Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Agartala on February 3, the day that witnessed some dramatic twists in political camps in the run up to the February 18 Assembly elections. Former Chief Minister Samir Ranjan Barman who filed his nomination papers for the Bishalgarh constituency, and pledged to contest as an independent, withdrew his candidature in support of the BJP.In another development, Sukumar Chandra Das, Congress candidate from Salgarah-Kakraban constituency, withdrew his papers and joined the BJP. After his departure, the Congress is now left with 59 candidates.Soon after arrival, Mr. Singh addressed an election rally at Barjala in support of party candidate Dilip Das. Mr Singh during his two-day stay would address a number of rallies and flag off the party’s Bijay Rath that would travel across the State to propagate for the party aspirants till closure of campaign.While the BJP is hosting central leaders and star campaigners, the ruling CPI(M) engaged its top leaders. After hectic schedules of party general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau members Brinda Karat and Subhashini Ali, and several other leaders from West Bengal. Former party general secretary Prakash Karat is now leading the campaign besides Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.The Congress earlier released a list of some 40 star campaigners including Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. However, the party is yet to confirm their engagements. Regional parties like the INPT and the NCT are jointly contesting and together put 14 candidates in tribal reserved segments. INPT president Bijay Kumar Hrangkhawl alleged pressure and threats on candidates of the alliance to give up fight.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prove that she took money selling her paintings.The TMC chief’s strong reaction comes after BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday alleged Ms. Banerjee’s paintings were bought by chit fund owners for crores of rupees.Addressing a public meeting here, Ms. Banerjee said the BJP leaders have no courtesy and her party has initiated defamation proceedings “over the baseless allegation“.“Modi Babu (PM), I challenge you to prove that I have taken a single penny (for selling the paintings) in my account. You talk like a barbarian and have no courtesy,” Ms. Banerjee said.
The Elders this week welcomed Germany’s engagement and efforts on refugee and migration issues, and called for greater European and global responsibility-sharing as part of a wider, comprehensive approach.Kofi Annan, Martti Ahtisaari and Lakhdar Brahimi made their call following meetings with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal President Joachim Gauck, business leaders, civil society groups and refugees themselves during the two-day visit to Berlin – the first official visit to Germany by The Elders.Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders, said: “We applaud Germany’s leadership on refugees and migration, and the bold decisions taken by Chancellor Merkel, Foreign Minister Steinmeier and the coalition government. These are complex, long-term issues that require far-sighted, compassionate leadership. The answer can never be to erect walls, or to claim that militarised borders or detention of migrants will stem the flow of desperate people.“We have been heartened by our meetings with political and business leaders, and especially with refugees themselves and the volunteers from all sections of German society who have made such selfless efforts to help people in need.”The Elders also launched a new report on refugees and migration during their visit, setting out four key principles that should govern the world’s approach to these complex issues. They believe that: 1. Response mechanisms to large flows of people must be developed and properly coordinated, both regionally and internationally.2. Assistance to major refugee-hosting countries must be enhanced.3. Resettlement opportunities must be increased, along with additional pathways for admission.4. Human rights and refugee protection must be upheld and strengthened.The Elders will continue to advocate these positions at a global level, including at the United Nations General Assembly and Refugee Summit next week in New York, and seek to ensure that the voices of refugees and migrants themselves are heard and respected as part of a truly compassionate, comprehensive policy approach.
Magazine redesigns are a dime a dozen but the editorial and design facelift that Rodale’s Bicycling is unveiling with its June issue is a “significant rebirth of the brand,” according to editor-in-chief Peter Flax. “A lot of time people change typefaces and update a couple departments and call it a redesign,” he adds. “That’s not what we’re doing here.” Bicycling celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and a major redesign has been the focus since Flax joined the magazine last summer. The cover boasts a new logo and a boost from 70-pound paper stock to 100-pound stock, while a new front-of-book-section called “Know How” offers service for readers.Major investments are being made in photography and freelance editorial. “When we were leading up to the redesign we had a lot of ideas but Rodale made a significant investment in market research to enlighten what we were doing,” says Flax. “We talked to both existing readers and prospective readers about what they want in print and what they want digitally and in print what they want is story-telling, beautiful photography and packaging, things that a print magazine can do well that’s difficult to do online.” Editorial will include 7,000 to 8,000-word narratives in each issue. “This magazine has a tradition of winning National Magazine Awards for feature stories and our aim is to do that kind of journalism in every issue,” says Flax. “We don’t just want to be the biggest cycling magazine, we want to be as good as any title in any space.” Freelance edit and photography budgets are up 30 percent to 40 percent, according to Flax. “Anybody in the business knows when you upgrade from 70-pound cover stock to 100-pound cover stock, you’re talking about a six-figure kind of investment,” he says. “This is a real investment for a brand like ours and puts us in position to work regularly with photographers who before may have been out of our reach to do page after page, issue after issue. It’s one thing to reposition a magazine, it’s another thing to have the resources to execute it.” Market ResponseWhile ad pages in Bicycling dropped 6.5 percent in the first quarter of 2011, according to Publishers Information Bureau, the magazine rebounded in the second quarter with pages up 6 percent in April and 23 percent in May, according to the publisher. For the June redesign issue, ad pages are up 26 percent. While the publisher says endemic pages are up 18 percent, auto advertising is up 107 percent this year. “We’ve been floating out images in advance of the June issue and the acceptance has been fantastic,” says publisher Chris Lambiase. “We’re doing this at a time of strength–participation in the sport continues to grow.”The Bicycling audience has household income of $84,000 with a high percent of readers with professional/managerial job titles, according to Lambiase. “Redesigning Bicycling to be more sophisticated and visual allows us to better match the interests of our current audience, and to bring in new readers that are attracted by that aesthetic.”
Brought to you by PCWorld Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 4 min read Business tech is advancing rapidly, and a select group of products is leading the charge. So what’s new? Cloud-based office suites and file sharing, touchscreen tablets, and videoconferencing are at the forefront of today’s workplace transformation. If you’re looking for a quick productivity boost, consider the offerings described below.Google AppsWatch out, Microsoft Office. Google Apps, the search giant’s cloud-based productivity suite, is working its way into the business world. In addition, tools such as Google Voice enable small businesses to look bigger by giving them a single phone number that reaches multiple phones. New, affordable versions of the apps for government offices, as well as improved protection against phishing and malware threats, make Google Apps a worthy challenger to Microsoft’s venerable suite.DropboxThis popular share-and-sync online service is ridiculously easy to use. Simply place your files in a Dropbox folder on one computer, and they’re uploaded to a secure server. You can access your files from other Dropbox-equipped computers and mobile devices, too. The first 2GB of storage is free, and you can buy more.Apple iPadApple’s innovative tablet has turned out to be more than just a big iPod Touch. The iPad is entering the business world as more enterprises recognize its potential. Thousands of apps and an ergonomic touch interface make the iPad a winner. Even better, a smaller, camera-equipped model may arrive soon.DroboData Robotics’ series of easy-to-manage network storage devices are ideal for small and home offices, and they’re a hit with Mac users. A Drobo box is brain-dead simple to set up, and sharing files across a network is just as straightforward. Drobo’s SOHO sensibilities make it unique in offering storage for nontechies.Windows 7Windows Vista couldn’t persuade businesses to upgrade from Windows XP, but Windows 7 is having far greater success. True, Microsoft is forcing the issue by winding down its XP support, but Windows 7 does offer security advantages for enterprises. The folks in Redmond got it right this time. Hurrah!Samsung Galaxy TabSamsung’s sleek slate has blockbuster potential in the business world. The Galaxy Tab, with its 7-inch touchscreen, fills a void between smartphones and iPad-size tablets. Its starter OS, Android 2.2, really isn’t tablet-friendly, though; to shine brightly, the Galaxy Tab will need the upcoming Android 3.0.Apple iPhone 4The latest iPhone may not be perfect, but its clever innovations earned it a spot on our list of the top 10 phones nonetheless. Its front-facing camera and FaceTime video-chat app, for instance, could revolutionize corporate meetings, particularly if FaceTime beats the odds and becomes an industry standard. Business travel, we will miss you.HP Photosmart eStationThe detachable 7-inch Android tablet that comes with HP’s newest printer is grabbing headlines, but the real story is the printer itself: The Photosmart eStation has business-friendly benefits such as wireless connectivity and two-sided printing. The tablet lets you control the eStation remotely and print Web pages without a PC.Microsoft Office 2010Microsoft’s desktop office suite keeps getting better, although its Web-based counterpart is junk. Office 2010 offers numerous productivity perks, including a customizable “Ribbon” interface, better built-in graphics tools, and improved malware protection. And PowerPoint’s new Broadcast feature is great for displaying slideshows on remote clients’ computers.iGo Portable ProjectoriGo’s pocket-size projector is designed for Cisco’s Flip video cameras, but it will connect to laptops and smartphones, too. The $350 iGo projects videos at screen sizes up to 70 inches diagonally. It comes with an HDMI cable (mini-to-mini), and holds a MicroSD memory card (up to 32GB). The iGo ships in October. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global October 20, 2010 Register Now »