Your dream client might spend in a fortune in your segment.They may have the exact set of problems, challenges, and opportunities around which you create a level of value that is literrally unmatched.Your dream client might be leaving a massive amount of money on the table. You may have all the math to prove an unassailable, bullet proof, and guaranteed return on investment the likes of which the world has never known.They may be risking their position in their market. They may be ready to lose their key customers to their rivals.But unless and until they decided to engage in the process of changing what they do, you do not have a qualified opportunity.They might have the budget necessary. You may have a relationship with the person with the authority to bind their organization to a deal. They may have a recognized need.What is missing is engagement in the process of changing. Without this engagement, you aren’t looking at an opportunity; you are looking at a lead.This is why your executive vice president of sales loves the Challenger Model and insight-based selling. This is why you have a top of the funnel problem: your dream clients have a chronic case of latent dissatisfaction.QuestionsWhy do opportunities stall?What makes an opportunity qualified?What causes potential opportunities to go to a “no decision?”
Pune: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday formally announced the candidature of Mukta tilak — a scion of the Bal Gangadhar ‘Lokmanya’ Tilak family — as mayor for the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).BJP Pune unit chief Yogesh Gogawale said the party chose senior Republican Party of India (Athawale) leader Navnath Kamble as it’s deputy mayor candidate. Ms. Tilak won her fourth successive civic election from the city’s Kasba Peth area. She was long touted as a sure-fire contender for the city’s top post.This time, the mayoral post in the PMC has been reserved for a woman candidate elected from the open category seat. The new civic body is to be constituted on March 15, with elections for the post of mayor and deputy mayor to be held and concluded on the same day.The BJP snared 98 of the 162 seats in the PMC, and 77 of the 128 seats in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation.Ms. Tilak, with a strong base in the old Pune area, has been a BJP leader in the PMC since 2009.The choice of awarding the deputy mayor’s post to Mr. Kamble has come across as a surprise, given the BJP’s fraught relations with their smaller allies, like Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Paksha and Mahadev Jankar-led Rashtriya Samaj Paksha.However, unlike Mr. Shetti, who broke with the BJP to ally with the Shiv Sena in the Nashik civic polls, RPI (A) chief Ramdas Athawale allied with the party in the PMC polls. The BJP has also named Shrinath Bhimale as the leader of the party in the new civic body.
A Religious Freedom Bill passed by the Rajasthan Assembly in 2008, aimed at banning forcible religious conversions, is still awaiting the presidential assent. The State has requested the Centre to get the Bill cleared as early as possible, the Rajasthan High Court was informed on Tuesday.The Bharatiya Janata Party government filed an affidavit in the court here in response to its notice issued last week on a habeas corpus writ petition seeking production of 22-year-old Aarifa, who has converted from her religion and married a Muslim youth. Ms. Aarifa was allowed to go with her husband.A Division Bench of the High Court had raised questions about Ms. Aarifa’s conversion and the inter-faith marriage during the preliminary hearing on the petition on November 1. The court had asked the State government if there was any law or procedure in force in Rajasthan that governed conversions.“People cannot change their religion based on an affidavit over a stamp paper of ₹10,” observed the Bench, comprising Justices Gopal Krishan Vyas and Manoj Kumar Garg, though it recorded in its order that Ms. Aarifa had denied that she was under threat or inducement by anyone.In its reply affidavit, the State government said the Bill of 2008 had been “legally vetted” and was as per the constitutional provisions as well as the Supreme Court’s judgments. The government was in communication with the Centre to get the Bill cleared and the last request was made in June, stated the affidavit.
The burnt body of a 27-year-old man was found in Ambad tehsil, Jalna district, early on Monday, the Marathwada police said.The deceased, Anant Shrikant Ingole, a resident of Samnapur village in neighbouring Beed district, is suspected to have been killed over a monetary dispute, the police said. Limbs tied upIngole was travelling from Aurangabad district to his home in Beed when the incident occurred. “It appears that his hands and legs were tied with a rope before he was set on fire. A case of murder has been lodged,” said Ramesh Sonune, sub-divisional police officer, Ambad police station.Around 1.30 a.m. on Monday, the security guard of a sugar factory in Shahagad, Ambad, alerted the police of a body burning on Patharwada road. “The body was badly charred. We found a half-burnt packet containing Aadhaar, PAN and voter ID cards, and some cash on the body, which helped us identify him,” said Mr. Sonune.Alerted friendIngole had rented rooms in Aurangabad, and was preparing for bank exams. He had recently entered the transport business with a partner. The police suspect the partnership may have soured, leading to murder.Ingole’s friend Navnath Chavan told the police that Ingole had called him at midnight on Sunday, when he had stopped for dinner. “Chavan said Ingole told him that his life was in danger,” said an investigating officer.
After a prolonged dry spell, the middle and higher hills of Himachal Pradesh were lashed by heavy to moderate snowfall and the plains received a good spell of rain on Monday.The State capital of Shimla and the adjoining hill resorts like Kufri, Narkanda, Fagu and Mashobara received a moderate spell of snow, much to the delight of tourists. The higher peaks like Churdhar, Noradhar, Chanshel, Rohtang Pass and Dhauladhar ranges have also been covered by a heavy blanket of snow. More than three to four feet of snow has been reported in these mountain heights.The forecast of snowfall or rain on Monday in all these regions have been proved correct. The State was lashed by heavy wind and storm on Sunday night due to a definite western disturbance as predicted by weather experts.There are reports of fresh snowfall in Manikaran, Banjar, Mari, Solang Nalla, Palchan, Kothi and Malyana in Kullu district. The Jalori pass connecting Banjar and Ani in Kullu has also been closed to traffic due to heavy snowfall. A huge landslide on Malana Road resulting in more than 100 vehicles being stranded. Sowing process delayedFarmers and horticulturists have heaved a sigh of relief, although they are still longing for more in the days to come. There was a great paucity of rain and snow in the State this year and farmers had delayed sowing operation of all rabi crops. Water sources had also dried up in many areas and hydro-electric projects had lesser production due to decreased flow of water in the rivers. Many bus routes in the middle and higher hills were closed as a precautionary measure as they had become slippery and dangerous for light transport vehicles. No vehicles, including the State-owned HRTC buses, could ply on roads anterior to Shimla and Kinnaur districts. Special snow cutters and JCB machines have been deployed to open the roads, the administration said.Power supply, disrupted after heavy winds at night, could not be restored in many parts of Shimla and Nahan. There was a massive fall in day and night temperatures and the maximum temperature in many parts of Shimla, Kullu, Kinnaur and Lahaul Spiti was less than 5 degrees Celsius on Monday.
“There is immense anger against the BJP. Despite having an MP who is now Deputy Chief Minister, they have done nothing. All development here took place when the Congress was in power,” said Manish Mishra, outside his office in Allahabad’s George Town area.With a tricolour scarf over his red kurta, the Congress candidate is all set to campaign in the rural pockets of the Phulpur Lok Sabha constituency. Mr. Mishra is confident that the Congress is all set to cause an upset in the upcoming triangular contest. “We are confident… It is a direct fight with the BJP and when people vote for the Centre, why will they waste their votes on the Samajwadi Party (SP),” he said.Chequered historyMr. Mishra may be putting up a brave face and the Congress has a steep slope to climb if it wants to have any chance in Phulpur — the Lok Sabha seat once held by Jawaharlal Nehru . The last time the party held the seat was 34 years ago in 1984 with veteran Ram Pujan Patel as its candidate.Mr. Patel however, switched sides, contesting and winning as a Janata Dal candidate in 1989 and 1991 when he defeated the Congress and the BSP nominees respectively. Since 1992, when the SP came into being, it has dominated the seat. From 1996 to 2004 its two Kurmi candidates, Jung Bahadur Singh Patel and Dharamraj Singh Patel have held the seat. The 1996 election was historic with Mr. Jung Bahadur defeating the founder of the BSP, Kanshiram. Phulpur is located in the northern region of Allahabad district encompassing with large parts of the Gangetic plains, and is home to landmarks such as the the prestigious Allahabad University, the Sangam and the Anand Bhavan. It consists of five legislative segments — the three largely rural and semi-urban seats of Soraon, Phaphamau and Phulpur, and the two urban bases of Allahabad West and Allahabad North.Apart from having a strong upper caste vote of Kayasths, Brahmins and Baniyas, the constituency has a substantial population of backward caste votes, in particular the Kurmis, Yadavs and Nishads, traditionally associated with farming, cattle herding and riverine life, respectively. Kurmi candidates won the seat for six consecutive terms from 1984 to 1999 before the SP’s Atiq Ahmed broke the streak in 2004. BJP, SP play it safeIt is little surprise then that both the SP and the BJP, the two prime contenders, have fielded Kurmis. Party worker Nagendra Patel is the SP’s nominee while former Varanasi Mayor Kaushalendra Patel, who has links with the RSS, is the BJP’s face.The battle has got a new twist with former MP, Atiq Ahmed, who is lodged in the Deoria jail, deciding to contest as an independent from his preferred seat with the potential of upsetting the SP’s chances.In 2009, the BSP won the seat for the first time while the BJP had to wait till 2014, when under the ‘Modi wave,’ Keshav Prasad Maurya, then a lesser-known MLA from Kausambhi, secured a huge win with over 5 lakh votes. Mr. Maurya, who is today U.P’s Deputy Chief Minister, not only defeated his nearest rival, the SP’s Dharamraj Patel by over three lakh votes, but also ensured that cricketer Mohammad Kaif’s political debut as a Congress candidate was a non-starter.High stakes for Maurya The contest in Phulpur bypoll has become a prestige issue for Mr. Maurya, who is already on the ground holding nukkad sabhas (street-level gatherings) and meetings. On the other hand, the Phulpur election will test the strength of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s attempt at social engineering. Apart from roping in influential Dalit leader Indrajeet Saroj, he has also gained the support of the Nishad Party, which has considerable caste influence, and the Peace Party, which has a following among Muslims.The BSP does not contest bypolls. However, after party chief Mayawati expelled former Allahabad West MLA Pooja Pal recently, the vote of her community, OBC, is a matter of speculation. Apart from Nehru, other stalwarts to win Phulpur are V.P Singh, Vjay Laxmi Pandit and Janeshwar Mishra.
Soon after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday informed the Parliament that 39 Indians abducted by the Islamic State in Iraq’s Mosul in 2014 were dead, the Aam Aadmi Party has accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of playing politics over the dead.”BJP had been playing politics on such a sensitive issue for over three years..They have lost all credibility. They should apologise to the nation and family members of the dead, most of them who hailed from Punjab,” Aman Arora, AAP MLA and senior leader, told The Hindu.Mr. Arora also demanded that the government should announce an immediate compensation of Rs. 50 lakh and a job to one member of the family of the victims.Shiromani Akali Dal leader and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur has meanwhile advised the Opposition parties to refrain from playing politics over dead people.Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh tweeted saying “Shattered at the heart-wrenching news from Sushma Swaraj that the 39 Indians missing in Iraq, most of whom were Punjabis, are dead. My heart goes out to the families who had been living in hope since their reported abduction by ISIS in 2014. Prayers with all of them.”Capt. Amarinder told reporters that one of survivors of the abducted group, who returned to the country, had already informed about this. “Its sad news,” he said.Notably, Harjit Masih (24), of Kala Afghana village in Punjab, who was abducted along with 39 other Indian workers, who managed to return to the country, had claimed that all 39 were killed after they were shot by terrorists. He was saved as a bullet just grazed him.
In January 2016, 40-year-old Wardhan (name changed) was rushed to a private hospital near Pahuli village in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh, to treat a ruptured appendix. While preparing him for surgery, doctors found him positive for the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), an infection that causes chronic liver disease.The doctors advised him to get his family members tested, a desirable practice when a patient tests positive for HCV. Within a week, seven out of 10 adults in Wardhan’s family tested positive.Hepatitis C affects the liver, and has the same mode of transmission as HIV, spreading through blood, injecting drugs, blood transfusion, sexual activity and from mother-to-child during pregnancy. Although data on HCV is weak, the central government estimates that about 1.2 crore people are positive for Hepatitis C in the country — six times the number of HIV/AIDS patients.Policy awaitedThere is no vaccine against the disease, and while it is curable, the Indian government is yet to announce the much-awaited Hepatitis C policy to advance treatment.When this reporter visited Pahuli, tracking a community of some 200 families that are at the centre of a Hepatitis C hotspot in Uttar Pradesh, Wardhan’s emerged as one of the first families that were ‘out-of-closet’. He was diagnosed on January 10, 2016.“Within days, my brother, father, uncle, wife cousins in extended family… every one was positive. We were so scared. Treatment seemed impossible, the entire family was affected, and our neighbours knew,” he says.As Wardhan’s family tried to cope, Girdhari, his immediate neighbour, decided to get tested. “I was positive too,” he recalls.On August 4, 2016, an unsettling mass diagnosis emerged, prompting Girdhari and a few men from Pahuli to visit Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Sukhbir Singh, since retired.They informed the officials that most families had identical symptoms — bleeding easily and with wounds that did not easily clot, swelling in the legs and serious weight loss. Based on this, between 70% and 80% of families seemed to to be HCV positive. The same month, 100 samples from the village were collected in three batches and sent for testing. The results confirmed the villagers’ fears: 73 out of the 100 samples were positive. But the government did not give them the results.“When they saw an overwhelming number, they refused to give us our medical records. No one has visited the village since August 2016,” says Girdhari.The Hindu found that, as reports of HCV prevalence from rural India grew, the Health Ministry collected epidemiological data from villages like Pahuli. In March 2016, 5,00,000 samples were collected from HIV sentinel surveillance sites. While the study was completed in December 2016, no data has been published in the public domain.Dr. R.R. Gangakhedkar, Head, Division of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) said, “Now that the programme [national policy] has been approved, the data is being analysed thoroughly. The data should become available in the next few weeks according to NACO. Since the analysis is in the final phase, we are unable to have access to the findings.” Queries on the decision to not publish the epidemiological data sent to the Health Ministry and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the implementation agency for the HCV policy, were not answered.Lack of transparencyPublic health experts maintain that lack of transparency in sharing epidemiological data could lead to spread of the disease. “Medical ethics dictate that data collected from a community must be transparently available to those people. Governments have to trust the community to stop the spread of the disease. In the two years that the hepatitis data was kept a secret, more people in that community donated blood, engaged in high risk behaviour and spread the disease,” said Dr. Amit Sengupta, convener of the India chapter of People’s Health Movement.The World Health Organisation said in a statement that it had not received the full findings, even though it had funded the study. “The complete findings have not been shared with WHO, neither in a meeting nor in a report. We understand that the report is being finalised by the government and we are looking forward to the results of the study,” a WHO representative said in a written statement to The Hindu.A senior official in the Health Ministry said on condition of anonymity: “The numbers were so much more than what we expected. It was felt that the study’s findings could not be made public without a solution. So, we quickly moved to finalise the National Hepatitis Policy.”The ICMR said the data was not put in the public domain as “it took a while to finalise the contours of the national program.”On the hepatitis policy, Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda announced on July 28, 2017, that the government would come up with a National Action Plan by December 2017 and roll it out by April 2018.Affecting treatmentThe absence of reliable data is affecting the push for wider treatment access. The ‘largest study’ on HCV in India was done between 2008 and 2014 with 777 patients. The study, published in 2015 at the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) under the U.S. National Library of Medicine noted that, “data on prevalence of HCV infection in India is scanty and the only sources are a few screening studies done on blood donors and pregnant women, and a few community-based studies.” Based on available data, WHO estimates that approximately 12 million Indians suffer from HCV, compared to the prevalence in the US of 2–4 million and in Europe of 5–10 million.For those like Wardhan who are positive, the treatment currently available is unsound. After the diagnosis in Pahuli, when government officials disappeared, medical representatives made an appearance, said Niri Devi, another patient. The people are left with two options: go to the village quack or jholachaap, who can manage only smaller ailments or take remedies offered by pharmaceutical companies.Medical representatives (MR) come to the village on a referral system. Families like Wardhan’s, which can pay, pass on the contacts of these representatives to newly-diagnosed patients. Ajay John, a representative who visits the village every three weeks says, “Almost every day I get a call from a patient.” I refer them to a doctor in Bijnor or Meerut, who writes them a prescription for Sofosbuvir, a drug that has revolutionised treatment for HCV.High costsOn March 23, 2018, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers said in Parliament that six pharmaceutical companies had applied for price approval of Sofosbuvir 400 mg and Velpatasvir – 100 mg tablets and simultaneously launched their formulation without prior price approval from the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).The NPPA had fixed the retail price of Sofosbuvir tablets at ₹ 15,625 (excluding GST) for a course, or an MRP of ₹17500 for the six companies. Of these, five companies had launched their formulation at an MRP of ₹18500 for 28 tablets. NPPA issued show cause notices to all the five and three had deposited the overcharged amount along with interest.
Armed men looted over ₹25 lakh from the employees of a toll plaza on NH-16 in Ganjam district of Odisha on Monday.Three employees of the Gorapalli toll plaza were on their way to Khallikote town to deposit the cash in a bank when they were targeted by the miscreants.Inspector incharge of the Khallikote police station Bibekananda Swain said the car in which the three employees were travelling was stopped by the miscreants near the Haridamula square. According to eyewitnesses, there were five miscreants who had come on two bikes. They tried to snatch the cash bag from the employees and when they resisted, the miscreants fired in the air to threaten them. Hearing the gunshot, some locals rushed to the spot, but the miscreants managed to escape with the cash. “We have seized an empty cartridge from the spot,” said Mr. Swain.Following the incident, all major roads in the Khallikote police station area have been sealed and a search is on to track down the culprits, he added.
A special court in Jaipur has issued bailable warrants against Ravi Krishna, director of Ziqitza Health Care Pvt. Ltd. and son of former Union Minister Vayalar Ravi, and two others in connection with alleged corruption in the running of ambulance services in Rajasthan.The CBI had named Mr. Krishna, Mumbai-based company’s CEO Sweta Mangal, employee Amit Antony Alex and the Ziqitza Health Care as accused in the chargesheet filed on June 4. “The CBI court has now summoned all the named accused and the company through its authorised representative to face trial by way of bailable warrants taking cognisance of the chargesheet against the accused. All the accused have been directed to appear before the court on August 23,” Jogender Singh Rajawat, counsel for Jaipur Deputy Mayor Pankaj Joshi, who had filed the complaint, said.
A ragpicker’s son from Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas district has cleared the AIIMS entrance test held in May end.Asharam Choudhary, 20, a resident of Vijayganj Mandi, a hamlet located nearly 40 km from the district headquarters, has secured 707th all-India rank and 141st rank in the OBC category. He also cleared the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test and secured 2,763rd all-India rank and 803rd rank in OBC category.The home of Asharam’s parents, Ranjit and Mamta Choudhary, in Vijayganj Mandi speaks for the life the family of four has been living for the past several years.Battling adversityThe entrance of the shack is made with hay collected from agricultural fields, and its roof is covered with clay tiles and plastic sheets, which barely keep rainwater from trickling in and are forever at risk of getting blown away by strong winds.“There are some gaps in the roof from where sun rays and rain drops easily seeps into our house. The adversities have never deterred me from continuing my studies. This was my first attempt [in AIIMS entrance test] and my teachers at Navodaya Vidyalaya, especially Amit sir [his Biology teacher], guided me in clearing the exam,” Asharam told The Hindu over telephone.On why he wanted to study medicine, Asharam said: “I decided to become a doctor by chance. When I was studying in Class V, my father took me to a ‘jhola chaap’ (quack) doctor. I saw him prescribing a few medicines and earning ₹50 in few minutes. The incident left a deep impression on me. I compared his work with the labour of my father, who collected discarded plastic bottles, iron pieces, especially near the railway crossings, and earned less than ₹50 in an entire day.”Training in Pune “But the main reason behind my success is the guidance and training I received at the Dakshana Foundation, Pune [a coaching centre which trains students from impoverished families from rural India for engineering and medical entrance tests]. Because of my first rank in the entrance examination of Dakshana Foundation, and my poor financial background, they extended support to me,” he said.
A day before a volunteers’ convention being organised by Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Harpal Singh Cheema alleged on Wednesday that the event was being ‘sponsored’ by the SAD-BJP combine and the RSS.Mr. Khaira, who was removed from the post of the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, and MLAs who are supporting him are organising the volunteers’ convention at Bathinda on Thursday. The event is being seen as a show of strength by Mr. Khaira. “The convention to be held at Bathinda on Thursday is as an event sponsored by SAD-BJP-RSS and Bains brothers and has nothing to do the with Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and other leaders,” Mr. Cheema, the newly appointed Leader of the Opposition, said in a statement here. He said the use of photos and names of national leaders, MPs and MLAs on the posters, meant for the convention, was to ‘confuse’ AAP workers. ‘Anti-Dalit’ Terming the convention an ‘anti-Dalit’ event, the AAP leader said: “The State as well as (the) national leadership would have welcomed the convention if it was scheduled to raise the voice of Dalits, farmers, unemployed and against mafias of every kind.” Accusing the Bains brothers-led Lok Insaaf Party of trying to break the AAP, the Dirba MLA claimed that a few leaders of the AAP were trying to ‘kill’ their own party by allegedly getting influenced by Simarjeet and Balwinder Singh Bains.
With many candidates elected unopposed and a number segments not receiving a single nomination, there will be voting in only 36 of the 132 wards which were scheduled to go for polls on Tuesday in the fourth and final phase of urban local bodies elections in Jammu and Kashmir. In the final phase, the electorate will seal the fate of 150 candidates in Srinagar and Ganderbal districts.Arrangements made Officials said arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of the polls which are scheduled to begin at 6 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. They said the election staff and polling material have reached respective polling stations. Heavy security bandobast has been put in place near the polling stations, while security forces have been carrying out area-domination exercises over the last couple of days, officials said. Eight municipal bodies in six districts — all in Kashmir valley — were scheduled to go for polls on Tuesday. However, out of the eight only two will see voting. There will be no contest in the rest of the six bodies. The Ganderbal Municipal Committee will see voting in 12 wards out of the 17 in total. Polling will be held in 24 out of the total 25 wards in the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC). Only these 36 wards will go to polls on Tuesday, in which 150 candidates are in the fray — 38 in Ganderbal and 112 in Srinagar. Five candidates from Ganderbal and one from Srinagar have been elected unopposed. The rest of the bodies — Pattan in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, Pampore, Pulwama and Khrew in Pulwama district in south, Shopian Municipal Committee in Shopian district in south and Dooru Verinag in Anantnag district also in south Kashmir — will see no voting. Together these six bodies have 90 wards. While candidates from 11 wards out of the total 13 in the Pattan municipal body have been elected unopposed, two wards received no nomination papers. Not a single nomination paper was submitted in any of the 13 wards of the Khrew municipal body. In the Pampore municipal body, which has 17 wards, five candidates were elected unopposed, while 12 wards received no nomination papers.Out of the 13 wards in Pulwama municipal body, no candidate was in the fray in 11 wards while two candidates were elected unopposed. In the 17 wards of Shopian, 12 were elected without contest, while five wards received no nominations. National Conference, PDP and CPI(M) have boycotted the polls due to the legal challenge to Article 35A of the Constitution in the Supreme Court.
Suresh Patil, one of the convenors of the ‘Maratha Kranti Morcha’, on Thursday floated his own political outfit with the sole aim of securing reservation for the Maratha community.The launch, which took place at the historic Raireshwar Temple in Bhor taluk, 85 km from Pune, came under fire from other Morcha leaders who are strongly opposed to the formation of a political party.Maharashtra Kranti SenaMr. Patil named his party ‘Maharashtra Kranti Sena’ as other Morcha coordinators issued appeals to community members not to support any party using the word ‘Maratha’ in its name. He also claimed the backing of Nationalist Congress Party MP Udayanraje Bhosale, an important Maratha leader from Satara.Mr. Patil further said the nascent party would contest five seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.Leaders within the Maratha Kranti Morcha and the Sakal Maratha Samaj — the two umbrella outfits spearheading the quota agitation — distanced themselves from Mr. Patil’s new party hours after its launch.Morcha coordinators from Mumbai, led by Mahesh Rane, protested near the Raireshwar Temple while other Maratha community leaders from Pune, Nashik and Aurangabad disclaimed Mr. Patil’s association with the two umbrella organisations that have played a critical role in mobilising the community. They dubbed Mr. Patil “an agent provocateur, acting on behalf of the ruling party” and accused him of sowing discord within the pro-quota stir before the elections.“He [Mr. Patil] is nothing but an agent of the ruling BJP who has been deliberately unleashed with the objective to break the Maratha agitation for reservation,” said Mr. Rane, speaking to The Hindu. Remarking on Mr. Patil’s “close ties” with senior BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Shantaram Kunjir, a Morcha coordinator from Pune. said that Mr. Patil’s contribution had been “minimal” throughout the quota agitation movement that had been characterised by collective decision-making.“Right from the start we were resolute that the ‘Maratha Kranti Morcha’ will not transform into a political outfit lead by individuals trying to hog the limelight and seek political gains,” Mr. Kunjir said, pointing out that the Maratha agitation had always been unique in the sense that it had no formal political leader or party at its helm.In Nashik, Morcha leaders accused Mr. Patil of piggybacking on the movement’s popularity for his selfish gains.Praveen Gaikwad, a prominent community leader, said that the move [of floating a political party] would benefit the BJP government as it sought to isolate and divide the Maratha community.
Dhananjay Shedbale of Vanrai Foundation said that lack of centralised treatment of sewage at source made reviving Mula-Mutha an onerous task. He said, “The civic body’s flawed policy and the failure of authorities to foresee the rapid development in Pune has aggravated the problem of treating the water bodies in the city.”The Environmental Status Report released by the PMC’s environment department in July pointed out a consistent rise in levels of chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and dissolved oxygen (DO) in the river since 2012. The BOD and COD levels indicate the degree of pollution in the river. While BOD gives the amount of oxygen biologically required to decompose organic matter under aerobic conditions, COD is the measurement of total oxygen required to oxidise all biologically available and inert organic matter into carbon dioxide and water. Mangesh Dighe, PMC’s environment officer, said, “The incredible population growth in the city in the last decade, coupled with a culture of consumption as manifested in increasing usage of chemicals for domestic purposes, is the prime contributor to high pollution levels of Mula-Mutha.” Mr. Dighe said only 75% of the city’s raw sewage generation was being treated.Uma Khare of Jeevit Nadi Foundation said, “To effect any major change, people must be sensitised to the plight of the river. Sociologically, the organic connect with the river has been ruptured as urban dwellers only use tap water.” She said sensitisation drives in the past three years like river walks and pleas to adopt a toxic-free lifestyle have helped citizens understand the gravity of the situation. The Mula-Mutha river that snakes through Pune is an integral part of the city’s history and culture just like the Shaniwar Wada Fort and Parvati Hill.Yet, urbanisation over the past decade has transformed the river into one of the country’s most-polluted water bodies. Earlier this year, the Central Pollution Control Board listed sections of the river among the ‘351 most critically polluted stretches’, earning Mula-Mutha the ignominy of being not only the most polluted river in Pune and Maharashtra but also in the country.Discharge of untreated sewage and industrial effluents have led to a rise in the levels of nitrates and other toxins in the river, which courses along a 45-km stretch through Pune city before joining the Bhima river in Solapur. Thousands of people living along the 150-km stretch of the river, from the village of Uruli Devachi to parts of Solapur district, have for long been suffering from ailments such as renal colitis, dengue and anaemia. On November 25, around 20 environmental NGOs in the State joined hands with Pune civic authorities and thousands of citizens to resuscitate the river. Clean-up drives, ‘river walks’ and awareness campaigns were organised and nearly 30 mega tonnes of solid waste were cleared from the river at various points in the city.Niranjan Upsane, a founding member of Jeevit Nadi Foundation, said, “Our drive will end on November 28 to mark India River Day. We are striving to make Mula-Mutha, Pavana and other rivers in the city water hyacinth-free and pollution-free so that they begin to flow naturally by 2020. We hope to make Pune the first ‘garbage-free river city’ of India.” ₹990-cr. clean-up project Shailaja Deshpande, director of Jeevit Nadi Foundation, said people don’t seem to want to take the responsibility for maintaining water bodies. She said, “We have to stop pointing fingers at bureaucratic ineptness and start thinking about the legacy we are bequeathing our future generations.” Ms. Deshpande said officials and citizens were now waking up to extent of pollution in the river. She said, “Mutha is almost dead because it is not flowing consistently. Its flow is dependent on the will of the irrigation department.”In July, after a long delay, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) started the process of appointing a private agency for the construction of sewage treatment plants (STPs) as part of a ₹990-crore project to clean up Mula-Mutha river. The Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) is funding the project, which will be implemented by the PMC under the aegis of the National River Conservation Plan. The Central government and JICA inked a loan agreement for the project in January 2016.Under the project, the PMC plans to construct 11 new STPs of 396 MLD (million litres per day) treatment capacity to cater to sewage generated up to 2027. The PMC will also lay 113.6-km of sewers and construct 24 community toilets. The sewage treatment capacity of the existing STPs is 477 MLD, while the volume of sewage generated is 728 MLD. The untreated sewage is discharged into Mula-Mutha river. According to PMC figures, around 873 MLD of sewage will be generated in 2027. Ms. Khare said, “The drive that began on November 25 is just one big thrust towards restoring the Mula-Mutha. Our weekly drives with school students and volunteers have led to the preservation of wetland along some stretches of the river.” Ms. Deshpande said it is imperative to preserve the source of the river and to put in place a plan for holistic preservation involving maintenance of the entire ecosystem.‘Focus on groundwater’ Mr. Shedbale said the PMC’s concretisation programme for riverfront management is inimical to the rich ecosystem around the river. Ms. Deshpande said, “We should be preserving water sources rather than concretising riverfronts. This will severely impact the ecosystem, destroying flora and fauna. The focus should be on rejuvenating groundwater levels. Only then, can the river be toxin-free by 2025.” Joint effort: Citizens and environmentalists remove plastic items strewn on the banks of the Mula-Mutha river in Pune on Tuesday.
Three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants were killed in an 18-hour operation on the outskirts of Srinagar that ended on Sunday afternoon. A soldier and three civilians were injured during the encounter, a police spokesperson said. “Three terrorists were killed in an operation. The bodies, weapons and warlike stores were recovered from the encounter site. The operation was called off on Sunday afternoon,” said Srinagar-based Army spokesman.Youngest militant?The police identified two of the dead militants as Mudasir Rashid Parray and Saqib Bilal Sheikh, both residents of Bandipora’s Hajin. “The third person is from Pakistan and was identified as Ali. They all belonged to the LeT,” the police said.Parray was reportedly just 14 years of age and one of the youngest militants killed in the valley. His gun-wielding picture had surfaced on social media earlier this week, after he had gone missing in August. However, the police said Parray’s age could not be confirmed.“The militants were wanted for their complicity in crimes. Ali was involved in several crimes and several cases were registered against him including attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities. He was involved in recruitment in Hajin and Sumbal areas of Bandipora,” said the Army spokesman.The encounter began inside a colony on the Srinagar-Bandipora road near Mujgund when the militants were encircled inside a house. “The militants fired on security forces on Saturday evening when they were spotted in the area,” said a police official.The operation was prolonged as one of the militants moved from one house to another, the police said. Local residents said five houses were damaged in the encounter, which started on Saturday evening.Residents said they heard loud explosions near the houses followed by a blaze that engulfed several buildings around the encounter site. The exchange of fire continued into Sunday morning.Several protesters took to the streets in the area and hurled stones at security forces. Internet services were blocked in Srinagar on Sunday as a “precautionary measure”.Meanwhile, a militant, Reyaz Ahmad, was arrested in the Chenab Valley’s Kishtwar on Sunday. “There is the likelihood of one more arrest. The accused person is a hardcore motivator of youth who encourages them for joining militancy and militant activities and a close associate of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Mohd Amin alias Jhangir Reyaz Ahmed,” said the spokesman.
Thirteen people remain trapped in a flooded illegal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia hills district a day after the incident even as efforts to pump out water, continuing since Thursday, failed to yield any result. After the incident came to light on Thursday morning, a pump was pressed into service at 4 p.m. and is being switched off every three hours to give it rest, officials said on Friday. Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force consisting of 60 personnel reached here on Friday morning, while 12 personnel from the State Disaster Response Force are already at the site, they said. “We are trying to pump the water out from the mine, which is 370 feet deep. The water level is about 70 feet, according to the NDRF,” Police DIG (Eastern Range) A.R. Mawthoh said. However, the water level has not gone down and two more pumps would be put into service later in the day, East Jaintia Hills district SP Sylvester Nongtynger said.
The Congress party’s decision to contest all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan, where it is in power, “without allies” has been perceived here as the party’s strategy to put pressure on the smaller secular parties to accept an alliance on its terms and force them to agree to a limited number of seats.Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot said here on Tuesday that the selection of candidates was in the final stages and a clearer picture would emerge after the screening committee’s meeting in New Delhi on March 8. He pointed out that the Congress had directly contested all the 25 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well.“Congress is fighting this time against the forces which have weakened constitutional institutions,” Mr. Pilot said. “The candidates will be selected on the basis of their hard work, feedback of party workers and winnability,” he added. Observers believe that the Congress’s declaration that it would have no truck with allies was aimed at forcing the smaller parties to accept the specific seats it wanted to offer to them, given its own weaker prospects. Besides, the Congress would not be willing to spare more than one seat each for its alliance partners.While expecting to work on the formation of a grand alliance for the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had offered a total of five seats to its allies in the 2018 State Assembly election. Two seats each were reserved for Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal and Sharad Yadav’s Loktantrik Janata Dal, while one was kept aside for Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress party.The RLD’s Subhash Garg, who won the Bharatpur seat by defeating the BJP’s Vijay Bansal by a margin of 15,710 votes, has been appointed Minister of State for Technical Education in the State government.For the Lok Sabha elections, parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) and the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP), which have sent a significant number of members to the State Assembly, could have been potential allies. If they were to contest the polls independently, they are certain to make a dent in the Congress’s support base.Sikar-based political analyst Ashfaq Kayamkhani said on Wednesday that it would be in the Congress’s own interest to reach out to these parties and negotiate with them by offering a sufficient number of seats. “Congress should even take along the Communist parties and make sincere efforts to stop the division of secular votes,” he said.The BTP has already announced that it will contest the Chittorgarh and tribal-dominated Udaipur and Banswara seats and started its campaign in the Kushalgarh region. The CPI(M) is likely to field former MLA Amra Ram from Sikar and sitting MLA Balwan Poonia from Churu. Mayawati’s BSP and RLP —floated by BJP rebel and Khinvsar MLA Hanuman Beniwal – have announced that they will contest all the seats.Mr. Kayamkhani said the Congress’ victory in the Assembly election was “just on the edge”, as its vote share was less than 1% higher than that received by the BJP. “In this scenario, it will be suicidal for Congress to go it alone in the Lok Sabha polls, especially when the BJP is whipping up passions and approaching the ex-servicemen to exploit the Pulwama terror attack,” he said.
A lot is riding on a lunar science mission that NASA plans to launch tonight from Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia shore. And it isn’t just lunar science.The primary goal of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer or LADEE (pronounced laddie) is to learn more about the moon’s thin atmosphere, which remains a mystery 4 decades after humans first landed on the moon. But the launch will also test new concepts and technologies that could help future space missions.“It’s got a lot of firsts to it,” says Richard Elphic, project scientist for LADEE at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)For one, LADEE will be the first mission to be blasted into space atop a Minotaur V rocket, a newly designed launch vehicle that incorporates a Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missile from the U.S. Air Force. Another precedent is the craft’s architecture: LADEE was built by assembling a series of modules whose designs can be reused in future missions. In addition, the mission will provide NASA the first opportunity to test a new laser-based system for communicating with satellites. This system could significantly increase the speed and volume of data downloads from observational spacecraft.The launch, scheduled for 11:27 p.m. on Friday, will be visible from as far afield as Washington, D.C. And viewers up and down the eastern shore, from Connecticut down to North Carolina, should be able to see the rocket speeding through the sky, if the skies are clear.
The days of clunky, battery-operated pacemakers may soon be over. Researchers have built a wirelessly powered pacemaker the size of a grain of rice and successfully implanted it in a rabbit. If the results hold up, a new generation of smaller and safer medical implants could be on the market in the next 5 to 10 years.Today’s pacemakers, cochlear implants, and other internal medical devices require batteries that are either built into the implant or connected by long wires, making them bulky and requiring surgery any time the batteries need to be replaced or the wires need repair. Recently, researchers have worked to make pacemakers smaller; one recent design is so tiny that doctors can use a catheter to guide it through a vein that starts in the thigh to implant it directly inside a patient’s heart. But no matter how small a pacemaker is, its batteries still need to be replaced eventually.An alternative, first suggested in the 1960s, is to power a pacemaker by transmitting radio waves to it from outside the body using Tesla coils, the doughnut-shaped metal coils Nikola Tesla originally proposed as an alternative to standard electrical power lines. In this scenario, the batteries required to run the transmitter would remain outside the body, eliminating the need for surgery to replace them. In theory, a pacemaker powered with a Tesla coil could run indefinitely with no tinkering. And by eliminating internal batteries, a pacemaker could be much smaller—just a simple electronic circuit and a tiny receiver coil. In practice, however, current designs are so inefficient that to power a pacemaker, the transmitting coil mounted on a patient’s chest has to send about 100 watts through the skin—more than enough to burn.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“Safety is probably the single most important problem with wireless power,” says John Ho, lead author of the new study and an electrical engineering graduate student at Stanford University in California. The key to a safer wireless pacemaker, he says, is designing a better transmitter. After some initial research, he and his colleagues realized that a Tesla coil isn’t actually the best choice: Because it shoots energy in many different directions, doctors would need to crank up its power to dangerous levels in order to be sure a fraction of that energy would be absorbed by the pacemaker. To make wireless power a reality, researchers need a design that focuses energy directly on an implant, he says.To begin to address the problems, Ho, Qualcomm engineer Sanghoek Kim, and Stanford electrical engineer Ada Poon last year decided to completely rethink transmitter design. They first devised a series of equations that the electrical currents in an optimal transmitter would have to satisfy and showed that the ideal currents followed semicircular paths and switched back and forth 2 billion times a second, about the same frequency at which cellphones broadcast. Based on that observation, they played around until they found a transmitter design that came close to producing the optimal electrical currents: a 6-centimeter square plate with four trident-shaped cutouts arranged in a circle, operating at 1.6 gigahertz, and, like earlier designs, placed on the skin above an implant.Now, Ho and his team have built a model of their device and used it to transmit power to a tiny receiver coil mounted on a 2-millimeter-long pacemaker embedded in simulated human hearts and brains. Their tests showed they could run the implant with about 100 times less power than Tesla coil–based designs, they report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In a second test, the team implanted a pacemaker in a rabbit and used it to successfully control its heart rate without burning the animal’s skin.“It’s a very interesting idea,” says Vivek Reddy, director of Arrhythmia Services at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and a researcher who’s performed clinical trials on capsule-sized, battery-powered pacemakers that fit inside the heart. Still, the idea of wirelessly transmitting power raises issues such as whether patients could be trusted to replace the transmitter’s batteries or to properly position it over a medical implant without a doctor’s help. When it comes to pacemakers, implanting both the device and its transmitter may be safer for patients because doctors could then monitor and control its operation, Reddy says. Still, he says, the technology should be valuable for cochlear implants or other implanted devices where a dead battery isn’t a matter of life and death.