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4 Taiwanese films to feature in Indian Festival

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, July 17: The 10th Jagran Film Festival (JFF), India's largest touring movie festival to be starting in New Delhi tomorrrow (July 18), will feature four Taiwanese movies of different genres through its multi-state journey before closing in Mumbai, Maharashtra in late September.

Two Taiwanese films will be featured at the Siri Fort Auditorium under the 10th JFF's Delhi Chapter.

They are “Han Dan,” a commercially successful drama fiction released in January this year, and “Missing Johnny,” an award-winning romantic story in 2017 recommended by India's movie critic Rajeev Masand.

“Han Dan” grossed around NT$50 million (roughly equivalent to Rs.10 crore) in its box office while “Missing Johnny, ” executive produced by world famous Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien, captured four prizes in the 2017 Taipei Film Awards.

The 104-minute-long “Missing Johnny” will be screened at Auditorium 2, Siri Fort at 2.45pm on July 20, while the more-than-two-hour-long “Han Dan” will be played at the same auditorium at 8.15pm, July 21. Both will come with English subtitles.

Ambassador Chung-kwang Tien, Representative of Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India, said he is delighted to see Taiwanese movies participate in one of the world's grandest film events to showcase Taiwan's cultural power.

"Movies are the best contact lenses for people to learn about foreign countries. No significant relationship can stand without strong cultural relationship," Ambassador Tien said.

"With Han Dan, Missing Johnny and other Taiwanese movies brought to the India audience, I am sure India will get to know Taiwan more, which in turn will help grow the relationship between our two countries deeper and more diversified," said Ambassador Tien.

Missing Johnny is a portrayal of three people- a young woman intrigued by a series of wrong phone calls, a young man disturbed by whatever happens around him, and a wandering foreman feeling lost by the breakdown of his beloved car- living in modern time Taipei City. It carefully shows how these three people’s lives cross paths and in which ways their solitude gradually unravel.

Han Dan is based on a traditional religious practice seen in rural Taiwan, where people believe anyone who endures all the explosion of firecrackers by playing the role of deity Han Dan will be given protection and blessings.

Starting with a friendship between two young men, the movie goes to find a secret that is related to one of the two men's painful experience years ago.

In its 10th year, the Jagran Film Festival is organized by Dainik Jagran, India's largest news daily published in Hindi language. The Festival starts from Delhi and will go across a handful capital cities in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Besides Han Dan and Missing Johnny, two more Taiwanese films, namely "Breast and House" and "Bad Boy Symphony," will be screened on later dates according to the organizer's schedule.

Petting dogs, cats may reduce stress in students

WASHINGTON, July 17: College is stressful. Students have classes, exams and so many other pressures common in modern life and now researchers have found that petting dogs and cats can improve students’ mood with stress-relieving physiological benefits, a study shows.

According to the study published in the journal AERA Open, many universities have instituted ‘Pet Your Stress Away’ programmes, where students can come in and interact with cats and dogs.

“Just 10 minutes can have a significant impact,” students in our study that interacted with cats and dogs had a significant reduction in cortisol, a major stress hormone,” said Patricia Pendry, Associate Professor at Washington State University.

The study involved 249 college students randomly divided into four groups. The first group received hands-on interaction in small groups with cats and dogs for 10 minutes. They could pet, play with and generally hang out with the animals as they wanted.

To compare effects of different exposures to animals, the second group observed other people petting animals while they waited in line for their turn. The third group watched a slideshow of the same animals available during the intervention, while the fourth group was ‘waitlisted’.

According to the researchers, those students waited for their turn quietly for 10 minutes without their phones, reading materials or other stimuli, but were told they would experience animal interaction soon.

For the findings, several salivary cortisol samples were collected from each participant, starting in the morning when they woke up.

Once all the data was crunched from the various samples, the students who interacted directly with the pets showed significantly less cortisol in their saliva after the interaction.

These results were found even while considering that some students may have had very high or low levels to begin with.

“What we wanted to learn was whether this exposure would help students reduce their stress in a less subjective way. And it did, which is exciting because the reduction of stress hormones may, over time, have significant benefits for physical and mental health,” Pendry said.

Taiwan funds new school bus at Andhra school

By Deepak Arora

SINGANNAGUDEM, July 11: Ambassador Chung-kwang Tien, Representative of Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India, inaugurated a school bus at St. Vincent English Medium School, a Catholic education institute under the Holy See’s sight, at Singannagudem, Krishna District in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday.

The school bus was purchased at a cost of Rs.18 Lakh, out of which the Republic of China (Taiwan) Government donated about Rs.13.2 Lakh. The rest was sponsored by the Veterans Service Organization (VSO) based in Philadelphia, United States.

The bus, with more than 30 seats in capacity, is painted with big green letters of “Love From Taiwan” on its body.

“With a heart filled with gratitude, we acknowledge and appreciate the great kindness shown to the poor children of our area by the ROC (Taiwan),” a statement from the school said.

“We also thank wholeheartedly the generous people of the ROC (Taiwan),” it added.


The inauguration ceremony was held by Father Tomichan Mattathiveliyil, Provincial Superior of Southern India, Congregation of the Mission under the Holy See, and witnessed by 450 students and 20 staff members at the school.

The faculty expressed similar appreciation to the VSO Philadelphia for its generous contribution.

“The ROC (Taiwan) government has established diplomatic relationship with the Holy See since 1942. Over the years, the two countries have enjoyed a close partnership in religion, humanitarian work, cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts, among others,” Ambassador Tien said.

“Today, on behalf of the ROC (Taiwan) government, I am delighted to hand over the key of the bus to the School. I wish all the children at the St. Vincent Medium School continued prosperity and great success in the future,” said Ambassador Tien.

The funds were initially transferred by the ROC (Taiwan) Embassy in the Vatican City to the Holy See early this year for the purpose of helping poor children. It was part of the ROC (Taiwan) government’s efforts to contribute to poverty alleviation as listed under the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Steve Jobs 'Cast Spells' to Motivate Workers: Bill Gates

LOS ANGELES, July 7: Late Steve Jobs who co-founded Apple was a master at "casting spells" to keep employees motivated and working long hours, according to Microsoft's co-founder Bill Gates.

Despite that, said Gates, Jobs was an example of "don't do this at home" in his style of leadership, reports CNBC.

"I was like a minor wizard because he would be casting spells, and I would see people mesmerized, but because I'm a minor wizard, the spells don't work on me," Gates was quoted as saying in an interview with Fareed Zakaria on CNN that was broadcast on Sunday.

"I am yet to meet any person who in terms of picking talent, hyper-motivating that talent," who could match Jobs.

"He brought some incredibly positive things along with that toughness," said Gates.

After Job's death in 2011, Tim Cook took over as Apple CEO and made its $1 trillion company.

Apple chief design officer Jony Ive who worked at the iPhone maker for almost 30 years decided to move on last month and form an independent design firm called LoveFrom.

When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs returned to the sinking company in 1997, he discovered a scruffy British designer toiling away at Apple's headquarters, surrounded by hundreds of sketches and prototypes.

Jobs realised he had found a talent in Ive who could reverse Apple's decline and become his "spiritual partner".

Ive's first design assignment was iconic iMac in 1998 that helped pave the way for many other designs such as the iPod and eventually the iPhone and the iPad.

Taiwan's Formosa Circus Art to perform in India

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, July 1: Internationally-acclaimed Taiwanese entertainment troupe "Formosa Circus Art" will perform in two Indian cities of Delhi and Chennai this month. The performance in Delhi is on July 6 at Kamani auditorium.

India is the second cultural visit stop in a two-nation, Indonesia and India, tour organized by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) as part of efforts to boost relations and cultural ties with countries targeted by the government’s new Southbound Policy.

The theme of the performance of the nine-year-old troupe is “Taiwan, The Heart of Asia”. The troupe has performed in Jakarta and Surabaya before moving on to India for performances. Chennai is the first stop and New Delhi is the last lag in India.

The troupe, which has been dubbed Taiwan's "Cirque du Soleil," has since produced shows that highlight Taiwan's diverse culture, and has toured more than 50 cities and 20 countries around the world to showcase its unique Taiwanese style entertainment.

According to Ambassador Tien Chung Kwang, FOCA was chosen to represent the cultural diplomacy project because it embodies the hardworking Taiwanese spirit and has taken this unique spirit to the world stage.

The 75-minute “Taiwan, The Heart of Asia”, which incorporates the diabolo, cyr wheel, aerial silks and other circus skills with Hakka and Aboriginal music and dances, is rooted in Taiwanese culture and will give Indian audiences a taste of Taiwan's different cultures.

FOCA was formed by a group of young generation born in the 1990s and it incorporates traditional, local and street cultures with theater arts to create a modern circus art form that belongs to Taiwan. It is also the only Taiwanese circus troupe to have been invited to the Festival of d’Avignon in France and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland.

Aside from trade between India and Taiwan, cultural connection is equally important. Therefore, the purpose of the FOCA’s visit is to promote Taiwanese culture and closer bounds between India and Taiwan. “This event brings many young professional artists to the Indian audiences. It will be a great opportunity to bridge two peoples together,” said Ambassador Tien.

The event is cosponsored by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Taiwan Chamber of Commerce in Delhi, Rotary Club of Delhi Garden City and Taiwan External Development Council - TAITRA New Delhi Office. The event is free of admission and open to the public.

How two college dropouts made $860 million fortune by age 23

LOS ANGELES, July 2: They didn’t complete a single year of college, but Henrique Dubugras, 23, and Pedro Franceschi, 22, have already amassed a veteran’s share of Silicon Valley experience. Now they have the net worth to match.

They are the founders and top executives of Brex Inc. a fintech startup recently valued at $2.6 billion, with an unlikely origin story. Dubugras was just 14 when he built his first company, the maker of an online video game, and shut it down after getting notices for patent infringement. Soon after, he teamed up with Franceschi for another venture -- payment processor, which grew to 150 employees before they sold it in 2016. The pair then enrolled at Stanford University, but didn’t make through freshman year before dropping out to found Brex.

Brex, which launched its first product last year, has become a fintech darling, catapulting its founders into the ranks of the richest entrepreneurs -- on paper at least. Today their stakes in the company are worth an estimated $430 million each, according to an analysis by EquityZen, a marketplace for shares of tech firms that haven’t yet gone public.

The pair’s ascent is rapid even by Silicon Valley standards, where dropping out of Stanford to launch a startup is almost a cliché. Brex, founded two years ago, has become one of the fastest American companies ever to reach a multibillion-dollar valuation, joining the ranks of startups like Uber Technologies Inc. and scooter unicorns Lime and Bird Rides Inc.

In 2017, Brex was valued at $25 million, according to data from PitchBook. Its latest funding round pegged its valuation at more than $2 billion. The company’s key product is a credit card for startups and their employees that relies on real-time data, rather than traditional credit scores. One of the drivers of Brex’s towering valuation, its founders have said, is its potential to expand into other businesses.

The firm has also recently introduced credit cards for e-commerce and life-sciences companies. In addition to cards for startups, Brex has said it plans to cater to larger firms, offering cards with tailored rewards as well as expense management.

Brex declined to comment for this story. Dubugras had said previously that Brex’s new e-commerce business accounts for about one-third of its revenue.

Another fintech wunderkind, Max Levchin, who at 23 co-founded a company that would eventually become PayPal Holdings Inc., is an investor in Brex. So is Peter Thiel, also a PayPal co-founder, as well as the Kleiner Perkins Digital Growth Fund and Ribbit Capital.



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