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Indian showbiz is once again on the global map. “Delhi Crime” and Arjun Mathur won International Emmys, Adarsh Gourav had a BAFTA nomination. His film “The White Tiger” went to the BAFTAs, too, and is in contention at the Oscars. Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone hit the Hollywood highway. Manushi Chhillar was crowned Miss World 2017. It’s all happened before, you would argue. So, what’s new?
The difference between now and what was happening even a few years — say, about a decade – ago, when “Slumdog Millionaire” made India flavor of the season at the Oscars and Irrfan Khan or Anupam Kher found their date diaries packed with Hollywood assignments, is that the success of Indians now is much more than individual accomplishment.
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In the West’s era of newfound inclusivity, the triumphs of “Delhi Crime” or “The White Tiger” or Arjun Mathur or Priyanka and Deepika would seem like a stamp of endorsement that affirms India exists in the scheme of things when it comes to global inclusivity. The success of past masters who did India proud on the global stage — from Naseeruddin Shah, Saeed Jaffery, Amrish Puri, Om Puri or Shabana Azmi to Mira Nair’s “Salaam Bombay!” and onto Aamir Khan’s “Lagaan” — wasn’t necessarily tied to a worldwide socio-political movement.
Those were essentially individual successes that, of course, also made the whole country proud. Not only these instances, but we were also quick to latch onto anyone of ‘Indian origin’ phenomenon who made an impact — from Ben Kingsley to Kal Penn to Padma Lakshmi to Dev Patel to Kunal Nayyar.
There would seem to be a method about the brown people who made a mark as the West — particularly Hollywood — made its attitudinal shift towards inclusivity. The late Irrfan Khan’s global career, kickstarted mainly by “Slumdog Millionaire”, and Priyanka Chopra or Deepika Padukone’s Hollywood arrival, happened around the same time — when Indians stopped being mere ‘outsider’ characters in a script and Hollywood has stopped casting Indians as the quintessential cabbies and waiters.
The deal is simple. If Hollywood inclusivity is, at one level, driven by the urge to expand markets, it started quietly in the nineties, with the discovery of Chinese/Korean/Hong Kong talent (that the West loves to cumulatively call “Asian” lineage) in Hollywood films. The success of the template has been carried forward — internally in the US by giving cognizance to the Blacks, and externally to every other skin color.
India, given its large consumer base, had to find a place in this all-new mantra of inclusivity. Over the next decade, be sure we will be more frequent at the Oscars, and brown faces will be more commonly cast in bona fide Hollywood productions. What started with Priyanka in “Quantico” or “Baywatch”, or Deepika in “xXx: Return Of Xander Cage”, has grown swiftly in a short time.
Dimple Kapadia had a defining act in Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” and Ali Fazal co-starred with the inimitable Judi Dench “Victoria & Abdul”. Fazal also has a role in Kenneth Branagh’s new Hercule Poirot mystery, “Death On The Nile”. Only last year, Randeep Hooda, Pankaj Tripathi, and Priyanshu Painyuli had well-scripted roles in the Chris Hemsworth-starrer action drama “Extraction”.
“Avengers” makers Joe and Anthony Russo, who produced “Extraction”, have cast Priyanka in their upcoming series “Citadel”, co-starring Richard Madden and Stanley Tucci. The Russos have also cast Dhanush in “The Gray Man”. The Tamil superstar gets top billing in the film along with Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, and Wagner Moura. Elsewhere, Dev Patel makes his directorial debut with “Monkey Man”, casting Indian actors Sobita Dhulipala and Sikander Kher alongside Sharlto Copley of “District 9” fame.
Also, if Priyanka has had a brisk career in Hollywood (roles in “A Kid Like Jake”, “Isn’t It Romantic”, and “We Can Be Heroes” have followed), Hrithik Roshan is said to have signed up with the US-based Gersh Agency. The gradual shift is best summed up in Adarsh Gourav’s line, in an interview with IANS a while back.
“I feel this is my first international film and just being nominated alongside people like Sir Anthony Hopkins, Mads Mikkelsen, Chadwick Boseman — these people have been such a strong source of inspiration for me throughout my career — I feel a nomination is as good as a win for me,” Adarsh had said. The shift in focus towards Indian talent in the West seems more permanent this time. In the era of inclusivity, Brown is a good color to flaunt on the global screen. (IANS/SP)
By Nikhila Natarajan
In a continuing study on the effects of machine learning (ML) on public conversation, Twitter has confirmed that its algorithms amplify right-leaning political content. "In six out of seven countries - all but Germany - tweets posted by accounts from the political right receive more algorithmic amplification than the political left when studied as a group," Twitter blogged.
"Right-leaning news outlets, as defined by the independent organisations, see greater algorithmic amplification on Twitter compared to left-leaning news outlets." Since 2016, Twitter users are able to choose between viewing algorithmically ordered tweets first in their home timeline or viewing the most recent tweets in reverse chronological order.
"An algorithmic home timeline displays a stream of tweets from accounts we have chosen to follow on Twitter, as well as recommendations of other content Twitter thinks we might be interested in based on accounts we interact with frequently, tweets we engage with, and more. "As a result, what we see on our timeline is a function of how we interact with Twitter's algorithmic system, as well as how the system is designed."
The new research is based on tweets of elected officials of House of Commons members in Canada, the French National Assembly, the German Bundestag, House of Representatives in Japan, Congress of Deputies of Spain, House of Commons in the UK, and official and personal accounts of House of Representatives and Senate members in the US, as well as news outlets, from April 1 to August 15, 2020.
Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline. | Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash
The study was conducted by Ferenc Huszar (Twitter, University of Cambridge), Sofia Ira Ktena (now at DeepMind Technologies), Conor O'Brien (Twitter), Luca Belli (Twitter), Andrew Schlaikjer (Twitter), and Moritz Hardt (UC Berkeley).
The questions probed were:
How much algorithmic amplification does political content from elected officials receive in Twitter's algorithmically ranked Home timeline versus in the reverse chronological timeline? Does this amplification vary across political parties or within a political party?
Are some types of political groups algorithmically amplified more than others? Are these trends consistent across countries?
Are some news outlets amplified more by algorithms than others? Does news media algorithmic amplification favour one side of the political spectrum more than the other?
Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: algorithmically, timeline, algorithmic, tweets, political, survey
Even as India celebrates reaching a milestone of 100 crore Covid vaccine doses, Snapdeal co-founder and COO Rohit Bansal on Friday lauded a man who facilitated 64 registrations for the vaccine on the CoWin portal. In a video shared on his Facebook and Twitter page, Bansal hailed Sonu Kumar as a "citizen celebrity".
Bansal said that Kumar not only helped "just co-workers and family but complete strangers too. With patience, empathy and uncanny jugaad". He added that Kumar joined him "many moons ago" and completed his open school from a parking lot.
"Education has helped this wonderful man enable others to get India back on track. Bravo! The CoWin portal on Thursday mentioned that a total of 100 crore vaccine doses has been administered so far to the eligible population under the vaccination drive in India, nine months after the nationwide inoculation programme was started to protect the people against Covid-19.
"It's a cause of significant celebration and happiness," Bansal said in the video. He said that while people just help a few around them, Kumar "bridged the digital gap" for 64 people, who were finding it difficult to register themselves online on the vaccine portal. Kumar said he doesn't feel that he has contributed much towards the 100 crore vaccine dose count. "I have been able to help only 64 people, if I was able to help more I would have been happier." (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: cowin, covid, india, people, Rohit bansal, Sonu kumar, vaccine
KAMPALA, UGANDA — Uganda has kickstarted a trial for the injectable HIV drugs cabotegravir and rilpivirine. Researchers and those living with HIV say the trial will likely end pill fatigue, fight stigma, improve adherence and ensure patients get the right dosage.
The two drugs have been in use as tablets. The World Health Organization last year licensed their use as injectables.
While the two injectables already went through trials in Europe and North America, this will be the first time they are tested in an African population for efficacy and safety in an African health care system.
Uganda is one of three African countries, along with Kenya and South Africa, which got approval from the WHO to carry out the trials. However, Kenya and South Africa have yet to acquire approvals to start their trials, expected by the end of the year.
Uganda and Kenya will both have three trial sites and there will be two in South Africa, with a total of 512 participants -- 202 from Uganda, 160 from Kenya and 150 from South Africa.
Dr. Ivan Mambule, the lead project researcher at the Joint Clinical Research Center, says participants will need one injection every two months.
"We are going to choose participants who are already on ART [anti-retroviral treatment] and are stable on ART. And we will randomize them to either continue on their normal treatment, which is the pill that they've been taking, or to switch them to this injectable. The injection is on the buttock," he expressed.
In this photo taken in Nov. 15, 2012 a patient, right, is attended to, at the US sponsored Themba Lethu, HIV/AIDS Clinic at the Helen Joseph hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa Image credit: VOA
Uganda has 1.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Barbara Kemigisa who is living with HIV and founded the Pill Power Foundation working with rural women, says the injectable drugs will increase adherence to treatment and ensure people get the right dosage.
"One of the things that affects adherence is the fact that people have to hide medicine. In the village, people are hiding medicine in the kitchen roof, in trees, in bushes, in a baby's shoe…If someone is wrapping the medicine in like five plastic bags and digs a hole in the garden and keeps the medicine there, by the time someone is taking that medicine, it's no longer medicine, it's poison," Kemigisa points out.
Nicholas Niwagaba, who has worked with young people living with HIV welcomes the trial, saying it will reduce the pill burden and fight stigma.
"Young people feel like, this is a lot of pills to take. Those who are on the first line, they will have to take one tablet a day. There are those who are on second line and they have to take more than one pill and they have to take it in the morning and in the evening. And of course, this requires you to have actually a balanced diet which is really a challenge for most of young people especially those from vulnerable communities," he says.
According to the WHO, there are 25.7 million people living with HIV in Africa. With only the pill currently available to manage the scourge, this injectable may come as a relief for people living with HIV/AIDS. (VOA/RN)
(This article is originally by Halima Athumani)
Keywords: HIV, WHO, Africa, Research, Uganda