GOVERNANCE FROM ABROAD

3rd May 2014

Indian students win awards in aero-design contest in US

Engineering students from India have bagged top laurels in an aero-design contest held in the US recently, officials said here Saturday.

Students from Mumbai’s M.H. Saboo Siddik College of Engineering won the first prize in the micro class and the fifth in the advanced section at the SAE Aero Design competition held in Fortworth, Texas.

Teams from M.H. Saboo Siddik competed with some of the best Indian and international teams, including from the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, Vellore Institute of Technology and National Institute of Technology-Jamshedpur, in the competition accredited by Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s top manufacturers of defence and commercial aircraft.

A team comprising Sanjay Kumar (faculty member) and students Adith Ajayan, Abdul Kadir Poonawala, Imran Merchant, Hussain Shaikh, Muzammil Sarkhot, Darpan Agarwal, Afsan Gujarati and Sarang Biradar, all from the automobile engineering stream, won in the micro class category.

// // Another team of Dilip Talwai (faculty member), and students Mustafa Hathiyari, Saqlain Siddique, Atharva Joshi, Harshad Bhanushali, Abdul Karim Sarang, Hanif Shaikh, Shehzaad Kerawalla, Faheem Chaudhary, Manish Shukla, Zameer Ansari, Asma Khan and Shaziya Shaikh, from the mechanical engineering and electronics engineering streams, also won a prize in the advanced class.

2nd May 2014

4 Indians win awards at Harvard competition for start-ups

Four Indians are among the winners of a Harvard Business School competition that awards prizes worth over USD 300,000 to new and innovative business and social impact start-ups conceptualised by the US institution’s students and alumni.

Harvard MBA student Amrita Siagal won the grand prize in the ‘Social Enterprise’ category at the 18th Harvard Business School New Venture Competition for her venture ‘Saathi’, which she cofounded with Oracle engineer Kristin Kagetsu. Saathi provides affordable sanitary pads made from waste banana tree fibre to women in rural India.

Siagal and Kagetsu, who both hold mechanical engineering degrees from MIT, received a USD 50,000 prize at the competition, which supports both students and alumni launching new business and social impact ventures inspired by “belief that one simple idea can change everything”.Saathi also got the audience choice award through an electronic crowd vote.

The winner in the business track category was the start-up ‘Alfred’, being launched by Saurabh Mahajan, Marcela Sapone and Jess Beck.

Alfred is a concierge service individuals can use for their daily and weekly tasks, including dry cleaning, house cleaning, groceries, laundry, and more.The Alfred team also won USD 50,000.

The runner-up in the social enterprise track was ‘Tomato Jos’ founded by MBA students Mira Mehta and Mike Lawrence.’Tomato Jos’ is a vertically integrated tomato processing company that helps small farmers in Nigeria grow tomatoes that can then be made into tomato paste.

In the business category, ‘Booya Fitness’ founded by MBA student Pritar Kumar won the runner-up award and a USD 25,000 cash prize.The venture is an on-demand video platform featuring workouts created by the industry’s best boutique gyms and instructors.

The capstone event of the HBS’s expansive offerings in entrepreneurship, this year’s competition attracted 150 Harvard MBA candidates as well as students from six other Harvard graduate schools.In addition, HBS graduates from 17 HBS alumni “hub” clubs worldwide participated in 14 regional competitions.

As part of the finale programme, a member of each venture delivered a 90-second pitch to the audience, leading to an electronic crowd vote.
Over the course of the entire competition, which began last fall, more than 200 judges and mentors took part.

Alumni winners were chosen by an online crowd vote by other HBS graduates around the globe, HBS students, and a panel of judges in three categories – most innovative, greatest impact, and best investment.

22nd March 2014

Australia eases visa laws for Indian, Chinese students

In a significant reform of the immigration laws affecting international students, Australia has eased the financial requirements for the visa applicants from “high risk” countries like India, China and Pakistan. International students from the so-called high risk countries would not be assessed according to the stringent Assessment Level 4 and 5 criteria now as they have been removed. The changes have been made to implement the recommendations made by the a ‘Review of the Student Visa Assessment Level Framework 2013’ and would come into effect from March 22.
“This is certainly good news, especially for Indian students who can now realise their dream of getting quality education in Australia,” says a Melbourne-based education and immigration consultant Jag Khairra.
“The change in assessment levels for countries like India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan will help boost number of students from these countries,” he opined.

The direct implication of the March 22 changes would be that the international students from countries like India, China and Pakistan would have to show lesser amount of money in order to gain entry to Australia. These students would be now be required to provide evidence of funds for 12 months’ study in Australia instead of 18 months.
“Great news for students from India who will now show half the funds for diploma-level courses than before,” said a Sydney-based vocational college owner, Moninder Singh, in a communique to IANS.
“This would mean students from countries like India and Pakistan would be able to apply for a student visa with up to A$20,000 (approximately Rs.1.1 million) less in the bank,” Moninder Singh added.

27th February 2014

Indian-American scientist develops simple paper test for cancer

In a breakthrough, an Indian- American scientist at the prestigious MIT has developed a simple, cheap, paper test that could improve cancer diagnosis rates and help people get treated earlier.

The diagnostic, which works much like a pregnancy test, could reveal within minutes, based on a urine sample, whether a person has cancer, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced yesterday.
This approach has helped detect infectious diseases, and the new technology allows non-communicable diseases to be detected using the same strategy, it said.

The technology, developed by MIT professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator 46-year-old Sangeeta Bhatia, relies on nanoparticles that interact with tumour proteins called proteases, each of which can trigger release of hundreds of biomarkers that are then easily detectable in a patient’s urine.
“When we invented this new class of synthetic biomarker, we used a highly specialised instrument to do the analysis,” says Bhatia, the John and Dorothy Wilson Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
“For the developing world, we thought it would be exciting to adapt it instead to a paper test that could be performed on unprocessed samples in a rural setting, without the need for any specialized equipment. The simple readout could even be transmitted to a remote caregiver by a picture on a mobile phone,” Bhatia said in a statement.
Bhatia, a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, is the senior author of a paper describing the particles in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published this week.
The paper’s lead authors are graduate student Andrew Warren, postdoc Gabriel Kwong, and former postdoc David Wood.

8th February 2014

IP protection worsening  in India, says US group

The influential US Chamber of Commerce today asked the Obama Administration to designate India as a Priority Foreign Country, the worst classification given to foreign countries that “deny adequate and effective” protection of intellectual property rights.
“We hope that designating India as a Priority Foreign Country will generate a much-needed dialogue and engagement between the US and Indian governments to strengthen the IP environment in India,” Mark Elliot, executive vice president of US Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center, told PTI, after the chamber submitted its recommendation to the US Trade Representatives.
The US Chamber of Commerce in its 2014 Special 301 Submission specifically highlights India as a country with particular challenges with respect to IP protections.

 “As such we recommend the Office of US Trade Representative to designate India as a Priority Foreign Country,” Elliot said.
Under the US Trade Act, a Priority Foreign Country is the worst classification given to “foreign countries that deny adequate and effective” protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) or “fair and equitable market access” to US persons relying upon IPR protection.
In 2013, Ukraine was designated as a Priority Foreign Country.
In its report to the USTR, the US Chamber of Commerce alleged over the past two years, the IP environment in India has deteriorated rapidly, making India an outlier in the international community.
“While the then-President of India declared this decade to be India’s ‘Decade of Innovation’ in 2010, India’s policies are inconsistent with the former President’s rhetoric,” the report said.
India has the weakest IP environment of all countries, according to both the 2014 and 2012 editions of the Chamber’s International IP Index, which maps the IP environment in 25 countries around the world based on existing international standards and best practices, it said.
The studies found that the continued use of compulsory licenses, patent revocations and weak legislative and enforcement mechanisms raise serious concerns about India’s commitment to promote innovation and protect creators, the report said.
In its report, the US Chamber of Commerce also expressed its concern that India’s IP policies might be followed by other countries.
“In addition to domestic policy actions, we continue to be very concerned about India’s policy position on intellectual property in a range of international fora,” it said.
“India has played a leading role in driving an IP weakening agenda at the UNFCCC, WTO, and WIPO, where government officials consistently represent intellectual property rights as a barrier to economic advancement and access to technology for developing countries even though the evidence does not support this view,” the Chambers alleged.
“These claims threaten to undermine not only US innovation and industries, but also economic development and innovation in India, where domestic companies are in the process of maturing their capabilities in the IP generation and policy advocacy space,” the report alleged.
“They also continue to distract negotiators in these and other fora from the real technology, trade, environmental and healthcare-related issues that they are or should be seeking to address,” it alleged.

7th February 2014

‘Strict US visa norms to hurt

India-US relations’

After the diplomatic spat over the arrest of an Indian Foreign Service officer in New York, the proposed immigration overhaul in the US seems to be emerging as a major irritant in New Delhi’s ties with Washington DC.

New Delhi’s envoy to Washington, S Jaishankar, used an interview to a news agency to send out a clear message to the US, warning that any move to restrict movement of skilled professionals from India to the US would hurt bilateral ties.

He also warned that tightening the visa regime would hurt not only India, but also the US economy.  “We think this is actually going to be harmful to us. It would be harmful to the American economy and, frankly, it would be harmful to the relationship,” Jaishankar said in an interview.

 “Once I feel I’m not getting a fair deal, I am less responsive to the concerns of the other party. Then tomorrow if an American company comes and says, ‘You know, we’ve got this set of problems,’ the temptation for me is to say, ‘I’m out for lunch.’”  Jaishankar’s remark came at a time when India and the US are trying to mend fences after a month-long diplomatic spat that followed the arrest of Devyani Khobragade in New York on December 12, allegedly for underpaying her domestic help.
New Delhi has been conveying its concerns over the US Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill ever since it was passed by the US Senate last year.
The bill has provisions that seek to put in place a ban on client site placement for workers with H1B visas, new restrictions on client site placement for the ones with L1 visas and limits total percentage of both H1B and L1 workers in the workforce of the US companies.
It seeks to raise the H1-B visa cap from the present 85,000 to 1,95,000, but has provisions to penalise companies, which are primarily dependent on foreign professionals entering the US on such visas.The bill is yet to become a law as the American House of Representative has not yet passed it.
New Delhi is of the view that such provisions in the proposed legislation might hurt interests of the Indian Information Technology companies doing business in the US.DH News ServiceJaishankar told the news agency that India’s IT companies were contributing to the US economy by making them more competitive. He conveyed New Delhi’s concerns to more than 25 US lawmakers ever since taking over as India’s new envoy to the US in December.

                                   23rd January 2014

Indian-origin professor appointed dean at Harvard

Indian-American professor Rakesh Khurana has been appointed Dean of the prestigious Harvard College, becoming the latest addition to a long list of Indian-origin academicians assuming leadership roles at renowned global universities.

Khurana, 46, is currently the ‘Marvin Bower’ Professor of Leadership Development at Harvard Business School (HBS), professor of sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), and co-master of Cabot House at Harvard.He succeeds Evelynn Hammonds, Professor of History of Science and of African and African American Studies at Harvard and will assume his new role on July 1.

Khurana earned his Ph.D. through a joint programme between HBS and Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1998.Harvard President Drew Faust described Khurana as a “faculty leader who embodies the interconnectedness” of Harvard.

Khurana’s research uses a sociological perspective to focus on the processes by which elites and leaders are selected and developed. He has written extensively about the CEO labor market and business education.

He has also been recognised for his commitment to pedagogy, twice earning the excellence in teaching awards and being nominated in 2013 for the Star Family Prize for Excellence in Advising.He has also co-authored “Handbook for Leadership Theory and Practice” (2010) and “The Handbook for Teaching Leadership” (2012), seminal texts on leadership theory and pedagogical practice.

As a member of the Harvard community, he led or served on a number of policy-making panels, including the Committee on Academic Integrity, Campus Culture, and the Alcohol and Other Drug Services Campus-Community Collaborative.

23rd January 2014

Indian born Professor A J Paulraj wins

the 2014 Marconi Prize

Indian born scientist and Professor (Emeritus) at Stanford University Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj has been awarded the prestigious 2014 Marconi Society Prize for developing the theory and applications of MIMO antennas.
Stanford University Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj. Picture courtesy: http://www.stanford.edu/~apaulraj/
His idea for using multiple antennas at both the transmitting and receiving stations – which is at the heart of the current high speed WiFi and 4G mobile systems – has revolutionised high speed wireless delivery of multimedia services for billions of people, said the Marconi Society in a release said.”Paul has made profound contributions to wireless technology, and the resulting benefit to mankind is indisputable. Every wifi router and 4G phone today uses MIMO technology pioneered by him,” Chairman of the Marconi Society Professor Sir David Payne said.

“MIMO will soon be pervasive in all wireless devices. Moreover, Paulraj’s work has provided fertile ground for thousands of researchers to explore and advance MIMO’s potential to enhance wireless spectrum efficiency,” he added.

Reacting to the announcement Paul said: “In telecom there are two top recognitions; the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal which has a bias toward theoretical contributions, and the Marconi Prize, which honours contributions that convert breakthrough ideas into products benefiting billions of people. I am incredibly honoured to have won both. The Marconi Prize emphasises service to humanity. It is the highest recognition I can imagine.”

Each year Marconi Society recognises one or more scientists who pursue advances in communications and information technology for the social, economic and cultural development of all humanity.The Marconi Society was founded by Gioia Marconi Braga, daughter of radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi.

18th  January 2014

Indian-American wins top US teaching award

An Indian-American university professor of physics and astronomy has been named for the prestigious Cherry Award in recognition of her exceptional teaching career. The Baylor University on Thursday named her recipient of 2014 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, the only teaching award in the US that carries the single largest monetary reward of $250,000.

 “Dr Chandrasekhar is an internationally known teacher, scholar who combines an impressive academic record with a stellar reputation for the extraordinary impact she has had on undergraduate and graduate students,” said Elizabeth Davis, executive vice president and provost at Baylor.

As the recipient of the award, she will get an additional $25,000 for the physics department at the University of Missouri.She is expected to teach in residence at Baylor during the spring 2015 semester.

“I am deeply honored to learn that I will receive the 2014 Robert Foster Cherry Award, and I am humbled to join the illustrious group of teacher scholars who received the award before me,” Chandrasekhar said in a statement.

Chandrasekhar was named a finalist for the Award in April 2013, along with fellow distinguished teacher and scholars Joan Breton Connelly, Professor of Classics and Art History, New York University, and Michael K Salemi, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

An IIT Madras Alumni, Chandrasekhar earned her Bachelors and Masters from MGM College in Mysore in 1968. She is the professor of physics and astronomy and Curator’s Teaching Professor of Physics at the University of Missouri.

In 1999 she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from the National Science Foundation.

In 2002 she was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology.She received an Alfred P Sloan Fellowship in 1985 and was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1992.

11th January 2014

Deeply regret that India expelled our

diplomat: US

The US has “deeply regretted” that India felt it necessary to expel an American diplomat after Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade was asked to leave the country following her indictment in a visa fraud case.

“We deeply regret that the Indian government felt it was necessary to expel one of our diplomatic personnel,” State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said yesterday.

“I can confirm that a US official accredited to the (American) Mission in India will be leaving post at the request of the government of India,” Psaki said.The spokesperson said, “this has clearly been a challenging time in the US-India relationship” and the US expected that “this relationship will not come to a closure and India will take “significant steps” to improve the ties and return to a more “constructive place”.

“We expect and hope that this will not come to closure, and the Indians will now take significant steps with us to improve our relationship and return it to a more constructive place,” the spokesperson said.

Earlier, India expelled a senior American diplomat within hours of Khobragade being asked to leave the US after her indictment in a visa fraud case for which she was arrested nearly a month ago, triggering a row between the two sides.

The unnamed Director-rank American diplomat based here was given “a little more than 48 hours” to leave India.

9th October 2014

Indian-American Scientist Gets

Grant For Brain Research

Indian American neuroscientist Khaleel Rezak has been awarded $ 866,902 grant for research on brain processes that could lead to therapies for age-related hearing problems.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Rezak the five-year grant under its Faculty Early Career Development Program for further research on his projects. Rezak’s research on how the brain processes everyday sounds may lead to therapies for age-related hearing problems and Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), an autism spectrum disorder.

Originally from Chennai, Razak is an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Riverside (UCR).

Age-related hearing loss is the most preventable hearing-related problem in the world, he said. “People develop problems with processing rapid changes in sound frequency,” he added.

His lab at UCR focuses on how the brain processes behaviorally relevant sounds and how those mechanisms are altered by developmental experience, disease and ageing.”It’s a processing deficit that accumulates with age, a declining ability to distinguish, for example, the difference between ‘bah’ and ‘dah’,” he said.

30th December 2013

‘Greenest’ Supercomputer Built at

Cambridge University

An energy-efficient supercomputer which is the “greenest of its kind” has been built at Cambridge University.Named ‘Wilkes‘ after computing pioneer Maurice Wilkes, the machine’s performance is equivalent to 4,000 desktop machines running at once.

The computer will be used for development of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – the biggest radio telescope ever made.The new system has been rated second in the “Green 500″ – a ranking of the most efficient supercomputers worldwide. While the first-placed machine, built by a team in Tokyo, used an oil-cooled system, Wilkes is cooled using air, making it the greenest machine of its kind.

Designed and built by the in-house engineering team within the Cambridge High Performance Computing Service, Wilkes’ energy efficiency is 3,361 Mega-flops per watt. Flops (floating point operations per second) are a standard measure of computing performance.

“Energy-efficiency is the biggest single challenge in super computing today and our new system makes an important step forward in this regard,” said Dr Paul Calleja, Director of the Cambridge High Performance Computing Service.

One of the primary uses of Wilkes is as a test bed for the development of a computing platform for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).This is a huge, international effort to build the world’s largest telescope. By detecting radio waves with unprecedented sensitivity and fidelity, the facility has the potential to answer some essential questions about the Universe, such as what the nature of dark energy is, and perhaps the most fundamental question of all – are we alone?

Cambridge is leading the design of the computational platform within the SKA. ‘Wilkes’ will play an integral role in this design process.

27th December 2013

Indian Americans Hail Election

Results, Seek Good Governance

Indian American groups have taken keen interest in the recent Indian state elections with a large number of them seeing the defeat of the Congress as a chance to root out the endemic corruption in the country and restore good governance.

Community meetings have been held in several cities from Chicago to New York to Washington and Houston to hail the election results, especially the BJP win and the unexpected victory of the Aam Aadmi Party. While some Indian Americans were reported to have campaigned for the BJP, many young Indian American technocrats took leave from their office jobs to campaign for Arvind Kejriwal and his party.

More than 300 supporters of the BJP and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi attended a victory celebration in Houston. Speakers at the event said the election results gave Indians a “third opportunity to turn the country around.

“The first opportunity was India’s independence in 1947 and the second was the lifting of the emergency in 1977. Both these opportunities were wasted,” said a local businessman Ramesh Bhutada,”This opportunity should not be lost for the third time.”

Bhutada and other speakers said that poor governance, corruption and misrule had brought the country to a standstill. Real economic progress, as exemplified by Modi’s home state of Gujarat is what India needs, Bhutada said to applause.

Indian Americans, Bhutada noted, had a strong stake in India’s progress, even if they had left the shores of the motherland. “The next generation of Indian Americans will not feel any connection with the land of their forefathers if India remains a weak player on the world stage.” He welcomed the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party which, he said, would “keep the BJP on its toes.”

Speakers from the Overseas Friends of the BJP said there was a palpable sense of “hope” for the general elections due in May, 2014, while conceding that the general elections were a “very different ball game” (from the state assembly elections). Gitesh Desai, who beganhis political career with Jayaprakash Narayan’s ‘total revolution’ movement in the mid-seventies, said that the BJP’s win in the state elections could translate into victory in the national elections next year.

There were some digs at Rahul Gandhi, with speakers pointing out the BJP won in 16 out of the 20 constituencies that Modi campaigned in the state elections. On the other hand, the Congress, they said, lost in all the eight constituencies in which Rahul Gandhi campaigned. Other speakers took a dig at the “left leaning media in India, which is adept at planting and disseminating anti-Modi stories.”

BJP supporters in the US have also launched a group Overseas Friends of Narendra Modi (OFNAMO).

26th December 2013

DOLLAR ART OF MONALISA AND OBAMA

1011

17th December 2013

Angry India downgrades privileges

of US diplomats

India today retaliated strongly to the arrest of its Deputy Consul General in New York by initiating series of steps to strip US diplomats and their families of privileges including withdrawing all airport passes and stopping import clearances for the embassy.

Asking all Consulate personnel and their families to turn in their ID cards immediately, the government has also sought key information such as salaries paid to all Indian staff employed at the consulates and by Consulate officers and families including as domestic helps.

“The government has asked for all US Consulate personnel’s ID cards and that of their families immediately. These will now be downgraded on par with with what the US provides to our Consulates in US,” sources said.

The government has asked the US to provide it with visa information and other details of all teachers at US schools and pay and bank accounts of Indians in these schools.Apart from these measures, Government has stopped all import clearances for the US embassy including for liquor.

Also, the traffic barricades near the US embassy on Nyaya Marg here will be lifted except the picket.India has reacted sharply to the arrest of Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade, who was handcuffed in public in New York on visa fraud charges last week. Earlier, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh summoned US Ambassador Nancy Powell and issued a demarche in this regard.

The displeasure was also evident among leaders and officials of Indian government who cancelled their meetings with visiting US Congressional delegation. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today cancelled his meeting with the US team ostensibly as a mark of protest against the treatment meted out to Khobragade.

Yesterday, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had cancelled her meeting with a senior US Congressional delegation due to the same reason.National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, who also had a scheduled meeting with the five-member US team, did not meet them, apparently for the same reason.

The delegation comprised Congressmen George Holding (Republican – North Carolina), Pete Olson (Republican – Texas) David Schweikert (Republican – Arizona), Robert Woodall (Republican – Georgia), Madeleine Bordallo (Democrat – Guam).

39-year-old Khobragade, a 1999-batch IFS officer, was taken into custody last week on visa fraud charges on a street in New York as she was dropping her daughter to school before being released on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

Source:DH

13th December 2013

‘Tata felt confused and humiliated

during early Harvard days’

Ratan Tata has said he felt confused and humiliated during his first few weeks as a student at the elite Harvard University but those initial days turned out to be the “most important weeks” of his life.

Tata recalled his first weeks on the Harvard campus as he attended a dedication ceremony of Tata Hall at Harvard Business School (HBS) in Boston earlier this week.
Ratan Tata felt confused and humiliated during early Harvard days. Reuters ImageNamed in the honour of the iconic Indian industrialist, Tata Hall is a seven-story, glass-and-limestone 163,000 square foot building, which will include residential and learning space for the HBS’s executive education programme.

Tata was joined by HBS’s India-born dean Nitin Nohria and Harvard University President Drew Faust for the dedication ceremony during which he recounted that his first weeks on the Harvard campus were “confusing” and he felt “humiliated” by the impressive and overwhelming caliber of his fellow students, according to a report in the Harvard Gazette.

“It was the only time in my life where I sat and crossed out day by day how many days were left before I could return to the normal world,” Tata said.”But what it did do for me, as I soon found out, the confusion sort of disappeared, and you understood the magnitude of what you had learned in a manner that I believe is not possible to do in places other than at this business School,” he said.

“As I look back, those 13 weeks were probably the most important 13 weeks of my life. They transformed me and my perspective,” the former Chairman of Tata Sons said.
The business tycoon said, “Harvard Business School is the pre-eminent place to be exposed to the world’s best thinking on management and leadership, and we are pleased that this gift will support the School’s educational mission to mould the next generation of global business leaders”.

Tata, a 1975 graduate of the advanced management programme at HBS and himself an architect, had presented the design firm behind Tata Hall with two design challenges of making the building warm and welcoming to visitors and as open and transparent as possible.

“Can the building touch the ground lightly?” architect William Rawn recalled of Tata’s charge, to explain the walls of glass.Tata Companies, the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, and the Tata Education and Development Trust, which are philanthropic arms of the Tata Group, had donated USD 50 million to the HBS in 2010.

9th December 2013

Indian-American MIT Student Wins

2013 Ingenuity Award

Indian-American teenager Saumil Bandopadhyay has been selected for the prestigious Ingenuity Award for revolutionizing nanotechnology that would upend industries ranging from automobiles to astronomy.

MIT freshman Bandyopadhyay is among the 10 selected individuals, who were named recipients of the second annual American Ingenuity Awards .

Ingenuity Award
Bandyopadhyay, 18, who was presented the award last month, was selected for a unique, sensitive infrared radiation detector that promises to be inexpensive and has scientific, civilian and military applications.

The device has already attracted the interest of the U.S. Army, the Smithsonian Magazine said in a statement.

“At the age of 18, Saumil Bandyopadhyay had five peer- reviewed scientific papers to his name, but no driver’s license. His busy schedule was partially to blame–he spent much of high school in an electrical engineering lab at Virginia Commonwealth University, wearing a hairnet and tinkering with nano wires. Since his dad was a professor there, he always had a ride home,” the magazine wrote in its December issue.

The magazine said, Saumil worked on a unique infrared detector, which may one day reduce car crash rates by allowing vehicles to sense each other in fog or darkness.

The nanoscale contraption, which to the uneducated eye looks like a silver postage stamp, might also someday help spy on stellar nurseries, detect hidden land mines and monitor global warming, it said.

Most exciting, it operates at room temperature, without the cumbersome and expensive tanks of liquid nitrogen needed to cool most other infrared sensors, the magazine wrote.

“It’s a breakthrough — a different way of measuring infrared,” Gary Tepper, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who tutored Bandyopadhyay on one aspect of the project, was quoted as saying.

“We have high-school students in the lab all the time, but we don’t usually see doctoral-level research,” he said.

When John Mather, the Nobel laureate astrophysicist, noticed the infrared device at an Intel Science Fair, he invited Bandyopadhyay to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to discuss it.

“I thought it was an ingenious idea,” Mather said. “He’s a brilliant kid.”

 9th December 2013

Indian flavor to democracy in West

Africa

In a region with a chequered democratic past, there could soon be an Indian flavor to emerging democracies as India looks to increase its engagement with resource-rich West Africa.

A 24-member delegation from eight African and Middle East countries, which witnessed the just concluded elections in five states, including Delhi, comprised the election commissioners from Gambia and Guinea Bissau and senior representatives from Nigeria and Senegal.

The VVPAT, used on a trial basis in Delhi and Mizoram, is an electronic voting machine (EVM) where, after casting their ballots, voters can see the candidate's name and political party along with own name and electoral identification number. PTI“I will ask our government to have the VVPAT ( Verified Voters Paper Audit Trail) machines, that we saw here, instead of paper ballotting in the next Gambian elections. The use of paper creates lots of problems,” Alieu NJai, Gambia’s election commissioner, told IANS.

The VVPAT, used on a trial basis in Delhi and Mizoram, is an electronic voting machine (EVM) where, after casting their ballots, voters can see the candidate’s name and political party along with own name and electoral identification number.

“A lot of our practices in Africa are based on European examples. It is much better to come to India and directly learn about things that we can put to use,” Njai added, describing his experience of the visit.

As those tasked with instrumentalising democracy in their countries liberated relatively recently from European colonial rule, the visitors stressed in no uncertain terms on the importance of democracy – and of learning from India about this.

“Democracy is most important for a country’s development and to ensure that the fruits of development are redistributed equally,” Augusto Mendes, chief election commissioner of Guinea Bissau, told IANS. A former Portugese colony, Guinea Bissau became independent in 1974 and held its first free elections in 1994.

“India can help us implement new technologies in the electoral process, like electronic voting machines (EVMs) that reduce the risk of manipulating the election process,” Mendes noted, adding: India can also organise some training courses for some African election commission members.”

Source: DH

1st December 2013

Indian-origin doctor gets

professional excellence award in UK

Indian-origin doctor Jaswinder S Bamrah, consultant psychiatrist in Manchester, has bagged Asian Lite Professional Excellence Award for his contribution to the medical field in the UK.

Peter W Mount, chairman of the Central Manchester Foundation Trust, presented the award to Dr Bamrah at a ceremony in Manchester last night.Those present on the occasion include Manchester Mayor Cllr Naeem Ul Hassan, Police Commissioner Tony Lloyd, Trafford Mayor Cllr Dylan Butt, British Medical Association Vice Chairman Kailash Chand MBE and BAPIO chairman Rajan Madhok.

The award panel, chaired by former Manchester mayor Cllr Afzal Khan, said: “Bamrah is a dedicated medical professional conducting a large number of lectures nationally to Psychiatrists, General Practitioners, to other disciplines and voluntary organisations…etc.”

Bamrah took his medical degree from Government Medical College, Patiala, Punjab University in 1978. He was enrolled at Royal College of Psychiatrists, London in 1985.
Source:DH

23rd November 2013

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22nd November 2013

Obama appoints Indian-American Gargee Ghosh to key post

US President Barack Obama has appointed an Indian-American Gargee Ghosh to a key administration post.Ghosh, currently the Director of Policy Analysis and Financing at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been appointed as member of the President’s Global Development Council.


“I am pleased to announce that these experienced and committed individuals have agreed to join this Administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead,” Obama said yesterday as he announced several key administration posts along with Ghosh.

Holding the current position at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, since 2012, Ghosh also held roles in global health and international economics with the Gates Foundation from 2004 to 2009.Previously, she was a Senior Expert in the international development practice at McKinsey & Company, and also worked at Google and the Center for Global Development.

She is a member of the advisory board of the University of California San Francisco’s Global Health Group.Ghosh received a BA from the University of Victoria, an M Sc in Economics from the University of Oxford and an MSc in International Relations from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

Source:DH

 11th November 2013

Indian-American Doctor Gets Prestigious U.S. Award

Indian-origin doctor has been selected for prestigious “Outstanding American by Choice” award for his valuable contribution to U.S. health sector.

Eminent transplant surgeon and philanthropist Rahul Jindal will be honored by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on November 13.

The initiative recognizes naturalized citizens who have made significant contributions to both their community and their adopted country. Jindal, who recently received the Leadership Award from the International Leadership Foundation, has been appointed the Commissioner on Service and Volunteerism.

Currently working as a Staff Transplant Surgeon at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre and Professor of Surgery at Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Jindal is also a Clinical Professor at George Washington University.

He obtained his MD from BJ Medical College, Ahmedabad and then studied in Britain where he and earned an FRCS from the Royal College of Edinburgh.

Known for his community services, Jindal is the Director of the National Blood and Bone marrow Drive Campaign, with the support of about 600 Hindu temples throughout North America.

7th November 2013

Young Indian-American wins US Assembly election

Democratic party nominee Raj Mukherji, a rising Indian-American figure on the political scene here, has won the State Assembly polls in New Jersey, becoming one of the youngest to be elected to the house.

29-year-old Mukherji, a first-time Democratic nominee for the 33rd Legislative District and former Jersey City Deputy Mayor, had won the primary election in June by a 36-point margin.

According to the Office of County Clerk, Hudson County, Mukherji got 18,586 votes and will represent the Legislative District, which covers Hoboken, Union City, Weehawken and parts of Jersey City.

 He is the son of Indian American immigrants and has had a stellar rise in the political arena.According to information provided by his ‘Raj Mukerji for Assembly’ website, Mukherji supported himself through high school, college and grad school as an emancipated minor when his parents were forced to return to India due to economic constraints.
From March 2012 through June 2013, Mukherji served as one of the two Deputy Mayors of Jersey City, New Jersey’s second largest city.
With clients ranging from social justice causes to higher education institutions to government agencies to Fortune 500 corporations, he advocated to abolish the death penalty in New Jersey and replace it with life imprisonment without parole and lobbied for equality for lesbians, gays and transgender community.At age 24, Mukherji was appointed the youngest Commissioner and Chairman in the history of the Jersey City Housing Authority – the state’s second largest housing authority – where his work for various reforms at the USD 70 million agency serving over 16,000 residents and over 6,700 households was widely appreciated.
4th November 2013

Ambedkar Varsity, Europe Institutes

Finalize Research Pact

As many as 142 students from India would get a chance to pursue higher education and research in Europe-based institutes.An agreement facilitating this was signed between the officials of University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and city-based Dr BR Ambedkar Marathwada University (BAMU) yesterday.

A meeting between 13 European and 12 Indian experts, including BAMU functionaries, finalised the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship norms and strategy for selection of candidates for the education and research collaboration.

Talking to PTI, Vijay Pandharipande, vice-chancellor of BAMU, said students, research scholars, post-doctorate students, senior professors and administrative officers can avail the benefit under the agreement.

Representatives of institutes based in Portugal, Poland, Germany and Spain took part in the meeting.Under the agreement, a centre of excellence at par with foreign standards would be set up at BAMU, he said.

BAMU is the nodal agency for implementing the agreement, Pandharipande added.

31st OCTOBER 2013

$250,000 U.S. Grant For Women’s Safety

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a $250,000 grant for the “Delhi Safe City – Free of Violence against Women and Girls“, to be implemented in partnership with Indian civil society organizations.

The grant will be channelized through to UN Women as part of the Global Safe Cities Initiative, a statement said.The U.S. Ambassador to India Nancy J. Powell said, “The United States recognizes gender-based violence as a debilitating factor impeding a woman’s active participation in any economy in the world and her ability to access resources and services.

“We are pleased to partner with UN Women to help promote safe cities and reduce gender-based violence, which plagues every country in the world,” she added.

30TH OCTOBER 2013

‘Dream, Lead, Inspire’

The Indian Institute of Management-Udaipur has set new standards for the country, making its people proud. A team from IIM-U has been chosen among the top five business schools from 80 teams across the globe to battle for the India-U.S. Business Conference (IBC), CK Prahalad Business Case Competition 2013. It will be held at the Stephen M Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, reports The Times of India.The IIM-U made it to the top 5 when it was competing with teams from Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, INSEAD, MIT, NUS and Kellogg.

Janat Shah, director of IIM says, “IIM Udaipur is the only team in India and Asia to feature in the top 5,” reports TOI.The speakers at the panel who will address the meeting include Mark Fields (COO Ford), Nina Davuluri (Miss America), Prof Tarun Khanna (Harvard Business School), Subbarami Reddy (Member of Parliament). 

The team ‘Agents of Change‘ comprises of students from the post graduate programme for executives offered by IIM-U in association with Purdue University.The event will stand to be the biggest forums worldwide where leaders from different verticals will share their thoughts on the world’s largest democracy and its advantage. The theme for the IBC event 2013 will be “Dream, Lead, Inspire.”

26th OCTOBER 2013

IIT-B and Washington University Join Hands

IIT- Bombay has added another feather to its illustrious cap. MBA aspirants no longer have to leave the shores of the country in search of quality education as IIT-B and Washington University in St Louis (WUSTL) have come together to launch an executive MBA programme that is slotted to begin in 2015, reports the DNA.

The decision was announced during the Corporate Leaders Conclave at St Louis that concluded recently. It was also revealed that the Olin School of Business, WUSTL, in collaboration with the IIT-B will offer the EMBA course at the campus in Mumbai.

WUSTL is one of the most prestigious universities in the U.S. and it is claimed that the executive MBA programme from the university is the second best in America.

12TH OCTOBER 2013

India keen to ratify extradition treaty with Indonesia

In a bid to contain China’s influence in the Indian Ocean region, India and Indonesia on Friday decided to enhance their maritime cooperation even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for early ratification of the extradition treaty between the two countries.  On Singh’s first bilateral visit to Indonesia, the two sides also signed six MoUs, including those to combat corruption and narcotics trafficking besides disaster management assistance.

The two sides also decided to step up bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism, piracy, drug and human trafficking, organized crime, and counterfeiting. “We have directed our officials to evolve a comprehensive action plan for meaningful and mutually beneficial security cooperation,” Singh said after his meeting with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The joint statement called for steps to explore collaboration in sale and co-production of defence equipment, mutually agreed defence-related research activities apart from training and capacity-building. On his part, the PM also stressed for an immediate ratification of the extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties signed between the two countries in 2011, a move that would establish strong judicial cooperation.

The Indian side also offered help to Indonesia in launching micro satellites into space with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and national Institute of Aeronautics and Space of Indonesia working on concluding an inter-governmental framework agreement.

On his part, Yudhoyono sought India’s cooperation with ASEAN on food security, highlighting the importance of food security for the people of the region.

11TH OCTOBER 2013

Indian students can work full time in New Zealand-New immigration norms

International students enrolled in institutes in New Zealand can work full time, the government there today announced.It also announced that immigration New Zealand will no longer grant visas to students seeking to enrol at institutions rated Category 4 by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

According to the changes which will come into effect from January 2014,  all tertiary-level international students enrolled in a course of at least one academic year will now be able to work full-time during each scheduled semester break.

 Besides, PhD and masters by research students in New Zealand will have unlimited work rights, it announced, adding the move will allow more Indian students to gain valuable work experience while they study in New Zealand.

The announcement was made by New Zealand’s Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce, and Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, said a statement.
New Zealand Government has created a website – http://www.nzstudywork.com – for international students and their New Zealand employers so everyone clearly understands their respective rights and responsibilities.

11TH OCTOBER 2013

Indian youth wins prestigious United Nations award

A young man from India is among 10 people from around the world selected for a prestigious United Nations award in recognition of their work as entrepreneurs and use of technology to change the world.

The winner from India is Varun Arora who created ‘Open Curriculum’, an online platform for local educational material for standard, primary and secondary schooling.

 The recipients of the 10 Young Innovators Competition organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom come from a wide range of countries including India, Uganda and Vietnam and have worked on diverse issues such as marine protection, reduction of food waste and immigration.

“These are bright young minds with creative technological solutions to developmental challenges both in their communities and in the wider world,” said ITU secretary-general Hamadoun Toure.

The UN competition is open to young social entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 26 and seeks innovative digital solutions in the form of start-ups or initial concepts meeting global developmental challenges.

The winners would heading to the ITU Telecom World 2013 in Bangkok in November.The judges received over 600 entries from 88 countries worldwide, and the winners were selected based on their possible social impact and potential for business success.

At ITU Telecom World the winners would take part in a programme to take their projects to the next level through one-on-one mentor ship sessions with start-up mentors and business experts, hands-on workshop training, peer mentoring from the winners of the 2012 competition, and the opportunity to showcase their projects to the events influential audience.

30TH SEPTEMBER 2013

Indian-origin scientist develops ‘brain’ for robots;Robot brain! An Indian-origin scientist in US has developed a new feedback system that allows robots to operate with minimal supervision and could eventually lead to autonomous machines.

The system may lead to robots that think for themselves, learn, adapt and use active critique to work unsupervised.

Developed by Dr Jagannathan Sarangapani, from Missouri University of Science and Technology, the system makes use of current formation moving robots and introduces a fault-tolerant control design to improve the probability of completing a set task.
The new feedback system will allow a “follower” robot to take over as the “leader” robot if the original leader has a system or mechanical failure.

In a leader/follower formation, the lead robot is controlled through a non holonomic system, meaning that the trajectory is set in advance, and the followers are tracing the same pattern that the leader takes by using sonar.

When a problem occurs and roles need to change to continue, the fault tolerant control system comes into use.It uses reinforcement learning and active critique, both inspired by behaviorist psychology to show how machines act in environments to maximize1 work rate, to help the new, unmanned robot to estimate its new course.

Without this, the follower wouldn’t have a path to follow and the task would fail.”Imagine you have one operator in an office controlling 10 bulldozers remotely,” said Sarangapani, the William A Rutledge – Emerson Electric Co Distinguished Professor in Electrical Engineering at S&T.

“In the event that the lead one suffers a mechanical problem, this hardware allows the work to continue,” said Sarangapani.The innovative research can be applied to robotic security surveillance, mining and even aerial manoeuvring.

Sarangapani believes that the research is most important for aerial vehicles. When a helicopter is in flight, faults can now be detected and accommodated.This means that instead of a catastrophic failure resulting in a potentially fatal crash, the system can allow for a better chance for an emergency landing instead.

The fault tolerance would notice a problem and essentially shut down that malfunctioning part while maintaining slight control of the overall vehicle.”The end goal is to push robotics to the next level,” said Sarangapani.

“I want robots to think for themselves, to learn, adapt and use active critique to work unsupervised. A self-aware robot will eventually be here, it is just a matter of time, he said.

28th September 2013

India, US seal first commercial deal on civil nuclear power

India and the US have reached the first commercial agreement on civilian nuclear power, five years after a landmark deal between the two countries was clinched.

Addressing a joint media interaction after talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Barack Obama disclosed that the two countries have sealed the agreement.
“We’ve made enormous progress on the issue of civilian nuclear power, and in fact, have been able to achieve just in the last few days an agreement on the first commercial agreement between a US company and India on civilian nuclear power,” Obama said.

India’s nuclear operator NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited) and US firm Westinghouse have signed an agreement that will pave the way for setting up an atomic plant in India.
Prime Minister Singh reciprocated the feelings, saying US is as an indispensable partner for India.”India, as a significant not just regional power but world power, has worked closely with us on a whole range of issues from climate change to how we can help feed the world, alleviate poverty and deal with disease,” Obama told reporters in his Oval Office following their hour-long meeting.Praising the Prime Minister for his leadership in strengthening India-US ties, Obama said Singh has been a great friend and partner to the United States and to him personally.
“Across the board, Prime Minister Singh has been an outstanding partner,” Obama said, adding that India continues to grow at an amazing rate, but obviously there are a lot of people in India that are still trapped in poverty.He said US is a strong partner to help India realise that vision because if there is a strong India, that is good for the world and it’s ultimately good for the US.In his remarks, Singh said Obama has imparted a powerful impetus to that process of the two countries being on the same page. “I’ve always believed that India and America are indispensable partners. During the time that I have been Prime Minister, and particularly during the time that President Obama and I have worked together, I think President Obama has made an outstanding contribution to strengthening, widening and deepening of our cooperation in diverse ways,” he said.Singh said India and America are working together to build on the cooperation and widening, and deepening it in diverse directions.
“We are cooperating in expanding the frontiers of trade investment in technology. Our bilateral trade today is USD 100 billion. Investments in India are USD 80 billion. And they are growing, despite the slowdown in the global economy,” Singh said, referring to the increasing trade between the two sides.”Outside the area of trade technology and investment, we are exploring avenues of cooperation in new areas like energy cooperation, clean coal technology, energy-efficient technology, cooperation in the field of environment, cooperation in the field of defense and security-related, cooperation with regard to the intelligence gathering and counterterrorism.In all these areas, India needs the United States to be standing by our side,” Singh said.
Source:DH

28th September 2013

THAILAND ENGAGES CITIZENS TO SMOKE OUT CORRUPTION

Citizens of Thailand can now actively take part in the country’s fight against corruption through an anti-corruption website launched by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) last week.

The OAG Anti-Corruption portal aims to raise public awareness of corruption in Thailand and engage the citizens’ participation in acting against corruption.

On the website, citizens can post about bribery and other cases of corruption that they encounter, including details such as the amount of bribe paid. It enables the OAG officials to respond quickly and bring the offenders to justice.

The portal also provides statistics on corruption cases reported in every province of Thailand, including the number of complaints made and number of suspicious acts reported so far.

Inspired by an Indian non-profit initiative, I Paid A Bribe, the website has had almost 17,000 visits in its first week. It has also been approved for accessibility by Thai Web Accessibility.

The Thai Government urges those who witness any suspicious activities to send in their complaints to the OAG through http://www.oaganticorruption.com.

26th September 2013

H1B concerns of India with US

India has flagged its concerns with the US over much-sought after H1-B visas besides outlining the recent steps it has taken to ease economic concerns raised by American businesses, ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s meeting with President Barack Obama.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid met Secretary of State John Kerry here yesterday and “discussed a range of issues of mutual interest, including “ongoing discussions on the civil-nuke deal.”

Khurshid said the two sides discussed economic concerns raised by both Indian and US industry and ways to work together on enhancing economic relationship.He outlined steps India has taken to address transfer pricing, retrospective tax regime, notification on safe harbour rules, steps in pension regulation, and opening FDI limits in sectors such as aviation and telecom.He said India “looked also very specifically on our concerns which relate to participation in the US economic effort by way of Indian professionals coming to the US temporarily on H1B non-immigrant visas. These are areas that still need to be addressed.

“There is a lot of work that US side has to do with its industry. We have to (work) with them and we have to carry greater conviction with our own industry as well. There is sincere effort on both sides to come together to find a resolution and we are encouraged by the positive response that we have received.”

A senior US State Department official said the two sides talked about their shared concern about the enormous impact of climate change, as well as the role that the US and India can play. They also agreed to continue working to expand their clean energy partnership and discussed efforts to make progress on economic issues.

Kerry said: “if India can march forward and embrace reforms, they can see real movement on their economy. And they talked about the importance of finding ways to expand trade relations,” the official said.

21st September 2013

Obama, PM to meet in US to discuss enhanced economic ties

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama would chart a course towards enhanced economic relationship, in addition to discussing bilateral and regional issues, when they meet here on September 27, the White house has said.

“It will highlight India’s role in regional security and stability and provide an opportunity for the two leaders to chart a course toward enhanced trade, investment, and development cooperation between the United States and India,” the White House said in a statement confirming the Obama-Singh meeting next Friday.

“On Friday, the President will welcome Prime Minister Singh of India to the White House for a bilateral meeting. This meeting follows the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington in 2009, and the President’s visit to India in 2010,” the White House said.

 This will be Singh’s third summit meeting with Obama. The Prime Minister had undertaken State visits to the US in November 2009 and Obama visited India for a Summit meeting in 2010. Besides, they have met a number of times on the sidelines of multilateral meetings.

Implementation of civil nuclear cooperation and ways to expand cooperation in the fields of defence, security and economy will be high on Prime Minister’s agenda.

20th September 2013

Obama nominates Indian-American as US District Court-Judge

US President Barack Obama has nominated an Indian-American attorney from Chicago to a key judiciary post in Illinois.

Manish S Shah (40), was announced to be nominated for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, along with several other important judiciary nominations.

“These men and women have had distinguished legal careers and I am honoured to ask them to continue their work as judges on the federal bench. They will serve the American people with integrity and an unwavering commitment to justice,” Obama said in a statement yesterday.

 An Assistant US Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois since 2001, New York-born Shah currently serves as Chief of the Criminal Division, having previously served as Chief of Criminal Appeals from 2011 to 2012.

Shah was also Deputy Chief of the Financial Crimes and Special Prosecutions Section from 2008 to 2011 and Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Section from 2007 to 2008.
“Manish Shah’s stellar record in working with former US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald makes him an outstanding candidate to be the next federal district court judge for Northern Illinois,” Senator Mark Kirk said.

“He’s the most experienced prosecutor we have, and I will continue to work with Senator Durbin to make sure we have highly-skilled candidates like Shah to help strengthen our courts and clean up Illinois,” Kirk said in a statement welcoming the nomination of the US President.

So did the Senator from Illinois. “Manish Shah has served with distinction as an Assistant US Attorney, and he will bring a wealth of knowledge and legal acumen to the federal bench in Northern Illinois,” said Senator Dick Durbin.

15th September 2013

Global Universities can independently set up campuses in India

Young aspirants, here is a good news! You no longer have to leave the shores of the country and go in search of quality education, as the government has passed a law that allows top foreign universities to set up campuses in the country and impart educational without tying up with the Indian universities, as reported by the ET Bureau.

The move has been applauded and praised by the top industry leaders and educators in India. And it is viewed as a win-win situation by both the young aspirants of the country and the foreign universities. Indian students no longer have to shell out huge money from their pocket to get quality education from abroad and foreign universities can now directly tap the huge talent pool in a country populated by 1.2 billion people.

Obama nominates Indian-American to key

diplomatic position

12th September 2013 

US President Barack Obama has nominated Indian-American Puneet Talwar as Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, a top diplomatic post.

Talwar, who was Obama’s top advisor on the Middle East region for over four years was nominated for the position by Obama yesterday.
He is the second Indian-American to be nominated as the Assistant Secretary position in the State Department.

In July, Nisha Desai Biswal was nominated as the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia.Both the positions need to be confirmed by the Senate.

Obama announced his intent to nominate Talwar to the top State Department position along with nearly 30 senior administration positions.

“I am grateful that these talented and dedicated individuals have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people,” Obama said.

“I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years,” he added.

If confirmed by the Congress, Talwar, in his capacity as the Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, will provide policy direction in the areas of international security, security assistance, military operations, defence strategy and plans, and defence trade.

The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM), is the Department of State’s principal link to the Department of Defence.Since 2009, Talwar has been a Special Assistant to the US President and Senior Director for Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states on the White House National Security Staff.

8th September 2013

UK relaxes business and education immigration rules

The UK has relaxed its immigration rules giving greater flexibility to students and businesses that employ and sponsor international migrants, a move likely to benefit Indians.

According to the new rules, visitors to the UK will be allowed a short period of study or training as part of their stay.Multinational firms will be able to bring their own auditors to the UK on business visitor visas. Business visitors will also be able to do a short course of study while they are here.

The changes, announced yesterday, will make the UK more attractive to international students by allowing them to take up corporate internships after completing their degree and making it easier for graduate entrepreneurs to take up skilled jobs, an official statement said.

The British Home Office also made changes to the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa system to enable employees to extend their stay without having to take a language test.

 The ICT route is already well regarded with business customers describing it is “the most user-friendly in the world”, the statement said.”The UK is open for business: we are building an immigration system that works in the national interest and supports growth,” Immigration Minister Mark Harper said.

“Today’s changes will ensure that the UK continues to attract global talent to work for British businesses and study at our world-class universities,” he said yesterday.

“Immigration reform is working; we have tightened immigration routes where abuse was rife, while still encouraging the brightest and the best to come to the UK.”

Minor changes have also been made to the Family Rules to benefit UK citizens applying to bring their Non European Economic Area spouses and children to the country as they will be given greater flexibility.

Changes to the general visit visa will enable tourists to complete training courses in topics such as English and leisure activities, the statement said.

The UK is still an attractive education destination for Indians, even after a 24 per cent drop in Indian students coming to Britain was reported during the 2011-12 academic year.

With the new rules, it will become easier for Arts Council-endorsed artists “with exceptional promise” to come to the UK to work rather than just those who have established themselves globally.
For the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, temporary immigration measures will be in place to enable athletes, coaches and officials to take part.

31st August 2013

US launches investigation against Indian

trade practices

A US Federal agency has launched an investigation into Indian trade policies which allegedly discriminate against the American trade and investment.

The investigation, “Trade, Investment and Industrial Policies in India: Effects on the US Economy”, was requested jointly by the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Ways and Means.

USITC will report on recent policies and measures in India that affect US exports and investment and evaluate the effects of such barriers on US firms and the economy, the federal agency has said in a statement on Thursday.

 In its examination, the USITC will enumerate restrictive trade and investment policies that India maintains or has recently adopted, determine which sectors of the US economy are most affected by these policies, and describe the competitiveness of Indian firms in these sectors.

The USITC will provide several case studies of US firms or industries that have been particularly affected by India’s restrictions.

As requested, by the Congress, the USITC will also perform a quantitative analysis of the effects of such measures.The USITC will survey a sample of US firms to measure perceptions of India’s policies and the impact of those policies on firms’ strategies toward India.

The survey results will complement the quantitative analysis of the effects of these policies on trade, investment, and the US economy.The USITC will deliver the report to the Committees by November 30, 2014, the statement said, adding that it will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation on February 13, 2014.

Source:DH

7th August 2013

People with messy desk are creative

Working at a clean and prim desk promotes healthy eating, generosity and conventionality, according to new research.
But researchers found that a messy desk has its own benefits, promoting creative thinking and stimulating new ideas.

The new studies conducted by psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs and her fellow researchers at the University of Minnesota are published in the journal of the Association for Psychological Science Psychological Science.

“Prior work has found that a clean setting leads people to do good things — not engage in crime, not litter and show more generosity . We found, however, that you can get really valuable outcomes from being in a messy setting,” Kathleen Vohs said.

Source ; TOI

6th August 2013

University Of Canada and BSE sign

MOU

Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University of Canada and Bombay Stock Exchange have signed an MOU to help start-up companies of the two countries cutting across sectors to access each other’s markets.

The MOU between DMZ, one of Canada’s largest incubators, was signed by Sheldon Levy, President and Vice Chancellor of the Ryerson University and Bombay Stock Exchange at Mumbai on July 29.

Levy told PTI today that the incubators, which started in one room in Ryerson University three years ago, will now be a bridge for Canadian start-ups looking to expand to India as well as Indian start-ups seeking to enter the Canadian market.

He said Digital Media Zone has partnered with Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in a new initiative to expand the reach of the digital economy in the two countries and it would help in strengthening ways to support young Indian innovators and entrepreneurs through partnerships.

Levy said these partnerships would also create new links between India and Canada and support young businesses.

He said DMZ has existing partnerships with several schools in India, including the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

Note:All relevant information from foreign shores to improve and implement better governance structure.

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