Indian Majority

first_imgTravel to Millbourne, Pa., the only town in America with a majority Indian population.It is a small, generic, unremarkable town, not unlike the thousands sprinkled across America. Yet this one has a characteristic remarkable in its unremarkability – every second person in the town is Indian! Walk down any street and start the count: one little Indian, two little Indian, three little Indian…. John Verghese:” My sister sponsored my wife as a nurse and we came to Millbourne in 1991. At that time in our street we had seven Indian families. Now we have two – thre Indian families but also three Sudanese families, another from Fiji and one from Vietnam.” Incredibly, the highest proportion of Indians per square feet is to be found not in Iselin, N.J., Queens, N.Y., or Freemont, Calif., which, incidentally, aren’t second, third or fourth, either (see chart). The highest concentration of Indians is to be found in Millbourne, Pennsylvania!In the 2000 Census, almost 40 percent of the population of 943 in this unpretentious borough was Indian, the highest in any place in the nation. The borough’s Indian population jumped 160 percent during the 1990s. Driven in part by a steady influx of Sikhs into the town since 9/11, according to Little India projections, Indians now constitute almost 63 percent of Millbourne’s current estimated population of 994, making it the first and only American town with an Indian majority. By contrast, the Indian population nationwide is under 0.6 percent and only 2 percent in New Jersey, the state with the highest proportion of Indians.The next densest Indian concentrations, in Plainsboro Center, N.J., and South Yuba City, Calif., are only about a fifth to a quarter of those towns’ populations, so Millbourne’s place in Indian American lore is likely secure for a few decades yet (See map). The “other” minority groups in the town are Whites at 21 percent and African American at 17 percent.  Superior Printing’s Imran Ahmed (left)and Roger Arya (right). Although Arya started out renting his office and home, he eventually bought the building. As business expanded, he acquired another building in the same block. He later purchased a one – family house a stone throw’s away, so he can now walk to work. Millbourne has been good to him.What brings Indian immigrants to this speck of a town in the state where the founding fathers first penned the American constitution and where the cornerstones of democracy were laid, but whose Indian population is actually below the national average?Millbourne is a blue-collar sort of town where modest dreams are dreamed about family, faith and community. It is a town fueled by faith, since many of the Indian immigrants moved to this neighborhood to be near their gurudwara, church or mosque.The 2000 Census outlines the broad contours of Millbourne’s Indian community. The gender breakdown is about even: 53 percent to 47 percent women. Five percent are mixed race. The median age of the Indian community is 32. Only 13 percent of the Indians are native-born. Almost two-thirds migrated to the United States within the previous decade. Like the other residents of the city, Indians in Millbourne are principally blue collar. The median household income for the 102 Indian households in the borough was $36,000, higher than the borough average, but substantially below the national median Indian household income of $64,000. However, only 7 percent of the Millbourne Indians were below the poverty line, as opposed to 9 percent of Indians nationally. Just 10 percent of Indians in the borough owned their home, which is less than a quarter of the home ownership rate among Indian Americans nationwide. Taken together, the statistical portrait that emerges of the Indians in Millbourne is one of the starting point of Indian American dreams. Raj Kumar Kapoor was attracted by the fact that the 69th Street Station is just two blocks away: “Millbourne is the next town to Centre City. We can hit downtown Philadelphia in ten minutes. It’s a good approach, because it’s a big terminal.” The parents – immigrants all – toil in neighboring towns as machinists, taxi drivers and nurses. All the while their children thrive and study, many aspiring to college and careers. Millbourne, however, never loses its blue-collar roots, because once the children discover their careers, they move. So do immigrants whose finances improve to the point that they can go on to bigger homes and bigger dreams in fancier suburbs.But Millbourne’s dreams never end; for just as someone’s dreams carries him away, another immigrant arrives, with battered suitcases and small dreams of just getting a foothold on the American Dream: a small corner in the universe to call their own, a piece of land that belongs to them.That might be an impossible dream in major metropolitan centers on the East Coast. In Millbourne it becomes surprisingly achievable.John R. Artmont, Millbourne’s fire chief, came to the borough at age 9 in 1951 and says his mother, now 83, still lives in the house where he grew up, Artmont, who is Italian, is the oldest member of the Fire Department and remembers a very different town with a largely Caucasian population.“I can remember back in the ’50s we had everybody, there was no population density of any one particular ethnicity,” he says. “Then the Greek community came here because of the church in Upper Darby and the community was very oriented toward the church – all the people congregated there. Later they migrated to the Broomall area and built a church there. Now we have the Indian community that moved in, basically because of the gurudwara in Millbourne.”On the streets you won’t encounter many white faces. Instead one is far more likely to encounter Indians, African American, Jamaican, or other South Asians. Dilbaugh Kaur Randhawa, who may have remained a housewife if she had stayed in Jullundur, enjoys her job and America. She says with a smile about Millbourne, “Sab kuch milta hai idhar” Millbourne is so tiny that you can walk around its dozen or so blocks. It is bounded on one side by the train line. On one side of its main road – Market Street – sits another town, Upper Darby, an 81,000 “megalopolis” by comparison, to which it is symbiotically linked. Most residents don’t know or care which is which. Millbourne’s children attend Upper Darby schools, because the borough has none of its own and many businesses on Market Street fall on the Upper Darby side. It’s possible to pick up your green chilies in J&J Grocery in Millbourne, then hop across the street to buy your onions in Upper Darby’s Subzi Mandi. Philadelphia is just a 10-minute, 5-mile drive or train ride away.It is a gritty kind of town, with no fancy frills. You won’t find any trendy Starbucks here, nor hip Gap stores. Plenty of McDonalds, auto shops and laundromats dot the landscape and on Millbourne’s sunbaked streets one is likely to encounter many small mom and pop stores – groceries, video shops, gas stations and halal shops. Indian businesses include an assortment of printing, fashion, travel, insurance, accounting and law offices, as well as the ubiquitous grocery stores.Millbourne does not boast a movie theater or fancy restaurants (not even an Indian dive), but it has a gurudwara, a Keralite church and a small mosque – all within the 0.1 sq mile oval shaped borough. The town’s borough manager Dru Ann Staud said, “We do not have it broken down as a percentage as to what ethnic groups are here, but I know it’s very diverse.” The borough council, comprising Mayor William Donovan and five councilmen, meets every third Monday of the month. The town’s tax collector Archana Arya is Indian.“We have people from doctors to pharmacists to taxi drivers to blue collar workers like plumbers, electricians and contractors,” says Staud. “It’s a wide variety of positions. A lot of people start out here, they may rent a home and then they build up, and then they purchase a home either in Millbourne or elsewhere.” Narinder Singh recalls the attraction of small houses that people could rent in the Millbourne area over the apartments they had lived in: “It was such a peaceful place and in those days the 69th Street Market wa the biggest market of the area. People used to come from all the surrounding areas to it. There wee big stores here. It is said about Millbourne, it was so safe that people never used to loch their houses. Never” The pulse and heart of Millbourne are the hundreds of small row houses behind the main street, the place where hard-working immigrants return at night to rest their heads on their pillows. These are the homes were families are reared, favorite meals are cooked and dreams are nurtured, all within a budget.The earliest Indian immigrants to settle here were nurses from Kerala, who had been sponsored for jobs at area hospitals. Soon their husbands and children followed, establishing themselves in this small, very affordable town.“This is true for majority of the cases where the wives first came to the country as nurses,” says John Kurichi, whose family was among the first Keralite family to settle in Millbourne in 1979; his wife has been a nurse for 27 years. He believes his was the first Indian family to move into the area; many other families with links to Kerala followed. The families are members of the Malayalee Association of Delaware and the community keeps connected through the St. Gregorios Malan Kara Orthodox Church, which has a pastor from Kerala.Kurichi recalls of those early days, “It was a pretty place with trees and greenery. The transportation was good to the metropolitan area and the school district was good. There is a police station and police patrolled all the time so people felt safe.”One of the biggest attractions was the affordable housing: Kurichi, who was working as a guidance counselor in the Philadelphia school system, bought a four bedroom house with a living room, dining room, kitchen, baths and full basement for just $33,000.J & J Groceries is one of the first Indian grocery store established in the area and though larger ones, like Sabzi Mandi across the street in Upper Darby, have since muscled in, it retains its loyal customer base, especially Keralites. The store carries produce from Kerala, by companies such as Periyar and Classic, which many other Indian grocery stores don’t stock. It has products targeted at other communities as well. Gurmail Singh recalls: “I didn’t have a car in those days and the rent I was paying for a one bedroom was $500. The mortgage for a home in those days  was just $600 so I decided to move to Millbourne and bought a three-bedroom house in 1986. The mortgage worked out to just $600. I had no car and the train brought me right to my house.” Walk into this small store and you see the sense of accommodation: unlike Indian grocery stores in New York or California, which publicize themselves as Indo Pak groceries, this one has a wider audience, billing itself as American, Indian, Bangladeshi and Jamaican groceries.“There has to be a supply and demand,” says John Varghese, the owner, between ringing up sales at the register. His sister, a nurse, has been in New Jersey since 1976, and she in turn was sponsored by her elder sister, also a nurse. He recalls, “My sister sponsored my wife as a nurse and we came to Millbourne in 1991. At that time in our street we had seven Indian families. Now we have two-three Indian families, but also three Sudanese families, another from Fiji and one from Vietnam.”The Keralite community, aside from its church in Millbourne, also has an active Malayalee organization, which advertises prominently on the door of J & J Groceries. Why did so many Malayalee families zero in on Millbourne? Varghese says, “The same way we came, so many people came, some in 1972, some in 1975. Most of them were nurses or medical workers.” Several first came alone to work, but were later joined by spouses who found work in offices or factories, depending on their qualifications.Even within the tiny confines of Market Street, it is possible to have a diversified business and expand into different fields. Roger Arya of Superior Printing earlier lived in Downingtown, west of Philadelphia, 35 miles away. He bought his existing store on Market Street and later moved to the area.“The market was changing and there was a lot of competition, so we decided to go into different fields.” In 2000 he started Superior Medical Supplies, specializing in incontinence products, which he supplies to nursing and retirement homes in the area. He’s also started an employment agency called Superior Nursing Care, which supplies nurses to various hospitals.Although Arya started out renting his office and home, he eventually bought the building. As business expanded, he acquired another building in the same block. He later purchased a one-family house a stone’s throw away, so he can now walk to work. Millbourne has been good to him. Jyoti Cuisine India, which manufactures Indian meals in Sharon Hill, as well as canned goods and ready to eat entrees that are sold in natural food stores and currently provides the hot meals served on board Continental, British Airways, Emirates and US Airway flights. Their automated facilities require only 15 workers, but ten of them are Sikh women from Millbourne, who catch the bus daily to the plant. And the entrepreneurs keep coming. At the K Video & Grocery, the shop was being stocked by a young couple who had rented it only three weeks earlier. As Hindi film music blared on a CD, Raj Kumar Kapoor sorted spices and placed them on racks. His wife Simmi stacked videos and rang the cash register.Migrants from New Jersey, they are chasing a dream that the burgeoning Indian population in Millbourne can support yet another grocery store. Already there are eight grocery and video outlets and even a jewelry store in the vicinity.Kapoor’s store sits in Millbourne and he lives in Upper Darby, where his children go to school. He was attracted by the fact that the 69th Street Station is just two blocks away: “Millbourne is the next town to Center City. We can hit downtown Philadelphia in ten minutes. It’s a good approach, because it’s a big terminal.”The trains are the lifeblood of a community, moving people to jobs and giving them the flexibility to work further away. Philadelphia is where many of the jobs are to be found. It also has the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, as well as several Indian-owned stores in North East Philadelphia, almost a dozen Indian restaurants and several grocery stores. Millbourne offers good, cheap housing and transport for many of their workers.The predominant subethnic group in Millbourne is, without a doubt, Sikh, accounting for, according to some, as much as 80 percent of the Indian population. It is home to the Sikh Gurudwara and the Philadelphia Sikh Society, which is the nucleus and the reason for the expanding community. Mary Kutty and her husband Sunny Thomas, who is in printing, work in New Jersey, but come home to Millbourne to a life reminiscent of that in India. Erin Court, a block of two family houses, stands on a bluff overlooking a picturesque forestscape. The lines of small, unassuming row houses face each other with green lawns in between and a small path running within it. All the homes have Indian tenants, originally from Punjab and Kerala,. Neighbourhood children scurry about from home to home. Millbourne experienced a population surge from New York after 9/11. Many Sikh families abandoned New York in the wake of the terror attacks and racial profiling and took refuge in this small community where the gurudwara was their beacon and anchor, and all around them were people of their color and beliefs.For the Sikhs in the Philadelphia area, Millbourne is important because the only two gurudwaras are in the vicinity. The older, smaller one is in Upper Darby, while the new, larger one is built in what was a former unemployment office in Millbourne.Faith is an exceedingly important force within the Sikh community. As Dilbaugh Kaur Randhawa, a devotee at the gurudwara, put it succinctly, “We followed our Golden Temple.”With the holy Guru Granth Saheb on the premises and regular prayer sessions, for many, it’s as if they never left home for here they have their faith and their community. On a recent weekend, almost a dozen women were busy in the gurudwara kitchen performing seva – cooking up pots and pots of daal, vegetables and hot rotis, which they slathered with butter, to be served as langar after the devotions.Randhawa left Jullunder, Punjab, 21 years ago and started life in Millbourne. She then spent 13 years in Philadelphia where she works at a university, cleaning the computer rooms and labs. Her son works at the airport in maintenance and her husband handles properties. Their daughter, after a college education, is a teacher in China.Three years ago, the family returned to Millbourne because of the gurudwara. The family includes Randhawa’s 90-year-old mother-in-law whose life revolves around the gurudwara. Randhawa, who may have remained a housewife if she had stayed in Jullunder, enjoys her job and America. As she says with a smile, “Sab kuch milta hai idhar.” (Everything is available here.) Chandan Kumar, ninety, whose life revolves around the gurudwara, is one of Millbourne’s seniormost citizen. On a recent Saturday afternoon, the children of the community sat in a line in the hall and ate the langar, then the parents trickled in. Sunday is an even bigger celebration. As many as 500 to 600 people turn up from towns as far away as King of Prussia. It’s the only gurudwara for Philadelphia and so is the life source of the community.Over steaming cups of chai, some of the members of gurudwara filled in a reporter on their life in Millbourne. Narinder Singh, chairman of its board of trustees, came from Punjab in 1982 to California and then to Millbourne in 1987. There were just seven or eight families there. “I’m a machinist at a factory. There were many steel factories in the surrounding area where parts are made.”He recalls the attraction of small houses that people could rent in the Millbourne area over the apartments they had lived in: “It was such a peaceful place and in those days the 69th Street Market was the biggest market of the area. People used to come from all the surrounding areas to it. There were big stores here. It is said about Millbourne, it was so safe that people never used to lock their houses. Never.” The possibility of owning one’s own home was seductive. Gurmail Singh, who owns Tandoor Restaurant in Philadelphia, came from India in 1978. “We moved to the city in 1986. At that time there were only four families. There was no one else here and there were no Indians in Millbourne, which we used to consider a part of Upper Darby. Then some more families moved in and they bought homes in Millbourne and it was then that we realized that Millbourne is a separate borough.”At the time, Gurmail worked at a restaurant in Philadelphia, but lived in Upper Darby. “I didn’t have a car in those days,” he recalls, “And the rent I was paying for a one bedroom apartment was $500. The mortgage for a home in those days was just $600 so I decided to move to Millbourne and bought a three-bedroom house in 1986. I had no car and the train brought me right to my home.” Balwinder Singh, priest of the Sikh Gurudwara and Philadelphia Sikh Society, Millbourne, experienced a population surge frm New York after 9/11. Many Sikh families abandoned New York in the wake of the terror attacks and racial profiling and took refuge in this small community where the gurudwra was their beacon and anchor, and all around them were people of their color and beliefs. The parents may not be all college educated, but the higher education of their children is an aspiration for all of them. Many of the children worked part-time to pay for college, explained Harbir Singh: “Some of our children have gone to college. We’ve just been here 14 years. One is an engineer at Lockheed and another is an electric engineer with a $55,000 salary. Others are studying medicine.” The children of some truckers or cab drivers have stuck with the family profession.“I came on the strength of this friend who is like a brother to me. Seeing me, others came,” remembers Narinder Singh. “When others asked for recommendations, I would tell them this is a peaceful area. Come! It’s a safe area, the police are well equipped and there’s law and order. Jobs are available in the surrounding area. Crime rate is microscopic. Seeing this, we being social animals, we followed each other, knowing that if we needed support, we would have our people close by. Looking at each other, we kept coming.”Currently, nearly 800 Indian families call Millbourne and the Upper Darby area home. Upper Darby recorded 2,082 Indians in the 2000 Census, almost four times the Indian population of Millbourne, but just 2 percent of the city’s population. Even though Indians are a majority in Millbourne, Harbir Singh, secretary of the gurudwara, laments, “But many don’t have the vote and that’s the problem. Many of them are not citizens and are not empowered to vote.”The gurudwara started in 1990 with just seven to eight families meeting in each other’s homes for kirtan. In 1994 they secured a space in Upper Darby to start a gurudwara and held programs on alternate Sundays, then every Sunday. Soon so many more had moved into the area that in 1997, they acquired the space for the Millbourne gurudwara. With the holy Guru Granth Saheb on the premises and regular prayer sessions, for many, it’s as if they never left home for here they have their faith and their community. On a recent weekend, almost a dozen women were busy in the gurudwara kitchen performing seva – cooking up pots and pots of daal, vegetables and hot rotis, which they slathered with butter, to be served as langar after the devotions. Many Millbourne Indians run small businesses, own taxis or work blue collar jobs in the area. Several women work in textile factories, in the packing department of QVC, which has a big warehouse in the neighboring area, and a mailing outlet. Others work in the post office and banks.Some four miles away is Jyoti Cuisine India, which manufactures Indian meals in Sharon Hill, as well as canned goods and ready to eat entrees that are sold in natural food stores like Whole Foods. The company has been producing natural vegetarian food since 1979 and currently provides the hot meals served on board Continental, British Airways, Emirates and US Airway flights. Their automated facilities require only 15 workers, but ten of them are Sikh women from Millbourne, who catch the bus daily to the plant.According to Sunil Manchanda, business manager at Jyoti Foods: “Ours is basically Indian food and these women know what Indian food is all about. Some work on the cooking, making matri or gulab jamun or parathas and rotis for the airlines. Another set of women work on the plating. Each plate has three components: vegetables, rice and beans. They know how to handle these foods.”It’s intriguing to see the links little Millbourne has with the outside world – passengers in international carriers high up in the sky, continents away, are eating meals cooked and packed by women of the Indian community of the town. The pulse and heart of Millbourne are the hundreds of small row houses behind the main street, the place where hard -working immigrants return at night to rest their hads on their pillows. These are the homes where families are reared, favorite meals are cooked and dreams are nurtured, all within a budget. Millbourne has seen steady migration from New York, especially after 9/11. Sikh cab drivers found they were able to afford only a taxi medallion in New York, but the economics of Millbourne allow them to have both – a home of their own and a medallion – which explains the allure of this small borough. The cab drivers own their own medallions and work in Philadelphia, returning at night to their homes in Millbourne.“They are able to buy both and still have money to put away in savings,” says Narinder Singh. “I was a machinist, but after my company moved to South Carolina, I couldn’t get a job in any other factory for a full year. So then to bring home some money, I started driving a taxi. Later I bought a medallion, but now I again have a job in a factory. Now I’ve leased the taxi.”Amar Deep Singh used to live in New York and worked in the construction sector. Now he operates his own construction business, which is doing well. Why did he leave New York? “It’s a very fast city. There’s lots of money to be made. There’s no shortage of work, but there’s no life,” he says. “It’s a run for money. There’s no life there.”In Millbourne and neighboring Upper Darby he can find a community of people who know each other and neighbors within walking distance. The fabric of life is maintained and even though they have left their homeland, the loss isn’t so painful, because they really haven’t lost the community and caring.As family finances improve, many move on to bigger homes in surrounding towns. Gurmail Singh moved to Havertown, about four miles away. But they all return, if not for good, at least for the day, because the Gurudwara is so vital to their lives. Ninan J Poovathoor (right), John Cherian (center) and Jaison George (left) on Millbourne Avenue. The moon will still shine over Millbourne, just over a new set of dreams and dreamers. For this little borouigh seems to have a magic spell woven around it. The new arrivals find there’s always room at the inn and a place at the table. As the men sat on the carpeted room of the Gurudwara, their heads covered, sipping milky tea, you could see why this sacred spot had made Millbourne an important part of their lives. They could travel far, but its holy center would always tug them back.The Sikh community is now integral also to the borough of Millbourne and, according to Harbir Singh, they have experienced no racial tensions: “So far we don’t have any problems. After 9/11, when there were some attacks on cab drivers, the mayor spoke in our favor. We have good relations with the mayor and borough head, everyone has helped us.”Only a third of the Indian residents of Millbourne are citizens, so their population numbers notwithstanding, they have little political clout. An Indian American, Kurian Mathai, is reportedly vying for mayor, and earlier another Indian, Gurnam Singh, had served as vice president of the borough council. Currently, however, no Indian is on the five-member borough council.The Sikhs especially have been active in the local community. According to Staud, members have participated in community activities: “They are very helpful and want to be a part of the town. They come down for council meetings and different activities, help with distributing flyers and interacting whenever there is a language barrier. On Safety Day they put out a table with Indian food so neighbors could taste it. It was very good public relations, because people got to talk to each other outside their business hours.” Asked if in all his years in the town, Artmont had seen any friction between the races, the Fire Chief responded, “I haven’t seen any of that. The only thing I see is a problem with the language barrier, because there are so many people with different backgrounds, ethnicities and languages.” Incongruous as it mat seem at first blush, the Keralite church, the Sikh gurdwara, the mosque and the Indian children darting in and out of row homes on street after lined street are a quintessentially American story. Millbourne may be pretty small, but it’s densely populated – 1,000 people packed in 0.07 sq miles of space. On one side are apartments, and at the other end are older, bigger four bedrooms homes, built around 1898 in the borough that was founded in 1722. Some of the bigger houses have been turned into apartments in which several families live.Yet it is so much more than a bedroom community – it is home, it is land they can call their own. It’s still possible to get a three-bedroom house with a patch of green for under $100,000. When residents moved here in the 1960’s and 1970’s, with their down payment the monthly mortgage amount was just $500 – what they might pay for rent elsewhere.Even today Mary Kutty Thomas knows how far dreams can go in Millbourne. Thomas was a pharmacist in Kerala before she and her husband came to the United States, sponsored by his sister. Millbourne is about links, about family connections, one joining the next, joining the next. It’s about the power of word of mouth.Mary Kutty and her husband Sunny Thomas, who is in printing, work in New Jersey, but come home to Millbourne to a life reminiscent of that in India. Erin Court, a block of two family houses, stands on a bluff overlooking a picturesque forestscape. The lines of small, unassuming row houses face each other with green lawns in between and a small path running within it. All the homes have Indian tenants, originally from Punjab and Kerala. Neighborhood children scurry about from home to home.The Thomases’ landlord is also from Kerala, as are their neighbors in the two family house rising on the patch of green. The $500 rent affords them a two-bedroom home with a nice living room. They also have the luxury of a finished basement shared with other tenants in the two-family home. The two families pitched in to buy a washer and dryer for the basement and use the facilities on alternate days. The parents –  immigrants all- toil in neighboring towns as machinists, taxi- drivers and nurses. All the while their children thrive and study, many aspiring to colleges and careers.In their basement one sees a colorful assortment of laundry on the clothesline and plenty of toys and children’s bikes underfoot. Space, usually a luxury in cramped rented apartments, is possible in Millbourne. For $500, they would have been lucky to get just a basement in New York.Transport, cheap rents and Indian groceries – what more could any desi want? And the dreamers and the strugglers keep coming. To look at Millbourne is to see the American Dream in motion, in black and white. The basics – a roof over one’s head, a yard for the kids and educational opportunities. And friends and community close by.Millbourne is their starting point, a place where stories begin. Often it leads them on to bigger and better places. But it is beautiful and wholesome even if life keeps them there.It is a story that can get only better with telling. Both Staud and Artmont mentioned several projects in the works that have the potential to change the face of the town and impact the lives of its population. There is the Market Street Gateway Project to revitalize the business district to attract more businesses and encourage residents to shop locally rather than in surrounding towns or in Philadelphia. The 69th Street Terminal is a hub of the SEPTA transit line and a brand new station is being planned for the Millbourne stop, with an elevator to improve accessibility.Currently businesses are concentrated on Market Street. A 14-acre old Sears property – almost a third of the whole town – is being developed. Says Artmont, “We are going to make it retail down there and bring our tax base back.”One wonders, 10 years down the line, what will Millbourne look like? Will it be gentrified or will it still be a meat and potatoes – or rather dal-bhat – kind of town? Who will be living in its homes, rushing to the 69th Street Station? After realizing the dreams of its current residents, the town will no doubt be putting the shine on the hopes and aspirations of the next batch of immigrants. The parents may not all be college educated, but the higher education of their children is an aspiration for all of them. Many of the children worked part-time to pay for college. We’ve just been here for 14 years. One is an engineer at Lockheed and another is an electric engineer with a $55,000 salary. Others are studying medicine.” The moon will still shine over Millbourne, just over a new set of dreams and dreamers. For this little borough seems to have a magic spell woven around it. The new arrivals find there’s always room at the inn and a place at the table.It’s an article of faith in America that small towns across the hinterland thrive on the core values of family and church. Incongruous as it might seem at first blush, the Keralite church, the Sikh gurudwara, the mosque and the Indian children darting in and out of row homes on street after lined street are a quintessentially American story. Profile of Indian Population in MillbourneMillbourneUnited StatesPopulation of Area Total40%0.60%Male53%53%Female47%47%Median Age (Years)3032Household Size3.13.1Native Born13%25%Naturalized Citizen18%30%Not a Citizen68%44%Pre 1990 Immigrant47%78%Post 1990 Immigrant53%22%Median Household Income$36,000$63,669People in Poverty7%10%Data is for Indians in Millbourne and in the United States.Source: 2000 Census Related Itemslast_img read more

D-Backs D-Stroy Yankees, 12-2

first_imgPHOENIX — The Arizona offense finally came alive, and Jake Lamb led the way.The young third baseman broke open the game with a three-run home run and the Diamondbacks snapped a five-game losing streak with a 12-2 rout of the New York Yankees on May 16.Lamb was a triple shy of the cycle, and Arizona had 15 hits after scoring just six runs in losing four straight at home to San Francisco.“People say it a lot but I think that hitting is a little contagious,” Lamb said. “Just to get a game like this, it’s kind of like you can take a deep breath and go, ‘OK, we can hit.’”Paul Goldschmidt, 1 for 14 in the Giants series, also homered off Chad Green (0-1) in the right-hander’s major league debut. The Diamondbacks had lost seven straight at home.Robbie Ray (2-2) allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings, his longest outing of the season, and got his first career RBI.“That’s as good as I’ve ever seen him,” Arizona Manager Chip Hale said, “in the strike zone, going after guys. He was using his breaking ball, his changeup, but he was really beating them with his fastball. I could hear him grunting out there.”Jacoby Ellsbury tripled and scored for the Yankees, who began a seven-game trip after a 7-3 homestand.“There is never a good time to have a game like this,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said. “I wasn’t sure what we were going to get from Greenie. I thought he did a decent job.”Green went four innings plus two batters, giving up six runs — four earned — on eight hits.“It was an awesome experience but I left some balls up in the zone and they did some damage with it,” he said. “Overall I made a couple of mistakes I am not happy with. It was OK.”First baseman Mark Teixeira dropped the throw from Green on Michael Bourn’s bunt for an error that began Arizona’s five-run fifth.Goldschmidt walked and, in an eight-pitch at-bat, Lamb hit one over the swimming pool beyond the right field fence for his fifth homer of the season.“Especially in that situation, a guy on second, I was trying to get a base hit,” Lamb said. “Just because we’ve been struggling a little bit, you don’t want to do too much in that situation. I got the barrel on it and the ball flew.”New York tied it 2-2 when Ellsbury tripled to start the fifth and scored when shortstop Nick Ahmed’s relay throw careened off Ellsbury’s helmet and into the stands.The Yankees scored a run on three straight hits to start the fourth and could have had more but Bourn, who joined the Diamondbacks on May 15, made a leaping grab of Aaron Hicks’ drive at the wall in center. The inning ended when Green struck out with the bases loaded.Green never batted in his minor league career.(BOB BAUM, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Smart connectivity solutions enable seamless and immersive AR/VR experiences

first_img December 19, 2017 at 8:06 am Suppose you are the technical lead for a new, cutting-edge project at your company. The vision is clear, the idea is validated, and your schedule looks good, but there are two key components you need to connect together. The problem is that they have different I/O interfaces that can’t communicate with each other. As a result, schedules are delayed, deadlines are missed, and significant resources have to be diverted to make these components work together, resulting in cost overruns and a lot of headaches.Unfortunately, this is an all too common problem for engineers working on cutting-edge technologies. When you are inventing the latest and greatest product, the last thing you want to do is be held up, slowed down, or fail completely because your components don’t work together.The consumer electronics market is constantly evolving, with entirely new categories of devices being regularly created. The last decade alone has seen the introduction of the smartphone, tablet, and eBook, and this trend is set to continue. Today’s latest trends are represented by the sudden emergence of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) segments. In particular, the Head Mounted Display (HMD) has sparked high interest and participation from a broad range of companies, including traditional hardware manufacturers and social networking companies.In the battle to win these hypercompetitive new markets, the requirements for size, speed, cost, power consumption, and time-to-market are constantly being pushed. Tools that help bridge different standards and protocols to connect disparate components together free engineers to select the best components for the task at hand, rather than letting interfaces drive design.The consumer electronics market is constantly innovating, with entire new categories of devices being regularly created (Source: Lattice Semiconductor) Many technologies have to come together to successfully create a compelling VR/AR experience. From a hardware perspective, much of the innovation in the VR space happens in the Head Mounted Display and controllers, which a user wears to experience VR. Advances in high performance, low power FPGAs and ASSPs bring a much-needed degree of design flexibility, with significant savings in time, cost, and resources over developing purpose-built chips for each permutation in this developing space. These benefits apply to several areas of the VR/AR experience including sensors, video display, and connectivity.Virtual Reality (VR) As its name suggests, virtual reality tries to replace your perception of reality with a manufactured one. To do this, VR primarily targets a user’s vision and hearing (tactile feedback is also an emerging area of development). For VR to be immersive, the experience must target the senses effectively. Therefore, a helmet or sealed goggles paired with earphones are typically used. These devices are commonly called Head Mounted Displays, or HMDs.Despite their name, HMDs are not only displays; they also contain large numbers of sophisticated sensors. Most of the VR hardware technology development centers around these devices, and there are various types depending on which processor or device is driving the HMD and how the HMD is being powered. A brief summary of the different HMD types is as follows:PC/Console Tethered: With a PC/console tethered display, the HMD essentially acts as a monitor replacement, with the PC/console providing all of the processing power. Examples include the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and the Sony Playstation VR.Mobile VR Headset: In the case of a mobile VR headset, a smartphone is inserted into the headset to act as the display and processing engine. The controller is either built into the unit or is shipped with the headset. The mobile headset, because of its cost, simplicity and promotion, is currently the most popular VR HMD. The Samsung Gear VR and Google’s DayDream View are two examples of mobile VR headsets.Mobile AIO (All-In-One): With a mobile AIO headset, the HMD has an integrated processor, display, and battery, making it an all-in-one standalone VR device. Since it is battery-powered and has an onboard processor, it does not need to be tethered to any other device. An example of this HMD type is the Deepoon AIO VR. Many companies are showing prototypes such as the Oculus’ Santa Cruz product and Intel’s Project Alloy.Mobile Tethered: In the case of a phone-tethered HMD, both processing and power are provided by a mobile phone, driving a display in the HMD. An example of this type of device is the LG 360 VR, which connects over USB Type-C.PC Untethered: While PC/Console-based HMDs currently offer the best VR experience because of higher performance, the cabling is a nuisance, if not a safety hazard. Mobile HMDs free the user from the cable, but their processors’ limited performance demotes the content to simple games and casual 360 videos. TPCAST, a vendor from Beijing, China, announced a wireless upgrade kit for the HTC Vive providing the best of the both worlds. Requiring low latency, high bandwidth wireless video transmission, TPCAST’s video solution consists of various FPGAs and ASSPs from Lattice for offering near-zero latency and robust non-line of sight (NLOS) performance and support for wireless transmission of VR display resolution at 2160 x 1200 and at 90Hz.The variety of Head Mounted Display types illustrates one of the challenges of a new market. Many models are being attempted and industry best practices are still being determined. The flexibility of FPGAs is critical to the success of these evolving hardware markets. In the VR/AR space specifically, FPGAs have proven essential in the areas of sensor aggregation, video display bridging, and connectivity.Gesture and positional tracking sensors One of the biggest problems in creating a VR experience is vertigo. A lifetime of real-world interaction has turned our bodies into finely tuned reality detectors. Vertigo occurs when those expectations are challenged. Standing on a glass bridge and looking down is a good example, because your sense of touch and balance is telling you there is solid ground under you, but your sense of sight is telling you there is nothing there.Since VR is trying to create an alternate reality for the user, any delay or mismatch between the user’s movements and the virtual projection can contribute to a sense of “VR vertigo.” Due to this, VR engines need to quickly and accurately locate the user’s head movements and send that data back to the processor to generate the appropriate video. A variety of gesture and positional tracking sensors are used to track head, hand, and body movements. Each solution has tradeoffs in portability, accuracy, and cost that have to be considered as follows:Accelerometers: The simplest way to track movement is with accelerometers. These can be embedded into the HMD, similar to the technology in mobile phones today. This system is cheap, but not accurate enough to create a truly compelling VR experience.Infrared Sensors: Infrared sensors detect pulses from wall mounted lasers, either directly or that bounce off reflective dots on the user’s body, controller, or HMD. The HTC Vive, which uses Valve StreamVR 3D tracking, is an example of such a sensor array tracking system. This system is significantly more accurate than accelerometers, but can only track where there is a sensor or dot. This generally limits tracking to the HMD and the controller held by the user.Multi-Camera Rigs: These are “Kinect” or “Leap Motion”-type stereo or multi-camera arrays that are constantly capturing the user’s position. A Kinect-type system is designed to capture the full body, while a Leap Motion-type device is designed to capture a user’s gestures. The advantage of camera sensor arrays is that they can track the full body without a custom motion capture suit or reflective dots. However, these systems require significantly more bandwidth and processing horsepower to analyze the data.Some use cases are as follows:Concurrent sensor sampling: To accurately track motion with precision, a sensor array is often needed. Most MCUs, however, do not have enough I/Os and lacks the architecture to provide concurrent data capture. On the other hand, FPGAs such as Lattice’s iCE40 family are optimized for low power, small form factor and low cost operation. In addition to concurrent data capture, designers can decide if they want to perform spatial processing directly in the FPGA (which may require a larger FPGA), or have the FPGA time stamp captured data to enable MCU for further processing.Multi Camera sampling: These systems produce significantly more data than an accelerometer or FPGA-based system. A more powerful FPGA, such as the new CrossLink™ programmable ASSP (pASSP) device, is good for aggregating the data of multiple cameras. For visual-based tracking, pASSPs can interface with multiple cameras, and concurrently sample and aggregate multiple video streams to enable video processors that have limited or incompatible camera interface.Gesture Tracking: In some use cases, a more integrated gesture tracking solution is needed. High performance and low power FPGAs are ideal for aggregating multiple cameras and implementing low latency gesture tracking algorithms, such as chroma extraction, depth mapping, and spatial calculation.An array of sensors is used to track head position and movement in order to create a flawless experience for the user (Source: Lattice Semiconductor) Gesture tracking with iCE40 Concurrent Sensor Hub (Source: Lattice Semiconductor) Video Display In VR/AR, the standard models for displaying content on a screen have been upended and new methods are constantly being tested to deliver the most realistic experience. High resolution and low latency are always desirable traits, but when your display screens are 2-3 inches in size and sitting just a couple of inches away from the user’s eyes, high resolution becomes critical. Also, high refresh rates and low latency are essential for combating VR vertigo. If a user turns his/her head and there is a lag before the video reflects that movement, the body registers that discrepancy and is confused. Lowering latency and increasing refresh rates helps integrate the virtual experience so that positional data on head movements can be reflected in the video a user sees instantly, without any jerkiness or stuttering.At the core of creating a realistic VR experience is the ability to display different images to each eye to create the illusion of 3D. Display bridging in VR often involves taking a single video stream and extracting the video for each eye, or conversely, taking the data from two cameras and combining them into a single stream.Some use cases are as follows:Left/Right Video: Mobile application processors (APs) are often used in VR headsets. Some legacy application processors are limited to a single MIPI DSI output. In order to drive separate left eye / right eye displays, a single MIPI DSI output from the AP can be input into an FPGA video bridge, which then splits the video for each display.Non-Mobile Display/Micro-Displays: As the VR/AR market is still in its infancy, vendors are actively searching for the optimal display solution. Some AR systems may use high-pixel-per-inch ELV (electronic viewfinder) microdisplays that are developed for high-end DSLR cameras. These displays often use interfaces such as RGB or LVDS, which are not compatible with the MIPI DSI found on most application processors. An FPGA video bridge, such as CrossLink, can connect the two incompatible interfaces.External Input Bridging: Most application processors being utilized in VR space lack the interface to input common external video sources, such as HDMI. In these situations, a video bridge can convert one of these popular inputs to MIPI CSI-2.Camera Output: The increased demand for content has sparked the popularity of 360-degree image and video solutions, moving from proprietary professional equipment to low-cost accessories for mobile phones. This promises to provide an explosion of content in which VR users can immerse themselves. Existing application processors may not have enough MIPI CSI-2 inputs or the right interfaces to support the multiple cameras needed in this application.Programmable application-specific standard product (pASSP) video bridges can help to merge MIPI CSI-2 streams from multiple cameras into a single MIPI CSI-2 stream to be input into the application processor.The same pASSP video bridges can also convert from other camera interfaces including LVDS, SLVS, RGB to MIPI CSI-2. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Analog, Coprocessors, Digital Continue Reading Previous CPU plus FPGA design flow for software developers: A new tangible realityNext Dialing in to ESC Minneapolis 2017 “AR technologies are one of the most fruitful ways for business development and increasing revenues. There are many real-world examples of how AR is currently being deployed in a commercial setting, from museums and theme parks, to astronomy and fashion. T 1 thought on “Smart connectivity solutions enable seamless and immersive AR/VR experiences” center_img alexblack says: Augmented reality/specialty HMD (Source: Lattice Semiconductor) Connectivity Many VR displays are connected to an external device. Today, the processing power of a PC is still required to create a truly immersive experience. Typically, video connections such as HDMI are appropriate for this task as they support high audio/video bandwidth at very low latency and over a long cable (3-5 meters). However, in some cases, particularly for mobile devices, a connection over USB Type-C, which carries video, data, and power can also be quite convenient.Going forward, wireless video offers a compelling alternative to the existing market. Without cables, the user has more freedom to move, which can significantly enhance the VR experience.Some use cases are as follows:Video Connectivity: HDMI is the default video-only connection in VR space. Its speed, high bandwidth, ultra-low latency, and broad market acceptance makes it an ideal choice.Video + Data + Power: While HDMI is the most common video connectivity option, the standard HDMI cable can be bulky. The HMD often requires power and may also have sensor data that needs to be sent back to the main processing unit. In these cases, USB Type-C solutions that support MHL or DisplayPort to provide video, data, and power in one thin, flexible cable may be appropriate.Wireless: Paired with a battery-powered HMD, wireless video allows the greatest freedom of movement for the user. WirelessHD is a compelling technology in this case, providing high-speed digital video at HDMI bandwidths and latencies. For example, the TPCAST Wireless VR accessory for the HTC Vive uses WirelessHD technology.Conclusion Time and time again, FPGAs have proven to be an essential part of product development in fast evolving new markets. As manufacturers race to stake their ground in VR space, high-performance, low-power FPGAs and ASSPs play a key role in developing and connecting parts of the VR toolkit, aggregating and analyzing sensor data, seamlessly displaying 3D video, and connecting the HMD and the computer. As the VR market continues to develop and mature, FPGAs will continue to have a role to play in ensuring that designers have the flexibility they need to create the best possible VR experience for the users.Ying Jen Chen is the Senior Business Development Manager at Lattice Semiconductor focusing on emerging consumer applications such as VR/AR, drone and Consumer IoT. Mr. Chen has 18 years of experience in the FPGA industry. Prior to Lattice, he managed the China and Taiwan channel sales for Altera, focusing on market segments ranging from networking and computing to industrial and consumer. Mr. Chen held both technical and business roles during his 15-year tenure at Altera in the U.S. and Taiwan. He received his Bachelor’s degrees in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (EECS) and Materials Sciences & Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must Register or Login to post a comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.last_img read more

All you need to now ahead of VAR at the World Cup

first_imgWorld Cup New World Cup rules: How will VAR & in-game retrospective punishment work? Cady Siregar 07:27 6/9/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) World Cup trophy Getty Images World Cup This summer marks the first instance in which video assistant refereeing will be used at a World Cup, and Goal rounds up all you need to know about it FIFA are set to implement VAR (video assistant refereeing) for the first time at a World Cup this summer in Russia after it has already been rolled out in multiple professional leagues, including the Bundesliga, Serie A and Major League Soccer. Some think the introduction of VAR at the highest level of football is something that has been long overdue, while others claim that its use is too premature – with the potential to disrupt the flow of the game.Regardless of views, VAR is to be used at the sport’s showcase event this summer in Russia, and Goal takes a look at all the details of how it will work, as well its regulations – including retrospective punishment. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Arsenal would be selling their soul with Mourinho move How will VAR work at the World Cup? Instances of using the VAR are pretty straightforward, and will be used in similar fashion as in the Bundesliga and MLS. Referees in Russia will be able to consult the VAR for help on four sorts of decisions: goals, penalty decisions, direct red cards and cases of mistaken identity.Regulations state that the referee must always be the one to make the decision and that decision will stand until it is “clearly wrong”. The referee will only be able to view, on video, the start of the phase that has led to the incident, and a goal scored through a throw-in which should have gone to the other team will not be disallowed under the new VAR system.Furthermore, if the ball is still in play, the referee must wait until it is in a neutral zone before stopping all course of action. The play will then restart with a drop ball if the decision is not overturned. One example in a World Cup final where VAR might have overturned a missed call was in the round of 16 fixture at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan between the United States and Germany. With Germany leading 1-0 in the second half, USMNT defender Gregg Berhalter stuck a shot that beat Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn but struck midfielder Torsten Frings hand on the goal line. Had a handball been called, it would have been a red card for Frings with the USMNT receiving a penalty for a chance to level the scoreline. Instead, no call was made and Germany went on to hold on for the 1-0, and an eventual trip to that year’s final. While the referee of that match claimed he did not think it was a deliberate handball in real time, former Premier League referee Howard Webb, who also refereed the 2010 World Cup final, told Sports Illustrated in 2017 the correct outcome of the play should have been a red card and penalty kick. What are some VAR concerns? There has been a fair amount of criticism about the introduction of VAR at the World Cup, with some stating that referees constantly checking the video assistant would disrupt play and, at times, the process can be a very delayed. Fans, coaches and spectators attending the matches are also left in the dark when the referee is checking the VAR.Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino criticised the use of the VAR in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup fixtures this past season, denoting his fears about how the use of technology would kill the emotion and ethos of the game.”It is a game of emotion. If we are going to kill this emotion I think we are going to change the game,” he told reporters.”It’s difficult for the referee – I feel so sorry for the referee and more I feel sorry for the fans because it’s so difficult to understand the situation.”Additionally, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said that VAR will not be used in next season’s Champions League.”Nobody knows exactly how VAR will work. There is already a lot of confusion,” said Ceferin.”I am not at all against it but we must better explain when it will be used. We will see at the World Cup.”How will retrospective action work?Referees in Russia will be allowed to give out red cards for off-the-ball incidents through VAR. This means that players can be sent off if incidents are picked up on by monitors.IFAB (International Football Association Board) technical director David Elleray stated: “If there is something away from the action that has been missed and it later comes to the attention of the VAR or the assistant VAR, then they can inform the referee and he can send the player off, even if it is later in the match.”We do not anticipate this happening very often… this would only be for serious red-card offences.”The World Cup will start on June 14.last_img read more

2017 Youth Trans Tasman Referee Appointments

first_imgRelated LinksYTT Referee Appointments Congratulations to the following referees who received appointments at the 2017 Youth Trans Tasman.Game 1: Friday 20 January 201718 Mixed: John Wright, Luke Saldern and Dai Tui Taylor18 Women’s: Chris Schwerdt, Henri Labuschagne and Brian Blechynden18 Men’s: Luke Heckendorf, John Dustow and Anthony Smith20 Mixed: Rob Bowen, George Haswell and Tony Calabria20 Women’s: Alisha Ruaiti, Logan Forrester and Amanda Sheeky20 Men’s: Luke McKenzie, Cameron MacDonald and Richie HeapGame 2: Saturday 21 January 201718 Mixed: Logan Forrester, Brian Blechynden and Luke Saldern18 Women’s: Dali Tui Taylor, Henri Labuschange and John Wright18 Men’s: Luke Heckendorf, John Dustow and Chris Schwerdt 20 Mixed: Rob Bowen, George Haswell and Anthony Smith20 Women’s: Tony Calabria, Alisha Ruaiti and Amanada Sheeky20 Men’s: Luke McKenzie, Cameron MacDonald and Richie Heap Game 3: Sunday 22 January 201718 Mixed: Logan Forrester, Brian Blechynden and Luke Saldern18 Women’s: Dali Tui Taylor, Henri Labuschange and John Wright18 Men’s: Luke Heckendorf, John Dustow and Chris Schwerdt 20 Mixed: Rob Bowen, George Haswell and Anthony Smith20 Women’s: Tony Calabria, Alisha Ruaiti and Amanada Sheeky20 Men’s: Luke McKenzie, Cameron MacDonald and Richie Heap last_img read more

10 months agoDean Holdsworth joins management team of Palermo

first_imgDean Holdsworth joins management team of Palermoby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Bolton Wanderers striker Dean Holdsworth has joined the management team of Palermo.David Platt, formerly of Juventus and Sampdoria, has also been assisting the club’s new owners.It was announced over the weekend:”Sport Capital Group Investments Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Sport Capital Group Ltd) has today completed the acquisition of 100% of the shares of US Città di Palermo Spa, through the completion of the previously announced preliminary contract dated 30th November.”At a shareholders’ general meeting of US Città di Palermo Spa a new board of directors shall be nominated, with Clive Richardson as President, Emanuele Facile as Chief Executive and John Treacy as third director. The new board and a group of senior football advisors lead by Dean Holdsworth will be working on plans for the remainder of the 2018-19 Season with the current management team. “Sport Capital Group Investments Ltd will in the coming days be calling a shareholder meeting to increase its share capital to up to €20m.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Second Quarter Results Released

first_imgThe Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) released its second quarter results today, Dec. 3. For the three-month period from July 2 to Sept. 30, the NSLC recorded sales of $169.0 million compared to sales of $166.5 million for the same period last year, an increase of 1.5 per cent. NSLC’s second quarter net income was $65.9 million, an increase of $700,000, or 1.1 per cent, compared to second quarter last year. This quarter had one less selling day than the same period last year. A detailed news release can be found by following the News Releases link on the NSLC website at -30-last_img

PETA Honors Ricky Martin By Sponsoring Chicken

first_imgRicky Martin has started living la vida vegetariana, and PETA couldn’t be prouder. Now, just in time for Meatout 2013, PETA is honoring Martin for choosing meat-free meals—and for tweeting about how “amazing” the switch has made him feel—by sponsoring a rescued chicken named Olivia in his name.Olivia was rescued by Florida’s Kindred Spirits Sanctuary, where she is now thriving. She spends her days taking dust baths, roosting in trees, and basking in the sun.“PETA is delighted that Ricky is sharing with his millions of fans how increíble he feels as a vegetarian,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “He’s not alone: People who go vegetarian boost their energy and cut their risk of heart disease, cancer, and obesity—and they help save animals like Olivia, too.”Not all chickens are as lucky as Olivia. Chickens raised and killed for their flesh are bred to grow so large so fast that many become crippled from the weight of their massive upper bodies. They have their throats slit while they are still conscious, and many are scalded to death in defeathering tanks.Meatout, which began in 1985, occurs every year on March 20, the first day of spring. It encourages people to see for themselves how easy, delicious, and healthful meat-free meals can be. Many people who try eating vegetarian decide to stick with it—just as Martin has.PETA is proud to recognize Martin’s compassion. He has joined a long list of celebrities — including Anne Hathaway, Carrie Underwood, Alicia Silverstone, Joaquin Phoenix, Jessica Chastain, and former President Bill Clinton — who enjoy healthy, humane, eco-friendly meat-free meals.Source:PETAlast_img read more

Celebrity Clothes Sold For Charity

first_imgA selection of celebrity clothes – including items belonging to Harper Beckham, donated by Victoria Beckham – are being sold to raise money for Save the Children.The doors of the Mary’s Living & Giving shop for Save the Children in Primrose Hill opened at 10am on Thursday, with the first outfit being sold at a record time of 10:05am. All money raised from the sale for Save the Children could help give children around the world access to lifesaving healthcare that they are currently denied.The complete outfits – including outerwear and shoes – put together by style icon Victoria Beckham from Harper’s wardrobe, included items from designers such as Chloe, Roksanda Ilincic, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, Gucci, Marc Jacobs and Charlotte Olympia. One Harper Beckham outfit, a pink Mischka Aoki dress which retails at £3,693.34, was placed in an auction which runs from today until 4pm on 28th June.Customers can place a bid in store or by telephone by calling 020 3763 0049.Victoria Beckham said: “I am delighted to be supporting the wonderful work of Save the Children through the Fashion Saves Lives Sale. As a mother, I passionately believe that all children, wherever they live, have the right to a happy, healthy life.“Everyone out there can do their part by purchasing or donating, ensuring children all around the world have the opportunity of a brighter future.”Helena Wiltshire, Head of PR at Save the Children, said: “The excitement down at Mary’s Living & Giving in Primrose Hill today has been overwhelming; we are extremely grateful for Victoria Beckham’s support of the Fashion Saves Lives sale as this increased awareness and money raised could give children around the world access to lifesaving healthcare that they are currently denied.”Fronted by Save the Children ambassadors Erin O’Connor and Mary Portas, the Fashion Saves Lives sale also sees pieces from Kate Moss, Jade Jagger, Stanley Tucci and many more famous faces being auctioned on the Mary’s Living & Giving eBay store for Save the Children for a ten day period from 18th – 28th June.Every day, 17,000 children die from preventable causes such as pneumonia and malaria due to a lack of adequate health services. Save the Children is backing a campaign to ensure that at the UN summit in September world leaders make a commitment to ensuring that by 2030, every child has the basic healthcare that they need to survive – no matter who or where they are.Show your support by signing Save the Children’s petition calling on world leaders to agree to a commitment to end child deaths by 2030 at more information and to purchase an item from the sale, please visit and follow the hashtag #FashionSavesLiveslast_img read more

CNN Features Restoration of AlQarawiyyin Worlds Oldest Library

Rabat – As the world’s oldest library, Al-Qarawiyyin, is home to some of humanity’s most priceless manuscripts. As part of its “Inside Africa” series, CNN has produced a seven-minute video of the library, showcasing its history and the restoration efforts now underway.From the beginning of its construction in the 14th century, the Al-Qarawiyyin Library, in the heart of historic Fez, was destined to become a critical hub of learning for scholars through the ages.The pride with which the library’s curator, Abdelfattah Bougchouf, speaks of historic structure is obvious. Housing priceless manuscripts such as a 9th century Quran, a 12th century astronomy text and a 14th century tome on jurisprudence, the value of the edifice quickly becomes apparent. The curator reverently leafs through one of the first biographies of Mohammed as he speaks of the library’s purpose as a centre for knowledge for scholars of the past, present and future. “Our duty,” he says, “is to look after it for humanity and future generations.”In 2012, it became clear that the building was in urgent need of restorative work to save it from the ravages of constant water damage. With no blueprints to work from, architects like Lamiss Ben El Haj, had their work cut out for them. Still, the excitement of working on such an historical project was an irresistible lure.Plans were drawn up from scratch and soon engineers were digging a new sewer system to permanently funnel the library’s arch enemy, water, away from its foundation. Major restructuring of the walls was needed to provide the appropriate support for the foundation.Speaking of the work that faced them, Ben El Haj, stressed the importance of using original materials and techniques wherever possible. “When we restore we should bring it back like it was.” In keeping with that philosophy, local craftsmen were brought in to apply their time-honoured skills to detail work, evidenced by the handwrought copper chandelier in one of the library’s reading rooms.Stairs were painstakingly reconstructed matching materials and colours against the original work. When the famous green roof tiles needed replacing they were removed one at a time and exchanged for exact replicas.Critical innovations were also made part of the restoration. A temperature-controlled room was constructed to house the Al-Qarawiyyin’s most priceless manuscripts. A specially constructed area in the basement was also built where the maintenance of the library’s more fragile pieces will be completed. The latest in high-tech preservation equipment has been installed, including facilities for digitizing ancient texts to minimize their handling.Recently reopened to the public, the restorative labour of love has restored Al-Qarawiyyin to, as the narrator says, its deserving place as the “Jewel in the Crown of the Medina’s restoration.” As the video concludes, a smiling Bougchouf reflects on an ancient Moroccan proverb, “Man’s best friend is a book.”Picture Courtesy: CNN read more

SecretaryGeneral welcomes release of hostages by Colombian guerrillas

10 January 2008United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the release of two women held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – known by its Spanish acronym FARC – and expressed hope that other captives will also be let go soon. The Secretary-General “hopes this gesture will lead to the speedy release of the many remaining kidnap victims,” his spokesperson said in a statement. “He strongly condemned the practice of kidnapping, which is a blatant violation of international humanitarian law,” the statement added. According to media reports, Clara Rojas had been held by the rebel group since 2002 and Consuelo González de Perdomo since 2001.

Taylor Rabbitts outspent incumbents

Simcoe Coun. Ryan Taylor enjoyed strong financial support in his inaugural bid for elected office last fall.In his financial statement, Taylor declared campaign income in the amount of $4,111. That was about as much as he needed as Taylor’s expenses came to $4,121.By law, candidates in last fall’s municipal election must file a financial statement with the municipal clerk’s department.They must also respect a designated spending limit for the entire municipality if they run for mayor and a designated spending limit in their ward if they run as a councillor.Failure to file a financial statement or exceeding the spending limit disqualifies a candidate from running in the next municipal election. In Norfolk, that occurs in 2022.The rules require candidates to declare donors who contributed $100 or more to their campaign. Taylor lists four of these in his statement, which was filed at Governor Simcoe Square Feb. 28.Donors to Taylor’s campaign include:Kathleen Noble of Simcoe: $1,000. Rob Kennaley of Simcoe: $1,000. David Brown of Simcoe: $200. Marilyn Stanley of Toronto: $100. In the area of expenses, Taylor declared $72 for campaign T-shirts and $68 for campaign photos. A total of $87 was spent on a campaign thank-you party while $271 was spent on a radio ad thanking Simcoe voters for electing him to Norfolk council.Taylor and fellow municipal newcomer Ian Rabbitts were elected to represent Simcoe-area Ward 5 Oct. 22.And like Taylor, Rabbitts also enjoyed solid financial support. As previously reported, Rabbitts declared $7,590 in campaign income against expenses of $6,177. The campaign spending limit in Ward 5 was $6,479.The financial statements of the eventual winners contrast with those of council incumbents Doug Brunton and Peter Black. The pair placed out of the running Oct. 22 third and fourth respectively.In his financial statement, which was filed Oct. 26, Black declared campaign income of $3,164 against expenses of the same amount.Black declared no donations of $100 or more or the receipt of in-kind services from third parties.Brunton filed his financial statement Jan. 28. He declared no campaign income against expenses of $2,885. Brunton also declared no donations of $100 or more and no in-kind services from third parties.In her campaign filing Dec. 19, Ward 5 candidate Doreen Oates declared campaign income of $1,245 against expenses of $1,276.Oates declared a $200 donation from Carrol Lambert of Simcoe, two donations of $25 each from Jim Pudge of Simcoe, and a $20 donation from Robin Cooke of Delhi.The only Ward 5 candidate left to file is Rick Dixon of Simcoe.All candidates in last fall’s election have till 2 p.m. March 29 to file a primary financial statement with the clerk’s department at Governor Simcoe Square.In the absence of that, all candidates have till March 28 to file a request in the Ontario Court of Justice for a reporting extension.After March 29, candidates have till 2 p.m. April 29 to file a financial statement along with a $500 late-filing fee. After that, the penalty for not filing at all takes read more

Mortgage servicer Ocwen reducing balances by 2B in deal with US govt

by Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press Posted Dec 19, 2013 12:26 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Mortgage servicer Ocwen reducing balances by $2B in deal with US gov’t and 49 states WASHINGTON – Ocwen Financial Corp. will reduce struggling borrowers’ loan balances by $2 billion in an agreement with federal regulators and 49 states over foreclosure abuses.The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state attorneys general announced the deal Thursday with the Atlanta-based company, one of the largest U.S. mortgage servicers. The regulators said Ocwen pushed borrowers into foreclosure through illegal actions, such as failing to promptly and accurately credit mortgage payments.The company also miscalculated interest rates and charged borrowers improper fees, the regulators said.“We believe that Ocwen violated federal consumer financial laws at every stage of the mortgage servicing process,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a conference call with reporters. “We have concluded that Ocwen made troubled borrowers even more vulnerable to foreclosure.”Under the agreement, Ocwen also will refund a combined $125 million to about 185,000 borrowers who had been foreclosed upon from 2009 through 2012. It also agreed to change the way it manages mortgages. The company must stop “robo-signing” of documents, the practice of automatically signing off on foreclosures without a proper review.The agreement must be approved by a federal court in Washington.Representatives of Ocwen didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.Ocwen is the fourth-largest mortgage servicer in the country and the biggest that isn’t a bank. It specializes in servicing high-risk mortgages. Servicing companies collect payments from borrowers and handle customer services, loan modifications and foreclosures.Federal and state regulators have signed agreements with a number of large banks and mortgage processing companies over foreclosure abuses.Ocwen’s compliance with the settlement will be overseen by Joseph A. Smith Jr., the monitor for the $25 billion settlement reached in February 2012 between the federal government and the states and five major banks — Ally Financial, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.The housing crisis struck starting in 2007, as home values sank and millions of borrowers defaulted on their mortgages. The crisis brought more than 4 million foreclosures. Some mortgage-servicing companies had processed foreclosures without verifying documents.The CFPB, 49 states and the District of Columbia signed the agreement with Ocwen. Oklahoma is the only state that isn’t participating.The largest share of the mortgage relief, an estimated $342 million, is expected to go to Florida. The state’s attorney general, Pam Bondi, said during the conference call that Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. read more

Businesses around OSU not worried about game day sales without Tressel

Jim Tressel is officially the former head coach of Ohio State football and the impact of his resignation will be felt far beyond the towering walls of Ohio Stadium. Many campus area businesses said game days are also big paydays. According to a 2005 study published in the “Journal of Sports Economics,” OSU athletic programs generated an estimated $100 million for the local economy in 2003. But with the football program in turmoil, will football Saturdays still be a windfall for local businesses? Michael Weisgarber, a fourth-year in English and history, said he attended almost every home football game last season. Next year, however, he is considering sitting out some games because of the scandal. “A lot of the popularity of the football team has to do with image,” Weisgarber said. “I think Tressel is pretty integral to that image.” John Miles has been working the register at Tommy’s Pizza and Subs on West Lane Avenue for five years and he said it’s not easy to predict if a lot of fans will skip games and impact sales. “It’s hard to say, it might drop off a little, but nothing major,” Miles said. Tommy’s often does about $2,000 of business on a Friday, but game days can bring in $10,000 to $15,000, Miles said. During the University of Southern California game in 2009, that figure was about $17,000. But Tommy’s has been serving pizza and subs to the OSU community for more than 25 years, and Miles said it is confident business will remain strong, even without the Senator at the ‘Shoe. “I think people care more about the school than Tressel,” Miles said. That is true for Nathan Rodriguez, a fourth-year in electrical and computer engineering. Rodriguez said he goes to a couple games every year. “I don’t see myself being any less likely to go,” Rodriguez said. “I still will go to a couple games.” Buckeye Donuts on North High Street is another game day favorite and owner Jimmy Barouxis said it’s common for the restaurant to serve more than 1,000 customers. “It definitely matters how well the team is doing,” Barouxis said. “As the tension and excitement builds when the team is doing well, we definitely do more business.” Barouxis said game-day business might drop off by a few percentage points now that Tressel is gone, but the donut and sandwich shop will be fine. “We’re not worried,” Barouxis said. “We’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing.” Some businesses are even hopeful their sales will improve. Leah Reynolds is a Columbus artist who sells prints of hand-drawn portraits of Tressel and former OSU football coach Woody Hayes through the online crafts site, Reynolds said page views for her Tressel prints went up after the embattled coach resigned. Her online store sells full portraits as well as cards and magnets that feature the legendary OSU coaches and other artwork. “Right before football season I sell more Woody Hayes and coach Tressel prints,” Reynolds said. “If you live (in Columbus), you have to be a fan.” Reynolds said she has no intention of taking down the Tressel prints. “They won’t go off (the website),” Reynolds said. “There will still be Tressel fans, just like there are still Woody Hayes fans.” The artist said some people might buy the Tressel prints as a gag gift for a Buckeye fan. But Reynolds isn’t dwelling on the past, in fact she is already working on her latest piece: a portrait of coach Luke Fickell. “I will absolutely have a print of him (Fickell),” Reynolds said. “I’m planning on getting that up just as soon as I can.” read more

PS4 Killzone mega bundle confirmed for UK matches Xbox One price

first_imgBack in August a listing appeared on Amazon France that offered a PS4 console bundled with an extra DualShock 4 controller, the PlayStation Camera, and a copy of Killzone: Shadow Fall. The price initially matched that of the Xbox One standard console price, but soon disappeared with no confirmation from Sony as to what was planned.Now that same bundle has appeared briefly on Amazon’s UK site and has since been confirmed by Sony as a real bundle that will be offered in the UK. The price will be the same as the Xbox One that ships with a single controller, Kinect, and a download copy of FIFA 14 or Forza 5.Internally Sony refers to this launch bundle as the “mega bundle,” and it’s easy to see why. It is matching the Xbox One on price, but offering more in terms of value, especially if you count that second controller. You can argue that the PS4 and Xbox One at the same price offer the same value, but not everyone wants FIFA 14 or Forza 5 (or Kinect for that matter), but you don’t have any choice.If you don’t want Killzone, then you still have the choice to purchase the standard PS4, select another game or two, and save some cash. The same is true if you don’t want the second controller or camera. The choice is there, and that’s what is important.If you’ve already pre-ordered a PS4, Sony is working with retailers to allow the option to upgrade to a bundle once it becomes available/official. And apparently this isn’t the only bundle that will be on offer, with Sony set to announce several more before the week is over. Could we see other so-called mega bundles including games such as Knack and Watch Dogs perhaps?I’d be really surprised not to see this mega bundle and other bundles announced for the US soon, too.last_img read more

Savvidis in town for lecture series

first_imgAssociate Professor of the University of Thessaloniki, Thomas Savvidis will be in Melbourne this week to give four lectures in Greek.Born in northern Greece, Professor Savvidis is a leading mind in chemistry and biology, and is currently working on utilizing ancient Greek literature as a source of scientific knowledge in the field of formal sciences. Today, Professor Savvidis will be giving the lecture “The internationalisation of the Greek Language” at 7pm, held at the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, 168 Lonsdale Street. On Thursday at the same time and location, he will be giving the lecture “The cultural heritage of Asia Minor, Smyrna, Pontos, Cappadocia and Constantinople”.Drawing on his recent publication of the book, “The Pontian Diet: the mastic of Chios and Homer’s Vine”, Mr Savvidis will be visiting the Pontiaki Estia (540 Sydney Road, Brunswick) at 7pm to give a lecture on the topic and inform local Pontians the benefits of their northern food and culinary traditions. In his final lecture on Sunday, Professor Savvidis will discus the topic of refugees in “Refugees/Thessaloniki: The new homeland of Asia Minor refugees” at the Pontiaki Estia at 3pm.Professor Savvidis has published approximately one hundred research papers and is a member of a number of international scientific associations and the president of the Organisation for the Internationalisation of the Greek Language.For more information visit Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

WWE Network sees increase in overall subscribers following WrestleMania 34 on Sunday

first_img WhatsApp Seth Rollins Defends WWE On Two Separate Occasions Google+ Now Playing Up Next WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins tops the 2019 Annual PWI 500 list Carmella speaks out on a recent health scare has caused her to miss time from WWE Velvet Sky Adam Martin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Now Playing Up Next Roman Reigns is in Remission Pinterest Videos Articlescenter_img Facebook Now Playing Up Next Now Playing Up Next Twitter Now Playing Up Next Bully Ray Calls Out Ring Of Honor Fan On Twitter Joan Jett Set To Perform Ronda Rouseys Entrance At WrestleMania 35 WWE announced on Monday afternoon that the WWE Network has reached a record 2.12 million total subscribers following WrestleMania 34 on Sunday night in New Orleans.Total paid subscribers reached 1.81 million, up 9% from last year’s WrestleMania.You can check out the full announcement below.WWE® Raises Q1 and Full Year 2018 GuidanceSTAMFORD, Conn., April 9, 2018 – WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced that its digital streaming service, WWE Network, reached a record 2.12 million total subscribers following last night’s WrestleMania®.1 This is a 9% increase from April 3, 2017, the day after WrestleMania last year.“We expect to deliver record subscriber levels, revenue and Adjusted OIBDA in 2018,” said George Barrios, WWE Co-President. “WWE Network’s continued growth along with our massive reach across traditional television as well as digital and social platforms, reaffirms the effectiveness of our global, multi-platform content strategy.”WWE Network Subscriber HighlightsWWE Network achieved record levels of total and total paid subscribers as of April 9, 2018. Total paid subscribers reached 1.81 million, representing a 9% increase from April 3, 2017 – the day after WrestleMania last year.WWE Network total subscribers at WrestleMania 34 and WrestleMania 33.WrestleMania MilestonesWrestleMania broke the record for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s highest grossing entertainment event at $14.1 million, as a sold-out crowd of 78,133 fans from all 50 states and 67 countries attended the event. As part of the week-long WrestleMania celebration, WWE hosts five consecutive nights of events at the Superdome and the Smoothie King CenterWWE Network subscribers viewed 25.2 million hours during WrestleMania Week or 14 hours per subscriber during the week. This compares to 22.5 million hours last year, a 12% year-over-year increase.WWE 2018 PerspectiveQ1 2018: Based upon preliminary data, WWE Network attracted an average of approximately 1.56 million paid subscribers over the first quarter 2018, representing a 5% increase from the first-quarter 2017 average. The first quarter 2018 average was in-line with guidance of approximately 1.53 million.3During the first quarter 2018, the Company realized stronger than anticipated performance. As a result, the Company expects Q1 Adjusted OIBDA of at least $30 million (subject to the completion of its quarterly close process), exceeding its previous guidance of $23 million to $27 million.4Q2 2018: If the acquisition and retention of subscribers driven by WrestleMania is comparable to the subscriber activity associated with the prior year event, average paid subscribers for the second quarter 2018 would be approximately 1.77 million, representing an increase of approximately 8% from the second quarter 2017.5 As future subscriber performance may differ from prior activity, this range is provided for perspective rather than as guidance.2018: WWE management continues to expect the Company to achieve another year of record revenue and has raised its target for 2018 Adjusted OIBDA to at least $145 million (excluding stock-based compensation expense), which would be an all-time record, exceeding its previous guidance of at least $140 million.4NotesTotal subscribers following WrestleMania exclude pay-per-view buys with cable and satellite providers.Metrics reflect subscribers who are direct customers of WWE Network and subscribers reported under licensed partner agreements, which have different economic terms for the network. The impact of these subscribers on WWE Network results is reflected in the network’s average revenue per subscriber (ARPU).Additional information regarding WWE Network subscriber levels can be found in the Company’s website presentation at is unable to provide a reconciliation of forward looking guidance to GAAP measures as, at this time, WWE cannot accurately determine the adjustments that would be required. Further information regarding such reconciliations can be found on page 5 of this release.Additional information regarding estimated WWE Network subscriber levels can be found in the Company’s website presentation at videosPowered by AnyClipBully Ray Calls Out Ring Of Honor Fan On TwitterVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmuteDuration 0:30/Current Time 0:02Loaded: 68.16%0:02Remaining Time -0:28 FullscreenUp NextThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Replay the list Is WWE Losing Its Audience? WWE officially announces that NXT will move to the USA Network starting September 18last_img read more

Gracia geared up for tough Bournemouth test

first_imgAhead of their trip to Bournemouth on Wednesday, Watford boss Javi Gracia says his side needs no extra motivation to beat Eddie Howe’s side at the Vitality Stadium.Gracia saw his side lose 4-0 at home to Bournemouth in their first meeting in the Premier League in October.As they prepare to travel to Bournemouth on Wednesday, Gracia wants his side focused on the tactical and technical aspects of the game, and not on revenging their 4-0 defeat.“I don’t think my players need the motivation to do our best,” he told the club’s official website.“I know my players and I know in all the games without exception they give their best. They don’t need extra motivation to play against Bournemouth.”In the October clash between the two teams, Watford had a player sent off after Bournemouth took the lead.Joshua King then scored a brace after Christian Kabasele was shown red and the first half ended 3-0.Callum Wilson completed the scoring two minutes into the second half to make it a humiliating 4-0 home defeat for Javi Gracia’s side.What to expect from Watford V Arsenal? Taimoor Khan – September 8, 2019 Arsenal are set to take on Watford this weekend and the game is definitely going to be quite a peculiar contest between two sides…“It was a very, very tough game for us,” Gracia said, recalling the events of the game.“After the sending off, it was difficult to play with ten players and losing 2-0. It was tough for us. I saw the game many times, not only the period against ten men.“I saw when we played with 11 and that was for around 30 minutes. In that moment, I think we conceded one goal and I think we didn’t play badly.“We could have done many things better but we kept a good level in that 30 minutes. After that it was a bad game, maybe I made some decisions, like playing Capoue as a center-back to see if able to have more options.“There were different situations, decisions like that. But I am sure it will be different. We know it will be demanding against a good team, but I am sure we compete in the same way as in other games, we have options.”last_img read more

Towns Current Bidding Contract Opportunities

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — The Town’s Purchasing Department currently has the following bidding and contract opportunities available:Invitations To BidMackinac Island and Chicago Trip — Deadline: Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 2pmAll interested parties must first complete the town’s Bid Registration Form.Visit the Town’s Purchasing Department website for additional information. Contact Wendy Martiniello at wmartiniello[at] with questions.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedTown’s Current Bidding & Contract OpportunitiesIn “Government”Town’s Current Bidding & Contract OpportunitiesIn “Government”Town’s Current Bidding & Contract OpportunitiesIn “Government”last_img read more

Politics of Budget 2018 This year the exercise will look way beyond

first_imgPM Modi during the pre-Budget meeting with economists.Twitter Narendra ModiFinance minister Arun Jaitley may on Thursday, February 1, announce big-ticket schemes and populist changes, but beneath each and every move will work calculations to keep Modi in power at least till 2024.And what about 2024 and beyond? Expect Union Budget 2018 and those in the next few years to pave the way for policies that will let the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate after Narendra Modi continue without much backlash.Interestingly, one common refrain at the grassroots of the party seems to be “2024 tak Modi, uske baad yogi [Modi till 2024, Yogi after that].” This is Yogi Adityanath, the current chief minister of Uttar Pradesh – the state that has sent the most number of prime ministers to office.Modi himself is a Lok Sabha member from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, and the common political understanding is whoever rules UP also rules India. Thus, it won’t be surprising if the BJP chooses Adityanath as Modi’s successor, and budgets henceforth have a little extra to keep UP happy with the saffron party.This is also the BJP-led NDA government’s last full budget before the next Lok Sabha elections, and many other political calculations seem to be casting a shadow on it. For one, Modi may decide to call for the Lok Sabha elections to be held this year itself. Second, he may take the combined-election route — simultaneous Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections — to beat the anti-incumbency factor in some states. More importantly, he may take some steps to chip away at the poll planks that political rivals might use. Here’s a breakdown of how each factor may influence Budget 2018: In picture: EVMs used in the first phase of Gujarat Assembly polls being stored in a strong room in Surat, Gujarat on Dec 10, 2017. [Representational image]IANSCentral and state-wise issuesIndia is going to see Assembly elections in four major states in 2018: Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The North-Eastern states of Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland are also due for elections this year.However, since none of the North-Eastern states has much of a Congress presence, and the BJP rules all the aforementioned major states barring Karnataka, the South Indian state will be the one the BJP will focus on. And thus, the Union Budget 2018 can be expected to have some sops and development projects for the state.As for Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the BJP will be fighting the anti-incumbency factor there, besides several regional issues.In Madhya Pradesh, for example, the BJP will look to mollify farmers who have protested from time to time. In Rajasthan, on the other hand, it might have to do something for people who have been affected by the actions of cow-protection vigilantes.But the saffron party may have another ace up its sleeve to counter anti-incumbency. Farmers stage a demonstration against the killing of farmers of Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur; in New Delhi on June 15, 2017.IANSPossibility of combined and early electionsOf course, the BJP will have an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and tweak Budget 2018 accordingly. However, there is now buzz that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may call for simultaneous state and Lok Sabha elections. Combined state and Central elections are nothing new in India. That is how they happened in the first couple of decades or so since Independence. And then, Rajesh Jain – the man behind the saffron party’s Mission 272 in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections – wrote in an article in the Quint on January 23 that the BJP might call for general elections “in the next 100 days.”If this happens, along with the combining of polls, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana may also see polling along with the Lok Sabha elections and the eight aforementioned states.With elections combined, voters may not want to choose candidates from two different parties in the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls — something the BJP will count on to help it beat the anti-incumbency factor in the states. To that end, the BJP may make Union Budget 2018 much more broad-based, so people prefer it at the Centre, and by extension in their states.For example, the North-East may receive special focus in the form of some infrastructure and defence projects, but the garb this focus will wear is the defence against China, which the whole country may throw its weight behind.Then there is the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, aka the Saubhagya scheme, launched last year with an aim to bringing electricity to all rural areas across the country. Mint has quoted sources telling it that the scheme will find a mention in the Budget, which means the BJP will have ammunition to needle the “dark era” of successive Congress governments in India.Encroaching on Opposition agendaThe BJP is also looking to take away the caste-based or region-based agenda that several regional parties with national-level ambitions have built their voter-base on.The saffron brigade was out in full strength looking to win Dalit support when Mani Shankar Aiyar called Modi a “neech kism ka aadmi,” and the Shiv Sena – which has said it will is parting ways with the BJP for the Lok Sabha elections – will have to deal with the saffron party taking credit for the massive Shivaji statue coming up in Mumbai.The BJP is expected to continue this “encroachment” with Union Budget 2018. It has already started with the Congress’ plank of empowering women, with Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian saying: “In our bid to further the cause of women’s empowerment, the cover of Economic Survey 2018 is pink.” In picture: Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian (right) shows the pink Economic Survey 2017-18, in New Delhi on January 29, 2018.Press Information BureauAnother political move Jaitley might choose to make is bringing back wealth tax and inheritance tax. This should help the BJP firm up its pro-poor image, something it can once again use to hit back at the Congress.last_img read more