Lawmakers who negotiated the compromise military construction-Veterans Affairs spending bill weighed in on the administration’s proposal to shift the Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works program to two other agencies, the Transportation and Interior departments. “The conferees are opposed to the reorganization as it could ultimately have impacts for implementation of the military construction, BRAC and family housing programs,” they stated in the report’s joint explanatory statement.The conferees who hashed out the conference agreement for the defense and labor-HHS-education appropriations minibus went a step further, barring DOD from spending any funds to plan or carry out the proposed restructuring. Those conferees said they opposed the reorganization “as it could ultimately have detrimental readiness and operational impacts on Department of Defense functions and activities, to include USACE [Army Corps of Engineers] support to ongoing military operations, international partners and support to United States military installations around the world,” according to that report’s joint explanatory statement. Lawmakers from both chambers’ defense and milcon spending panels admonished DOD for failing to notify them about the proposal and emphasized it will require legislative language, which has not yet been proposed or requested.Army Corps photo by John Campbell Dan Cohen AUTHOR
In addition to slow performance, some customers may also be running into trouble accessing their Slack channels entirely. We’re digging into this and will be back with more updates soon. https://t.co/ZstseqpFlL— Slack Status (@SlackStatus) July 29, 2019 0 @SlackHQ is down… what to do we do now… how did we communicate before this? #slack #downtime #keepcalmandkeepworking pic.twitter.com/0RYmlxOD5e— Sam Forde (@samjforde) July 29, 2019 Not a way to start a Monday. Slack Yep, there was a Slack outage Monday morning. The company gave a status update about the problem saying, “Some workspaces might be experiencing issues with messages sending and loading.” After approximately 40 minutes of downtime, the service was back up.Slack updated its status page at 8:30 a.m. PT as the service returned, with the message that people “may be running into trouble accessing their Slack workspaces completely.” The company’s Twitter account also said there would be “slow performance” as the team messaging service comes back online. Share your voice Downdetector received more than 2,000 reports of users having problems with Slack. According to the site, the outage started at approximately 7:50 a.m. PT and had a global reach. Those who depend on Slack for their work weren’t too happy with the outage, especially on a Monday. Many took to Twitter to react to the platform going down. Post a comment When #slack is down and you’re remote today. pic.twitter.com/Jt6JMv69rG— Paulina Gallo ✨ (@paulpaultweets) July 29, 2019 SLACK IS DOWNQUICK, EVERYONE SEND AN EMAIL— Kelly Vaughn 🐞 (@kvlly) July 29, 2019 At the end of June, Slack suffered a three-hour outage that was due to some of its servers being unavailable. Originally published on July 29 at 8:15 a.m. PT:Update, 8:19 a.m. PT: Adds Downdetector details. 8:32 a.m. PT: Adds Twitter reactions. 8:53 a.m. PT: Adds details on the end of outage. Tags Computers
Prothom Alo IllustrationTwo suspected criminals were killed in what the law enforcers called gunfights in Gazipur and Bogura early Friday, reports UNB.In Gazipur, a suspected arms trader was killed in a reported gunfight between his cohorts and members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Salna area.The deceased could not be identified yet.Tipped-off, a team of the elite force conducted a drive in the area around 2:30am, said RAB-1 Company commander lieutenant commander Abdullah Al-Mamun.Sensing the presence of law enforcers, the gang members opened fire on the law enforcers, prompting them to retaliate that triggered the gunfight.The gunfight left the youth injured with bullet while two RAB members sustained injuries.He was then taken to Shaheed Tazuddin Ahmad Medical College Hospital where the on-duty doctor declared him dead.The law enforcers recovered a pistol and ammunitions from the spot.In Bogura, another alleged top terror was killed in a ‘gunfight’ between two rivals groups in Dhundar Bridge area of Sadar upazila.The deceased is Rashid Anam, 25.The two rivals exchanged gunfire in the area around 1:30pm, said Sanatan Chakraborty, additional superintendent of Bogura police.On information, a police team went to the spot and found Rashid with bullet injuries, he said.Rashed later was taken to Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him dead.Police also recovered a pistol, a magazine and ammunitions from the spot.There have several cases with different police stations against him, the official added.
Q. Sita’s Curse opens with a masturbation scene. Meera Patel relieves herself while her angry husband bangs on the closed door. While describing the scene you have written she folded up her legs like Goddess Lakshmi seated on a half-open lotus. No fear of the Religious Right getting all worked up?As I writer, my job is to write the story I believe in. Worrying about whether an opening scene or a line or a particular character will ruffle some right-wing feathers is frankly not in my nature, nor is it integral to a creative person’s integrity. Also, we’ve been conditioned to be scared – of being branded, banished, judged, criticized and eventually rejected – family, friends, publisher, peers, Right Wing, radicals, conservatives, communists… the list is endless, as is the eventual fight. Sita’s Curse being just the beginning, in my mind – of where I want the many Meeras of our country to be. Someday. One day. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Free from their desires. Freed by their desires. When we can write about marital rape with the same rousing sentiment as we scream hoarse about rape in the heart of a burgeoning national capital. When a housewife being paraded to a family Guruji, on the false pretext of religion can actually protest. Before the next Asaram Bapu scandal. When a married woman can say just like a single woman that she enjoys masturbating or watches porn. That she nurses a secret life. Enjoying being watched back, without it escalating into yet another feminist rhetoric. Sita’s Curse is not only about a married Gujarati housewife’s sexual destiny – it is a start. Of a sameness. Of a sanity. Of a sexual secularism. A world, sans halves. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix Q. After a fairly safe debut with Faraway Music, one would have expected you to stick to plain, old goodhearted romances. But you chose to write an erotica instead. Why?Actually Sita’s Curse was the third book I penned after FM, my second being a racy lad lit, out next from Hachette, a modern day reinterpretation of Shakuntalam, as retold by Dushyant. You’ve Got The Wrong Girl. Sita’s Curse I started writing as a short story about a Gujarati housewife, I saw daily, on my way to work at the Times of India office in VT from Mahim where I lived a few years ago. Sometimes hanging clothes on a flimsy plastic wire, feeding green chillies to a tota in a cheap wrought iron cage or running her hands over her full breasts, the Meera of my imagination turned into a daily obsession – a slow fire, as I began conjecturing about her daily life. Imagining her every moment. The way she felt trapped, soulless, sad, sabotaged by the simple irony of her own life. Till the floods of July 26th, 2005 of which I too was a victim, taking three days to reach home, battling a serious viral infection I contracted, being hospitalized…later I resumed work. She was no more. Sita’s Curse is my tribute to that memory. To a life unsung. A woman with the most melancholic eyes – the color of rain. This is her story. I am but a vessel. A medium. A transit point. Q. Those who know you personally would say there was much of you in the first book. Piya Choudhury is Sreemoyee Piu Kundu. How much is this book rooted in personal history, if at all?As I said, Meera is drawn from my personal memory. And honestly, while parallels were drawn about my first female protagonist Piya and me, I feel Meera is drawn from my own flesh and blood. I gave birth to Meera. I bear her cuts. Q. Being an erotica many readers will savor the sex in it. But you have addressed important issues here as well. Long-standing social biases like considering a woman impure during her periods. Did the feminist in you pop up every time your penned down a sex scene?The biggest challenge for me as a writer was to constantly keep reminding myself of the real Meera in whose memory I penned this novel. And so, in writing the sexually graphic scenes, my attempt was to make it as real and as normal as possible for a woman of her social strata and experience – belonging to a small town, an everyday housewife, a woman who bears no children, in a soulless marriage. Also, as women our battles are all the same. I have myself seen and heard stories of women not being allowed to offer prayers or enter a kitchen/temple when they are menstruating, my own life changing after I made the transition from girlhood to womanhood at twelve. So, more than feminism, I think the erotic elements of the novel are rooted in a deep everyday Indian realism. Q. Another rarely discussed social reality, incest, is discussed early on in the book. Meera and Kartik, inseparable twins, grow up loving, caring, and feeling each other up. Do you think this may make Indian readers a tad uncomfortable? Incest is common in India, as it is elsewhere, in large joint families, for instance. But I am against branding feelings and boxing experiences into socially acceptable/non-acceptable labels and norms. So the relationship between Meera and Kartik is one that is elusive at one level and yet touches upon a very deep chord. Also, from the standpoint of the book, Meera and Kartik grow up in a small town, with hardly any window to the life and lights of a big city. In this insular life, sans much entertainment or luxuries, they are each others’ constant companions and soul-mates and it is a natural progression that from swimming naked in the village river as kids to sleeping on the same bed as scrawny teenagers, they begin viewing each other’s changing bodies and minds with a strange curiosity bordering between a platonic man-woman chemistry to the first dint of pleasure between two sexes, segregated and separated by social conditioning and conservatism. Q. Meera’s husband Mohan suffers from premature ejaculation. There is also inference to a certain godman her mother-in-law parades her to. Her first dance teacher scars her. Are all men in Sita’s Curse black? Surely, not all Indian men are so hopeless? Again, the book is not intended to start a woman vs. man debate. Who is stronger, fairer… who suffers more and why. Who always pays a price? The men you have quoted are not the only men in the novel, and as is true of anyone, each character carries strong shades of grey. Even Mohan’s character to me is a mystery – the dynamics and sexual politics of a marriage where from the first night the husband is intimidated by the sheer physicality and sexuality of his own wife. As for Guru Amarkant Maharaj – he is a prototype of the deep and complex relationship between sex and religion that is primordial to our Indian culture. Case in point. The epic Mahabharata. The dance teacher who shuns Meera is again typical of a weak man – and he could be anything, even a German or a man of French origin. Also, a character that you have skipped is Yosuf Ismail who sets Meera free. So this book is not just about the men in Meera’s life, but the life in her men. Each person teaching her something, even those that tainted her. Without them, Meera’s journey – both inwards and outwards would be incomplete. Q. Sita’s Curse has masturbation, incest, lesbian love, BDSM. Yet, I have to say it does not read vulgar. How difficult is it as a writer to tackle sex in a way that the book doesn’t become another Mastram handout?Erotica is an artform which is why it’s constant cross reference to porn is an indication of how little we as modern day readers are actually exposed to erotic writing. Before I started writing SC, I delved deep into our indigenous roots of erotica – be it Kalidasa or Jayadeva’s Geeta Govinda or the 6th century Tamil poet Andal. From Kamala Das to Ismat Chugtai. My inspiration being the innate sensuality and heightened sense of mysticism that is very much pervasive to our consciousness. I hope readers will also soak in the erotic elements of SC. Relishing it as it should be, without being squeamish or stand-offish. Being an erotic writer has led to me letting go of many of my innermost inhibitions and I hope readers also can do the same. Also, today I take pride in being a sensualist and I think it’s hugely liberating. So I was always pretty sure of the clear line between Meera and Mastram. Q. Is it embarrassing to have your parents and family elders read an erotica you have written? Or friends saying you might get branded as a porn writer? Yes and no. I have already received mails calling me a ‘whore with a disease,’ just the way I have been reached out to by many housewives and women from small towns and in urban settings, those I do not know at all, sharing with me stories of their sexual suppression, aching to find a way out. To want to stand up for their basic physical need. To speak their minds. So when I weigh the pros and cons, I know the scales are tipped in favor of Meera. Already.Q. What next? A political thriller is in the offing I hear. Right now am consumed in the promotions of SC that is a super lead from Hachette and their first erotica offering in their Indian publishing list. But yes I am hoping to start Rahula when the dust settles and I go back to my desk. As no one, but a mass of energy. Rahula is a political tragedy that is inspired by the son of Buddha and will be set against a contemporary Indian political and social milieu. But like all my other books, the story is of a man’s struggle. To be bigger than his father. To win over a shadow. And his final flight.
Kolkata: The state Tourism department is planning to make Kolkata suitable for MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference, and Events) tourism.On Thursday, at a conclave arranged by the India Convention Promotion Bureau, Atri Bhattacharya, principal secretary, state Tourism department, said the MICE tourism needs to be boosted in Bengal.He also mentioned that Bengal has potential to grow MICE tourism like it has emerged in some other states of the country. Apart from this, sources informed that a team from Tourism department will soon visit the United Kingdom to attract more people in Bengal. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeDuring his speech at the conclave held at Biswa Bangla Convention Center, Bhattacharya mentioned that New Town has world class facilities when it comes to tourism. He believes to attract people from various countries, the trend needs to be set and understood.He said: “We need more data to understand from the countries our guests arrive and what they do during their visit. This is very essential to plan future prospects.” He also mentioned that if the number of direct flights with some parts of world could be increased, then it would be a plus point for the tourism sector. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedAccording to sources at state Tourism department, a delegation team will visit the UK during the first week of September this year.This visit is meant to attract tourists from the UK during Durga Puja in Bengal. Also, the team will discuss about the possibilities of introducing more flights to and from Kolkata.During the conclave, HIDCO chairman Debashis Sen said: “Business tourism is being looked into very seriously. We are all out in formulating strategies for making it a success.”
10 min read Enroll Now for Free December 24, 2009 This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Trend #10: Coupons, Discounts and Savings Trend #8: Podcasting and Online Radio Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Advice: Let it restOnline radio is actually on a bit of a growth trend, but that’s just because so-called terrestrial radio is suffering so much that radio advertisers are switching their investments to digital formats. 2010 will be a year of exploration for online broadcasters as they struggle to find and attract loyal audiences. iTunes has long been the leader in podcasting, but there are still no clear leaders in internet radio.Even if leaders emerge in 2010, internet broadcasters will need to make their media more sharable, more engaging, more trackable and more mobile to attract money from advertisers. If you’re looking to attract an audience by broadcasting or advertising on broadcast media, go with online video in 2010 and wait for radio to finish reinventing itself.Trend #9: Online VideoAdvice: InvestIf a picture paints a thousand words, how many words does a 30-second online video paint? Countless buying emotions and memorable brand moments are possible with video. Until recently, spreading your message with video was limited to the television screen. In 2010, watch for video to become more accessible to small businesses through online outlets. Online video is interactive, memorable, widely accessible, cheap to create and highly shareable. There’s also a lot of investment happening around video, which is sure to create even more low-cost opportunities for small businesses to participate in video promotions in 2010.Video presents a great opportunity for small-business marketing, but don’t think of video as a replacement for text. As powerful as video can be, it can be more cumbersome than text because you can’t scan a video as quickly as you can scan a page of headlines, links and text to quickly find the exact information you need. Use your investments to find the right balance for your customers. Advice: InvestIf you want people to see the content on your website, it might make sense to advertise the location of your website content by placing ads on other high-traffic websites. Driving visitor traffic to your website isn’t the way to go for 2010, however. Instead, you need to spend 2010 driving your website content to the visitor traffic.The difference stems from the fact that content aggregation websites like YouTube are boosting consumer demand for instant gratification and what I like to call “content nesting.” Content nesting allows consumers to browse through content fed to them through a single web page, or nest, so that they don’t have to click on links to individual websites all over the World Wide Web, which takes more time–not to mention that the results can be anywhere from unpredictable to shockingly irrelevant.To take advantage of content nesting in 2010, your website content needs to be nested in as many content aggregation sites as possible. For example, a lot of people search for videos on YouTube. If you have a video on your website and it’s not also on YouTube, people on YouTube won’t bother searching for your website. To them, YouTube represents the total number of videos available to them on their topic of interest.Trend #7: Mobile MarketingAdvice: TestIn case you haven’t heard, mobile marketing is all about marketing to people through their mobile phones and smart-phone devices. Small businesses haven’t had much of an opportunity to engage consumers on mobile devices, but 2010 has the potential to change that.Demand is increasing dramatically for mobile applications and mobile web-browsing due to wider adoption of devices like the iPhone and the Google Android phone. As more people adopt these phones and features in 2010, look for small-business marketing services to start providing lower-cost mobile marketing solutions like text messaging, mobile e-mail marketing, mobile websites, mobile application development and location-based marketing.Make 2010 your year to collect mobile preferences from your prospects and customers, and use tools like Google Analyticsto see how many people are visiting your website on mobile web browsers. If you find interest in mobile interaction among your customers, begin testing simple mobile marketing campaigns such as sending a few mobile coupons via text or building a mobile micro-site for one of your products. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Trend #6: Web Presence Allocating your small business marketing budget to maximize return on investment and minimize the risks of a low or negative return can become a lot more unpredictable when your investments involve trends and emerging technologies. Investing in trends requires smart timing and consumer analysis.You would think that marketing trends would be closely aligned with consumer trends, since effective marketing depends on getting your messages to appear where the highest concentration of qualified eyeballs are focused. That isn’t always the case, however, because trend-focused marketers tend to place an inflated value on revolutionary technology and early adoption.Thankfully, the majority of consumers permanently relocate their attention with much less frequency than marketing bandwagon drivers. Still, missing a trend or sticking with a has-been spells opportunity lost at best and negative returns or loss of market share at worst.Since your trend-marketing returns are only as good as your ability to make educated guesses, here’s some advice to help you avoid turning educated guesses into marketing messes. The following list features the top 10 internet marketing trends for 2010, in no particular order, and tells you whether to invest, test or let it rest.Trend #1: Search Engine OptimizationAdvice: TestSites with relevant content and credible links will continue to rule the search rankings in the coming year, but 2010 has the potential to reveal a few new standards. As the volume of web content continues to grow, consumers will demand even more relevant and personalized search results. That means search engines will be looking for more relevant and personalized content from publishers and brands. In fact, the search engine algorithms are already beginning to pay more attention to date of publication, geo-location, mobile device browsers, past behavior and social media content.Don’t abandon your current SEO strategy in search of personalization, but make sure you allocate a portion of your budget to testing content, keywords and links that are targeted toward niche audiences. Test keyword and link placement in social media, local content and mobile websites, and make an effort to more frequently refresh some of the content you devote to search engine rankings. Once the search engines have tested these new search targets and revealed some concrete standards, you should be prepared to invest accordingly.Trend #2: Paid SearchAdvice: InvestPaid search hasn’t seen a revolutionary trend since the idea of the long tailwas applied to keyword bidding. That’s OK, because consumers will still use search engines in 2010 as a primary means of finding products and services to fulfill their needs, and they will still be clicking on relevant ads. Search advertising prices will remain reasonable, and average returns will remain comparably high as larger companies with decreased search marketing budgets continue to allocate resources to lower-cost SEO tactics in hopes of attracting visitors at lower prices. 2010 has the potential for even more downward pressure on price-per-click if Bing can gain enough loyal searchers to attract business away from Google.You won’t exactly feel like you’re in the driver’s seat when your search marketing placement choices are limited to Google, Microsoft or both, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from investing in the highly qualified leads that paid search is capable of producing for your small business.Trend #3: E-mail MarketingAdvice: InvestIt isn’t hard to justify an investment in e-mail marketing when the cost of sending e-mails is so low. The low cost isn’t the only reason to send e-mail, however. Most consumers still consider e-mail to be their primary form of communication, even though there are several alternative ways for consumers to subscribe to periodic content from small businesses.E-mail marketing will remain highly predictable in 2010 and may even become more powerful as e-mail service providers improve social media integration, search engine access to archived e-mails, auto-responders and new integrated applications. If you don’t already use an e-mail service provider, invest in one in 2010. If you already use an e-mail service, invest in your e-mail list and in producing valuable content to nurture leads and attract repeat customers.The cost of building a permission-based list is likely to stay the same in 2010 as it was in 2009, but more than one-third of consumers changed at least one of their e-mail addresses in 2009–due to job changes or other economic factors. Spend more time and money in 2010 focused on keeping your e-mail list current when those consumers return to work and change e-mail addresses again.Trend #4: Social Network MarketingAdvice: TestSocial media has one redeeming quality for marketers–lots and lots of eyeballs. That’s attractive if you’re a major brand, but profitable interaction will continue to be the exception for small businesses in 2010 rather than the rule. A good test of your social network marketing potential is to survey your current customers to see how many of them consider social networking to be a primary form of communication. You should probably experiment with a Facebook fan page and a Twitter page if you find that a meaningful percentage of your current customers indicate an interest in following your business.Make 2010 your year to test content that attracts repeat and referral business. Your current customers are more likely than total strangers to respond to offers posted on social networks because they already know you and trust you based on their prior purchases.Trend #5: BloggingAdvice: Let it restIf you’re writing a blog to help with search engine rankings or to inform existing customers, you should continue to test or invest. If you’re blogging in an attempt to attract new prospects and convert them to customers, however, 2010 will be a year that exposes the blogosphere’s vulnerability to the law of averages. Converting prospects into customers depends on driving visitors to content that maximizes conversions, and that means your conversion rate is only as good as the content on your landing page. If that landing page is your blog and your blog changes frequently, your conversion rate is only as good as your latest blog post.Instead of blogging to convert your website visitors into customers in 2010, work hard to test and develop great landing page content. When you find something that works, don’t change it. Advice: TestOK, this one isn’t entirely an internet marketing trend, but it’s important enough to mention because of the economy. 2009 was another tough year for retailers, and consumers are so accustomed to shopping for deals that they might begin to expect the plethora of deep discounts currently available to continue forever. If you’re engaged in heavy discounting to attract sales and survive the economic downturn, you’ll need to spend 2010 slowly weaning your customers off your lower prices, assuming that the economy recovers. Resetting expectations won’t be easy, so try swapping discounts for special privileges like loyalty discounts, free upgrades and other offers that won’t lock you in to price comparisons.Internet marketing trends develop quickly, so expect many new and exciting trends to emerge in 2010. Don’t be too quick to jump on new bandwagons because consumers move more slowly than marketers and technology. Stay focused on attracting repeat business, deepening your customer relationships and solving problems for people. Those are the trends that never fail small businesses.