IANS-

Anasuya Sengupta became the first Indian to win a top acting award at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday night.

The little-known actress who has worked mainly as a production designer in Mumbai and lives in Goa, took home the Best Actress award at the Un Certain Regard segment of the festival.

Sengupta won the award for her gritty role in Bulgarian director Constantin Bojanov’s film, ‘The Shameless’, which also features well-known actress Mita Vashist on its star cast. The film was shot over a month and half in India and Nepal.

Bojanov, an award-winning director, incidentally, is Anasuya’s Facebook friend. He caught her by surprise when one day out of the blue he asked her to send an audition tape. That was the start of the Jadavpur University graduate’s acting career.

The previous credits of the Kolkata-born debutante actress include being the production designer of Srijit Mukherjee’s ‘Forget Me Not’ in Netflix’s 2021 Satyajit Ray anthology and ‘Masaba Masaba’. She plays Renuka, a vagabond seeking refuge in a northern Indian community of sex workers after fleeing from Delhi on being charged with murder.

The film’s story centers around Renuka’s illicit love affair with a teenager named Devika, played by Omara Shetty, who’s initially sheltered from entering sex work because of her physical ailments, but not for long.

Receiving the award, a “shaking” Anasuya dedicated it to “the queer community and other marginalized communities for so bravely fighting a fight they really shouldn’t have to”.

Her voice shaking with emotion, and drawing repeated cheers and applause, she ended her short acceptance speech by saying, “We don’t need to be colonized to know how very, very pathetic colonizers are.”

 

IANS-

Seven newly born babies died after a fire broke out in a baby care centre in Delhi’s Shahdara, police said on Sunday.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Surendra Chaudhary said that on Saturday at around 11:30 p.m. a police control room (PCR) call regarding a fire at Baby Care NewBorn Hospital was received at Vivek Vihar police station, following which a police team rushed to the spot.

Upon reaching the spot, the fire was found in the hospital and its adjacent building.

“In the hospital, there were 12 newborn babies admitted and one was already dead before the fire incident. All the 12 newborn babies were rescued from the hospital with the help of other people and shifted to East Delhi Advance NICU Hospital, for treatment,” said the DCP.

The DCP said that fire tenders also reached the spot and doused the flames.

Delhi Fire Service (DFS) Chief Atul Garg said that seven children were declared dead at the hospital while five newly born babies are undergoing treatment.

“All 7 dead bodies have been further shifted to GTB Hospital for postmortem. Appropriate legal action is being taken against the owner of the hospital namely Naveen Kichi, a resident of Bhairon Enclave, Paschim Vihar, Delhi,” said the DCP.

 

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

The 77th annual Cannes Film Festival honored debutant director Payal Kapadia for her drama, “All We Imagine as Light,” with the prestigious Grand Prix award.

Kapadia created history and secured its place in cinematic lore as the first Indian film in three decades and the first ever by an Indian women director to grace the festival’s main competition.

A post on Instagram by the Festival de Cannes read, “Le Grand Prix est attribue a ALL WE IMAGINE AS LIGHT de PAYAL KAPADIA. The Jury Prize goes to ALL WE IMAGINE AS LIGHT by PAYAL KAPADIA.#Cannes2024 #Palmares #Awards #GrandPrix”‘

Receiving thunderous applause, the film’s screening garnered an eight-minute standing ovation.

Set against the backdrop of a bustling city, ‘All We Imagine as Light’ is the story of Prabha, a nurse, whose life takes an unexpected turn when she receives a mysterious gift from her estranged husband. Accompanied by her roommate Anu, the duo takes on a journey to a coastal town, where the mystical forest serves as a sanctuary for their dreams.

‘All We Imagine as Light’ stands as an Indo-French collaboration, co-produced by Petit Chaos from France and Chalk and Cheese Films from India.

‘All We Imagine as Light’ marks the feature film debut of Payal Kapadia. Before this, she won the Golden Eye award at Cannes for her documentary ‘A Night of Knowing Nothing.’The Cannes Film Festival started on May 14. Greta Gerwig was the jury president this year. Other members included Lily Gladstone, Kore-eda Hirokazu, Eva Green, Ebru Ceylan, Juan Antonio Bayona, Nadine Labaki, and Omar Sy.

 

By Justice Markandey Katju-

Justice Markandey Katju

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman of Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

The basic problems of the Indian subcontinent are the massive and abject poverty of our vast masses, the record and rising unemployment, the appalling level of child malnutrition ( every second Indian child is malnourished, according to the Global Hunger Index ), the skyrocketing prices of food and other essential commodities, the almost total lack of proper healthcare and good education for the masses, etc.

I have repeatedly said that abolishing these great evils, requires a mighty historical people’s revolution, and thereafter, the creation of a powerful modern industrial state in the Indian subcontinent. It cannot be achieved within the framework of parliamentary democracy, which runs largely on the basis of caste and communal vote banks. Till now I have not given details of this modern industrial state which we seek to create, but I believe it is high time to do so now.

Features, and characteristics of the modern industrial state we will create.

  1. Central feature

The central feature will be that it will be a welfare state, tasked with the object of destroying the great socio-economic evils mentioned above, which have plagued us for centuries. Our generation and our previous generations suffered terribly thereby, but we owe it to our children, grandchildren, and succeeding generations that they too do not suffer similarly, but instead enjoy a high standard of living, and lead decent lives. Such a welfare state cannot be created without a high level of industrialization, because only largescale modern industry can create the wealth we require for the welfare of our people. Without creating such a welfare state for our people, all other objectives are useless.

  1. Its leaders 

Its leaders will be genuinely patriotic, selfless, modern-minded persons determined to rapidly industrialize and modernize our country. Many people ask me where are those leaders? It is true that the present political leaders in India, of all political parties, are a bunch of selfish, slippery, shifty, rogues, rascals, scoundrels, charlatans, looters, deceivers, and mafiosi, who have no genuine love for the country, but only seek power and pelf. They are experts in polarising society on caste and communal lines, and inciting hatred, to get votes.

 

So I am not talking of these tricksters, swindlers, knaves, and scallywags. I am talking of quite another breed.

Nature does not like a vacuum. Historical experience shows that in the darkest periods of the history of many nations great leaders arose, e.g. in the great English, French, American, Russian and Chinese Revolutions. I am confident the same will happen in the Indian subcontinent too.

  1. Internal policies of the new government

Since India is a country of great diversity, with numerous religions, castes, languages, races,etc the government will not tolerate attempts by anyone to create discord and hatred among our communities, and give harsh and severe punishment to the offenders. The state will be secular. Secularism does not mean one cannot practice his/her religion. It means that religion is one’s private affair, and the state will have nothing to do with it. The state will uphold religious freedom, but will not tolerate religious extremism and bigotry. It will be guided by the policy of ‘suleh-e-kul’ of the great Moghul Emperor Akbar, the real father of the Indian nation.

As regards economic policies, the state will be pragmatic. Realizing the value of capitalism, it will not seek its elimination, but its regulation in the public interest and welfare. We certainly will not tolerate a state of affairs in which a handful of Indian big businessmen, who have become billionaires, own wealth equal to that of 70% of India’s 1400 million population.

https://thewire.in/economy/57-indian-billionaires-own-wealth-equal-to-bottom-70-of-countrys-population

The new state shall prepare and implement 5-year plans for India’s economic growth, taking the help of tehnical, economic and administrative experts. The plans will assess the anticipated requirements of food, clothing, fuel, etc of the masses, and ensure that these are met. As regards education and healthcare, these will be free for all.

  1. External policy 

The state will try to promote peace and good relations among all nations. However, it will not hesitate to condemn powerful nations which oppress weaker ones. We will have a strong army, equipped with the latest weapons (made by our industries, not foreigners ),  but it will only be used for our defense, not offense.

  1. Reunification of India

One of the cardinal objectives of our new state will be the undoing of the British swindle called Partition of 1947 based on the bogus two-nation theory.

On this there will be no compromise. We must reunite, under a secular state, whatever the cost, otherwise we will keep wasting our precious resources and energy in hostility with each other. India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are really one country, sharing the same culture, which were one from the time of Moghul Emperor Akbar,  and were only temporarily and artificially separated by a British fraud.

Later, if other neighboring countries wish to voluntarily join our Union, they will be welcomed ( with the right to secede whenever they wish).

  1. Language policy

All languages of the Indian subcontinent will be given equal respect, and no attempt will be made to impose Hindi  or any other language on anyone. On the other hand, state support will be given to all regional languages, and even to dialects, to prevent them from dying out ( as indeed many have done ). These are the broad outlines, though of course, they have to be supplemented.

 

 

 

 

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

Indian-origin founder and MD of Vee Technologies, a tech and IT services firm in New York and Bengaluru, India has been inducted into the ‘IAOP Leadership Hall of Fame,’ The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) honored the CEO of Vee Technologies Incorporated at the IAOP Outsourcing World Summit in Chicago on May 21.

Chocko Valliappa has joined the ranks of Indian IT industry veterans N. R. Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, Dewang Mehta, Raman Roy, and Tiger Thyagrajan. Valliappa also serves as Vice Chairman, of Sona College of Technology in Tamil Nadu, whose research teams supply stepper motors for ISRO’s space missions.

“The induction by IAOP, a global organization dedicated to shaping the future of business, recognizes Valliappa’s contribution in shaping the future of the outsourcing industry and setting the highest standard of quality,” Debi Hamill, CEO of IAOP, said in a statement. “At IAOP, we are proud to celebrate these outstanding organizations and advisors who continue to drive innovation, social impact, and success in the outsourcing sector. Chocko embodies all the elements of a true outsourcing leader, and we are proud to honor him in this way.”

Established in 2006, the IAOP Leadership Hall of Fame celebrates executives from top outsourcing companies that provide best-in-class results while promoting economic development worldwide.Induction into the Leadership Hall of Fame is a prestigious recognition reserved for those with exceptional accomplishments in outsourcing and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

“The ‘IOAP Leadership Hall of Fame’ has humbled me as it puts me in the league of some stalwarts in the outsourcing industry and reflects the hard work and dedication of 15,000 strong and committed professionals at the Sona Group, Vee Technologies, and Vee HealthTek,” Valliappa said on Saturday, May 25, 2024. “It is a privilege to have been selected as an IAOP Leadership Hall of Fame inductee.

This not only validates Vee Technologies’ proven track record of providing value through professional services but also underscores the significance of ethical outsourcing in driving meaningful change. Through this award, IAOP has amplified our shared commitment to clients that extends far beyond profit margins. “I am proud to stand among industry leaders dedicated to shaping a brighter future for all.”

As CEO of Vee Technologies, one of the world’s fastest-growing providers of engineering and IT professional services, Valliappa has led countless initiatives to improve the lives of those around him. He seeks to inspire other business leaders to prioritize social and environmental responsibility in their strategies and operations. Just a few of Valliappa’s CSR efforts include redistributing food that would have otherwise gone to waste, founding an educational community radio station, delivering supplies to orphanages and senior centers, organizing medical pop-ups, planting trees, and funding scholarships for under-resourced youth. In the United States, Vee Technologies offers paid time off for volunteering and a donating-matching program, which encourages employees to make a difference.

The award was presented by Mark Voytek, Chief Advisor at IAOP, following a global nomination and selection process by the induction review committee. “This honor spurs me to inspire the next generation of leaders, academics and young learners engaged with the Sona Group to innovate and solve mega challenges by providing equal opportunities at work, classrooms, research labs, and in the community,” Valliappa noted. “This recognition resonates deeply with my core belief that business decisions should be guided by a commitment to ethical conduct, environmental stewardship, and community empowerment. It underscores the profound responsibility we bear as catalysts for change. I am excited about the opportunities ahead as Vee Technologies continues to innovate for the betterment of society.”

 

IANS)

India needs economic engines at every district level for balanced regional development, cloud software major Zoho’s CEO Sridhar Vembu said on Saturday.

Calling himself an “experimental economist”, he said that the idea of the “economic engine” could be for a city or a district.

“I always ask ‘What do we sell to the rest of the world from this region, to balance against all the things we buy from the rest?’ — that stuff we sell from our region is the economic engine,” Vembu posted on X social media platform.

We then take the revenue from that economic engine and consider the “value added in the region” which includes all the labour income as well as the profits paid to people in the region.

“Now regional prosperity is very easily understood: what is the value added per person (including all the population of the region) by our ‘economic engine’? If that measure is high, we have a prosperous region,” he explained.

For example, Zoho adds an economic value of $100 million annually to the Tenkasi region in Tamil Nadu.

With a population of about 1.4 million in the district, Zoho’s own contribution to regional prosperity would be about $70 per person at the entire district level.

“We need such economic engines at every district level in India, in all our 800+ districts. That is the key to balanced regional development,” the Zoho founder emphasized.

If a rural district in India can achieve even $1,000 per capita value added in its economic engines, it would be prosperous.

This would be a measure of “value added per capita by what the region exports to the world outside this region”.

 

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

The Indian parliamentary elections, one of the largest democratic exercises in the world, are nearing their conclusion as voting begins today in 58 Lok Sabha constituencies across six states and two union territories.

According to the autonomous Election Commission of India, polling started at a slow pace, with just over 25 percent of registered voters turning up during the first four hours. The states voting today include Uttar Pradesh (14 constituencies), Haryana (10 constituencies), Bihar and West Bengal (8 seats each), Odisha (6 constituencies), and Jharkhand (4 constituencies). Additionally, the two union territories witnessing elections are Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag-Rajouri and all seven seats in the national capital, Delhi.

The ongoing severe heatwave conditions in northern India are believed to be one of the reasons for the low voter turnout. Typically, voting picks up as the day progresses, and all voters in line at the closing time of 6 pm are allowed to cast their votes.

In this phase, India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies have much at stake, having won 45 of these seats in the 2019 elections. Conversely, the Congress party-led opposition alliance has little to lose and much to gain, having secured victories in only four of these constituencies.

The sixth phase of India’s elections also tests the alliance between former adversaries-turned-friends: the Congress party and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Under this alliance, Congress has fielded candidates in three Delhi seats, while AAP is contesting four. In the neighboring state of Haryana, Congress is competing for nine out of the 10 seats at stake, leaving one for AAP.

The Congress party and the Aam Aadmi Party are set to face off in the last phase of voting on June 1, which will mark the culmination of the month-and-a-half-long election exercise. All eyes will be on Punjab, where these two political rivals will lock horns.

Some of the prominent candidates in the fray today include two former chief ministers – Mehbooba Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir (Peoples Democratic Party Anantnagand-Rajouri seat) and Manohar Lal Khattar of Haryana (BJP Karnal seat). Federal ministers Dharmendra Pradhan of BJP from the Sambalpur seat of Odisha and Rao Inderjit Singh of BJP from Gurgaon seat of Haryana are in the fray. Rao Inderjit is pitted against Hindi film actor Raj Babbar of Congress.

Former federal ministers Maneka Gandhi of BJP from Sultanpur constituency of Uttar Pradesh and industrialist Naveen Jindal, who switched from the Congress party to join BJP, is in the fray from the Kurukshetra seat of Haryana.

In the New Delhi seat, Bansuri Swaraj, daughter of late former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is making her electoral debut as a BJP nominee. The party chose Bansuri over the incumbent junior foreign minister Meenakshi Lekhi who had won this seat in 2019.

In Haryana’s Sirsa seat, it is a showdown between former federal minister Kumari Selja (Congress) and the former Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar who is in the fray as a BJP nominee.

The Hisar Lok Sabha seat in Haryana is witnessing an intriguing political showdown involving three generations of the Devi Lal family. Former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal’s lineage is at the forefront, with family members competing against each other. Devi Lal’s younger son, Ranjit Singh Chautala (BJP), is pitted against Sunaina Chautala, the daughter-in-law of his elder brother Om Prakash Chautala, and Naina Singh Chautala, the granddaughter-in-law of Om Prakash Chautala. Sunaina is a nominee of the Indian National Lok Dal, while Naina is representing the Jannayak Janata Party.

Following the voting process, the Election Commission will take up the counting of votes on June 4. Thanks to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in all 543 constituencies for the new Lok Sabha, the tedious manual counting process has been streamlined. As a result, the Election Commission expects to declare all results on the same day.

 

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

Mount Madonna School (MMS) is bringing back its beloved annual tradition – a spectacular musical adaptation of the classic Indian epic, Ramayana! This year marks the 45th presentation of the play, and it promises to be just as magical as ever.

This year’s performance, running from June 6 to 9 at the Mexican Heritage Theater in San Jose, follows the thrilling tale of Prince Rama, Prince Lakshmana, and the monkey god Hanuman on their daring mission to rescue Princess Sita. Audiences of all ages will be captivated by the dazzling costumes, lively humor, and timeless themes woven into the story.

The true magic of this show lies in the production’s inclusivity. The student cast ranges from preschool to high school. Traditional and contemporary music, a choir, and more than a dozen original songs enhance the performance

“The production of ‘Ramayana! has been central to Mount Madonna School since its founding,” said Head of School Ann Goewert. “With this show, we carry forward a tradition inspired by Baba Hari Dass (1923-2018) and supported by the Mount Madonna Center. It’s a culmination of the entire academic year, a celebration of diversity, and a platform for creative self-expression. The Ramayana is a timeless classic teaching the universal values of truth, duty, love, and service to the greater good. As students work together to prepare for this ambitious show, they embody the values embedded in the Ramayana.”

The Mount Madonna Center (MMC) for the Creative Arts and Sciences, founded in 1978, is a residential community that shares a deep connection with the school. Baba Hari Dass (Babaji), a revered silent monk, yoga teacher, and practitioner from India, served as the guiding inspiration for the establishment of the center, aligning its history and mission with that of the school. The annual performance of the “Ramayana!” stands as an integral component of this shared mission. The

The musical’s roots trace back to the 1970s when members of the Mount Madonna community adapted the ancient tale into a rock musical. Echoes of Broadway hits like “Hair,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and a contemporary nod to “Hamilton” infuse the production.

“Ramayana!” is a true whole-school production. Students of all ages work together, fostering connections that extend beyond the classroom. The performing arts team not only provides guidance and structure but also empowers young actors to infuse their own creativity and ownership into their roles. This collaborative effort strengthens theatrical skills and builds confidence, making “Ramayana!” a powerful example of theater as a unifying community.

The development of theatrical skills and strengthening of confidence to be bold in presentation are woven into the team’s time with the students.

The current version of the show features a kaleidoscope of elements. From choreographed fight scenes, monkeys, monsters, comedy, and deep introspection. King Ravana, in his unique ten-headed costume, adds to the spectacle. From Bharatanatyam to Hip Hop, rousing choreographed dances captivate the audience ranging from intricate costumes to handcrafted props, and every detail is meticulously crafted. The production even features a 25-foot Kumbhakarna puppet with a radio-controlled mouth and eyes first created by Baba Hari Dass. Each item is a work of handmade art.

“Ramayana!” stands as a Broadway-caliber production, now in its 45th iteration. It enriches the artistic and cultural life of the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas, connecting a living tradition with India and the global Indian diaspora. For generations of students and theatergoers, it remains a unique treasure.

Each character within the “Ramayana!” narrative symbolizes a facet of human personality. Hanuman epitomizes devotion, Ravana personifies greed and pride, and Rama embodies duty and righteousness. These qualities mirror aspects of our own nature, underscoring the universal themes inherent in morality tales. Ultimately, it is the triumph of goodness and virtue that prevails, echoing timeless moral principles.

All seats of the June 6-9 show are reserved and tickets are available at Ramayana.BrownPaperTickets.com.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has aggressively ramped up its gold reserves in 2024, acquiring a significant 24 tons in just four months (January-April) as a safeguard against global economic and political volatility. This marks a sharp increase compared to 2023, during which the RBI only added 16 tons of gold to its reserves to augment its foreign exchange reserve.

This strategic move reflects the RBI’s efforts to diversify its foreign exchange reserves amid challenging times. As of April 26, 2024, the RBI’s gold holdings climbed to 827.69 tons, up from 803.6 tons at the end of 2023, reflecting a previous addition of 16 tons.

While India is home to the world’s largest gold-loving population, its central bank has historically approached the precious metal with caution. The RBI faced criticism for pledging a large portion of its gold reserves during a foreign exchange crisis in 1991. Though the gold was eventually reacquired, the RBI only began actively acquiring from December 2017 onwards, coinciding with the tenure of the incumbent Narendra Modi government, which assumed power in 2014. After a period of increased procurement in 2022, activity waned in 2023 before witnessing a surge this year.

This tactical shift by the RBI aligns with a global trend observed among emerging market central banks, seeking to mitigate currency fluctuations. Beyond just adding volume, the RBI is also benefiting from rising gold prices. A report by the RBI’s economists highlights the “spree of gold buying” by emerging markets, with a staggering 290 tons added in the first quarter of 2024 alone, constituting a quarter of global gold demand. This diversification is deemed crucial amidst geopolitical tensions and a decelerating global economy.

The proportion of gold in India’s overall foreign exchange reserves increased from 7.75 percent at the end of December 2023 to approximately 8.7 percent by the end of April 2024. Alongside the rise in volume, the RBI is also profiting from valuation gains attributable to the steady rise in gold prices.

Gold’s enduring reputation as a reliable “store of value” renders it a valuable asset during periods of uncertainty. The World Gold Council recognized gold’s efficacy in crisis situations and its diversification advantages in 2023. With global uncertainty persisting in 2024, the rationale for holding gold remains as pertinent as ever.

Ritu Jha-

Pratham is going to play a key role in getting children in India to learn about AI.

This was according to AI veteran Vishal Sikka, founder and CEO of Vianai Systems, a human-centered AI platform and products company. He was delivering the keynote at that Pratham San Francisco Bay Area gala.

The May 18 event at the Palo Alto Hills Golf & Country Club drew more than 225 people and raised $800,000, all of it to educate underprivileged children in India.

Sikka said that AI advances, the more people know how to use it, the better it would be.

He pointed out that of the 8.2 billion people in the world, only a little less than 0.2 billion have used ChatGPT. Of those two million could build an AI application, while just 200,000 of that set could run an AI system. Of that 200,000, only about 50,000 could build with ChatGPT or Gemini, and three-quarters of those live within 30 miles of the Bay Area. The rest of the world has the remaining experts.

“It is an incredibly asymmetric situation. It is difficult for me to fathom how a few thousand people are defining our future. The only way that this situation changes is through education,” Sikka said.

Pratham was established in 1994, with support from UNICEF and the Mumbai Municipal Corporation, Dr. Madhav Chavan and Farida Lambay to educate underprivileged children in the slums of Mumbai.

Vandana Sikka[right], who is on the Pratham USA National Board, is the founder and CEO of Learnee, which has a tech approach to education.

“The more access and opportunities we can provide to every student and every young person in the world the better it is,” she said. “All our chapters connect on this common mission – fundraising for all the programming done by Pratham in India. Education is one of the top sectors AI is going to impact. We have to be open to and embrace that change. It can make a huge difference in primary education because AI will help students work at their level. And I think that’s essential for our country.”

Bala Ramakrishnan, co-president of the Bay Area chapter of Pratham who took charge in 2023 has been a board member of the nonprofit organization from 2016, spoke to indica at the event.

“Pratham has become so large and they have so many programs every year I continue to discover things that I didn’t know,” he said. “Pratham has built an app that lets kids ask questions and get answers.”

Ramakrishnan said that Pratham is also increasing its coverage. It had started with students in the slums, then it offered their mothers vocational training. It builds connections with communities and transforms those in many ways.

“We are working on tablet computers preloaded with content for the kids to learn,” he said. “Once they exhaust some content, they go back to Pratham centers, load more, and upgrade their knowledge base. We are also trying to generate offline content because sometimes connectivity is not available. If there is no Internet then the kids cannot download information. So, we are trying to see how to get those kids a preloaded set of information. We are experimenting with many things and a huge study is underway to generate more content for the children.”

He spoke about a Pratham project called Prodigy Lab in Pune.

“Instead of humans alone interacting with the kids, AI bots answer a lot of their questions and nurture them,” he said, adding that Pratham was working with the government to reach children from the third grade through high school.

Balakrishnan said that while the government is trying, there is a large gap between the expected performance and what is seen in student performance.

“That’s where Pratham intervenes,” he said. “Irrespective of the children’s age, based on their learning ability, we put them in groups and then teach languages, fundamental education, and other stuff to help them catch up. Once you remove the language bottleneck the kids take off on their own.”

Sundi Sundaresh, who has been with Pratham since its inception with work in the slums of Dharavi in Mumbai, described how emotional speeches by Yogi Patel of Houston and Bollywood actor Waheeda Rehman, who was then Pratham’s ambassador, convinced him to join the organization.

Sundaresh is also concerned about the academic levels of students. He thought qualified teachers, good infrastructure, and some motivation could help bring children up to their academic grade levels.

He said Pratham was training as teachers, qualified village women who had passed their 10th grade.

“That gives them employment and self-respect,” he said. :It is amazing how Pratam focused not only on the kids’ education but also on the welfare of the women in those villages because they were highly motivated to get their kids properly educated.”

Kalpana Guha, secretary of Pratham USA, told indica about the work the organization with 70,000 volunteers have put in. She said that while they were happy that their first gala in 2008 or 2009, Pratham has raised $800,000 this year.

“It took a lot but with nonprofits, it’s a constant struggle,” she said. “You should stick to your message and what you feel in your gut because that’s important. You have to be passionate about the cause that Pratham represents.”

She cited the case of Pratham’s Second Chance initiative, for girls and women who could not complete their education.

“That initiative is doing extremely well,” Guha said. “We have a lot of older women joining. After that, we have a vocational training initiative that teaches them to start a business. We have trained some women to become mechanics, others to work on construction sites, things they never thought they would ever do. But they got a chance and they liked what they were doing. So, they decided to become electricians, construction workers, and regular auto mechanics… We are empowering the women and youth to do that.”

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

The American Association of Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI) will host its 42nd Annual Convention and World Congress, a mega convention, at the prestigious Marriott Marquis on Times Square in New York City from July 18-22, 2024.

“AAPI represents over 120,000 Indian American physicians, 130 local chapters, who make up 10% of total physicians in the US and nearly 50% of International medical graduates, rooted in every corner of the nation, who serve every 7th patient in the US. We are proud of our achievements and contributions to the healthcare industry and the millions of people we serve,” said Dr. Anjana Samadder, the 5th woman President of AAPI in the 42-year history of AAPI, while highlighting how the organization’s mission has evolved over the decades.

The convention will showcase AAPI’s ability to convey cutting-edge research and CME, promote business relationships, and display ethnic items. Participants will experience unique opportunities to explore and experience New York City and the many unique programs including Broadways Shows and City Tours.

“An Early Bird Special offer for the World Congress is ongoing,” Dr. Achintya Moulik, Chair of AAPI Convention 2024 informed. “This special offer includes a 5-night stay at the iconic Marriott Marquis on Times Square, City Tours, and Broadways Shows, in addition to all the educational and entertainment events.”

“Our physician members have worked very hard during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the 2024 convention is a perfect time to heal the healers with a special focus on wellness,” said Dr. Samadder.

Some of the major themes at the convention include yoga and meditation practices, a welcome kit with books & self-care supplies, a personal reflexology session, a take-home wellness routine, ailment-based yoga therapy sessions, a workshop on spiritual well-being, book talk with yoga gurus, including on the science of yoga & lifestyle medicine, and several wellness sessions. In addition, the convention will also offer colorful entertainment events, exquisite authentic Indian cuisine, esteemed yoga gurus, and experts, who are scheduled to share their wisdom. World-renowned speakers and leaders in the industry will lead the wellness sessions and offer enlightening sessions to the delegates.

The AAPI convention offers an exciting venue to interact with leading physicians, health professionals, academicians, and scientists of Indian origin. The physicians and healthcare professionals from across the US will convene and participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, to develop health policy agendas, and to encourage legislative priorities in the coming year.

“The annual convention offers extensive academic presentations, recognition of achievements and achievers, and professional networking at the alumni and evening social events,” Dr. Samadder added.

 

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

A US scientist of Indian origin and brother of Sudha Murthy, educator, author, philanthropist, and wife of one of the co-founders of Infosys N. R. Narayana Murty, has bagged the prestigious Shaw Prize in Astronomy for 2024 for his groundbreaking discoveries on millisecond pulsars, gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, and other astronomical phenomena.

The Shaw Prize in Astronomy 2024 has been awarded to 67-year-old Shrinivas R Kulkarni, George Ellery Hale Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Science, Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, USA for his ground-breaking discoveries about millisecond pulsars, gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, and other variable or transient astronomical objects. “His contributions to time-domain astronomy culminated in the conception, construction, and leadership of the Palomar Transient Factory and its successor, the Zwicky Transient Facility, revolutionizing our understanding of the time-variable optical sky,” the award citation states. Shaw Prize is a global award presented the Shaw by Prize Foundation, Hong Kong, in the fields of astronomy, medicine, life sciences mathematical sciences.

Kulkarni received his Master of Science degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1978 and his PhD from the University of California in 1983.

This award is also intended to recognize Kulkarni’s discoveries in other areas of stellar astronomy, in particular, his role in the discovery of one of the first “brown dwarfs” — stars so small that they cannot burn hydrogen by nuclear fusion. Brown dwarfs bridge the gap between giant planets like Jupiter and hydrogen-burning stars like the Sun, and this discovery revealed the existence of brown dwarfs with atmospheric properties similar to planets and set the stage for decades of work on the atmospheres of sub-stellar objects.

“Although most stars shine steadily for billions of years, some of them vary, pulsate, flare, or explode on timescales of years, weeks, or even a fraction of a second. These rapid changes provide unique insights into the death of stars, the behavior of matter at extremely high temperatures and densities, the size and age of the universe, and aspects of fundamental physics such as the nuclear equation of state and Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Discovering and analyzing transient events — the subject of time-domain astronomy — is a challenging task that requires sifting through vast databases, identifying rare anomalies, discarding false positives from terrestrial events and other sources, and notifying the astronomy community, ideally within minutes, to enable follow-up studies from other telescopes,” Kulkarni’s award citation states.

Throughout his career, Kulkarni has made a sustained series of fundamental discoveries in time-domain optical and radio astronomy. As a student, he and his collaborators discovered the first millisecond pulsar, a rapidly rotating neutron star that emitted precisely spaced pulses over 600 times per second. Known millisecond pulsars now number in the hundreds. They are the most precise astronomical clocks in the universe used to test Einstein’s general theory of relativity and to look for gravitational waves from merging supermassive black holes.

Brief, intense bursts of gamma rays from across the sky were first detected in the 1960s, but their origin remained mysterious for decades. In 1997, Kulkarni and his collaborators made a critical breakthrough by determining the distance to a gamma-ray burst. They showed that the burst originated in the distant universe, far beyond our own Galaxy, and so must have been an extremely energetic event. We now know that most gamma-ray bursts come from similar distances.

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are intense bursts of radio emission lasting as little as a thousandth of a second. A type of neutron star known as a magnetar, with extremely strong magnetic fields, has long been a candidate for the source of FRBs (the Shaw Prize in Astronomy was awarded in 2021 for work on magnetars and in 2023 for work on FRBs). Kulkarni and his collaborators built — quickly and inexpensively — STARE2, a set of three radio detectors dispersed across the southwestern United States, designed to detect nearby FRBs. In 2020, STARE2 was one of two telescopes that detected an FRB from a magnetar located in our Galaxy, showing for the first time that magnetars can generate FRBs.

Kulkarni’s contributions culminated in the construction of the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF, 2009) and its successor, the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF, 2017), two novel astronomical surveys using a seventy-year-old telescope at Palomar Observatory in southern California. ZTF scans the entire Northern sky every two days, analyses the data with automated software, and communicates its discoveries through an alert system that within minutes provides astronomers around the world with notifications of transient events. The flood of data from PTF and ZTF has enabled the discovery of a wide variety of astronomical transients and variable sources. ZTF has discovered thousands of rare events, including extremely bright supernovae, luminous red novae, calcium-rich gap transients, and disruptions of stars by black holes. ZTF has also found a star swallowing one of its planets, one of the nearest and brightest supernovae in history, a new orbital class of asteroids, binary stars with orbital periods as short as seven minutes that are strong sources of low-frequency gravitational radiation, and many other exotic systems and rare events whose properties are just beginning to be understood. PTF and ZTF have trained a generation of young astronomers now leading the field of time-domain astronomy.

 

By Mayank Chhaya-
Mayank Chhaya

Former Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley took her rancid disdain for former President Donald Trump to the altar of political expediency and beat it to a pulp.

That pulp will now be fashioned into a vote for a man she once called “totally unhinged.” Barely three months ago she was assiduously positioning herself as the only true challenger to Trump’s unhinged ways, that included his weird obsession with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
“Trump has not been perfect on these policies. I’ve made that clear many, many times. But (President Joe) Biden has been a catastrophe. So I will be voting for Trump,” Haley said at the Hudson Institute in Washington on May 22.
Haley, who like all her Republican colleagues, speaks of strong family values and high morals has had no problem disregarding the fact that Trump has just been through a salacious criminal trial, the first of its kind for a former president, involving hush money payment to the porn star Stormy Daniels.
She has no compunctions about the fact that in May, last year a New York jury found Trump liable Tuesday for sexually abusing advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in 1996.
She has no qualms about the fact that he is facing four federal cases, including illegal possession of classified documents as well as instigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol Building.
Let alone those, she has no problem with the fact he has often referred to her as “birdbrain” and insulted her intelligence.
Political expediency demands that she call Biden a “catastrophe” while quickly mitigating this stunning litany of unprecedented transgressions to a level where she feels confident to vote for him. One inevitable explanation is that she is looking to be on Trump’s ticket as his vice president.
After Haley declared her vote for him, Trump was asked if there was room for her on his ticket. He said, “I think she’s gonna be on our team because we have a lot of the same ideas, the same thoughts.”
“You know, we had a nasty campaign; it was pretty nasty. But she’s a very capable person, and I’m sure she’s going to be on our team in some form. Absolutely,” he said.
What that means is that “birdbrain” and “totally unhinged” may come together save America from “catastrophe.”
Only earlier this month Trump had said on his social media platform, “​Nikki Haley is not under consideration for the V.P. slot, but I wish her well!”
It is not clear whether Trump is changing his mind about Haley because in his latest names of potential VP candidates he does not mention her.
Considering that Haley continues to garner votes in the Republican presidential race even though she is no longer in it means that she has a base that could be leveraged. However, it seems unlikely that that base, which is necessarily against Trump, can be morphed into for Trump merely because Haley nudges them to. If anything, she stands to lose credibility with them should she run again in 2028 when she will be only 56.
On the other hand, a high visibility in a Trump dispensation, albeit not VP, can be quite useful for her politically.
Those are the factors that would go into the course Haley chooses. Hers has not been a full endorsement of Trump even though voting for him practically amounts to that. Quite plainly, it is not a principled stand. High principles would demand that she not vote for a man in such serious legal peril on so many fronts with more than likely prospects of conviction.
In an ideal world, the fact of him having been found liable for sexual abuse alone should have ended his run. Add to that a stunning array of charges and his toxicity as a candidate should have proved politically terminal. It has not. If anything, he has become an even more potent force within the Republican world and that too to an extent where he now has a realistic shot at returning to the White House.
Objectively, Haley can bring electoral rewards to the Trump ticket as not just as a woman VP candidate but someone of Indian American heritage. It could offer a compelling contrast against the Biden-Kamala Harris ticket.
As a politician, Haley has chosen to go with the brazen collective extenuation for and celebration of Trump by his unswerving base rather than draw on her personal principles such as they are.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

The Consulate General of India in New York has said that an Indian student died in a bike accident in the US on Wednesday evening, May 22.

Shri Belem Atchyuth was a student at the State University of New York.

Offering condolences to the family of the deceased student, the Consulate General of India in a social media post on X (formerly Twitter) stated, “Saddened to learn about the untimely demise of Shri Belem Atchyuth, a student at SUNY who met with a bike accident and passed away yesterday evening; our deepest condolences to the family; @IndiainNewYork is in touch with the bereaved family & local agencies to extend all assistance including sending the mortal remains back to India.”

Earlier, in April, an Indian student, who had been missing since March this year, was found dead in Ohio, the Consulate General of India in New York said.

The Consulate General of India in New York said it was “anguished” to learn about the death of Mohammed Abdul Arfath and was in touch with local authorities to ensure a thorough investigation into his death.

“Anguished to learn that Mr. Mohammed Abdul Arfath, for whom search operation was underway, was found dead in Cleveland, Ohio. Our deepest condolences to Mr Mohammed Arfath’s family,” read a post on the official X handle of the Consulate General of India in New York.

In April, Uma Satya Sai Gadde, an Indian student in Cleveland, Ohio, died and a probe into the death is still underway. Previously, this February, an Indian student faced a brutal attack in Chicago. The Indian Consulate in Chicago stated that it was in touch with the victim, Syed Mazahir Ali, as well as his wife in India.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

US Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ranking Member of the Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement Subcommittee, is, on Friday, introducing legislation to ensure transparency, protection, and accountability for all immigrant children in any type of government custody.

The Protection of Kids in Detention (PROKID) Act would create an independent oversight body to monitor the care of all children in the immigration system, according to her website.

“The U.S. government has both a legal and moral obligation to protect children in its custody, it’s that simple,” said Jayapal. “In recent years, we’ve seen horrific instances of family separation and even deaths of children in custody. This is completely unacceptable. In light of new regulations by the Department of Health and Human Services, it is clear that we need further accountability and oversight to protect immigrant children and ensure that not only are standards of care set but that they are enforced.”

The PROKID Act would establish a permanent Office of the Ombudsperson within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to act as an advocate, subject-matter expert, and independent authority responsible for ensuring that the rights afforded to children under relevant statutes are properly applied and enforced. The legislation would: Ensure that immigrant children are held in the least restrictive setting while in immigration custody; empower the Ombudsperson to advocate for the quick, safe, and efficient release of immigrant children from immigration custody; whenever possible, including the right to review placement decisions; create an expert advisory committee of immigration law and child protection specialists to report on trends from the field and advise on best practices.

Jayapal has introduced multiple other bills to protect immigrants, including her Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act which would end the inhumane conditions of detention centers and protect the civil and human rights of immigrants. She has also on multiple occasions called for greater transparency and oversight at immigrant detention centers.

It is also endorsed by the Acacia Center for Justice, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Church World Service, Futures Without Violence, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, National Center for Youth Law, National Education Association, National Immigrant Justice Center, Prevention Institute, Save the Children, Witness At The Border, Women’s Refugee Commission, and Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Friday, May 24, said that his X social media platform (Formerly Twitter) has reached 600 million monthly active users (MAUs).

Musk, who acquired the platform in 2022 for $44 billion, is making it an “everything app” where people can post movies and TV shows and also make digital payments, news agency IANS reported. X users reacted, saying it is the best platform on earth.

“X has 600 million monthly active users, about half of which use the platform every day,” the tech billionaire said in a post. In another post Musk urged parents for controls: “I would urge parents to limit the amount of social media that children can see because they’re being programmed by a dopamine-maximizing AI.”

Super chats will also arrive for live content on X soon, according to Musk. Paid users can also post movies, TV series, or podcasts on the platform and earn money. Musk has also informed his followers that the ‘AI Audiences’ feature is coming soon. Tesla also said that they received a record 5.9 million job applications in 2023, a 64% increase Vs 2022.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

Indian official Kamal Kishore started his term as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, news agency ANI reported.

On May 20, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) welcomed the arrival of Kishore, who started his term as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction and the head of UNDRR.

“The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) welcomed on 20 May the arrival of Mr. Kamal Kishore, who started his term as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Head of UNDRR,” the UNDRR announced in a statement.

Kishore succeeds Mami Mizutori of Japan, according to the UNDRR statement. On March 27, Antonio Guterres announced the appointment of Kamal Kishore as Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

Kishore underlined that UNDRR plays an important role in drawing together global efforts to reduce disaster risks in the face of increasing vulnerabilities. Adding that he was looking forward to building on the progress made to date.

“UNDRR’s ambition matches the scale of the problem,” he said.

Kishore has nearly 30 years of experience in disaster risk reduction at the global, regional, national, and local levels, having worked in government, the United Nations, and civil society organizations, according to the UNDRR statement.

Since 2015, he has served as Head of the Department of India’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). He also led the G20 Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction under India’s G20 presidency.

Before joining NDMA, Kishore spent nearly 13 years with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Geneva, New Delhi, and New York. Before joining the UNDP, he served as director of Information and Research, and manager of the Extreme Climate Events Programme covering Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam at the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre in Bangkok from 1996 to 2002, according to the statement.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

Ashwin Ramaswami, the first Gen Z Indian-American candidate running for a US state legislature, has won the Democratic primary in the state of Georgia. “In November, I’ll face Republican Senator Shawn Still – who was indicted alongside Donald Trump for being a fake elector in 2020. It’s the most flippable State Senate seat in Georgia,” Ramaswami, 23, was quoted as saying by PTI.

Ramaswami is now not only Georgia’s first Gen Z State Senator but also the sole legislator in the state possessing both a computer science and law degree.

Susheela Jayapal, the sister of Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, however, lost her Congressional primary bid in the state of Oregon.

Ramaswami’s parents immigrated to the US from Tamil Nadu in 1990. If elected, he would be the youngest ever elected representative in the State of Georgia and the first Indian-American to win this position in Georgia.

In Oregon, Susheela, 62, lost her maiden Congressional bid. She lost to State Representative Maxine Dexter in the third Congressional District of Oregon.

“I just called and extended my congratulations to Maxine Dexter on her election to represent Oregon’s Third Congressional District. I am so proud of the campaign that I and my supporters ran. We were clear, from the beginning, that we were going to run a campaign based on values, and on our vision for the country and the district,” she said in a statement.

“I am so, so proud of my incredible sister Susheela Jayapal. This wasn’t the result our family was hoping for, but I know Susheela put everything on the line and ran a proudly progressive campaign rooted in people-power,” said Pramila Jayapal.

A mother of two, Susheela has been an outspoken champion for reproductive rights, education, and economic justice.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

India emerged as the only country among the world’s top steel producing nations to post a growth in steel production during April this year, according to figures compiled by the World Steel Association.

India, the second-largest steel producer in the world next to China produced 12.1 million tonnes of steel which represented a 3.6 per cent increase over the same month of the previous year, IANS reported.

The growth in India’s steel production reflects the higher level of economic activity taking place, according to economists.

Large infrastructure projects in the road, rail and ports sectors that are being implemented by the Indian government to push growth and create employment in the country require massive quantities of steel as input.

Also the demand for cars, two-wheelers and commercial vehicles that have been growing in the economy leads to an increased demand for steel as a raw material.

India has emerged as a bright spot amid the global slowdown and the steel sector is a reflection of this. The World Steel Association data show that Japan produced 7.1 million tonnes (MT) of steel, down 2.5 per cent. The US produced 6.7 MT, down 2.8 per cent.

Russia is estimated to have produced 6.2 MT, down 5.7 per cent and South Korea produced 5.1 MT, down 10.4 per cent.

China, which has massive excess capacity in steel and has run into the US tariff barrier for its exports, recorded a 7 per cent decline in production to 85.9 million tonnes.

There is serious concern worldwide that China may now resort to dumping its excess steel at cheap prices in other countries as it has lost the US market.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

The General Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces has released the first report on the causes of a recent helicopter crash that resulted in the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage, IANS reported.

A senior investigation committee composed of experts, specialists, and technicians arrived at the scene at the start of the week, the semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted the report by the General Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces as saying on Friday, May 24.

The helicopter had remained on its predetermined course and had not deviated from the flight route, according to the report.

Nearly one minute and a half before the incident, the pilot of the crashed helicopter had contacted the other two helicopters of the President’s convoy, the report said.

No trace of bullets or similar items has been detected on the wreckage of the crashed helicopter, it added as quoted by Xinhua.

After crashing into the mountain, the helicopter had caught fire, it said.

“Complications of the region, fog, and low temperature” had caused the search and rescue operations to continue until nightfall and then throughout the night, the report said, adding, “At 5 a.m. local time on Monday, with the assistance of drones, the exact location of the incident was identified.”

Early reports of the crash in Iran suggest that the helicopter was flying in a “foggy, mountainous region of the country’s northwest,” according to The Associated Press.

Raisi and his entourage were en route to East Azerbaijan province when the helicopter carrying them crashed. Also on board the helicopter were Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, the representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader to East Azerbaijan.

Raisi was laid to rest on Thursday in the holy shrine of Imam Reza in his hometown, the northeastern city of Mashhad.

Raisi has been buried in his home city of Mashhad, four days after he was killed in a helicopter crash. The 63-year-old hard-line cleric was laid to rest in the holy shrine of Imam Reza, a revered figure in Shia Islam. TV pictures showed large crowds gathered in one of the north-eastern city’s main streets ahead of the ceremony, the BBC reported.

Arul Louis/IANS-

India has abstained on a UN General Assembly resolution to create an annual day to commemorate the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica during the civil war that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia.

The resolution sponsored by Germany and Rwanda was carried on Thursday, May 23, with only 84 votes in the 193-member Assembly reflecting the deep divisions over it because most such motions are adopted by consensus.

Nineteen countries voted against it, while 68 abstained and 22 altogether stayed away.

India did not explain the reasons for the abstention.

With the passage of the resolution, the UN will commemorate every year on July 11 the killing of about 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serbs, who were Orthodox Christians, as “The International Day of Reflection and Commemoration of the 1995 Genocide in Srebrenica”.

The victims were men and boys separated from the women in the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina by ethnic Serb fighters who overran it during the three-and-a-half-year-long civil war when the ethnic communities fought for supremacy in the nascent nation after Yugoslavia splintered.

Germany’s Permanent Representative Antje Leendertse said her country was sponsoring the resolution to prevent a genocide like that perpetrated by German Nazis from recurring.

Six million Jews were killed by Nazis during World War II.

The commemoration was to honour the memory of the victims of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia and was not directed against Serbs, but only against those who committed the killings, Leendertse added.

Aleksandar Vucic, the President of neighbouring Serbia, questioned the standing of Germany to make such a proposal given its history and said it was introduced for political reasons and to stigmatise the Serbian people.

Those who carried out the massacre have already been tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison, he said.

The resolution was one-sided and was silent on the massacres of Serbians and people of other ethnicities, he added.

Under the 1995 peace accord ending the civil war in Bosnia, it has a tripartite presidency shared by an ethnic Bosnian, a Serb, and a Croat.

The Serb President of Bosnia, Milorad Dodik, and Vucic came to the UN to campaign against the resolution, which they said was directed against the ethnic Serbs.

In the polarised UN, it was viewed through the prism of the confrontation between the West and Russia, making it appear as directed against Serbia, a Moscow ally, and ethnic Serbians in Bosnia, and as a Western attempt to show solidarity with Muslims, who are furious with the Western-backed Israel attacks on Gaza that have killed more than 34,000.

The resolution introduced without a consensus and extensive consultations only ended up showing the rift in the UN.

While most Muslim countries voted with the West on the resolution, they also raised the killings in Gaza.

Egypt’s Permanent Representative Osama Abdel Khalek, for example, while supporting the resolution, criticised the West for not showing the same degree of concern for those killed in Gaza.

Mexico gave a typical reason shared by many who spoke, that it did not contribute to reconciliation in the region.

Mexico’s Permanent Representative Hector Enrique Vasconcelos y Cruz said that “inclusive dialogue among all concerned states and relevant parties of the region is the heart of initiatives such as this one, work towards reconciliation and strengthen efforts to promote the rights of victims to truth, justice and reparations”.

The resolution was “not accompanied by due process of inclusive consultations, especially with countries in the Balkans region,” he added.

Dr. Manoj Sharma-

Dr. Sharma is a Professor and Chair of the Social and Behavioral Health Department and an Adjunct Professor in Internal Medicine at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). He is a global expert in health promotion.

Most of us are familiar with the deep, golden-orange spice, turmeric, used for adding color, flavor, and nutrition to foods. The use of turmeric (Curcuma longa) can be traced back thousands of years and is still a key ingredient in foods particularly Indian and other Asian cuisines. Ayurveda has attributed numerous therapeutic applications to turmeric for treating a wide variety of diseases such as those of the skin, pulmonary system, gastrointestinal system, depression, hepatic disorders, aches, pains, wounds, and sprains which modern science is rediscovering.

It has been more recently that its active component, curcumin (diferuloylmethane), and its two secondary metabolites, demethoxycurcumin and bis-demethoxycurcumin (curcuminoids) have been isolated and their health benefits studied. Turmeric, as a nutraceutical, has been attributed to having antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anticancer properties. In simple terms, the compounds found in turmeric neutralize free radicals generated from pollution, sunlight, etc., and protect human cells from damage.

Recent research shows that turmeric has anti-inflammatory activity that is mediated through an up-regulation of adiponectin (a factor responsible for maintaining glucose and fat levels) and reduction of leptin (a hormone responsible for appetite and other things that may be deleterious for the body if it is in excess). Consumption of turmeric has been shown to prevent some autoimmune disorders caused by inflammation, such as ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and esophagitis.

A recent 6-month randomized controlled trial was conducted to evaluate the antiatherosclerotic (reduction of plaque responsible for hardening of the arteries) effect of turmeric in diabetes patients. The results showed that turmeric intervention had beneficial effects on the high-risk population of diabetics.

Turmeric has been found to also possess anti-cancer activities through its effect on several biological pathways involved in cancer and its spread. Limited research studies found that turmeric was safe and somewhat beneficial in Phase I and Phase II clinical trials.

However, turmeric supplements are perhaps not a good idea. In essence, the use of turmeric pills, capsules, tinctures, or gummies is a waste of money and may even be harmful. While turmeric as a food additive has nutritional benefits, more curcumin is not essentially better, and excessive amounts can be risky. It can increase the chances of kidney stones, especially among those who have a family history. Turmeric supplements can also interact with several drugs such as blood thinners, chemotherapy agents, and immunosuppressive drugs.

The absorption of natural turmeric from food can be increased by adding black pepper while cooking. A substance in black pepper called piperine, when combined with curcumin, has been demonstrated to increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%.  This is a common practice in Indian cooking and is very beneficial.

So, we see that turmeric as a spice is beneficial for health and wellness, but it should not be consumed as a supplement. The use of turmeric holds promise for future research and practice in medicine.  More understanding of the mechanisms and therapeutic potentials of turmeric for health needs to be explored through more scientific studies. More research is needed, especially in the form of randomized controlled trials.

 

 

 

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

The made-in-India surgical robotic system SSI Mantra, India’s first robotic surgery system developed by SS Innovations, has achieved the feat by successfully performing 100 robotic cardiac surgery procedures. This remarkable achievement was announced by the company on Thursday, May 23.

Dr. Sudhir Srivastava, Chairman and CEO of SS Innovations, emphasized the significance of this milestone. He stated, “Reaching this milestone with the SSI Mantra is another notch in SS Innovations’ strategic market expansion. Our goal is to transform surgical practices, enhance access, and drive the widespread adoption of robotic surgery.”

According to Dr Srivastava, the SSI Mantra’s innovative design features a unique fifth-arm capability. This enables it to perform complex cardiac surgeries – a high-demand market that previously lacked effective robotic solutions. Traditionally, cardiac surgery often involves a maximally invasive approach that requires the patient’s sternum splitting to gain access.

The advanced SSI Mantra system has been used in over 1,000 procedures globally. Among its successful executions are procedures such as Totally Endoscopic Coronary Artery Bypass (TECAB), Internal Mammary Artery (IMA) Takedown, Mitral Valve Replacement, and Bilateral Internal Mammary Artery (BIMA) Takedown.

“Our focus is on precise execution, minimizing trauma, reducing blood loss, enabling quicker recoveries, and achieving superior overall outcomes – all while maintaining cost-effectiveness,” Dr Srivastava stated while adding that the company anticipates US FDA approval and CE Mark certification in Europe by early 2025.

The global surgical robotics market is on a robust growth trajectory. According to ResearchAndMarkets, the global surgical robotics market its size was valued at $78.8 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach $188.8 billion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 9.1 percent from 2023 to 2032.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

Nikki Haley, Republican party leader and former US Presidential candidate, will visit Israel next week.

She will be accompanied by Danny Danon, an Israel Member of Knesset (MK) who was the ambassador of Israel to the United Nations. Nikki Haley also has served as the ambassador of the United States to the United Nations.

She will tour the Southern Israel areas including Kibbutz Be’eri and Kfar Aza, which border Gaza, and where Hamas killed 1200 people and also kidnapped over 200 people on October 7 last year, IANS reported.

Nikki Haley is against anti-Semitism and has maintained that the treatment of Israel by the UN institutions led to the October 7 attack.

National Security Advisor (NSA) in the Trump administration Robert O’Brien; former US ambassador to the UAE and architect of Abraham Accord John Rakolta; and Ed McMullen former Ambassador of the US to Switzerland, have also visited Israel in the past few days.

Trump’s close policy advisors and the arrival of Nikki Haley – the Republican leader and probable running mate of Trump in the Presidential election—is an indication that the Republican party will provide outright support to Israel in the current war.

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-

California Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed Jaya Badiya, an Indian-origin woman, as a judge in the Sacramento County Superior Court.

Alongside Badiga, Governor Newsom appointed 17 other judges, including Raj Singh Badhesha, also of Indian descent.

Born in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, Judge Badiga completed her initial education in Hyderabad. She pursued higher education in the United States, earning a Juris Doctor degree from Santa Clara University School of Law and an MA in International Relations and International Communications from Boston University.

Badiga’s legal career began in 2009 after she passed the California State Bar examination. Over the past decade, she amassed experience in various legal capacities, including private practice and educational roles at institutions such as the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and the McGeorge School of Law.

Before her judicial appointment, Badiga held several roles within the California Department of Health Care Services, including Staff Counsel, Attorney Advisor, Managing Attorney, and Attorney. She also served as a Commissioner at the Sacramento County Superior Court.

Badiga’s journey into law reflects resilience and passion. Her accidental entry into the legal profession was inspired by her experiences working with women in distress, particularly while working with the charity organization ‘WEVE’ (Women Escaping a Violent Environment). Witnessing the legal challenges faced by women, both locally and from her native country, inspired her to pursue a legal education.

She excelled as a family law specialist in California. From practicing independently to working in government agencies, Jaya’s career trajectory demonstrates her unwavering dedication.

Badiga’s father, Ramakrishna, was an industrialist and a former Member of Parliament (MP), while her mother, Prema Latha, is a homemaker.