(From Left) Transcom Group chairman Latifur Rahman, The Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam, Mediaworld chairperson Rokia Afzal Rahman and and Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman at the award ceremony. Photo: Prothom AloThe National Board of Revenue (NBR) on Wednesday honoured 84 families with the title ‘Kar Bahadur Poribar’ or ‘Family of Tax Heroes’ for paying taxes regularly.It was the first time such a title was conferred, with Drug International owner Khaza Tajmahal and her family topping the list.Businessman ABM Shafiul Alam’s family was next, followed by Transcom Group chairman Latifur Rahman and his family.They were honoured at a programme organised by the National Board of Revenue at its headquarters at Agargaon in Dhaka on Wednesday.Finance minister AMA Muhith was present at the function as the chief guest while it presided over by NBR chairman Md Nojibur Rahman.In the print and electronic media category, three out of the four winners are owned by Transcom Group. They are Mediastar, which owns Prothom Alo, Mediaworld, which owns The Daily Star, and Transcraft, which take care of the two dailies’ printing.East West Media Group, a concern of Bashundhara Group, complete the list of four.Editor and publisher of The Daily Star Mahfuz Anam was honoured for paying the highest amount of taxes among the journalists.Editor and publisher of the Prothom Alo Matiur Rahman was also among the top five taxpaying journalists.Finance minister AMA Muhith handed over a crest and the tax card to the editors, who were awardees last year as well.MA Malek, editor of the Dainik Azadi published from Chittagong, Channel i news editor Shaikh Siraj and the Daily Samakal editor Golam Sarwar were handed the tax cards.Chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the finance ministry M Abdur Razzaque handed over the crest to Transcom Group chairman Latifur Rahman.The quality of NBR’s services is now better, Latifur Rahman said at the programme, adding, “But, the service must get even better.”“The taxpayers have various types of demands. As they pay taxes, the government should take their wants into consideration,” he observed.Former adviser to a caretaker government Rokia Afzal Rahman, who is the chairperson of Mediaworld, received the award on behalf of the company.“It’s really a matter of huge pride for me. We have been paying taxes for a long time, but at last the recognition comes. We have been awarded as the best taxpayer for the second successive year and we believe we will keep this trend up,” she said.Transcom Group director Arshad Waliur Rahman received the tax card and crest on behalf of Mediastar Limited while Transcraft executive director Jalaluddin Akand received the award on behalf of the company.Editor’s NoteIt is a matter of immense pride that the editor-publisher of Prothom Alo has been named one of the highest taxpayers for the second successive year in the newspaper category. Mahfuz Anam, the editor-publisher of our sister concern The Daily Star, has also been honoured with the same accolade. On top of this, the Transcraft Limited, which is another concern of Transcom Group and the mother organisation of these two newspapers, has also been awarded with the same honour. The chairman of the Transcom Group, Latifur Rahman, and his family have been honoured with “Kor Bahadur” or ‘Tax Heroes’ as well.On behalf of the editor-publisher and the staff of Prothom Alo, we thank the Board of Directors. They have been conscious about paying the taxes besides upholding the highest ethical standard and ensuring financial transparency.We strongly believe the trust and confidence of the readers should be a media house’s biggest strength. And one cannot just own it, rather it has to be earned. And to earn it, the organisation not only has to practice objective journalism, but it also has to be transparent about financial matters. We believe that financial stablity is a prerequisite for free thinking and objective journalism. If we are not transparent about this, how can we write independently, without any fear? We hope the readers and advertisers will keep supporting us as they have always done. And we would like to thank the government and the National Board of Revenue (NBR) for introducing this award in the media category.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Quamrul Hassan and Toriqul Islam.
Share Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesRepublicans in Congress are scrambling to avoid a chaotic government shutdown that could overshadow their signature tax bill before it even gets signed into law.Republicans will need at least some bipartisan support for the measure in the Senate, as the bill needs 60 votes to pass, and Republicans control just 52 seats there.In addition to keeping the government open, the legislation would extend short-term authorizations for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as well as the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans to receive health care at community providers outside of the Veterans Affairs system.The bill would also temporarily extend a controversial provision in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, Amendments Act, known as Section 702, which was set to expire at the end of the year. The FBI and other intelligence agencies have said it is critical to fighting terrorism.The stopgap bill includes a nod to defense hawks in Congress who were hoping for caps on defense spending to be lifted, another point of friction with Democrats being delayed. It provides funds to repair two naval ships that were damaged this year in the Pacific, as well as money to bolster ballistic missile defense.A big disaster relief funding bill for areas hit by hurricanes and wildfires was passed in the House as well, but it appears the Senate will hold off on voting on that bill until January.In the new year, when bipartisan budget debates begin again, a pair of major polarizing topics loom.Congressional Democrats, and some Republicans, are hoping for legislation to protect thousands of undocumented immigrants brought into the U.S. as children. There had been talk that Democrats could threaten a government shutdown to force a vote on the measure, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, but those whispers quieted as the deadline grew closer.Trump ordered an end to the Obama-era protection program in September, but White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said Thursday that the president was always hoping for Congress to come up with a legislative solution.“We believe we’ll have a resolution to that in January or February,” Short told NPR’s Rachel Martin.And a pair of senators are poised to propose legislation to stabilize insurance markets, after the Republican tax plan zeroed out the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate that had required people to buy health insurance. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, had committed to getting legislation passed by the end of the year, but she and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., have now committed to a proposal “after the first of the year.”Collins and Alexander said in a joint statement that they would be waiting to unveil the legislation because “it has become clear that Congress will only be able to pass another short-term extension to prevent a government shutdown and to continue a few essential programs.”Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pledged again on Thursday to bring that legislation up for a vote next year in an interview with NPR. After a monumental legislative victory on taxes this week, Republicans in Congress have been scrambling to avoid a chaotic government shutdown that could overshadow their signature tax bill before it even gets signed into law.The House and Senate have passed a spending bill Thursday afternoon that would push a deadline to fund the government back from midnight on Friday to Jan. 19, allowing lawmakers to head home for the holidays without resolving much of their unfinished business. In addition to most Republicans, about a dozen House Democrats and several Senate Democrats also voted for the bill.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had put it on the GOP to keep the government open. “The Republicans control the Congress. They control the House, they control the Senate, and they have the signature in the White House. They have the votes to keep government open. They don’t need us to keep government open,” she said Thursday.Still, President Trump sought to toss blame for the tense moment at congressional Democrats on Twitter on Thursday morning.House Democrats want a SHUTDOWN for the holidays in order to distract from the very popular, just passed, Tax Cuts. House Republicans, don’t let this happen. Pass the C.R. TODAY and keep our Government OPEN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2017The continuing resolution that Republicans in the House had released early Thursday punts tough decisions related to long-term government spending, immigration and defense into the first part of the new year.
By James Wright, Special to the AFRO, email@example.comOne of the District of Columbia’s middle schools is a powerful example of the demographic changes taking place in much of the city.Henry Brown Floyd MacFarland Middle School, with grades 6-8, is located in the gentrifying Petworth neighborhood on the southern end of Ward 4. The school had a predominant Latino enrollment during the 2017-2018 academic year, with 87 percent and Black students made up only 13 percent.MacFarland Middle School is unique in D.C. because it is currently majority Latino and used to be predominantly Black. (Courtesy Photo)However, the principal, Mark Sanders, told the AFRO that MacFarland’s make-up is subject to change due to the $63 million modernization highlighted by its ribbon cutting Aug. 20. “Last year, we were working with a smaller building,” Sanders said. “Now we will be able to accommodate more students to come to MacFarland.”Sanders couldn’t quote exact racial statistics because students were still being enrolled. Nevertheless, he said that Black students were welcomed at the school despite its growing Latino population due to its successful dual Spanish language program where English and Spanish is taught in various subjects.Sanders said there are some Black students in the dual language enrollment program.MacFarland is noteworthy because it was founded in 1925 as a Whites-only school. It remained White majority until the late 1960s when African Americans began to move into Petworth and surrounding neighborhoods and by 1980 it was a predominantly Black school with a sprinkling of Latinos.In 1990, U.S. census data reveals that Petworth was 88 percent Black and six percent White and Latino. In 2010, though, Petworth’s Black population had dropped to 57 percent while it’s White and Latino population increased 15 and 26 percent, respectively. MacFarland is next to Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School, which is 54 percent Black, 46 percent Latino and one percent White.At the ribbon cutting, D.C. Councilmember Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4) beamed as he toured the building with his staff, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), community leaders and students. Todd told the AFRO he was aware of MacFarland’s changing demographics over the decades and isn’t worried about it. “I am very pleased that Ward 4 has the largest number of Latino residents in the city,” Todd said. “This underscores that Ward 4 is for everyone and this school is for Blacks, Whites, Hispanics and Asians. What we would like to happen is when students finish MacFarland; they will go to Roosevelt where they will continue to get a quality education.”Sanders noted during his remarks at the ribbon cutting that MacFarland is the only bi-lingual middle school in the city and that has some worried that Black students’ academic needs will be ignored. However, Mary Diatta, a Senegal native who has a son enrolled at MacFarland, told the AFRO she isn’t concerned.“I have no problem with the school,” Diatta said. “To me, I think it is important that everything is equal. The children, regardless of whether they are Black or Latino, should learn the same thing.”Sanders said students, regardless of race, will be educated by the District’s school system curriculum. “All of our sixth graders will take science and there are no academic tracks,” he said. “All students will adhere to the rigorous standards and they will take math and English language arts together.”
Study shows cultural flow may be slower than genetic divergence © 2017 Phys.org Most people today in the Western world are familiar with a handful of folktales, including “Hansel and Gretel,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Cinderella” and “Rumpelstiltskin”—such tales typically have a moral or lesson. Those that struck a chord tended to be widely told and were passed down through the generations, first orally, then through books. The researchers with this new effort wanted to know whether such tales were distributed through the grapevine, so to speak, or whether they were carried by people moving from one place to another. To find out, they used some of the growing amount of publicly available genome data.For their study, the researchers made a list of what they deemed the 596 most famous folktales in Europe and Asia—then, they compiled another list containing titles and information about published folktales. Next, they extracted information from global genome databases that provided data regarding the movement of people over different time periods. Connecting the two types of data allowed the researchers to create flow charts that described the movement of folktales over time.The researchers were able to see that both types of distribution were involved in the spread of folktales. Some of the tales moved through populations until they reached a border, either physical or social, such as a language barrier. Others were able to make giant leaps as people traveled great distances, taking the tales with them and relating them to those they encountered. The team notes that they were also able to isolate approximately 15 of the tales that had clearly spread due to migration. The researchers report that they were also able to narrow down the origination sites of some common fables to regions as broad as Northern Africa or Central Asia. More information: Inferring patterns of folktale diffusion using genomic data, Eugenio Bortolini, PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1614395114AbstractObservable patterns of cultural variation are consistently intertwined with demic movements, cultural diffusion, and adaptation to different ecological contexts [Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman (1981) Cultural Transmission and Evolution: A Quantitative Approach; Boyd and Richerson (1985) Culture and the Evolutionary Process]. The quantitative study of gene–culture coevolution has focused in particular on the mechanisms responsible for change in frequency and attributes of cultural traits, the spread of cultural information through demic and cultural diffusion, and detecting relationships between genetic and cultural lineages. Here, we make use of worldwide whole-genome sequences [Pagani et al. (2016) Nature 538:238–242] to assess the impact of processes involving population movement and replacement on cultural diversity, focusing on the variability observed in folktale traditions (n = 596) [Uther (2004) The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography. Based on the System of Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson] in Eurasia. We find that a model of cultural diffusion predicted by isolation-by-distance alone is not sufficient to explain the observed patterns, especially at small spatial scales (up to ∼∼4,000 km). We also provide an empirical approach to infer presence and impact of ethnolinguistic barriers preventing the unbiased transmission of both genetic and cultural information. After correcting for the effect of ethnolinguistic boundaries, we show that, of the alternative models that we propose, the one entailing cultural diffusion biased by linguistic differences is the most plausible. Additionally, we identify 15 tales that are more likely to be predominantly transmitted through population movement and replacement and locate putative focal areas for a set of tales that are spread worldwide. Explore further Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Credit: CC0 Public Domain (Phys.org)—A team of researchers with members from several European countries has conducted a study involving tracing the spread of common folktales throughout history in Eurasia. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes using genome data to trace two common means of folktale distribution. Citation: Folktale diffusion traced using genomic data (2017, August 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-08-folktale-diffusion-genomic.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.