Month: December 2019

first_imgSale leaders underestimate just how much impact their sales force can have on the execution of their strategy.If you do not intend to lead with price, competing on price is a change of strategy. “But we are not competing on price,” you say, “We are competing on value.” This may or may not be true, but every time you match a competitor’s price, you have decided to compete on price. More still, every time you beat a competitor’s price to win new business, you are absolutely competing on price—and by doing so, changing your overall strategy.If your product or service isn’t undeniably the best in the category to the point that it defines that category completely, you cannot compete on product or service. “Our product really is better than our competitor’s,” you say. If you insist. Look, you know far more than I do. That said, almost everyone has a good product or service. If you lead with product, you are selling features and benefits. This means you are selling at too low a level to be compelling, differentiated, or a trusted advisor.When your salespeople compete on product without that actually being your strategy, they lose because they have decided to change your strategy.I know, you want your team to compete on value creation. You want them to be consultative, and you want them to be considered trusted advisors, peers of your clients. But when your sales force isn’t equipped to sell value, that’s the same as not having a disruptive, insight-based strategy.Some portion of your sales force will try to make selling easy by competing on price, when it is not to your advantage to do so, and by expecting the product to sell itself. It is likely that this isn’t  possible in an economy that is commoditizing everything it can.If you don’t want your sales force to change your strategy, then you cannot be responsible for changing the strategy either. This means you can’t allow your sales force to compete in ways that aren’t aligned with your strategy. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

first_imgWe sometimes forget that we are competing to win business. Your competitor can walk in right behind you. One of you wins, one of you loses.last_img

first_imgToday, October 11, 2019, marks three years since I published my first book, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need. My primary outcome when writing this book was to ensure that it would stand the test of time (which is why I don’t follow fads like social selling and look instead for trend-lines that provide a sense of direction and suggest an evolutionary change).I had been writing this blog for five years when a publisher asked me for a book. At the time, I didn’t feel I needed to write a book. I was writing a post every day, and at five hundred words a day, I was already writing the equivalent of three books a year, a book being roughly sixty-thousand words. Because readers kept sending me notes asking me to write a book, I drafted a book with the working title 21 Elements: The Periodic Table of Sales Success. I hired an editor to help me with development and ended up with only seventeen of my original twenty-one elements.The publisher read the book and hated it. He asked me why I would make the first chapter Self-Discipline, in his words, “when everyone hates self-discipline.” He continued sharing his thoughts, aiming for the third chapter, titled: Caring. Has said, “What does caring have to do with selling?” At this point, I realized the call wasn’t going as well as I hoped it would.Rather than try to argue about each chapter, I asked him a question, even though I knew the answer. I asked, “Have you ever sold or led a sales force?” He confessed he had not. I followed up by telling him, “I have never published a book, so I will count on you to have a deep understanding of that, and you’ll have to trust that I understand my subject.” He countered by asking me if he could compile several blog posts into a book, and idea that had no interest to me whatsoever.Going It AloneAt that moment, I decided to publish the book myself. I hired an editor and spent the next six months writing and editing the text. My editor helped me clean up the book, polishing sentences and paragraphs. At one point, he told me to delete chapter seventeen, which he said added nothing. I rewrote it from scratch.Six weeks from the publication date, I received a direct message on Twitter from an acquisition editor from my publisher asking me why I hadn’t written a book. I DM’d back that I had, and he suggested he couldn’t find it. I told him I was six weeks away from publication. We had a phone call, and he shared with me that he hated my title, and we agreed I would send him the book. A few days later, I signed with my publisher, who immediately recognized the book as a competency model. We published the book, and it became an and the USA Today national bestseller.Why I Love This BookI get notes and emails from people who read my books and this blog. The notes about my second book, The Lost Art of Closing, always include something about how much more money the person is making because they learned to control the process and trade value. The emails about book three, Eat Their Lunch, always suggest that the writer is booking more meetings and winning more and bigger deals. But TOSG brings different feedback.Most of the notes about this book say that not only did it improve their sales, but it also made them a better parent, spouse, and person. The first half of the book is designed to do just that; improve your intangibles, like Self-Discipline, Optimism, Caring, Competitiveness, Resourcefulness, Persistence, Initiative, Communication, and Accountability.Who you are matters much more than what you do or what you sell. Success in sales is individual, not situational.There is not a single novel idea in The Was Only Sales Guide. The only novelty in the book is the competency model that I constructed out of character traits and skills that are all well-recognized and documented. Because the ideas are so well documented, I included a reading list at the end of every chapter for people who need to go deeper in any area.Learn Anthony’s core strategies & tactics for sales success at any level with The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever NeedTOSG is a sales book. So all the Mindset chapters in the first half of the book are all written for a salesperson. The second half of the book is made up of the skills necessary to succeed in sales, and I added a few that have merged as being critical to success, even though they are not widely taught or trained. In that half, you find Closing, Prospecting, Storytelling, Diagnosing, Negotiating, Business Acumen, Change Management, and Leadership. The last three of these skills are differentiators for a salesperson—especially when coupled with the Mindset chapters.On my first book’s third birthday, I can’t imagine writing about anything else. When you pick it up, email me at Anthony so that I can send you the workbook. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

first_imgOvernight rains at many places and fresh light snowfall in Gulmarg led to an increase in the minimum temperatures across the Valley and Ladakh region, with the mercury settling above the freezing point at most places.There was fresh light snowfall of about 1.5 inch at Gulmarg in north Kashmir last night, an official of the Met Department said here.Owing to the overcast conditions, the night temperature at Gulmarg was recorded as —3.6 degrees Celsius, the official said.He said the resort was the only place in the Valley where the mercury stayed below the freezing point. Some other places in the higher reaches of Kashmir received light snowfall, while most other places, including Srinagar were lashed by rains.The mercury in Srinagar settled at 3.5 degrees Celsius. In Qazigund, the minimum temperature of 1.6 degrees Celsius, the official said.Pahalgam recorded a low of 1.8 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara registered a low of 1.1 degrees Celsius. Kokernag in south recorded its minimum temperature at 1.5 degrees Celsius, the weatherman said.Leh, in Ladakh region, shivered at —5.6 degrees Celsius, even though it is an increase of nearly seven degrees from the previous night’s —13.3 degrees Celsius.Kargil town was the coldest place in the state with a minimum of —7.5 degrees Celsius, the official said.The MeT Department has forecast scattered to widespread rainfall or snow for the next five days.last_img read more

first_imgA live bullet was found in the baggage of an army jawan at the Srinagar International Airport on Tuesday, after which he was detained, a security official said.The soldier Pandia Raj, who was proceeding to Delhi on leave, was handed over to the army for further investigation, the official said.Prima facie, it seems that the bullet was left behind in the bag “by mistake”, the official added.This is the second incident of an army soldier caught at the airport with live ammunition.On Monday a jawan was arrested after two hand grenades and other ammunition were found in his baggage during the security screening.He had claimed that the grenades had been given to him by a “superior official” for transporting these to Delhi.last_img read more

first_imgA court in Gandhinagar, hearing a rape case against religious preacher Asaram, on Thursday allowed a petition seeking in-camera proceedings in the case.The plea was moved by public prosecutor R.C. Kodekar citing threat to life of witnesses in the case.Principal sessions judge A.N. Joshi allowed the application which said prosecution witnesses coming to the court faced risk to their lives and therefore the proceedings should be held in-camera and members of public be not allowed inside the courtroom.“From now on, witnesses will be examined in-camera owing to the risk to their life,” the court held.A witness was examined in-camera on Thursday after the court granted permission for it.The case before the Gandhinagar court relates to a complaint filed by a Surat-based woman, who accused Asaram of raping her many times when she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city between 1997 and 2006.The charge sheet also names his wife Lakshmiben, daughter Bharti and four women followers Dhruvben, Nirmala, Jassi and Meera for abetment of rape. The charges against Asaram were framed in March last year.Asaram is also facing another rape case in Jodhpur in Rajasthan, and is currently lodged in a prison there.last_img read more

first_imgUnder pressure from allies in the government over a year after de-classifying the coconut palm as a tree during its earlier stint, the BJP-led coalition Cabinet here on Wednesday passed an amendment restoring the coconut palm in the list of trees and also according it the status of State tree. “The State government has decided to include coconut palm as tree in the Goa, Daman and Diu (Preservation of ) Trees Act, 1984 to regulate felling of coconut trees under this Act,” the Cabinet note on Wednesday stated. The State Cabinet which met here on Wednesday also resolved to declare the coconut tree as the “State tree”. Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party, who had taken the initiative in this regard said the new amendment would be ratified in the State Legislative assembly during the ongoing monsoon session. “We have restored tree status to the coconut (palm),” Mr. Sardesai said. The Opposition as well as civil society had questioned the previous BJP-led coalition government for amending the Goa Daman and Diu (Preservation of )Trees act 1984 in 2016 to drop the tree status accorded to the coconut tree. Opponents of the government, which then included Goa Forward Party led by Mr. Sardesai, had accused the government of unfairly hastening real estate and industrial development at the cost of environment by selectively allowing mass removal of coconut plantations.last_img read more

first_imgA wanted criminal was on Saturday killed and two others were arrested during an encounter with the Punjab Police in Himachal Pradesh’s Bilaspur district, an official said. The deceased was identified as Sunny Masih of Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, Bilaspur Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar said. Mr. Kumar told PTI that five criminals had snatched a car from a person at gunpoint in Mohali district in Punjab. He said after receiving information, the police chased them. When the police team reached close to them near the PWD Rest House in the Naina Devi area, one of the criminals opened fire on them, the SP said. The police retaliated and Masih suffered serious injuries, he added. He was taken to a hospital in Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, where he died, Mr. Kumar said. The other two criminals – Amanpreet and Goldy – were arrested, he said, adding that two of the five persons managed to escape.The incident took place around 3 a.m., according to the Punjab Police. Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Singh Chahal and other police officials reached the spot of the encounter, Mr. Kumar said. “They had snatched a car and also fired a shot,” Mr. Chahal said. The Bilaspur SP said they were listed as accused in several cases in various police stations in Punjab.last_img read more

first_imgThe magisterial probe into the Amritsar train mishap, which claimed 61 lives, has found the organisers of the Dussehra event and the gateman of the railway crossing at Jaura Phatak accountable for acts leading to the tragedy.The inquiry also gave a clean chit to Navjot Kaur Sidhu, the wife of the Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had attended the function as chief guest, saying “she had no role in organising the event”.The magisterial inquiry into the incident was conducted by the Divisional Commissioner (Jalandhar) B. Purushartha on the orders of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who has now sought strict action against those held responsible.“Everyone concerned with organization, regulation and supervision of the event under inquiry committed omissions and commissions including dereliction of statutory duties,” observed the inquiry report, adding, “it is true that such omissions, commissions, dereliction of duties have not been done for the first time (but) in this event it combined with the blunders committed on the part of key rail employees and a ripe situation for occurrence of this accident was created.”The report, recently submitted to the State government, examined all aspects related to the tragedy. It was based on interviews with all the people affected and various officials concerned, from the district administration and the Railways.The inquiry report observed that while the spectators “committed the mistake” of watching the Dussehra event from rail tracks, the organisers held the event without permission and without undertaking the necessary safety and security measures.The organisers of the event include municipal corporation councillor Vijay Madan and her son Saurabh Madan Mithu, both associated with the ruling Congress party.The report blamed the police and the municipal corporation functionaries for their failure to enforce the law and showing unwanted generosity, while the key rail employees failed to take safety and security measures even after having full knowledge of the presence of a large number of people on and around the rail tracks.The inquiry concluded, “Gateman of Jaura Phatak, Gate No. 27 Mr. Amit Singh has not only failed in discharging his statutory duties but also committed a blunder in not taking appropriate safety and security measures which could have easily prevented this accident. He is one of those key railway employees whose blunder has resulted in this accident.”The inquiry report also blamed the gateman of another gate (No. 26) for his failure. It said, “It is also evident that Gateman of railway level crossing Gate No. 26 Mr. Nirmal Singh also failed in discharging his statutory duties by his late reaction in informing Gateman of Jaura Phatak, Gate No. 27. He came to know about this gathering on rail tracks around 5.30 p.m., but informed Gateman of Gate No. 27, Mr. Amit Singh around 6.40-6.45 p.m. He did not inform the concerned station master and keep giving all right signals to approaching trains. Therefore, he is also responsible for committing this blunder.”Organisers pulled up The inquiry report said the organisers did not having permission required for holding this event.“It is also evident that the organisers conducted this event without taking adequate precautions, measures to ensure safety and security of the people gathered to watch Dussehra celebration,” it added.Blaming the organisers for failure to inform the Railways, the report said, “The organisers neither informed the Railways nor took any precautions and safety measures to stop people from watching the celebrations from rail tracks.”last_img read more

first_imgThe issue of providing a permanent resident certificate (PRC) to six communities that do not enjoy Scheduled Tribe status is hotting up in poll-bound Arunachal Pradesh.At least 18 student and civil society organisations in the State have come together for a 48-hour shutdown from Thursday to protest against the Bharatiya Janata Party government’s alleged move to grant PRC to the six communities classified as non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe or non-APST.These six communities – Adivasi, Deori, Gorkha, Mishing, Moran, and Sonowal Kachari – inhabit Namsai and Changlang districts of the State. Some of these communities are ST in Assam.Appeal to CMOn Tuesday, these organisations had asked Chief Minister Pema Khandu to withdraw the government’s move to grant the PRC that they said would go a long way in robbing the rights of the indigenous communities of the State.During a public rally at Vijaynagar in Changlang district on December 14 last year, Mr Khandu had said that his government was looking into the possibility of granting PRC to the non-APST groups. At the same time, he said the interest of the indigenous communities would not be compromised with.In another public rally, Deputy Prime Minister Chowna Mein had also said the PRC would be the government’s New Year gift for the six communities. The government later clarified that there was no such move but local NGOs have not been convinced, particularly after a joint high-power committee submitted a report on the issue a few days ago.Motive doubtful “The recommendations in the report, whose motive is doubtful, need to be scrapped,” the NGOs said in a joint statement. These organisations include the Arunachal Law Students’ Union, All Papum Pare District Students’ Union, All Nyishi Students Union, United Arunachal Indigenous People’s Forum, All Tagin Students’ Union, and Arunachal Anti-Corruption Union.last_img read more

first_imgPune – Ending weeks of speculation, Sanjay Kakade, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Rajya Sabha MP on Sunday finally announced that he would soon be joining Congress.Mr. Kakade, a prominent Pune-based realtor, had openly expressed his desire to contest from the Pune Lok Sabha constituency on several occasions in the recent past.“Given the changed circumstances in the country, I have decided to join the Congress. If the top leadership gives me a ticket, I will fight the election to the best of my ability. If not, I will abide by Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s decision and am willing to wholeheartedly perform whatever task is entrusted to me,” said Mr. Kakade.However, sources within the Congress said that while the BJP leader was welcome to join the party, there was no guarantee that he would be given a ticket. Mr. Kakade’s decision to join the Congress party comes in the face of stout opposition within the BJP to give him a ticket for contesting the Pune seat.However, the BJP MP’s entry is not likely to be taken too kindly by Congress loyalists in Pune, most of whom are opposed to Mr. Kakade’s induction in the party.The MP was earlier with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) before being elected as an independent candidate to the Upper House and later joining the BJP. A known wheeler-dealer, Mr. Kakade is believed to have played a vital role in engineering BJP’s victory in the Pune civic polls in February 2017. “The Congress is accommodative of all religions and communities and has a rich heritage. Hence, I have decided to enter the Congress fold,” Mr. Kakade said, adding that the move would not affect his cordial relationship with Mahasrashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. His disenchantment with the BJP stemmed from the allegedly ‘shoddy’ treatment meted out to him by Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat and BJP State president Raosaheb Danve.“It will be good to take on Girish Bapat. I am confident of polling 50,000 votes in Bapat’s Assembly constituency itself,” claimed Mr. Kakade. In 2017, Mr. Bapat had publicly censured Mr. Kakade’s induction of alleged criminals within the party before the civic polls.In the same year in December, Mr. Kakade had created a flutter after he predicted a dismal showing by the BJP in the results to the Gujarat election. He was later forced to eat his words after the party emerged victorious in the Gujarat Assembly poll. “I had not taken into account the impact of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal ‘charisma’,” Mr. Kakade had said at the time.While one strand of opinion views Mr. Kakade’s exit as a possible setback to the BJP, the rebel MP’s exit is viewed with a sigh of relief by present Pune MP Anil Shirole and Minister Girish Bapat, who along with Mr. Kakade, were frontrunners for the candidacy of the Pune seat.Speculation about Mr. Kakade’s imminent exit from the BJP gathered momentum after the MP met with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in December last year just after the BJP’s poll debacle in five states. Likewise, he also held parleys with senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar last month in yet another indication of his growing disaffection with the BJP.last_img read more

first_img The custodians of Jagannath say they are dealing with their own worries. Fani didn’t spare the Jagannath temple in Puri, the mainstay of the town. One of the key idols is damaged and losses to some of the temple’s property amount to ₹5 crore, reckons S. Chatterjee, a temple administration official. However, the temple itself is not participating in any relief work or donating any of its corpus to the State to help with rehabilitation. The temple administration receives, on average, ₹2 lakh per day as donation but was expecting help from the government and individuals to prepare for the annual Rath Yatra in July. The long stretch of road, where the idols are carted, is largely clear. “Since the cyclone hit, daily offerings have plummeted. In the first two days, after the storm we barely got ₹700 on an average,” Chatterjee says.In the artisanal village of Raghurajpur, on the outskirts of Puri, the 100-odd families skilled in the art of pattachitra (painting on palm leaf) while away their time. In their part of town, Cyclone Fani brought rain and destroyed some of the paintings. Each painting takes about a day to make, says Gauranga Maharana, an artist who is in the midst of painting a wood-carved swan when we meet him. “The winds and the rain were so strong that my paintings got soaked. Paintings worth nearly ₹20,000 have been damaged,” he says. Maharana, who traces his artistry to “several generations”, estimates that a usual summer day brings in close to a thousand tourists (Raghurajpur is a heritage village), but now with the State battered, the number of tourists, both Indians and foreigners, has dwindled.Also Read Cyclone Fani’s fury creates four new mouths in Odisha’s Chilika Lake  Capital without powerSince Bhubaneswar is bald without tree cover after Fani, the heat and humidity are more palpable than before. There is no power, to add to the woes, so the city after dusk is both dark and uncomfortable. While city-specific figures aren’t available, the State Disaster Management Authority estimates that at least 45,000 km of power lines and 11,000 distribution transformers have been destroyed by the cyclone.Sarath Chandra, a hotel manager, says that normally in early May, when the tourist season is just beginning, his hotel is only about 60% full. “This time we’re nearly 85% full,” he says. “There are no outstation tourists. All of them are locals escaping the heat of their homes.” Chandra’s hotel is among those equipped with a diesel-generation set, which means that there is a steady supply of water and electricity.Also Read Shattered windowpanes, sturdy trees lying flat on the roads, and downed power lines are the prominent markers of Cyclone Fani, which pounded Puri and Bhubaneswar in Odisha on May 3. Three days after Fani, categorised as an ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’, ploughed through the State killing at least 40 people and injuring 160, the streets of Bhubaneswar are filled with workers of the National Disaster Response Force, dressed in bright orange. Senthil Rao, 28, and five others have spent all morning trying to remove an uprooted banyan tree. “It is an old tree and has blocked an entire stretch of the main road. My work seems interminable,” Rao groans during a tea break.Also Read Cyclone Fani: Naveen Patnaik seeks more kerosene for Odisha  Anger in PuriIts stature as a capital city and the prevalence of concrete houses may have contributed to zero casualties, according to official figures, in Bhubaneswar, but the temple town of Puri, which is about 60 km away, presents a vastly different picture.National Highway 316 that connects the two cities is smooth; it was spared Fani’s wrath. However, on both sides of the highway lie uprooted coconut trees and houses with holes in their tiled roofs. At least 21 deaths have been reported in Puri district.Also Read Long wait for power in Odisha after Cyclone Fani snaps transmission lines Cyclone Fani tears down artists’ village in Odisha A girl from Chandrabhaga village feeding her sister at a shelter in Puri.  The problem of communicationWith mobile phone connection down, the Collectorate, with its compound walls and plantations hit, is relying on a ham radio network. Ramesh Kuthumbaka, a Hyderabad-based advocate and an amateur ham operator, says he was called by OSDMA on May 1. “Two ham radio colleagues and I left Hyderabad and travelled 1,200 km by road in a Qualis to reach OSDMA and set up a ham network. We struggled to come here, there were strong winds. We reached on May 3,” he recounts. Another team of ham operators from Kolkata reached the Puri Collectorate and installed a radio station. “Since then we’ve been helping the State authorities with transmitting and receiving instructions. The Chief Secretary relied on our network. There was nothing else,” he claims. Kuthumbaka has skipped many meals. He complains of the lack of support from the district administration. “There doesn’t seem to be a well-thought-out plan. For instance, in spite of knowing fairly reliably by April 27 that Odisha would be hit, we were told only on the 1st,” he says. However, he will be present in Puri “as long as he is needed”.Sethi points out that the “operational difficulties” and the sheer magnitude of the devastation would mean that returning to normalcy will take weeks. Nearly 100 million kg of rice was readied beforehand, yet distribution is tardy, he says. “We had to evacuate about 1.4 million people within 12 hours. Nearly 200 lakh SMSes were sent to various levels of administration — right down to the village heads of 14 districts,” he says. He explains why people were mobilised into action only by May 1: “Remember, this was after the election exercise, itself an arduous task, had just concluded on April 29. Officers and the administration are human too.” Cyclone Fani: Food distribution on track in Puri center_img This is Rao’s tenth tree since early morning. It’s largely due to the efforts of 600 teams of the State and Central disaster response forces that the city roads are navigable now. Tree trunks and branches have been swept into mounds and line the sidewalks and street corners. There are so many of them that the government has permitted anyone, with the means and the men, to cart them away and use them as fit without the usual tendering and bureaucracy.There is little public and private transport on the streets; only the bulky JCBs can be seen in corners and inner streets. They are clawing out crumbled billboards and the remnants of carts and tyres from the rubble, and lifting logs. Santosh Rout, who manages a fleet of JCBs, says that he has been charging a 30% premium for the use of his machines. “The demand is very high. However, I hear there are nearly 30 teams of JCBs commissioned, so it looks like things will be normal in less than a week,” he says.Also Read  “The air conditioner in the room doesn’t cool but being here is better than being at home,” says Dolly Patra, who is staying with her family at Chandra’s hotel. Her second floor flat, barely 3 km from the hotel, is a cauldron, she explains. Power is expected to return only after a fortnight, and water supply is irregular. When the cyclone howled through her apartment complex, she was scared for herself and her infant. “I was terrified that the asbestos sheets nearby would smash into my bedroom,” she says. After the storm she stayed put at home, but mosquitoes entered her home in droves and she was afraid that her child would fall sick. “I hope to get back home soon or move to a relative’s place. Staying in a hotel is expensive for us,” she says.At the Secretariat of the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), Bishnupada Sethi presides over a crew of officers who compile and coordinate information with district centres and the IMD. Details of damage, relief dispensed and lacunae are continually wired to Sethi’s office. While the unit’s coordination has earned plaudits — from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United Nations — Sethi says that in spite of the preparation and the “memories of 1999”, citizens were “mentally unprepared” for the impending disaster. “This is a State where cyclones recur. At the State level, there are plans and a standard operating procedure to deal with the eventuality. However, many were unprepared. In fact, many people refused to leave their thatched houses and go to shelters,” he notes.  Fani, which started out in the Bay of Bengal in the last week of April, was quite unlike the typical storms that Odisha is accustomed to. From 1965 to 2017, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea collectively registered 46 ‘severe cyclonic storms’. More than half of them occurred between October and December. Seven of them occurred in May and only two (in 1966 and 1976) were recorded in April, according to data from the India Meteorological Department’s cyclone statistics unit. Before Fani, only one of them (in 1966) had actually made landfall over India.While modern, meteorological record-keeping dates furious cyclones in Odisha to as far as back to 1831, to the average citizen, in contemporary times 1999 marked the turning point for the State. The cyclone that hit that year was catastrophic: it killed thousands, obliterated homes, and left a trail of destruction. The State was cut off from the rest of the country, and it was weeks before the magnitude of the tragedy hit home. Since then, Odisha has prepared itself in various ways to face such cyclones — by building specially crafted storm shelters and commissioning electric poles that are designed to withstand strong gales.By May 1, the weather department was confident that Fani would be unforgiving, but not as powerful as BOB 06 (cyclones then didn’t have names) that had hit the port town of Paradip in 1999.  The cyclones of MayHoused in a single-storey building, the walls of which are plastered with charts describing El Nino, warming seas and other climate phenomena, the scientists at the State headquarters of the IMD are working in the corridors and verandahs to escape the stifling heat. Habibur Rehman Biswas, the chief scientist of the department, says he hadn’t left the office for 72 hours straight after May 1. “Initially, we thought it would be a typical summer cyclone of the Bay of Bengal. We thought it would go either towards Andhra Pradesh or turn towards Bangladesh and Myanmar and miss the Odisha coast. We were wrong.”Meteorologists note with worry that so-called recurving cyclones — ones that sharply turn eastwards — are becoming more frequent around the Indian Ocean. The IMD publicly disseminates information via a WhatsApp group that has senior district administration officials and media representatives. “We’re always getting inputs, but with power gone, it’s a bit slow. Still, there are other IMD agencies that pick up inputs and relay them. There will always be regular inputs, come what may,” he says.With Cyclone Fani gone, Rehman doesn’t rule out the possibility of another strong cyclone. “There’s nothing which says that such a strong storm won’t lead to another one in a few weeks, though there aren’t immediate indications yet. May is usually when there are many more cyclones.” Cyclone Fani causes extensive damage to power infrastructure, standing trees  Not far from the beach, where the sea is now placid, anger is growing at the government shelter near Talabaniya in Puri town. This pink building is one among the 879 constructed by the Odisha government across Puri, Cuttack and Khordha. The two-storey buildings, designed in 2004 with assistance from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, are low-cost and capable of accommodating about 3,000 people. They are resilient to wind speeds greater than 200 kmph. The Talabaniya shelter is also equipped with an alarm and a horn. In the event of an impending storm, instructions are relayed to those living in thatched houses, or the homeless, to come to the shelter.“There were warnings on the day before the cyclone struck and many of us came to the shelter,” says Pintu Pradhan, who works in a nearby hotel. “A day before the storm, we were given rice and dal. On the day of the storm we were given packed dry fruits, chuda (flattened rice) and gur (jaggery). There’s been no food ever since.” Pradhan’s house, along with the houses of about 700 others of the Biju Nagar slum, was reduced to rubble. Only those with “food security cards,” says Pradhan, were eligible for the Chief Minister’s relief package of ₹2,000 and 50 kg of rice per month as well as polythene sheets that could be used as roofs. There were families who lost everything in the storm and now have no food, water or jobs, he says.While Pradhan and several men, most of them daily wage labourers, rue the absence of primarily benefits, the women of Biju Nagar trek a kilometre to the grounds of the government technical training institute to collect fallen branches and twigs to use as firewood. The trunks are also useful to rebuild houses, one of them points out. Another group of women has congregated at the Puri Collectorate to protest against the unavailability of food and water. Due to the absence of an effective communication system, the promised welfare and supplies are not making their way to the people, says Shanti, one of the protesters. As part of relief measures, residents are eligible for up to ₹95,000 for ‘fully damaged’ structures and compensation for damage to agricultural and horticultural crop, and fisheries.Balwant Singh, the Puri District Collector, who assumed charge on May 7, says the lack of power and telecommunication has hampered access to supplies. “There’s a standard operating procedure in place. Setting up free kitchens near shelters and restoring road connectivity are our immediate priorities. For all that we need to have the communication system with Bhubaneswar running smoothly,” he adds.Also Read Cyclone Fani: Many families from Odisha flee to Visakhapatnam to escape havoc A view of the destruction caused by Cyclone Fani after its landfall, in Puri, Friday, May 3, 2019.  | Photo Credit: PTI  Another challenge, adds Sethi, was to convince people to leave their homes and rush to the shelters. “Often they wouldn’t listen. We have seen it here every time there has been a cyclone. People say they will weather the storm and then they all suffer.”In Brahmagiri town in Puri, a block-level official says that in the administrative block of Bhagawat Patna, nearly 27,289 people had to be evacuated. “Many of them refused to come, saying Lord Jagannath would keep them safe,” he recounts. “There were four deaths, but it’s not confirmed if they were specifically due to the cyclone.”Also Readlast_img read more

first_imgA legislative stalemate over animal research could become costly for Italy. On 23 January, the European Commission asked the E.U. Court of Justice to impose a fine of more than €4.5 million per month for failing to incorporate a 2010 E.U. directive on animal testing into its national laws. A new law on animal tests has been the subject of a fierce debate in Italy.E.U. directive 2010/63 aims to harmonize the protection of animals in research across the European Union and minimize their use by requiring alternatives to be used when available. All 27 E.U. member states were supposed to have “transposed” the directive in national legislation by 10 November 2012. Six other countries—Finland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, the Netherlands, and Poland—have failed to do so, for various reasons. A spokesperson for the Environment Directorate-General says the commission may ask for punishment for those countries, too; their cases don’t all move at the same speed, he says. Whether a fine is actually imposed is up to the court.In Italy’s case, the directive’s transposition has become entangled in a struggle over the future of animal testing in the country. A draft law that is now wending its way through the political system would put far-reaching limitations on animal testing that go well beyond those required by the European Union, and some wonder whether it is in compliance with the E.U. directive. If not, that could cause further problems for the country in the future.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(*)The latest development in the political process came on the same day the commission referred Italy’s case to the court, when the Senate’s Committee on Health and Hygiene approved the current draft bill. The bill still has to go to a committee at the Chamber of Deputies before it comes back to the government for the president’s signature. Scientists say the law would damage scientific research in the country, and they recently launched a petition in protest. But the current version of the bill would postpone until 2017 three controversial bans: on drug abuse research involving animals; xenotransplantation; and breeding dogs, cats, and nonhuman primates for scientific purposes.Countries are allowed to have more restrictive rules than those in the E.U. directive only if they were already in place before September 2010. This is not the case for Italy, which could expose the country to a so-called infringement procedure by the commission. Emilia Grazia De Biasi, chair of the Senate’s Health and Hygiene Committee, has asked the government to assess whether the new law would be compliant with the E.U. directive.Italy should just transpose the directive without further modifications, as most countries have done, says Roberto Caminiti, a physiologist at the University of Rome La Sapienza and chair of the Committee on Animals in Research for the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies. Postponing the most controversial restrictions in the law is “a clumsy attempt to have the best of both worlds,” he says. Caminiti says Italian politicians don’t know or care enough about science to resist the animal rights movement and blames media for spreading “misinformation” about animal research.Ilaria Capua, a former avian influenza researcher and now a member of the Chamber of Deputies, agrees that Italy should respect its obligations within the European Union and pass a law that is compliant with the directive. Not doing so—and incurring a fine—is “expensive nonsense,” Capua says. But Michela Kuan, a biologist and a member of the animal rights group Lega Anti Vivisezione in Rome, says Italy’s problems weren’t caused by animal rights activists or the political debate, but by the animal research lobby. Kuan hopes that the 3-year delay will be taken out of the legislation.last_img read more

first_imgResearchers have taken several steps toward using stem cells to treat a rare genetic disease that leaves people with skin so fragile it blisters at the slightest touch. A trio of lab and animal studies reported today could help pave the way for a clinical trial for the disorder, called epidermolysis bullosa (EB).Although EB is quite rare, occurring in one in 20,000 births, about 500,000 people around the world suffer from some form of the disease. It is caused by defects in any of several genes that code for proteins, such as collagen, that link the top and bottom layers of skin. The gene defect creates fragile skin that easily tears, resulting in painful blisters and sores. There is no cure; physicians usually treat symptoms only by dressing wounds and treating infections. Those with severe forms of EB who survive childhood are also prone to skin cancer and often die from that by their mid-40s.A few years ago, researchers tried gene therapy in a single EB patient, using a virus to add a corrective gene to skin cells cultured from that person and then grafting sheets of them onto his legs. Although the repaired cells took hold, the risks of the virus used in the trial and challenges of growing enough cells to cover a large surface area led researchers to look for other options.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(*)Several groups have now turned to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, a type of cell created by reprogramming adult cells back into an embryonic state. These iPS cells can be coaxed to grow into large quantities of various adult tissues that are genetically matched to a person and therefore less likely to be rejected by the immune system than cells from a donor.A Columbia University team pursuing the iPS cell approach recently took advantage of the fact that some EB patients have skin cells that somehow lose the disease-causing mutations and turn back into healthy cells. The scientists transformed some of these “revertant” cells into iPS cells, then from them grew skin cells called keratinocytes that expressed the type of collagen missing in the patients. When grafted onto the back of a strain of mice with a weak immune system that would not reject the cells from a different species, the keratinocytes grew into human skin and produced the correct form of collagen. Using revertant cells in this manner for EB could avoid the risks of gene therapy and “be a little more straightforward,” says study leader Angela Christiano.But only about 20% to 30% of people with EB have revertant skin cells, so other groups have taken a more traditional approach. In a second study, researchers at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, created iPS cells from skin cells taken from three EB patients lacking a collagen different from the type studied by the Columbia team. They then fixed the genetic defect in the stem cells before turning them back into keratinocytes. These steps can potentially introduce harmful mutations, and the original cells from EB patients can also carry cancer-causing mutations. But the team reduced this risk by genetically screening and banking only iPS cells free of harmful mutations. The cells grew as skin grafts on mice for up to a month before the cells died.Neither of these studies showed that cells could help treat the disease in an animal with EB. But in the third study, researchers in Josef Penninger’s lab at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna did just that by deriving iPS cells from the skin cells of mice with the same defect as the EB patients studied by the Stanford group. They then repaired the collagen gene; turned the cells into fibroblasts, another type of skin cell; and injected them under the sick mice’s skin. These cells formed skin layers that expressed the correct form of collagen for 18 weeks.Together, the three papers, published today in Science Translational Medicine, “should provide a lot of optimism that this approach has a lot of legs,” says Anthony Oro, who co-led the Stanford study with Marius Wernig. Both his group and the Columbia team have applied for funding to launch trials of the iPS cell treatment in EB patients.Although the reports are promising, they also show the challenges of using such cells for the skin disorder, says stem cell scientist Lorenz Studer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He points out that the researchers haven’t yet found the right recipe for producing human skin cells that live longer than a few weeks. “This therapy is still kind of on hold until the field can achieve long-term engraftment,” Studer says.Jakub Tolar of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, who also studies iPS and gene therapy for EB, highlights another issue. The skin graft approach won’t treat internal problems that many EB patients suffer from due to the disease’s effects on the lining of the gut and esophagus. Tolar is working on a riskier, but more comprehensive solution: giving EB patients bone marrow transplants of gene-corrected cells made using iPS cells. Still, he’s impressed by the current trio of papers. “It’s gratifying to see they have taken it this far,” Tolar says.last_img read more

first_imgThe apparent history of this “auspicious” day is associated with the tale of queen Veervati and her penance to keep her husband alive. Related Itemslast_img

first_imgThe Lok Sabha passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, on December 19 with a voice vote amid repeated disruptions and adjournements.The Bill ensures effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibits commercial surrogacy, and allows altruistic surrogacy to needy Indian infertile couples who have been married for at least 5 years.Read it at Down to Earth Related Itemslast_img

first_imgThousands of Indian students are counting their days of stay in the United States, spending sleepless nights as they fear they could be “trapped” and detained anytime by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities for alleged immigration frauds. Read it at Economic Times Related Itemslast_img

first_imgThe disclosure in the national bestseller Game Change that Senate majority leader Harry Reid once remarked that then presidential candidate Barack Obama would be embraced more easily by Americans because he was “light skinned” and didn’t have a “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one” touched off a political firestorm on race in the United States. While the comments, for which Reid apologized profusely, were denounced as racist in many circles, there is also widespread acknowledgment that, however indelicately, Reid had lifted the lid on a painful truth endemic to American political life.  Shankar Vedantam, author of The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives, says Reid’s observation is no more “controversial than saying wealthy people have an advantage in elections.” Vedantam wrote in the New York Times, “Dozens of research studies have shown that skin tone and other racial features play powerful roles in who gets ahead and who does not. These factors regularly determine who gets hired, who gets convicted and who gets elected.”Extensive research in the United States has documented implicit and explicit bias based not just on race, but also skin tone — what anthropologists call “colorism,” described by the researchers Keith Maddox and Stephanie Gray as “the tendency to perceive or behave toward members of a racial category based on the lightness or darkness of their skin tone.”Thanks to their economic success, driven in large part by their higher educational attainment, Indian Americans — who are three times as likely to have a college degree than Whites and five times as likely to have a graduate degree — have avoided many of the burdens of their skin tone in American life. Ironically, however, few communities worldwide demonstrate as deep a prejudice for light skin as Indians. Mirror, Mirror  on the WallWho Is the Biggest Liar of Them AllStrong majority of Indians view themselves as fair and just 2% perceive themselves as dark, according to a Little India analysis of nearly 1.67 million profiles on India’s largest matrimonial site.An examination of Bharat Matrimony determined that 57% of the profiles were self-classified as fair or very fair and another 33% as wheatish or wheatish brown. MoreConsider that Emami’s skin lightening cream Fair and Lovely for women racked up $325 million in sales in India last year. L’Oreal recently rolled out Bollywood hunk John Abraham to pitch its Garnier Men’s skin whitening lotion to challenge the hegemony of the market favorite Fair and Handsome, whose pitchman Shah Rukh Khan is one of India’s hottest filmstars. Advertising spending on skin whitening products grew almost 30 percent in 2009 over last year and Unilever’s Vaseline Healthy White Body is currently the most advertised cosmetic brand on Indian television.Perhaps the most compelling evidence of the Indian obsession for fair skin comes from a Little India analysis of matrimonial ads on one of India’s largest matrimonial website,, which found (see box) that in a strong majority of profiles, users self identified themselves as fair or very fair and just 2% classified themselves as dark. Even a majority of South Indians, who are decidedly darker than North Indians, categorized themselves as fair or very fair and just 2% as dark. The study also found that the encounter with America’s predominantly white culture heightened the self identification with fair skin among Indian Americans, who categorized themselves as “very fair” in somewhat higher proportions than people in India. The U.S. civil rights movement wrought a sea change in race relations and overt expressions and acknowledgment of racial prejudice in public life are now rare. However, an accumulating corpus of research evidence demonstrates that Americans continue to harbor deep seated biases on issue of race and skin tone, cultivated by decades of conditioning and even centuries of evolution.Since 1998, researchers at Harvard University’s Project Implicit website (see box) have compiled data on the implicit biases of millions of Americans (and in more recent years other parts of the world) on a range of issues, such as age, race, skin tone, disability, gender, sexual orientation, etc. The bias is assessed on the basis of individual responses to rapid word association tests administered on the website. Asians demonstrated the highest levels of bias on race and skin tone than people of any other region in the world and Asian Americans were second only to Whites in their bias in these racially and ethnically sensitive categories. Moreover, Asians and Asian Americans reported the highest level of explicit prejudice on issues of race and skin tone — higher than even Whites — on the Harvard website.Harvard University’s Mahzarin Banaji, one of the three authors of the Implicit Association Test (IAT), who grew up in India, said that resource limitations precludes her research group from analyzing their data from India and South Asians: “In the future, we will have the resources to look at these data by various subgroups around the world. It is an interest of mine to look at this result from Indians, in part because of my experience, that in India (and a few other cultures) skin color is coded far more finely that in simple dark-light form.” Nevertheless, Banaji points out, her research has found that the implicit bias for lighter skin tone is consistent across all U.S. racial groups. There is broad agreement, although by no means unanimous, in the scholarly community that most people hold unconscious biases on matters of race or skin tone. But more significant than the fact that almost 70 percent of the millions of people who have taken the IAT demonstrate at least some preference for light skin is the real world impact of such biases. There is mounting evidence of the social, economic and political disparities that colorism engenders, often as striking as disparities based on race.A study by HarvardUniversity’s Traci Burch of nearly 67,000 convictions of first time felons in Georgia between 1995 to 2002, for instance, found that blacks on average received sentences that were 378 days longer than Whites. But Burch also found wide disparities based on the skin tones of Black defendants. The sentences of the lightest skins Blacks were three and half months longer than Whites, those of medium skinned Blacks were a year longer than Whites, while the sentences of dark skinned Blacks were a year and a half longer than Whites. Another study by Stanford psychologist Jennifer Aberhardt and her colleagues, Paul Davies, Valerie Purdie-Vaughns and Sheri Johnson, of capital cases between 1979 to 1999 from Philadelphia, Penn., found that dark skinned Black defendants in crimes involving a White victim were twice as likely to receive the death penalty than lighter skinned Blacks.Likewise, research by Jennifer Hochschild, Traci Burch and Vesla Weaver, of the government department of Harvard University, demonstrated that light skinned Latinos and African Americans had two years of additional schooling than dark skinned ones. They also found that light skinned Blacks earned almost $2,695 more than dark skinned Blacks while light skinned Latinos earned $3,163 more than dark skinned ones. Other research suggests that the wage gap is even wider — as much as $5,000. A University of Georgia study established that hiring managers preferred light skinned Black job applicants to dark-skinned ones. The researcher Mathew Harrison concluded: “Dark-skinned men with greater credentials were significantly less preferred than a light-skinned man with lower credentials. The economic gap between light-skinned and darker-skinned Blacks is similar to the gap between Whites and Blacks.”Research also offers compelling evidence for Reid’s politically sensitive remark that lighter skinned Blacks have better electoral success than dark skinned ones. A 2007 Harvard study, “The Skin Color Paradox and the American Racial Order,” on Black officials elected to statewide or national offices since 1865 found that 40% were light skinned and 20% dark skinned, against a national Black population that is 17% light skinned and 38% dark skinned. More bluntly: a light skinned Black was four times as likely to be elected than a dark skinned one in proportion to their relative representation in the U.S. population.These burdens of dark skin tone have profound implications for Asian Americans, whose higher educational attainment levels have allowed them to dodge the hurdles of race that have tripped up other U.S. minorities. And the pernicious consequences of skin tone biases entrap Asians, such as Indian Americans, not just with the dominant American White culture, but within their own subethnic group as well. Says Vedantam: “Colorism is an intraracial problem as well as an interracial problem. Racial minorities who are alert to white-black or white-brown issues often remain silent about a colorism that asks ‘how black’ or ‘how brown’ someone is within their own communities.”The 1995 Federal Glass Ceiling Commission noted: “Color-based differences are inescapable, but nobody likes to talk about them…. Though it is mostly covert, our society has developed an extremely sophisticated, and often denied, acceptability index based on gradations in skin color…. It is applied to African Americans, to American Indians, to Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, and to Hispanic Americans.”Unfortunately, most research on skin tone has focused exclusively on African Americans and Hispanics, often because the sample sizes for Asians are small. It is driven also by, what Brian Nosek, a researcher at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., and another author of the IAT, views as an “obsession” of U.S. culture with race issues surrounding African Americans. Says Nosek: “That is one gap I would like to see start to close as the world is becoming flatter.” But even in the absence of research specifically targeting the impact of skin tone bias involving Indians, Vedantam says, “I have no doubt that the same phenomenon applies in India that given two Indians or two Pakistanis, skin tone does matter in all kinds of different ways — whether someone gets hired for a job, whether they are suitable for promotions, perhaps in the criminal justice systems, what kind of punishment someone gets for committing a crime.”Given the near universal consistency in the automatic preference for lighter skin in the skin tone test, the “results seem to be quite general,” says Banaji. Among Indians, Banaji says, the implicit bias is compounded by “an explicit and blatant preference for lighter skins” as well. As a result, says Vedantam, “I would expect that the same phenomenon would hold true (among Indians) that whiteness is so prized not only in matrimonial ads where people seek out fair skinned brides and bride grooms but all kind of domains professional domains, law, medical treatments, who gets access to treatment and who does not.”Indeed, the pernicious consequences of the preference for lighter skin tone could be even acuter among Indians. Nosek says he find the fact that Asians report the highest level of conscious bias for lighter skin tones “curious and I do not have an answer based on evidence” for it. “I can only offer speculation and perhaps the main speculation would be that in the category of Asians there may be more variation in skin tone than there tends to be on other sub groups and they may be culturally more valuing lighter skin tones. This is certainly true in South America and in India as well where lighter skin tone tends to be more highly valued or associated with more highly valued groups. There may be an interesting sociological or historical factors for that valuation.”The matrimonial market and the still widespread practice of dowry makes India among the few countries where a direct monetary value can be ascribed to fair skin, unlike in the United States, where it is mediated through economic or judicial disparities. Banaji recalls “being told by a friend when I was in college in India in the 1970s that she would fetch Rs 10,000 more in dowry than her sister who looked the same as her in skin color, but who was apparently a shade darker than my friend.” Banaji adds: “We have to ask why, and what it means about our values, and how we can each take actions that promote people based on the content of their character, on their abilities and contributions, rather than on pigmentation.”Sunaina Maira, associate professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis, says: “I think this issue (of pigmentation) impacts every area of life. It’s most explicitly expressed in relation to marriage, but it surfaces in family relationships, gender relationships, employment, social life, popular culture, youth culture, etc. Indians who have color prejudice express it in every arena, not just marriage, and so people are constantly ranked and evaluated according to color.  It’s also evident that Bollywood actors and actresses are increasingly not just light-skinned but also light-haired and lighter-eyed, and more Caucasian-looking in their facial features as well (cosmetic surgery is also on the increase, as are colored contact lenses).”India Today recently reported that fair-skinned prostitutes from Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan “feeding on the Indian fascination for white skin,” have taken over the high end flesh trade in the country. Sarah, a prostitute from Tashkent, told the magazine, “Indians are so conscious of their colors and ours,” while, Pramada Menon, a Delhi-based community activist on gender issues, said: “Sex with light skinned women is aspirational” for many Indians.Maira says the Indian attitude doesn’t just stop at a preference for light skin; they discriminate against those with dark skin: “This also leads to racism against Africans and others with dark skin. There was a recent article by an African American recounting his horrendous experiences traveling in India. We fawn over white foreigners and treat dark or black foreigners terribly.”Madhulika Khandelwal, director of the Asian American Center at QueensCollege, argues that India’s cultural diversity, however, diffuses the impact of skin tone, so that it may not have quite the impact that racial categorization and institutionalization of racial categories in the United States do. Even though Indian Americans, for example, self identify themselves as fairer than people in India, that attitude likely plays out in the context of the dominant culture than within the community, where “it may take the edges off or soften the boundaries within the group.”Khandelwal said while she had found anecdotal discussions of the impact of skin tone in India and the Indian American community, she has not seen any empirical work on the subject. Nearly a dozen scholars in the area of Indian American, race and ethnic studies polled by Little India were likewise unaware of research work in this area. As the academic study of Asian Americans expands on U.S. college campuses it is a subject that likely will receive increasing scrutiny in the coming decade.Meanwhile, Vedantam says the strongest bulwark against unconscious biases is to become aware of them by taking psychological tests, such as the IAT, “If we don’t even know that they exist they will have complete sway over us, manipulating us.”Nosek adds that “awareness” in turn would lead to greater humility in recognizing that our judgments may be impaired by biases, prodding us to reevaluate our assumptions on issues. Implicit biases, as opposed to conscious biases, are most likely to influence behavior, Nosek says, when the decision is complex, ambiguous or when people are under stress or have to react quickly. “When those factors are at play we can fall back on our heuristic easy way of thinking and may not be likely to notice the potential impact of implicit bias on our judgment.”In those circumstances, Nosek suggests, people “deliberately slow down or seek a second opinion and do other things that might help to reduce the potential impact of implicit bias.” But individual efforts can only go so far, Vednatam says, arguing that we need societal and institutional responses to our implicit biases: “We can construct institutions that can essentially protect us from our own hidden brains…. At an institutional level we can make sure that we have systems that can check on us — integrity checks that can establish that the outcomes of what we are doing are fair and accurate.”Banaji cautions that pigmentation based discrimination is only a part of the larger emphasis on outward beauty. She recalls a friend in Mumbai who was told by her manager at a prestigious Mumbai hotel that she could not serve as a receptionist at their front desk because she was overweight. “What a loss to the hotel in talent, what a loss to her who aspired to that job. And a loss to the rest of us who are taught by the images we see and experience that only beautiful people can greet guests when they arrive at a hotel.”“The sadness here, I guess, is that these are not subtle biases, they are expressed overtly to deny people access to opportunity and resources.”  All the Prime Minister’s MenThe 12 men and one woman who have occupied India’s highest office of prime minister have been predominantly fair skinned. The two South Indians who served as prime minister, H.D. Deve Gowda and P.V. Narasimha Rao, were the darkest occupants of the office, but even they fell in the light to medium skin end of the skin tone spectrum. The overwhelming majority, including the three members of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty — Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi — as well as Morarji Desai, Gulzari Lal Nanda, Manmohan Singh and Inder Kumar Gujral were decidedly fair or very fair in complexion. Outgoing Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao (right) with his successor H.D. Deve Gowda, both from South India, are the darkest men to serve as India’s prime minister. Madhulika Khandelwal, director of the Asian American Center at Queens College, cautions however that skin tone in India is mediated and often diffused by other factors in a culturally diverse society. The fact that most Indian prime ministers are fair skinned, she points out, is also a function of the fact that “Northern regions have higher representation in India’s national politics. “The results would be different, she argues, had there been four prime ministers from the South and not just two, for example. “So skin tone may play a role, I am not saying it doesn’t, but it is not the only factor and it is more complex than just that,” Khandelwal says. “Skin tone is just so much more obvious than the other factors.”    Project Implicit: What’s Your Bias?Harvard University’s Project Implicit website serves as a virtual laboratory that allows visitors to confidentially assess their implicit attitudes on such issues as ethnic and racial groups, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.  The Implicit Association Test (IAT), developed by Brian Nosek, of the University of Virginia, Mahzarin Banaji, of Harvard University, and Tony Greenwald, of the University of Washington, asks visitors to rapidly associate positive and negative concepts in the categories they are evaluating, such as light and dark skin tones and uses the relative speed of their responses to the associations to evaluate their implicit biases. More than 4.5 million visitors have taken the tests since they were established in 1998 and an estimated 15,000 tests are completed every week, making it, according to its authors, “the largest database on implicit attitudes and knowledge currently available.”The tests show that implicit biases are pervasive against the elderly, gays, women, etc. The website reports, for instance, that 70% of the testers show an implicit bias in favor of light skin and 12% for dark skin. Just 17% demonstrate little or no implicit bias. Testers are scored as having slight, moderate, strong or little to no bias. Nosek says, “We do find in our research that the stronger the bias that someone shows is associated with particular behavior. So one example in the context of race is that people who have stronger implicit preference to Whites compared to Blacks will show more tension, more speech errors, negative behavior in a conversation with an African American compared to White Americans.” Readers can take the IAT at the project implicit website at Bobby Jindal’s ‘Fair’y TaleIn the wake of the controversy over Sen Harry Reid’s comments on Pres. Barack Obama surfaced, political consultant John Aravois pointed out on his blog the ext ent to which Louisiana  Gov. Bobby Jindal’s official portrait had been whitened.  Related Itemslast_img read more

first_imgIn New York, more than 3,000 gathered in a city park and carried signs that said, “OK Google, really?” In Dublin, dozens filled a sidewalk. And in Silicon Valley, thousands poured out of office buildings into a common outdoor area and chanted: “Stand up! Fight back!”Similar scenes played out in other cities around the world — from Singapore and Hyderabad, India, to Berlin, Zurich, London, Chicago and Seattle — as Google employees held a wave of walkouts Thursday to protest the internet company’s handling of sexual harassment.The backlash was prompted by an article in The New York Times last week that revealed Google had paid millions of dollars in exit packages to male executives accused of misconduct, while staying silent about the transgressions.“I am here because what you read in The New York Times are a small sampling of the thousands of stories we all have,” Meredith Whittaker, a Google employee who helped organize the walkout, said to a crowd of colleagues in New York. After she called out the company’s “pattern of unethical and thoughtless decision-making,” protesters chanted, “Time’s up.”The walkouts capped a turbulent week for Google. After The Times article was published, the company revealed it had fired 48 people for sexual harassment over the last two years and that none had received an exit package. Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, and Larry Page, a co-founder of Google and the chief executive of its parent company, Alphabet, apologized. And one of the executives whom Alphabet continued employing after he was accused of harassment resigned, with no exit package.But employees’ discontent continued to simmer. Many said Google had treated female workers inequitably over time. Others were outraged that Google had paid Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android mobile software, a $90 million exit package even after the company concluded that a harassment claim against him was credible.That led some Google employees to call for a walkout. The organizers also produced a list of demands for changing how Google handles sexual harassment, including ending its use of private arbitration in such cases. They also asked for the publication of a transparency report on instances of sexual harassment, further disclosures of salaries and compensation, an employee representative on the company board, and a chief diversity officer who could speak directly to the board.Pichai, who spoke at The Times’ DealBook conference in New York on Thursday, said: “It’s been a difficult time. There is anger and frustration within the company. We all feel it. I feel it, too.”He said Google had not lived up to the high bar it set for itself. It has since “evolved as a company,” Pichai added, and he expressed support for the employees who participated in the walkout. He promised that Google would take steps to address the issues they raised.The walkouts, which started in Asia and spread across continents, were planned for around 11 a.m. in local time zones. Many employees — both men and women — posted photos on social media to chronicle their experiences. The images showed dozens of people gathered in different locations, chanting slogans and displaying signs. One read: “What do I do at Google? I work hard every day so the company can afford $90,000,000 payouts to execs who sexually harass my co-workers.”Brenda Salinas, a Google employee in London, did not go to work on Thursday because of an injury but expressed her support for the walkout.“Last week was one of the hardest weeks of my yearlong tenure at Google, but today is the best day,” she said. “I feel like I have thousands of colleagues all over the world who, like me, are committed to creating a culture where everyone is treated with dignity.”Salinas also said contract workers were included in the demands from the organizers of the protest. “That doesn’t get talked about enough in tech,” she said.Claire Stapleton, a product marketing manager for YouTube, which is owned by Google, who helped call for the walkout, said the number of employees who had turned out at protests exceeded her expectations.“We’re optimistic that we’ve opened a conversation about structural change here and elsewhere,” she said.Google employees participate in a walkout at the 14th Street Park near Google’s New York headquarters, Nov. 1, 2018. Employees at Google offices around the world held a wave of walkouts on Thursday to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment. Photo: John Taggart/The New York TimesIn New York, elevator-loads of workers emerged from the company’s Chelsea office and congregated in a nearby park. Some carried “Time’s Up” signs, a reference to Hollywood’s movement against sexual harassment.“There’s a time where the rubber meets the road, and showing up to something that’s this important and meaningful has impact,” said Nick Strohecker, a recruiter at Google who volunteered to help with crowd control.At the park, a spillover of people gathered in an adjacent street. Protest leaders stood on chairs to address the crowd through a megaphone.Demma Rodriguez, a leader of the Black Googler Network, an employee resource group, said that when Google wasn’t a place of equality for women, minorities and people with disabilities, “that means the company is failing everyone.”“I am fed up,” she told the cheering crowd. “We will bring the consequences.”In Seattle, hundreds of people crammed into a plaza near Google’s offices. Bundled in hoodies and Patagonia puffer jackets with Google product logos, they held posters with messages like “Not OK, Google” and “Don’t be evil,” which was once the company’s motto.Alice Lemieux, a Google software engineer, encouraged employees to keep organizing and providing feedback internally. “Laws and policies change because of people like us,” she said.One of the largest turnouts was at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. Several thousand employees assembled in a common outdoor area with signs like “Don’t be evil, protect victims, not harassers.” Then many of the employees marched off campus, chanting: “Stand up! Fight back!” It was unclear if they returned to work.Karen Weise, Adam Satariano and Raymond Zhong contributed reporting.c.2018 New York Times News Service Related Itemslast_img read more