullets or pellets, said Dr. Para.last_img read more

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first_imgThe powerful church and non-government organisations have welcomed the new Mizo National Front government’s move to ban liquor as a high-level committee began working on total prohibition in Christian-majority Mizoram.In keeping with his party’s poll promise, Chief Minister Zoramthanga had on Monday announced a ban on sale of liquor during Christmas festivities from December 21 to January 14 next year. The liquor vending licences of Mizoram police battalions and three State-run corporations were cancelled too.The move came four years after Lal Thanhawla’s Congress government replaced total prohibition with controlled prohibition through the Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition and Control) Act, 2014. “The Mizo society has been greatly affected by the liquor and drug menace. The government’s move is encouraging,” said Vanlalruata, president of the Central Young Mizo Association.“The decision to close all government-run liquor shops is a step in the right direction. The churches have always been against opening of wine shops,” said Rev F. Lalrinnunga, president of Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee, a coordination body of 14 major churches in the State.last_img read more

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first_imgIn the face of rigid police opposition to their Pune rally, the Bhim Army on Sunday moved the Bombay High Court (HC), seeking permission to hold its planned events in the city, which is to be addressed by the their leader Chief Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’.On Sunday, advocate Nitin Satpute filed a writ petition in the HC on behalf of the Uttar Pradesh-based Ambedkarite outfit before Justice C.V. Bhadang seeking “urgent relief” for the Bhim Army to hold their public meeting in Pune. It also demanded action against the State government for allegedly violating Article 19 (freedom of speech and expression) of the Constitution.The outfit’s planned events in Mumbai on December 28 and in Pune on Sunday came a cropper after Mr. Azad, along with hundreds of Bhim Army activists, were detained by the Mumbai police. In the event that the HC denied permission and the Bhim Army decided to go ahead with their plans, sources said that the Pune police would also detain Mr. Azad inside his hotel.“This is dictatorship on part of the Modi and Fadnavis governments. They are scared of the public, hence I have been detained and prevented from holding rallies. How is it that the real perpetrators of the Bhima-Koregaon violence are free and I, a son of Ambedkar, am detained?” Mr. Azad said from his hotel in Malad in Mumbai, before starting for Pune.He said he was committed to holding his events in Pune. “If the police detain me in Pune, I will walk to the village of Bhima-Koregaon for the 201st anniversary of the battle on January 1,” he said.Mr. Azad was to address the ‘Bhima-Koregaon Sangharsh Mahasabha’ at the city’s SSPMS grounds on Sunday evening. He was also scheduled to interact with Ambedkarite students at the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU).However, the SSPMS ground authorities allegedly denied permission and the stage built for the occasion was dismantled. On Saturday, the SPPU authorities had likewise denied Mr. Azad permission to interact with students as his presence “would create tension”.“We are eagerly awaiting the HC’s order… once we get the green signal, then events in Pune which had to be cancelled today will proceed apace tomorrow,” said Datta Pol, the Bhim Army’s Pune district president.Despite the outfit submitting requisite documents to hold the rally in Pune, the city police, without officially denying permission, have delayed the sanctioning process since a month.Given the atmosphere in the lead-up to the anniversary, the Pune police are bent upon preventing any law and order situation that might arise owing to Mr. Azad’s ‘provocative’ speeches.Pune Police Commissioner K. Venkatesham said that the city police had no role in denying permission to the event at the SSPMS grounds and that the decision was taken by the ground authorities.last_img read more

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first_imgOn a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to start a slew of development projects in Solapur, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will visit the drought-affected Marathwada on Wednesday. Mr. Thackeray will distribute relief material and cattle fodder to farmers in Beed and Jalna districts and take stock of the relief work in the area. His visit is on the same day when Mr. Modi will be in western Maharashtra launching a number of projects. “Uddhavji is more focused on ensuring drought relief material reaches farmers. Therefore he will be paying a personal visit,” a Sena minister from the State Cabinet said. The Sena is also keen on presenting itself as deeply involved in drought relief work, and wants to concentrate on the Beed and Jalna Lok Sabha seats. The BJP and Sena, despite being allies, have been engaged in a war of words, with each party boasting of its ability to defeat the other in the election. Commenting on BJP president Amit Shah’s statement that the BJP would defeat whoever chose not to ally with it, Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam said on Tuesday, “We are capable of defeating whoever comes in our way.” Maharashtra is staring at one of the worst droughts in recent years, with only 43.68% water storage in all of the State’s dams in comparison to 61.71% last year. Marathawada is the worst affected, with only 15.14% water in its dams, compared to 55.09% in 2018.last_img read more

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first_imgThe Madhya Pradesh government will set up 1,000 ‘gaushalas’ or cow shelters in the State in the next four months to accommodate around one lakh stray cows and their progeny, an official said on Wednesday. Setting up ‘gaushalas’ in every village panchayat was a key promise made by the Congress in its manifesto for the 2018 Assembly elections. With this announcement, the government expects to not only tackle stray cattle menace but also create 40 lakh man-days employment. “While reviewing Project Gaushala at the State secretariat on Tuesday, Chief Minister Kamal Nath issued directives to set up 1,000 cow shelters which would accommodate nearly one lakh stray cows and their progeny, in a period of four months,” a State government official said. He added that the Chief Minister wanted the project to take off at the earliest. “Mr. Nath said ‘Project Gaushala’ would provide relief from stray cattle menace in urban and rural areas. In addition, homeless animals will find shelter. This will also create employment opportunities in rural areas,” the official said.The Department of Rural Development will be the project’s nodal agency. The project will be implemented by gram panchayats, self-help groups, the institutions empanelled with the State Board for Conservation of Bovine Animals and the organisations selected by the district-level committees, the official said.last_img read more

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first_imgUnknown gunmen fired upon and injured a National Conference (NC) worker in Shopian on Monday evening.An official said unknown gunmen appeared in Chitragam village in Shopian district late evening on Monday and barged into the houses of Sajad Ahmad Ganai and Mushtaq Ahmad Ganai.”Sajad was fired in his right thigh and Mushtaq was thrashed,” said the official.Sajad was shifted to a hospital in Srinagar. Officials said Sajad and Mushtaq were workers of the NC.last_img

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first_imgSatara and Kolhapur districts, and parts of Marathwada and Vidarbha, will have to bear with high temperatures, with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting heat wave conditions for the next few days. On Sunday, Mahabaleshwar, a hill station in Satara district, recorded a maximum temperature of 35 degrees Celsius — five degrees above normal — Kolhapur recorded a maximum temperature of 41.2 degrees. Mumbai, meanwhile, recorded maximum temperature of 36 degrees Celsius, three degrees above normal on Sunday. The city has had a sweltering May as every year, with maximum temperatures hovering around 32 to 33 degrees. Minimum temperature was 25.2 degrees Celsius, two degrees below normal. On Saturday, the city had recorded maximum temperature of 34.6 degrees Celsius. The IMD has attributed the rise in mercury levels to westerly-northwesterly winds. The IMD had forecast on Friday that temperatures across the State would rise following May 18. It has said heatwave-like conditions will continue in Vidarbha and Marathwada. On Sunday, Parbhani recorded maximum temperature of 44 degrees Celsius, followed by Solapur (43.8) and Nanded (42.5).However, Maharashtra may be in for some relief, as private weather forecaster Skymet has forecast light spells of rain around May 24. “This is because an upper air trough is expected to be developed along Konkan coast around May 22. This trough will further extend up to North Coastal Maharashtra. In wake of this system, clouding will increase over South Coastal Maharashtra and spell of light rain and thundershowers may begin over the State May 24 onwards,” Skymet said on its website. The IMD has forecast onset of monsoon in Kerala around June 6.last_img read more

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first_imgAfter 31-year-old Zac Vawter lost part of his leg in a motorcycle accident, a team of doctors set out to create a new kind of prosthetic limb: one whose motions he could manipulate with his mind, by “flexing” a foot that was no longer there. The method is similar to one already tried in people who have lost an arm: The doctors at Northwestern University and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago removed nerves from damaged muscle in Vawter’s amputated leg and connected them to hamstring muscle in his thigh, which had been left intact. When Vawter imagined moving his missing lower leg, his thoughts caused various contraction patterns in the upper leg that remained. Electrodes stuck onto his skin picked up the signals and relayed them to sensors on the prosthesis (above), which interpreted how he wanted to move. The outcome, described today in The New England Journal of Medicine, wasn’t perfect. Vawter occasionally stumbled, but he was able to walk safely outside, climb down stairs, and kick a ball. The authors note that there are still challenges to refining the technique, in part because the electrodes can get uncomfortable.See more ScienceShots.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(*)last_img read more

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first_imgToday in questions no one has ever asked: What would french fries taste like if you made them on Jupiter? Luckily, the European Space Agency is on the case. Hoping that studying deep frying in different gravitational conditions will help them improve space food for future astronauts, scientists chopped potatoes into thin sticks and deep fried them in extra-virgin olive oil, one side at a time, in a spinning centrifuge that created conditions of up to nine times Earth’s gravity. Higher gravity levels significantly increased the heat transfer between the hot oil and the potato, shortening frying time and resulting in thick, crispy crusts, the team reports next month in Food Research International. In fact, the scientists may have discovered the ideal gravitational condition for creating crunchy fries: The crust reached its maximum thickness when the potato was fried at three times Earth’s gravity; any further increase in gravity levels did not improve the fry’s crispiness. But before you patent your idea for a hypergravity deep fryer, here’s the bad news: The bottoms of the fries were insulated from the oil by a layer of water vapor rushing out of the potato’s pores, resulting in a soggy-bottomed fry no matter what the gravity level. Perhaps the team’s upcoming experiments with deep frying in microgravity will finally create the perfect space fry.See more ScienceShots.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(*)last_img read more

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first_imgSAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—It’s springtime on Titan, Saturn’s giant and frigid moon, and the action on its hydrocarbon seas seems to be heating up. Near the moon’s north pole, there is growing evidence for waves on three different seas, scientists reported here today at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Researchers are also coming up with the first estimates for the volume and composition of the seas. The bodies appear to be made mostly of methane, and not mostly ethane as previously thought. And they are deep: Ligeia Mare, the second biggest sea with an area larger than Lake Superior, could contain 55 times Earth’s oil reserves.The evidence is coming from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which has being exploring the Saturn system since 2004. In 2009, the northern hemisphere of Titan passed its spring equinox, when it begins tilting toward the sun, and climate models predicted that the increased light would kick up winds as the moon approaches summer in 2017.That appears to be happening. In a handful of flybys of Titan in the past 6 months, Cassini scientists have seen signs of waves on three different seas: Kraken Mare, Ligeia Mare, and Punga Mare. Some of the evidence is based on radar reflections, which detect roughness at the sea surface. Particularly intriguing has been a feature on Ligeia Mare dubbed the Magic Island because it appeared, disappeared, and reappeared over the past 2 years. Jason Hofgartner, a planetary science graduate student at Cornell University, says that a likely explanation is transient episodes of waves. “It is neither magical nor an island. But the name has stuck,” he says.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(*)Scientists involved in the discoveries have been cautious, saying that the features could also be floating debris or bubbles. At Kraken Mare, however, Cassini researchers detected a wavelike feature with both the spacecraft’s radar and a mapping spectrometer. That double detection gives Alexander Hayes, a planetary scientist at Cornell, extra confidence. “It’s most likely waves,” Hayes says. He calculates that the waves are moving at about 0.7 meters per second and at heights of about 1.5 centimeters. “They’re not huge,” he says. Right now, Hayes says, the waves seem to be appearing only in scattered patches where islands or canyons could be funneling winds—a phenomenon that sailors call cat’s paws. In January, Cassini will make another flyby of Titan that will allow the spectrometer a chance to confirm a radar feature detected in Punga Mare.NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan, who has spent much of her career studying Titan, calls the results a “vindication” for those who predicted seasonal change. “To me, it’s exciting,” she says. “It says that Titan is a dynamic place.” She says that Cassini scientists can now look for evidence that the waves, now or in the past, have eroded into the jagged, frozen shorelines and created long, straight beaches—features that have been mostly lacking in Cassini data.Other scientists at the meeting reported on using Cassini’s radar to assess the size and contents of the seas. The maximum depth of Kraken Mare appears to be 160 meters, and Ligeia Mare could be as much as 200 meters deep, reported Marco Mastrogiuseppe of Sapienza University of Rome. The fact that the radar signals could bounce off the sea bottom suggests that the seas were more transparent than expected and thus must contain mostly methane, not ethane. Hayes says his best estimate is about 90% methane. Essam Marouf, a planetary scientist at San José State University in California, reported on the first results from a separate radar experiment that sent radar reflections to Earth instead of back to the spacecraft. Those tests provide independent evidence that the seas are dominated by methane, Marouf says, and it implies that the lakes are kept filled by precipitating methane.Decades ago, planetary scientists such as David Stevenson of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena had predicted that the seas might be mostly ethane. “It certainly wasn’t obvious that they would be methane-dominated,” Stevenson says. Part of the reason for that presupposition is that light coverts methane in the atmosphere to ethane. Over billions of years, this process would deplete Titan’s surface stores of methane unless it was kept resupplied by a reservoir. Some scientists have proposed that erupting cryovolcanoes or deep underground aquifers of liquid methane occasionally recharge Titan with methane. “There is an unsolved question underlying this,” Stevenson says. “Where does all the methane come from?”*Correction, 17 December, 11 a.m.: This item originally used the phrase “bodies of water” to describe methane seas. We have struck the words “of water.”last_img read more

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first_imgSix scientists convicted of manslaughter in 2012 for advice they gave ahead of the deadly L’Aquila earthquake were victims of “uncertain and fallacious” reasoning. So say the three judges who acquitted the experts and reduced the sentence of a seventh defendant last November. In a 389-page document deposited in court on Friday and since released to the public, the trio of magistrates attack the convictions on multiple grounds and state that no blame can be laid on the scientists for the risk analysis they carried out (find links to document in first sentence here). Other scientists, however, accuse the judges of failing to understand modern seismology.The six scientists—three seismologists, a volcanologist, and two seismic engineers—together with a public official were put on trial in 2011 for advice they gave at a meeting of an official government advisory committee known as the Major Risks Commission held on 31 March 2009. The judge in that trial, Marco Billi, concluded that the experts’ advice was unjustifiably reassuring and led some of the 309 victims of the earthquake, which struck L’Aquila in the early hours of 6 April 2009, to underestimate the threat posed by the ongoing “swarm” of tremors and so remain indoors on that fateful night rather than seek shelter outdoors. Describing the experts’ risk analysis as “superficial, approximate and generic,” Billi sentenced each of them to 6 years in jail.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 its ruling, the appeal panel, headed by Fabrizia Francabandera, accepted one of the most controversial aspects of the indictment: that official reassurances were decisive in causing some of the quake victims to stay indoors. However, Francabandera and her colleagues ruled that those reassurances were the exclusive fault of the public official—the then–deputy head of Italy’s Civil Protection Department (DPC), Bernardo De Bernardinis—and could not be blamed on the other six. De Bernardinis, they say, was guilty of “negligence and imprudence” in making a series of reassuring comments to a television journalist ahead of the experts’ meeting.In particular, the appeal judges write, it was De Bernardinis who promulgated the idea that the ongoing tremors were good because they discharged energy that might otherwise have resulted in a more powerful earthquake. Relatives of many of the deceased said this observation had persuaded them they were in no danger. Billi faulted the other defendants for failing to challenge the idea when it was raised by commission Vice President Franco Barberi during the meeting. But Francabandera and fellow judges argue that Barberi and colleagues cannot be held accountable for something they never discussed.The appellate judges were particularly critical of the indictment, brought against the seven by public prosecutor Fabio Picuti and endorsed almost completely by Billi, for its reliance on what they call a “purely regulatory” measure of guilt. Picuti attempted to show that the defendants had flouted specific duties imposed on them by law as members of the Major Risks Commission, but Francabandera and colleagues argue that the law was too vaguely defined to allow such an approach. Instead, they say, the experts should have been judged on how well they adhered to the science of the time.The appellate judges concluded that the scientists were innocent because there was no reason to think the swarm had increased the risk of a major earthquake. They maintain that the triggering of larger earthquakes by smaller ones is an idea that scientists have only taken seriously since the L’Aquila earthquake.One of the six acquitted scientists, Enzo Boschi, who at the time of the earthquake was president of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, says that the new judgment “explicitly recognizes my correctness as a scientist.” He adds that it is an “important moment” for him, having been “crossing the desert” for the last 4 years.Other experts, however, believe that the appellate judges erred. “It is scientifically false to say that a cluster of earthquakes doesn’t change the probability of a big event,” says Francesco Mulargia, a seismologist at the University of Bologna and a current member of the Major Risks Commission. “Ninety-nine times out of 100 a swarm won’t lead to a major earthquake and so it is not a deterministic precursor. But it is still an important warning sign.”Public prosecutor Romolo Como must now decide whether to challenge the latest verdict in Italy’s highest appeal court. He may also press ahead with a parallel manslaughter investigation against Guido Bertolaso, the then-head of DPC. Bertolaso allegedly orchestrated the experts’ presumed reassurances in order to refute predictions of an imminent major quake by local technician Giampaolo Giuliani.last_img read more

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first_imgDonald Trump’s proposed H1B visa reforms is challenging in the short term for India’s IT firms, but can serve as catalyst for their transformation into global players Related Itemslast_img

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first_imgIndra Nooyi, former Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella are the two highest paid Indian-American executives of public companies in the United States, earning $25.9 million and $25.84 million, respectively, according to a report released by the IndUS Business Journal.Read it at INE News Related Itemslast_img

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first_imgViolence against women and girls is “the single largest human rights pandemic on this planet,” says Mallika Dutt, founder and CEO of progressive human rights group Breakthrough. Dutt had made it her mission to end violence and gender inequality by taking a fresh approach to addressing the issues. Breakthrough uses a combination of mass media, pop culture, technology, high-level partnerships and grassroots initiatives to try to transform the social and cultural norms that promote violence against women. Her campaigns have reached tens of millions of people around the planet.Umi Howard, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Lipman Family Prize for social innovation, interviews Dutt on her work, her inspirations and her hopes for the future.Mallika, in your career you’ve been a lawyer, a human rights advocate and the CEO of an international NGO. In 2000, you founded Breakthrough. Tell us, what compelled you to start this organization?Breakthrough was really an accident. I was working at the Ford Foundation in India as the Human Rights Program Officer and was thinking a lot about what we were doing in the human rights movement. I felt like we were in an echo chamber: We were talking to one another, as opposed to talking to the people around us who we were trying to transform. I started to think about outreach methods, (and) pop culture really stood out. This was during a time in India when television was becoming privatized. Previously, it was more controlled by the government.I started to formulate the idea of producing a music album with a music video that addressed violence against women. The idea started rattling around in my head. While I had lots of experience in law, philanthropy, human rights, legal service and public policy, I didn’t know anything about music production, video production or media. So I started to talk to people and got the ball rolling. I met with people in Bombay’s entertainment industry at Sony, BMG, Virgin Music and MTV. As those conversations went on, this album started to take shape.But I had many doubters. Many people said, “Album? Violence against women? Women’s issues? Really? This is not going to work.”At the end of 2000, I launched the album and music video, “Mann Ke Manjeere”, which means “Rhythm of the Mind: An Album of Women’s Dreams”. I partnered with Virgin Records on the launch. Lo and behold, the album and music video went through the charts. The musical director, lyricist, main artist and myself were inundated with media requests. All of a sudden this album and video were out there in the public space, leading a conversation about violence against women in India.When this happened I was faced with a choice: Stay at the Ford Foundation or pursue this new idea. I chose the latter. That’s how Breakthrough was born.It’s fortunate you made that choice. Can you tell us why the issue of violence against women and girls is so important?Violence against women and girls is the single largest human rights pandemic on this planet. Violence against women and girls takes place in homes, on the streets, in schools, in work places and in conflicts. Women are subjected to it everywhere. It can start with you being terminated because you happen to be a female fetus. You can be killed because you’re a female child. You can be subjected to incest and all kinds of sexual violence and abuse through your teenage years. You can also end up in a situation involving domestic violence. In the workplace, women are subjected to sexual harassment and all kinds of other forms of abuse. And even as a widow, many experience discrimination.I believe violence against women underlies many other human rights issues. It’s the place where we learn to disrespect one another. Twitter It becomes ingrained in all of our cultural, political and social institutions, and can manifest itself in unequal pay and unequal access to health care. If we don’t take on gender-based discrimination as a core issue, then many other important problems really cannot be solved.What model does Breakthrough use to approach this issue? How does Breakthrough use the media to accomplish its goals?Breakthrough aims to transform the social and cultural norms that promote violence against women. We want to stop these problems altogether, not just deal with them after they happen.I’ve found that using culture to change culture is an effective way of engaging people. When I say “using culture,” that includes social media, television, radio, print, short animations, documentaries, street theater, traditional theater and comic books. We’re not focused on one form of storytelling. We use all storytelling forms to bring people into the conversation.Media, arts and technology have been crucial to Breakthrough’s work. We’ve created several multimedia campaigns, three music videos, three video games and multiple documentaries. We’ve also won many awards.One of our most successful campaigns started in India and it called on men to challenge violence against women. The campaign had television ads, radio ads and print ads, as well as street theater and other community outreach elements. It became a global campaign that was adopted in countries including Vietnam, Pakistan and China. We called on men to be part of the solution, as opposed to simply talking to men as if they were part of the problem. There was an incredible response to that shift in our approach.As part of the campaign, we sent video vans into Indian communities to reach people in small towns and villages. The vans were accompanied by our human rights advocates – people trained to be advocates for women and girls – and this started a conversation about domestic violence at the grass roots level. The approach was very different from previous campaigns.When you invite people to the table and say, “We’ve got a problem. It’s a problem for everyone. Let’s fix it,” it’s very different from saying, “You are a problem and we need to fix you.”The next phase of the campaign was called “Ring the Bell — One Million Men, One Million Promises.” This went global last March and involved partnerships in South Africa, Brazil, Sweden, Nepal and other countries. This demonstrates how we use media, arts and culture to tell stories and we turn this into strategic partnerships with advertising agencies, government agencies, companies, grassroots organizations and celebrities. We want to engage the community and transform the societal norms that lead to violence against women.The prize committee appreciated that Breakthrough’s work addressed this truly universal issue that affects people from all walks of life. It’s also very effective at using a bottom-up, grassroots approach and a top-down approach. Can you talk about what you’re learning from the blend of those two strategies and how this can lead to change?In my past work I had completed a lot of direct service work with abused women and represented them in court. I also worked at the UN level on addressing women’s rights issues and policies. So I had experience engaging at different points of intervention.At Breakthrough, one of the things that I focused on was the question of scale. How many people can we reach with our resources? At the same time, I also understood that scale is reached through one person at a time. I was grappling with the question: How do you reach millions of people, transform millions of people and change their attitudes? I have found the media space allows you to scale your ideas. It allows you to talk to 30 million people, 130 million people or several hundred thousand people with relatively little in the way of resources.Of course, you need some resources. A public service announcement (PSA) can cost $50,000. But if my $50,000 PSA reaches 130 million people, the numbers really worked in my favor. That is why mass media, and partnerships, are so important.Now let’s look at the grassroots level. Our motto at Breakthrough is: “Human rights start with you.” We want to make sure that our messages become anchored in every single individual, wherever he or she is located. We need people to incorporate that change within themselves, otherwise it’s all just talk. That’s why the individual engagement work, community work and global constituency building work are all intertwined. And media, arts and technology are critically important to help straddle those multiple levels of engagement.Another thing about Breakthrough is your intensive work centered on India and the U.S. As you have previously said, there is no “mother ship” or parent organization. I’m curious about what you learn in India and how that influences your work in the States.Years ago, it drove me nuts that so many international organizations were based in the global North, but would call themselves “international.” These organizations often didn’t do any work in their “home” country. For example, they existed in New York City but focused all their energy on Africa. I felt that this perpetuated old colonial narratives.Therefore, when I launched Breakthrough, I incorporated it in India and the United States simultaneously. As founder, I said, “There are no headquarters and there are no field offices. Breakthrough is comprised of two centers that operate out of India and the United States. That’s how it is.”Initially, we planned to address women’s human rights issues everywhere. But within a year of the launch, the September 11, 2001 attacks took place in the United States. This led to an intense backlash against immigrant communities, communities of color, South Asians and Muslims in the United States. So I decided, as an Indian-American, to be flexible.We continued to work on the issue of violence against women in India, but in the U.S. we started to focus on the impact of 9/11 on human rights issues, including detention, deportation and developments in immigrant communities. An incredible body of work evolved in both countries and they started to inform one another.Two years ago, we decided to refocus on our main mission: making violence against women and girls unacceptable. So the India center had 13 years of incredible programming and experience, and this center provided all kinds of help and support to the U.S. team. There was a whole body of learning that we adapted from India for the U.S. market.Now in the United States we are looking at partnering with (college) fraternities as talk about sexual assault on campus has been gaining more attention. We are trying to figure out how to anchor our work within institutions and locations where this negative culture has been promoted. We are looking to … transform fraternity culture so that we can really address gender issues and challenge violence against women in a new way. Right now we’re seeing two things happen simultaneously. Firstly, the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. We have some really serious problems, including climate change, conflict, inequality, poverty and an economy that doesn’t seem to be providing jobs that offer the quality of life we had imagined. We’re seeing a lot of failing institutions and political leaders that don’t know how to fix this mess. Many people who are stuck with old ways of thinking are trying to lead us out of our current crises.At the same time, we have these emerging groups of people around the world who are beginning to understand our shared humanity. They understand that what happens to you affects me, and it’s a very interconnected world. I find this mentality is more prevalent in the younger generation than the older generation.I expect we will see a new, emergent leadership that works to solve these issues. People are thinking about how we can solve problems and use technology to address challenges in new, novel ways. The old top-down, hierarchical model of decision-making is gone. There are still pockets of people, especially men, who are holding on to that old system, but these are the holdouts. You should pay attention to this new leadership trend because the solutions that we need for our planet are going to emerge from this next generation of leaders.We at Breakthrough believe this is going to be the generation that finally makes violence against women and girls unacceptable. This is going to be the generation that will shift these old norms, attitudes and values and push society to see one another as human beings that deserve respect. This new generation will really think about how we can build a society, an economy and a world where human dignity is central to how we operate and more forward. Related Itemslast_img read more

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first_imgFacebook has said that “ad load,” or the relative volume of advertising versus content on its pages, isn’t going to be able to fuel revenue growth as much as it has to date. The disclosure indicates that the display-ad business model — which has largely been the industry standard for monetizing content on the internet — may be tapped out.When Facebook reported its third quarter earnings, CFO Dave Wehner outlined how ad load is going to be less effective in the very near future. “We continue to expect that ad load will play a less significant factor driving revenue growth after mid-2017. Over the past two years we have averaged about 50% revenue growth in advertising. Ad load has been one of the three primary factors fueling that growth,” explained Wehner on a November 2 conference call. “With a much smaller contribution from this important factor going forward, we expect to see ad revenue growth rates come down meaningfully.”Facebook officials’ comments recognize that advertising has its limits online and may have peaked. The popularity of ad blockers highlights how consumers are turning their backs on internet advertising as it becomes ever more plentiful — and intrusive. Research firm eMarketer estimates that 68.9 million Americans will use software to block advertisements in 2016, a 34.4% increase over 2015 and a number expected to rise to 86.6 million people in 2017.“Long-term, the ad landscape we know today is so archaic. It’s a legacy to an old world where ads were the only way to pay for media,” says Peter Fader, a marketing professor at Wharton. “There’s no good aspect to them, and anything they are doing now is hurting the user experience and the value of brands.”Wharton management professor David Hsu says the balance between usability and advertising has been lost. “If you use an ad blocker you know how many ads are blocked. It’s ridiculous,” says Hsu. “These companies [ad-based publishers] have gorged and it’s slowing down the infrastructure. Some of these experiences are really terrible.”Experts give Facebook credit for noting that filling its news feed with ads is a bad long-term strategy. They also applaud efforts like Facebook’s Instant Articles, which run natively on Facebook for faster mobile viewing, and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, which also limits ad formats in exchange for speed. But publishers have reportedly been complaining about AMP monetization — multiple publishers told The Wall Street Journal that AMP pageviews currently generate about half as much advertising revenue as a pageview on their full mobile sites.Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Kevin Werbach says that Google and Facebook can take steps to curb advertising because those companies have a massive user base and the scale to forgo revenue. “It’s not written in stone that advertising has to be the dominant monetization model for online and mobile services,” says Werbach. “Google and Facebook figured out how to generate huge advertising revenues based on massive user numbers and sophisticated targeting, but that doesn’t mean the model is viable for everyone.”The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) said November 1 that digital ad revenue grew 19% in the first half of 2016 to $32.7 billion. But the IAB also said that 74% of ad revenue in the first half of the year was concentrated with the top 10 ad selling companies. Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser said in a research note November 1 that Google and Facebook captured 68% of digital ad spending in the second quarter, up from 61% a year ago.The Conundrum for PublishersThe dominance of Facebook and Google may present a conundrum for other publishers that rely on advertising and can’t shift to a new business model easily. Fader says that advertising is likely to give way to the more direct marketing approach used by Google. To shift away from advertising, a company would need more customer data. Companies such as Facebook and Google have amassed extensive data on users’ characteristics and behaviors.“A lot of media will simply go away,” says Fader. “Google will be fine due to sponsored search. Facebook also has the clout to charge for a premium version.”In other words, advertising will be dominated by two giant companies and possibly a few others. “The data-centric model of online advertising also trends toward concentration, because those with the most data can provide the best service for advertisers,” says Werbach. “Hence Facebook and Google’s dominant share of advertising revenues online.”Werbach says the likely outcome is that internet publishers will have to band together to offer bundles that can justify subscriptions. He sees the cable TV model as a potential option for content sites.“If you look at the way television has evolved, for a long time it was predominantly advertising-supported through over-the-air broadcasting,” Werbach notes. “Eventually, though, cable TV came along with a subscription model. It’s ultimately better to have the opportunity to generate revenues from both sides of the market: users and businesses who want to reach those users.”Werbach argues that in the end, large sites will have power as aggregators. These aggregators, such as Facebook and Google, will be able to bundle ad-free content from publishers similar to the way cable TV does. “A fair number of users might be willing to pay for ad-free content on high-quality sites like newspapers, but they don’t want to pay each of them individually,” says Werbach. “The natural solution is a bundling model like cable TV, where the user pays one fee to an aggregator who then signs up and pays the content providers. This is where Facebook’s Instant Articles and similar services could go. The big challenge there is what we’ve seen in the communications market: It gives enormous power to the aggregators.”Fader agrees that subscription based models will emerge. For instance, Facebook could charge for a premium ad-free experience similar to Spotify. “Facebook Premium could charge $6 a month, have an ad-free experience and offer more control. Facebook could make so much more money,” says Fader.What remains to be seen is whether consumers will go for an à la carte subscription approach where every company has relationships based on data. “Look at the over-the-top [direct internet-delivered content] companies like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. They’ve managed to go it alone,” says Fader.Hsu says whatever models emerge, they aren’t likely to be developed by existing players. “We’re going to see new models, but it’s quite a challenge,” says Hsu. “The only opportunity is really for the next era of companies. There’s a limit on ads, but it’s unclear people will pay for the alternatives. None of the current companies want to try a new model because you can’t spring it on consumers midcourse. If you start with a non-ad experience, that is easier than starting free and then trying to charge.”Some publishers such as The New York Times have made the transition to digital subscriptions. New York Times CEO Mark Thompson said November 2 that digital news subscription revenue was up 15% in the third quarter, but also noted there was pressure on the traditional print business. The digital gains were helped by the presidential election in the U.S., but Thompson also said that the company has improved its targeting and marketing to gain more subscriptions.Nevertheless, the company’s digital-only subscription revenue was $58.5 million in the third quarter, while total revenue was $363.5 million.“We’re continuing to optimize our consumer marketing and the configuration of our pay model. Our investment in international is translating into more subscriptions. We are reducing churn. We’re putting more focus into corporate and education subscriptions,” said Thompson. “Our market research and our practical experience on the ground makes us more bullish about the future growth of this model than we were even a year ago.” According to Hsu, a business model similar to that of software company Zenefits may also make sense. Zenefits gives its human resources software away, but makes money by being a health care insurer of record and generating commissions. “We are living in an era where there are more touch points and there are more revenue models,” says Hsu. “If we’re compiling all of this data, what are we going to use it for?”Novel models that revolve around using data and customer relationships may give internet publishers more control over their destinies. “The risk is that Google and Facebook have all the data,” says Hsu. “Can you live in that ecosystem?”Is Advertising Doomed?Meanwhile, online advertising may decline over time. “Advertising still has some room, but Facebook’s comments illustrate that it is reaching the saturation point,” says Hsu. Forrester Research analyst Brigitte Majewski said in a November 3 blog post that the end is near for advertising. Forrester found that one third of U.S. online adults use an ad blocker and 48% actively avoid ads on web sites.Werbach adds that the biggest issue with advertising is that there are “divergent incentives between users and advertisers.” “We’ve clearly reached the point where many users feel the proliferation of ads has gone too far,” says Werbach. “Right now we’re seeing a technological arms race behind the scenes between the advertising-dependent sites and the ad blockers. That’s not a healthy or stable situation.”The tug of war will be between publishers and users who employ ad blocking technology or forgo advertising sites completely. Werbach says large sites like Facebook will continue to do well, but smaller players will suffer.One option is to use data to better target ads. “Marketers will choose quality over quantity advertising. This doesn’t mean no advertising — just better advertising,” said Forrester Research’s Majewski. Marketers will have to adapt to lower ad consumption, she added.The new era of post-peak advertising will mean that publishers and marketers will have to adapt or die, says Fader. “Companies will have to run experiments beyond where to put an ad or the right size,” says Fader. “That approach would just prolong the agony. Some of these experiments will go under. Some will go right.” Related Itemslast_img read more

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first_imgThree persons, including a doctor of Indian descent, have been charged in the United States for participating in a healthcare kickback scheme, the Department of Justice said on Feb. 8.According to the indictment, Padmini Nagaraj, 60, Muhammad Kaleem Arshad, 62, and Joseph A. Haynes, 61, from Louisiana have been charged with one count of conspiracy to receive illegal health care kickbacks and three counts of receiving illegal health care kickbacks. Arshad and Nagaraj were also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and five counts of health care fraud, the Department of Justice said.While Arshad specialized in geriatric and addiction psychiatry, Nagaraj specialized in forensic psychiatry. Haynes worked as a marketer and allegedly assisted in negotiating and getting bribes as well as kickbacks for the doctors.The indictment said that from around September 2010 until April 2015, Arshad, Nagaraj and others conspired among each other to execute a scheme to defraud a healthcare benefit program that affected the finances of the program.Nagaraj and Arshad treated psychiatric patients at outpatient facilities and were permitted to refer these patients, including medical beneficiaries, to home health agencies (HHA). Haynes, who frequently worked in the outpatient facilities, interacted with these patients. Together they attempted to allegedly enrich themselves through this referral process and entered into a kickback and bribe arrangement with HHAs.The HHAs are said to have paid bribes and kickbacks to Arshad, Nagaraj and Kim Richard, an associate of Haynes, in exchange for referring Medicare Program beneficiaries, a federal healthcare program, to HHAs. They would, in turn, provide medically unnecessary home health care services to these Medicare beneficiaries and submit claims for reimbursement to Medicare.Haynes helped in assisting and negotiating kickbacks and bribe arrangements with different HHAs, including Progressive HHA, in return for Arshad and Nagaraj referring and certifying Medicare beneficiaries from the outpatient facilities to HHAs for home healthcare services, according to the document.“The purpose of the conspiracy was for defendants Arshad, Nagaraj and their co-conspirators to unlawfully enrich themselves,” said the indictment. They referred patients to home healthcare that was not medically necessary for psychiatric patients who were not homebound so that HHAs, like the Progressive in the Louisiana could submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare. They also diverted the proceeds of the fraud for their personal use and benefits, it added.“Nagaraj and Arshad fraudulently certified and recertified the Medicare beneficiaries regardless of the beneficiaries’ needs, homebound status, functional limitations or diagnoses,” the indictment added. Related ItemsIndian AmericanLouisianaUnited Stateslast_img read more