SEE INSIDE ....
Anna Hazare storms Delhi, warns of another stir
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For report see page 25
Let noble thoughts come to us from every side
First & Foremost Asian Weekly in Europe 31st Mar to 6th April 2012
UNHRC resolution censures Lanka for rights violations
The United Nations recently pulled up Sri Lanka for its dismal record in the human rights cases. In a resolution backed by the United States, the UN’s top human rights body asked Sri Lanka to investigate alleged violations during its war with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The resolution urged Sri Lanka to properly investigate alleged war crimes during its 26-year conflict with the Tamil Tigers. The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva approved the resolution with 24 countries in favour and 15 against. India also voted for the resolution. Eight countries abstained from vote. Sri Lanka and its allies on the 47-member council had fiercely resisted the resolution saying it unduly interfered in the country's domestic affairs and could hinder its reconciliation process. But backers, such as the United States, the European Union and India, say credible probes into alleged crimes committed by both sides are an
important step for justice and equality in post-conflict Sri Lanka. The resolution in Geneva became the driving issue in Sri Lanka's ties with India, as New Delhi was pressurised by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) to vote for the resolution. China, however, backed Sri Lanka and opposed the proposed UN resolution. Sri Lankan representative at UNHRC session, Bandula Jayasekara, urged the members not to adopt the resolution. "We have said
that this is very intrusive. We have explained that we are working on this. But this sort of intrusive force would derail the process," said Jayasekara. Sri Lanka requested India to 'reconsider' its support for the resolution. However, Sri Lanka's Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that his country’s ties with India remains cordial as they have been at all times, pointing to "domestic political compulsions" for New Delhi's change of stance on a US-sponsored resolution on alleged rights abuses.
Rajapaksa, who steered the government's victorious military campaign against the LTTE, said Sri Lanka had noted the change of Indian stance from opposing country specific resolutions to a stance of supporting the US move. "We have to understand the domestic political compulsions for the Indian government," he said. Rajapaksa said a visit to Tamil Nadu by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton last year was a precursor to the American resolution against Sri Lanka. He denied the accusations that government troops had deliberately targeted Tamil civilians in the no fire zones (NFZ) during the final stages of the ethnic conflict with the LTTE. Western countries and international human rights groups have accused the Sri Lankan military of large-scale human rights violations during the war against the LTTE which ended with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers in May 2009. Continued page 26
Sweatshops for London Olympic 2012, tar the Games image
Pic courtesy: War on Want
VOL 40. ISSUE 47
Shweta Desai Amidst host of protests and opposition, the London 2012 Olympic Games are finding itself surrounding in yet another controversy. With the final lap of the games nearing, the three major Olympics supplier Adidas, Nike and Puma have been accused of running sweatshops in Bangladesh who will be providing clothing apparel for sportsmen and women from around the world. The London Olympics has been struggling hard to maintain the ethical sanctity of the Games which has come under fire from various actors of the Civil society. There has been stiff opposition over the corporate sponsors including Mc Donalds, British Petroleum, Dow
Chemicals, G4S Security which have proven cases on labour exploitation, environment degradation, human rights violation among others thus tarnishing the spirit and message of Olympics of social responsibility and fair play. The War on Want has started a campaign, `Love Fashion, Hate Sweatshops’; asking people to hold Adidas, Puma and Nike accountable for their sweatshops in Bangladesh. The NGO claimed that all three sponsors have made huge profit margins and will continue to benefit from the Games, but the labourers who earn them the profit do not receive any share in form of better wages. Continued page 2
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Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Political Sketchbook Alpesh Patel’s
The Difference between Western and Indian Corruption ‘There is no money to be made without power. And power comes from being able to make choices,’ as I said to a business colleague. Ministers have choice over who wins contracts, and that power is converted into money. That is the way all political corruption has always worked and always will. The Minister gets money, pays his lieutenants, and makes the decisions which will make you, the briber, rich. On my BBC Newspaper review slot last week, the first story was about a report from Ireland of corruption by the former Irish PM in allocating land at undervalue in exchange for secret cash payments. The second story I was asked to comment upon was about corruption allegedly involving the Indian PM in allocating coal assets at undervalue in exchange for secret cash payments. The story about the British PM and the Tory Co-Treasurer had not broken yet. The obvious points I refused to make were that corruption robs the nation of funds, cheats the poorest of their national inheritance, drives a few good men and women from entering politics and national service. And then there followed this past week allegations of ‘cash for access’ in the UK. This is the British way to do it. You make the payment first, not to the Minister, but his party, then have to jump hoops and hope there will be some access and influence which may possibly eventually lead to decisions somewhere in your favour which may lead to money being made, not by you, but your employer. In fact, you probably never even get the influence, just the perception and hope of it. Your own weakness and desire to corrupt is being used against you. It’s like doing a deal in a den of thieves.
The layering, like with money laundering, makes it harder to trace cause and effect. This is power laundering. It exists. And it is corruption nevertheless. It does not rob the nation of funds, doesn’t cheat the poorest, or drive good people from politics, but it is corruption – British style. Subtle. Not as crass as the unsophisticated Indians or Irish. So why is it corrupt? Money has after all always provided privilege, why not in politics? Are we, the people, not just being hypocritical? When I was a member of the UK India Roundtable, my colleagues included Uday Kotak (founder of Kotak Bank) and Hemendra Kothari (Chairman of DSP Merrill Lynch) and our role was to make policy initiatives to the British and Indian Prime Ministers. The three of us would stand around a table, speaking in Guajarati, about what would be good policy. Were we corrupt? Of course not. Yet we had access. The same access the Tory Co-Treasurer had promised donors to the PM. Had Mr Kotak and Kothari not made lots of money, would they have had access? No. Money has always bought access. We just sleep easier at night, when it is layered away and not obvious and crass. So the next time someone defends Indian corruption (or Irish) on the basis that there is corruption in British politics too – let us remember when billions are diverted from the Indian exchequer because assets were sold at undervalue – the poor die in India - they are being robbed of their national birthright, their inheritance. That is the difference. The rest is just hypocritical self-riteous indignation for opportunistic personal gain. Alpesh B Patel www.PoliticalAnimal.me
Lambeth Council approves planning permission for Basaweshwara Statue in London The Planning Committee of the London Borough of Lambeth has approved planning permission to install a statue of 12th century philosopher and pioneer of Indian democracy Basaweshwara on the bank of the River Thames. The five member Planning Committee, which met on 13th March, heard the application, which was filed by The Immediate Past Mayor of Lambeth Cllr Dr Neeraj Patil. The Planning Committee granted planning approval for the statue to be built on a granite
plinth on the historic Albert Embankment opposite the British Parliament along the banks of the River Thames. The application was supported by Lambeth Asian Forum and Friends of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. As a sign of solidarity the Pakistani community of London led by Mr Toaha Qureshi MBE firmly backed the initiative and submitted a petition in this regard. Writing to Lambeth Council the Local MP in the London Borough of Lambeth and The first
Female Sports Minister of Britain Kate Hoey said “The statue of Basaweshwara sends a strong message of diversity of the neighbourhood and the links between the wider community in Lambeth and India and we fully support the initiative”. Before commencing the construction of the statue’s plinth, the plans need to be finally approved by the Cabinet Minister for Culture Media & Sports as per Section 5 of The Public statue act of Britain 1854.
! Government whip Shailesh Vara has been tipped for promotion in the next reshuffle. He was sitting close to the Law Officers last week so this
may be a clue. ! Ed Miliband is expecting his next ethnic minority MP to be elected this Thursday. The George Galloway bandwagon did not emerge in Bradford West. Imran Hussain is highly likely to retain the seat for Labour. ! Mystery surrounds the
decision of the Conservative Friends of India to exclude arch Tory Rami Ranger as a senior officer. Rami a lifelong Tory activist has been told he is not welcome. The new body due to launched this month has Baroness Warsi and Lord Dolar Popat as leading lights.
Sweatshops for London Olympic 2012, tar the Games image
The interpreter, Arifa Akhter, Amirul Haque Amin, Steve Preston, Diana Holland, and Murray Worthy
Continued from page 1 London based War on Want; an NGO which champions the cause of fighting global poverty has accused the sporting giants of employing unfair trade practices and thus exploiting labourers in making the sportswear. The NGO investigated 65 workers in six factories supplying goods for the three Multi-National Companies. The findings reported that workers are being exploited by the factory managers and being paid wages between 9 pence and 16 pence per hour. “The London Olympics is bringing positive news for everyone, we hope that we people who work hard to make the apparel for the games can also celebrate the games,” said Amirul Haque Amin, a National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) from Bangladesh. Amin who was in London along with Arifa Akhter, assistant general secretary of NGWF appealed that the workers do not want any of the MNCs to close business in Bangladesh as this is our major earning sector. “What we do want is fair labour laws and wages so that we are not exploited,” said Amin. “We are touch with all the companies to make them accountable for the unfair labour practices. All we want is to pay them living wage, end compulsory
overtime and provide better working conditions,” said Murray Worthy, a Senior Economic Justice campaigner at the NGO. War on Wants is also asking citizens to campaign against sweatshops by writing to the CEOs of the three MNCs demanding fair treatment to the workers in Bangladesh. “This year’s games should set up a legacy for future games to be ethical. There should be standards to ensure rights of workers are not exploited, that MNCs can be held accountable and the games live up to their spirit of humanity and sustainability,” said Diana Holland, Assistant General Secretary of Unite the Union, the largest trade union in Britain and Ireland. According to the figures quoted by Haq, there are 5000 garment factories in Bangladesh, which employs 3.6 million people. It accounts for 79 per cent of the total export and is the highest foreign money earning sector in Bangladesh. “The working time is over 60 hours every week with wages ranging from 9 pence to 16 pence. The monthly salary (3000 Takas or ￡ 20) is hardly enough to sustain an entire family,” he said. In the last Olympics, international trade unions accused China of turning a blind eye towards the sweatshops. They found factories producing
Olympic goods employing young children working double shifts at low wages and in poor working conditions. According to Arifa and Amin the conditions in Bangladesh are no different. Amin said that one out of every three workers was verbally abused while one out of every 10 workers were kicked or beaten by their employers. Of the six factories that were investigated by War on Want, five companies did not even comply with Bangladesh’s minimum wage of 94 pence per hour. Adidas paid the lowest wage of 9 pence per hour and around 230 workers worked for 60 hours per week. 85 per cent of the workforce is accounted by women and Haq said the situation is far worse for them. “The working conditions are really hard, especially if the woman has family. I am forced to work beyond my ability and strength by the managers of the factory,” said Arifa who works in one factory. Amin said the workers in these sweatshops do not have right to organise or bargain as any attempts to form unions are met by extreme treatment or suspension from work. “The law makers and policy creators of Bangladesh themselves own these sweatshops,” he said alleging that one third members of the Bangladesh parliament have business interest in the garment factories.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Osborne’s budget leaves grannies a disappointed lot The British government’s decision to scrap the age-related tax allowance means those with modest pensions and savings for their retirement will be hit hard. One should not forget that 1.8 million pensioners in this country already live in poverty. So instead of ameliorating their condition, the budget presented by Chancellor George Osborne has made it worse. Someone who turns 65 after next April and has an income of just £10,500 would be £259 per year poorer than under the current system. Currently, those aged 65 to 74 can earn £10,500 per year before the Government claims tax, with those aged 75 and over allowed to earn £10,660. But when the changes kick in, those above 65 will have the allowance frozen and those who reach that age afterwards will only benefit from the same tax-free income as under-65s. In all, the ‘granny tax’ will take £ 3.5billion from the pockets of more than 4.4 million pensioners. Senior Tories have denounced it privately as the Chancellor’s biggest blunder. Around 700,000 people turning 65 next year will be hit the hardest. The cry went up immediately and grew louder when it became apparent that the elderly are being asked to pay more while the rich earning over £150,000 a year have their tax liability reduced. The Tories did have a dilemma though, whether to tax wealthy individuals who donate a lot of money to the Tory party or cut money to pensioners. Of course they went for the latter and reduced the amount that the rich pay by 5% and they couldn’t even spin that right.
Britain is in danger of drifting steadily downwards, incapable of showing enough ambition to remain a leading economy, unwilling to keep its tax rates competitive or invest in future success. The Chancellor leaves plenty still to be done. Economy in this country is slightly better than what it was. Independent assessment is required major stake, reducing deficit, whether there was an over kill needs to be valued. Aged in UK called it ‘disappointing’ and warned that it would leave them hundreds of pounds worse off and the TUC general secretary said that the decision to raise more than £1 billion extra in tax from pensioners by freezing age allowances will haunt the Chancellor. Even the Treasury acknowledged that 4.5 million pensioners would lose out by the announcement. Already dubbed the Granny Tax, the Government has done such a hatchet job that they have not even had the comfort of a few days grace before people start shouting just what a steaming pile the Budget has been. It did try to spin the Granny Tax plan by weakly explaining that ‘many pensioners don’t understand the Tax System so this will simplify their tax’ but the smokescreen was blown away before it even had chance to cover their tracks. British political culture traditionally says coalition governments are weak, and there has been plenty of evidence recently to support that view. There have been continuing and serious rows between (and within) the coalition parties over the NHS reforms, and about taxation strategy. It is being pulled and pushed in different directions.
Lanka has to accept UNHRC resolution and act Sri Lanka has refused to accept a US draft resolution on its accountability in respect of human rights violations which was passed at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) recently. The resolution asks Sri Lanka to investigate widespread allegations of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances, demilitarize north of Lanka, implement impartial land dispute resolution mechanisms, re-evaluate detention policies, strengthen formerly independent civil institutions, reach a political settlement on the devolution of power to the provinces, promote and protect the right of freedom of expression for all and enact rule of law reforms. But the Rajapaksa government has refused to see reason and act on the resolution. Sri Lanka sees the resolution as interference in its internal affairs. But the Lankan government cannot bail out itself from the blame of mass massacre of Tamils during the last phase of its war against LTTE. As Mandy Rice said during the infamous Profumo Affair- “They would say that, wouldn’t they?” Whatever be it, whatever be said, perpetrators cannot get away by bloodshed and mayhem at the cost of innocent lives. So it would be better for Rajapaksa to take note of the resolution and act. Lanka’s external affairs minister G L Peiris reaction to the resolution is deplorable. He argues that there is no need to be frightened over the resolution as international sanctions could not be imposed against a country based on its outcome. This shows the total disregard of
Sri Lanka over world opinion over its mal-treatment towards its minorities. But it would be in the interest of Lanka to take the resolution seriously. Even India which usually supported Sri Lanka in hour of need this time voted in favour of the resolution. Whatever may be the compulsions of India to vote for the resolution, it would be better for Lanka to take note of India’s stand. India was compelled to help the destitute in Sri Lanka. Rajapaksa had repeatedly promised to attend to Indian concerns, particularly on national reconciliation, but fell far short in performance. He depended on rhetoric rather than action to keep New Delhi at bay. On the other hand he found it expedient to delay reconciliation process through political manoeuvring probably to retain Sinhala vote-banks. There is a grudging realization in some quarters in Sri Lanka that not enough has been done to attend to India’s concerns in the post- war period. The Sunday Times, Colombo in its editorial said: “The resolution calls upon the government of Sri Lanka to implement the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations. As we have stated before, had the government shown some interest and speed in implementing at least some of the Commission’s recommendations on which there is common ground among political parties and the vast majority of the people, then the resolution would have looked foolish.” It is time for Rajapaksa to act and avoid the fate of Profumo.
India has to check corruption for progress In order to achieve its ambition to become a great power, India has to keep its finances in order and check political corruption. Worryingly, both of these are now in a serious doubt. The UPA government is steeped in corruption. Every now and then a new corruption case crops up. In order to continue progress, the government has to take timely steps. India’s economy still struggles to create jobs. Low-paying casual jobs are all that are available for four-fifths of urban workers - a level hardly changed in years. A slowdown could easily reverse the gains that have been made. Indian government will struggle to pay its way, hard put to draw enough foreign funds to cover the 3.6% currentaccount deficit. India’s ageing rulers predict that growth should recover to 7.5% or so next year. But some at least appear to understand the brooding risks that will persist even if that figure is met. In his budget, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee offered a decent diagnosis of what is wrong. He fretted over wasteful and costly government spending (earlier he had said that soaring subsidies for fuel and fertilisers keep him awake at night), weaker industry and the lack of private, notably foreign, investment in recent years. But the growth to pay for all this is faltering. Over five years to 2008, the economy raced forward by an average of 9% a year. By contrast the year just ending looks likely to notch up between 6% and 7%. Global difficulties, especially high oil prices, play a part. But the main causes are disappointing industrial investment, high inflation and interest rates, excessive public borrowing those crowds out the private sector and investors who have lost their faith that India’s dithering politicians. The fall in investment is especially stark. Growth above 6% may not sound bad, but for big, poor India losing momentum is costly. Less investment now
reduces the capacity to grow later. A lower growth trajectory means many millions stuck in poverty for years longer than otherwise. Though the census figures showed much progress, they also revealed how far India still has to go. Half of all Indians have no choice but to defecate in the open. Two-thirds still cook on open fires. The ruling Congress party recently suffered in state elections. Its fortunes were mixed in four smaller states, losing in Goa and Punjab, but winning in Manipur and Uttarakhand. But in the most important of all, Uttar Pradesh, which has a population of 200 million, Congress came an ignominious fourth. Its haul of only 28 seats, out of 403 contested, was a particular defeat for Rahul Gandhi, the Congress scion who had campaigned hard there. Long touted as Congress’s next leader, he risks becoming India’s answer to Britain s Prince Charles: stuck in a dynastic holding pattern behind his powerful mother, Sonia. The result in UP leaves Congress worried about its prospects in the national elections due in 2014 - and many of its leaders are desperate to buy popularity. It is supplementing an existing “right to work” scheme; concentrated on rural areas with a new “right to food” scheme aimed especially at helping the two-fifths of infants still stunted by hunger. The second kind of political problem has to do with limited ambition. The recent budget saw tweaks to tax rates, debt quotas and duties, all implausibly heralded as big steps. Struggling to pass reforms such as a new nationwide goods and services tax, and unwilling to tackle state monopolies and vested interests in industries like energy, even reforming politicians now settle for yanking a few rusty levers of the bureaucratic machine. Administrative improvisation is being taken as a substitute for genuine reforms that open up the economy.
Thought for the Week No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn't know it - Paulo Coelho (1988)
Sarah Teather MP Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central and Minister of State for Children and Families
Giving new secondary school pupils a helping hand Next September, hundreds of thousands of 11 year olds up and down the country will be starting secondary school. For many this will be an exciting time full of new experiences. However, for others it can be a very daunting and stressful process. Over the summer holidays, children go from being big fish in little ponds to small fish in big ponds. Pupils moving to a new school are often worried about leaving old friends behind, getting lost in large and unfamiliar surroundings, and having to cope with more homework. Research shows that children who struggle to make the transition from primary to secondary school can suffer a dip in performance which in some cases lasts for years. We also know that those who struggle the most are often among the poorest in society. Summer schools are an invaluable way for schools to make this transition easier. At the beginning of March, Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister, opened a new £50 million fund to help schools offer this additional support. Headteachers will be free to use the funding in any way they feel will help pupils make a smooth transition to their new schools. They might use the funding to offer taster activities so that pupils get an idea of what they’ll be doing when they start in September and can be introduced to their new surroundings.
They could also provide catch up classes for pupils struggling with English and Maths or arrange extension classes for those who have been successful at primary school. The summer school funding is part of the Pupil Premium that was introduced by the Coalition Government to support disadvantaged pupils. Liberal Democrats in Government are committed to reducing the gap between rich and poor and we know that education is a key way to tackle inequality. Over the last year, the Pupil Premium has been used by schools in a variety of ways, including providing additional one-to-one tuition for pupils struggling in key subjects, buying musical instruments for pupils whose parents can’t afford them, and investing in software to support students’ learning. This year, the Coalition Government are increasing the funding for the Pupil Premium to £1.25 billion. This means that the amount schools receive for every disadvantaged pupil will rise from £488 to £600 and more pupils will be eligible than ever before. Social background has been a deciding factor in a child’s achievement at school for far too long. This new fund, as well as significant extra funding available through the Pupil Premium, will help schools tackle the inequalities that are currently part of our education system.
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Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Leicester Voice Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In brief Public encouraged to take part in swimming challenge
By Meera Majithia
Councils to tackle congestion Huge improvements are set to be made on the busy A426 bus route in the city councils secure after £2.5m for congestion scheme. The money will mean that measures such as bus lanes, junction improvements and bus gates (traffic light controlled sections of bus lanes) will be installed on the stretch between Blaby and the city centre via Aylestone.
People are being encouraged to get their running shoes on and take part in a 10km run around the city. Entries are coming in fast for the ‘Leicester’s Big 10K’ on Sunday, April 1st but there are still places left for those keen to take part. The event, in its second year, is organised by Threshold Events and supported by Leicester City Council and has already seen more than 500 runners sign up.
The cash will also be used to establish smart ticketing (travel cards) along the route and improved bus stops, amongst other measures. The aim is to increase bus passenger numbers, resulting in a reduced number of cars on the road and therefore less congestion. Lesley Pendleton, County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We
are delighted to have worked with the city council to secure this money. This route is heavily congested at peak time and, as a result, bus services can be affected. These measures will help reduce journey times and improve congestion on this key route into Leicester.” Deputy city mayor responsible for transport, Cllr Rory Palmer, said: “I am very pleased that the
county’s bid has been successful, because it will also deliver real benefits for the city, by providing muchneeded improvements to Aylestone Road’s bus routes. Easing congestion in that area is a very important priority for us.” The money is part of a £101m scheme from the Department for Transport and has been granted as part of its Better Bus Area fund.
Starting at 9.30am, it is aimed at runners of all abilities, and based in and around Abbey Park, the event is set to be a great day out for all. The route sees runners complete two laps around the perimeter of Abbey Park, both inside and out. And being flat means it’s the ideal course for first timers as well as those striving to achieve a 10K personal best. There’s an extensive list of prizes up for grabs, including winners and age
group categories, plus team prizes for both clubs and corporate teams. But no one goes home empty handed as all finishers will receive a goody bag with a race t-shirt, medal and some other surprises. Parking has been arranged for runners with help of the National Space Centre, just a few minutes walk from the start. With familiar brown signs directing people from as far as the motorway it is easy to find, with the
option of visiting the centre with the family after the run. Licensed by UK Athletics, the race is officially measured, and will be professionally timed using a chip timing system. Join those already entered by visiting: www.thresholdevents.co.uk o r www.runnersworld.co.uk Online entries will close on Thursday, March 29th but entries will also be accepted on the day.
Get ready for the big run
Leisure park bags top policing award The Meridian Leisure Park in Braunstone, Leicester has scooped a prestigious police award for helping to reduce car crime in the city. The car park at the leisure venue on Lubbesthorpe Way has been awarded a Park Mark certificate. Park Mark is a national initiative run by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) as part of its Safer Parking Scheme to reduce crime and the fear of crime in parking facilities. The award, managed by the British Parking Association, is granted only after a stringent
ACPO inspection is carried out to ensure key measures are in place to make the car park as safe as possible for the public. For customers of the Meridian Leisure Park, the Park Mark sign means that the area has been vetted by ACPO and has measures in place to create a safe environment At the Meridian Park, a dedicated security team monitors CCTV cameras 24-hours a day and regularly patrols the car park. The layout of the car park does not give any easy cover to thieves. PC 1955 Martin Aston, neighbourhood
officer for Thorpe Astley, said: “For visitors to the Meridian Leisure, the Park Mark award adds real value as it is important for customer confidence to know that car crime at the venue is low.” Park Manager David Eden said: “We are delighted to have won the Park Mark award which is granted only after a stringent police inspection and is well earned recognition of the hard work put in by our security team and the measures we use, such as CCTV, to monitor the park day and night. Having Park Mark status gives our customers the confidence
of knowing that they and their cars are as safe as possible, which is vital if people are to relax in a leisure environment." Michael Gardner, Area Development Officer for the Safer Parking Scheme, said: “The Safer Parking Scheme Park Mark award is a police initiative aimed at reducing crime and the fear of crime in car parks. Meridian Leisure Park car park has now achieved that award yet again, having been in the scheme since 2006. Its operators should be congratulated for providing an accredited car park for their customers.”
Women committed to going green
Following a tremendous first season in 2011, Loughborough Women’s Environment Network has decided to expand this year. The group, run by Charnwood Borough Council, aims to help women from all backgrounds and ethnicities engage in promoting good environmental practice to other members of their community. Workshops, field trips, training, talks and a host of other events are set to bring more Loughborough women together in 2012 and to encourage more community champions to sign up. Councillor Hilary Fryer, Cabinet member for Cleansing and Open Spaces, said: “Here in Charnwood, we’re committed to helping the envi-
Swimmers will be making a splash at three Leicester sports centres as part of a huge fundraising challenge taking place in April. Aylestone Leisure Centre, Cossington Street Sports Centre and Braunstone Leisure Centre will be among 645 pools across the UK holding swimming events as part of Swimathon 2012 - a campaign which over the last 25 years has raised millions of pounds for charities including Marie Curie Cancer Care and Sport Relief. Organisations including British Swimming, the BBC's Big Splash, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Sport Relief have joined forces this year to deliver what they hope will be the biggest ever Swimathon. Participants will be able to sign up to the challenge of swimming 10,000 metres, 5,000 metres, 2,500 metres or 1,500 metres, or by choosing to take part in the Sport Relief 'Big Splash' mile. Each of the participating leisure centres will run sessions throughout the Swimathon 2012 weekend during which people of all abilities can complete their chosen swimming challenge. On Saturday, April 28th, Aylestone Leisure Centre will stage sessions from 12noon to 3pm, and from 3pm to 6pm. Braunstone Leisure
Centre will run a session from 9am to 12 noon, while Cossington Street Sports Centre will run a session from 2pm to 5pm. Then, on Sunday, April 29, sessions will take place at Cossington Street Sports Centre from 1pm to 5pm, at Aylestone Leisure Centre from 2pm to 5pm, and at Braunstone Leisure Centre from 9am to 12noon. Olympic gold medallist and Swimathon president Duncan Goodhew said: "Swimathon offers the ultimate challenge to swimmers and teams. These amazing swimmers have raised more than £34 million for charity since 1986, and by teaming up with Big Splash, we're aiming to raise record amounts not for one but two important charities." Leicester Assistant City Mayor responsible for heritage, leisure and sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, added: "Over the years Swimathon has proven to be a very popular annual community event in the city, combining exercise and fitness with charity fundraising, and I'd encourage people to take the plunge and get involved in making this year's events the best ever." To enter Swimathon 2012, call 0845 367 0036, email email@example.com or pick up an entry form from any local participating swimming pool.
Trees to be planted to celebrate Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
ronment in any way we can. Our recycling record is fantastic and with awareness-raising groups such as the Loughborough Women’s Environment Network continuing with their hard work, we’re managing to engage more residents than ever before.” The 2012 programme
kicks off on Saturday, March 31 with a tour of The Green Place, a community eco-centre in Sileby, operated by the Complete Wasters environment group. The eco-centre has a garden with ponds, birdfeeding stations and organically grown vegetables. There is also a gift
shop, coffee corner; veg stall and computer workshop which sells refurbished PCs. Other events including a cookery evening and a walk at Beacon Hill will run on a monthly basis throughout the year, full details can be found at www.charnwood.gov.uk/p ages/lwen
Sixty trees are being planted at a city park to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Leicester City Council’s park services will be planting 60 English oak trees at Castle Hill Country Park this week. Park officers will be joined by Volunteers from both the Friends of Castle Hill Country Park and from the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV). Local people are also welcome to attend. There will be two
planting sessions - one on March 28th and the second on March 31st, both starting at 10am and ending around 1pm. The meeting place for the Saturday (March 31st) event will be at The ‘Great Oak’ or the Sharpley Drive entrance. All tools will be supplied at the free event and participants are encouraged to wear suitable footwear. For further information, contact Stefan Cabaniuk on 0116 233 3024 or 07967 810 312.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Everyone's a winner with Tilda
Asian and Oriental centres to tackle youth unemployment Unemployed people will get Government funding to train as chefs in curry houses, which have been left short-staffed by recent immigration laws. Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese and Thai restaurants are struggling to cope with a cap on immigration and minimum wage legislation, which restrict their ability to recruit from overseas. Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning John Hayes MP launched five Asian & Oriental Centres of Excellence on 27th
March 2012. This longterm initiative, set up by People 1st and championed by the Hospitality Guild, will train unemployed people to become skilled chefs. This approach of addressing skills shortages will be used as a pilot model with plans to roll out similar centres in other occupations including, food and beverage and accommodation services. Recruits will take part in a six-week preemployment programme, which will include training and work experience with an employer. This will
equip them with fundamental hospitality skills such as customer service, food safety, and health and safety. It will also give them both an insight into the exciting career options and a qualification - the Level 1 Award in Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry. At the end of this programme they are also guaranteed an interview with a prospective employer for either a job or a paid apprenticeship in Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese or Thai cuisine.
1 in 5 abortion clinics suspected of breaking law L to R: Aqueel Anwar National account manager for Tilda presenting cheque to Sharon Wallis of Prestwich
Tilda’s “Bag £millions” promotion is seeing a rice rush across the UK. Some entrants have already won two cash prizes. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to bag a cash prize you still get to enjoy the world’s finest Basmati, what a winning combination. Tilda’s “Bag £millions” has already received thousands of entrants and many winners already with Sharon Wallis, from Prestwich, one of the latest to have won £1,000. Sirfraz Aziz from London has won £50 twice. There are two ways to enter. Simply purchase a qualifying Tilda Pure
Basmati Rice pack from 2kg to15kg with a Fix-aForm sticker. Register details at your www.tilda.com/millions and a scratch card will be loaded for you to play online. Alternatively call 0843 289 7045 to register and your scratch card will be posted to you. Then all you need to do is reveal 3 identical symbols and you’ve won. Every scratch card offers the potential to win between £50 to £25,000 with a total prize fund of over £1million in cash prizes. This promotion will run until stocks last. The odds of winning are better than any lot-
tery! The list of winners is increasing and these are some of the latest lucky cash prize winners across the UK: Ellias Bobat Yorkshire; Etienne Hornecker East Midlands; Sophie Gray South West; Pavithra Lakshmanan - Edinburgh; Sunil Amar - London; Mateusz Proksa - East; Abhishek Kumar London; Parbjit Taak London. With so many winners across the UK already don’t lose out on your opportunity to enjoy cash prizes as well as the finest Basmati.
Up to one in five abortion clinics is suspected of breaking the law and faces a police inquiry following an official investigation ordered by the Health Secretary, The Daily Telegraph has reported. The regulator conducted a series of unan-
nounced raids on every clinic offering abortions and found that a “shocking” number may be breaking the law. The Daily Telegraph has reported that more than 250 private and NHS clinics were visited and more than 50 were “not in
Centenary tribute to Titanic to be published
A rare first-hand account of the chaos during the sinking of the Titanic (15 April 1912) will be published next month to mark the centennial of the catastrophe. The dramatic firsthand account of Jack Thayer, a 17-year-old survivor of of the Titanic has been lying almost forgotten for decades. The shouts from
those thrown into the icy water swelled into “one long continuous wailing chant”, noted the teenage son of an American railway baron in his account of the tragedy. From his vantage point, clinging to an upturned lifeboat, Jack watched the unthinkable befall what was supposed to be the unsinkable.
compliance” with the law or regulations. Doctors were regularly falsifying consent forms and patients were not receiving acceptable levels of advice and counselling in many clinics, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) discovered.
Stanmore funeral service in Honeypot Lane was officially opened by Cllr Navin Shah recently. The London Assembly member unveiled a plaque in the Chapel of Rest which was later dedicated by ministers of both the Christian and Hindu faiths.
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Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
by Debasree Ghosh
Be a Fashionista, Be You! If you have any questions or a story or a new style to share with us, please write to Shree at firstname.lastname@example.org
Unfair Game On my recent trip to the motherland, surviving through endless airports and aloo parathas, I happened to pick up the Indian editions of Vogue, followed by a few other fashion mags. What leaped out at me from the glossiness that is so incongruous with the dust of India, is the wide acceptance of Bollywood heroines as models (baffles me!) and pages after pages of fairness cream adverts extolling the virtue of white skin in a nation of brown folks. It was an experience akin to being pelted with iced water while sunbathing on a white sand beach. And I say this, because this stuff is personal to me. Let me elaborate. I was born to a pair of Bengalis, a generally light skinned community thanks to genetic makeup and aversion to outdoor activities. However ,as far as appearances go, my parents could not be more different from each other; my mum is the archetypal fair skinned, long haired, doe eyed Indian woman and my legend of a father being the proud owner of curly hair and glossy skin the colour of night sky. I, the result of this union, went the middle route and was gifted with a skintone that is not exactly dark, but quite far from the fair and lovely ideal that rules India. I wasn’t really aware of my skin or anyone else’s until one Diwali when I was
around ten years of age, my aunt commented, given my nice facial features how beautiful I would have been had I inherited my mother’s creamy complexion. That was the first of many. For the next ten years, I would be bombed from all sides, in regretful hushed tones or loud backhanded compliments, statements and comments implicating I was somehow not desirable enough or complete enough because of not having a face that glows like the moon. Then I got the hell out of India, got European classmates, European colleagues, European friends followed by a European
fiancé, all of whom at one time or another expressed appreciation for my golden brown Mac nc43 skin sans any effort at tanning. I am not alone. Being a country that it is of subtropical climate and brown people, many of my peers have faced similar treatment from society, even their own families. I have friends whose deluded ex-boyfriends had left them because their mothers wanted strictly ‘fair’ bahus. I have university educated cousins who after years of resistance, fallen victim to snide remarks and gone and bought a tub of Garnier Light cream. I have schoolmates who have met me after years and while giving me the happy news of their wed-
which enhances breathing and develops benefits the whole body. This done daily prevents many illnesses and keeps energy levels high throughout the day. An event thoroughly enjoyed by all ages from 2
by Rani Singh
Special Assignments Editor
Zachary Latif, 27 Zachary Latif, is Portfolio Manager with TLG Capital, specializing in frontier markets and fixed income. The youngest of three brothers, all of whom studied the same degree in the same year at the same location after sharing itinerant identical schooling, Zach ary commenced his undergraduate degree at Westminster Business School aged 14. He completed his O levels and A levels at 12 and 14 respectively. He undertook his Masters in banking and international finance at Cass Business School aged 18. Zachary joined Dresdner Kleinwort as a trader before being head-hunted for the credit desk at Nomura International, followed by proprietary credit trading at TD Securities.
ding, have said things like, ‘he is so wonderful, and despite being dark, so handsome’. As if beauty and brown skin are mutually exclusive. In a word, it’s humiliating. Intensely so. As a society, we are guilty of marginalising the majority, sowing the seeds of self-hatred in our young and making way for a future inhabited by self-loathing Indians who think they are inferior to their whiter couterparts and worse, Caucasian people For those who are blind, so to speak, let me make it clear, it’s prejudice driven racism. It’s no better than dowry system, honour killing, condoning untouchability, and, a gang of white-trash teenagers yelling racial abuse at any of us. It’s the same thing. Wake up, India. Colonial hangover, caste system, socio economic structure, there is a slew of reasons all entangled with each other behind this obsession with fair skin. But whatever it is, it’s beyond time that we stop “looking for fair, slim and tall professional for fair, slim and homely girl (age: 24) “, have Caucasian-looking Bollywood heroines making it to the top in spite of zero acting skills (Refer Katrina Kaif), ignore Freida Pinto because well, she is not a gori chitti. Self-respect is the greatest gift we can give our children. Let’s start working on that.
Yoga in the Park Hyde Park was energised with over 70 people doing Yoga on Sunday 25 February 2012. An initiative inspired by HSS UK during their promotion of Health Awareness month, a Facebook event was launched to encourage all to participate in Yoga in the Park. Various types of Yoga postures were displayed and all participated in a Yoga routine called ‘Surya Namaskar’, meaning salutations to the Sun. Surya Namaskar is a holistic sequence of yoga postures
to 60 years old and watched my many passers by in Hyde Park. A total of 700 Surya Namaskars were completed on the day. Keep a look out on FB for the next event. ! ... Further information go to www.hssuk.org/sny.
Q Tell me about your parents. A: My parents are forward-thinking and adaptable; they’ve always hungered for the next challenge. I’ve inherited from them a very peripatetic lifestyle; a lot of travel which had a profound impact on my life. Both of them espouse pragmatic solutions by reframing challenges into an opportunity, an attitude I admire. Q What educational principles were you brought up with? A: My father was a huge believer in the Classical style of learning and he implemented the Socratic method with us; we learnt through inquiry, questioning and pursuing knowledge for its own sake rather than following a curriculum. We were tutored by our parents, and others when needed, but we also used to socialize and do sport for a balanced upbringing. Q How did the home schooling concept arise? A: One time, when my family was going up north on a train, my father started to teach my eldest brother algebra. He realized that my middle brother and I were also picking up the concepts, and so this evolved into the three of us being home-schooled. Q Were you treated equally growing up, and are you competitive with your siblings? A: We are very close, both my brothers have sons (no girls yet) and we live as a close-knit unit. We were taught to blend a modern and progressive outlook with respect for
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certain traditions. I am a strong believer in “coopetition”; we encourage each other to do better and set benchmarks. I find that the “competitive” spirit doesn’t suit our modern world where we need to overcome our challenges by working together and go beyond our individual egos. For us it’s not only about emerging as strong individuals in our own right but also about learning how to work in different types of teams; whether at home, at work, or on the playground.
“I believe in all of us putting our common humanity at the forefront of our efforts.” Q What values do you hold? A: Two of my core tenets are that “work is worship” and to serve mankind. I believe in all of us putting our common humanity at the forefront of our efforts. It’s why I do what I do and provides a context to my professional life. Q So how are you implementing this ethical dimension in your work? A: TLG Capital is among the forefront in frontier market investing in places like Sub Saharan Africa, the Subcontinent and South East Asia; bringing knowledge and expertise from more advanced markets, and investing in frontier markets. A global rebalancing and redistribution of
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wealth is exciting and an opportunity for entrepreneurs. Our focus on maturing new and existing indigenous businesses will do more for the development of these nations than any other measure. Another example has been to invest and be involved in the restructuring of bankrupt companies like Lehman brothers and sovereign nations like Iceland. A key part of the global recovery will be to rehabilitate distressed assets. I’ve focused much effort in that area, since once we have lifted that fog, we can go back to a brisker rate of global economic growth. Q Give me an example of a pioneering concept you have introduced into a frontier country. A: QCIL is the only one of its kind in Sub Saharan Africa; an African pharmaceutical facility that’s producing lifesaving antiretroviral and malarial drugs. It’s an African solution to an African problem and it’s the sort of investment I’m proud to be actively involved with. It’s also a commercially viable way of bringing in and speeding up development. When dealing with innovative and bold entrepreneurs from different backgrounds and countries, it’s interesting to see that the most assistance they require is guidance on how to navigate the capital markets globally. There are many good projects out there like Soy Products being developed in North Africa and Agri-farming in Southern Africa. It’s encouraging that that world unites in business and a vision for a better and progressive future.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Dr Jaimini Bhagawati: “Security and Development are my key mantra” Dr Jaimini Bhagwati, a noted economist and veteran diplomat and the current Indian High Commissioner exclusively met the members of the Indian Journalist Association (IJA) where he informally discussed various subjects starting from India-UK trade relation to security of India to India’s take on permanent membership in the UN to its infrastructural developments. Dr Bhagwati, a Stephenian, is a member of the 1976 batch of the Indian Foreign Service. Speaking to the attendees at the informal gathering he said that both trade and investment have registered a sharp growth in the last two years between UK and India. He added that UK and India’s economic and political relations are on a firm footing and UK
For more stories visit www.scribbledesk.com
Short Story by Neha Garg
The Magic Waterfall – The Finale
London Mayor Boris Johnson with HE Jaimini Bhagwati
opment of India’. He added that infrastructure is where the growth is and he has been very keen to spread that word. He also said that human resources is another area where UK and India have a lot to learn from each other and share. He was accompanied by the Deputy High Commissioner Shri Rajesh N Prasad, Press and Information Minister Shri C Rajasekhar, Press and Information First Secretary Smt Padmaja, Minister, Coordination, Shri Sukhdev Singh Sidhu and others. Dr Bhawati had also met Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London recently (Mon 19 March) to discuss how London and India would continue to work together closely and Rajesh N Prasad, Deputy High Commissioner, Dr Jaimini Bhagwati, Indian High Commissioner, C Rajasekar, Press and expand the business links that already exist. Information Minister remains an extremely important partner not just because of the shared historical association. In a recent event. At the gathering in Nehru Hall, India House, Dr Bhagwati emphasised that his key mantra is quite simply ‘security and devel-
IJA members at the press conference
Service personnel honoured Service personnel who risked their lives to protect others during recent tours of Afghanistan and Libya have been given military honours. Royal Navy, Army, and Royal Air Force personnel were among 131 honoured for going above and beyond the call of duty between April and September 2011. They also include two Asians. Flt Lt Jonathan Arvind Singh, 31, from RAF has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after managing to land his Chinook helicopter safely in Afghanistan despite insurgent gunfire rendering it “almost unflyable”. He has followed in the footsteps of his late grand-
Flt Lt Jonathan Arvind Singh
Cpl Baljit Limbu
father, Flying Officer David Bhore, who was given the same award in 1944 for flying reconnaissance missions for the Royal Indian Air Force during World War II. The other was Cpl Baljit Limbu of the Royal Gurkha Rifles. He was
blinded just before he left Afghanistan. He was mentioned in dispatches after being injured while leading the rescue of a severely injured comrade in Afghanistan. He was part of a three-man patrol who were thrown into the air by an explosion in June 2011.
The Story So Far: Brian, Issac and Robyn were holidaying in the mountains when they discovered a waterfall with stepping stones leading right into it. Excited, they decided to explore. Turns out that behind the waterfall lies the Magical land of FaerieRealm; the home of Faeries and pixies and other magical population. However, they do not want the existence of the land known to humans … Robyn, Issac and Brian all stood looking at Silky with their mouths open. “What do you mean we cannot go back?” said Robyn. “I just told you,” said Silky. “We do not want humans to find FaerieRealm. They will be wanting magical solutions to all their problems. They will never let us live in peace.” She started pacing around and around the little grassy patch. “I am very sorry children, but I just cannot allow that.” She stopped and took Robyn’s hand. “You will be very happy here, I promise.” Robyn looked into Silky’s eyes and thought for a minute. “No way!” said Brian suddenly, stepping up. “Look here, you better let us go.” “Relax Brian,” said Robyn. “Silky is right. We cannot let people find FaerieRealm. They will put all the Faeries in zoos in no time.” “What do you mean, Robyn?” piped in Issac. “You are not suggesting we live here forever?” “No, of course not,” said Robyn. “But there has to be a way of solving both our problems.” Silky looked up. “I will be delighted to consider any alternative you might have, Robyn.” Robyn smiled. “Thank you. In the meanwhile, would you give us a tour?” Silky smiled too and gestured to one of the faeries surrounding them. “This is TangleFoot. She will take you on a tour of FaerieRealm. I wish you could meet our Queen too but she has gone to the Land of Bedtime Stories to pay Goldilocks a visit.” Two hours later, the 3 children were sitting with Silky on her couch. “I love FaerieRealm,” said Brian.
“But I still do not wish to live here forever.” Robyn nodded and took Silky’s hand. “Silky,” she said to her new friend. “With all your Faerie Magic, do you not have a way of wiping memories?” Issac beamed. Silky looked from one child to another. “Yes, there is a way but it is very complicated. Only the Queen has the power needed to perform the spell. We Faeries are not strong enough.” Issac’s face fell. “But, surely,” piped up Brian. “Surely, all the Faeries together are stronger? Like the story of the boy being able to break one stick but not a bundle of sticks?” “Yes,” said Issac, cottoning on. “Surely, the Magic of all the Faeries together would be strong enough to allow you to cast the spell? You could wipe our memories and we can be on our way not having ever known of FaerieRealm? That way, your secret will remain safe and we will be able to go back home.” Now it was Silky’s turn to beam. “Yes, of course. Why didn’t I ever think of that? I will get all the Faeries together.” Half an hour later, all the Faeries in FaerieRealm were gathered at the waterfall. At Silky’s command, together, they all pointed their wands at the 3 children and murmured the spell. A flash of light and the next thing they knew, the 3 children were standing on the bank of the river, looking at the stepping stones going into the waterfall. “I wonder where those stones lead,” said Brian. “It’s much to late to follow them right now, Brian,” said Robyn, looking up into the darkening sky. “We’d better be getting home.” “You are right,” said Issac. “Come on Brian.” And together, the 3 children set off home, never knowing the adventures they had been up to. The Faeries stood looking at them from behind the waterfall and smiled. Their secret was safe.
Three guilty of Stockwell shooting which left five-year-old girl paralysed Three men were found guilty on Monday of a gang-related shooting that left a five-year-old girl permanently paralysed. Nathaniel Grant, Kazeem Kolawole and Anthony McCalla were convicted by a jury at the Old Bailey of causing grievous bodily harm to Thusha Kamaleswaran. She was gunned down as she played in her aunt’s shop in south London in March last year. A bullet hit her in the chest and passed through the seventh vertebra of her spine, leaving her wheelchair-bound for life. Shopper Roshan Selvakumar was shot in the face in the attack, and has been left with bullet
fragments permanently lodged in his head. Grant, Kolawole and McCalla were looking for a rival gang member when Grant mindlessly opened fire into the Stockwell Food and Wine shop. Jurors were told that
he would have been able to see Thusha as he fired his second shot. Police spent hundreds of hours scouring CCTV footage to track down the three gunmen. They had links to the Brixton-based OC gang, which had a rivalry with ABM, based in Stockwell. Nathaniel Grant, the 21-year-old who shot Thusha, pictured, has previously been accused of murdering an innocent bystander in an almost identical case. Petty squabbles between rival gangs in the area quickly escalated into gun and knife battles and a number of innocent people have been caught up in the violence.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
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Hindu students sing and dance in aid of charity Aspiring British Hindu professionals showcased their talents on stage as part of Diya, a popular annual student celebration. This year the event raised £4,500 for two charities. Held at the Tower Ballroom in Edgbaston, Birmingham, the dinner and dance event, now in its seventh year, was organised by Aston Hindu Society, which is part of the National Hindu Students Forum. The round-table event began with, everyone upstanding, singing the ‘Om Jai traditional Jagdish Hare’ aarti, a form of worship. Then came on stage the Indian version of Ant and Dec, Rajiv Kotecha and Shyam Lakhani, who introduced the performances. Themed performances included dances from Goa, Mumbai, New Delhi and Gujarat. Mumbai singer Dilen Pattni was cheered on for his karaoke-style vocal. In addition, there were a
range of catwalks, including a bridal fashion show, each given prominence with a selection of Bollywood medleys. Proud siblings, parents and fellow students, many of whom had travelled far distances, clapped and cheered as their dear ones came on stage. They shuffled on their chairs, stood up, went nearer the stage in an attempt to capture the memorable moments on their gadgets and cameras. The menu was strict Asian vegetarian and no alcohol was allowed. Aside from Asian Voice, the only other media present was Sunrise TV. Its presenter Sarita Sabharwal, formerly of TV Asia, was among guests. Non-Asian guests
MP death threat, man arrested Police have arrested a man on suspicion of making threats to kill Midland MP Andrew Mitchell. Desmond Darcy, 60, is alleged to have made sinister phone calls to the office of the Sutton Coldfield politician, who was last month crowned Cabinet Minister of the Year by Asian Voice. Mr Darcy, who warned that MP Mitchell would be mutilated with a dagger, is being held in a secure hospital after being sectioned under the Mental Health Act. MP Mitchell, 56, became Secretary of State for International Development in 2010. He is married to a GP and has two children. MP Mitchell, pictured, said: “My overriding concern was for my staff both in London and Sutton Coldfield, many of whom are women.”
English in minority at schools Pupils with English as their first language are a minority in more than one in four Birmingham schools. New figures from the Department for Education show a majority of students at 117 of the city’s 430 schools listed a different language as their mother-tongue. Sir Michael Wilshaw, pictured, head of Ofsted – who met with staff and learners at Parkview Business and Enterprise College in Alum Rock last Friday - insisted that language barriers were no excuse for under-achievement. “It is attitude towards education that is important,” he said.
Talk on Hinduism Dileep Thatte will deliver a talk themed ‘Seven Stars of Hinduism’, as part of the popular Vichaar Manthan series, led by Dr Sunil Poshakwale. Mr Thatte, pictured, a qualified engineer and an expert on Hinduism, will give his talk, organised in conjunction with the Midlands Marathi Association, at Saint Francis Hall, University of Birmingham (B15 2TT) on Monday (April 2) from 8.15pm to 9.45pm. All welcome.
in traditional Indian attire was a symbol of real community cohesion, proof enough of appreciating each other’s way of life. All round, the sold-out evening event was once again a roaring success. It was well organised, managed, supported and hosted. But, coming up with the balance sheet turned out to be not so simple. A request for a full breakdown was ignored. Instead, the rounded-up sum of £4,500 was provided as the total amount raised for two charities – Manav Sadhna and Birmingham Children’s Hospital. No representative from either charity was present at the event, “they couldn’t make it”. An estimated £12,000 is believed to have been raised from ticket sales alone, considering tickets were £23 and £25 each for members and non-members, respectively. Organisers were unable to confirm this. The Student
Guild, according to organisers, did not contribute any funding for the event. The Guild was asked, but it was unable to confirm this. Asked when the two chosen charities can expect to receive the money, ‘probably at the start of the new academic year when all the money is in our account’. When prompted about its donations to three charities last year, the response was: “I have no idea. I was not President last year – I wasn’t even on the committee!” One of the three charities, Autism West Midlands, was able to confirm it had received a donation of £1,374.22 in June 2011. Currently, Aston Hindu Society has 263 paid members. Elections for the next committee are due to take place on April 25. Let’s hope the new committee can be, or at least try to be, more forthcoming with its finances. Because when it comes to charity, accountability of every penny counts, does it not? Other than this, Aston Hindu Society seems to be doing a decent job in enabling Hindu students to learn about their heritage, be they from home or abroad.
GMC suspends GP Dr Hany Sadek Fahmy Hanna, a Black Country GP, has been suspended for four months by the General Medical Council after he missed signs of breast cancer in a patient. Mum-of-two Emma Southall, 33, pictured, had been to see Dr Hanna on several occasions over a one-year period after finding a lump in her breast. But no examination was made and she was not referred to hospital for further investigations. By the time she was correctly diagnosed, the cancer had spread to her neck and other parts of her body. She has since undergone a mastectomy and an operation to remove her ovaries.
TB strikes dad of victim The dad of a Midland teenager killed by TB is fighting the disease himself. Sultan Sarag, 43, from Birmingham, revealed he was battling the illness that claimed his 15-year-old daughter Alina’s life, and which also affected the tragic schoolgirl’s mum and sister. “I have been on every medication since I was diagnosed and it doesn’t seem to be going away,” unemployed Mr Sarag said. Alina, pictured, died in January last year.
MP stashes away the cash Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi, pictured, who represents Stratford-upon-Avon, pocketed more than £40,000 in addition to his £66,000 MP pay, it has emerged. He took home £49,572 for 119 hours work over 17 months from London-based IT recruitment firm Sthree as a non-executive director. Upto-earth 44-year-old Mr Zahawi’s substantial payments were for attending monthly board meetings.
News in Brief Car crashes into shop A motorist fled after crashing into a historic familyrun furniture store, Dennett’s, in Birmingham causing £20,000 worth of damage. The incident in Warwick Road, Acocks Green happened at about 6.30am last Sunday. Witnesses are being urged to contact police on 101.
100 rubbish bags, woman fined Vicky Parfitt, a 20-year-old woman from Dudley has been fined £175 after 100 bin bags stockpiled in her garden attracted rats. Dudley Magistrates heard that Parfitt had been asked informally by the borough several times to remove the waste from her garden, and had prompted complaints from neighbours, but she had ignored the alerts as well as an enforcement notice.
Firm wins UKBA contract Private firm G4S Care & Justice Services has won a contract from the UK Border Agency to integrate asylum seekers into the communities in the Midlands. The five-year contract, which has an optional twoyear extension, starts in May.
Cop caught with drug Andrew Smith, a Sergeant with Warwickshire Police, appeared at Coventry Crown Court last Friday after admitting to possessing methylone, an illegal drug. He was caught by officers in Rainbows, a Coventry nightclub, last August. The 37-year-old has been suspended and will be tried in May.
Too busy for breakfast Brummies are so busy juggling work and family life they no longer sit down for a proper breakfast, new research has found. A survey by Greggs, the bakers, revealed only 13% of people in Birmingham sit at the dining table to eat breakfast, whilst 26% eat it at their desk and 23% munch it sitting on their sofa. One in three people said they never have a family breakfast, and 46% do not even have a dining room.
‘Boozy’ juror falls asleep A £12 million drugs conspiracy trial at Birmingham Crown Court was halted after a ‘drunken’ female juror fell asleep. The trial of Nadeem Aslam, 31, was dramatically stopped on the first day of the trial last Tuesday after the woman dozed off. Later, she was fined £250. Recorder James Guthrie said: “The strong suspicion was she was under the influence of alcohol and I was forced to discharge the jury.” Mr Aslam, from Moseley, will now face a new trial on May 21.
‘Break-in’ student given a chance Aaron Martin, a 21-year-old Birmingham student caught trying breaking into a house in Smethwick has been allowed to keep his freedom by court so he can sit his final exams. Patrick Skinner, defending, described Martin as a “clever, hardworking young man who occasionally does stupid things”. He said Martin, from Handsworth, was a psychology student and would be sitting his final exams in May, when it was hoped he would earn his degree.
Kris’ina crowned Ms Brum Youth worker Kris’ina Jagpal, pictured, has been crowned as the new Miss Birmingham. She will represent the city in the final of the Miss England competition in the summer with a chance to make it into the Miss World contest. Kris’ina, 24, of Edgbaston, triumphed over 30 other girls in the competition, which included fashion, club and evening wear rounds.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Government fails to control fake students but tightens rules for dependants Government’s migration controls failing as problems persist with UK Border Agency, says National Audit Office report. Up to 50,000 people may have entered Britain to work rather than study in the first year of the government’s student migration controls, a highly critical report by the National Audit Office (NAO) claims. MPs called for the troubled UK Border Agency to “get a grip and fix the way it deals with student visas” after saying the report exposed one of the most shocking examples of poor management leading to abuse. The NAO said the agency introduced a pointsbased system, known as Tier 4, in 2009 without key controls, potentially leading to tens of thousands of migrants entering the UK without any checks as to whether they were attending a college, and it did little to ensure that foreign students left the UK when requests to extend their stay were refused. The report called the flaws “predictable”. The agency withdrew
entry clearance officers’ powers to test applicants’ intentions before it had controls in place over sponsor colleges, the report said. The Home Office has objected to the NAO’s estimate of 40,000 to 50,000 individuals who may have entered the UK to work rather than to study, claiming that is not “robustly based”. Commenting on the report, Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the Commons’ public accounts committee, said: “This is one of the most shocking reports of poor management leading to abuse that I have seen. It is completely unacceptable that the programme was launched without key controls being in place.” Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, said: “This government has introduced radical reforms in order to stamp out abuse and restore order to the uncontrolled student visa system we inherited. These measures are beginning to bite, we have already seen the number of student visas issued drop considerably in the second half of 2011, compared to the same peri-
od in 2010.” On the other hand, another major immigration crackdown will target tens of thousands of people who ‘abuse’ the family visa system to enable spouses, partners or dependants to settle in the UK. In a leaked letter from Theresa May, the Home Secretary outlines plans to impose a new minimum income of 25,700 a year for anyone looking relocate a loved one from outside the European Union. This figure is nearly double the current threshold of 13,700. If children are brought in, the income needed would also shoot up - to £37,000 for one, £49,000 for two or £62,600 for three. In her letter to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, dated March 14, Mrs May also calls for a minimum probationary period of five years (up from two) before any such applications can be made, according to The Sunday Telegraph. The plans, she says, would ‘reduce the burdens on the taxpayer, promote integration and tackle abuse’. She wants them to come into force from June.
Book that may encourage domestic violence under scrutiny An Islamic marriage guide advising men on ‘the best ways’ to beat their wives has sparked outrage in Britain, especially among moderate Muslims who say that it encourages domestic violence. The book - ‘A Gift For Muslim Couple’ (pictured)allegedly tells husbands that they should beat their wives with “hand or stick or pull her by the ears”, the Mail reported on Saturday. According to the some interpretations of the Koran, domestic violence is allowed in Sharia Law. The worrying scale of violence against Muslim women
Man stabbed over wedding contract A man was stabbed to death with a screwdriver in a dispute over a £4,000 wedding contract, the Old
Bailey heard on Monday. Harjit Singh Nijjar, 24, was attacked by Saqib Khan, 31, outside his
home in Southall, west London, it is chest which penetrated the major blood vessel leading to the heart.
was highlighted this week by a report claiming that almost 1,000 Pakistani women and girls were murdered in honour killings last year. Nearly 1000 were killed by fathers, husbands or brothers, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan claimed. Many cases are covered up by relatives and sympathetic police officers and the true toll is believed to be much higher. In 2006, Banaz Mahmod, from Mitcham, south London, was strangled on the orders of her father and uncle because they thought her boyfriend was unsuitable. Cousins Mohammed Saleh Ali and Omar hussain, both 28, were jailed for a minimum of 22 and 21 years respectively for the honour killing of the 20-year-old Iraqi Kurd. The victim’s father Mahmod Mahmod and uncle Ari Mahmod were jailed for life at the Old Bailey in 2007. Authored by Maulavi Ashraf Ali Thanvi, who is understood to be a promi-
nent Islamic scholar, the 160-page book claims to be a “presentation for newlyweds” or couples who have been together for some years. “The book... deals with the subject of marriage and after marriage relationship, as well as the various pitfalls of marriage, causes of breakdown and their causes,” reads the book’s blurb, reported an Indian daily. The book, however, also states that a husband should treat the wife “with kindness and love, even if she tends to be stupid and slow sometimes”.
Glorious Narendra Modi The famous Time Magazine has published Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the cover page of its March 2012 edition. It says “Modi Means Business but can he lead India?” I believe he certainly can! The way Gujarat has progressed under his governance is quite scintillating. The crime rate has gone down considerably; the amount of industrialisation the state has witnessed is really applaud able. A number of car manufacturing companies have invested in Gujarat which includes few famous international brands still to enter the territory. The last 10 years have gifted numerous sustainable highways connecting different cities and most of the villages, 3 phase electricity 24/7 in almost everywhere in the state and a number of investment projects. It won’t be wrong if I call Modi a brand icon rather than just a leader. He has always lead by example. Even in his holidays, he would take an elite team of his(that consists of key people from the electricity, IT, infrastructure, etc) to certain remote villages which lacks few of these facilities. He is quite focused and well behaved leader who always talks sense. Decision making and implementing those are his key strengths. Even in the absence of help and support from the central govt, Modi has done a great job for the state. Most of the elite and successful business people of the country would like to see him as the PM of the country but due to the unfortunate communal riots in 2002, that may not happen! On the otherside, Gujarat is quite lucky to have him as the CM of the state. Hope he keeps doing well to the state the way he has done so far.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Picking Pensioners’ Pockets
Congratulation on Ruby Anniversary
Chancellor raids paupers to pay the rich
The government plans to end the agerelated tax allowances for pensioners. In his budget speech, the Chancellor announced that he will phase out the higher income tax allowance enjoyed by around half the country’s pensioners. From next year, people turning 65 will no longer qualify for the higher rate of £10,500 a year tax allowance. Instead they will qualify for just a standard income tax allowance which was raised to £9,205. This is not fair on pensioners who are on a meagre income anyway. The income tax allowance of the over 65s must also be raised in line with the rate of inflation. Ministers have already made a switch in the rate at which pension payments increase from the more favourable retail price index (RPI) to the less generous consumer price index (CPI). This unilateral decision by the Government has been challenged in the courts by the unions. On the one hand, the government wants to pick the pockets of its long suffering employees, on the other hand it dishes out billions of pounds in grant aid to foreign countries who actually carry a chip on their shoulders against us. Pensioners have paid taxes and NI contributions throughout their working lives to support people on benefits and to let the Government squander their money on foreign aid to undeserving countries, as well as on wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Arab countries. It is time pensioners are allowed to keep all their earnings without being subjected to taxes in the twilight years of their lives. Depriving pensioners of their rightful increases tantamount to none less than daylight robbery.
I just would like to congratulate Gujarat Samachar and Asian Voice on the Ruby Anniversary celebration. The publications recently have improved so much that more real and latest news are coming out through your news editing team along with, of course, production of the publications on time. I hope that you may continue and offer us latest news to your dedicated readers. Our Asian and non Asian people are facing lot of red tapes within social environments as well as within business communities. I can see that you have many intelligent dedicated regular column writers, writing good articles for readers. These articles are great to read. Your recent event of get together and give some honour to elderly people touched my heart. This respect to elderly was lost in recent modern society, even their own families have ignored but you gave strength and hope to elderly people to live little longer in this world. Thank you CB for this great thought and achievement. I wonder when you are likely to take another great task in your hand and request the new High Commissioner that there is a big gap and we need Indian Visas office in North London. Many Asian and non Asian do need Visas to visit India but major problem is that its so difficult for many people to got to west London (Hayes, Middx) as there is no facilities of parking or transport. Now local council has also put a yellow line because the local residents complained about difficulties they are facing. I think some how we need to request the High Commissioner to look at a suitable venue within north London or North West of London. Currently so many office buildings are available to rent. This time the India Government should think and request the High Commission office to act on our request. I hope you have another successful year. Mahendrasinh Jadeja Winchmore Hill
The Daily Mail headlines “Osborne picks the pockets of pensioners” in order to reduce the top rate from 50p to 45p for the privileged few, may be harsh, especially as he has increased the tax free threshold by £1100 to £9205, the highest increase since it was introduced, never the less abolishing or freezing the special additional allowance for over 65s will always be a black mark on his curriculum. It is akin to raiding the piggy-bank to host a booze party. Although £10,000 tax threshold may sound impressive, it should be £12,000 as thousand pounds a month earning could hardly sustain the minimum needs and compared to million pounds a month earnings of most footballers who can hardly spell two words, it is a drop in the ocean. Then Labour did nothing to increase the threshold when they were in power, thus dragging millions in the tax net when they were supposed to look after the poor, the core of their supporters. This is basically unfair, as with the record low interest rate, pensioners have already lost significant income from their savings. Instead of abolishing 50p rate, Chancellor should have raised the threshold from the present £150,000 to £300,000 and introduced a 60p rate for the earnings of over £3 million that will drag in most premier league footballers and bankers with fat bonuses. It is time for the politicians to create a fair and equal society bridging the gap between the lowest and the highest paid, providing a valuable service to the community.
Devang Bhatt, Harrow, London
Vegetarianism and Hindu hypocrisy I read with interest Nitin Mehta’s comments in his letter headed ‘Importance of Vegetarianism’ (AV 24 March 2012). He speaks against meat eating and says that compassion to animals and vegetarianism are Hinduism’s greatest gifts to the world. I share his sentiments. Hinduism professes that the body is God’s temple and therefore sacrosanct. Why desecrate it with corpses of dead animals and make it a crematorium? This makes a typical meat eating, and ostensibly religious, Hindu a downright hypocrite. Most such people have a day of observance and offer prayers to their chosen deity and do not eat meat on that day. They do this in the foolish belief that their sins of other days when they eat meat would be absolved. I don’t think God would stoop so low to accept that kind of frivolous excuse! And poor Lord Ganesh, he is enthusiastically invoked for blessings but conveniently sidestepped when meat is being relished. It calls into question whether their belief in Him is real and genuine or mere pretence. As George Bernard Shaw, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925, has bluntly said: “A man of my spir-
Dinesh Sheth Newbury Park, Ilford itual intensity does not eat corpses.” The world doesn’t belong to humans alone. Animals have every right to be here and respected with compassion and mercy just as humans would want to be so treated. His Holiness The Dalai Lama has summarised this very well in The Vegetarian Way (1967): “Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to a man. Just as one wants to live and not to die, so do other creatures.” Thank you, Nitin, for speaking up. Uttambhai D Mistry (Bolton) Via Email
Are there many Gods etc Mr. Gandhi correctly praised Professor Lakhani for lucid presentation of spiritual aspects of Hinduism. Hindus dwell on hereafter, moksha and philosophy, hiding history of survival of Hinduism. History wrongly depicts Hindus as boneless wimps and books that rewrite history are banned by pseudo secular government. Shamefully, Hindus remain silent. Hindu lore is saturated with brave bhagwans, we seldom hear about Bappa Raval, King Gorakhnath, Krishnadevraya, Harshavardhana, Kattabomanna, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Rana
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Boyle says Mumbai dwarfed the statuette Cricket crazy Indians for the first time was seen so euphoric on Monday morning, as they expected a couple of Oscars. British Indians in the UK, Dharavi slums, the shanty township of Mumbai, a village in Uttar Pradesh and almost the entire Bollywood waited in expectation, glued to their TV sets. They burst into celebrations as one by one, their heroes, the actors of the British Indian film and the music maestro, A R Rahman bagged the top awards in the world of entertainment. British actress Kate Winslett also won the Oscar after having missed it almost five times earlier. ‘Smile Pinki’, a short documentary on a cleft-lipped Indian girl in Uttar Pradesh directed by American director Megan Mylan, won the Oscar for the Best Documentary (Short).
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Pratap, Prithvi raj, etc who fought against foreign invaders, for 200 years from penetrating Hindustan. In fighting between foreigners, Hindustan turned into a battle field, depleting Indian resistance, and Mughals established dynasty. History is witness to failure of Mughal attempts to convert all Hindus. During invasions, Brahmins fought along side Kshatriyas; protected Vedas by escaping from war zone to restore later. Some saints founded Bhakti marg to soften pain of tyranny. Present day sadhus, temples and religious organisations have perpetuated bhakti marg which has not strengthened Hindus. Incumbent government appeases minority, whose history of subjugation of Hindustan is glorified. Hindus must learn proud history from Emperor Ashoka to Rana Pratap to strengthen its backbone. Spiritual route without strong history is like lame horse, and that is why Hindus are not able to inspire awe a-la adversaries. Ramesh Jhalla Via Email
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How I packed up smoking As a young man, I found myself smoking more than ten cigarettes a day and feared that my daily total would steadily creep up to 20 and beyond -an easy thing to happen to a busy journalist rushing to meet a series of deadlines for news, features and sports pages. Fortuitously a hospital doctor visited us to talk about kicking the smoking habit. His advice: when you feel like lighting up, open a window or step outside the office as fresh air will lessen the nicotine craving. He was right. It did. At home, the doctor said, it is too easy to reach out for your cigarettes and matches, so make sure you keep the two items apart, in separate rooms, making it harder for you to light up. He was proved right again. I just didn’t feel like getting up and hunting for either item. But how, I wondered, would I manage to drink a pint of beer without smoking at the same time? Surely these two activities went hand-in-hand? However, to my delight, I found beer-drinking on its own not only possible but more pleasurable than before. I kicked the habit more than 30 years ago but now, in retirement, I am struggling with another addiction: Indian chevda. Anyone know an effective cure for chevda-itis? Rudy Otter Via Email
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EDUCATION / COUNCIL VOICE
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Schools could be hit by industrial action over pay UK schools could be hit be a fresh wave of industrial action in a dispute over the planned break-up of national pay bargaining for teachers. Association of Teachers and Lecturers head Dr Mary Bousted predicted attempts to bring in differential pay for teachers could lead to further action. The government is looking at introducing "market-facing" pay for public sector staff. ATL members went on strike last year over pensions.
Last month, Education Secretary Michael Gove wrote to the School Teachers Review Body, which helps set teachers' pay in England, saying he wanted pay levels to be freer and more flexible. He also asked for the body to look at how it could make teachers' pay more "market-facing" responsive to local conditions. And last week Chancellor George Osborne confirmed in his Budget statement that he wants to see public sector
pay "more responsive to local pay rates". He sent evidence to pay review bodies to make the case for moving to local pay rates. The document suggests a pay "premium" and that the public sector "pays more than is necessary" to recruit, retain and motivate staff. It goes on to say: "The evidence suggests that the quality of public services would directly benefit if public sector pay became more responsive to local labour markets."
Southall celebrates Vaisakhi Thousands of people are expected to join the Vaisakhi celebrations in Southall on Sunday, 25 March. A lively procession or nagar kirtan will make its way through Southall from the Havelock Road Gurdwara to the Park Avenue Gurdwara to celebrate the Sikh New Year and the harvest festival. There will be free food stalls all along the route. Signed road closures, parking restrictions and bus diversions will be in place from early morning until the evening. Police are advising people coming to Southall to join the
celebrations to use public transport if possible. Ealing Council may move vehicles parked dangerously or illegally to prevent any obstruction to the procession and allow
traffic to flow properly on surrounding streets. Drivers who believe their cars may have been moved by Ealing Council can call Parking Services on 020 8825 5000.
Newham Council eases the paan for residents
The biggest ever crackdown on the sale of chewing tobacco - called paan is taking place in the Green Street area. About 10,000 packets of paan - a mixture of nuts and spices wrapped in a leaf and widely used by the Asian community - has been seized so far. The huge haul has been seized in a rolling programme of raids involving Newham Trading Standards officers and the council's Street Scene Enforcement Officers. Paan is a mixture of tobacco, nuts and spices and is wrapped in a leaf. Some shopkeepers evade paying duty when selling it. Often the product does not have UK standard health warnings. Shopkeepers face prosecution if they sell it illegally. Health chiefs warn that that using smokeless tobacco including paan raises the risk of mouth cancer and oesophageal (food pipe) cancer. Cllr Unmesh Desai, Executive Member for Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour, said: "Paan staining is unsightly and expensive to clean. We have a zero tolerance approach to crime and anti-social behaviour here and we simply won't stand for it. Users are risking their health and even their lives."
National Hindu Students Forum (UK) By Krishan Gokaldas Pala
Central Zone 20 Hour Ram Dhun For the past 20 years, the National Hindu Students Forum UK (NHSF (UK)) has been striving in this diverse society to promote, preserve, protect and practise Sanatan Dharma. Throughout the years this has been carried out in many different ways, from the organisation of religious and sporting events to participating in sewa activities. As part of NHSF (UK)‘s 20th anniversary yearlong celebrations, the central zone team organised the longest bhakti event to date. A 20 hour Ram Dhun in Birmingham from 10th to 11th March 2012 was organised to awaken the spirit of Arjuna in each and every person who attended. Being part of the subcommittee for the Ram Dhun, I was able to see the determination by NHSF (UK) members to ensure the success of such a momentous event. For me, this success was highlighted at 3am on the Sunday morning when I saw students sitting in a Mandir by their own will,
when they could have been in other influencing places. I believe that is a huge achievement for the Hindu community as a whole, showing the of Shree virtues Hanumanji Maharaj in the 21st century. On the afternoon of Saturday 10th March 2012, strong Vedic mantras were read out by Hemang Ji Bhatt who performed the Ganesh Puja, with all students focusing on the divine as the Ram Dhun was about to begin. Soon after the priest completed the puja, both students and the community were united and sang the Hanuman Chalisa. At this time there were not any divisions or boundaries but only one Hindu Samaj. As soon as the Hanuman Chalisa finished an electrifying ambiance filled the hall and the Dhun began; ‘Shree Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram’! I couldn’t believe it had begun; this is what we were all waiting for. Throughout the event Sewa activities were carried out including the
making of bhojan prasad, and various exhibitions and activities were held for young children to enjoy and learn from. As day turned into night, more students, musicians and members of the local community joined in this enchanting mantra from the bottom of their hearts. The vibe and atmosphere from the Ram Dhun will definitely resonate in the hearts of who was everyone involved and attended the Dhun. As it came to the last hour the energy level rose, ending the 20 hour continuous chant with garba and other traditional folk dances. It took great dedication, both in time and effort to plan and organise this phenomenal spiritual event and for that I would like to thank the Ram Dhun sub-committee, all chapters and national committee members involved. I would also like to that the Shree Laxmi Narayan Mandir, who allowed us to use their facilities and once again provided such great support.
Shree Jalaram Mandir Greenford RAGHUVANSHI MAHAJAN LONDON (RAMA) (Charity Registration Number 1104605) 39-45 Oldfield Lane South Greenford Middlesex UB6 9LB Telephone 020 8578 8088 / 9285 website: www.jalarammandir.co.uk e-mail: email@example.com 19 March 2012
Notice of Annual General Meeting of RAMA
Members of RAMA hereby informed that RAMA’s Annual General Meeting will be held at the Shree Jalaram Mandir on the Sunday, 22nd April 2012 at 3.00pm Please note that in accordance with the RAMA Constitution three existing Trustees Cllr. Rajni C Khiroya, Mr. Sharad T Bhimjiyani and Mr. Mansuk Morjaria will be retiring and may be re- elected or re-appointed to stand for election.
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Any member who wishes to stand for election as a Trustee of RAMA should sign the Nomination Form (available at the above address) and have himself/herself proposed by a Member of RAMA. The form should reach RAMA’s office later than 15 April 2012. Meeting Agenda: 1. Apologies 2. President’s Report 3. Secretary’s Report 4. Treasurer’s Report 5. Election of Trustees 6. Appointment of Auditors 7. Any other business Please note: Arrive at least 45 minutes prior for registration of the member’s attendance. This is a Members only meeting. Non members will not be admitted. Documents will be required to verify your identification. Therefore, please bring valid passport / photo card / valid driving licence and utility bill / bank statement (not older than 3 months). Rights reserved to exclude late arrivals. Parking is limited, please use nearby car park. Prasad will be served as usual between 12.30pm to 2.00pm. Manish Popat Trustee/Secretary For and behalf of RAGHUVANSHI MAHAJAN LONDON Trustees: Cllr. Rajni Khiroya (President), Rashmi Chatwani (Vice President), Manish Popat (Secretary), Sharad Bhimjiyani (Treasurer), Dr. Mansukh Morjaria (Assistant Secretary), Rajni Davda (Assistant Treasurer), Prakash Gandecha, Cllr. Dhiraj Kataria, Asmitaben Masrani, Amrit Rajani (Co-opted), Dr. Jayendra Morjaria (Co-opted)
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Scrutatorâ€™s The British Business Secretary Vince Cable, on his third ministerial visit to India,was interviewed by Devika Banerji of The Economic Times (March 24). He told her that the policy paralysis referred to by sections of the media in India was "overblown", that India's projected GDP growth of 7 per cent for the current fiscal was something of a miracle in the contemporay world. It could be faster with less regulation, he observed, but appreciated that there were political constaints in a democracy that had to be respected. Here are Mr Cable's words: "The point I always make to UK businesses who visit India is that when Indians talk about policy paralysis and other problems, we are talking about an economy that even at its worst is growing at around 7 percent a year. This is considered miraculous in most parts of the world. So what you regard as a bad outcome is actually quite good from else's point of everybody view.....It [India] could do better if there were initiatives to free up remaining regulations but India is a democracy and one needs to respect political constraints and democratic processes." Well said. Let us not forget that India recently conduced the world's largest vaccination proVince Cable gramme to eliminate polio (once endemic in the country), which it has done successfully. A nationwide drive to construct a database so that the poorest in the land can have the necessary identification to access bank loans and other financial and social aids in full swing and, when completed several years down the line, will stand out as the most remarkable feat in the community of nations. Go easy on "policy paralysis" and understand the compulsions of political theatre,with all its admitted absurdities.
Oxford beckons India's youth The Vice Chancellor of Oxford University, Andrew Hamilton, addressing a rapt audience at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) kharagpur spoke of the University's goal to attract the best Indian students to its undergraduate courses as opposed to postgraduate studies in which Indians were well represented. He said: "Oxford University has been a leading university for the last 900 years and we want to maintain the legacy for the next 900 years, and if we do not engage as energetically as we can with India, China and South America we do risk slipping." So what Oxford University proposed to do attract Indians young to its bowers from 2013 was to admit CBSE and ISC school-leavers. He spoke thus: "Oxford has seen a fast growing and very high performing group of Indian postgraduate students in recent years.....We want to make Oxford an option for undergraduate students of India as well."
school had made the change possible, said Mr Hamilton. Oxford would conduct interviews and other checks before the final selection of successful of undergraduate applicants Loren Griffith, director of international strategy at Oxford, said he learnt from the [Oxford academic] study that scores of 90 per cent in CBSC and ISC were no longer considered an extraordinary feat and that the top colleges in India often fixed cut-offs at 98 per cent or more for admissions. Cambridge University and other British universities, including King's College London already take in Indian students with CBSC and ISC certificates (The Telegraph March 25).
Kudankulam back on track The Kudankulam nuclear power plant, near Chennai in Tamil Nadu, whose operation had been interrupted by local agitation, sparked by the disaster at Japan's Fukushima reactor, has
Kudankulam nuclear power plant
resumed work, thanks mainly to the state government's clearance of the project.Chief Minister Jayalalitha explained the basis for the government's decision reports of the Experts Group, constituted by the the centre in New Delhi. The Experts committee, having made an exhaustive examination of the agitators' objections concluded that these were without substance. The green signal was greeted with jubilation by S.K. Jain, Chairman and Managing Director of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). "The NPCIL is very happy and we are thankful to the Tamil Nadu government and the Chief Minister Jayalalitha in particular." For Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Srikumar Banerjee, "the agony we have felt....that the first reactor could not be commissioned when it was so close to generating power is over now." Tamil Nadu and the region were in urgent need of the power to be generated by the first two units of the reactor, he said (The Hindu March 20).
Blowing hot and cold On the eve of the BRICS summit of Brazil Russia India China and South Africa in New Delhi (watch this space for the outcome), Chinese officials were sweetness itself. The summit, said Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu, was "a very important platform " to enhance trust. President Hu Jintao would hold one-to-one talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the summit and was expected to launch the year of friendship and cooperation between India and China. Luo Zhaohu, Director General of the Department of Asian Affairs at
Panel's findings An Oxford academic panel having studied the standard of CBSE and ISC curricula and student performance concluded that a 90 per cent score in CBSE and ISC examinations would be the level of achievement excpected at Oxford for admission to ungraduate studies.The standard practive down the years required Indians to do a first degree at home before qualifying for admission to a BA or BSc course at Oxford. The high standard of the best Indian
Mr S.K. Jain (left), Chairman and Managing Director of Nuclear Power Corporation, with Dr Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, DAE
the Foreign Ministry in Beijing told reporters in Delhi that both countries had "managed very well longstanding frictions over their boundary dispute and other strains such as the presence of the Dalai Lama in India.
Sri Lanka has expressed its dismay at India's vote at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on alleged atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan army against Tamil civilians and Tamil Tiger remians in the concluding stages of the civil war. Newspapers such as the The Island etc went into an overdrive in their censure of the Indian decision. Delhi had caved in to Tamil Nadu sentiment. The state is part of the Indian Union and its people very much the citizens of India. Their opinions within reason have to be taken on board by any government in Delhi. Which is what democracy is about. If the Rajapakse regime in Colombo was as inclusive in deeds, as is it in words, about inclusiveness regarding all sections of Sri Lankan society irrespective of ethnicity or faith, the issue wouldn't have risen at Geneva.There is talk that an allparty delegation of Indian MPs will be forced to cancel their visit to Sri Lanka. Hopefully good sense will prevail. It takes two to tango in any relationship.
India praised However, international human rights bodies have praised India's stand. Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human President Hu Jintao
But Chinese government appreciated India's position that Tibet was an alienable part of China (The Hindu March 21).
Delhi takes no chances However, things with China (as far as India is concerned) are never quite what they seem. CCTV, China's international English-language television network, in its news item, told how India's military purchases from abroad had sent the wrong signal to its neighbours - it was quoting official Pakistani sources - and it referred to India's increased spending on defence without mentioning China's own $100 billion expenditure which is second only to the United States. A couple of days later The Times of India (March 23), along with The Hindu carried a substantial report about a major Chinese military exercise on the Tibetan plateau.Ominously it was a fire first drill, an offensive operation involving army and air force units clearly with a message to India. The Times of India report highlighted India's military preparations on its north-east and north-western borders including the deployment of the Sukhoi 30MKI squadrons,supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles, surface-to-air Akash missiles and the strengthening of roadways and bases on the entire stretch of the Himalayas. India was also raising fresh army formations as part of a new strike corps. Delhi is taking no chances. The trust deficit in Sino-Indian relationship remains despite the sweet talk.
Rights Watch, said India did the right thing and would be on the right side of history. "Sri Lanka has been in denial about war crimes. They are determined to
President Mahindra Rajapakse of Sri Lanka
stymie any investigation because culpability goes up very high." It should be pointed out in this context that former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunge - Mr Rajapakse's immediate predecessorexpressed shock after viewing film footage of Sri Lankan army atrocities against the Tamils. She said she was ashamed of being Sinhalese.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Legendary Film Director Yash Chopra applauds Bhavan’s cultural event
Bharatanatyam dancers, from left to right, their teacher Sri Prakash Yadagudde, Bhavan violin Balu Raguraman with Yash Chopra and Mrs Pamela Chopra, Bhavan Chairman Mr Joginder Sanger and Mrs Sanger
Indian classical music and dance is well and truly alive and very much blooming in the UK. What’s more, it’s in good hands and its future is indeed very bright, according to all those present at a grand concert celebrating the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s 40th anniversary in the UK. “Aagaami - the future” took place at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre on Saturday 17th March to a sell-out audience. From the outset it was evident the Bhavan Centre has established itself as the largest institute of Indian Art and Culture in the UK. Each item, be it instrumental,
vocal or dance was of the highest standard, as almost 70 talented performers set the Queen Elizabeth hall stage ablaze. The programme was presented in collaboration with Milapfest. One very famous face in the audience was Yash Chopra, the legendary Indian film producer and director who was a guest of the Bhavan’s Chairman, Mr Joginder Sanger. Yash Chopra is in the country filming his new project. He told Mr Sanger that watching Bhavan students perform at Aagaami, was the highlight of his monthlong trip to the UK. After the show he spent time
with the performers telling them how pleasantly surprised he was at the calibre, quality and standard. He also commended their teachers and parents for their guidance and support. Other luminaries included Ms Sangeeta Bahadur, Director of the Nehru Centre, Mr Dhami from the High Commission and Mr Dalip Puri, Head of Multi-Cultural and Commercial Banking at the HSBC Bank in the UK. This was the first time the Bhavan presented an entire evening at the South Bank, and judging by the audience response, it certainly will not be the last.
Elephant Atta flour celebrates its Golden Jubilee Elephant Atta flour, the number one Chapatti flour brand in the UK celebrated its spectacular 50th anniversary at London’s Hilton Hyde Park Hotel on Friday 16 March 2012 with food retailers, media and key partners. The grand celebration was an opportunity to preview the new TV advert as part of 2012’s exciting marketing campaign aimed at mothers and women which tributes their dedication to their families and to the brand. The advertisement will be aired with a national high frequency TV campaign starting from the Mothers day. Bespoke programs are also created to celebrate this landmark occasion, such as presenting golden collection of Bollywood movies and further more, all inspired by the values and heritage of the brand and the strong bond between mother and child. The TV advert takes
the viewer through various stages of cooking chapatti, picturing the storyline of seven families in various stages of growing up, showing the journey of the families with Elephant Atta flour for 50 years, reinforcing the brand’s relevance to today’s consumers. The iconic chapattis are the cornerstone of the traditional South Asian diets and are enjoyed by thousands of UK Asian families every day. Commenting on celebrations of 50th Anniversary Ms Ansareen Shaban, the Brand Manager of Elephant Atta said, “This is our unique opportunity to appreciate all women and households who have trusted us over these 50 years. We acknowledge that mum’s hard work and persistence are the reason why South
Asian traditions are still preserved in the UK. It is thanks to Elephant Atta consumers that we are the leaders in the atta flour market. The new TV campaign and the Golden Jubilee are just the beginning of many exciting events to come in 2012. We aim to actively engage with our consumers and communities to demonstrate our appreciation and care for them”. Elephant Atta flour was launched in the UK in 1962 soon taking the leading position of flatbread flour market ever since. Trusted by generations of home users and restaurant owners, the Elephant Atta brand has always stood for the best in authentic Asian cuisine standing next to the mothers through many generations of South Asian families in UK.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Everything is false: Shruthi Shruthi Haasan like her father Kamal Haasan is always in the midst of controversies. She recently participated in the audio launch of the Telugu version “3” at Hyderabad. Dhanush, Aishwarya Dhanush, Shruthi Haasan, Anirudh and others participated in this function. Shruthi speaking on this occasion said, “There is much news in the air linking me with Dhanush. There is no truth in all these news. We both are good friends. That’s all. My role in ‘3’ is very challenging I am very happy that I have donned such a role in the beginning of my career. There is also news linking me with Siddarth. There is nothing between me and Siddarth. He is just my colleague. That’s all.” Meanwhilie, Shruthi has sung the song Kannazhaga in all the three languages.
Don’t ask me about second marriage: Siddarth
Siddarth is presently involved in the English film ‘Midnight’s Children’, which is directed by Deepa Mehta. It features Satya Bhabha, Shriya Saran, Shabana Azmi, Anupam Kher, Siddharth, Narayan, Shahana Goswami, Samrat Chakrabarti, Rahul Bose, Seema Biswas, Darsheel Safary and many others. Siddarth divorced his wife some time ago. He was involved in relationship with Shruthi Haasan. Later, that relationship too broke up. Every now and then, reporters ask the question “When is your second Marriage”? Siddarth gets very angry when somebody asks this question. Following this, he does not interact with reporters like he does earlier.
Hansika Motwani to start old age home Hansika Motwani who is already taking care of 20 children after she adopted them during her last birthday, will now start an old age home to provide shelter to the needy elders. Interestingly, the artist has an artist in her and this face of her will come out to raise funds for the elderly home. “I will soon be conducting an exhibition of my art works. The proceedings will be used to achieve my dream,” she says. She adds: “There are many senior citizens in India without any support. It is my long time dream to provide them shelter and food. This is the reason behind my decision to start an old age home.”
Hot Garam masala Prachi Desai says no to her 'Rock On’ director Most stars have no regrets when they say no to a film offer and cite varied reasons for doing so. But Prachi Desai is upset that she had to say no to a project. She was asked to star in director Abhishek Kapoor's next film. The actress was extremely keen on being a part of the movie. Reason? It was with Abhishek's (better known as Gattu in Bollywood) earlier film “Rock On” that she had stepped into Bollywood from the small screen. Says a source, "Prachi couldn't give dates for the film because she is busy with one film with Abhishek Bachchan and another with John Abraham.
Sunny Leone wants to master Hindi! Indo-Canadian star Sunny Leone is trying to brush up her Hindi skills for "Jism 2", and the makers are impressed with her speed and dedication. "Today my Hindi lessons went pretty good. Felt really good about the session. Tomorrow I will conquer my Hindi," Sunny tweeted. The Punjabiorigin girl participated in "Bigg Boss 5," following which filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt offered her the movie. She is back in Mumbai to shoot the film, and the crew is excited. "The direction department of Jism 2 is super impressed by the pace and diligence with which @SunnyLeone is studying and memorising her Hindi dialogue," read a tweet on the official page of the movie "Jism 2".The movie also features Dino Morea and Arunoday Singh.
Big B to learn sitar, sarod Megastar Amitabh Bachchan is planning to learn musical instruments sitar and sarod. The 69-yearold actor, who is recovering at home from his abdominal surgery which happened last month, is set to buy the classical instruments so that he can learn how to play them. "So am getting into the business of acquiring a Sitar and a Sarod soon enough so I may have the pleasure to be pulling a few strings!! These are times I shall look forward to... my Sitar, my Sarod, my Piano and me... sounds like the title of a really bad book or movie! ha! But... even though I may be able to learn the instruments now, just the fact that I shall be holding them and pretending to be some great master, shall indeed be of great interest and value to me," Bachchan wrote on his blog. Bachchan is also an occasional singer, having sung for films like "Baghban" and the recent "Kahaani".
Ranbir played cupid to Shahid, Nargis Actor Ranbir Kapoor seems to have done some good for Shahid Kapoor, or so it seems. It is being touted that it is Ranbir who is responsible for bringing Shahid and Nargis Fakhri together. Shahid and Nargis’ growing fondness for each other has occupied quite a bit of print space from her visiting his house to staying over at his place and even introducing her mother to her 'good friend'. Few say that it is Ranbir who got the two together. Ranbir and Shahid bonded well when they found themselves in the same flight. It is believed that it was at a party that Ranbir introduced Shahid to his Rockstar co-star Nargis. Since then Nargis has been on the guest list Shahid. That's how she made it to Shahid's birthday bash, too. Being called the Casanova of tinsel town, Ranbir, is only too happy playing cupid this time round. However, Nargis, on the other hand, is apparently livid with the alleged romantic link-up between her and Shahid and has begun screaming herself hoarse about the baselessness of these rumours.
I don’t want my son in films: Akshay Kumar Akshay Kumar, who spends quality time with his 10-yearold son Aarav despite his busy schedule, says that he wants to keep him away from films. “He is too young. I want my son to be away from films. I want him to enjoy childhood. I want him to go and play football. Go on the beach and enjoy life,” Akshay said. Akshay added, “I don’t enjoy partying. I don’t understand why they play music so loud. I like to sleep early. I go off to sleep by 9 to 9.30. I get up by 4.30 in the morning, and also Twinkle sleeps early. Life becomes very calm when your partner sleeps at the same time.”
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
I’m still not a dancer, says VIDYA BALAN
The mystery surrounding the real plot of “Dangerous Ishq” isn't just centred on the protagonists but also the way makers are projecting it before the audience. Just when one thought that there is some element of surety that has come around Karisma Kapoor, what with declaration coming around her four looks in the film, here is more. Apparently, she takes as many as six births in this cocktail of a romantic thriller which is turning more and more intriguing with every passing week. "Contrary to the earlier reports where Karisma was supposed to be carrying different looks that were set in the 21st century, Meerabai era (16th century), Aurangzeb time (17th century) and India-Pakistan partition (20th century), there is a lot more than what meets the eye," says a source. "In fact the two looks that were revealed was just a teaser of sorts as there is a lot more in the offering." One wonders if this is part of a well laid out strategy to create excitement around the film since there are contrasting reports coming in. The source laughs, "Well, isn't it just fitting for a film belonging to this genre. After all, suspense and mystery is an integral part of the film and it is just befitting that the same is felt right through the promotion as well." What is sure though is that Karisma would be looking her stunning best in each of the looks. Also, there won't be any evil/horror Karisma on display since unlike Vikram Bhatt's last few films, ”Dangerous Ishq” is not a horror saga. "Yes, it is definitely not a horror film. Also, all I can say is that this is Karisma's film all the way and she is the central protagonist. Yes, she is carrying different looks in the film but you would have to wait to see them being unveiled," says Vikram Bhatt.
If the success of “The Dirty Picture” has revealed the ‘sensual’ side of Vidya Balan, it has also left her superstitious about the colour red. That's one reason she insisted on a red sari for her item number in 'Ferrari Ki Sawari'. The 33-year-old, who became a rage after portraying the bold and beautiful Silk in “The Dirty Picture,” will be seen in a Lavani item number 'Mala jau dya na ghari' in Vidhu Vinod Chopra Productions' 'Ferrari Ki Sawari'. According to sources, Vidya insisted on being featured in a red sari instead of the traditional green attire for the Lavani number. Confirming the news, director Rajesh Mapuskar said: "The Dirty Picture was such a huge hit that she feels that red is her lucky colour. The result is looking fantastic." Vidya, who sizzled in a red hot sari in the first teaser of 'The Dirty Picture', feels people were unable to picture her sensual side, and so she was never offered an item number before. "I don't think anyone could believe that I could be so sensual. I am still not a dancer. But I have begun to enjoy dancing more so," she said.
Six births for Karisma in ‘Dangerous Ishq’?
Sonu Nigam, Atif Aslam to perform at ‘Dhamaka 2012’ India’s singing sensation Sonu Nigam and Pakistan’s icon Atif Aslam joined together to create musical history at a show called ‘Dhamaka 2012’ at the “The O2” on Sunday, 22nd April. They will be performing with their full bands for 90 minutes. The show is being arranged by Flex FX. The venue, O2 arena, in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, is part of London Olympics 2012. Each will perform their Bollywood blockbusters, latest chart toppers, and their renowned hits. Also on the cards, is special tribute from both artists. The dance group Bolly Flex will perform a grand opening to both halves of the show and introduce the star celebrities in a dynamic and artistic fashion. “Dhamaka and Flex FX have played a major
role in my journey over the past few years. I can proudly say that I have my dream line-up in Sonu and Atif. After my appearance on the BBC show, Dragons' Den, I declared that I will do it and though the dragons didn't come on board, I had investors who immediately took the opportunity, and have waited for this big event to come together,” said London-born producer and art director Naz Choudhury. He adds: “Dhamaka doesn’t represent race, faith or culture; it’s about the passion for music, dance and unity. I’m proud to say that this show has come to my home town, the East End of London.” The ticket rates start at £25! Book your tickets now. Visit www.theO2.co.uk. For more information about the show visit www.dhamaka.co.uk.
Soumitra Chatterjee gets Phalke award
Kareena hopes to settle down with Saif
Iconic Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee, who was one of the favourites of late film maestro Satyajit Ray, is the recipient of the highest honour in India cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, for the year 2011. The 77-year-old actor, a legend of Bengali cinema, has left his mark in international cinema as well. Chatterjee, who starred in countless Bengali movies of both commercial and art house genre, has reportedly beaten veteran actor Pran to bag the award for 2011. Being the most popular choice of late Satyajit Ray, Soumitra Chatterjee began his film career in 1959 in Ray's “Apur Sansar” (The world of Apu) opposite Sharmila Tagore. Well known for his ace theatre personality and stage recitations, Chatterjee also won a National Award in 2008. He is one of the most popular detective heroes of Bengali cinema having played the role of private detective "Feluda" in several Ray films adapted from his books.
Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor says she hopes to settle down with beau Saif Ali Khan and becomes the ‘Begum of Pataudi’ by the “end of this year.” “Hopefully, by the end of this year,” Kareena said. “I am working on ‘Heroine’ and I need to finish the film first. But we’re not going to announce the date yet. I don’t understand why the entire nation is in a hurry to make me the Begum of Pataudi. There’s no rush. Obviously people have to be patient,” she added. The 31-year-old has been romantically involved with Saif, 10 years her senior, since 2007. Saif was anointed the 10th Nawab of Pataudi in 2011, after his father, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi’s death.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
George Osborne’s third Budget was so well rehearsed by both the politicians and the papers that the real thing threatened to be an anticlimax. Was there anything left that the Chancellor could surprise us with, especially as he had such little fiscal room for manoeuvre? The answer was both yes and no. After all the rumours about 50%, 45% or even 47% income tax, Mr Osborne decided to make the change to 45% from April 2013. His 2013/14 increase in the personal allowance allowed him to start phasing out the age allowance – an unexpected revenue-raising ploy. The stamp duty land tax increase for homes valued at £2 million or more was well published, and accompanied by some unexpectedly severe anti-avoidance provisions that could affect existing owners. The impact of the child benefit removal for higher earners was softened by increasing the threshold and phasing it in. However, people with very large incomes could be hurt by the proposed new limit on total income tax reliefs. Businesses should be pleased with the predicted reduction in corporation tax rates and the surprise uplift in the enterprise management incentive (EMI) limit. There were many anti-avoidance provisions including proposed consultations on a general anti-avoidance rule.
THE MAIN HIGHLIGHTS ! Personal allowance to be increased to £9,205 in 2013/14, and the higher rate threshold reduced by £1,025 to £41,450. ! Age allowance to be frozen from 2013/14 and then phased out. ! Limit on maximum amount of income tax reliefs that can be claimed from 2013/14. ! Additional rate of income tax reduced to 45% from 2013/14. ! 7% SDLT rate for residential proper ties valued at over £2 million and new measures to counter ownership through corporate entities. ! No changes to main pensions tax reliefs. ! Restrictions on the tax relief available on benefits from regular premium life assurance policies. ! Child benefit to be phased out where income is over £50,000. ! Corporation tax main rate cut to 24% from April 2012 and to 22% by April 2014. ! Voluntary cash basis to be based on turnover for tax on profits of small unincorporated businesses. ! An increase from £120,000 to £250,000 in the individual grant limit for EMI schemes. ! A further tightening of the car benefit rules through to 2016/17.
BUSINESS TAXATION Corporation tax The main rate of corporation tax (CT) will fall to 24% from 1 April 2012. It will then be reduced to 23% from 1 April 2013 and to 22% from 1 April 2014. The small profits rate will continue to be 20% from 1 April 2012. Tax simplification for small businesses A voluntary cash basis for calculating tax for unincorporated businesses with a turnover of up to £77,000 will be introduced from April 2013, subject to consultation. There will also be consultation on a simplified expenses system for business use of cars, motorcycles and homes, and on proposals to introduce a disincorporation relief. HMRC says it will improve the administration of the tax system for small businesses. Research and development expenditure (R&D) Credit for R&D expenditure will be introduced from April 2013 with a mini-
mum rate of 9.1% before tax. This means that loss-making companies will be able to claim payment of the credit. From 1 April 2012, the rate of R&D tax credits for SMEs will increase from 200% to 225%, and the limit on tax credit payable to SMEs and the £10,000 minimum expenditure requirement will be removed, all as previously announced. Corporation tax reliefs for the creative sector CT reliefs for the video games, animation and high-end television industries will be introduced from April 2013, subject to State aid approval. Capital allowances in enterprise zones Capital allowances of 100% will be available to trading companies investing in plant and machinery in designated areas of the London Royal Docks enterprise zone, and enterprise zones in Irvine, Nigg, Dundee and Deeside from 1 April 2012. Capital allowances – cars The 100% first year allowance for new low-emission cars will continue for a further two years to 31 March 2015 except for leased cars. The qualifying threshold will be reduced to 95g/km from April 2013. Also from April 2013, the CO2 emissions threshold for the main (18%) rate of capital allowances for cars will reduce from 160g/km to 130g/km, as will the threshold above which the lease rental restriction applies. Capital allowances – other measures Expenditure on solar panels will be designated as special rate (8%) expenditure for capital allowances purposes from April 2012. The list of designated energysaving and water-efficient technologies qualifying for enhanced capital allowances will be updated during summer 2012, subject to State aid approval. The availability of first-year tax credits for expenditure on certain environmentally beneficial plant or machinery that generates a loss will continue for a further five years to 31 March 2018.
A 15% rate of SDLT will apply to residential properties over £2 million purchased by companies and certain other nonnatural persons from 21 March 2012. In addition, there will be consultations on the introduction of an annual charge on residential properties valued over £2 million already owned by such persons, with the intention that the measure will come into effect in April 2013. The Government will consult on measures to simplify SDLT rules for non-standard leases
ANTI-AVOIDANCE LEGISLATION A number of anti-avoidance measures have been introduced, some of which are highlighted below:
Kiran D. Patel FCA
allowing companies with a non-sterling functional currency to calculate their capital gains and losses in that currency.
CAPITAL TAXES Capital gains tax (CGT) annual exempt amount The CGT annual exempt amount will remain at its 2011/12 level of £10,600 for 2012/13. From 6 April 2013, it will rise in line with the consumer prices index (CPI) instead of the retail prices index (RPI), as announced in the Budget 2011. CGT regime and non-residents From April 2013 and following consultation about the proposals, the CGT regime will be extended to cover gains on disposals by non-resident companies (and other non-natural persons) of UK residential property and shares or interests in such property. Single payment scheme (SPS) and CGT roll-over relief As previously announced, Finance Bill 2012 will preserve the availability of CGT roll-over relief for farmers and companies carrying on a farming business who dispose of or acquire entitlements under the EU SPS. Inheritance tax (IHT): spouses and civil partners domiciled outside the UK Ahead of legislation in the Finance Bill 2013 there will be consultation on: Increasing the IHT-exempt amount that a UK-domiciled individual can transfer to their non-UK domiciled spouse or civil partner; and Allowing individuals who are domiciled outside the UK and who have a UKdomiciled spouse or civil partner to elect to be treated as domiciled in the UK for the purposes of IHT. IHT: reduced rate for charitable donations As previously announced, for deaths on or after 6 April 2012, a lower rate of IHT of 36% will apply where 10% or more of a deceased person’s net estate is left to charity.
Company distributions As previously announced, certain transactions involving transfers of assets or liabilities between UK-resident companies will not be excluded from being treated as distributions for CT purposes.
IHT: threshold The IHT nil-rate band (NRB) will be frozen at £325,000 until April 2015. Also, as previously announced, the NRB will then rise in line with the CPI.
Corporate capital gains simplification The Government will consult in summer 2012 on whether to introduce a rule
Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) rates A new SDLT rate of 7% for residential properties over £2 million will apply from 22 March 2012.
Personal service companies and IR35 A package of measures will aim to tighten up on avoidance using personal service companies, and will aim to make the existing IR35 legislation easier to understand. This will include strengthening HMRC’s specialist compliance teams, simplifying IR35 administration, and consulting on proposals requiring office holders/controlling persons integral to the running of an organisation to deduct PAYE and NICs. Inheritance tax: offshore trusts The excluded property and settled property provisions will be amended in the Finance Bill 2012. This will close an avoidance scheme involving the acquisition of interests in offshore trusts by UK-domiciled individuals. Transfer of assets abroad and gains on assets held by foreign companies As previously announced, there will be changes to the legislation dealing with the transfer of assets abroad and gains on assets held by foreign companies closely controlled by UK participators. The changes will take effect from 6 April 2012 but, exceptionally, a taxpayer may elect for the new rules to apply from 6 April 2013. Other anti-avoidance announcements There will also be changes designed to counter tax avoidance using manufactured payments, unauthorised unit trusts, authorised investment funds, capital allowances on plant and machinery, debt buy-backs, post-cessation reliefs, corporate settlorinterested trusts, property business loss relief, and life insurance loss relief.
PERSONAL TAXATION Income tax bands and personal allowance All income tax rates for 2012/13 will remain at their 2011/12 levels. For 2013/14 the personal allowance will rise from £8,105 to £9,205 and there will be a £2,125 reduction in the basic rate limit from £34,370 to £32,245. From 2013/14, there will be no increase in the age-related personal allowances and their availability will be restricted to people born before 6 April 1948 for the allowance worth £10,500, and 6 April 1938 for the allowance worth £10,660. The aim is to phase out the age-related allowances within a few years. For 2013/14 the additional rate of tax will be reduced from 50% to 45% (from 42.5% to 37.5% for dividends). The rates of tax for trusts will be similarly reduced. Child benefit Child benefit will be withdrawn for some taxpayers by an income tax charge with effect from 7 January 2013. The charge will only apply to households (regardless of marital status) where a parent or partner has an ‘adjusted net income’ of over £50,000 a year. Where each has an income of over £50,000, the charge will only apply
to the person with the higher income. The charge will be 1% of the amount of child benefit for every £100 of income that exceeds £50,000. A taxpayer whose income is at least £60,000 will be liable to a charge equivalent to the full amount of child benefit. For example, based on a full tax year, child benefit for families with two children is currently £1,752. For a taxpayer whose income is £54,000, the charge will be £700.80, i.e. £17.52 for every £100 earned above £50,000. For a taxpayer whose income is £60,000 or more, the charge will be £1,752. Venture capital trusts (VCTs) and enterprise investment schemes (EISs) The Finance Bill 2012 will make various changes to VCTs and EISs, which have been subject to extensive consultation. For example, the EIS annual investment limit for individuals will increase to £1 million from 6 April 2012. The Finance Bill 2012 will also legislate for seed enterprise investment schemes (SEISs), which will offer 50% income tax relief with an annual investment limit for individuals of £100,000. In 2012/13 only, SEIS will also offer a CGT exemption for gains realised on the disposal of assets that are invested in the scheme. Enterprise management incentive (EMI) and other share schemes The individual limit on qualifying EMI options will be increased from £120,000 to £250,000. The change will be made by statutory instrument, as soon as possible. Gains made on shares acquired through exercising EMI options after 5 April 2012 will be eligible for CGT entrepreneurs’ relief. There will be consultation on ways to extend access to EMI for academics who are employed by a qualifying company. These changes are subject to State aid approval. There will also be a consultation on the Government’s response to the Office for Tax Simplification’s report on tax advantaged share schemes, with legislation in Finance Bill 2013. The Treasury will conduct a separate internal review on the role of employee ownership in supporting growth. Company cars and vans The appropriate percentage of list price subject to tax will increase by 1% for cars emitting more than 75g/km of CO2 and will apply up to a maximum of 35% in 2014/15. The increase will be 2% up to a maximum of 37% in both 2015/16 and 2016/17. From April 2015, the appropriate percentage for zero emission and low carbon vehicles will be 13% and will increase by 2% in 2016/17. From April 2016, the Government will remove the 3% diesel supplement, so that diesel cars will be subject to the same level of tax as petrol cars. The Government will exclude certain security enhancements from being treated as accessories in calculating the cash equivalent of the benefit on company cars. The changes take effect retrospectively from 6 April 2011. From 6 April 2012, the car fuel benefit charge (FBC) multiplier for cars will increase from £18,800 to £20,200. The FBC multiplier will increase by 2% above the RPI in 2013/14. From 6 April 2012, the van FBC multiplier will be frozen at £550, and will increase by the RPI in 2013/14. The van benefit charge will be frozen at £3,000 in 2012/13. Domicile and residence As previously announced, from 6 April 2012 there will be changes to the taxation of non-domiciled individuals to: Allow them to bring their overseas income and gains to the UK tax-free to make
commercial investments in qualifying businesses. Increase the existing £30,000 annual charge to £50,000 for those resident in the UK in 12 or more of the last 14 tax years. Reduce the complexity of some aspects of the remittance basis rules. A new statutory residence test will be introduced with effect from 6 April 2013. From the same date, ‘ordinary residence’ will be abolished for tax purposes, but overseas workday relief will be retained and placed on a statutory footing. HMRC will revise its practice on the taxation of non-resident sports people. HMRC will take training days into account when calculating the proportion of worldwide endorsement income that is subject to UK tax. Taxation of pensions Several changes to pensions take effect from 6 April 2012, including: A reduction in the standard lifetime allowance from £1.8 million to £1.5 million; An extension of the commutation rules to allow individuals aged 60 or over to commute funds of up to £2,000 held in personal pensions into a lump sum, regardless of their other pension savings, subject to a maximum of two such commutations in a lifetime; and The end of contracting out of the state second pension scheme (S2P) via money purchase occupational schemes and personal pensions. There will be no change to the £50,000 annual allowance. The Finance Bill 2013 will amend the rules that currently allow employers to pay pension contributions into their employees’ family members’ pensions as part of their employees’ remuneration package. The existing tax and NIC advantages from these arrangements will be removed. Qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme Finance Bill 2013 will strengthen reporting requirements and powers of exclusion relating to the QROPS regime, supporting the changes proposed in December 2011. Where a country or territory in which a QROPS is established allows pension schemes to provide tax advantages that are not intended to be available under the QROPS rules, these schemes will be excluded from being QROPS. Income tax on interest There will be consultation on proposals for changes to the income tax rules on the taxation of interest and interest-like returns, and the rules on the deduction of tax at source from such amounts. Any changes will be introduced in the Finance Act 2013. Life insurance qualifying policies There will be an effective £3,600 annual limit on the total premiums that an individual can pay into qualifying life insurance policies, such as maximum investment plans and other endowment policies, from 6 April 2013. If this limit is exceeded, the affected polices will cease to be qualifying and may give rise to a tax charge on gains. Transitional provisions will apply to qualifying policies issued on or after 21 March 2012 and before 6 April 2013, and before 21 March 2012 where certain variations are made after this date. These provisions will ensure that income tax relief continues to apply to benefits from these policies, but only in respect of the premiums paid before 6 April 2013 and premiums paid up to the limit on or after this date. Life insurance chargeable events With effect from 21 March 2012, the basis for calculating chargeable event gains that may be liable to income tax will be amended to prevent certain avoidance tech-
George Osborne niques involving interdependent clustered policies and the rules for deductions of earlier gains. Working tax credit (WTC): working hours rules for carers From 6 April 2012, a couple where at least one partner is entitled to carer’s allowance may also qualify for WTC, including the childcare element, if at least one of the partners works for at least 16 hours a week.
VALUE ADDED TAX VAT Thresholds The VAT registration threshold will rise from £73,000 to £77,000 from 1 April 2012 and the deregistration limit will increase from £71,000 to £75,000. Correcting anomalies and closing loopholes From 1 October 2012, standard rate VAT will be charged on the provision of self-storage facilities and approved alterations to listed buildings. Standard rate VAT will also apply, where it does not already do so, to the sale of hot food, cold food consumed on the supplier’s premises, sports drinks, holiday caravan purchases and rental of hairdressers’ chairs. Providers of education A review of the VAT exemption for education providers, in particular at university degree level, will aim to ensure that commercial universities are treated fairly. Charitable Buildings Buildings used by charities for non-business purposes, and/or as village halls, will be withdrawn from the scope of the reduced rate of VAT for the supply and installation of energy-saving materials. The reduced rate will continue to apply to the supply and installation of energy-saving materials in residential accommodation, including property run by charities. Fraud on imported road vehicles A new system to tackle VAT evasion on road vehicles brought into the UK will be introduced from 15 April 2013, as previously announced. Vehicles will have to be notified to HMRC before registration with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Cost Sharing A VAT exemption will be available for services shared between VAT exempt bodies, including charities and universities.
IN CONCLUSION The above is a summary of the main highlights of the Budget and The Chancellor has, additionally announced a number of other measures that will result in an overhaul of the tax regime in order to ensure that the programme of simplification is achieved
in the foreseeable future. No doubt, you will agree that there was very little scope for manoeuvrability and in these difficult times, a well balanced budget was delivered ensuring that will allow the country to earn its way out of trouble. The message was clear; Britain is open for competitive business and investment! The above information should not be relied upon on its own for detailed tax planning for individuals or businesses. There are many factors that need careful consideration and research by you and your professional advisers which should pay handsome dividends prior to taking any action. The outline proposals may be subject to amendment before the Finance Act is given Royal Ascent. Kiran D Patel BA (HONS) FCA is a Partner at Weston Kay Chartered Accountants. For specific advice, please contact Kiran D Patel on 020 7636 7493 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BUDGET WINNERS & LOSERS Winners All tax payers – increased tax free personal allowance and a reduction in the top rate of income tax. Parents – less dramatic reduction in child benefits. Soldiers – improvements in accommodation, a doubling of the welfare grant received and the doubling of the council tax relief. Video Game and TV Industries – tax breaks given to make the UK the technology hub of Europe. Businesses – Corporation Tax cut from 24 to 20% by 2014. Retailers - Sunday Trading laws will be relaxed for 8 consecutive Sundays starting on 22 July 2012.
Losers Motorists – the 3p fuel duty planned for August 2012 has not been cancelled. Gamblers – the taxing of online gambling will be based on the location of the gambler, not the location of the company. First time buyers – the stamp duty holiday to be closed from 24 March 2012. Property millionaires – stamp duty land tax at 7% on the sale of properties with a value of £2m or more. Residential properties worth over £2m bought by companies will be taxed at 15%. Smokers – stamp duty on tobacco products will rise by 5% above inflation. Pensioners – the phasing out of the age related personal allowance. Banks – the bank levy will increase from 0.088% to 0.105% from 2013. The above is a summary of the winners and losers in the Chancellor’s Budget.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
ArcelorMittal closes Luxembourg furnace indefinitely Dear Financial Voice Reader, Each month I do a free webinar on my outlook for the month ahead. It’s based on hours and hours of research. Having just finished the research before the webinar, I thought I would provide some of the findings. If you take into account dividends, then the US market is at an all time high. It’s beaten the previous high of 2007. You probably have not noticed. We notice falls and losses more than gains and rises is why. But it is also cheap still. The benchmark US S&P 500 traded at 14 times earnings when it hit its recent high on March 1st. That’s the lowest valuation of any 52 week market high going back to 1989. Why should it be so high and cheap? Because we’re still scared. The big question is should we be? Some of the markets cheaper than they were in 2007 include Japan, Brazil, China, India. The good thing about stocks rising is that consumer confidence rises at the same time too. This leads to a self-fulfilling prophesy of confidence – usually. What about debt? US companies’ debt as measured by the amount of debt they have per $ of profits is at pre-crisis levels. They have $5 debt for $1 of profit. Or it takes $5 borrowing to make $1 in profit. In 2001 it was 11 times. They’re getting better! Of course nations are indebted. If you take all financial and non-financial debt, government and household debt then the UK is the most indebted of all 10 of the world’s largest economies – with a debt of 900% of GDP. Yes, 900%, that is not a type. By comparison, Europe is 500% and the US 400%. In case we are worries about Europe and US, you should know Norway and Switzerland are also around 400%. So will profits take us out of these debts. Well corporate profits since 2008 are up 80% in the US, after tax and inflation. Indeed the US economy has growth 10 straight quarters! Doesn’t feel like it. But it has. So if you are positive how do you benefit from this? I was at lunch with Jim O’Neill the Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and his team have analysed all global stocks for their best of the best picks for a three year outlook, allowing for valuations and global competition etc. Some names include Infosys, BG Group, BHP Billiton, Antofagasta, ARM, Unilever, HSBC, Shell, Centrica, BskyB, Diageo, Standard Chartered, Commonwealth Bank, China Mobile. That’s 14 names right there. Of course some of them are in the same sector and will tend to track each other. But usually after 14 names, there is not much point picking more, because the influence of each individual stock to the rest of the portfolio is limited. I also prefer an exit if any drop 25%. Over 3 years, according to Goldmans such a portfolio has a good chance of 30% pa rises. Hmmm…seems a lot. But they are God’s bankers! For free market webinars by me on the monthly global outlook, trading strategies, why people lose money in the markets see www.alpeshpatel.com
Woodford named ‘boldest business person of year’ Michael Woodford, the former Olympus CEO who blew the whistle on one of Japan's most high-profile frauds, added the title of "boldest business person of the year" to his list of awards for unearthing the $1.7 billion accounting scandal. Woodford, a rare foreign CEO in Japan who was fired last October after questioning a series of murky acquisitions and fees, received his latest accolade at the Financial Times ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Awards. "If there was one person who captured the spirit of boldness in business in 2011, it was Michael Woodford at Olympus," said FT editor Lionel Barber. Armed with a laptop, a clutch of documents and a
tale of intrigue, 51-yearold Woodford alerted prosecutors and journalists around the world to a scandal that has seen seven arrested and which sent Olympus's stock plunging 80 per cent. Woodford is one of the few business people to have received awards from almost all major British newspapers. He has been named "Briton of the Year" by The Telegraph and "Business Person of the Year" by The Times, The Independent and The Sun. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the international anti-fraud organisation, has also awarded him its 2012 Cliff Robertson Sentinel Award for whistle blowing.
ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, said it would extend the closure of its electric arc furnace in Schifflange, Luxembourg, indefinitely, a measure which highlights the deep crisis affecting the EU steel sector. ArcelorMittal's decision, which will affect 282 employees at the site, is due to weakness in the construction sector in Western Europe, the company said. "Unfortunately the construction market, for which the products at Rodange and Schifflange are made, has not recovered from the downturn that started at the end of 2008 and there is still no
sign of meaningful improvement," Nico Reuter, ArcelorMittal's Europe vice-president for long carbon steel, said. This closure extension follows similar ones at other European sites. Other high-cost European steel plants are also likely to be shut in the near future as low steel prices and poor demand make them unprofitable, analysts and traders said. "Steel prices are not too spectacular, underlying demand is not great
while costs are rising so there is still potential for many high cost mills to be shut down in Europe," said Kaye Ayub, steel and iron ore consultant at Meps. Competition from lower-cost producing areas such as Turkey, Russia and Ukraine, and Asia has also reduced steelmakers' margins. "This is the beginning of a number of shutdowns across Europe; Europe can simply no longer compete with the cheaper material being produced in other parts of the world and consumption of standardgrade steel is also falling in Europe," said a source at a UK-based steel trading house.
"There is only one solution: steel mills have to shut down. ArcelorMittal is likely to be the leader in this field as they are so large and diversified, that they are able to shut down one or two plants and still remain a competitive player. Small mills will either have to change the type of steel they produce, or eventually go bust." At its sites at Rodange and Schifflange, considered a single operational unit, ArcelorMittal produces long carbon steel products such as reinforcement bars, crane rails and special sections. The mill in Rodange will continue to operate on two shifts, the company said.
Vodafone tax case: Satyam & TechM merge to India readies fresh salvo form $2.4 bn IT company The revenue department of the government of India is ready with a fresh plan to issue a new demand notice on cellphone operator Vodafone, a day after the Supreme Court rejected the government's review petition in the country's biggest tax case. Finance ministry officials say that the tax department will issue a notice to Vodafone within 45 days of the passage of the Finance Bill, which is expected to get parliamentary nod in May. The department will issue another under the IT Act to make Vodafone a representative assessee as tax authorities are unable to issue a demand on Hutch that sold the stake to Vodafone. "It will be a new chapter in the case. We will send them a fresh notice once the Finance Bill is passed. Since Hutch is no longer present in India, we will make Vodafone a representative assessee," a finance ministry official said. Officials said that Vodafone is likely to challenge the validity of the new law. "It will be a long-drawn affair and we are prepared
for it," the official said. Within hours of the Supreme Court ruling, top ministers, led by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, got into a huddle to look at the implications and the future course of action. Home minister P Chidambaram, telecom minister Kapil Sibal and law minister Salman Khurshid were part of the brainstorming. The tax department is likely to rely heavily on clause 113 of the Finance Bill to bolster its case. The clause proposes to ensure that notwithstanding a court or tribunal ruling, all capital gains tax notices or demands either levied or recovered under provisions of the Income Tax Act related to a share or income arising out of India will stay valid. Experts say the move is aimed at ensuring that the government collects taxes in merger and transactions involving an Indian asset, which is held by foreign entities. Clause 113 is in addition to amendments to Section 9 of the Income Tax Act that has come under fire from tax experts and investors.
The $14.4-billion Mahindra Group last week unveiled the widely anticipated merger of its two IT services firms, Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam, creating a $2.4billion entity, which is poised to be India’s fifthlargest software outsourcing company by revenue. The development comes three years after the group acquired the scandalrocked Satyam Computer Services, later branding it Mahindra Satyam. As part of the merger, investors will get two Tech Mahindra shares (of Rs 10 face value) for every 17 shares of Mahindra Satyam (of Rs 2 face value).The group will own 26.3% in the combined entity while British Telecom, a strategic partner of the group in Tech Mahindra, will hold 12.8%. Since Tech Mahindra currently holds 42.65% in Mahindra Satyam (through Venturbay Consultants), 10.4% equity of the new entity that will come in existence because of this crossholding, post merger, this equity will be held as
treasury stock in a trust, said the management at a press briefing in Mumbai. The new entity, the branding of which will be decided over the next few months, will compete with the likes of Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro for bagging big international outsourcing contracts. Tech Mahindra will issue 103.4 million new shares, increasing its number of outstanding shares to 230.8 million and its equity capital to Rs 2.308 billion, said the management. This values Satyam at Rs 76.3 a share ($1.8 billion), according to Bloomberg. “This merger does not bring about any cost savings. Instead, it’s driven by the proposition of delivering better value to our customers, and project the power of one,” said C P Gurnani, CEO, Mahindra Satyam.
A consortium led by Japanese firm Hitachi will set up Asia’s largest desalination plant at Dahej special economic zone (SEZ) in South Gujarat. An agreement to this effect was signed by the Gujarat government and the consortium in the presence of Chief Minister Narendra Modi last week. Others who form part of the consortium are Japanese firm Itochu and Singapore's Hyflux. The three companies together have formed Swarnim Dahej Spring Desalination Private Limited for setting up the desalination plant, an official note issued by the state industries department said, adding, "The project is supported by Japanese government through the ministry of economy, trade and
industry." The project, which is expected to cost Rs 20 billion, will be set up on design, build, finance and operate (DBFO) basis. To be set up in two phases, the consortium is likely to produce 70 million gallons per day (MGD) of sweet water for industrial use on completion. "The project will be completed in three years," a senior government official said. Work for the project is likely to begin in October, after obtaining all necessary clearances, including environmental, from the Centre. While the consortium proposes to buy up 30 hectares of land in Dahej SEZ, officials said, once ready, it would supply water to units in SEZ as well as enterprises being set up in
Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR), Dahej, which is the fastest developing special investment region in the DelhiMumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC). The official said the proposed cost of the desalinized water from the plant is "likely to be Rs 40 per 1,000 litres, which is considerably lower than other desalination plants in India." He added, "A desalination plant being set up in Chennai with the support of the Tamil Nadu government, for instance, supplies water for Rs 56 per 1,000 litres. Nowhere in India desalinised water is available for less than Rs 50 per 1,000 litres".
However, the official admitted, the desalination plant will not be enough to take care of the water requirements of Dahej SEZ and PCPIR. "The projected requirement of PCPIR, which includes Dahej SEZ, is 300 MGD. Other sources, especially a proposed pipeline from the Narmada canal off Narmada dam, will have to be tapped for enhancing water requirement of the industries."
Hitachi to build desalination plant in Gujarat
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Stamp Duty: The Changes
Suresh Vagjiani Managing Director Sow & Reap A Property Investment Company
There are two main changes which the budget has brought up which will affect the property market, specifically the central London property market where most of the large value transactions take place. These are the increases to stamp duty. One is the increase for properties over £2m which has gone to 7%, the other which has caused more controversy is when a 'non-natural person' buys a property which includes companies, and partnerships in which a non-natural person is a partner, the stamp has been increased to 15%. It has been argued the use of the term ‘non natural person’ is too wide stating this will catch companies quoted on the stock exchange (such as REITS) and widely held collective investment funds, but interestingly it does not catch some esoteric overseas entities which do not fall within this definition. Savills estimates there are 74,000 homes in the UK worth more than £2m, with 75% of transactions in London, incidentally Savills shares fell 2.4% on Budget day. The aim of the se t axes is to tap into the lu crative cent ral Londo n propert y market to raise mone y for t he governmen t coff ers. In evitably when t he econ omy is stagnating and th e property marke t is going u p by 11.6% per annu m - accord ing to e state age nt Knig ht Frank, the g overn ment will wan t a piece of the pie. In fairness Stamp duty loop holes have been exploited for decades using cooperate structures and it was long overdue for an overhaul. However the current duty of 15% on those using a corporate wrapper has been described as an emotional over reaction and has the potential to make the UK an unattractive place for non-domiciled investors. According to the IPPR a think tank calculates that £5.2bn in foreign money entered the prime London market in 2011, up from £3.7bn in 2010. The capital properties have become a kind of global reserve currency for the wealthy elite of the capital rich countries The aim of purchasing property in an offshore company is not always to save tax but helps protect privacy of the purchaser. Many purchasers want to act discreetly and not reveal the ownership to all and sundry. Currently anyone willing to pay a few pounds can go online to and obtain a record from the land registry in a few minutes revealing the ownership of a property. Purchasing in an offshore company used to mean you pay stamp duty land tax on the initial purchase but on the resell you only sell the company and the future purchaser would benefit by only having to pay 0.5% stamp duty. They would be buying the shares in the company rather than a property. These are known as SPVs. meaning special purchase vehicles. There are of course other benefits beside stamp duty and privacy, for example the capital gains and inheritance tax benefits to of shore ownership.
Me an while, the g overn ment has said it will consult on in tro ducing an an nual charge o n propert ies valued o ve r £2m that are alread y held in a company, to be introd uced f rom April 2013. In ad dition, non -residen ts owning UK resid ent ial pro perty through an offshore company co uld next year face a capital g ains tax charge whe n sel ling.
The Real Deal Price: £250,000 This well proportioned one bedroom flat which is located on the fourth floor of a purpose-built apartment building offers great living space in a fantastic residential area close to a range of local shops and amenities. The property comprises of a well proportioned reception room, a spacious kitchen with breakfast area, a bright bedroom with windows on two aspects and a bathroom. Location: Morris House benefits from its proximity to the shops and amenities of Paddington and Maida Vale while the closest transport links are Marylebone Station (Bakerloo line and National Rail Services) and Edgware Road Station (Bakerloo line). Leasehold: Over 100 years Service charge: £550 per annum (2011) An extremely hot deal, the angle is to convert the property, rent it out as a two bed at £380pw. We have just done another one in the same block and you pay 1% in Stamp duty.
The real question is whether this will make a significant effect on the property market. An increase in the stamp duty by 2% is not likely to change the level of growth the central London property market has been experiencing when the market is going up over 10% per annum as has been the case over the last year. A 2% increase on the cost price is not likely to dissuade an investor. If for example someone bought a £2m property last year and the property went up 11.6% the gain would be £232,000 if an extra £40,000 was paid, which is the 2% increase in stamp duty it will not be a deal breaker. In an o ffshore company tho ugh this wou ld have a far more serious impact. The charg e in t he same sce nario will be £300, 000, that’s a ste ep price to pay. The quadrupling of stamp duty tax rates between 1997 to 2000 saw new avoidance schemes being heavily promoted to homebuyers – an area of the market now targeted for an “aggressive” crackdown by the government. The introduction of the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) in December 2003 went some way to tackling avoidance schemes, moving the stamp duty regime away from a document-based tax to a transaction-based tax, greatly reducing the number of mitigation schemes available. New rules in 2004, and introduced subsequently for SDLT, required the disclosure of tax avoidance schemes. Currently there are many schemes on the market being advertised. A google search for ‘stamp duty avoidance’ reveals 926,000. The most popular one being marketed widely was based on a sub-sale relief. This one unsurprisingly has come under the HMRC radar. This is where a buyer immediately transfers a property to another person, who may be a connected party, and is therefore not liable for stamp duty. The sub-purchaser has to pay the SDLT on acquisition of the property but the scheme works by either the sub-purchaser acquiring the property for a reduced or negligible purchase price, or where the sub-purchaser takes advantage of a relief from SDLT, which is not available to the first purchaser. Last year’s introduction of a 5% stamp duty rate for properties purchased for more than £1m saw this mitigation technique increase. On a property costing £2m, the SDLT charge would be £100,000. There does exist on the market more clever schemes which have gone unnoticed by the HMRC and which will continue to be used increasingly given the latest rise. The question as investors is to what extent these changes will impact the growth of the prime property market in London. There will certainly be a dampening effect especially as a major driving factor of this market is funds coming into this market from overseas. The demand for properties below £2m will increase given the jump of 3% in Stamp duty. There will be a hold off and wait scenario given the government will be introducing charges for holding these properties.
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Tips of the Week ! The bulk of the money in property is made through capital growth, not yield, and this is driven by location ! Buying a property in cash means you will have to pay income tax on the rental, taking a mortgage can mitigate this
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Asset India Real Estate: Real Expertise Dharmesh Doshi Managing Director Asset India as an identity celebrated its first Anniversary last week on 21st March 2012. My personal thanks to all our readers, clients, business associates who poured in their best wishes on our first Anniversary. On the eve of our first Anniversary we moved to a bigger premises @ 118 Kenton Road, Harrow – HA3 8AL. This will not only increase our visibility but also help us service our clients who can now visit us more often as we are at just opposite Kenton Station and within 5 minutes walk away from Northwick park station plus if you are driving you can park your car in our car park. Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) & Person of Indian Origin (PIOs) are one of the key contributors to the
growth of the real estate industry. Moreover, with significant appreciation of the dollar vis-a-vis the rupee, NRI/PIOs have started taking keen interest in the real estate sector back home and are stepping up investments in the country. I must say this has resulted in being quite a challenging year for Asset team as jointly we transacted approximately 40,000 sq ft of one & two bedroom apartments in Chennai, 20,000 sq ft of two, three and four bedroom apartments in Mumbai and 10,000 sq yards of plots in Ahmedabad (Gujarat). You may think why not other cities of India but as you may be aware we are a totally client focused & demand driven company hence work to meet and suit your requirements hence we focus on each city based on the demand. We are also active in Pune, Bangalore with Delhi being just round the corner. Considering the current market trends and scenario, it is a favourable time for NRI/PIOs to
invest in real estate in India. All investment options such as plots, apartments, office space, etc which are for Indians are also open to NRI/PIOs. However, apartments are most sought-after and preferred by NRI/PIOs.” ASSET INDIA OBJECTIVE: TO BE YOUR ULTIMATE INDIA REAL ESTATE SERVICE PROVIDER – REAL ESTATE: REAL EXPERTISE. Whether you are a first time buyer of property in India or a seasoned investor, going through the buying process itself can be painful. Asset India offers you the option of buying property in India from the UK without any of the fuss and hassle. We shortlist the best properties from India’s top developers for you and take care of all the paperwork. Asset India offers you a personalised property investment service that takes care of your specific requirements. We are a
small, dynamic team and we give you complete flexibility over your investment properties. We do not charge our customers a fee for our new property sales in India. We sell new projects at the same rates as the leading developers in India and offer you the convenience of service right here in London. We are associated with India’s top builders including the landmark Hiranandani Group. Our customers are delighted with our service, so why don’t you give us a call? AHMEDABAD DHOLERA The city has seen an overall 46.01 per cent rise in realty prices between January- March 2010 and the same period in 2011, according to figures released by National Housing Bank (NHB), a wing of the Reserve Bank of India. The Gujarat govern- ment has put the work for introducing six town plan- ning (TP) schemes across 902 sq km area of the Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR) in Ahmedabad dis-
trict on the fast track. “The two TP schemes are proposed for 15,000 hectares of land next to the Dholera township. It is here that Sabir Bhatia’s Nano City has been planned”, sources in the Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB), which handles the Dholera SIR for the state government, said, adding, “As soon as the draft is out, infrastructure development in the two townships will begin .The schemes will be finalized by April 2012 and we expect, the work to be over by December 2012. This will make the entire Dholera SIR ready to take off as a new-age city”. DHOLERA – FAST FACTS: Rs. 40,000 crore Mega Industrial Park Rs. 30,000 crore invest- ment by Hindustan Construction
company Rs. 30,000 crore Nano city by Sabir Bhatia group. Central Spine Road - A 10 lane expresseway linking Ahmedabad with Dholera Metro connectivity - There will be also a 10 lane expresseway linking Ahmedabad with Dholera International Airport – spread over 7500 hectares of land - off Fedra village, 20 kms outside the proposed boundary of Dholera SIR. Want to meet over a cup of coffee? We’re happy to come out and meet you in London! Call us today for a discussion about your property and your plans at +44 207 100 2201 or write to us today at email@example.com to enquire about our property management service. Or give us your contact details and we will get in touch with you!
Free Indian Property Advice service Wednesday 5-7 pm at ASSET India.
Board Line: 020 7100 2201 | Mobile: +44 7795954142 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.assetindia.co.uk
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Foreign Exchange Paresh Davdra is the Dealing Director of RationalFX, Currency Specialists.
Pressure mounting in the Eurozone Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti warned that Spain could reignite the European debt crisis as euro-area ministers this week prepare a deal to strengthen the region’s financial firewall. Monti pointed to Spain’s struggle to control its finances ahead of a finance ministers meeting in Copenhagen starting on March 30, where officials will seek agreement to raise a 500 billioneuro ($664 billion) ceiling on bailout funding. Monti praised Spain’s efforts to loosen work regulations while advising it to focus on cutting the national budget. Spain “hasn’t paid enough attention to its public accounts”. Articles have shown how every Tuesday evening dozens of homeowners that cannot pay their mortgages were gathering in a cramped community centre close to Madrid's main bullring to discuss strategy to fight their banks. The euro crisis has eased after the European Central Bank last month boosted liquidity through three-year loans to banks, while European Union leaders this month sealed a second Greek bailout package. Italian and German confidence indexes rose today as Spanish
and Italian bonds gained. Angela Merkel German Chancellor has highlighted in an interview with the BBC saying “it would be huge political mistake if debt-stricken Greece was allowed to leave the euro” also in Newsnight interview she has expressed that Germany will do everything in its power to keep the Eurozone together. Merkel when questioned on the outlook for Greece mentioned that "It has major weaknesses but it is trying to overcome them, be they in the administration or the competitiveness of their business community. It is going to be a long and arduous road,"
She has stated that the global crisis has had a detrimental effect on the Eurozone in particular saying that "It is a very tense situation right now," whilst on the other hand she felt that Britain’s PM David Cameron was right to have moved ahead with implementing austerity measures for UK as she strongly believes that no country should live beyond its means. United States, previously owned home sales rose in February to an almost two-year high, adding to signs of stabilization in the real-estate market, purchases climbed 0.9 percent to a 4.61 million annual rate, the fastest since May 2010 from a
4.57 million pace in January and this core element is a positive and has helped strengthened the USD. The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced the UK annual budget. Osborne announces tax and spending cuts and he has assured that tough austerity measures will be implemented despite calls to ease the program of reductions, as it is crucial to retain bond market confidence and UK's current AAA credit rating. His plan involves simplifying the British tax system in order to reduce deficit, which almost doubled in February. The chancellor proposed such solutions as the reduction of the top rate of the income tax from 50% to 45% in April 2013. He also cut corporation tax which will decrease to 24% in April this year and then to 22% by 2014. The German government unveiled its 2013 budget project, in which it pushes for a quicker consolidation of finances than initially established. According to the plan presented by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, the country will manage to cut its deficit to 0.35% of GDP already by 2014.
Weekly Currencies As of Tuesday 27th March 2012 @ 10.30pm GBP - INR = 81.11 USD - INR = 50.72 EUR - INR = 67.87 GBP - USD = 1.60 GBP - EUR = 1.20 EUR - USD = 1.34 GBP - AED = 5.87 GBP - CAD = 1.58 GBP - NZD = 1.94 GBP - AUD = 1.52 GBP - ZAR = 12.08 GBP - HUF = 346.68
www.rationalfx.com Information provided by RationalFX. None of the information on this page constitutes, nor should be construed as financial advice. The exchange rates used are the commercial foreign exchange rates provided by RationalFX. For a live quote or to find out more about how RationalFX can help you, call us on 0207 220 8181.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Amit Patel has over 15 years experience in the field of Leadership and Human Resource Management
Words and music
Theresa May has been very busy indeed using the immigration argument, this time to warn the Scottish that an independent Scotland would open the door to mass immigration because they would not be able to protect their borders. She also released more press releases about the fact that by June she will bring in measures to prevent “abuse” by preventing the entry of dependants unless they earn around double the amount of £25000 and even more if they have children. I suppose you could call it a tax (pun) on families. What next I wonder. Compulsory sterilisation of all future applicants? And before you laugh some of you may remember the compulsory virginity test that were being conducted on applicants in the 70s. Certainly in terms of language there are echoes of the past. The word “abuse” is bandied about very easily and recklessly. It suggests that relationships are not genuine and this is not responsible
governance. And in the meantime organisations have expressed concern that around 48% of nurses working for the NHS and 37% school teachers will not qualify and leave as a result at a time when training budgets for nurses are being slashed. Damien Green in the meantime has said that the policy is to bring in “ only those migrants who can make the greatest contribution to life in the UK." Obviously the only contribution that is worth it in the eyes of the current Government is the ability to earn big bucks. So welcome bankers. It is hardly a surprising statement given the fact that money buys access. The Hindujas hit the right note when they criticised the Government for not granting visas quickly enough. There is a system that provides for a premium service at an increased cost. It obviously is not working. This brings me back to the benefits of immigration. Last night was an example. I went to Ronnie
Scotts, the famous jazz club to listen to a band called Lokkhi Terra who were showcasing fusion music combining Bangladeshi ballads with Cuban samba and using instruments as varied as table to African drums to saxophone to create the most heavenly music to the ears. The band consisted of varied nationalities, featuring Bangladeshis, Cubans, English, Swiss, African and Afghanistani members all playing with passion and skill. Through music common interests emerged as well as differences and these were celebrated by one heavenly cacophony of sound. As a poignant reminder of the common thread that runs through their latest album is called “No visa”! Maria Fernandes has been in practice exclusively in immigration for the past 25 years. Fernandes Vaz is based at 87 Wembley Hill Road Wembley in Wembley and can be contacted by telephone on 02087330123, by email on email@example.com.
Vijay Mallya has to decide on closing Kingfisher: Minister Virtually ruling out closure of debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines (KFA), India’s Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said promoter Vijay Mallya would have to take call on shutting down the business. "Rules say that we cannot cancel licenses of an airline as long as it has five planes and certain equity," Singh said in an interview. The Minister said if Kingfisher closed down it would be inconvenient for fliers as well as employees, as "KFA flies to many destinations where no other airline flies, and it also provides employment to many (people)." "It will be Mallya's call if he wants to remain in business," he said, adding "if passenger safety is jeopardized, KFA can't fly." Kingfisher Airlines promoter Mallya has met Singh to apprise him of the ailing airline's problems and has also submit-
ted a curtailed summer schedule of about 100 daily flights with 20 aircraft to the Director General of Civil Aviation, starting from March 25. On the meeting, Singh said that KFA has cut down flights to 100 from 400 and also slashed the number of aircraft it owned, from 64 to 16. Reprieve from DGCA Meanwhile, the airline got another reprieve last week, as the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) decided not to suspend its operations. But the regulator raised apprehensions about the troubled carrier’s ability to stick to the new flight schedule. Kingfisher said it would suspend interna-
tional operations and operate about 120 daily flights with 20 planes. Vijay Mallya and chief executive Sanjay Agarwal, met the DGCA and gave the new flight plan. DGCA chief E K Bharat Bhushan said, “Kingfisher is severely hamstrung for want of funds and we still do not have any clarity whether the airline will be able to defray its liabilities. We have no assurance on that.” Agarwal said the airline would operate with a fleet of 10 ATR and 10 Airbus 320. He said it was in talks with potential investors and might get funding after the government allowed foreign carriers to buy stake in Indian ones. “Some of the potential investments depend on the change in foreign direct investment policy, but there are other investors we are in discussions with,” Agarwal said.
The Problem with Straight Answers The day after the budget, I was listening to a radio interview of Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor. He was making a point about how George Osborne had ‘taken’ money from pensioners by phasing out their tax breaks and ‘given’ it to the rich by abolishing the 50p tax rate. Having had his say, the interviewer asked him that if he was to become chancellor, would his first action be to reinstate the 50p tax. Now bearing in mind everything Mr Balls had just said about how unjust it was and how ‘out of touch’ with normal people the chancellor was, one would expect that he would confirm that he would do just that. Surprisingly (or not if you follow politics) Mr Balls said he could not answer that question as there was no chance of him being chancellor before 2015 and so it was far too premature to even speculate. Herein lies one of the fundamental issues people have with politicians. They are all too ready to pouce on any
India assures Norway of fair solution for Telenor
India on Monday assured Norway of a fair solution for Telenor whose multibillion investment in the country faces uncertainty following cancellation of 122 telecom licence by Supreme Court. The issue came up for discussion at a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg on the sidelines of Nuclear Security Summit here. "Prime Minister assured Stoltenberg that all attempts will be made for a fair solution and the Norwegian PM felt reassured," sources said. Singh also informed Norwegian Prime Minister that all countries will be given equal treatment while the government finds a solution following the judicial pronouncement.
and every decision made by their opposition while not willing to reveal what they themselves would do in the same situation. Hence, we are often left wondering ‘why on earth can’t they just give a straight answer’? The straight answer to why we don’t get straight answers is because of what politicians are. They are those who claim to know what’s best for the future without really having anymore of a clue than we do. And so the longer they can carry on without having to make a decision the less chance there is that anyone will be able to say they got it wrong. The American author Will Durant once said, ‘To say nothing, especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy’. There is of course, an even straighter answer. One which any person who has been in a position of authority will understand only too well. And that is sometimes, the straight answer isn’t actually the answer anyone wants to hear. And if there
By Amit Patel
is one thing more necessary for a politician than honesty, its popularity. George Osbourne followed Ed Balls’ interview and he was asked why he didn’t cut fuel duty even though the price of oil was the highest it has been in two years. He could have just said, ‘I have already stopped 2 planned fuel duty rises, if people are still unhappy then perhaps they should try walking!’ Of course that is not what he actually said, had he done so there is little doubt that he would be spending too many nights at no.11. Like many politicians, he was faced with the problem of giving a straight answer, and so, he didn’t. Amit Patel has over 15 years experience in the field of Personal Development and Human Resource Management. He has delivered speeches on People Management and Development throughout Europe, North America, and Asia. To contact Amit, email firstname.lastname@example.org
JLR raises £500 million through bonds Tata Motors' subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) said it has raised 500 million pound through issue of bonds. "We are pleased to have completed this transaction successfully which we believe demonstrates the market's confidence in our company and plans and is another significant milestone for JLR," Jaguar Land Rover Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Gregor said in a filing by Tata Motors to the Bombay Stock Exchange. Last week, the company had announced to issue the senior notes worth 500 million pound. The company said it has fixed "the pricing of 500 million pound senior notes due 2020 at a coupon of 8.25% per annum" but did not elaborate. The notes will be guaranteed by Jaguar Cars, Land Rover, Jaguar Land Rover North America,
Land Rover Exports and Jaguar Cars Exports. "The net proceeds from the issuance and sale of the notes will be used for general corporate purposes," JLR said. The company, however, did not specify the areas where it intends to spend this fund. Commenting on the development, Tata Motors Chief Financial Officer C Ramakrishnan said: "This is a significant step in strengthening our balance sheet at the JLR and consolidated level, and we thank the investors for their support."
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Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Make A Difference for todays Mums
Tilda encourages Mums to help Mums around the world through its partnership with the UN World Food Programme Mums are a key influence in our lives. They witness our first steps, help us form those first few all-important words as well as nurture and feed us during our vital formative years. It’s easy to forget the important role that mums play in the world. Mother’s Day is just one day within the year, when we can thank our mums for the difference they have made in our lives. While many of us in the UK celebrated Mother’s Day on March 18th, elsewhere in the world it was just another day when millions of mums continued to struggle to feed themselves and their children. For this reason Tilda, launched its Mums Helping Mums campaign in support of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). The campaign is aimed to benefit WFP’s Mother & Child Nutrition programmes over the next three years. During March and April the ‘Mums Helping Mums’ logo will be featured on Tilda’s Pure Basmati 1kg packs, highlighting the partnership and encouraging mums to help make a difference by supporting the initiative. For every pack of specially-marked Pure Basmati sold, Tilda will provide one nutritious meal to a new or expectant mum. Jon Calland, Head of External Affairs at Tilda comments: “Rice is an integral part of an infant’s diet, as it provides a number of key nutrients and vitamins. However, many people around the world cannot afford even the basic ingredients that provide these essential nutrients for their children. We share the World Food Programme’s vision of a world without hunger and are proud to be partnering with them for this special project.” To promote the ‘Mums Helping Mums’ campaign, Tilda encouraged shoppers
Russian court dismisses plea to ban Bhagvad Gita
Moscow: A Russian court dismissed the petition, which sought to ban Bhagvad Gita considering it to be of extremist nature. The court in Siberian city of Tomsk dismissed the plea of state prosecutors against the lower court's dismissal of their original plea seeking a ban on "Bhagavad Gita As It Is", written by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna C o n s c i o u s n e s s (ISKCON). Reports on a ban on Bhagvad Gita in
Russia had created a huge uproar in Indian Parliament earlier, as several members condemned the move and asked the Indian Government to take prompt measures in this regard. The case filed by state prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk stated that the translated version of the Bhagvad Gita was extremist and would create a divide among the people of different beliefs.
Meanwhile, India welcomed Russian court's decision. "We are happy to learn that the Hon'ble District Court in Tomsk, Siberia in the Russian Federation has dismissed the appeal made by the local Procurator while upholding the verdict of the lower court in the legal case concerning the publication 'Bhagvad Gita as it is'," said Indian spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin in response to a question.
Custody row: Norway says children cannot go back to family New Delhi /Kolkata: After new developments in the custody case, Norway's Child Welfare Services (CWS) has now said the children cannot go back to family, according to reports. In a statement, the CWS said, "New developments involving two Indian children make it impossible to carry out the hearing in Stavanger District Court that was scheduled for Friday, March 23. The conflicts over the last few days between the parents and their respective families mean that the conditions for entering into an agreement of this kind are no longer present."
In that hearing, the Indian authorities were supposed to recommend to a court in Norway that the children - three-yearold Abhigyan and oneyear-old Aishwarya - be placed in the custody of their uncle. The child custody battle took another dramatic turn with Anurup Bhattacharya, the father of Abhigyan, 3, and Aishwarya, 1, denying he was seeking a divorce from wife, Sagarika. Anurup's outpouring of his marital problems the day before had led to the hearing for the custody of the two children being put on hold. He had said that his wife was the source of the prob-
lem in the family that prompted Norway's Child Welfare Services to take away the children and put them in foster care. In Delhi, the foreign office postponed a trip of two senior officials to Norway to attend a court hearing for transfer of custody of the two children to their family back home. Foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai said, "The situation is changing even as we speak. The full details are being ascertained by our embassy in Norway." Preneet Kaur, minister of state for external affairs, said, " A new situation has developed...we cannot interfere."
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to host their own Mother’s Day lunch on 18th March to celebrate the difference that their mum has made to their life, whilst raising valuable funds for mums in Bangladesh. The Tilda Pure Basmati Mums Helping
Mums pack is available in all major supermarkets priced from £4.49. For further information on how you and your mum can make a difference to mums around the world visit www.tilda.com/mums
US court asks Indian diplomat to pay $ 1.5 mn to domestic help New York: An Indian maid - who had accused her former employer, an IFS officer, and her husband of harassment and "slavery" has received a favourable ruling from a US court, which approved her petition that she be awarded $ 1.5 million as compensation by the couple. In his order, US District Judge Victor Marrero "adopted in entirety" the report of US magistrate Judge Frank Maas in which Maas had recommended that Shanti Gurung be paid 1.5 million
dollars as compensation for the "barbaric treatment" and "emotional distress" Neena Malhotra and her husband Jogesh Malhotra caused her when she was employed as their domestic help for three years since 2006. "The application of plaintiff Shanti Gurung for an award of damages is granted; accordingly, judgment is entered in favour of Gurung and against defendants Jogesh Malhotra and Neena Malhotra in an amount of $ 1,458,335 in accordance with the calcu-
lations and breakdown of that amount set forth in the report," Marrero said in his ruling. He also ordered that the case is now closed. Marrero said the Malhotras did not file any objections to Maas' report even though they had 14 days to do so. He said the court is not required to review any portion of a magistrate judge's report that is not the subject of an objection. After a thorough review of the documents submitted, "the Court concludes that the findings are not eroneous.
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Honour killings claim 943 Pak women in 2011 In Focus Islamabad: At least 943 women and girls in Pakistan were murdered by their fathers, husbands or brothers in 2011 in honour killings, said a report by Pakistan's leading human rights group.Ninety-three of those killed were minors. However, the true number of those killed is thought to be far higher. Many cases are thought to have been covered up by relatives and sympathetic police officers, the report revealed. The report highlighted the worrying scale of violence suffered by many women in conservative Muslim Pakistan. The figure of 943 was an increase of more than 100 compared to 2010. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan's
annual report highlighted the worrying scale of violence suffered by many women, where they are frequently treated as second-class citizens and there is no law against domestic violence. The report said: “At least 943 women were killed in the name of honour, of which 93 were minors,” wrote the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its annual report. It concluded: “Throughout the year, women were callously killed in the name of 'honour' when they went against family wishes in any way, or even on the basis of suspicion that they did so. 'Women were sometimes killed in the name of "honour" over property disputes and inheritance rights.' The report also said the
police in Pakistan were often a 'coercive force' against women, with officers rarely investigating questionable deaths. Despite progress on better protecting women's rights, activists say the government needs to do more to prosecute murderers in cases largely dismissed by police as private, family affairs. This refers to the frequent newspaper reports of young
women committing suicide following arguments with family members about their choice of friends. Police often take accounts of these deaths at face value and rarely look at the circumstances in more detail. The Commission said some victims were raped or gang raped before being killed and only 20 of the 943 killed were reported to have been provided with medical aid before they died. Most of those killed died at the hands of their brothers and husbands. The report revealed seven Christian and two Hindu women were among the victims and about 595 of those killed in 2011 were accused of having 'illicit relations' while 219 of marrying without permission.
Pak activists demand Bhagat Pak wants petrol from Singh chowk in Lahore India immediately Lahore: Pakistani civil society activists have demanded that the square in Lahore where Bhagat Singh was hanged over eight decades ago should be renamed after the freedom fighter to honour his struggle to free the people of the region from the suppression and cruelty of British rule. During a ceremony held at Shadman Chowk, the spot where Singh was hanged on March 23, 1931, with his fellow freedom fighters Rajguru and Sukhdev, the activists paid rich tributes to the freedom fighters and demanded that the Pakistan government rename the square as Bhagat Singh Chowk. A candlelight vigil was part of the event organized by the Bhagat Singh Foundation. Speakers said Singh was the man who showed the way to the people of the Indian subcontinent to attain independence from British rule. "Bhagat Singh was born in Banga a village of what was then Lyallpur (now Faisalabad) on September 27, 1907. He didn't offer his life for a specific country, region or the nation, as he did this
Pak demands end to US drone strikes
Islamabad: A Pakistani parliamentary commission demanded an end to American drone attacks inside the country and an apology for deadly US air strikes in November as part of a review of its near-severed relations with the United States. The commission was tasked with going over ties with Washington after errant air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and led to the closure of US and Nato supply lines to Afghanistan. The incident presented an opportunity for the army furious at the Americans and under public pressure following the raid on Osama bin Laden last year that was seen in Pakistan as a violation of the country's sovereignty - to gain a negotiating advantage in its turbulent relationship with Washington. "The US must review its footprints in Pakistan," commission head Raza Rabbani said, reading the recommendations.
only to save the people from the British rulers' massive tyranny and plundering," said Abdullah Malik, head of the Bhagat Singh Foundation. "He was of the view that the British rulers had illegally possessed the region just to loot its resources, depriving those who actually had the right to use these," Malik said while addressing the participants of the ceremony that marked the 81st death anniversary of the freedom fighter. Malik said civil society organizations of Pakistan believed that the heroes of the independence movement, including Singh, should be recognised without any discrimination. "Though Singh was a hero of the independence movement before 1947, today's historians have forgotten him and several others," he said.
New Delhi: Soon after removing restrictions on import of goods from India, Pakistan has sought immediate supplies of petrol from the country to meet widening deficit. "I discussed importing petrol from India during talks with India’s Petroleum Secretary G C Chaturvedi here," Pakistan Secretary for Petroleum and Natural Resources Muhammad Ejaz Chaudhry said on the sidelines of the 7th Asia Gas Partnership Summit here. Pakistan, which has shortage of fuel, is looking at starting petrol imports from India using tankers as early as next month but issues of quality and specification need to be sorted out before that. New Delhi has agreed, in-principle, to supply fuel to Pakistan from Bhatinda, where Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd is about to commission a refinery. Also, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has a fuel depot at Bhatinda which can supply petrol and other products to Pakistan. Pakistan, Chaudhry said, was keen on importing other fuels as well but for the time being it has
requirement of only petrol. Officials of the two countries will meet next month to finalise modalities. The biggest hurdle is the fuel specification - while Pakistan sells Euro-II grade fuel, Indian refineries produce petrol and diesel meeting Euro-III & IV standards. Chaudhry said Pakistan would call on India if it needs diesel and jet fuel in future. "When we need jet fuel or diesel, our first port of call will be India." While the fuel exports, to begin with, will be through tankers, a dedicated pipeline may be built in future. Recently, Pakistan liberalised imports, lifting restrictions on all but 1,200 products. It is also expected to give India the MostFavoured Nation (MFN) trade status that would help normalise trade by ending huge restriction.
Pak court to charge Osama’s family for illegal stay Islamabad: A Pakistani court is set to charge five members of Osama bin Laden’s family with illegally entering and living in the country, their defense lawyer said. The alQaida chief’s family has been in Pakistani detention since last May, when US commandos raided the house where they were living in the northwest army town of Abbottabad and shot and killed bin Laden. Pakistan was outraged by the raid because it was not informed beforehand. Officials have insisted they did not know the al-Qaida chief was living there, and the US has not found any evidence that they did. A Pakistani court will charge three of bin Laden’s widows and two of his daughters on April 2 when the hearing against them resumes, said
their lawyer, Mohammad Amir. The court gave the five women copies of the case and evidence against them, he said. Pakistani legal experts have said the maximum punishment the women could receive is five years in jail. Bin Laden and his wives were living with eight of their children and three employees in Abbottabad. Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said previously that the children not involved in the case were free to leave Pakistan or could stay with their mothers for the duration of the trial. One of the widows is known to be from Yemen, another from Saudi Arabia. The nationality of the third woman is unclear. One of their relatives has reportedly visited Pakistan recently to
urge authorities to let them leave the country. But it appears he was unsuccessful. Bin Laden, the subject of a massive international manhunt, had been living in Abbottabad for at least five years before the CIA traced his whereabouts. The unilateral American raid humiliated and angered the Pakistani army, which has also faced uncomfortable questions over why it wasn’t aware of bin Laden’s presence. A government commission is investigating the affair, but few expect it to come up with many answers. Its members have interviewed the wives. Last month, the government destroyed the three-storeyed compound the bin Laden clan was living in, removing a concrete reminder of the country’s association with the world’s most wanted man.
Pak army chief makes secret visit to UK
London: Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani visited the UK as part of ongoing defence engagement with Pakistan. Earlier, Pakistan military had said Kayani had called on UK chief of general staff General Sir Peter Wall. "The meeting was followed by discussions on issues of professional interest." The highlight of the visit reportedly was the briefing on transformation of UK army programme. The two generals also discussed areas of future dialogue on security and defence issues. After British Prime Minister David Cameron's criticism of Pakistan during his visit to India in July 2010, his officials appear to have reined him in, with the UK's foreign office clearly not sharing such sentiments.
Pak SC defers Gilani’s contempt case hearing
Islamabad: Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned a contempt case against Yousuf Raza Gilani till April 12 after the prime minister's lawyer said that he would be unable to continue his arguments as he was unwell. Gilani's lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan was unable to appear before a seven-judge bench led by Justice Nasir-ulMulk as he had food poisoning. When proceedings resumed on Tuesday, the bench asked the lawyer if he was fit to continue his arguments. Ahsan replied that he would be unable to do so. Later the court adjourned the hearing of the case.
Hindu girl’s conversion case in Pak SC
Islamabad: The controversy surrounding the conversion of a 19-year-old Hindu girl, Rinkel Kumari, to Islam, and her marriage to a Muslim youth, remained unresolved when the supreme court on Monday put off recording her statement. The court is to judge whether she was converted forcibly. The matter will come up again on April 18. Until then, Rinkel and her husband Naveed Shah will stay in a shelter home, the court said. Daya Kumar, one of Rinkel's relatives, said that she wanted to go with her parents but the court said that she should record her statement free from pressure.
10 militants killed in suicide attack on Pak mosque
Islamabad: At least 10 militants were killed and several injured when a suicide bomber targeted a mosque inside a base of the banned terror group in the Khyber tribal region of northwest Pakistan. The attacker struck at the time of Friday prayers at the base of Lashkar-e-Islam in the remote Tirah Valley, which borders Afghanistan. The blast ripped through the mosque-cummadrassa, killing 10 people instantly. The bomber detonated his explosive vest when some Lashkar-e-Islam militants intercepted him and opened fire. The Lashkar-e-Islam base is run by Yar Walil Khan, the nephew of the group's chief, Mangal Bagh Afridi. The fate of Yar Wali Khan could not immediately be ascertained.
US Army sergeant to face 17 murder counts in Afghan killings
Washington: US Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, accused of killing Afghan civilians, including women and children, in a shooting rampage in Kandahar province recently, will be charged with 17 counts of murder, a US official said. Earlier accounts of the incident, which has damaged USAfghan relations, had tallied 16 victims, including nine children and three women. Bales, 38, a four-tour combat veteran, is being held at military detention center in Leavenworth, Kansas.
US wants constructive ties with Pakistan
Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington wants an honest, constructive and mutually beneficial relationship with Islamabad as it remains committed to its ties with Pakistan despite recent ups and downs. "We want an honest, constructive, mutually beneficial relationship with Pakistan. We remain committed through the recent ups and downs," she said.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Gujarat to have first camel milk dairy soon
Gujarat will soon get its first commercial dairy, for processing of camel milk into various products, in Kutch district following necessary provisions made by the state government in the 2012-13 budget. A proposal in this regard has been received by the government from the Kutch District Cooperative Milk Union or the Sarhad Dairy. A local union of camel breeders - Kutch Unt Uchherak Maldhari Sangathan (KUUMS) has been formed to develop milk collection networks, while a Kutchbased NGO, Sahjeevan, has been roped into mobilise the camel breed-
Ahmedabad wins World City Prize
After a survey ranked Ahmedabad as the most liveable city in India recently, it has now got special mention at the recently concluded Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize (WCP). Instituted by the Singapore Redevelopment Authority, WCP is a biennial international award recognizing individuals and organizations for outstanding contribution to creating vibrant, liveable and sustainable urban communities. The awards will be given away in the upcoming World Cities Summit to be held in Singapore between July 1 and 4. While New York took the top prize of S$ 3,00,000, Ahmedabad has been included with six major cities for special mention including Cape Town, Brisbane, Copenhagen, Malmö of Sweden and Vancouver.
ers and spread awareness with regard to economic and nutritional importance of camel milk. Also, the Gujarat Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) or Amul has agreed in principle for marketing of the camel milk which is high in nutrition and low in fat, state government officials said. "The government is
planning to set up a dairy for commercial processing of camel milk, for which provision has been made in the 2012-13 budget," Director of Animal Husbandry Dr A J Kachhiapatel said. "Camel has been used for transportation in Kutch region since ages. Earlier the Maldharis used to get good income from the sale of male camels. But with the development in transportation means, sale of camels have decreased and so has their income," Kachhiapatel said. Hence to provide the Maldharis with alternative income, it has been planned to market camel milk, he added.
Gay sex not a crime, accepts Indian govt The government of India told the Supreme Court that it has no problem with consensual sex in private between gay adults, embracing the 2009 landmark verdict of the Delhi High Court. “The government accepts the correctness of the HC decision decriminalizing Section 377 as far as it concerned consensual sex in private between adults,” Attorney General G E Vahanvati told a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya, which is hearing a bunch of appeals against the July 2, 2009, verdict of the HC. Delhi HC had in 2009 ordered decriminalizing gay sex in private between consenting adults that was feted by gay activists and liberals as a breakthrough for the struggle for the recognition of alternative sexuality. They
should be pleased also with Attorney General’s submission since the Centre never opposed the judgment. However, Vahanvati’s statement in the SC may appear to mark a shift from passive acquiescence into the HC verdict towards concurrence with it. Interestingly, it took an embarrassing message mixup for the Centre to clarify its position on endorsing the 2009 verdict. Vahanvati said lack of communication between the MHA and the law officer led to the confusion and reiteration of the old view before the apex court. This was immediately corrected by filing of an affidavit by the home secretary, he added. Giving background view to the bench, the AG said, A Group of Ministers went through the HC verdict.
Anna Hazare storms Delhi, warns of another stir Pushing aside the December debacle activist Anna Hazare returned in full force to Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Sunday, setting an August deadline for the government to file cases against its 14 "corrupt'' Cabinet ministers. Energized by the surging crowd at his day-long fast, Team Anna also demanded investigation and trial against over 1,300 elected representatives (MPs and MLAs) who are facing criminal charges to be completed within the next six months. Hazare, who had been battling ill health for over two months, looked sharp and combined the attack against politicians of all hues, with his earthy wit that was met with much gusto and applause. "FIRs must be registered against the corrupt (Union) ministers by August or there will be 'jail bharo' agitation across the country. We have to be ready for this. A date will
be announced later. I will travel across the country after the session ends on May 15 and decide a date," Hazare said. In their provocative speeches Team Anna members named nearly 25 politicians alleging that there were complaints of corruption against them and strong anti-corruption laws or protection could not be expected from such polity. Hazare also appeared to be sensitive to the charge that the group had “insulted'' Parliament taking the opportunity to emphasis that it was the political representatives with dubious antecedents who had defamed the House. Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal, who is already battling three privilege notices for calling MPs “murderers, rapists'' appeared defiant listing out 14 “corrupt'' cabinet ministers. He argued that allegations against these
ministers had been raised in newspapers and TV expose and he had no direct evidence of the wrong-doing but the allegations should be investigated nonetheless. Lok Sabha to consider censure motion against Team Anna Meanwhile, Lok Sabha is likely to consider a censure motion against Team Anna, asking them to refrain from using derogatory language against members of parliament. The censure motion, if adopted and voted in favour by a majority in the house, would mean that Team Anna members would be criticised but won't be called to the house unlike under a privilege motion. Lok Sabha sources said National Democratic Alliance (NDA) convenor Sharad Yadav, has already given the notice to Speaker Meira Kumar.
In divine light By Rajen Vakil
Who will go ahead? We have previously discussed about the 12 years that the Pandavas spent in the forest. During that period Arjuna had gone to the heavens (the world of Indra) to learn the secrets of divine weapons. While Arjuna was away for six years, the other brothers, along with Draupadi, had gone on a long pilgrimage. Rishi Lomesh took them on this wonderful journey. The time for Arjuna to return from the heavens was now approaching. He was to arrive on the summit of a mountain called Gandhamadana. This peak was at a very secret, well-guarded spot in the Himalayas. Only Rishi Lomesh knew how to get there. The rishi called Yudhisthira and said, “O great king, we have crossed many mountains and rivers in the last six years. We will now enter the most secret and mysterious parts of the Himalayas. See how these seven streams go to form the great river Ganga. Mortal man will never get to lay his eyes on this wondrous scene. Only the gods can come here. Please sit at this spot to meditate and once you enter into samadhi, everything will be revealed to you.” Yudhisthira sat cross legged and the rishi led him on in deep medita-
sounds. Enter that mountain, I will enter with you, here lies the lord of lords and I pray to him to protect you.” In this way the great rishi Lomesh took the P a n d a v a Yudhisthira through the most mysterious of inner journeys. Yu d h i s t h i ra then called Bhima and said, “O Vrukodara, the journey ahead past the mountain of Kailas is very dangerous. It is not possible for Yudhisthira Draupadi to walk and travel this path. O Bhima, together tion. “You will see two with Sahdeva, Draupadi, mountains, Swetagiri and all our retinue of cooks Mandar. Here lives and servants, and all the Kubera, the king of the Brahmins who have been Yakshas and the keeper of walking with us, stay Indra’s treasure. The lord here. Only Nakula, Rishi Kuber is guarded and Lomesh and I will go served by 80,000 ahead. You do understand Gandharvas and Kinnars. that they will not be able He has four times that to withstand the difficulmany Yakshas with him. ties ahead. You and All of them can take on Sahdeva will stay here various forms at will and and protect them. The know the art of wielding three of us will be able to all kinds of weapons. go further by the power of Kubera, also known as tapas.” Manibhadra, has untold Bhima was not satiswealth and has the power fied and answered, to move at the speed of “Arjuna has been away for wind, and is equal in more than five years and strength to Indra. As you each day Draupadi has go deep in meditation, been yearning to see him. you will see the mountain There is no way she will called Jambu, from the agree to remain here.” summit of which you will hear the most divine of To be continued… All past articles on the Mahabharata can be accessed from http://epaper.asianvoice.com or from http://www.3stepbreath.com/mahabharata.html
!"#$%&'%(")%(&$%*$+%()",#-%*. ./0%1!"#"$%&'(#2 Asian Business Publications Ltd have a proud history of publishing the popular Gujarat Samachar and Asian Voice news weeklies - the largest sold Asian news weeklies in the UK. The publications are in its 40th year and to commemorate this special occasion we are organising a special Summer mela in London. The mela promises to display diverse colours of South Asian Culture especially Gujarat by bringing people together in a festive ambience where everyone can enjoy food, music, dance. The mela will be mainly divided into seven stall zones viz. food & drink,
education and entertainment, Health & Medical, Travel & Tourism, Property & Investment, Banking & Finance, Fashion & Wedding and many more. Visitors will
have opportunity to have endless fun, do some shopping, enjoy the days entertainment, eat some tasty food, meet near and dear ones or dance to their
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Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
US visa norms ease for Indian tourists, students In Focus Indians renewing visas to the US within four years will be exempted from a personal interview. Announcing this assistant secretary of state for consular affairs Janice Jacobs said in New Delhi that the new rules would apply to visa categories B1, B2, C and D. Jacobs, who arrived for the US-India consular dialogue, is likely to face New Delhi's concern about the growing rate of rejection of Indian work visas by the US. "This new programme will permit consular officers to waive interviews for some qualified applicants who are renewing their visa within 48 months or four years, of expiration of their previous visa and within the same classification as the previous visa," Jacobs said. She
clarified that these new rules would apply "for tourists, business travellers, crew members and for students." "Our consulates in India are introducing a new programme to streamline the visa renewal process. Over time, this programme has the potential to benefit hundreds
CBI probe ordered into Indian Army chief’s bribe offer charge
India’s Army chief General V K Singh will not fade away as an old soldier. He has fired another damaging salvo at the government, disclosing that he was offered a Rs 140million bribe by a lobbyist barely six months after he took over charge in 2010. His disclosure prompted a rattled government to order a “comprehensive” CBI inquiry into the matter. Defence minister A K Antony, on the back foot after opposition MPs forced adjournment of both Houses of Parliament on Monday, said, “The allegations are serious. We have to handle it…I have taken action (by ordering the inquiry).” Although Gen Singh did not name the lobbyist, an Army HQ press statement on March 5 had directly accused Lt-General Tejinder Singh, who retired as the chief of the Defence Intelligence Agency in July 2010, of spreading “salacious and mala fide stories”. The CBI quickly constituted a team to probe the matter and lodge a case, marking yet another twist in the continuing saga of unseemly controversies dogging the 1.13-million strong
army - from Gen Singh’s bitter tussle with the defence ministry over his age to the force being accused of clandestinely tapping phones of senior ministry officials, all of which seem to be intertwined. The latest allegation is sure to mark Gen Singh’s tenure as one of the most controversy-ridden in Indian Army’s history. It left the government squirming and saw the opposition stalling Parliament and demanding an explanation on what had been done on the Army chief ’s complaint. Gen Singh’s penchant to repeatedly embarrass the government has further reduced his popularity in the higher echelons of UPA-II, while also sharpening the civil-military divide like never before.
of thousands of visa applicants here in India," she said. However, this may not apply to everyone, who satisfy the norms. US consular officers, she said, would have the liberty to call any applicant to appear for an interview in view of security concerns. "So, maintaining strict security standards in our visa process is a fundamental importance to all of our citizens. For that reason, our consular officers may request an applicant to appear in person for interview at any time for any reason during the visa application process," she said. According to the US Embassy, more than 670,000 non-immigrant visa applications were processed last year, an 11% increase from
2010. However, there is a difference between the US and India on the issuance of L-1 visas, which are temporary work visas for movement within the same company. Jacobs insisted that India remained on top of the list as recipient for employment and work visas. "We have issued a record number of employment based visa to Indian nationals both in H1B and L category," she said. However, James Herman, Minister (Counsellor) for Consular Affairs to India, added, "I think the positive message here is that if you look at employment visas at large, we have issued a record number of H visas which we believe that lot of L visa categories should have been given H visas.
Pak deputy AG performs seva at gurdwaras
A tall, fair man in a maroon kurta sits hunched on the floor on Sunday afternoon, polishing shoes at a room in Delhi’s Gurdwara Rakabganj, where devotees leave their shoes before entering the shrine. It’s a common sight in gurdwaras, except that the man in question is Pakistan’s deputy attorney general, Muhammad Khurshid Khan, performing seva (community service). Khan, 62, is an eminent lawyer and a devout Muslim from Pakistan’s Peshawar province. He was part of a Pakistani delegation to Delhi for a judicial conference. “But, I was more keen on visiting various places of worship here to promote harmony between India and Pakistan,” said Khan. Khan also polished shoes at the Gurdwara Sisganj, visited Birla Temple and Hanuman Mandir. “I seek harmony among all religions,” said Khan, who is proud of Pakistan’s pluralistic heritage. The plundering of that heritage by religious fanatics such as the Taliban pains him. “I want to tell the world that it’s unfair to tarnish a whole community for the sins of a few. I am a Muslim, not a terrorist; I am a Khan, not a terrorist; I am from Pakistan,
but not a terrorist,” said Khan, a Pakhtoon who ran for the National Assembly in Pakistan twice. Khan’s tryst with temples and gurudwaras began in 2010 to “heal the wounds of Pakistani minorities by becoming their sevadar”. For him, it was a penance for the crimes against Pakistan’s minorities. In February that year, the Taliban had kidnapped three Sikhs from Peshawar and demanded a $ 235,000 ransom. Pakistan army rescued two of them, but the third, Jaspal Singh, was beheaded by the captors. Khan was perturbed that killings in the name of Islam brought a bad name to not only Muslims and Pakistan but also to his people, the Pakhtoons. Jaspal’s killing weighed on his conscience. “When I visited Jaspal’s house to pay condolence, I was filled with remorse,” Khan said. The next day, he went to Gurudwara Bhai Joga Singh in Peshawar and sat on the steps. He could hear the chants wafting out of the shrine. “I felt peace,” said Khan. He started reading about Guru Nanak and approached a member of the gurdwara management committee to allow him the opportunity for seva.
UNHRC resolution censures Lanka for rights violations Continued from page 1 International rights groups have alleged that up to 40,000 civilians died in the final months of Sri Lanka's military campaign to crush the Tamil Tigers, who waged a bloody decades-long cam-
paign for a separate homeland for minority Tamils. We will not abide by UNHRC resolution Sri Lanka on Monday made it clear that it will not abide by the UNHRC resolution that censured it over its
human rights record and said it would only implement "feasible" recommendations of its own panel that probed the three-decade-long bloody civil war. "We had taken a decision not to abide by the resolution irrespective of the result",
external affairs minister G L Peiris told reporters. We would treat it as an interference in the sovereignty of the country, he said. He said the countries that voted for Sri Lanka and abstained at voting had valued the country's principled stand.
Gujarat village bids adieu to prostitution, organize mass wedding Continued from page 28 The organization also successfully got the village connected with Vadgam, the nearest connecting point with the district. “Things were moving, however, one thing that really bothered us was the fact that the young girls were being pushed into flesh trade by their families and we could do nothing about it,” says Mittal Patel,
director VSSM. However, tireless efforts by Mittal and her team for last few years have finally resulted in a changed mindset of the villagers. “It all started with one girl Hemi, who after attending our vocational training classes declined to enter prostitution and demanded to get married,” says Mittal. While the family initially was reluctant, gradually they came around and agreed to Hemi’s demand.
“We then saw an opportunity and proposed a community marriage. After some persuasion, the village elders agreed to give seven girls in marriage,” Mittal said. Now, it is time for celebration of liberation for the village women. “I was in the trade and now don’t entertain clients anymore,” says Joni Sarania. “It is a great thing that the situation has changed and our daughters will not
have to go through what we have, any more. At least their lives will be saved,” she says. Echoing Joni, Ramesh Sarania, Hemi’s brother and a community leader too sounds hopeful of a new beginning. “First Hemi wanted to get married and then we spoke to the community and couple of other girls too showed interest and Mittalben promised us the financial assistance for marriage,” he says.
Cong gains in by-polls, wins Gujarat, Karnataka seats
In the assembly by- polls results announced last week, in five states, the Congress wrested two seats from BJP in states ruled by it. The Congress snatched Mansa assembly seat from the ruling BJP by over 8,000 votes in Gujarat. Congress candidate Babuji Thakore defeated BJP's DD Patel in the constituency which has remained loyal to BJP since 1995. In Karnataka, the Congress wrested the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha seat from it, causing an embarrassment to chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda, who had represented the constituency before occupying the top post. Former minister and Congress candidate K Jayaprakash Hegde defeated BJP's V Sunil Kumar by 45,724 votes. In Kerala, the ruling Congress-led UDF retained the Piravom assembly seat with its candidate Anoop Jacob winning by a margin of 12,070 votes. In Andhra Pradesh TRS candidates bagged four seats, while the BJP emerged victorious in one constituency in the by-elections held for seven assembly segments in Andhra Pradesh. In Tamil Nadu the ruling AIADMK retained Sankarankoil seat with V. Muthuselvi defeating her DMK rival by over 68,000 votes. In Odisha ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) won the Athagarh assembly byelection, defeating the Congress by over 47,000 votes. Former sports minister Ranendra Pratap Swain got 87,604 votes while Congress' Suresh Mohapatra trailed with 40,214. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stood a poor third (2,452 votes).
Bhopal gas victims to get Rs 1.34 bn more aid The government of India sanctioned Rs 1.34 billion for the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy. A cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved recommendations of the group of ministers on the disaster which had sought payment of ex-gratia to 9,000 victims suffering from cancer and total renal failure. "An amount of Rs 1.34 billion has been approved for this purpose. The approval will provide more succour to the Bhopal Gas Victims," a spokesperson said.
5 Indian Americans receive Simons fellowships Five Indian Americans were selected for Simons fellowships in mathematics and Theoretical Physics, on the basis of their proposed research plans. The Simons foundation based in New York City aims towards the progress of research frontiers in math and science and it provides fund to the selected people to carry out their research work. One of the winners is Senthil Todadari, who is a Physics Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was selected in Theoretical Physics category. In his research, Senthil tries to understand the phenomenon in materials whose properties does not fit with the conventional theories of the physics of solids.
Maoists kills 15 policemen A landmine triggered by suspected Maoist guerrillas killed at least 15 policemen in Maharashtra, the latest sign of the rebels' strength just days after they kidnapped two Italians. The personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were travelling on a bus in a remote district when the blast hit, the reports said. A CRPF spokesman declined to comment or confirm any details of the attack when contacted. Also known as Naxals, the Maoists have fought against the government for decades in a huge swathe of central India.
Swine flu case detected in Gujarat A 26-year-old youth, who was admitted in a private hospital in Anand, has tested positive for swine flu on Monday. After the previous nation-wide outbreak of swine flu, this is the first such positive case reported in Gujarat. Since cases of influenza H1N1 virus - commonly known as swine flu - had come to light in neighbouring states of Rajasthan and Maharashtra, Gujarat health department was already on high alert.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Abhay Mangaldas gives a new meaning to Ahmedabad’s heritage By Purvi Apurva Shah Ahmedabad came a step closer to realising its dream of becoming a world heritage city with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) nominating the walled city for Unesco's 'World Heritage List'. A creative genius - Abhay Mangaldas, an anchor to conserve heritage and make the old world charm as charming as ever. He says, “"Life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backward." And he worked full-on to restore and recycle the rich heritage that was passed to him by his forefathers in Ahmedabad. He left huge business prospects only to revive the ancient heritage of Ahmedabad and let people a chance to enjoy and celebrate the heritage of Ahmedabad. He made an effort to reach out to foreign tourists and let them bask in the glory of the past. Born and brought up in Ahmedabad and proud to be a Gujarati, he created contemporary lifestyle that is rooted in tradition. He renovated and recycled a heritage property to flower into a hotel, restaurant, café, craft centre, cosmetology centre that too in such a way that it spells heritage in a big way. He introduced heritage walk and heritage exploration in the form of online connection, contest and workshops. With the revival of heritage, he gave rise to many home-industries and provide livelihood of many. Abhay, the scion of one of the bestknown families of Ahmedabad, wanted to preserve the rich heritage of architecture, craft and cuisine. Abhay returned to his roots after completing Master's in Mass Communication (with a major in Computer Graphics and Animation) from Boston University and later spend eight years in different ventures in Mumbai. But soon he realised that he was losing his individuality. Mumbai was so driven by commerce that giving birth to ideas and innovations was impossible. It was time to go back to his roots. His father, a textile industrialist and an architect, instilled in him the love of heritage. His career began at the family-owned Victoria Mills, an institution that was then unfortunately in a state of decline. In 1995 he took the dynamic decision of selling the mill, salvaging the real estate and separating the company’s subsidiaries. It was providence that in the family separation, the company that he heads purchased his great grand father's mansion and he has since been immersed in its restoration and reuse. He wears the hats of both creative head and operations head for his hotel, restaurants and retail ventures. His creation, a boutique hotel, the House of Mangaldas Girdhardas, is an attempt not just to connect with his roots but to enable others to understand the Gujarati ethos as well. The restaurant, Agashiye serves the typical Gujarati food that probably your great granny must have made for you, the old cuisine that is saved from its decline. Mangaldas ni haveli is a two hundred – year-old intricately carved house that is turned into a café that it looks ancient, but warm and inviting. It also has a rich history, as it once belonged to poet Bholanath Divetia and was blessed by the frequent visits by famed poet Akho Bhagat. It is situated in old Pol and its structure and formation makes you live the old times. Lotus Pool, an indoor pool restaurant, has a theme of old mythology symbols and floral motifs, makes you feel as if having a royal banquet with kings and queens in their heritage property. ‘Agashiye’, a terrace eatery, is an award winning Gujarati thali restaurant that serves the finest Gujarati cuisine in the traditional finedining style. ‘The Green House’, a courtyard café, is another popular
eatery that serves ala carte options from Gujarat, Rajasthan and South India, including seasonal fresh juices, hand-churned ice-creams and freshly brewed coffees and teas. The Green House restaurant is vegetarian but eggs are served during breakfast. The restaurant serves typical Gujarati food and thus saved some of the vanishing old dishes. It is like maa-ka-khana or probably the food that your great granny must have served you. Ginger coconut is the house wine and chaas is the beer at the House of Mangaldas Girdhardas. Abhay is so committed to Gujarati cuisine
that he gave it a new dimension when he created this unique boutique hotel. A magnificent structure set in the midst of bustling Ahmedabad, the House of MG offers visitors the pleasures of homecooked food. Abhay gave way to the old Gujarati culinary be a lifestyle with cooking classes and even published various books that has the oldest food recopies. “It is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind. Any efforts to re-root to our heritage will be successful only if people are made aware of what it really means. Our food,
our clothing, our homes, our language, customs and rituals… in-fact, our entire lifestyle was woven on the threads of our heritage. Our heritage is our anchor and without it we are adrift,” he says. He launched another initiative, ‘Ahmedabad4whc’ – a Facebook group that attempts to get youngsters explore our architectural and cultural heritage through a host of activities organized in the Walled City of Ahmedabad. The group is also creating a one of a kind Google Map of Ahmedabad that documents all the local crafts, foods, religious places, listed heritage properties and places of interest in the Walled City so that people anywhere in the world can learn about Gujarat’s heritage at the click of a mouse.
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TRAVEL & HISTORY
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
PURVI’S TRAVEL BAG By Purvi Apurva Shah
Ahmedabad a connoisseur’s delight
where there are as many as 600 pols. Pols means gate or entry and is derived from the Sanskrit word Pratoli. Each pol is a selfcontained neighbourhood with shelters for people, chabutaras for feeding birds, community wells, temples etc. These pols were small villages by themselves. Each pol has a unique name, secret passages and protecting gates. The first pol is Mahurat pol. There is Zaveri Pol for jewelers and so on. Entering the 1st Pole – Harkunvar Shetani’s haveli: Typical houses in the pols are called “havelis.” They are made of wood and bricks which have protected them over the years from earthquakes. Our forefathers were more intelligent and advanced than us. Whether it is Koba Ahmedabad’s pol Museum of Jain Artifacts and Manuscripts begins at 8 am at the or Vishalla Museum of Swaminarayan Mandir in Utensils, this point is Kalupur with a slideshow. proved once again. Each It takes you through varipol has beautiful architecous pols, havelis, Hindu ture, provision for and Jain temples, humans and birds mosques and various sites and animals, natural including the famous lighting and ventilaManek Chowk, and ends tion planning etc. at Jama Masjid at the cenAhmedabad has ter of the city at 10:30 am. a rich mix of Hindu The House of MG and Jain temples offers another guided 80 along with finest Islamic minute heritage walk. It monuments. The carved starts at the House of MG wooden houses are wonand ends at the Jama derful. At one chowk, we Masjid. The House of MG can see Persian, Maratha, is in the memory of British and Islamic style Mangaldas Girdhardas, houses – 4 cultures in one one of Ahmedabad’s area! Kalupur famous businessmen and Swaminrayan Temple Julta Minara is the first Swaminarayan Temple of the world. There are 60 Jain Temples in the 1.5 km Heritage Walk. Famous Poet and Reformer Kavi Dalpatram’s house has been converted into philanthropists of the Dalpatram Memorial. 20th century. He started Befittingly, many plays his career as a store-keepand skits are performed at er in a textile mill. Within the memorial. Manek a decade, he became its Chowk is one of the owner and soon after, he biggest gold markets and was overseeing an empire everyday millions of of a clutch of mills. rupees and tonnes of gold Some key take-away change hands. One can from the walk: Heritage see bricks of 5 kg gold walk is in the old city, The best way to learn about any city is through friends who know the place, but in the old city of Ahmedabad, you can get to know the city and its intricacies even as a stranger. The best way is to go for a heritage walk, if possible, at night; it’s more peaceful to enjoy the city when there is no traffic around. And the weather is also pleasant at night. Ahmedabad geared up to become UNESCO’s first heritage city of India. It has a living heritage which is not seen anywhere else. This heritage walk tour is conducted by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, with guides. The tour
here! Manek Chowk and adjoining areas are a busy market. One gets variety of goods here at cheap prices. The famous Rukmini Pani-Puri wallah is also here. Another landmark is Sidi Saiyyed ni jali which was carved out artistically from a single marble. The tomb of queens, Rani-No-Haziro, has become fashion street for
women’s clothes. AEC Clock Tower- previously, most people did not have watches; clock towers were therefore placed near the town center and were often the tallest structures there. The construction of the Bhadra citadel may be regarded as the oldest fort of the royal monuments built by Sultan Ahmad Shah. Teen Darwaja gateway was built in the year 1411 as the royal entrance to Sidi Saiyad Mosque
Maidan-e-Shahi leading to the Bhadra Citadel. The busy Gandhi Road passed through Teen Darwaja Gate where you can encounter numerous shops, peddlers, streets vendors selling clothes, religious artifacts, fireworks, colorful pigments, cobblers, or street tea vendors holding a kettle attached to a coal warmer in one hand and cup and saucers in the other hand making a melodious clapping sound and shouting “Chai…Chai” which is hot milk tea. Jami Masjid mosque was probably the largest in the subcontinent. It stands on 260 pillars supporting 15 domes. You can reach Ahmedabad in Gujarat by direct flights or trains from Delhi, Mumbai or any other major cities.
By Dr Anil Mehta
Lord Ripon : A friend of India Lord Ripon (George, Frederick, Robinson; 18271909) was a British statesman who in more than 50 years of public service occupied important Cabinet posts and served as Viceroy of India (188084). As viceroy his sympathy towards Indian political aspirations made him popular in India but aroused controversy back home. Ripon was born at the most famous address (10, Downing Street); his father Frederick Robinson was PM 1827-28. He attended neither school nor university but was educated at the family home in Lincolnshire. Although his father was a Tory, he was a downright Liberal and later in life a Catholic convert. He entered Parliament as an MP for Hull in 1852 and served in various ministerial posts including as Undersecretary and then Secretary of State for War and for India. He was also made a Privy Councillor. In 1859 he succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Ripon taking his seat to the House of Lords. Ripon was a loyal Gladstonite and after Gladstone’s re-election as PM in 1880 he was designated Viceroy of India replacing Lord Lytton. On his arrival in India he set out on a partial reversal of Lytton’s policies. He ended the 2nd Afghan War and recalled the Indo-British forces from that country. In 1881, he passed the Factory Act providing some relief in working conditions for children. Efforts were made for famine relief and improve elementary education. He also lowered the Salt Tax. Furthermore, the Vernacular Press Act (1878), the hated legacy of Lytton which placed censorship on the native press was repealed. The Act was a great blow to the freedom of the press. The press and political associations alike were denied the right to voice their grievances. Ripon in keeping with liberal sentiments allowed local lan-
guage papers equal freedom with those in English, a measure profoundly welcomed by the press and educated class. Ripon’s liberal approach was manifest in the reforms he introduced in India. He wanted to provide opportunities to educated Indians to share in the government of the country. He preferred to begin at the municipal and district levels. Elections to the municipal and rural boards were introduced under him. He established a framework of local selfgovernment with partially elected board; at least two-thirds of whose members would be locals who best appreciated the needs and problems of their own areas. They were to assume responsibilities for such things as roads, schools, and sewage. This was the first step towards creating representative government in the subcontinent. Ripon had hoped in this way to restore Indian confidence, not only in British rule but also in their own capacity to govern themselves. In practice, however, implementation proved more difficult. His liberal goals were not shared by the majority of his senior officials who were apathetic to the changes. They either opposed them or applied delaying tactics. Ilbert Bill : During his time in India, Ripon introduced legislation (Ilbert Bill, 1883), which gave rights to Indian judges to handle cases of European defendants. The idea was to create equality among British and Indian judges. Though well-intentioned and equitable, the Bill raised such a storm of protest by the Europeans (‘White Backlash’), that the Viceroy had to bow to a compromise. The storm over Ilbert Bill caught Ripon unaware and the issue was finally resolved by allowing Europeans tried by a native judge to request a jury of whom half would be Europeans. The bitter controversy over the Ilbert Bill showed the deep racial
prejudices of many of the British in India. However, not all Englishmen were unsympathetic towards Indian aspirations for freedom; there were exceptions too. For example, Alan Octavian Hume, a retired Indian civil servant and founder of the Indian National Congress (later simply Congress) in 1885 was English. Some regard him as the true ‘father’ of the Indian National congress. Ripon’s impact on India was tremendous judging from a moving send-off he received before sailing back to Britain at the end of his term of office in 1884. People came to Bombay from faraway places to express their appreciation. He was fondly remembered by Indians, but he had less success with his British contemporaries who branded him Indophile. He was succeeded by Lord Dufferin whose war with Burma was so expensive that all local reform measures sponsored by Ripon were abandoned. Back in England, Ripon remained politically active into old age and did many ministerial jobs including the leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords. In spite of ill health, he performed his tasks with great enthusiasm especially in Lords debates when his expertise on educational matters and India was much respected. He retired barely a year before his death in 1909 aged 81. Lord Ripon was the most popular of the 19th century viceroys. His name has become a legend among Indians. He was a champion of their freedom. Like most other viceroys he was not an imperialist. ‘what is now my dream’ he wrote to a friend in England in 1883, ‘may become a reality when I have long finished my task on earth’. Perhaps he was far ahead of his time. It took another 64 long years for his dream to become a reality in 1947.
Gujarat village bids adieu to prostitution, organize mass wedding
An age old tradition stands challenged at Vadia village in the Banaskantha district of North Gujarat. Thanks to the grit of a teenager, the Sarania community in the village has agreed to give their girls in marriage than push them into flesh trade. In the mass marriage ceremony organized recently in the village seven girls tie knots with their life partners. Twelve others got engaged also.
Saranias are one of the 28 nomadic tribes of Gujarat with more than 50,000 population spread across the state. While the state government did make some efforts to settle them, the women in Vadia village were pushed into the prostitution as the agricultural land given to them turned barren due to lack of irrigation facilities. "We had made several representations to the state government for irrigation facilities, but it all fell into
deaf ears," says Joni Sarania. With barren land, men in the village have no source of
livelihood and the onus fell on the women to keep the kitchen hearth burning.
The village with a Sarania population of about 350 adults has at least 80 girls still in the profession while about 30 more entertain single clients. The girls as young as nine or ten are often pushed into the trade. Like everywhere else, young girls earn more, ranging from Rs 15,000 to 20,000. Agents from nearby Palanpur and Mount Abu too exploit the vulnerability and pray on the women and children and take them to those areas, where
they operate under different names. Things were, however, been brightening up for the community, albeit at snail's pace. A bore well, which was lying idle for years was reactivated in 2008 by Vicharta Samuday Samarthan Manch (VSSM), an organization working for the nomadic and de-notified communities in Gujarat. The well now partly waters the agricultural land. Continued on page 26
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
5 teas that can make you slim!
The brew that energises can also help you lose weight. It's widely known that just one cup of tea can prevent strokes, arthritis, tooth decay and even keep cancer at bay. While it's regarded as nature's tranquiliser for its soothing properties, the brew also has another great benefit - it helps shed weight. Scientists have shown that tea has high levels of compounds that battle the absorption of fat. Here are 5 teas that can slimmer you... Star anise tea: promotes digestion Star anise, the fruit of a small evergreen tree (Illicium verum) native to China, can be used in the treatment of digestive troubles such an upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea etc. One may drink a tea made from it by steeping a whole pod in one cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Strain this and sweeten it if required. Sip on this slowly when an upset stomach occurs. Peppermint tea: controls what you eat If you like peppermint tea then try and rotate that with a green tea drink as both speed up digestion and thus help you burn more calories. The peppermint leaves can be used to make a light, refreshing tea, which can be drunk either hot or chilled. To prepare the tea,
take a tablespoon of fresh or dried leaves and add them to boiling water and let it steep for four to five minutes. Strain and add honey, if needed. Green tea: builds metabolism Research says the chemical EGCG found in green tea that speeds up the body's metabolism, is responsible for helping people lose the kilos - it can burn a whopping 70 calories a day! Green tea also raises the level of antioxidants. It's believed the antioxidant catechins in green tea boost metabolism and helps burn fat. Rose tea: prevents constipation One of the oldest flavouring teas available, rose tea - made by mixing fresh roses and the bud of the tea - has a major therapeutic effect on the human body. Apart from clearing toxins and beautifying the skin, rose tea contains vitamins A, B3, C, D and E and is known to act against infections. It also prevents constipation and helps one lose weight. Oolong tea: guards against obesity Research reveals that Oolong, a semi-fermented tea may have a stronger effect than even green tea. It promotes fat burning is said to help reduce cholesterol and the concentration of fat in the body. About two cups per day is recommended.
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Drink coffee to cut diabetes risk
Begin your day with a glass of green juice. It is commonly known fact that vegetable juices as opposed to fruit juices, ensure that you use a mixer and not a juicer so that you get the fiber from the veggies. Other known facts are - don't strain the juice, but have it with the pulp and almost always, include doodhi in your juicy diet. However, few know that one must opt for green juices as opposed to just vegetable juice. So what makes the green juice a better option? This is because without the fiber, fruit juice is basically sugar, which will add to your weight. So juice fruits as a treat but try and eat them whole as far as possible. While the fiber content takes a beating, juices do deliver a powerful array of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are absorbed immediately into the blood stream. However, avoid combining vegetables with fruits, as they require different enzymes for digestion. The only exception is an apple, which has a more neutral effect. Benefits of green juices Green juices are power-packed with nutrition. Green vegetables have the ability to transform sunshine into the food that all creatures consume. True to their nature, greens produce chlorophyll, which oxygenate your body. This enables us to release stored toxins in the body. Your hemoglobin (that has a similar molecular structure as that of your red blood cells) will get elevated, improving the blood circulation as a result and giving your body a boost of energy. A green juice will cleanse your digestive system, lungs, liver (which will rev up, if sluggish - causing you to retain weight) and uterus. So if you are a smoker, this is an excellent supplement to your diet. Fact file: Magnesium is essential for efficient calcium utilisation. The chloro-
Moderate consumption of coffee everyday may lower a person’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes, a new study has found. Previous researches suggested that drinking coffee cuts diabetes risk but there were conflicting results on whether it protects or promotes chronic diseases such as cancer. Now, a team in Europe claims to have found that moderate consumption of coffee everyday may lower a person’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes compared with those drinking it occasionally or not at all. In fact, drinking coffee can cut the risk of developing diabetes by nearly 30 per cent, says the study which has also revealed that the drink does not increase the risk of heart disease or cancer.
Begin your day with a glass of green juice
phyll molecule has magnesium at its centre and its impact on the body's magnesium levels is highly significant. When you include green juices in your daily diet, it helps them absorb calcium better. All green plants have Vitamins A and C, which are important co-factors for calcium absorption. Chlorophyll foods also act as a form of 'stored sunshine', to regulate calcium and Vitamin D deficiency. So if you get no sunshine, then increase the greens in your diet. Methods to follow • Always rotate your greens, don't use one green all the time. Plants carry a trace of alkaloids (which in small doses is okay) and you don't want the same alkaloids to build up in your system. • If you have a strong digestive system, blend greens in a mixer and if not, juice them. • Even though you eat a green vegetable everyday, your body will assimilate many more nutrients from blended greens rather than the ones chewed. It's always beneficial to add
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spirulina and wheat grass powder, as it increases the chlorophyll quotient in the juice. • If taste is important to you, mix dates in your juice. However, watch out if you have yeast, candida, diabetes or hypoglycemia. • They are best consumed fresh, but you can keep them only for a day at the most in the fridge. Add some lime to preserve them. • Green juices should be ingested on an empty stomach, so have it first thing in the morning or in between meals. A recipe to start with 3-4 leaves of spinach and rotate it with pak choy on other days; A fistful of parsley; A fistful of celery; 3 inches of carrots; 3 inches of doodhi or zucchini (optional); 4 broccoli florets; ! a tomato; 1 green apple (optional). Blend all the above in a blender with " cup water, do not strain, squeeze a lime into it and add some cumin (jeera) powder. You could thin it down with some warm water. While drinking it, roll it in the mouth before taking it down (this aids in digesting the juice).
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For their study, the researchers recruited 42,659 people. The volunteers, who took part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Germany, were followed up for almost nine years on average. During that time, there were 1,432 cases of type 2 diabetes diagnosed, 394 heart attacks, 310 strokes cases and 1,801 cancer cases. Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day caffeinated and decaffeinated - compared with less than one cup was not linked to a higher risk of developing a chronic disease, the findings revealed. A lower risk of 20-30 per cent of developing type 2 diabetes was linked to moderate consumption of both kinds of coffee, according to the findings.
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Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
CB Live is only a Gujarati programme in UK on MATV SKY 793 This week in CB Live, Nayan Pancholi, acclaimed ghazal and bhajan singer and tabla player will be entertaining the audience with some of his best collections. In the second half Alkaben Shah will be joined by Vinodbhai Kapasi to talk in details about the opening of Jain temple in Kenton.
Sneh Joshi - 020 8518 5500 You may find yourself hard at work behind the scenes, although that may not be apparent to others. You may find yourself caught up in a whirlwind of activity, with opportunities to advance on both the inner and outer level. There is likely to be a powerful incentive to do what remains to be done and tie up loose ends.
ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20
If you do not have a SKY, go to www.tvunetworks.com and watch CB Live on TVU Player Channel 75203
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Coming Events ! Croydon Hindu Residents have organised a protest/demonstration on Friday 30th March outside Croydon Council offices in Fell Road. The protest is in response to the Council rejecting the Hindu bid to start a school by I-Foundation. Over 6000 signatures were collected in the favour of Hindu school from all sections of the communityHindu and non Hindus. The proest starts at11.30 am and the organisers are requesting Hindus to come and support the protest. For further information please contact Paresh Mehta :email@example.com ! Ram Navmi organised by Jalaram Jyot, Repton Avenue, Sudbury, Wembley, Middx HA0 3DW on Sunday 1st April from 10am till 10pm. Contact: Mahendra Gokani 0208 841 1585 ! Young Jains UK presents Chairtri Ayambil 2012
Mansi Joshi wins Gold award in UK Maths Challenge Mansi Dipak Joshi, a student from Soar Valley College Leicester is an outstanding student who has been announced to be gifted and talented in no less than five subjects. She has also taken part in the UK Maths Challenge for which she achieved a gold award. She is a Duke of Edinburgh’s award participant and a brilliant guitarist. Her Head teacher Mr Berry has announced that he will write her name in the Principal’s book of excellence. She is the niece of Mr. Tushar Joshi, a great artist and journalist for
at Oshwal Center. Saturday 31st March 2012, 10.30 12.30pm. Oshwal Center, Coppers Lane Road, Potters Bar, Herts, EN6 4DG. Contact: Malini Shah at firstname.lastname@example.org. ! Shree Ram Navami. Sunday 1st April 2012, Aarti at 10.30am - Pujan & Ram Katha from 11am to 12.15pm, Ram Janm at 12.30pm ! Charity dinner & dance with Jay Kumar in association with Sewa UK. Friday 30th March 8pm-1am. 117-125 West Hendon Broadway, London NW9 7BP
Competition If you want to win a pair of tickets to the Bollywood Spectacular Dhamaka starring Sonu Nigam and Atif Aslam, answer this simple question. Where is Dhamaka 2012 with Sonu Nigam & Atif Aslam taking place? a. NEC Birmingham b. O2 Arena c. Wembley Stadium The correct answer should be emailed to email@example.com by 9th April 6pm along with name, full address and phone number. Please note: the two winners will be chosen on first cum first basis from the right answers received.
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TAURUS Apr 21 - May 21 The pattern of significant relationships in your life will continue to favour you. It seems that a great deal of mutual benefit will accrue because of various interactions. The underlying trend indicates that deep creative energies are stirring within you and that seemingly insignificant events will play a vital role in the future. GEMINI May 22 - June 22 Make a very conscious attempt to stick to main priorities. Organise your time so that it is not taken up entirely by the demands of other people. Ego confrontations with family members are possible now, but the best way to handle this energy is to do your best to strengthen your relationship with your family and your home base.
CANCER Jun 22 - Jul 22 Opportunities abound, so make the right choices. You should enjoy a popular phase in your life where everyone wants to invite you to parties. This will give you a chance to meet people and pursue any romantic liaisons. There will be excesses associated with splashing out on luxury items which sometimes we do not really require. LEO Jul 23 - Aug 23 You’re likely to receive insights into where everything is going and this may shape your life for months to come. Leos can look forward to advancing both personal and professional ambitions from now onwards. There are opportunities to expand your sphere of operations and you and a partner could really go places. VIRGO Aug 24 - Sep 23 A great deal will depend on how you organise your priorities this week. This does not mean that you will have to compromise your ideals but you may be obliged to realise that sometimes a more flexible approach is needed. This week stick doggedly to familiar routines and avoid all distractions where possible. LIBRA Sep 24 - Oct 23 Saturn continues its journey through your sign, lending its support for you to redefine your sense of self. It’s an exciting, expansive time, when you should find it easier to be who you are and do what you want : you may be surprised by just how far you can go. This is a tremendously exciting time for you. SCORPIO Oct 24- Nov 22 You will feel energetic and confident as the week begins. Your thinking is inspired, so listen to your thoughts. This may be a time of expansion and improved opportunity and it would be unwise to let yourself become complacent. A good time for restructuring and rethinking your aims and interests. SAGITTARIUS Nov 23 - Dec 21 Much enthusiasm goes into professional ambitions right now, but you need to be your own boss in many ways. You will be more determined to place your lifestyle on a foundation of greater security. Taking a broad perspective on the prevailing cosmic pattern, far-reaching change begins to gather momentum. CAPRICORN Dec 22 - Jan 20 You should enjoy a very popular phase in your life where everyone wants to invite you to parties. This will give you a chance to meet people and pursue any romantic liaisons that might present themselves. Your communications are extremely high making it easy to close those lucrative deals. AQUARIUS Jan 21 - Feb 19
The powerful combination of planets in your chart throws a significant light on material concerns. The cash situation continues to be rather erratic. However, problems can be avoided if you can keep everything well organised. However, there are indications of favourable changes and developments in the areas of career and employment.
PISCES Feb 20 - Mar 20 A wind of change may be in the air; attention should turn to the wider world and benefits come from broadening of horizons and mental stimuli. This is an opportune time to go ahead with your plans. All things considered, your health should be robust. The more you live up to your own set of principles the more you’ll gain.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Let Sachin decide about retirement: Srikkanth
India's chief cricket selector Kris Srikkanth said it was for batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar to decide when he should end his international career. Calls for retirement of the senior players have strengthened after the team's disastrous tour of England and Australia. Rahul Dravid retired from international cricket earlier this month and there is speculation on when Tendulkar, who was surprisingly picked for the Asia Cup, will call it a day after finally achieving his 100th international century in Dhaka recently. Srikkanth, while praising Tendulkar for the
landmark century, said whether to retire or not should be the batting maestro's personal decision. "Let Sachin only decide about it," said Srikkanth, who has come under flak for the team's poor run since winning the World Cup last year. Srikkanth, however, remained optimistic about the team's future and said winning and losing are a part of the game. "Cricket is a game where sometime we lose and sometime we win. But seeing it in the right spirit of sports, we should not forget that it is the same team which brought World Cup a
Mary Kom, Sarita Devi win gold medals The five-times world champion M C Mary Kom won the gold medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship on Sunday as India finished the event a creditable second in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. India bagged two gold, four silver and two bronze medals, their best performance in the event so far, to finish runners-up behind China out of 19 participating nations. The other gold for the country was annexed by former world champion L Sarita Devi. This was the sixth edition of the continental championship. Mary Kom was up against an opponent who had beaten her in the early stages of the Guangzhou Asian Games on
way to winning the gold. With revenge on her mind, Mary Kom never allowed her opponent to settle down and won the 51kg final 14-8. Sarita, too, convincingly beat Tajkistan’s Chorieva Mavzuna16-9 in the 60 kg category. The good thing for India is that the gold medals came in weight categories which will feature in the London Olympics.
year back. But yes, we did have a lull after that for about six to eight months," the former India captain told reporters during the launch of the book "Hunger Games" and premiere of the movie "The Hunger Games". "Having played cricket, I
know the game very well. We should always keep in mind that it's a game which has lots of up and downs. I think cricket makes people feel hungry. The hunger for the game and hunger for the runs will always be there in the country," said Srikkanth. Srikkanth was also happy with the emergence of Delhi boy Virat Kohli, who was recently elevated as the vicecaptain, as a match winner. Asked about the prospects of Kohli as the future captain, Srikkanth said: "I really can't say, but it's good for the team. I'm sure there will be many more Kohlis in future."
Chris Cairns wins libel case against Lalit Modi Chris Cairns, the former New Zealand all-rounder, has won a libel case against former IPL chief Lalit Modi in a London court. Modi will now have to pay 90,000 pounds in damages, as per a judgment by Justice David Bean. The result is a major victory for Cairns, who had sued Modi over a Twitter update the former IPL honcho had posted in January 2010, accusing him of match-fixing during season two of the now defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL). Neither Cairns nor Modi were present in London's High Court when the verdict - which is open to appeal - was announced. Justice Bean, who was hearing the case without a jury,
also awarded Cairns £400,000 in interim costs, which Modi will have to pay within 28 days. "Your client is a man of some means, you'll need to persuade me on a stay," he said when Modi's lawyer asked for a stay on damages. The judge said Modi had "singularly failed" to provide any reliable evidence that Cairns was involved in match-fixing or spot-fixing, or even strong grounds for suspicion of cheating.
Action at a Glance Discus thrower Antil qualifies for Olympics India's female discus thrower Seema Antil qualified for the 2012 London Olympics after she achieved the “A” qualifying standard with a throw of 62.60 metres at the University of California (Irvine) Open Championships. According to information, Seema achieved the mark in her first attempt. Seema has been training in California for the last six months with coach Tony Ciarelli. After achieving the qualifying target, Ciarelli didn't allow Seema to make any more attempts since she achieved the target in her first competition of the season. "I am feeling very good, I feel I could have thrown the discus over 64m today but coach would like me to save those throws for the Olympic Games. I am now looking to keep improving and achieve my target of a medal at the Olympics," said Seema in a statement.
Lionel Messi breaks Barcelona goal-scoring record Lionel Messi broke Barcelona's 60-year-old goal-scoring record with a hat-trick in a 5-3 win over La Liga rivals Granada at the Nou Camp. Messi, 24, equalled the record with a volley off a post in the 17th minute and then broke it with a lob in the 68th minute. The Argentine's third - and 234th goal - came four minutes from time. He is also now the top-scorer in La Liga this season with 34 goals from 27 games, two ahead of Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. Athletico Madrid's Falcao is third with 17 goals. "We have to congratulate Messi, he has scored so many goals and is only 24, he does not just score ordinary goals but great goals and we hope he gets lots more for us, we can compare him perhaps the Michael Jordan [American basketball legend] of football," said Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.
Asian Voice - Saturday 31st March 2012
Bangladesh lost the plot By Premen Addy Bangladesh had the Asia Cup for the asking but blew the opportunity. Pakistan, on the other hand, played like the seasoned pros they are, maintaining the pressure on their opponents, keeping their nerve and driving home the advantage in the final, pulsating overs to achieve a memorable victory by 2 runs. Three men lost Bangladesh the match: opening batsman Nizamuddin, Nasir Hussain with their static performances with the bat; and Shakadat Hossein's profligate over with the ball at the death, which gifted Pakistan 19 priceless runs and a total of 237.The heroics of Tamin Iqbal and Shakib al Hassan for Bangladesh during their run chase brought within a whisker of victory: So close and yet so far. There was heartbreak in Dhaka and the country at large. Bangladesh may live to fight another day, but few will bet on it coming soon-
er rather than later. Meanwhile, India departed early, thanks mainly to their powder puff seam attack which was torn to shreds by Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Irfan Pathan served four full tosses an over and his compatriots were equally at sea. If pace bowlers cannot deliver, why not try spin, as Pakistan did so brilliantly. Never fear, the loquacious chairman of the Indian selectors, K Srikkanth, will justify their inclusion with the usual asinine excuses. Indian cricket continues to be cabined, cribbed and confined. Only Virat Kohli brought cheer to his country with his magnificent strokeplay, while Sachin Tendulkar reached the milestone of a 100 international centuries with 114 against Bangladesh. There is not much else to celebrate. Whither India?
Herath strikes leave England reeling in Galle Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath struck in successive overs to leave England struggling on 57 for three in reply to Sri Lanka's first innings total of 318 at lunch on the second day of the first test on Tuesday. Herath struck in his second over when Jonathan Trott (12) was needlessly stumped as he attempted to charge down the pitch to a full toss. In his next over, Herath trapped England captain Andrew Strauss (26) lbw on the sweep shot, a decision which was originally given not out but overturned when Sri Lanka challenged. Trott fell on the ground while desperately trying to return to the crease, running into celebrating wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene and suffering a blow to his stomach. It took him a little
England get together after Kumar Sangakkara is dismissed.
while to get his breath back and start the long walk back to the dressing room. After Mahela Jayawardene had anchored Sri Lanka's innings with a superb 180, Suranga Lakmal gave the hosts a perfect start with the ball when he dismissed Alastair Cook, lbw
for a duck, in England's second over without a run on the board. Cook thought about challenging the decision but decided against it after consulting his opening partner Strauss. Kevin Pietersen (3) and Ian Bell (13) thwarted any further damage until the lunch break but
England face a tough task on a pitch which is now offering turn. Earlier, Sri Lanka, resuming on 289-8, added 29 more runs before the tourists claimed the final two wickets. Paceman James Anderson removed both batsmen to end with figures of 5-72. Tail-ender Chanaka Welegedara struck a few lusty blows in an over off Anderson that produced 16 runs. The paceman, however, had the last laugh when he bowled Welegedara for 19, with the ball clipping the leg stump bail. Jayawardene played some cheeky shots to add 12 runs to his overnight score before edging Anderson to wicket-keeper Matt Prior. He returned to the pavilion to a standing ovation having faced 315 balls and hit 22 fours and three sixes.