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March 8 is International Women’s Day: Exploring Creative Instincts give Women wings to Fly

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New Delhi March 7, 2017: Three years ago, Malini Arora, 29, left a busy corporate job to satiate her itch to explore her creative instincts as a designer of contemporary ethnic wear.

It’s a bumpy ride, but then you get to drive, she says — a sentiment that resonates with several such Indian women who are turning entrepreneurs with their clutter-breaking creative pursuits. And the digital wave is helping them even more.

“I’m like a kid in a candy store when I’m in a fabric shop,” Noida-based Arora, who realised her dream with her brand Designs By Ikebana — promoted mainly through digital platforms like Facebook and Instagram — told IANS.

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“I guess I always wanted to be a designer, but a little bit of gumption and that necessary nudge from my family finally made it happen. My corporate job paid the bills but my current pursuit gives me the courage to explore the creative world.

“To all those who are looking to venture out with their creativity, I say: Do it!”

There are also Pooja Kaul and Amita Mahajan, both mothers and keen architects. A sudden project to do up a nursery sowed the seeds of FLYFROG KIDS, an online kids decor platform.

“The idea was to create a line of vibrant products different from what was currently available in the market — with a focus on function as well as design. Our products have generic flowers, butterflies or sailors or dinosaurs as the main stars. We think that kids should have the freedom to imagine, think and dream,” Mahajan said, adding that child safety is a mainstay of their offerings.

They retail through lifestyle online portal Luxehues.com to reach out to the affluent households across India, and decided early on that online was the way to go, given the country’s growing smart phone base.

There’s experimentation by women in the jewellery space too.

Chennai-based Bharathi Raviprakash was once a money changer. Her urge to break the monotony led to the birth of Studio Tara, a jewellery brand which offers diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, amethyst, spinel, tourmalines, and other precious gems dramatically set in yellow and white gold.

It was her passion for precious stones, and an eye for design, that gave birth to Studio Tara, but Raviprakash’s thirst to learn more led her to a gemological institute in London, from where she graduated in 2002. Her designs reflect a raw feel, and appeal to the corporate crowd.

Another entrepreneur, 32-year-old Anubha Patankar, has carved a niche with her love for baking.

“I was already conducting chocolate-making courses for a few years just as a hobby, alongside my hectic corporate job in IT. Frankly, I loved it more than my job,” Patankar said, recollecting how her small stall in a society get-together focused attention on her culinary talent.

When she decided to quit her mundane job after having a second child, she began planning to open a baking institute — a dream that became a reality with the launch of Melting Momentz in Pune back in 2013. Two years later, Patankar had to move to Gurugram, where she set up the institute from scratch.

“I started promotions online to attract the tech-savvy crowd of Gurgaon (as it was then called). I changed my course content to include healthy baking and focused more on breads. Chemical-free, multi-grain and 100 per cent wheat breads became the synonym for Melting Momentz, where food enthusiasts could learn tips and tricks about cakes, icing, fondants, desserts, cookies, chocolates, eggless recipes and more.”

Her larger aim, as she puts it, is “to support women entrepreneurs in starting their own bakeries and outlets with full assistance from the studio”.

There are common threads that bind these stories: the joy of following their own hearts, the satisfaction of using their creativity and talent, as well as the peace of financial, social and mental freedom. (IANS)

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Irish Watchdog Opens Inquiry into Latest Privacy Breach of Facebook

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump's campaign

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Irish watchdog opens inquiry into latest Facebook privacy breach. Pixabay

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has announced a fresh investigation into Facebook, a day after the social networking giant admitted another security breach where nearly 6.8 million users risked their private photos being exposed to third-party apps.

Facebook, which is already facing a probe from the Irish watchdog for a previous privacy leak in September that affected 50 million people, may end up with fine of 4 per cent of its annual turnover – the highest fine under the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), The Independent reported on Saturday.

In Facebook’s case, the fine could amount to nearly 1.5 billion euros.

“The Irish DPC has received a number of breach notifications from Facebook since the introduction of the GDPR on May 25, 2018,” a spokesperson for the watchdog was quoted as saying.

The fresh move came after Facebook on Friday said more than 1,500 apps built by 876 developers may have also been affected by the bug that exposed users’ unshared photos during a 12-day-period from September 13 to 25.

Facebook, in a statement, said it has fixed the breach and will roll out next week “tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug”.

“Currently, we believe this may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers. The only apps affected by this bug were ones that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorised to access their photos.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“We’re sorry this happened,” said Facebook, adding that it will also notify the people potentially impacted by this bug via an alert.

The disclosure is another example of Facebook’s failure to properly protect users’ privacy that may drew more criticism of its privacy policy.

Earlier this month, Italian regulators fined Facebook 10 million euros for selling users’ data without informing them.

The competition watchdog handed Facebook two fines totalling 10 million euros, “also for discouraging users from trying to limit how the company shares their data”.

The Irish watchdog, which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, in October opened a formal investigation into a data breach which affected 50 million users.

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“The investigation will examine Facebook’s compliance with its obligation under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security and safeguarding of the personal data it processes,” said the DPC.

The world’s largest social media network has been grilled over the past year for its mishandling of user data, including its involvement in a privacy scandal in March when Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy firm, was accused of illegally accessing the data of more than 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump’s campaign. (IANS)