The Power of Adjustment Layers in Premiere Pro

first_imgDrag the Adjustment layer onto a track into the Premiere Pro Timeline above any tracks you want to effect.  Now when you apply any filters or effects to this layer, it will be reflected in all of the tracks beneath it.Creating a Duotone Look in Premiere ProUsing a Premiere Pro adjustment layer we’ll add the tint and luma curve effects to create a duotone look.First, select the adjustment layer in a Premiere Pro Timeline, and in the Effects tab type “tint”.Double click on the tint effect to apply it to the adjustment layer.Adjust the effect in the Effect Controls for the adjustment layer. The tint effect is now applied to any video layers below it.In my example I mapped blue to black, and  light orange to white and decreased the amount to tint to 50%.I also wanted to increase contrast, so I added a Luma Curve and pulled down the shadows and pulled up the highlight (click on the line, add 2 points, adjust to taste).BEFOREAFTERCreating a Film Look Using Blur & Blend Modes in Premiere ProCreate a film look in Premiere Pro (increased contrast, softer details and highlights) by applying a fast blur effect to the adjustment layer.  The magic happens when we change the blend mode.Select the adjustment layer in the Timeline, and in the Effects tab type “fast blur”.Double click to apply it to the adjustment layer.In the Effect Controls, change the blur to 30, check “Repeat Edge Pixels” (otherwise you will get a halo effect on the edges).Click the triangle for Opacity and change the Blend Mode from Normal to Soft Light.Think of blend modes as opacity on steroids. It allows you to blend the 2 layers together.  Experiment with other blending modes like Add and Multiply to get more unique effects.Your clip  now has a more stylized look.  You can apply multiple effects to any adjustment layer just like a clip, and I often adjust the opacity if the effect is too strong.  You could take this effect even further and add a tint or luma curve effect too.BEFOREAFTEROnce you wrap adjustment layers into your post workflow they will become indispensable for quickly achieving unique looks.Got tips for using adjustment layers?  Let us know in the comments! Creating Premiere Pro Adjustment LayersTo create a new Premiere Pro adjustment layer, click on “new item” in the Project and select Adjustment Layer.  A dialogue box appears.  Click “ok”.  This matches the  adjustment layer  to your Sequence settings. Premiere Pro Adjustment Layers give you the ability to apply an effect to multiple clips with one layer.Premiere Pro adjustment Layers are transparent layers you can apply effects to, just like you would to a standard video track. The advantage is that if want to change or remove the effect later, you are just changing one layer and not multiple layers. Adjustment layers also only effect the layers they are above, so you can move them below any layer you don’t want to effect.In this Adobe Premiere Pro tutorial you will learn:What adjustment layers are & how to use them in Premiere ProCreating a tinted, duotone lookCreating a stylized film looklast_img read more

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Camera Assistant Essentials

first_imgDon’t be caught on set without the necessary tools for the job. In this quick tutorial you’ll get a rundown of the essential items that every camera assistant should have in their toolkit.If you’re in the video/film production industry and you’re not reading The Black and Blue you should be. Black and Blue founder Evan Luzi is a skilled camera assistant who uses the blog to share his in-depth knowledge of the job and film industry.In a recent post and video he pulled out his camera assistant toolkit and showed the items he brings on every shoot. Some of these items are obvious (clapperboard, wrench, card reader) while others are not so obvious (ibuprofen, space blanket, hand sanitizer).This is great info if you’re just starting out in the video biz or if you’re curious how you can improve your own established kit.  Check out the corresponding post on The Black and Blue for a full list of the camera assistant kit items, as well as Evan’s insightful commentary on how you customize your kit best for the type of productions you work on.Thanks for sharing, Evan!last_img read more

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Why Collaboration, Knowledge And Vision Are The Keys To A Successful Directorial Career

first_imgFirst time directors are notorious for not understanding their role in the filmmaking process, and not being able to effectively manage a set. Throughout this article I am going to highlight a few key points that will help those of you that are just getting started as directors to get the most out of yourself and your team.As someone who enjoys nearly every facet of the filmmaking process, it is undeniably the art of directing that I enjoy most. It really wasn’t until I had made a few films though (and lots of mistakes along the way) that I truly understood what it meant to be a director. Like many inexperienced filmmakers at the time, I felt that directing was purely a creative responsibility. All I wanted to focus on were the elements of the process that were creative by nature, and I neglected to understand that many of the less creative elements of directing (and leading a team) were just as important, and had a just as much of an impact on the final product as anything else.If you’ve been struggling with directing your own work and ultimately haven’t achieved the results that you’ve been after – this post is for you. No matter how skilled you may be as a director, how great your eye might be for imagery, or how powerful your script is, you still need to follow these key points outlined below in order to get the most out of yourself and your team.Collaborate WiselyFilmmaking is a team sport, whether you like to think of it that way or not. You must understand that since filmmaking at it’s core is a collaborative medium, bringing on the right cast and crew (and actually letting them have a say in the creative process) is extremely important. First-time directors are known for having ego-problems, because they feel like they have something to prove on set, and as such are often very insecure. Unfortunately, this type of mentality will directly translate to a sub-par film, as no director (especially an inexperienced one) has all the answers.Wise directors, whether experienced or novice, surround themselves with talented cast and crew members that will help to elevate their own work, and provide insight and guidance throughout the process. Even the most experienced directors will often work with the same DP, producer, editor, etc. because they understand the importance of collaboration, trust, and respect. At the end of the day if someone on your set has a great idea that they share with you, and you turn it down simply because it wasn’t your own idea, you are truly doing yourself and your film an injustice.Know Every Facet Of The ProcessWhile you might have a preference for directing, you need to understand all of the major components of filmmaking (cinematography, sound, writing, etc.) inside an out in order to be a great director. In the early days of cinema a director was only responsible for working with their actors, but today the director’s role has expanded greatly. For this reason, in order to perform best as a director you must thoroughly understand the ins and outs of each department.Take cinematography for example. You might not aspire to be a cinematographer, but the more you know about different cameras, their settings, lenses, lighting set-ups, etc. the more informed your choices will be when it comes to making the right choices (with your DP) to execute the look you’re trying to achieve. It is not about micro-managing your crew so that you are doing their job, but rather giving them to direction that they need to keep their creative choices in line with yours.Follow Your VisionIf there is one piece of advice that I could provide to any up and coming director, it would be to always trust your gut and follow your vision. At the top of this article, I discussed the importance of surrounding yourself with a great team that will provide you with support, ideas, and resources throughout the filmmaking process. While this is a critical part of the process, it’s just as important to know when you should or shouldn’t take those ideas and integrate them into your film. Think of yourself as a filter that only allows ideas to come through when they are conducive to your vision. After all, collaboration is one thing, but a watered down idea is something very different.Ultimately if you are being pulled in many different directions with respect to creative choices, your film will suffer. If you ask three different producers for advice on a scene, you are going to get three different suggestions. They may all be great, or they may all be terrible – but it is your job as the director to hear them out and decide which of them (if any) is the best choice for your film.Don’t make the mistake of not listening to them in the first place, but also don’t make the mistake of listening to everyone and letting your vision get watered down. Try to find the right balance and be confident in your decision making abilities, and you will be well on your way to telling the best story possible.Treat Your Cast & Crew With RespectJust like any business, if you find a crew member or actor that you enjoy working with, chances are you’re going to want to work with them again. So when you’re on set be kind to those around you, give credit where credit is due, and nurture good and not-so-good ideas. Treat everyone with equal respect, no matter how big or small their role is on set. These small things are very important characteristics for great directors to have. All parties benefit from fostering great relationships but the ultimate beneficiary is the film itself. The biggest and best film sets that I have ever been on were also the most enjoyable environments to be working in.The crew members got along, the producers were approachable, and the general feel of the set was very positive. Conversely, the most amateur sets that I’ve ever been on have also been the most hostile. At the end of the day, if you are able to create an environment on set that is enjoyable for those around you, it will not only affect your relationships for future projects, but it will also directly affect the quality level of the project at hand.last_img read more

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9 Great YouTube Channels for Filmmakers

first_img 4. Neumann FilmsPerfect for CinematographersThe Neumann Films YouTube channel gets instant credibility with their fantastic cinematic image quality. Their videos tell you exactly how they get their incredibly cinematic shots and effects. Specifically, Neumann Films takes a focus on color grading and frame rates. If you’re serious about quality than Neumann Films is a great resource. Not all of their videos are free — but if you don’t mind spending a few dollars, the paid content is definitely worth it.Notable Episode: Sony FS700 – Epic Slow Mo  9. PremiumBeat (Shameless Plug)Perfect for Well-Rounded FilmmakersIf you’re reading this, then you’re probably already familiar with the incredibly extensive blog here at PremiumBeat. Besides having one of the largest filmmaking blogs in the world, PremiumBeat also has an extensive YouTube channel that covers various topics, from After Effects to Cinematography.Notable Episode: Cinematography Tutorial: Dramatic Camera Slider MovesWhat about you? What are your favorite websites to learn about filmmaking? Share in the comments below.  3. Dave DugdalePerfect for Gear LoversDave Dugdale’s YouTube channel is unique because he takes the stance of a curious filmmaker that is learning at the same time he is teaching you. Through his humble attitude towards equipment, he shares his experience with cameras, equipment, and software. Most of Dave’s videos focus around highly specific comparisons and tests, which makes his channel fantastic for gear lovers. Notable Episode: Black Magic Pocket Camera Review Compared To DSLR and Red Epic  7. Philip BloomPerfect for Travel FilmmakersPhilip Bloom is probably the biggest indie-filmmaking celebrity in the world and for a good reason. With killer reviews, cinematic quality videos, and a sense of style that would fit the cover of GQ magazine, Philip Bloom brings us helpful tutorials and he has the skills to back it up. In addition to his YouTube channel, his site is also a great place to find helpful articles and resources. Philip cruises the world looking for awesome things to video, review, and test, which makes his channel a great source of inspiration as well.Notable Episode: Now I See (A7S Test)  2. Filmmaker IQPerfect for Filmmaking NerdsFilmmaker IQ is a YouTube channel (and site) dedicated to helping filmmakers learn the craft of filmmaking on a fundamental level. Unlike other filmmaking channels, Filmmaker IQ puts film techniques in the context of film history as a whole. You won’t just learn how to record sound, you’ll learn the fundamentals of how sound waves work and how they hit a microphone. If you’re looking for an extremely well-rounded filmmaking education, Filmmaker IQ is for you.Notable Episode: The History of Frame Rate for Film  8. Every Frame a PaintingPerfect for DirectorsFilmmaking is an art form, but you didn’t need me to tell you that. While it may seem like creativity in Hollywood is dead, Every Frame a Painting shows us that behind every shot is a deeper meaning that’s helping the story progress. Every Frame a Painting helps filmmakers think about film on a deeper level.Notable Episode: Edgar Wright – How to Do Visual Comedy  6. Indy Mogul (RIP)Perfect for Indie FilmmakersAbout one year ago, Indie Mogul came to a startling end when the producers couldn’t work out the finances of the channel. However, despite the fact that new content isn’t updated, there is still over 1,200 tutorials dedicated to helping you become a better filmmaker. Seriously, if you have a question? It’s probably already been answered on Indie Mogul!Notable Episode: Slit Throat Effect: DIY Tutorial Subscribing to these YouTube channels for filmmakers is like going to film school for free!Aside from simply going out and creating a film, one of the best ways you can get better as a filmmaker is to simply watch YouTube tutorials about the craft. From pre-production to exporting, these 9 YouTube channels are a fantastic resource for you to take your filmmaking skills to the next level. If you know of any other awesome channels, we’d love to hear about the in the comments below. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and subscribe to all these channels. These truly are great YouTube channels for filmmakers.1. Film RiotPerfect for Indie FilmmakersWhat’s not to love about Film Riot? With a fantastic mixture of comedy and informative information, Film Riot is hands down the best filmmaking channel on YouTube. Every Film Riot tutorial features helpful tips and tricks for you, the filmmaker. Plus the host, Ryan Connolly, is a great filmmaker with a proven track record, so you know you’re learning from a credible source.Notable Episode: $10 DIY Camera Slider!  5. Tom AntosPerfect for Indie FilmmakersWhile it’s hard to say what exactly is the central theme of Tom Antos’s YouTube page, the channel is full of helpful tutorials and tricks designed to help filmmakers master their craft. From gear reviews to lighting tutorials, you can learn it all. It’s especially interesting to see Tom’s own personal films mixed into the videos.Notable Episode: Ultimate GH4 kit and Lenses for Videolast_img read more

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6 Marketing Tips for Wedding Videographers

first_imgThe wedding industry is incredibly competitive. Here are some great marketing tips to help you reach engaged couples and book more weddings.Top image from Love to Mary. Remaining images from Shutterstock.The wedding business is one of the most stable markets in existence. People will always get married. As such, engaged couples will always search for a venue, bakery, wedding photographer, DJ, and wedding videographer. This also means that the industry is very competitive. Ranging from your cousin’s roommate’s nephew that just got a camera to full-fledged production houses, you will need to find a way to stand out. Let’s just make it known: You aren’t going to shoot every wedding that you receive an inquiry for. That’s a good thing. You should narrow your focus on the types of weddings you want to shoot. Do you want to focus on local weddings, or will you be willing to travel? Do you only shoot the ceremony and reception or do you shoot all day? Once you’ve decided what you want to do, then you need to target your market.1. Update your website.You have to have a website. Even if you aren’t happy with how the site looks, make sure you have something up. Your site should at least include your most recent video highlight reels, a brief biography, and contact information. You can make the site more interesting by writing blogs about each video you post. There you can talk about the wedding day and link to other vendors that worked the event. When couples look for videographers, they will search for videographers in the same city as their venue. Be sure to list your location on your website, as well as any other locations you have filmed in before. Make sure to update the website with your newest highlight reels. 2. Have easy-to-read materials.When a couple reaches out to you, don’t respond with a novel-length email. Have a nice brochure for them to look through. Even if it’s just a digital single page brochure, send them a nice and informative PDF. Include a breakdown of the pricing, as well as payment options. Even if the prices adjust and aren’t yet fixed, at least offer a starting price. If you offer several different package options, be sure to break down what each package offers.3. Use Facebook Pages.Don’t rely on a personal Facebook account. Have a separate business account. This will help with analytics and target marketing. Whenever you release a new wedding highlight reel, you can use the “Boost Post” feature on Facebook. You can promote your film to show up in various news feeds. The best part is targeting your boost by selecting engaged couples as your target audience.4. Get to know other vendors — even other videographers!Knowing other vendors is crucial to your success. There will be vendors you don’t enjoy working with, and there will be some you wish you could work with all the time. One of the best things you can do is reach out to other vendors, especially the ones you have already worked with. The two of you can cross-promote each other to couples. Some couples will ask you for recommendations.  You will look like a seasoned pro when you offer a list of the best coordinators, DJs, and photographers.Don’t shy away from getting to know other videographers as well. A friendship with them can lead to all sorts of opportunities. Not only can you critique each other, but you can help one another. If you ever need an extra shooter, or, worst case scenario, you get so sick you can’t film, it’s great to have a backup ready. They also make great recommendations when you are already booked on a certain date.5. Don’t rely solely on wedding magazines or websites.You aren’t a photographer. A still photo won’t benefit you and magazine ads are expensive. Wedding magazines can certainly help with name recognition, but you can’t showcase your work. It’s your video highlights that will win a couple over. The same goes for wedding vendor websites. If a vendor site doesn’t allow you to showcase your work there, then you will have to drive the traffic to your own site. You will also have to pay extra to get top billing over other videographers. So if you are putting money into the wedding vendor site, make sure you are getting the most out of it.6. Attend bridal shows.There are tons of bridal shows in every major city, so be sure to do your research before committing to one. The best thing about these shows is your ability to meet couples face to face. It’s a great chance to show off your personality and style. If you and the couple don’t click, then it just wasn’t meant to be. It’s still better to get the right couple for you. These events are also very expensive to attend. No only do you pay fees for a spot, your booth will need to stand out and showcase your work. You will nee to have a tv/laptop/tablet ready to show highlight reels. Also, have plenty of brochures, business cards, or at least a sign up sheet. You have to be proactive at these shows. If you aren’t willing to engage with people, then you are just wasting time.Want to read more about weddings? Check out these posts from PremiumBeat: 7 Tips for Shooting Awesome Wedding VideoHow to Ruin a Wedding in 7 Easy StepsBest Royalty Free Wedding Music for Videos and SlideshowHave you had success with these strategies? Know of more tips we missed? Let us know in the comments below.last_img read more

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Creative Zeitgeist: 2019 Royalty Free Music Trends Playlist

first_imgFor every visual design trend, there’s a royalty-free music trend to match. We combed our tracks to find the rising sounds that are shaping 2019’s creative landscape.We’re halfway through 2019, which means it’s the perfect time to revisit the popular Creative Trends report from our friends at Shutterstock. The report is compiled by researching billions of image, video, and music searches and downloads from Shutterstock customers, and it’s a great way for content creators like yourself to identify what’s hot — and what’s about to be.To help you stay in tune with the creative zeitgeist, we compiled a playlist of royalty-free music genres that pair with popular design styles revealed in the Creative Trends report. Give your next video project an edge by using one of the tracks below. This is the sound of 2019.Grungy Pop: The Sound of Zine CultureImage via Andy Vinnikov.Zine culture is a fairly ’90s approach to visual art, and grungy pop is its audio equivalent. Both are defined by a raw, indie, lo-fi aesthetic, featuring noisy textures and rough edges.You’ll find contemporary acts like Imagine Dragons and 21 Pilots using elements of grungy pop to capture the vibes of the early Alternative Nation, an execution we hear echoed in flannel-flying royalty-free tracks like “We Go High” by Grace Mesa and “Shell Shock” by Gyom.Corporate Ambient: The Sound of Everyday FuturismImage via Andrush.Technological advancement is practically passé at this point. The future is here, and connecting instantly to the entire world is a given, whether you like it or not. The “for-better-or-for-worse” electronic connectivity that defines modern society also drives the plots of The Social Network, Gone Girl, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo — each the work of filmmaker David Fincher.Our music team categorizes royalty-free tracks like “Ambitech” by Dr. Hollywood and “Indie Tech Documentary” by High Street Music as corporate ambient, but that’s only because “Fincher-esque” made our legal team nervous. Rich with low-key atmosphere, but with an urgency that prevents them from being too contemplative, these songs would sound at home in any recent David Fincher film that features a Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross soundtrack.J-Pop: The Sound of KawaiiImage via gst.In a year when both Pokemon and Godzilla saw big-screen success, Japan’s influence on global pop culture continues with Kawaii. If you’re not familiar with the term, just imagine Pikachu sharing a rainbow-striped cupcake with Hello Kitty while they both giggle. Now you get it.Kawaii is adorable. It’s charming, childlike, and over-the-top delightful. It’s a term that encompasses anything cute, from playful typography to colorful fashion to music like J-Pop, as evidenced in the royalty-free tracks “Sleepless in Shibuya” and “J Pop Chant”  by Harpo Marks.Videographers will find J-Pop tracks perfect for fun travel vlogs, unboxing clips, craft tutorials, or really anything that needs a boost in upbeat positivity. Rest assured, if you’ve been struggling to find a song to accompany the videos you’ve taken of your pets acting ridiculous, your day has finally arrived. Especially if you took the time to dress those pets up in little hats before filming.But wait, there’s more!Dive into the playlist below to catch up on 2019’s trendiest royalty-free tracks, all of them available and reusable with a $49 Standard License. In addition to the music styles above, you’ll hear trap percussion beds, modern R&B jams, ambient cinematic pieces, and even a few country/hop-hop hybrids. Bonus: We threw in a couple of those ASMR tracks that the internet loves so much. Trust us — you’ll know them when you hear them. Cover image via oksanka007.Header image via fashion print.Playlist header via Quietworld.Looking for more royalty-free music playlists for your projects? Check these out.Make Your Cuts Shine with Royalty-Free Transition MusicCreative Royalty-free Intro Music for Better Viewer EngagementFresh Tracks: Hear June’s Best New Royalty Free MusicRococo Romance: Give Your Video a Classical Cinematic SoundIn the Shadows: The Changing Nature of Horror Musiclast_img read more

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Taking Money out of the Solution

first_imgThe money that your prospective client takes out of your pricing is money they are taking out of the outcomes and results they are trying to produce.Your prospective client doesn’t realize this is what they are doing. They don’t understand that without allowing you to invest that money on their behalf through your solution, that money is not being spent in at all. They don’t recognize that while they may still have the cash, that cash would be put to better use generating the outcomes they need, and resolving the challenges that have caused them to consider changing in the first place. They believe, and they may not be wrong here, that you have padded your price, expecting to be asked for a discount. They believe, and they’re not wrong here either, that it is their responsibility to obtain the best deal they can for their company. So, they have to ask you for the discount.For your part, you have to explain that the money being taken out of the solution is literally being taken out of the solution. The discount that they are asking for results in less money being spent on the results they told you they need throughout the discovery process, and throughout the work you did collaborating to design the solution.Your prospective client can hold onto their cash and accept a lesser result, or invest the cash and produce a greater result. Look, if it makes better sense to invest less and change the solution to something that fits that investment, then recommend that and help them make that investment. But if they insist that the outcomes they need are important enough that they should change and do something different, then help them invest the right amount of money to do so, even if it’s more than they anticipated.What you don’t want to do is take money out of the solution only to deliver less than you promised, or less than the client actually needs.Photo credit: ashokboghani Water drain via photopin (license). Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Nowlast_img read more

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Stop Giving Demos. Make Sales Calls Instead.

first_img Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now There is a reason no one wants to see your demo. It’s boring. It’s a monologue. It’s an agenda that doesn’t include your client and their needs.Where you start: If you start with what you believe to be most important, you are making that decision based on what you believe to be true. Even if you have enough data points to believe you know where to start based on what other people wanted, you are still making an assumption that may or may not be true. If you want to know where to start, ask.Every presentation can be a conversation: No one wants your monologue. No one wants to watch you walk them through your talk track from start to finish. That part where you ask a question is tactical, especially since it is part of your script. It has to be part of the script because, without real engagement, you are talking to yourself. Even if your prospect politely replies.Isn’t that cool? Yes, it’s really cool. It’s whiz bang awesome. What is someone supposed to say when you ask that question? Steve could pull that off because his stuff was sexy enough to command that response without a prompt. Yours, however, may not be.You are in Sales. You have to follow the rules.Start here: “”Look, our software is a lot like other offerings you’ve seen. We have a few things that are radically different, and it’s why our clients prefer us over the other things they’ve tried. Rather than drag you through a demo, would it be okay if we just talked about what you are trying to do, where and how you wish things were better, and we’ll use the screen to show you how we’d address those things for you? Would that work?”Continue: “What’s important to you, and what would you like to talk about while we’re together?”Hand the steering wheel to your prospective client. Let them drive. Let them determine what they want to talk about, how much they want to see while you navigate.Work to understand their needs, and show them how you might address their challenges and meet their needs. The more you are talking, the more poorly the sales call is going for you.Stop giving demos. Make sales call instead.last_img read more

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Will break bones of those who disrespect cows: MLA

first_imgAmid a widespread crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses and meat shops in Uttar Pradesh by the Yogi Adityanath government, Vikram Saini, BJP MLA for Khatauli, said he would break the limbs and hands of those who show disrespect to cows and kill gau mata.At a function in the riot-affected Shamli district on Saturday, Mr. Saini, an accused in the 2013 Muzzaffarnagar riots, said, “I contested this election shouting Bharat Mata ki jai and Vande Mataram. I asked for votes, saying those who feel proud to say Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata ki jai, and those who consider the cow gau mata should vote for me.”Underlining the divisive issues which dominated the election campaign and the communal polarisation in the sensitive region of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, Mr. Saini added, “I did not ask for votes from people who hesitate to say Vande Mataram and those who do not say Bharat mata ki jai.”‘Our govt. in power’Mr. Saini’s assertion that “Now that our government has come to power, I will fulfil the promises”, met with celebratory applause from an audience largely consisting of youth. Sanjeev Baliyan, a Minister in the Narendra Modi government, and Suresh Rana, the BJP MLA for Thana Bhawan, shared the stage with him.Mr. Saini hails from Kawal village in Muzaffarnagar, the flashpoint of the 2013 communal riots. He was accused of making inflammatory speeches during the riots and was charged under the stringent National Securities Act by the then Samajwadi Party government. The BJP gave him ticket from the Khatauli Assembly constituency in Muzaffarnagar district.Speaking to reporters later on Sunday, Mr. Saini remained unapologetic about his remarks, and said he had spoken “with an open heart in the language of a villager.”last_img read more

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Normal life affected in Odisha as Congress observes Bharat bandh

first_imgNormal life was completely paralysed in Odisha as Congress and other opposition parties observed Bharat Bandh protesting against hike in fuel prices on Monday morning.Biju Patnaik University of Technology suspended examinations of all professional courses in view of the bandh. Schools and colleges remained closed.The State government had issued prior direction for all government employees to enter their respective offices before 9.30 am. Ministers and MLAs were seen walking into Odisha State Legislative Assembly which is in session.Congress offers flowersOdisha Congress leaders adopted innovative approach by offering flowers and requesting general public support the bandh. The Congress also opened a control room to make sure that its cadres don’t take law into their hands.Although banks remained open, they kept their shutters down. Buses, private cars and other public transport vehicles kept off the road while train services were hit as Congress workers squatted on railway tracks at different places. There was no report of any violence from districts. The CPI(M) cadre staged picketing in front of offices oil marketing companies.last_img read more

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Seven Rohingya men handed over to Myanmar

first_imgSeven Rohingya Muslim men, arrested in 2012 for illegally entering Assam, were on Thursday officially handed over to Myanmar authorities at Manipur’s border town Moreh.The deportation from the immigration point at Moreh Gate No 2 took place at 1 p.m. soon after the Supreme Court rejected the plea to intervene in the case.Immigration officials from Tamu, the Myanmar town nearest Moreh, took custody of the seven men after completing the formalities with their Indian counterparts and police officials from Assam and Manipur.The Myanmar officials were Aung Myo, Tamu District Immigration Officer and Maun Maun Tar, Tamu Town Shed Officer. On the Indian side of the border, Moreh Sub-Divisional Police Officer M. Sandip Gopaldas, Immigration officer Md. Tajuddin Khan and P.V.V. Rakesh Reddy, Additional SP of Assam’s Cachar district led the proceedings.Mr. Reddy and his team had escorted the Myanmar nationals from Silchar Central Jail in Cachar district, in a bus to Manipur capital Imphal on Wednesday morning. The bus left Imphal for Moreh, 105 km away, at 9.30 a.m. on Thursday.Earlier in the day, the government told the apex court that these seven Rohingya men had entered India illegally in 2012, were convicted under the Foreigners Act and kept at Assam’s Silchar detention camp.According to the list of deportees provided by the police at Moreh, the seven are from Keito village under Chetpak police station in Myanmar’s Rakhine. They had settled at Nagatilla near Silchar after sneaking into Assam eight years ago.But an international report quoted a press release issued from Geneva stating that the men are from Kyauk Daw township in central Rakhine State.Consular accessThe Rohingya have been usually found to enter India from three townships in Myanmar – Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung in Northeastern Rakhine State that borders Bangladesh.Mr. Reddy, who monitored the deportation exercise, said that consular access had been granted to the Myanmar government that verified the identities of the seven men. “It is a routine exercise. I spoke with the Manipur DGP and exchanged necessary matter to facilitate the process,” said Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, Additional Director-General of Assam Police’s Border Organisation. This organisation deals with detection and deportation of foreigners in Assam.Apart from these seven, Assam has 32 Rohingya including a few minors across five detention centres other than Silchar. Manipur’s Sajiwa Central Jail has 22 Rohingya caught five years ago.Tripura has some Rohingya people who crossed over from Bangladesh over the past five years, but the State police and Mobile Task Force did not provide details.Among the Rohingya in Manipur jail is Mohammed Hussain. He was 19 when he was caught entering India illegally from Myanmar in February 2012.His term expired six months later, but the Myanmar government’s reluctance to accept him and the others has made him stay in jail.Hussain fled Rawayungdaung village in Myanmar’s Rakhine State when the violence was sporadic. “I want to be free, but jail in India is better than freedom back home,” he said when the prison authorities facilitated an interaction with the media in November 2017.last_img read more

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‘Titli’ puts coastal Odisha on high alert

first_imgSeveral coastal districts of Odisha have been put on high alert as the cyclonic storm ‘Titli’ is expected to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 24 hours.As a precautionary measure, the State government has ordered the closure of all educational institutes and anganwadi kendras in Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts from Wednesday till effects of the storm are over. A decision over closure of institutes in some other districts may be taken after a review of the situation on Wednesday.High-level meetingA high-level meeting was convened by the State chief secretary in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday evening to take stock of the situation and preparedness to face ‘Titli’.The latest bulletin by the India Meteorological Department said the cyclonic storm was centred at 510 km from Gopalpur. This severe cyclonic storm is expected to move west-northward and make landfall between Gopalpur in south Odisha and Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh by October 11 morning. During the landfall, this severe cyclonic storm is expected to have a wind speed of 100 to 110 km/hr with gusts of up to 125 km/hr.According to Odisha’s Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupad Sethi, people living in low lying coastal areas of Ganjam, Khurda and Puri districts may be evacuated to cyclone shelters on Wednesday if the need arises. Ganjam Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange said vulnerable areas are being identified and people of these areas will be evacuated to safe multi-purpose shelters if needed.Three hundred boats have been kept ready for emergencies. Six teams of National Disaster Response Force have been sent to Gajapati, Puri, Kendrapada, Nayagarh, Jajpur and Bhadrak districts for rescue operations. Seven teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force are being deployed in Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Cuttack, Balasore, Mayurbhanj and Kalahandi districts.The regional meteorological department on Tuesday gave ‘Red’ warning for Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts as heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to occur in these places from Wednesday. ‘Orange’ alert has been issued for Khurda, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Bhadrak and Balasore.last_img read more

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Rage in Kashmir streets over Kulgam

first_imgKashmir was on the edge on Monday as the civilian death toll from the blast at the site of an encounter in Kulgam rose to seven, with one more person dying due to injuries.Javid Ahmad Lone, a civilian from Kulgam’s Hawoora village, died in a Srinagar hospital on Sunday night, said an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Earlier on Sunday, six civilians were killed when they triggered unexploded ammunition at the site of a clash between militants and security forces, immediately after the operation was called off following the death of three militants.A complete shutdown was observed in the Kashmir valley to protest the deaths. Stone pelting by youth was reported in many parts, as several civil society groups held demonstrations in Srinagar.Separatists detainedWhile the authorities detained all top ranking separatist leaders, security forces placed concertina wires along the main stretches in the old city to keep protesters at bay. Smoke shells were fired in many parts to disperse stone-throwing protesters. Traffic was sparse in Srinagar with demonstrators having blocked many city streets with boulders.Kulgam, where the incident took place, was tense forcing authorities to impose curfew-like restrictions. Many areas of the Jammu region’s Chenab Valley also observed a shutdown.Several student groups in Sopore and Srinagar held demonstrations. Female students at the Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology also held a protest.MLA Engineer Rasheed was detained when he tried to lead a demonstration in Kupwara. “It’s the obligation of security forces to sanitise the area before allowing people to visit the encounter site,” said Mr. Rasheed, adding that “Kashmiris are being butchered under a well hatched conspiracy.”In a move to ward off more trouble, authorities had decided to seal the Lal Chowk city centre on Tuesday in the wake of separatists’ call for a protest march, the official said.Joint Resistance Leadership, a separatists’ grouping comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, has called for a “peaceful sit-in”.Welcoming Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement on the Kulgam incident, the Mirwaiz said, “People of Kashmir appreciate Pakistan’s concern, but to put an end to the appalling grind of repression and human rights abuse that Kashmiris are suffering, urgently requires Pakistan, as a party to the dispute, to do much more.”Peoples Democratic Party vice-president Abdul Rahman Veeri demanded an impartial probe into the incident. “A time-bound investigation is needed into the incident and justice must be accorded to the victims. The Centre should initiate dialogue and reconciliation so that the further loss of precious lives is stopped,” said Mr. Veeri.National Conference general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar also called for the resumption of dialogue over the Kashmir issue.last_img read more

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Rajasthan BJP MP Harish Chandra Meena joins Congress

first_imgRajasthan BJP MP Harish Chandra Meena joined the Congress on November 14. Mr. Harish Chandra Meena, a former DGP, joined the Congress in the presence of former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot and AICC’s State in-charge Avinash Pande.“I am happy that Harish Meena has decided to join the Congress in such times. I welcome him in the Congress fold,” Mr. Gehlot said at a press conference about Mr. Harish Chandra Meena who had served as DGP under him.In 2014, Mr. Harish Chandra Meena defeated his elder brother and senior Congress leader Namonarain Meena from the Dausa Lok Sabha seat. Mr. Namonarain Meena came third in the contest.Mr. Harish Chandra Meena defeated his nearest rival Kirori Lal Meena, who was then a candidate of National People’s Party by a margin of 45,404 votes. Mr. Kirori Lal Meena is now a BJP Rajya Sabha MP.Mr. Kirori Lal Meena said Mr. Harish Chandra Meena joining the Congress will have no impact on tribal votes in Dausa and its nearby regions in the State polls in December. “There will be no impact. People know who is an opportunist and an opportunist can go anywhere.”Congress leader and Sapotara MLA Ramesh Meena, said though his party had given a lot to the family of Mr. Namonarain Meena, his brother Mr. Harish Chandra Meena joined the BJP in 2014. “Harish Meena has returned home,” said the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly. Mr. Ramesh Meena claimed that a few more BJP rebel leaders would join the Congress.Elections to the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly will be held on December 7.last_img read more

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Meghalaya for probe into attack on RTI activist

first_imgThe Meghalaya Assembly Committee on Women Empowerment on Monday recommended institution of an independent inquiry into the November 8 attack on RTI activist Agnes Kharshiing and her aide Amita Sangma in East Jaintia Hills district. The committee, headed by Opposition Congress MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh, will also submit a preliminary report to the Speaker Donkupar Roy at the special session on Tuesday. “It (the government) is hereby recommended that an independent inquiry be instituted to probe the matter. The recommendation was made as the investigation is very slow,” Ms. Ampareen said. She added, “There are too many missing links… too many details that were not made available to the committee.” According to Ms. Ampareen, the institution of an enquiry at the level of an Additional Deputy Commissioner is “not justified”.East Jaintia Hills Deputy Commissioner F.M. Dopth had last week ordered an enquiry to be conducted by ADC S.S. Syiemlieh and directed him to report within 15 days. “This in itself is concerning us because we believe that the life threat against two prominent women in the State only takes the attention of a committee headed by the ADC,” she said. The CWE also recommended that ₹5 lakh be released within 7 days for the injured women’s medical expenses.last_img read more

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Himachal Assembly session from today

first_imgThe budget session of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly would begin from Monday and last till February 18, Speaker Rajeev Bindal said on Sunday. The second budget session of the State’s 13th Assembly would commence with the Governor’s address on February 4, he said, adding that it would be followed by obituary references on the same day. He said the discussion on the Governor’s address would be held from February 5 to 7. Budget presentationThe Speaker said the Jai Ram Thakur government would present its budget for 2019-20 on February 9. The budget would be presented by Chief Minister Thakur, who also holds the Finance Ministry portfolio, he said, adding the discussion on the budget proposals would be held between February 11 and 13. Voting on Demands for Grants would be held on the last day of the session on February 18 at 4 p.m., he said. The session would have a a total of 13 sittings and it has been decided to hold sittings even on Saturdays, he said, adding February 8 and 14 have been earmarked as private members days. “Usually the budget session is convened from February-end to March-end or the first week of April. But this budget session has been convened earlier and cut short to 13 sittings due to the upcoming parliamentary elections,” he said.last_img read more

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Another RLSP leader quits, trains gun at Kushwaha

first_imgIn a setback to the RLSP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, one of its founding members quit the outfit on Friday accusing its national president Upendra Kushwaha of having “betrayed” the people of Bihar by walking out of the BJP-led NDA and joining the Opposition Grand Alliance. Ram Bihari Singh, who held the designation of “Pradhan Rashtriya Maha Sachiv” (chief national general secretary) in the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, also rued that he was “nowhere now” despite being “the one who wrote the party’s constitution and moved the Election Commission for getting the party recognised”. “I was among the few who had supported Kushwaha when he chose to part ways with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumars JD(U). But today he has become the all in all and pays lip-service to his commitment to inner party democracy. I had also opposed his decision to quit the NDA and join the Mahagathbandhan but he listened to no one and took the decision arbitrarily, in effect betraying the people who had voted for him as an NDA ally,” Mr. Singh told reporters. He also alleged that Mr. Kushwaha was “playing into the hands of corporates” in distribution of tickets, though he did not elaborate.‘Selling tickets’ The development comes close on the heels of two sacked RLSP leaders Nagmani and Pradeep Mishra charging Mr. Kushwaha with “selling” tickets. The RLSP chief has dismissed the allegations as “absurd”. Since Mr. Kushwaha’s exit from the NDA, followed shortly by his joining the Grand Alliance, the party has lost many of its prominent leaders. The RLSP chief has blamed Nitish Kumar for the troubles in his party.last_img read more

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ScienceShot: When Whale Watching Turns Deadly

first_imgHumpback whales are facing new dangers in Hawaiian waters, where more than 10,000 of the cetaceans congregate from December to April to calve and breed. That’s the conclusion of an analysis of historical records of ship strikes on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the seas around the Hawaiian Islands between 1975 and 2011. In that 36-year period, 68 such strikes were reported, including the one that injured the humpback calf in the photo above. The scientists have not yet been able to quantify the number of whales lethally wounded or killed outright by such hits. Because more than 63% of the collisions involved calves and subadults, the scientists conclude that these younger animals are particularly susceptible to being struck, most likely because they spend more time at the surface to breathe than do adults. Worryingly, the number of strikes has steadily increased over the years, the team reports in the Journal of Cetacean Research and Management—and not because there are more whales. Instead, the increase is apparently due to tourism. The majority of vessels that have collided with whales in Hawaii are small- to medium-sized boats, less than 21.2 meters in length, the scientists say, which happens to be the size of commercial whale-watching vessels. Federal regulations require these boats to remain at least 100 yards distance from the humpbacks. They may be keeping their distance while observing the whales, but not when under way: The majority of collisions occurred when the vessels were travelling at 10 to 19 knots, the team reports—apparently, too fast to avoid colliding with the very animals the skippers and tourists have come out to watch.See more ScienceShots.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(*)last_img read more

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How many Ebola cases are there really?

first_imgEvery couple of days, the World Health Organization (WHO) issues a “situation update” on the Ebola epidemic, with new numbers of cases and deaths for each of the affected countries. These numbers―9216 and 4555 respectively, according to Friday’s update―are instantly reported and tweeted around the world. They’re also quickly translated into ever-more frightening graphics by people who follow the epidemic closely, such as virologist Ian Mackay of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and Maia Majumder, a Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge who visualizes the data on her website and publishes projections on HealthMap, an online information system for outbreaks.But it’s widely known that the real situation is much worse than the numbers show because many cases don’t make it into the official statistics. Underreporting occurs in every disease outbreak anywhere, but keeping track of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone has been particularly difficult. And the epidemic unfolds, underreporting appears to be getting worse. (“It’s a mess,” Mackay says.)So what do the WHO numbers really mean—and how can researchers estimate the actual number of victims? Here are answers to some key questions.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(*)Does WHO acknowledge that the numbers are too low?Absolutely. In August, it said that the reported numbers “vastly underestimate” the epidemic’s magnitude. WHO’s situation updates frequently point out gaps in the data. The 8 October update, for instance, noted that there had been a fall in cases in Liberia the previous 3 weeks, but this was “unlikely to be genuine,” the report said. “Rather, it reflects a deterioration in the ability of overwhelmed responders to record accurate epidemiological data. It is clear from field reports and first responders that [Ebola] cases are being under-reported from several key locations, and laboratory data that have not yet been integrated into official estimates indicate an increase in the number of new cases in Liberia.”Where do the reported numbers come from, and why are they always too low?Officially, the governments of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia transmit the numbers to WHO, which then passes them on to the world. But WHO is also closely involved in helping determine the numbers. The data come from several sources, says WHO epidemiologist Christopher Dye; the three main ones are clinics and treatment centers, laboratories doing Ebola tests, and burial teams.Getting the numbers right is hard for many reasons. Many patients don’t seek medical care, for instance, because they don’t trust the medical system or because they live too far away. Of those who do, some die along the way, and some are turned away because treatment centers are overloaded. Of Ebola people who die at home, some are buried without ever coming to officials’ attention. It can also take time for recorded information to be passed on and entered into data reporting systems.Testing is a big problem as well. The reports break down the numbers into suspected cases, based mostly on symptoms; probable cases, in which someone had symptoms and a link to a known Ebola case; and confirmed cases, in which a patient sample tested positive in the lab. In an ideal world, all suspected and probable cases would eventually be tested, but testing capacity is lacking. In WHO’s 15 October report, only 56% of the cases in the three countries was confirmed; in Liberia, where testing is huge problem, it was just 22%. (Friday’s report did not break down Liberia’s cases and said the data were “temporarily unavailable.”)Dye says WHO and other groups are trying hard to improve the reporting on the ground. Among other things, they are trying to set up a system that would provide every patient with a unique identification number. Now, Dye says, patients who enter an Ebola clinic and then have a sample tested in the lab may enter the reports twice, because there is no way to know that the lab and the clinic were recording the same patient.Are there ways to estimate the extent of the underreporting?There are. For instance, In a technique called capture-recapture, epidemiologists visit one area or district and determine what percentage of the Ebola cases and deaths there has found its way into official records. “You throw out the net twice, and you compare,” says Martin Meltzer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, who is modeling the Ebola epidemic. (The term capture-recapture was borrowed from researchers who study the size of wildlife populations using two rounds of trapping.) But this method is logistically challenging and possibly dangerous, given the hostilities that some Ebola response teams have met, Meltzer says: “I’m not going to ask people to risk their lives to collect some data.”For a paper published last month, Meltzer and his colleagues used a different technique. CDC has a computer model that, among other things, calculates how many hospital beds should be in use at any given time based on the cumulative number of cases at that moment. For 28 August, the time the paper was written, that number was 143 beds for Liberia; but people in the field told Meltzer that the actual number of beds in use was 320, a factor of 2.24 higher. (These numbers can be found in an annex to the paper.) “We had heard some other numbers that were higher, so we rounded that up to a correction factor of 2.5,” Meltzer says. But it’s a very rough approximation. Also, underreporting is likely to vary greatly from one place to another and over time, he says.The CDC team’s widely reported worst case projection of 1.4 million cases by 20 January was based on the correction factor of 2.5, and assuming control efforts didn’t improve. It included only Liberia and Sierra Leone; in Guinea, the reported numbers of cases have fluctuated too much to make a reasonable projection, Meltzer says, which could also could be partly due to underreporting.What does WHO think is a reasonable correction factor?WHO hasn’t published an estimate. “It’s a point that has been greatly discussed but there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty,” Dye says. For its internal planning purposes, however, WHO uses a correction factor of 2.0. When WHO’s Bruce Aylward said at a press conference last week that the agency is expecting to see between 5000 and 10,000 cases per week by early December, “the difference between the 5000 and the 10,000 is that factor of two,” Dye says. A correction factor of 2.0 would mean that the total number of cases has now crossed 18,000 and the number of deaths 9000.If the numbers are that far off, should they be published at all? Even if many cases are missed, the trends in the numbers are still very meaningful. They clearly show that the number of cases has roughly doubled every 3 to 4 weeks and that this trend is continuing. If underreporting  gets worse, however, it may be even more difficult to discern such trends.Is there any good news in the recent numbers?There is. The number of new cases in some areas at the epicenter of the outbreak—Kenema and Kailahun districts in Sierra Leone and Liberia’s Lofa County—has been dropping, and that’s not a result of underreporting, Dye says. “It has happened for a sufficiently large number of weeks now that we are confident that it’s a real reduction in incidence on the ground, probably related to control measures,” he says. “Our colleagues working on the ground believe it is, too.”One important factor has been the increase in safe burials, Dye says. (The bodies of Ebola victims are very infectious.) People in the affected areas have resisted abandoning traditional burial practices that carry a high risk of infection, but in these three areas, local leaders, supported by WHO and others, have come to advocate a change. If that happens elsewhere, Dye says, “we expect to be able to cut out a substantial amount of infection in the community.”*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicine have made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.last_img read more

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