Synthetic Fossils Show Organic Films Can Preserve Quickly

first_img2. Statements regarding controversies about preservation potential that the scientists wished to test:The discovery that melanosomes preserve commonly inexceptional fossils (Vinther et al. 2008; Colleary et al.2015) has opened new avenues of palaeontologicalresearch, but their study has not been without controversy.These structures have alternatively been identifiedas fossil bacteria (Wuttke 1983; Davis & Briggs 1995), aposition still maintained by some (Moyer et al. 2014;Lindgren et al. 2015; Schweitzer et al. 2015). However,this stance has been countered by the fact that microbodiescommonly found in fossil skin, hair and feathersconform to melanosomes in distribution, size and organization(Vinther et al. 2008; Vinther 2015, 2016). Furthermore,chemical analyses show that these structurescontain melanin (Glass et al. 2012, 2013; Lindgren et al.2012, 2014; Colleary et al. 2015; Clements et al. 2016;Gabbott et al. 2016; Brown et al. 2017).In addition, it has been suggested that keratin proteincan preserve organically in fossils (Schweitzer et al. 1999,2015; Edwards et al. 2011; Moyer et al. 2016a, b) and,thus, melanosomes might be obscured by a keratin proteinmatrix (Zhang et al. 2010; Moyer et al. 2014; Panet al. 2016). However, studies have described melanosomesas being exposed on the sediment while nonpigmentedregions yield only rock matrix (Vinther et al.2008; Colleary et al. 2015; Vinther 2015). More recently,studies have argued that the only constituents of keratinoustissues preserved deep in the geological record arecalcium phosphate and pigments (Mayr et al. 2016;Vinther et al. 2016; Saitta et al. 2017a).Experimental taphonomy supports the poor preservationpotential of keratin protein. Previous, non-sedimentencasedmaturation experiments turned keratin into avolatile-rich, water-soluble fluid (Saitta et al. 2017a) whileextracted melanosomes survived largely intact (Collearyet al. 2015). This contrasting behaviour between keratinprotein and melanin during maturation suggests that diageneticdegradation and loss of keratin protein is to beexpected in fossils, leaving behind melanosomes. However,this keratin–melanin dynamic has yet to be experimentallyobserved simultaneously.Similarly, decay-resistant collagenous tissue (Sansomet al. 2010a, b, 2013) is expected to be diageneticallyunstable (Parry et al. 2018), like other proteinaceousorganics (Bada et al. 1999). However, epidermal collagenprotein has been proposed in Mesozoic fossils (Lingham-Soliar et al. 2007), although such claims are debated(Smith et al. 2015; Smithwick et al. 2017).Regarding the specific experiments described here, wehypothesize that tissues containing diagenetically-unstableorganics such as proteins and labile lipids (e.g. keratinous,collagenous, muscle and adipose tissues) will largelybecome degraded and lost into the sediment, while diagenetically-stable organics such as melanin (i.e. melanosomes)will tend to remain with the specimen. If thehypothesized filtering effect of porous sediment on diagenetically-altered organic materials is correct, then experimentalresults from sediment-encased maturation shouldbe expected to resemble fossils such that preserved organicstains consist largely of exposed melanosomes resting onthe sediment with a loss of surrounding tissues. In an attempt to learn about the fossilization process, scientists have found that exceptional fossils don’t require millions of years.Scientists at the University of Bristol are old-earth evolutionists, but what they found by experiment mimicked what can be seen in fossils. How long did it take? One day.Exceptionally-preserved fossils, like those of dinosaur bones and birds with soft-tissue remains in the form of carbon films, have been in the news for the last 20 to 30 years. Mary Schweitzer, in particular, created a stir with her fossils of what looked like intact blood vessels in a T. rex bone. The evidence of elastic tissue under a microscope elicited gasps by host Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes in 2010 (YouTube). Numerous reports have come in since, showing intact collagen and melanosomes in bird feathers and carbon films thought to be residues of organs and tissues (see footnote 2). Despite their astonishment at these finds, no one in the secular journals or mainstream media ever questions that these fossils really did form many tens of millions of years ago. Creationist radio host Bob Enyart keeps a running list of fossils with soft-tissue remains as evidence against the assumed long ages.Can the conditions that created these exceptional fossils be reproduced in the lab? Researchers have created “synthetic fossils” (artificial taphonomy) in order to test what conditions can reproduce the observed remains. They tried to speed up the fossilization process by applying heat and pressure. These “maturation” experiments have been a staple for organic geochemists, says a press release from the University of Bristol, to help geochemists understand the formation of fossil fuels, or to produce synthetic diamonds.More recently, maturation has been used to study the formation of exceptional fossils that preserve soft tissues as dark, organic films in addition to mineralised tissues like bone, including fossil dinosaurs from China with organically preserved feathers.New work at the University of Bristol by grad student Evan Saitta has mimicked these types of fossils. His team gathered chicken feathers and living birds and lizards, then performed “humane euthanasia” on them by gassing them with CO2 (see footnote 1). When he used the standard maturation processes on his specimens, however, all he got was a “foul-smelling fluid.” He altered the technique by placing the specimens in compressible bentonite clay. This provided an outlet for fluids during the compaction step:Saitta explained: “The sediment acts as a filter allowing unstable molecules to escape from the sample, revealing browned, flattened bones surrounded by dark, organic films where soft tissues once were.“These results closely resemble exceptional fossils, not just visually, but also microscopically as revealed using a scanning electron microscope.”Microscopic, pigment-bearing structures called melanosomes reside within the organic films in feathers and lizards treated with the new method while unstable protein and fatty tissues degrade and are lost, just as in exceptional fossils which have been used by scientists such as Vinther to reconstruct the original colours of dinosaurs.The methods described in the paper in Palaeontology say that the experiment ran for 12 to 23 hours – less than one day (see footnote 1).The researchers say the new method of sediment filtration represents an improvement upon earlier maturation experiments and will allow for the testing of many hypotheses regarding organic preservation in fossils and sediments.The findings did not change the team’s views about long ages. They still believe fossils like Schweitzer’s fossils formed 60 to 80 million years ago (see footnote 2). But on what basis?One commonly employed experimental approach is known as ‘artificial maturation’, where high heat and pressure accelerate the chemical degradation reactions that normally occur over millions of years when a fossil is buried deep underground and exposed to geothermal heat and pressure from overlying sediment.And yet scientifically speaking, no scientist ever observed the presumed millions of years. What they observed, tested and found only took 23 hours.To back up their claim, the team should repeat the setup without applying heat and pressure, and then wait 68 million years. Then their conclusions might be scientifically supportable.Source paperSediment‐encased maturation: a novel method for simulating diagenesis in organic fossil preservationEvan T. Saitta, Thomas G. Kaye, and Jakob VintherFirst published: 25 July 2018 in Palaeontologyhttps://doi.org/10.1111/pala.12386Data archiving statement: Data for this study are available in the Dryad Digital Repository: https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0t67nFootnotes1. from the Method section of the paper:Fresh feathers (Gallus gallus and Meleagris gallopavo fromUK farms) and lizards (Anolis captured from the wild inArizona, USA) were matured shortly after acquisition/humaneeuthanasia via CO2 asphyxiation with their fullrange of tissue composition present (see Saitta et al.(2018) for additional, preliminary results on non-vertebrates).Specimens were buried in easily-compacted bentoniticclay (purchased from Clay Terra; https://clayterra.com/) inside a metal piston and compacted using a hydraulicpress (9–18 tonnes over 126.7 mm2), producing a consolidatedtablet (Fig. 1A). Previous attempts with loosesediment did not produce results macrostructurally comparableto fossils, or amenable to easy structural analysis,indicating that compaction is important in establishingthe desired pore space filtration. Tablets were loaded intoa welded metal tube (19 mm inner diameter), forming anairtight chamber tapped for a high-pressure airline, withthe goal of providing space for the escape of maturationproducts from the sediment (Fig. 1B). The chamberresided inside a ceramic-lined laboratory oven. The airlineexited a hole in the oven and connected a pressure-regulatedair compressor. Experiments ran at 210–250°C/225–300 bars/12–23 h (Saitta et al. 2018) consistent with othermaturation studies of fossilization. (Visited 653 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Caregivers Battling Suicide on the Homefront

first_imgBetween 2005 and 2010, approximately one service member died every 36 hours, not by Afghanistan or Iraq insurgents, not from a result of a training exercise or automobile accident–but from suicide.In 2009 alone, 160 active duty military personnel took their lives, making suicide the third leading cause of death among the Army population (Army HP/RR/SP Report, 2010).As more troops return home from deployment, the risk of suicide may grow. It is important that families of these service members become aware of the issue and learn to identify potential risk factors and warning signs associated with suicide. Remember, as a caregiver–the more you know, the more you are likely to provide proper care and provide the immediate attention your service member needs and ultimately prevent the loss or injury of your loved one.Understanding Suicide PreventionRisk FactorsSeveral factors may be taken into account for someone to attempt or commit suicide. As a military caregiver, you should become aware of these risk factors associated with suicide.Failed intimate relationship or relationship strainFamily history of suicide or suicide attemptsHistory of depression or other psychological issuesSignificant loss (death of loved one or fellow service member within unit)Drug or alcohol abuseViolence in the home or social environmentRecent disciplinary or legal actionsSerious medical problems or physical illnessWork-related problemsExcessive debt and other financial problemsWarning Signs of Potential SuicideIf you notice substantial changes in your loved one’s demeanor since he or she has returned home from combat, he or she may be exemplifying signs of potential suicide.  The following warning signs may lead you to indicate that your service member is suicidal:Changes in eating, sleeping habits, or personal hygieneTalking or hinting about committing suicideExpressing a strong desire to kill someone elseObsession with death (for example, in music, poetry, artwork, letters)Changes in mood (for example, depression, irritability, rage, anger)Increased alcohol and/or drug use or abuseIsolation and withdrawal from social situationsGiving away possessionsExpressing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxietyMaking a will or otherwise finalizing personal affairsProblem with spouse or partnerSudden or impulsive purchase of a firearm or obtaining other means of killing oneself such as poisons or medicationsCaregiving StrategiesAs a military caregiver, it can be hard to admit to yourself that your service member may be displaying signs of suicide. However, in today’s society where suicide has increased dramatically since the start of the global war on terrorism, many service members are at risk. In addition to identifying risk factors and warning signs, there are strategies that you, as the caregiver can do to help your loved one and yourself get thought this difficult time.Look for any signs that show a deviation from your service member’s usual self.Get help immediately! A suicidal person needs immediate attention.Do not keep your warrior’s suicidal behavior a secret.Do not ignore the situation and hope that things will eventually get better.Talk openly about suicide. Be willing to listen and allow your loved one to express his/her feelings.Actively listen for details about what, where and when your service member may be planning on killing himself or herself.Actively listen without passing judgment.Stay calm and safe–do not use force.Provide a comforting and relaxing atmosphere.Never leave the service member alone.Escort warrior to his/her chain of command immediately.Understand that your loved one may be in pain.Remove any means that could be used for self-injury (for example, weapons or pills).Provide your service member with contacts for suicide prevention (for example, a chaplain or behavioral health professional).Be in control of the service member’s medications.Be aware of how the service member’s behavior is affecting any children in the household.Consider individual and family therapy.Ask your service member’s doctors or nurse case manager on information regarding suicide and mental illness.Seek spiritual healing.Take care of yourself!Caregiver ResourcesIf your loved one is experiencing thoughts or symptoms of suicide–do not hesitate, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for immediate assistance.Also, contact your local Army installation’s Soldier and Family Assistance Center (SFAC) for support groups and caregiver support services.For more information on suicide within the military, visit the Army Suicide Prevention Program. The program offers a variety of information and resources relating to suicide in order to improve readiness for service members and their families.last_img read more

A lifeline called Jan Soochna: How Rajasthan’s public information portal is empowering people

first_imgAn e-mitra plus operator in Bhim tehsil, Rajsamand district, Rajasthan.  | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy  “There is not enough signal for the Internet to work properly,” Khatik says apologetically. “Imagine, if it is so bad in Bhim town, it’s much worse in the village panchayats. At least, with the urban machines, they can be connected to Wi-Fi even if the speed is slow. Rural machines must be connected to Rajnet [the State operator].” Data available with the government show that in one year, only 10 transactions have been made on this particular machine. Of the 14,440 machines installed across the State over a year ago, 914 have never been used.Khatik adds that all 37 of the kiosks installed in Bhim block have private operators who act as middlemen anyway. “There is no incentive for the operator to even login to the machine in many areas, because he can charge more for the same services without using it,” he says. DoITC data show that the kiosks are used more frequently in urban areas mostly to print out digitally signed certificates and pay for phone and electricity bills. The Jan Soochna portal itself has been accessed only 16,000 times on these machines over the last month.Little informationAlthough the Jan Soochna portal was launched with much publicity, information about it is still to reach many people in Rajasthan. “No one outside our office has heard the name of this Jan Soochna. But it is a new scheme, it will take some time to become popular,” explains Khatik.In the villages of Rajsamand and Bhilwara district, there is no visible publicity regarding the portal as yet. Even villagers who have personally benefited from the expanded database access are yet to hear the term Jan Soochna.“We have put out advertisements in papers and are planning awareness programmes. So far, the entire expenditure on Jan Soochna has come from our own internal budget, but the DoITC has now proposed a budget of ₹5 crore over the next five years to maintain the software and popularise the portal,” says Sharma. He sees the Jan Soochna initiative as the next step of the government’s integrated service delivery efforts, a natural evolution of its franchisee-based e-mitras or service centres. He argues that e-mitras are the ideal facilitators for the Jan Soochna portal.According to the MKSS activists who helped evolve the concept of Jan Soochna, e-mitra operators are often part of the problem, acting as middlemen who have a vested interest in blocking access to information. “We see Jan Soochna as a natural evolution of the RTI movement. This information is meant to back up an accountability and grievance redressal framework, and as such needs government-run information and facilitation centres,” says Dey.MKSS wants training on Jan Soochna usage to be imparted to front-line government workers at anganwadis and panchayats as well as grassroots social workers. Local databases need to be made visible offline as well, says Dey. “Specific data on ration beneficiaries should be painted on the walls of the ration shop itself, so it can be seen even by those who cannot go online,” he says. The DoITC is also seriously considering an MKSS suggestion that printouts of information from the Jan Soochna portal should automatically come with a digital signature, giving them the same legal validity as RTI responses. At the Jan Soochna launch, the Chief Minister gave a big boost to the point of view that the portal is part of a wider RTI framework rather than a mere service delivery, reminiscing about his engagement with the early RTI movement. “About two decades ago, I reached the sit-in protest organised by social worker Aruna Roy and her companions demanding RTI. I agreed to their demands. Then, fortunately, we formed the government and Rajasthan became the first State of Indian to initiate for this law,” he said.As the Rajasthan experiment evolves, other States are already making plans to follow suit and are thus closely watching these debates. Just five days after the launch of Jan Soochna, the Karnataka government directed all departments with beneficiary schemes to begin sharing datasets in preparation for the launch of a similar portal. The real success of the story will depend on how well the Rajasthan government can help empower the marginalised with the biggest tool at its disposal: information.  For example, in 2017, MKSS activists got access to a list of 10 lakh people across the State who had been excluded from the government’s pension scheme when the payment system switched from the post office to Aadhaar-linked bank accounts. Overnight, the number of pensioners dropped from 68 lakh to 58 lakh. According to the government, almost three lakh of the excluded names were dead, while another two lakh were fake or duplicates. By painstakingly tracking down names from the list of the supposedly dead, activists like Baluji found that thousands of people like Tolaram had been wrongly excluded. “We sent in the papers to show he is alive, and finally they restarted his pension three months ago,” says Baluji. He navigates search queries and Excel sheets on his phone with a fluency that is enviable in a 62-year-old who has only studied till Class 8. “See, he got ₹8,000 worth of back pay, pensions unpaid for 11 months, on July 25, 2019,” Baluji points to the screen. Tolaram cannot read the information there, but nods vigorously with a gap-toothed smile. “Overall, I have helped people who were denied pensions get more than ₹80,000 worth of unpaid pensions,” says Baluji. In the neighbouring Bhim tehsil alone, more than 1,300 wrongly excluded names were added back to the pension scheme after a re-verification exercise. “It is only possible because we are able to see this information in detail,” Baluji says. Digital Dialogues, the beginningOver the last five years, Rajasthan has been digitising and integrating databases, including flagship social sector schemes, using Aadhaar-based verifications and payments. In 2017, the Department of Information Technology and Communication (DoITC) began to host ‘Digital Dialogues’. Bimonthly meetings were held with interested citizens including activists from MKSS and the wider collective of the Soochna Evam Rozgaar Adhikar Abhiyan, to discuss how to open access to such databases and present them for public use. In early 2018, Tolaram Kumhar, 73, suddenly stopped getting his pension of ₹750 per month. “I went to the bank after a while, but they didn’t have any answers. I didn’t know what to do until Baluji came,” he says, holding a creased booklet that documents the saga of his pension payments. Tolaram gestures to the man sharing the charpoy with him on a breezy October evening. “Baluji looked up information on his phone and found that I had been removed from the government’s pension list,” he says. Why? “Because they said I was dead.”Tolaram, who wears a torn blue T-shirt and a dirty white dhoti, spends most of his days in a small hut located high above the fields and grazing grounds of Thana village in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan. The land looks lush, but excess rainfall in this typically water-starved region has destroyed the maize crop this year, leaving marginal farmers and agricultural workers like him on the brink of destitution and deeply dependent on the government’s pension scheme for basic sustenance.It is people like Balulal Gujjar, popularly called Baluji, who have come to the rescue of people like Tolaram. Baluji is dressed in an intricately tied white dhoti, pleated white kurta-jacket, a silver neckband, and a red turban. He has been a social activist with the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) for half of his 62 years. Now an elected ward member in Thana, Baluji with his faded pink jhola is a familiar sight to villagers for 30 km around. Baluji carries a well-used Samsung smartphone in his pocket, through which he accesses the Jan Soochna (public information) portal, which is the Rajasthan government’s latest effort to offer wider and easier access to the State’s increasingly digitised databases. The single window portal aims to increase transparency and accountability in governance. It has 82 different information request options for 32 schemes across 13 departments. It not only explains the schemes but also provides real-time information on beneficiaries, authorities in charge, progress, etc. Jan Soochna was launched with great fanfare by Congress Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in Jaipur on September 13. Different elements of the portal have been on trial for more than two years, with gradual public access to databases being provided under the previous regime of BJP Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.Also Read Effort worth emulation: On Rajasthan’s public information portal After she recovered from the operation in June 2017, Devi made several visits to the hospital, but failed to recover her money. “I took all my papers, but they told me they have applied to the insurance company and nothing has come yet,” she says. “Only when Vineet bhai looked on his computer, he found that the hospital had already got the money.” Devi also says that after her operation, she put her fingerprint on a form that she could not read. Later she found out that the form falsely stated that she had not paid any money to the hospital as she was covered by the cashless insurance scheme. In March 2018, Bhambhu, armed with information from the Bhamashah database, accompanied Devi to the hospital and recovered ₹19,600.“After that, my husband got cancer, so we had to use up the money for my husband’s treatment. He died last year,” Devi says, as her two remaining goats enter the courtyard along with her youngest child, 13-year-old Radha. “I never went to school, but my daughter has finished Class 8 and I want her to study till Class 12 at least. Without education, there is nothing,” she says. Strength of unityFor unlettered villagers, the Jan Soochna portal is of little use without facilitators like Bhambhu and Baluji. However, in Gomaka Badia village in Thana panchayat, villagers have also discovered the strength of unity when armed with information. On a hot evening in May 2017, Baluji set up a projector in an open area in front of a small shop owned by Chun Singh, 67. Suddenly, the shopkeeper saw his own face flashing on the makeshift screen. “They had all the details about my ration card. For the first time, I found out that I was getting less foodgrain than I should have. There were five names on my card, so I was owed 25 kg of wheat every month, but I was only getting 10 kg,” he says, sitting on a steel drum in his shop. The information obtained through Digital Dialogues showed that almost every family in the village was getting cheated by the local dealer, Paras. Outraged, a delegation of 22 villagers took their complaint to district authorities in Bhilwara. Following an investigation, the dealer was suspended and the 400-odd quintals he had swindled were distributed among the villagers.Also Readcenter_img Rajasthan launches information portal “Digital Dialogues was the real beginning of the Jan Soochna portal,” says R.K. Sharma, an additional director who oversees the project. Sharma joined the DoITC in 1988, the year it was formed, and can speak at length about the State’s efforts to use “technology for integrated service delivery” over the last three decades. “Through our discussions with citizens and activists, we developed this portal to share whatever real-time, individual-level data are needed by the common man, to reduce corruption and to increase transparency of governance.”In the month since its official launch, the Jan Soochna portal (jansoochna.rajasthan.gov.in) has had 3.3 lakh visitors and almost 15 lakh information hits. Apart from this, there have been another 50,000 information hits from the Jan Soochna mobile app.The portal provides information in Hindi and English on universal social security, health and education schemes as well as welfare schemes specifically aimed at farmers, construction workers, miners and students. Land revenue records, case listings, and grievance redressal databases are also available. While some categories, such as forest rights, have very limited data, some others have a lot of detail — on individual beneficiaries and specific details of payment, for instance. “This is a much-needed step inspired by the spirit of Section 4 of the Right to Information Act, which mandates governments to maintain computerised records and provide this information suo moto to the public, so that there is minimal need to file RTIs,” says Nikhil Dey, an MKSS activist who has been at the forefront of the RTI movement. A recent NGO study of orders by the Central Information Commission in 2018 found that 70% of the original RTI applications requested information which should have been put out in the public domain already. “You have made people go through so much pain for digitisation, getting multiple cards made, giving their biometric data… At least, let them get some benefits from it. Through Digital Dialogues, we argued that the public has a right to all the information the government collects about them. There should be no password-protected login barring access to these databases,” says Dey.The role of facilitators “It was activists like Baluji who gathered initial information on what data are most needed by marginalised villagers,” says Vineet Bhambhu, earlier a U.S.-bound software engineer and now a grassroots activist, who helped lead MKSS conversations with the DoITC for Digital Dialogues. “We found that people mostly needed data on their own entitlements: food, pensions, job guarantee, educational scholarships, labour welfare benefits, health insurance, treatment for occupational diseases such as silicosis, land rights, etc.,” he says. Bhambhu points out that many poor people had no way to track what happened if payments had been diverted to a different bank account or if forest rights applications had been rejected. In other words, they had no way of finding out what happened to payments if they could not access the databases and processes that form the backbone of a particular scheme or law. Take the case of Sovani Devi. A 45-year-old widow in Bherukeda Amner village in Rajsamand district, lack of information cost her a flock of goats, a loss she could ill-afford. Sitting in her bare courtyard, Devi is flanked by her sons, both disabled. Ram Singh, 18, cannot use his legs and drags himself around on his knees, while his 16-year-old brother Kishore can neither hear nor speak.“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with a tumour in my uterus and I went to the hospital because I had Bhamashah [health insurance],” says Devi. The Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital, a private hospital, is empanelled as part of the State’s cashless health insurance scheme, the Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana, and should have treated a card-holder without payment. “But they said I would have to first pay for the operation and that I would get the money back only later,” Devi says, showing the folder from the hospital. which is located in Deogarh town, 40 km away. Faced with a demand for ₹15,000 for the operation plus additional charges for medication, Devi saw no choice. “I used up all my savings. I went back home and sold 12 [out of 16] goats for ₹30,000 and used that to pay the hospital,” she says. Apart from the operation, Devi says she paid ₹8,600 for medicines, of which bills were provided for only ₹4,600. The rest of the money from the goat sale was soon gone too, in paying for food and travel, with a one-way trip to hospital by taxi costing ₹600. A milestone in greater transparency, accountability  “I got one bori [100 kg] of wheat. Now, we all know we must ask for the receipts every time we get ration,” says Singh. Although an FIR was filed against Paras, villagers say that his proximity to the local MLA means that no further action is likely. “The Jan Soochna portal is not about simply getting information for information’s sake. It must be built into a wider ecosystem of accountability,” says Bhambhu. Over the last two weeks, he has been part of a social audit of a welfare scheme for construction workers. Using their access to the government’s database, teams visited workers across the Bhim tehsil of Rajsamand district, gathering complaints which were presented at a stormy jan sunvai, or public hearing, in Bhim town on Monday. Confronting the labour commissioner, senior police officials and the local MLA under a swaying tent, hundreds of workers testified to a corrupt nexus of agents and government officials swindling them. They said they had been denied thousands of rupees worth of benefits. “We did not know our rights. We had no other option, so we paid the agent, but he cheated us,” said Ambalal, a worker from Sameliya village in Rajsamand district.No middleman, yes middlemanIn the Bhim block office, adjacent to the public hearing sit two expensive kiosks branded as e-mitra plus machines, which are meant to cut out the corrupt middleman and provide services and information directly to the user. The sleek orange and grey machines, which also host the Jan Soochna portal, look like ATM machines and cost ₹2 lakh each. Nearly 15,000 have been installed across the State.However, neither of the machines in Bhim works during the public hearing. One sits amidst coils of wires which have not been connected. The block’s informatics assistant Dalvir Khatik manages to switch on the other machine, but jerks his hand away as he gets an electric shock every time his finger meets the touch pad. Using a piece of paper as a makeshift protective glove, he manages to reach the Jan Soochna portal, but it fails to cough up any information. It gets stuck on a ‘loading’ page.Also Readlast_img read more

UST libero Rivera suffers knee injury vs Ateneo

first_imgMOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Unbeaten NU averts disaster vs UE, wins 3rd straight UST libero Rica Rivera being helped out of the court after suffering a right knee injury in the first set against Ateneo. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netUniversity of Santo Tomas libero Rica Rivera suffered a right knee injury during the first set of their match against Ateneo in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre.Golden Tigresses assistant coach Mark Alfafara said the initial assessment was that Rivera tore her meniscus in the right knee but further tests will still be conducted once the libero arrives at UST hospital.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Read Next Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises View comments LATEST STORIES John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH AFP official booed out of forum 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Rivera was going up after receiving Kat Tolentino’s hit and that’s when her knee buckled.The fourth-year player still tried to walk it off but eventually fell down in pain.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutRivera already suffered a right knee injury in 2015. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMClast_img read more

2019 Touch World Cup Gold Badges

first_imgCongratulations to the following Australian Referees who were awarded Gold Badges at the recent 2019 Touch Football World Cup held in Malaysia.Rob BowenTony CalabriaAnnabelle ConnollyRob McKayFiona QuinnAmanda Sheekylast_img

10 months agoHE’S BACK! Fergie on Man Utd training pitch today with Solskjaer

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say HE’S BACK! Fergie on Man Utd training pitch today with Solskjaerby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson will be on the training pitch with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer today.The Daily Mail says Ferguson is expected at United’s training ground on Saturday after Solskjaer invited his mentor to visit him at the club.Ferguson will be greeted by Solskjaer and his coaching staff at Carrington as United prepare for Sunday’s game at home to Bournemouth.Ferguson is believed to have had a say in the decision to appoint Solskjaer as caretaker boss on loan from Molde until the end of the season alongside his old No 2 Mike Phelan.The former United striker acknowledged Ferguson’s influence over his career as a player and manager when he started the job last week. last_img read more

10 months agoMan City attacker Sterling: Victory a massive step for us

first_imgMan City attacker Sterling: Victory a massive step for usby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City attacker Raheem Sterling says victory at Southampton has them back on track.After two successive losses over the festive period, it was vital City bounced back and to a man the Blues delivered an impressive all-round display on the South Coast.“It’s a massive step and what we needed to do. We had two poor games and we knew we needed to win here today to give ourselves a chance,” said Sterling. “But we were really motivated to give ourselves a chance and that’s what we did.“We had to bring that level that we know we can bring – we had a bit of luck but we played some great football and controlled the game which we know we can do.“Now its down to us to keep this focus and go onto the next one.“ About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Cool weather continues to help firefighters working the Tommy Lake Fire

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The cool weather continues to help firefighters working the Tommy Lakes Forest Fire.While the fire remains 20% contained, there was no growth of the fire on Friday even though the fire did not receive any rain. The cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity continue to aid fire suppression efforts.There are 216 firefighters building and reinforcing guard working to increase containment supported by 9 helicopters along with 20 pieces of heavy equipment. The Peace River Regional District has lifted the evacuation alert for a small area near the fire.The size of the fire decreased from 22,659 hectares to 22,583 due to more accurate maps.last_img

RCMP release new photos of the people found dead near Liard River

first_imgFORT NELSON, B.C. – The RCMP have released new photos of the two people found dead south of the Liard River Hotsprings.International media shared the identity of the two victims early Friday and now the RCMP have confirmed the two people found dead are Chynna Noelle Deese of the United States and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia. Lucas is the son of New South Wales Police Chief Inspector Stephen Fowler, and the Fowler family is travelling to Northern B.C. to bring their son home. Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese were found deceased on the Alaska Highway 20 kilometres south of Liard Hot Springs on Monday, July 15, 2019. Police would like to speak to anyone that may have travelled this stretch of highway between Sunday, July 14, 2019, at 4:00 PM and Monday, July 15, 2019, at 8:00 AM.Police would especially like to speak with anyone who may have a Dashcam video while travelling that area.A vehicle an older blue minivan with Alberta plates was found at the scene and police would like to speak with anyone who may have seen the vehicle or render assistance.Anyone with information is asked to contact the Northern Rockies RCMP at 250 774-2700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.last_img read more