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118 gender bias charges against Microsoft in 7 years

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San Francisco, March 14: Women employees in technical roles filed 118 gender discrimination complaints with Microsoft between 2010 and 2016 but the tech giant concluded that just one of those complaints was “founded”, media reported.

Citing court documents filed by plaintiffs in an ongoing suit against Microsoft, The Seattle Times reported late on Tuesday that female employees raised issues about the biased treatment to the Microsoft HR department a total of 238 times.

The lawsuit, filed in District Court in Seattle, seeks class-action status which could add more than 8,600 women to the case.

“Women in the class lost out on up to $238 million in pay and 500 promotions because of widespread discrimination, largely within the company’s performance-review process that determines pay and promotions for employees,” the report noted.

The plaintiffs argued that men in similar roles with similar job performance were promoted faster and given more raises than their female colleagues.

A Microsoft spokesperson was quoted as saying that all employee concerns are taken seriously and that the company has a “fair and robust system in place” to investigate them.

But plaintiffs claim that employees have “little faith” in the investigative process.

In 2017, Microsoft had a global workforce of more than 120,000 people and about 25.9 per cent was female. The technical employees were 19 percent female.

IANS

Health

Cycling, walking in nature may improve your mental health

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London, Oct 20: People who commute — walking or cycling — through natural environments are more likely to develop better mental health than those who commute less, according to a new study.

Natural environments included all public and private outdoor spaces that contain ‘green’ and/or ‘blue’ natural elements such as street trees, forests, city parks and natural parks/reserves and all types of water bodies.

“Mental health and physical inactivity are two of the main public health problems associated with the life in urban environments. Urban design could be a powerful tool to confront these challenges and create healthier cities. One way of doing so would be investing in natural commuting routes for cycling and walking,” said Mark Nieuwenhuijsen from the University of Barcelona.

For the study, published in the journal, Environment International, the research team examined nearly 3,600 participants who answered a questionnaire about their commuting habits and their mental health.

The findings showed that respondents commuting through natural environments on a daily basis had on average a 2.74 point higher mental health score compared to those who commuted through natural environments less frequently.

This association was even stronger among people who reported active commuting, the team said.

“From previous experimental studies we knew that physical activity in natural environments can reduce stress, improve mood and mental restoration when compared to the equivalent activity in urban environments,” said first author Wilma Zijlema from the varsity.

“Although this study is the first of its kind to our knowledge and, therefore, more research will be needed, our data show that commuting through these natural spaces alone may also have a positive effect on mental health.”

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India biggest hurdle for China in promoting Buddhism

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Beijing, Oct 18 : India is the biggest roadblock for China to promote its Belt and Road project through Buddhism that can also help curb terrorism and separatism, Chinese scholars have said.

At a two-day symposium of Tibetan monks and scholars in Northwest China’s Qinghai Province on Tuesday, one of them said that the Dalai Lama had set up a “separatist” base at Dharamshala in India.

China has long been resentful towards India for sheltering the Dalai Lama who it accuses of fanning separatism in Tibet. Besides, New Delhi’s opposition to Beijing’s trillion dollar Belt and Road project is another irritant in their relationship.

The gathering discussed how Tibetan Buddhism could better serve China’s Belt and Road initiative and resist separatism.

“Guided by the core socialist values, the symposium aims to encourage Tibetan Buddhism to adapt to the socialist society and teach the religion to serve the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative,” the sitetibet.cn news website reported.

“Soft power like religion, if used properly, will convert to hard power,” one of the scholars said.

Qin Yongzhang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), told the Global Times that Tibetan Buddhism can serve as a bridge between Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries to better communicate with each other since the religious and cultural beliefs are similar in Central and South Asia.

“One immediate challenge of promoting BRI through Tibetan Buddhism comes from India, which has been holding back for geopolitical reasons,” Qin said.

Buddhism has a significant role in curbing separatism, religious extremism and terrorism while implementing BRI because it pursues harmony and opposes violence, said Xiong Kunxin, an ethnic studies professor at Tibet University in Lhasa.

The Dalai Lama has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959. India is also home to some 100,000 Tibetans.

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Beauty benefits of turmeric

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New Delhi, Oct 17: Beyond its spectrum of providing health benefits, ever wondered what miracles turmeric powder can do as a beauty regime?

This yellow spice has benefits beyond one’s imagination, feel experts.

Vrunda Lotlikar, Ayurveda expert, Birla Ayurveda lists some beauty benefits of turmeric:

* De-pigmentation: Application of turmeric with honey and lemon on the face for 20 minutes clears blemishes and reduces hyper-pigmentation. A paste of turmeric powder, triphala and chandana mixed with rose water acts as a natural defoliator and removes hyper-pigmentation marks from the body. Apply this paste thrice a week before bathing. For de-tanning, boil coconut oil with two rhizomes of turmeric powder. Daily application of this restores natural glow of the skin.

* Cures acne: Due to its anti-bacterial properties, turmeric is very effective in treatment and prevention of acne. It helps in destroying the acne causing bacteria, while also removing excess oil from the skin. Application of paste of turmeric, sariva (hemidesmus indicus), manjistha chandan (ruba cordifolia), yashtimadhu (liquorice) and neem over the face for half an hour clears blocked skin pores, improves facial blood circulation and prevents acne.

* Lighten skin: Turmeric is popularly used to successfully lighten the skin. A lightening face mask can be made by mixing turmeric with lemon juice. The natural skin-bleaching properties of lemon and the anti-oxidant properties of turmeric make it a powerful boosting combination.

* Cracked heels: Possessing great healing properties, turmeric can be used to soften heels. Application of aloe vera pulp with a pinch of turmeric over the heels soothes burning sensation of soles and heals cracked soles. For smooth heels, add a few drops of turmeric oil in 2 table spoons of coconut or castor oil and apply it over cracked heels every night.

Abhijit Narayanan, Senior Medical Officer, Dhathri Ayurveda Hospital, Kayamkulam also lists some benefits:

* Reduces stretch marks: Apply a paste of turmeric powder with khadir and triphala, mixed with almond oil three to four times a week before bathing. This helps in reducing stretch marks, reduces laxity of skin and tones the skin.

* Prevents wrinkles: Turmeric prevents reduction in skin elasticity caused due to chronic UVB exposure. It helps in healing and also slows the ageing process, keeping the skin supple and diminishing wrinkles. Apply a paste of turmeric powder mixed with yogurt. Rinse with water thoroughly after 20 minutes. Use this mask thrice a week for one month to notice an evident enhancement in your skin.

IANS

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