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Groove to Charlie Charles tunes @ Shangri-La

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Oct 10: It all started with a bribe as a kid for Charlie Charles. For every song sung the bribe was a Marie Biscuit. A journey reaching full circle for Charlie Charles who started her life with vocal struggles and today sings and dances while making people groove to her tunes.

"I conquered my verbal communications by dancing salsa and ballet," says the beautiful singer now singing at the Shangri-La Hotel in Delhi.

Though she has a large repertoire of music, but she loves to sing Acid Jazz. "I connect strongly to Afro Jazz," she laughs. The Los Angeles-based jazz singer's repertoire includes covers of Sade, Dido, Alanis Morrisette and Gloria Estefan.

Knowledge of her own range that allows her to sing different styles is loved by the Delhi audience. Love songs get taken over by serious jazz and there is not a moment when she sings unnoticed at the Island Bar at Shangri-La New Delhi.

She is a vegetarian by choice, a Yoga lover in search of inner strengths and her own spirituality and is hooked on to Earth Ling's on You Tube. She sounds like a real fun loving youngster who carries an international face that could pass off as Spanish, Latino, American, African and even Asian!

Charlie Charles is seductive and gorgeous while her dainty looks evoke a protective side amongst the audience. She reaches out with her warm eyes and glowing smile to her listeners.

She is also planning to rediscover her roots in Southern India from where her great grandparents came.

She has won an award for acting in the much-acclaimed musical Kats and the Kings, and has even played a role in a Jamie Fox music video, but writing songs is what Charles enjoys most.

"I am writing songs for my album, which I plan to record once I am back in Los Angeles in November this year."

Till then you can catch her at Shangri-La, making beautiful music six nights a week.

Now Dr Mukesh Ambani

By Deepak Arora

Chancellor of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda Mrunalini Devi Puar conferring the Degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa to RIL Chairman Mukesh AmbaniNEW DELHI, Sept 29: The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda has conferred the Degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa to Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) in a glittering ceremony over here on Saturday.

The M.S. University Chancellor Dr. Mrunalini Devi Puar greeted Ambani with a shawl and presented him the Degree Honoris Causa amidst loud applause from the gathering.

The M.S. University had organized a gorgeous 56th Annual Convocation at the University premises which was attended by the large number of dignitaries, members of the University Senate and Syndicate, and the graduating students among others.

Addressing the convocation, Ambani said he was confident of India becoming a global power soon with united efforts of all particularly the youths.

"Today, India is poised to become the third leading economy in the world and would be global power which would happen within the life of the present generation."

The RIL Chairman said there are several favourable factors that would make the 21st century as India's century but we have to give due emphasis on the young people, who have huge untapped potential.

"India is the oldest civilization with youngest population and has unparallel capacity to resolve its internal tension and ensure social harmony. It has an edge over several other countries in today's knowledge age and also has an inherent capacity to compete globally with its vast domestic market and rapidly rising purchasing power of consumers."

Hailing the youth for being dynamic and ambitious, Dr Ambani said the country has all the materials that the world requires today.

At this historic juncture, he said India today required visionary leaders in all spheres, including business, politics, spiritualism and education.

"Our leaders must focus to banish poverty and illiteracy from the face of India," said Dr Ambani.

Another recipient of the Degree of Doctor of Letters Honoris Causa was Sri Sri Ravishankar, the popular yoga guru. Lord Karan Bilimoria was the Chief Guest on this occasion.

Mukesh Ambani is the latest addition in the glorious fifteen who received the Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa earlier from the M.S. University of Baroda.

The luminaries who were earlier honored by the University include Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Dr. Kanaiyalal Munshi, Dr. Jivraj Mehta, Dr. Verghese Kurien et al. Incidentaly, Dr Mukesh Ambani is the only recipient to have received this honor at fortunate 50 i.e. at the youngest age.

Dr Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani is a Chemical Engineer from The University of Bombay and MBA from Stanford University, USA. He is the man behind Reliance's vertical backward integration from textiles into polyester fibre and further into petrochemicals, petroleum refining; and exploration and production of oil and gas.

In the process, he directed the flagship Reliance Industries Limited and created several world class manufacturing facilities involving diverse technologies and set the exemplary records in project -implementation since 1981.

The creation of the world's largest grass-root petroleum refinery at Jamnagar, setting up of the largest and most complex information and communications network under the banner of Reliance Infocom (now Reliance Communications)and steering the implementation of a pan-India organized retail network with supply chain infrastructure are few of major achievements to the credit of Mr. Mukesh Ambani.

Earlier in 2007 he has been bestowed with The Global Vision 2007 Award for Leadership by USIBC, conferred with the ET Business Leader of the Year Award in 2006, awarded the first NDTV Profit Global Indian Leader Award from the Prime Minister and co-chaired the World Economic Forum at Davos in 2006.

Dr Ambani is also the Chairman of Reliance Petroleum Limited and Reliance Retail Limited besides holding memberships in the Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industries, CSIR, NCAER, Indo-US CEOs' Forum.

The conferment of the Degree of Doctor of Science by the M.S. University of Baroda is in addition to the most valued list of Mukesh Ambani's otherwise luminescent character.

Interpretation of Life

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Sept 23: The Experimental Art Gallery in the Capital’s India Habitat Center is showcasing the works of a young aspiring artist, Abhishek Swarup, till September 28.

The exhibition, aptly titled “Life” takes a walk through the journey of life with each painting depicting a stage or different phase. The artists’ collections of his most recent works have a signature style of faces of man and woman.

No two people have the same adaptations and aspirations. Every one of us adapts differently through the journey of LIFE. These art works portray phases that are common and occur in ones LIFE, at least once but they occur in different forms at various times. The paintings are an interpretation of the young artist of these events of LIFE which every individual goes through.

The exhibition provides a chance to view a variety of artworks that broadly represent the creativity and diversity of artistic expression achieved by the young painter. Abhishek considers art a form through which he can communicate his thoughts and visions. Various mediums have been used by the artist including oil on canvas, acrylic on canvas, charcoal etchings on paper and paint on glass.

Abhishek Swarup is currently doing the International Baccalaureate in Pathways World School and is in his final year. He considers his biggest support in this endeavor of having an exhibition his art Guru Khemchandji.

The artist states, “I hope this first exhibition of mine is able to convey to you a journey through LIFE that you have or will experience and each of you will find parallels in my paintings.”

Clean up campaign

NEW DELHI: An enthusiastic group of students, NGOs and volunteers took part in this year’s Clean up the World Campaign in Delhi.

Volunteers and students from 15 schools, representatives from NGOs, and Australians from the Australian High Commission gathered in a community park in Vasant Vihar for clean up. Around 500 volunteers took out a symbolic procession from Guru Harkrishan Public School to the nearby park with the aim of creating awareness about how voluntary effort can help improve the environment.

NGOs which participated in the campaign included STOP (work for human trafficking), Asha Special School (school for kids with disability) and ARMAAN ( working for the rehabilitation of Tihar Jail inmates).

The campaign was launched by the Deputy High Commissioner, Mr David Holly.

The campaign, initiated by an Australian sailor and environmentalist, Mr. Ian Kiernan, in 1993, has now become an international event with clean-ups being organised by millions of volunteers in over 120 countries in September each year. In Delhi, schools have been involved in the campaign since 2000.

Theme nights at Café Uno

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Sept 8: Here's another way of visiting Spain. Visit Café Uno at Shangri-La on Thursdays. The seductive strains of the Spanish Guitar, the spirited rhythm of the foot tapping Flamenco and the unmistakably authentic Spanish dishes will transport you to Spain.

On Fridays, one can take a gastronomic journey and experience a kaleidoscope of sensations and tastes with a Beer and Barbeque festival.

Recently appointed Executive chef David Ansted brings to you interplay of smoke, sizzle, food and flame. He has creatively designed the barbeque menu to bring in gastronomy in Shangri-La Hotel, New Delhi to a whole new level.

Quench your thirst with unlimited select chilled beer and enjoy the traditional taste of meat, lamb, pork chops, and selection of sausages, fish, prawns and vegetarian skewers on grill. Chef prepares meatier and juicer barbeque items in front of your eyes to please your appetite.

The barbeque buffet includes the selection of salads, soups, sides, the vast array of grilled items and the sumptuous variety of desserts to please all taste buds. Enjoy the choicest of delicacies offered and treat yourself to the best barbeque prepared. By night, enjoy a fulfilling meal under the stars, amidst an "alfresco" setting. It's more than just a Beer and BBQ!

On Saturdays, Shangril-La offers treasures of the sea where one can douse one’s craving for exotic seafood by dropping. Choose from the extensive spread of crabs, prawns and squid dishes and wines specially selected to suit the palate.

Jassi rocks at Airtel's 'Dil se - Jhoom Le'

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Sept 7: Popular punjabi singer Jassi gave a rocking, live performance at Airtel Mobile Services evening ‘Dil Se - Jhoom Le’.

Airtel organized the trade delight event to reward and recognize the winners of the latest edition of ‘Dil Se… Club’.

The latest edition of involving the Airtel retailers alongwith their families was started by Airtel way back in July 2001 with an objective to reward its business partners in the Delhi and NCR Circle.

‘Dil Se…’ initiative is probably the biggest virtual retailer club in Delhi and NCR with more than 13.5 thousand dealers / distributors. The major highlights of the Airtel - ‘Dil Se…’ included announcing and rewarding more than 2500 winners’ of the last version of the Dil Se….Club (April - June 07) with a host of prizes ranging from Cars to holiday trips to Switzerland, from Motorcycles to VCD players, etc.

Other highlights for the evening included sumptuous food and feet-tapping entertainment for the top 700 Airtel dealers and their families, including a live performance by the Popular Punjabi performer Jassi.

According to Mr. Christopher Tobit, Chief Executive Officer - Mobiles Services, Bharti Airtel Limited, Delhi & NCR said, “The Dil Se Club programme is in line with our continual efforts of recognizing and rewarding our valued retailers who have enabled us to be the leaders in the category. The increased interactivity during such occasions helps us to reach-out and connect better with our dealers at various levels.”

Over the years Airtel has consistently set the benchmarks for the Indian cellular industry and redefined the business through various marketing innovations, introduction of new generation value-added services and the highest standards of customer delivery. Today, Airtel - Delhi & NCR offers its customer’s a wide choice and superior value for money including a range of innovative value-added services backed by excellent customer service.

Bharti Airtel Limited, a group company of Bharti Enterprises, is one of India’s leading private sector providers of telecommunications services with an aggregate of 46.76 million customers as of end of July ‘07, consisting of 44.76 million mobile customers. Bharti Airtel has been rated among 10 best performing companies in the world in the BusinessWeek IT 100 list.

Bharti Airtel is structured into three strategic business units - Mobile services, Broadband & Telephone (B&T) services and Enterprise services.

The mobile business provides mobile & fixed wireless services using GSM technology across 23 telecom circles. The B&T business provides broadband & telephone services in 94 cities. The Enterprise services provide end-to-end telecom solutions to corporate customers and national & international long distance services to carriers. All these services are provided under the Airtel brand.

Airtel’s high-speed optic fibre network currently spans over 40,000 kms covering all the major cities in the country. The company has two international landing stations in Chennai that connects two submarine cable systems - i2i to Singapore and SEA-ME-WE-4 to Europe.

Indian teachers impressed with Australian teaching

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Aug 29: Another group of Indian teachers, who toured Australia in June this year as part of the Australia Education International’s (AEI) teachers’ exchange program, have returned with experiences they hope to implement in their schools.

At a reception hosted by the Australian High Commission in New Delhi, the participants shared their experiences and learning outcomes gained from their tour.

“I am pleased that teachers from India got a flavour of teaching practices in a country with varied multicultural identities. And India being a similarly vast society, I am sure that these experiences will prove to be useful for the teachers,” said Professor John Webb, Counsellor, Education, Science and Training, Australian High Commission.

“The teachers who join this exchange program bring rich experiences to share with their students and fellow teachers, providing them knowledge beyond textbooks and the routine classroom chores”.

"Australia is fast becoming the preferred destination for higher education for Indian students, and such exchanges can help students interested in Australian education know more about our teaching systems through their teachers at an early stage in life, helping them make career choices more easily", added Professor Webb.

Under the exchange program this year, 10 teachers from Delhi visited Australia in June. At the presentation, the teachers discussed the learning outcomes of their visit to Australia, the similarities and differences between the education systems of the two countries, and things they would like incorporated into the Indian system.

The teachers also attended a two-day professional development workshop delivered by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) that focused on using thinking tools to enhance learning and the use of assessment rubrics.

Based on their participation at the workshop, the group will be organising similar sessions in India with the assistance of the Australian Education International (AEI). Workshops will include topics on life skills and parent involvement, assessment rubrics, and on reading and thinking skills.

Sharing her experiences from the visit, Ms Rashmi Virmani (The Banyan Tree School) said, “The visit helped me understand that learning through multicultural experiences adds a new dimension to educational goals. Impressed by the innovation and sense of purpose in the Australian school system, I bring back many ideas which I will be implementing in my School”

Another participant, Ms Suman Takru (DPS – R K Puram) added, “Technology is more advanced in Australia. There are fewer students in classrooms but we as teachers share the same dream of moulding children into responsible global citizens. This is being done in Australian schools through not just academics but practical activities as well such as city surveys, hands on experience in zoos etc.”

The teachers toured several schools and educational institutions across Australia. The group stayed with families of Australian teachers and also joined them in their classrooms.

Running successfully for the past nine years, the exchange program has involved over 200 Indian teachers. The exchange program also supports developing curricula about India in the participating Australian schools and vice versa. At the end of the program, the teachers bring back teaching material and resources to aid them to incorporate features of Australian teaching systems in their respective school curricula.

The exchange program is organised by the Australian Education International in association with the Asia Education Foundation, Melbourne and funded by the Australia- India Council (AIC).

Australian Studies Fellowships Awards for 2007-08

NEW DELHI, Aug 10: A professor each from the SNDT University and Burdwan University; two research scholars from JNU, and one each from the Jadavpur University and Burdwan University, figure in the list of six successful Australian studies fellowship awardees for the year 2007-08.

In announcing the awards, Mr Darren Gribble, Chairman, Australia-India Council (AIC), congratulated those who had gained fellowships. “The fellowship program has been growing from strength to strength and continues to play an important role in consolidating academic and research linkages between Australia and India,” said Mr Gribble.

The AIC fellowship acquaints the visiting fellows with select Australian studies centers in Australia and allows them to pursue individual research over a period of a maximum of 10 weeks. The fellowship program is managed by a consortium of Australian universities on behalf of the AIC.

The fellowships cover a wide range of study areas including Australian literature, politics and history; environment and health; film media, communications and performing arts; issues relating to Indigenous Australians, ethnicities and multiculturalism; tourism and gender studies.

Initiated in 2003 as a part of the AIC Australian studies program initiative, a total of 21 academics and senior research scholars from Indian universities have undertaken the fellowship program in Australia.

Speaking at the first ever meet of the alumni of the AIC Fellowship program held in New Delhi recently, Australian High Commissioner to India, Mr John McCarthy, welcomed the idea of an alumni association and said, “such institutionalisation will not only provide a platform to connect and network, but also lead to enrichment of ideas through cross-disciplinary connections. Growing interest in Australian studies in India, and the significant increase in the number of Indian students studying in Australian institutions, was both indicative of growing academic linkages, he added.

The six successful AIC fellowship awardees include two senior and four junior fellows.

Senior Fellows:

Professor Veena Poonacha, Research Centre for Women’s Studies, SNDT University, Mumbai. Research Proposal - Domestic Violence among the Indian Diaspora Community in Australia: Women’s Survival Strategies.

Professor Rabindranath Bhattacharyya, Department of Political Science, Burdwan University, West Bengal. Research Proposal: Australian Federalism in a Multicultural Society: A Model of Good Governance.
Junior Fellows

Debashree Dattaray, Department of English, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Research proposal: Indigenous literatures of India, Canada and Australia: A Comparative View

Rahul Mishra, SIS, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Research Proposal: "Role of Civil Society in making of the Nuclear Disarmament Policy of Australia and its Comparison with India"

Shipra Bhatia, School of Law & Governance, JNU, New Delhi. Research Proposal - Digital Divide amongst Aboriginals in Australia.

Sagar Dan, Department of English, Burdwan University, West Bengal. Research Proposal - Contestations and Negotiations: Identity and Self-Creation of Aborigine Youth in Mudrooroo’s Novels.




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