Six 2019 records you may have missed out on

Six 2019 records you may have missed out on

At the beginning of each year, I am filled FOMO with the fear of having missed out, or, if you enjoy that socmed acronym. The fear is of having missed out on good music published during the year that just ended. Paradoxically, even as record sales have declined steadily over the last few years, more so with the rise of music streaming services, the number of albums released each year has burgeoned, which makes it humanly impossible to check out everything you may want to.

So every time a year winds down and a new one begins, I try to rewind through the weeks gone by to see what I might have missed.

It is by no means an exercise, although it can be exhausting. However, it always throws up. Here are six records (caveat: one of them is not a true full size ) of 2019 which you may have missed but that are worth checking out:

Oh Sees are an band. However, over 20 albums have been released by the San Francisco-based band. Their sound is a hybrid of grunge rock and psychedelic rock. They experiment a great deal but their identifying guitar riffs that are unfettered make their music unique. For constant, Frank Zappa-esque lead solos and long, trippy songs, check out their newest full-length, Face Stabber, especially the track Scutum & Scorpius. At minutes, it’s a guitar enthusiast’s delight.

Born in Alaska, Quinn Christopherson, 27, came out as transgender two decades ago and his 2019 tune about that adventure, Erase Me, is the single that drew critics’ notice. He has fractured vocals and profoundly intimate lyrics (I got so used to pulling the brief stick/ I do not know what to do with all this privilege/ Cause I got a voice today / I got electricity and I can’t stand itAnd nobody interrupts me/ And nobody second guesses my opinions/ And nobody tells me I can’t do it). Christopherson is yet to launch a full-length album but his singles-besides Erase Me, there is Raedeen, about a sister who died presumably of drug-related causes, and Mary Alee, about his grandmother who had been his pillar of strength when he transitioned-are tracks that shouldn’t to be missed. Christopherson is the man, if downtempo melancholia is the thing .

Melina Duterte, born to immigrants in America, performs as Jay Som. A multi-instrumentalist who records her songs at home, Som is able to craft dreamy pop songs that she sings soothingly, against a rich multilayered sonic background, all of it generated by her. It’s a DIY technique raised to perfection. Although just 25, she’s released three albums and 2019’s Anak Ko (“my child” in Tagalog) is one that wafts soothingly over you with its approachable lyrics and low-fi tapestry of instrumentation. Som says she makes “headphone music”. And she is pretty darn right.

1 phenomenon in music is. Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin combines alternative country music with indie pop and delivers her songs unfiltered-sometimes ambient sounds are left in on her recordings; and her own sighs and breaths sometimes surface in her songs. But her songs are narratives that are intimate. Her sophomore album, Crushing, is themed on breakups-but though it has its darker moments, it is never sad. It’s hopeful yet also confessional. On Stress To Party, Jacklin sings about the strain of getting back to normalcy after a relationship ends but makes it so lively and amusing it is, in fact, not stressful.

The audio of Hiss Golden Messenger, a band driven by the creative force of its leader, M.C. Taylor, has elements of blues, folk and great old-fashioned rock. The group has released eight albums over the last decade, and the newest, Terms Of Surrender, is a. It’s almost a cliché that creative artists often do their very best work in the wake (or in the throes) of personal emergencies but this one, composed following the loss of a loved parent and the recurrence of Taylor’s depression, is really a hidden gem. It is not, however, the typical set of mopey songs you would expect. Taylor also talks of love and of psychological healing although true, there are the moments. On days that you’ve got more than only a touch of the blues, this is what the doctor ordered.

Amanda Palmer, singer-songwriter, pianist and performance artist, spent time busking as a living statue in many regions of the world. She identifies as bisexual and is married to the writer and graphic novelist Neil Gaiman. Her solo work is theatrical.

Her most recent album, There Will Be No Intermission, is piano-driven, long (78 minutes; 20 songs) and personal, taking a look at the tumultuous year that 2019 was-but from an intimate perspective. So her struggles as a woman, and themes such as #MeToo, are dealt with in lyrics that can at times seem like poetry that was abstract. It’s not an easy hook-filled set of tunes; the words deserve attention in the song A Mother’s Confession, for instance, where she bares all about her own weaknesses as a parent.

Read More

Modi govt plans national university to train IAS, IPS, IRS officers, other civil servants

Modi govt plans national university to train IAS, IPS, IRS officers, other civil servants

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is planning to set up a National Civil Service University (NCSU) which will oversee the training for all IAS, IPS, IRS and other civil services, ThePrint has learnt.

The proposed university is set to follow the traditional model of different schools and departments functioning under a single umbrella, and carry out research in the area of public administration and policy.

‘The idea is that there should be an overarching body that determines the curriculum, and has the bandwidth to know what changes are needed with times in training,’ said an official familiar with the plan.

‘The move will end the culture of training institutes. There’ll be a definite approach to instruction, which would be reflected in the institutes,’ the official added.

The proposal is expected to be presented to the Modi cabinet during a meeting of the sectoral groups of secretaries. It will underscore the Modi government’s emphasis on training of civil servants, another official said.

Ties in with DoPT split

As reported by ThePrint before, the government is considering establishing a Department of Training, and dividing the DoPT. The DoPT is the coordinating agency for all personnel matters — it looks after regulation of service conditions, recruitment, posting/transfers, deputation and training of civil servants.

The training division is responsible for implementing the National Training Policy, which was adopted in 1996. Its functions include sponsoring training programmes for civil servants, updating training infrastructure for government officials across the country, and organising overseas training events for civil servants.

Read More

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa waded into the row, asserting

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa waded into the row, asserting

The answer to his opinions were immediate in Karnataka, with the state Kannada and Culture Minister C.T. Ravi stating Thackeray’ought to be ashamed for making such statements only for political reasons’.

Groups that took to the streets were riled by it.

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa waded into the row, asserting that’not an inch of Belagavi will be awarded to Maharashtra’.

Amid tit-for-tat protests in Maharashtra, the matter has further escalated with Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi Wednesday warning that the state government wouldn’t tolerate any trouble to Kannadigas in Maharashtra over the issue.

The row, however, is a five-decade-old one with either side raking it up intermittently to be able to instigate each other for political mileage.

The border issue

The central government constituted the Mahajan Committee in 1966 to assess the situation. In 1967, the committee recommended that 300 villages in Karwar, Haliyal and Suparna talukas of Karnataka be given to Maharashtra but abandoned Belagavi with the country. But Maharashtra objected to the report terming it’illogical and biased’.

In 2006, the then Congress-led UPA government submitted in the Supreme Court that the matter should be solved through mutual negotiation and that linguistic criterion shouldn’t be considered as it may create more practical problems. In 2007, Maharashtra once again moved the Supreme Court playing the ancestral element, claiming that Marathi speaking people in Karnataka were being’sidelined’ and’threatened’.

But Karnataka also has made attempts to reiterate its claim over Belagavi. The state government constructed an assembly building, the Suvarna Vidhan Soudha, in the city and now holds its winter session there each year.

On 14 October, 2014, then Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah renamed Belgaum as Belagavi along with 12 other cities, which was seen as an attempt by the state to cut Belagavi’s historic roots to Marathi culture.

Political mileage

The issue was fraught with political implications.

The platform then started contesting elections as a party and in its over 70-year history has focused on merging Belagavi, Karwar, Bidar and other Marathi-speaking areas in Karnataka with Maharashtra.

Its influence, however, has waned through the years. In the 1952 and 1957 assembly elections, the MES won all the seats in Belagavi district.

Maratha leaders have fared better in civic body elections. Since 1999, Belagavi has had only five’Kannada’ Mayors, with the remainder being representatives of various Marathi groups.

With the issue vitiating the atmosphere again, both sides in Belagavi have dug their heels .

‘If Maharashtra wants to politicise the situation then let them withdraw the case they’ve filed in the SC.

‘Uddhav Thackeray should know better than anyone else that if they do this, it contributes to contempt of court,’ he added.

‘Marathi organisations don’t have much control in Belagavi. They have not won a single meeting election for the last two decades which clearly shows that their control is waning,’ Chandargi said.

Such has been the acrimony in the region that in November 2005, the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, a pro-Kannada organisation smeared black paint then mayor Vijay More’s face in the wake of the Belgaum City Corporation (BCC) passing a resolution to merge the district with Maharashtra.

Mayor More, once with the MES but now a full-time social worker, says the issue can be solved only if chief ministers of both countries discuss the matter and reach an amicable solution.

‘Just like the SC delivered a balanced verdict on the age-old Ayodhya issue and solved the dispute, in a similar way we should wait for the SC to pass a judgment on the border issue,’ More told ThePrint over telephone from Belagavi.

Read More

ISRO sets academic centre for distance in Karnataka up

ISRO sets academic centre for distance in Karnataka up

“The facility at NIT-K will conduct joint research and development in space technology applications to meet the needs of our space programmes,” space agency’s manager for capacity building P.V. Venkitakrishnan said in a statement here. The state-run ISRO will provide Rs 2 crore grant annually to NIT for the R&D projects and promotional activities through the year.

The space agency and the engineering institute signed an agreement on the industry-academic collaboration on Friday at Surathkal, about 380km from Bengaluru.

“The centre, fourth in the country, will also ease promoting space technology in the southern states, including Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Telangana and be an ambassador for capacity-building, awareness and research and development (R&D), said Venkitakrishnan on the event.

A joint policy and management committee will direct the centre in optimal utilisation of the research possible, infrastructure, expertise and experience of the area agency and the autonomous institute.

“The committee will plan activities like research programmes of interest and reviewing their jobs occasionally,” said the director.

ISRO’s visiting specialists and scientists and researchers and NIT faculty members will guide the activities, including jobs of the centre.

“Pupils of under-graduation (B.Tech) and post-graduation (M.Tech) will participate in one-year short-term research projects and 2-4 year long-term jobs in advance distance programmes,” explained NIT K. Umamashewara Rao.

The other three such centres are Malaviya National Institute of Technology at Jaipur in Rajasthan, Gauhati University in Assam’s state capital and Kurukshetra University in Thanesar in Haryana.

Both the research and academic institutions will also collaborate in establishing optical telescope facilities under the Netra project for space object tracking, studying space weather, asteroids and near earth objects. “Collaboration will help us progress in a variety of fields of astrophysics and astronomy,” said IIA Director Annapurni Subramaniam on the occasion.

Read More

India close to finishing a trade package with US: Shringla

India close to finishing a trade package with US: Shringla

Washington: India and the US are close to concluding a trade package that would provide improved market access to both countries, India’s outgoing Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said.

“We are close to finishing a trade package that would provide enhanced market access to both countries,” Shringla stated during the event.

The Ambassador, who would take up his new assignment as the next foreign secretary after this month of India, however, failed to give an exact date for the inking of the trade deal that is much anticipated.

The trade deal was first announced by US President Donald Trump when he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York in September.

Trump on September 24 said his country will soon have a trade deal with India to boost ties between the two nations.

Shringla reported the signing of the trade package would pave the way for a much bigger bilateral trade deal between the two biggest democracies of the world, which will only benefit the companies of the two nations.

Shringla, who is scheduled to leave for India later this month, said that the India- US bilateral trade has increased significantly in the past one decade and it is anticipated to be over $160 billion by 2019.

Noting that there are a lot of complementarities between the Indian and the US economy, the Ambassador stated that Indian-American entrepreneurs and specifically organizations like TiE DC play a significant role in strengthening these bilateral ties, not just people to people but also strategic and economic relationship.

An entrepreneur from TiE DC, ravi Puli, stated that in just about an year, Shringla has made a great impact.

“As an ambassador, he’s taken the US- India relations to a degree that all of us are feeling very proud and we are looking forward to take it even further with his leadership as a foreign secretary of India,” he said.

Entrepreneurs attended the event from in and around Washington DC and leaders of different chapters from various parts of the country.

Read More

Google News discontinues digital magazines in News

Google News discontinues digital magazines in News

Google is quitting a product . It is the print replica magazines in Google News that comprise PDF versions of printed magazines like Rolling Stone or Conde Nast Traveller and others.

According to Android Police Report, the tech-giant sent an email to magazine subscribers to inform them about the discontinuation with an immediate effect. Google suggested if they wish to read the e-version of this magazine that readers could still visit the website of a magazine.

“Publishers can continue selling content on Google News in the form of paywalled RSS-based books – it is simply the support for the sale of discrete digital files that is changing,” read the Google email.

Google promised to repay all the active subscribers’ dues.

“If you’ve got an outstanding subscription, the full amount will be refunded to you somewhere during the next month or so, depending on payment method,” Android Police report said.

However, users will continue to have access to all issues you previously subscribed to in the Google News program, in the Following or Favorites tab, depending on your app version.

“To continue to read the most recent articles, we invite you to search for that book in Google News, or visit the publication’s website,” said Google.

The idea behind the concept was to give publishers control on how their posts were being presented or seen online.

Read More

Future Retail to increase around $500 million through dollar bonds

Future Retail to increase around $500 million through dollar bonds

Mumbai: Kishore Biyani’s Future Retail Ltd on Saturday said that its board has declared a fundraising plan to raise around $500 million through dollar denominated bonds, the company said in a filing with stock exchanges.

Mint reported on 13 December the Future Retail was intending to increase debt and had appointed four investment banks to advise it on the fundraise.

On 12 October, the firm’s board of directors had approved the acquisition of retail infrastructure assets of Future Enterprises in one or more tranches, through direct purchase, acquisition via slump sale or some other mode as mutually acceptable between the two firms. These retail assets are valued at around $4,000 crore.

The restructuring will save Future Retail about $650 crore of lease rental payments annually, thus bringing down the company’s debt to Ebitda ratio from 2.4 times as of financial year 2019 to about 1.5 times by April 2021 and less than 0.2 times in the next three years, resulting in stronger operating cash flows and sustained Ebitda growth.

The decoupling would help reduce inter-corporate linkages between entities of the Future group, simplifying its construction. It would result from Future Retail in cessation of the guarantee of about $ 3,600 crore to the creditors of Future Enterprises.

Future Retail operates Biyani’s popular chain of other and Big Bazaar format retail outlets .

Read More

Cyberattacks feared in US after killing of general

Cyberattacks feared in US after killing of general

Iran’s retaliation for the United States’ targeted killing of its general is likely to include cyberattacks, security experts warned. Iran’s state-backed hackers are already one of the world’s most competitive and might inject malware which triggers major disruptions to the US private and public sector.

Targets include manufacturing facilities, oil and gas plants and transit systems. A US cybersecurity official is warning government agencies and companies to be extra cautious.

In 2012 and 2013, in response to US sanctions, Iranian state-backed hackers completed a series of disruptive denial-of-service attacks that knocked offline the sites of major US banks including Bank of America as well as the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. They wiped servers in crippling hotel, Las Vegas and gambling operations.

The damaging attacks on US targets ebbed when Tehran reached a nuclear deal with the Obama government in 2015.

‘Our concern is essentially that things will return to the way they were before the arrangement,’ said John Hultquist, director of intelligence analysis at the cybersecurity firm FireEye. ‘There are opportunities for them to cause destruction and disruption.’

Iran has been doing a lot of probing of critical US industrial systems lately — trying to obtain access — but has limited its destructive attacks to targets in the Middle East, experts say.

It’s not known whether cyberagents have implanted.

‘It is certainly possible,’ Hultquist said. ‘But we haven’t actually seen it.’

Robert M. Lee, chief executive of Dragos Inc., which specializes in industrial control system safety, said Iranian hackers have been very aggressive in attempting to gain access to utilities, factories, and oil and gas facilities. That doesn’t mean they have succeeded. In 1 case in 2013 where they did break into the control system of a US dam — garnering substantial media attention — Lee stated they probably didn’t know the compromised target was a small flood control structure 20 miles north of nyc.

Its cyber capabilities have been raising but is not in exactly the same league as Russia or China — that have proved most adept at sabotaging critical infrastructure, witnessed in attacks on the power grid and elections of Ukraine, experts agree.

And while the US power grid is among the most secure and resilient in the world, lots of private businesses and local governments have not made adequate investments in cybersecurity and are highly vulnerable, experts say.

‘My worst-case scenario is a municipality or a cooperative-type assault where power is lost to a city or a couple of neighborhoods,’ Lee said.

Consider the chaos an outbreak of ransomware attacks has generated US local authorities, crippling services as vital as tax collection. While there’s no evidence of coordinated Iranian involvement, imagine if the aggressor — instead of scrambling data and demanding ransoms — simply wiped hard drives clean, said Hultquist.

‘You could see many hospitals and cities targeted at once with ransomware that encrypts data to make it unusable, but there is not any way to decrypt it by paying a ransom,’ said cybersecurity veteran Chris Wysopal, the chief technical officer of Veracode.

The only known cybersecurity survey of US local authorities, county and municipal, found that the networks of 28 percent were being attacked at least hourly — and that the same percentage said they did not even know how often they were being attacked. The writers at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County don’t believe the situation has improved since, although the study was done in 2016.

The top cybersecurity official in the Department of Homeland Security, Christopher Krebs, urged companies and government agencies to refresh their knowledge of Iranian hackers’ past exploits and methods following Soleimani’s death was announced. Attention closes to your systems,’ he tweeted.

In June, Krebs warned of a rise in malicious Iranian cyberactivity, particularly attacks using common techniques like spear-phishing that could erase entire networks:’What might start as an account compromise, in which you think you could just lose information, can quickly become a situation where you’ve lost your whole network.’

Wysopal said the Iranians are apt to have heard a lot from the 2017 NotPetya attack, which the US and Britain have imputed to state-backed Russian hackers and which caused at least USD10 billion in damage globally. The cyberattack to date, it exploited software after being delivered through an unwitting tax software provider and spread without human intervention on networks.

When then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper blamed Iran for the Sands Casino attack, it was one of the first cases of American intelligence agencies identifying a specific country as hacking for political reasons: The casino’s owner, Sheldon Adelson, is a big Israel backer. Clapper noted the value for collecting intelligence of hacking. North Korea’s hack of Sony Pictures in retaliation for a film followed.

The vast majority of the almost 100 Iranian targets leaked online this past year by a individual or group known as Laboratory Dookhtegan — a defector, perhaps — were in the Middle East, said Charity Wright, a former National Security Agency analyst at the threat intelligence firm InSights. She said it’s highly likely Iran will concentrate its retaliation on US targets in the region as well as in Israel and the United States

Iran is widely believed to have been behind a 2012 attack on Aramco. It was also a victim of this Stuxnet computer virus. First uncovered in 2010, it destroyed thousands of centrifuges involved in Iran’s contested nuclear program and is widely reported to have been a US-Israeli invention.

Read More

Cadbury 5Star advertisement is trending

Cadbury 5Star advertisement is trending

The advertisement in question is by Mondelez possessed chocolate manufacturer 5Star known for its funny advertising.

Made by advertising agency Ogilvy India, the film opens with an aged woman asking a young boy to pick up her walking stick that has fallen on the street while she’s sitting on a roadside bench. Lost he responds with’Ji Maaji’ but doesn’t move.

As the old lady gets up to pick the stick herself, a grand piano falls at the very spot she had been sitting at. The lady ends up thanking the boy for not doing anything.

While the advertisement has a humourous implementation it has invited ire from netizens who have criticized it for being reckless and irresponsible in the portrayal of their youth. Uploaded on brand station on 25 December, the ad has garnered over 12 million views so far. The brand is currently using influencers to promote the campaign using #Eat5StarDoNothing and #5StarDoNothing on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. But a set of users on social networking platforms have expressed their reservation on how this effort portrays the youth of the country.

According to social media expert Karthik Srinivasan the timing of the campaign which has the’youth’ doing nothing and being thanked for it seems incongruous to the actual youth who are on the roads, expressing their view.

“The youth are alert, awakened, busy, starting-up, running, expressing, protesting. And this is now, around all of us. On the streets, in the news, on the TV, on networking. A different timing, when things aren’t this bubbling and are more peaceful and steady.

Srinivasan also contended that the brand’s previous set of campaign series comprising Ramesh and Suresh characters satisfied the’Do Nothing’ proposition better.

“In the case of Ramesh-Suresh, the brand had established them to be funny duffers. But when it’s being performed by a’youth’, standing for other target audience youths, seemed really embarrassing, especially in terms of timing,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ambi M.G. Parameswaran, brand strategist and founder of Brand-Building. Com the Cadbury 5Star campaign thinks that the campaign ought to be seen not in isolation. “I don’t think the ad is offensive and has to be viewed in the context of this category which is fun impulse.

Read More

Asia’s history of 50 years poses

Asia’s history of 50 years poses

When Gunnar Myrdal was writing his three-volume Asian Drama in the late 1960s, no one could have dreamt that Bangladesh, which was soon to endure from the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded, and then a liberation war, would emerge as a star economic performer 50 years later. The country that was dismissed by Henry Kissinger as an international basket case has now beaten its South Asian neighbours on both human development indicators and economic growth rates. Its per capita income of $1,905 compares with Pakistan’s $1,388, and isn’t far behind India’s $2,171.

Myrdal’s book is often referred being 2,300 pages all. However he got many things wrong, including whether population are a deadweight (now China and India owe their large internal markets to population growth), but he also got some things right (such as, initial conditions matter). And a few passages in Asian Drama read like better than journalism. However, Deepak Nayyar has chosen the book’s 50th anniversary to reevaluate Asia ( Resurgent Asia: Diversity in Development).

Nayyar’s story is nuanced, pointing to the various avenues that countries in the region followed, frequently as a consequence of colonialism’s role in opening up closed markets. Shashi Tharoor in An Era of Darkness has speculated on whether India could have made it if it had not been colonised and given that the railways and a modern government (he thinks it would have), but it is certainly true that without outside influence, many countries of the region wouldn’t have introduced land reforms. Nor were Taiwan and South Korea states that took to exports such as ducks to water; they experimented with import substitution before they realised that their home markets were too small.

How much of the’Asian miracle’ owes its success to autocratic rulers, and how were these rulers different from the current Erdogan, on whose watch Turkey’s economy has tanked? Or other autocrats like Putin, whose Russia survives by exporting petroleum, gold, coal, lumber, and armaments, while other BRICS economy, Brazil, still flatters to deceive with its small growth rates? How were Asia’s leaders of yore different from our own Narendra Modi in their understanding of what it takes to find an economy on to a higher plane?

While refusing to get into the democracy vs authoritarianism debate, other than to say that democracy is an end in itself, and that it is more conducive to checks and balances, Nayyar concedes that political democracy is neither necessary nor sufficient for economic growth. He indicates that a Weberian bureaucracy was as much responsible for the success of the leading economies of Asia. Given that the economies of Asia range from communist to capitalist, and Myrdal’s observation that the same solutions in different countries seem to produce different outcomes, should India be ready to experiment with administrative arrangements — which necessarily imply greater decentralisation?

Will this be an Asian century? Nayyar believes not, possibly because only a couple of countries in the region have reached high-income status. However, if one looks through the BRICS prism, the change in the balance of power seems a foregone conclusion. The four BRICS countries were assumed to account for half the GDP of the six major Western economies by 2025; they are already past that landmark — having got there from 15 per cent in 2003. The reason is how well the two giants have done — but their normal rivalry will prevent them from acting in pursuit of common objectives.

From the half-century since Asian Drama was written, India has missed the bus. If we now want to avoid being hauled into a Hobbesian world dominated by a couple of Leviathans, India needs to figure out whether it pays to be rule-takers or search to be rule-setters (for instance, in a regional trading arrangement). Or, do we have a response to China challenge? Otherwise, what are our choices? At the cusp of the third decade of the century, other questions and these need answers.

Read More