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US to probe Harvard’s admission process



Yes, we smell something fishy as per the reports. The US Justice Department will probe allegations against the prestigious Harvard University. The allegations were that the Ivy League institution discriminates against Asian- American applicants in its admission process. These were levelled in 2015 against the university by a coalition of 64 Asian-American groups, including four Indian-American organisations.

Among the 64 organisations were four Indian-American community associations—

1. American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin

2. BIT Sindri Alumni Association of North India

3. Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin-Los Angeles Chapter

4. National Federation of Indian American Associations.


The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division will investigate the allegations. The Crimson report said that the university has repeatedly and emphatically denied allegations that it uses racial quotas in its admissions process.

“The posting sought volunteers to investigate one administrative complaint filed by a coalition of 64 Asian- American associations in May 2015 that the prior administration left unresolved,” Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.

“This Department of Justice has not received or issued any directive, memorandum, initiative, or policy related to university admissions in general,” the statement said. The complaint had been filed on behalf of Asian-American students “who, because of their race, have been unfairly rejected by Harvard College because of such unlawful use of race in the admissions process, and/or who seek the opportunity to apply for admission without being discriminated against because of their race”.

Department of Education said that this was similar to an ongoing and separate federal lawsuit filed against Harvard.


“To become leaders in our diverse society, students must have the ability to work with people from different backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives. Harvard remains committed to enrolling diverse classes of students,” Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane said.


FTII To Conduct Film Appreciation Course In Bhubaneswar



The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, will conduct a week-long film appreciation course in Bhbaneswar.


This will be a part of the institute’s nationwide programme to popularise film learning. This was informed by the Director of FTII, Pune, Bhupendra Kainthola. The course will provide a unique opportunity to the cine lovers of Odisha, to understand cinema from one of the world’s leading film schools..

The film appreciation course, to begin from February 14 will be conducted for the first time in Odisha, an official release said.

“Odisha has a film industry that goes back over 75 years and is still a robust one. As part of the FTII’s ongoing nation-wide programme to popularise film learning, a week-long film appreciation course has been designed for Bhubaneswar,” Kainthola said.

For over five decades, film appreciation was just a once a year course, conducted only in Pune and this made little sense for a country with a rich cinematic history and millions of cinema lovers, he said.

In the last nine months, the FTII has conducted film appreciation courses in Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur, Delhi, Jaipur, Guwahati, Srinagar (J&K), Haridwar and Srinagar (Uttarakhand), he added.


The programme will be conducted with inputs from National Film Archive of India (NFAI), Pune, in association with the Directorate of Technical Education and Training (DTET), Odisha government, the official release said.

Though the programme will be open to all, only 100 participants will be admitted on a first-come-first-served basis, and it will be held at the Museum of Tribal Arts & Crafts.

The Course will be conducted by renowned film academic Pankaj Saxena, an FTII alumnus, who is a filmmaker and TV programmer based in New Delhi, it said.

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Prince Charles Launches Education Impact Bond for India




Britain’s Prince Charles has launched a new 10-million-dollar Development Impact Bond (DIB) to help improve education for over 200,000 children in India.


The DIB, the largest bond of its type in South Asia, is the latest fundraising initiative by the British Asian Trust (BAT), set up by the royal 10 years ago to fight poverty in South Asia. The new bond has been launched by the trust with the support of the UK government’s Department for International Development (DfID), Comic Relief, the Mittal Foundation and the UBS Optimus Foundation.

“We are launching a 10-million-dollar Development Impact Bond that will improve education for more than 200,000 children in India,” Prince Charles said at a Buckingham Palace event yesterday evening to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the British Asian Trust.

“This will be the largest bond of its type in the region and will, I hope, offer a compelling model for a mere effective approach to philanthropy at scale,” he said.

“These bonds are an innovative and, I think, a tremendously effective way of raising the funds needed to address some of the greatest challenges in the region at the kind of scale necessary to make a significant difference,” he said.


–The concept of DIB is intended as a result-oriented way to attract new capital into development projects, with a strong emphasis on data and evidence.

–Under the initiative, the DIB will provide funding to local not-for-profit delivery partners in India over four years, delivering a range of operational models including principal and teacher training, direct school management, and supplementary programmes.

–It is intended to improve literacy and numeracy learning levels for primary school students from marginalised communities in the country.


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JMI Honours Hotmail Founder Sabeer Bhatia



Founder of Hotmail, renowned entrepreneur and innovator, Sabeer Bhatia was conferred with Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI)’s highest award, ‘Imtiaz-e-Jamia’.

He has been conferred the honour for his ‘outstanding contributions to public service and for technological innovation for the benefit of the society’. 50-year-old US-based, Mr Bhatia was presented with a plaque with the citation and a shawl by JMI Vice Chancellor, Prof Talat Ahmad at a function in the university campus amidst students from the Science and Technology faculties.

The citation read: ‘JMI confers Imtiaz-e-Jamia on Mr Sabeer Bhatia, entrepreneur, philanthropist and innovator for his outstanding contributions to public service throughout his life’.

Accepting the award, Mr Bhatia, who subsequently sold-off Hotmail to Microsoft in 1998, gave a stimulating talk on entrepreneurship and the future of information technology.


— He asked the students to develop innovative ideas and be open to risks that come with entrepreneurship.

— With technology changing at a rapid pace, he said that, newer technology makes old technology obsolete.

— Neural networks are the new paradigm of technology, he said adding that, the Internet of Things (IoT) will bring in the next wave of revolution that will transform the society.

— Talking about the risk involved in entrepreneurship he said that all decision-making has to be based on logic and one should be prepared to face failure. There should be no shame in failing, he added.


Mr Bhatia said that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is future technology and it will bring sweeping changes in the lives of people and business as machines and the superior algorithm will outdo human intelligence. He said that though algorithms are good for machines, it is not how the human brain works or for that matter how a child’s brain develops. “Though algorithms may have more accurate analytical ability than human beings they lack the emotions that human beings can express,” he said.

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