Canadas wireless prices justified even if high by world standards think tank

first_imgTORONTO – Canadians like to complain about paying some of the world’s highest wireless prices, but a Montreal Economic Institute report says they should also acknowledge the cost of having some of the world’s most advanced networks.“Yes, we pay more. But we get a lot more. That’s what I’d like people to take into consideration when they complain about their prices,” author Martin Masse said in an interview before the report’s publication on Tuesday.His 40-page report says Canadian wireless carriers are among the biggest investors in network infrastructure “however one calculates it: per connection, per subscriber, per capita, or as a percentage of their revenue.”The benefit, it adds, is that Canadian carriers are consistently ranked among the fastest in the world, citing statistics from telecom equipment maker Cisco and Open Signal, which measure networks in various countries.The Montreal Economic Institute, which takes an anti-regulatory stance, receives some funding from the telecommunications industry players but says it makes its choices independently.The study comes as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is in the midst of requiring Rogers, Bell and Telus to add a basic, data-only wireless service to their product lineup.Rogers has proposed a $25 per month plan with 400 megabytes of data at 4G speeds. Bell and Telus have suggested 500 MB of data at LTE speeds for $30 per month.Katy Anderson of Open Media, an advocacy group that pushes for lower-cost telecommunications services, said “at the end of the day, we know that so many Canadians pay way too much for their cellphone services.”She pointed to a short-lived price war last December, when Rogers, Telus and Bell offered heavily discounted plans with 10 gigabytes of data for $60 per month.“I think it just shows you that if one gives a cheaper option, they’ll all go that way. Then, on the other hand, once they start to raise their prices we see that the companies tend to raise their prices (to be) pretty similar.John Lawford of the Public Interest Advocacy Group, which also pushes for consumer-friendly telecom policies, said that countries like Finland and South Korea also have good networks but at lower prices than Canada’s.He adds that regions within Canada that have a “strong” fourth carrier enjoy average discounts of between seven and 25 per cent than those without.Masse said he doesn’t think Canada should follow Europe’s lead, or even the United States, in emphasizing low prices over investments on advanced fourth-generation and fifth-generation networks.“In five years, when we have our 5G networks deployed here . . . in Europe they will still pay low prices for crappy services and no 5G, or years behind us in deploying 5G, which will have an impact on their whole economy.“We all want to pay less. But is this what we want?”Independent consultant Mark H. Goldberg, who organizes the annual Canadian Telecom Summit, said in an email that he agrees that a focus on price alone doesn’t make sense with something as complex as wireless.“We are still seeing hundreds of thousands of new customers each quarter, which seems to indicate that Canadians are still seeing value and getting their first phones,” Goldberg said. “I think that is an encouraging signal.”Companies in this story: (TSX:RCI.B, TSX:BCE, TSX:T, TSX:SJR.B)last_img read more

Morneau expects economic positivity to continue despite weak trade numbers

TORONTO — Finance Minister Bill Morneau expects Canada’s “positive economic situation” to continue for the coming quarters even as the country’s latest export figures exhibit signs of weakness.The minister met with private sector economists in Toronto on Thursday morning ahead of his fall economic update, which Morneau said would be released in the coming weeks.He said the “consensus” among the 10 economists in the room was the “economic situation we find ourselves in is better than we might have expected just not that long ago.”“My sense is we will continue to have a positive economic situation in the coming quarters, and obviously the longer term,” Morneau said.His comments came as August statistics show the country’s trade deficit widened to $3.4 billion — almost a billion dollars more than expected — compared to a $3.0 billion deficit in July. Overall exports declined for the third consecutive month, down 1.0 per cent to hit $43.6 billion.The Canadian economy has been unexpectedly strong for the first half of this year — with second quarter growth at 4.5 per cent — prompting the Bank of Canada to raise its key interest rate twice this summer.But the latest round of trade data “adds to the evidence that the outsized outperformance of the economy over the last year is coming to an end,” said Nathan Janzen, a senior economist with the Royal Bank of Canada, in a note to clients on Thursday.“It also, however, does not alter our expectation that growth will still remain at an ‘above-potential’ pace and — with the economy probably already quite close to capacity limits — that further gradual Bank of Canada interest rate hikes will be warranted,” Janzen wrote.CIBC Economics, however, expects the central bank’s “monitoring” of the economy to translate into a pause in interest rate hikes.“Exports have looked very soft, and are a reason why we are forecasting a more muted growth picture in the second half of the year,” it said in a note Thursday. “That should keep Governor Poloz using a more gentle hand on interest rate hikes going forward.”Exporters should get some assistance from the pullback in the loonie since September.Morneau said Thursday the weaker dollar would be “helpful” for exporters.“There is positive opportunity for (exporters), and the broader economic trends would lead me to conclude that we have a positive future.”On Thursday, Scotiabank released its latest economic forecasts, pointing to 3.1 per cent GDP growth for 2017 and 2.0 per cent in 2018 — both unchanged from September but revised upwards since July. Scotiabank also put out its first GDP growth forecast for 2019, pegged at 1.5 per cent.Craig Alexander, an economist with the Conference Board of Canada who was among those who met with Minister Morneau, says the pace of growth the country has enjoyed is not sustainable. It will moderate going forward as the slack in the economy is used up, he said.Alexander also pointed to some downside risks such as the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and geopolitical risks including Brexit.Still, the conference board’s economic growth forecasts have been revised upwards to 3.1 per cent for this year, 2 per cent in 2018 and 1.7 per cent by 2019, he said.“The base case forecast is for a healthy Canadian economy over the next couple of years,” Alexander said. “But recognizing that the pace of growth is going to slow… it is slowing to a healthy pace of growth.” read more

Carbon County Jail Bookings September 916


This is the damage a bird can do hitting a 747 midflight

first_imgAVIATION PHOTOGRAPHER David Davis took this picture of a Cathay Pacific 747 after the plane experienced what pilots might describe as a “bird strike”.Sometimes, as with the US Airways plane that was forced to land on the Hudson several years ago after a flock Canada geese flew into its engines, these strikes can cause catastrophic damage to the aircraft.In other cases, the damage is less severe — except to the bird(s).This 747 apparently hit a bird squarely on its nose cone. The plane survived. The bird presumably didn’t. But it made quite a dent.via DavidSDavis71/FlickrFor more of David Davis’s aviation photography, please visit his Flickr photostream.- Henry BlodgetPigeons force Aer Lingus flight to abandon trip to London>Pigeon v Plane: The costly battle to keep the airspace bird-free>last_img read more

Confirmed Diet soft drinks do actually help people lose weight

first_imgA STUDY PUBLISHED today confirms that drinking diet beverages does actually help people lose weight.James Hill, executive director of the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, and one of the authors of the study, said the research directly counters the myths in recent years that suggest the opposite effect. People in the study consuming the diet drinks actually lost more weight than those who were drinking water.The 12-week clinical study, of 303 participants, which was funded by the drinks industry, is the first prospective, randomised trial to directly compare the effects of water and diet beverages on weight loss within a structured diet and physical activity plan. It found that participants who consumed these diet drinks lost an average of 13 pounds – 44 per cent more than the control group, which lost an average of nine pounds.In addition to the weight loss, the diet beverage group also: Reported feeling significantly less hungry;Showed significantly greater improvements in serum levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) — the so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol;Saw a significant reduction in serum triglycerides.Both diet soda and water groups saw reductions in waist circumference, and blood pressure.“There’s so much misinformation about diet beverages that isn’t based on studies designed to test cause and effect, especially on the internet,” said John C. Peters, co-author of the study and the chief strategy officer of the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. “This research allows dieters to feel confident that low- and no-calorie sweetened beverages can play an important and helpful role as part of an effective and comprehensive weight loss strategy.”Read the study in full here.Read: Drinking two glasses of fruit juice a day is actually pretty bad for you>Read: This formula has the potential to change what the world considers to be “food”>last_img read more

Otaries de Californie deux petites femelles orphelines recueillies par le zoo de

first_imgOtaries de Californie : deux petites femelles orphelines recueillies par le zoo de Chicago, en imagesÉtats-Unis – Deux jeunes otaries abandonnées par leur mère au mois de juin ont été secourues par plusieurs organismes spécialisés, avant de trouver un nouveau foyer au zoo de Brookfield, près de Chicago.Faute de pouvoir être réintroduites dans leur milieu naturel, deux petites otaries de Californie femelles, abandonnées après la naissance par leur mère près de San-Francisco, ont été confiées au zoo de Brookfield, géré par la société zoologique de Chicago. Les deux jeunes animaux auront droit à une période d’acclimatation de plusieurs semaines dans leur nouvel environnement et avec leurs congénères déjà présents au zoo, avant d’être présentés au public. Encore nourries au biberon, les deux petites sont déjà pleines de curiosité et d’exubérance.À lire aussiÎle kangourou : les otaries déciment les manchots pygméesRecueillis tout d’abord par le personnel du Centre pour les mammifères marins de Sausalito (Californie), puis transférés au parc d’attraction Six Flags, les animaux ont été suivis et choyés par une spécialiste déléguée par le zoo de Brookfield, où ils ont finalement été conduits. Une collaboration entre différents organismes, qui a permis de sauver les deux orphelins et accessoirement, d’apporter un lot de gènes neufs au plan de gestion des populations de l’association des zoos et aquariums (PMP), qui gère le maintien des populations d’animaux captifs.Les scientifiques ont observé une corrélation entre les abandons de nouveaux-nés par les lions de mer femelles et les épisodes du courant chaud El Nino, qui éloigne des côtes sardines et anchois, privant ainsi les otaries, surtout les jeunes et les femelles gravides, de leurs proies habituelles. Les mères, trop affaiblies pour gagner les îlots isolés où elles mettent bas habituellement et pour allaiter leur progéniture, l’abandonnent où elle peuvent pour gagner des zones plus accueillantes.   Découvrir les deux jeunes otaries en images : 7 septembre 2010 à 16:42 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

Marée noire un oléoduc déverse des litres de pétrole dans une rivière

first_imgMarée noire : un oléoduc déverse des litres de pétrole dans une rivière d’AmazonieLa rupture d’un oléoduc de la compagnie pétrolière équatorienne Petrocuador a causé une véritable marée noire dans la rivière Napo, affluente de l’Amazone. Les autorités tentent actuellement de réguler la situation. Le danger demeure cependant pour les populations vivant aux abords du fleuve, notamment les groupes indigènes. Cela fait maintenant une semaine que le gouvernement équatorien a annoncé le désastre mais la situation est loin de s’arranger. il y a peu, un oléoduc appartenant à la compagnie pétrolière de Petroecuador s’est rompu et a déversé quelque 10.000 barils sur les 309.000 qu’il transitent tous les jours. La catastrophe se serait produite dans la rivière Napo, affluente de l’Amazone, contaminant ainsi plusieurs régions de l’Equateur mais aussi du Pérou que le cours d’eau baigne également.Aujourd’hui, les autorités péruviennes tentent de limiter les dégâts et de nombreux avions survolent la région afin d’évaluer l’ampleur du désastre. Le nettoyage de l’eau est en cours et des barrages flottant censés empêcher la propagation des nappes de pétrole ont été mis en place. Des produits absorbants ont également été dissous dans l’eau afin de réduire les taches blanches visibles à sa surface et signalée par les riverains. De son côté, le Brésil situé plusieurs centaines de miles en aval, a mis sa marine en état d’alerte et a offert une assistance technique. “Le Brésil a offert de l’aide à l’Équateur et au Pérou pour soutenir le travail de confinement et la dispersion de la nappe de pétrole dans les deux pays”, a déclaré le ministère des Affaires étrangères dans un communiqué. Le ministre de l’Environnement du Pérou, Manuel Pulgar Vidal a jugé lui que la marée noire était un “problème très grave”. Un problème sanitaireD’après les informations dévoilées, la rupture de l’oléoduc serait due à un glissement de terrain près de la zone d’activité du volcan Reventador. Bien que la nappe reste moins étendue que dans de précédentes marées noires, ces conséquences n’en demeurent pas moins importantes. Suite à l’accident, plus de 12.000 personnes se retrouveraient aujourd’hui privées d’eau potable sans compter les tribus indigènes des alentours. “On compte 32 communautés indigènes des environs du fleuve Napo touchées par les résidus de pétrole dans la région de Loreto” annonce le ministre Manuel Pulgar Vidal. En effet, nombreux sont les autochtones à vivre aux abords du fleuves et à dépendre des ressources de l’Amazonie. Pour leur venir en aide, le gouvernement du Pérou a commencé à distribuer des kits de “potabilisation” de l’eau ainsi que de la nourriture. À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Selon les médias locaux, de l’eau potable a également dû être apportée aux habitants qui auraient pour l’heure vu arriver pas moins de 65 camions-citernes. Petroecuador a pour sa part suspendu toutes les opérations jusqu’à mercredi et une réunion à l’Ambassade péruvienne de Quito s’est tenue en présence de nombreuses personnalités du gouvernement d’Equateur et du Pérou. Une compagnie pétrolière face aux controverses Créée en 1989, Petroecuador est la compagnie pétrolière nationale de l’Equateur (plus petit pays membre de l’Organisation des pays exportateurs de pétrole – OPEP). Elle dispose de trois raffineries et se divise également en trois activités de production, d’industrie et de commercialisation. Elle fait régulièrement face à de grandes controverses environnementales, sociales et culturelles en rapport aux missions d’explorations qu’elle mène près des populations. Des controverses et critiques que ne manquera pas de raviver cet incident qui peine à être contenu. Le 12 juin 2013 à 18:54 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Dow industrials drop another 1000 points

first_imgNEW YORK — The Dow Jones industrials plunged more than 1,000 points for the second time this week as a sell-off in the stock market deepened.The weeklong rout marks a stark turnabout in investors’ mood from just two weeks ago, when indexes set their latest record highs. The Dow and the Standard & Poor’s 500 are now down 10 percent since then, known on Wall Street as a “correction.”“In January we talked about fear of missing out. What we have now is what I call fear of getting caught,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager with Globalt Investments.The market began falling in the first few minutes of trading and the pace of the declines got worse as the day wore on. Many of the companies that rose the most over the last year have borne the brunt of the selling. Facebook and Boeing have both fallen sharply.A hint of rising inflation and rising rates last week was all it took to set off a cascade of investor angst.After huge gains in the first weeks of this year, stocks started to tumble last Friday after the Labor Department said workers’ wages grew at a fast rate in January.last_img read more

Apple to limit thirdparty tracking in kids apps report says

first_img $999 0 • Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) $999 See It See It Best Buy Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Apple aims to protect children’s privacy, according to The Wall Street Journal.  James Martin/CNET Privacy is a primary focus for some of the biggest tech companies, and Apple is reportedly taking another step in protecting children from being tracked. The iPhone maker will begin limiting third-party tracking in apps listed under the kids category in the App Store, according to a Friday story from The Wall Street Journal. The story is about the Journal’s test of 80 apps, most of which are promoted in Apple’s App Store as “Apps We Love.” All but one used third-party trackers for marketing, ads or analytics, the story says.Earlier in the week, Apple listed its approval process and guidelines for apps in the App Store. It says it will ensure apps are held to a “high standard for privacy, security and content.” The company also began clamping down on iPhone parenting apps that allowed parents to manage their children’s phones over privacy concerns. It even opened a site called, but has yet to add any content. Apple didn’t reply to a request for comment, but the Journal suggested that it may have more about changes to privacy on Monday at its upcoming WWDC 2019. Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it Security Sprint Share your voice Aug 31 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors Apple iPhone XScenter_img See it Boost Mobile Apple See All $999 Tags Aug 31 • Best places to sell your used electronics in 2019 CNET may get a commission from retail offers. The Supreme Court’s call on Apple and what it means for… See It reading • Apple to limit third-party tracking in kids apps, report says Now playing: Watch this: Post a comment Apple 1:17 $999last_img read more

MovieBob Reviews Fighting With My Family

first_imgStay on target There’s a lot of great movies about sports and even more great movies about show business, so you’d think professional wrestling would be an ideal setting for a movie since it combines all the most cinematic aspects of both. And yet, you can probably count the number of actually-great “wrestling movies” that aren’t documentaries on one hand (and fewer than even that if you’re the sort of stick-in-the-mud who doesn’t want to count any of the El Santo movies as the good ones — and then you might have to explain what your issue with El Santo is to, um… the entire nation of Mexico, for starters, so…)The main issue is that pro-wrestling, even today, is still kind of a (proudly!) seedy, closed-off world with its own weird rules and codes that even some of it’s biggest fans willingly let exist on several different levels of reality, and even the most “respectable” version in the present day WWE (such as it is) is still a tight-knit, family-run corporation that rigidly controls its public image: It’s hard to tell either true stories or fictional stories with emotionally-true stakes around a world that’s all about romanticized pantomime of ironic grifting.Fighting With My Family though, is making a game effort of it: An officially WWE-sanctioned biography of Saraya Jade-Bevis, known to fans as “Paige,” it’s your basic, working-class underdog sports story goosed up by the novelty pro-wrestling’s general absurdity and Paige herself (and her rough-around-the-edges Norwich England family, also all amateur-league wrestlers) being compelling and “different” in their own right. You’ve heard this story before — and indeed, the parts of Paige’s story that actually were less similar to the standard model have been streamlined to fit it — but you haven’t seen it with this specific sort of offbeat female lead in this specific weird spectacle of a sport.Portrayed here by English actress Florence Pugh, “Paige” is the youngest of a hardscrabble family of lower-rung toughs running a dingy local wrestling promotion and gym in the UK (as “The Knight Family”) and, alongside her brother, dreaming of a shot at the WWE’s “NXT” minor-league developmental program. But when they head in to try out, Paige is the only one of their class the company wants to bring to the U.S., even though Zack had always been the family’s presumed golden-boy and has a son on the way. So Paige heads off to America to deal with suspicious fellow trainees — many of whom are models without wrestling backgrounds with whom she gets off on the wrong foot and vice-versa — while the family tries to help Zack cope with a dream deferred back home. No prizes for guessing that things work out a bit more hopefully and cleanly than they likely did in reality; or that the wrestling side of things is made to seem more like a conventional sport than a bizarrely-sadistic if highly entertaining drama company run by a deteriorating maniac (for one thing, NXT in the film comes off more like a few months of boot camp rather than an entire separate promotion of its own that Paige dominated for two whole years — but, y’know, it’s a movie.)It’s sweet, it’s charming, the business with the scrappy friends and family feels real and I appreciated the unexpected nuance in the subplots about Paige’s evolving relationships with the other women in NXT… it’s a hard movie to dislike, and I suspect it’ll find more than a few fans who never thought they’d like a “wrestling movie” — mostly because it’s more about the training and behind the scenes business than in-ring action. One of the problems with making films about the sport has always been trying to sell “tension and drama” while acknowledging that matches have predetermined “fixed” outcomes and the whole point is that the athletes are executing moves that only look like they’d cripple and/or kill each other if they did them all the way or “for real.” Fighting With My Family doesn’t *really* come up with a full solution to that, building at least one of it’s two big dramatic match scenes around an “uh-oh, the opponent is fighting for real” gag and playing around with time-dilation and cross-cutting editing in the second to sort-of merge the staged drama of the match itself with the “real” tension of Paige overcoming her sense of stage fright. It works about as well as it needs to. Again, it’s a film aimed more at a general audience than hardcore wrestling fans, condensing Paige’s story and WWE ascent, and making room for a featured cameo by The Rock (who executive produced the film and spearheaded the production after catching a 2012 documentary about The Knight Family produced for the BBC) and a surprisingly warm, low-key turn by Vince Vaughn as a coach and trainer. Overall, it’s a good time. MovieBob Reviews: ‘Shadow’MovieBob Reviews: ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ last_img read more

SuperKamiokande Finds Structure in the Cosmic Ray Sky

first_img Explore further Supernovae and similar high-energy events can accelerate protons and heavier atomic nuclei to enormous speeds, imparting a kinetic energy thousands of times greater than the mass of the particle itself. Many are much more powerful than anything our best particle accelerators can produce, so cosmic rays are of great interest to particle physicists as well as astronomers. The strongest (and rarest) cosmic rays can pack as much kinetic energy as a good punch in the jaw — no mean feat for a subatomic particle weighing 1027 times less than your fist!For all their scientific potential, cosmic rays cannot be identified with any specific source. Because atomic nuclei are charged particles, they can be deflected by the Milky Way’s magnetic field. While scientists have many ideas concerning the astronomical processes that can create cosmic rays, it has proven difficult to test these ideas.What’s more, most of the cosmic rays that meet the Earth never make it to the ground. Their annihilation in the atmosphere produces an “shower” of muons (heavy electrons, essentially), neutrinos, and other simple subatomic particles. Some of the byproducts can produce showers of their own, eventually dissipating most of the cosmic ray’s energy into the atmosphere. (The photograph shown here was taken from a baloon high in the atmosphere.) The high-energy muons, however, interact only rarely with matter and can slide through miles of atmosphere and bedrock before coming to a halt. Building a better μ-trapCosmic ray muons are elusive targets, and can’t be counted by watching the sky. Instead researchers must surround an enormous volume of transparent material with detectors, and hope to catch a small fraction of the passing particles inside. The Super-Kamiokande experiment, for example, is an underground tank containing 50,000 tons of water. Cosmic muons in particular have a distinctive signature. While they travel at speeds close to that of light, light is about 75% slower in water than in air. The muons therefore move faster than the light they emit, so the leading edges of the emitted waves pile up into a bright, cone-shaped pulse. The same phenomenon can be seen in the powerful crest that defines the wake of a speedboat, or heard in the boom of a supersonic jet or rocket. When a cosmic muon passes through, the photomultipliers trace out a perfect ellipse or hyperbola (a conic section) on the wall.Collecting over 200 million cosmic ray muons from five years of Super-Kamiokande data, researchers Gene Guillian, Yuichi Oyama, and other collaborators were able to reconstruct a full-sky map of the cosmic ray flux. Two features are readily apparent: an excess of cosmic rays in the direction of the constellation Taurus, and a deficit in the direction of Virgo. (The scale on the right is the ratio of local flux to average flux.) The excess and deficit are both detected with a very high confidence; the probability for each to have been produced by random fluctuations is less than one in a million. Their amplitudes are also roughly the same, and they are separated by an angle of about 130° on the sky. This odd angle seems to preclude the most obvious explanation, that Super-K is seeing the effect of the Earth’s motion with respect to an isotropic cosmic ray background. If such were the case, then the separation between the two features should be exactly 180°.Oyama and Guillian offer another possible explanation. The cosmic ray excess points into the denser regions of our spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy, and the deficit is pointing roughly out of the galactic plane. Does this result prove that some of the cosmic rays come from nearby sources? “We have no idea about this,” responds Oyama, who goes on to explain that the entire theoretical community will want to debate the matter. Guillian’s paper, for example, mentions a competing hypothesis: that local structure in the galactic magnetic field may focus or defocus the cosmic ray flux in certain directions. These results provide an important clue to the origin of cosmic rays, and will certainly shed light on the question of how the galactic magnetic field influences their journey. “In 1987, Kamiokande started an astronomy beyond light.” Dr. Oyama explains, referring to the detection of supernova neutrinos mentioned above. “In 2005, Super-Kamiokande started an astronomy beyond neutral particles.”References:Yuichi Oyama, 2006, “Anisotropy of the Primary Cosmic Ray Flux in Super-Kamiokande” Guillian et al., 2005, “Observation of the Anisotropy of 10 TeV Primary Cosmic Ray Nuclei Flux with the Super-Kamiokande-I Detector” cosmic ray photograph was taken from the website “The Exploration of the Earth’s Magnetosphere” at URL Ben Mathiesen, Copyright 2006 Cosmic rays, which are high-energy atomic nuclei driven by spectacular cosmic events, come to us from every direction on the sky. Most of them are destroyed high in the atmosphere, creating a shower of high-speed particles that penetrate sky and earth with ease. Surprising results from Japan’s Super-Kamiokande underground observatory have recently shown that the distribution of cosmic rays on the sky is not uniform, a useful clue to the nature of these cosmic voyagers. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. How conspiracy theories followed man to the Mooncenter_img Lining the walls of this tank are 11,200 photomultiplier tubes, sensitive instruments that amplify the faintest glimmer of light into a strong electrical current. If an interesting event occurs anywhere in the tank’s volume, the nature of the interaction can be reconstructed from the pattern of captured light on the walls. When supernova 1987a exploded in the Large Magellanic Cloud, for example, Super-Kamiokande captured a dozen neutrinos in two separate pulses from the dying star. Citation: Super-Kamiokande Finds Structure in the Cosmic Ray Sky (2006, May 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from A full-sky map of the total cosmic ray muon flux received by Super-Kamiokande over a five-year period. The circular regions (distorted by the map projection) drawn in red and blue enclose the excess and deficit respectively. The color scale ranges from an excess of 0.5% to a deficit of -0.5%. A collision between a high-energy cosmic ray particle and an atom in a photographic emulsion, as viewed through a microscope. Credit: NASA, Dr. David P. Sternlast_img read more

The Backstreet Boys dragged up as the Spice Girls and you wont

first_imgGAYSTARNEWS- As rumors continue to swirl about a possible Spice Girls reunion, we can at least say we’ve received the next best thing: the Backstreet Boys dressing up as their 90s icon counterparts. ‘Celebrating all of the girl power’The boys – Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell – shared the pic along with the caption: ‘Celebrating all of the girl power that’s kept us going for 25 years.’They’ve have previously spoken of their desire to team up with the Wannabe singers for a joint tour.They should so do it, and then the girls could drag king up as them?![embedded content]Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . The five piece man-band donned platform shoes and mini dresses while on stage for a fan cruise this week. And we love them for it.The four-night extravaganza took place on the Carnival Sensation. It was sailing from Miami, Florida to Grand Turk Island in the Turks and Caicos Islands.We wonder what Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton, Geri Horner, Mel B and Melanie C make of the guys’ stunt? The Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls | Photos: Instagram/backstreetboys and Instagram/therealgerihalliwellcenter_img Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Read the full article on Gaystarnews:  : read more

Ford Transit sandwiched by doublecabs

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite DID YOU KNOW?Click on the words highlighted in red to read more on this and related topics.If you are reading this on your cellphone and there are telephone numbers provided in the text, you can call these simply by clicking on them.To receive news links via WhatsApp.For the latest news, visit our webpage or follow us on Facebook and Twitter  why not join us there? Three vehicles collided in Poort Road this afternoon (Wednesday).A double-cab bakkie allegedly had two vehicles in front of it that were turning right. When the double-cab stopped, a Ford Transit Van crashed into it, and then another double-cab crashed into the Ford, effectively sandwiching it.No injuries were sustained in the three-vehicle pile-up.Public Safety were on scene.last_img read more

House GOP abortion bill requires docs to help fetus survive

first_img Sponsored Stories New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home That focus on saving the fetus has been hailed by anti-abortion groups, who strongly support the overall legislation.GOP leaders added the provisions aimed at saving the fetus’ life to a late-term abortion ban bill that was slated for debate in January. They abruptly postponed that debate after Republican women and moderates objected that a rape victim would only be exempted from the abortion ban if she had reported her assault to a law enforcement agency.The new version of the bill drops that requirement and allows rape victims to receive late-term abortions if they receive counseling or medical care — though not from an abortion clinic — within 48 hours of the procedure. The women had complained that requiring a report to law enforcement officials was unduly harsh and could portray the GOP as insensitive toward women.As with the original bill, the measure’s other exemptions to the late-term abortion ban include mothers whose lives are in danger and minors who are incest victims and report the assault to law enforcement authorities or agencies that respond to cases of child abuse. Doctors — but not mothers — who violate the law could be subject to fines and up to five years in prison. Comments   Share   Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Newly added to the bill is a requirement that the mother sign a consent form acknowledging that an attempt will be made to let her fetus be born alive unless the mother’s health would be threatened. In addition, women would be able to bring civil actions against doctors who violate the law, and the federal government would be required to compile statistics on abortions performed under the law.Republican aides and lobbyists say the new bill was written after months of consultations with anti-abortion lawmakers and Republican women who objected to the initial bill.House debate is scheduled for Wednesday.The measure is likely to be strongly opposed by Democrats and faces a likely veto threat from President Barack Obama, giving it little chance of becoming law.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WASHINGTON (AP) — Doctors performing late-term abortions would be required to take steps to give the fetus the best chance of survival, according to a Republican bill the House plans to debate this week.The legislation requires that if the fetus seems capable of surviving outside the womb, a second, neonatal doctor must be present to provide care and rush it to a hospital.The provisions are part of a broader bill criminalizing most abortions starting at the 20th week of pregnancy. Though the overall measure was described last week by GOP aides and lobbyists, language detailing the efforts required to save the fetus’ life was not available until the measure’s full text was posted online Monday. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img read more

Tasmania turns on its charm for TravelManagers State Meeting

first_imgSource = TravelManagers TravelManagers Tasmania TravelManagers’ Tasmania personal travel managers welcome national partnership office team BACK ROW (L-R): Ali Banks, Michael Gazal, Tanyu Cilek, Jose Canas FRONT ROW (L-R): Anna Bayley, Sheridan Wilson, Pru Gallagher, Gary Jensen, Chrissy Millington, Kirsty Whittaker, Suzanne Laister, Anneli WilliamsTasmania turns on its charm for TravelManagers State MeetingIt was Tasmania’s turn to participate in TravelManagers latest round of bi-annual state meetings recently and the southernmost state certainly turned on its charm for the occasion.The regional gatherings are a winning formula with TravelManagers’ personal travel managers (PTM’s).“The feedback over the years from PTM’s has always been that our regional focus, strong contingent from our national partnership office and hosting by our local state-based business partnership managers really works. A 75 percent PTM attendance at our recent Tasmania meeting really shows we have the concept right,” says Executive General Manager Michael Gazal.PTM Anna Bayley representative for Sandy Bay highlights the national partnership office support and physical presence regionally is invaluable.“It’s so nice to see the national partnership office team venturing to the south and include Tassie as part of our state meetings. We may be a little remote but this just proves to us that our views and contributions are important. We may have a smaller contingent of personal travel mangers than other states but our passion, commitment and engagement with the company is equally as strong. “For PTM Chrissy Millington representative for Taroona, it was the business updates and opportunity to network that made the day a success.“I really enjoyed the Tassie state meeting and the opportunity to spend time with some of the awesome NPO gang. I found the updates very beneficial and it was great to share ideas and experiences. The Tassie PTMs are a close-knit group and we have the support of each other. I’m looking forward to the Darwin conference this year to connect with more of the PTMs across Australia as the genuine camaraderie that exists between the PTMs is a real strength of TravelManagers.”TravelManagers Tasmania Christmas Lunch Cheers to a great TravelManagers 2016! (Left to right) Suzanne Laister, Anneli Williams, Anna Bayley, Diane O’Flahertie (Travelcube), Gary Jensen, Michael GazalFor Bayley it was the tips on working smarter not harder that really resonated.“Our focus as PTM’s is all about adding client value but it was a valuable reminder about how we can look to improve income with each booking transaction by adding value to a client’s travel experience where appropriate. It’s all about working smarter and not just harder.”TravelManagers holds regional meetings twice a year in six or more locations around Australia, complementing the annual national conference, which for 2017 will be held in the Northern Territory from 7th to 9th September.“Most of the Tasmanian based PTM’s are planning to make the trip up to Darwin next September to attend conference. This would mean a significant contingent from the furthest south of our network making the travel pilgrimage to the furthest north in Darwin which shows that TravelManagers really does have has committed and engaged PTM’s and a significant geographic coverage throughout the country,” says Gazal.Following the morning’s business sessions, the PTM’s along with seven members of the national partnership office team and Diane O’Flahertie from Travelcube enjoyed a Christmas lunch at Post St Social a waterfront bar and restaurant located in Hobart’s popular Franklin Wharf area.TravelManagers will culminate their personal travel manager state meetings around Australia in Brisbane, which is scheduled for later this month.For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.About TravelManagersTravelManagers operates in all Australian States and is a wholly owned subsidiary of House of Travel, Australasia’s largest independent travel company which has a forecast turnover of $1.5 billion for 2015. TravelManagers is a sister company to Hoot Holidays, also owned by House of Travel, and has more than 500 personal travel managers throughout Australia with a dedicated support team at the company’s national partnership office in Sydney. TravelManagers places all customer money in a dedicated and audited Client Trust Account which is separate from the general business accounts, ensuring client funds are only used for client purchases.last_img read more

What Do Potential GSE Changes Mean for FICO

first_img Credit Scores FICO Joanne Gaskin VantageScore 2018-02-01 David Wharton February 1, 2018 813 Views Share What Do Potential GSE Changes Mean for FICO?center_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, journal, News The Federal Housing Finance Agency recently released a Request for Input seeking feedback about the possibility of changing the credit scores the GSEs requires lenders to use to evaluate borrowers. According to the FHFA’s press release, “The Enterprises currently use Classic FICO for product eligibility, loan pricing, and financial disclosure purposes.” The Request for Input seeks public comment on the possibility of allowing the GSEs to also let lenders use FICO 9 (an updated version of FICO’s original scoring algorithm) or VantageScore 3.0 (a rival model developed by credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).Those critical of the GSEs’ current requirements claim that they bar millions of Americans from home ownership. According to a 2015 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study, 26 million Americans do not have any credit record, and another 19 million have credit records considered unscorable due to insufficient credit history or a lack of recent credit history.DS News spoke with Joanne Gaskin, Senior Director, Scores and Analytics at FICO, about FICO’s methods, VantageScore, and what opening up the Enterprises’ credit standards would mean for mortgage and housing.Speaking of the GSEs’ exclusive use of FICO scores, VantageScore released a public statement that said, “Monopolies never benefit markets or consumers and they create the opportunity for pricing power unchecked by competition.” Could you talk about why you don’t think that is a fair characterization of the situation?Absolutely. The first thing that’s important to note is that FICO is not responsible for the sale, distribution, or pricing of the FICO scores. We use our distribution partners, which are Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. So we do not exert pricing power, as we don’t have the ability to price directly in the marketplace. So keep in mind where the pricing power resides is with the bureaus who own VantageScore.That it’s exacerbated in the mortgage market, when you have a tri-merge requirement, meaning that each and every one of the credit bureau files are required for mortgage origination, if you’re delivering to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They have unchecked pricing power associated with  both the credit report and credit scores. So we would say that the credit bureaus actually have a data monopoly. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac owe no duty to FICO, we could be replaced at any time. But there’s not an opportunity to replace the data.Considering the proposed changes to change the GSEs’ credit reporting standards, do you think that there’s anything particularly unfair about those proposed changes, or is there a way that you can see to change those credit score requirements in an equitable way?FICO absolutely welcomes competition as you noted, but take a look at what the choices are. It’s one independent company and one company owned by the three credit bureaus. We would suggest that a fair competition is competition among other independent analytic firms. Because really, having a score that’s owned by the three bureaus isn’t adding to competition. Actually, it’s consolidating, or minimizing competition.Think for a moment, what might be the likelihood of another independent analytic firm gaining access to the credit bureau data to compete with VantageScore? I would suggest that FICO continues to exist as an independent firm because we’re trusted, and requested by the lenders.Has there been, as far as you know, any move to even consider doing something like that? Obviously they’re talking about opening and changing the credit score requirements, but has there been any discussion about actually bringing other independent organizations in, or has it just mainly been between FICO and VantageScore?The RFI itself just considers FICO and VantageScore as the two broad-based scores that have scores in each of the three repositories. What we’re hearing from folks is that the potential answer to creating more competition might reside in the question that was asked about the requirements for the tri-merge report.So, lenders are opining about the need to continue to purchase a tri-merge, as the data across the bureaus has become more similar. Years and years ago they were more regional in nature, and they’ve all moved to very broad, national scales. FICO doesn’t have a true opinion on this. We don’t have the data to say that the data looks the same across, but I think if you spoke to lenders that they might give you a perspective on that.Assuming that the GSEs did go forward and they allowed lenders to start using VantageScore 3.0, what do you think would be the impact on the housing and mortgage industries?We believe that there is a risk to the system because of their lack of minimum scoring criterion. The score will not have the same predictive strength as what we see for traditional FICO score. We likely would project poor performance on that population. We also think that there’s a risk to the system, which Director Wyatt has suggested, that if there are two scoring vendors in the marketplace allowing for choice among them, that there is this risk for what he refers to as “a race for the bottom.” The question is whether or not we will reward the most predicative score or the score that will qualify the most borrowers.We maintain our minimum scoring criterion, because it’s time-tested over the last 27 years, lenders trust us, and we’re used in 90 percent of lending decisions.What do you think are the biggest challenges of your job, and what do you wish more people understood about your job and about how FICO operates?That’s a great question. We would be thrilled if everyone understood one thing. That weaker credit scores do not expand access to credit. In fact, if a weaker score is adopted, it creates uncertainty. Uncertainty in the marketplace always leads to further credit tightening, and increased cost to the system. So, we say a weaker criterion negatively impacts consumers.last_img read more

Travel booking specialists have added their weight

first_imgTravel booking specialists have added their weight to a growing consensus that UK holidays are on the rise. Citing environmental concerns, claimed that people were choosing to holiday in the UK – and were offsetting their flights within the UK and further afield in increasing number.A recent survey from holiday site found that Edinburgh and Dublin featured among the top ten city break destinations for UK holiday-makers, reflecting the growing popularity of simpler trips closer to home that involve a lower carbon footprint.John Bevan, managing director of UK, said: “The UK is becoming increasingly popular for us and our product is reflecting that. Our customers are increasingly concerned by environmental issues and they offset their flights when booking flights. We have a carbon offsetting scheme called carbon-wise which is popular, as over one in ten of our customers choose to offset”.Savills estate agency estimated that as many as 365,000 UK households own a second home in Britain, with travellers able to take advantage of a range of short internal flights and options for offsetting their travel.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map RelatedMore Brits booking flights to Hungary and IsraelGrowing numbers of holidaymakers are booking flights to Hungary and Israel to escape the eurozoneGreen Skies: Environmentally Friendly FlyingSkyscanner investigates flying and the environmentCarbon Offsetting ExplainedThe problem until recently though is that this area has not been regulated.last_img read more

Limassol neonatal unit to get intensive care upgrade

first_imgTHE Limassol intensive neonatal care unit is going to be upgraded to help deal with premature births, Theophanos Papastefanou, nursing officer at the intensive neonatal care unit at Makarios hospital in Nicosia and assistant secretary of nurses’ union Pasyno said on Friday.He made a statement on the occasion of World Prematurity Day, which has been observed each year since 2011 on November 17 to raise awareness of preterm births.In recent years, there has been an increasing trend in premature births around the world, including Cyprus, which, he said, forces the state to take immediate action and implement strategies not only to reduce preterm labor but also to improve the quality of early care newborns and the most effective support of their parents.“Finally, Limassol’s intensive care unit is getting flesh and bones,” he exclaimed, congratulating health minister Yiorgos Pamborides. “You have met the needs of citizens and society!”Papastefanou said that those opposing the upgrade claim Cyprus is too small to have two such units, and all that was needed was to strengthen the unit in Nicosia. He said the problem with this is that parents have to travel long distances to and from other districts to see their newborns.  Another problematic issue is that unlike in other countries, parents in Cyprus are not allowed to visit the babies for more than two hours, as staff and space are limited. This has a negative effect on the newborns, as well as the parents.To have a premature baby can happen to anybody and that is why it is necessary to have equal opportunities for all.In this spirit, the nursing officer said, teamwork is employed at the Makarios hospital, involving specialised doctors and nurses who are well-trained and care for each newborn around the clock.The staff is also in touch with international organisations and works closely with the parents.Doctors and nurses have long campaigned for the upgrade of the Limassol unit which has only basic facilities. A 2012 study recommended that the number of beds should be increased from 10 to 15 and that five intensive care beds with respirators were also needed.According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 15 million premature babies are born worldwide each year, or one in ten of all babies, and the number is on the rise.You May LikePlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameThis game will take 2019 by storm!Plarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Will Take Your Breath Away. Research 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsUndoMemory Care | Search AdsLuxury Memory Care Facilities Near Rowland Heights For SeniorsMemory Care | Search AdsUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoIsraeli rape suspects freed, woman who alleged assault arrested (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Assam Cong Writes to CEC Over Storage of Unused EVMs Near Strong

first_imgNew Delhi: The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) has written to the Chief Election Commissioner against the Kamrup (Rural) district administration over suspicious storage of “unused EVMs” sent from different districts of Assam near a strong room in north Guwahati’s Amingaon area.Besides, the Congress has also alleged that Deputy Commissioner Kamrup (Rural) Kamal Baiswa and Assistant Commissioner Mayuri Oja were violating the Model Code of Conduct by performing the duty of election officers in their home district. Oja is the daughter of BJP’s Gauhati candidate Queen Oja.Congress’ Gauhati candidate Bobbeeta Sharma, in a separate complaint to Assam CEO Mukesh Sahu, has also alleged a poll code violation by the Deputy Commissioner Kamrup (Rural) for consenting and admitting to store “unused EVMs” at a private godown.“The Election Commission has conducted elections before. Preparations start a year before. The administration should have been careful about these matters. There is unused material from the election stored in the same area where the strong room is located. The authorities are aware that there has to be a separate strong room with barricades, CCTV, security and lights. Why do they have to be reminded of this?” Sharma said.Assam Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Sahu on Tuesday said, “These EVMS are stored in the centre storage facility and were meant to be transported to other states.”APCC president Ripun Bora has requested the poll body to take immediate steps against Baiswa for storing the unused EVMs and has demanded his immediate transfer. My complaint letter to @ECISVEEP Election Comm. Of India in connection with Violation of ECI rules and fishy storage of Unused EVM s in the office of Deputy Comm Kamrup.— Ripun Bora (@ripunbora) April 30, 2019 On April 28, trucks loaded with electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter verifiable paper audit trails (VVPATs) were seen parked in the Amingaon area under the Jalukbari Assembly constituency represented by BJP’s northeast strongman and local MLA Himanta Biswa Sarma. Bora has alleged Sarma’s involvement in the controversy and named him in the letter to the CEC. Jalukbari falls under the Gauhati Parliamentary constituency which went to polls on April 23.In the letter to the CEC, the Congress said the “unused EVMs” were allegedly stored at the Himmatsinka workshop, a private godown owned by a businessman by the same name, who is known to be a close aide of Sarma.The private godown is located at a distance of only 300m from the strong room which falls under the jurisdiction of the deputy commissioner of Kamrup (Rural).”The administration is not taking the election seriously,” the Congress’ Gauhati candidate told News18. Sharma said, “Why was Mayuri Oja not transferred when her mother is contesting election from the same district. She has been there for more than three years. These things call for an explanation. Our party suspects that some other powerful hands are giving them protection.”However, the BJP candidate told News18 the Congress’ allegations on her civil servant daughter were nothing but a cheap political gimmick from the losing side. “My daughter is not in Guwahati. She is on leave. She is out of station. The Congress is making these complaints because it knows that is going to lose,” Oja said.Queen Oja, who is also the former mayor of Guwahati, said the earlier Congress-led state government had denied her daughter a posting outside Guwahati. However, passing the buck on to the BJP-led government in Assam, she added, “Whether she should have been transferred or not is for the government to decide. It’s not my call.” Meanwhile, Sharma, said the deputy commissioner had played a controversial role in the panchayat election, as well. “Baiswa too should have been transferred, but no action was taken”.However, when asked if the Jalukbari MLA was involved in this EVM controversy, she said, in contrast to her party president’s position, that she would not like to comment on that.When asked about the “unsused EVMs”, Sarma told News18, “I have no comments on this. It is a matter which falls under the Election Commission.” He also chose not to respond to the questions about the private godown and his relationship with its owner.According to sources, Baiswa had allowed storage of the “unused EVMs” from Tezpur parliamentary constituency at the private godown as there was allegedly no other place to keep them. The BJP and Congress are locked in a high-stakes battle in Tezpur which went to polls on April 11. Former IAS officer MGVK Bhanu is the grand old party’s candidate from Tezpur against state minister and BJP leader Pallav Lochan Das. The three-phase election of the 14 parliamentary constituencies of Assam came to an end on April 23. Whether the saffron camp would be able to send its representatives to the Lok Sabha amid these poll irregularities will be known on May 23. assam-lok-sabha-elections-2019Bobbeeta sharmaEVMgauhati-s03p07 First Published: May 1, 2019, 7:55 PM IST | Edited by: Sohini Goswamilast_img read more

Will BJPs Gambit to Align With Hanuman Beniwal Counterpolarise NonJat Vote in

first_imgOn the bus from Sikar to Nagaur, a debate on BJP versus Congress broke out between the bus conductor and a passenger. After a while, another passenger also intervened. Passenger 1: Tell me what wrong did Modi do? Name one, why don’t you? Passenger 2: He gave aircraft deal to Ambani.Pax 1: Why, should he give it to you?Conductor: Unemployment is at a record high.Pax 1: Only middlemen are unemployed.Conductor: Congress used to give us several benefits but BJP snatched them all away. Privatised several routes.Pax 1: Look at this greedy bunch. At an age when they should go to Haridwar and spend time in spirituality, they’re asking for more perks. Learn to think for the nation.Conductor: If at all BJP is a party of saints and all its candidates are saintly, then why change them this time?Pax 1: Because everyone deserves a chance?Conductor: Then why not change every candidate? And why give ticket to someone who till yesterday was spending all his time abusing BJP leaders?The conductor seemed to have hit a nerve there. Pax 1 fell silent. Eventually the fierce dispute gave way to laughter, shoulder claps and an admission from Pax 1 that he himself was quite anxious about job prospects of his daughter. But the question about BJP’s candidate from Nagaur, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) leader Hanuman Beniwal, remained. The aggressive Jat leader who had won two seats in the assembly polls last year, denouncing the very party which he has now allied with – the BJP – is making some saffron party loyalists uncomfortable. News18 travelled to several villages in Nagaur including Firoda to get a ground sense. In this Jat-dominated village, Jat who were rooting for BJP’s Jat nominee Ram Chaudhary during last year’s assembly elections banished Meghwals (SCs) from the village for voting for the Congress. It’s been nearly six months since the Jats stopped supplies of essential items like milk and daily groceries to Meghwals. For a period of 10 days, in fact, Jats had stopped water supply to the Meghwals by ordering them to stay away from the local lake. Meghwals are still not employed at Jat homes. “We will vote for the Congress even if you cut our fingers off. I have one vote and come what may, it is going to the Congress,” a lady in Meghwal part of Firoda declared. Meghwals still need to travel all the way to Nagaur city to get their basic supplies. Each trip costs them money that they can barely afford. “You know what happened. The Jats said we had voted like Muslims…that we should convert to Islam because we voted against the BJP. We haven’t seen Jyoti. We’ve just heard her name. It doesn’t matter who the candidate is. It doesn’t matter if she wins or loses. Our vote is decided,” a middle-aged man says. A small crowd gathers around. Everyone asserts their preference for the Congress but none of them want their pictures taken or their names published. While the Meghwals continue being punished for exercising their right to vote, it matters little that some of the Jats in the same village are also voting for the Congress’ Jat candidate Jyoti Mirdha.”She introduced pension for the elderly. Beniwal has ruined the younger generation who instead of studying are roaming around him like hoodlums. Also, the respect for Nathuramji is still there. She is our daughter,” says middle-aged well-to-do Jat farmer Ram Kishore.Back in Nagaur city, Bhairon Singh, a Rajput who works as a driver also looks at the Congress candidate with similar warmth. “Uska swabhaav theek nahi hai. Pure 36 biradari ko saath leke chalna chahiye. Beniwal ko harana ab muuch ka sawaal ban gaya hai. Jyoti hamari beti hai. Jeet usi ki hogi. (His behaviour is not good. You must work with all 36 communities alike. Now, to defeat Beniwal is a matter of prestige. Jyoti is our daughter. She will win.)” Muslims as well, who also voted for the BJP till recently, given the popularity of their leader Habibur Rehman, who was a BJP MLA from Nagaur, and now has joined the Congress, are expressing their resentment against the saffron party.”Three people from our village have been gored to death by stray cattle. Every time we call the gaushala they refuse to act. What are we to do? When Modi talks of vikas doesn’t he have our concerns in mind,” Mohd Suleiman Rizvi says outside the Masjid in Basni village.It isn’t just BJP loyalists, Beniwal’s aggressive Jat politics has polarised a lot of communities like Rajputs, Muslims, and Dalits who together represent nearly 40% of the electorate towards the opposite end – the Congress. Though this doesn’t mean that in the battle with the BJP, Congress is sailing through comfortably.By allying with the BJP, Beniwal is helping the BJP influence the Jats who are numerically dominant in not just Nagaur but in the entire ‘Jat belt’ of Sikar, Churu, Jhunjhunu and not so dominant Jat seats like Barmer and Jodhpur.In Nagaur itself, where Beniwal had won an assembly seat in the recent polls, he has created an image of an approachable Jat leader whose doors are also open to people from other communities. In Tausar village, Tarachand Sankla, a Mali by caste, the same caste as the current Chief Minister’s, says, “Beniwal gets our work done. You can go to his house in Nagaur anytime and meet him.” Brand Modi, around which the BJP has tried to polarise the elections in Rajasthan, also adds to Beniwal’s personal charm. In the same village another Mali, Vikram Singh, says he’s voting for Beniwal only because he is BJP’s choice there and voting for him will bring Modi one step closer to being in PM’s chair again.BJP also tried, with some success, to project Mirda as an outsider, someone who lives in Haryana and barely has time for Nagaur. But if she’s an outsider how come she won this Parliamentary seat in ’09? “She won it because of her grandfather Nathuramji and her father. Otherwise no one knows her in this area. Beniwal lives next door. How will we approach Jyoti if we have some work? We can knock on Beniwal’s home at night and be assured that he will try his best for us,” says Shivraj Jakhar, a Jat, in village Ramsya. His friend, also a Jat, says Jat votes would have been split if Beniwal had fought again as an independent. “But now Modi plus Beniwal has become the winning combination.” Despite the Modi wave in 2014, Beniwal had secured nearly 1.6 lakh votes as an independent candidate from Nagaur. Of the 16 elections that have been held for this Parliamentary seat, Congress has won Nagaur 10 times. Jyoti Mirdha’s grandfather and Jat leader Nathuram Mirdha won the seat six times. History may be on Congress’ side. But Beniwal, who’s aggressive and ambitious must be hoping for the present – the youth among who he has a great appeal – to help him climb up and beyond Rajasthan. Hanuman BeniwalJatLok Sabha elections 2019Meghwals First Published: May 4, 2019, 9:19 AM IST | Edited by: Ahona Senguptalast_img read more