The AQI was launched at a two-day conference of state environment ministers here, where union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar was also present.Available on the ministry’s website, the index will provide the current status of the level of pollution in a given city, with this being depicted through a colour-coded system indicating air quality, ranging from dark green as “good” to maroon as “severe”.Developed by the Central Pollution Control Board in consultation with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and a group of experts, the index will also alert people about the possible health impacts of each of its six categories. Also Read – Company director arrested for swindling Rs 345 croreLaunched in phases, the first leg would cover only 10 cities with plans of expansion to other cities in subsequent phases.In total, about 46 cities with million plus population and 20 state capitals have been proposed to be covered, said an official statement.“The AQI may prove to be a major initiative for improving air quality in urban areas, as it would enhance public awareness and involvement, and would create a competitive environment among cities to take steps for air pollution mitigation,” it said.
A senior Hamas official said on Friday there could be no new exchange talks with Israel until it frees dozens of prisoners it has rearrested since their release in a 2011 swap.Ismail Haniya, a former Palestinian prime minister, said Israel had re-arrested at least 54 of the more than 1,000 prisoners freed in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured in a cross-border raid by Gaza militants in 2006.“We have told all the mediators who have mobilised to discuss a new exchange that there won’t be any negotiations before the release of all those Israel detained from among the Shalit deal group,” he said in a speech marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday. “There will be no talks without their unconditional release.” Haniya did not elaborate on what new exchange was being mooted.Hamas has long acknowledged holding body parts of two Israeli soldiers killed during last summer’s conflict in Gaza. But it has not commented on Israel’s announcement last week that Hamas is also holding two of its citizens in Gaza.Hamas and Israeli sources have reported informal, indirect contacts on the possibility of a long-term truce between them, to cement an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that ended the Gaza conflict last August.Last Thursday, the Israeli defence ministry said that Avraham Mengistu, an Israeli of Ethiopian descent, had been held by Hamas since crossing illegally into Gaza last September.It said an Israeli Arab is also being held, although it has given no details of his case.Israel does not allow its citizens to enter Gaza, partly out of fear they may be used as bargaining chips to demand concessions, including the release of prisoners. Israel insists that all of those rearrested since the Shalit exchange were implicated in fresh security offences committed after their release.
September 3, 2012 3 min read Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now CourseHero.comBased in Redwood City, Calif.Employees: 23Number of registered users: 2 million What It IsThink of Course Hero as a cozy college study group of 2 million students, minus the bad pizza. The site offers some 7 million crowdsourced study materials from users at more than 4,300 universities, along with video lectures, 24/7 tutors, free flashcards and online courses in entrepreneurship, business and web programming.How It StartedWhile enrolled at Cornell University, Andrew Grauer felt the frustration of many undergraduates: Too much knowledge is bottled up in private hard drives and individual brains. “Course Hero is about democratizing access to quality learning materials and services,” he says. So he took a semester off from school and founded the company with his brothers David and Jared. Funding for the first three and a half years came from family and friends. When the site reached 1 million visitors a month, it received a $1.5 million round of funding from YouTube co-founder Steve Chen and StubHub’s co-founder and former CEO Jeff Fluhr, among others.Why It Took Off”Course Hero became popular, campus by campus, because it meets the real needs of students,” says Grauer, who serves as CEO. “At first, that manifested itself in the form of a community where students could share and access the study resources they needed 24/7. However, we recognized that technology had the ability to improve so many aspects of the study process.” Tutors, flashcards and courses were added later.The Business CaseFlashcards and online courses are offered for free on the site, but the money is in study materials–syllabi, lecture notes, practice problems–that can be purchased on a subscription basis for $39.95 per month. For uploading study materials to the site, students get credit toward purchases.Grauer estimates that the roughly 20.3 million college students in the U.S. spend $500 a year each on study aids and tutoring, which translates into a $10 billion market. While he won’t divulge how big his slice of the market is, he claims his 4-year-old company is profitable, after seeing revenue double in 2011. He expects that to happen again this year.What’s NextCourse Hero recently launched its Flashcards mobile API to help students make their own course-specific materials. But the company-created courses have been the fastest-growing feature on the site, and Grauer sees them extending beyond conventional curricula to high-school and vocational programs. He is also looking to expand the network of 250 to 350 tutors to deliver faster responses and better information.As with any new venture, tinkering with the business model is an ongoing process. “In the beginning, we were forced to focus on developing fast and iterating often to find product-market fit, maximize profit generation and minimize our cash burn,” Grauer says. “That approach hasn’t stopped.” This story appears in the September 2012 issue of . Subscribe » This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Enroll Now for Free