I Love YouPR HandoutTollywood producers like Dil Raju, Lagadapati Sridhar and YVS Chowdary heaped praises on Kannada actor Upendra and director R Chandru at the team launch of their Telugu film I Love You.Upendra is the most popular Sandalwood actor in Telugu states and the makers of next Kannada movie I Love You are dubbing and releasing it in Telugu to cash in on his fame. They held grand function for the launch of its Telugu Teaser in Hyderabad on Monday. Upendra and the film’s cast and crew attended the event. Dil Raju, Lagadapati Sridhar and YVS Chowdary graced it as guests.Addressing this event, Dil Raju praised Upendra. The producer, who is likely to distribute I Love You in Nizam, said, “Back in the late 1990s, I would find Upendra’s movies quite crazy. It’s only after reading the script of Arya that I understood the nuances of balancing a negative character in a way that the audience love. I wish that I Love You will become a big hit in both Telugu and Kannada.”Lagadapati Sridhar said, “Upendra is a real star. His cult classic OM is one of my all-time favourite movies. With A, he became a cult star. With films like Son Of Sathyamurthy, too, he won our hearts. I know many people in my circle who really love him. He lives life king size and is a big inspiration to many. He is a fabulous actor, writer and has command over all the crafts of filmmaking. I Love You Telugu teaser launchPR HandoutThe producer said the I Love You would be hit with the young Telugu audience. Lagadapati Sridhar said, “I think he has once again made a film that every youngster is going to love. It shows post-marriage love and is a refreshing endeavour. I Love You comes with the caption Nanne Preminchu.”Lagadapati Sridhar also praised director R Chandru, saying, “He is the godfather of love stories, having made beautiful love stories such as Taj Mahal. When Charminar was remade in Telugu as Krishnamma Kalipindi Iddarini, it won the Best Romantic Movie award at the Jaipur Film Festival.”Meanwhile, Lagadapati Sridhar evinced his interest to produce Upendra’s next directorial venture. The Producer, “I want to do a straight Telugu film with Upendra as director. He has also entered politics with a people-centric agenda. I wish him all the success for the coming elections.”YVS Chowdary also praised both the actor and director of I Love you. He said, “If I have come to this stage in life, it’s only because of NT Rama Rao’s blessings. Coming to this film, its very logo is unique. Director R Chandru’s movies come with delicate sensibilities and human values. Upendra is a frank person and his characters in movies have no secrets. The caption Nanne Preminchu is so apt in his case.”YVS Chowdary added, “Long before an Arjun Reddy and a Rx 100 were made, Upendra did far more intense love stories. A and OM are the best examples. Puri Jagannadh’s characterizations are strong. Before him, Upendra came up with strong ones. I had the opportunity to work with him long back during my association with Vyjayanthi Movies as a co-director. He could have done an unbelievably crazy movie with even Chiranjeevi. He has always broken the rules of the game. His movies possess social values. He is forthright even as a politician. I wish him and director R Chandru all the best.”
A rescue ship is seen near the location of the Lion Air flight JT610 crash during rescue operations off the north coast of Karawang regency. Photo: ReutersThe search for an Indonesian aircraft which crashed into the sea with 189 people onboard will expand on Wednesday to 15 nautical miles from the area where the plane lost contact, according to search and rescue officials.Ground staff lost contact with flight JT610 of Indonesian budget airline Lion Air 13 minutes after the Boeing 737 MAX 8 took off early on Monday from Jakarta on its way to the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang.It is now almost certain that everyone on the plane died, but relatives are desperate to find traces of their loved ones though so far only debris and body parts have been found.Indonesia has deployed teams of divers to search for the aircraft while also using “pinger locators” in a bid to zero in on its cockpit recorders and find out why an almost-new plane went down in the sea minutes after take off.A Reuters witness on a boat at the crash site on Tuesday saw about 60 divers scattered in inflatable boats over the slightly choppy waters entering the sea, which is about 35 metres (115 feet) deep. In all, 35 vessels are helping in the search.Only debris, personal items, including 52 identification cards and passports, and body parts have been found off the shore of Karawang district, east of Jakarta.President Joko Widodo visited Jakarta’s port on Tuesday where the pile of debris has been laid out on tarpaulins, examining the items including mangled seats, bags, shoes and flight attendant uniforms.Officials said human remains were collected in 37 body bags after sweeps of the site, roughly 15 km (nine miles) off the coast.Dozens of relatives of those on board gathered at a police hospital where body bags were brought for forensic doctors to try to identify victims, including by taking saliva swabs from family members for DNA tests.“I keep praying for a miracle although logically, the plane has sunk in the ocean,” said Toni Priyono Adhi, whose daughter was on the flight.“But as a parent, I want a miracle.”The pilot of the downed aircraft had asked to return to base shortly after take-off. Investigators are trying to determine why the pilot issued the request, which was granted.The deputy of the national transportation safety committee has said that the plane had technical problems on its previous flight, from the city of Denpasar on Bali island on Sunday, including an issue over “unreliable airspeed”.The accident is the first to be reported involving the widely sold Boeing 737 MAX, an updated, more fuel-efficient version of the manufacturer’s workhorse single-aisle jet.Privately owned Lion Air, founded in 1999, said the aircraft, which had been in operation since August, was airworthy, with its pilot and co-pilot together having amassed 11,000 hours of flying time.Lion Air said on Tuesday it would meet a team from Boeing on Wednesday to discuss the fate of its 737 MAX 8 plane that crashed into the sea minutes after takeoff from Jakarta airport. “We have many questions for them … This was a new plane,” Lion Air director Daniel Putut told reporters.
A new interactive website from state-funded researchers is tracking tremors across Texas – part of an effort to understand the link between earthquakes and oil and gas production.Three years ago, a series of quakes rattled North Texas — and some residents’ nerves.Larry Walden, a Parker County commissioner, remembers a public meeting at the time in which residents complained about cracked houses, damaged foundations and even a hen that had stopped laying eggs.“They were minor earthquakes unless you’re in an area affected by it,” Walden said. “Then it’s not minor.”So when a state-funded research team approached the county a year and a half ago about installing a sensor to track seismic activity on a piece of farmland, “we were more than happy,” Walden said. Local officials were eager for “some outside agency to … hopefully give us some feedback as to what was going on.”That sensor, installed last year, is just one node in a statewide network called TexNet that monitors quakes and tremors across Texas. Run out of the University of Texas at Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology, the program was created by the Legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott in 2015 after a series of temblors shook the Dallas-Fort Worth region.Texas saw an uptick in quakes starting in 2008, and a growing body of research has linked fossil fuel activities – specifically the injection of oilfield wastewater into the ground – to the shaking. Industry representatives and state regulators have been wary of acknowledging a connection, arguing more detailed information is needed.That’s where the TexNet Seismic Monitoring program comes in. The goal is for the network of sensors, now collecting data across the state, to suss out the source of the tremors.“You have a very complex issue, and a lot of people have tried to oversimplify it,” said Steve Everley, a spokesman for the industry-funded group Texans for Natural Gas. “We need to get good data; we need to have good research. This is a program that obviously leads us toward that goal.”Peter Hennings, a research scientist with UT-Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology, said initial TexNet data shows “earthquakes happening in key areas in Texas that have really been known about for a few years” – mainly hubs of oil and gas production. As the program amasses more data, “we’ll be able to start to look at the earthquake rate and ask the question, ‘Is it increasing or decreasing in a given area?’” he said. “We’re moving pretty swiftly in the direction of being able to provide answers.”A “vexed relationship”Scientists have long established that injecting fluid deep underground – a technique used to dispose of oilfield wastewater – can trigger earthquakes. And in recent years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and researchers at Texas universities have pointed to the wastewater disposal process as a likely culprit behind shaking in the state.Cliff Frohlich, a senior research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin who has studied seismicity for decades, said “some companies in [the] industry have been very forward-looking about getting some of their best people working on this,” while “others have stuck their heads in the sand or been very secretive.”The Texas Railroad Commission, the state’s oil and gas regulator, also has seemed to have a “vexed relationship” with the issue, Frohlich said. The commission has panned much of the research linking quakes to oil and gas activities. But in 2014, the agency approved regulations requiring disposal well operators to submit more geographical information and hired a staff seismologist.“There’s been, I’d say, a difference between their sort of public face on that and their activities,” Frohlich said.The regulations allow for permits to be amended or wells shut down due to seismicity. Since they took effect, the commission has received 114 disposal well applications in “areas of historic seismicity,” said Ramona Nye, a spokeswoman for the commission, in an emailed statement. Of those, 60 were issued with special conditions, including some related to injection volumes and pressure. Another 15 of the applications were returned or withdrawn.“The commission has long recognized the possibility of induced seismicity related to fluid injection; that’s why the [commission] has in place some of the most stringent rules in the nation to address the issue,” she said.Everley, the Texans for Natural Gas spokesman, credited the Railroad Commission’s regulatory overhaul with a subsequent decline in earthquakes in the state. In a risk assessment for 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey said the odds that a manmade earthquake would hit Texas this year had plummeted. The year before, the state was pegged as the third-most at-risk for them, behind only Oklahoma and Kansas.But Luke Metzger, the director of the advocacy group Environment Texas, said that the oil and gas industry – backed by government regulators – continues to downplay the link between quakes and disposal wells. There’s already a “body of science,” he said; officials should now be taking steps to reduce the risk, such as recycling fracking water instead of injecting it into the ground.“Better data, better information”While the Railroad Commission oversees more than 8,000 deep disposal wells in Texas, Hennings said “just a tiny number of that 8,000″ have been associated with earthquakes. TexNet’s role is not “to try to pin individual wells as problems,” he said. “We’re looking at the process.”The TexNet program’s creation in 2015 came with a $4.5 million infusion from the state. With it, program leaders were able to buy dozens of seismometers – devices that monitor earthquakes – and bring on a team of researchers to wrangle the collected data into useable insight.Two years later, the program has placed a grid of those sensors across the state. An interactive website that went live in October streams data from those monitoring stations to show every quake with a magnitude of 1.5 or greater.Alexandros Savvaidis, a research scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology, spent months meeting with landowners and scouting out possible sites for the sensors, which track when and how much the ground shakes.“We had 18 stations before TexNet,” Savvaidis said, referencing seismometers operated by Southern Methodist University researchers and the U.S. Geological Survey, a federal agency that generally tracks earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.5 and greater.“Now, in 2017, we have almost another 60” monitoring stations in the state, Savvaidis said. Permanent stations are spread evenly across the state like a backbone, Savvaidis said, while temporary stations have been deployed to places that reported seismic activity in recent years, including the oil-rich Permian Basin.“The new network will give us the possibility to work more on the seismicity – to have better data, better information, that will help us understand this phenomenon,” he said.Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, an industry trade group, said the Legislature was smart to fund the TexNet program. Petroleum industry groups have also contributed more than $1 million to related research efforts.“The data being produced is a good resource for academia and industry,” Staples said in a statement. “All Texans benefit from good, science-based research.”Frohlich said seismicity research in Texas can be divided into two eras: pre- and post-TexNet. If the program continues to be funded, he said, it’s “going to be a huge change in the way earthquake activity can be met, managed and analyzed.” “I can’t say we’ve solved the induced earthquake problem,” he said, “but we know a lot of things that we didn’t know before.” Share
For much of the past year, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz did not acknowledge Beto O’Rourke’s name — or even, for a while, the fact that he had a Democratic opponent for re-election.That abruptly changed Tuesday evening, when Cruz convened several state reporters for a conference call in the final hours before polls closed in the state’s primaries.“Tonight’s election marks the beginning of the general election,” Cruz said. “In November, the voters of Texas will have a clear and stark choice for the United States Senate. Congressman O’Rourke is a left-wing, liberal Democrat — he is running like Bernie Sanders across the state, and the voters of Texas will have a decision of what policies and values reflect their own values.”For the next several minutes, Cruz proceeded to lay out a detailed case against O’Rourke, portraying him as dramatically out of step with most Texans when it comes to at least three issues: guns, immigration and taxes. Alluding to certain bills O’Rourke had authored, Cruz spoke with the ease of an incumbent who knew his challenger’s record well — and was more than ready to start wielding it. O’Rourke did allow one jab at Cruz, noting that Texans have a choice in November between a challenger who has been holding town halls throughout the state for almost a year and an incumbent who spent a chunk of his first term running for president. “Which of the two are going to have a better idea of what’s going on in Texas?” O’Rourke asked.To be sure, Cruz is still the favorite in November as he seeks a second term. Texans have not elected a Democrat to statewide office in over two decades — and it’s been even longer since they sent one to the U.S. Senate.Among Cruz’s allies and supporters, there is an acknowledgment that the money and enthusiasm O’Rourke has generated is real. But they do not believe it will be enough to overcome Texas’ strong Republican tradition.“I think Congressman O’Rourke’s fundraising has been pretty impressive, but I still believe that Sen. Cruz will win handily,” Texas’ senior senator, fellow Republican John Cornyn, told reporters after early voting last week in Austin. “Texas is still a red state. It’s good to see competitive elections, but I don’t think it’s going to be all that competitive.” O’Rourke is certainly working to make it competitive, proving to be not only an impressive fundraiser but also a relentless campaigner. He has crisscrossed the state for dozens of town halls, visiting 226 of Texas’ 254 counties, and hitting many areas that have been historically neglected by Democrats.His efforts have drawn attention from far outside Texas, and while few in Washington are ready to declare Texas in play this year, it is certainly a part of the discussion. Republicans have a slim 51-member majority in the Senate, and after Nevada, their list of pickup opportunities this election cycle does not go long before reaching the Lone Star State.“Tonight’s results are the latest demonstration of Beto’s strong campaign and the tremendous grassroots enthusiasm behind him,” David Bergstein, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement after it was clear O’Rourke won the nomination. “Sen. Cruz spent years looking out for himself instead of doing anything to help hardworking Texas families, and voters will hold him accountable for his unpopular agenda: more expensive health care, privatized education and higher taxes for working people — so his rich and powerful friends can get another handout.”If his actions Tuesday were any indication, Cruz is eager for the fight. Asked on the call if he is open to debating O’Rourke before November, the senator appeared to have no reservations.“I’m sure we’ll see a debate in this race,” Cruz said, noting that he’s sparred with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on national TV three times. “I am not remotely afraid to debate left-wing liberal socialists.” For Cruz, it was a remarkable escalation in his approach to O’Rourke, signaling a new chapter in the race — and not just because the two formally secured their party’s nominations Tuesday night. According to unofficial returns, Cruz easily fended off four little-known challengers with 85 percent of the vote, while O’Rourke got an underwhelming — but still successful — 62 percent against two rivals.Cruz did not let up on O’Rourke as the returns came in, releasing a radio ad featuring a country music song ridiculing the El Paso congressman.“If you’re going to run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal man,” a singer croons in the ad, which also jabs at O’Rourke for going by “Beto” — a nickname dating back to his childhood — when his real first name is Robert.Cruz’s call and the ad punctuated a period of increasing hostility against O’Rourke that began last month, when O’Rourke reported raising nearly three times more than Cruz over the first 45 days of 2018, $2.3 million to $803,000. Furthermore, O’Rourke whittled down Cruz’s cash-on-hand advantage to just over $1 million.O’Rourke has been taking the new level of incoming fire in stride. In an interview after Cruz’s call Tuesday evening, the El Paso congressman largely declined to fire back.“All I can tell you is I’ve been listening to the people that I want to represent in Texas in almost every county across the state,” O’Rourke said. “I’m making their priorities my priorities.” Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O’Rourke/Robin Jerstad: CruzU.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso (left), and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Share