Four teachers from India and two from Pakistan have made the shortlist for the $1 million Global Teacher Prize 2016. Now in its second year, the Global Teacher Prize is often referred to as the ‘Nobel Prize for Teaching’ and recognizes one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution …Read More »
A trained pilot from India who was forced to take up body-building in the wake of the 2008 global recession has been named ‘Mr World’ at the World Bodybuilding and Physique Championships in Bangkok. Thakur Anoop Singh, 25, fended off competition from two local builders in the finals of the …Read More »
From 10 Downing Street through the Palace of Westminster all the way to the High Street, Britain’s Indian and wider South Asian communities have long been courted and serviced by all segments of British society – from politics to fashion. But it appears that there is one area where British …Read More »
Harjit Sajjan, a former police officer and veteran of three military deployments to Afghanistan, was named Canada’s new minister of defence on Wednesday, bringing first-hand expertise to one of the country’s top cabinet positions. Sajjan will oversee an anticipated change in Canada’s military involvement in the battle against militants in …Read More »
A barrister has become the first Asian woman to be appointed as a High Court judge. Bobbie Cheema-Grubb QC will be assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division next month. The 49-year-old was called to the Bar in 1989 and took silk in 2013. She was appointed as a recorder in …Read More »
At the age of just 14, Afghan rights activist Aziza Rahimzada has already surmounted legal hurdles preventing 25,000 refugee children from attending school, and cajoled authorities into providing tap water to a camp housing more than 100 families.
Now she has been nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize an award previously won by Malala Yousafzai and, like her Pakistani counterpart, hopes to spread her message of universal education and fundamental rights for Afghanistan's youth.
"These children are the products of war," Aziza says during an interview with AFP from the Kabul camp for internally displaced people where she was born after her family fled fighting in the Parwan province in 2001.
"They have suffered a lot during the war years. I give them advice and council them on the value of education," she says in Dari, wearing a black-and-white headscarf as she sits on the floor of the tiny mud brick home that houses her family of eight.
"Their families are also uneducated so sometimes we have to convince them too."
It is a thin line to walk, both for someone so young and without stirring a backlash in a conservative society unused to children, particularly girls, speaking up for themselves.
Aziza's confidence impressed the Mobile Mini Circus for Children (MMCC), an international humanitarian group founded by Danes Berit Muhlhausen and David Mason, who moved to Afghanistan shortly after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.
The group works throughout Afghanistan with a local partner and aims to bring children together through play, while identifying young leaders who can represent the needs of their communities.
In a country ravaged by decades of war, where more than 60 percent of the population are under 25, those needs are great.
"She was very special from the beginning. She was thinking more than the others, advocating for others, asking questions. Gradually she became a representative for the other children," said Mason.
In "shuras" (consultative councils) organised by the group, Aziza quickly identified pressing issues faced by the 500 or so children in her camp, and others like it in Kabul.
Foremost among these was the lack of running water, which meant children were sent far away to fetch heavy pails of waters for the family -- until Aziza intervened, securing a pipe that pumps water into the camp and serves 144 families.
Another key issue was education. As children of refugees born into abject poverty, those in the camps lacked the necessary documentation for admission into the capital city's schools, with Kabul authorities viewing the internally displaced people as temporary migrants who would eventually return to their home districts.
Helped by the MMCC, Aziza led the children in lobbying local officials and then parliament, with the aid of some high-profile lawmakers like women's rights activist Fawzia Koofi.
Her persistence eventually led to a breakthrough allowing some 25,000 children living in Kabul's 59 refugee camps to register in the capital, making them eligible to attend school.
"This was an achievement of astronomic scale. I saw those kids in school uniform, and I couldn't recognise them. It was such a relief to see them it was such a radical transformation," said Mason, the MMCC director.
Aziza's unique talent, Mason's partner Muhlhausen argues, lies not only in her gifted rhetoric, but in her ability to forcefully advocate for her fellow children without stirring controversy.
She is among the final three nominees for the award along with Abraham Keita, 17, from Liberia and Jeanesha Bou, also 17, of Puerto Rico, with the winner announced in the Hague on November 9.
But the teenager, who says she wants to found her country's first Ombudsman's office to redress her fellow citizen's grievances, says her work is far from complete.
"What I have achieved so far is nothing," she says, emphasising that as time goes on, her country will have to stand on its own feet.
"The foreign NGOs will one day stop their aid. That's why we need to strengthen our own institutions and improve social justice for our people," she said.Read More »
The hems of his jeans rolled, Rehmat Ali climbs barefoot up a tree to pick the grapes dangling from climbing vines, defying hostile religious injunctions against alcohol to celebrate a wine-making tradition that is older than Islam in the mountains of northern Pakistan. Every autumn in the remote village of …Read More »
These are the two Indian engineers who were part of a team that won a milestone case against Apple Inc in the US this week. A US jury found that chips powering coveted Apple mobile devices infringe on technology patented by Wisconsin University researchers. Gurinder Sohi and Terani Vijaykumar, along …Read More »
The leaders of India and Germany pledged on Monday to revive efforts to reach an Indo-European free trade pact after talks fell apart this year, and struck deals to promote clean energy and make it easier to do business.
Although Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Narendra Modi made no mention in conversations with journalists of resuming talks on a free trade agreement between India and the European Union, it was perhaps the most significant "deliverable" of her trip to New Delhi.
The leaders "committed themselves to bringing about the earliest possible resumption of talks", said a joint statement issued after their three-hour talks.
Asia's third-largest economy has been relatively insulated from a slump in global trade, but Modi still needs to boost exports for his pitch to investors to "Make in India" to create skilled jobs for millions of young Indians.
Germany, Europe's largest economy, is looking to expand its presence in India to compensate for a slowdown in China.
Merkel's delegation was joined by bosses from household names like Siemens, Airbus, E.ON and Thyssenkrupp.
The trade talks have been on ice since earlier this year when India walked out in a row over exports of generic drugs to the European Union.
Germany, a world leader in renewable energy, will also provide more than 2 billion euros (£1.6 billion) in aid for solar projects and green energy corridors - or high-efficiency power grids - as part of a broader push for sustainable development.
The assistance, part of a raft of agreements signed in New Delhi, dovetails with efforts to bind India into a global debate that will culminate in the COP21 climate change summit in December.
"We look forward to a concrete outcome at COP21 in Paris that strengthens the commitment and the ability of the world, especially of poor and vulnerable countries, to transition to a more sustainable growth path," Modi told reporters.
India, the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, was the last major country to submit its energy strategy ahead of the U.N. climate conference.
India's energy plan seeks to boost energy efficiency but makes no commitment to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases - reflecting its view that richer nations bear most responsibility for global warming.
Responding, Merkel said: "We have understood, Prime Minister, that climate protection needs to be embraced by the people - who also have to reap a benefit."
India and Germany also signed an agreement to fast-track business approvals, providing German firms with a single point of contact to help them navigate a web of red tape that often thwarts initiative.Read More »
Google unveiled its new Nexus phones on Tuesday in its latest attempt to take a bite out of Apple's dominant share of the smartphone market.
The launch of the phones, the Nexus 6P and the Nexus 5X, comes a day after Apple reported record first-weekend sales of its new iPhones.
Nexus devices, which typically do not sell as much as iPhones or iPads, are a way for the tech giant to showcase its latest advancements in mobile hardware and software.
Google also unveiled a tablet built entirely by the company based on its Android operating system.
The latest version of Android, dubbed Marshmallow, will be available to existing Nexus customers from next week.
The Android mobile platform is a key element in Google's strategy to maintain revenue from online advertising as people switch from Web browser searches to smartphone apps.
The Nexus 5X is made by South Korea's LG and the Nexus 6P by China's Huawei.
Both phones feature Google's new fingerprint sensor, Nexus Imprint, which is located on the back.
The fingerprint sensors will help quickly authorise purchases made through Android Pay, the one-touch payment app on Android devices that competes with Apple Pay.
The phones are available for pre-order on the Google Store from a number of countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan.
The tablet will be available in time for the holiday season on the Google Store.
The Pixel tablet puts Google in the sights of its biggest competitors, Apple's iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface tablets, which also have optional keyboards.
Google also unveiled a redesigned version of its Chromecast device for streaming Web content to TVs and introduced Chromecast Audio, which plugs into speakers to stream audio over Wi-Fi. Chromecast Audio works with apps including Spotify, Pandora and Google Play Music.
Chromecast competes with the Apple TV set-top box.Read More »