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Canara Bank donation to St. George Balikaram

PUNE, April 16: Canara Bank, a leading Nationalised Bank, under its CSR Activity has donated money to St. George Balikagram, an orphanage housed at Dehu Road in Pune.

St. George Balikagram takes care of unaffected female children of leprosy patients irrespective of caste, creed or religion.

Canara Bank's Managing Director and CEO V.S Krishna kumar handed over the donation Cheque to Rev. Fr. Siby Thomas and Mathew D Mathew.

N Khanna, General Manager, Canara Bank Pune Circle, was also present on the occasion.

Meet 17-year-old girl who got through to all 8 Ivy League Schools

VIRGINIA, April 12: Pooja Chandrashekar has reason enough to feel on top of the world. At the age of just 17, she’s developed an app that analyses speech patterns to predict whether a person has Parkinson’s disease and set up a nationwide organisation to encourage young American girls to pursue careers in technology.

But that’s not all – she’s also scored an admission to 14 top US universities, including all eight Ivy League schools.

Even among the brainy kids at Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a top-ranked school in the US, Pooja stands out with her 4.57 grade-point average and a score of 2390 (out of 2400) on the SAT.

And now that she has the choice to get into the Ivy League schools or Stanford, MIT, Duke, the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan and Georgia Tech, the only child of engineers who migrated to the US from Bengaluru is dreaming of a career at the “nexus of medicine, technology and entrepreneurship as a physician developing innovative healthcare technologies”.

“I feel so honored and humbled to be accepted to these colleges and be recognised for my work and efforts over the past four years,” said Pooja.

Pooja has narrowed her list to Harvard, Stanford and Brown, where she got into a programme that guarantees her admission to the university’s medical school.

Getting admission to one Ivy League school is a rare achievement for most US high school students and it is extremely rare for a student to get accepted at all eight, though a few manage to do so each year.

But Pooja has more than her academic achievements to fall back on. The mobile app she developed analyzes speech patterns and predicts if a person has Parkinson’s disease with 96% accuracy.

She founded ProjectCSGIRLS after her sophomore year as a “response to the tech gender gap that was glaringly noticeable in her computer science classes”. It works to cultivate a love for technology and computer science among girls and encourage them to pursue interests and careers in these fields.

“I was one of only three girls in my AP Computer Science class freshman year, so that's what motivated me to start ProjectCSGIRLS as a way of encouraging more girls to become future leaders in technology and computer science,” she said.

Pooja attended the private Nysmith School at Herndon in Virginia before enrolling at Thomas Jefferson High School, where she studied computing, artificial intelligence and DNA science.

She spent her summers attending programmes in robotics and tinkered with web design and game programming. In middle school, she built a windmill to explore the prospects of renewable energy.

“She loves creative writing, organising and participating in hackathons, making people laugh, travelling, and tasting good food,” according to the ProjectCSGIRLS website.

“I'm also hoping to get involved with biomedical engineering and computational neuroscience research throughout college and medical school since I've loved doing research during my high school years and have been recognised as an Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalist and Siemens Competition National Semifinalist,” she said.

Pooja said her parents – her mother works as a software engineer and her dad as a network engineer – immigrated from Bengaluru nearly 25 years ago. “They obtained their master's degrees here in the US - my mom at Arizona State University and my dad at Texas A&M. I do still have family in Bangalore and Mysore and I do still visit India,” she said.

Not content with encouraging girls in the US to pursue careers in technology, Pooja said she would also like to do something similar in India.

“I would love to help girls in India take to careers in technology! We're actually working on launching an international computer science competition through ProjectCSGIRLS for students outside of the US and we hope to get that up and running next year,” she said.

Her guidance counselor, Kerry Hamblin, told Washington Post she was dedicated to pushing herself in the classroom, which helped her to stand out. “She’s taking the hardest courses, the most challenging that we offer, and has exceeded anyone’s expectations in all of them,” he said.

As a summer intern at the MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit organisation that operates research and development centres sponsored by the US government, Pooja impressed older colleagues by working on a diagnostic tool for determining early signs of mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI), said James S Ellenbogen, chief scientist of emerging technologies at MITRE.

“Pooja helped improve a model that could mimic the human response to a simple test for mTBI,” said Michael Fine, lead engineer in the MITRE neurotechnology group.

“Her work may eventually allow us to optimise the diagnostic test, which should further improve the accuracy of the results when it is administered to patients.”

Despite her accomplishments, Pooja is like most other teenagers. She enjoys watching TV shows like Shark Tank, listening to Bollywood music and exploring restaurants.

She’s also a fan of the Food Network and is amazed by chefs who show off their skills in the kitchen. It’s one subject, she admits, she hasn’t mastered.

“I can’t cook for my life,” Pooja told Washington Post. “But it’s fun to imagine I can.”

Ashlee Monroe Appointed International Goodwill Ambassador for the Pashmina Goat Project

By Deepak Arora

Ashlee MonroeNEW DELHI, March 3: Ashlee Monroe, a star women entrepreneur and a TV show host with exceptional communication skills and a diplomatic flare, has been appointed International Goodwill Ambassador for the Pashmina Goat Project in Canada.

Making the announcement here, Babar Afzal, Founder of KashmirInk Foundation and Pashmina Goat Project, said Ashlee Monroe, who is a well-known individual in Canada, will serve as a "Honorary Diplomat" to gather support from large organizations, corporate, institutions and individuals from across the world.

Babar Afzal, who is one of the most credible voice on Pashmina in Asia, said Monroe will host social functions, donate, host fund raisers, fashion shows and lobby corporate for the welfare of the Pashmina Eco-System to help attract International support to the project.

Ashlee MonroeMs Monroe will help to bring awareness about the challenges faced by the eco-system and represent the Foundation's initiative to larger groups for the purpose of building friendly, cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships that will be beneficial to the Project.

Ashlee said he has had a strong influence of Himalayas throughout her life and is passionate to propagate the foundation's program globally.

Her enthusiasm to contribute to the world, especially to Himalayas, will help the foundation build support and goodwill across America. She is actively involved with the foundation and is in process of launching multiple activities and awareness campaigns and lead the initiative in Canada and New York.

Ambassador Ashlee Monroe vows to work selflessly and would not associate with any Pashmina manufacturer or marketer and not endorse any corporate brand for any direct or indirect, personal commercial benefit. In contemporary culture, pashmina has been present since the beginning of the luxury fashion industry.

She explained that Pashmina goats are the root of luxury, as the wool from the goat, also known as "pashm" has been used for thousands of years to make shawls that were crafted intricately and presented to kings and queens as priced possessions.

The foundation's goal is to integrate the project into New York and Paris, as they are the fashion capital of the world. The project requires support from the fashion elite to help boost awareness to the world fashion industry about the Pashmina Eco-system.

As this is a truly global campaign that has a deep rooted connection with fashion and luxury globally, Babar said the Foundation is looking for sensitive global brands, organizations to understand this project and extend support to the foundation by becoming annual and lifetime donors and sponsors under various categories.

Babar said erratic climatic conditions and excessive snow has been killing Pashmina goats in the Indian Himalayas, threatening supplies of precious silky wool used to make warm and luxurious lightweight cashmere apparel. These goats are reared by thousands of nomads in the hostile terrain of Ladakh, a high-altitude desert renowned for its dramatic landscape of towering mountains and arid plains.

He said in 2012 about 25000 goats died of starvation, because their fodder and grass got buried under a thick layer of snow for months, a direct impact of climate change across the Himalayan belt.

The Pashmina Eco-System (Pashmina goats, shepherds, yarn weavers, manufacturers, crafts men and women and buyers) is under threat of destruction and requires global attention. The communities linked to this eco-system are reducing at an alarming rate, facing the impacts of climate change and the pressures of urbanization across Himalayas displacing everyone and forcing them to pursue other ways of earning their livelihood.

In an endeavour to sensitise the global audiences about the challenges faced by this eco-system, KashmirInk Foundation that owns and operates the Pashmina Goat Project from the past several years has been hosting art exhibitions, fashion shows, press conferences, talks and interactions with the stakeholders to raise awareness of the ongoing situation and to celebrate the Pashmina goats and their crucial role in the eco-system.

The foundation runs a three point program:

1. Promotion and preservation of the Pashmina goats and the shepherds

2. Awareness about fake Pashmina, which is detrimental to the real Pashmina Industry and discouraging shepherds and weavers to continue to remain linked the eco-system.

3. Creation of a global luxury social brand that represents and enhances the lives of the community of over a million strong community of shepherds, weavers and crafts men and women that are linked with the Pashmina Eco-System in Himalayas.

The global demand for pure and authentic Pashmina requires that awareness events be hosted globally, especially in over 100 countries that import Pashmina, to spread awareness. The foundation in this endeavour has crafted a Goodwill Ambassador Program for celebrities and sensitive individuals to become the voice for the project. The core committee members of the foundation are currently accepting and screening profiles for many countries to bring on board sensitive individuals who can become the voice of the foundation in their respective countries.

Worldwide Celebration of French Cuisine on March 19

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Jan 23: On 21 January 2015, Mr. Laurent Fabius, French Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development, along with world-renowned 3-Michelin-starred Chef Alain Ducasse, officially launched the “Goût de France/Good France” project. This special initiative aims to celebrate French gastronomy worldwide, with 1300 chefs serving a “French-style dinner” on March 19 on all five continents.

A committee of international chefs, led by Alain Ducasse, selected and unveiled the final list of restaurants participating in Goût de France/Good France”. They scrutinised proposals submitted by restaurants all over the world, which prepared a menu representative of French gastronomy:

• A French traditional aperitif (Champagne and gougeres -stuffed or not- or Iced cognac and foie gras)
• A cold appetizer and a hot appetizer
• A fish or shell-fish course and one meat or poultry course
• Vegetables to represent the values of healthy eating and environmental responsibility
• One or a selection of French cheeses
• One chocolate dessert
• French wines and one French liqueur

Among the finalists, 48 restaurants are located in India. With this massive participation, India ranks 4th in the world, after Italy (96), Japan (61) and Brazil (55), just ahead of the United States (46). It highlights the importance attached to gastronomy in India, as well as in France, gastronomy being part of both countries’ identity.

In 1912, Auguste Escoffier started the “Epicurean Diners”- one day, one menu, served in cities around the world. In 2015, “Goût de France/Good France” takes the idea further, bringing all categories of restaurants together, worldwide.

This event will mark the first concrete demonstration of French cuisine being listed in UNESCO’s “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” category, and will highlight its influence on the world. Further, each participating restaurant is committed to donating 5% of the profits to a local NGO working in the health and environment sectors.



Modi congratulates yoga teacher for Guinness record

Presidential Award to Dr Sudesh Kumar Sheoran, 39 other Officers of the Customs & Central Excise and Directorate of Enforcement
Canara Bank honours brave hearts

Culture Secretary Ravinder Singh, French Ambassador François Richier inaugurate World War 1 memorabilia exhibition



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