Called To Serve: A Military Women’s Wellness Series

first_imgThis week our Friday Field Notes focuses on a program created by two Assistant Professor’s at South Dakota State University to address the needs of an under-served military population…women.    Read on for information on this great program, which utilized cooperative extension specialists as part of the program.Females associated with the military (service members, veterans, dependents) experience varying stressors.  Today, the United States maintains the largest proportion of females currently serving in the armed forces in history. Females are experiencing more combat than in the past and are returning from combat with varying psychosocial stressors including an increase risk of harassment, sexual assault, mental illness, and unemployment.  Female military dependents may experience impairments in relationships due to the effects of trauma from deployments as well as symptoms of secondary trauma and other mental health issues.Women associated with the military, including spouses and dependents, are currently an under-served population.  Few programs are available which address the specific needs of females who have a connection to the armed services. A lack of resources can increase stress and negatively impact the overall health and wellness of service men and women. Therefore, programs are needed to provide support and promote wellness among military personnel and families.To meet this need, we received funding from the Women and Giving Foundation at South Dakota State University (SDSU) to design a series of wellness workshops. Each workshop was informed by one of the Pillars of Wellness established by the National Guard Bureau. In partnership with Michelle Ruesink, Director of Veterans Affairs at SDSU, the workshops were provided to female students and community members with military connections.  The Pillars of Wellness represent elements of one’s overall health including emotional, physical, spiritual, social, and family wellness. SDSU Extension state and field specialists with expertise in the pillars led the activities in each of the workshops. This pilot project was implemented at minimal cost, can be easily replicated, and helped to establish connections with local military organizations.The following describes each of the workshops in more detail:Physical Wellness: The health and physical activity extension field specialist facilitated a workshop on healthy eating and physical activity. During the session, participants learned about updated nutritional recommendations from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), as well as mobile apps that could be used to quickly estimate calorie intake. Additionally, participants learned and practiced basic yoga exercises for relieving tension.Emotional Wellness:  A 4-H youth development and resiliency extension field specialist presented a workshop on the qualities associated with resilient individuals, as well as coping strategies that can foster resiliency. Participants formed small groups to discuss challenges that families may experience during military service and brainstormed coping strategies to help overcome those challenges. Additionally, time was provided for self-reflection related to a personal challenge and the development of an individual plan, which included coping strategies discussed during the workshop.Spiritual Wellness:  A family, life, and child care extension state specialist presented on mindfulness, which is the process of focusing thought and attention on the present moment.  She led the workshop in a yoga studio in the wellness center on campus. Participants had a chance to engage in various mindfulness activities including a basic body scan, mindful walking, and mindful eating. These activities help limit preoccupation with past stressors or future obligations in an effort to reduce anxiety.Family Wellness:  A family resource management extension state specialist provided strategies for managing family finances. Participants evaluated their needs versus wants and were provided with budget templates and debt calculators. A common concern among participants was related to student loans as many workshop participants were currently attending college or had college-aged children.Social Wellness:  The last session served as a relaxing social event to wrap up the series. Participants were invited to a food and canvas painting event. A local merchant who hosts private painting parties facilitated the final session. Each participant had the opportunity to create a military-themed painting on her own canvas. During the session, an emphasis was made on the importance of community and maintaining relationships.Our goal is to expand the programming to the other universities in South Dakota as well as within rural communities across the state.  By utilizing expertise within the University Extension System, we can provide effective programming to meet the needs of military service members and their families.  For more information on the pilot project, please view our publication in the Journal of Military and Government Counseling.Bjornestad, A., & Letcher, A. (2015). Called to serve:  A military women’s wellness series.  Journal of Military and Government Counseling, 3(3), 215-228.Meet the authors:Andrea Bjornestad, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, is an Assistant Professor and extension mental health specialist in the Department of Counseling and Human Development at South Dakota State University.  She is a licensed professional counselor in South Dakota.  Her research has focused on examining secondary traumatic stress symptoms in military spouses and the impact of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on military families.  A current project includes designing a wellness inventory for military service members and veterans.  She is a former military spouse who has served on numerous committees to help plan and support events for military veterans and their family members.Amber Letcher, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor and 4-H youth development specialist in the Department of Counseling and Human Development at South Dakota State University.  Her research focuses on youth development and risk taking in the context of early peer relationships. Her previous work compared the self-reported and observed attachment characteristics of adolescent couples and the relationship between romantic attachment and risk behaviors.  Current projects are exploring youth risk behavior within rural communities, sexual education programming, as well as the effects of youth mentoring.last_img read more

Odisha child marriage bid nipped in bud

first_imgA timely phone call to Childline on 1098 saved one more school-going girl from the menace of child marriage in Ganjam district of OdishaThe marriage of the Class X student from Sindurpur village under Chatrapur Block was scheduled for Monday, sources from Childline said. Concerned about her plight, the victim’s friends contacted Childline on March 4.According to Berhampur Childline director Sudhir Sabat, they received a call from the victim’s friends in the evening. The issue was taken up immediately with the police and administration. A team of the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), led by B. Bairagi Patra of the Ganjam Child Welfare Committee and police officers, reached the village on Sunday. They held discussions with the minor’s parents, relatives, the local sarpanch and senior community leaders to impress upon them the illegality of their decision. Following this, the girl’s parents and relatives decided not to get her married. Written undertaking The parents gave a written undertaking to that effect, also signed by their daughter, Mr. Sabat added.The telephone numbers for contacting both Childline and the government’s Students’ Helpline are displayed in every school. These numbers have helped prevent at least nine child marriages in Ganjam district since April 2016. Usually, the victims or their friends and relatives call up these helplines after failing to reason with the family. A call to Childline on February 26 by the victim’s friend helped prevent her marriage, scheduled for March 1 at Kanchudu village under Buguda police station.Another caseIn another instance, a Class IX student from Sabulia under Rambha police station tried to reason with her parents against her marriage, scheduled for February 1. When that failed, she called up the Students’ Helpline seeking help from the administration. Her marriage too was prevented.last_img read more

In Bishahra, a night of revelry

first_imgYogi Adityanath unleashes Hindutva blitz On Sunday, when Yogi Adityanath took oath as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Bishahra, a Thakur-dominated village, danced and celebrated with a DJ in attendance late into the night.The residents believed they had reasons for revelry, and the participants included members of the Gau Raksha Hindu Dal (Save cow Hindu protection force), a cow vigilante outfit active in Dadri.The family members of the youths arrested on charges of lynching Mohammad Akhlaq, accusing him of cow slaughter and storing beef, were happy as they saw Mr. Adityanath as someone who “would understand their plight”.“It is for the first time in the past year-and-a-half that we felt that our plight would be felt and understood by those in power. Yogiji [Mr. Adityanath] has supported Hindus, and he has been a constant source of support, always present in the background, when this incident happened,” Om Kumar, an electrician in Bishahra, told The Hindu.Also Read Mr. Adityanath, who belongs to the Thakur community, had demanded that the family of Akhlaq be arrested on charges of cow slaughter and eating beef, and the compensation given to them be withdrawn.The outfit established by Mr. Adityanath, Hindu Yuva Vahini, had offered guns to “harassed” Hindus of Bishahra.Fifteen of the 18 accused in the lynching case are in jail. Two of them are out on bail as they were minors. One of the accused died in judicial custody. Yogi Adityanath: a hard Hindutva face of BJP  His sons, Saurav and Gaurav, were arrested on charges of killing Akhlaq. Gaurav, a minor, is out on bail. All the accused, except one, arrested on charges of killing Akhlaq, belong to the dominant Thakur community.Ved Nagar, the head of Gau Raksha Hindu Dal, told The Hindu on the phone that the “family members of Akhlaq’s murder accused, had met Adityanath twice in Delhi after the incident and he had promised to extend all possible support to them”.A matter of pride“It is a matter of pride that a cow protector like Yogiji has become the Chief Minister. Now we expect justice to be done,” Mr. Nagar said.He said Mr. Adityanath’s appointment “gives hope that the accused in the Akhlaq murder case would soon get bail”. The villagers now see a “ray of hope” because Mr. Adityanath had stood with the accused. In the aftermath of Akhlaq’s lynching, he demanded that the 18 youths arrested in the case be released. Also Readlast_img read more

BJD MLA Pravat Ranjan Biswal arrested in Odisha chit fund scam case

first_imgAfter a lull for almost three years, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday arrested yet another ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator Pravat Ranjan Biswal for his alleged complicacies in the multi-crore chit fund scam.Family sources said, the Cuttack-Choudwar MLA was summoned by the CBI sleuths on Monday night for further questioning him in connection with a land deal with M/s Seashore Group of Companies and the family was informed that he was arrested.Mr. Biswal, representing the Cuttack-Choudwar Assembly segment for the third term, and his wife Laxmibilasini, a former Cuttack Zilla Parashad chief, were earlier quizzed several times during past three years by the CBI in this connection.The controversial land belonging to the chit fund company and located in Jajpur district was registered in the name of Laxmibilasini in the year 2012 for a consideration amount of Rs 25 lakh and the CBI was investigating into the source of that huge money.The arrest of Mr. Biswal is a major setback to the ruling party in Cuttack district as the CBI had earlier in October 2014 had arrested another BJD MLA Pravat Kumar Tripathy, representing Banki Assembly constituency of the district, for his alleged link with another chit fund company. The Banki MLA is however, on bail now.last_img read more

Won’t challenge discharge of officers in Sohrabuddin case, says CBI

first_imgThe Central Bureau of Investigation told the Bombay High Court on Monday that it will not challenge the recent discharge of any of the senior IPS officers in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. CBI counsel Sandesh Patil and Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the HC that the agency had already challenged the discharge of some junior officers in the case. However, the CBI had decided not to challenge the trial court order that absolved senior officers, including former deputy inspector general of Gujarat D.G. Vanzara, Rajasthan IPS officer Dinesh MN, and Gujarat IPS officer Rajkumar Pandiyan, in connection with the alleged fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his aide Tulsiram Prajapati, they said. The CBI’s submissions came while a single bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere was hearing a revision application filed by Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s brother Rubabuddin Sheikh, challenging the trial court orders of discharge of these officers.The trial court had in 2016 and last year discharged Pandiyan, Vanzara and Dinesh MN.Rubabuddin Sheikh has filed separate petitions challenging the discharge of the three officers from the case. However, his counsel advocate Gautam Tiwari told the high court on Monday that while they had been able to serve notices to Dinesh MN and Pandiyan in the case, they had been unable to trace the address or contact details of Vanzara. The high court had earlier directed the CBI to provide Vanzara’s address to the petitioner, but Tiwari said the central agency had provided an incorrect address. The court on Monday directed the CBI to trace Vanzara’s whereabouts and serve him the notice directing him to present his side of the case in the HC on the next date of hearing.“The CBI is a premier probe agency. It should not encounter any impediment in finding the respondent’s (Vanzara’s) whereabouts, or getting his address. We often direct the investigating officers to serve notices, so in this case the CBI should do it to avoid further delays in hearing,” Justice Mohite-Dere said. The special CBI court in Mumbai, hearing the case after the Supreme Court ordered for the trial to be transferred out of Gujarat, had discharged the above three officials on the ground that the CBI had failed to get prior sanction or the special permission to prosecute them. However, during a previous hearing, Justice Mohite-Dere had questioned whether the lack of such sanction alone could be an adequate reason to warrant an accused person’s discharge from the case. She had also dismissed the CBI’s argument that it had challenged the discharge of two Rajasthan police sub-inspectors Himanshu Singh and Shyam Singh Charan and senior Gujarat police officer N.K. Amin. The judge had observed that while the CBI was opposing the discharge of sub-inspectors and constables, it had conveniently gone quiet on the discharge of most of the senior IPS officers.On Monday, advocate Tiwari told the high court that while the CBI had challenged Singh and Charan’s discharge in 2016, the pleas were yet to be taken up for hearing by the HC. The high court has now tagged together all the pleas filed by Rubabuddin Sheikh and the CBI in the case, and will hear them together on January 29. Of the 38 people accused in the case, 15, including 14 IPS officers, have been discharged by the special court. The CBI has challenged the discharge of two junior officers, and one of the 14 senior officers (N K Amin) accused in the alleged fake encounter cases of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauser Bi, and also that of Ishrat Jahan. Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife were allegedly abducted by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad from Hyderabad on their way to Sangli in Maharashtra. Sheikh was killed in an alleged fake encounter near Gandhinagar in November 2005, after which his wife disappeared. Prajapati, an aide of Sheikh and an eyewitness to the encounter, was allegedly killed by police in Chapri village in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district in December 2006. Vanzara, who was heading the ATS at the time, was charged by the CBI for having conspired with the other accused officials to kill Shaikh and the other victims and pass the incident off as an encounter.last_img read more

Assam senior citizens refute PM’s electrification claims

first_imgSenior citizens in Assam have taken to Facebook to seek electricity for some villages in the State, soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed via Twitter that the BJP-led NDA government has achieved complete rural electrification in the country.Harendra Chandra Das, a retired teacher of Peragaon in western Assam’s Barpeta district, posted a letter addressed to State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Das, on his Facebook page late on Monday.“You may recall visiting our village of 12 families and 46 voters before the [2016] Assembly election. We told you we have everything except electricity, and you called up a contractor for connecting our village to the grid beyond,” Mr. Das said.“Sometime ago, I bought 800 metres of wire to get electricity from the constituency of your neighbouring MLA, but the other villagers are not as resourceful as I am,” the retired teacher said.Peragaon, in Barpeta Assembly constituency represented by the State BJP chief, borders the Bijni constituency that is represented by Kamal Singh Narzary of Bodoland People’s Front (BPF). The BJP and BPF are ruling allies in Assam.Mr. Dass could not be contacted, but one of his aides said he has taken note of the teacher’s Facebook reminder. “We will act on it after assessing the situation on the ground,” the aide said.Monday also saw another senior citizen carrying out a hunger strike to draw attention to the lack of basic amenities, including electricity, in central Assam’s Dima Hasao district.Bahim Chandra Langthasa, the founder of Jadikhe Naiso Hasam, an apex organisation of the Dimasa community, called off his fast in the evening after local authorities assured to bail the district’s Langtingdibu area out of isolation.last_img read more

Shiv Sena to not contest Palus-Kadegaon bypoll

first_imgPune: Shiv Sena has decided to not field a candidate for the bypoll to the Palus-Kadegaon Assembly seat in Sangli district, which fell empty after the death of Congress leader Patangrao Kadam in March.On Thursday, Patangrao’s son, Youth Congress president Vishwajeet Kadam, had a telephonic conversation with Sena president Uddhav Thackeray who assured him that the party would not field a candidate for the seat out of respect for his late father, sources close to the Congress leader said.BJP fields DeshmukhAfter Patangrao’s death in March, it was expected that the major political parties would not field candidates against Vishwajeet Kadam, who hopes to get elected unopposed. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has already said it would not put forward anybody for the seat. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced on Wednesday that it would field Sangramsinh Deshmukh, son of late BJP legislator Sampatrao Deshmukh, for the seat — two days after Mr. Kadam filed his nomination. Sangramsinh’s cousin Prithviraj Deshmukh is BJP’s Sangli district chief. Sangramsinh heads the Zilla Parishad and has interests in the Sangli District Cooperative Bank.Bitter legacyThe Palus-Kadegaon seat has a bitter history. In 1997, following Sampatrao Deshmukh’s death, Patangrao had decided to contest the election instead of letting a relative of the BJP MLA be elected unopposed. This rankled with the Deshmukhs. In the 2009 Assembly poll, Patangrao managed to wrest the seat from Prithviraj, and again defeated him in the 2014 election, despite the BJP coming to power in the State.The BJP’s decision to field Sangramsinh against Mr. Kadam is viewed as ‘payback’ by a section of BJP leaders and workers in Sangli. However, sources say the BJP might be willing to withdraw their candidate if the Congress doesn’t field anyone for the Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll.The Kalus-Padegaon Assembly by-election, along with the Palghar and Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha bypolls, is to be held on May 28, with counting of votes on May 31.last_img read more

Lalu Prasad gets three-day parole to attend elder son’s wedding

first_imgRashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad reached Patna on Thursday after he was granted a three-day parole to attend his elder son Tej Pratap’s wedding on May 12.Tej Pratap Yadav, his brother Tejashwi Yadav, sister Misa Bharti and a large number of RJD leaders and supporters were present at the Patna airport to welcome him.Mr. Prasad, lodged in Ranchi jail, had applied for a five-day parole and was expected to reach Patna on Wednesday. However, the authorities granted him parole for three days on the condition that he would not speak to the media. “We granted him three-day parole after considering the need,” said Jharkhand Inspector General of Police (Prison) Harsh Mangla.The security personnel at the airport had a tough time escorting Mr. Prasad to his vehicle due to the supporters who had gathered in large numbers. He reached 10, Circular Road, the official residence of Rabri Devi, in a caravan of vehicles.Ceremonies have begun in Patna for the wedding. “We are expecting more than 20,000 guests,” said state RJD chief Ram Chandra Purve.last_img read more

Tej Pratap’s tweet signals rift in RJD

first_imgTej Pratap Yadav, elder son of Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, on Saturday created a flutter in political circles with a tweet indicating that all is not well in the party. Many saw it as the first open sign of rift between Mr. Prasad’s sons. Mr. Tej Pratap, however, later clarified in a series of tweets that there were no differences between them.“Mera sochna hai ki mein Arjun ko Hastinapur ki gaddi per baithayun aur khud dwarka chala jaun! Ab Kuchek chuglon ko kasht hai ki kahin mein king-maker na kahlaun (I think I should place Arjuna on the throne of Hastinapur and go to Dwarka! But some have a problem that I may be called a kingmaker),” tweeted Mr. Tej Pratap, who was Health, Environment and Forest Minister in the previous grand alliance government. He is known for his religious bent of mind. He often presents himself in posters and billboards as Lord Krishna, while projecting Tejashwi as Arjuna.Mr. Tej Pratap’s tweet triggered a flutter. A BJP leader said: “It was the first sign of family dispute and is bound to happen.” JD(U) leaders insisted they had nothing to say since it was a family issue of Mr. Lalu Prasad. RJD leaders refused to comment, while Congress leaders expressed ignorance about the tweet.Speaking to a select group of journalists, Mr. Tej Pratap indicated that he was not happy with the way the party was functioning. There were some who were trying to create a rift between him and his brother.‘Piece of heart’However, Mr. Tej Pratap soon posted a series of tweets explaining all was well in the party. “Listen you all from Sangh [RSS] … don’t try to spread rumours and do listen with your ears open that Tejashwi is a piece of my heart,” said one of his tweets. His earlier tweet said “there is no rift between me and my brother … we’ve to remove those who are trying to create a division in the party”. The next tweet said: “RJD and the alliance partners have a big responsibility to form a government in 2019, but we’ve to be careful about anti-social elements …”last_img read more

Assam Police add fun to fighting crime

first_img “We follow up our campaign against rumours, fake news, crime against women, drugs, social prejudices such as mob violence and witch-hunting with counselling, so that people get a chance not to repeat their mistakes,” Mr. Singh said.Among those receiving counselling is Mujibur Rehman, 18, who was detected committing nuisance in a burkha during Rath Yatra in southern Assam’s Badarpur. “We hope he will use his talents and courage for better things in life,” the Assam Police tweeted with several hashtags including #LifeInPoliceNeverCeasesToAmaze.  “The Chief Minister (Sarbananda Sonowal) had some time ago sought better policing through active interaction between the police and the public. The trigger for the social media campaign was the lynching of Abhijeet Nath and Nilotpal Das,” Harmeet Singh, Additional Director General of Police (modernisation-logistics) told The Hindu.The State police’s engagement with smartphone and internet users began with two WhatsApp numbers soon after a mob in central Assam’s Karbi Along lynched Abhijeet and Nilotpal on May 31. The force received a deluge of information on the two numbers, leading to the arrest of 40 people within 48 hours.It wasn’t until end-June that ‘Nagarik Mitra’ (citizen’s friend), the State police’s Smart Social Media Centre headed by Mr. Singh, decided to be witty with its campaign.A team threw ideas about, worked and reworked on the copies to come out with lines that appeal.The team had a similar pun-filled campaign by the Mumbai police in 2016 to work on, but intended to be different while targeting the “right kind of people”. The latest in the campaign, against stalking women, reads: “For every unwanted compliment you give a lady, we have a complimentary legal action ready for you.”“There’s no harm in fighting crime and social prejudices with a dose of humour from creative minds in the force. We believe in social media engagement, not social media monitoring, and this helps us interact or engage with people better,” Kuladhar Saikia, the State’s Director General of Police, said.The level of engagement helped the police take against a traffic policeman in southern Assam’s Barak Valley within 15 minutes of a Twitter complaint that he was extorting money from vehicles. And on Tuesday, a Facebook upload helped the police talk a minor girl out of her plan to commit suicide. The Assam Police are driving home a serious message to potential law-breakers with a bit of wit via social media.Sample this: Sharing rumours/hate messages online can enable you for a date with us in nearest police station this weekend.And this: Mobs may not follow the law, but the law will follow them. If you hit, the law won’t miss.These messages through Twitter and Facebook – the force has just opened its Instagram account – are part of the Assam Police’s ‘Think’ campaign in three hashtag segments — #ThinkBeforeYouPost, #ThinkBeforeYouHit and #ThinkBeforeYouStalk.In about a month after the launch of this campaign, the Assam Police Facebook page and Twitter handle have together garnered 17.25 lakh followers and counting. Among the fans and re-tweeters are Bollywood stars such as Ajay Devgn, whose screen cop avatar is Singham.last_img read more

₹3 lakh compensation for death of pregnant woman

first_imgThe Odisha Human Rights Commission has directed the State government to pay a compensation of ₹3 lakh to a man whose pregnant wife died because of the negligence of the doctors at the district headquarters hospital, Subarnapur.The victim, Reetanjali Sahu from Takarla village in Subarnapur, was left to be handled by a nurse despite a doctor diagnosing earlier in the day that her baby’s heartbeat had stopped in the womb.Taking a strong exception to the “nonchalant approach” of the doctors, leading to the death of the young mother, OHRC acting chairperson Justice B.K. Mishra directed the authorities to realise the compensation from the salary of two negligent doctors.Left unattendedReetanjali was admitted to the hospital on May 22, 2016, and examined by Dr. Utkal Naik, a gynaecologist, the same evening. The doctor asked the attendants to wait and left for home.Around 11.44 p.m., Reetanjali gave birth to a stillborn baby. No doctor turned up to attend to her and only one staff nurse was present in the ward at that time.Reetanjali’s family members alleged that immediately after the delivery the staff nurse shifted her to the general ward although she was bleeding profusely. According to the complainant, Reetanjali’s mother, the doctor on emergency duty, Nanda Kishore Naik, did not pay any heed to the relatives’ plea to attend to the patient. The doctor claimed that said such type of bleeding was normal post-delivery.When the bleeding did not stop, Dr. Utkal Naik was called. He examined the patient at 2.45 a.m. on May 23 and declared her dead. Not a single doctor came to attend the critically ill patient for three hours. According to the inquiry conducted by the Chief District Medical Officer of Subarnapur, the patient died due to “severe pre-eclampsia with disseminated intravascular coagulation which occurs when a dead foetus remains inside the womb for some time”. After studying all reports, Justice Mishra came to the conclusion that Reetanjali had died as she could not get timely treatment.last_img read more

Assam police books Rajen Gohain for rape; conspiracy, says minister

first_img: Assam Police have registered a case against Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain, for allegedly raping and threatening a 24-year-old married woman in Nagaon district. Mr. Gohain has also filed complaints of blackmailing against the woman and her family. Nagaon Deputy Superintendent of Police (headquarter) Sabita Das said the case was registered against Mr. Gohain on August 2 after receiving a complaint at Nagaon police station.“We have registered the case. The investigation has already begun and we will proceed as per law,” she told PTI refusing to share any details of the case.“The FIR was registered under IPC sections 417 (cheating), 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation). We are investigating and have already noted the lady’s statement,” he said adding the woman has refused medical examination.“The complaint says that the alleged incident took place seven to eight months ago. Both Gohain and the woman knew each other for a long time and the Union minister used to visit her home,” the official said adding that Mr. Gohain had allegedly committed the crime at the woman’s home when her husband and other family members were not present.Conspiracy, says ministerHowever, Mr. Gohain on Sunday said accusations and conspiracies are “plotted” against him whenever he is about to contest elections. “Every time, I am about to contest (Lok Sabha) elections, such conspiracies are plotted against me. This happened in 2016 and 2011 as well. Now, again this has started. Investigation is underway. The truth will be revealed soon, Mr. Gohain, who represents Nagaon in the Lok Sabha, told reporters at his residence in New Delhi. According to Sanjiv Goswami, Mr. Gohain’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD), the minister has also filed complaints of blackmailing against the woman and her family members. Mr. Goswami also claimed the woman has withdrawn the case.Asked about it, Nagaon police station officer-in-charge Ananta Das said the woman had pleaded to withdraw the case in the court but the “case still stands.. we will do our own investigation.”Congress demands removal of Gohain from the Union CabinetCongress leader Pawan Khera asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately remove Mr. Gohain from the Union Council of Ministers. “We demand from this government, from Prime Minister Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah to take immediate and strict action against rape accused Minister Rajen Gohain, the Minister of State for Railways,” the Congress spokesperson said on Saturday.Mr. Khera also reminded the prime minister of the promise he had made before 2014 parliamentary elections about his commitment towards ensuring women safety in the country.“Remove him from office. You cannot allow him to be in a position of power and influence the investigation. Please remove him if you meant anything that you promised before 2014,” he told reporters.Mr. Khera accused the prime minister of “failing” the women of the country and questioned his silence on the rape charge against the union minister. “Again there is a rape FIR against the Cabinet colleague of yours – MoS for Railways Rajen Gohain. If you do not act now, you will loose the moral authority to stay in office even for a day. Please take action,” he said.last_img read more

Berhampur launches drive to save its trees

first_imgEnvironmental activists, forest department and Berhampur Development Authority (BeDA) started a joint effort here on Sunday to save trees from slow death and injuries caused by nails and iron rods hammered into their trunks to put up advertisements and other things.The drive was initiated by ‘Sabuja Vahini’, an organisation of youngsters involved in protection of trees in the cyclone-prone city. Activists of the organisation through a survey documented trees that suffered because of nails and other materials hammered into their trunks to put up advertisement materials and for other purposes. The forest department, BeDA and other organisations like ‘Boxing Odisha’, Marwari Mahila Sangh, Anchalika Vikash Parishad have joined hands to start the process to free the trees from nails.Street corner meetings and a rally were taken out to make people aware about how any metal piece hammered into the trunk of a tree is a slow poison for the plant. Berhampur MLA R.C.Chyau Patnaik, BeDA chairman Subash Moharana, Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Ashis Behera, noted botanists Brahma Bihari Panda and Sachidananda Padhi took part in the rally and meetings. The MLA said the local municipal corporation and BeDA should start taking action against persons and organisations that nail advertisements on trees. The BeDA chairman said local municipal corporations should cancel licences of advertising agencies that fix billboards on trees. Metallic intrusionsParticipants at the rally removed advertisements, nails and metal pieces like wires from tree trunks at several places in the presence forest department and police personnel. According to Sibaram Panigrahy of ‘Sabuja Vahini’, they will continue their efforts till all trees in Berhampur are free from these metallic intrusions in their bodies.“Berhampur lost many of its trees in major cyclones like the Super Cyclone of 1999, Phailin of 2013 and Hudhud of 2014, so it is high time that we save the existing large trees as well as the ones that have grown during the past few years from drying up because of nails and wires obstructing their life processes,” said the Berhampur DFO. Through a recorded message circulated throughout the city, the DFO has requested the public to remove publicity materials and other things that have been nailed to trees all across the city. Trees are also living beings and are hurt like us, it has to be realised by humans, said Prof. Padhi. Nails hammered into tree trunks create a wound in the plant that is open to infections and entry of foreign pathogens like fungi, said Prof. Panda.last_img read more

Traders warn Sangma on revenue loss

first_imgThe Association of Meghalaya Traders and Transporters has drawn the attention of State Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma to the illegal transportation of coal and limestone to industrial areas leading to leakage of revenue that could have helped the government build at least 100 km of roads every year.Absence of revenue checkpoints or check gates to monitor mineral-laden trucks supplying raw materials has given huge undue benefits to cement factories in East Jaintia Hills district, the Association said in a letter to Mr. Sangma.Not taxed“Coal and limestone provided by local suppliers to cement factories are not taxed, nor any accounts are kept by any government authority. On top of that, there is no concession on the cost of cement sold within Meghalaya,” Association president Enrico D. Pasi and general secretary Dalanki Suiam said.Meghalaya is a major producer of cement because of abundance of limestone and coal. The National Green Tribunal had in August refused to lift a 2014 ban on rat-hole coal mining but allowed transportation of coal already extracted.Subsidies, benefitsCement units in Meghalaya and elsewhere in the Northeast enjoy transport and other subsidies. But the benefits are not passed on to the consumers, and a bag of cement produced locally costs as much or more than a branded bag procured from other parts of India.According to the Association, some 800 limestone-laden and 130 coal-laden trucks service the cement industries daily. “This translates into almost 8.8 million metric tonnes of limestone and 1.2 million metric tonnes of coal per year. This means the government is losing out on huge revenue,” Mr. Pasi and Mr. Suiam said.last_img read more

Arunachal safe as China river barrier breaches again

first_imgThe Disaster Management Department in Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday marked the central part of the State safe after water from Tibet’s Yarlung Tsangpo river over-topped a landslide-induced barrier in the morning and started flowing downstream.Landslide in MilinA landslide in the Milin section of the river had created a 1.7 km barrier at 11 a.m. on October 29, temporarily blocking the flow of water towards Arunachal Pradesh. A landslide of bigger intensity in the same section on October 17 had created a 3.5 km barrier.The Yarlung Tsangpo becomes the Siang after entering India and flows through three districts of Arunachal Pradesh — Upper Siang, Siang and East Siang — before meeting two other rivers to form the Brahmaputra in Assam downstream.Water over-topping“We received information from China via the Central Water Commission that the accumulated water began over-topping the Milin section barrier at 9.30 a.m. The water reached Tuting in Upper Siang at 5.55 p.m. and is likely to reach Pasighat (on Arunachal Pradesh-Assam border) at 3 a.m. on Thursday,” said Bidol Tayeng, Arunachal Pradesh Disaster Management Department secretary.Second breach Mr. Tayeng said that the force and volume of the water were less than that on October 19 when the barrier formed on Yarlung Tsangpo 13 days ago had breached.However, the heads of the districts through which the Siang river meanders have been asked to ensure people do not venture out to the river for any purpose until the flow of water becomes normal.last_img read more

Mamata accuses BJP of not being keen on changing West Bengal’s name

first_imgWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday raised the pitch for change of name of the State afresh saying that a proposal to change the name of the State to Bangla has been lying with the Centre for a long time.She alleged that almost every day “BJP has been changing the names of historical places and institutions unilaterally to suit their own political vested interests… But in respect of Bengal, the attitude is totally different.”Ms. Banerjee through a long post on social media said that the West Bengal State Assembly had passed a unanimous resolution to change the name of the State. It was resolved that the name of the State be changed from West Bengal to Bengal in English, Bangla in Bengali and Bangal in Hindi and sent to the Union Home Ministry, she added.“However, the Union Home Ministry advised us to use the name Bangla in all three languages. Accordingly, our Assembly passed an unanimous resolution to change the name of the state to Bangla in all three languages and sent it to the Union Home Ministry again,” the Chief Minister said.In an oblique reference to reports that Bangla sounds similar to Bangladesh can create problems, Ms Banerjee said, “Similarity of names should not create a hurdle. There is a Punjab in our neighbouring country as well as in India.”The Chief Minister said that the developments show “deprivation to the people of Bengal” and the people of the State “must get a positive response immediately.”last_img read more

Assam Group of Ministers to report on ST status in February

first_imgThe Group of Ministers (GoM), formed by the Sarbananda Sonowal government to study the issue of granting the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six communities in Assam, will submit its report on February 15.On January 10, the Union government introduced a Bill in Parliament to declare the six communities — Adivasi (Tea Tribes), Chutia, Koch-Rajbongshi, Matak, Moran and Ta-Ahom — the Scheduled Tribes after approval from the Registrar-General of India and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.Assam’s 14 recognised tribes, divided into the Scheduled Tribe (Hills) and the Scheduled Tribe (Plains), are opposed to the plan for granting the status to the six communities. They say most of these communities are educationally, politically and financially more advanced than them, besides outnumbering them.According to the coordination committee of the Tribal Organisations of Assam, the State’s total tribal population is 3.8 million, while the six communities account for more than 15 million of the State’s 31.2 million people.On Sunday, the GoM, headed by Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, held its first meeting. “We will meet tribal groups before submitting our report on February 15,” Mr. Sarma said. The GoM will meet representatives of the All Assam Tribal Sangha, the Bodoland Territorial Council and the autonomous councils of the Rabha, Tiwa, Thengal Kachari, Sonowal, Mising and Deuri tribes.The GoM has had discussions with the representatives of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, which opposes the grant of the Scheduled Tribe (Hills) status to the Bodos who enjoy the status of the Scheduled Tribe (Plains). The Bodos are the largest plains tribe in the northeastern India. The numerically smaller hills tribes fear the Bodos will eat into their rights if they become the Scheduled Tribe (Hills).last_img read more

Top Stories: Self-Healing Plastic, a Virtual Universe, and Erasing Memories

first_imgSmelling the Opposite Sex, Mysterious Lines in the Desert, And Surviving the Dinosaur Apocalypse Astrophysicists Build a Virtual UniverseWant to watch our universe evolve? You’re in luck. In the most detailed effort yet, astrophysicists and cosmologists have modeled the evolution of the universe right down to the formation of individual galaxies. The findings once again neatly confirm cosmologists’ standard theory of the basic ingredients of the universe and how it evolved—a result that may disappoint researchers hoping for new puzzles to solve.Designer Microbes Expand Life’s Genetic AlphabetSign 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(*)From bacteria to basketball players, all life as we know it encodes genetic information using two pairs of DNA letters. Not anymore. Now, along with the double helix’s two natural pairs, a bacterium growing in a California lab can incorporate and copy a third, artificial pair of letters. The newly expanded genetic code opens the way to a whole universe of new proteins—a potential boon to drug and materials developers.WHO Calls Polio an International EmergencyCiting “extraordinary” circumstances, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the international spread of wild poliovirus a public health emergency of international concern, saying the recent export of polio from three nations to adjoining areas could threaten global efforts to eradicate the disease. Under the new recommendations, the three countries deemed to pose the greatest risk of further spread—Pakistan, Cameroon, and Syria—must now ensure that all residents and long-term visitors have proof of recent polio vaccination before leaving the country.How the Brain Deletes Old MemoriesDo you remember your first birthday? How about what you ate for breakfast weeks ago? For most people, such events slip through the sieve of memory, never to be retrieved. Now, the first study of its kind in mice suggests that the brain may clear away that old information in the process of forming new memories.New Chemical Blend Helps Plastic Heal ItselfMaterials that heal themselves are going bigtime. Scientists have cooked up a chemical concoction that can patch a 9-millimeter-wide hole in a sheet of plastic, just like a human wound repairs itself. This scale of self-repair is orders of magnitude larger than ever demonstrated before, and the finding could lead to new kinds of airplanes and spacecraft that can repair themselves midflight. 00:0000:0000:00last_img read more

MEA Figures Show Over 31 Million Indians Live Across The World

first_imgThere are only two countries where there are no Indians: right across the border in Pakistan and in the Holy See, in the heart of Rome dominated by the towering St. Peters Dome (the figure obviously does not include incarcerated Indian nationals). In the picture-perfect palm-fringed islands of Micronesia, there is one lone desi. The population of Micronesia was 1.05 lakh in 2016, according to the World Bank.Read it at The Week Related Itemslast_img

India, Venezuela Oil Exploration

first_imgVenezuela and India are collaborating to explore and produce oil and natural gas in eastern Venezuela.Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) India’s top petroleum exploration company is investing $450 million in Petrolera IndoVenezolana for a 40% stake. The venture is expected to yield almost 10 million barrels of every year over the next 25 year once production starts in three years. Venezuela plans to ship 150,000 barrels of heavy crude a day to India as it seeks to reduce its dependency on the U.S. market for its oil supply. Related Itemslast_img read more