“More Action Needed to Retain Women in Science” Certain scientific fields require a special type of brilliance, according to conventional wisdom. And a new study suggests that this belief, as misguided as it may be, helps explain the underrepresentation of women in those fields.Sparked by sharing anecdotes about their personal experiences in fields with very different gender ratios, a team of authors, led by Andrei Cimpian, a psychologist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and philosopher Sarah-Jane Leslie of Princeton University, surveyed graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty members at nine major U.S. research institutions. Participants rated the importance of having “an innate gift or talent” or “a special aptitude that just can’t be taught” to succeed in their field versus the value of “motivation and sustained effort.” The study, published online today in Science, looked across 30 disciplines in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, the social sciences, and the humanities.The authors found that fields in which inborn ability is prized over hard work produced relatively fewer female Ph.D.s. This trend, based on 2011 data from the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates, also helps explain why gender ratios don’t follow the simplified STEM/non-STEM divide in some fields, including philosophy and biology, they conclude.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“That’s what’s particularly cool” about the study, says Janet Hyde, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “It’s a single framework that explains all of those data.”Cimpian, Leslie, and their co-authors say that their analysis considered other factors believed to depress female representation in academia, including women having different academic preferences and working fewer hours than men, and found them to be much less significant than the field’s believed importance of genius. Only 6.5% of the 28,210 academics who were contacted provided usable data. But the authors say they corrected for that single-digit response rate, which they note is typical for surveys of academics, by weighting the respondents’ scores. Although female respondents emphasized hard work over brilliance more than did male respondents, the authors say that a “gender-balanced” score for each discipline’s belief in the importance of genius also predicted gender differences in the various fields.The authors suggest that faculty members and graduate student instructors convey their attitudes to undergraduates, who internalize them before making career decisions. Given the prevailing societal view that fewer women than men have special intellectual abilities, they speculate, female students may feel discouraged from pursuing advanced degrees in fields that consider brilliance crucial. Male students, on the other hand, will not experience this same feedback, leading to a gender disparity in the discipline.The study investigates gender distribution and field-specific beliefs only at a single point in time, and the results do not address how female representation in certain fields, in particular the life sciences, has risen dramatically in the past 50 years. However, the authors predict that the rates at which women have gained footholds in different fields may be related to how much these fields emphasize the importance of genius.The results do not speak to the actual extent to which brilliance might be required for success in various fields or whether men and women have different intellectual capacities, the authors emphasize. “The argument is about the culture of the field,” Cimpian says. “In our current cultural climate, where women are stereotypically seen as less likely to possess these special intellectual gifts, emphasizing that those gifts are required for success is going to have a differential effect on men and women.”He and his colleagues also conclude that their findings help explain why African-Americans are underrepresented in STEM professions while Asian-Americans are not. “That’s another line of evidence that supports the gender data and that this a real phenomenon,” Hyde says.The authors recommend that academics wanting to increase the diversity of their field should try to downplay the importance of innate ability for success. “More emphasis on the concrete steps that one can take to become a productive member of the field would probably be welcome,” Cimpian says. Expressions of positive expectations can significantly improve achievement levels, notes psychologist Virginia Valian of Hunter College in New York City. “It’s good for every field to stress the role of effort and motivation,” she says.Although the authors do not argue that this single measure explains all the variation seen between fields, some researchers believe that the study has not sufficiently considered other possible reasons. Donna Ginther, an economist at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, suggests that the extent to which a field is math-intensive — a topic she has explored — is one such factor. On the other hand, some researchers note that philosophy is not mathematically intensive, and thus that factor would not be expected to affect career choices.“It’s not perfect,” Valian says of the authors’ study, “but they did an impressive job with the measures that are available. I think it’s a really good first step.”Related content:“Study: Women and minorities less interested in academic research careers” “Is academic science sexist?” “Nearly 40 percent of women leave engineering” “Elite Male Faculty Employ Fewer Women” “The Complexity of Gender Differences in Choosing STEM” “Paradigms and prejudice” “What Is Keeping Women Out of Leadership Jobs in Academic Medicine?”
Construction projects unearth skeletons fairly often, but archaeologists knew right away that the “Zoutsteeg Three” were special. Named after the area of Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch half of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin where they were found, the two men and one woman were accidentally dug up in 2010, along with artifacts dating to the 17th century. But they apparently hadn’t been born on Saint Martin: Their teeth had been intentionally chipped and filed into points and other shapes—a cultural practice foreign to the Caribbean but common in sub-Saharan Africa at the time. The find suggested that the trio had been born in Africa and brought to Saint Martin as slaves.Now, thanks to a tricky genetic analysis, researchers have managed to trace the origins of the Zoutsteeg Three to at least two distinct linguistic groups in West Africa. The study paints a fuller picture of the African populations that were subjected to the transatlantic slave trade and suggests that DNA may help scientists reconstruct the life histories and ancestry of enslaved individuals.Hannes Schroeder, an ancient DNA researcher at the University of Copenhagen, had previously studied the Zoutsteeg Three’s skeletons, determining that all three of them were between 25 and 40 when they died. Their dental modifications, along with the chemical isotopes found in their teeth, strongly suggested that they had been born somewhere in Africa, and radiocarbon dating placed their burial between 1660 and 1688. If he wanted to learn more about their origins, Schroeder knew he needed their DNA, but he wasn’t particularly optimistic about being able to sequence it. “The Caribbean is the last place you want to look for [ancient] DNA because it’s hot and humid,” and the genetic information that remained in the Zoutsteeg Three’s skeletons was indeed quite degraded, he says. The team used RNA probes to fish out the surviving bits of ancient human DNA from samples taken from their tooth roots and managed to collect enough nuclear and mitochondrial DNA to compare the genomes of the Zoutsteeg Three with those of 11 modern West African populations.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)One of the men likely belonged to a Bantu-speaking group, possibly in northern Cameroon, while the other man and the woman were more likely non-Bantu speakers, maybe from Nigeria or Ghana, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“The idea that you can trace recent historical events by integrating ancient genomics and modern genomics is really exciting,” says Sarah Tishkoff, a geneticist at the University of Pennsylvania who compiled the reference database of modern African genomes that Schroeder’s team used. “It sets the stage for what can be done in the future.”In the present, however, Schroeder is the first to admit that even his team’s fairly vague conclusions are plagued by uncertainty and that the three skeletons can’t be confidently placed into any particular population. From samples that contained only 0.3% to 7% human DNA, the researchers were able to reconstruct a rough picture of about 50% of the best preserved individual’s genome. What’s more, even the modern samples came from only 11 African populations, out of the estimated 50 or so from which slaves were taken, Tishkoff explains. It’s possible that the genomes of the Zoutsteeg Three’s closest modern relatives simply haven’t been analyzed yet, but it’s also possible the populations they belonged to no longer exist. “At this point in time, we simply cannot trace any of these samples to a particular tribe or ethnic group in Africa,” Tishkoff emphasizes.Still, the genetic differences between the Bantu and non-Bantu speaking groups are large enough that both Schroeder and Tishkoff expect that distinction to hold up. And even this broad ancestral difference underlines something important about enslaved Africans, according to Schroeder: They lived alongside other Africans who spoke different languages and came from different cultural groups. Analyzing the genomes of more enslaved Africans “and [finding] out where they came from … can tell us more about these people’s identities and how they transformed over the centuries that followed,” he says.Schroeder’s lab is now collaborating with Howard University in Washington, D.C., to analyze the genetic ancestry of a small number of the enslaved and free Africans who were interred at the New York African Burial Ground in lower Manhattan between the 1690s and 1794. The site is now a national park, and discovery of the cemetery in the early 1990s—also during a construction project—ignited controversy about how to best excavate and study the remains. “The ethical issues are profound in dealing with skeletal materials of previously enslaved individuals,” says Fatimah Jackson, a biologist and anthropologist at Howard who previously worked as the director of genetics for the New York African Burial Ground Project. But in both the New York and Caribbean cases, “it seems to me that, as a scientist, the best way to ‘honor’ these unfortunate individuals is to allow their story to be told,” she says. “The story of a few can illuminate the condition of the masses.”*Correction, 11 March, 11:25 a.m.: This article misstated the percentage of the best preserved individual’s genome the researchers were able to reconstruct. It was about 50%, not 7%.
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The high court on Thursday passed an interim order directing the Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) to permit a batch of petitioner-students holding Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards to submit their applications offline for the Common Entrance Test (CET) 2018 for admission to engineering courses. The last date for submitting applications is February 26. Related Items
British detectives on Tuesday raided several properties in the Midlands in connection with alleged extremist activity and fraud in India. Some Sikh radicals in the United Kingdom have claimed that the raids were targeted at them.Read it at Times of India Related Items
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Nearly 40 crew members (of which over 30 are Indian nationals) have been abandoned at Sharjah port in the UAE by Elite Way Marine Services, Dubai. Given network issues, poor provisions and extremely limited fresh water supplies, lack of pay and forced energy conservation – and with no end to the issue in sight – the physical and mental health of these seafarers is at a critical stage.Read it at The Wire Related Items
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Asian and African researchers face most visa hurdles while trying to go overseas on work, according to a new survey. Researchers from these two continents are also less likely to go abroad for their research-related work, according to the survey published in the Nature journal.However, almost all the researchers surveyed acknowledged the importance of international movement for their work.The survey, titled “International movement and science,” found that Asian and African researchers are three to four times more likely to face visa-related hurdles than those from America and Europe. It found that Asian researchers were over four times more likely, and African researchers more than three times as likely, to face visa hurdles than their American or European counterparts.“Overall, 40 percent of respondents with an Asian nationality (152/380, mostly from India) and 34 percent of respondents with an African nationality (134/398) reported that a visa-related issue had been an obstacle to them visiting another country for research purposes, compared with 9 percent (28/302) of North American and 9 percent (82/946) of European respondents,” according to the report.More than one-third of researchers from Asia and Africa said that a visa-related issue had been an obstacle to them visiting another country for a research purpose. One-fourth of the respondents from Africa and Asia said they had encountered visa issues that affected long-term relocation to another country, compared with 13 percent of North American and 7 percent of European researchers.Around 45 percent of African nationals reported travelling to another country for research work very rarely, compared to only around 17 percent of those from Europe.Researchers cited visa-related issues such as time-taking process, lengthy and complex application forms, cost of application, and lack of clarity about rules and processes.With the help of the survey, authors were able to identify behavioral patterns, drivers and barriers to the international mobility of researchers, the journal cited Gordon McInroy, an analyst at RAND Europe in Cambridge, as saying. Researchers were, however, not supposed to identify the reasons behind differences in travel-related opportunities.African researchers and other respondents, who never traveled abroad previously, were more likely to cite lack of knowledge about work opportunities overseas as a hurdle in going abroad. Family-related challenges were also cited as the reasons for not going overseas for work, the report said.The online survey was conducted by RAND Europe on behalf of Together Science Can and Wellcome Trust. It spoke to 2,465 respondents from 109 countries (the number of countries is based on the respondents’ first reported nationality), with the United Kingdom, the United States and India providing a large proportion of responses.The respondents were asked about the about their travel patterns, enablers and hurdles they came across when traveling or applying for visa. They were also asked about the perceived outcomes of their international movement. Questions referred to relocation as well as shorter-term travel. Related ItemsAfricaAsiaVisa
Two Indians are among the 25 richest Malaysians in this year’s Forbes list.Telecom giant Ananda Krishnan, head of Maxis Communications, the country’s largest cellphone service provider, with a net worth of $8.1 billion, ranked second on the list, behind Robert Kuok, chairman of Shangri-La Hotels, with $12 billion.Building contractor A K Nathan, 54, head of Eversendai, ranked 24th with a net worth of $250 million. Related Items
Last month, on a trip to Mumbai I did my usual homage-giri to a dear, old, respected and cherished friend, Gulzar. The latest recipient of the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award, was his usual warm, witty, modest and engaging self. Unlike some before him, he accepted the honor with suitable grace and tongue-in-cheek eloquence (“As somebody who has dealt with words all his life, even converting it to a professional calling, for once I have to confess, I am speechless!”) and refused to be cynical and interpret the award as a send-off gesture, choosing instead to perceive it as a gracious acknowledgement of his endeavor across five decades in creativity.One of the rare breed of old timers who, while saluting the past continues to passionately embrace the present, Gulzarbhai is in the habit of cautioning the misty-eyed from getting carried away romanticizing the past and blinkering off the exciting challenges and opportunities offered by the here and now. While he remains totally bullish on the triumphant and relentless march of technology and social media, acknowledging their huge contribution in the area of communication across all frontiers, he however feels that somewhere a line has to be drawn between Facebook and face-to-face! Human contact — touch, feel, see, talk — after all has no substitute, because life, in the real sense, can never be lived by proxy. If human contact is ignored at the altar of technology, he anticipates problems.Bollywood’s Poet Laureate couldn’t have said it better or at a more appropriate time because, as we speak, The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences [NIMHANS] has opened a brand new Technology De-Addiction Clinic in Bangalore, the first of its kind in India! It will cater to anxious parents seeking treatment for their wi-fi’d kids’ unstoppable obsession for social networking, chatting, texting, mobile games, etc.Observations from the health professionals indicate two worrying parental concerns: a steep decline academics and their children’s determined plugging away from social interaction to luxuriate in their own private space where Smartphones and Facebook rule. The moment these are denied or embargoed, pouts of inexplicable loneliness, melancholy and boredom follow.“It’s as if the virtual world is their blissed-out reality and the real world, an intrusive, unwanted and uncomfortable domain,” complains a baffled mother of a 16-year-old net junkie. Mental health professionals admit that this is a very serious mental disorder akin to drugs or alcohol and needs to be urgently addressed on a war-footing at a time when tabs and smartphones are flying off the shelves across the land. A recent report of a 13-year-old girl in Bangalore hanging herself after her mother ordered her to delete her FB account, is, they warn, just the tip of the iceberg.Resurgent and hot-wired India seems to be a soft target for these lethally seductive techno-toys. Telecon giant Ericson reckons that the nation would have a whopping 500 million mobile and broadband users by 2020, a four-fold leap from the present level. The mobile-user base is predicted to grow to 1.14 billion by 2020, up from 795 billion in 2013. Facebook has already crossed 100 million.It is a widespread, rampaging and contagious disease, says Dr. Vivek Benegal, a reputed professor of psychiatry at the Centre for Addiction at NIMHANS, with younger and younger kids joining the party every day. Parents seem clueless, helpless and at sea against this techno onslaught and have begun to actively seek help from counselors and medical professionals. For this disturbing state of affairs, who is to blame — kids, fixated on these gizmos with their astonishing power to connect with anyone, anywhere, in the privacy of their bedroom — or parents, who are conditioned to old-fashioned methods of dealing with raising kids, oblivious to changing paradigms and the need to re-invent the art of engagement with new-age children of Marc Zuckerburg?As always, the views are polarized. Social networking fans insist that online families promote interaction with friends, offer the education community valuable access to funding and materials, facilitate social, cultural and political change and, most importantly, disseminate urgent and useful information at lightning speed.The other side laments that it discourages face-to-face communication, wastes time on frivolous activity, alters kids’ focus and behavioral patterns, exposes users to predators like pedophiles and burglars and spreads false and dangerous information.In her seminal bookAlone Together, MIT social psychologist Sherry Turkle offers a compelling narrative based on research and interviews with teens about how kids today, while more connected to each other than ever before in human history, have never been more lonely, isolated and distant in their unplugged lives, leading to emotional disconnect, mental fatigue and high levels of anxiety.One of the most dramatic change that social networking has had on society, she reckons, is the uncanny ability to be elsewhere at any point in time, to sidestep what is difficult and hard in personal reaction and go to another place where it does not have to be dealt with. “When teens tell me that they’d rather text than talk, they are expressing another aspect of this new psychological affordance of this new technology — the possibility of hiding from each other. A phone can reveal too much, they say.”Turkle also believes that while social networks can indeed help keep real friendship lively and updated, there is another disturbing trend where kids befriend friends, they don’t know, leading to problems. These superficial bondings can provide the comforting illusion of companionship without the demands, responsibilities and commitment of friendship. Turkle makes a telling point when she suggests that teens always complain about having to perform a character on social network, living multiple lives, leading often to performance anxiety. Between the performance, exhaustion and the sense that they never had their parents’ full attention, young people are subliminally nostalgic for something they’ve messed out. Turkle concludes by saying that she is gravely concerned about “kids losing touch with the kind of reality and solitude that refreshes and restores.She could well be speaking about the Indian scenario where to de-tox, the De-addiction clinic has arrived. Can this Frankenstein be tamed? Is the Bangalore clinic only the first volley in the drive to help harassed parents get their young net-junkies back on track? Will Social Network destroy innocence of childhood and adolescence, forever? Will Facebook alter the face of society? It’s a tough call. Related Items
Cab-for-hire app company Uber is set to review its Asian operations after facing a U.S. federal probe to check whether the company broke laws against overseas bribery. The charges surfaced after the U.S. officials were notified about payments made by staff in Indonesia.As the parent company grapples with the exit of its top executives after a series of scandals, the latest review of its operations would be a major distraction in the Indian unit.The review of operations delving into the foreign payments made and interview of employees will include countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea.Probe in IndonesiaUber is facing a federal probe over happened late last year when the company had a run in with Indonesia police over the location of an office in Jakarta providing support to local drivers. As police officers said the space was outside city zoning for businesses, an employee decided to dole out multiple, small payments to the police in order to continue operating there, Bloomberg reported.The transactions approved by Alan Jiang, the company’s head of Indonesia business, showed up on the employee’s expense reports as payments to local authorities. Uber fired the employee and Jiang was put on a leave of absence. He has since left the company.Uber Under Scrutiny in MalaysiaIn Malaysia, a corporate donation running into tens of thousands of dollars to a government-backed entrepreneur hub called Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre was announced in August 2016. At that time, a Malaysian pension fund, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan), had invested $30 million in Uber. A few months after this, the Malaysian government passed national ride-hailing laws, which benefited Uber and its peers. Lawyers are trying to see whether there was any form of quid pro quo.Bloomberg quoted people knowledgeable on the matter as saying that Uber’s law firm is looking into a web of financial arrangements tied to the Malaysian government that may have influenced lawmakers there.The Case of Eric AlexanderEmil Michael and Eric Alexander, two former executives at Uber, were involved in clinching the deals in both the countries, the report added.Alexander, who used to head the company’s Asia Pacific operations, was fired earlier this year after media reports emerged about him and other Uber executives accessing the medical reports of a woman raped by an Uber driver in Delhi in 2014.The company will look into business dealings Alexander may have had in connection with the 2014 rape case, the Mint reported citing sources familiar with Uber India’s operations. His role was first reviewed as a part of Uber’s wide probe on sexual harassment in which the company fired 20 people. Alexander was said to have shown the records to then Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and top executive Emil Michael, after which the three of them doubted whether the woman had been raped. The law firm is also checking whether other executives in India had acted inappropriately in the rape case.“This matter will continue to be a major distraction for Uber in the foreseeable future. It’s not going to go away anytime soon. In fact, this is just the beginning,” said one of the sources to the Mint.Asia Operations Under ReviewAll this is coming under the ambit of Uber’s law firm O’Melveny & Myers Llp, which is reviewing the company’s Asia operations. The December 2014 rape case was a watershed moment for Uber in India, following which the company was banned by the Delhi government for a few weeks. The company bounced back with stricter driver verification processes that included adding an SOS button on its app and launching an expensive public relations campaign, including television ads, to repair its image.Former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was named Uber’s new CEO after several months of hunt to replace Kalanick. Related ItemsEric AlexanderLittle IndiaTravis KalanickU.S. Federal probe UberUber 2014 rape caseUber controversyUber India coontroversy
Several legislators from the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress were in contact with the ruling BJP, newly-appointed Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil claimed on Thursday. He asserted that the Opposition camp would witness a spate of resignations in the coming week.“Had the Opposition MLAs resigned six months before the Assembly election, then it would have facilitated bypolls. Now with the Assembly elections barely three months away, a number of Congress and NCP legislators will be resigning in the coming 8-10 days. A number of their MLAs are in touch with us. They will be given entry in our party at the appropriate moment,” he told reporters before his tour of Solapur and Osmanabad districts.Mr. Patil, who is the Revenue Minister, however, refused to disclose any names. “Where is the fun once I reveal names. The joy of life is in its uncertainty,” he said.The top leadership of the Congress and the NCP had utterly lost people’s confidence following their rout in the recently Lok Sabha elections. “With its top leadership busy tendering their resignations, how can they [Congress-NCP leadership] expect their underlings to carry on working for the party” he asked.When asked if the entry of turncoats and their being given tickets would disgruntle loyalists, Mr. Patil said that no injustice would be done to BJP old-timers.“We only take steps to candidates or give ticket to nominees if we discern any winning potential in them. We changed candidates on as many as seven Lok Sabha seats [in Maharashtra] and all those who were newly awarded tickets carried the day for us,” he said. The BJP- Shiv Sena was planning its strategy in such a way that the coalition would win at least 220 Assembly seats.Mr. Patil reiterated that there was no ambiguity on the question of an alliance between the BJP and the Shiv Sena. Only the precise nature of the seat-sharing arrangement remained to be known. “There is no doubt whatsoever on the question of an alliance, only what will be its nature is known only to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Sena preident Uddhav Thackeray and BJP national president Amit Shah,” he said.State Congress head dismisses Patil’s claim Meanwhile, newly-appointed Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Balasaheb Thorat rubbished Mr. Patil’s ‘disclosure’ of Congress legislators resigning and joining the BJP as “ludicrous” and “laughable”.“There is no grain of truth in his [Mr. Patil’s] claims,” Mr. Thorat said in Mumbai. Dr. Vishwajeet Kadam, Congress MLA from Palus-Kadegaon in Sangli district, too, dismissed the BJP State chief’s “Goebbels-like rumours” as deliberately designed to mislead and create misconceptions just before the Assembly polls.“This is all the BJP’s doing. With such claims, Chandrakant Patil is deliberately trying to pollute the political climate just before the Assembly elections,” said Dr. Kadam, who is also one of the five newly-appointed working presidents of the MPCC. Earlier, Mr. Patil, in a remark that hinted at Dr. Kadam’s possible defection to the BJP, had said that it ought to come as no surprise if one of the five working presidents of the MPCC joined the BJP in the next 15-20 days. “Such statements [on Mr. Patil’s part] are utterly meaningless and unfounded…Like my father, the late Dr. Patagrao Kadam, I will always continue to remain a Congress loyalist,” Dr. Kadam stressed.
Odisha government on Friday said the State will soon have a sports policy of its own to promote various sports activities. This was stated by Sports and Youth Services Minister Tusharkanti Behera while replying to questions in the Assembly. Stating that the National Sports Policy is in force in the State, Mr. Behera said a draft on Odisha’s own sports policy has been prepared. However, the Minister said the State has a policy to release special grant to various sports associations for conducting national and international championship in Odisha under the aegis of the concerned recognised national federation. Replying to a question on the number of sports persons in the State, the Minister said no such survey has been done in Odisha. Sports persons are being given identity cards under various categories. He said sports persons, who have played at international sports events, have been provided jobs in various sectors. While sprint queen Dutee Chand got job in Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), athlete Srabani Nanda was given job in Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC). A total of 96 sports persons have been given jobs in Odisha Police, he informed the Assembly.
Eleven years after the bruised body of British teenager was found at the Anjuna beach here, the High Court of Bombay at Goa on Friday sentenced a shack worker to 10 years rigorous imprisonment.A Division Bench of Justices R.D. Dhanuka and Prithviraj Chavan had held Samson D’Souza guilty on July 17 for “culpable homicide not amounting to murder” and molestation, among other charges.The Bench had overturned the verdict of Goa Children’s Court which had acquitted D’Souza. It however upheld the acquittal of the second accused Placido Carvalho.The 15-year-old victim, who was holidaying in Goa with her mother and siblings, was found dead on the popular beach on February 18, 2008. The cause of death, according to the autopsy report, was drowning.Initial investigation was conducted by Goa Police. However, the victim’s mother alleged that the probe was “shabby”. The State then handed over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation. D’Souza, who worked at a beach-side shack, and Carvalho, a suspected drug dealer, were first arrested, based on witness accounts, by Goa Police.The CBI named both in its charge sheet, claiming they drugged the girl and sexually abused her. Trial court judge Vandana Tendulkar acquitted them in 2016, which the CBI challenged.The high court two days ago held D’Souza guilty under IPC Sections 328 (for administering drugs), 354 (outraging modesty), 304 (culpable homicide not amounting murder) and 201 (destruction of evidence) and for child abuse under section 8 (2) of the Goa Children’s Act. D’Souza was present in the courtroom on Friday. His lawyer sought a stay to the sentence for 12 weeks so that he could file an appeal in the Supreme Court.The Bench rejected the plea. D’Souza was sent to judicial custody and will be shifted to a prison at Colvale in North Goa district.Senior lawyer Vikram Varma, who represented the victim’s mother, said justice has been finally delivered.
Amid speculation about a Cabinet reshuffle in Rajasthan after the merger of six BSP MLAs with the Congress, signs of rift have emerged in the ruling party. The infighting may create difficulties for the Congress which is preparing for municipal elections in November and planning to launch a membership drive in the State.The merger of the BSP MLAs with the Congress, just when reports surfaced that the Bharatiya Janata Party was trying to lure them in a bid to repeat a Karnataka-type upheaval in Rajasthan, has been perceived in the political circles here as a “masterstroke” of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Senior BJP leaders in the State were left bewildered by the move.The merger has taken the Congress’ tally from 100 to 106 in the 200-member Assembly, resulting in a setback to the BJP rather than the BSP. While affirming that the BSP was not in a position to form the government, Mr. Gehlot said here over the week-end that he was told that the BJP was offering up to ₹25 crore each to the Assembly members for switching sides.Though the Congress members are happy that Mr. Gehlot has nipped the alleged BJP plot in the bud, some of them feel that elevating the newly inducted BSP MLAs as ministers would affect the morale of party workers. The voices of dissent emerged at a meeting of Pradesh Congress Committee here on Friday.Former Minister and PCC vice-president Laxman Singh Rawat said rewarding the BSP MLAs with ministerial posts and other plum assignments would demotivate Congress MLAs and workers. He affirmed that appointing the first-time winners as Ministers would send across a wrong message in the party’s rank and file.Though Mr. Gehlot has insisted that the six BSP MLAs had joined the Congress on their own for ensuring the government’s stability, the merger was a replay of the 2009 events when six BSP MLAs had defected to the Congress which was five short of a clear majority in the House. Half of them were made Ministers and others were appointed Paliamentary Secretaries.Though Deputy CM Sachin Pilot, who is also the PCC president, has defended the latest political developments, his recent utterances calling for “more attention” to the law and order situation have been seen as criticism of the Home Ministry, which is headed by Mr. Gehlot.However, Mr. Gehlot has displayed his political skills and strengthened his position within the party with the BSP MLAs’ merger. He has also silenced his critics who have been claiming that two power centres were functioning in the Congress since the formation of the government in December 2018.
The USA’s Thanksgiving holiday (the fourth Thursday of November) launches a frenzy of retail commerce in what is arguably the most consumerist country in the world, with the day following, colloquially known as Black Friday, full of deals and promotions and the start of the holiday season, and the biggest shopping day of the year. The following Monday has been dubbed Cyber Monday, similarly encouraging online shopping.In 2012, in a reaction to this frenzy, a community organisation in New York City, 92nd Street Y, with the United Nations Foundation, proposed GivingTuesday, five days after Thanksgiving, to encourage charitable giving.The movement has spread quickly around the world: in 2018, it was celebrated in over 150 countries (60 of them official partners). It raised more than $400 million from 3.6 million donors in the USA alone last year, and counting only online giving, and the hashtag-friendly concept chalked up over 14.2 billion social media impressions around the world.In India, a similar movement started earlier, in 2009, when an informal group of organisations and individuals came together for the Joy of Giving Week (later renamed Daan Utsav) which runs from October 2 to 8. Ten years later, the two movements unite with GivingTuesday India on October 8. (Unlike the global celebration, GivingTuesday India will happen on the Tuesday within the week-long Utsav in future years, better positioned to take advantage of the country’s far longer festive shopping season.)Asha Curran was involved with GivingTuesday since its conception, and ran it from 92nd St Y, where she was Chief Innovation Officer. Over the last year, the concept has been spun out as its own NGO, with its own board, and Ms Curran as its CEO (she is no longer with 92Y). The Hindu asked Ms. Curran, who is visiting India, about the growth of the movement.How does GivingTuesday work?GivingTuesday is a day for anyone anywhere to give, in whatever way is meaningful for them, for civil society organisations to experiment, collaborate, and innovate, for communities to come together. It’s an open source movement, owned and co-created by people all over the world which has grown to be a global annual ritual of generosity.From that relatively simply initial idea, we now see not just organisations and everyday people participating, but small towns, big cities, entire countries. It’s been a remarkable eight years of growth.How long did it take to get traction? What did the founding team do to ensure word was spread?It caught on much more quickly than we expected. It was obvious that the idea of a day dedicated to generosity resonated with people; the idea that you don’t have to be a big philanthropist to make a positive impact, and the idea that social media could be used to make good go viral.It was the right idea at the right time: the very beginning of so-called ‘hashtag movements’, which are now ubiquitous. Even without big dollars for marketing or promoting, word spread at a very grassroots level.GivingTuesday is now an independent organisation, what we describe as a ‘backbone organisation’ of the global movement. We have a network of people leading GivingTuesday in their own regions, but who learn from and support one another on an ongoing basis. [GivingTuesday, the organisation] exists to support, amplify, and connect participants and initiatives.How did GivingTuesday start going international?Completely organically!The amazing thing about the age we live in is that ideas can spread across borders incredibly quickly. (Of course, we see this play out in both good ways and bad.) First, the UK and Canada picked up the idea. But over the next seven years, over 60 countries launched their own formal movements, including, of course, India. From Brazil to Tanzania to Russia to Singapore, GivingTuesday proves that generosity is truly a universal value. That sense of unity exists even though GivingTuesday is adapted to reflect the unique identities and communities of all those vastly different regions.What kind of people support GivingTuesday?Anyone and everyone who finds it rewarding to do good. There is particularly strong representation among millennials, but really, almost every age group is represented, including, launched just this year, GivingTuesday Kids.The power of the idea is that it crosses borders, languages, political systems, ages. Everyone has something to give, and everyone feels the positive emotional response of being generous. Our data suggests that generous people don’t usually give in just one way. They are likely to donate, but also to give their time, their advocacy, their mentorship, their kindness. Generosity manifests in many ways, all equally valuable.The problem is that many people simply haven’t been taught to think that they have anything of value to give. We try to break down the false distinction between those who have and those who need. We all can be generous, and every single one of us needs something, as well. In that way, generosity is an act of solidarity.What kind of causes get most support?This really differs based on what platform you’re looking at, what country, etc. GivingTuesday ultimately benefits every possible cause you could think of, from hunger to poverty to animal welfare to the environment. The movement is cause-agnostic, meaning we encourage giving to whatever cause each person is most passionate about, or giving not to a cause at all, but to a neighbour, a stranger, a community. All of those expressions of generosity are equally valuable.How hard (or easy) is it to get businesses to support this?We actually see companies participate in increasingly creative ways, even using GivingTuesday to reimagine traditional CSR programs. This will be particularly interesting to watch in India, which is very unique when it comes to the responsibility of corporations to show increasing social impact.GivingTuesday can be used as an employee-facing initiative, a consumer-facing one, a social media one, all of the above, and more. Many companies use the movement to support whatever cause they are publicly aligned with, others to highlight the causes that their constituents care about.Why is GivingTuesday India on a different day? Won’t this result in losing out on the global momentum?India is completely unique in this way. It was one of many times with GivingTuesday where we had to ask ourselves how experimental we were willing to be, because of course there is something so special about so much of the world celebrating on the same day, but at the same time it’s almost always the case that we err on the side of experimentation.It makes all the sense in the world to hold GivingTuesday India during the week of Daan Utsav. And we’ve been thrilled by what we’ve seen here.The rest of the world cheers India on, and then in turn GivingTuesday India turns its support to the global celebration on December 3. I spend a lot of my time travelling around visiting our various GivingTuesday communities, and I’m especially excited to be here in India for the day itself.Worldwide, we’re hearing murmurs about a recession. It’s certainly louder than a murmur in India. How do you see this impacting charitable giving?It already is. Individual giving among the middle-class in the US is going down, not only because of recession murmurs but because of rampant income inequality and wage stagnation.However, that trend reverses on GivingTuesday and giving spikes. I believe people will always show their generosity. But it might not be in ways that are as easily measured as donations.So, one question is, with a world in crisis, how do we support the organisations that are feeding the hungry, sheltering the unsheltered, healing the wounded; but the larger question is, how do we use generosity to fuel systematic and structural change so that those problems don’t exist in the first place? GivingTuesday’s larger vision is for a more just world, not simply more giving within an unjust one.
Amid the ongoing war of words between the Trinamool Congress government and Raj Bhavan, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar along with his wife visited to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s residence to attend Kali Puja and spent around two hours there. “I am glad to be here. Met several people. I heard that the songs that are being played here have been written by the chief minister herself. I requested her to give me a CD of her songs,” Mr. Dhankhar said. Dressed in an off-white kurta-pyjama set and a sleeveless jacket, the governor also interacted with senior Ministers and Trinamool leaders who attended the puja. He even hugged state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee. There have been numerous run-ins between the governor and Mr. Chatterjee, also the Trinamool secretary-general, in recent times. Ms. Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee also exchanged pleasantries with Mr. Dhankhar.The Chief Minister had invited the Governor to her south Kolkata residence on the occasion of Kali puja, after he had expressed his desire to visit her home during Bhatri Dwitiya or Bhai Dooj. Later, Ms. Banerjee wrote to Mr. Dhankhar inviting him to attend the 40-year-old Kali Puja at her residence in Kalighat.Mr. Dhankhar, who took oath as the Governor of West Bengal on July 30, had been at loggerheads with the State government over several issues — ranging from his seating arrangement at the Durga Puja carnival to security upgrade — since he rushed to Jadavpur University on September to “rescue” Union Minister Babul Supriyo, who was being “heckled” by a section of students. A controversy had erupted on October 25 after a Trinamool leader, who was the chief patron of a club in Barasat near Kolkata, stepped down from the post after it invited the Governor to inaugurate the Kali Puja. Sunil Mukherjee, the chairman of Trinamool-run Barasat Municipality, had said he was unhappy with the club’s move as the “Governor had a bias against the State government”.