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Cultural Innovation: British Council launches £50,000 seed fund to boost India-UK Cultural Ties

It is a culmination of a five year programme that aims to introduce an enthusiastic Indian audience to the best contemporary arts of UK

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British Council. source- http://alexandria.aaschool.ac.uk/
  • British Council India is investing £50,000 in a one of its kind cultural project
  • It is a culmination of a five year programme that aims to introduce an enthusiastic Indian audience to the best contemporary arts of UK
  • PM Narendra Modi and PM David Cameron announced a year long programme in 2017

In an attempt to strengthen the cultural ties between the nations of UK and India, British Council, India is funding a one of its kind cultural project. It plans on investing £50,000 (Rs 50 lakh approximately) in this project. In this innovation funding, the Council will select five projects by the end of July 2016. It will invest £10,000 in seed funding of each project.

In the Open Call, the details of the funding have been provided clearly. They are claiming that this is a culmination of a five year programme that aims to introduce an enthusiastic Indian audience to the best contemporary arts of UK. They have an ambitious aim for online audience, which are 10 million people in 2016 and 50 million people in 2017.

In the eligibility criteria, they’ve mentioned that the participant should be based in UK or India. He or she should have a track record of creating new digital projects or successful experiences that have reached new audiences. They have specified that it is acceptable if the audience that had been reached before had not been of the scale that the British Council is currently aiming for.

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“We want to have ideas from India and Britain and bring those ideas together to make brilliant new things. In return for this seed funding, we would like to see a prototype or proof of concept of your project that we can test with potential audiences in September and October 2016. Following user testing in autumn, we will make a number of commissions based on potential audiences and costs of projects. Full commissions must launch during 2017” said Alan Gemmell, director of British Council, reports business-standard.com.

Noon, UK time, Friday 08 July 2016 has been declared as the deadline for submission of applications.

The British Council is partnering with Manchester International Festival on a digital co-commission for 2017. If the project submitted to this open call is selected, it will be launched during the festival in June/July 2016.

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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's walks with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron as they leave 10 Downing Street after their meeting, in London, November 12, 2015. Photo: Reuters
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s walks with Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron as they leave 10 Downing Street after their meeting, in London, November 12, 2015. Photo: Reuters

During the November 2015 visit of PM Narendra Modi to London, he and PM David Cameron has announced a year long programme in 2017. It is to celebrate the cultural ties between the two countries and the 70th year of independence for India.

According to business-standard.com, Gemmell added: “With the British Council, we believe that culture has a powerful role to play in helping people understand one another. India’s cultural relationship with Britain is incredibly important. We want to develop stronger cultural relations between Britain and India. We want to celebrate, reconnect, revive and inspire the next generation of people culturally. We want to develop stronger cultural relations between Britain and India.”

The British Council is one of UK’s international organisations that take various measures to strengthen the cultural ties between different nations. It also works at providing educational opportunities to the masses.

-The report is compiled by a Staff-writer at NewsGram.

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5 Events Of November Which Are Ideal For Family Vacations

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Events in November which will give you a vacation mood.
Events in November which will give you a vacation mood. Wikimedia.

As we approach the year’s end, Indians not just bid adieu to their summer outfits but also welcome the festival seasons. October and November are two months in India which are full of cultural events and festivals, which make these months, the ideal time for going on family vacations.

Below are the events of November 2017 which you will regret missing. They are worth the try for family vacations:

1.  Dev Deepavali, Varanasi

family vacations
Representational Image. The ghat of holy city Varanasi. 

Varanasi, the holiest city of India, celebrated Dev Deepavali on Kartik Poornima every year. The festival is celebrated with joy. The ghats of Varanasi are lit with beautiful diyas (earthen lamps). God is believed to have descended to the banks of Ganges, to take a holy dip. The festival will take place on November 3, 2017.

 2. Dharamsala International Film Festival

Filmmaker, cinema buffs or all those people interested in the art of films come together of Dharamsala International Film Festival (DIFF). This film festival will witness filmmakers coming from different regions to show films on various issues- socially relevant, contemporary etc. DIFF will take place from November 2 to November 5. If you are a movie buff, then you should immediately pack your bags and seal a date for attending the festival.

3. Pushkar Camel Fair, Rajasthan

Family vacations
Representational Image. Camel Fair is celebrated in Pushkar. Pixabay

Pushkar Camel fair, a cattle fair, in Pushkar which truly defines the real meaning of culture. The Pushkar Camel Fair has been in tradition for a very long time. The fair attracts a huge crowd every year. One of the most ideal and happy places for family vacations. It will take place between 23rd October to 4th November.

Also Read: 7 Beautiful Places To Visit In North East India

4. NH7 Weekender

The five seasons old Indian multi-city music festival has indeed garnered a lot of attention and love from the musically inclined youngsters across the country. It is a combination of national and international studies coming together. In Meghalaya, the event will take place from October 27 to October 28.

5. Guru Purab

family vacations
Sikhs celebrating Guru Purab. Wikimedia.

Guru Purab, one of the most important festivals for Sikhs. The golden temple celebrates it with a lot of joy. The celebration which Amritsar witnesses at this time are unbelievable. It will take place on November 2017. Golden temple is indeed one of the best places for family vacations.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.  She can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.

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India Demands Data on UN Staff Misconduct, Use of Immunity

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United nations
India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about misconduct by UN staff. Flickr

United Nations, Oct 7: In an attempt to break the wall of silence around the crimes and UN staff misconduct and those on its assignments, India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about such cases and the immunity invoked against prosecutions.

Yedla Umasankar, the legal advisor in India’s UN Mission, touched a raw nerve here by criticising the UN on Friday for not vigorously following up allegations of serious wrongdoing by its employees who enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, a prized possession of its staff.

“It appears that the UN system itself may be reluctant to waive immunity even for serious misconduct carried out by its personnel while serving on its missions, so that such cases can be prosecuted by the host governments,” he told the General Assembly’s committee on legal affairs.

“Even a few of such instances or allegations of crimes committed by UN personnel is highly damaging for the image and credibility of the United Nations system and its work around the world,” he added.

His statement also touched on the practice of some countries that protect their wrongdoers at the UN.

Umasankar demanded that secretariat disclose how many cases of serious misconduct by UN personnel were registered and the number of cases where the UN refused to waive immunity to allow their prosecution.

He also wanted to know in how many cases the host country wanted the immunity waived so it can prosecute those accused; the number of times the UN asked the host country or the country that sent them to prosecute them; how many times it consulted countries before waiver of the immunity of their personnel and how many of them refused UN’s request to waive their citizens’ immunity.

The information he wanted does not cover the diplomats sent by member countries to represent them at UN bodies and enjoy diplomatic immunity with the nations hosting the UN facilities.

After scores of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, especially exploitation of children, the UN vowed to uphold a policy of zero tolerance and began publishing data on such cases in peacekeeping operations including how they were dealt with.

Starting with the year 2015, it began identifying the nationalities of those accused.

However, it has not made public a roster detailing all the allegations and proven cases of serious misconduct across the entire UN.

While the focus has been on sexual exploitation and abuse reported on peacekeeping operations, Umasankar said that “at a broader level, the issue of accountability has remained elusive in some cases”.

He attributed it to “the complexities of legal aspects relating to sovereignty and jurisdiction”, the immunity or privileges that may be necessary for UN operations, and the capability or willingness of countries to investigate and prosecute the accused.

He noted that the UN itself cannot make criminal prosecutions.

While Indian laws has provisions for dealing with crimes committed abroad by its citizens, not all countries have them, he said.

Those countries should be encouraged and helped to implement such measures, he added. (IANS)

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Indo-Pak Peace Talks Futile Unless Islamabad Sheds Links with Terrorism, says Study

A Study by a U.S. think tank calls India and Pakistan talks futile, until Pakistan changes its approach.

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India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan. Wikimedia.

A Top United States of America (U.S.) think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace called the relations between India and Pakistan futile, unless Islamabad changes its approach and sheds its links with Jihadi terrorism.

A report “Are India and Pakistan Peace Talks Worth a Damn”, authored by Ashley J Tellis stated that such a move supported by foreign countries would be counterproductive and misguided.

The report suggests that International community’s call for the India and Pakistan talks don’t recognize that the tension between the two countries is not actually due to the sharp differences between them, but due to the long rooted ideological, territorial and power-political hatred. The report states that these antagonisms are fueled by Pakistani army’s desire to subvert India’s powerful global position.

Tellis writes that Pakistan’s hatred is driven by its aim to be considered and treated equal to India, despite the vast differences in their achievements and capabilities.

Also ReadMilitant Groups in Pakistan Emerge as Political Parties : Can Violent Extremism and Politics Co-exist? 

New Delhi, however, has kept their stance clear and mentioned that India and Pakistan talks cannot be conducted, until, the latter stops supporting terrorism, and the people conducting destructive activities in India.

The report further suggests that Pakistan sees India as a genuine threat and continuously uses Jihadi terrorism as a source to weaken India. The report extends its support to India’s position and asks other international powers, including the U.S., to extend their support to New Delhi.

Earlier in September, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) slammed Pakistan for its continuous terror activities. She attacked the country by saying that India has produced engineers, doctors, and scholars; Pakistan has produced terrorists.

Sushma Swaraj further said that when India is being recognised in the world for its IT and achievements in the space, Pakistan is producing Terrorist Organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba. She said that Pakistan is the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity.

-by Megha Acharya  of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.