Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association kicked off a media and advertising campaign that will shine a spotlight on how various federal tax provisions impact America’s cattle and beef producers. The campaign, which will focus heavily on the death tax, aims to build support in Washington for comprehensive tax reform that makes our tax code fair for agricultural producers. The campaign will be centered around a new website, CattlemenForTaxReform.com, and will run through September.“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact truly comprehensive tax reform, and we can’t afford to let this opportunity pass or to get it wrong,” said Craig Uden, NCBA President and Nebraska cattleman. “Family ranchers and farmers deserve a full and permanent repeal of the onerous death tax, which charges them in cash on the often-inflated appraised value of their property and equipment. This campaign will shine a spotlight on the stories of real ranchers who have had to deal with this issue, and it will also highlight current tax provisions that we need to maintain, such as stepped-up basis, cash accounting, and deducibility of interest payments.”In addition to the launch of the new website, the campaign kicked off with a two-minute video that will be heavily promoted on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. The campaign’s first video features fifth-generation California rancher Kevin Kester, whose family struggled for a decade to pay a large death-tax bill after his grandfather passed away. With the specter of the death tax still looming, Kevin is forced to spend precious time and energy — not to mention thousands of dollars — planning for how to pass the ranch on to his children and grandchildren.“Without a doubt the biggest challenge that keeps me up at night is trying to figure out how to pass the ranching operation — our family operation on to the next generation,” Kester said in the video as he drives across his Bear Valley Ranch near Parkfield, Calif. “The current tax code is…leading toward more fragmentation of farms and ranches, which is not good for the environment or our ranchers and farmers.”Over the coming weeks, NCBA will roll out several other promoted videos and infographics featuring profiles of ranchers and other members of the cattle-production community. The products will enable American cattlemen and women to share their priorities for tax reform in their own words. The campaign will also connect grassroots ranchers and producers with their elected officials on Capitol Hill as tax-reform legislation is considered this autumn.“There’s a lot of misinformation out there on the tax debate — especially when it comes to who’s affected by the death tax,” Uden said. “This campaign will educate elected officials, the media, and the general public about how the tax code affects our American farmers and ranchers, who literally feed the world.”
Leh experienced its coldest night this winter as the minimum temperature there settled nearly 14 degrees Celsius below the freezing point, even as the mercury continued its downward spiral in Kashmir valley and Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir. Leh town, in the frontier Ladakh region, recorded a minimum night temperature of 13.8° Celsius, against minus 11.4° Celsius of the previous night, MeT officials here said. It was the season’s lowest night temperature in the town, which was the coldest recorded place in the state last night, they said. The official said the night temperature at the nearby Kargil town settled at a low of minus 11.2° Celsius, a drop of 2° from the previous night. Srinagar city, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a minimum temperature of minus 3.5° Celsius, down from minus 2.8° Celsius the previous night. The mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 3.0 degrees Celsius, down down from minus 2.4 degrees Celsius the previous night. Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 0.4° Celsius, the weather department official said. Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 4.1° Celsius on Friday night, down from the previous night’s minus 3.5° Celsius, the official said. He said the mercury at the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 6.6 degrees Celsius, a degree colder than the previous night’s minus 5.4 degrees Celsius. The night temperature in Pahalgam — the famous health resort which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra — recorded a low of minus 5.5° Celsius — compared to Friday’s minus 5.4° Celsius, the official said. Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ — the 40-day period of harshest winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably. ’Chillai Kalan’ ends on January 31, but the cold wave is likely to continue even after that in the valley, the MeT officials said. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai- Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold). The weather office has forecast mainly dry weather in Kashmir over the next few days.
Days after the CBI took over the case of sexual abuse of 34 minor girls at a State-run Muzaffarpur shelter home, the Bihar government has suspended six officials, including the assistant director of Muzaffarpur child protection unit, Divesh Kumar Sharma, for “negligence and dereliction of duty.” Following the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) report which had exposed “sexual and physical exploitation of girls,” Mr. Sharma had filed the FIR on May 31.The officials put under suspension were posted as assistant directors of child protection units at Muzaffarpur, Munger, Araria, Madhubani, Bhagalpur and Bhojpur districts. Notification of their suspension was issued late on Saturday night by the State Social Welfare department director, Raj Kumar. The TISS report had red-flagged about the pathetic situation at shelter homes in these districts. All the officials have been put under suspension with immediate effect.“They have been charged with failure to take adequate legal action with regard to assault, indecent behaviour and other undesirable activities at shelter homes within their respective areas of jurisdiction as pointed out in the TISS social audit report,” said a Social Welfare Department official. FIR lodgedEarlier, after the incident surfaced in a social audit report of TISS, an FIR was lodged by Mr. Sharma on May 31. Mr. Sharma, too, was suspended along with five others. In the FIR, Mr. Sharma had mentioned about page 52 of the 100-page TISS report which under the caption of “Grave Concerns” had said girls at the Muzaffarpur shelter home were “physically and sexually abused.” In a single page FIR none was named accused.Following the FIR, the district police shifted all 44 girls and on their statement arrested the main accused Brajesh Thakur, who was managing the NGO Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti which was running the affairs of the government-funded shelter home in a building adjacent to his residence. Later nine other staff members and officials, including seven women, were arrested in the case. However, one Dilip Kumar Verma is still absconding. Police have filed a chargesheet against them in the court.Papers seizedMeanwhile, the CBI has seized several papers from the Social Welfare Department and quizzed officials about the funds given to the NGOs managed by Mr. Thakur. Mr. Thakur’s NGOs have now been blacklisted by the department. Registrations of his newspapers and arms licence too have been cancelled.