Custom CSS with Jetpack: Images

first_imgThe Custom CSS module in Jetpack offers an easy way to edit the styles in your WordPress theme. Sure, you can edit your stylesheet and upload it to your site. But I know a lot of people have turned to using the Custom CSS module for updating their stylesheets simply because it’s so quick. Once you’re installed Jetpack, go to Appearance > Edit CSS on your dashboard and you can start adding/modifying CSS.Whenever anyone from our Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup group asks questions about how to use Jetpack’s Custom CSS, I point them to my friend Marcy’s post Custom CSS with Jetpack for WordPress Website Design. Marcy walks you through adding custom fonts, link colors, and adding CSS for post and blog titles using Jetpack’s Custom CSS module. She includes sample code snippets for each CSS change. Last week one of our meetup members contacted me about images in the Custom CSS module. He read Marcy’s post, but was running into some issues when he added a background image. The image wasn’t displaying. He’s been working with CSS for a while, but this was the first time he had used the Custom CSS module to change his stylesheet.Any tips you can share? he asked.How Jetpack Adds CSS ChangesJetpack’s Custom CSS inserts CSS changes differently than your theme stylesheet. Jetpack’s CSS editor adds the CSS changes relative to the root of your site. Your theme stylesheet adds CSS changes based on relative file names within the theme folder.In your stylesheet, you would typically add: url(images/my-image.jpg).However, when you’re adding images in Jetpack’s Custom CSS, you have two options: Add an absolute URL (e.g. http://www.yoursite.com/wp-content/themes/yourtheme/images/my-image.jpg)Add the relative URL from your domain root (e.g. wp-content/themes/yourtheme/images/my-image.jpg)My recommendation was to use the relative URL. He was thrilled to hear the solution was so simple. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…RelatedShare Your Favorite Plugin: SlimpackWhen you want to use the Jetpack WordPress plugin, but the site(s) you’re creating can’t connect to WordPress.com, take a look at the Slimpack – Lightweight Jetpack plugin. Slimpack is a lighter version of Jetpack, with no requirement for a WordPress.com account. I learned about Slimpack at our November 2016 Metro…In “WordPress”Slimpack WordPress Plugin Security VulnerabilitySlimpack, a popular WordPress plugin that duplicates many of the Jetpack plugin modules, has a security vulnerability. The vulnerability exploits the sharing function to mass email with links using Baidu. At this time (June 2017), there is no fix for the vulnerability. The Slimpack plugin has been removed from the…In “WordPress”Weekly Roundup of Web Design and Development News: May 5, 2017In this week’s web design and development resources roundup, you’ll learn the importance of informed consent for your user research, find a one-day virtual web accessibility conference, discover how to design a custom apartment and have a 3D printer create it, and more. If you’re new to my blog, each…In “Web design & development links”last_img read more

What NSF’s new diversity grants say about attempts to help minority students

first_img By Jeffrey MervisSep. 14, 2018 , 11:50 AM Nima ShahabShahmir/Green Bank Observatory Students design, construct, and test radio telescopes at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia under a National Science Foundation grant. Ted Hodapp has spent the past 5 years helping boost the number of minority students pursuing U.S. graduate degrees in physics. But Hodapp, who works on education and diversity issues at the American Physical Society in College Park, Maryland, knows the society’s Bridge Program will at best make only a small dent in the nationwide dearth of blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans working in all science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. He wanted an opportunity to show that Bridge’s approach—which starts by encouraging graduate schools to de-emphasize scores on the standardized GRE entrance exam in the student selection process—could work in other STEM disciplines and, in doing so, promote the value of diversity in U.S. higher education.Last week, the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Alexandria, Virginia, gave Hodapp $10 million to make that happen. The grant was one of six 5-year awards that the agency announced on 6 September under its new Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) initiative, which NSF Director France Córdova rolled out in 2016 as one of her priorities. The $57 million outlay marks NSF’s first major investment in INCLUDES. The five Alliances, as NSF calls them, will allow STEM educators to scale up existing diversity efforts by partnering with like-minded businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations, and local and state governments. The goal is to tear down disciplinary, geographic, and cultural barriers that hinder efforts to promote broader participation in STEM. (NSF also made a $10 million award to SRI International in Menlo Park, California, to coordinate activities and carry out research across all the alliances.)center_img Removing a barrierFor Hodapp, the new grant means extending Bridge—which includes remedial training, mentoring, and other means of support—to graduate training programs in chemistry, astronomy, the geosciences, and material sciences. He’ll be working with the professional societies in those fields, as well as other academics, in hopes of revising graduate admissions practices at departments throughout the country.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“A major research university might get 600 applications for 30 slots, and maybe 350 of the students would do just fine,” he says. “So how do you choose? As a first cut, many use the GRE, which is not a good indicator of success and also puts women and racial minorities at a disadvantage.”In 2013, Hodapp found six universities willing to abandon that simplistic metric and welcome a dozen deserving students with low GRE scores, most of them minorities, who had either been rejected by other programs or who considered it pointless to even apply. Five years later, 38 departments are on board, 168 students are pursuing advanced degrees, the retention rate is 87%, and the program expects its first cohort of Ph.D.s to graduate next spring.Surging enrollment, Hodapp says, puts the Bridge program within reach of its goal of halting the steep attrition rates in physics between undergraduate and graduate training and, simultaneously, doubling the annual number of black, Hispanic, and Native American students earning a physics Ph.D. Hodapp hopes the new Alliance grant, dubbed the Inclusive Graduate Education Network, will produce similar numbers across the physical sciences.The NSF three-stepINCLUDES is the latest addition to NSF’s $925 million stable of diversity programs, which range from elementary school through postdoctoral training and beyond. They are not meant to be mutually exclusive; Hodapp, for example, received a $3 million NSF grant in 2012 to launch Bridge. At the same time, INCLUDES reflects Córdova’s conviction that the only way to make a dent in this seemingly intractable problem is to enlist many sectors of society for the long haul.“The design and focus of INCLUDES is on collaborative partnerships, communications, sustainability, and scale,” says Sylvia James, who leads the Human Resource Development division within NSF’s education directorate. “We’re looking for unique approaches that can integrate NSF’s investment in broadening participation.”“It’s one of NSF’s 10 big ideas,” James adds. “So there’s a 10-year plan for it in our budget.”The distinctiveness of the INCLUDES Alliance program is reflected in how NSF structured the awards. Instead of just asking the community for its best ideas, NSF officials pursued a three-step process.It began with a 2016 call for proposals for pilot grants that would give scientists the chance to test their ideas. NSF received several hundred proposals and chose 70 of these 2-year, $300,000 grants in two rounds of funding.The foundation’s second step was to bankroll a dozen conferences so that the lead scientists on the pilot grants could find soulmates. The idea was to broaden the scope and size of the pilots. It hoped those intellectual marriages would spawn more comprehensive and sophisticated proposals for one of the large Alliance grants. To ensure continuity, each Alliance application had to include a principal investigator from at least one of the pilots.In the end, NSF received 27 Alliance applications, and funded five. That’s twice the number NSF suggested it would fund in the solicitation, James notes, a testament to the high quality of the proposals and the willingness of other NSF directorates and programs to chip in. Applications for a second round of Alliance grants are due in April 2019.An unplanned tiltPreparing a diverse STEM workforce requires engaging students at all levels. But the first round of Alliance winners is skewed toward higher education, specifically, running from 2-year community colleges through graduate training.In addition to Hodapp’s project, NSF gave $10 million to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, based in Washington, D.C., and the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. They are pursuing a three-pronged attempt to improve the skills of STEM faculty members at dozens of universities in mentoring minority students, grow the ranks of minority STEM faculty, and promote diversity throughout academia. Another $10 million Alliance award, based at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California, will help community college students in California and three other states overcome deficits in math as the first step into a STEM major. A fourth $10 million Alliance grant, based at the University of Texas in El Paso, will support expansion of a 12-year-old computing alliance among academic institutions that serve a large number of Hispanic students.The absence of any Alliances focused on precollege or informal science education “was not intentional,” James says. “These projects rose to the top during our merit review process. We’re definitely interested in K-12 and we hope to provide support to that sector in subsequent awards that would complement our first cohort.”Matchmaking woesBecause K-12 education in the United States is largely a local and state responsibility, scientists with pilot grants focused on that population faced a higher bar in trying to build coalitions and attract other partners. April Marchetti, a chemistry professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, ran into that challenge in when she tried to recruit partners for an Alliance proposal.The pilot project offers a summer STEM program for Hispanic girls starting high school, with the goal of bringing them back in subsequent years to provide a glide path for their entry into college and a STEM career. Marchetti had already forged ties with STEM-based companies and other employers of STEM workers, and she hoped an Alliance grant would strengthen those ties and provide additional student support. But like-minded programs were scarce.“We couldn’t find a suitable partner in time for the [Alliance] deadline,” she says “There are so many populations to be served, and so many types of interventions. We want to continue to be part of INCLUDES, but we don’t want to have to change our focus.”Marchetti was able to parlay a chance meeting at one of the NSF conferences into a consultant’s role with a fifth new Alliance. Led by Erica Harvey, a chemistry professor at Fairmont State College in West Virginia, the First2 STEM Success Network will work with students from rural West Virginia, many of them the first in their families to attend college. The $7 million project hopes to reduce the steep outflow from STEM fields in the first 2 years of college with an array of activities designed to cement a student’s interest in science and engineering by showing its relevance to their lives.Harvey was co–principal investigator on a pilot project led by Sue Ann Heatherly, senior education officer at the Green Bank Observatory in rural West Virginia. The radio telescope, built by NSF, had long served as a magnet for STEM educators throughout the state seeking research opportunities for their students. The pilot provided rising freshmen with a 2-week summer program at one of the two institutions, and the Alliance hopes to build out that successful trial.The West Virginia Alliance has an unusually diverse group of partners assembled in large part to satisfy an NSF requirement that all projects include an institutional “backbone” to coordinate activities and to work with NSF and the other Alliance programs. That capacity and expertise already exists at most major research universities and large nonprofit organizations. But it was a significant obstacle for the grassroots operation run by Heatherly and Harvey.“I’m a chemistry professor, and I have my hands full running the internships along with everything else I do,” Harvey says. “It had never occurred to us that it’s worth paying for the infrastructure needed to provide that type of continuity and accountability.”So Heatherly and Harvey reached out to a state entity, the Higher Education Policy Commission. The commission was already managing an NSF-funded program, the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, to help states with relatively small amounts of federal research funding, and was eager to come on board. The scientists also enlisted SRI International as a “mentor backbone” to help the commission climb the learning curve.Bending the barsHowever, some scientists with pilot grants found the backbone component to be an insurmountable hurdle.Jannette Carey, a chemistry professor at Princeton University, and a few colleagues have been running a science education program in the New Jersey prison system for a dozen years with more than 100 student volunteers. She used the pilot, dubbed STEPS (Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons) to STEM, to add additional offerings, including a first-ever laboratory course, as stepping stones toward a 4-year degree for prisoners after they are released. “But as a volunteer organization,” she says, “we couldn’t meet the requirement for the infrastructure needed to collaborate and communicate with other organizations and institutions.”Her own attempts at matchmaking also proved a disappointment. “We went to the conferences in hopes of finding partners who had a realistic chance of submitting a credible proposal,” Carey says. “But none of the other pilots shared our goals of bringing university-level courses into a prison.” A last-minute partnership with another pilot grantee that focuses on improving the math skills of underrepresented minorities failed to make the initial cut, she says.Carey has a good sense of what passes muster at NSF, having run an NSF-funded program to provide research experiences for undergraduates (REU) in biophysics for several years. And she hasn’t abandoned the idea of gaining additional NSF support for something that occupies a unique niche in the agency’s portfolio of efforts to reach underrepresented populations.That hope is embodied in her latest proposal. She’s asking that her next REU grant allow her to work with students in all fields that NSF supports, not just in the physics, mathematics, engineering, and computer science programs that relate to biophysics. It’s an essential step in meeting the needs of this underserved population, she argues.“A lot of formerly incarcerated students gravitate toward psychology, sociology, political science, economics, and other disciplines in the social sciences,” she says. “So including them could make an important contribution to growing the STEM workforce.” What NSF’s new diversity grants say about attempts to help minority studentslast_img read more

10 months agoFiorentina swoop for Sevilla attacker Luis Muriel

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Fiorentina swoop for Sevilla attacker Luis Murielby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFiorentina have signed Sevilla attacker Luis Muriel.Milan had been touted as favourites to sign Muriel, but he has personally chosen to join the Viola.He joins Fiorentina on-loan to the end of the season. There is an option to make the deal permanent for €13m.Fiorentina will be Muriel’s fourth Italian club after previous spells at Lecce, Udinese and Sampdoria. last_img

21 days agoChelsea manager Lampard announces Jorginho as vice-captain

first_imgChelsea manager Lampard announces Jorginho as vice-captainby Paul Vegas21 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea manager Frank Lampard has announced Jorginho is the club’s vice-captain.Last season Gary Cahill was selected as club captain whenever he was on the pitch by Maurizio Sarri, with Cesar Azpilicueta named as vice-captain – but the Spaniard has now become the club captain.Speaking ahead of the game against Southampton on Sunday, Lampard said: “Yes, Jorginho is vice-captain as it stands. [Azpilicueta] is the captain and that was clear at the start of the season and I think his professionalism and career here speaks for itself. “Jorginho, I keep talking about him, is a character and a driver. It is very evident to see on the pitch. That’s the situation as it stands.” While the 27-year-old is not fluent in English, he has been boosting his language skills in a bid to improve his standing as a leader. Lampard says he believes Jorginho is “a character and a driver” on and off the pitch.”It is obviously important, we always try here to push that along as soon as players come in because communication is key on and off the pitch,” Lampard said. “He crosses the borders as it is easy when you come in sometimes to stay within groups of nationalities. Jorginho doesn’t. He is a driver on and off the pitch.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

How HBO Is Changing Sex Scenes Forever

first_imgIt was a welcome change that Meade herself had initiated. The previous winter, amid the roiling outcry about sexual assault and rape culture — especially in Hollywood — Meade had gone to HBO executives and demanded change. She needed some kind of advocate on the set, someone to help her when she had a sex scene to film.She got her ask — and then some. Network executives found Rodis through Intimacy Directors International, a nonprofit she cofounded in 2016 that aims to normalize a set of standards and practices surrounding the execution of sex scenes on stage and on film. Rodis’ hiring has made such an impact that showrunner David Simon told Rolling Stone in September that he would never work without an intimacy coordinator again. Following suit, HBO has now adopted a policy whereby all of its shows and movies with intimate scenes will be staffed with an intimacy coordinator — either Rodis or someone like her. Along with her work on The Deuce, Rodis is already overseeing the sets of Crashing, the upcoming Damon Lindelof-helmed Watchmen series and Deadwood (the movie); she is training other intimacy coordinators to work on Jett, about a female ex-con, and Euphoria, a coming-of-age series about high school kids. Maggie Gyllenhaal as Candy directing a porn shoot on HBO’s ‘The Deuce.’ (Paul Schiraldi/HBO) Last spring, Emily Meade was getting ready to give a blow job in front of a crew of people on the Bronx set of HBO’s The Deuce, and she wasn’t thrilled about it. The penis wasn’t real — it was a dildo — but she had never done this specific thing on screen before. Meade, who plays budding porn star Lori, worried about that image of her being out in the world. “What if my future kids see this someday?” she thought. She was a woman in a sexualized industry, playing the role of a prostitute in 1970s New York; surely her concerns were not new. But in the era of #MeToo, her sense that she could do something about it was. The time was ripe to think about safety in the workplace — particularly if your job revolved around sex.Despite the fact that Meade had been doing sex scenes since she was 16 years old, they still had the power to make her feel uneasy. Part of the problem was that she sometimes felt so alone. When she had misgivings about a scene, was uncomfortable or cold, or felt too naked — physically or emotionally — in between takes, it was always up to her to say so, right there in front of everyone. Like many actors, she didn’t want to disappoint the people she worked with or to seem like she was complaining. Over the years, she’d often resigned herself to taking the path of least resistance, even if it took a toll on her. For some jobs, she even packed her own safety supplies, like a flesh-colored thong that she hoped would protect her during nude scenes. All too often, no one else considered those details.But things were different this season on The Deuce. As Meade knelt down, a woman named Alicia Rodis, the network’s first-ever “intimacy coordinator,” was within eyeshot, watching the monitor. She had given Meade a pad for her knees, knowing that the hard floor would bruise them otherwise. Between takes, she offered mouth spray and flavored lubricant. And she had spoken with Meade before the scene about her concerns and relayed them to the director. In a moment when Meade was completely exposed, Rodis was there, providing physical, social and professional protection. Advertisement Advertisement Twittercenter_img Facebook Login/Register With: Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more

Peace Arts Gallery Society to host 36th Annual Art Auction this October

first_imgThe Gallery is also still looking for volunteers to help out before, during, and after the Auction.This event is instrumental in keeping the “Let’s Art Program” a free service for youth and seniors.The 36th Annual Art Auction is October 5 at the North Peace Cultural Centre.For more information, you can visit the North Peace Cultural Centre’s website. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace Arts Gallery Society is gearing up to host their 36th Annual Art Auction.Currently, the Gallery is in the process of collecting local artwork for this year’s auction titled ‘Harvest Moon Gala’.This year, the Gallery says they would like a full month Exhibition to celebrate the generousity all of the Artists, Artisans, Crafters as well as the huge contribution the volunteers make, so they are asking that artists bring their work into the Gallery by September 3.last_img read more

Man held for raping minor

first_imgGreater Noida: Gautam Buddh Nagar police have arrested a rewarded criminal, carrying bounty of Rs 25, 000 on his head, from Mamura area of Noida on late Thursday night. Police said that the accused was wanted in a gang rape case with a minor girl by Jewar police. According to police, the arrested accused has been identified as Furkan Qureshi, native of Jahangirpur area of Jewar. Cops said that Qureshi, along with his accomplice Nanhe allegedly abducted a girl student from Jewar area in a car after making her consume a drink laced with sedatives, in the month of June last year. The duo of accused kept the girl at a secluded place and gang raped her for a couple of days. Later they let her go and threatened her with death consequences if she tells about the incident to anyone. However, the minor rape victim reached home and narrated her ordeal to parents, following which a case was registered.last_img read more

Do celebs make good politicians

first_imgStar power adds the glamour element to the heat, dust, and grime of political campaigns. This election too, we won’t just see star campaigners but even celebs who have picked up the political cudgels. Soothing to the eyes, yes, but one often wonders if celebrityhood can and should be the only criterion for some of the candidates in the election fray? Celebrity entrants to political parties just ahead of elections is not new. Earlier, we witnessed well-known actors and sportspersons simply lending their star power to a candidate. Today, that candidate can very well be a young actor or a cricketer. But it is a varied mix. Outspoken social media supporters such as cricketer Gautam Gambhir joined BJP and is likely to fight from a Delhi seat. At the same time, you have actors such as Shatrughan Sinha and Hema Malini seeking re-election while Jaya Prada has switched party colours to don BJP’s saffron to fight polls from Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur. West Bengal will see Babul Supriyo, Moon Moon Sen, and newbies Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty battling for votes. There are also Prakash Raj, Urmila Matondkar, Nikhil Gowda, Pawan Kalyan, Shilpa Shinde, and Arshi Khan, trying their luck in the political arena. Also Read – A special kind of bondOut of this mixed list of celebrities, only a chosen few have exhibited an active interest in politics. They have been vociferous about their views and where they stand on the political spectrum. The rest, like dutiful children, are all being paradropped to exude charm and attract votes. I was watching a rather painful news story with dream girl Hema Malini. Painful because the BJP MP while looking stunning didn’t seem to have any meat in her rhetoric at all. Whenever she was asked about what work she had done in her constituency of Mathura, the actor kept saying that she has done a lot of work but just can’t remember it at the moment. Err! Really? Also Read – Insider threat managementAs a reporter who has actively covered state and general elections, I have witnessed how candidates have nurtured their constituency over years. While covering the campaign trail it is fairly easy for people like us to discern the once-in-a-blue-moon visitor from the serious politician who has an undeniable connect with people. This bond with the voter doesn’t happen overnight. Sure, people will throng the streets to catch a glimpse of cine stars, but a true leader would have built his connect over a longer period of time with experience and love for the masses. Of the celebrity MPs who have already been in Parliament, save a few, most have been playing ‘outstanding’ roles i.e. they have seldom stepped inside the Parliament! Their attendance is poor, they barely raise questions, and more often than not, leave their MPLADS (Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) funds under-utilised. Former Rajya Sabha MPs such as Sachin Tendulkar and Rekha have historically abysmal attendance records – Tendulkar with 7.3 per cent attendance while Rekha had just 4.5 per cent! It is important to remember that these celebrity MPs get paid a generous sum by the Government of India to carry out their duties. They are meant to represent their people in Parliament and actively strive towards the development and progress of their constituency. But with most celeb MPs playing truant from Parliament and their constituencies, busy with film shoots, shows, brand endorsements, and cricket matches, one wonders if fame is enough to even allow these fair-weather entrants to contest. Should there be a clause set by the Election Commission of India to allow only serious political workers to fight polls? And what of the hardworking party worker who has lost his chance to fight elections outdone by glitz and glamour? Politics is no child’s play; it requires sincerity, hard work, and dedication. My only wish is that this year’s winning celebrity candidates showcase their seriousness about serving the people. Otherwise, there will be more ‘missing MP’ posters doing the rounds like in the case of Navjot Singh Sindhu in 2013. (The writer is a journalist and media entrepreneur. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Lanka President Sirisena promises hoteliers maximum financial help to revive tourism

first_imgColombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has assured hoteliers that the government will give them maximum financial relief to revive the lucrative tourism industry hit by the country’s worst terror attack on Easter Sunday that killed 253 people, including 42 foreigners. Tourism accounts for about five per cent of Sri Lanka’s economy, with India, Britain and China being the main markets. India is the largest source market for Sri Lanka, which received 2.3 million tourists from around the world in 2018. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportAround 450,000 Indian tourists visited Sri Lanka last year and the island nation was expecting the total Indian tourist arrivals to cross one million in 2019. President Sirisena acknowledged during his meeting on Monday with the country’s hoteliers that the tourism and hotel industries were worst hit after the string of powerful blasts ripped through three churches and as many luxury hotels on Easter Sunday, killing 253 people and injuring more than 500 others. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsThe bombs tore through three five-star hotels in Colombo: the Cinnamon Grand, the Shangri La and the Kingsbury. Forty two foreigners, including 11 Indian nationals, died in the attacks. Sirisena requested Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy to provide “maximum financial relief” immediately to the hoteliers, Sunday Times reported. Hotels Association President Sanath Ukwatte said hoteliers had invested large sums of money in the development of the hotels and requested the government to provide a moratorium or waiver on the capital and interest for a period of at least two years. During the meeting, the hoteliers also asked the government to hire the services of a professional public relations and communications unit to send out one message to the world. President Sirisena agreed to appoint a Cabinet sub-committee to look into the requirements of the hoteliers, the report said.last_img read more

EC to retain 200 companies of Central Forces till May 27

first_imgKolkata: The Election Commission will retain 200 companies of Central Forces in the state till May 27, to assist counting and also to handle post-poll violence, if any. Out of the 200 companies, 82 will be deployed for the counting centres while the rest will be deployed in areas where the commission anticipates post-poll violence.”The remaining 510 companies of Central Forces that were present in the state during the last phase of elections on Sunday, will move out now,” a senior EC official said. According to the EC official, there will be 58 counting centres across the state, with at least one centre in each of the 42 parliamentary constituencies. There will be 144 observers deputed for the counting process. “There will be a three-tier security system and section 144 will be imposed around all counting centres. The first layer will be maintained by the state police to keep interested people out of the purview of the counting centres. The second layer will be managed by the state armed police, while the third layer – in and around the counting halls – will be maintained by the Central Forces,” the official said. Apart from the returning officers and the observers, none will be allowed with mobile phones and cameras within the counting halls. All the halls will be under CCTV surveillance and will be covered by webcasting so that it can be directly controlled by the Commission. The candidates will have to give detailed lists of the counting agents beforehand. All the people allowed to enter the counting halls will be closely frisked. The vehicles carrying the EVMs will be GPS-enabled, so that their movement can be tracked. According to sources in the CEO’s office in Bengal, the entire process of counting might take 14 hours or more. Only one table will be counted at a time. Once it is finished, counting will start for the next table. 5 percent of VVPATs will be counted from each Assembly constituency. VVPATs will be counted after the completion of counting the ballot units.last_img read more