Skype Lite Gets Brings Kannada Language Support, Skype for Linux Moves to Beta


Microsoft launched its Skype Lite app for low-end Android smartphones last month and with its latest update, the Redmond-based company has now added the support for Kannada language to the video-chatting application as well. Separately, the Linux version of the app has also moved from alpha to beta and has received some new features and bug fixes.

Talking first about the Lite version of the app, as it was developed in Hyderabad and was launched exclusively for India, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the company has decided to add support for a popular regional language – Kannada to the app. The latest update can be downloaded from Google Play.Skype Lite Gets Brings Kannada Language Support, Skype for Linux Moves to Beta
Moving to the Linux version of the app, which has now moved into beta phase with release of version 5.0, Microsoft has added several new features to Skype for Linux. With version 5.0, the company has added the ability to place calls to mobiles and landlines with Skype credit. “One-to-one video calls can be made from Linux to Skype users on the latest versions of Skype for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac,” the company said in its blog post.

Skype for Linux will now be able to view shared screens from other Skype desktop clients (Windows 7.33 and above, Mac 7.46 and above), the company said. With the update, the Unity launcher now displays the number of unread conversations, and online contacts in contact list will now include Away and Do Not Disturb statuses, Microsoft added. You can download the Skype for Linux beta version 5.0 from company’s website.


WHO Lists 12 Deadly Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and the Urgent Need for New Drugs


There are all sorts of diseases in the world, and every once in a while comes a certain ‘microorganism’ which creates havoc in the form of dangerous diseases like Ebola, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, and the like. Scientists have time and again come up with effective antibiotics to control the diseases and save lives, but the shocking part is that each year these microbes come back twice as more potent and resistant to the antibiotics. As such it is a constant struggle to reinvent and find effective cures. In such cases, intensive research is the only thing that can save lives as scientists discover more characteristics and behaviour of the triggers.

Recently, WHO published the first-ever list of antibiotic-resistant “priority pathogens” that included 12 families of bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health. The intention was to spread awareness, as well as guide and promote research and development of new antibiotics. There is a serious concern on the growing global resistance to antimicrobial medicines.
(How Antibiotics May Make You More Prone to Infections)WHO Lists 12 Deadly Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and the Urgent Need for New Drugs

What Did the List Include?

According to the global health body, the list is divided into three categories according to the urgency of need for new antibiotics: critical, high and medium priority.

“The most critical group of all includes multi-drug resistant bacteria that pose a particular threat in hospitals, nursing homes, and among patients whose care requires devices such as ventilators and blood catheters. They include Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas and various Enterobacteriaceae (including Klebsiella, E. coli, Serratia, and Proteus),” said a WHO statement.

It said that all the bacteria can cause severe and often deadly infections such as bloodstream infections and pneumonia.

“These bacteria have become resistant to a large number of antibiotics, including carbapenems and third generation cephalosporins – the best available antibiotics for treating multi-drug resistant bacteria,” said the report.
(Rare Disease Day: 7 Most Rare Diseases in the World and the Importance of Research)


High- Medium Priority Type

The second tier includes antibiotics of high priority – for Enterococcus faecium, which is vancomycin-resistant; Staphylococcus aureus, which is methicillin-resistant; Helicobacter pylori, which is clarithromycin-resistant; Campylobacter spp, which is fluoroquinolone-resistant; Salmonellae, which is fluoroquinolone-resistant; and Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which is cephalosporin and fluoroquinolone-resistant.

The third tier includes medium priority antibiotics for Streptococcus pneumoniae, which is penicillin-non-susceptible; Haemophilus influenzae, which is ampicillin-resistant; and Shigella spp, which is fluoroquinolone-resistant.

“This list is a new tool to ensure research and development responds to urgent public health needs,” said WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation Marie-Paule Kieny in the statement.

Evelina Tacconelli, Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Tubingen and a major contributor to the list, said, “New antibiotics targeting this priority list of pathogens will help to reduce deaths due to resistant infections around the world.

“Waiting any longer will cause further public health problems and dramatically impact on patient care.”

gut bacteria


Gitanjali Gems Unit Nakshatra Files Papers For IPO

New Delhi: Gitanjali Gems’ arm Nakshatra World Ltd has filed draft papers with capital markets regulator Sebi to float an initial public offering.

The IPO comprises 1.8 crore equity shares of Nakshatra World, which offers jewellery under the brands Nakshatra, Gili, Asmi, Sangini, Diya, Parineeta and Rivaaz, according to the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP).

While the exact size of the IPO could not be ascertained, Gitanjali Gems had in December last year announced that Nakshatra World would raise up to Rs. 650 crore through an initial public offer.
Proceeds of the issue will be utilised towards funding working capital requirements and other general corporate purposes.Gitanjali Gems Unit Nakshatra Files Papers For IPO

The public issue is being managed by IDBI Capital Markets & Securities and Elara Capital (India) Pvt Ltd.

Nakshatra will join other listed jewellery retailers such as PC Jeweller, Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri, Tara Jewels, Titan Company, Rajesh Exports and Shree Ganesh Jewellery House.

As of September 30, 2016, the firm had eight manufacturing units across Mumbai, Jaipur, Surat and Hyderabad. Its distribution network is spread across 290 cities and towns in India, with more than 1,644 points of sale.

In overseas markets, the company has 890 points of sale located across China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The equity shares are proposed to be listed on the BSE and National Stock Exchange (NSE).


Neem for Dandruff: A Natural Remedy to Get Rid of It


If you have a very dry scalp, more often than not, you may have found yourself in an embarrassing situation where the collar of your shirt is covered with white flaky substances! Dandruff is not restricted to the scalp alone, even the skin on the face and the body is prone to dandruff. It is but natural to assume that dandruff is caused due to dryness. In opposition to this notion, research suggests that dandruff is actually due to cells of the skin that have a very short life, they grow and die with great rapidity.

A fungus known as Malassezia is responsible for dandruff. Certain weather conditions do facilitate the growth of dandruff, most commonly the winter season. It has the tendency to being stubborn and coming back again and again despite proper treatment. Contrary to popular belief, one effective way to get rid of dandruff is to shampoo daily, this prevents the growth of the cells that have a shortlife. An after effect of untreated dandruff is hair loss. Thus, it is best to catch the issue on time and follow a due course of treatment.

Nothing can be more convenient than using neem for dandruff, available almost everywhere and can also be easily grown at home! The properties possessed by the neem leaves are used to treat multiple skin and hair issues. It contains blood purifying as well as anti microbial elements. It is effectively known to be an antifungal and antiviral, in addition to being anti inflammatory. Here’s how to use neem in order to get rid of dandruff and get beautiful, shiny hair.

1. Chew the leaves: According to beauty experts, the easiest way to get rid of dandruff is to chew the neem leaves every morning. However, you may need some convincing for that as neem leaves taste a bit bitter. Mix them with honey and have or make a decoction by boiling neem leaves and drink the strained water.

2. Neem oil: Neem can be used in the form of an oil. This oil can be easily created at home by adding few neem leaves to coconut oil and bringing it to a boil and finally adding a few drops of lemon to it. Rub this oil gently on your scalp, leave it on overnight and then wash off in the morning.


3. Neem and curd: A combination of neem and curd is the ideal way to curb dandruff. Make a paste of neem leaves, add it to a bowl of curd and apply all over your scalp. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and then rinse. The anti-fungal properties of neem in combination with the soothing and cool effect of curd does wonders in fighting dandruff.

4. Neem hair mask: A homemade neem back is the easiest remedy for dandruff. All you have to do is take some neem leaves, grind them in the mixer and add a tablespoon of honey to it. Once it becomes a thick paste, put it all over the scalp like a hair mask and allow it to stay for 20 minutes. Wash it when it is suitably dry and watch the wonders it does to your scalp.
(Hair Growth: 7 Natural Tips to Make Your Hair Grow Faster)


5. Neem as a hair conditioner: Take a few neem leaves and boil them, allow them to cool down. After shampooing your hair, rinse the hair with this mixture of neem and see the miracle. According to Ayurveda, the plethora of medicinal properties exhibited by neem are used for all hair ailments and show drastic effects upon regular use.

Now, there’s no reason to let dandruff dishearten you. Use these simple home remedies that work like magic.


Surgery and Other Treatment Options for Arthritis Patients

Arthritis in the knee is the most common type is osteoarthritis which is a progressive condition that slowly wears away the joint cartilage. It is mostly likely to strike after middle age but can also occur as a result of injury or if a person is overweight. When the cartilage gets destroyed, the the bones of the joint rub constantly against each other and this may lead to swelling, pain and stiffness.

While age seems to be the most common cause of knee arthritis as the ability of the cartilage to heal diminishes when people get older and it may not be able to repair itself after the regular wear and tear, there are other factors that can also put you at risk. Obesity, people who are involve din athletics or some kind if genetic mutations may make a person more likely to develop knee arthritis.Surgery and Other Treatment Options for Arthritis Patients

Knee arthritis may bring a lot of pain to the patients and they may also lose mobility or find it difficult to walk. Therefore, the primary goal of treatment is to deal with these issues. Here are some common methods of treating knee arthritis. Be sure to take your doctor’s decide before you decide to follow any of these as the treatment option totally depends on the severity of the condition.

1. Pain Relievers and Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Consult your doctor who may prescribe certain medications to relieve the pain and control the swelling.

2. Injections: Some doctors may suggest getting injected with corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid that helps in lubricating the joints and lessening the effects of the constant rubbing of bones.

3. Physiotherapy: Some easy exercises can help in strengthening your muscles and increase the flexibility in your joints. Some amount of physical stress can also help in easing out the symptoms of knee arthritis like pain, swelling and stiffness.

Also read: ( How To Treat Knee Pain: Easy Tips And Home Remedies )


4. Weight loss: One of the main causes of knee arthritis may may be excess weight that puts an extra load on your knees leading to discomfort. The inflammatory mediators produced in fat can cause your joint tissues. In such a situation, weight loss can help in improving the joint functions.

5. Surgery: In severe cases, a ‘total knee replacement surgery’ may be recommended by doctors. Depending upon the degeneration of the knees, doctors may also suggest arthroscopes or partial replacements.

Skill development ministry to set up separate education board for Industrial Training Institutes

The academic certificates issued to the ITI pass-outs would be acknowledged by all the UGC, AICTE, CBSE, NCERT, AIU and state education boards, and former would get admissions in their institutions.(PTI Representative Photo)

Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has accepted skill development ministry’s proposal of setting up a separate education board for the ITI pass-outs to offer them class X and XII certificates, the parliament was informed on Thursday.The academic certificates issued to the ITI pass-outs would be acknowledged by all the UGC, AICTE, CBSE, NCERT, AIU and state education boards, and former would get admissions in their institutions.With this, a matriculate ITI pass student having spent two years on a course, would not have to pursue 10+2 and will be able to get admission in the college in the first year of graduate programme.

Likewise, an 8th pass ITI student can get admission in 10th class in any of the recognized schools, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the skill development and entrepreneurship minister said.

National Council of Vocational Training (NCVT) that has been authorized to conduct academic examinations for ITI pass-outs.

The decision is likely to benefit about 2.3 million students graduating from over 13,000 Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) every year.HRD ministry

Rudy told HT on Wednesday that the proposal includes adding subjects like English, Hindi, Mathematics into the new ITI curriculum and students would have to clear those subjects as well.

Rudy said that the name of the proposed was yet to be finalized.

A high-level meeting of senior officials of various departments on February 16, it was decided that once the proposal is formalised, the National Council for Vocational Training will be authorised to conduct academic examination and certification for class X and XII for the ITI students.

Consequently, the UGC, CBSE, AICTE, NCERT, AIU (Association of Indian Universities) and state education Boards will be informed that the NCVT has been authorised to conduct academic examinations for ITI pass outs and award X and XII certificates which should be honoured by all educational institutions to provide further opportunities for higher studies.


Fighting for Special Education


The confirmation of Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education raises questions among faculty at schools across the nation about how to organize to protect public education. For many special education teachers in particular, the threat of widespread cuts to public schools is particularly urgent.

Betsy DeVos is a champion of school privatization and advocate of dismantling public education, and she confidently and aggressively plans to pursue these goals.

US special education departments have long suffered from ableist policy and funding practices, which are part and parcel of the neoliberal assault on public schools — in which students with disabilities are always the ones thrown under the bus.

DeVos, who openly opposes a federal guarantee of free and appropriate education to students with disabilities, appears poised to further ravage these services.

But it’s not only teachers who are hungry to defend students most victimized by ongoing attacks on special education. During the 2016 walkout by Boston Public School students, thousands of young activists and working-class families raised the demand for full funding for disability programing alongside a broader demand for well-funded public schools.

The current resistance to Trump has demonstrated the readiness of ordinary people to stage effective opposition to systemic injustice of all kinds. From the massive demonstrations for women’s rights to the pro-immigrant, anti-Islamophobia protests staged at airports across the nation, these mobilizations have shown that hundreds of thousands of people are invested in opposing oppression and fighting for a more just society.

We have an opportunity to tap into this momentum and harness the energy of this resistance to simultaneously oppose the DeVos agenda and bring the struggle against disability oppression to the forefront of the movement for education justice.

In order to achieve this, we have to examine the nature of disability oppression and how the disenfranchisement of students with disabilities in the US education system is wedded to a broad assault on public services for working-class people.

Their “Disability” and Ours

Asocialist approach to fighting disability oppression starts with the “social model of disability,” which identifies disability oppression — like all other forms of oppression — as rooted in the way our society is organized. Exclusion and discrimination toward people with physical or mental differences are not a natural consequence of human nature; impairments exist in a context where exclusion and discrimination based on impairment are permitted.

Under capitalism, the labor market and the organization of work are key components in the construction of disability as a social category. Inherent in the ideology and practice of capitalism is the idea that a person’s well-being is dependent on their ability to sell their labor for a wage.

Thus, physical and mental differences that preclude or interfere with performing wage labor are considered central to very condition of “disability.” The Social Security Administration of the United States plainly states on its website, “You cannot do work…This is a strict definition of disability.”

This definition of disability is absurd, defined only by one’s ability to make profits for a boss. We should recognize a definition of disability that includes all those who experience oppression as a consequence of impairment.

Although the state does provide benefits for some people with disabilities, disability welfare in severely limited in accordance to the “principle of less eligibility,” the idea that any assistance to the unemployed must be limited to an amount less than the wages of the poorest workers — to ensure that disability payments don’t undercut employers paying poverty wages. )

In the realm of education, there are parallels to the federal definition of disability and how it is used to regulate labor markets and access to social services. One aspect of the criteria for diagnosing a student with a learning disability (and thus qualifying them for special education services) is the determination that a student “does not make adequate progress to meet age or grade-level standards.”

Within the US education system — the primary function of which is to reproduce the American workforce — students with disabilities are defined as those whose performance is not in line with state standards for college and career-readiness or those who require additional or individualized educational resources to meet those standards.

When teachers ask, “Why is it always kids with disabilities who are first to be thrown under the bus?” the dismaying answer is that the character of schooling in the United States has always reflected the needs of capitalism rather than any kind of humanistic value in bettering people’s lives.

When advances to special education services have been won in the past, it has not been due to the benevolence of those who manage the state deciding to hand down reforms for the benefit of students with special needs.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), for example, was won thanks to the struggle waged from below by civil rights activists and advocates of the Independent Living movement, who put forward a radical perspective on the politics of disablement and exposed masses of ordinary to a critique of ableism for the first time.

Unfortunately, protections won under IDEA legislation have not been enough to defend the interests of students with disabilities in public education. Students with severe disabilities have become increasingly vulnerable as public education generally and special education policy in particular have been refashioned to reflect neoliberal priorities.

Preparing Special Needs Students to Fail

Neoliberalism is driven by the belief that the “free market” should coordinate all aspects of social life. So neoliberal measures include privatization of public institutions, the cutting of social services (because they led to “market distortions”), and attacks on labor unions (which frustrate “market efficiency”).

Privatization converts resources for public goods into private profits for corporations and their investors. This creates an incentive for advocates of neoliberal policy to set up public schools to fail, thus creating a justification for privatization. This, in turn, gives political leaders the opportunity to reward their friends and supporters in the private sector with contracts to run various aspects of the public school system.

The effective use of discrimination against special education students as a weapon against public education is particularly clear in the legacy of the No Child Left Behind Act, passed during the George W. Bush administration.

In 2004, the IDEA Act — originally established to ensure the full inclusion of children with disabilities in public education — was revised to reflect alignment with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and its practice of placing sanctions on districts with low academic performance.

Under NCLB, the standardized exams scores of students diagnosed with severe cognitive disabilities were for the first time held against districts in determining school ratings, which in turn affected schools’ access to funding. It wasn’t an oversight of NCLB that students with disabilities were unfairly assessed by standards that made no accommodation for their abilities. On the contrary, this was part of a carefully devised strategy that set up public schools to fail.

Obama’s 2009 Race to the Top (RTTT) program pushed the polices of NCLB into overdrive, much to the continued detriment of special education students. RTTT used the offer of additional grant money to incentivize states to adopt a set of common national standards and assessments, with test scores enshrined as the arbiter of student progress.

The program lacked any adapted standards and assessments to account for the cognitive diversity of students. RTTT deliberately set up special education students to fail, all under the guise of delivering them an “equal education.”

Schools whose special education departments cannot demonstrate proficiency on state-mandated standardized testing are now punished through low ratings that result in defunding and the implementation of “school-choice” programs. In a worst-case scenario, low-scoring schools can be taken into state receivership.

This is where education “reformers,” who represent the interests of neoliberal restructuring, step in and recommend that schools be converted to business-managed charter schools. Although charter schools promote themselves as open to all, their admissions processes often include screening students based on academic records, disciplinary history, and special needs.

This kind of screening serves two purposes: first, to limit admission to students who require the fewest resources and therefore are less costly to teach (i.e., neurotypical, able-bodied students); and second, to filter out students who are most likely to receive low scores on state testing (i.e., students with learning differences or cognitive disabilities).

Educating students with special needs thus becomes a pesky financial burden.

Built to Exclude

The exclusion and mistreatment of students with disabilities long predates the dismantling of public school districts or the rise of discriminatory charter schools.

However, it is a mistake to believe we can win better conditions for special needs students by setting higher goals for their performance on standardized exams or by abandoning the project of building public schools that are more inclusive.

We cannot fight for a vision of education justice that includes disability justice within the current neoliberal model of education, because that model was built to exclude special-needs students and to silence those that demand free, accessible, community-controlled schools that can genuinely serve children of all abilities.

As a result, we should focus our demand not on “equality” as defined by the proponents of the one-test-fits-all position, but on equity. Our side must put forward a vision of education that acknowledges diversity in learners and strives to give each child an education that is responsive to their unique needs.

This is not a vision of education that places lower expectations on special-education students because of the misconception that they are inherently low achievers. It is a vision that upholds the reality that there are a multitude of ways to acquire knowledge and express intelligence.

Refusal to acknowledge this reality harms students with learning differences in particular. Just ask an educator — the research is on our side with regard to this issue. Today at graduate programs for prospective teachers, pupils study the principles of universal design, Howard Gardener’s theory of multiple intelligences, and Lev Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development.

All the foundations of progressive pedagogy tell us that human learning is a social and creative process that different students will access through diverse modes of knowledge development. This clearly refutes the notion that schooling should be built around rigid inculcation with standardized content.

Worth More

Building a movement for education justice that acknowledges diversity in the way children learn means demanding the freedom for educators to design and teach curricula responsive to the needs of their students. As it stands now, the teachers who are best trained to develop curriculum for students with special needs are rarely able to draw on this expertise because standardized testing creates significant pressure to “teach to the test.”

This is why it is critical to link demands for disability justice to demands raised by teachers unions: a stronger voice for educators in policy-making, education spending, and academic design are vital components of winning equitable education for students with disabilities.

One example of how the fight for disability justice can be waged in tandem with the education justice struggle is the “opt-out movement” — a collaborative effort in which teachers unions, parents, and students rally together under the slogan, “Less testing, more learning.”

The goal of this movement is to give parents and children both the right and the confidence to opt out of state standardized tests, and thus shift the education system away from a system designed to punish teachers, students, and schools that don’t perform well on high-stakes tests.

In 2016, more than 640,000 students across the United States refused to participate in these exams and simultaneously raised public consciousness about the harm that testing inflicts, particularly in communities of color. Advocates for disability justice should similarly see opt-out campaigns as platforms to voice demands that will advance the cause for equitable special education.

Likewise, the recent success of the “Save Our Public Schools” campaign in Massachusetts saw thousands of parents, students, and social-justice activists of all kinds stand with teachers unions in their call to vote against a ballot proposal that would drain billions of dollars from public schools to fund the expansion of charter schools.

“Save Our Public Schools” became the most widely publicized ballot question campaign in the history of the state, won tremendous public support, and successfully secured funding for public schools — all while educating voters about the role charter schools play in promoting a two-track system that discriminates against students with disabilities.

Beyond concrete protections for public special ed, the “Save Our Public Schools” campaign shows what can be achieved through fusing broad calls for social justice with the demands of teachers as well as the particular demands of students with disabilities.

Solidarity across social movements and between various struggles for justice will be required to win against Trump. The fact that the his agenda will pose a threat for all movements for liberation — feminist, disability rights, women, immigrants, Muslims, queer and trans people, working-class people, and many more — should signal to activists that fighting alone is neither preferable nor possible. One way we can build the fight for disability rights is to combat the ableism inherent in the project of privatizing education.

Our rallying cry should be unequivocal: education must be a human right for people of all mental and physical abilities. Education cannot be a means for generating private gain for massive corporations. Building a movement for schools that reflects this vision is one step toward the project of building a society that refuses the idea that our worth is dependent on our ability to produce profit — a society that would render obsolete the very basis for disability oppression.

An Ayurvedic Treatment For Cancer in The Pipeline?

After creating ripples in the country and abroad for it’s home-based and natural cures, Ayurveda may soon be eying the territory which has had doctors and scientist abroad worked up since decades- Cancer. So says, the Union Minister of State AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik

The ancient medicinal practice of Ayurveda has taken the global circuit by storm with its cure to various skin and health ailments. And Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), is tirelessly working to revive the glory and reinstating people’s faith in the ancient practice, which according to them has the cure to the severest of ailments.
Recently, Naik hinted about the ongoing research in Auyrveda , which may bring about the cure to cancer in the recent future. This comes soon after his earlier statement on a yoga-based cure to diabetes and cancer.

shripad naik

Naik, in a public event in Panaji  disclosed , that the researchers are very close to device an ayurvedic treatment to the grievous disease, which is based on the similar lines of chemotherapy.

Naik said, that they have reached a stage where just like chemotherapy, they  can treat cancer but the treatment would be  without the side effects of chemotherapy.

Naik said, beaming in confidence that research is on along with American scientists to find a cure for cancer. On completion of the research, in the appropriate way, they will find and prepare the medicine for major diseases and a  cure for cancer will come.An Ayurvedic Treatment For Cancer in The Pipeline?

Earlier last year, the Minister had stated that Yoga-based cure for diseases such as diabetes and cancer developed by Bengaluru-based Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana was on the pipeline.

Praising the natural healing properties and treatment of Ayurveda,  Naik also said that the Ministry had set itself a target to establish an AYUSH center in every district to promote the ancient medicinal practice of India.

France’s Presidential Runoff Is A Victory For Global Business

Preliminary results for Sunday’s French president runoff election set up a stark choice on May 7 between finalist presidential candidates Marine Le Pen’s isolationism and protectionism and Emmanuel Macron’s focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and globalism. As Macron himself said on Sunday, “The French have expressed their desire for change. We’re clearly turning a page in French history.”

Macron represents the politics of hope over fear. He understands that trade and immigration are the best fabric for a flourishing modern economy. His platform calls for a loosening of labor rules, a cut in the corporate tax rate and investments in renewable energy, agriculture and medical technology. As minister of the economy, Macron advocated for new business models, investment in innovation and technology and a more flexible workforce – a strong set of policies on which the French and global technology industries can thrive.

Like President Trump, Macron defied party politics and ideology. In fact, in the past year he simply created his own movement and party, focusing on a pro-growth, pro-business platform. “I make no concessions to conformism,” Macron often says.

He is poised to spur economic growth. Not only does he offer firsthand experience as a successful financier and cabinet minister, but he has also championed French entrepreneurs as well as established companies. When he was an economic minister, I sat in his office in Paris and discussed the importance of innovation and the choking impact of government regulation. I have been honored to host him twice at CES in Las Vegas and at our annual CES Unveiled Paris in 2015 and 2016.FRANCE-VOTE-POLITICS-MEDIA

In contrast to Macron, Le Pen advocates for restrictive immigration positions and argues that French citizenship should either be “inherited or merited” – hardline positions that would undoubtedly keep talented workers out of France and hamstring business. Her proposals to tax French companies that hire foreigners and companies that relocate jobs outside of France would make attracting the best and brightest all but impossible for French businesses. Her promise of a referendum to leave the European Union (EU) contrasts with Macron’s promises to “defend the integrity” of the single market.

The demands are high for France’s next president to keep the country safe, jumpstart its economy and improve the domestic labor market. Macron’s experience in business, desire to grow the economy and personal involvement in urging the French to embrace new business models portend well for French economic growth.

Sunday’s first-round presidential vote is an encouraging sign that France will choose progress over protectionism and innovation over repression. The global technology sector should support Macron and his positions, propelling innovation and economic progress into the future.

UK MOOC to signpost path to HE for refugees

Designed with input from organisations including Refugee Council, German-based online provider Kiron Open Higher Education, the British Council and UCAS, Aim Higher will ‘signpost’ the journey to university for refugees and asylum seekers, from deciding where to study right up to the support services on offer once they arrive.

“There’s a lot of information available but there’s a real need for signposting”

“There’s a lot of information available, there are lots of organisations that are supporting [refugees], but it’s quite difficult to know who all of those are and there’s a real need for signposting,” Chloe Shaw, partnership strategy manager at Cambridge English, told The PIE News.

The course, delivered through FutureLearn, will take place over three weeks and tackle three main areas. In the first week, students will learn the basics of the admissions process including the timeline for applying, along with the types of courses and higher education institutions on offer.

In the second week, students will receive tips on making their university application, such as how to craft a personal statement and the level of English skills they will need.Image result for UK MOOC to ‘signpost’ path to HE for refugees

The final week of study will equip them with information they might need post-admission, on topics such as funding, study skills and how to get involved in sports and other activities at university.

During each stage of the course, students will be directed to free resources from Cambridge English and other organisations, ranging from English language study materials to information on scholarships that are available.

The course is led by Ahmad al-Rashid, a Syrian refugee and campaigner who is currently undertaking an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development at the University of London’s SOAS.

FutureLearn’s social learning model will aid engagement with the students as well, added Shaw.

“The other reason for making it a MOOC [other than making it free and widely available] is that you have that social element, which we think will be quite a large part of the course for the participants – that they’ll be able to interact with expert moderators, but also with others that are going through the same experience and are facing similar challenges,” she said.

The MOOC, which will take place during May, has already had around 200 signups. Cambridge English is aiming to attract 250 students for the first run of the course, and a further 750 in a second run in November.