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Cellphones Spill into Yellowstone’s Wilds Despite Park Plan

Legislation introduced last week in the U.S. House seeks to encourage even greater cellular and broadband coverage within national parks and other public lands

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Yellowstone Ringing Phones: FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2016 file photo, a herd of bison grazes in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park in Wyo. Park administrators appear to have lost ground on a 2009 pledge to minimize cell phone access in backcountry areas. Signal coverage maps for two of Yellowstone's five cell phone towers show calls can now be received in large swaths of the park's interior such as the picturesque Lamar Valley. - VOA
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Adventure seekers encounter untamed wilderness when they enter the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park. Howling wolves. Deadly grizzly bears. Steam-spewing geysers as seen nowhere else on earth.

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A refuge from ringing cellphones? Not so much anymore.

In the popularity contest between Yellowstone’s natural wonders and on-demand phone service, park administrators appear to have lost ground on a 2009 pledge to minimize cell phone access in backcountry areas.

Signal coverage maps for two of Yellowstone’s five cellphone towers show calls can now be received in large swaths of Yellowstone’s interior, such as the picturesque Lamar Valley and other areas until just recently out of reach.

The maps were obtained by a Washington, DC-based advocacy group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which has for years fought against new telecommunications infrastructure in the first national park in the U.S.

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“The ability to disconnect, the serenity value of that, is a park resource that they’ve given away without a thought,” said Jeff Ruch, PEER’s executive director. “They have ceded the telecommunications programs to the companies.”

Yellowstone technology chief Bret De Young acknowledged the occurrence of “spillover” cellphone signals into backcountry areas, but suggested the coverage maps — released by the park to Ruch’s group under a public records request — exaggerated the quality of coverage in parts of the park.

In 2009, Yellowstone issued a wireless and telecommunications management plan that said cellphone coverage “would not be promoted or available along park roads outside developed areas, or promoted or available in any of the back country.”

“No cell phone service will be allowed in the vast majority of Yellowstone,” park officials said in a statement issued when the plan was adopted.

De Young said while it is not the intent to cover backcountry areas, the park is taking steps to limit cell service as much as possible to developed areas. That’s being done with the installation of more modern antennas that can direct signals more precisely.

Two of the park’s five cellphone towers now use those antennas, and De Young said a third is due to be converted this fall.

“This will allow the service providers to keep up with new phone technology while limiting unintentional coverage areas,” De Young said. The park service “will continue to limit cellular service to developed areas to the extent possible,” he said.

Legislation introduced last week in the U.S. House seeks to encourage even greater cellular and broadband coverage within national parks and other public lands.

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The measure from California U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman is known as the Public Lands Telecommunications Act.

It would impose rental fees on telecommunications companies with cell towers or other infrastructure on public lands. Money raised would be used by the U.S. Interior and Agriculture Departments to obtain additional communication sites and take other steps to foster greater coverage. (VOA)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

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Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)