Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed acting president Juan Guaido gestures as he speaks during a press conference at the Venezuelan National Assembly in Caracas on 10 March. Photo: AFPOpposition leader Juan Guaido said Sunday he will ask Venezuela’s legislature to declare a “state of alarm,” authorizing the delivery of international aid in response to a catastrophic power outage that has paralyzed the country.At least 15 patients with advanced kidney disease were reported to have died since the blackout began on Thursday, as hospitals struggled to provide emergency services and the threat of spoiling food supplies put many on edge.”We must attend to this catastrophe immediately. We cannot turn away from it,” said Guaido, the 35-year-old leader of the National Assembly who in January declared himself interim president, triggering a power struggle in the oil-rich country of 30 million.He told reporters he is convening an emergency session of the National Assembly for Monday to declare a “state of alarm” and authorize the delivery of international aid.Such an action would set up another test of wills with president Nicolas Maduro, who last month used the military to repel an opposition bid to bring in humanitarian supplies from Colombia and Brazil.But Maduro vowed on Sunday he would not back down. “This macabre strategy to bring us to a confrontation will fail,” he wrote on Twitter.The Venezuelan health ministry also denied that the blackout had caused any deaths in public hospitals as reported.But the government announced that schools and workplaces would remain closed Monday as the power outages continued.Military stanceGuaido meanwhile called for more street protests Monday to pressure Maduro to step down.”You have the right to go into the street, to protest, to demand, because this regime is letting Venezuelans die,” he said, appealing to the armed forces “to stop covering for the dictator.”Guaido is recognized by more than 50 countries as Venezuela’s acting president, which have backed his calls for new polls, but the military high command has so far stood by Maduro despite a plummeting economy and deep discontent.In Washington, national security advisor John Bolton suggested members of the military were reconsidering their support for Maduro.”There are countless conversations going on between members of the National Assembly and members of the military in Venezuela, talking about what might come, how they might move to support the opposition,” Bolton said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”One reason the security forces have refrained from arresting Guaido, he said, “is Maduro fears if he gave that order, it would not be obeyed.”Electromagnetic attack?Maduro blames “imperialism” for the country’s accumulating woes, and claims the power outage was caused by an electromagnetic attack on the Guri hydroelectric complex, which supplies 80 per cent of Venezuela’s electricity.Guaido dismissed that explanation as “Hollywoodesque.” Critics blame the government for failing to maintain the power grid, as did the Lima Group, a primarily Latin American bloc.For ordinary Venezuelans, the blackout has piled misery upon an already agonizing day-to-day struggle to survive in a once prosperous country now reeling from hyperinflation and economic collapse.”Every day is worse,” said Edward Cazano, a 20-year-old who lives with his mother and three brothers in a poor Caracas neighborhood called Pinto Salinas. “We have the worst services in the world: no light, no water, sometimes no gas.”Hospitals with back-up generators were using them for emergency services, leaving patients to cope in the dark.”This has been horrible. Everything dark. Only some areas are operating with a generator,” said Sol Dos Santos, a 22-year-old whose daughter is hospitalized.Some isolated cases of looting were also reported in Caracas on Sunday.Dialysis patients at riskNo national data was available about the impact of the power outage, but an NGO said at least 15 patients with advanced kidney disease died after they stopped receiving dialysis treatments in darkened hospitals.Francisco Valencia, director of the Codevida health rights group, said some 10,200 people were at risk because dialysis units had switched off.Businesses remained shut, and public transport barely functioned.”I am very nervous because this situation isn’t being resolved. The little food we have in the refrigerator is going to spoil. How long are we going to endure this?” asked Francisca Rojas, a 62-year-old retiree in Caracas.The blackout has been one of the worst and longest in recent memory in Venezuela, which is already suffering from serious shortages of food and medicine due to the overarching economic crisis.
Listen 00:00 /01:29 When the Texas Education Agency tried to calm concerns with federal authorities over the state’s special education program, they promised they would make changes. But some advocates want the feds to continue to investigate.Those advocates worry that children with disabilities will continue to have limited access to services until Texas completely removes its benchmark for special education. State officials said they would provide updates to districts to clarify “recent confusion.”“I was disappointed because I didn’t see a clear confirmation of when and how TEA is going to eliminate this indicator that has kept special education in our state at 8.5 percent,” said Dustin Rynders, an attorney with Disability Rights Texas.That indicator started in 2004. Since then, data shows enrollment in special education in Texas has dropped steeply to the lowest rate in the country.In a recent letter to the U.S. Department of Education, Disability Rights Texas asked the feds to get details about how Texas will phase out that benchmark.What’s more, the agency detailed what they call inaccuracies in the state’s official explanation to the feds. For example, TEA reported that children with disabilities haven’t been denied services guaranteed by federal law. Rynders disputed that.“Additionally, they claim they never got a complaint because of the cap. And to me that was remarkable because it’s such a clear cut inaccuracy,” he added.Disability Rights Texas has complained formally and informally in different ways about the cap on special ed, starting more than two years ago. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X PexelsTexas officials denied they imposed any cap on special education in a letter to the U.S. Department of Education. Share
Young African leaders Gorata Seleb, Adeboyega Adewolu and Angela Gichaga are participants in Morgan’s YALI program. AFRO Photo/Anderson R. WardTwenty-five young leaders from 18 African countries are on the campus of Morgan State University during June and July taking part in a multi-disciplinary learning experience. The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) comes to Morgan’s Public Management Institute to explore some of the key issues facing communities around the world including financial management, public health, the environment and policy analysis.Morgan’s Public Management Summer Program, which began on June 16 with an opening ceremony, runs through July 25 with activities planned daily. Program participants will tour several Baltimore and Maryland educational venues, complete a leadership training program, learn about environmental and cross-cultural issues and their impact on society, and effective communication skills. During the six-week program, the YALI leaders are expected to learn about key issues and best practices in public management that they can take back to their home countries.The public management program is part of Morgan State University’s Public Management Institute, with support from the School of Engineering and the MSU Institute for Urban Research.
Kolkata: Two workers were killed in a coal mine at Pandaveswar in West Burdwan when a portion of it caved in on Sunday early morning.Police said the victims — Chandrasekhar Giri (42) and Kaleswar Mahato (40) — were working night shift and they got trapped when a portion of mine caved in at around 4.15 am on Sunday. The incident took place at Pandaveswar Khottadihi Coalmine.Chandrasekhar used to work as an overman while Kaleswar was a dresser.They were working at the coal mine since last night. All of a sudden, a rock slab around seven feet in length fell on them. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeOther workers gathered in the area and took the initiative to rescue them. Disaster Management Group of the Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) also went to the spot and continued the rescue work. They found the workers trapped inside the coal mine. Both of them were rescued and taken to a hospital where they were declared brought dead.The incident led to panic among other workers and immediately demanded necessary steps to check recurrence of such incidents. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThey also demanded a probe by the ECL authorities in this connection. The victim’s co-workers demanded a compensation amount and a job for one of their family members.Other workers, who witnessed the incident, told police they heard a loud sound all of a sudden.Initially, they couldn’t understand what had happened. Later, they realised that a portion of the coalmine had caved in. Initially, they couldn’t understand whether anyone was trapped under it. But within a few minutes, it became clear to them that Chandrasekhar and Kaleswar were trapped. They cried for help and the authorities took necessary step to carry out the rescue work.”Both Chandrasekhar and Kaleswar were busy in their work when the incident took place. They did not get time to move out of the place before the rock slab fell on them,” said a worker adding that they expect that the authorities will take necessary steps so that such an incident doesn’t take place again.
5 min read These days, there’s a lot being said about big data and the value that comes from properly utilizing it. I’ve written previously about the importance of having a data science team. The next goal is to figure out how to keep those data scientists happy.Related: Look for These 7 Characteristics Before Hiring a Data ScientistAt The Data Incubator, we’ve spoken to hundreds of companies looking to hire data scientists from our training program. They’ve ranged from large corporations like Capital One and eBay to smaller, nimbler outfits like Betterment, Upstart and Mashable; and all have been eager for suggestions on how to retain their data scientists.Even without the capital provided by a larger corporation, there are plenty of ways — most of them free — for scrappy entrepreneurs to keep their data scientists engaged and on board. Here are three tips:1. Give your data scientist a purpose.It’s important for data scientists to understand how the work they do fits in with the broader mission of the business. To help make them feel like valued members of the team, have them spend time with business or product units. This will provide them context to better understand the problems they are facing and, in turn, will strengthen their analyses.Feeling valued will also lead them to make better products and deliver better services to your customers. The more connected they feel, the better their work will be.Data scientists, like many technical employees, get motivated by solving challenging problems. So, find intellectually stimulating new questions for them to work on or ask them to come up with their own. Engage them by encouraging them to work on compelling data sets. Allow them to work with your engineering staff to automate their repetitive weekly tasks. These things will help keep them connected to the company and keep them mentally sharp.2. Help your data scientist foster a sense of ownership.Entrepreneurs are often strapped for cash, so it makes sense to allow your data scientists to utilize his or her favorite open-source tools. Data scientists don’t exist in a vacuum; they’re part of a larger network of peers collaborating in an open-source movement. Encouraging them to contribute to open-source projects, and giving them the time to do so, gives them a greater sense of ownership and a broader purpose: contributing to the open-source community. If open source alternatives are not available, buy or build your own tools. Seek the data scientists’ input for the procurement or purchasing process. In the same way that a chef gets frustrated working with someone else’s dull knives, data scientists will become equally frustrated if forced to use the wrong tools for the job. Involving them in the decision-making process will increase their sense of ownership and avoid jeopardizing their morale and desire to stay with your company.Related: Hire Better Talent With a Big-Data ScientistRecognize the accomplishments of your data scientists and make sure you give them credit for their hard work. Good data scientists can take terabytes of data from a number of sources and synthesize that data into a single, succinct graph. This can be challenging work, even if they make it look easy, and this work is often overlooked.Letting your data scientists present their findings to management (and publicly thanking them when they do so) will help them feel connected to the company’s broader mission. And, after all, no one is more familiar with the analysis than the data scientist who performed it.3. Provide your data scientists with the support they needAs an entrepreneur, you may not have a team of engineers set up to assist your data scientist. Even so, recognize that data science and engineering go hand in hand, and do what you can to provide enough engineering support for your data scientist to get the job done. If the data clusters are slow, it will be difficult for your data scientists to iterate quickly, and the result will be a loss of motivation and creativity.They may also want software tooling support so that they are not writing MapReduce from scratch. Make sure the tools at hand are appropriate for the job in terms of both type and speed.There are also always new skills for data scientists to learn that could help them better leverage data to the company’s benefit. When possible, invest in their education. If you can afford to do so, pay for additional training classes to keep them on the cutting edge. As a less expensive option, cover lunch so they can hold seminars to teach one other new tricks or provide space for hosting meetups with academics and data scientists from other companies.Doing these things will show that your company really does care about the data scientists and the work they do. Plus, you’ll be building up your team’s skill set in the process.Entrepreneurs are notoriously scrappy and capable of coming up with creative solutions to the challenges they face. Utilizing some of these techniques should enable you to keep your data scientists engaged and on board. And the more engaged they are, the happier they’ll be to stick with you and provide quality work.Related: Want Big Data to Help Your Marketing Team? Hire a Data Scientist. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global October 2, 2015 Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now »