Serving Those Who Serve Us: Valor Service Dogs

first_imgThis post was written by Carol Lansford. Edits to this post were made by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the social media and webinar coordination specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development concentration on our website, Facebook, and Twitter. By Carol LansfordValor Service Dogs (2015). Personal photo used with permission from Carol Lansford. Retrieved“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted, it belongs to the brave”. –Ronald ReaganOn April 23, 2012, Justin and Carol Lansford’s lives were changed forever. Justin was in Ghanzni, Afghanistan serving as a Team Leader and machine gunner for the United States Army. His truck was struck by a roadside bomb, leaving him trapped under the burning vehicle for over 30 minutes. Justin sustained numerous severe injuries including the loss of his left leg above the knee, injuries to his right leg, a ruptured spleen, damage to his liver and pancreas, collapsed lungs, a broken back, and burns on his right arm. Justin was sent to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for his recovery. While there, he suffered several severe infections that nearly claimed his life. After his release to outpatient treatment, Justin’s wife Carol moved to Walter Reed to assist him.In 2013, Justin was medically retired from the United States Army and on his way to becoming more independent through the recovery and therapy process. Carol obtained a position as a government contracted service dog training instructor, which fulfilled both her passion for animals and for helping injured military service members. During Carol’s time with the company, Justin was assigned a dog named Gabe who was recently named Dog of the Year by the World Dog Awards.After two years of service with this company, Justin and Carol moved to Florida. Carol had difficulty finding a position in Florida that fit her passion of helping veterans through the use of service dogs. It was then that Carol decided that she would start her own non-profit doing just that. And, so Valor Service Dogs was created. This organization helps post 9/11 wounded veterans regain their independence, return to civilian life, and maintain successful partnerships through the training and placement of mobility assistance and PTSD service dogs. In addition to aiding their veterans in community reintegration, both physically and psychologically, Valor Service Dogs brings awareness and education to the general public on service dogs, their training, and the laws that allow service dogs to be active members of society.Valor Service Dogs (2015). Personal photo used with permission from Carol Lansford of Valor Service Dogs. Retrieved from:www.valorservicedogs.orgThe dogs at Valor learn approximately 80 commands that will assist in the completion of daily tasks such as retrieving items from various areas of one’s house, picking up dropped items, opening and closing doors, turning on or off lights, getting someone water from the refrigerator, and recognizing and interrupting signs of PTSD; these signs may include shaking or tapping one’s leg when feeling anxious, burying one’s face in their hands, or nervous rubbing together of one’s hands.Carol is often asked how she is able to give up her dogs after spending two years with them. Her response?“These dogs mean the world to me and I love them as if they were my own. But, they have a much bigger purpose in life than me. Our military members have given so much to give us the freedoms we enjoy. This is my chance to give them the same freedom. It is also my way of giving our brave veterans the future they so deserve.”Justin and Carol are a beautiful example of resiliency, hope, and strength. Justin’s heroism and fight for his own life gave Carol the motivation and passion to start her own organization that gives back to our military veterans. By creating this organization, Justin and Carol have given our wounded veterans a chance at life again.If you would like more information on Valor Service Dogs, please visit their Facebook page and website at read more

After Effects Video Tutorial: Facial Expressions with Liquify Tool

first_imgUse the liquify tool in After Effects as a cunning way to give characters realistic emotions.Giving human-like emotions to 2D characters is a unique challenge. It has to be executed skillfully to feel ‘natural’. Unfortunately, for many motion designers this is too difficult or time consuming.We recently came across the following tutorial which offers up a unique approach for creating realistic character emotions in After Effects. The tutorial uses the liquify tool to animate create facial expressions in AE. Fundamentals covered include:Liquify ToolExpressionsRigging HairUsing the Puppet ToolAll of the techniques in this tutorial are applied to a still picture, but the liquify tool still works on live action footage and moving objects as well. If you have any uses for this technique let us know in the comments below!This tutorial was first shared by Daniel Gies on his Vimeo Page. Thanks for sharing Daniel!Have any tips for using this technique? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

3 Reasons Why Gimbal Based Stabilizers Aren’t Always The Best Choice

first_imgWhen Freefly Cinema announced the Movi just a year and a half ago, filmmakers everywhere rejoiced. But now that it’s been out in the field for a while (along with dozens of knock offs), many shooters are finding it to be more of a speciality item.[Above image from Copter99]I have been fortunate to have used the Movi a number of times (as well as several other gimbal based stabilizers), and I’ve been able to achieve fantastic results with it – even with no formal training whatsoever. It’s an incredibly innovative product and one of the most powerful tools that we as filmmakers have access to today, but I am not alone in feeling that Gimbal based stabilizers aren’t always the best stabilization choice.When the first promo videos of the Movi were released last year, it truly seemed that this device could do it all. It could theoretically be used to replace just about any type of stabilization system – from a tripod to a jib and everything in between. In many respects, it can replace a lot of traditional stabilization systems…but that doesn’t mean that it’s always better suited than it’s more traditional counterparts.They Can Only Be Held For So LongBefore I ever actually operated a Movi myself, I had not even considered the fact that since the system isn’t attached to any sort of vest (like a Steadicam) it can become extremely tiresome to hold. This is especially true when you have a heavier camera such as a RED Epic set up on it. For those of you that have never operated a Movi yourself, imagine holding out your arms straight for ten minutes… It would get pretty tiring right? Now imagine adding 10 to 20 lbs of weight to the equation and things get even more difficult.I can tell you from personal experience that on any professional set that I’ve been on (where we’ve had a Movi or Ronin and a substantial camera setup on it), our operator was unable to successfully hold the setup for more than a few minutes at a time. This severely limits the way that the device can be used as it doesn’t allow for long takes and requires more time in between takes for the operator to recover. The solution to this problem is to rig the stabilizer up to an Easy Rig (which takes a lot of the weight off of your arms), but then the movement of the Movi is limited heavily and the purpose of having a gimbal based stabilizer is largely diminished.They Require Multiple OperatorsMany filmmakers were excited that the Movi would free us up creatively. If we wanted to try out a completely new type of shot that was never possible before, now the Movi would allow us to get there. That certainly is still true, and I am by no means opposed to the Movi as there are certain cicrumstances where it works beautifully. However, when considering the notion that it frees you up creatively, you also need to consider that it restricts you in other ways – namely crew requirements.In order to really operate a Movi properly you need at least two specific crew members, and potentially three at times. There is the Movi operator, the focus puller, and potentially a third crew member who is responsible for panning and tilting the device via a remote control (if you don’t choose to use it in single operator mode). This means that even though from a technical level it may be possible to accomplish the shot that you’re after, you may now need to hire a couple more crew members to make that happen. And while the same argument can be made about other stabilization systems that require additional crew members (such as a dolly grip for a traditional dolly), the specific crew members you need for Movi operation is often more specifically skilled.They Can Be Overused EasilyMany productions that make use of a Movi fall into the dangerous trap of overusing it simply because they can. Much like shooting handheld, working with any gimbal based stabilizer doesn’t always challenge you to get the most purposeful shots, as you could theoretically leave the camera on it for your entire shoot and make every last shot a Movi shot – even if that’s not what’s best for the scene or sequence. In some rare cases, shooting an entire project on a Movi actually could be a good thing. For instance, maybe you’re shooting something that calls for a very specific and fluid movement throughout, and the Movi is the best tool for it. I would argue though, that more often than not if it’s used from A to Z on an entire shoot, the unique effect of the camera movement can get lost due to overuse.When you need to spend time setting up a dolly or a steadicam, you have no choice but to be especially careful about the choices that you are making. We all know the effects of camera movement on the viewers interpretation of a film, which is why it is so important for those movements to be purposeful. A great film will often make use of many types of camera movement in order to evoke different emotions, and unfortunately when using the Movi it is fairly common to fall into the trap of shooting everything that way, and losing sight of some of the more traditional methods of making a film. That doesn’t mean it has to happen, but simply that it can.Final ThoughtsAfter reading this article you might think that I’m not a fan of the Movi, but that really couldn’t be farther from the truth. I love what Freefly has done and truly believe that gimbal based stabilizers are the future of stabilization in many respects. With that said, there is still a time and a place for them to be used and they aren’t always the best solution – nor is any stabilization system for that matter. If you are shooting on a larger scale production and can afford a couple of crew members that are dedicated to operating/controlling the Movi, then you are in a good place, especially when you know when and where to use it. Just make sure that whenever you make use of a Movi, it is the right choice for your story.last_img read more

The Biggest Headlines from IBC 2015

first_imgThe International Broadcast Convention in Amsterdam has come to an end. Here are the big headlines from IBC 2015.Tons of new cameras, 8K televisions, portable RAID hard drives, and more. Here are a few of the biggest headlines to come from IBC 2015.Sony Introduces the FS5 and Updates on the FS7 and a7s IIImage via SonySony made some of the biggest announcements at their Missing Link presentation. They opened with updates on the Sony FS7 and a7S II. However, the show stealer was the reveal of the Sony FS5.The FS5 is smaller than the FS7. It fits in the palm of your hand, and does not include the handle extension the Sony FS7 had. For more on the FS5, check out this video from Cinema5d.Read more about the presentation or more about the FS5 on Cinema5dDJI Releases a Drone Optimized Micro 4/3 Camera – Zenmuse X5The Zenmuse X5 is a Micro Four Thirds camera upgrade built specifically for the Inspire 1 aerial platform. It has the ability to record 4K video at 30 fps, as well as capture 16MP still images.Check out more on the DJI Zenmuse X5 over at AbelCine.Teradek Announces Vidiu Pro, Bolt Sidekick Wireless Video Receiver, and MoreVidiu Pro offers the ability for users to stream live anywhere.Broadcast your events on the most popular, natively integrated, streaming platforms like Ustream, Livestream, Twitch and YouTube Live or as manual RTMP address to services like Wowza Streaming Server. VidiU Pro is compatible with virtually every streaming platform, so you can choose where you go live, whenever you like, wherever you like.Image via TeradekThe Bolt Sidekick is an easy-to-use compact wireless video receiver for directors or AC monitors.Bolt Sidekick is a lightweight, short range companion receiver to all Teradek Bolt Pro transmission systems. At only 9oz, Bolt Sidekick is the ideal solution for 1st AC’s and Director’s handheld monitors since it will work with any existing Bolt Pro up to 300 feet from the transmitter without affecting its performance. Available in HDMI or 3G-SDI flavors, the Sidekick receiver is the perfect companion for existing systems.Read more about the Vidiu Pro and Teradek’s other announcements.NHK Showcases 8K TelevisionImage via GizmagJapan’s public broadcasting company, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), demonstrated a Super Hi-Vision (SHV) television that broadcasts 8K footage. NHK aims to begin broadcasting 8K content via satellite in 2020, the year Tokyo hosts the Olympics.More on the NHK 8K television from IBC.House of Cards Creator Talks About the Future of Web BroadcastingDuring a keynote presentation, House of Cards writer Michael Dobbs commented that many industry experts believe “the future isn’t feature films, but the Golden Age of television.”The idea of the traditional broadcaster is gone. The BBC is already moving to the web,” he said, noting that he’s amazed at the new services he gets from the British broadcaster. “One of the criticisms of the BBC is that they having thrown themselves into [new platforms such as] the iPlayer. But the BBC needs to find new sources of revenue — they should take advantage of [these platforms], not just creatively but economically.Read more of the interview at The Hollywood Reporter.Sony Portable RAID Hard DrivesImage via Studio DailyOn top of all the camera news, Sony also announced a series of Professional RAID portable hard disk arrays. The 4TB and 6TB units will have USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2. The RAID uses the Sony Memory Media Utility to show the disc status, capacity, free space, and formatting options.Read more about the Sony RAID at Studio DailyGot any IBC news that we missed? Share the goods in the comments below!last_img read more

Hook Your Audience With the First Shot

first_imgFinding a new, unseen way to kick off your movie or project should be the goal every time. What are some of your favorite opening shots in movies or TV shows? Let us know in the comments below Your film or video project’s first shot is incredibly important. Whether you’re establishing a time and place or unveiling a mystery, a compelling first frame is vital.Top image: A Clockwork Orange via Warner Bros.It’s vital that you make your video or film’s first frame as enticing as possible. Doing so will set the tone and allow you to immediately begin telling your story. A unique beginning will stick with your audience long after they finish watching your work.Let’s take a look at some examples of interesting first shots, explore why they’re interesting, and learn how you can apply the same techniques to your next video or film.Shot CompositionImage via The Cinema GuildIf you decide to use a wide or medium shot that exposes your characters’ bodies, the background, positioning and lighting must be figured out prior to shooting.Take the image above for example, from Lisandro Alonso’s Jauja. The two characters are positioned and angled in such a meticulous way that the shot resembles a painting. This particular shot sets up what follows, which is a series of static, long, drawn-out scenes that echo this first shot.Image via Warner Bros.The first shot from Interstellar, seen above, demonstrates an undeniable sense of mystery. Proposing a question to your viewers from the get-go is is a sure-fire way to hook them. Why is there a bookcase? Why is everything covered in dust? Where’s the blackhole I was promised?In a movie filled with twists, turns, and thrills, the audience immediately expects explanations to follow in the impending hours. Presenting strange questions right off the bat can yield a fantastic payoff in the end.Establishing LocationImage via Paramount VantageEstablishing the location and environment of your video in the opening shot is informative and classically effective. This type of shot (like the one above from There Will Be Blood) tells the audience the “where” of your video (and sometimes, as seen below, the “when”) and often gives them an idea of the mood.If you captured several establishing shots and B-roll that you’re unsure of what to do with, throwing one of those at the opening is an excellent introductory statement. News packages, corporate videos, and sitcoms all make use the of the establishing shot to open the video.Image via 20th Century FoxIn The Terminator (seen above), James Cameron gives us a familiar location, but then throws in some out-of-nowhere details that hook the audience.Image via USAA perfect example of combining these tactics — mystery and location— was seen in the popular USA series, Mr. Robot. The above silhouette shot with the city in the background gives us information on where the show will be taking place. It also presents a couple of questions: Who are these people? And what are they doing?Introduce Characters Image via CBS FilmsAn immediate portrait shot of your main subject is the perfect way to jump right into a story. This can save a lot of unnecessary expositional dialogue that might give off an amateurish vibe. Inside Llewyn Davis (above) presents the titular character right from the start, immediately throwing the audience into his psyche as he begins his opening “monologue.”Another classic example of this can be seen in the opening of A Clockwork Orange (see top image), which presents an intimidating, unavoidable shot of Alex DeLarge. Not only can this method save pointless dialogue, it can also express the character’s intent within the first few seconds of the narrative.Alternative MethodsImage via Annapurna PicturesYour opening frame doesn’t necessarily have to feature an action or characters. It can be an object, part of the body, or purely obscure. The image above (from The Master) is shown throughout the course of the movie as a theme, reflecting the main character’s stream of consciousness. The instant recognition takes the audience back to the beginning of the film and instills the intended feelings.You’ve probably seen Jacob T. Swinney’s excellent side-by-side videos comparing the first and last frames of popular movies. If you’re planning to come full circle or connect your story in a similar way, these entrancing videos can give you an idea of just why the first frame is so important.last_img read more

Create Master Text Styles in Premiere Pro’s Essential Graphics Panel

first_imgThe Essential Graphics panel in Adobe Premiere Pro offers a drastically different workflow from the original Title Tool panel. See how easy it is to create repeating titles and graphics.Top image via Shutterstock. Working with text in Adobe Premiere Pro has always been a bit clunky, so I was happy when the latest update introduced the new Essential Graphics panel — an entirely new panel dedicated to working with graphics. Adobe is clearly trying to make the interface of Premiere similar to Photoshop and After Effects, which I love. You now have a Type tool, and you can layer graphics — you can even create master text styles and motion graphic templates. I want to take a closer look at using the master text style feature.Let’s say I’m working on a travel series, and I’m making a video every few weeks. Naturally, I want these videos to have the same look from episode to episode. I want to use the same style of graphics for each episode, which consists of two different text styles. I’m going to show you how, in three simple steps, you can create a text style that you can reuse throughout your project, significantly reducing your editing time.Let’s get started. Step 1 — Create and Design the TextFor the first step, I’ll use the Type tool to create a new text layer. I’ve opened Premiere’s new Essential Graphics panel so I will have all of the new text properties available. I want LONDON to be the main part of my graphic, with ENGLAND as a smaller subtitle. After I type LONDON, you’ll notice that a new text layer appears. If I select the text layer, I can make adjustments to properties in the panel. For this title, I’ll scale it up, change the font, and add a stroke. Next, I’ll click the New Layer button in the Essential Graphics panel to add my ENGLAND subtitle. I want ENGLAND to be small and simple. Next, I’ll save it out as a master style.Step 2 — Create a Master Text StyleAs I stated earlier, if I’m working on a weekly series, I will want the same look for the graphics in each episode. This is where the master text style comes into play. To save a text style for future use, I first need to select a text layer. With my LONDON layer selected, I can now go over to the master style drop-down menu and select Create New Master Text Style. I’ll name the new style MAIN. When you create a new style, the program saves all of the properties under the Text and Appearance sections of the Essential Graphics panel. For my final step, I’ll apply the style to additional text in the project.Step 3 — Apply the Master Text StyleNow that I’ve created a new master text style, I will apply it to other graphics. I’ve created additional text in my project, and I want this text to have the same look as ENGLAND. I can use the Type tool to select a region of the screen where I want to place a paragraph. After typing in my text, I will apply the subtitle master style. To apply, select the text layer and then choose the corresponding style in the master style’s drop-down menu.Do you have tips for working with the Essential Graphics panel? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

The Path to Mastery

first_img Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Now Work to learn your craft. Take years to learn it. Stay inside and work while other people are out playing and having fun. Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse. Be embarrassingly bad at what you are doing until a small glimmer of something others might call talent appears. Know that you talent is nothing more than the disciplined action taken repeatedly over long periods of time.Go over the same ground until you know it so well that you no longer have to think about what you are doing. Give yourself over and sacrifice that part of yourself that resists. Become what you are doing until there is no longer any separation between who you are and what you do. Until you have become one with what you are doing. Or it has become you.Develop deep mastery in your domain. Know the fundamentals at such a high level that you can break the rules and create something new, something novel, something that is just yours. Build your work on top of the foundation of the fundamentals you have mastered and on the firm ground of the masters who taught you the fundamentals. Add a new level, another dimension, a shift to something new, but something that speaks to the truth that was there when you were first learning.Let your intuition guide you. Work without ever second guessing what you are doing, how you are doing what you do, and who you are doing it for. Forget everything. Be the medium through which your work flows. Create. Produce. Work. Smaller movements, nothing wasted. Bolder strokes, greater refinement.This is the path to mastery, for the few that are willing to step onto that path.last_img read more

Competition is Individual, Not Situational

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now As I was writing Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition, I realized something about salespeople and their view on competition.First, some make far too much about their competition, spending too much time worrying about their competitor’s irrational pricing, their dirty tricks, and the lies they tell their clients and prospects. The truth of the matter is that there is nothing you can do about how your competitor plays the game. Even if you ask them nicely to play fair and have a sense of honor and decency about the game, there are those who believe that “whatever it takes” is the right way to compete.Second, some people make too little of competition. They focus on their company, their products, their value proposition, believing it is necessary to lean on external factors to win deals without focusing on the value they create for the client as the primary source of competitive advantage. How does the smaller, seemingly weaker company beat their larger, stronger competitor?My experience in sales tells me this is not true. When I started to sell, I took the largest companies in my territory from the largest competitors in my space, even when my company measured our revenue in millions while my competitors measured theirs in billions. At some point, I recognized that sales is not situational; it’s individual. I was not competing with the billion-dollar company, I was competing with the salespeople in my territory. I didn’t need to beat the billion-dollar company, I just needed to beat their salespeople by creating greater value.All three of the books I have published have been around providing the mindset, skill sets, and toolkits necessary to compete and win, even when faced with competitors who seem to have every advantage. The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need is the competency model necessary to develop into someone worth buying from in the first place. The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales was a framework for gaining the commitments necessary to sell effectively and in a way that makes you consultative. Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition builds on these by providing you the strategies necessary to take your dream clients away from your competition, no matter how big.What you need to know is that better salesperson wins deals, not the bigger or better company. The team that creates greater value wins—and retains—their clients when they continue to help them drive new and better results.Eat Their Lunch is available on November 6th, 2018, but you can preorder it now. There are bonuses available for bulk purchases at, including keynotes and workshops.last_img read more

Five more Manipur MLAs join BJP

first_imgThe strength of ruling BJP in the Manipur Assembly rose to 28 on Friday after the lone Trinamool Congress MLA and four Congress MLAs switched sides. Robindfro Singh, who won the elections in Trinamool Congress ticket, joined BJP on Friday. Congress MLAs Y. Surchandra, N. Haokip, O. Lukhoi and S. Bira too joined the ruling party on Friday. In the past T. Shyamkumar and G. Insuanhao Zou from Congress joined BJP. The BJP won 21 seats in the 60 member House during the recent elections. Falling short of nine MLAs to reach the halfway mark, it formed a coalition government with the support of splinter parties. Reacting to the development, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said, “It shows that more and more MLAs trust the leadership of Narendra Modi.”last_img read more

Congress to move against rebel MLAs

first_imgThe Opposition Congress in Manipur is getting ready to move the High Court for the disqualification of six of its MLAs who defected to the ruling BJP. Party vice-president Khumukcham Joykishan said on Wednesday, “We are not happy with Speaker Yumnam Khemchand’s statement that the matter is under process.” T. Shyamkumar joined the BJP before the party formed a coalition government in the State on March 15. G. Zou, O. Lukhoi, Y. Surchandra, S. Bira and Ngamthang Haokip joined the party later. “All the six defectors should have resigned from the Assembly as CM N. Biren Singh did,” he said.last_img read more

Man shot at by suspected militants in J&K

first_imgSuspected militants tonight shot at and injured a person in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, the police said.At about 21:25 hours, unidentified militants fired at and injured Nisar Ahmad Mir near his home in Presoo area of the district, a police official said.He said Mir was shifted to the district hospital from where he was referred to a hospital here for specialised treatment.Mir, the official said, was reportedly working as a private electrician.last_img

Jammu cops to donate a day’s salary to martyrs’ kin

first_imgJammu and Kashmir police personnel will donate a day’s salary for the families of the cops who were killed in the line of duty in the State this year. Fourteen police personnel and two special police officers have sacrificed their lives in various militancy-related incidents during the year, according to a police spokesman.Police personnel will donate one day salary for the kin of the martyrs who have sacrificed their precious lives in the line of duty, the spokesman said.“To show solidarity and their concern for the bereaved families of these martyrs, J&K police personnel will donate one day salary of the current month,” he added.last_img read more

Women’s commission seeks fair probe into ‘stalking’ case

first_img“Unfortunately, the police and the judicial system come under a lot of pressure from the so-called VVIPs and that is not correct.”Ms. Kumaramangalam also described as “regrettable and unfortunate” the reported remarks by Chandigarh BJP vice-president Ramveer Bhatti that girls and women should not be going out alone during midnight. He, however, has denied making such comments. “What I meant to convey is that it is the responsibility of parents to watch over their children and their activities. It is a general statement and not one directed at the victim,” he said.Father’s standIn a Facebook post, the woman’s father said that he would move court if the charges against the duo were “diluted”.He, however, asserted that the family would not interfere with the investigation. “We will not interfere with the investigation or the prosecution, just as we do not want the accused to influence the investigation in any way. The police and prosecution should be allowed to do their job. We will join the investigation whenever required by the police. We will contest in the court if we feel the charges are diluted or inadequately framed,” he said.’We will Not to back out’He promised the people who were supporting his family that, “We shall not, ever, back out or stand out, irrespective of hardships or pressures.”He said the accused were law students and hence fully aware of the consequences of their action. “Our target is to ensure that the guilty are brought to book,” he said.Swamy seeks CBI probeBJP MP Subramanian Swamy has accused the police of doing a “somersault” on the case. He said he would file a public interest litigation petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for a court-monitored CBI probe into the stalking incident. “With my associate lawyer A.P. Jagga , I will file a PIL,” he tweeted. The National Commission for Women (NCW) has sought a free and fair investigation into the alleged stalking of a woman in Chandigarh by Vikas Barala, son of Subhash Barala, president of the Haryana State unit, while the victim’s father, an IAS officer, sought “maximum punishment” for the accused.The commission has asked for regular updates, NCW chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam said. “In the letter [to the police], we have asked them to conduct a quick, immediate, fair and free investigation in the case and let us know what is happening in every stage,” she said.Vikas, 23, and his friend, Ashish Kumar, 27, were arrested and released on bail. The two were charged with bailable sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Motor Vehicles Act.Congress’s chargeMs. Kumaramangalam’s comments came amid allegations by the Congress that the Union government and the BJP were conspiring to hush up the case.“I have always said that who these people are should not matter … they could be rich, poor, political, religious, doesn’t matter. Crime against women is crime against women,” she said.last_img read more

Fulbright scholar, Sahitya Akademi award winner to be Assam’s new DGP

first_imgA Fulbright scholar and winner of several literary awards, who also has a doctorate from an Indian Institute of Technology, has been named Assam’s new Director General of Police.Special DGP (Law and Order) Kuladhar Saikia, who will take over from Mukesh Sahay as the State’s police chief on May 1, had won the Sahitya Akademi award in 2015 for his book ‘Akakhor Sobi Aaru Anyanya Galpa (Picture of the Sky and Other Tales)’.But Mr. Saikia, an IPS officer of the 1985 batch, will not be the first DGP of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre to have won the Sahitya Akademi award. Current Meghalaya DGP Swaraj Bir Singh won the award in 2016 for his Punjabi play ‘Maseya di Raat (Moonless Night)’ and former Assam DGP Harekrishna Deka had won it in 1987 for ‘Aan Ejan (Another One)’, a collection of poems.He will not be the first DGP to have won the Katha award for literature either. Mr. Deka had won it in 1995, five years before he did.But Mr. Saikia will arguably be the first DGP in India to have earned the Sahitya Akademi award, Fulbright Humphrey fellowship (for community leadership) from University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and a PhD in crime and development from IIT-Guwahati.Mr. Saikia, 59, was among five senior IPS officers who were in contention for the DGP’s post after Mr. Sahay’s retirement on April 30. His resume weighed heavier than the others, a senior Home department officer said.Closely involved in anti-terror operationsMr. Saikia had been closely involved in anti-terror operations, including Operation Bajrang and Operation Rhino against the United Liberation Front of Asom in the 1990s. Much of his stint as superintendent of police was in militant hotbeds such as Nalbari and Kokrajar districts.But colleagues said Mr. Saikia’s came across as a humane officer even in the most critical of situations during “those terrible days”. This was manifest in Project Prahari, an awareness initiative he had undertaken in the early 2000s to tackle witchcraft-related crimes.His drive to curb witch-hunting in Assam as ‘an agent of change’ was recognised as a case study in the Harvard Business Review.Mr. Sakia has often turned his field experience into stories that have won awards and a sizeable readership. “Writing has helped improve my policing,” he says.last_img read more

Drop in vote share worries BJP in Palghar

first_imgMumbai: Behind the desperate efforts of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to seek consensus, and the agony over Shiv Sena’s decision to contest from Palghar is a fall of over 3,25,083 votes from 2014 Lok Sabha elections to the assembly polls held the some months later. Compiled data of votes from all six Assembly constituencies, which are part of the Palghar Lok Sabha seat show that not only did the BJP’s vote share drop from 5,33,201 in general election when it contested in alliance with the Sena to 2,08,118 in Assembly when both parties fought independently, but also that its nearest rival Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) — led by MLA Hitendra Thakur was much ahead in terms of votes it received by a margin of over one lakh.Dahanu (ST), Vikramgadh (ST), Palghar (ST), Boisar (ST), Nalasopara and Vasai are the six Assembly constituencies in Palghar Lok Sabha seat. Of these, Dahanu and Vikramgadh were won by the BJP, Palghar by the Sena and the rest by BVA in the 2014 elections.An analysis of the data shows that BJP won 2.08 lakh votes in the Assembly polls, while Sena won 1.82 lakh votes across six constituencies. The BVA however holds a clear command with 3.17 lakh votes. “The numbers explain the reason behind BJP’s anxiety. First, there is no Modi wave as in the 2014 general elections. Secondly, BJP had fought in alliance with us which is not the case in 2018. No wonder Chief Minister is wary about how things will unfold,” said a Sena leader in the cabinet. A drop of over 3.25 lakh votes from the general to Assembly polls, held in a span of few months, is a major cause of worry for the BJP. It however banks on the newly found support of Shramajivi Sanghatana’s Vivek Pandit who had won over 65,395 votes in the Assembly elections. The opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) stand a distant fourth in the five-corner fight. Even though both parties fought independently in 2014 Assembly polls, they have formed a front for the coming bypolls. Congress did not contest the 2014 Lok Sabha election as it had extended support to BVA. Taking the votes from the Assembly election into account, the opposition managed to get only 1.50 lakh votes. As per data, the fifth corner of the fight, Communist Party of India (Marxist) is limited to two Assembly seats, namely Dahanu and Vikramgadh. The party bagged only 49,913 votes in Assembly polls and 76,890 votes in the general elections.last_img read more

Man kills wife, two daughters in Ahmedabad

first_imgDharmesh Shah, a builder based in Ahmedabad, allegedly shot his wife and two daughters in their house on Judges Bungalow road in Bodakdev, Ahmedabad. After killing them, he himself informed the police control room. As soon as the control room received his call, senior cops rushed to the spot where he was sitting besides the three dead bodies on the floor. “He killed his two daughters: Helli, 22 and Diksha 17, and his wife Ami using his licensed fire arm,” a police official said, adding the accused has been taken for interrogation. The police have not spoken on the motive or exact cause but neighbours said there were frequent fights between the couple and Dharmesh had apparently suffered losses in business that led to heavy debts.last_img read more

Sharad Yadav to retain bungalow

first_imgThe Supreme Court on Thursday allowed disqualified Rajya Sabha member and rebel Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav to retain his official bungalow for the time being after he agreed to forego the monetary benefits of office during the pendency of his challenge against disqualification in the Delhi High Court.The direction given by a Vacation Bench of Justices A.K. Goel and Ashok Bhushan was based on a petition filed by JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP Ramchandra Prasad Singh against an order passed by the Delhi High Court on December 15 last year.High court orderThe high court, in that order, though refusing to grant an interim stay on Mr. Yadav’s disqualification, had allowed him to draw his salary, allowances, perks and retain the bungalow till the pendency of his plea.During the hearing, the Bench questioned the propriety of Mr. Yadav partaking the salary and perks of office, drawn from the public exchequer, when the very question of his disqualification under the stringent anti-defection law was still under consideration in the high court.The court’s scepticism drew Mr. Yadav’s lawyers, senior advocate Guru Krishna Kumar and Devadatt Kamat, to concede that their client would abstain from accepting the perks and allowances of office till the high court takes a final call.The court then asked a Division Bench of the high court to decide the matter by July 12.Mr. Yadav has alleged in the high court that he was not afforded an opportunity to present his case against disqualification by the Rajya Sabha Chairman.Mr. Singh has pressed his case against Mr. Yadav and another disqualified JD(U) leader, Ali Anwar, on the ground that they attended a rally of the Opposition parties in Patna in violation of the party’s directives.Mr. Yadav had aligned with the Opposition after JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar left the alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress in the State to join hands with the BJP in July 2017.Mr. Yadav was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2016 till 2022. Mr. Anwar’s term expired in April.‘New low in politics’Mr. Yadav’s faction accused the JD(U) of plunging to a “new low” in politics by targeting him in such a manner.Arun Kumar Srivastava, an aide of Mr. Yadav and former JD(U) general secretary, said political rivalry has never played out in such a “personal and vindictive” way.“It never happened in politics that you go after a rival’s bungalow and salary,” he said.Mr. Srivastava cited the examples of Amar Singh, a Rajya Sabha member expelled from the Samajwadi Party, and Pappu Yadav, expelled RJD MP, to say that their parent parties never targeted them in the way the JD(U) has gone after Mr. Sharad Yadav.“Sharad Yadav’s residence and salary are a matter between him and the Central government but still the JD(U) approached the Supreme Court against the benefits he is getting,” Mr. Srivastava said.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more

‘Gender is hardwired into the brain, cannot be changed but sex of a person can’

first_imgRichie Gupta, senior consultant and director, Department of Plastic, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, who headed the team that performed the gender affirmation surgery on Taksh and Kritika speaks to The Hindu about gender dysphoriaHow long does the entire gender affirmation take? Can you break it down step-wise?Physical sex is assigned at birth based on appearance of external genitalia, while gender refers to innate and personal sense of being male or female. Normally, sex and gender are in alignment. These are out of alignment in certain individuals, thus resulting in a feeling that they are trapped in the wrong body. These individuals suffer constantly as they are in conflict with their body, family and social groups such as school and office. The discomfort arising from this conflict is known as GD [gender dysphoria]. Some GD persons are so severely affected that they wish to get rid of the wrong body type or organs, and are sometimes depressed or think of or may attempt suicide unless their GD is somehow relieved. This subset of individuals is known as transsexuals. These individuals are candidates for hormonal and gender affirmation surgery, which results in alleviation of GD. While gender is hardwired into the brain and cannot be changed, the sex of an individual can be changed. Hence, such surgery is known as ‘gender affirmation surgery.We follow a protocol for treatment of transsexuals, which is largely based on the 7th Standards of Care [SOCs], published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health [WPATH] in 2011, and modified by our experience. It encompasses a multidisciplinary approach for management of such patients with involvement of specialities like plastic surgery, psychiatry, psychology, endocrinology, gynaecology, etc. We have a multidisciplinary team — the Gender Identity Clinic [GIC], at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.Surgery or hormone therapy is not offered to anyone who walks into the GIC claiming to have GD. It is important to first diagnose GD and differentiate it from other conditions like schizophrenia. This is done with the help of psychometric analysis and diagnosis by a mental health professional. As for any genital surgery in GD, two psychiatric opinions are required. We take one opinion from Fortis GIC and the other from an outside mental health professional competent in diagnosing GD. Psychiatrists also treat underlying neurosis such as depression, facilitate the patient’s assimilation in society, and encourage role-playing and real-life experience [living in the patient’s true gender role in society]. Generally, a real-life experience of at least two years is required before undergoing the surgery. Once the conditions mentioned above are met, the patient can start hormone therapy and later undergo surgery.For male-to-female transsexuals [transwomen], generally one surgery is required for removal of the penis, scrotum and testes, and reconstruction of the vagina, labia and clitoris. Also, the urethra is recessed to a female position. This costs around ₹1.8 lakh. Since breast enlargement occurs on hormone therapy, breast augmentation is usually deferred till 18 months and most transwomen do not require it. Breast augmentation is undertaken if desired by the transwoman before this period. Other optional surgeries include facial and voice feminisation surgeries, trimming of the Adam’s apple, hair transplants to produce a feminine hairline, rhinoplasty, liposuction, etc.What is the cost of gender affirmation surgery? For female-to-male transsexuals [transmen], generally three surgeries are required. These are: top surgery [reduction of breasts] which costs around ₹1.25 lakh; removal of female internal organs such as the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and vagina, which costs around ₹1.8 lakh; and reconstruction of the penis, scrotum and urethra, which costs around ₹2.5 lakh to ₹3.5 lakh. Implantation of a penile erectile device [Indian implant] costs approximately ₹80,000. Optional surgeries include voice masculinisation, liposuction, rhinoplasty, etc. We usually plan an interval of three months between surgeries. The surgical process in transmen takes nearly a year.What is the follow– up required?After the surgeries, we recommend a follow-up once in six months for patients on hormone therapy to assess for any adverse effects.What are the complications associated with these surgeries?Like any other surgeries, complications such as bleeding and infection can happen. In penile reconstruction surgeries, there may be urinary leak or partial blockage. This may require further intervention. At what age can someone opt for these procedures?Hormone therapy in the form of puberty-delaying hormones can start at stage II/III of puberty [11 to 14 years]. Surgery is carried out after the age of legal majority [after 18 years]. Are there any support groups in India for persons who undergo gender affirmation surgeries to help assimilate them in society?We have started a support group called Khem, which includes GD individuals who have undergone the procedures, some parents and a few health professionals. We connect trans individuals to this group, if they so desire.last_img read more

Maharashtra to seek fintech companies’ access to Aadhaar database

first_imgThe State government is set to send a request the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to find a way to give digital payments startups access to Aadhaar’s biometric database.A total of 100 startups may be restricted from participating in the State’s new FinTech Policy following the Supreme Court judgement which bars private companies from accessing the Aadhaar database. But Maharashtra will petition UIDAI and the finance and law ministries to find a way out, according tosenior officials.“We don’t know what the way out is but will approach UIDAI for an exemption or some sort of guidelines to exempt the financial technology (fintech) startups. With the court ruling, these firms may have trouble accessing the Aadhaar database,” said S.V.R. Srinivas, Principal Secretary of the Information Technology Department, Government of Maharashtra.The digital payments companies are already lobbying with the finance and law ministries for a law that will allow them access to the biometric database following the judgement earlier this year. Small fintech companies with low-cost business models fear not being able to complete the customer verification and e-Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements in the absence of access to Aadhaar biometrics. If the companies go for physical verification instead of e-KYC, it would only burden them with process costs. Most of the 100-odd fintech startups are from the State and have already shown interest in participating in the new fintech policy, called LEAP. The acronym stands for reforms in four major areas: lighter regulation, enabling environment, augmented infrastructure and partnerships. The policy was launched by Chief Minster Devendra Fadnavis at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year and plans a new state-of-the-art fintech ‘Hub in Mumbai’ and a regulatory sandbox, put together as part of the guidelines of the Sudarshan Sen Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). “The RBI is also helping us set up the regulatory sandbox and even though the judgement is a blow to fintech firms, we will try and address this,” said Mr. Srinivas.The State government has already applied new fintech models in the Integrated Child Development Services, which has been improved using Aadhaar. As part of this experiment, Yes Bank supported development of a customised software to digitise fund disbursement for 2,00,000 anganwadi workers. In other experiment, a fintech called MahaWallet was created to make mobility payments, such as at a toll, under the Smart City scheme.last_img read more