Carl Sagan’s TV series Cosmos is coming back in version 2.0 with a new cast of atheists to spread the gospel of scientism.Two generations have passed since Cosmos became a hit TV series in 1980 with the atheist popularizer of science, Carl Sagan. Now, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the PhD astrophysicist and director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium, is reviving it with the help of PBS and Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan. Tyson, no less enthusiastic and articulate than his predecessor (if not more so), is also, like Sagan, an atheist, a staunch believer in cosmic evolution, and a passionate defender of science as the fountainhead of all certifiable knowledge.The new 13-episode Cosmos series will begin airing in March on Fox and the National Geographic channel. Space.com tells about the “rebooting” of the series and how, 34 years later, it is being recast for a new generation that expects cutting-edge video and audio. A video clip promoting the new series begins with Sagan’s memorable opening manifesto of materialism from the old series, “The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be” – an assertion beyond science that launched a thousand commentaries and criticisms, such as the book Cosmos: Carl Sagan’s Religion for the Scientific Mind by Christian apologist Norman Geisler.Producer of Cosmos 2.0 Brannon Braga (Star Trek) describes the series as, if not opposed to religion, at least one-up to it:“Science doesn’t have to be the opposite of religion in terms of its emotional value,” he said. “Science can move you like any other story. Science can be a visceral, emotional experience. Religion doesn’t own awe and mystery. Science does it better.“The producers expect the new series to continue on past its initial release in reruns, disks and other media platforms for many years. Undoubtedly there will be a book and website. While clips of Sagan will be interspersed in the shows, Tyson will have many advantages not available to Sagan in 1980: the internet, social media, and 34 years of planetary and astronomical discoveries.The original Cosmos was criticized for its promulgation of a largely debunked “warfare hypothesis” of science vs religion. Judging from the trailer, that theme will still be prominent. Sagan portrayed religion as anti-intellectual, responsible for all the wars and regresses of nations. Science was always the savior and liberator of mankind. Central to the plot was Darwinian evolution – not just biological, but cosmic. The trailer includes flashbacks that will probably make it into the “reimagining” of Cosmos: religion burning Giordano Bruno at the stake for suggesting the possibility of life on other worlds, for instance (a largely distorted, though inexcusable incident – he was killed for other sins, historians say).As Cosmos 2.0 makes “the case for science,” it will undoubtedly equate science with cosmic evolution.Critics of scientism had better prepare themselves, because this miniseries is bound to be very appealing to a lot of people, including Christians, Jews and other theists. It will also provide a shot in the arm to the new atheists who are becoming increasingly assertive. Cosmos 1.0 took on a life of its own that has lasted for over 3 decades, reaching around the world as one of the most successful and widely-watched science documentaries in TV history. Now, with 34 years of progress in animation, production quality and scientific advances, it would be surprising if Cosmos 2.0 does not surpass its famous predecessor.One reason is Neil deGrasse Tyson himself. He is a dynamo: energetic, tall, muscular, handsome, articulate, smart, funny, possessing an engaging aura that exudes positive vibes. For some, he will gain extra points simply for being black. He’s likeable, very intelligent, and already has a big following. I’ve seen how effective he is as a communicator; once he gave a special video greeting to the Cassini team and had them all on the edge of their seats. In my opinion, he will be more effective than Carl Sagan in communicating the case for scientism, especially when it’s clear from the trailer he will be presented to viewers as almost a demigod or superhero. What is unknown is whether viewers who can download Lord of the Rings on a smartphone will be so jaded by high-tech wizardry as to find another miniseries just another miniseries. Sagan didn’t have to compete with a thousand cable channels, Netflix and YouTube.Much of the appeal of Cosmos 2.0 will be all the stuff that’s right about it. There will be plenty of good science, like a depiction of the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and the Titan landing. Christians will say “amen” as Tyson debunks astrology and other superstitions. This will desensitize them to the poison in the pill, when the “warfare of science and religion” theme (largely discredited by philosophers and historians) builds bit by bit, anecdote by anecdote. Many viewers won’t know the truth about the Bruno affair, the Galileo affair, and the Christian faith of great scientists, because the stories will be spun to fit the warfare mold. He will also make the origin and evolution of life look very simple and plausible. As Tyson announces “The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be,” his persona along with the careful scripting and appealing visuals will make it hard to dismiss. Church-goers may come to their pastors with lots of questions. The worst possible answer is: “I don’t understand science; just have faith.”Parents, pastors and youth leaders should not shield young people from the series; they’re going to get the same propaganda in college anyway, most likely, or in the general culture. You don’t build strong faith by ignoring challenges. You get it by facing them with better weapons and the skills to use them. And Christians have the better weapons! Despite its arrogant facade, the scientism theater is a house of cards if you know where the weaknesses are. For instance, by using logical argumentation, evidence, and reasoning, Tyson and the cast will be cutting their legs out from their own materialistic feet. Where does logic come from? From hydrogen? Perceptive viewers will also notice Tyson turning science into a religion, with superstitious imagery that makes astrology look tame (examples: a big eye embedded in the Ring Nebula; zipping around the universe on a whim faster than the speed of light, space aliens everywhere). With a few master strokes, you can unmask the Cosmos production set as a den of thieves. They plagiarize parts of the Christian worldview (belief in truth, logic and morality) to build a materialistic castle of paper on sand. Pastors and teachers can empower young people and adults with good answers and apologetic training; it will make them stronger after the battle than before. It can actually make them excited about their faith, more passionate to defend it.Specific unbiblical scientific claims should be faced. Creation-Evolution Headlines has a search bar for researching many evolutionary claims; if you don’t know something, look it up. Don’t be overly critical; for instance, both Tyson and Sagan are reputable astronomers deserving respect for their science; Sagan did valuable work for NASA’s Mars and Venus missions, for instance, and became a bit less arrogant in his atheism in later years. Be circumspect in your criticisms; don’t call them fools or evil; go after the claims, not the men. But especially, freshen up your critical thinking skills with our Baloney Detector, recognizing card stacking, big lie*, half truth, visualization**, loaded words, glittering generalities***, suggestion, reductionism, red herring, equivocation, straw man, and other tricks of the propaganda trade. Since the series will be heavy into astronomy, read up on our biographies of Newton, Galileo, Kepler and other Bible-believing astronomers; also, know something about the anti-Darwin biologists and the sordid history of the Darwinian revolution. A prepared mind can enjoy the good aspects of the series, learning things, appreciating its strengths but remaining alert to its weaknesses. It’s safe to say this will be one of the strongest and most consistent presentations of scientism one is likely to see on TV. If you can rock that Goliath to sleep with a logical stone, you’ve got reason for confidence.*Example of a big lie from Cosmos 1.0: Sagan stated emphatically, “Evolution is a fact, not a theory. It really happened.” Then he tried to illustrate it with trivial examples of microevolution and even artificial selection.**Example of visualization: In Cosmos 1.0, Sagan narrated a series of one-dimensional drawings of animals morphing into one another, following evolutionary stages from bacteria to man. This is not only asinine, but contrary to evolutionary theory itself. Straight-line “orthogenesis” is a debunked theory. Animals do not evolve as one individual into another; offspring and whole populations must be considered. It was pure propaganda – simplistic, at that.***Example of glittering generalities: In the last episode of Cosmos 1.0, Sagan summed up the whole cosmic evolution scenario in sweeping generalities. At one point, he said, “Eyes evolved, and now the cosmos could see.” As evolution advanced, leading to sumptuous scenes of civilization, transportation and space exploration, with a final musical crescendo, he capped it all off with this monstrous generality that he admitted sounds like “epic myth”: “These are some of the things that hydrogen atoms do, given fifteen billion years of cosmic evolution.”(Visited 35 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Johannesburg, Tuesday 27 March 2018 – Brand South Africa welcomes South Africa’s Performance in the 2017 Open Budget Survey (OBS) Index. South Africa ranks 2 out of 115 nations, making the country the second most transparent system after New Zealand, and leading Sweden and Norway that rank at 3rd and 4th respectively. The Open Budget Survey (OBS) is the world’s only comparative and independent assessment of fiscal transparency, oversight, and participation at the national level. The survey is carried out by independent researchers who respond to a set of factual questions in each of the 115 countries assessed. Each country’s results are then reviewed by an anonymous expert, and governments are also given an opportunity to provide their comments. The survey examines formal participation in the budget process at the national level. The 2017 OBS also assessed the core institutions of representative democracies by evaluating novel approaches to formal public participation in budgeting. Brand South Africa’s CEO, Dr Kingsley Makhubela said: “Transparency is an important aspect of good governance, and transparent decision making is critical for the public sector to make sound decisions and investments, while also attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country. “Transparency creates an environment for effective decision-making. The most frequently cited argument for transparency is information should be accessible to enable citizens to actively participate in policymaking and hold leaders accountable for their decisions, and ultimately influence which decisions are taken and why. At a more basic level, transparency is critical for decision-makers, as it assists them to formulate policy, improve service provision, and manage resources responsibly.” The OBS 2017 report states that ‘Sub-Saharan Africa showed the largest decline in transparency in this round, yet the region drove much of the improvement in transparency in the 2015 survey.’ It also notes that ‘this recent decline in transparency overall is significantly less than the gains found in previous rounds of the survey; which means that government budgets are still considerably more transparent today than they were a decade ago.’ Follow the conversation on #CompetitiveSA Notes to the Editor About Brand South AfricaBrand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness. Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship. About Play Your PartPlay Your Part is a nationwide programme created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa. It aims to lift the spirit of our nation by inspiring all South Africans to contribute to positive change, become involved and start doing. A nation of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone. Play Your Part is aimed at all South Africans – from corporates and individuals, NGOs and government, churches and schools, from the young to the not-so-young. It aims to encourage South Africans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all.
Article written by Katie DiJulioIn the last 12 years, over four million geocachers have participated in one of dozens of geocaching-based Trackable promotions in partnership with adventurous brands around the globe. From John Grisham fans seeking gold ingot Geocoins to Jeep enthusiasts on the hunt for toy Jeeps, there are unique experiences for every type of geocacher. Trackable promotions give geocachers a unique opportunity to engage with some of their favorite brands on a digital and physical level while spending time enjoying their hobby. Partnerships have included free Trackable giveaways, pre-release sneak peeks, and photo contests with prizes ranging from a set of new tires for your vehicle (road trip anyone?) to all expense paid trips. Each branded trackable builds a unique story as it travels. Trackables continue to generate engagement for years as geocachers discover and display these pieces of history at events, on social media, and online via their collection of unique digital icons (who wouldn’t want to collect a fancy little achievement for your profile page?) How many of these promotional Trackables have you spotted?1. Jeep 4×4 sweepstakesThis was one of the first branded Geocaching promotions and the first time digital icons were introduced on geocaching profile pages. Over 24,000 Trackables were attached to Matchbox Jeeps and released in different color batches from 2004-2007. Jeep trackables have traveled over 16 million miles to date and have become a staple within the geocaching community. The first Yellow Jeep in the promotion was even inspired by the Yellow Jeep Fever, locationless cache, which was a life size jeep! Throughout the promotion Geocachers submitted photos and essays about the Trackables for a chance to win the top prize: a full size Jeep vehicle.“As small as those TBs were in the grand scheme of life, participating in those promotions brought me an immense amount of joy.” – Brian – Team A.I., 2007 photo contest winnerWant to discover a jeep for yourself? Follow their latest movements or stop by Geocaching HQ’s museum! 2. John Grisham Hunt for the Gold – Doubleday publishing group’s 2012 Geocaching partnership focused on John Grisham’s new book “The Racketeer.” 5,000 custom gold ingot trackable geocoins were distributed to geocachers who then placed and moved them from geocache to geocache to mirror the book’s plot, in which ill-gained gold bars are moved around the United States. In addition to moving the ingot trackables over 17 million miles, geocachers showed off their photography skills for a chance to win the grand prize of a real gold ingot! The trackable program was paired with Facebook ads and geocachers flooded the John Grisham Facebook page, which gained 72,000 new Facebook fans and an increase in reach of 220% (according to Marketing Sherpa.)The winning picture was of a young boy who posed with the “Grisham Geocoin” as a character, Theodore Boon, from Grisham’s series of young adult novels.The story continues two years later: “Big score at Goodwill lol. Figured I had the trackable, might as well read the book. Both books for only $2. Might need to use for another library cache” – Jason Winder / animjason, Facebook, 12/2/2014.3. Geico Find the GeckoGEICO’s 2011 Geocaching promotion released 9,000 Trackable tags designed in the shape of the iconic gecko mascot into the hands of geocachers across the United States. The tags were sent on their way while spreading awareness for the “Find the Gecko” sweepstakes in which one Magellan Explorist GC GPS unit was given away to a lucky geocacher winner each week of the 20 week promotion! The gecko trackables were moved by geocachers over 73,000 times and remain one of the most popular trackables being discovered around the world, averaging 29 touchpoints a day years later.SHC’s Danger Ranger Geico Trackable has traveled the world collecting more miles traveled than any other Geico Trackable with a total of 326,315 miles (mapped above) since it was released into the game on June 11th, 2011.4. Michelin Quest for AdventureIn 2014, Michelin celebrated their 125th Anniversary by launching a geocaching campaign to promote tire safety via a social media based photo contest. With 2,000 Trackable tags designed in the shape of a tire and attached to actual Michelin Man tire pressure gauges, geocachers were destined for success on the road. Geocachers across the United States tapped into their inner photography talent by submitting over 1,000 photos portraying a sense of adventure to the official photo contest by using the hashtag #MichelinQuest on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. The Michelin Trackables have traveled almost 1.3 million miles in just 4 months and have saved many tricycle tires from getting too low on air.Geocachers submitted 1000+ photos over 4 months to the #MichelinQuest contest by adding the hashtag #MichelinQuest on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.These are just a few of the many examples of promotional trackable history. You can locate these promotional trackable types by looking up their latest movements on each of their home pages. Keep an eye on the Geocaching Facebook page and join 3.9 million other people who have subscribed to the geocaching weekly newsletter to learn when new contests and new free trackable series are available.Share with your Friends:More SharePrint RelatedInside Geocaching HQ Podcast Transcript (Episode 11): The Magic of trackable promotionsMay 10, 2018Similar postBecome Trackable on Geocaching.com – Tattoos to Travel BugsSeptember 13, 2011In “Community”Geocaching family wins Hurtigruten photo contest and sets sail on a cruise to NorwayMay 1, 2018In “Community”
audrey watters SemTech Start-Up CompetitionSemantic Universe is seeking to identify and recognize promising start-ups in the SemTech field. In partnership with Vator.tv Semantic Universe is hosting its 2010 SemTech Start-Up Competition. Winners will receive an overall prize package totaling over $12,000. Applications due June 6. Women 2.0 Labs Women 2.0 is sponsoring Women 2.0 Labs, a new 5-week program (July 6 – August 5, 2010) for engineers, developers, biz dev folks, and marketing mavens to develop high-growth technology ventures in San Francisco, CA. Applications due June 20. Tags:#events#start Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting There are a lot of great activities happening in the startup world (including the ReadWriteWeb Real-Time Web Summit on June 11), and we would like to help you make sure you’re on top of these opportunities. We’re starting a calendar on ReadWriteStart that will include both events and application deadlines (for competitions and incubators, for example).Below you will find a few of the dates that have caught our attention this week: Meetups EverywhereSeveral entrepreneurial-related events were announced this week via the new Meetup Everywhere platform. Fred Wilson announced ongoing AVC meetups. And in conjunction with This Week in Startups, you might just find a Startup Meetup near you on June 8.Do you have something to add? You can leave a comment or contact us with the information and we’ll include you in our new calendar of startup events and deadlines. As with the ReadWriteWeb Events Guide, we’ll include ways for you to easily import or download the information into your own calendar tools. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…
The demolition of a building is a carefully orchestrated, thoroughly researched affair. Demolition contractors must be conscientious about both employee safety and environmental safety, or else risk losing their business licenses. Just like general contractors, demolition experts are required to follow OSHA standards for employee safety. And demolition firms must also abide by EPA standards guiding environmentally safe deconstruction techniques. Hazardous construction materials, such as asbestos, must be safely removed before a building can be demolished.Some forward-thinking demolition companies are exceeding government standards and are finding innovative new ways to reuse old building materials, rather than sending them straight to the landfill. Because they have a unique perspective on how to best take down buildings, commercial demolition experts can teach residential contractors quite a bit about material selection, building methods and more. RELATED ARTICLES Deconstruction versus Demolition An Agent of Green Invention in Philly: Row House DemolitionJob-Site Recycling: PVCGBA Encyclopedia: Job-Site RecyclingRecycling Vinyl SidingJob-Site Recycling: Asphalt Roofing ShinglesAsphalt Shingle Recycling LocatorJob-Site Recycling: Gypsum WallboardSaving Energy by RecyclingCarpet RecyclingVideo: Grinding Drywall and Wood Recycling concrete, steel and other naterialsGreen industrial demolition contractors know what may be recycled from a defunct building. This information can come in handy when residential builders are selecting earth-friendly building materials. From a commercial demolition perspective, the materials listed below can effectively be recycled upon demolition. In fact, with disposal costs as high as they are, it’s often worthwhile to pay for the labor it takes to separate them out.Concrete. A single demolition project can yield tons of concrete. Fortunately, this concrete may be crushed into gravel, a high-demand material in new building projects. Some industrial demolition contractors even employ enormous, mobile concrete crushers that can easily process all concrete on-site.Steel. With the right equipment and expertise, steel and other scrap metals can be processed for recycling into new products.Interior doors and beams. Wood doors, posts and beams in good condition can often be sold or reused – there are plenty of architectural salvage companies that are interested in these types of materials. If the condition is too poor for reuse, the wood can be recycled.Sinks and toilets. Again, if they’re in good condition, these fixtures can usually be reclaimed by an architectural salvage company. Otherwise, porcelain models can be recycled with the concrete, while stainless steel fixtures can be recycled with the other scrap metals.Construction and demolition are the two ends of a building’s lifecycle, so it makes sense that those responsible for each phase would have plenty to teach each other. If your contracting crew could use an injection of fresh building knowledge, consider learning from a demolition expert. Fall protectionBecause demolition companies are in the business of tearing things up and creating holes, they’re acutely aware of the importance of fall protection. When working around any hole, open wall or open roof with a fall greater than 6 feet, demolition workers are typically required to wear full body restraints. These same hazards are often present during the construction phase, as well, which means fall protection is just as important for builders. Focusing on the eco-friendly lessons of demolition has a definite cost-value for residential builders, who have seen a spike in consumer demand for green construction. Cradle-to-cradle building techniques that anticipate green demolition down the road can contribute points to LEED certification – the Holy Grail of earth-friendly building. The following is a look at some of the things industrial demolition contractors urge residential builders to keep in mind. Elder Demolition is a fully licensed and insured demolition company based in Portland, Ore., with certifications for hazardous waste handling as well as broad experience with LEED-certified green demolitions. Limiting exposure to dangerous chemicalsOf course, residential building contractors are aware of the dangers of asbestos, lead and other hazardous materials in home construction. No new homes contain these toxins, but it’s not unusual for residential contractors to be hired for retrofitting work to bring an older home up to code. Here are a few examples of irritating but not illegal hazards residential construction workers could see while working in older buildings:Synthetic mineral fibers (SMF). These are fibrous products made from ceramic, fiberglass and rock wool. Studies have found that SMFs aren’t as noxious as asbestos, so they are still used in sound and thermal protection products. Irritation to the eyes, nose and throat is the most common symptom of SMF exposure, but some question whether SMFs could also cause lung cancer, since they sometimes contain fiberglass. Industrial demolition experts recommend requiring workers to wear respirators and protective clothing when SMF contact is possible.Wood dust containing formaldehyde. This wood dust can become stuck in the nasal passages when inhaled, and it is thought to have caused nasal cancer in some woodworkers. Wood paneling and particleboard sometimes contains the toxic substance formaldehyde; when the wood is cut or otherwise manipulated, formaldehyde-laced dust is sent into the air, posing a major risk for nearby workers. For this reason, demolition contractors recommend wearing protective respiration gear when dealing with particleboard and paneling.Lead paint. One hazard that’s frequently overlooked is the danger of torching steel beams that have been painted with lead paint. Simply cutting a few painted beams can expose a builder to airborne lead levels that are off the charts. In these cases, OSHA requires workers to be provided with respirators, protective clothing and hand washing stations.These are only a few of the materials demolition companies must carefully monitor and prepare for when taking down buildings. Indeed, OSHA has an entire set of standards for demolition procedures. If your team isn’t confident in this area, consider consulting with a commercial demolition professional. A longstanding demolition company will have wide-ranging experience in taking down everything from air traffic control towers to factories. Their experts can provide unique insight into how to best remove chemical hazards.
I speak client. Here is a translation to the objections you heard and what they really mean.“I already have a provider.”Translated: “Listen, I am really busy and you have done nothing to convince me that you are worth my time. Even though I am not in love with my current provider, nothing you said makes me believe that you are their replacement.”“That sounds interesting. Can you send me some information.”Translated: “You don’t really sound too smart, so let’s just pretend that I am interested and that I am really going to carefully read and review that four-color glossy brochure you are going to send me. We both know I am going to throw it in the trash. And we both know you actually believe that I have somehow committed to something.”“We need you to sign up on our vendor management site before we can talk to you.”Translated: “Look, I don’t have time for you, and you’ve done nothing different from the last three salespeople who called me. Today! Here’s a little something to keep you busy, even though it will do absolutely nothing to move you closer to a deal. But at least you can tell your sales manager some silly story, right?“Now’s not a good time. Can I ask you to call me back next quarter?”Translated: “We both know how this works, don’t we? I pretend I am busy, even though I have plenty of time. You pretend like you are persistent, but instead of asking for an appointment again, you mark your calendar to call in 90 days. But you won’t call, and if you do you’ll take this same objection again every quarter.”Yes, you still need to know how to overcome objections, especially when it comes to prospecting. 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
You don’t determine whether or not you are a trusted advisor. That is only something your clients decide for themselves. All you can do is behave in such a way that you influence how your clients view their relationship with you.A trusted advisor brings their client new ideas. A salesperson calls on their client when they have the need to sell something. A trusted advisor calls on their client to bring them new ideas, regardless of whether or not they have something to sell.A trusted advisor has subject matter expertise. They know their business, they know their client’s business, and they have a enough general knowledge about how things work to offer advice worth taking.A trusted advisor values the relationship more than the transaction. A trusted advisor never puts a deal before the relationship. They would prefer not to make a sale if the relationship would be damaged by having made it.A trusted advisor is accountable for outcomes outside of what they sell. A trusted advisor finds a way to own outcomes that have nothing to do with their product or service. It might be general business advice. It might be advice on strategy, marketing, or how to sell. They help their clients wherever and however they can. They don’t limit the value they create to what they sell.A trusted advisor has a personal relationship with their client. This doesn’t mean they have a friendship, even though that is possible, and maybe even likely. There relationships is built on value.Your client will never call you their trusted advisor. Normal people don’t talk that way. You will know you are their trusted advisor when your client calls you before they make decisions. You will know you are playing this role when your client calls you for help in areas where you have no offering, where you have nothing to sell. These things are what makes you a trusted advisor. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi has given her nod to a Congress-Left Front alliance in West Bengal for the upcoming Assembly bypolls in the State, following the party’s dismal performance in the Lok Sabha election, top party sources said on Saturday.Ms. Gandhi held a meeting with West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra in Delhi on Friday night and discussed various organisational issues, including the upcoming Assembly bypolls in the State, the sources said.“We informed Ms. Gandhi about the seat adjustment we are having with the Left Front for the upcoming bypolls. She told us if the Left Front agrees, then both the parties should go for an alliance,” Mr. Mitra said.Seat adjustmentThe seat adjustment decision was taken by the Congress State leadership when the party had no president after the resignation of Rahul Gandhi from the post. The nod was given by Ms. Gandhi, who was chosen as the party’s interim president earlier this month. Congress sources said Ms. Gandhi’s nod to the alliance is politically significant given the Trinamool Congress’ recent call for uniting of all opposition forces in Bengal in a bid to stop the march of the BJP in the State. “It is quite clear that Ms. Gandhi, despite sharing good relations with TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, has chosen the Left for forging an alliance. One of the reasons is that in the 2021 Assembly polls, the fight will be against the TMC government. So just in the name of opposing the BJP, we can’t align with it [TMC],” a senior Congress leader. The West Bengal Congress and the CPI(M) leaderships had recently sealed a seat adjustment for the upcoming bypolls in three Assembly seats in West Bengal.The State leaderships of the two parties have decided that Congress will contest the Kaliaganj seat in North Dinajpur district and Kharagpur in West Midnapore district, while the CPI(M)-led Left Front will contest the Karimpur seat in Nadia district.The Kaliaganj seat fell vacant after the death of sitting Congress MLA Parmathanath Roy, while the election to the Kharagpur seat is being held as its MLA Dilip Ghosh, the State BJP chief, contested and won the Medinipur Lok Sabha constituency. Karimpur MLA Mahua Moitra of TMC had won the Krishnnanagar Lok Sabha seat.
Story Highlights “Wha gwaan…Weh yaa seh… mi come from the beautiful island of Jamaica…wi have the best beaches and sunshine all through di year…nuff respect…to di worl,” are some of the sentiments ‘Toya’ utters to her playmates at the press of a button. The demand for the doll has been phenomenal, with requests for Toya coming in from Estonia, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, United States of America (USA) and Japan. She is the first-ever patois-speaking doll and is the brainchild of Saffron Jackson, a Jamaican living in the United Kingdom (UK) for the past 15 years. “Wha gwaan…Weh yaa seh… mi come from the beautiful island of Jamaica…wi have the best beaches and sunshine all through di year…nuff respect…to di worl,” are some of the sentiments ‘Toya’ utters to her playmates at the press of a button.She is the first-ever Patois-speaking doll and is the brainchild of Saffron Jackson, a Jamaican living in the United Kingdom (UK) for the past 15 years.Miss Jackson’s dedication to promoting Jamaica’s culture, coupled with her desire to satisfy an existing need, propelled her to tap into the multibillion-dollar toy industry in 2015.“At that time, I was pregnant with my daughter and noticed there was a lack of ethnic toys and black dolls in the UK. So, realising that there was a massive niche for the product in the marketplace, and being a very passionate Jamaican, I thought I needed something that would not just be a black doll, but reflect part of my culture; and so, that is how the Patois bit of it came in,” Miss Jackson reflects.Her creation, Toya, represents an immigrant child who moved to the UK from Jamaica and is excited to tell people about her country, inviting them to experience its rich culture and offerings.“Finding the voice for the doll was pretty challenging… . I had to get someone in Jamaica to try several kids until I found that distinct, authentic voice,” Ms. Jackson tells JIS News.After an 18-month process of market research, identifying potential manufacturers, registering and trademarking her product, her business venture finally materialised, and then she was busy selling dolls to the many eager, excited buyers, just a week after the launch at the Jamaican High Commission in the UK.Her dark-skinned, curly-haired dolls, attired in black, green and gold, are available primarily online at www.zuree.co.uk , amazon, eBay and a few small retail stores in the UK for £50.The demand for the doll has been phenomenal, with requests for Toya coming in from Estonia, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, United States of America (USA) and Japan.“So, the doll is definitely making an impact across the world, and this is not just because it is a black doll, but a black doll that speaks Jamaican. Jamaica is a brand, and people love the culture and just want to have a piece of it,” Ms. Jackson says.The teacher-turned-doll maker adds that the future looks extremely bright and profitable for her business venture, with a major toy store in the USA now knocking on her door with offers to sell the doll in its online store.“The aim is to get the dolls into major stores and outlets around the world… . I also have other dolls that are non-talking, so the plan is really to compete with the likes of Disney and Barbie, being the first or most popular black doll and merchandise manufacturer in the industry,” she says.She notes that she has expanded her brand, Zuree, to include merchandise such as T-shirts, bags, baby onesies and bibs. She is also thinking of adding rags, towels and sheets to the clothing line.Ms. Jackson has in her collection a talking Rasta teddy bear and ‘girls champs’ dolls dressed in the uniforms of the top-five girls’ teams.“I also plan to do other black dolls that speak other languages, focusing on the African and Caribbean markets,” she says.She adds that a major commitment that she wants to fulfil is to create a ‘Zuree Park’ for children in the Bog Walk area of St. Catherine where she is from that will be fully equipped with swings, slides and all the necessary play outlets.The doll maker also stands true to the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference theme, ‘Partnering for Growth’, having forged business relationships with several Jamaicans.“I try to engage and utilise the services of other Jamaicans, so my logo and website were done by Jamaicans and I will be using a Jamaican company, ‘Patwa Apparel’ to produce some of the clothing for the dolls, and will partner with other Jamaican companies to make sandals for the dolls,” Ms. Jackson tells JIS News.She is encouraging existing and budding entrepreneurs to “seek out new opportunities, take risks, think outside the box and move into non-traditional markets”.“Jamaica has given us so much, Jamaica has made me who I am today and it is important for me to give back to my country. And so, I am promoting the heritage and culture through my dolls,” Ms. Jackson says.“Zuree Limited is going places, I am breaking barriers, and everywhere I go, it is about Jamaica and being proud of who I am,” she adds.