Life after lynching: The widows of Nuh

first_imgLying on a string cot beneath a row of pale green prayer beads that hangs from the wall, Asmeena Khan holds up a frail hand and says softly, “Please pray for me.”There is no electricity and Asmeena cannot summon the strength to wave away the flies that settle on her face. She has been bedridden since being in a car accident four months ago. Her brother says the doctors have said she is paralysed from the waist down, and will never walk again.Asmeena is the widow of Rakbar Khan, the dairy farmer who was killed by cow vigilantes on the night of July 20, 2018. After the murder of 28-year-old Rakbar, Asmeena, who has never been to school and is unsure even of her age, was left to raise her seven children. The eldest, 14-year-old Saahila, dropped out of school to help her mother with household chores and add to the family income by working as a daily wage labourer; four younger children were enrolled at a residential school in Aligarh run by a charitable society. The youngest two, aged six and three, have stayed with their mother in Tapkan village in Haryana’s Nuh district.When the accident happened. Asmeena was on her way to visit her children in Aligarh in a taxi. A truck collided with the car she was in. The driver and a 19-year-old niece accompanying Asmeena were killed. Asmeena was first taken to the medical college in Nuh and then referred to a hospital in New Delhi, as her injuries were serious.Bedridden and bereft Four months later, she still lies on a cot in her parent’s home. Rakbar’s parents have refused to take her in, says her brother Irfan. But, reasons Asmeena, “Rakbar’s father is an old man who barely makes ends meet by keeping a few goats. Rakbar’s brothers add to his income, but he can barely feed himself.”Asmeena got married when she was about 13. Three of her brothers work as drivers, two work in a poultry farm, and the youngest has dropped out of school and is learning to repair tyre punctures. Seventeen family members live in the two-room house at Tapkan. Two married sisters are visiting; they have come to find work as daily wage labourers, harvesting the ripened wheat in Nuh’s farms.Nuh’s woesHaryana’s Nuh district (earlier called Mewat), is just 75 km from Delhi and is part of the Gurgaon Parliamentary constituency. It is India’s ‘most backward district’, according to a 2018 ranking by Niti Aayog of 101 districts. The districts were graded on five parameters — health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development, and basic infrastructure. Nuh came last. The place has also seen some of the country’s most horrific hate crimes, tracked since 2012 by data journalism website IndiaSpend. In September 2016, a 20-year-old Muslim woman and her 14-year-old cousin were gang-raped and two other members of the family murdered by four men because the family had allegedly eaten beef. A few days earlier, the Haryana Cow Welfare Commission chairman, Bhani Ram Mangla, had said the Haryana police would ‘check’ biryani dishes to ensure they don’t contain beef, which is banned in the State.The Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act of 2015 punishes anyone for possessing beef, or transporting / slaughtering cows, with up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to ₹1 lakh. In Nuh, 792 such FIRs were registered between November 2015 and March 2019. In that period, 1,194 arrests were made. But the lynchings seem to continue, despite a Supreme Court judgment last year that said “mob vigilantism and mob violence have to be prevented by the governments by taking strict action and by the vigil society who ought to report such incidents to the state machinery and the police instead of taking the law into their own hands.”Rakbar was murdered when he was walking back with his friend Aslam from Alwar in Rajasthan after buying cattle. Confronted by a group of gau rakshaks near Lalawandi village, Aslam managed to run and hide, but Rakbar was severely beaten. The last photograph of him, shot in police custody, shows him alive. But a few hours later, his post-mortem report states, he died of internal injuries. In his statement to the police, Aslam said he heard the attackers name the local MLA, Gyan Dev Ahuja of the BJP, who is on record saying cow slaughter is a bigger crime than terrorism.Left for deadLike Rakbar, Umar Khan and two others, Tahir Khan and Javed, were transporting cows from Mewat to Bharatpur in Rajasthan on November 14, 2017. While Tahir and Javed were beaten, Umar was shot dead, and his body thrown near the railway tracks in the Ramgarh area of Alwar.The most prominent of all lynching victims is Pehlu Khan, whose widow Jaibuna continues to live in their ramshackle house in Jaisinghpur in Nuh. The 55-year-old dairy farmer had gone to Jaipur to buy cows at a cattle fair. He was attacked on April 1, 2017 when he was returning home. Despite producing relevant documents, including a bill of sale, Pehlu and five others with him, including two of his sons, were beaten up by cow vigilantes near the Jaipur-Delhi national highway. Pehlu died of his injuries on April 3 that year.He was buried in a cemetery close to his home. A simple stone slab, painted yellow, marks his name and the date of his death but says little of the circumstances of his death, or life.In the background is a broken-down government school that seems to symbolise much of Nuh’s own predicament. Children walk home from school carrying small plates of rice with yoghurt, their mid-day meal, to share with families. Students study here until Class VIII, after which they must shift to a senior school some 10 km away. This is when many of the girls simply drop out.On the day I meet Jaibuna, she is alone at home. Two daughters, studying in Class VIII, have taken time off school to earn some money harvesting wheat. The energetic voices of children reciting the alphabet punctuate our conversation.Recorded deathJaibuna says she learned of her husband’s death on social media. Somebody had video-taped the ghastly lynching and put it up on Facebook. She began watching, then one of her children took the phone away. “He was still alive,” she says. She still hasn’t seen the rest of the clip.‘Justice’ is a big word for Jaibuna, who is just trying to get on with her life. An FIR was registered against six men. But a CID inquiry, which began after sustained protests by the family and civil society, said these men were not involved. In October 2018, witnesses for Pehlu, including his two sons and their lawyer, said they were shot at while going to court to record their statements. Police have dismissed the allegation as a ‘ploy’ to get the case transferred.For a family that works for daily wages, it can be hard to keep track of court dates and hearings. Two sons work as truck drivers and one manages the half-acre patch of land on which they grow wheat, jowar and bajra. “Nobody from the government came to visit me after what happened,” says Jaibuna. “I will never get justice from this government.”The family still owns a few goats and buffaloes. No cow has ever been bought since Pehlu Khan’s killing.(With inputs from Mohd Arif)The Delhi-based journalist writes on gender issues in India.last_img read more

Damage control exercise of UCB of South Africa may end up doing more damage

first_imgSouth African cricket’s many colours mix uneasilyThe Centurion: Its “historical allies” in India may have been dewy eyed at the stirring support in cricket’s Dennessgate crisis, but the United Cricket Board (UCB) of South Africa is coming to live with the realisation that its damage control exercise may end up,South African cricket’s many colours mix uneasilyThe Centurion: Its “historical allies” in India may have been dewy eyed at the stirring support in cricket’s Dennessgate crisis, but the United Cricket Board (UCB) of South Africa is coming to live with the realisation that its damage control exercise may end up doing more damage than anticipated. While UCB officials maintain that they had little choice but to support the Indians due to financial and political pressures, the noises coming from the Board indicate that more rumbling is to follow.In a country where Hansie Cronje’s betrayal was taken very personally, the Johannesburg Star thundered that the UCB had misjudged the situation at every level, including the moral.It had therefore abandoned the right to stand on judgement on any issue anymore. “The UCB has weakened its own stance regarding the Hansie Cronje scandal. The moral rectitude practised now seems rather unconvincing. It has undermined the position of a governing body of the sport to such an extent that any future pleas will seem almost laughable,” wrote the daily. Many believe that the current chorus of disapproval of the UCB’s actions is part of a campaign targeted at the new UCB chief executive Gerald Majola, who has rivals in the Asian lobby of the Board.The South African team may be predominantly white today but the Board is a more mixed, with enough representations of white, black and Asian interests. The Indian predicament and the case for standing up to Mike Denness is now secondary.advertisementAt the top of South African minds is alarm that the UCB is aligning itself with the new rebel forces of international cricket a perception that has the most disturbing associations here.While UCB President Pery Sonn maintained his Board had not defied ICC, followers of that school of thought are very few.last_img read more

‘Nothing’s impossible’: Tonga’s lone skier strikes out for Olympic glory in South Korea

first_img Pita Taufatofua leading his delegation during the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images news Since you’re here… Pita Taufatofua was in his fourth decade when he first touched snow. By then, he had already decided that he wanted to be an Olympic cross-country skier and was well on his way to realising his dream.This week, Taufatofua will become the first Tongan ever to compete in the cross-country event at a Winter Olympics when he straps on his skis in Pyeongchang. But his journey from the beaches of the South Pacific to the starting gate in South Korea has been far from textbook.The world first saw Taufatofua as an oiled up flag-bearer wearing a necklace of shark’s teeth and a Taʻovala [a traditional Tongan skirt] during the opening ceremony of the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio. There, he was competing in taekwondo and was beaten 16-1 in his first match.Despite failing to win a medal, Taufatofua shot to prominence and the former youth counsellor was inundated with modelling contracts, offers from Hollywood and sponsorship deals. Share on Pinterest Topics Winter Olympics 2018 Share on Messenger Taufatofua has spent the last year training in the northern hemisphere Photograph: Instagram Taufatofua is one of seven siblings, his father an agricultural worker, his mother a nurse. The death of one of his sisters when he was a young boy crystallised his desire to make the most out of life, and chasing seemingly impossible dreams has been the driving force on his 20-year journey to the Olympics. In early 2017 Taufatofua strapped planks of wood to his feet and began running up sand hills, spending his evenings alone watching Youtube videos of the world’s best skiers. Taufatofua shed weight, dropping 15kg to weigh in at 75kg – close to the level that most cross-country skiers maintain, making them lighter and faster on the slopes. Graduating from wooden planks to roller skis, he relished the challenge of the frigid foreign sport, the excitement of trying to prove his sceptics wrong, and the extreme mental and physical exhaustion his new passion offered. “To me it is not crazy at all, it seems really normal to me [switching sports],” says Taufatofua. “No one is in the same job a few years later, very few people are in the same house a few years later. Life is changing and evolving, it is not stagnant. And sport is the same.” Twitter Taufatofua, who is now based in Brisbane, has spent the last year training in the northern hemisphere in minus 15-20C conditions, learning the art of cross-country skiing, something he says most of his competitors started “straight out of the womb”. Living in cheap hostels and eating basic meals of tuna and pasta, the 34-year-old has only been able to afford one pair of skis and one knob of wax, but that didn’t stop him qualifying for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang; a gobsmacking achievement for a Pacific Islander who hadn’t seen snow until a couple of years ago, and is only the second Tongan ever to qualify for the Winter Olympics (Bruno Banani competed in luge in 2014).“Is it a level playing field? Absolutely not. Do I let that get to me? Absolutely not. I know sports is … rarely is it ever level. But if I start thinking about that I am stuck there,” says Taufatofua, who has started a go-fund-me page to raise funds for the winter Olympics.“A year ago, everyone was saying this is impossible. But when you come from Tonga or the Pacific Islands we don’t see things the same way, we don’t see anything as impossible. We are very positive in that regards and we are very resourceful. We are a developing country so we just try to find ways of succeeding however we can.”Taufatofua is hopeful but not delusional about his chances in Pyeongchang. Attending is already the icing on the cake. With a rigidly optimistic outlook, Taufatofua has a self-help book in the works and hasn’t ruled out a return to the summer Olympics in 2020. “Its pretty clear we’re misfits in the competition. It gets stuck in your mind that you need to do something – to prove yourself in some way. And that’s not just for me, but for all the exotic and small countries, for the whole Pacific Islands.” Support The Guardian Facebook center_img Tonga … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. But Taufatofua was not interested in fame. Instead, he ditched taekwondo and took up cross-country skiing, despite hailing from a country where the average annual temperature is 25 degrees.“I was thrown into a lot of big and great opportunities, in Hollywood stuff, modelling stuff,” says Taufatofua, speaking from his brother’s London flat where he was taking a two-day break from training in Iceland. “But for me, at that time, my goal was, what’s my next big challenge? What is completely impossible, what can’t be done – that’s what I want to do. And I found cross-country skiing.” What is completely impossible, what can’t be done? That’s what I want to doPita Taufatofua Share on WhatsApp Share via Email Share on Facebook Reuse this content Pinterest Share on Twitter Asia Pacific Share on LinkedInlast_img read more

Report: Turkey 2 France 0

first_imgTurkey stunned world champions France with a dominant and well-deserved 2-0 triumph in Euro 2020 qualifying on Saturday.First-half goals from Kaan Ayhan and Cengiz Under sealed Turkey’s triumph as their revival under boss Senol Gunes continued at pace.Turkey have won all five matches they have played in Gunes’ second stint in charge of the national team and they now sit three points ahead of France in Group H after three games played. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Their latest triumph, achieved in front of a passionate crowd in Konya, came against a France side who simply were not at the races and did not manage a shot on target.2 – France  have conceded 2+ goals in the first half for the 1st time since June 2015 against Belgium. Surprise.#TURFRA— OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 8, 2019Tottenham pair Hugo Lloris and Moussa Sissoko and Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud were available for selection again after featuring in European finals and all three were included from the start in a strong-looking France side.But the first half was a drab affair, with the game’s first real opening ending in the 30th-minute opener.Under’s free-kick was smartly headed across the face of goal by Merih Demiral and Ayhan met it fiercely, nodding in from seven yards with a header that was too hot to handle for Lloris.France were far too casual with the ball at the back and conceded again in the 40th minute when Paul Pogba was outmuscled by Burak Yilmaz, with Dorukhan Tokoz pouncing on the loose ball and playing in Under, who finished smartly from an angle.France were in disarray as Demiral nodded a free header just wide and Deschamps made a double change at the break, introducing Kingsley Coman and Ferland Mendy in place of Blaise Matuidi and Lucas Digne.But it made little impact as Lloris made smart saves to keep out Yilmaz and Kenan Karaman before he tipped a well-hit Mahmut Tekdemir effort over the bar.Yilmaz nearly added a third in the 86th minute before France’s woeful night was summed up when Coman was booked for simulation when trying to win a late penalty. What does it mean? Turkey seize Group H initiativeTurkey’s winning start to Euro 2020 qualifying leaves them three points ahead of France, who sit just goal difference ahead of Iceland.And while it is extremely unlikely France will fail to qualify for next year’s showpiece event, only two nations will progress from Group H.The result only increases the importance of France’s visit to Iceland, scheduled for October.Under impresses suitors with star showingA host of top English Premier League clubs have been linked with Roma winger Under and he showed exactly why with another eye-catching showing.His delivery from set-plays was consistent and he took his goal with class.Blunt attack misfires in every wayA forward line containing Giroud, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann should never be this quiet but none of the front three contributed in a meaningful way.Turkey were compact and organised, it must be said, but fans have come to expect far more from the star trio.What’s next?Both nations are in action again on Tuesday, with France travelling to Andorra for a clash against a side who have won just one competitive match since 2004.Turkey are on the road, too, and meet Iceland in Reykjavik. read morelast_img read more

DAPL developer says no January 1 deadline looming despite report on controversial

first_imgDennis WardAPTN National NewsThe company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline says there are no contractual obligations tied to the beginning of 2017.And Energy Transfer Partners expects a different take on the construction of the controversial pipeline once President Elect Donald Trump is sworn in on January 20th.Earlier this month, a report called “The High-Risk Financing Behind the Dakota Access Pipeline: A Potential Stranded Asset in the Bakken Region of North Dakota” was released.The report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and Sightline Institute states that the project has a deadline before losses will be felt.“DAPL faces a looming financial deadline,” researchers wrote. “The pipeline’s principal backer, Energy Transfer Partners, has conceded in court proceedings that is has a contractual obligation to complete the project by January 1, 2017. If it misses the deadline, companies that have committed long-term to ship oil through the pipeline at 2014 prices have the right to rescind those commitments and may well exercise that right.”And according to media sources in the United States, Sunoco Logistics Partners has announced a nearly $20 billion merger with Energy Transfer Partners.In an email to APTN, Energy Transfer Partners spokesperson Vicki Granado said is false.“There is nothing contractual tied to the January 1 date. That was an initial in-service target date. The contractual dates are further out and pose no issue to the project.”Granado said the company has no worries that investors will start pulling out of the project. The company currently has equipment on site and ready to drill under the water to complete the North Dakota portion of the four-state pipeline. The company is capable of drilling even during a harsh North Dakota winter.The company currently has equipment on site and ready to drill under the water to complete the North Dakota portion of the four-state pipeline. The company is capable of drilling even during a harsh North Dakota winter.The Army Corps of Engineers has hit the pause button on the project while it continues its discussions with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The prospect a re-route was mentioned by United States President Barack Obama. But the company says it is not interested in a reroute and has filed a lawsuit alleging there is political interference at play.The prospect a re-route was mentioned by U.S. President Barack Obama. But the company says it is not interested in a reroute and has filed a lawsuit alleging there is political interference at play.The IEEFA report also makes the case the regional oil transport infrastructure is overbuilt already and suggests DAPL is superfluous.The Dakota Access Pipeline Limited has resulted in violent clashes between heavily armed police and National Guard forces and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and thousands of Native Americans and First Nations people who have come together to support them.To date, hundreds of people have been arrested and injured during clashes with police.An eviction notice was issued by USACE for Dec. 5. The Corps then clarified it would not forcibly remove people.  That was followed by Executive Order by ND Gov calling for the camp to be evacuated.dward@aptn.calast_img read more

Over 62 turnout

first_imgNew Delhi: Around 62.5 per cent people voted in the fifth round of the national election – up from 61.76 in 2014 – that was marked by sporadic incidents in parts of Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir. This phase, the leanest with polling on 51 seats, was crucial in view of the high-profile candidates.According to the Election Commission, over 57.33 per cent of 2.47 crore eligible people cast their vote in 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, where political heavyweights like Congress’ Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani were in the fray. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange frameworkIn Rajasthan, 63.78 per cent polling was recorded in 12 seats, while it was 63.88 per cent in seven constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, 57.86 per cent five seats in Bihar and 63.72 in four seats in Jharkhand that went to polls on Monday. The voter turnout was 74.42 in seven seats in West Bengal. In Jammu and Kashmir, 64 per cent polling was recorded in Ladakh but the turnout was barely three per cent in militancy-infested Shopian and Pulwama districts in the final of the three-phase election to Anantnag constituency held amid militant threats and boycott call by separatists in Kashmir. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygenMilitants lobbed a grenade towards Rohmoo polling station and set off an explosion at another polling booth in Tral in Pulwama but no one was injured in the two incidents. The overall turnout was 8.76 per cent as against 28.54 per cent in 2014 in Anantnag where 18 candidates are in the fray including PDP president and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti. In the high profile Amethi seat, Union minister and BJP candidate Smriti Irani alleged that her rival and Congress president Rahul Gandhi was “ensuring booth capturing” and also tagged a video on Twitter in which an elderly women alleged that her hand was forcibly put on ‘panja’ (hand) election symbol of the Congress. But the Chief Electoral Officer said the matter was “examined thoroughly and found baseless”. The turnout was 53 per cent in Amethi, 53.68 per cent in Raebareli and around 53 per cent in Lucknow. The BJP had bagged 12 of the 14 seats in 2014 with the Congress winning Rae Bareli and Amethi. In Rajasthan, where polling concluded Monday, an overall turnout of 66.12 per cent in 25 seats was recorded in the two phases. An official said “minor issues related to EVMs were reported at some places” in Madhya Pradesh “but they were sorted out”. Over 8.75 crore electors were to decide the fate of 674 candidates in the fifth phase Monday. With this phase, the election is over in 424 seats and polling in the remaining 118 seats will be held on May 12 and 19.last_img read more

Ohio State baseball set for midweek home contests against Akron and Xavier

Junior pitcher Ryan Riga (44) throws the ball during a game against Siena March 14 at Bill Davis Stadium. OSU won, 8-5.Credit: Sam Harrington / Lantern photographerAfter sweeping a winless Siena team over the weekend, the Ohio State baseball team is looking to continue defending its home turf.The Buckeyes (11-6, 0-0) are preparing for their last two non-conference games — against in-state opponents Akron Tuesday and Xavier Wednesday — before kicking off their Big Ten schedule with a weekend series against Michigan State.Senior outfielder Tim Wetzel, who is hitting .417 (10-24) with runners on base, said the team is concentrated on taking things one game at a time.“One thing that is big with this year’s team is we’re just treating every game the same, whether it’s the Big Ten or a midweek game like we’ve got coming up this week. Every game is just as important as the next,” Wetzel said. “We’re not going to jump ahead to the Big Ten this weekend. We’ve got to take care of these two games first.”Coach Greg Beals said he expects his players to bring a lot of energy into both of their games this week.“I just want to see us keep the winning streak going, I want to see the quality of at-bats continue to grow, I’d like to see us hit some extra base hits. If we get some extra base hits, we usually score runs in those innings,” Beals said.Sophomore pitcher Jake Post is slated to start the game against the Zips (7-8, 0-0). After two starts and also coming out of the bullpen as a relief pitcher twice, Post is currently 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA and said he is confident heading into the game against Akron.“They look like a beatable team. If I execute my pitches and our hitters come through and we play good defense, we’ll come out with a win,” Post said. “I just want to go as deep as I can, have a good game, throw good pitches and execute to put the team in a good situation to win.”Numerous freshmen have emerged as key players for the Buckeyes in the early season. The Big Ten announced Monday that freshman pitcher Travis Lakins earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors. Lakins recorded a perfect 1.2 innings pitched in the latter game of a doubleheader with Siena Saturday after striking out a career-high five hitters and only allowing a pair of hits in 3.2 scoreless innings at No. 7 Oregon State Tuesday.Other freshmen producing for OSU include outfielder Ronnie Dawson, who is currently third in the Big Ten with a .393 batting average and leads the team with 22 hits. Freshman pitcher Adam Niemeyer struck out a career-best eight while allowing just one hit over 4.1 scoreless innings of relief against No. 9 Oregon March 7.“They’re huge, we knew that we were going to need them coming into the season big time,” Wetzel said. “The (freshmen) pitching staff has really been stepping up, (Troy) Montgomery and Dawson in the lineup have been huge, we knew that was going to be the case. We’re just excited they’re producing.”Beals said a key to succeeding in the conference is getting the younger players as much playing time as possible.“I think we’ve been able to get production from the younger guys but most importantly, we’ve got them experience and they’ve gotten a good number of at bats, so they’re going to be ready to go now that we start conference play,” Beals said.Beals added that OSU is healthy and ready to make an impact in the Big Ten when the conference portion of its schedule begins this weekend.“Physically, we’re in really good shape so as you transfer from preseason into the conference season, that’s something that’s always a concern and we’re healthy right now,” Beals said.First pitch against Akron is set for 5:05 p.m. Tuesday at Bill Davis Stadium. read more

Japanese robotics expert creates incredible transforming RC car

first_imgFalling squarely in the “shut up and take my money” category, Kenji Ishida’s transforming car will evoke a geeky tear as you watch it change from a car to a fully working robot just like you remember Optimus Prime doing back in the day. You can almost hear the classic transforming sound from the cartoon as it unfolds itself to do battle with any Decepticons that might be in the area.While the idea of a transforming, remote-controlled car is nothing new, what’s interesting about Ishida’s creation is how smooth and fast it switches between its different modes. This was accomplished by using 22 high-quality servo motors that allow precise control of the model as it moves. You especially see where these servos come into play as the robot punches and moves around its invisible foes, the lifelike motion is a bit eerie (but awesome!) and makes you look to the sky to see if Skynet is orbiting above your house.Currently living in his home country of Japan, Ishida attended the University of Indiana for a semester to study robotics after graduating from the Kanazawa Instititue of Technology. He has been working on his transforming car project for over four-years, with the current model being version eight of the process. His original idea was to develop a bot to participate in robotic slugfests against other inventors, but obviously has grown into something more as his experience has deepened over the years.Currently Ishida’s Twitter profile says that he’s seeking employment, although it has been rumored that he’s done some work with JS Robotics. There is no mention of him on its site however, so we’re not sure who has snatched up this young talent to create awesome toys to make loads of cash. We’ll be watching this one closely, version nine is supposed to release in a month or so according to Ishida and it promises to be even better that the current generation.Read more at Ishida’s blog (Japanese), via The Verge,, and Plastic Pals.last_img read more

Im dying but I want to thank the nurses Dozens write to

first_img Image: Mar 17th 2019, 12:05 AM ‘I’m dying, but I want to thank the nurses’: Dozens write to Taoiseach to support nurses’ strike A number of people wrote to Leo Varadkar during last month’s strike. We are a first world country with a third world health care service and that’s not because of the nurse’s [sic], it’s because of the inability of the government and the HSE, to run the service.‘No harder job’A dying cancer patient also blamed Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris for the “biggest failures” of the health service.Saying it might be their final opportunity to write to the Taoiseach, the individual praised the work that they had seen nurses do during their time in hospital.“I see first hand the work nurses have to do,” they wrote.“They are quite literally run off their feet. I’ve seen nurses miss out on breaks because a patient is dying or because there are a lot of admissions.I’ve seen nurses get attacked verbally. I’ve seen nurses being punched and slapped. I’ve witnessed nurses resuscitate people. To literally bring them back from death and I’ve seen nurses hold the hands of dying patients with pure love for them.“I’ve witnessed stress like I’ve never seen before as nurses do their best to keep the health service afloat. There is no harder job on this planet than nursing, in my opinion.”The individual claimed that Harris and Varadkar “looked down” on nurses and said it was a “disgrace” that the Government did not hire more to cover wards.“I’m now terminally ill,” they continued.“I’m dying. I don’t have long left in this world but I want to thank every nurse in this country who care for people who are sick and people like myself who are reaching the end of the road. Throughout my illness, you’ve been there.”Government ‘spin’Nurses themselves also wrote to the Taoiseach to complain about the Government’s stance during last month’s dispute.One accused the Government of trying to make nurses “public enemy number one” during the strike.“The government spin on how much nurses earn is ridiculous,” they wrote.I struggle every month to pay my mortgage, credit union, car, electricity, oil, phone bill and food shop – excluding all the extras of kids and sports.“I earned more as a student… than I do now as a nurse.” Paramedics with the Psychiatric Nurses Association stage a ten-hour strike at the station in Dublin Source: Rollingnews.ieAnother told the Taoiseach that his comments about the dispute were “flippant, repetitive and archaic”, while another called Varadkar and his Cabinet colleagues “bullies”.“I’ve worked in the most dangerous, understaffed conditions imaginable,” they wrote.“I have cried more times in that job than I care to admit, I have gone home after a shift and had sleep paralysis dreaming about my patients… I demand you explain why I’m not worth it.”Two local authorities – Sligo County Council and Galway County Council – also wrote to the office of the Taoiseach, after passing motions in support of the nurses at their monthly meetings.All correspondence was released to under the Freedom of Information Act. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Sunday 17 Mar 2019, 12:05 AM Image: By Stephen McDermottcenter_img 18,443 Views DYING CANCER PATIENTS, students and Fine Gael voters were among those who wrote to Leo Varadkar to express support for nurses during last month’s strike.Correspondence to the Taoiseach’s office seen by reveals some extent of the public support for the nurses during the industrial dispute.Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) went on general strike for a number of days in February, protesting against what they felt was a recruitment and retention crisis in the sector.The government initially refused to accept the unions’ demands for wage increases for nurses, before the Labour Court intervened to avert further strikes on 11 February.The INMO suspended further plans to strike over three days last month ahead of negotiations with the government on a new contract for nurses.However, those talks were referred back to the Labour Court this week, when the INMO branded the government’s proposals “deeply disappointing”.The union’s executive council is expected to meet again later this month to discuss the issue further.‘Dismissive attitude’During the strike, a number of individuals wrote to Varadkar to question why nurses were not being given a pay rise despite politicians receiving their own boost under the Public Service Stability Agreement.“Stop giving yourself and your fellow members pay increases, then we wouldn’t have a threat of a strike by our nurses,” one person wrote.Another asked if the Taoiseach had considered how hospitals would function without nurses, saying that Varadkar’s “dismissive attitude” showed that he had not grasped the situation.“It appears that this reality has not registered with you… I can assure you Taoiseach, the public is not impressed,” they said. A sign from the picket line outside Our Lady’s Children hospital at Crumlin in Dublin Source: Rollingnews.ieOne Fine Gael voter hit out at the Taoiseach for suggesting that nurses should not be allowed to take Christmas holidays in the first week of the year, claiming that it was the government’s fault that the health service was not functioning properly.“This strike could have been avoided…” they wrote. 14 Comments Short URL Share254 Tweet Email last_img read more

Ciara Hugh Liam Maura Met Éireann has released this years list of

first_img 33,681 Views Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Friday 6 Sep 2019, 12:12 AM Love Island star Maura Higgins, who is one of those who shares her name with a storm this year Source: SIPA USA/PA ImagesMET ÉIREANN HAS released its list of storm names for 2019/2020, It’s the fifth year that Met Éireann has partnered with the UK Met Office as part of the ‘Name our Storms’ scheme, which aims to raise awareness of severe weather before it hits.For the first time, both forecasters will also be joined by their Dutch counterparts at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), adding some continental colour to this year’s list.A storm is named by a forecaster when orange or red level winds are expected to impact over a wide land area. However, orange or red level gusts can occur in exposed areas without the event being named.The names are chosen based on submissions by the public, and Met Éireann issued its call-out for this year’s names a number of weeks ago.Storms beginning with the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are not used in order to comply with international storm naming conventions, while controversial names – such as those of public figures – are not included either.This year, the first storm will be female and named Atiyah, while the second storm will be male and named Brendan, following the alternating male-female pattern established by the US National Hurricane Center in the 1970s.Meteorologist Gerard Fleming explained the thinking behind the storm naming system when he announced the new plan back in 2014.Here’s the full list of this year’s names: Source: Met ÉireannEvelyn Cusack, the head of forecasting at Met Éireann and Chair of the European Storm Naming Group, said that the naming system was clear and authoritative and prompted people to take action to prevent harm to themselves and their property.“We are overwhelmed with the huge response to our public call for storm names and please don’t be too disappointed if your name hasn’t been used as you will get another chance next year,” she added.Last September, Storm Ali hit Ireland and cut power to thousands of homes and destroyed buildings. Two people were killed during the storm, which also saw the cancellation of the second day of the National Ploughing Championships. Short URL 34 Comments Share11 Tweet Email4 By Stephen McDermott Ciara, Hugh, Liam, Maura: Met Éireann has released this year’s list of winter storm names It’s the fifth year that the forecaster will take part in the ‘Name Our Storms’ scheme. Sep 6th 2019, 12:13 AM last_img read more

Allergie le pollen de bouleau déclenche lalerte rouge sur tout le territoire

first_imgAllergie : le pollen de bouleau déclenche l’alerte rouge sur tout le territoireSelon le Réseau national de Surveillance aérobiologique (RNSA), avec l’arrivée du printemps et des températures plus douces, la teneur de l’air en pollen de bouleau va connaitre une forte hausse en France, tout comme, certainement, les allergies qui l’accompagnent.Si la météo a été mitigée jusqu’ici, la saison tant redoutée par les allergiques a fini par arriver. Et les pollens sont bel et bien au rendez-vous. Pour preuve, l’alerte tout juste émise par le Réseau national de surveillance aérobiologique (RNSA) qui a mis en garde contre une forte hausse de la teneur de l’air en pollen de bouleau.À lire aussiAntihistaminique : qu’est-ce que c’est ? A quoi ça sert ?Les pollens de bouleau “seront présents sur l’ensemble du territoire et provoqueront un risque allergique élevé à très élevé”, a indiqué le RNSA dans son bulletin hebdomadaire. Bien que les pluies annoncées en début de semaine donnent “un léger répit” aux allergiques (10 à 20% de la population), les pollens effectueront un retour “en force une fois les nuages dissipés”, prévoit le RNSA. “Un record absolu pour cette semaine a été établi par le site de Limoges qui comptabilise en une seule journée plus de 1000 grains/m3 d’air de pollens de bouleau, les Limousins ne peuvent faire autrement que de subir”, a encore ajouté le réseau.Le pollen de bouleau fait partie des plus allergisants (potentiel à 5). Mais selon l’association spécialisée qui dispose d’un réseau national de 77 capteurs pour réaliser ses prévisions, les pollens de peuplier, de charme et de saule (avec un “faible” risque allergique) seront également de la partie. Ceux de frêne présentent quant à eux un risque “moyen”. Pour ce qui est des pollens de chêne, très allergisants, ils seront surtout présents sur la côte atlantique de Bordeaux à Bayonne. Ceux de platane, eux, se retrouveront sur tout le sud de l’Hexagone. Néanmoins, les uns comme les autres auront tendance à s’imposer sur l’ensemble du territoire. Les pollens de graminées (parmi les plus allergisants) resteront encore faiblement présents dans l’air cette semaine. Le RSNA conseille à tous les allergiques de suivre impérativement leur traitement s’ils en ont un.Le 23 avril 2013 à 15:31 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

New event to recycle old pumpkins

first_img November 1, 2018 KUSI Newsroom New event to recycle old pumpkins KUSI Newsroom, Posted: November 1, 2018 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Councilman Chris Cate and Environmental Services Department are asking people to go green this Halloween by hosting the First-Ever Pumpkin Recycling Event.There will be two places where people can drop off their pumpkins on Friday.The locations are at North Clairemont Recreation Center and Mira Mesa Senior Center from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.The pumpkins must be clean and unpainted. No candles, trash, or décor. Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Petersburg land selection committee narrows down choices

first_imgA committee of Petersburg residents is narrowing down its list of land the new borough might select from the state. That committee met this month and focused on economic development lands like rock pits, boat ramps and parcels that could be used for environmental mitigation.The borough is expecting to be able to take ownership of over 1,300 acres of state land in the borough. Specifically the borough is allowed to select state land that hasn’t already been granted to the university, mental health authority, Southeast state forest or other designations. The pool of available parcels is over 18,000 acres.Petersburg’s land selection committee is tasked with recommending which parcels the borough should choose.“Well we probably are gonna wanna take things piece meal, little chunk of this, little chunk of that,” said committee chair Rick Braun during a meeting this week. “Because we have such a tiny little bit of land that they’re gonna give us. We kinda need to be able to take the choicest bits out of the ones that we want.”A couple things have happened since the committee last met. The state supreme court ruled on the borough boundaries in December, so the committee now knows for sure the state land that can be selected.Also consultants have finished drafting a comprehensive plan, which makes some recommendations for criteria for selecting the state land.The committee approved that criteria which spells out that lands should have good access and economic development potential.Ron Buschmann suggested the borough should not be selecting timber lands.“Should we just drop out when we do this, drop out forest harvest land?” Buschmann asked, adding “From the standpoint that returns are too low. Once you harvest it, it’s 75 years before you can harvest it again and they’re controversial. Why get in the middle of it? It’s low value land.”Other committee members agreed with that strategy. They were interested in sites with existing gravel or rock quarries.“Well one thing we know for sure that we need to select is, for the future, is a rock quarry,” said Mike Bangs. “And I think finding that land that is being offered would be kinda like a priority we should look at.”One available site is in Thomas Bay. Other existing rock pits on state land are near Frederick Point and Cabin Creek. The committee expressed interest in those. They also were interest in selecting lands on southern Mitkof Island around Olsen’s log dump and the state’s mothballed ferry terminal at 25 mile of Mitkof Highway.“That Olsen’s log dump peninsula, that’s a big filled in area,” said Braun. “That’s already being used.”“It’s got a boat launch,” agreed Bangs. ”“To me that’d be an ideal place to put in another boat launch,” Braun. “A good boat launch, right there.”“It gets used a lot,” Bangs said.“The only thing is, do we want to select it with the idea that we would build this boat launch?” Buschmann asked.“No, but in the future we would already own the property,” Braun responded. “And then you could have, it’s potential for commercial development around the boat launch.”Committee members were also interested in the Wilson Islands and Summit Island, just off the southeast Mitkof Island shoreline and a parcel around the Woodpecker Cove boat ramp on the southwest corner of Mitkof. Other land that drew interest was at Falls Creek on western Mitkof.The borough might also select land for could be used to help land owners developing other parcels and needing a U.S. Army Corps wetlands permit.One of the recommendations in the draft comprehensive plan is to have bank of borough land that could be set aside to compensate for wetlands mitigation, basically off-setting other developed lands and fulfilling Corps requirements. Such a mitigation land pool could be used to help private land owners in the borough hoping to develop their property.Bangs said that private land owners now are forced to set aside some of their own property.“For developing it, you put in a pad and a drive way and all of a sudden you can’t do anything with this part of your lot,” he said. “And they said a lot of people aren’t developing their property because of it.”“I don’t think that’s an insurmountable problem,” said Braun. “I think that can be dealt with.”Committee member Dave Kensigner wanted to select land on Kupreanof Island near Beecher Pass as potential mitigation lands. Kensigner owns land in that area. He thought it would make a good argument to the state to increase the borough’s land selection amount.“That would be a good excuse to go to the state and say we wanna use this for mitigation land purposes, for future mitigation of Army Corps land purposes,” Kensinger said. “Cause it really doesn’t have a lot of value to the University anyway.”The committee is hoping the borough will ask for legislative help to increase the selection amount.Other lands generated no interest from the committee, including parcels on the shoreline on the mainland at Cape Fanshaw, on Mitkof Island at Ideal Cove, along with parcels near the city of Kupreanof.The committee did not finalize its recommendations but is awaiting more information on the potential selections.last_img read more

Kaushal Manda tells his fans that his wife is recovering from surgery

first_imgKaushal Manda with his wife Neelima in the press meetScreenshot of YouTube videoKaushal Manda who grew as one of the most-trailed celebrities after his appearance in Bigg Boss Telugu 2 had made an announcement that his wife Neelima Kaushal is diagnosed with cancer, had updated that his wife underwent surgery and is recovering quite well.”Because of all your love and God’s blessings Neelima’s surgery went successfully. The tumour has been removed and the treatment will start soon. Thank you all for the love and support”, Kaushal wrote sharing a picture of Neelima on the hospital bed post surgery.Earlier, Kaushal shared an update regarding his wife’s condition and made an announcement regarding her surgery. Kaushal Manda also wrote an emotional note which says, “My wife, my mother half- Neelima has been there in my life since the past eight years. She’s there with me through everything I’ve been through- the good and the bad. She’s my every breathe and has been there through every step and decision”, Kaushal wrote about Neelima.Neelima Kaushal came into public scenario after Kaushal appeared on the controversial show Bigg Boss Telugu 2. Neelima played a great role in Kaushal’s win during the Bigg Boss season. During a recent controversy, Kaushal made an announcement in front of the media that his wife is diagnosed with cancer. Kaushal’s announcements regarding his wife Neelima’s health has drawn mixed responses. After the recent controversies, Kaushal has been called a sympathy-gainer and other names. Neelima’s name was dragged in the middle of the controversies too.Whatever it is, we are happy that Neelima Kaushal is recovering. We appreciate her fighting spirit.last_img read more

Sleep disorders may increase risk of stroke

first_imgThe findings suggest that people who have had a stroke or a mini-stroke, called a transient ischemic attack, be screened for sleep disorders. “Although sleep disorders are common after a stroke, very few stroke patients are tested for them,” said study author Dirk Hermann from University Hospital Essen in Germany. “The results of our review show that should change, as people with sleep disorders may be more likely to have another stroke or other negative outcomes than people without sleep problems, such as having to go to a nursing home after leaving the hospital,” Hermann noted. The findings, published online in the journal Neurology, are based on a literature review. For the literature review, the researchers examined dozens of studies that looked at the link between sleep disturbances and stroke. Sleep disorders generally fall into two categories – sleep breathing problems and sleep-wake disorders. Sleep breathing problems like sleep apnea disrupt breathing while asleep. Sleep-wake disorders like insomnia and restless leg syndrome affect the amount of time spent asleep.The review found evidence linking sleep breathing problems with stroke risk and recovery. Sleep-wake disorders may also increase stroke risk and harm recovery, although there is less evidence to prove so, the researchers said.last_img read more

If your PC does not turn on anymore try this

first_imgIf your PC does not turn on anymore, try this by Martin Brinkmann on April 22, 2016 in Tutorials – Last Update: June 18, 2019 – 23 commentsI’m not a hardware guy. While I’m capable of building a PC from scratch by selecting compatible components and putting it all together, I’m only interested in hardware when I’m about to build a new PC and not the other time of the year.One of the first things I do each morning is to power on a PC. Imagine my surprise when my PC would not boot at all.This guide provides you with tips that may help you fix the not turning on issue on your own. Please note though that it won’t provide a 100% surefire way of fixing things as there is none.Instead, we are going to take a look at basic diagnostic options that may help you understand what is happening. Often, it is a basic issue that is easily fixed even if you have no idea about components that computers use to function.InspectionAlso a good time to clean the PC from dust.Instead of panicking right away, take a look at your PC and the connected components. In particular, check the following:Do other electronic devices work. If power is out completely, those won’t work as well.Check the power connection to the PC. Make sure the cable is not lose. Also, make sure the power connection is working by testing it with another electronic device.PCs have a power on/off switch on the back usually. Make sure the switch is in the on position.Check if the PC monitor has power, and that its connection to the PC is firm in place.Do you hear fans and the PC powering up when you turn it on?Check the power and reset buttons at the front. Do they appear stuck or out of place?After inspecting the PC externally, it is time to open it up if the above suggestions do not fix the issue. While I’d suggest you turn off the power before you do so, you may get important clues why something is not working if you keep the power on for a moment longer. Just make sure you don’t touch anything hardware related after you open the PC while it is turned on.Open the left side of the PC panel. You may need a screwdriver for this or can use your hands to do so depending on the case used.The motherboard indicates with an LED light usually if it gets power. If you don’t see any light there, it can mean that cables are not connected properly anymore, or that the power supply or motherboard are dead.Try hitting the on switch again. Do you hear fans starting to work inside the PC? Or beeping sounds that come from the internal speaker system?If you hear fans starting, you know that the motherboard is getting power. Beeping sounds indicate issues and you can check out the codes here on this page.Please remove the power connector from the PC and switch the power supply state to off before you continue.Once you have done so, it is time to check the connecting cables. As far as components are concerned, the most important ones are the power supply unit at the back that supplies power to the system, the motherboard, the processor, the video card, and memory.I suggest you check all cables and make sure they are firmly in place. If you notice a lose cable, it may very well be the reason why the PC did not turn on.Also, check that memory and the video card are connected properly.The power on button was stuck on the PC that would not boot this morning. All I had to do was put it in the right place to have the system boot up again without any further issues.Once you are done with the checking, plug the power cord back in and flip the power switch back to on. Try starting the PC and monitor what is happening.What if those methods did not fix the issue?One thing you can try is remove any component that is not required to run the PC. This means external devices, all but one memory module, internal cards (not the video card obviously).Best option here is to remove everything at once, and remember where each component went, to see if the PC starts up afterwards. If it does, add each component one by one to the machine again and test if it caused the issue.If that does not work, then you may want to test other components if you have them around. You may not have a spare power supply unit, motherboard or cpu though, and even if you do, may not be comfortable testing the system on your own.Your best bet then is to ask a friend for help if you know someone who is proficient in these things, or take your PC to a repair shop to get it looked at there.SummaryArticle NameIf your PC does not turn on anymore, try thisDescriptionTry the following, no computer science degree required fixes, if your PC does not turn on anymore when you hit the power switch.Author Martin BrinkmannPublisher Ghacks Technology NewsLogo Advertisementlast_img read more

Cozumel buggy driver suspended after failing antidoping test

first_imgMiguel González, director of Municipal Transport says that doping tests are regularly requested of tourist providers. He says this time, an unannounced anti-doping test was requested by 22 drivers, one of which tested positive. González says that according to regulations, the horse and carriage buggy driver has been temporarily suspended from driving after he tested positive. He says the driver will be fined and must spend at least three months in rehabilitation to continue operating. Cozumel, Q.R. — A man has been suspended from his tourist-service job after failing an anti-doping test.center_img He explained that the testing is regular, adding that there are 35 groups of drivers between Uniper and Union of Taxi Drivers that offer services to the public. The testing is performed to ensure that all forms of public transport are safe. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)last_img read more

helloworld for business begins

first_imgExisting Travelscene Corporate and JTN Business Select agents, as well as non-member agencies, can join helloworld for business. JTG has combined the strengths of Travelscene Corporate and JTN Business Select to represent the next generation of corporate travel in Australia, according to JTG head of associate networks David Padman.   “helloworld for business embraces that independence and the individual approaches of our agencies, while also maximising the value, support and financial reward they receive from being part of one of the most significant travel organisations in the region,” Mr Padman said. Source = ETB News: P.T. The helloworld retail brand was launched earlier this year in July 2013. Jetset Travelworld Group (JTG) has formed “Australia’s largest independent premium network of corporate travel experts”, with the launch of helloworld for business. “The interest in helloworld for business from our corporate agents and from the wider industry has been exceptional,” Mr Padman said. Clients will also gain exclusive access to the helloworld Consumer Protection Policy.  helloworld for business’ core focus will be to provide purchasing advantages for agents, as well as business and systems support, while facilitating a network of like-minded corporate contacts.last_img read more

The Personal Touch Wins the Day

first_imgThe Personal Touch Wins the DayI have recently had two equally engaging yet opposing interactions , both very applicable to travel.The second one was about data . A little bit dry.The first one was a handwritten thank you card that arrived in the post.It came from Movember. I was captain of my #DoJoMo team, we raised a stack of cash. I got the card and posted it to acknowledge all of the other guys and girls who had participated. I had a pink moustahce for a week.A few of them then wrote back to talk about their own customised, personal, hand written notes. Some quick maths said lots of these cards had been sent. I looked closely at my card with a much more analytical eye. It was legit.Movember have written tens of thousands of these cards. By hand. then posted them. roomsXML connect today here roomsXML.comdiscover more here Connect Source = roomsXMLcenter_img People versus machines – the personal touchBack to the “travel agent versus big online travel agency” discussion. Travel agents can be personal. Websites cannot. A website might be able to analyse your data, but it cannot pick up on the nuances of your body language, what you really want and what you really need. It can’t share a laugh with you. It can’t dream with you.Agents need to leverage the fact they can apply personal touch over the top of what a machine can deliver.Why does it work?When someone takes the opportunity to write something by hand, it says a whole lot more. They’ve actually pulled out a pen, sat down, devoted some time and thought about it. Lets them know that you value them.So how do you make this work in your day-to-day business?Personalization into actionWe live in a process world. It’s incredibly time efficient to put together electronic itineraries. There is just no way around it. It’s a numbers game, we only have so many hours in the day and we need to get things done as quickly as possible.But we also do our job to make money, on this job and to stimulate the next job. In the perfect world we generate more business simply by doing a fantastic job.How about handwriting your Christmas cards. I know it really peeves my staff when we send out nearly 1000 these but I also know that our customers love it.  We rely on them to pay our staff, our rent, buy food. So they really matter!So when you send that itinerary,  leave a space so you can write your own little smudged message.Under personalized communication goes wrongBack to the analytics conference, these are the emails I received from the system. Sorry did I say system, I meant “Laura” .Dear Mark…. Laura here… Would you be interested in an exciting…..Dear Mark….. Laura again…. Just a reminder that if you want to register….Dear Mark…. Thank you for your registration…..Dear Mark…. I just want to personally thank you for registering and here is your tax invoice….Dear Mark…. If you want to check in fast tomorrow just present this barcode and your ticket will automatically be issued…Dear Mark… I just want to personally thank you for coming along…..When I arrived at the hotel for the convention the automated system had broken down.They were handwriting our name cards.The personal interaction was fantastic.last_img read more

NAHB Improving Market Index Reaches Alltime High

first_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing NAHB Improving Market Index Reaches All-time High September 9, 2013 396 Views Sharecenter_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Home Prices Housing Permits Investors Jobs Lenders & Servicers National Association of Home Builders Processing Service Providers 2013-09-09 Krista Franks Brock The “”National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index””: reached its highest level on record in September with a little more than 80 percent of markets qualifying as “”improving.”” [IMAGE]The index, released Monday, tracks 361 metropolitan areas for improvement in housing permits, employment, and house prices. Markets have to demonstrate improvement in all three areas for six consecutive months to make it on the list. Of the 291 markets that made it onto the latest Improving Markets Index, 242 were repeats from the previous month, and 49 were new to the list. Five markets dropped off the list over the past month. Those markets include Kankakee, Illinois; Burlington, North Carolina; Jacksonville, North Carolina; Winston, North Carolina; and Danville, Virginia.[COLUMN_BREAK]””While there is still plenty of room for growth, this is an excellent indication of how the housing recovery has begun to take hold across more geographical areas,”” “”said Rick Judson, chairman of the NAHB and a home builder from Charlotte, North Carolina. The NAHB pointed out that markets new to the index this month spanned several regions of the country, including such metros as Macon, Georgia; St. Cloud Minnesota; Brownsville, Texas; Spokane, Washington; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, NAHB’s chief economist, David Crowe, pointed out that “”[t]he dramatic increase in markets qualifying for the IMI in September was partly due to a recent improvement in the way that Freddie Mac measures home prices.”” NAHB relies on Freddie Mac’s housing data for its index. “”Even so, the broadened list of metros on the IMI continues to demonstrate the slow but steady gains that individual housing markets are making to bolster the national outlook,”” he added. In fact, all 50 states have at least one county represented on the index, and 23 states have at least one new market on the index this month. Salinas, California, outranks all other metros on the index in terms of permit growth from its trough with a 44.2 percent rise. Phoenix, Arizona, ranked highest for price growth with a 41.5 percent increase from its trough. Midland, Texas, has experienced the greatest employment growth of any market on the index–a 33.5 percent rise from the market trough.last_img read more