IIM-B bags number one ranking in India

STAYING ON TOP: The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. IIM-B has been ranked number one by Eduniversal, a unit of French consulting firm SMBG

The Indian Institute of Management Bangalore has, for the second consecutive year, been recognised as the number one business school in India, part of the Central Asia region, as per the 2009 worldwide business school ranking by Eduniversal, a unit of French consulting firm SMBG.

In the Eduniversal Palmes 2009, IIMB has been awarded ‘5 Palmes’, the highest recognition under the evaluation, accorded to “Universal Business Schools with major international influence”.

The Award effectively positions IIMB among the 100 best business schools worldwide, an IIMB release said.

Notably, the Deans of the 1000 best business schools from 153 countries have voted for IIMB with a recommendation rate of 395 per thousand, followed by IIM Ahmedabad (345).

The Eduniversal Palmes uses a comprehensive methodology that takes into account all the aspects of a business schools’ influence on three different levels.

“We are delighted to once again receive this recognition as India’s top management school”, said IIMB Director Pankaj Chandra. “We are making several efforts to enhance the quality of learning and impact of our research so that IIMB remains the preferred management school for students with global aspirations”.

The process of the Eduniversal Official Selection involves a global mapping system meeting the criteria of universality and the international reputation of each academic institution.

The purpose of the ‘Palmes’ is to compare objectively a school of a given country or continent to another one

Is ‘common man’ safe in the country, asks Kavita Karkare

Kavita Karkare at the launch of a music video album about corruption in the police force, in Mumbai on Tuesday.

 The wife of slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare expressed her concern over the security of ‘common man’ when she talked of her husband’s tragic death while he was facing Pak terrorists who attacked Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

Kavita Karkare, wife of slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare, who was killed in the 26/11 terror attack, believes if the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief is not safe in India then there is no security for the common people.

“It is so funny that the ATS chief is not safe and had to be killed like this. How will common people feel safe then in this country?” Ms. Kavita questioned at the launch of a music video album about corruption in the police force.

The album ‘Yahi Sach Hai’ has been directed and produced by former IPS officer Y. P. Singh and his wife Abha.

“I fail to understand what is wrong with our security system. How could ten terrorists armed with weapons and explosives enter the country,” a tearful Kavita said.

She further said the memorial and tribute services do not help reduce the sorrow of the families who have lost their loved ones in the terror attack.

Parents of Additional Commissioner of Police, Ashok Kamte who also lost his life while on duty on November 26, were also present at the launch. They, however, refused to comment.

“Mumbai police do not care about their own brethren and are indulging in several wrongdoings since long. The bullet-proof jackets that are being used are sub-standard,” Y P Singh told reporters.

‘I own a tree’ campaign to save Bangalore’s greenery

A view of the Cubbon Park in Bangalore

 A silent “green revolution” is in the making in India’s tech hub Bangalore as citizens come together to sponsor trees to save the city’s “green heritage” which has of late come under threat owing to development activities.

The unique programme christened “I Own a Tree”, started by Bangalore-based environment group Eco Club, allows a person to sponsor and own a tree for two years.

So far 300 Bangaloreans and a few corporate houses, including Nokia, have come together to plant around 4,000 trees in various parts of the city — such as Bangalore University (BU) Jnanabharati campus, Bannerghata Road, and the Kanakpura area. The plantation drive was started six months ago.

Chiddalinga Prasad, one of the founder members of Eco Club, told IANS: “The concept of sponsoring of trees by Bangaloreans is to connect people with the trees by establishing a special emotional bond through ownership.”

The programme allows a person to sponsor and own a tree for two years by paying Rs.365.

“During the first two years of the sapling’s life, Eco Club will take care of the sponsored tree. The sponsor can come and visit the tree whenever he wishes. One can also volunteer and help in planting saplings,” informed Prasad.

Eco Club is a joint green initiative by the voluntary organisations Kshiti Foundation and Rotary Midtown. Its members plan to plant around 100,000 trees in Bangalore every year.

Bangaloreans who are part of the plantation drive have been issued a special sticker which says “I OWN A TREE”.

“The sticker can be proudly displayed on vehicles, homes, offices, etc. Individuals will be provided with complete information about the type of the tree planted in his/her name and all necessary education required for caring and nurturing the tree they own,” said Prasad.

Those who are interested to become a part of “I own a tree” movement can log on to http://www.iownatree.org.

Raman Singh, an IT professional who has sponsored a tree, said that now he cares more about the environment.

“The concept of ‘I own a tree’ has been designed to bring in the much—needed bonding of people with the environment. I am a proud owner of a tree and am trying my level best to save Bangalore’s lost green heritage,” said Singh.

Bhaskar G.S., chairman of Eco Club, said that the club would not be complaining about trees being uprooted in the name of infrastructure, but instead will go on planting more trees around the city. “For each uprooted tree, we will plant 10 trees,” he said.

In the past two to three years alone, Bangalore has lost around 50,000 trees, states a report of the Environment Support Group (ESG), a Bangalore-based NGO and part of Hasiru Usiru (Greenery is Life), a conglomeration of community organisations.

Hasiru Usiru has been at the forefront to protest the “illogical destruction” of Bangalore’s greenery for developmental works.

Construction for the upcoming metro rail in central Bangalore has recently led to the uprooting of 279 trees near the legislative assembly building, Vidhana Soudha, and the Central College Road.

Microsoft told to stop some Windows sales in China

A Beijing court has ordered Microsoft Corp. to stop selling some versions of its Windows operating system in China in a licensing dispute with a local supplier.

The order, which came on Monday, said Microsoft exceeded its rights under licensing agreements with Zhongyi Electronic Ltd., a Beijing company that developed Chinese character fonts used in the software.

Microsoft must stop selling versions of Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 with Zhongyi’s fonts, the Beijing People’s No. 1 Intermediate Court said in its ruling, a copy of which was released by Zhongyi.

Microsoft said it would appeal.

“Microsoft respects intellectual property rights. We use third party IPs only when we have a legitimate right to do so,” the company said in a statement. “We believe our license agreements with the plaintiff cover our use of the fonts.”

Microsoft did not respond to a question about what proportion of its products sold in China use Zhongyi fonts or how many copies might be affected.

Zhongyi said its agreement with Microsoft allowed the Seattle-based software producer to use its fonts only in Windows 95 and they were added to later products without permission.

China is a leading source of pirated copies of software, movies and other goods and its government has long been accused of failing to do enough to stop the thriving underground industry.

China’s small but ambitious technology companies say they are among the biggest victims of piracy and are turning to the courts to help defend their intellectual property.

In December, a group of 11 people who were convicted of selling unlicensed copies of Microsoft software were sentenced by a Chinese court for up to six and a half years in prison.

On the Net:

Zhongyi Electronic Ltd.: www.china—e.com.cn/en/profile/ZhongYiProfile.htm   

Microsoft Corp.: www.microsoft.com

Contemporary Indian satellite television

Is the sound bite closer to the Indian argumentative tradition than verbiage, characteristic of most Indians?

This volume is part of a series called ‘Routledge Media, Culture and Social Change in Asia’. Nalin Mehta, in his Introduction, seeks to provide a socio-cultural perspective on contemporary Indian satellite television, which is really a post-1991 phenomenon.

In a country where there is a well-established diverse and free press, it is perhaps surprising that state-regulated radio (All India Radio) and television (Doordarshan) have dominated the air waves for the most part of the 20th century. While news continues to be the preserve of AIR, “private industry broke down the barriers of statist control through a confluence of economic, technological and political factors in the 1990s,” as far as television was concerned.

There are reasons for the state’s dogged monopoly of broadcast news. According to Robin Jeffrey, the factors that contributed to this phenomenon included the legacy of Gandhian austerity and the elitist fear of freely-dispensed information inflaming passions among a largely illiterate populace. But once the barriers came down, India experienced the rise of more than 300 satellite networks and 50-odd 24-hour satellite news channels.

A catalyst show

Much in the way that popular cinema theorists have analysed the unifying factors of the Bollywood movie, Mehta discusses the way in which the ‘Indian Idol’ show in Sony Entertainment Television acted as a catalyst in 2007 for national integration in the troubled region of the North-East, following the selection of two of the show’s finalists — a Gorkha from Darjeeling and a Bengali from Meghalaya.

The overwhelming popular support for these two young men had great symbolic value in terms of Indian-ness, since the contest was all about selecting an Indian Idol. In his own contribution to the volume, Mehta is slightly less successful in proving his point that the lively oral forms of communication of argumentative Indians find resonance in many Indian television talk shows and public debates. He quotes NDTV President Prannoy Roy as saying: “I want a three-sentence reply. I don’t want an 18-sentence reply.” That, presumably, is the reason why news channels prefer an Arun Jaitely or a Sitaram Yechury to a Sundhar Singh Bhandari or a Harkishen Singh Surjeet. This begs the question: Is the sound bite closer to the Indian argumentative tradition than verbiage, characteristic of most of our countrymen and women? There is no answer provided here.

Media in U.P.

Maxine Loynd’s contribution is an interesting account of the refusal of Uttar Pradesh’s Dalit leader Mayawati to engage with the mainstream media — which has little or no Dalit representation — given the fact of high poverty and illiteracy in her constituency. Her Bahujan Samaj Party has, over the last 25 years, developed its own counter-public sphere, comprising Dalit myths, symbols, and oral histories.

In her essay, Roshni Sengupta points out that even though there are quite a few Muslim journalists working in the mainstream media, it does not necessarily follow that Muslim-related issues are dealt with in a sensitive manner.

Maya Ranganathan’s article is among the weakest, in terms of analysis, in this volume. The author fails to explain the connection between politics and cinema in Tamil Nadu. Part of the problem is that she views Dravidian parties and politicians in a homogenous and unhistorical manner. The reality is far more complex and nuanced. Furthermore, it is not at all clear why or how popular interest in cinema is transferred to satellite television, just because a few political parties own television channels.

The two articles on cricket and television — by Boria Majumdar and Peter Hutton, respectively — are long on news reporting and short on analysis. Equally uninspiring is Sharmistha Gooptu’s piece that speaks about how, in the 1980s, the Bengali television got the middle classes to watch films on the small screen, leaving the movie houses to be patronised by the subaltern classes. This, according to Gooptu, is the reason for the decline in Bengali movie standards. Like the proverbial curate’s egg, this volume is good in parts.

TELEVISION IN INDIA — Satellites, Politics and Cultural Change: Edited by Nalin Mehta, Pub. by Routledge. Distributed by Foundation Books, 4381/4, Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110002. Rs. 695.

Pets can help patients minimise medication

LOVABLE PETS: Pets help us, not only in relieving the day’s stress, but also in improving the quality of our life

 The presence of pets can help adult patients, particularly those recovering from total joint-replacement surgery, minimise medication, according to a new study.

“Evidence suggests that animal-assisted therapy (AAT) can have a positive effect on a patient’s psycho-social, emotional and physical well being,” said Julia Havey, senior systems analyst, Loyola University Health System (LUHS).

“These data further support these benefits and build the case for expanding the use of pet therapy in recovery,” she added.

Animal lover Havey and Frances Vlasses began raising puppies to become assistance dogs more than a decade ago through a programme called Canine Companions for Independence (CCI).

The non-profit organisation provides highly trained assistance dogs to people with physical and developmental disabilities free of charge.

“As nurses, we are committed to improving the quality of life for others,” said Vlasses, associate professor at the University School of Nursing.

“This service experience has provided us with a unique way to combine our love for animals with care for people with special needs,” said Vlasses.

Besides the financial obligations that go along with raising a puppy, Havey and Vlasses take the dogs to class and teach them house and public etiquette until they are old enough to enter a formal training programme.

“You might see our four-legged friends around Loyola’s campus from time to time,” said Havey, also a registered nurse at LUHS.

“Part of our responsibility as volunteers, is to acclimate these dogs to people. The Loyola community has so graciously supported this training and the use of service dogs on campus,” added Havey.

When the dogs are approximately 15 months of age, Havey and Vlasses return them to CCI’s regional training centre for six to nine months where they are trained to be one of four types of assistance dogs.

Facebook fails to protect children


Social networking sites Facebook and MySpace were slammed for not introducing help button to protect children from online bullying


Popular social networking websites Facebook and MySpace have come under fire for failing to introduce a help button for children being bullied online.

The outrage comes after rival networking site Bebo adopted the button that allows users to contact trained child protection officers and also provides details of local police and links to 10 other sources of help.

Jim Gamble, from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), criticised MySpace and Facebook for not following the same example of Bebo.

He said there was “no legitimate reason” for not doing so and that social networking sites were raking in money through advertising by attracting children and teenagers to join. “We applaud that but do not forget while you do that there is a responsibility, a duty of care, to the young and the vulnerable,” The BBC quoted him as saying.

He added: “[The button] is tiny and does not take up any significant real estate. The bottom line is there is no legitimate reason for not taking it and placing it on a site.” Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, also said: “I can see no reason why other sites would not consider adopting the same approach and would encourage them to embed the Ceop Report button for the benefit of all users.”

A Facebook spokesman, on the other hand, explained: “The safety of Facebook users is the top priority for the company, which is why we have invested in the most robust reporting system to support our 300 million users.

“We also work closely with police forces in the UK and around the world to create a safe environment. Our teams are manned by trained staff in two continents giving 24-hour support in 70 languages. “We look forward to hearing about the experience of Bebo using the Ceop button and will take account of their experience in any future evaluation of our reporting systems.”