It’s a funny thing the way our little corner of the universe is organized. Each day the earth makes one complete revolution on its journey around the sun—and us with it. Each morning when we wake up, the prior day is forever lost to us. It’s almost as if by design we were given the ability to call for a do over. Like somehow, it’s necessary.Every year at just this time, we complete another trip around the giant star in the center of our solar system. The year that we are leaving is also forever lost to us as we enter the New Year. This annual journey is another opportunity to call for a do over.The past is forever lost to us. The future is unknown. All we ever really have is this moment.But we do step into that moment with all the knowledge and the experience we gained yesterday. We step into the new sunrise a little bit wiser and a little bit better prepared than we were the day before. We greet the new horizon armed with all the knowledge we gained from our victories, the lessons and scars from the battles we lost, and on the whole, better prepared.We’re better prepared to try again.We’re better prepared to try something new.We’re better prepared for the adventure that is tomorrow.And we’re better prepared to wipe the slate clean and start over.You can’t carry your victories with you; those battles have already been fought and won. You can’t carry your losses with you either. You can’t refight those battles. All you can carry with you into the future is the wisdom that you gained from the ride you took on this small rock circling around the giant star in the center of our little corner of the universe—and all of the relationships you’ve developed on your journey.If you need to wipe the slate clean, wipe it clean. Tomorrow is a brand-new day.And the day after that is a brand-new day too, should you need it.Make it a Happy New Year! Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now
You fear the wrong dangers.You fear asking for commitments: Your fear of asking for commitments is based on your belief that your prospective client will say “no” and that you are unprepared to respond appropriately. Your fear of asking for commitments may also stem from the belief that you have not created enough value to deserve the commitment.You should not fear asking for the commitments you need; you should fear losing an opportunity because you didn’t ask.Fear of discussing price: Your fear of price discussions is based on your belief that your prospective client is going to ask for—or demand—a discounted price. This fear is based on your belief that price will cost you your opportunity, as well as you’re being unprepared to handle that discussion.You shouldn’t fear discussing price. You should fear not having the pricing discussion and not reiterating the value that you create. By avoiding this conversation you make a loss on price more likely.Fear of asking for referrals: You fear asking for referrals because you believe it makes you self-oriented. This “ask” in no way benefits your client, in your mind anyway. But the truth is different.By not asking for referrals you are depriving your client of the opportunity to reciprocate for the value that you create by sharing you with other people for whom you can also create value.Fear of showing them the big solution: You fear that by showing your clients what they really need that the solution will be too big, too expensive, and that you will frighten them off.What you should fear is not creating enough value, not creating a strategic enough initiative to be worth pursuing, and playing too low. You should fear being thought of as transactional.We sometimes don’t fear the true dangers enough and we fear the minor dangers too much. 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
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.If you are competing by creating a higher level of value, then you can’t try to compete against lower levels of value and the accompanying lower price.You don’t need to win the battle over product or service (Level 1 Value Creation). You don’t need to compete and win feature by feature and benefit by benefit. You only need parity here, and you may not need parity if you create enough value that you can lose on some features and benefits. BMW isn’t big on cup holders.You also don’t need to win a contest over experience (Level 2 Value Creation) in business-to-business sales. Again, here you only need parity when it comes to service, support, and customer experience. The experience that you should be worrying about is the experience you provide as a salesperson (and that’s Level 4 Value Creation).It used to be that tangible, measurable business results differentiated you in B2B sales. Now, it is table stakes (Level 3 Value Creation). It doesn’t hurt to have a better return on investment, but I’ll bet you never get a look at your competitor’s; you’ll likely only receive feedback that they have a lower price.If you are competing by creating the highest level of value for your clients, you will be focused on collaborating with your clients around creating the biggest, most value-creating solution. You will be proactively presenting ideas that help your client build a future-oriented platform from which to produce even greater results. The solution you create together will be tied to their most strategic initiatives. And, you will be side-by-side in the foxhole with your client, ensuring what you build together produces the promised results.If you are going to create this higher level of value (Level 4 Value Creation), you can’t compete on price. You aren’t competing by creating transactional value, and your competitor is going to have a lower price (Period. End of story). You only win by selling greater value, not by competing on price.Big, strong value beats skinny, weak transactional.
Commander Bob asks me what I keep in my journal, and what my practice looks like. Here is what I keep in Day One (dayoneapp.com) in 4 separate journals.
Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now I have noticed something about people who have an intrinsic motivation. They either faced adversity when they were young or they know what they want now. Not everyone who faces adversity is intrinsically motivated, some find excuses where others find the way forward. And not everyone knows what they want, even if they are four or more decades into their lives.Let’s focus only on not being motivated because you don’t know what you want.I saw this quote go by on social media that said something about this not being a dress rehearsal for your life. This is your one and only life, make of it what you will. And that is my point here: you need to make your life what you will. It’s yours to do with what you wish.Drift NotThere is a certain class of people I describe as drifters. They resemble a piece of wood that is drifting along with the current of the river, first this way and then that, pushed along and being taken for a ride. Because they haven’t determined for themselves what they want their life to be, they settle into to an uninspiring life of mediocrity and comfort.These drifters are alive, but they are not really living. If you ask to see their goals, they will not be able to produce them. They wait for the week to end, looking forward to Fridays and dreading Mondays. They have a job, but they do not have work, something they do with passion.You end up a drifter when you don’t know what you want. I mean really know what you want.Intentional DesignWhat do you want your life to look like? What do you want to do? Who do you want to become? If you don’t decide these things for yourself, you will continue to drift, going where other people and external forces take you.You can be more, do more, have more, and contribute more. But not until you answer the questions as to who you want to be, what you want to do, what you want to have, and how you want to contribute. No one can do this work for you, and if you lack motivation it is because you haven’t done the work to design the life you want and put the effort into building it.Designing your life is intentional. It is not the product of a series of happy accidents.A Single QuestionThe question you have to answer to find your motivation is, “What do you want?” When you answer this question honestly, you will have found the source of your motivation. If the answer doesn’t motivate you, then it isn’t what you want. And you may be drifting.So, what do you want?
Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now For more than a decade now, many in sales have been neglecting what may the single most crucial activity necessary for producing sales results. That activity is prospecting, and it is what is required to open new relationships and create new opportunities. No deal is closed without first being opened, and I have written here that “opening is the new closing,” to make the point that it is now what is critical to success. If you want success, you need to build the prospecting habit.How did we get to a place where salespeople don’t spend their time prospecting? The reasons are many and varied, but two stand out above the many others, and they deserve much of the blame.How Prospecting Was LostFirst, sales managers have not held their salespeople accountable for prospecting. In many cases, sales managers know that poor sales managers focus only on activity, and many of them have worked for managers who wanted only more activity. Because they don’t want to be that manager, they don’t hold their salespeople accountable for prospecting. Others don’t believe they should have to talk about activity at all.Second, and something that made the lack of accountability and an even larger problem was the concept once called “social selling” by its proponents. The chattering class on LinkedIn sold the idea that inbound was greater than outbound, that the world had changed, and that only Neanderthals used the telephone. This anti-cold calling fever laid waste to a generation of salespeople, all who believed the lie that they could create more opportunities with less effort if they spend enough time on the social channels.Those of us who knew better pushed back against the seductive lies of con artists, picks and shovel dealers (those who would sell you the tools you need to succeed in the gold mine, and who are also the only ones getting rich while you spend your time in an empty mine), and charlatans. As we predicted, social lost its allure, its results being far less than promised. We are still working on bringing accountability back into fashion.How You Build the Prospecting HabitIf you want to create more—and better—opportunities, you need to prospect. Your willingness to be proactive and professionally persistent in the pursuit of your dream clients is the determining factor when it comes to your sales results.The following steps will help you develop the prospecting habit.Make Prospecting Primary: Selling is made up of two major outcomes: 1) Opportunity Creation, and 2) Opportunity Capture. If you are going to capture opportunities, you must first create them, as natural a law as the one requiring you plant in spring if you would reap a harvest in fall. Because Opportunity Creation is the critical first step in sales results, it has to be your primary focus. Prospecting has to dominate your time and your energy.Block Time: If you don’t make time to prospect, other tasks, projects, and distractions will consume your time. The best way to ensure you have time to prospect is to block time on your calendar and hold it sacred. The more time you spend prospecting, the more opportunities you will create, and the more opportunities you create, the more you will win (all things being equal). Blocking time to prospect on your calendar is a commitment you make to yourself—and your future self. You should treat the commitment to prospecting as sacred as a commitment you make to meet with a prospective client—as it is what allows you to schedule those meetings in the first place.Get Past the First 10 Calls: The first cold you make is always the hardest. The second call is easier to make, even if only slightly so. But once you have gotten into the rhythm, it gets easier. That usually happens after about ten calls, eight of which are going to be voice mail. The eleventh call is when you start to get into your groove, but you can’t get there if you don’t keep dialing. After number eleven, calling turns into nothing more than a game, and your resistance will subside.Use Prospecting Cadence: The phone is the single best and most effective medium for scheduling appointments, but it isn’t the only tool available to you. You can follow up with an email, and if you share something useful, you can begin to be known as a value creator. Just don’t ask for an appointment over email; instead, tell your dream client you will try them back. You can also connect on LinkedIn, as long as you don’t pitch the client. Instead, give them your number and tell them they can call you should they ever need anything (you are going to call them again later anyway. As you string these touches together, you are professionally persistent in your persist. A cadence keeps your activity high and focused, improving your results.Keep a Scorecard: Track your habit by keeping score. When I started in sales, I tracked a few metrics. I tracked how much time I spent on the telephone pursuing meetings. I tracked how many dials I made, even though I didn’t have anyone to report them to (my efficiency). I captured how many times I had a conversation where I asked for a meeting and how many meetings I booked (my effectiveness). By keeping score, you hold yourself accountable. If you want success, hold yourself accountable for your results so no one else will ever have to.Selling, in large part, is about prospecting, the creation of new opportunities. Those who believe and behave as if sales is what happens after you create an opportunity are mistaken. The sooner you develop the prospecting habit, the sooner you will produce better sales results.
A Class XI student was killed on Thursday near the site of an encounter between security forces and militants in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Unconfirmed reports suggest that two militants were killed in the encounter.A police official said Amir Wani, a resident of Pulwama’s Beegumbagh-Kakapora, was “hit by a stray bullet” as civilians clashed with the security forces to help the militants escape.Chief Medical Officer of Pulwama, Talat Jabeen, confirmed the death of Wani.The encounter broke out at 5 a.m. at Padgampora area in Awantipora.Police sources said the militants — Jehangeer Ahmad Ganai and Shafat Ahmad Sherguri, finding themselves trapped inside the house, opened fire at the security forces.Locals told The Hindu that relatives of Ganai were called in to persuade him to surrender. The local public address system was also used asking the militants to surrender.They said there were blasts near the house.Army spokesman Colonal Rajesh Kalia said, “The details of the operation are being ascertained.”
Fourteen years after she went missing from a mental asylum in Assam, Subhadra Patir was found wandering in Uttarakhand’s Tehri and lodged in a women’s shelter here in 2015.Life came full circle when the 50-year-old was finally reunited with her son this month.Over 200 people, most of them women and children, who were missing or languishing in asylums and other institutions, have been reunited with their families over the last year by the Uttarakhand government.Additional Secretary of the Social Welfare department, Manoj Chandran, said 232 such people living in women’s shelter homes, asylums and orphanages have got back to their families.Of them, 38 were lodged in asylums, but most had recovered from their mental illness. They also expressed a desire to meet their families again, he said.However, what was saddening was that several of their relatives living in the state did not appear too keen on taking them back, the official said. Such families took their relatives home only after the state government warned them that a share of their property would be seized and alloted to the estranged relatives.Patir’s story is happier. After officials finally managed to track down her family after a painstaking search, her son, Durlabh Patir, rushed all the way from Assam to Dehradun to take his mother home.
Trinamool Congress MLAs in Tripura would not vote for the party-supported Opposition candidate Meira Kumar in the presidential election. State TMC president Ashish Saha, who is one of six legislators of the party said, they have taken the decision to keep distance from the ruling CPI(M) which is the ‘main political rival’ for them in the State.“We left the Congress and joined the TMC with a strong resolution to out-seat the CPI(M). We cannot vote in line with the CP (M)”, Mr. Saha told The Hindu on Sunday adding that the MLAs met on Saturday to adopt unanimous resolution on not supporting Ms. Kumar.Leader non-committalTMC president, however, remained non-committal on supporting the NDA candidate, but said BJP’s Assam stalwart Himanta Biswa Sarma and national general secretary Ram Madhav appealed them to vote in favour of Ram Nath Kovind. Both of them spoke to party leader Sudip Roy Barman on the issue.BJP’s central observer Sunil Deodhar on Sunday confirmed that Mr. Madhav spoke to Mr. Barman on the presidential election. “He also requested them to meet Mr. Kovind when he comes to Guwahati”, he stated.On rebel Congress MLA Ratan Lal Nath who is currently hobnobbing with the BJP, Mr. Deodhar said he has given assurance to vote for Mr. Kovind. With one Congress MLA pledging support to the BJP and the TMC apparently going for NDA aspirant, Opposition candidate Meira Kumar is likely to garner votes of the Left and two Congress legislators.
Two years ago, Nida Shaikh, Shifa Qureshi, Kusum Chaudhry, Anu Kumavat, and Pooja Doddi, classmates and close friends, were very disturbed. Their friend Bushira Shaikh was quitting school.This was not unusual in Holy Mother School, where they were all students of Class VI. The school sits in a low-income, high-density slum area in Malwani, a Mumbai suburb, and many other girls had quit school because of the lack of family support. And not unusually, Ms. Bushira’s family couldn’t afford the fees. But her friends decided this was no reason for her to quit. The five went around the community, collecting money, and soon Ms. Bushira was back in school.Crusading spirit Inspired by their success, the girls decided they would now get others also back to school. They went door-to-door, talking to parents about the importance of sending girls to school and collecting money to pay fees for those who couldn’t afford it. “Some parents listened patiently,” Ms. Nida says. “But most of them refused to be convinced. We were unable to collect much funds either.” Come 2016, the girls found a new ally when Jasmine Bala joined their school as a Teach for India (TFI) Fellow. Ms. Bala was impressed by their comittment. “They wanted to be changemakers in their communities and make a positive impact,” she says. “These girls are critical thinkers and are aware of the issues in their community, the foremost being the suppression of young girls. There is a high drop-out rate of girls from secondary classrooms.” Another challenge is the high incidence of alcoholism, drug abuse and abuse of girl children in the area, Ms. Bala says. “We wanted to instil confidence and help them step out of their homes without compromising their safety,” she adds.Ms. Bala helped the group get more organised. And this year the girls, all aged between 12 and 14, started Project Balika.Firsthand experienceThe initial focus of Project Balika was to convince families of the importance of education for girls. But this was not easy. Parents often refused to listen, firm in their belief that a girl’s goal must be to marry and raise a family. Hence, learning household chores was considered more important. The project’s founders knew this first-hand. Ms. Kusum, who scored 92% in Class VII and excels in English, says, “My father too does not want me to pursue higher education, though I am good in academics.”Thanks to their refusal to accept the status quo, the five trailblazers inspired many more to join their effort. Balika’s group of changemakers has now grown to 40, and they have impacted more than 200 young girls and women in Malwani. They want to take that number to 500 next year.The project now runs a number of activities aimed at empowering girls to take up leadership positions, tackling issues of gender discrimination, safety of girls in the community, and improving health. “All the work, from coordinating with government officials to meeting with headmasters of schools to working with various community members, is done by us,” says Ms. Shifa proudly. Balika also runs free English-speaking classes twice a week for young mothers and school dropouts.“I have been teaching English to eight mothers for a month,” says Mahek Bilal, 20. “I have started with alphabets, as they had never studied English before.” Shama Shaikh, 34, who joined the class last week, is ecstatic: “I was good at stud- ies and dreamt of becoming a teacher, but I was unable to continue after Class VIII because of family pressre and financial constraints. Now, if I learn English, I can help my kids with their studies. And if given an opportunity, I may even seek a job!”Yasmin Khan, 30, from a small village near Lucknow, also had to drop out of school after Class VIII, when her family arranged her marriage and she moved to Mumbai to join her husband. “After marriage, I never got an opportunity to re-join classes. By learning English, I can at least give home tuitions and earn for the family,” she says.Going beyond academics Ms. Anu says, “We spread awareness on menstrual health, nutrition and safety of girls around schools in Malwani.” The project members want to install a vending machine in their school to enable girls to get subsidised sanitary pads. So far, Balika’s funds have come from individual donations, but Ms. Bala hopes they can access Corporate Social Responsibility funds as well. This will help the programme expand to other repressed communities in Mumbai, she says.Monthly reviewTo track the leadership journey of each girl, Ms. Bala holds a monthly meet where high-performing girls work with female mentors. “Currently, there are 50 mentors who work with the children and check their progress.” The teaching isn’t one-way, though. “The girls have been invited to deliver lectures to first and second year students at the Narsee Monjee and Government Law College on the importance of student leadership and performance management trackers for leadership development.”Looking back, Ms. Pooja says that she is happy they have helped so many girls re-enrol. But, she adds, “I really wish Balika can convince every parent to send their daughter to school so they can have careers of their choice.” Her personal plan? Apply for a TFI fellowship and become a teacher like Jasmine Didi. “And then, run an education NGO!”Follow Malwani’s changemakers on Facebook.com/projectbalika
The ruling BJP’s embarrassing defeat in the byelections in Rajasthan has triggered a churn in the party, with senior leaders deliberating on the reasons for the triple drubbing — in one Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats. A beleaguered Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, already battling factionalism within the party and growing resentment among the people, has little time on her hands as she seeks to course-correct with Assembly elections scheduled for December this year.At a core group meeting at Ms. Raje’s residence here on Friday, BJP leaders reportedly analysed the factors responsible for the shrinkage in the party’s traditional support base. While sections of the Rajput community had announced their support to the Congress much before polling day, the impact of the Centre’s decisions of demonetisation and GST rollout was described as a “worrisome trend” beyond the State’s control.Farmers are also upset with the Raje government for its failure to act upon its announcement of agricultural loan waiver of ₹50,000 each. A committee appointed after a 13-day-long farmers’ agitation in the Shekhawati region is yet to take a decision despite having visited Kerala and other States to study their models.Rebel concernThe party is also facing resentment from a section of its workers who are drawn towards the “Deendayal Vahini” front floated by rebel MLA and former Minister Ghanshyam Tiwari. The Sanganer MLA raised the banner of revolt after he was denied a Cabinet berth and his outbursts following the bypoll results were distressful for the BJP. Mr. Tiwari alleged that the party’s central leadership was shielding a “corrupt government” in Rajasthan and questioned Ms. Raje’s continuation in office.Among the other factors responsible for the BJP’s defeat in Alwar and Ajmer parliamentary seats and Mandalgarh Assembly seat, according to political observers, are the bitterness among the business community, deteriorating law and order in semi-urban areas, enactment of a legislation to protect officers charged with graft and Gujjars and Brahmins turning against the party over reservation and other issues.The voting pattern in the urban pockets depicted a marked shift away from the BJP. In Ajmer city, considered the BJP’s stronghold, the party lost Ajmer North by 6,975 votes and Ajmer South by 13,070 votes primarily because of the traders’ anger over loss of business and complications in filing of GST returns.‘Cold shouldered’The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has maintained a distance from the Raje-led faction of the BJP ever since the party came to power in 2013. RSS volunteers were conspicuous by their absence during electioneering for the bypolls. They did not make any serious attempt to mobilise voters in the three constituencies. The “cold shoulder” given by Ms. Raje to RSS volunteers during ticket distribution in 2013 and her subsequent temple relocation drive in Jaipur are considered responsible for the Sangh’s aloofness.The Opposition Congress, on the other hand, put up a united front during the election campaign. Party leaders, including Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot, built up an atmosphere against the BJP’s policies and programmes while cashing in on the resentment among different sections of the population.In both Alwar and Ajmer, the Congress tried to forge new alliances with different caste groups in order to pose a fresh challenge to the BJP. The atmosphere was charged in Alwar in the wake of attacks on dairy farmers by cow vigilantes, while the contest in Ajmer was a direct one between Mr. Pilot and Ms. Raje.
A Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant was killed in north Kashmir’s Bandipora on Thursday. In another development, three persons, including two soldiers, suffered injuries in continued firing by the Pakistani troops along the Line of Control in Rajouri and Poonch in the Pir Panchal Valley.According to the police, a Pakistani LeT militant was killed at Shakoor Din Mohalla in Badnipora’s Hajin on Thursday when an exchange of fire took place between the security forces and hiding militants. The security forces were pursuing credible leads about the presence of LeT militants.Ceasefire violationsTwo soldiers and a civilian were injured in Pakistani firing along the Line of Control in the Pir Panjal valley’s Poonch and Rajouri districts.The soldiers were injured when a post manned by the Army’s Mahar regiment came under fire in the Mankote Sector, said the Army.The ceasefire violations spread to Rajouri, Nowshera and parts of Poonch on Thursday .
The Congress in Assam has lashed out at BJP minority cell chief Syed Mominul Awal for stating that the Muslim MLAs belonging to the Congress were of Bangladeshi origin.Mr. Awal had on Monday said that of the 25 Congress MLAs in Assam’s 126-member Assembly, 15 have roots in Bangladesh. The Congress had 15 Muslim MLAs, but Mr. Awal excluded one of them — Rekibuddin Ahmed – from his list.Debabrata Saikia, head of Congress Legislature Party, said Mr. Awal was toeing the communal line of the BJP. “He has probably not read history, but he should think before speaking”.
The Congress on Wednesday questioned the Gujarat government’s decision to form a high-powered committee to resolve the issues in a power purchase agreement signed by the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam with four firms, which include Adani Power Limited, Essar Power Gujarat Limited and the Tata-owned Coastal Gujarat Power Limited.The four companies had signed an agreement for long-term procurement of power with the Gujarat government in 2007. In 2012, they filed an appeal saying that the rates should be increased, citing the hike in the rate of coal being imported from Indonesia. The case, after moving through various channels, reached the Supreme Court. On April 11, 2017, the court rejected their claim saying that change in international market cannot be used as an excuse to renegotiate the tariff in India.The Congress claims that the Gujarat government, in order to bypass the Supreme Court, had formed the high-powered committee to bail out these industrialists. “This is another another example of crony capitalism practised by the Modi government,” said Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh.
Giving a push to generation next, Congress is looking forward to field young and fresh faces from the state unit of the Youth Congress in the general and Assembly elections due next year.According to sources, Krushna Allavaru, All India Congress Committee joint secretary and in-charge of Indian Youth Congress, interviewed nine possible Lok Sabha candidates and 35 aspirants to the Assembly early this week.Party sources the State unit of the Youth Congress has been pushing for new faces and with this in mind those interviewed for LS include Sujay Vikhe-Patil for Ahmadnagar South, Dr. Ketki Patil for Raver, Shiva Rao for Chandrapur, Naina Gavit for Dindori, Utkarsha Rupwate for Shirdi, and Rahul Thakre for Yavatmal-Washim.Second generation leaders were clearly keen on continuing the family tradition. While Mr. Vikhe-Patil is the son of Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Dr. Patil is the daughter of Congress leader Ulhas Patil, Ms. Gavit the daughter of Congress MLA Nirmala Gavit, Ms. Rupawate a granddaughter of veteran Ambedkarite Dadasaheb Rupwate, and Mr. Thakre the son of the party’s former State unit chief Manikrao Thakre.Among those interviewed for the Assembly were Dhiraj Deshmukh for Latur rural, Manoj Kayande for Deulgaonraj in Buldhana, Rahul Dive for Nasik central, Dr. Jitendra Dehade for Aurangabad west, Vishal Patil for Sangli city, Nishant Bhagat for Belapur, and Satyasheel Sherkar for Junnar. Mr. Deshmukh is the son of former CM late Vilasrao Deshmukh, while Mr. Patil is a grandson of former CM late Vasantdada Patil.“The party wants to promote new and young faces in the State. It is important that these youngsters come from the party background, and especially from party organisation. We are happy that large number of youth Congress workers have come forward to contest,” said a senior leader. However, not all the interviewees will have a smooth sailing as some of the seats belong to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and negotiations over seat sharing are yet to reach the final stage. The interview included questions to aspirants on the reasons for choosing the particular constituency and their plans on how to secure victory. “All these young leaders are working for the party tirelessly. We are sure that if given a ticket, they will bring in the new voter and take the party towards victory. Decision will be taken on candidate’s winnability and nothing else,” State Youth Congress president Satyajit Tambe-Patil.
Kavita Singh. | Photo Credit: Amarnath Tewary In conversation with Hena ShahabIt’s 7.30 a.m. and a motley crowd has gathered outside the modest home of imprisoned “Sultan of Siwan” Mohd. Shahabuddin in Pratapur village. Over two dozen SUVs are parked outside. Some of the occupants are sitting beneath trees, while others form a semi-circle on the verandah of the old house. Fully covered in burkha and hijab, Hena Shahab, Shahabuddin’s wife, is standing on the half-closed doorsill and instructing a group about the day’s campaign. Contesting the Lok Sabha poll on an RJD ticket, Ms. Shahab takes some time off to respond to questions.You have become mature now… earlier in the 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha polls you were a contestant with very few words on your lips.Paristhithi sab kuch sikha deti hai (The situation makes you learn everything).This time your fight is against the wife of another don… how do you see the challenge?I don’t see any challenge. And moreover, I do not wish to make any comment on others. I want to focus only on my work and leave the rest to the people of Siwan who know well what my husband has done for them and what others have done.After losing twice, how do you think you’ll win this time?I lost in the 2009 parliamentary poll because I got very little time and I was a new entrant in politics… I could hardly speak at that time. In 2014 it was “Modi wave” that swept the poll. But this time, I’ve got experience and people too have realised what PM Modi promised them and what he has fulfilled. All the people cannot be cheated all the time.Who do you find a better politician — Lalu Prasad or Nitish Kumar? And why?Lalu Prasad always. He is the only mass leader of Bihar who cares for the downtrodden and becomes their voice. He doesn’t change, he doesn’t betray his people.Do you miss your husband?Yes, I miss him a lot… the people of Siwan miss him a lot.In conversation with Kavita SinghIt’s 11. 30 a.m. and the blistering heat has forced everyone indoors, including Kavita Singh, the NDA candidate and wife of gangster Ajay Singh. Mr. Singh has been challenging Mohd. Shahabuddin’s sway in Siwan for several years. The couple are inside a local BJP leader’s house in the town. Mr. Singh, surrounded by a few of his men, is busy on his mobile phone asking people to ensure his wife’s victory. Ms. Singh, who has been MLA twice, comes out after some time. Resplendent in yellow sari, bangles, gold earrings, finger rings, mangal sutra and a tattoo of her husband’s name on her right hand, she appears more articulate than her husband. She speaks like a seasoned politician. How do you feel contesting the Lok Sabha poll for the first time?Not much difference, except that we have to visit more people in more areas. But I’m getting an overwhelming response everywhere as people have made up their mind to bring Ram Rajya in Siwan with Modi ji as Prime Minister.How do you find Hena Shahab as a challenger?Everyone knows in Siwan who she is. She has been defeated twice in the last two parliamentary polls and she will be defeated for the third time as well.But you too are a wife of a don accused in several criminal cases.All the cases lodged against my husband are false and politically motivated. He is a desh-bhakt (patriot) and has been challenging the reign of terror unleashed in Siwan. If he is a gangster, why have people voted to elect me as an MLA twice? I feel bad when people call him a don.What are the issues you raise when asking people to vote for you?Desh ko bachana hai, Modi ji ko phir ek baar PM banana hain (We’ve to protect our country and make Modi ji our Prime Minister again). I also tell people about the development work done by Nitish Kumar’s government in the State.Who is a better leader Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad or PM Modi?In the country it is Modi ji and in the State it is Nitish ji.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is taking another crack at how it evaluates inventions derived from nature. The agency has been forced to tighten its eligibility rules in light of recent Supreme Court decisions—including a 2013 ruling that struck down patents on human genes—but its first pass at new guidelines for examiners raised a stink. University groups and industry representatives feared the rules would chill investment by rendering potential new therapies and diagnostics unpatentable. A new guidance, released this week, goes a long way to quell those fears, though many are still uncertain how it will be implemented.The document unveiled this past spring was troubling to the biopatent community for several reasons. It went too far beyond the court’s ruling on DNA, critics claimed, by suggesting that other naturally derived products—including chemical compounds, vaccines, seeds, and antibodies—must be “significantly different” from anything found in nature or else be immediately tossed out as patent ineligible. Many also protested the idea that an applicant had to demonstrate structural differences between a product and its natural counterpart. Amid criticism at public meetings and in written letters, the agency vowed to incorporate stakeholder comments into a revised guidance.But while it’s eager to satisfy the applicants that keep it in business, USPTO also has to respect often murky directions handed down from the courts, says Dan Burk, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine. Particularly influential were last year’s ruling in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics Inc. that naturally occurring human genes cannot be patented and the 2012 Mayo v. Prometheus decision, which invalidated a patent on a method of adjusting drug dosage using measures of blood metabolites because it relied on a “law of nature.”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(*)And since the March guidance, another relevant decision came down from the high court: In Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, the judges invalidated a software patent by ruling that a method of financial analysis is an unpatentable “abstract idea,” even when implemented on a computer. That June decision may seem worlds away from biotech, but it aimed to lay out a definitive two-step test for deciding patent eligibility, Burk says, and it forms the backbone of the new guidance: If a patent claim describes “a law of nature, a natural phenomenon, or an abstract idea” (step 1), then it must amount to “significantly more” than what’s found in nature—a phrase borrowed from the Mayo decision—in order to be patentable (step 2).Many biotech inventions may now get a green light at the first step, says Hans Sauer, intellectual property counsel for the Biotechnology Industry Organization in Washington, D.C. The guidance lets examiners decide at first look when an application involves a natural product or process, but obviously isn’t trying to claim it in a way that would prevent others from using it. “In practice, that could make a big difference,” Sauer says, and will ease the way for “a lot of claims that people complained about very much.”An examiner can also decide to let an application proceed because the product is sufficiently different from its natural counterpart based on “structure, function, and/or other properties,” which may be reassuring to academia, says Robert Hardy, director of contracts and intellectual property management for the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), a Washington, D.C.–based association of research universities. COGR had submitted a critique of the March guidance to USPTO. Hardy suspects academic technology transfer offices will receive fewer USPTO rejections on grounds of eligibility and believes the agency did “kind of a heroic job of trying to reconcile a great many court decisions.”Still, it’s not clear what kinds of differences from nature will be enough to confer eligibility in the eyes of the examiners, Sauer warns. For example, if you purify an antibiotic from an organism, you might be changing it so that it can be formulated as a medicine for the first time, he says, but you’re probably not changing its essential bacteria-killing abilities. Does that count as a functional difference? “It seems to me that under PTO guidance the answer is probably no,” he says. And demonstrating a functional difference gets even harder, he notes, if a molecule’s original “function” in nature is unknown.Another persistent concern is how evaluators will deal with patents on diagnostic processes or technologies related to personalized medicine. It’s not clear, for example, if the process of analyzing gene expression from a tumor biopsy to decide on a course of treatment can be protected by a patent. “Personalized medicine companies [have been] trying to deal with this for going on 2 years and keep expressing a lot of frustration,” Sauer says. “There have been lots of rejections, and they’ve been difficult to overcome.”USPTO has announced a meeting in January to gather more feedback and may yet tweak its guidelines further. Meanwhile, another decision from the nation’s specialized patent court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., may further muddy the waters. The 17 December ruling upheld a lower court’s decision to deny an effort by Myriad Genetics to prevent another company from developing genetic tests that Myriad says are still protected by its patents—despite the 2013 Supreme Court decision that knocked out some elements of those patents. And the Federal Circuit seemed to emphasize the need for structural differences from naturally occurring products, Burk says, which might just undermine part of the shiny new guidance.
All galaxies are thought to have supermassive black holes at their center. These start out small—with masses equivalent to between 100 and 100,000 suns—and build up over time by consuming the gas, dust, and stars around them or by merging with other black holes to reach sizes measured in millions or billions of solar masses. Such binge eating usually takes billions of years, but a team of astronomers was stunned to discover what is, in galactic terms, a monstrous baby: a gigantic black hole of 12 billion solar masses in a barely newborn galaxy, just 875 million years after the big bang. The researchers report online in Nature today that they were scouring through several astronomical surveys looking for bright objects in the very early universe called quasars, galaxies that burn very bright because their central black holes are consuming material so fast. The monster they found (depicted in this artist’s impression) is roughly 3000 times the size of our Milky Way’s central black hole. To have grown to such a size in so short a time, it must have been munching matter at close to the maximum physically possible rate for most of its existence. Its large size and rate of consumption also makes it the brightest object in that distant era, and astronomers can use its bright light to study the composition of the early universe: how much of the original hydrogen and helium from the big bang had been forged into heavier elements in the furnaces of stars.
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