Global Goals

Press Freedom Day


July 18, 2020

National Geographic Society Announces Spring 2020 Young Explorers.

Twenty-two young leaders worldwide receive funding to address climate change, single-use plastic pollution, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other global challenges.

National Geographic

National Geographic


Photo: The National Geographic Society announces its spring 2020 Young Explorers. Twenty-two young leaders from around the world receive funding to address climate change, single-use plastic pollution, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other global challenges.

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2020 — The National Geographic Society has announced the spring 2020 cohort of Young Explorer grantees. These 22 young people, between the ages of 16 and 26, represent six countries and are engaged in impact-driven efforts ranging from scientific innovation and conservation to education, civic engagement, storytelling, and more— all developing solutions to pressing problems within their communities.

“At the National Geographic Society, we believe young leaders are in a category all their own. They are a global community of young people with empathy, tenacity, unbridled passion. They have an insatiable drive to seek solutions to build a sustainable future and thriving planet,” said Vicki Phillips, Executive Vice President and Chief Education Officer at the National Geographic Society. “They see profound possibilities to make a difference in the world, and they choose to do something about it with confidence, courage, and conviction.”

Seven of the Young Explorers are leveraging their efforts to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, Katie Stagliano, who founded Katie’s Krops, provides meals to South Carolina families struggling economically during the epidemic. In contrast, Chris Suggs, who founded Kinston Teens, organized a drive-through crisis relief giveaway that served 4,000 North Carolina families the food, cleaning supplies, and other essential items.

Young Explorers are nominated and later selected by the National Geographic Society through a competitive, multi-tiered application process. In addition to funding, Young Explorers receive skill-building, leadership development training, and networking opportunities to collaborate with their peers.

The spring 2020 Young Explorers are:

  1. Aldrin Aujero, 19, of the Philippines, founded EarthSAVERs, which conducts service initiatives to underserved public schools in Metro Manila.
  2. Neil Deshmukh, 18, of the United States (Pennsylvania) founded PlantumAI, which uses artificial intelligence technology to promote crop health.
  3. Thanasi Dilos, 17, of the United States (New York), who co-founded Civics Unplugged, provides micro-grants and training for youth-led civic projects.
  4. Lauren Gibson, 25, of the United States (Indiana), who founded Carmel Green Teen Micro-Grant Program to provide mentorship and funding for youth seeking to plan and carry out their environmental projects.
  5. Liza Goldberg, 18, of the United States (Maryland), who works with NASA and Google Earth on research to curb climate change.
  6. Zoë Jenkins, 16, of the United States (Kentucky), who launched the Get Schooled podcast focusing on problems and solutions in education.
  7. Merrit Jones, 22, of the United States (South Carolina), who is the president of Student Voice, a coalition of youth-led organizations.
  8. Peyton Klein, 18, of the United States (Pennsylvania) founded the Global Minds Initiative, which seeks to combat discrimination and promote inclusion in schools.
  9. Pothunuri Laya, 19, of India, who has developed several environment-preserving inventions, and is studying the viability of converting locusts, which threaten food security in vulnerable parts of the world, as a food source.
  10. Ashley Lin, 17, of the United States (Washington), founded Project Exchange to promote cross-cultural learning experiences for high school and college students.
  11. Tiassa Samayin Mutunkei, 19, of Kenya, founded Teens4Wildlife to help African youth discover the value of Africa’s wildlife and protect it.
  12. Joe Nail, 24, of the United States (North Carolina), who co-founded Lead For America, which provides recent college graduates with fellowships in local government.
  13. Shelby O’Neil, 19, of the United States (California), who created Jr. Ocean Guardians to host beach clean-ups and reduce plastics use.
  14. Kevin Patel, 19, of the United States (California), founded One Up Action, which empowers marginalized communities to fight climate change.
  15. Shriya Rai, 22, of India, who founded Sashakt Bharat to provide a platform for India’s youth to start their environmental initiatives and positively shape their communities.
  16. Baylee Ritter, 23, of the United States (Illinois), founded RISE UP, a youth-led webinar series that connects, inspires and empowers young people around the globe through peer-to-peer training, networking, and skill-building.
  17. Kartik Sawhney, 26, of India, co-founded I-Stem, an organization that gives blind math and science students technical training, mentorship, and hands-on opportunities.
  18. Katie Stagliano, 21, of the United States (South Carolina), who founded Katie’s Krops, which empowers youth to start and donate the harvest from community gardens to help feed people in need.
  19. Chris Suggs, 20, of the United States (North Carolina), founded Kinston Teens to focus on youth engagement and rural development.
  20. Richard Turere, 19, of Kenya, who invented Lion Lights to protect crops from local predators.
  21. Diana Griselle Zendejo Valle, 24, of Mexico, takes photographs of how humans establish a relationship with nature and how they use nature photography as an education tool.
  22. Celestine Wenardy, 17, of Indonesia, Editor-in-Chief of the Young Scientist Journal, has researched affordable methods for non-invasive blood glucose concentration monitoring for people with diabetes.

Over the past two years, the National Geographic Society has collectively awarded more than $280,000 in funding to Young Explorers. The Young Explorer grants build on the National Geographic Society’s 132-year history of investing in bold individuals with transformative ideas—innovative scientists, explorers, educators, and storytellers.

“We are immensely proud to support these young people on their journey, to help elevate their voices and accelerate and amplify their work,” said Phillips. “When our world is facing significant challenges, these Young Explorers show us that we have many reasons to be hopeful about the future.”

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education, and storytelling to illuminate and protect the world’s wonder.

Source: National Geographic Society

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Edited & Posted by Surender Hastir | 3:05 AM | View the original post

July 17, 2020

MG (Morris Garages) Motor India launches HECTOR PLUS, India's First 6-Seater SUV with Panoramic Sunroof.

Morris Garages

Morris Garages

Morris Garages

Gurugram, July 16, 2020: MG (Morris Garages) Motor India has launched the much-anticipated MG HECTOR PLUS. HECTOR PLUS, India’s first 6-seater internet SUV with a panoramic sunroof, will be manufactured at the carmaker’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Halol near Vadodara in Gujarat.

The latest addition to the MG HECTOR family, the 6-seater HECTOR PLUS, comes with luxurious and comfortable captain seats in the middle row. The 6-seater SUV features a very appealing look with its all-new dual-tone Smoked Sepia Brown interiors, stylish new headlamps, a new Chrome-Studded Front Grille, and a Chit-Chat feature on i-SMART Next Gen interface. It also comes with other attractive features, including the all-new Smart Swipe, Front and Rear Bumpers, New Rear Tail Light Design, and Revised Skid Plates.

The carmaker has launched its one-month inaugural price offer until August 13, 2020. One can book the all-new HECTOR PLUS at any MG Dealership, on its website, or via the My MG Mobile App. The price will increase by up to INR 50,000 after that, depending on the trim level, the company said.

Speaking on the launch, Rajeev Chaba, President, and Managing Director, MG Motor India, said, “We entered the Indian automobile market in 2019 with MG HECTOR. Our vision has been to touch the lives of car owners in India by offering them the world’s best technology, including connected mobility. The launch of MG HECTOR PLUS is a new milestone in our journey to serve customers with top-notch products and services. The 6-seater internet SUV is a blend of luxury and comfort aided by technology to provide the perfect family moments to all our customers.”

MG HECTOR PLUS offers both MG Shield and the MG Shield+ to provide an assuring experience to its customers. Under MG Shield, MG extends the Free-three’ 5s’, i.e., 5-year/Unlimited KMs warranty, 5-year Roadside Assistance, and Free Labour Charges for the first five services. All these elements under ‘MG Shield’ would enhance the MG ownership experience and provide complete peace of mind to MG customers. The 6-seater SUV’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is among the lowest in the segment. It is 45 paise per kilometer for its petrol variants and 60 paise per kilometer for the diesel ones (calculated up to 100,000 KMs of usage). MG HECTOR PLUS further offers the best-prepaid maintenance plans starting at INR 8,000 for three years with its Classic package.

As part of its customers’ commitment, MG has also extended its contact-free technology suite called ‘Shield+.’ It builds on four cornerstones of ‘Customer Convenience,’ ‘Sanitization,’ ‘Contactless Services,’ and ‘Assurance.’

Founded in the UK in 1924, Morris Garages vehicles were world-famous for their sports cars, roadsters, and cabriolet series. MG vehicles were much sought after by many celebrities, including the British Prime Ministers and even the British Royal Family, for their styling, elegance, and spirited performance. The MG Car Club, set up in 1930 at Abingdon in the UK, has thousands of loyal fans, making it one of the world’s largest clubs for a car brand. MG has evolved into a modern, futuristic, and innovative brand over the last 96 years. MG Motor India has its car manufacturing plant at Halol in Gujarat.

Source: MG (Morris Garages) Motor India

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July 16, 2020

TISSOT Seastar 1000 Professional has in-depth Excellence





According to Tissot, Seastar 1000 Professional limited edition fully satisfies the criteria of the ISO 6425 standard governing professional diving watches. This all-steel automatic chronograph validates all the conditions specified by the standard.

The Tissot Seastar 1000 Professional has a self-winding chronograph movement. It has a small second hand at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph totalizers at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock. It also indicates the day and date and has a comfortable 60-hour power reserve, rare for a diving watch.

The Tissot Seastar 1000 Professional comes with a steel bracelet with three links, burnished in the center, and buffed to a satin finish on the sides. It is closed by a folding clasp specially designed for diving purposes.

Source: TISSOT

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July 15, 2020

Trump Administration Revokes Rules on International Students after Court Challenges.

The policy would have barred international students from living in the U.S. while conducting coursework entirely online.

Johns Hopkins, Harvard, MIT

BALTIMORE, July 15, 2020 — In a swift reversal of guidance first shared just eight days ago, the Trump administration on Tuesday abandoned plans to impose new limitations on the conditions under which international students can remain in the country to study at U.S. colleges and universities.

Under a policy announced July 6, students would be stripped of or denied student visas if their coursework was entirely online, an abrupt shift that threatened to impact the lives of the nearly 5,000 international students at Johns Hopkins and more than 1 million across the country.

Johns Hopkins filed a legal challenge to the policy last week and had a hearing on the matter scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Today’s announcement that the U.S. Administration has rescinded the plan appeared during a trial of a similar complaint filed by Harvard and MIT, a case in which JHU filed an amicus brief. The notification reinstates an earlier policy implemented in March that allows international students with student visas to take all their classes online and remain in the country legally.

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) President Ronald J. Daniels said in a message to the university community Tuesday night that Hopkins would leave its complaint open for now, but acknowledged it might be moot. The return to an earlier policy does, however, cast doubt on the ability of new and transfer students outside the U.S. to come to the country to begin studies.

“For generations, the world’s most innovative and ambitious people have flocked to this nation for the opportunities it offers,” Daniels wrote. “America’s colleges and universities have been a beacon for those whose talent and drive have fueled the discoveries that foster social progress and create economic opportunity.”

Source: Johns Hopkins University

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Four Hundred Million New Jobs by 2030 if Businesses Prioritize Nature, Says World Economic Forum.

  • The report finds putting nature first is good for business and economic resilience.

  • Nature-positive solutions will create $10.1 trillion in business opportunities and millions of new jobs.

  • COVID-19’s impact is a stark reminder of our imbalance with the natural world, but the report shows businesses and governments’ opportunities to build back better.

  • Policy companion outlines how finance ministers can kick-start a nature-positive economy.

World Economic Forum,

Photo: Scene at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. 18 January 2020. Image provided by & Copyright © World Economic Forum/Mattias Nutt.

Geneva, Switzerland, 15 July 2020 - The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented job losses and economic uncertainty. As governments and businesses look to stimulate growth, a new study from the World Economic Forum found that ‘nature-positive’ solutions can create 395 million jobs by 2030.

The Future of Nature and Business Report provides blueprints for businesses to tap into a $10.1 trillion business opportunity, focusing on nature-positive industry actions, meaning that they add value to nature.

The report reflects real-world examples where nature-positive results have improved business outcomes:

  • In Indonesia, smart farming utilizing sensors and satellite imagery improved crop yields on average by 60%.
  • In China, Suzhou Industrial Park’s green development has seen its GDP increase 260-fold partially through green growth.
  • In Viet Nam, people living in coastal communities saw their incomes more than double following the restoration of critical mangroves.

“We can address the looming biodiversity crisis and reset the economy in a way that creates and protects millions of jobs,” said Akanksha Khatri, Head of the Nature Action Agenda, World Economic Forum. “Public calls are getting louder for businesses and government to do better. We can protect our food supplies, make better use of our infrastructure, and tap into new energy sources by transitioning to nature-positive solutions.”

• Food, land, and ocean use: What we eat and grow makes up around $10 trillion of global GDP and employs up to 40% of the worldwide workforce. Nature-positive solutions can create 191 million new jobs and $3.6 trillion of additional revenue or cost savings by 2030. Here are some examples:

  • Diversifying the diet: Some 75% of the world’s food comes from 12 plants and five animal species. Animal products provide 18% of calories but take up 80% of farmland. A more diversified diet of vegetables and fruits can create $310 billion in business opportunities annually by 2030.

  • Technology in large-scale farms: Over 4.3 million jobs and $195 billion in business opportunities can come from precision-agriculture technologies by 2030. With 40% improvements in yields expected, investments could yield returns of over 10%.

  • Retail: Every second, the world landfills or burns the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles. It means that $500 billion is lost every year due to discarded clothing. Using more renewable inputs and reusing, refurbishing, and recycling clothes could lead to $130 billion in savings and prevent 148 million tonnes of textile waste by 2030.

  • Fishing: It takes five times the effort to catch the same amount of fish now as it did in 1950. If the ‘business as usual’ approach continues, wild fish stocks will decline by 15%. It will cost the industry $83 billion, as boats will have to travel further and fish deeper. Sustainable ecosystem management is one way to tap into a $40 billion opportunity for the maritime industry worldwide.

• Infrastructure and the built-environment: About 40% of global GDP comes from the environment we build - office buildings, homes, and transport. Nature-positive solutions can create 117 million new jobs and $3 trillion in additional revenue or cost savings by 2030. Here are some examples:

  • Smart buildings: Retrofitting systems and installing more efficient technology in new builds can save $825 billion by 2030. Switching to LEDs and substituting natural light alone could save over $650 billion by 2030. Green roofs can save on energy costs, mitigate flood risk, reduce air pollution, and even produce food. The market for these could grow 12% annually, reaching $15 billion by 2030.

  • Smart sensors: Reducing municipal water leakage could save $115 billion by 2030. Return on investments in water efficiency can be above 20%.

  • Waste management: With $305 billion in additional revenue opportunities, the global waste management market could double in 10 years with the right investments in South Asia, East Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.

• Energy and extractives: The energy we produce and what we extract accounts for almost a quarter of global GDP and 16% of global employment. With energy demand growing, there is an opportunity to create 87 million jobs and $3.5 trillion in business opportunities by 2030. Here are some examples:

  • Mining and resource extraction: Improving resource recovery in mining can save $225 billion and reduce water usage by 75% in the next decade. New technologies and more mechanization could enhance material recovery rates by up to 50%.

  • Circular models in the automotive sector: Refurbishing and reusing automotive parts, such as transmissions, retains more value and uses less energy than recycling. The world can save some $870 billion by recovering manufacturing costs by 2030.

  • Renewables: By 2030, Renewable energy sources can provide opportunities of $650 billion, and investment returns more significant than 10%. Stimulus packages for solar and other commercialized renewables can generate millions of new jobs. Solar energy without subsidies matched fossil fuel costs in over 30 countries. By 2021, it could be cheaper than coal in China and India.

  • Doubling down on revenue streams: The land for renewable energy projects is three to 12 times the size of coal-powered ones. Some companies are developing high-rise photovoltaic power stations that combine animal husbandry and ecotourism, providing additional revenue streams on the same land plot.

• Guide for Finance Ministers

A policy companion outlines how governments can complement and enable businesses to act. Finance ministers can combine six cross-cutting policy measures to put the right incentives in place as part of stimulus packages and create jobs without destroying nature. They include better measurement of economic performance beyond GDP, incentives for innovation, improved spatial planning and management of marine and terrestrial assets, the removal of subsidies that endanger long-term job stability, investment in reskilling, and increased financial support for natural solutions.

• Quotes from World Economic Forum Partners

  • “We must use the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to reset humanity’s relationship with nature. Investing in biodiversity and the environment offers the chance of building better economies and our resilience as a species,” said Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica. “Costa Rica has shown that the transition to a carbon-neutral, nature-positive economy brings greater prosperity, jobs, and new developments. It’s time to mainstream this model.”

  • “We are entering into a historic decade of action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and address climate change. The business has a critical role to play in environmental stewardship of our planet,” said Inger Andersen, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme. “They have the technology, innovation, and financing to make the shifts we need towards increased investment in nature’s infrastructure and nature-based solutions.”

  • “While there is still uncertainty in how COVID-19 will unfold, we must recognize this as an opportunity to accelerate efforts to put nature at the center of all decision-making,” said Alan Jope, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever. “There will be no jobs or prosperity on a dead planet!”

Source: World Economic Forum

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July 14, 2020

Blackboard to Host First Virtual BbWorld 2020.

Educators, administrators, and thought leaders to attend the Company’s free annual conference on July 21 & 22.


RESTON, Va., July 13, 2020 — Blackboard Inc., a leading education technology company for teaching, learning, and student engagement, will convene thousands of educators, administrators, thought leaders, and EdTech experts from across the globe on July 21 and 22 for BbWorld 2020, its premier global EdTech conference. For the first time, the meeting will be virtual and free, enabling the global education community to gather, learn, share, and inspire one another during this unprecedented time.

“We are thrilled to bring together the global education community to share lessons learned and best practices for driving learner success in this critical time of rapid digital transformation,” said Blackboard Chairman, CEO and President Bill Ballhaus. “We look forward to creating an immersive virtual experience and inviting new voices to join our discussion about the new education paradigm.”

BbWorld will feature more than 100 sessions on the most pressing topics for higher education, K-12, and business and government clients.

Throughout the two-day event, BbWorld would invite the participants into the “Galaxy of Learning,” a 3D, interactive experience, gaining access to:

  • Keynote speeches by Manny Scott, author, and student achievement advocate; Dr. Michael K. Moore, Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Arkansas System and Chief Academic and Operating Officer for eVersity; and Bill Ballhaus, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Blackboard.

  • A student panel discussion moderated by Dr. Michael K. Moore on students’ unique perspectives on the rapid shift to remote learning and their challenges to success in this new educational landscape.

  • More than 100 sessions focused on sharing best practices for online learning, transforming remote learning programs into mature online programs, leveraging data, and Universal Design for Learning principles to drive student success. The sessions would also focus on improving the learner experience through innovation and driving accessibility and inclusivity.

  • The Experiential Discovery Hall: Here, attendees can mingle with Blackboard experts, explore technologies, get involved with the Blackboard Community, and visit the UXD Lab.

  • The Educator Lounge: Here, techies, thought leaders, and educators can network.

  • The Lunar Lounge: Here, attendees can access stretching, yoga, and boxing classes at their leisure, play games, or tune into a puppy cam.

  • A closing concert featuring the Cold War Kids.

Blackboard says its mission is to advance learning in partnership with the world’s education community so that more learners, educators, and institutions can realize their goals today and prepare for tomorrow.

Source: Blackboard, Inc.

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July 13, 2020

Johns Hopkins files Lawsuit to block new U.S. rules on International Students.

Johns Hopkins

BALTIMORE, July 12, 2020 — Johns Hopkins University filed suit in federal court Friday to stop a Trump administration rule change that would severely impact nearly 5,000 international students at the University. The decision to abruptly rescind accommodations for online learning during the COVID pandemic is unlawful and fails to consider the many complexities of meeting our educational mission while also protecting our community’s health, the University said.

The University filed the suit in the Federal District Court for Washington, D.C., which has significant expertise in handling challenges against unlawful action by the federal government. Johns Hopkins joins other litigation related to the new rule filed by Harvard, MIT, and the University of California. Johns Hopkins’ plans for a hybrid, online/in-person model for some of its divisions present the broadest array of issues for the court to consider.

“The administration’s decision is gratuitous, cruel and inimical to what this country is about,” said Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels. “The University was left with no option but to bring an emergency lawsuit in federal court to stop the administration from pushing ahead with an illegal and unconstitutional directive. If the directive is permitted to stand, it would fundamentally undermine the educational freedoms and humanitarian values that animate higher education in our country.”

In the spring, when the pandemic was first taking hold, the universities, including Johns Hopkins, were forced to pivot to online education swiftly. The Trump administration appropriately responded by relaxing visa restrictions so that international students could remain in the United States while taking classes remotely. But on Monday, even as new coronavirus cases were hitting record levels in the United States, the administration reversed itself without warning, saying such students would not be allowed into the country if their course load was entirely online. Those already in the country could be required to leave within ten days of beginning ‘online only education’, a burden under any circumstances but much more so now given the heavy restrictions on international travel.

In its complaint, the University alleges that the administration’s actions are unlawful in several ways:

  • The Trump administration made the rule arbitrarily and capriciously in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act;
  • It rescinds a rule the administration had indicated would stay in place through the end of the COVID emergency;
  • The government did not provide the required notice or opportunity to comment;
  • It failed to provide due process;
  • It violated universities’ constitutionally protected academic freedom.

Johns Hopkins said it spent months meticulously planning for the fall semester based on its leading authorities’ expert guidance in medicine and public health. It said it seeks to balance the best opportunities for its students to continue their education and research with an unwavering commitment to safeguarding their health and safety. “Our approaches vary by program, with some planning entirely online courses and others, including our undergraduate program, planning a hybrid approach mixing online and in-person elements,” the University added.

The Trump administration’s sudden announcement upends that careful consideration, the University explained. It neither accounts for the risks associated with switching to an all in-person approach nor the possibility that we may have no choice but to revert to all online classes if the pandemic takes a turn for the worse. Importantly, the administration’s actions may force students to choose between increased exposure to a deadly virus and maintaining their visa status.

• “Johns Hopkins University has the responsibility to protect its students, faculty, and staff. It has the scientific expertise to determine how it will execute its mission of research and education safely without government intervention,” the institution stated.

“Johns Hopkins has a century-long commitment to international collaboration in scholarship and research. The mix of students and faculty of different backgrounds and outlooks advances knowledge and discovery in our laboratories and contributes to the intellectual growth of all our students.”

“This unjust and discriminatory attack on international students cuts to the core of our education and research mission. It cannot be allowed to stand,” the University concluded.

Source: Johns Hopkins University

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Groupe Renault and Google Cloud partner to accelerate Industry 4.0

  • Groupe Renault teams up with Google Cloud to accelerate the digitization of its production facilities and supply chain.

  • This collaboration brings Google Cloud’s strength in machine learning and artificial intelligence and Renault’s expertise in automotive manufacturing to create new industrial solutions.

  • The two companies also intend to start a program to grow Groupe Renault employees’ digital skills and competencies.

Group Renault, Google

Group Renault

Photo: 2020 - INDUSTRY 4.0 - Renault Valladolid (Spain) Plant. Image provided by & Copyright © Groupe Renault / Ignacio Nacho GALLEGO.

Group Renault

Photo: 2020 - INDUSTRY 4.0 - Renault Flins (France) Factory. Image provided by & Copyright © Groupe Renault / Jean-Brice LEMAL/Planimonteur.

PARIS and SUNNYVALE, Calif., July 11, 2020 — Groupe Renault and Google Cloud today announced a new industrial and technology partnership to accelerate the digitization of Groupe Renault’s industrial system and Industry 4.0 transformation.

• Digitize manufacturing plants and develop industry solutions

A recognized contributor to Industry 4.0, Groupe Renault has been developing its digital platform since 2016 to connect and aggregate technical data from 22 Group sites worldwide (representing 76% of vehicle production) and more than 2,500 machines. This new partnership with Google Cloud aims to optimize Groupe Renault’s wholly-owned and independently operated industrial data management platform.

Google Cloud’s solutions and experience in smart analytics, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI) will enable Groupe Renault to improve its supply chain and manufacturing efficiency, production quality, and environmental impact through energy savings.

These improvements will ultimately foster the development of new vertical solutions for the automotive industry.

• Develop digital skills

Employee training is also an essential part of this new partnership. Groupe Renault and Google Cloud plan to build a unique and scalable program to enhance Renault process engineering, manufacturing, and IT teams’ skills via coworking, training, and enablement sessions with the Google team. This program’s objective is to enhance a data-driven culture that is an essential part of Renault employees’ daily professional lives, in operational as much as in decision-making processes.

“This collaboration is a perfect illustration of Groupe Renault’ digital strategy, applied here to the industrial field. This agreement and the commitment of our IT, manufacturing, and supply chain management teams will allow us to accelerate the deployment of our Industry 4.0 plan. We have designed the plan to transform and connect our production sites and logistics processes worldwide to improve our standards of excellence in performance. This partnership is also an asset for Groupe Renault employees who will benefit from high-level training in digital data management.” underlined José Vicente de Los Mozos, Director of Manufacturing and Logistics, Member of Groupe Renault’s Executive Committee.

“The automotive industry has innovation in its DNA, and there is immense potential for digital technology to have a significant impact on production. We are proud to be partnering with Groupe Renault to help revolutionize the future of automotive manufacturing and power the next generation of supply chain excellence,” added Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud.

Groupe Renault has manufactured cars since 1898. Today, it is an international multi-brand group that sold close to 3.8 million vehicles in 134 countries in 2019. Groupe Renault has 40 manufacturing sites, 12,700 points of sales, and more than 180,000 people. To address the significant technological challenges of the future, Groupe Renault is focusing on international expansion while continuing to pursue its profitable growth strategy. To this end, it is drawing on the synergies of its five brands (Renault, Dacia, Renault Samsung Motors, Alpine, and LADA), electric vehicles, and its unique alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors. With a 100% Renault owned team committed to the Formula 1 World Championship since 2016, the brand is involved in motorsports, a real vector for innovation and awareness.

Source: Groupe Renault.

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July 12, 2020

Indiaspora Business Leaders List recognizes Executives of Indian Heritage who lead Global Corporations.

- Indian diaspora leaders reach the pinnacle of corporate success in higher numbers than ever before, with many using their platforms to advocate for social change.

India, Corporations

San Francisco, CA | Washington, DC. July 11, 2020 — Indiaspora, a nonprofit organization of global Indian diaspora leaders from various backgrounds and professions, released today their inaugural list, honoring executives of the Indian diaspora leading the most significant global corporations in 2020.

Drawing from the latest editions of Fortune and Forbes U.S. and global lists, the Indiaspora Business Leaders List includes more than 50 executives who are serving at the helm of their respective company in the role of Chief Executive Officer, President, or Chairman of the Board.

The list includes immigrants from India as well as professionals born in countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia, England, and the U.S. The companies that the executives lead have headquarters in ten different countries, including the U.S., Canada, England, and Singapore.

“This inaugural list shares so many shining examples of the quintessential immigrant story,” said Indiaspora Board member Rajan Navani, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Jetline Group of Companies. “Hardworking, enterprising, and innovative, these executives have achieved the highest success in their fields, often drawing on their Indian heritage to help guide and ground them along the way. No doubt they will inspire generations to come.”

Companies on the Indiaspora Business Leaders List collectively employ more than 3.6 million worldwide and account for a combined USD 1 trillion in revenue and USD 4 trillion in market capitalization.

The companies’ collective shares also outperformed the stock market, averaging 21 percent returns during the leaders’ tenures on the list, compared to the S&P 500, which offered 9 percent returns during the same time frame.

“It is gratifying to see the growing impact of individuals from the Indian community on business on a global scale,” said Indiaspora Board Member Arun Kumar, Chairman, and CEO at KPMG India. He also served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Obama administration. “I have had the opportunity to work with several of the individuals on our 2020 Business Leaders List in a professional and personal capacity and can attest to their dynamism as leaders not only of their companies but also for the larger diaspora community. Besides, many of them bring a remarkable sensitivity to issues relating to social change.”

The 2020 Indiaspora Business Leaders List represents 56 executives and 57 companies, as Raj Gupta, an Indiaspora member, serves as Chairman of two companies on the list, Aptiv, and Avantor.

“I’m amazed to see how far we’ve come in terms of representation in business. There used to be only a handful of us leading corporations,” said Raj Gupta, former CEO of Fortune 300 company Rohm and Haas. He is one of the first executives of the Indian diaspora to join the ranks of corporate leadership along with pioneers such as Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo and Dinesh Paliwal of Harman International. “Now that we are reaching prominence, I am eager to see how the next generation leaves its legacy.”

Several executives on the list have led their companies in advancing social change by addressing racial injustice, climate and sustainability justice, and the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 through policy and financial commitments.

Tech industry leader Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet/Google, has announced new goals for racial equity, including improving leadership representation of underrepresented groups at Google, and an “economic opportunity package” for the Black community. Ivan Menezes, CEO of British multinational beverage alcohol company Diageo, also led his company in creating a $20 million social justice fund in America.

Several leaders’ companies have created or contributed to funds in response to COVID-19. Sunny Verghese’s Singapore-based agribusiness and supply chain company Olam International donated COVID-19 testing kits to Ghana’s government. Francis deSouza, head of gene analysis company Illumina, is developing a novel coronavirus test using sequencing technology.

“It’s inspiring to see so many leaders of Indian heritage playing a significant role in business and society,” said Ajay Banga, President and CEO of Mastercard. “Our culture and values are a common starting point (any chance we can get a bit more color here?). But it’s what we do with the opportunities presented to us that make a difference. When we lean into our diverse experiences to deal with challenges like the pandemic or racial injustice, we can have an even greater impact on the lives of those around us.”

The Indiaspora Business Leaders List also calls attention to the presence of a glass ceiling in which women, including Indian women, still face. Out of 1,000 companies represented on the Fortune 500 list, only 61 have women CEOs; the Indiaspora List has a marginally higher percentage of women, yet only accounts for five women out of more than 50 leaders.

Indiaspora has identified its honorees from these lists: Fortune 500 (which features 1,000 companies), Forbes Global 2000, Fortune Global 500, and the Forbes Largest Private U.S. Companies.

2020 Indiaspora Business Leaders List (Top 30)

Name — Company — Title

  1. Sundar Pichai — Alphabet/Google — Chief Executive Officer
  2. Satya Nadella —Microsoft — Chief Executive Officer
  3. Arvind Krishna — IBM — Chief Executive Officer
  4. Lakshmi Mittal — ArcelorMittal — CEO, Chairman
  5. Raj Subramaniam — FedEx — President, CEO
  6. Vivek Sankaran — Albertsons — President, CEO
  7. Vasant Narasimhan — Novartis — Chief Executive Officer
  8. Punit Renjen — Deloitte — Global Chief Executive Officer
  9. Bharat Masrani — TD Bank — CEO, Group President
  10. Mike Mohan — Best Buy — President
  11. Bob Patel — Lyondell Basell Industries — Chief Executive Officer
  12. Rajeev Suri — Nokia — Chief Executive Officer
  13. Revathi Advaithi — Flex — Chief Executive Officer
  14. Sunny Verghese — Olam International Group — Chief Executive Officer
  15. Prem Watsa — Fairfax Financial — Chief Executive Officer
  16. Sanjay Mehrotra — Micron Technology — CEO, President
  17. Saum Sutaria — Tenet Healthcare — President, CEO
  18. Ajay Banga — Mastercard — CEO, Chairman-elect, President
  19. Ivan Menezes — Diageo — Chief Executive Officer
  20. Laxman Narasimhan — Reckitt Benckiser Group — Chief Executive Officer
  21. Sonia Syngal — Gap Inc. — Chief Executive Officer
  22. Siva Sivaram — Western Digital — President
  23. Kevin Lobo — Stryker — Chief Executive Officer
  24. Piyush Gupta — DBS Group — Chief Executive Officer
  25. Raj Gupta — Aptiv/Avantor — Chairman of the Board
  26. Bob Pragada — Jacobs Engineering — Co-President, CEO
  27. Shantanu Narayen — Adobe — Chairman, CEO, & President
  28. Rajiv Malik — Mylan — President
  29. Aloke Lohia — Indorama Ventures Group — Chief Executive Officer
  30. Niraj Shah — Wayfair — Co-Chairman, President & CEO

Indiaspora is a nonprofit organization established to transform the Indian diaspora’s success into a meaningful impact worldwide. The members form a robust network of global leaders who serve as a platform to build healthier communities with a culture of giving and inspiring social change.

Source: Indiaspora

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July 10, 2020

Cycles4Change Challenge for Cities in India.

Housing Ministry India

India Smart Cities, Cycling

New Delhi | July 10, 2020 — The Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India, today opened the Registration for India Cycles4Change Challenge. Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State, Housing and Urban Affairs, had launched the Challenge on June 25, 2020.

Over 450 participants, including CEOs of Smart Cities, Commissioners, City Officials, Civil Society Organizations, Experts, and Citizens, attended the Registration Applications Opening event.

The Challenge aims to help cities connect with their citizens and experts to develop a unified vision to promote Cycling. Municipalities are encouraged to collaborate with Civil Society Organizations, experts, and volunteers to create and implement their plans. Citizen collaboration will also be a key metric in the evaluation of proposals submitted by the cities.

Cities in India can access the Challenge and register here:

India Cycles4Change Challenge

• The Challenge is open to all cities under the Smart Cities Mission, capital cities of States/UTs, and all cities with a population of more than 5 lakh.

• All eligible cities can register and submit their applications on the portal from July 10 to July 21.

The Challenge will run in two stages. Stage One will work until October, where cities will focus on piloting quick interventions to promote Cycling and developing a scale-up strategy. In October 2020, the Ministry will shortlist 11 towns. The shortlisted cities will receive Rs. 1 Crore award and guidance from national and international experts to further scale-up the initiatives.

• The Vision of the India Cycles4Change Challenge

Recent surveys indicate that the need for personalized forms of transport would increase as a response to COVID-19. The studies show that Cycling would increase by 50-65% as cities in India come out of lockdown. Cities around the world are leveraging the opportunity to expand their cycling networks and public bicycle-sharing systems. According to experts, increasing Cycling can help cities in a green economic recovery; investments in cycling infrastructure have economic benefits of up to 5.5 times the initial investment; Cycling for short distances can result in an annual gain of INR 1.8 trillion to the Indian economy.

“The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is committed to helping cities develop high-quality transport systems that offer sustainable mobility options to their residents. I urge all cities to achieve a vision of safe and fun Cycling for everyone,” said Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State, Housing and Urban Affairs, India.

“We are proud to launch the India Cycles4Change Challenge with the ambitious goal of creating cycling-friendly cities across the country. Cycling can aid a green recovery from COVID-19 for the transport sector and create a golden age for active, sustainable, and efficient travel in our cities,” stated Mr. Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Source: Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, India

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Lamborghini presents Sián Roadster: a limited edition, hybrid super sports car.

The limited-edition Roadster version of visionary V12 super sports car, combining groundbreaking hybrid technologies and design.







Sant’Agata Bolognese, 8 July 2020 - Automobili Lamborghini presents the Lamborghini Sián Roadster: a limited edition, open-top hybrid super sports car engineered around Lamborghini’s iconic V12 engine, with unique hybrid technologies and delivering unsurpassed Lamborghini and hybrid performance. The roofless design of the Sián Roadster puts an exclusive group of drivers in one of the most spectacular cockpits ever: always open to the sky; resonating with the inimitable V12 sound from the most potent Lamborghini engine to date; and experiencing extraordinary performance while reveling in the Sián Roadster’s role in Lamborghini’s route to future hybridization.

“The Sián Roadster encapsulates the spirit of Lamborghini,” says Stefano Domenicali, Automobili Lamborghini Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer. “It is the expression of breathtaking design and extraordinary performance, but most importantly embodies essential future technologies. The Sián’s innovative hybrid powertrain heralds the direction for Lamborghini super sports cars. The open-top Sián Roadster affirms a desire for the ultimate lifestyle, Lamborghini, as we move towards a tomorrow demanding new solutions.”

The Sián Roadster makes its debut in Blu Uranus, especially selected by Lamborghini’s Centro Stile, which, together with the Ad Personam department, works with every Sián client to personalize the color and finish of their Roadster entirely. Encapsulating the blue of the sky and the green of the fields, evoking the freedom and driving elation delivered by the open-top Sián Roadster’s performance, the car has Oro Electrum wheels: the color was chosen by Lamborghini to signify electrification. The complementary interior is an elegant combination of white with Blu Glauco detailing and aluminum elements in Oro Electrum. The new-design air vents produced via 3D printing allows customization with a client’s initials.

Design for the Future

The Lamborghini Sián Roadster asserts the futuristic design of the coupé, but as a real roadster adds a new purity with the airy cabin. The aerial view of the Sián Roadster runs diagonally from the cockpit to the rear and culminates in the aerodynamic air streamers behind driver and passenger. The Sián’s long sculptured contours and characteristic aero wings give the Sián Roadster an unmistakably powerful profile. The car’s low front, with integrated carbon fiber splitter, houses the iconic Lamborghini Y-shape headlights.

The extreme and intense rear of the car incorporates Lamborghini’s evocative hexagon design, including six hexagonal taillights. The rear wing is integrated within the profile and extends only during the driving to enhance the performance.

The low, sturdy chassis houses a next-generation V12 powerplant. ‘Sián’ in local Bolognese dialect, meaning ‘flash’ or ‘lightening,’ denotes the Sián Roadster’s electrification as part of the future hybrid strategy while maintaining the extraordinary emotion and dynamic performance inherent in naturally aspirated Lamborghini super sports cars.

Finally, the Lamborghini Sián Roadster benefits from a heightened level of driving comfort facilitated by the hybrid system alongside dynamic handling and performance.

Source: Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A

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July 9, 2020

American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa to Power Global Expansion of Simple, Consistent Digital Checkout Experience.

American Express, Discover, Mastercard, Visa

New York, NY; Riverwoods, ILL; Purchase, NY; San Francisco, CA | July 08, 2020 — E-commerce has reached new heights worldwide. As more consumers are going online to make secure, touch-free purchases across various merchants and platforms. Now, it’s more important than ever that the online checkout experience is seamless and consistent across all types of digital channels and cards.

Today, American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa announced they are beginning technical preparations for global expansion of the Click to Pay online checkout in additional geographies. That includes Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom, with others to follow.

Click to Pay aims to make the online checkout secure and straightforward for consumers across the web and mobile sites, mobile apps, and connected devices by replacing time-consuming key entry of personal account numbers and information. The advanced digital checkout solution mirrors the consistent, interoperable checkout experience in physical stores - with one terminal to accept all card payments. Consistent with the goal of interoperability, the vision for the future is that Click to Pay will provide consumers a streamlined experience across any digital checkout environment or network.

American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa announced the universal digital checkout solution in the United States in October 2019. Since then, more than 10,000 merchants have been enabling their customers with the option to click to pay including Cinemark, Crate & Barrel, Expedia, Fresh Direct, Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts, Joseph A. Bank, the marketplace division of Rakuten U.S., Saks Fifth Avenue and, among others.

For merchants, this checkout solution can help reduce friction during the process of selling goods and services. Merchants can now access a single virtual terminal for multiple card brands, meaning a more straightforward and smoother overall digital checkout experience for consumers.

“Right now, more than ever, demand for fresh food and grocery delivery is at an all-time high, with many new customers trying FreshDirect for the first time,” said Tammy Berentson, chief marketing officer, FreshDirect. “For these new customers, as well as for our loyal following, Click to Pay offers confidence that their transactions will be simple, efficient, and secure.”

Source: Mastercard

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July 8, 2020

Elsevier Announces Finalists of the 2020 Reaxys Ph.D. Prize.

Marking its 10th anniversary, Elsevier would recognize this year’s Reaxys Ph.D. Prize finalists for their innovative and original research in chemistry and associated sciences.

Elsevier, Finalists


Photo: This year’s Reaxys Ph.D. Prize Finalists represent 12 countries and 30 universities from around the world.

AMSTERDAM, July 8, 2020 — Elsevier, a global leader in research publishing and information analytics, has announced the 45 finalists for the 2020 Reaxys Ph.D. Prize.

Launched in 2010, the Reaxys Ph.D. Prize celebrates innovative and rigorous research by ambitious early-career chemical sciences researchers. This year’s competition maintained the high standards of previous years: over 400 entries from around the globe were rigorously examined by the Review Committee to arrive at the 45 finalists.

“This year continues the tradition of excellence of the Reaxys Prize in attracting hundreds of outstanding applications from all across the globe,” said Reaxys Advisory Board member Professor Donna Huryn, a Principal Investigator at the University of Pittsburgh Chemical Diversity Center. “Equally impressive are the 45 finalists, and they represent the breadth of our field in terms of geography and discipline. I am looking forward to what will be an exceptional symposium.”

The 45 finalists would attend the virtual Reaxys Ph.D. Prize Symposium from September 30 to October 2, 2020. While usually an in-person event, this year’s celebratory gathering will be online to ensure that all finalists can attend—regardless of any travel restrictions that may be in place in their home countries. A pre-registration link is available on the symposium page for anyone interested in joining the online event. The event will feature talks, including a keynote presentation from the renowned University of California chemist Professor Bruce Lipshutz and a virtual poster session. The organizers also have specific plans to support networking.

Fellow Advisory Board member Professor Zhaomin Hou, Chief Scientist and Director of the Organometallic Chemistry Laboratory at the RIKEN Research Institute in Japan, added that he was profoundly impressed by the number of high-quality submissions in 2020. “The Ph.D. prize brings together young and enthusiastic scientists to showcase their newest discoveries and test new scientific ideas in open discussions.”

During the virtual symposium, the ten shortlisted finalists will give oral presentations of their research, from which the Reaxys Advisory Board will select the three winners of the Reaxys Ph.D. Prize 2020.

“Innovative young researchers from all over the world entered, and we plan to celebrate their achievements as we do each year,” said Dr. Friedrich Kroll, Elsevier’s Senior Manager of Scientific Affairs and co-organizer of the competition. “We are delighted to see the contest continue to draw this number and quality of submissions.

“The opportunity to establish networks to address current scientific challenges, particularly ones requiring interdisciplinary solutions, is an important aspect of the event. We’re also inviting our largest ever audience, with attendees from all previous years,” Dr. Kroll added.

All finalists will receive lifelong membership in the Reaxys Prize Club, an exclusive international network of chemists from all research areas and career paths. Members also receive unlimited access to Elsevier’s research solutions Reaxys and Reaxys Medicinal Chemistry.

This year’s finalists and their Ph.D. institutions are:

  • Montaha Anjass, Ulm University, Germany
  • Meghan Baker, The Scripps Research Institute, United States of America
  • Ahanjit Bhattacharya, University of California San Diego, United States of America
  • Philip Bunting, University of California, Berkeley, United States of America
  • Trevor Butcher, University of California, Berkeley, United States of America
  • Nathaniel Corrigan, The University of New South Wales, Australia
  • Anuvab Das, Texas A&M University, United States of America
  • Masha Elkin, Yale University, United States of America
  • Zhaoqianqi Feng, Brandeis University, United States of America
  • Liang Feng, Texas A&M University, United States of America
  • Kaibo Feng, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States of America
  • Haigen Fu, University of Groningen, Netherlands
  • Haruka Fujino, The University of Tokyo, Japan
  • Zebediah Girvin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States of America
  • Samantha Green, The Scripps Research Institute, United States of America
  • Diptarka Hait, University of California, Berkeley, United States of America
  • Seung Youn, Hong, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea
  • Asik Hossain, University of Regensburg, Germany
  • Francesco Ibba, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Yuzuru Kanda, The Scripps Research Institute, United States of America
  • Johannes Karges, PSL University, France
  • Kenichi Kato, Kyoto University, Japan
  • Marvin Kischkewitz, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany
  • Philipp Kramer, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • Richard Liu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States of America
  • Gabriel Lovinger, Boston College, United States of America
  • Brittany Moser, University of Chicago, United States of America
  • Mikiko Okumura, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States of America
  • Aleksandr Pogodaev, Radboud University, Netherlands
  • Robert Pollice, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • Rupert Proctor, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Adam Rieth, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States of America
  • Manisha Samanta, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre For Advanced Scientific Research, India
  • Tobias Schnitzer, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • Patrick Szell, University of Ottawa, Canada
  • Charlotte Vogt, Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Stephen von Kugelgen, University of California, Berkeley, United States of America
  • Jianchun Wang, University of Chicago, United States of America
  • Feng Wang, Max-Planck-Institute for Coal Research, Germany
  • Keiichi Yano, The University of Tokyo, Japan
  • Motohiro Yasui, Kyoto University, Japan
  • Peng Yu, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • Li Zhang, Tsinghua University, China
  • Shaochen Zhang, Boston College, United States of America
  • Qinheng Zheng, The Scripps Research Institute, United States of America

Source: Elsevier

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July 6, 2020

UGC (University Grants Commission), India, issues Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities; Ministry of Home Affairs permits Universities and Institutions to conduct Examinations.

India Secretariat, New Delhi

Photo: A Section of the North Block, Central Secretariat, New Delhi, India. The North Block houses the Ministry of Home Affairs.

New Delhi | 06 July 2020 — The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has, in a letter to the Union Higher Education Secretary, permitted the conduct of examinations by Universities and Institutions.

The final Term Examinations are to be compulsorily conducted as per the UGC (University Grants Commission) Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities, and as per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) approved by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

• UGC (University Grants Commission) today issued the Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities.

In April 2020, the University Grants Commission constituted an Expert Committee to deliberate and make recommendations regarding the issues related to Examinations and Academic Calendar. Based on the Report of the Committee, the UGC issued Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar on 29 April 2020.

The Expert Committee was requested by the UGC to revisit the Guidelines and suggest options for examinations, admissions in the Universities/ Colleges, and also for the beginning of the new academic session as the number of COVID cases is still increasing.

The Commission in its emergent meeting held on 06 July 2020 accepted the Report of the Committee. It approved the ‘UGC Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities because of COVID-19 Pandemic’.

The highlights of the Guidelines are as under:

  • Because of the emerging situation related to the COVID-19 Pandemic in India, it is essential to safeguard the principles of health, safety, and fair and equal opportunity for students. At the same time, it is very crucial to ensure academic credibility, career opportunities, and future progress of students globally. Educational evaluation of students is a significant milestone in any education system. The performance in examinations gives confidence and satisfaction to the students and reflects the competence, performance, and credibility necessary for global acceptability.

  • The terminal semester(s)/ final year(s) examinations be conducted by the universities/ institutions by the end of September, 2020 in offline (pen & paper)/ online/ blended (online + offline) mode.

  • The students of final semester/ final year students having backlog should compulsorily be evaluated by conducting examinations in offline (pen & paper)/ online/ blended (online + offline) mode as per feasibility and suitability.

  • In case a student of the final semester/ final year is unable to appear in the examination conducted by the University for whatsoever the reason(s) may be, he/she may be allowed to perform in special tests for such course(s)/ paper(s). The University may conduct these tests as and when feasible so that it does not put the student to any inconvenience/ disadvantage. The above provision shall be applicable only for the current academic session 2019-20 as a one-time measure.

  • The guidelines regarding intermediate semester/ year examination, as notified on 29 April 2020, will remain unchanged.

  • If need be, the Admissions and Academic Calendar’s relevant details in the universities and colleges shall be issued separately in place of those mentioned in the earlier guidelines issued on 29 April 2020.

• Click here to view the UGC Revised Guidelines Document.

Sources: University Grants Commission. Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

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July 5, 2020

Reebok: The new Vector Logo and Wordmark reflect the intersection of fitness and fashion.


Reebok recently announced that it is unifying its logo and wordmark under one brand, leveraging its most recognizable and distinguished assets - the Vector logo and “drop-R” wordmark.

Reebok said it is fully integrating the wordmark and logo across all Reebok sport and lifestyle products, including footwear and apparel. This evolution shines a spotlight on Reebok’s heritage and connects its rich legacy to its exciting future.

“At Reebok, our mission is to be the best fitness brand in the world. We live at the intersection of fitness and fashion, and our product is a reflection of that connection,” said Matt O’Toole, Reebok President. “As we continue to differentiate ourselves, we’re blurring the lines between our entire portfolio of performance and lifestyle products even more to give our brand one unified presence and voice.”

“Under a unified banner, all of our products and experiences will tell a single story that is clear and consistent,” said Karen Reuther, VP of Creative Direction. “The Vector was created as a logo version of the iconic Reebok side stripes and cross-check design that dates back over fifty years. It is compelling, dynamic, and powerfully linked to some of our most significant cultural moments.”

The Vector logo was first introduced in 1992 and has been used in various forms since, most recently on Reebok heritage and lifestyle products. The new Vector logo is an updated, subtle modern evolution of the original.

Source: Reebok

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The 209th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board opens in Paris.


Photo: UNESCO Headquarters Paris. The 209th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board. Image provided by & copyright © UNESCO/Christelle ALIX.


Photo: UNESCO Headquarters Paris. The 209th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board. Image provided by & copyright © UNESCO/C.Bailleul.

Paris, France | July 4, 2020 — “We must respond to the urgency of the pandemic and afterward. Firstly, by continuing our functional reorganization, not only to gain flexibility and reactivity, but also precision and specificity,” said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, at the opening of the 209th session of the UNESCO Executive Board.

She spoke extensively about UNESCO’s response to the COVID-19 crisis in the Member States. The answer to the health crisis has prioritized mobilization of cooperation and resources, advocacy and awareness-raising campaigns, provision of policy and technical support, and the generation of data and analyses, she said.

UNESCO is supporting states in establishing fair, inclusive, and equitable education systems, preserving biodiversity, making science a powerful lever of international cooperation, helping culture in the service of innovation and social cohesion, and combating discrimination and exclusion.

“In general, the initiatives to increase transversality in the crisis have allowed for better coordination of resources and actions, from which we should draw lessons. I believe that we can also be pleased with our new administration and management sector, which has enabled us to manage this crisis coherently and flexibly,” said Audrey Azoulay. The Strategic Transformation, as initiated two years ago, established this new sector as a first step to boost the Organization’s efficiency.

Azoulay also highlighted that it is essential to have the experience gained from the crisis guide the Organization’s future actions. UNESCO is currently reflecting on its programs and developing a new strategy to take the Organization to the eve of 2030.

Source: UNESCO

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July 3, 2020

Pepsi India joins hands with the National Restaurant Association of India and Swiggy to support the Restaurant Community.

  • Launches #PepsiSaveOurRestaurants initiative with an intent to provide approx. 2.5 million meals to marginalized workers of the restaurant community through a fund-raising effort.

  • Pepsi will donate funds for any Soft Drink that consumers add to their food order on Swiggy, which includes either a Pepsi or any other soft drink.

Pepsi India

New Delhi, July 3, 2020 — Beverage brand Pepsi️ has announced #PepsiSaveOurRestaurants, a fund-raising initiative in association with the leading restaurant industry association, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and leading online food delivery aggregator Swiggy. The initiative aims to provide approximately 2.5 million meals to the restaurant community workers who are in distress.

As part of the initiative, whenever any consumer adds any soft drink to his/her meal order on Swiggy from June 25, 2020, to July 19, 2020, Pepsi will contribute part of the proceeds in respect of each soft drink ordered to the NRAI COVID-19 Relief Corpus. This fund would provide meals (dry ration) to restaurant workers who have served people and are suffering due to these challenging times.

According to Pepsi, the offer is valid on any packaged soft drinks ordered from restaurants listed on the Swiggy platform. It includes carbonated soft drinks, packaged iced tea, packaged juices & packaged juice-based drinks and not just the purchase of Pepsi️.

Speaking about the initiative, PepsiCo India spokesperson said, “The environment that we operate in, matters to us. The restaurant industry is an integral part of our ecosystem, and the ongoing health challenge has severely impacted it. Both restaurants and restaurant workers are struggling. Hence, in our endeavor to find various meaningful ways to provide support to the ecosystem, we found that mobilizing a movement with consumers & providing food security support to our restaurant workers & their families in distress is a timely intervention and need of the hour. Through #PepsiSaveOurRestaurants, we are committed to supporting the ones in need and are extremely thankful to SWIGGY and NRAI for their support and partnership for this initiative.”

Srivats TS, VP - Marketing, Swiggy, said, “During these times when the hospitality sector is facing major setbacks in adjusting to the ‘new normal’ and sustaining themselves, Swiggy focusing on supporting the restaurant community in every way possible. As several restaurants evaluate their next course of action to remobilize their operations, we are happy to assist #PepsiSaveOurRestaurants initiative along with NRAI towards striving to ensure that restaurant workers and their families don’t stay hungry. With this initiative, we hope to help the restaurant workers with an intent to stabilize their lives in these challenging times.”

Anurag Katriar, President of NRAI, added, “While the current pandemic has impacted every sector, it has perhaps manifested itself more sharply on the workforce in the restaurant sector because of the sheer volumes. After all, we are the second-largest employers of human capital in India after agriculture. In light of the magnitude of this problem, the initiative of Pepsi India to help the employees of the sector in distress is highly applaudable. On behalf of NRAI, I express my heartfelt gratitude to Pepsi India and thank them for their beautiful gesture and generous contribution. This contribution will help us provide food to families of thousands of marginalized workers in the industry and will further cement our relationship with Pepsi.”

PepsiCo entered India in 1989 and has grown to become one of the most abundant MNC food and beverage businesses in India. PepsiCo India has been consistently investing in the country and has built an expansive beverage and snack food business supported by 62 plants across foods and beverages. PepsiCo India’s diverse portfolio includes iconic brands like Pepsi, Lay’s, Kurkure, Tropicana 100%, Gatorade, and Quaker.

Source: PepsiCo India

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Oxford University and Bvlgari announce collaboration to fight COVID-19 and future pandemics.


Oxford, July 3, 2020 — Bvlgari, the Italian luxury brand, has announced plans to support research into COVID-19 and vaccine development at Oxford University.

The new relationship comes as part of the brand’s commitment to preventing pandemics now and in the future, through philanthropic donations. This gift will support Oxford research in two key areas; purchasing boundary-pushing scientific equipment that will help to speed up vaccine development and financing the studies of some of the world’s most talented researchers engaged in the field.

Oxford and Bvlgary announced the collaboration during a live webinar hosted by Jean-Christophe Babin, President, and CEO of Bvlgari and Professor Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford.

Professor Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said: “For us to continue to make world-leading advances against infectious diseases, we need more excellent young scientists to join us and access the most up to date equipment in our laboratories. This generous gift from Bvlgari addresses these needs, and will continue to have an impact for many years.”

The Bvlgari Scholarship will financially support two students at the postgraduate level within the vaccine development group, the Oxford Jenner Institute. It would enable the University to continue to attract the next generation of top talent to power Oxford’s world-leading position in vaccine research.

The Oxford Vaccine Group and Oxford Jenner Institute have been at the forefront of scientific endeavor to develop vaccines for diseases of primary global importance for more than 30 years. They are currently one of the leading research groups globally in the development of a vaccine against COVID-19.

The Bvlgari Scholarship Beneficiaries will receive full financial support over the four-year duration of their DPhil (Ph.D.) studies in vaccine research. The scholarships will cover the students’ course fees, IT support laboratory consumables, and an internationally competitive maintenance grant. The scholarship awardees will be based at the Oxford Jenner Institute and selected from applicants and offer holders in the Medical Sciences Division at Oxford, across the relevant disciplines of Clinical, Medical and Biological Sciences.

The candidate selection process for the Bvlgari Scholarship would begin as early as autumn 2020.

In addition to the scholarship program, Bvlgari’s donation will also contribute to the purchase of a state-of-the-art flow cytometer by the Oxford Jenner Institute. Flow cytometry is a crucial tool in emergency vaccine development that can rapidly speed up the process, allowing a more detailed understanding of cell response post-vaccination.

Used to measure the number and type of immune cells made in the body after the administration of the vaccine, it helps identify which types of cells may lead to a vaccine being protective and, therefore, successful. Single-cell sorting is a critical component of many sophisticated analysis pathways for both pre-clinical and clinical studies. It allows scientists to separate particular groups of cells of specific interest.

Bvlgari’s generous donation to the University is the latest step in the brand’s philanthropic commitment to improving the world at large, following the devastating coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, which plunged the world into an international pandemic.

Jean-Christophe Babin, President, and CEO of Bvlgari, said: “Over the past few months, we have witnessed the shocking and detrimental effects of COVID-19 on every aspect of our society. We can never let this happen again. Bvlgari vows not only to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 but also to work with the global leaders in Medical Sciences at Oxford University, to nurture the most talented minds of tomorrow. I am honored and proud to have the opportunity to support Oxford in this common goal of eradicating viruses and stopping future pandemics in their tracks.”

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: “We are deeply grateful to Bvlgari for their generous gift and look forward to working together over the coming years. Donations like this allow us to accelerate critical vaccine development research, which will aid Oxford’s response to this crisis and future pandemics.”

Source: University of Oxford


— The editor is a holder of an Oxford Alumni Card. StumbleUpon reddit Facebook Google Plus Tweet This Seed This on Newsvine

Edited & Posted by Surender Hastir | 3:10 AM | View the original post

July 1, 2020



Oscars 2020

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Photo: America Ferrera arrives on the red carpet of The 92nd Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA, on Sunday, February 9, 2020. Image provided by & Copyright © Nick Argo / A.M.P.A.S. [File Photo]

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Photo: Penélope Cruz arrives on the red carpet of The 92nd Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA, on Sunday, February 9, 2020. Image provided by & Copyright © Nick Argo / A.M.P.A.S. [File Photo]

LOS ANGELES, CA - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 819 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures. The 2020 class is 45% women, 36% underrepresented ethnic/racial communities, and 49% international from 68 countries. There are 75 Oscar nominees, including 15 winners, and five recipients of Scientific and Technical Awards.

• Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2020.

“The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travelers in the motion picture arts and sciences. We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the wide variety of our global film community, and never more so than now,” said Academy President David Rubin.

In 2016, the Academy set specific inclusion goals as part of its initiative to double the number of women and underrepresented ethnic/racial communities by 2020. Through dedicated and intentional work by the Board of Governors and members on the branch executive committees, the Academy has surpassed both these goals.

The Academy recently announced the next phase of its equity and inclusion initiative, Academy Aperture 2025, which will further the organization’s ongoing efforts to advance inclusion in the entertainment industry and increase representation within its membership and the greater film community. The initial phase of Academy Aperture 2025 outlined specific goals for the Oscars and Academy governance, association, and workplace culture.

“We take great pride in the strides we have made in exceeding our initial inclusion goals set back in 2016, but acknowledge the road ahead is a long one. We are committed to staying the course. We look forward to fostering an Academy that reflects the world around us in our membership, our programs, our new Museum, and our awards,” said Academy C.E.O. Dawn Hudson.

The 2020 invitees include:

• Actors

  • Yalitza Aparicio - “Roma”
  • Awkwafina - “The Farewell,” “Crazy Rich Asians”
  • Zazie Beetz - “Joker,” “High Flying Bird”
  • Alia Bhatt - “Gully Boy,” “Raazi”
  • Bobby Cannavale - “The Irishman,” “The Station Agent”
  • Choi Woo-Shik - “Parasite,” “The Divine Fury”
  • Zendaya Coleman - “Spider-Man: Far from Home,” “The Greatest Showman”
  • Tyne Daly - “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming”
  • Mackenzie Davis - “Terminator: Dark Fate,” “Tully”
  • Ana de Armas - “Knives Out,” “Blade Runner, 2049.”
  • Kaitlyn Dever - “Booksmart,” “Detroit”
  • Cynthia Erivo - “Harriet,” “Widows.”
  • Pierfrancesco Favino - “The Traitor,” “Rush”
  • Beanie Feldstein - “Booksmart,” “Lady Bird”
  • Zack Gottsagen - “The Peanut Butter Falcon”
  • David Gyasi - “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” “Interstellar”
  • Adèle Haenel - “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” “B.P.M. (Beats Per Minute)”
  • Kelvin Harrison Jr. - “Waves,” “Luce”
  • Brian Tyree Henry - “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Widows”
  • Huang Jue - “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” “The Lady in the Portrait”
  • Jang Hye-Jin - “Parasite,” “Poetry”
  • Jo Yeo-Jeong - “Parasite,” “The Target”
  • Udo Kier - “The Painted Bird,” “Shadow of the Vampire”
  • Lee Jung-Eun - “Parasite,” “Okja”
  • Eva Longoria - “Overboard,” “Harsh Times”
  • Natasha Lyonne - “Honey Boy,” “American Pie”
  • Tzi Ma - “The Farewell,” “Arrival”
  • George MacKay - “1917,” “Captain Fantastic”
  • Tim McGraw - “Country Strong,” “The Blind Side”
  • Thomasin McKenzie - “Jojo Rabbit,” “Leave No Trace”
  • Ben Mendelsohn - “Ready Player One,” “Animal Kingdom”
  • Rob Morgan - “Just Mercy,” “Mudbound”
  • Niecy Nash - “Downsizing,” “Selma”
  • Genevieve Nnaji - “Lionheart,” “Road to Yesterday”
  • Park So-Dam - “Parasite,” “The Priests”
  • Teyonah Parris - “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Chi-Raq”
  • Florence Pugh - “Little Women,” “Lady Macbeth”
  • Hrithik Roshan - “Super 30,” “Jodhaa Akbar”
  • James Saito - “Always Be My Maybe,” “Big Eyes”
  • Alexander Siddig - “Cairo Time,” “Syriana”
  • Lakeith Stanfield - “Knives Out,” “Sorry to Bother You”
  • Yul Vazquez - “Gringo,” “Last Flag Flying”
  • John David Washington - “BlacKkKlansman,” “Monsters and Men”
  • Olivia Wilde - “Meadowland,” “Rush”
  • Constance Wu - “Hustlers,” “Crazy Rich Asians”
  • Wu Jing - “The Wandering Earth,” “Wolf Warrior”
  • Zhao Tao - “Ash Is Purest White,” “Mountains May Depart”

• Directors

  • Ali Abbasi - “Border,” “Shelley”
  • Levan Akin - “And Then We Danced,” “The Circle”
  • Francesca Archibugi - “A Question of the Heart,” “Tomorrow”
  • Ari Aster - “Midsommar,” “Hereditary”
  • Icíar Bolláin - “Even the Rain,” “Take My Eyes”
  • Kat Candler - “Hellion,” “Jumping off Bridges”
  • Felipe Cazals - “El Año de la Peste,” “Canoa: A Shameful Memory.”
  • Cristina Comencini - “Latin Lover,” “Don’t Tell.”
  • Sebastián Cordero - “Europa Report,” “Crónicas”
  • Terence Davies - “The House of Mirth,” “The Long Day Closes”
  • Sophie Deraspe - “Antigone,” “A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile”
  • Mati Diop - “Atlantics,” “A Thousand Suns.”
  • Robert Eggers - “The Lighthouse,” “The Witch”
  • Luis Estrada - “The Perfect Dictatorship,” “Herod’s Law”
  • Sydney Freeland - “Deidra & Laney Rob a Train,” “Drunktown’s Finest”
  • Bette Gordon - “Handsome Harry,” “Variety”
  • Maggie Greenwald - “Sophie and the Rising Sun,” “The Ballad of Little Jo”
  • Megan Griffiths - “Sadie,” “The Night Stalker”
  • Alma Har’el - “Honey Boy,” “Bombay Beach.”
  • Sterlin Harjo - “Mekko,” “Barking Water”
  • Kathleen Hepburn - “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open,” “Never Steady, Never Still”
  • Jan Komasa - “Corpus Christi,” “Warsaw ’44”
  • Tamara Kotevska - “Honeyland.”
  • Alejandro Landes - “Monos,” “Porfirio”
  • John H. Lee - “Operation Chromite,” “71: Into the Fire”
  • Ladj Ly - “Les Misérables.”
  • Victoria Mahoney - “Yelling to the Sky”
  • Samira Makhmalbaf - “At Five in the Afternoon,” “The Apple”
  • Mai Masri - “3000 Nights,” “33 Days”
  • Akin Omotoso - “Vaya,” “Tell Me Sweet Something”
  • Matt Reeves - “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Cloverfield”
  • Ljubo Stefanov - “Honeyland.”
  • Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers - “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open,” “the city before the city.”
  • Maria Tognazzi - “Me, Myself & Her,” “A Five Star Life”
  • Jorge Alí Triana - “Bolívar Soy Yo,” “A Time to Die”
  • Matthew Vaughn - “Kick-Ass,” “Layer Cake”
  • Lulu Wang - “The Farewell,” “Posthumous.”
  • Wash Westmoreland - “Still Alice,” “Quinceanera”
  • Andrés Wood - “Arana,” “Violeta Went to Heaven”

Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

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Edited & Posted by Surender Hastir | 3:03 PM | View the original post

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 Surender Hastir | 12:22 PM | View the original post


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