Rajasthan village boy wins laurels with grit

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first_imgBy his sheer grit and determination, a poor teenage boy from a remote village in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan has won laurels by getting prizes and awards, thanks to his teachers’ guidance and an educational quality support programme honing his skills.High scoresFifteen-year-old Dharma Ram has excelled in both academics and extra-curricular activities, winning prizes in athletics, kabaddi and inter-school arts competitions, in addition to scoring high marks in his science subject. He is at present a student of Class X at the Government Senior Secondary school in Dhandhaniya Bhaila village.Financial hurdlesDharma started his education at the age of six years in his native Jati Bandhu village, when his family was struggling to make ends meet. His father was working at a stone quarry and mother was battling the last stage of cancer.During his early days in school, Dharma’s teachers sensed his thirst for knowledge and encouraged him to polish his talent. The young boy’s confidence and resolution grew with the passage of time. In addition to his keen interest in science, he emerged as an all-rounder student.Dharma lost his mother to cancer and his father quit his daily job at the mines due to failing health, while the family survived on occasional stints at the stone quarries. Despite such tough conditions, Dharma has excelled in academics and won several medals at the State-level science quiz competitions.Science teacher Dharma told The Hindu from Dhandhaniya Bhaila village that he aspires to be a science teacher. He is getting help from the Satya Bharti Quality Support Programme, which covers his school. His family comprising two brothers, a sister and father continues to face financial hurdles.Represents schoolThe young boy has recently won first prize in a State-level science exhibition organised by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. He was also sent to represent his school at a State-level science quiz competition, where he won the third prize and was encouraged to continue pursuing his aspirations in the field of science.School principal Lalit Kumar said Dharma, consistently a topper in his class, was preparing hard for his examinations due next month.last_img read more


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first_imgA six-foot-long rat snake was spotted in the Taj Mahal premises on Monday, causing panic among visitors.A team of experts from Wildlife SOS arrived at the monument and rescued the snake. The rat snake is harmless, feeding mostly on birds and rodents.The staff at the Taj Mahal called for help and a rapid response team was dispatched by Wildlife SOS. The team found the reptilian visitor cooling off under a water cooler in the water filtration plant.Officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) immediately stopped the water filtration plant. The Wildlife SOS team, along with the ASI staff, moved workers and curious tourists to a safe distance from the snake before starting the rescue process.After an hour-long operation, the Wildlife SOS team managed to successfully extricate the reptile.Munazzar Ali, Senior Conservation Assistant, ASI, said: “There are four RO plants inside the Taj Mahal to ensure proper water supply for public water taps. As soon as the snake was spotted inside the plant, considering the safety of tourists and workers, we immediately contacted Wildlife SOS for their assistance. The team was very efficient in rescuing the snake.”Baiju Raj M.V of Wildlife SOS said: “The severe heat must have driven the snake in search for water and a cool place. We thank the ASI and the officials of the Taj Mahal for considering the safety of the tourists and the snake and contacting Wildlife SOS.”last_img read more


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first_imgUnhappy over delay in maintenance work on National Highway-27 here, Congress MLA Bharat Singh on Sunday accused a Minister in the Gehlot government of corruption and hindering the work. Mr. Singh, who represents Sangod Assembly constituency in Kota district, has written a letter to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot alleging corruption in the State’s mining department. ‘Save govt. from corrupt’ In the letter he has requested Mr. Gehlot to save the government from the “corrupt people” to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. He also referred to the Chief Minister’s budget speech in which Mr. Gehlot had said his government would work to put an end to “the flowing Ganga of corruption”. The central government wants to repair the highway stretch but the State mining department is raising obstacles, the letter said. He alleged that funds worth ₹208.54 crore have been sanctioned for maintenance work on NH-27, but an assistant engineer of the mining department in Baran is apparently raising hurdles on the directions of the Minister and not issuing the requisite permission letter to the contractor for the maintenance work. “What honesty is there in a department where its head is already corrupt“?, he said in the letter without naming the Minister. The MLA further said in the letter that the contractor himself has narrated his ordeal to him.Mining Minister Notably, Pramod Jain Bhaya, the MLA from Anta area of Baran district is the Mining Minister. Speaking to PTI on Sunday, Mr. Singh said, “The amount has been sanctioned and the work will begin but hindrance is being caused by the Minister who should be expediting the work,” he said. He said Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has responded positively to the work but the ground reality was “very unfortunate”.last_img read more


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first_imgStill, Dolan says his company likes to avoid “overactive markets.” “Right now there’s a lot of play with workflow management and document management at law firms,” he added. “I won’t touch that, we like the dark corners.”Mobile is viewed much the same way online was a few years ago: a huge opportunity but no one really knows what to do with it yet. “Most content businesses now have some sort of digital business. I think soon they will all also be building mobile,” said Quadrangle’s Ezersky. “Right now, the only ones making money from mobile are the carriers. Until a couple big players figure this out and start butting heads, it won’t happen. We’re already at a place where venture capitalists who invested in mobile a few years ago are disappointed.”Multiples Continue to Soar for OnlineEBITDA multiples are starting to see significant disparity. According to DeSilva + Phillips managing partner Reed Phillips, b-to-b EBITDA multiples averaged 11.5x in 2007, compared to 12x to 13x EBITDA for consumer publishing deals. “Those multiples will continue to carry over into 2008 with high quality companies, while third tier companies will continue to struggle,” says Phillips.Meanwhile, DeSilva + Phillips said EBITDA for digital content companies averaged between 7x and 15x EBITDA, while ad networks averaged 10x to 18x EBITDA, and social networks averaged 9x to 16x EBITDA.Deal CultureDespite the bad press for private equity, some speakers said private equity ownership seems to be more forgiving than the public market these days. “VNU couldn’t operate in the public market—now they’re still the same size and because the CEO isn’t making quarterly reports, he can make tough decisions,” says Strauss Zelnick, partner at ZelnickMedia.Dolan advised publishers to keep their operators out of M&A and focused on the business. “Our analogy is, growing organically is farming culture and M&A is hunter-killer culture,” he said, prompting moderator Charles Engros Jr., managing partner at Morgan, Lewis and Brockius, to quip, “That’s a good analogy because sometimes what you’re hunting kills you.” Strategic operators and private equity investors are looking for opportunities in the development of a “fourth leg of the stool,” speakers said today at the annual DeSilva + Phillips Dealmakers Summit. Attractive media companies are going to look very different going forward. “We’re glum about newspapers, and cautious about TV and magazines,” said Peter Ezersky, managing principal at Quadrangle Group LLC.While only a few members of the audience thought the market is in recession right now, the majority said things would get worse before they get better. That has prompted even longtime players in the magazine market to change what they’re looking for. “A lot of our portfolio is made up of advertising-based services but in 2007 we didn’t buy a single ad-supported business,” said Peggy Koenig, managing partner at private equity firm ABRY Partners, which owns consumer enthusiast publisher F&W and b-to-b publisher Cygnus. “A lot of old media has been disrupted. We see much more opportunity now with information services.”Dolan Media, which recently performed a $196 million IPO, has developed a series of services that president and CEO Jim Dolan says are economy neutral or even counter-cyclical, such as a mortgage foreclosure service and continuing legal education.“It’s an easy step from giving them information to giving them services to help them,” Dolan says. “It’s an avenue of growth we hadn’t thought of before 2005. What we’re doing with services is what many publishers are trying to do with online, and that’s build communities. This isn’t an abandonment of anything, doesn’t take away from other services.”last_img read more


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first_imgUBS employees work in the UBS “fintech lab” at Canary Wharf in London.ReutersWithin the silos of incumbent financial services, so-called fintech companies are good at picking off one thing only and doing it well.This approach is also taken within data science, where a lot of the properly intelligent work is about understanding the domain (problem) and how best to use the information/data for the problem you have. In doing so, a fintech approach – collaboration, open-sourcing code – is helping to gradually change the culture of finance, even in some hitherto heavily guarded domains.Dr Tristan Fletcher, research director, Thought Machine, said: “Without this specialisation and domain knowledge, it’s very hard to rise above the noise. However, the algorithms themselves are often applicable in many areas or problems, and we are probably seeing decreasing specialisation here.”Fintech lends itself particularly to specialisation because there are many well-packaged problems that need to be solved and can be clearly delineated – KYC, AML, credit checking etc. Having a competence in one area does not necessarily imply it in others, so it is harder to justify being a corporate fox vs a hedgehog.”Bonus-driven executives with a big bank or fund might be reluctant to share their secret sauce with people in their own company, never mind other corporates. In contrast, within the majority of small fintech startups, most employees will share (to varying degrees) in the ownership of the company, which will drive collaboration and the sharing of ideas internally. Furthermore, because of the relative balkanisation of a lot of the domains in the fintech ecosystem, there is much more incentive to co-operate than be competitive in the industry.Fletcher said: “I think the main reasons for the disparity between fintech and investment banks and hedge funds is that a lot of the sources of revenue in the latter are closer to a zero-sum game. Profiting from pure speculation, for example, means that someone else must be losing money (assuming the counterparty isn’t doing something more economically useful like actually mitigating risk).”Furthermore, compensation in traditional financial institutions is much more closely linked to one’s actual proximity to (often large) amounts of money. It’s often a food chain with front office staff getting more than middle office, getting more than back office for example.”Incentivisation through cash bonuses, which is gradually going out of fashion, encourages a very short-termist approach. Fintech incentivisation, being a relatively new and entrepreneurial sector, is much more about ownership in the company, which is clearly much longer term.”Value in the fintech world is much more about the execution of an idea, whereas hedge funds, for example, are known to take a cloak and dagger approach to their intellectual property, in order to justify their management fees.”However, some financial institutions and even secretive hedge funds are changing, sharing information and open sourcing some non-core infrastructure. A good example is the US hedge fund AQR, which open-sourced some of its infrastructure around time series storage and helped kickstart the pandas libraries community.”I have heard of more and more private companies open sourcing non-core infrastructure and this makes a lot of sense: it adds credibility from a technology perspective to the organisation, gets lots of developers to critique and improve any code at very low cost and encourages the adoption of any software the company might be pushing out,” said Fletcher.As much as fintech is providing an exciting new lease of life for the financial services industry, there is a super-abundance of hype out there. Terms like data science, AI, machine learning, blockchain and so on have become extremely hyped terms these days. Attaching these words to your LinkedIn profile if you work in software will get your profile more views; framing a project in this way can get funding more easily.”There are a lot of people claiming to be doing artificial intelligence and machine learning purely to get funding or generate publicity. In some cases this is being a little bit disingenuous, using machine learning when something simpler would be fine and in others it’s just bare-faced lying. This obviously doesn’t just apply to start-ups, ” he added.”The danger is that you get disappointments that blemish the entire field: perhaps some unscrupulous people use machine learning in a massively incorrect way and you get a well-publicised failure that tarnishes the reputation of the entire genre.”Fletcher said there are no easily recognisable conditions that prove some entity is genuinely doing this sort of work, but he would generally look to see whether some of the senior staff did at least have some strong academic credentials in AI or statistics.The financial arena is characteristically conservative, and when it comes to using artificial intelligence, non-finacial use cases associated with the likes of Google DeepMind and IBM Watson (which are modelled around potentially replicating human behaviours) garner much more attention and would appear to be far ahead.Fletcher added: “One of the problems with AI/deep learning is interpreterability; it’s hard to work out what the black box is actually doing. And this is dangerous in applications which could impact the tightly-coupled financial markets or indeed people’s bank accounts.”A lot of the machine learning in markets is based around time-series analysis, and it is more typical to use different methods (less related to biological processes) here.”There has been work using genetic algorithms, biologically inspired in a different way, on portfolio construction (for example bond portfolios by a product called Galapagos) and I’m sure many people used Neural Nets in the 80s but a lot of the ML methods used in markets nowadays are very far away from being biologically plausible in any way.”Newsweek and International Business Times are to host an Artificial Intelligence and Data Science in Capital Markets event, taking place on 1 and 2 March 2017 at the Barbican in the City of London.last_img read more


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first_imgRohingya refugee camp in Cox`s Bazar. File PhotoMyanmar is sending a high-level delegation soon to camps in Bangladesh to explain to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims how they can return home, Myanmar’s UN ambassador said Monday.Some 740,000 Rohingya fled a crackdown by Myanmar’s military in 2017 in Rakhine state and are living in camps in Cox’s Bazar. Many refugees have been traumatized, providing accounts of rape, mass killings and razing of villages.Myanmar’s ambassador Hau Do Suan told a General Assembly meeting that his government will “dispatch a high level delegation to Cox’s Bazar very soon, by the end of July, to explain to the displaced people the arrangements made for the repatriation and resettlement.”He said some 30,000 Rohingya had requested to return, of whom about 13,200 have been verified as former residents and “can return to Rakhine anytime”.Myanmar has faced international pressure to allow the Rohingya to return to Rakhine and grant them citizenship rights.The United Nations has complained that progress to address the refugee crisis has been far too slow.”The only viable solution for the refugees is the safe, voluntary and dignified repatriation to Myanmar,” said UN envoy to Myanmar Christine Schraner-Burgener.”And the key responsibility for creating conducive conditions in Rakhine lies with Myanmar.”She said that a “first step” to addressing the Rakhine crisis would be to halt the heavy fighting with the Arakan Army (AA), a group pushing for more autonomy for the state’s ethnic Buddhists.The United Nations has described as “ethnic cleansing” the mass expulsion of the Rohingya, but Myanmar’s army insists the campaign was justified to root out Rohingya insurgents who staged deadly raids on border posts in August 2017.last_img