Focus on Fourth Estate Reforms Is Not Going Away Experts Say

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR Washington, D.C. — An initiative to streamline DOD’s support agencies by cutting duplicative activities and reorganizing others led by House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) likely will take several years to complete, although it still is not clear what ultimately will be achieved through the effort, a panel of Washington-based experts said Wednesday at the 2018 Defense Communities National Summit. “I think it will be a big issue for some time,” said Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “[But] I don’t think there’s a lot of agreement” as to the initiative’s precise goals, he said.Mackenzie Eaglen, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, echoed Harrison’s comments: “This is not going to be a one-year effort … but the details are wildly up in the air.” After troop levels dropped following the height of the armed forces’ buildup in Iraq and Afghanistan, the fourth estate — civilian-dominated agencies that fall outside the military departments — was perceived as an overdue area for reform, she said.There’s also the question as to whether an internal review of defense agencies led by Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chief Management Officer (CMO) John Gibson II will result in the kind of changes and level of savings Thornberry is looking for. If so, Congress may not seek to intervene further, Eaglen said.Thornberry’s initiative, part of the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill passed by the House, calls for the CMO to reduce or eliminate duplicative cross-enterprise functions across all defense agencies and field activities related to civilian resource, services contracting, logistics and real estate management. The provision also directs the CMO to certify that the department has achieved at least 25 percent savings from those functions by Jan. 1, 2021. A separate section calls for the CMO to report to Congress on any recommendations to eliminate an agency or activity, or transfer some or all of its functions to another entity, following a review of the efficiency and effectiveness of defense agencies and field activities. Thornberry’s plan is subject to change, or possibly could be stripped out of the final version of the defense policy bill, as the Senate version does not contain similar language.“I think there are too many eyes on fourth estate for nothing to happen,” said Frederico Bartels, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.last_img read more

Myanmar top Buddhist body bans hardline group

first_imgPolice have arrested five people this month after a fight broke out in a Muslim neighbourhood of Yangon when dozens of hardliners raided a house believed to be hiding Rohingyas.hardline Myanmar has been gripped by deepening religious tensions that have repeatedly spilled into violence, partially attributed to anti-Muslim rhetoric spread by nationalist groups like Ma Ba Tha.The Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, Myanmar’s highest Buddhist authority, sent a letter to government ministries on Tuesday ordering the group to cease all activities by mid-July or face prosecution.“People, either as individuals or as a group, cannot take any actions under the name of Ma Ba Tha,” said the letter, which was seen by AFP and carried the signature of several monks including senior figures from Ma Ba Tha.“Ma Ba Tha signboards across the country are to be taken down completely by July 15 at the latest,” the Sangha committee added, warning any infractions would be punished under both Buddhist and civil law.But Ottama, a Ma Ba Tha monk in Yangon, said the group still planned to hold its annual meeting this weekend despite the ban.“The most certain thing is that we will hold the Ma Ba Tha conference on the 27 and 28 of this month,” he told AFP.A statement from the group said the official conference would be cancelled, but there would now be a meeting to discuss the Sangha committee’s decision instead.The Sangha’s sanction comes just weeks after the same committee, which represents the upper echelons of the clergy, banned the country’s most notorious monk Wirathu from preaching for a year.Once dubbed “the face of Buddhist terror,” the Mandalay-based monk has led calls for restrictions on the country’s Muslim minority and frequently spews vitriol online warning of an Islamic takeover.Wirathu has since made several public appearances with his mouth taped shut to symbolise how he has been silenced by the authorities, and this month made a provocative visit to the north of Rakhine State.Religious tensions have soared since a group of Rohingya Muslims attacked police posts on the border with Bangladesh last October, sparking a bloody military crackdown that has drawn widespread international condemnation.Since then nationalists in Yangon have held protests, stopped Islamic religious ceremonies and most recently forced two schools to shut their doors over accusations they were illegally doubling as mosques. Myanmar’s top Buddhist body has banned hardline group Ma Ba Tha, according to a document sent out on Tuesday, a move aimed at curbing the movement’s influence amid rising Islamophobia.last_img read more

We are not afraid to experiment

first_imgWhere does the name of your band come from? When the band started off, each one of us had a different musical background in-terms of the genre. So, it was more like a wave or a frequency. Guitarist was fond of Blues and Jazz, the Bassist was into Alternative rock and the vocalist into Metal. Hence, we thought it’s like a frequency: high and low. Hence the band name.Tell us about how you guys started off…Frequency started off as a school band, studying, playing and learning together. After school hours, we used to practice and then leave for our tuition together. After we got done with our schooling, the band went through a lot of lineup changes. Hence, we recruited new members and did not end the journey there. Now, Kushal Thapa is the only founding member in the band. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’What is your original brand of music? Do you guys have a signature sound? The band was formed while having a picture of a band that can produce Electronic/Experimental sound with heavy guitar riffs and groovy bass lines, equally supported by heavy vocals. We still have the same sound, however we are not afraid of experiments that we do with our music, either live or in the studio.Tell us about the initial years after kick-off till how it has been thus far Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe journey has been full of memories to be honest! Our band was formed in September 2006 and now its 2013. So we’ve been in the circuit for nearly 7 years now. We are lucky to have such an  audience who has stood by us over the years and always encouraged us to make good music. We got our first major recognition at Channel [V] Launchpad 2007 when we landed up as the top four finalists. This high was carried forward by Sandeep Chowta, a well known music producer from Bollywood, who offered us for a deal to make music for him. Top all of that with a kitty full of gigs that we’ve done in India. So, to summarize all of it, in these 7 years, we’ve seen and learnt a lot. And, we thank each and every person, who’s been a part of the Frequency family. How does it feel to perform with three other bands? It was a great experience for us to play with such awesomely talented musicians. They knew their instruments. The great crowd interaction led these bands to deliver a successful show.What plans for 2013? We are planning to launch our 4 Track EP this month followed by a major cities’ tour in order to promote our newly written material and simultaneously work in our studio for our full length album, that we plan to launch by the end of this year.What got you to take part in Metanoia and how do you see this working for you?After the success of Pandemonium, Cacophony Networks approached us for this show and we couldn’t say no to them. Considering the show lineup, we pulled up our socks and were ready to deliver a gig full of excitement and fun.last_img read more

Wellness guide to quit smoking drinking

first_imgMost lifestyle advice tells you to give that glass of wine or cigarette a miss. Serving as a reminder, a new book on healthy living reiterates the advice we know too well, topped off with practical tips that finally help you say ‘No. ‘Live Well To 101’, a wellness guide by doctor and television presenter Dawn Harper, lists useful tips to quit smoking and drinking: Cigarettes don’t contain just nicotine but a range of toxic, carcinogenic chemicals you wouldn’t want near your body. Next time you reach for a cigarette that looks quite appealing, imagine yourself licking tarmac or chewing on rubber cement. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIf you get the opportunity to talk to a smoker who has developed diseases as a result of smoking, knowing their stories might help put off your habit. To quit, go public! Telling everyone will keep you motivated. Also put aside cigarette money for something special. It’s easier never to start than it is to quit. Spread the message. Don’t wait for warning signs. They may not come. Be honest with yourself about your consumption and start putting in dry days in your diary. Recognise your triggers and work on them. For instance, if you reach for the bottle when your kids are asleep, find ways to keep yourself occupied and not be tempted.last_img read more