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World Cities Day 2023


— June 2020 —

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June 30, 2020

Human Resource Development Minister of India virtually launches World's first-ever Online B.Sc. Degree in Programming and Data Science.

First-ever online degree by an IIT to democratize quality education by removing barriers; Applicants can be from any discipline.

IIT Madras

New Delhi | June 30, 2020 — The Union Minister of HRD, Ramesh Pokhriyal’ Nishank’, today virtually launched World’s first-ever online B.Sc. degree in Programming and Data Science. The program has been prepared and offered by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), which is ranked No.1 in India Rankings 2020 by NIRF. This program is open to anyone who has passed Class XII with English and Maths at the Class X level and enrolled in any on-campus UG course. Dr. Pawan Kumar Goenka, Chairman, IIT Madras Board of Governors; Director, and the faculty of the IIT Madras; Chairman, AICTE, Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe; Additional Secretary, MHRD, Rakesh Ranjanand, and other senior officials of the Ministry were also present during the launch.

Data Science is one of the fastest-growing sectors predicted to create 11.5 million jobs by 2026. Online education is a rapidly embraced trend for high-quality education on a large scale. Faculty from IIT Madras addresses the need for this sector using online education processes and presents an inclusive and affordable education model that will significantly extend IIT’s reach.

While addressing the participants, Mr. Pokhriyal congratulated the IIT Madras team for the launch of the World’s first-ever online B.Sc. degree program in Data Science and Programming. The Minister informed that the current batch of students who are completing their Class XII in 2020 are eligible to apply. Graduates and working professionals can also take up this program. Mr. Pokhriyal added that this unique offering removes all barriers of age, discipline, or geographic location and provides access to a world-class curriculum in data science, which is in massive demand for skilled professionals.

The Minister said that IIT Madras has a rich history of continuous innovation and success. Its emergence as rank 1 in the NIRF rankings consistently underscores the team’s talent, mission, and vision. Analysis reveals that every year 7 to 7.5 lakh Indian students go abroad in search of better education, and our expertise and revenue go outside the country. Institutions such as IIT Madras have the vision and mission to help the nation move forward on its path to self-reliance by bringing such quality education and unique courses right here in India.

Mr. Pokhriyal said that the students currently enrolled in a different on-campus program anywhere in India could pursue this degree program without needing to switch careers or courses. Even employers who want to upskill their employees can consider this option without losing productive time on the job. He further said that the program brightens up job prospects for students in a lucrative field, provides opportunities for working professionals to switch careers, and provides learners a chance to get a degree from a recognized institution such as IIT Madras.

The program will be delivered on a state-of-the-art online portal and attract learners from even remote parts of India where outreach of digital literacy is minimal and will help them stay ahead in their career journeys. The program will have videos from the faculty, weekly assignments, and in-person invigilated exams, just like any other regular course. It would ensure that the online learning platform is closest to a classroom learning experience. The program will hone students’ skills in managing data, visualizing patterns to gain managerial insights, modeling uncertainties, and building models that help produce forecasts to make effective business decisions.

This unique online presentation will be offered in three different stages - Foundational Programme, Diploma Programme, and Degree Programme. At each stage, students will have the freedom to exit from the program and receive a Certificate, Diploma, or Degree, respectively, from IIT Madras. Based on eligibility, interested candidates will have to fill a form and pay a nominal fee of Rs. 3,000 for the qualifier exam. Learners will get access to the four weeks of the course content of 4 subjects (Mathematics, English, Statistics, and Computational Thinking). These students will go through the course lectures online, submit online assignments, and write an in-person qualifier exam at the end of 4 weeks. It is in contrast to the typical admission processes of IITs, where there are a limited number of in-campus seats. In this program, all students who clear (with an overall score of 50%) the qualifier exam will be eligible to register for the foundational program.

Source: Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi, India.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 12:22 PM | View the original post

June 29, 2020

Insider Tips from a Top Model, Tiana Pongs

Book Cover

Photo: The cover of the book “Keep Smiling” written by a top model, Tiana Pongs.

BERLIN, June 29, 2020 — For many girls, a modeling career is a dream, and usually remains so since it is lucrative. As an international model and actress, Tiana Pongs has been one of Germany’s leading advertising faces for many years. Tiana knows the modeling industry inside out. Her guide “Keep Smiling” (Ebozon Verlag) explains, step by step, how to start, what the everyday life looks like, and how emerging models can successfully establish themselves on the international market.

How do I get a professional agency? How do I find photographers and clients, and how do I deal with them? How do photoshoots work? Tiana Pongs provides first-hand information about general conditions and the dos and don’ts at work. She also talks about fees and tax advisors, travels information, and practical beauty and nutrition tips. She also provides a current and verified list of agencies from around the world.

Tiana Pongs does not leave out the profession’s pitfalls and the unsightly sides of model life - offensive offers, always “on stay,” controlling the body, homesickness. Those who know and remain prepared can learn a lot in the multifaceted fashion business - and earn good money. An inspiring guide with helpful insider knowledge!

Tiana Pongs, born in Mönchengladbach in 1979, started a successful international career as a model in 2001. After graduating from high school, she worked in Milan, Paris, Cape Town and New York. With over 1,000 advertising productions, she was one of the leading faces in Germany. She graced various international covers, product packaging, TV, and advertising campaigns. Tiana Pongs currently lives in Düsseldorf with her son and commutes between Germany and the USA. She works as an actress and is the official ambassador for the children’s aid organization World Vision Germany.

BUCH CONTACT, a German Public Relations agency, is promoting her book “Keep Smiling.”


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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 3:04 PM | View the original post

June 28, 2020

TomTom Traffic Index: Global Traffic Congestion Up as Bengaluru takes Crown of ‘World’s Most Traffic Congested City’

Traffic Index


Amsterdam, The Netherlands — Location technology specialist TomTom recently released the TomTom Traffic Index results, a report detailing the traffic situation in 416 cities in 57 countries. Bengaluru takes the top spot this year with drivers in the southern Indian city expecting to spend an average of 71% extra travel time stuck in traffic. Next in the global rankings are Philippine capital, Manila (71%); Bogota in Colombia (68%); last year’s most congested city, Mumbai (65%); and Pune (59%), also in India; making up the top five most congested cities in the world.

Greater Moscow takes the lead in Europe (59%) with Istanbul (55%) coming a close second. Kyiv (53%), Bucharest (52%), and Saint Petersburg (49%) make up the rest of the top five. Paris (39%), Rome (38%), and London (38%) ranked in at 14th, 15th, and 17th, respectively.

In the US, the top five most congested cities are Los Angeles (42%), New York (37%), San Francisco (36%), San Jose (33%), and Seattle (31%).

Congestion up, globally: At what cost?

Traffic congestion has increased globally during the last decade. The 239 cities (57%) TomTom included in the new Traffic Index report had increased congestion levels between 2018 and 2019, with only 63 towns showing measurable decreases. Despite being an indicator of a strong economy, this global increase in Congestion costs economies billions.

Ralf-Peter Schäfer, TomTom’s VP of Traffic Information, said: “Globally, there’s a long road to travel until we bring congestion levels under control. In time, the rise of autonomous vehicles and car-sharing services will alleviate Congestion, but planners and policymakers can’t afford to sit and wait. They need to use all the tools available to analyze traffic levels and impacts so that they can make critical infrastructure decisions. And drivers have a role to play too. Small changes in driving behaviors can make a substantial difference.”

Analyzing real-time incidents and Congestion to predict traffic before it happens, TomTom’s Real-Time Traffic makes TomTom navigation software more accurate with enhanced route calculations and correct Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA). According to TomTom, it is a market leader, with its traffic technology in millions of cars on the road. Further, its Traffic Analysis knows the way ahead, saving time, fuel, and stress for drivers, fleet and logistics providers, on-demand services (ride-hailing, food delivery), and traffic management services.

The location technology specialist’s work on the future of driving - from high definition maps for autonomous vehicles to efficient electric vehicle routing and charging - means that carmakers, technology companies, road authorities, and governments already have the tools to make the roads less congested.

How do you beat traffic congestion?

Next time you are heading into traffic, consider these helpful tips from TomTom:

  1. Plan before you go: Taking a few moments before heading out the door to inform yourself on the road conditions on the way to your destination will help you consider your alternatives and decide on the best course of action.

  2. Trust technology to help you. It may be uncomfortable to take the road less traveled simply because your navigation app. suggests it’s the fastest one. Often, if you cannot see that a path is indeed congested, it is hard to believe it. Dare to take the alternative route offered by up-to-date navigation because it is basing its recommendation on real-time traffic conditions on the direction you are taking.

  3. Change your driving habits. Most often, traffic will peak at certain times of the day, depending on location.

  4. Consider alternatives. Does your trip have to be made by car? If your planned activity is time-sensitive and cannot change your departure times, consider ride-sharing, public transport, or non-motorized options such as cycling or scooters.

  5. Work with your city. Ultimately, improving mobility in our cities is a collaborative effort. Together, city authorities, vehicle manufacturers, traffic signal system providers, parking facilities, traffic information providers, shared mobility providers, startups and, most importantly, the public, are experimenting and transforming cities worldwide. Inform yourself of the initiatives taking place in your urban area and how you can benefit from them.

Ranking of the most congested cities Globally (Overall daily congestion level - extra travel time - population over 800,000):

  1. Bengaluru, India 71%
  2. Manila, Philippines 71%
  3. Bogota, Colombia 68%
  4. Mumbai, India 65%
  5. Pune, India 59%
  6. Moscow, Russia 59%
  7. Lima, Peru 57%
  8. New Delhi, India 56%
  9. Istanbul, Turkey 55%
  10. Jakarta, Indonesia 53%

Ranking of the most congested cities in Europe (Overall daily congestion level - extra travel time - population over 800,000):

  1. Moscow, Russia 59%
  2. Istanbul, Turkey 55%
  3. Kyiv, Ukraine 53%
  4. Bucharest, Romania 52%
  5. Saint Petersburg, Russia 49%
  6. Dublin, Ireland 48%
  7. Odesa, Ukraine 47%
  8. Novosibirsk, Russia 45%
  9. Samara, Russia 44%
  10. Kharkiv, Ukraine 43%

Ranking of the most congested cities in the United States of America (Overall daily congestion level - extra travel time - population over 800,000):

  1. Los Angeles, USA 42%
  2. New York, USA 37%
  3. San Francisco, USA 36%
  4. San Jose, USA 33%
  5. Seattle, USA 31%
  6. Miami, USA 31%
  7. Washington, USA 29%
  8. Chicago, USA 28%
  9. Honolulu, USA 28%
  10. Austin, USA 27%

Ranking of the most congested cities in South America (Overall daily congestion level - extra travel time - population over 800,000):

  1. Bogota, Colombia 68%
  2. Lima, Peru 57%
  3. Recife, Brazil 50%
  4. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil 46%
  5. Sao Paolo, Brazil 45%
  6. Santiago, Chile 44%
  7. Salvador, Brazil 43%
  8. Fortaleza, Brazil 37%
  9. Belo Horizonte, Brazil 35%
  10. Porto Alegre, Brazil 35%

Ranking of the most congested cities in Asia (Overall daily congestion level - extra travel time - population over 800,000):

  1. Bengaluru, India 71%
  2. Manila, Philippines 71%
  3. Mumbai, India 65%
  4. Pune, India 59%
  5. New Delhi, India 56%
  6. Jakarta, Indonesia 53%
  7. Bangkok, Thailand 53%
  8. Tel Aviv, Israel 46%
  9. Tokyo, Japan 42%
  10. Chongqing, China 41%

Ranking of the most congested cities in Africa (Overall daily congestion level - extra travel time - all population sizes):

  1. Cairo, Egypt 40%
  2. Cape Town, S. Africa 32%
  3. Johannesburg, S. Africa 30%
  4. Pretoria, S. Africa 25%
  5. East London, S. Africa 22%
  6. Durban, S. Africa 19%
  7. Bloemfontein, S. Africa 13%

Ranking of the most congested cities in Australia and Oceania (Overall daily congestion level - extra travel time - all population sizes):

  1. Sydney, Australia 33%
  2. Auckland, New Zealand 31%
  3. Melbourne, Australia 30%
  4. Wellington, New Zealand 28%
  5. Hamilton, New Zealand 25%
  6. Brisbane, Australia 25%
  7. Adelaide, Australia 24%
  8. Gold Coast, Australia 24%
  9. Hobart, Australia 23%
  10. Christchurch, New Zealand 21%

Headquartered in Amsterdam with offices in 30 countries, TomTom is a leading independent location technology specialist. It shapes mobility with maps, navigation software, real-time traffic information, and services.

Source: TomTom


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June 27, 2020

Chandigarh University Launches Financial Aid Program for the Meritorious and Deserving Students to Overcome Financial Crisis During COVID-19

The institution would provide students with 48 crore financial assistance under the newly launched scheme.

Chandigarh University


Photo: Satnam Singh Sandhu, Chancellor, Chandigarh University, launching the Rs. 48 Crore CU Financial Aid Scheme for meritorious and deserving students at Chandigarh.

CHANDIGARH, India, June 27, 2020 — Chandigarh University has launched the Financial Aid Scheme worth Rs. 48 Crore to help the deserving and meritorious students from any part of India so that they can fulfill their aspiration to get quality higher education. The CU Financial Aid Scheme was today launched in Chandigarh by the University’s Chancellor, Satnam Singh Sandhu.

While launching the Chandigarh University Financial Aid Scheme, Satnam Singh Sandhu said, “Getting access to quality education is a fundamental right of every student. Financial constraints should not pose any hindrance in the path of deserving and meritorious students. The newly launched scheme follows the financial assistance policies extended by top Universities in Western Countries like the USA, UK, Canada, to attract the best of talent across the world.” Chandigarh University Financial Aid Scheme is the first of its kind in India. It would offer Financial Aid on merit on first-come-first-serve basis applicable to all the 109 Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate programs provided by the University for 2020 academic batch. CU Chancellor further added that “Currently the world is going through challenging times due to COVID-19 crisis. It has resulted in massive job losses or salary cuts across the sectors, which may impact students’ education.” The 48 crore Financial-Aid Scheme will offer financial assistance up-to 100% to the deserving students who have the zeal to learn, but their parents do not have enough funds to support them, added Sandhu.

Chandigarh University Chancellor also launched an online portal where the students can apply for financial assistance. Explaining the process, Satnam Sandhu said, “The student needs to register with his or her credentials through the online portal. A committee comprising of senior authorities of the University would scrutinize the application and recommend the quantum of financial aid. The institution would, through the online portal, automatically communicate to the student the recommended amount of financial aid.”

Chancellor Satnam Singh Sandhu further said, “In addition to above, Chandigarh University has signed MoUs with a consortium of Public and Private Sector Banks which will offer collateral-free education loans to the students. Chandigarh University will offer all possible support to get the banks’ education loan processed in the shortest possible time for which the University has established a new department of Financial Assistance.”

Chandigarh University, located near Chandigarh, is a NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) A+ Grade institution. CU offers more than 109 UG and PG programs in engineering, management, pharmacy, law, architecture, journalism, animation, hotel management, commerce, and other disciplines.

Source: Chandigarh University

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 11:58 AM | View the original post

June 26, 2020

International Monetary Fund significantly downgrades global growth in its latest update to the World Economic Outlook forecast.

IMF Report

Photo: IMF Chief Economist, Gita Gopinath, poses before providing the World Economic Outlook update during the COVID-19 Pandemic at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. on June 24, 2020. IMF Photo/Cory Hancock.

Washington, D.C. | June 25, 2020 — The International Monetary Fund is downgrading global growth significantly in its latest update to the World Economic Outlook forecast. The COVID-19 Pandemic sets the world economy back by $12 trillion in lost potential, the Fund’s chief economist Gita Gopinath said Wednesday in Washington, DC.

The effects of COVID-19 make IMF shift its forecast down to -4.9 percent this year overall, before a predicted return to growth in 2021. That’s a sharp -1.9 dip from its last forecast in April, said Gopinath.

“This is an unprecedented crisis, and this is indeed the worst recession since the Great Depression,” Gopinath added.

She warned that the forecast is the first time since the IMF began measuring that every region in the world is shrinking.

“It was already the worst recession since the Great Depression in April when we had projected growth for 2020 to be at minus three percent. But now at minus four-point nine percent, that is even more strongly true. And no country has been spared. Emerging markets, developing economies, advanced economies have all been very badly hit during this crisis,” said the Indian economist.

There is a higher-than-normal amount of uncertainty surrounding the forecast, the IMF says in the update.

“These projections imply a committed cumulative loss to the global economy over two years of over twelve trillion dollars from this crisis. The downgrade from April reflects worse than anticipated outcomes in the first half of this year, an expectation of more persistent social distancing into the second half of this year and damage to supply potential,” she explained.

Although there are some positive signs that the crisis may be ‘bottoming out,’ she said that countries need to remain vigilant.

“We’re not out of the woods. The health crisis is not over. And so we could see a potential second wave. We’ve assumed in our baseline number that there could be an increase in the number of infections. However, we are not going to see the kind of stringent lockdowns needed in the first half of this year,” said Gopinath.

The IMF has already provided emergency financial assistance to more than 70 countries since the Pandemic hit, totaling over $250 billion of its total firepower of $1 trillion in assets.

There is evidence that efforts have had a positive impact on blunting the impact on global growth, the quarterly report cited.

But countries will need to be prepared to adjust and take on reforms to deal with increased debt levels in the future, the IMF says.

“Indeed, when the recovery is stronger, we are in a better place with the health crisis better able to manage it than countries will have to undertake medium-term fiscal management. And when a while, through a combination of expenditure and revenue measures and now, countries should make sure that they are following best practices and putting proper safeguards in place using, you know, making sure there are proper fiscal accounting and fiscal transparency. But as of now, the need of the hour is for this kind of policy support,” Gopinath ended.

Source: International Monetary Fund

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June 25, 2020

IBM unveils free digital learning platform 'SkillsBuild Reignite' to reach more job seekers & provide new resources to business owners in India.

Announces a ten-week SkillsBuild Innovation Camp for students, providing hands-on project experience and enhanced learning for increased employability.

IBM, India

BANGALORE, India, June 25, 2020 — To address the current skills gap in the country, IBM is unveiling ‘SkillsBuild Reignite’ to provide job seekers and entrepreneurs with free online coursework and mentoring support, designed to help them reinvent their careers and businesses.

According to the India Skill Report (2019), only 45.6% of the youth graduating from educational institutions are employable. It reflects the massive shortage of skilled workforce in the country. Job seekers, business owners, entrepreneurs, and any individual with learning aspirations can now tap into a host of industry-relevant content, including Artificial intelligence, Cloud, Data analytics, and security to reskill and upskill themselves, at no cost.

In November 2019, IBM India, in partnership with Directorate General of Training (DGT), Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India, and its implementation partners, made the SkillsBuild online learning platform available to Indian students. Digital classrooms on this platform are made available from the Industrial Training Institutes, ITI, and technical education ecosystem in India.

Currently, the platform has benefited 14,135 learners who have completed 40,000 courses and 77,000 hours of e-learning. SkillsBuild is one of India’s Top 10 online learning platforms by the National Skills Network.

SkillsBuild Reignite will include more coursework and personalized coaching for entrepreneurs seeking advice to help establish or restart their small businesses as they focus on recovering from the COVID 19 pandemic. Courses include financial management, business strategy, digital strategy, legal support, and more.

Working with NGOs such as Edunet and Unnati Foundation amongst other new IBM partners will play a key role in addressing local needs. For example, entrepreneurs looking to create detailed plans to relaunch their business can work with mentors to refine market research and learn about tapping into economic development assistance or improving digital marketing.

Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said, “We mark a significant milestone in supporting Centre’s efforts in accelerating the Indian economy’s revival from the adverse effects of COVID. The Ministry has been working relentlessly to strengthen the skilling ecosystem and leverage the rise in demand for new-age skills by expanding industry cross-collaboration and creating learning pathways through digital learning platforms.

IBM’s expertise in providing multifaceted digital skill training in Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will strengthen our efforts in the recovery of local workforces, communities, and economies by supporting job seekers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.”

“There is a need to shift the needle and focus on new technologies and changing skill requirements to bridge the skill gap. We must align the workforce to industry needs and technology shifts. The SkillsBuild Reignite platform helps equip job seekers with digital, professional skills and relevant training to re-enter the workforce. This platform provides career reinvention opportunities and innovative ways of working and individualized support for relaunching business strategies,” said Sandip Patel, General Manager, IBM India/South Asia.

IBM also announced the SkillsBuild Innovation camp today. The ten-week camp is open to learners interested in gaining hands-on project experience to enhance learning and build their network to increase employability. Participants in the field will get an opportunity to work as part of a diverse team on real-world challenges and learn new skills along the way. With the aid of expert facilitators, students will be guided through the design thinking process and learn strategic methods to craft their problem statement, ideate creatively, solve complex problems and tell compelling stories. The camp concludes with a pitch to stakeholders and potential employers or investors.

Source: IBM

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June 24, 2020

Mastercard Research Shows Surge in Digital Payments as E-commerce Reaches New Heights Around the World.

Study shows consumers worldwide opting for touch-free, secure, and seamless ways to pay.


PURCHASE, NY | JUNE 23, 2020 — The way we shop is changing. With constraints imposed on our daily lives due to COVID-19, consumers are adopting new payment habits at an accelerated pace, according to a global study by Mastercard conducted in 15 markets. Consumers are increasingly moving away from cash and opting for contact-free and digital payment experiences - and they don’t expect to go back. E-commerce is also seeing a surge, with Mastercard SpendingPulse reporting record growth rates across the globe as consumers increasingly shop online.

As our payment behaviors evolve, two notable trends emerge in the Mastercard research:

• A massive move away from cash is coming. Globally, almost seven in 10 consumers say the shift to digital payments will likely be permanent, and nearly half of consumers plan to use limited cash, even after the pandemic subsides, according to a Mastercard weekly survey launched April 27.

Since the pandemic began, nearly half (46%) of respondents in the Asia-Pacific say they are using the cash, less often. In contrast, two-thirds of Latin American consumers say they are using paper money less or not at all. In Europe, which already had the most significant adoption of contactless payments of any region, 64 percent say tap and pay is now their preferred way to pay in-store.

• A steep increase in e-commerce: As highlighted in Mastercard’s newly released Recovery Insights: Shift to Digital report, e-commerce has reached new heights.

Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures retail sales across all payment types, including cash and check, shows that United States e-commerce spending grew by 93 percent year-over-year in May. And in April and May, e-commerce as a share of total retail sales reached 33% in the United Kingdom - an unprecedented high (ex. auto, petrol, and restaurants).

“No one could have predicted the state of the world we’re in today. It has reinforced the necessity for us to continue evolving the consumer payment experience to meet the consumer wherever they are,” said Jorn Lambert, Executive Vice President, Digital Solutions. “We focused on building our Digital-First capabilities that have enabled this accelerated shift to digital payments. It is unlikely that consumers will revert to old payment habits.”

“Amidst an incredibly challenging time for individuals, for communities and businesses, we’re seeing sparks of change brought upon by the growth of digitally-savvy consumers and businesses embracing technology that will enable a swifter, more secure future,” Lambert added.

Building the Foundation for the Future of Payments

From a simplified online checkout experience to an in-store tap on a contactless terminal, Mastercard is leveraging its insights and technology, forging critical partnerships, and driving innovation to ensure a solid foundation to deliver the future of payments.

• Using non-sensitive data to enhance security: Mastercard Digital Enablement Service (MDES) turns card numbers into tokens that become useless to fraudsters and eliminates the frustration of manually updating your card information. MDES is live with more than 2,600 issuers and 1,200 token requestors. Mastercard is rapidly adding global players from across the ecosystem, including Adyen, Braintree, a PayPal Service, Etsy, Mercado Libre/Mercado Pago, Mastercard Payment Gateway Services (MPGS), PayPal, Stripe, Thales, T-Mobile, and Checkout to deliver this security at scale.

• One-click payments to speed checkout: Click to Pay, Mastercard’s one-click checkout experience, uses tokenization to secure your card credentials, and makes passwords a thing of the past. Enrollment is being made simple for consumers, including Citi’s tens of millions of cardholders in the United States who can now push their card credentials from their mobile banking app to merchants and Click to Pay. More than 10,000 merchants have been enabled for Click to Pay, including Crate & Barrel, Expedia, Fresh Direct, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Technology partners such as MPGS are essential to allowing acceptance for merchants, and Mastercard is also working closely with ACI Worldwide, Aurus, Global Payments, and Square.

• Digital First powers consumer choice: Even before the pandemic, mobile devices have been Mastercard’s primary source of communication, information, and, increasingly, commerce. Instead of merely supporting physical cards with digital experiences, Mastercard has focused on designing digital products from the ground up, with the physical card optional. This summer, it partners with Samsung and SoFi to deliver a Digital First debit card backed by a cash management account called Samsung Money by SoFi. We have also launched Digital First programs with Falabella in Latin America, GrabPay in Singapore and the Philippines, Mox by Standard Chartered and WeLab Bank in Hong Kong, and cooperative banks in Germany, Mastercard elaborated.

Mastercard conducted its proprietary Study between April 27-May 17, 2020 among adults 18+. It conducted Six thousand seven hundred fifty interviews across 15 countries: Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and The United States of America.

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Its mission is to “connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart, and accessible.” Mastercard says its innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments, and businesses realize their highest potential.

Source: Mastercard

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Reuters Launches a Dedicated Audio and Voice Service, enabling its Customers to Expand and Engage their Audiences.


LONDON, June 24, 2020 — Reuters, the world’s largest multimedia news provider, has launched a market-leading service designed specifically for the audio and voice sector.

Two new products - Reuters Audio and Reuters Ready Audio - give customers access to a global collection of rights-cleared real-time and archive audio clips, as well as ready-to-publish audio stories.

With nearly half a million archive clips dating back to the early 1900s available, Reuters Audio customers have access to more than a century’s worth of news coverage at their fingertips, to add depth and dimension to their audio production, Reuters said.

Reuters Ready Audio provides a curated daily package of global news stories, voiced by Reuters journalists worldwide in a ready-to-publish offering.

Both are available from today via a new user experience on Reuters Connect, a comprehensive digital platform powering the news ecosystem.

The development comes as the audio market continues to grow, with consumers listening more than ever, driving high-quality audio content.

Recent research from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University found:

Reuters Audio and Reuters Ready Audio allow customers to enhance their existing audio productions instantly and spontaneously create brand-new audio experiences.

Nick Cohen, Global Head of Product, Core News Services, Reuters, said: “As demand for audio content continues to grow, podcasters, radio producers and platforms need an easy-to-access destination for high-quality material. With this new audio experience and a Reuters archive that goes back over a century, producers and publishers can now get instant access to hundreds of thousands of clips, whether they are looking for historical moments or the latest breaking news.”

Founded in 1851, Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest multimedia news provider. With coverage in over 16 languages, it reaches millions of people worldwide every day. Reuters supplies business, financial, national, and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world’s media organizations, and industry events.

Source: Reuters

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June 23, 2020

Class of 1940's Benjamin Ferencz, aged 100, is City College of New York's "Virtual Salute" speaker, June 30.

City College of New York

City College of New York

City College of New York

Photo: Benjamin Ferencz, Class of 1940, is CCNY’s 2020 Virtual Salute keynote speaker.

NEW YORK, June 22, 2020 — Centenarian Benjamin B. Ferencz, a distinguished 1940 alumnus and the last surviving prosecutor from the post-WWII Nuremberg trials, is the keynote speaker at The City College of New York’s first-ever “Virtual Salute” on June 30. Mr. Ferencz, who turned 100 on March 11, will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Laws from his alma mater. He’s believed to be the oldest honorary degree recipient from City College.

Other speakers during CCNY’s 50-minute virtual salute, include:

Also, New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodriguez will offer greetings.

A physically active man who does 100 pushups daily, Mr. Ferencz is still an advocate for human rights and the rule of law. In his address to CCNY’s latest graduates, he will share some of his remarkable experiences in the 80 years since his graduation from CCNY in 1940. “Experiences, which I hope will be inspirational and will guide the Class of 2020 during difficult times now and in the future,” he said.

Mr. Ferencz, whose family came to the United States from Romania when he was 10-months-old, attended Harvard Law School after CCNY. He earned his law degree in 1943 and fought in World War II.

At the end of the war, the young lawyer got recruited for the Nuremberg war crimes trials in Nuremberg, Germany. Once the International Military Tribunal’s prosecution of German Field Marshal, Herman Goering, and his associates concluded, the United States tried a broad cross-section of Nazi offenders.

He said of the experience: “Nuremberg taught me that creating a world of tolerance and compassion would be a long and arduous task. And I also learned that if we did not devote ourselves to developing effective world law, the same cruel mentality that made the Holocaust possible might one day destroy the entire human race.”

The City College of New York (CCNY) is a public college of the City University of New York (CUNY) system in New York City. Founded in 1847, City College was the first free public institution of higher education in the United States.

Source: City College of New York. Office of Institutional Advancement and Communications.

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June 20, 2020

Glenmark Becomes the First Pharmaceutical Company in India to Receive Regulatory Approval for Oral Antiviral Favipiravir, for the Treatment of Mild to Moderate COVID-19

- Manufacturing and marketing approval granted as part of the accelerated approval process, considering the emergency of the COVID-19 outbreak in India.

- The approval’s restricted use entails responsible medication use where every patient must have signed informed consent before treatment initiation.

- Favipiravir shows clinical improvements of up to 88% in COVID-19, with a rapid viral load reduction by four days.

- Clinical recovery noted across age groups 20 to >90 years, including in patients with co-morbid conditions like diabetes and heart disease suffering from mild to moderate COVID-19.

- Glenmark to market the antiviral under the brand name ‘FabiFlu®.’


MUMBAI, India, June 20, 2020 — In a landmark development for COVID-19 patients in India, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, a research-led, integrated global pharmaceutical company, today announced the launch of antiviral drug Favipiravir (brand name FabiFlu®) for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 patients. Glenmark has received manufacturing and marketing approval from India’s drug regulator, making FabiFlu® the first oral Favipiravir-approved medication in India for the treatment of COVID-19.

Favipiravir is backed by robust clinical evidence showing encouraging results in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19.

  1. The antiviral offers broad-spectrum RNA virus coverage.
  2. Clinical improvement noted across age groups 20 to >90 years.
  3. Favipiravir can be used in COVID-19 patients with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes and heart disease with mild to moderate COVID 19 symptoms.
  4. It offers a rapid reduction in viral load within four days and provides faster symptomatic and radiological improvement.
  5. Of most importance, Favipiravir has shown clinical recovery of up to 88% in mild to moderate COVID 19 cases.

Glenmark successfully developed the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and the formulation for FabiFlu® through its in-house R&D team. Glenmark filed the product for a clinical trial with India’s drug regulator DCGI and became the first pharmaceutical company in India to receive approval for conducting phase 3 clinical trial on mild to moderate COVID-19 patients.

Commenting on the significance of this development, Mr. Glenn Saldanha, Chairman and Managing Director of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd., said, “This approval comes at a time when cases in India are spiraling like never before, putting tremendous pressure on our healthcare system. We hope the availability of an effective treatment such as FabiFlu® will considerably help assuage this pressure and offer patients in India a much needed and timely therapy option.”

He added, “FabiFlu® has demonstrated an encouraging response in mild to moderate COVID-19 patients during clinical trials. Moreover, it is orally administered, and so it serves as a more convenient treatment option over other intravenously administered medications. Glenmark will work closely with the government and medical community to make FabiFlu® quickly accessible to patients across the country.”

Favipiravir is approved in Japan since 2014 for the treatment of new or re-emerging influenza virus infections. It has a unique mechanism of action: it is converted into an active form (favipiravir-RTP) in cells and recognized as a substrate by viral RNA polymerase, thereby inhibiting RNA polymerase activity.

Most patients exhibiting mild to moderate symptoms can benefit from FabiFlu® use. The drug will be available as a prescription-based medication for INR 103/tablet, with recommended dose being 1800 mg twice daily on day 1, followed by 800 mg twice daily up to day 14.

Earlier last month, Glenmark also announced that it is conducting another clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of two antivirals Favipiravir and Umifenovir, as a combination therapy in moderate hospitalized COVID-19 adult patients in India.

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (GPL) is a global research-led pharmaceutical company with a presence across Generics, Specialty, and OTC business with operations in over 50 countries.

Source: Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd

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June 19, 2020

UGC India extends the Deadline for Submission of Applications for the Administrative Training Programme for Public University Registrars.

UGC, Universities, India

UGC, Universities, India

New Delhi, June 19, 2020 — The University Grants Commission has extended the Deadline for the Submission of Applications for the Administrative Training Programme for Public University Registrars.

In a Public Notice dated June 16, 2020, the commission has announced that because of the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown, the deadline for submission of applications under the UKIERI Higher Education Leadership Development Programme for Administrators is now July 15. Those institutions which have not yet applied to UGC in the prescribed format may do so by this date.

The ‘Higher Education Leadership Development Programme for Administrators’ is a joint initiative of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the British Council under the auspices of the UK India Education and Research Initiative.

The program includes two workshops to be conducted by UK trainers, which will train about 300 academic administrators in the level of Registrar and Joint/Deputy/Assistant Registrar to enable them to bring about professional transformation in the higher education institutions.

Further, to make the program sustainable, 30 potential future leadership development program trainers from among the 300 participants will be chosen and will be given additional training to train others.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) will conduct this program in collaboration with Advance HE, the training partner with globally recognized institutional expertise and leadership excellence from the UK. The British Council in India would coordinate the arrangement.

For any further query, universities may write to the UGC or directly contact Mr. Mriganka Sekhar Sarma, Education Officer, International Cooperation, UGC.

Following is the original UGC Notification:



F.No. 184-3/2019(IC) — Date: 26.02.2020



UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) is a bilateral partnership between the UK and India which aims to promote institutional excellence through academic/research linkages and leadership development program.

University Grants Commission (UGC) and British Council under the auspices of UKIERI are going to deliver a Higher Education Leadership Development program focusing on the training of mid and senior-level educational administrators in Universities in India.

In addition to leadership training provided to top-level leaders like Vice-chancellors and academic faculty, the higher education sector also needs leadership development for mid and senior-level functionaries to bring about a professional transformation of our Universities.

British Council has identified Advanced HE, a UK-based not-for-profit institution, specializing in governance and leadership development of higher education for delivering the program.


• Train the academic administrators to enable them to bring about systemic changes with renewed approaches, capacity, tools, and skills in the higher education institutions.

• Identify and train potential future leadership development program trainers to provide a framework for dissemination and cascading of leadership training to other HEIs.

• Create and Strengthen the sustainable relationship between the UK and Indian Higher Education Institutions and utilize UK’s expertise in the field of Higher Education Administration and leadership.


• Central Universities funded by University Grants Commission.

• State Public Universities included under section 2(f) & 12B of the UGC Act.


• Administrative functionaries at the level of Registrar and Joint/Deputy/Assistant Registrar of the eligible Universities.


• Eligible Universities shall apply in the prescribed format.

• Eligible Universities shall nominate 3-5 functionaries in order of preference at the level of Registrar and Joint/Deputy/Assistant Registrar.

• To ensure gender diversity in the program, at least one of the top three nominees should be a female.

• The application may be duly forwarded and signed by the Vice-Chancellor/authorized signatory of the university.

• The last date for receipt of applications is March 16, 2020.


• The application shall be assessed based on criteria such as Participating Institution’s commitment to the program; Experience, achievements, and potential of the participants; Clarity of program goals; Potential impact of the program; and Sustainability and transferability beyond the curriculum.

• The selected universities and participants, along with the schedule of training, shall be announced by the end of March 2020.


• Participants will attend two 5-day blocks of development workshops between April and December 2020 in various locations in India.

• UGC would select 30 potential future leadership development program trainers from amongst the participants.

• UGC will bear the expenditure related to the travel, boarding, and lodging of the Indian participants.

- Full notification and the prescribed format for application are available from the UGC.

Sources: University Grants Commission; Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

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June 18, 2020

Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir elected President of the forthcoming session of the UN General Assembly; Ireland, India, Kenya, Mexico, and Norway elected new non-permanent members of the Security Council for 2021-2023.

United Nations

Photo: The General Assembly holds elections by secret ballot without a plenary meeting. Elections took place for 75th President of the General Assembly, new non-permanent members of the Security Council, and new members of the Economic and Social Council.

Mr. Volkan Bozkir from Turkey was elected President of the seventy-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly. The Assembly elected Ireland, India, Kenya, Mexico, and Norway as new non-permanent members of the Security Council for 2021-2023.

Mirgul Moldoisaeva (front row), Permanent Representative of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United Nations, and delegates behind her prepare their ballots during the General Assembly elections. June 17, 2020. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.

United Nations

Photo: The General Assembly holds elections by secret ballot without a plenary meeting. Elections took place for 75th President of the General Assembly, new non-permanent members of the Security Council, and new members of the Economic and Social Council.

Mr. Volkan Bozkir from Turkey was elected President of the seventy-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly. The Assembly elected Ireland, India, Kenya, Mexico, and Norway as new non-permanent members of the Security Council for 2021-2023.

A delegate casts his vote for the next President of the General Assembly during the General Assembly elections. June 17, 2020. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.

United Nations, New York | June 17, 2020 — Wearing facemasks and practicing physical distancing, ambassadors from 192 UN Member States filed into the iconic General Assembly Hall to cast their ballots during pre-determined time slots: an added layer of protection in the COVID-19 era.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all had to work under extraordinary conditions to overcome the myriad of challenges facing us,” the current General Assembly President, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, said ahead of the elections.

“Indeed,” he added, “(they) represent our common commitment to ensuring the uninterrupted continuation of the important work of the United Nations, following the values and principles of the United Nations Charter.”

Mr. Volkan Bozkir from Turkey was elected President of the seventy-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Mr. Bozkir, a veteran diplomat and parliamentarian, will preside over the landmark 75th session of the UN General Assembly, which opens in September. He was the sole candidate for the post.

The General Assembly elected Ireland, India, Kenya, Mexico, and Norway as the new non-permanent members of the Security Council for 2021-2023.

Ambassadors of UN member states voted for five new countries to join the UN Security Council as non-permanent members.

The Council comprises five permanent members - China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States - and ten non-permanent members, who serve for two-year periods.

While three countries vied for two seats allocated to African and Asia-Pacific States, only India was confirmed. Djibouti and Kenya face a second round of voting to on Thursday.

A similar race occurred for the Western European and other States group, where Canada did not secure the required two-thirds majority or 128 votes.

Norway and Ireland will begin their terms starting in January, as will Mexico, the representative for the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Eighteen countries will also occupy vacant seats in the Economic and Social Council, another of the UN’s six principal organs.

They are Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mexico, Nigeria, Portugal, the Solomon Islands, the United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe.

Preparing for September

While this year’s General Assembly falls during the UN’s 75th anniversary, the pandemic adds to its historical significance, and the need to maintain safety measures.

Plans are in motion for the annual high-level week, where Heads of State address the world from the dais in the General Assembly Hall.

Mr. Muhammad-Bande, the current President, has written to the Member States about a scenario that foresees his successor’s and UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s presence in the Hall for the official opening. The world leaders will deliver their speeches via pre-recorded video statements.

Source: United Nations, New York

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 2:40 PM | View the original post

June 17, 2020

Mastercard Powers Faster, Seamless Online Shopping Experiences for Amazon Customers

Merchants across the globe increasingly adopt Tokenization, eliminating the need to manually update card credentials and increasing the peace of mind at checkout.

Mastercard, Amazon

PURCHASE, NY | JUNE 17, 2020 — More and more consumers are going online to purchase everything from groceries and food delivery to home improvement goods, apparel, and entertainment; as they do, merchants are focused on providing an increasingly seamless experience. Today, Mastercard announced that Amazon customers in 12 countries across North America, Latin America, the Middle East, and Europe would have their stored card credentials tokenized. By replacing a consumer’s physical card number with a token, payment information is unique to each transaction and can be used only by the merchant that requested it. Amazon will begin using Mastercard tokens for transactions through 2020.

The rise of e-commerce means more and more consumers are saving and managing their card details across multiple websites. Amazon and many other merchants worldwide use Mastercard’s tokenization technology to ensure the cards consumers store on file stay seamlessly up to date. Unlike physical cards, network tokens do not expire. When consumers receive a new physical card from their bank, their credentials are automatically updated, eliminating the hassle of re-entering their card numbers and removing interruptions during checkout.

Tokenization enables a best-in-class user experience by creating visual cues, displaying familiar card art that instills trust in a consumer’s preferred payment method. As Mastercard makes issuer card artwork available for every user, it helps consumers choose their preferred payment method more efficiently and increases the likelihood of completing the purchase.

Mastercard and Kantar’s research shows that 80% of cardholders are likely to complete a purchase when an image of their specific credit card appears. Kantar conducted this Mastercard online study. All US participants in the survey are between the ages of 18-100, shop online regularly (3+ times in the past six months), own a Mastercard credit or debit card product, and use guest checkout or a stored card at least some of the time.

2020 has seen consumers worldwide accelerate their shift to digital payments, making it more critical than ever for e-commerce platforms to make the checkout experience convenient and straightforward. Mastercard Digital Enablement Service (MDES) provides the foundation for a frictionless experience, eliminating the frustration of managing card information and reducing shopping cart abandonment.

“The behavioral shift that we are seeing has accelerated in recent months. It’s a product of our work to create the infrastructure and partner ecosystem for the digitally-savvy consumer and forward-thinking businesses like Amazon,” said Jorn Lambert, Executive Vice President, Digital Solutions, Mastercard. “Mastercard’s work with Amazon and others is a testament to the strength of our well-established digital product suite. We create consumer journeys that improve the shopping experience and boost approval rates.”

Mastercard Digital Enablement Service (MDES) is live with more than 2,600 issuers and 1,200 token requestors around the world. Tokenization of a merchant’s cards on file is accelerating as we continue to add global players like Amazon to deliver this solution at scale. Amazon is adopting Mastercard tokens in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates. Consumers making purchases on the Amazon online stores serving these countries will now experience the benefits of Tokenization.

Source: Mastercard

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June 16, 2020

691 Multinationals make 6.117 Offers to Batch 2020 Students During Campus Placements at Chandigarh University

Chandigarh University


Photo: Placed students of Chandigarh University of 2020 passing-out batch celebrating their success along with Chancellor Satnam Singh Sandhu.

CHANDIGARH, India, June 16, 2020 — Students of Chandigarh University have bucked the fears of an economic slowdown as the university has registered a record number of recruitments by top-notch multinationals during the campus placements for the batch 2020. The recruiters have made more than 6,617 offers during the campus placements for Engineering, MBA, Hotel Management, Pharmacy, Biotechnology, Media, and students of other programs. Chandigarh University Pro-Chancellor informed this during a media interaction. “Some of the multinationals which participated in the recruitments for batch 2020 students included Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Flipkart, IBM, Nutanix, Capgemini, Cognizant, Accenture, Wipro, Walmart, Deloitte, and others. About 106 multinationals this year were common recruiters for fresh talent at IITs, NITs, and Chandigarh University,” added the Pro-Chancellor.

“There has been a quantum jump in the number of offers made by Fortune 500 Companies and Top 100 Companies of India in the first phase of campus placements for batch 2020 in comparison to last year,” the university said. More than 1500 students have bagged multiple offers to date.

“Companies like Cognizant, Capgemini, Wipro, and Mindtree have made the highest number of offers made by the respective multinationals across North India,” the university added. Chandigarh University has been able to maintain good perception as the top-notch companies keep recruiting new talent year after year.

Giving details about the stream-wise companies which visited Chandigarh University for campus recruitments of 2020 batch, the Pro-Chancellor said, “There were 350 multinationals for the placements of engineering students while 180 companies recruited MBA students of different specializations.”

“Students passing-out from Chandigarh University will have no shortage of job opportunities. The university continues to engage with the corporate sector to update the course curriculum as per the industry expectations. It offers new-age programs in the emerging areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Business Analytics, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, and others,” said Satnam Singh Sandhu, Chancellor, Chandigarh University.

Some of the Fortune 500 Companies as recruiters for Batch 2020

Fortune 500 Companies India as recruiters for Batch 2020

Chandigarh University, located near Chandigarh, is a NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) A+ Grade institution. CU offers more than 109 UG and PG programs in engineering, management, pharmacy, law, architecture, journalism, animation, hotel management, commerce, and other disciplines.

Source: Chandigarh University

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Team Hollo from the University of Hong Kong wins 2020 Microsoft Imagine Cup World Championship, Indore Student part of the Team

University of Hong Kong

University of Hong Kong

Photo: Hollo Team members Cameron van Breda, Ajit Krishna Namakkal Raghavendran, and Piyush Jha from the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

HONG KONG, June 16, 2020 — Team Hollo, from the University of Hong Kong (HKU), won the 2020 Microsoft Imagine Cup World Championship. The Team presented a mental health platform connecting a mobile app for users and a web application for mental health professionals. It is the first Team from Hong Kong to have won the World Championship since the launch of the Microsoft Imagine Cup in 2003.

Hollo Team members, Cameron van Breda (Final Year, Bachelor of Science), Ajit Krishna Namakkal Raghavendran (Year 3, Bachelor of Engineering), and Piyush Jha from India (Final Year, Bachelor of Engineering) met at HKU. The Team noticed that mental health aid was not reaching the younger generations in their communities effectively. The Team envisioned a future of tech-based, accessible, and comprehensive mental health management tools. With this in mind, Team Hollo developed a mental health companion web application leveraging Azure analytics and AI services to advance youth therapy practices.

Over 28,000 students from more than 200 counties registered to participate in the Microsoft Imagine Cup. Only ten teams got selected for the Asia Regional Final. Earlier in February this year, Hollo had won the title of World Finalist in the Asia Regional Final with its impactful solution. In winning the World Championship, the Team won USD100,000, a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and USD50,000 in Azure grants.

The Microsoft Imagine Cup aims to empower students to use their imagination and passion for technology to develop innovative and inclusive solutions that tackle critical societal issues. Held online this year due to the pandemic, it is the first time a Hong Kong team took home the Cup, often called the “Olympics of student tech competitions.”

Piyush is an HKU Final Year Engineering student from Delhi Public School, Indore, who majors in Computer Science and minors in Finance. With a 97% score in the All India Senior School Certificate Examination, Piyush received the HKU Foundation Scholarship with a full tuition fee waiver and living allowance, which is renewable for his entire undergraduate study at HKU. With HKU’s extensive global exchange network, Piyush was able to go on a summer exchange program at the University of British Columbia in 2017. His outstanding GPA also won him the HKSAR Government Scholarship Fund - The Reaching Out Award for the exchange in Vancouver, Canada. On top of that, Piyush is a two-time recipient of the HKSAR Government Talent Development Scholarship for his extraordinary performance in international competitions involving technological innovation challenges and computer science hackathons.

Ajit is currently a Third Year Engineering student who majors in Computer Science at HKU. Originally from Chennai, he was raised in Hong Kong from a young age and has always been curious and innovative growing up. Since studying at HKU, he participated in various international competitions. He was a Finalist in the Global Legal Hackathon for which he went to New York City to pitch in the finals. He is also a recipient of the Funding for Experiential Learning Projects from the Tam Wing Fan Innovation Wing of HKU. He has recently completed a 1-year internship in Asia’s leading digital asset company, BC Group.

HKU Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Yiwu HE congratulated Team Hollo, “The Team demonstrated the growing culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus among academics and students here at HKU. We should think not only in terms of pursuing a new idea or concept for discovery but to facilitate excellent research that results in products that impact the world. We hope HKU will incubate many successful companies with innovative products to help grow the high-tech industry and provide the younger generation with more opportunities in Hong Kong.”

Source: The University of Hong Kong

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Ranking for Innovative Universities: World Universities With Real Impact

University Rankings

How should universities evolve and innovate as the world enters a new phase with the fourth industrial revolution, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic? World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) invited educators, researchers, data scientists, and professionals of diverse fields to address this complex question at a virtual conference held on June 11.

WURI is a new university ranking system developed last year at the 2nd Hanseatic League of Universities (HLU) Conference held at Incheon National University, South Korea. It strives to overcome the limitations of existing methods of evaluating and ranking universities.

According to WURI, the existing university rankings heavily weigh on research performance, measured by the number of research papers, and traditional methods of knowledge-transfer. Therefore, they do not correctly assess active and innovative programs of universities in the current era of change.

The society has long voiced the need for a new approach to evaluating the institutions of higher education. Particularly with the advent of the 4th industrial revolution that shifted our perspectives on human talent and management, educators and institutions have been gearing efforts to change school programs and curricula to meet the demands of the corporate world and society, WURI elaborated.

The existing rankings provide essential insight into universities’ research efforts; however, they inadequately represent the universities’ overall social impact as active educational institutions. WURI, an alternative system for extant university rankings, examines the innovative programs of universities. WURI ranking has four evaluation categories:

  1. INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS. Not the traditional ways of counting research papers and lecture-type teaching.
  2. Value-creating startups and ENTREPRENEURSHIP. Not the traditional focus on the number of jobs filled.
  3. SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, ETHICS, and INTEGRITY. Not a focus on knowledge and skills just for material success.
  4. STUDENT MOBILITY and Openness for Exchange and Collaboration between Schools. Not an independent yet closed system.

The WURI evaluation system adopted the Text Informational Analysis (TIA), based on expert surveys from the university presidents, chancellors, and representatives.

The following four global institutions have created and released the inaugural World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) Ranking.

The ranking shows Stanford and MIT in the first and second place, with Aalto University following close in third place. The Arizona State University of the U.S. is on the 7th. It is an excellent case of an innovative university in the U.S.

In Ethical Value, Harvard University is at the top with the University of Pennsylvania, Ecole 42, Duke University, and Columbia University, following the noted order.

For Industrial Application, Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are ranked first and the second, respectively. Minerva Schools at KGI follows as the third, and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is ranked fourth.

For Entrepreneurial Spirit, Aalto University of Finland is ranked first, followed by Hanze University of Applied Sciences of the Netherlands and Princeton University of the U.S.

In the Student Mobility and Openness area, the National University of Singapore, Seoul National University, University of Copenhagen, Boston University, and the Free University of Berlin made the top five.

In the global 100, 32 universities from the U.S., eight from the U.K., seven from China, six from South Korea, five from Japan, four from Germany, three from France, and three from India appear in the list.

From India, the University of Delhi, and Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women are listed in the Global 100, while Chitkara University is ranked 45 in the Entrepreneurial Spirit category.

ICFAI University, Dehradun, has secured 44th place in TOP 50 in The World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) Rankings 2020 under the Industrial Application category.

Source: IPSNC

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June 15, 2020

World Health Organization (WHO) issues Advice for the Public on When and How to Use Masks.

World Health Organization, WHO


Photo: UN Secretary-General António Guterres (center) attends a briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak. Also present are Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (second from right), Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), and Sylvie Briand (left, seated), Director of the Global Infectious Hazard Management of WHO. 24 February 2020. Geneva, Switzerland. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré. [File Photo]

World Health Organization, WHO


World Health Organization, WHO


Following are excerpts from WHO Director-General’s remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 and updated mask guidance:

Today WHO is publishing updated guidance on the use of masks for control of COVID-19.

This guidance is based on evolving evidence and provides updated advice on who should wear a mask, when he/she should wear it, and what should constitute the cover.

WHO has developed this guidance through a careful review of all available evidence, and extensive consultation with international experts and civil society groups.

I wish to be very clear that the guidance we are publishing today is an update of what we have been saying for months: that the use of masks is only a part of a comprehensive strategy in the fight against COVID.

Masks on their own will not protect you from COVID-19.

WHO advises medical masks for all people working in clinical areas of a health facility in precincts with the widespread transmission. Not for only workers dealing with patients with COVID-19.

WHO has updated its guidance on the use of masks by the general public in areas with community transmission.

WHO advises governments to encourage the general public to wear masks where widespread transmission and physical distancing are challenging — such as on public transport, in shops, or other confined or crowded environments.

Our updated guidance contains new information on the composition of fabric masks, based on academic research requested by WHO.

Based on this new research, the WHO recommends that fabric masks consist of at least three layers of different materials. Details of which materials we recommend for each segment are in the guidelines.

We also guide how to wash and maintain a fabric mask.

Our guidance also explains how to use a mask safely.

People can potentially infect themselves if they use contaminated hands to adjust a mask or repeatedly take it off and put it on without cleaning their hands in between.

Masks can also create a false sense of security, leading people to neglect measures such as hand hygiene and physical distancing.

I cannot say this enough: masks alone will not protect you from COVID-19.

Masks are not a replacement for physical distancing, hand hygiene, and other public health measures.

Masks are only of benefit as part of a comprehensive approach in the fight against COVID-19.

WHO will continue to provide the world with advice based on the most up-to-date evidence, as part of our commitment to serving the world with science, solutions, and solidarity.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 1:59 AM | View the original post

June 14, 2020

U.S. Postal Service Celebrates the Great Outdoors With New Forever Stamps — Ready, Set, Go

US Postal Service


WASHINGTON, June 13, 2020 — The U.S. Postal Service celebrates the many ways we appreciate the natural world with the release today of the new Enjoy the Great Outdoors stamps.

John M. Barger, U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, and David Vela, Deputy Director, National Park Service, released these Forever stamps during a virtual ceremony.

“The American people have been blessed with an amazing country ‘from sea to shining sea,’ a vast nation with a Great Outdoors of national parks and splendid monuments. This Great Outdoors is also accessible to all Americans to explore and enjoy millions of acres of parks, beaches, rivers, lakes, deserts, snow-topped mountains, and every landscape you can imagine,” said Barger.

“I encourage all Americans to order these magnificent Enjoy the Great Outdoors stamps. Let these miniature works of art inspire you to explore our great land as you mail messages of friendship and love to the people you cherish in your life. These beautifully designed Forever stamps serve as a reminder of all the glory and majesty in our great land and America’s Great Outdoors.”

“This wonderful collection of stamps takes us on a journey to the Great Outdoors and the endless opportunities for recreation and inspiration available in the natural world, including in national parks in every state,” said Vela, exercising the authority of the National Park Service director.

The stamp art depicts five scenes of various outdoor activities — building a sandcastle, hiking, cross-country skiing, canoeing, and biking. In these hand-sketched and painted designs, artist Gregory Manchess uses light and shadow to evoke a sense of wonder for these remarkable landscapes.

The abundance of natural resources in the United States provides endless opportunities for appreciating nature. National and state parks, nature preserves, tranquil lakes, sandy beaches, and much more offer landscapes for many outdoor activities. Whether you prefer an adrenaline-fueled bike ride, a picturesque hike, or a scenic paddle, there is something for everyone outside.

Nature is vast and remarkable. By experiencing our world, we come to understand both our role and how we can each take care of our shared lands. Take a hike, ski a slope, build a sandcastle, and enjoy all that the great outdoors has to offer.

Source: U.S. Postal Service

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June 12, 2020

World Photography Organisation announces Sony World Photography Awards 2020 Open Competition Category Winners and Shortlist.

Sony World Photography Awards

Sony World Photography Awards

Image Name: Back Home. Photographer Name: Liu Jon. Year: 2020.

Image Description: After a downpour, there is often a moment of beauty. Here, a zebra crossing, an umbrella, and a lone figure combine to make a colorful composition.

Copyright: © Liu Jon, China, Shortlist, Open, Street Photography, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards.

Sony World Photography Awards


Image Name: Just Saving the Planet. Photographer Name: Tim Johnston. Year: 2020.

Image Description: I was wandering around Central London when I came across the UK Student Climate Network blocking Westminster Bridge during a school Climate Strike. It’s an issue that affects us all, and one I care about, so I followed the protest to its end. I wanted to capture the defiance and resolve of the students.

It was a bright day, so I narrowed my aperture and set a fast shutter speed. I decided to convert the picture to black & white to draw attention to the students’ faces and the establishment buildings behind them. These kids are our future, and they are the ones fighting for it.

I hope my picture can make an impact, however small.

Copyright: © Tim Johnston, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Open, Street Photography, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards.

Sony World Photography Awards


Image Name: Pan Katy. Photographer Name: Dmitrii Tulmentev. Year: 2020.

Image Description: It was a warm July evening. I sat in the studio and prepared myself and my Hasselblad for a few experiments - I wanted to see how an old film camera would behave when paired with modern lighting equipment. All well and good, but what should I photograph? Suddenly a girl walked into the studio, and everything fell into place.

Copyright: © Dmitrii Tulmentev, Russian Federation, Shortlist, Open, Portraiture, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards.

Sony World Photography Awards

Image Name: Of Lines and Arcs II. Photographer Name: Marek Juras. Year: 2020.

Image Description: In this geometric experiment, I made a double exposure of wooden shapes lit by several lights.

Copyright: © Marek Juras, Czech Republic, Shortlist, Open, Creative, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards.

Sony World Photography Awards


Image Name: Autumn Mood. Photographer Name: Veliko Karachiviev. Year: 2020.

Image Description: Life high in the Bulgarian mountains.

Copyright: © Veliko Karachiviev, Bulgaria, Shortlist, Open, Travel, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards.

Sony World Photography Awards


Image Name: Graceful. Photographer Name: Manfred Voss. Year: 2020.

Image Description: The small fishing village of Reine in Norway delivers one of the most beautiful views in the Lofoten archipelago. The balance between the cold light of blue hour and the warmth of the well-lit houses was perfect this morning. It was almost windless, resulting in a beautiful reflection of the mountain in the water. I opted for an exposure that balanced the blue hour with the slightly illuminated mountains and the gentle light from the houses.

Copyright: © Manfred Voss, Germany, Shortlist, Open, Travel, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards.

The World Photography Organisation has announced this year’s category winners and shortlist in the Open competition of the Sony World Photography Awards 2020, recognizing the best single images from 2019.

The World Photography Organisation has shortlisted more than 100 photographers in the 2020 competition alongside ten category winners. Each winner receives the latest digital imaging equipment from Sony to develop their vision and will go on to compete for the prestigious Open Photographer of the Year title and a $5,000 (USD) reward.

Standout images from this year’s shortlist include:

Gisela Kayser, Managing Director, and Artistic Director, Freundeskreis Willy-Brandt-Haus, e.V., Berlin, judged this year’s Open Competition.

World Photography Organisation’s online channels and platforms would celebrate the Winning and shortlisted images using dedicated content, including videos, presentations, and Q&As.



Category Winner:
Rosaria Sabrina Pantano, Italy



Category Winner:
Suxing Zhang, China Mainland



Category Winner
Alec Connah, United Kingdom



Category Winner:
Jorge Reynal, Argentina



Category Winner:
Adrian Guerin, Australia



Category Winner:
Antoine Veling, Australia



Category Winner:
Guofei Li, China Mainland



Category Winner:
Santiago Mesa, Colombia



Category Winner:
Craig McGowan, Australia



Category Winner:
Tom Oldham, United Kingdom


Source: World Photography Organisation

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June 11, 2020

Back to Campus for Whom? New Infographic Shows Ongoing Uncertainty about Higher Education this Fall.

Cengage’s Analysis of Public Data Shows Many Higher Ed Leaders are Considering a Range of Scenarios while Many Faculty are Planning for Online Learning.

Back to Campus


Photo: Infographic. Cengage’s Analysis of Public Data Shows Many Higher Ed Leaders are Considering a Range of Scenarios while Many Faculty are Planning for Online Learning.

BOSTON, June 11, 2020 — The COVID pandemic continues to wreak havoc on higher education. Eighty-six percent of institutions have yet to announce their plans for the fall semester, and when factoring in enrollment, more than half (62 percent) of college students are uncertain about how to plan their lives when fall arrives.

The data appears in a new infographic from Cengage, an education and technology company. The data includes information gathered from a public listing of fall campus plans tracked by The Chronicle of Higher Education and open data from the federal IPEDS system aggregated with an ongoing Cengage faculty survey.

Of the four-year schools that have announced plans, the majority (68 percent) are planning for in-person courses. 3.5 percent are planning for online-only; 5 percent are proposing a hybrid model; 11.5 percent are “considering a range of scenarios,” while 10 percent have announced they are “waiting to decide.”

While data from schools that have announced their fall plans show a majority plan to hold in-person courses, only 18% of instructors surveyed think sessions will be entirely in-person. 70% of instructors believe they will be doing all or some instruction online.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty about what ‘back to school’ will look. Still, we know that America’s higher education system must be more prepared this fall to handle virtual learning than they were in March,” said Michael Hansen, CEO of Cengage. “Whether online or in-person, institutions should focus on making learning more flexible for the needs of their students and the needs of the times.”

Cengage is an education and technology company built for learners. It provides teaching and learning materials for higher education.

Source: Cengage

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